This transcript appears in the April 17, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Overcoming the Crisis Begins with Dumping Geopolitics and Neoliberalism
This is the edited transcript of the Schiller Institute’s April 8, 2020 interview with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, by Harley Schlanger. A video of the webcast is available.
Harley Schlanger: Hello! I’m Harley Schlanger with the Schiller Institute. Welcome to our weekly webcast with our founder and chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Today is April 8, 2020, and we’re going to be discussing the total upheaval in the world, the craziness on the one hand, as well as the potential to become a moment of great collaboration and success, to usher in a New Paradigm.
Helga, there’s a big debate going on: There are people who are saying we now should move back to the previous normal, that we should no longer continue with the lockdowns and the restrictions on movement, and so on. What’s your sense of that?
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: This is wishful thinking, either by the neo-liberal establishment, which has so far absolutely failed to recognize the causes for this crisis, but also by ideologies on the left and on the right, of people who are just not willing to face up to the reason for this present crisis. If you look at a survey of the different countries, I think France, belatedly, has recognized that the only approach is the Chinese way: That you need to have a total lockdown, and that that lockdown has to stay as long as it is necessary, and not prematurely lift it. And that includes masks, testing, and the whole program that China did in Wuhan and Hubei province.
That, however, does not mean that there are not some foolish Parisians: There are several hundred thousand who left Paris to go into the countryside, risking spreading of the disease. Also, Denmark and Austria want to lift the restrictions, for which they got a very serious warning by the World Health Organization (WHO), warning that lifting the restrictions too early threatens a return of the pandemic full force.
Then you have a middle ground sort of thing in Germany, where on the on side there is no question that the authorities know the seriousness of the situation, because there are warnings of worst-case scenarios, that if they do not get the pandemic under control, Germany will have a collapse of the system and a takeover by anarchy. In Italy, where over 10,000 medical caregivers have become infected; almost 100 have died, there is a lockdown, but people are leaving from the hotspot areas like Bergamo to go to the beach and the mountains over Easter, implying the danger that this is spreading to the regions from these hotspots.
New Hotspots Developing
Romania is developing into a hotspot. Ecuador, Mexico, and India, where the lockdown has resulted in a massive flight by day-workers—people who have work for a day at a time, and who with the lockdown can’t find work—going to the countryside. So this is not under control at all.
I can only repeat: Only if we take an approach to fight this pandemic in the way it has to be fought, is there any hope to contain it, without millions and millions dying. There will be millions of people dying, but there must be absolutely the approach we have been pushing for, for several weeks now, and we will escalate that: To now have a world health system—that a health system must be built up in every country on what used to be the standard under the Hill-Burton Act in the United States, or as it used to be before Germany and France privatized their health systems, which used to be very excellent health systems before the privatization. We need to have an international mobilization to accomplish that.
And that’s what the economy should be oriented to. Any idea to just speed up the economy and go back to the usual, without taking that as a prime focus, is just foolishness.
Schlanger: Helga, in talking internationally about the World Health Organization, the Health Silk Road as you and others have called it, there are those who say this would be a mistake, this would be a violation of sovereignty. I think this gets to what you said about people not facing up to the reason for this crisis. But I think it’s necessary for you to just identify briefly again, why it’s the neo-liberal system that caused it, and that in order to have a world healthcare system that works, we need to junk the neo-liberal system.
Zepp-LaRouche: It’s the elephant in the room! Anybody who knows what happened over the last fifty years, with the IMF conditionalities demanding that the developing countries forego investment in their infrastructure, and in their health system, but instead pay their debts, this imposition prevented industrial development of many, many countries. And in the so-called advanced countries, where you did have a decent healthcare delivery system, the idea to privatize it, and make the common good of the public health subject to the greed of the speculators, simply led to a situation where many hospitals were closed, many beds were eliminated, other procedures privatized and/or made more costly: So it is the neo-liberal system which is responsible for this.
And this we have been warning against since early 1974, when my late husband, who at that time, called into being a biological-ecological holocaust taskforce, which produced many studies over the years pointing to the fact that exactly this kind of a takedown of the living standard due to the IMF conditionalities would result in pandemics.
Ignorant or Covering Up?
So anybody who does not want to confront that, is just either ignorant, or consciously covering up the situation.
Just to contrast what I’m saying with the neo-liberal system, what we need to do—and this goes against any idea of neo-liberal profit concerns—is, first of all, apply the pandemic health laws; we need to test, test, test, everybody. But to test all 8 billion people, obviously is not instantly possible because the test kits and evaluation capabilities are not there yet.
So we have to go back to what, by the way, every decent veterinarian is doing, and to what in the area of veterinarian medicine is already the case, that there is an illness survey. When you call up your veterinarian and ask what kinds of endemic diseases are in the area, they can tell you what you should be paying attention to. That has been the normal standard.
Then we need to have a massive building of hospitals, of ICU units, of all the medical equipment, the protective clothing; we have to train tens and hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses, health caregivers—there has to be an approach where,— the only image one can have is what Franklin D. Roosevelt did in the New Deal, gearing up the economy after the Great Depression, creating the CCC youth training camps; or what Germany did in the postwar period with the German economic miracle. Now we must gear up to build a worldwide health system—not just in one country, because it is the nature of pandemics that every country must do these things to defeat it.
That obviously means we have to retool industries; rather than complaining that the auto sector is suffering because there’s no demand, and the whole thing is going to not be returned to normal—why not retool these industries? We go to the machine-tool design people and ask, “How long do you need to produce medical equipment, sophisticated medical machinery?” And maybe it takes them a few weeks to redesign and retool, but eventually they can do that: We can gear up the economy entirely for the common good of the people.
But that means we have to throw out the neo-liberal philosophy that the profit of the speculators is primary, and the common good is nowhere. That has to be completely reversed. And we have to say that the only way the human species is going to get out of this crisis, is by protecting the people against this virus, and the danger of future viruses, because we have to have a completely different healthcare delivery system; and we have to do basic research; we have to study what are the processes of life, we have to go into basic R&D, and not leave it to the pharma industries to just invest in the areas that are profitable—everything has to be geared toward the common good and a decent health system.
That that is not being done right now, and the difference between what I’m saying now and what was the case for the last fifty years, should be obvious to anybody. So I think there should be some seriousness in the discussion and all of this stupidity should end.
Schlanger: There have been steps taken toward international cooperation, especially by China’s delivery of five planeloads of health equipment yesterday to the United States.
To some extent, President Trump’s invoking the Defense Production Act, has oriented the government to take charge, to make sure there is a shift toward what’s necessary. But at the same time, in the midst of this financial crisis, a massive bail-out is underway. Some people haven’t yet grasped the actual causes of the crisis. What can be done to get people to see this? I believe this is a unique opportunity to break away from a policy which has not only failed, but failed disastrously.
Zepp-LaRouche: First of all, one should see the complete inability of the European Union bureaucracy to respond to this crisis. I think most telling is the fact that the new President of the European Research Council, Mauro Ferrari, just resigned. He is a highly trained scientist and medical professional who assumed that office January 1. He had previously talked about his enthusiasm in taking on this job, as he thought he would be working in the forefront of medical and other scientific research. When the coronavirus crisis broke out, he immediately drafted a proposal for the EU Commission detailing how to gear up research; and he got completely rejected. His proposal was rejected, with no argument given. The only thing they said was that the purpose of the European Research Council is not to make suggestions from the top down, but to look for bottom up ways. Nothing else.
Ferrari somehow managed to talk to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and she contributed something to his plan, but when he went back with the modified plan, the bureaucracy had a complete fit that he had dared to talk to the President of the EU Commission directly, so now he’s resigned. He said he wanted to be in the forefront of science, and the EU bureaucracy in Brussels for sure is not.
Then, you also have more and more warnings about what the EU and the ECB are doing by still pumping money. But they could not agree on either the Eurobonds or the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)—these are all bad proposals anyway. So both Guido Tremonti, the former Italian Economics Minister, as well as Professor Hans-Werner Sinn, former President (1999-2016) of the IFO Institute for Economic Research in Munich, warned of hyperinflation. That’s very important, because so far, we have been the only ones saying that all this money-pumping by the central banks eventually will blow up in a global hyperinflation, but now they’re warning of it. Sinn was talking about the lessons from the post-Versailles period, and Giulio Tremonti, former Italian Minister of Economy and Finances, said there will be a very bad awakening fairly soon.
Money is Stupid
But on the other side, the former Deputy Manager (1987-1991) of the Banque de France Frédéric Peltier said that the only way to deal with that is a New Bretton Woods system, writing off the debt. So our demand for the Four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche definitely is not yet hegemonic, but there are people who recognize at least aspects of it.
I think we need to have this campaign for the Four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche as an absolutely necessary attribute of the solution.
Schlanger: Geopolitics has once again reared its ugly head, in the form of an attack against the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a nuclear aircraft carrier. Capt. Brett Crozier, spoke out about the problem of the coronavirus among the sailors on his ship, and he was fired! The Acting Secretary of the Navy said he was fired because he had said, we’re not at war, so there’s no problem with going into port. We have seen an eruption of geopolitical nonsense in the last days. What do you think of this? This is really one of the most dangerous aspects in the midst of the financial crisis and the coronavirus crisis, which is the warhawks are coming back out.
Zepp-LaRouche: I think this is extremely revealing, because Captain Crozier said that there was coronavirus on the Theodore Roosevelt, that there were 190 or so sailors infected out of 4,000, and on a ship like that, it’s super-dangerous. So many people can get infected. He did his duty: He reported it; he did not leak it. Then the Navy Secretary Thomas Modly flew all the way to Guam, and spoke to the sailors over a loudspeaker. He yelled at them, chastising them! He said:
One of the things that bothered me the most about his email was saying that we are not at war. Well, we are not technically at war. But let me tell you something, the only reason we are dealing with this right now is because a big authoritarian regime called China was not forthcoming about what was happening with this virus. And they put the world in danger to protect themselves and their reputation.
And he said that the crew had to do its duty, not to complain, and to show “that it is knocking down this virus, just as it would knock down the Chinese or the North Koreans or the Russians if any one of those nations were ever so stupid enough to mess with the Big Stick….”
It’s outrageous to say that the crew of this ship could “knock down” the virus by staying on the ship, showing its military readiness. This is absolute madness. It also shows you that these people believe in their doctrine, claiming that the United States is actually at war with China. And what Modly, in particular, clearly represents, is the policy called Education for Seapower Strategy 2020, which is the doctrine that you have to remove all cognitive processes from battle decisions, because these decisions have to be made within microseconds, and therefore you have to automate it with artificial intelligence.
Geopolitics is Dangerous Stupidity
This is absolutely scary! Because this confrontational outlook can lead only to a catastrophe, including World War III with Russia and China. So I think what this guy Modly—who has resigned in the meantime—has revealed, is that there is no concern by this military grouping for the troops and they are obviously drawing their conclusions from that. And there is wide discussion all over the place and in the military journals, and everybody can see what this is.
But it also shows you the extreme danger of the neo-cons in their ideological hatred of China, in particular.
Schlanger: We see that with John Bolton, former National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the United Nations, once again opening his big mouth, and other usual suspects such as Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz. They’re really ramping this thing up, precisely now, when China announced that yesterday was the first day that they had no new deaths from coronavirus; and, they’re supplying aid to the United States. So what Bolton, Rubio and Cruz are saying is really counterproductive and goes against what President Trump is talking about, with his friendship with President Xi Jinping.
Zepp-LaRouche: There are also some positive articles, like the one in The New Republic by the science journalist Laurie Garrett, who doesn’t like Trump, who doesn’t like Xi Jinping, but she comes to the conclusion that the only way to defeat this pandemic is if the United States and China, the two largest economies, work together. We do need to move to a new paradigm of international cooperation. China has now helped to bring medical supplies to over 100 countries; it has sent medical teams around the world, together with the Russians, and the Cubans. Such activity is making very clear who is helping and who is not. It’s not the EU, for sure, but it is China.
An international approach, a New Paradigm of scientific cooperation, of economic cooperation, of gearing the world economy up together, to build a world health system is really the only reasonable path, the only one that has any chance of working.
Countering British Imperial Psywar
Schlanger: You’ve been emphasizing the importance of an emergency summit, with Presidents Trump, Xi, Putin, and Prime Minister Modi getting together and hashing these questions out.
One of the problems is that there are all kinds of psychological operations in play, psychological warfare, fake news, that keep getting in the way, in order to confuse people, which operations are adding to the stress and anxiety of the average person, because they’re not hearing the truth. Where do you think this is coming from?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think it’s important that we look at it as a totality, and not at the specific lines. Because, the purpose of these fake news stories is to make people completely passive, and they’re dangerous. For example, in Germany, there is this Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, a virologist who is being quoted and interviewed by all the “alternative media,” who are already equally set in one line (like the mainstream media), namely, that this coronavirus is all a plot, fake news, a coup to implement world fascism, world dictatorship, that it’s all plotted by Bill Gates—he may have a role in it which is not so positive, but that’s a different matter—but that the whole pandemic does not exist.
This is idiotic and very dangerous, because if people think this is just like a normal flu, then we will have exactly such phenomena as I mentioned earlier: people from Paris going to the countryside, people from Bergamo going to the beach in Italy, and that way, spreading the pandemic even more and causing more people to die.
This is really stupid, and the only interesting thing is that one such alternative media person, who used to be the founder of a little outlet called Rubicon, says that he wants to say to all of these people, what if they are wrong? Then the entire alternative media have put guilt on themselves which can never be washed away. I think this is a very decent and correct warning.
But you have the same thing on the right-wing side—QAnon, these are people who say, “Oh, no danger, Trump has it all under control,” and I think they’re also on the anti-China rampage.
So you have these things, and I would not be surprised if it were not some secret services that have their hands in it, because there are people who indeed are neo-Malthusians.
We have said this from the beginning; it’s not just the coronavirus in the medical field. We have two other viruses which are equally dangerous to the continued existence of the human species—that is the monetary virus, sitting in Wall Street and the City of London. Those people who want to go back to the neo-liberal system as quickly as possible, which is impossible under those circumstances; and thirdly, the neo-Malthusian virus of people who think, well, it’s actually a good thing that such a virus exists, because it kills the elderly, it kills the excess population, the overpopulation in the so-called Third World.
Malthusian Fascists Celebrate Death
Now, these are the real fascists: These are the new Nazis, because their image of man is no different from that of those who killed the people in the concentration camps. Just look at the refugee camps in Greece and elsewhere and you see what I mean—the fact that that is not being changed and not helped by the EU, by the EU not agreeing to the industrialization of Southwest Asia and Africa, just is proof that there is such an underlying thinking in the minds of many people.
We are really challenged with an incredible task. Two weeks from now we will be having an international internet conference. I ask all of you to sign up for the conference, because if you want to have an active participation in this conference, you have to RSVP. There will be discussion on achieving a New Paradigm. There will be top representatives of leading governments of the world, top scientists, top people from music and the arts, and also a discussion of the development of Africa.
This conference will be a crucial intervention into this present situation, to change the direction, and you should be absolutely part of it, and spread the fact that this is taking place, and register as quickly as you can.
Schlanger: This is really important, because what you just identified with these operations, the fake news, the lying [audio loss], which is designed to make people passive and avoid the discussion of the real solutions. And Helga, the Schiller Institute conference you just mentioned, I want to stress to people, go to the Schiller Institute website, or the LaRouche PAC website. It’s very easy to find the RSVP registration for this conference: Become a member and use the time between now and then to prepare yourself to be a full participant, not just in the discussion at the conference, but by bringing other people: Bring your neighbors, your friends, groups of people you talk to, to participate in this conference.
The Common Good of Mankind
Helga, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Zepp-LaRouche: I think people have to really develop some inner strength to deal with this situation, because for us, in a certain sense, it was not such a surprise, because we have had Lyndon LaRouche with us and our organization, and we have been warning about this for almost half a century. But for many people, this came as a shock: From one day to the next, complete denial and dismissal of the Wuhan stories in January; then, all of a sudden, beginning sometime in March, people fell out of their clouds.
Some are now very upset; some accept it—some people obviously are experiencing extreme hardships. There is a danger that, according to the OECD report, Germany may have an economic contraction of 30% of GDP. Many people are really fighting for their daily existence, and are crowded into small apartments, maybe with little children they cannot let out—I mean, this is an incredibly challenging period.
So, I think it is important that people somehow develop the inner strength, by being optimistic that we can get out of it, if you support what we are saying. If you support the idea that we have to change the system: The neo-liberal economic model has failed and it has gotten us to this point, and we have to replace it with an economic system which is geared towards the common good, which allows economic prosperity and a decent life for the people of every country on this planet. And we have to have a new alliance of sovereign nations working together for the common aims of mankind.
If we move to get this change, there is good reason to believe that we, indeed can, in a year, or hopefully earlier—but it will take a certain time for a vaccine to be developed—we can get out it. And afterwards, really rebuild the world according to more humanistic conceptions like those of the Italian Renaissance, the German Classical period, the principles and ideas of the American Revolution. And that we can change the system, together countries like Russia, China, India and all the other countries, and form an alliance for the common good of all of humanity. But it requires your active support: So do not just “think about it” but get active with us, and we can do a lot of good things together, and hopefully come out of this in a strengthened form, together.
Schlanger: OK. Mark that on your calendars, April 25-26. Helga, thank you very much, and we’ll see you next week.
Zepp-LaRouche: Till next week.