FDR's `Historic Immortality'
1992, Prof. Taras Muranivsky
These passages are excerpted from an article in Profsoyuzy i ekonomika, #5, 1992.
A way out of the difficulties in which our economy has landed, should be sought in the use of economic and legal administrative measures to regulate economic life. Here, despite the well-known allergy to administrative measures, which we associate with bureaucratic command methods, it will be impossible to find an exit from the crisis, without sensible government regulation of the economy. The chaos of destruction cannot be overcome through the spontaneity of the market.
Instructive in this regard is the experience of the New Deal, conducted by the Federal government under F. Roosevelt and the U.S. Congress during the 1930s. The American President did not go to the lawmakers for extraordinary authority. Within ten days after taking office, he merely proposed to convene a special session of Congress. Within 100 days, it had adopted around 70 laws, encompassing industry, agriculture, commerce, the credit and banking system, and government social policy....
The experience of the U.S.A. is important for us, not only as a way to deal with unemployment, but also as an approach to developing infrastructure under crisis conditions. Creating diverse and extensive infrastructure in our country would mean the prevention of losses in agriculture, the development of cities and centers of culture along the main routes, and the creation of a new economic basis for cooperation among sovereign republics.
In this connection, our participation in the international infrastructure development project called the Productive Triangle, developed by the Schiller Institute, appears very promising. Joint public-private financing of its implementation would fundamentally change the character of our relations with the majority of the countries in Europe, from one-sided dependency, towards mutual benefit....
Even before the development of the New Deal, Roosevelt, as a new President, confronting the unprecedented economic crisis that had struck the U.S.A., gave this evaluation of the situation: "The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach." (If only we would learn to call things by their names, instead of inventing slogans to cover up flip-flopping!)
In response to the President's frankness, the country threw itself into the implementation of his bold plans. Roosevelt had broad support from the population, who gained broader democratic rights during his presidency. The popularity he had earned earlier also helped.... At the same time, Roosevelt won the trust of those layers of big capital, which recognized the need to make concessions to labor, in order to achieve class peace.
It was in those years that the basis was laid in the U.S.A., for what today is called, including in our country, common human values. And they are of lasting significance.
1995-96, Lyndon LaRouche
From the Memorandum: Prospects for Revival of the Russian Economy, addressed to the Russian State Duma in February 1995.
With brief exceptions, the central issue of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, War of Independence, and adoption of the 1787-1789 Federal Constitution was a commitment to that tradition of the anti-oligarchical commonwealth associated with King Louis XI's France, Jean Bodin's Six Books of the Commonwealth, the "dirigism" of France's Richelieu, Mazarin, and Colbert, and the conception of natural law offered by Gottfried Leibniz, in opposition to that proposed by the empiricist John Locke. The U.S. War of Independence was fought, in fact, against those policies set forth in East India Company apologist Adam Smith's 1776 Wealth of Nations. U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton's Reports to the Congress on the subjects of Credit, A National Bank, and Manufactures identify The American System of political-economy as U.S. economic policy was understood by all U.S. patriots, including U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt (in opposition to Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill), from 1789 through 1963.
From the opening and the close of LaRouche's keynote at the roundtable on "Russia, the U.S.A., and the Global Financial Crisis," held at the Free Economic Society in Moscow, April 24, 1996. Academicians Leonid Abalkin and Gennadi Osipov chaired the session. The full transcript was published in EIR of May 24, 1996.
From the opening:
To understand the crisis, I propose that we consider it from the standpoint of approximately 60 years of U.S.-Russian relations....
The relationship between the United States and Russia, in this cycle, began with the recognition of the Soviet Union by President Roosevelt, during his first term as President. During the period from about 1941 until his death in April of 1945, the relationship between President Roosevelt and Russia was very close. During that period, as you may recall—those of us who are older, especially, as I am—there was a great quarrel between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, about the nature of the postwar world. Roosevelt was determined to liquidate the British, French, and Dutch empires. And also, to eliminate British economic methods worldwide, and to use instead, the methods on which the United States had been developed—methods which had been very successful between 1939 and 1943, in mobilizing the United States for war.
For his international policy, President Roosevelt relied upon relations with Russia and China, as the great power relations to guarantee the peaceful development in the postwar period. At the death of Roosevelt, this changed radically, opening up a long period of conflict between the United States and Russia, under British direction....
From the close:
From the standpoint of the United States, our law and tradition enable us to cope with this problem domestically. The President has the combination of emergency law powers and Constitutional powers, to solve the internal part of this crisis, in the United States.... The President can put the Federal Reserve System into bankruptcy, which has to be done. The Federal Reserve System is a private bank, chartered by federal law. It is bankrupt, as soon as somebody chooses to recognize the figures which prove it. The President can, under the U.S. Constitution, with the consent of Congress, create a new monetary system for the United States. Through the device of emergency legislation, that can be done in 24 hours. A new banking system for the United States, can also be created by emergency legislation, in 24 hours.
But, in an interconnected world, this requires the United States to call together other powers, to set up corresponding international monetary reforms.
There are only four world powers on this planet: There's the United States; there's the British Empire (not the United Kingdom—that's a joke; the British Empire), which will be the major opponent of any such change; there is, third, Russia—even despite Russia's condition at present, Russia is a world power, and at least the current President of the United States [Bill Clinton] recognizes that fact; China is also a world power. There are no other world powers. Therefore, Russia, has a very crucial role to play in this process, which is a political role, more than anything else.
The combination of the United States and Russia, now as in 1945, with the cooperation of China and with the cooperation of other, lesser powers, who require the benefit of the same kind of development—we can change the course of world history, and get out of this economic mess.
Now, the reason this possibly may occur, is because of the so-called force of Reason. None of us has any alternative.
The problem today, is the lack of confidence in a leadership which is willing to act in this direction. To give you an example of what I mean, just, in conclusion, one thing: Between 1939 and 1943, under the leadership of President Roosevelt and under conditions of war, in which we had 17 million Americans in uniform, we took a bankrupt, depression-ridden U.S. economy, and produced the greatest industrial machine on this planet. In the Soviet Union, under conditions of war and invasion and occupation, a similar courageous effort was made. The same methods, principles, the same spirit, done in the name of works of peace, can accomplish the same kind of result, any time we find the leadership and will to do so.
2007, Academician Andrei Kokoshin
The Russian Ministry of Defense Daily, Krasnaya Zvezda, on Feb. 6, 2006 published a special message on the occasion of Franklin Roosevelt's 125th birthday, including a commentary by Academician Andrei Kokoshin, one of Russia's leading specialists on the United States and strategic affairs. Kokoshin is also a committee chairman in the Russian State Duma, which recently passed a resolution calling for more and better direct contacts with the U.S. Congress.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is one of the greatest statesmen not only of the U.S.A., but in world history. He is known for his New Deal, which brought the United States out of the deep crisis of the Great Depression, and which Roosevelt put forward against the resistance of many representatives of Big Business.
For our people, Roosevelt is one of the main leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition, which achieved a crushing victory over Nazi Germany and its satellites, and eliminated a tremendous threat to world civilization. Roosevelt's name is linked to the deliveries to our country of weapons and military equipment, food, other goods, and various materiel, which helped the U.S.S.R. attain victory. These supplies, especially a whole array of specific parts, were highly rated by Soviet commanders, especially Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov.
For us, Roosevelt is a symbol of truly mutually beneficial and equal cooperation between the U.S.A. and our country, an example that, unfortunately, has not been followed by the great majority of American leaders in the postwar period. Recognizing the growing role of the U.S.S.R. in world politics, the Roosevelt administration, on November 16, 1933, established diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R.
After Hitler's attack on the U.S.S.R., Roosevelt, already on June 24, 1941, announced the U.S.A.'s readiness to support the struggle of the Soviet people. We remember that Roosevelt, to a greater degree than Churchill, sought to open the second front against German fascism on the west coast of France, rather than in other places, in order to hasten the defeat of the Axis. There are many reasons to believe that if Roosevelt had lived longer, our relations with the U.S.A. would have developed in a different way during the first postwar years.
It is by no means certain, that Roosevelt would have taken the decision to drop the American atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We know that his successor, Truman, did this largely to intimidate the U.S.S.R. This gave a powerful impulse to the transition to the Cold War, and the nuclear arms and nuclear missile race, which repeatedly brought the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. to the brink of a hot war. I believe that today's generation of politicians ought to draw appropriate conclusions from these lessons of history.
2007, Vladislav Surkov
Deputy Chief of the Presidential Administration Surkov addressed the conference at MGIMO on Feb. 8.
I don't believe history repeats itself. Yes, the United States in the 1930s had approximately the same level of population, as Russia does today. Yes, the U.S. economy had collapsed by almost one-half at the end of the 1920s, while Russia lost approximately one-half of its economic capacity at the outset of the 1990s. Yes, from 1929 to 1932 per capita income in the U.S.A. dropped by almost one-half, while unemployment rose to 30 million. And in early-1990s Russia, 30 to 50 percent of the population considered themselves poor. Yes, in his time Roosevelt, like Putin today, had to centralize and reinforce administrative governance, and make maximum use of his Presidential powers under the Constitution, to overcome the crisis. Still, America of the 1930s is not Russia of the 1990s and the current decade. And, of course, history does not repeat itself. But the ideas and emotions that are moving our society today, are remarkably consonant with the ideas and emotions of the Roosevelt epoch....
In 1933, a man took office in the U.S.A., who was convinced that the basis of democracy is to strive toward justice for all, and that freedom from want and freedom from fear are no less important, than freedom of speech and of religion. That economic freedom should not be set against the general welfare, but, rather, implies it, because "poor people are not free." That the simplistic theory that says the less government, the better, is wrong and immoral.
Roosevelt defined his adversaries as the financial monopolies, speculative capital, and unrestrained banking interests. He said that "these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.... These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power."
But Roosevelt's fight against the oligarchy should not mislead anybody about his views on economic freedom and entrepreneurship, as such. He considered free enterprise and commerce to be the natural source of growth and prosperity for American society. He just believed, that social responsibility on the part of business was beneficial to business itself, and that capital had no right to usurp democratic power.
The oligarchy counterattacked. Roosevelt was smeared in the press, called a red, a communist, and even a Stalin....
In my view, Roosevelt became the personification of the supreme authority of the people, of authority in the spirit of the American Constitution, of authority that is inalienable, and cannot be appropriated by big money or high officials, the oligarchy, or bureaucracy. He himself represented such authority, striving for freedom and justice for all....
Roosevelt wanted to see international relations, as well, based on the values of freedom and justice. For Roosevelt, personal freedom and national sovereignty are interconnected.... He not only fought against the Axis powers, but he also annoyed his ally and friend Churchill no end, calling on him to grant India its independence. He thought that a just world would be possible, as an association of free nations. We think that, today.
It may be said that Roosevelt was our military ally in the 20th Century, and is our ideological ally in the 21st....
Permit me a small, lyrical digression. I want to say that Franklin Roosevelt will remain, for still many years to come, for all of us, for every Russian, the greatest of all the great Americans.... And here is why I think so. My grandfather, for example, ... fought almost all the way to Berlin, but in '45 he was gravely wounded. And he made it home. And lived another 20 years. Probably there are many circumstances and reasons, why he was only wounded, and not killed like millions of people his age. And it cannot be excluded, that perhaps one of those many reasons is linked with Franklin Delano Roosevelt in some way. My grandfather probably had no special interest in the American President of that time. He was a simple peasant. But maybe, when he was being treated in the hospital, they used medicine, received from America under Lend-Lease. Or perhaps a top-quality German bomb, prepared by fate for my grandfather, went at the last minute not for him, not to the East, but to the West, where finally, late, but still very much on time, the second front had been opened. And death changed its trajectory. My grandfather came home alive. Maybe, of course, things weren't that way. But maybe they were. And therefore Mr. Roosevelt has my special respect.
Let me conclude, the way I began. History, of course, does not repeat itself. But Russia seeks freedom from want and freedom from fear, fighting against terrorism, corruption, and poverty. And there are people and societies, whose example inspires us. Franklin Roosevelt and his America are among them.
2007, Boris Titov
Boris Titov, chairman of the Business Russia association, attended the MGIMO conference and gave an interview to RIA Novosti there on Feb. 8.
We cannot ignore the experience of Roosevelt, because the New Deal was one of the most successful economic programs in the history of mankind.... Before Roosevelt, it was believed that the market would settle any problems that came up. [But, FDR brought the government in, to play the crucial role of] eliminating failures in the economy, providing incentives for business, and regulating the market. That is very important for our country, since the Russian market is heavily monopolized. [In the 1990s], we believed the market would take care of everything. As a result, we got not a market, but wild capitalism, which led to the crisis of 1998.
2007, Victor Ignatenko
From Siberia, Irkutsk Region Electoral Commission Chairman Victor Ignatenko's essay on Roosevelt appeared in Pravo vybora (Right to Choose), the Commission's own newspaper, and was reprinted in Vostochno-sibirskiye novosti (East Siberian News) of Feb. 12, 2007.
When Roosevelt was elected in 1932, America was gripped by a terrible crisis. The country was like a huge, sinking ship: factories shut down, the banks closed, the fields unplanted and overgrown with weeds. Millions of impoverished Americans stood in humiliating lines to get the modest meals, organized by the Salvation Army....
The Americans believed in Roosevelt. From 1933 to 1945, he addressed them by radio 31 times. Standing at the helm of the state, the President explained to Americans in simple, accessible language, all of his legislative initiatives and government projects.... I have a rare book in my home library, called Fireside Chats. It is a collection of all of Franklin Roosevelt's speeches on American radio during his Presidency. I have read this book several times, ... and now, leafing through it, I look again at certain passages that I underlined....
In his radio speech of April 28, 1935, Roosevelt explains to Americans his public works projects, and appeals to them for collaboration [in the faces of accusations that the projects could involve corruption]: "The most effective means of preventing such evils in this work relief program will be the eternal vigilance of the American people themselves. I call upon my fellow citizens everywhere, to cooperate with me in making this the most efficient and the cleanest example of public enterprise the world has ever seen."
I open the book to the last page I bookmarked, and read a few underlined words from Roosevelt: "We have recognized the necessity of reform and reconstruction—reform because much of our trouble today and in the past few years has been due to a lack of understanding of the elementary principles of justice and fairness, by those in whom leadership in business and finance was placed." That sounds timely for Russia today, you'd have to agree....
Franklin Roosevelt is a brilliant example of a leader who was able, by word and deed, to inspire the nation, and lead the country he headed out of a grave crisis.
2007, Anatoli Utkin
The well-known historian, specialist on World War II, U.S.A./Canada Institute scholar, and publicist Anatoli Utkin wrote about Roosevelt in Expert magazine of Jan. 29, 2007. Under the title "On the Side of Life," Utkin brought to Russian readers a picture of Roosevelt's personality, his leadership qualities, his mastery of history, and love for sharing truthful ideas with the population, in order to mobilize them. Utkin, whose newspaper columns in recent years have been very harsh against current U.S. policies, spiced this remembrance with references to "great peoples, like the American and Russian peoples." Utkin included his own retrospective on FDR's fireside chats, bring dramatically to life the moment, when America's industrial power swung into action, in support of the life-and-death struggle in the invaded Soviet Union and elsewhere.
Scholars especially value, in the fireside chats, the President's sense of history. He would readily turn to the nation's history, to the days of the [American] Revolution, the creation of the government, the lives of the founding fathers, and such national crises, as the Civil War. The historian A. McLeish wrote, "The sense of history in a political leader is a sense of the past, used to shape the future; Roosevelt's sense of history and the American tradition was truly profound." It is considered that Franklin Roosevelt achieved the greatest effect ever, in his so-called Map Speech in February 1942, when the Axis powers were at the crest of their military successes. Beforehand, he asked listeners to obtain maps, and the map sections of bookstores were sold out. The President and the nation sat together and thought together, looking at the large maps.
Eighty percent of all Americans ran their fingers over regions they hadn't known about before, as their President calmly briefed them. Roosevelt wanted to give his listeners an overall concept of what was happening, without in any way concealing the situation outside Moscow, at Rostov-on-Don, in Cairo, Bataan, or Hong Kong. The great coalition was retreating, practically everywhere.... He told his listeners, that the situation could become even graver. But ... the calm confidence of that familiar voice shaped the absolutely necessary attitude, which the next day would be so needed by that first shift of people going to work at the blast furnaces, by the Marines who would hit hard on some sandy Pacific atoll, and by the pilots flying their planes into the Nazis' "fortress Europe." So it had been before in history: George Washington retreated in front of the British for a long time, but never doubted one iota in the ultimate victory, and he achieved it....
From the first hundred days in 1933 through to April 1945, when the coming victory could already be sensed, a great number of Americans were convinced that the workaholic in the White House, who had defied fate, was carrying his cross for them. He understood their concerns, and he was looking for a solution. He had protected their home in the years of economic strife, and he saved that home after Pearl Harbor; he would build an even better house in the future. With such massive support, Franklin Roosevelt could have won not only the 1944 wartime election, but again in 1948.
And then there were the letters Roosevelt received from private citizens, thanking him for the help they had begun to feel from the institution of the Presidency.... The phenomenal vital force of Franklin Roosevelt mobilized the vital force of his nation, and that brought him historical immortality.