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This transcript appears in the June 5, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this transcript]


How Can You ‘Reopen’ an Economy That No Longer Exists?

This is the edited transcript of the Schiller Institute’s May 29, 2020 interview with Helga Zepp-LaRouche, by Harley Schlanger. Subheads and embedded links have been added. A video of the webcast is available.

Harley Schlanger: Welcome to our webcast today with our founder and President Helga Zepp-LaRouche. It is May 29, 2020. Let’s begin with some good news: Tomorrow, Saturday, the launch of a rocket taking two astronauts to the International Space Station is scheduled. This is the first crewed rocket in nine years that was made in, and launched from, the United States. LaRouche PAC has just released a new program, for 1.5 billion jobs globally, including 50 million new, productive jobs in the United States. The essence of this pamphlet is the full analysis of the approach to physical economy developed by your husband. What are your thoughts on the release of this pamphlet?

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: The world needs a change in direction. We have a depression. We have a pending financial blowout of the system, the coronavirus pandemic, a famine threatening, and growing social chaos. It’s very clear that the accumulation of these crises—including now a threatened strategic confrontation among the major countries—demands a completely different paradigm. We have to inject a solution addressing all of these problems. That is the character of our program to create 1.5 billion new, productive jobs worldwide, starting with 50 million jobs inside the United States. That program is based on the principles of my late husband. In a productive economy, at least half of the workforce should be deployed in real productive workplaces. He had a quite different conception of what is productive, and what not.

Today, only 12% of the labor force in the United States is employed in productive jobs, and a lot of it—more than 70%—is in the service economy. With the consequences of previous policies of the Obama and Bush Administrations, and the destruction, for the last 50 years, of the productive character of society, there are now almost 50 million unemployed in the United States.

To turn this around, we will need an immediate investment program for 50 million jobs in the United States in such frontier areas as the Artemis space program. According to the principles of Lyndon LaRouche, at least 5% of the labor force should be deployed in basic research and development. Therefore, the Artemis program and the rocket launch, is the direction to go. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said a little while ago that international cooperation in space is what lifts the world above geopolitical confrontation.

This is extremely important. The idea of space travel instills the kind of optimism which can lift people’s eyes up to the stars, up to the skies, to see that there are many frontiers to be conquered. It instills the optimism of man’s ingenuity, which can address all problems and find solutions.

NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine: International cooperation in space is what lifts the world above geopolitical conflict. Here he is shown climbing out of a mockup of the Demo-2 Crew Dragon space capsule at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019.

We will present our program in the next weeks in great detail, so tune in to our various websites. I encourage everyone to use the 29-page digital offprint of the program, “The LaRouche Plan To Reopen the U.S. Economy: The World Needs 1.5 Billion New, Productive Jobs,” to make sure everybody has access to it. We need a broad discussion among engineers, civil engineers, farmers, city councils, and people who represent every aspect of productive society. We have to mobilize the entire society as occurred with Roosevelt’s New Deal, which led the United States out of the Depression. That is exactly the kind of discussion we urgently need, because we now face an existential crisis. Join in this discussion and make sure the solutions are put on the agenda.

Schlanger: Helga, I think it’s important for people to think this through, because with the partial “reopening” of the economy, in this global crisis, there’s no solution in the United States alone, is there?

Zepp-LaRouche: Obviously not. The economic crisis and the unemployment in the United States has accelerated. It is really reaching a shock front, because of the collapsing of the physical economy of the United States. If you look around the world, this increasing collapse is happening everywhere. And as the coronavirus pandemic spreads—there is a famine threatening as a result of the collapse of agriculture, also triggered by the coronavirus but not caused by it, with the danger of 300,000 people dying of hunger per day!

The pandemic is now reaching the Southern Hemisphere, exactly as we have warned. Probably the worst case right now is Brazil. Officially there are 420,000 cases in Brazil. The São Paulo Medical School at the University of São Paulo reports that there are probably 15 times more cases than officially recognized. There is very little testing, there is incredible poverty in the favelas in the impoverished Northeast of Brazil; so they estimate it may be 5-6 million people infected, and that is as many as the rest of the world combined.

In Chile, COVID-19 is out of control, and people are starving and there are riots. We need to implement the program for 1.5 billion productive jobs for the global workforce. Sixty percent of the world labor force is employed in the so-called “informal economy,” which is a euphemism for jobs, with no benefits and no security, in which people live from hand to mouth, and for the most part have no productive skills.

If you look at the unemployment in the world, and this informal work, you see an incredible waste of productive potential. The world needs productively employed people to build a world health system, a health system in every country, and to double world food production. We face an oncoming famine, which requires that we double world food production.

We are campaigning for this in almost all the countries of the world, effectively reaching into Africa. Several organizations in Africa now recognize that ours is a viable proposal. So I ask you to sign our petition, “Coronavirus Petition: For a Global Health Infrastructure.” Read and distribute as widely as you can our world food emergency program, and our program for 1.5 billion productive jobs. We need a public debate and we need many people in the fight for this solution.

Schlanger: Under these kinds of circumstances, there are often diversions, provocations that lead to civil unrest, and the danger of war. First, on civil instability and unrest: What are we seeing emerging around the situation in Minnesota, where the police killed an unarmed African-American?

Zepp-LaRouche: This is already exploding in further riots, and it just demonstrates, that unfortunately there is latent racism in the United States and Europe, basically a tinder box, which, under conditions of unemployment and stress caused by the pandemic, can explode. I don’t want to discuss the particulars of this case: President Trump has called for an investigation. The video of the incident leaves no doubt that this was a murder, the man clearly indicated that he couldn’t breathe. Let me just say that this is a totally horrible expression of what happens to human beings when a society doesn’t respect every human being as sacred.

President Trump has called for an investigation, and hopefully this will lead to justice. More fundamentally, we have to eliminate the conditions that have created such a tinder box. That means creating a real economic recovery, giving people hope again. Under conditions of breakdown, social tensions and racial tensions will tend to just explode. We now have five months until the U.S. election. Unless our program is put on the agenda, way before the election, I don’t see any guarantee that we will even get there. If you take that, together with the strategic escalation, I can only reiterate, we need a change in paradigm, quickly, for both domestic reasons in the United States, and emphatically so internationally as well.

CC/Studio Incendo
DoS/Freddie Everett
Zepp-LaRouche: “Hong Kong’s status as a special administrative region, has been violated by foreign-instigated military and terrorist actions in Hong Kong.” A leading anti-China voice, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is doing everything he can to provoke China.

Schlanger: We’re also seeing a hardening of the anti-China tone coming from people such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, related to the new law for Hong Kong. What do people need to know, because clearly what Pompeo is doing is way out of line. He’s pushing us and China toward a new confrontation.

Zepp-LaRouche: The destabilization against Hong Kong didn’t start with the most recent decision of the Chinese National People’s Congress, a new bill making the security law of China applicable to Hong Kong, which is its right. It is in response to what happened before, the riots that were instigated by the British, by people including the former, and last, British Governor of Hong Kong, Christopher Patten, who was quite open about it. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was financing and training people, and fueling the terrorism going on in Hong Kong. The West was completely duplicitous and lying by calling these people “freedom fighters” and “proponents of democracy,” while in reality, these people, or many of these demonstrators, were terrorists, using violence against the police, the police headquarters, causing the situation to get out of control.

Now, Pompeo is threatening—I don’t know if he has done it already, or if he is about to do it—to take away the “autonomous” status of Hong Kong, which is supposed to hurt China financially and economically, because the autonomous status of Hong Kong allowed Hong Kong to be used as an international financial trading place, which has a not-so-good history. You must take this whole thing back to the Opium Wars, and the British military campaigns against China in the 19th century, which was the reason why Hong Kong went to the British Empire in the first place!

Hong Kong does not belong to the British, it belongs to China! In 1997, Hong Kong was basically given back to China, but for a period of 50 years, until 2047, with an interim status as a special administrative region, under the rubric One China, Two Systems. But that has been violated by foreign-instigated military actions and terrorist actions in Hong Kong.

So, if the Chinese government is now saying that they will not allow this anymore, and they assume the responsibility to fight against these terrorists for national security reasons, it’s their absolute right. Those who sponsored the terrorists should have thought about this beforehand. However, if this is now happening, sure, it will hurt China.

But I really don’t think the people who have forced China to take this step have thought it through, because Hong Kong is not just a financial place for China, it is also the place where a lot of stuff coming out of the opium trade and so forth is still going on in the international banks located there. That will be eliminated. So Hong Kong may actually be a trigger point for much more nasty consequences for the international financial system, so this anti-China action, if carried out, may actually be shooting themselves in the knee.

It’s really important to understand the long history of containment, including active military operations in previous centuries against China by the British, by the French, by the Japanese. I think China has grown out of that with the absolute determination that it will never again allow the kinds of suffering and damages which have occurred in these operations. China is now strong enough to make sure that it is not going to suffer the same thing again.

If this is pushed too far—and you can see that the tone in the Chinese media is actually getting sharper—they have announced that they may answer with quite tough measures, such as sanctioning U.S. firms, like shutting down certain economic operations in Hong Kong. But at the same time, they always say, it’s better to renegotiate, to go back to the diplomatic way of solving problems.

I can only say this U.S.-China conflict is probably the most dangerous conflict, presently, because, as I have said many times, the idea that you can contain a country of 1.4 billion people, whose government has set out on a correct economic policy, by emphasizing scientific and technological progress, you cannot contain that! Especially when the West is still, at least in Europe, committed to an absolutely foolish neo-liberal green policy, and destroying itself in that way, while China, together with some other Asian countries, is putting its hope—and actually doing it—in scientific and technological progress. China has become the world leader in several areas, like space programs—not terribly much, but they are ahead in certain areas in fusion research, in fast train systems; they have a completely different morale in their population than the West has demonstrated in its harsh, really irrational reaction to the lockdown measures to contain the pandemic.

So China’s set to arrive. And if you want to stop that, the only way you can do it is with World War III. China has said that since its self-declared opponents know that China has become by now a very strong military power, and it doesn’t think they will risk a World War III, that the only card left would be the decoupling of the economies.

Now, again, given the intertwined nature and interconnection of the global economy, if there were a serious push to decouple the United States economy from that of China, forcing the rest of the world to take sides between these two blocs, in a new Cold War, given the condition of the world economy, right now, I don’t think it would last very long, and it would lead to a gigantic collapse both of the financial system and the real economy. And out of this chaos could come all kinds of danger, including that of war.

Schlanger: You described earlier a regime-change crew that was involved in the Russiagate and Ukrainegate attacks on President Trump. That crew included George Soros and the gang of speculators from the City of London. This is the same network that’s targetting Argentina now, isn’t it?

Zepp-LaRouche: Oh, yes. In the next days, we’ll see whether Argentina will become another trigger point, perhaps leading to a chain-reaction collapse of the financial system. On May 22, Argentina did not pay about $500 million on bond interest payments, and now the Credit Derivatives Determination Committee of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association is deciding whether or not this is a “credit event”—a default. If the credit default swaps (CDS) system kicks in, this could indeed lead to such a trigger.

All of this makes absolutely clear that the demand of Lyndon LaRouche to have a New Bretton Woods system is absolutely urgent. Again, it cannot be done on a lower level; it has to occur on the highest level of the key countries. The United States, Russia, China and India have to get together and say: “Look at the world, look at the many crises spinning out of control. We take responsibility for the fate of humanity and we declare that we will give the whole world a new direction of international cooperation, because confrontation can only mean World War III. Therefore, we will declare a New Bretton Woods system.”

They will then declare a 1.5 billion jobs creation program; they will cooperate to get a decent health system in every country; they will move together to double world food production, and start concretely to industrialize Africa, to rebuild Southwest Asia.

All of these things would be easy to do, if only the political will can be mobilized. But it emphatically means you have to get rid of the war mongers. I think about what President Trump said about former National Security Advisor John Bolton, that if he had not kicked him out, there would have been six world wars already. Well, maybe there are some others in his administration for whom the same thing applies. President Trump is in a very difficult situation with all the aspects we described. So, we need to mobilize the population to support him against these war mongers.

The anti-China campaign in the United States can only lead to a catastrophe for all of humanity. Fundamentally, it’s completely unjust, because all the accusations against China are ludicrous! A German online publication published documentation about the many mistakes made by the German government in not responding to the warnings of the World Health Organization in the beginning of January. It kept sleeping in February, and only in March, when the coronavirus cases began erupting in Germany, did it start to look for masks and protective clothing and all of this, and naturally then there was a big scrambling. There are other countries that have clearly not responded to the warnings coming from China and the WHO.

The truth is not something which is owned by people like Pompeo, but the truth is what can be clearly demonstrated in terms of a timeline of what happened and when. The key reason why this is a pandemic has nothing to do with the coronavirus; it has everything to do with the liberal economic system, and the takedown of the health system by the Bush Administration, by the Obama Administration. In doing this they have created the conditions, including the non-development of the developing countries, so that this virus could turn into a pandemic! It’s very important to not mix up things, and the blame game has to stop! It is implying the danger of World War III and people had better wake up to that.

Left: EC
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s €750 billion “recovery fund” proposal is just one more effort to steer European financial investments into a disastrous Green Deal. Right: wind turbines: renewable energy in the Netherlands

A Green European Union
Bank Bailout Fantasy

Schlanger: Helga, there are two more topics I want to bring up: One of which, when we talk about missing the boat, we saw the European Union come up with another bailout policy disguised as some kind of effort to revive the economy. What can you say about that?

Zepp-LaRouche: Oh, that is a complete disaster. I can only hope that the already visible opposition against it will be strong enough to put it in the wastepaper basket: This is a proposal by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, for €750 billion over five years, which essentially is supposed to show solidarity with the weaker European member countries. In reality—and this has been discussed very clearly by many voices, in Italy in particular—it is an effort to transform the German economy according to the fantasy of the Green Deal, which is von der Leyen’s pet project.

This program would mean allowing investments only in green projects such as green renovation of housing, solar, wind power; one million charging stations for e-cars. I mean—all of these are according to this Green New Deal. If ever implemented, this program would mean a completely sidelined Europe; all are economically completely invalid policies, because they lower productivity, they lower the energy-flux density. It would mean that Europe becomes technologically obsolete and sidelined. The character of Europe as industrial nations would be completely smashed, and this would lead to social chaos.

Fortunately, there is opposition in the German parliament, in the European Parliament, but especially also coming from the sovereignists in France, and the Italian equivalent—they don’t call themselves sovereignists, but they are, de facto—who basically say that this is increasing the debt, and if Italy is forced to increase the debt, why don’t they do it directly by issuing government bonds, rather than going through the EU? There are warnings even from the European Central Bank that this program may detonate the Eurozone, and frankly, given the fact that this EU bureaucracy is all on the wrong side, that may not be a bad thing, because it would allow for an alternative policy of working together with Eurasia on the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, which is the way to solve problems in Africa and Southwest Asia.

So this European Commission program is hopefully not going anywhere. It’s the worst kind of economic idiocy you can imagine.

Left: CC/Chatham House; right: Gage Skidmore
Joe Biden (right), Obama’s vice president, is now under criminal investigation for corruption in Ukraine involving former President Petro Poroshenko (left).

Schlanger: Finally, we come to the strange case of Joe Biden, who can’t seem to decide whether he’s a candidate for President or a fugitive from justice in the Federal Witness Protection Program hiding out in some basement. With the recent developments in Ukraine, it may be that he is going to become a fugitive from justice: What’s going on with that situation?

Zepp-LaRouche: Well, that is very interesting, and very little, if at all, covered by the mainstream media. In Ukraine, the Prosecutor General (Attorney General) has now put up a criminal investigation against Biden for both corruption and also the fact that he imposed undue pressure on the Ukrainian government, on then President Petro Poroshenko, to kick out the Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating a company called Burisma, where Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, had a post which paid him a lot for doing nothing. There is documentation now in the courts that Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine if Shokin wasn’t kicked out. But Poroshenko was such a willing tool that Biden didn’t have to do much.

This is a clear case of corruption and utmost interference in the internal affairs of another country, and I think it is very, very interesting. Let’s see how this plays out. It may change the U.S. election dynamic very quickly because this is now an official criminal investigation.

Schlanger: As I was saying, I think this is going to keep Joe in the basement a little bit longer. Let me just urge our viewers again, to go to the LaRouche PAC or Schiller Institute websites, and bring up the new program, for 1.5 billion new productive jobs. This is a game-changer. We have an opportunity to do something, now, because of the crisis, and if you were listening to what Helga was just saying, we’re in a global crisis, but there are solutions, and that should give you hope.

Helga, anything else from you?

Zepp-LaRouche: I would like you to become active with us, because this is a moment in history where it can go completely wrong, quickly; and, if we implement this program, we can bring hope to billions of people in the world. Since the human being is basically a being with creative reason, let’s hope that enough such human beings get together and mobilize with us for this good plan, and then we can change history for the better. So get active with us!

Schlanger: OK, thank you very much, Helga. We’ll see you next week.

Zepp-LaRouche: Till next week.

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