Jerusalem One

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     Lyndon Larouche: Fascism Wrapped in an American Flag
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From: cberlet@igc.apc.org (NLG Civil Liberties Committee)
by Chip Berlet and Joel Bellman
1987

A Political Research Associates
Briefing Paper in Three Parts:

Part One: History of the LaRouche Cult
Part Two: The Paranoid Style & Fascist Tendencies
Part Three: How Big a Threat - What We Should Do


            Part One: History of the LaRouche Cult
            **************************************

   Outside the Boston federal courthouse a photographer discretely
snaps pictures of certain persons entering the building. In the
echoing halls, private security guards whisper into tiny two-way 
radios. Those entering the second-floor courtroom pass through the
gleaming arch of an electronic metal detector. When the main defendant
leaves the courtroom, husky bodyguards surround him as he is hustled
to a car waiting in the basement parking garage.

   The scene is from the 1987 trial of perennial Presidential
candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. That trial, involving charges of
credit card fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice, was declared a
mistrial due to numerous delays, but a later criminal indictment in
Virginia saw LaRouche and several of his key followers convicted on
charges involving illegally soliciting unsecured loans and tax code
violations.

   Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. is frequently dismissed as a crank or
political extremist with no further explanation of his views or the 
phenomenon he represents. In a democracy based on informed consent, to
not understand the nature of the LaRouche phenomenon is a dangerously
naive rejection of the lessons of history--because Lyndon LaRouche
represents the most recent incarnation of the unique twentieth-century
phenomenon known as totalitarian fascism. LaRouche is hardly the first
proponent of these views, and he is unlikely to be the last. Therefore
there is a deadly serious reason to study the rise and fall of Lyndon
LaRouche, the man who brought us fascism wrapped in an American flag.

 Who is Lyndon LaRouche?

   LaRouche spent his formative years in the small industrial city of
Lynn, Massachusetts as a Quaker, and the past fifteen years forging a 
fascist movement out of cadre originally drawn from idealistic Marxist
college students. His name became more familiar to Americans in April 
of 1986 when two Illinois followers of LaRouche scored primary
victories--garnering the official Democratic Party ballot slots for
Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State. In repudiating the
LaRouche candidates, the Democratic Party's candidate for Illinois
governor, Adlai Stevenson, removed himself from the official ticket
saying he could not in good conscience run on the same ticket with
"neo-Nazis."

   With increased media coverage of the LaRouche network's legal
difficulties and clearly unusual political theories, most Americans
probably think they already know all they need to know about 
Lyndon LaRouche. Yet the picture most people envision when they hear
of the "LaRouchies" is a caricature of a complicated and troubling 
phenomenon which appears more sinister than comical when the details
are sketched in with information emerging from court records, a 
careful reading of LaRouche's theoretical writings, and interviews
with dozens of former members, most of whom prefer not to be quoted by
name.

   They have been called crooks, con artists, a cult, obsessed with
conspiracy theories, a private intelligence army, anti-Semitic. Some 
critics have called LaRouche America's leading neo-fascist. A handful
insist he is a neo-Nazi.

   They call themselves visonaries, nation-builders, walking in the
footsteps of Lincoln, Hamiltonian Constitutionalists, neo-Platonic
thinkers. Supporters consider LaRouche to be one of the great minds of
the Twentieth Century, and the world's leading economist.

   Even his sharpest critics generally agree that Lyndon LaRouche
himself is highly intelligent and well-read, with an astounding
ability to garnish his conversation with historical references drawn 
from memory. And there is no doubt that LaRouche has built a
multi-million dollar financial empire from a small publishing company
and a software consulting firm programming Wang mainframe computers
for the garment and trucking industries. The LaRouche network now runs
publishing and information services linked worldwide by computerized
electronic telecommunications systems. Estimates of the recent yearly
gross income from the dozens of related front groups ranges from 10 to
30 million dollars, although several years of legal problems have
apparently reduced that figure substantially.

   Under different circumstance LaRouche might have ended up a mental
derelict drifting the streets--a deranged ancient mariner pressing 
tracts crammed with conspiracies into the palms of startled passersby.

   How did LaRouche take a handful of sincere Marxist student
intellectuals and turn them into an international intelligence and
publishing operation? How did a former pacifist Quaker end up sending
his followers into the streets to beat up opponents? How did LaRouche
become the guru of a group churning out conspiracy theories detailing
a sinister plan by prominent Jews, Russian communists, and New Age
Aquarians to manacle western culture with a new Dark Age? How can
LaRouche claim to trace this conspiracy from Henry Kissinger and
Walter Mondale back through history to the days of the Babylonian
Empire?  Why do the followers of someone so obviously deranged attract
tens of thousands of votes in American election races? And why do most
mainstream media outlets refuse to use terms such as "anti-Semite" and
"small-time Hitler" when court actions have resulted in those terms
being found not defamatory but "fair comment?"

   Unravelling the Gordian Knot that is LaRouche is not difficult when
you realize the multi-faceted nature of LaRouche and his organization.
LaRouche is the Elmer Gantry of American politics; mixing equal parts
of cynical con and fanatic fervor. The terms to describe LaRouche can
be gleaned from the pages of any political science textbook.
LaRouche's political ideology is authoritarian. His view of history is
paranoid. His economic theories are similar to Italian Fascism. His
conspiratorial views are laced with racial and cultural bigotry and a 
large dose of anti-Jewish hysteria. His zealous stormtroopers are
motivated by an internal organizational structure that is to politics
what the blitzkrieg was to international diplomacy--that distinctive
twentieth century phenomenon...the totalitarian movement. History
teaches us that to ignore or dismiss such a person as an ineffectual
crank can have devestating consequences.
 
The Long Road to Federal Court

   As LaRouche's self image and paranoia grew so too did his appetite
for expensive intelligence-gathering and high-tech security devices.
His quest for Presidential power made him bold. The funds needed to
maintain LaRouche's gargantuan self-image as the world's premiere
political economist and spymaster apparently forced his followers to
use questionable methods of obtaining cash.

   The resulting over-zealous fundraising efforts are what caught the
attention of a Boston federal grand jury some four years ago. In the
fading days of his 1984 Presidential bid, when the cash-starved
LaRouche organization was buying expensive commercial air-time,
hundreds of persons found unauthorized credit card charges totalling
tens of thousands of dollars paid to one of the many front groups
operated by the LaRouche network. LaRouche says it all was a mistake.
The grand jury thought otherwise, indicted several of his top
lieutenants, and cited three of his related organizations. Law 
enforcement agents raided his Virginia corporate offices searching for
documents to verify the allegations.

   In the course of the probe, LaRouche loyalists are alleged to have
destroyed evidence and sent key witnesses out of the country. When the
grand jury indicted LaRouche on a charge of conspiring to obstruct
justice, he blithely told the press the CIA had suggested that
documents be shredded and witnesses made scarce.

   Linda Ray, a former member of what she calls the "LaRouche Cult"
says his followers may have been "the guinea pigs for pioneering the 
financial fraud in the late 1970's" when members with credit cards
were persuaded to take out personal loans to finance LaRouche
organizations. Former members say these internal loans were seldom
properly repaid.

   According to Ray, who has written of her experiences, she and other
"LaRouchies" staffing LaRouche-controlled companies often did not 
receive paychecks; the money instead was used to keep the LaRouche
global telecommunications network humming. "We were told that one of
the top priorities for meeting expenses was maintaining a 24-hour
communications link with the European central office," she recalls.
Other former members report they were under intense pressure to meet
daily financial quotas.

   Former LaRouche loyalists, who often call themselves "defectors,"
say they were willing to make personal sacrifices and raise money
using questionable methods because they were convinced they were part
of a historic mission to save the world from an evil global conspiracy
-- a belief they now reject as an illusion. Intense peer pressure,
manipulation of guilt feelings, attacks on their sexuality and fear
are used to control LaRouche loyalists, say former members. The sum 
of the LaRouche organizational techniques equals the formula for the
cult-like totalitarian movement defined by political scientist Hanna 
Arendt.

 From Socialist to Totalitarian Fascist

   After serving as a non-combatant in World War II, LaRouche firted
with the Communist Party, USA and then drifted into the Socialist
Workers Party (SWP) where he spent much of the 1960's. After leaving
the SWP, LaRouche became the political guru of the Labor Caucus of the
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) until SDS voted to expel 
them in 1969. LaRouche (using the name Lyn Marcus) then created the
National Caucus of Labor Comittees, which in 1972 had some 1,000
members nationwide.

   But in 1973 NCLC underwent a drastic upheaval. LaRouche suddenly
vowed to either destroy or establish his "political hegemony" over the
American left. He began talking of the need for rapid
industrialization to build the working class. He talked of a historic
tactical alliance between revolutionaries, the working class and 
the forces of industrial capital against the forces of finance
capital. He began developing an authoritarian world view with a
glorification of historic mission, metaphysical commitment and 
physical confrontation. He told reporters that only he was capable of
bringing revolution and socialism to the United States, and his
speeches began to take on the tone and style of a demagogue. 

   In many ways LaRouche was adopting the same ideas and styles which
took National Socialism, and turned it into part of the European
fascist movement, and eventually played a key role in Hitler's rise to
power in Nazi Germany. In fact, LaRouche was denounced as a neo-Nazi
by U.S. Communists following a series of 1973 physical attacks on
leftists. To be precise, NCLC members were likened to Hitler's violent
Brownshirts.

   What happened to cause this dramatic shift? Some say it was a
dramatic incident in LaRouche's personal life. In 1972 LaRouche's
common-law wife, Carol Schnitzer, left him for a young member of the
London NCLC chapter named Christopher White, whom she eventually
married. 
For LaRouche, it was a crushing blow. His first wife Janice had
similarly walked out on him a decade earlier, taking with her the
couple's young son.

   This personal event apparently triggered LaRouche's political
metamorphosis. LaRouche went into seclusion in Europe, and defectors
tell of his suffering a possible nervous breakdown. In the spring of
1973, he returned. His previous conspiratorial inclinations had now
grown into a bizarre tapestry weaving together classical conspiracy
theories of the 19th century and post-Marxian economics. He began
articulating a `psycho-sexual' theory of political organizing.

   Sexism and homophobia became central themes of the organization's
theories. A September 1973 editorial in the NCLC ideological journal 
 charged that "Concretely, all across the U.S.A., there
are workers who are prepared to fight. They are held back, most 
immediately, by pressure from their wives. . . ." The problem with
making the revolution, LaRouche apparently had concluded, was that
women are castrating bitches. One former member left in disgust when
she was told women's feelings of degradation in modern society could
be traced to the physical placement of female sexual organs near the
anus which caused women to confuse sex with excretion.

   In an August 16, 1973 internal memo, "The Politics of Male
Impotence," LaRouche told his followers:"The principle source of
impotence, both male and female, is the mother. . . .to the extent
that my physical powers do not prevent me, I am now confident and
capable of ending your political--and sexual-- impotence; the two are 
interconnected aspects of the same problem. . . .I am going to make
you organizers--by taking your bedrooms away from you until you make
the step to being effective organizers. What I shall do is to expose
to you the cruel fact of your sexual impotence, male and female. . .
.I shall destroy your sense of safety in the place to which you
ordinarily imagine you can flee. I shall not pull you back from
fleeing, but rather destroy the place to which you would attempt to
flee."

   In a cruel sense, LaRouche was true to his twisted words, those
members who challenge the increasingly macabre political and social 
theories expounded by their leader were confronted by loyalists as
politically and sexually inadequate traitors to the cause.

   LaRouche also developed a fevered, comprehensive paranoid fantasy
about the importance of his role in history--and a militant, new-found
resolve to act upon it, wiping out all opposition to his leadership of
the U.S. revolutionary movement. The result was Operation Mop-Up.
Lyndon LaRouche took his sexual identity crisis into the streets.

   Operation Mop-up raged from May to September of 1973. LaRouche's
followers in NCLC were ordered to brutally assault rivals from the 
Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
NCLC thugs used bats, chains, and martial arts weapons in a campaign
to establish "hegemony" over the American revolutionary movement.
There were many injuries and some persons required hospitalization.

   "Our hearts were not in it," a former NCLC member says about his
participation in Operation Mop-Up. "But with LaRouche it was all or
nothing; the attacks were supposed to harden the membership." Forcing
student intellectuals into violent confrontations was an exercise in 
self-degradation which cemented their loyalty to NCLC, ex-members say,
Their working-class Marxism gave way to an unquestioning, cult-like
devotion to LaRouche. "Most of us now find the whole thing was crazy,"
says a seven-year NCLC veteran who left the group in the mid-1970's.
Operation Mop-Up, however, was just the beginning.

   LaRouche spent the summer and early fall of 1973 obsessed with his
broken marriage, brooding over the humiliating betrayal, according to 
ex-members. Late in December, a revelation came; Christopher White,
having already stolen his wife, had in addition been programmed by the
KGB, with the aid of the MI5 division of British intelligence, to
assassinate LaRouche himself--in retaliation for Mop-Up's assaults on
pro-Soviet Communist groups! Further, the CIA--jealous of LaRouche's
success in uncovering a previous NCLC victim of KGB brainwashing--had
resolved either to kidnap LaRouche to extract his secret, or kill 
him itself to prevent his falling into Soviet hands.

   Only LaRouche possessed the intelligence and perception to uncover
and foil this fiendish plot, and not surprisingly, he alone held the 
keys for the cure--in White's case, days of isolation and intense
pressure from a battery of LaRouche inquisitors. White finally caved
in and confessed to his alleged "psychosexual brainwashing" by the
KGB/CIA/MI5 conspirators. Based on tape-recordings offered by NCLC
members as "proof," the  later carried a harrowing
account of this so-called "deprogramming" session. LaRouche's revenge
was complete; White--who had taken his wife--had been reduced to a
repentant, sobbing psychological wreck.

   LaRouche lost no time in applying his cure. Any sign of restiveness
or dissent on the part of NCLC members now became evidence of
"brainwashing" by the KGB, the CIA, or both.

   One young woman, attempting to quit what was rapidly becomming a
totalitarian cult, was held prisoner in a New York apartment by six
fellow members in an effort to "deprogram" her. She somehow managed to
fold a plea for help into a paper airplane, sailing it out the window
-- where it was found by a passerby who called the police. Among the
NCLC members arrested were Edward Spannaus, a national spokesman for
LaRouche who faced trial in the failed Boston prosecution; and Khushro
Ghandhi, co-sponsor of Proposition 64, a LaRouche-sponsored California
AIDS initiative defeated several years ago after an intensive public
awareness campaign in which the initiative was widely-denouced as a
witch hunt against the homosexual community. Other defendants in the 
Boston case were part of the NCLC deprogramming drive, according to
former members.

   On January 3, 1974, the day the six "deprogrammers" were arraigned,
LaRouche gave a long, rambling and altogether extraordinary speech --
later reprinted in his own --laying out his theory of
how sinister forces had secretly kidnapped and brainwashed his
followers. According to LaRouche, the methods used by the KGB and
British Intelligence to brainwash the membership of NCLC caused fear
of impotence and homosexuality to immobilize each member and thus
destroy their capability to organize effectively. LaRouche's
pronouncements can easily be dismissed as a deranged conspiracy
theory--but the words reveal his emotional and intellectual state at
the time of the speech.

   While perhaps offensive to some readers, only direct quotes can
fully convey the incredible nature and content of LaRouche's 
demented discourse:

   "How do you brainwash somebody? Well, first of all, you generally
pull a psychological profile or develop one in a preliminary period.
You find every vulnerability of that person from a psychoanalytic
standpoint. Now the next thing you do is you build them up for fear in
males and females of homsexuality, aim them for an anal identification
with anal sex, their mouth is identified with fellacio. Their mouth is
identified only with the penis--that kind of sex, and with woman. 
Womanhood is the fellacio of the male mouth in a man who has been
brainwashed by the KGB; that is sucking penises. . . ."

   "First they say your father was nothing, your father was a queer,
your father was a woman. They play very strongly on homosexual fears.
It doesn't work on women. . . .Most women are to a large degree
homosexual in this society. The relationship between daughter and
mother is homosexual, so the thing is not much of a threat."

   "But to young men it is generally a grave threat. . fears about 
masturbation. . . .They say, `See that sheep. Wouldn't you like to do
that to a sheep?'"

   "It's not the pain that brainwashes, it's forcing the victim to run
away from the pain by taking the bait of degrading himself. This
persistant pattern of self-degradation, self-humiliation, is what
essentially accomplishes the brainwashing."

   "Any of you who say this is a hoax--you're cruds! You're subhuman!
You're not serious. The human race is at stake. Either we win or 
there is no humanity. That's the way she's cut."

   LaRouche was speaking of the brainwashing plot he believed was
being initiated against his followers. In fact, according to former
members, LaRouche and his closest aides used this belief to justify a
an internal campaign which was a"chain of psychological terror" as two
members called it in their resignation letter. They charged the
LaRouche-mandated sessions to cure their alleged "psychosis" were in
fact an attempt to crush the will of "all individuals who have 
expressed political and intellectual opposition to the tendencies"
surfacing inside the LaRouche organization. "What really happened," 
says a dismayed former member, "is that LaRouche had gone bonkers and
was systematically brainwashing us to accept his total control over 
the organization."

   Linda Ray says hundreds of persons left the LaRouche organization
during this period. For Ray and others who remained, however,
LaRouche's increasingly bizarre and bigoted theories were accepted
without question to avoid being subjected to "de-programming"
sessions.
 
A Tactical Alliance with the Reactionary Right

   In 1974 LaRouche first began to seek contact with extremist and
anti-Semitic right-wing groups and individuals in an effort to forge a
tactical alliance in opposing imperialism and ruling class banking
interests in general--and the Rockefellers in particular. LaRouche's
obsession with conspiracy theories blossomed. Dovetailing with today's
American radical Right and neo-fascist neo-populist ideologies, his
theories of a Rockefeller-directed global conspiracy of banking
interests found a receptive audience. 

   Yet the core followers of LaRouche still thought of themselves as
Leftists forging a temporary and cyncial tactical alliance with 
`progressive' industrialists to help rebuild a strong economy. With a
healthy economy leading to full employment for the working class, the 
LaRouche followers figured they could then lead the reconstituted
working class to revolution. Defectors report that during this period
they were required to study Marxist and Leninist tracts and
participate in paramilitary training classes led by fellow members. 

   Having founded the U.S. Labor Party as the NCLC's electoral arm in
1973, LaRouche mounted his first presidential campaign under the USLP 
banner in 1976. His platform of "Impeach Rocky to prevent imminent
nuclear war" garnered only 40,000 votes, but it afforded LaRouche more
organizing opportunities on the far Right. Despite its declared
Marxist stance, the NCLC stepped up efforts, with mixed success, to 
penetrate or co-opt such groups as the American Conservative Union,
the John Birch Society, the Young Americans for Freedom, and the KKK.

   Drawing upon his new contacts on the far Right (reportedly relying
in part on Pennsylvania KKK leader Roy Frankhauser) LaRouche arranged
with former CIA officer Mitchell WerBell III to provide the NCLC
security force with armed self-defense training at WerBell's
paramilitary camp in Powder Springs, Georgia. Now deceased, WerBell
introduced LaRouche into wider right-wing circles including a shadowy
netherworld of spys, mercenaries, and intelligence operatives.

   It was during this period that NCLC began to collect and
disseminate intelligence on progressive groups. LaRouche publications 
frequently report their security staffers offer intelligence to
domestic and foreign government agencies. While documents released
under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that U.S. government
agencies frequently dismissed the material provided by the NCLC, it
was provided nonetheless. Legal actions against some police agencies
have discovered NCLC material in active files on terrorism and
subversion.

   As LaRouche's fear of persecution and assassination intensified he
moved further and further into right-wing circles. His ideological 
theories were constantly being repackaged to appeal to his new-found
friends. One shift in LaRouche's perception of who controlled the 
worldwide conspiracy came at the time of Nelson Rockefeller's death;
an event which left a major hole in LaRouche's theoretical bulwark.

   Ever alert to exploit shifting sentiment and historical
opportunities, the U.S. Labor Party began to de-emphasise Rockefeller
as the archenemy of civilization, replacing him with a worldwide 
conspiracy under the control of the "British Oligarchy" and their
stooge. . .the Queen of England. A careful reading of USLP published 
material reveals, however, that a remarkable number of the British and
other co-conspirators were Jews. It is this fact that prompted several
major Jewish groups to denounce LaRouche's theories as anti-Semitic.

   This turn toward a Jewish conspiracy theory of history came shortly
after the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby began praising a 1976 USLP pamphlet
titled  The pamphlet
outlined the "Rockefeller-CIA-Carter axis," which was supposedly
trying to "deindustrialize" the U.S. and provoke a war with the Soviet
Union by 1978. (At this point LaRouche had not yet discarded his
support for the Soviet Union, nor announced his support for "Star
Wars" defense against his perceived threat of imminent Soviet attack.)

   In an overall favorable review of the USLP treatise on the
Rockefeller-controlled global conspiracy, Liberty Lobby's newspaper, 
 complained that the report failed to mention any of the
"major Zionist groups such as the notorious Anti-Defamation League" in
its extensive list of government agencies, research groups,
organizations and individuals controlled by the "Rockefeller - Carter
- CIA" terrorism apparatus.

   LaRouche, never one to miss a cue, soon was running articles in his
newspaper  with themes that betrayed increasingly
bigoted view of Jews and Jewish institutions. By the end of 1976,
LaRouche had completed his drift to the extremist-right of the
political spectrum where his bigoted conspiracy theories linking
international bankers, influential Jewish families, furtive KGB
agents, and secret societes found fertile ground. 

   Soon LaRouche was expounding a view linking certain Jewish
institutions and Zionist movements to a plot to destroy Western
civilization and usher in a "New Dark Age." Linda Ray thinks that 
more recent LaRouche converts are not even aware of the group's real
history, nor of the cult-like inner circle which controls the secret 
financial operations.

   Opportunistic or not, LaRouche's erratic lurch to the right brought
gains to the NCLC in membership and financial strength. Yet his 
right-wing theories and affiliations are still opaque to many
observers who dismiss LaRouche on the basis of his cranky
conspiratorial world view and general lunacy.

END OF PART ONE
 Chip Berlet is staff researcher at Political Research Associates (PRA) in
Cambridge, Massachusetts. Joel Bellman is a former editorial page writer and
columnist for the . Both Bellman and Berlet
have written extensively about the LaRouche organization.

Political Research Associates is an independent, non-profit, tax-exempt
research institute which collects and disseminates information on right-wing
political groups and trends. 

Staff:
 Jean V. Hardisty, Ph.D., Director
 Chip Berlet, Analyst
 Margaret Quigley, Archivist