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CEC Australia Conference Promotes BRICS, World Land-Bridge as Pathway to Peace

by Robert Barwick and Richard Bardon
March 2015

April 3, 2015—Melbourne, Australia was the scene of a landmark international conference held March 28-29 on “The World Land Bridge: Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards All Men”. Speakers from seven other countries joined Australian ones, in person or by live or pre-recorded video, to promote awareness of the collaborative process under way among the BRICS grouping of powerful nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa—and the potential it represents for a new, just world economic order.

The event was the annual conference of Citizens Electoral Council (CEC) of Australia, the political party of Australian collaborators of the LaRouche movement. It was conducted in the spirit of the Schiller Institute’s New Paradigm series of international conferences, organised by Helga Zepp-LaRouche in recent years, to promote collaborative economic development and Classical culture as the alternative to strategic confrontation aimed against China and Russia, which carries the danger of thermonuclear world war.

The conference coincided in time, with the worldwide rush of nations to join the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB), with Australia still sitting on the fence as the March 31 initial sign-up deadline approached. The tense political debate in the country around the AIIB created a highly charged setting for the conference, enhancing the impact of the wide international dialogue its agenda provided. Speakers from two BRICS member countries took part in person: Prof. Georgy Toloraya, executive director of the Russian National Committee for BRICS Research, and LaRouche South Africa leader Ramasimong Phillip Tsokolibane. Another dimension was the showing of three video interviews, recorded expressly for the conference, with prominent figures from the United Kingdom, including two members of Parliament, who all endorsed Glass-Steagall banking separation, welcomed the BRICS, and called for an end to the dangerous confrontation policy against Russia. Dr. Natalia Vitrenko, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, stunned the audience with her pre-recorded report on the economic devastation of her country, especially under the just-signed deal with the IMF, since last year’s western-backed coup.

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser had hoped to participate in the CEC conference, before his untimely death on March 20. The conference opened with a tribute to Fraser, presented by CEC Executive Member Robert Barwick, who read aloud Fraser’s written greeting to the October 2014 Schiller Institute conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Fraser, after spelling out his concerns over the danger of war, had concluded: “There is an option, and that is for the most powerful Western nations to realise that there have been great changes in the world, that the strategic context has altered, that other powers such as the BRICS are emerging, and that the West should collaborate with them as partners to establish a more equal and a more just world.” These words prepared the audience to listen closely to the keynote address by Helga Zepp-LaRouche.

Zepp-LaRouche: the Punctum Saliens

CEC National Secretary Craig Isherwood introduces Helga Zepp-LaRouche.

Speaking by live video from the United States, Zepp-LaRouche launched the conference, particularly its two panels on “The World Land-Bridge: It’s Being Built!”, by presenting the world at a punctum saliens. This is defined, she said, as “that moment in a classical drama, when a certain story comes to a point of exhaustion and a decision is required, and everything depends, at that moment, on whether the main actor has the morality, wisdom and the vision to leave behind the axiom of that story which brought about the point of crisis, and … put a new vision on the table and realise that.” She identified the choice between the defunct paradigm of “globalization”, which is generating economic collapse and war, and the new paradigm taking shape as a renaissance, sparked by China’s Confucian revival, economic development, and mutually beneficial cooperation projects. She emphasised the old-paradigm danger, inherent in such strategies as the Project for the New American Century, NATO's expansion eastward up the to borders of Russia, and the notion that one could win a nuclear war by inflicting a first strike without retaliation. Compared with the global awareness of the danger of nuclear annihilation, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis or the 1980s, Zepp-LaRouche warned that “now we are much, much closer than ever before in history to the complete annihilation of mankind, … and almost nobody talks about it, and that has to urgently change.”

Zepp-LaRouche identified the second crisis of globalisation as the impending crash of the too-big-to-fail banks, now massively over-extended in the derivatives markets, contrasting this looming collapse of the trans-Atlantic financial system with the rise of the BRICS economies, and their creation of new credit institutions such as the AIIB to fund real-sector development.

An expert on China in particular, Zepp-LaRouche emphasised that China is not an imperial threat, and never has been. China's Confucian tradition is still that nation’s defining characteristic, she explained, and it places greatest value on the common good and love of all mankind. This is the basis of China’s genuinely “win-win” policy of economic cooperation with other nations.

On the second day of the conference, CEC researcher Jeremy Beck illustrated these policies during a continuation of the “It’s Being Built” discussion, with a report on “China: Great Infrastructure projects at Home and Abroad”. Beck revealed the breathtaking scale of China’s economic cooperation with other nations in constructing major infrastructure projects, especially its investment in dams, high-speed rail networks, and highways in Africa, the continent kept in poverty by centuries of European colonialism, followed by decades of free trade. Speaking by live video from the United States, LaRouche Policy Institute representative Benjamin Deniston reported to the conference on the space-exploration plans and massive increases in energy flux density, promised in “China’s Helium-3 Revolution”.

Russia and “BRICS Outreach”

Professor Georgy Toloraya, executive director of the Russian National Committee for BRICS Research..

Prof. Toloraya, a senior Russian diplomat and East Asia scholar who was formerly Russian consul-general in Sydney, Australia, spoke on “The Power of the BRICS Process”. He gave a comprehensive account of the activity of the BRICS since it came together as a new organization, and “an international phenomenon,” just a few years ago. He noted widespread ignorance, scepticism, or hostility to the BRICS in the West, typified by a diplomat who told him that BRICS was “just a photo opportunity for President Putin not to feel that he is alone, when he is in Brisbane or somewhere.”

“Also,” said Toloraya, “critics sometimes still interpret BRICS as just an economic phenomenon. Therefore, they state that since there’s no economic integration between the BRICS countries; it’s sort of an artificial grouping. This is a misunderstanding of the essence of BRICS. I would dare say that BRICS is a fully political project, a project of the political elites of the BRICS countries—newly emerging powers—with a clear purpose: to defend their joint interests in this changing world, by promoting reforms and promoting change in the global economic architecture, as well as, eventually, in the world order.”

He emphasized that BRICS is “an inter-civilizational union,” which also understands that cooperation with the West is necessary in order to move forward. “What BRICS implies is cooperation,” Toloraya said. “It’s not a zero-plus game. BRICS … should strive to solicit western cooperation on changing the world order in a way that it can be just, for everybody—for all the members of the world community, not just a few rich countries.”

He detailed some of the 25 tracks of cooperation within BRICS, ranging from reducing military threats arising from regional conflicts, to information and cyber security issues, to food, energy and water security, and the future of the world’s oceans. “First and foremost is changing the international economic and financial architecture,” said the Russian expert. He stated that the AIIB “is one of the answers to the virtual domination of the U.S. in the IMF and the Asian Development Bank,” adding that the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is even more important. The NDB not only will support “infrastructural and other projects that are important for the BRICS countries, and which are not expected to be supported by the IMF or other international financial organizations,” but it can grow into a powerful institution, for example by consolidating the exchange of real-economic information among the BRICS countries, which heretofore depend on statistics and analysis—about their own economies—published in the West. “So, [the NDB] may be more than just an investment bank. It might be a sort of analytical centre … for the future coordination of economic policies.”

Toloraya summarized what he called “the BRICS outreach process.” While urging caution in expanding full BRICS membership (including, he had pointed out, the need to achieve accord within the organization in the face of U.S. and other attempts to fragment it from inside), Toloraya noted that BRICS outreach for broader cooperation is already under way, since the 2013 Durban summit. “In Africa, there was a meeting between the BRICS leaders and outreach countries; in that case, it was African leaders. In Brazil, it was with leaders of Latin American countries”, he reported, referring to the BRICS-MERCOSUR summit, which was discussed on the second day of the CEC conference by EIR’s Dennis Small, in his live video presentation on the BRICS process in South America. “In Russia, we’ll have simultaneously the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting, which will bring in some regional leaders, and they are the natural partners for BRICS outreach in Russia.” He said that BRICS outreach to Europe would have happened by now, were it not for the crisis over Ukraine.

Dr. Alexey Muraviev, Curtin University, Western Australia..

The second CEC conference speaker on the Russian view of BRICS was Dr. Alexey Muraviev of Curtin University in Western Australia. In a lively discussion of Russian security concerns, from the standpoint of a Russian-born, Australia-based expert, he highlighted President Vladimir Putin’s 2007 Munich Security Conference speech and the shocking and dangerous nature of the current conflict in Ukraine, 70 years after the defeat of fascism in World War II. Muraviev noted that today’s BRICS is a partial realization of the “grand idea” former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov put forward in 1998 as the Moscow-Beijing-Delhi strategic triangle, as Primakov himself writes in his just-published memoirs.

The website of the Russian National Committee for BRICS Research posted a 1000-word article on Toloraya’s speech, and the CEC Australia conference as a whole. In addition, the official news agency TASS on April 1, the day Russia assumed chairmanship of the BRICS, issued a wire from its Sydney bureau, reporting on remarks by Toloraya and Muraviev, who were interviewed in the context of the Melbourne conference.

Support in UK for BRICS and Glass-Steagall

Gabrielle Peut.

Rounding off the opening session, the conference heard the views of three political figures in the UK: Labour Party Member of Parliament and former Cabinet Minister Michael Meacher; Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn; and Conservative Party activist and director of the anti-EU Bruges Group Robert Oulds. CEC Executive Member Gabrielle Peut, who conducted the interviews in London for airing at the conference, described the process that led to them. She reported that the CEC had mailed its January 2014 pamphlet Glass-Steagall Now! and an issue of the party’s New Citizen newspaper headlined, “Australia, UK Must Join BRICS in New Economic Order” to every member of the House of Lords and House of Commons, every member of the Scottish, Welsh, and Irish national parliaments, and every bishop of both the Anglican and Catholic churches in the UK.

She continued, “You will hear from different parts of the conventional political spectrum in Britain, in a way that shows the possibility of collaboration, right across the spectrum, on matters of principle like Glass-Steagall banking separation, cooperation with the BRICS, and stopping World War III. Mr. Meacher is one of the British Labour Party figures (from a grouping in the UK that is kindred to ‘Old Labor’ here in Australia), who fought against the ‘liberal imperialism’ policies of Tony Blair and in 2007 personally challenged Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, for leadership of the Labour Party. Mr. Corbyn, also a member of the House of Commons for several decades, is especially famous for opposing Blair on launching the Iraq War. Both Mr. Meacher and Mr. Corbyn were very active in the intense Parliamentary debate that resulted in the dramatic UK House of Commons vote against authorizing the bombing on Syria, in August 2013.

Michael Meacher, MP (UK).

“For more than two decades now, the CEC has played a consistent leading role in the international LaRouche movement’s battle against the murderous policies of the British Crown, and the continuation of British imperialism in whatever guise—including when British-style imperial policies are wrapped in American clothing, as under the Bush and Obama administrations. That August 2013 vote against the Syria bombing, as well as the intense fight within the British Parliament over Glass-Steagall banking separation, … made clear to us that there was serious opposition to these policies from within the UK, as well. In the debates throughout 2013 on the Financial Services Reform Bill, amendments for full Glass-Steagall—not the fake reform called ‘ring-fence’—lost by a mere 9 votes in the House of Lords and by fewer than 50 votes in the 650-member House of Commons.”

Jeremy Corbyn, MP (UK).

The London interviews stemmed from a positive response to the CEC mailings. Of special note was Mr. Meacher’s outlook on a potential renewed drive for Glass-Steagall, in the context of the British Parliamentary elections, upcoming on May 7. With reference to his 2013 book The State We Need, which forecast a new and bigger global financial crisis, Meacher said, “I think it is inevitable as long as the investment and retail arms of the banks are not separated. … The banks which in 2008/09 were regarded as ‘too big to fail’, so they had to be bailed out, are now all of them, both on Wall Street and the City of London, substantially bigger than they were. Their dominance is even greater; there is no sign of remorse, or of a wish to change.” Meacher said, “I think there has to be Glass-Steagall right at the front. I think the banks need to be broken up.” He criticized his own Labour Party for “timidity” on this count, but said that new possibilities will open up if the election results in a Labour coalition or pact with the Scottish National Party, whose leadership strongly opposes the current government’s austerity policies, as well as wanting to end the basing of Trident nuclear-armed submarines in Scotland.

Jeremy Corbyn also stated his support for Glass-Steagall, while speaking in greater detail about the dangers embodied in NATO’s eastward expansion, the hideous aftermath of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and the impact of Britain’s al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia for the money flows in the Middle East, including those connected with terrorism.

Bruges Group Director Robert Oulds during interview by Gabrielle Peut at Westminster, London, 19 March 2015 for the CEC Australia conference.

Robert Oulds, author of a book titled Everything you wanted to know about the EU, but were afraid to ask, said in his interview for the CEC conference that Glass-Steagall “would make a separation between mad financial speculation, and people's deposits within the banks, which would be safe and which would separate the two arms of banking.” He also spoke about a documentary film made by the Bruges Group one year ago, on the expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders, saying that it’s not only NATO, but the EU, which “puts big business interests and big financial interests above those of ordinary citizens, [and] that is why we see massively high unemployment across Southern Europe when of course indebted nations are still having to hand over money to financial institutions.” And it is “this system [that is] being expanded right up against the borders of Russia, taking in Ukraine, against the strong objections of many people within that country, and there was a democratically elected president who won an election fairly in 2010, the former president Viktor Yanukovych who was overthrown in what was really a western-backed putsch.”

A cheer went up during Meacher's presentation, when he called for governments to print money to directly invest in the economy, cutting the money-centre banks out of the process. Conference participants had a strong, positive reaction to news of forward motion for Glass-Steagall in the UK, given that Queen Elizabeth remains Australia’s head of state, and most Australians who support the CEC have no love at all for the British Crown. Many were struck by Meacher’s final remark, that he and others in the UK look to leadership from Australia, which is relatively “less hide-bound by tradition than we are”.

Peut announced that Meacher and Oulds are among new British signers of the Schiller Institute petition “The U.S. and Europe Must Have the Courage to Reject Geopolitics and Collaborate with the BRICS”, together with Professor Prem Sikka, a well-known economist at the University of Essex and adviser to several Labour MPs.

Reports from the USA, Ukraine, and South Africa

Between the two panels on “The World Land-Bridge: It’s Being Built”, the CEC conference included in-depth panels on Hamiltonian economics, “A Global Financial Crash, or New Credit Systems", and the current world strategic situation, “World War III, or a New Global Renaissance”. The first of these heard by live video from EIR Economics Intelligence Director Paul Gallagher on the inexorable approach of the next trans-Atlantic financial implosion, and the scope of the new, BRICS-centred new lending institutions for real development. Gallagher explained that the intention of the BRICS-initiated developments banks, including the AIIB and New Development Bank, is congruent with that of Alexander Hamilton, who converted America's debts into credit for economic development. CEC Executive Members Robert Barwick and Craig Isherwood then elaborated the Hamiltonian principles and practice in historical terms from both the U.S. and Australian experiences.

Former member of the Ukrainian Parliament Dr. Natalia Vitrenko addressed the CEC conference through a pre-recorded video.

The Sunday-morning strategic panel started with Vitrenko’s video, describing how Ukraine was “undergoing deliberate, sustained, and brutal destruction”, although 25 years ago it was one of the ten most advanced agro-industrial powers in the world. Recounting the neo-Nazi coup of February 2014, backed by the Obama administration and EU, she said, “This is what is being done to Ukraine: war, death, hunger, and poverty. … Do the Europeans really not understand, that the flames of war may flare up even more now, and then the seemingly local war in Ukraine will lead to a world war—to a conflict with Russia?” She concluded with the hope that “this nightmare in Ukraine can be stopped, and that Ukraine will be able to use its tremendous potential, its intellectual, industrial and scientific capabilities. They still exist. The people are still alive. I hope that Ukraine can turn to building things, and together with Russia, and Europe, and China, build new land-bridges, and the new Silk Road, and the program to develop the Moon”.

EIR Counterintelligence Editor Jeffrey Steinberg, by live video, then presented the full background to "The Strategic Showdown with Russia and China". He reported on the fight against these policies within the United States itself, such as the drive to declassify the suppressed 28 pages of the Joint Congressional 9/11 report, exposing the Saudi role in financing 9/11. CEC researcher Glen Isherwood concluded the panel with an explosive report on "Who is Sponsoring International terrorism?", with a particular focus on the role of Britain’s Prince Charles as an intimate of the Saudi figures linked to 9/11 and the terrorism wave spread by the Islamic State.

Ramasimong Phillip Tsokolibane, leader of LaRouche South Africa.

During the final section of “It’s Being Built”, Tsokolibane stirred the audience with his talk on “Developing Africa through the BRICS”. He described the sheer grinding poverty inflicted upon the peoples of Africa by the IMF, World Bank, London and Wall Street, and the duty of all people of good character to stand against such evil. Mourning the absence of leaders like Franklin Roosevelt and his contemporary, Australian Prime Minister John Curtin, with whom Roosevelt had intended to collaborate to end colonialism in Africa for all time, Tsokolibane said that the BRICS is seen in South Africa as a way to finally achieve real progress and dignity. He credited the work of Lyndon and Helga LaRouche, in organising since 1975 for an International Development Bank, as laying the foundation for the BRICS.

EIR's Arabic language editor Hussein Askary reported by video from Sweden on the progress at the other end of the African continent: “Developing Egypt through the BRICS”. He described Cairo as an exhausted city, thanks to decades of free-trade looting by the IMF, World Bank, and the western powers. But, said Askary, Egyptians’ disgust with these policies has given President al-Sisi the scope to look for alternative sources of collaboration, as evidenced by the success of Vladimir Putin’s recent visit. The LaRouche movement’s 1980s policies for Egypt will now be pursued: Rosatom is building a nuclear reactor on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, as part of a plan to boost energy production by 50%; industrial, agricultural and other major development projects are being launched; reliance on tourism and primary materials exports alone will not be tolerated any more.

Russian guest speaker Prof. Toloraya’s characterization of the conference as “very important, maybe a milestone, … a sign of the changing times”, struck a chord with the participants.

A source of excitement during the event was the rapid consolidation of the AIIB. On Saturday evening, news broke that Russia had decided to join the AIIB. Following her Saturday-morning keynote, Zepp-LaRouche had been asked from the audience, “If Britain has joined [the AIIB], what possible reasons are there for hesitation on the part of Australia?” She replied that perhaps there wasn’t time for a “massive mobilisation” to get Australia to join before the Tuesday, March 31 deadline, but “China has already said there are several countries who will be in the second round, like Iran and many others…. And China has said almost every day now, the AIIB is open for everybody who wants to cooperate. So I wouldn't give up on Wednesday, and on Thursday, and just escalate your drive to get Australia on the side of the BRICS, because given the geographical position, or location of Australia, it is the most natural partner.” The Australian government’s announcement that, at long last, it would begin steps towards AIIB membership, came on Sunday.

Courtesy of the Citizens Electoral Council of Australia –