This article appears in the June 19, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
LaRouche PAC Live Internet Conference
June 6, 2020
The Principle of Power
How the LaRouche Idea of Creative Reason
Will Change the Physical Economy
What Exactly Do You Propose To Do?
by Dennis Speed and Lyndon LaRouche
Good afternoon! My name is Dennis Speed, and on behalf of the LaRouche Political Action Committee, I want to welcome you to today’s discussion. We’re going to turn our attention to something called “The Principle of Power.” The Principle of Power was the name of a particular presentation that Lyndon LaRouche commissioned in 2005 for the members of his LaRouche Youth Movement, composed in collaboration with about 20 people—a kind of Platonic dialogue. We’re starting with this because today in the United States people are involved in several actions which purport to address the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a uniformed police officer in Minneapolis. They’re using all kinds of phrases that seem to apply to the idea of power. Power by any means necessary. They seem to be invoking Malcolm X, for example, in this regard.
We think we can invoke Malcolm X as well, but we’re going to invoke him to say something different, something very famous: “You’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been bamboozled.” It’s not wrong for people to express their sense of indignation, horror, and so on at injustice. That’s something every American, every human being should do. But the question is, when the demonstrations are over—let’s leave out entirely the looting and the burning and the other things which nobody should be countenancing—but when it’s all over, what exactly is to be done? This is what Lyndon LaRouche and his organization have always emphasized.
We are not going to trivialize the matter in any way. We’re not going to trivialize the controversy, the tragedy, but nor are we going to trivialize the responsibility that anybody who is out there has, which is, “What exactly do you propose to do?”
In order to discuss that, as we often have, we’re going to allow Lyndon LaRouche to have the first word. The following is an excerpt from the keynote speech Mr. LaRouche gave on May 4, 2001 to the Schiller Institute conference, “Winning the Ecumenical Battle for the Common Good,” in Bad Schwalbach, Germany.
Acting for a Principle
LaRouche: We are finding a great response from within sections of the American population that have been disregarded and cast aside, the lower 80% of family-income brackets, who have been out of politics, essentially, for much of the past quarter of a century or longer. They are responding. Why? Because my friends and I are intervening with people in the Democratic Party, all kinds of people, to bring them together around the idea of establishing the general welfare as a general principle. The reference to that is easy. The general welfare principle, as Helga Zepp-LaRouche will indicate on Sunday, is an old principle in European civilization. It is one of the characteristic benefits of European civilization to all of humanity. The idea of the sovereign nation-state as the alternative to empire. That is the great contribution.
But in a recent period, which is most comparable, in immediate recollection, to that of now, in the Great Depression of the 1930s, when stupidity similar to that which rules the United States today, the stupidity of Theodore Roosevelt, that fascist, of Woodrow Wilson, that Ku Klux Klan racist, the stupidity of Coolidge, who got himself into trouble every time he opened his mouth, so he didn’t talk, at least not in public; these people, along with Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, destroyed the United States and destroyed a good part of the world.
Then Franklin Roosevelt came in. He had poliomyelitis, he was crippled, he fought against the crippling effects of polio. During this period, he restudied his own roots. He was the descendant of a collaborator of Alexander Hamilton some centuries before. He found again his roots in the American Revolution. And he brought forth, as governor of New York and as candidate for President of the United States, a conception which transformed that traditionally ultra-racist party, called the Democratic Party.
Remember, the Democratic Party was conceived as a racist, treasonous party, and remained so until Roosevelt became President, even though there were some decent people in it from time to time. Roosevelt changed that. He changed that party from the party of racism and treason into a party committed to the promotion of the general welfare. Not that he was able to enforce, with a sweep of the hand, the general welfare, but he fought to establish the principle. Most important, he fought to establish the principle in the minds of the American citizens.
See, we are not emperors; we cannot, with a wave of the hand, declare a principle and then impose it by our will, on people. The way we convey a principle is as philosophers, philosophers in action, who convince people that that principle is the way in which they ought to live and act. When a people is aroused to act for that principle, then the great good comes. No man is a god, no man can decree by a wave of the hand and give the world something according to principle. What a man can do, an individual human being, is to transmit ideas, utilize ideas, convey them to others.
The function of leadership is essentially that of a philosopher, which few politicians seem to understand. It is the philosopher who conveys and implants ideas in people, ideas of principle, like a scientist who conveys discoveries. It is the implanting of those ideas in the social process, the creation of political and other institutions around ideas, which mobilize humanity to do a great work.
How We Can Win
So, that’s the lesson for today.
We are in the worst crisis in world history, and the good side of it is, there is no way you can cheat. You either do it my way, or you’re doomed; that’s the good side. The other good side is that we can win. But to win, you have to think of philosophers in action. Not as agitators, but philosophers in action, who take people who are living in a depraved way, mental state, who are being selfish.
Let me just give you an example of this. What’s the principle involved? It may occur to all of you that we each have been born, and that has a point in time. You weren’t born, and then you were born. It has occurred to most of you that all of us are going to die—even George Bush, who may be already dead for all I know. There may just be a mechanical device up there they use to pass him off to us.
So, therefore, when somebody talks about “my self-interest,” what is their self-interest? If you’re going to die, what becomes of your self-interest the minute you die? Your self-interest in pleasure? Your self-interest in gluttony? Your self-interest in riches? What happens to those things? They go. What’s your self-interest? Your self-interest is in having lived, and having your life mean something to humanity. So, you live for your self-interest.
Now, most people aren’t capable of doing that, not yet. Given the educational system, it’s not surprising. They’re not capable of rising to that. But when people are inspired to rise to that sense of their personal self-interest, that what they can do for mankind while they’re alive is their self-interest, then they’re capable of asserting leadership. If they can do that, they can arouse in people who all have this potential, at least for a moment, the ability to see that in themselves.
In the old time, when people used to believe in having babies, long before, people would express that in a very simple way. They would say, “All right, I’m living, I’m sacrificing, we’re living, we’re working for our children and grandchildren.” And the idea of children and grandchildren was not something in itself, it was something that gave you a way of focussing upon concretely what your life meant. And you would joyfully sacrifice for the sake of the future of these children and grandchildren. You would vote and support actions by society.
Soldiers were willing to die for their society to save it. They didn’t want to die, but they were willing to take the risk because they had a sense that there is something that’s more important than their mortal life itself. It’s what they do with it that’s important, like any great scientist. How do you measure a scientist? It’s by what they contribute to humanity. People whose names we know from thousands of years ago, what was their self-interest? It was to be what they were, great discoverers who benefitted all humanity after them. Great artists who uplifted all of humanity after them.
So, a few of us have that, a few of us have that developed commitment. In former times, there were more people who had that kind of commitment which they expressed in terms of their obligation to improve their society, their family, and so forth. Those values have more or less passed away under this decadent cultural period in which we live. We’ve come to a time where people suddenly realize that “my money, my money, my money” is not the essence of humanity of life. The essence of the ability to buy is not the essence of life. It’s being human that is the essence of life.
When people have taken away from them some of the false values to which they have clung too ardently, sometimes they’re forced to look and say, “What is really valuable?” And sometimes, for that reason, it’s the poor who are the best fighters for freedom, because they have the least to lose. And freedom means everything to them because they have nothing else except the fight for freedom.
So, when we come to a time of great peril and depravity and whatnot, as we are now, in that time the secret is leadership. The secret is the development and spread of ideas, sound ideas which enable people to mobilize themselves about actions which will address the problem. And in such a moment, when that occurs, suddenly the majority of people are able to decide on how to run this planet. And those few tyrants who dominate us, become pitiful wrecks running into places of refuge, or hiding and changing their identity. Thank you.
Frederick Douglass, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump
Speed: On June 4, we held an internet discussion which we called, “A Certain Difference Between Barack Obama and Frederick Douglass.” Frederick Douglass being not only the great abolitionist, but a collaborator with Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Douglass, who was born into slavery, in about 1818, became one of the major recruiters of almost 200,000 troops into the Union ranks during the period after the Emancipation Proclamation, issued in 1863.
There is a difference between Frederick Douglass and Barack Obama. As Mr. LaRouche said, we are not emperors; but Obama apparently thought he was one. It’s important to bring him up here because the attacks presently against President Trump are actually mostly lies in the following sense. When Barack Obama decided to end the manned space program in 2009, Lyndon LaRouche insisted at that point, that we had to go for Obama’s impeachment. The reason was, Obama was no longer merely screwing up the lives of everybody alive in the United States at that moment. He was screwing up the whole future, and therefore, we had to take a stand. He was now directly and in every way destroying the prospects for the continued advancement of human civilization by opposing that space program.
Now whatever you would like to tell us you think one way or the other about Donald Trump, that space program has now been reinstated in the United States as of last week’s launch. The power that exists in those technologies is the core of what can actually solve the problems in front of the American people.
This has not been the first time that people have decided injustice exists and have expressed their sense of powerlessness in the face of that injustice. But it’s important to talk about the fact that it has also not been the first time they’ve been reprimanded correctly to understand what they really do have.
‘What’s in Your Hand?’
There was a speech given many years ago now, by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, who was also, for people who don’t know, a minister. It was up in Harlem, and he served in the United States Congress from 1948 until 1972. He gave a famous speech called “What’s in Your Hand?” I’m going to refer to it, because we’re going to be talking about the idea of the machine-tool principle with you and the power of labor. He said this:
A young slave boy stood one day before the greatest ruler of his day. And God said to Moses, “What’s in your hand?” And Moses said, “LORD, only I’ve got a stick, that’s all.” He said, “Well, let me use what’s in your hand!” And God used that slave boy with a stick in his hand to divide the Red Sea, march through a wilderness, bring water out of rocks, manna from Heaven, and bring his people to freedom land!
What’s in your hand?
What’s in your hand?! George Washington Carver! Who was so frail that he was traded for a broken-down horse as a slave boy ... And George Washington Carver sitting in the science laboratory at Tuskegee told me, he said, “Dr. Powell,” he said, “I just go out into the fields each morning at 5 o’clock, and I let God guide me and I bring back these little things I find in the field, and I work them over in my laboratory.”
And that man did more to revolutionize the agricultural science of peanuts, and of cotton, and sweet potatoes than any other human being in the field of agricultural science....
What’s in your hand? “I’ve got a string in my hand, that’s all, and I’m flying a kite! And way up in the heavens lightning strikes it! And I, Benjamin Franklin, discover for the first time, the possibilities of electricity with a string in my hand.”
What’s in your hand? Little hunchback sitting in a Roman jail? “I haven’t got anything in my hand, but an old quill pen, but God says, ‘Write what I tell ya to write!’ ” And Paul wrote: “I have run my race with patience. I’ve finished my course. I’ve kept the faith....”
Powell gave that speech to a group of welfare recipients who were complaining about the fact that they were powerless, and they had no money, and they had no capabilities. And he said, “No, that’s not true. The question is, what’s in your hand? In your hand is the power of the vote, in your hand is the power of the few cents you have, to spend them how you wish.” But it’s this idea of what’s in your hand, transformed by real science, real conceptions, philosophical conceptions; that’s what’s needed in the United States today. And that’s what we want to provide to you today in what we’re putting forward. If you’ve been watching our website, you know we have a program to bring 1.5 billion jobs to the world, 50 million of them in the United States, but using the most advanced technologies.