A Tradinista! Manifesto

The following manifesto was published on 23 September 2016 by the “Tradinista Collective.” It has been republished on Tradistae not as a full endorsement of its ideas but to provide an archive of the Tradinista project. The Magisterial sources of the manifesto can be found here and here.

A Tradinista! manifesto

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

We believe that all human institutions ought to render to every person what they are due: this is the meaning of justice. Since the end of mankind is holiness, it follows that he is due by nature the ability to move towards this end as easily as possible. A just society, then, is one in which mankind can easily advance towards the True, Good, and Beautiful and receive aid on his quest for holiness. Similarly, an unjust society inhibits the development of holiness and persecutes those who seek it.

We are a small party of young Christian socialists committed to traditional orthodoxy, to a politics of virtue and the common good, and to the destruction of capitalism, and its replacement by a truly social political economy. Our program is summarized in the following 20 points.

1. Jesus Christ is the way, and the truth, and the life, who became man for the salvation of all.

We believe in the authority and teachings of Christ, entrusted to His Church. We invite all in sympathy with our beliefs and goals to join us, as our project concerns the common good of all humanity.

2. Political authority ought to promote the teachings of the Church.

We recognize the social kingship of Christ, and all people are subject to him by His very essence and power. While the polity has a positive obligation to facilitate the salvation of its citizens, it should not compel them to become Christian. The polity is autonomous, though not perfectly separated from, the Church.

3. The goal of political authority is to create a good and virtuous people.

The law is a teacher and always promotes a particular conception of the good; morally-neutral laws are therefore impossible. The essence of government is to lead citizens to virtue and societies to the highest of the natural common goods. All law and policy must aim at the common good, not at private interest.

4. Political authority must be decentralized as far as possible.

The principle of subsidiarity requires us to assign to lower associations the tasks they can realistically perform; but some tasks can be done only at a federal level. Since the modern nation-state is an instrument of the capitalist class, a radical decentralization of political authority is possible only with the abolition of capitalism.

5. Economic life should be ordered to the common good.

Although almsgiving and private charity are commanded by God, they are insufficient to carry out all of the requirements of justice. The polity has the duty of preventing and rectifying economic injustices, thereby fostering the well-being of citizens.

6. Capitalism must be abolished.

The foundational relation of capitalist society is between those who are compelled to sell their labor-power on pain of destitution and those who, by their ownership of capital, are enabled to exploit the former. Since it is premised on workers’ lack of economic freedom, this structurally-unjust relation must be eliminated; and in doing so, the capitalist class – which serves its own ends, detrimental to the common good of society – will also be done away with.

7. Class society must be erased.

Class struggle is a fact of contemporary life and flows directly from the injustices of capitalist society. As Christians, we support the struggle of all oppressed people against the exploitative class war being waged against them. This struggle is fundamentally a genuinely ​_universal_​ effort, founded in solidarity, for a just society based on the common good, precisely because the capitalist class serves only its own sectarian interest. The ​_means_​ of class struggle, peaceful if possible, must respect basic moral norms and fundamental human dignity.

8. Livelihood should not depend on the market.

Markets are not unjust in themselves, but they become vehicles of exploitation when people must sell their labor-power on the market in order to survive. So, while citizens should be free to engage in market exchange, the polity should ensure that no basic needs – food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, etc. – go unmet, guaranteeing a livelihood independent of the market.

9. Every person has a right to property.

Private property is a basic feature of human society; nevertheless, the right to property is not unconditional, and ownership is justified only if it serves the common good. Complementing private property should be a combination of a new commons (knowledge, land) and widely-democratized productive property, and the polity must ensure that private ownership, unlike in its bourgeois form, is not used in exploitative ways.

10. Worker cooperatives should be strongly encouraged.

Centralized and monopolized private ownership of means of production must give way to control by the political community. At the same time, the polity should not directly run small- or mid-sized enterprises, leaving these to be owned and managed – as far as possible – on a worker-cooperative basis. More equitable and non-exploitative work relations within firms will result.

11. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and similar forms of oppression must be eradicated.

These may manifest themselves as subjective attitudes, but they are primarily and fundamentally structural and material barriers to equality. Both forms of oppression must be fought. Justice demands that we stand with those unfairly excluded from political and economic life, and to demand their full integration into society.

12. Marriage and family life should be specially supported by the polity to promote the common good.

We uphold the value of the indissoluble marriage of one man and one woman, ordered towards the generation of offspring, which is the foundation of society. Accordingly the polity should take supporting the education and rearing of children as a primary responsibility. Few things are more hostile to the poor among us than the bourgeois conception of marriage and family life, in which marriage becomes a mere contract or means to self-gratification. We therefore reject contraception, no-fault divorce, in-vitro fertilization, and any similar attempt to sever marriage from procreation or interfere with its indissolubility.

13. Abortion is a horrifying crime which must be eradicated immediately.

We insist on the right to life from conception to natural death; all innocent human lives must be protected. While prohibiting abortion, the polity should simultaneously provide abundantly for the material security of mothers. No one should face economic hardship because of having a child.

14. Anthropogenic climate change threatens the common good of all mankind, and must be fought.

It is indisputable that climate change has man-made causes. Given its increasingly manifest and obviously dangerous consequences, especially for the indigenous peoples and the poor, it must be halted.

15. We reject nationalism and the nation-state.

Our respect for the well-being of others does not depend on their nationality, and the nation-state, corrupted by its bureaucratic structure, has proven itself incompetent in facing modern challenges of climate change, terrorism, drug cartels, migration, and – above all – global capitalism. We nevertheless support struggles against colonialism and imperialism, and advocate a genuine international authority governed by Christian principles to prevent the exploitation of one country by another.

16. Warfare is justified only by careful moral analysis.

It is of paramount importance for societies to show genuine restraint and moral conscience in the face of the decision to use military force. Given the nature of modern weaponry, it’s difficult to imagine that any war today, offensive or defensive, could satisfy the traditional requirements of the Church’s just war theory. The primary intrinsic good of a polity is peace, and peace must always be the norm by which war is judged.

17. All societies should generously welcome migrants fleeing hardship.

In memory of the Holy Family’s exile in Egypt, the Church has always shown a special solicitude for the plight of migrants. The care of migrants is a matter of natural justice – not charity – and we demand that political societies reflect the Church’s solicitude.

18. In everything possible, we stand with the poor and the marginalized.

Our politics are animated entirely by a concern for the poor: the victim, the sick, the hungry, the homeless, the ignorant, the sinner. Seeing the face of Christ in the least among us, we focus on these as the aim and measure of our politics.

19. We strive toward a genuine polity animated by Christian socialist principles.

We recognize the value of small-scale political organizations as intermediate to our ultimate ends. But we also realize that our highest common goods can only be achieved in a polity, and it is precisely such polities, governed by principles like those articulated here, that we would seek to establish.

20. Liberalism is failed, and we must move beyond it.

We reject the prevailing ideology, political systems, and political economy of the contemporary West. The history of the liberal political project is the history of the justification of racist and imperialist oppression; of the exploitation and control of wage-labor; of the estrangement of politics from truth, beauty, and goodness; of the corrosion of sound faith. The promises of liberalism have repeatedly been shown to be empty lies, and we reject them outright. It fails on its own terms as well as ours.

It is the great evil of modern times, the disease spreading its corruption through every part of human social life, the addiction posing as the solution to the problems that it causes. Liberalism in religion undermines the truths of God’s revelation, substituting private opinion for the authority of God, and reducing the truths of the Faith to the categories of positivistic or historicist “science.” Liberalism in politics denies the reality of the good, reducing political freedom to perverse license. It therefore denies the primacy of the common good, and reduces politics to the procedural balancing of private interests. Liberalism in political economy severs earthly goods from their order to the end of human life, thus giving free reign to pleonexia and the exploitation of the poor. We Tradinistas are determined to combat liberalism by all honorable means.

Therefore we urge all Catholics and other Christians to join us in rejecting the evils of modernism, of liberalism, of capitalism – and forging a new political life beyond them.