Franz J.T. Lee, May, 2005
Evergreen Socialism: Can class struggle and Christianity be reconciled?
Surely, everyone has the right to have one's own ideas, thoughts and concepts. However, the moment we apply these to social and historical realities, when they concern the life and death struggles of millions, then we have to be very careful with their application. Furthermore, if they concern revolutionary praxis and theory, socialism and emancipation, then, we have no alternative but to be scientific and philosophic.
The following is a serious scientific contribution to the revolutionary clarion call of President Hugo Chavez Frias to create a "New Socialism For the 21st Century.
Applying central scientific and philosophical concepts like "Socialism", just left and right, like Stalin and Hitler did, just willy-nilly across time and space, is equivalent to looking for serious social trouble, to defeatism, confusion and mental bondage.
Not so long ago, on April 15, 2005, in my VHeadline commentary, "Venezuela: Revolutionary sublime cliffs, where angels fear to tread!", I already warned about the fallacy of trying to link up Jesus Christ and Karl Marx within the discussion of a "New Socialism", without knowing what scientific and philosophic socialism has already stated about this delicate issue.
At best, such reckless warming up of a stale ideological brew, that is, inventing another version of a "theology of liberation.", would surely have disastrous, global revolutionary results, playing right into the hands of fascist reaction. "Stalinism", "Marxism-Leninism", Roman Catholicism, etc. ... having fabricated faked versions of socialism ... have already seriously damaged and discredited Marxism and Socialism in the eyes of the already mind-controlled, general world public. Here, in Latin America, we need not repeat this fatal error again.
In fact, just imagine, Pope John Paul II personally, all alone, defeating Soviet socialism and communism. What he really defeated in his secular holy empire was the Latin American Theology of Liberation.
Firstly, about the true, real, concrete, earthly existence of Jesus Christ, leaving aside all the religious lies, miracles and hoaxes, there is no fool-proof, scientific, historical evidence, no contemporary reference whatsoever that he ever had lived, and definitely not as portrayed in the censured four epistles, for example, born on December 25, 0001, and later, St. John or St. Mark, sitting at his feet, recording every word that he uttered as future "gospel truths", then, rising from the dead, ascending into heaven, and such more hocus-pocus, etc...
In fact, the earthly existence of the Platonic Socrates or the Socratic Plato is also doubtful, although, in this case, at least, three contemporary contradictory historical references do exist. Even William Shakespeare is an enigma. The point is, that we cannot develop a new, genuine, authentic socialism on the basis of dubious data and faked existences.
Secondly, the historic concept, and the social process, known as "Socialism" is not new; it has existed since centuries already. Adding an adjective "new", "neo-" or "our" does not renovate, rejuvenate this historical reality. In fact, to act and think something really novel, we first have to check what is "Christian socialism", what is "scientific and philosophic socialism", if not, we will be registering a patent that has been existing since donkey years already.
In the case of "Christian Socialism", the fundamental, devastating religious critique by Feuerbach, Marx and Engels was precisely the birth of Marxian Socialism itself. Religious critique, the critique of all medieval, primitive ideology, of fantasies, chimeras, phantasmagorias, dogmas, doctrines, mental slavery and lies, according to Marx, is the very quintessence of all social criticism, of global capitalism. The major theoretical "founding fathers" of the French and Industrial Revolutions, of modern bourgeois, capitalist democracy, were all mechanical materialists, that is, atheists. They separated Church and State, replaced God with Mammon, with Reason, with Capital.
Thirdly, as stated in previous commentaries, Socialism did not fall like manna from Heaven. It is a historical product of Capitalism itself, it is its Negation. The whole world order, known as Globalization ... an euphemistic concept for Imperialism ... , affirms itself as Capitalism and negates itself as Socialism. Dialectically, transhistorically, Socialism is an intrinsic part of Capitalism, is its own Negation.
Any other unscientific explanation of Socialism logically would miss the transhistoric revolutionary express that eliminates all forms of economic exploitation, political domination, social discrimination, universal militarization and human alienation. A socialism that is not directed towards the permanent annihilation of this capitalist quintessence, is not "new", is not worth the name "evergreen socialism" at all.
By definition, Socialism is the New, Original and Authentic per se; its arms ... the Revolution, Praxis and Theory... are directed against the age-old, religious and ideological straw, against the obsolete, rotten, capitalist, imperialist Labor Quagmire.
To act, to think and to know what is socialism, it took Marx forty years of permanent studies in the Library of the British Museum in London. To somehow understand what scientific and philosophic socialism is all about, nowadays, we need a whole Bolivarian University, with the most excellent professors and students of Latin America, to get an idea of what World Socialism is all about, how to realize it, and how to transcend it towards total, human Emancipation.
Allow me to quote extensively what all Bolivarians should urgently do hic et nunc, should learn about Socialism: "We liberated ourselves physically, but what about our thinking, thoughts, our spirits? Was this not also the liberation plea of Jose Marti, of Simon Bolivar?
And, what happened to our original sacred ideas, sentiments, feelings and emotions? Today still, across five centuries, hopefully they echo from the Orinoco Delta and Amazonia! At least, now, our truly democratic Bolivarian Constitution fully guarantees their right of existence.
What tried to wipe them out completely? What replaced them? And, everywhere, in everyday life, why are we defending colonial and neocolonial religion and ideology with our very lives?"
According to religious legends, Jesus Christ supposedly came from North Africa and the Middle East, but those religious ideas do not appear in the New Testament, on the contrary, it is saturated with religious, imperial, feudalist, Stoic doctrines. These do not serve to invent a modern Latin American Socialism.
I explained this problematic issue as follows: "Why are we just afraid of alien socialists, communists, terrorists, atheists and Marxists? Who taught us to be afraid of them? And why do we love our imported religion so dearly, painting so many "white" angels? Do we know anything about how European Religion was theologically fabricated in the Old World, from Plato, to Plotinus, to St. Augustine, over Marc Aurelio, Epitectus, Seneca, to St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Gregory, etc.?"
Of course, in our educational missions, we could integrate a study of original, Christian socialism, but then, at first, we have to get rid of all our censured religious materials, to get the original, written Holy Scriptures, including the Macabees, the many gospels that the Inquisition burned or threw away, for example, of Marcion, and then, transport the real, true, complete Holy Bible, in various languages and versions, in the President's airplane to Miraflores to study till 2021.
Yes, this is what we would need for transportation and the time necessary for serious religious studies, to see how we could reconcile Christianity and Marxism. However, this is not necessary. The authentic Marxists have done the job for us already, we just need to study what I have referred to in previous commentaries.
Surely, as revolutionaries, it is valid for us Christians, that "apart from earning our daily bread, asking to be given our daily bread, we should know all these things, to know in what we believe! Even this is our sacred revolutionary duty! This is why we go to school, to the Bolivarian University."
The Real Question is: Can Class Struggle and Christianity be reconciled?
Now, that we are trying to formulate the socialist praxis and theory of the Bolivarian Revolution, I already made us aware of the fact that "it is the inalienable revolutionary duty of all Bolivarians, not to create more 'sacred cows', not to relish more 'forbidden fruits', but to develop scientific praxes and philosophic theories about ideological and religious realities."
We have warned that we do not have another 500 years to disalienate the world, the emancipatory moment is now or never. Our endeavors are delicate, have to be presented with velvet red gloves, have to be extremely cautious, yet, as new women and men, if we do not do it, who will ever do it for us? The trouble is that some of the best of us are not aware of the real global situation, of the United States genocidal dangers, in which we find ourselves.
Socialism is the death knell of Capitalism; who pulls this gun is not fooling around anymore. Hence, our Marxist intellectuals and comrades should urgently explain to us this invincible weapon discovered by Marx and Engels. Meanwhile, it is not only a sword, not a whip, it is the Human Arm of Labor Force, of Social Power!
It is not Oil that makes the Earth go round, it is Workers' Labor Force, it is Citizen Power! This is Socialism, this is what Capital, what Global Fascism, the USA fear most!
And yet, desperately, again and again, President Chávez has to remind us, especially some leading political figures, that the worst corruption is the corruption of the best!
Without New Bolivarian Women and Men, there will be no Socialism, no New Socialism anywhere!
Anyhow, concerning the Sisyphus adventure of trying to mix workers' oil (Socialism) and holy water (Christianity), this is how the father of scientific and philosophic socialism, Karl Marx, has defined religion, setting very clearly and straight the parameters for any revolutionary discussion:
“Man makes religion, religion does not make man, religion is indeed man's self-consciousness and self-awareness as long as he has not found his feet in the universe. ... Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point’d honneur, its enthusiasm, ... It is the fantastic realization of the human being inasmuch as the human being possesses no true reality. The struggle against religion is therefore indirectly a struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion."
“Religious suffering is at the same time an expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”
At all events ... whether we will succeed or not, to unite Jesus Christ and Karl Marx in happy socialist wedlock ... religion will always remain as the heavenly aureole of ruling class exploitation and domination, as "a scientific measuring-rod for the immense misery, poverty and alienation that exist on Mother Earth: to annihilate the colonial, capitalist and imperialist conditions that need such a fantastic invention, to give the only succor to billions on the planet, is to abolish religion itself, and therewith its phantoms and chimeras."
A possible socialist, and eventually emancipated world would be a creative, creating, upright existence, where nobody needs to genuflect before holy trinities, divine lords, opulent landlords and beautified warlords.