Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr. (born September 8, 1922 in Rochester, New Hampshire) is an American political activist and founder of several political organizations in the United States and elsewhere, known collectively as the LaRouche movement. He has been a perennial candidate for President of the United States, having run in eight elections since 1976, once as a U.S. Labor Party candidate and seven times as a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination.
There are sharply contrasting views of LaRouche. His supporters regard him as a brilliant and original thinker, whereas critics have variously seen him as a conspiracy theorist, an anti-Semite, or the leader of a political cult. The Heritage Foundation has said that he "leads what may well be one of the strangest political groups in American history." In 1984, LaRouche's research staff was described by Norman Bailey, a former senior staffer of the National Security Council, as "one of the best private intelligence services in the world."
LaRouche was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment in 1988 for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax code violations, but continued his political activities from behind bars until his release in 1994 on parole. His defense attorney, Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. Attorney General, argued that the case represented an unprecedented abuse of power by the U.S. government in an effort to destroy the LaRouche organizations. LaRouche and his defenders claim the prosecution was a politically motivated conspiracy involving government officials, numerous others, and a mass media brainwashing campaign.
LaRouche is currently listed as a director and contributing editor of the Executive Intelligence Review News Service, part of the LaRouche movement. He has written extensively on economic, scientific, and political topics as well as on history, philosophy, and psychoanalysis.
In a 1974 interview, LaRouche described his childhood as that of "an egregious child, I wouldn't say an ugly duckling but a nasty duckling. According to his 1979 autobiography, The Power of Reason, he began to read at "about age five" and was called "Big Head" by the other children at school. He was told by his parents, both of whom were Quakers (his father had converted from Roman Catholicism in order to marry his mother), that under no circumstances could he fight with other children even in self-defense. This advice led to "years of hell" for him from bullies at school. As a result of this bullying, and because of the social isolation resulting from his precocity, he spent much of his time alone, taking long walks through the woods and identifying in his mind with great philosophers:
I survived socially by making chiefly Descartes, Leibniz and Kant my principal peers, looking at myself, my thoughts, my commitments to practice in terms of a kind of collectivity of them constructed in my own mind.
By contrast, he joked, the childhood peers from whom he had felt so alienated had been "unwitting followers of David Hume."
LaRouche elaborated on his early intellectual development in a second autobiography (1988) in which he reports that, between the ages of twelve and fourteen, he read philosophy extensively, embracing the ideas of Leibniz and rejecting those of Hume, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Rousseau, and Kant.
By 1940, the Lynn Monthly Meeting of Friends (Quaker) was discussing censuring LaRouche for spreading libelous material and gossip about other members, and in 1941, the Lynn Meeting agreed to expel him, removing him from the group: "We believe Lyndon H. LaRouche [Jr.] is guilty of stirring up discord in this meeting; that he is responsible for circulating material injurious to the reputation of valued Christian workers; and believe that his conduct brings the Christian religion into public disrepute. We recommend the appointment of a committee to deal with him and to endeavor to reclaim him in a spirit of Christian love. His family all resigned in sympathy, asking to be removed from the membership of the meeting in October 1941.
LaRouche writes of this conflict in his autobiography, characterizing it as a quarrel with the American Friends Service Committee stemming from several issues: the disappearance of a trust fund, the Austin-Cross fund, which had been set up by friends and relatives of LaRouche to meet the financial needs of the Silsbee Street Meeting House; resistance by LaRouche's father and others to an attempt to recruit them to the support of Soviet communism; and theological disagreements.
His parents later formed and led their own independent congregation in Boston, the Village Street Monthly Meeting, which met from 1964 to 1979, and in which LaRouche was an active member. According to New England Quaker documents, "This was ostensibly as a Quaker meeting, though its relations with New England Yearly Meeting seem to have been decidedly unfriendly. They were never listed in the Yearly Meeting minutes, as most independent meetings were. Lyndon LaRouche, seems to have been a key member.
LaRouche enrolled at Northeastern University, but left in 1942 after receiving poor grades. As a Quaker, he was at first a conscientious objector (CO) during World War II, joining a Civilian Public Service camp where King reports that he "promptly joined a small faction at odds with the administrators, but in 1944 he joined the Army as a non-combatant, serving in India and Burma with medical units and ending the war as an ordnance clerk. LaRouche describes his decision to renounce Conscientious Objection and serve as one of the most important in his life. While in India, he developed an interest in and sympathy for the Indian Independence movement. He reports in his autobiography that many GIs feared that they would be asked to support British forces in actions against Indian independence forces, a prospect that he says "was revolting to most of us."
While still in the CO camp, LaRouche had begun discussing Marxism with fellow camp inmates and soon became a Marxist. While travelling home from India on the troopship SS General Bradley in 1946, he met Don Merrill, a fellow soldier, who was also from Lynn. Merrill won LaRouche over to Trotskyism on the journey home. Back in the U.S., LaRouche attempted to resume his education at Northeastern, intending to major in physics, but left again because of what he called academic "philistinism.
LaRouche obtained work as a management consultant in New York City, advising companies on how to use computers to maximise efficiency and speed up production. In 1954, he married fellow SWP member Janice Neuberger. Their son, Daniel, was born in 1956. By 1961, the LaRouches lived in a large apartment on Central Park West. His activity in the internal life of the SWP was minimal due to his preoccupation with his career.
In 1964, while still in the SWP, LaRouche became associated with a faction called the Revolutionary Tendency, which had been expelled from the party and was under the influence of the British Trotskyist leader Gerry Healy, leader of the British Socialist Labour League. For six months, LaRouche worked closely with American Healyite leader Tim Wohlforth, who later wrote:
LaRouche had a gargantuan ego. Convinced he was a genius, he combined his strong conviction in his own abilities with an arrogance expressed in the cadences of upper-class New England. He assumed that the comment in the Communist Manifesto that "a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class..." was written specifically for him. And he believed that the working class were lucky to obtain his services.
LaRouche possessed a marvelous ability to place any world happening in a larger context, which seemed to give the event additional meaning, but his thinking was schematic, lacking factual detail and depth. It was contradictory. His explanations were a bit too pat, and his mind worked so quickly that I always suspected his bravado covered over superficiality. He had an answer for everything. Sessions with him reminded me of a parlor game: present a problem, no matter how petty, and without so much as blinking his eye, LaRouche would dream up the solution.
He remained in the SWP until his expulsion in 1965. He maintains that he was soon disillusioned with Marxism, dropped out of the SWP in the mid-1950s, and resumed his activism only at the prompting of the FBI citing national security concerns. In an interview on the Pacifica Radio network, LaRouche said that he returned to the SWP because he believed that only the Left was likely to combat what he called the "utopian" danger coming from the Right, typified by the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. His ex-wife and other SWP members from that time dispute this. During these years, LaRouche developed an interest in economics, cybernetics, psychoanalysis, business management, and other subjects. He and his wife separated in 1963 and were subsequently divorced.
In 1965, LaRouche left Tim Wohlforth's group and joined the Spartacist League, which had split from Wohlforth. He left after a few months and wrote a letter to the SWP declaring that all factions and sections of the Trotskyist Fourth International were dead and announcing that he and his new partner, Carol Larrabee (also known as Carol Schnitzer), were going to build the Fifth International.
In 1966, the couple joined the Committee for Independent Political Action (CIPA), a New Left/Old Left coalition that was running independent anti-war candidates in New York City elections, and formed a branch in Manhattan's West Village.
He began teaching classes at New York City's Free School on dialectical materialism and attracted around him a group of undergraduates and graduate students from Columbia University and the City College of New York, several of whom were involved with the Maoist Progressive Labor Party (PLP), itself very prominent in the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In the 1988 version of his autobiography, LaRouche writes that he was not really a Marxist when he gave his lectures at the Free School but that he used his familiarity with Marxism to win students away from the New Left counterculture. This assertion is contradicted by the autobiographical material in a 1974 work where he depicts himself as having been a staunch Marxist revolutionary since 1945. However, what LaRouche began to write and teach in the late 1960s was somewhat different from orthodox Marxism, supplementing the doctrine of class struggle with a strong emphasis on the dangers of a supposedly parasitical finance capital as opposed to industrial capital. He would continue with this latter emphasis in the following decade while abandoning, for the most part, the use of Marxist jargon.
LaRouche's followers were heavily involved in the 1968 student strike and occupation of Columbia, and attempted to win control of the university's SDS and PLP branches by putting forward a political program linking student struggles with those of Harlem residents, transit workers, and the tenant movement. LaRouche and his associates issued statements supporting the New York City strike by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) that fall and criticized advocates of community control of the public schools. According to LaRouche's autobiography, his main opponents on this issue were the New Left groupings, which LaRouche claims were being directed from behind the scenes by McGeorge Bundy and the Ford Foundation. LaRouche also says of this conflict that, on the part of those who were attacking the largely Jewish teachers' union, "[t]here were ugly anti-Semitic noises from various groups..."
LaRouche created his own 'tendency' or faction within Columbia SDS once his following had grown large enough. It competed with both the 'action faction,' which soon became the Weather Underground, and the 'praxis axis', which saw students as the vanguard of the revolution. LaRouche organized his faction as the "SDS Labor Committee," which would develop strong influence within SDS chapters in Philadelphia. He criticized the SDS and the New Left in general, for allowing itself to be influenced by the counterculture, which he abhorred, and for not emphasizing work among trade unionists and tenants. Wohlforth attended one of LaRouche's meetings in New York during this period and writes:
Twenty to 30 students would gather in a large apartment and sit on the floor surrounding LaRouche, who now sported a very shaggy beard. The meeting would sometimes go on as long as seven hours. It was difficult to tell where discussions of tactics left off and educational presentation began. Encouraging the students, LaRouche gave them esoteric assignments, such as searching through the writings of Georges Sorel to discover Rudd's anarchistic origins, or studying Rosa Luxemburg's The Accumulation of Capital. Since SDS was strong on spirit and action but rather bereft of theory, the students appeared to thoroughly enjoy this work.
After its expulsion from SDS in 1969 for supporting the New York City teachers' strike, the SDS Labor Committee became the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC), while continuing to function in some SDS chapters outside New York. Despite its name, it had no significant connection with the labor movement and viewed intellectuals as the revolutionary vanguard. According to Dennis King, NCLC's internal life became highly regimented over the next few years. Members gave up their jobs and private lives and became entirely devoted to the group and its leader. The movement developed an internal discipline technique, "ego stripping," which was intended to reinforce conformity and loyalty to LaRouche.
In 1973, according to some press accounts, the NCLC adopted violent and disruptive tactics under LaRouche's direction. According to the Village Voice, NCLC members physically attacked meetings of the Communist Party and later of the SWP, and other groups who were classed by LaRouche as "left-protofascists." According to the New York Times, they also attacked CP members on the street and used nunchaku. LaRouche called these attacks "Operation Mop-up."
The NCLC argued that they were acting merely in self-defense, but according to Dennis King, their rhetoric suggested otherwise. "From here on in," LaRouche proclaimed at a mass meeting of his East Coast followers, "the CP cannot hold a meeting on the East Coast...We'll mop them up in two months. His newspaper echoed this call in an editorial:
We must dispose of this stinking corpse [the CP] to ensure that it cannot act as a host for maggots and other parasites...Our job is to pulverize the Communist Party.
According to LaRouche's autobiography, violent altercations between his organization and New Left organizations actually began in 1969, preceding the period referred to as "Mop up." He writes:
It was Rudd's Bundy-funded faction which launched the first violence against us, at Columbia... Other organized physical attacks against my friends would follow, inside the United States and abroad. Communist Party goon-squad attacks began in Chicago, in summer 1972, and continued sporadically up to the concerted assault launched during March 1973. During 1972, there was also a goon-attack on associates of mine by the SWP.
According to King, LaRouche halted Operation Mop-Up after police in New York City, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Boston arrested several of his followers on assault charges and after the CP, the Socialist Workers Party, and other leftist groups formed joint defense teams and began to win battles against the Mop-Up squads.
LaRouche has claimed that "the FBI was orchestrating its assets in the leadership of the Communist Party U.S.A., to bring about my personal 'elimination'," LaRouch Speaks.net citing a document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
In 1974, The New York Times reported on a belief inside the LaRouche organization that one of LaRouche's followers had been kidnapped and brainwashed by the CIA to become a Manchurian Candidate–style assassin against LaRouche. The LaRouche group announced at a national conference that the plot involved the CIA and KGB and that the brainwashed would-be assassin was Chris White, a 26-year-old British national who had married LaRouche's ex-girlfriend, Carol Schnitzer, before moving with her to London to organize a British branch of the NCLC. King writes:
...members from across the country had gathered in New York for the conference. The suspense began to mount as alarming rumors emanated from LaRouche's apartment. It was said that White had been tortured and brainwashed in a London basement by the CIA and British intelligence, who had programmed him first to kill his wife upon the utterance of a trigger word and then to finger LaRouche for assassination by Cuban exile frogmen.
LaRouche mobilized the entire NCLC. They passed out fliers on a massive scale in New York and other cities, describing White's alleged tortures in lurid detail. The national office issued more than forty press releases in a two-week period. LaRouche and the Whites filed a complaint with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and launched a lawsuit against the CIA. NCLC members frantically solicited their parents and friends to serve on an Emergency Commission of Inquiry.
In 1971, LaRouche organized the New Solidarity International Press Service as a wire service for his publications. He founded the weekly Executive Intelligence Review and co-founded the Fusion Energy Foundation.
By the mid-1970s, LaRouche and his movement were no longer promoting a socialist agenda. Readings of Marx and Lenin were off the reading list for LaRouche's followers and would be replaced by Alexander Hamilton, Friedrich Schiller, Plato, Avicenna, Nicolas of Cusa, and others. A key factor in the shift on economics may be found in the published articles of NCLC Executive Committee member Allen Salisbury on Henry Carey and the American System school of political economy, culminating in his book The Civil War and the American System. The LaRouche organization, after some deliberation and dissent, adopted Salisbury's thesis that the American System approach was different from, and superior to, either Marxism or laissez-faire capitalism, and the organization's publications rapidly reflected this re-assessment. Another book was published, a collection of source documents entitled The Political Economy of the American Revolution. LaRouche also became a strong advocate of nuclear energy and directed energy technologies for ballistic missile defense.
LaRouche founded the U.S. Labor Party in the early 1970s as a vehicle for electoral politics, maintaining that both the major parties had abandoned the American System economic policies that the LaRouche organization had embraced (LaRouche named Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin as exemplars of this school of thought). LaRouche argued that his theoretical developments in physical economics made clear that the American System was the system of political economy best suited to make nations credit-worthy producer economies.
LaRouche visited Baghdad in 1975, during which he made a presentation to the Baath Party conference on the topic of his "Oasis Plan," a proposal for Arab-Israeli peace based on the joint construction of massive water projects. LaRouche has also maintained contacts and meetings with Israeli peace activists including Nahum Goldmann (1978), then head of the World Jewish Congress, and Abba Eban, former Israeli representative to the UN. During 1975, LaRouche's newspaper New Solidarity began running articles favorable to Iraq and extensively quoting Saddam Hussein, at that time Iraq's vice-president.
In 1976, he ran for President of the United States as a U.S. Labor Party candidate, polling 40,043 votes (0.05%). This campaign was the first to broadcast a paid half-hour television address, which gave LaRouche the opportunity to air his views before a national audience. This was to become a regular feature of later campaigns during the 1980s and 1990s.
In a September 24, 1976, op-ed in the Washington Post, entitled "NCLC: A Domestic Political Menace," Stephen Rosenfeld wrote, "We of the press should be chary of offering them print or air time. There is no reason to be too delicate about it: Every day we decide whose voices to relay. A duplicitous violence-prone group with fascistic proclivities should not be presented to the public unless there is reason to present it in those terms."
Since the fall of 1979, the LaRouche movement has conducted most of its U.S. electoral activities within the framework of Democratic Party primaries, despite the disapproval of the Democratic National Committee.
The most common criticism of LaRouche is that he is a conspiracy theorist. Also, due in large part to LaRouche's campaigns against Zionism in the 1970s and Neoconservatism beginning in the 1990s, LaRouche has been accused of Anti-Semitism.
Since the 1970s, LaRouche and his organization have been criticised from across the political spectrum, including by the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Heritage Foundation, the Anti-Defamation League, and the League for Industrial Democracy. In 1979, a two-part article appeared in the New York Times that was strongly critical of LaRouche. Also in 1979, a former member of LaRouche's U.S. Labor Party, Gregory Rose, published an article in National Review alleging that LaRouche had established contacts with Palestinian political organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and also with the Iraqi mission to the United Nations in New York. Rose also alleged that LaRouche at this time was in contact with Soviet diplomats, while also linking up with ultrarightists such as Willis Carto of the Liberty Lobby and Pennsylvania Ku Klux Klan grand dragon Roy Frankhouser. The Heritage Foundation released a report, which stated that despite what they describe as LaRouche's appearance as a right-wing anticommunist, he takes political stands, "which in the end advance Soviet foreign policy goals." Longtime LaRouche critic Daniel O. Graham, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has stated that he believes LaRouche is an "unrepentant Marxist-Leninist" who pretended to be right-wing in order "to suck conservatives into giving him money.
LaRouche associate Jeffrey Steinberg has claimed that criticism of LaRouche coming from the ADL and related organizations was an extension of the FBI COINTELPRO program. LaRouche claimed all of this negative publicity was part of a "defamatory campaign [which] laid the political groundwork for a later, new wave of corrupt Justice Department operations launched at, once again, the instigation of Henry Kissinger." For more information, see Political views of Lyndon LaRouche.
A number of organizations, publications, and individuals have alleged that LaRouche is guilty of both overt and "coded" anti-Semitism, including the Encyclopedia Judaica, the Anti-Defamation League, Senator Daniel Moynihan, Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe, and writers Mike Royko, Dennis King, Chip Berlet, and Robert L. Bartley. However, LaRouche condemns anti-Semitism in his published writings. He writes, "Religious and racial hatred, such as anti-Semitism, or hatred against Islam, or, hatred of Christians, is, on record of known history, the most evil expression of criminality to be seen on the planet today. In more recent times, LaRouche has been criticised for referring to "Jewish gangsters" and "Christian Zionists" "bought by money, the so-called Zionist money" in a speech to the Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-Up, a controversial think-tank since shut down by the government of the United Arab Emirates.
Dennis King asserts that anti-Semitic writings by LaRouche trace back to the early 1970s, although the Rockefellers were the main target at the time. King says that LaRouche made connections with neo-Nazi and fringe ultra-conservatives, including Willis Carto, and Ken Duggan, which were the main reason that, according to King, LaRouche shifted his focus to the Jews in the mid-1970s (Authors Laird Wilcox and John George dispute this assertion: "Although the transient relationship is frequently mentioned to illustrate "links" and "ties" between LaRouche and the extreme right, it was brief and fleeting. Given their respective personalities, a union of LaRouche and Carto would be a miracle under any circumstances.) King asserts that some Jewish members quit the movement due to anti-Semitic jokes, Holocaust denial, and a perceived resemblance between LaRouche's writings and Mein Kampf. To placate others, King asserts, LaRouche redefined the meaning of "Jew": " To be a real Jew, he suggested, one must repudiate the State of Israel, Zionism, and the mainstream leadership of the Jewish community." King compares LaRouches' writings with various Nazi and other anti-Semitic tracts going back to the 1890s and finds a common themes of connecting Jewish power with the British Empire. King points to what he says are assertions by LaRouche that all of the main power centers in Britain are controlled by Jewish families.
In addition to condemning anti-Semitism, LaRouche publications strongly denounce fascism and warn that it is an ever-present danger. However, there is a grouping of critics that allege that LaRouche covertly supports fascistic policies. This grouping includes Dennis King, Chip Berlet, Russ Bellant, and Tim Wohlforth. According to Wohlforth and Dennis Tourish:
The parallel between LaRouche's thinking and that of the classical fascist model is striking. LaRouche, like Mussolini and Hitler before him, borrowed from Marx yet changed his theories fundamentally. Most important, Marx's internationalist outlook was abandoned in favor of a narrow nation-state perspective. Marx's goal of abolishing capitalism was replaced by the model of a totalitarian state that directs an economy where ownership of the means of production is still largely in public hands. The corporations and their owners remain in place but have to take their orders from LaRouche. Hitler called the schema "national socialism". LaRouche hopes the term "the American System" will be more acceptable.
In 1979, Chip Berlet wrote his first of several articles about LaRouche for the Chicago Sun Times, while King wrote a 12-part series for the Manhattan weekly Our Town, followed later by a book entitled Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism. LaRouche has advanced, according to Dennis King and others, ideas which appear to be modelled on fascist and even Nazi racialist concepts. In an examination of LaRouche's writings on political theory, King argues that LaRouche was really advocating a fascist-style state in which all political dissent would be crushed. LaRouche, however, says that the model he advocates is that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In 1981, Berlet, King and a Detroit journalist, Russ Bellant, released a set of documents that they claimed revealed a pattern of potentially illegal activity by LaRouche and his followers, and called for the government to investigate.
Linda Hunt and Dennis King have described LaRouche's dealings with German scientists and engineers who worked under the Nazi government of Germany during the Second World War, some of whom came to the United States after the war under Operation Paperclip and ended up with NASA. Among these scientists were Arthur Rudolph (a former Nazi party member, who had been the rocket production manager at the Mittelwerk slave-labor factory), and several other Peenemunde rocket experts, including Krafft Arnold Ehricke, Adolf Busemann, Konrad Dannenberg, and Hermann Oberth. LaRouche also had a relationship with Karl-Adolf Zenker and Paul-Albert Scherer, West German Admiral and former head of West German Military Intelligence, respectively, who both served in the German military in World War II. King suggests that these relationships may indicate some form of pro-Nazi sympathies on the part of LaRouche.
The New York Times review of King's book concluded that "...in trying to see Mr. LaRouche as a would-be Führer, Mr. King may be trying to tie together the whole unruly package with too neat a ribbon. A number of loose ends hang out, not least of which is the fact that many members of Mr. LaRouche's inner circle are Jewish."
A number of commentators, including Laird Wilcox, John George and Daniel Pipes, have discussed claims by Dennis King that there are coded references in LaRouche's writings. Wilcox and George write that "Dennis King goes to considerable lengths to paint LaRouche as a neo-Nazi, even engaging in a little conspiracy-mongering of his own. King maintains, for example, that words like "British" were really code words for 'Jew.' Daniel Pipes writes that "Dennis King insists that [LaRouche's] references to the British as the ultimate conspirators are really `code language' to refer to Jews. In fact, these are references to the British. Pipes, however, also alleges that "LaRouche places a British-Jewish alliance at the center of his conspiracism.
King also claims that LaRouche's published attacks on Henry Kissinger include a disguised form of anti-Semitism. King makes an argument (which also references certain images used in LaRouche publications) that LaRouche is a neofascist whose world view secretly centers on anti-Semitism and includes a "dream of world conquest." He claims that certain photos of barred spiral galaxies and of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory plasmoid experiments which appeared in LaRouche's New Solidarity newspaper and Fusion magazine, are "reminiscent of the swastika" and of the Nazi "theory of spiraling expansion/conquest. He also points to a 1978 illustration in New Solidarity of Queen Elizabeth at the top of a Star of David and certain headlines (in more recent LaRouche publications) such as "How the Venetian Virus Infected and Took Over England" to bolster his argument that LaRouche's attacks on a "British" oligarchy are often coded attacks on international Jewry.
Robert L. Bartley, writing in The Wall Street Journal, criticizes the title of a LaRouche-sponsored pamphlet ("Children of Satan") attacking the neoconservatives. He quotes the pamphlet's assertion that a "cabal of [Leo] Strauss disciples, along with an equally small circle of allied neo-conservative and Likudnik fellow-travelers" have plotted a "not-so-silent coup." Noting that "Mr. LaRouche has chosen an Aryan-nation phrase for Jews (descendants of Cain, who was the result of Satan seducing Eve, in this perfervid theology)," Bartley terms the "Children of Satan" title "overt anti-Semitism." He also suggests that the use of the terms "Straussian" and "Neo-conservative" may be coded anti-Semitism when used by LaRouche and other writers.
Chip Berlet suggests that the commentary on Iraq by LaRouche-affiliated publications, which is incorporated into some Arab and Muslim commentaries, represents conspiracism and anti-Semitism, especially through the use of what Berlet describes as "stereotyped descriptions of the neoconservative network and their power. Berlet also contributed to a segment in the Encyclopedia Judaica which states that LaRouche is a "notorious antisemite," and among those who use "conspiracy allegations moved into more mainstream circles through bridging mechanisms" in a way that often masks the "original overtly anti-Jewish claims by using coded rhetoric" and thus is a "major source of such masked antisemitic theories globally.
Former LaRouche follower Linda Ray, writing in In These Times, has also alleged euphemistic LaRouchian methods of communicating. She recalls reading in New Solidarity about a subhuman oligarchical species centered in London: "Although I knew it did not make scientific sense, I presumed that it was a deep intellectual metaphor that was over my head." She says that years later, when she was shown the Star of David picture with Queen Elizabeth at the top, "I quickly replied...'It is just a graphics art symbol'--which I naively thought for years. But as soon as I said it out loud I realized that I sounded ridiculous. It was as if I was waking from a nightmare.
Between 1978 and 1984 LaRouche filed several libel suits.
Beginning in 1980, LaRouche became a regular feature on American television during election years, when he was able under U.S. election law to purchase numerous half-hour spots on prime time TV for political talks to the general public. The high point of this activity was in 1984, when he was able to raise enough money to purchase 14 spots.
LaRouche became interested in the possible uses of lasers and other directed energy weapons during the 1970s. When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, LaRouche says that he sought to share his knowledge with the new administration, hoping that these weapons could be used against nuclear missiles. Later that year, Lyndon and Helga Zepp-LaRouche met with CIA Deputy Director Bobby Ray Inman. Long-time LaRouche supporter and former head of German Military Intelligence, General Paul-Albert Scherer, has said:
In the Spring of 1982 here in the Soviet Embassy there were very important secret talks that were held.... The question was: Did the United States and the Soviet Union wish jointly to develop an anti-ballistic missile defense that would have made nuclear war impossible? Then, in August, you had this very sharp Soviet rejection of the entire idea.... I have discussed this thoroughly with the developer, the originator of this idea, who is the scientific-technological strategic expert, Lyndon LaRouche. The [Soviet] rejection came in August, and at that point the American President Reagan decided to push this entire thing out into the public eye, so he made his speech of March 1983.
Retired Lt. General Daniel O. Graham, a military specialist who conceived the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) has complained about LaRouche's attempts to take credit for the idea. Graham has explained the origins of the idea as "a technological end-run on the Soviets". "They also mounted a furious attack on me personally. Even today I get mail asking if I'm in league with LaRouche," said Graham. LaRouche countered, "President Reagan's initial version of SDI was consistent with what I had introduced into U.S.-Soviet back-channel discussions over the period beginning February 1982. However, immediately thereafter, the mice went to work. Daniel Graham, the leading opponent of SDI up to that time, now proclaimed himself the virtual author of the policy, and was used, thereafter, to remove all of the crucial elements from the original policy. There is no independent verification of either Graham's or LaRouche's statements.
Steven Bardwell, a physicist and former head of LaRouche's Fusion Energy Foundation, wrote, after leaving the LaRouche organization, that LaRouche's goal was not a defensive version of SDI but an offensive "first strike" version, and that LaRouche had privately talked about "Doomsday weapons," such as "cobalt bombs with fans. LaRouche supporters maintain that LaRouche presented SDI as defensive, including when he discussed it with Reagan administration officials prior to Reagan's announcement, and that LaRouche had hoped it would be a "science driver" to revive the economies of both the United States and the Soviet Bloc.
LaRouche has since attributed the collapse of the Soviet Union to his promotion of SDI.
In 1984, LaRouche co-founded (along with his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche), the Schiller Institute, which was to be a global umbrella organization for his ideas. He was joined in this effort by several of his close friends, including American Civil Rights Movement leader Amelia Boynton Robinson, and an important leader of the French Resistance, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade.
In October 1986, the FBI and Virginia state authorities raided the LaRouche headquarters in Leesburg in search of evidence to support the persistent accusations of fraud. LaRouche and six associates were charged with conspiracy to obstruct the investigation and mail fraud related to fundraising. After many delays it became a mistrial. A different grand jury charged LaRouche with conspiring to hide his personal income since 1979, the last year he had filed a federal tax return. In December 1988, a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia convicted LaRouche and his associates, and LaRouche was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. LaRouche served five years of his sentence and was paroled.
The convictions of LaRouche and his associates were a defining moment in the history of the LaRouche network. LaRouche and his defenders published advertisements in major newspapers which bore the names of hundreds of elected officials from the US and other countries, insisting that LaRouche was jailed, not for any violation of the law, but for his beliefs (see attempts at exoneration.) LaRouche and his publications charged the prosecution was a politically motivated conspiracy involving government officials, numerous others, and a mass media brainwashing campaign.
LaRouche alleged systematic government misconduct:
One of LaRouche's attorneys, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, wrote that his case involved "a broader range of deliberate and systematic misconduct and abuse of power over a longer period of time in an effort to destroy a political movement and leader, than any other federal prosecution in my time or to my knowledge."
However, jury foreman Buster Horton told the Washington Post (17 December 1988) that it was the failure of LaRouche aides to repay loans that swayed the jury in the Virginia case, and that the jury "all agreed [LaRouche] was not on trial for his political beliefs. We did not convict him for that. He was convicted for those 13 counts he was on trial for."
LaRouche did not stop all political activity while in prison. He ran for Congress in 1990, seeking to represent the 10th District of Virginia. He received less than 1% of the vote. He ran for president again in 1992, met with international personages, and gave interviews. During part of his imprisonment he shared a cell with televangelist Jim Bakker at the Federal Medical Center located in Rochester, Minnesota. Bakker later wrote of his astonishment at LaRouche's detailed knowledge of the Bible. According to Bakker, LaRouche received a daily briefing each morning by phone, often in German. Bakker reports that on more than one occasion LaRouche had information days before it was reported on the network news. Bakker also writes that his cellmate was paranoid and convinced that their cell was bugged. LaRouche was released on parole in 1994.
Meanwhile, in 1992, the father of Lewis du Pont Smith, an adult member of the Du Pont family who had joined the LaRouche movement, was indicted along with four associates for planning to have his son and daughter-in-law abducted and "deprogrammed". The incident resulted in serious legal repercussions but no criminal convictions for those indicted, including private investigator Galen Kelly. The father also tried unsuccessfully to have his son declared incompetent in order to block him from possibly turning over his inheritance to the LaRouche organization.
Also in 1994, LaRouche commented on the then-ongoing murder trial of O.J. Simpson, lambasting the media for presuming Simpson's guilt.
In the 1996 Democratic presidential primaries, LaRouche received enough votes in Louisiana and Virginia to get one delegate from each state. However, the Democratic Party refused to grant any delegates to LaRouche, asserting that he is a convicted felon with political beliefs that are "explicitly racist and anti-Semitic, LaRouche sued in federal court, claiming a violation of the Voting Rights Act. LaRouche and his supporters argued that the decision disenfranchised the voters who had cast their votes for LaRouche. After losing in the district court the case was appealed to the First District Court of Appeals, which sustained the lower court. (See also Lyndon LaRouche U.S. Presidential campaigns.)
During the 2000 Democratic primaries, LaRouche scored in double digits in multiple states, with his best showing in Arkansas, where he received 22% of the vote to Vice President Al Gore's 78%. In the Kentucky primary, LaRouche placed third with 11%, behind Gore and Bill Bradley. Again the Democratic Party again refused to grant any delegates to LaRouche. In the most recent election (2004,) he issued an open letter in response to the reiteration of Fowler's claims, in which he said "Specifically, the allegation that my expressed political beliefs are explicitly racist and anti-Semitic, is not only a lie; but it is, rather, you, by your actions, who have condoned and promoted the aims sought by an implicitly racist overturn of the Voting Rights Act.
During the Monica Lewinsky scandal, LaRouche mobilized his supporters in defense of Clinton. They formed a group called the "Committee to Save the Presidency," which petitioned nationwide against resignation or impeachment. LaRouche asserted that the same people and institutions that had attacked him were behind the attacks on Clinton.
Beginning in January, 2001, shortly before the inauguration of George W. Bush, to the present day, LaRouche began holding regular webcasts on the average of one every 1-2 months. These were public meetings, broadcast in video, where LaRouche gave a speech, followed by 1-2 hours of Q and A over the internet. In his January 3, 2001 webcast, LaRouche warned that the incoming Bush administration would attempt to govern by crisis management, "...in other words, just like the Reichstag fire in Germany.
In 2002, LaRouche commenced a campaign to have Vice President Dick Cheney removed from office.
He has also traveled to Russia, where on several different occasions, LaRouche publications report that he has addressed both the Economics Committee of the Russian State Duma and the Russian Academy of Sciences, most recently in 2007.
In recent years, LaRouche has received significant press coverage in both Russia and China. In November 2005, an eight-part interview with LaRouche was published in the People's Daily of China, covering his economic forecasts, his battles with the American media, and his assessment of the neoconservatives. In August 2006, LaRouche was interviewed on Vremya, one of the most popular Russian TV news programs, along with former Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov, American journalist Seymour Hersh, and others, on the topic of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. In May 2007, LaRouche was interviewed on the Russian web portal KM.ru. KM.ru referred to LaRouche as a "major American economist and political figure," going on to say that "[h]e was one of the first to launch a fight against the global financial oligarchy and its chief financial institutions the World Bank, and the IMF. His forecasting track record is unparalleled.
LaRouche has actively collaborated with Russian politician Sergey Glazyev, and in 1999 the LaRouche organization published an English language edition of Glazyev's book, Genocide Russia and the New World Order More recently, it also published The Anatomy of Russian Capitalism by economist Stanislav Menshikov. Both books include introductions written by LaRouche.
In 2007, a paper by LaRouche was presented at an April 24 conference in Moscow on the recently announced Russian plan to build a tunnel under the Bering Straits. LaRouche has long advocated this tunnel project as part of his proposal for a "Eurasian Land Bridge.
On May 15, 2007, LaRouche was a featured guest and speaker at a special ceremony held at the Russian Academy of Sciences to commemorate the 80th birthday of Russian economist Stanislav Menshikov. His presentation was published in a special issue of the Russian magazine, Forum. While in Russia, LaRouche conducted numerous other meetings and interviews, including with the Anti-Globalist Resistance Group (www.anti-glob.ru,) and the Russian web portal KM.ru. He was also interviewed on the "A+ in Economics" program on the Spas TV satellite network. Spas TV is a project of the Russian Orthodox Church. On September 29 an interview with LaRouche was published in Russian by the "RP Monitor," which in its introduction described LaRouche as a "world class social philosopher, colorful public policy figure, enthusiast for scientific and technological progress, denouncer of world oligarchy, and the author of many bold economic development projects.
On April 11, 2007 in Sterling, unincorporated Loudoun County, Virginia, a longtime LaRouche associate, Kenneth Kronberg, 58, jumped to his death from a highway overpass. Kronberg was the co-founder and an editor of Fidelio, the now-defunct magazine of the Schiller Institute, a LaRouche movement think-tank founded by Helga Zepp-LaRouche. According to a November 2007 article in the Washington Monthly, Kronberg's printing business was reportedly in "serious arrears in tax payments, including employee withholding, due largely to lack of payment for printing jobs by other LaRouche entities." Molly Kronberg, Kronberg's widow and former member of the LaRouche organization, blames Lyndon LaRouche and his organization for her husband's suicide." In an interview with PRA, Mrs. Kronberg stated that she believes her husband's suicide was an attempt by him to escape the "terrible tension [in her opinion caused by LaRouche's alleged anti-semitism and megalomania], and his legal and financial entanglements on behalf of the organization". According to the Washington Monthly, LaRouche felt that Molly Kronberg's donations to the Bush campaign "foreshadowed her treachery to the movement."
In its 2004 assessment of presidential candidates, the National Right to Life Committee gave LaRouche a grade of 75% and declared that he is "pro-life in every way (against euthanasia, capital punishment, etc)."
LaRouche was endorsed by at least two Democratic state representatives in 2004, Erik Fleming of Mississippi and Harold James of Pennsylvania, though Fleming later expressed regret at becoming involved, calling that endorsement "the worst mistake of all."
LaRouche was present in Boston during the 2004 Democratic National Convention but did not attend the convention itself. He held a press conference in which he declared his support for John Kerry and pledged to mobilize his organization to help defeat George W. Bush in the November presidential election. He also waged a campaign, begun in October 2002, to have Dick Cheney resign or be dropped from the Republican ticket.
In 2005 LaRouche campaigned against the privatization of Social Security, asserting that this was an issue that could successfully mobilize the population against the policies of the Bush administration. LaRouche drafted legislation in 2006 that would rescue the failing U.S. auto industry by having the federal government intervene to retool it for the purpose of building machinery for infrastructure development. This initiative was unsuccessful. In August 2007, LaRouche authored the "Homeowner and Banks Protection Act of 2007," designed to freeze mortgage rates, halt foreclosures, and prevent banks from closing their doors due to insolvency. His organization and particularly his youth movement began lobbying both the congress and also state and local governments for the passage of this legislation, in what they characterize as an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Subprime mortgage crisis.