The revised second edition edition of Sharon Delgado’s Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization, updates events that have taken place since its original publication in 2007. It makes the case that today’s dominant global economic system, based on unrestrained free market capitalism, is damaging the human family and destroying the earth. The book is born out of the vision of a world transformed by Love. It is a call to action. It is also a call to spiritual renewal. This secular-friendly book proposes a way for people of faith and conscience to join together to resist corporate domination and to work for a transformed world. It is based on the hope that “another world is possible.”
Overview and Summary
The topic of the book is “corporate globalization,” which describes the current global economic system, in which “transnational corporations dominate key social, economic, and political institutions and steer human cultured, government policies, and international trade and investment in ways that prioritize corporate profits above all else.” It outlines the harmful environmental, social, and spiritual impacts of this global system, and points to an alternative, grassroots “peoples’ globalization,” a global movement made up of millions of people working to build a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.
The book is divided into three major sections. Part I, “The Gates of Hell: Undoing Creation,” addresses the destruction caused by the current global system. It outlines the global threats facing humanity, shows the “corporate connection” to each of these threats, and makes the case that we, as a species, are on an unsustainable path. If we don’t change direction, the book claims, we face a living hell of species loss, global pollution, climate change, growing poverty and inequity, violence, terror, and endless war. As we continue along the current path we are working at cross-purposes with the Love that undergirds the Universe, the Love that brought into being the earth with all its splendor of diversity, the Love that wants us to thrive. We are, in effect, “undoing creation.”
Part II, “Corporate Globalization: The System is Designed for the Results It Is Getting,” describes the current, top-down system of economic globalization dominated by huge transnational corporations and supported by the ideology of Market Fundamentalism. It makes the case that the destructive path we are on is not caused by abstract, anonymous forces, but by concrete policy decisions, economic and political, made at the highest levels of institutional power. “If we follow the money, we will see that the system is designed for the results it is getting. The architects, rule makers, and enforcers of the global economy are reaping the benefits of what they have designed.” This overview of the global economy includes description and analysis of the interlocking network of political, economic, military, and ideological “Powers” that together make up the “Domination System” that rules the world today.
In addition to the outward environmental and social harm described in Part I, Part II shows how this system causes grave inner and spiritual harm, resulting in confusion, apathy, hopelessness, futility, and loss of moral agency. These dehumanizing effects demonstrate why this topic needs to be addressed as a spiritual and moral issue.
Part III, “Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance,” describes a hopeful vision of “globalization from below,” a “peoples’ globalization” based on a widespread awakening to what is at stake and to a shared commitment to grassroots action for a transformed world. This global movement is made up of millions of people around the world who share common values, such as peace, sustainability, fairness, diversity, equality, nonviolence, and protection of our common heritage. This section calls on people of faith and conscience to join with others to create and help shape communities that embody the hope of radical systemic change. It points to “faith-led resistance” as a way to access the inner resources necessary for this struggle:
“In nonviolent resistance, we leave behind not only our validation of the ruling Powers, but their “stratagems,” which are violent to the core. In faith-led resistance, instead of reacting out of old patterns into which we have been socialized and acculturated, we go deeper. We open ourselves to the Spirit of Love that resides in our hearts and at the heart of the universe…We enter into something deeper than the influence and socialization by the Powers. We begin to live intuitively rather than automatically, to live in community rather than as part of an unthinking collective, and in so doing we allow God to triumph over the Powers in us. We change. As we begin the process of breaking free, we recognize others engaged in the same process and we see that change is not only possible, but is happening now.”
Shaking the Gates of Hell is written from a progressive Christian perspective, but it is a call to all people to draw from the world’s great spiritual traditions and from the earth itself in order to create a great spiritual awakening that will carry us through this pivotal time. The book makes the case that 1) humanity’s current path is unsustainable and is leading us to destruction; 2) the worlds’ major institutional Powers, dominated by global corporations, are propelling us down this path; and 3) we human beings, awakened and motivated by Love and working together in community, are the only ones who can stop and reverse this momentum and make real the vision of a transformed world.
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