Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Professors warn: cults like the LaRouche Youth Movement are dangerous!

Professor warns that cults may target students

Many cults are said to operate under the guise of nonprofits and recruit on campus.
Janna Brancolini

Published: Sunday, November 4, 2007, Daily Trojan ( )

Updated: Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Clarification: This article cites that the Los Angeles Church of Christ was accused of cult activity in 2000. At the time of the accusations, the church was not a recognized student group at USC. The church became a university-recognized student organization in 2001 and has not been accused of cult activity since.

The list of problems plaguing college campuses is extensive: illegal drugs, alcohol abuse, sexual assault. But according to experts, there's a lesser-known, but equally-present danger: cults.

As part of Parents Weekend, the USC Department of Sociology presented "Sects in the City: Protecting Your Children from Cults" Thursday afternoon, with the aim of educating parents about how to help their children avoid cult recruitment techniques.
"Cults are known to recruit on college campuses," said the presenter, Doni Whitsett, a professor in the School of Social Work and an independent clinician. "Students are invited to a dinner, a retreat, a special lecture, and they may not know who's sponsoring it."

Oftentimes cults will operate under the guise of human rights groups, she said. Her lecture began with an anecdote about a female college student who attended a cult retreat, thinking it was an activist event to end poverty.

Whitsett prefers not to use the term "cult" because she says it's a loaded word fraught with controversy. She said better descriptions are "high-demand" and "destructive" groups. They require exceptionally high levels of dedication and sacrifice from their members, and they manipulate members by not disclosing that the group is a cult.

"The techniques are subtle," Whitsett said. "They use mind control techniques, and one hallmark of them is that you don't know it's happening."

People should be wary of groups that discourage questioning or discussion, convince members to sever ties with the outside world and refuse to let them leave, said Dr. Robert J. Lifton, a renowned psychiatrist who published groundbreaking work about cults in the 1960s.

Whitsett said experts agree that college students are especially vulnerable to destructive groups for a variety of reasons. They are transitioning to adulthood, searching for acceptance and direction, and are open to innovative ideas.
Although cults are prohibited from recruiting on many college campuses, Whitsett said these groups could be present at USC because their actions on campus do not violate university rules.

"They will meet criteria for a booth on campus, but it can be a gateway," she said. "There's no control over what happens off campus."

Although a discussion about cults on college campuses might seem sensationalist to some, groups on and around USC's campus - including the LaRouche movement and the Los Angeles Church of Christ - have been accused of cult activity in the past.

Students and parents said they were drawn to Thursday's lecture out of curiosity. After Whitsett finished lecturing, a discussion followed. Parents said their students spent hours completing AlcoholEdu and asked why a session about cults couldn't be offered as well.

"I liked the [AlcoholEdu] comment - when the freshmen come in they can spend an hour on cults and what to look for," USC parent Debra Sherman.

She added that although she is not concerned her children will join cults, she thinks it would be a good idea to educate incoming students about them.

The lecture not only discussed what students should watch out for, but also signs that parents should be wary of. Signs of cult activity include dramatic changes in grades, quitting school to go on a mission, spouting rhetoric, and a decrease in communication with parents.

Whitsett explained that if parents do notice such behavior, they should stay calm and educate themselves about the group as much as possible. She cautioned parents not to criticize the group or get angry and said that the goal is to stimulate students' doubts by asking questions, not by badgering them.

"Don't be discouraged by resistance," she said. "Kids will remember your questions when they begin to doubt. Question, but don't give advice."

According to a 2006 article in The Boston Globe, the potential cult groups on and around USC are the two most prevalent groups on college campuses nationwide.

The LaRouche Youth movement, which was started by Lyndon LaRouche in 1965, handed out "LaRouche for President" literature last semester on the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Hoover Street.

LaRouche members have been accused of recruiting people on campuses and influencing them to drop out of school to promote LaRouche's political agenda. Critics say those who try to leave the group are threatened.

In 2003, a British student named Jeremiah Duggan went to Germany for what he thought was a peace protest against the war in Iraq, but was actually what critics called a LaRouche rally with anti-Semitic overtones.

After calling home worried about his safety, Duggan's body was found by the side of the Autobahn. German authorities ruled it a suicide, but independent forensic experts have said he was beaten to death.

Another group on campus, the Los Angeles Church of Christ, has been accused of cult activity. In 2000, a USC student wrote an account of her experience with the church, which is a branch of the International Church of Christ, for a USC Catholic Community newsletter.

She wrote that the church expected her to give 10 percent of her money to the church. She also had to ask permission before making decisions.

The church convinced her that she would go to hell and would abandon God if she left it, she wrote. The article reported that when she left the congregation, its members shunned her and spread rumors that she was pregnant.

In a 2003 Daily Trojan article, Rabbi Susan Laemmle, dean of religious life at USC, said the group meets all guidelines described in the "Ethical Framework for Religious Life at USC," and therefore qualifies for recognition as a student organization.

Some students said they did not consider the advice too invasive of their privacy.
Amanda Rossie, a graduate student studying print journalism who attended Thursday's event, said parents have a right to be involved with their college-age children and the decisions they make.

"I think as a freshman coming in ,,you're still a child, whether or not you like to think so," she said. "If you're taking your parents' money for school, they have a right to know what you're doing there. They have a vested interest."

Eric Holmes, a senior majoring in business administration, said that although he doesn't know of any specific cult activity at USC, he wouldn't be surprised if it exists.

"If [parents] can help their kids make the right decisions, they should," he said.

"Cults aren't what they're made out to be."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

USA, 2007: Ex. LYM Akka and jmp87 about LYM.

Akka: Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 6:15 am:

Hi everyone, I used to be a member of the LYM but dropped out. I've been reading your posts and have recognized a lot of the problems I encountered myself; especially the way the boomers are treated, and off course as, jmp8 points out, the horriffic living conditions. I was only member for about 6 months, but still I've used a lot of time afterwards to process all the new impressions and ideas I was exposed to. Like jmp87 I'm still inspired by some of the core ideas, and also the vigor and virtue og some of the youth members. On the other hand I totally recognize the cultish feats that seem to permeate the org. Contrastng the passionated intellectuals, wanting to make a difference, I saw deeply emotionally disturbed kids´who were more or less clinging on to LHL's fatherly figure, and would cite him all the time without actually thinking critically on their own; 'Lyn says this, Lyn says that' therefore its right. The reason I left was that I, first of all, was unsure of the truthfulness of the theories I was presented to - here especially how history was presented, which I found contained a lot of contradictions.

Secondly I kept asking myself: what are the long term effects of this movement on its members? And when I saw these phone teams, composed of middleaged people, calling all day, 6 days a week, I could vividly imagine how these people once were young and full of good pretensions, like the youths, but now were stuck in this obvious miserable condition - a lot of them just looked like they were worn out. This was not the principle of 'the general welfare', promoted in the campaigners.

Although I've left, I still have some contact with the movement, mainly because im trying to figure it out. How it works - and if I should support it or not. You've all been through it, and it obviously has left som deep scars in your souls. I myself am very affected by the experience and I think about it daily; It really was a turning point in my life, and In many ways I felt very connected to what it means being a human being - as opposed to the extremely superficial reality of popular youth culture today, of which I was a part. This sense og humanity is something I still cherish and is grateful for. The most fundamental discovery I made, was that life is not some relativistic soup, were one opinion was as good as any other - there is such a thing as quality, were one way of thinking supersedes another because it's based on truer axioms than the other; implicitly - that truth exists and is attainable by humans; if they seek it rigoriously and open-minded. For me, this was a wonderful idea that actually gave my existentialistic life, some sort of direction and ground for optimism. This is a grand paradox for me: how can something that brought me insights and true joy, also seem like a freakish cult that is destroying lives? XLC4life mentioned an ex-member, Zubrin I believe, who apparently has specialized in Mars or something. Didn't he get something good out of the org? I mean, is the organisation really bad in all respects, and doesn't it also depend on the individual that joins?

Excuse my english - or at least the grammar - its not my main language!


borisbad: Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 9:41 am:

Akka, I can see from your post that you went through quite a transformation and fortunately you managed to retain your sanity being in for less than a year. Clearly, people join an organization like the LYM because they are dissatisfied with what they see around them and would like to see changes. And there is certainly much to be said about the banality of much of popular culture both today and in our day (the boomer generation). But then again popular culture was never equated with higher culture even Lyn likes to pretend that in the old days everybody studied Shakespeare, Goethe, Schiller, etc.

The thing about Lyn is how he cloaks himself in the authority of others who actually have made great contributions whether in arts, politics, math, etc. Then he construes vast machinations to show how the bad guys (whether called Aristotelians, Synarchists, Babylonian whore supporters, dionysians or what ever) are trying to stop whatever machination Lyn is perpetuating at the moment. The key thing is that you retained a sense of independent thought that made you look a little bit behind the shadows in the cave. When people give into anything uncritically, then they get trapped into cult thought. For example, Lyn likes to praise Plato, but ask if he really wants anyone in the organization examining the apriori assumptions behind his axioms and negate them which is the method behind Plato's dialogues.

I would agree that getting out of the organization doesn't mean you have to just become apolitical or uninvolved in seeking change. I think there are many activities and groups that may espouse ideals at least partially in line of what you are looking for that don't demand the total sacrifice of your identity.

jmp87Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 1:20 pm:

Akka, In regards to being political after the movement it's absolutely possible. More than possible. Right now I'm meeting With Henry Waxman, The representative of Los Angeles County to discuss The possibility of constructing a maglev train from San Diego to Seattle. I also wrote a pamphlet up in Humboldt demanding the impeachment of Cheney and citing the violations on why he must leave. I wrote numerous other pamphlets as well talking about different discussions.

It's been a year since I've left the movement and am now friendly with almost all the members. Whether its a cult or not is a tough question because there are things that they do that are legitimate. 2 of their members got elected to the democratic party recently and many of their ideas are quite sound. For example, I've always known that Al gore is a Genocidal beast ever since I've read what he states in his book, Earth in a Balance that "the populations of human beings must be reduced to 2 billion" Now if it was just a mad man stating that then who cares but this guy is trying to enact policies based on this. The most densely populated areas are in Europe yet Gore doesn't want to kill Europeans. He just wants to kill Africans and Latin Americans. the only movement that I can think of that is really preventing gore from winning this fight are the Larouchies. There is no such thing as overpopulation. That is a fascist policy that was constantly preached by Hitler himself with the "Liebenstraum" policies. Meaning living space for the Aryans. AL Gore wants to kill all the Africans and other ethnicities that aren't caucasian because hes a sick •••••••. It's impossible to explain insanity.

Now, even though they do extraordinary political and philosophical work, does not excuse the way they treat the older members and and also the living conditions. They could easily increase the budget no more than just possibly 500 bucks per office and all the members could eat comfortably. I mean after all, they always over spend on pamphlets anyway and we would always get frustrated when we would have January pamphlets still in the office while its October. Thus we overspend on the pamphlets and don't spend enough on the food.

I would say akka is Go back to school but bring the best of Larouche's Ideas with you. For example, I had a lot of fun talking about Riemaninan Geometry with a math Professor at the college I attend ,Humboldt State University. Both me and the professor had a blast discussing the ideas. I think it was because I was making the discoveries on my own rather than just being fed it.

I live in Los Angeles Right now until Most likely late august. What local where you in. I was in the L.A Local


Akka: posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 4:47 pm:
Hi, Thanks for the advice. I am studying at uni right now, and have been doing it for some time. In the org there is a conscious idea of how university is basically brainwashing. This, though is certainly not true...I mean off course, there are nutty proffessors and ignorant kids and all that, but the great thing is you can study all the stuff you find interesting - at least in universiy I attend. You'll also be getting a degree you can use later, and, like you said jmp, still be political and make a difference for the better.

It is outright silly, in my opinion, not to get an education if you have the chance, even if you sympathize with LYM. You don't know whats gonna happen in the future, and being financially dependent on an organisation is very unwise, as I can understand from this board some of the boomers would probably leave if not they were not dependent financially on the movement, but also the social dependence has a say. Getting an education gives you a firm social network outside the movement AND keeps your family from worrying too much - plus it gives you an ability to se things from more than one perspective. A thing I think Schiller was right on, was when he wrote that one should be a part of society but not a product of it. There is no reason in isolating oneself. Just a little subjective advice.

What you said, Borisbad, is actually what I couldn't swallow; namely, this big hostile overtake of the world by various, and seemingly changing fations. Its not that I don't think conspiracies don't exist, I mean, anyone whose been into politics, knows how agreements and stuff like that gets into place, there is a lot more than meets the eye. But from what I can gather from you guys, meaning the older ex-members, is that LHL has been swithching to and fro all through his career. You say he started out as a trotskyist and was part of this leninist group up until the mid sixties, where he was pushing marxist theories - which at the time probably was popular among the youths - some of you guys joined because of those ideas perhaps. One thing I'd like to know, is whether or not the economic program he was proposing then, is similar to what he thinks now, in terms of more investment in longterm infrastructual prjoects, and a new bretton woods and those kinds o things or was it more like a communistic scheduled economy of sorts?

Another thing I find striking is this idea of antisemitism - which is what freaked my friends and family out. I must admit, I haven't met any racisme what so ever in the movement when I was there, quite the contrary, actually- you know - nobody there talked about race or religions in a judgemental manner - it was the quality of your mind, and spirit which was focused on, which is quite a relief when you come from a materially fixated culture, I might add. It seems to me that there has been a change in that respect, from what you describe with the antisemitism and all that. I couldn't help but notice that you guys were slamming Helga for the 'locust' thing. I don't know anything about the womans background, but I do know that the term 'locust' was actually used by the former SPD finance minister, Müntefering, in his explicit characterisation of the Hedgefunds back in 2005 or so, which he called 'Heuschrecken', meaning 'locusts' in german, and thats when they started using the word in the campaigners; as a reference to Münteferings term.

jmp, I'd rather keep contact on the board for now, and also keep my identity anonymous. No offence ;-)


JMP87. Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 7:20 pm:

I have to agree with akka that i didn't experience any antisemitism either. I've posted some posts about a week ago talking about the topic.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Testimony about LYM (

I have a friend who has joined the Larouche political group based in Oakland. He works for them more than 12 hours a day, 6 days a week; the seventh day is a "reading" day in which he reads a variety of books Larouche thinks are insightful and useful. He has almost stopped visiting us and honestly believes that economic crisis is near and that Lyndon Larouche is the only one who can help our country get through this crisis; this is so important that he cannot take time off to be with us. All Larouche supporters I have met look up to Larouche as an intellectual giant, one who makes many correct predictions about future events. Most of the widely-read people who criticize Larouche, such as Dennis King and Chip Berlet, are themselves derogated by Larouche on his web site (, for example). In short, while I have no time to substantiate this claim currently, Larouche's group believes that they are only ones who can save this nation from imminent economic crisis and its current political, artistic, and scientific malaise; Larouche is one of the smartest men in America; he is widely respected abroad (this has some basis in fact); everyone else is occluded from the truth and needs to wake up, and Larouche is right about nearly everything. Lar articles are pseudo-intellectual and require research or extensive knowledge to understand. No time to support it, but I'll just say this at the end: It's a wanna-be cult. Wise up before it's too late and someone you know is gone for forever. Talk to them as much as possible, point out why they're crazy and the group is nuts (they can't be right about everything; they derogate everything as being biased against them; they don't believe that any non-classical (and some classical) music has any worth) before you lose contact and only see that person a few times a year, when you can drag their soulless body away from the clutches of this group. listen up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New posts about Lyndon LaRouche!

A new post at my main "Lycurgus" site: Is Lyndon LaRouche omnipotent and omniscent, or just a macho bully?


Look at my new blog in SWEDISH: EAP, Europeiska Arbetarpartiet och LaRoucherörelsen!


LaRouche Youth Movement (from

The LaRouche Youth Movement

July 11, 2007

By Scott McLemee

An organization known as the LaRouche Youth Movement has become a fixture on many college campuses over the past few years. Many of its adherents are undergraduates, though members are eventually urged to quit school to work full-time for the organization. "We are in a complete breakdown of the financial system and we know that," one member told a student newspaper in California. "We can use our time in a more appropriate manner than going to school." Recruits have been tireless in distributing tracts that bear such lurid titles as “Children of Satan” (about members of the Bush administration) and “How the 'The Sexual Congress of Cultural Fascism' Ruined the U.S.A.” (an allusion to the Cold War-era Congress for Cultural Freedom).

While LYMers do support the perennial American presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche, it is somewhat misleading to think of these texts as mere campaign literature – or the movement itself as essentially political. Members are recruited in part around the claim that the movement will give them a real education in classical culture, with a particular emphasis on mastering Plato and Leibnitz.

His adherents regard Lyndon LaRouche as the greatest mind of the past 300 years, at very least. "I'm probably the best economist in the world today," as LaRouche told The Washington Post in 1985. But a list of the areas of expertise behind that claim of eminence is even more astounding.Members of his youth group now publish a scholarly journal, of sorts, called Dynamis, devoted to their studies of his mathematical and scientific doctrines.

LaRouche has also determined the correct pitch for tuning musical instruments. Any other tuning bothers him, besides being incompatible with the structure of the universe. In the best of all possible worlds, people found in possession of “incorrect” tuning forks and pitch-pipes would be fined. His followers in Italy once proposed legislation to that effect. It failed. That campaign seems to be at a standstill, but it once drew close attention in the pages of Opera Fanatic magazine.

In one of his autobiographies, LaRouche explains that his mission is to create what Plato called “golden souls” – fit to rule those of us of a more silver or even bronze hue. His quest to do so began among students on college campuses 40 years ago. Members of the inner core of his organization have long since qualified to join the AARP. LaRouche himself is now 85 years old. And yet it is clear that he remains ready, willing, and able to serve as philosopher-king for the entire planet, given half a chance.

And so a few years back LaRouche's followers began recruiting new support among university students. In 2002, organizers for the movement, one of them carrying a megaphone, rushed into classrooms at Santa Monica College to spread the good word, according to the campus newspaper. By 2003, recruitment was successful enough to receive LaRouche's own enthusiastic approval."Give me 1,000 youth leaders like these," he announced that year, "and I'll take over the country."

That goal may have been a little optimistic. The figure of 1,000 new members has not been mentioned in a while. But the movement’s Web site now lists contact information for 21 cities.

Members of the LaRouche Youth Movement also make themselves visible, if no means welcome, at Democratic Party events. Perhaps “visible” is not really the right word. The LaRouchies are prone to heckle and to sing – often, in fact, at the same time. One central doctrine of the movement is that certain classical compositions (sung at the proper pitch) can transform both singer and listener in a golden-soulful way. Here, for example, is a video of Joseph Lieberman being subjected to LaRouchian bel canto yodeling

LaRouche supporters claim to be a wing of the Democratic Party -- something the party itself strenuously denies. His following has the LaRouche Political Action Committee as its electoral arm. LPAC raised more than $7.4 million in 2006, according to statements filed with the Federal Election Commission. It dispersed a grand total of $1,565 to a Democratic candidate for president.(Guess which one?) A review of expenditures (also available at the FEC site) shows a total of $462,850 going to the LaRouche Youth Movement. Another $6,223 went to Bruce Director, a longtime supporter of LaRouche who teaches the candidate’s mathematical theories to the youth group.

When they are not busy studying geometry or learning to sing properly, youth organizers are expected to meet a daily fund-raising quota. In an open letter to the father of a Youth Movement member, a former long-time supporter of the LaRouche organization described the life of a full-timer organizer as "dreary."

But one might never know that from LaRouche's speeches to the movement, which often end, "Have fun!"

The emergence of the group is all the more surprising, given that LaRouche himself has long since become the walking punchline to a very strange joke. He is known for some of the most baroque conspiracy theories ever put into circulation. Members of the LYM now deny that he ever accused the Queen of England of drug trafficking – though in fact, he did exactly that throughout the 1980s. At the time, he won admirers on the extreme right wing by denouncing Henry Kissinger as an agent of the KGB and calling for AIDS patients to be quarantined. A good roundup of LaRouche's positions and conspiracy theories is available from, the website of Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank.

The movement lost even more credibility when LaRouche and several of his top associates were convicted of mail fraud in 1988. He even ended up sharing a prison cell with Jim Bakker, the disgraced televangelist. (Now there's a Platonic dialogue one would like to read.)

But most of the students joining his movement now were barely learning to read when LaRouche was paroled in 1994. He has managed to repackage himself as a former “political prisoner.” Actually LaRouche was prosecuted for making a million dollars’ worth of unauthorized charges to credit cards, which would not ordinarily count as a manifestation of high idealism. Be that as it may, LaRouche has displayed a certain knack, over the years, for pitching his message to young people. The new focus on student recruitment is, in fact, a return to the movement's origins.

In the mid-1960s, LaRouche gave rather spellbinding lectures at Columbia, Temple, Swarthmore, and other campuses – never as a professor, but rather as a guest speaker invited by radical students. His career up to that point had certainly been unusual.

Although a member of various small Marxist organizations, LaRouche was also employed as a management consultant to the shoe industry. According to some of his later statements, he was involved in early efforts to apply computer technology to bookkeeping practices.Meanwhile, he published radical tracts under the pseudonym Lyn Marcus. (He describes his early years as a revolutionary, his use of the pen name, and his pioneering role in creating accounting software in The Power of Reason, an autobiography published in 1979.)

It is often said by LaRouche's critics that his pseudonym, Lyn Marcus, was meant as a reference to Lenin and Marx – a colorful detail, though, alas, one not really supported by an evidence. A more parsimonious explanation for “Lyn” is that it is just a contraction of “Lyndon.” As for "Marcus," he claims that his nickname as a young man was Marco Polo.

But my friend James Weinstein -- a radical historian who knew LaRouche briefly during the mid-1960s -- had a different perspective. "A lot of Jews in the radical movement took WASP-seeming party names," he told me. "So here you had this guy who looked and sounded like a Boston Brahmin taking a Jewish name. He was very strange. He would show up at meetings of his own organization to hand out leaflets denouncing it."

He was, in any case, a man of numerous theories. And as protests against the Vietnam war grew, he found a ready audience for them. Lyn Marcus developed a following among radical students at Columbia University in the months just before the campus upheaval there in 1968. Several of his young disciples were part of the student strike committee. His following won occasional passing references in James Simon Kunen’s once-famous book The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary, published the following year.

Kunen describes a meeting at Columbia during which a shaggy-bearded radical orator, obviously is somewhat older than his audience, lectures on the impending global depression. Although he is not identified by name, this was almost certainly LaRouche. The beard is documented in a photograph from the period. He later cut it off – but kept the lecture about impending global depression, which has always been a staple of his ideology.

By the early 1970s, he had a following of nearly 1,000 students on campuses across the country, organized as the National Caucus of Labor Committees. It was the most bookish of far-left groups, and included some very smart people, several of them holding advanced degrees. (Quite a few also had trust funds, at least when they joined.) At least some professors must have taken the movement seriously. Writings by Lyn Marcus and other NCLC members appeared in Institutions, Policies, and Goals: A Reader in American Politics, a college textbook issued by D.C. Heath in 1973.

In 1975, Heath also brought out a curious volume called Dialectical Economics: An Introduction to Marxian Political Economy, which appeared under LaRouche's pseudonym. This was his theoretical magnum opus. It received exactly one notice in an academic publication: a review in The Journal of Political Economy by Martin Bronfenbrenner, a professor of economics at Brown University.

The LaRouche movement has inspired some excellent investigative journalism over the years – in particular the work of Dennis King, who has unearthed many a surprising and unpleasant fact about the candidate. (His book about LaRouche, published by Doubleday in 1989, is now available online.)

But it seems that no reporter has ever noticed Bronfenbrenner's examination of Dialectical Economics -- the one occasion, I believe, when LaRouche's work was discussed by a serious scholar. It is a remarkably interesting item in its own right. As a review-essay, it is sober and judicious, yet suffused with a certain tone of puzzlement, as if Bronfenbrenner had to stop every so often to scratch his head.

“As regards content,” he noted, the book was “perhaps 50 percent dialectical philosophy, with a strong epistemological stress. The remaining 50 percent appears fairly evenly divided between history (including economic history), anthropology-cum-sociology, and economics (including a surprisingly large loading of business administration).....For a 500 page introduction to economics, in sum, the economics is disappointingly thin.”

And yet there was, indeed, some economics in it. The exact kind was worth noting -- for not all of it came from Das Kapital, by any means. Bronfenbrenner discerned that the author “had the advantage of more private-business experience than the great majority of academic economists.” A good deal of that direct knowledge “has been at the exploitive frontier of ‘white-collar crime,’ bordering on fraud both in the inducement and the factum....Marcus’s experience extends to the speculative overcapitalization of capital values, creating ‘fictitious capitals’ which cannot later justify themselves by earning capacity in the normal course of events.”

In short, Dialectical Economics was the work of someone familiar, not just with Marxist theory, but with creative bookkeeping. Bronfenbrenner also wrote that the book left “a distinct impression, redolent of the 1930s, of the one-man-party member with whom the world is out of step.”

That may be one of the more insightful comments ever made by a book reviewer. But at the time, in the mid-1970s, LaRouche's "one-man party" was already a bit larger than that. An account of life in the group appeared in a memoir by two friends, Jeff Durstewitz and Ruth Tuttle, called Younger Than That Now: A Shared Passage from the Sixties (Bantam, 2001). One of the authors, Tuttle, joined the group in the early 1970s.

Members “spent countless hours reading and studying,” she wrote, “getting a better education in Western philosophy and politics than we had gotten [in college]. But that benefit was far outweighed by the brutalized and controlled nature of our day-to-day lives. Even as we were verbally flogged each day to use creative thinking to achieve ‘humanistic relevance’ in the world, the reality was that we and our comrades used most of our time in dehumanizing and mind-deadening activity.”

Not that much has changed in more than three decades, to judge by accounts of life in the LaRouche Youth Movement from people who have left recently. There is something morbidly fascinating about the phenomenon, if also terribly sad. One of LaRouche's longtime followers, the head of his publishing company, recently jumped to his death from a highway overpass after a statement by the leadership praised the dynamic youth organization while suggesting that "Boomer" members might just as well commit suicide.

Charisma is a mysterious thing, and even more so when it has a rather seedy feel -- the claims of universal genius, a la Leibnitz, suffused a quality owing more perhaps to Elmer Gantry. It is hard to imagine what the organization's future may be. Even if LaRouche is Socrates, all men are mortal, and everybody knows how that syllogism works out.

But any member of the LaRouche Youth Movement with moments of doubt can now readily get access (after a few minutes online) to extensive information on the real history of the organization as well as a forum where ex-members compare notes. Have fun!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Vaclav Havel: The Power of the powerless (1978).

Vaclav Havel
"The Power of the Powerless"


(To read my open letter to all those that still are members of the LaRuchecult, where I quote from this text by Havel, read here: The text in this linked article explains why I have posted this text here on the LaRouchesources blog!

Excerpts from the Original Electronic Text provided by Bob Moeller, of the University of California, Irvine.

{1}A SPECTER is haunting Eastern Europe: the specter of what in the West is called "dissent" This specter has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting. It was born at a time when this system, for a thousand reasons, can no longer base itself on the unadulterated, brutal, and arbitrary application of power, eliminating all expressions of nonconformity. What is more, the system has become so ossified politically that there is practically no way for such nonconformity to be implemented within its official structures. . . .

{2}Our system is most frequently characterized as a dictatorship or, more precisely, as the dictatorship of a political bureaucracy over a society which has undergone economic and social leveling. I am afraid that the term "dictatorship," regardless of how intelligible it may otherwise be, tends to obscure rather than clarify the real nature of power in this system. . . Even though our dictatorship has long since alienated itself completely from the social movements that give birth to it, the authenticity of these movements (and I am thinking of the proletarian and socialist movements of the nineteenth century) gives it undeniable historicity. These origins provided a solid foundation of sorts on which it could build until it became the utterly new social and political reality it is today, which has become so inextricably a part of the structure of the modern world. . . . It commands an incomparably more precise, logically structured, generally comprehensible and, in essence, extremely flexible ideology that, in its elaborateness and completeness, is almost a secularized religion. It offers a ready answer to any question whatsoever; it can scarcely be accepted only in part, and accepting it has profound implications for human life. In an era when metaphysical and existential certainties are in a state of crisis, when people are being uprooted and alienated and are losing their sense of what this world means, this ideology inevitably has a certain hypnotic charm. . . .

{3}The profound difference between our system-in terms of the nature of power-and what we traditionally understand by dictatorship, a difference I hope is clear even from this quite superficial comparison, has caused me to search for some term appropriate for our system, purely for the purposes of this essay. If I refer to it henceforth as a "post-totalitarian" system, I am fully aware that this is perhaps not the most precise term, but I am unable to think of a better one. I do not wish to imply by the prefix "post" that the system is no longer totalitarian; on the contrary, I mean that it is totalitarian in a way fundamentally different from classical dictatorships, different from totalitarianism as we usually understand it.

. . . .

{4}The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: "Workers of the world, unite!" Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment's thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

{5}I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life "in harmony with society," as they say.

{6}Obviously the greengrocer . . . does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone. The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: "I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace." This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer's superior, and at the same time it is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan's real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer's existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

{7}Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan "I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient;' he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, "What's wrong with the workers of the world uniting?" Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology.

{8}Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo. It is an excuse that everyone can use, from the greengrocer, who conceals his fear of losing his job behind an alleged interest in the unification of the workers of the world, to the highest functionary, whose interest in staying in power can be cloaked in phrases about service to the working class. The primary excusatory function of ideology, therefore, is to provide people, both as victims and pillars of the post-totalitarian system, with the illusion that the system is in harmony with the human order and the order of the universe. . . .

{9}The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

{10}Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.

. . . .

{11}Why in fact did our greengrocer have to put his loyalty on display in the shop window? Had he not already displayed it sufficiently in various internal or semipublic ways? At trade union meetings, after all, he had always voted as he should. He had always taken part in various competitions. He voted in elections like a good citizen. He had even signed the "antiCharter." Why, on top of all that, should he have to declare his loyalty publicly? After all, the people who walk past his window will certainly not stop to read that, in the greengrocer's opinion, the workers of the world ought to unite. The fact of the matter is, they don't read the slogan at all, and it can be fairly assumed they don't even see it. If you were to ask a woman who had stopped in front of his shop what she saw in the window, she could certainly tell whether or not they had tomatoes today, but it is highly unlikely that she noticed the slogan at all, let alone what it said.

{12}It seems senseless to require the greengrocer to declare his loyalty publicly. But it makes sense nevertheless. People ignore his slogan, but they do so because such slogans are also found in other shop windows, on lampposts, bulletin boards, in apartment windows, and on buildings; they are everywhere, in fact. They form part of the panorama of everyday life. Of course, while they ignore the details, people are very aware of that panorama as a whole. And what else is the greengrocer's slogan but a small component in that huge backdrop to daily life?

{13}The greengrocer had to put the slogan in his window, therefore, not in the hope that someone might read it or be persuaded by it, but to contribute, along with thousands of other slogans, to the panorama that everyone is very much aware of. This panorama, of course, has a subliminal meaning as well: it reminds people where they are living and what is expected of them. It tells them what everyone else is doing, and indicates to them what they must do as well, if they don't want to be excluded, to fall into isolation, alienate themselves from society, break the rules of the game, and risk the loss of their peace and tranquility and security. . . .

{14}Let us now imagine that one day something in our greengrocer snaps and he stops putting up the slogans merely to ingratiate himself. He stops voting in elections he knows are a farce. He begins to say what he really thinks at political meetings. And he even finds the strength in himself to express solidarity with those whom his conscience commands him to support. In this revolt the greengrocer steps out of living within the lie. He rejects the ritual and breaks the rules of the game. He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth. . . .

{15}The bill is not long in coming. He will be relieved of his post as manager of the shop and transferred to the warehouse. His pay will be reduced. His hopes for a holiday in Bulgaria will evaporate. His children's access to higher education will be threatened. His superiors will harass him and his fellow workers will wonder about him. Most of those who apply these sanctions, however, will not do so from any authentic inner conviction but simply under pressure from conditions, the same conditions that once pressured the greengrocer to display the official slogans. They will persecute the greengrocer either because it is expected of them, or to demonstrate their loyalty, or simply as part of the general panorama, to which belongs an awareness that this is how situations of this sort are dealt with, that this, in fact, is how things are always done, particularly if one is not to become suspect oneself. The executors, therefore, behave essentially like everyone else, to a greater or lesser degree: as components of the post-totalitarian system, as agents of its automatism, as petty instruments of the social auto-totality.

{16}Thus the power structure, through the agency of those who carry out the sanctions, those anonymous components of the system, will spew the greengrocer from its mouth. The system, through its alienating presence in people, will punish him for his rebellion. It must do so because the logic of its automatism and self-defense dictate it. The greengrocer has not committed a simple, individual offense, isolated in its own uniqueness, but something incomparably more serious. By breaking the rules of the game, he has disrupted the game as such. He has exposed it as a mere game. He has shattered the world of appearances, the fundamental pillar of the system. He has upset the power structure by tearing apart what holds it together. He has demonstrated that living a lie is living a lie. He has broken through the exalted facade of the system and exposed the real, base foundations of power. He has said that the emperor is naked. And because the emperor is in fact naked, something extremely dangerous has happened: by his action, the greengrocer has addressed the world. He has enabled everyone to peer behind the curtain. He has shown everyone that it is possible to live within the truth. Living within the lie can constitute the system only if it is universal. The principle must embrace and permeate everything. There are no terms whatsoever on which it can co-exist with living within the truth, and therefore everyone who steps out of line denies it in principle and threatens it in its entirety. . . .

{17}The original and most important sphere of activity, one that predetermines all the others, is simply an attempt to create and support the independent life of society as an articulated expression of living within the truth. In other words, serving truth consistently, purposefully, and articulately, and organizing this service. This is only natural, after all: if living within the truth is an elementary starting point for every attempt made by people to oppose the alienating pressure of the system, if it is the only meaningful basis of any independent act of political import, and if, ultimately, it is also the most intrinsic existential source of the "dissident" attitude, then it is difficult to imagine that even manifest "dissent" could have any other basis than the service of truth, the truthful life, and the attempt to make room for the genuine aims of life.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

LYM: A cult of Personality with Lyndon LaRouche in the center

A young student from infiltrated some LYM meetings and wrote this in 2006:

Infiltrating a secretive Lyndon LaRouche compound, UCLA student journalist Garin Hovannisian gets a frightening lesson in idolatry and indoctrination.

While heading to class along UCLA’s main pedestrian thoroughfare, a daytime hangout for young prophets and propagandists among others, I run into an old friend for the first time in two years. Back in high school, C.J. was a real character—a no-nonsense, call-it-like-it-is skeptic, jokester and poet. I soon learn that he’s been recruited by the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM). After attending a weekend retreat at what he refers to as a “cadre school,” C.J. promptly dropped out of college, deserting family, friends, personality and every vestige of his past. Now living in a commune, he’s a full-fledged LYM member.

Born in 1922, the enigmatic Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche Jr. is a perennial Presidential candidate, prolific author and founder of several political organizations. Critics counter that he’s a trumpeter of outlandish theories, an extremist, a cult leader, a homophobe and an anti-Semite, but with 22 cadre schools in the U.S., LaRouche’s army is growing, his doctrine gaining more clout.

Since 1999 LYM has offered college dropouts a regimen of pseudo-intellectualized socialism, absolutist musical theory, post-calculus mathematics and a view of history as an ongoing clash between the forces of good and evil. LaRouche’s current whereabouts are unknown, but he communicates to his followers via messengers and Internet broadcasts.
So what turns an outgoing guy like C.J. into a politicized pamphleteer and peddler?

Spiritual enlightenment? Is my old pal playing a sinister joke on me?

In search of answers, I sign up for my first meeting. To my horror, I find myself in a secretive group of young revolutionaries seeking college-educated recruits for brainwashing.

LYM’s Southern California headquarters is a decrepit two-story structure in Eagle Rock, a short hop from downtown Los Angeles. C.J., who is waiting for me at the back door, escorts me inside. LaRouche propaganda is everywhere, even in the kitchen and bathroom. The largest area is set aside for volunteers who work the phone lines, talking it up with potential recruits.

In the library I find texts by Plato, Kepler, Gauss, Leibniz and Schiller, but Aristotle is banned. Sir Isaac Newton? According to LYM leaders, he’s a fraud and plagiarist. Only “pro-mankind” intellectuals are permitted. Charter member Cody Jones explains to me that science, economics, politics, culture and music are all measurable by a “mankind yardstick.” Pro-mankind: LaRouche, Plato and Bach. Anti-mankind: Aristotle and Rachmaninoff.

Later, everyone is summoned to the conference room, where an ensemble performs Bach chorales. Phil Rubenstein—a balding, spectacled fellow in his 50s—takes the stage for “the weekly update.” Rubenstein, who claims to be a minister, fires off a homily on the “major political force in the U.S.—the LaRouche Youth Movement!” This becomes a routine reassurance, I soon learn.

There are conspiracy theories (“The economist George Schultz is behind it all!”) and hush-hush secrets (“Tuesday, Lyn [LaRouche] had a private, off-the-record meeting with 12 development sector embassies”). Rubenstein’s camaraderie with the younger members gives him easy access to their malleable minds.

Once the official program concludes at 8 p.m., I stick around to mingle, hoping for casual conversation. My efforts prove futile. LYM followers never watch movies, don’t listen to music (other than the prescribed dose of classical), don’t tell jokes and don’t have hobbies.

Individual egos have been replaced by a collective identity. Every pursuit, aspiration, passion, emotion and thought revolves around “Lyn,” as members reverently call LaRouche—“the founder…the genius among geniuses…the leading prophetic figure of modern history.”

Dreadfully tired, I cannot survive any more of this. I say goodbye to C.J., gather my bags and leave LYM’s little empire.

/UCLA senior Garin Hovannisian, 20, is editor of The Bruin Standard, a campus alternative newspaper. The Los Angeles native is also a freelance writer and blues addict and can be contacted at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

USA, 2009, ex LYM member writes about friendship inside the cult.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Spite of LaRouche and Because of Him, I Will Remember John Morris

I received some distressing news last week. It's taken me a while to process it because it's brought back memories of experiences that I stopped thinking about quite some time ago. I debated, for a while, whether I should write anything about it, and if so, whether I should do it publicly. And then, if I did it publicly, I wondered whether it would be a good idea to do it under my name or anonymously. My thoughts have led to this conclusion: The Internet can be a valuable resource for others. I hope that what I have to share can be of some value to someone else.

I've mentioned in the past that I had some involvement with Lyndon LaRouche and his international political organization. That's really a polite way to refer to a man who leads a powerful and destructive cult which operates internationally and has a strong presence here in the United States, particularly on college campuses. From 2000 to 2001, I worked for him on the streets, on college campuses, at post offices and county buildings, in airports, in front of libraries and supermarkets, at busy intersections and on freeway off-ramps, raising money and spreading the word: "The world was headed for certain doom and LaRouche is the only force in the universe who can stop it. Now buy a subscription to our newspaper." I worked 16-hour days and lived on about $30-$40 a week. Sometimes $50 if I was lucky. If this sounds bad, know that I got off easy. I recruited people into this group myself, and many of these folks are still in lockstep behind LaRouche. They were young people just like me: disillusioned, intelligent and creative, just looking for answers and an alternative to the mainstream path which seemed empty and unfulfilling. Worse off than these people, however, are the ones who have spent most of their lives there, people who joined when they were younger than I am now, and are older than my parents are today. I won't name any names. I am not looking to make enemies, or cause any strife.

I am not writing this so that I can talk about LaRouche. There have been plenty of people available to do that over the years, and there will continue to be. The person I really want to speak up about is John Morris, who was one of LaRouche's faithful organizers. LaRouche is alive and well, still preaching his twisted gospel and abusing his membership more than enough to keep them in line and maintain a healthy flow of cash. But John Morris is dead. This is the news I received the other day that has left me so upset on many levels. He died one a night last June at about 10:30pm, along with Gary Genazzio, an organizer I did not know. They were on a highway between Chicago and Detroit. Their car had run out of gas, and they pulled over to the side of the road, apparently to try to refill the tank. A passing dump truck hit them and killed them both.

Maintaining friendships was not easy. The work was often too all-consuming to make room for strong personal friendships. In fact, allegiances to anything other than LaRouche and the rest of the group were strongly discouraged. I remember a couple of months after I joined full-time, I had a conversation about my best friend with one of the local leaders of the organization.

"What do you call him a 'best friend?'" he asked. "What does that even mean?"

"Well, we go back. We've known each other a long time. He understands me probably better than anyone"

"Does he understand what you are doing here? Does he understand LaRouche?"

"A bit," I said. "I'm still working on him." (Indeed, at that time, I was 'working' on all of my friends, many of whom had long stopped speaking to me by the time I finally left LaRouche behind.)

"Well. You do that. But if you can't get anywhere, you have to remember that there are more important things. You can't let him hold you back. You're going to have to leave him behind."

You can't take them with you. That was the message that I got from all sides. My friends. My family. I remember one night I invited my father to an evening briefing, hoping he would see something good in it that I hadn't been able to explain to him in private. Instead, my father was full of objections to the rhetoric, and left that night feeling angry and uncomfortable. A leader (or National Coordinator, as they are called) pulled me aside and asked that I never have him come by again.

The work was difficult. Raising money is exhausting work, but doing it for the long hours that I did is grueling. I rarely got more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night. Even more exhausting than this is living with the memory of some of the things I did: Manipulating people into giving up money they clearly wanted to hold on to, "educating" others that anyone who supports Israel is a "Nazi," that jazz music is pure evil, and the entire environmental movement is a fraud were, in retrospect, some of the less humiliating aspects of the work. The most upsetting would probably be the giving up of the self. I willfully and gleefully gave myself up to be scrubbed of personality, taste and ambition, instead seeing myself as a conduit to funnel followers and money towards a man that I'd been convinced was something of a savior. Indeed, the most devoted followers of LaRouche place him on a pedestal somewhere close to God himself. And that fact that LaRouche frequently stated in no uncertain terms that human society (and, indeed, the known universe) could not exist without him indicated that he felt the same way himself.

John Morris wasn't the only LaRouche member to die recently. Jeremiah Duggan is the most well-known example. The story of his death, which has still never been fully understood or explained, was carried on all the major news outlets when it happened. He was a young Jewish man from London, a little bit older than I was when I was in the organization. He had gone to Wiesbaden, Germany to attend a LaRouche conference in March, 2003, much as I had done less than two years earlier. He then attended a "cadre school" at a youth hostel there in town. It may very well have been the same hostel I stayed at when I'd been there. Then he died. He had been alarmed by the things being taught by LaRouche followers at the conference and the cadre school and had become afraid. No one knows for sure what happened, but he had been running along the side of a highway. There's debate over how he died, but the official ruling from German police was that he'd been hit by traffic. They ruled it a suicide, but there are many lingering questions.

Ken Kronberg died in 2007. He had been a tireless worker for LaRouche for 35 years, and ran the publishing outfit responsible for printing many of LaRouche's publications. The company was experiencing incredible financial shortfalls, and it looked like Kronberg was going to end up bearing much of the burden. On a day when LaRouche suggested that the baby boomers in the organization "commit suicide," Ken Kronberg quietly threw himself off of a highway overpass.

I never got a chance to meet Jeremiah, and I knew of Kronberg only by name, but I did know John Morris.

I don't know what he and Gary were driving such a long distance at that hour for. I don't know whether they were coming from a long deployment (standing at a small table selling subscriptions and literature, collecting names and phone numbers to call later), or driving back from an event. But I do know why they ran out of gas. They ran out because there wasn't enough in the tank, and there wasn't enough in the tank because there was never much gas in the tanks of LaRouche cars when I was in the group, when the stuff was well under $2 a gallon. I can only imagine that the problem was only more pronounced last summer when gas was $4 a gallon in many parts of the country. Gas tanks were never filled because cash from deployments was a precious commodity. It was always better to bring cash back to the office than spend it all to fill up a tank. Usually, there was only enough gas in our cars to last a day. At the end of a long day of selling literature on the streets, we'd put a few gallons in, at most. Enough for tomorrow.

The cars were never in very good condition. Though these cars were used every day for driving over long distances (sometimes for 50 miles or more each way) they were rarely maintained. I remember a car or two in Los Angeles that didn't even have a working gas gauge. We always had a can of gas in the trunk of the car. If the driver of the car ran out of gas, he'd have to pull over and re-fill out of the can. I've heard that it was a common problem elsewhere in the country as well. Given that John and Gary were trying to refill their tank on the side of a highway, I think there's they may have had a car in this condition.

The LaRouche organization makes millions of dollars every year.

John had been moved to the mid-west a few years ago, but he was in Los Angeles before that. That was where I met him. Once I joined the group full time, I moved into an apartment with another organizer, paid for by the organization. John shared a place with another organizer only a few blocks away from mine. Working the kind of hours we did (16 hours a day, five or six days a week) made it hard to forge friendships. What interactions I did have with my colleagues were generally centered around the activities of the group. Indeed, focusing on anything other than LaRouche was discouraged and avoided. When I spent time with John, it was often easy to forget that I had changed my entire lifestyle, altered my entire way of being (at the expense of friends, family and personal tastes) for a cause dominated by one single personality.

It's not an easy schedule to adjust to. The atmosphere in a high-pressure, money-driven cult is one of constant demand. If you aren't focused on raising money, or otherwise furthering the cause, then you are being reprimanded for not doing so more effectively. (These reprimands continue even when you are working hard and doing the very best you can). I remember one night in particular not long after I had joined the group full-time. I went over to John's house for dinner on a Sunday night, our one day off. Upon arrival, I suspected that like everyone else in the group, John would want to spend our free time talking about LaRouche, or Friedrich Schiller, or "psycho-sexual impotence" (a blanket term for whatever was keeping us from raising more money), or how we could work towards meeting our quotas every day. Instead, John wanted to talk about beer. He took me upstairs and into his bedroom where, in his closet, he had jugs of beer fermenting. He then explained the practice of home-brewing. I was just 18 years old, and had never considered that a man could make his own beer. That night, over a simple dinner of salad and pasta dish with chicken and pesto, we enjoyed the finest beer I had ever had up to that point. A few years later, it was John I was thinking of when I decided to start brewing my own beer at my house in Humboldt County.

John expanded my ideas about food as well as drink. We both shared a love of Mexican food, and a particular appreciation for the La Estrella taco stands in the Los Angeles area. One evening, I was on my way out to grab a couple of tacos (a huge luxury) before spending the night fund-raising. "Get me a tongue taco, will you?" he said. I laughed, thinking he was joking. I'd been eating taco truck fare for years, but had never considered sampling the less common meats: cabeza, lengua and tripas. "Oh, I'm serious," he said. "You've never had tongue? You call yourself a taco fan and you've never had tongue?! There is nothing--Nothing--that beats some nice lengua sliced really lean." Well, that was enough for me to try it, and a mere half an hour later I had become a fan of the tongue taco. Even today, I rarely pass up a chance to have an authentic lengua taco (though such opportunities seem to be rather rare here in Manhattan), and I've no one other than John to thank for this.

John also had a strong sense of humor, and no matter the circumstances, he always managed to make me laugh. Even after being yelled at for not meeting quota, being reminded of our general lack of worth, or bring subjected to a conference call in which specifically-named people were held up as examples of how not to be, John was always ready to put on a smile and share his good humor. He made the work easy, lightening not simply his own burden but also those of others.

(You can't take them with you.)

As I said before, having "friends" in the organization wasn't practical. I say that, most of all, because once you leave the group you are cut off from it. No one speaks to you. A friend one day, and then next day you are nobody to them. There were people I knew who were my age and shared my interests. We were all swimming in the same shit: the same abusive hours, the manipulation, the near-desperate poverty. We banded together. It was unusual to spend time alone even in the rare hours away from the office. I met good people while I was in there. Now, more than 7 years later, I look back on the experience and think more of the good people I lived and worked with than I do of the leaders of the group, and LaRouche himself, those who wielded power over us. There's a small core of people who made such an impression on me that I've thought of them every day. Funny, intelligent, bright people. Folks I would be friends with right now if they weren't in the cult, if their impressions of the outside world weren't being manipulated, if they weren't expected to NOT SPEAK to anyone who has left the group. I've always considered John Morris to be part of that group.

I've always said to myself that if one of those people who was close to me were to call me out of the blue and ask for help to get out, I'd do everything in my power to make it happen. And I admit that there's a fantasy I indulge in from time to time, one in which my old friends are free of the cult, have reclaimed their lives and are living happily. We are all in touch and helping each other through the recovery which never really ends. We enjoy one-another's company, and share humor and insight without the profound pressure and guilt.

But now, John Morris is dead. He can't be a part of that mental picture anymore. Learning of his death reminded me that this isn't a fantasy. There are some things that will never be fixed. It reminded me that I was one of the lucky ones. I could have easily stayed. I could have run out of gas between Detroit and Chicago instead of John and Gary. I could have been Jeremiah Duggan and, disoriented and afraid, run into traffic and gotten killed. Had I stayed longer, I could have even been Ken Kronberg, and thrown myself off of an overpass because I lacked the will and the strength to break free. Someone else could just as easily be writing these things about me right now. In essence, I survived that car wreck, that highway, that overpass, even though I wasn't even there.

I survived

You can't take them with you. This is true of your family and friends when you go into a cult, and just as true of your colleagues when you leave.

Even though I will never see John Morris again, I will still continue to think of him, and mourn the loss. He was more than a quota, more than a list of contacts, more than a LaRouche organizer. He was a human being with taste, humor and dignity. And, most of all, for a year between 2000 and 2001, John Morris was my friend.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

USA: LYM, Ray Hengst tells his story.

A Letter on the the Lyndon Larouche Political Group

NOV, 2004

Ray Hengst sent us a well written letter he thinks the student body should read.

Thanks, Ray. The majority of his warning can be seen after the jump, linked below.

I am writing to the campus community about the Lyndon Larouche political group, which has recently been tabling on Library Walk. Larouche uses a combination of philosophy, history, and polemics to argue for the existence of a worldwide conspiracy. I have had much experience in dealing with the Larouche group and would like to warn everyone: It is two-thirds cult and one-third political organization.
I first went to a meeting of Larouche supporters two years ago, in northern California. Some friends and I were interested in the controversy surrounding the group and the political claims it made. The meeting essentially consisted of a three-hour-long diatribe against everything from empiricism to subjectivism to political and historical figures. The audience frequently punctuated the speaker's statements with loud calls of agreement or disgust, matching the speaker's emotions. One recurring theme of the speech was that economic catastrophe was nearby, and it was the special responsibility of Larouche supporters to prevent this disaster.
During a 10-minute break in the meeting, the Larouche supporters tried to engage us in conversation. I found that everything I said fell flat: they weren't actually listening to me. They were so sure that they were right that nothing I said could have changed their opinion. Yet I was surrounded by them, and I thought at the time that perhaps my facts or opinions were just completely wrong: everyone around me was so quick to point out my errors, and so sure of their logic.

The complex, absolutist ideology espoused by Larouche is perhaps designed to avoid being summarized. Larouche believes that a worldwide conspiracy led by bankers is attempting to control world events. For example, the Madrid bombings were the work of this network, and the entire 60s youth movement was orchestrated by a satanist. Important historical figures are catalogued as being either humanists, and thus implicitly pro-Larouche, or empiricists, and thus satanic.

Larouche attempts to tie together history, science, religion and politics
in an intricate web, thus creating an entire world view in which his followers become trapped. By combining polemical denunciations and hundreds of references to literary, scientific, and political figures, Larouche convinces his followers that he "may be the smartest man in America," to use his own words.

The Larouche group constantly instills a fear of some imminent economic disaster in its members and reminds them that only the Larouche movement can "save the world." New members are made to realize the moral certitude of their work, and consequently spend more and more time doing Larouche-related activities.

Right now, one of my best friends works for the Larouche group fourteen hours a day, six days a week. He dropped out of college, lives with other Larouche supporters, and rarely communicates with the outside world, except for trying to convince people to join the Larouche organization. For him, an economic disaster is just around the corner, and time is so precious that he no longer can have the luxury of regularly being with friends or family for considerable lengths of time—it would be morally wrong for him to spend time on personal concerns.

I urge everyone who reads this to be aware of the power that cult-like, emotionally-based organizations can wield. Before my friend joined, I would have never guessed that someone as level-headed, intelligent, and savvy as he is could possibly join a group which essentially squelches independent thought.

I want to warn everyone: This could happen to anyone. If you're worried about a group that your friend is getting more and more involved in, then do something about it. Research the organization thoroughly, talk to your friend, figure out what tactics the group uses, and if you're still worried then keep researching and trying to reach out to your friend. The Larouche supporters can be fanatical, but other groups are ten times worse.

USA: "LaRouche exposed!" The student "Tom" tells his story.

LaRouche Exposed
November 15, 2001, By Matthew Robinson, Editor in Chief, Pcc-courier.

Each semester, hundreds of students pass by a table set up in front of the D building in the quad, where supporters of Lyndon LaRouche try to interest students in their political agenda. For those who stop and agree to go to an off- campus meeting, they often find themselves entangled in a worldwide cult.

Philip Mullendore, chief of campus police, reported that they get complaints on regular basis from students about La Rouche recruits harassing them in the quad. Others complain of repeated phone calls, urging them to attend a meeting. Many students who attend those meetings end up dropping out of school and devoting their lives to LaRouche.

"We have documented several incidents of aggressive tactics by this group and we monitor them very closely," said Mullendore.

The mother of an 18-year-old student who was lured into the cult complained to campus police that the LaRouche group had taken over her son's life.

The LaRouche organization, which has thousands of members worldwide, are constantly recruiting young people to spread the groups philosophy and to raise money for the cause.

The group targets maladjusted, unhappy and confused young people who feel they don't belong. The organizers become their "friends" and give them a cause. They also give them meetings to attend so they feel a part of a group.

One PCC student, who recently broke the group's hold on his life, told the Courier in an exclusive interview about his experiences in the LaRouche organization from his recruitment on campus to his recent escape. The student, who will be referred to as Tom in the story, did not want his real name used. He said it's hard enough trying to "reclaim your life and friends" without everyone knowing you are a former cult member.

"I was going to PCC, and I was at the end of my second semester. In September of last year, I came across the LaRouche table in the quad. "Take a minute come over here." said an organizer as I passed his table. At first they say things that get you really excited about what they are talking about. They look for people like me who are pissed off and want to do something. They want people who are opinionated and who are looking for a place to fit in," said Tom, the 18-year-old who spent a year in the organization.

When I approached the table in quad, the woman I met said she had been recruiting for seven years. She started out by saying

"School is a bunch of bullshit and you should join the movement fulltime." While not all recruits say things like that, it is encouraged in order to make a connection with the young people.

"The thing that grabbed me was that she said, "School is a bunch of bullshit." He said I thought it was real interesting that there was a group of people at PCC at a political table telling students that school is bullshit," Tom said when he stopped to talk politics, he was looking for something other than the mainstream political thinkers. They got me to sign up for their paper, and I gave them some money. Then they said to come to a meeting, and I took a bunch of literature home." From what he read, he said it appeared that this group might just have the answers to all the worlds problems. "Then the phone calls started coming," he said.

"That's what they do. They call you every night, sometimes two times a night. If the people they are trying to recruit are being difficult, they harass them even more."

Tom said, it was not hard to get him to a meeting. He went and immediately started arguing with everything the members were saying. "Little did I know, that the more I argued the more they were brainwashing me," Tom said. He said the meetings seemed harmless. They were broken up into two parts. The first part was a political update, and the second part was a class where new recruits might hear about a health issue or be given a history lesson on the revolutionary war. However at the end of the class, they tie it all in to the current situation, and then to LaRouche politics."

One of the reasons there is so much recruitment now, is that the last time the organization recruited heavily was between 1967 through 1974, so most of the core members of the organization are in their 50s ."They need to recruit the next generation," said Tom.

Once you start listening, you'll hear over and over that LaRouche is the solution to every problem in the world. They'll ask, "Do you want children in Africa to starve?" Of course you don't, so they convince you that you have to come to a meeting. They repeatedly tell you if you don't come to the meeting, you must want the world to starve. So you go to the meeting," he said.

One of the hallmarks of the LaRouche organization is to turn you against your family, Tom said. They tell you that "family values are really immoral, they are only in place to keep you from getting political. They say that the baby-boomers are evil and are corrupted by the British neo-liberal banking establishment, but it's not their fault.

"The more you are around these people, the more they turn you against your parents and your friends. "They want you to try and recruit your friends. "What they tell you if your friends resist is they are" blocked," and you should just leave them behind. They are not worth it. They ask what's more important, your friends or the world?" Soon you see yourself as someone who can actually change the world and you really do see your friends and family as obstacles.

Tom moved out of his parent's house and moved to Glendale. The organization paid his rent, phone bill, and all his utilities. He also got $50 a week for food.

Once you alienate your family and let the group support you, you've got nowhere else to go, Tom said.

By this time Tom was really involved. It was his turn to bring in others.

"Another big thing I know happens on the PCC campus, is to get a student off the campus and to a meeting. Then the next day they have them working at a LaRouche table. It helps reinforce the beliefs, and gets the new recruit to more meetings." These meetings are the most important things in the world to the group. They say there is nothing better you can do with your time because that is where they manipulate you and teach you to manipulate others, he said.

Some of the people, who were recruited on campus, are now at the book table. The idea is that once you are in a position where you have to convince someone that LaRouche is the answer, in the process you convince yourself more and more." Tom said, they teach people to twist things in such a way that it makes them feel stupid for asking the question.

"I resisted working on campus for a long time. I did not want to go work a book table, but they finally got me out there. Soon as they got me out there, I was in!"

"My recruitment took about four months. "Although some people dropped out of school right away and joined in a matter of weeks."

Many students who become part of the organization never break away. "It is next to impossible to get out once they have you, Tom said. "They actually brainwash you."

"I cannot pinpoint when I was brainwashed, it just happened overtime. When you are there, you love it. It's like being high. You get an intellectual euphoria, because you feel in a position of ultimate power. You can prove anyone wrong on anything because you are equipped with these amazing manipulation techniques. You feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders and that you alone are saving it.

Everyday they reinforce what you are doing by always telling you that you are the best and you're doing a great job. You get the respect of people many times older than you. It's a high that blinds you to reality. What they do is feed your ego so much, you can't see anything else. It's comfortable; it's like a womb."

The organization has attracted the attention of the FBI, CIA and other government agencies. Because of the claims that members are brainwashed and forced to work for the group, the LaRouche organization is closely monitored.

"It is frightening the network they have as far as intelligence contacts. Contacts within governments, contacts within different news sources. Even people who oppose LaRouche say he has one of the best private intelligence agencies around, said Tom

He emphasized that LaRouche is not particularly dangerous on a worldwide level, "but on a personal level, such as manipulating your thoughts and your psyche, he is lethal,"

The student explained that "on any given week coming to PCC we could get three or four students to a meeting, and maybe one every two weeks would come and work a table with us."

"We have 20 youth organizers, and three or four came from PCC. That's a pretty big percentage considering they organize on 20-30 college campuses."

He said any student who goes to the table, shows any kind of interest, and gives them a phone number is guaranteed to get a lot of phone calls."

PCC is one of the prime locations to recruit along with Cal State Northridge and LACC.

Tom explained what finally got him to realize he was in a cult.

One day right after Sept.11, "I had a confrontation with a WWII veteran, and that conversation just about killed me. I put up a sign that said, "War doesn't make peace." He came up to me and said, "If you were a veteran, you would not put that sign up. Then he started to talk to me, and I just realized that I am fucking brainwashed and totally in a cult." It was at that point he started to think about how he was now thinking about the world. Leaders of the group told them not to watch TV news, particularly CNN. They said the WTC attacks "were just the governments way of taking the people's mind off the economy."

"On the following Sunday I did exactly what the organization told me what not to do. I watched CNN."

I realized then that I was not looking at this the right way at all. The organization was trying to take the deaths of 6000 people to boost LaRouche higher up on his pedestal and get more money."

"That night I called my parents and told them I wanted them to show up at my apartment with a moving van.

" I had to be gone before they knew I was going He said the big challenge in leaving is getting back your identity and coming in contact with all the friends you haven't called in months because you were told they were fascists." Tom is also receiving psychotherapy from a cult exit counselor.

"LaRouche is a big time cult, and it's really upsetting that a cult is legally able to recruit on a college campus as a non-profit political organization."

Tom warns everyone, not to try to challenge the group to prove they are wrong or that they are in a cult. Recruiters welcome these challenges and can turn these people around faster than anyone."

If you want to understand LaRouche, or how any cult works, read George Orwell's 1984. It's terrifying how much that book is LaRouche. Of course, the organization discourages members from reading the book."

"If you want to find out about LaRouche, do not talk to the people inside the organization. The ones you need to talk to are the people who have experienced LaRouche and have dealt with his organization before. People who have studied the organization for an extended period of time are the ones who can give current information. For example, if you want to find out about a movie, you don't ask the people who made the movie what they think about it.

Tom says his mission now is to educate students about the evils of the LaRouche group and the dangers of approaching a table. "I'm trying to redeem myself for recruiting students and ripping off little old ladies while I was with LaRouche," said Tom. Some older people donate their entire Social Security check to the cause hoping to make a difference in the world. "If I can get the word out and stop people from heading over to the tables then I've done my job. If I can save one student, then I've succeeded in my atonement."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Germany: The German parliament debates: Is the LYM a cult?

USA. Cult of Lyndon LaRouche: Confessions of a failed genius!

Cult of Lyn LaRouche: Confessions of a Failed Genius

By Garin Hovannisian | October 1, 2006 |

C.J. was a changed man. His curly, blonde hair snaked into an anarchic afro. His face was unshaven. His shirt, faded and bleached, was half-tucked into oversized jeans. I hadn’t seen C.J. in two years. Back in high school, he was a real character-a no-nonsense, call-it-like-it-is skeptic, cynic, libertine, jokester, joke, poet, soccer star, recluse, opinion-maker-an alpha to the alphas, yet entirely content in his own thoughts, a bully to (and of) no one. His dream, he used to say, was to live in isolation on a twenty-acre plot of Midwestern forestry-just him and his gun, untouched by man or government. I expected never to see him again. But in April 2005, on the student thoroughfare of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)-a menagerie of hyperactive campus propagandists-the familiar creature was hard to miss

A few months before at his city college, C.J. had been approached by a few young activists who pressed him to attend one of their weekend retreats-a “cadre school,” they called it. Grudgingly, C.J. decided to go. When he returned, he abandoned his school, his home, his friends, his personality, his humor, and every vestige of his past. He moved into a veritable commune as a convert to the mission, army, and cult of Lyndon LaRouche. Defender. Janitor. Distributor. Point-man. Middleman. Yes man. C.J. was doing it all.

On Bruin Walk, looking into my eyes for the first time since high school, he was already recruiting. He handed me a pamphlet. “You know about LaRouche?” he asked, soaring through the awkwardness without the slightest hesitation or embarrassment. I nodded, but I could not pay attention to his words. My mind was fumbling with questions. What had turned the old recluse into a pamphleteer and peddler? Was it a spiritual enlightenment that he was eager to find? Was C.J. playing a sinister practical joke that he, if anyone, could pull off? Or was he…brainwashed? In search of answers, I enlisted in the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM).

On Wednesday, April 27, I attended my first meeting. The Los Angeles headquarters of LYM are contained in a small, decrepit two-story house in Eagle Rock, California. Its rooms are packed with LaRouche literature, videos, posters, campaign material, and junk food. The largest is the telephone room, where volunteers work the lines with potential recruits. It comes eerily close to a telemarketing station, a boiler room filled with sleazy hacks selling faux-politique-a pseudo-intellectualized statism-with the requisite inflection and lure. Except it’s not old people being gypped (though LaRouche sat in jail for five years for fraud and extortion). It’s meaning-thirsty college kids.

I maneuvered into the library and examined the collection, in my habit of judging a man by his books. Plato. Kepler. Gauss. Leibniz. Bach. Anderson. Poe. Schiller. And of course, LaRouche. A few Germans I hadn’t heard of, sure, but this was basically it. Excepting LaRouche webcasts, lectures from his representatives, and LaRouche’s own books and articles, this is LYM’s intellectual kingdom. Aristotle is banned. The Western Canon has vanished, without fingerprints. And don’t bother with Sir Isaac Newton, a fraud, plagiarist, and conniver. Only “pro-mankind” intellectuals make it into the library. LaRouche soberly asserts in an article, “Galileo, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, the notorious Adam Smith, and the famous Rene Descartes, were, like Bertrand Russell and his devotees, systematically insane, in the strictest formal use of the term insane.” Evil. Insane. Anti-mankind.

I did not get this “mankind” thing. One of the original LYM members named Bo explained that science, economics, politics, culture, and music are all measurable by a “mankind” yardstick. Pro-mankind: Plato, LaRouche, and Bach. Anti-mankind: Aristotle, Cheney, and Rachmaninoff. “But how can I listen to a piece of music and be able to tell if it’s pro-mankind or not?” I asked naively. Bo, who is more comfortable in belief than in argument, slowly replied: “It just comes with the knowledge. Once you understand the politics and the economics and stuff, it’ll all fall into place.”

Sensing my curiosity, Bo invited me to a LYM cadre school the following weekend. That’s where C.J. had been converted. That’s where I would learn why.

If I return a robot, I told a close friend, you have the right to have me committed. With that, I set off with my SUV to the outskirts of mountainous Santa Barbara, California. Off the central roadway, one mile past Paradise Road, and another mile off-road forging rivers and zigzagging through the woods-the Oregon Trail experience-I realized that there might not be a chance to turn back.

My grisly imagination having refined horrific anecdotes of brainwashing and murder into half-expectations, I pulled into the campground and moved my bags to the guys’ cabin. C.J. showed me to the main cabin, where nearly fifty young recruiters (like C.J.) and new recruits (ostensibly like me) had already assembled.

Already in the opening address, the world conspiracy blueprints of Lyndon LaRouche were unveiled. “The Family, or The Foundation, is an organization of politicos that pick world statesmen,” said a pretty woman in her early 20s. “It is a real organization that is really involved in US policy-making.” This is pure LaRouche-talk. The urgency of LYM’s mission is justified by these underground, hereditary, secret-hand-shake societies that debase what LaRouche terms very loosely “the American System.” It’s a web of evil people, most prominently George Schultz, who “single-handedly chose Bush as president, Arnold as governor, and Condi Rice as protégé.” A later speaker would declare that the Tavistock Institute, a British psychotherapy clinic, “controls and manipulates major media through brainwashing. This isn’t even debatable. It’s been proven.” These are the puppeteers of the modern world.

But forget the world for now, because the establishments have schemed for decades to destroy LaRouche himself, having found their one-and-only formidable opponent. In the eyes of his followers, Lyn is an international superstar-the orthodoxy’s most vivid nightmare and the truth’s final promise of fruition. Indeed, the LaRouche history, as any of his followers will proudly tell you, is replete with CIA-brainwashed assassins, KGB snipers, and world bank hit squads all targeting their leader.

At night, I jumped among the “social groups,” hunting desperately for (I frustrate my ego in saying) a casual conversation. But among the several dozen followers, none exists. They never see movies. Beyond a narrow slice of classical music, they don’t listen. They don’t tell jokes and they are irritated when they hear one. They don’t have hobbies. C.J. told me not to bother scavenging for sex. Every pursuit, aspiration, passion, emotion, thought, longing, and joy revolves necessarily around the central personality, “the founder,” “the genius among geniuses,” the “leading prophetic figure of modern history”-Lyn. This is not some sort of poetic exaggeration. It’s their way of life. You eavesdrop on a conversation between any of these people at any time of day, and it’s always about the same stuff: constructive geometry, socialistic economic policy, inherently good classical music, Plato, Kepler, Gauss, LaRouche, LaRouche, LaRouche!

They seem to be normal teenagers and they span the racial, sexual, socioeconomic spectra. But they connect in a common anticipation of historic catastrophe and they survive on the lone faith of the corrective and redemptive genius of their movement. And that’s the cult, if you’ve been searching for it and if you want to call it that. There’s no Kool-Aid, no weird alphabet, no cryptic Bible Code. It’s a cult, literally, of personality: the intellectual, world-changing genius.

Yet despite suspicions to the contrary, no believer is as confident in his own genius (which is, at best, a potentiality) as he is in the collective genius of his movement. Behind C.J.’s rugged certainties rests a spirit that is crippled and an ego that requires constant attention-not because it feels it deserves it, but because it cannot survive without it. Indeed, C.J.’s family background, which is stained by psychological and ultimately physical abandonment, not only discourages self-esteem, but really forbids it. It is peculiar, then, that it was precisely at the pinnacle of C.J.’s family crisis and disillusionment-in the dark age of his self-esteem-that he joined a movement that called him a genius.

To modern researchers of self-esteem and mass movements, however, the fact is not peculiar at all. Eric Hoffer has written, “The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.” In the holiness of his cause, C.J. is more sure-and this, again, I write with no poetics-than he is in his own goodness. His confidence in his own genius (and, hence, the desertion of the fear that he is not) depends, first and only, on the acceptance of the movement.

Hence, no movies, jokes, creative talent, personality-the true believers have no character whatsoever. It is impossible, save upon their mastery of the clichés of the cause, to differentiate them. There is no identity or knowledge, in any real sense, detached from the group. The concepts of “knowaspheres” and “musical dissonance” that supposedly divide good music from bad are totally lost on C.J.. But not for a moment does he doubt their reality. He will blame his own intellectual immaturity every time, even if it conflicts with the reality he sees.

One is all. And, of course, all is one in Lyndon LaRouche, polymath extraordinaire.

LaRouche, who calls himself “the leading economist of [the 20th] century,” proposes an accentuated statism, and it’s accepted as high novelty. The prophet in the wilderness yells apocalypse, and his followers panic. The detective in Lyn finds networks of secrecy, and C.J. is on a personal mission to sabotage them. The genius mathematician rejects Newton’s calculus and his students immediately discard modern math. The music theorist writes, “The Beatles had no genuine musical talent, but were a product shaped according to British Psychological Warfare Division (Tavistock) specifications, and promoted in Britain by agencies which are controlled by British intelligence,” and the movement learns to recite it.

By the cadre school’s second day, nauseous from the adoration (which at least matches the average church-goer’s piety), drained of will power, and dreadfully tired, I stood on the brink of insanity. Echoes of the same themes and people bounced in my brain. Knowasphere. Leibniz. Plato. Beethoven. Constructive geometry. Schumann. Gauss. Lyn. LaRouche. Lyn. I guess this was that moment in which so many had beheld their epiphany. This was when, tired but finally enlightened, I was supposed to fall on my knees and dedicate my life to the whims and wishes of a man. But for me, it was more torture than epiphany. I simply could not survive through the weekend. I said goodbye to C.J., gathered my bags, and got into the car. A mile through thick forests, several miles past Paradise Road, and now far, far away from this fantastic place of ideas and heroes and dreams, brewing in a cabin by a stream. It was as if it was all fiction. I was absolutely in a daze. And not for a couple of weeks did I actually escape the awful aftershocks, the lingering hangover of the LaRouche Youth Movement.

I experienced its heart totality in the last LYM meeting I ever attended, a few months after the cadre school. I sneaked into the conference room in Eagle Rock, and LaRouche was on the projection screen. The background was black. The voice was monotone. And for more than an hour, LaRouche was talking about hedge funds and mergers-and the really boring, economic lessons we might squeeze from the “General Motors debacle.” And here were twenty young people sitting in a small room listening with special attention, scribbling in their notepads, and nodding their heads again and again at the every thought, the every word, the every counterfeit insight of their leader-Lyndon LaRouche.

Since then, a mutual friend of C.J. and mine has asked C.J. if he would ever consider leaving the group for a few hours to have lunch with us. He has never been able to say yes. He’s too deep in his new reality. He is there with Lincoln, Plato, Jean d’Arc, LaRouche-the handful of genius individuals who have changed the world. He is there with three hundred young intellectuals who, if we are to believe them, will stage the decisive revolution of our millennium.

The movement is easy to satirize, discredit, and render insane. But the quiet existentialist in all of us finds herself faintly envious. For in all their delusions, LaRouche’s followers have on earth a cosmic certainty and security that we might only wish to achieve in paradise. It is a paradise, alas, that almost inevitably crashes. When it does for C.J., one psychological breakdown after another, he might be a free man again-but never, I fear, the endearing oddball of our youths.