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Share International magazine July / August 2015

Share International magazine cover for 2015This is an abridged version of
Share International magazine.
Through these electronic files, the magazine Share International makes available a compilation of its contents.

The views expressed by authors other than Share International correspondents do not necessarily reflect those held by the editors of this magazine.
By the same token, interviewees, and authors other than our own correspondents, do not necessarily subscribe to or support the information and approach which form the basis and context of this publication.

The magazine is published monthly, except bimonthly in January/February and July/August of each year.

Copyright © 2015 Share International. All rights reserved.

The reproduction of Share International content in printed or electronic form, including internet websites, requires written permission which will not be unreasonably withheld. Please credit Share International as the source: © Share International. Please send clippings to: PO Box 41877, 1009 DB Amsterdam, Holland.

Rallying call!

It has come to our notice that more and more people are receiving our information from the website alone, and thus forgoing the small cost of subscribing to Share International magazine.

Not everyone can, or does, use the internet, and it is essential to have an outer, physical expression, which can display with photographs, the events of which we speak. That means there has to be a magazine, which of course requires a lot of work from volunteers, and a lot of money to produce. There may be a notion that Hierarchy dishes out money for this work, but it is not the case. Subscriptions to Share International are an essential part of maintaining our work and reaching the public. The cost of the subscription is kept as low as possible, the magazine is not subsidised by advertisements and printing and postal charges are mounting all the time.

Surely we would all agree that all those who seriously believe in this work would want to support the magazine, whether or not they read the information on the internet.

Thank you for your support.

The onslaught of the new

For some people the coming months will feel to be the most difficult they have known, causing them to search for even a glimmer of hope, of respite from forces with which they feel unable to cope.

At the same time, for others, there will be a heightened sense of their ingenuity and creativity, however unreal this may be. All is moving swiftly into the New Age and impress of Aquarius, whatever the ‘reading’ of this event. The impact of this will be powerful indeed.

How then should men respond? Know this as a further step towards the New Time and in doing so await the appearance of the Great Lord. Open the gates of heart and mind and be prepared for the onslaught of the new.

[This article from Share International magazine, July / August 2015 , is by a senior member of the Hierarchy of Masters of Wisdom. His name, well-known in esoteric circles, is not yet being revealed. Benjamin Creme, a principal spokesman about the emergence of Maitreya, is in constant telepathic contact with this Master who dictated his article to him.]


(Read more articles by this Master)

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Q. Is Maitreya still appearing on Chinese television?

A. Yes.

Q. How many interviews have there been in China to date?

A. Maitreya has given 34 interviews so far in China.

Q. Is He appearing anywhere else other than China?

A. Yes, in various large and smaller countries, near and far.

Q. Is Maitreya still working in the Middle East? How is the response to Him and to His ideas?

A. Yes. The response is complex and mixed.

Q. Is it the case that the ordinary people in the countries where Maitreya is active respond more quickly and more positively than the leaders or officials?

A. Not necessarily. It varies from country to country.

Q. In the June [2015] issue of Share International the letter titled ‘Message of Hope’ mentioned a date in connection with Maitreya’s emergence: January 2017. Does this mean that the Day of Declaration will take place then?

A. That would be about one-and-a-half years from now if humanity responds well to Maitreya’s energies and His ideas between now and then. Maitreya has already said that the exact date is not known but that the time is set.

Q. Will people who have previously seen Maitreya recognize Him when they see Him on the Day of Declaration?

A. Yes.

Q. When readers of Share International write letters about their experience with a spokesperson or a Master it appears that the Master or spokespeople seem very memorable, leaving people with a strong impression of ‘someone special’, as readers often put it.

A. True!!

Q. (1) Why do statues weep oil or tears or blood; is it only as a ‘sign’ to the faithful? (2) Is it partly as a show of compassionate grief at the plight of suffering humanity?

A. Both. It is a sign that something significant is being shown to humanity.

Q. You have said that Maitreya will show humanity how far we have fallen – that we are somehow degraded and have ‘fallen’ from an earlier superior state. What happened? How and when did we ‘fall’? How can we ‘recover’?

A. There was a time when humanity lived as one – for example there was a time when there was no word for stealing; it didn’t exist. We can ‘recover’ by becoming one again.

Q. Why does Share International place so much emphasis on ‘people power’? Is it so important? Why?

A. Yes, it is crucially important because it is the people who have to be ready for change in the world, and ready to bring it about.

Q. Do ‘angels’ really have wings? Or is that idea just symbolic?

A. Angels sometimes have wings and sometimes don’t. But they are not used for flying!

Q. What is a ‘guardian angel’? Do they really guard humans?

A. Every person has a ‘guardian angel’ whose role is to keep the person safe.

Q. With a very small Transmission Meditation group, life often hinders weekly meetings and a question has arisen in our group, whether the Masters are disturbed by irregular meetings and whether it is better therefore to not meet for Transmission Meditation at all or continue to meet, even if irregularly?

A. Keep going. It would be good to continue as you are; however, it would be better, if you can make it regular!

Q. Is it a good idea to present information about the emergence of Maitreya and the Masters of Wisdom to primary school children? If so, should it be presented as an alternative religious study? Some say this is dishonest – since it is presenting the information under “false pretences”?

A. Religious teaching in general should not be given to children under the age of 14.

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Dear Editor,
On Saturday 6 June 2015 I was leaving the Share International office in London to travel to Bournemouth to give a talk to the Theosophical Society. A middle-aged, grey-haired, taxi-driver drove me to the station with the heavy suitcase and portfolio. “Opening up a gallery?” he asked looking at the portfolio. “Yes, we are actually!” I replied, mentioning the Benjamin Creme Museum that has just secured a gallery space, and is opening in a few months’ time, near Los Angeles, California.

We headed off and the driver remarked that the Labour Party didn’t do well in the recent election. We talked about the Labour Party, the shocking election results, and agreed that a small, rich elite has far too much power in the UK. When I said I support the Green Party, he agreed they had good policies, but wondered if enough people back them. We agreed that proportional representation was needed for real change.

As we drove along an impatient lorry driver was intent on pushing out in front of us. “We don’t want to fight him do we? We want peace. What a crazy world it is!” he joked. He kept saying what a crazy world it is. Talking about people working too hard he said he’d recently bought a plasma TV for his family, and now he has to work like a donkey to pay it off! He told me he was from Yugoslavia and that as a student he’d read a lot of Karl Marx, and found his ideas very interesting. I spoke about sharing the world’s resources, and he asked: “But aren’t people too greedy and selfish to share?” I explained about the imminent world stock-market crash, which will bring huge change, and chatted about the Masters and Their return. He found it all really interesting and hopeful.

Then he suddenly mentioned what a nice place Bournemouth is! Asking how he knew I was going there, he laughed and asked why I was going there? I said I was giving a talk about Maitreya and the Masters; that Maitreya is the World Teacher for all people; and about Benjamin Creme’s role and his work. He said what an important man Mr Creme is; he is a great teacher, and that he has taught me well. He emphasized several times how important it is to continue telling people this information, to keep working hard, and repeated how interesting the information is.

As we approached Waterloo station he said he would love to come to a lecture, so I gave him a card and we exchanged names: he was called Jacob. He kept repeating how interesting and important the work is saying: “Everything you’ve said to me has been so interesting. You are never boring!”

At the station we exchanged goodbyes. Heading off I felt slightly choked, as he’d given me such an unexpected boost. On the train I thought of the effect our information has on people hearing it for the first time, and what a wonderful opportunity it is to present it to this “crazy world”. His encouragement was with me as I gave the talk.

Could your Master say if the taxi-driver was a Master?

G.F., London, UK.

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘taxi-driver’ was a spokesman for the Master Jesus.)

Two letters from the same person:

High praise

Dear Editor,
(1) On 4 June 2015, some members of the German groups joined the demonstration in Munich against the policies of the G7; around 40,000 people marched peacefully and enthusiastically.

We had one banner with ‘S.O.P. – Save Our Planet’ and at the beginning of the demonstration an elderly man asked me if I speak English, because he was from London. "This is the MAIN TOPIC – your banner! It is so WONDERFUL!" He was quite excited and happy to meet us. "Thank you for being here! I am so happy to meet you here! We, in London, also have very good demonstrations! It is so important to be here!" he continued. I had only German material, luckily with the English website on it, so I recommended it to him. I explained a little bit about our background, that we believe that humanity is supported by a group of wise men. Suddenly he quoted some words of Jesus from the Bible, and laughingly I replied that Jesus is also part of this group of wise men. And that they will work openly. We exchanged our ideas, that there would be no ‘Saviour’ in a Christian sense, but that we all together must save the world by ourselves. He asked about my name and told me that his name is Chris. At the end he said a hearty goodbye: "I wish you a very good demonstration! And that your dreams may come true!"

May I ask you if that man was just a tourist from London?

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms the man was a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)

Mutual understanding

(2) On 9 and 10 May 2015 we participated in the Yoga Festival in Merano, northern Italy. Most people in this region speak both Italian and German. I only know a little bit of Italian, so my two colleagues spoke with Italian people. When I was alone at the stand, two elegant Italian ladies came to our booth and asked me a lot of questions in Italian. I did my best, tried speaking also in English, which they did not really understand – finally we ended up with French. It worked well, and I said to the first lady that I liked this Festival very much and that I would enjoy doing a little bit of yoga. She replied: "You know that you do not need it!" Her tone was a bit surprising. Then this lady asked me if I could explain the relationship between Blavatsky, Bailey and Benjamin Creme – pointing at our banner with photographs of all of them. I explained it to her. She asked a lot of questions and this was quite challenging for me – in French (in fact, by coincidence, I’m trying to improve my French-speaking skills at the moment).

Suddenly my Italian-speaking colleague came back and I suggested to the lady to speak Italian with her, it would be easier. She insisted: "Don't you like to speak French with me any longer?" I smiled and our conversation went on. She thanked me with a smile. The whole conversation was a bit like being ‘tested’ somehow. Was this lady – and her friend – just a nice visitor?

D.M., Munich, Germany.

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms the ‘Italian ladies’ were spokespersons for the Master Jesus.)

Welcome guests

Dear Editor,
We recently (beginning in mid-May) mounted an exhibition at the Share Nederland/International Information Centre in Amsterdam of colour photographs illustrative of the need to implement Maitreya’s priorities. The images were accompanied by quotations by Maitreya, Benjamin Creme’s Master, Benjamin Creme and one or two other well-known figures. We chose an exhibition, for a change, knowing that it is an easy way to engage with the public, and that it creates an opportunity to explain our information in an informal setting.

There was a lovely atmosphere at the ‘grand opening’ of the exhibition. On that day two men from Ghana suddenly came in, stayed for several hours, looked at the photos, were interested and supportive, made comments and asked questions. Members of the Dutch group spent a considerable time talking to them about Maitreya’s emergence and His priorities; they also explained about signs and miracles around the world, as well as Maitreya’s ‘Hand’ card. One of the men was given Maitreya’s ‘Hand’ card which he carefully put away in an inside pocket of his jacket. The men were also interested in Maitreya’s appearance in Kenya and were shown cards of the Nairobi photographs.

One of the men said he would return some time, and commented on the importance of the ideas of justice, sharing and caring for our planet, and said what a good exhibition it was. Both men seemed to feel very comfortable with us. They also seemed familiar somehow. One of the Dutch group said that although his English is a little limited he was able to communicate very well with one of the visitors from Ghana.

Were they possibly spokesmen for the Masters?

Members of the Dutch group, Amsterdam, Holland.

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that both men were spokesmen for the Master Jesus.)

Two letters from the same person:

Direct question

Dear Editor,
(1) On 23 May 2015, we held Michiko Ishikawa’s talk on the Reappearance at Chuo Kokaido in Osaka which began at 2pm. At about 5.45, almost toward the end of the Question and Answer session, an elderly woman with a cane came in, pulling a shopping trolley on wheels. She was wearing a bright red long coat, and red frame glasses. As she was starting to browse through the information table, we encouraged her to go inside the hall quickly to hear the talk, because it was close to the ending time. As she entered the hall, she said: “I had heard her talk before, but I just could not sit still at home, so I came again, even though I am late.”

After the meeting, the woman approached me in the lobby and said that she was really glad she came today and it was a wonderful talk. She didn’t seem to want to leave at all, so I suggested she sit down on a chair nearby, because she was leaning on her cane, and holding the trolley with her left hand.

She then asked me: “Do you really believe this story? How can you believe this?” She looked at me seriously and seemed to want to know what I really thought, my inner thought. I responded seriously. She said she had asked Christian ministers and Buddhist sects, but their answers were all “No”! Why do you think they deny the story, she asked, looking straight into my eyes? I said that Christianity teaches love, Buddhism teaches right human relationship, but the Reappearance of the Christ or the Return of Miroku Bosatu (Maitreya Buddha) is a far away future event for them … that’s the difference! But our information is that it is already happening, I said.

As I found myself more and more emphatic, I changed the subject, and complimented her red coat. She said she was 80 years old, and lived near the address written on the pamphlet we gave her at the reception desk. She asked my age and where I lived. I said I lived in Shiga. She said she knew a bookshop in Shiga. I said that was our house, feeling amazed how she would know. She seemed impressed that we are all volunteers. She enquired about Transmission Meditation as well.

She finally got up to leave after about 40 minutes. My husband who was outside, helped her carry the trolley down the stairs because she could not pull it and walk down with her cane. At the bottom of the steps, a brand new bright red electric senior buggy was parked and she drove off on that. However, we wondered afterwards, how could she have driven here in that little buggy in heavy traffic, all the way from her home where she said she lived, and there was no space to put the shopping trolley on it.

May I ask who was the lady in the red coat?

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘lady in the red coat’ was a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)

Help at hand

Dear Editor,
(2) On Monday evening, 18 May 2015, Michiko Ishikawa arrived in Osaka and asked if it’s possible to change the wording of the newspaper ad for her talk on Saturday in Osaka, because she wanted to refer to the special municipal election being held there a day before – for change or to keep the status quo. We immediately asked our ad agent to search for any space of any size on any paper (with a last minute cancellation). Shortly, the agent phoned back rather excitedly that he had found a space for a large colour spot (almost a quarter of a page) on Thursday issue, three days ahead. They hadn’t even noticed there was a space. He asked how much could we pay. I said we don’t have much left and gave him the lowest possible price. To my real surprise, he said: “OK, let’s do it. Send us the ad copy by Wednesday evening.” It was the paper with 500,000 circulation, covering the entire Osaka area, and the price was only a fraction of the normal cost.

Michiko Ishikawa quickly composed the ad, rewriting many times in order to make sure that the ad content would be accepted, but would still convey enough information. (The newspaper company normally would not accept any ad with any hint of a political or religious tone.) With the dedication and hard work of the volunteers, the ad was redesigned and submitted and passed the inspection, and successfully appeared on Thursday’s morning paper, two days before the event.

We believe it was a miracle that there was such a large ad space available, and for such a small fee, and our ‘opinion ad’ was prominently published in colour.

Will you please tell me if we received any special help?

M.U., Shiga, Japan.

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that you did receive help from a disciple of the Master Jesus.)

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Signs around the world

Baby born with beads

On 11 May 2015 Mrs Funke Adamson, a traditional worshipper, gave birth in Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria, to a baby girl who was born holding white ‘Ileke’ beads (Yoruba name) in her hands.

Share International July / August 2015 images, Baby born with beads

It was also remarkable that Mrs Adamson, a grandmother, had a baby at 52 years of age. She said: “I received a message from an Osum Custodian (traditional medium) who said that a child is on the way for me.” The Osum Custodian, Rashidat Ojesanmi, said: “I was consulting the deities when I got the revelation that she would be blessed with a unique gift, which I told her. But she didn’t believe. Later, when the revelation was further revealed that she will be blessed with an important child, she declined, saying that she cannot conceive at her age.”

The traditional healers who attended the birth raised the alarm when they found the baby was born clutching white beads. Her husband Hamzat insisted the beads should be kept: “I was surprised when I saw the baby was delivered holding the beads. But I realized that the beads are important and that was why we have decided not to throw them away.” (Source: vanguardngr.com)

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that this miracle was manifested by the Master Jesus.)

Light blessings

Share International July / August 2015 images, Book cover - Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era
On Mothers’ Day, 10 May 2015, about a month after her husband passed away, A. V. visited the courtyard at Mariaplaats, near St Gertrude’s Cathedral in Utrecht, the Netherlands, with her children. Three of the photographs that her son took of A. show a remarkably large halo of light. (Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that this is a blessing from the Master Jesus.)

Share International July / August 2015 images, Book cover - Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era
Taken in Peru, in April 2015, by Z.L., from Wixom, USA, this photograph shows his friend with a young Peruvian girl. (Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that this shows a light blessing from the Master Jesus.)


Miracle grow

Share International July / August 2015 images, Book cover - Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era

Dear Editor,

A Transmission Meditation group in Paranaque, the Philippines, recently experienced something miraculous happening in their two vases of plastic plants with flowers, which they put on display beside the Cross of Light every time they perform Transmission Meditation on Sundays.

At first it is noticed by a co-worker just after Holy Week this year [2015] that she thought there are some small changes in the plastic plant, so she counts all existing flower buds to make sure that her mind is not playing tricks on her. But another day when she checks it again to her surprise the buds have grown and multiplied despite being plastic, and also noticeable small stems are starting to sprout as if the plastic plant is alive and behaving like a real plant. Until now it is said to continue to grow.

Can you please tell us what is going on?

R. R.A., Pasig City, Philippines.

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that this is a miracle manifested by the Master Jesus.)

Greek statue of Jesus weeps

Share International July / August 2015 images, Greek statue of Jesus weeps

In a village near Corinth (Peloponnese), crowds have been flocking to the church of St Nickolas to see a miracle: an icon of the Crucified Jesus which has been weeping oily tears since the ground-breaking elections of 25 January 2015. According to a local priest, ever since the elections, an oily, sticky and odourless fluid has run down the icon. The church’s plans to ask scientists to examine the tears have been stopped by faithful villagers who stand guard over the statue to ensure that nobody removes the icon or takes fluid for laboratory analysis. (Source: keeptalkinggreece.com)

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that this is a miracle manifested by the Master Jesus. The statue is crying because of the suffering of all humanity in general.)

Madonna statue weeps

Share International July / August 2015 images, Madonna statue weeps

A statue of the Madonna has been shedding tears in a house in Kampung Mahandoi, Penampang, Malaysia.

The 33 cm high statue was only recently brought to the house and blessed by Archbishop John Wong (head of the Sabah Catholic church in Sabah) when he celebrated mass at the Our Lady Queen of Peace Church at Kampung Kobusak.

Around 100 people a day have been visiting the house to take part in rosary prayers in front of the statue, after word spread about the miracle via social media.

(Source: thestar.com)

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the Master Jesus is manifesting this miracle.)

A light blessing

Share International July / August 2015 images, The Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity; Leipzig (Germany), 2014.
A light blessing from the Master Jesus on a photograph of the demonstrators’ camp, in Munich, during the G7 summit in June 2015.

Sightings of UFOs

Share International July / August 2015 images, Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms they were spacecraft from Mars.
Moosach, Bavaria, Germany – On Monday 8 June 2015 at 9 pm mysterious lights appeared in the sky over Moosach in Bavaria (Germany) and were reported in tz, the German tabloid newspaper in Munich, which printed a photograph taken at the train station in Moosach. (Source: tz.de)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms they were spacecraft from Mars.)

Share International July / August 2015 images, Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms they were spacecraft from Mars.
China – A glowing white UFO that changed shape while hovering over a Buddhist temple in China was filmed by the temple’s video camera on 29 May 2015. A security alarm went off at 11pm at the Baita Temple in Anhui province. Father Shi Xingkong was on security duty and went to investigate. He checked the security camera’s video which shows a bright object – hovering over the temple, changing shapes and even briefly flying inside the temple. The UFO then begins to rotate and moves rapidly outside the camera’s view. To the monks it looked variously like an apple, a flying-saucer and a sitting Buddha. Whatever the object was, it must have had some mass since it set off the temple’s infrared alarm.

A local meteorologist discounted the theory that the object was ball lightning because the UFO encounter lasted seven minutes, much longer than the duration of ball lightning. (Source: mysteriousuniverse.org. YouTube: ALLTVCHANNEL2)

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘glowing white UFO’ was a spacecraft from Mars.

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Compilation - an extract

We present a selection of quotations on the theme of ‘The Day of Declaration’ taken from Maitreya (Messages from Maitreya the Christ and Maitreya’s Teachings – The Laws of Life), Benjamin Creme’s Master (A Master Speaks and Share International), and Benjamin Creme’s writings.

When Maitreya appears before the world people will realize that they have known Him from before, and that His teaching is not strange or beyond their level of thought. Simple, indeed, will He be that all may understand.

Precisely His simplicity will astound. Nevertheless it will be found also that most people will experience what they hear in a new way, as a dawning truth, new and touching them at a deeper level. Simple the ideas may be, but they will resonate in people’s hearts and feel fresh and vibrant….

The people will grow in power and their voices, potentized by Maitreya, will grow in strength and clarity of demand. They will call for their Spokesman to speak to the world and the stage will be set for the Day of Declaration, the first day of the New Dawn.

The Day of Declaration, on which, for the first time, Maitreya will acknowledge His true stature and name, will stand out, through history, as the turning point in the evolution of mankind. It will be inscribed in the annals as the Day of Days, the Beginning of the New, the Sanctification of Mankind, the Portal to the glorious future which awaits humanity. That day is not far off. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The first steps’)

***

My Teaching is simple, as you know: Love, Justice and correct Sharing are necessary for man to live. Those around Me now, in My centre, are learning this, are responding to My Call and awakening to the promise of the future. For you too shall this be so, for within you now I see the same divine intention. Therefore, My friends, fear not for My Mission. My plan is to come before the world so soon that only the most abject mind will deny My Presence. Great, even now, are the changes which occur: the nations grow together in a new bond of harmony. Witness for yourselves these events. When My face is seen on a wider scale, this transformation will gain a new impetus, and much, quickly, will be achieved. (Maitreya, from Message No.83)

***

The Day of Declaration will be announced by the media. People will tune in at the given time, and see Maitreya’s face, by now well known. As it says in the Christian Bible: “Every eye shall see Him” – on the linked television networks. They are in place for this event so that for the first time in history the World Teacher can address every individual directly, needing no churches or priests to act as intermediaries….

He will present a short history of the world, our journey from the extraordinary level from which we have come to the degradation to which we have fallen. He will urge us to change, inspire us with a view of the future, a future like none that has ever been presented to the world – the most wonderful, beautiful and extraordinarily brilliant civilization that this Earth has ever seen. (Benjamin Creme, The Great Approach)

***

Many of you will see Me soon. Share with your brothers this joyous expectation and tell them that Maitreya, their Friend, their Brother, their Teacher of Old, has come. Do this now and restore to men the hope which they have lost. Do this now and work for Me. Work in service to the world and stand in the blessing of My Love. (Maitreya, from Message No.19)

***

When all is ready and prepared, when world events have signalled their warning to men, Maitreya will step forward and claim His rightful place as Teacher. From that point onwards, a new spirit of co-operation will make its appearance and lead to the rapid transformation of all our structures. Men will accept the guiding wisdom which His spiritual status confers, and stage by stage, in mounting momentum, will remake their lives in relation to the spiritual blueprint with which He will endow the world.

His present work is to restore and maintain balance, thus saving humanity much needless pain and suffering. Already the evidence is there that this is being achieved, and a new spirit of conciliation engages the minds of those who lead the peoples. Soon the world will see the Teacher in their midst. Many have experienced Him in one way or another and await His public appearance with joy. There is not long to further await the Avatar, the Christ, the Teacher for all men. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The coming harmony’)

***

Preparations are well in hand for Maitreya to speak to the world via satellite television. Every nation and country will be linked by satellite to experience the presence and teachings of Maitreya. Those who watch, listen and respond will find themselves gradually undergoing transformation.

On the Day of Declaration “people will enter churches, temples and mosques, and church bells will ring”. It will be a day of rejoicing….

It is difficult for people to understand that although Maitreya is among us no one can ‘deliver’ Maitreya. Maitreya Himself says: “Without disturbing anyone, I will choose My moment.” (Maitreya, Maitreya’s Teachings)

***

When enough people are following, not Maitreya, but the thoughts, the ideas, the advice of Maitreya, He will be invited to speak to the entire world on what we will call the Day of Declaration. On that day Maitreya will appear on the television sets of everyone at the same time throughout the world. He will address the world, but will not actually speak.

Maitreya is omniscient and omnipresent, and will create during this time a telepathic rapport with every adult in the world. Everyone will hear Maitreya’s thoughts, His ideas, His hopes, His plans for the future, telepathically, inwardly in their own language. The Japanese will hear Him in Japanese, the French in French, the Germans in German, the Chinese in Chinese, and so on. He will tell humanity about itself, about how old we are, how long we have been evolving to this relative point (not so high as we think). He will show what lies ahead, the science of the future.

Maitreya will show the high level from which we have fallen, into the mediocrity of materialism today. And He will show the way forward, through the acceptance of the principle of sharing, declaring our sense of the one brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity, enabling us to set out again on the spiritual path, the path that leads not to competition but to oneness.

That is what the New Age is about, the Age of Synthesis. Synthesis means the drawing together and creation of oneness, a unity out of disparate parts. You will find that is the aim of the evolutionary process: unity in diversity, the greatest diversity in the fullness of unity.

While He is speaking, Maitreya’s energy will flow out in tremendous potency through the hearts of all humanity. This will evoke an intuitive, heartfelt response to the message. On the physical plane there will be hundreds of thousands of spontaneous miracle healings throughout the world. In these three ways you will know that that One and, of course, only that One, is Maitreya Buddha, the Christ, the Imam Mahdi, Kalki Avatar, Krishna, Messiah, by whatever name He is looked for and awaited. That day will define the entire future for humanity. (Benjamin Creme, The Awakening of Humanity)

***

I come to tell you that My Plan proceeds smoothly and well. All proceeds to plan; all My hopes are being fulfilled, and the Day of Declaration draws near.

Soon will you see Me in full vision and, as you do, realize that for many this meeting is not the first. Many of you have served Me before, long, long ago, and, coming now into the world, stand ready once again. Know this, My friends, and seize the opportunity now offered to serve Me and the world. Know this, My brothers, and take part in this Plan of God for your fulfilment. (Maitreya, from Message No.88)

***

This day, like none other before or after, will give Maitreya the opportunity to reveal His name, title and purpose, as the World Teacher for the New Age, the leader of the Spiritual Hierarchy and the Expected One of all religious groups. As the friend and teacher of all who need His help will He present Himself; as a simple man Who knows the pain and suffering of men and seeks to ease their lot, Who loves all totally, without condition, and Who has come to show us the steps to joy. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘Maitreya steps forward’)

***

Each day that passes brings nearer the Day of Declaration when Maitreya will appear openly to all the world. On that glad day the shared joy of men and women everywhere will transform the present clouded picture of anxiety and fear.

The current turmoil and threat are but the prelude to a new era of peaceful co-operative effort to right the wrongs of the past; to create justice among the nations; to resolve ancient disputes and to uphold the international law.

When men look back on this time they will see it as the dark night which precedes the brightest dawn and will be glad to have lived at this eventful period.

The world awaits the Teacher. The Teacher awaits His opportunity to emerge and, in full view, teach and serve. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The dark before the dawn’)

***

......

If you read the messages from Maitreya that are published (Messages from Maitreya the Christ, Tara Press), I think you will understand every single word, and so it will be on the Day of Declaration. He will speak in the simplest terms, not about esotericism. He might mention briefly, in simple terms, the Path of Initiation as the final phase of life on this planet. He will talk about a readjustment of our view of the nature of life, its meaning and purpose, why we are here, in terms which everyone can understand.

If He can speak to every individual in their own language He must experience every individual. For Him there is no separation, so that, inevitably, what He will say to each person will be brought down by their brain in their own language in words that they can understand. (Benjamin Creme, The Great Approach)

***

The world awaits the Declaration of the Christ. This great event, unique in history, will herald the beginning of the new era. It will vouchsafe, too, the end of man’s anguish and the beginning of new triumphs for men. When men follow the Christ, which indeed they will, they will come into that birthright which awaits them, and receive from Him the accolade of Joy and Peace.

They will know then the purpose of their lives on Earth and seek to implement that purpose. They will know the intent of their souls and how best that may be accomplished. They will know, too, the ways to establish right relations with both God and their brothers and to give reality to the Brotherhood of man. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The luminous age ahead’)

***

When I make Myself known, I shall express the hope of all mankind for a new life, a new start, a readiness to change direction; to see the construction of a New World in which men can live in peace; can live free from fear of themselves or their brothers; free to create from the joy in their hearts; free to be themselves, in simple honesty.

My task is but beginning, but even now there exists in men’s hearts a new light, a new hope, a sense of a new beginning; a realization that man is not alone, that the Protector of All has sent His Agent. It is That which I am. (Maitreya, from Message No.8)

***

Since the time is short indeed till mankind sees the Christ, it would be wise to consider, somewhat, the likely repercussions of that momentous event. Firstly, men will awaken to a new situation, one altogether unfamiliar and strange: nothing similar will have been the experience of anyone alive; no one, anywhere, will have heard before the thoughts broadcast on that day of days. Never, before, will men have heard the call to their divinity, the challenge to their presence here on Earth. Each, singly, and solemnly alone, will know for that time the purpose and meaning of their lives, will experience anew the grace of childhood, the purity of aspiration cleansed of self. For these precious minutes, men will know afresh the joy of full participation in the realities of Life, will feel connected one to another, like the memory of a distant past…. Quietly, men’s tears will flow in humble gratitude and longing for the good. From that time forwards, a new spirit of sanctity will prevail upon the Earth; men will walk on tip-toe for a time. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘To serve anew’)

***

“Men will walk on tip-toe for a time.” Isn’t that beautiful? Men will walk on tip-toe. Don’t make too much noise, it might break this marvel. Keep your voices down. Don’t shout. Let me keep this in my heart. People will not know what to do with themselves. They will want to keep this feeling, which, of course, will not last for ever. But it will last for some time, and this sense that they have touched divinity will remain. (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission Vol Three)

***

My name shall soon be known, but for the present you will see Me as a Brother among brothers, One of yourselves. When the Day of Declaration dawns, you will know that that Brother has taught you more than once, has shown you the way to God and released the Teachings of God’s Truth. My friends, the time has come to enlarge that Truth, to show you that to know God is a creative act, to know God is to enter into Deity Itself. Only thus can we know the truth of our existence. In this coming time, that knowledge will be yours. (Maitreya, from Message No.112)

***

.....

On that glorious day men will know, beyond all gainsaying, that their long wait has not been in vain, that help, indeed, is at hand, that the Teacher is ready to aid and guide. That He comes as an Elder Brother rather than a Saviour, ready to take the lead to save our planet, and to enable men themselves to restore sanity to their lives and ways of living.

Maitreya will show that our problems are many but solvable. That the solution to all is already in our hands. That the simple act of sharing, alone, has the power to transform life on Earth for the better. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘A glorious enterprise’)

***

This experience will give humanity a vision of its essential nature, bring it back to its true nature as souls, and give it a vision and purpose to go forward in life and to create the new civilization along better and more just lines. Our response to this experience will determine the entire future of this planet. Maitreya will present us with a choice: either we continue as we are now, in the old, greedy, selfish, complacent ways of the past, and destroy ourselves, or we accept the principle of sharing, accept that we are one, and begin the creation of a civilization such as this world has never yet seen. Maitreya knows already our answer, our choice. As He said in Message Number 11, given through me: “My heart tells me your answer, your choice, and is glad.” (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission Vol Three)

***

I am with you once more, My dear friends.

Hopefully, My face will soon be seen by many of you, but, in any case, on the Day of Declaration the world will know that I, Maitreya, Son of Man, now dwell among you.

I have come to show you the possibilities which, as sons of God, lie before you. My heart knows your response, teaches Me your choice, and awakens great gladness. My friends, My people are everywhere, preparing for the New World. Their task is great, their burden heavy, their opportunity unknowable. Many there are now who see the way forward, hold before men the Light of Truth, teaching men to share and love, to cherish and trust. Many now are awake to these divine aspects, and call for the restructuring of your world. My Force is behind them. My Love inspires them. My Will guides them. In this way, I lead you into the New.

When you see Me, you will know that I have been always with you, never far from your awakened heart. Know this and trust that in this coming time I shall never leave you, shall be with you always, to the end of the Age. The time is short indeed till God’s day of triumph. Believe this and work as one to tell the world that I am among you.

Do this for Me, My friends, and know the true joy of service to your brothers. I call on you to make known at this late date that I, the Lord of Love, now walk among you. My friends, the time is short. Many hands and many voices are needed to proclaim this truth.

I know already those on whom I may count. A final effort, My friends, and all will be as I have promised.

May the Divine Light and Love and Power of the One Most Holy God be now manifest within your hearts and minds. May this manifestation lead you to make best use of the little time ahead. (Maitreya, Message No.137)

***

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Degrowth: accounting for nature

Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era

Book review by Elisa Graf and Thorsten Wiesmann

Share International July / August 2015 images, Book cover - Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era

Called by SHIFT magazine, an independent non-profit magazine focused on economic and ecological sustainability, the most important grassroots movement today, Degrowth represents an international alliance of organizations, groups and private individuals seeking to address the main challenge of our time: to bring our unsustainable economic systems, dependent on endless growth, into harmony with nature on a finite planet. A recently published book of essays compiled by members of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era is the first book in English to offer a complete overview of this developing new approach in all fields of academic thinking.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and its corollary, endless market growth, have dominated public debate for the last century and have left in their wake social injustice, environmental decline and global financial chaos. Two billion people currently live on less than two dollars a day, and at the same time social indicators suggest that economic growth is no longer improving the life of people in wealthy nations. Since the economic crisis of 2008, there is growing recognition that GDP is not the best tool to measure the progress and well-being of human society. As Andrew Sims of UK’s The Guardian newspaper puts it: “To judge the health of the economy by whether growth rises or falls by a fraction of 1 per cent is like measuring the height of the tide to see whether the ocean is thriving, or sick and polluted.”

Dan O’ Neill from the University of Leeds writes in the book: “GDP evolved in an era when the challenges facing society were very different than they are today. We are facing the need to improve the well-being of all people within the environmental constraints of a single planet. The best thing we can do with GDP is to forget about it. In order to measure degrowth, a different approach that includes two separate sets of indicators is required: (1) A set of biophysical indicators to measure how society’s level of resource use is changing over time and whether this level of resource use is within ecological limits; (2) A set of social indicators to measure whether people’s quality of life is improving.”

Integral to the Degrowth ethos are three key ideas: conviviality, dematerialization and simplicity. Ivan Illich, whose philosophy inspired many of the original ideas of the movement, defines ‘conviviality’ as “individual freedom realized in personal interdependence” or living together peacefully in a creative and collectively self-determined way. ‘Dematerialization’ represents the setting of absolute limits for the use of materials and energy, seen by many experts as essential to solving the ecological crises facing the planet.

Share International July / August 2015 images, The Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity; Leipzig (Germany), 2014.
The Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity; Leipzig (Germany), 2014

In defining ‘simplicity’, Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a Research Fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, writes that it implies, “a way of life that involves consciously minimizing wasteful and resource-intensive consumption. But it is also about reimagining ‘the good life’ by directing progressively more time and energy toward pursuing non-materialistic sources of satisfaction and meaning.”

The beauty and strength of the new vocabulary introduced in the book reflects a style of economic thought that links ideas like environmental justice, sharing, co-operatives, eco-villages, debt-free money, simplicity and the commons. The expression ‘nowtopians’ defines a people who share an experience of autonomous living and producing together, evidenced in Transition Towns, collaborative consumption, share schemes, etc. The term ‘public money’ defines a system that would no longer borrow money from private banks. Such vocabulary aims to link ancient traditional wisdom with scientific research, social activism, and innovative social practices, into a much needed proposal for a future where economic growth will no longer be seen as an imperative for the global economy.

Other ideas explored in Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era include the importance of civil disobedience and learning to think and act in peer groups. How does co-operation – implicit and explicit agreements about how to co-ordinate our behavior with peers – bypass competition within society? Peer group networks with shared norms are an update to the traditional idea of socio-economic class, or political labels, and promote exchange on the basis of trust, inherently recognizing the needs of all. Alex Pentland, author of Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread – The Lessons from a New Science explains: “A trust network, with its emphasis on one-to-one exchanges and strong personal control of data, gives us social efficiency, along with fairness and stability, as properties that are inherent to exchange networks. Such exchange societies can even feel more natural than the open competition environment championed during the Enlightenment.”

An optimal distribution of resources throughout society would help all people to recognize each other as peers. In a Degrowth world, this optimal distribution is connected to the idea of voluntary simplicity, as Samuel Alexander writes, “based on the assumption that human beings can live meaningful, free, happy and infinitely diverse lives, while consuming no more than an equitable share of nature”.

Sources:

Giacomo D’Alisa, Federico Demaria, Giorgios Kallis: Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era. Routledge 2014.

(The three editors are members of Research & Degrowth, www.degrowth.org)

Alex Pentland: Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread – The Lessons from a New Science. Penguin Group 2014.

(Editor’s note: We would like to add the following comments which provide some Hierarchical insight into the need to create inclusive structures in all fields.

While the ideas outlined in the book reviewed above are progressive, they are nevertheless one-sided. Maitreya, the Masters and Benjamin Creme always advocate the need for a balanced and inclusive approach to the economics of the future. Maitreya puts it simply: a cart needs two wheels – socialism and capitalism; Benjamin Creme’s Master advises a balance of 70 per cent socialism and 30 per cent capitalism. This will meet the needs of all and makes for a system which caters for all approaches. A measured inclusive system is required which makes possible a steady evolution not revolution.)

Living up to Gideon’s promise – an excerpt

Interview with Ilham Askia

by Jason Francis

Gideon’s Promise is an Atlanta, Georgia-based nonprofit organization founded in 2007 that works to bring just and competent legal representation to people charged with criminal offenses. The group trains public defenders (court-appointed defense lawyers who represent individuals who are unable to afford a lawyer) to better serve their clients. Gideon’s Promise works in 16 US states and has received countless awards over the years for its work. Ilham Askia is Executive Director and co-founder of Gideon’s Promise. Jason Francis interviewed her for Share International.

Two justice systems

Share International: Could you explain the two systems of legal justice that exist in the United States?

Share International July / August 2015 images, Ilham Askia

Ilham Askia: From our point of view, if you have money you will immediately hire the best lawyer you can find. And you will likely be released to resume your normal life. You are afforded the presumption of innocence and all the protections that citizens should receive. So if you have money you will get everything the US Constitution has granted and all of the accommodations that will be made for someone of means.

However, if you are poor you are likely going to be held on a bond [bail] that you can’t make. You will sit in jail, although presumed innocent, waiting for a chance to tell your story. More than likely you will be given a public defender who is overwhelmed and under-resourced and may not be able to visit you for days and sometimes even weeks. Although you might be innocent this pretrial experience could cost you your job, and you might lose your housing and your reputation. It’s unequal and unfair. If you are poor in this country you are not guaranteed the same due process as a person of means.

SI: How vulnerable are minority groups in America’s legal justice system?

IA: If you come from a minority – and we’ve seen a lot in the news lately about racial profiling [law enforcement targeting people for suspicion of crime based on race], which is still in existence and strong – you are treated differently. You are viewed as someone who is less than human at times. So a lot of what ails the criminal justice system is related to race and class. If you go through any community, especially communities of color, you will see that there is a bigger police presence. The people of color and minority groups are monitored, arrested and prosecuted more. A huge percentage of the minority population is in the [criminal justice] system today.

Pleading guilty when you’re innocent

SI: Why do people who are innocent plead guilty to crimes they did not commit?

IA: People do not know the process from the time they are arrested to the time they go to court. You get arrested; you don’t understand what is going on in the courtroom surrounding you; and you sit in jail for days and sometimes months because you can’t afford to pay the bond. You are sitting there saying: “I need to get home to my loved ones. I need to get back to my job.” People frequently plead guilty just to get out of jail. If a prosecutor comes to you and says: “If you just plead guilty I will give you probation and you can go home today”, versus possibly facing 10 years in prison for this charge, most people will plead guilty to a crime they did not commit so they can go home.

Sometimes they don’t understand the collateral consequences of doing so. Although the client may decide to take that plea deal and they get home, now they have a conviction on their record. If they try to get another job their criminal record makes it impossible. Their existing job may not allow employees to have a conviction so they are out of work. And it becomes a cycle. They can no longer afford to pay the restitution. I have often met clients who were required, as part of taking the plea, to enter a drug program. The drug program costs money and they can’t afford it because they’re unemployed. So they violate the terms of their probation and end up back in court facing the charge and possibly jail time. Unfortunately, this is very prevalent in poor communities and it’s happening to people of color.

The Prison Industrial Complex

SI: What is the ‘Prison Industrial Complex’?

IA: The Prison Industrial Complex is a business. It is the way corporations use prisons to make money. What is happening in many areas of the country is that the more beds you fill in a prison and if a prison is filled to capacity – think of it as a hotel, but a hotel where people cannot get out – there is an economic incentive to arrest people and prosecute and punish more because it is a business. In some states if a prison is full, a percentage of that income goes back to the state. If we are getting funding from these prisons, why not fill them to capacity? That’s what is happening. The problem is that people are being prosecuted for very minor offenses to fill these prisons. And sometimes the campaigns of judges, prosecutors and lawmakers benefit from this industry. [In the US, many judges and prosecutors, like politicians, often have to be elected, which requires one to run an election campaign for votes.] As a consequence you see a lot of the “tough on crime” policies that also help to usher people into the system. The states or police enforcement are often very aggressive in rounding up and locking up people to make these quotas. I see it a lot. Sometimes if you look at the monthly quotas, the number of the people being arrested are for minor offenses in order to fill the jails. It is a huge moneymaking industry for the prisons or the institutions.

.......

Changing the culture

SI: Could you discuss the changes that need to be made in America’s legal justice system?

IA: One challenge that we have is financial. The challenge is that states have not lived up to the promise of Gideon. It takes resources to pay for investigators, expert witnesses, and other expenses to represent a client well. We just need more funding. States need to allocate more funding in their budgets for public defense in order for attorneys to honor the promise of Gideon.

Structurally, public defenders need to have independence. They must be free to devote themselves to their clients. In many places there are serious structural barriers that prevent our attorneys from doing their jobs well. Judges appoint a lot of our attorneys. And those judges have control over the public defender office. So if a lawyer fights too hard the judge might not give them cases or may try to replace the attorney for not processing quickly enough. In some places, for example Alabama, there are part-time public defenders. So they get a flat rate and would rather spend more time on their paying clients. Structurally, if we can have systems where the public defender really gets to work with their clients and own their office then I think changes can happen.

Another area, which Gideon’s Promise focuses on, is the cultural change of the system. In the criminal justice system the emphasis is on speed not justice. Our defenders enter with a lot of passion. They want to do good work. They want to help people. But they are fighting against burn-out. Having caseloads of 300 to 400 a year and not being given the right tools to do their job well, they start to suffer from burn-out. We have to ensure that they don’t lose that passion. We need to change the culture of processing people and the dehumanization of clients. Making them whole again is part of that change. And not just in the public defender’s office, but changing the mindset of judges and prosecutors to see public defender clients as people. That’s the part that we really focus on – challenging the systemic pressures that treat people as less than human.

More milestones to strive for

SI: Is there anything further you would like to add that we haven’t discussed?

IA: We have been celebrating a lot of milestones recently. We had the 50th celebration of the March on Washington. [In 1963 about 250,000 people marched on Washington DC calling for civil and economic rights for African Americans.] We celebrated the 50th anniversary of Selma. [Three marches took place between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, in 1963, which helped lead to the Voting Rights Act that prohibited racial discrimination in voting.] The Civil Rights Movement is a huge part of our history and made significant changes to the fabric of this country. This generation needs to focus on the Civil Rights Movement happening now. The Civil Rights Movement of this generation is dealing with criminal justice issues and criminal justice reform. It’s really important that people understand that although we have come a long way since Selma, Birmingham and the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, we still have far to go because there are poor people and people of color who are treated differently in this system. Their lives and liberty are taken away. So, what we tell our public defenders when they come into our program is that they are part of a movement. They may not understand what the impact of their work is now – of going to court every day and zealously advocating for clients – but in 50 or 60 years people will understand that they were the movement of public defenders that really fought against the status quo. We need to do something about the problems plaguing our communities and the very broken system we have in this country.

For more information: gideonspromise.org

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Pope Francis’s urgent call to save the planet

Share International July / August 2015 images, Pope Francis

On 18 June 2015 Pope Francis released a 192-page Encyclical letter, On Care for Our Common Home, urging rich nations to change direction, address inequality and poverty, and avoid climatic destruction. Written for all people, not only Catholics, the Pope calls on humanity for urgent action to save the planet. This is a major and heartening intervention at this historic moment, which brings together the scientific and moral aspects of climate change and global inequality.

Presenting the Encyclical at the Vatican press conference, the Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas stated: “This Encyclical comes at a critical moment in human history and will undoubtedly have a worldwide effect on people’s consciousness…. the ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual problem. The proper relationship between humanity and the earth, or its natural environment, has been broken.”

Accepting the overwhelming evidence from climate scientists, the Encyclical states: “Scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases released mainly as a result of human activity.” It warns that the “exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty…. The idea of infinite or unlimited growth ... is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit…. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years…. We are not God. The Earth was here before us and it has been given to us.”

On the effect of market forces Pope Francis warns: “We need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that the problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals.” He dismisses technological “simple solutions” to climate change such as cap and trade systems, which he says give rise to harmful speculation. Instead he advises humanity to come together in unity: “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all…. We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family…. We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world.”

In tackling inequality he states: “In different ways, developing countries, where the most important reserves of the biosphere are found, continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future…. We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental…. Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way.”

Environmentalists hope the Pope’s message will galvanize nations in the run up to the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres responded: “This clarion call should guide the world towards a strong and durable universal climate agreement ... Coupled with the economic imperative, the moral imperative leaves no doubt that we must act on climate change now.”

On an optimistic note Pope Francis concludes: “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

In adopting the tenets of care for the poor and the natural world of his namesake St Francis of Assisi, whose sayings are tellingly used in this document, Pope Francis shows that he is truly a Pope for our time. (Source: The Guardian, BBC News, UK; CNN; W2.vatican.va; en.radiovaticana.va)

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Spain enters a new political era

As expected, in the wake of the economic crisis and high-profile corruption scandals which have tarnished the reputation of the traditional political parties in Spain, the country has now entered a new political era.

Spain’s indignados made the move from city squares to the halls of power on 24 May 2015 in municipal and regional elections that saw an anti-poverty activist elected as mayor of Barcelona and the ruling People’s party battered at the ballot box.

Share International July / August 2015 images, Ada Colau, newly elected mayor of Barcelona
Ada Colau, newly elected mayor of Barcelona

Ada Colau, the 41-year-old anti-eviction activist who leads Barcelona En Comú (Barcelona In Common), was elected mayor of the Catalan city. “It’s a victory for David over Goliath,” said Colau as news broke of the historical win. “I want to be a mayor at the service of the people, so there will never again be first-class citizens and second-class citizens in this town,” she added.

A grassroots movement of several leftist political parties, including Podemos, and thousands of citizens, Barcelona En Comú vowed to return decision-making in the city to the people, promising to do away with home evictions, increase public housing and redistribute the city’s wealth. Colau’s party won 11 of the 41 seats on the city council, meaning that she will need to form alliances in order to govern. On 13 June she has become the first woman mayor in history to govern Barcelona. On her investiture ceremony she said: “I thank the people for making possible the impossible.”

In Madrid’s municipal election, the outcome of the 24 May 2015 vote was less certain. The ruling Popular Party (PP) came out on top, but not by a sufficient margin to guarantee that its candidate, the veteran politician Esperanza Aguirre, would become the new mayor of Spain’s capital. Instead, Manuela Carmena, a retired judge, will become mayor with the support of the Socialists.

Share International July / August 2015 images, Manuela Carmena, newly elected mayor of Madrid
Manuela Carmena, newly elected mayor of Madrid

As the last votes were being counted around midnight, Ms Carmena, 71, thanked her supporters, saying: “The victory is yours.” She said that she would work hard to “seduce those who didn’t vote for change”.

The 71-year-old former judge and communist was enjoying her retirement last year when friends asked her to run for mayor of Madrid. She could now wrestle power from the PP if her party were to form an alliance with the Socialists. “The vote for change has won a majority,” she said.

On 13 June, as Carmena took office as new Mayor of Madrid, hundreds of people gathered outside the city hall chanting: “Yes, it can be done!” In her investiture speech she said: “I want to thank the people who voted for change. We are here as servers of the people. We are here to listen to all of them, those who voted for us and those who didn’t, so all of us will be mayors. You do not have to be afraid of us, we are your servers.”

The strong showing of the leftist coalitions in Madrid and Barcelona suggest that the agendas of Spain’s two largest cities will be driven by the priorities of anti-establishment parties with roots in Spain’s indignado movement.

The message that emerged was clear, with Spaniards voting to end the two-party dominance that has characterized Spanish politics since the death of Franco. With 90 per cent of the vote counted in the 24 May elections, the PP and the Socialists had taken 52 per cent of the nationwide vote, a significant drop from the 65 per cent the two mainstream parties earned in elections four years ago.

While the PP was the most voted party in nine regions, it failed to obtain any absolute regional majorities. Many voters, unconvinced of the party’s message of an economic rebound and fed up with austerity, sky-high unemployment and a constant barrage of corruption scandals, turned instead to anti-austerity party Podemos and centre-right Ciudadanos.

The national newcomers came in third or fourth place across most regions, suggesting they will hold the balance of power in many regional governments. “We would have liked the decline of the old parties to have been quicker,” said Podemos’ Pablo Iglesias. “But circumstances compel us to keep working on it.”

As Spanish politics widen into a four-way race, the shifting landscape means coalitions and compromises between parties will be necessary to govern.

The elections underlined the rise of Podemos, a far-left party that was founded in 2014, but has since led the crusade against corruption among established parties. Podemos backed both Ms Colau and Ms Carmena.

Pablo Iglesias, the national leader of Podemos, told supporters that “the big cities are the big engine of change in Spain”. He said the 24 May election results amounted to “a magic and historic night” that showed Spain’s bipartisan system was coming to an end.

He added: “This is a spring of change that is irreversible and that will carry us until November,” when Mr Rajoy’s government is expected to convene the next general elections. (Source: El País, La Vanguardia, Spain; The Guardian, BBC News, UK; The New York Times, USA)

Guatemalans protest against government corruption

Thousands of protestors have been gathering nearly every Saturday since April 2015 in Constitution Square in Guatemala City, Guatemala’s capital, calling for an end to corruption and the resignation of the country’s President Otto Perez Molina.

According to the Associated Press, most of the protestors “are from the young, middle-class, smartphone generation, and they organize the leaderless demonstrations through social media. But there are also priests standing shoulder-to-shoulder with businessmen, and students alongside homemakers, in what Guatemala analysts call an unprecedented mass mobilization cutting across socio-economic, political, even class lines.”

The protests are taking place in response to multimillion-dollar government corruption scandals, the resignation of the country’s vice president, and the jailing of dozens of suspects. Amid increasing public pressure on the government, Guatemala’s Supreme Court recently ruled that a congressional inquiry could move forward, possibly leading to impeachment proceedings against Perez Molina.

In a country facing chronic problems including an extremely high homicide rate, gang violence, widespread poverty and child malnutrition, the spectacle of government officials enriching themselves in corruption schemes was a tipping point, according to Adriana Beltran, a security analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, a US-based organization that promotes human rights in the region.

“I think (the scandals) finally demonstrated to the population how these networks of corruption and organized crime really impact their daily lives,” Beltran said. “For them to say, ‘We’re paying taxes and the state is not able to provide basic services because they’re embezzling or stealing them,’ I think that eventually just kind of was the drop that overflowed the cup.” (Source: Associated Press)

 

“Global capitalism is breaking down”

“That there is something seismic happening below the surface is undeniable. When it will play out, how it will play out, what it will look like – having covered these things in the past – it is impossible to predict,” said Chris Hedges, senior fellow at the Nation Institute – a nonprofit media centre dedicated to strengthening the independent press and advancing social justice and civil rights.

Share International July / August 2015 images, There is a mass shift in values that is happening underneath the surface of the normal.
There is a mass shift in values that is happening underneath the surface of the normal.

As a journalist, he covered two Palestinian uprisings, the revolutions in Eastern Europe and the street demonstrations that brought down Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic. When he was asked in a recent interview why he thinks the world is about to see a great revolutionary moment, he replied: “the system of global capitalism is breaking down. It is no longer able to expand the way it did in the past. It has consolidated wealth into the hands of a tiny, global, oligarchic elite. More importantly, the ideological foundation of unfettered, unlimited capitalism is losing its hold on the imagination of large numbers of people who are not benefiting from this global system. And you see it in terms of people turning against their political elites. For example, the approval rating for the US Congress is in the single digits, and voter turnout is at all-time lows.”

Mr Hedges continued to analyse the causes of the collapse of the current system as follows: “They have destroyed the liberal institutions and mechanisms that made piecemeal and incremental reform possible. And that is when you reach a very dangerous moment; in essence, the system seizes up. Liberal institutions are designed to ameliorate and address the suffering of the underclass. That is what happened when capitalism broke down in the 1920s and 1930s, and we got the New Deal. But we’ve lost those mechanisms in the name of anti-communism and the implantation of a neo-liberal, free-market ideology that has eviscerated the safety valves by which liberal capitalist democracies could address the problems of the dispossessed.”

He denounces the notion of ‘trickle-down’ wealth that was introduced by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s as a lie, saying: “It has made a tiny global oligarchic, corporate elite fabulously wealthy. It has also unleashed global speculation as a form of wealth creation, which is extremely dangerous because it overinflates a market until you get a bubble like the dot-com crash or the 2008 crash with subprime mortgages. And the effects on the global economy are devastating.”

Hedges is also an activist, author, Presbyterian minister and humanitarian, and he foresees a coagulation of protest movements on the horizon that will provide the driving force behind the necessary changes: “You know as a reporter the tinder is there; you never know what ignites it. Even the purported leaders of the movement don’t know what the spark will be – it is a mysterious force.

“The sons and daughters of the middle class … left college in the United States with tremendous debt and found there was no place for them in the workforce…. Forcing people to live with chronic debt is a form of social and political control, as any African-American will tell you. You cannot sustain a family on $7.25 an hour without benefits…. It also unites kids, who largely drove forward the Occupy movement with service workers, many of them undocumented. And those alliances, along with the alliances with groups like Black Lives Matter, are potent and powerful coalitions that stand in opposition to the corporate state.” (Source: The Globe and Mail, Canada)

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