The Catholic Case for Communism

“It is when the Communists are good that they are dangerous.”

That is how Dorothy Day begins an article in America, published just before the launch of the Catholic Worker on May Day in 1933. In contrast to the reactions of many Catholics of the time, Day painted a sympathetic, if critical view of the communists she encountered in Depression-era New York City. Her deep personalism allowed her to see the human stories through the ideological struggle; and yet she concluded that Catholicism and communism were not only incompatible, but mutual threats. A whole Cold War has passed since her reflection, and a few clarifying notes are now worthwhile.

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Communists are attracted to communism by their goodness, Day argued, that unerasable quality of the good that can be found within and outside the church alike, woven into our very nature. It might have been an easier thing to say back in 1933, when American communists were well known to the general public for putting their lives on the line to support striking workers, but it was also the kind of thing that could land you in a lot of trouble, not least in the Catholic Church.

By affirming the goodness that drives so many communists then and now, Day aimed to soften the perceptions of Catholics who were more comfortable with villainous caricatures of the communists of their era than with more challenging depictions of them as laborers for peace and economic justice. Most people who join communist parties and movements, Day rightly noted, are motivated not by some deep hatred toward God or frothing anti-theism, but by an aspiration for a world liberated from a political economy that demands vast exploitation of the many for the comfort of a few.

[Matt Malone, S.J.: Why we published an essay sympathetic to communism]

But in her attempt to create sympathy for the people attracted to communism and to overcome a knee-jerk prejudice against them, Day needlessly perpetuated two other prejudices against communism. First, she said that under all the goodness that draws people to communism, the movement is, in the final analysis, a program “with the distinct view of tearing down the church.”

Then, talking about a young communist in her neighborhood who was killed after being struck by a brick thrown by a Trotskyite, she concluded that young people who follow the goodness in their hearts that may lead them to communism are not fully aware of what it is they are participating in—even at the risk of their lives. In other words, we should hate the communism but love the communist.

Though Day’s sympathetic criticism of communism is in many ways commendable, nearly a century of history shows there is much more to the story than these two judgments suggest. Communist political movements the world over have been full of unexpected characters, strange developments and more complicated motivations than a desire to undo the church; and even through the challenges of the 20th century, Catholics and communists have found natural reasons to offer one another a sign of peace.

A Complicated History

Christianity and communism have obviously had a complicated relationship. That adjective “complicated” will surely cause some readers to roll their eyes. Communist states and movements have indeed persecuted religious people at different moments in history. At the same time, Christians have been passionately represented in communist and socialist movements around the world. And these Christians, like their atheist comrades, are communists not because they misunderstand the final goals of communism but because they authentically understand the communist ambition of a classless society.

“From each according to ability, to each according to need,” Marx summarizes in “Critique of the Gotha Program,” a near echo of Luke’s description of the early church in Acts 4:35 and 11:29. Perhaps it was Day, not her young communist neighbor, who misunderstood communism.

It is true that Marx, Engels, Lenin and a number of other major communists were committed Enlightenment thinkers, atheists who sometimes assumed religion would fade away in the bright light of scientific reason, and at other times advocated propagandizing against it (though not, as Lenin argued, in a way that would divide the movement against capitalism, the actual opponent). That should not be so scandalous in itself. They are hardly alone as modern atheists, and their atheism is understandable, when Christianity has so often been a force allied to the ruling powers that exploit the poor. Catholics have found plenty of philosophical resources in non-Christian sources in the past; why not moderns?

Despite and beyond theoretical differences, priests like Herbert McCabe, O.P., Ernesto and Fernando Cardenal, S.J., Frei Betto, O.P., Camilo Torres and many other Catholics—members of the clergy, religious and laypeople—have been inspired by communists and in many places contributed to communist and communist-influenced movements as members. Some still do—for example in the Philippines, where the “Christians for National Liberation,” an activist group first organized by nuns, priests and exploited Christians, are politically housed within the National Democratic Front, a coalition of movements that includes a strong communist thread currently fighting the far-right authoritarian leader Rodrigo Duterte.

Closer to home and outside of armed struggles, Christians are also present today in communist movements in the United States and Canada. Whatever hostilities may have existed in the past, some of these movements are quite open to Christian participation now. Many of my friends in the Party for Socialism and Liberation, for example, a Marxist-Leninist party, are churchgoing Christians or folks without a grudge against their Christian upbringing, as are lots of people in the radical wing of the Democratic Socialists of America.

The Communist Party USA has published essays affirming the connections between Christianity and communism and encouraging Marxists not to write off Christians as hopelessly lost to the right (the C.P.U.S.A. paper, People’s World, even reported on Sister Simone Campbell and Network’s Nuns on the Bus campaign to agitate for immigration reform). In Canada, Dave McKee, former leader of the Communist Party of Canada in Ontario, was once an Anglican theology student at a Catholic seminary, radicalized in part by his contact with base communities in Nicaragua. For my part, I have talked more about Karl Rahner, S.J., St. Óscar Romero and liberation theology at May Day celebrations and communist meetings than at my own Catholic parish.

In other words, though some communists would undoubtedly prefer a world without Christianity, communism is not simply a program for destroying the church. Many who committed their very lives to the church felt compelled to work alongside communists as part of their Christian calling. The history of communism, whatever else it might be, will always contain a history of Christianity, and vice versa, whether members of either faction like it or not.

Communism in its socio-political expression has at times caused great human and ecological suffering. Any good communist is quick to admit as much, not least because communism is an unfinished project that depends on the recognition of its real and tragic mistakes.

But communists are not the only ones who have to answer for creating human suffering. Far from being a friendly game of world competition, capitalism, Marx argued, emerged through the privatization of what was once public, like shared land, a process enforced first by physical violence and then continued by law. As time went on, human beings themselves would become the private property of other human beings.

[Questions or comments about this essay? Join the author for a live Q&A on America’s Facebook page on Thursday, July 25 at 2 p.m. EST]

Colonial capitalism, together with the assumptions of white supremacy, ushered in centuries of unbridled terrorism on populations around the world, creating a system in which people could be bought and sold as commodities. Even after the official abolition of slavery in the largest world economies—which required a costly civil war in the United States—the effects of that system live on, and capitalist nations and transnational companies continue to exploit poor and working people at home and abroad. For many people around the globe today, being on the wrong side of capitalism can still mean the difference between life and death.

What Motivates a Communist?

Communism has provided one of the few sustainable oppositions to capitalism, a global political order responsible for the ongoing suffering of millions. It is that suffering, reproduced by economic patterns that Marx and others tried to explain, and not the secret plot of atheism (as Day once argued), that motivates communists.

According to a report by Oxfam released in 2018, global inequality is staggering and still on the rise. Oxfam, which is not run by communists, observed that “82 percent of the wealth created [in 2017] went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity got nothing.”

While entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are investing in space travel, their workers are grounded in daily economic struggle here on earth. In Mr. Musk’s Tesla factories, workers suffer serious injuries more than twice the industrial average, and they report being so exhausted that they collapse on the factory floor.

An undercover journalist reports workers urinate into bottles in a U.K. Amazon warehouse for fear of being disciplined for “idle time,” and the company has a long list of previous offenses. In Pennsylvania, Amazon workers needed medical attention both for exposure to the cold in the winter and for heat exhaustion in the summer. These hardly seem like prices worth paying so a few billionaires can vacation in the black expanse of space. As one Detroit Tesla worker put it: “Everything feels like the future but us.”

For communists, global inequality and the abuse of workers at highly profitable corporations are not the result only of unkind employers or unfair labor regulations. They are symptoms of a specific way of organizing wealth, one that did not exist at the creation of the world and one that represents part of a “culture of death,” to borrow a familiar phrase. We already live in a world where wealth is redistributed, but it goes up, not down or across.

Though polls show U.S. citizens have become increasingly skeptical of capitalism—one Gallup survey even reports that Democrats currently view socialism more positively than capitalism—that attitude is not widely popular among electoral representatives. A revival of socialist hysteria typified the response to Bernie Sanders’s inspiring 2016 primary bid and the electoral success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America, a party co-founded by a former Catholic Worker, Michael Harrington. Republican and Democratic politicians have made it abundantly clear that whatever their differences, they both agree that in U.S. political culture support for capitalism is non-negotiable, as Nancy Pelosi told a socialist questioner during a CNN town hall.

Communists are not content with the back-and-forth of capitalist parties, who point fingers at one another while maintaining, jointly, a system that exploits multitudes of people, including their own constituents. Communists think we can build better ways of being together in society.

[Questions or comments about this essay? Join the author for a live Q&A on America’s Facebook page on Thursday, July 25 at 2 p.m. EST]

Contrary to the fear that communists simply want everyone’s “stuff,” the abolition of private property, for which Marx and Engels called, means the abolition of privately owned ways of generating wealth, not taking the clothes off your back or your dad’s tie collection. As the popular saying in communist circles goes, communists do not want your toothbrush. Some of the standard proposals in the programs of communist parties include things like providing free health care, abolishing private profit from renting property and the creation of truly democratic institutions in which politicians are not millionaires and are subject to recall.

In fact, although the Catholic Church officially teaches that private property is a natural right, this teaching also comes with the proviso that private property is always subordinate to the common good. So subordinate, says Pope Francis in a truly radical moment in “Laudato Si’,” that “The Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property.”

Something like this is paralleled in “The Communist Manifesto,” when Marx and Engels underscore that abolishing private property means abolishing not personal property, or the kinds of things an artisan or farmer might own, but the amassed property held by the rich, which divides human beings into antagonistic classes of people—in other words, the kind of private property that most of us do not have.

“You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property,” Marx and Engels say to their bourgeois detractors. “But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.”

[Matt Malone, S.J.: Why we published an essay sympathetic to communism]

Instead, they write that property should be transformed. In a passage not too far from Pope Francis’ bold sentence above, Marx and Engels say: “When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.”

What communists desire is an authentically common life together, and they think that can only happen by relativizing property in light of the good of everyone. Radical indeed, but certainly not all that shocking to people who remember when the Virgin Mary sang that God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty (Lk 1:53).

Dorothy Day and Christian Communism

Dorothy Day seemed to recognize the deeper motivations for communism later on, changing her judgment of good communists to suggest perhaps there is also good communism. Her article in America was written at the beginning of the Great Depression. Twenty years later, Fidel Castro and comrades founded the 26th of July Movement. That effort in 1959 ousted Fulgencio Batista, whose regime was infamous for torturing or killing thousands of Cubans while enjoying support from the United States.

Reflecting on the Cuban revolution in The Catholic Worker in 1961, Day offered a complex perspective on the persecution of some Catholics following the revolution. Nevertheless, she wrote, “It is hard...to say that the place of The Catholic Worker is with the poor, and that being there, we are often finding ourselves on the side of the persecutors of the Church. This is a tragic fact.”

Day reminded her readers that Castro emphasized he was not against the church or Catholics as such (he knew Catholics in the revolution, after all) but against those factions within Cuba that would prefer to cling to the old regime, built on the oppression of Cuba’s people. Castro had not only permitted priests and nuns to stay in Cuba, Day wrote, but affirmed that the church endured through monarchies, republics and in feudalist states. “Why cannot she exist under a socialist state?” she asked. She noted many Jesuits would stay in Cuba to work in parishes and added that the Jesuits already had experience living through periods of persecution and suppression.

But Dorothy Day was not open only to the begrudging possibility that the Cuban church might not be wiped out by socialism. She went further: “We are on the side of the revolution. We believe there must be new concepts of property, which is proper to [humanity], and that the new concept is not so new. There is a Christian communism and a Christian capitalism.

“God Bless the priests and people of Cuba. God bless Castro and all those who are seeing Christ in the poor,” she said. A year later, Day visited Cuba to see the revolutionary society for herself. In a series of dispatches to The Catholic Worker, she reported glowingly, albeit not without noting the many problems the young society had to solve, problems she hoped could in fact be solved with a little communist ingenuity.

Spanning over a century now, communists—Christians and non-Christians—have fought against a violent capitalist economy, putting their lives and freedoms at risk, enduring character assassination, imprisonment and war. Whether or not one is convinced by the communist hope of abolishing private property, it is undeniable that communists have provided a real, material challenge to a global system that the most powerful world governments have every intention of perpetuating. The loss of a mass communist movement, due in large part to an aggressive legal and political persecution by the United States and other governments, has made organizing opposition to capitalism itself a difficult task; but even in its absence, a majority of millennials reject capitalism.

As Marx and Engels put it in “The Communist Manifesto”: “In place of the bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” It is with that hope for free development, beyond the competition of capitalists, that many Catholics, myself included, count themselves among the communists.

So Dorothy Day was right when she said it is when the communists are good that they are dangerous. Communists are pursuing the good when they are dangerous; they are opposing an economic system based on avarice, exploitation and human suffering, afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. And in a world beholden to an economy of death, one that is crippling our “common home,” as Pope Francis tells us, and asserting itself as the end of history, we must also add: It is when the communists are dangerous that they are good.

[Questions or comments about this essay? Join the author for a live Q&A on America’s Facebook page on Thursday, July 25 at 2 p.m. EST]

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J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

There is no case. It has nothing to do with religion. Equality of outcome is a horrible philosophy. God made us unequal for a reason. To strive to get better. Communism and socialism eliminates any incentive to better oneself. Plus 100 million dead and extreme poverty. Communists are never good.

Socialism because it is against the natural law always leads to dysfunctional outcomes which require strong armed leaders to suppress the people. Thus, it will always lead to massive deaths let alone incredible poverty.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

The natural state of humans as God made us is inequality. This leads us to better oneself and others then benefit by our example. The pareto distribution describes nearly all human achievements. A few excel to extreme levels and the rest reap the benefit of their achievements.

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

I did not know that there was a gospel according to Pareto. Pareto would agree, however, that monopsony, aka exploitation, is suboptimal.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

Read about the Pareto distribution. Abilities are distributed unequally in humans. Not everyone is Hank Aaron, Mozart or Shakespeare. Observe the world.

By the way you apparently do not know what capitalism is. There are many varieties. Just as socialism has many forms so does capitalism. Free market capitalism has given us the modern world. No form of socialism has worked.

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

Isaiah, Amos, Moses, the Apostles and God beg to differ. Note the parable of the harvesters. They received equality of results. To each according to their need. Nothing in Scripture glorifies self reliance (except Proverbs).

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

Ever read the parable of the talents. Christ was praising venture capitalists.

bgranat@granatedit.com
2 months 2 weeks ago

The point of the parable is that the owner of the land could pay WHAT HE WISHED TO PAY THE WORKERS --- not that each worker would receive the same amount.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

An aside: There is a movie on Dorothy Day which I highly recommend. She had an incredible will. But with all this will and good intentions she had about zero effect on eliminating poverty in the world. But yet poverty is disappearing from the world (despite the doom and gloom of the author) and it has nothing to do with anything Catholics or any form of socialism has contributed.

Fred Keyes
2 months 3 weeks ago

Any form of socialism? Like the kind in Scandinavian countries, or even Canada with respect to health care? Or what is described in Acts 4:34-35?
"Socialism" is one of the most abused words in the English language. Conservatives in this country abuse it more than any other group I can think of.

Opting Out
2 months 3 weeks ago

Get to know the 20 something year old Dean Dettloff, in his own words:
Dean Dettloff Ph.D. (candidate) Institute for Christian Studies; M.A. Institute for Christian Studies; B.A. Cornerstone University
Dean Dettloff is a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Christian Studies, where he researches the intersections of media, religion, and politics. Currently, his academic work explores the ambiguity within Christianity as a world historical force, using media theory to investigate Christian technologies of domination and liberation. He also writes as a journalist, covering Canadian social issues and the Christian left, and co-hosts The Magnificast, a podcast about Christianity and leftist politics.

http://faculty.icscanada.edu/dean-dettloff

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

Putin was a Soviet agent and Trump is his. Watch the Mueller testimony, if you dare.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

The Scandinavian countries are mainly free market capitalist countries. You are confusing social programs with socialism.

Janis Barnard
2 months 3 weeks ago

Agree completely. It’s just one of the many “trigger” words thrown around today, used to create conflict when, in fact, there might be more agreement than one might imagine.

Terry Kane
2 months 1 week ago

https://www.prageru.com/video/was-jesus-a-socialist/

D Antibes
2 months 2 weeks ago

J Cosgrove: your comments are excellent, data-derived and logical. I would add: Dorothy Day can be forgiven her ignorance since communism had not yet been completely unmasked. The author of this article cannot make such a claim. His arguments are weak, at best, and dangerously deceptive. Denying the horrid history of communism is unforgivable.

Andrew Strada
2 months 3 weeks ago

If you can write about communism in the 1930's with no reference to the Great Terror, the Gulag Archipelago, the extermination of the kulaks, the famine in Ukraine, then it is not clear that you deserve any more respect than a holocaust denier.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

The author has distorted a lot more than that. He has failed to mention the modern world is the result of free market capitalism but he discusses it as if it is some horrible disease. Read the nonsense about Cuba in this article. Incredibly erroneous description. This author also wrote a positive article on Antifa. The author reveals the irrationality behind their incoherent beliefs and thinking in his own words as he distorts the world. The value of this article is that it reveals the crazies that exist here.

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

Marx would agree that consumerism and public welfare a product of capitalism as a means of forestalling revolution. Marx had no program to get to the automated workers paradise, nut assumed it would be arrived at democratically. Revolution was the elevator speech. Sadly, Lenin and Mao only got that far. Neither was a socialist.

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

Antifa means ANTIFAscist. You know, the whole Unite the Right, Blood and Soil thing. UTR are closer to their Klan and German roots than socialists are to the Soviets.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

The author completely destroyed Dorothy Day as a person of any respectability. Her response to Cuba should disqualify her from any further considerations as a person interested in the poor. She did have a will but a will in the wrong direction.

Stanley Kopacz
2 months 3 weeks ago

The modern world is the result of scientific development going critical. Free exchange of information and improved communication have made the modern world. Capitalism is the economic system that happened to be in the neighborhood when it happened. All this economic uplift of the poor you brag about has mostly taken place in China. Whatever it is, it isn't American capitalism in its present form. Inequality in talent? Yes. The physicists and engineers who developed microelectronics to its present degree are much more talented than Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg who piggybacked on their accomplishments and they are much less rich. These rich guys are, as a group , a danger to democracy. I can see some economic inequality, but this is ridiculous. Capitalists eventually end up creating the conditions that make socialism and even communism look good. And it's looking better all the time.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

You should read more. Free market capitalism emerged from a very small place, 18th century England. It had it origins in religious wars of the 1600's. Most of the inventions and modern innovations originated where it arose. So you have your analysis backwards. I can give you things to read but by your comments you wont read them since you have been given them before. One of the first places it arose was Pennsylvania, which was called the poor man's country. It absorbed 80,000 poor German farmers who became prosperous.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

A good start is here but there are much more
http://lukemuehlhauser.com/industrial-revolution/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo

Stanley Kopacz
2 months 3 weeks ago

Maybe YOU should read more. Isaac Newton was a government employee. There was a revolution in science because all over Europe, cognitive and experimental methods and tools, mathematical presentations of physical phenomena were developed along with Promethean attitudes of being able to harness nature, an Enlightenment can-do spirit. Mathematics developed as well. These guys weren't making fortunes or working for companies.
Merchants thrived parasitically on developments from the scientific revolution but they weren't the originators.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

If you want to learn more about the history of science and want to debate it, I am all in. I suggest you go to the Great Courses and get their three courses on the history of science which I have viewed , many lectures more than once.
History was written by the 1 or 2 % you and others complain against but the 98% was ignored in this history. That changed in the 1600's in England and led to freedom for the common man and to inventions and innovations of great magnitude that have nothing to do with Newton or Galileo etc. Maybe some other scientist such as Boyle.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

As an example, cotton, the preferred cloth for clothing cost 11 shillings a pound in the 1730's. This was a weeks wages for the average person. By the 1790's it cost 1 shilling a pound. Which do you think made more of a difference for the common man, Newton or the set of inventions/innovations that led to this?
An aside, the then invention of the cotton gin made slavery much more profitable and is the reason why slavery took off in the United States in the 1800's.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

You talk of the enlightenment. Which one the Scottish one or the French one. One was based on Aristotle and Locke and the other on Plato and Rousseau. One led to the industrial revolution and the freedom of mankind. The other led to oppression of billions of people and the killing of hundreds of millions. Guess which one I choose but the authors here have chosen the other.

bgranat@granatedit.com
2 months 2 weeks ago

The YouTube thing is really good. And I'll be reading the Industrial Revolution piece now.

Chuck Kotlarz
2 months 3 weeks ago

Mr. Cosgrove, Cubans outlive those in the senate majority leader's state by three years. Does Mitch McConnell have free market capitalism in Kentucky?

AOC, Omar and Pressley, members of the squad, come from districts with life expectancy longer than all twenty-eight Right-To-Work states. Do R-T-W states have free market capitalism?

Bonnie Weissman
2 months 3 weeks ago

My thoughts exactly.

Fred Keyes
2 months 3 weeks ago

Mr. Cosgrove, please address your understanding of Acts 4:34-35. Please cite biblical sources.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

You are citing individual action not political action. There is enough food in the world for everyone so no one has to sell anything Better question is why the Catholic Church advocated social policies that kept 98% of the population in Christianity in abject poverty. Maybe they never read Acts at the Vatican. So why cite biblical sources when Christ did not want the Church to get involved in politics. The modern world resulted from Protestant religious wars in England and The Netherlands that did not include Catholics. The result, freedom for the individual person which was fought by Catholics.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

I remember reading somewhere where Mass was often celebrated in the homes of rich Christians. If this true, there was hardly any communism in the early Church. But again, communism will only work in small communities of similar objectives such as the family, tribe or a religious community.

Fred Keyes
2 months 2 weeks ago

You forget that in the heyday of Communist Russia there were already oligarchs whose wealth was their power. As proof, when the Soviet Union fell, these men quickly monetized their power--the coin of the realm. They are now among the wealthiest men on the planet.

Point is, that wealth exists regardless of the economic system. Poverty is as much a frame of mind as it is material want. Still we are commanded to care for the materially poor and it behooves us all to do so at every level, whether it's through free will contributions, support of eleemosynary institutions, or governmental policies.

John Butler
2 months 3 weeks ago

I believe history has proved the author wrong.

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

You are right. The Soviets, especially the KGB, were tyrants. Trump has a bigly man crush on one of them.

Ryan H
2 months 3 weeks ago

This is Satanic propaganda coming from a Church whose Pope speaks from the mouth of a snake. https://newagora.ca/inside-popes-reptilian-audience-hall-vatican-city/
It is time for Catholics to reject the teachings of these evil demons, and demand accountability and answers for the raping of children that has gone on long enough. How dare any Catholic donate to this organization when it has proven time and time again that it cares more about the preservation of the wolves within than the sheep without.

Matt Wilson
2 months 3 weeks ago

Matthew 16: 17-19.

John Wren
2 months 3 weeks ago

This is propoganda, not scholarship, in my opinion. God help us.

John Wren
2 months 3 weeks ago

"Many of my friends in the Party for Socialism and Liberation, for example, a Marxist-Leninist party, are churchgoing Christians."

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

DSA has lots of Secularists, including secular Jews, like Sanders. It has Christians too. DSA is not a party, by the way. Most are Democrats, although there are Greens too.

Kenneth Wolfe
2 months 3 weeks ago

It is sad to see the Society of Jesus sink to yet another new low.

Antony P.
2 months 3 weeks ago

The author of this article has a very limited understanding of communism and, I have to say, of Catholic (Christian) social teaching and, implicitly, of the essence of the Christian message itself. I find it quite disturbing that the America Magazine deemed this article publishable.

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

Actualy, he is correct. Soviet authoritarianism is based on the Marxist elevator speech, not the intricacies of Marxian thought. Most of what modern welfare economics (Pareto and Keynes) dealing with imperfect markets, can be found in Marx.

Antony P.
2 months 3 weeks ago

I was not referring to anything Soviet. I was referring to Marxist theory and the author’s alarmingly inadequate understanding of its basic principles.

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

The only solution to abortion is a middle class level negative income tax for each child, distributed with worker pay. Modern Marxist thinkers are mostly cooperative socialists. Richard Wolff focuses on ending explotation; Gar Alperovitz on community partnerships while I focus on cooperative synergy between production, consumption, government services and finance. All of us favor multiple private cooperatives, not one large government one. We do seek government finance toward expanding cooperation, as do other employee ownership programs. We are much less radical than the Georgists and Kelsonians.

Democratic Socialists are advancing the Sanders social democratic agenda rather than increased democratic control of society. That was tried in Russia and led to authoritarianism. Neither side has Amy commitment to Moscow. That would be Trump, who thinks Putin works for him.

Marx was against the Church for its role in feudalism. It still practices feudalistic government and condemned freedom of religion until Vatican II. Atheists see God as a meme rather than ultimate reality. Opposition to them has not changed that opinion, nor has the behavior of conservatives. The reality is that they hold up a mirror to the Church. We need one.

The Church could be a part of any cooperative to take on activities now performed by government, but not in its current form. If it continues to idealize misogyny, asexual stoicism and Medievalism, it will not be invited to the party. Well adjusted sexuality, including equality, democracy and having a 501(c)(3) are not intrinsically evil.

Michael Bindner
2 months 3 weeks ago

I see no one wants to discuss reality. Partisanship seems to characterize most of the comments, which is a bold choice when the leader of the conservatives is a Kremlin Asset.

Bonnie Weissman
2 months 3 weeks ago

I agree with the other commenters here. What's going on? Is America tired of beating the drum against Trump and constantly covering the immigrant crisis? Is late July a slow time at the magazine? Or is glorifying "the Squad" becoming problematic because at least two of them are avowed anti Semites? BTW, if you need a new topic, how about supporting veterans who were training and/or stationed at Ft. McClellan, AL. I am one of them. We are lobbying Congress to get the VA to start a registry (as they did with Agent Orange). Because Monstanto dumped PCBs everywhere for decades, the water, soil, and air were saturated with it and other dangerous chemicals. Over 600,000 troops (many with families) spent time there over many years until the base closed in 1998. some of us have suffered unique health problems and some of our kids have developed them as well. The list is long, but seizures, some rare cancers, and thyroid disorders are common. Monsanto BTW, awarded a $700 million settlement to Anniston, the town located directly next to the base, but no provisions were made for military personnel and their families. So my point is, if you're looking for a good cause to write about, this is one of them. Your fact-checkers, if they google "Ft. McClellan" and "Monsanto in a search together, will find that legislation supporting this VA registry has languished in the House. And puh-leeze, no more articles like this lame one romanticizing communism. My relatives were from Poland and Lithuania. I'm sure they could give you a more realistic picture of what communists do in real life. See the recent film, "Ashes in the Snow" about what the communists did to the Lithuanians. It may not be glamorous to your Upper West Side buddies, but your vet brothers and sisters, who have given so much, need your help.

rose-ellen caminer
2 months 3 weeks ago

"Two of them are avowed anti Semites".That's your opinion. Neither of them mentioned Jews. Siding with the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel does not make someone anti Semitic. Smearing people who side with the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, those who support BDS, those who mention the existence of AIPAC as a powerful lobby,; anti Semites, is a tried and true weapon designed to shut down criticism of Israel, AIPAC and support for [Semitic]Palestinians ,THERE'S your anti Semitism, directed at Semitic Palestinians;the most pernicious form being promoted in the US; policy wise narrative wise, propaganda wise. Which the pro Palestinian congresswomen are pushing back against.

Edward Delaney
2 months 3 weeks ago

I believe the Jesuits were expelled from Cuba in 1961 and the Belen Jesuit School property became a Military Academy for Communist elites.

A very different history than portrayed in this article.

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