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October 29, 2007

Loafing with LaRouche

As you may recall, the economy was supposed to have collapsed as of two weeks ago today. Right now, you should not be able to afford a loaf of bread with a wheelbarrow full of $1000 bills.

I understand that bread baskets have been sent to headquarters in Virginia by ex-members. The sarcasm is tinged with philanthropy. LaRouche's true believers are in serious trouble; their economy is collapsing, anyway. The group is being forced to come up with money for the IRS, and facing renewed investigation by the FEC, in the wake of events described by Avi Klein in a major article appearing in the new issue of Washington Monthly.

How LaRouche drove one of his most devoted supporters to suicide is interesting not just as a case study in political pathology (that too) but for the mediological story there between the lines. Klein makes the point that one way to understand the LaRouche cult is to regard it as the support system for a vanity press. But Ken Kronberg, who ran the movement's printshop, also built it into a fairly successful commercial enterprise -- among the top 400 in the country, at one point. The profits were looted on a regular basis to keep LaRouche in the lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed.

All of this began to fall apart over the past decade or so -- with the internet playing a fairly important role in the collapse both of the business and of the cult's ability to control interaction between current and ex-members. Efforts to recruit a new layer of youth only complicated matters by adding to the internal tension. The group has lately been targetting MySpace as an instrument of diabolical forces. (The design is certainly evil, so they may have a point.)

As a supplement to the Monthly article, there is an interview at the Political Research Associates site with Kronberg's widow that discusses how they tried to deal with the movement's obvious strain of anti-Semitism. Molly Kronberg mentions that LaRouche "developed a theory that all the 'good stuff' in Judaism came from the (non-Semitic) Egyptians and that everything 'bad' came from those 'dirty Semites' from Mesopotamia." If this theory rings a bell, that's because it echoes Freud in one of his more peculiar flights of speculation.

LaRouche turned 85 just last month. Some ex-members think his recent proclamations are touched with senility, as opposed to the more cogent expressions of bizarre thought they were accustomed to hearing back in the old days. Maybe so. In any case, the whole story is just about over. Some of the followers must be looking forward to that, whether they admit it to themselves or not.

(crossposted from CT)

Posted by smclemee at October 29, 2007 10:53 AM

COMMENTS

The most horrific fact about the history of the LaRouche network is that so many talented and well intentioned people were led down a road that laid the seeds of hatred against the Jewish people and that is what has upset me so very much.

I can see from my son's lecture notes and from how he spoke to me on the phone before his life was so cut short that he wanted to have found a movement that could have helped him make a positive contribution to world peace and what he found was so shocking and so dreadful that he felt the most acute disillusionment and realised the danger he was in. Jeremiah said to me "You know this Nouvelle Solidarity. I am in big trouble. I want out."

It was this anti-semitic conspiracy theories that undermine the whole basis of the rule of law that safeguards the rights of all. How frightening to find you are amoungst such people in Germany. A country with a terrible shame in their history.

It is not that so many people have been betrayed by this LaRouche network and wasted their lives but that they have been used to incite hatred in an already fragile world where because of the holocaust we have an abhorrence of lies, defammation and the age old anti-Jew conspiracies. I mourn the loss of so many good lives as I mourn the destuction of my young sons life.

But too many of us see the truth now and those that incite hatred will be exposed. There is power in people. There is a possibility of freedom in the courage of so many who have suffered who now speak out. Thank you to all the many ex members who now fight for exposure of all that was wrong with the conspiracy theories of LaRouche and his duped slaves.

Posted by: Erica Duggan at January 5, 2008 6:40 PM