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This transcript appears in the April 3, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this transcript]


Stark Reality: Act in Solidarity,
Or Face Hell on Earth

Tanzanians shopping at a supermarket in Dar-es-Salaam.

This is the edited transcript of the Schiller Institute’s March 25, 2020 interview with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, by Harley Schlanger. A video of the webcast is available.


Harley Schlanger: Hello, I’m Harley Schlanger from the Schiller Institute. Welcome to our webcast with our founder and President Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Today is March 25, 2020.

There’s no question that we are now in the middle of a hammering effect of two crises, which are changing life on the planet dramatically: The coronavirus pandemic and the global financial disintegration. And this is where we have to start, to take a look at where we are in terms of the spread of this pandemic, so Helga, why don’t you begin with that?

Coronavirus Update

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: COVID-19 is very quickly spinning out of control. I think it’s useful to look at the condition of several countries, to really quiet those idiots who still say that this is “just a flu,” and therefore no worse than an influenza, and that people who say it is worse are all just conspirophiles. This is a real pandemic, and it does require the absolute unified cooperation of all countries in one effort to overcome it—because, this is a pandemic. And a pandemic means it is raging across the globe.

Yesterday, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, ordered his country shut down for 20 days. That’s 1.3 billion people. Because the conditions of life are of extreme poverty in many parts of India—no basic infrastructure, no roads in some parts of the country—the effect of COVID-19 on India and its people will probably be much worse than experienced by China, despite India’s excellent healthcare system.

Photo/UN Country Team in Guatemala
In Guatemala, healthcare workers are showing how to put on goggles and full safety gear.

COVID-19 is spreading very rapidly to Africa, Latin America—to Peru, to Brazil—and other countries.

In Europe, the north of Italy is out of control. In Lombardy, the army had to come to transport the corpses from Bergamo and other places, because there were too many to be handled by the civilian medical staff. Yesterday, the trade unions called for an eight-hour general strike, to insist that the government impose stricter measures. Because of confusing messages, people are still running around, even trying to drive to Sicily by car, and so forth; so this situation is one of really, absolute disaster.

In Spain, now the rate of infection is even greater than in Italy. You’d think you were in the 14th century, as depicted in the paintings of Breugel and Bosch and Holbein. For example, in Madrid, there were so many dead that the army had to come to transport them temporarily to a big ice-skating rink, because the hospital morgues were overwhelmed. There are 400,000 people in nursing homes, where there is no protective gear, not enough personnel; the same situation obtains in Germany.

In Germany, the supposedly rich industrial power, because of a lack of precautions, and after twenty years of budget cutting, we have heard from the chief of emergency services of the Wolfsburg Clinic, Dr. Bernadett Erdmann, who reported that there is absolutely no protective gear for the medical personnel; others are saying that they have only a few days’ supply, and if the coronavirus strikes the medical personnel, that is the end.

In Great Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, finally, after pursuing for quite some time, the completely irresponsible policy of so-called herd immunity, the idea that 60% or 70% of the population must get infected first—which naturally means many people will die—he reversed course and imposed a lockdown, pretty much in the same way as has Germany—only two people can meet, and only important missions can be done out of the home.

In the United States, the situation is getting to be the worst epicenter, according to the World Health Organization. New York and other places, but especially New York and Seattle, on the West Coast, are now categorized as red alert areas. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is doing whatever is possible to increase the intensive care units in the hospitals and provide more hospital beds, but it is an absolutely dramatic situation, considering also the many homeless people. There is a general lack of medical staff, a lack of medical equipment, and now the effects of the neo-liberal cutbacks of the last decades are really coming home to roost. It’s a dramatic situation, which is why we absolutely need to reflect on the changes needed.

Obviously, we first have to do everything possible to stop COVID-19, and there I can only say the experience from China, from Wuhan and Hubei province, is that you have to have testing, testing, testing—as much as possible; you have to gear up production of test kits as much as you can, because what functioned in Wuhan was that they just tested everybody several times. They isolated the infected people, they put them in quarantine, and that worked. So, as a positive result, today, the quarantine in Wuhan will soon be lifted. But these kinds of measures which were applied in China are not being applied everywhere in the West, and that lesson has to be learned very quickly.

China Pitches in to Help the World

Schlanger: Helga, in discussing the health emergency, you’ve mentioned the importance of cooperation and solidarity among nations. There is an enormous effort coming out of China, and also Russia, to provide personal protective equipment and so on, and yet, we still hear voices attacking China, blaming China—what’s wrong with these people?

Zepp-LaRouche: As you say, China is making an unbelievable effort: They’re now sending medical equipment to 82 countries around the world. They’re sending medical teams, helping the African nations; they’re sending teams to Italy, to Spain, to France, to Iran, to Iraq, to Venezuela, and actually also to every country which asks for help. They’re even responding to Germany, where the District Administrator from Heinsburg wrote an open letter calling on President Xi Jinping for help. The general consul in Düsseldorf responded instantly on behalf of the Chinese ambassador in Berlin, asking how much equipment was needed, and saying China would immediately cooperate.

This district administrator was on a German TV program and the moderator asked, quite indignantly, “Why did you do that?” And he responded: “Look, you have no idea. Heinsburg was the hotspot which was put under quarantine—it’s a small city but the entire population was under quarantine, because of a high infection rate. You have no idea what it means to have days and days to treat so many people, and then have no equipment, so it was a complete act of desperation.”

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Members of the Kenya Police Service receive N95 mask donations from the China Chuanyu Association, for the fight against COVID-19, March 27, 2020.

I’ll say it again: Any nursing situation, or any hospital, that lacks equipment, should ask China, because China has done certain things right, and the West has not. So, let me just say this: In an emergency like this, anyone who attacks China and Russia—or Cuba for that matter—I think these people are either insane, that they just don’t have the moral fitness to survive, or they’re criminal. There are right now many think tanks and mainstream media that are still on this rampage. The think tank CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies), the American Enterprise Institute, both had such statements, even blaming the Belt and Road Initiative and connectivity for [spreading the virus]. This is just completely insane and shows a very evil intention.

A certain moderator on the 2nd Channel on German TV yesterday, went into a raving attack, really going rabid, commenting on the fact that Wuhan is now ending the quarantine, and that they can also reactivate the economy. I think this moderator should be tested for rabies, because something is wrong with the way he thinks.

If you look at what China did, and this cannot be stressed enough, China alleviated 850 million people from poverty in the last decades. Because of that, it became the second strongest economy in the world, and if China had not done that, it would not have been in the position it is today to have been able to react to the outbreak of the pandemic the way it did, namely by immediately taking strict measures in Wuhan and Hubei province, by sending 42,000 medical staffers from around the country, and by the whole country going into solidarity to support this most-affected region. And that was successful, so now they can lift the quarantine.

Meanwhile, China has geared up its production lines to produce testing kits, masks, protective clothing, respiratory ventilators—and has decided to keep this up, despite the fact that the crisis has slowed down and there are signs of hope that it will be lessened inside China—so that it can supply the rest of the world.

To attack that, as I said, shows either an insane mind or a criminal intention.

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Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University/Weibo
Medical workers tend to an infected patient in Wuhan.

I think what China is doing, and Russia for that matter, which have both sent large amounts of medical supplies to Italy; and Cuba, which has sent many medical teams around the world—these countries should be praised and this ideological indoctrination which some people cannot rid themselves of, really has to be seen as a sign of senility, or worse.

Governments Were Warned, But Didn’t Listen

Schlanger: Another sign of insanity are those people who are saying, “No one could have predicted this, that’s why we’re not prepared.” It’s clear that there’s a lack of personal protection equipment, a lack of ventilators, lack of hospital beds, but the idea that no one could have known about this, is completely false, as proven by what your late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, had been warning about, going back to the 1971 break with the Bretton Woods system. And given the economic crisis that’s a part of this emergency, I think it’s really important for people to hear from you, precisely because of what Lyn had said and tried to do to get us prepared for this.

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. As you said, when President Richard Nixon took down the Bretton Woods system in 1971, he warned that this would lead to the danger of a new Depression, the danger of a new fascism, and pandemics. And then, in 1974, he instituted a Biological Holocaust Task Force, to study the effect of both the austerity policy following from these Nixon measures, but also the effect of the IMF and World Bank “conditionalities” policy imposed on the developing sector, which meant that developing countries first had to pay their debt before they could invest in their health sector or infrastructure. This Task Force warned that this policy would lead to new pandemics.

Throughout the ’80s, the ’90s, the 2000s we published six comprehensive studies showing exactly what this Malthusian economic policy towards the developing sector would do, warning of pandemics, so nobody can honestly say that we did not put out the warning that this would happen.

Then, in 2002-2003, when the SARS epidemic broke out, there were many studies and scenarios saying it could come back. And at that time, at the latest, the governments should have gone into preparations for the outbreak of such pandemics, but the opposite was done: They increased the austerity, the cutbacks in the health sector, many hospitals taken down, the privatization of the health sector to just go for profit, instead of the protection of the health of the population.

In 2012, a study was presented to the German government warning of exactly such a pandemic of a coronavirus to come—and still, absolutely nothing was done. We talked last week about the scenario done last October by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and the World Economic Forum exactly studying the outbreak of a coronavirus pandemic—and still, nothing was done.

And even when the pandemic broke out in China, end of last year, into January, and the Chinese government reacted with the known measures, all they could do was to attack the “authoritarian style” of China, but they did not do anything! In fact, the German Health Minister, Jens Spahn, in this period, said he did not expect the virus to come to Germany! He kept saying, in January into February, that the German health system was well prepared. This is all either utter incompetence, or worse.

So it should really be noted that my late husband, and the organization associated with him, have been on this for 50 years. And a lot of the attacks on us came because of that, because we attacked Wall Street and the City of London and the casino economy as being responsible for this. The powers that be really felt that to be their Achilles’ heel. So they started an unprecedented attack of slanders and vilification against us. They put my innocent husband in jail. President George H.W. Bush, in particular.

And I think the fact that our warnings were not listened to, really is now the reason that many people are paying with their lives. And if there’s any conclusion, then people must look at the analysis of my late husband, and also the solutions he had proposed, and which are still the only solutions to remedy the situation in the future.

WHO and public health experts conclude a COVID-19 mission to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Support Worldwide Ceasefire and
Lifting of Sanctions

Schlanger: Helga, I want to get to that in a moment when we take up the financial crisis, but I just want to bring it back to one other aspect of the solidarity of cooperation versus geopolitics: We have a call from the UN Secretary General for a world ceasefire. You’ve issued a call for an end to sanctions on Iran and Venezuela. Both countries are suffering from lack of medical equipment, lack of supplies. Please say something about that. I think geopolitics is showing itself to be a war crime.

Zepp-LaRouche: Yes. Sanctions are a war crime, because if you prevent entire countries from acquiring the medical supplies to protect their population, this is a war crime. And I think there must be an absolutely ruthless change in the thinking: I wholeheartedly endorse what UN Secretary General António Guterres is calling for, a ceasefire worldwide. All the drone attacks and skirmishes, and whatnot, have to stop. Because only if mankind puts all our forces together to solve this, will we have a chance to overcome this crisis.

President Xi Jinping called for a “Health Silk Road” in 2017, at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, in Beijing, which I attended. This is also something that absolutely must be put on the agenda. Because we have to work together to build a decent health system in every single country around the world—which is what Xi Jinping calls the Health Silk Road—because if we don’t do that, no country can be protected. You cannot stop a virus from coming through the border.

The only protection is to go in the direction of building the economy in the Southern Hemisphere—our proposal to develop the Silk Road to a World Land-Bridge connecting all the continents through infrastructure, and creating human economic conditions for countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, and parts of Europe and the United States. That is the only remedy. And people have to really straighten up and become reasonable.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle—against COVID-19, the common enemy now threatening all of humankind.

And as the crisis escalates, I think that will become clearer, and those who are still warmongers should be shut down and put in asylums, because they’re really a danger and a menace to the whole human race.

So I think this initiative of Guterres should really be discussed everywhere, and that should be the mindset to solve the problem.

Shut Down Wall Street!
Implement LaRouche’s Four Laws!

Schlanger: The other area where your husband has been proven right, over and over and over, and you have absolute authority, is the economy: We have to distinguish, I think, in the financial package, between the emergency health aid that’s needed, and protection of people, versus the use of the so-called “big bazooka” to carry out multi-trillions of dollars of bailouts of hedge funds, shadow banking institutions and others. You issued a call for a shutdown of financial trading—why don’t you tell us what you had in mind?

Zepp-LaRouche: As you say, it is absolutely legitimate for the governments to provide liquidity to keep firms going, to keep wages flowing to people, to make payments to just maintain economic activity of the real economy. That is legitimate.

But that is not the entire reason why the Federal Reserve and the ECB (European Central Bank) are going in the direction of “helicopter money.” The Federal Reserve has already announced $4 trillion in liquidity creation, declaring that there is no limit. Christine Lagarde, the President of the ECB, has also said “Whatever it takes.” Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the EU Commission, said every country can now “pump”—she used the word “pump”—as much money into its economy as it wishes. The black zero is all of a sudden no longer the sacred cow it once was.

Were all that “pumping” solely for the real economy, it would be fine. But a large part of it is to maintain the casino economy part of the problem. The former economist of the Landesbank Bremen, Folker Hellmeyer, put out in his newsletter the correct point, that the larger part of it is to protect the dynamic of the algorithms in the financial markets, which is a sort of,— one way of describing it is that the derivatives trade is occurring in nanoseconds around the globe, and to protect that speculative bubble they are opening the sluicegates of the financial system.

And that will lead in the very short term to hyperinflation as happened in Germany in 1923. And if people remember that lesson, that meant the expropriation of the earnings and life savings of the entire population, and that is now being threatened not in one country, but really in all the countries which are part of that system. And only those which are not entirely integrated into it have a chance to escape it, under present conditions.

Close the Markets!

So this is why I said that this is now the moment to close the markets, to stop these insane vacillations in the stock market, and use that pause of a short period of time, whatever it takes, and then implement a Glass-Steagall reorganization. We have talked about this many times: The reintroduction of Glass-Steagall, the banking separation introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, would mean that the state intervenes to protect the commercial banks, keep them running, and make a firewall, so that the investment banks are separated and have no longer access to the savings in the commercial banks, or bailouts from taxpayer money, but that they have to bring their books into order on their own, and if they can’t, they have to declare insolvency and disappear.

LoC/Carol M. Highsmith
The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, one of the two epicenters of the monetarist virus. The other is the City of London.

Now, the reason why you need a certain pause, is because it’s complicated, because many of the things belonging to the real economy and that are legitimate, like the pension funds, are now heavily involved in the casino economy because that has been the system as it developed. And you have to protect those things which belong to the life’s earnings of people or their physical existence, that belong to the real economy—and that takes some sorting out. So some things you have to freeze, and it takes a while to figure it out. And meanwhile there is a lack of liquidity, and that’s why you have to have the immediate installation or reactivation of National Banks: These National Banks must give out credit lines directed to the real economy, and investment in productive projects. And that has to be done in every country.

Credit must be earmarked, and there are institutions or historical precedents for doing that in most countries. In Germany you can reactivate or just strengthen the role of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, the Reconstruction Credit Institute, which was used in the postwar period to finance the economic miracle in Germany, which was based on Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corp. in the United States. Similar approaches can be taken in every country.

Then we need to have cooperation among all these national banks. You have to reintroduce a fixed-exchange-rate system, and then that becomes the New Bretton Woods system, a new credit system. And then different criteria will have to be introduced to distinguish legitimate investments from illegitimate ones. The legitimate ones are those which bring an increase in the productivity of the economy, such as crash programs for thermonuclear fusion, for optical biophysics, for life sciences in general, to combat the causes—or to find out what are the origins—of these pandemics, and how to overcome them; but also space medicine, space technology in general, international cooperation in space research and travel, these are the areas which absolutely need to be serviced by these credit lines, in order to develop new economic platforms.

The devastation of this pandemic in the real economy is going to be very big. And when we combat it—which hopefully will happen as soon as possible, with new vaccines and other new treatments—we will have to face the devastating after-effects. We will have to recreate the world economy on a higher level.

So those are the principles which my husband called the Four Laws, and we are calling right now to implement all of this. I ask all of you, all our viewers and listeners: Help in our mobilization, because it is very clear that the governments who were caught by surprise by this pandemic—which they should not have been, because there was ample warning—are also not yet in a position to discuss the principles of how to reorganize the economy: Sign our call to shut down the markets, go for the Four Laws, and have a summit of the most important countries, especially China, Russia, India, and the United States—and hopefully with the cooperation of some other countries—to implement such a top-down, new world economic order, because nothing less will solve the problem.

To Survive, Humanity Must Reach a New Paradigm

Schlanger: Helga, I think people will appreciate what you just went through in terms of an actual solution, without panic—how to address what is an existential crisis. But you’ve also made the point, repeatedly, that this offers us an opportunity to think about the way we think about ourselves and our fellow human beings. You’ve talked about the “new paradigm.” I think, in the minutes we have remaining, it would be useful to give a sense of not just why that’s necessary, but also why it’s possible.

Zepp-LaRouche: I think the idea that geopolitics would be here forever is really a troglodyte idea, which only people like Ursula von der Leyen and such people seem to cling to. Geopolitics, the idea that one nation or a group of nations has the right to defend its interest against another group of nations, with all means, if necessary even military means, is something which—in the age of thermonuclear weapons, pandemics, and just the fact that the whole world is bound together so closely—is really an outdated idea. And it absolutely must be replaced by a new paradigm of cooperation, of defining the interest of the one humanity first.

We have to adopt as our philosophy that there are common aims of mankind, such as the Strategic Defense of the Earth (SDE): This is a program of my late husband, which he put forward some years ago, in which he said, our planet is not only threatened by thermonuclear war, but also by asteroids and comets, and if one of these heavenly bodies were to crash into Earth, it could be a complete catastrophe for our species. That’s something which no one nation can defend itself against, but we should cooperate.

With the same SDE approach in mind, he also said that we have to defend against the outbreak of pandemics. And obviously, that is an urgent lesson to be learned, because a pandemic also cannot be solved by one country, but you need to eliminate the conditions which make pandemics possible, which requires a study of what is life. Life is not yet well understood, because otherwise we would have solved sicknesses like cancers and viruses.

A virus is not something which is not part of life—there are many viruses which are part of the biosphere, but we don’t understand exactly how they function and what the process of life is in general as part of the universe. It’s a principle of the universe, which we have to absolutely work together to understand; all the scientists of the world should exchange their knowledge, they should cooperate on it.

So, I think the new paradigm calls for completely different relations among nations. Nations will probably be important for a very long time to come, because they are the expression of a common history, a common culture, a common language and poetry—you will not have an Esperanto and write poems. So nations will be important, but I think also they will become less important as compared to the idea of the one humanity, if we are to survive as a human species. And that is an idea which also was articulated by my late husband, actually, late in his life, but he made it a big point.

In the same way, he called for the abolition of the party system, in the tradition of George Washington, who said watch out for the party system because this is what causes the separation of people who then follow their lobby interests. We should not have these parties. And in the same way, nations should cooperate and not be pitched against each other.

Where Do We Want Humanity to Be in 100 Years?

So I think the future of humanity must be defined from the standpoint of the kind of future we want to have in 50, in 100 years from now. Xi Jinping has called it “the community of a shared future” and this pandemic makes very clear, we do have a shared future! We either survive all together, or maybe only a few of us, or none.

If we look at the present from the standpoint of where we want the world to be in 100 years from now, we will have joint space exploration, we will have villages on the Moon, we may have a city on Mars by that time—we will have a completely different idea of collaboration and rationality, working together, referring to the creativity of the other, being happy when the other is developing, instead of seeing it as a competition.

I’m quite confident that if the human species, the only creative species—at least that we know of in the universe so far—gets through this crisis and we really change our lives, and change the view we have about this question, then we can actually come out of this crisis strengthened and be able to start a new era of cooperation of all of humanity.

But it does require a change in thinking, and I’m inviting you to join us in this effort. We need a lot of support: So, contact us, sign our petition for the Four Power summit, and work with us, because we need right now a mass mobilization, to do the kinds of things which the politicians, obviously, have not been able to do, or very poorly. So: Join us!

Schlanger: Thank you very much, Helga. We’ll see you next week, as we evaluate how things have moved in the course of the next days ahead. So, thank you.

Zepp-LaRouche: Stay healthy!

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