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machines and tools but does not possess them, and is therefore
forced to sell its only possession, its labor power, to the master
class. And the latter uses the opportunity to buy that wonderful
power like any raw material or some other commodity (some of the
representatives of craft unionism wish to deny this but
unsuccessfully). For the commodity which the worker is compelled to
sell in order that he might live, he receives a wage which is
determined as is the price of every other commodity. The price is
always smaller than the value of the product which the worker
produces for the capitalist.

Between these two classes there must, naturally, exist a
tremendous struggle which often has the character of actual war. No
one urges the workers to this war - not the terrible I. W. W.'s nor
the political socialist, neither the Bolsheviks nor the Anarchists,
but the war naturally and inevitably arises from existing
conditions.

On the one hand, the capitalists are continually chasing after
higher profits which results in the employment of cheap labor under
the worst conditions. Naturally the ideal of the capitalist class
is to keep the workers in a condition of slavery. If the workers
attempt to revolt, as they do daily, their masters try to suppress
the revolt with all the power at their command. On the other hand,
the workers struggle with all their power to lighten their burdens.
They strive to get better conditions, higher wages and shorter
hours, and in general the ideal of the working class is to throw
off the yoke of capitalism.

No one rightfully can say that this struggle is merely a theory. We
can see this struggle in the attempts of the capitalist class to
destroy the victorious Russian Proletariat. It is mirrored before
our eyes in the continual strikes. Nothing can stop this struggle
except the abolition of exploitation.

No matter how hard the Citizens' Committees, Boards of Arbitration,
of Conciliation and of Mediation, with their so-called impartial
members try to convince the world that it is possible to bring the
warring classes into closer relations, their attempts are doomed to
failure. At best their success is only temporary and their efforts
succeed only in blinding the eyes of the working masses. And if at
some time these boards claim a victory, the credit is not due to
them, but to the force exerted by the workers. It is the
strike-weapon, held in reserve by the toilers, that brings victory
to the workers - not the efforts of the philanthropic gentlemen.
Furthermore the efforts of these gentlemen greatly harm the
workers, for at times when the workers can attain success through
the use of the strike, these philanthropists interfere, and deaden
the initiative and aggressiveness of the strikers. Often this
causes strife between the strikers themselves. They lose confidence
in one another, and the existence of the organizations which the
workers succeeded in building up through their efforts and
sacrifices are jeopardized.

The "Conciliation," however, can bring no conciliation between the
employers and workers, because that is unnatural. On the contrary,
the hatred of one side to the other is intensified and war breaks
out oftener and assumes a more bitter and more obstinate character.

Thus viewing the two struggling classes of capitalist society,
revolutionary industrial unionism comes to the logical conclusion
that between capital and labor there exists nothing in common, that
the struggle must go on and peace can come only when economic
oppression will cease, which is possible only when the program of
revolutionary unionism will be realized; namely, when the workers
will take over the means of production and abolish the system of
private ownership. The autocratic control of industry, the unequal
division of products will then disappear and society will be built
on a socialist foundation, where the industries will be owned and
operated by the workers, organized in a truly democratic manner,
and where the individual will receive the full product of his
labor.

These are the principles of revolutionary unionism, the principles
of the international proletariat. They are the true expressions of
the class struggle and because of that, revolutionary unionism
attracts more and more followers whose ideal is to develop within
the working masses a consciousness of their historic mission."

In the words of an eloquent representative of the organized workers in
the United States, I exhort the working men and working women of
America: Keep your eyes on Russia. Watch what is going on there and what
the capitalist plunderbund will try to do. Do not be misled by the lies
and slanders that are daily dished up to you. Bear in mind that those
who tell you these yarns have an interest to mislead you. They want to
use you as a makeweight in their game of wresting from the Russian
workers their dearly-won liberty. It is of no use to enumerate the lies
that have already been punctured because they will invent new ones
faster than one can write and print. Let your reason guide you. Think
yourselves into the shoes of your Russian fellow workers. Think how you
would act if placed in the same position and then draw the conclusion
that they act about the same way that you would, because they are like
you moved by the same emotions, the same desires, the same aspirations.
You, too, would like to keep for yourselves the fruits of your toil, if
you only knew how to go about it, if you had the organization that would
make it possible. But as yet you do not know and you have not that
organization. In politics you still vote against one another in the
Republican or Democratic camp. You will have to wait until you do know
and until you do have the means - the Industrial Unions of the entire
working class that will be able to take and hold and administer industry
for the reason that it will have the might, the power to do so. And when
you have expressed through the ballot your will for that new society,
which will guarantee to you the full fruits of your labor, remember the
slogan of revolutionary Russia: "All power to the Soviets," and let your
slogan then be: "All power to the Industrial Unions!"

These are prophetic words written fifty years ago by Frederick Engels:

Since the historical appearance of the capitalist mode of
production, the appropriation by society of all the means of
production has often been dreamed of, more or less vaguely, by
individuals, as well as by sects, as the ideal of the future. But
it could become possible, could become a historical necessity, only
when the actual conditions for its realization were there. Like
every other social advance, it becomes practicable, not by men
understanding that the existence of classes is in contradiction to
justice, equality, etc., not by the mere willingness to abolish
these classes, but by virtue of certain new economic conditions....
So long as the total social labor only yields a produce which but
slightly exceeds that barely necessary for the existence of all; so
long, therefore, as labor engages all or almost all the time of the
great majority of the members of society - so long, of necessity,
this society is divided into classes....

But if, upon this showing, division into classes has a certain
historical justification, it has this only for a given period, only
under given social conditions. It was based on the insufficiency of
production. It will be swept away by the complete development of
modern productive forces. And, in fact, the abolition of classes in
society presupposes a degree of historical evolution, at which the
existence, not simply of this or that particular ruling class, but
of any ruling class at all, has become an obsolete anachronism....

With the seizing of the means of production by society, production
of commodities is done away with, and, simultaneously, the mastery
of the product over the producer. Anarchy in social production is
replaced by systematic, definite organization. The struggle for
individual existence disappears. Then for the first time man, in a
certain sense, is finally marked off from the rest of the animal
kingdom, and emerges from mere animal conditions into really human
ones.... It is the ascent of man from the kingdom of necessity to
the kingdom of freedom.

The capitalist countries are ruled through banks, and a bank is
necessarily an institution of the owning class.

Russia is ruled through Soviets, and a soviet is necessarily an
institution of the working class.

Banks and Soviets are so many headquarters for big unions. In capitalist
countries the banks are such for the one big union of the owners, and in
Russia the soviets are this for the one big union of the workers. These
big unions cannot co-exist and flourish in the same country.

All owners everywhere see the necessity for their one big union and in
all capitalistic countries, nowhere more than in the United States, they
have the advantage of being on the ground floor and indeed on all the
floors of all the sky scrapers with their union which is the most
universally inclusive and the most relentlessly efficient organization
on earth.

Some workers everywhere see the necessity for their one big union, but
nowhere is it seen as generally and clearly as in Russia, - the only
country in which the workers have held the ground floor for any
considerable time against all comers.

In all countries a beginning has been made by the workers in laying the
foundation for their one big union, but in only one country, Russia, has
progress been made with the superstructure, and here as everywhere the
owners have hindered the workers so that they must defend themselves
with their right hand while they build with their left. Nevertheless
wonderful progress is being made and when the industrial structure has
been completed, as it soon must be, else the world is doomed to
destruction, it shall tower above its capitalist rival as a mountain
over a foot hill.

After all, the power of the owner is money and it is not a real
potentiality, for within the social realm there is in reality only one
potentiality, the power of productivity which exclusively belongs to the
worker.

In the sky there is no god, and on earth there is no king or priest like
unto Labor, the lord of gods, the tzar of kings and the pope of priests.

Labor is high above all potentialities. The motto, "All Power to the
Workers," which the class-conscious proletarians inscribe on their
banners, is not the expression of an ideal fiction, but the declaration
of a practical reality, the greatest among all realities, that reality
in which the whole social realm lives, moves and has its being.

Down with the one big union of the owners. Long live the one big union
of the workers.




II. GOD AND IMMORTALITY.

We have done with the kisses that sting,
With the thief's mouth red from the feast,
With the blood on the hands of the king,
And the lie on the lips of the priest.

- Swinburne.


Many critics contend that socialism and supernaturalism are not, as I
represent, incompatibilities; but they lose sight of four facts: (1)
this is a scientific age; (2) Marxian socialism is one of the sciences;
(3) the vast majority of men of science reject all supernaturalism,
including of course the gods and devils with their heavens and hells,
and (4) only in the case of one of the sciences, psychology, is this
majority greater than in the science of sociology.

The truth of the last two of these representations will be
overwhelmingly evident from the chart on the next page. It and its
explanation given in the following quotation is taken with the kind
consent of the author and also of the publishers of a book entitled God
and Immortality, by Professor James H. Leuba, the Psychologist of Bryn
Mawr College. This book is having a great influence and I strongly
recommend it to all who think that I am wrong in the contention that
conscious, personal existence is limited to earth; that, therefore, we
are having all that we shall ever know of heaven and hell, here and now,
and that whether we have more of heaven and less of hell depends
altogether upon men and women, not at all upon gods and devils. The
second edition of Professor Leuba's book is now in the press of The Open
Court Publishing Company, 122 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. Here is
the quotation in support of our contentions:

[Illustration: Chart XI

PARTIAL SUMMARY OF RESULTS]

What, then, is the main outcome of this research? Chart XI, Partial
Summary of Results, shows that in every class of persons
investigated, the number of believers in God is less, and in most
classes very much less than the number of non-believers, and that
the number of believers in immortality is somewhat larger than in a
personal God; that among the more distinguished, unbelief is very
much more frequent than among the less distinguished; and finally
that not only the degree of ability, but also the kind of knowledge
possessed, is significantly related to the rejection of these
beliefs.

The correlation shown, without exception, in every one of our
groups between eminence and disbelief appears to me of momentous
significance. In three of these groups (biologists, historians, and
psychologists) the number of believers among the men of greater
distinction is only half, or less than half the number of believers
among the less distinguished men. I do not see any way to avoid the
conclusion that disbelief in a personal God and in personal
immortality is directly proportional to abilities making for
success in the sciences in question.

A study of the several charts of this work with regard to the kind
of knowledge which favors disbelief shows that the historians and
the physical scientists provide the greater; and the psychologists,
the sociologists and the biologists, the smaller number of
believers. The explanation I have offered is that psychologists,
sociologists, and biologists in very large numbers have come to
recognize fixed orderliness in organic and psychic life, and not
merely in inorganic existence; while frequently physical scientists
have recognized the presence of invariable law in the inorganic
world only. The belief in a personal God as defined for the purpose
of our investigation is, therefore, less often possible to students
of psychic and of organic life than to physical scientists.

The place occupied by the historians next to the physical
scientists would indicate that for the present the reign of law is
not so clearly revealed in the events with which history deals as
in biology, economics, and psychology. A large number of
historians continue to see the hand of God in human affairs. The
influence, destructive of Christian beliefs, attributed in this
interpretation to more intimate knowledge of organic and psychic
life, appears incontrovertibly, as far as psychic life is
concerned, in the remarkable fact that whereas in every other group
the number of believers in immortality is greater than that in God,
among the psychologists the reverse is true; the number of
believers in immortality among the greater psychologists sinks to
8.8 per cent. One may affirm it seems that, in general, the greater
the ability of the psychologist, the more difficult it becomes for
him to believe in the continuation of individual life after bodily
death.

Within the generation to which I belong Darwin and Marx, the greatest
teachers that the world has had, went over the top of entrenched
ignorance with the greatest books of the world, worth infinitely more to
it than all its bibles together. Darwin did this in 1859 with his Origin
of Species by Natural Selection and Marx in 1867 with his Capital, a
Critique of Political Economy.

Darwin with his book is driving the Christian church out of its trench
of supernaturalism and uniqueism by showing that the different kinds of
vegetable and animal life are not, according to the representation of
its bible, so many separate creations by a personal, conscious divinity,
but interrelated evolutions by an impersonal, unconscious nature, the
higher out of the lower, and that, therefore, man is so far from being a
special creation, having his most vital relationships with a celestial
divinity and his most glorious prospects in a heavenly place with him,
that he is really more or less closely related to every living thing on
earth, and is as hopelessly limited to it, as an elephant, a tree or
even a mountain.

Marx with his book is driving the states out of the trench of
imperialism and capitalism.

As Darwin is driving the conscious, personal gods out of the realm of
biology, placing all animal and human life of body, mind and soul on
essentially the same footing, so Marx is driving all such divinities out
of the realm of sociology, placing all life of family, state, church,
lodge, store and shop on essentially the same level.

According to Darwin, all animal life is what it is at any time by reason
of the effort to accommodate the physical organism to its environment.

According to Marx, human civilization is what it is at any time because
of the economic system by which people feed, clothe and house
themselves.

This Darwinian-Marxian interpretation of terrestrial life in general,
and of the human part of it in particular, is known as materialism. It
is the materialistic, naturalistic, levelistic interpretation of
history, and differs fundamentally from the spiritualistic,
supernaturalistic, uniqueistic interpretation of Christian preachers.
The contrast between these interpretations is especially strong in the
case of human history.

On the one hand the Christian preacher says, man's history is what it is
because of the directing providence of a God, the Father, Son and
Spirit, and because of His directing inspiration of great leaders, such
as Washington, Luther, Caesar and Moses.

On the other hand Darwin and Marx agree in saying that both the triune
god and the inspired leader are what they are, because society is what
it is; that, again, the character of society depends upon the economic
system by which it feeds, clothes and houses itself, and that finally
all such systems owe their existence to the machinery in use for the
production of the basic necessities of life, the primal machine being
the human hand to which all other machines are auxiliaries.

The most insatiable and universal among all human longings is for
freedom - freedom from economic want, social inequality and imperialistic
tyranny, also freedom to learn, think, live and teach truths.

Socialism of the Marxian type is the gospel of freedom, because a
classless god, nature, reveals it in the interest of a classless world:
therefore, it is true, and slavery, of which there never was so much
before on the earth, and nowhere is there more than in the United
States, is utterly incompatible with truth, and classless interests.

All the supernaturalistic gospels are revealed by a class god (Jesus,
Jehovah, Allah, Buddha) in the interest of the capitalist class:
therefore, they are false and freedom is utterly incompatible with
falsehood and class interest.

Ignorance is the destroyer-god and capitalism is the diabolical scourge
by which he afflicts the wage-earner with many unnecessary sufferings,
especially the crushing ones arising from the great trinity of evils,
war, poverty and slavery.

Knowledge is the saviour-god and Marxism is his divine gospel of freedom
from these capitalistic sufferings.




III. MYTHICAL CHARACTER OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT PERSONAGES.

What man of sense will agree with the statement that the first,
second, and third days, in which the evening is named and the
morning, were without sun, moon and stars? What man is found such
an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in Paradise like an
husbandman? I believe that every man must hold these things for
images under which a hidden sense is concealed. - Origen.


One of the critics of Communism and Christianism whose representations
are in alignment with several others says:

While the Bishop speaks in the language of scholarship, he entirely
ignores all the findings of modern scholars on the literature of
the Bible.

The failure to show more clearly that my representations concerning the
untenableness of the basic doctrines of Christian supernaturalism are in
alignment with the conclusions of outstanding authorities in the newly
developed sciences of historical and biblical criticisms is indeed a
defect and an attempt will here be made to remove it by a short but
faithful and, as I think, convincing summary of what such authorities in
these sciences have to say on the subject.

My summary is summarized from a pamphlet by Charles T. Gorham, published
by Watts and Company, 17 Johnson's Court, Fleet St., E. C. 4, London,
England, which is itself an able summarization of the relevant facts
which have been scientifically established as they are given in the
greatest of all the Bible Dictionaries, the Encyclopedia Biblica.

It will be seen that all except one among my contentions concerning the
baselessness of the supernaturalism of orthodox Christians are well
sustained. This exception is the contention that Jesus is not an
historical personage, but a fictitious one. However the great critics
are unanimously with me even in this, for two crushing facts are
admitted by them: (1) the Old Testament affords no scientifically
established data from which a reliable history of the Jews can be
written, and (2) the New Testament has no such data for a biography of
Jesus.

The illuminating summary which is a large part of my answer to the
criticism under review follows, and it is as far as possible in the
language of Mr. Gorham:

Once upon a time there was a system of Christian Theology. It was a
wonderful though a highly artificial structure, composed of fine
old crusted dogmas which no one could prove, but very few dared to
dispute. There was the "magnified man" in the sky, the Infallible
Bible, dictated by the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, the Fall, the
Atonement, Predestination and Grace, Justification by Faith, a
Chosen People, a practically omnipotent Devil, myriads of Evil
Spirits, an eternity of bliss to be obtained for nothing, and
endless torment for those who did not avail themselves of the
offer.

Now the house of cards has tumbled to pieces, or rather it is
slowly dissolving, as Shakespeare says, "like the baseless fabric
of a vision". The Biblical chronology, history, ethics, all are
alike found to be defective and doubtful. Divine Revelation has
become discredited; a Human Record takes its place. What has
brought about this startling change? The answer is, Knowledge.
Thought, research, criticism, have shown that the traditional
theories of the Bible can no longer be maintained. The logic of
facts has confirmed the reasonings of the independent thinker, and
placed the dogmatist in a dilemma which grows ever more acute. The
result is not pleasant for the believer; but it is well that the
real state of things should be known, that the kernel of truth
should be separated from the overgrown husk of tradition.

During the last few years a work has been issued which sums up the
conclusions of modern criticism better than any other book. It is called
the Encyclopedia Biblica, and its four volumes tersely and ably set
forth the new views, and support them by a mass of learning which
deserves serious consideration. And the most significant thing about it
is not merely that the entire doctrinal system of Christianity has
undergone a radical change, but that this change has largely been
brought about by Christian scholars themselves. A rapid glance at this


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Online LibraryWilliam Montgomery BrownCommunism and Christianism → online text (page 12 of 15)