My testimony on the Lyndon LaRouche Youth Movement in France.
After several months inside Solidarity Progres a movement presided over by Jacques Cheminade I left this movement in 2003. Today I feel very strongly that I want to warn people of all the dangers attached to their activities in France and in the world.
Here is the testimony:
You meet them outside the underground exit, near University when going to work or just wondering in the centre of the town.
They introduce themselves as a political movement Solidarity and Progres. One often stops, just out of interest for all the questions relative to our world or just out of curiosity.
The US are in the hands of a small group of “satanic individuals” who want to create a worldwide empire: They invented “rock n roll” that make it common practice to go in for for drugs and sex. The media is in their hands as well as the political men, the academics, even their alternative movements are under their control. In short we have been told lies about the World Trade in order to impose on us a feudal world where everything is planned in order to prevent us to think for ourselves.
All this seems believable to young people. You remember 1984? But what should we do? There, they give us “THE SOLUTION”, the only one: a new economic system, (a new Bretton Woods) this involves a road to be built from Europe to China ( the Eurasian terrestrial bridge) But it is not so simple when faced with omnipresent “Synarchy” an obscure international group the aim of which is would be to prevent the creation of Republics in this world. The only way out is “to join up and fight with LaRouche” an American opponent, 80 years old, who has sacrificed the whole of his life in order to find out THE TRUTH, a real Socrates of modern times. To prove how important LaRouche is, we are told that he has been made a prisoner in the States for five years on order of Henry Kissinger and George Bush.
After this sort of talk there is no respite “Do you want to change this world?” One thinks a little. Effectively everything does not go as well as that, economic crises, underdevelopment…can one make oneself useful? After making us discover the Truth in this world after telling us how exceptional Martin Luther King, Gandhi and De Gaulle are, they will tell us that we too can get into “the resistance” that the world needs new GREAT MEN.
All this seems a little confusing for us, but for “the militants” no doubt : “LAROUCHE CAN SAVE THE WORLD THANKS TO US” Now they are going to estimate our morality and our seriousness. If we accept that the world is not going well, we must do something for them, the only ones who want to change things. This “something” goes through our purse “money is the nerve of war.” They ask us for 100-250 euros. But they have different systems for every person, the essential one is to subscribe to their paper “Nouvelle Solidarite” in order to learn about their information “on the real world.” And of course to give them our telephone number. Discussions between the members are often about this: what should we do so that people subscribe straight away, how can we reach us so that they give more money?
The main activity of the LaRouche organization is the recruitment, especially of young people. The older ones deal with the financing.
The days are organized very strictly: Compulsory meetings at 8.30 and 18.30 each day setting up tables in the street to politically recruit people, then telephoning the people who have been met at the tables in the street.
The final goal of all the meetings of members with young people is to recruit them to work for the organization full time. From then on: either you are “moral person” and you join the group full time, or if you are not such a “moral person” then you can make up for it by giving a lot of money.
Often the movement of the young people are to politically “organize” (recruit) near to universities: In France these include: Nanterr, la Sorbonne or the University of Saint Denis in Paris, the Campus of Villejean in Rennes; and those of Grenobles and Lyons. (They were also at Assemblée Nationnale’s metro station near the British Institute, part of London University in Paris when Jeremiah Duggan met them)
In order to evoke interest in the LaRouche cadre, the member explains to you how “grand” his movement is, “present in 30 countries in the world, and what a good person LaRouche is. The members and Lyndon LaRouche himself often say that this man “is a genius” The aim is that you realise that everything that happens in the world has something to do with Lyndon LaRouche. The member himself is absolutely convinced of that. The members of this group are quite astonishing at first sight, they seem to know a lot of things (even if they are incapable of explaining them all) They are idealistic and want to build a NEW RENAISSANCE. They have an answer for everything.
Their method of recruiting starts by making you disgusted in the Society in which you live. They need to destroy your old basic thoughts in order to replace them by theirs. They depict “an apocalyptic picture of the world. As far as they are concerned, we are entering a NEW DARK AGE which is due essentially to the cultural decadence of the “baby boomers” ( the parents of the young students are aimed at)
In this way, the member makes you feel guilty and responsible, pushing you to act so you do not despise yourself. You must question everything again: your education, what the media tells you… “you must change so that the world changes.” Therefore little by little they become your only thought. The only thing where you feel some hope.
That way you come to modify your change – your musical taste. “Satanic rock” must disappear from your disc collection to be replaced by Jean Sebastien Bach. Your political and religious landmarks change. Everything changes : your clothes, your physical aspect, beard and hair if they do not correspond to those of the group. You accept that because you are told that the future of the world depends on it: “You must at all costs avoid a third world war” they keep repeating over and over.
The members think that LaRouche and therefore they too on the rebound are in the centre of the world. They also are paranoiac. The fact that the Press in general denounces this movement is seen as proof of the corruption of the media and politics by “the financial oligarchy.”
Lyndon LaRouche uses this situation as a proof of its importance.
Financial oligarchy is a current term in LaRouche’s vocabulary.
As far as he is concerned, History is summarized in a fight between on one side the financial forces which want to enslave\control Man and on the other side current which he calls “Republican” and of which he would be the only representative.
He sees himself as the Socrates of Modern Times, the saviour of Humanity. Thus, he wants to make young people supposedly capable of thinking for themselves. But for their methods they only create people capable and apt to repeat the doctrine without necessarily understanding it. A typical example is the LaRouchist concept of “simultaneity of eternity” a very vague idea that even Cheminade acknowledges not to fully understand. But its consequence on its members is a greater intellectual submission to Lyndon LaRouche, there “Universal Genius.”
The recruiting is based on methods of Psychology:
This is proved by his writing about the methods recommended in the book called “Beyond Psychoanalysis.” In that text Lyndon defines how to “organize” as the way to destroy all that makes up the “persona bourgeois” of the individual. Thus having got rid of his past, the individual submits to the movement, the parent of his new identity.
This is why Lyndon LaRouche has members who do not trust anything except the possibility for Lyndon LaRouche to change the world.
In France Jacques Cheminade has instigated a process which amounts to the corruption of the identity of the members. As a surrogate of Lyndon LaRouche holds full authority over the French organization. He controls the member’s schemes either directly or indirectly with his “henchmen.” His aim is to know everything about the members in order to play on their weaknesses. This technique is used by many sects.
Often Cheminade summons a member one by one to his office to make them talk and above all to make certain himself that the members submit absolutely. Sometimes he gets a third person to participate in the interview in order to draw up a special report on the person. During those meetings most of the time they question the psychological and even the sexual problems of the member. It has happened that Cheminade has sometimes called in a member in order to ask him if he was homosexual. This is seen as an immoral “deviance” even a psychological illness.
All this processes brings forth mistrust between members. One no longer knows whom to trust, knowing that everything you will say will be known and will be used, in one way or another to “destabilize” you.
It is habitual in the Lyndon LaRouche movement to control the private life of the members. In the 80’s, the leadership forced members to have abortions. Later, when some of them decided to have children they went underwent multi-pressures, and still to-day several years later the leaders still reproach them with this choice, preventing them from taking part in decision making. To be a good member, you must not have a child, the movement must be your only pre-occupation. The member must be available all the time to the leaders.
The most flagrant case of this “conveability” touches those who are in charge of Cheminade’s “security.”
Feeling himself important, he always has somebody with him. This task is ensured by three persons one after the other. One person goes and fetches him in the morning at his flat, follows him all day long and often waits until 9 or 10 p.m. to bring him back. Those people are also responsible to get his papers, his meals, to do his errands….They are real slaves for which Cheminade has the greatest contempt.
Cheminade despises everybody except Lyndon LaRouche. It happens often that he will humiliate the members in public, even his wife. He often makes fun of the foreign members, above all the Americans. Sometimes he may make disobliging remarks against Helga Zepp LaRouche, his higher authority. This may appear normal, even quite sane in certain conditions, but this attitude is forbidden for the members who must show allegiance towards their seniors in rank and even more so towards the LaRouche couple, their true saviours.
The members are asked to question themselves if they dare to disagree with LaRouche. “As a human being one can make a mistake…but not Lyndon LaRouche”
From the very beginning, they warn you “ you will loose all your friends!” as you learn quite quickly the rhetoric never to be wrong and you are convinced that the noblest thing in the world is to be a member of the Lyndon LaRouche movement.
Therefore the discussions with the people who do not totally agree with you blow up quite easily.
In any case, we do not have much time to devote to our old friends. In the evenings it is forbidden to meet – too much alcohol and drugs. It is better for us to spend our time reading the books written by the movement. It is dangerous to wander away from the path laid down already by the leaders.
There is list of fundamental books to read- Plato’s dialogues, Rabelais, Leibnitz, Schiller, Martin Luther King and De Gaulle, amongst the most important ones. The kind of books we have rarely time to read.
For the most important thing is to understand LaRouche’s thought. LaRouche would have made the famous discovery LaRouche-Riemand which allows us to know if the country’s economy is on the right track or not. It is this discovery that made him say that we are in a period of economic collapse.
Maybe, the problem being that no man knows what it is in the discovery that has allowed LaRouche to make these economic predictions. Thus we linger over the texts of LaRouche in order to try and understand, but nothing happens and one does not discover any more. Two topics are always present in LaRouche texts. He often speaks of History, making it fit his own views, the second topic is about human psychology, it is often presented as the difference between man and animal.
If you read too many things external to the movement, you become the object of remarks often expressed in an ironic way.
If you go out too much, somebody comes to talk to you and discuss with you this. Its not a good thing to see your parents too often. For the true LaRouchists Christmas must not be celebrated. War is perhaps happening tomorrow.
Cheminade thinks that for a “good mental hygiene” it is necessary that the members must not have too many contacts with his parents; one or two telephone calls a month is ample.
The goal is to be alone with the movement, The people from the movement must be the only associates of the member, but not real friends. ( Cheminade thinks there are no friends in politics)
The only subjects of concern must be only be related to the movement itself, which is seen as the only one situated in the real world. So, when the member returns to his family he gets bored. This world has become foreign to him. Nobody outside the organization can really understand him.
There are two different worlds, but for them the real world is the one they talk about in all their briefings. The people who are around them in their district, in their country are nothing but puppets. People who do not yet know the Truth that they hold, only partly. LaRouche himself, knows much more than all the others together.
Lyndon LaRouche launched this movement for young people in Los Angeles about five years ago. Three of his closest collaborators had the assignment to recruit young people around the campuses of the town. It was a radical change of strategy: For twenty years their first concern had been money, the recruiting was done in a sporadic way. A young French girl Elodie Viennot, was recruited there during her architectural studies. The leaders of the movement of the young in Los Angeles, Harvey Schlanger and Lenie Rubinstein represent for these young people a kind of parents, of confidence. They solve all their problems. The young people of the Los Angeles are taken care of from A-Z by the three persons with whom they are in constant communication. Even when these youngsters travel abroad the American leaders ask them to remain in close contact.
From Breakfast to bedtime, the members are together. There are three meetings a day so that the youngsters remain under pressure.
The young members are completely “infantilised” by the organization and are incapable of taking any decisions without consulting their superiors
Back in France Elodie’s mission was to reproduce everything that had been done in Los Angeles. She stayed about one year in Paris. She is the only French member, apart from Cheminade, to have a direct and permanent contact with Helga Zepp LaRouche, Lyndon LaRouche’s wife, and the European Manager of the organization.
Feeling the danger of these young member who had just been made responsible of the movement of the young LaRouchist in France by Helg Zepp LaRouche, Cheminade managed to isolate her. He sent her to Rennes in order to open a new office there, prohibiting certain members to go there.
In private Cheminade despises Elodie as he despises all his collaborators, but in public, Rennes was the spearhead of this movement in France Elodie having become the new Joan of Arc who was to liberate France.
The young members of Rennes were exhausted by the constant rhythm of life. They worked continually from 8.30 till 10 p.m. everyday without any real rest. They often fell ill. As they only sold a few newspapers per day they lived miserably. In February or March 2003 a Parisian member had to send them 100 Euros so that they could buy food. The rent of the apartment where they lived first three of them, then five of them, was paid out of the social benefit payments of a member from Rennes.
The members from Rennes lived in a real material precariousness but also a moral one.
Elodie slept only 4-5 hours per night. The clearest part of her day was divided between reading the Briefing ( 32-50 pages in English sent by internet every morning by the centres Leesburg, Virginia USA and Wiesbaden in Germany) and communicating by telephone with the USA. She did not talk to anybody except about the Briefing of what LaRouche wanted:
She had very little human rapport with the people present.
Elodie does not trust her own judgement, Cheminade has manipulated her very easily. All the decisions she took were in fact Cheminades. That way Cheminade took control of the young. For several members, it was clear that Cheminade acted only for his personal interest, using the LaRouche campaign for the American Presidential election of 2004 as a way to recruit young people who might be useful later on for his own Presidential campaign.
Any opposition was banished. If one tried to question a decision from the leaders or the managers, one was treated as “anti-authority” A serious insult which involves systematically “an isolation” and a lot of pressure.
Unconditional allegiance to Cheminade and Lyndon LaRouche is obligatory.
Morning briefing sent out by LYN reproduces extracts from articles from the worldwide Press. It allows us to be informed of the declarations of the Minister of State as well as their interpretation, either directly by Lyndon LaRouche or by anonymous sources. As well as all the economic figures. This gives us the impression to understand the world better than anyone else. All the texts of Lyndon LaRouche are diffused to the members this way. It is a means of direct communication between LaRouche and the members, At the end of the Briefing are the reports of the operation where the young people report back what they are doing and where they intervene….
The members motivation is pumped up twice a year through international conferences (two in the USA and two in Europe) For the young people they are more of them. One about every two months, the school for militants (cadres) are reserved for them. It is a privileged time when you can discuss with members from other offices. These meetings raise your spirit and give you enthusiasm. The fact that we know that all over the world there are people like us who are doing the same thing, who are fighting for the same cause is very stimulating. One feels less lonely. Moreover those meetings are an effective way of recruiting new members “
“In fact the spectacle of a great number of individuals sincerely committed is much more convincing for the new person than any doctrine or structure.” (Quote from Steven Hassan in "Protect yourself against sects").
The feeling that we understand this world and its leaders gives us a feeling of power. One feels part of an elite. When this feeling of being so powerful and this is coupled with the feeling of being in contempt of Society it might become dangerous.
The members indeed, have no longer any limits – their judgement is more just than the one of any individual you met in the street.
It has already to me to see a member trying very hard with a girl, forcing her to subscribe though he knew very well that she was not at all interested. To comfort himself he told us afterwards that it was necessary to give her a chance that “everybody could change when reading the paper” This kind of behaviour is common practice in the movement.
The main lesson I have learnt from twentieth century events is that the end never justifies the means: if one wants to work Humanity one must respect every individual dignity.
This is the cause of my breaking away from the movement.
For me this organization has no political goal, they recruit people using mental manipulation techniques which are typical in sects.
Their indoctrination brings about in members a contempt of Society and of everything that is outside of the organization.
They even scorn those who help them financially or give them some of their time. Thus the member becomes a “prisoner “ of the movement. He refuses to think outside the movement because he is constantly told a world war may start
Members are urged to make a psychological profile ( list their strength and weaknesses) in order to be able to manipulate people better. These manipulations, this psychological pressure, these public humiliations urged me to leave this organization.
I have witnessed a real “Stalinesque trial” organized by Cheminade. This kind of situation was like a law case, however strange, is a typical occurrence in the LaRouche. organization. ( See Don Veitsch testimony “Beyond Commonsense. Psycho-politics in Australia”)
Being too free and having no confidence in Cheminade, the young people in Paris have become the target. Their leader had to be crushed or eliminated.
For ten days another member and myself had alternative attacks and pressure to subjugate us. Cheminade organized a one to one meeting. During this meeting he confessed: “You have never accepted me Jacques Cheminade” Flattery, laughing, then breaking out in wild rage he let out his real view and that was the problem all stemmed in his opinion from the young woman who managed the youth movement in Paris.
As he was not succeeding the other youngsters were summoned one by one. The aim was to divide them in spirit and this worked beautifully.
One Friday afternoon we attended a meeting set up like a law suit where everything had to be thought out before hand. Cheminade started thus – “ I asked you to meet here, because something serious is happening in Paris. You think you know what it is but this is false. I want you to listen to me to the end without interrupting me, as a classical music composition.”
But later on he goes on “I want to make changes and I will use shock tactics if necessary. A change must come in the behaviour in some members. It is a question of life or death.” This gives you a good idea of his one hour monologue.
Afterwards, the members marched one by one to spit out their venom on the one singled out member in question. This person did not have any possibility to defend herself. Even the members who shared our opinions about Cheminade did not react. They had already undergone that kind of treatment and had given up.
From that day, we didn’t go back to the office except a month later to meet Helga Zepp LaRouche. She received us with her feet on the desk and said to us – “We are perhaps only two days away from a nuclear world war I do not believe what you are saying Cheminade has all my trust.”
We asked her to question other people and we answered that the people we alluded to were frustrated, jealous, depressive, and even some of them mad. As for our intention to go to the States, there was no question of it. Lyndon LaRouche’s wife did not want to add “another burden” to her husband’s Presidential campaign. What she asked us was to go straight away to Germany to stop that supposed world war.
You must know that it is not the first time that this kind of situation happens, and every time the couple renews its trust in Cheminade, the members accept by nodding their heads, having an infallible trust in Lyn and Helga.
Several people have tried to keep me and this other member in the group urging us to leave for Germany. A lot of them know that the French leaders are immoral but they do not do anything, even admit the hypothesis that it is the same for the LaRouche couple. An Italian lady member told us that she trusts her own opinion, but in a case of disagreement with LaRouche’s it is he that would win. So the members of this organization are the victims who do not realise who is Lyndon LaRouche.