Colletivistic sects in history

Sep 2019
This topic is meant as a discussion about collectivistic sects during the history. We know that communists were in a way sympathetic to such sects no matter how violent they were. Mao for example considered Taiping rebellion as unfinished revolution. Engels wrote with sympathy about militant anabaptist Thomas Muntzer and his heavenly kingdom during the rebellion of German peasants between 1524-1525. Muntzer was a former catholic priest who at first supported Martin Luther. Muntzer soon proclaimed himself as a profet and was saying he is a protector of small people. With his inflammatory speeches he started or at least encouraged rebellion of German peasants against feudalism, claiming world must be purged of kings, nobility and priests. Luther became for him a servant of the devil. Serfs at first demanded just that feudal burdens should be weakened. Luther supported them. Later under influence of radicals like Muntzer peasants started armed rebellion But the goal of Muntzer was not that serfs will become private owners of their land but rather he wanted to establish collectivistic communities. He prophesied that second coming of Christ is very near, but before that poor people must by force destroy corrupt old world. Rebellion was crushed by feudal armies and Muntzer was decapitated in 1525. However some anabaptists continued with this so called messianic movement. Dutch baker Jan Mathys with the help of radical preacher Rottman took over the local autorithy in the German town of Munster from lutherans. Soon 'new kingdom of Zion' was proclaimed in the town. All property was collectivized and men were able to have many women. New king of Zion Jan from Leiden took 16 viwes one was executed by him because she was critical about the king and wanted to leave the town. The rebellion was crushed and three of the leaders of the sect were tortured and executed in public.

History of the church, book3, published in Ljubljana, 1994, pages 73-76, 96.

Sep 2019
Taiping rebellion was started by Hong Xiuquan who started his own pseudo christian sect in China. He claimed to be a Son of God and brother of Christ. In 1847, Hong became the leader of the secret society with a goal to overthrow Qing dynasty. He was able to get quite some followers between of them many former bandits. On January 11, 1851 Hong declared himself Heavenly king of a new dynasty, the "Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace''. Relatively small rebel army was able to defeat some governament forces but quite soon they captured Nanjing making it their capital and renaming it Tianjing ("Heavenly Capital"). Because Hong Xiuquan had been supposedly instructed in his dream to exterminate all "demons", which was what the Taipings considered the Manchus to be, thus they set out to kill and wipe out the entire Manchu population. When Nanjing was occupied, the Taipings went on a rampage killing, burning and hacking 40,000 Manchus to death in the city. They first killed all the Manchu men, then forced the Manchu women outside the city and burnt them to death. At its height, the Heavenly Kingdom controlled south China but failed to take over Beijing.

Internal conflicts weakened the ''heavenly kingdom''. Hong disagreed with his former friend Yang in certain matters of policy and became increasingly suspicious of Yang's ambitions, his extensive network of spies, and his declarations when "speaking as God". Yang and his family were put to death by Hong's followers in 1856, followed by the killing of a few thousand troops loyal to Yang. Taiping delegates tried then to gain support from European powers but they decided to remain neutral.

Within the land that it controlled, Hong established totalitarian and theocratic state.

  • The subject of study for the examinations for officials changed from the Confucian classics to the Bible.
  • Private property ownership was abolished and all land was held and distributed by the state.
  • Solar calendar replaced the lunar calendar.
  • Foot binding was banned.
  • Society was declared classless and the sexes were declared equal. At one point, for the first time in Chinese history civil service exams were held for women.
  • Several women served as military officers and commanders under Taiping.
  • The sexes were rigorously separated. There were separate army units consisting of women only; until 1855, not even married couples were allowed to live together or have sexual relations.
  • The Qing-dictated hairstyle was abandoned in favor of wearing the hair long.
  • Other new laws were promulgated including the prohibition of opium, gambling, tobacco, alcohol, polygamy (including concubinage), slavery, and prostitution. These all carried death penalties.

An attempt to take Shanghai in August 1860 was initially successful but finally repulsed by a force of Chinese troops with USA and European support. After this the power of Taiping heavenly kingdom declined.

Hong declared that God would defend Nanjing, but in June 1864, with Qing forces approaching, he died of food poisoning as the result of eating wild vegetables as the city began to run out of food. Only a few days after his death the Qing forces took the city. His body was buried and was later exhumed to verify his death, and cremated. Hong's ashes were later blasted out of a cannon in order to ensure that his remains have no resting place as eternal punishment for the uprising.

Around 20 milions of people died during Taiping rebellion, not just in fighting and massacres but also because internal conflict in China caused hunger and other problems.

Black book of communism, published in Ljubljana, 1999, page 566.


Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
Black book of communism, published in Ljubljana, 1999, page 566.
Discredited propaganda not even supported by the authors, who freely admit the umbers were exaggerated.

When are you going to start using reaonable sources rather than propganda sources without regard for truth?
Sep 2019
@pugsville as i said already sources are different and numbers in this conrete book were put higher with a reason. Before the opening of Soviet archives it was thought that they were in milions but not so big as confirmed later, yet later was confirmed that numbers are bigger than suspected. Also USA senate for example recognized Holodomor in Ukraine as genocide in 2018.



Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
There are too many to mention. Just look at the Franciscans (no ownership) from the orthodox catholic faith. They even raised the controversy of how Christ and his disciples paid their way when traversing the country.

Btw Getting sympathy from the communists is easy as long as you are violent towards certain groups.
Sep 2019
@Willempie well as long as living in commune is the matter of private decision it should be allowed in democratic society. I do not favour it of course it is not very successful economicaly as the case of kibbutz shows but some might. For communists this is of no interest because they like to use force and also have privileges as so called guides of society as history clearly shows.

The role of catholic church in bringing down communism should not be underestimated. Already in 1948 even USA counted on pope Pius XII. that he will help to stop communist takeover of Italy for example. However in the past also catholic church was sometimes using communism. Some Indians in Latin America were evangelized with the help of jesuit monks which put them in communes.In 1608, as a result of Jesuit protest against enslavement of the indigenous population, King Philip III. gave authority to the Jesuits to convert and colonize the tribes of Guayrá. In Paraguay in 1610 Jesuits began the first commune or reduction as it was also called. Around 1700 already 30 such communes were established. The land and working tools were owned collectively. Life was organized by monks in a very religious way, with catholic church playing a major role in it with church services, prayers and religious lessons. However punishements were not very strong. Expulsion was the worst one. I was trying to find out if Guarani had private property before being sent to communes and made catholics but did not find any information about it.

History of church, book3, published in Ljubljana, 1994, pages 259-261.



Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
Western Eurasia
In relation to the Islamic world the 10-11th century heretical Qarmatians (also thought to be influenced by Mazdakism) in Bahrain are sometimes cited as having "commie-like" features:
From Farhad Daftary's The Isma'ilis: Their History and Doctrines 2nd ed. p. 110-111

Abū Sa'ı̄d had in effect founded a prospering state which lasted for almost two
centuries, and was a menace not only to the Sunnı̄ Abbāsids, but also to the Shı̄'ı̄
Fātimids. Although the dawa propagated by Abū Sa'ı̄d did not openly contain
any specific social programme, nevertheless communal and egalitarian principles
seem to have played an important role in the organization of the Qarmatı̄ state,
especially in terms of the ownership of property, cultivation of agricultural land,
collection of taxes, distribution of public expenditures, and various types of state
assistance to the underprivileged. In governing the affairs of the community, too,
Abū Sa'ı̄d and his successors conferred in major decisions with a council known as
al-Iqdāniyya, comprised of some high-ranking officials and the representatives
of the influential families. The state’s concern for the welfare of the Qarmatı̄s of
Bahrayn, and the particular order established there, evoked the admiration of
many a keen observer like Ibn Hawqal, and later Nāsir-i Khusraw, who visited
al-Ahsā in 443/1051 when the local Qarāmita were still called Abū Sa'ı̄dı̄s after
their initial leader.

Then a popular reference among the modern Turkish Marxists is the Sheykh Bedreddin Simavi revolt during the early 15th century, and more specifically the activities of one of his disciplines, Börklüce Mustafa in 1415-16, who apparently - based on the account of Doukas - espoused communistic and syncretistic ideas:

11. In those days there appeared near the mountain
situated at the entrance of the bay of Ionia commonly called
Stylarion, and to the east opposite Chios, a simple-minded
Turkish peasant. He taught the Turks that they must own no

property and decreed that, with the exception of women,
everything must be shared in common-provisions, clothing,
yokes of beasts, and fields. "I shall have access to your house as
though it were mine and you shall have access to my house as
though it were yours, with the exception of the female mem-

bers." After he had duped the peasants with this doctrine, he
guilefully sought to win the friendship of the Christians. He
expounded the doctrine that anyone among the Turks who
contended that the Christians are not God-fearing, is himself
ungodly. The followers of his teaching, when meeting a Chris-
tian, would offer him hospitality and honor him as an angel of
Zeus. Daily he sent apostles to the lords of Chios and to the
clergy of the Church, explaining to them his doctrine that the
only way for all to be saved is by being in accord with the faith
of the Christians. It so happened that at that time an old Cretan
anchorite was living on the island in the monastery called
Troulloti. This pseudo-monk, dispatching to the anchorite two
of his apostles wearing only simple tunics, their uncovered
heads shaved bald, and their feet without sandals, declared, "I
am a fellow ascetic who adores the same God you worship. This
night I shall walk barefoot over the sea to be with
you." Taken in by the false monk, the true monk began to
relate absurd things on his behalf, "When I was on the island of
Samos, devoting myself to God, he became my fellow monk,
and now, day after day, he crosses over and converses with me."
He related other marvelous deeds to me, the writer of this
12. Šišman's son, the governor of Mehmed's province,
assembled an army and marched against the false monk, but was
unable to cross the narrows of Stylarion. The Stylarians, com-
prising a force of more than six thousand men, took their
positions along the rugged defiles and slaughtered all of gig-
man's troops and Šišman with them. Then the followers of
Bürklüdje Mustafa (for this was his name), confirming their
regard for the false monk and extolling him as one greater than
a prophet, set forth the doctrine that one must not cover the
head with a hat, which they call a zerkulah, and that one must
go through life wearing only a simple tunic and bareheaded,
adhering to Christian beliefs rather than to Turkish.
13. Mehmed next ordered the Governor of Lydia, Ali
Beg, to march against the Stylarians with all the forces of Lydia
and Ionia. Once again the Stylarian peasants, taking their posi-
tions at the entrances to the narrow defiles, allowed most of the
enemy troops to pass through and then slaughtered them.
Barely escaping with his life, Ali Beg fled to Magnesia with a
handful of survivors.
14. When Mehmed learned of the tragic outcome, he
dispatched his twelve-year-old son, Murad, with Bayazid the
vizier at the head of the Thracian army. His forces, augmented
with Bithynians, Phrygians, Lydians, and Ionians, penetrated
into those rugged parts. They mercilessly struck down everyone
in sight, the old as well as infants, men, and women; in a word,
they massacred everyone, regardless of age, as they advanced to
the mountain defended by the dervishes. A battle with much
slaughter was now in progress. Murad sustained enormous
losses, but the Stylarians finally surrendered together with the
false monk. They were bound and brought to Ephesus where
Bürklüdje Mustafa was subjected to manifold tortures. He
remained, however, unbending and unyielding in his delusion.
And so they crucified him. Sitting him on a camel with his
hands outstretched, affixed to planks by nails, he was paraded
through the center of the city. Because his disciples refused to
renounce their teacher's doctrine, they were all slaughtered
before his eyes. Welcoming death gladly, they were heard to
murmur: dede sultan eriş, that is, "O Lord Father, hasten to
us." For sometime the belief was held by many of his disciples
that he had not died but was still alive. After these events, I
happened to meet the Cretan monk, mentioned above. I inter-
rogated him about this matter and asked him what did he
actually believe had happened to Bürklüdje Mustafa. He told me
that Bürklüdje Mustafa had not died but had gone to the island
of Samos where he continued to live his former existence. I
neither believed him nor entertained his delusions.

An Annotated Translation of "Historia Turco-Byzantine"

by Harry I Magoulias, Wayne State University p. 119-121
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Sep 2019
@Tulun thank you for your contribution. About Qarmatians wikypedia says also:

The land they ruled over was extremely wealthy with a huge slave-based economy according to academic Yitzhak Nakash:The Qarmatian state had vast fruit and grain estates both on the islands and in Hasa and Qatif. Nasir Khusraw, who visited Hasa in 1051, recounted that these estates were cultivated by some thirty thousand Ethiopian slaves. He mentions that the people of Hasa were exempt from taxes. Those impoverished or in debt could obtain a loan until they put their affairs in order. No interest was taken on loans, and token lead money was used for all local transactions. The Qarmathian state had a powerful and long-lasting legacy. This is evidenced by a coin known as Tawila, minted around 920 by one of the Qarmathian rulers, and which was still in circulation in Hasa early in the twentieth century.

Sep 2019
Taborites in Czechia also practiced some sort of religious communism. Some marxists like Kautsky were sympathetic to them. In 1420 they founded the town of Tabor. Taborites announced that the Millenium of Christ started ( from the book of Revelation in Bible)and declared there would be no more servants and masters, all property would be held in common and there would be no more taxation. As a response to program of moderate hussites taborites wrote twelve articles of Prague in 1420 demanding between others also the abolition of all of the present laws with this in fact demanding that in Prague the same commune should be established as it was in Tabor. They won some battles against catholic armies but then turned against each other. At the beginning of 1421, the Adamites the most radical group of Hussites were expelled from Tabor. They took up the practice of going naked through towns and villages. Taborites were monogamous, but in the sect of Adamites free love seems to have been the rule. The sect practiced the ritual of dancing naked around the fire. Adamites were criticised by other Taborites because they were not thinking to live by the work of their own hands. Adamites were soon destroyed by Taborites and many of them were burned.

Power of the Taborites was broken with the Battle of Lipany on May 30, 1434, during which their army, led by Prokop Holý, was defeated by the combined unity of Catholic forces. After this defeat they declined. Tabor was taken over by Jiří of Poděbrady the administrator of the land and his forces.

Socialism, book written by dr. Janez Krek, published in Ljubljana, 1925, pages 210-211.