Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 18, 2017

The ex-member of LaRouche’s fascist cult who writes for Robert Parry’s Consortium News

Filed under: Fascism,LaRouche — louisproyect @ 6:29 pm

Andrew Spannaus

If there is anything that gets my dander up, it is being threatened with legal action. The last time I ran into such threats is when Joyce Brabner said she would sue me if I began serializing the memoir I did with her late husband Harvey Pekar. Since she lacks the money to hire a lawyer on contingency, I probably would have had no problems but I generally shy away from unstable and unpredictable people.

Today I was warned by Andrew Spannaus that unless I removed a post about his article on Consortium News titled “The Agony of ‘Regime Change’ Refugees”, he would have his lawyer look into suing me for libel. Since Spannaus is a former member of the LaRouche fascist cult, I decided not to look for trouble. If you’ve followed LaRouche over the years, you’ll know that he launched nuisance suits at his perceived enemies all the time, including a $60 million libel suit against NBC in 1984.

In this article I will be choosing my words very carefully. It will be based on the facts acknowledged by Spannaus himself, namely that he is a former member. I have been writing for years about what a toxic dump Consortium News is and feel an obligation to point out that Spannaus is a regular contributor to Robert Parry’s website with 13 articles to his credit.

In the remainder of this article, I will be referring to some of Spannaus’s articles on Executive Intelligence Review, the flagship journal of LaRouche’s cult, between 2000 and 2015 since they reflect an evolution that I think my readers should be aware of, namely the bid by these fascists to adopt a less insane identity. In the 1980s, they would publish stark raving mad articles about Queen Elizabeth being the head of an international drug cartel but over the past 15 years at least, they have worked hard to appear about the same as Consortium News, 21st Century Wire, Information Clearing House, DissidentVoice and other websites in the Putin/Assad/Islamic Republic orbit. I will conclude with a brief look at Spannaus and his former comrade Paul Goldstein’s professional consultancies today that are obvious bids to supply the kind of high-level advice to the bourgeoisie that LaRouche hoped to serve in EIR.

1) The earliest Spannaus article is dated June 30, 1995 and is titled “Italian party debates LaRouchean economics”. In it, Spannaus brags about how members of the Popular Party are openly supporting LaRouche’s economic policies. He advocated that Italy transform the bank of Italy into a national bank, adding that “The national bank concept, going back to the first U. S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, is a key aspect of LaRouche’s policy for economic recovery.”

As I mentioned in my first post on LaRouche, his cult has such a thing about Alexander Hamilton that they are now passing out broadsheets in NYC called the Hamiltonian. It even makes you wonder if they financed the execrable Broadway musical. Is it just a coincidence that 22 years after writing this article, Spannaus was still tooting Hamilton’s horn in Consortium News?

Trump then went on to use the term “American System”, associated with the current of economic nationalism promoted by figures such as Alexander Hamilton, Clay and Henry Carey, champions of investment in industry and infrastructure, and protection against the free market claims of European empires, which sought to undermine American economic independence in order to defend their own pre-eminence.

Inquiring minds want to know.

2) Two years later Spannaus wrote a diatribe against Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni as a genocidal dictator “used by the British Privy Council in its raw materials grab in Central Africa.” Most of the article stayed within the boundaries of normal reporting but I was struck by how Spannaus described Frantz Fanon:

The second ideological string is the existential philosophy of Frantz Fanon, who advocated “revolutionary violence” for economic development for Africans, and claimed that such violence even has purifying power. All of the “new leaders” in Central Africa studied this murderous ideology at Dar Es Salaam University in the 1960s.

Supposedly the British exploited Fanon’s ideas in order to commit genocide on a scale not seen since the Nazis. Oh, well. I had a different take on “The Wretched of the Earth” but that’s what happens when you were educated in a Marxist cult rather than one run by a would be Hitler.

3) Fast-forwarding to 2007, Spannaus wrote about LaRouche’s speech to the Italian Senate Labor and Social Security Commission. The fascist nut was now 84 and just as capable of predicting a cataclysmic end of the world as ever. He was invited to speak about his legislative proposals that could save Italy from imminent doom. Apparently, the politicians were a bit skeptical as Spannaus reported:

As often happens in official circles, some of the politicians involved in the discussions expressed surprise at LaRouche’s forecast of the short-term death of the current system. Despite agreeing with his overall approach on rebuilding the productive economy, they claimed that his warning of a systemic crash is a “catastrophic” view that can only be seen as “pessimistic.” In response to the nervous protests of one Senator, LaRouche repeated that it would be absolutely foolish to assume that the present system will last beyond Christmas of this year, and at the same time, he explained why it is essential that such a premise be established at this time.

Did the fact that the world continued after Christmas Day, 2007 help to undermine Spannaus’s belief in the cult leader? Well, he was writing for EIR for another 8 years so I guess he was in no rush to break his ties.

4) One of the most interesting things to me is how in the past 20 years the group has sought respectability. You can search in vain for anything in EIR that will make your hair stand on end unless you are one of those people who views Vladimir Putin as an unmitigated pig.

By 2011, one of Spannaus’s articles could have easily been published in Salon or Alternet. Titled “In Italy, Reich Calls For Glass-Steagall”, it is plain vanilla Democratic Party propaganda.

The response from the audience was enthusiastic, with numerous local entrepreneurs and opinion leaders posing questions to Reich on the prospects for future industrial growth and the reform of the international financial system. On this point, this author, who moderated the event, mentioned the bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (DOhio) to restore Glass-Steagall, and also the fact that motions calling for a Glass-Steagall system in Italy and Europe have been presented in the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Senate.

So funny. In 2007, Spannaus was stenographer to the lunatic LaRouche who insisted the world would collapse by Christmas day and only four years later, we have pap that might have been written by an Alternet stringer. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way the cult ends—not with a bang but a whimper.

With the skills Spannaus learned writing for EIR, he leveraged that into a consultancy/newsletter service called Transatlantico. I honestly can’t understand how he makes any money as a consultant since there is nothing there that appears to be a bid for business, such as a list of his past clients. You can buy a subscription to his newsletter for 250 Euros per year. What some CEO expects to get out of it is anybody’s guess.

In addition to his own business, Spannaus works for Pacific Tech Bridge, which was founded and still led by Paul Goldstein, LaRouche’s former chief security aide. Has he dropped out of the fascist cult? The last article by Goldstein to appear in EIR was dated 25 years ago so that seems plausible.

Pacific Tech Bridge reads a lot like those consulting companies that offer high-level strategies to corporations, especially about risk management. Spannaus is on the advisory board along with people like Joshua Mitchell, a Georgetown University professor, and Phil Midland, the co-founder of IHS International, another strategic management type consultancy.

Looking at Goldstein’s CV on the “leadership” page, I got a chuckle out of one of his past enterprises:

Strategic Renaissance 21

Co-founder & Executive Vice President established in 2011. Chairman of SR 21 is Admiral (retired) Bob Inman, former head of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Mr. James Hackett, former Chief Executive Officer of Anadarko Oil Company is Vice Chairman. Phil Midland, former naval intelligence officer is President.

SR 21 is presently engaged in building a special relationship with the Communist Party of China’s elite cadre school called the Central Committee of the CPC Central Party School (CCPS). SR 21 and CCPS have had a three year memorandum of understanding (MOU) from 2012-2015 that is being renewed in July 2016.

Wow! Bobby Inman, the former head of the NSA and Deputy Director of the CIA. Hot shit! And building a special relationship with the CP’s elite cadre school in China. Hoo-boy, who wouldn’t want to hire these movers and shakers?

The contacts that Goldstein, LaRouche’s chief security aide, likely made with Inman in the early 80s must have paid off. Let’s turn to Dennis King’s “Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism” for the goods:

Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, former chief of the code-breaking National Security Agency and a consummate intelligence professional, received a steady flow of reports from the LaRouche organization while serving as CIA deputy director in 1981-83, He met personally with Lyn and Helga LaRouche in a little house on F Street in Washington to discuss West Germany’s peace movement. After leaving the CIA to head an electronics firm, he talked frequently on the phone with LaRouche security staffers, who regarded him as their “rabbi” and hoped that someday he would become CIA director. Former LaRouche security aide Charles Tate, in his testimony as a prosecution witness in Boston, described taking the incoming calls from Inman to security chief Jeff Steinberg. Tate also claims to have chatted with Inman personally. (Inman’s version is that he was merely the victim of a constant bombardment of phone calls from Steinberg, whom he did his best to evade. He believes the LaRouchians were attempting to use him to “establish their importance.”)

The big joke is that Consortium News is a platform for Ray McGovern, the Assadist ex-CIA agent. You have to wonder what he would make of his fellow contributor to Parry’s sinkhole being on the advisory board of a consultancy whose CEO crows about co-founding a company with Bobby Inman. Actually, it probably wouldn’t matter at all to Parry, McGovern or Spannaus from what I’ve seen of them.

Me, personally, I wouldn’t go near a dirt-bag like LaRouche with a ten foot pole but I have no doubt that he and Inman had a mutually beneficial relationship. As I will point out in a subsequent post, the ties between this fascist cult leader, his henchmen like Paul Goldstein, and the most powerful spook in the USA is something that is simply beyond the capability of a Richard Spencer to pull off. That is why it is important to review the evolution of LaRouchism even if by some accounts it is on its deathbed.

 

2 Comments »

  1. Andrew Spannaus is the son of Ed and Nancy Spannaus. They were grad students at the Columbia School of Social Work and were some of LaRouche’s earliest supporters. Here’s a link to their background:

    http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.HIABChapter1Appendix1ColumbiaCIPA

    Both of them are out of the cult. Nancy seemed to be the last true believer and that got her purged in some inter-cult power play a few years ago.

    Paul Goldstein left the cult in the 1990s, or about two decades ago.

    However I want to address the “inquiring minds” question about Hamilton. It’s both simple and complex.

    In the mid-1970s, the Labor Committee became interested in Matthew and Henry Carey. One of the former leading members of the group, Alan Salisbury, an ex-Panther, played a key role as did Nancy Spannaus and another former member Chris White. The reason Carey came on the radar was from reading Marx. Marx called Carey the only real economist in America. This was around 1976 when the LC was looking to re-frame Marxism in an “American context.” You could think of it something like a Menshevik or even a “Legal Marxist” turn because the idea was to drop the delusion that the Labor Committee was on the brink of seizing power in a revolution the day after tomorrow. Instead they wanted to penetrate into the bourgeoisie (if I can put it that way) on the one hand and the labor movement on the other. This came at time when the rust belt was spreading and the deindustrialization of America was beginning to be felt in the Midwest etc. All of which was sanctified by Manchester School free trade ideology.

    In 1977 Nancy Spannaus and Chris White put out The Political Economy of the American Revolution which you can see here:
    https://www.amazon.com/political-economy-American-Revolution/dp/0943235146/

    Alan Salisbury put out another anthology entitled The Civil War and the American System which you can see here:

    In The Political Economy of the American Revolution they discovered Hamilton and his desire to industrialize America against Jefferson’s farmer artisan mentality that operated hand in hand with slavery as an economic system. The LC saw Maoism as celebrating the primitive peasant and anti-technological on the one hand and much of the ecology movement as based on a Malthusian belief in “Limits to Growth.” This is in part why the LC backed high technology and fusion power in particular.

    To make a long story shorter, they basically agreed with Carey’s critique of Ricardo than Marx’s. The argument was that Marx was too enamored of the Manchester School of Economics that he totally failed to recognize the Hamilton/Carey/List version of capitalism. Even though Carey was really Lincoln’s Whig economist, Marx disliked Carey in part because Carey argued for the reconciliation of labor and capital, a view Marx considered totally naive. To Marx, Carey’s view failed to understand the dynamics of industrial capitalism because the US was still on the cusp of intense capital development, which, in fact, really only took off during and after the Civil War. So for Marx, Carey was somewhat Utopian and behind the curve. The counter-argument was that you needed Carey even more during industrial takeoff to avoid the kind of horrible labor wars that erupted in the US in the 1870s precisely because Carey’s economics had been replaced by Manchester with more than a dash of Social Darwinism as New York became a conduit for London via Morgan power.

    This view also had global implications as Bismarck, Count Witte, and the Japanese studied Carey’s school of economics precisely to avoid being free trade satraps of Threadneedle Street and the slums of Manchester. In fact, even Marx talks about not needing to repeat the British path to industrialization in one of the intros to volume one of Capital. So the issue was that while the Manchester School dismissed Carey as a throwback to the evils of Mercantilism and protectionism, the reality was that even Germany was looking to Carey’s model as an “anti-imperialist” path to development. Hence Bismarck wrecked the German Liberal Party while introducing worker protection laws. Even Disraeli was impressed with Bismarck and tried to copy him with a progressive version of Toryism to cripple Gladstone.

    But where was Marx in all of this? He was fiddling with some Rube Goldberg notion of the mir + German technology = Communism (maybe).

    In short, he got old and missed the boat.

    In any case, neither Vera nor Plekhanov bought it even if Kevin Anderson does.

    In 1977, then, the Labor Committee view was to try to rethink Marx in the light of Carey, List, Hamilton, etc. However right as this was going on, almost seemingly out of the blue, LaRouche (for reasons that I try to explain in Smiling Man from a Dead Planet but do so only partially) did a radical turn while he was in Germany. He suddenly declared (more or less) that the Rockefellers were no long Evil Incarnate but instead it was the Queen of England who was surrounded by Jews. He allied with the Liberty Lobby and engaged in Holocaust Denial. It’s still something of a mystery why this happened but I try to give the background here:

    http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.UnityNow1

    One of the seeds of this turn, however, may have something to do with Carey’s most famous fan in Germany, Eugen Duhring. As far as I can tell Nancy Spannaus, Chris White and Alan Salisbury were unaware of Duhring but I find it hard to believe the German LaRouche network was not. In any case, During was one of Germany’s leading anti-Semites and so the “turn” came when LaRouche in his insanity fused Carey and Durhring as part of a turn to the world of the Liberty Lobby. Again for more you can read here:

    http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.FromJohnDieboldToEugenDuhring

    and here

    http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.CONCLUSIONRealKarlMarx

    This turn marked the end of my study and I know little about the 1980s. Nor do I know anything about the German organization. Or how it came about that LaRouche began talking to Willis Carto while LaRouche was in Germany.

    I would say that what happened is that Spannaus and company were developing an interesting re-read of Marx and a re-frame of Marx to make Labor Committee Marxism speak with an American accent, so to speak. At one point seemingly out of the blue but which had been festering for some years in the murky world of “Security” and LaRouche’s dealings with the far right, the cult did a really radical turn. This later led to the complete abandonment of Marx (Engels was now a British agent), an adoption of a new cult ideology with LaRouche as Plato’s philosopher king, and a bizarre attempt to suck up to Reagan and the CIA on the one hand and the Liberty Lobby on the other. As I had already left some time earlier, I missed most of the pyrotechnics. But looking back, as I say in my chapter, the LC went from Marx to Carey to Duhring.

    Nancy has now been out of the LC for a few years (my impression is that her husband left sometime earlier) and she has a blog called American System Now. My sense is that she is more back to Carey which is where she started in 1976-77 before the cult made its turn to the Liberty Lobby and attacking the British empire. But even here there are aspects of this as well. Carey (from an Irish background) absolutely despised the British Empire. But Carey was not an anti-Semite and for all of Marx’s attacks on Carey, Marx did respect him at some level as the economic voice of the emerging North as a new economic power. Carey bitterly opposed slavery as well.

    Again, how all this got re-framed into During is a story that I try to tell but as I lack real inside knowledge someone from that world will finally have to open up about what really went down and so far no one is talking. But I would say the answer is basically that they were in a cult and they bowed to the cult’s leader and paid the price by wasting a good deal of their lives in his sick world.

    Finally in my opinion, a brilliant book on all this is Bernard Simmel, The Liberal Ideal and the Demons of Empire, a work I cite in my chapter on Duhring.

    Comment by Hylozoic Hedgehog — August 18, 2017 @ 8:43 pm

  2. I should also add for this audience that there was an echo of the LC argument in England in the debate between Perry Anderson and E.P. Thompson in the late 1970s. Thompson had the Hobsbawm model of England as the most advanced capitalist nation in the 19th century. Anderson said this was wrong and that England’s decline was rooted in the fact that as the first capitalist nation it came with much of the baggage of feudalism and thus in a “combined and uneven development” world of the 19th century it could not adjust to the rising capitalist powers in America and Germany precisely because it carried too much baggage from the past.

    Comment by Hylozoic Hedgehog — August 18, 2017 @ 8:59 pm


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