Jeffrey Nyquist interviewed the ever fascinating Robin Eubanks of www.invisibleserfscollar.com to talk about our Sovietized education system.
-Anatoliy Golitsyn, New Lies for Old, p. 102
What would Anatoliy Golitsyn, the KGB defector who correctly anticipated the fake collapse of communism, say about the Trump administration? I believe he would say that the communist strategists have launched a new provocation based upon a supposed split between the communist-dominated U.S. Democratic Party and (Soviet) Russia.
This supposed split offers some tantalizing tactical advantages to the communist side. It diverts attention from the extensive and treasonous collaboration of the American Left with Russia and the communist bloc. It also helps to camouflage future collaboration on the part of Trump’s critics. (People who warn of Russian interference with the elections will not be scrutinized too carefully themselves in this regard, especially by a media that is packed with communist operatives). To say that Trump is a Russian puppet diverts attention from the fact that those leveling the accusation have served Russia and the communist cause for many years. It weakens the authority of a president who has promised to reverse the many policies of national self-negation which have been the mainstay of the Democratic Party, and the watchword of the Republican establishment.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to relay commands to his leftist cadres within the U.S. Federal Government. This is why he stayed in Washington. For all intents and purposes, he is still president; that is, he is the commander-in-chief for the communists in Washington. Their conspiracy continues, as ever, toward the “inevitable” convergence of capitalism with communism (on communist terms).
It is important (from the communist point of view) that nobody guess the actual situation, that nobody see how far the subversion has gone, or how powerful the communist side has become within the state. While Obama was U.S. President an identical circumstance played out in Washington as in Moscow. In both capitals the communists were depicted as an inconsiderable and irrelevant minority. In reality, the presidents of both countries were committed communists. The levers of power were in their hands, and the world suspected nothing. While Obama worked to disarm the United States, Putin worked to rearm Russia. While Obama undercut our allies abroad, Putin invaded Crimea and intervened in the Middle East. As the danger grew, as Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next and final president, the collaboration between Washington and Moscow was guaranteed to result in America’s defeat.
But then a miracle happened. Donald Trump was elected president; a man of impeccable nationalist instinct, of remarkable courage in the face of the enemy. The communists were aghast at his victory. And so, strange as it seems, they decided on a preposterous fraud. While they posed as Russia’s enemies, Donald Trump would be depicted as Russia’s friend.
For the leading communists to deny their communist affiliation was a preliminary strategic step in both Washington and Moscow. Freed from the label of what they had actually been, the communists were able to advance without opposition from those annoying anti-communists. And now they are compelled by the logic of their false position to paint the “patriotic American dinosaur” (Donald Trump) as Russia’s puppet. Here the real puppet points to the man and declares that he is the puppet. It is a history-making deception. It is grand and it is bold. It cynically estimates the ignorance of the populace, the corruption of the political class, and the willing treachery of the media. It relies on the fact that the smartest strategists and analysts on the American side have been sidelined or murdered. So there is nobody to call out the truth.
Who now dares say the truth about what has happened in this country? Anyone writing in this vein is committing career suicide. Therefore, only someone without a career would dare to write along these lines at all! Even then it means being assigned to a death list, like Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko. (You want a successful career? You want to live? Sing the tune that is assigned. Play a role out of the communist script. You can be a conservative if you wish, but you will be Moscow’s conservative.)
Of course, you probably think I am crazy. You think communism went away in 1991. You think that communism no longer exists. But then you will have to explain how we got here – with communist thugs using open intimidation on the streets of our cities! If communism lost the Cold War, why does it presently hold such power in government agencies, universities and newspapers? Why do you think U.S. counterintelligence is spying on the President of the United States and his staff? Who wants to bring him down? You need to explain all the variable phenomena of today: from the communist-inspired economic sabotage of global warming “science” to the insistence that our border remain a sieve. It is only our enemies who stand to gain from these policies.
But communism is dead. Nobody believes in it anymore. We are told that the last true believer in communism was Stalin’s protégé and USSR Communist Party Ideology Chief Mikhail Suslov. Gorbachev and Yeltsin, and other top Soviet officials, made a show of abandoning communism. But I tell you it was only a show. Former KGB officer Anatoliy Golitsyn insisted that all communist sources of information are larded with falsehood; that communist officials publicly and privately make misleading statements about themselves, their thoughts and their intentions.
What do we actually know about the thinking of Mikhail Suslov or Mikhail Gorbachev (for that matter)? We only know what Communist Party officials say is true – about themselves and their party. And communists lie! There is also a more subtle point, which may seem contradictory, but is fundamental at the non-ideological level: It is irrelevant what Suslov or Gorbachev believed. Their personal beliefs would be decisive only if Marxism had been a mere belief system, if it represented a stable set of principles; but Marx himself did not believe in Marxism. He laughed at people who believed in it. Why would it matter if Suslov also did not believe?
What is decisive to understand about Marxism is its ever-shifting role as a rationale for a new kind of power. What is important here is not the particulars of the rationale itself, but the spirit which calls forth the rationale in the first place. If we want to understand how the great totalitarian machine is able to morph and shift and change with the times, we must go to its soul. At bottom Marxism is a strategy behind which stands a pathological desire for absolute power and global destruction. The outward phenomenon of Marxism is merely the intellectual camouflage of the politically self-actualized psychopath. Here is the outward expression of his rationalization for murder, for seizing power. This outward expression has changed time and time again, but its spiritual essence is always the same. And we always seem to miss the point of it. We always seem to address the inner thoughts and intentions of people who are assumed to believe or not believe in a set of “principles.” But this is an error. We do not understand these people at all! The communist does not take ideas seriously. He is serious only about power and strategy.
A mask is not an idea. A strategy is not a principle. These are tools, weapons, methods. Marx did not believe in his tools. He used them, and his followers used them, until the tools of the hour no longer served their purpose. Then the old tools, the old weapons, were discarded for a new set of weapons – “new lies for old.” Those who talk about belief or disbelief are only talking about the superficial shell of the thing, which can be replaced with a new shell – a new outward appearance. If Marx did not believe in Marxism, then the true Marxist should not believe in it either. It is a sorry swindler who believes in his own swindle. Behind the shell of the communist’s outward pretenses we find the same core phenomenon: the malevolent soul of the destroyer, the envious lusting for power and revenge, the hatred of the good for being the good. And in this soul’s self-affirmation we find, curiously, a reformulation of the same old totalitarian themes; the same old bag of tricks for debasing and leveling humanity. All that being said, the outward shell of the supposedly debunked Marxism is by no means out of the game. Out-and-out communism could return to power at any time. The various outer shells – the rationales and swindles – may change and shift as circumstances require; yet the driving force from within remains ever constant, ever alert to new opportunities. Marxism is strategy, not belief. That is why Mao Zedong said, “Marxism is better than a machine gun.” One does not believe in a machine gun. One uses it, merely, to neutralize an enemy. One must keep in mind the usefulness, in this regard, of ideological mortars and howitzers and atomic bombs – the whole arsenal of political correctness.
But you cannot get over this idea; namely, that communism is dead. You saw it die on TV. How can we talk once again about Marxism-Leninism? Or as an Estonian presidential candidate once asked in response to my discourse: “What’s Marxism-Leninism?” His pained expression relayed the idea that Marxism-Leninism was something that didn’t really exist. Nobody believed in it, so why did it matter? Even the communists don’t believe in communism anymore. It’s as simple as that! Any idiot who tells you that there are true-believing communists should wear a dunce cap. Russia a democracy. China is capitalist. Cuba is an open society with superb health care. And that nice little North Korean man is a champion of world peace!
It is merely one more ridiculous proposition out of many. In fact, it is the final ridiculous proposition. It is the proposition that crushes man’s soul. To say that communism doesn’t exist is to surrender. It means giving up your country to the communists who don’t exist. Remember the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s 1984? It was a ministry that dispensed nothing but lies. Now imagine if the Ministry of Truth disbanded itself and admitted to lying. “We are turning over a new leaf,” says the Ministry of Truth. “We are now the Ministry of the Real Truth.” Oh, it’s such a relief! Finally, we can believe in them! Marxism-Leninism is gone and the Marxist-Leninists are now honest! If they say we won the Cold war, we won the Cold War. In a world where nonsense is often believed, why would this nonsense not be accepted as the New Gospel (according to Saint Gorbachev)? The hammer and sickle comes down, the tricolor goes up. How could you question that? It’s like being against chocolate!
So where did all the communists go? Did they simply revert to Christianity? Did they become Scientologists? Stop and think for a moment. You control half the planet and you’ve been fooling people in every country for decades. And what do you do for an encore? You fall off the edge of the flat earth! Well, I guess they topped themselves after all. And then, twenty-five years later, suddenly, you discover they have taken over your child’s mind and sent him into the street to beat up an old displaced factory worker wearing a hat which says, “Make America Great Again.” You have the CIA and FBI spying on the President of the United States to the advantage of change agents. And Congress is dragging its feet on Trump’s cabinet nominees because they’ve been honey-trapped by the Satanic Pedophile communist zombie apocalypse. It is real Satanism, real pedophilia, real undead communists, and a real apocalypse.
Have you ever seen the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers? It’s an allegorical fiction about a communist takeover. Well, we’re living it. In fact, the pod people are attempting to convince the world that they are the ones fighting the alien invasion! This lie is repeated on every news channel. And you might easily believe them: First, because you did not understand who the enemy was. Second, because you don’t believe in pod people. Third, because you voted pod people into the White House in 1992, 1996, 2008 and 2012. And when the pod people finally colonized your government and rotted out your nuclear arsenal, the old pod president didn’t go back to Illinois. He remained in Washington to command the pod-people army inside the federal government, while Mr. Trump erroneously believes himself to be in charge.
So they don’t believe in Marxism-Leninism anymore? So why do we have socialized medicine? And why does Vladimir Lenin, who died in 1924, lie calmly with his eyes closed in his mausoleum on Red Square – not buried in a grave with a stone marker? No doubt, he is kept on display in Moscow because “nobody there believes in him anymore”! It’s a funny kind of not-believing in someone, don’t you think?
Nobody in Moscow believes in communism! They refuse to bury Lenin because he makes a nice tourist attraction. And besides, Vladimir Putin wears a cross and says he believes in God. (Well, he doesn’t really like to talk about it. But we think he believes in God.) And so, at the end of the day, we are all Kremlin puppets. We are all bouncing helplessly at the end of Moscow’s string. Even now the puppet-master appears to be at odds with his most secret creatures – the moles at CIA and FBI! Appearances notwithstanding, the puppeteer must always hide the puppet’s strings. This he accomplishes by a diversion in which he calls the man (Trump) a puppet and the puppet (Obama) he calls a man. And so, as well, he calls his friend enemy and his enemy he calls friend.
If President Trump could read one paragraph of these scribblings, I would wish that he read this last paragraph. Then he might understand, in an instant, who his enemies are – both foreign and domestic. And I say, that enemy is not an opponent, not a competitor, not a business rival. No, no. I mean – an enemy! And once our president can tell friend from foe, his strategic compass will align to true north and half the battle will be won.
How Do Cultural Shifts Happen? A lecture originally delivered online in Portuguese as an introduction for Mr. Olavo de Carvalho’s Brazilian Philosophy Seminar.
Student: In an interview you gave to Atlântico magazine, you said that, instead of dividing the political spectrum into right-wing and left-wing, we should try to classify political movements as revolutionary and counter-revolutionary, because this latter pair of concepts enables us to see, for example, that some political positions and movements usually regarded as right-wing are actually revolutionary and thus belong together with left-wing movements—something which escapes our view when we use the usual definitions of left and right. Regarding this problem you have been addressing so far, have you developed another key to understanding the problem of progress, something like your concepts of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary?
Olavo: No, I have not. What I am doing is merely splitting apart a pair of concepts and saying that they do not form a pair of opposites in reality. More accurately, only at the level of vocabulary—only semantically speaking―, backwardness is the opposite of progress. In historical reality, there is no such thing as a phenomenon of backwardness which is the contrary of progress. Even if in our minds we conceive progress as a forward movement and backwardness as backward movement, the fact is we know that in reality time never moves backwards and that it is impossible for it to do so. Now, let us examine the expressions “advanced societies” and “backward societies” in light of this. It is obvious that the current conditions of any society can get worse, but they cannot literally go back to a prior state because the present conditions of a society include all their prior states. Some people say: “Oh no, we’re going back to the Stone Age!” But being born in the Stone Age is one thing, and having to live with Stone Age instruments after having known all the technology we have today is quite another. This is not going back to the Stone Age. This is something totally different; this is deterioration, not backwardness.
So, from this you can see that, being among the most used, the most imaginatively powerful, and the most entrenched in our culture, this simple pair of concepts (progress and backwardness) can make people not to understand a number of historical processes. That is to say, if people judge historical processes in terms of progress or backwardness, they will never be able to grasp the reality of what they are considering.
Wanting to become intellectuals, historians, philosophers, and so on, the poor and naive students will naturally apply to and eventually enter universities. The problem is that as they gain entry into the world of high culture, they will receive a severe impact of a huge network of intellectual blinders/impediments. Of course, they will also get a lot of positive knowledge, but when we compare the whole of material knowledge they learned, the whole of the content they acquired at university, with the system of concepts that organize this knowledge, we see that the latter is always more powerful. Why? Because the contents and their organizing concepts relate to each other as form relates to matter, in the Aristotelian sense of these words, and because it is the form of a body of knowledge determines what this knowledge means.
Now, the study of philosophy has precisely the purpose of enabling you to create your own network of concepts according to the actual needs of the quest for knowledge and not according to pre-established social ends, which are rather focused on the creation, expansion, and conservation of cultural fashions. Philosophy is an instrument for the creation of conceptual structures capable of comprehending and transcending the structures of the cultural fashions that prevail at the moment. In this sense, philosophy is a powerful instrument of deculturation. So, since your task is to try to see beyond the horizon of the culture in which you are, the first thing you need to be able do this is to learn how to retrieve the lost cognitive and intellective possibilities from times past.
How do you restore these possibilities? In the first place, you must have the necessary materials at your disposal, that is, the texts and documents that tell you exactly what happened in the periods of the past you are studying. Next, you must use your imagination to try to understand—note well—not the authors of the past as they understood themselves but rather your own situation as those authors would understand it if they were alive.
You cannot study Plato, for example, from the viewpoint of the contemporary culture because you will never understand him. Why? Because, in addition to that series of important cultural mutations that took place in the twentieth century, we are now going through a gigantic transformation in our society, a transformation determined by a factor called “technology.”
The impact of technology on modern society and culture has been only gradually perceived and integrated into human consciousness, and, strictly speaking, we are not yet living in a technological civilization, because technology does not decide and determine all social processes, although it determines a great and important number of them. But there are still a lot of things that are based on processes which have nothing to do with technology. For example, consider the facts that in our society there is a large number of religious people and that these people live, partially at least, within a cultural environment upon which technology has little or no influence at all because it simply has nothing to do with religion.
However, it is one thing to live in an environment where people believe in the existence of a God who has created the world and who is going to drive the process of history until it reaches a certain goal—the end of the world and the passage of all things into eternity. Now, it is quite another to live in a culture where everything is a matter of technology. And the fact is that as the impact of technology on society gets stronger, our culture tends to consider all matters in the light of technology.
The first and most immediate consequence of this is that everything that lies beyond the reach of technological action ends up falling beyond the reach of people’s imagination as well. (When I say “immediate,” however, I do not mean that this effect occurs without any delay, since several decades, at least, may be necessary for it to take place.) Because if technology becomes the main lens through which we view reality, then, sooner or later we will end up only thinking about those things which fall within the grasp of technology or which will supposedly fall within the grasp of technology in the future. This means that, in a sense, the realm of human action (in its material sense) becomes the ultimate horizon of reality and that nothing exists beyond it.
It is evident that the territory which falls within the grasp of man’s technological agency is vast. For instance, we may expect that someday all currently existing diseases will be cured by technological means. This has not happened yet, but we may fairly expect it will, and it is a fact that people have hopes that it will indeed happen. When people contract a disease for which there is no cure yet, what do they usually do? They sit tight and hope that, within two, three, four, five, ten, or twenty years, a cure for their disease will be found. For example, I think that all the HIV positive people in the world entertain this kind of hope. So, as I was saying, there is indeed a realm of existence which can be affected by man’s technological action and this realm is very large. However, when technology is understood as the key to existence, then, quite naturally, all that lies beyond the theoretical possibility of technological action ceases to attract people’s interest. The world, seen from this viewpoint, becomes a sort of laboratory for us to conduct our experiments (which, of course, may go right or wrong), and everything that cannot be tested through experimentation ceases to be of any interest for us.
As a consequence, all those dimensions of existence upon which technology cannot act in any way are viewed as non-existing or irrelevant—an example of this is the phenomenon of death. Nowadays people cannot seriously think about death, only about how to postpone it, which is actually thinking about how to extend human life, or how to prolong human existence. Prolonging human existence is indeed a technological possibility, and more than that, it is a possibility that technology has been able to realize so far. But what about death itself? The fact is that sooner or later, we are all going to die, that death is part of the structure of reality, and that no life-prolonging technology can possibly change this structure. And because the phenomenon of death cannot be affected by technology, because the reality of death lies beyond the reach of technological action, the concept of death is not integrated into our society and we live in a culture where death has no place. For centuries death was one of the most predominant themes in culture, but now, suddenly, the topic of death is gone. People do not talk about it anymore; they only talk about health, about extending life, about eliminating pain, and so on.
When you set out on a quest for high culture in a cultural situation like that, you start your intellectual journey with a huge blind spot in your field of vision, because an entire dimension of reality is invisible for you, as if it has never existed.
Now, the study of high culture and philosophy can help you recover the vision of those lost dimensions of reality, that is, it can help you become capable of imagining that which is not usually imaginable in your own culture. The problem is that acquiring high culture is often identified with acquiring the credentials necessary to obtain government authorization to enter the teaching or the researching profession. This poses a problem for all those who seek to acquire high culture. For it is one thing to want to acquire high culture in order to be able to understand reality, and specially the reality of history, of civilization, of human existence throughout the ages. It is quite another thing to want to acquire high culture in order to be able to practice this or that profession. In fact, these two uses of high culture are not just different, but opposed to each other, because if have to adapt yourself to the present culture to the most, so that you may be able to represent it professionally.
This is why I consider the academic institution to be the worst enemy of higher studies nowadays and why I have remained on the fringes of academia all my life. I have always feared it because I knew it did not strengthen people’s consciousness to enable them to understand reality, but rather molded their minds to enable them to perform certain social roles. Besides, I have also noticed that the social role of the academic and the scientific profession can be so hostile to a true understanding of reality that even the best minds, to the extent they strive to adapt and be successful in those professions, have to maim themselves intellectually so as not to say things that would be incomprehensible or shocking in their professional environments. Of course, there are exceptions to this. There are people who are able to have an academic career and still remain in touch with reality, but they are very scarce.
End of the second part.
NATO membership for Ukraine means death for Russia.
– Alexander Prokhanov
In the first stages of Zyuganov’s creation of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (not without some participation on my part, as well as Prokhanov…), efforts were made to interpret and conceptually appraise the presence of the national component in the Soviet worldview (National Bolshevism), but this initiative was abandoned by the leadership of the [Communist Party], which had occupied itself with some other matters…. However, on the level of rhetoric and first reactions, Russian Communists in all senses present themselves as confirmed national conservatives – sometimes even as ‘Orthodox Monarchists.’”
– Alexander Dugin, The Fourth Political Theory
Alexander Dugin, quoted above, is not an ideologist. He is a strategist. Before delving into what strategy is, or can be, let us first consider the situation in Ukraine. Either Russian troops will drive into Ukrainian territory after 9 May, or Russia will rely on secret agents within the Ukrainian government to re-establish (or maintain) indirect control of the country. This latter strategy, if successful, could give Moscow a fresh avenue for making mischief within the EU. The fact that Russian clandestine structures are already embedded throughout Europe is hardly acknowledged or fully appreciated by expert opinion. Europe’s energy dependence on Russia is acknowledged, of course, but this is trivial in comparison.
Moscow’s grand strategy has always been multi-dimensional. To achieve a goal, the Russians do not merely follow one line of approach. They follow several parallel and opposite lines of approach simultaneously. This makes it difficult for Western strategists and politicians to anticipate Russian moves. Again and Again, Russia baffles us. We remain mystified, failing to realize that Russia possesses clandestine instruments developed under the Soviet Union that are unmatched in sophistication. We have nothing that can compete with these. To give a brief overview, there is the economic and financial penetration of Europe by Russian businesses and front companies. There is the role played by Russian organized crime in terms of blackmail and money-laundering. There also exists, as during the Cold War, classic networks of secret agents engaged in infiltrating governments and influencing policy. With regard to all these elements, until the countries of Europe grasp the possibilities open to Russia’s clandestine forces there will never be a full appreciation of the way Moscow is likely to use its military forces in combination with diplomatic leverage.
It was Clausewitz who said that war is politics carried on by other (i.e., violent) means. It was Lenin who inverted this dictum, saying that politics is war carried on by other means. The Bolshevik Revolution was not merely a social and political revolution. It signified a revolution in strategic thinking that has never been fully appreciated. Victory may be achieved with a combination of military and non-military means. It may be achieved through economic sabotage, through information warfare, or even through the corruption of government, language and culture.
The famous words of the ancient Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu, may serve as the inspiration for a new and all-pervading strategic science. Here strategy becomes the ruling god of all, the first principle of government and the East’s answer to the constitutional politics of the West. Oh yes, even in its decadence, the United States is (at least partly) guided by its Constitution. The Russian Federation is guided by its long-range policy (based on Sun Tzu’s principles). “All warfare is based on deception,” wrote Sun Tzu. “Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe that we are away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”
The brilliance of Sun Tzu lies in the fact that his dialectical approach to deception can be applied to any set of opposites. Thus we may rewrite Sun Tzu’s words: “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when you are a Communist, you must appear to practice capitalism (e.g. in Beijing); when you are a cynical atheist, you must appear as a Christian (e.g., Putin); when you are attacking an opponent through Islamic surrogates, you must appear to be attacked by these same surrogates (e.g., in Chechnya); when you possess strategic nuclear supremacy (as Russia does), you must appear as a mere regional power (because Obama says so). Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”
The transposing of opposites from the dimension of time-space, to the ideological dimension of left-right, is only one of many permutations. If it was possible for Putin to have a Chechen alibi prior to the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11, it was also possible for him to have a Christian alibi (by jailing Pussy Riot) in the midst of the cultural breakdown of the United States. As Global Warming is used as a pretext to sabotage the economies of the West, it is pro-forma for Putin to declare that he believes in “global cooling.” Again, one might use the analogy of an alibi. Given these examples, we cannot take Moscow’s stated intentions at face value. Does Moscow really want to annex Ukraine, or push Ukraine into Europe’s open arms? Is Ukraine itself a poison vat, ready to spill into Europe? Again, Putin is making for himself an alibi: so that when Western culture turns gay, Putin will not be blamed; when global warming is found to be a hoax, Putin will not be blamed; when Ukraine is bailed out by the EU and proves the final straw that bankrupts Europe, Putin will not be blamed. (In fact, he will present himself as Europe’s savior.)
Sun Tzu suggested that excellence in warfare consists in winning without fighting. To accomplish this you infiltrate the enemy camp and disrupt his plans through provocation, sabotage, and by sowing confusion; you prevent enemy factions from joining together; you demoralize the culture, spread irrational ideas among the intelligentsia, promote lawlessness and drunkenness among the working and professional classes. As Sun Tzu said, “In all fighting, direct methods may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.”
You must know your enemy’s direction of march, but he must never learn yours. The best strategy is one that is unknown to others, and the most effective warrior is one who enters the enemy camp unrecognized. To accomplish any objective, depict yourself as one for whom the objective is inconceivable. Many might be capable of stopping you. But who would think they had to?
Olavo de Carvalho explains why Liberation Theology is alive and well in Latin America.
Read Part I here.
If the child and even its name came ready-made from the KGB, that does not mean that its adoptive parents, Gutierrez, Boff, and Betto have no merit whatsoever in spreading it throughout the world. On the contrary, they played a crucial part in the victories won by liberation theology and in the mystery of its survival.
The three of them, but mainly the two Brazilians, have always acted on two different levels at once. On the one hand, they produced artificial theological arguments for the consumption of the clergy, the intellectuals, and the Roman Curia. On the other hand, they spread sermons and popular speeches and intensely devoted themselves to the creation of a network of activists which would become well-known as “basic ecclesial communities”[i] and would make up the seed of the Workers’ Party, which has been governing Brazil since 2002.
In his book And the Church Became People (E a Igreja se Fez Povo)[ii], Boff confesses that the whole thing was a “bold plan,” hatched according to the strategy of the slow and subtle “war of position” advocated by the founder of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci. The strategy consisted in gradually infiltrating all the decisive positions in seminaries and lay universities, in religious orders, in the Catholic media, and in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, without making much noise, until the time was ripe for the great revolution to come into view.
John Paul I, soon after the 1978 conclave that elected him pope, had a meeting with twenty Latin American cardinals, and he became astonished at the fact that most of them overtly supported liberation theology. On that occasion, they informed him that there were more than 100 thousand “basic ecclesial communities” spreading out revolutionary propaganda in Latin America. Until then John Paul I had known liberation theology as a theoretical speculation only. He was far from thinking that it could have been transformed into a political force of such dimensions.
In 1984, when Cardinal Ratzinger began to dismantle liberation theology’s theoretical arguments, four years had already passed since those “basic ecclesial communities” were transfigured into a mass political party, the Brazilian Workers’ Party, whose members and activists definitively do not know anything about any theological speculation, but can swear that Jesus Christ was a socialist because that is what the party leaders tell them to believe.
In other words, liberation theology’s feigned theological argumentation had already done its job of being food for debate and undermining the Church’s authority, and was functionally replaced by overt preaching of socialism, where the apparently scholarly effort to bring Christianity and Marxism together yielded the right of way to the peddling of cheap clichés and slogans in which the mass of activists neither looked for nor could find any rational argumentation, but only those symbols that expressed and reinforced their sense of belonging to a group and their fighting spirit.
The success of this second enterprise was proportional to the failure of the trio in the field of theology. In the United States or in Europe, an opinion-maker who aspires to be a political leader may not survive his own discredit, but in Latin America, and especially in Brazil, the mass of activists is leagues away from any intellectual concern and will continue to find their leader credible as long as he is backed up by his party and has enough political support.
And in the case of Boff and Betto, they received nothing less than formidable support. When the guerrillas which the Latin American Organization for Solidarity (OLAS, founded in 1966 by Fidel Castro) had spread throughout the subcontinent failed miserably, left-wing activists took refuge in non-military leftist organizations, which were putting into practice Antonio Gramsci’s ideas about “cultural revolution” and “war of position.” Gramsci’s strategy made use of massive infiltration of communist agents in all institutions of civil society, especially in the educational system and the media, to spread punctual, isolated, non-labelled, communist proposals so as to produce, little by little, an overall effect which could not be identified as communist propaganda, but through which the Party, or similar organization, could end up mentally controlling society with “the omnipresent and invisible power of a divine commandment, of a categorical imperative” (sic).[iii]
No other instrument could better serve that purpose than the “basic ecclesial communities,” where communist proposals could be sold with the Christianity label. In Brazil, the overwhelming growth of those organizations resulted, in 1980, in the foundation of the Workers’ Party, which initially presented itself as an innocent pro-labor union movement of the Christian left, and which only gradually revealed its strong ties with the Cuban government and various guerilla and drug-trafficking organizations. The greatest leader of the Party, President Luís Inácio “Lula”da Silva, has always acknowledged Boff and Betto as the masterminds of both his organization and of himself.
Born in the bosom of the Latin American communism by means of the “basic ecclesial communities,” the Party would not take long to return the favor by establishing, in 1990, an organization under the anodyne denomination of Foro de São Paulo (São Paulo Forum) whose purpose was to unify the many leftists currents in Latin America and become the strategic headquarters for the communist movement in the subcontinent.
According to Frei Betto’s own testimony, the decision of founding the São Paulo Forum was made in a meeting between Lula, Fidel Castro, and Frei Betto himself, in Havana. For seventeen years the São Paulo Forum had grown in secret, having a membership of nearly 200 organizations, and mixing together legally established political parties, kidnapping groups as the Chilean MIR, and drug-trafficking gangs as the FARC— which denied having anything to do with drug trafficking, but traded, every year, 200 tons of Colombian cocaine for weapons that Brazilian drug-dealer Fernandinho Beira-Mar smuggled from Lebanon.
When Lula was elected president of Brazil in 2002, the São Paulo Forum had already become the largest and most powerful political organization that had ever been at work in the whole Latin American territory. Its very existence, however, was totally unknown to the Brazilian people and cynically denied when a researcher would blow the whistle about it.
The general concealment of the São Paulo Forum, an operation to which the entire Brazilian mainstream media contributed for seventeen years with exemplary obstinacy, is one of the most curious and depressing episodes of the history of the press in the world. From that episode one can have an idea of the power that the pool of left-wing parties associated with the Workers’ Party exerts over the entire class of opinion-makers in Brazil. But the curtain of obsequious silence extended far beyond Brazilian national borders: in 2001 during a panel discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., two “experts in Latin America,” Kenneth Maxwell and Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, openly denied the existence of the São Paulo Forum.
For many years, based upon extensive documentation gathered by Brazilian attorney José Carlos Graça Wagner, I denounced the São Paulo Forum’s activities. But I was the only columnist of a major Brazilian newspaper to do it, and all kinds of pressure and threats were made against me to prevent me from doing so. I even published online all the minutes of the Forum’s general assemblies since its foundation, but even in face of such irrefutable proofs the slavish self-censorship of the Brazilian journalistic class did not yield even an inch in its obstinacy in denying the facts.
The media blockade reached its peak of intensity when, in 2005, Mr Lula, already President of Brazil, made a detailed confession about the existence and the activities of the São Paulo Forum. His speech was published on the Presidency of the Republic’s official website, but even so, the mainstream media in full force insisted on pretending that they did not know anything about it.
Finally, in 2007, the Workers’ Party itself, feeling that the cloak of protective secrecy was no longer necessary, came to trumpet the feats of the São Paulo Forum to the four corners of the earth, as they had always been obvious, banal, and well-known. Only then the newspapers allowed themselves to speak about it.
Why could the secret be revealed at that point? Because, in Brazil, all the ideological opposition had already been eliminated, and what remained as “politics” was only electoral vying for offices and denunciation of corruption scandals coming from within the left itself; whereas, on a subcontinental scale, twelve countries were already ruled by parties that belonged to the São Paulo Forum. The “basic ecclesial communities” had risen to power. At that point who would be concerned with theological debates or ethereal objections made twenty years earlier by a cardinal who took the literal sense of the writings of liberation theologians in a serious manner, but barely scratched the political surface of the problem?
The Workers’ Party, throughout its twelve years in power, managed to expel all the conservative opposition from the political scene while it shared the political arena with some of its more radical allies and a soft center-left opposition, governing the country by means of bribery, murder of inconvenient people, and systematic appropriation of funds of state companies to finance the growth of the Party. The rise of kleptocracy culminated in the Petrobrás case, where the siphoning of funds from state companies reached the level of billions of dollars, becoming, according to the international media, the largest case of business corruption of all times. This succession of scandals brought about some discomfort within the left itself and also constant complaining in the media, which led the Workers’ Party’s intelligentsia to rally in full force to defend their party. Mr Betto and Mr Boff have been busy with this kind of activity for more than a decade, and theology, in their business, is only an occasional supplier of figures of speech which they design to adorn the Party’s propaganda. Liberation theology, at last, embraced its true calling
To be continued.
Translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.
[i] The mass of activists, as distinguished from their leadership, is called, in communist technical language, “base.” Not by coincidence liberation theology uses that word to name its “basic ecclesial communities.” The flock had to become “base” so that the shepherds could become political commissars.
[ii] Boff, Leonardo. E a Igreja se Fez Povo. Eclesiogênese: A Igreja que Nasce do Povo (São Paulo: Círculo do Livro, 1988.), especially chapters XII and XIII.
[iii] Olavo de Carvalho, A Nova Era e a Revolução Cultural: Fritjof Capra & Antonio Gramsci, 4th ed. (Campinas: Vide Editorial, 2014).
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