Why socialists need god
I feel like I’ve been surrounded by atheists for years and years. I remember a time when it went without saying that there was something moving and alive in the universe, but we said it anyway, because it made us vibrate like a string.
As I move away from the shit show of ‘social justice’ culture, I am surrounded by markedly less witches, and there is markedly less talk of magic among the Marxists. There are exceptions of course.
I saw someone share an old piece of writing of mine where I said something about wanting to resist capitalism with magic. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at that now. I couldn’t help but see it as part of the mass distraction from doing anything material, from building the broad based solidarity we need if we are going to stand a chance against capitalism.
And yet I sit by the ocean and my love pokes ink into my skin with a needle: Let god.
Socialists need god. Socialists need magic. Socialists need a living universe and something to hold us, not just through the numbing alienation of capitalist realism, but through the existential pain of being a human being. The inevitability of death, of sickness, of misfortune.
I don’t want to feel silly and ridiculous because I yearn for god, for magic, for the living universe, to return my stare, to answer my question. I can’t survive in a universe stripped of its animacy and yet I do.
The right is really good at offering up community and spirituality, things our human souls and brains hunger for. The left is cynical and secular outside of the woo woo streak of ‘social justice’ culture. We are very suspicious of god and the need for her.
We want the material and of course we do, because here, in the material world the climate is changing and things will never go back to the fantasy of everything being fine. Because horror story upon horror story just keep coming and we can’t afford to be anesthetized.
And yet I know that we still yearn for god, for magic, for a living universe that stares back and answers the question.
And if we want regular workers to join us, we need to welcome their love of god.
I think we could learn a lot from church ladies, even the homophobic ones, and I think they could learn a lot from us too.
We are seven layers deep in irony. We understand the many levels of subtext for some absurd meme. We are good at laughing off the pain, or turning it into anger. We are good at being righteous and we are good at being bitter.
But I want to fall down at the altar, I want to surrender, I want to give my whole broken heart to something bigger, and there was a time, not too long ago, when I was able to.
I go down to the water. I say my prayers. The answers that come to me are sensations and not words. There are subtle images like breadcrumbs and there was a time when I was not afraid to follow them. I was not afraid to heed the answers to my prayers.
Now I’m numbed out too, like most of us are, in this capitalist realist nightmare. I scroll on my phone, distracting myself. I push my pain away instead of letting it crack me open. I avoid writing and sex and god.
But I still hear her calling to me across the water and I keep showing up, dragging my body out from the pull of numbness, I keep praying. I keep searching her. I keep asking her.
Show me how to be a socialist in love with god. The wild world itself is holy. Let me carry this reverence with me, this awe and this humility. Let me be surprised.
Let me fall on my knees and remember who I am, who I was, before I joined a cult and left it.
Who I was in the morning, by the mist covered lake, as the loons made their descent.
Let me take this with me, in my heart, into every interaction, every word, and every action. Let my political work, my struggle against dehumanization and for solidarity, my dream of a world after capitalism, be in the name of god.
She is calling me from the water, like she always has.
Clementine Morrigan is a socialist-feminist writer, educator, and public intellectual based in Montréal, Canada. She writes popular and controversial essays about culture, politics, sexuality, and trauma. A passionate believer in independent media, she’s been making zines since the year 2000 and is the author of several books. She’s known for her iconic white-text-on-a-black-background mini-essays on Instagram. One of the leading voices on the Canadian Left and one half of the Fucking Cancelled podcast, Clementine is an outspoken critic of cancel culture and proponent of building solidarity across difference.
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