The Communism of Universal Love (UPDATED)

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(I created the first version of this essay in September of 2012. This update is a re-affirmation of the original, while also revising and extending some of the original wording, as well as making it more suitable for a sermon.)

Emma Goldman, historic anarchist writer, is supposed to have said something along the lines of, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want your revolution.”

In that spirit, I will say that,

If I can’t have LOVE, I don’t want your Communism!

Che Guevara said, “The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.” And, for good measure, the Apostle Paul (as translated in Clarence Jordan’s Cotton Patch Version) wrote, “Even though I renounce all my possessions, and give my body as a flaming sacrifice, but have no love, I accomplish exactly nothing.”

I have been drawn to living communally since I was a teenager and learned about communes from the Jesus Movement. I even lived with a Christian commune founded by Mennonites for 9 years. Yes, it is really true that “Jesus made me a Communist and not a Christian.” From the gospels I learned that Jesus condemned nations that deprive and harm the hungry, thirsty, homeless, sick, and prisoners (Matthew 25:31-46). I learned that the first gathering of Jesus’s followers on Pentecost shared all things in common (Acts 2:44). 

With this vision of radical love, I embraced the Communism of Love as the same calling of Jesus to seek first the “basilea ho ouranous” which is often translated as “kingdom of heaven” though in modern words it can be translated as the “Universal Social Order.” In the well-known Lord’s Prayer, the followers of Jesus are taught to pray, “Thy Kingdom (or Social Order) Come on EARTH, as it is in the universal realm.” There is no far-off planet called heaven that we go to when we die. We must make this world heavenly!

As a working-class poor college dropout in the late 80s, I first read Karl Marx, discovered the Anarchist Communists and began studying the great historical events, heroes, and thinkers of the secular Communist movements. As a Unitarian Universalist, I can freely learn from both religious and atheist communists and everyone in between. My current take on the Communism of Love is my attempt to distill my own interpretation on Communism from all the sources I have read and experienced.

So just what is the Communism of Love and how does it differ, if at all, from the various historical attempts to create communism? I will go back to the basic definition of Communism to answer this question.

Communism is defined as “to each according to need; from each according to ability.” The traditional wording has these phrases reversed with the phrase about ability placed first. I am convinced that the suffering of our times presses on us the question of need, desire, and fulfillment more urgently. Capitalism based on corporate profits exploits both human labor and natural resources to produce a radically skewed abundance and ecocidal crises. Producing enough is not the challenge, but rather we are challenged to create a system in which each being’s needs can be sustainably satisfied.

There are four elements of the Communist principle:

1) To each – regarding every being as a deserving recipient of generosity.

2) According to need – seeing each being as in need of basic sustenance and relational integration.

3) From each – regarding every being as capable and full of generous potential.

4) According to ability – seeing each being as potential contributors to the satisfaction of a sustainable, generous way of life.

Love is defined as a passion for the well-being of others, as transformative generosity. Our very existence is an outcome of complex generous processes stretching back to the dawn of time; explosive cosmic energies, stardust chemistry, planetary formation of oceans and landmasses, warming and cooling climates, molecular miracles of biogenesis, natural selection for environmental viability, and sensory awareness evolving into complex relational agency.

Each of us are conceived in moments of passion, for better or worse. The best passions can form and nurture us into agents and persons who love fiercely. Negative passions also arise when desires are obstructed from optimal healthy fulfillment. Evolution contains creation, destruction, abundance, and suffering. The struggle between fulfilling the generous cosmic potential that is known as love and the negative obstructions generated by frustration and hate frames our very existence over eons of time down to our present moment.

The Communism of Love integrates the classic principle of creating an order of mutual interdependence with the passion of love that runs through all life. Transformative generosity fulfills each being’s complex relational, biological, and physical needs. Transformative generosity contributes to this fulfillment as a communal interdependent abundance. Love’s communism embraces all beings from weakest to strongest and nurtures their optimal sustainable fulfillment.

At this point, I can revise the original definition of Communism to read, “To each being the Communism of Love provides relational wholeness and physical abundance; from each being, Love’s Communism empowers generosity and creativity to be shared with all.”

Love’s Communism understands all beings as ecologically interdependent. Each living being deserves greater health and well-being, each physical system deserves freedom from degradation and pollution. Each being contributes with creative generosity to the overall qualitative flourishing of the global ecosystem. Love as a transformative generosity embraces the well-being of all species. With an ecological vision, the Communism of Love aims to replenish and revive rather than deplete and pollute our world.

Communism has always seen economic poverty and class domination as inherently opposed to the well-being of humankind. Love’s Communism affirms this radical principle and sides with a revolutionary engagement in class struggle to win a classless society. Risking oversimplification, it can be said that a radical love has often been lacking in the history of the Communist movement and where it has not been present, the struggle against class domination has faltered and taken sometimes horrendous detours. Revitalizing a radical commitment to communism as a love of the entire planet and all beings can guide a new revolutionary movement towards healthier constructive achievements.

Love’s Communism transforms erotic love and gender identity. The imposed dualism of male aggressiveness and female passivity are rejected as constructs of social domination. Each person is invited to be transformed into empowered agents of freedom, generosity, and love and to fight against domination, deprivation, and hatred. Love must be freed from the limits of genital fixation. Children will be nurtured in communal warmth and wholeness.

The division of humanity into dominant and subordinate racial groups is understood as a global crime against love and the cosmic potential of all beings. Instead of racially alienated cultures of power and domination, Love’s Communism aims to reconcile all humanity into a united generous rainbow communion. All the treasures of every culture will be shared as generous gifts from our common history.

Marx held that Communism would lead to the “withering away of the State.” Love’s Communism aspires to the highest fulfillment of participatory democracy and mutual processes of collaborative decision-making. All beings have a vote, every species a voice in an order of global harmony. Warfare will be ended, swords and plowshares will be obsolete, the liberation of all from the domination of any will be our common possession.

Religion and irreligion will be reconciled by the Communism of Love. Atheism, monotheism, polytheism, and pantheism will all be harmonized into a tapestry of cultural and spiritual richness. Jesus, Buddha, the Goddess, Marx, and Allah all stand as inspirational figures who have motivated both great and terrible actions. Love’s Communism fulfills all the highest aspirations of humanity to be freed from ideological slavery and domination and to be empowered for creative mutual flourishing.

The Communism of Love calls us all!

To caring and love for all beings.

The Communism of Love calls us all!

To ecological flourishing and wholeness.

The Communism of Love calls us all!

To abundance and the abolition of poverty forever.

The Communism of Love calls us all!

To freedom from all systems of oppression.

May it be so, blessed be!

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