About relations with religion


12 April 2004 by the VII-th congress of I.F.A. in Bezanson a resolution "Religion & a moral order" was accepted. Unfortunately, we cannot agree with some of it’s sufficiently important assertions.


The sentence "As anarchists we have great respect for individual choices" appears to be in contradiction with the rest of resolution and resembles Marxist authoritarianism of Engels, who interpreted principle of “freedom of conscience” as “the freedom of conscience from any prejudice”. That way of thinking must be consequence of confidence in the universal truth of their concept,  aims intrusion in personal life and it  has little difference from what resolution calls "institutionalized forms of belief". We are convinced that in the concept of anarchism there is no aggression against the religious world view by itself, since the religious hierarchy is not immanent. When it appears, it is just a reflection of the hierarchy of society. There were and there are, sometimes numerous groups of the religious anarchists. A good example is the movement of L.N. Tolstoy's followers, that were persecuted by both the Orthodox Christian tsarism and atheistic Bolshevik dictatorship.


Assertion, that "When people believe in an after life they don.t act to make life better now" is also not indisputable. We see numerous examples in the past and present, when strong belief in “the other world” helped people to fight more fiercely, without valuing their terrestrial existence.


We also find the resolution tactically erroneous for two reasons:


First, it puts us in contradiction with population groups, which, though having great revolutionary potential, do not desire to reject their religious views. This can insulate the anarchist movement from the people masses, and push them to the enemy side. This was possible to observe in Russia after 1917 and in Spain after 1931. Moreover, in Russia "militant atheism" proved to be, after all, an instrument of state politics.


On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind the increasing activity of millions of Muslims, whose struggle against the world imperialism and, in particular, against the strongest state regimes, is basically fair. Of course, one shouldn’t to idealize neither those slogans, under which this struggle is conducted, nor its methods. But it is also necessary to keep in mind that the anarchists always sympathetically related various forms of struggle of oppressed against the oppressors. In this case, it is obvious, that the fight takes place between our eternal foe – state power and his imperialistic politics from one side, and wide people groups, which imperialists attempt to exploit - from another. The erroneous arrangement of accents isolates anarchist movement from one of the grave problems of the present, in the same time both multiplying enemies and distracting possible allies. A priori refusal of any contact with Islamic movement at all makes possible for the etatistic tendencies in Islam to develop without any obstacles.


The vast majority of the Islamic movements, that fight under the religious slogans, nevertheless, aim to create not religious, but secular structures, which now tend to the form into the state institutes, but they can also be transformed into the self-guiding libertharian communities if anarchists participate in the process.


Of course, we do support resistance against inosculation or symbiosis between the State and the Church, same as against the use of church rites, religious phraseology and psychology of believers in the national interests. We are also enemies of any form of religious xenophobia and that’s because we consider that our comrades should have more tolerance in questions of faith.