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Aug 1, 2023

When you think about the philosophies and practices of Buddhism and Marxism, you might not immediately think that they have much in common. However, you might be surprised at how much overlap and complementary resonance there actually is between these two rich and beautiful traditions. 

In this conversation, we’ve brought on Breht O’Shea, a Buddhist practitioner and Marxist political educator based out of Omaha, Nebraska. Breht is the host of the podcast Revolutionary Left Radio and co-host of the podcasts Red Menace, Guerrilla History, and, most recently, Shoeless in South Dakota. You might remember Breht from when he was on the show about a year ago to talk about revolutionary leftist theory

In this conversation, we explore how both Buddhism & Marxism offer helpful pathways to liberation and provide a spot-on analysis of the root causes of suffering. We also explore some of the potential tensions between Buddhism and Marxism, as well as what each tradition can learn from the other. And we end with a powerful invitation to embark on the path of the Bodhisattva Revolutionary to both end the internal and structural causes and conditions of suffering and to bring forth the systemic changes necessary for the transition to a socialist and eventually communist economy based on liberation, equity, and justice for all. 

This interview was inspired by an episode of Revolutionary Left Radio titled Dialectics & Liberation: Insights from Buddhism and Marxism where Breht read a speech he gave at Arizona State University on the topic of dialectical materialism, Buddhism, and Marxism. Definitely check that episode out when you’re done listening to this — it’s a great complement to this conversation.

Thank you to Carolyn Raider for this episode’s cover art and to Mount Eerie for the intermission music. Upstream theme music was composed by Robert Raymond/Lanterns.

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