The DIALOP is a joint project between universities, foundations, and associations, developed by faculty members with different ideological and philosophical, Marxist or Christian backgrounds. In times of growing social challenges, its aim is to promote dialogue between Marxist and Christian positions and develop common commitments to peace, non-violence, social justice, democracy, and ecological transformation. While Europe runs the risk of becoming a continent fragmented by walls and fences as well as increasing levels of inequality, an alternative vision of Europe must be developed: a common Europe of bridges, characterized by the exchange of cultural goods and values.
Perhaps this is the first time in history that the left opens itself -in an organised way- to a dialogue with the Christian church and its public. We perceive this dialogue as of historic significance. The notion of ecumenism is important towards any process of dialogue and dialogue is an essential step towards an understanding of the world around us, but also towards agency, therefore, the transformation of the world.
At this moment, we all are at a very critical point. We face the danger of the destruction of the natural world and consequently, the civilisation. Listening from the head of the Catholic church, Pope Francis, the imperative need to transform the socio-economic system of our world gives to the left a unique opportunity for action. "Fratelli Tutti" is about fraternity and social friendship and is a critical encyclical for ecological questions. In parallel, the Orthodox Church decided, already back in 1989, through the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to declare the 1st of September as the day of "the Protection of the Natural Envirnoment and the whole Creation". For the orthodoxs, this highlights the vision of an "ecumenic and ecological re-evangelisation"
Dialogue is the process through which Christians can recognise the socialists’ tradition and vice versa. That doesn’t mean that we erase and/or ignore the differences we have (for example, the role of the Catholic church in Poland in the question of the woman’s right in abortion, at the same time, there cannot be any renovation within the Catholic church if it won’t change the role of women in it, in a revolutionary way), but this is what critical thinking is about for both "camps". Dialogue must be seen as a political act. While in a dialogue, many of us have started witnessing that "identities" are not so strong and solid and we think they are. Am I just a Christian? Am I just a socialist?
For the Christians involved in this project, this is indeed groundbreaking. Being related with the leftist and socialist tradition. And for the marxists, whether somebody believes in God or not, has been proved -empirically- as not a problem when it comes to political action. For the left, the ultimate goal is the radical transformation of our societies. For this to happen, social majorities are needed. Broad alliances are needed. These alliances cannot but involve also circles from the christian churches. In parallel, our vision of the world shall include not only rationality, but spirituality as well. We want people to evolve themselves towards multiple directions.
On the topic of the climate crisis, the way the Catholic church have started addressing the problem, reveals one extremely important point of agreement. That in order to tackle the climate emergency, not only individual responsibility, but mostly, the structural changes must be introduced. Additionally, the responsibility of the elites, the ruling classes, is clearly addressed within the encyclicals of the Pope. "A final call to act", is found in these letters (mostly in Fratelli Tutti), this call is obviously a political call. We can find proximity between this discourse and the discourse of the left. "The cry of the Earth, is the cry of the poor", as Pope Frances writes.
Our dialogue, our project, does not aim only to be about an endless discussion and debate. We think it’s the time to proceed into concrete, practical steps. We need to broaden our team, engage more people from the Christian churches and the left parties and movements throughout Europe and start working on initiatives and cooperate with people that work on the field also.
Watch the video of the event held in the frame of the European Forum 2020