The Withering Away of State & Church

thoughts from a socialist church abolitionist . . .


I struggle often with how other socialists do not recognize that the state will always be an obstacle. If a new revolutionary state is established to construct socialism (throughout the nations and territories on what was formerly the United States), the state should be seen as a vestige of the imperialist order, bound to wither away. That is to say, the state is necessary due to how the world has been constructed, but the goal of socialism is to transition into global, post-state communism.

No one knows about the day or hour we shall arrive at such a stage, but our struggle for such a world should always be evident.

Examples from the Chinese Revolution reveal that the revolution must be continually waged in society, even after a new state is established and the means of productions are seized. The revolutionary state should be held accountable to the people—a dictatorship of the proletariat—and if the masses are continually being exploited or persecuted by those in power, creating bourgeois power dynamics that breathe life on the old order, then a cultural revolution must be waged by party members to weed out corrupt elements and ossified leadership. New leadership should be appointed that wage an active, ideological struggle for “ensuring unity within the Party and the revolutionary organizations in the interest of our fight,” with a firm grasp of the ultimate vision of communism.

To be honest, I often think we need leaders like Jesus, who trained his disciples (cadre) with care and trust – a revolutionary love, made distraught by the one missing sheep – whose leadership dissolved into comradship. Our leaders should be companions in the struggle, seeking to support us, and prepare us for struggle. We need leaders who are bound to the struggle against authority, even their own—all out of revolutionary, comradly love.

We need to remember: We are fighting to create a world where a state is no longer necessary. Where there are no mighty or down-trodden. Where communities are managed and vitalized by the people. Where cooperation is sensible and natural. Where it is easy to do good, and to be loving. Every element of bourgeois, capitalist society will be a distant memory. A new world.

For those of us who are Christians, we need to remember that we also seek the withering away of the church. Abolition is not just an edgy catch phrase, when it comes to either the state or the church. It isn’t a tactic either. It is simply vital to the liberation of the masses.

The church abolitionist recognizes that the dominant forces of society co-opted Christianity in its formative period, and that this has been the case ever since. There is no Christianity without chauvinism, without loyalty to power, and for U.S. Christians, imperialism, capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. That isn’t to say that Church abolitionists demand that Christians abandon all church institutions, or even just white church institutions, but a push for partisan Christians to internalize the truth that the church is an obstacle to revolution. Even much of the progressive church are both culturally and institutionally bound to white chauvinism, leaving no room for class and race traitors.

The principled response to such a revelation is to re-imagine our faith accordingly, and become a vanguard or at least a prophetic body in constructing a path towards the withering away of the church, as well as mobilize Christians to the revolutionary struggle. The existence of imperialism demands that we must discover our faith and love in the struggle to build a new world. May we be found faithful on Judgment Day.

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