[A-List] Evangelical Spirit
critical.montages at gmail.com
Sat Apr 7 11:53:37 MDT 2007
On 4/7/07, Omahkohkiaayo_ipoyi <omahkohkiaayo at yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- Yoshie Furuhashi <critical.montages at gmail.com> wrote:
> In contrast, secular leftists in the USA seldom try to encourage
> someone to believe in socialism or anarchism, or to accept either or
> any other way as the way to go, aside from anachronistic ML groups
> perfunctorily selling (or giving away) their papers at this or that
> demonstration, sometimes to the annoyance of other demonstrators and
> clean-up workers. The evangelical spirit is lacking on the Left. Or
> perhaps we on the Left are unsure of our faith to begin with, so we
> don't recommend it to others, or we fear rejections, repercussions,
> etc., still victims of the legacy of the Red Purge. For most on the
> Left, our secular religion is a "private matter" in much of our lives.
> Response Jim C:
> 1) There is no crime in NOT being a communist, only a crime to call oneself
> one and not really be one and/or to attack communists because one is not
> 2) What is "our faith"? The is no one standard doctrine or dogma (just like
> the 467 some denominations of "Christianity" in the U.S. eachsaying they
> and only they are for real and the others, perhaps well-meaning, are
> totally misguided)that we could agree upon to "evangelize";
If there's one thing that unites those who refuse to settle for
liberalism in the USA, that's probably the idea that we must overcome
capitalism to establish a new classless society free from exploitation
and oppressions (though we may differ on how to go about it or may not
even have a clear idea about how to move one step in that direction).
I'd call that "faith," because, while it's in theory possible, facts
on the ground in the global North make it very difficult for many
people in the North, let alone the USA, to even contemplate the idea.
Those on the Left used to think that politics will be the public
sphere in which workers and others become educated and religion will
increasingly become a private matter. What happened in the USA, if
anything, seems to me to be the opposite.
> 4) I would rather stand next to a person of faith who believes that her/his
> faith demandeds that she/he oppose fascism, imperialism, racism, sexism,
> capitalism etc than to stand near a self-rpclaimed communist that in fact
> is a fake, opportunist, interloper, liability, blackmail bait etc.
I agree with you on this 100%. What to call one's belief is immaterial.
> 5) Evangelism and trying to convert often works opposite as communists
> believe that the ultimate cause ands source of "conversion" is reality and
> praxis; but it takes unity of broad united fronts to have effective praxis
> and struggle, and sectarian evangelism, theoretical nitpicking, endles
> debates on why only socialism and communism will save the human race and
> how and why religion is abut another opiate designed to reduce not promote
> praxis and struggle is divisive and rpevents building the kinds of unity
> and praxis that best convert the "unbelivers" in the end. That is partly
> why Marx suggested not attacking religion directly to attachj both religion
> and capitalism but rather to attack capitalism directly in order to later
> attack both capitalism and religion effectively.
> 6) I do believe in studying and attacking some religious dogma directly
> when that dogma clearly has a secular tinge, focus, intent or applications
> in secular struggles; I do this with Mormons (study and attack their sick
> dogma, recruiting practices, inner documents and rituals etc) and some
> forms of Christianity, the Catholic Church and some Islam etc.
I'm not so much interested in studying and struggling with religious
dogmas, for I think that is usually best done -- and _is_ being done
-- by those (more often women than men) who remain in their respective
faiths and denominations and trying their damnedest to make them
The type of evangelical spirit leading, say, some Jehovah's Witnesses,
etc. to go door to door like itinerant salesmen and women selling a
spiritual commodity isn't what I think we can learn from the
At its best, organized religion is about building and sustaining
communities dedicated to a cause bigger than betterment of individual
lives of members, communities to which members willingly make
contributions they can make, and the sharing of knowledge and changing
of minds, evangelism, happens in this communal development.
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