Thursday, March 03, 2005

Suburban Collaborators?

Nick Barlow has been doing an excellent job digging into the various God-bothering groups involved in the Jerry Springer - The Opera protest and the utterly disgusting campaign against the Maggie's cancer centre for accepting a donation from the Springer production. He connects the interlocking front groups to a right-wing Catholic organisation called "Tradition, Family, Property", apparently based in Brazil. Now, that motto might strike you as more than a little authoritarian - fascist, even. Several commenters at Nick's felt that way, especially Phil Hunt (of Cabalamat fame) who opined that it seemed Franquist to him.

What no-one there seems to have noticed is that it's very similar to the motto of Pètain's Etat Français. That was as follows - Travail, Famille, Patrie. Did you see what he did there? The choice of words is different - the French one translates as Labour, Family, Patriotism - but it's certainly striking that they hit on exactly the same acronym. Horribly, TFP uses the old Carlist battle cry from the Spanish civil war, Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King! Well, at least it's not Muerta la inteligencia! Viva la Muerte!) There is of course a website, here. It's pretty horrible, although they do have an article with the cheering headline Wither Bush? Well, we can but hope. God, famously, is in the detail, and I'm going to consider that little typo a sign.

They also find it necessary to asterisk-out the word "vagina": "v*****". Is this not deeply sick and twisted? That's like asterisking "leg" or "pancreas". Bizarrely, I've yet to spot any incidences of "p****", "p******" or even "c***" or "d***", although their site is nothing if not compendious.

If you want a laugh, I recommend this enlightening text by their founder on Elvis Presley.
"And this contagious drunkenness, which spreads like a new St. Vitus's dance to millions of person, is much more dangerous than that of alcohol because it indicates a fundamental disorder in the soul which does not pass away like the effects of wine. Such rock and roll singers by putting millions in delirium have helped to make the light of reason wane in the general public and have stimulated the growth of hippyism which passes easily into nudism, arbitrary terror and Satanism.

Below the photograph of this lamentable manifestation of the interior indiscipline of so many youths of our day, the German Catholic students who participated in the Katholikentag of 1954 present a shining contrast, as shown in the photo at the lower left, and are for us a fine standard and beautiful example of youth....[snip]....The frame has a bearing from which every kind of softness is excluded and which makes us see in these young men not only future intellectuals but also men disposed for action and combat.

The traditional attire of these German students corresponds completely to this concept of youth. On one hand, their clothing is multicolored, cheerful, varied and practical as is suitable for young men. On the other hand, it has the distinction proper to students who know to respect themselves and the things of the spirit to which they dedicate themselves. The sword medievally reminiscent of the heroic combat, adds a note of militant idealism, and simultaneously perpetuates the tradition of fencing, the intellectual sport par excellence since it is admirably apt in forming attention, astuteness, initiative, and panache at the same time that it puts the whole body into action. In this picture, everything makes one think of the great truth enunciated by Claudel: "Youth was not made for pleasure, but for heroism.""
If that isn't the discourse of fascism, then I'm a Tory. There's an illustration of those glorious lads, too..

Dunno why the filename is "soldiers.gif" though - a Freudian slip, perhaps. Now, on to business. This lot were founded in 1960 in Brazil. That would have been immediately before the military dictatorship. I wonder what role they played? The Brazilian mother-house's site, here, offers some pointers. Although I don't read Portuguese, it seems that he was responsible in 1959 for having several bishops pronounce that no Catholic could accept land from a land-reform scheme of the time. One hopes for the sake of our man's soul that none of them starved as a result. He also seems to have had a deal of trouble with François Mitterand over his ideas of self-management - now, it's fair to take issue with the old fellow and I personally think he was a crook, but a tool of the Devil? Looking at the French site, they also have an unpleasant tendency to rhetoricising about germs and infections and epidemics.

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