Rastafarianism and anticapitalism

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ftony
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Sep 28 2004 14:45
Rastafarianism and anticapitalism

Does anyone think that the rasta struggle is relevant to anticapitalism as it is now? One might say that i'm 'rasta-curious' and the idea of a new wave of activity in this area would not go amiss. The political aspects fit quite nicely, but the christianity thing may be a bit off-sync. any thoughts...?

bigdave
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Sep 28 2004 14:55

Can you get Christian anarchists? Or any religion?

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the button
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Sep 28 2004 15:10

Ah, the debate goes on.......

Put it another way. If you were talking to a young kid who was interested in anarchism & getting involved, & it turned out s/he was religious (Rasta, Moslem, Christian, whatever), would you tell her/him to fuck off? Or expect him to drop her/his faith before he could fully join our little club?

red n black star

LeonardfromLeom...
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Sep 28 2004 15:13
ftony wrote:
Does anyone think that the rasta struggle is relevant to anticapitalism as it is now?

No.

redyred
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Sep 28 2004 15:51
ftony wrote:
Does anyone think that the rasta struggle is relevant to anticapitalism as it is now? One might say that i'm 'rasta-curious' and the idea of a new wave of activity in this area would not go amiss. The political aspects fit quite nicely, but the christianity thing may be a bit off-sync. any thoughts...?

No way. They get adopted as counter culture icons all the time - you know, the whole punky reggae thing, and of course most crusties probably think anyone who spokes dope must be on their side. But Rastafarianism is just horribly sexist and homophobic and generally quite shit. Their best aspect is the black liberationism, but usually as just a spiritual "Jah will deliver us" thing rather than something that translates into worthwile action. Most of them look up to Marcus Garvey as well, someone who claimed to be "the first fasicst" and wanted to work with white supremecists for the repatriation of black people to Africa.

And you know, they have dreadlocks for fucks sake.

Also, on the Christianity thing, its got more in common with Judaism really, because its only based on the Old Testament. Not that it really matters, they're still shit either way.

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PaulMarsh
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Sep 28 2004 16:11

I'm reminded of the story of the Exodus Collective, a rasta influenced squat collective from Luton who had some profile during the campaign against the Criminal Justice Bill.

When asked how an ongoing campaign could be funded, they replied

"Jah will provide"

Well, you don't need my fiver then you fuckwits do you?

Mike Harman
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Sep 28 2004 16:43

One site I found through unrelated google searches a while back was http://anarchism.jesusradicals.com/ they have a decent archive of anarchist literature which isn't Christian - stuff by Bakunin, Kropotkin, Colin Ward etc. I think the general idea is that if Christians actually followed the teachings of Christ, then they'd end up with something not that dissimilar to anarchism. That's what they say on the front page anyway.

There are parts of some religions that are anti-property, anti-state, anti-authority, but there are equally parts which encourage blind obedience, parochialism, intolerance. If Christ (or one of the Buddhas, Moses) existed as a historical figure (excluding any unprovable claims to be the Son of God), then I think it's fair to consider them as progressive forces within the religious/historical context they lived in - throwing out moneylenders, leading revolts against slavery etc. etc.

In a society in which everyone believed in God, and the majority of political discourse was framed in religious terms, then people who held religious views in favour of equality, against hierarchy etc. can be considered to be progressive within that context. Same as Aristotle or Proudhon or Marx, Aristotle would have believed the world was flat, but many of his ideas were very progressive within his context.

The problem is when the use and misuse of their ideas over hundreds or thousands of years is ignored, and they're accepted blindly without any criticism or recognition of cultural changes which make them inapplicable to different societies.

ftony
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Sep 29 2004 15:56

hmm, generally quite interesting, but a lot of people seem to be stuck with the old 1960 rasta thing. I don't think the fact that a lot of people have decided that rasta is cool just because of the weed is enough to reject it, and the vast majority are no longer homophobic (and those who are, i admit are utter gobshites, but so are most christians, jews, muslims, hindus, need i go on?)

i was thinking more in terms of underlying ideology and even ontology upon which it all rests.

It's kinda hard i suppose because there is such an emphasis on the big dude upstairs (male or female or whatever other anthropomorphic crap prophets have come up with) just like any other religion on the planet. I suppose there are strains of liberation theology that are emerging in south america, and after all, rasta is basically christianity with a multicoloured face. so, next question, who knows anything about liberation theology??? i certainly don't!

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PaulMarsh
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Sep 29 2004 17:01

Why is Rastafarianism less homophobic now than it was previously?

I am also confused by your assertion that rastafarianism is christianity with a multi-coloured face.

It is hard to imagine a more multi-cultural religion than Christianity (it has adherents in every corner of the globe, e.g, there are more Christians than Sikhs in India, and even the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has some 3 million Christians) conversely Rastafarianism has not only styled itself as a specifically African religion, but a specifically black one.

Not much there for someone in say Hong Kong, Argentina or Iceland.

Wayne
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Sep 29 2004 23:05

Rastafarianism definitely isn't anti-capitalist 'cos my mate gave a Jamaican forty bar for a bag of skunk and the fucker did a runner!

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cantdocartwheels
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Oct 5 2004 09:53
ftony wrote:
who knows anything about liberation theology??? i certainly don't!

The idea rests of the supposition that christs coming to earth means we should be liberated from all restricitions imposed by society, and all oppression derived from these social forms.

-Examples of western liberation theologiststs

Paul Tillich

Clodovis Boff

Robert McAfee Brown

-some random quotes from liberation theologist thinkers

“In the theology of liberation, Marxism is never dealt with in and for itself. It is always examined with the poor as starting point, and for the sake of the poor. Forthrightly adopting a position of solidarity with the lowly, the theologian interrogates Marx: What can you tell me about this situation of destitution and about the routes we may take to its defeat? Here the Marxist is subjected to the judgment of the poor and their cause, not the other way around.”

“Liberation theology, therefore, makes use of Marxism purely instrumentally. Marxism is not revered, as the holy gospels are. Nor is any obligation felt to give anyone an account of the use that may be made of Marxist words and notions (whether or not they are used correctly), except to the poor, and to their faith and hope. More concretely, let us come right out and admit that liberation theology makes use of certain Marxists “methodological indications” that have proved their usefulness for understanding the world of the oppressed. Among theses the importance of economic factors; attention to the class struggle; the mystifying power of ideologies, including religious ideologies; and so on.”

As far as i can see it its an almost purely new testament form of christianity that traces its roots to anabaptism, the more radical quakers and probably has a strong raltionship with utopian socialist ideas.

Basically unscientific socialism with broadly liberal strands in it ie probably some form of non-violence/pacifism, although i'm not exactly sure on that one either.

Don't think thats cleared anything up but its still interesting in terms of understanding certain social mvements, i don't know much about south american liberation theology so any links would be good

i googled that up http://www.theologicalstudies.org.uk/theology_liberation.html

But i couldn't really find anything that clarified liberation theologies relationship with the catholic church. And i don't know if they read the apocrypha or whatever.

john

Mike Harman
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Oct 5 2004 10:17

There were also some of the millenarian sects in England (Diggers, Ranters, Levellers) and in Germany (cool name, can't remember it), that had strong ideas about freedom etc. On my way towards reading up on some of this.

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cantdocartwheels
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Oct 5 2004 11:34
Catch wrote:
There were also some of the millenarian sects in England (Diggers, Ranters, Levellers) and in Germany (cool name, can't remember it), that had strong ideas about freedom etc. On my way towards reading up on some of this.

Suggested reading: The World Turned Upside Down and The English Revolution both by good old Christopher Hill.

I'm pretty sure your either talking about the radical protestant groups in the Peasants War in what became Germany (it was the Holy Roman Empire back then) or the Anabaptists in the Netherlands, most of whom were executed for setting up communes in the 17th century.

john

Wendal
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Nov 23 2004 15:59

The ideas of Leo Tolstoj was basicly anarchist pacisfism(later adopted by Gandhi) but he called it Christianity to not be mixed up with less pacifist anarchists like Bakunin and Proudhon.

I think he is a good example that religous people absolutly can be proper anarchists. I dont think the faith usually is such a big problem its the ideas.

Colonialism was based on social darwinism and the Nazi-movement was in its own twisted way more fo a "scientific" movement than a religous movement. Another example of that is Pol pot.

If i had to choose to cooperate with Tolstoj or Hitler i choose Tolstoj any day.

There is usualy a bigger chance that Atheist fight for their rights than most religous people tough. Most Atheist belive that they will day and it will be nothing more while most religous people belives in a life after death and are therefore more likely to throw away what might be their only chance to exist.

Tom A
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Feb 27 2005 14:38

The thing that pisses me of about Rastafarism is their blind idolisation of Haile Selassie, even though his reign in Ethiopia was fucked up:

Quote:
...The majority of the largely agricultural population remained tenant farmers on land owned by a small number of wealthy absentee landlords which included members of the nobility, the Orthodox Church, and the Imperial family itself.

He was also responsible for the attempt to surpress the Eritrean independce movement:

Quote:
In 1961, the Eritrean parliament voted to dissolve itself and abolish the Federation, making Eritrea a province of Ethiopia. This triggered a long simmering war for Independence that plagued the regime of Emperor Haile Selassie...

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haile_Selassie

Eventually, his policies triggered a famine, which resulted in the "Marxist" jaunta taking over, who were just as bad, if not worse for Eithopia, but my point is proved, Haile Selassie is not the great deity the Rastas believe.

One last thing, has anyone notices the similarities of Rastafarianism and Zionism? Different people, different land, but frighteningly similar ideology? Only difference is one was finacially backed and armed to the teeth by the good old US of A.

Mike Harman
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Feb 27 2005 14:42

cantdo, missed that post the first time around. Reading "The Third Revolution" at the moment which covers it, but leans heavily on C Hill - so I'll take a look for those when I'm done. Thanks for the recs.

Frankie
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Mar 2 2005 19:49

hello all- im new and this is my first post...

*holds breath*

i recommend those chrispoher hill books too- my grandpa lent one to me from his vast collection of literature about that period and although im very dyslexic and it was initially a struggle to read, i ended up really getting into it. his writing style can be a bit hard going at first!

and re: religion working with Anarchim....

yes, I aggree with how religion (i'll use christianity as an example) doesnt necessarily haveto conflict with Anarchism.

when it conflicts would be whether someone submits themselves to an all-powerful "big dude in the sky" i guess.

That would go against the self governing idea, when youre always going to feel at least partly answerable to a God.

i was having a discussion with me' mam recently (initiated by the subject of the cancer charity who recently refused money raised by jerry springer the opera).

Jesus, seems to me, simply to be one of the first radical thinkers- egalitarian, feminist, etc. way ahead of his time.

things get twisted over the centuries. no one can ever claim to KNOW anything from Jesus' time except for second, third and sometimes even fourth hand information and speculation!

so a christian (in the sense of being someone who lives thier life according to the philosophy of Christ rather than answering to him) could be very complimentary to Anarchism, i think.

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cantdocartwheels
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Mar 4 2005 13:39

hmm depends what you mean by religion really, i think 'religion' does interfere, because religion is a set of rituals and institutions rather than a simple beleif. I mean i don't think religion and social revolution are mutually exclusive or any mad bourgeois-athiest shit like that, but I do think religion can and does hold us back.

However I don't think faith in a higher power or beleif in what cannot be scientifically defined interferes in anarchism/libertarian communism at all, i mean i personally happen to think a lot of that is escapism that makes you feel better in a shit world, but so is drinking a beer or a lot of things we do, and i moved out of that ''escapism is all bad'' phase a long time ago.