9. The TFP in the world:
of the anti-Communist epic
By the end of the Seventies, the TFP’s range of action had been extended throughout Latin America and from here it spread, ever more incisively, to the United States and Europe.
The prominent role of the associations that followed to Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira was to oppose the psychological war being waged on all continents by Communism and to counter it with the integrity of Catholic doctrine.
In December 1981, while the media of the whole world were supporting the newlyelected French president Mitterand, the TFP, then in 13 countries around the world, published Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s message to the Western nations entitled What Does SelfManaging Socialism Mean for Communism: a Barrier? Or a Bridgehead? (85) In examining Mitterand’s programme in the light of the great categories of Revolution and CounterRevolution the Brazilian thinker showed how between the French Revolution and selfmanaging Socialism there existed “a whole genealogy of revolutions: 1848, 1871 and that of Sorbonne in 1968”. (86) The author of the message demonstrated that the self-managing programme aimed at breaking society up into autonomous cells, through transformation not only of industrial, commercial and rural enterprises, but also of the family, the school, and all social life, thus upsetting the private life of every individual.
The basic themes that Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira touched upon were evidently not of purely French importance.87 The aim of the intervention, which concluded with the historical text in which St Pius X hoped France might once again shine like the first born daughter of the Church, was to open the eyes of international public opinion.
It is difficult to measure the effects of this historical text that was distributed throughout the world. In fact, after that, Mitterand’s programme underwent a rapid decline in popularity and the French president was forced to renounce, at least in part, the reforms of his original project.
Between the neo-Socialism of Mitterand and the perestroika launched by Gorbachev (88) in 1985, there is an historical and ideological continuity. In both cases we see an attempt of Marxism to free itself from its statist wrapping to hasten the march towards that selfmanaging type of society Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira had described in the appendix to the third part of Revolution and Counter-Revolution.
The new step in the revolutionary process had its first spectacular result on 9 November 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. While Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary were breaking away from the Soviet bloc, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira launched a petition drive to collect signatures in support of Lithuanian independence, left to its fate by the West. With 5,218,000 signatures collected in less than three months, the “Pro Lituania libera” campaign entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest petition drive in history.
The delivery of the microfilm of the signatures took place with great solemnity on 4 December 1990 in the Lithuanian Parliament. (89)
On 27 August 1991, the independence of Lithuania was finally recognized by the Western countries and by the Soviet Union itself on the following 6 September. The same happened a short time later with the other Baltic States.
The collapse of the Iron Curtain and the events taking place in Eastern Europe posed new questions about the future development of perestroika, but they also offered the confirmation, so tragically obvious, of the failure of the Communist utopia.90 In a manifesto entitled, Communism and Anti-communism on the Threshold of the Millennium’s Last Decade, published in over 50 of the world’s largest newspapers in early March 1990, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, with his usual perspicacity, observed:
“All this current commotion of European geography is demonstrated here and there in different circumstances and meanings; but they are dominated by one general meaning that incorporates them and penetrates them like a great common impulse: it is Discontent. (…) A furious fire is spreading throughout the Soviet empire, breaking it up: these are the flames of a gigantic ‘discontent’. Discontent of those who do not agree to anything but who are physically prevented from speaking, moving, rising, in short of demonstrating an efficacious dissidence. (…) Probably the most widespread and total Discontent that history has ever known. (…) If the Discontent in the Soviet world developed in this way without meeting any obstacles of greater entity along its way, there would be no need for the political observer to be very clever to grasp the final point of arrival: the destruction of Soviet power in all its immense empire, that was up to yesterday surrounded by the Iron Curtain, and the rising, from the depths of the ruins that are thus accumulated, of a single, immense, thundering cry of indignation from the enslaved and oppressed people.” (91)
Two years later, in an interview with Diário Las Américas of Miami of 14 May 1992, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira stated: “Perhaps the day is not far off when the debatable authenticity of communism’s retreat will show that it was but a metamorphosis, and that the decomposed larva flies away as the ‘pretty’ butterfly of self-management…. Self-management is what the theoreticians and supreme leaders of communism, from Marx and Engels to Gorbachev, always presented as the most extreme and expressive form of communism, its quintessence. (…) Communism, apparently defeated, would thus have spread throughout the world. In this, then, would the prophecies of Fatima be confirmed when they warned: if men do not amend their lives, Russia will spread its errors throughout the world!” (92)
85) P. Corrêa de Oliveira, O socialismo autogestionário: em vista do comunismo, barreira ou cabeça-de-ponte? The message, which occupied six pages, appeared on 9 December 1981 in The Washington Post (USA) and in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (RFT) and was later released by 187 publications in 53 countries and 14 languages, totalling 34,767,900 copies. In the United Kingdom the full text was published in The Observer, a one-page summary in The Guardian, and a communiqué in The Daily Telegraph. Cf. also P. Corrêa de Oliveira, Autogestion socialiste: les têtes tombent à l’entreprise, à la maison, à l’école, Paris, Tradition, Famille, Propriété, 1983.
86) P. Corrêa de Oliveira, “Autogestão, dedo e fuxico”, Folha de S. Paulo, 11 December 1981.
87) Another man, symbol of Socialism at the beginning of the 80s, was Felipe Gonzalez in Spain. The Spanish TFP raised its voice in alarm with the book España, anestesiada sin percibirlo, amordazada sin quererlo, extraviada sin saberlo. La obra del PSOE, Madrid, Editorial Fernando III el Santo, 1988.
88) On the “liberalization” of Glasnost (1985) and of Perestroika (1986), perhaps the greatest propaganda movement of the history of Communism, cf. the critical observations of Françoise Thom, Le moment Gorbatchev, Paris, Hachette, 1989; Mario Furlan, I volti di Gorbaciov, Milan, Greco Editori, 1990; Hubert Bassot, Du nouveau à l’Est? Niet, Paris, Pierre Téqui, 1993; Hans Huyn, Tromperie sur les étiquettes, Lausanne, Documentation chrétienne, 1993.
89) A delegation composed of eleven members of the different TFPs, led by Dr Caio V. Xavier da Silveira, director of the TFP-bureau in Paris, personally delivered to President Vytautas Landsbergis, on 4 December 1990 in Vilnius, the microfilm of the monumental petition drive.
90) “Communism’s strength lies in its unlimited capacity for destruction, its weakness in its incapacity to construct and to create. (…) If communism may be defined as a movement which destroys everything but itself in its first phase and which paralyzes society in its second, then I believe in its third phase it will begin to self-destruct”. Carlos Franqui, From Paralysis to Self-Destruction, in Debates on the future of Communism, edited by Vladimir Tismaneanu e Judith Shapiro, (London, Macmillan, 1991), p. 19.
91) P. Corrêa de Oliveira, Communism and Anti-communism on the Threshold of the Millennium’s Last Decade, in The Wall Street Journal, 27 February 1990. The manifesto was published for the first time in Folha de S. Paulo of 14 February 1990.
In that same month Dr Plinio wondered: “I ask, in effect: Gorbachev, plus perestroika, plus the fall of the ‘Iron Curtain,’ plus the visit of the Russian head of state to John Paul II, and plus the Gorbachev-Bush meeting on the glorious waters of Malta, upon which once the ships of the crusaders reflected, does not all this constitute a colossal manoeuvre involving the whole world in the clutches of a policy of convergence and self-management that will bring every nation within two steps of communism?” P. Corrêa de Oliveira, “Um comentário atual, uma antiga previsão”, Folha de S. Paulo, 9 February 1992.
92) P. Corrêa de Oliveira, Interview in Diário Las Américas, 14 May 1992. “Gorbachev, — he affirmed in another interview — did not put an end to the communist regime, but rather liberated it from the cancer of statism.” Expreso (Ecuador), 31 May 1992.