Voices from Russia

Sunday, 17 December 2017

16 December 2017. ‘Tis the Season for “Christmas Cards”… Here’s Mine

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The original painting is by Yelena Stepura, a Moscow-based painter. All of y’all can download and use this, with no charges or fees… Russians aren’t Anglo Americans… we’re not greedy nor are we self-centred attention hounds.

Have a most wonderful and joyous holiday… whichever one you celebrate. Raise a glass and cheer!

BMD

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Friday, 20 October 2017

20 October 2017. XMAS IS ON ITS WAY!

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Halloween is almost upon us, which means that commercial Xmas is about ready to begin. It begins right after Halloween, but it really doesn’t pick up steam until Black Friday, the day after American Thanksgiving. I call this day “the Black Mass of American Consumerism”. Everything that’s bad about America and Americans gets put on very public display. Every year, one hears about someone trampled to death or mauled by other crazy shoppers. As for me, I avoid malls until after 25 December… I don’t like the hype, the tension, and the angst on display. It’s not the crowds… it’s not the crass commercialisation of a sacred holiday… it’s the joyless and haunted look on the faces of the people. No one really likes Xmas and its ritualised greed, but it seems that most give in to it. Truly… the canned vapid carols and the goofy decorations don’t bother me. It’s the people… their lemming-like acquiescence in something that they don’t truly want to do. Christmas and Xmas are two different things. Welcome the Christ Child into your home… have a family celebration… yes, give a gift or two (or three). Have a JOYOUS day. You don’t have to give in to Xmas. By the way, Santa’s OK (share a cone with Santa, as Kevin Bloody Wilson sang)… he’s no ogre unless you make him one. We’ll all survive the coming holiday blitz. Have a drink and smile.

BMD

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Nativity Greetings from Comrade Zyuganov: Christmas… A Holiday of Hope and Expectation

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On the bright evening of the Nativity of Christ,

From the depths of my soul,

I want to wish you happiness and health,

And to greet each day with a smile.

Happiness, Love, and Health to you…

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These illustrations were part of the original post. You may believe this or you can take credence in the lies that issue forth from the usual cast of rightwing suspects… it’s your call… choose wisely

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People hunger for social justice, the nations crave equality, and our Earth wants our solidarity and unity in the causes of conserving nature and of  achieving peace in the world

Dear comrades and friends, dear compatriots!

For the past week, we’ve lived in the New Year; now, it’s time for the first state and folk holiday in our new year… the Nativity of Christ. The light and sincere joy of Christmas illuminates the whole coming year. This is an encouraging and life-affirming holiday. Christmas is a time of hope and expectation. After all, the events that occurred more than 2,000 years ago in the Bethlehem manger brought in a new era of civilisation. Christmas is a holiday of unity for mankind, families, generations, and peoples, indeed, unity with all living things, a unity that we have to cherish and keep for the future.

Such is the nature of the Russian people that they think not only about peace and prosperity for their families, but also for the other people in the world. We rejoice in the fact that Christmas flashed a light of hope in the world to an ancient land, for Syria is truly the cradle of Christian civilisation. The light of the guiding star led the sages and magi; it foreshadowed the birth of a new world. The apostles and saints preached there; Apostle St Paul showed by his preaching and deeds that labour and the merciful Word are the foundations of right living. We are proud of the fact that Russian strength and diplomacy freed this ancient land from diabolical encroachment. However, that’s Russia’s historical destiny… to come unto our suffering brethren, those who need help and support. The main features of our soul are compassion and sacrifice, even though many of those that we saved and bestowed benefits upon didn’t always faithfully preserve the memory of it.

In 2017 we’ll celebrate the centenary of an event that marked a new era in the struggle for social justice and labour, the world-renowned Great October Socialist Revolution. Since ancient times, people craved justice and the peoples craved friendship and equality. After all, the fields, rivers, mountains, and natural resources, the vast expanses of land and sea, belonged to a narrow circle of people, those who through cunning and treachery appropriated the common domain. It shouldn’t be so that some nations put themselves above the others and deal unjustly with those who are weaker. As F M Dostoevsky put it:

The highest and the most characteristic feature of our nation is a sense of justice and a desire for it.

A century ago, people gathered under the banner of hope, wanting happiness, well-being, and equality of all peoples of the earth as their highest values. A new era in the history of mankind changed the face of the world. The struggle of the working people of the world for their rights, inspired by the victory of October, bore fruit in many countries.  The colonial world collapsed and people won their freedom and independence; working people in the West and the East, receiving support from the USSR, won many social gains. Under the banner of the Great October, our country won over the world forces of evil… fascism. It achieved unprecedented breakthroughs in science, technology, and space exploration; it built a society based on humanity, where the people were friends, comrades, and brothers. However, victory is never final. We must seek it again and again. Betrayal, treachery, cowardice, greed, blind credulity, hypocrisy, and cowardice are ever-present. As Apostle St Paul said, “By both word and deed”, we must struggle for lofty ideals constantly, every day and every hour.

People of goodwill and pure thought yearn for peace throughout the world. The socialist state, for which we struggle, has the duty to ensure the fundamental rights enshrined for the first time in October 1917 for all peoples. Working people have a right to creative work that brings joy and inspiration. Parents have a right to universal and free education for their children. Everyone everywhere has a right to affordable health care… no one should have to rely on “philanthropists” to provide life and health for both the young and those beat down by the hard path of life.

Yes, a quarter of a century ago, our country guaranteed these rights, and the older generation remembers it. They could tell younger people about Soviet childhood, youth, and formation, about the achievements that brought forth the revolution that took place a century ago, when our people embarked on building a great future. We firmly believe in the ideals of peace and labour, liberty and justice, and equality and fraternity. These ideals are eternal, and therefore indestructible. We believe that mankind will rise, and the polyphony of a genuine ode to joy will sound over the entire planet.

On this festive day, I wish good health and optimism to everyone, fulfilment of your good wishes and aspirations, harmony and well-being to every family, and a happy childhood and joyful youth to our young people. I work for and have confidence in the future of all people, peace and prosperity for all peoples in the world, dedicated to the eternal ideals of goodness and justice.

To the holiday! To the Nativity of Christ!

00 G A Zyuganov 20116 January 2017

G A Zyuganov

Head of the KPRF faction in the RF Gosduma

Chairman of the TsK KPRF

KPRF.ru

KPRF official website

https://kprf.ru/rusk/161364.html

Sunday, 25 December 2016

The Revolutionary Hope of Christmas

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Christmas time can be so depressing. It brings out some of the worst features of capitalism and rubs them in our faces. You can’t escape, whatever your philosophical or religious belief. Advertisements spur on feelings of guilt if you don’t buy enough of the right kinds of consumer products for people you love. They offer creative financing so that lenders can make even more profit. Moreover, it’s an environmental disaster… we produce, cart about, and dump into landfills, vacant lots, and incinerators more plastic, cardboard, and packaging at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. Yet … nearly smothered beneath piles of gift catalogues and sale circulars, nearly drowned in a sea of synthesised elevator-music Christmas carols, in a locked theological vault guarded down through the centuries by legions of preachers, priests, and pontiffs, there burns a persistent secret flame. It’s the flame of a revolutionary hope… hope for a better world, a more just society, where we turn the social order upside down so that we can feed the poor and relieve the rich of their ill-gotten gains. What’s more, it’s something that working people of any culture, any religious or philosophical background can relate to. What does Christmas have to do with the class struggle? In a word… EVERYTHING. The story goes like this:

Once upon a time, in a land far away on the edge of a great empire, there was a people with an ancient culture, a storied past, and a great literature, but a technologically advanced imperial power conquered them. Foreign soldiers occupied them; corrupt local despots who collaborated with the foreign oppressors ruled them. There were periodic revolts of local peasants and slaves, but the occupiers put them down mercilessly. In the midst of all that, a young unmarried girl became pregnant out-of-wedlock. You might think she’d regret this development, but on the contrary, she found in the anticipated birth of a child a reason to rejoice and to hope for a better world. In her joy and determination, she sang an ancient song of liberation:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me-He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

Gospel according to St Luke 1.46-53

She and her fiancée then had to make a difficult journey whilst she was in the last weeks of her pregnancy, ostensibly to comply with the demands of their imperial rulers to register for a census. Local inns denied them lodging. Homeless, the young family took shelter in a stable, where the mother went into labour and gave birth to a baby boy among barnyard animals. This was hardly an auspicious beginning for a child in whom his mother had placed such hope. Yet, things get worse. The local ruler, a collaborator kept in power through the occupation army, decided on an act of terror. Convinced that a revolt was brewing in the village where the young couple had just had their baby, he sent in death squads to kill all the male children under a certain age. Fortunately, someone tipped off the young family; they fled into a neighbouring country. There, they waited until they received news of the death of their corrupt local despot; afterwards, they came back to raise their son in their hometown. When he grew up, the boy became a carpenter. As if to fulfil the revolutionary hope expressed in his mother’s song, he went on to organise a movement for social and economic change. It was a coalition of fishermen, reformed prostitutes, the unemployed, and low-level public servants, with a cross-section of men and women, and people of different ethnic backgrounds. The aims of the movement were clear from the beginning:

Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight.

Gospel according to St Luke 3.4-5

He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable Year of the Lord.

Gospel according to St Luke 4.18-19

Therefore, when you look at the Christmas story closely, you find a story of working-class people living in difficult times, in circumstances not too different from those faced by millions of people today. These people are aware of their history of struggle. They draw strength from the lessons of the past and nourish hopes and dreams for a better world. Mary, the young mother in the Christmas story is supremely confident that the future will be better. Her song, known as the Magnificat, is nothing less than revolutionary. You can also find this revolutionary aspect of Christmas in the popular Christmas carol O Holy Night (Cantique de Noël). The French socialist Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure wrote the words and the American abolitionist John Sullivan Dwight translated it into English. Adolphe Charles Adam (a friend of Cappeau), a Jew, wrote the music. One verse of the carol states:

Truly, he taught us to love one another; his law is love and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother; and in his name all oppression shall cease!

Some reactionaries in our own country well understood the political ramifications of this carol and it continues to be controversial. For years, many conservative churches in the USA banned the song and many radio stations in the South refused to play it. So, whenever you get weary of the holidays and all the claptrap that surrounds them, do remember the young family of the Christmas story, how they hoped and dreamed for a revolutionary transformation of their country, and how they persevered in the face of oppression. Whoever you are, have a Merry and Revolutionary Christmas. Furthermore, let’s then enter the New Year resolved to wipe out homelessness, poverty, racism, and injustice once and for all!

22 December 1999

Rev Tim Yeager

Peoples’ World

http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/the-revolutionary-hope-of-christmas-3/

Editor:

Although it may seem otherwise at many times, the Church isn’t an ally or tool of the crapitalist oligarchs (rightwing oligarch-enablers such as Tikhon Shevkunov are noisy, indeed, but they’re not indicative of the entire Church). Indeed, our Holy Patriarch showed the way by his sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Castro family on the death of Comrade Fidel. A new and vibrant synthesis of the best of Christianity and Marxism is aborning… the USA wants to strangle it. It wants to suck out Orthodoxy’s inner reality and replace it with godless “Evangelical” goo. It wants to replace a godly concern with social welfare and social justice with bootless “Pro-Life” placard-waving and empty demonstrations. We should stand for the Real Christ… the Christ who went to the Cross because He pissed off the powers-that-be and the “religious” of His time. We have them with us still… people such as Victor Potapov, Rod Dreher, and John Whiteford are Caiaphas’ willing successors. However… do remember Our Lord Christ’s warning in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares… we can’t remove these rightwing elements without doing undue harm to the Church. Let them be. Let them shout. Let them rant. The Truth WILL out… especially, if we give it a warm welcome in our hearts and souls.

The illustration is the original one in the original post… it’s in the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem (in Palestine). I thought that you’d like to know that. Communism and Christianity are coming together, not only in Russia. Remember what Comrade Zyuganov said… “Christ was the first Communist”. It’s time for us to do likewise… do ponder that…

BMD

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