Introduction to the Philosophy Seminar – Part 1

How Do Cultural Shifts Happen? A lecture originally delivered online in Portuguese as an introduction for Mr. Olavo de Carvalho’s Brazilian Philosophy Seminar. 


I am going to provide you with an outline of the general program of the Philosophy Seminar, a course which will last for approximately five years. Keep in mind that this program, which I will delineate here in a rather vague manner, may be changed later, should that be necessary because of the performance of the students or should any other circumstance so require.

The general objective of this course is to prepare students to react philosophically to the cultural and historical changes taking place today. For this reason, I would like to start off by remarking that, as a rule, major cultural changes happen in a very peculiar manner, since rarely, if ever, is a body of ideas, values, and symbols abandoned because it has been directly confronted, refuted, or overcome. Rather, major changes in culture are usually a consequence of the substitution of a dominant intellectual class by a newly emerging one, having a distinct social origin and different concerns—that is, with its  attention focused on other themes and questions. Thus, along with the new intellectual class comes a new culture, which takes over society in such a way that the old one becomes incomprehensible and inaccessible in a very short period of time. So one should never mistake the historical supplantation of one cultural trend by another for an intellectually valid confrontation between a new culture and an older one. From the fact that a body of ideas has been abandoned historically, it does not necessarily follow that it has been refuted or impugned in any intellectually valid way whatsoever.

Actually, no such impugnation ever occurs. There are no examples in history of shifts in cultural trends that happened because an earlier prevailing body of ideas was actually examined and refuted by the advocates of a new intellectual order. Besides, rather than entailing a major cultural change, the scrutiny of a body of ideas presupposes the preservation of the cultural framework to which the ideas under discussion belong. That is to say, those people involved in examining and debating them are still discussing the same set of issues that spring from that framework.

Nietzsche once remarked that only that which is replaced is completely destroyed, and I think his observation serves well to summarize how a major cultural change really takes place. Because a shift in culture does not result from intellectual debate, but rather from the replacement of certain prevailing ideas with others in such a way that the previous ones are simply forgotten, left behind.  While certain ideas are still dominant, it is a fact that they have not been refuted in the public eye, and after they have been forgotten, what is the use of refuting them? As a result, the so-called “progress” of culture or “progress” of knowledge is in truth a series of instances of forgetting, of absolutely remarkable losses.

Besides, as the new ideas take the place of and no longer need to be confronted with the old ones, the number of intellectual perspectives available for judging the new preponderant ideas naturally decreases—a process which is somewhat uniform in the history of the West. Put another way, it is possible to observe in our civilization a general tendency towards uniformity resulting from the way cultural changes occur. For whenever certain prevailing intellectual perspectives are abandoned and new ones completely take their place, what follows is that the old conceptions gradually become unimaginable or unthinkable (except for a very small number of people who can still understand them). It is precisely because of this that new ideas are able to dominate the cultural scene with great freedom of action, for not only do they not need to be upheld against the previous culture, but also they only admit to be contradicted or discussed within their own intellectual framework. This, naturally, tends to reduce culture into a closed system.

In short, major cultural changes comprise two distinct processes: the forgetting of old ideas, through which the new generations educated within a new intellectual culture become unable even to imagine the previous one; and the complete elimination of old ideas, carried out to the point that the previous culture itself becomes inconceivable except in the form of simplified stereotypes created  by the new culture for the sole purpose of its own glorification.

This means that all cultural, intellectual “progress” actually consists in a series of impoverishments, of losses, in a series of memory losses, so to speak. But not only that, because when a loss of memory lasts long enough, it becomes a loss of capability; and specifically in the case of cultural changes, it becomes a complete loss of those intellectual and imaginative capabilities required to comprehend a previous culture.

In periods of cultural change the new ideas emerge as overwhelmingly powerful, like a large mass of water that takes over an empty space. For this reason they easily become  instruments of social action and produce social changes at a rather fast pace—a phenomenon that can be observed throughout the last four or five centuries. A case in point is the rise of the so-called “humanist” class around the 1500s. The humanists, as opposed to the previous class of intellectuals, no longer had a scholastic philosophical education. They received an education in rhetoric based on the rhetoricians of antiquity—especially Quintilian and Cicero—and devoted themselves to the literary and the language arts. Their particular field of expertise was, therefore, the art of persuasion, and they soon began to apply the rules of ancient rhetoric to their own national literatures and write in their own national languages, which enabled them to gain a large readership among the European nobility, a class which had been completely alien to the world of higher culture during the Middle Ages.

The medieval nobility was characterized by its utter lack of education. Consider, for example, Charlemagne, during whose government, by the way, the first universal literacy project was launched. He remained illiterate until he was thirty-two years old, and he only consented to be educated after much insistence. The learning of literacy, it was then thought, was an occupation suitable either for monks or for women; noblemen were not supposed to devote themselves to such a thing.

However, it was precisely among Europe’s dominant class, the aristocracy, that a new culture became quickly widespread soon after the appearance of the humanists. This success among the nobility, as I have pointed out before, was due to the fact that the humanists wrote in their own national languages and no longer used the highly complex logical techniques of scholasticism (which were instruments of proof), but employed instruments of persuasion (that is, of psychological action).

But if we ask ourselves whether in that period there was any intellectual confrontation between the humanists and the schoolmen, the answer is that, in fact, there was none. Humanism merely took over an empty space, and quite naturally the previous culture was left behind.

Not long after that, when the so-called modern scientific culture arises with Newton, Bacon, Galileo, and the like, once again the same phenomenon takes place. What could have remained of the scholastic culture is once again set aside in favor of a new rising culture, which in addition came with a promise of certain technological applications that could directly result in an expansion of the power of the dominant classes. Thus, to say that the modern scientific culture brought about progress in knowledge is a complete mistake. One could say that it brought about a very profound social change, but not that knowledge as such progressed. For there is progress only when a previously conquered territory is preserved, absorbed, expanded and transcended into a larger structure.

Besides, the few historical instances of an objectively verifiable progress in knowledge are quite different from those major cultural changes, from those events which Thomas Kuhn, for example, calls “scientific revolutions.” In fact, the so-called “scientific revolutions” do not bring about progress of any sort; they merely produce a change of perspective, and, as we know, a change of directions is not necessarily  progress. To progress is to go further in the same direction.  For example, if  a person changes  his activity altogether, or if  he changes  the subject completely during a discussion, then  he does not even have means for comparing what he is doing now with what he did before, for one thing has simply nothing to do with the other.


Student: When you examine the major cultural changes in the West taking into account those distinctions you have mentioned,  are there any historical examples of  real advance, of actual progress in cultural matters?


Olavo de Carvalho: Yes, there are. When you consider, for instance, the evolution of Christian doctrine, from the first fathers to scholasticism, you can see that there was a real progress in Christian theology; for nothing was lost, the former culture was not left behind. All that had been achieved in a previous stage of Christian thought was assimilated and merged with new elements into a new theoretical scheme. This is what happened, for example, with all the novel elements that had been absorbed from Aristotle. When St. Albert the Great and Saint Thomas Aquinas began reading Aristotle and then trying to formulate Christian doctrine in Aristotelian terms, they did not simply forsake the former steps taken by Christian doctrine and move on. Rather, they rearranged them into a new theoretical framework. So, nothing was lost, and this is precisely what always needs to be done. So, you can say that from the early fathers up to scholasticism actual progress happened. Finally, bear in mind that all of this  took place within the same culture—there was no cultural revolution, no breaking apart from the previous stages of Christian culture.

However, with the emergence of the humanists, there was a rupture. To me, one of the most obvious things about the humanists—when you read Erasmus, for example, or even Descartes (who had studied with representatives of scholasticism)—is that they do not quite understand what the schoolmen were doing. The humanists then created a new image of the scholastics that had nothing to do with the historical reality of scholasticism, but that had a lot to do with the self-justification and self-glorification of the newly emerging culture.

When the Enlightenment culture arose, it was also the result of this same sort of mutation I have been talking about. It was a new culture that surged into being thanks to the emergence of a new class of intellectuals and that represented a break with the previous cultural regime.

The Enlightenment intellectuals, however, were not humanists or scholars like Erasmus and they were not  schoolmen, nor natural scientists. They were a fourth type of intellectuals: they were the precursors of present-day journalists. Voltaire, for example, was not an old-style rhetorician, a scholastic philosopher, or a natural scientist. So what was he then? He was a journalist; in fact, the first modern journalist. We can say that it was during the Enlightenment period that the concept of an opinion-maker was born. These new intellectuals, these opinion-makers, constituted a distinct social class with  a distinct social origin, and they quickly created a series of new trends that reshaped culture and rendered both scholasticism, and the direct predecessors of the Enlightenment virtually incomprehensible.

For instance, when you compare the entire work of Isaac Newton and those parts of it which Voltaire selected and summarized in his book The Elements of Newton’s Philosophy, you realize that there are two different Isaac Newtons: the historical Newton and a version of Newton adapted to serve the purposes of the Enlightenment—Sir Isaac Newton as portrayed by Voltaire.

The Voltairian Newton is so radically different from the historical one that it is hard to see any similarity between them. Historically, Newton’s basic purpose was to restore a kind of prophetic science that could allow him to interpret history in light of the Bible. That was the purpose behind all of his works, including his works on physics. The intellectuals of the Enlightenment, however, misrepresented Newton: they took his physics, cut it off from the rest of his work, and threw the remainder away in order to create a pseudo-historical Newton adapted to meet the needs of their rising culture.

From the point of view of a person who seeks to acquire high culture—whether he is a university student, a seminarian, or anything else—, the self-legitimating proclivity built into every cultural paradigm means that a significant part of his education will consist in the falsification and obliteration of the past. In other words, the culture of the time in which a person lives shapes his mindset; and it does so particularly by teaching him what is to be rejected or left behind. This happens because self-glorification is an important component of every culture. The idea of historical progress, for example, is built into the self-glorifying proclivity of a culture as a permanent self-legitimating mechanism.

A most remarkable thing is what happens to people who are historical relativists, who are not supposed to believe in any kind of historical progress. In theory they indeed claim that historical progress does not exist and that nobody should think about history in terms of more and less advanced ages, but in practice they consider themselves far superior to all those who came before them. So, even historical relativists cannot escape the worldview created by the ideology of progress.

Now, progress as a fact is one thing, progress as an ideology quite another. The existence of progress is a fact that cannot be denied, since it is true that sometimes things do indeed get better (even though it is also true that some other times they get worse). And since the existence of a number of instances of actual progress is an indisputable historical reality, it is not possible for someone to reject the idea of progress (as historical relativists do).

However, if it is true that nobody can be seriously against it, it is also true that nobody can be seriously in favor of the “progressivist concept of history.”

Let us consider this conception of progress and see whether it is a scientifically viable notion. What is progress? What does it mean? “Progress” is a unit of measure generally used to assess whether a certain previous time in history reached an expected level of advancement or not. But what is the opposite of progress? Is it being behindhand, delayed? Or is it being backward? Well, since time only moves forward, and given that it is absolutely impossible for it to move backwards, the concept of backwardness does not make any sense.

Besides, since every process in time implies change, and since in any given period of history some things decay and some others flourish, then any time in history can be regarded as progressive in some respect and as decadent in some other. No historical time, however, can be logically seen as being behindhand or delayed in terms of development. There is no becoming delayed or behindhand in history because there is no such thing as a historical schedule that all civilizations, all societies, must follow. In history, there is no predetermined date and time at which a society should obligatorily reach a stage of development. Thus the idea that a society or civilization can be belated in development is simply a mindless logical byproduct of the idea of progress. Even though we can say that a society has progressed, we cannot say that a society is behindhand or belated. Progress is a historically existing phenomenon; belatedness is not. We cannot say, for example, that a society that has remained unchanged for five thousand years is “belated.” Even though this society may be seen as lagging behind when compared to some other, this really does not matter, because the comparatively underdeveloped society is not actually part of the other. Now, a society may always abandon its own criteria for evaluating its progress, begin to judge itself by the degree of development of another, and arrive at the conclusion that it is “belated;” but this would be the end of this society.

In short, the idea of a belated society is self-contradictory, because there is no way a society can fall behind a universal schedule of development that is actually nonexistent. The notion of progress, however, can be accepted as scientifically valid.


Student: But it is possible to measure progress within a single culture, right? According to your theory of previously achieved levels of development, for example, one can do this by verifying whether the new generations have reached the level of development set by the prior cultural stages in a society.


Olavo: Yes, it is possible, but only within a single culture. Yet, even when a new generation has not reached the level of development set by the previous generations, you cannot say the new generation is behindhand or delayed. But what you can say is that the culture has deteriorated.

It is not hard for anyone to understand what deterioration is. Anyone who has ever been healthy and got sick, or who has had a lot of money and lost it, knows what deterioration is. The word “deterioration” does correspond to real phenomena, and more than that, deterioration, in its various manifestations, is a permanent fact, a permanent possibility of human life. Belatedness or behindhandedness, on the other hand, only exists as a real phenomenon where there is a predetermined scale or schedule of progression. For example, when it takes longer than the time estimated by someone for him to attain a goal he set for himself, then we can say he is belated. Historically, however, I do not think that it is possible to say with any seriousness that a society or a culture is behindhand in respect of progress.

When people classify this or that society or culture as “belated,” what  they are actually doing is measuring a certain culture’s or society’s level of progress by the standards of some other, based upon the completely stupid assumption that one society should be just like the other. And this assumption becomes particularly stupid when people judge their own culture based upon it, because their measurement of their own culture’s degree of progress by the standards of another actually amounts to destroying their culture. For when a culture accepts to be measured by the standards of another, then it means this culture has already lost its autonomy and become merely a subculture of the other. This culture would have to destroy itself, to cease to be itself in order to enter on the track of progress.

Now, even if it can be proven that, historically speaking, it does not make any sense to say that behindhandedness is the opposite of progress, reasoning in terms of progress and belatedness is such an entrenched practice in our present culture that it has almost become an automatism.

People talk about “delayed” societies. They say that Zambia, for instance, is a delayed society. But in relation to what standard of progress is it behindhand? Do they mean that Zambia should be New York City? Where did they get the idea that one society should be like another? It makes no sense. One could say that the situation in Zambia is terrible, that Zambian people are starving to death, that the country is ruined, and so on, but they cannot say that Zambia is behindhand in respect of progress. Saying that a society is belated, stuck in a time warp, delayed in its progress, and the like has become a surrogate for expressing a negative judgment about that society. For example, to avoid saying that a certain society is in a terrible situation, people will say that it is “delayed.”

The problem is that when people enter the realm of high culture the first thing they receive is the impact of the current high culture, and along with it they also receive all its limitations, all of its intellectual blinders, prohibitions, prejudices which will allow those people to develop only in certain directions. This means that the mere existence of an established culture implies the concomitant existence of, so to speak, predetermined intellectual careers. That is to say, a predetermined blueprint for each and every intellectual profession.


End of the first part.


Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This lecture was delivered online in December 2008. Translation from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota and proofreading by Benjamin Mann.

Stephen Baskerville is interviewed on the war against fathers in the court system

US News Director Robert O’Hara interviews IAI’S fellow and professor from Patrick Henry College, Stephen Baskerville on the topic of fathers’ rights and the crisis in the American family courts.


JR Nyquist explains why the NSA was monitoring Merkel

In the context of the crisis in Ukraine, Jeffrey R. Nyquist, author of the book, Origins of the Fourth World War, and fellow of the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought (IAI) explains why German Chancellor Minister Angela Merkel was being monitored by NSA.  Nyquist was interviewed by Cliff Kincaid from America’s Survival.


Know the History of the São Paulo Forum, the Most Powerful Political Organization in Latin America.

Below is a rough timeline for the history of the São Paulo Forum and the many articles and lectures Olavo de Carvalho has made available to the Brazilian and American public, blowing the whistle about the plans of the organization that was created by Fidel Castro and former Brazilian President Lula to gradually turn Latin America into a socialist bloc.

For more than 15 years, Olavo de Carvalho, philosopher, journalist, and President of the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought single-handedly fought a battle to warn Brazilian and the international public about the plans and activities of the São Paulo Forum, an organization which gathers together politicians, presidents and congressmen,  intellectuals, political parties, and criminal organizations from more than 22 countries in Latin American and the Caribbean and whose goals include, in the words of Fidel Castro, “bringing the United States to its knees.”





During a meeting, which took place on January 8, 1989, Castro and leaders of the Brazilian Workers’ Party decided that if Luiz Inácio Lula da SIlva did not win the Brazilian presidential elections at the end of the year, they would establish an international organization to spearhead and coordinate the whole Latin American left and bring the United States to its knees, which was Castro’s life purpose, as he himself had stated many times. Knowing in advance about the fall of the Soviet Union, Castro foresaw that the future of the Communist revolution in Latin America would depend on unifying all left-wing parties, movements, legal and criminal organizations, and establish a supranational union on the continent, something that Hugo Chável would later name Union of Latin American Socialist Republics (in Spanish, URSAL).


The Chilean MIR (Movement of Revolutionary Left) kidnaps millionaire Brazilian businessman Abilio Diniz, keeps him prisoner for 6 days in a small room dug in the bottom of a well, and asks for a ransom of $30 million to fund its revolutionary activities against the Pinochet government.

In the first democratic elections in Brazil after 30 years of military dictatorship, the Workers’ Party emerges as a powerful political organization. However, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, its presidential candidate, lost in his first attempt to win the presidency, running against a somewhat unknown politician named Fernando Collor de Mello.

In the next year, both the Wokers’ Party, Lula, and the Chilean Mir will be dicussing strategies for the Latin American left at the first meeting of an organization which will be known as the São Paulo Forum.




Convened by the Brazilian Workers’ Party in the month of July, the São Paulo Forum is founded and presided over by Fidel Castro and former Brazilian president (but then defeated presidential candidate and leader of the Workers’ Party) Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, with the avowedly purpose, in Castro’s words, of “reconquering in Latin America the empire that has been lost in Eastern Europe.” The first meeting took place in the city of São Paulo—hence the name of the organization—and gathered together representatives of 42 leftist political organizations, parties, and movements from all throughout Latin America. Among its members are:

National Liberation Army (Colombia)

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

Alternative Democratic Pole in Colombia

Workers’ Party (Brazil)

Cuban Communist Party

MIR (Chile)

Broad Front (Uruguay)

Socialist Party (Chile)

United Left of Peru

Free Bolivia Movement

Socialist Movement of Bolivia

Ecuadorian Socialist Party

Fifth Republic Movement of Venezuela (now the United Socialist Party of Venezuela)

Party of Democratic Revolution (Mexico)

Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (Nicaragua)

Guatemalan National Revolution Unit

Democratic Revolutionary Party of Panama

Lavalas Movement (Haiti)

In a document named “São Paulo Declaration,” the members of the Forum stated their goals, summarized their internal debates, and expressed their intention to “seek to advance agreed-upon proposals for taking unified action in the anti-imperialist and popular struggle.” From its inception the “Forum,” more than simply discussing issues and exchanging information, intends to plan, organize, and take action. Some paragraphs later, after proclaiming its rejection of a new form adopted by the old American imperialism, the members of the São Paulo Forum state that they seek to establish, “in contrast with the proposed integration under imperialist domination, the foundations of a new concept of unity and continental integration.”

Click here to read an English translation of the “São Paulo Declaration.”




The second meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Mexico City, from June 12th to 15th, assembling 68 participants from 22 countries from all over Latin America. The meeting is convened by Mexico’s Party of Democratic Revolution and also is attended by 12 political parties and organizations from Europe, Canada, and the United States.

The SPF reaffirms its commitment to fight “American imperialism” and “neo-liberal economic policies” in a public statement called “Mexico Declaration” and expresses that it considers as it primary “duty of solidarity” “the defense of the sovereignty of Cuba and the making of efforts to thwart the plans of the American imperialist power against the Cuban Revolution.”



The third meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Managua, Nicaragua, by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). 61 left-wing political parties and movements from 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries and 60 guest organizations from North American, Europe, Africa, and Asia participate in the meetings of the umbrella organization.






The fourth meeting of the São Paulo Forum takes place in Havana. The spearhead of the Communist revolution in Latin America has grown in number in the period of one year. Now counting with 112 member organizations, the 1993 Forum’s meeting is attended by 25 guest organizations from Latin American and 44 others coming from North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. In its final declaration, the members of the São Paulo Forum renew their “condenation of the imoral and imperialist economic blockade agaisnt Cuba and make a committment to take serious political actions conducive to its lifting.”




Lula, president and founder of the São Paulo Forum, is the Workers’ Party presidential candidate for the second time, running against Fernando Henrique Cardoso, of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party. Cardoso received 44% of the votes against Lula’s 22%.



Olavo de Carvalho meets José Carlos Graça Wagner, an attorney from the city of São Paulo, who was the first man to research, document, and analyze the activities of the São Paulo Forum.


The fifth meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Montevideo, Uruguay, gathering 65 delegations from Latin America, North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. As 1993 and 1994 were general election years in many of the countries in Latin America, and as many of the members of the São Paulo Forum participated in the elections in their respective countries, a critical assessment of the various electoral processes is one of the main topics of the fifth meeting.  To the Forum’s members, the 1993 and 1994 elections manifested “the best overall results that left-wing parties have obtained so far,” for “the political parties that are part of the São Paulo Forum have elected 300 Congressmen, 60 Senators, several governors, hundreds of mayors, thousands of city council members, totalling 25% of the electorate of their countries.”

Hugo Chávez, then recently released from jail for his attempts to overthrow the Venezuelan government, travels to Montevideo to join the São Paulo Forum as a member.




The sixth meeting of the São Paulo Forum takes place in San Salvador.




The seventh meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The Brazilian Landless Movement (in Portuguese, MST) and the Workers’ Party were defined as arms of a single body, pursuing the revolution.




The eighth meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Mexico City.

Lula, president and founder of the São Paulo Forum, is the Workers’ Party presidential candidate for the third time.




The ninth meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Managua, Nicaragua.





Olavo de Carvalho first publicly mentions the São Paulo Forum in a foreword he wrote for A Face Oculta da Estrela: Retrocesso, Falsidade e Ilusões (The Hidden Face of the Star: Retrocess, Insincerity, and Illusions), a book by Adolpho João de Paula Coelho. In his foreword, titled “Making Essential Information Available Again,” after explaining what Antonio Gramsci’s strategy for cultural revolution is and how it has been successfully applied in Brazil, Carvalho points out that the goals of that strategy have been so well accomplished that, “today, it is in the assuredness, in the pompous and arrogant ease with which people who do not know anything about the subject assure us that Communism is a thing of the past while slavishly repeating Communist slogans (being unaware that they are Communist slogans) that lies the best guarantee that the plans announced by Fidel Castro at the São Paulo Forum will be conducted with the foolish complicity of millions of quiet and self-satisfied fools.”

Recolocando em circulação informações essenciais (Foreword to a book, May 15)

Making Essential Information Available Again





In an article titled “What crime?,” Olavo de Carvalho discusses the cultural and political reasons behind an attempt by a group of journalists and public prosecutors to block an investigation being conducted by the Brazilian Army into the connections between Brazilian left-wing movements and the FARC. According to Mr. de Carvalho, “If this [attempt] is not an act of revolutionary disinformation, in the best KGB style, then at least this is a substantial support that is offered, with prodigious unconsciousness and levity, to Fidel Castro’s plan of “reconquering in Latin America what was lost in Eastern Europe.” The “cultural revolution,” without encountering the the slightest resistance, has easily duped public opinion (after having numbed it for 40 years). So much so that the public now seem to take the allegations against the investigation at face value, without even wondering whether the crime under investigation is not a million times more serious than mere words, however offensive, found in an investigator’s report.”

Qual é o crime? (Jornal da Tarde, August 30)

What crime?



José Carlos Graça Wagner is interviewed by Diario Las Americas, a Miami newspaper, on the 2nd of September. Published on the first page, and titled “Nueva Guerra Fria en el continente dentro del marco del Foro de São Paulo” (A New Cold War in the Continent within the Framework of the São Paulo Forum), the interviewed brought explosive information about the plans of the São Paulo Forum for Latin America and the so-called Princeton Pact, an agreement between the São Paulo Forum and the Inter-American Dialogue, a United States based think tank, in which both organizations decided to work together on a number of common goals for the Latin American left, among which were (a) the transformation of guerrillas into regular political parties, (b) the weakening of the military of the various Latin American countries, and (c) the crippling of the Catholic Church through Liberation Theology, since it was foreseeable that the Church would strongly oppose abortion rights and gay marriage.



The tenth meeting of the São Paulo Forum takes place in Havana and gathers together 518 representatives of left-wing movements and parties from 81 countries of Latin America, the Caribbean, North American, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Middle East. In a declariation issued at the end of the meeting, the members of the organization state that Cuba is a setting of “a high symbolic value, because of what that country represents for the left of the continent, because of its dignity, as an example of resistance and because of its steadfast commitment to the principles that guide the Forum.”


On December 5, The Orlando Sentinel publishes a brief story (“Leftists Open Havana Meeting”) about the 2001 meeting of the São Paulo Forum in Havana. The note says that “hundreds of left-wing politicians and activists from across Latin America began a four-day meeting in Havana on Tuesday in a bid to unite their efforts against U.S. and capitalist influence around the world. Cuban President Fidel Castro joined 400 delegates at the opening of the 10th meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum.”

Leftists Open Havana Meeting


Also in the same month, the Minuteman Institute for National Defense Studies publishes a “strategic warning” about the São Paulo Forum in which it is stated that:  “The member organizations of the Sao Paulo Forum include several that are on the U.S. State Department’s list of active terrorist groups, including the Colombian FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombiana) and ELN (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional); the Peruvian MRTA (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) and the Chilean MIR. In addition to the groups listed below, Granma Internacional, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, is reporting the attendance of Zuhair Dhaif, head of the Latin America Division of the Iraqi Baathist Party, and an unnamed Libyan representative at the Tenth Session of the Sao Paulo Forum in Havana.”

Strategic Warning: São Paulo Forum



On the 22nd, The Weekly Standard publishes “Brazil’s Nut,” an article by Dr. Constantine C. Menges in which he discusses Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s ties with Castro and Latin American terrorrist organizations and the significance fo the American national security of his likely victory in the October 2002 presidential election. Among other things, Dr. Menges states that “Da Silva’s Workers’ Party has a history of extreme leftism and anti-market policies. Though da Silva has tried to moderate his image, this is clearly an electoral deception. The Workers’ Party’s candidate said recently, “our objectives continue to be the same, but the methods, the manner in which we reach that goal, have changed.” We can believe that the Workers’ Party will be consistent in its anti-market, anti-American ideology and purposes.”

Brazil’s Nut (The Weekly Standard, July 22, 2002)



On August 2, 2002, Dr. Constantine C. Menges a senior foreign policy adviser to Ronald Reagan, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and one of the architects of Ronald Reagan’s effort to defeat the Soviet Union, publishes an article about the São Paulo Forum in The Washington Times. In his piece “Blocking a New Axis of Evil,” Dr. Menges says that the then Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da SIlva “makes no secret of his sympathies. He has been an ally of Mr. Castro for more than 25 years. With Mr. Castro’s support, Mr.da Silva founded the Sao Paulo Forum in 1990 as an annual meeting of communist and other radical terrorist and political organizations from Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. This has been used to coordinate and plan terrorist and political activities around the world and against the United States. The last meeting was held in Havana, Cuba in December 2001. It involved terrorists from Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and sharply condemned the Bush administration and its actions against international terrorism.”

Blocking a New Axis of Evil



In an article titled “Harvest Time,” Olavo de Carvalho comments on the fact that nobody among the Brazilian political analysts and commentators has established any connection between the activities of the São Paulo Forum and the coming Brazilian presidential elections, in which all four main candidates share the same leftist ideology. Nobody but Liberation Theologian Leonardo Boff who, being full of high hopes for a future Communist Brazil, praises the new political reality of the nation by saying that with the coming election: “The time for the Brazilian revolution has arrived. The sowing has already been done. Now it is harvest time.”

A hora da colheita (“Harvest Time,” O Globo, September 7)

Harvest Time

Terrorisms and Globalisms (Zero Hora, September 8, 2002)


Dr. Constantine C. Menges sends a letter to Olavo de Carvalho in which he agrees with the Brazilian philosopher’s analysis of the São Paulo Forum.

Letter from Constantine C. Menges to Olavo de Carvalho (September 19)



On October 3, 2002, The Washington Times publishes an article about the São Paulo Forum by Deroy Murdock, a Senior Fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. “Brewing in Brazil” is an interview with Dr. Constantine C. Menges in which Dr. Menges discusses the likely victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the presidential elections, his appetite for atomic bombs, his support of terrorism, his admiration for Hugo Chávez, and, last but not least, his role in the São Paulo Forum.

Brewing in Brazil


On the 15th, Lowell Phillips, a free-lance writer, political commentator, and associate editor of Toogood Reports, publishes an article in which he expresses his concerns about the likely victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the presidential run-off elections in Brazil. A Cuban-Venezuelan-Brazilian Axis could pose threats to American national security, especially through the São Paulo Forum: “There is likely a considerable Cuban intelligence effort ongoing to see to it that Luiz Inacio da Silva does indeed become the next president of Brazil. Da Silva’s links to the Cuban dictator are well established. Along with Castro, he helped to create the Forum of Sao Paulo, which gathers representatives from communist, terrorist, and other revolutionary organizations annually to develop strategies against the United States and methods of securing power in their respective countries. Meetings draw emissaries from all points on the globe of varying philosophies, joined by their common hostility towards the U.S., and have included delegates from Saddam Hussein’s Baathist Party.” And he adds: “The growth of the Cuban-Venezuelan-Brazilian Axis could create massive problems for the U.S. That axis armed with nuclear weapons would radically alter the global power structure. A Castro-led, Marxist-inspired Latin America with a credible nuclear deterrence, allied with Communist China, Middle Eastern terror organizations and their sponsors, along with South American narco-terrorists would constitute a greater danger to the United States than the Soviet Bloc during the Cold War. The recklessness of the players, the wildly divergent objectives and the historic instability of the region would be a volatile mix.”

Marxist-Inspired Cuban-Venezuelan-Brazilian Axis Could Create Massive Problems for U.S. (, October 15, 2002)


Olavo de Carvalho publishes the following articles on the Brazilian press:

Entrevista com o meu vizinho (“Interview With My Neighbor,” Zero Hora, October 6)

Qualquer coisa e o Sr. Summa (“Anything and Mr. Summa,” O Globo, October 19)

A vitória do partido único (“The Victory of the Single Party,” Jornal da Tarde, October 21)


On October 27, the Workers’ Party candidate and co-founder of the São Paulo Forum,  Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, wins the run-off and is elected president of Brazil for the first time.



Luiz Felipe Alencastro, columnist of the prestigious Brazilian magazine Veja and professor of Brazilian History at the University of Paris, Sorbonne, participates in a pannel discussion, along with Kenneth R. Maxwell, Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Inter-American Studies and CFR’s Director Latin of America Studies, on the topic of “Brazil: Political and Economic Challenges Facing the President-elect and the Implications for U.S. Policy in Latin America” held at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washignton, DC, on October 30, 2002. Answering a question posed by a member of the audience about the relations between the Brazilian Workers’ Party and the São Paulo Forum, Professor Alencastro says:  “We never heard about this Foro de São Paulo in Brazil. We don’t know about it, and it’s crazy how that thing grow up and became, that’s one journalist known as a guy very conservative from extreme right, who writes in a weekly in Rio, who started with that thing. We never heard about that.” Maxwell, on the other hand, does acknowledge the existence of the São Paulo Forum: “Of course, that there is a forum, I mean, and there was a meeting in Havana late last year, where, I think, Lula went and Castro was and so on. And there have been these connections. The part of the extreme, but the landless workers movement has enormous connections internationally on the left.”



Olavo de Carvalho publishes more articles on the São Paulo Forum on three different Brazilian newspapers:

Lula e lulas (“The Many Faces of Mr. Lula,”O Globo, November 2)

O excelentíssimo (“His Excellency,” Zero Hora, November 3)

Escolha temível (“Fearful Choice,” O Globo,November 15)

Resumo da encrenca (“Summary of Our Trouble,” Folha de São Paulo, November 18)

Mentiras concisas (“Concise Lies,” O Globo, November 23)



The eleventh meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in Antigua, Guatemala.


Olavo de Carvalho publishes one article about the Forum in the newspaper O Globo:

Metamorfoses ambulantes (“Walking Metamorphoses,” O Globo, December 9)




Os minutos finais de um justo (“The Last Minutes of a Just Man,” O Globo, March 8)



Transparent Roofs (Folha de São Paulo, April 28)



Quem pode contra isso? (“Who Can Take this On?,” O Globo, June 23)



Honra temível (“Fearful Honor,” O Globo, August 30)




The Minuteman Institute for National Defense Studies publishes another “strategic warning” written by Dr. Constantine C. Menges. “Strategic Warning: Brazil” is the complete paper out of which  “Brazil’s Nut,” an artilcle Dr. Menges wrote for The Weekly Standard in July 2002, originated.

A Strategic Warning: Brazil


Olavo de Carvalho’s article:

Simbiose Obscena (“Obscene Symbiosis,” O Globo, February 7)



Mundo paralelo (“Parallel World,” O Globo, March 5)



Falsas Omissões (“False Omissions,” O Globo, May 1)



Desinformação colossal (“Colossal Disinformation,” Zero Hora, July 11)

Desculpe, Dr. Menges (“I Apologize for My Fellow Brazilians, Mr. Menges,” O Globo, July 2004)



Nada é o que é (“Nothing Is What It Is,” Zero Hora, November 14)

Repetindo o aviso (“Repeating a Warning,” Zero Hora, November 28)




Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, o sábio da Veja (“Luiz Felipe Alencastro, the Sage of Veja Magazine,” February 2005)



Recado ao general (“Message to an Army General,”O Globo, March 19)



The twelfth meeting of the São Paulo Forum is held in São Paulo, Brazil.



Obviedades temíveis (“Dreadful Obvieties,” Diário do Comércio, August 1)



Aí vem tudo de novo (“Here Comes Everything Again,” Zero Hora, September 4)

Brazilian Left: From Victory to Defeat to Victory Again (A brief presentation delivered at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Washington D.C., September 15)

President Lula, guilty by confession (Diário do Comércio, September 26)

Apelo público (“A Public Appeal,” September)



São Paulo Forum: The Backbone of Communism and Terrorism Spread in Latin America (Aleksander Boyd Interviews Olavo de Carvalho, VCrisis, November 21)




Neocommunist Rise: The São Paulo Forum and the Strategical Unity of the Latin-American Left (Presentation delivered at the Intelligence Summit 2006,Arlington, VA, February 17 to 20)



Um negócio quase honesto (“An Almost Honest Business,” April 13)



O dever que nos espera (“The Duty Awaiting Us,” Diário do Comércio, May 15)

Brazil: The Usual and Not-So-Usual Suspects (FrontPageMagazine, May 22)



Por trás da subversão (“Behind Subversion,” Diário do Comércio, June 5)

Apelo urgente aos leitores brasileiros (“An Urgent Appeal to my Brazilian Readers,” June 2006)



De quem é a festa? (“Whose Party This Is?,” Diário do Comércio, October 5)

A prova cabal da mentira (“Final Proof of the Lie About the São Paulo Forum,” Diário do Comércio, October 16)

Voto consciente (“Responsible Voting,” censored by Zero Hora, October 29)

Sem novidades, exceto as piores (“No News Except the Very Worst,” Diário do Comércio, October 30)




O Brasil de Bento XVI (“Brazil, According to Benedict the XVI,”Jornal do Brasil, January 11)

O Foro de São Paulo, versão anestésica (“The São Paulo Forum, an Anesthitic Version,” Diário do Comércio, January 15)

Lição repetida (“A Repeated Lesson,” Jornal do Brasil, January 18)



A palavra das Farc (“The Word of the FARC,” February 14)



Salvando o comunismo (“Saving Communism,” Inconfidência, March 2)

Cartas de um terráqueo ao planeta Brasil (“Letters From an Earthling to Planet Brazil,”March 20)



Top-top e fuc-fuc (July 23)



A maior trama criminosa de todos os tempos (“The Greatest Criminal Plot of All times,”Digesto Econômico, September)

Towards a Diagnosis of Latin America (Notes for a Lecture Delivered at the America’s Future Foundation, September 12)

Sem desculpa (“No Excuses,”Diário do Comércio, September 13)

O perigo sou eu (“I Am a Danger,” Diário do Comércio, September 24)



Aprendendo com Peña Esclusa (“Learning From Peña Esclusa,” Diário do Comércio, October 22)



Sonsice obrigatória (“Mandatory Stupidity,”Diário do Comércio, December 6)

Saindo do armário (“Coming Out of the Closet,”Jornal do Brasil, December 13)

O revolucionário aburguesado (“The Bourgeousified Revolutionary,” Diário do Comércio, December 13)



Chega de discussão (“Enough Arguing Already,” Diário do Comércio, January 16)

Digitais do Foro de São Paulo (“The São Paulo Forum’s Fingerprints,” Diário do Comércio, January 28)

Gillez, ou: A solução do enigma (GIlles or the Solution of an Enigma,” Diário do Comércio, January 29)

A força do segredo (“The Power of Secrecy,”Jornal do Brasil, January 31)



Boicotando um herói nacional (Diário do Comércio, February 14)



Agora é tarde (“It Is Too Late Now,” Jornal do Brasil, March 6)

Colaboracionistas (“Collaborationists,”Jornal do Brasil, March 13)



The fourteenth meeting of the São Paulo Forum takes place in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Read the final declaration of the fourteenth meeting.


Confusão e erro (“Confusion and Error,” Diário do Comércio, May 9)

Os homens certos no lugar certo (“The Right Men in the Right Places,”Inconfidência, May 19)



Doméstica apaixonada (Jornal do Brasil, June 5)

Uma nova fachada do Foro de São Paulo (“The São Paulo Forum’s New Façade,” Diário do Comércio, June 9)

“Os” Intelectuais e seu modelo (” ‘The’ Intellectuals and Their Role Model,” Jornal do Brasil, June 26)



Ofício proibido (Jornal do Brasil, July 17)



Falando às pedras (“Speaking to Stones,” Diário do Comércio, August 1)

Por favor, me expliquem (“Please, Explain This to Me,”Jornal do Brasil, August 7)



Fora da lei (“An Outlaw,” Diário do Comércio, October 23)




Da mentira à impostura (“From Lying to Imposture,” March 26)



O deserto dos gringos (“The Desert of the Gringos,” Digesto Econômico, July)

A OEA, órgão do Foro de São Paulo (Diário do Comércio, July 20)



Apostando contra o tempo (Diário do Comércio, August 21)



Olavo de Carvalho Explains Lula and the São Paulo Forum (Aleksander Boyd interviews Olavo de Carvalho, VCrisis, October 22)




Alex Newman interviews Olavo de Carvalho on Communism in Latin America (New American, March 15)



O passado no presente (Diário do Comércio, July 12)

Bandidos e poltrões (Diário do Comércio, July 23)



Rabo à mostra (Diário do Comércio,August 2010)



Grande Descoberta (Diário do Comércio, November 1)



Os barões (Diário do Comércio, December 1)




Ato de Rotina (Diário do Comércio, January 7)



Lição de diplomacia (“A Lesson in DIplomacy,” Diário do Comércio, April 26)



Leftists Across Latin America Gather for São Paulo Forum Congress in Nicaragua (Christian Science Monitor, May 11).



A raposa e o tigre (“The Fox and the Tiger,” Diário do Comércio, June 13)


Perguntas proibidas (“Forbidden Questions,” Diário do Comércio, August 8)

Frivolidade Criminosa (“Criminal Frivolity,” Diário do Comércio, August 25)




Saudades do jornalismo (“How I Miss Journalism,” Diário do Comércio, April 23)



Demolindo Otávio de Ramalho (Mídia Sem Máscara, May 4)

South American Union Seeks Regional Law Enforcement (Alex Newman, The New American, May 7)



Depois do mensalão (Diário do Comércio,October 17)

O maior dos perigos (“The Greatest Danger of All,” Diário do Comércio, October 24)

O óbvio esotérico (“The Esoteric Obvious,” Diário do Comércio, October 31)



Regra geral (“General Rule,” November 3, 2012)



Quem eram os ratos? (“Who Were the Rats?,” Diário do Comércio, December 6)

O preço do colaboracionismo (“The Price of Collaborationism,” Diário do Comércio, December 17)



Duas notas (“Two Notes,” Diário do Comércio, January 8)

Terrorisms and Globalisms

The Brazilian military has not caught up with the new era in international politics and examines the politics of today with outdated categories.

For more than a decade leftist intellectuals infiltrated at Brazil’s National War College and staff colleges around the country have sought to sell to officers of our armed forces the theory that, with the fall of USSR, Communism is over, the world has become unipolar, and the one and only pole, with its growing ambition of world dominance, is the virtual enemy against which strategic plans of national defense should be turned.

Cowed by persistent campaigns of journalistic slander that accuse them of the worst crimes, by the creation of a Ministry of Defense that excludes them from ministerial meetings, by budget cuts that reduce the armed forces to impotence, by the proliferation of environmentalist and pro-Brazilian Indians NGOs that exclude ever larger areas of Amazonian territory from military surveillance, and so on and so forth, many officers tend to accept that theory, which allows them to glimpse, behind so many humiliations they have suffered, the figure of a culprit: American imperialism.

Starting from these assumptions, they see the reaction of the Bush administration to the 9/11 attacks as another step of the American imperialist advance that puts the world in danger and, naturally, Brazil as well. To give more credibility to that “conspiracy theory,” the latest editorial of Ombro a Ombro, a newspaper of military affairs distributed to thousands of Brazilian officers, even rehashes an old cliché of the anti-American campaign from the time of the Vietnam war, dividing Washington’s ruling elite into “doves,” who want to submit American belligerence to the control of the UN, and “hawks,” who do not accept to be kept on a rein and want to rule the world. The conclusion drawn from this is obvious: national defense should ally with “doves,” giving support to multinational forces that, from Cuba to China and from the European Economic Community and to Mr. Yasser Arafat, want to tear off the wings of the “hawks.” The conclusion is so consistent with the assumptions that it almost automatically imposes itself. There is only one problem: the assumptions are false.

(1) There is no unipolar world. There is, on the one hand, the alliance between American and Israel and, on the other, the bloc of leftist globalism, entrenched in the UN. From a military point of view, the globalists’ fortresses are China—involved in an increasing nuclear preparation on a global war scale—, Russia (that has never ceased to sneakily help terrorists all over the world), a few heavily armed Arab countries, and, last but not least, the worldwide network of narcoterrorist organizations; economically, their stronghold is the European Economic Community, without whose support Arafat’s assaults against Israel would have already ceased for being out of gas; from a political and publicity point of view, the big international leftist media (including the main American newspapers) that trash George W. Bush on a daily basis.

(2) The United States are not a mirror-image of the Soviet Union; they are not a right-wing totalitarian state capable of formulating long-term strategic plans which continue to be faithfully followed down the generations, but rather a democracy, whose foreign policy changes from water to wine after each new presidential election.

(3) All the imperialistic pressures that would have been behind the humiliation of our Armed Forces were applied during the government of the most innocent of the “doves,” Mr. Bill Clinton, and not during George W. Bush (presumably a “hawk”) administration.

(4) At that same time that Mr. Clinton put all those pressures on us and on many other countries he also cut his own country’s military active duty personnel, budget, combat war crafts, and nuclear resources, blocked the investigation into Arab terrorist infiltration, seriously weakened the CIA and FBI, and, in short, did exactly the opposite of what would be logically expected in an imperialistic advance. What is more: elected with the support of Chinese funds for his presidential campaign, he also vetoed investigations into Chinese nuclear espionage in Los Alamos and moved heaven and earth to transfer the control of the Panama Canal, a strategic zone, to China. Finally, after 9/11, he joined in the international left’s outcry that blamed the victims for the terrorist attacks and demanded that the United States, instead of exercising its right of defense, consented in becoming a mere auxiliary force of United Nations. What kind of imperialist Yankee is he? Therefore, seen as signs of Washington’s imperial ambition, the anti-Brazilian pressures from the Clinton administration make no sense at all. Seen as maneuvers intended to turn Brazil against the United States and to strengthen the other pole of global dominance, they make all the sense in the world.

(5) The media campaigns against our armed forces—in parallel with the beatification of terrorists of the 1970s—have always come from leftist journalists who, in terms of international politics, side with that second pole, against the United States.

(6) Our military have not only been materially and morally disarmed. They have been intellectually disarmed: the suppression of courses in “revolutionary war” from the curricula of staff colleges has left two generations of army officers completely unprepared to take action in the context of continental revolutionary violence, today more intense and widespread than in the 1970s. The then Brazilian president is today an enthusiastic supporter of a presidential candidate who, at the meetings of the São Paulo Forum, from 1990 to 2001, signed successive solidarity pacts with Latin-American terrorist organizations.

(7) Most of the NGOs that infest the Amazon rainforest, removing it from the control of the armed forces, have no roots in the United States, but rather in European countries and the United Nations, that is to say: they belong to the other imperialistic pole, that of anti-American globalism (which has the support of Mr. Clinton and all the other doves of the American aviary).

Based on those observations, one can only conclude that our armed forces, and especially the new generations of officers, are the target of a vast and persistent disinformation and manipulation effort, intended to turn them into docile instruments of organized anti-Americanism, of the continental revolution, and of the leftist globalist pole. Today, flattering promises made by four left-wing presidential candidates announce, at the end of two decades of humiliation, the restoration of the dignity of our armed forces. But can there be dignity in someone who sells himself so cheaply to those who did so much to lower his price?

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute, Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the Brazilian newspaper Zero Hora on Septemeber 8, 2012, and translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.




Harvest Time

The São Paulo Forum gathers together radical leftist political parties and criminal organizations, and it is making the socialist revolution in Latin America.

Given the accomplished fact of the downfall of the USSR, the São Paulo Forum has been the most powerful initiative for reorganizing the international Communist movement since 1990, and, in Fidel Castro’s words, “for reconquering in Latin America what was lost in Eastern Europe.” Convened by the Cuban dictator and the then Brazilian Workers’ Party’s presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Forum gathers together legal Communist (and pro-Communist) parties, committed to the struggle for cultural and political hegemony in their nations, and armed organizations involved in kidnapping, terrorism, and drug trafficking. Among the latter, the FARC, whose connections with the Brazilian drug market have been proved by the arrest of the Brazilian drug lord Fernandinho Beira-Mar, is a standout. There are also double-faced organizations, simultaneously legal and illegal, like the Chilean Communist Party, whose armed wing had something to do with the kidnapping of the Brazilian businessman Washington Olivetto.

Perhaps my readers will at first find strange a meeting in which legally organized parties fraternize with criminal gangs. But, actually, this association is just another application of the old Leninist rule that, in the revolutionary struggle, legal and illegal means should be combined together.

In fact one of the advantages of an international alliance is that it allows that a promiscuous mix of moralist rhetoric and drug trafficking, beautiful ideals and the brutality of kidnappings, humanitarian sentimentalism and organized terror (a mix so clear and evident on a continental scale, and in meetings of the Forum) appear disguised and nebulous when seen from the standpoint of each separate nation. That is to say, through the employment of Argentineans to take action in Mexico, Bolivians in Brazil, or Brazilians in Chile, the most obvious connections become invisible to the eyes of the local public opinion. As a result, the legal parties remain above any suspicion, and the mere suggestion that they should be investigated is rejected as an intolerable offense, even when the arrest of criminals gives full proof of the intimate connection between organized crime and leftist politics on the continent. And the criminal identity of the left becomes still more patent when the arrest of criminals is followed, by some magical coincidence, by a fast and effective mobilization of the left’s “decent” and official leadership in favor of the criminals under arrest.

The São Paulo Forum has been holding regular meetings since 1990. The tenth one took place in Havana, Cuba, in December 2001. Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was there. Therefore to deny that he is politically associated with the organizations that signed the declarations of the Forum is to deny the validity of a Brazilian presidential candidate’s signature on official documents of international relevance. As Vasconcelo Quadros wrote in the March 2002 issue of Isto É magazine: “Brazil shelters a clandestine network for supporting international guerrilla organizations which are involved in kidnappings, bank robberies, and drug trafficking.” In a country in which a phone call given to a swindler is enough to make a politician fall under police suspicion, the national refusal to investigate a criminal connection officially recorded on public documents is surprising at least.

What is even more surprising is that, among so many pundits, police officers, politicians, and military officials (all of them allegedly very intelligent), nobody can (or wants to) see a logical connection between those facts and Dr. Leonardo Boff’s statement, reported by the newspaper Jornal do Brasil of August 23, that with the coming election, “the time for the Brazilian revolution has arrived. The sowing has already been done. Now it is harvest time.” Or did the retired friar not mean anything of the sort when he used the word “revolution,” it being nothing but a naïve figure of speech? The massive and obstinate refusal to realistically face the present situation can be explained by the fact that this situation is indeed a dreadful reality, the sight of which would be far too traumatic for the delicate nerves of an effeminate bourgeoisie, a class terrified to the point of no longer acknowledging the reality of the evil that terrifies it.

Psychologically kidnapped by some nameless Marxism that has taken over the country, the ruling class is already ripe for performing its role of a docile, smiling, and helpful victim. But, please, do not think that with these remarks I here give my support or opposition to any of the candidates for the presidency. Consider this: the four candidates—the differences among them are irrelevant—have the same ideology, and any one of them, when elected, will not be able to rule the country without the support of at least one or two of the other three. From this point of view, then, the coming presidential election is actually a one-party election, in which the ruling party has been subdivided into four temporary tickets. That is why Dr. Boff did not say that the revolution will be inaugurated with the victory of this or that candidate, but with “the election” itself—it does not matter who will be the winner.

At least from the psychological point of view, that revolution has already begun: ideological uniformity, once accepted as the normal state of affairs in democratic politics, is enough to virtually outlaw, as “right-wing extremism,” any word henceforth said in favor of free-market capitalism, the United States of America, or Israel. And whoever says anything in favor of one them regularly receives death threats, some of which no longer even take precautions to be sent as anonymous messages: they are out there, for anyone to see, on internet sites and cause no scandal at all. Dr. Boff is right: the sowing has already been completed. It is harvest time.

But, of course, all of this is certainly a mere figure of speech. And to see any malign intention in such innocent words, that would be a scandal.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute, Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the Brazilian newspaper O Globo on Septemeber 7, 2015, and translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.




São Paulo Forum: 1990 Final Declaration

Note: The São Paulo Forum is the largest leftist organization in Latin America, and it has been discreetly at work coordinating  and organizing leftists of all stripes since 1990. Below is an English translation of the Final Declaration of the First Meeting of the São Paulo Forum in 1990. The Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought will be publishing a series of English translations of the SPF’s major documents for the first time. Learn more about what the SPF is and how it has united the many Latin American leftist organizations and parties by taking a look at our brief timeline of the history of the São Paulo Forum.


Convened by the Workers’ Party (PT), we, representatives of 48 left-wing organizations, parties, and fronts in Latin America and the Caribbean, met in São Paulo, Brazil.

Unprecedented for its breadth and for the participation of diverse ideological currents of the left, the meeting reaffirmed, in practice, the willingness of the left-wing, socialist, and anti-imperialist forces of the sub-continent to share analyzes and assessments of their experiences and of the current state of affairs in the world. So we opened up new spaces to meet the major goals facing our peoples today and our leftist, socialist, democratic, popular and anti-imperialist ideals.

In the course of an intense, truly honest, plural, and democratic debate, we dealt with some of the major problems that present themselves to us. We analyzed the situation of the world capitalist system and the imperialist offensive, the latter of which is diguised under a neoliberal discourse, launched against our countries and our peoples. We assessed the crisis in Eastern Europe and the model that was imposed upon that region for the transition to socialism. We reviewed the revolutionary strategies of the left in that part of the world and the objectives that the international situation places on us. We will move on with these and other unitary efforts. This meeting is a first step in identifying and approaching our problems.

We will organize a new meeting in Mexico, where we will continue to add minds and wills to the ongoing analysis that we began, we will deepen the debate and seek to advance agreed-upon proposals for taking unified action in the anti-imperialist and popular struggle.

We will also promote the exchange of expert analyses about cultural, social, political and economic issues facing the left in the continent.

We established that all of us, left-wing organizations, think that a just, free, and sovereign society and socialism can only emerge from and sustain itself in the will of the peoples, connected with their historical roots. For that reason we express our common desire to renew the leftist thought and socialism, to reaffirm its emancipatory character, correct misconceptions, overcome every expression of bureaucratism and lack of a genuine social and mass democracy. To us, the just, sovereign and free society to which we aspire and socialism can only be the most authentic of all democracies and the highest justice there is for all the peoples. We reject, therefore, every intention to seize the crisis in Eastern Europe to incite capitalist restoration, nullify social victories and rights, or nourish illusions about non-existing virtues of liberalism and capitalism.

From the historical experience of subjugation to capitalist regimes and imperialism, we know that the pressing needs and the gravest problems of our peoples have their roots in the capitalist system; we also know that these problems can find no solution in it, nor in systems of restricted, subordinate, and even militarized democracies that this system imposes on many of our countries.The way out that our people crave cannot be oblivious to the profound transformations impelled by the masses.

We, the political organizations gathered in São Paulo, found great encouragement to reaffirm our socialist, anti-imperialist and popular views and goals in the emergence and development of vast social, democratic, and popular forces on the Continent that confront the alternatives of imperialism and neoliberal capitalism and their sequelae of suffering, misery, backwardness, and anti-democratic oppression.This reality confirms the left and socialism as necessary and emerging alternatives.

The analysis of the pro-imperialist, neoliberal policies (and their tragic results)implemented by most Latin American governments, and the review of the recent proposal of “American integration” made by President Bush to operationalize the relations of domination of between the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean confirmed us in the conviction that we can achieve no positive result by following that path.

The recent proposal made by the American President is an already known recipe that has now been softened to make it more deceptive. It involves liquidating national assets through privatization of strategic and profitable state companies in exchange for a fund to which the United States would make a contribution of U$ 100 million. It seeks permanent application of the nefarious “adjustment policies” that led to unprecedented levels of deterioration in the quality of life of Latin Americans, in exchange for a tiny and conditioned reduction of our countries’ foreign debt to the imperial government. The offer to reduce Latin American foreign debt to the American government by only U$ 7 billion means nothing to a Latin America whose total foreign debt amounts to more than $ 430 billion, if we include its debt to commercial banks and multilateral organizations. Moreover, the U$ 100 million “subsidy” that was promised to countries that make neoliberal reforms are nowhere close to 0.5% of the U$25 billion that Latin America just sent abroad in 1989 as interest, depreciation, and remission of profits of foreign capital. The Bush plan aims to completely open our economies to the unfair and unequal competition with the imperialist economic apparatus, subject us to its hegemony, and destroy our productive structures, integrating us into a free trade zone, organized by North American interests and hegemony, while they maintain a deeply restrictive External Trade Act.

Thus, these proposals are alien to the genuine interests of social and economic development of our region and are coupled with restriction of our national sovereignty and reduction and management of our democratic rights. They actually indicate an intention to prevent an autonomous integration of our Latin America, one that is directed to meet its most vital needs.

We know the true face of the Empire. It is the one that is manifested in the Empire’s unrelenting siege and renewed aggression against Cuba and against the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, in the overt interventionism and support given to militarism in El Salvador, in the North American invasion and military occupation of Panama, in the projects and steps taken to militarize the Andean zones of South America under the pretense of fighting “narco-terrorism.”

We therefore reaffirm our solidarity with the socialist revolution in Cuba, which strongly defends its sovereignty and its achievements, with the popular Sandinista revolution, which resists attempts to dismantle its achievements and rallies its forces, with the Salvadoran democratic, popular, and revolutionary forces that impel demilitarization and a political solution to the war, with the Panamanian people—invaded and occupied by American imperialism, whose immediate withdrawal from there we demand—, and with the Andean peoples facing militaristic pressure from imperialism.

But we also define here, in contrast with the proposed integration under imperialist domination, the foundations of a new concept of continental unity and integration. This concept involves reasserting the sovereignty and self-determination of Latin America and our nations, fully recovering our cultural and historical identity, and giving impetus for internationalist solidarity among our peoples. It also involves defending Latin American assets, putting an end to the export and flight of capital from the sub-continent, and jointly and unitarily facing the scourge of unpayable foreign debt and adopting economic policies for the benefit of the majorities, policies which are able to fight the misery in which millions of Latin Americans live. Finally, it requires an active commitment to the observance of human rights and to democracy and popular sovereignty as strategic values, putting the left-wing, socialist, and progressive forces before the challenge of constantly renewing their thought and action.

In this landmark event, we now renew our leftist and socialist projects; our commitments are daily bread, beauty and joy, the desire to achieve economic and political sovereignty of our peoples and the primacy of social values, based on solidarity. We declare our full confidence in our people, who mobilized, organized, and aware will forge, conquer and defend a power that turns justice, democracy, and freedom into realities.

We learn from mistakes, as well as from victories. Armed with an uncompromising commitment to truth and to the cause of our peoples and nations, we begin our march, confident that the space that we now open up will be filled by other Latin American and Caribbean left-wing groups with new efforts of exchange and unified action as the foundation of a free, just, and sovereign Latin America.

São Paulo, July 4, 1990.


Translated from the original Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.


Making Essential Information Available Again

One of the essential items of the Gramscian menu that now regulates the Brazilian mental diet is information control, which entails the suppression of all facts that could bring harm to the Communist revolutionary project. It took forty years of “occupation of spaces” (a Gramscian technical term) in newspapers editorial departments, publishing houses, and cultural institutions in general to produce this effect, which today can be considered satisfactorily achieved. Inconvenient news, books, and ideas were so effectively removed from the market that the simple possibility that they may actually exist has already disappeared from popular imagination.

If we mention, for example, the Communist aggression that triggered the conflict in Vietnam, nobody knows what we are talking about, because the silly lie that the United States started the war has taken root in public opinion as an unshakable dogma. If we speak of a “revolutionary strategy,” everyone’s eyes fly open, because they are sure that such a thing does not exist. If we allude to plans, already in full swing, to restore in Latin America the empire that has been lost in Communist Eastern Europe, we are immediately labeled as fantasists and paranoids, even though that goal was proclaimed to the four winds by Fidel Castro in the São Paulo Forum.

Of course, all information that could give credibility to our words has been suppressed from the media, bookstores, and ultimately from national memory. Courses on “Revolutionary War”— a subject whose study used to make the Brazilian Army the last stronghold of an alert consciousness against Communist advance—have been abolished even in staff colleges.

Dozens and dozens of books published in the last decade about the new strategies of the Communist revolution have been placed out of reach of the population by an effective cordon sanitaire around the publishing market and cultural media, which today have been almost completely reduced to the status of auxiliary instruments of the leftist strategy of domination. Acting with stealth, getting around direct confrontation, avoiding explicit preaching, that strategy succeeded so completely in dominating people’s minds that many in the news media and cultural milieux repeat slogans without having the slightest idea that they are actually using Communist watchwords.

There are, of course, conscious collaborators. More than conscious: professional collaborators. The Brazilian Central Workers’ Union, the Workers’ Party, the Landless Movement have on their payroll thousands of media communications professionals. It is an army of reporters and editors larger than that of Globo network, Abril publishing house, and of the newspapers Folha de São Paulo and Estado de São Paulo taken together. They suffice to make those leftist organizations the largest journalistic and editorial industries in the country. But the fact is that they do not get paid to write: they get paid not to write. They are paid to “occupy spaces” in newspapers, book, and magazine publishing companies, blocking, by their mere presence, inconvenient words, and spreading, by their everyday conversation alone, convenient ones. Even in this activist elite, few are aware that their function is that of censors and manipulators. Such is the subtlety of Gramscism, which always relies on the effect of that which is implicit and unstated. It is not even necessary to tell these professionals what to do: imbued with the desired beliefs, placed in decisive positions, they will always go in the expected direction, like water down the drain. And all people who simply repeat what they say have no idea of ​​the overall project with which they are collaborating. So automatic and thoughtless is this mechanism that one of the leading experts in manipulation of intellectuals in the Soviet world, Willi Münzenberg, called it “rabbit breeding:” to get it started, you just need to have a couple. The rest comes by virtue of nature. But what has been planted in the newsrooms, with money received from abroad, by the way, was not a couple of rabbits, but rather some thousands of couples. The multiplier effect is irresistible.

Today, it is in the assuredness, in the pompous and arrogant ease with which people who do not know anything about the subject assure us that Communism is a thing of the past while slavishly repeating Communist slogans (being unaware that they are Communist slogans) lies the best guarantee that the plans announced by Fidel Castro in the São Paulo Forum will be conducted with the foolish complicity of millions of quiet and self-satisfied fools.

There is nothing more urgent than making available information that has been suppressed. Only that can restore the possibility of a realistic debate on issues that are now left to be dealt with by the banal imagination of uneducated dilettanti and the consensual engineering of those strategists who manipulate them.

This book is destined to become a memorable milestone in the recovery of this possibility. Here, for the first time, broad enough documentation has been gathered to demonstrate the inescapably conspiratorial, revolutionary, and Communist character of an organization that, in the eyes of the uninformed, still passes off as the embodiment par excellence of a left that is renewed, democratic, and purified of all contamination with the totalitarian past.

The courage, patience, and determination with which its author, Adolpho J. Paula Couto, gathered and arranged all these fulminating pieces of evidence of the leftist perfidy will make him forever target of hatred of the current masters of morals. I think anything more honorable could be said of a good man.


Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.