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CHAPTER FOUR

christian communism
 

Communism today has aquired the status of the Anti-Christ.  Rightly so because of the abject failure of the Soviet Union and China in developing from Socialism to Communism.  The ultimate aim "The State will wither away" did not happen and in its stead Power struggle and utter oppression of one group by another  resulted in the failure and betrayal of the blood of thousands who shed their blood for the realization of the dream of the state of communism.  In India this universal failure led to the conversion of Marxist group into the Naxal Terrorism Gang. This is to be expected from any Atheistic idealogic attempts.  After all right wrong are just mental constructs and has no universal absolute standards without God.

Christian communism is a form of religious communism based on Christianity. It is a theological and political theory based upon the view that the teachings of Jesus Christ compel Christians to support communism as the ideal social system. Although there is no universal agreement on the exact date when Christian communism was founded, many Christian communists assert that evidence from the Bible suggests that the first Christians, including the Apostles, created their own small communist society in the years following Jesus' death and resurrection. As such, many advocates of Christian communism argue that it was taught by Jesus and practiced by the Apostles themselves.

The forgotten History of Early Christian Communism of India.
The mahabali kingdom

( For  a detailed analysis see my book "Emergence of Hinduism from Christianity" ,  "Development of Hinduism", "History of Early Christianity in India" etc)

Soon  after the entry of St.Thomas in India in AD 40 in Mohen-jo-Dero and Harappa Area and later in AD 52 in Kerala there arose a large Christian Community all over India.These were later over ran by the Vaishnavite heresy from within the Church under the influence of Vedism and Syrian Gnosticism.  The history of South India is totally erased by the Vaishnava Kings beyond recognition.  As such there is no history for the first six centuries for Kerala and three centuries for the rest of the Dravidia.  These are referred to by the historians as Kalabhra Inter-regnum.  Kalabhra refers to the Kerala Putras.  Yet the story still remains of the Communistic Society of the Kerala as the Mahabali Myth.  Maha Bali simply translated means "Great Sacrifice", evidently referring to the great sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.  This Mahabali King was defeated by trickery of Vishnu the god of Hindus in an avatar known as Vamana the dwarf.   The story is narrated in the Vaishnava myth as follows:

 

A long long time ago, an Asura (People born of the breath of God) king called Mahabali ruled Kerala. He was a wise, benevolent and judicious ruler and beloved of his subjects. Soon his fame as an able king began to spread far and wide, but when he extended his rule to the heavens and the netherworld, the gods felt challenged and began to fear his growing powers. Presuming that he might become over-powerful, Aditi, the mother of Devas (Aryans) pleaded with Lord Vishnu to curtail Mahabali's powers. Vishnu transformed himself into a dwarf called Vamana and approached Mahabali while he was performing a yajna in the shores of Narmada river and asked for alms. Pleased with the dwarf brahmin's wisdom, Mahabali granted him a wish. The Emperor's preceptor, Sukracharya warned him against making the gift, for he realized that the seeker was no ordinary person. But the  firmly declared that there is no greater sin than going back on one's promise. He kept his word.

The Vamana asked for a simple gift — three paces of land — and the king agreed to it. Vishnu in the guise of Vamana then increased his stature and with the first step covered the sky, blotting out the stars, and with the second, straddled the netherworld. Realising that Vamana's third step will destroy the earth, Mahabali offered his head as the last step so that the earth may be spared.

Vishnu's fatal third step pushed him to the netherworld, but before banishing him to the underworld Mahabali asked for a final wish  to grant him permission to return once a year from exile. Onam is the celebration that marks the homecoming of King Mahabali. It is the day when a grateful Kerala pays a glorious tribute to the memory of this benign king who gave his all for his subjects. 

Onam is the only festival that is celebrated by Christians, Hindus and all the castes without a difference.  Hindus celebrate as a victory.  Others look forward to the final return of Mahabali to re-establish the glorious Kingdom.

This is how the rule under Mahabali is described:

 "Maveli Nadu Vanidum Kalam
Manusharellarum Onnupole
Amodathode vasikum kalam
apathangarkumottilla thanum
Adhikal Vyadhikal Onnumilla
Bala maranangal Kelkanilla
Kallavumilla Chathivumilla
Ellolamilla Poli Vachanam
Kallaparyum Cheru Nazhiyum
Kallatharangal mattonumilla”

It translates as:
' When Maveli, our King, ruled the land,
All the people were as One.
And people live joyful and merry;
They were all free from harm.
There was neither anxiety nor sickness,
Death of the children were never even heard of,
There were no lies,
There is neither theft nor deceit,
And no one is false in speech either.
Measures and weights were right;
No one cheated or wronged their neighbor.
When Maveli, our King, ruled the land,
All the peoples formed one casteless race.'
This Kingdom of God the Christian Communism on earth was defeated first at the shores of Narmada River and then finally Kerala itself was ran over by the Parasurama invasion when the Brahmins who were allowed to enter Kerala used Terrorism and became the Kings of Kerala.  Thus the history re-emerged in Kerala from 6th century as Hindu Kingdoms.  Even today none of the Kerala Brahmins can trace their family beyond 6th century when they came to Kerala from the North.

Along with that the caste system also came to South India.  The Old memory still lingers through Onam and we look forward to that state of existence in hope.  This is one of the reasons why world's first democratically elected Communist government was in Kerala.  Disillusioned by Atheistic Marxism, we still hope in the great Mahabali and look forward to his second coming in glory to establish His kingdom on earth.

Aurelius Ambrosius,


Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose (c. 330 – 397), was the Archbishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church and the teacher of St.Augustine.

St Ambrose wrote:

"Nature has poured fourth all things for all men, to be held in common. For God commanded all things to be produced so that food be common to all and that the Earth should be a common possession to all. Nature therefore created common right. Habit created private right. Since, therefore, His bounty is common, how is it that you have so many fields, and your neighbor not even a clod of earth?"

Christian communism can be seen as a radical form of Christian socialism. Christian communists may or may not agree with various parts of Marxism. They generally do not agree with the antireligious views held by secular Marxists, but do agree with many of the economic and existential aspects of Marxist theory, such as the idea that capitalism exploits the working class by extracting surplus value from the workers in the form of profits and that wage-labor is a tool of human alienation that promotes arbitrary and unjust authority. Christian communism, like Marxism, also holds that capitalism encourages the negative aspects of human nature, supplanting values such as mercy, kindness, justice and compassion in favor of greed, selfishness and blind ambition. However in the case of Marxism, there is no reason other than selfishness and social contract and concession to arrive at the goal where everyone can win in gross contrast to Christian absolutes of God who is defined as Love and the eternal values.

Christian communists however do share some of the political goals of Marxists, for example replacing capitalism with socialism, which should in turn be followed by communism at a later point in the future. However, Christian communists  disagree with Marxists (and particularly with Leninists) on the way a socialist or communist society should be organized. In general, Christian communism evolved independently of Marxism, and most Christian communists share the conclusions but not the underlying premises of Marxist communists.  As a result the Christians did collaborate with the Marxist in their programs while strongly disagreeing with their basic philosophy and some times their methodology.  Martin Luther King in one of his sermons - which I quote in length - deals with the issue clearly in the context of the Liberation theology.

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www.redmoonrising.com 

How Should A Christian View Communism?

Martin Luther King, Jr.


 

"Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream" (Amos 5:24).

Few issues demand a more thorough and sober discussion than that presented by Communism. For at least three reasons every Christian minister should feel obligated to speak to his people on this controversial theme.

The first reason recognizes that the widespread influence of Communism has, like a mighty tidal wave, spread through Russia, China, Eastern Europe, and now, even to our own Hemisphere. Nearly one billion of the peoples of the world believe in its teachings, many of them embracing it as a new religion to which they have surrendered completely. Such a force cannot be ignored.

A second reason is that Communism is the only serious rival to Christianity. Such great world religions as Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Mohammedanism are possible alternatives to Christianity, but no one conversant with the hard facts of the modem world will deny that Communism is Christianity's most formidable rival.

A third reason is that it is unfair and certainly unscientific to condemn a system before we know what that system teaches and why it is wrong.

Let me state clearly the basic premise of this sermon: Communism and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible. A true Christian cannot be a true Communist, for the two philosophies are antithetical and all the dialectics of the logicians cannot reconcile them. Why is this true?

I.

First, Communism is based on a materialistic and humanistic view of life and history. According to Communist theory, matter, not mind or spirit, speaks the last word in the universe. Such a philosophy is avowedly secularistic and atheistic. Under it, God is merely a figment of the imagination, religion is a product of fear and ignorance, and the church is an invention of the rulers to control the masses. Moreover, Communism, like humanism, thrives on the grand illusion that man, unaided by any divine power, can save himself and usher in a new society--

I fight alone, and win or sink,
          I need no one to make me free;
   I want no Jesus Christ to think,
         That He could ever die for me.

Cold atheism wrapped in the garments of materialism, Communism provides no place for God or Christ.

At the center of the Christian faith is the affirmation that there is a God in the universe who is the ground and essence of all reality. A Being of infinite love and boundless power, God is the creator, sustainer, and conserver of values. In opposition to Communism's atheistic materialism, Christianity posits a theistic idealism. Reality cannot be explained by matter in motion or the push and pull of economic forces. Christianity affirms that at the heart of reality is a Heart, a loving Father who works through history for the salvation of his children. Man cannot save himself, for man is not the measure of all things and humanity is not God. Bound by the chains of his own sin and finiteness, man needs a Savior.

Second, Communism is based on ethical relativism and accepts no stable moral absolutes. Right and wrong are relative to the most expedient methods for dealing with class war. Communism exploits the dreadful philosophy that the end justifies the means. It enunciates movingly the theory of a classless society, but alas! its methods for achieving this noble end are all too often ignoble. Lying, violence, murder, and torture are considered to be justifiable means to achieve the millennial end. Is this an unfair indictment? Listen to the words of Lenin, the real tactician of Communist theory: "We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, lawbreaking, withholding and concealing truth." Modem history has known many tortuous nights and horror-filled days because his followers have taken this statement seriously.

In contrast to the ethical relativism of Communism, Christianity sets forth a system of absolute moral values and affirms that God has placed within the very structure of this universe certain moral principles that are fixed and immutable. The law of love as an imperative is the norm for all of man's actions. Furthermore, Christianity at its best refuses to live by a philosophy of ends justifying means. Destructive means cannot bring constructive ends, because the means represent the-ideal-in-the-making and the-end-in-progress. Immoral means cannot bring moral ends, for the ends are preexistent in the means.

Third, Communism attributes ultimate value to the state. Man is made for the state and not the state for man. One may object, saying that in Communist theory the state is an "interim reality," which will "wither away" when the classless society emerges. True--in theory; but it is also true that, while it lasts, the state is the end. Man is a means to that end. Man has no inalienable rights. His only rights are derived from, and conferred by, the state. Under such a system, the fountain of freedom runs dry. Restricted are man's liberties of press and assembly, his freedom to vote, and his freedom to listen and to read. Art, religion, education, music, and science come under the gripping yoke of government control. Man must be a dutiful servant to the omnipotent state.

All of this is contrary, not only to the Christian doctrine of God, but also to the Christian estimate of man. Christianity insists that man is an end because he is a child of God, made in God's image. Man is more than a producing animal guided by economic forces; he is a being of spirit, crowned with glory and honor, endowed with the gift of freedom. The ultimate weakness of Communism is that it robs man of that quality which makes him man. Man, says Paul Tillich, is man because he is free. This freedom is expressed through man's capacity to deliberate, decide, and respond. Under Communism, the individual soul is shackled by the chains of conformity; his spirit is bound by the manacles of party allegiance. He is stripped of both conscience and reason. The trouble with Communism is that it has neither a theology nor a Christology; therefore it emerges with a mixed-up anthropology. Confused about God, it is also confused about man. In spite of its glowing talk about the welfare of the masses, Communism's methods and philosophy strip man of his dignity and worth, leaving him as little more than a depersonalized cog in the ever-turning wheel of the state.

Clearly, then, all of this is out of harmony with the Christian view of things. We must not fool ourselves. These systems of thought are too contradictory to be reconciled; they represent diametrically opposed ways of looking at the world and of transforming it. We should as Christians pray for the Communist constantly, but never can we, as true Christians, tolerate the philosophy of Communism.

Yet, something in the spirit and threat of Communism challenges us. The late Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, referred to Communism as a Christian heresy. He meant that Communism had laid hold on certain truths which are essential parts of the Christian view of things, although bound to them are theories and practices which no Christian could ever accept.

II.

The theory, though surely not the practice, of Communism challenges us to be more concerned about social justice. With all of its false assumptions and evil methods, Communism arose as a protest against the injustices and indignities inflicted upon the underprivileged. The Communist Manifesto was written by men aflame with a passion for social justice. Karl Marx, born of Jewish parents who both came from rabbinic stock, and trained, as he must have been, in the Hebrew Scriptures, could never forget the words of Amos: "Let judgment roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." Marx's parents adopted Christianity when he was a child of six, thus adding to the Old Testament heritage that of the New. In spite of his later atheism and antiecclesiasticism, Marx could not quite forget Jesus' concern for "the least of these." In his writings, he champions the cause of the poor, the exploited, and the disinherited.

Communism in theory emphasizes a classless society. Although the world knows from sad experience that Communism has created new classes and a new lexicon of injustice, in its theoretical formulation it envisages a world society transcending the superficialities of race and color, class and caste. Membership in the Communist party theoretically is not determined by the color of a man's skin or the quality of blood in his veins.

Christians are bound to recognize any passionate concern for social justice. Such concern is basic in the Christian doctrine of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The Gospels abound with expressions of concern for the welfare of the poor. Listen to the words of the Magnificat: "He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away." No doctrinaire Communist ever expressed a passion for the poor and oppressed such as we find in the Manifesto of Jesus which affirms: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

Christians are also bound to recognize the ideal of a world unity in which all barriers of caste and color are abolished. Christianity repudiates racism. The broad universalism standing at the center of the gospel makes both the theory and practice of racial injustice morally unjustifiable. Racial prejudice is a blatant denial of the unity which we have in Christ, for in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free, Negro nor white.

In spite of the noble affirmations of Christianity, the church has often lagged in its concern for social justice and too often has been content to mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. It has often been so absorbed in a future good "over yonder" that it forgets the present evils "down here." Yet the church is challenged to make the gospel of Jesus Christ relevant within the social situation. We must come to see that the Christian gospel is a two-way road. On the one side, it seeks to change the souls of men and thereby unite them with God; on the other, it seeks to change the environmental conditions of men so that the soul will have a chance after it is changed. Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and yet is not concerned with the economic and social conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is the kind the Marxist describes as "an opiate of the people."

Honesty also impels us to admit that the church has not been true to its social mission on the question of racial justice. In this area it has failed Christ miserably. This failure is due, not only to the fact that the church has been appallingly silent and disastrously indifferent in the realm of race relations, but even more to the fact that it has often been an active participant in shaping and crystallizing the patterns of the race-caste system. Colonialism could not have been perpetuated if the Christian Church had really taken a stand against it. One of the chief defenders of the vicious system of apartheid in South Africa today is the Dutch Reformed Protestant Church. In America slavery could not have existed for almost two hundred and fifty years if the church had not sanctioned it, nor could segregation and discrimination exist today if the Christian Church were not a silent and often vocal partner. We must face the shameful fact that the church is the most segregated major institution in American society, and the most segregated hour of the week is, as Professor Liston Pope has pointed out, eleven o'clock on Sunday morning. How often the church has been an echo rather than a voice, a taillight behind the Supreme Court and other secular agencies, rather than a headlight guiding men progressively and decisively to higher levels of understanding.

The judgment of God is upon the church. The church has a schism in its own soul that it must close. It will be one of the tragedies of Christian history if future historians record that at the height of the twentieth century the church was one of the greatest bulwarks of white supremacy.

III.

In the face of the Communist challenge we must examine honestly the weaknesses of traditional capitalism. In all fairness, we must admit that capitalism has often left a gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty, has created conditions permitting necessities to be taken from the many to give luxuries to the few, and has encouraged small-hearted men to become cold and conscienceless so that, like Dives before Lazarus, they are unmoved by suffering, poverty-stricken humanity. Although through social reform American capitalism is doing much to reduce such tendencies, there is much yet to be accomplished. God intends that all of his children shall have the basic necessities for meaningful, healthful life. Surely it is unchristian and unethical for some to wallow in the soft beds of luxury while others sink in the quicksands of poverty.

The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspires men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. It can make men so I-centered that they no longer are Thou-centered. Are we not too prone to judge success by the index of our salaries and the size of the wheel base on our automobiles, and not by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity? Capitalism may lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the theoretical materialism taught by Communism.

We must honestly recognize that truth is not to be found either in traditional capitalism or in Marxism. Each represents a partial truth. Historically, capitalism failed to discern the truth in collective enterprise and Marxism failed to see the truth in individual enterprise. Nineteenth-century capitalism failed to appreciate that life is social, and Marxism failed, and still fails, to see that life is individual and social. The Kingdom of God is neither the thesis of individual enterprise nor the antithesis of collective enterprise, but a synthesis which reconciles the truth of both.

IV.

Finally, we are challenged to dedicate our lives to the cause of Christ even as the Communists dedicate theirs to Communism. We who cannot accept the creed of the Communists recognize their zeal and commitment to a cause which they believe will create a better world. They have a sense of purpose and destiny, and they work passionately and assiduously to win others to Communism. How many Christians are as concerned to win others to Christ? Often we have neither zeal for Christ nor zest for his kingdom. For so many Christians, Christianity is a Sunday activity having no relevancy for Monday and the church is little more than a secular social club having a thin veneer of religiosity. Jesus is an ancient symbol whom we do the honor of calling Christ, and yet his Lordship is neither affirmed nor acknowledged by our substanceless lives. Would that the Christian fire were burning in the hearts of all Christians with the same intensity as the Communist fire is burning in the hearts of Communists! Is Communism alive in the world today because we have not been Christian enough?

We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. We must recapture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel. Their reward for this audacious witness was often the excruciating agony of a lion's den or the poignant pain of a chopping block, but they continued in the faith that they had discovered a cause so great and had been transformed by a Savior so divine that even death was not too great a sacrifice. When they entered a town, the power structure became disturbed. Their new gospel brought the refreshing warmth of spring to men whose lives had been hardened by the long winter of traditionalism. They urged men to revolt against old systems of injustice and old structures of immorality. When the rulers objected, these strange people, intoxicated with the wine of God's grace, continued to proclaim the gospel until even men and women in Caesar's household were convinced, until jailers dropped their keys, and until kings trembled on their thrones. T. R. Glover has written that the early Christians "out-thought, out-lived, and out-died" everyone else.

Where is that kind of fervor today? Where is that kind of daring, revolutionary commitment to Christ today? Is it hidden behind smoke screens and altars? Is it buried in a grave called respectability? Is it inextricably bound with nameless status quos and imprisoned within cells of stagnant mores? This devotion must again be released. Christ must once more be enthroned in our lives.

This is our best defense against Communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and who through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days when Christians must evince wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problems of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-Communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against Communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice and righteousness. After our condemnation of the philosophy of Communism has been eloquently expressed, we must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, injustice, and racial discrimination which are the fertile soil in which the seed of Communism grows and develops. Communism thrives only when the doors of opportunity are closed and human aspirations are stifled. Like the early Christians, we must move into a sometimes hostile world armed with the revolutionary gospel of Jesus Christ. With this powerful gospel we shall boldly challenge the status quos and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed."

Our hard challenge and our sublime opportunity is to bear witness to the spirit of Christ in fashioning a truly Christian world. If we accept the challenge with devotion and valor, the bell of history will toll for Communism. and we shall make the world safe for democracy and secure for the people of Christ.

The same was repeated
. by King in 30 September 1962
“Can a Christian Be a Communist?”
Sermon Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Atlanta, Ga


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In the midst of  Marxism's myriad of jargon-ridden concepts in philosophy, economics, and culture,  Marx's devotion to communism was his crucial focus, far more central than materialism, the class struggle, the dialectic, the theory of surplus value, and all the rest.  We seem to miss the point that Karl Marx's father, a jew converted with the whole family into Christianity when Karl was just six years old.  Karl was a member of Christian Socialist Party which he took over eventually and converted it to communist Party.

Communism is defined by dictionary.com with three meanings as

1) a theory of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state,

2)  a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party,

3)  the principles and practices of the Communist party.

The first meaning of communism is the form of community Jesus Christ taught is the one Christians should establish.

The other two meanings depict the secular, atheistic form of totalitarian political regime advocated by Karl Marx and others. For, “Cold atheism wrapped in the garments of materialism, [Karl Marx's] Communism provides no place for God or Christ”, said Dr Martin Luther King. “ Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, referred to Communism as a Christian heresy. He meant that Communism had laid hold on certain truths which are essential parts of the Christian view of things, although bound to them are theories and practices which no Christian could ever accept.” 

In my lectures on the Kingdom of God, I have shown how throughout the ages since the Pentecost, Christians did try to live in Communes.  Most often they simply failed because of the sinful selfishness of one of its members as happenned in the First Christian Commune of Jerusalem.  The Bible confirms such a failure in the Apostolic Commune of the early Jewish church in the persons of Ananias and Saphira.

Radical Pre-Reformation and Reformation

WaldoAtLutherDenkmal.JPG
Peter Waldo

·         Some features of Waldensian movement and associated communes in northern Italy in the 13th and 14th centuries followed certain aspects of communal ownership.

·         Czech Taborites (radical section of the Hussite movement) in the 15th century attempted to build a society of shared property in the city of Tábor in south Bohemia.  Tábor   is a city of the Czech Republic, in the South Bohemian Region. It is named after Mount Tabor, which is believed by many to be the place of the Transfiguration of Christ. The town was founded in the spring of 1420 by Petr Hromádka of Jistebnice and Jan Bydlínský of Bydlín from the most radical wing of the Hussites, who soon became known as the Taborites. The town is iconic for the years in which it flourished as an egalitarian peasant commune. 

The Taborites taught –

“In these days there shall be no king, ruler, or subject on the earth, and all imposts and taxes shall cease; no one shall force another to do anything, for all shall be equal brothers and sisters.

“As in the town of Tabor there is no mine or thine, but all is held in common, so shall everything be common to all, and no one own anything for himself alone. Whoever does so commits a deadly sin.”

As a consequence of these propositions, the Taborites concluded that it was no longer seemly to have a king, but that God Himself should be king over mankind, and the government be put into the hands of the people. All princes, nobles, and knights were to be uprooted as weeds and utterly exterminated. Imposts, taxes, and payments were to cease, and all laws of princes, nations, towns, and peasants be abrogated as inventions of men and not of God."

It was natural that in its realisation communism should assume the forms handed down by tradition from primitive Christianity, and that it should accord with the existing conditions of production.

Each community had a common box called “coop,” to which every one brought what he called his own. There were three such boxes, one in each of the towns of Pisek, Tabor, and Wonian. The brothers and sisters sold all their possessions and laid them at the feet of the comptrollers of these coops.

 Even though the Taborites ceased to play an important political role, their theological thinking strongly influenced the foundation and rise of the Unity of the Brethren (Unitas Fratrum) in 1457 today   called the Moravian Church.

 


Thomas Muntzer

·          Thomas Müntzer and the so-called Zwickau prophets had a strong social egalitarian spirit. Under the leadership of Müntzer, it became a war against all constituted authorities and an attempt to establish by revolution an ideal Christian commonwealth, (omnia sunt communia, all things are in common) with absolute equality and the community of goods.  In 15 May 1525, Müntzer led a group of about 8000 peasants at the battle of Frankenhausen against political and spiritual oppression, convinced that God would intervene on their side.   Utterly defeated, captured, imprisoned and tortured, he was made to recant  and accept the Roman Catholic mass prior to his beheading in Mühlhausen in Thuringia on 27 May 1525

Seal of the Germantown congregation


Schwarzenau Brethren
(the German Baptists or Dunkers)

·         European Radical Reformation of Anabaptist and different groups of Schwarzenau Brethren started processes which later led to communal movements of Shakers or Hutterites. Originating in the Austrian province of Tyrol in the 16th century, the forerunners of the Hutterites migrated to Moravia to escape persecution. There, under the leadership of Jakob Hutter, they developed the communal form of living based on the New Testament books of theActs of the Apostles (Chapters 2 (especially Verse 44), 4, and 5) and 2 Corinthians—which distinguishes them from other Anabaptists such as the Amish and Mennonites. Hutterites practice a near-total community of goods: all property is owned by the colony, and provisions for individual members and their families come from the common resources. This practice is based largely on Hutterite interpretation of passages in chapters 2, 4, and 5 of Acts, which speak of the believers "having all things in common". Thus the colony owns and operates its buildings and equipment like a corporation. Housing units are built and assigned to individual families but belong to the colony and there is very little personal property. Meals are taken by the entire colony in a dining or fellowship room.

·         The Anabaptist Münster Rebellion of 1534–1535 attempted to establish a society based on community of goods.

All these reformation attempts were led by biblical literalism in which they referred to previously mentioned passages from the Book of Acts. Radicalism of their social experiments was further heightened by Chiliasm and ardent expectation of Theocracy.

·         One text that develops the argument that communistic tendencies were present in radical reformation era movements in Europe isCommunism in Central Europe in the Time of the Reformation by the Marxian theorist Karl Kautsky

·         When the Pilgrims arrived in America they formed the Plymouth Colony based on the early Christian commune principles. It also failed because the members did not put in enough work to maintain.  They all failed because of the sinfulness of Man. I have a list of such continued experimentations in Christian Communes all over the world.  They all invariably fell apart because of the human selfishness and lack of management of the communes to keep it directed. 

Yet Communism was the great goal, the vision, the desideratum, the ultimate end that would make the sufferings of mankind throughout history worthwhile. History was the history of suffering, of class struggle, of the exploitation of man by man.

In the same way as the return of the Messiah, in Christian theology, will put an end to history and establish a new heaven and a new earth, so the establishment of communism would put an end to human history.  The identity of purposes and concepts of communism with the Kingdom of God is unquestionable.  Private property is eliminated, individualism goes by the board, individuality is flattened,   all property is owned and controlled communally, and the individual units of the new collective organism are in some way made "equal" to one another.  All individuals form part of the body of God doing their specific function just as the early Church was supposed to act as the body of Christ in oneness.

 
True Levellers and
The Diggers
Gerrard Winstanley(1609 – 1676)

In the 17th century the True Levellers, followers of Gerrard Winstanley(1609 – 1676), believed in the concept of "levelling men's estates" in order to create equality. They also took over common land for what they believed to be the common good.  They were also known as the Diggers because they digged the land according to the command of God to Adam.

The Diggers were a group of Protestant English agrarian communists,  begun by Gerrard Winstanley as True Levellers in 1649, who became known as Diggers due to their activities.

Title page of The True Levellers' Standard, published 26th April 1649.

050

Militant Seedbeds Of Early Quakerism by David David Boulton describes the evolution as follows:
http://universalistfriends.org/library/militant-seedbeds-of-early-quakerism

Early in 1649 he had a vision, much as Fox was to have at Pendle three years later. In his vision, or “trance”, Winstanley was instructed: “Work together. Eat bread together. Declare this all abroad… I the Lord have spoke it”. Winstanley interpreted this as a call to action, and on April 1, with a small band of fellow-Diggers, he took possession of some common land at St. George’s Hill, near Walton-on-Thames, and established a community to till the ground in common, sharing labour and produce. One of his companions, William Everard, reportedly predicted that they would be thousands-strong within ten days. In fact, some fifty men with their families joined them, and over the next twelve months perhaps thirty similar communes came into being, albeit tentatively and briefly, throughout south-east England.


The St. George’s Hill community was immediately attacked by mobs led by those who claimed exclusive proprietary rights to the commons. Leadership of the mob was quickly assumed by the local parson, John Platt, a puritan minister and landlord who objected in both capacities to the actions of those who were now calling themselves “True Levellers”. Crops were dug up, shelters pulled down and burnt, and women and children physically assaulted.

 


 
 The following is the original Christian Communist / Dalit Manifesto written long before Marx or any atheistic intervention to the true Christian Communes.

The True
Levellers Standard
ADVANCED:
The State of Community Opened, and Presented
to the Sons of Men.

By
Jerrard Winstanley, William Everard, Richard Goodgroome, John Palmer, Thomas Starre, John South, William Hoggrill, John Courton, Robert Sawyer, William Taylor, Thomas Eder, Christopher Clifford, Henry Bickerstaffe, John Barker. John Taylor, &c.
Beginning to Plant and Manure the Waste land upon George-Hill, in the parish of Walton, in the County of Surrey.

L O N D O N
Printed in the Yeer, MDCXLIX.

A Declaration to the Powers of England, and to all the Powers of the World, shewing the Cause why the Common People of England have begun, and gives Consent to Digge up, Manure, and Sow Corn upon George-Hill in Surrey; by those that have Subscribed, and thousands more that gives Consent.

In the beginning of Time, the great Creator Reason, made the Earth to be a Common Treasury, to preserve Beasts, Birds, Fishes, and Man, the lord that was to govern this Creation; for Man had Domination given to him, over the Beasts, Birds, and Fishes; but not one word was spoken in the beginning, That one branch of mankind should rule over another.

And the Reason is this, Every single man, Male and Female, is a perfect Creature of himself; and the same Spirit that made the Globe, dwels in man to govern the Globe; so that the flesh of man being subject to Reason, his Maker, hath him to be his Teacher and Ruler within himself, therefore needs not run abroad after any Teacher and Ruler without him, for he needs not that any man should teach him, for the same Anoynting that ruled in the Son of man, teacheth him all things.

But since humane flesh (that king of Beasts) began to delight himself in the objects of the Creation, more then in the Spirit Reason and Righteosness, who manifests himself to be the indweller in the Five Sences, of Hearing, Seeing, Tasting, Smelling, Feeling; then he fell into blindness of mind and weakness of heart, and runs abroad for a Teacher and Ruler: And so selfish imaginations taking possession of the Five Sences, and ruling as King in the room of Reason therein, and working with Covetousnesse, did set up one man to teach and rule over another; and thereby the Spirit was killed, and man was brought into bondage, and became a greater Slave to such of his own kind, then the Beasts of the field were to him.

And hereupon, The Earth (which was made to be a Common Treasury of relief for all, both Beasts and Men) was hedged in to In-closures by the teachers and rulers, and the others were made Servants and Slaves: And that Earth that is within this Creation made a Common Store-house for all, is bought and sold, and kept in the hands of a few, whereby the great Creator is mightily dishonoured, as if he were a respector of persons, delighting int he comfortable Livelihoods of some, and rejoycing in the miserable povertie and straits of others. From the beginning it was not so.

But this coming in of Bondage, is called "A-dam", because this ruling and teaching power without, doth "dam" up the Spirit of Peace and Liberty; First within the heart, by filling it with slavish fears of others. Secondly without, by giving the bodies of one to be imprisoned, punished and oppressed by the outward power of another. And this evil was brought upon us through his own Covetousnesse, whereby he is blinded and made weak, and sees not the Law of Righteousnesse in his heart, which is the pure light of Reason, but looks abroad for it, and thereby the Creation is cast under bondage and curse, and the creator is sleighted; First by the Teachers and Rulers that sets themselves down in the Spirits room, to teach and rule, where he himself is only King. Secondly by the other, that refuses the Spirit, to be taught and governed by fellow Creatures, and this was called Israels Sin, in casting off the Lord and chusing Saul, one like themselves to be their King, when as they had the same Spirit of Reason and government in themselves, as he had, if they were but subject. And Israels rejecting of outward teachers and rulers to embrace the Lord, and to be all taught and ruled by that righteous King, that Jeremiah Prophesied shall rule in the new Heavens and new Earth in the latter dayes, will be their Restauration from bondage, Jer. 23.5, 6.

But for the present state of the old World that is running up like parchment in the fire, and wearing away, we see proud Imaginary flesh, which is the wise Serpent, rises up in flesh and gets dominion in some to rule over others, and so forces one part of the Creation man, to be a slave to another; and thereby the Spirit is killed in both. The one looks upon himself as a teacher and ruler, and so is lifted up in pride over his fellow Creature: The other looks upon himself as imperfect, and so is dejected in his spirit, and looks upon his fellow Creature of his own Image, as a Lord above him.

And thus Esau, the man of flesh, which is Covetousness and Pride, hath killed Jacob, the Spirit of meeknesse, and righteous government in the light of Reason, and rules over him: And so the Earth that was made a common Treasury for all to live comfortably upon, is become through mans unrighteous actions one over another, to be a place, wherein one torments another.

Now the great Creator, who is the Spirit Reason, suffered himself thus to be rejected, and troden underfoot by the covetous proud flesh, for a certain time limited; therefore saith he, The Seed out of whom the Creation did proceed, which is my Self, shall bruise this Serpents head, and restore my Creation again from this curse and bondage; and when I the King of Righteousnesse raigns in every man, I will be the blessing of the Earth and the joy of all Nations.

And since the coming in of the stoppage, or the A-dam the Earth hath been inclosed and given to the Elder brother Esau, or man of flesh, and hath been bought and sold from one to another; and Jacob, or the younger brother, that is to succeed or come forth next, who is the universal spreading power of righteousnesse that gives liberty to the whole Creation, is made a servant.

And this Elder Son, or man of bondage, hath held the Earth in bondage to himself, not by a meek Law of Righteousnesse, But by subtle selfish Councels, and by open and violent force; for wherefore is it that there is such Wars and rumours of Wars in the Nations of the Earth? and wherefore are men so mad to destroy one another? But only to uphold Civil propriety of Honor, Dominion and Riches one over another, which is the curse the Creation groans under, waiting for deliverance.

But when once the Earth becomes a Common Treasury again, as it must, for all the Prophesies of Scriptures and Reason are Circled here in this Community, and mankind must have the Law of Righteousness once more writ in his heart, and all must be made of one heart, and one mind.

Then this Enmity in all Lands will cease, for none shall dare to seek a Dominion over others, neither shall any dare to kill another, nor desire more of the Earth then another; for he that will rule over, imprison, oppresse, and kill his fellow Creatures, under what pretence soever, is a destroyer of the Creation, and an actor of the Curse, and walks contrary to the rule of righteousnesse: (Do, as you would have others do to you; and love your Enemies, not in words, but in actions).

Therefore you powers of the Earth, or Lord Esau, the Elder brother, because youy have appeared to rule the Creation, first take notice, That the powere that sets you to work, is selvish Covetousness, and an aspiring Pride, to live in glory and ease over Jacob, the meek Spirit; that is, the Seed that lies hid, in & among the poor Common People, or younger Brother, out of whom the blessing of Deliverance is to rise and spring up to all Nations.

And Reason, the living king of righteousnesse, doth only look on, and lets thee alone, That whereas thou counts thy self an Angel of Light, thou shalt appear in the light of the Sun, to be a Devil, A-dam, and the Curse that the Creation groans under; and the time is now come for thy downfal, and Jacob must rise, who is the universal Spirit of love and righteousnesse, that fils, and will fill all the Earth.

Thou teaching and ruling power of flesh, thou hast had three periods of time, to vaunt thy self over thy Brother; the first was from the time of thy coming in, called A-dam, or a stoppage, till Moses came; and there thou that wast a self-lover in Cain, killed thy brother Abel, a plain-hearted man that loved righteousnesse: And thou by thy wisdom and beastly government, made the whole Earth to stinck, till Noah came, which was a time of the world, like the coming in of the watery Seed into the womb, towards the bringing forth of the man child.

And from Noah till Moses came, thou still hast ruled in vaunting, pride, and cruel oppression; Ishmael against Isaac, Esau against Jacob; for thou hast still been the man of flesh that hath ever persecuted the man of righteousnesse, the Spirit Reason.

And Secondly, from Moses till the Son of Man came, which was time of the world, that the man child could not speak like a man, but lisping, making signs to shew his meaning; as we see many Creatures that cannot speak do. For Moses Law was a Language lapped up in Types, Sacrifices, Forms, and Customs, which was weak time. And in this time likewise, O thou teaching and ruling power, thou wast an oppressor; for look into Scriptures and see if Aaron and the Priests were not the first that deceived the people; and the Rulers, as Kings and Governors, were continually the Ocean-head, out of whose power, Burdens, Oppressions, and Poverty did flow out upon the Earth: and these two Powers still hath been the Curse, that hath led the Earth, mankind, into confusion and death by their imaginary and selvish teaching and ruling, and it could be no otherwise; for while man looks upon himself, as an imperfect Creation, and seeks and runs abroad for a teacher and a rule, he is all this time a stranger to the Spirit that is within himself.

But though the Earth hath been generally thus in darknesse, since the A-dam rise up, and hath owned a Light, and a Law without them to walk by, yet some have been found as watchmen, in this night time of the world, that have been taught by the Spirit within them, and not by any flesh without them, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Prophets: And these, and such as these, have still been the Butt, at whom, the powers of the Earth in all ages of the world, by their selvish Laws, have shot their fury.

And then Thirdly, from the time of the Son of man, which was time that the man-child began to speak like a child growing upward to manhood, till now, that the Spirit is rising up in strength. O thou teaching and ruling power of the earthly man, thou has been an oppressor, by imprisonment, impoverishing, and martyrdom; and all thy power and wit, hath been to make Laws, and execute thm against such as stand for universal Liberty, which is the rising up of Jacob: as by those ancient enslaving Laws not yet blotted out, but held up as weapons against the man-child.

O thou Powers of England, though thou hast promised to make this People a Free People, yet thou hast so handled the matter, through thy self-seeking humour, That thou has wrapped us up more in bondage, and oppression lies heavier upon us; not only bringing thy fellow Creatures, the Commoners, to a morsel of Bread, but by confounding all sorts of people by thy Government, of doing and undoing.

First, Thou hast made the people to take a Covenant and Oaths to endeavour a Reformation, and to bring in Liberty every man in his place; and yet while a man is in pursuing of that Covenant, he is imprisoned and oppressed by thy Officers, Courts, and Justices, so called.

Thou hast made Ordinances to cast down Oppressing, Popish, Episcopal, Self-willed and Prerogative Laws; yet we see, That Self-wil and Prerogative power, is the great standing Law, that rules all in action, and others in words.

Thou hast made many promises and protestations to make the Land a Free Nation: And yet at this very day, the same people, to whom thou hast made such Protestatins of Liberty, are oppressed by thy Courts, Sizes, Sessions, by thy Justices and Clarks of the Peace, so called, Bayliffs, Committees, are imprisoned, and forced to spend that bread, that should save their lives from Famine.

And all this, Because they stand to maintain an universal Liberty and Freedom, which not only is our Birthright, which our Maker gave us, but which thou hast promised to restore unto us, from under the former oppressing Powers that are gone before, and which likewise we have bought with our Money, in Taxes, Free-quarter, and Bloud-shed; all which Sums thou hast received at our hands, and yet thou hast not given us our bargain.

O thou A-dam, thu Esau, thou Cain, thou Hypocritical man of flesh, when wilt thou cease to kill thy younger Brother? Surely thou must not do this great work of advancing the Creation out of Bondage; for thou art lost extremely, and drowned in the Sea of Covetousnesse, Pride, and hardness of heart. The blessing shall rise out of the dust which thou treadest under foot, Even the poor despised People, and they shall hold up Salvation to this Land, and to all Lands, and thou shalt be ashamed.

Our bodies as yet are in thy hand, our Spirit waits in quiet and peace, upon our Father for Deliverance; and if he give our Bloud into thy hand, for thee to spill, know this, That he is our Almighty Captain: And if some of you will not dare to shed your bloud, to maintain Tyranny and Oppression upon the Creation, know this, That our Bloud and Life shall not be unwilling to be delivered up in meekness to maintain universal Liberty, that so the Curse on our part may be taken off the Creation.

And we shall not do this by force of Arms, we abhorre it, For that is the work of the Midianites, to kill one another; But by obeying the Lord of Hosts, who hath Revealed himself in us, and to us, by labouring the Earth in righteousness together, to eate our bread with the sweat of our brows, neither giving hire, nor taking hire, but working together, and eating together, as one man, or as one house of Israel restored from Bondage; and so by the power of Reason, the Law of righteousness in us, we endeavour to lift up the Creation from that bondage of Civil Propriety, which it groans under.

We are made to hold forth this Declaration to you that are the Great Councel, and to you the Great Army of the Land of England, that you may know what we would have, and what you are bound to give us by your Covenants and Promises; and that you may joyn with us in this Work, and so find Peace. Or else, if you do oppose us, we have peace in our Work, and in declaring this Report: And you shall be left without excuse.

The Work we are going about is this, To dig up Georges-Hill and the waste Ground thereabouts, and to Sow Corn, and to eat our bread together by the sweat of our brows.

And the First Reason is this, That we may work in righteousness, and lay the Foundation of making the Earth a Common Treasury for All, both Rich and Poor, That every one that is born in the land, may be fed by the Earth his Mother that brought him forth, according to the Reason that rules in the Creation. Not Inclosing any part into any particular hand, but all as one man, working together, and feeding together as Sons of one Father, members of one Family; not one Lording over another, but all looking upon each other, as equals in the Creation; so that our Maker may be glorified in the work of his own hands, and that every one may see, he is no respecter of Persons, but equally loves his whole Creation, and hates nothing but the Serpent, which is Covetousness, branching forth into selvish Imagination, Pride, Envie, Hypocrisie, Uncleanness; all seeking the ease and honor of flesh, and fighting against the Spirit Reason that made the Creation; for that is the Corruption, the Curse, the Devil, the Father of Lies; Death and Bondage that Serpent and Dragon that the Creation is to be delivered from.

And we have moved hereunto for that Reason, and other which hath been shewed us, both by Vision, Voyce, and Revelation.

For it is shewed us, That so long as we, That so long as we, or any other, doth own the Earth to be the peculier Interest of Lords and Landlords, and not common to others as well as them, we own the Curse, and holds the Creation under bondage; and so long as we or any other doth own Landlords and Tennants, for one to call the Land his, or another to hire it of him, or for one to give hire, and for another to work for hire; this is to dishonour the work of Creation; as if the righteous Creator should have respect to persons, and therefore made the Earth for some, and not for all: And so long as we, or any other maintain this Civil Propriety, we consent still to hold the Creation down under that bondage it groans under, and so we should hinder the work of Restoration, and sin against Light that is given into us, and so through fear of the flesh man, lose our peace.

And that this Civil Propriety is the Curse, is manifest thus, Those that Buy and Sell Land, and are landlords, have got it either by Oppression, or Murther, or Theft; and all landlords lives in the breach of the Seventh and Eighth Commandements, Thous shalt not steal, nor kill.

First by their Oppression. They have by their subtle imaginary and covetous wit, got the plain-hearted poor, or yonger Brethren to work for them, for small wages, and by their work have got a great increase; for the poor by their labour lifts up Tyrants to rule over them; or else by their covetous wit, they have out-reached the plain-hearted in Buying and Selling, and thereby inriched themselves, but impoverished others: or else by their subtile wit, having been a lifter up into places of Trust, have inforced people to pay Money for a Publick use, but have divided much of it into their private purses; and so have got it by Oppression.

Then Secondly for Murther; They have by subtile wit and power, pretended to preserve a people in safety by the power of the Sword; and what by large Pay, much Free-quarter, and other Booties, which they call their own, they get much Monies, and with this they buy Land, and become landlords; and if once Landlords, then they rise to be Justices, Rulers, and State Governours, as experience shewes: But all this is but a bloudy and subtile Theevery, countenanced by a Law that Covetousness made; and is a breach of the Seventh Commandement, Thou shalt not kill.

And likewise Thirdly a breach of the Eighth Commandement, Thou shalt not steal; but these landlords have thus stoln the Earth from their fellow Creatures, that have an equal share with them, by the Law of Reason and Creation, as well as they.

And such as these rise up to be rich in the objects of the Earth; then by their plausible words of flattery to the plain-hearted people, whom they deceive, and that lies under confusion and blindness: They are lifted up to be Teachers, Rulers, and Law makers over them that lifted them up; as if the Earth were made peculiarly for them, and not for other weal: If you cast your eye a little backward, you shall see, That this outward Teaching and Ruling power, is the Babylonish yoke laid upon Israel of old, under Nebuchadnezzar; and so Successively from that time, the Conquering Enemy, have still laid these yokes upon Israel to keep Jacob down: And the last enslaving Conquest which the Enemy got over Israel, was the Norman over England; and from that time, Kings, Lords, Judges, Justices, Bayliffs, and the violent bitter people that are Free-holders, are and have been Successively. The Norman Bastard William himself, his Colonels, Captains, inferiour Officers, and Common souldiers, who still are from that time to this day in pursuite of that victory, Imprisoning, Robbing, and killing the poor enslaved English Israelites.

And this appears cleer, For when any Trustee or State Officer is to be Chosen, The Free-holders or Landlords must be the Chusers, who are the Norman Common Souldiers, spread abroad in the Land; And who must be Chosen: but some very rich man, who is the Successor of the Norman Colonels or high Officers. And to what end have they been thus Chosen? but to Establish that Norman power the more forcibly over the enslaved English, and to beat them down again, when as they gather heart to seek for Liberty.

For what are all those Binding and Restraining Laws that have been made from one Age to another since that Conquest, and are still upheld by Furie over the People? I say, What are they? but the Cords, Bands, Manacles, and Yokes that the enslaved English, like Newgate Prisoners, wears upn their hands and legs as they walk the streets; by which those Norman Oppressors, and these their Successors from Age to Age have enslaved the poor People by, killed their younger Brother, and would not suffer Jacob to arise.

O what mighty Delusion, do you, who are the powers of England live in! That while you pretend to throw down that Norman yoke, and Babylonish power, and have promised to make the groaning people of England a Free People; yet you still lift up that Norman yoke, and slavish Tyranny, and holds the People as much in bondage, as the Bastard Conquerour himself, and his Councel of War.

Take notice, That England is not a Free People, till the Poor that have no Land, have a free allowance to dig and labour the Commons, and so live as Comfortably as the Landlords that live in their Inclosures. For the People have not laid out their Monies, and shed their Bloud, that their Landlords, the Norman power, should still have its liberty and freedom to rule in Tyranny in his Lords, landlords, Judges, Justices, Bayliffs, and State Servants; but that the Oppressed might be set Free, Prison doors opened, and the Poor peoples hearts comforted by an universal Consent of making the Earth a Common Treasury, that they may live together as one House of Israel, united in brotherly love into one Spirit; and having a comfortable livelihood in the Community of one Earth their Mother.

If you look through the Earth, you shall see, That the landlords, Teachers and Rulers, are Oppressors, Murtherers, and Theeves in this manner; But it was not thus from the Beginning. And this is one Reason of our digging and labouring the Earth one with another; That we might work in righteousness, and lift up the Creation from bondage: For so long as we own Landlords in this Corrupt Settlement, we cannot work in righteousness; for we should still lift up the Curse, and tread down the Creation, dishonour the Spirit of universal Liberty, and hinder the work of Restauration.

Secondly, In that we begin to Digge upon George-Hill, to eate our Bread together by righteous labour, and sweat of our browes, It was shewed us by Vision in Dreams, and out of Dreams, That that should be the Place we should begin upon; And though that Earth in view of Flesh, be very barren, yet we should trust the Spirit for a blessing. And that not only this Common, or Heath should be taken in and Manured by the People, but all the Commons and waste Ground in England, and in the whole World, shall be taken in by the People in righteousness, not owning any Propriety; but taking the Earth to be a Common Treasury, as it was first made for all.

Thirdly, It is shewed us, That all the Prophecies, Visions, and Revelations of Scriptures, of Prophets, and Apostles, concerning the calling of the Jews, the Restauration of Israel; and making of that People, the Inheritors of the whole Earth; doth all seat themselves in this Work of making the Earth a Common Treasury; as you may read, Ezek. 24.26, 27, &c. Jer. 33.7 to 12. Esay. 49.17, 18, &c. Zach. 8. from 4, to 12, Dan. 2.44, 45, Dan. 7.27. Hos. 14.5, 6,7. Joel 2.26, 27. Amos 9. from 8 to the end, Obad. 17.18.21. Mic. 5. from 7 to the end, Hab. 2.6, 7, 8, 13, 14. Gen. 18.18. Rom. 11.15. Zeph. 3. &c. Zech. 14.9.

And when the Son of man , was gone from the Apostles, his Spirit descended upon the Apostles and Brethren, as they were waiting at Jerusalem; and Rich men sold their Possessions, and gave part to the Poor; and no man said, That ought that he possessed was his own, for they had all things Common, Act. 4.32.

Now this Community was supprest by covetous proud flesh, which was the powers that ruled the world; and the righteous Father suffered himself thus to be suppressed for a time, times and dividing of time, or for 42 months, or for three days and half, which are all but one and the same term of time: And the world is now come to the half day; and the Spirit of Christ, which is the Spirit of universal Community and Freedom is risen, and is rising, and will rise higher and higher, till those pure waters of Shiloe, the Well Springs of Life and Liberty to the whole Creation, do over-run A-dam, and drown those banks of Bondage, Curse and Slavery.

Fourthly, This work to make the Earth a Common Treasury, was shewed us by Voice in Trance, and out of Trance, which which words were these,

Work together, Eate Bread together, Declare this all abroad.

Which Voice was heard Three times: And in Obedience to the Spirit, We have Declared this by Word of mouth, as occasion was offered. Secondly, We have declared it by writing, which others may reade. Thirdly, We have now begun to declare it by Action, in Diging up the Common Land, and casting in Seed that we may eat our Bread together in righteousness. And every one that comes to work, shall eate the Fruit of their own labours, one having as much Freedom in the Fruit of the Earth as another. Another Voice that was heard was this,

Israel shall neither take Hire, nor give Hire.

And if so, then certainly none shall say, This is my Land, work for me, and IÕle give you Wages. For, The Earth is the Lords, that is, Mans, who is Lord of the Creation, in every branch of mankind; perfect; so every particular man is but a member or branch of mankind; and mankind living in the light and obedience to Reason, the King of righteousness, is thereby made a fit and compleat Lord of the Creation. And the whole Earth is this Lords Man, subject to the Spirit. And not the Inheritance of covetous proud Flesh, that is selvish, and enmity to the Spirit.

And if the Earth be not peculiar to any one branch, or branches of manking, but the Inheritance of all; Then is it Free and Common for all, to work together, and eate together.

And truly, you Counsellors and Powers of the Earth, know this, That wheresoever there is a People, thus united by Common Community of livelihood into Oneness, it will become the strongest Land in the World, for then they will be as one man to defend their Inheritance; and Salvation (which is Liberty and Peace) is the Walls and Bulwarks of that Land or City.

Whereas on the otherside, pleading for Propriety and single Interst, divides the People of a land, and the whole world into Parties, and is the cause of all Wars and Bloud-shed, and Contention every where.

Another Voice that was heard in a Trance, was this,

Whosoever labours the Earth for any Person or Persons, that are lifted up to rule over others, and doth not look upon themselves, as Equal to others in the Creation: The hand of the Lord shall be upon that Laborer: I the Lord have spoke it, and I will do it.

This Declares likewise to all Laborers, or such as are called Poor people, that they shall not dare to work for Hire, for any Landlord, or for any that is lifted up above others; for by their labours, they have lifted up Tyrants and Tyranny; and by denying to labor for Hire, they shall pull them down again. He that works for another, either for Wages, or to pay him Rent, works unrighteously, and still lifts up the Curse; but they that are resolved to work and eat together, making the Earth a Common Treasury, doth joyn hands with Christ, to lift up the Creation from Bondage, and restores all things from the Curse.

Fiftly, That which does incourage us to go on in this work, is this; we find the streaming out of Love in our hearts towards all; to enemies as well as friends; we would have none live in Beggery, Poverty, or Sorrow, but that everyone might enjoy the benefit of his creation: we have peace in our hearts, and quiet rejoycing in our work, and filled with sweet content, though we have but a dish of roots and bread for our food.

And we are assured, that in the strength of this Spirit that hath manifested himself to us, we shall not be startled, neither at Prison nor Death, while we are about his work; and we have bin made to sit down and count what it may cost us in undertaking such a work, and we know the full sum, and are resolved to give all that we have to buy this Pearl which we see in the Field.

For by this work we are assured, and Reason makes it appear to others, that Bondage shall be removed, Tears wiped away, and all poor People by their righteous Labours shall be relieved, and freed from Poverty and Straits; For is this work of Restoration there will be no begger in Israel: For surely, if there was no Begger in literal Israel, there shall be no Begger in Spiritual Israel the Anti-type, much more.

Sixtly, We have another encouragement that this work shall prosper, Because we see it to be the fulness of Time: For whereas The Son of Man, the Lamb, came in the Fulness of Time, that is, when the Powers of the World made the Earth stink every where, by oppressing others, under pretense of worshipping the Spirit rightly, by the Types and Sacrifices of Moses law; the Priests were grown so abominably Covetous and Proud, that they made the People to loathe the Sacrifices and to groan under the Burden of their Oppressing Pride.

Even so now in this Age of the World, that the Spirit is upon his Resurrection, it is likewise the Fulness of Time in a higher measure. For whereas the People generally in former times did rest upon the very observation of the Sacrifices and Types, but persecuted the very name of the Spirit; Even so now, Professors do rest upn the bare observatin of Forms and Customs, and pretend to the Spirit, and yet persecutes, grudges, and hates the power of the Spirit; and as it was then, so it is now: All places stink with the abomination of Self-seeking Teachers and Rulers. For do not I see that everyone Preacheth for money, Counsels for money, and fights for money to maintain particular Interests? And none of these three, that pretend to give liberty to the Creation, do give liberty to the Creation; neither can they, for they are enemies to universal liberty; So that the earth stinks with their Hypocrisie, Covetousness, Envie, sottish Ignorance, and Pride.

The common People are filled with good words from Pulpits and Councel Tables, but no good Deeds; For they wait and wait for good, and for deliverances, but none comes; While they wait for liberty, behold greater bondage comes insteed of it, and burdens, oppressions, taskmasters, from Sessions, Lawyers, Bayliffs of Hundreds, Committees, Impropriators, Clerks of Peace, and Courts of Justice, so called, does whip the People by old Popish weather-beaten Laws, that were excommunicate long age by Covenants, Oaths, and Ordinances; but as yet are not cast out, but rather taken in again, to be standing pricks in our eys, and thorns in our side; Beside Free-quartering, Plundering by some rude Souldiers, and the abounding of Taxes; which if they were equally divided among the Souldiery, and not too much bagd up in the hands of particulars Officers and Trustees, there would be less complaining: Besides the horrible cheating that is in Buying and Selling, and the cruel Oppression of Landlords, and Lords of Mannours, and quarter Sessions; Many that have bin good Souldiers, and so to fight to uphold the Curse, or else live in great straits and beggery: O you A-dams of the Earth, you have right Clothing, full Bellies, have your Honors and Ease, and you puffe at this; But know thous stout-hearted Pharoah, that the day of Judgement is begun, and it will reach to thee ere long; Jacob hath bin very low, but he is rising, and will rise, do the worst thou canst; and the poor people whom thou oppresses, shall be the Saviours of the land; For the blessing is rising up in them, and thou shalt be ashamed.

And thus, you Powers of England, and of the whole World, we have declared our Reasons, why we have begun to dug upon George hill in Surrey. One thing I must tell you more, in the close, which I received in voce likewise at another time; and when I received it, my ey was set towards you. The words were these:

Let Israel go free.

Surely, as Israel lay 430. years under Pharoahs bondage, before Moses was sent to fetch them out: even so Israel (the Elect Spirit spread in Sons and Daughters) hath lain three times so long already, which is the Anti-type, under your Bondage, and cruel Taskmasters: But now the time of Deliverance is come, and thou proud Esau, and stout-hearted Covetousness, thou must come down, and be lord of the Creation no longer. For now the King of Righteousness is rising to Rule In, and Over the Earth.

Therefore, if thou wilt find Mercy, Let Israel go Free; break in pieces quickly the Band of particular Propriety, dis-own this oppressing Murder, Oppressin and Thievery of Buying and Selling of Land, owning of landlords, and paying of Rents, and give thy Free Consent to make the Earth a Common Treasury, without grumbling; That the younger Brethren may live comfortably upon Earth, as well as the Elder: That all may enjoy the benefit of their Creation.

And hereby thou wilt Honour thy Father, and thy Mother. Thy Father, which is the Spirit of Community, that made all, and that dwels in all. Thy Mother, which is the Earth, that brought us all forth: That as a true Mother, loves all her Children. Therefore do not thou hinder the Mother Earth, from giving all her Children such, by thy Inclosing it into particular hands, and holding up that cursed Bondage of Inclosure by thy Power.

And then thou wilt repent of thy Theft, in maintaining the breach of the eight Commandment, by Stealing the Land as I say from thy fellow-creatures, or younger Brothers: which thou and all thy landlords have, and do live in the breach of that Commandment.

Then thou wilt Own no other God, or Ruling Power, but One, which is the King of Righteousness, ruling and dwelling in every one, and in the whole; whereas now thou hast many gods: For Covetousness is thy God, Pride, and an Envious murdering Humor (to kill one by Prison or Gallows, that crosses thee, though their cause be pure, sound, and good reason) is thy God, Self-love, and slavish Fear (lest others serve thee as thou hast served them) is thy god, Hypocrisie, Fleshly Imagination, that keeps no Promise, Covenant, nor Protestation, is thy God: love of Money, Honor, and Ease, is thy God: And all these, and the like Ruling Powers, makes thee Blind, and hard-hearted, that thou does not, nor cannot lay to heart the affliction of others, though they dy for want of bread, in that rich City, undone under your eys.

Therefore once more, Let Israel go Free, that the poor may labour the Waste land, and such the Brests of their mother Earth, that they starve not: And in so doing, thou wilt keep the Sabbath day, which is a day of Rest; sweetly enjoying the Peace of the Spirit of Righteousness; and find Peace, by living among a people that live in peace; this will be a day of Rest which thou never knew yet.

But I do not entreat thee, for thous art not to be intreated, but in the Name of the lord, that hath drawn me forth to speak to thee; I, yea I say, I Command thee, to let Israel go Free, and quietly to gather together into the place where I shall appoint; and hold them no longer in bondage.

And thou A-dam that holds the Earth in slavery under the Curse: If thou wilt not let Israel go Free; for thou being the Antitype, will be more stout and lusty then the Egyptian Paroah of old, who was thy Type; Then know, That whereas I brought Ten Plagues upon him, I will Multiply may Plagues upon thee, till I make thee weary, and miserably ashamed: And I will bring out my People with a strong hand, and stretched out arme.

Thus we have discharged our Souls in declaring the Cause of our Digging upon George-Hill in Surrey, that the Great Councel and Army of the Land may take notice of it, That there is no intent of Tumult or Fighting, but only to get Bread to eat, with the sweat of our brows; working together in righteousness, and eating the blessings of the Earth in peace.

And if any of you that are the great Ones of the Earth, that have been bred tenderly, and cannot word, do bring in your Stock into this Commond Treasury as an Offering to the work of Righteousness; we will work for you, and you shall receive as we receive. But if you will not, but Paroah like cry, Who is the Lord that we should obey him? and endeavour to Oppose, then know, That he that delivered Israel from Pharoah of old, is the same Power still, in whom we trust, and whom we serve; for this Conquest over thee shall be got, not by Sword or Weapon, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of Hosts.

But Winstanley was not content to argue that the poor would be saved. In The Mysterie of God and the two pamphlets which followed, he teaches that it is the poor who are to be God’s agents in bringing about the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Early in 1649 he had a vision, much as Fox was to have at Pendle three years later. In his vision, or “trance”, Winstanley was instructed: “Work together. Eat bread together. Declare this all abroad… I the Lord have spoke it”. Winstanley interpreted this as a call to action, and on April 1, with a small band of fellow-Diggers, he took possession of some common land at St. George’s Hill, near Walton-on-Thames, and established a community to till the ground in common, sharing labour and produce. One of his companions, William Everard, reportedly predicted that they would be thousands-strong within ten days. In fact, some fifty men with their families joined them, and over the next twelve months perhaps thirty similar communes came into being, albeit tentatively and briefly, throughout south-east England.

 

“…..not only this Common, or Heath should be taken in and Manured by the People, but all the Commons and waste Ground in England, and in the whole World, shall be taken in by the People in righteousness, not owning any Property; but taking the Earth to be a Common Treasury, as it was first made for all.”

The Diggers’ Manifesto
The True Levellers’ Standard Advanced, 1649

 

 

World Turned Upside Down – Diggers Song

winstanley memorial

In 1649 To St George’s Hill

A ragged band they called the Diggers

Came to show the people’ s will

They defied the landlords

They defied the laws

They were the dispossessed

Reclaiming what was theirs

We come in peace, they said
To dig and sow

We come to work the land in common
And to make the waste land grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it can be
A common treasury for all.

The sin of property
We do disdain
No one has any right to buy and sell
The earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Now everywhere the walls
Rise up at their command.

They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell

We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feeds the rich
While poor men starve

We work, we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to masters
Or pay rent to the lords
We are free men
Though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory

Stand up now
From the men of properall.

To conquer them by love, come in now, come in now
To conquer them by love, come in now;
To conquer them by love, as it does you behove,
For he is King above, no power is like to love,
Glory here, Diggers all.
and ‘gainst Priests, stand up now, stand up now,

‘Gainst lawyers and ‘gainst Priests stand up now.
For tyrants they are both even flat against their oath,
To grant us they are loath.

 

Étienne Cabet

 

Étienne Cabet (  1788 –  1856) was a French philosopher and utopian socialist. He was the founder of the Icarian movement and led a group of emigrants to found a new society in the United States.

Cabet was born in Dijon, Côte-d'Or. He was educated as a lawyer, and became a government official, procureur-général, in Corsica, representing the government of Louis Philippe, after having headed an insurrectionary committee and participated actively in the July Revolution of 1830. However he was dismissed from this position for his attack upon the conservatism of the government in his Histoire de la révolution de 1830  In 1831, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in France as the representative of Côte d'Or. He sat with the extreme radicals

Due to his bitter attacks on the government he was accused of treason in 1834 and fled to England, seeking political asylum. Influenced by Robert Owen, he wrote Voyage et aventures de lord William Carisdall en Icarie ("Travel and Adventures of Lord William Carisdall in Icaria") (1840), which depicted a utopia in which an elected government controlled all economic activity and supervised social affairs  the family remaining the only other independent unit. Icaria is the name of the fictional country and ideal society he describes.

 

First published English translation of the landmark 1840 utopian novel.

The success of this book prompted him to take steps to realize his Utopia. His version of communism was deeply Christian, but also anti-clerical in that it opposed the established Catholic Church in France. Cabet is famously quoted as saying, "Communism is Christianity ... it is pure Christianity, before it was corrupted by Catholicism" (original French: "Le communisme, c’est le Christianisme [...] c’est le Christianisme dans sa pureté, avant qu’il ait été dénaturé par le Catholicisme." – Le Vrai Christianisme).

In 1839, Cabet returned to France to advocate a communitarian social movement, for which he invented the term communisme. Cabet's notion of a communal society influenced other socialist writers and philosophers, notably Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.  Some of these other writers ignored Cabet's Christian influences, as described in his book Le vrai christianisme suivant Jésus Christ (The real Christianity according to Jesus Christ, in five volumes). This book described Christ's mission to be to establish social equality, and contrasted primitive Christianity with the ecclesiasticism of Cabet's time to the disparagement of the latter. 

In 1848, Cabet and a group of his followers from across France went to the United States to organize an Icarian community.  They landed in  the Red River in Texas, purchased a considerable tract of land, and established the Icarian community.  However  ravaged by disease, about one-third of the colonists returned to France and the remainder moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, to a site recently vacated by the Mormons. A new colony was established in "Icaria, Iowa" . After disputes within the Nauvoo community, Cabet was expelled and he went to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1855, where he died the following year. The last Icarian colony at Corning lasted half a century and was disbanded in 1898.


http://yesteryearsnews.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/icarian-colony-waymark-groundspeak.jpg

Lake Park News (Lake Park, Iowa) Jan 31, 1957

In the April number of “The Iowa Journal of History and Politics” published by the State Historical Society, there is a translation of a history of the Icarian Community, written by Cabet himself about 1855.

The basic principles of the Community, according to the founder were

“Brotherhood, Equality, Solidarity, the suppression of poverty and individual property, in a word Communism.”

The Iowa City Citizen (Iowa City, Iowa) May 2, 1917

 

Fr. Thomas J. Hagerty
(Wikipedia) 

Fr. Thomas J. Hagerty, a founder of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905.

The Reverend Friar Thomas Joseph Hagerty (ca. 1862–1920s?) was an American Roman Catholic priest and trade union activist. Hagerty is remembered as one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), as author of the influential Preamble to the Constitution of the IWW, and as the creator of "Hagerty's Wheel," a frequently reproduced illustration depicting the interrelation of the IWW's constituent industrial unions.

Little is known about the early years of Thomas Joseph Hagerty, prior to his completion of seminary training in 1895.  He is believed to have become a Marxist about 1892 and to have spent his early life attempting to rectify the teachings of the church and the socialist movement throughout his early life.

Hagerty's first posting was to St. Agatha's Parish in Chicago in 1895, where he served as assistant to the rector.  He was assigned to St. Joseph's Church in Cleburne, Texas in the Diocese of Dallas in 1897 before being promoted to rector of Our Lady of Victory Church in Paris, Texas in 1901.  He was transferred to Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Las Vegas, New Mexico later that same year.

As a Catholic priest in the Southwestern United States Hagerty came into frequent contact with Mexican railroad workers, the mistreatment of whom by their employers angered him. Finding little socialist propaganda to be available in Spanish, Hagerty began translating a number of short works from German, French, and English.  Hagerty was warned by the railroads to stay out of labor relations, he told a messenger "Tell the people who sent you here that I have a brace of Colts and can hit a dime at twenty paces."

Upon arriving in New Mexico in 1901, Hagerty became associated with the American Labor Union (ALU) and the Western Federation of Miners (WFM).  During the summer of 1902, Hagerty went on a tour of mining camps in Colorado with Socialist Party of America (SPA) orator Eugene V. Debs, attempting to recruit the impoverished miners to the ALU and the SPA.  This blatantly political activity brought Hagerty into conflict with his superiors, resulting in his suspension by his archbishop.

 One chapter of Hagerty's life was at an end. Another was beginning.

Cover of Hagerty's pamphlet Economic Discontent and Its Remedy, published by Eugene and Theodore Debs in 1902.

Hagerty was employed as a touring organizer for the Socialist Party in 1903, traveling the breadth of the United States to deliver lectures on behalf of the party.  Hagerty proved of value to the Socialists for his ability to appeal to Catholic workers on the basis of the social gospel, standing in contrast to the conservative church establishment, which remained staunchly and outspokenly anti-socialist.  Hagerty proved to be a skillful orator and authored several pamphlets as a written adjunct to his activities as a party lecturer.

Hagerty attempted to instill the idea that radical political ideas and traditional theological conceptions were fully independent. In his pamphlet Economic Discontent and Its Remedy,Hagerty wrote:

"As a matter of fact, Socialism has no more to do with religion than astronomy or biology. Socialism is an economic science, not a system of dogmatic beliefs. It is as much beyond the scope of Socialism to deal with Divine revelation as it is beyond the range of the Republican Party to advance a new exegesis of the Davidic Psalms."

"If there are atheists and infidels in the Socialist Party, it is not the fault of Socialism. They have as much right to membership there as in any of the other political parties under a free government.... No one would dream of censuring the Democratic Party because the founder of that party, Thomas Jefferson, was an infidel in the ecclesiastical sense of the term. There are many physicians who do not believe in God, yet no one is so ignorant as to condemn the science of Therapeutics on that account. One does not enquire into the religion of the architect before admiring some Corinthian structure which he has designed, nor the particular church affiliations of the bricklayer who built the walls of the house which one is about to buy or rent."

In 1904 Hagerty took a position as editor of a short-lived monthly publication of the American Labor Union called Voice of Labor, through which he gave voice to his ideas about organization of workers in industry.  It was in this capacity as a leading union magazine editor of the day that Hagerty was invited early in January 1905 as one of 23 industrial union activists from 9 organizations to a secret Chicago conference for the planning of a new national union.  Hagerty help to draft the gathering's "Industrial Union Manifesto," a document which was to serve as an intellectual foundation stone for the establishment of the Industrial Workers of the World at a convention later that same year.

At the founding convention Hagerty served as secretary of the Constitution Committee, and as such wrote the preamble to the IWW Constitution — a short and effective manifesto which became a fundamental element of the organization's official doctrine for decades to follow.  Hagerty also produced a circular graphic commonly known as "Hagerty's Wheel," which depicted the various industrial unions comprising the IWW as interrelated spokes.

Hagerty favored direct action, as opposed to political action of the Socialist Party and its left wing rival, the Socialist Labor Party, referring to them as "slowcialists." Emphasizing this point during a speech to the founding convention of the IWW, Hagerty declared:

"The Ballot Box is simply a capitalist concession. Dropping pieces of paper into a hole in a box never did achieve emancipation of the working class, and in my opinion it never will."

 Shortly after the formation of the IWW in 1905, Thomas Hagerty suddenly dropped out of the radical union movement.  Hagerty severed his connections with both the church and the IWW, adopted the pseudonym "Ricardo Moreno," and henceforth earned his living as a teacher of Spanish and an oculist.  After 1920 Hagerty lived on the streets of Chicago in conditions of dire poverty, eking out a meager existence as a beggar. From 1920 until the time of his death Hagerty-Moreno lived as a derelict on the streets of Chicago's skid row.  The few of his old comrades who located Hagerty in Chicago found him, in the words of Roland Boer, "living in deep poverty, eventually reliant on soup kitchens, a few cents from passers-by, missions for a bed, and free concerts to keep up his cultural interests."

Hagerty-Moreno's death passed unremarked, probably sometime in the 1920s.

Industrial Workers of the World (union label).svg

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) is an international union and is still active. At its peak in 1923, the organization claimed some 100,000 members in good standing and could marshal the support of perhaps 300,000 workers. Its membership declined dramatically after severe government repression as part of the first Red Scare and a 1924 split brought on by internal conflict. 

 For a time, around the start of the 20th century, the vast majority of socialists – including moderates and communists, Christians and atheists – were more or less united under the umbrella of the Socialist International. This lasted until World War I, when the International broke up. Communists and the rest of the socialist movement went their separate ways. World events took place in rapid succession for the next few decades – the creation of the Soviet Union, the Great Depression, the rise of fascism and World War II in Europe – giving Christian communists no opportunities to assert their unique character. It was only the relative calm of the Cold War that finally allowed a distinct Christian communist movement to take shape again.

 Hagerty's Wheel of Fortune -- mapping out the various trades and their relation,

Pierre Marie Théas

 

 As early as the 1940s, Pierre Marie Théas (1894-1977), a French bishop, Bishop of Montauban in the South of France known as "the Righteous Among the Nations" stated:

"Urged on by unrestrainable forces, today's world asks for a revolution. The revolution must succeed, but it can succeed only if the Church enters the fray, bringing the Gospel. After being liberated from Nazi dictatorship, we want to liberate the working class from capitalist slavery."

During the war he was one of the only bishops to protest about the deportation of Jews from France. In a pastoral letter to be read throughout his diocese he wrote: 

"I give voice to the outraged protest of Christian conscience, and I proclaim... that all men, whatever their race or religion, have the right to be respected by individuals and by states..." 
(1942)


 

 

 

 

 

Dr.E.Stanley Jones

E. Stanley Jones, in India  Christs Alternative to Communism

Dr.E.Stanley Jones, established a Christian Ashram in Sat Tal, called Sat Tal Ashram, on the way from Nainital to Bhimtal in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India,

In Stanley’s own words this book attempts to expound the Christian answer to Communism; the Christian answer is the Kingdom of God on earth.

Some quotes from the book:

"The whole basis of society must be shifted form competition to cooperation.

"There are three great issues before India embodied in three persons: Mahatma Gandhi represents the demand for religious equality as he presses the rights of the Untouchables to temple entry; Doctor Ambedkar, the leader of the Untouchables, says he is not interested in this temple entry, his demand is for the doing away with caste–in other words, social equality; Jawahir Lal Nehru, the idol of the youth, represents the demand for economic equality. The first two men are free, the third is in jail, for the demand for economic equality is the most far-reaching and dangerous to the present order.

"There were Christian slaveowners who treated their slaves kindly, but this did not touch the basic injustice of their relationships. There are splendid Christians amid this present economic system who do much to soften it, but that very fact often hides the basic injustices.

"I am not a Communist, nor do I call myself a Socialist, but I am a Christian seeking for a solution of this problem.  I am sure- desperately sure- that Christianity must give a lead at this place or abdicate. It is not enough to tell me that Christianity can and does change the lives of individual men. . . Shall we rescue individual slaves and leave intact the slave system? Shall we reclaim individual drunkards and not touch the liquor traffic?  Shall we pick up the wounded in war and leave intact the war system?”

"It may be that God is using the Communists to awaken Christendom to something neglected in its own gospel.

"Necessities should be provided for all, before luxuries are provided for any.

"I do not want to look with equal eye on the Brahmin and the outcaste, I want to do away with the outcaste…. Religion should not make us indifferent to distinctions, but should do away with the distinctions themselves.

"The cross is God’s redemptive word spelled out in living fact. Not only was the soul to be saved, the whole of life was to be redeemed.   The Kingdom of God is both personal and social.

“In recent centuries men have been content that it be a personal confession of the personal Saviourhood of Jesus, but we are again discovering that we must confess Christ as Son of God in social, economic, and international relationships as well.  And the church must embody that larger confession or cease to be the Church of the Living Christ.”

"We expect Christianity to outlast atheistic Communism because it has a deeper and a more meaningful universe, and a firmer ground for believing in man.

"The world situation awaits a collective Christian act. It is the one thing that can save us."

Our Family in the New Era

In the gradual development by 1930s and 1940s, while I was still a young lad, communism of Christians was slighted in favor of an allegedly "scientific Marxism", with its stress on the labor theory of value, the class struggle, and the materialist interpretation of history . After all this was the period of great scientific revolution.  This was particularly so in Kerala and all of India, when British Rule brought in the wide School System, with its teachings of Rationalism and Scientific Thinking. 

The reason why I have brought this point here is just to point out its historical relation between the Christian Community of Kerala and the Communist Party of India.  The Communists were received well by the Christians and that is the only reason why Communists came to Power in Kerala. The Communist Party became powerful, not because of its inherent materialism or 'scientific'  explanation of history but because the dreams of that party coincided with the dreams of the Christians of Kerala.The end point in history as envisioned by Jesus was indeed what the Communist proposed.  Even though we hate its atheistic stand we do went along with the practical programs which are truly Christian.  Fighting injustice was indeed part of the Christian in action.

I come from a Syrian Christian Family in Kerala, India, which was directly involved in the early periods of the Communist Party which was soon forced to go underground.

My brother Dr.M.M.Thomas (1916 - 1996)  tried to join the Party and was refused because he was too strong a Christian.   He was refused ordination in the Mar Thomas Church because he was too much of a communist.  So he turned himself to start a trade school and orphanage to uplift the impoverished of Trivandrum.  He later became the Chairman of the World Council of Churches and an Ecuminical Christian Theologian of repute.  St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, De Haro and Mariposa Streets, San Francisco has celebrated him as a saint

When he finally retired to his Tiruvalla home, it was converted to a house of study in the Dalit movement with Dynamic Action.   After his death Pennamma Bhavan, his home continues as  "A Mother Home for Liberative Faith, Politics and Praxis"  


 

 

 

Dalit Seminar


M.M.Cherian

 

 

 

 

 

Another brother Mr.M.M.Cherian was fully involved in the Communist movement from its start and was the secretary of Comrade Dange in Bombay and was the editor of the Party News Paper for several years.  When he returned to India he became a lawyer and was very much in the Party Politics.  Along with the Christian activists like Rev. M.A.Thomas of Ecuminical Christian Center of Bangalore, Sadhu Mathaichen, Acharya Rev. K.K.Chandy. Acharya K.M.Mammen, Mr. E.V. Mathew and others  all experimented with "Under Heaven One Family".  They all left their mark in the Christian Churches. When for the first time in the world, communists were elected to power in Kerala State, M.M.Cherian was appointed as the Chairman of the Kerala State Transport Corporation.  In fact he gave his first and last sermon in the Orthodox Church in Moscow on "Moses the Liberator"

 

title.gif

Sadhuji (K.I. Mathai),
 Jobji (M.P. Job- Later Rev.  J.P. Moothedath), and


 Chandyji ( Rev. K.K. Chandy)
founded the Christavashram Community in 1934.
After these three, my cousin brother K.M.Mammen and then his wife Sosamma were the Acharyas of Christiavashram.

6


This community with its motto, “Thy Kingdom Come” attempts to live in love (Agape-Nonviolence), with the values and standards of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in the spirit of the early christian community.
Members pledge themselves to give up private property and to have “all things common”.
It is a total commitment under God to each other.

 

The community currently consists of 120 people including members, staff and children  of the Kerala Balagram , staff and trainees of the Gurukul Ecumenical Institute and Peace Centre staying in the campus, and 30 Associate members  living outside.

The sources of income for the Community are its agricultural and dairy farms, and contributions from Associate members and friends. All members are commited to contributing “Bread labour”, and all earnings go to a common pool from where the  needs of members are met. Any honorarium received either from the Ashram’s own institutions or from outside also goes to the “Common purse”.

Christavashram (The Society of St. Thomas) is an active christian community for service, based on Christian principles with the motto "Thy Kingdom come".                     
-  Acharya Chandiji

 


Rev.M.A.Thomas

 

The Ecumenical Christian Center (ECC) was established in 1963 by a stalwart late Rev. Dr. M. A. Thomas, with the vision of promoting the unity of humankind as an expression of radical obedience to Christ. ECC offers a forum for believers and non-believers alike to congregate and engage in dialogues on moral and ethical values and for social change and harmony. In the words of Rev. Dr. M. A. Thomas, the role of the Center is to promote and strengthen the winds of change. Through its action oriented study, the center seeks to create ripples and more ripples which will converge one day. In his autobiography, Rev. Thomas writes: "As long as the Centre exists, its prime message is that humankind is one, irrespective of caste, colour, creed and sex.” He served the Centre with distinction till he voluntarily retired in 1980. He died on June 25, 1993 and is buried at the ECC campus.

 

"In our vicious world, Rev.M.A.Thomas was a rare Christian of the Jesus mould, among crowds of  crosstians who throng churches on Sundays and mind their mundane business the rest of the week.  He was a vigilant humanist with a spiritual focus on a nobler social order sans barriers of case and creed, dogmas and bigotries.  Jesus, after Buddha, was the greatest protestant against an unjust social order, the most profound challenger of the godist hierarchy of mercenary priestcraft which conditioned and controlled the minds of the masses using the opium of obscurantism.  He was the transcendent, spell-binding antiimperialist of his Roman times rousing the divinity of personhood-the Kingdom of God is within you- and conscientizing humanity with his spiritual secular, socialist shafts of parables rooted in universal justice and boundless love.  And yet he was sentenced to crucifixion and Barabbas, the robber, was set free by Pontius Pilate!

 

We live in a world where man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousand mourn! (Burns).  In our good earth, we still find evil forces which create scenes of woe, the like of which no eye has seen, no heart conceived, no human tongue can adequately tell.  “O Death, the poor man’s dearest friend, the kindest and the best!,-such is the lot of many for whom human rights mean nothing.  They have nothing to lose except their life. "
Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer

 

 

M.M.Mammen & Mrs Mariamma Mammen

I have never heard my Father talk about Communism.  He was a Printer and Publisher when printing presses were coming up in Kerala under the influence of the British Mission. Ours was the second Printing Press in Kerala and the first News Paper in Kerala. He was involved in the independent struggle under the leadership of Gandhi.  He joined the Salt Satyagraha movement and have since then never wore any other cloth other than hand woven khadi and was a non-vegetarian till his death.  He was a Bible teacher and along with my mother gave us the foundations of faith in Jesus.  Even when we deserted the faith the standards of eternal values of Kingdom never left us a moment.  We lived in a tumultous period of struggle for independence of India, the struggle of the agricultural laborers for freedom from slavery and alienation.  In all these he definitely sided with the freedom movements and emancipation struggles of the people of the lowly.  I have seen our Press sealed by the Kerala State government in connection with liberation literature and freedom literature.  I have seen my father jump in to rescue a paddy field laborer's procession when it was stopped by the vested interest rich man's opposition to such freedom struggle.  When my brothers and sisters were involved in the freedom movement and liberation movement he openned our home as a hiding place for the leaders of the Communist Party. They came and went silently.  We often served as the watchful eyes.  During the period all the big names of the Communist group from all religions came in contact with us.   My sister M.M.Sosamma married A.K.Thampy, the then General Secretary of the Communist Party whom she met in his hiding period at home. They were married in a Mar Thoma Church secretly away from home.   In her later life she became actively involved in the Church activities and started an Orphanage in Chennai.

      
A.K.Thampy and Emmasa

Most people find it difficult to visualize how Christians could so very closely associate themselves with the Communist movements and remain staunch Christians.  The answer simply is that we were communists because we were Christians.  This was strongly associated with the declaration of the Kingdom of God of Jesus 2000 years ago.  One of my arguments for my involvement with the Party and being a fellow traveller during my high school days was that "If 2000 years of Christian existence could not usher in the Communistic Society and if Communists could bring is Socialism within 200 years, it is worth experimenting." 

Sarvodaya

 Sarvodaya, derived from 'Sarva = All and Udaya= Rise' generally translated as "welfare of all’, was a philosophy made popular by Mahatma Gandhi.  It all started with the book of John Ruskin, "Unto the this Last" based on the Biblical Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.

I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.— Matthew 20

File:Teachings of Jesus 16 of 40. the eleventh hour labourers. Jan Luyken etching. Bowyer Bible.gif

The "last" are the eleventh hour labourers, who are paid as if they had worked the entire day. Rather than discuss the religious meaning of the parable, whereby the eleventh hour labourers would be death-bed converts, Ruskin looks at the social and economic implications, discussing issues such as who should receive a living wage. This essay is very critical of capitalist economists of the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Gandhi derived the essence and meaning of this world from Ruskin’s book, ‘Unto this Last’, three basic ideas:

  • The dignity of human labour;
  • individual good is contained in the good of all, and
  • service to society by the one’s labor and profession.

Sarvodaya is a logical culmination of the constructive programmes that promises peace and prosperity’ to all. Sarvodaya believes that everything in the world is owned by the community.  Consequently, there is no room for individual property or private ownership Gandhian extends the meaning of Sarvodaya from its narrow bounds (micro) to universal (macro) scope.  Though later Gandhi tried to put it in the Hindu terminology, the Sarvodaya was essentially a Christian concept.

The idea was taken up the Marxist J.P.Narayanan and Gandhi's disciple Vinoba Bhave. In 1952, Vinoba added the Gramdan (village gift) concept to his movement. Gramdan is an expression of the the idea of Shramdan (gift of labour) along with Bhoodan —Gramdan. The seven-fold objectives were laid down in support of the Sarvodaya-Bhoodan-Gramdan Movement. There were:
(1) Elimination of poverty,
(2) awakening the feeling of love and affection in landlords,
(3) strengthening the society by eliminating division,
(4) building a new social order based on unbuntery labour, non-possession, cooperative, and self-reliance,
(5) distribution of donated lands (gift lands) to the commons, and landless,
(6) construction of village infrastructure through Sharmdan (dignity of labour), and
(7) helping world peace.

Some of his works are :
1.The essence of Quran
2.The essence of Christian teachings
3.Thoughts on education
4.Swarajya Sastra

The Christian Missions did support the Movement.

"With want destroyed; with greed changed to noble passions; with the fraternity that is born of equality taking the place of jealousy and fear that now array men against each other; with mental power loosed by conditions that give to the humblest comfort and leisure; and who shall measure the heights to which our civilization may soar? Words fail the thought! It is the Golden Age.... It is the culmination of Christianity -- the City of God on earth, with walls of jasper and gates of pearl! It is the reign of the Prince of Peace!"
From Wasteland to Promised Land: Liberation Theology for a Post-Marxist World

 I was introduced to the philosophy of Sarvodya by the Rev. Richard Keithan of the Kodaikanal Christian Ashram.  I led a seminar on the subject as early as 1954 in Kodaikanal Ashram.  Later in 1957 I was asked to lead a Seminar under Student Christian Movement on Sarvodaya in Lonavala.

I was asked to lead one of the Sarvodaya Conferences held in Keithan's Ashram in 1954.  So also I led the discussions on Sarvodaya in relation to the Kingdom of God concept in Christianity in the Mahabaleshwar Conference. Such were the influence of Sarvodaya on the Christians of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Sure enough Christian Communes failed within decades of its start. 

The Communists failed within a life time.  Soviet Union failed miserably - Marxists produced a Stalin, and the Indian Communist Party produced the Naxalite Terrorists and dacoits.  Yes, these were disappointments.  Within a people who asserted that, God does not exists and there is no greater moral justice at work, what else could we expect.  Even then, should we stop fighting for the dream?  It is here we arrive at the Dalit Theology apart from Marx.  After all Communism was the idea of Jesus in the first place.

A number of Christians, of various political persuasions, object to the use of the word communism in the term "Christian communism" due to that word's association with the governments of nations such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, Vietnam, and North Korea, which are seen or have been seen as oppressive in the US. Many of the policies adopted by the governments of those countries were inarguably un-Christian in character, including official state hostility towards religious institutions. As such, many Christians argue that the title of Christian communalism should be used, rather than Christian communism.

On the other hand, some Christian communists  believe that it is necessary to employ the word communism in order to capture the essence of their position on economics. They point out the existence of significant communist opposition to the totalitarian "communist states" of the 20th century (including, for example, Trotskyism), and argue that, if they were to abandon the term communism, it would only serve to further obscure the history of that opposition. Thus, these Christian communists hold that the term 'Christian communism' is accurate and appropriate, as long as it is specified that they belong to the democratic, anti-Stalinist branch of communism.

I have mentioned only the families with which my family was connected in its  sociopolitical environment.  But all through India and especially in Kerala where Christians formed a major group, the sociopolitical teachings of Jesus encoded in the Manifesto of Christ did play a major part.  Most often they were branded as Communists and were isolated from the Churches. Others persisted and gave leadership for reformations.