Rescuing Civilization from the Brink
by Alexander Hartmann and Nancy Spannaus
July 8—The current crisis of the world financial system, and the worldwide economic and social crises which it has created, defined the themes of an extraordinary international conference held in Rüsselsheim, Germany July 2-3, by the Schiller Institute, the thinktank founded by Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Approximately 350 members and guests attended, coming mostly from Europe, although there were several guests from the United States.
The whole is more than the sum of its parts, and for that reason, it is impossible, in this article, to depict the arc of tension and total impact of this conference by describing the various presentations. It is as if you were trying to present the mental process of a several-part symphony by a mere description of each movement. This arc of tension, which brought together the presentations and united them in a grand thought-process, spanned the great crisis of the world financial system and the threatened destruction of the physical economic basis for mankind's existence, through the "objective" solutions available, such as Glass-Steagall and the great infrastructure projects for Africa; to the reconstruction of the real economy and the upcoming scientific revolutions which could help the human race to escape the extinction which has befallen almost all other known species; and finally, to the necessary creation of a culture which will again allow mankind to find creative solutions to the problems it faces.
By the end of the conference, the participants shared a greater sense of optimism, that it were possible to overcome the current existential crisis, and lift mankind up to a higher level—a level where man is no longer ruled by an elite determined to keep him in a backward state (see Lyndon LaRouche's appraisal, "The Darkest Hours of Our Day," below).
Video coverage of the speeches appears both on the German Schiller Institute website and the Lyndon LaRouche PAC website; and EIR will be publishing most of the transcripts over the next weeks. Here, we provide an overview of the major features of the weekend event, followed by transcripts of some of the speeches.
Disintegration, or Glass-Steagall
The tone for the conference was set at the outset, by the Schiller Institute chorus, which sang Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus." The solemnity and beauty of that offering prepared the participants for the depth of ideas that were to come.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche then keynoted the event, with a speech entitled, "The Greatest Crisis in History, and the Question Is: Can We Solve It?" (See below.) "There is a solution," she said. "It is actually quite easy, relatively speaking, because, if in the United States, the population can be aroused so that the Congress and the Senate have the guts to implement Glass-Steagall, writing off the trillions of dollars in gambling debts, and going back to a credit system in the tradition of the American Revolution, then there is hope for Europe. If the United States would make a bold action, and enact Glass-Steagall, there would be nothing left for Europe, but to act in an analogous way, and do the same, simply because of the interaction of the market segments of the derivatives markets, of the combination of the global system.
"However, if this is not done, then developments like we are now, unfortunately, watching in Greece—and I can assure you, you don't know half of what's going on there, because the media is not reporting it—violent chaos could erupt around the globe. Because there is no question, that we are in the absolute terminal phase of the collapse of the trans-Atlantic system."
Zepp-LaRouche was followed by two prominent European economists, one from Belgium and the other from Denmark, who, each in his own way, lent support to the need to carry out fundamental reforms to the banking system. First came Eric De Keuleneer from Belgium, a former member of the Belgian Surveillance Board of the Financial and Insurance Commission, and currently an Economics Professor at the Solvay Business School, who described the devolution of the banking system, "from the Big Bang to a Black Hole." Eventually, De Keuleneer said, the elimination of regulation turned the banking system into a "vampire," and this can only be reversed by imposing a strict separation between functions in the banking system again.
Prof. Christen Sørenson, former chairman of the Economic Council Denmark, and currently a Professor of Economics at the University of Southern Denmark, followed De Keuleneer with a presentation which concentrated primarily on the Angelides Report's analysis of how the financial breakdown crisis occurred. He concluded that it was "very essential to introduce Glass-Steagall," but that more needed to be done, especially as virtually nothing has been done since 2008, and the crisis is bigger than before.
'Europeans on Both Sides of the Atlantic'
The first panel was concluded by the first presentation from U.S. economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche, which was dedicated to "The Current Crisis in the USA and Its Significance for Europe" (see below). Speaking for "Europeans on both sides of the Atlantic," LaRouche began by addressing the fact that most Europeans can't understand what's going on in the United States, because they don't know the history of how it was created as a unique republic. Europe has never thrown off the imperial monetarist system, he said, and has let itself be manipulated and destroyed by the British Empire. His message included the following:
"We have to grow up, as Europeans on both sides of the Atlantic. We have to grow up and recognize our duty to each other! The United States must recognize its historic duty to Europe in this matter, and vice versa.
"Together, with that approach, even at this dark hour that we've come into now, we can survive! European civilization can resume going forward. It's there! What is needed is the understanding, the will, and the forms of cooperation which will enable us to use this as a means to solve the problem."
After a short discussion period, the first panel concluded.
Science over Ideology
Following a performance of the second movement of Mozart's flute sonata in D-major (KV 285), Sky Shields, the young American leader of the LaRouche Basement science team, addressed the second crucial theme of the conference, that of creativity, in the keynote for the second panel. "The universe is creative," Shields argued, and proceeded to provoke members of the audience by attacking one of the main fallacies in their thinking: their assumption that "mind" and the "objective universe" are separate entities.
"But mind belongs to the universe, and the creative power of mind is an ontological characteristic," Shields said. "The idea that man is created in the image of God, is a scientific principle, not a question of theology." He then illustrated this principle by reviewing some of the work of the Russian geobiophysicist Vladimir Vernadsky.
Shields' polemical approach was continued in the next presentation, given by Professor Emeritus Friedrich-Karl Ewert from Paderhorn University. Ewert took on the "anthropogenic climate change swindle," debunking the idea that man, rather than other sources, including the position of the Earth in the Solar System and solar activity, is the cause of climate change. On top of that, the measurements of Earth's temperature are deliberately skewed; if they were done honestly, they would show that we are entering an ice age, not global warming.
The next speech, by the vice president of the Belgian Dairy Farmers Association, Erwin Schöpges, was a rousing call to prevent the destruction of the world's food supply, by defeating the policies of the European Union. He described how the deregulation of agriculture had destroyed the farmer, by increasingly indebting him to the point where the farmer is basically working for the bankers, not for himself or the public.
The panel then returned to scientific themes, with a scholarly presentation by Russian Professor Sergey Pulinets, from the Institute of Applied Geophysics in Moscow. Prof. Pulinets reviewed the current state of research on earthquakes with an eye to the question of whether they could be predicted, and therefore, protected against. He is part of a small, but very important network of geophysicists who are working against great odds; a synopsis appears below, and his full speech will be published in an upcoming issue of EIR.
A Musical Conclusion
There followed, on the evening of the first day, a Classical music concert, which enchanted the audience. At the beginning, German youth leader Kasia Kruczkowsky read a greeting from Italian Schiller Institute leader Liliana Gorini, who described the Institute's long-standing campaign for a return to the Classical tuning pitch (set by Verdi at C=256 Hz). A combination of instrumental and vocal offerings was then presented, all at the scientific tuning.
The highpoint came at the end, with the performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, and the singing of the chorus of Hebrew slaves from Verdi's opera "Nabucco," "Va Pensiero." The latter has been adopted as a kind of national anthem for Italians, written as it was, during their struggle for national unity in the mid-19th Century.
A Moral Test for Europe
Following the performance of a Beethoven Lied, the conference's third panel began with the introduction of the third theme, "The Industrialization of Africa: The Moral Test for Europe." Addressing this challenge was Jacques Cheminade, a pre-candidate for the French Presidency in 2012, who began by asking why he would dare run for President when French politics is dominated by an oligarchical elite. His answer was that it was crucial to defeat the wedge that has been created by the British between Europe and America, with the "double-barreled shotgun" of Glass-Steagall and the industrial development of Africa.
Cheminade humorously took his audience through all the objections he gets to his candidacy, and to LaRouche's ideas, showing them how he mocks the vaunted "traditions" of the likes of the autocrats Louis XIV and Napoleon. A nation's real tradition lies in the process of its development, he said, and that must include the development of the continent of Africa.
After the reading of a greeting from Belgian parliamentarian John Crombez, the conference heard a hard-hitting endorsement of Glass-Steagall by Eric Verhaeghe, former executive of the French Employers Association. Verhaeghe reviewed the history of the destruction of French banking, which included Glass-Steagall-type protections until 1984, and "named the names" of some of the leading players (bankers) who now comprise an "aristocracy of state bureaucracy," which is destroying France.
Two more speeches filled out this panel. Daniel Heydt, Mayor of Bellange, Moselle, France, discussed the impact of the financial crisis on the French municipalities. Then, German management consultant Wolfgang R. Grunwald attacked the "casino capitalism" which currently rules, and endorsed the implementation of Glass-Steagall, as a means of bankrupting the hedge funds and breaking their power.
The Stretto: Classical Culture and Development
The final panel, "Classical Culture, an Imperative for Mankind," began with a movement from Mozart's piano quartet (KV 478). Four presentations followed, which juxtaposed both the economic crisis and its programmatic solution, with the requirement for a Classical culture to stimulate the creative processes of the human mind. Numerous participants described this panel as a "stretto" for the conference as a whole, pulling together all the themes in an extraordinary culmination of the two-day process.
The first speaker was Marcello Vichi, the engineer-architect of the Transaqua water-transfer project for Central Africa. Vichi showed a film his company Bonifica had produced 30 years ago, and outlined how the project could take water from the Congo to the shrinking Lake Chad, creating the potential for multiple kinds of development in the region. He described how investors had spurned the program, preferring to follow the path back to a "coming Middle Ages."
Then came Lyndon LaRouche, who presented "Creativity as Such," as the most important of all strategic issues facing mankind (see below). LaRouche presented both the necessity for a revival of a culture that fosters creativity, and the cause of the dumbing-down of the human race, through the deliberate machinations of the genocidal British oligarchy which set up the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and other subversive organizations. Among the most important successes of the CCF was its destruction of Classical music, for music in the tradition of Bach is crucial for the development of scientific and creative thought.
LaRouche's presentation was followed by a speech from Italian opera singer and voice teacher Antonella Banaudi, who had performed during the music evening the night before, and has worked with the LaRouche youth movement on performance of Mozart's "Don Giovanni." Her speech, reprinted in this issue, addressed the question of the "musical soul."
Completing the final panel was Prof. Dr. Dieter Ameling, the former president of the German Steel Producers Association. Dr. Ameling returned to the question of physical economy, specifically, the deindustrialization which is portended by the German government's exit from nuclear energy.
As Helga Zepp-LaRouche stressed in moderating the final discussion after the four speakers had concluded, the very different character of these last four speeches demonstrated the arc of tension of the conference as a whole—from the existential danger to the existence of mankind, to the creative way of thinking which is necessary for overcoming the crisis, and, with the help of Classical art, especially music, can be developed.
That is the real message which the participants in this conference could take home with them, and, as the inspired responses of many participants showed, did actually take home: that it is possible to develop the creative capabilities we need to overcome the existential crisis of mankind.