tv Candidates in Iowa CSPAN August 30, 2011 12:45am-2:45am EDT
justice, the side of the economic dictatorship. in the decades since dr. king was taken from us, our nation has made enormous strides in the direction of racial justice. today, as we meet, barack obama is our president. and it is not just that barack obama is our nation's first african-american president. it is that his vision for our country owes so much of its moral power and its language to dr. king, but dr. king's vision was not simply an end to racism. he sought ending racism as a -- saw ending racism as a part of a larger struggle for human dignity, a larger struggle centered on economic justice. the tragedy of american history
in our lifetime is that today, while we have defeated legal segregation and driven open racism away from our public life, we live in a country less economically equal than in dr. king's time. jobs are scarcer. it is harder to go to college, and the right to a voice on the job has largely been taken away from american workers. so we have become a country less and less able to hear dr. king's phone message of economic -- full message of economic justice and of nonviolence. rising inequality is a barrier to hearing dr. king's message of economic justice, a foreign policy based on war and not on diplomacy makes it impossible to even talk about dr. king's
vision of nonviolence. dr. king was assassinated in memphis as he prepared to march in a potential violation of a court order. with public employees, with sanitation workers, who were seeking the right to form a union. i still envision that sign, a simple message. "i am a man." think about that, a country that had to be reminded that some of our most of stating citizens, -- upstanding citizens, that they were men. when i listened to wisconsin governor scott walker speak of his admiration for dr. king, i cannot believe anyone can be quite so cynical. it must be that he simply cannot hear dr. king's message.
you see, dr. king gave his "i have a dream" speech against the background of the magnificent statue of president lincoln, seated in the memorial that bears lincoln's name. now, reverend dr. martin luther king jr., his image will join president abraham lincoln in perpetuity on our national mall. and while we have memorial's two great leaders of the mall, from george washington to franklin roosevelt, i believe that president lincoln and dr. king were something more than leaders. i think they were prophets who walks among us, menu gave their -- men who gave their lives to defeat our great national evil of slavery. and racism. so we gather this morning to
demand that dr. king be remembered and that his privacy -- prophesyi made real in our time, his message of justice for all, his message that the american dream is for all of us, each and everyone of us, and his absolute conviction that the american dream begins with a good job and the right to vote. you see, i believe we need to carry his dream forward, and the dream of a time when all men and all women, not only here, dr. king's world, but to hear his message, and they act on it. thank you. [applause] and now, it is my privilege and honor to introduce the moderator of our panel on jobs and the american dream.
bob herbert is a former columnist, now a senior distinguished vote. -- senior distinguished fellow at the most. -- demos. he is an incredible voice for the message of dr. king. bob? >> i have a great pleasure this morning to introduce one of my heroes, one of my real heroes, congressman john lewis, who is one of the most courageous persons the civil rights movement has ever produced. john was a national secretary of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, a big deal when i was a young man. snc. they were trying to register african-americans to vote. i mean, just think about it. black people without the right
to vote in this country. it seems bizarre, but it did not seem bizarre in those days. john was literally laid his body on the line for social justice, from beatings to freedom rides to citizens to at lunch counters -- sit-ins at lunch counters and beyond. he is, and i just realized this today and was shocked to learn at, he is the last living speaker from the 1963 march on washington. it is my honor and a great privilege to introduce congressman john lewis, a genuine american hero. [applause] >> thank you, bob, for those kind words of introduction. mr. president, madam secretary,
and treasurer, madame vice president of this great organization, this great institution, it is good to be in the house of labor one more time. one more time. i am pleased to be here. jesse jackson, with you, martin luther king the third, and so many others of you who have labored long and hard. good to see you there. lucy. i'm going to be brief. there are some students coming to union station, coming from the koran as scott king --
coretta scott king academy, and i am supposed to greet them at the bus. in 1963, i had all of my hair, and i was a few pounds lighter, 23 years old. i it just been elected the national chair of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, better known as snic. in 1963, we had a meeting with president kennedy right across the way in the big house, in the white house, and it was in that meeting that randolph spoke up and said, "mr. president," in his baritone voice. he said, "mr. president, the monsters are restless, and we are going to march on washington." president kennedy moving around in his rocking chair. he did not like the idea of
hundreds of thousands of people coming to washington, and he says something like, "do we not have this order? we will never get a civil rights bill through congress." mr. randolph responded and said, "mr. president, this will be an orderly, nonviolent protest." we left the meeting, coming out of the white house, whitney young, others, randolph, and we said we had a meaningful and productive meeting with the president of the united states. we told him we needed jobs. we needed a civil rights bill, but we also needed jobs. if you days later, on july 2, 1963, the six of us met at the
old commodore hotel in new york city, and it was in that meeting that we invited all major white religious and labor leaders to join us. one of the labor leaders, walter, uaw. we issued the call for the march on washington. we met here, right down the street here at the capitol hill hotel. over and over again. we planned. we organized. we just did not wake up one morning and had a dream that we would walk on washington. we organized and had a plan, and it had -- if it had not been for organized labor, we would not have made it. thank you for all that you did and all that you continue to do.
organized labor and the civil rights movement is like a glove on the hand. we go together. we learn from you, and you learn from us. thank you. thank you. [applause] there are people, there are forces who want to take us back. mr. president, you are right. they want to take us back, but we are not going back. we have come too far enough to stop. we have come too far to turn around. a few days ago in atlanta, ga., just a few weeks ago, we had a job fair. we thought maybe 500 or six other people would show up, but between 5000 people and 6000 people showed up. our people want to work. they won dignity. they want to work, and they must be put to work and we must
create jobs, and we must get this president and congress to spend millions of dollars to put people back to work. we must demand that. i think at this point in the civil rights movement and the labor movement, maybe a few places like wisconsin, i think they are too quiet. we need to make some noise. when i was growing up in rural alabama, the signs that said white men, white men, colored women, white ladies, colored glaze, and i would ask my mother and father and my grandparents, "why segregation? why racism? " they said, it "that is the way it is. do not get in trouble." one day, i heard martin luther king on the radio, and i was inspired to get in trouble.
it is time for them to get in trouble again, good trouble, good trouble. [applause] do not, do not, do not, to not be afraid. when dr. king came back from receiving the nobel peace prize, you remember this, he had a meeting at the white house with president johnson. he told the president we needed a voting rights act. president johnson said in so many words, "dr. king, we just signed the civil rights act. we do not have the votes to do that." he said, "made me do it."
dr. king came to selma. you know what happened. which created the climate, we created the environment to get a president. if you days ago, i had the opportunity to go up to the memorial, to the monument. i have been there three times. four times. yesterday. the scaffolds were still up. they invited me to go up on the scaffolds, and i was able to touch the head, were of the face of dr. king. it is amazing to me that after this man stood on the steps of the lincoln memorial 48 years ago and said, "i have a dream," today, a dream keeping with the american dream, that we can come back and see his like this
-- likeness standing between jefferson and lincoln. it says something about the man, but it also says something about the movement that he led. it says something about the man, but it also says something about the movement that he led. the movement that he died for. those of us in the civil rights movement and the labor movement in american politics, we have to do our part. we have obligation, a mandate, and a mission, to speak up and to speak out, move our feet. we cannot be quiet. people are hurting. people are suffering. mr. president, we need to end the wars.
we need to stop the violence. abroad and at home. we have to do it. if we fail to act, the civil- rights movement and organized movement failed to act. dr. king said, "history will not be kind to us." we have to act. i plead with you. get out there and push, lead, get in the way, and i will be there with you all of the way. thank you very much. [applause] >> the symposium included a panel on the economy. it is about one hour. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> this is the second time i have had to come to the microphone after john lewis has spoken. you know, that is not even
right. tht was wonderful. let me introduce our panelists and get started here today. first, we had of a member of the painters' union in new york, davon lomax, who, like so many, are looking for work. if you would come up, we would really appreciate it. [applause] right over here. here we go. i am also delighted to introduce kathleen hoffman, a teacher in a school system, where teachers are foremost among the public employees' being viciously attacked. katy, thank you so much for coming. [applause] sarita gupta is with an organization seeking to build a global movement around the fight for decent improved -- employment. let's welcome sarita to the
panel, and i am delighted to welcome a sociology professor at harvard, bruce western, looking of the decline of unions as one of the big factors in the decline in equality in this country. welcome, a professor -- welcome, professor western. [applause] you now -- know, we have not lived up to his in candice and division -- his incandescent division. our tendency, as rich trumka point out, is not to hear him, not to heed the lessons he offered us in such abundance, and the result is that we have lost our way. america has become a country
that pours shiploads of-into one futile war after another while at the same time demolishing school budgets, laying off teachers, firefighters, and police officers, and generally lead in the bottom falling out -- letting the bottom fall out of our quality of life here at home. an army of the long-term unemployed counted in the many millions is spread across the land. the human fallout from the great recession began many long years of misguided economic policies. the few jobs now being created to often paid a pittance at minimum wage or just above, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living. poverty is once again on the march, moving like the third division of patton, through communities that were never able to secure more than a tenuous hold on the american dream in the first place. 44 million americans are living in poverty.
more than 14% of the population. more than 15 million children are poor. that is 1/5 children in the united states, and that is a disgrace. 17 million people are living in extreme poverty. a family of four in that family would have an annual income below $11,000. try raising a family on 11 dozen dollars a year. -- on $11,000 a year. it is not a recession that those folks are facing. they're in a full-blown depression. and what are our leaders doing about this? il's to nothing. -- less than nothing. they are actually cutting essential programs, trying to outdo one another in washington's latest mad political fad, austerity. communities of color have been absolutely the hardest hit in this long and terrible economic downturn, and government policies right now are only making matters worse for them. already reeling from the
hollowing out of the manufacturing sector, african- americans and latinos were clobbered by the great recession and now are being disproportionately hurt by draconian cuts to meditate, layoffs at the state and local level, and the unconscionable coordinated and profoundly destructive attacks on public employees, and all of this needs to cease. and that will not happen until people organize and fight back, and fight back hard, as dr. king and so many others organized and fought back so many years ago. enough is enough. if there is but one message i would try to get through to the nation's leadership, it is that we cannot begin to put the united states back on track until we begin to put our people back to work. people rightly associate the
phrase "i have a dream" with dr. king, but not so many remember or even knew that the march on washington in 1963 was a march for jobs and freedom. dr. king and many others understood in those days that it made no sense to speak of freedom for men and women if they were going to remain trapped in the shackles of poverty and unemployment. he pointedly warned us not to overlook what he called the circumstances of economic injustice. and we are here today to keep that warning, to make sure that we at least do not overlook the circumstances of economic injustice. i've always found dr. king's dream and the american dream to be interchangeable. i do not see a whispers worth of difference between the two. what saddens me is that because
of our folly and our neglect, both of those dreams are on wide support, gasping, straining to survive. it is up to us to change this tragic scenario, to do all that we can to make sure that dr. king's dream and the american dreams arrive. thank you very much. [applause] so i'm going to have to put on my old military sergeants at and start moving things pretty quickly here. we are going to go to questions, if i can find my introduction here. which i cannot. davon, the first question is for you. you have the honor. you're a painter that works in the construction industry in new york city, right? >> right.
>> construction workers have been particularly hard hit in this economic environment, so i want to give a sense of what the past two or three years have been like for you personally and for your colleagues. >> ok, well, for the past two years, well, let me go back to 2005, when i started as an apprentice, and there was an abundance of work. i was actually turning down work, but when the recession hit, i stayed home for several months, which was, believe it or not, was better compared to the men and women who have stayed home for over a year and who have never all of their unemployment benefits expire. .they cannot pay their mortgages. they have a hard time figuring how they will send their kids to school, is and it is hard out there for them. >> if i had it correct, your a member of district council 9 of the painters' union? how does it work? how do you get gigs?
>> we go to our union hall, and we talked to the business reps, and the business reps speak to the contractors, and give us work. now, at the contractors are not getting any work, then they cannot send us any work, so what there is, there is about 10 to 15 major buildings that had either been stalled or stopped completely because the banks are not giving the contractors loans, and they are not giving the loans, so that keeps 1000, it 2000, 3000 workers at home, and they could go back of those were active. >> you mentioned one fellow who had fallen on the ticker leave hard times. what happened with him? >> yes. he lost his house, and at the time, he was going through a divorce, so it was very hard on him, and one of the business reps actually saw him panhandling in the subways, and
they had to bring him in and talk to him, and they found him a job, but the fact that he was out there panhandling says a lot. >> this is saying a lot about what is happening in the united states of america, in 2011, 1950. it is beginning to look like the 1930's. k'd, first, it starts off by telling us what you teach and what your students are. -- katy, first, let's start off with you telling us. >> i teach music to the young children. >> you have been targeted by the republican party efforts to eliminate collective bargaining rights for employees in ohio. >> that is right. >> can you just tell us a little bit about that struggle and how you guys have struggled to >> when john kasich was running for governor, he made it clear that he was born to break the backs of the teacher unions in a while, and he said it authorized his campaigns. people did not believe he was going to do it. well, he did.
they managed through summit d.d.s. methods to get senate bill 5 passed through the house and the senate -- they managed through some devious methods. they had testimony. it locked the doors of the state us and did not allow us to come in, and now, wisconsin has done a lot of work and has really thought and has shown what the people are speaking about. he is now getting scared, recognizing that the referendum we have on the ballot in september is probably going to go down. no on issued two is going to win in ohio because 1.3 million people signed a petition to get it on the ballot, and these were not just union folks. these are all people in ohio who are outraged at this draconian methods of speeding up workers in ohio. >> i tell you, i was out in columbus and just happened to be there on the day that those
petitions were delivered. that was some scene. it seemed like a holiday in columbus, ohio. people were pumped up. >> we had 8000 people. we even at one of our teachers run the miles from cincinnati up there with petitions on his back and then met up with the crew as a whole parade came into the state house. it was really awesome to see the ohio is up and fighting, coming together, a grass-roots, coordinated effort, and behind that, we have this on the ballot in november. they passed a voter suppression bill. by september 30, we have got to get over 230,000 signatures to get that on the ballot, or that voter suppression goes into effect for 2012. we cannot have that for the 2012 elections. we have to of people allowed to vote.
we got challenge, but you know what? -- we got challenged. this is nothing, if we come together and fight. [applause] >> we just heard from john lewis, and reverend jackson is in the front row, and it is 2011, and we're talking about voter suppression. please, please. one more question about your experience out there. in addition to what is happening with collective bargaining rights, there have been substantial budget cuts in ohio. can you give us a real sense of how extensive they have been and how they have really affected the school system and other aspects of community life in ohio? >> we are really scrambling in
ohio. in cleveland, 700 teachers were let go in the spring. just last week, three days before school, 200 teachers were let go. cleveland is looking at class sizes of 50 and above. that does not help our children. with the economic downturn in ohio and a lack of jobs, we have more and more children who are homeless, and that affects what they are able to do in school. day-by-day struggles are very tremendous for small children, and it is just amazing that we have had to create community learning centers for kids to go after school, because their parents are doing whatever they can to put food on the table for their children, and all across ohio, the child care workers, the health care workers, everybody is being affected by what is going on. cleveland is a mayoral control district, so he is kind of
relishing all of this. putting it together already. the most people you should have by the end of april before you lose your job, but he just let 200 more teachers go. i do not how we are going to survive. >> wow. sarita, you seem to be doing the exact kind of work that dr. king urged us to do, so tell us about jobs for justice. >> sure, jobs for justice is a national network. we have about 46 collisions in 26 states that bring together labor unions, community based organizations, faith based groups, and student organizations, and our main mission is to support, expand, protect the right to organize and collectively bargain, and work on a range of issues that we know are important for workers in communities, whether it be health care, trade issues, the whole gamut.
>> can you give us a sense of what you are seeing out there? describe the employment landscape that you and your colleagues are seeing when you are fanning out and talking to workers and their families, in many cases vehement lloyd. >> i think davon and kathleen are giving a good example. people are struggling. when we are out there talking to workers, like our coalition in chicago has been organizing in unemployment council that meets every single week, and people, these are folks who have gone to school. they have educational background, and they cannot find a job. let alone people who have grown up and continue to be pushed further into poverty. so the way in which people are
struggling is profound, and it certainly inspired us at jobs for justice to say that this is a moment, and i really was so pleased to hear congressman lewis talk about the need to build unity right now. we are really clear that people are struggling, and we have to bring public sector workers, a private sector workers, unemployment people, excluding worker's together more than ever, and we need to be defending and protecting what we have, but more importantly, we need to be creating what we need. we need a really transformative and bold agenda right now, and that is what we aim to do. >> one of the things i am often asked as i travel around the country is what can ordinary people do to help put to a great extent, people feel like they are separate and apart from the government, that they are not represented by their elected officials, and they feel that their voices are not hurt, so they have the tendency to give up. other things that ordinary people can do, and if so, what would you recommend? -- are there things?
>> people are the engine behind our movement. frankly, it is people's vision for what they want. it is the hope that they carry. it is the love that they carry for humanity, for one another that, frankly, will make a difference in the kind of movement that we build and the kind of long-lasting change that we make. it is ordinary workers, whether it is one of the 45,000 verizon workers who decided to go on strike last week to say "enough is enough," or if it is one in hershey said, "we are going to do a sit-down strike in our factory and say "enough is enough." those are ordinary people saying it is time to actually take action. we have to understand each other's struggles and understand that there is a collective struggle here. i am inspired every single day by people like davon and kathleen and by people who have
taken risks. people are taking risks. those verizon workers took risks at a time when the economy is so bad. major companies, it is easy for them to say, "well, forget it. there are plenty of other people who want jobs here." it is important for ordinary people to see that it is not just about fighting for what we have, but it is about pushing the envelope. we are not trying to hold the line here. we are trying to move the line. we can be a better society, and i think ordinary people know that and can help us define what that society is. at jobs for justice, we are
doing a lot of campaigns, and hopefully, we will be able to share some of that, but one of the most profound ones, looking at the demographic shift in this country, everyone knows in years to come, we will become a majority people of color nation, but there is also a huge shift in the age. we have a growing aging population. there is an opportunity for us to step in front of those demographics right now and really sink together about what kind of society are we building. we are launching an across generations campaign that looks at how to transform the long- term care industry in this country and put front and center the question and the value of care, so what does that mean for the people who need care, and what does that mean for the care workers who are actually without good quality jobs, do not have bargaining rights? and for the many immigrants, frankly, who are doing these jobs, who do not have a pathway to citizenship and do not have the protections that they need. >> bruce western, these very
serious problems that workers are facing began long before the so-called great recession and, in fact, did all of the way back to the 1970's. is there a way to summarize in this setting what happened to american workers during the period? >> yes, yes. >> thank god, he said yes. [laughter] >> i thought that is what you're going to ask. we can look at the history of the last 30 or 40 years as a steady erosion of the power of the american worker. we go back to the 1960's, early 1970's, levels of economic equality were much lower. rates of unionization were much
higher. union decline extended through the 1970's, 19 80's, the 1990's, and the 2000's. inequality increased during the period as workers lost power. now, we find ourselves in an historically enormous recession, the largest since the great depression, and it coincides with an erosion in the bargaining power of the american worker, and i think it is tempting to view the recession as a natural event that has just overwhelmed the labor market. a catastrophe in the financial
sector and in the home mortgage sector, and that precipitated this enormous recession, but i think we have to see the depth of the recession and the recovery is also related to this weakening bargaining power. management is shedding jobs. more than it did in the past, partly because the institutions, on the shop floor and also in washington, they have become so much more adverse, and there are simply very few strong organized voices now speaking up for the poor and working people, and this is the context in which we are having the political conversation we're having now a washington which seems utterly detached and the social and economic reality, out in the labour market.
>> you mentioned inequality, which is and it warned issue, but it does not get much traction in our society. infrastructure. it is one of those words were people's eyes glaze over, but can you explain a little bit about why ordinary americans should care about inequality in this extreme inequality that we are seeing now, why that is bad for society as a whole? >> yes, yes. there are two things i would emphasize. one is as inequality has grown, and over the last 15 years, a lot of the growth in inequality has been driven by the very, very rapid rise of incomes at the very top of the
distribution, so there is an extraordinarily wealthy class of people now whose experience is completely separate from the rest of american society, and it is this top of the distribution that is having an outside influence on the political process, so i think that is one reason why we should really care about inequality. it is distorting and undermining quality of american democracy. >> they have more clout, more say, and more access. >> exactly, exactly. and the other part, as inequality has increased, economic and security has also increased, and so things like the risk of job loss, if you think of the house told us an economic unit, the risks of
divorce and separation, underinsurance and other insurance is increasing. people are more exposed to the risk of catastrophic health events, so in security has also increased as inequality has increased. literally all of this increase in security is concentrated in the bottom one-third of the population, and that is the other piece of the rise in inequality. people's lives and become much more insecure. because their lives are more insecure, it is harder for them to imagine a life for their -- themselves and their children and to plan ahead. >> thank you. sarita, if i can get back to you for a moment. you're a big believer in what i
think are two important prongs of what i think is any real solution to this problem we are facing, and one is organization, and the other is massive job creation, so talk about job creation a little bit. i mean, we have many millions of people out of work, and that is before we ever get to the underemployed. forget forum of the sort of stalemated political process, but if we really had an opportunity to do something substantial, what would you like to see done in terms of job creation? >> well, if we can set aside the political climate we are in, we should all be pushing for a massive federal jobs bill. that is the mission. that is what we need right now. we need to make sure that we're not only pushing for jobs but that we're pushing, what we like
to say is jobs for justice, which is organizing a collective bargaining rights which have to be central to any type of massive jobs bill we push. we need to make sure that right now we are again paying attention to where we think in the economy and real job growth is possible. i know in our organization, we have been digging deep and saying we know retail continues to be growing, for example. as you see major retailers like wal-mart expanding into city centers and campuses, with the promise of creations of jobs, we need to be whipping a segments of our economies like retail, like direct care, like others and be pushing for the actual creation of jobs in those segments of our economy where we know there is that kind of growth potential. i feel that we are at a moment now in history where we just cannot be general about it. we need to get specific. what kinds of jobs.
which jobs. and how to reassure the wheel of a robust public sector in this country. but in addition to a robust public sector, we cannot forget the other sector, so we need to balance job creation looking through both of those lenses. >> and, davon, just continuing along those lines, it seems to me -- not seems to me, but it is a fact. the estimates are anywhere from $2 trillion to $4 trillion worth of infrastructure improvements that we need. this is at a time when the construction industry has really taken it on the chin, and we have all kinds of manufacturing workers unemployed. it seems to me that somebody ought to be able to put two plus two together. you take all of these together,
$2.40 trillion worth of work waiting for them. from your perspective, is that feasible? can you imagine a situation where there is tremendous work being done on infrastructure, and then your folks begin to go to work? how would that work? obviously, you would like to see that happen, but do you think it is feasible? do you guys talk about it? >> we talk about it. bloomberg signed $5 billion worth of work, so that helps a lot, but there is still -- >> he paid for that out of his private checking account. [laughter]
>> but even with that, there is still unemployment, and for painters, that is even higher, and i do not know if anyone here can imagine being out of work for a year. no more and in point. your health care coverage is gone, and guys just want to go to work. we just want to work. >> what do you paint? i can imagine folks painting houses, bridges. where i live, you are way up in the sky. some of this stuff, 100 miles, like this guy ran, so we get carried away here, but tell me about the men and women in your union, what do they paid good >> my union specifically, we are not just pagers. we are painters, bridge painters, and glaciers, drywall finishers, and we even have hotel and employees. our apprentice program would be a good start for someone who has been unemployed. a program trains younger kids and even adults, older adults to join the building trades and to have a future, because it propels you directly into the center of the middle class, and the attacks on the union's is
open. >> and the attacks on unions bring me back to k'd, with what has been going on in ohio but also in many other places, as well -- brings me back to key -- katy. with these budget cuts you have been talking about and that sort of thing. if you could wave a magic wand and begin to turn some of these things around, what are some specific things that you would like to see happen? is there or are there alternatives to the budget cuts, and we already know how you are fighting back, but talk about alternatives to these budget cuts.
>> well, collective bargaining. recently, i was a collective bargaining chair for a contract. six months into the negotiations, they did not think we were going to borrow enough, and we found out that this was our contract basically in senate bill 5, and then realized the attorney who did this was actually the writer of senate bill 5, but we fought through that. in cincinnati, we were not going to give up, and we were able to negotiate, and so, it now workers are paying double what they paid for in health care. this year, we have a pay freeze. plus, we have been able to negotiate 50% growth and achievement in our system, so we were able to do some things at the table, talking, through collective bargaining, to make a difference.
we are the ones who understand the work that we are doing, but we're also willing to do what needs to be done to keep things going, so collective bargaining is a key to keeping things going. >> all right, and do you think that would have an effect on the budget cutting? in other words, what is your response to folksy say, "wow, we are just out of money"? "this is where we are going to be." i am a believer in shared sacrifice, but when you have 1% at the top, they decide the page should be shared by the 99% at the bottom. >> if you could take all of the public workers and the state of ohio and say, "go away," it is not going to solve the budget crisis in ohio, so breaking the backs of people is not going to solve it. putting people to work is going
to say it. >> paying taxes. >> everybody paying taxes. everybody paying their fair share. [applause] >> will you be entering the presidential primaries? [laughter] bruce, if i may call you bruce. i am calling everybody else by the first name, but the professor i am calling a professor. old habits die hard. i would love to hear your thoughts. well, first, on a couple of things, but first, on job creation, what would you like to see done? and what do you think is feasible if those two things do not coincide? maybe they do. >> i mean, what i would love to see is direct federal job creation
and largely through investment in infrastructure, the need is so pressing and it would reap large economic rewards down the road. that is what i would love to see done, and i actually think that among economists, among the economics staff, in the congress and the treasury and the white house, the real obstacle is political. what can visibly be done, i
think at the moment, it seems there are enormous obstacles to any new spending, despite the fact that the need for it is so profound at the moment. so the kinds of things that are on the table can make a difference, things like tax credits for job creation, federal tax holiday, perhaps even unemployment benefit extension beyond 99 weeks, although i think that politically, that may be a bridge too far. i feel quite pessimistic,
unfortunately, because the things we really need to do are a long way from what seems politically feasible. i think what really needs to be done, i think this whole panel has been talking about it, is the politicization of unemployment as a problem. right now, the problem of unemployment -- it is not politicized within the congress or it seems within the administration. it seems at the moment it is only important to the extent that it is significant for 2012, for the election, which is
completely disspiriting. >> i sadly agree with you that i am pessimistic as well, given what is going on both in washington and in state legislatures around the country. it just seems to me that a couple of things seem so obvious. i agree with you about direct job creation. when people are talking about we have no money, it is just not true. it is a fabulously wealthy country. first let's let those tax cuts expire. [applause] and then, bring the troops home. stop spending all this money. [applause] on more fair, and begin to invest in rebuilding this country. this would be a good place to start in terms of nation building. i will ask a question similar to what asked sarita. you guys have had some experience in ohio, just
plunging right into the fight. tell us what ordinary people today can do it a pretty specific sense. what are some things that might be helpful, given the problems we are facing? >> i think we have to communicate with each other, number one. there are still people in this believe across ohio that this is actually taking place. let them know what little things they can do, just on this voter suppression. take a petition around your neighborhood, whatever hours that you have. get it signed so that everyone has the right to vote. just simple things that people can do. i have seen teachers stepping up every single day, buying lunches for kids. i saw a teacher from my school who saw a child with lymphoma. she took him into her home so that he could continue going to school. everyday people can do what ever it takes to help us get through. we are one nation together, and we have to fight for each and
have had in education. we have been testing the kids to death instead of teaching the kids. [applause] we have got to make sure that what we are testing on is really what is appropriate. i am very pleased that we now have a national campaign calling for standards that we are going to be held to high and rigorous standards for all children. if you build those foundations really strong, i think we will be able to do very well. but attacking teachers and people that you give your children to day by day, and that think the solution is getting rid of that teachers are bringing in teach for america people who only want to teach four year or two and then leave, that is not the way. we want kids to be ready for the future, be ready for the 21st century. we have to give them the tools. >> thank you, these guys have been amazing. [applause] i don't know whether to keep my moderator hat on or go to my journalist tad and pull out my notebook. we are going to go to a question and answer period, but i think we are going to start its -- algernon austin is with the
economic policy institute, and we are going to start this segment by having him speak to an area where he is one of the great experts in this country. it is the effect of these economic problems, the downturn, the recession, unemployment, on the communities of color in the united states. >> it is a great panel, and i am really grateful to be here. one thing that certainly everyone -- everyone is suffering tremendously by the great recession. that goes without saying. we should also remember that there continues to be significant racial disparity. this year, the unemployment rate for whites is quite high. it is averaging 8.2%, but in 2007, before the recession started, the black unemployment
rate averaged 8.3%. so even in a good economic time, black america was in a recession in 2007 and it has only gotten significantly worse, now 16%. we certainly need everything that the panelists recommended. we need direct public sector job creation. we need serious infrastructure investment. we need aid for the state and local governments so that our teachers are not being laid off. we need to shore up our safety net because people need it now more than ever. we need massive programs to put 11 million american workers back to work.
it will get us back room were in 2007, but even then, the black unemployment rate was twice the white unemployment rate. the unemployment rate for native americans was pretty close to wear the black unemployment rate was. even after we do that national job creation, we need targeted programs that are going to reach these communities that face persistently high unemployment, and we need another probably 3 million jobs that reach deep within the african-american communities, that latino community, the american indian community, to make sure that every american who wants to work can work. so the call from the 1963 march is still completely relevant today. i found a flier, the call for the 1963 march. it says america faces a crisis. millions of citizens, black and white, are unemployed. thus, we call on all americans
to join us in washington to demand a federal massive work and training program that puts all unemployed workers, black and white, back to work. so this applies to day 100%. the only thing you would change is that you would include latinos, asian-americans, native americans. but it is 100% relative today. >> thank you so much, we really appreciate that. [applause] and now, if we have any questions from the floor. [unintelligible]
a march on washington. from appalachia. receiving what we needed. for us to take the lead. thank you very much. [applause] >> we also solicited some questions on-line. we will not be able to get to many of them, but here is one from a fellow named frank who said, how can we keep export boarding are skilled and educated jobs and only create low-paying jobs and expect to survive as a nation?
i thought it was a pretty good question. bruce, how would you like to take a crack at that? what happens if in fact most of low-wage jobs? what happens if that trend to grab hold and becomes what we see for the foreseeable future. >> behind the question is the right and compelling observation that we have seen a polarization of the american the job market, a real hollowing out of the middle. there has been a lot of employment growth in very low- there has been growth at the very top as well. normally, i think, when we talk
about that sort of challenge, the answer to its is more education, more skills, more training, and that is fundamentally important, and we need to expand investments there. i would worry if that is our only focus, for workers who are already out in the labor market, particularly older workers who are being laid off as they were look forward to long term employment with one employer anymore. i worry that those sorts of workers are just being left out
of the policy discussion. we are talking about education and training. i think we need a broader policy discussion that includes those people. organized labor has to be part of that discussion, how to reinvigorate the institutional climate for organizing in the face of organizing campaigns. that is just commonplace now. regretting that has to be part of protecting our skilled work force, in addition to all the things that we need to do for education and training. >> thank you. i am going to keep things on schedule here, which means that it is time to wrap it up. it has been really great. one of the things i tell everyone -- i hope everyone will take away from our proceedings is the need, as you have heard the initial speakers and
especially john lewis, is the need for all of us to fight back on behalf of america's working men and women. we need to organize concerned americans to turn up the heat on such crucial issues as job creation, it improved wages and benefits, and the strong safety net, which we will talk about at another time. this is the great and noble struggle of our time, but to win this fight on behalf of working people will take a tremendous effort, which i was asking that question about what can ordinary people do, because it is are new people who will have to come in and make this fight. as dr. king said, human progress is neither automatic or inevitable. every step tower records goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle. the termless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. i urge each and every one of you to step up and take that fight. thank you so much for coming today. it is a wonderful panel.
and thank you, panelists. [applause] >> give them another hand, please. as you know, we will be moving to the second panel. we will have about a 15 minute break so you can get some water or coffee in the lobby. we will see you in about 15 minutes. >> in a few moments, a council hosted discussion on the implications of the libyan rebellion and the country's future. allegations of the mishandling of child sexual abuse cases. then, an update on the least security from general james
madus, the head of the central command. then later, and gop presidential candidate john huntsman. several other events to tell you about tomorrow on c-span, including the obama speech to the american legion convention in minneapolis at noon eastern. just after that, at 1:00 p.m., the labor secretary will be of the national press club for an hourlong interview on jobs and the economy, and then at 3:00 p.m. eastern, the atlantic council hosted a discussion on the training of afghan security forces. et -- now, a forum on the obligations of the libyan rebellion, hosted by a council. panelists talked about everitt to bring order to the country and the future role of nato. this is a little more than one hour.
>> good morning. welcome, everyone. i am the executive vice president here at the council. i want to welcome all of you to the council today, and especially thank you for joining us for this time the event in title to the shores of the tripoli. with the demise of got up the means. -- what the demise of gaddafi means. his regime is crumbling. it is by no means too early to look at the implications. the name of our even today barrault's on a play on words. however, his demise comes up the hands of libyans rather than u.s. marines. after six months of conflict,
there is an historic development in north africa and for data and a pivotal moment for the awakening. policymakers c to take a break from the daily grind. world events just will not cooperate. indeed, earthquakes and hurricanes notwithstanding, this august is no different. what we have seen as a stalemate in north africa is turning into a post gaddafi libya. some of the council believes what is unfolding is the fourth greatest challenge to the transatlantic community since world war ii. the war itself, the cold war, the cold war aftermath, the collapse of the soviet union, leading to nato, and now, the transformation in the middle east from north africa. it is clear that now more than ever, the response cannot be that of the united states alone. indeed, europe despite its own crisis has more at stake and
more proximity and must be engaged. the discussion is at the nexus of the atlantic council and three of our flagship programs. they are center for the middle east, the security program, and for the africa center. at a time of dramatic change across the region, this summer, the elected council unleashed its new program for the middle east. the center focuses on the links between political and economic change and concrete policy suggestions for transformational change in the region. named for the slain prime minister, it reflects rising above sectarianism, promoting innovative policies for political liberalization, sustainable conflict resolution and promoting regional and international integration. the aim of the center, through its analysis and projects is to more closely bind together the middle east, europe, russia and north america. furthermore, the council's
international security program has long been the leading center for analysis on nato and transatlantic security. this program will involve into brent scowcroft center next spring as we deepen our expertise into working with europe to address global security challenges, including in the middle east. finally, the africa center aims to transform u.s. and european policy approaches to africa by emphasizing the building of strong geopolitical partnerships and prosperity on the continent. the distinguished leaders of each of these programs are participating in our discussion today. today's discussion is in two can the implications for libya itself and the arab awakening more broadly. them will turn to our second panel for the discussions on the implications for nato and the transatlantic community.
we have assembled a remarkably talented group of individuals with varying perspectives. the director of the center for this conversation. she is a former white house and state department official who brings to the counseling rich understanding of the washington policy-making process, but also the forces driving the arab during her time at the carnegie endowment, she was co-chair of the working group on egypt, she is recognized the change and their implications in the region of long before mubarak fell in egypt. the arnold kanter chair at counsel and director of its international victory program will moderate the second program on nato. he has played a leadership roles in the development of a broad range of national security strategies across the past three administrations, including serving at the white house as special assistant to the president and senior director for defense policy and strategy on the national security staff and having many senior pentagon positions.
i am delighted to welcome to our discussion to atlantic council board directors. one is american, franklin miller, one european, we are delighted to have you join us. let me turn this over to michele to kick off the conversation. >> thank you to all of you for being with us this morning. in the first panel, we're going to try to cover what's going on in libya and some scenarios for how things might move forward in libya. we are going to look at the regional implications in the arab and african regions of what is unfolding in libya and we will start to also address some issues in terms of the international community and what its rolls might be in inside libya going forward. moment right now in libya where the rebels made this very surprising breakthrough in
tripoli over the last week. it is not so surprising if you have been watching carefully because the military advantage turned to the rebels weeks ago. i did just not make the international media. -- i think it did not make the international media. the transitional council and rebel leadership is largely in control of tripoli, although as you have seen over the last 24 hours and today, there is still fighting in tripoli and are troubling reports emerging in terms of the casualties there there. also, attention is turning to the south, particularly to the home town of at libyan leader gadhafi and there may well be more fighting there because the rebels are not in control of the city.
sert, other city in the south. one of the questions i think will be interesting to discuss this morning is gadhafi himself and how important his capture is to this situation in libya as we move ahead and as the rebels spread control throughout the country. the issues of the release of assets on the part of the united wouldn't states and others to the transitional council and whether the plans the transitional council had in place before they entered libya to secure tripoli and establish security throughout the country and move into a political transition, how well those kinds of plans will survive contact with reality. we will also talk about the implications in the region. i think there will be a significant impact on syria. what is happening in libya is creating a different model for
change. a more difficult models for change, but a very different from what happened in tunisia and egypt where there were peaceful uprisings and frankly, the military decided with the -- sided with the uprisings rather than with the leader and therefore the leader was forced to step down with a minimum of violence. there certainly were casualties in both of those countries but not very large scale. in libya, we have seen a completely different model, where what started as a peaceful rebellion met with a lot of resistance on the part of the gadhafi, his military fractured.
much of it stuck with him but some of that broke away and went to the rebels. we saw an armed rebellion with international support. that has ultimately won out. for other countries like syria and yemen and perhaps others, this creates a different way. there is more than one way that these authoritarian leaders may go in arab countries. we will also be discussing the africa dimension because we saw a real range of positions that the various countries with him libya had close relations in the arab world and africa took toward the struggle in libya. those will have implications for libya's foreign relations going forward. i am joined by this panel by three distinguished speakers. first, we are going to hear from a professor at johns hopkins here in washington and also in bologna, italy.
he's a senior fellow at a middle east policy council. also, a professor and scholar at the middle east institute and my colleague, the director of the africa center here at the atlantic council. i want to hear about your evaluation. how important or not important is what happened to moammar gadhafi himself and what are your thoughts on scenarios? where might libya be going from here? >> it's very hard to say when this might be over.
i think we are at the end of it. [audio difficulties] his troops are disbanded. what we have seen in tripoli is the defections of important parts of his troops have caused easy access into the city. the troops betrayed them right away. -- defected right away. they started shooting, so you see the massacres happen because there was no clear-cut division of rule. they will be taking care of. it is important day -- it is
important that they clean up is conducted and -- [audio difficulties] [audio difficulties] the core of the rebel troops are trained during the month of may and june. ok. once that has been obtained by the rebels, we have seen a rapid advance from the eastern part. that is true. there is a group of better-
disciplined troops that responds to a hierarchy, but along with them, they're all lot of voluntary, courageous people who go and left their houses to fight, but they are disorganized. the problem of seen in tripoli is exactly that. there are groups who enter the city from the mountains and all over that have been trained and prepared and one of the cases, the capture of the first son of gadhafi, he gave himself up to the rebels and was kept in a place by a group and people went to the house where he was captured, pretending to beat rebels and wanting to free him and bring him to headquarters, so they freedom. -- freed him. they did not know each other. there was no communication, no hierarchy, nothing. this has led to various
problems like the massacre in tripoli. i was watching a report this morning and see the city full of bodies left in the streets. people were blindfolded, handcuffed, executed, signs of torture, this is because of the sudden collapse of the resistance and lack of order on the part of most of the rebels. the problem, another issue is it is a hierarchy and the people are people known and it is confused. they don't talk with one voice. that is what we have. criticizing now is it too easy.
we should not have the standard too high. he has not been seen for a couple of days in two months. the whole draft is different, but that will be solved. the legitimacy will be increased. there is one problem regarding them and that -- everybody is quick to dismiss the islamists. there are no islamists and they are conservatives at the most. they are very few and very
limited. be conservatism of the people has increased in the last two or three or four years at a higher rate -- at a high speed rate. the people, the former minister of defense, there are two factions of islamist groups, so that is an issue we should consider. where are we now? on the ground, there may be three or four scenarios. first, what is going to happen once they announced the formation of the government? the people will say they are not represented or they say we
carry the burden of the fight and we need three minutes more than you, what will happen in that moment. what will happen when they tried to resolve the factions and they refuse it? what happens when they tried to reform the army and police and someone is not represented? that's -- that could lead to an enormous quantity of weapons for what somebody called the somalia effect. hopefully that will not happen. another scenario is that someone emerges. we have not seen the military commander yet. there is no soldier that has emerged. nobody has that i lead the army.
if the commander of the largest italian says there is too much -- the italian simply says there is too much -- the italian -- battalion simply says there is too much fighting and i will take care in this situation, then we are back to a semi dictatorship, different than before but it is a possible scenario. a strong man is very present in libya and someone talked about a figure to take an emergent and leader because of the lack of charisma. the third scenario is nothing has happened and you remain stuck in a transition there is no agreement and we remain -- >> fourth is the author -- the opportunistic situation where
the population will not allow for this to become a failure. people will be ready to give up their arms and start all over again. that is what we hope. i want to finish with just one thing. there is a lot of talk about the western influence. the fact that libya should be left to the libyans, etc. it is important that the countries remain on our side. libyans do not look, despite their effort, do not look at the west as negative as some may be. libya was formed thanks to the
united nations. this war has been one thanks to the support of european countries. i don't think they will look badly. in helping support the police or administering the money and in their countries. >> thank you. let me just ask you a brief, to -- two follow up questions. you talk about the bloodshed occurring in tripoli. to what extent do you see that impeding the transition and in beating a reconciliation and integration of tripoli fully into a post-gadhafi of arrangement? i recall when members of the transitional council were here in washington a few weeks ago
and we were talking, and they said we do not want to fight our way through tripoli because we are worried about what that will mean when we need to reconcile. that is the first question. is that going to be a serious problem or do you feel they will be able to pacify tripoli without having done so much damage that reconciliation becomes difficult? the other question is hypothetical, but it is something we need to bear in mind. where do you think libya would be had there not then international intervention? what would have happened? as difficult as the current situation is, what would the alternative had been like had there not been an international intervention. >> we always pushed for a possibility of a negotiated solution. if the united states would lead a negotiated deal with gadhafi
said he could leave tripoli and to some success to deal with thednc and none of this -- deal with the tnc and none of this bloodshed would happen. it is very bad and very tragic, but i think all libyans at the end will simply say okay, the dictator is gone, we are free, finally, after so many years and it has cost as many more deaths than necessary, but that is a war of liberation. i think it will lead -- some will quest for vengeance, but i hope [unintelligible] to your second question, i think it will be -- it would have been crushed in the second or third day without the international community intervening. therefore, i think we are much better off and should be
thankful for that intervention and we should -- everything considered, when a father comes and says i lost my son, you have a difficult time in telling, yes, but we did it for freedom. that causes problems and destruction and devastation, but in the end, i hope the libyans understand it was worth it and it was an act of courage and dignity and was worth it. >> thank you very much. toiel, we're going to turn you to discuss a little bit more the international role beyond the military intervention. how do you see the international role in libya following the fall of tripoli? if you can include in that not
only the western world, the u.s. and european role, but the arab world, which has been very significant. there has been significant support from gulf states to this rebellion. >> we have to start on the international role inside libya with libyan requirements. that's very difficult to do right now because where are the authoritatively the invoices? -- authoritative libyan voices? let me imagine a bit what libyans will be feeling at the moment they really need, recognizing full well i will defer and the lead to libyans if -- the third immediately to libyans if -- defer immediately to libyans if they say i am wrong. the immediate requirements are to block revenge killings, stabilize tripoli, get water and
electricity flowing, dealing with humanitarian requirements and beginning a inclusive political protest. these are the things to be worrying about at the moment and i would be surprised of libyans were not worrying about them. but when you design the international effort, you need to be looking at longer-term goals as well. what are those longer-term goals? first and foremost is a safe and secure environment. the decision has essentially been made for the moment, at least, that there will be no international peacekeeping force. this is a decision whose wisdom we will know someday. i would have preferred the europeans prepare to put paramilitary police into tripoli to stabilize the situation, but they would have to be landing right now and they are not. they have not organize such an effort and it is a mistake not to have organized it to be ready if it was needed.
i would be the first to admit it would only deploy if the libyans requested it. why do i point that the europeans? i point that the europeans because they have violent trysts at stake in libya and the united states does not. -- they have vital interests at stake in libya and the united states does not. libya is connected by a liberal umbilical gas pipelines to europe. there are european oil and gas supplies at stake. there is the risk of libyan migration if things really go to hell in a handbasket. there is the risk of libyan migration which should concern the europeans, which is not such a concern to the united states. so i do believe in all of what i am going to talk about now. i believe the europeans should play a leading role and the
american role is to get the europeans to stand up to their proper role. we did this somewhat successfully with the military effort. i have not seen the same kind of success yet with the civilian effort. looking at the longer-term, libyans are going to want rule of law, at least in terms, i'm going to keep myself in a relatively benign scenario. this is a long-term project. is not going to happen tomorrow. long-term training of the police and judiciary and corrections. yet to start quickly because it's going to take a long time. you cannot wait three or four years and begin a because then you will have three or four years of very bad experience.
on the political front, the libyans have been great. they've prepared a constitutional charter and they may talk about it differently, each one, but it is great they have done this. it is a road map. it's a road map that includes a time schedule that is too fast, a constitution within six months, even less, and elections within a year. i will be surprised if they have -- i will not be surprised if they age mahave to postpone but people have postponed elections before. they have done it in tunisia and egypt. it's not a big issue if you are headed down the right path. i happen to believe they should do municipal alexian's first. -- municipal elections first. i it's a big mistake to do national elections first, but there's only one case i can think of where municipal elections were done first, that
was in kosovo, and at was a very stabilizing thing to do. why do i think that? all politics is local. or the least good politics is local. it is much harder to form a coalition based on the sect, secular is some verses islamists. -- secularists versus islamists. you get a test of who is emerging, very direct relations between them and the local government. there's a lot of focus on getting libyans the money that they need. for the long term, the critical issue is not the quantity of money. the transparency and accountability of the money. i've seen all progress, i have -- i have seen little progress, i have heard a lot of good intentions, but little progress in actually establishing a system by which they would be accountable publicly. this has to be a system inside
libya to be accountable and transparent about how the money is being spent. i have never known a post- conflict situation that would have benefited from having less money sloshing around. the reason is less money means you have to decide what your real priorities are. more corruption, more problems, more focus on priorities. -- less focus on priorities. specifically once the oil and gas, that there be accountability, and the citizens feel that it is coming to them. this was discussed in iraq a thousand times and it was never down. -- it was never done. frankly, i don't see iraqis have any idea where their money goes
to this point. i hope the libyans are able to do better. the and the it social needs are quite acute. this does not make headlines in great deal, but there are a large number of people have been displaced and need shelter, food, water. the transitional national council has been good about trends -- about cooperating with the ngos and providing basic needs and i expect them to do that in tripoli, but i expected to be much more difficult in tripoli, not least because of the security situation. in the long term, the social needs are larger than the basic human needs. there will be a real need for a kind of social reconciliation, a political reconciliation, whenever you want to college. -- whatever you want to call it in libya. this was a regime with which a lot of people collaborated and a lot of as collaborators will collaborate with the new apparatus. i don't know the situation in
which collaborators have not tried to turn quickly to collaborate again. it's the people who resisted the old regime that resist the new one as well and call it out for its misdeeds. it seems to me that libyans will need a process in due course of accountability for some type for the crimes of the previous regime. for that, they need a sought -- they need a strong civil society. civil society has blossomed and i hope it blossoms in tripoli. it is really citizens that will prevent some of the bad scenarios. these are longer-term goals. i believe these should be set out clearly in a security council resolution.
1973 has been overtaken by events. we need a security council resolution that shows this to be a united, democratic libya under the rule of law that uses its natural resources for the benefit of all its people. that, to me, would be a kind of vindication, not a justification, but a kind of vindication of the nato effort. >> thank you. i wanted to ask you about a couple of questions or concerns i have about what the nature of the involvement of a post- gadhafi libya would be like. one of them is whether we would see any kind of competition for influence between the west and the arab countries. some of the arab countries have played very significant roles in giving support to the rebels. there was a very significant islamic factor inside of libya.
are we going to see international players supporting different actors trying to strengthen their hand in the evolving libya situation? are we going to see international assistance to libya being shaped or motivated by the desire to have a piece of the pie commercially in libya afterwards? are we going to see a scramble -- libya, once it is through all of this, it is going to be a wealthy country. >> yes, to all of the above, libya should count itself as lucky. there will be competition for influence in libya and competition for oil and gas.
more power to the libyans. they can manage that competition to their advantage. as far as the arab issue is concerned, i don't really see that to tell you the truth. what i see is a kind of synergy. the west is having trouble moving money quickly to the national transitional council. the arabs were doing that quickly and i think that's fine from the libyan perspective. the western frozen money will come in -- will come in due course. there was a good deal of unanimity between the arab world and the west. if that can be maintained, that would be a marvelous thing. so much as competition among the western powers is concerned, there will be.
but that is good thing -- that is a good thing, basically, but it has to be managed and the libyans have to create eight -- a level playing field. for their oil and gas resources. >> thank you, daniel. i'm going to turn now to peter. expanding this question of the international role and relations with libya and going forward, many of the african forces back gadhafi, almost to the end. we have seen a number of them. that is not necessarily uniform. i think 16 have recognize the transitional council, but i'm wondering how are libyans going to feel about africa as opposed to the arab world moving forward? gadhafi had become disillusioned and disappointed trying to reorient libya, not sure to what extent that was
shared by the libyan population, but how do you think this is going to look in the new of libya, and i'm wondering if you can explain the role of south africa in the current situation and why south africa has continued to resist the transfer of assets to the transitional leadership? >> thank you. in order to understand libya's relations with africa, a little history we have to take a look at. here and many aspects of his life, money -- moammar gadhafi was a little schizophrenic or had shown little of multiple personality. there is khaddafi the revolutionary who from the beginning of his regime spent a lot of libyan money financing liberation movements across africa.
that has bearing on current events. then there is khaddafi the hegemon who tried to foment armed change of regime in african countries, financing guerrillas to attempt to overthrow and that brought this -- that brought destruction to large parts of africa. then when the sanctions for terrorism tried to hit their regime at home and they felt the arab companies were not given enough, he shifted to many of whom who were his former victims for support. he became a pan-africanist, welcoming africans to move to libya, to a point where the sixth of the population was sub-saharan african and in fact, the african union was born out of a summit held in set and it was in -- held in sert.
foundational documents actually say that it was inspired by the vision of the great leader of the revolution. i don't know what they have to change their chartered to avoid that embarrassment. finally that cut off the the investor, who invested billions of dollars throughout africa. all of these different gaddafis, it will reflect in how it has been dealing with libya, so the countries who were least affected by libya will be the most flexible in reaching out to the transitional national council. the ones that carry a lot of baggage, south africa and you mentioned from the revolutionary and liberation. , they will carry that memory of the financial support, and that has affected their judgment to the point that south africa's
president yesterday calls for a criminal investigation of nato commanders for their role in assisting rebel forces during the civil conflict. these different interest are at play there. on the african side, the perception of what is happening in libya. the violence that occurred in some places again, some africans were thought to be mercenaries and were more likely economic migrants who bore the brunt of resentment. that has formed some african perception. we're going to see in africa and libya's relationship with africa, a bit above regress. there is cover for the un resolution and recognizing the transitional national council as a legitimate government of libya, the african union has yet to come up with a consistent
policy. i think that the new government in libya will pivot more toward the arab world, less to the african world, but they will still see each other from both sides. the africans will not stop the flow alarms from the stockpiles that are beginning to see throughout africa. the u.n. sanctions on somalia has recently reported soviet manufacture weapons showing up in conflict in somalia. others are showing up on the open market and mauritania. so you have a chance to stop that without collaboration of the new libyan leaders. they will meet the leaders of african government to retrieve assets to get sovereign wealth
funds that gaddafi invested there. we're talking about billions of dollars that hopefully can be converted back into cash to be used for the development issues and other issues that daniel and kareem spoke about. >> thank you, peter. i would note as you did about africa, in terms of the arab countries, the position they took toward libya was not at all in uniform. initially, the question of the initial stablish man of a no-fly zone and international intervention, a number of other arab countries, syria, algeria, oppose that strongly although they were eventually persuaded by saudi arabia to kind of step aside and the arab league did speak in favor of the international intervention.
that was a really unusual step for the arab league. a lot of it goes back to the saudi enmity against gaddafi. >> it was pre-african members of the security council, south africa and nigeria and nepal, all three voted for the resolution. south africa all but does have died in -- all but disavowed its ambassador in the aftermath. they recognize the transitional council in nigeria. and that paul, just a few months ago, they called for the ouster of gaddafi and last week recognized the presidential council. there is a bit of variety in the african response. >> i think the libyan relations with arab countries are going to need resets as well, notably algeria, which generally was supportive of gaddafi.
so we will see what will happen there. we are going to open up now to questions from the audience. if you have a question, put your hand up. i will recognize you. we have microphones, so i would like you to speak your question into the microphone and identify yourself. keep your questions breed and director questions to one of the panelists. >> my name is walter from the north atlantic council. my question would be to you know who are the rebel leaders? are they defectors and how can people trust them? libyan citizens are asking the question, why you think that
western nations have all the answers for middle east problems, including libya? thank you. >> karim, would you like to address that question? >> i like to talk about something there. i could not say before because i did not have the time. i have a gut feeling that we have not seen the emergence of the real leadership of libya yet. i do not think -- that is my personal opinion -- that all those kids and young people who fought in the streets, who left their houses, with seen their brothers and their friends killed, will accept to be led by a pedicle class that has been -- the political class that has been in bed with gadhaf for 40 years. people that have -- and no names, but someone who had been prime minister with him for some
eight times, he cannot claim to be the new leader. the ambassador cannot come back and become the ambassador of the new libya. the military commanders under gaddafi cannot be leading the new troops and the except as they were for. there are new figures, one in the second group in the second line that will emerge. their commanders of groups of rebels they will claim their role and it will save that i am more entitled to be such and such than these other persons. people who really tried to lead the revolt will emerge. for example, people who come back after four years will not be allowed to. [unintelligible] [unintelligible]