Saturday, 31 October 2009

Rolão Preto: ‘Oiro’

Rolão Preto was the leader of the Portuguese National Syndicalists of the 1930s, these quotes are from the movement’s weekly newspaper, União Nacional, the issue of February 25th, 1934:

‘Oiro’ (Gold)

A terrible wave of utilitarianism and baseness is sweeping through the world, and is threatening to subvert and vulgarize everything, plunging it into a quagmire of tragic moral degradation. [ ... ] Where are we going? Day by day more is being chopped away. The clear and holy light of ideas is covered up and lost sight of under a cheap blanket of unfettered commercialism which darkens the soul. Justice, independence, nobility of feeling or thought: empty words. Contemporary man feels increasingly a pawn in a game of material interest, more a slave of gold than ever.

Every so often these acts of extraordinary moral decadence sweep over the world. Man abandons his supreme position in the scale of what is valuable on this earth to surrender to the lure of material objects and the state of supreme wretchedness which goes with them. Only his vanity, his comforts, his material possessions seem to him a worthwhile goal, a path to follow. To achieve this goal, to follow this path, any contradiction of his spirit, any abdication of responsibility, any amount of baseness or shame are justified. Now more than ever all means serve to fulfil this end.

This is the way of the world.

But there are independent spirits, free spirits, those who are prepared to embark on a hard road of sacrifice to preserve their pride and the glory which their independence and freedom give them. They should not despair. Already the signs of reaction are becoming manifest in the noisy protest on every side from those able to resist the temptation to trade their own dignity for material comforts, to swap strength of character for the possibility of making money.

This reaction against the materialist and corrupting utilitarianism of a whole age is the beginning of the great Revolution whose spirit is going to burn and purify the earth. It is a singular aspect of the human condition that the onset of man’s decadence and death always create the conditions of his salvation and deliverance. [ ... ]

The Revolution is under way. It will redeem man, raising him to the height of all the divine greatness that is his. Friends, the glitter of gold, however intense and brilliant, will never obscure the light of the ideal which we carry inside our breast and which is like the pure, redeeming brightness of the dawn in the tragic night of human distress.

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