Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Self Management and Gossip
Folha de S. Paulo, December 11th 1981
The TFPs in 13 countries of the New and Old Worlds have just published a Message to their respective nations on the topic of French self managing socialism.
Appearing on the 9th of this month in the Washington Post and in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the document was also scheduled for publication by the great newspapers of our country and others.
I am writing on the 10th. As of this moment, those two initial publications have provoked a host of requests for television, radio and newspaper interviews in the most diverse countries. This makes one see the great degree of interest that the topic stirs up.
I still do know any commentaries on the content of the Message in the foreign press. All I have are those of some Brazilian newspapers.
The Brazilian TFP will publish the whole text of the Message, of which I am the author, as a paid advertisement in the Folha de São Paulo on the 17th of this month. Until then, one would expect that the press would have maintained an attitude of friendly expectancy, because no other sentiment would be natural in them on seeing a compatriot acting as a spokesman of so many entities from various countries in a publicity effort on a worldwide scale.
On the contrary, instead of asking us to give them a foretaste of the content of the Message, its essence, its thought, we see them, the majority of them, advancing furiously, like someone who had been bitten in a tender spot. And they are presenting reports about the event loaded with insinuations, insinuations that go far from the matter at hand in an effort to drag the discussion into the field of mere gossip.
The TFPs point their finger at a high theme. And the only thing they look at is the finger ... a paradoxical attitude of a certain capitalist press. Self managing socialism wants to overthrow them and then liquidate them. But woe betide him who makes any criticisms of self management to them! This solidarity of certain capitalists with social leftism is not new. Who will explain it?
However that may be, I for my part will not cooperate to let the struggle slide down to that level.
For this purpose it seemed to me essential to present to the Brazilian public immediately, through the pages of the Folha de São Paulo, the essential theses contained in the Message of the TFPs, couched in high and serene doctrinal language, with neither personal attacks nor gossip.
The Message itself will give the public the argumentation in favor of the theses.
The Message makes it evident that self managing socialism contrary to what many imagine is not a type of gradualist and easy going leftism, though undoubtedly advanced. The TFPs maintain that the self managing program aims to break society down into tiny little bodies endowed with quasi sovereignty that would result in the implantation of an anarchic utopia in France.
Self managing socialism does no however recognize this utopia as disorderly and chaotic. Forming as does a true philosophical school that is substantially Marxist, and therefore also evolutionist, French socialism hopes to promote, with the gradual application of self managing reform, a fundamental transformation, not only of industrial, commercial and rural enterprises, but also of the family, the school and the whole of social life. Furthermore, it aims to deeply influence individual life itself by molding even leisure and the very interior arrangement of homes to its tastes.
On the other hand, essentially laicist as it is, aims to permit, in the final analysis, only self managed, secular schools to which parents must deliver their children as soon as they have reached two years of age. It aims to abolish private religious schools, both as private individual property and as religious.
The family cannot stay outside of this general reform. The document shows that the Socialist Party's (SP) program completely equates marriage to free love, and calls for equal recognition for homosexual and heterosexual unions. Utterly feminist, self managing socialism further demands woman's entire equivalency to man, both in responsibility as well as in the burden of toil which she will have to bear.
The company, at the end of self-managing socialism, has no owner. Its running ultimately falls to the general assembly of the workers. The assembly running ultimately falls to the general assembly of the workers. The assembly has the right to be informed periodically of all the business's activities. Not even an industrial secret may be hidden from it. The managers of the company are elected by the workers' assembly, which is sovereign in everything having to do with the company's business.
As one sees, and the documents of the SP affirms it outspokenly, such a complete reform of society supposes an equally complete reform of man himself. It is on the basis of human nature reformed in this way that self managing socialism lays its claim not to be called utopian.
The SP does not hope to obtain this total reform of society and man in one single leap, but rather by successive transformations. One of the essential means to put this reform of man and of society underway and to carry it to its end term is class struggle. By denying not only the principle of authority as well as all hierarchy, the SP clears the ground for this struggle. This is done in businesses by raising the workers up against the proprietors, and those who are led against those who lead; in the family, by stirring up a fight of the children against their parents; in the school, between the students and their teachers; and so forth.
The SP's program does not deny the Church freedom to function. But the Church, the Message comments, will be reduced to living in a society laicized down to its least aspects, which, as such, will not take into consideration the obligations of men toward God nor the principles of the natural order outlined in the Law of God revealed to Moses.
She is left, then, a stranger to the civil order, which will take a line opposed to Her teachings.
French self managing socialism proclaims itself to be entirely consistent with the Revolution of 1789: "Liberty Equality Fraternity. For the SP, the abolition of proprietorship in business is the logical consequence of the establishment of the republic. It points out the proprietor as a little king who lingers on in his company, and in the king a great proprietor whom the democratic republic eliminated. It traces a whole genealogy of revolutions between e French Revolution and the final victory of self managing socialism: .1948, 1871 and the Sorbonne 1968.
Is John Paul II's encyclical, Laborem Exercens, a Catholic version of French self managing socialism? One comprehends the scope of the question especially in the Catholic perspective, which is that of the TFPs and of the Message that they published. This matter is also broached in the document.
By what right do the TFPs concern themselves with a series of problems that are, at first sight, entirely French, and regarding which as a consequence, it behooves only the French TFP to take a position? The Message brings out the very marked doctrinal imperialism that characterizes the foreign policy of the French SP and therefore, that of the present French government. It shows that the international expansion of self managing socialism is a goal of primary importance in the diplomacy of Mr. Francois Mitterrand. It shows that the best means to defend their countries against what they rightly call socialist ideological aggression is to reveal the true face of self managing socialism known by the militants of the SP, but not however known to the non socialist public at large.
Regarding France, the Message demonstrates that the socialist victim to the last election was not the result of an increase in the leftist electorate, but was due to the great number of abstentions among non socialist voters that was a result in turn of the lack of necessary dedication in the campaign of the center right parties. Opening the eyes of all, in France as well, to the true face of self management, appears to the TFPs to be the most useful means to lead the French people, by refusing their support for socialism, to create an obstacle to the employment of French political and cultural prestige in the service of self managing ideological aggression.
The Message closes with a beautiful text in which Pope St. Pius X affirms his hope that the French nation may come to shine once again in the world with all the Christian brilliance that behooves it as the first born and beloved daughter of the Church.