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What is the São Paulo Forum?

Foro de Sao Paulo, El American

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You have probably heard of the São Paulo Forum, and most likely you know that it is a grouping of left-wing political parties in Latin America, but how much do you know about its origins and the strategy they used to revive communism after the fall of the Berlin Wall? In this column, we explain what the Forum and São Paulo are and why it is so dangerous.

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, and this event, as well as the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet Union, would lead millions around the world to believe that this was the end of communism. Some intellectuals even proposed the end of the discussion on capitalism and communist ideas. After the disaster of the Soviet Union it had become clear, they argued, that such ideology that it did not work.

But by 1937 some intellectuals would create a set of theories that a few years later, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, would be applied and would leave all those who believed that communism was dead with their mouths shut. This group of intellectuals is popularly known as the “Frankfurt School.”

At the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a communist dictatorship in Latin America, namely that of Fidel Castro in Cuba. In addition to the moral blow he would suffer —like all communists who were looked down upon in those days— Castro was left alone with no one to send him money to maintain a bankrupt island. If the Soviet Union was no longer going to finance Cuba, Castro would have to find a new sponsor.

Unfortunately for Latin America, Castro had the good fortune that in Brazil, Jose Inacio Lula Da Silva —the most famous trade unionist in the country— began to talk about a union of left-wing parties in the region. Castro sees the potential of this idea and the figure of Lula, and becomes the mastermind behind the São Paulo Forum.

They burst in with a new discourse, a left that proposes a regional union and that, in the context of a Latin America tired of Marxist guerrillas, explicitly rejects violence and defends the democratic path. In addition, contrary to presenting themselves as extremists, they give the idea of being moderates who only want to reform certain things.

This São Paulo Forum uses the strategy of that new left developed years ago, which understood that in the economic field it was already very difficult to compete, the economic disaster of socialism had been seen by the whole world, that is why it was necessary to look for “new revolutionary subjects,” different from the workers who no longer wanted to hear about communism. These new subjects were to be the indigenous people, women, LGBTI, environmentalists, and any minority that could be convinced that they were being subjugated by another sector of the population and that, in the end, it was the fault of the capitalist economic system.

The leaders of 21st century socialism used this theory to talk about indigenism, to captivate women, to convince blacks that only they —the new left— could help them, and to tell LGTBI people that heterosexuals hate them and; therefore, they have to vote for the left. They told those groups that they were living in misfortune and that only the socialists could get them out of it. But they also confronted and divided the population, creating countries in which some groups are angry because they are supposedly oppressed and other groups are furious because without doing anything, just for being born white or being male, they are accused of all kinds of misfortunes that happen to others.

In addition to dividing the population, another of the key points of this new left is to attack the God of Judeo-Christianity and especially its values and customs. One of the techniques used by the left when they want to do away with something is to promote supposed alternatives. All the leaders of the socialism of the São Paulo Forum publicly resort to healers, spiritualists, and shamans. The practices that they promote undermine in the population the belief in God and, with it, the rules and conservative values taught by religions. Criminals even go to healers to protect them in their misdeeds, in these rituals, there is no need to practice the commandments; do not steal, do not envy, be hardworking, love your neighbor. And the thing is that when a society has stopped believing in values, it is very easy for a socialist to come to power.

The São Paulo forum is very attractive to millions of people because it presents social causes that at first glance seem fair to anyone: indigenism, feminism, environmentalism, respect for sexual freedom, etc. In addition, it offers the individual an instant “paradise” where each person should live life without regrets, doing whatever he or she wants, enjoying “carpe diem.” The Frankfurt School argues that most of society’s problems are the consequence of sexual repressions, therefore the invitation of these theorists is to experiment. Monogamy, for example, is for this group of intellectuals a tie that prevents people from being happy.

As it is evident, this new left came to conquer Latin America with a much more tempting proposal than that of classical Marxism, which sought to captivate young people by talking to them about surplus value and economics. As for the technical road map they have, the order is to destabilize the country, to convince the people that they live in a horrible world, full of problems, and then to present themselves as the only ones capable of solving those problems, coming to power by democratic means, holding a constituent assembly and infiltrating the Army.

Thanks to the São Paulo Forum, Latin America was dyeing with the red of socialism that many thought no longer had a future, and not only Latin America, parties such as Podemos, in Spain, are a product of the Forum. Many of those who voted for Lula in Brazil or for the Kirchners in Argentina did not believe themselves to be socialists, they were only convinced that they were fighting for good causes, and others were simply captivated by that instant “paradise” offered by the left: a world without limits where the only thing that matters is today and now, where there is no need to strive to be good or to work hard.

Antonio Gramsci, one of the fathers of the new left, the one that inspired the São Paulo Forum, used to say: we will turn them into socialists without them realizing it. That is what the São Paulo Forum did.

Vanessa Vallejo. Co-editor-in-chief of El American. Economist. Podcaster. Political and economic analysis of America. Colombian exile in the United States // Vanessa Vallejo. Co-editora en jefe de El American. Economista. Podcaster. Análisis político y económico de América. Colombiana exiliada en EE. UU.

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