Catholic Worker ethos and Franciscan traditions are a big
part of the subculture from which Nevada Desert Experience
(NDE) organizers have emerged. Folks who come from the Franciscan
and Catholic Worker movements easily integrate into the
organizing style of NDE.
Bernadone was born in 1181 or 1182. He became known as a
saint for helping to radicalize the church in his day and
age, due to his clear thinking regarding the pacifist anarchist
message of Jesus Christ. With such clarity and courage,
he simply began to follow the way of Jesus. Saint Francis
did most of his work in Assissi, Italy, and Saint Clare
soon joined in this work, creating the female counterpart
for folks wishing to live in such a communal Christian way.
This step away from privilege and into poverty, choosing
to depend on the grace of the God alone flowing through
the channels of other people's kindness, was an attractive
movement to hundreds of folks in that region. The Franciscan
movement continued and changed over the centuries, but Francis
and Clare's radical witness to the peace, simplicity, nonviolence,
and ecological respect of Jesus Christ has been the common
thread for all who consider themselves Franciscans.
after Francis reminded the Christians of the ways of their
God, NDE came into being in the Nevada Desert, a region
on earth known by the Shoshone residents for the past several
thousand years as Newe Sogobia. With a nod towards the Franciscan
movement that birthed NDE, an unnamed artist moved around
some rocks at Peace Camp to create this Franciscan icon
(patterned after the painted icon):
1932 Dorothy Day met Peter Maurin because Peter wanted to
start a newspaper to popularize the beauty of Catholic Social
Teaching in New York City and beyond. In 1933 on May Day,
the newspaper was distributed for the first time, and it
was called the Catholic Worker. Because the specific idea
to magnify Catholic Social Teaching in concrete ways of
service to the general population was not well-practiced,
the Catholic Worker newspaper staff began to practice what
they preached, and the Catholic Worker movement was born.
It is exemplified by Houses of Hospitality in urban areas
to help poor folks struggling in the underbelly of society,
farming communes where folks needing to reconnect with the
ways of our ancestors can be practiced, and roundtable discussions
where we all can figure out what is the best way to live
amidst what Dorothy Day called the "filthy rotten system."
American Peace Movements
movements for peace and justice in the USA usaully develop
democratically through the "power of the people"
over the centuries, and the contemporary movements (of the
past 50 years) have more international flavors integrating
into the American style. In the 1980s the Japanese and Russian
peace movements had a major influence on NDE's origins along
with the Franciscan and Catholic Worker roots. How
can we tackle the problems of the Nuclear Age?
more on the Soviet antinuclear movement.
more on the Japanese antinuclear movement.