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Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Unperceived Ideol. Transship. and Dial.

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2. The Various Shades of Public Opinion and Unperceived Ideological Transshipment


To answer this question, one must first realize that this majority is made up of three different types of people: those in some measure sympathetic to communism, those categorically opposed to it, and those only vaguely opposed to it who do nothing.

Communist strategy is appropriately adapted to each one of these types:

· Those partly sympathetic to communism are influenced by communist proselytism, but not completely won over. They accept something of Marxism, especially its hostility to Religion, tradition, family, and property. Even so, they do not take their hostility to its ultimate consequences. These are the socialists and progressivists of all shades, some of whom are I useful idiots" while others are actually accomplices of communism. The communists try to gather the "useful idiots" into not specifically Marxist leftist groups. They try to place their accomplices in as many key positions as possible in such groups. Communism uses these groups as allies in the struggle to demolish the existing order of things and to seize power. Once this result is obtained, these unfortunate accomplices will be cast aside, persecuted and destroyed if they do not join the Communist Party immediately and subject themselves to it without reservation.


· The communists find it necessary to attack those categorically hostile to, and frequently even militant against communism with a total psychological offensive aiming at disorganizing, discouraging and reducing them to inaction. Taking action against anticommunist leaders is especially useful. They must feel spied upon both inside and outside their organizations, surrounded by traitors, divided among themselves, misunderstood, defamed and isolated from other currents of opinion, excluded from the country's key positions and means of publicity, and so persecuted in their professional activities that, having barely enough time to provide for their own subsistence, they are prevented from acting effectively against Marxism.

Communism also frequently uses threats of personal retaliation against them and their families to impede the action of these brave men.


· The majority within the majority, so to speak, is made up of people indifferent to the problem of communism, unfriendly to it in different degrees, but who have no militant hostility toward it. Since they show themselves intractable to every technique of explicit persuasion, communism is left with only one way to attract them: the technique of implicit persuasion. Naturally, for this operation to be possible, the communist party must stay out of sight. It has to pick agents posing as noncommunists or even as anti-communists to act in the various sectors of society. The less they are suspected of being communists, the more efficient they are likely to be. On the level of individual activism, for example, a prominent capitalist, an important local politician, an aristocrat or a priest are much more useful than a simple merchant or a laborer.

Much can be done in favor of communism in this sector of public opinion through political parties, newspapers, and other means of publicity which appear absolutely unaffected by communism but do not focus on the struggle against it as a necessity of continued and capital importance.

Such persons, political parties, and media lend a prime and precious cooperation to communism simply by maintaining a climate of superficiality and an easy and carefree optimism regarding the communist threat. This atmosphere makes anticommunist organizations appear emotional and extremist to the greater part of the public that could and should support them. Furthermore, the failure to warn the public about the present seriousness of the communist danger prevents the indifferent from becoming antagonistic to communism and the nonmilitant anti-communists from entering the fight. These two results are precious to Marxism, sparing it great harm. While the Marxists recruit their militants, penetrate or establish organizations of "useful idiots," and freely carry on their continuous and inexorable work of destruction, the greater part of public opinion that would react if it realized the real seriousness of the danger, shuts its eyes, crosses its arms, and gives the adversary free rein.

This is a considerable accomplishment, but it is not enough for communism. Unable to conquer this majority, communism lulls it to sleep; as long as it is unable to conquer it, communism will be forced to advance slowly. And, if some day this advance matures and becomes undisguisable, this inattentive and distracted majority might be jolted out of its slumber and join the fight.

Thus, the red sect cannot be content with exercising the above described neutralizing and anesthetizing action over this important sector of public opinion.

Communism was very successful in founding parties practically all over the world, in organizing the left under its command, and in dismantling and neutralizing countless anticommunist organizations. But communism failed when it attempted to make the majorities accept its doctrine. These are the same majorities that communism must persuade, more than neutralize, to win its great battle in our times.

Now, unperceived ideological transshipment is the technique of implicit persuasion most suited to the state of mind of today's majority.


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