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The Sigh of the Oppressed: Marx and Engels and their criticism of passive materialism, theological atheism and religion

Saturday, 27 Oct 2012

Karl Marx on Staff and Scrip Dr John Dunn I have just read a superb piece, a supplement to the usually excellent output from The Weekly Worker. It’s entitled The Sigh of the Oppressed: Marx and Engels and their criticism of passive materialism, theological atheism and religion.

It is of course about the Marxist critique of the religion of the gods – yes, but also about the religion specifically of capitalism, i.e. the worship of money. Marx’s indebtedness to Ludwig Feuerbach is not surprisingly dwelt upon, but there is no mention of Max Stirner, in my opinion, an underrated influence upon Marx.

The article explores how the critique of religion led inexorably to Marx’s critique of political economy, with its money fetishism and economic alienation.

The key point that comes from this is that workers should have nothing to do with the freedom of religion, but work rather instead for the freedom from religion. Jack Conrad writes that ‘Marx believed that to discard the comforts of religion, to throw away one’s chains and come to one’s senses, is a necessary part of achieving genuine human autonomy and the only way to encompass a genuine fulfilment’.

However Marxist you suppose yourself to be, it does not do any harm to remind yourself that true freedom of the spirit has nothing whatsoever to do with the trappings of religion.

Can be read on http://www.cpgb.org.uk/article.php?article_id=1004405 and http://www.cpgb.org.uk/article.php?article_id=1004406


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