Strategy for Revolution in 21st Century
Fidel on Religion, 1998 Its relation to a Culture of Peace for the 21st Century

Sources

Marx and Engels:
Communist Manifesto

Marx:
Civil War in France

Marx:
Alienation

Marx:
Theory of History

Marx and Engels:
On Human Nature

Engels:
Anti-Dühring

Engels:
Violence and the Origin of the State

Engels:
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Marx, Engels, Lenin:
On Dialectics

Lenin:
What is to be done?

Lenin:
Imperialism

Lenin:
The State and Revolution

Lenin: War Communism

Lenin:
The Cultural Revolution

Lenin:
Left-Wing Communism

Lenin:
The American Revolutions

Lenin:
The French Revolutions

Lenin:
On Workers Control

Lenin:
On Religion

Lenin:
On the Arms Race

Trotsky:
Militarization of Labor

Luxemburg:
Russian Revolution

Zetkin:
The Women's Question

Mao:
Role of Communist Party

Mao:
On Violence

Mao:
On the Army

Mao:
On Women

Mao:
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

Mao and Fidel:
Fall of the American Empire

Guevara:
Man and Socialism in Cuba

Hall and Winston:
Fighting Racism

Fanon:
National Liberation and Culture

Cabral: National Liberation and Culture

Nkrumah: Neo-Colonialism


Traditionally, the revolutionary attitude to religion has been exemplified by Lenin, who agreed with Marx and Engels that revolutionaries might be religious, but that there should be complete separation of religion and the state.

Although Fidel Castro would agree with Lenin on separation of church and state, he is much more sympathetic to religion. As he explains in a 1998 speech: "I feel a great respect for all religions. The Christian religion was the one I best knew, for I spent 12 years - as some of you probably did too - as a boarding student in religious Catholic schools ... those schools were more like a convent than a school, because that was the type of life we led, for which I'm even glad today, because it taught me discipline, stoicism, spirit of sacrifice, many positive things that later helped me throughout my life."

Fidel emphasizes that revolutionaries need basic humanist values, and that sometimes people can get these values from their religion: "In our culture, as part of the so-called western world, there are undoubtedly components of Christian values. I think that among those values there are ethical and humane principles that are applicable to any epoch."

"If instead of being born and elaborating his ideas when he did, Christ had been born in these times, you can be sure - or at least I am - that his preaching would not have differed much from the ideas or the preaching that we revolutionaries of today try to bring the world."

Fidel calls for a new consciousness, a new awareness, "built by adding together more than just one revolutionary thought and the best ethical and humane ideas of more than one religion, of all authentic religions ... the sum total of the preaching of many political thinkers, of many schools and of many religions."

Fidel points out that he does not consider sects as true religions: "I am not thinking of sects, which of course exist, created for political ends and for the purpose of creating confusion and division by those who do not hesitate to even use religion for definite political objectives..."

He sees the teachings of Christ in the same spirit as those of Marx, Engels and Lenin: "We have even spoken here of some of the eminent theoreticians of this century who have played a role and whose ideas may have certain validity; but we must bring together the ethical and humane sense of many ideas, some of which emerged in very remote times of man's history: Christ's ideas with the scientifically founded socialist ideas, so just and profoundly humane, of Karl Marx, the ideas of Engels (Applause.), the ideas of Lenin, the ideas of Martí, the ideas of the European Encyclopedists who preceded the French Revolution and those of the forefathers of the independence of this hemisphere, whose most outstanding symbol was Simón Bolivar, who was capable, two centuries ago, to even dream of a united Latin America..."

Fidel's dialogue with religion is the result of practical experience in Latin America where a major movement in religion, Liberation Theology, has supported a revolutionary change from capitalism to socialism. More information on this is contained in the book Fidel and Religion (not available on the Internet) which was written in 1987 as a dialogue between Fidel and a Brazilian disciple of liberation theology, Frei Betto.

Both dialogue and contradictions of religion and revolution continue as we enter the 21st Century. On the one hand, Fidel's respect for religion is echoed by Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi whose messages of nonviolence open a new way to revolutionary change. On the other hand, the capitalist culture of war is more and more cloaked in the robes of fundamentalist Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious crusades.

To take part in a discussion about this page, go to the Discussion Board Forum on the writings of Fidel Castro:
discussion board

Issues

Revolutionary socialist culture of peace

Culture of War

Internal Culture of War

Culture of Peace

Education for nonviolence and democracy

Sustainable development for all

Human rights vs exploitation

Women's equality vs patriarchy

Democratic participation vs authori- tarianism

Tolerance and solidarity vs enemy images

Transparency vs secrecy

Disarmament vs armament

Revolutionary leadership

Revolutionary organization

Proletarian Interna- tionalism

National Liberation

Guerrilla Warfare

Terrorism

Agent Provocateurs

Communica- tion systems

Psychology for revolution- aries

Capitalist culture of war

Socialist culture of war

Winning Conflict by Nonviolence


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More Sources

South African
Peace Process

Soviet Union
Disarmament Proposals

Soviet Collapse

Slovo:
Has Socialism Failed?

Freire:
Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Fidel:
Ecology in Cuba

Fidel:
On Religion

Mandela:
Human Rights in South Africa

King
on Nonviolence

Gandhi
on Nonviolence

Gandhi
on Communism