Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

February 18, 2018

The three degrees of separation between Lyndon LaRouche, the left, and the alt-right (part five)

Filed under: LaRouche — louisproyect @ 10:17 pm

(part onepart twopart three, part four)

This is the fifth and final installment in a series of articles about LaRouche’s movement that began on July 31, 2017 with the intention of demonstrating what a real fascist movement in the USA looked like as compared to the spectacles mounted by Richard Spencer and alt-right websites like the Daily Stormer. Unlike the fascists of today, LaRouche had built bridges to the CIA and important rightwing politicians, including Reagan administration officials. Even though objective conditions precluded him from ever achieving his dream of becoming the American Führer, his reach extended into the ruling class as well as into the corrupted trade union movement, especially the Teamsters.

In exploiting the fund-raising potentials of his cult members phone-banking elderly Republican Party voters to support the “Reagan revolution”, LaRouche diverted funds into his lavish life-style, including a 13-room mansion in Leesburg, Virginia.

The authorities finally caught up to him in 1988. After being found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud of more than $30 million in defaulted loans, eleven counts of actual mail fraud involving $294,000 in defaulted loans, and a single count of conspiring to defraud the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, he was sentenced to 15 years but was released on January 26, 1994.

Keep in mind that LaRouche’s  basic program prior to his imprisonment mapped closely to the Reagan administration’s, including the ardent support of Star Wars and the expansion of NATO. A lot of his economic policies had much more in common with “statism”, including the support of vast infrastructure projects that sounded both like what FDR carried out as well as Hitler and Mussolini. In addition, his primary allies were outright fascists such as Roy Frankhouser Jr., a former Grand Dragon of the KKK.

Much of my analysis was based on Dennis King’s “Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism” that concludes with his arrest in 1986. I had not given much thought to LaRouche in the more recent period except to take the time to give his cult followers a hard time whenever they set up a table in front of my high-rise on the Upper East Side.

However, after my first installment appeared, I was startled to discover from a friend and comrade that his movement was deeply involved in the propaganda network defending Bashar al-Assad and the Russian intervention in the Ukraine.

So I’ve come across the Larouchies several times while covering the Syrian conflict. While the Larouche organization itself is persona non grata in mainstream political circles there are several Larouchie and ex Larouchie organizations and individuals who are very active on the “alt right” and the Assadist pro-Putin “alt left.” There is a lot of spillover with Russia Today as well. it’s notable that during the 2011 Tahrir Square protests Russia Today featured Lyndon Larouche himself as an expert on the events. Many Larouche affiliated organizations seem to enjoy very active relationships with authoritarian regimes, an alliance that has become more useful to these governments after the Arab Spring created the need for a fresh crop of conspiracy theories to justify remaining in power.

Syrian UN ambassador recently spoke at a Schiller Institute a few months ago and he appeared very familiar with the individuals and the organization. The Virginia State senator Richard Black, who has raised red flags with his repeated contacts with the Assad regime, including a visit during which he posed in the cockpit of a Syrian government fighter Jet, has been a go to commentator on Syria for the LarochePAC YouTube channel. In a shockingly bizarre incident earlier this year, The Schiller Institute Chorus sang the Russian National Anthem after somehow duping local law enforcement into holding a ceremony with Russian diplomats after the crash of a Tu-154 crash that killed the Red Army Choir. It’s very noteworthy that the ceremony treats the incident as a terrorist attack and tries to draw a parallel to the 9-11 attacks even though the official Russian position is that this incident was an accident.

The Larouche organization has been involved in sending solidarity delegations to Damascus as well as El Sisi’s Egypt for some time and they are somehow involved in a project called “the new silk road“. I’m not sure what relationship this has to the Chinese economic initiative that India snubbed a few days ago but as far as I can tell there is a connection. Larouchie protestors have showed up to events with signs that say things like “please join china and Mr. Xi on the new silk road.” Indeed Larouche delegations have been sent to Egypt and Syria with the explicit purpose of pushing this concept. This YouTube video from LarouchePAC from last week, hypes the Chinese conference. Apparently Larouche has been devoting a ridiculous amount of resources to promoting an obscure Chinese economic initiative for several years now. I think there is really something to this story because the Larouche organization has been pushing for a “New Silk Road” for at least 3 years. Here is a video from 3 years ago of Larouche talking about this where he mentions the Chinese leadership.

Trolls and Dupes

Navsteva

Scott Gaulke is a Wisconsin-based Larouche follower who has developed quite a reputation for trolling and stalking under his online personality “Navsteva.” At one point Gaulke claimed to have Visited Damascus but presented images that were taken by Ulf Sandmark, a Swedish Larouchie who had visited on a solidarity delegation, which incidentally was named “the new silk road.”

Workers World Party

I’m not sure what the connection between Larouche and the Workers World Party is but there is certainly some spillover. In this image, Caleb T. Maupin, the Russia Today journalist who was described by Trump as his “favorite journalist” can be seen with former Larouche candidate Webster Tarpley, who once notoriously claimed AIDS was an airborne disease and that AIDS patients should be locked up. Tarpley has also been a fixture of Assadist circles for a while, this 2015 video from a bizarre meet up of Assadists features Tarpley and is absolutely hilarious to watch when the crowd turns on the speakers.

I’m sure if you follow the money there is something going on with the “New Silk Road” talk.

I hope this is useful and let’s stay in touch

P.

The next report that corroborated P.’s account appeared in CounterPunch when David Barker covered LaRouche’s role in the emerging Red-Brown alliance. Titled A “New Dawn” for Fascism: the Rise of the Anti-Establishment Capitalists,  the article honed in on the role played by former LaRouchite F. William Engdahl. Like other ex-members such as Webster Tarpley and Andrew Spannaus, there is little to distinguish what they write now from what appears in Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), the house organ of LaRouche’s cult. Or for that matter, much of what appeared in the Nation Magazine written by Stephen F. Cohen.

It turns out that the first issue of EIR in 1995 calls for a revolution against conservatism and sounds like it might have been written by Paul Krugman or Robert Reich. Evidently, when LaRouche was in prison, he figured out that it no longer paid to be associated with the ultraright:

The people who are behind George Bush, who are behind the funding of the Conservative Revolution, have just looted a number of counties and local governments of the United States and California. What happened in Orange County, in the looting of pubic funds by financial speculators using a Chapter 9 bankruptcy procedure–a derivatives scandal looting–also represents the same problem which many other communities in the United States face. The tax rolls and securities and budgets of communities throughout the United States, are being looted by the financial bubble called the derivatives bubble.

The author? None other than Lyndon LaRouche.

Now there had always been leftist demagogic appeals in his various journals and propaganda outreach but something had begun to change after he got out of prison. Instead of being couched in apocalyptic terms, it was much more mainstream liberalism so much so that the reformulated economic analysis was sufficient to convince someone as prominent on the left as Nomi Prins, a former Goldman-Sachs employee and frequent contributor to The Nation, to grant interviews to the cult.

The other important turn was in foreign policy. Instead of attaching itself to anyone like Ronald Reagan or any other conservative anti-Communist, LaRouche became a passionate supporter of Vladimir Putin. A 2016 article in LaRouche/PAC titled “LaRouche—The Future of Mankind Will be Determined by Putin’s Creative Interventions Over the Coming Period” might have been written by Pepe Escobar, Andre Vltchek or Mike Whitney.

You get the same sort of “radical” journalism on Syria with this 2015 LaRouche/PAC article being typical:

Amid widespread reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is about to intervene militarily in Syria to defend the sovereign government of President Bashar Assad, against the genocidal lunatics of the Islamic State (ISIS), Lyndon LaRouche has thrown his support behind Putin. A Russian military intervention at this time would be a “strategic game changer,” that would crucially frustrate President Barack Obama’s plans for a military confrontation with Moscow.

One of the few people who has noted the “left turn” is the anonymous blogger Ravings of a Radical Vagabond, whose 100-page article “An Investigation Into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, And The Western Left” is must-reading in order to understand the crisis in the left today. He or she writes:

At the same time as his rapprochement with the Russian establishment, LaRouche moved from biological to cultural racism, and started shifting towards more ostensibly left-wing positions in the 90s, organizing anti-war demonstrations and rallies and attempting to insert themselves in anti-war coalitions during the Gulf War, attempting to form coalitions with and control African-American civil rights groups since the 70s, opposing the death penalty, praising the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, supporting social programs against the Republican Party’s budget cuts, criticizing neoconservatives and organizing anti-war conferences in the prelude to the imperialist invasion of Iraq by George W. Bush.

In his section on LaRouche, the Radical Vagabond turns up some of the third degrees of separation between a one-time notorious fascist cult and other respected or at least nominal members of the left. For example, the shadowy Anti-Globalist Resistance that has annual conferences in Russia staged one in 2009 around the theme “Save Human Dignity For The Sake Of Mankind” that included such speakers as Samir Amin, the 86-year old dependency theorist, speaking from the same podium as Lyndon LaRouche, his wife Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and the anti-Semite and Wikileaks representative in Russia Israel Shamir. While a case may be made that LaRouche had abandoned his erstwhile fascist ideology, it is troubling that Amin would find himself in the same company as Tomislav Sunić, the leader of the American Freedom Party who has written that “Over the last fifty years, no effort has been spared by the Western system and its mediacracy to pathologize White Western peoples into endless atonement and perpetual guilt feelings about their White race.” Now, one might excuse the octogenarian Amin for not vetting an obscure figure like Sunić, he should have at least been uncomfortable with being part of a conference that also featured a representative of the openly fascist AfD party in Germany that sent Jürgen Elsässer to speak on their behalf. Surely his speaking as a representative of the AfD should have set off alarm bells for Amin. Or, maybe not.

Perhaps Amin believes that opposing “globalization” is so urgent a task that alliances can be built with someone like Tomislav Sunić or Jürgen Elsässer. When that term became popular in the 1990s as a replacement for the more class-oriented term imperialism, you saw the first blush of a Red-Brown alliance as the left abandoned “utopian” notions of worldwide socialist revolution in favor of an enlightened capitalist development that would flourish after free trade agreements like NAFTA had been abolished. This was around the time when speeches by Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan could not be distinguished, at least when it came to such treaties.

One of the most thorough investigative reports on the LaRouche/Putin connection appears on the website of Sean Guillory, whose article Where Foreign “Experts” and “Political Scientists” on Russian Television Come From is basically the translation of an article written by Alexey Kovalev. (One wonders if this is a pseudonym since this is the same name as Russia’s greatest hockey player.)

Kovalev mentions the appearance of F. William Engdahl on RT as well as Jeffrey Steinberg, a one-time top leader (arguably number two) in the LaRouche movement. Like Engdahl, Tarpley and Spannaus, there is little to distinguish what these guys are writing now from what you can read in EIR even though Kovalev finds some continuity:

Steinberg is an author for Executive Intelligence Review which is published by the so-called LaRouche Movement. This “movement,” to put it kindly, is actually just a bunch of LaRouchies—a quasi-fascist cult with fairly seedy rituals (read about “ego-stripping“, for example). Their views are also purely cultish and conspiratorial. LaRouchies, for example, are completely nuts about the British royal family, which, in their view, are to blame for all of mankind’s troubles, Queen Elizabeth II personally controls the drug cartels, and so on. Jeffrey Steinberg, for example, claimed in an interview that Princess Diana didn’t die in a car accident but was killed by British intelligence on the orders of Prince Philip (Conspiracy theories that Diana was murdered and didn’t die in an accident are popular).

Kovalev also refers to the presence of LaRouche’s Schiller Institute in Russia and a Russian-language version of EIR, which obviously requires a considerable staff to translate its drivel each month. In addition, LaRouche has made regular appearances on RT since 2008. All this constitutes one degree of separation, maybe zero.

These connections did not appear out of thin air. LaRouche came to Russia during the turmoil of the Yeltsin years and reached out to economists and bureaucrats who were upset with what people like Jeffrey Sachs (a recent convert to the Assadist cause) were doing to the former Soviet Union.

One of them is Sergei Glazyev, who is Putin’s adviser on regional economic integration. A former member of Rodina, a Russian party, Glazyev sounds pretty radical according to Wikipedia:

In 2015, Glazyev felt that the American capitalist model was entering an inevitable, very dangerous, phase of self-destruction. We are, he felt, “truly on the verge of a global war.” Although this coming war poses a great danger for Russia, Glazyev said that the USA will fail to achieve its hegemonic goals of controlling Russia and the entire world.

The Radical Vagabond reports that in January 2005 a group of State Duma members including from Rodina and the Communist Party claimed that the world was “under the monetary and political control of international Judaism” and signed a petition to the prosecutor-general demanding the ban of all Jewish organizations in Russia. In 2015, Rodina organized the “International Russian Conservative Forum” (IRCF) in order to launch a coalition of far-right parties. Among the invitees was Jared Taylor of the magazine American Renaissance. Taylor hailed Trump’s inauguration as “a sign of rising white consciousness” and is on record as stating “Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”

Now, speaking for myself, I wouldn’t touch Rodina with a ten-foot pole but one well-known leftist—indeed Marxist—feels differently. He has associated with Konstantin Krylov, a one time member of Rodina. I am speaking of Boris Kagarlitsky, who organized a conference in 2014 titled “The World Crisis and the Confrontation in Ukraine” that included among its attendees:

Alan Freeman, a former member of Socialist Action, a British Trotskyist group, and co-director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group

Radhika Desai, who is co-director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group who once moderated a conference that included Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, a supporter of National Bolshevik ideologue Aleksandr Dugin

Richard Brenner of Workers’ Power

Roger Annis, the editor-in-chief of The New Cold War

Hermann Dworczak, of the Austrian section of the Fourth International

Jeff Sommers, from the University of Wisconsin

Now these are all highly reputable people but you have to wonder what they thought of another speaker that Kagarlitsky invited, namely Vasiliy Koltashov, who heads Kagarlitsky’s Institute for Global Research and Social Movements and supported Marine Le Pen recent election campaign for president of France. Or Vladimir Rogov, the leader of the Slavic Guards who spoke about the threat to Ukraine by Western-backed gay liberation activists. In In 2013 his Slavic Guards put up posters in the city of Zaporozhe depicting a military parade and a gay parade, and asking the question “Which Parade Will Your Son Take Part In?” Rogov is on record stating: “The struggle against the new Kiev authorities is really a struggle against the EU, only not just in the form of a rejection of the politics of the destruction of the family and heterosexual relationships but in the form of a rejection of the entire anti-social neo-liberal policies of the western elites.”

Three degrees of separation, indeed. I’d advise the left to maintain three thousand degrees.

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for this

    Comment by Anthony Boynton — February 19, 2018 @ 3:07 pm


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