This article appears in the December 18, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Schiller Institute Conference
The World After the U.S. Election: Creating a World Based on Reason
December 12-13, 2020
Overcoming the World Health Crisis and the Hunger Pandemic
Thinking on the Level of
The Coincidentia Oppositorum
[Print version of this article]
Dec. 13—The Sunday morning panel of the Schiller Institute Conference, “Overcoming the World Health Crisis and the Hunger Pandemic: Thinking on the Level of the Coincidentia Oppositorum,” brought together 12 specialists in medicine, public health, logistics, agriculture and other fields, who conferred for close to four hours on the pandemic and world hunger crisis from the point of view of taking action.
The urgency to act was underscored by two messages. A video clip from Fouad Al-Ghaffari in Yemen, reported how the situation for 30 million people there is impossible without immediate aid. He said, “The famine is a war crime.” Ramasimong Phillip Tsokolibane, Leader of the LaRouche Movement in South Africa, speaking for the continent, said that, “Death stalks the planet.” He called for a global mobilization of food and medical care, or “hundreds of millions of people are as good as dead. Africa does not need sympathy. Africa needs bold action.”
In June, Helga Zepp-LaRouche had issued a call for action, given the fast-worsening pandemic and food shortage situation, and the lack of full-scale government or global institutional response. She put forward the idea of acting under the Coincidentia Oppositorum concept of Renaissance leader Nicholas of Cusa, who mandated thinking and acting on a level higher than that of any apparent opposing factors and parties you encounter. Two speakers on the panel addressed this concept explicitly, Jason Ross and Daniel Burke, who spoke on “Cusa’s Method.”
Since June, an initiating group formed and issued a statement inviting others to join in getting emergency action going as soon as possible. See, “Statement to Form the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites (Coincidentia Oppositorum).
The proposal is to launch one or more pilot projects involving such things as U.S. medical care specialists delivering care and training at points of need in Africa, or elsewhere, including the training of local and also American and other youth. There is the idea of U.S. farmers collaborating on providing food and training. Such initiatives, at the same time as having an immediate, direct effect, also draw attention to the necessity of rectifying the inadequate, privatized health care and agriculture systems in the U.S. and other nations.
Zepp-LaRouche today said at the close of the discussion, “We have the solutions, we need implementation.” All that is needed are “marching orders.” Referring to the expertise among the speakers, she said that “The potential to solve things is on this panel. They can turn this into a political force” that can make all the difference in the world, in forcing a shift in policy response to the pandemic and famine. She called for three or more volunteers to be active advisers in this new initiative of the Schiller Institute in the coming days.
This point of taking action was emphasized in the words of Lyndon LaRouche, shown in a video clip from his answer to Dr. Jozef Mikloško, the former deputy prime minister of the Czech and Slovak Federated Republic, at Schiller Conference on September 1, 1996. Dr. Mikloško asked then how can we create a situation so that the kind of horrible politicians faced in the past do not arise once again.
Mr. LaRouche began his response, saying:
Well, one of Christ’s most powerful sermons was throwing the money-changers out of the Temple. The essence of politics is leadership. It’s intellectual and moral leadership. It is like the commanding of military forces. The first thing, is you get people out of the barracks. You have people sitting at home, with sordid entertainments. You have women on the phone, and not only women, but also their daughters and sons, spending hours of precious money on the phone, gossiping! Which is a degraded, immoral practice. And, when people are in the barracks, they may shoot dice or play cards, or engage in other things; or they go out looking for trouble, or they go out delivering trouble. What you do with an army, is you know the army can easily degenerate into that, and you move them!
The job of the politician is to—not to tell people, “I want to get your money and your vote, and I’ll come back and see you next year.” The job of the politician is to be an active leader of people, in the sense of when something has to be said, you say it, get the word out to the people. Decide what has to be moved upon and you move. There’s always something to move on, as Dr. Mikloško knows very well. He’s one of those people who likes to move things all the time. He’s one of the best organizers I’ve seen, and I’ve met a lot of good ones in life. But it’s very simple. You become a good organizer by doing it all the time. You organize this, then you organize this, then you organize this, then you organize this—you’re always organizing something! And that’s a real political leader.
Zepp-LaRouche posed two points of action: First, there must be a change of policy away from viewing health care and food as categories of activity to be privatized and cartelized, and just treated as an opportunity for profits. Second, there must be immediate aid, given that 30 million people face starvation over the next four months. This situation defines what one or more pilot projects can address, and create the environment for large-scale response. Such an initiative can be used as an organizing tool to provoke, induce and back-up action by governments, and agencies such as the World Food Program and World Health Organization. Look at groups in action, for example, the farmers are on the streets again in Germany, with their tractors decorated for Christmas, to make the point that the cartel food system must stop. People must eat.
Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General, spoke out strongly for action, saying that we should “invent a new coincidence of opposites,” and stressed that she does not mean a one world public health system, but the kind of system where a breakthrough in one country will be shared by all. She encouraged people, facing today’s frightening crises, by referring to an image used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., saying that today’s “dialogue will carve a stone of hope out of a mountain of despair,” and people should get moving.
At the conclusion of today’s panel, lasting close to four hours, Ramasimong Phillip Tsokolibane praised the spirit of discussion involved—“spiced with charity, agapē” and he told the participants, “Let’s go out and enjoy ourselves in fighting for humanity.”
Two panelists addressed the role of the military in delivering aid, and related contributions. Brig. Gen. Peter Clegg (USA ret.) said that the military has the logistics capabilities for short term, emergency deployments, and also for work on many “worthwhile projects to meet unmet needs.” However, the military is designed to defend the country, so we can’t expect the military as such to solve certain problems, but to respond to emergencies. Plus, “an international commitment” is what we need, he said. Gen. Clegg himself was involved in U.S. Army deployments in the Caribbean, in medical work in “multiple small projects, which were not just do-gooders, but for training purposes.”
Gen. Clegg stressed training, and related aspects of benefits to youth engaged in this kind of work, in what he called the “ancillary” benefits of military deployments in projects. He pointed out that the U.S. has not had a draft since 1973, and young people have come to have a lessened sense of duty, and a heightened sense of “rights.” They have not had the experience of “behaving yourself,” and “reporting to the boss,” and so on. He regards the Peace Corps as a relevant model, but voluntary. We should make clear and attractive the benefits of public service for people in what we plan. He reviewed the benefits to the nation of the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Projects Administration in this regard.
Dr. Walter Faggett, currently Professor of Family Medicine at Howard University Medical School, and retired U.S. Army Colonel (82nd Airborne), also addressed what the military can do. He himself served in Grenada, Korea and elsewhere, and in the Caribbean had experience working with the civilian community. He also trained civilian teams at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. Dr. Faggett was Chief Medical Officer for the District of Columbia Department of Health (2007-2008).
Faggett pointed to the military contribution in fighting the H1N1 pandemic, and the e bola epidemic in West Africa. He said that among the many lessons to be learned from these are how to have mobile systems to serve communities. The interface on those missions for West Africa included youth from America, through Howard University and George Washington University. The mobile health unit is a key component of providing medical assistance under makeshift and emergency conditions, and also training of nurses and other staff. He described the importance of the “ebola brigades and battalions of well-trained people.” He reported on many countries of Africa where teams have worked from historically black colleges here.
Medical Aid, Public Health
Dr. Khadijah K. Lang, in California, continued Dr. Faggett’s theme. She is the Chair of the Council of International Affairs for the National Medical Association (NMA), which has 50,000 members. She also is Chair of NMA Region VI. She reported on many programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, and raised the point that it would be good to have the resources to do research at the same time as provide care and training. She stressed that we must not ignore good health in general. “Baseline good health is protective in famines and pandemics.”
Dr. Don Jones, who is President of JRC Management Consulting Inc., for medical technology, reported on many machines for field use, including showing a photograph of a portable urgent care facility. His company produces such equipment as a hand-held ultrasound device, portable EKG and X-Ray machines, oxygen concentrators and many more, including platforms for telehealth. Their equipment has been used in Puerto Rico, for example, under tough conditions. The idea is to mimic emergency room and urgent care stations.
Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of Marion County (Indianapolis) Health Department, and Associate Professor of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, began by addressing the food and nutrition question, reviewing the world picture of hunger, and the food insecurity inside the United States. She said, “The hungry can’t learn; the starving can’t work.” When asked about the new COVID-19 vaccine, she spoke of the work being done right now to get out reliable information, by the NMA, under its President Dr. Leon McDougle. Dr. Lang herself has been associated with vaccine development, serving on a Federal science board.
Dr. Alim Muhammad, who has a special program, “Your Immunity Project,” stressed on the matter of the pandemic and famine, that he regards “information suppression” as the real problem. There is an embargo on knowing anything about science and technology.
Food for All, Break Up the Cartels
Joe Maxwell, President and co-founder of the Family Farm Action Alliance, addressed the world famine situation with a report on the ruinous lock of the food cartels over independent family farms in the U.S. and around the world. He said this transnational agrifood system must be ended. The cartels are controlling governments, whether “left or right,” it doesn’t matter. Independent family farms are being forced under.
A former Lt. Governor of Missouri, Maxwell is a fourth-generation farmer, now raising livestock and grains. He also served in the state legislature and Missouri National Guard. He spoke in support of the farmers in India, who are now staging a mass protest against the cartels’ attempted assault. (See the separate article in this issue on this subject.) He denounced the cartels’ extraction operations in Africa, which impose hunger and poverty. “We have to break the back” of these cartels, he said, inviting people to look at a report his organization released in November (See farmactionalliance.org, “The Food System: Concentration and Its Impacts.”) Maxwell said of the global food cartels, “They don’t feed people, they feed their profits.
Zepp-LaRouche, in the discussion, referred to how the Schiller Institute collaborated on food and medical care emergency initiatives in the early 1990s, to relieve the suffering among children in Iraq, and to affect world foreign relations. U.S. farmers from 26 states organized multiple airlifts of shipments of U.S. milk powder which provided milk to several hundred children for a year. Some of the children needing medical treatment were brought to Europe for specialized care. At the time, farm spokesmen made a point of the principle involved—a coincidence of opposites—in both saving farmers from ruin, and saving people from dying for lack of food, by bucking the system. Wisconsin dairyman Greg Blaska, spokesman for the 1991-1992 milk-lift, said that the powder donations were for the children, and were also to spotlight how dairy farmers were being ruined by the lowest prices since the Great Depression.