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3.5 Psychic Pressure/Group Pressure

< 3.6 Contacts with extremist groups/regimes | AnalyseIndex | 4.Evaluation >

A characteristic of the LO since its early phase is the intensive to total immersion of the inner activist circle by the leaders. The intensity of this immersion raises the question whether the LO’s open disdain for the right of a personality to its full development and through its open disdain for the inviolability of human dignity represents a crime against constitutional clauses (“human rights” in the Catalog, §4, Paragraph 2, Federal Constitutional Law).
The submersion of all areas of life of the core activists has been typical of the LO from the beginning. The membership is put under permanent pressure to act through periodic “mobilizations”, and this allows (self-) reflection only in exceptional cases. In 1973, LaRouche succeeded in putting the young leadership circle through an effective, albeit relatively primitive, psychological special training that lasted several weeks, and thereby tied them to him. Simple tactical means were frontal attacks on previous emotional and intellectual identification objects (parents, partners in relationships, social circles, studies, academic work), making use of conflicts typical for the age of the participants, as well as simple sleep-deprivation. Significantly, the egomaniac LaRouche saw himself in the role of Goethe’s Prometheus during these sessions, and claimed that he embodied the ability expressed in the core phrase, “Here I sit and form people according to my model.” The leadership group then subsequently tried to use this pressure on the lesser ranked activists.
The results of this type of indoctrination were usually a break with parents, erstwhile friends and personal inclinations, as well as quitting studies or other types of professional qualifications. At least until the beginning of the 1990s, vacations or hobbies outside the internal group activities were despised as banal or degenerate. Exceptions were made for the leadership cadre or donors belonging to the inner circle. Professional activity or specialized qualifications outside the organization were considered a particular offense, incompatible with the claim to moral absolutism. Outside friendships, unlikely due to time demands placed on Group members, were viewed mistrustfully. Through the allocation of so-called “stipends” – not a fixed payment, but as maintenance for urgent needs – control was exercised over private finances.
This type of internal pressure went so far in the 1980s that it was suggested (successfully) that some members have abortions, in consideration of their world-historical mission. At an internal conference in 1988, Zepp-Larouche openly urged members: “But please, no more children. And no second or third children.” 60 Among other effects, this pressure led to clearly perceivable compensatory behaviors such as an exaggerated passion for pets, verging on hysteria. In the 1970s through the 1980s, the leadership would break up relationships if it believed that they would stand in the way of the political development of the affected partners. 61
In order to secretly retain at least minimal personal space, many members retreated into sickliness; in many cases, chronic illnesses were psychosomatically conditioned or worsened. Periodic psychic crises as well as phases of retirement for activists were also not unusual. A suicide in 1980 by an intelligent and sensitive young woman was kept secret. In addition there were a series of cases of permanent psychic defects, which were at a minimum strengthened by the constant use of psychic pressure. 62
LaRouche can be blamed, as a 50-year old during the building phase of the organization, for consciously and cynically 63 misusing the sometimes extraordinary idealism of numerous young members from the ages of 17 to the early 20s Among the membership, there were many people with above-average talents, who were in many instances robbed of the possibility of developing those talents through further qualifications and professional experience. Many now 40- and 50-year old activists eke out their lives today as street vendors or telemarketers, when they have not managed to rise into the leadership circle.


Notes

60. Beyes-Corleis (fn.3), pp. 50-51, pp. 165-172, as well as Ralfs-Horeis (fn.3), pp. 9-12, and King (fn.2), p. 299. Public humiliations of those deemed to be “weaklings” were not unusual at conferences or group meetings. See among others Beyes-Corleis (fn.3), p. 117.
61. Beyes-Corleis (fn.3), p. 48.
62. Ibid, p. 65, p. 71.
63. In his “Christmas Message” of December 15, 1990, LaRouche instructed the membership in regards to their incomplete grasp of his “secret of, shall we say, my genius” as follows: "And I understand, also, why people have difficulty in understanding it. It’s not, shall we say my fault, that people haven’t understood what I’ve said; but it has to do with the relationship between what goes from the neck up, and what goes from the waist down … I challenge you, for once and for all: really see what it is that I represent.” The perfidiousness of such indoctrination is only visible when one considers that LaRouche and his wife Zepp-LaRouche, sometimes styled “the symbol of the American civil rights’ movement and the poor” led the life of landed gentry (at least from the mid- to late 1980s) – mostly at the expense of the membership: -- luxurious homes in Leesburg, Virginia and in Germany (including the Schloß Soonruhe in Mengershied/Hunsrück from 1987 to 1990); an armored Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL limousine; and internal estimates for payouts to a self-styled security consultant (there were others also paid) from Southern Virginia came out to around US$1,000,000.

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Page last modified on October 16, 2012, at 05:54 AM