Jerusalem One

     Lyndon Larouche: Fascism Wrapped in an American Flag

          Part Three: How Big a Threat - What We Should Do

   A surprisingly broad range of LaRouche's critics think his political
movment should be taken very seriously.

   Richard Lobenthal of ADL warns that the LaRouche organization "Obviously
should not be dismissed lightly, they are more than just kooks. They are
anti-Semitic extremists. His aspirations are to gain legitimacy and power
through, amongst other ways, the electoral process. To snicker about
LaRouche is to snicker about any bigot or extemist who would ascend to
political office and then subvert that office for their own purposes," 
he says.

   In California a LaRouche-backed referendum, Proposition 64, establishing
restrictive public health policies regarding Acquired Immune Deficiency
Syndrome (AIDS) demonstrates how the small LaRouche group there had a
devasting effect when it found a fearful audience for its simplistic
scapegoating theories.

   Mark L. Madsen, a public health specialist for the California Medical
Association says the LaRouche initiative, Proposition 64, was based on 
"absolute hysteria and calculated deception," but even though the
initiative was soundly defeated "it has set back public health education
efforts at least five years. The LaRouche people have almost wiped out all
that we have done so far in educating the public about AIDS."

   The LaRouche intitiative "created an immeasurable medical problem far
beyond AIDS victims," says Madsen. In California the number of regular
blood donors went down 30%, and one health expert blames this directly on
fear by blood donors of repercussions from possibly being identified as
carrying the AIDS virus. "This fear, whipped up substantially by the
hysterical LaRouche theories about AIDS, led to critical shortages of blood
in the state of California," says Madsen.

   Leonard Zeskind of the Atlanta-based Center for Democratic Renewal
helped build a coalition of Christian, Jewish, farm advocacy and civil 
rights groups to confront the spread of hate-mongering theories in the wake
of the devastation of the rural economy throughout the farm belt. He calls
the LaRouche ideology "Crank Fascism".

   "The LaRouche organizers are not as active in the farm belt as they once
were, but they are still there. For those farmers who may have bought into
these bigoted snake-oil theories, the effect has been harmful," says
Zeskind. " The LaRouche group "has also been very disruptive in 
the Black community where they exploit legitimate issues such as drug
pushing and widespread unemployment. Those of us who have to deal with 
the victims of the LaRouche philosophy don't find it very humorous at all,"
says Zeskind.

   Prexy Nesbitt, a consultant to the American Committee on Africa who has
led campaigns calling for divestment in South Africa, agrees the 
LaRouche organization should be taken more seriously. "His people have
deliberately made themselves an obstacle to our organizing and disrupted
our activities," says Nesbitt. "The LaRouche people spied on anti-apartheid
activists and South African exiles in Europe and then provided information
to the South African government," charges Nesbitt. "This is a very 
dangerous and potentially deadly game," he says. "Critics of the South
African Government have disappeared or been killed, their offices have 
been blown up," charges Nesbitt.

   In 1981 the respected British magazine  ran an article
titled "American Fanatis put Scientists' Lives at Risk." According to the
article, LaRouche's  had circulated a report
naming a number of scientists working in the Middle East as being 
involved in an insurgent conspiracy against established governments. "In
certain Middle East countries with hypersensitive governments," 
warned the magazine, "these allegations, however indirect, can easily lead
to arrests, prison sentences and even executions."

   Many conservative and New Right groups have also taken stands against
LaRouche's brand of bigotry and opportunism. One staffer at the Heritage
Foundation, a New Right think-tank based in Washington, D.C., called
LaRouche an "intellectual Nazi" and a Heritage Foundation report warned of
LaRouche's danger to national security as a reckless purveyor of private

   New Right military specialist, retired General Daniel O. Graham, says
LaRouche followers have significantly hampered his work. Graham, Director 
of Project High Frontier which supports and helped develop President
Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative plan for anti-missile defense, 
says the LaRouche groups have "caused a lot of problems by adopting our
issue in an effort to sieze credit for the idea." "They also mounted a 
furious attack on me personally," says Graham. "Even today I get mail
asking if I'm in league with LaRouche," he adds wearily.

   "LaRouche does not just represent some nut to simply backhand away. .
.he's very clever, you have to go to great lengths to get around those 
people." He adds: "Look, these people are purely interested in power.
LaRouche doesn't care about these issues one bit, it's just a way to raise 
money and consolidate his political base."

   Jonathan Levine, the Chicago-based Midwest Regional Director of the
American Jewish Committee (AJC) agrees that opportunism and 
exploitation of issues is a key factor with the LaRouche ideology.
"Extremists have traditionally tried to piggyback on substantive issues to
gain legitimacy for themselves. Never mind that the way the LaRouche
candidates frame issues does not warrant serious discussion in a political 
campaign, but LaRouche may appeal to frustrated, apathetic voters

   Bruce B. Decker, a lifelong Republican who has served on the staff of
President Gerald Ford and on an AIDS advisory panel appointed by California
Governor George Deukmejian, thinks the response to LaRouche's bigoted
theories should cut across traditional party politics and electoral
constituencies. He lists the forces who joined the California `Stop 
LaRouche' coalition which beat back the LaRouche-sponsored Proposition 64,
widely percieved as a homophobic and anti-civil liberties response to the
AIDS crisis:"We united Republicans and Democrats, progressives and 
conservatives, religious leaders representing Protestants, Catholics, Jews
and other beliefs, ethnic groups including Blacks, Latinos and Asians,
professionals associations and labor unions. Isn't that a lesson we've
learned from history? That we all have an obligation to stand up together
and forcefully oppose the victimization and scapegoating spread by these 
types of demogogues?"

   After the Illinois primary Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY)
blasted his own party for pursuing a policy of ignoring the "infiltration 
by the neo-Nazi elements of Lyndon H. LaRouche," and worried that too
often, especially in the media, "the LaRouchites" are "dismissed as kooks."

   "In an age of ideology, in an age of totalitarianism, it will not
suffice for a political party to be indifferent to and ignorant about such
a movement," said Moynihan. Ironically, when the  covered
Moynihan's speech, they essentially censored him by repeatedly substituting
the softer term "fascist" wherever Moynihan had said "nazi."

   Edward Kayatt, publisher of  a weekly community newspaper on
New York City's upper East Side, is angered by that type of self-censorship
and by the cowardice of most mainstream media on this point.

   Kayatt has published dozens of articles on LaRouche, describing him as a
neo-Fascist, neo-Nazi, anti-Semite and racist, including a lengthy series
by Dennis King. Following the Illinois primary victory, Kayatt penned an 
editorial which blasted his colleagues in the press for covering up
LaRouche's political ideology.

   Kayatt noted that "newspapers are of course afraid of libel suits (even
though the New York State Supreme Court has ruled it is `fair comment'to
call LaRouche an anti-Semite). But how can the media justify censorship of
a U.S. Senator who is sounding the alarm against neo-Nazism? The beast must
be named, but within the media world only NBC-TV has shown the courage 
to do so."

   Both Kayatt and Chicago journalist Michael Miner lay some blame for the
Illinois LaRouche victory at the feet of those media which chose 
not to publicize the LaRouchies. Kayatt and Miner note LaRouche's use of
litigation to silence critics. Miner wonders if some of the the "media's
disdain [for LaRouche] was not partly a reluctance to borrow trouble."
Kayatt agrees. "In the late 1920s, when Adolf Hitler began his march 
to power, one of the tactics was to entangle all his opponents in libel
suits," wrote Kayatt.

   It is admittedly hard to cover LaRouche, especially since the media in
this country tend to ignore historical connections and are reluctant to
analyze ideological positions or treat a fringe political group seriously. 
Political coverage in the U.S. is frequently based on personalities and
style rather than political content. Furthermore, when LaRouche is 
challenged by a reporter, he simply denies everything, or says it was taken
out of context, and then claims his enemies are plotting against 
him--it is difficult for a mainstream reporter to report what LaRouche
really says without appearing biased and vindictive or making 
LaRouche sound totally crazy.

   But Kayatt isn't satisfied with excuses. He reflects the sentiment of
many who are concerned about media coverage of LaRouche when he says, 
"LaRouche will not march to power in America, but he can have a serious
destabilizing effect on our institutions and can create a beachhead for 
organized anti-Semitism. To drive him back into political isolation,
America's publishers and editors must show some of their traditional 
courage and backbone."

   LaRouche's legal troubles haven't stopped his followers. They actively
organized for the New Hampshire Presidential primary, and purchased 
several half-hour time slots on network television for campaign
programming. For the most part, LaRouche fundraisers continue to use the 
same boiler-room phone-bank techniques they have used for years. Following
the criminal indictments, LaRouche loyalists called people from whom they
had previously secured loans and told them to blame the government for 
non-repayment of the original. They then asked for donations to fight the
ongoing legal battles which they claim are part of a plot to destroy

   The criminal indictments have slowed down LaRouche organizing and
fundraising campaigns, but they have by no means solved the problem. 
No matter what the outcome in the legal arena, LaRouche and his followers
can still do a lot of damage by further spreading prejudiced views. Russ
Bellant sums it up when he says LaRouche is "just a symbol of a larger 
problem of authoritarianism which can be very appealing in times of crisis.
The LaRouche phenomenon indicates that we need to educate Americans about
the theories and tactics of demagogues."

   If we intend to defend democracy we had best learn to recognize its
enemies, and not be afraid to stand up and call them by name.

- - - - -

 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. 

 Jean V. Hardisty, Ph.D., Director
 Chip Berlet, Analyst
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