Schiller Instituttets ugentlige webcast med Helga Zepp Larouche d. 4 marts 2020
I en omfattende gennemgang af de sammenløbende kriser, der konfronterer menneskeheden i dag, konkluderede Helga Zepp-LaRouche, at hvad der kræves, frem for panik og fortvivlelse, er en rolig overvejelse af de handlinger, som kan løfte menneskeheden ud af det neoliberale, geopolitiske tankesæt, ind i den kreative sindstilstand, der gjorde det muligt for menneskeheden at kravle ud af det 14. århundredes mørke tidsalder. Hun understregede, at kriserne der truer os i dag er resultatet af ikke at have lyttet til Lyndon LaRouche lige siden hans forudsigelse d. 15. August, 1971. Som et eksempel, refererede hun til coronavirusset som den slags trussel, forudset af Lyn i 1970’erne, der ledte ham til at etablere en arbejdsgruppe rettet mod et biologisk holocaust.
Ved hvert degenererende tilbageskridt i kvaliteten af lederskab – der i dag udstilles i monetarismen og den grønne ideologi, som dominerer den politiske diskussion i Europa og i det demokratiske partis kamp for at nominere en præsidentkandidat – fremlagde LaRouche et klart og veldefineret alternativ. I dag kan dette sammenfattes ved behovet for at indføre hans firemagtsaftale, som grundlaget for et nyt Bretton Woods-system, og hans Fire Love, baseret på betingelserne for at genoprette niveauet af fysisk økonomisk produktion, nødvendigt for at overvinde kriserne.
Hun konkluderede ved at minde seerne om Boccaccios rolle i at bevidstgøre den mørke tidsalders fordærvelse, hvilket inspirerede dem der igangsatte Renæssancen, specielt Dante og Cusanus. Det var ved at forkaste datidens dominerende aristoteliske filosofi, og erstatte denne med Platon, at moderne europæisk civilisation blev født. Der er ingen af de problemer, som i dag konfronterer os, der ikke kan løses ved at tage skabelsen af den europæiske renæssance som forbillede, baseret på en tilbagevenden til den klassiske tænkemetode.
THE EUROPEAN RENAISSANCE IS OUR MODEL TO ADDRESS TODAY’S EXISTENTIAL CRISES
Schiller Institute webcast with Helga Zepp-LaRouche
HARLEY SCHLANGER: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger from the Schiller Institute. Welcome to our webcast for today, March 4, 2020, with our founder and chairman Helga Zepp-LaRouche. The obvious starting point is the issue that’s on virtually everybody’s mind — the spread of the coronavirus. People are trying to figure out how to deal with it, governments are in action. There’s a lot of panicking being spread by some people, and then there’s also a lot of disinformation. I think given the record we have, based on Lyndon LaRouche’s forecasting going back to 1971, what you have to say on this, Helga, is very significant for people. So, why don’t we start with what the recent status of this is, and how are nations addressing it?
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it is a very serious threat. There are several renowned virologists and experts who say it is, de facto, a pandemic already. Now, I will qualify that in a second. For those people who think this is too much, or that this will cause panic, I think when you have a situation like that, it is extremely important to take a calm assessment of the situation and then move towards taking the actions necessary to combat the threat and do the kinds of things which will hopefully succeed.
Now the reason why this coronavirus is a very dangerous pandemic is it has characteristics which are more serious than previous pandemics, and it coincides with a financial system which was already bankrupt before the idea of the coronavirus appeared. Naturally, the effects both in the real economic situation and the real economy, as well as on the financial system, in all likelihood will trigger a collapse of this system. So, rather than only looking at the health aspect of the coronavirus, it is the absolute urgent moment and necessity to also move determinedly to reform the international monetary system which is bankrupt; to replace it with a new credit system which we should discuss in a second. And then use that crisis to bring about the changes in the strategic situation which will help to solve a whole bunch of other problems. President Trump reflected this in his way by saying it is an irony of the situation that because of the coronavirus crisis, forces are coming together which would normally never do so.
So, having said that, I think we should first look at the coronavirus itself. It is now officially spread to 70 countries, and it is not possible to reconstruct the origin, and who infected whom. But it has spread to what is called asymmetric transmission or community transmission, and that is now also affecting countries which do not have such a good health system as China or even the European or US have, which have big flaws in their health system already. So the danger is that all of this can continue to spread much faster. And I think there is also a vast under-reporting, because in many countries, the kind of testing which was done rigorously in China has not even started; including the United States where the first test kits were flawed and did not work, which shows you one dimension of a broken-down health system. So, it is now regarded that several countries are really hotspots. China still even so because of the energetic methods used by the Chinese government. It is spreading now more quickly in other countries other than China, and it is also in South Korea, Iran, and Italy. But the situation is serious enough that major international events are being shut down. In Germany, they shut down the Leipzig Book Fair which was supposed to open shortly, the Kraft International Conference in Munich, and even the Hanover Fair has been postponed by three months. Similarly, in France, the Louvre has been closed, and they don’t convene indoor events anymore with large crowds. That shows you that there is actually a serious concern.
I must say, however, that the reaction both in the United States and in Europe was delayed. I think measures should have been taken much clearer. I think the [German] Health Minister Spahn in earlier periods said the virus will not come to Germany; which is a rather absurd assumption. Naturally, the collapse of the health system which we have talked about many times before, is now really coming home to roost. So, the situation is that already last December, the European umbrella trade union for health workers and nurses put out an urgent complaint that because of the cuts and austerity and liberalization in the last decade — especially after the 2008 crisis — there was a severe health crisis. Not enough staff; pay for nurses and health workers has been cut in several countries; and resources have been cut down, and hospitals have been closed. That is now leading to a very critical situation.
If you look at China, which has 4.3 hospital beds per 1000 citizens, in the United States, it’s only 2.5 beds per 1000 people. So, you can actually see that China has been in a much better situation to deal with it, and they took measures that have been characterized by the World Health Organization in such a way that they said that China has established a new standard in how to deal with such epidemics and pandemics. China now has offered help to the affected countries; they have offered help to the EU, but also Iran and other countries being hit very hard. Offering their expertise from the last several months, but also masks, protective gear, and I think the European Union and others would be well-advised to take the advice and the help offered by the Chinese. This is extremely important because a lot of time has already been lost, and now it is time for the kind of international cooperation which overcomes prejudice and geopolitical stupidity. I think this is now something which should really occur immediately.
SCHLANGER: When you speak of delay, I think back to the fact that in 1971, your late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, spoke about how, if we go with the policy of neo-liberalism which came through with globalization, austerity, and so on, that mankind would be confronted with biological holocausts. This warning was made very clearly, and yet, under the neo-liberal doctrine, the healthcare system, as well as the industrial system, manufacturing, food security; all of this has been torn down. So, besides the emergency measures, we really do need this radical transformation of the monetary financial system, don’t we?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Let me stress one thing. Many of our viewers are quite aware of the fact that the name of my late husband has been slandered by many forces. But if you look at the present situation, I think it is a question of honesty to recognize that every one of his prognoses has come true. And the reason why he was so “controversial” is because he went against the powers that be, against the people who wanted to go for the complete deregulation of the markets, of the increase of the power of speculative interests in Wall Street and the City of London. When he made this historic prognosis on the 15th of August, 1971, when he said that when Nixon decoupled the dollar from the gold standard, he abandoned the fixed exchange rates, and actually destroyed the Bretton Woods system by doing so. Lyndon LaRouche said, if you continue on this trend, it will inevitably lead to a new depression, to the danger of a new fascism, or there will be a replacement by a completely new economic world order. Then he proceeded every step of the way to warn about the consequences of the extreme monetarism which had been introduced and had been escalated by warning that you cannot continuously lower the living standard of entire continents — as it was done to the developing sector in Africa and Latin America and many of the Asian countries — without causing old epidemics and new diseases to emerge. And that that was the big danger. At the end of the 1970s, beginning of the 1980s, we created something which was called the Biological Task Force, which was exactly studying the danger of the outbreaks of such new diseases. We also proposed the remedies; namely, to go into a crash program for optical biophysics, for the study of life sciences, to find cures for these new diseases. Obviously, this was not done, because it was not seen a profitable by the pharmaceutical industry and the banking interests behind them.
So, now we are at the situation where all the predictions of Lyndon LaRouche have come to the point of absolute boundary condition. This financial system is absolutely bankrupt; we have to dramatically reverse the monetary system and change it into a credit system. This is why I have issued a call for the immediate implementation of the Four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche. I will just briefly summarize again what they are. There has to be an immediate end to the casino economy. That means you have to have the introduction of a global Glass-Steagall banking separation in exactly the same way as Franklin D Roosevelt proposed and implemented it in 1933. Then you need new credit mechanisms; you need to bring back the issuing of credit into the sovereign power of governments, away from private interests. Which means you have to have a national bank in every country to issue credit for productive investments. Then you have to implement a New Bretton Woods system by connecting these national banks in every country which must go back to a fixed exchange rate system. They must then have long-term agreements for investments in very well-defined infrastructure projects, in industrial investments, in an increase of productivity of the economy with a special emphasis on such frontier areas as fusion, bio-optics, bio-physics, space cooperation. And we need an urgent implementation of the World Land-Bridge report, which we published several years ago; which is the idea to turn the New Silk Road into a World Land-Bridge by bringing economic development to all regions affected by crises right now. That would include: Southwest Asia, because of the refugee crisis; Africa, because of the corona crisis, but also the locust crisis, the migrant crisis.
But the key message of all of this is, there is a solution. This solution could be implemented extremely quickly. As a matter of fact, we have also proposed that a summit should take place among the four most important powers of the world — Russia, China, India, and the United States. Not at the exclusion of other countries, but these four most important and powerful countries much come together to implement these Four Laws. That such a summit is already in the works is on a very good track. I made this first proposal on January 3rd, following the assassination of General Soleimani in Iran. A few days after that, President Putin came up with a different but similar proposal, suggesting that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council should have an immediate summit to address the basic questions facing all of humanity. In the meantime, China and France have agreed, and today, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov reported that also President Trump said he is very interested to participate in such a summit. So, that is the framework which could solve these problems very quickly. I would appeal to all people, rather than becoming anxious, becoming despaired, help us rather to bring these solutions about. I think this is the key characteristic of our organization — the Schiller Institute, the LaRouche movement — that we are fighting for actual solutions. The only solution which would function in such an extraordinary crisis, is to abandon the system which caused all of these crises, and replace it with a system which is in the interest of all nations. And move to a New Paradigm of international cooperation. So, that is eminently feasible if the political will can be mobilized. That’s why I am asking you to contact us and work together with us to create the international support for these ideas.
SCHLANGER: Now in that context, we see the crazy response of the European Union and the Federal Reserve to the crisis. Assuming that you can somehow deal with the coronavirus crisis by flooding more money into the system. The Federal Reserve dropping the interest rates and so on. That’s the continuation of the neo-liberal system; that’s what we have to change, isn’t it? That kind of thinking?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, exactly! That really shows you that there is an absolute disconnect of the present neo-liberal establishments on both sides of the Atlantic. A complete disconnect of the causes of the crisis, and what is actually needed to remedy it. I have not seen any reflection of any of the leading liberal representatives in Europe or in the United States in the Democratic Party, for that matter, nor the neo-cons in the Republican Party, who would sit back and say, “Wait a second, why is our system not functioning? Why do we have a financial crisis? Why do we have the outbreak of pandemics?” I think that unwillingness of the liberal establishment is a very good reason for ordinary citizens to really mobilize and force a change, because as it looks right now, it will not come from these elites.
SCHLANGER: I think that’s why we’re seeing a global insurgency precisely against these elites. We just saw in the United States, besides the craziness of the Federal Reserve, the election underway. The Democratic Party looks as though the establishment has decided they’re at least for the moment, going to rally around Joe Biden, who if you look at him, this is Mr. Establishment. The Obama-Clinton Democratic Party. What are your thoughts after Super Tuesday? I know it’s important. Bloomberg just announced today that he’s dropping out; $500 million for a handful of delegates. Probably the worst businessman in world history.
What are your thoughts now after Super Tuesday?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think the DNC clearly wants to rig the election again; get Bernie Sanders out, who has his own massive problems without question. But to basically try to get all the other contenders to drop out and support Biden. This reflects the fact that they have absolutely not learned the lesson of 2016. They still don’t know why Hillary lost the election. As you say, Bloomberg probably paid for each vote he got $1000 to $2000 or $3000; I haven’t calculated it exactly, but it was a very expensive vote buying. So, he blew $500 million for advertisements; this is really the laughingstock, but I think a Biden candidacy would implement exactly what Bloomberg has been proposing, which is Green financing. It would be complete catastrophe.
I think we are now in a revolutionary situation, so forget about November 2020. The kinds of changes which the world urgently needs are a question of now. I think the immediacy of the situation is here. There were reports in the Italian financial press saying the only reason why there has not yet been a wide recognition that we are already in a pandemic, is because of the so-called “pandemic bonds”. This was a financial instrument developed by the World Bank after the Ebola crisis, where investors could invest in a pandemic bond, which was supposed to finance such emergencies but also yield a profit of 6.9% to 11%. And another date of maturity of these pandemic bonds is due to come on March 15th. That shows you the utter absurdity; to delay necessary measures, including informing the public in the necessary way, just to not risk the profit of some speculators. And it also shows you that the health sector is definitely not something which should be subject to financial speculators, but it should be absolutely the responsibility of sovereign governments to provide a health system for the common good of the people. I think this just shows you that the establishments at this point are incapable, unwilling to recognize the reason why the liberal system is not functioning. That means we will continue to have a very revolutionary moment. As the consequences of both the pandemic and the condition of the financial system will get clearer, I think the upheaval which we have seen in the health sector in all European countries, but also among the farmers, will just increase. And it will force the kind of solution with the Four Power, or maybe Five Power UN Security Council permanent five member agreement which we have been proposing and which now Russia has successfully put on the agenda.
So, I think that is the only thing to look at; don’t be confused. Don’t think the solution can be postponed until some date in November 2020, because the crisis is here and it requires an immediate solution.
SCHLANGER: This is to all of our viewers: This is why we have been emphasizing, “Join us now!” Don’t think you can vote in November to change something. By November, it may be too late.
On that, Helga, you’re talking about the unwillingness to change, the incapacity to change. We’re seeing a situation emerging now with Turkey, with the fighting going on in Idlib province, the possibility of a new wave of refugees into Europe. A lot of dangerous silliness coming out of the European Union. What’s going on with this situation?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: The problem is that Turkey is using the refugee issue to blackmail the EU. But also, they have attacked Syrian forces in Idlib, and are backing terrorist elements. Obviously, it’s really amazing. Instead of attacking Turkey for intervening again in Syria, trying to escalate the longstanding war against the Assad government, the British First Secretary of State — Dominic Raab — came out in full support for Turkey. Then, this unfortunate German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karranbauer [AKK] also threatened to increase the sanctions against Syria, and basically fully took the side of Turkey. Fortunately you have Russia in this situation, and Putin said very clearly that if Turkey enters Syrian air space and territory, it is at their own risk if they are being attacked. Russia obviously has a big role to play, Erdoğan will go to Moscow tomorrow, and he will meet on Thursday and Friday with President Putin. Obviously, if Putin and Trump would — they may be doing that already — but if they would agree on how to handle this crisis, then I think Erdoğan could somehow be contained. But what he is doing is, he is instrumentalizing these absolutely poor refugees. He has fed these 13-15,000 refugees the fake news that the border to Greece and Bulgaria would be open. Then, you had these horrendous pictures where tear gas is being used by the Greek police against these refugees. Then you have tear gas being used by the Turkish side, trying to drive these refugees over the border. These poor people, who have absolutely nothing to lose, because they are desperate; they are instrumentalized. They are absolutely in the middle of all of this, but obviously these pictures are supposed to force Europe to have another deal like the one which the EU concluded several years ago, paying 6 billion euros to Erdoğan so he would build these camps. There are all together 3 million Syrians in Turkey; there are many other people from Asia, from Afghanistan, from Iraq. Obviously, this is an untenable situation.
Turkey claims the EU did not pay the promised 6 billion euros — probably a lot of this money for NGOs and not giving to the Turkish government. This is all a completely disgraceful situation. And the situation between Turkey and Greece is super hot. There was just a delegation of the European Union — [EU President] Ursula von der Leyen, and [Charles] Michel, the head of the European Council, the head of the European Parliament [David] Sassoli, and the Prime Minister of Croatia [Andrej] Plenkovic — they all visited and gave a press conference together with Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis, who basically said what is happening is that Turkey is absolutely making an asymmetric attack on the territory of Greece, and that this cannot be tolerated. So, these European Union guests had very little to say and very little to contribute, and it just shows you one more time the utter impotence of the EU. But it also shows that if you have the statements of AKK completely echoing what the British First Secretary of State is saying, you have clearly the EU falling into the Great Game of the British again; using the Middle East as the cockpit for the Great Game. One only can say, the only counter to that is what I said earlier: You need the Four Powers — the United States, Russia, China, and India — to work together to counter these machinations.
Otherwise, I think it should be obvious that the only way you can solve this problem of the refugees and the instability is, you have to have an economic development plan for the entire region. China offered several years ago to extend the New Silk Road from Iran to Iraq to Syria to Turkey to Egypt; to connect the New Silk Road via Turkey with Europe, and via Egypt with Africa. That is something which has to start, because you have to give hope to the people. You have to give the perspective of economic reconstruction of Syria, of Iraq, of Afghanistan. If you don’t have an economic perspective, there is no way this problem can be solved. I find it absolutely criminal that some politicians still are on the line that they will not give a penny for the reconstruction of Syria until Assad is chased out of his office. I think this just completely criminal. The people who are saying that are personally responsible for the lives lost, and I think they should be treated with contempt.
I think what is needed right now is an urgent, international solidarity to reconstruct Southwest Asia as one region. Iran is one of the countries which has poverty out of control; coronavirus infection. President Rouhani said that is not one single region that is not affected by the coronavirus. Even some members of the government are reported to be sick. The sanctions which are imposed on Iran are killing people. I think it should stop right away, because you need a comprehensive solution. China has offered to help with the infrastructure; Russia has offered to help to build up the energy in the region. Obviously, other countries can participate in building up industry, agriculture, bringing in lots of new freshwater sources with new technologies. All of that would be absolutely feasible, but it does require that the countries stop playing these geopolitical games.
If you are for ending geopolitics because you don’t want to have refugees, work with the Schiller Institute. Because we are the organization which is doing something; we are the organization which has solutions. That is why you should absolutely join us on the spot.
SCHLANGER: I’m just going to ask you one more question, because we’re going a little bit longer than usual. But it’s really crucial, given what you just said. In the midst of this confluence of crises, instead of panic and despair, you’re talking about solutions. I found it very interesting that Donald Trump, when he was in Davos, spoke about the Dome in Florence, which you and your husband have often referenced, as an example of the merger of beauty and science that’s the proper approach. We’ve been through, as a human race, a Dark Age before, when mankind has been lifted out of that with a new renaissance. You’ve been very outspoken about the need for this, so I think it would be very useful for you to just say something about that now.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes. Many of you probably know this extremely important book, the Decameron by Bocaccio. He described the consequences of the Black Death in the 14th Century on the population. When you read in this book, you can actually see the parallels to the present. The irrationality which naturally comes with pandemics; the misery; how people lose any kind of empathy because sickness overwhelms people. I don’t think we are quite at that point yet in Europe, but if you look at what is happening in Africa with the locust plague destroying the basis for survival for many people, we are quickly approaching such a situation like in the 14th Century. I have said many times, you need to study how did mankind come out of the 14th Century and create the beautiful Italian Renaissance? Because that is a lesson to be learned. I can only make it very short. It was that there were a group of humanists developing who took the ideas of Dante Alighieri, of Petrarca, of the school of Padua, and basically said we have to go back to the sources. We have to go back to the original great philosophers. That was the environment which allowed — among others — Nicholas of Cusa to bring the Greek Orthodox delegation to the Council of Ferrara and Florence. They brought the entire collected works of Plato. So, Nicholas of Cusa himself was one of the absolutely outstanding thinkers; I think he was probably the greatest thinker of the 15th Century, at least for European civilization. He introduced a new kind of thinking; the thinking of the coincidence of opposites — the Coincidencia Oppositorum — that you have to think of the higher level of unity where you can solve problems which are unsolvable on the level of Aristotelian contradictions. So, it was that new thinking which, in my view, also influenced the Peace of Westphalia, coming together with the thinking of Plato, which had been lost for 1700 years in Europe. Which then led to an explosion of a new image of man, a new optimism, a new role of science and technology, a new role of the common good being introduced for the first time in the question of the state.
So, the Italian Renaissance, which laid the foundation for 600 years of European civilization, which naturally the United States is also a part of, is a model. Because if you are in a crisis — and the West is in a crisis, because we have lost the roots, we have lost the connection to our great traditions. We have to go back to exactly like the Italians went back to the Greek period, so we have to back to the Greek period, the Italian Renaissance, to the German Classical period, and other great contributions in universal history, and revive the best traditions of what we had in the past. Which means we have to recognize that the liberal way, starting — and I know I’m upsetting now again a lot of people — starting with the Enlightenment, which really was an attack on the Renaissance, and go back to the humanist image of man. The idea that man is a unique species; that we are the only creative species on the planet and known in the universe so far; and that we have these great pieces of art. Of Classical composition, Classical music, of great poetry and drama, of great painting; just classical art in general. And that we have to somehow go back to the image of man associated with these highest expressions of human civilization.
I’m absolutely convinced that if we do that in this moment of the coronavirus crisis and other very severe challenges we are confronted with, I think we can have a revival. I think we can have a true renaissance of our identity based on these great traditions. Then maybe a great crisis can turn into a great chance. I always believe that Leibniz was absolutely correct that a great evil always means that mankind has the chance to create an even higher good, exactly because of this creative identity of man.
However, I have to say one thing. I am absolutely convinced also that this requires the full rehabilitation of my late husband; because his ideas laid the foundation for this movement and for the analysis from 50 years ago being correct all the way along the way. And having provided the solutions which we urgently need today. So, I think you should join our fight for the rehabilitation of Lyndon LaRouche, because I think his exoneration would have the same intellectual spark and effect like the re-introduction of Plato in the Italian Renaissance. By getting people on a completely different level of scientific and artistic thinking. And that’s why I’m asking you to support our effort to exonerate Lyndon LaRouche.
SCHLANGER: Helga, I don’t think you have to apologize for upsetting people. Anyone who is in a comfort zone right now, is obviously hiding in their own delusions. And you’re following in your husband’s footsteps by being the person who helps to break them out of that comfort zone.
So, thank you for that, and we’ll see you next week.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, ’til next week.