The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth. - Leftist Discussion

Communists Against Religion -- Part 18 March 20 2006 by RedStar2000

Usually, parts in this series appear chronologically more separated; but the matter has become especially heated at RevLeft recently...generating more posts on my part. *laughs*

You may find some "shocking stuff" in these posts...particularly the ones that deal with the early USSR and Islam.

But let's face it. Whenever we discuss religion, we leave the realm of reason behind and explore some very murky caves indeed.

We could easily call it "speleo-theology". *laughs*



When god is not taken as something that can interfere with a revolution, then there is no problem.

Well, we do have the observed phenomenon of people who are declared enemies of the revolution gathering around religious organizations. Religion is a natural "locus" of counter-revolution.

But beyond this? How exactly does it help an individual human or human civilization generally to be obsessed with irrational beliefs?

I agree that all of us may, from time to time, think or act irrationally. Sometimes we say to ourselves afterwards, "I don't know what the fuck I was thinking of" -- meaning that we said or did something that was "stupid" and "made no fucking sense".

It's often the case that harm is done by our individual irrational words or deeds.

It is therefore in our collective human interest to reduce the "role of the irrational" as much as is practical.

To the extent that people measure their potential words and deeds to a rational standard -- and think they ought to do that -- then the potential of harm is reduced.

An anti-communist might say: you secularists think that irrationality is immoral.

And in that context, he'd be right...because irrationality potentially causes harm.

To be sure, our individual irrationality seldom involves doing irreparable damage to others. But it can happen.

Now, what of any system of organized irrationality? The potential to do harm is vastly magnified!

Consider those 22 (I think) guys who took down the twin towers. Could 22 nutballs do that? Even if they completely agreed with each other?

They required the support of collective organized irrationality...not just people who financed their effort but the people who provided the "irrational paradigm" to cosmically justify the act.

And any religion might have been used for this purpose. A seemingly harmless cult of "nature worshipers" could have done strike a blow against "the enemies of the earth". Christians have a long history of such any of their various incarnations would be capable of 9/11.

One might be tempted to think the various "eastern religions" would not be capable of such things. But then recall the behavior of the Japanese in Nanking or the Buddhists in Tibet...and who's to say what an "inspired" sect of "warrior monks" wouldn't do?

It seems to me that any religious belief "opens the gates of Hell"...that is, allows the believer to consciously contemplate acts which rational people regard with horror! Lacking the opportunity, most godsuckers never do those things.

But when they do have the opportunity, look out!
First posted at RevLeft on February 15, 2006


These are times when a person's life changes and so to adapt they group together with other religious people to celebrate and seek comfort.

A funeral helps people let go of a loved one, a marriage helps two people reinforce their commitment and shows society that they are together and so on.

It is an invention of primitive societies that certain "crucial events" in a human's life should be marked by ceremony and ritual.

Why do we "need" to do those things?

What useful purposes do they serve?

Marriages and funerals are, of course, arenas of intense capitalist activity. A "proper wedding" or a "proper funeral" can cost $10,000 or more.

The religious portion of these expenditures is trivial, of course. The main purpose seems to be a public exhibition of status...a "big wedding" or "big funeral" demonstrates the "importance" of the participants.

What should a civilized society have to do with that crap?

Indeed, why do we need ceremony and ritual at all?

The "usual excuses" have become obsolete. No one thinks that a wedding ceremony means that the two people involved are "never" going to be romantically involved with anyone else.

No one thinks that a funeral is going to "insure a happy after-life" for the deceased. Those big heavy coffins that promise "eternal rest" just delay for a decade or two the inevitable rotting of your corpse.

Well, not "no one"...


In this sense of helping people cope with life, religion is not harmful but helpful.

It's fake "help". Coping with life means facing its realities and dealing with them in an honest way. That doesn't mean "denying" our emotions; it just means we don't let our emotions cloud our reason.

To waste large amounts of resources on transient sexual partnerships or corpses is unreasonable.

To the extent religion encourages such waste, it is yet another example of the harmfulness of religion.

A civilized (communist) society does not need such "help" to function.
First posted at RevLeft on February 17, 2006


The fact that leftists can be religious, makes that unlikely.

In the case of "religious leftists", I would argue that either their religion or their "leftism" is fake.

And I suspect the percentage of fake "leftism" approaches 100!

That's certainly the case with a scam like "liberation theology"...a brazen attempt to wrap superstition in snips and tatters of "Marxist" rhetoric.

If someone told me that they were a "religious leftist", my working assumption would be that their religion was real and that their "leftism" was fake.
First posted at RevLeft on February 17, 2006


Nothing stops someone from holding a completely irrational and self-contradicting ideology; obviously some people fully believe in contradictory rhetoric and never implement critical thinking or contrast logic gaps. This isn't dishonesty, but ignorance.

Yes, there's one thing that "stops them"...or, more precisely, reveals their real preference.

And that's real world practice.

Someone can say that they're for "a more egalitarian society" and "basic human rights" all they want.

But, for example, did any of the highly-touted "liberation theologists" call for the abolition of the Catholic hierarchy?

You know they didn't. *laughs*

They were part of that hierarchy. Abolishing it would have meant that they would have had to go out and get real jobs.

My bet is that a "religious leftist" will, in practice, always come down on the side of religion and against the revolutionary left.

It may take a while for that to become obvious...but I think it always comes out that way in the end.
First posted at RevLeft on February 17, 2006


I just read a bit about a Japanese religion called Shinto, and it seems to contradict the anti-religious communist argument.

Read some more.

Pay particular attention to the role of Shintoism in Japan's attempt to build an empire.

And note that Japanese Buddhism -- closely related to Shintoism -- did not slow down the Japanese Army a bit...or serve to make it any less prone to atrocity.

Dying for the Emperor was considered just as "glorious" then as dying for Islam is now.

And Japanese right-wingers are developing their own versions of Shinto "fundamentalism" even as we speak.

Superstition is so useful when you want to get people to do something really nasty.

They're all the same!
First posted at RevLeft on February 18, 2006


It is pretty much the cultlike disciples of the Great Guru Redstar who are biggest on persecuting believers...

Yeah, we all get together and barbecue a Christian every weekend...if the weather's nice. *laughs*

Our "living Trotsky", as usual, cannot see beyond the horizon of bourgeois "right"...the superstitious should not be "persecuted" simply because of their superstition.

Quite ignoring that it's the deeds of the superstitious that generate the "impulse" to "persecute".

Whenever given the opportunity, they cheerfully persecute both rival superstitions and, naturally, unbelievers.

In fact, the one thing that religious leaders all agree on is intolerance for communists!

"Heaven forbid" we should return the favor.

Consider this item that I posted in another thread...

quote (Washington Post):

Ebb in religious violence reveals Nigerian carnage

Onitsha, Nigeria -- Mobs stopped killing and looting in this battered Nigerian city Thursday and turned to disposing of the evidence in the crudest of ways. With smoldering bonfires fueled by pieces of wood and old tires, men burned the remains of their Muslim victims on downtown streets, leaving behind charred legs, skulls and shoulders that motorists swerved to avoid.

As the city's thousands of surviving Muslims struggled to return to their northern homes or huddled as refugees at police stations, Christian residents expressed little remorse for their role in five days of religious violence sparked by anger over the publishing of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.

At Onitsha's ruined central mosque, one of two reportedly destroyed on Tuesday, Ifeanyi Eze, 34, picked up a piece of charred wood and scrawled on a low wall: "Muhammad is a man but Jesus is from above."

Religious Violence in Nigeria

Christians and Muslims routinely slaughter one another in Nigeria. Hindus and Muslims routinely slaughter one another in India. Buddhists and Hindus routinely slaughter one another in Sri Lanka.

In Iraq, Muslims of rival sects cheerfully slaughter one another.

And how does a Trotskyist respond?


In all these cases, the only conceivable communist position is to oppose the division and oppression.

Can't we fulfill our "impossibility quota" by just flying by flapping our arms? *laughs*

This Trotskyist position is not only not communist, it's not even rational.

You want to go tell these people to stop murdering each other "in God's name" and unite to fight their own ruling classes instead? *rolls on floor laughing*

Don't you even remotely grasp the fact that they can't even imagine doing that as long as they take religion seriously?

You think you can overcome the stupidities of religious intolerance by "making nice" with all of them...promising them a happy world of "mutual respect" and "tolerance" when they would hate that!

That doesn't even make sense within your own framework of "popularity at any cost".

They won't think that "gee, communists are really nice people"...they'll instantly conclude that anyone who preaches tolerance for "the wrong religion" is no better than a damn heathen himself and deserves to be killed!

In the "west", to be sure, we no longer permit murder "in the Name of the True God".

Indeed, the rise of the "mega-churches" in the U.S. may point to a significant strategic change in the perspective of the seriously religious here. Denomination is no longer "crucial" -- what counts now is to unite as many of the superstitious as possible in order to persecute the secular.

This is what you think we should "tolerate".

Revolutionaries recognize (or should recognize) that anything that discredits any of the major superstitions helps us!

It is in our interests to make religion socially unacceptable!

We may not be able to actually do much in that regard at the moment. But we should certainly do whatever we can. And we should be psychologically prepared to really go after the bastards at such time as we have the public credibility to do so.

Zero tolerance for superstition!
First posted at RevLeft on February 25, 2006


I know of revolutionaries who consider the banning of Islamic-identified dress in French schools to be a progressive thing.

The ban was actually against all ostentatious display of any religious symbols.

Although a very small step in driving religion out of public life, it was definitely progressive.


Millions of workers who believe in religion have united to fight the bosses, and even make revolutions.

Which all turned to shit.

Just by accident?


I've walked picket lines, organized to get solidarity from other unions, etc....alongside workers of various religious beliefs, who have a lot more sense and are a lot more good in a fight than the likes of you.

I would not dispute the contention that religious differences are not an insurmountable barrier to reformist "struggles".

What I flatly assert is that wide-spread religious belief is an insurmountable barrier to successful proletarian revolution!


There's a reason why your perspective isn't shared by anyone who does anything resembling class-based political work in the real world.

What you think of as "class-based political work" is just reformism.


People who claim the problems of the world have an ideal cause, religion, rather than a material cause, capitalism.

I have never claimed that "the problems of the world" are "caused" by religion.

I am saying that religious belief is inevitably reactionary and always acts to delay or undermine proletarian revolution.

And when the religious persecute each other, that assists the process of discrediting all religious belief in the minds of rational people...which is something that helps us.

Redstar2000's "law": the abandonment of religious consciousness is a prerequisite for the development of revolutionary class consciousness.
First posted at RevLeft on February 25, 2006

Here we go again. *laughs*


Attacking religion can be quite dangerous though, as it often brings the fundamentalist elements to the forefront.

This line of "reasoning" is a genuine relic of Leninist thought in the last century. After the Nazi conquest of power in Germany, the Comintern advised revolutionaries not to attack the bourgeoisie "too hard"...because it would "scare them" into "choosing fascism".

Here we have the contemporary version. Attacking religion will "cause" the religious to "choose fundamentalism".

I know of no evidence to support this contention. The modern rise of Christian fundamentalism in the U.S. can hardly be attributed to any "attack on religion".

Indeed, public discourse in this country has been utterly servile to religion since (at least!) the late 1940s.

That has not "satisfied" the fundamentalists but only fed their appetites for greater power and wealth.

I think it is "very dangerous" for us not to attack religion as vigorously as we can.


At this point we have to accept people, because almost everyone is flawed in some way and what else can you expect being immersed in reactionary culture?

What "flaws" are "acceptable" and what "flaws" are not acceptable?


I would rather have a good community of 1000 comrades, then the best with only 10; we need numbers simply to survive.

Is it possible to have a "community" with our intransigent enemies?

Does that "make any sense"?


We need to grow and if that means the CC has 10% people with religious ideas; so what?

It means that 10% of the votes will be cast in favor of a reactionary paradigm whenever the question arises.

That's not good!


As we’ve established: if these ideas cannot be shown to be reactionary and they are politically sound, we need them.

Your agnosticism is showing. You don't accept that something has been "shown" to be true until all possible exceptions have been eliminated.

Your "logic" may indeed be "impeccable"...but in practice all your position leads to is infinite tolerance of reaction.


If they demonstrate reactionary tendencies we can always kick them out.

Over and over again...forever!


Ironically, many religious members I’ve seen in the CC are the harshest critics of dogmatic thinking...

In their eyes, atheists "are dogmatic" of course they are critical.


...but in the meantime they may become some of our better members.

Totally speculative and wildly improbable.

I know of no examples of you?
First posted at RevLeft on February 26, 2006


People should be allowed to wear whatever the fuck they want.

Nazi uniforms? KKK sheets? Where do you draw the line?


On top of that, you do not change people's ways of doing things by telling them it's illegal, it doesn't work.

Still burning "witches" where you live?

We don't allow the pious to do that any more here.

It seems to have "worked out" pretty good.


Redstar, I think you are disconnected from any real class struggle, you show all the signs of being a theoretician (with admittedly some good ideas) distant from any practice, for if you were not you would realise that it is sometimes necessary to work together with people towards a common goal even if they believe in some god.

If you have a "common goal" with someone who "believes in some god", I'd suggest you take a much sharper look at the "goal".

It might still be a good "goal"...but if you've formulated it in such a way as to attract significant religious support, then you've probably formulated it badly.

Sure, there's no "atheist test" for participating in a routine strike...but routine strikes usually don't mean anything anymore. Things are very different now than they used to be in that regard.

In fact, there are lots of fundamentally reformist struggles in which the pious can wholeheartedly participate...they don't even vaguely or indirectly threaten either capitalism or the religion racket.

In this discussion, I am addressing those who have or who want to develop a revolutionary perspective.

Should revolutionaries defend any religion that is "under attack" or claims to be "under attack" from the bourgeoisie?

My answer remains NO!


Class struggle will lead to the tearing down of belief systems; class struggle IS the tearing down of systems.

It depends. In periods of intense class struggle, pre-capitalist ideologies do "take a beating".

But if the struggle against those old ideas is not explicit and focused, they'll "creep back" as sure as shit stinks!

The sort of "tolerance" for "working class superstition" that the Trotskyist proposes has, of course, no negative effect on superstition at all...and may even encourage it to linger on past its "sell-by" date.


If however you say "fuck off you stupid Muslim" he/she will go running straight back into the suffocating arms of the imam, of the Ummah (community), of the mosque.

Context is everything. In most reformist "struggles", there's no need to say "fuck off, you stupid Muslim".

But in the long process of building a revolutionary movement, there is need to say "fuck off" to people who are necessarily opposed to revolution.

Every believer who's given the matter any thought at all realizes that communist revolution is the end of the line for the religion racket.

If they happen to find themselves within a revolutionary movement at such a moment, it is in their own interests to do all in their power to slow things down and even bring things to a complete halt!

In the struggles within a revolutionary movement -- "we need to go further" vs. "we've gone far enough" vs. "we've gone too far and need to retreat" -- the religious, if they are present, will instinctively ally themselves with the voices of retreat.

Indeed, they'll even do that in reformist "struggles". A secular reformist can seek all the pious supporters he wants...but he's well advised never to allow them any real power in his group. Their influence is always a "pull to the right."
First posted at RevLeft on February 27, 2006


It is entirely about those subjects, aside from off-topic drifts from the cult of Redstar.

A certain amount of "drift" is inevitable whenever a revolutionary perspective is brought to bear on a reformist topic.

Having stoutly defended the right of meatpackers to have "prayer breaks" in Kansas, you now enroll yourself in the "headscarf" brigade in French public schools.

What about the "right" to stone adulterers or burn "witches"? What monstrous tyranny the bourgeoisie have inflicted on the pious by prohibiting these "acts of religious observance". *laughs*

Next thing I expect to hear from you is a call to protest the imperialist bourgeoisie from campaigning to end female genital mutilation in African Muslim countries.

Don't Muslim parents have the "freedom of religion" to inflict savage and brutal "surgery" on their little girls?

What about American Christians who think it's "immoral" to seek professional medical care for their sick children, preferring the "power of prayer" instead?

Some bourgeois courts here have actually sent pious Christians to prison for exercising their "religious freedom" in this fashion.

Horrors! *laughs*

Not to mention the outrageous persecution of Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Will the Militant organize a "Free Warren Jeffs" rally?

It wouldn't surprise me. *laughs*
First posted at RevLeft on February 27, 2006


Why is it that we draw the reactionary nature of most things back to the fact that they exist in class-based society, but are not willing to do so with the concept of religion?

"Most things" is too general.

The list of potentially "progressive" social institutions or philosophies that would "change their nature" under communism is a fairly short one.

Just imagine: could there be a "progressive" variant of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.?

Some people, I'll grant you, think that there really could be a "progressive" police force or a "progressive" professional military. I'm not one of those people and I think most or all of the "ultra-leftists" here would balk at that idea.

Going further, I think "representative democracy" should be either replaced by direct democracy or by demarchy.

Is a "progressive" religion possible?

I don't see how it could be. How would it dispense with all the features that religions have required in all of recorded history?

It needs a "supernatural realm" of some sort, right?

Preferably one that's inhabited, right?

And the inhabitants must intervene in this universe, right?

And those inhabitants must be seen to be vastly more powerful than ordinary humans or even ordinary natural phenomenon, right?

And they (or it) must be "worshiped" lest they (it) become "angry with us", right?

Most importantly, there must be at least one "holy personality" who grasps the details of all this stuff through revelation.

And, of course, a core of serious followers ready both to follow the "holy personality" and to refine the teachings in such a way as to "spread the faith". Over time, these people become a clergy.

If you don't want to have any of all this stuff, then what's left that you could call a "religion"?

Moreover, if you don't either convert or persecute the non-believers, what's left for you to do?

Deism is not a serious religion, to be sure, but if it were, then would it not be their religious duty to persecute all the people who refused to become deists?

For their own good, of course. *laughs*

Or consider "new religions"...

Falun Gong: homophobic mind control cult

Inside Scientology: Unlocking the complex code of America's most mysterious religion

The weight of evidence, historical and contemporary, is so enormously in favor of the thesis that all religion is reactionary that it seems to me that the burden of proof is on you to provide a credible exception.
First posted at RevLeft on February 27, 2006


Wouldn't it fit your agenda to persecute the religious?

They would certainly interpret being driven out of public life as "persecution". They would be even more outraged when they were forbidden to pass on their superstitions to their children.

But, the hypothesis that revolutionaries want to imprison or execute people "just for being religious" is false.


What you refuse to address is that someone can be ideologically disconnected and not adhere to any reactionary facets of their religion, assuming it has reactionary elements to begin with.

Yes, I assume that serious believers are consistent. I see no reason to "admit" your hypothetical "disconnection" whatsoever.

Sure, there are people who claim to be religious but also claim that they "don't accept" the "bad stuff".

In my view, either they're lying or they don't even understand what their so-called "religion" actually says...indicating either an inability or an unwillingness to think about this shit.

The revolution that I support has no need for a "dummy brigade".


Not at all; broad generalizations are always the burden of those asserting them.

I cannot be responsible for your gross ignorance of the history of religion...nor am I obligated to provide you with a 50,000 word summary in this thread or ever.

Your obsession with "logic" and indifference to empirical evidence is well documented on this board.

What you really want to do is suck up to the superstitious...and your parade of "excuses" is really no longer worth bothering with.


There are unlimited beliefs that can develop that whilst not rational, do not fit into your conception of religion.

May be...but where are they?

You might be hypothetically correct...but how is it that we don't see such "religions" in the real world?

A bird with fur might be "possible"...but we've never found one. Or a mammal with feathers.

All observed religions are reactionary...even if we don't know exactly why that is so.

Sure, you can follow our resident "Logic King" and assert that "until" all possible religions have appeared and been subject to critical examination, it's "still possible" that "one will turn up" that "isn't reactionary".

In fact, new ones have recently appeared. And, guess what? They're reactionary!

What a surprise! *laughs*


Attempting to drive theists from administrative positions because some members of the world's 90+% religious people believe the terrible things you'd like the membership to think we all believe, is persecution.

Why should we assume that you are telling the truth when you claim "not to believe" those "terrible things"?

Suppose a Nazi came to this board and claimed that "the early Hitler" had it right...but Nazism was "betrayed" by a nutball cabal around Himmler.

Think that would "fly" here? *laughs*

On what grounds should we assume that a self-proclaimed Catholic "doesn't believe" all the murderous bullshit that's always been associated with that particular superstition?

Because he says so?


Unless the Pope makes a statement regarding homosexuality or contraception an "Infallible Statement from the Seat of St. Peter" it isn't required that any Catholic believe that. In three hundred years the only infallible statement made from the Seat of St. Peter was that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Christ.

It's typical...naive believers babble about their religion in almost total ignorance of what it actually says!

quote (Wikipedia):

The Immaculate Conception is a Catholic dogma that asserts that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was preserved by God from the stain of original sin at the time of her own conception. Specifically, the dogma says she was not afflicted by the lack of sanctifying grace that afflicts mankind, but was instead filled with grace by God, and furthermore lived a life completely free from sin....The Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in his constitution Ineffabilis Deus, published December 8, 1854

Immaculate Conception

quote (Wikipedia):

In Roman Catholic theology, Papal infallibility is the dogma that the Pope is preserved from error when he solemnly promulgates, or declares, to the Church a decision on faith or morals.

This doctrine has a long history, but was not defined dogmatically until the First Vatican Council of 1870.

Papal Infallibility

It's not a matter of what Catholics are "required" to's what they embrace with enthusiasm.


The Catholic Workers Movement
The Maryknoll society
The Jesuit Brotherhood
The Paulist fathers

all these are leftist Factions of the Catholic Church.

And all of them have publicly embraced the right of women to control their own fertility and publicly rejected those parts of the "Holy Bible" that proclaim homosexuality to be a "sin".

Sure they have. *laughs*


Even the IWW was founded by a priest.

quote (Wikipedia):

The IWW was founded in Chicago in June 1905 at a convention of two hundred socialists, anarchists, and radical trade unionists from all over the United States (mainly the Western Federation of Miners) who were opposed to the policies of the American Federation of Labor. Its first leaders included Big Bill Haywood, Daniel De Leon, Eugene V. Debs, Thomas J. Hagerty, Lucy Parsons, Mary Harris Jones (commonly known as "Mother Jones"), William Trautmann, Vincent Saint John, Ralph Chaplin, and many others.

Industrial Workers of the World

quote (Wikipedia):

Thomas J. Hagerty was a Catholic priest from New Mexico, USA, and one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)....His formal association with the church ended when he was suspended by his archbishop for urging miners in Colorado to revolt during his tour of mining camps in 1903...

Thomas J. Hagerty

This article goes on to say that Hagerty "considered himself a priest"...but he wasn't a priest at the time the IWW was founded.


Your thesis that all religious are reactionary misogynist homophobes is a bullshit lie. You're not a Christian; you have no training in theology or religious sociology; your opinions are the worst generalizations about what billions of people are thinking which unless you've spent decades studying it with experts or you believe you're psychic, you can't know.

It does not require specialized "training" in "theology" or "religious sociology" to detect the smell of shit!

Nor does it require some gigantic "global opinion poll" to learn what "billions of people" are "thinking".

The characteristics of the world's significant religions are well fact, a fresh outrage or two commonly appears in every issue of a reasonably comprehensive daily newspaper.

You imply that "most" Christians (Muslims, Hindus, whatever) "wouldn't do those terrible things".

Which entirely overlooks the fact that when their "spiritual leaders" order the faithful to do something nasty, the "ordinary believers" DO IT!


The Second Vatican council, the end of killing heretics, all show that Christians are as capable of evolving their beliefs into less reactionary paths as any other member of the world...

The only reason that you've stopped "killing heretics" is that you can't get away with it any more! The secular state apparatus no longer why not verbally "give it up"?

If Christians really "take over" some hapless country in the future, you can always "change your minds" and go back to what you "love best"...torture and murder.


I'm sure Mother Teresa did more to help the poor than you, making her way more worthy of admiration than a spiteful little sectarian like you.

Yet another fake!

Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict by Aroup Chatterjee.

There's a reason why I coined the word godsucker...they'll fall for anything!
First posted at RevLeft on February 28, 2006


Look I'm not saying Islam is a good religion, there is no such thing. It just isn't as vehemently anti-woman as right wing assholes and some on here are trying to make us believe.

As far as I can tell from the readily available evidence, Islam "leads the pack"...only the small "ultra-Orthodox" Jewish sects in Israel are even close.

True, there are two exceptions in that regard. Female embryos are preferentially aborted in China and India. Confucianism is a patriarchal religion (ancestor worship) and the importance of a male heir is critical. In India, the Hindu custom of female dowries makes raising female children prohibitively expensive for many peasants and urban workers.

But the unborn females in China and India don't suffer. Their genitals are not mutilated. They do not spend most of their lives being chaperoned by their male relatives or their husband's male relatives...on the rare occasions they're allowed to leave their homes at all. They are not encased in special garments designed to conceal their individuality. They are not periodically subject to barbaric penalties (flogging, beheading) for sexual "sins" without regard to the most basic rules of evidence.

And so on.

For living females, Islam "leads the planet" in total unmitigated shit!


That's how holy books are, they don't make sense, they are bullshit. They are not, however, inherently "evil" or whatever some want us to think.

Bullshit is evil! That especially applies when its used to provide "cosmic justification" to crap on half the human species.


But the problem is [that] psychological abuse is highly subjective, especially in the case of headscarves; some see it as abuse, for others it is the liberation of the woman from the horrors of being regarded as simply an object of male lust.

I don't imagine there are many modern women who live in fear of the "horrors" of "male lust". But those that do are quite free to dress as "unattractively" as they wish...without communicating any superstitious messages.

No one makes a "big fuss" about what people normally wear...unless a message is being sent.

As far as I can tell from photographs in the western media, urban males in Muslim countries dress, more or less, like poor urban males in the west. It's only women who are compelled to wear a special dress...a symbolic badge of their divinely-ordained inferiority to men.

It's no different than the yellow "star of David" that Jews were compelled to wear in the Third Reich.


You will see mostly with people who know nothing of Islam that they see the headscarf as inherently oppressive to women; however (in the reasoning of Islam) it is not.

Islam is not "reasoning" is a medieval superstition.


Muslims are NOT our enemies! The imams might be, the ayatollahs, but not the bulk of the Muslims.

Leaders and followers alike are almost universally opposed to communism as a matter of principle.

That sounds like "enemy" to me.


But the problem is, as I said before, that this measure divides us, harms our struggle.

It "divides us" from our enemies.

What's bad about that?


And I instinctively become the devil's advocate in debates.

Funny kind of "instinct" you've got there. Why not just argue the position that you actually hold instead of playing some kind of "intellectual" game?

Are you a "closet Muslim"? Are you just "fooling around"?

How are we supposed to know what you really think?


We have as [an] underlying core value; all (wo)men are equal (in worth) simply because of their humanity...


Not me! I don't think exploiters and exploited "are equal in worth" simply "because" of their "humanity".

I don't place the "same value" on the lives of the oppressors as I do on the lives of the oppressed.

In fact, going even further, I think the lives of the oppressed who embrace the values of the oppressors ain't worth a shit either.

How about that! *laughs*

I reject the "humanitarian" assertion that "capitalists are people too"...and all of its corollaries.

In your eyes, that no doubt makes me a "dogmatic bigoted asshole".

I'd be ashamed not to be!
First posted at RevLeft on February 28, 2006


You are taking the most extremist examples of Islam and putting it as something which is true for all Muslims. Generalisation is what it's called.

Yes, that is what it's's how we make sense of reality since our brains are not large enough to store each and every particularity.

The validity of a "generalization" may be appreciated by the nonexistence of significant exceptions.

At this time, we know of one Muslim country that has established at least a nominally secular republic...that being Turkey. And even there, the treatment of women has attracted condemnation from European "human rights" groups.

Things go downhill from there...precipitously!


In unmitigated shit..."communism" ranks pretty high too.

An expected response from those who defend superstition.

The Leninist despotisms of the last century are certainly no "models" of what I want...but trying to imply that they were, at their worst, even remotely comparable to the Islamic norm is either a sign of your fundamental dishonesty on this question or else fundamental ignorance.


The majority of the world's proletariat is opposed to communism as a matter of principle.

I rather doubt that...since the only "image" of communism they are likely to have is that of the Leninist despotisms -- as refracted through the bourgeois media and, of course, the sermons of the superstitious.
First posted at RevLeft on March 1, 2006

In my opinion, the search for "positive indicators" is on the right track and the suggestion of atheism is a good one. Regular church (mosque, temple, etc.) attendance might "draw the line" even more clearly.

Urbanization is also an excellent suggestion...though some care must be taken to allow for the "suburbs". In the U.S., suburbs are often counted by the Census Bureau as "part of the metropolitan area" even when they are quite rural in character. The great American "mega-churches" are almost exclusively suburban now.

Another indicator might be that proportion of the working class with at least some post-high school education (not just advanced vocational training).

Yet another might be the proportion of women in the workforce (other than private household maids or servants).

Still another, albeit it perhaps weaker, would be internet access. Where does a potential communist go, these days, for communist ideas?

Remember, we are talking about indicators...not suggesting that abandoning religion, moving to a city, or going to a junior college for a year or two "automatically" makes one a "communist".

The plausibility of these suggestions rests on empirical observation...the western European countries lead the U.S. in all (or nearly all) of these indicators and, though the left is still weak there, it is significantly stronger than it is in the U.S.

It's not just stronger numerically, it is further to the left (on the average) than corresponding left groups in the U.S.

It's been said in this forum more than once that the U.S. is the "most advanced" capitalist country...based, I guess, on the conviction that America is "Number One" in advanced technology or at least imperial ambition.

That may have been true up through the 1970s or so...but I don't think it's true any longer. Yes, the U.S. is still "Number One" in imperialism...but I don't think it looks so hot with regard to any of the suggested "indicators" of communist potential.

Another possible "indicator" just occurred to me: rapid changes in income inequality (up or down). The existence of such changes, positive or negative, creates a climate of "expectancy" about the future which could, in turn, spark interest in movements for dramatic social change.

There's lots to think about here.
First posted at RevLeft on February 28, 2006


The attempt to reintroduce capitalism in Russia, for example, has led to a social disaster of such depth that the population has actually declined...due to plummeting life expectancy and birthrates.

Quite so. And public polls there reveal an enormous nostalgia for the old USSR and even Stalin.

Does this mean that the Russia is "on the eve" of a second great proletarian uprising?

I don't think so...but I wouldn't completely rule it out, either.

We're really not in a position to gage the attitudes of ordinary people there towards the "new oligarchs", the Putin cabal, etc. Is there a sense that "they're in power to stay" or are they perceived as "overthrowable"?

I simply don't know...and I don't think you know either.


In contrast, there are relatively few atheists in Latin America - but those countries have been the scene of massive worker and peasant upsurges in recent years. In terms of the consciousness of the population - the subjective factor for revolution - those countries are the most ready for revolution of anyplace.

Yes, they appear to be interested in the revolutionary option...but I know of no evidence that they are at all "ready for" or even interested in communism.

There are, as far as I've heard, no significant Leninist parties in Latin America now. So there goes your "revolutionary leadership" factor down the toilet.

It seems most likely to me that the best possible outcome of the current turmoil in Latin America is the rise of a "radical" bourgeoisie that will, in turn, modernize those countries up to what we consider "western" standards.

That's progressive and should be supported...but it's definitely not communism.


Atheists disproportionately belong to the upper and middle classes.

Certainly a unique rationale for your increasingly strident defense of religion.

But I question its validity for most of the "old" capitalist countries. It may well still be true for the United States...but I'm not convinced that it's true for most European countries.

Moreover, we have no way of really telling how seriously the American ruling class takes its own "pro-religion" rhetoric. The Cheney cabal is certainly as atheist as I am. But there have been recent examples of leading corporations and big capitalists making special (and expensive) efforts to promote religion as "respectable" and "legitimate".

Is it not possible that at least some of them truly believe in "God"?


And atheism is, after all, a subjective factor.

The desire for communism is a "subjective factor". No one, I think, argues that communism will be achieved "by accident".

What has been argued here is that there are (or may be) useful indicators of what is possible in various countries.

If you disagree with this approach, fine.

Go back to "dialectics" and see what that gets you. *laughs*


So is east Germany seething with revolutionary revolt?

No, it's "seething" with social democracy...the German "Left Party" is, I believe, stronger there than anywhere else and the officially named "Social Democratic" Party has been a capitalist party for a long time.

When people there perceive that the "Left Party" or whatever formation follows it cannot deliver on its reformist promises, then we may see a revolutionary left emerge there.
First posted at RevLeft on March 1, 2006


In modern society religion simply is not in a position to be used by the ruling class as a means of controlling society.

This seems to be the "meat" of your lecturer's argument.

That is, modern ruling classes can no longer credibly claim to rule "by the Grace of God".

That's fair enough...but overlooks the real reason that Marx and Engels rejected religion.

They didn't reject it because it was, in their era, simply a "useful tool" for the old aristocracy or the new bourgeoisie.

They rejected it because it was was an incorrect method to understand reality, both physical and social.

Nor did they actually put much effort into "fighting religion" after the 1840s...they thought it would simply "wither away" when the proletariat took earthly matters into its own hands.


[Religion] lacks control of education, the popularity and the interest from the bourgeoisie to have any major impact on the political awareness of most westerners. The reason for it being treated with such suspicion by Marx was certainly valid in 1848, but in 2006 the Christian religion is simply a belief for the vast majority of believers; only for a very limited number of the population does it hold any major political or social influence. On that basis modern leftists and Marxists needlessly occupy their time vetting their ranks of the closet Christians and hold an outmoded view on western religion in general.

If you'd written this in 1970, I would likely have agreed with you. In the halcyon days of the "new left", I can't even remember anyone bringing up religious ideas in the course of political struggles. If someone had gotten up at an SDS convention and proposed that "Jesus was the first communist", people really would have been rolling on the floor, laughing their asses off.

That's obviously not the case this ongoing debate reflects all too clearly.

It may be objectively true that the religious "world view" continues to slowly decline in importance and influence.

But they are not "going quietly into that good night".

quote (Guardian Unlimited):

Academics fight rise of creationism at universities

A growing number of science students on British campuses and in sixth form colleges are challenging the theory of evolution and arguing that Darwin was wrong. Some are being failed in university exams because they quote sayings from the Bible or Qur'an as scientific fact and at one sixth form college in London most biology students are now thought to be creationists.,00.html

And there are clearly important ruling class elements that very much want to revive the "old" social role of religion in directly controlling people's attitudes and behavior.

I think your lecturer's complacency on this issue is no longer justified.


I am willing to bet, looking at modern society that when the middle aged population of the USA is replaced by the current youth population, Christians in the US will be a dwindling minority.

I think your "forecast" is overly optimistic...but you're probably right "in the long run".

What concerns us as revolutionaries is much more immediate: what will the seriously religious do both within a revolutionary movement and in society at large?

Can you -- or anyone -- credibly argue that they will not, to the best of their ability, act as a force of reaction?

Among revolutionaries, they will promote reformism and "moderation". In society over-all, they will try to get their morality made indeed, much of it still is law.

I must repeat: this stuff matters much more than you think!


You care to provide a source for this statistical revelation.

I couldn't find the thread where someone here brought it up, but I did find a reference to it...

quote (Guardian Unlimited):

Forty percent of British Muslims are in favour of applying sharia law in "predominantly Muslim" areas of the country, according to an ICM poll in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph.

Perhaps you can find the poll itself on the Telegraph site; I'm too lazy to bother with it myself.


Considering that strict Muslim nations are actually becoming rarer, I certainly do believe it impossible for a nation of highly liberalised Muslims to create small pockets of society worthy of the Taliban.

I was not aware of the "increasing rarity" of "strict Muslim" nations. Southern Iraq, under British occupation, is now far more "strict" than it was under Saddam Hussein. Occupied Afghanistan appears to be "drifting" back to Taliban practices under the quisling regime there.

As to what "highly liberalized Muslims" in Europe might be capable of...well, there have been "honor killings" there as well as "forced marriages".

I don't think there are grounds for optimism in this regard.


You don't propose that we leftists eschew alcohol on the basis that that clearly "matters" in the same way that this case of a bruised professor of ancient languages clearly matters?

I'm disappointed that you would interject such an irrelevant comment. Being beaten up by Christian fascists is on a little different level than a pub brawl.
First posted at RevLeft on March 2, 2006


This is my point, according to what is implied by the most militant atheists, even deists would not be tolerated.

quote (Wikipedia):

Historical and modern deism is defined by the view that reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God. Deists reject both organized and revealed religion and maintain that reason is the essential element in all knowledge. For a "rational basis for religion" they refer to the cosmological argument (first cause argument), the teleological argument (argument from design), and other aspects of what was called natural religion.


The whole article is well worth reading.

The Deists were "progressive" for their question about it.

But their "reasonable arguments" for the "existence of God" have not been able to be empirically confirmed.

If there are such people around today, they are reduced to the same "argument" that all the other godsuckers fall back on: "you can't prove God doesn't exist".

Turning their backs on all the evidence in front of our eyes, they take refuge in epistemology...that is, the manipulation of words.

If a hypothetical deist turned up on this board and wanted to be admitted to the CC, I think my vote would have to depend on the quality of their other political posts.

But I predict that the quality would be poor...because once you admit the supernatural into your "world view", everything goes downhill from there.
First posted at RevLeft on March 2, 2006


Religion has steadily been forced to become increasingly liberal since the beginning of its decline.

I think this may be the "nub" of our disagreement.

I would phrase it differently: religion has been forced to speak "with a more liberal voice" since the beginning of its decline.

The thing is, I don't accept their "sincerity". I don't think they are honest.

I think that whenever they pose as "enlightened believers" (or "leftists") they are lying!

Their "liberalism" is simply a maneuver to get more bottoms into the pews.

At such time as they think opportune, they will "reverse course" instantly.

This doesn't apply to the people who show up here, of course. Their claims to being "religious leftists" simply result from confusion...and often (as we've seen!) simple ignorance of the doctrines of their professed religion.

I see no reason at all why we can't wait until they make up their minds and either choose one of the secular revolutionary outlooks OR decide that religion is more important in their lives and go off to


Formerly strict Islamic law was upheld across the middle east and Northern Africa. This simply is not the case anymore.

I'm afraid I can't "take your word for it" on this one. To the best of my knowledge, only in Beirut or Tunis is it even possible to buy an alcoholic drink in their equivalent of a pub.

Morocco? Algeria? Libya? Egypt? Jordan? Syria? And if you go further south in Africa, things get even worse. Places like the Sudan, Mali, Chad, and northern Nigeria are probably even worse than Iran!

I've seen nothing in recent decades to indicate any "liberalizing" of Islam.


While of course you hear horror stories massively publicised by the xenophobic racist tabloid press, but we must understand that these are rare minority cases.

The seriously religious are always a "rare minority". But it's that rare minority that actually defines what a religion is!

The passive majority accepts that...and is, when successfully motivated by that "rare minority", fully capable of the same atrocities.

That's history.
First posted at RevLeft on March 2, 2006


I would suggest that the belief that religious discrimination not be employed to take away political equality is a more widely accepted leftist belief than the notion that individuals with religious beliefs should be prevented representation or prevented from political decision making bodies, is.

I have yet to hear one of the Atheistic Fanaticals try and prove this statement wrong.

It's not the moment!

What we "Atheistic Fanaticals" assert is it shouldn't be that way because religion is always reactionary!

The fact that the "left" doesn't "widely accept" our view doesn't "mean" we are means most of the "left" is wrong!

Not for the first time, either. Most of the "left" supported their own ruling classes in both world wars.

If you break it down to individual countries and look at the history of the "left", you'll turn up some incredible piles of shit.

The role of a revolutionary is to always tell the truth...even if "the whole world" disagrees.

quote: I guess you guys aren't Marxists.

Marxism is not a we're allowed to disagree with Marx and still be "Marxists".

Try disagreeing with Saulos of Tarsus ("St. Paul") and see how that goes over in your "Catholic community". *laughs*


However there has never been an atheistic society in the history of humankind...

Down to your last "chips" and the wheel of history keeps spinning against you, eh?


It's a rather dismal thought to think there can't be religious Marxists, or religious leftists since that means there can only be less than ten percent of the world that supports leftism and by your reasoning are fit to express their opinions in leftist political groups.

The present-day number of non-believers is problematical. What we are counting on is the steady increase of that number...something that's been observed over the last three centuries.

I think we'll do just fine in that regard when the next wave of proletarian uprisings begins.


Your beliefs that religious individuals be excluded from leftist decision making bodies is one that could potentially set back the movement hundreds of years...

That's an opinion.

Mine is that it will advance the movement to rid itself of all the superstitious bullshit once and for all!

We won't be wasting our time and energy on these kinds of "debates".

Instead, we can spend more time talking about real things.


America is a poor example; no other first [world] country I can think of has even considered allowing creationism to be taught in its schools in almost half a century.

The reactionary influence of religion is still very wide-spread. Who do you think started the "war on drugs"?

How long has it been since they were putting gay people in prison in Canada?


There are millions on the left in the Catholic community...

Then why don't you join them? Go off to Purchase a high mass for the "soul" of Karl Marx. Write lots of stuff explaining why Opus Dei is "not really important" even though it's the pope's favorite "order". Just go and do whatever you think "religious leftists" are supposed to do in order to win heavenly brownie points...and leave us to sin in peace!

Is that "too much to ask"?
First posted at RevLeft on March 2, 2006


The world is, in fact, full of religious believers who manage to tie their own shoes, walk and chew gum at the same time, have pretty decent general-direction political instincts, etc. They think about all kinds of things without necessarily quoting the Bible.

Most people behave mostly decently and mostly rational most of the time.

People are not "horrible beasts at heart" matter how many fascist ideologues argue otherwise.

That factual observation cannot be used to defend the proposition that religion is "harmless" or "mostly harmless" or "mostly irrelevant to politics".

We observe, on the contrary, that wherever and whenever religion is taken seriously, the consequences are reactionary.

And atrocities proliferate.


Mark Osiel, who studied the Argentine military in the Dirty War, reports that many of the torturers had qualms about what they were doing until priests reassured them that they were fighting God's fight. By the end of the Dirty War, the qualms were gone, and, as John Simpson and Jana Bennett report, officers were placing bets on who could kidnap the prettiest girl to rape and torture.
--emphasis added.

"Liberalism, Torture and the Ticking Bomb" by David Luban in Harper's Magazine, March 2006, pp. 11-16 (the quote is from page 16).


When it comes to social and political questions, religion is not the main reason why people can't think rationally. Class and political biases are.

I think this is, at least, highly disputable.

Human rationality is certainly constrained by all sorts of biases and prejudices.

It would seem to me that the pertinent question would be something along the lines of: what bias stands strongest in our way, as revolutionaries, at the present time?

One could make strong arguments in favor of nationalism or racism or perhaps sexism.

In my opinion, it is religion that presently holds back the proletariat from developing the rational class consciousness required to advance.

Not that those other biases aren't "bad" enough...but religion is worse!

Indeed, religion serves -- in the present period -- as a kind of "cosmic foundation" for biases like nationalism, racism, and sexism.

What reactionary does not explicitly invoke "God" to build popular support for his ambitions?

Even the Nazis claimed that "God was with them" the near universal approval of the German clergy.


Believing whatever's pleasant to believe. I see that a fair bit on this board.

You don't have to go to a message board to "see it". It's an almost "universal" human assumption.

If you imagine that you are "personally above" that sort of thing, then I think you're just kidding yourself.

You think that it's still "possible" to successfully struggle for "reforms" and "democratic rights" under the aging despotism of capital.

A perfect example of what you decry in others.


Believing things that keep you from having to do anything.

It's always in our perceived interest to avoid unnecessary toil.

Or, as the saying has it, never do today what can be put off until tomorrow.

Another human "universal".


If your enemies say water is wet, believing it's dry. Also seen a fair bit on this board.

A common "short-cut" arising from the fact that neither our brains nor the time available for thinking are infinite.

If a known godsucker tells me it's raining outside, I'll leave my raincoat and umbrella in the closet.

On what grounds should I expect him to get anything right?


A common form of groupthink on the left is competition to be the most radical-sounding. In a closed circle of activists, rhetorical radicalism can escalate due to this competition, with anyone who injects a note of sanity being tarred as a sellout.

That's one way of interpreting "what happens".

What I think happens is a mutual reinforcement of radical thinking. It's not simply "rhetorical", it's a change in the whole way the participants look at the world.

Comrade A makes a critical statement about capitalist reality.

Comrade B points out that Comrade A's statement does not go far enough...that a "deeper" and "more radical" critique is possible.

Comrade C might suggest that the truth lies somewhere between the views of Comrades A & B.

And struggle ensues...from which the participants learn.

Reformists always disparage this process...from motives of self-interest. They regard "radical talk" as a threat to their careers.

Which it is. *laughs*


Contempt for most working people, a.k.a. most of humanity.

A super-sized "can of worms" here.

A ruling class generally does display open contempt for its subjects...except, perhaps, when they want to start a war and think they need popular support to win it.

Upwardly-mobile petty bourgeois elements happily join in the chorus.

But there are also those who interpret any criticism of popular folly as "contempt for the masses" if "being a worker" gets you a "free pass" to be reactionary!

Or as if popular reactionary ideas should be treated "less harshly or critically" than really unpopular reactionary ideas.

I've heard "leftists" say that we "shouldn't" condemn the police or the soldiers for their atrocities...because "they're just workers" and it's their bosses who "are really responsible".

As if "carrying out an atrocious order" is somehow "less reprehensible" than issuing an atrocious order.

Not in my book!


I could go on.

By all means. *laughs*
First posted at RevLeft on March 3, 2006


What creation theory has been indisputably empirically confirmed?

Not a one! As a matter of fact, cosmology is in disarray at this point in history...were it not for the "convention" of scientific politeness, there'd be people throwing chairs at each other. *laughs*

In fact, I think there are cosmologists who at least flirt with Deism...suggesting that the "odd" values of certain "constants" could be the "consequence" of "intelligent design".

They're not permitted to say this in peer-reviewed scientific journals but they can say it or at least imply it in books written for the general public.

I find the idea of "supernatural origins" of the universe to be basically repugnant...if such a "cosmic designer" could be demonstrated to exist, one would be faced with some extremely awkward corollaries.

Considering the general malevolence of the existing universe, the Deist "God" would perforce be either the greatest imaginable incompetent or the greatest imaginable sadistic bastard.

Either sounds unreasonable to I reject the possibility out of hand.


In the case of deists (seems to be a good example for these purposes) if this is little more than an intellectual game, then they may well have very sound and reasoned views.

Well, I don't think it's "sound and reasonable" to posit either a "Divine Idiot" or a "Divine Sadist" as an "explanation" for the origins of the universe.


I think epistemology can be a little more than that. You can turn your back on it, but it is also as if turning your back on logic or science.

I have no difficulty accepting what is demonstrably true. I don't even have a problem with accepting plausible inference in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary.

I do have a problem with statements like "until all conceivable gods have been proved not to exist, it's incorrect to say that there are no gods."

That's what I mean by "hiding behind epistemology".

The same goes for the statement "until a causal link between all conceivable religious views and reactionary politics has been demonstrated, it's incorrect to say that all religion is reactionary."

I'm not diminishing the role of skepticism here. A skeptical attitude in the face of less than preponderant evidence is certainly legitimate...and I've exhibited that attitude myself on many occasions here.

For example, I recently challenged the "connection" between cigarette smoking and lung cancer on the grounds that the vast majority of smokers do not contract lung cancer.

That's negative evidence.

In this discussion, I argue that the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that all religion is reactionary.

The response has been that there "may be" a religion or a "possible religion" that isn't reactionary...and until I show why that's impossible, I don't have the right to say with absolute conviction that "all religion is reactionary".

Even if I were capable of summoning up a billion examples of religion and reaction as "Siamese twins", that "wouldn't be good enough".

And that, I think, is clearly a case of "hiding behind epistemology".


Of course you could enter this epistemological battle, but it may well mean re-defining religion so that it is reactionary by virtue of meaning.

That's precisely what I have argued. All of the historical evidence we have demonstrates that all "supernatural doctrines" (religion) are reactionary in theory and practice.

If people do something "progressive" for religious reasons, that's an accident...and one quickly rectified when they have the opportunity to do so.

The examples of "religious leftists" that have been cited in this and similar threads are simply pathetic.

I am continually astonished by the reluctance of some people here to "bite the bullet" on this issue.

As I said in another thread: how many examples do people need?
First posted at RevLeft on March 3, 2006


The point is in the actual absence of "fact" or even something close, people are entitled to individual opinions.

People are always "entitled" to their "individual opinions".

The question remains: are individual opinions of a religious nature acceptable here?


If the evidence is so overwhelming, why is there not a hypothesis regarding causality?

Possibly because no one sees the "pressing need" for one.

Or possibly because no one here is "smart enough" to think of one.

We know that obedience to authority is at the core of all the significant religions...and this is so obviously supportive of any possible ruling class that one could see how religious leaders and secular leaders would be enormously attracted to one another because of mutual utility.

Indeed, in primitive despotisms, it was sometimes the case that the despot was "God" or at least the "Son of God".

Some poor fools here have actually suggested that revolutionaries should fabricate a "revolutionary version" of the "Bible" and use that to "win the religious to our side".


The findings may be good for practical purposes, but are you in this case saying that we should just accept that religions are reactionary, or are you going to say why?

If some Marxist scholar or team of scholars were to formulate a plausible hypothesis "why" religions always turn out reactionary, I'd read their work with considerable interest.

But I don't feel a "pressing need" to "know why" to make a practical choice against all of them.

Do you need to know "why" the presence of cockroaches in your kitchen is "not a good thing"...or is it just common sense to spray the bastards?
First posted at RevLeft on March 3, 2006

This article admits that at the time Marx wrote On the Jewish Question, he was still "in the process" of becoming "a Marxist". He would have been about 26 at the time.

Consider this later attack on the neo-puritans of his day...

quote (Marx):

In the eighteenth century the French aristocracy said: For us, Voltaire; for the people, the mass and the tithes. In the nineteenth century the English aristocracy says: For us, pious phrases; for the people, Christian practice. The classical saint of Christianity mortified his body for the salvation of the souls of the masses; the modern, educated saint mortifies the bodies of the masses for the salvation of his own soul.

Anti-Church Movement by Karl Marx, Neue Oder-Zeitung, June 28, 1855

quote (Socialist Worker):

We on the left need to rediscover Marx’s insights today. Contrary to the claims of pro-war secular liberals, Marx did not consider belief in the free market and the worship of private property to be in any way superior to religious thinking.

Well, it's not...but that's not really the point of this article. It's a kind of "watered-down" version of another and much worse article which I will discuss in a later post.
First posted at RevLeft on March 3, 2006

This article is almost like a Stephen King novel...that is, a horror story in which "normal things" are suddenly revealed as monstrous.

All the quotes come from Bolsheviks and Islam: Religious Rights.

quote (Dave Crouch in December 2003):

But because it understands religion to have roots in oppression and alienation, Marxist political parties don't demand that their members or supporters are atheists too.

That is, "Marxist political parties" don't have to be and even shouldn't be Marxist at all.

What's "important" is the name of Marx...not his ideas.

quote (Crouch):

The Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky noted in 1923 that in some former colonies as many as 15 percent of CP members were believers in Islam. He called them the 'raw revolutionary recruits who come knocking on our door'. In parts of Central Asia, Muslim membership was as high as 70 percent.

Imagine a "communist" party where "70 percent" of the membership flop on their bellies five times a day facing Mecca.

Note that this doesn't bother Trotsky at all. In fact, he seems to think that was "a good thing".

quote (Crouch):

A parallel court system was created in 1921, with Islamic courts administering justice in accordance with sharia laws. The aim was for people to have a choice between religious and revolutionary justice.

What a great "choice"!

Evidently, the Bolsheviks did not allow sharia courts to stone or behead people or cut their hands off -- at least not without approval from Moscow. But flogging goes unmentioned here so presumably was permitted.

quote (Crouch):

As a result, the system of madrassahs - religious schools - was extensive. In 1925 there were 1,500 madrassahs with 45,000 students in the Caucasus state of Dagestan, as opposed to just 183 state schools.

Incredible!!! Having successfully re-conquered the old conquests of the Czarist empire, the Bolsheviks actually managed to make things worse!

quote (Crouch):

At the Baku Congress of the Peoples of the East in September 1920, Russian Bolshevik leaders issued a call for a 'holy war' against Western imperialism. Two years later the Fourth Congress of the Communist International endorsed alliances with pan-Islamism against imperialism.

I can't quarrel with principled opposition to imperialism...but alliances?

With reactionary scum???

quote (Crouch):

Indigenous people were promoted to leading positions in the state and communist parties, and given preference for employment over Russians.

Without regard to communist ideas, of course. The only requirement for those "leading positions in the state and communist parties" was loyalty to Moscow.

quote (Crouch):

From the mid-1920s the Stalinists began planning an all-out attack on Islam under the banner of women's rights. The slogan of the campaign was khudzhum - which means storming or assault.

It's been a while since I've heard something really good about Stalin!

quote (Crouch):

The khudzhum entered its mass action phase on 8 March 1927 - International Women's Day. At mass meetings women were called upon to unveil. Small groups of native women came to the podium and threw their veils on bonfires.

Yea JOE! *cheers*

Note that up until that point, the Bolsheviks "had no problem" with the veil...or presumably all the other forms of women's oppression.

It didn't seem to bother either Lenin or Trotsky.

And how do you suppose all these Muslims responded?

quote (Crouch):

Unveiled women were attacked in the street, including ferocious rapes and thousands of killings.

The gang rape and mass murder of women!

quote (Crouch):

But in the early years of the revolution the Bolsheviks were successful at winning Muslims to fight for socialism. We can learn from and be inspired by their achievements.

Yeah, that's quite a "fight for socialism"...defending the right of Muslim males to oppress women and then the right to rape and kill them when they stood up for themselves.

With "socialism" like that, who needs fascism?

This is where "tolerance for religion" inevitably leads!

The article doesn't continue past that point, but I certainly hope Stalin "sent in the tanks!"

I would have!
First posted at RevLeft on March 3, 2006


Bolsheviks and religion. I can only imagine the warm fuzzy feeling you must have right now RedStar.

To be honest, I was completely unaware of the events recounted in this article...and frankly shocked!

Of course it serves as more than ample historical precedent for the SWP's (U.K.) current perspective: suck up to Islam no matter what the cost!

What words are even remotely adequate to describe a so-called "Marxist" party that you don't even have to be a Marxist to join?


You missed the most important point in that piece

quote (Crouch):

The Russian Revolution of 1917 took place in an empire that was home to 16 million Muslims - some 10 percent of the population.

Yes, that may well be "the most important point" in the article...but not for a reason that Leninists would be comfortable with.

Had Lenin, Trotsky,, understood Marxism, they would have known in advance the total futility of extending "Soviet Power" into the conquered Muslim provinces of the old Czarist empire.

The proper course was to cut them loose and let them go their own way. The young USSR would have been far better off to concentrate its military and political efforts on Poland, Finland and Hungary than on all those hopelessly reactionary pestholes in central Asia.

The "old Bolsheviks" really fucked up by trying to preserve the geographical conquests of the if they were a "sacred patrimony" or something.

What they really were was a reservoir of reaction...a cancer of superstition and corruption that possibly played a significant role in the ultimate demise of the USSR.
First posted at RevLeft on March 4, 2006


Just because there is a lot of nonsense in the Christian bible doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything good to say.

It's a tainted source. There is so much deliberate fabrication in it (and in all "holy books") that you'd be extremely foolish to believe a word of it.

Suppose you were unfortunate enough to find yourself working with someone who was repeatedly caught long before you or any sensible person would cease to believe a word the bastard said?

Same thing with "holy books".


There is nothing to suggest that Jesus did not follow what he preached, after all he did die for it.

He "died for" the right to have his feet rubbed with expensive ointments? *laughs*

Come on! All we really "know" about the "life of Jesus" is a bunch of stuff written down forty or more years after the "events" supposedly "took place".

And a good deal of that is obviously fabricated.


f you condemn Jesus for the actions of Christians, do you condemn Marx because of Stalin, or even Hitler because he also used the name Socialist? There is nothing socialist about Hitler and there is little to nothing Christian about the Pope and Bush.

Typical evasion. "Communism" during Stalin's period of power was defined by his words and actions.

Christianity today is defined by people like the Pope and Bush.

As far as that goes, "Jesus" wasn't even a "Christian" at all...he was a reforming Jewish rabbi -- a "country preacher" with a serious dislike of "big city Judaism".

"Christianity" was almost certainly invented by Saulos of Tarsus ("St. Paul").

Stalin's vision of "communism" has become has, for that matter, the entire Leninist paradigm.

Modern communists think a lot of Marx's ideas were pretty good ones...but we are not obligated to "defend Marx" when he was wrong and the ideas and practices of Lenin or Stalin or Trotsky or Mao are only of interest now to historians.

And a few slow-learning groupies. *laughs*


Why would you want to tear down churches?

Because they are "propaganda in stone".

We will trash them for the same reason that we will trash all the monuments of the old regime...they are symbols of ignorance and oppression and murder -- which we find deeply offensive.

Much as the allied forces after World War II deliberately destroyed the monuments and much of the surviving architecture of the Third demonstrate to everyone that they didn't want to see that shit around any longer!


Even such things as holding, say, a Christian Discussion Group, in a public setting? I will say that I do agree with Marx that religion is the "opiate of the masses," and that ultimately it creates counter-revolutionary sentiment, but publicly banning it?

Let them meet with one another in their own homes.


And they are "of no interest to you?" It seems a bit absurd to ban things from public life because they are "of no interest to you."

Religions thrive on "public legitimacy"...when they are deprived of that, they "wither away".

I propose to deprive them of that public legitimacy in any form. Even the names of streets, cities, geographical features, etc.

Goodbye San Francisco. Hello Yerba Buena!
First posted at RevLeft on March 4, 2006


Please do not confuse spirituality with religion.

What's the difference?

"Spirituality" is an imaginary concept...there's really no such thing.

Humans are material entities, period.

See for yourself! Whenever someone starts babbling about "spirituality", the next thing that happens is that they start trying to sell you something.

If you buy, you're just another sucker.
First posted at RevLeft on March 4, 2006


It seems that the non-tolerance of religion stems from deterministic views of religion, i.e. all Christians must follow every word of the bible otherwise they are not really Christian, which is a very generic argument and ignores the ability of the world religions to evolve. Whilst orthodox Jews and Muslims may not eat pork, others see that their holy books were written at a time when this was applicable, and act accordingly. This doesn't mean they are 'ignoring the word of god', or 'picking and choosing', as they don't believe god wrote the bible, but that he guided a select few to do so.

World religions do "evolve"...that is, they change their doctrines and practices to fit new forms of class society as they emerge.

The Church of the western Roman Empire was not the Church of feudalism...and that Church is not the Church of modern capitalism.

But what those various incarnations of the church all have in common is a reactionary role in society. In all cases, they taught and still teach obedience to authority and deference to privilege.

In addition, of course, a "theory of everything" that is utterly lacking even so much as a particle of reliable empirical confirmation.

Although I admittedly don't understand your use of the word "generic" in your post (I think you may have wanted a different word there), I do hold the position that serious believers in a particular religion do abide, insofar as practical, by what is written in their particular "holy book".

In the case of Islam, by the way, the Qu'ran "really was written by Allah"...Mohammad just "wrote down" what "an angel told him". It's the literal "word of God".

Moreover, I also think it self-evident that those "serious believers" set the "tone" of what a particular religion is.

The hypothetical "average" godsucker doesn't spend his time pondering the "desires of the Almighty"...but he's receptive to whatever his "spiritual Leaders" tell him.

If his "spiritual Leaders" tell him to "be cool", he'll do that. When they tell him that it's time to burn some heretics, he'll do that too!

For example...


Mark Osiel, who studied the Argentine military in the Dirty War, reports that many of the torturers had qualms about what they were doing until priests reassured them that they were fighting God's fight. By the end of the Dirty War, the qualms were gone, and, as John Simpson and Jana Bennett report, officers were placing bets on who could kidnap the prettiest girl to rape and torture.
--emphasis added.

"Liberalism, Torture and the Ticking Bomb" by David Luban in Harper's Magazine, March 2006, pp. 11-16 (the quote is from page 16).


Which fits in nicely with religion, as why bother intimidating the religious (not counting extremists) when it just further isolates the youths of the generation who come from those families. It will give them a bad idea of non-religious types, and further cloak them in superstition, meaning that a possible non-conformist of religion is turned away because people were too quick to jump the gun.

In my opinion, a resolute and intransigent opposition to religion encourages the "borderline faithful" to abandon superstition. The people who are "offended" by that opposition are precisely the people most unlikely ever to become revolutionaries...that is people who are quite happy to commit atrocities "in the Name of God" just as soon as their "spiritual Leaders" tell them to do it.
First posted at RevLeft on March 4, 2006


That's a fair point, and I can see how that approach works with borderline religious families, but what I meant was the children of more serious and orthodox families, who may be already leaning away from their faith but then whose parents are able to reel them back in by demonstrating the harsh methods of some atheists who try to destroy religion.

Isn't this a matter of to what extent they are actually "alienated" from their parents?

I mean, let's face it. The child-raising "techniques" of religious parents are usually pretty brutal! A kid who justifiably rebels against that crap would seem likely to me to judge especially harshly anything connected with his/her parent's outlook on things.

From what I've read, the "moment of danger" for someone who abandons religion arrives when they have children of their own. That's when they are most likely to start thinking about the "good side" of religion and "how religion would help their kids get on in life" or even how religion would transmit "good values" to their kids. *laughs*

I recall a Time magazine story in the 80s boasting about how the atheist kids of the 60s were "returning to religion" now that their own kids were arriving.

Mostly just pro-religion bullshit, no doubt, but probably with some truth.

Meanwhile, I don't think there are a whole lot of adolescents who rebel at all in seriously religious families...there's just so much parental violence directed against them when they're too small to offer any effective resistance that they've mostly just lost all sense of personal autonomy at all.

There are a few...but, in my opinion, very few.


What I meant before when I was talking about generalising is that most people who argue against religion here do so by clumping it into a black and white "you're either fully religious or not at all".

Well, I think anyone who publicly declares religious beliefs is "fully religious" by any meaningful criteria.

As I noted earlier, that doesn't mean they spend hours of each day "in prayer" or that they stop and ponder "what would Jesus do" every time they have some trivial choice to make.

But religious beliefs, because they are a "theory of everything", cannot help but affect how they think about everything.

How do you think it is that we sometimes get people here who say "I'm a communist" or "I'm a revolutionary" and then promptly launch a ferocious attack on women's right to abortion on demand? Or start a thread about how parental violence against children is "a good thing"? Or start telling us that "abstinence" from sex, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, etc. is "the right way to go"? Or that we should be "non-violent" as a matter of principle towards our class enemies? Or "religion has its good side" or "helps society" or...whatever.

Even some people who say they are "no longer religious" still carry with them a load of that old crap around in their heads.

I mean when you stop and think about it, where else would they get ideas like that?

Some things really are "black and white"!

Everything is not "gray".


This then means that their children, with whom there was the possibility of freeing from their religion, are isolated by their parents from the non-religious, by things such as sending them to faith-run schools.

Well sure. And they even send them to faith-based "boot camps" where the kids can be violently crushed back into the faith.

Short of an "underground railroad" for rebellious adolescents, there's not a lot we can do about that. Back in the days of SDS, there was something of that sort...some kids knew that if they could manage to get to a large city with SDS chapters, they could find food, shelter, and maybe even a life worth living.

But there's nothing really like that least as far as I know.

I wish there were!


I don't know if you are familiar with Zimbardo's study, but he was a psychologist in the 70's who carried out a prison simulation experiment on regular pacifist university students, and found that almost immediately the 'guards' adopted the role of their idea of a prison guard, which involved de-lousing the 'prisoners', and making them scrub toilets with their bare hands, etc. They subsequently got worse and worse, and eventually the psychological torment was so high that Zimbardo was forced to end the experiment.'s almost as famous as Stanley Milgram's "obedience to authority" experiments.

Prison Experiment at Stanford University

Both illustrating, in my opinion, the Marxist hypothesis that you are what you do!


Strict religious followers may act as you say - and has been demonstrated in the calls to "behead those who insult Islam", but it is only a minority of the group who will actually do this.

My hypothesis is that the "ordinary believer" will normally "behave himself"...but if his "spiritual leaders" tell him to "cut loose" and "commit atrocities", he'll do it!

Not "every one" and not "in every single case". There are some who simply "don't have the stomach" for the really grisly deeds. But not because they find those deeds repugnant in principle...they are likely to simply reproach themselves for their "lack of dedication".

I'm sure there were some "good Catholics" who turned away from the sight of a burning heretic and covered their ears against the sound of his screams...but could not conceive of the idea that burning heretics was wrong. The Church is always right and if you can't live up to its most rigorous demands, that's your fault.

Polls have shown that American Catholics practice birth-control in about the same proportion as non-Catholic Americans. But they're not "proud of that" or "demanding a change" in Vatican doctrine. Indeed, they probably make themselves feel better about themselves by sending a check to some Catholic-sponsored anti-abortion campaign.

They're "ok" with the idea of tormenting women with unwanted long as they can pay someone else to actually do the deed!


The reason I don't view all religion as reactionary is because of this trend to jump the border into atheism, which seems to be an increasingly fast process as more and more reject their religion, meaning that these borderline families are actually an asset, as they are, by rejecting, isolating the orthodox and making it easier to show their faults without pushing away those on the border.

Well, I think those on the "border" need all the encouragement from us that they can get. We don't really have any notion of "just where" on the "border" they "are"...and anything that we can say to them against religion may be "just what they needed to hear" to "cross the border".

There's always the risk that we'll "alienate" someone back into the arms of the church...but I think the greater and more serious risk is that we may admit into our own ranks people who don't really belong there.

By insisting on rigorous atheism, we can keep out a known source of reactionary ideas.

I think that helps us!


This explains why religions are therefore reactionary, you have your link. Religions reflect (apart from a few minor and obscure examples) the class conflicts of a time. Saying that it is religion itself that is the source of reaction is wrong though, just as it would be to say that greed is human nature. Reactionary religion and human greed are both products of the society in which they are forged.

If this explanation satisfies you, fine. I think of it only as a different wording of what I've been saying all along.

Regardless of wording, I don't see why one can't speak of religious belief as a source of reactionary that it is religious leaders that actually give voice to those ideas and religious believers who actually think those ideas are "true"...and proceed to act on them.

A "good Christian" in a communist movement would say that it's "wrong" to execute even the most criminal elements of the old ruling class..."because" they are "his brothers in Christ" and "are entitled" to "repentance" and the chance to "go and sin no more".

In fact, if he were really serious, he'd tell us that we "should accept" the violence of the rulers and "turn the other cheek".

And if he were especially articulate, he'd tell us these things in carefully chosen "communist" terminology...perhaps even bolstered with an obscure quote from Marx or Engels.

See what we're up against here?


The good thing about communism is that it does not only imply that a religion arising would be positive, it implies that it wouldn't arise at all because we are to become more materialist. This removes it as even a possible threat of something "higher" than reality, which can be used to justify all sorts of things.

I think you're right about the long run.

But what I see on this board is people coming here in more or less constant numbers still bringing their religious baggage with them.

And worse, the people here who want to "unite with them" and "help them unpack".

How can we honestly hope to get anywhere with this kind of stuff going on?

It's like university biology departments appointing creationists as professors!
First posted at RevLeft on March 5, 2006

Jean Meslier by Michel Onfray

This is one of the most astonishing articles I've had the genuine pleasure to read in a long time.

It concerns one Jean Meslier, a Catholic priest in rural France. Between 1719 and 1729, he secretly wrote a book.

How's this for a title?

On an Exposition of Errors and of Abuses of the Behavior and of the Government of Men, where We See clear and Evident Demonstrations of the Vanity and Falsity of All the Gods and of All the Religions of the World in Order to Be Addressed to His Parishioners After His Death and in Order to Serve As Witness of Truth to Them, and to All Like Them. In His Testimony to the People.

It was circulated secretly, in hand-written manuscript form, among all the "leading lights" of the later "enlightenment" period. They plagiarized freely (especially Voltaire) without giving credit...and often freely ignoring Meslier's most radical views.

It was not until 1864 (!) that the work was finally published.

In 1919, the Bolsheviks erected a monument to him.

It was a long time overdue.
First posted at RevLeft on March 10, 2006

quote (BBC):

Afghan on trial for Christianity

An Afghan man is being tried in a court in the capital, Kabul, for converting from Islam to Christianity.

Abdul Rahman is charged with rejecting Islam and could face the death sentence under Sharia law unless he recants.

Afghanistan's post-Taleban constitution is based on Sharia law, and prosecutors in the case says this means Abdul Rahman, whose trial began last Thursday, should be put to death.

"We will invite him again because the religion of Islam is one of tolerance. We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so we will forgive him," the judge told the BBC on Monday.

Religion at its best! *laughs*
First posted at RevLeft on March 20, 2006
· Welcome
· Theory
· Guest Book
· Hype
· Additional Reading
· Links

· Contact
Latest Theory Collections
· Communists Against Religion -- Part 19 June 6, 2006
· Conversations with Capitalists May 21, 2006
· Vegetable Morality April 17, 2006
· Parents and Children April 11, 2006
· The Curse of Lenin's Mummy April 3, 2006
Defining Theory Collections
· What Did Marx "Get Wrong"? September 13, 2004
· Class in Post-Revolutionary Society - Part 1 July 9, 2004
· Demarchy and a New Revolutionary Communist Movement November 13, 2003
· A New Type of Communist Organization October 5, 2003
· The "Tools" of Marxism July 19, 2003
· Marxism Without the Crap July 3, 2003
· What is Socialism? An Attempt at a Brief Definition June 19, 2003
· What is Communism? A Brief Definition June 19, 2003
· A New Communist Paradigm for the 21st Century May 8, 2003
· On "Dialectics" -- The Heresy Posts May 8, 2003
Random Quote
Poor guy [Fidel Castro] is getting old...and should really retire.  

Search Internet
Search Website
· There have been 3 users active in the past 15 minutes.

Copyright © 2003-2006 -- Some rights reserved.