Lenin on "clericalist" nonsense

hariette spierings hariette at easynet.co.uk
Thu Aug 22 12:00:38 MDT 1996


In reference to the recent thread in this list on the question of the clergy
taking up the cudgels on behalf of the "working classes" being interpreted
as a "positive phenomena in itself", I like to contribute some of Lenin's
own points of view regarding the tasks of Marxists in this regard.

FOR "MARXIST PROFESSORS" (and political "left groups") WHO APPLAUD AND
CHERISH THE CLERICS!

"......the modern Narodniks (the Popular Socialists,
Socialists-Revolutionaries, etc) have frequently retreated in quest of
fashionable reactionary philosophical doctrines, captivated by the tinsel of
the so-called last word in European science, and unable to discern beneath
this tinsel some variety of servility to the bourgeoisie, to bourgeois
prejudice and bourgeois reaction".

"......it is our duty to enlist all adherents of consistent and militant
materialism in the joint work of combaring philosophical reaction and the
prejudices of so-called educated society.  Dietzgen senior - not to be
confused with his writer son, who was as pretentious as he was unsuccessful
- correctly, aptly and clearly expressed the fundamental Marxist view of the
philosophical trends which prevail in bourgeois countries and enjoy the
great regard of their scientists and publicists, when he said that in effect
the professors of philosophy in modern society are in the majority of cases
nothing but "graduated flunkeys of clericalism".

"Our Russian intellectuals, who, like their brethen in all other countries,
are fond of thinking themselves advanced, are very much averse to shifting
the question to the level of the opinion expressed in Dietzgen's words.  But
they are averse to it because they cannot look the truth in the face.  One
has only to give a little thought to the governmental and also the general
economic dependence of modern educated people on the ruling bourgeoisie to
realise that Dietzgen's scathing description was absolutely true.  One has
only to recall the vast majority of the fashionable philosophical trends
that arise so frequently in European countries, beginning for example with
those connected with the discovery of radium and ending with those which are
now seeking to clutch at the skirts of Einstein, to gain an idea of the
connection between the class interests and the class position of the
bourgeoisie and its support of all forms of religion on the one hand, and
the ideological content of the fashionable philosophical trends on the other".

"It will be seen from the above that a journal that sets out to be a
militant materialist organ must be primarily a militant organ, in the sense
of unflichngly exposing and indicting all modern "graduated flunkeys of
clericalism", irrespective of whether they act as representatives of
official science or as free lances calling themselves "democratic Left or
ideologically socialist" publicists".

"On the other hand, take a glance at modern scientific critics of religion.
These educated bourgeois writers almost invariably "supplement" their own
refutations of religious superstitions with arguments which immediately
expose them as ideological slaves of the bourgeoisie, as "graduated flunkeys
of clericalism".

In referring to the modern scientists and their attitude towards religion,
Lenin seems to be writing too with the "Marxists" of today and their
penchant for "clerical allainces":

"......(such "modern scientists").... not only ...(refrain).... from
combating the SUPERSTITIONS AND DECEPTION WHICH ARE THE WEAPONS OF THE
CHURCH AS A POLITICAL ORGANISATION, not only ... (evade)..... these
questions, but ...(make).... the simply ridiculous and most reactionary
claim that ...(they)... are above both "extremes" - the idealist and the
materialist.  This is toadying to the ruling bourgeoisie, which ALL OVER THE
WORLD DEVOTES TO THE SUPPORT OF RELIGION HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF RUBLES FROM
THE PROFITS SQUEEZED FROM THE WORKING PEOPLE".


There is, of course a clear link between the abandonment of Lenin's clear
attitude against attempting to dress up clericalism in "Left-socialist" garb
with the prevalence of revisionist thinking and "modern scientificism" with
airs of "superceeding" Marxism as a consequence of the
Kruschev/Brezhnev/Gorbachev/Deng modern revisionism within the ICM.  This is
something which should prompt a clear re-assessment and reversal of these
unhealthy and anti-Marxist trends of "colusion with clericalism in its
"pro-working class" or "liberationist" disguise.


Adolfo




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