Much of the recent coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II, critical and otherwise, has focussed on his conservative social views regarding women, queers and sexuality. Less known are his reactionary political views and the role he played in facilitating the Cold War crusade against "communism." One of my memories from the 1980's is of the Pope admonishing Catholic Sandinista supporters in Nicaragua to stop chanting revolutionary slogans before he would address them.
Two excellent articles on Pope John Paul II's reactionary political views follow.
DOUGLAS, Ariz. (Reuters) - Militia volunteers patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border were accused of holding a Mexican immigrant against his will and making him pose with a joke T-shirt but law enforcement officials ruled on Thursday no crime had been committed.
"[Bank of Montreal] has had [an] arrangement with Ottawa-based [anti-abortion group] LifeCanada for 10 years, and now that pro-choice customers know about it, they are beginning a drive to boycott the bank. When I ask whether BMO approached the anti-abortion group or it approached BMO, the bank says it doesn't keep
records that old, which is odd. I do, and I'm not even a bank."
Update [2005-4-11 8:37:12 by ron]: BMO refuses to renew contract with LifeCanada!
"The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and Ontario
Common Front organizations across the province have kicked off a campaign
to win back what Mike Harris took from people on Welfare and Disability
Support Programs nearly a decade ago - we have found a way to start
putting money back on peoples' cheques.
OCAP and Ontario Common Front groups are demanding that a little known
social assistance fund, the Special Diet Supplement, be released to
everyone on welfare and disability. Currently, the fund is only available
through medical practitioners. With the shortage of Doctors in Ontario,
and even greater shortage of progressive ones, the Special Diet fund is
"A combined force of regular soldiers and elite reservists drawn from Ranger patrols across the country plans to stage a 'rescue' Friday on a remote, storm-pounded Arctic island that is closer to the magnetic North Pole than to anywhere else.
'We need to develop an ability to be first responders,' says Maj. Stewart Gibson of 1 Canadian Rangers Patrol Group."
I am feeling bitter, sad and not a little vitriolic! This is because I understand that when people think of people with disability, they think of physiological illness and physically damaged people. As a result their bigotry is not intense, mostly just subject to misunderstandings or stereotyping based upon misinformation, i.e. without mens re, unlike the "stigma" pertaining to the "mental illness" label, wherein peoples' irrational fear, hate and denial is at times little more than a shunning and at other times akin to a biblical stoning. Both of these reactionary behaviours are frequently found within our loving families, administrated by professionals and profited by institutional "mental health" and corporate pharma. The constant nay-saying of the government to ODAC amendments was clearly not the voice of the people, but of the professionals in service to moneyed interests. Nothing changes so much as it stays the same!
"So the Afghanis go to hell while making drugs their export of choice; the Bush administration gets its bases; and if you happen to be one of the American conquerors of that benighted land, you don't return home to parade down a major thoroughfare in your chariot with your war booty and slaves before you (and a slave by your ear whispering about the vanity of conquerors)
"The State Department Saturday called on Israel to forswear nuclear weapons
and accept international Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all nuclear
This is the second time in about two weeks that officials in the Bush
administration are putting the nuclear weapons of Israel, India and Pakistan
on a par."
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic resistance group, has decided to join the PLO. The The political structure of the PLO, long dominated by the nationalist Fatah movement, will be transformed with Hamas' full and active participation. Hamas has widespread grassroots support in the occupied territories and is expected to inject a popular line into PLO's negotiations with Israel. This will include a more resolute stand on the issues of Jerusalem, Israeli settler-colonies, and the refugees.
The complete story from the Al Ahram weekly is pasted below.
"The RCMP uncovered evidence of 'assault' and 'abuse of authority.' It recommended an audit be done into the property office of the VPD to determine how much money has been seized without charges being laid and what steps have been taken to return the money. It also uncovered evidence of systemic problems with the VPD's internal investigation process, including lack of supervision, stalling, and that the VPD's complaint intake process was not respecting the Police Act."
"Pivot is calling for the release of the RCMP report and a public review of the flaws of the complaints process, Chief Graham's reversal of the external investigation's findings, lack of transparency affecting the public and complainants, as well as widespread non-cooperation by both witness and respondent VPD officers."
"The case of a transgendered woman who was prevented from working as a peer counsellor at Vancouver Rape Relief will be heard in the B.C Court of Appeal beginning on Monday.
Kimberly Nixon won her claim of discrimination at the B.C. Human Rights tribunal. But that decision was overturned by a B.C. Supreme Court judge."
The company says it is taking a wait-and-see approach to roadblocks.
"About 50 Haida and non-native protesters have been operating two checkpoints on
roads that access the active logging area in the interior of Graham Island for the
past two weeks, barring access to loggers and Ministry of Forests employees.
Supported by the Council of the Haida Nation as well as several non-native community leaders, the protesters are calling for what they consider sustainable forestry in the islands."
"Reports of highly orchestrated violence by mobs encouraged and supported by the military and ministers of the government appointed after the February 1 coup in Nepal are now arriving from Kapilabastu District in the south of the country. According to the reports, up to 700 homes have been burned and 30 people lynched on suspicion of being Maoist rebels by mobs of about a thousand people, sanctioned and led by the army.
Nepal has now passed from the threshold of a country engulfed in violence and counter-violence. There is no internal force capable of restraining such violence, as it is the government itself that is leading it."
"SHELL Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has shut down its flow station controlling Uzere East and West oil fields in anticipation of forceful invasion by the youths of Uzere in Isoko South local government area of Delta State following a breakdown of peace talks between them and the community."
"I have to laugh at the combativeness I can raise in people who fancy themselves progressive by hitting the "class privilege" button. You will hear anarchists, hippie Earth mothers, 'goddesses,' peace activists, etc. talk a radical talk, but when you talk about the very real class separation in the world, they want to just sit down and hide their heads in the sand! I can only laugh at the sheer hostility I receive from 'loving goddesses' when I DARE threaten their class privilege with a mirror. I also laugh heartily at anarchists who love me until I talk about serious and real wealth redistribution, which apparently is far too real an application of anarchist principles for many American anarchists. I find so many activists want to drink their Starbuck's Latte, while driving their SUV's and "supporting" our troops, while also pretending to be against war and human oppression. When I point out the FACT that the gluttoneous American lifestyle is absolutely NOT maintainable without oppression of others not in the American middle class, such as the lower classes in America and "third world" countries we exploit for resources and labor, the American middle class gets downright volatile, whether those middle class folks are privileged white anarchists or middle class hippie mamas (aka yuppies) or Republicans."