Religion & Counter-Revolution (was Re: Religion -- or the lack ofit -- should be up to the individual)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Thu Dec 28 15:49:58 MST 2000

Danielle wrote:

>At 07:05 AM 12/25/2000, Jose G. Perez wrote:
>>1) "Religion" is not simply a matter of people believing certain things,
>>but of very concrete, material, social institutions which play a very
>>definite political, ideological and social role.
>Which is why I stated that "we shouldn't shirk from criticizing
>religion as a prop for ruling class ideology."  Religion is a
>personal issue on an individual level, but when organized religion
>uses the cloak of religion to defend the status quo, then we should
>ruthlessly attack it.
>  >One of the central lessons and principles of the Cuban Revolution is that
>>the building of socialism is the task of free, fully conscious women and
>If that's true, then it should be accepted that free, fully
>conscious people might not always do what you want or expect them to
>do.  Where the building of socialism is concerned, I would be more
>concerned about bourgeois counterrevolution than whether some
>comrades hold spiritual beliefs.

Spiritual beliefs & bourgeois counter-revolution can go hand in hand.

*****   The rise and degeneration of Polish Solidarity


...How did a movement that grew out of a working-class struggle
against Stalinism become an agent of capitalist restoration?

Solidarity's leadership

Part of the answer lies in the ideological limitations of the
leadership.  Lech Walesa, the main leader of the Gdansk strike and
subsequently the central leader of the union, was a militant worker,
but also a socially conservative Catholic.  The same was true of many
other working-class activists in the union.  The striking workers at
Gdansk sang hymns and held mass in the shipyard.

Religious beliefs do not necessarily prevent political leaders from
playing a progressive role.  But the fact that the dominant section
of Solidarity's leadership belonged to a church committed to the
defence of private property, and hailed its right-wing social
teachings, was a problem.  It became an even bigger problem when this
leadership became the government of Poland and began to implement
those teachings.

Another component of Solidarity's leadership was a group of
intellectuals who had been active in KOR (the Committee for the
Defence of the Workers), an organisation that had carried out
solidarity with workers' struggles during the 1970s....

[A]fter this movement was crushed by Jaruzelski's repression,
Solidarity's leadership (including both its Catholic and "leftist"
components) adopted a perspective of capitalist restoration.  (Kuron
himself later became minister of labour in Walesa's pro-capitalist
government).  The adoption of a policy of capitalist restoration by
Solidarity's leadership was made easier by the confused political
outlook of most Solidarity activists.

Mixed consciousness

During 1980-81, Solidarity grew to include 10 million members.  The
consciousness of the activists was mixed.  They fought for immediate
economic demands (e.g., wage rises) and democratic demands (e.g.,
freedom of speech).  They also struggled for control of the
factories, in many cases voting the factory directors out of office
and replacing them with new ones.

These demands and struggles represented a progressive response to
Stalinist bureaucratic rule.  Yet there were also some less
progressive elements in the workers' consciousness.

In addition to the socially conservative attitudes promoted by the
Catholic church, many workers were impressed by the relative
prosperity and democratic rights existing in the advanced capitalist
countries and failed to see that the prosperity and freedom of a few
imperialist countries is based on the exploitation and repression of
people in the Third World.

Not understanding imperialism, they failed to solidarise with Third
World struggles for national liberation.  While expressing a general
sympathy with workers everywhere, most did not take much interest in
workers' struggles in the West.  Solidarity's newspaper had hardly
any international news.

Solidarity lacked a clear program and strategy for overthrowing the
bureaucratic regime and creating a democratic worker-ruled society.
The organisation's draft program made reference to socialism as one
source of inspiration, along with Christianity and democracy....

A mass upsurge of working class and popular discontent is necessary
but not sufficient.  A struggle to win the movement to a clear
socialist perspective is necessary.

<>   *****

*****   ...On May 5, 6 and 7, together with diplomats from the Polish
embassy in Cuba and counterrevolutionary leaders Héctor Palacio Ruiz,
Oscar Espinosa Chepe and Pedro Pablo Alvarez Ramos, the four traveled
to the city of Pinar del Río to take part in what they called an
"economists' meeting."  Taking part in this meeting were a small
group of counterrevolutionaries who act under the mantle of the
supposed "Center for Civic-Religious Education."  This organization
was created by the Catholic lay activist Dagoberto Valdéz Hernández,
a systematic slanderer and a bitter enemy of the Revolution.  He
endeavors to protect his fraudulent activities by taking advantage of
the respect, consideration and facilities that the Revolution gives
to activists of the Catholic church and other Christian institutions,
the Jewish community, Afro-Cuban cults and all other religions in
this country.

Within the framework of the supposed "economic" meeting, Senator
Zbigniew Romanszewski organized a conference on May 5 which was
entitled Culture and Globalization.  During this conference, he spoke
about the disappearance of socialism in Poland and the methods that
had been used by the Polish opposition to achieve this, including
those of a clandestine nature....

...The pieces included in the exhibition tried to give a
retrospective of the postwar political processes of Poland, with
emphasis on a negative view of the recovery brought about by Polish
communists.  It showed the rise and development of the Solidarity
union and the part this played in the downfall of Polish socialism
and the support that was given by the Polish Catholic Church to this
turn of events.  The exhibition was promoted by the
political-cultural advisor and press officer of the Polish embassy,
Krzysztof Jacek Hinz.  Its opening was attended by various members of
the diplomatic corps located in Havana, including representatives of
the embassies of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and
Ukraine (all ex-members of the socialist bloc or the USSR), along
with those of the Netherlands, Spain, and others....

<>   *****


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