Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spirituality and the New Socialism

It was a pinnacle moment in my pursuit of social activism in Vancouver. It was all very strange. My girlfriend and I were at the Rhizome Cafe at Broadway and Main for a documentary screening of a recent movie from Venezuela capturing yet another glimpse of the social transformations taking place throughout the country. It followed the shutdown of an industrial factory and the subsequent operative recovery by the workers.

The documentary, the story, was good. Like a lot of Chavez' rhetoric it was clever propaganda, but it was true and it was inspiring.

The showing was organized by a local Marxist group involved with spreading news out of Venezuela. We spoke with a few individuals afterward and I told a man my age about my plans to volunteer with the Prout Research Institute in Caracas. When I described the spiritual aspects of the internship and the spiritual basis for the socioeconomic principles outlined in the Proutist philosophies he questioned me, a little perplexed,

"But what does spirituality have to do with Marxism and the transition towards Socialism?"

I invited my own bewilderment and responded,

"How can you possibly separate the two?"

Any serious discussion about social transformation and the pursuit of true eqality must originate with critique of our relationships with each other and with the natural world around us. The strengthening of these kinships happens through the seeking of purity of heart, mind and soul and thus a deeper sense of values. A spiritual understanding of our place in this world nurtures the process of creating social harmony and equality, of building a better vision. Communities and inviduals are thus empowered when treating the wounds of capitalism and finding new ways to organize society.

Food secure. Sovereign. Locally-driven. Community-minded. Spiritual.

Is there a more sane way?

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