Friday, March 13, 2009

What is 'political religion'?

Michael Löwy has a lovely article on Walter Benjamin and capitalism-as-religion in the latest issue of Historical Materialism. I strongly recommend you get yourself a copy. But what Löwy doesn't say is that the final stage of capitalist religion, according to Benjamin, is Satanism. This is from The Arcades Project, composed between 1927 and 1940:

On Satanism: "When the puritans at the Council of Constance complained of the dissolate lives of the popes ..., Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly thundered at them: 'Only the devil in person can still save the Catholic church, and you ask for angels.' In like manner, after the coup d'etat, the French bourgeoisie cried: Only the chief of the Society of December 10 can still save bourgeois society! Only theft can still save property! Only perjury can save religion! Only bastardy can save the family! Only disorder can save order!" Marx, Der achtzehnte Brumaire, ed. Rjazanov, p. 124.