Fwd: Re: Fwd: jhurd_dsa-doc: The Dalai Lama on Marxism (fwd)

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMhotmail.com
Wed Sep 15 22:43:07 MDT 1999

List(s): I received a post from a friend where the Dalai Lama praises
Marxism, calling himself a half-Marxist, Half Buddhist.  Unfortunately I
have already deleted the post, but not before sending it to a few
individuals, including our friend Nestor. His responses remind me somewhat
of Engels's Early Christianity, where Engels posits that early christians
were, in a sense, the embryo of the modern working class movement (He wrote
that after Marx's death, if I remember right).

    My reasons for not posting this originally came from my deep seeded
distrust of a man who once owned his own personal slaves, not to mention ran
a feudal theocracy. I do not trust him, and find his words, at the least,
ambiguous. However, the statements left of this post, spliced inside of
Nestors reply, show that the "god king" is the most enlightened puppet of
Imperialism. Whatever that's worth!


>El 14 Sep 99 a las 21:44, Macdonald Stainsby nos dice(n):
> >
> >
> > I don't know what on earth to make of this...
> >
> > >
>[The Dalai Lama on Marxism... surprisingly enough,
>supporting its "charitable" side!]
>There are a couple of things to be said on this, and in
>fact it would even deserve some collective comment on the
>lists, Macdonald.
>To begin with, both Lamaism and Christianism have seen
>capitalism's birth. They thus know capitalism is mortal,
>that it is bound to die. I do not know the details of
>Lamaism (I almost know nothing on it, except for the fact that
>for a time at least the Dalai Lama was a puppet of American
>and British imperialism), but I know better on Catholicism.
>So I will expand a little on this side of the issue.
>Catholicism is -the word means exactly this- "the religion
>of all".  As you may know, it was the most succesful
>expression of the wish for equality that arose among the
>deprived masses of the late Roman Empire. Afterwards, the
>priests struck a deal with the Emperor, which was not
>reactionary on _every_ side.
>Let me explain what I mean by this: In the end, Catholic
>Christianism  came to represent the ideal world of the
>early West European Middle Age. We should never forget that
>as compared to slavery, and from the point of view of the
>oppressed, serfdom was a giant leap forward (in fact, it
>was a giant leap back into the mainstream trend of
>development of human societies, since the Mediterranean
>slavery was a somehow "aberrant" formation). Thus, during
>its early centuries (keep an eye on this, the Pope is
>always thinking in terms of centuries!), Catholic
>Christianism had a social task to accomplish, not in the
>mean sense of putting the masses to sleep but in the
>structural sense of giving people of an era the best
>explanation of their own place in the world.
>Under capitalism, this religion saw its deepest grounding
>sternly under attack. The anathema on usury is not a side
>issue in Catholic (Christian in the original sense) mind.
>It is central, in fact, and expresses the hatred of the
>agrarian world towards the world of money, of the
>qualitative though rustic against the quantitative though
>sophisticated. This is why Jews were the most usual
>financiers in the Middle Ages (that is, usurers), and, MOST
>IMPORTANT YET, this is why Protestantism returned to the
>first part of the Gospel, that is, in a sense Judaized
>The Church fought against this with all her might. The
>struggle was made in the name of the old, and slowly
>decaying servile society, but it also contained sincere
>hatred of the cruel world that was being heralded by Luther
>and Calvin. The founder of the order of the Jesuits came
>quite near to the realization of this, and it is not a
>matter of chance that, given the opportunity, they
>attempted to build a theocratic semi-communist society in
>the Paraguay Missions.
>At last, during the 17th. century, the forces of reaction
>in Europe realized that theirs was a lost struggle. In
>France, the Church sided with the Crown, and thus became a
>"national" and quite bourgeois Church; Spain, Portugal and
>Italy paid a heavy price for their respective defeats
>during this century, and their Churches thus remained more
>agrarian and less modernized than the French one. The new
>mode of production, capitalism, began its ascending
>The Church accomodated to  the new conditions, to the point
>that Pope Pius XII (the Pope of the central third of the
>20th. Century, he died by 1958/60 I think, you may check it
>somewhere, Macdonald) became an almost overt ally of the
>hegemonic capitalist powers of each time. He obtained a
>good deal with the Italian bourgeoisie under Mussolini (the
>Italian bourgeois and national revolution, though "cold"
>and from "above", was nevertheless strongly anti-Poppery
>because the power of the Pope in the Peninsula was the
>basic reason for fragmentation and the subjection to
>foreign powers, namely Austria by 1860/70).  He gave some
>support to the Germans and of course blessed every attempt
>at destruction of the Red Slavic Beast on the East. After
>1945 he definitely leant on the USA, to the extreme that in
>1955, in Argentina, the Church gave one of the main
>structures to the anti-Peronist and antinational coup of
>Rojas and Aramburu even though Peronism had been very much
>pro-Church (extremely pro-Church, in a reactionary sense
>even) from 1945 onwards, and the Liberal (antinational)
>rosca that headed the coup looked like a  strongly (though
>formally) anti-Catholic coalition.
>But time passed by, the symptoms of decay of the new
>capitalist order began to appear, and by the mid-60s a new
>wave of popular Catholicism arose, particularly among the
>low Latin American clergy. As for me, I have always watched
>this movement with some critical eye. But no matter what my
>preventions are, the fact is that it exists, and gives an
>outlet to the wishes of the masses that the lower priests
>deal with.
>We should try to make an effort of mind here, and recall
>that no matter all that we (torchbearers of truth and
>justice, etc.!) positively know on this roguish
>organization, the fact is that the priests themselves do
>sincerely believe that soul exists, that their main
>business is to save souls from the claws of Evil, and that
>it is much easier to sin when you are forced by dire
>necessity (that is, by empoverishment -is this well
>spelt?-) than in a more fair community. Thus, they
>criticize capitalism somehow in the way Sir Walter Scott
>and the reactionary Romantics did in the English scenario
>of the late 1700s.
>This is why old religions can see the horrid face of
>capitalism easily.  What they cannot do, however (but we
>should always be cautious and ironic on our own forecasts),
>is to give a way out of it. The mood displayed by the Dalai
>Lama is just that, a deeply seated mood (and probably it
>has to do with the experience of Buddhists in formerly SU
>republics of Central Asia). He can recognize the "moral"
>side of Marxism because his is a "moral" standing also. He
>has first hand info on the results of imposing the
>"ammorality" (in fact the morality of money-making) on his
>own flock. He recognizes the horrid face of this "neutral",
>alienated, meaningless, unilateral capitalist world. And he
>reacts against it. He can do all of this not because he is
>heralding the future, but because he watches capitalism
>from a panoramic vintage point rooted in a very long and
>rich past. Thus, his moral denounciation. The Dalai Lama is
>quite right when he says that
> > > >
> > > >"Of all the modern economic theories, the economic
> > > >system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while
> > > >capitalism is concerned with only with gain and
> > > >profitability.
>But he is not that right when he adds:
> > > > Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth
> > > >on an equal basis and the equitable utilization of the
> > > >means of production.
>What Marxism is concerned with is with the destruction of
>the fetishism of commodity in all and every nook of human
>life. The "distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the
>equitable utilization of the means of production" is a
>petty bourgeois way to say something similar to what
>Marxism wants to achieve. Our ultimate goal is beyond these
>purely economicist intentions, we want to render every and
>each member of the human species a master of her or his own
>destiny. Thus, we want to destroy the economic foundations
>of unequality and tyranny of the few on the many.  And we
>also want to throw to the dustbin the pervasive tendency of
>capitalism (pervasive because structural) to deprive human
>life of meaning, other than the meaning imparted externally
>on it by capital, that is the accumulated energy of the
>past generations that enslaves the present ones.
>He is also slanted, or biased, here:
> > > >It is also concerned with the fate of the working
> > > >classes--that is the majority--as well as the with the
> > > >fate of those who are underprivileged and
> > > >in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of
> > > >minority-imposed exploitation.
>In a sense, we Marxists hate workers as they actually are,
>because capitalism has made them the absolute negation of
>everything that is human. This may not be clearly visible
>on the _material_ ground as taken in abstraction,
>particularly in the First World, but this is increasingly
>visible in their mental complexion. Fukuyama's thesis is a
>demonstration of what I am saying here (and it has just
>crossed my mind the idea that perhaps the D. L. as well as
>the Pope have decided to revolt against Fukuyama's vision).
>Now, when the Lama says that
> > > > For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems
> > >fair. I just recently read an article a paper where his
> > > >holiness the Pope also pointed out some positive
> > > >aspects of Marxism...
>he is proposing a long-term alliance against capitalism.
>Marxists would be very foolish if -out of militant
>irreligiosity- we looked to the other side. I remember the
>VN monks setting themselves afire in Saigon. If a religion
>can make people do that, and do that _in the sense of
>revolution_, there must be something in it that we should
>count on. In fact, the common ground lies in the common
>rejection to the de-humanized world implicit in the rule of
>capital. This is the first world where an abstract,
>non-human (though generated by humans) entity, is
>proclaimed the ruler of the world, PRECISELY BECAUSE IT IS
>NON-HUMAN.  Both the Lama and us vomit at this scenario.
>Nestor, catholically.

How many times have I wondered if it really possible to forge links with a
mass of people when one has never had strong feelings for anyone, not even
one's own parents; if it is possible to have a collectivity when one has not
been deeply loved oneself by individual human creatures. Hasn't this had
some effect on my life as a militant- has it not tended to make me sterile
and reduce my quality as a revolutionary by making everything a matter of
pure intellect, of pure mathematical calculation?
       ---Antonio Gramsci, 1926.

Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

More information about the Marxism mailing list