The Common Good
January-February 1996

Resources for Study and Action

by Julienne Gage | January-February 1996

WAR RESISTERS LEAGUE CALENDAR

WAR RESISTERS LEAGUE CALENDAR

U.S. society is bombarded with books and publications honoring war heroes. The War Resisters League 1996 peace calendar, "Nothing But the Truth," serves as a reminder that history must continue to produce nonviolent heroes as well. This peace calendar of photos and commentaries about nonviolent activists is educational and renews the daily struggle for peace.

The calendar features excerpts from courtroom statements by Anne Hutchinson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Gulf war protester Susan Griesen, César Chávez, Susan B. Anthony, Nelson Mandela, and many other war resisters and people of conscience.

The War Resisters League calendar/datebook contains more than 50 black-and-white photos and graphics, and includes important historical dates and listings of hundreds of activist groups and U.S. and international publications. Calendars are $12 each or four for $44. New York State residents add 8.5 percent sales tax. For orders outside the United States, add $1.10 postage per calendar. War Resisters League, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012; (212) 228-0450. Subscriptions to WRL's bimonthly magazine, the Nonviolent Activist, can also be ordered for $15 a year.

ART WITH HEART

Syracuse Cultural Workers celebrates 25 years of peace calendars with their 1996 edition, "Carry It On." The calendar includes a four-page article on the 25-year history of the peace calendar and full-color art on subjects related to the struggle for peace, such as the right to vote in South Africa, longtime feminist and gender equality activist Emma Goldman, and Rainbow Pride. 1996 calendars are available for $12.95 each, 3-5 at $11.95 each, and 6 or more at $9.95 each. A variety of other artwork, including a female artists datebook, peace and justice posters, T-shirts, and postcards are also available. To order the 1996 Carry It On calendar or a copy of the "Art With Heart" catalog, contact: Syracuse Cultural Workers, P.O. Box 6367, Syracuse, NY 13217; (315) 474-1132; fax (315) 475-1277.

THE GLOBAL WAR AGAINST THE POOR

Why is good news for the economy so often bad news for people? Why is the accumulation of wealth spreading poverty? These are some of the questions Richard J. Barnet grapples with in the 42-page publication The Global War Against the Poor.

Sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Servant Leadership School, which is affiliated with Church of the Saviour, The Global War Against the Poor is one of a series of topical publications published by The Servant Leadership Press to make both accessible and affordable the best contemporary thinking about the plight of our inner cities.

The booklet identifies the failures of capitalism, in which the rise of large corporations and new technology has distanced companies from the people they affect and thrown many families into poverty as technology has taken the place of human hands. It describes the cost of the media portrayal of the American Dream, in which poor individuals pull themselves up by their bootstraps and go from "rags to riches." This philosophy drags many, often racial minorities, further into a culture of despair and self-blame for their inability to break the poverty cycle and mobilize themselves socioeconomically.

While economics aren't looking up for the poor and community breakdown is occurring worldwide, Barnet offers the possibility of hope. Borrowing Karl Barth's phrase, a "time between times," he suggests that we are living with the reality of unfulfilled extravagant dreams that have left the majority with pessimism. A just global economy and society can only be attained as we recognize the dead end of materialism. When societal health and community are held above profit, we can return to respect for faith, families, communities, the environment, and human beings. "The new millennium is having a difficult birth," Barnet concludes. "It will take all the midwives we can gather." The Global War Against the Poor is available through the Potter's House Book Service, 1658 Columbia Road NW, Washington, DC 20009; (202) 232-5438.

TRUE BREW

"I firmly believe that so long as we define the problem of food and farming in narrow market terms-as for example, simply increasing commodity prices, enhancing efficiency or convenience, or lowering consumer costs-we cannot envision a democratic system of food production and use in this society."

-Frances Moore Lappé

Equal Exchange coffee company is committed to making strong coffee and to cultivating better lives for its producers. The company started in 1986 working with Nicaraguan coffee plantations in cooperative-style farming for their original product, Cafe Nica. Equal Exchange has since expanded to Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru. The worker-owned company creates an environment where all employees can vote and serve on the board of directors, plus farmers receive an extra 50 cents per pound by selling directly to the company.

Equal Exchange lives out its name through alternative trade policies and in the education consumers get for their purchase of the organic beans. For the last two years, the company offered slots on a delegation to El Salvador in order to study the cooperative structure and to learn more about the country's democratization process. The Equal Exchange newsletter, Java Jive, updates customers on fair trade as well as coffee cultivation. To order Equal Exchange coffee, register for the Java Jive mailing list, or find the nearest retailer who sells this fair brew, contact Equal Exchange at 250 Revere St., Canton, MA 02021; (617) 830-0303; fax (617) 830-0282.

 

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