I agree entirely with your observation about the importance of context. There are also elements here of internal contradiction and overdetermination within institutions and between one set of institutions and other institutions. There can also be a distinction made between that which is "objectively left" (inherently challenging to the status quo systemic arrangements), and that which is explicitly or subjectively or ideologically in opposition to those arrangements.
In solidarity, Michael
At 10:40 AM 6/10/98 EDT, MScoleman at aol.com wrote:
>In a message dated 98-06-10 09:02:59 EDT, Frances writes:
><< I think our differnce might lie in the fact that I'm seeing the church as
> a world in and of itself, so these struggles, related as they are to core
> clurch ideologies, are have "world-emancipatory" potential.
>I think part of the problem here is trying to see "church" as a single
>definable entity. "Church" in South America where missionaries have played
>both destructive and progressive roles can be defined as "left" if "left" is
>assumed to be progressives contesting the system, given a specific context, or
>as conservative as when the church's main role was to impose European culture
>on the local populace. The same is true in the United States. The church in
>black communites has played a strong organizing and leadership role in
>fighting the power of the state to win some rights for black individuals and
>communities. In one context, this would be considered progressive or "left"
>and yet there are other "lefties" who would say these movements were not
>progressive because they did not have as their ultimate aim the destruction of
>capitalism. Another example, in South Africa the Episcopalian church
>eventually provided strong leadership within the anti-apartheid movement, but
>the Episcopalian church in England (where episcopalianism originated after
>Henry killed one to many wives) was a tool of imperialism for a couple of
>So, to summarize, I don't think any of these terms, "left", "church", or
>"progressive" have any meaning whatsoever out of context.
>maggie coleman mscoleman at aol.com