Finding a Social Voice: The Church and Marxism in Africa
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The example of Spain is perhaps the most graphic in this regard. In the epoch of the ascent of capitalism, when it still represented a progressive force in history, the first ideologists of the bourgeoisie had to fight a ferocious battle against the ideological bastions of feudalism, starting with the Catholic Church. Long before overthrowing the power of feudal landlords, the bourgeoisie, in the shape of its most conscious and revolutionary representatives, had to break down its ideological defences: the philosophical and religious framework that had grown up around the Church, and its militant arm, the Inquisition.
The rise of capitalism began in the Netherlands and the cities of northern Italy. It was accompanied by new attitudes, which gradually solidified into a new morality and new religious beliefs. Under feudalism economic power was expressed as the ownership of land. Money played a secondary role. But the rise of trade and manufacture and the incipient market relations that accompanied them made Money an even greater power.
Great banking families like the Fuggers arose and challenged the might of kings. The bloody wars of religion in the 16th and 17th century were merely the outward expression of deeper class conflicts. The only possible result of these struggles was the rise to power of the bourgeoisie and new capitalist relations of production. But the leaders of these struggles had no prior knowledge of this. The English Revolution of was a great social transformation. The old feudal regime was destroyed and replaced with a new capitalist social order. The Civil War was a class war which overthrew the despotism of Charles I and the reactionary feudal order that stood behind him.
Parliament represented the new rising middle classes of town and country which challenged and defeated the old regime, cutting off the head of the king and abolishing the House of Lords in the process. Objectively, Oliver Cromwell was laying the basis for the rule of the bourgeoisie in England. But in order to do this, in order to clear all the feudal-monarchical rubbish out of the way, he was first obliged to sweep aside the cowardly bourgeoisie, dissolve its parliament and base himself on the petty bourgeoisie, the small farmers of East Anglia, the class to which he belonged, and the plebeian and semi-proletarian masses of town and country.
Placing himself at the head of a revolutionary army, Cromwell aroused the fighting spirit of the masses by appealing to the Bible, the Saints and the Kingdom of God on Earth. His soldiers did not go into battle under the banner of Rent, Interest and Profit, but singing religious hymns. This evangelistic spirit, which was soon filled with a revolutionary and even sometimes a communistic content, was what inspired the masses to fight with tremendous courage and enthusiasm against the Hosts of Baal.
However, once in power, Cromwell could not go beyond the bounds established by history and the objective limits of the productive forces of the epoch. He was compelled to turn against the Left Wing, suppressing the Levellers by force, and to pursue a policy that favoured the bourgeoisie and the reinforcement of capitalist property relations in England. In the end, Cromwell dismissed parliament and ruled as dictator until his death, when the English bourgeoisie, fearful that the Revolution had gone too far and might pose a threat to property, restored the Stuarts to the throne.
The French Revolution of was on a qualitatively higher level. Instead of religion, the Jacobins appealed to Reason. They fought under the banner of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity in order to rouse the plebeian and semi-proletarian masses against the feudal aristocracy and the monarchy. Long before it brought down the formidable walls of the Bastille, it had overthrown the invisible, but no less formidable, walls of the Church and religion. But when the French bourgeoisie became the ruling class, faced with the new revolutionary class, the proletariat, the bourgeoisie quickly forgot the rationalist and atheist intoxication of its youth.
After the fall of Robespierre, the victorious men of property longed for stability. Searching for stabilising formulae and a conservative ideology that would justify their privileges, they quickly rediscovered the charms of Holy Mother Church. The latter, with her extraordinary ability to adapt, has managed to survive for two millennia, despite all the social changes that have taken place.
The Catholic Church soon welcomed its new master and protector, sanctifying the domain of Big Capital, in the same way as before the same church had sanctified the power of feudal monarchs and the slave owners of the Roman Empire.? In his classic work, What is history? The English historian E. By that he meant that the telling of history cannot be separated from the viewpoint, political or otherwise, both of the writer and of the reader and of the times they live or lived in.
It is often said that history is written by the winners.
In other words, the selection and interpretation of historical events are shaped by the actual outcome of those conflicts as they affect the historian and in turn his perception of what the reader will want to read. Despite the pretensions of bourgeois historians to an alleged objectivity, the writing of history inevitably reflects a class point of view. It is impossible to escape having some sort of view on the events described. To claim otherwise is to attempt to defraud the reader. When Marxists look at society they do not pretend to be neutral, but openly espouse the cause of the working class and socialism.
However, that does not at all preclude scientific objectivity. A surgeon involved in a delicate operation is also committed to saving the life of his patient. But for that very reason, he will distinguish with extreme care between the different layers of the organism. In the same way, Marxists will strive to obtain the most scientifically exact analysis of social processes, in order to be able successfully to influence the outcome. From this we can see that the flow and direction of history has been—and is—shaped by the struggles of successive social classes to mould society in their own interests and by the resulting conflicts between the classes which flow from that.
Very often attempts are made to discredit Marxism by resorting to a caricature of its method of historical analysis. There is nothing easier than erecting a straw man in order to knock it down again. The usual distortion is that Marx and Engels reduced everything to economics. More than this neither Marx nor myself have asserted. Hence, if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract and senseless phrase.
Historical materialism has nothing in common with fatalism. Men and women are not merely puppets of blind historical forces. But neither are they entirely free agents, able to shape their destiny irrespective of the existing conditions imposed by the level of economic development, science and technique, which, in the last analysis, determine whether a socio-economic system is viable or not.
To quote Engels:. Marx and Engels repeatedly criticised the superficial way in which certain people misused the method of historical materialism. In his letter to Conrad Schmidt, dated 5 August , Engels writes:. But our conception of history is above all a guide to study, not a lever for construction after the manner of the Hegelian. All history must be studied afresh; the conditions of existence of the different formations of society must be examined individually before the attempt is made to deduce them from the political, civil law, aesthetic, philosophic, religious, etc.
Up to now but little has been done here because only a few people have got down to it seriously. In this field we can utilise heaps of help, it is immensely big, anyone who will work seriously can achieve much and distinguish himself. But instead of this too many of the younger Germans simply make use of the phrase historical materialism and everything can be turned into a phrase only in order to get their own relatively scanty historical knowledge—for economic history is still as yet in its swaddling clothes!
Marx and Engels , Collected Works , volume 49, p. They never see anything but here cause and there effect. That this is a hollow abstraction, that such metaphysical polar opposites only exist in the real world during crises, while the whole vast process proceeds in the form of interaction though of very unequal forces, the economic movement being by far the strongest, most elemental and most decisive and that here everything is relative and nothing is absolute—this they never begin to see. Marxism does not deny the question of ideas but rather seeks to examine what gives rise to them.
Equally it does not deny the role of the individual or indeed that of chance but instead puts them in their correct context. A car crash or a stray bullet may indeed manage to change the course of history but it is certainly not the motive force.
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Hegel explained that necessity reveals itself through chance. This brings us to the central question of Marxist philosophy. In the writings of Marx and Engels we do not have a philosophical system, like that of Hegel, but a series of brilliant insights and pointers, which, if they were developed, would provide a valuable addition to the methodological armoury of science. Unfortunately, such a work has never been seriously undertaken.
There is a difficulty for anyone who wishes to study dialectical materialism thoroughly. Despite the immense importance of the subject, there is no single book of Marx and Engels that deals with the question in a comprehensive manner. However, the dialectical method is in evidence in all the writings of Marx. Probably the best example of the application of dialectics to a particular field in this case political economy consists of the three volumes of Capital. For a long time, Marx had intended to write a book on dialectical materialism, but it proved impossible because of his work on Capital.
This occupied every moment of his time, and even this work was frequently interrupted by bouts of illness brought on by his miserable living conditions, poor diet and exhaustion. But unfortunately, Engels also failed to write the definitive book on Marxist philosophy for various reasons. First, the emergence of an opportunist trend within the Social Democratic Party in Germany forced him to leave his scientific research to one side in order to write a polemic against opportunism that has become one of the most important classics of Marxism.
Later on, Engels returned to his preparatory studies for a comprehensive book on philosophy. But with the death of Marx, on March 14, , he was again obliged to suspend this work in order to prioritise the difficult task of putting in order and completing the manuscripts of volumes two and three of Capital that had been left unfinished. Dialectical philosophy reached its highest point in the philosophy of the German idealist Georg Hegel. His great contribution was to rediscover dialectics, originally invented by the Greeks. He developed this to new heights. But he did this on the basis of idealism.
Reading Hegel, one has the sensation of a truly great idea that is struggling to escape from the straitjacket of idealist mystification. Here we find extraordinarily profound ideas and flashes of great insight, but buried amidst a heap of idealist nonsense. It is a very frustrating experience to read Hegel! Time and again this great thinker drew tantalisingly close to a materialist position. But at the last minute he always drew back, fearful of the consequences.
For that reason, Hegelian philosophy was unsatisfactory, contradictory, botched and incomplete. Hegel carried traditional philosophy as far as it could go. In order to carry it further, it had to go beyond its bounds, negating itself in the process. Philosophy had to return from the nebulous realms of speculation back to the real world of material things, of living men and women, of real history and struggle from which it had been separated for so long. The problem with Feuerbach and some other Left Hegelians, like Moses Hess, is that they merely said no to Hegel, negating his philosophy by simply denying it.
It required courage, especially in the given context of general European reaction and the repressive Prussian state. It provided inspiration to the young Marx and Engels. But ultimately, it failed. One can negate a grain of wheat by crushing it underfoot. But the dialectical concept of negation is not merely to destroy: it is to destroy while simultaneously preserving all that deserves to be preserved. A grain of wheat can also be negated by allowing it to germinate. Hegel pointed out that the same words in the mouth of an adolescent do not carry the same weight as on the lips of an old man, who has lived life and accumulated great experience.
It is the same with philosophy. In returning to its starting point, philosophy does not merely repeat a long-surpassed stage. It does not become childish by returning in old age to its infancy, but it returns to the old ideas of the Ionic Greeks enriched by 2, years of history and the development of science and culture.
This is not the mechanical movement of a gigantic wheel, the senseless repetition of previous stages, like the endless process of rebirth that features in certain Oriental religions, but the negation of the negation, which posits the return to an earlier phase of development, but on a qualifiedly higher level. It is the same, and not the same. However, although he reached some deep and important conclusions, at times drawing close to materialism for example in The Philosophy of History , Hegel remained a prisoner of his idealist outlook.
He never managed to apply his dialectical method correctly to the real world of society and nature, because for him, the only real development was the development of the world of ideas. Of all the theories of Marx, no other has been so attacked, distorted and slandered as dialectical materialism. And this is no accident, since this theory is the basis and foundation of Marxism.
It is, more or less, the method of scientific socialism. Marxism is much more than a political programme and an economic theory. It is a philosophy, the vast scope of which covers not only politics and the class struggle, but the whole of human history, economics, society, thought and nature. Today, the ideology of the bourgeoisie is in the process of disintegration, not only in the field of economics and politics but also in that of philosophy. In the period of its ascent the bourgeoisie was capable of producing great thinkers like Hegel and Kant. In the period of its senile decay it produces nothing of value.
It is impossible to read the barren products of the university philosophy departments without a feeling of tedium and irritation in equal measure. The fight against the power of the ruling class cannot stop in the factories, the streets, parliament and local councils. We must also carry out the battle in the ideological field, where the influence of the bourgeoisie is no less pernicious and harmful by being hidden under the guise of a false impartiality and a superficial objectivity.
Marxism has a duty to provide a comprehensive alternative to the old and discredited schemes. The young Marx was heavily influenced by Hegelian philosophy that dominated the German universities at that time. In that sense it represented a real revolution in philosophy. It is this dynamic, revolutionary side that inspired the young Marx and is the starting point for all his ideas.
Marx and Engels negated Hegel and turned his system of ideas into its opposite. But they did so while simultaneously preserving all that was valuable in his philosophy. In Hegel, the real struggle of historical forces is expressed in the shadowy form of the struggle of ideas. But, as Marx explains, ideas in themselves have no history and no real existence. Therefore, reality appears in Hegel in a mystified, alienated form. In Feuerbach things are really not much better, since Man here appears also in a one-sided, idealistic and unreal manner.
The real, historical men and women only appear with the advent of Marxist philosophy. With the philosophy of Marx, philosophy at last returns to its roots. It is both dialectical and materialist. Here theory and practice once again join hands and rejoice together. Philosophy comes out of its dark and airless study and enjoys the sun and air.
It becomes an inseparable part of life. In place of the obscure conflict of ideas without substance, we have the real contradictions of the material world and society. Instead of a remote and incomprehensible Absolute, we have real men and women, living in real society, making real history and fighting real battles. The dialectic appears in the work of Hegel in a fantastic and semi-mystical guise.
Here we do not find the real processes taking place in nature and society, but only the pale reflection of those processes in the minds of men, especially of philosophers. He points out that Marx was the only one who could strip away the mysticism contained in Hegelian logic and extract the dialectical kernel. This represented the real discoveries in this field. Through the reconstruction of the dialectical method, Marx managed to provide the only true development of thought.
While the philosophy of Hegel interpreted things only from the point of view of the mind and spirit i. The dialectic and formal logic bear a relationship similar to that between higher and lower mathematics. The combination of the dialectical method with materialism created an extremely powerful analytical tool. But what is the dialectic? For reasons of space, it is impossible to explain here all the laws of dialectics developed by Hegel and perfected by Marx. In a few lines I can only give the sketchiest of outlines. Obviously, Engels had to rely on the knowledge and scientific discoveries of the time.
Consequently, certain aspects of the content have a mainly historical interest. But what is surprising in Dialectics of Nature is not this or that detail or fact that has been inevitably overtaken by the march of science. On the contrary, what is astonishing is the number of ideas advanced by Engels—often ideas that ran counter to the scientific theories of his day—which have been corroborated brilliantly by modern science. Throughout the book, Engels emphasises the idea that matter and motion now we would call it energy are inseparable.
Motion is the mode of existence of matter.
This dynamic view of matter, of the universe, contains a profound truth that was already understood, or rather guessed as, by the early Greek philosophers like Heraclitus. Everything is constantly changing, coming into being and passing away. For common sense, the mass of an object never changes. For example, a spinning top when rotating, has the same weight as one that is motionless. Mass was therefore considered to be constant, regardless of speed.
Later it was discovered that this is wrong. In fact, mass increases with speed, but such an increase is only appreciable in cases where the velocity is approaching that of light. For the practical purposes of everyday life, we can accept that the mass of an object is constant regardless of the speed with which it moves. However, for very high speeds, this claim is false, and the higher the speed, the falser is the claim.
Our entire picture of the world has to be altered even though the mass changes only a little. This is a very peculiar thing about the philosophy, or the ideas, behind the laws. Feynman, Lectures on Physics. This example clearly demonstrates the fundamental difference between elementary mechanics and advanced modern physics. The same difference exists between formal logic and dialectics.
For everyday life, the laws of formal logic are more than enough. However, for more complex processes, these laws are often turned upside down. Their limited truth becomes false. From the point of view of dialectical materialism, the material universe has no beginning or end, but consists of a mass of material or energy in a constant state of movement. This is the fundamental idea of Marxist philosophy and it is completely supported by the discoveries of modern science over the last one hundred years.
Take any example from everyday life: any phenomenon apparently stable, and we will see below the surface it is in a state of flux, although this change is invisible at first glance. Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, chapter 1, p. These words are not of Engels, but a renowned scientist, the late Professor Richard P. Feynman, who used to teach theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.
Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in a state of constant motion. Water does not break up into its component parts due to the mutual attraction of the molecules. This example may seem trivial, but it has tremendously important consequences for science and industry. It is part of a very important branch of modern physics: the study of phase transitions. Matter can exist in four phases or states , solid, liquid, gas, and plasma, plus a few other extreme phases, like critical fluids and degenerate gases.
Generally, as a solid is heated or as pressure decreases , it will change to a liquid form, and will eventually become a gas. For example, ice frozen water melts into liquid water when it is heated. As the water boils, the water evaporates and becomes water vapour. But if this vapour is heated to a very high temperature, a further phase transition occurs. This is what Marxists call the transformation of quantity into quality.
That is to say, a large number of very small changes finally produces a qualitative leap—a phase transition. Precisely at this point, all resistance will suddenly disappear. One can find a limitless number of similar examples in all the natural sciences. The American scientist Marc Buchanan wrote a very interesting book called Ubiquity. In this book, he gives a long series of examples: heart attacks, forest fires, avalanches, the rise and fall of animal populations, stock exchange crises, wars, and even changes in fashion and different schools of art I would add revolutions to this list.
All these things seem to have no connection, yet are subject to the same law, which can be expressed by a mathematical equation known as a power law. What this is, in Marxist terminology, is the law of the transformation of quantity into quality. And what this study shows is that this law is ubiquitous, that is to say, it is present at all levels in the universe. It is a truly universal law of nature, just as Engels said.
This imperious demand appears to be the acme of practical realism. What can be more solid than the facts? Only what appears to be realism turns out to be just the opposite. What are established facts at one time, can turn out to be something very different. Everything is in a constant state of change, and sooner or later everything changes into its opposite.
What appears to be solid dissolves into thin air. The dialectical method allows us to penetrate beyond appearances and see the processes that are taking place beneath the surface. The dialectic is first of all the science of universal interconnection. It provides a comprehensive and dynamic view of phenomena and processes. It analyses things in their relationship, not separately; in their motion, not statically; in their life, not death. Knowledge of dialectics means freedom from the slavish worship of the established fact, of things as they are, which is the chief characteristic of superficial empirical thinking.
We point out that behind the appearance of calm and absence of movement, there is a process of molecular change, not only in physics but also in society and in the psychology of the masses. It was not so long ago that most people thought the boom was going to last forever. That was, or appeared to be, an unquestionable fact. Those who did question it were regarded as deluded cranks. But now that unquestionable truth lies in ruins. The facts have changed into their opposite. What seemed to be an indisputable truth turns out to be a lie. To quote the words of Hegel: Reason becomes unreason.
Using this method more than a century ago, Frederick Engels was able, in a number of instances, to see further than most contemporary scientists, anticipating many of the discoveries of modern science. Engels was not a professional scientist, but had a fairly extensive knowledge of the natural sciences of his time. However, based on a deep understanding of the dialectical method of analysis, Engels made a number of very important contributions to the philosophical interpretation of science today, although they have remained unknown to the overwhelming majority of scientists until now.
Of course, philosophy cannot dictate the laws of the natural sciences. These laws can only be developed on the basis of a serious and rigorous analysis of nature. The progress of science is characterised by a series of approximations. Through experiment and observation we get closer and closer to the truth, without ever being able to get to know the whole truth. It is a never-ending process of a deepening penetration of the secrets of matter and the universe. The truth of scientific theories can only be established through practice, observation and experiment, not by any commandments of philosophers.
Most of the questions with which philosophers have wrestled in the past have been solved by science.
Nevertheless, it would be a serious mistake to suppose that philosophy has no role to play in science. There remain only two aspects of philosophy which remain valid today which have not been absorbed by the different branches of science: formal logic and dialectics. The dialectic, of course, has no magical quality to solve the problems of modern physics. Nevertheless, a comprehensive and coherent philosophy would be of inestimable help in guiding scientific investigation onto the most fruitful lines and prevent it from falling into all manner of arbitrary and mystical hypotheses that lead nowhere.
Many of the problems facing science today arise precisely because of its lack of a firm philosophical foundation. Many scientists treat philosophy with contempt. As far as modern philosophy is concerned, this contempt is well deserved. For the past one and a half centuries the realm of philosophy resembles an arid desert with only traces of life.
The treasure trove of the past, with its ancient glories and flashes of illumination, seems utterly extinguished. Not only scientists but men and women in general will search in vain in this wasteland for any source of illumination. Yet on closer inspection the contempt displayed by scientists to philosophy is not well grounded.
For if we look seriously at the state of modern science—or more accurately at its theoretical underpinnings and assumptions, we see that science has in fact never freed itself from philosophy. Unceremoniously expelled by the front door, philosophy slyly gains an entry through the back window. Scientists who proudly assert their complete indifference to philosophy in reality make all kinds of assumptions that are philosophical in character. And in fact, this kind of unconscious and uncritical philosophy is not superior to the old fashioned kind but immeasurably inferior to it.
Moreover, it is the source of many errors in practice. The remarkable advances of science over the past century seem to have made philosophy redundant. In a world where we can penetrate the deepest mysteries of the cosmos and follow the complex motions of sub-atomic particles, the old questions which absorbed the attention of philosophers have been resolved.
The role of philosophy has been correspondingly reduced. However, to repeat the point, there are two areas where philosophy retains its importance: formal logic and dialectics. This demonstrated the inevitability of scientific revolutions and showed the approximate mechanism whereby these occur. As a matter of fact, Engels was far ahead of his contemporaries most scientists included in his attitude towards the natural sciences.
He not only explained motion energy as inseparable from matter, but also explained that the difference between the sciences consisted only in the study of the various forms of energy and the dialectical transition from one form of energy into another. This is what is now known as phase transitions. The whole evolution of science in the twentieth century has rejected the old compartmentalisation, recognising the dialectical transition from one science to another.
Marx and Engels in their day caused great indignation amongst their opponents, when they said that the difference between organic and inorganic matter was only relative. They explained that organic matter—the first living organisms—arose from inorganic matter at a given time, representing a qualitative leap in evolution. They said that animals, including man with his mind, his ideas and beliefs were simply matter organised in a certain way. This is the key assumption. For example, the most important assumptions in biology are that everything that animals do, atoms do. In other words, there is nothing living things do that cannot be understood from the point of view that they are made of atoms, acting in accordance with the laws of physics.
From the scientific perspective, men and women are aggregations of atoms arranged in a particular way. But we are not merely agglomeration of atoms. The human body is an extraordinarily complex organism, in particular the brain, the structure and functioning of which we are only now beginning to understand. This is something far more beautiful and wonderful than all the old fairy stories of religion. At the same time that Marx was carrying out a revolution in the field of political economy, Darwin was doing the same in the field of biology.
The explanation for this apparent paradox is that the laws of dialectics are not an arbitrary invention, but reflect processes that actually exist in nature and society. The discovery of genetics has revealed the exact mechanism that determines the transformation of one species into another. In the next few years, scientists will carry out an act of creation in a laboratory, producing a living organism from inorganic matter.
The last patch of ground will be cut from under the feet of the Divine Creator, who will finally be rendered utterly redundant. For a long time scientists argued as to whether the creation of new species was the result of a long period of accumulation of slow changes or arose from a sudden violent change.
From a dialectical point of view, there is no contradiction between the two. A long period of molecular changes quantitative changes reaches a critical point where it suddenly produces what is now termed a quantum leap. Marx and Engels believed the theory of evolution of species was clear proof of the fact that nature ultimately works in a dialectical way, i. Three decades ago, this statement received a powerful boost from such a prestigious institution as the British Museum, where a furious debate broke the decorous silence of centuries. One of the arguments against the defenders of the idea of qualitative leaps in the chain of evolution was that it represented Marxist infiltration in the British Museum!
However, despite itself, modern biology has had no choice but to correct the old idea of evolution as a gradual, linear, uninterrupted process, without abrupt changes, and admit the existence of qualitative leaps, characterised by the mass extinction of some species and the emergence of new ones. On 17 April The Economist published an article on the centenary of Darwin that said:.
Evidence is also accumulating that many genes undergo a slow but steady mutation. Thus, little by little, scientists solve the ongoing controversy of whether species change slowly and continuously for long periods, or remain unchanged for a long time and then experience a rapid evolution. Probably both types of changes occur. The old version of evolutionary theory phyletic gradualism maintained that species change only gradually as individual genetic mutations arise and are selected.
Incidentally, the late Stephen Jay Gould pointed out that if the scientists had paid attention to what Engels had written about human origins, they would have saved themselves a hundred years of error. The first phase of the crisis that began in was characterised by the default of big banks.
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The entire banking system of the USA and the rest of the world was only saved by the massive injection of billions of dollars and euros by the state. Conversely, the event did not cause a mass response because the liberationist agenda aroused distrust and even hatred among many of its intended audience. The main reason was that it was too much to ask poor parishioners to embrace a Church focused more on the troubles of this life than solace in the next.
Many people come to the CEB through conversion experiences, but also because they are keenly concerned with the spiritual and infrastructural needs of their community. The social and political impact can be viewed in terms of initial consciousness-raising, the motivation for involvement, the sense of community they develop, the experience of grassroots democracy, the direct actions they engage in, and finally, directly political actions. Specifically he largely attributes the work of the Brazilian Catholic Church to the progression of the Tapeba. The Catholic Church enlisted state authorities, anthropologists , and journalists to help uncover the identity of neglected indigenous peoples of Brazil.
Early recognition by missionaries and followers of liberation theology stimulated indigenous identification of the Tapeba population as a possibility for attaining rights, especially land, health, and education. New religious ideas, in the form of liberation theology, have fortified and legitimized an evolving political culture of resistance. The community negotiated an agreement with the firm that gained them a higher standard of living that included imported goods, increased food availability, and access to health care. While severe social dislocations such as government-initiated capitalist penetration, land expropriation, and poor wages persist, small-farmer activism is fortified by liberation theology and receives structural support from unions, political parties, and church organizations.
Ratzinger objected that the spiritual concept of the Church as "People of God" is transformed into a "Marxist myth". In liberation theology he declared, the "'people' is the antithesis of the hierarchy, the antithesis of all institutions, which are seen as oppressive powers. Ultimately anyone who participates in the class struggle is a member of the 'people'; the 'Church of the people' becomes the antagonist of the hierarchical Church.
Ratzinger did praise liberation theology in some respects, including its ideal of justice, its rejection of violence, and its stress on "the responsibility which Christians necessarily bear for the poor and oppressed". Nonetheless, media reports tended to assume that the condemnation of "liberation theology" meant a rejection of such attitudes and an endorsement of conservative politics. In , it was reported that a meeting occurred between the CDF and the CELAM bishops, during which a rift developed between Ratzinger and some of the bishops,  with Ratzinger issuing official condemnations of certain elements of liberation theology.
Ratzinger further stated that liberation theology had a major flaw in that it attempted to apply Christ's sermon on the mount teachings about the poor to present social situations. Ratzinger also argued that liberation theology is not originally a "grass-roots" movement among the poor, but rather, a creation of Western intellectuals: "an attempt to test, in a concrete scenario, ideologies that have been invented in the laboratory by European theologians" and in a certain sense itself a form of " cultural imperialism ".
Ratzinger saw this as a reaction to the demise or near-demise of the "Marxist myth" in the West. Throughout the s, Ratzinger, as prefect of the CDF, continued to condemn these elements in liberation theology, and prohibited dissident priests from teaching such doctrines in the Catholic Church's name. Leonardo Boff was suspended and others were censured. Tissa Balasuriya , in Sri Lanka , was excommunicated. Sebastian Kappen , an Indian theologian, was also censured for his book Jesus and Freedom.
According to Roberto Bosca, a historian at Austral University in Buenos Aires , Jorge Bergoglio later Pope Francis had "a reputation as an opponent of liberation theology during the s" but he "accepted the premise of liberation theology, especially the option for the poor, but in a 'nonideological' fashion. It's the Gospel itself.
The Church has always had the honor of this preferential option for the poor Paoli is recognized as an exponent of liberation theology avant la lettre and the meeting was seen as a sign of "reconciliation" between the Vatican and the liberationists. Miguel d'Escoto , a Maryknoll priest from Nicaragua , had been sanctioned with an a divinis suspension from his public functions in by Pope John Paul II, for political activity in the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Pope Francis lifted the suspension in August , in response to a request by d'Escoto.
Although he saw an increasingly clear emphasis on Church teachings on the poor, he did not consider that liberation theology was undergoing a rehabilitation, since it had never been "dishabilitated". In January, , during the World Youth Day in Panama, Pope Francis discussed changing attitudes to liberation theology during an extended discussion with a group of thirty Jesuits from Central America. He noted that he had a devotion to the martyred Salvadoran Jesuit priest, Rutilio Grande , even before he came to know Oscar Romero well.
Francis commented that "Today we old people laugh about how worried we were about liberation theology. What was missing then was communication to the outside about how things really were. Allen of Crux on the left  and Damian Thompson of The Spectator on the right ,  have suspected these claims are exaggerated. In US vice president George H.
Bush said he could not comprehend how Catholic theologians could harmonize Catholicism and Marxism and support revolutionaries in Central America. I just don't understand it.
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Since Lausanne , integral mission has influenced a significant number of evangelicals around the world. The word integral is used in Spanish to describe wholeness as in wholemeal bread or whole wheat. Proponents such as C. Costas of Puerto Rico  have wanted to emphasize the breadth of the Good News and of the Christian mission, and used the word integral to signal their discomfort with conceptions of Christian mission based on a dichotomy between evangelism and social involvement. The priest Camilo Torres a leader of the Colombian guerrilla group ELN  celebrated the Eucharist only among those engaged in armed struggle against the army of the Colombian state.
He also fought for the ELN. Black theology refers to a theological perspective which originated in some black churches in the United States and later in other parts of the world, which contextualizes Christianity in an attempt to help those of African descent overcome oppression. It especially focuses on the injustices committed against African Americans and black South Africans during American segregation and apartheid , respectively. Black theology seeks to liberate people of color from multiple forms of political, social, economic, and religious subjugation and views Christian theology as a theology of liberation—"a rational study of the being of God in the world in light of the existential situation of an oppressed community, relating the forces of liberation to the essence of the Gospel, which is Jesus Christ," writes James Hal Cone , one of the original advocates of the perspective.
Black theology mixes Christianity with questions of civil rights , particularly raised by the Black Power movement and the Black Consciousness Movement. Palestinian liberation theology is an expression of political theology and a contextual theology that represents an attempt by a number of independently working Palestinian theologians from various denominations—mostly Protestant mainline churches—to articulate the gospel message in such a way as to make that liberating gospel relevant to the perceived needs of their indigenous flocks.
As a rule, this articulation involves a condemnation of the State of Israel , a theological underpinning of Palestinian resistance to Israel as well as Palestinian national aspirations, and an intense valorization of Palestinian ethnic and cultural identity as guarantors of a truer grasp of the gospel by virtue of the fact that they are inhabitants of the land of Jesus and the Bible. Pacepa, I. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A synthesis of Christian theology and Marxist socio-economic analyses. Not to be confused with Liberal theology. Main article: Integral mission.
Main article: Black theology. Catholicism portal. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. Ellis , US b. Pixley , US b. Retrieved October 17, — via YouTube. At this moment in history, inspiring talk about solutions to multiple, cascading ecological crises is dangerous. You immediately recognize the title as the nationwide telephone number to call for help or rescue.
My choice of this title was deliberate. Brumback, GB.
The fundamental problem of political philosophy is still precisely the one that Spinoza saw so clearly and that Wilhelm Reich rediscovered : Why do men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation? There is a fairly typical and recurrent notion among many Americans that Donald Trump and his administration is some sort of aberration. As if his brutal, venal, racist, and bullying nature is something new, or different from previous leaders.
For those not inclined to look at the historical record; one only has to look beyond …. Some people came out just to protest vulgar Trump, or to oppose planet pollution, and other issues. Trump cancelled the trip because the Kingdom of Denmark, as the Queen and her politicians call Denmark, would not sell the real estate capitalist its colony island of Greenland [As much as many danes might like to believe such is ….
No surprise! But now, what to do about phosphorescent water? In the past, we have written about the s as a decade when the United States Empire will end. Sociologist and peace scholar John Galtung believes US Empire will fall much faster, losing world dominance by Much of what he predicted when he said this in is happening now. The IMF, has been instrumental in helping destroying the economy of a myriad of countries, notably, and to start with, the new Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, Greece, Ukraine and lately Argentina, to mention just a few.
Finding a Social Voice: The Church and Marxism in Africa - Joseph C. McKenna - Google Books
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