Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 31, 2017

This is what American fascism looks like: the Lyndon LaRouche story (part three)

Filed under: anti-Semitism,LaRouche — louisproyect @ 8:15 pm

Lyndon LaRouche’s use of anti-Semitism

(part one, part two)

Marine Le Pen: The Jews have nothing to fear from the National Front

In the Weimar Republic, anti-Semitism served the interests of big capital by singling out the Jews for scapegoating. With an enraged and economically desperate middle-class, it made sense to blame the Jews for their suffering. All this is detailed in Abram Leon’s “The Jewish Question” that can be read online.

The economic catastrophe of 1929 threw the petty-bourgeois masses into a hopeless situation. The overcrowding in small business, artisanry and the intellectual professions took on unheard of proportions. The petty bourgeois regarded his Jewish competitor with growing hostility; for the latter’s professional cleverness, the result of centuries of practice, often enabled him to survive hard times more easily. Anti-Semitism even gained the ear of wide layers of worker-artisans, who traditionally had been under petty-bourgeois influence.

What is more difficult to understand is how anti-Semitism can serve the same function in contemporary America. To start with, except for the Hasidic sects in Brooklyn, there are no identifiable Jewish neighborhoods in large cities like New York. An assimilated population, the Jews are spread throughout the city and cannot be identified by skullcaps or any other marker. Additionally, the scapegoat of choice for today’s fascists is the African-American, the Latino, the immigrant and the Muslim. Considering all this, it is somewhat of a mystery why men on the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville were chanting “The Jews will not Replace Us!” What exactly did that mean? That a tax accountant in Park Slope whose grandfather changed his name from Bernstein to Burns was now going to take their jobs at Walmart or an auto repair shop?

In this article, I want to take a close look at the LaRouche movement’s use of anti-Semitism and more recent expressions found in places like Daily Stormer, as well as the European fascist movement that in many instances is strongly Zionist and Judeophilic. These are complex questions that I hope to answer here, especially for my own need for clarity.

As it happens, the chapter in Dennis King’s “Lyndon Larouche and the New American Fascism” on the cult’s anti-Semitism has the same title as Abram Leon’s book: the Jewish Question.

In 1975, not long after LaRouche had completed his fascist turn, he came into contact and formed a partnership with Willis Carto, who was the founder of the Liberty Lobby and the most prominent anti-Semite of the time. Carto put out a magazine called The Spotlight that had a paid circulation of almost 200,000 in 1979. LaRouche’s targets became the same as his: the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, Henry Kissinger, and the Council on Foreign Relations. And like many ultrarightists today, starting with David Duke, Carto was staunchly anti-Zionist. This might help understand why people like David Duke are sympathetic to Bashar al-Assad today. He is a symbol of resistance to Israel. Just ask Max Blumenthal.

Not long after Carto and LaRouche bonded, The Spotlight began publishing articles by National Caucus of Labor Committee (NCLC) members writing under pen names, including his Jewish members who were plentiful. You were also able to buy LaRouche’s publications through Carto’s mail-order service.

The anti-Semitic dynamic accelerated after LaRouche traveled to Germany to straighten out some problems among his followers there. On that trip, he met Helga Zepp who he would soon marry. Zepp remains an important figure in his movement today even as she is a care-giver to the 94-year old man in his dotage. When he returned to the USA, his newspaper New Solidarity began publishing the same kind of articles as Spotlight but with more of an anti-capitalist coloring.

In 1986, ex-member Linda Ray explained why Jewish members went along with this:

Many people find it difficult to understand how Jews—such as I—could have worked for an anti-Semitic group. Perhaps the answer is that the members get so hypnotized by the simplistic “good guys and bad guys” approach to history that they do not hear what LaRouche is really saying.

For example, a 1974 edition of LaRouche’s Campaigner magazine falsely reported that Britain put Hitler in power. Britain, the story said, was the initial controller of the Nazi German war machine, before it went out of control. LaRouche kept writing on that theme for many years. By 1978, he even was writing how the British were a different, “subhuman species.”

Since the blasts were overtly directed against the British, Jewish members often did not recognize the subliminal anti-Semitism of the attacks. LaRouche, like the Ku Klux Klan, Hitler and Goebbels, was attacking the Rothschilds and other British-Jewish banking interests. In the wake of these anti-Semitic writings, many of us were confused. But we continued to defend LaRouche by lamely saying, “We’re not anti-Semitic. So many of our members are Jews. We always say in our publications that we are against the Nazis.”

Today, George Soros is added to the mix. For the alt-right, he is a like a villain plucked out of a James Bond movie who is masterminding conspiracies all around the world. Reflecting the agenda of the Breitbart right, blogger and provocateur Mike Cernovich has depicted Soros and the Rothschilds as orchestrating the purge of Steve Bannon from the White House in this cartoon:

That is Trump’s National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster on the left and David Petraeus on the right. The image suggests that the Jews are controlling everything.

While clearly the bailiwick of the far right, there are signs of the same sort of anti-Semitic tropes on nominally leftist websites. Indeed, if you looked at LaRouche’s press when he was still arguably on the left, you can see the same sort of thing.

Let’s take a look at 21st Century Wire, a website that features articles by Vanessa Beeley and that was launched by an Infowars editor. There you will find the same sort of crap. A search on Rothschild will turn up a shocking article titled “The Money Changers: Rothschild Banking Dynasty Said To Be Worth $100 Trillion” by an asshole named Dean Henderson who has also written for In These Times, for what that’s worth.

The article begins with a dead giveaway that it feeds from the same trough as Willis Carto and LaRouche’s fascist cult:

Since America’s inception…

 there has been a lingering notion that European Illuminati bankers seek to bring America to its knees and return it to the fold of the Crown of England, which centuries ago became the key political vassal for the Eight Families who own majority stock in every private central bank in the world — Rothschild, Rockefeller, Kuhn Loeb, Lehman, Goldman Sachs, Warburg, Lazard and Israel Moses Seif.

In sync with LaRouche, Henderson claims that “Zionist Bankers Created Nazism, White Supremacy & Eugenics”.

If many of the Jews like Linda Ray had no problem writing anti-Semitic articles for LaRouche’s press, you can something of the same tendency in the writings of Gilead Atzmon who wrote some really filthy stuff on DissidentVoice, a website that has become very problematic over the past decade despite its honorable origins as a voice against Bush’s “war on terrorism”. On April 13, 2013, Atzmon wrote this:

But, as ubiquitous as they are, AIPAC, CFI, ADL, Bernie Madoff, ‘liberator’ Bernard Henri Levy, war-advocate David Aaronovitch, free market prophet Milton Friedman, Steven Spielberg, Haim Saban, Lord Levy and many other Zionist enthusiasts and Hasbara advocates are not necessarily the core or the driving force behind Jewish Power, but are merely symptoms. Jewish power is actually far more sophisticated than simply a list of Jewish lobbies or individuals performing highly developed manipulative skills. Jewish power is the unique capacity to stop us from discussing or even contemplating Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse and criticism in particular.

Finally, there is Information Clearing House, another website with a trajectory like DissidentVoice. They published an article by one John Kaminski claiming “Jewish Media Myths Leading Us Toward World War III”. Metapedia, an alt-right version of Wikipedia, identifies him as “best known for his works on Jewish supremacism and as a critic of Judaism.” Yeah, they got that right based on the article:

But just because I revile Hitler doesn’t mean I believe the fictions the Jewish dominated media have spun about the Holocaust. I have been driven irrevocably into the category of Holocaust denier (a 1947 AP story said 875,000 Jews were killed in Germany during WW II) simply because of the way the Jewish community has trumpeted its martyrdom for financial gain, how the Jewish community has destroyed freedom of speech in a dozen European countries by making it a crime to talk about the events that led up to World War II.

Here is some other Kaminski jewels cited on Metapedia:

The Jews are traitors to every country that they live in. Everyone in the entire world needs to wake up and realise what Jewish influence, Jewish poison medicine, Jewish fake wars and Jewish control of their money supplies have done to everyone in the entire world. It is easily the greatest crime ever committed by humans. The sad thing about Jewish philosophy is, after they wind up destroying everybody else, they won’t be able to avoid destroying themselves.

Jews promote diversity because it dilutes the ethnic fabric of nations and allows the tribe to assimilate and exploit more efficiently. They are better able to hide in a confusing racial mix, where people are less likely to notice they are ruthless Asian nomads, who destroy societies because they never really had one of their own that they didn’t steal from someone else.

I should mention that Kaminski is quite the regular at Information Clearing House, having published 8 articles over the years.

Despite all this, there really is no existential threat to Jews today for the reasons I stipulated at the beginning of this article. To be perfectly blunt about it, neither is there an existential threat to the working class from fascism at least in the USA. People like David Duke, Richard Spencer, the Daily Stormer website, et al are very marginal. The Southern Poverty Law Center would have you believe that we are living as if it were the Weimar Republic in 1928 but nothing could be further from the truth. Except for the sporadic turning over of headstones in a Jewish cemetery or a swastika drawn on a synagogue, Jews suffer nothing that begins to resemble what Black youth or Muslims have to put up with on a daily basis. Unlike the mostly assimilated Jewish population, Muslims tend to be much more like the Jews of the 1930s living in clearly delineated neighborhoods and identifiable by their appearance.

Google “woman hijab attacked” and you will get 1,370,000 results. By comparison, you will get only 6% of those results when you do a search on “Jew kippah attacked”, keeping in mind that most Jews in the USA would not be caught in a kippah, starting with me.

Finally, you might expect the American alt-right to catch up with their European brethren who have dumped anti-Semitism and moved in a philo-Semitic and Zionist direction. For example, Marine Le Pen stated in a June 2014 interview that “I do not stop repeating it to French Jews. … Not only is the National Front not your enemy, but it is without a doubt the best shield to protect you. It stands at your side for the defense of our freedoms of thought and of religion against the only real enemy, Islamist fundamentalism.” Indeed, she expelled her virulently anti-Semitic father who had founded the National Front because he was an obstacle to carrying out this turn.

Meanwhile, despite the veiled anti-Semitism of Trump administration figures and his support among the alt-right, there are indications that the government of Israel has become Trump’s best friend outside of the Christian right. In an article for Jacobin titled “Unholy Alliance“, Amir Fleischmann documents the growing connections with Richard Spencer perhaps being capable of carrying out a Marine Le Pen type turn:

Trump has vowed to be the best friend Israel has ever had and has floated the idea of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer has actually praised Zionism for helping inspire the ethno-nationalism that he has made his own.

Herein lies the key to understanding this alliance. The state of Israel was founded at the end of World War II, when the major powers sought to redraw the world map in a way so that (nearly) every minority got their own country. This way, there would be no minorities. In order for Israel to become a Jewish state, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had to be ethnically cleansed in what is now known as the Nakbe.

This ideology — that ethnicities should be separate and that minorities should be expunged — is precisely what is driving the alt-right. This allows us to understand why the alt-right can simultaneously hate Jews and love Israel. The alt-right is fine with Jews, as long as they’re over there, far away from the United States.

And because they consider Jews “more white” than Arabs, the alt-right is happy to use them, through the state of Israel, to keep those uppity Muslim states in check. This has been Israel’s historical role. It was the case in 1956, when France and Britain entreated Israel to invade Egypt in order to stop Gamel Abdel Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal.

More recently, the Mossad has also helped the United States assassinate Iranian scientists and otherwise sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. The alt-right is happy to give support to the state it sees as the West’s first line of defense against the dreaded Muslim invasion.

As shocking as it might seem to see orthodox Jews eagerly jump into bed with rabid antisemites, we should really know better than to be surprised. What the alt-right and Israeli settlers (and their supporters) have in common is a shared fervor for ethno-nationalism and a strong inclination towards Islamophobia and racism.

Israel is useful to the alt-right both as a tool for wreaking havoc in the Muslim world and as an ideological fellow traveler, willing to support their nationalist and chauvinist policies. Without acknowledging this, we cannot hope to understand either movement. The Left must be vigilant in opposing this alliance and refuse to let the alt-right’s support for Israel be a cover for their extreme antisemitism.

9 Comments »

  1. Since you mention Leon, in Smiling Man from a Dead Planet, I devote an appendix to Abram Leon, Kautsky, and LaRouche’s distortions of their work. http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.WhatKautskyReallySaid

    Also on Carto, see http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.UnityNow1

    On LaRouche’s and the rise of anti-Semitism starting from the top, see, http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.MysteryBabylon

    One of the great ironies of the Labor Committee was that in SDS it was reviled for supporting the teachers strike in NYC in 1968. In fact there is strong evidence to suggest that the network that would later become SDUSA and help launch the Jewish neo-cons may have encouraged the covert funding of the SDS Labor Committee during the strike via one Myron Neisloss. On this issue, see: http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.HIABChapter3SDSUFT as well as
    http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.HIABChapter6Appendix1MyronNeisloss.

    The SDUSA paper New America supported the Labor Committee when it was attacked by the FBI in Philadelphia, an incident I discuss in detail at
    http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.HIABChapter4Philly.

    From my chapter on the UFT strike for those interested in such things:

    “NEW AMERICA DEFENDS THE LABOR COMMITTEE

    The Labor Committee-New America connection didn’t end with Papert’s article. On 22 April 1969, New America ran a story entitled “Philadelphia Police Arrest Young Radicals” by Paul Feldman, the journal’s editor. Feldman cites a statement from Tony Papert, “a member of the N.Y. SDS Labor Committee, whom some Socialists know from his group’s support for the recent UFT strike.” (Feldman does not, however, mention Papert’s earlier New America essay.) He then comments:

    Although we disagree with a number of the ideological and strategic concepts of this group, our experience with members of the SDS Labor Committee are that they have a principled position against the use of violence. . . . The SDS Labor Committee has dissented from a number of New Left positions such as opposition to the UFT (SDS effectively disbanded the Labor Committee for failing to go along with national SDS policy which favored Community Control and strike breaking against the UFT). It may find it difficult to get meaningful support from those quarters that usually come to the aid of the New Left.

    Feldman concludes by giving the addresses for the defense committees in New York (“c/o Dillon, 212 W. 22nd St.”) and Philadelphia (“Frazier [sic], 4946 Cedar Ave. Phila. . . . Make checks payable to their lawyer, Bernard Siegel [Segal — HH].”)
    But who was Paul Feldman?

    Besides being New America editor, Feldman was married to Sandra Feldman, a union official who became UFT President after Shanker retired. Although he came from a CPUSA family, Feldman joined Max Shachtman’s Trotskyist Independent Socialist League (ISL) while a student at Brooklyn College in the mid-1950s. He then followed Shachtman into the Socialist Party. As a member of the board of directors of the League for Industrial Democracy (LID), the organization that helped create SDS, Feldman knew something about the New Left. Outraged by SDS’s decision to allow membership to avowed communists under the “non-exclusionary clause,” Feldman bitterly protested the decision in a 1965 article for the LID News Bulletin. He argued that LID had to break all ties with SDS since LID was an organization whose “dedication to democracy placed it in principled opposition to Communism and all other forms of totalitarianism.”35 In the early 1970s, Feldman became a founding member of the “neo-con” Social Democrats USA (SDUSA).36″

    In short, the SDS Labor Committee was seemingly the least likely group in the New Left to ally with the likes of a Willis Carto and indulge in Holocaust Denial. But that’s exactly what it did starting in the mid-1970s as it became more and more a one-man cult with all internal opposition marginalized to the underground.

    Comment by Hylozoic Hedgehog — August 31, 2017 @ 9:14 pm

  2. “Since the blasts were overtly directed against the British, Jewish members often did not recognize the subliminal anti-Semitism of the attacks. LaRouche, like the Ku Klux Klan, Hitler and Goebbels, was attacking the Rothschilds and other British-Jewish banking interests. In the wake of these anti-Semitic writings, many of us were confused. But we continued to defend LaRouche by lamely saying, “We’re not anti-Semitic. So many of our members are Jews. We always say in our publications that we are against the Nazis.”

    This is really hard to believe. Not that it actually happened, but that people could rationalize their behavior in this way. There is something profoundly sad about it.

    Comment by Richard Estes — August 31, 2017 @ 9:48 pm

  3. Actually many people left the Labor Committee from 1978-79 into the early 1980s. This is a story that is never really told. Cult political groups are always presented as monolithic with members as total robots. Cults are much more complicated and often fracture and fissure. As I say, being in a cult over time is like reverse Darwinism. It’s often the survival of the weakest of the species since the strongest left years earlier. But as to why people stay, it’s very very complex. One reason almost never mentioned is that often times people are married and one is a true believer and the other thinks the thing is a joke. But to save the relationship, they work out a deal where the non-believer works more in the real world and makes money while the true believer slaves away for pennies. One funds the hobbyhorse of the other.

    Again, all this is very complex when understood on a micro level. I’m sure you could look at the SWP, RCP, Worker’s World, the Maoist sects etc. and find people who stayed in for an astonishing number of absurd beliefs deeply intertwined with complex personal relationships. For me, the parallel to LaRouche is really Gerry Healy but it’s a much larger pattern in organizations that fall into the “Leninist vanguard” trap which, IMO, is almost custom made for cult abuse.

    (On Healy, see http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.UnityNow4.)

    With the NCLC, the important thing to keep in mind is that the group became a cult in 1973-74 well before anything about the Rothschilds etc. In fact, the idee fixee was rather famously the super-WASP Rockefellers. The point here is that the turn to cultism via “Beyond Psychoanalysis” encounter group sessions, turn to violence, etc. (all of which I document in Smiling Man from a Dead Planet) left a lot of people unable to think independently about anything. So when the turn came to anti-Semitism and the alliance with Carto, many people’s ideological resistance capability was already in tatters.

    In a way, the turn to anti-Semitism was a blessing in disguise because it was so disgusting (and so politically stupid), it woke up a previously dormant sense of opposition inside many people and forced people to do a gut-check and so opened a crack in the ideological wall of steel. When a cult is less ideologically off the wall, in a way it’s more toxic because it’s harder to leave using rational arguments.

    The anti-Semitic stuff so devastating that following a series of defections, even LaRouche had to back down from his Holocaust Denial claims because they were so toxic although he never repudiated the basic anti-Semitic frame of a conspiracy starting in ancient Babylon and culminating in Rothschild and the Queen of England. I should add that Dennis King played a heroic role in all this because he first was brave enough to throw the cult’s ugliness back in its face and in so doing he drove LaRouche nuts. His writings aggravated the fissure process profoundly IMO.

    Finally, I’m profoundly sad that you fell profoundly sad because to me it suggests you have not much understanding of the dynamics of political cults that are so prevalent on the extremes of the ideological spectrum. in short, you sound to me a bit naive. I wrote SMDP and HIAB for people like you who need to figure out this issue before the next wave of radicalization and the organizational forms it generates. In a way, to me the “vanguard model” was the worst of the worst.

    And then I met the anarchists and “Occupy” . . . .

    Oh well . . . .

    Comment by Hylozoic Hedgehog — August 31, 2017 @ 10:18 pm

  4. BTW: My New Yorker cartoon for all this is a drawing of two RCPers sitting at a table with a big poster of Bob Avakian on one side of the wall and Chairman Mao getting flowers from little children on the other. On the desk lies a pamphlet entitled “Leon Trotsky: Secret Agent of the Mikado.” Underneath it is The Little Red Book.

    One of the RCPers is reading a New Solidarity. The paper’s headline: “Rockefeller Ready to Unleash New Bubonic Plague on Africa!” One of them is looking at the other and says, “Man, these LaRouchies are really nuts!”

    Comment by Hylozoic Hedgehog — August 31, 2017 @ 10:32 pm

  5. I think that with Charlottesville, Berkeley and Boston, the threat of the Right has to be reassessed. This also means a discussion of strategy and tactics.

    Comment by David Berger — September 1, 2017 @ 2:39 pm

  6. “Finally, I’m profoundly sad that you fell profoundly sad because to me it suggests you have not much understanding of the dynamics of political cults that are so prevalent on the extremes of the ideological spectrum. in short, you sound to me a bit naive. I wrote SMDP and HIAB for people like you who need to figure out this issue before the next wave of radicalization and the organizational forms it generates. In a way, to me the “vanguard model” was the worst of the worst.”

    This is true. I grew up in the late 1970s when the backlash against vanguard cult behavior hit, and not just in regard to radical groups like the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers and the SLA (which had safe houses in my city, Sacramento), but also in regard to Synanon and even Alcoholics Anonymous. The collapse of the left, which can be partially attributed to the susceptibility of people to cult behavior in the face of challenging social conditions, paved the way for neoliberalism and “the end of history”.

    In my case, I considered radical left organizations as irrational, insular groups throughout my 20s and early 30s, and had nothing to do with them. To this day, I identify more as anarchist and anti-authoritarian than I do as Marxist in the Trotskyite sense, as much as I appreciate Trotsky’s achievements as a brilliant, but flawed, historical figure. Of course, this is not to say that anarchists and anti-authoritarians don’t have their issues with insular, cult like thought, they do, but I believe that the pluralism among them makes it easier to address. Note, for example, how there are anarchists who refuse to support the USSR in the Ukraine, Iranian internal repression because of outside US threats or Assad in Syria, just because, as Louis says, others put a plus where there is a minus.

    With many people being radicalized under current polarizing conditions, there is definitely an urgency to understand how resistance to capitalism and bourgeois democracy can degenerate into cult behavior. There have been a few cultural efforts to do so, Fassbinder’s film, “The Third Generation” , comes to mind, but that was nearly 30 years ago. With so many people being radicalized so quickly, they are certainly vulnerable, but we can only hope that they learn from the past, their own experience and stand firm in the convictions under pressure.

    Comment by Richard Estes — September 1, 2017 @ 5:27 pm

  7. “but I believe that the pluralism among them makes it easier to address. Note, for example, how there are anarchists who refuse to support the USSR in the Ukraine . . . ”

    Oops, I’ve been following Joy Reid too much, who believes that the Russian Republic is still communist.

    Comment by Richard Estes — September 1, 2017 @ 5:44 pm

  8. I liked The Third Generation as well but I remember watching it that I liked the idea more than the execution of the film. I saw it when it first came out and I’d like to see it again all these decades later.

    If you want to read a fascinating case of a left sect, try Janja Lalich on Marlene Dixon and the DWP cult that Lalich spent years inside of. I think you maybe can access her first article in a cult studies journal on JSTOR but I can’t swear by it since I read the original in actual paper format way back when.

    As for anarchism, it was useful when it came to attacking the flaws of the vanguard Leninists. Anarchists were the pilot fish on the Leninist whale and when the whale went extinct, the fish lost their reason for existing. The smart people abandoned anarchism and let the mosh pit types with issues take over.

    Comment by Hylozoic Hedgehog — September 1, 2017 @ 8:25 pm

  9. […] (part one, part two, part three) […]

    Pingback by This is what American fascism looks like: the Lyndon LaRouche story (part four) | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist — September 19, 2017 @ 7:33 pm


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