Workers Atheism in Cuba

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez

Foto: Caridad

Popular revolutions, such as the one that occurred in Cuba in 1959, create deep marks on people’s daily culture, impressions of all kinds.  Some foster future freedoms, others gestate oppressions to come.

Every revolution creates its own angels and demons.  These remain safeguarded by the people when the government loses the sacred path to the common good and social justice.

Here in homes we can find them present in the everyday world.  They accumulate energy to accommodate themselves to the disciplined post-revolutionary domains.

Workers atheism

One of the most terrible of those scars, left in adoption by the former 1959 revolution, was workers atheism.  It became the popular form of the previously official anti-religious ideology.  It was implemented starting in 1960 and remained in force until the early 1990s.

The government supported and ordered the death of all gods and all religions, while at the same time nurturing itself from the fundamental objective truths of science and reason.

A revolutionary people comply with the order

People attempted to eradicate the faith they carried inside and then eliminate that of their compatriots.  However, doing their atheistic duty, was disrupted by the deep-rooted Cuban religiousness. Thus began the complicity between the fulfilled duty and experienced duty.

The perseverance of individual religious faith protected the “love of the gods” from scientific catchphrases and reason.  However, the blind faith of individuals in political leaders incited the atheist exorcism of their neighbors.  Killing the religiosity of others ensured the concealment of their own individual beliefs.

It was an “all-against-all” situation that ended up damaging our politico-religious thought by opposing revolutionary ideals against religious ideals in a duel to the death.  Curiously, those who found themselves opposed to each other had subsisted united on the same side for a long time.

The revolution is dead

Now the times of a counter-offensive and revolutionary recasting are coming.  These tasks require the specification as to what to do with the marks of angels and demons that the last Cuban revolution left us.  We have to decide, for example, what to do with that worker atheism that survives in many of us even after the defeat of the official anti-religious ideology.  They no longer order us to kill gods or religions.

These marks are dangerous tumors that devour the spiritual core of the nation daily.

Unconscious Antichrists are murdering the mysteries of life to preserve state secrets.

6 thoughts on “Workers Atheism in Cuba

  • This defense of religious thought, belief and individual rights misses the crucial reason religion has been opposed by many revolutionaries. Not just because superstition gets in the way of both intelligence and social improvement, but because historically religious institutions, supported and populated with sincere believing followers, have joined in violently opposing most efforts to reduce the power of the 1% and free the 99%. Of course revolutions have also been assisted by religious individuals and some non-oppressive religious organizations, but the collusion of religious power and oppressive regimes is obvious and continues to this day.

    Now being atheist has different meanings and a critic of oppression can find many professed atheist leaders who were also reactionary, dictatorial and corrupt individuals. Unfortunately, one’s beliefs doesn’t automatically make you good or bad. But there are correlations and oppressors from ancient rulers, through modern fascists and imperial corporations all profess religious belief and piety and yet are obviously a threat to a better life for most of the world.

    Maybe a better question would be how rational and honest is a person or a leader.?

  • Kivahut, that’s not the point. The point is that socialism, authentic socialism should not meddle in people’s religious beliefs. People have an inherent right to freedom of conscience. Socialism should be the first movement to defend this right.

    The question of religion or religious faith is not whether such practice or faith is “superstition, myth and conjecture.” It’s whether people–under capitalism, socialism and that far-in-the-future classless society often called communism–have the right to believe as they choose.

    Those socialists who think the right of religious conscience ought to be disrespected, attacked and abolished under socialist state power have handed a potent weapon over to the monopoly capitalists, and have done enormous damage to the cause of socialist transformation worldwide.

    If you were organizing a trade union, would you require those you wish to organize to be atheists, before they could join your union? It’s the same thing with the socialist movement. Those who think of socialism as an exclusive club of atheists are victims of an anti-socialist viewpoint, brought into the movement in order to discredit it and alienate it from the masses.

  • No one really believes that stuff. That’s the one thing I miss about the Soviet Union – dedication to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his Nemesis, the Anti-Pasto.

  • Atheism is the one thing that socialism/ communism got right. Why would anyone want to return to superstition, myth and conjecture. Just look at the mess it causes in the US.

  • Thanks, Yenisel, for bringing up the subject of religion and socialism. I know you are against socialism, but by bringing up this matter, you do the struggle for socialist rectification a good service.

    When Engels and Marx came into the socialist movement in the mid-1800s to commandeer it and subvert it from within, they needed to engender a mindset would 1) alienate those with religious faith from socialism, and 2) shift the need for some sort of faith in working class activists from religious gods to the new secular gods: Engels and especially Marx. Religion was attacked as bourgeois, and both 1 and 2 were accomplished.

    Socialism was converted to the absurd notion that freedom of religious conscience, that great advance of the anti-feudal bourgeois revolution, is against the interests of the workers and of socialist transformation.

    In truth, there is not, and never was any contradiction between religious faith and socialism. The enemy of the workers is not religious faith, but the quasi-religious cult of Marxism and the non-scientific principle of full state monopoly as the basis of socialist economy.

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