EIR SEMINAR IN FRANKFURT
LaRouche: The Mass Strike
Can Defeat the British Empire
June 10—Lyndon LaRouche was the keynote speaker today at a seminar of the European Bureau of Executive Intelligence Review in Frankfurt, Germany, the first of this kind there in several years. The seminar, titled, "The Task at Hand: A Glass-Steagall System and Return to Sovereign Economic Policy," drew about 25 people, including several representatives of the Mittelstand (small and medium-size enterprises), political activists, diplomats, and former banking officials. Helga Zepp-LaRouche moderated the three-and-a-half-hour event; her welcoming remarks were followed by a report from EIR's Dean Andromidas, on the breakout of the organizing in the United States around LaRouche's call for the impeachment of Obama, and the need to reestablish the Glass-Steagall standard in banking.
Here is a transcript of LaRouche's keynote, followed by his answer to one of the questions.
I was very happy to find that I had the opportunity to say, in the vicinity of Frankfurt, which used to be a financial center, that there is a plan for rescuing Europe, as well as the United States. Because without something very important happening, Europe is in big trouble, now. We're looking at a potential collapse, a chain-reaction collapse of the European economy.
Well, let's start with the question of what the United States has the power to do, or may have the power to do, and I speak not only for myself, but for a number of ranking people in the United States, who are part of this scheme. Let me pick up what was said before on the question of the mass-strike movement in the United States. It's a very important thing to understand this clearly, scientifically, not just as information.
Some of you recall that the idea of a mass strike was first introduced into Europe by Rosa Luxemburg, and Rosa Luxemburg was not simply a German redneck, or red something-or-other, but was a very cultivated person, whose father had been a leader of the Bund organization from Lithuania, Poland, and so forth, and who was educated in France, among leading circles in France. And her presentation of the mass strike came in conjunction with a series of articles and other activity around the theme of the subject of imperialism, during the 1890s, and in the first decade of the 20th Century. She had the only competent understanding of imperialism of anyone, notably, living at that time.
There were people in Britain, authors who were so-called "influentials" on the subject. There was Lenin, for example, with his failed prescription; and we had many idiots among the Social Democrats of Germany, who all made terrible mistakes. Each of them was trying to define imperialism in terms of an extension of a nation. Since the period of the Peloponnesian War, up to the present time, there never has been a national imperialism in any country in Europe. Since the Greek revolt, the resistance to the Persian Empire, all imperialisms in Europe were based initially on maritime cultures, and money cultures, which were international.
You have British imperialism which still exists; it's the only important imperialism in the world today. But British imperialism is not an imperialism of the British people. The British people are cattle just like the rest of the victims. And the imperialism lies in international financial power. It was based originally in Europe, in maritime power. The typification of modern European imperialism is Venice: Over a thousand years ago, Venice became the center of monopoly, of international maritime lending and trade. Venice created the Habsburg Empire; it was a tool of Venice, the Venetian bankers, the same Venetian bankers who caused the Dark Age in the 14th Century in Europe.
So therefore, this misunderstanding of imperialism, as being something different than international piracy in the form of financial operations—this was the delusion that people had about the danger of world war, first after 1890, and the Second World War, and what's been going on now around the world: long wars, in different parts of the world, have bled nations to death.
The British Move To Break the U.S.A.
And that's the kind of problem we have now: We have an international monetary power, a monetarist power, which controls the world economy. In order to establish the kind of empire that we have today, it was necessary for the British, or the British-centered Empire, to break the United States. There were two most crucial steps at the time: The first was the death of Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt was anti-imperialist, and was committed to building a system of sovereign nation-states, and eliminating colonialism throughout the world.
What happened, the day after he died, Truman became President, and Truman was a puppet of Churchill. But the world was a mess at that point, coming out of that long war.
Remember, the war actually started with the ouster of Bismarck in Germany [in 1890]. The British royal family ordered the ousting of Bismarck, which Bismarck later described, when he was in private life, as having been [the beginning of] a new Seven Years War. The British monarchy started, first of all, with a war against China by Japan: The Prince of Wales went to the Mikado of Japan, and said, "You're an empire, we're an empire; you're an emperor, we're an emperor. And we have to get together." So they agreed, these two empires, then, agreed to start a military attack on China, on Korea, and on Russia.
This war, organized by the British, continued from 1895 to 1945. The British and Japan participated in a conference in the early 1920s, 1922-23, in which Britain and Japan agreed to build up a naval force to destroy the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor. With British assistance, Japan built up a naval force for taking on China and the United States.
So then, as a result of this process, we had a world war, which is called World War I in the books today. Then, after the First World War, where the British monarch [George V] played his cousins—the Kaiser [Wilhelm II], and also the Tsar of Russia [Nicholas II]—played them against each other. So, that went well, because the United States supported Britain in this situation, and therefore, Germany was put under special conditions [the Versailles reparations].
Now, they wanted to destroy the Soviet Union, after this war. So, they started the Second World War; and it was a plan, in which the French and British were allied, to have Germany go against the Soviet Union. But that didn't work out, because the French government was a fascist government, which made a deal with Hitler. So, the British lost France, and Churchill screamed to Roosevelt to rescue Britain. And Churchill hated Roosevelt, and Roosevelt despised Churchill, because Churchill was an imperialist, and Roosevelt was an anti-imperialist.
So then, after that, the decision was, how to destroy the United States? The first thing was to change Roosevelt's policy, abandon it, and go to Churchill's policy on reestablishing empire.
I was in my military service in the last phase of [the war in] Asia, during 1945; in this time, I was stationed in Myitkyina in northern Burma, and, at that time, the Myitkyina base, which was two air bases in northern Burma, which were connected to China, and also to Thailand, and also to operations in Indo-China. In this period, Ho Chi Minh had been made the leader of Indo-China, with U.S. support. But then, when Roosevelt died, the British, with U.S. backing, went into Indo-China and told Indo-China to turn the Japanese troops who were in captivity, free, and arm them again.
So, at the point of 1946, by '46, a year after the death of Roosevelt, the world was headed again, for a new war, or wars. And the reason I've started with this reference to the 1890-1946 period, is to give an understanding of what is happening now: How do empires establish themselves and operate? And therefore, what is the weapon which we can use to destroy imperialism?
Afghanistan: Permanent War
Right now, since the Soviet war in Afghanistan, we've had a permanent state of war in Afghanistan, from that time to the present day! And with the change in the international Muslim organizations by Britain, under the cover of the Afghanistan war, the British have established a major opium-producing operation inside Afghanistan. And the Afghanistan production is run by the British Foreign Office. The major source of opium and related drugs, coming out of Afghanistan, is the major source of contamination in Transcaucasia, and into Europe itself. And a British agent, called the President of the United States, the current one, Obama, is a supporter of this. And this is a major issue with Russia and others right now, because 30,000 Russians a year are dying, as a result of the opium run through there; and other countries in that vicinity are pretty much the same thing.
The obvious remedy for this is—if I were in command of the relevant forces, and the Russians would agree with this—go in, and, with a swift operation, stop the war in Afghanistan by destroying every part of those opium plots and every part of the processing of it. It's the policy of some of us in the United States, who are influential, to do exactly that, and to cooperate with the Russians and Iranians in doing it.
Because, we have to recognize that from the beginning, as typified by the Roman Empire and every empire since then, empires run the world by getting people to kill each other! It's what Bismarck called a "Seven Years War syndrome": It's by getting the nations to kill each other, that the empire prevails, as a result.
The most crucial recent case of that was in the United States, while Kennedy was President. The pressure from London was, for the United States to get involved in a war in Indo-China. Back to my memories of '45 and '46: We spent ten years of warfare in Indo-China. How? President Kennedy, advised by former Gen. Douglas MacArthur, had agreed that the United States should never become involved in a long war in Asia. And since Kennedy was a real President, and said, "no" to the war, the only way to get the long war, was to kill Kennedy. We spent ten years in that war, and we lost the United States in ten years in a war in Indo-China.
The internal effects on the United States of conducting a long war, ten years of that war, an immoral war, a terrible war, fought under general conditions—and this is the worst kind of war; and this has been the pattern—the United States was essentially destroyed, to the point that, between 1968 and 1971, the United States, essentially, had lost its sovereignty.
So, to understand anything about what is happening in the world right now, you have to go back to that period of the Indo-China War and the immediate aftermath of it. It had an effect on Germany. There was very significant German involvement in the Indo-China War. And the German command—those who went out to fight these kinds of wars, or in support of these wars—did not come back. They were not back in the 1980s.
So, to understand the mass strike in the United States, which is a key factor in what I'm reporting, one has to understand this kind of historical process.
`Wir Sind Das Volk'
Often, you know, history is not competently taught these days. There used to be professional historians who had a sense of how to present history. We don't. We have chronologists today, people who report facts: fact, fact, fact, fact. They don't understand human beings; they don't understand society. We are not animals. Yes, the individual mind and its creative potential does exist, as an individual, should be, sovereign ability. But the real force that holds humanity together is called culture. Man's idea of immortality, contrasted with an animal, is that mankind thinks in terms of a culture, of participating in a living culture.
And being an older man myself, I have a sense of how you have a transmission of culture across successive generations. For example, my first ancestor in the United States, came to the United States, at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. My grandparents were born in the early 1860s. And the myths in our family pertained to people who had been born a generation or two generations earlier.
The mass strike, as Rosa Luxemburg described it, comes on the basis of recognizing that it is the culture of a people, which determines the way they're organized for action, and the way they respond. And, past generations, will suddenly emerge, with their effects, now, three generations later, from four generations earlier. It comes at a time, then, when people say, in large numbers, "We are the people." "Wir sind das Volk." It leaps across generations, the embedded culture of people.
And the key factor in this, of course, is the culture of language, language-culture: If you want to mobilize the planet, you mobilize the language-cultures of the planet. If the cultures of the people will agree, then they can do something together. And such a situation has now come upon us.
The people are reacting. The memory transmitted by culture is reacting. The job is to solve the problem before the planet now; is to take the steps which will bring the culture of these peoples together in a common cause. Not who can be taught to fight one another, but how we can cooperate. It can't be artificial; it has to be real. It must be mobilized to a common purpose based on a cultural mobilization.
Now, therefore, the United States has a special responsibility to the world at large, at this time of crisis. The fact that in this period, in the recent weeks, we've had, 78% of the conscious, adult population of the United States has been committed to a return to a Glass-Steagall reform. Now, this thing has recognized as an enemy, first of all, Wall Street, and the second enemy, which has been just been mobilized, is Britain, because of what British Petroleum did in the Gulf of Mexico. What the British are doing, and what the President of the United States is doing in support of them, is not only treasonous in character, but it has enraged people.
So, it's not ordinary political action, of the ordinary, usual type that is determining this process. It's a much more powerful force: It's the force of culture, the history of culture, which mobilizes a people within themselves to do something they otherwise don't think they're capable of doing.
Get Rid of Obama!
Now, first of all, what we're moving toward, is, with the discrediting of the President: We have to get rid of this President. Now, we can't shoot him, and we shouldn't shoot him. We should keep him around as somebody to remind people how evil he was. As long as the American people, 80% of them, hate this President, the American people will remain united by that hatred. And you see, it's like bowling pins, when you're at a bowling alley and you knock the pins down; this is the kind of thing that is happening in each Congressional District in the United States now.
From a strategic standpoint, the war against the continuation of this Presidency is feasible now. When a tyrant has lost the power to intimidate victims, the victims can win. I think Schiller had something to say about that subject. And that may be fine.
So therefore, it takes intelligence and courage on the part of leaders of a mass movement, to be able to win a struggle of this type. We have, in certain strata in the United States, we have all the intelligence we need, to win this one. We have an estimated 80% of the adult population which agrees. They're ready to go to the equivalent of war, to save their families, to save their nations, and to get a sense of justice for mankind. They want a court, a great judge and a great court, which will give them back what is being taken away from them.
And they're also looking for a place in immortality: They're looking for the point in life, where they can say, "I did this for your future!" That's man's perception of immortality, which is a great source of strength in all struggles. All it takes is a shoring up of this process, under some appropriate leadership in the United States, which does exist, to move the process of getting this President out of the way, by causing him to be impeached, or just thrown out, somehow, and put up someplace where people can look at him as being thrown out.
Glass-Steagall: Purify the Banks
Now, what we have to do, involves, something which at first may shock you, because you may not think it through, so I will identify it, and then I shall tell you why you shouldn't be shocked. The adoption of a Glass-Steagall resolution now, as a law of the United States, would mean that every bank in the United States would be purified. The Federal government would enact a law, which would protect the legitimate, commercial banking deposits, and savings deposits, in all banks, even if the banks, as such, were technically bankrupt at that time. And we would throw to the dogs all other kinds of banking claims.
Now, you have to remember, one thing is very important: That the mass of debt, of financial debt, technically out there, is beyond anybody's imagination!
My intention is, and I think I can speak for other people in the United States, too—some of them, at least—my intention is to do this immediately. This would mean the immediate wiping out of virtually every speculative bank in the world, and every account which is not a stable, commercial banking account, as defined by the former Glass-Steagall practice. That's what Roosevelt did in 1933, with the original Glass-Steagall Act, which is actually also implicit in the U.S. Federal Constitution.
Now, my point is, that, the minute we do that, the minute we go for that act, and for its immediate implementation, Europe has a problem: Because then, every bank, in every European country, has to go through the same cleaning at the laundry. Which introduces a third element, as essential: We must save institutions, including banking institutions, which are valid, make sure they don't fold up, too.
Okay, now what you do, is you cancel all the illegal, or stinking, or false kinds of financial claims. Instead of bailing out fraudulent financial claims, the national governments, sovereign governments, must now issue credit into the banking system, the purified banking system. You don't want any more of the burden on, say, European banks, European nations, of this false kind of debt. But most banks today in Europe are bankrupt. How can you save it? You have to support them: How? With Federal credit. State credit. Because, what you do, is you deposit the credit of the state, in the bank, for it to use in a banking form, to practice banking. Because if you don't do exactly this, you see the end of civilization, very soon. Because you have a mass of debt beyond all calculation which is sitting on the backs of nations, including virtually every nation. So therefore, you have to cancel the unlawful debt.
Now, by doing that, to the extent that the bank is losing a margin of its assets, and you want to save it, you have to give it another asset of lending power. And the addition of lending power, for projects which governments promote, largely in infrastructure and other projects, will enable you to stabilize the financial system, on a Glass-Steagall basis.
But you have two problems: the loss of the Glass-Steagall kind of protection. You have a real problem here: Because what has happened is the collapse, like the collapse of industries in Germany, for example, which you're familiar with, this collapse of industries has brought Germany below a breakeven point in terms of real economic operations. And the key thing, is, you have to take the German potential, as you do in each country, in its own characteristics, you have to realize what is the potential for building up the economy, rapidly, based on an existing, qualified population, with projects which exist in the capability of the nation.
Basic Economic Infrastructure
Now, what we will have to do in the United States, where this problem is quite acute already, but it's also throughout Europe right now; it's also true in Russia, very much so. So therefore, you have to bring the nation up to a physical breakeven point, so therefore, you have to have projects.
Now, the way in which, economically, you can do these projects, is, you start with basic economic infrastructure. You have a firm, like you have a big auto firm that's collapsed. That auto firm not only produces autos, but it represents labor, machine-tool, and other capabilities, for doing other things as well as automobile manufacturing. Because, what your problem is: The population is not productively employed at a sufficient level and with sufficient quality to maintain the nation.
That's the problem inside the United States; it's the problem inside Europe. Europe is being treated, by the imperialist power, like a colonial victim, a colonial nation. It's a destruction of nations, it's a destruction of their economy, destruction of the nation. And without extraordinary measures, which are shocking in the sense that they are extraordinary, you can not possibly save any part of Europe today. And without the active cooperation of the United States, the European recovery can not work.
Take the case of China—it's another case, which is crucial: The level of output of China, is such that you have a recession, a virtual depression, coming down on China, and the more that the nations, the markets for China's goods, collapse, the faster China collapses. India is a less vulnerable nation, but it has a similar problem. The good quality of China and India, is that China is building nuclear power plants, and it is also building mass-transportation systems, which are absolutely indispensable for the future existence of China. But without a growth of China's external market, China can not make it. India has more stability than China, on the surface; India has a very aggressive nuclear power project; it's a leading market for the thorium nuclear reactors, but it too has approximately 80% of its population which is extremely poor, and unskilled.
So therefore, we have to build up, not only the infrastructure of the world, but we have to make sure that the different parts of the world which are markets for other nations, are able to be markets for other nations.
We must always think in terms of humanity as a whole. Humanity organized in sovereign nation-states. Therefore, we must have not only a Glass-Steagall standard, in all countries—or in as many as we can recruit to that purpose, at least major countries—we must also develop a fixed-exchange-rate system. Without a 1.5% [interest rate] ceiling on basic lending, you can not build up the market we must build, throughout the world. Under these kinds of conditions, we can solve the problem. Without these conditions, we're going to Hell. There is no other alternative, because we've gone so far down, that we have to take the measures which are appropriate, in intensity and scale, to move us up. It's going to take two generations to get where we want to get to.
The Mars Program
And, I'll just add one thing to this report: What I've started with my friends and associates, we started the Mars program, because this involves things that have not been understood adequately beforehand. There will be essentially a century-long program. It'll take the most part of a century to get to that point. But we know from the U.S. activity under the space program, earlier—we know that the space programs, as science-driver programs, give you the highest rate of gain, in productive powers of labor, of any kind of investment. This is not only true because of the investment in production for a space program, but the fact that the space program, as a science-driver program, will benefit every aspect of economy, by the technology you develop for the purpose of the space program.
And finally, the only way you can get a program like this in Europe, is the same way we will have to do it in the United States: Das Volk. You must bring into play, a sense of the people mobilizing for a credible goal, which binds them together, in a sense that what they're doing, is such that they need not be ashamed of what they're doing, in the eyes of their grandchildren.
Dialogue with LaRouche
Q: [paraphrase] My name is Weber, and my question is addressed to Mr. LaRouche. Your analysis of the financial crisis does not go far enough, as far as I can see. What's missing, is that the crisis is, in part, caused by the compounding of interests, which, over the course of many years, has led to the accumulation of large financial assets, which leads to an equivalent accumulation of financial debts. This has enabled very rich people to accumulate large assets, which they can use to dictate policies....
LaRouche: The two things as I said before: You've got to think about this mass-strike process. You've got to think about different kinds of politics: You have the people of Germany, as well as other countries, particularly as a result of what happened with France and the United States and Thatcher, when the [German] Chancellor [Helmut Kohl] was moving to the right action, the threat—the threat of war and similar kinds of things, from France and from Britain, caused Germany to accept conditions which are tantamount to those of 1923, in principle. Germany was subjected to a demoralization.
First of all, you have the revolt in East Berlin, East Germany, in general, which was a phenomenon of the people: "Wir sind das Volk." Very clear. Remember the images that we got from the demonstrations, especially in Leipzig and so forth. That's the principle of the mass strike in action. Look how the boiler exploded! This was a surge of the people!
Now, look again, look at Kohl: Kohl rose above anything I'd ever seen in him, before, in that moment. It was on his part, it was an impulse which was shaped in part, by a banker who knew what he was doing. And then look at what happened as a result: You had a President of France [François Mitterrand], who belongs to the wrong side. Because you have two sides in modern France: One side was the de Gaulle side, the other side was the Mitterrand side. The Mitterrand side is a fascist group—don't kid yourself, I know this guy very well. He's now dead, but I knew him while he was still alive.
Q: He says he feels misunderstood.
LaRouche: He's not misunderstood... [crosstalk] The problem is, what you're talking about, is, in the case of what you saw in Germany after Kohl was crushed: The Germany which had been inspired by the fall of the Wall, suddenly became depressed. And has been crushed, and, crushed, and crushed, and crushed, under that agreement ever since! So you have a demoralized people! You had demoralization earlier.
Now, the point is, you can only control sanity in a society where the people are sane. And when the people are insane, then you'll get this kind of thing, like this speculative, predatory behavior. In other words, it's not a matter of a policy against high interest rates, or swindling rates. The question is, if the people, with their government, agree that this should not happen, it will not happen. If the people, on the other hand, are demoralized, or indifferent to the problem, they will watch their neighbor being eaten, and will not object!
So therefore, the main function, which is what I was saying today, on these points: You have to understand that the principle of the mass strike is not a phenomenon of a mass strike. It's an expression of a lawful principle of society. And the purpose of constitutions is to establish those principles, and you can only do that through a mass strike. It was a change in the German population's moral attitude, when what was done to them by the French, the British, and the U.S. President at that time [George H.W. Bush]. The imposition of those conditions was demoralizing, and historically, the success of such operations against a nation will depress its people, and cause it to accept an immoral conduct.