Tuesday, January 12, 2010

International Peasants Movement and Violence Against Women

It was heartening to hear an agreeing voice, tonight. Raj Patel, the economist and author of Stuffed and Starved and The Value of Nothing, referred to the International Peasants Movement during his interview on Democracy Now, today. Patel is particularly interested in "food sovereignty" and the inabilities of capital markets to price goods appropriately, accounting for a wide variety of factors - including environmental impact of production, ecological sustainability of production, cost in carbon emissions, societal costs, etc. He noted that the International Peasants Movement has principles of justice for all people underlying its advocacy. The IPM sees the equalizing of power relationships as one of the root causes behind the injustice that characterizes contemporary capitalism. One of the IPM's platforms, according to Patel, is that, "Food Sovereignty is about an end to all forms of violence against women."

Consider that statement against the backdrop of Genesis 3 and the "fall" from grace of humanity. Consider the implications of what it should mean to be restored to grace and relationship with God and each other because of Jesus Christ. Consider the deeper theological implications of heterosexual marriage "in Christ", and the marriage between Christ and his Bride, the Church.

As a Christian and an academic who studied and worked in Government & Economics, it is clear to me that "equalizing power" isn't the final remedy. Equalization of power in the world's terms is meeting force with opposing force. People get squashed and decimated in such contests of force, and the most squashed are the poorest and the most powerless (more women and children than men, too). God's power, as revealed in Christ, is all about emptying ourselves, dying to self, loving & serving others. How fascinating it seems that wise "peasants" are more clued into the dynamics of systemic injustice and gender violence than are the educated and wealthy! Wisdom certainly can't be purchased with tuition payments!

"Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters! Has God not chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs in the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you? You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (James 3:5-8)

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