General Welfare Or Genocide?
The Fight To Save D. C. General Hospital

The following exchange between Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad and economist Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. took place during public discussion period at the Schiller Institute Presidents' Day Conference February 17, 2001 in Northern Virginia. This conference was also broadcast over the Internet and can be heard on

DR. ABDUL ALIM MUHAMMED: "..... there are some of us in the District of Columbia, who are attempting to be citizens, and to stand up on our hind legs, as you put it, but the barbarians are inside the gates. And they have occupied the high places in the powerful places, and among other mischievous things, one of the things that we're presently fighting to preserve, is the public health sector in the District of Columbia, especially D.C. General Hospital. As you probably know, there are probably 200,000 or more government-certified poor people who live in the District, 100,000 of whom have no health insurance, who rely almost completely on the public-health sector that's being dismantled. The troubles at D.C. General Hospital have been imposed from the top down. Congress has specifically limited the amount of money that the District government can spend on public health. So, a hospital that last year had a budgeted amount of about $120 million, only has $60 million this year, and is slated to run out of money sometime in March, and the doors of the hospital are expected to close by April 1.

So, I'm just asking whether you have some ideas about how those of us who wish to be citizens, need to respond to this rather urgent emergency, that has already cost lives. I mean, we can already count the number of people who have died as a result of the difficulties imposed on D.C. General Hospital. Thank you."

LYNDON LAROUCHE: "I think that the first thing we have to do, is, to use the number of people who have died as a result of the D.C. General cutbacks. We have to construct a list of the death count, that those behind this operation are responsible for, and keep building it up. Because we're in, strategically, a Valley Forge-type of situation, in which all the forces in government, in the majority, are against us. But it's not hopeless.

"The problem is, what we came up against the Ashcroft's nomination. Now, my associates and I did what was necessary, with a lot of help from a lot of people. We mobilized enough to get the votes, which if Daschle and company had stuck to it, would have tied up the Ashcroft nomination. We had organized that number of votes. But then, because we didn't have the muscle to enforce what we had won, some of them finked out on us.

"Now, there are two sides to that: One side is, we lost that particular fight, but we didn't lose it really. Because we're fighting a war, and we lost one battle, we had to retreat. But we made a show of force, and we got our forces united by fighting that battle. So what we have to do, is look at these situations as say, we take these battles on, and we make them cost as much, politically, to the enemy as possible, to give as much morale, and moralization to the victims and friends as possible, to build a movement of conscience around this issue.

"We have to understand also, that this administration, while it seems momentarily all powerful, or they'd like to convince people of such, is not. We're dealing with a doomed emperor. He's on a short fuse. And therefore, we have to get the troops mobilized and moving in. Lives are lost in wars, lives that should not be lost. We're losing lives already. We've got to keep the death toll -- not for George Bush; he's not going to be impressed; he's going to delight in the number of people that die. He's never shown much compassion for anybody. Remember, Bush believes, if innocent people have to die on death row, that's good for politics, therefore, they'll die. And he'll do the same thing with Washington, D.C.

"We just have to keep fighting. And not be discouraged by the defeats we take. Because we've got to win. The question is when? How soon? I think we ought to keep the score. But keep the score for the purpose of making, getting the people to understand. The people who agree with us, but who aren't fighting. Get them to understand!

"Look, the reason we're not winning is because we don't have enough support from you guys. So get serious and start organizing more of your friends and neighbors, and we might have enough muscle, so you don't face a defeat, as we did with Ashcroft. If we had had more strength to support what we did in organizing Democrats to come around on the Ashcroft issue, we'd have won it. The reason we didn't win it, all the way, is because we didn't have enough support. "So, the key thing now, is on this issue, like the D.C. General Hospital, is to do two things: continue the fight and expand it. But also, let's take this thing to the other parts of the country, and build up a national movement on this thing, and take the D.C. General case, and use it not only as a D.C. issue, but make this a NATIONAL issue:

"Look, look at what they're doing to us in Washington. What do you think they're going to do to you in New York? What do you think they're going to do to you in Boston? Or Detroit? Or elsewhere? You guys have got to get on board here. We've got to win a national battle in Washington, for the sake of the whole country. And so, I think we've got to go in that direction."

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