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CHAPTER IX
MARXISM AND COMMUNISM

Atheism and communism
When we speak about Communism including Christian Communism we are immediately connected with the Communism as presented by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao etc. Christians are vary of speaking about them.  What we have seen was that the concept of Communism pre-dates Marx to many centuries at least to Moses. 

Basic philosophy of Marxism is Materialism.  Why was materilism imposed on the members of the Marxist Communists since the concept of communism has no connection with materialism?  This connection came because Marx wanted to establish his theory as a science. His insistence was that the history of mankind is inevitably proceeding from exploitative societies to Socialism and then on to final consumation as Communism. Marx used Hegelian Dialectical reasoning and applied it to conflict within the capitalistic society;  and said “the transformation of Capitalism to Socialism and then to Communism is inevitable.

It is as good as any scientific law and is deterministic. It is inevitable and absolutely certain.  How fast will the process take place alone is determined by the activity of the change enforcing class - the exploited. At the time of Marx, Newtonian Science was insisting on a deterministic world. Everything moves as a clockwork to final predictable end. Newton lived in 1642–1726 and  Marx lived soon after in 1818-1883.  If history is predetermined then his explanation was as good as predictions of any science; as good as the statement: “if a coconut falls from the tree, it will certainly fall on the ground beneath”.  Marx called it scientific communism.  Early communist cells had regular study of Dialectical Materialism which asserted just that.  Today the Quantum Theory (Heisenberg 1927) asserts that even in the physical science there is uncertainty, essentially in the microscopic level.  It is very large when it involves Spiritual dimensions.  It is the spirit that gives life and whenever life forms are involved the uncertainty becomes very large.  The human freewill is the greatest uncertainty factor. According to this argument, capitalism under its conflict with the working class will be taken over by the working class to establish Socialism.  Socialism eventually will bring in Communism as the “State will wither away”

Now looking back on the Dialectical Materialism and the predestined ending of all human society in communism history has definitely proved him wrong. 

 

Here is how the Australian for the informed Matt Ridley puts it,

 

 

Marxism belongs in history’s bin after 100 years of hellish failure

    By Matt Ridley

    The Times

    11:00PM January 2, 2017

Human beings can be remarkably dense. The practice of bloodletting, as a medical treatment, persisted despite centuries of abundant evidence that it did more harm than good. The practice of communism, or political bloodletting as it should perhaps be known, whose centenary in the Bolshevik revolution is reached this year, likewise needs no more tests. It does more harm than good every time. Nationalised, planned, one-party rule benefits nobody, let alone the poor.

The diseases that Marxism-Leninism was intended to treat, poverty and inequality, were ancient scourges just beginning to fade, even in Russia. Higher living standards were starting to reach ordinary people, rather than just the feudal elite, for the first time. Radicals had long seen government as the problem, not the solution: that to enrich the masses required liberating people from kings and priests.

Along came Karl Marx with essentially the opposite suggestion: a powerful state creating wealth, distributed from each according to his ability to each according to his need, as a result of which classes would disappear and with them, eventually, the state itself.

The progressive Left rather suddenly fell in love with the idea of expanding, rather than limiting, state power. It was in such a good cause. Unfortunately, the wealth never materialised and the state, far from withering way, became tyrannical.

Russia’s Bolsheviks, seizing power in a coup after the fall of the tsar, set a pattern that would be repeated again and again during the following century. A communist party takes power on behalf of the people, outlaws all other parties, holds no elections and after a sanguineous power struggle is soon dominated by one man. Famine results from the destruction of incentives inherent in the collectivisation of agriculture. Millions die. The nationalisation of all commerce and the cessation of most foreign trade result in shortages of consumer goods.

The leader becomes paranoid and kills a lot of people, especially independently minded ones, in purges. More are imprisoned without trial or charge. A secret police grows powerful. The regime destroys free speech but is excused and praised by left-leaning sympathisers in Western democracies.

Living standards stagnate or fall, except for those of the elite, who live a privileged existence. Many people try to flee.

Communism was not unique in ruling through violence. Fascism, founded by an ardent socialist, Benito Mussolini, and German National Socialism, pursuing racial rather than class-based collectivism, were at least as bad, though they ended up killing fewer — not for lack of trying.

But from this distance they are all manifestations of the same phenomenon: centrally planned dictatorship justified as popular rule. Hitler’s bombers over London in 1940 burnt Soviet fuel.

In 1949, China repeated the Russian experiment with the same result. Mao Zedong managed to kill even more people, probably 45 million in the four years of the Great Leap Forward, through forced collectivisation and selling food to Russia in exchange for nuclear technology. When that did not work and he began to lose his grip on power, he embarked on a purge of the entire country, called the Cultural Revolution, plunging his people into abject poverty while himself living like an emperor.

In 1959, Cuba tried Marxism-Leninism with a similar outcome: 5000 people executed, an unknown number imprisoned for dissent and tens of thousands dead after trying to escape on makeshift rafts. Cuba’s GDP per capita was about the same as South Korea’s in 1959. Today, South Korea’s is five times higher.

In 1962, Burma followed suit when Ne Win seized power and set out to create a “socialist state”. He introduced one-party rule, nationalised business and isolated the country from world trade, while imprisoning and executing perceived rivals. He impoverished the country while its neighbours prospered.

In 1974, it was Benin’s turn for the purges and oppression. The economy stagnated for a quarter of a century. Elsewhere in Africa, the Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe also tried communism, Robert Mugabe having come to power (lest we forget) as an enthusiastic Marxist-Leninist.

East Germany had to build a wall to stop people escaping. Vietnam, like Cuba, sent thousands to sea in leaky boats. Cambodia deserves special mention for the thoroughness with which it stuck to Marx’s plan of “sweeping aside” the bourgeoisie. As head of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot enslaved the entire population on collective farms, his thugs clubbing or starving any who showed less than total obedience, so that from 1975 to 1979 approximately 1.7 million people were killed.

North Korea managed to turn communism into a feudal dynasty of unparalleled paranoia, which not only executes supposed dissidents in unusually gruesome ways but managed to starve millions of its citizens during the 1990s, a time when the rest of the world was feeding itself ever more abundantly.

Oil-rich Venezuela has ruined itself through socialism, creating shortages of loo paper and soap. It’s been said that if they tried communism in the Sahara, there would soon be a shortage of sand.

Those communist countries that discovered economic growth, notably Vietnam and China after Mao, did so by abandoning nationalisation of the means of production, the very core of the Marxist prescription. They were exceptions that proved the rule.

Need I go on? Communism has killed on average a million people a year for a century, far more than any other ism, let alone what Marxists call “capitalism”, and the rest of us call freedom.

The first communists meant well. Their crime was to bet the farm on an untried idea and then, when it failed (as Lenin’s half-hearted New Economic Policy conceded), to be pig-headedly insensitive to the negative empirical data coming back from the experiment.

Like bloodletting medics, they elevated a principle into a dogma, with no regard to human suffering, in spite of overwhelming evidence.

The Times

End justifies the means.

The next problem is how are we going to hasten this evolutionary process to Communism. Here the materialistic approch has the easy answer - take over the enemy use violent revolution. Is it right to violently kill and take over the enemy?  In the materialistic thought there is nothing absolutely defines right and wrong.  It is right for me if it is good for me. In direct opposition we have the solid admonition of  Jesus:
“For all who take up the sword, will die by the sword” (Matt. 26:52).
The process is as important as the end.

The history verifies Jesus at every step of the communist countries.

It was Gandhi who realized it in South Africa.  He put it in practice for the freedom of India.  Many others followed this method and were successful.

Christian communists hence almost universally insist on nonviolent means, such as passive resistance or winning elections. Some groups are pacifists, such as the Hutterites and Bruderhof , who regard all force as wrong, including forcing a new society on someone.

Religion is the opium of people

But in one case at least he was right.
In the matters relating to the class struggle leading to liberation, even though the biblical support is all for non-violent protests and stuggle asking for “let my people go” church was not always in support of it. Evidently the initial commune experiments under the power of the Holy Spirit failed due to sinfulness of one or more persons within the community, the hermeneutics of the verse was changed.

 

These words were reinterpreted as liberation after death. Everything was spiritualized.

 

It appears we have grossly misunderstood Jesus. In that process we have reintroduced caste system and slavery. We missed the reality that life goes on and death is only a interim period until even death will be conquered. Just as the Israelites refused to proclaim the year of  liberty in accordance with the laws of YHVH,, the church refused to proclaim the liberty here and now and postponed it to the life to come. God may have to restart all over again. It is this attitude and stand that Marx defined as “Religion is the Opium” It was simply a temperary painkiller showing the great hope not on earth but after death.   It also gave a temperary relief to the Capitalists telling them, it is OK now, there is no judgment after the death,  It is only heaven depending only on their faith.

 

Novelist Charles Kingsley (One of the founders of Christian Socialism in England) asserted even before Marx that the Bible had been wrongly used as “an opium-dose for keeping beasts of burden patient while they were being overloaded” and as a “mere book to keep the poor in order” (in Politics for the People, 1848) (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christian-Socialism)

 

 

“The preaching of the bliss of heaven amid the sordid brutalities and squalid abomination of our modern capitalistic hell always seemed to me to ring of insincerity. The doctrine of the Kingdom of God, which was the central doctrine of the teaching of Jesus, interpreted only in a mystical and spiritual sense, failes to satisfy my conscience” (Cummings vicar of Owthorne, Sunday Chronicle 8 December 1912.)

 

This was a new approach even to Christianity Early Christian leaders such as Gregory of Nyssa and John Chrysostom called for good treatment for slaves and condemned slavery, while others supported it in an attempt to live within the given context without disruption of the social system suddenly.

 

However within the early Christian Churches in Rome, they gave slaves an equal place within the religion, allowing them to participate in the liturgy. After all Christianity was then the religion of the Slaves. They often worshipped underground in caves. According to tradition, Pope Clement I (term c. 92–99), Pope Pius I (158–167) and Pope Callixtus I (c. 217–222) were former slaves.  So we see two distinct approaches to the problem of caste within the early Christian Period. One group condemned it and wanted equality at least in treatment and within the Church. Others condoned the slavery for the sake of stability of the existing society. But both groups demanded equality within the Church which was not always easy. James points this out clearly:

 

For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? (Jas 2:2-4)

 

This was particularly serious in the Indian context where the church even had to start new church building and new services for the untouchables and low class and slaves.  The Brahminic Christians did not want these outcastes even to sit in their churches.  I was told that the problem was there even in the Americal Churches.  To solve that problem American Churches had always two floors.  The whites sat in the top floor and the blacks in the ground floor so that they cannot be see each other.

Essentially Marx was able to bring the issue of the underprivileged exploited class all over the world that Capitalists were able to amend themselves to create a Socialist System.
                         

https://www.theeuropean-magazine.com/tomas-sedlacek--3/8477-the-failure-of-the-left-and-communism-today

Sedláček a historian from Czech Republic has this interesting finding: “I find that Marxism as an ideology has utterly failed. History has proven that it is a dead end and eventually turns into a nightmare. On the other hand, modern capitalism itself owes its existence to Marx – and today it is much more sensitive and social than it used to be a hundred years ago. Children do not need to work, workers are protected, and the rich care about the poor, weak, sick and old through the obligatory taxation and relatively generous social system. So Marx proved to be a much better inspiration to capitalism than to communism itself. Communism has failed while capitalism has developed to incorporate the most burning points. I think that Marx would much rather live in a capitalist country in 2014 than in a communist one, past or present. Marx himself was not a Marxist – that is well known.

 

His call to revolution against the system has failed, but he actually served the evolution of the very system he criticized quite well.

 

 

The Thrust of the theological implication of these principles is clearly stated in the following article which was written in 1965 soon after I left Jamaica. This gives the tempo of the   situation of Jamaica at that time.

 

https://www.nyu.edu/projects/ollman/docs/practical_christianity_content.php

Socialism is Practical Christianity
(Written for the People's National Party of Jamaica, 1965)
By Bertell Ollman
[Bertell Ollman is a professor of politics at NYU. He received his D.Phil. at Oxford University in 1967, and has also taught at the University of the West Indies (Jamaica) and been a Visiting Professor at Oxford and Columbia Universities.]

 

Socialism is Practical Christianity
Is this true? Listen to the words of Jesus and decide for yourselves whether Socialism is Practical Christianity.

SOCIALISM MEANS BROTHERHOOD:

"all ye are brethren." (Matthew"23;8)
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."(Matthew: 22; 39)
"All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." (Matthew: 7; 12)
"Let everyone who possesses two shirts share with him who has none, and let him who has food do likewise." (Luke: 3; 11)
"Give to every man that asketh of thee." (Luke: 6; 30)


SOCIALISM MEANS JUSTICE:

"Give and it shall be given unto you...for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (Luke: 6; 38)

SOCIALISM MEANS BEING FOR POOR PEOPLE AND AGAINST THEIR OPPRESSORS:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor...to preach deliverance to the captives." (Luke: 4; 18)

SOCIALISM MEANS OPPOSITION TO THE GREEDY RICH:

"Woe unto you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation."(Luke: 6; 24).
"No man can serve two masters Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew: 6; 24)
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."(Matthew: 19; 23)

 

SOCIALISM MEANS CHRISTIAN CONCERN FOR SOCIAL PROBLEMS:
Jesus' life, as well as his teachings, was a model of concern for his fellow human beings. Though poor in material things, he and his disciples shared what they had with all about them. For centuries afterwards, those who called themselves Christians were most noteworthy for the cooperative fellowship that characterized the community in which Jesus lived. For these men, Christianity was a matter of making over their lives to bring the greatest good to mankind. So, too, for many of the early Christian missionaries who came to Jamaica. It was Churchmen like Knibb, Burchell and Sharpe who fought the planters and got slavery abolished. Land settlement to provide land for the freed slaves and public education for the children of the poor also came about through the efforts of these true Christians. George Williams Gordon and Bogle of St. Thomas were Churchmen who were willing to suffer martyrdom to improve the conditions of the people.


SOCIALISM MEANS THE SOLUTION:

Then, as now, it was not possible to love God without loving one's fellow man, and putting this love into practice. In the modern period, unemployment and its accompanying ills have replaced slavery as the principal evil. Today in Jamaica no true Christian can remain indifferent while hundreds of thousands of his countrymen are ill-fed, badly housed, illiterate, and without proper medical care. Pained by the sight of so much suffering, many high minded Christians have turned to socialism as the solution.

 

SOCIALISM MEANS AN END TO CAPITALIST INJUSTICE:
Capitalism, the system under which we are now living, may be described as a way of life in which, "One soweth, and another reapeth"(John: 4; 37). Well might we say to the wealthy few who own our large estates and factories what Jesus said to his disciples: "you
reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor"(John: 4; 38). The capitalists cease from resting only to eat, while you cease from working only to rest, and eat only when you can. Do you believe that Jesus favored such injustice, he who said, "by their fruits ye shall know them"(Mathew: 7; 20)? The fruits of capitalism in Jamaica can be seen even by the blind; they are poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, crime, greed, and disease. Could the kind and loving Jesus have wanted us to live like this?

 

SOCIALISM MEANS LIVING THE GOLDEN RULE:
Socialism is the exact opposite of capitalism. In socialism, every man carries an equal burden of work and shares equally in the good things that society has to offer. There is no poverty, because all the idle land and machines have been put to use to produce the things people want. Production is aimed at satisfying the needs of the masses rather than the profit interest of a few. There is no unemployment, because a plan has been created to put everyone to work. Illiteracy is soon abolished, and the diseases that plague people are reduced to the few for which advanced medicine has not found a cure. Each individual is given the chance of developing himself to the fullest, with everyone helping him in whatever way they can. The Golden Rule—"as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise"(Luke: 6; 31)—has become the rule which all men follow in their daily lives.

SOCIALISM MEANS THE PEOPLE OWN THEIR COUNTRY:
The journey to socialism is long and hard; but Jesus never said Christianity was easy. The road to socialism passes by way of public ownership of large estates and factories, that is the replacement of private capitalists by the workers, the consumers, the local community, or the national Government. In this way people will own their places of work, either directly or through some body duly elected to represent them. If a man works on his own as a farmer or craftsman, he will continue to do so or become a member of a local cooperative. The choice is his, and, no matter what he chooses, socialism will bring him outstanding benefits in the way of a fair price for his products, security during ill health and old age, greatly improved educational, medical, recreational, and cultural facilities, and much else. Those who work for large firms and estates, on the other hand, will become the common owners of their enterprises. Throughout, cooperation, the brotherhood called for in Christ's teachings, is at the center of socialism, and it will be encouraged in all walks of life and by every possible means.

SOCIALISM DOES NOT MEAN WHAT ITS ENEMIES SAYS IT DOES:
There are a few rich people in Jamaica who hate socialism, because it would take away their special privileges and make them our equals. These selfish men, who own the press and the radio, try to scare people by telling them lies about socialism. These are the "false prophets" of our day. Jesus, too, had put up with many lies told by those who disliked his teachings. Here are some of the worst lies you are likely to hear about socialism. Don't you be fooled.

It is a LIE that socialism is against Christianity. How can it be when socialism is Christianity put into practice? It is a LIE that people cannot worship freely in socialism. It is a LIE that socialism means cutting your goat or house in two and giving half to the government. It is a LIE that socialism means that the small farmer will have his land taken away from him. It is a LIE that socialism will make us all prisoners of the Russians or the Chinese or the Cubans. What nonsense, yet our capitalists are counting on you to believe it.

SOCIALISM IS COMING—WITH YOUR HELP: I
f, indeed, SOCIALISM IS PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY, it is the duty of every Christian to help bring it about as quickly as possible. Keep in mind—all that is needed to win a victory for EQUALITY and BROTHERHOOD is for enough of you, the people of Jamaica, to want it and to will it. In politics, as in religious matters, we have much to learn from Jesus' words:

"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you"(Mathew: 7; 7).

Your children are depending on you. Don't fail them.


SOCIALISM IS PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY
SOCIALISM MEANS BROTHERHOOD
SOCIALISM MEANS EQUALITY
SOCIALISM MEANS JUSTICE
SOCIALISM MEANS BEING FOR POOR PEOPLE AND AGAINST THEIR OPPRESSORS
SOCIALISM MEANS OPPOSITION TO THE GREEDY RICH
SOCIALISM MEANS CHRISTIAN CONCERN FOR SOCIAL PROBLEMS
SOCIALISM MEANS THE SOLUTION
SOCIALISM MEANS AN END TO CAPITALIST INJUSTICE
SOCIALISM MEANS LIVING THE GOLDEN RULE
SOCIALISM MEANS THE PEOPLE OWN THEIR COUNTRY
SOCIALISM DOES NOT MEAN WHAT ITS ENEMIES SAY IT DOES
SOCIALISM IS COMING—WITH YOUR HELP
SOCIALISM IS PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY

According to Prof. Bertell Ollman

“Only Marxism, as an account of the rational unfolding of a basically irrational capitalist system, makes sense of our current chaos. In class struggle, it also points the way out. The rest is up to us.”

Though Marxism as a solution failed miserably just because “without an ultimate authority who will be our standard for what is right and what is wrong except the self of every individual the society will fall back into sin and exploitation one by the other”. Any success of the atheistic movement based on the Power Struggle, will simply lead to another Power which will be more difficult to overcome than Capitalism as was the case in Soviet Union and Mao’s China.