Marx is my Jesus

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.

Writers Block, A Poem

No ideas, but all the motivation.

All the reasons to do it yet no reason at all.

Like a marathon, hitting a wall.

Just spit it out,

Put it on the page! Put it on the Page!

Forget if it makes sense, forget the grammar and spell checks.

Fuck making sense.

Just put it on the page,

Gibberish or garbage is better than nothing.

Just put something on the page.

Reading A Book Alone In The Redwood Forrest, a poem

Reading a book alone in the Redwood Forrest

On the observational scale,

I do sit here in the redwoods in lotus pose,

with a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

on a stack of logs next to me.

What is the catch?

Is that but the paranoid disillusionment

of the redneck hippies near by

just now learning that they aren’t the real rebels?

They are not heroes,

They can only dream of being such.

The true meaning of center,

of the power of human capability,

If only imagined,

that is all we are,

Then that is the best

and the worst

of our imaginations.

Electoralism and Reformism Are Not The Same Thing

Because one participates in organizing for electoral politics does not mean one has put all their faith in reform.

Some treat electoralism as a form of base building, and given the current political landscape it is the kind of base building that can reach the most people in the fastest way.

However, just because one is supporting a candidate or ballot measure does not mean they have put all their hopes in changing the system that way.

Reformists believe in changing the system from the inside.  Electoralists understand however understand that change is unlikely to happen from the outside without massive public pressure that is also rank and file.   Electoralists understand that elections can be used to base build and can chip away at the power of capital in one is both victorious and consistent after that victory. For example, a reactionary anti woman republican will have a much harder time gutting abortion rights or taking away welfare if he has to worry about losing his seat to a socialist, and when he loses his seat they must live with the reality that a socialist is now in office making policy decisions.

Of course, one cannot depend on that socialist in office alone to make all the right decisions, not without a huge base constantly putting pressure on them to do the right thing.

If that elected socialist demonstrates good practice they will push for policies that direct power away from capital and expand social services. The odds of them going full Lenin and leading us to a revolution are microscopically slim, but their base can now be called on to show up for strike solidarity and anti racist protests. They can be called on to pressure and bird-dog other elected officials to act on climate change.

This is not what reformists believe.  Pure reformists believe that we can count on elected officials to do their jobs once elected.  There is no room for an interest in base building for a revolution if one is counting on reform alone to liberate the working class.  Reformists only care about the bottom line, but electoralists know that they can use the base they have built from the campaign they have organized to build a genuine alternative to the capitalist system.

To reject electoralism because of a false equivalency to reformism hurts us more than it will help.

Plus, more elections should be what ever socialists push for. We need more elections, more mass participation, more things should be put to a public vote. The more we are voting the more we are in control of our communities. This is the goal of socialism and communism, democratic control over what affects our daily lives, that is going to mean lots of voting in lots of elections.

Another world is possible, but we need to get our practice in now. Until we have a mass movement behind us, we have no other choice than to build our base any way we can.

What Place Do The Artists Have in Revolution? A Poem

What Place Do The Artists Have in Revolution?

PRODUCE!

Must produce content!

For fame,

For a following,

Quite literally and painfully so,

thanks to the stench of both words.

To produce is to manufacture,

To manufacture is to produce.

The workers are the ones who produce,

So the artists,

the writers,

the creators,

we are the workers to.

We are a part of that thing called revolution,

And we must forgive Marx for forgetting us.

Artists!

Artists of the world, unite!

We have nothing to lose but our chains,

We have everything to gain

when we gain the freedom to create!

Undemocratic, A Word Not To Be Taken Lightly

As an active DSA member I hear this word all the time, almost as much as I hear the words “organizing” and “socialism.”  I think active leftists in all organizations can relate to this, but I think the attack of something being “undemocratic” is overused.

Now I am not suggesting in any way we not call out undemocratic behavior, what I am saying is we need to acknowledge that being called “undemocratic” is the heaviest attack you can lay against someone in an organization that is supposed to be democratic.  That is not something to take lightly.

Behavior that is genuinely undemocratic is something that an elected official does not have the authority to do or is an action that goes out of its way to side step democratic procedures.  That does not stop people from throwing the term around when a comrade does something that they simply do not agree with.

Most of the time what is called ‘undemocratic behavior’ is actually just people disagreeing with how something was done, or it is people letting personal differences effect their outlook on what is good for their organization. If we attack every single thing or person we disagree with as ‘undemocratic’ then the word will lose all meaning.  It will be a boy who called wolf situation, the moment we actually have to face the consequences of someone doing something undemocratic we will be ill prepared to handle it.

An action is only undemocratic if it goes out of its way to defy democratic principles, unless it is intentionally sidestepping the consent or consensus of the voting body, the odds are it was not “undemocratic.”

I am not saying hold your tongue when you see genuinely undemocratic behavior, all I am asking is that people remember that in organizations that pride themselves on democracy, it is not a term to be taken lightly.

Courage Is The Sweetest Lullaby, a poem

Courage Is The Sweetest Lullaby

Fear not your lions,

And constrain yourself

upon the unsightly sounds

of this date of sorrow.

Do but construct,

And constrain,

For the winter’s winds are but lost

by the summer sun.

The nymphs of the seasons

do hold their treasons so,

Be not the character of

perpetual woe.

Rains do pitch upon this sight,

Wish yourself well,

Wish yourself sweet goodnight.