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|Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira|
Unperceived Ideol. Transship. and Dial.
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5. Obstacles Confronting Communist Imperialism
To achieve its imperialistic ambition, communism has to overcome serious obstacles. Examples:
6. The Unresponsiveness of the Masses
The communists have been preaching social revolution, bloodshed, and pillage to the entire world's working population for about a hundred years. Nearly all this time, the communists have had virtually complete freedom of thought and action in nearly all nations. Furthermore, they have not lacked immense financial resources and the best technicians and specialists in propaganda. In spite of all this, the masses have shown themselves largely unresponsive to the lures of Marxist demagogy - which would supposedly fascinate them so easily. The fact remains that in no country has communism ever taken power by means of honest, straightforward elections. Part of this unresponsiveness is due to the fact that in many areas the situation of the needy has been considerably improved. But one should not, however, exaggerate the ideological consequences of such improvements: in some regions, like the north of Italy, where the conditions of the working classes have continuously improved since World War II, communism has achieved disconcerting successes at the polls.2
In addition, the cause of the chronic inability of the communists to win through the ballot box is also, to some degree, due to the resistance that mankind's age‑old substratum of common sense opposes to Marxism. The essentially antinatural character appearing in all aspects of communism clashes with this common sense. In Christian societies, this factor is compounded by the incompatibility between the spirit, doctrine and methods of Marxism and the spirit, doctrine and methods of the Church. The undeniable and immense consequence is that after a hundred years of existence and action, no Communist Party has succeeded in becoming a majority in any country. This fact must be strongly emphasized if we are to see in their true perspective all the obstacles that communism faces.
Answering Possible Objections
· True, communism won the Polish elections in 1957. But it is obvious that they were not free elections. Polish Catholics knew that if they defeated Gomulka they would expose their country to a Russian repression like the one suffered by glorious and unfortunate Hungary in 1956. Thus, although they were a decisive majority, the Catholics opted for what they saw as a lesser evil, namely "Gomulkian" representatives. We are not discussing whether this maneuver is licit or whether it is adroit from a strictly political point of view. We emphasize, however, that in no way can it be affirmed that a congress with a communist majority was freely elected by the illustrious Polish people. Thus, the existence of a communist majority in the Polish parliament constitutes no argument against what we have just said.
· In 1970, five years after the first edition of this work, a Marxist government took power in Chile by means of the electoral process. But it is well‑known that Chilean Marxists were far from obtaining a majority in those elections. As we demonstrated at the time in an article widely circulated through practically all the countries of Latin America (cf. "The Whole Truth About the Elections in Chile," in Folha de S. Paulo, 10/9/70), in the 1964 presidential elections Allende received nothing but communist support, that is, from the Socialist Party (Marxist), the Communist Party, and a few small groups of communist dissidents. Thus, all communist vote was for Allende, and he was defeated. In 1970, however, Allende was a coalition candidate and, in addition to the communist vote, was supported by parties not directly committted to Marxism. As it turned out, while leading the other candidates, Allende received only 36.3% of the votes, compared to the 38.7% he had obtained in the previous elections. Therefore, in the 1970 presidential elections there was a drop in the overall Marxist vote; for, even joined by other forces, its percentage of the total vote was smaller than it had been in 1964. Had it not been for a political division among the other candidates, the semi‑veiled but in any case scandalous support of the Chilean hierarchy and clergy led by Cardinal Silva Henriquez (who went so far as to authorize Catholics to vote for the Marxist candidate), and finally, the shameful handing over of power to Allende by the Christian Democrats when the Congress had to make a choice between the two leading candidates, communism would have never won in Chile.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the leftist coalition failed to obtain a majority of the vote in the subsequent elections even though these elections were not held in an atmosphere of real freedom. Campaigning was restricted by the government. Besides vigorously applying whatever means of "persuasion" it had at its disposal, the government directly pressured newspaper and magazine editors, as well as radio and television stations through arbitrary investigations, in one instance by seizing control of stock and even closing some of them. Therefore, there was no possibility of holding a really free electoral campaign. The rank‑and‑file voter of the opposition - whose voice is obviously very important in an election - was deprived of the information necessary to make his free choice (cf. our articles "In Chile, a Tie Under Pressure," and "Neither Real Victory Nor Free Election" in Folha de S. Paulo, 4/11/71 and 4/18/71).
The many upheavals of the people indignant with the misery resulting from the application of communist principles to the Chilean economy was a very clear indication of how they would have voted if there had been free elections in the months prior to the overthrow and suicide of Allende.
For all these reasons, the Chilean case, like the one of Poland, is not a valid argument against the affirmation that a Communist Party has never obtained a majority in truly free elections.
· If its methods of persuasion have been so insufficient so far, to what does communism owe its position as a great force in today's world? Certainly not to the efficacy of its methods, which continuously fail to convince public opinion.
The first and most striking factor of the success of communism has been violence. It was imposed on Russia by a revolution. In other European countries, Russia, one of the victors of World War II, established communism by brute force. Violence alone, however, was not enough. Would Russia have succeeded in defeating the Nazi invader if it did not have the help of the Allies? The Russian armies suffered a shameful defeat at the hands of tiny Finland in 1939. How can one be sure that they could have conquered powerful Germany all by themselves?
Military support during the Second World War was by no means the only benefit communism received from the West. The disastrous policies of the late president Rossevelt at Teheran and Yalta complemented by the enigmatic follies of the Marshall mission in China, contributed immensely to Soviet expansion. As late as 1957, Fidel Castro sensed the unpopularity of communism so well that he posed as a Catholic during the whole civil war in tiny Cuba, certain that he would not reach power otherwise. Only after seizing the reins of state did Castro tear off his mask.
All this shows that the communists would by no means have achieved the successes of which they now boast if they had always confronted resolute and perspicacious leaders.
Consequently, communism reached its current degree of power by violence, astuteness, and fraud, rather than by an ideological victory over the masses.
· Still, the scope of their successes should not be overestimated. Indeed, if after having been imposed on some countries, communism had at least been able to conquer the minds and hearts of the people, why would it need a huge police apparatus to remain in power? Why is it obliged to control its borders so strictly? Why is it that in spite of so many controls there is a continuous flow of refugees who face the greatest risks to go across the Iron Curtain?