Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lenin warns against "bald Atheist propaganda"

In the struggle for World Atheism we are sometimes met with the age old communist strawman. Most likely it is a result from McCarthy-era propaganda that was produced with a largely Christian USA in mind. But it is looking more and more stupid in European countries where Atheism quickly is becoming the norm without there being any gulags. (It would be inappropriate to mention Guantanamo here, because they don't have to work.)
Anyway, strawman and McCarthyism aside, here's a very interesting comment by Lenin himself:
"It is the duty of a Marxist to place the success of the strike movement above everything else, vigorously to counteract the division of the workers in this struggle into atheists and Christians, vigorously to oppose any such division. Atheist propaganda in such circumstances may be both unnecessary and harmful—not from the philistine fear of scaring away the backward sections, of losing a seat in the elections, and so on, but out of consideration for the real progress of the class struggle, which in the conditions of modern capitalist society will convert Christian workers to Social-Democracy and to atheism a hundred times better than bald atheist propaganda."

V. I. Lenin, The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion, Proletary, No. 45, May 13 (26), 1900. (The text was provided by Marxists.org)
Is this news? Not to anyone with a minimum of knowledge about communism, but for people with less than minimum - people who swallow the bald evangelical propaganda that "Atheism equals Communism" - it is most likely big news. Lenin was still an Atheist (feel free to read the entire text), just that he was more into Communism:
"Why does religion retain its hold on the backward sections of the town proletariat, on broad sections of the semi-proletariat, and on the mass of the peasantry? Because of the ignorance of the people, replies the bourgeois progressist, the radical or the bourgeois materialist. And so: "Down with religion and long live atheism; the dissemination of atheist views is our chief task!" The Marxist says that this is not true, that it is a superficial view, the view of narrow bourgeois uplifters."
Not being a communist I shall continue to indulge myself in bald atheist propaganda - contrary to Lenin's advice! Atheists of the world unite!

Btw. if you want to search the archives at marxists.org (they have a lot) just use Google like this: site:marxists.org/archive/lenin/ bald

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