[Marxism] "Communism Is Opium for the People"

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Fri Aug 18 13:29:22 MDT 2006

<blockquote>This struggle for the Russian soul between the Communists,
with their goal of a new society in which religion shall have no
place, and the Orthodox Church, the sectarians, Orthodox Jews, and
Mohammedans, each group offering some special appeal to its own
worshipers, is one of the most complicated and interesting of the
psychological dramas which are being enacted in the Soviet Union
to-day. The struggle is symbolized in one of the main squares of
Moscow, where, on a brick building, opposite the famous shrine of the
Iberian Virgin,(2) were inscribed the words: "Religion is opium for
the people."

In many a worker's home one can find similar evidences of this
struggle. In one corner of the room the wife continues to burn candles
before the traditional Russian ikons, or carved images representing
Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and scenes from the Bible and the lives of the
saints. In another place the Communist husband has arranged his "Lenin
corner," strikingly and suggestively similar to the ikon corner in
general idea, with the pictures of Lenin from childhood to death,
portraits of other Communist leaders, and a few Communist books and

I once stood in a factory church which had been turned into a workers'
club; and here again the substitution of new objects of reverence for
old was very striking. Instead of pictures of the saints, pictures of
Marx and Lenin. Instead of the rich decorations of the typical
Orthodox church, red streamers pro-claiming that with Communism would
come the final liberation of humanity. An adherent of the Russian
church with whom I talked once said: -

"The Communists say that religion is opium for the people. But we can
say, with much more reason, that Communism is opium for the people."

(William Henry Chamberlin, "Soviet Russia: A Living Record and a History,"


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