Centenary

Today marks the one hundredth worry posted here at CW. And what a lot there is to agonise over. Over at The Voice of the Turtle, we’ve just posted a reminder to put the whole election process into perspective since it is merely the occasion on which “te oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” More here.

But for the centenary fret here at CW, we’re aiming big: what are we going to do about God. Joe Bord has some important new thoughts up at the Turtle, and I’ve responded with a bit of Freire which, since the Turtle’s comment engine seems to have stalled, I’ll repost here:

“I never understood how to reconcile fellowship with Christ with the exploitation of other human beings, or to reconcile a love for Christ with racial, gender and class discrimination. By the same token, I could never reconcile the Left’s liberating discourse with the Left’s discriminatory practice along the lines of race, gender, and class. What a shocking contradiction: to be, at the same time, a leftist and a racist.

During the 1970s, in an interview in Australia, I told some greatly surprised reporters that it was in the woods of Recife, refuge of slaves, and the ravines where the oppressed of Brazil live, coupled with my love for Christ and hope that He is the light, that led me to Marx.

My relationship with Marx never suggested that I abandon Christ.”

(Letters to Cristina, 86-7)

Quite how the US left is going to dig itself out of the ‘values’ trap set up by the evangelical right is, I think, the proper subject for meditation over the next few months. That religion is the opium of the people hasn’t, it seems to me, been understood in anything but the most derisory way by a great deal of the US liberal establishment. The conflation of radicalism with religion is far from impossible, and in times when capital has unmoored precisely those sureties that religion is so good at hitching together, perhaps the US left needs to be looking with more humility at the experiences of its anti-capitalist Christian comrades in the South.