[Marxism] "Atheism is foundational to Marxism" (??)

dwalters at marxists.org dwalters at marxists.org
Fri Dec 8 17:09:56 MST 2006

Walter writes:   "Why does the Cuban Communist Party, which   DOES permit
believers to be members, take up such a position?   Should the Cuban CP explain
to people that this is really one   of Chavez's weaknesses? IT strike me this
would be unwise."

I have a question for Walter and some comments.

You report the above as if letting people who  "believe" into the CCP is a good
thing. The way you write this you seem to support the CCPs decision.

All well and good, and, it's something I haven't thought too much about, but I
knew 'believers' in the SWP, who generally kept a low profile but people never
really challenged them who didn't agree. I have no problem with this myself. I
remember hearing from leaders of the SWP that "we are atheistic philosophically
but not programmatically". You could, technically, believe in a god and be in
the SWP. My question, then, given that that the decision to allow believers
into the CCP is a relatively new one, their previous position was NOT to allow
them in, do you think that was a mistake? If so, back then, did you put forward
your own position on this during your free exchange of ideas with members of the
CP and other Cubans when you sat around discussing things? I'm trying to figure
out if your positions is decided by the CCP's own position on this or that you
have have genuinely thought about this without prompting from Gramna? I think
this is a fair question.

Secondly, your comparisons of religious folks on the left (the names of Malcolm
X, Camillo Torres, etc)as being somehow overly sensitive to this betrays in you
a weakness in your own ideas over *defending* your own stated view point. I
believe that ALL the people you mentioned, Chavez included, especially Chavez
perhaps, have and welcomed these sorts of discussions. Being an atheist doesn't
mean one is obnoxious or sectarian about it. I'm sure when Chavez told Fidel he
was praying for him, Fidel responded with a heartfelt "thank you". When I
recovered from a near-death disease about 12 years ago, my grandmother-in-law
when she saw me walking finally, she exclaimed "Gracias a dios", or 'thanks to
God'. I of course hugged her, said thank you, and stated "and thank the
doctors, too". So, humor, and sincerity, is important when dealing with
religious folks.

However, 90% or more of my own discussions over God(s)[--> we have a Hindu
working with us] are people who are right-Christian sectarians of one sort or
other, even here in pinko San Francisco. These people WANT to discuss why they
are right and we are wrong. So, naturally, we get into this, a lot. After they
get over actually hearing someone categorically deny the existence of their
god, which comes as a shock, actually, to just about every evangelical or
fundamentalist (evangelicals less so, it seems, since they are out to convert
people anyway) we discuss, argue and try to point out each others faults on
this. Kind of like a good after-Passover discussion with everyone arguing and
slightly inebriated. So, I'm glad to argue from a militantly atheistic Marxist
point of view why there is no god, and I'm proud of this as well. There are
never any hard feelings, btw. What I don't understand is why people would
refrain from wanting to discuss this within the proper and polite context?


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