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
Christian communism is a form of religious
It is a theological and political theory based upon the view
that the teachings of Jesus
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
The mahabali kingdom
( For a detailed analysis
see my book "Emergence of Hinduism from
Christianity" , "Development of
Hinduism", "History of Early Christianity in
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:
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
This is how the rule under Mahabali is
"Maveli Nadu Vanidum Kalam
Amodathode vasikum kalam
Adhikal Vyadhikal Onnumilla
Bala maranangal Kelkanilla
Ellolamilla Poli Vachanam
Kallaparyum Cheru Nazhiyum
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.
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
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
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
exploits the working
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.
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
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?
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--
fight alone, and win or sink,
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Reformation of Anabaptist and
different groups of Schwarzenau
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
of theActs of the Apostles (Chapters
2 (especially Verse 44), 4, and 5) and 2
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
The Anabaptist Münster
1534–1535 attempted to establish a society based on
community of goods.
All these reformation attempts
were led by biblical
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
the Pilgrims arrived in America they formed the Plymouth
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
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.
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
Militant Seedbeds Of Early
Quakerism by David David Boulton describes
the evolution as follows:
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
The following is the original Christian Communist /
Dalit Manifesto written long before Marx or any atheistic
intervention to the true Christian Communes.
The State of Community Opened, and Presented
to the Sons of Men.
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
Beginning to Plant and
Manure the Waste land upon George-Hill,
in the parish of Walton, in
the County of Surrey.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
1649 To St George’s Hill
A ragged band they called the
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
dig and sow
We come to work the land in common
to make the waste land grow
will make whole
it can be
common treasury for all.
sin of property
one has any right to buy and sell
earth for private gain
theft and murder
took the land
everywhere the walls
up at their command.
make the laws
chain us well
clergy dazzle us with heaven
they damn us into hell
will not worship
God they serve
God of greed who feeds the rich
poor men starve
work, we eat together
need no swords
will not bow to masters
pay rent to the lords
are free men
we are poor
Diggers all stand up for glory
the men of properall.
To conquer them by love, come in now, come in now
conquer them by love, come in now;
conquer them by love, as it does you behove,
he is King above, no power is like to love,
here, Diggers all.
‘gainst Priests, stand up now, stand up now,
lawyers and ‘gainst Priests stand up now.
tyrants they are both even flat against their oath,
grant us they are loath.
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
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
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
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.
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
“Brotherhood, Equality, Solidarity, the suppression of
poverty and individual property, in a word Communism.”
City Citizen (Iowa City, Iowa) May 2, 1917
Fr. Thomas J. Hagerty
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Upon arriving in New
1901, Hagerty became associated with the American
Labor Union (ALU)
and the Western
Federation of Miners (WFM).
the summer of 1902, Hagerty went on a tour of mining camps in Colorado with Socialist
Party of America (SPA)
V. Debs, attempting to recruit the impoverished miners to the
ALU and the SPA.
blatantly political activity brought Hagerty into conflict
with his superiors, resulting in his suspension by his
One chapter of Hagerty's life was
at an end. Another was beginning.
Cover of Hagerty's
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.
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
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
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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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
From 1920 until the time of his death Hagerty-Moreno lived as
a derelict on the streets of Chicago's skid
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
passed unremarked, probably sometime in the 1920s.
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.
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
"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
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:
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
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.
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.
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
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"
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
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.
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.
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
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”.
(The Society of St. Thomas) is an active christian community
for service, based on Christian principles with the motto
"Thy Kingdom come".
- Acharya Chandiji
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.
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
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, 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
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
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
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.
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,
(6) construction of village infrastructure through Sharmdan
(dignity of labour), and
(7) helping world peace.
of his works are :
1.The essence of Quran
2.The essence of Christian teachings
3.Thoughts on education
The Christian Missions did support the
"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
From Wasteland to Promised Land: Liberation Theology for a
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
Sure enough Christian Communes failed within decades of its
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
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