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Our God is
a God of Wealth

The Relationship
Between Religion and
Capitalist Exploitation

By Punkerslut

By The unnamed
Image: By The unnamed,
Released Under the Creative Commons
"Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 Generic" License

Start Date: March 6, 2011
Finish Date: March 9, 2011

Blindfolds for the Cattle

"Long-haired preachers come out every night,
Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right;
But when asked how 'bout something to eat
They will answer in voices so sweet

"You will eat, by and by,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die...

"That's a lie!"
          --Joe Hill, 1911, from "The Preacher and the Slave"
          (Joe Hill was executed by the state of Utah for writing songs like this.)

     The church and the temple have always regarded themselves as holding a monopoly on absolute truth. They have not ventured forward into practical questions of relative truth, those being answered today by science, investigation, and inquiry. The knowledge that the pastor, rabbi, and imam gave to their audiences was the knowledge of philosophical truth -- the origin of the universe, the purpose of the individual, and the role of the religious authorities as negotiators between humanity and god.

     Such a powerful position was founded on superstition. The power of the priest existed solely because of the imagination of his listeners. The control of the masses, however, was not directed toward their enlightenment or upliftment. The synagogue, the mosque, and the convent have built up their confidence among the people, but this confidence was abused and exploited. Posing as the bargainers pleading for mercy on the frail nature of humanity to god, they actually sold their flocks to the butchery, for slaughter, for labor, and for the constant reproduction of this system.

     The cunning cruelty of the priests, naturally, could hardly have attracted those who genuinely felt sympathy on behalf of the workers. If an individual felt that the peasants were exploited in the middle ages, why would they have joined the clergy? Why would they become part of an organization kidnaps peasants, tortures them to confess, and then burns them alive for heresy? There would be no reason; and so the church has always repelled the progressive voice, and with such an obedient mass at their heels, exploiters and oppressors have always asked to borrow this confidence. The capitalist says, "Tell them that god wants us to overwork them, and I'll donate to the church funds," -- this is an accurate, one-sentence summary of the relationship between God and Capitalism.

     The connection drawn out Joe Hill perfectly matches the relationship generally viewable between the organized forces of capitalism and superstition. By telling the people that they will have heaven once they die, an unending experience of bliss and happiness, they don't think so much about their current miseries. Why lead an uprising and risk being sinful, where you could be condemned to eternal hellfire? It is better to sit with your chains, to pray for salvation, and to finally be rescued from the grave when you're already dead.

     The Capitalist and the Pastor, then, work side by side: the first pays the smallest wages possible, and the other makes it seem acceptable by adding psychic wages, such as eternal happiness in a far away land. To quote George Orwell in 1940...

"Religious belief, in the form in which we had known it, had to be abandoned. By the nineteenth century it was already in essence a lie, a semi-conscious device for keeping the rich rich and the poor poor. The poor were to be contented with their poverty, because it would all be made up to them in the world beyond the grave, usually pictured as something mid-way between Kew gardens and a jeweller's shop. Ten thousand a year for me, two pounds a week for you, but we are all the children of God. And through the whole fabric of capitalist society there ran a similar lie, which it was absolutely necessary to rip out." [*1]

     To keep the mind of the person focused on god and being saved, then, means keeping them away from thoughts of society and being liberated. Take Christ and his very real chains -- instead of taking reality and a very possible emancipation. Keep the mind focused on the stories of the Bible, the characters of Moses and Noah, those obedient and subservient to their masters, who have always received well for following. Even in the education of the youth, religious teachers do everything they can to keep a darkness reigning in the mind. Religious instruction keeps the cattle more subservient and obedient. To quote Sylvia Pankhurst...

"Four-fifths of the young people of Oldham were reported to be attending Sunday schools whilst:-

"'Not one in five can write .... and if the number of misspelled and illegible scrawls be deducted the stated proportion will be considerably reduced.' The Sunday schools of Oldham were begun in 1793. They were at first mainly secular; but gradually the religious bodies forbade other instruction than reading and Scripture lessons in these schools. Of the north Lancashire coal fields it was reported: – 'The education of the workpeople has been almost wholly neglected.... darkness reigns throughout.'" [*2]

     Be content and be happy. The chains you suffer today are only for your lifetime. In the afterlife, you shall have eternal pleasure and peace of mind, so think of that. Don't think that you lived like a slave, your parents lived like a slave, and anyone you bring into this world will live like a slave -- think about how they'll die like kings, being resurrected in the kingdom of heaven. Forget that you ever thought you were worthy of the dignity of standing up; your flesh is condemned to the lowliness of servitude, but your soul may be heavenbound. And from its inherent and essential premises, religion is based on forgetting that so many suffer today, in favor of imagining a world tomorrow where suffering cannot theoretically exist.

By indrasensi
Image: By indrasensi
"Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivs 2.0 Generic" License

The Church Justifies Exploitation of the Poor

"The so-called religious dogmas are an obstacle to progress.

"As opposed to natural and positive science they tend to deceive the intelligence.

"Their entirely arbitrary morality is hostile to the sovereign principles of justice and solidarity.

"They have consecrated all privilege and sanctioned all servitude."
          --The Committee on Secular Instruction, 20th Arrondissement of the Paris Commune, 1871 [*3]

     The view of religion, with a focus on the soul of man and not his mind, easily moves from passive support of exploitation to active propping up of tyranny. If it teaches the masses to be content with their miserable earthly existence, it will naturally teach them to submit to the rich -- it will teach them not to be upset that they go without because it is the will of god, even though the teachers of god have plenty. While in the past it was kings and nobility to split up their exploitation of the people, with the blessing of the priesthood, today the priesthood blesses the exploitation done by government and capitalism. The transition has been far more slight than popular historians are allowed to let on. To quote Robert Green Ingersoll in 1876...

"The nobles lived upon the labor of the people; the people had no rights; the nobles stole what they had and divided with the kings, and the kings pretended to divide what they stole with God Almighty. The source, then, of political power was from above. The people were responsible to the nobles, the nobles to the king, and the people had no political rights whatever, no more than the wild beasts of the forest. The kings were responsible to God; not to the people. The kings were responsible to the clouds; not to the toiling millions they robbed and plundered." [*4]

     Ingersoll was only a Liberal strongly influenced by the tendencies of Socialism and organized labor. Anarchists and Socialists who made up the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) offer a similar examination of the role of religion in oppressing the toiling masses...

"Those who, under the cloak of religion and alleged loyalty of the Nazarene, offer prayers to the rich and command the poor to be satisfied with their lot on earth, who apologize and offer extenuations for child labor in the mines and factories -- are set up as the very pillars and columns of Order, Law and Religion." [*5]

     The IWW was ushering in a new style of union organizing: industrial unionism. It was their plan to organize the entire working class into a single union to be used against the whole, capitalist system. In contrast this organization, there was the American Federation of Labor (AFL), which had been set up in the opposite style of union organizing: craft unionism. That is, workers divided into many tiny, insignificant unions, these unions only representing the skilled workers. It was considered beneficial by the AFL that the great vast majority of the unskilled, working class should stay out of union organizing altogether.

     Naturally, the leaders of the AFL formed an exclusive organization with the business leaders who were they were supposed to be collective bargaining with on behalf of their union members. It was as much a social club as it was a religious and economic collaboration. This is why Eugene V. Debs, who organized unions at around the same time, was imprisoned and kidnapped by a private corporation that was endowed by the US president with the right to law enforcement. [*6] Debs fought for independent unions, where the workers fought and resisted the Capitalist class. Samuel Gomperz, on the other hand, founded the AFL within the blessings of church and capitalism. The Civic Federation that operated over the AFL was, naturally, a completely religious organization...

"And now when the history and objects of the Civic Federation have become notorious and its evil practices and outrages are evoking from the many times defeated and betrayed workers curses and protests that reach to the heavens, a second edition of the Civic Federation has been organized under the name of the 'Militia of Christ.' Conceived in the sacristy, born on the floor of the St. Louis, Mo. (1910) convention of the American Federation of Labor, held at baptism by preachers and labor leaders, it is a new conjure to keep the workers in a mental stupor and economic slavery." [*7]

     One may brush this off as nothing. It was simply a group of ignorant workers expressing their devout faith. They may have simply wanted an outlet for those ideas they were given before they could read. But when we look toward the associations that the AFL cooperated with, the meaning and purpose of religion within economics becomes far more clear. During the twenties and thirties, there was open warfare between the AFL and CIO, unfortunately having been united together today. The AFL's business partners ramped up their rhetoric of religion to help them in their battle against working-class, inclusive unionism. To quote a standard, university textbook on labor unionism...

"...the employer has often posed as the champion of the workers' health in his argument for leaving hours as they were in a given period of time. In this connection, when the ten-hour day was the burning issue of the 1870's, an owner of a bleachery stated that he had 'invariably noticed that when men are kept at work until 10 P.M. they live in better health, as they kept indoors instead of sitting around doors smoking.' (*A)

"On numerous occasions, employers have utilized the medium of the Christian religion as a 'front' in their opposition to shortening working hours. As recently as 1928 a president of the National Association of Manufacturers said, in opposing the five-day week: 'Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work. So reads the fifth of the great commandments and for 60 centuries it has been accepted as the divinely prescribed standard of economic effort.' (*B)

"In the same vein, John E. Edgerton, a past president of the NAM, remarked in 1926, after Ford had adopted the five-day week: 'More work and better work is a more inspiring and worthier motto than less work and more pay.... It is better not to tamper with God's laws.' (*C)

"A few years earlier than the above, Judge Elbert Gary, then Chairman of the Board for U.S. Steel, asserted: 'The commandment says, 'Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work.' The reason it didn't say seven days is that the seventh day is the day of rest and that's enough.' (*D)" [*8]

     In Spain, the slogan is well known, "Money is a good Catholic," based on the reverence for property instead of humanity by the church. In that country, the cooperation between organized Catholicism and exploitation Capitalism is quite obvious. However, it is just as present in the United States, though it is somewhat disarmed by the greater diversity. To quote Margaret Sanger from 1936...

"Take the clergy, (Catholics especially). They are the beneficiaries of the church that has made breeding its main source of revenue. They preach from a 'sacred book' to 'multiply and replenish the earth,' knowing that large families among working people tend to preserve their influence and authority. They tell us that every baby is a new soul presented to God, and for his glory and honor women must produce as many souls as possible." [*9]

     The partnership between exploiters and church officials is clear if we examine Europe, as well. To quote the Italian Socialist, Enrico Ferri in 1902, "...Clericalism, with its spirit of resignation, is 'the fatty degeneration of religion' used as the ally of capitalist supremacy." [*10] Ferri also mentions, "...it is easy to show, when a strike occurs to peasants and workers, the social meaning of Clericalism, when it is seen that the priests are always on the side of the capitalists." [*11] The monks, throughout the middle ages, did everything they could to justify exploitation and the domination of the few over the many. This is often forgotten in history lessons in schools today...

"Spiritualistic as the language of the monks was, serfdom, tithes and charity were the material support of their moral twaddle. The same tune, though with some variation, is played by our capitalists. They know the hardships in the life of Robinson Crusoe, but refuse to know how their private wealth has been got out of social labor. Their interest prevents their seeing how deeply immoral or unsocial an economic system is which pays the 'neighbor' a disproportionately small share of the product he created by an excessive amount of dire work." [*12]

     Nor does one have to go back decades or centuries just to find the collaboration between the clergy and the capitalists. In 2006, a teacher's strike in Oaxaca, Mexico blew up into a revolution that had overthrown the rule of government and capitalism for six months. Naturally, though, the Church was on the side of those who fired machineguns into the crowds of men, women, and children. One progressive member of the Catholic Church noted when he was helping those who were attacked, "...at the same time, there was another perspective in the Church. The Archbishop, and a small group of priests, began to align themselves with the powerful by supporting the federal government." [*13]

By David Roessli
Image: By David Roessli,
Released Under the Creative Commons
"Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 2.0 Generic" License

The Clergy Support Violence Against Those Seeking Social Change

"It is essential to the Roman catholic religion to inspire a violent hatred of every other worship, and to represent all pagans, mahometans, and heretics as the objects of divine wrath and vengeance. Such sentiments, though they are in reality very blameable, are considered as virtues by the zealots of that communion, and are represented in their tragedies and epic poems as a kind of divine heroism."
          --David Hume, 1777
          "Essays Moral, Political, and Literary," Part I, Essay XXIII: "Of the Standard of Taste"

     Honest, intellectual thought naturally abhors censorship. There can be no thinking where there is no expression of diverse, even opposing opinions. In this respect, the church has absolutely every right to state that it worships the landowner and wants tho subjugation of the landless. It has a right to hate the worker for trying to emancipate themselves -- and, likewise, the worker has a right to hate the church for its ignorance and cruelty. But, it is something entirely different when the church arms itself and then uses violence to slaughter its opponents when it cannot win by arguments. Yet, this is virtually the case everywhere the church has started to lose ground: the resort to cruel violence against the workers.

     History books mention it a few hundred are killed during St. Barthomolew's Day Massacre, because they were killing Protestants, who also supported Capitalism historically. They don't mention it when tens of thousands are killed, such as during the Paris Commune, because the Catholic armies were killing organized Socialists, Anarchists, and Communists. In Ludlow, Colorado, the National Guard shot and killed 19 workers for striking, following directly the orders of Rockefeller -- and not anything even mildly resembling the general will of the people. This is Capitalism: as long as almost everyone works for almost nothing, you have the right to life. Otherwise, you don't. The profits from this business were used to build up the churches throughout America, and so the pastors from one end of the nation to the other condoned the massacre...

"Workingwomen! Keep away from the Y. W. C. A. as you would from a pesthouse. It is based upon the slavery and torture of the workers of America, upon the bodies of toilers who have been killed in the mines and factories, and upon the bodies of those who have protested against being so murdered--shot down by Maxim guns and burned up with Standard Oil. These substantial buildings have been built by those Christians who riddled the bodies of women and children with bullets when they attempted to escape from a burning pit to a place of safety. It is they who are conferring favors upon you, in order to rob you of your freedom.

"They want to inculcate in you the stupid spirit of submission to their mastery. They want to feed you upon the vapid innocuities of religion. They want to make you keep books with their God. They want to keep you in stupid ignorance of your own body, so that you, too, will some day be forced to breed children who can perform their horrible wholesale murders for them--who will shoot down all men and women and children who may dare question their mastery and their tyranny. They will force you to breed the cowards who murder those who are willing to die for freedom rather than to live in slavery.

"But remember Ludlow! Remember the men and women and children who were sacrificed in order that John D. Rockefeller, Jr., might continue his noble career of charity and philanthropy as a supporter of the Christian faith.

"Steer clear of those brothels of the Spirit and morgues of Freedom!" [*14]

     During World War 2, George Orwell was very conflicted at whether to support the Allies in crushing the Nazis, or just to support the crushing of the Nazis. After all, he pointed out, prisoner for prisoner, the Allies have significantly many more people exploited and oppressed than Nazi Germany. [*15] This fact, too, doesn't appear much in the history books, and yet no professional journalist could deny it. Scenes like those produced at Ludlow must have been a strong, determining factor, as Britain similarly affords many examples of violent oppression of the workers.

     During the 1800's, the missionaries of Europe were fighting for the right to spread their religion, as well as their commerce, in Japan. The Japanese had decided to bar all foreigners. This was a carefully calculated strategy based on the experience of Japan's neighbors, India and China, who had been essentially become colonies of slaves to European masters. Yet, the arguments used by the Christian missionaries in demanding a right to Japan are almost funny...

"The compulsory exclusion of the Japanese is a wrong not only to themselves, but to the civilized world... The Japanese undoubtedly have an exclusive right to the possession of their territory; but they must not abuse that right to the extent of debarring all other nations from a participation in its riches and virtues. The only secure title to property, whether it be a hovel or an empire, is, that the exclusive possession of one is for the benefit of all." [*16]

     The Japanese, when they prohibit foreign Capitalists from exploiting their people, are being "exclusive" and they are stopping others "from a participation in its riches and virtues." Isn't this the exact reason why Socialists and Unionists have been fighting to overthrow Capitalism for the past century or so? Of course. However, the church today no longer talks about how property ought to be "for the benefit of all." That rhetoric was useful back when they wanted to convince Britain to invade Japan -- not today when it might be associated with revolutionary Socialism. The poor ought to be excluded, but never the rich.

     This statement was co-authored by clergy and merchants in 1852 -- they didn't yet worry about Socialism or unionism, which were underdeveloped, because Capitalists more thoroughly controlled the government and workers didn't even have the right to vote. They could talk about things like "the benefit of all" and equal right to wealth, without arousing any suspicion. What they had really meant was the benefit of a few capitalists, merchants, and missionaries who were going to exploit and dominate the Japanese people. "Oh, the great miserable wrong of making our Capitalists go with only 90% of the total profit that could have been accumulated," the priest cries and moans, as the dead bodies of striking workers at his feet don't even catch mild attention.

     Directly at the barrel of a gun, or indirectly with the threat of imprisonment, the church has sanctioned every type of violence and force imaginable. In Australia in 1909, the Church had found rather interesting devices for suppressing the workers' disagreement with Capitalism...

"But, will it be believed? It is an offence in Victoria to give away a leaflet, a paper, a tract or any printed document on a Sunday! We tested it again to the extent of getting fined and gaoled, and the Act is upheld which says: 'No printed document may be sold or disposed of on Sundays,' and to stop Socialist advocacy for two years past the police have upheld this and the courts enforced it." [*17]

     The Catholic Church gave its blessings to the weapons of British, French, Spanish, and even the Eastern Orthodox Russians when it came to destroying the Japanese people. It should hardly be difficult to believe, then, that the Church also gave its blessings to tyrants who had oppressed the working class in its own nation. To quote an anonymous pamphlet distributed by anti-Fascist forces in the peninsula, "Before 1870, the Church had suffered enormously in Italy from the fact that she identified herself with the Bourbon and Austrian tyrants who were keeping my country enslaved." [*18]

     One does not need to restrict their vision to Catholicism in order to see the relationship between church masters and property masters. Martin Luther, for example, was known as a fierce opponent of the bureaucracy, waste, and extravagance of the Catholic Church. His battle was an unconventional struggle against standards in religious power. But when the peasants tried to wage a battle against the conventional standards of serfdom, exploitation, and slavery, he claimed they were heretics. Simply by fighting against those who possess others as slaves, one is doomed to hell, according to the father of Protestantism. As he wrote in 1525, in a brief pamphlet titled "Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants"...

"It does not help the peasants, when they pretend that, according to Genesis i and ii, all things were created free and common and that all of us alike have been baptized....

"Thus it may be that one who is killed fighting on the ruler's side may be a true martyr in the eyes of God, if he fights with such a conscience as I have just described, for he is in God's Word and is obedient to him. On the other hand, one who perishes on the peasants' side is an eternal brand of hell, for he bears the sword against God's Word and is disobedient to him, and is a member of the devil." [*19]

     The spirit of equality, freedom, and communism lurks its head into the public, and the religious thinker charges at it with their feelings of intolerance and inhumanity. It was right for Martin Luther to seize power from other Catholics, because he was gaining the power; but it was wrong for peasants to seize power from their exploiting vassal lords, because it would mean that he, Martin Luther, would be losing power.

     Though Martin Luther started the trend of Protestantism, others who strayed from the Catholic path similarly sided with Capitalist domination. John Calvin, for example, proved that Protestants can be even more egotistic, property-based, and intolerant than Catholics. "Discipline is the nerve of religion," he remarked, [*20] demanding obedience of the workers not just to their masters, but to the place they occupy in society. Everything even remotely useful to relieving the stress of the laborers, from dancing to drinking to singing to games, was prohibited by John Calvin -- he placed no restrictions on letting the poor starve to death, or on the gluttonous consumption of the wealthy nobles. [*21]

     Just as one can find this unbridled support of Capitalism in Protestantism and Catholicism, so one can find it in nations outside of Europe's scope. "...the [Eastern] Orthodox Church in Russia was closely linked to the imperial regime, and it naturally sided with the Whites in the Civil War," writes Russian historian Nicholas V. Riasanovsky. [*22] It should be noted not that the Eastern Orthodox Church did not exclusively fight against Bolshevism, but it exclusively fought for the Capitalist-dominated, church-affiliated monarchy. This means that the church officials came out against the Communists, the Democratic Socialists, the Anarchists, and even the Liberals. Any type of state where the workers have the right to organize is unacceptable -- this was the point of view of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

     To fight its ancient enemy the Eastern Orthodox Church, and to protect its land holdings established for this purpose, the Catholic Church decidedly sided with the Bolsheviks; but this was in its official activity within Russia, while the propaganda outside of Russia condemned the Bolsheviks. [*23] Unlike the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church saw quite clearly that Lenin never had any interest in really creating revolutionary Communism. After all, during World War 1, the Catholic Church had no problem when the German government transported Vladimir Lenin to Russia, so he could create revolution. [*24] This act, too, was most unusual, for Germany to deliver a Russian citizen to his homeland -- as the two nations were currently at each other's throats in World War 1.

     The support for the Soviet Union from the Catholic Church shouldn't be entirely alarming. The church, likewise, loaned its support to nations that created forced labor camps in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Eastern Europe. In Spain, there has been a long history of opposition between any group of workers organized for their rights and any group of clergy trying to preserve their privileges. To quote Spanish historian Chris Ealham concerning the relationship of the Anarchist Revolution of 1936 and opposition to the church...

"...as in the 1909 anti-clerical riots, as a major landowner and financial power, the Church was closely identified with the state and the urban and agrarian elites, a vision that was not dispelled by the vociferous opposition of the clergy to trade unions, both in their publications and from the pulpit. Moreover, many workers, as we saw in Chapter 1, had direct experience of the schools, hospitals, workhouses, orphanages, and borstals, in which the inefficient central state allowed the Church to play a prominent role. For many workers, therefore, the attack on the Church after July 1936 signaled an end to the intrusive presence of the clergy in their everyday lives and a blow against a hated structure of oppression." [*25]

     In 1936, most of the army officials of Spain had gathered around the general Francisco Franco in his coup d'etat against the elected government. The Catholic Church loaned its support, its wealth, its blessings, and its arms to the new dictatorship. It didn't matter that it was a Fascist government that had already built concentration camps; it was more important for Catholics to crush the threat of revolutionary Anarchists and Socialists in Spain. As they wrote in one propaganda piece defending the coup d'etat by the Fascists...

"It was argued that the Communists seized power and attempted to institute a 'Soviet Dictatorship,' and were violating civil rights in Spain before the Army rose in revolt. The Catholic spokesmen stated that the reason Catholics supported the insurrection was to 'save themselves from destruction and annihilation, not only as Catholics but as citizens.' Charges of Insurgent [Fascist] atrocities were denied while it was maintained that the Communists had burned 'all' the Catholic churches in the area they controlled, had destroyed 'all' religious objects, and had 'massacred virtually all priests in an attempt to destroy the Catholic religion.' In conclusion the statement asserted that the Madrid Government then ruling Spain did not represent the will of the people, as two thirds of the Spaniards had 'freely and enthusiastically acclaimed loyalty and allegiance to General Franco.'" [*26]

     The belief that the majority of Spain supported Franco eventually subsided, or at least, was covered up and ignored. When Francisco Franco won the war in 1939, the Church hushed anyone who made suggestions about reinstituting elections. The Fascist dictatorship had been permanently established, with the sanction of the Catholic Church. The history of the intermingling of Catholicism and Capitalism in Spain goes back for centuries, though. To quote Gerald Brenan...

"The leaders of this movement were, of course, the Jesuits. Theirs was the policy -- originated three centuries before by their founder -- of winning over the rich and the powerful. For this they needed money. And indeed Spain provided a tempting investment for the general funds of their Society: money laid out there would bring not only a good return but also immediate political power. And so their wealth in the Peninsula began to mount up -- composed as it was of the investments of the Society abroad and of the new bequests made by the pious in Spain -- until it reached really immense proportions. In 1912, according to Joaquín Aguilera, Secretary of the Fomento, they controlled 'without exaggeration one-third of the capital wealth of Spain.' They owned railways, mines, factories, banks, shipping companies, orange plantations. There came to be something almost mythical about their industrial activities." [*27]

     Support for Fascism and the police state in Spain naturally came with its support in Italy. In the earlier quoted, anti-Fascist pamphlet from Italy, you can read, "[Pope] Pius XI is closely allied with conservative Lombard circles, noted for their narrowly reactionary and definitely antiproletarian spirit." [*28] And elsewhere, "...the Vatican did its utmost to induce Catholics to vote for Fascist candidates. The most influential of the bishops went actively to work and broadcast the message..." [*29] Finally, there are the words that the Pope himself said about Mussolini, the dictator who crushed the Italian Socialist movement and enslaved his own people...

"...a man such as Providence has sent us, a man devoid of the convictions of the liberal school. For the liberals, all laws, all rules, or rather, misrules, were fetishes, the more intangible and venerable the more ugly and repulsive did they appear." [*30]

     Few people are aware that the Bank of Rome is a Catholic Institution and that it acts as a financial center for global exploitation of the working poor. Fewer people are aware that it has often gone into "bankruptcy," which was simply a ploy for using the state to overtax the people on behalf of the church...

"When in 1923 bankruptcy threatened one of the big banks, the Bank of Rome, to which most Italian Catholic institutions and the Vatican itself had entrusted vast sums of money, this bank was rescued from failure in order to please the Vatican and at the expense of the taxpayers. The cost of this operation was never disclosed, but according to reliable sources it amounted to about 1.5 billion lire." [*31]

     Just as in the case of the church supporting capitalism, there are also many current situations where the church supporting capitalism through violence. In Nicaragua, the United States and the Catholic Church had supported and funded terrorism against the common people, so nobly funded through selling cocaine in the United States. The Church, of course, came out in support of the terrorist Contras in 1984. [*32] The primary reason for support was that the Contras were opposed to the Sandinista National Liberation Front, a Socialist and Left-wing organization.

     In fact, Archbishop Obando y Bravo, who came out to support the burgeoning Fascist dictatorship, had falsely accused the representative government of terrorism -- the exact same trend seen in the development of the Spanish Civil War. After these statements in favor of concentration camps and political police, the Pope promoted Archbishop Obando y Bravo to Cardinal. [*33]

     Nicaragua, like much of central America, is largely Catholic. The voice of its people, demanding freedom from violent dictatorships, were ignored by the "Pro-Life" Pope. The situation was not different in Mexico in 2006...

"She told me that she had gone to the Church, she couldn't stand the fear. 'The soldiers were chasing me,' she told me. She had knocked on the door of the church. 'I don't know who it was, the priest or someone else who answered the door, but I just cried to him, Please let me in, please. Open the door because it's terrible what's happening. Just let me inside the door, that's all.'

"But the priest refused." [*34]

     Violence, when it is enacted on behalf of property and against human life, is considered the greatest honor by the Pope. It is an act treasured by the Protestant Churches, admired by the Eastern Orthodox Church, and revered in the sermons of their subservient preachers. Since it was violence done to destroy Socialism, it must be useful. It must be good according to the will of god. The organized forces of Christianity have been some of the greatest supporters of violence for crushing any type of workers' power, whether expressed by union organizing or workers cooperatives or radical anti-capitalism.

By Trois Têtes
Image: By Trois Têtes,
Released Under the Creative Commons
"Attribution Non-Commercial 2.0 Generic" License

To Withdraw Charity and Make it Exclusive

"Even if the priests, prophets, aristocrats, and bourgeois of all times were honest believers, in spite of all, they were parasites. One cannot suppose that they believed every bit of nonsense in religion and politics which they taught the masses."
          --Mikhail Bakunin, ~1870's
          "The Church, the State, and the Commune"

     With the Great Depression, the Catholic and Protestant churches did something almost unthinkable. Official opinion at the top of these hierarchies sent down an official edict: all charity programs are to be cut off, those demanding soup at the kitchens to be turned away, and those begging for some place to sleep thrown out. It's not a common theme found in American history books, because it's rather disgusting all around: the wealth of the church existed solely because of the voluntary contributions of its members.

     It should also be noted, that at around this time in 1929, the Catholic Church was receiving more than 44 million Pesetas annually from the Spanish government, solely as a gift for being a good Spanish citizen -- even though she lived in Italy. [*35] In Canada, one found extreme wealth, too, "Canadien [French-Canadian] capitalism has hitherto been largely religious; the accumulations of this society meet the eye everywhere in the possessions of the Church, the gratefully acknowledge custodian of the value beyond all other values." [*36] Despite all this, the Church still disbanded virtually all of its public charity throughout the Americas during the Great Depression...

"Perhaps the one new feature of the Quebec scene was an anticlericalism different, more intense, and more widespread than anything like it before. Its most frequent manifestation grew out of the shock and resentment when the tradition charity of the church and its agencies was abdicated in favor of the state and its agencies. The bitterness of destitution and despair were for perhaps the first time directed against the religious institutions which had been created, enlarged, and supported by the people themselves." [*37]

     The resentment against church authorities was powerful throughout the United States, too. Quoting a factory worker from New England during the same time period, in a study by the noted sociologist W. Lloyd Warner, "St. Anthony's Guild folded up a year ago. The Father said they couldn't support the people they'd helped for years, old people. So he came to me and told me about it. Both the Protestant and Catholic churches have fallen down on charitable contributions. They ain't doing nothing." [*38] Even today, there are strong elements within the church that are criticizing it for being so focused on the self-interest of the few. To quote Padre Arias during his involvement in the 2006, Oaxaca uprising of Mexico...

"Within the Catholic Church there have been two well-known competing visions. The first views society and its relationship to its adherents through a hierarchical, top-down approach. The second positions itself as an ally of the disempowered, working with them to achieve social change from the bottom up. In the middle are those who are motivated by fear or self-interest, and serve as a cushion between these two poles." [*39]

     Throughout the realms of Christian thought and activity, one can find a devout support for the system of Capitalism. There is not just a defense for the system of "free" trade. There is a defense for using violence, coercion, prisons, forced work camps, terrorism, civilian bombing, and dictatorships in order to achieve this "free" trade. The Christian god is a god of wealth. And there is no blasphemy quite so extreme as Socialism.

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ."
          --Ephesians, Chapter 6, Verse 5
          New Testament of the Bible



*1. "Notes on the Way," by George Orwell, 1940.
*2. "Education of the Masses," by Sylvia Pankhurst, Dreadnought Pamphlet No. 1, 1918, published by The Dreadnought Publishers.
*3. Quoted From "The Paris Commune: An Episode in the History of the Socialist Movement," by Edward S. Mason, New York: Howard Fertig, the Macmillan Company, 1930, Chapter V: "The Commune of Paris (Continued)," Section: "The Anti-Clericalism of the Commune." Original Citation: "Signed Pottier, Serrailler, Jacques Durand, J. Johannard -- of the Commune. This document in the Archives de la Seine."
*4. "Centennial Oration," by Robert Green Ingersoll, 1876.
*5. "Industrial Unionism: the Road to Freedom," by Joseph J. Ettor, 1913, published by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Section: "Our Principles -- Our Aims."
*6. "Roosevelt and His Regime," by Eugene V. Debs, From: Eugene V. Debs, Labor & Freedom, St. Louis 1916, pages 55-72.
*7. "Industrial Unionism: the Road to Freedom," by Joseph J. Ettor, 1913, published by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Section: "Our Principles -- Our Aims."
*8. "Labor Economics," by Chester A. Morgan, Third Edition, published by Dorsey Press and Business Publications, Inc, Austin, Texas, USA, 1970, pages 165-166, chapter 6: "The Problem of Working Hours," Section: "Arguments Utilized". Original Source: (A) "The Five Day Week," by L.T. Beman, page 65, New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1928. (B) "Survey of Labor Economics," by Florence Peterson, page 416, revised edition, New York, Harper & Bros., 1951. (C) "Labor," by Neil W. Chamberlain, page 517, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1958. (D) "The Four-Day Week: How Soon?" by Daniel Seligman, Fortune Magazine, July 1954, page 83.
*9. "Birth Control," by Margaret Sanger, Aug 1936. Source: The Theosophist, August 1936, pages 420-425, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College.
*10. "Clericalism and Socialism," by Enrico Ferri, Source: English translation in the Social Democrat, February 1903, Response to a questionnaire from the journal Le movement socialiste in 1902.
*11. "Clericalism and Socialism," by Enrico Ferri, Source: English translation in the Social Democrat, February 1903, Response to a questionnaire from the journal Le movement socialiste in 1902.
*12. "Ethics of Social-Democracy," by Joseph Dietzgen, Source: Philosophical Essays by Joseph Dietzgen, published by Charles H. Kerr 1917, Edited by Eugene Dietzgen and Joseph Dietzgen Jr., translated by M. Beer and Th. Rothstein; First Published: Volksstaat, 1875, Part II.
*13. "Teaching Rebellion: Stories from the Grassroots Mobilization in Oaxaca," by Diana Denham & C.A.S.A Collective, 2008, page 213, the story of Padre Arias.
*14. "Cannibals," by Margaret Sanger, Source: The Woman Rebel, May 1914, 17, Margaret Sanger Microfilm C16:0531.
*15. "Not Counting Niggers," by George Orwell, 1939.
*16. "The Modern History of Japan," by W.G. Beasley, 1963, Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, New York, Washington, page 43, chapter 3: "Japan and the West." Original Source: The Edinburgh Review, xcvi, 196 (October, 1852), page 43.
*17. "The Industrial and Social Outlook in Australia," by Tom Mann, Source: The Social-Democrat, Vol. XIII., No. 8., August, 1909, pages 337-343.
*18. "Neither Bread Nor Liberty: The Meaning and Tragedy of Fascism," Edited by Frances Keene, Kennikat Press: Port Washington, New York/London, published by Harper & Row Publishers Inc., 1940, page 164.
*19. "Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants," by Martin Luther, May 1525.
*20. "Calvin's Geneva," by E. William Monter, published by Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, Huntington, New york, 1967, chapter 9: "The Greatness of Geneva," page 235.
*21. "Ordinances For The Regulation of the Churches Dependent Upon the Seigniory of Geneva," by John Calvin, 1547, from: "Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History," by George L. Burns, ed., 6 vols., (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania History Department, 1898-1912) vol. 1, pages 2-5.
*22. "A History of Russia," by Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, Fourth Edition, New York, Oxford University Press, 1984, page 587, Chapter XLI: "Soviet Society and Culture."
*23. "Seven Years in Russia and Siberia, 1914-1921," by Roman Dyboski, published in 1971.
*24. "The Russian Revolution," Alan Moorehead.
*25. "Anarchism and the City: Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Barcelona, 1896-1937," by Chris Ealham, Prologue by Paul Preston, published 2010 by AK Press, page 188, chapter 8: "An 'apolitical' revolution: Anarchism, revolution and civil war," section 8.1: "Urban revolution from below."
*26. "The Spanish Civil War: Domestic Crisis or International Conspiracy?" edited by Gabriel Jackson, published by D.C. Heath and Company: Boston, 1967, page 94, "American Catholic and Protestant Attitudes Towards the Civil War," by F. Jay Taylor.
*27. "The Spanish Civil War: Domestic Crisis or International Conspiracy?" edited by Gabriel Jackson, published by D.C. Heath and Company: Boston, 1967, page 12, "The Background of the Agrarian and Clerical Problems," by Gerald Brenan.
*28. "Neither Bread Nor Liberty: The Meaning and Tragedy of Fascism," Edited by Frances Keene, Kennikat Press: Port Washington, New York/London, published by Harper & Row Publishers Inc., 1940, "The Italian Liberals and the Lateran Treaties," by anonymous ("a clandestine pamphlet circulated in Italy" according to the editors), 1929, page 169.
*29. "Neither Bread Nor Liberty: The Meaning and Tragedy of Fascism," Edited by Frances Keene, Kennikat Press: Port Washington, New York/London, published by Harper & Row Publishers Inc., 1940, "The Italian Liberals and the Lateran Treaties," by anonymous ("a clandestine pamphlet circulated in Italy" according to the editors), 1929, page 169.
*30. "Neither Bread Nor Liberty: The Meaning and Tragedy of Fascism," Edited by Frances Keene, Kennikat Press: Port Washington, New York/London, published by Harper & Row Publishers Inc., 1940, "The Italian Liberals and the Lateran Treaties," by anonymous ("a clandestine pamphlet circulated in Italy" according to the editors), 1929, page 171.
*31. "Neither Bread Nor Liberty: The Meaning and Tragedy of Fascism," Edited by Frances Keene, Kennikat Press: Port Washington, New York/London, published by Harper & Row Publishers Inc., 1940, "The Economics of Fascism," by Gaetano Salvemini, 1938, Section 1: "The Revaluation of the Lire," page 211.
*32. "Nicaragua a Cardinal Under Fire," Time Magazine, May 12, 1986. Time.com.
*33. Dionne Jr, E. J. (April 25, 1985). "John Paul Names 28 New Cardinals," New York Times. NYTimes.com.
*34. "Teaching Rebellion: Stories from the Grassroots Mobilization in Oaxaca," by Diana Denham & C.A.S.A Collective, 2008, pages 57-58, the story of Marinita.
*35. "The Spanish Civil War: Domestic Crisis or International Conspiracy?" edited by Gabriel Jackson, published by D.C. Heath and Company: Boston, 1967, page 23, "Church Burnings and the Religious Clauses of the Constitution of 1931," by E. Allison Peers.
*36. "Canada: A Modern History," by J. Bartlet Brebner, Edited by Allen Nevins and Howard M. Ehrmann, published by the University of Michigan, 1960, chapter XXXI: "Nationality in Diversity," Section: "Nationality," page 520.
*37. "Canada: A Modern History," by J. Bartlet Brebner, Edited by Allen Nevins and Howard M. Ehrmann, published by the University of Michigan, 1960, chapter XXVIII: "Depression and Sectionalism (1929-39)," Section: "The Impacts of the Depression," pages 453-4.
*38. "The Social System of the Modern Factory; the Strike: A Social Analysis," by W. Lloyd Warner and J. O. Low, Published by Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1947, Yankee City Series, Volume 4, page 16, chapter 2: "Prelude to Conflict," Section 1: "The Depression as a Social Setting and Factor for the Strike."
*39. "Teaching Rebellion: Stories from the Grassroots Mobilization in Oaxaca," by Diana Denham & C.A.S.A Collective, 2008, page 209, the story of Padre Arias.

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