Vision, Policy & Practice Adviser, M.P.Aff.
ProSocial Democracy, Engaged Education and Quality of Work Life
Liberation & Utopia
Ernst Bloch begins his seminal work, The Spirit of Utopia, published in 1918, with these words: “I Am! We are! That’s Enough! Now let’s begin again!”
I find Bloch’s “We are” opens the way for a unified twofold theology or ideology of two whole and distinctive social movements and ways of life: each encompassing our political, social, cultural, economic, linguistic and intellectual dimensions and possibilities, our experiences of transcendence, immanence, kairos, Gaia, universal balance and equilibria, and other attributes of the sheer goodness, grace, love, vitality and creativity of our eternal God and illimitable humanity (each are for me wholly other in my unified theology and thus by their impossible intimacy and mutuality in giving and receiving of all they have everlastingly within them, they are the twofold missio dei for our own imago dei, our life together as also these two everlasting divine and humane movements in the same way of revelatory, liberating and enchanting two spirits, worlds, humanities and thundering orchestral movements across the universe. I find this twofold theology and framework of liberation and utopia to be a promising, if not quite world-changing interpretive framework, if I may immodestly propose, as a dialogical synthesis of the following cultural, social and humane movements and each respectively in all its forms, kinds and senses: radical, romantic and antinomian social, political, theological and literary movements, liberation theology, Christianity, Marxism, utopia, and egalitarian participatory democracy as exemplified throughout history, beginning with Athenian democracy, beloved community in New Testament Acts, and libertarian socialism, and so on.
I will show this in my look at Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s vision of our life together, Christianity and public theology based on Sermon on the Mount and his interpretation of Jesus the Christ. It gives you a lever to make your Jesus as more “communist” by preparing the way for Christ, who goes beyond the liberating mission of Jesus to the overcoming of all historical sins of privilege, hierarchy, domination and the impoverishing, dehumanizing and disabling ruthless logic, language of “liberal body publics” or corporate leviathans.
Our discovery of the flesh and blood real and concrete utopias throughout history and here and now, though of course in all that we are unable to be, see, imagine, know or even dare to want to, gives us the capacity, imagination, historiography, an entire world outside of this total world we are in to see it again as if in the most profound, creative, imaginative, and constructive criticism possible as a participatory partner within and without it, which is of course the very essence of disciplines like history, anthropology, theology, philosophy and literature. This is a far longer, deeper and anthropological history of a domination by hegemonic oligarchies across the entire arc of prehistory and history (talk about class struggle) but more complex and nuanced for these evolutionary and most successful powerful organizing corporate living systems have a paradoxical civilizing and progressive “optimal modernizing ethos” and exploitative, alienating, immiserating anti-democratic nature.
As you may agree, our entire world is now a vast leviathan, so thoroughly saturating and deeply embedded, that it is self-learning and even thrives on dissent and our jubillee great liberation as our self-satisfying raison d’etre. Our very freedom is now our complicity or evasion of our participatory and disfiguring and blinding conforming to the consolidation and accumulating capital, power, authority and influence of this “beast” that is driving is into the current qualitatively different multiple and converging crises threatening catastrophe and even self-annihilation. This is not a Jeremiad but a complete prophetic provocation for us (me) to see the real challenge we are facing and then the real joyful utopian higher order humane inclusive communal democratic momentum and historical bloc i.e. synthesis above (see Ernst Bloch, The Spirit of Utopia, and Chomsky’s anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism that he rightly finds grounded in our history here and throughout world. As Goodwyn, Populist Moment, always argued it is important for a democratic (or communist as democratically understood) to have concrete examples in history of people being democratic. Good luck, friend, my quaker preference.