Sunday, November 12, 2006

Against Bigotry

Socialists, other than agreeing on the urgent need for the establishment of a world of free access as a solution to most of today's 'problems', are a very mixed group with diverse tastes and interests. But given the number of high-profile celebrities joining the reformist misery-go-round, they might well be angry with Angelina, bored of Bono and mad with Madonna for further delaying effective treatment, i.e, addressing only the symptoms rather than the actual disease. Another celebrity has identified a rather different 'problem' and has called for religion to be banned. Elton John is quoted as saying "I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people. From my point of view, I would ban religion completely,"

Here Elton is singing a refreshingly different tune, but it is not one you will hear Socialists joining. This is not to say that Socialists are unsympathetic: indeed, if our numbers were larger, we too might be subject to the same scorn reserved for the homosexuals and lesbians who paraded in Jerusalem recently. Yes, in a rare show of unity fundamentalist christian, jewish and muslim fascists came out against the sodomities (their pejorative).

What then is the Socialist position? Well, in our Declaration of Principles which date from 1904, you can read the following:

That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind, without distinction of race or sex.

The hate and distrust that exists in society today is a direct result of the nature of societies past and present. A society in which we must compete to survive, in which our jobs are threatened by other workers, in which we do not feel secure, is fertile breeding ground for racism, sexism, nationalism and all the other hatreds that abound.

Even today, while this hatred is sometimes used to pit one worker against another, it appears that overall, these hatreds are being rooted out and made socially unacceptable. This is particularly noticeable in countries like South Africa where there is a shortage of white workers, and black workers must be brought into previously "white" workplaces without the major disruption that is caused by overt racism.

No society can meet our human needs as long as there are different classes of people. Every person has abilities that differentiate them from others, but we are all equal in our humanity. We all have strengths and weaknesses. What we need is a society that allows us to use our strengths, and that accepts and accommodates our weaknesses.

Socialism will be a society geared to meeting human needs, and the need to be accepted for what we are is probably the most basic of human needs. When the breeding ground for these hatreds has disappeared, people will naturally be able to eradicate them with all the other negative leftovers of capitalism.

Clearly, Socialists are not homophobes. But, having endured physical attacks from fascists of the Left and Right we remain wholeheartedly in favour of the fullest freedom of speech. This is because we hold that out of full and free discussion of today's social problems only one valid conclusion can emerge: that Socialism alone will provide the framework within which they can be solved.

Socialists are Materialists and as such opposed to religion in all its forms. We agree with Marx that 'Religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the opposed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.' So, in the words of the radical poet P Bysshe Shelley:

Let us hasten than glorious day
When man on man no more shall prey
When prophets priests and kings
Are numbered with forgotten things


Anonymous said...

I do think that even in a Socialist world organized religion doesn't much have a place. I do think that people should be allowed to believe what they want to believe since I think that is a birth right. I do agree with Elton John's statement about a lot of religion opposing homosexual relationships, hence why I think it has been viewed as a social-sin. A taboo that the "good" people would never dip into. I don't think that organized religion has a place in society today, but people are so in love with the idea of comradery it offers, I doubt it will be anytime soon that organized religion is lost, sadly. However, I don't think that a lot of Socialists are much into organized religion since it very much distracts the problems that we face outside of our spirituality. I do think that religion is a huge reason for a lot of the wars and the clashing amongst humans and it would be better, possibly, if it could be irraticated.

furiousgeorge said...

to ban or condemn organised eligion is, i believe, a negative idea. besides the fact that it wouuld be impossible it would also be contradicory to the basic principles of socialism. everbody has the right to worship who, and how, they choose.

also, the issue is really not a religious one. it is social. religion exists as a crutch for the peoople who have lost hope, as an excuse or reason for the disgraces of society. to believe that there is a life that is better, pefect, waiting for us after death allows people to plod along and accept injustice, discrimination and ultimately, death.

in a succesful socialist society these fears would be irradicated and in turn religion, in its current form, would irradicate itself.

without fear religion is obselite.

furiousgeorge said...