This had the makings of a good letter - it contain a lot of truths - but spoiled by the silly references to a mythical being. Isn't it just damned nauseating the way the world's leaders, not content with pulling the wool over our eyes at every opportunity, continue toveil themselves in religious piety in a further attempt to get our attention?
Meanwhile, this letter will be ignored by Bush. Why? Because whatever Bush is doing in the Middle East we are reminded by Dubya himself that God told him to do it. On 7th October 2005, The Independent reported (as did the BBC) a conversation Bush had had with former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath and Mahmoud Abbas, former prime minister and now Palestinian President. Bush told them:
"I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.' And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,' and I did. Now again", I feel God's words coming to me: 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.' And by God, I'm gonna do it."
Indeed, in his ever pathetic attempts to win the hearts and minds of god-fearing Americans, Bush pulls the religious card out at every opportunity. Consider:
"I BELIEVE that God wants me to be president."
So convincing was this that Bush won the support of his top military brass:
"Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this" (Lt Gen William Boykin, speaking of G. W. Bush, New York Times, 17 October 2003).
How history repeats itself:
"I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany." (Hitler - Berlin March, 1936).
And just like Bush, Hitler too had his military top brass propagating the view that leaders are god-given:
"God gave the savior to the German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he was sent to us by God to save Germany." (Hermann Goering).
Undoubtedly Ahmadinejad, like ourselves, recognises that many workers are sincere in their beliefs; that they are quite decent men and women who genuinely believe in the teachings of the various religions; that they do not do so for any material gain. Socialists do not take the view that such people are silly, idiotic or mentally deranged as many ‘rationalists’ do. It would be foolish to imagine that people who produce and distribute all the wealth of the world are imbeciles. But how do we explain the apparent contradiction of intelligent people, who behave in a sensible fashion in their real and everyday lives, but believe that the world is subject to supernatural forces, that certain events and phenomena are the will of a god? It would be a strange worker who blamed the malfunction of a computer on the acts of demons, or sought an exorcism on his electric calculator or mobile phone. In their everyday working lives, people base their actions on a materialist view. It is only when dealing with conflicts, that they see as being between good and evil, that they have recourse to religious and superstitious and unscientific ideas. At the weekend in church, synagogue or mosque, they profess all sorts of peculiar notions, but Monday to Friday in the workplace, they are as materialist as any member of the Socialist Party, often holding strong views on workers’ rights and conditions.
We live in a harsh, competitive society where everyone’s hand is turned against everyone else. Yet human beings crave social identity and companionship. The appeal of religion in modern day society is that it offers at least the consolation of a future state of peace and harmony. It stresses brotherhood and social cohesion. The harsher the reality, the more fantastic the solace offered by religion. It is no accident that early Christianity spread amongst the slaves of the Roman Empire, nor that in India and indeed throughout Asia, where poverty is so harsh, we have the devout religious zealots. In modern society, the emphasis on social stature is put on possessions. Everything has a price. Religion and its professed rejection of the material benefits of ownership stress a desire deep in the human character for something more worthwhile than mere property ownership. In actual practice, the religious bodies that stress the importance of something beyond mere ownership are often the most money-grabbing organisations in the world today. But their appeal lies in the rejection of the values of the society that they all support.
From a socialist viewpoint, it is not a case of God creating man, but of Man creating God. And what a variety of gods they have created! That ideas are a product of real, social circumstances, as socialists have always maintained, is nowhere better illustrated than in religion. Take the various notions about heaven. In the upper stages of savagery, the American Plains Indians lived by hunting. So their concept of an after-life was ‘The Happy Hunting Ground’ – a world where the game was plentiful. The Viking’s concept of an after-life was Valhalla, a sort of never-ending Bacchanalian feast, where food and drink were to be had in abundance. Contrast that with the modern Christian notion of heaven. Marble halls, Heavenly Gate and the guardian St. Peter, like a social security clerk, totalling up your good deeds stamps and seeing whether you qualify for any benefit!
As socialists we reject religion, recognising that between religion and socialism there can be no compromise. They are two fundamentally opposed views of the world. The religious view sees workers as incapable of solving the problems that confront them - something leaders zoom in on in an atemt to win their sympathy. The consolation offered by its believers is beyond the grave. They believe that human beings should adopt a slavish attitude…be humble…be grateful…and not attempt to abolish the ills that afflict them.
The socialist view is the exact opposite. We view the human being as a superb animal that has adapted the natural world to meet its needs. We view with wonder and astonishment the many magnificent accomplishments of men and women in the field of science, medicine, agriculture and advanced modern technology.
Socialists place their faith not in gods and supernatural forces, but in the intelligence and knowledge of the working class. The transformation of society will not be brought about by the action of gods, but by real men and women determined to end capitalism and establish socialism and, so doing, to fashion a world in their own interests. The hope for humanity’s future does not lie in the reformation of the human character as proposed by religion. We do not expect people to become saints. Socialism means an end of social conflict. This can only come about by the conscious political action of men and women who are convinced of the need for socialism.