01 Mar 2005

Beyond the falange

In the comments on the post below, Jamie noticed something that had occurred to me as I was researching it:

“Tradition, Family, Property” sounds like a Spanish falange slogan from the thirties, but I can’t find anything to hand to confirm that.

I did look during my trawl earlier to see if I could find anything, but nothing jumped out as being too obvious, save the possibility of links between Brazil and Salazar dictatorship in Portugal. However, I took the chance yesterday evening to look into it a little more and see just what Tradition, Family and Property were about.

First of all, it seems that the name refers to a global Catholic organisation founded in 1960 by a Brazilian priest and theologian, Plinio Correa De Oliveira. Each national organisatio appears to be autonomous from the others, though they do work in unison on many issues. There is a UK branch of the group, but by the looks of it, it’s a rather small organisation. (Not that being small seems to stop anyof the other groups I’ve been looking at recently, of course.) There are branches in several European countries (see the links here) but it appears to be strongest in the Americas - unsurprisingly, for a movement founded in Brazil. The branch in the USA claims around 120,000 supporters, and is well-funded enough to employ 60 full-time staff as well as running its own school.

So, what do they believe? They seem to be an ultramontane group, paying particular devotion to the Our Lady Of Fatima movement within the Catholic Church. Their basic ideology, though, comes from de Oliveira’s book Revolution and Counter-Revolution. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that TFP are firmly in the counter-revolutionary camp, but their definition of the Revolution is interesting. Broadly, it comes in four waves: First, the Reformation (or ‘pseudo-Reformation’ to TFP), then the French Revolution, followed by Marx and the Communist revolutions and finally ‘the cultural revolution of the sixties that gave birth to our confusing postmodern times’.

The aim of the Counter-Revolution is as the name suggests, to take action to counter the effects of the Revolution. Of course, these are ultramontane Catholics that we’re talking about, so their aim is not merely to protest the problems they see with the Revolution but also to proclaim the primacy of the Church above everything else. See, for instance, their collection of public statements (many published as full-page advertisements in the Washington Times), especially this one about the ‘Holy and Immortal Church’.

They also campaign against blasphemy and immorality in the media. As they declare, the Counter-Revoluton is ‘a movement that would embrace every field of action, especially in art, ideas and culture‘ and I expect this is why the British branch is associated with MediaMarch. Protests in the US have been against Kevin Smith’s film Dogma, The Vagina Monologues, the casting of Ellen DeGeneres as God in a movie and a play called Jesus Has Two Mommies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their Brazilian origins, they’re also not big fans of Lula, Brazil’s President, with a special LulaWatch section on their site.

They don’t seem to have any formal links with ay Falangist movemets - not that there are many left around these days - but they come from the same traditionalist Catholic background that gave birth to the Spanish Falange (at least in it’s post-Civil War Franquist formation). TFP does bear a strong resemblance to the traditionalist, clerical and authoritarian features of the Falange, and even uses the slogan ‘Viva Christo Rey!’ (Long Live Christ The King!) that was the battle cry of the Carlist requetes in the Spanish Civil War. Indeed, the description of the Carlists as ‘opposed to liberal secularism and economic and political modernism‘ could apply equally well to TFP.

You can see see quite clearly how TFP fits in with the other fringe groups that associated with MediaMarch. Indeed, their brand of religious authoritarianism, where power emanates downward from God through the Pope, not upward from the people, mirrors that of Christian Voice where the monarch is answerable only to God. Like the other groups, it’s an active anti-modernist campaigning group and while there is a tradition of enmity between fringe Protestants and Catholics (Paisley’s denunciations of the Pope as the Antichrist, for instance), it’s interesting to note that CV and other groups arise from the Anglican tradition, rather than the dissenters and non-conformists. After all, the Church of England does view itself as a church in the (non-Roman) Catholic traditon.

Nick got away with this at 2:24 pm


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  1. The essay on their site about the tsunami, in addition to being barely literate and packed with the usual mumbo-jumbo non-sequiturs, has to be read to believed. Especially this bit near the start:

    the day after Christmas, a Sunday when thousands of Western tourists were lounging in the sun on paradisiacal beaches, more concerned with bodily pleasure than with the birth of Christ.

    It seems their theory is that the tourists in Thailand and Sri Lanka were the main targets, something to do with homosexuality and abortions, and everyone else was ‘collateral damage’. Of course, they might not mean that, and they don’t openly say it, but deciphering the ?prose, that seems to be the message. Really evil shit, basically.

    Comment by Jarndyce — 01 Mar 2005 @ 4:02 pm

  2. Obvious, now I think about it, that the nutters never complained about the overt sexual references in Friends. There was obviously a regular shout-out in Phoebe’s ‘nom de alternate’ - ‘Regina Falange’ to tell them that it was all OK. Either that, or I watch too much mainstream TV.

    Comment by Dan — 01 Mar 2005 @ 10:22 pm

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