"Religion cannot but now find itself in conflict with the unfettered rule of money - a capitalism that seeks to dominate exactly the social and personal arena which religion has always regarded as its own preserve. And as it becomes less useful as an ideological prop for power, religion's more radical and anti-establishment strains have become stronger. That is the context in which, for example, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela declares Jesus as the first socialist and Che Guevara-style images of the founder of Christianity are carried on demonstrations in Caracas."
You can read more of Seumas Milne (above)'s excellent, and extremely important essay on how religion is now an ally of radical social change, here. Regular readers will know that I have long called for the left to ditch its antipathy to religion- such a step is I believe, crucial in helping to build a left-right anti-neoliberal, anti-neocon alliance.
Of course it's true that for much of its history, organised religion has been on the side of the oppressors. But as Seumas argues, things have moved on: the big enemy of the progressive cause today is not religion but global capital. And in its battle with the 'unfettered rule of money', the left can find common ground with religion.
Such an alliance is already being forged in South America. And the results, from an electoral point of view have been impressive.
"For decades, the Left's atheistic, socially liberal approach - in a devoutly religious, conservative continent - proved a handicap when it came to building up the mass public support necessary to supplant pro-US, right-wing regimes. But now that it has found an ally as powerful as God in its opposition to Washington-backed neo-liberalism, there really could be no stopping it",I wrote in late 2006.
And there could be no stopping the European Left too, if it follows suit.