Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the July 20, 2001 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

LaRouche Tours Italy's North
After Russian Duma Session

by Claudio Celani

[PDF version of this article]

On July 3-5, Lyndon LaRouche visited Italy, and was the guest speaker at three events promoted by the Italy-Russia Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce of Vicenza, and the Milan-based Association for the Development of Banking and the Stock Market Studies. These events were the result of the growing movement in Italy, among industrialists as well as politicians, in support of LaRouche's proposals to meet the global economic crash with a New Bretton Woods world financial system, and the infrastructural development of the Eurasian Land-Bridge.

The proposals originating with LaRouche have been at the center of numerous public initiatives by members of Parliament. But the July events represented a step forward in bringing these ideas to a larger audience of progressive entrepreneurs.

Of particular significance, was the invitation extended to LaRouche by the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Vicenza, a middle-sized city in northeastern Italy which, in the early 1990s, underwent a boom and became Italy's third-largest export region. Vicenza's and, later on, also Treviso's, industrial booms embody what has become known as Italy's fabulous "Northeast" phenomenon. With 800,000 inhabitants, the region of Vicenza exports an average of $15,000 per capita—a total export volume of more than $10 billion.

The Vicenza Chamber of Commerce has 86,000 members, which means that more than 10% of the population are entrepreneurs! Mostly, these are small and medium-sized technology-oriented firms owned by their managers. This extremely dynamic structure, however, given its export orientation, is sensitive to the international conjuncture, in particular to the collapse of U.S. import capacity.

A fairly large number of Vicenza entrepreneurs have been following LaRouche's forecasts and the proposals, which have been vindicated by both the stock market collapses and the U.S. crisis. They offered him the opportunity to address a larger audience in order to discuss the alternative of the New Bretton Woods and the Eurasian Land-Bridge, and to send a signal to Italy's national political leaders in that direction. In introducing LaRouche, Chamber of Commerce President Danilo Longhi stressed that Vicenza's industrialists are interested in LaRouche's ideas, because they are "distant from the world of financial bubbles, and represent the real economy."

LaRouche was engaged in a podium discussion by Prof. Ferruccio Brisolini, a teacher of economic history at the University of Venice, who declared himself in total agreement with LaRouche's analysis on the collapse of the financial and monetary system, and made some critical remarks on aspects of the new monetary and financial system that must necessarily replace the existing one. LaRouche focussed his well-received intervention on three aspects: making clear that the current crisis is a systemic one, and not a cyclical crisis; describing how the Eurasian Land-Bridge must consist of "development corridors" aimed at developing full-set national and regional economies; and, defining the specific role of Italy's Northeastern entrepreneurs in the recovery.

The Challenge of Mediterranean Development

During the conference, and also in private discussions afterwards, it was made clear that, contrary to a distorted media image, Northeast businessman are deeply caring for developing Italy's backward Mezzogiorno regions in the south. They see the development of the Mezzogiorno as part of a mission embracing the development of the whole southern Mediterranean shore. Such a mission, although not in contrast with the East-West Eurasian development routes, poses different challenges from those encountered in transalpine East-West cooperation, which takes place in the context of a fundamentally common European culture. By contrast, in the Mediterranean, different cultures meet each other, requiring a dialogue capacity which Italian entrepreneurs have already developed.

To expand the inter-Mediterranean development, therefore, Southern Italy must be adequately equipped with economic infrastructures and industrial capacities. A key factor, LaRouche stressed. will be the construction of the Messina Bridge, linking Sicily to the Italian peninsula and the European mainland. This will not only be a very productive infrastructure development, LaRouche said, but will change "the image the Italians have of themselves," imbued with demoralization provoked by the so-far dominant International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies and abdication of national sovereignty.

Both the regional newspaper Il Gazzettino Veneto, and the local Il Giornale di Vicenza covered the conference prominently, while several local television stations and the third national network, Raitre, broadcast interviews with LaRouche. Before the event, Il Giornale di Vicenza ran a lengthy and prominent interview.

Briefing on Russia

In Milan, LaRouche was guest of the president of the Italy-Russia Chamber of Commerce, Rosario Alessandrello. Last year, Alessandrello—who is also the president of Tecnimont, one of the most important engineering companies in Italy—issued a lengthy statement on the importance of LaRouche's candidacy for the Presidency of the United States, and his role in the promotion of a New Bretton Woods. The meeting took place in the prestigious Palazzo dei Giureconsulti in the center of Milan, and was attended by businessmen and media representatives.

Among the main topic of discussion were, of course, issues related to Russia, where LaRouche had just paid a visit. Whereas everybody agreed that with Vladimir Putin's Presidency, a shift for the better had taken place, in terms of consolidating a domestic market and a drive to control export revenues, questions included, what has so far prevented Russia from becoming an importer of capital? LaRouche explained that the problem is not of an economic, but a political nature, and gave the examples of how, in the 1970s and 1980s, Mexico's and Japan's economies were targetted by U.S.-supported IMF policies and destroyed. LaRouche stressed that Italy is best suited, given the ease of holding dialogue with Eastern Europe demonstrated by its small and medium-sized firms, to develop Russia's best resources—its idled scientists and engineers—and engage them in projects to develop new products and technologies.

The next day, LaRouche spoke at the Catholic University, at a seminar sponsored by the Association for the Develpment of Banking and Stock Market Studies. The seminar, "Towards a New Bretton Woods: A Project To Solve the International Financial Crisis," was attended by members of the Association, mostly bank directors, and by students and members of the University Solidarity Movement (MSU). For nearly two hours, LaRouche elaborated not only on the nature of the systemic crisis, but also on the relationship between religion, morality and economics.

In particular, he answered questions raised by students, pushing them to reject impotent critiques of "corrupt politicians" and to take on responsibility for the whole world. At the same time, he exhorted teachers to provide real knowledge, based on reviving crucial scientific experiments and Classical culture, and not mere "learning"—as the only way to lead students out of adolescence, into real adulthood.

The transcript of his speech appears immediately below.

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