September 6, 2013 / Theology, Uncategorized
This essay addresses the problem of capitalism by suggesting a theology of communitas, particularly as actualized in the coffee industry through the concept of After Trade.
In this issue, we examine the potentially surprising intersections of Marxism with Christianity and the ways in which these resources may help us contend with and recognize the powers of the market. Our interest here isn’t to attempt to locate “orthodox Marxism” or to parrot the ideologies of the twentieth-century Eastern bloc, as if the thousand Marxisms of today could be reduced to these vulgar expressions. Instead, in this issue we set out to learn from the critical theories associated with Marxism as a way of demystifying the new secular powers that reign over our world. Indeed, if it is true that the emperor (or the medieval church) has been replaced by the market as the dominant structure of the day, then it is finally time to broaden the resources our theology engages in order to help us unmask the pretensions of the market’s power.
The much-neglected Frankfurt school of critical theory, which draws richly on Marxist theory, opens a path for collaborative opportunities between religious and social movements. Through an examination of the religious images present in Marx, Horkheimer, Benjamin, and Bloch, Rob Clements argues that there are dialectical possibilities that help us critique, and eventually overcome, the social inequalities evident in advanced capitalist societies.