MIA: Subjects: Religion:


graffiti of virgin mary with a gasmask
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The Marxists Internet Archive's


Subject Section

Religion & Marxists, Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists

"Religion is the opium of the masses."

— Karl Marx, 1843

"...the criticism of religion is the basis of all criticism."

— Karl Marx, 1850

Resources on religion as viewed by the left.

  1. Background
  2. Leftist Movements and Atheism
    1. Socialism
    2. Marxism
    3. Leninism
    4. Stalinism
    5. Trotskyism
    6. Council Communism
    7. Christian Socialism
    8. Social Anarchism
    9. Christian Anarchism
    10. Labor Unionism
  3. Leftist Movements and Religion: Christianity
    1. The Catholic Church
    2. Ireland
  4. Leftist Movements and Religion: Islam
    1. Islamic Tradition
    2. Indonesia
    3. Islamic Terrorism
    4. Sri Lanka
    5. Algeria
    6. Islamic, Communist Governments
    7. Islamic, Reactionary Governments
    8. ISIS
    9. India, Pakistan, and the Hindu-Muslim Conflict
    10. Iran
    11. Malcolm X
    12. Bosnian War (1992-1995)
    13. Arab Spring
    14. Palestine and Judaism / Israel / Zionism
  5. Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Tolerance
    1. Tolerance and Christians
    2. Tolerance and Muslims (AKA: Islamophobia)
    3. Tolerance and Jews
    4. Tolerance and Communist China
  6. Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Education
    1. Francisco Ferrer
    2. Eastern Orthodox Church
  7. Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Art and Literature
    1. Photography
    2. Poetry
  8. Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Philosophy
    1. Enlightenment
    2. Classical Philosophy
    3. Hegelianism
  9. Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Feminism
    1. Early and Modern Feminism
    2. India and Feminism
    3. Islam and Feminism
  10. Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Secularism
    1. European Secularism
    2. American Secularism
    3. Soviet Secularism
  11. Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Race
  12. Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Science


Religion is a natural force of conservatism, tradition, and the established power structures. For this reason, those who have wanted to change society have always come into conflict with the forces of religion. And this is certainly the case with the left: Marxists, Anarchists, Communists, and Socialists.

a socialist selling a newspaper
Photo by David Parry,
released under CC BY-NC-ND License

Leftist Movements and Atheism


Early Socialists emerged at a time when Liberals, Communists, and Anarchists all began to posit a new way forward for humanity. And with a focus on mankind, many early Socialists adopted Atheism or, at least, something less conventional than the established religion.

1870-1875The Religion of Social-Democracy — Joseph Dietzgen
1879The Future of Religion — August Bebel
1884Socialism and Religion — E. Belfort Bax
1886The Religion of Socialism — E. Belfort Bax
1887Church Parades — E. Belfort Bax
1890The Decay of Pagan Thought — E. Belfort Bax
1894Socialism and Religious Beliefs — Enrico Ferri
1895“Religion” and Socialism — E. Belfort Bax
1896A Socialist’s View of Religion and the Churches — Tom Mann
1897The Eastern Question and the International Socialist Party — Christian Rakovsky
1899Socialism and Religion — James Connolly
1901Dechristianization — Jean Jaurès
1903Clericalism and the Socialist Attitude Thereto — August Bebel
1903Clericalism and Socialism — E. Belfort Bax
1904Wages, Marriage and the Church — Daniel De Leon, James Connolly
1905Christianity and Socialism — E. Belfort Bax
1907Maxim Gorky on Religion and Socialism — S.N. Preeve, Maxim Gorky
1910The Bankruptcy of Traditional Religions — E. Belfort Bax
1910Socialism and Religion — Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB)
1910Belated Prophets — Dora B. Montefiore
1910Labour, Nationality and Religion — James Connolly
1914The New Religion of the Possessing Classes — E. Belfort Bax
1918The Churches and Socialism — Dora B. Montefiore
1928Church, School, and Press — George Bernard Shaw
1930Why I am an Atheist — Bhagat Singh
1958Religion and Social Revolt — Cliff Slaughter

karl marx statue
Photo by Txetxu.,
released under CC BY-SA License


Karl Marx is known for the quote "Religion is the opium of the masses." Like many others of the Left, Marx was an Atheist.

1843Introduction to Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right — Karl Marx
1844Articles for The New Moral World by Frederick Engels — Frederick Engels
1845Religion and Philosophy of the Union — Karl Marx, Frederick Engels
1845The Holy Family — Karl Marx, Frederick Engels
1855Anti-Church Movement — Karl Marx
1881Engels To Jenny Longuet — Marx-Engels Correspondence
1882Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity — Frederick Engels
1883The Book of Revelation — Frederick Engels
1887Lawyers' Socialism — Frederick Engels
1894On the History of Early Christianity — Frederick Engels
1902Clericalism and Socialism — Paul Lafargue
1903Clericalism and the Socialist Attitude Thereto — Karl Kautsky
1904Synopsis of Lecture ‘Scientific Socialism and Religion’ — Georgi Plekhanov
1908Foundations of Christianity — Karl Kautsky
1909Kautsky's Foundations of Christianity — E. Belfort Bax
1909On Mr Guyau’s Book — Georgi Plekhanov
1909On the So-Called Religious Seekings in Russia — Georgi Plekhanov
1925Review of Kautsky's "Foundations of Christianity" — Jack Fitzgerald
1940sSocialism and Religion — F.A. Ridley
1940Church and God-Manhood in Russian Religious Philosophy — Gregory Bienstock
1940Religion, War and Nazism — Edgar Hardcastle
1948A Debate on the Social Philosophy of Marxism vs. Catholicism — Max Shachtman & Father Owen Rice
1949The Evolution of the Papacy — F. A. Ridley
1949The Breath of Discontent: A Study in Bourgeois Religion — Christopher Cauldwell
1963Theism and Atheism — Max Horkheimer
2000Dialogue: “The War of Gods”: Marxism and Christianity — Michael Löwy and Terry Murphy
2003Why Marxists Are Atheists — League for the Revolutionary Party
2007Not Just Opium — Paul Blackledge
2008More than opium: Marxism and religion — John Molyneux
2008The God Question — Terry Eagleton
2009The full story: on Marxism and religion — Roland Boer
2011War on the Heavens: The Rise of the New Atheism — Terry Liddle

lenin statue
Photo by mcdlttx,
released under CC BY License


The Soviet Union was the first state established with Atheism as its official creed, reminiscent of the Deist "Temple of Reason" established during the French Revolution. Leninists have almost always been staunch Atheists.

1905Socialism and Religion — Vladimir Lenin
1909The Attitude of the Workers’ Party to Religion — Vladimir Lenin
1909Classes and Parties in Their Attitude to Religion and the Church — Vladimir Lenin
1913Organisations of the Masses by the German Catholics — Vladimir Lenin
1918Communism, the Church and the State — A.K. Voronsky
1918The Decline of the Church — Louise Bryant
1919Church and School in the Soviet Republic — Nikolai Bukharin
1920Communism and Religion — N.I. Bukharin and E. Preobrazhensky
1922Bolshevism & Church Property — D. Ivon Jones
1922On the Significance of Militant Materialism — Vladimir Lenin
1923Tikon and the Russian Church — Louise Bryant

lenin statue
Photo by Roger Williams,
released under CC BY-SA License


1924Religion, Art and Marxism — A. Bogdanov
1924The Conflict Between Communism and Religion — Leslie Mason
1927Religion I and Religion II — August Thalheimer
1929The Struggle for the Russian Soul — William Henry Chamberlin
1930Finance Capital in Papal Robes: A Challenge! — Nikolai Bukharin
1933Red Medicine: Socialized Health in Soviet Russia: Religious and Civil Liberty and Law — Arthur Newsholme, John Adams Kingsbury
1936Soviet Russia and Religion — Corliss Lamont
1936What About Religion? — Earl Browder
1938A Message to Catholics — Earl Browder
1939Religion and Communism — Earl Browder
1943Religion and Reaction in Russia — Harry Young
1949Stalinist War on Church in East Is Not Over Religion but Power — William Barton
1949Anti-Catholic Drive Is On; Exile Government in Crisis — A. Rudzienski

trotsky photo
Photo by Nacho Facello,
released under CC BY-SA License


1935Gods and Society — Felix Morrow
1936The Church Struggle Under Fascism — Leon Trotsky
1937Spanish Anti-Fascist Movement Slandered by Church Hierarchy — Felix Morrow
1940An Open Letter to Comrade Burnham — Leon Trotsky
1945Religion in the Soviet Union — Denzil Dean Harber
1960Viva Cristo Rey! — Albert Weisbord

rosa luxemburg photo
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Council Communism

Council Communism was a movement that considered Bolshevik and Soviet Communism to be far too dominating, authoritarian, and party-centric, suggesting that a more Libertarian, socially-based Communism would be preferable.

1903An anti-clerical policy of Socialism — Rosa Luxembourg
1905Socialism and The Churches — Rosa Luxembourg
1907Socialism and Religion — Anton Pannekoek
1936Communism and Religion — Anton Pannekoek
1947Religion — Anton Pannekoek

jesus graffiti
Photo by David Shankbone,
released under CC BY License

Christian Socialism

1903The Christian Socialist Fellowship: A Brief Account of its Origin and Progress — E.E. Carr
1906Consitution of the Christian Socialist Fellowship (1906) — Christian Socialist Fellowship
1909Consitution of the Christian Socialist Fellowship (1909) — Christian Socialist Fellowship
1964Social Christian Revolutionary Youth Condemns Persecution Against Haitians — Listin Diario
1970Marxism and Christianity: Are They Compatible? — Theodore Edwards & Rev. Blase Bonpane
2002Martin Luther King: Christian Core, Socialist Bedrock — Paul Le Blanc

anarchist atheism
Photo by A Syn,
released under CC BY-SA License

Social Anarchism

1839The Celebration of Sunday — Pierre Joseph Proudhon
1849God is Evil, Man is Free — Pierre Joseph Proudhon
1849What is Government? What is God? — Pierre Joseph Proudhon
1871God and the State — Mikhail Bakunin
1880No More Cockroaches! — Léo Taxil
1880War on Clericalism — Léo Taxil
1890The Economic Tendency of Freethought — Voltairine de Cleyre
1907Free Inquiry — Paraf-Javal
1908Does God Exist?: Twelve Proofs of the Inexistence of God — Sébastien Faure
1909The Secular Priestly Spirit — Georges Palante
1913The Failure of Christianity — Emma Goldman
1913Dogmas Discarded — Guy A. Aldred
1916The Philosophy of Atheism — Emma Goldman
1922The Soviets and the Papacy — Andre Lorulot
unknownGod or Labor: The Two Camps — Mikhail Bakunin
unknownThe Commune, the Church and the State — Mikhail Bakunin
unknownHeresy — Sébastien Faure

christian anarchism
Photo released under Public Domain

Christian Anarchism

The Christian Anarchists (sometimes called "The Tolstoyan Movement") approached religion in a completely different way from others in the Left. Far from opposing religion, they embraced it whole-heartedly, although Tolstoy and his followers disbelieved in much of church dogma: the virgin birth, the immaculate conception, and the trinity were all absurd to the Christian Anarchists. They accepted the religion, but opposed the church hierarchy, as Tolstoy was excommunicated from the church during his life.

1882A Confession — Leo Tolstoy
1884My Religion — Leo Tolstoy
1885Where Love is, God is — Leo Tolstoy
1887The Gospel in Brief — Leo Tolstoy
1894The Kingdom of God is Within You — Leo Tolstoy
1894Patriotism and Christianity — Leo Tolstoy
1894Reason and Religion — Leo Tolstoy
1895The Christian Teaching — Leo Tolstoy
1896How to Read the Gospels — Leo Tolstoy
1896To God or Mammon — Leo Tolstoy
1899Resurrection — Leo Tolstoy
1900Religion and Morality — Leo Tolstoy
1900Thou Shalt Not Kill — Leo Tolstoy
1900Thoughts on God — Leo Tolstoy
1907Why the Christians are in such distress now — Leo Tolstoy
1908The Teaching of Christ Narrated for Children — Leo Tolstoy

labor unionism
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Labor Unionism

1889The Church and the Workingman — Eugene V. Debs
1896What Can the Church Do to Benefit the Condition of the Laboring Man? — Eugene V. Debs
1893The Teaching of Christ — Eugene V. Debs
1896Address to the Christian Labor Union, Sherman Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Milwaukee — Eugene V. Debs
1902Battle Cry of Superstition — Eugene V. Debs
1909Does God or the Church Change? — Eugene V. Debs
1909Socialism and the Church — Daniel De Leon
1910Prostitution of Religion — Eugene V. Debs
1911The Common Cause — Daniel De Leon
1914The Real Religion of Jesus Christ — Eugene V. Debs
1914Jesus, the Supreme Leader — Eugene V. Debs
1915Real Religion and the Hypocrites — Eugene V. Debs
1931The Church and the Workers — Bennet Stevens
1942Labor Action Replies to Christian Science Monitor — Irving Howe
1945Paper of Catholic Unionists Is for No-Strike Pledge — Martin Harvey
1971Two Nations: A Reply to Brian Trench — John Newsinger
1972Protestant workers and the struggle for socialism — Peter Hadden
1973Protestant workers’ poverty — Peter Hunt
1976The Protestant Working Class — Des Derwin et al.
1986The protestant working class — Eamonn McCann
2000Race, Nationality And Religion In Australia: The Irish Catholics, the labour movement and the working class in the 19th and 20th centuries — Bob Gould
2007Muslim working class struggles — Bob Gould
2007Egypt’s strike wave — Sameh Naguib
2007Persian proletariat — Naz Massoumi
2008Inside Egypt’s mass strikes — Anne Alexander
2010Beyond the Troubles?: The Unionist State — Peter Hadden
2012Electricity workers in Lebanon strike back against casualisation — Bassem Chit

religious graffiti
Photo by Terence Faircloth,
released under CC BY-ND-NC License

Leftist Movements and Religion: Christianity

The Catholic Church

If you need a summary of the Catholic Church in one sentence, here it is: you can be a Fascist, a Nazi, and a war criminal, and join the church, but being a Communist, Socialist, or Anarchist and joining the church is prohibited.

1850The Peasant War in Germany — Frederick Engels
1897To the Inquisitors of Spain — Fernando Tarrida del Marmol
1897The Inquisition in Porto Rico — Fernando Tarrida del Marmol
1899The Peasant War (Germany) — E. Belfort Bax
1903The Rise and Fall of the Anabapists — E. Belfort Bax
1904Socialism or the Catholic Church — Emil Vandervelde
1905The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism — Max Weber
1908Roman Catholicism and Socialism — James Connolly
1912Socialism and the Catholic Church — E. Belfort Bax
1913Catholicism, Protestantism & Politics — James Connolly
1924The Vatican — Antonio Gramsci
1925Catholicism and Socialism: Mr. Wheatley's Lie — Edgar Hardcastle
1935The Anti-Catholic Drive in Mexico — Jean Mendez
1936The Pope Needs America: Vatican Politics and the American Dollar — James T. Farrell
1937For Joint Action on Behalf of the Spanish People — J. R. Campbell
1940The Roman Catholic Church and the Modern Age — F.A. Ridley
1946The Vatican in World Affairs — Li Fu-jen
1949The Vatican’s New Line — Joseph Leonard
1949Sees Spellman Trying to Collect Reward for Vatican Aid in Europe — Mike Stevens
1949Sidney Hook:His New Friends in the Vatican? — R. Fahan
1949The Priests Bore from Within — Art Preis
1963The Bishop of Woolwich Squares the Circle — Pieter Lawrence
1964Adolph Hitler and the German Catholics — Constance Weisman
1995Blood wedding — Judy Cox
2006The pope as right-wing cultural warrior: And his loyal backstop, His Eminence George Pell — Bob Gould

irish statue
Photo by William Murphy,
released under CC BY-SA License


Ireland has a unique, beautiful, and also tragic history within the history of Socialist movements. Like many other countries, while it was oppressed as a colonial possession, the workers' movements and the nationalists' movements intertwined and fought the same enemy, a foreign capitalist. But the alliance has always been tenuous.

1855Ireland’s Revenge — Karl Marx
1867On the Irish Question: Outline of a Report on the Irish Question to the Communist Educational Association of German Workers in London — Karl Marx
1893The Priest in Politics — Michael Davitt
1898Home Thrusts — Karl Marx
1910Sweatshops Behind the Orange Flag — James Connolly
1910Labour, Nationality and Religion — James Connolly
1911Socialism and Internationalism: A Reply to Friend Connolly — William Walker
1911Rebel Ireland: And Its Protestant Leaders — William Walker
1912The Controversy with Father MacErlean, S.J. — James Connolly
1922Ireland in the 20th Century — Karl Kautsky
1939Ireland and Ulster — V.F.
1945Ulster in Transition — Bob Armstrong
1968Derry: the grim facts about Ulster’s divide and rule city... — Paul Foot
1969Irishman who called for unity of 'the men of no property' — Chris Gray
1969Bogside – Saturday 19 April — Peter Hadden
1969Defend the Barricades — Socialist Worker
1969Build the Irish Civil Rights Solidarity Campaign — John Palmer
1970Northern Ireland: The New Orange Offensive — Sean Treacy
1971Trade Unions must fight internment — Peter Hadden
1972UDA Gangs and British Army fall out — Workers' Fight
1972The Two Nations Fallacy — Brian Trench
1972One answer, workers unity — Peter Hadden
1972On the IRA: Belfast Brigade Area — Jim Lane
1972Only working class can bring Irish unity! — Peter Hadden and John Throne
1972After 5 October 1968 — Eamonn McCann
1973Ireland is One! — Hammer & Steel Newsletter
1973Ireland – The Gathering Storm — Eamonn McCann
1973The Struggle in Ireland, What British Workers Should Know — Communist Unity Association (Marxist-Leninist)
1974The Ulster Unionist Party — George Johnston
1974Background to the Crisis: Northern Ireland — Chris Harman
1974A Communist View – Attack on BICO — Peter Hunt
1974Ireland and the British Crisis — Peter Harman
1975UUAC supports British Tory Party — Peter Hadden
1976Criticism of the CFB Resolution on Ireland — Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line
1976Trade unions can overcome sectarian murders — Peter Hadden
1977NILP and sectarianism — Peter Hadden
1981Provos out to Provoke Civil War — Peter Hadden
1982Northern Ireland – For Workers’ Unity and Socialism — Peter Hadden
1982One answer – workers’ unity — Peter Hadden
1982Some notes on Northern Ireland a year after the Hunger Strikes — Chris Bambery
1982Assembly elections – no hope for political stability — Peter Hadden
1983Sinn Fein move to the right — Peter Hadden
1983Provisionals – a blind alley for youth — Peter Hadden
1984The Missing Key — Chris Harman
1984For a democratic solution to the communal conflict in Ireland — Workers Socialist Review
1986Union silence leaves field open to sectarians — Chris Harman
1986The Anglo-Irish Agreement – A Warning to Labour — Peter Hadden
1988Dividing Ireland — Paul Foot
1994Across the divide — Mark McIvor
1994Ireland after the Ceasefire — Ted Grant
1995Are you being framed?: With the launch of the Frameworks for the Future document — Peter Hadden
1996On the edge of the abyss — Peter Hadden
1996Back from the Brink — Peter Hadden
1996Sectarianism returns as “peace process” crumbles — Peter Hadden
1996Rebuilding class unity — Peter Hadden
1996Where Studes Lonigan Came From — Patrick M. Quinn
1997Northern Ireland’s hidden history — Peter Hadden
1997Sectarian parties have no solutions: North starts to talk — Peter Hadden
1997Northern Ireland: Why we fight for working class unity — Peter Hadden
1998Northern Ireland’s Marching Season Crisis — Stuart Ross
20001969 Cabinet Papers — Peter Hadden
2002Towards conflict or peace? — Peter Hadden
2002Assembly collapse reflects growing polarisation — Peter Hadden
2005Towards conflict or peace? — Peter Hadden
2005Headed towards renewed conflict not peace — Peter Hadden
2012100 Years of the Ulster Covenant — John Lyons
2013The State of Loyalism — Goretti Horgan
2015A ‘Carnival of Reaction’: Partition and the Defeat of Ireland’s Revolutionary Wave — Fergal McCluskey & Brian Kelly

Photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim
at English Wikipedia,
released under CC BY-SA License

Leftist Movements and Religion: Islam

Islam and Leftist Revolution

Today, the Socialist, ecological, feminist society of Revolutionary Rojava is the greatest example of the success of a bottom-up, libertarian-socialist society — and the great vast majority of its people are Muslims. All across the planet, just like Christians, Hindus, or any other religion, most Muslims are peaceful people who want to want to be good believers when at their temple, but also want to be good neighbors when in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, like all religions, this culture is dotted with humanitarian abuses, such as the severing of limbs of thieves under Sharia, the removing of sexual organs of girls at a young age to prevent adultery, and the low status of woman which often results in domestic abuse (though this latter issue is arguably on a nation-by-nation basis, with conservative governments being worse).

1853Extracts from the New York Tribune on the Crimean War — Karl Marx, Frederick Engels
1922Communism and Pan-Islamism — Tan Malaka
1922Speech in Discussion of Executive Committee Report — Tan Malaka
1922Discussion on the Report of the Executive — Tan Malaka
1939Historical Role of Islam: An Essay on Islamic Culture — M.N. Roy
1972Islamology — Dr. Ali Shariati
1979Islam and Revolution — Phil Marfleet
1979CPL: From Stalin to Allah — Spartacist Canada
1979Military Terror, Islamic Reaction, IMF Austerity — Workers Vanguard
1979Behind the “Islamic revolution” lies the counter revolution — In Struggle!
1980Islamic movement: blow to imperialism — Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line
1980Who are the Afghan guerrillas? — Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line
1981Afghanistan impasse — Jonathan Neale
1983War in Lebanon – class unity the key — Peter Hadden
1990Anti-communism Reaps the Islamic Whirlwind — Shahrzad Azad
1990Salman Rushdie: Off-target anger — Gareth Jenkins
1994The Prophet And The Proletariat — Chris Harman
1994Islamism: An Analysis — Chris Harman
1994Double Standards — Sharon Smith
1996Islam, Empire & Revolution: Class War, Not Holy War! — International Bolshevik Tendency
1997Islam, Children’s Rights, and the Hijab-gate of Rah-e-Kargar — Mansoor Hekmat
1999Islam and De-Islamisation — Mansoor Hekmat
2000June 20, 1981: One of the Greatest Crimes of the 20th Century — Mansoor Hekmat
2001The Rise and Fall of Political Islam — Mansoor Hekmat
2001Islamic Republic without Khatami — Mansoor Hekmat
2002Militant Islam in Central Asia — Dianne Feeley
2002Redrawing the political map: Nationalism, Islamism and socialism in the Middle East — Anne Alexander
2003Global and local echoes of the anti-war movement: A British Muslim perspective — Salma Yaqoob
2004Islam through the looking-glass — Anne Alexander
2004The hijab, racism and the state — Antoine Boulangé
2005Contested values — Chris Harman
2005Are these uprisings genuine revolts? — Chris Harman
2006The Bolsheviks and Islam — Dave Crouch
2006Islam and the Enlightenment — Neil Davidson
2006Between ritual and revolt — Chris Harman
2006Crusade and jihad in the medieval Middle East — Neil Faulkner
2006Suez and the high tide of Arab nationalism — Anne Alexander
2009Imperialism, Religion And Class In Swat — Sartaj Khan
2009Against the Politics of Tolerance: Islam, Sexuality and Belonging in the Netherlands — Paul Mepschen
2011The Attack on American Muslims — Malik Miah
2011‘Democracy is not given, it is taken’ — Bassem Chit
2011The Flight of the Intellectuals?: A Look at Paul Berman’s Latest Book — Andrew Coates
2012United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) Calls for Actions Against U.S. Wars Abroad and at Home October 5-7! — Socialist Viewpoint
2013The Persecution of Lynne Stewart — Chris Hedges
2014How did the sectarian nightmare come true in Syria and Iraq? — Bassem Chit

indonesian worker
Photo of Indonesian laborer,
photo by christopher sutherland,
released under CC BY License

Islam and Indonesia

Islam in Indonesia is different from every other place in the world. The great majority of the Muslim population belong to the abangan following, treats most of the commandments of Islam (particularly the five-daily-prayers commandment) to be optional, and most of them essentially unnecessary. In contrast to the abangan are the santri, who dutifully listen for orders from Arab monarchies and caliphates, pray five times a day, and avow a hateful vengeance against the abangan. In Indonesian and Malaysian Communist Revolutions, the abangan were almost always entirely on the side of the Communists, with the santri always opposed. More human beings were executed by reactionary, anti-Communist forces in Indonesia (tens of millions) than in any other anti-Communist suppression in human history.

1922Komunisme dan Pan-Islamisme — Tan Malaka
1925Islamism and Communism — Haji Misbach
1926The class struggle element in the liberation struggle of the Indonesian people — Henk Sneevliet
1966Indonesian Communism: The First Stage — Martin Glaberman
1999Race and Politics: Indonesia’s Ethnic Conflicts — Malik Miah
2000The Politics of Islam, Indonesia’s Ruling Elite and Democracy — Malik Miah
2001Indonesia: The Old Order Reviving — Malik Miah

Islam and Terrorism

1994Islamic Terrorism — Mansoor Hekmat
2009Smoke ’Em Out, Freedom Of Speech Be Damned — Lenore Daniels
2011Ten Years On: The Historical Significance of Al Qaeda — Paul Flewers

Islam and Sri Lanka

1996The IMF Restructures Sri Lanka — D.A. Jawardana
2009Sri Lanka: Behind the Massacre — an interview with Ashok Kumar

Islam and Algeria

1945Common Declaration of the Socialist and Communist Parties of Algiers — Munoz, Dupoch
1956Ali-la-Pointe — Saadi Yacef
2007Open Letter from Henri Maillot — El Watan

islamic communist party
Photo by Soman,
released under Gnu Free Documentation License

Islamic, Communist Governments

1964The Case of Sultan-Galiyev (Report #3) — Marxist-Leninist Research Bureau
1968Theses of the East Bengal Workers Movement — Siraj Sikder
1972Heroic People of East Bengal, Our Struggle Has Not Yet Finished: Carry on the Great Struggle to Complete the Unfinished National Democratic Revolution of East Bengal — Siraj Sikder
1989RCPB(ML) wants to outlaw religious blasphemy — The Supplement
1990The Crisis in the Caucasus — Ronald Suny
1997Muslims should align themselves with the Left — Vinod Mishra

Islamic, Reactionary Governments

Note: Normally Iran would be here, but, it's so massive that it gets its own section.

1889The Modern Revolution in Persia — J.S. Stuart Glennie
1909Revolution and Counter Revolution in Turkey — Christian Rakovsky
1980The Invasion of the Iraqi Regime and Our Tasks — Mansoor Hekmat
1982The 1976 Lebanese civil war — Daniel Bensaid
2004Naming the Darfur Crisis — Mahmood Mamdani
2013The Fall of Morsi — Hannah Elsisi
2017Obama’s Muslim-Ban List — Sarah Harvard
2017The Genocide of the Rohingya: Big oil, failed democracy and false prophets — Ramzy Baroud

isis flag
Photo by TRAJAN 117,
released under CC BY-SA License

The Islamic State

2001The Obvious Lessons of Berlin — Mansoor Hekmat
2014From Sykes-Picot to "Islamic State": Imperialism's Bloody Wreckage — Yassamine Mather
2015On the Islamic State — Italian Marxist-Leninist Party (PMLI)

india and pakistan flags
Photo by Global Panorama,
released under CC BY-SA License

India, Pakistan, and the Hindu-Muslim Conflict

1940Notes on Indian History — Karl Marx
1941Thoughts on Pakistan — B. R. Ambedkar
1943Pakistan and National Unity — G. Adikari
1943On Pakistan and National Unity — Resolution of Communist Party of India
1944The Famine in India: The Famine in India — S. Krishna Menon
1944The August 1942 Struggle — Rupsingh
1945Pakistan or Partition of India — B. R. Ambedkar
1946The World's Largest Question — Wilfred Burchett
1946The Bourgeoisie Comes of Age in India: Exasperating Essays — D. D. Kosambi
1946The Politics of the Indian Bourgeoisie — Suren Morarji
1947June 3 Declaration — Bolshevik Party of India
1964On Communal Problems — Shibdas Ghosh
1965Neither India or Pakistan—For a Socialist Federation — Ted Grant
1965Indian High Noon — David Breen
1969Communist Party and the Problems of the Muslim Minority — M. Farooqi
1969Pakistan: Feb. 14 — Nigel Harris
1970Indian Summer — Nigel Harris
1985Thinking it over...: Divide and rule — Nigel Harris
1992On Communalism — Vinod Mishra
1993Exposing the Saffron Scheme : A Popular outline — Vinod Mishra
1993Whither Indian Muslims? — Vinod Mishra
1997The Muslim Question — Vinod Mishra
1997India: Imperialism, Partition and Resistance — Sam Ashman
1999India of My Dreams — Vinod Mishra
2002Pakistan from Pariah State to Partner — Tariq Amin
2002Communal War in Gujarat, India — Kunal Chattopadhyay
2003The Construction of Communalism in India — Sara Abraham interviews Dipak Malik
2004A New Chapter In The Resistance: World Social Forum 2004 – Mumbai, India — Chris Harman
2006Textbook Tempest in California: Who Speaks for Hinduism? — Purnima Bose
2006Pakistan: on the edge of instability — Geoff Brown
2008Descent into Chaos: The United States and the failure of nation building in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia — Peter Hadden
2009Crisis from Pakistan to Motown — Tariq Ali
2010Kashmir: A Brief Background — David Finkel for the ATC editors
2016Kashmir: A Time for Freedom — Angana Chatterji

irish statue
Photo by Mbazri,
released under CC BY License

Islamic Republic of Iran

1978Iranian Leftists Tail Islamic Reaction: Smash the Shah's Reign of Terror! — Young Spartacus
1979No To Khomeini's Islamic Reaction -- For Workers Revolution in Iran! — Workers Vanguard
1979No to the Veil! — Young Spartans
1979Iran: Holy War Against the Left — Workers Action
1979Iranian Left Under the Gun — Workers Vanguard
1979Workers Must Rule Iran: Down with the Ayatollahs! — Workers Vanguard
1979Who are the Shiites? — Encyclopedia of anti-Revisionism On-Line
1979For Workers Revolution to Defeat Islamic Reaction! — Workers Vanguard
1979For Workers Revolution to Overthrow the Shah! — Young Spartans
1979Mullahs' Left-Wing Apostles Paved the Way for Islamic Reaction — Young Spartans
1980Islamic Thugs on Bloody Rampage — Australasian Spartacist
1980Documents of the Iranian Revolutionary Movement — Sojourner Truth
1981The Iranian Revolution, Its Aftermath and the Left — L. Shirazi
1981The Counterrevolution in Iran — Sy Landy
1981What has happened to the Iranian revolution? — Raya Dunayevskaya
1981Iran at the Crossroads — Robert Goldstein
1981Iran: Revolution, War and Counterrevolution — Sy Landy
1989RCPB(ML) condemns Salman Rushdie — RCPB(ML)
1991Emergence of Iranian Workers — Ali Javadi
1991Iran: The Oil Workers’ Strike — Ali Javadi
1995The History of the Undefeated: A few words in commemoration of the 1979 Revolution — Mansoor Hekmat
1999Iran: Youth Protests and the Regime’s Crisis — Ali Javadi
1999Iran will be the Scene of a Mass Anti-Islamic Offensive: Interview with with Radio Hambastegi — Mansoor Hekmat
2001‘Election Day:’ A Day of Protest — Mansoor Hekmat
2001People Must Choose — Mansoor Hekmat
2001A Week of Anxiety — Mansoor Hekmat
2001New Year Message to the People of Iran — Mansoor Hekmat
2001We Represent the Majority: Interview on Iran after the ‘Elections’ — Mansoor Hekmat
2003Iran’s Islamic Republic at Breaking Point — Ali Javadi
2006Peter Costello, Muslims and sharia law — Bob Gould
2007Defend Iran against U.S. Imperialism! — Worker-communist Party of Iran (WCPI)
2007Sanctions on Iran — Ali Javadi
2009Rupture and revolt in Iran — Peyman Jafari

irish statue
Photo by Ed Ford, World Telegram staff photographer,
released under Public Domain

Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam

Malcolm X was a powerful, Marxist, muslim leader of resistance to the exploitation of those suffering racial injustice and those suffering economic injustice. The Nation of Islam, which he served until a bitter disagreement, has tried to hold onto his legacy, while he distanced himself from them. More recently, in 2020, the Nation of Islam has allied itself with the Church of Scientology. Further reading: The Malcolm X Archive.

1964Progressive Labor Editorial Comment: Malcolm X and Black Nationalism — Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line
1964Text of Statement by Malcolm X — Malcolm X
1965Malcolm X: Voice of the Black Ghetto — Robert Vernon
1965Malcolm X: Martyr in the Cause of Freedom — Joseph Hansen
1967Malcolm X, Black Nationalism and Socialism — George Novack
1967Myths About Malcolm X: A Speech — Rev. Albert Cleage
1994The Malcolmized Moment — John Woodford
1995Farrakhan No Answer to Racism — Sy Landy
2006The Oratory of Malcolm X — Ursula McTaggart
2011Evolution not "Reinvention: Manning Marable's Malcolm X — Malik Miah
2016Muhammad Ali: Free Black Man — Malik Miah
~~Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. — Roland Shephard

bosnia warscene
Photo of man in Bosnia near bullet-ridden building,
photo by Adam63,
released under CC BY-SA License

Bosnian War (1992-1995)

1944Tito and His People — Howard Fast
1992The Dissolution of Yugoslavia — Manuela Dobos
1992Yugoslavia – disintegration and slaughter — Peter Hadden
1992In Defense of Bosnia — Solidarity
1993Bosnia: Why We Defend the Muslims — Workers News
1993Letting Bosnia Die — Against the Current
1993Dialogue: The Issues in Bosnia — David Finkel
1993Yugoslavia: The Rise and Fall of Vance-Owen — Branka Magas
1994Nato’s new frontier — Chris Harman
1994Notes of the Month: Bosnia, Powers of partition — Socialist Review
1994Bomb warning — Chris Harman
1994Bosnia 1994 Armageddon — Chris Harman
1994How Milosevic's Serbia Became A Fascist State — Branka Magas
1994Bill Clinton and Genocide — Against the Current
1994Bosnia: Powder Keg of Europe — Workers Vanguard
1995No ‘liberation’ in Bosnia — Chris Harman
1995Arm Bosnia, Abolish NATO? — Eric Hamell
1995A Bosnian Activist's View — David Finkel interviews Nada Selimovic
1995The Balkan war: can there be peace? — Lindsey German
1995Bosnia’s Triumph and Western Treachery — Attila Hoare
1995Can Bosnia Resist? — Attila Hoare
1995On Bosnia and the Left — Attila Hoare
1995The left and the Balkan war — Duncan Blackie
1995Serbia's Flawed Liberal Opposition — Attila Hoare
1996Yugoslavia Dismembered — Kit Adam Wainer
1996The Empire and Left Illusions — Thomas Harrison
1996NATO’s Squalid Police Action — Against the Current
1997Serbia’s Democratic Uprising — Suzi Weissman interviews Borka Pavicevic

Arab Spring

2011The Unfolding Arab Uprisings — Suzi Weissman interviews Mark LeVine
2011Egypt and Beyond — Gilbert Achcar
2013On Egypt — Gilbert Achcar
2013Can People Get What They Want? — Gilbert Achcar
2013Egypt: ‘Do Not let the Army Fool You’ — MENA Solidarity Network
2014Sectarianism and the Arab revolutions — Bassem Chit
2015Bassem Chit’s critique of Arab nationalism — Simon Assaf

Palestine and Judaism / Israel / Zionism

Please see the Israel / Palestine Archive for a full discussion on this topic, which is too broad to cover here.

Photo from Wikipedia:
Uyghur "re-education camp" for Muslims
in Xinjiang, China.

Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Tolerance

You can oppose the hierarchy of the established religion without discriminating or being intolerant of those who follow that religion.

Tolerance and Christians

1895Persecution of Christians in Russia — Leo Tolstoy
1897Letter requesting a Nobel Prize for the Doukhobors — Leo Tolstoy
1898The Emigration of the Doukhobors — Leo Tolstoy

Tolerance and Muslims (AKA: Islamophobia)

2002Racism: myths and realities — Hassan Mahamdallie
2005Votes of no confidence — Chris Harman
2005Muslims in Britain: After the London Bombs — Liam Mac Uaid
2005More than the mosque — Hassan Mahamdallie
2005Mirror images — Chris Harman
2006On the Racist Anti-Muslim Cartoons — League for the Revolutionary Power
2006Racism and the Islamic Veil — Workers Hammer
2009Racism and Islamophobia — Memet Uludag, John Molyneux
2011The Years of 9/11 — Against the Current Editors
2011Build Our Own Defence League to Stop EDL Thugs — SocialistRevolution.org
2012Murfreesboro Islamic Center Opens — Jase Short
2012Arabs and Muslims After 9/11 — Thomas Abowd
2015Bigotry in the Guise of Secularism — Carmen Teeple Hopkins
2015Happy Ramadan! — Memet Uludag
2017In Defense of Atheism: KPFA and the Dawkins Cancellation — Chris Kinder

Tolerance and Jews

1844On The Jewish Question — Karl Marx
1870The Crémieux Decree: Decree No. 136 of October 24, 1870 declaring the Jews natives to Algeria to be French citizens — Ad. Crémieux, L. Gambetta, Al. Glais-Bisoin, L. Fourichin
1894Anti-Judaism In Christianantiquity: From The Foundation Of Church Of Constantine — Bernard Lazare
1900The Social Conception of Judaism and the Jewish People — Bernard Lazare
1919The Makhnovists on the National and Jewish Questions — Peter Arshinov
1927To the Jews of All Countries — Nestor Makhno
1927The Makhnovshchina and Anti-Semitism — Nestor Makhno
1940Fascist ‘Christian Mobilizers’ Open Drive in New York City — Sam Marcy
1942The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation — Abram Leon
1944On the Jews — Victor Serge
1964Judaism Without Embellishment — Jews in Eastern Europe
1983Anti-Semitism & the Beirut Pogrom — Fredy Perlman

Tolerance and Communist China

1952Talk With Tibetan Delegates — Mao Tse-tung
2001Falun Gong: Force for Counterrevolution in China — Workers Vanguard

Photo under Public Domain.

Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Education

Modern religion still exists because it can infect minds before they are well-developed, the way an adult wrestler can force a child into submission, or the way a college student can beat a kidnergartener at a spelling bee. The fight for a free education is the fight for freedom from religion.

Francisco Ferrer

Francisco Ferrer was an Anarchist educator in Spain who was executed by firing squad after a mock, show-trial. He was accused of organizing a rebellion against the government, during which hundreds of churches were burned. The actual cause of the rebellion was the church's undying support for the government's war in Morocco, with the initial fighting breaking out when drafted men were being loaded onto troop carriers.

1909The Assassination of Ferrer — Daniel De Leon
1911The Martyrdom of Ferrer — The Agitator
1913The Origins and Ideals of the Modern School — Francisco Ferrer
1917Francisco Ferrer and the Modern School — Emma Goldman
UnknownFrancisco Ferrer — Voltairine de Cleyre
UnknownModern Educational Reform — Voltairine de Cleyre

Eastern Orthodox Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church has long been the greatest supporter of Tsarist Russia, one of the largest, slave-holding empires in all of human history. When it has been allowed to direct schools, these schools have simply become indoctrination centers, with more focus on directing the social and economic activity of their followers than on their religious activity. This religion only gets extra attention here because it is the predominant religion of Russia, which is a historic hub of Marxism.

1902Russian Schools and the Holy Synod — Peter Kropotkin
1904What the Orthodox Religion Really Is — Leo Tolstoy

Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Art and Literature


1980sThe Soviet Art of Photography: Religion — USSR


1813Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem (in 9 parts) — Percy Bysshe Shelley
1897The Gods and the People — Voltairine de Cleyre
1918Church Sociable — Jean Starr Untermeyer
1919Those Iron Gates of Prison — Kazi Nazrul Islam
2012Irish Marxist Review: Three Poems — Conor Kelly
unknownCommunistic (Samyabadi) — Kazi Nazrul Islam

Photo by Vincent_AF,
released under CC BY-SA License

Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Philosophy

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment was a period in European history where humanity awoke to the great ideas of freedom, democracy, and economic prosperity. Naturally, it was also a great period for criticizing and questioning religion.

1513Concerning Ecclesiastical Principalities — Niccolo Machiavelli
1515Of the Religions of the Utopians — Thomas More
1728On the Vanity of Religions — Jean Meslier
1729Error, Illusion, and Imposture — Jean Meslier
1764The Abbot and the Rabbi — Baron d’Holbach
1769On Religious Cruelty — Baron d’Holbach
1770Thoughts on Religion — Denis Diderot
1770Critical History of Jesus Christ — Baron d’Holbach
1787God, Some Conversations — Johann Gottfried Herder
1790The Catechism of the Curé Meslier — Sylvain Maréchal
1793Religion is the Greatest Obstacle — Anarcharsis Cloots
1794The Age of Reason — Thomas Paine
1799The Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Atheists — Sylvain Maréchal
1799Preliminary discourse, or Answer to the question: What is an atheist? — Sylvain Maréchal
1888Thomas More and his Utopia — Karl Kautsky
UnknownThomas Paine — Voltairine de Cleyre

Classical Philosophy

1841The Essence of Christianity — Ludwig Feuerbach
1845Theses On Feuerbach — Karl Marx
1851Lectures on the Essence of Religion — Ludwig Feuerbach
1886Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy — Frederick Engels
1886The Religious Mood (From: "Beyond Good and Evil") — Friedrich Nietzsche
1909Conspectus of Feuerbach’s Book — Vladimir Lenin


Hegel was an eighteenth-century philosopher whose writings influenced Marx.

1793On the Prospects for a Folk Religion — Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
1795The Positivity of the Christian Religion — Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
1798The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate — Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
1805The Philosophy of Spirit — Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
1820Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion — Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
1901Studies in Hegelian Cosmology — John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart
1977Phenomenology of Spirit — J. N. Findlay

marilyn monroe
Photo by Antonio Marín Segovia,
released under CC BY-ND-NC License

Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Feminism

Early and Modern Feminism

The edicts and rules of religion have always come down harshly against women, and so Feminists have made up a very special, important part of the Atheist movement.

1879Disruption of the Family — August Bebel
1904The Falling Birth-Rate — Dora B. Montefiore
1905The Religion of Women — Dora B. Montefiore • 1990Is Operation Rescue Over? — Marie Laberge

India and Feminism

1995Constructing the Past in Contemporary India — Brian K. Smith
2001India’s Communalist Violence Against Women — Soma Marik

Islam and Feminism

1979Iranian Women Face Islamic Reaction — Journal of the Women's Commission of the Spartacist League
1999The Rebel Girl: A Question of Rape — Catherine Sameh
2001Fascism, Fundamentalism, and Patriarchy — Anuradha Gandhy
2001The Rebel Girl: The War, the Women, the West — Catherine Sameh
2002Gender and Identity in Pakistan — Shahnaz Rouse
2005Workers, women and the Islamic republic — Elaheh Rostami Povey
2012Arab and Arab American Feminist Narratives — Triana Kazaleh Sirdenis
2013Arab Uprising & Women's Rights: Lessons from Iran — Haideh Moghissi
2016Fatema Mernissi: A Pioneering Arab Muslim Feminist — Zakia Salime

my religion is love graffiti
"My Religion is Love,"
Photo by Jeanne Menjoulet,
released under CC BY License

Leftism and Religion on Social Issues: Secularism

European Secularism

1801Epistle to the Ministers of all Religions — Sylvain Maréchal
1871Decree on the Separation of Church and State — The Paris Commune
1891Church and State — Leo Tolstoy

American Secularism

If you can't totally and completely abolish all religion, then everyone should have the right to throw it at full speed out of their front door and into the street. Secularism is the separation of religion and law, although since religion exists largely to justify law, this obviously doesn't work out very neat and cleanly in practice.

1949Cardinal Spellman Abuses Cry for Full Religious Freedom — Philip Coben
2004U.S. Law: Religious or Secular? — Jennifer Jopp

Soviet Secularism

1918Decree on Separation of Church and State — Sovnarkom

Photo by Miki Jourdan,
released under CC BY-NC-ND License


1949Cardinal Spellman Does the KKK’s Work — Labor Action
1960Racism and Colonialism as Praxis and Process — Jean-Paul Sartre
1962Charge L.A. Cops Guilty in Shooting of Black Muslims — Lois Saunders
1995Black to basics — Talat Ahmed
2003Stop the War on Immigrants! — Proletarian Revolution
2004Black and White on the Inside — Christopher Phelps
2008Religion and the Rise of Labor and Black Detroit — Mark Higbee
2009Race, Politics and Christianity in America — Angela Dillard
2011Arab Detroit, Targeted Community — Frank Rashid
2016Bigotry vs. Black Lives, Muslims, Immigrants — Malik Miah

atheist atom
Photo by Zanaq,
released under CC BY-SA License


In the 19th century, scientists were just beginning to systemize their tools for discovering truth, and many of the scientists came into open conflict with the established religions. The conflict was not necessarily social or economic, but it was religious -- the quest for who can determine the truth and what we are expected to believe.

1882Science and Religion — Edward Aveling
1882An Atheist on Tennyson’s Despair — Edward Aveling
1895Galileo: A Drama — Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
1900Socialism and Modern Science — Enrico Ferri
1935Science and the Supernatural — JBS Haldane
1982Our Celestial Visitor (The Flying Virgin And Space Age Astronomy) — Francis Ambrose Ridley