Post-left anarchists have always argued against religion, especially, Christianity but are these two paradigms really so different? Both call for a radical transformation of everyday life, one calls for a drastic change from hierarchy and bureaucracy, and the other calls for a radical change in relationships with other people. At first glance the two paradigms seem mutually exclusive, but these paradigms have much to offer the other one.
Ideology and Religion
Religion is essentially, an ideology, at it’s core. It puts a sacred Absolute at the very center of it’s thinking and this abstract spook serves to mystify the real world. In it’s most pragmatic expression this has manifested in the counter-revolutionary movements that have served the interests of the powerful. This is a matter of historical record as churches have served the interest of a “divinely ordained” state. Christianity is no exception. Yet, it is also interesting that Christianity stands against what the faith initially proclaimed. Christianity’s founder was profoundly anti-religious, perhaps in opposition to the society in first century Judea and it’s foreign occupiers, the Romans.
Rome was founded on the pillars of religion and empire, and while early Christianity could be described very loosely as a religion or cult, it is not untrue or an exaggeration that early Christianity stood against the concept of religion, something you did to please a sacred Absolute. Instead, Christianity begins with the death of it’s Absolute as the central event of it’s proclamation. The death of God is the death of an ideologized Absolute, and this motif is as important in Christianity as it is in post-left anarchism.
Morality and Religion
Interestingly, this is an area in which Christianity is the most paradoxical. On one hand, the Christian affirms the existence of morality, and on the other, affirms the most antinomian ethics in it’s radical forgiveness. Post-left anarchism begins with the notion that morality is a spook; something that exists to affirm an abstract principle over the realities of life. The typical charge against Christianity begins with it’s morality and ends with it’s morality. Christianity’s greatest commandments begin with the injunction to love your neighbor and God; post-left anarchists reject commandment’s themselves.
Morality is a wooly term, derived from someone’s subjective desires, beliefs, and environment. Moralism develops from an overarching idea that something is moral and anything contrary to that is immoral. Far from being a tool for liberating one’s desires, morality degenerates into a spook from which one can decisively judge another. Christianity, at least, in it’s most radical form, refuses to make judgments and pronouncements over others. Forgiveness in it’s most antinomian form refuses to be moralistic in any form, rather it reconciles “I” with “Thou”.
Authority and Christianity
Christianity and authoritarian institutions have a complicated relationship. Radical forms of Christianity set themselves against immediate realities of church, government, and economies. From the early Christians to the Christian radicals of the twentieth century there has been a trend to either outright ignore the dictates of the dominant expressions of Christianity or there have been explicit rebellions against the dominant forces of the world. Christianity’s tendency to mystify and obfuscate everyday life aside, it has revolutionary tendencies within the pages of it’s sacred canon and it’s historical praxis. While it is certain that Jesus was certainly an authority in his ministy, his ministry was the anti-thesis of established authorities and their religious program. His grassroots ministry begins with the primordial sacrifice of God and ends with the death of God in Christ on the Cross. Instead the antithesis of religious authoritarianism is the end of Christianity.
Historically, this has been subsumed by extreme authoritarianism and the tension an anti-authoritarian and insurgent spiritual movement to an extremely hierarchical religious system defines the history of Christianity. Where there are authoritarian Christian forces in the form of church and state, there are always a Christian antithesis in the form of egalitarian mysticism, millenarian insurgents, pacifistic anarchists, and monastic hermits. Christian history is riddled with this tension and takes the form of one extreme or the other.
Christianity and Post-Left Anarchism
This brief analysis of Christianity and it’s differences with post-left anarchism only scratches the surface of theoretical possibility. As we can sense, Christianity does not affirm a sacred Absolute, and in essence experiences a death of it’s sacred Absolute as the God on the Cross. While self-sacrifice has been heralded as the antithesis of post-left anarchism, self-sacrifice is the central essence of Christianity. In the sense of a strict philosophical egoistic post-left anarchism it would be a mistake to appropriate Christian motifs and approximate them to being essentially post-left, but the Christian paradigm offers an insurgent form of faith, and has within its canon and it’s history examples of insurrection and communization.
Thus, the question is inevitably, what do these seemingly opposing paradigms offer the other? In some ways, this is begging the question. Max Stirner, Renzo Novatore, Bruno Filipi, and Biolifio Panclasta would argue that any form of Christianity, even one that celebrates the death of it’s Absolute still requires a form of submission. If it is a question of individualism, then it benefits from the engagement of Christian communitarianism with Stirner’s egoism. If we are to judge egoism as the anti-thesis of Christian expression of faith then it could be said that it is a dialectical negation of the community, following Max Stirner’s own philosophical method.
If we are talking about the reversal of perspective that Christianity would benefit immensely from it is from the radically immanent and profane outlook of the situationists; specifically Rauol Vaneigeim and everyday life. Ideology, as we have discussed, mystifies everyday life, and if we are to come to grips with the realities of everyday life then masking it through our theologies and philosophies contributes to the spectacles of contemporary society.
Christianity in either it’s orthodox and heterodox forms demand a change in everyday life. Whether it is in apocalyptism and millenarianism or in it’s purely ethical forms, Christianity demands a change in everyday relations. Communization is perhaps where Christianity most clearly can benefit from. “Reversing” traditional Christian perspectives into a future Kingdom, it can rather focus on immediate reality of “old creation” or perhaps the “Kingdom of Man”. An ethical or apocalyptic faith can know communization or the Kingdom of God to be present in ruptures in the capitalist mode of production. Communization as opposed to communist ideology, transforms ideology to a transformative act present in the disruption of the commodity spectacle or capital.
Social war or insurrection on the other hand, poses a complex problem for Christians of all types. Insurrection and social war begins with the immediate rupture of capital and actions that disrupt the immediate flow of politics and economics are always insurrectionary, whether they involve actual violence or are some other action such as sabotage , and they end on the act of communization.