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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism

Part IV: Poets of the draft resistance: the Catonsville statement,   pp. 380-382 PDF (2.5 MB)

Page 381

and Peru could be Vietnams overnight. Meanwhile, the colonies at home
rise in rage and destructiveness. The black people of America have
concluded that after 360 years, their acceptance as human beings is
long overdue.
Injustice is the great catalyst of revolution. A nation that found
life through revolution has now become the world's number one
counterrevolutionary force, not because American people would have
it that way, but because the rich choose to defend their power
and wealth. The masters of the trusts and corporate giants, along
wih their representatives in Washington, must learn the hard lessons of
justice, or our country may be swept away and humanity with it.
We believe some property has no right to exist. Hitler's gas ovens,
Stalin's concentration camps, atomic-bacteriological-chemical weaponry,
files of conscription and slum properties are examples having no right
to existence. While people starve for bread and lack decent housing the
rich debase themselves with comfort paid for by the misery of the poor.
We are Catholic Christians who take the Gospel of our Faith seriously.
We hail the recent papal encyclical, The Development of Peoples.
Quotes such as the following give us hope:
23: No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not
need, when others lack necessities.
31: A revolutionary uprising -save where there is open manifest and long
standing tyranny which does great damage to fundamental personal rights
and dangerous harm to the common good of the country - produces new
injustices, throws more elements out of balance and brings on new disasters.
development demands innovation
32: We want to be clearly understood: the present situation must be
faced with courage, and the injustices linked with it must be fought against
overcome. Development demands bold transformations, innovations that go
deep. Urgent reforms should be undertaken without delay. It is for each
one to take his share in them with generosity, particularly those whose
education, position and opportunities afford them wide scope of action.
47: It is a question of building a world where everyman, no matter what
his race, religion or nationality, can live a fully human life, freed from
slavery imposed on him by other men or by natural forces; a world where the
poor man Lazarus can sit down at the same table with the rich man.
80: The hour for action has now sounded. At stake are the survival
of so many innocent children and for so many families overcome by misery,
the access to conditions fit for human beings: at stake are the peace of
the world and the future of civilization.
we confront the churches
At the same time, we confront the Catholic Church, other Christian
bodies and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice
in face of our country's crimes. We are convinced that the religious
bureaucracy in this country is racist, is an accomplice in war and
is hostile to the poor. In utter fidelity to our faith, we indict the religious
leaders and their followers for their failure to serve our country
and mankind.

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