I sense a challenge here, and I rise to meet it:
It’s true enough that this is a political act, as is raising consciousness on issues or building social capital. But as you may have noticed, in American society, the power to affect things like economic conditions or personal liberties resides primarily in two organizations: the Democratic and Republican parties. The difference between Jesus leading a movement of the poor and today is that the Roman empire was barely responsive to the economic needs of its citizens, and not at all interested in questions of justice. It was easier to build alternative systems to care for the poor and give them a voice, because those structures simply didn’t exist. Today, we live in a much more complex economic system than the agrarian subsistence farming of Jesus’ world, and we’re much more involved in government social supports, or the lack thereof. And guess who controls the government? Right: the Republicans and the Democrats.
If you want to make a real difference in the lives of the poor, you have to be involved in government. And to be effective in your involvement in government, you have to be involved in politics, in the partisan sense that most people understand that term.
You see, it was easier in Jesus' time, when all that would happen to you is you'd get crucified for defying the Pax Romana, especially if your program was to merely talk about alternative systems to care for the poor and give them a voice precisely because those structures didn't exist under the Empire. And the Empire didn't want them to exist, so a nobody from the hinterlands who came to Jerusalem during Passover preaching a basiliea tou theou where the first were last and the last first, I mean merely even TALKING about it, and then losing his head in the Temple courtyard and overturning tables like some rube from the country who didn't understand how things were done in the city, was more of a thorn in his foot than Pilate wanted, so....
Yeah, it was easy then; it's HARD now!
If your analysis is based on whinging, you're doing it wrong. I'm just sayin'......