< 1. Introduction | AnalyseIndex | 3. Examination of Extremist Traits >
The LO began as a spin-off from the American student uprisings at the end of the 1960s. Its founder, Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche (born September 8, 1922) had already had a long history in the American extremist left: from 1949 until 1966 in the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and thereafter in smaller Trotskyite splinter groups. After 1967 LaRouche tried to gain a foothold in the incipient student movement. In seminars purporting to offer a development of Marxist theory and to further the cultural “hegemony” of the left, he gathered a group of sometimes very intellectually talented students around him. From this circle emerged the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC) in 1969/1970. By 1973 there was an activist core of about 600 people in 25 states. The U.S. Labor Party (USLP) was created as the movement’s political vehicle. 2
At the same time, during a stay in Europe, some NCLC cadres used “study groups” to recruit followers among students who for the most part had already been active in extremist left groups like the MBS Spartukus20, a sub-party of the German Communist Party, or the tiny Trotskyite Spartacus BL. This group of students established itself first as the European Labor Committee (ELC), then at the end of 1974 as the Europäische Arbeiterpartei (European Workers Party) (EAP) with a weekly newspaper, Neue Solidarität(New Solidarity). The membership was very young, mostly between 17 and the early 20s. 3 The group soon distinguished itself through its attempts to break the left into fractions (especially the young socialists in the SPD), as well as through its aggressive claim to be the sole voice of the left and an intense missionary zeal. The main points of the teachings were a putative “reconstruction program for the world economy” and an apocalyptic vision of impending fascism and world war arising from the dark plans of the “Rockefeller/Kissinger Fraction”. 4
In the summer of 1973, LaRouche, then already over 50 years old, subjected the European leadership of the movement to an intensive focused psychological conditioning. As European leader he chose his then 22-year old girlfriend and later wife Helga Zepp (they were married in 1977). Then a young student of philosophy, history and political science, born in Trier in 1948, Zepp had almost no political experience and did not belong to any political group or party. She had previously worked as a trainee with a north German regional newspaper and taken a trip to China.
Thus there arose an obedient and centralized leadership structure. This strictly hierarchical structure allowed for quick action true to the party line, internationally and under rapidly changing political conditions. 5 The leading European committee remains the European Executive Committee (EEC), selected and led by the LaRouche husband-wife team. The EEC announces the current political line in so-called “marching orders” and controls key matters such as finances and “security”. A European Committee (EC), subordinate to the EEC, which determines its make-up, performs leadership functions on the regional level.
After its originally extreme leftist propaganda, in 1977 the LO made an ideological swing into the conservative camp, championing unlimited industrial development and nuclear power. The LO founded front organizations like the Akademie für humanistische Studien e.V.(Academy for Humanistic Studies)(December 1977), or the Fusions Energie Forum (FEF, 1978). The beginning of the 1980s brought new themes for agitation like narcotics and the Reagan administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). This agitation was supported by new firms and associations like the Anti-Drogen-Koalition e.V.(Anti-Drug Coalition) (ADC, 1980), Club of Life, e.V., (1982), and the Schiller-Institut--Institut für republikanische Außenpolitik e.V. (Schiller Institute – Institute for a Republican Foreign Policy)(1984). The EAP party vehicle moved into the background and was replaced in 1986 by the Patrioten für Deutschland. The targets of agitation were primarily military circles, the high-tech industry, conservative movements as well a number of governments in the developing world. Particular successes of the US core group, like the Illinois primary or the 1986 AIDS referendum in California, could not prevent the isolation of the European affiliates.6
The strongly pro-American rhetoric became muted in 1986 with the increased financial scrutiny of the group by American agencies 7 , and wild outbursts against the US administration (“Bush is like Adolf Hitler”) began to come out after LaRouche’s arrest in 1989. Since 1990/1991 attempts have been made to gain a foothold in Russia, ex-Yugoslavia and other east European countries. 8 In November 1992 the Bürgerrechtsbewegung Solidarität(Civil Rights Solidarity)(BBS) was founded as a party, purportedly based on the American tradition of civil rights.
After giving propaganda support to the regime of Saddam Hussein during the course of the Golf War, the LO made attempts to gain a foothold within the radical Islamist camp during the early 1990s. Notable here are the contacts to the Sudanese military government under the influence of the leading Islamist Hassan al-Turabi, as well as ties to the American Nation of Islam (NOI). Despite these attempts to establish contacts with shrilly anti-American groups and regimes, 1993/1994 also saw propaganda overtures to President Clinton, who, in the conspiracy world of the LO, was fashioned an opponent of the American-British “special relationship” and who, therefore, was in danger of being assassinated.
Since the end of the 1980s the LO has suffered great losses in membership in Europe and the USA. In November 1991 the entire Italian contingent quit, among them long-time associates and close confidants of the LaRouches. Besides the main organization in the USA and Germany there are also presently significant groups, cells of activists or contacts in Sweden, Denmark, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Thailand and India.
2 On the early period, see Dennis King, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism, (New York, 1989), pp. 11-18. This is the most informative book on the LO and provides a wealth of information.
3 On the beginnings in Europe, see Hella Ralfs-Horeis, “Menschheitsretter” LaRouche. Innenansichten einer totatlitären Bewegung. (LaRouche the Savior of Mankind. An Inside View of a Totalitarian Movement). (Stuttgart, 1990); Aglaja Beyes-Corleis, Verirrt. Mein Leben in einer radikalen Politorganisation. (Gone Astray. My Life in a Radical Political Organization), (Freiburg, 1994). Both books offer particularly accurate descriptions of the psychological manipulation of young activists.
4 One of the campaign slogans of the EAP in the 1976 campaign was “we get 5% in the Bundestag or atomic war in 1977 is unavoidable.” (Neue Solidarität, April 15, 1976). The already pronounced fixation on conspiracy theories led to such rare blossoms as a title line in Neue Solidariät “Kissinger’s artificial storm tide to unleash the Third World War” (January 8, 1976). According to the EAP, a mentally ill Nelson Rockefeller, together with Kissinger’s National Security Council, were unleashing “meteorological warfare”.
5 This control structure made it possible, for example, for the European affiliates to continue to rely for propaganda on hardliners in the communist apparatuses (among others, the Portuguese Communist Party leader Cunhal, Communist Party of the Soviet Union leader Brezhnev, Fidel Castro and Enrique Lister, the recently deceased leader of the orthodox wing of the Spanish Communist Party loyal to Moscow), while in the USA, curiously, feelers were already being extended into the extreme right. On the contacts with the extreme right in the USA, see King, (fn.2), pp. 39-41.
6 On some high points of activity in the USA, see King (fn.2), pp. 103-111, p. 140 fn. On the main points of the German group’s agitation see Helmut Lorscheid/Leo A. Müller, Deckname Schiller – Die deutschen Patrioten des Lyndon LaRouche (Cover Name Schiller: Lyndon LaRouche’s German Patriots (Reinbek,1986). Lorscheid/Müller have written the thus far only book in German on the LO; they want to “warn about dangerous developments” and are not satisfied with the previous official evaluation of the LO as “not raising security-related considerations”.
7 For details on the LO’s financial machinations, see King (fn.2), p. 295 fn.; Mira Boland, Paroled: The LaRouche Political Cult Regroups, published by the Anti-Defamation League (Washington, 1994), pp. 14-20 as well as Fromm/Kernbach (fn.1), p. 133 fn.
8 For example, in July 1992 the establishment of a Moscow branch of the Schiller Institut was announced. According to the Neue Solidarität (October 27, 1993), a certain “International Ecological Academy of Russia” elected LaRouche as a “corresponding member” on the basis of an evaluation of him as a “genuine genius” and potential “founder of a new direction on the natural sciences” by Professors Taras W. Maraniwskij and Bencion Fleischmann. The propaganda in Moscow continues and occasionally resonates in the media there.