This is the second of three parts of the transcription of an interview with Dennis Kucinich. This is an excerpt from an interview posted as a podcast on April 13 here:
Rob: Talking about the explosion of information, how about WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, and Assange; what's your take on what's happening there?
Kucinich: Let's take them one at a time.
WikiLeaks: I think the general concern of the people of this country ought to be government secrecy. The government has not made a case why some things that were divulged through WikiLeaks should have been kept secret or why the release of that information imperils the United States of America. It's one thing to assert it, but proving it is quite a different matter.
Now, people who are charged with the custody of that information do have an obligation and they basically promise to maintain confidentiality. That's one of the consequences that Bradley Manning is facing as a soldier. We can admire his moral courage, but at the same time, understand that if he you know, if in fact, he broke some laws with respect to his responsibility to hold safe certain types of information; well you know, he may have to face the consequences for that. That's a moral decision that he made, but what makes it moral is knowing that there are risks involved.
Now, the Department of Defense has absolutely no right to deprive Bradley Manning of his ability to be able to stand trial through mistreatment of him in any way, shape or form. He should be permitted to have visitors that he wants. He should be permitted to have visitors from the UN who want to check on his welfare. He should be permitted to have members of congress who want to visit him to check on his welfare. But the Department of Defense has thrown up its own curtain around him. We don't really know how he's being treated. We only hear reports.
I think that the issues involving Julian Assange have yet to be sorted out, but if he was acting in a manner of an agent for the media, it will pose some interesting First Amendment questions in the same way that the Pentagon papers posed years ago. So that has to be played out, but I think when all is said and done, a government which has so many secrets that it has to keep inevitably, will make of democracy itself a secret.
Globalization and Human Unity
Rob: Okay. Last question, you got, you really got me started thinking about globalization and you have opposed, I believe, globalization treaties as they stand. And I've grown to really feel that globalization is bad for America and bad for Third World countries. Where do you stand on globalization now?
Kucinich: Well, first of all, let's take a broader perspective. I see human immunity as being an imperative. I see the world as being interconnected and interdependent. And then all of us are one. That we are one organic whole as people worldwide that transcends the nation-states, religion, culture.
There really is a spiritual unity and an organic unity much the same as Einstein promoted a unified field theory of the physical universe. There is the same kind of unity in the social universe. Now, the fact that trade organizations have developed are not necessarily a bad thing.
However, when the organizations were developed the intention of being able to lower wages, lower standards on human rights and worker's rights, lower environmental- quality principles; that's a problem. So the North American Free Trade Agreement, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank all work together somewhat synchronously to lower standards of living, to increase corporate control over nations, to strip the wealth of nations and into the, towards massive privatization programs, to impose upon the people of the world the structural readjustments of lower wages, and lower benefits, and lower expectations, to bring about a measure of control of nation-states, which end up being antithetical to the organizing principles of those nations.
So do these international structures have to be that way? No. But they ended up that way because they're leading the cause of international finance and international capitalism, which is essentially amoral and about maximizing profits at the expense of human values.
So what's the solution? Here it is. All trade agreements have to be rewritten with worker's rights, human right and environmental quality principles as cardinal principles within those trade agreements. The World Trade Organization has to be dramatically reformed. You know, it cannot insist on subjugating national interest to some anomalous global economic elite. The International Monetary Fund, with their desires to bring about privatization, has to be looked upon with [inaudible 0:31:30.6]. There are some countries where free-market capitalism may not work and yet we demand that the price of participation In a larger world community, in some nations, be delivered through massive privatization of public assets. The failure of these international organizations is to actually function in the interest of the nation in which they work. It's the measure of the fact that at their genesis, they were not designed to be fair, but they were designed to impose an economic regime that would benefit the few at the expense of the many.
Rob: Have you ever figured out how many constituents in your district have lost their jobs because of the World Trade Organization and globalization?
Kucinich: Well, I would say, I mean, it's measurable you know, we know that people file papers under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, looking for help based on how many jobs have been lost, but it's no secret that America has lost millions of jobs to NAFTA, and GAT, and China Trade.
And I think that the destructive undermining of our manufacturing capability in steel, automotive, aerospace, and shipping is really due to the fact that we can't even pass buy America laws because it'd be WTO illegal. So you can't rebuild America's roads and bridges with US steel because that would be seen as an unfair stipulation by the United States. I
mean, when you get to the point where you cannot protect you national economy, what"s the point of being in a club right that? I mean, why would I want to be a member of an organization that is set out to destroy the economic aspirations of my people?
Rob: That's the question, isn't it? You know, there's a new movie out, The Economics of Happiness. Have you seen it?
Kucinich: No, I haven't.
Rob: It's a superb movie. I think it ought to win an Academy Award for documentary; that talks about globalization and the answer that they come up with on how to deal with it is relocalization, supporting local agriculture, local manufacturing, local work. It seems to me that this is something that could be gotten behind in a by-part of some kind of a way.
Kucinich: Oh, yes. I mean, you're absolutely right. I mean, that's the kind of work of E. F. Schumacher or Wendell Berry, and of others who understood that you really have to go back to rebuilding a sense of community. And it also means that we have to affect a reconnection with nature that it's our separation from the natural world, which has enabled us to plunder it and at the cost of the air, land, and water resources. And so we really still have the ability to chart a new course, but only if we're aware that the course that we have taken has been treacherous, fraught with peril, unsustainable, and in serious need of immediate correction.
How Can You Help Dennis Kucinich?
Rob: So, what can my readers and listeners do to help you in your work.
Kucinich: Well you know, I'm privileged to serve in the United States Congress. You know, immediately I'm you know, working on matters to create jobs and to bring about peace. But I also, we have to say from a [practical] political standpoint, in the next year, we're looking at a redistricting in the state of Ohio, which has lost two congressional seats in this census and the Cleveland area where I represent has had the sharpest population drop, so most news reports coming out of Cleveland and Ohio indicate that my district will be either dramatically altered or abolished in the next redistricting. So I would just ask people to keep track of that because at some point down the road, I may need some help. In the meantime, I'm open to a listening to people's concerns and you can always call my office in Washington with any ideas that you may have to you know, see if I can find a way to bring those ideas to public attention. And I'm always, I'm always grateful, Rob, for the work that you do because it's so important to give people information about what's happening so that they can make decisions about their own world based on the best information.
Rob: Thank you. Well you gave me a lot more time than you promised. I want to thank you.
Kucinich: I know how important it is and I appreciate the opportunity to share some time with you and your listeners and let's talk again, okay.
Rob: All right. Thank you so much.
Kucinich: Thank you, Sir. Bye now.