Olavo de Carvalho on Communism in Latin America
Alex Newman interviews Olavo de
Olavo de Carvalho, an author and philosopher, is renowned as one of Brazil’s preeminent thinkers. He played a leading role in exposing subversive leftist organizations like the Foro de São Paulo in his work as a writer for some of Brazil’s most influential publications. In the course of writing an article about the socialist resurgence in Latin America, I interviewed Carvalho for The New American magazine.
The New American: Could you please tell me a little bit about yourself, your background, your work, your philosophy, and what motivated you to become involved in exposing the Foro de São Paulo?
Olavo de Carvalho: Notwithstanding having been a leftist militant as a teenager, I lost any interest in politics after severing my ties with the Left when I was 20 years old in 1969. From that time on, until I was 38, I worked as a text editor for newspapers and magazines and dedicated my free time to the study of philosophy, literature, cultural history, ancient esoteric traditions, and comparative religion. Though I delivered an occasional lecture here and there, I was happy to live as an anonymous scholar, perfectly unknown to public opinion and academic circles. It was only in the late ’80s that my attention was drawn to the ongoing destruction of high culture in Brazil, and I started to take notes on the alarming stupidities that were published in ever growing quantities by very influential Brazilian opinion makers, both academic and journalistic. Bit by bit I grasped the political factors that had generated that state of affairs, and in 1993 I wrote a book, The New Age and the Cultural Revolution, about the overtaking of higher education by the communist militancy, which was not at all interested in high culture, but only in gaining political power and profiting from the general dumbing down of Brazilian students. In 1995 I wrote The Garden of Afflictions, a study on the evolution of the idea of “Empire” in the West, since the times of Julius Caesar to the advent of the New World Order.... The following year I collected my notes about Brazilian cultural decay and published them under the title of The Collective Imbecile, ... leading some big newspapers to hire me as a weekly political columnist.... Meanwhile, I had founded an electronic newspaper, Mídia Sem Máscara (“Unmasked Media”), that intended to correct the most flagrant distortions of the news published by the big media.... In 2005, as I was getting tired of receiving weekly death threats from leftist maniacs, I found it was a good idea to accept a job as a Washington foreign correspondent that was offered to me by a traditional Brazilian business newspaper, the Diário do Comércio (“Business Daily”), and here I am living in Virginia with my family. I love to be here, because Americans, though already infected by the neo-communist virus, are not yet so stupid as Brazilians have become.
TNA: To what extent has the leftist movement gained power in Latin America? What factors led to this resurgence and how was it possible?
Carvalho: Communist and pro-communist parties rule about a dozen Latin American countries today. This fact, by itself, is enough to prove that the “end of communism,” proclaimed by the Right soon after the fall of the Soviet Union, is a myth. World communism was never only an appendix of the USSR. It actually created the USSR, not the other way around. It existed a century before the Russian Revolution and continued to exist after the nominal extinction of Soviet power. What made the resurgence of communism easier — not only in Latin America, but around the world — was the cowardly timidity of Western right-wingers who, instead of taking the opportunity of the fall of the USSR to punish the communists for their crimes, chose instead a policy of “extending them a hand,” as if asking for their pardon for having defeated them, and offering them all sorts of aid, enabling them to reappear with a new or attenuated identity, even protecting them from being called “communists” (the fashionable euphemism is now “populism”). I believe that this absurd surrender of the winners was also stimulated by powerful globalist circles, whose interest in establishing worldwide bureaucratic controls converges with the objectives of the communists. The number of billionaire companies which came to openly contribute to leftist parties is enormous. I call “meta-capitalists” the individuals and groups which grew so wealthy with the market economy that they can’t stand anymore being at the mercy of the free market and seek, instead, to control everything, supporting bureaucracy instead of capitalism. Meta-capitalists are natural allies of the communists.
An event that clearly symbolizes this union of apparent adversaries was the tributes paid to Lula, the Brazilian President, who in the same week was honored by the World Economic Forum in Davos, for his conversion to capitalism, and by the São Paulo Forum, for his allegiance to communism. The contradiction is only apparent. At the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, which for public opinion embodies the opposite of the Davos Forum, the main demand was for a greater control over the world economy by big international organizations. Nobody there asked for shutting down the IMF or the World Bank, what they wanted was the integration of “civil society” — i.e., the World Social Forum — into those organizations. Many European NGOs [non-governmental organizations] which participate in the World Social Forum have a seat at the meetings of the World Bank and other international organizations. The “ideological” contrast serves only as propaganda. What we have is a gigantic symbiosis of all globalist and statist forces around the world.
TNA: How have the Foro de São Paulo and its members managed to become so influential? How can they be stopped?
Carvalho: The São Paulo Forum, created by Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Fidel Castro in 1990 with the goal of regaining in Latin America what had been lost in Eastern Europe, is the strategic command of the communist and pro-communist movement in the continent. Its membership includes over 100 legal political parties as well as criminal organizations of drug traffickers and kidnappers, such as the FARC (“Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia”) and the Chilean MIR (“Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria”). Legal parties cover up the activities of criminal groups, and these provide undercover financial resources to legal parties.... During 16 years big media and the establishment, in Latin America and in the United States, refused to touch upon the subject, handing to the strategists of the communist revolution the protection of silence. Some of them, such as the expert in Brazilian affairs at the Council on Foreign Relations, Kenneth Maxwell, even openly denied the existence of the Forum, though by that time I had already published, in my electronic newspaper Mídia Sem Máscara, the complete official proceedings of its annual meetings, which revealed with total clarity the scope of its ambitions and goals.
The Forum can only be stopped if the legal political parties in its membership are taken to court for the criminal activities covered up and protected by the organization. Brazilian President Lula, who chaired the Forum for 12 years, signed in 2001 an agreement of full support to the FARC, the same organization which provides training and military assistance to criminal gangs in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, such as the PCC (“First Command of the Capital”) and the “Red Command,” which kill tens of thousands of Brazilian citizens every year. When FARC or MIR agents are arrested in Brazil, immediately Lula’s [Workers’] Party, the PT [Portuguese: Portido dos Trabalhadores], acts to free them. What is this if not complicity in crime? ... Meanwhile, communist militants keep securing positions in the judiciary, so that as time goes by any lawsuit brought against this alliance of leftists and criminals becomes ever more unlikely to succeed.
TNA: What role have the Brazilian government and Lula in particular played in expanding the leftist movement’s power in Latin America? Is Lula a radical leftist, a moderate, or somewhere in between? What do his policies -indicate?
Carvalho: Lula’s ideological convictions don’t really matter, because they don’t even seem to exist. What exists is his loyalty to his cohorts in the militancy and to the commitments he made to the entities of the São Paulo Forum, which, if unfulfilled, would bring against him all the Latin American Left, leaving him without any support, not even from the Right, which is by now so weak that its support is worthless. A mediocre man doesn’t act out of convictions, but according to the objective pressures of his group of reference. It’s a waste of time to ask whether he “is” a true communist within himself or not. Within Lula there is only emptiness and meanness, but around him there is a well-organized structure of revolutionary power which he serves well and will never stop serving.
Foreign observers let themselves be impressed (or pretended to do so) by Lula’s “orthodox” economic policy and therefore concluded that he had changed his ideology. This is total nonsense. Lula only adopted these policies so that he would not have to fight two fronts simultaneously. Following the example of Lenin’s “New Economic Policy,” he sought to appease foreign investors while consolidating the power of leftist organizations in internal politics (using copious amounts of public money to finance them), and boycotting the Right in such a way that it is not able, as he himself recently declared, even to present its own candidate in the upcoming presidential elections [in October]. This will be the third presidential election without any right-wing candidate. As soon as it felt that the control of the Left over the country had been consolidated, the ruling party threw off its mask of moderation and began to propose radical measures such as state control over the media, the right of leftist organizations to invade and take rural properties as they see fit, etc.
TNA: Do you see the leftist resurgence as a monolithic threat under central control or rather as a splintered movement with various factions? Why? Assuming they exist, who are the leaders?
Carvalho: Throughout history the revolutionary movement has never depended on monolithic control to be able to grow and prosper. Even during the period of Soviet hegemony, the expansion of communism coexisted perfectly well with the deep internal dissent that separated the Soviets from the Chinese and from the radicalism of Latin America guerrillas. In the last dec-ades, the communist movement has perfected even more its capacity to deal with a variety of internal dissidences, using them as camouflage and as instruments to adapt itself to local situations. The linear party hierarchy, which had always been more an appearance than a reality, has been totally replaced by a flexible organization of “networks” connected via the Internet.... In Latin America, the leadership of the revolutionary movement still belongs to the founders of the São Paulo Forum: Lula, Marco Aurélio Garcia, Ricardo Kotscho, and others.
TNA: What role have Hugo Chavez and Venezuelan Petrodollars played in this resurgence? Is the Cuban government an important player?
Carvalho: Hugo Chavez is only a scarecrow that the Latin American Left waves before the world to distract the attention away from the São Paulo Forum, which is the true strategic command of the Latin American revolution. Cuba and Venezuela are important as shelters for terrorists and drug traffickers. In Venezuela and other Spanish-speaking countries ruled by the São Paulo Forum, there is strong and organized opposition, while in Brazil all that is left is the Left itself, which controls the scene absolutely.
TNA: How significant and deep are the ties of leftist leaders and political parties to terrorism and crime?
Carvalho: In Brazil, federal judge Odilon de Oliveira gathered proofs showing that FARC’s narco-guerrillas ... control a large chunk of local criminality. As a result, he became the most persecuted man in Latin America and now has to live as a prisoner in his own office, not being able even to go out to visit his family.... The FARC also provide guerrilla training for the militants of the “Landless Movement” (MST), an ironic name because that entity is one of the biggest landowners in Brazil today. The MST invades farms, destroys produce and equipment, sends away the (true) workers, and is invariably rewarded for its actions, receiving enormous sums of federal monies and the property of the invaded farms. Even more ironically, the main factor for Brazil’s economic success is the productivity of its big farms.... As for the Cuban government, its connections to drug trafficking have been proved several years ago in the book The Mafia from Havana: The Cuban Cosa Nostra.... The same connections exist with the Venezuelan government, as demonstrated by a report of the U.S. Congress from July 2009.... In Brazil, the alliance between the FARC and local criminal gangs has made it absolutely impossible to control crime activity. Nowadays, some 50,000 Brazilians are murdered every year. Instead of repressing the gangs that produce this insanity, the government grants them territorial autonomy and is even cynical enough to propose, as a remedy, disarming the honest population.
TNA: To what extent and in what way is the U.S. government involved in the region?
Carvalho: For several decades now, the attitude of the American government in the area has been ambiguous, to say the least. Bill Clinton’s Plan Colombia only offered economic and military aid to the Colombian government on the explicit condition that ... criminal organizations of a political nature be preserved [from] any damage. The result was that the old cartels were destroyed and the FARC became the absolute rulers of drug trafficking in the continent. In reality this kind of “war on drugs” is a war that favors the Left against Latin America. The Department of State is well informed about the São Paulo forum and its Brazilian leadership. When it supports Lula under the pretext that he is “a moderate,” in contrast with the “radical” Hugo Chavez, it is actually camouflaging the real danger so that it may grow sheltered from the sight of any intruder.
TNA: What role are multilateral and supranational institutions like ALBA, MERCOSUR, the Andean Community, and UNASUR playing in all of this? Could the integration process be used to eventually absorb all of Latin America under authoritarian control?
Carvalho: All these organizations were created under the inspiration of the idea of free trade, and there were even some people who saw in them a sign of formidable capitalist progress. However, we now understand that free trade is a double-edged sword, which can also be used to dissolve national sovereignties and to build upon their rubble a new structure of supranational power. Many political analysts who only look at things from an economic point of view fail to notice such danger. They imagine that the expansion of commercial ties is by itself a vaccine against communism.... Well, in today’s Latin America, the Left practically has the monopoly of political action in its hands, and indeed this is so much so that all those organizations you have mentioned — all of them — are being used for the creation of a kind of Union of Latin American Socialist Republics.
TNA: How serious is the threat of this resurgence? What do you see happening in both the near future and the long run?
Carvalho: There is no unified answer that applies to all Latin America. The situation is different in each country. For example, however unbelievable it may seem, there is a strong and organized resistance against the rise of neo-communism in Venezuela. Colombia, likewise, is a remarkable center of resistance. On the other hand, nowhere else has the Right been so utterly destroyed as it has been in Brazil, which is, for this very reason, the headquarters of Latin American revolution. When former Venezuelan presidential candidate Alejandro Peña set up UnoAmerica (Association of Democratic Organizations of the Americas), the only international organization devoted to fighting communism, he found no difficulty in obtaining effective support in most of the Spanish-speaking countries, but he has always had great difficulties finding support in Brazil.... In other countries, however, the Left is not so culturally hegemonic, which has made possible the organization of an effective and strong anti-communist action. From this point of view, then, Venezuela is in a better situation than Brazil, for if in the former country, the Right has been oppressed, in the latter it has already died, being now necessary to create a new Right out of nothing. In this sense, American political analysts are always getting it all backwards: They are alarmed at Venezuela and do not understand that the headquarters of the revolution is in Brazil.