Febr. 14, 2003: CubDest agency (7th article in the World Social Forum Series)

The Social Forum, "Diversity" and New Totalitarianisms

What space will a "new world" -- built upon "diversity" that turns the relativization of a single truth into an absolute value -- leave for those who disagree with this vision that is so diametrically contrary to the principles of Christian civilization?

The Third World Social Forum (FSM) did not come to a "conclusion" regarding the debate about more adequate "alternatives" to reach a socialist "new world": whether the "reformism" of the moderates or the "revolution" of the radicals should prevail, according to the reporting from Porto Alegre by Adista, the influential Italian leftist-Catholic news agency.

This rockfight between the moderates and radicals played a decisive role in the development of the contestatory movements in the XXth Century which for its part is prolonged into the XXIst Century. This is so among the radicals, who disagree regarding the most efficacious methods to reach the common goal foreseen by Marx and Engels: a socialist society, self-managing, anarchic and egalitarian, in which the State should disappear.

For some, who continue to be tied to classical Marxist-Leninist criteria, it is indispensable to establish the "hegemony" of a powerful "vanguard," capable of leading the revolution and of avoiding a sterile "democratization" with interminable debates. This is the position that was defended in Porto Alegre, in general terms, by leaders of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) and by more radical sectors of the governing Workers' Party (PT), of Brazil; by members of the delegation of communist Cuba; by "Chavistas"; and by influential figures of the international council of the FSM, such as the Brazilian sociologist Emir Sader, who recognizes that the "utopian objective" is the one proposed by the Zapatista leader Commander Marcos: "a world wherein all worlds fit;" however, in practice the indispensable result is the "dispute for hegemony" to avoid the "fragmentation" into "multiple small solutions," which can make revolutionary efforts sterile.

For others, more tuned in to "liberation theology" and with anarcho-libertarian currents -- which year after year grow in influence in the heart of the FSM -- the best way is to create incentives as much as possible for so-called "diversity," so that in a supposedly spontaneous way solutions will emerge. Candido Grzyboswski, of the organizing committee of FSM and director of the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses (IBASE), argues that "the world is not identical" and the because of this the "proposals" should take "human diversity" into account instead of saying "it has to be this way or that, giving ready made solutions."

Nothing could be more democratic, apparently.

In any case regarding the FSM, of its organizations and most representative figures, the "diversity" of "proposals" and of "solutions" which emerge, the only philosophical positions which arise are of the left. When Jose Genoino, president of the governing Workers' Party (PT), of Brazil, proclaimed that one of the characteristics of the "dream" and of "utopia" of his party was "sexual diversity," the thousands of participants of the Third World Social Forum which heard him in the "Gigantinho" gymnasium, understood the sense of the affirmation, and as one gave him a standing ovation.

In one of his interventions at the Third World Social Forum, Leonardo Boff took the defense of "diversity" to the religious plane, falling into an extreme of theological relativism and subjective philosophy in which absolute truths seemed not to be reasonable: "It is good that there are many religions, because God is not completed in any of them," he affirmed, arguing that "we can not defend biodiversity and say that the more animals and plants that live the better, while saying of religions there may be only one and the others are no good." He added that "the more numerous are religions" the better, for supposedly, God will be better reflected.

Boff concluded saying the "big risk" and the "obstacle" to reach this relativist world is so-called "fundamentalism," which he defined not as a doctrine but as "a way to understand doctrine," by which is affirmed "my doctrine is the single authentic one and the others are false."

If this "new world" will be built upon a sui generis "diversity" which makes the relativization of all truth an absolute value, the question arises: what space will be left for those who disagree with a vision so diametrically contrary to Aristotelian-Thomistic thinking, the philosophical foundation of culture and Christian civilization? Would it be exaggerated to think that in the first drafts of the "new world" there might be in germination a kind of anti-Christian "fundamentalism," capable of unleashing persecutions against those who, for example, continue to take the Ten Commandments of the Law of God as absolute values? What kind of persecutions? Of characters psychological, psychiatric, legal, policial, fiscal, or a perverse combination of all of them?

The advance in numerous countries of legislation that not only favors so-called "sexual diversity," but which establishes penalties against those who oppose them -- regardless whether such opposition is based upon moral and religious principles -- can be a first instrument to give the persecution a juridical air. Antecedents are not lacking. In communist Cuba, thousands of political prisoners have been and are condemned to spend years and decades in the dungeons of the regime, based upon the socialist Constitution and the Penal Code, which goes so far as to criminalize conduct qualified as "anti-social."

If someone thinks our worries are exaggerated, permit us to mention the insuspect opinion of the Peruvian sociologist Anibal Quijano, participant of the World Social Forum and partisan himself of revolutionary "diversity." In an article titled "The New Anti-Capitalist Imaginary" included on the official web site of the FSM, Quijano recognizes in first place that "the experience of more than 70 years of 'real socialism,'" with its later disintegration, showed "without turnabouts along the way, a society alternative to capitalism is unviable," for being "incompatible" with "democratic relations." He continued, warning about the possibility of new revolutionary totalitarianisms that could survive, committing the same "errors" (sic) of communism: "There is no guarantee that the experiences and apprenticeship undergone during the history of a society and of a specific model of power will be new starting points that will permit the avoidance of a repetition of the same errors when entering a new phase of history, that is, of a new society."

In this series of articles on the Third World Social Forum we did not wish to leave untouched such delicate topics which may affect the future of humanity in such a decisive way. The readers have the word.