Blase Bonpane is the director of the Office of the Americas. He has served on the faculties of UCLA and California State University Northridge. His articles have been published internationally, and he has worked as a contributor to the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.
Blase previously served as a Maryknoll Missioner in Guatemala during the revolutionary conflict of the 1960s. As a result of his work in peasant organization, he was expelled from that country in 1967. On his return to the United States, Blase and his family lived at the headquarters of United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, where he was editor of UFW publications.
He is host of the weekly radio program World Focus on Pacifica Radio (KPFK, Los Angeles). Blase previously hosted the program World Focus on Time/Warner TV Educational and Public Access Channels. He was named ‘the most underrated humanist of the decade’ by the Los Angeles Weekly. In 2006, he was awarded the Distinguished Peace Leadership Award by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
His previous books include: Civilization is Possible (Red Hen Press, 2008); Common Sense for the Twenty-first Century (2004); Guerrillas of Peace: On the Air (2000); and Guerrillas of Peace: Liberation Theology and the Central American Revolution (iUniverse, 2000, 3rd edition).
Imagine No Religion
Publication Date: October 1, 2011
This is the personal story of the life of Blase Bonpane, a vanguard practitioner of liberation theology and a former Maryknoll priest.
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council 1962-1965 many religious people, especially those serving in Latin America, began to understand a spirituality that transcended sectarianism. Having come from an upwardly mobile Italian American family marked by Southern Italian anti-clericalism, Blase was accustomed to hearing his parents express real differences with their institutional church. He went into the seminary despite the avid protests of his parents.
Blase’s odyssey takes us from his high school and college years, through his service in Guatemala during a violent revolution, to his expulsion from that country for “subversion.” After receiving gag order from the Church, which he could not in good conscience accept, Blase met with the editorial board of the Washington Post and released all of the material he had regarding the U.S. military presence in Guatemala. This action led to his separation from the Maryknoll Fathers.
Blase accepted a teaching post at UCLA. While serving in academia, he met the former Maryknoll Sister Theresa Killeen, who had served in Southern Chile. They married in 1970. Their adventures include working directly with Cesar Chavez at his headquarters in La Paz, California, building solidarity with the Central American Revolution, forming the Office of the Americas, working in the forefront of the international movement for justice and peace, and raising two children.
Blase worked on the ground for international peace in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Cuba, Japan and Iraq. He led the U.S. contingent of the International March for Peace in Central America from Panama to Mexico in 1985-1986.
Civilization Is Possible
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Fifty years from now, historians will be identifying the criminality of the George W. Bush Administration. As these academics document their task they will be dependent on authors who were “in his face” at the time of these international crimes. Blase Bonpane believes that silence is complicity. Civilization is Possible identifies the crimes at the very time they were being committed. Aside from the weekly commentaries of Blase Bonpane, this volume also includes his personal interviews with like minded observers of the disastrous Bush years: Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, Robert Fisk, Greg Palast and Peter Laufer. These are voices crying in the wilderness of rampant militarism, torture and collateral damage (murder). This toxic mix was nurtured by literally hundreds of lies coming from a failed administration that blatantly abused the sacred trust of our citizens.
These commentaries would have never been permitted by the rigid corporate media censorship which marks the Iraq War years. This exercise of free speech in Civilization is Possible was only made possible by “fiercely independent” KPFK radio Los Angeles (listener supported and “powered by the people”) for the Pacifica Network.
Civilization is Possible completes a trilogy of Blase Bonpane’s books published by Red Hen Press. His previous books were: Guerrillas of Peace; Pacifica Radio Commentaries and Peace Reports from the Office of the Americas, second printing, 2002, and Common Sense for the Twenty-First Century, 2004, which in addition to his radio commentaries includes interviews with the Reverend James Lawson, Jonathan Schell and Chalmers Johnson.
By selecting The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the preface to Civilization is Possible, Blase Bonpane gives a hint about how his title might become a reality.
Common Sense for the Twenty-First Century
Publication Date: August 1, 2004
Much of our current media makes us feel powerless and unconscious. These commentaries are designed to make us conscious and aware of the power we have to build humane national and international polities.
Guerrillas of Peace on the Air
Publication Date: December 1, 2000
Blasé Bonpane is a new abolitionist who believes the war system can be replaced with a peace system. Guerrillas of Peace includes radio commentaries, interviews, and other works which examine and promote the ideology of peace.