Reply on Religion and Marxism: 2

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at
Wed Jan 3 05:05:34 MST 2001

En relación a Re: Reply on Religion and Marxism: 2,
el 3 Jan 01, a las 1:14, Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx dijo:

> >
> one can be a self-
> identified atheist (as I am), but still believe in the necessity of forming
> alliances with religious people who "are sympethatic to the socialist cause".

True enough! But we should be careful with the "grafting" of "Marxism" into
what are essesntially conservative, petty bourgeois, religiosities such as
those of the Third World Priests. Yes, I know there will be a stir when many
read this. But the idea to effect an abstract miscigenation between Marxism as
an explanation of "how the world goes round" and Christianity as "the morality
that lies ahead and has been bestowed on us by Jesus Himself" is quite sterile
and, in some cases, counter-productive to say the least.

What I feel we Marxists should do is to accept that there may exist an
individual "thirst" for trascendence (individual death will still be a problem
in a future Communist society, a problem that no social mechanism can put an
end to) that, _within the very tissue of religious praxis_, may evolve into
common practice with us. As to what will happen once the ships are set afire
and we reach the new land, I could not care less. If Marx was right, the
establishment of the first truly historical society will tend to make
religiosity wither away. If he was wrong, there will appear a new kind of
search for trascendence at the individual level. I am astonished at the depth
with which cdes. on the list have been debating these issues which, to be
honest, sound too esoteric to my ears.

I believe that this is not an essential issue, much on the line of what follows
by Mine:

> ... we have to move on and regard religion as a
> _tactical_ question , in the sense of _when_, _how_ and _where_ we should
> support it and with _what consequences_ instead of alienating religious people
> totally. Only then can we gain common people on our side and even transform
> religion into a more secular mood

though I do not fully share her example of "secularity":

> (which is what happened when the theology of
> liberation moved Catholicism into an anti-imperilaist&secular direction,
> contributing to the _socialist cause_.

I am afraid that what this theology of liberation represented, in Brazil at
least, where it took the deepest roots, has been of little contribution to the
socialist cause, although it has been a great contribution to the _national_
cause. Now, if we have a dialectical approach we can argue that an advancement
in the terrain of national revolution is, of necessity, an advancement towards
socialism in Latin America. This is true, but as a general rule. The fact that
people are organized by Lib Theologists, and not by Catholic priests who do not
need to graft Marxism into their Christianity to become revolutionary, is not
the best of possibilities.

We have a long reaching historic tradition of revolutionary religiosity in
Latin America, dating back to the 18th. century. This is quite reasonable if
one thinks that many of the priests were of very humble origin and that most of
the intellectual layers of our colonial formations was composed, in many
places, by priests. But this tradition is not a tradition of "grafting into"
religious ideas, it is a tradition of _evolving from religious ideas_ towards
social rebellion. The raging saints took their food from within the body of the
Church, not from outside. This provided them with an authenticity that
sometimes is lacking in Lib. Theologists. I have always believed that their
role has been generally overstated.

In my own country, I have worked with one of the greatest representatives of
the current, Father Carlos Mugica. I cannot explain how much I respect the
figure and work of this Third World Priest, who was murdered shortly after we
began to work with him at the shanty town of Villa 21, during the short exile
of Gral. J.J.Torres in Buenos Aires (the Villa 21 was mostly inhabited by
Bolivians). But at the same time, he was not "coming to our own direction".
Much to the contrary, he turned anti-Marxist (on ideological terms) as soon as
he could grasp the occasion. Our main, and great, coincidences, were on matters
of tactics. As to ideology, we were closer when he remained a true Christian,
not when he attempted to "Marxistize" himself. Thus, one should be careful
before drawing such a black / white prospect as follows:

> This is no longer possible due to the
> rise of _religious right_ in Latin America or elsewhere in former communist
> states, accommodating to neo-liberalism. Counter-revolutionary bourgeois
> religion is what we need to distinguish and oppose, not common sense believers.

What is this _ religious right_? Of course, most (not all) Evangelic sects.
Granted. A good deal of the High Priesthood. Granted. But not every non-Marxist
priest. In my own country, for example, you have the Catholic Church taking a
leftwards bend _as a whole_, with people such as Father Farinello claiming that
he is fed up with the task of bringing comfort to poor people and proposing to
put an end to the model "which is a manufacturing plant that produces poor
people". Farinello could not care about Marxism less. Is he "to the right" of
those priests who earnestly attempted to turn Marx into the continuation of
Christ? I don't think so. I believe that, to the contrary, he is bringing
Christ to Marxism, which is the actual task a honest and revolutionary
Christian should do.

Once we get to the Promised Land, we shall friendly see what will people choose
to do with their thirst for trascendence. But let us get there first.

> )
> comradely,
> Xxxx
> --
> Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
> PhD Student
> Department of Political Science
> SUNY at Albany
> Nelson A. Rockefeller College
> 135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
> Albany, NY 12222
> Shop Safely Online Without a Credit Card

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at

More information about the Marxism mailing list