Thursday, May 19, 2005

Religion, Anarchy, and Revolution

by Hakim Bey

The psychedelic movement, which offered a kind of "scientific" (or at least experiential ) verification of non-ordinary consciousness, led to a degree of rapprochement between spirituality & radical politics -- & the trajectory of this movement may have only begun.

If religion has "always" acted to enslave the mind or to reproduce the ideology of the ruling class, it has also "always" involved some form of entheogenesis ("birth of the god within") or liberation of consciousness; some form of utopian proposal or promise of "heaven on earth"; and some form of militant & positive action for "social justice" as God's plan for the creation.

Shamanism is a form of "religion" that (as Clastres showed) actually institutionalizes spirituality against the emergence of hierarchy & separation -- & all religions possess at least a shamanic trace.

Every religion can point to a radical tradition of some sort. Taoism once produced the Yellow Turbans -- or for that matter the Tongs that collaborated with anarchism in the 1911 revolution.

Judaism produced the "anarcho-zionism" of Martin Buber & Gersholm Scholem (deeply influenced by Gustav Landauer & other anarchists of 1919), which found its most eloquent & paradoxical voice in Walter Benjamin.

Hinduism gave birth to the ultra-radical Bengali Terrorist Party -- & also to M. Gandhi, the modern world's only successful theorist of non-violent revolution. Obviously anarchism & communism will never come to terms with religion on questions of authority & property. But it seems clear that without religion there will be no radical revolution; the Old Left & the (old) New Left can scarcely fight it alone.

The alternative to an alliance now is to watch while Reaction co-opts the force of religion & launches a revolution without us. Like it or not, some sort of pre-emptive strategy is required. Resistance demands a vocabulary in which our common cause can be discussed; hence these sketchy proposals.

1 comment:

AJ said...

Co-opted Religion

Re: "The alternative to an alliance now is to watch while [right wing] Reaction co-opts the force of religion & launches a revolution without us."

I'd say that has already happened!! I'd also say its time for lefty, anarchistic, libertarian, freedom-loving folks to launch our own spiritual counter-revolution...

A Crusade for the Archaic Revival!! A Crusade to re-establish mysticism, shamanism, & zen anarchism,.......