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.

September 19, 2017

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

Filed under: LaRouche — louisproyect @ 7:33 pm

Lyndon LaRouche’s ties to Ronald Reagan, the Donald Trump of the 1980s

(part onepart two, part three)

In 2017, large segments of the left—especially anarchists—would have you believe that the USA has something in common with the Weimar Republic in 1930 and that it is necessary to punch neo-Nazis in order to prevent Richard Spencer from becoming a new Hitler.

In reality the largest fascist movement in the USA since the 1930s would never have organized its members to march in torchlight parades chanting “blood and soil” even though it was clearly trying to emulate the Nazis. With allies such as the Grand Wizard of the KKK in Michigan, who had been convicted of bombing school buses to protest busing, you’d think that Lydon LaRouche would have created a new party to serve as a pole of attraction. Showing much more savvy than Richard Spencer and his ilk, he instead submerged his US Labor Party into the Democratic Party just as the CPUSA has done since the New Deal.

Between 1982 and 1988, his movement ran in 4,000 Democratic Party primaries and general elections in over 30 states. At the peak of his powers when he was a presidential candidate, LaRouche used to buy an hour’s worth of time on network TV to present his rather convoluted mixture of leftish sounding attacks on the IMF and bizarre conspiracy theories about how Queen Elizabeth was a drug lord. Dennis King describes the scope of his electoral machine:

Its fund raisers brought in tens of millions of dollars while its candidates attracted over 4 million votes, including voting percentages above 10 percent in hundreds of contests. In at least 70 statewide, congressional, or state legislative races, LaRouche candidates polled over 20 percent of the vote. At least 25 appeared on the general election ballot as Democratic nominees, either by defeating a regular Democratic opponent or by running in the primary unopposed. Although none was actually elected to any public office higher than a local school board, hundreds won Democratic Party posts (mostly county committee seats) across the country.

So how would antifa have dealt with this growing menace? By punching people who were passing out his campaign literature? Given the vast network of people taking part in his cult’s election bids, it would have been impossible to make a dent. For all of the talk from the liberal left about becoming the equivalent of the Tea Party in the Democratic Party, LaRouche came much closer to that goal but with one difference. He sought to incubate an ultraright movement in a traditionally liberal party even though a lot of his rhetoric began sounding similar to Ralph Nader’s “anti-globalization” politics and even to Trump administration ideologues. For example, Paul Gallagher ran for governor of New York in 1978 urging the New York bourgeoisie to take the lead in a “national export boom.”

And also like the Trump administration, his candidates were complete racists. During the struggle for busing in Boston, one ran in a district that included South Boston, where white racists were terrorizing Black schoolchildren just like in Alabama and Mississippi a decade earlier. After denouncing busing as a Ford Foundation conspiracy, he got 10.7 percent of the vote. What would antifa have done to suppress his hate speech? Storm into one of his rallies in South Boston and begin hitting people with 2 by 4s? Politics is a lot more complicated than that, especially considering the opposition of Robert Avakian’s cult to busing back then.

LaRouche calculated that his mixture of addled populism and racism would appeal to older and white DP voters in the same way that a part of this demographic decided to vote for Reagan and then for Donald Trump. It was the same voter that George Wallace appealed to in 1968 when he ran for President on an openly racist platform. Like Trump promising the sky to former coal miners, LaRouche tried to win the votes of workers in the nuclear industry who were suspicious of the anti-nuclear direction of the DP. In a speech to construction workers at the Seabrook nuclear power site, he promised to build 2,500 nuclear plants by the year 2000.

Despite continuing to run as a Democrat, LaRouche became an enthusiastic supporter of the Reagan Revolution in 1980. In exactly the same fashion as Bannon and Alex Jones hanging on to Trump’s coat-tails, LaRouche saw Reagan as a defender of nationalist values. In many ways, the fight within the Republican Party in 1979 mirrored that between Trump and Jeb Bush in the 2016 primary. In his speaking engagements, LaRouche concentrated his fire on his father George H.W. Bush who was denounced as a “globalist”. Despite a lot of the craziness in his party press, LaRouche was very much the counterpart of Steve Bannon (granted Bannon can be pretty crazy himself.)

Repeating themes popular on the left back then (and today, for that matter), LaRouche denounced Bush as a tool of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. The steady drumbeat of LaRouche’s campaign speeches likely had an effect since reporters began bombarding Bush with questions about the Trilateral Commission.

Once Reagan was elected, LaRouche felt the same sense of exultation that could be found in alt-right circles but unlike the alt-right, he was much more successful in building ties to a president who was about to carry out a vicious attack on the working class in the USA and internationally.

Showing an ability to suppress some of the wacky stuff published in the cult’s Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), top operatives went to Washington in 1981 to sell their services. They made sure to advertise themselves as boosters of Reagan’s Trump-like policies on the military, the environment, and drugs while making sure to avoid any references to Queen Elizabeth as a drug lord.

The Reagan White House and LaRouche saw eye-to-eye particularly on the need for Star Wars and pushing for nuclear power. They had even beaten Reagan to the punch. In the late 70s they were lining up rightwing atomic scientists like Edward Teller to support the goals of the Fusion Energy Foundation that promoted a Star Wars type anti-missile defense, fusion energy, and bigger and more powerful thermonuclear devices. While Teller considered them too weird to network with, a close friend of his and highly respected scientist named Robert Budwine from the Livermore Labs was drawn into their periphery. King, a consummate researcher, wrote:

Budwine became deeply intrigued by the LaRouchians and was drawn for several months into the periphery of their cult life. Among other things, he attended the NCLC annual conference in January 1984 at LaRouche’s Virginia mansion, where the baroque harpsichord background music struck him as “an attempt to re-create an eighteenth-century salon.” He formed friendships with Uwe Parpart and other NCLC members, and spent several hours in private discussions with LaRouche on Indo-European root languages, Riemannian geometry, and other LaRouche hobbies.

As King also reported, LaRouche recruited Winston Bostick, the former chairman of the Stevens Institute of Technology physics department, and Friedwardt Winterberg, a fusion specialist with the University of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute, into the FEF. Bostick became a leading figure, speaking at its conferences, writing for its journal and serving on the editorial board of another FEF publication, the International Journal of Fusion Energy. In a 1984 telephone interview he said he supported LaRouche’s attempts to promote “German military, scientific, cultural, and economic traditions.” Meanwhile, Winterberg hailed LaRouche as having the “most scientifically founded” program of any presidential candidate and allowed the FEF to publish his Physical Principles of Thermonuclear Explosive Devices in 1981, sending him on overseas speaking tours.

By providing a platform for softball interviews, the EIR cultivated ties to the Republican Party elite. Among the politicians whose views could be seen in this fascist journal were Agriculture Secretary John Block, Defense Under Secretary Richard DeLauer, Commerce Under Secretary Lionel Olmer, Treasury Under Secretary Norman Ture, Assistant Attorney General Lowell Jensen, Murray Weidenbaum, the chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and Senators Orrin Hatch and John Tower. No matter how much Richard Spencer has praised Donald Trump, he never could have gotten through the front door to the equivalent of such pols today. That’s the big difference between LaRouche and the alt-right. He was far more interested in influencing public policy than doing half-assed imitations of a Nuremberg rally.

The most important inroads, however, were with the National Security Council and the CIA. LaRouche followers met frequently with Richard Morris, the top aide to National Security Adviser William Clark. They also got the ear of other NSC officials such as Ray Pollock and Norman Bailey.

From the CIA, the cult developed ties to CIA deputy director Ray Cline, who was deeply involved with the rightwing death squads in Nicaragua and El Salvador, as well as former CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton, who headed up surveillance of anti-war protesters and left groups in the 60s and 70s. Once again we are indebted to King’s superlative research to see how internecine the ties were between LaRouche and the CIA:

In the early years of the Reagan administration the LaRouchians established direct channels into the intelligence community. Admiral [Bobby] Inman appreciated their “flow of materials” to help fill the gap left by [Stansfield] Turner’s cutbacks [Carter’s CIA director]. LaRouche was allowed to brief two aides to John McMahon, Inman’s successor, at CIA headquarters in 1983. According to court papers, an aide to Federal Emergency Management Agency director Louis Guiffrida frequently met with the LaRouchians and even came to NCLC headquarters for a day’s briefing. Jeffrey Steinberg visited the National Security Council eight to ten times between June 1983 and June 1984, according to his deposition in LaRouche v. NBC. Articles in EIR were peppered with quotes from unnamed “CIA Sovietologists” and “DIA analysts.”

The real question is what bearing the obsessions of the Southern Poverty Law Center and “It’s Going Down” have to do with arguably the most powerful fascist movement since the 1930s. What do you do when the fascists operate as a wing of the Democratic Party, are focused on electoral activity and generally avoid street-fighting? LaRouche had finally decided not long after he abandoned stormtrooper type activity against the left in the early 70s that his role was to bloc with the most reactionary forces in American politics. It started with his ties to the KKK and other fringe figures on the ultraright and eventually evolved into providing intelligence to the CIA and other security agencies about the left. Constituting a private investigative agency, his followers worldwide fed information to headquarters about anti-nuclear activists, peace groups, and anybody else who wanted to challenge corporate power. LaRouche also came to the conclusion that in addition to snitching on the left, it was worth his while to make a good living at it. He sold his dossiers on the left to whoever was willing to pay the hefty price. He also began running a multi-million dollar hustle that parted older and often half-senile Republican Party voters from their bank accounts. His phone bankers were very aggressive and very skilled. Eventually this caught up with him in on December 16, 1988, when he was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud involving more than $30 million in defaulted loans. He spent five years in prison as part of a fifteen year sentence.

Even though the LaRouche cult is still operating today, it no longer has the influence it once had. You might even argue that it is no longer fascist but simply just one more ultraright outfit of the sort that the Koch brothers fund and toward the same end.

In my next and final post in this series, I will describe where the group stands today and the possibilities for a new American fascism that had the reach and power of this cult during its heyday.

 

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.

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.

 

August 14, 2017

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

Filed under: Fascism,LaRouche — louisproyect @ 5:59 pm

Lyndon LaRouche carries out the fascist turn

(part one)

Roy Frankhouser, KKK leader who LaRouche bonded with in 1975

When I was a young activist in the 1960s and 70s, there was no “anti-fa” movement in the USA. For that matter, there was not much in the way of an anarchist movement and the one that existed identified much more with the Kropotkin-type philosophy of Paul Goodman rather than trying to smash fascist gatherings on campus or elsewhere.

In a curious role reversal, it was mostly the left that had to fend off assaults from the ultraright. On May 22, 1970 the Jewish Defense League, a fascist-Zionist group led by Rabbi Meier Kahane, stormed into the offices of two pro-Palestinian groups in New York and beat staff members with wooden clubs, leaving three victims hospitalized.

We also had to watch out for Cuban exiles who were trying to intimidate anybody involved with Cuban solidarity. The month after the JDL attack, gusanos set fire to the SWP headquarters in Los Angeles as the LA Free Press reported:

A Citizen’s Committee has been formed in Los Angeles in response to the arson attack on the Socialist Workers Party Headquarters. Named the Citizens’ Committee for the Right of Free Expression, the organization is asking for a full-scale investigation into the fire-bombing and the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attack.

The Committee was formed in response to a series of terrorist attacks in the Los Angeles area. The most recent attack occurred May 27 at the campaign headquarters of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). On that day, at approximately 12;40 P.M., a band of heavily armed men entered the building. Four campaign workers, Peter Seidman, Sally Whicker, Carole Seidman and Tiby Alvin, were in the office at the time. Armed with M-1 semi-automatics and submachine guns, the terrorists forced those present into one room and made them lie face down on the floor. According to Carole Seidman, the invaders continually shouted, “You will die for Fidel!” and “We are going to kill you commies.”

While the victims were being held at gunpoint, other members of the invasion force began smashing kitchen utensils, pulling down bookshelves and overturning desks. They then poured gasoline all over the floors and walls and ignited the office.

As the terrorists fled the scene, Peter Seidman began trying to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher. When Seidman realized this was futile, the magnitude of the flames being too great, the occupants fled down the fire escape.

When I arrived in Houston in 1974 on assignment with the SWP, our bookstore had already been badly damaged by a KKK pipe bomb. In addition, the Klan had blown up the Pacifica radio station transmitter twice and fired a machine gun through the kitchen window of our comrade Fred Brode who was a leader of the antiwar movement in Houston. Fred had fled Nazi Germany to escape persecution as a revolutionary socialist just before Hitler took power. As a young man he had fought the Nazis on the streets of Berlin during the Weimar Republic.

(Parenthetically, I should mention that the JDL, the gusanos and KKK would be beaten back by the sort of broad-based civil liberties campaign the SWP organized and not by street-fighting. Our philosophy was to avoid being perceived as taking the law into our own hands, something that would cut across our efforts to gain public support. This meant insisting that the police arrest the lawbreakers, a tactic that was frowned upon in ultraleft circles.)

In addition to the ultraright, we always had to deal with violent attempts by sections of the left to break up meetings or protests. In 1970, the PLP wing of SDS was trying to destroy the Vietnam antiwar movement through physical attacks on rallies and meetings. Reporting for the SWP’s newspaper, Tony Thomas referred to one of the incidents:

On May 24, a national steering committee meeting of the SMC held in Boston was attacked by over 50 PLP and SDS members led by SDS National Secretary John Pennington. John McCann, an SWP member who was coordinator of the fight that led to the successful Massachusetts 1970 antiwar referendum, was savagely beaten at this meeting.

John, who is deceased, lost the sight in one eye as a result of this attack.

Like PLP/SDS, another group that emerged out of SDS seemed to be on the same warpath. As I indicated in my first post on LaRouche, he formed the National Caucus of Labor Committees in January 1969 out of the implosion of SDS with a 600 member cadre made up of many Columbia University students and graduates, some of whom have remained with him after nearly 50 years.

In 1973, LaRouche launched Operation Mop-Up that targeted the CPUSA in the same way that the Maoist PLP had targeted us in the SWP. It began as a war of words as NCLC members went to CP public meetings to harangue the speakers while the CP denounced them as government agents. Par for the course in the left back then. Dennis King reports on the build-up and deployment of Mop-Up:

Months prior to Mop Up, LaRouche had ordered the most physically agile NCLC members to undergo training for street fighting. This training was now stepped up. Members were organized into flying squads armed with metal pipes, clubs, and nunchukas (Okinawan martial arts devices consisting of two sticks attached by a chain). The idea was to go into action as mini-phalanxes with the nunchuka wielders in the center.

Mop Up began in New York, and spread to Philadelphia, Buffalo, Detroit, and other cities. Attackers were sometimes brought from out of town so their faces wouldn’t be recognized. In several cities they broke up public meetings and invaded leftist bookstores, beating anyone who tried to bar their way. In New York they ambushed individual CP leaders on the street. In Detroit they administered a savage beating to a partially paralyzed left-wing activist on crutches. In Philadelphia, twenty-five to thirty NCLC members raided a meeting of the Public Workers Action Caucus. “The steps were a mass of blood,” said a PWAC activist. “As soon as I walked out I was hit by a pole,” Although no one was critically injured in any of the attacks, several were hospitalized with broken bones and many required medical treatment for cuts and bruises.

The biggest attack on the CP took place on April 23, 1973 when 60 NCLC members stormed a meeting at Columbia University being held for CP mayoral candidate Rasheed Storey. Armed with nunchakus and brass knuckles, they charged the platform that included Joanna Misnik who was representing the SWP candidate. A joint CP-SWP defense guard broke off chair legs to beat back the assault, leaving many NCLC members badly injured. This was pretty much the end of such assaults on the left.

Defending the attacks, LaRouche, using his pseudonym Lyn Marcus, wrote an article titled “Their Morals and Ours” that used language that seemingly rested on his Trotskyist background:

However, the article also pointed forward to his evolving fascist ideology. Dennis King compared the bravado of his language to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. While LaRouche wrote that “All those mighty ‘Communists’ can do is hide behind the nightsticks of the local police, while publishing tear-jerking accounts of their own casualties”, Hitler used a similar formulation in “Mein Kampf”: “Any meeting which is protected exclusively by the police discredits its organizers in the eyes of the broad masses. . . . [A] heroic movement will sooner win the heart of a people than a cowardly one which is kept alive only by police protection.”

If LaRouche had backed off from attacking Marxist groups like the CP or the SWP, he still targeted African-American leaders who he also considered his enemies, using a mixture of ultraleft jargon and racist epithets. They singled out Amiri Baraka, the poet and Black nationalist, for special attention since they had talked themselves into believing that he was a CIA agent. They distributed a pamphlet called “Papa Doc Baraka: Fascism in Newark” that referred to him as a “gutter dweller,” an “animal,” a “mad dog,” “Aunt Jemima,” and “Superfly.” A cartoon on the pamphlet’s cover portrayed him as a hyena with thick lips drooling over a baby’s corpse.

The mixture of racism and ultraleftism cropped up during the struggle for busing in Boston, where the NAACP and its supporters in the SWP backed a plan to desegregate the public schools. In 1974, they had meetings with the white racist anti-busing group known as ROAR (Restore Our Alienated Rights) and ran an anti-busing congressional candidate justified on the basis that busing was a CIA plot to divide the working class.

By 1975, the transition to fascism was complete. The proof was their willingness to begin working with the KKK at the very time when its chapter in Houston was terrorizing the left.

In Michigan, they met with followers of KKK Grand Dragon Robert Miles, who was serving time for bombing school buses in Pontiac, Michigan to protest busing. They nominated his chief aide Vernon Higgins to be their 1974 candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives. Even though Higgins turned out to be an FBI informant, the NCLC continued to coalesce with Klansmen such as Roy Frankhouser, the Pennsylvania Grand Dragon and Miles’s close friend. When Frankhouser was tried that year in Philadelphia on charges of transporting stolen explosives to Miles’s associates, they sponsored a press conference to support him.

In the next installment in this series, I will discuss Lyndon LaRouche’s use of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in his continuing fascist assault on the left. Unlike today’s alt-right, he was able to gain the kind of access to the power elite that will remain out of reach to people like Richard Spencer for the foreseeable future.

July 31, 2017

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

Filed under: Fascism,LaRouche — louisproyect @ 7:20 pm

The Marxist roots of a fascist leader

(From Dennis King’s website)

The other day I ran into a tall African-American man in his early 30s in front of the Lexington Avenue subway stop on 86th Street wearing a sandwich board with words to the effect of “Stop the attack on Donald Trump”. He was passing out a one-page broadsheet titled “The Hamiltonian” that reeked of Larouche’s fascist cult. As I stopped to take one from him, I informed him that I had just read a book about his movement. “What was that?”, he asked. I responded, “Dennis King’s”. He frowned and told me that he King is crazy and sells drugs.

The lead article in the broadsheet was titled “Russia-Gate Exposed as Total Fraud” and could have been written by Max Blumenthal who made identical points on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. Among Trump’s fiercest defenders against Russia-Gate were ultrarightists like Carlson but also that section of the left that looked to the Kremlin for its talking points: Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton, Robert Parry, Stephen F. Cohen, Ray McGovern, et al. If you search the LarouchePAC website for occurrences of “Sarin gas”, you will find the same sorts of articles that appeared on the left describing the Sarin gas attack on East Ghouta  as a “false flag”, including one dated April 7, 2014 that is headlined “Seymour Hersh Exposes Obama’s Red Line And Rat Line”.

Indeed, the article begins by citing the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) leader Ray McGovern, an ex-CIA agent who like Hersh and Theodore Postol was an “expert” that could be relied upon to clear Assad’s name. Ray McGovern has also been interviewed by the LaRouchites to prove that Russia did not interfere with the American elections. Maybe McGovern was in on the meetings that the LaRouchites used to have with CIA agents in the 80s and retains fond memories of these Jew-baiting, racist pigs.

In May, I began reading Dennis King’s Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism after slowly coming to the realization that his movement was the most powerful fascist movement ever seen in the USA, including those that existed in the 1930s. Next to what he had “accomplished”, Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopoulos were inconsequential.

There are obviously theoretical questions about whether the Ku Klux Klan was fascist but it could certainly be said that LaRouche was much closer to “classical” fascism as understood by Leon Trotsky. Of course, the irony is that LaRouche spent 20 years in the Socialist Workers Party, a group that I belonged to as well and one considered by Trotsky to be the flagship of his ill-conceived Fourth International.

My intention originally was to view LaRouchism as a historical movement that was past its prime, especially in light of the time-frame of King’s book that ends nearly 30 years ago. But in the course of posting snippets of King’s book to Facebook and Marxmail, I received an email that put the article referred to above in context:

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 event 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 were 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.”

Caleb T Maupin

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 that 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

It is my intention now to post three articles about LaRouchism, with this one leading off the series. It will cover LaRouche’s political evolution up until the point when he abandoned Marxism in the mid-70s, even of the most aberrant variety. Next I will review the heydays of the movement that coincides with Dennis King’s time-line and that will be based to a considerable degree on his exemplary investigative journalism. Finally, I will cover the period from 1990 to the present day with particular attention paid to the affinities between LaRouche’s movement and the Red-Brown movement coalescing around Vladimir Putin, Breitbart News, Infowars, Alexander Dugin, et al.

Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr., was born in Rochester, New Hampshire on September 8, 1922. His father was a French-Canadian immigrant and Quaker. After developing an interest in philosophy in high school, he grew to question his parents’ beliefs.

He was drafted into the army in 1944 and send to India where he came in contact with Communists. When he urged them to lead an uprising in Bengal, where the British had caused a famine, they rejected his proposal. This led him to say in a 1974 memoir to become a Trotskyist. Nine years later, after he had become a full-fledged fascist and a presidential candidate, he told a different story. He said that the love of Indians for American capitalism left him gratified.

In January, 1949 Lyndon LaRouche joined the Boston branch of the SWP during the height of the Cold War witch-hunt. He went to work on the assembly line in the GE plant in Lynn as part of the party’s “colonization” of industry, a strategy that was relaunched nearly 30 years later and with the same degree of success: none.

In 1954, LaRouche moved to New York and married a party member named Janice Neuberger that I met at a get-together at Cynthia Cochran’s apartment in 2005. Janice and Cynthia were long-time friends, bonded by their affiliation with the Murray and Myra Tanner Weiss grouping in the party that LaRouche gravitated to as well. It was around this time that he became interested in cybernetics and began a career as a management consultant with the George S. May Company, “often making a thousand dollars a week or more helping corporations reduce labor costs” as reported by King.

In 1965 LaRouche hooked up with Tim Wolforth, the leader of the tiny sect that supported Gerry Healy’s version of the Fourth International. Apparently LaRouche was impressed with the authoritarian and cultish environment of Healy’s sect in England that exercised the kind of bullying mind control over his own membership. He also valued the violence Healy resorted to against those outside his movement, including my friend Ernie Tate.

By 1966, he decided to reorient to the New Left and particularly its largest and most influential group, the Students for a Democratic Society. And within SDS, he oriented to the Progressive Labor faction that was Maoist at the time. He found a small band of followers within PLP organized as the Worker-Student Alliance. A number of the faction were students at Columbia University at the time and found his arcane interpretations of Marxist economics irrestible.

In 1968, there was a student rebellion at Columbia led by SDS. In addition to Mark Rudd, another key leader was Tony Papert, a PLP/SDS member who was a follower of LaRouche. That summer LaRouche gave classes in Marxism at a fraternity house that had been turned into a “liberation school”. By this time Papert, who had been expelled from PLP and become totally committed to LaRouche, launched the SDS Labor Committee that essentially marked the beginnings of LaRouchism as a movement. Like some other SDS Labor Committee members from that period, Papert remains in the movement’s leadership.

After the split in SDS precipitated by the clash between Mark Rudd’s Weatherman faction and the PLP-led Worker Student Alliance, the organization began to leak demoralized members, some of whom were willing to join the National Caucus of Labor Committees founded by Tony Papert. By 1973, the NCLC had 600 hard-core members totally devoted to Lyndon LaRouche who would soon exploit a disciplined and politically experienced cadre as a battering ram against the left.

Was there anything in LaRouche’s Marxist economic theories that could explain his evolution into a supporter of the capitalist system based on a fascist state? To understand this, I strongly recommend the pseudonymous Hieronymous’s article titled “Capitalism and productivism in Lyn Marcus’ dialectical economics”, which is an analysis of LaRouche’s “Dialectical economics:  an introduction to Marxist political economy”, a 481 page tome written in 1970 but only published by a vanity press 5 years later. In the lead paragraph, Hieronymous reduces it to a call for capitalism based on planning—a concept that clearly overlaps with the classic definition of fascism as a kind of corporatist state.

While much of “Dialectical Economics” is a fairly conventional presentation of the basic principles of Marxism, including the falling rate of profit, there are signs that LaRouche was veering off into the kind of techno-optimism that runs through his entire ideological edifice. He writes:

[it] is the wildest presumption imaginable to calculate the space and resources available for human existence solely in terms of the earth. Since there is no possibility that human existence will continue beyond this century without the massive conversion of our technology on the basis of thermonuclear fusion, and since that realization means the most ex- plosive scientific advances in the history of mankind, it is the wildest delusion, a literally pathetic delusion in every respect, to doubt that man will soon be populating the moon and Mars. Entering solar space on the rocket of thermonuclear revolutions in technology, man will — as no responsible specialist doubts — instantly begin to bring the massive energy output of the sun under his control. What lies beyond that may be relative speculation for the moment, but it would be the wildest speculation to imagine that anything less than the most explosive and titanic advances in man’s mastery of the universe are not unfolding for our species once we have safely negotiated the difficulties just ahead.

There are also indications that LaRouche’s prior career as a management consultant prompted him to offer suggestions that would make the capitalist system work better. They include forcing capitalist firms to include “externalities” such as water pollution into the costs of production, something that Hieronymus regards as useless under the capitalist system since it is unenforceable as should be obvious from Trump’s naming Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, an agency he has fought for decades.

He also advocates investment in infrastructure, including urban mass transit, railroad systems, and roads. This must explain his website’s breathless endorsement of the Trump presidency: “And now in the United States, a President has emerged who rejects the Imperial divide of the world, who rejects regime change, and who promotes friendship and collaboration with Russia and China, both to defeat terrorism, and to cooperate in the Belt and Road Initiative to meet the common aims of Mankind.” (The Belt and Road Initiative is a reference to China’s Silk Road economic development project that people like Pepe Escobar regard as benign globalization.)

Back in my days in the Trotskyist movement, I used to hear references frequently to one of the main goals of socialism: overcoming the breach between intellectual and physical labor. This was how Marx put it in Critique of the Gotha Program:

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly — only then then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!

And this is how Lyndon LaRouche, a 20 year veteran of the Trotskyist movement who moved on to a career as a management consultant before morphing into a dangerous fascist leader, considered the relationship between intellectuals and those who do physical labor according to Hieronymus:

From all this,  one gets the following sense which is difficult to doubt: Resting on this unrelenting development of productive forces, Marcus’ [LaRouche’s “party name”] vision necessarily entails a “leadership,” a regime of specialists (political economists, accounts, actuaries, scientists, architects, administrators “and others” not the least of which would be Marcus himself). In their “mediation” as “’experts’ on each category of human need” and in “using concrete professional skills to mediate its [the working class’] comprehension of technology and other phenomena”, they inhabit an institutionally distinct space, that of “centralized planning.” Their activity is crudely that of counting and calculating and on this basis creating a plan and whatever options it affords. We consider these very much bourgeois “activities” in the narrow sense of engaging economic rationality. Meanwhile the mass of workers would discuss this plan which is simply presented to them fully formed. According to Marcus, this means an “interchange” between leaders and workers occurs “within the class as a whole.” It signifies an “extended debate about economic problems” transpires between two groups. But it is only one which “thinks” and in so doing generates (even if only in the bean counting, numerically manipulative fashion of the bourgeoisie) the fabled plan. The other discusses the options or ready-made alternatives presented to it. Marcus calls this discussion about the economic programs” “a kind of organic celebration.” He appears to believe that human creativity does not of necessity immediately and directly involve generating the alternatives. Instead, it is a matter of having it done on workers’ behalf by “experts,” “professionals” and “leaders” who pursue “socialist accumulation” as the “centralized agencies of the class as a whole.”

In my next post, I will address the question of how this repellent but fairly conventional technocratic/elitist formula helped to lead LaRouche and his followers to become allies with the KKK and neo-Nazis, meet with officials of the Reagan administration, build up a treasury of millions of dollars, and run hundreds of campaigns around the country including Lyndon LaRouche’s periodic run for President.

 

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