The Crisis of Leadership
Lyndon LaRouche made these remarks to a conference held on Jan. 14-17 in Khartoum, Sudan, which was co-sponsored by the Sudanese Ministry of Information and Culture, the Centre for Strategic Studies of Sudan, EIR, and the Schiller Institute, on the subject of "Peace Through Development Along the Nile Valley in the Framework of a New, Just World Economic Order." See also Mr. LaRouche's prepared paper, "Dialog Among Cultures, the Road to Peace," and also his keynote address to the conference.
One point was made clear in the discussion today which I wanted to address.
In these days, it is fashionable to exaggerate the importance of democracy. Because the idea of democracy, as it is taught by international institutions, which use it as a way of manipulating governments, and manipulating people, is the idea of democracy that comes from where? In European civilization this usage comes directly from the Roman Empire.
Now, how did the Roman Empire control its people? It controlled its people through vox populi, popular opinion. It controlled its people through bread and circuses, by shaping popular opinion. It shaped its opinions by putting the people as spectators to watch Romans kill other Romans as gladiators, and the passions were involved with these kinds of violent spectator sports. And by these mechanisms, the Roman rulers manipulated the people in the name of democracy, into a mob of popular opinion.
Now, we see a lot of that in politics in various forms. The question is, not whether a government is democratic or not. The question is, whether the government is fit to exist or not. That's the issue; whether it's democratically chosen or not is not the question. Is it fit to exist? Are people capable of selecting government which is fit to exist?
For example, let us take the case of the north/south business in Sudan. The question is, would a micro-state, or a group of micro-states, be a viable form of existence of the people today? The history of micro-states is that they are the worst form of oppression, and doom the people. The people have a right to representation on the planet, they have a right to have a just government which will ensure them that representation, that is durable.
I'll give two relatively recent cases, that are related.
One is the case of Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King was the best leader of the African-American movement in the United States in recent times. Other people who opposed the policy he represented, sometimes had more numerous support among African-Americans; that continues somewhat to the present day. But all of these African-American movements that opposed the policy of King, have failed, repeatedly. King's approach of love, worked, and always did. The great tragedy that we had in the struggles of the so-called African-Americans, that is, of Americans who can claim African descent—it's a political category, not a racial one, really—is that when King died, none of the people around him could step forward and take his place as a leader. No one was available, not his wife, not all the other leaders around him. They all failed. All those who opposed King, while he was alive, and his policy on civil rights, failed, their policy when tried again, continues to fail. Why?
Then, we have a similar situation in the recent election. Now, my constituency in the United States is largely based in the hard-core leadership of the African-American political groups, the civil rights movements. These people are generally state legislators, have been state legislators, are important, significant people in the community, with the state legislatures. They are the leaders of the people of the state and regional level. There are a few national leaders who managed to get into national office, who function as leaders on a national level. The other section we have the largest support from (apart from all kinds of Americans), support for my efforts, is from the labor movement.
As we were going into the recent election campaign, people who supported me and wanted me to be President—not this fellow Gore, nor Bush—voted for Gore, with the argument, we have to, because if we don't, we're going get punished, and we have to vote for Gore because we've got to stop Bush. My warning to them them was, if you vote for Gore, you're going to get Bush. And they did.
Today many of those people, who were my supporters, who decided they had to support Gore—African-Americans or labor leaders or others—are now suffering, they are threatened with a fascist regime because they made that mistake. Because, had we had an open convention policy in the Democratic Party, I can assure you that the Democratic Party would have swept the election by 55-60% of the vote. But by putting this Gore in there, who himself is a racist, almost indistinguishable from Bush on policy, you had a situation where muscle was going to win, and muscle won. Bush, the man with no brain, beat the man with a sick brain in the election, by this arrangement. And the people are left unrepresented.
We are now in a struggle in the Congress to try to stop the appointment of the one of the worst racists in the United States, Ashcroft—sometimes called by other names, justly so. The example is this: As I have told my people in the United States, I have scolded them on television, I have scolded them in webcasts, I have scolded all over the place. I said, the problem with you people—talking to my African-American constituency, talking to my labor constituents and others—you act like slaves, that when you are oppressed, your reaction is to go to the back door of the slavemaster's house and beg for favors. The problem here is, you represent 80% of the American population. Presumably all of you have the right, if you are not a felon, to vote. Why do you let these guys, the upper 20% of the population, run your life?
They had the vote. Why do they do it? Because, the same principle as vox populi. They accept the idea, we are of the people, we simply can negotiate with powerful people for favors from them. We cannot put forward, in our own name, our own leadership, in our own interests, and our own rights.
The phenomenon in the United States, if you know it at all, the sickness of the United States—you see it on American television, and all you have to do is know, that the typical American watches that television set most of the time. You see CNN here, in the English-language version. CNN is not a news service, it's a global village, it's a global Big Brother, which doesn't tell you anything significant about the world. It manipulates international public opinion. People say, "The news media say . . . , it must be true." And most of what it says is not true, and what it doesn't talk about at all, is more true than anything else.
The problem we have, therefore, in dealing with the situation we have, like this struggle for peace in Sudan and neighboring countries, is a crisis in leadership. Because we have failed to develop the people as a whole, to the level of personal development, intellect, knowledge, and so forth, in which they are capable, instinctively, of making the right kind of decision. People rely on leaders, people who, by some kind of selective process, stand out as leaders. And Martin Luther King, in the recent history of the United States, is an example of that.
What does a leader do?
Leaders Tell People: `Stop Being Fools'
A leader does not bend to public opinion. A true leader will never capitulate to popular opinion. He doesn't want to hear about, "Well, let's be practical." When a leader hears, "Well, let's be practical," he says, "Oh, oh, I've got a problem." The people are going to go down to their self-made Hell, they're going to go beg at the back door of the slavemaster, or they're going to throw Molotov cocktails at him, one of the two, and get shot.
Leaders are people who contradict the people. Who, when the people are foolish, are able to counterpose them and show them that they are being foolish.
You've got people in the south, and people in other parts of the Sudan, are at war, killing each other. They're both behaving, in a sense, in a foolish way, because they can't get out of the trap of fighting that issue, of killing. And they'll destroy themselves totally, in both parts of the nation, unless they stop doing it.
What is required is the kind of leadership, in this situation as in other situations around the world, of a Martin Luther King, who can step into the situation and say to the people, "Stop being fools!" Because you know from popular opinion, what passions there are for foolish issues, when they can't discover the higher good. I mean, to cut off these southern parts of Sudan as micro-states, would doom them to horrors beyond their imagination. That's the problem, and it takes a quality of leadership from all of us, who are in a position of leadership, to rise above the pettiness, the small-mindedness of popular opinion, and popular passions, to really think, not about what people think they want for their children, but what they really need for their children and their grandchildren. And to make them see it, to convince them, that that's the truth, to elevate people to looking at things from a higher standpoint.
It's the same thing: All scientific discovery is based on the same principle. All science is based on showing that conventional popular opinion is ridiculous. That's the beginning of knowledge: that popular opinion is always wrong, or that it always contains a fatal flaw. A scientist uses the evidence, and the power of human insight, that only a human being has, to make a discovery of principle which can be proven to be a principle, and to communicate that discovery to people, so that people use that principle.
As long as you continue to fight, particularly when you have a prolonged war, of a type of religious war which has been going on in Sudan since Kitchener in 1898, when they first started this fight—it didn't start with the present government, or the government before that, or the government before that, it started with Kitchener, when the British were determined to prevent, to divide the control of the Nile, to keep the nations below what's called the Victoria area, of the equatorial area, to keep them separated from the nations which are upstream from the Nile, and thus to divide Africa against itself and conquer it and control it. That was Kitchener. The butcher.
The problem has been, that people from Europe, people from the United States, are misleaders, who constantly come into these situations and misdefine the situation in this type of issue, that type of issue. It's all lies. Leaders are those who can look ahead, 20 years, 60 years, 100 years, and show the people that the people are wrong. And the people will love them for it. Because the people will be proud to have the knowledge, by which they can actually achieve what they really need, what they really desire as human beings. And you need to teach the people who are going to deal with the people, to respond similarly. So, you need leadership.
In all the discussions going on today, I heard many good things, particularly today. But the one thing that I thought was missing, was this question.
Don't assume that a good solution will be a popular one at the outset. If you find people cannot agree, that they are in conflict, there must be something, if they are human beings, have a common interest, that they come together on. Either agree to separate and collaborate, or agree to join together. One of the two. But there must be a higher level, at which that decision can be made consciously by the people on both sides. And once you've reached that level, they will agree. Not be gripped by the passions of legacies and past passions.
If we don't do that, with the world as I know it today—and this world is headed for the brink of Hell, not merely in this country, but throughout all of Africa, and most of the world—you're going to see the reduction of the human population to levels as low as a few hundred million, from nearly 6 billion it's becoming today. Whole nations, whole languages, whole groups will vanish from this planet, as you see threatened by these epidemics of diseases in Africa. Unless we can mobilize the forces to stop it, there's going to be Hell on this planet. And what is required, is what Martin Luther King represents in the struggle for civil rights in the United States: a quality of leadership which can rise above the passions of pettiness and immediacy, to bring people together, who otherwise would not come together, and join together in a common cause, and take joy out of winning that cause together.