Recently at a socialist night school I attended on Imperialism a fellow student said that Marxism, “denies people the sense of spirituality they need to become truly enlightened and gaining the ability to truly unite as one.”
First of all, that’s bullshit. Second of all, no. Third of all, what!?.
Copping to my bias here, I both love Marx and I am not some personality cult loyalist who blinds himself to nuance in his analysis because of a dedication to any single thinker. In other words, I’m no purist.
That said, I am a Marxist, and Marxism offers me more spirituality than church or astrology ever did combined. I have tried to find meaning through buddhism, Christianity, Astrology, psychedelic drugs, and yoga. I can appreciate all of these things but it was socialism, communism, and Marxism that made me realize that there is a way to get us to realize we are all one.
We are talking about bringing liberation, democracy, and autonomy to the planet’s most ignored and exploited classes of people. We are talking about a school of thought whose goal is the overthrow of our oppressive masters. If that isn’t powerful and spiritual I do not know what is.
Another issue with this take is the erasure of the spiritual and religious Marxists who do in fact exist and exist in large numbers. The Democratic Socialists of America has a religious socialist caucus and there are thinkers such as Cornel West who define their spirituality as the source of their socialism.
Let us also not forget that a certain preacher named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was perfectly fine with the word, “socialism.”
I do understand to a degree where the person is coming from. I cared little about praxis and theory at one point in my life and was more interested in macrophilosphic questions and “expanding my consciousness,” which I did through psychedelics and transcendental meditation, and am grateful for those experiences.
I am not a christian and I do not believe in astrology(no disrespect to those who do, seriously, you do you, they are just not my thing) but I do believe in transcendental meditation and in “opening the third eye” so to speak. I have meditated to the point of hallucination, tripped on mushrooms and LSD in isolated and natural settings, I have fasted until epiphany, and all of it lead me to Marxism.
Those who have undergone spiritual awakenings can assuredly relate. When one opens their third eye we see that we are all indeed one planet, all one people. When the third eye opens we see how so many labels and cultural constructs are not only arbitrary, but oppressive to.
But while psychedelic experience and spiritual awakenings guide us to these all important epiphanies, they do not show us what to do next.
This is what led me to Marxism, after I realized that we are all one I saw that we must unite in revolution to make the world what we want, I knew what we needed but the how and why was lacking. I had no material analysis because I was so focused on the metaphysical one, but when one has their metaphysical awakening, one also wants to tell the world how to make that other world we saw in our epiphany possible.
Reading Marx helped me find the way to apply my spiritual experience to the real world.
I will admit that since I am not a church goer I do still need and want the ritual and community that comes from things like church. This is just another way that socialism and Marx has given me a spiritual outlet. Songs like Bread and Roses, Solidarity Forever, and The internationale inspire feelings in me that the hymns at my boyhood church used to do before I lost that faith.
To say Marxism and socialism leave no room for spirituality is easily refutable. Marxism IS my spirituality. Socialism is my church, Marx is my Jesus, and Communism is my heaven.