Organisation:Churches.

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BrazillianJiuJitsu1992's picture
BrazillianJiuJi...
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Oct 29 2011 18:58
Organisation:Churches.

The Black Panthers and various other groups operated community services out of churches, for example the breakfast for schoolchildren program. I was recently at a funeral in an anglican church and it made me think about doing the same here, running meals for homeless, or programs for elderly people on the estate etc.

Anyone have any input?

RedEd's picture
RedEd
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Oct 30 2011 03:35

Yeah, churches can be pretty usefull for a lot of stuff and also problematic. A recent example has been the occupy LSX thing where the cannon of St. Paul's invited people to stay and then resigned over the Anglican Church's decision to try and get rid of the occupation. Alot of lefty/anarchist/communist groups meet in quaker or other non-conformist sect buildings (in the UK). Our IWW local often uses a Quaker meeting house cos it's the cheapest room we can find. I don't have any theoretical insights to go along with this about the role of religion in capitalism today or anything like that, but I'm definately in favour of people taking advantage of churches and other religious buildings. There are loads of good examples of people using churches to do really great stuff about feeding and clothing people, the kind of thing that isn't sexy insurectionary politics but really matters. Utah Phillips talked very well about getting churches involved in Catholic Worker houses of hospitality (which feed and shelter homeless people), to use an example with a vaguely famous person.

All in all, I think if you have a good idea for helping people out short term, churches are a great place to go. You won't often find people more interested in real social change, I think, but lots of willing hands and other resources to do meaningfull immediate things. Plus in most communities in the UK the local church is the best place to get a large room where you can do communal stuff.

Entdinglichung's picture
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Nov 2 2011 12:50

a complicated topic ... in a "Gramscian" way: churches and religious bodies in general are in a way (cross-class) "institutions of civil society" which are permeated by the class struggle and general ideological tendencies in society and mostly in one way or another under bourgeois/petty-bourgeois/"feudal" hegemony. A few (small) religious bodies (e.g. Quakers in Britain, Unitarian Universalists in the USA or the Reformed Church in Austria) have as such a kind of a "progressive" agenda some more (e.g. historic protestant churches in Latin Europe, the UCC in the States, some mainline protestant churches in Germany, a few catholic dioceses in Latin America, some buddhist "churches" in the Far East) are at least important battlegrounds with large open spaces which can be useful to use, most (the roman catholic church in its majority, most orthodox churches, evangelicals and pentecostals in the States and on the continent) are clearly under a conservative hegemony if not deeply reactionary ... the emergence of struggles in society can also shift the balance of power inside the religious bodies, e.g. the period around 1968 lead also to a large scale radicalisation among theology students, christian youth associations and scouting groups, etc. in Europe with quite a lot of young theologians identifying themselves as revolutionaries, communists, socialists, etc. who became parish ministers in the 1970ies causing all kinds of conflicts (I personally know two former protestant ministers who evolved into Maoists who finally left the church) in their congregations & around ... in Germany, some congregations today are providing the backbone of support for illegalized refugees and are offering "church asylum" which can be pretty effective (due to the general reluctancy of the German police to raid churches), churches as infrastractures also played and play there an important role in the peace and anti-nuclear movements

btw.: the "non-dogmatic ML" group "Kommunistischer Bund" in Germany (had good contacts with Big Flame in the UK) did some interventions into the protestant churches in Germany during the 1970ies: http://entdinglichung.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/kirchenkommission-des-kommunistischen-bundes-kb-kirche-klerus-und-christen-anpassung-oder-widerstand/ (in German)

flaneur's picture
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Nov 2 2011 14:16
Entdinglichung wrote:
in Europe with quite a lot of young theologians identifying themselves as revolutionaries, communists, socialists, etc. who became parish ministers in the 1970ies

Melville did a sweet film about that called Leon Morin, Priest, where a priest befriends a communist woman.

Entdinglichung's picture
Entdinglichung
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Nov 2 2011 14:33
flaneur wrote:
Entdinglichung wrote:
in Europe with quite a lot of young theologians identifying themselves as revolutionaries, communists, socialists, etc. who became parish ministers in the 1970ies

Melville did a sweet film about that called Leon Morin, Priest, where a priest befriends a communist woman.

a number of French Worker-priests who were originally drafted in by the church to counter the CP's influence in the factories went native during the fifties ... one of the reasons why the Vatican abandoned the experiment in 1959 (relaunchuing it under a more tight control in the 1960ies)

jef costello's picture
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Nov 2 2011 22:43

I've read the book of Leon Morin, it's a pretty bog standard novel of conversion with anti-semitic undertones.
I remember the film being ok, but Belmondo does have the charisma to pull off a film like that. I think Melville played down the catholicism and bumped up the resistance angle.

BrazillianJiuJitsu1992's picture
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Nov 2 2011 22:48
jef costello wrote:
I've read the book of Leon Morin, it's a pretty bog standard novel of conversion with anti-semitic undertones.
I remember the film being ok, but Belmondo does have the charisma to pull off a film like that. I think Melville played down the catholicism and bumped up the resistance angle.

Like me when im on a date, downplay the pervert angle and push the nice guy image.
then BAAAM! I unleash the freak!

SNAKE EYESS!

flaneur's picture
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Nov 2 2011 23:30

Aye, it's all about the Belmondo. If anything, it's the other way round though, the communist finds God and wants more answers when he buggers off to another parish.