This transcript appears in the July 10, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Schiller Institute International Conference
June 27, 2020
Will Humanity Prosper, or Perish?
The Future Demands a ‘Four-Power’ Summit Now
Why a 1.5 Billion Productive Jobs Program
Can End War, Famine, Poverty and Disease
How Food Production Can Unite the World
Note: We present here the edited transcripts of the second of three panels of the one-day Schiller Institute conference. The first panel was presented in EIR Vol. 47, No. 27, July 3, 2020. A report on the third panel will be published in a future issue. The videos of the conference are available here.
Mr. Cheminade is the President of Solidarité et Progrès in France.
I’m very honored to be with you today, because of all you have done until now, and mainly because of what we all are going to do after this Schiller conference.
Food production unites the world: We are all conscious of the fact that the two first human rights to be upheld, are to be fed and to be kept in a good healthy condition, in order to contribute to the common good and the future of our societies. If we look at the world as it is, we cannot but recognize that these two human rights are continuously and constantly violated and that the present policies of the main states and institutions, with a few remarkable exceptions, are leading us towards a world which is going to be much worse, if we allow it. We are set to become inhuman.
The question is therefore not to comment any more about what is happening or to complain, but to do something about it. That’s why we are here, to mobilize the best of our cultures and our nations to generate a world where the true creative powers of humanity will prosper, against all odds. It starts by food production which unites all people beyond and above cultural and language barriers. It seems commonplace to say such things, but the fact that we are morally and economically compelled to do so is precisely the sign of the inhuman condition in which we have been plunged, with the immediate threat that 100 million of our fellow human beings could die from hunger—300,000 a day—while the farmers are trapped in a Malthusian world where they literally can’t breathe.
If we start from what humanity needs, taking into account the requirements for an adequate quantity and quality diet, sufficiency for everyone and the indispensable need to create food reserves, we must first double our food production. To produce 5 billion tons of grain, for example, means to more than double the present world harvest.
We hear in the Unites States, “We American farmers can feed the world,” and it’s true. We hear in Europe, “We European farmers can feed the world,” and it’s true. And we hear in the rest of the world, “We also can secure our food security and sovereignty,” and it’s true.
So what is happening? What’s happening, which makes this potential to not be actualized?
First, the whole world is ruled by the financial dictatorship of Wall Street and the City of London, which cannot care less for people and, in fact, openly promotes world depopulation. Unable, in their own terms, to keep their power and to feed the world at the same time, they prefer to keep their power and envisage a world populated with less than two billion human beings. Their policy is to kill, either by murderous action, or by voluntary neglect. They let their ideologues openly front for it, under black or green colors.
Second, the outgrowths of this financial dictatorship, i.e., the food and farming cartels, dominate or control all the chains of transportation, distribution and sales in foodstuffs, including the property of vast domains of land.
Third, an anti-productivist ideology is promoted among the urban sectors of the service economy, dominant in numbers among Western countries, betting on both their ignorance of what a productive life is (they don’t even know what a productive life is!), and on their cultural pessimism, induced by the media and the entertainment sectors. There were no stocks of masks or tests in our Western states to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, just as there are almost no grain reserves today to deal with food shortages: The World Trade Organization and the cartels left it up to the marketplace.
As a result, China has one year of grain stocks for its needs, Russia six months, the United States much less, and the European Union at best 45 days! Under its Green Deal, the European Commission has decided to cut by 50% the use of pesticides, by 20% the use of fertilizers, and by 50% the use of anti-microbials for livestock and aquaculture. It expects to transform 25% of the land into organic bioproduction against 7.5% today. The point here is that, under the guise of caring for us, they obey their real financial masters and cut the means of production without providing any alternative to feed us and feed the world.
Beyond Criminal Negligence and Stupidity
It’s criminal not to maintain food reserves. It is criminal to have brought farming prices below the cost of production. It is criminal to have pitted the producers of the world against each other, to lower the prices paid to them for the benefit of the worldwide cartels in grains, meat, seeds, seafood. It is criminal that in the poorest countries of the world 70% of the production is allowed to be lost because there are no cold chains and too many rodents. It is criminal to compel those countries to pay more for the debt service to financial agencies than for building and maintaining hospitals or schools. It is, as Lyndon LaRouche repeatedly said, the model of the private British East India Company spread all over the world, controlling the chains of production, transportation and trade.
So this crisis should be the opportunity to recognize the absolute right to produce food and to get rid of the cartel monopoly system. This, of course, cannot be done as a thing in itself. It demands the shutdown of their source of money supply: the Wall Street and City of London, the British Empire. The criminal policies in the area of food and health, are, in that sense, for the people of the world the visible side of the oligarchy’s iceberg and our main weapon to fight the oligarchy.
To show the peoples of the world that to fight for a new Glass-Steagall Act, a public credit policy, a National Bank, is not a technical question but a very concrete matter of life or death. The present financial system cannot be maintained through the rule of an unjust law and order, which has mutated into a system of chaos and disorder, based on an “everything bubble” which kills all the more as it inflates.
Therefore we have to come back and rethink about how we can inspire a strategy based on the Four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche, because they represent the architectural, unifying body for a change. To put it more concretely, they represent the only possible exit door from the present fire.
A European Perspective
As I am in Western Europe, I feel obliged to tell you how something which had a good start, but failed because its environment was not shaped by a coherent principle corresponding to the Four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche: I am talking about the European Common Agricultural Policy, launched on July 30, 1962. It was based on four goals: increasing productivity; securing a fair living standard for food producers; establishing a sort of parity price including reinvestment; securing food supplies and a reasonable price for consumers. It worked for about 30 years, based on a self-sufficient single market, with a productive priority connected to industrial progress (modern tractors, fertilizers, pesticides), plus financial solidarity and a European preference.
The financial aid and support were given in the form of a minimum price guaranteed to the producer, called “indirect aid.” As a result, the Common Market members, as it was called in those days, became self-sufficient and Western Europe grew to be the second world exporter of foodstuffs. The farms grew moderately in size, and the whole agricultural sector underwent a period of relative prosperity, despite its in-depth and fast transformation.
Today, we have all the European farmers desperately protesting, hostages to the banks and living on subsidies, having become indebted, working hard and gaining very little, with their sons and daughters abandoning their farms to go to the cities. What happened?
First, under the pressure of the global financial deregulation, the Common Agricultural Policy was changed in the 1990s, the same period characterized by de-industrialization, banking rule and deregulation, mainly in France, but also in all Western Europe. The indirect aid based on price guarantees disappeared and was replaced by so-called direct aid, proportional to the acreage of the farms. This was done under the pressure of the World Trade Organization with the pretext of avoiding “price distortions.”
As a result, within a context of falling purchasing power of foodstuffs, the aid, decoupled from production, went mainly to the big landowners such as the Queen of England, the Prince of Monaco and the Duke of Kent. The small and medium-sized farmers were strangled through price decreases and the fall of aid. Their only option was either to leave or to be further strangled by the banks, including the farmers’ bank, the Crédit Agricole, which became a bank like all the others and even worse to its old clients! The European Union budget for agriculture was reduced in purchasing power and has decreased in percentage of the total EU budget.
Add to that the vulnerability of all producers to the system of floating exchange rates, the middle-sized or small ones sinking and the big ones becoming more like “experts of the Chicago market” than real farmers!
Failed Small Solutions
Today, the main talk is to replace the “direct” aid based on farm acreage, by “environment and climate aid,” of which only the very big ones can benefit. This is a policy of desertification and agricultural depopulation within a context of a green world depopulation. Within this system, there are a few Scotch tape measures proposed, which are maybe relatively helpful but not of a nature to change the situation. For example, it is proposed that the distribution of aid be based not on farm acreage, but on the number of persons active on the farm. Others call for stocks of food security against the instability of the markets, fair prices and measures to fight against world hunger. Good intentions, but nothing tackling the depth of the challenge.
Our commitment is precisely to do that, to go to the roots of the problem. The Common Agricultural Policy failed because it did not deal with its global environment. Same thing for parity prices in the United States. You cannot do it within a system which creates all the conditions to go in the opposite direction. Besides, even in its best years, the Common Agricultural Policy was mainly defensive, in French terms, a kind of a Maginot Line doomed to fail under flanking attacks or attacks from above. And whereas it temporarily solved the food crisis within Western Europe, it did nothing to organize markets and food stocks at the needed level of an alliance of world nations, of world population.
Clearly, we have now with the Four Laws of Lyndon LaRouche, not as a mantra, but as a roadmap for the fight, the means to break with the existing rules of the game, which was not done under the Common Agricultural Policy. But for that we need to inspire and put pressure on the peoples of the world so that they pressure their governments, as was said in the preceding panel. That is for each of us an issue of life or death. And it can only win with a winner mind, with a tenacious commitment renewed every morning.
For that reason, let me tell you about two things, as a conclusion.
Into the Future
First, on the way by means of which we can inspire. There are LaRouche’s Four Laws as a reference to explore, facing their numerous challenges for real, in the existing world. There is their application in our recent two programs: “Build a global health system now! LaRouche’s ‘Apollo mission’ to defeat the global pandemic crisis,” and I would add, “and beyond” the global pandemic crisis; and “LaRouche’s plan to reopen the U.S. economy: the world needs 1.5 billion new, productive jobs.”
It is only through this anti-parochial organizing, based on a dynamic development, that we can inspire people who are today so submerged by information and permanently thrown into situations leading them to emotional cop-outs, as we see on both sides of the Atlantic. It is through our personal example, based on a tenacious directionality every single day of our lives, that we can lead them to become free organizers.
Second, I would like to give you an example of that, directly linked to our subject matter: It is that of the Maisons Familiales Rurales (MFR, Rural Family Homes), a project created by Abbot Granereau, a French rural priest who introduced a new way of learning into the rural areas of France and beyond. There are now 432 of these MFR rural homes in Europe, 112 in Latin America, 118 in Africa (Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea), and in the Indian Ocean and a few in Asia. In France this education is run in association with the state and the local governments, but with absolute emphasis put on the involvement of the families.
Abbot Granereau was the son of a peasant family, who at a very early age questioned both the Napoleonic, pyramidal organization of the French education system and the fact that the public education system led the best sons of the farmers to quit farming, leave the countryside and often break with their tradition-oriented families. He decided to solve the problem by launching a new system of his own that the families could afford, and he called on “Our Lady of the Social Revolution” for inspiration. His idea was to have the high-school age students reside one week of every month at an educational home for professional training, which he provided; he went around buying places to have the students spend a week, not far from their homes and run jointly with the families and later with the teachers.
Granereau’s program ran from November to April, so that the parents could have their children the rest of the time to work on the farm. The education was to be paid for by the parents and the status of the students was one of apprenticeship. During the three other weeks of the month, the students were provided with two hours of homework every day. The key to its success was the associative responsibility of the families, family integration; and also the students educating their families. This concept of family integration would be very useful today; the respect for the individual personality of every student, not as units but as persons; and the promotion of actions of social development: visits to farms, producing modern tools, tractors or fertilizers.
Granereau started in 1935 with three farmers committed to support his project, and four apprentices. And he managed in about 30 years to change the fate of the rural world and avoid, at the time, its debasement.
Making the Impossible Possible
The secret behind his method was to be very rigorous and at the same time to make the students responsible. For every activity one of them was appointed to be responsible for all the others. His commitment was to give to all a good level of education, giving back their dignity to his brother farmers, and a knowledge of the new methods of production within an education for their souls. For him, a good farmer had to be what he called “a scientist of the land.” When enough pupils and students had come, he separated the functions of teaching, under a good and committed teacher from the Purpan high-level school of agriculture in Toulouse, from those of guidance, which was his full-time responsibility.
Granereau wanted to create “peasant leaders” to enter the coming new world with Christian principles. He invented “in his way,” an active method based on exploration, cooperation, participation and mutual trust. He himself changed throughout his life: He created a section for young women and girls, then organized a mixed-gender school, carefully promoting a mutual respect between the two sexes, and finally opened up his schools to all families, understanding that the notion of family and mutual respect was key and above religious affiliations. A lot of people were shocked, but he was delighted.
I am convinced that such an approach, based on the respect of every individual mind and the service to the other, should be thoughtfully considered as an inspiration for changing our methods of teaching today, those against which Lyndon LaRouche has so often polemicized. Not to copy it as such, of course, but to follow its spirit of exploration and creativity. In the countries with a longstanding family farming culture, as in Africa, it would be a model to ensure the transition of agricultural labor, as it has been in France.
The case of Granereau is also a good reference for how to change things. We should ourselves think much more about what Lyndon LaRouche did at the beginning: gathering a few persons in a pilot project addressing not academic questions but, from the top down, the key challenges of our times, and sending memos and launching debates all the time. Then you have the best kind of excitement of actually discussing and enriching a program, all the time, and even the higher excitement to make it exist. Let’s do it.