Lenin, take the wheel; In which Marxism reflects Christianity.

Quick Disclaimer: I am going to focus on the conflict between Marxism and Christianity for two reasons: The first is that in their current forms they are ideas that were created and evolved in Europe and both have spent a lot of time and energy trying to combat each other. The second Is that, as you will read, I grew up in a Christian family in a Christian society and have never studied comparative religion to the degree required to analyse the fundamentals of a religion I didn’t grow up in, so I will not be discussing any similarity between Marxism and Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Scientology, or any other religion. please direct your “P.C. gone mad” themed hate mail to Pravda.

I grew up in North London around adults who, for the most part, casually described themselves as Socialists or social democrats in a pinch. In fact the first communist literature I ever read (A book I totally recommend by the way) was given to me by my Anglican mother for a Christmas present, who – after hearing me regurgitating the books opinion that religion is a scam we all need to dispense with in order to achieve a communist utopia – calmly told me that Christian Socialists exist and that they are fine with both God and worker controlled means of production. I spent most of my teenage years growing into more and more of a Trotskyite, attending meetings, rallies and once shaking hands with George Galloway on Spanish television. I tutted at the inferiority of religion, and those who didn’t see the truth, way and the light of my particular sect’s doctrine. I also still went to church, partially out of habit, also out of a need to keep the friendship group I had built by the time I was 14 and I honestly had no idea if I believed in it all or not, and if my doubt was a bad idea or not. Though this is hypocritical  do remember I was a Teenager, so I continued to espouse the doctrines of both the Socialist Worker’s Party and  the International Anglican Communion with differing degrees of enthusiasm throughout my teens.

It was only in my first year at University when I got to meet the regional head of Socialist Appeal; A man whose response too being disagreed with was to continue repeating Leninist doctrine until you gave up and he could claim victory, did I begin to think that this whole Marxism thing might problematic. This was also around the time I lived with self Anarchists who managed to convert me to the ideas of Ms Goldman and Mr Winstanley after pushing at the open door that was my ideas about how we should live. I’m laying out my political life story because I think it’s important to know that Growing up with one set of values then turning around and examining them in retrospect can you get a good view of them.

Walter_Womacka_Sachsenhausen_2

The stained glass windows of Sachsenhausen’s memorial to the Soviet soldiers who liberated the camp

I suppose I need to start with the fact that organised Christianity as a rule, is anti-Marxist and Marxist Communism is generally anti-organised Christianity. This tends to be sold by the proponents of either doctrine as the result of two fundamentally different conceptions of the world, however I really do believe that they tend to hate each other for the same reason that McDonald’s and Burger King hate each other; they’re muscling in on each other’s niche.

Both base their ideas of the same essential theory of history. This begins with the premise that humanity was once without sin; Marx’s Eden takes the form of “Primitive Communism”, in which small, proto-democratic, nomadic tribes existed in a world with no property, with the fall taking the form of creation of the state and thus bringing property (Sin) into the world. Both Marxism and Christianity hold that whilst mankind is in a corrupted state of being, the words of prophets can save us.Talk to a Leninist, and the term “Class Consciousness” will come up. This is dialectical materialism’s answer to righteousness; to be class conscience is to believe and understand the inevitability of the coming upheaval of the worker’s final battle with Capital and property. As a class conscious individual it is your solemn duty to your fellow human to proselytize and convert as many soldiers of Christ Communists so you can all bring upon the apocalypse revolution as described the central texts.

This might seem simplistic but do remember Marxism has Orthodox as well as Reform ideological strains, these are the results of schisms and sectarian actions resulting in murders and violence. for eighty years it was hard to argue that the Kremlin stood in direct contrast to the Vatican, receiving pilgrims and ushering them to the holy sites of revolutionary communism, whilst dictating excommunications and distributing it’s propaganda around the world. Marxism produced it’s Martyrs whose blood was shed for our salvation, along with a priestly class to interpret and re-interpret the scripture whist drilling the fundamentals into the young.

Do keep in mind that the people’s flag is deepest red because they dipped it in Communard blood

I understand that a large number of you who’ve read this far are forming the opinion that since the fall of Communism, this argument is essentially irrelevant; that the lack of KGB agents funding local communist parties to keep fermenting revolution means this thousand word comparison between two ideological institutions is some lefty navel gazing; And honestly you might be right. I suppose as I’m writing this from the perspective of an Anarchist – a group traditionally treated as nice dreamers with very little going for us than faith, particularly by Marxists. This is something I resent, as If the last hundred years have taught us anything, it’s that if there is a workable alternative to capitalism, it almost certainty isn’t Bolshevik Marxism, and I believe that isn’t because Marxism is antithetical to the faith and society it attempted to replace but because it has managed to imitate that faith to the point of being a grim mirror of its crimes and excesses.

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