Thien, a student in Paris

By Kathrin Kindt

Paris, 2006.

Thien realised that he was not really listening any more. Instead of making notes or writing down the projected formulae, he had started doodling concentric circles and labyrinths all over the page of his notebook. He decided to leave the Economics lecture in Statistics I early, so he squeezed past the other students in his row and was relieved as he closed the heavy wooden door to the lecture theatre behind him and the lecturer’s voice went silent.

He hurried down the stairs to the foyer and, a little hesitantly, crossed the square in front of the ancient, venerable University building, passing his fellow students milling about in all directions.

It had been set up there again – the stand with the home-made political posters and a small, improvised book table belonging to the group calling itself “Solidarity and Progress”. A fine name for a political group, thought Thien. Three young men were moving around the stand, holding up copies of a newspaper and trying with varying degrees of pushiness to grab the attention of the mostly young passers-by. Nearly everyone quickened their steps as they went past, as Thien himself had always done up to now. Today, though, he hesitated, as his eye fell on a poster depicting the African continent painted over with a network of roughly drawn blue lines, and underneath, clearly hand-written, “Africa needs a modern water system! LaRouche has a plan!”

One of the young men spoke to Thien straight away. “Well, have the wise profs in there told you how the children in Africa can be helped, how they can be saved from starving, how they can be given a future worth living?” Thien smiled. “That’s not actually in my schedule of lectures!” “So what good is studying if it doesn’t deal with the world’s major problems?” “Formulae and figures! All the facts need to be evaluated and taken into consideration!” said Thien, thinking of the statistics lecture he had just left early. The young man laughed, and his laugh seemed to be mocking him. “Facts, facts, facts! Theory that’s just an end in itself and destroys individual creativity! Only the really creative mind can finally solve the problems facing us. Even the Ancient Greeks and Romans understood that, and real mathematicians like Riemann and Einstein. It’s possible to be creative with maths and figures!” “How do you mean? I have the feeling at the moment that all the formulae and rows of figures are just going round and round in my head.” “Yes, and you’re not the only one!” The young political activist was standing in front of Thien and looking at him with sympathy. “There’s a method,” he said, “for finding a creative access to mathematics with small experiments on yourself and then applying your findings to a new, fair economic system that’s not dictated by the financial oligarchs in Wall Street and the City of London.” “And who can do that?” Thien’s interest was aroused.

Now the young man even smiled slightly. “We are an internationally active youth movement. We are fed up with the baby boomer generation telling us what to do. We are doing our own studies and linking them with our political struggle for a fair world economic order. Ever heard the name Lyndon LaRouche?” Thien shook his head. The young man became zealously enthusiastic. “That’s hardly your fault. LaRouche is boycotted by the media in Europe. He is a genius and statesman from the USA, where he is very well known and has run as a candidate for president several times. You should get to know him and his theories for saving the world. Read our newspaper ‘New Solidarity’! A new issue is brought out every month by us, the party activists. We write a lot of the articles ourselves.” Curious now, Thien bought a copy.

“Leave us your phone number. Then we can let you know when we’re doing an interesting event.” Thien scribbled his phone number on the small sheet of paper that was suddenly held out to him. The three young activists gave him a friendly wave as he walked away from the stand.

In the Métro he had a look at the newspaper. On the front page in large letters framed in a red box was a call for action by readers to recruit a thousand new readers for ‘New Solidarity’, so that even more people could get to know LaRouche’s ideas. Beneath this was a photo of a grey-haired older man with a round, friendly face and a knowing smile on his lips. It was Jacques Cheminade, the chairman of the French LaRouche Party. He had written the leader article, with the headline, “Our Project! Why The City of London and Wall Street are our enemies!”

Leafing through the paper, Thien found an article which was announced as a contribution by the scientific team of the American LaRouche movement, “Back on the Path to Unlimited Progress. A Fast-Track Program for Nuclear Fusion.”

Back in his room, Thien put the paper to one side. He still had books for a university seminar on his desk and had to give them his full attention.

Late that evening André called him and asked whether he had read the ‘New Solidarity’ and which article had especially interested him. Thien mumbled something about having a lot of reading to do for uni, but he had found the article about nuclear fusion interesting.

“So come to our office next Sunday afternoon, then we can have a chat. We activists will be meeting up and discussing things and singing together.”

Thien was hesitant. “I don’t know if I’ll have time. I have to read stuff for uni on Sunday too.” “But our movement is all about the things that are really important. We are no longer willing to put up with the state of the world. We want to fight for LaRouche’s political proposals to be finally put into practice! Surely you can spare a little time for that? Just come by and get to know us! Our office is in Rue d’Albert 43 in the Clichy district. It’s a kind of industrial estate with a lot of small firms. Just go through to the inner courtyard and then take the door on the right to staircase four and up the stairs. Then you’ll see a metal door. Ring the doorbell. That’s our office!” Thien said, “Okay, I’ll do my best to come. What time are you meeting?” “Get there at around eleven in the morning! That’ll do!”

Thien said he would be there.

On Saturday evening, André called again. “Hi, Thien! You haven’t forgotten our appointment, have you? We’re looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!” Once again, Thien said that he would be there.

Until then, Thien had had very little interest in the various political parties and organisations in France, but he had always given a lot of thought to how people in Africa and Latin America could really be helped and how the injustice in the world between rich and poor countries could be eradicated. So why ever not go to the office of this young man who had so determinedly put forward his organisation’s ideas, and find out more about his movement?