This one just snuck out as the new year was about turn (enjoying it in the village of Herrnhut, Saxony). It’s a piece with Monthly Review, assessing Gennady Zyuganov’s speech from 27 October and focusing on the issue of Marxism and religion.
1 January, 2013
13 December, 2012
Sergey sent me this great link to Zyuganov‘s speech on the auspicious day of 27 October this year. As everyone should know, Zyuganov is the chairman of the central committee of the Russian Communist Party. And the event was the 14th joint plenum of that committee. The theme: the importance of and need to renew Marxist theory. He points out that Gorbachev took advantage of theoretical stagnation in Marxist thought and was thereby able to defeat the CPSU ideologically. It was the mark of a liberal-bourgeois revolution, from which it was a short step to the dismantling of the USSR. Perestroika is the signal of that ideological defeat. Of course, he calls for a deep re-engagement with the work of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, the latter of whom observed: ‘Without theory we are dead’.
But – and here it becomes really interesting – he has quite a bit to say about religion. He reasserts the old party platform of freedom of conscience in the party on matters of religion, the need for religious institutions and the party to operate in peaceful coexistence, indeed to attract people with religious belief to the party. And then he quotes Stalin to kick off a discussion concerning radical and revolutionary forms of religion, so much so that they share the goals of scientific socialism. Che Guavara turns up, as does Hugo Chavez, along with liberation theology. All of them oppose the Golden Calf of capital, whether socialist, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and so on.
And in outlining the measures needed for theoretical renewal that criticises the mistakes made and draws lessons from the achievements of the past – in terms of history, philosophy, science, religion and so on – he points out: ‘Soviet socialism is not only the past, but the future of Russia’.
I wonder if they need a resident theologian.