To continue, Part 2 describes that for him the main point was his experience seeing the poor in Latin America:
So I’m wandering around, wandering into meetings, seeing priests. Like Uriel Molina, Argentinian by way of Spain, in the liberation church. I still remember the mural behind him, there was Jesus as a campesino and people were singing, And my Spanish wasn’t good, but I didn’t need to know the language, the language of the spirit was coming to me, I was moved. So now it’s coming together. The stuff that happened to me in college, a calling of some sort, and now Jesus, who didn’t articulate with my life in any way. But now it was articulating with my life.
Next he explains how it helped him overcome his fears:
I realize the thing that was drawing me to them was the spirit. But it was also something I was led to compare to my secular leftist friends... And we’re talking now 30 years on and I’ve had a thousand experiences since then, and I can tell you that it’s the same again and again, and there are reasons for it. These religious people-- they were smiling and happy all the time. Not simpleminded, because they were dealing with the worst sorts of things. But if you read Matthew 25, that encounter with Christ, we do this for the least of you-- The whole thing always grabs me. [Kovel tears up] I start crying. There are endless passages like that. You see how I feel it. Well as soon as you get that feeling, you’re there. The other thing is, every one of us that’s a leftist, with very few exceptions--we’re fearful. We’re afraid of the cops, afraid of the corporations, the authorities. Well, a common admonition in the New Testament is, Be not afraid, because I am with you. So you have that presence with you, and you’re not afraid.
Then he explains why for him it was not enough inside to have politics devoted to helping the poor:
Again, I thought the revolutionaries I knew were missing something. And if you read the Gospels, they are a revolutionary document. Jesus, whatever he was, I thought, I need to contend with that, because he was the first person to articulate a communist vision within class society. I was incredibly moved that way. And also incredibly frustrated in Nicaragua. Worn down, it was brutally hot, and seeing a lot of misery. And finally I said, I can’t convert. Why can’t I convert? http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/the-conversion-of-joel-kovel-part-2.html
I found his story resonated with me too! Certainly I feel afraid alot of times about outside forces like he says, and my faith and hope helps me overcome it.