Cult Reflections: No Saviour from on High

  • Kevin Morgan


Communism’s cult of the individual did not end with the Khrushchev speech. More than ever this was now a movement of global reach and, in Asia in particular, integrating leader cults came to be practised on a scale surpassing even Stalin’s. Citing such cases as Nelson Mandela and the Zapatistas movement in Mexico, this concluding chapter argues that the enkindling personality has also remained a feature of the symbolic politics of the left, and is similarly discernible long before the rise of communism. What was specific to communism was the vesting of such authority in the domineering political structures whose instrument and beneficiary the leader was. The chapter concludes with the lines the communists sang in the Internationale: ‘No saviour from on high delivers, our own right hand the chains must shiver.’ Once every account if taken of the historical complexities which it reveals, the cult of the individual under communism shows how well-founded that basic impulse was.


Social Movement Cult Phenomenon Symbolic Politics Personality Cult Communist Movement 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Morgan
    • 1
  1. 1.Sch of Social Sci PoliticsUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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