Is the Pope a Marxist?

July 2024 Forums General discussion Is the Pope a Marxist?

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  • #98727
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Dave B wrote:
    Well I have said before that Christianity was originally communist. And I will go even further now and say it was Marxist with a class analysis as with John Chrysostom. Who was no minor Christian bod.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Chrysostom  first translation with (…Marxist inserts..)   John Chrysostom on The Rich and The Poor”From Homily XXXIV on I Corinthians 13: 8  And that thou mayest see it more clearly, let us suppose, if it seem good, two cities, (…classes….) the one of rich only, but the other of poor;  and neither in that (…city/ruling class..) of the rich  let there be any poor man,  nor in that of the poor (…city/working class..) any rich; (…that is simple enough?…)  but let us purge out both thoroughly (..and do an economic analysis..),  and see which will be the more able to support itself. For if we find that of the poor able (..working class..), it is evident that the rich will more stand in need of them. ( …the ruling class depend on the working class to make stuff for them…) Now then, in that city of the affluent (…ruling class..) there will be no manufacturer, no builder, no carpenter, no shoe-maker, no baker, no husbandman , no brazier, no rope-maker, nor any other such trade.(…yeah, yeah we got it the ruling class don’t make stuff…)  For who among the rich would ever choose to follow these crafts, ( …or work for a living..)seeing that the very men who take them in hand, when they become rich, endure no longer the discomfort caused by these works? (.. this is just a very reasonable simple commodity producing analysis for the time re the petty bourgeois becoming capitalists etc….)  How then shall this our city stand? “The rich,” it is replied, “giving money, will buy these things of the poor.”(…the ruling capitalist class will buy what they need for their own consumption from the working class..) Well then, they will not be sufficient for themselves, their needing the others proves that. But how will they build houses? Will they purchase this too? But the nature of things cannot admit this. Therefore they must needs invite the artificers thither, and destroy the law, which we made at first when we were founding the city. (….And Chrysostom’s own two classes/cities analogy, he confesses, breaks down as the two classes or cities have to necessarily coexist together; good!….) For you remember, that we said, “let there be no poor man within it.”But, lo, necessity, even against our will, hath invited and brought them in. Whence it is evident that it is impossible without poor for a city ( …ruling class…) to subsist: since if the city were to continue refusing to admit any of these, it will be no longer a city but will perish. Plainly then it will not support itself, unless it shall collect the poor as a kind of preservers, to be within itself.(..the capitalist class cannot survive without the exploited working class..) But let us look also upon the city of the poor, whether this too will be in a like needy condition, on being deprived of the rich.( …a social system without the capitalist ruling class??????????…..)  And first let us in our discourse thoroughly clear the nature of riches, and point them out plainly. What then may riches be? Gold, and silver (..money..), and precious stones, and garments silken, purple, and embroidered with gold. (…capitalist bling…)  Now then that we have seen what riches are, let us drive them away from our city of the poor (…working class..):     and if we are to make it purely a city (..social system..) of poor persons (..working class…),  (and) let not any gold (..money, blah blah..) appear there, no not in a dream, nor garments of such quality; and if you will, neither silver, nor vessels of silver. What then? (…..then this bit is really interesting, I think, what happens in a working class proletarian society without money and capitalist bling…)   Because of this will that (..working class.. ) city and its concerns live in want, tell me? Not at all. For suppose first there should be need to build; one does not want gold and silver (….money?…. )  and pearls, but skill, and hands, and hands not of any kind, but such as are become callous, and fingers hardened, and great strength,(..working class.. )  and wood, and stones: suppose again one would weave a garment, neither here have we need of gold and silver (…money..) , but, as before, of hands and skill, and women to work. (…hat tip at last to the girls…) And what if one require husbandry, and digging the ground? Is it rich men(..capitalist class..) who are wanted, or poor(..working class, including women.. )  It is evident to every one, poor (..working class men and women…. ) And when iron too is to be wrought, or any such thing to be done, this (..working class.. ) is the race of men whereof we most stand in need. What respect then remains wherein we may stand in need of the rich? except the thing required be, to pull down this city.(…revolution, get rid of the capitalist class and their bling?…)  For should that sort of people make an entrance, and these philosophers, for (for I call them philosophers, who seek after nothing superfluous,) should fall to desiring gold and jewels, giving themselves up to idleness and luxury; they will ruin everything from that day forward.   Other ‘standard’ translation; http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/220134.htm   I think that was pretty damn good for circa AD 380 if nothing else, Throw the baby out with the bath water if you must.  

     It was a working class movement ( slaves ) but it was not a communist movement as we know it today, and in that historical period did not exist the objective condition to create a society of free access https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894/early-christianity/

    #98728
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    "Well I have said before that Christianity was originally communist."Communist in consumption, but not necessarily in production.But early Christianity and its practice is littered with details of its communismSt Ambrose (340-397 AD) said:

    Quote:
    “Nature furnishes its wealth to all men in common. God beneficiently has created all things that their enjoyment be common to all living beings, and that the earth become the common possession of all. It is nature itself that has given birth to the right of the community, while it is only unjust usurpation that has created the right of private property.”

    (not checked the original source but he is quoted here https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sections/australia/1948/communism.htm

    #98729
    Dave B
    Participant

    There is actually a really good and rare albeit long article on the slave economy of Roman times; which incidentally includes stuff on Chrysostom. I have provided some very random quotes It sounds anachronistically familiar. I think it is clear? That maybe agricultural production, which in itself dominated the overall economy, was slave based. However the situation of the urban economy was perhaps not as clear. Ie were the carpenters, shoe-makers, bakers and manufacturers slaves or self employed simple commodity producers and artisans etc? As in;  Now then, in that city of the affluent there will be no manufacturer, no builder, no carpenter, no shoe-maker, no baker, no husbandman , no brazier, no rope-maker, nor any other such trade. For who among the rich would ever choose to follow these crafts.  If we look at what limited stuff we have on the early Christians from the 2nd to 3rd century which isn’t much; say Didache and Contra Celsum it would seem that at least some of them were from the ‘petty bourgeois’ artisan part of the economy, as was JC and his fisherman and bar keep friends. In more modern history eg 19th century europe these kind of people could be politically very hostile to the rich and harbour various types of ‘communist’ sentiments.  Eg Proudhon and Wilhelm Weitling?  Chrysostom, whilst focussing rather too much on domestic slaves ( flunkies ) opposes the general thing and when it comes to the  ‘trade’ economy,  as in craft he seems to have had a more journeyman guild system economic perspective? Chrysostom (Hom. in 1 Cor. 40.5) Therefore, if it is in their aid, I ask you not to assign any of them in ministering to yourself, but when you have purchased them and have taught them trades whereby to support themselves, let them go free. But when you threaten them, when you put them in chains, it is no more a work of philanthropy.   


     SLAVERY IN JOHN CHRYSOSTOM’S HOMILIES ON THE PAULINE EPISTLES AND HEBREWS:  A CULTURAL-HISTORICAL ANALYSIS   The development of agricultural slavery, as we will see, had direct consequences for urban slaveholding. Furthermore, these estates were meant to be profitable to the owners. If we again take account of the previous discussion related to Philodemus, a Greek writer within Italy (Herculaneum), we see that Philodemus reacts harshly to the conventional wisdom that these large villa-estates simply had to be profitable. The slaves were not only for farming. Since many of these landowners were part of the illustrious of the Roman Republic, many had escorts of slaves and freedmen for security and show. This context serves as the backdrop for the Roman statesman Cato the Elder’s work De agricultura. Unlike Philodemus, Cato’s advice on slave-management had in mind the generation of maximum profit with a minimum cost to the owner of the estate  Moreover, Plutarch gives an account of Cato loaning money to his slaves to purchase their own slaves, which they would train and sell at a profit.178 Accordingly, care and punishment of slaves should always be in the service of ensuring an environment that will provide maximum profit.179 We see here some very potent discourses of the objectification and commodification of the slave-body, The vilicus plays a very important role when it comes to slave-management.181 Since most of the estate-owners were absent from the supervision of daily activities, the vilicus became an increasingly important office, and the model vilicus may be considered as a key construct in Roman oikonomia.182 It was often possible that the vilicus was a slave.183 The Latin word actor may be used as a substitute, with the Greeks words ἐπίίτροπος,  πραγµματευτήής  and πιστικόός as possible equivalents.184 Most importantly, the vilicus is represented as a surrogate body for the owner.185 The construction of the Roman vilicus was, in the first instance, one related to economy. The sole purpose of the vilicus was to ensure profit for the estate,186 but there were also several very important additional duties.187 As seen above, his conduct in relation to slaves should be productive. Cato even explains the punishment of the slaves by the vilicus in terms of scales and measures – the punishment should be equal to the fault. It is not so much a matter of fairness than it is one of balancing the socio-economic books. All relations with slaves should be directed at optimum productivity. He also believes in manipulating the bodily desires and passions to make slaves productive.194 Sick slaves should have their rations limited (Agr. 2.4), and if it rained slaves could have done numerous other tasks, even if it is simply mending their own apparel (Agr. 2.3). As mentioned above, when discussing rationing, Cato is again painfully specific and detailed regarding their diet, which is a high-carbohydrate diet with little protein, fruits and vegetables (Agr. 56-59).195 For instance, the chained gangs of slaves working in the fields receive specific rations which are dependent on the season and types of field-work they perform: ‘The chain-gang should have a ration of four pounds of bread through the winter, increasing to five when they begin to work the vines, and dropping back to four when the figs ripen’ (Agr. 56).196 Similar specifics are given regarding wine, even regarding feasts such as the Saturnalia and Compitalia (Agr. 57). Clothing and blankets are also strictly regulated (Agr. 59). These precise guidelines for rationing not only shows the importance and intricacy of accounting on these estates, but the exact regulations regarding the provision for bodily needs also ramify the authority-based hierarchical taxonomy, and illustrate its complexity. http://repository.up.ac.za/dspace/handle/2263/25563

    #98730
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Dave B wrote:
    There is actually a really good and rare albeit long article on the slave economy of Roman times; which incidentally includes stuff on Chrysostom. I have provided some very random quotes It sounds anachronistically familiar. I think it is clear? That maybe agricultural production, which in itself dominated the overall economy, was slave based. However the situation of the urban economy was perhaps not as clear. Ie were the carpenters, shoe-makers, bakers and manufacturers slaves or self employed simple commodity producers and artisans etc? As in;  Now then, in that city of the affluent there will be no manufacturer, no builder, no carpenter, no shoe-maker, no baker, no husbandman , no brazier, no rope-maker, nor any other such trade. For who among the rich would ever choose to follow these crafts.  If we look at what limited stuff we have on the early Christians from the 2nd to 3rd century which isn’t much; say Didache and Contra Celsum it would seem that at least some of them were from the ‘petty bourgeois’ artisan part of the economy, as was JC and his fisherman and bar keep friends. In more modern history eg 19th century europe these kind of people could be politically very hostile to the rich and harbour various types of ‘communist’ sentiments.  Eg Proudhon and Wilhelm Weitling?  Chrysostom, whilst focussing rather too much on domestic slaves ( flunkies ) opposes the general thing and when it comes to the  ‘trade’ economy,  as in craft he seems to have had a more journeyman guild system economic perspective? Chrysostom (Hom. in 1 Cor. 40.5) Therefore, if it is in their aid, I ask you not to assign any of them in ministering to yourself, but when you have purchased them and have taught them trades whereby to support themselves, let them go free. But when you threaten them, when you put them in chains, it is no more a work of philanthropy.   


     SLAVERY IN JOHN CHRYSOSTOM’S HOMILIES ON THE PAULINE EPISTLES AND HEBREWS:  A CULTURAL-HISTORICAL ANALYSIS   The development of agricultural slavery, as we will see, had direct consequences for urban slaveholding. Furthermore, these estates were meant to be profitable to the owners. If we again take account of the previous discussion related to Philodemus, a Greek writer within Italy (Herculaneum), we see that Philodemus reacts harshly to the conventional wisdom that these large villa-estates simply had to be profitable. The slaves were not only for farming. Since many of these landowners were part of the illustrious of the Roman Republic, many had escorts of slaves and freedmen for security and show. This context serves as the backdrop for the Roman statesman Cato the Elder’s work De agricultura. Unlike Philodemus, Cato’s advice on slave-management had in mind the generation of maximum profit with a minimum cost to the owner of the estate  Moreover, Plutarch gives an account of Cato loaning money to his slaves to purchase their own slaves, which they would train and sell at a profit.178 Accordingly, care and punishment of slaves should always be in the service of ensuring an environment that will provide maximum profit.179 We see here some very potent discourses of the objectification and commodification of the slave-body, The vilicus plays a very important role when it comes to slave-management.181 Since most of the estate-owners were absent from the supervision of daily activities, the vilicus became an increasingly important office, and the model vilicus may be considered as a key construct in Roman oikonomia.182 It was often possible that the vilicus was a slave.183 The Latin word actor may be used as a substitute, with the Greeks words ἐπίίτροπος,  πραγµματευτήής  and πιστικόός as possible equivalents.184 Most importantly, the vilicus is represented as a surrogate body for the owner.185 The construction of the Roman vilicus was, in the first instance, one related to economy. The sole purpose of the vilicus was to ensure profit for the estate,186 but there were also several very important additional duties.187 As seen above, his conduct in relation to slaves should be productive. Cato even explains the punishment of the slaves by the vilicus in terms of scales and measures – the punishment should be equal to the fault. It is not so much a matter of fairness than it is one of balancing the socio-economic books. All relations with slaves should be directed at optimum productivity. He also believes in manipulating the bodily desires and passions to make slaves productive.194 Sick slaves should have their rations limited (Agr. 2.4), and if it rained slaves could have done numerous other tasks, even if it is simply mending their own apparel (Agr. 2.3). As mentioned above, when discussing rationing, Cato is again painfully specific and detailed regarding their diet, which is a high-carbohydrate diet with little protein, fruits and vegetables (Agr. 56-59).195 For instance, the chained gangs of slaves working in the fields receive specific rations which are dependent on the season and types of field-work they perform: ‘The chain-gang should have a ration of four pounds of bread through the winter, increasing to five when they begin to work the vines, and dropping back to four when the figs ripen’ (Agr. 56).196 Similar specifics are given regarding wine, even regarding feasts such as the Saturnalia and Compitalia (Agr. 57). Clothing and blankets are also strictly regulated (Agr. 59). These precise guidelines for rationing not only shows the importance and intricacy of accounting on these estates, but the exact regulations regarding the provision for bodily needs also ramify the authority-based hierarchical taxonomy, and illustrate its complexity. http://repository.up.ac.za/dspace/handle/2263/25563

     What are you trying to prove ?  

    #98731
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Something from my personal blog a few years back on the rise of the Papacy and the introduction of celibacyhttp://mailstrom.blogspot.com/2006/08/rent-priestcom.html

    #98732
    Dave B
    Participant

    As tings seem a bit quieter?  I suppose ‘I’ was interested in it from the perspective how familiar in some ways ‘slavery’ proper, as in ‘Roman times’ was to modern wage slavery. Where the main difference between slave commodity production and wage slave commodity production appears to be ‘just’ the absence of wage labour and (investment or surplus value or profit in) technology to enhance, or increase, productivity. I think Karl touched on this elsewhwere;  Capital Vol. III Part VITransformation of Surplus-Profit into Ground-RentChapter 47. Genesis of Capitalist Ground-Rent I. Introductory Remarks  Where the capitalist outlook prevails, as on American plantations, this entire surplus-value is regarded as profit; where neither the capitalist mode of production itself exists, nor the corresponding outlook has been transferred from capitalist countries. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch47.htm  Thus I think you could argue perhaps that in Roman slavery there was a ‘capitalist outlook’ as well which more obviously in this case hadn’t ‘been transferred from capitalist countries’. I think in southern slavery the ‘profit makers’ expanded production by re-investing their profit in the purchase of more slaves rather than renting them. Which was presumably more cost efficient than reducing the number of slaves required by the use of technology or non human capital. That was probably a reflection of the absence of that kind of technology and the relatively low cost of kidnapping some more and working them to death etc. The Southern slave owners weren’t just bastards but ‘enlightened’ businessmen. So much so that at one stage they had carefully calculated that it was more expensive to keep them in a condition in which on average they could survive seven years (I think it was) than pay to kidnap some more. As with the rest of Karl and Marxist economics in general it was understood that the agricultural sphere of production because of its nature was less ‘susceptible’ to the advantages of mechanisation and thus capitalism. Capitalism in the sense of buying machines with your profit. Hence they are still ploughing fields with buffalo today whereas the last type of non agricultural commodity production like ‘tailoring’ is now just about extinct. I think it also raises the profile of technology as a part of the development of capitalism. Although it is obviously a dialectical chicken and egg thing as well. Technology in the abstract initially provides opportunities to apply it; using profit to buy technology. And once got going provides incentives to develop technology etc etc. I think Chrysostom, as a prolific writer of the time with perhaps a leftwing perspective, is regarded as an important resource as regards an economic analysis of 4th century slavery.

    #98733
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Dave B wrote:
    And once got going provides incentives to develop technology etc etc. I think Chrysostom, as a prolific writer of the time with perhaps a leftwing perspective, is regarded as an important resource as regards an economic analysis of 4th century slavery.

    Yes and an interesting read it was too. Thanks for posting it.

    #98734
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/01/pope-francis-calls-on-christians-to-embrace-green-agendaFrancis has called for urgent action to stop climate change and proposed that caring for the environment be added to traditional Christian works of mercy such as feeding the hungry and visiting the sick.Francis said the worst impact of global warming was being felt by those who were least responsible for it – refugees and the poor.Francis described man’s destruction of the environment as a sin and accused mankind of turning the planet into a “polluted wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth”.Francis urged political and business leaders to stop thinking of short-term gains and work for the common good while taking steps to resolve the “ecological debt” between the global north and south.

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