The shortest way to the destruction of democracy is fostering criminality through culture and subsequently trying to control it by disarming the civil population. The Brazilian left has consistently walked this double road for at least five decades, and they have always known exactly what the result would be: social chaos, followed by a toughening of the regime if the left is in power, or by insurrectional agitation if it is not.
This is an old, classic, immutable strategy, but the pretexts used to legitimize it according to momentary convenience have been varied enough so as to disorient the spectators, who devote themselves to animated and sometimes fierce discussions about the pretexts and never grasp the unity of the project behind them. More often than not, as is the case in Brazil, they do not even realize that there is a relationship between those two concomitant paths.
Mentally cowardly people will sell off their mothers to avoid running the risk of being labeled “conspiracy theorists.” They debase themselves to the point of defending tooth and nail the “theory of pure coincidences,” according to which actions are performed without authors.
Imagine then the fear these people have of acknowledging something that is already patently obvious to the rest of the world: that communism did not die in 1990 but is today stronger than ever, especially in Latin America. Thirteen years ago, when Jean-François Revel published his last book, La Grande Parade [Last Exit to Utopia], no one in Europe or in the United States disputed him on that point, but in Brazil it remains an arcane secret.
There are even those who deny that Dilma or Lula are communists, but they do so because they do not know exactly what a communist is and imagine, as in general do the classic liberals, that it is simply a matter of ideals and ideologies. In reality, someone is a communist not because he believes in this or that, but rather because he occupies a position in an organization which acts as a part of or heir to the communist revolutionary tradition, with all the plethora of ideological varieties and contradictions there included.
The unity of the communist movement, especially since Antonio Gramsci, the American New Left, and the restructuring of communist parties after the collapse of the USSR, is rather of a strategic than of an ideological kind.
In fact, this movement, whose extinction the fall of the Soviet Union seemed to herald as imminent and inevitable, was only able to prosper and grow formidably since the beginning of the 90s precisely because it relinquished all homogeneous doctrinal self-definition and refined the technique of articulating in a strategic unity of action the most diversified currents and dissidents, whose collaboration was impossible up to that point. Convictions, therefore, whether sincere or feigned, do not play the least part in that.
In order for an individual to talk with some propriety about the communist movement, he must have previously studied the following:
- The Marxist classics: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong.
- The most important Marxist philosophers: Lukács, Korsch, Gramsci, Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Lefebvre, Althusser.
- Leszek Kolakowski’s Main Currents of Marxism.
- A few good books on the history and sociology of the revolutionary movement in general, such as James H. Billington’s Fire in the Minds of Men, Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium, and Eric Voegelin’s The New Science of Politics.
- Good books on the history of communist regimes, written from a non-apologetic point of view.
- The works of the most celebrated critics of Marxism, such as Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, Raymond Aron, Roger Scruton, Nicolai Berdyaev, and many others.
- Books on the strategy and tactics of communists for taking hold of power, on the underground activities of the communist movement in the West, and especially on communist “active measures” (disinformation, agents of influence), as those by Anatoliy Golitsyn, Christopher Andrew, John Earl Haynes, Ladislav Bittman, Diana West, etc.
- The largest possible amount of witness accounts from former communist agents or militants who describe their experiences in the service of the movement or communist governments, as those by Arthur Koestler, Jan Valtin, Ion Mihai Pacepa, Whittaker Chambers, David Horowitz.
- The extremely valuable accounts on the human condition in socialist societies, such as those by Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Vladimir Bukovsky, Nadezhda Mandelstam, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Richard Wurmbrand.
This is a reading program that can be completed in four or five years by a decent student. I know no one, either on the right or the left in Brazil, no one, absolutely no one who has completed a similar course of study. There are so many people who want to voice their opinions on the topic, usually putting on airs of sapience, and nobody, or almost nobody, who is willing to make the necessary effort in order to provide their words with some substance.
No honest leftist can do so without abjuring his belief for good. No right-winger can do it without recognizing he was a presumptuous fool, a dunce, and in many instances a useful idiot?oftentimes rather more useful and more idiotic than the leftist driven herd.
The left thrives on the exploitation of ignorance, their own or others’. Wherever they exercise their hegemony, the commandment prevails of never reading the works of adversaries and critics, but rather of spreading deformed and caricatured versions of their ideas and biographies, so the militant youth will hate them in the illusion of knowing them. Universities that profess to teach courses on Marxism push this precept to the limits of sheer and naked mind control.
The right, well, the right likes to cultivate its own forms of self-deception, about which I have talked at length in this newspaper. Maybe I will come back to the subject in another article.
Olavo de Carvalho
Diário do Comércio, August 13, 2013
Translation by Pedro Cava