Review: Marx’s Religion of Revolution

By Gary North

North explores a different angle of Marx’s thought:  Marx was more heavily influenced by the earlier pagan, chaos religions than previously recognized.  This is a legitimate approach.  We all have axioms that we take for granted and that filter the rest of our thought.  This is the foundation for his later thought.  North writes: ““Marx held to the orderly Newtonian worldview of physical-natural cause and effect, but he resurrected and baptized an ancient tradition of social chaos. His worldview was a strange mixture of Western linear history (Augustine), Western utopian-ism (communism), scientific rationalism (Newton), eighteenth- century classical economics (the labor theory of value and the cost of production theory of value), atheism (dialectical materialism), and pagan cyclical history (the chaos festivals)” (North xviii).

Chaos religion–and its festivals–allowed man to tap into the primal unformed chaos.  Thus, the violence, the overturning of social norms, the sexual orgies that one always found in pagan festivals–and in Communist Revolutions.  North suggests that this ritual morphs into a secularized form:  secret societies (76).

Rather than giving an analytical review of Marx’s thought, I will simply list five or six problems embedded in Marxist thought.

Problem 1: Lenin’s problem:  “the Social-Democratic consciousness of proletarians does not develop by itself.” (xxxix).

Problem 2: Problem with the labor theory of value:  activity is a meaningful economic substitute for value.  Contrast with subjective theory of value.

Problem 3: Problem in Marxian doctrine:  progress only comes from the clash of classes.  How then will progress be possible “after the Revolution” (North 51)?

Problem 4: how does a lawlike determinism arise from flux and chance (60)?

Problem 5: North: If all profits stem from the employment of human labor, then it follows that greater profits can be made in businesses that are labor intensive. The more machinery one employs in the production process, the less profit should be available, since there are fewer laborers present to exploit….Yet what we do see is precisely the. reverse: the most profitable industries tend to be those in which large quantities of constant capital are employed  (123).

Problem 6: North: Here is the central flaw of all socialist systems: how can the allocation of scarce resources take place in a society devoid of money (142)? How much is x worth?  How do you know?

Problem 7:  how can the total wealth of nature be released under socialism without the use of mass production methods that require the division of labor? Perhaps even more fundamental, how can the socialist planning board allocate scarce resources efficiently without some kind of pricing mechanism involving the use of money (182-183)?


8 thoughts on “Review: Marx’s Religion of Revolution

    • Not festival in the strict sense, but the early days of the Cheka attest it well: they were high on cocaine when they engaged in frenzied killing. And then there is the mass rape of German women.


      • Ok, that all seems to be a big stretch. Americans in Vietnam went on some drug infused rampages, and I don’t think anything about warzone, revenge-induced, conquest rapes have anything to do with Communism. Plus, I wouldn’t count rape as an orgy. I don’t think there was any sex magik channeling going on.


      • Think of the chaos element as what Marx called “the revolution of permanence” (Karl Marx, “Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League” (1850), in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, 3 vols. (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969), I, p. 185.


  1. I wasn’t making the argument that chaos orgies necessarily mean chaos religion. You asked for examples of it. Marx held to a view of flux which needed a chaotic primal matter (which most Greeks held to anyway).


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