Italian Institutions Show Interest in
LaRouche's Approach to Housing Crisis
by Andrew Spannaus
Lyndon LaRouche returned to Rome Sept. 18-20, where he presented his emergency legislation to avoid the social chaos that could result from the rapidly-unfolding global financial crisis, and urged Italian political leaders to find the courage to put the financial oligarchy and its hedge funds out of business.
Although the visit came during a political crisis, in which the center-left coalition of Prime Minister Romano Prodi risked losing its majority in Parliament, Italian Deputies and Senators from across the political spectrum were eager to meet with LaRouche to learn about his proposal for a "firewall" against home foreclosures, and the reorganization of the banking system. LaRouche was invited to speak to the Labor and Social Security Committee of the Italian Senate on Sept. 20, which turned out to be precisely when a vote crucial to the future of the majority was taking place (it survived for the moment). During a half-hour break from the official proceedings, LaRouche spoke to members of the Committee on his role in leading the fight to block the Bush Administration's attempts to privatize Social Security in the United States, starting in 2004. He then explained the political fight which has led up to the current situation, in which the general breakdown of the international monetary and financial system requires aggressive and immediate action.
As often happens in official circles, some of the politicians involved in the discussions expressed surprise at LaRouche's forecast of the short-term death of the current system. Despite agreeing with his overall approach on rebuilding the productive economy, they claimed that his warning of a systemic crash is a "catastrophic" view that can only be seen as "pessimistic." In response to the nervous protests of one Senator, LaRouche repeated that it would be absolutely foolish to assume that the present system will last beyond Christmas of this year, and at the same time, he explained why it is essential that such a premise be established at this time. There are two ways of doing politics, he stated: out of desperation, or based on opportunity. At this time, we have a period of weeks in which decisions can be made that will bury the present system and move the world towards a positive alternative. We have a window of opportunity, and it must not be missed. If the proper decisions are not made now, governments will be forced to act in a situation of desperation, when it becomes much harder to mobilize the population and institutions around positive alternatives. History is littered with civilizations which have brought about their own demise as a result of failing to challenge the dominant oligarchy of their time (see box).
'Firewall' in Italy
At both the event in the Senate, and a meeting held with a group of Parliamentarians in the Chamber of Deputies, proposals were raised to adopt some version of LaRouche's Homeowners and Bank Protection Act, in Italy. One official of the Prodi government stated that he is studying the possibility of implementing such a "firewall" policy, in order to protect families against rising mortgage costs and the destructive effects of financial speculation. At the Labor and Social Security Committee, the chairman expressed confidence that European governments still have the power to intervene to regulate the economy as necessary, and noted that the issue of the effects of the housing crisis is already under discussion in Italy. He then requested additional documentation on the debate underway in the United States, and specifically, the data on which LaRouche bases his forecast of the death of the current international financial and monetary system.
This was LaRouche's third visit to Rome this year, where his analysis and proposals are increasingly penetrating the nation's political institutions. In April 2005, the Chamber of Deputies passed a motion calling for a New Bretton Woods conference, in order to avoid financial crashes and rebuild the productive economy, a motion which was directly inspired by the LaRouche movement in Italy. As no further action was taken by the government or Parliament at that time, the New Bretton Woods proposal was presented again at a public conference at the Chamber of Deputies in February of this year. In June, LaRouche discussed the question of an FDR-style recovery program in a high-profile conference with former Economics Minister Giulio Tremonti and Undersecretary of Economic Development Alfonso Gianni; Tremonti, in particular, has been quite vocal in the Italian press in recent weeks, about the global nature of the current financial crisis, while echoing LaRouche's analysis concerning the disastrous transformation of the world economy over recent decades.
The cumulative effects of these initiatives began to be visible during the September visit, in which further steps to broaden the debate were taken—although many of them in private settings. One aspect of the discussion which may re-emerge in the coming months, is the question of large-scale infrastructure projects as a crucial component of the global economic reorganization, in which Italy could play a key role, given its history of making such proposals in Europe. In 2003, the Action Plan for Growth presented by Tremonti, threatened the very foundation of the monetarist control exercised through the Maastricht budget criteria, before it was slayed by the financier oligarchy's central banking system. Following the Schiller Institute's very successful conference in Kiedrich, Germany the previous week on the question of the Eurasian Land-Bridge, a renewed push for large-scale development projects is now on the table.
In connection with the circulation of LaRouche's ideas, EIR has been told that certain prominent international economists, including some who have recently set up smokescreens intended to derail any serious proposals which go in the direction of a New Bretton Woods, have been forewarned that LaRouche's ideas are circulating rapidly in Italy. Indeed, in the current situation, in which the "free market" policies, piloted from London, are so visibly bankrupt, the usual attempts at terrorizing political institutions into impotence, risk collapsing in the face of the increasingly obvious need for urgent measures to guarantee the survival of industrial civilization.