"Any economic system which rewards the talented, the shrewd, the unscrupulous, and the greedy, and neglects the retarded, the sick, the shy, the aged, and the naturally nonaggressive, needs serious moral and structural changes."
-- Father Patrick Bascio, Building A Just Society, 1981
MESSENGERS OF HOPE
"Messengers of Hope" are people who have contributed substantially to the betterment of our world. Their contribution, however, does not necessarily comprise the whole of their public work; perhaps it is just one thing they've done or written. If that thing is significant, we consider them a Messenger of Hope. Within this group, some individuals are ultimately considered the most important messengers if they have contributed substantially to the notion of a Cooperative Society, whether in its general contours or specific detail, or if their contribution directly supports the establishment of such a society.
In the case of personages with more than one group of adherents, like Jesus, Muhammad, or Karl Marx, each group typically possessing its own understanding of the work or message of their principal, we have tried to include links representing each, or all, groups. Corrections are welcome.
This short list, like this website, is a work in progress; also, it may overlap somewhat with personages cited on our Resources & Links page (link at left). Last, I'm not completely familiar with the entirety of the lives and work of these individuals, so if some aspect or element of what they've written, said, or done over their lifetime runs substantively counter to their citation here as a messenger of hope, please contact me.
"I believe that neither Western capitalism nor Soviet or Chinese communism can solve the problem of the future. They both create bureaucracies which transform man into a thing. Man must bring the forces of nature and of society under his conscious and rational control; but not under the control of a bureaucracy which administers things and man, but under the control of the free and associated producers who administer things and subordinate them to man, who is the measure of all things. The alternative is not between »capitalism« and »communism« but between bureaucratism and humanism."
Karl Heinrich Marx
"The state is an abstraction, only the people is a concrete fact."
Our thoughts on Karl Heinrich Marx and a cooperative society. Marx, unlike Lenin, Mao, Castro, Guevara, etc., is one of the good guys.
"I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom. That includes political power, ownership and management, relations among men and women, parents and children, our control over the fate of future generations (the basic moral imperative behind the environmental movement, in my view), and much else. Naturally this means a challenge to the huge institutions of coercion and control: the state, the unaccountable private tyrannies that control most of the domestic and international economy, and so on. ... That is what I have always understood to be the essence...the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met."
Caution must be exercised in reading Noam Chomsky, however; his views and work are powerful, but his solution ultimately finds its root in, or is, at least, routinely associated with, the political philosophy of anarchism. O.H.F. advocates firmly against an anarchist model of social organization.
Joel Kovel made this list because of his observation that, while we attempt to work through and resolve various mental health issues, mental illness will never go away as long as capitalism exists, as it is this pathological system that generates psychological imbalance.
Martin Luther King
Near the end of his life, Dr. King came to realize that, as vital an issue as race was, class was even more fundamental to justice for African-Americans, and everyone else. Indeed, in 1965 he said: "If we are going to achieve a real equality, the U.S. will have to adopt a modified form of Socialism."
And on November 14, 1966, in a speech in front of his staff, Dr. King said:
"You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry.... Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong... with capitalism.... There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism."
Thus was this man even more perspicacious than previously realized. 'Nuff said.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Alexander Dubcek is considered a Messenger of Hope because of his earnest attempt, during the "Prague Spring" of 1968, to give his country of Czechoslovakia "socialism with a human face." His efforts crushed by the Soviet state, he sought the establishment of a "free, modern, and profoundly humane society." He later supported playwright Vaclav Havel in his successful bid for the presidency of Czechoslovakia.
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