Forum Barcelona 2004 | Català | Español | tools Home Map of contents Search Size textSize text small 14px medium 14px big 17px
Latest info > News > Bernard Cassen, director general of "Le Monde Diplomatique": "We must fight fear so we can think freely"

NEWS

Latest news

past news



Latest news
 

23 / 09 / 2004
Bernard Cassen, director general of "Le Monde Diplomatique": "We must fight fear so we can think freely"

The Forum's "141 Questions" (137): "Is another world possible in the wake of September 11? If so, what kind of world?" Journalist Bernard Cassen explained that to create another world we first need to eradicate "the liberal virus that affects our minds" and to promote education capable of fighting the idea that leads us "to a sense fatality to which there is no alternative". He described as "interesting and positive" the proposal of Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Zapatero, of encouraging an alliance of civilizations with the Islamic world, and has advocated the "no" vote to the European Constitution "because at the heart of the treaty prevail liberal politics that prevent the construction of a Europe capable of gestures of solidarity"

Bernard Cassen, journalist, professor of political sciences and General Director of the monthly metropolitan newspaper "Le Monde Diplomatique", emphasized this afternoon at the Haima Stage that only France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg "and sometimes Greece" are in agreement with the construction of a Europe that is not subject to the United States: "The other countries prefer North American sovereignty", he said. In his opinion, the policies of most of the governments are very far from overwhelming the aspirations of their respective citizens: "Europe only exists as a public opinion", he observed.

Before the large audience attending today's session of "141 Questions", Bernard Cassen stated that, within neo-liberal globalization, 9-11 has served to give more freedom and power to North American interests: "a situation that is not new has been made worse. Since before the 1980s, we have known that the United States would not tolerate the emergence of regional, economic or military powers. This was their message for Europe". He reiterated that the Bush administration has used fear "of the permanent threat of terrorism" to realize its intentions of cohesion and that the United States has not hesitated in encouraging a possible clash between civilizations. Cassen proclaimed that to create a different world we first need to eradicate "the liberal virus that affects our minds" and to promote education capable of fighting the idea that leads us "to a sense fatality to which there is no alternative". "We must fight fear so we can think freely", he concluded.

After predicting that "the policies of the United States are never going to allow worldwide multi-polarity”, Cassen pointed out that, "half their congressmen do not have a passport because they are not interested in what happens in Europe". "They suffer a tremendous ignorance. President Reagan, for example, thought that Jamaica was in the Mediterranean", he remembered.

For the managing director of "Le Monde Diplomatique", nobody will try to destabilize the American economy for market reasons. He explained that destabilization would only happen if the dollar lost the status of reserve currency: "It would be a tremendous weapon if Russia decided to invoice petroleum in euros. It is something that will not take place because it would be something similar to a declaration of war".

He described as "interesting and positive" the proposal of the Spanish president, Jose Luis Zapatero, to foster an alliance of civilizations with the Islamic world. Nevertheless, he emphasized that we do not have to think that the conflict already exists nor that it is necessary to favor the impression that the world is divided between the countries of the West and the Islamic countries: "There are other cultures, other problems". Still in the context of the Spanish policy, he stressed that the last general elections "were a tremendous civic and moral lesson because they demonstrated that the yes vote is enough". As for the withdrawal of the troops from Iraq, he reasoned that Zapatero, carrying out his election campaign promise, "gave an immense service to European democracy".

Bernard Cassen advocated the "no" to the European Constitution "because in the heart of the treaty liberal policies are set that may prevent the construction of a united Europe". He admitted that the anti-globalization movement alone cannot change the world, but emphasized that initiatives arising from it, such as the "Tobin rate", that aims to levy a tax on the speculative flows of financial capital, now deserve the consideration of political leaders like President Chirac.

He defended the French law that prohibits the veil and the use of other outfits of religious significance in the state schools to promote laicism and neutrality in these centers, and he said the problem of external debt of the developing countries must be solved to avoid an even greater conflict against misery and hunger.

Bernard Cassen is one of the most outstanding supporters of the anti-globalization movement. In 1968 he co-founded the University of Vincennes, that later became the University of Paris VIII twelve years later. With professional links to "Le Monde Diplomatique" since 1973, at the present time he is the director-general of this newspaper. He was chairman of the Attac association (Action for the Appraisal of Transactions and Citizen’s Advice).