"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
(Leonard Cohen)
"Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"
(Michael Moorcock)
"Look for your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
(Andre Gide)
"I want my place, my own place, my true place in the world, my proper sphere, my thing which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my life-time."
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
(Franz Kafka)
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated"
(John Donne)
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
(Robert J. Hanlon)
"Life is beautiful, but the world is hell"
(Harold Pinter)

Friday, September 07, 2012

Debate, Solidarity and Internationalism

Lionel Sims: dragon
EXTRACTLater in the week CU saw the launch of Jack Conrad’s Fantastic reality: Marxism and the politics of religion - extensively rewritten and re-edited, with four extra chapters. Comrade Conrad explained in his talk that he had decided to excise some of the sections dealing with immediate or contemporaneous political questions, which by definition would turn out to be essentially ephemeral or of limited relevance, thereby leaving room for more historical material. Not for the first time, the comrade expressed astonishment at the fact that a question of such vital importance for the working class movement has received such scant attention - barely moving on from Karl Kautsky’s magnificent, though far from perfect, 1908 study, The foundations of Christianity.
Comrade Conrad emphasised how communists have no interest in fighting a Richard Dawkins-like ‘war on religion’, let alone in introducing a hellishly oppressive theocracy along the lines of Enver Hoxha’s Albania or some other Stalinist freak society. He reminded us that Marx’s famous comment about religion being the “opium of the people” has been continually misinterpreted, even though the intent should be more than clear. In the 19th century opium was routinely dispensed in order to relieve pain. Religion, therefore - or at least as Marx saw it - was a coping mechanism, or spiritual sticking plaster, sought after by those suffering from social alienation, exploitation and oppression (“the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions”). Armed with this truly humanist understanding, we can see that all religions - to one extent or another - are promising pie in the sky, or communism, when you die. Trying to ‘abolish’ religion without first abolishing the alienated material conditions that give rise to religion is actually an inhuman policy. And another Stalinist legacy.

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