Barring religious from membership

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jondwhite's picture
jondwhite
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Sep 23 2015 15:35
Barring religious from membership

Are there any groups other than the SPGB who bar the religious from membership of their group?

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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Sep 23 2015 16:09

Af I think?

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Steven.
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Sep 23 2015 19:52
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Af I think?

No this is incorrect, although one of the aims and principles is that the AF are opposed to organised religion and belief, so as long as someone agrees with that they can join.

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Sep 24 2015 08:04

Steven #3

The AF policy appears very sensible.
I’ve just been watching a documentary on yoga and it is strange the knots some people get into by attempting to define a practice with religious roots into a religious or secular exercise. Also if something does have ‘spiritual elements’ (however nebulous) is that the same as religious? I don’t think any of this matters one jot, as an individual’s feelings may be respected though not shared. As an example: if someone wishes to hug a tree to be ‘as one with the natural world’ - OK. A problem would only arise if people organised to punish or coerce the non-tree huggers.

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Sep 24 2015 11:48

in the past, the ISK did it, but becoming a full member of them automatically meant fully subscribing to their specific (atheist) brand of neo-kantian philosophy, I wouldn't be surprised if Lutte Ouvrière in the past demanded atheism from its future members ... more numerous are those who demand that members have to be religiously unaffiliated if you join an organization (the majority of ruling CPs to my knowledge) or at least if you become a councillor, MP, full-time employee (the KPD lost one of its most popular speakers in parliament in 1925 when they demanded that he left the church)

p.s.: and I support the right of priests to form their own unions: http://hrlc.org.au/priests-denied-the-right-to-form-a-trade-union/

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Sep 24 2015 09:43

I can't see why anyone would let religious people in. It is in complete contradiction with a materialist conception of history.

There is an imam's Union in Turkey.

Devrim

doug
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Sep 24 2015 10:38

AFed's relevant Aim & Principle was reworded quite recently.* It now reads:

Anarchist Federation wrote:
We have a materialist analysis of capitalist society. The working class can only change society through our own efforts. We reject arguments for either a unity between classes or for liberation that is based upon religious or spiritual beliefs or a supernatural or divine force. We work towards a world where religion holds no attraction.

I think this is clear and nuanced...but as a member I would say that. wink

*It didn't always exist and then went through a few changes. For a while it was just: "We oppose organised religion and religious belief(s)".

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Sep 24 2015 10:40
doug wrote:
AFed's relevant Aim & Principle was reworded quite recently.* It now reads:

Anarchist Federation wrote:
We have a materialist analysis of capitalist society. The working class can only change society through our own efforts. We reject arguments for either a unity between classes or for liberation that is based upon religious or spiritual beliefs or a supernatural or divine force. We work towards a world where religion holds no attraction.

I think this is clear and nuanced...but as a member I would say that. wink

*It didn't always exist and then went through a few changes. For a while it was just: "We oppose organised religion and religious belief(s)".

Apologies I missed that change!

jondwhite's picture
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Sep 24 2015 13:39

No danger this being overturned by religious entryists into Afed then?

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Sep 26 2015 21:51

what was always fighting authority that allowed authority to exist (as an finally acceptable agreement between man and God) at all? The democratic anarchistic process I think. I think we want people with faith in high power to question power-structures simply because they are they who see profit in production and in spirit.

definitely these groups should entertain the faithfull

syndicalist
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Sep 26 2015 21:52

What does religious mean in this context?
Just curious.

syndicalist
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Sep 26 2015 22:08

Are you tailing about people of the cloth so to speak? Rabbis priest imams and so foth? Or just folks with individual religious beliefs?

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Sep 27 2015 06:32

On a personal level I agree with the Afed's principal - but it doesn't bar people of faith from membership surely? Not every 'religious' person wants religion to have a part in the running of society, capitalist or socialist. I think it's important within a specific organisation like Afed to give a robust standpoint on religion, but unless I'm reading it wrong, Afed don't look like they have banned people of faith at all... Was this the intention?

ajjohnstone
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Sep 27 2015 06:57

What about superstition? What if i believed in ghosts, and good luck charms, and the evil eye and curses? Or the possession of psychic powers?

Or perhaps the New Age - ley-lines and standing stones emanating spiritual power...crystal healing...

Where is the line to be drawn.

Can we ever envisage an SPGBer on the platform explaining that socialism is imminent ...because the reading of the tarot cards and all the astrological signs indicate a great change and a wondrous transformation is in the offing...And 52 Clapham High St is built upon an ancient astronomical alignment from the days of Atlantis endowed with mystical mysterious magic, as the speaker passes around the communist communion of magic mushrooms for the audience to consume...but i detract...

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Sep 27 2015 08:32

ajj wrote-

Quote:
Can we ever envisage an SPGBer on the platform explaining that socialism is imminent ...because the reading of the tarot cards and all the astrological signs indicate a great change and a wondrous transformation is in the offing...

Yes

ajjohnstone
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Sep 27 2015 10:00

i predicted that answer from you, plasmatelly, from the divination of the runes ...well, okay...an answer like that from someone like yourself

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Sep 27 2015 11:30

You walked into that one mate!

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Sep 29 2015 14:11

You'd also probably have a lot more members too.

More is not always better though.

syndicalist
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Sep 29 2015 21:42
Quote:
52 Clapham High St is built upon an ancient astronomical alignment from the days of Atlantis

I'm so disappointed this isn't true.

infektfm
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Sep 30 2015 14:26

I think many religious people can be allies. Although religion was used as justification for slavery here in the US, so was the abolition movement -- we should keep that in mind. Certainly, there are limitations to the religious in struggle, and those limitations would have to confronted at some point. But, I have met lots of religious people who are committed to many of the same things we are -- normal people who just come at politics from a different starting point. Again, certainly there are limitations, but we should fight in common cause.

your_dog
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Oct 3 2015 17:02

Well what do you guys think about religous movements that incorporate socialist ideas such as Christian Anarchism, Liberation Theology, Christian Socialism? Or Thomas Müntzer?

I'm using "religious" in the monotheistic sense, not the spooky new age spiritualism of course. Don't some religious movements have the potential to mobilize the masses?

Spikymike
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Oct 3 2015 17:28

your_ dog, Contradictory and fundamentally flawed. At best inadequate as opposition movements in the modern world of global capitalism. Individuals might be allies from time to time but never members of any clear sighted libertarian communist political organisation as asked in the original post.

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Oct 3 2015 21:38
syndicalist wrote:
Quote:
52 Clapham High St is built upon an ancient astronomical alignment from the days of Atlantis

I'm so disappointed this isn't true.

Until a few years ago it looked like it was from the fifties or sixtees. It looked so anachronistic and awkward in it's design. I used to piss myself when I walked or drove past it.

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Oct 4 2015 00:36

In the age of most leading atheist thinkers using their 'rational' and 'materialist' arguments in favor of racist imperialism, liberal Western nationalism and neoconservative war mongering, surely the question of religious belief is not as relevant?

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Oct 4 2015 07:30
Juan Conatz wrote:
In the age of most leading atheist thinkers using their 'rational' and 'materialist' arguments in favor of racist imperialism, liberal Western nationalism and neoconservative war mongering, surely the question of religious belief is not as relevant?

I tend to agree with the sentiment that 'rationality' and 'materialism' are no longer the exclusive preserve of socialists in the pursuit of the common benefit of humankind, and as you say, Juan, arguments laid along materialist and rational lines are used to justify the deaths of millions of faceless others. But I'm not sure if I understand what you mean by an 'age of of most leading atheist thinkers...'
I wholeheartedly agree that the question of religious belief should not be relevant - it may throw up contradictory positions, but to actively exclude just smacks of enlightenment hangovers where thinkers lived in worlds where different cultures were nicely boxed away behind national lines. We don't live in that world, and excluding people on the basis of religious grounds is nothing to be proud of. I feel that every worker should be made to feel welcome on the basis that they understand there is an overarching materialist culture within our organisations and that potentially damaging contradictory viewpoints are challenged.

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Oct 4 2015 08:16
Juan Conatz wrote:
In the age of most leading atheist thinkers using their 'rational' and 'materialist' arguments in favor of racist imperialism, liberal Western nationalism and neoconservative war mongering, surely the question of religious belief is not as relevant?

The fact that many 'rational' thinkers are racist doesn't exclude the fact that there is currently a resurgence of reactionary religious views which makes religion relevant and in need of tackling in spite of these 'leading atheists'.

Plasmatelly, I agree that religious belief shouldn't exclude people from union or anarcho-syndicalist organisations or community organisations (i.e. based on work or locality) but for political/ideological organisations, then excluding anti-materialists is fair enough.

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Oct 4 2015 08:48

Agree with the principle that political organisations have political criteria for membership, on the other hand this seems tricky in practice. I've known quakers for whom God means an ethical commitment to act in this world here and now, and atheist anarchists who are into 'alternative' medicine or anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. It seems like the former is pretty unproblematic while the latter could be problematic depending on how it translates into political action.

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Oct 4 2015 09:25

Serge Forward #26

‘…there is currently a resurgence of reactionary religious views which makes religion relevant and in need of tackling in spite of these 'leading atheists'.’

I do not disagree with the above though I would stress that for individuals, religion is based on faith and cannot be defeated simply through rational argument. Historically there have been waves of religious fervour and until the material conditions which generate this craving for spiritual satisfaction* are met, the regenerative surges will continue. I suggest leaving the ‘faithful’ alone (some are ignorant, though many are well aware of the inherent contradictions) and attack the political role played by the religious institutions.

*An indirect manifestation of political needs.

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Oct 4 2015 15:24

FWIW, I think a lot of this reflects people's ideas of what class struggle organisations look like. I mean, if the goal is mass membership, you're gonna have to accept people with religious beliefs.

But, for me anyway, I've moved more and more away from the idea of the One Big Union. I think - within any union - it's a militant, organized (although not necessarily political) core who push tend to organize the struggles. A small, radical union who actively engaged with co-workers could, I think, be just as successful in pushing forward struggles as they could attempting to form a mass radical union.

All that said, I think it's Chomsky who said that the reason America is the most religious of all Western countries is because it has the weakest labor movement of all Western countries. I imagine a massive spike in class solidarity would mean people became a lot religious - or at least a lot more secular in their outlook and actions, even if they kept the religious label.

john9newton
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Oct 4 2015 22:55

I generally agree with the sentiment that an organisation should be free to choose its own criteria for membership.

But I do find it absurd that any organisation would be opposed to religion whilst placing blind faith in the doctrine of materialism. One only has to look at the history of China and the USSR to see the failures of such a belief.

Materialism and libertarian communism are not inherent in each other. It is possible to hold to one without the other.

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Oct 5 2015 00:14

I think that a political organization as opposed to something like a union, even a political union, has an obligation to define what it views as the role of religion in everyday life, especially regarding communism. It can maybe avoid this question outright, by simply adhering to materialism (the theoretical framework centered on the scientific method) but in countries with religious movements that are socially powerful, be they Catholicism, Buddhism, (also countries still developing capitalist agriculture quite often, hmmm....) the religious question becomes much more pointed, as well as the question of absolutism or monarchy (looking at you, Thailand!).

Certainly a union can take stances on relgion etc. but they cannot amount to what would be a ban on membership. And even political orgs, at least those seeking to be massive, would have to do hard work to clarify their position.