From time to time, Stalin addressed the Institute of Red Professors. Now that is a worthy name for an institute. Actually, it is the alternative title for our ‘Religion, Marxism and Secularism‘ project at the University of Newcastle.

But I am also rather taken with the ‘Friends of the USSR’, which had a world congress in November, 1927. 947 delegates from 43 countries attended and, among many other activities, they closed the congress by adopting an appeal to all the working people of all countries: ‘Make use of all means and all methods to fight for, defend and protect the U.S.S.R., the motherland of the working people, the bulwark of peace, the centre of liberation, the fortress of socialism!’

Come to think of it, our own red priest, Ernest Burgman, was chair of the Australian arm of the Friends of the USSR. Before becoming bishop of Goulburn in 1950, Burgmann was warden of St. John’s College at Morpeth. He earned his radical credentials and street smarts in the great working class political hotbed of the Hunter.

Advertisements