Monthly Archives: October 2011

Should Africa Repay its ‘Odious’ Debts?

Should Africa Repay its ‘Odious’ Debts?

Boyce and Ndikumana, authors of ‘Africa’s Odious Debts’, argue that under international law, debts incurred by dictators should not be enforceable

The Human Cost of Africa’s Odious Debt

Léonce Ndikumana and James K. Boyce: The cost of servicing external odious debt leads to tragic underspending on health care and education

The Legal Basis to Reject Odious Debt

Léonce Ndikumana and James K. Boyce: International law supports Africa rejecting debts that did not benefit the people

Debt Jubilee Links


It’s not like the debt crisis is news to economists

slacktivist » Idea of a debt Jubilee takes shape, gains a little steam
Links to a lot of articles around the web …the principle has support not just from the Bible, but also from South Park. A debt forgiveness program is a great idea, but it won’t go far enough if we don’t

Publish Date: 10/24/2011 15:56

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Dr. Steve Keen calls for Debt Jubilee Forgive the Debt!

Dr. Steve Keen says Forgive the Debt! Calls for a Debt Jubilee! (Part 1)

Occupy Wall Street protests span four continents now and it’s not just average folks frustrated with the global financial system and leadership – it’s economists too. Dr. Steve Keen, professor and economist, spoke at Occupy Sydney saying that the protests all over the world show economic models have failed. It’s time to forgive the debt, time for a jubilee.

Dr. Steve Keen says Forgive the Debt! Calls for a Debt Jubilee! (Part 2)

Dr. Steve Keen says that Larry Summers and other economic leaders are still dead wrong about the economy and hopes Occupy Wall Street will change the tide.

A Jubilee Dream – on the Occasion of the Queen’s Jubilee

a jubilee dream

A Jubilee Dream 1887 – at the time of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee

In 1887, on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, a radical had A JUBILEE DREAM. She envisioned all the privileged of England, including tax evaders, usurers, nobles, clergy and even the Queen herself waking up to a full consciousness of the meaning of jubilee and proclaiming an end to debt slavery. The richest paid off the national debt by voluntary contributions, bankers ended their practice of usury and Merrie Old England set the renters and debtors free…

“Oh, the Jubilee has come. Then we must set our bondsmen free, and for once in our lives let mercy and justice rise above law.”
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Recipe for Armageddon: FDIC to back $75 Trillion Of Bank Of A’s Derivatives Trades

Bank of America Dangerous Derivatives Deal

The Fed is supporting Bank Of America and its $75 trillion in derivatives bets. If BOA crashes, the American government/taxpayers will be left to clean up the mess. The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur explains from the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York …

HOLY BAILOUT – Federal Reserve Now Backstopping $75 Trillion Of Bank Of America’s Derivatives Trades

This story from Bloomberg just hit the wires this morning.  Bank of America is shifting derivatives in its Merrill investment banking unit to its depository arm, which has access to the Fed discount window and is protected by the FDIC.

This means that the investment bank’s European derivatives exposure is now backstopped by U.S. taxpayers.  Bank of America didn’t get regulatory approval to do this, they just did it at the request of frightened counterparties.  Now the Fed and the FDIC are fighting as to whether this was sound.  The Fed wants to “give relief” to the bank holding company, which is under heavy pressure.

This is a direct transfer of risk to the taxpayer done by the bank without approval by regulators and without public input.  You will also read below that JP Morgan is apparently doing the same thing with $79 trillion of notional derivatives guaranteed by the FDIC and Federal Reserve.

What this means for you is that when Europe finally implodes and banks fail, U.S. taxpayers will hold the bag for trillions in CDS insurance contracts sold by Bank of America and JP Morgan.  Even worse, the total exposure is unknown because Wall Street successfully lobbied during Dodd-Frank passage so that no central exchange would exist keeping track of net derivative exposure.

This is a recipe for Armageddon.  Bernanke is absolutely insane.

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Occupy Wall Street 99 Percent Debt Jubilee

ows demands

Jubilee for Debt is proposed as a demand for the Occupy movement

Jubilee is being proposed as a demand for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This proposal for a debt Jubilee as a part of  OWS appeared October 5th in Salon magazine:

Jubilee: A proposed demand for Occupy Wall StreetLet’s tackle the debt that actually matters

The establishment press’s primary “problem” with the Occupy Wall Street protest is that those silly kids don’t have a concrete demand. Or they have too many demands. Or their demands aren’t realistic. This is silly. The movement’s “demand” is economic justice.

So my immodest proposal is simply this: Individuals and households in the bottom 99 percent who owe debt to any large financial institution that received federal government support during and after the 2008 crisis should see their debt forgiven. That would certainly stimulate the economy, as most people would suddenly find themselves with a great deal more money to spend on iPads (and food, and clothing, and housing, and healthcare). The debt can be forgiven by decree or if the government really wants to it can step in to pay it itself; I don’t much care either way. (Though it’d be nice to see it just wiped off the books, to enrage the banks.)

Let’s wipe the debt of the 99 percent off the books, tell the financial sector to eat it, and get on with our lives.

This call for jubilee was followed up the same day in a  Huffington Post article that goes into greater detail on the idea of Jubilee as a theme for the Occupy Wall Street movement:

Trying To Discern Occupy Wall Street’s ‘Demands’? Think ‘Jubilee’

Is the idea “radical?” Only if you allow that the mainstream Judeo-Christian values that I’m constantly told form the underpinnings of our society are similarly radical. What Pareene is proposing is nothing more complicated than the good ol’ Old Testament concept of “Jubilee.”

A proposed demand for Occupy Wall Street – Let’s tackle the debt that actually matters

The establishment press’s primary “problem” with the Occupy Wall Street protest is that those silly

kids don’t have a concrete demand. Or they have too many demands. Or their demands aren’t realistic.

This is silly. The movement’s “demand” is economic justice.

So my immodest proposal is simply this: Individuals and households in the bottom 99 percent who owe

debt to any large financial institution that received federal government support during and after the

2008 crisis should see their debt forgiven. That would certainly stimulate the economy, as most people

would suddenly find themselves with a great deal more money to spend on iPads (and food, and clothing,

and housing, and healthcare). The debt can be forgiven by decree or if the government really wants to

it can step in to pay it itself; I don’t much care either way. (Though it’d be nice to see it just

wiped off the books, to enrage the banks.)

Let’s wipe the debt of the 99 percent off the books, tell the financial sector to eat it, and get on

with our lives.

Demands for a Debt Jubilee Mount | The 2012 Scenario

Demands for a Debt Jubilee Mount. 2011 October 6. by Steve Beckow. We’ve reached the stage where people are asking, more and more, what does Occupy Together want? That’s one step up from ignoring us. But it still says that the people

Publish Date: 10/06/2011 6:20

Trying To Discern Occupy Wall Street’s ‘Demands‘? Think ‘Jubilee

The notion of a Debt Jubilee dates back to biblical Israel where debts were forgiven every 50 years or so. In an August appearance on CNBC, Roach said debt forgiveness would help consumers get through ‘the pain of

Publish Date: 10/05/2011 14:22

Instapundit » Blog Archive » MEGAN MCARDLE: Debt Jubilee

MEGAN MCARDLE: Debt Jubilee? Start With Student Loans. I am fully aware of what this would mean: government lending costs would go up, the program might well become unaffordable, and if private loans were included

Publish Date: 10/07/2011 17:52

Jubilee 2012? – my interview on « Debtonation: The

The 99 percent are right. Wall Street is where U.S. financial and political power lies. The United States is a bank-owned state that enslaves its people in debt; and Wall Street is home to the banks. Congress is in debt

Publish Date: 10/12/2011 11:10

We Are All the 99 Percent | Ascension Help Blog

They only want to keep us working hard and taking on high interest debt which funnels straight up to their accounts, while they continue to borrow money at nearly zero percent interest and loan it back out to the bottom 99 percent. What does this have to do with It is actually better for them to “bestow” a debt jubilee upon the general public, which will make them look like gracious benefactors instead of the enslavers that they truly are. If they “graciously grant” us debt

Publish Date: 10/08/2011 17:36

Proclaim liberty throughout all the land | slacktivist

Renowned economist Stephen Roach, currently non-executive chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, has gone a step further, calling for Wall Street to get behind what others have called a “Debt Jubilee” to forgive excess mortgage and Even though exports as a percentage of Canada’s economy has gone down over the last decade, we still send a sizable amount of stuff down south and US and Canadian consumers, together freed from debt, can only help each other

Publish Date: 10/04/2011 22:57

Unsustainable Debt – Reality is Less Disturbing

credit crisis

Reality of Unsustainable Debt is Less Disturbing Than You May Think


Excerpts from John Raulston Saul, The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense.

National debts are treated today as if they were unforgiving gods with the power to control, alter and if necessary destroy a country. This financial trap is usually presented as if it were peculiar to our time, as well as being a profound comment on the profligate habits of the population. The reality may be less disturbing.

1. The building up of unsustainable debt loads is a commonplace in history. There are several standard means of resolving the problem: execute the lenders, exile them, default outright or simply renegotiate to achieve partial default and low interest rates.

2. There is no example of a nation become rich by paying its debts.

3. There are dozens of examples of nations becoming rich by defaulting or renegotiating. This begins formally in the sixth century BC with Solon taking power in debt-crippled Athens. His organization of general default – “the shaking off of the burdens” – set the city-state on its road to democracy and prosperity. The Athens which is still remembered as the central inspiration of WESTERN CIVILIZATION was the direct product of a national default. One way or another most Western countries, including the United States, have done the same thing at some point. Most national defaults lead to sustained periods of prosperity.

4. The non-payment of debts carried no moral weight. The only moral standards recognized in Western society as being relevant to lending are those which identify profit made from loans as a sin. Loans themselves are mere contracts and therefore cannot carry moral value.

5. As all businessmen know, contracts are to be respected whenever possible. When not possible, regulations exist to aid default or renegotiation. Businessmen regularly do both and happily walk away

7. The one major difference between private and public debt is that the public sore cannot be based upon real collateral. This makes default a more natural solution to unviable situations.

11. Civilizations which become obsessed by sustaining unsustainable debt-loads have forgotten the basic nature of money. Money is not real. It is a conscious agreement on measuring abstract value. Unhealthy societies often become mesmerized by money and treat it as if it were something concrete. The effect is to destroy the currency’s practical value.
we are imprisoned in a linear and managerial approach which denies reality, to say nothing of experience. Money is first a matter of imagination and second of fixed agreements on the willing suspension of disbelief.

In other words, it is possible to approach the debt problem in quite different ways.

15. Our central problem is one of approach. For two decades governments have been instructing economists and finance officials to come up with ways in which the debt can be paid down and interest payments maintained.

No one has instructed them to propose methods for not paying the debt and not maintaining interest payments. No one has asked them to use their creativity in place of a priori logic.

16. Were the members of the Group of Seven (G7) each to pool their economists and give them a month to come up with modern versions of default, we might be surprised by the ease with which practical proposals would appear.

We Don’t Need No Debt Forgiveness

Confession Booth

Confession Booth

Ann Pettifor, co-founder of the Jubilee 2000 campaign, hits the nail on the head in an interview with Salon when she says we should not use the language of “debt forgiveness”:

“I would not use the language of “debt forgiveness.” This phrase was strictly prohibited in Jubilee 2000, because it implied that the debtor was the “sinner” and needed “forgiveness.” Instead we argued that there is co-responsibility for the debt, and within that frame the more powerful creditor must take a greater share of responsibility for the losses associated with the debt. As things stand in the U.S., as far as I can see, Wall Street takes no responsibility for the vast debts it heaped on the shoulders of working Americans – debts vast as space.”

Read more at Salon

Meanwhile, money managers are confessing loss, but not sin…

Yesterday, Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan at Reuters published an essay entitled “The Confession Season“. Confessions of huge losses are starting to come in from some of the biggest U.S. money managers. Apparently they made some wrong bets guessing which way things would go in the market casino. Besides sending out “sorry” letters to investors, many are also on the defensive against the  Occupy Wall Street protesters, claiming that they are unfairly being vilified.

The article draws attention to John Paulson, “famous hedge fund manager” whose fund is down 47 percent this year:

Paulson’s confession, however, was overshadowed  some by a somewhat defensive statement he issued after the conference call, in which he blasted the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests…He said it’s wrong for anti-Wall Street protestors to vilify business and in particular, the “top 1 percent of New Yorkers” who pay over 40 percent of all income taxes. But Paulson made no mention of the roughly $5 billion personal payday he had in 2010.

The article goes on to say that its unlikely that the OWS demonstrations will elicit any confessions of wrongdoing from the money managers, who are loathe to take any responsibility for the financial crisis, or acknowledge that the debt burden crushing US citizens is unpayable.

Mention is made of some economists calling for jubilee. On this issue the bankers are silent.

Self Evident Truth the Foundation of Jubilee


Writing Declaration of Independence

Life and Liberty: The Self-Evident Foundational Truths of Jubilee and the American Revolution

Jubilee is based upon principles of self-evident truth, that are the very foundations of the Universe. These truths express the identity of God, Mankind, and the purpose of Government.

These self-evident truths, or “principles” are LIFE and LIBERTY.

The most memorable formulation of these truths was written in the American Declaration of Independence:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

That this formulation of LIFE and LIBERTY is derived from the Biblical Jubilee and is hardwired into American cultural DNA is no accident.

The founders of America were all very familiar with Biblical concepts and imagery, part of everyday culture in the early American colonies.


Jubilee is one of the ‘sabbaths’ in the Bible.

Sabbaths celebrate two things:

1. CREATION – celebration of God resting after 7 days of Creation

“Having completed the work of creation, God rested.  It was the seventh day, and on account of God having rested, it is called the “day of rest”, or the Sabbath.  Such was His delight in viewing the completeness of His work, and in His resting, He blessed and sanctified the seventh day.”

2. LIBERATION– deliverance from the slavery of Egypt.

“We read nothing more of the Sabbath until Israel was brought out of Egypt.  Being a redeemed and separate people, God then gave them this day of rest as a sign between Him and them (Ezek. 20:12), making known to them, and to no other nation, “His holy rest” (Neh. 9:14).”

Benjamin Franklin's Design for Great Seal of the USA

Benjamin Franklin’s Proposed Design for the Great Seal of the United States

In 1776 Benjamin Franklin proposed that the Great Seal of the United States show Moses with his rod lifted and the Egyptian army drowning in the Red Sea.

Benjamin Franklin’s proposal is preserved in a note of his own handwriting:

“Moses standing on the Shore, and extending his Hand over the Sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharaoh who is sitting in an open Chariot, a Crown on his Head and a Sword in his Hand. Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Clouds reaching to Moses, to express that he acts by Command of the Deity.

“Motto, Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”

Thomas Jefferson also suggested allegorical scenes. For the front of the seal: children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

In Summary: The Sabbath is the 7th day of rest.
Every seventh year is a Sabbatical Year.
Jubilee is an amplified Sabbath that comes once in 50 years.
Sabbaths celebrate Creation and Liberation: Life and Liberty

2.) The First Two Books Of The Bible Are Genesis And Exodus: Signifying ‘LIFE’ and ‘LIBERTY’

The names of the first two books of the Bible are:

1. GENESIS (signifying creation, the beginning of life)
2. EXODUS (signifying liberty, deliverance from tyranny)

Genesis Exodus

Genesis and Exodus: Life and Liberty

GENESIS (i.e. Creation) deals with the story of the origin of LIFE, of CREATION.  According to the Bible, Humankind is made in the image of God, that is, we are CREATIVE beings, FREE, and since created in the Image of God, we are also do creative work which transforms our physical and social environments. We are thus distinguished from BEASTS.

EXODUS, the second book of the Bible, is about DELIVERANCE, FREEDOM from the  BONDAGE of Egypt). Exodus is about LIBERTY.



In “God the Economist” by M. Douglas Meeks, in a footnote to Chapter 6, God and Work, Meeks states that the Hebrew verb BARAH has the double meaning of CREATING and LIBERATING:

Even though God’s creative and redemptive works are distinct, they are not radically different. When the Biblical traditions speak of God’s creating, they use the language of liberation; when speaking of the liberating work of God, they return to the language of creation, “the new creation”. The word Barah is used exclusively of God’s work and sets God’s work apart from all human work.. Barah had already been used in Israel’s theological traditions to refer to God’s liberating Israel from ‘the household of bondage’. Barah, God creates, means basically “God liberates”.


Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell with the Jubilee Inscription: Proclaim Liberty

In an essay entitled “Creation and Liberation”, USQR 33:2, Winter 1978, pages 79-89, George Landis writes concerning the text of Psalm 124, in the final verse, where it states,

“Our help (divine deliverance from oppressors and enemies) is in the name of Lord who made (created) heaven and earth”.

… In his concluding affirmation the Psalmist has succinctly brought together what very well may be the two most important themes in the entire Biblical witness: liberation and creation.

Landis asks the question why these two concepts are joined together, in a treatise of the creating and liberating God.

In Hebrew thinking, the cosmic CREATOR is also the COSMIC LIBERATOR, whose actions are extended into history. Yahweh is the ever present one, active in breaking yokes of bondage. Israel was constantly reminded of God’s liberating actions in history. And liberation stories involve God actively using creative forces of nature to aid in deliverance.

In Isaiah 42:5-9 God states that He who created the Heavens will bring the prisoners out of the prison house:

5 Thus saith God Jehovah, he that created the heavens, and stretched them forth; he that spread abroad the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
6 I, Jehovah, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7 to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house. (American Standard Version)


“From their long nomadic history prior to their entrance into Canaan, and their many centuries of later wandering in the wilderness as as nomadic tribes wherein no sharp class distinctions existed, the Jews carried over into their settled life in Palestine a love of freedom and equality which survived through all the subsequent centuries.  They cherished a tradition which was bound up with the dignity of man fashioned in the image of God, and with his fundamental and inalienable rights.  It was that tradition, enshrined in the Bible, which more than any other factor gave sanction and inspiration to the Peasant Rebellions in Germany in the sixteenth century, the Puritan Revolution in England in the seventeenth, and the American Revolution in the eighteenth.”

pP. 236-7, Where Judaism Differed by Abba Hillel Silver (1972)

E Stanley Jones Vision of the Coming Jubilee Revolution

E Stanley Jones Missionary

E Stanley Jones – photo courtesy of Asbury College

E.Stanley Jones was the most famous Christian missionary of the twentieth century. Known and respected worldwide as an evangelist, devotional writer and statesman, he was also prophetic, foreseeing a future “Christian Revolution” based on rediscovery of what Christ taught of the Kingdom of God and the Year of Jubilee.

The World’s Greatest Missionary
Time magazine in 1938 referred to Jones as “the world’s greatest missionary”, and the Christian Century in 1941 observed that “perhaps no Christian leader in America commands a wider following than he”.

Jones was born January 3, 1884, in Clarksville, Maryland. He was seventeen years old when he determined to find God and “Heaven broke into my spirit”. A year later he had the experience of being “filled with the Holy Spirit”. He enrolled in Asbury College in preparation for the ministry in 1903, and in 1907 decided that he would serve under the Methodist Mission Board as a missionary to India.  He arrived in Bombay in November 1907.

America’s Greatest Evangelist Prior to Billy Graham
As a missionary to India, Jones directed his efforts to the educated Indians, determined to “put Christ into the minds and souls and purposes of the intellectual and political leaders of this new awakening India”. In his efforts to communicate with the educated Hindus, Jones emphasized the person of Christ, and not Christianity, the system built up around Him.

A Personal Friend of Mahatma Ghandi
Jones was a personal friend of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he admired greatly, often comparing him to Christ.  When Jones started his “round table conferences”, Jawaharlal Nehru himself participated as a young man just beginning his political career. Jones was a strong supporter of Indian nationalism, and totally opposed to imperialisms of all kinds. Being in America during World War II, he was not allowed by the British to return to India until after the war, because of his public stand favoring Indian independence. Upon his return to India Jones moved freely in Congress Party circles, and attempted to bring Mohammed Ali Jinnah, president of the Muslim League, into an agreement concerning a united India.

Jones Inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“In 1963, Dr. E. Stanley Jones received the Gandhi Peace Award. Dr. Jones had become close friends with Mahatma Gandhi, and after Gandhi’s assassination wrote a biography on his life. It is noted that later in time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told Jones’ daughter, Eunice Jones Mathews, that it was this biography that inspired him to “non-violence” in the Civil Rights Movement” [source: wikipedia]

When E. Stanley Jones died in 1973 at the age of 89 he had written 28 books, and hundreds of periodical articles.


Christs Alternative to CommunismIn 1935, following a trip to Moscow, Jones authored a book addressing the “social vacuum” of  Christianity and the challenge of earthborn totalitarianism. The book was entitled “Christ’s Alternative to Communism”.

The World Economic System Doomed According to Jones
Jones felt that the world economy was headed for a supreme crisis – that the present order of things was doomed, that its injustices were breaking it down, and that world events were leading to a situation in which his generation or the next would have to decide between materialistic, atheistic Communism or the Kingdom of God on earth.  His conviction was that Christianity contained within itself a wiser and better radicalism that that offered by the Communists, and that Christians should take this radical program of Jesus and apply it to the remaking of the world.  His view was that Christianity had been preached to death, and  that in the midst of disorder it was time to apply a bold program for world reconstruction, a “Christian Revolution”.

Rediscovering the Heart of the Gospel
I am deeply convinced that Christianity has within it the program and the vitality for the remaking of the world, if we would only discover it and apply it.  This program for the remaking of the world is an integral part of the gospel, the soul of its very soul. We shall call it the Christian Revolution.  A revolution that is at the heart of the Gospel.

He realized that Christians would not put themselves behind a revolutionary movement unless they were sure that it was an integral part of the Gospel,  the ‘very soul of its soul’.  No movement would emerge unless it grew out of deep convictions, convictions and principles bases upon the very foundations of the universe.

“It must rest upon principles that are the very foundations of the universe. It must go as deep as personal, individual need and spread as wide as human relationships extend… It must be honestly there (in the Christian Gospels) and not constitute something smuggled into the account.. we must not read meanings into the account and then triumphantly read the out again, for the universe will not back lies- not even religious lies.”

Jones predicted a coming “moment of the great crisis in the Western world..(due to selfishness and ruthless competition)… There is a doubt creeping across Western civilization about the whole system upon which life is founded.  Adam Smith and his Manchester school of economics promised that the laissez faire  doctrine would work out for the good of the greatest number. It has not. It cannot.” Jones stressed that the future of the world would depend on co-operation rather than ruthless competition.

I am not a Communist nor a Socialist
Jones declared that he was “not a Communist, nor do I call myself a Socialist, but I am a Christian seeking for a solution of this problem.  I am sure- desperately sure- that Christianity must give a lead at this place or abdicate. It is not enough to tell me that Christianity can and does change the lives of individual men. . . Shall we rescue individual slaves and leave intact the slave system? Shall we reclaim individual drunkards and not touch the liquor traffic?  Shall we pick up the wounded in war and leave intact the war system?”

It was Jones’ conviction that Jesus came to offer a total redemption.  Not only was the soul to be saved, the whole of life was to be redeemed.   The Kingdom of God is both personal and social:

“In recent centuries men have been content that it be a personal confession of the personal Saviourhood of Jesus, but we are again discovering that we must confess Christ as Son of God in social, economic, and international relationships as well.  And the church must embody that larger confession or cease to be the Church of the Living Christ.”

Jesus at NazarethThe Ultimate Program, Jones was convinced, the Christian Revolution, was announced by Jesus of Nazareth at the beginning of his ministry.  It was what Jesus called the Good News – the only thing he called the Gospel:

” Jesus gave principles. We can see quite clearly what his program is.  It is the Kingdom of God on earth.  In this conception he announced a higher order, founded on love, good will, and brotherhood, breaking into and transforming and ultimately displacing the lower world order founded on greed, selfishness, exploitation, and unbrotherliness.  That Kingdom is the ultimate order or goal of humanity.  But while this Kingdom was his program in general, he put very definite content into it, and marked out the lines of its advance when he made the great announcement in the little synagogue at Nazareth.”

Proclaiming the  Lord’s Year of Jubilee

The content of Jesus’ Program was set forth as a proclamation of  “the acceptable year of the Lord”, or ” The Lord’s Year of Jubilee”:

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day.  And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah.  He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those that are oppressed,
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them,  “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
-Luke 4:16-21

According to Jones, Jesus had come to declare:

1. Good news to the poor
– the economically disinherited.
2. Release to the captives
– the socially and politically disinherited.
3. The opening of the eyes of the blind
– the physically disinherited.
4. The setting at liberty the bruised
– the morally and spiritually disinherited.
5. The Lord’s Year of Jubilee
– a new beginning on a world scale.
6. The Spirit of the Lord upon me
– the dynamic behind it all.

Jubilee is A New Beginning on a World Scale

Jesus moneychangers

Jesus casting the moneychangers out of the temple

Jones’ stated that the way most Christians think of social issues is to start with the individual and then work outwards to change society.  He was convinced that Christianity does not confine itself to working from  the individual, but also works from the social order to change the individual.  His view of the Kingdom was that of a new social order, breaking in to transform the nation as well as the individual.

The truth of this statement, he declared, is the fact that Jesus proclaimed the “Acceptable Year of the Lord”, or “The Lord’s Year of Jubilee”.  “The Lord’s Year of Jubilee”, said Jones, refers to the command of Leviticus 25:10:

Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land”.

This was the year that all debts were canceled, slaves were set free, and those who had lost lands or houses due to poverty would have their possessions restored.  It was a new beginning for all the poor.  The intention of the law was to keep the land from accumulating into the hands of only a few ( an oligarchy).  It thus assured an approximate equality, and maintained a brotherhood in Israel, rather than the situation where a few would lord it over the others who were reduced to slavery.

Jesus enlarged the theme of Jubilee:

“Jesus took this conception and set it as the climax of his own program.  As the Year of Jubilee meant a fresh national beginning based on justice and equality and brotherhood, so his Kingdom would mean a fresh world based on justice, equality and brotherhood.  The Year of Jubilee had become ‘The Lord’s Year of Jubilee’.  He enlarged it and applied it to a world.  He expected a collective awakening and rebirth as well as an individual awakening and rebirth.  He would work from the individual to the social order, but he would also work from the social order to the individual.  His program provided for a collective revival and regeneration- a fresh world beginning.”

Jones’ understanding of the Kingdom was that it is “the most radical proposal ever presented to the mind of man”.  He lamented the fact that we have become innoculated with a mild form of Christianity, making us immune to the real thing.  “Christianity is not a fold into which we run and are safe, but a new order breaking into and regenerating the old order”.

Jones sincerely believed that men desire to see A New Day, but hold onto the old because they see no alternative but violent revolution.  But he envisioned the possibility of a new awakening:

“The possibility of  a world awakening taking place through the Lord’s Year of Jubilee gives hope that Christianity will not be looked upon only as a means of personal salvation, but as… a program of reconstruction and regeneration.”


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