'The big winner in Russia's recent election was the Communist Party, which jumped to almost 20 percent support. The party is today being transformed by a new wave of democratic socialist activists opposed to Vladimir Putin’s rule' (jacobinmag.com, 2 October).
The 'democratic socialists' (a tautological misnomer) had an inspiring electoral slogan* alongside a stale selection of reformist demands.
'“Put Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and the Moral Code of the Builder of Communism next to each other, and you will just gasp,” Gennady Zyuganov [leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in the State Duma since 12 December 1993] said in a radio interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid. He added that "the main slogan of communism – ‘He who does not work shall not eat’ – is written in the Apostle Paul's Second Epistle to the Thessalonians" found in the New Testament. “We need to study the Bible,” Zyuganov concluded' (the Moscow Times, 2 September 2021).
Anyone agreeing with Zvuganov should consider reading Emma Goldman's The Failure of Christianity (1915): 'The idea conveyed in the Sermon on the Mount is the greatest indictment against the teachings of Christ, because it sees in the poverty of mind and body a virtue, and because it seeks to maintain this virtue by reward and punishment..."Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." What a preposterous notion! What incentive to slavery, inactivity, and parasitism! Besides, it is not true that the meek can inherit anything. Just because humanity has been meek, the earth has been stolen from it. Meekness has been the whip, which capitalism and governments have used to force man into dependency, into his slave position. The most faithful servants of the State, of wealth, of special privilege, could not preach a more convenient gospel than did Christ, the "redeemer" of the people...'.
Sylvia Pankhurst too: ‘Socialism means plenty for all. We do not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance. Our desire is not to make poor those who today are rich, in order to put the poor in the place where the rich now are. Our desire is not to pull down the present rulers to put other rulers in their places’ (Socialism, Workers’ Dreadnought, 28 July 1923).
‘He who does not work shall not eat’ Compare this Bibically-inspired Leninist distortion with the real thing: 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' (Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha program, 1875) . Also, the vangardist Lenin again: “If Socialism can only be realised when the intellectual development of all the people permits it, then we shall not see Socialism for at least five hundred years” (From a speech in November 1918 quoted by John Reed in Ten Days that Shook the World) with early socialist Flora Tristan: 'the emancipation of the working class must be achieved by the working class itself.'
Best start anew, with one aim:
‘Our aim is Communism. Communism is not an affair of party. It is a theory of life and social organisation. It is a life in which property is held in common; in which the community produces, by conscious aim, sufficient to supply the needs of all its members; in which there is no trading, money, wages, or any direct reward for services rendered’ (Sylvia Pankhurst, What is behind the label? A plea for clearness, 1923).