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CHAPTER 13 One Man Coup by the Philosopher King: The Chris White Affair in Context

< CHAPTER 12 "No Sell Can Rat": The Chris White Affair – Part Two | SMILING MAN FROM A DEAD PLANET: THE MYSTERY OF LYNDON LAROUCHE | CHAPTER 14 "Unity Now!" >

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Our examination of the Chris White affair necessarily has been focused on a few days in late December and early January 1974. But if we "zoom out" and place the Chris White affair in a broader historical context, it is the concluding episode in the transition from the NCLC from a relatively stable left formation to a one-man cult. Starting in April 1973 with the launching of Operation Mop-Up, the NCLC went through a shattering series of changes that included the arrest of members on criminal charges, the political debacle of Operation Mop-Up, the launching of special "psychoanalytic sessions" among leading cadre in both the U.S. and Europe that crippled their ability to think independently, the Konstantin George affair, the launching of RYM, the continual exhaustion of the membership in intensive organizing drives in the summer of 1973, the virtual total isolation of the NCLC inside the American left, and the fixation on the Rockefellers, all culminating in the final debacle of the Chris White affair. By January 1974, then, the wildest charges and counter-charges by LaRouche now were accepted by a largely passive membership that had lost the collective ability to think critically.

How did it happen?

To answer this question is, in part, to examine the construction of a parallel organization rooted in what became the Security Staff from mid-1972 to the launching of Operation Mop-Up in 1973. The parallel organization even began in 1973 to "profile" potential dissident members of the NCLC who were suspected of having a psychological identification with "Trotskyist" ideas and emotions. From LaRouche's Trotsky Campaigner article published in the summer of 1974:

In the recent year's experience within the Labor Committees we have found that cadre's sudden preoccupation with the study of Trotsky's writings for guidance on a question with a regression to impotence in his or her current political activity. This recurring correlation promoted us to investigate the phenomenon of endemic "Trotskyism" within the Labor Committees more deeply. That study was made during the spring and summer of 1973, during which period we examined a number of individual cases with the resulting clinical definition of what we termed the "Trotsky syndrome."

"The spring and summer of 1973" also was the height of Operation Mop-Up.

RISE OF THE PRAETORIAN GUARD

One of the many ironies about the NCLC is that the organization that turned into one of the most long-lasting political cults in America was established in the late 1960s on explicitly "anti-vanguard" lines. Although the NCLC had its formal origins in 1967-68, the group really consolidated following the waves of mass student strikes following Nixon's invasion of Cambodia in the late spring of 1970. The Labor Committee was anti-Leninist in that it believed that real revolutions emerge out of an organic "mass strike process" and that the duty of the revolutionary vanguard was less to artificially lead that process but to represent the most advanced theoretical and political wing of it.

If I had to date the key turning point in the NCLC's path, I would return to what most conventional accounts have stressed as well and this is the period right after LaRouche's wife Carol left him sometime in 1972. What these accounts don't mention, however, is that in the wake of her leaving him, LaRouche fundamentally altered the structure of the organization. Only in the last few years has it emerged that after Carol White left LaRouche, he demanded that she be expelled from the organization. When the other members of the group's then existing National Executive Council (NEC) refused, LaRouche threatened to resign unless he was given extra power over the NEC, a process detailed in How It All Began.

As we now know, the NEC "broke" and accepted a higher status for LaRouche even though the decision largely remained unknown to the general membership. Given that LaRouche personally was such a central figure to the organization, his threat to leave it would have destroyed the group. But up until late 1972, LaRouche had dominated the organization through what might be descried in Max Weber-like terms as "charisma." But precisely because the NCLC was expanding at the time into a nation-wide organization, LaRouche's ability to use such charismatic methods forever could have been put in jeopardy. In fact, only two years earlier, the NCLC had endured its first split when LaRouche's position had been fiercely challenged by Steve Fraser, one of the sect's early leaders. The members who proved themselves LaRouche loyalists during the Fraser controversy now made up the very NEC that accepted LaRouche's power bid.

LaRouche began developing his parallel apparatus some time in 1972. He particularly focused on the group's "defense squads," which had been established in the early 1970s. In the fall of 1968, the NCLC supported the New York City teachers' union in the famous teachers' strike. The group was, in turn, strongly attacked by other New Leftists as well as Black Nationalists. In 1971, NCLC members were physically threatened particularly in Newark, New Jersey, when the NCLC allied itself with the Newark teachers' union that had also gone on strike. The union's actions were opposed by black nationalists led by Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), who wanted to transform the Newark school system along Black Nationalist lines and were not afraid to use violence to encourage the process. At the time, Baraka was the East Coast leader of Ron Karenga's US (United Slaves) sect. US members had violently clashed with the Black Panthers on the West Coast, and the organization had been regularly denounced by the Black Panther Party (BPP). The impetus for the NCLC's establishment of what later became the "Security Staff," then, is completely understandable.

Sometime in late 1972 or early 1973, however, LaRouche decided to expand and transform the defense squads into his own attack formations. At his side in the transformation was Costas Axios, the former Epanastasi leader whom LaRouche personally placed on the NEC and who would be LaRouche's second-in-command of the organization until he quit in the early 1980s. As we have already seen, many Epanastasi members were particularly obsessed by the machinations of the Moscow-oriented Communist Parties and LaRouche's decision to attack the CPUSA in the spring of 1973 may have been encouraged by Axios. Axios also played a leading role in the development of the Security Staff and for years he supervised its activities.

Thanks to LaRouche, Axios, and other NCLC members with former military backgrounds such as Jose Torres, the organization created the Officers Training School (OTS) either in late 1972 or 1973. Although the history of the OTS remains largely unknown, it is clear that carefully selected members were put through an extensive program of physical training and indoctrination at OTS classes, some of which were held on a farm in upstate New York. The OTS sessions almost certainly included brutal "ego-stripping sessions" as well. Through groupings like the OTS and the former Epanastasi organization, LaRouche established his own "parallel organization," whose members had been systematically conditioned to obey him without question. Using these cadres, he could arbitrarily launch Operation Mop Up even over the heads of some members of the NEC who had been kept in the dark about the plan. This same core group helped supply organizers for the NCLC's Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) attempt to mobilize largely black ghetto street gangs that LaRouche now officially launched in the early summer of 1973. LaRouche recruited cadre from the parallel organization to form his special "task force" to study "brainwashing" during the Konstantin George affair. This Praetorian Guard played a critical role in the Chris White hoax as well. In short, the old SDS Labor Committee members who came out of the New Left student movement found themselves being increasingly marginalized when it came to real decisions about the organization's future tasks and perspectives.

TARGETING THE CP

LaRouche's first aggressive use of the parallel network to consolidate power inside the organization was Operation Mop Up. The fact that the CPUSA engaged in some ineffectual protests outside the founding conference of NUWRO served as a pretext for the attack. The strike was so well planned that the vast majority of members of the NCLC itself – including members of the NEC – did not find out about Mop Up until the first attacks had already occurred and the Rubicon crossed. LaRouche's strategy counted on surprise and rapid demoralization of CP cadre as a result of Blitzkrieg-like "Shock and Awe" assaults. Operation Mop-Up, then, would have been tactically impossible had it been presented to the NCLC as a whole for debate. Inevitably, plans for an attack would have generated protests inside the group; advance warning of the impending assault would have "leaked" out to the rest of the Left. The "profiling" of specific NCLC members for "Trotskyism" further suggests that the parallel apparatus knew the potential for dissent. The decision to attack the CPUSA also has be placed in some historical context. Sometime in early 1972, LaRouche ordered that the CPUSA – especially its YWLL youth cadre – be targeted for an intense recruitment drive; he perceived that the YWLL cadre were from black and Hispanic working-class backgrounds and more open to working class-oriented policies than the largely "counterculture" student New Left. He believed these same cadre were equally disgusted with the popular-front style politics promoted by Gus Hall's leadership. It is hard not be suspect that the turn to the CP/YWLL also reflected the thinking of former Epanastasi cadre like Gus Axios, himself a former member of the CPUSA as a youth.

NCLC members now began attending CP-sponsored meetings and educational classes where the sect vigorously advanced its criticisms of the CP and made it more and more difficult for the classes and other CP functions to run smoothly. In June 1972, the CP forcibly banned NCLC members from attending CP classes at the party's flagship New York Marxist Center on West 23d Street in Manhattan. When the NCLC responded by picketing and distributing leaflets outside the classes, an enraged CP leader named Rasheed Storey punched the NCLC's Don Phau and broke his nose.1 Carol White, who was living at the time in London with Chris and was shocked to learn of Mop-Up at the time, points out: "Mop-Up began, nascently, at the point when we went to TUAD, in June of 1972 and were thrown out. We were also deploying Phau to sell newspapers in front of the Jefferson school and he got punched in the nose. Not too nice but we were provoking a fight by pushing our stuff in front of CP HQ."

The June expulsion of NCLC cadre in New York and the attack on Phau set the stage for the banning of an NCLC delegation to the Communist Party's Trade Union Action and Democracy Conference (TUAD) held in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend. At the opening of the meeting, a well-organized CP squad forcibly threw out NCLC members who had gone to the meeting while LaRouche himself was physically not allowed to enter the hall. The CP next had NCLC members expelled from the National Welfare Rights Conference meeting in Florida later that summer. Seen from the CP's point of view, the NCLC was an aggressive Trotskyite sect that attacked the Allende government in Chile for betraying the working class and denounced the CP's support for McGovern in the November 1972 elections as a "Popular Front" betrayal of the left. At the same time that the NCLC opposed McGovern, it accused the CPUSA itself of working with the Nixon administration to enslave black women on welfare. The NCLC also declared that the worst threat to the Left was none other than the "Brandt-Brezhnev" Ostpolitik between Moscow and Bonn. Nor was the CP unaware of the Labor Committee's past and, in particular, the group's 1968 support for the New York City teachers' union, a union run by right-wing Social Democrats who were themselves bitter foes of Moscow and it U.S. minions. It is hardly surprising, then, that the CPUSA aggressively acted to prevent the NCLC from disrupting its organized forums.

The CP's actions were interpreted in NCLC propaganda as reflecting orders from the highest levels of the Soviet politburo. The 19 July 1972 United Front Defense leaflet accompanying the mailing of the 17-21 July issue of New Solidarity that examined the TUAD conference provides a clear picture of the NCLC's views:

The July 17-21 issue [of New Solidarity] describes the gangster methods used by the CPers to prevent Labor Committee members from getting into the Chicago TUAD conference or even protesting their exclusion before the body of the conference itself. The Moscow-directed aspect of the attack is noted on page 11. An editorial beginning on page 1 notes that the U.S. socialist movement will henceforth crystallize around two perspectives, that of the CP and that of the Labor Committee. An article on page 5 by Labor Committee chairman Lyn Marcus analyzes the CP's yellow journalism in covering the Chicago TUAD events. A box on the same page describes CP goon-squad tactics in France and how one French group has successfully countered them. A call for left groups to join in united defense against CP hooliganism is printed on page 9. A box on page 19 describes the medical condition of Don Phau, principal victim of the goon squad attack at the Center for Marxist Education. On page 10, a short article notes how the CP covertly circulated race lies against the Labor Committees at the recent National Welfare Rights Organization conference [in Philadelphia] to scare away and otherwise dupe welfare organizers who might otherwise have been attracted to Labor Committee ideas.2

As of July 1972, the NCLC's response to CP attacks was to call for leftist groups to oppose such actions. In the past, the NCLC had issued similar calls. After a wild George Morris charge in the Daily World that the NCLC had shady ties to the right and government, the NCLC formed a Commission of Inquiry and demanded that the CP produce any proof of such allegations. The Commission included a host of prominent liberals and leftists. When the CP predictably failed to respond to the Commission's requests for proof, its failure was noted in the Nation magazine. (The NCLC also supported other left groups that had come under attack from organizations like the JDL.) NCLC policy was very much in line with the course first developed by Trotsky after the Moscow Trials. In 1972, however, the beleaguered CPUSA leadership was really engaged in nothing more than mindlessly defending its sectarian "turf' against an aggressive NCLC recruitment drive.

The NCLC tactic of aggressive engagement with the CPUSA surprisingly paid off dividends in the formation of national NUWRO in late March 1973. The organization attracted significant figures from the old National Welfare Rights Organization as well as support from the New American Movement (NAM), and the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP). With NUWRO, the NCLC developed a potential wedge organization into the very black and Latino YWLL cadre that the organization had first targeted in 1972. With the defeat of the CP's own Popular Front line following the McGovern debacle in the November 1972 elections, these layers were more open for potential recruitment. The NCLC was able to build NUWRO because one of the core constituencies of the NCLC since 1967-68 had been a group of radical graduate students turned professional social workers from the Columbia School of Social Work. The creation of NUWRO as a national organization modeled somewhat along the lines of the IWW was a remarkable achievement, and the final triumph of the New Left student cadre base that built the organization. Yet it would immediately be eclipsed a week later with the launching of Operation Mop Up.

photo credit: Daily World

"THE CHALLENGE OF LEFT HEGEMONY"

It seems clear that sometime in most likely in late 1972 after he won his showdown with the NEC over Carol, Lyndon LaRouche started going off the rails. When Carol abandoned LaRouche, he was 50 years old and he had no real income as Carol White had supported both of them. He already had suffered one challenge to his leadership in 1970 from Steve Fraser. As the NCLC began to significantly expand its recruiting in the early 1970s, LaRouche's ability to simply rely on his own "personal charisma" to dominate a far more complex and geographically diffuse organization was diminished. In short, he was faced with the dilemma of having to share power in a much more structured manner as the sect evolved from a "charismatic" to an organizational model. Ironically, then, LaRouche was most threatened by his own success. LaRouche's push for special power in the fall of 1972 was his response to the threat of becoming obsolete. To justify his claim to power, he now had to justify his own allegedly unique historical genius. In brief, LaRouche now had to reshape the NCLC from its "mass strike" roots in the student movement and transform it along the same top-down "Healyite" model that he had first encountered in the mid-1960s. In so doing, he now aped Healy's claims to special dialectical knowledge as well as Healy's psychological scare tactics.3 In The Challenge of Left Hegemony – written about a month after Mop Up began – LaRouche justifies the attacks as bearing on the future of the NCLC itself:

The importance of "Operation Mop Up" is chiefly negative . . . . If we had refrained from carrying out our commitments on this which would have meant resorting to academic, phrase-mongering nonsense to "explain" why we would not "initiate violence," the state of mind induced by those rationalizations would have perhaps destroyed the dynamic of our organization's internal development.

Violence, in short, was needed to internally transform the NCLC.

In Challenge, LaRouche labels all criticism of his decisions particularly by "leading members" (in other words, those who could potentially replace him in a power struggle) as pathological:

They [NCLC members] are still, in large part, "little me's" peering out through their eyes on an external world. They are not yet active members of a class-for-itself world outlook, can not yet locate themselves actively in the world process. They are devoted fellow-travelers of the class-for-itself.
This same problem is otherwise reflected in repeated expressions of resentment, even hostility toward me from, for example, some leading members. Throughout the history of the organization we have encountered the strongest reflections of bourgeois ideology among our leading members in connection with the wretched false argument that my personal "domineering" frustrates the "healthy self-development" of the membership. . . . Repeatedly, these vestigial expressions of bourgeois ideology have assumed the particular issue form of chiding me or failing to "take us into consultation on your leading role" in this or that connection. I am charged, in this way, with concealing the motivations and conceptions I am employing to direct such-and-such a tactical turn.

Challenge also had echoes of Centrism as a Social Phenomena, a much earlier NCLC founding document written in the wake of the Columbia strike. In Centrism, LaRouche argued that backward tendencies in political parties limited the revolutionary daring needed to make a revolution. One prime example was Lenin's decision to launch the "April Theses" in 1917 over the objections of the overwhelming majority of the Bolshevik party itself. However at the time Centrism was penned, the NCLC was a democratic organization with a very diffuse leadership structure that categorically rejected a "vanguard party" model. If anything, Centrism arguably could be read as a critique of the old Leninist model and reflected Rosa Luxembourg's critic of the SPD – not to mention Robert Michels' famous study of the German party. Challenge however, was arguably just the opposite in its bold demand for centralization of power.

"THE MARXIST PHILOSOPHER KING"

Challenge is also significant because it is the first attempt by LaRouche to establish the arguments that would lead to the Beyond Psychoanalysis series and culminate in the mid-1970s when the last remnants of the NCLC's Marxist past were discarded for Plato's "Philosopher King." With Challenge it is clear that LaRouche was already developing the idea that he was the Marxist Philosopher King by the spring of 1973. One of the many ironies of the NCLC is that organizationally it became not unlike the secret societies of the late 18th and early 19th century. In these groups members – after performing different assigned tasks to test their obedience – would be "initiated" into higher levels where different secrets would be revealed to them. In the NCLC, the holders of the inner secrets more and more were from the "Praetorian Guard" around LaRouche. They also carried out the largely covert overtures to the U.S. military and the far right, just as they had earlier covertly prepared the attacks on the CP. Of course the most golden of golden souls was LaRouche himself. Like the old conspiratorial societies of yore, the lack of any democratic structure or transparency inside the group made it almost impossible to understand the real reasons for decisions made on high. The group literally became a "faith-based organization" dependent on one man. And it was Challenge that helped outline the new path that the organization would be fated to take. LaRouche's ''Beyond Psychoanalysis" "group therapy" sessions with top cadre in both New York and Germany further weakened any potential resistance inside the old New Left-inspired organizers.

"THE TAVISTOCK METHOD"

By late 1972 or early 1973, a new "Praetorian Guard" semi-paranoid version of history also emerged inside the NCLC. Its key theorist was the late Bob Cohen, who for many years exercised an enormous personal influence over the NCLC's "Security Staff." Cohen also played a vital role in concocting the idea that the CIA was engaged in a coup against Nixon. In the late 1960s, Cohen had been a leading radical on the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The Madison left was famous for developing the idea that the "main enemy" was "Corporate Liberalism," a term popularized by William Appleman Williams, the university's leading left "revisionist" historian. Cohen then relocated to Buffalo where he both taught and networked with the early Telos group as well.

In 1972, Cohen, a superb chess player, developed a half-brilliant/half-crazed analysis of the crisis of the American ruling class that took the "Corporate Liberalism as the Enemy" idea to stratospheric heights. He became convinced that the CIA had established a vast domestic counter-insurgency apparatus that mimicked the CIA's foreign pacification policies in Vietnam. Cohen's analysis dovetailed beautifully with the NCLC's view of the role the Ford Foundation played in funding black nationalists in Ocean Hill/Brownsville against the New York City UFT as well as the Ford Foundation's role in helping to defeat the SDS Left during the Columbia Strike through its support for Students for a Reconstruction University. The CIA's role in covert funding of the National Student Association (NSA) also pointed to the existence of an intelligence agency/Eastern Establishment role in mass "social engineering" both at home as well as abroad.

As a result of this perspective, the NCLC became interested in the radical right's critique of corporate liberalism epitomized by John Birch Society and other far-right tirades against the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Rockefeller financial network, and how this same group of Eastern elite strategists worked together in organizations like the CIA and the Ford Foundation and their related WASP law firms. As a leading theorist of the way the ruling class really ruled, Cohen's influence became considerable. Most important for our purposes, Cohen and the rest of the Praetorian Guard around the burgeoning Security Staff in particular began studying "psychological warfare" tactics developed by the OSS and CIA to manipulate a designated population by playing upon the its deepest psychological fears. These studies established the notion inside the NCLC that "brainwashing" was a real tactic developed by the CIA and its allies that would naturally be used against the Left. From "The Shaping of an Anglo-American SS by War" article in a 1974 Campaigner that was published not long after the Chris White brainwashing:

The basic method of Reesian ["Tavistock Institute"]psychological warfare (including Reesian methods of individual brainwashing) is to induce an isolated individual or isolated group to accept the conditions defined by his isolation in a controlled environment as the only available "realistic" setting for finding a solution to the problems of stress imposed upon him by the controllers of that surrounding environment.

The NCLC was just such an "isolated group" by December 1973.

From LaRouche's April 1974 Campaignerarticle entitled "The Real CIA" and also written in the wake of the Chris White affair:

In effect Reesian, "Pavlovian" or "Chinese" brainwashing, the controllers are usually obliged to avoid directly informing the individual victim what he or she must come to believe. Rather, the adverse situation is intensified, the controller-operator maintains a suggestion of being won over in the future to help the victim escape terrors, and the victim is essentially left to persistently "rework" his or her biography and belief-system without ever being certain that he or she has finally hit upon exactly the "answers" that will win over the controller and thus solve the problem of intensifying terror. It's all done by suggestion, a hideous caricature of psychotherapy.

(Recall the hapless Chris White "reworking" his own biography to fit into LaRouche's conspiracy theories during his "deprogramming.")

And from LaRouche's "Prevent Menticide" article in the 27 March 1974 New Solidarity:

All the forms of functional brainwashing derived from the Tavistock Institute's "Pavlovian" or psycho-dynamic faction are ultimately identical with what are otherwise known as "Chinese" "encounter group" methods for inducing such forms of semi-psychosis. . . .
The basic method for brainwashing typified by such criminal practices as the "attack therapy" or "sensitivity training" group, has three essential features. First, the individual is terrorized by playing upon one or more fears of a power he believes himself unable to resist successfully (police terror, CIA terror: "We can get you anywhere, anytime, and there's not a damn thing you can do to stop us!" or fear of loss of social status, employment, career, etc.).
Secondly, every acquired ego-guilt which exists or can be developed in him is played upon by a gaggle of "friends" in an "encounter group" setting, essentially bearing down on the theme, "See, you're a total fake, nothing but shit." Thirdly, a "potential ally" is provided – an authoritative figure or member of the team assigned to play the part of the victim's "buddy," who emerges as the individual with either the power or mediating influence to secure the victim's acceptance by the hostile group.
The individual is given only a few basic directives concerning the "changes in attitude" he must develop "to solve your problem." The key to brainwashing by Tavistock-linked methods is the emphasis on the point that the victim must "work out for yourself the "new identity" to be developed.
The object of the "encounter group" sessions is to strip away the credibility of every "ego-ideal" which might afford the individual as sense of social identity and social power outside the framework of the institutional settings associated with the group. He is made dependent upon the immediate opinion of the group, as mediated by the "buddy" or the authority-figure seeming to offer a potential supportive role.
Accepting this, the individual begins to "solve" his thus-defined problem. His first step of reconciliation with his "buddy" are initially accepted as "progress," but, then, "token-economy" style, this support is taken away, and the individual pushed to greater "achievements." Within no more than a few weeks . . . he becomes increasingly disassociated, suppressing his independent Ego-identity as a person in the larger world in favor of immediately propitiating the favorable opinion of the new institutionalized authority.

In his first "Beyond Psychoanalysis" piece published in the fall 1973 Campaigner LaRouche writes:

In abstraction of ordinary consciousness, the control of mental productions and communications is associated constantly with notions of one's self. . . . It is not difficult to provoke such awareness (indeed, a skillful operator in a "therapy group" or in any group which can be directed to act as a "therapy group," can readily force the attention of virtually all participants to such "feelings" very quickly . . . .)
In ordinary states, the form of these notions of ego-ideals is what one would best describe as feelings about attributes of a monad-like "little me." In general, the instant one succeeds in "cutting through the persona" of an individual to force his reflection on these feelings, the usual sensation experiences by the "opened-up" individual is "I am a fraud." ("Original Sin"?). . . .
Consequently, these being the same qualities associated with the production of the "fraudulent outer self," the persona, the "little me" is a degraded thing, intrinsically "unlovable." ("How could God love my miserable little soul?").

Former NEC member Christine Berl – who actually figured out what LaRouche was really up to – recalled in her 1974 Resignation Statement what it was like to be reduced to a "little me" in the sessions:

The obsession with shit and the endless stream of scatological and sadistic humor issuing from Marcus around this obsession successfully and repeatedly reduced all the individuals in the sessions to the level of animals.

According to Berl:

Marcus's pseudo-psychoanalytical sessions, begun in August, 1973, with the NEC and all people in leading positions of responsibility, proved the final link in a process that culminated in Marcus's total hegemony over the organization.
According to Marcus, the purpose of the sessions was to create a new kind of leadership based on the capacity to withstand psychological terror; but, in reality, the content of the sessions themselves was pure psychological terror. What the leaders were asked to withstand was described by Marcus as the stripping away of the persona before the entire group; but in actuality what was stripped away was their very identities.
Marcus located the origin of psychological terror, as the 8th century church had done, in the image of the witch-mother who prevented the individual form acting on behalf of self-consciousness by reducing him to an impotent and banalized ego-state. And to this banalized image of the ego, Marcus counterpoised himself; for it was never disputed during the course of the sessions that all true self-consciousness emanated from his own person.
But the image of the witch-mother as the locus for psychological terror was simply a cover. In actuality, the terror which the leaders experienced during the sessions . . . was a terror of the depersonalization imposed upon them by Marcus himself: a depersonalization, moreover, which was described by him as true self-consciousness, e.g., the phase "Step outside of yourself," was used recurringly . . . . And this phrase epitomizes the extreme form of alienation to which the participants were subjected. . . .
It is scarcely surprising that the participants of the sessions should have been prey to all sorts of deep-seated feelings of self-hatred and worthlessness, or that Marcus could have been able to manipulate those feelings to the point that any allegation, and particularly one that diagnosed a neurosis, would have to be believed.
Moreover, Marcus was extremely skilled at turning the group on an individual who had been selected on the basis of rumors that he had failed to perform politically during the week, so that from a congress of leaders, the group was transformed into sniveling informers vying with each other for Marcus's approval. Even couples were encouraged to "inform" on each other's "progress."

As Berl makes brilliantly clear, the very methods that LaRouche accused the "Tavistock Institute," "KGB." "CIA," and "MI-6" of using to "brainwash" individuals and groups were actually the very methods he employed to seize total control over the NCLC. Seen in this context, the Chris White affair represents the culmination of a months-long process in which LaRouche asserted his total control. With the Chris White affair, he created an artificial environment of sheer terror in which any challenge to what was being claimed by LaRouche and his staff could earn the skeptical member a harsh and brutal interrogation as a potential assassin. And if it really were true that Chris White suddenly began speaking in Russian, who could seriously doubt that something really had been done to him? After all, would the top leadership of the organization just make up something like this? In the "Beyond Psychoanalysis" sessions, LaRouche – who claimed to represent Logos itself – tried to argue that any individual's objections to this or that specific policy proclaimed by him reflected a personal psychological failing ("sexual impotence") and not a legitimate political objection. This refusal to follow the dictates of (LaRouche-determined) rationality led to the creation in the subconscious of fearful images that paralyze one from acting potently.

From the PSP Campaigner':

In general, the individual's sense of identity is associated with such images of definite "shape" and behavior within his or her mind. The inner mind of man contains a large hall with benches running up the sides of the room, and a large arena-like area, flanked by such rising benches, before a podium. At the podium are usually found parodies of mother and father figures, with the mother usually the most massive figure. Along the walls are seated a mass of other figures, sometimes seeming to be ordinary human images, but easily exposed as the sort of images one sees in the elder Bruegel. . . . One sees the Ego standing in the pit, confronted mostly by the mother, looking with fear of the mother at the father, and sometimes at the semi-human monsters (sometimes turned into rats or gigantic insects) along the flanking walls.

With this argument, LaRouche effectively depoliticized any objections to his actions by arguing that "so called" political objections really were based on the fears of a "little me" persona afraid to act in a hubristic way; namely to implement whatever policy LaRouche dictated on that particular day, no matter how absurd the policy might seem. As Berl pointed out, the one person immune to criticism that he acted in a way that reflected base human desires was, of course, LaRouche himself.

With the Chris White affair, there were no "internal images" of the pit at work in the mind. Instead of mental fantasy, there were now real CIA torturers, sadists, brainwashers, and rapists on the loose. The terrifying images that had been confined to the subconscious in Beyond Psychoanalysis now suddenly constellated into Goya-like frogmen monsters forcing grown men to have sex with animals and eat their own feces. The Chris White affair proved the ultimate "mind fuck" precisely because it was supposed to be real. "Reality" had suddenly become a thousand times more terrifying that the worst Freudian fantasy projection. Without understanding the sheer terror that the events in late December generated, it is impossible to understand just how the NCLC could have gone so collectively insane.

CONCLUSION: RISE OF DER ABSCHEULICHER

In a 16 August 1973 document entitled "The Politics of Male Impotence" written shortly after returning from Germany, LaRouche boasted,

In general, I warn you of this fact. In respect of the mental processes, absolutely nothing is secret; there is merely blindness. . . . Blindness will be ended; all the secrets will rapidly appear to become general public knowledge. In Germany I am Der Abscheulicher (The Abominable One). I shall soon be regarded similarly here.

In the course of 1973, Der Abscheulicher drove the NCLC to the brink of insanity. By January 1974, the group had gone off the deep end. The cumulative impact of Mop-Up, Beyond Psychoanalysis, RYM street organizing, and the Konstantine George/Chris White affairs on a group whose members already were working almost around the clock in impoverished conditions simply broke down the ability of leading cadre to think independently. The various "assassination threats" made dissenters potentially subject even to physical attack. As 1974 dawned, the NCLC began fully to enter its own alternate political universe.

From a summary of New Solidarity articles during this time:

1/18/74: CIA out to launch a military coup in England.

2/22/74: All NCLC cadres ordered out of England due to coming coup. Nuclear war imminent between the US and USSR

4/10/74: CIA will launch nuclear attack on USSR

4/24/74: The economy is about to collapse. Military coup in USA by June 1975

8/3/74: Rockefeller plans mass starvation

8/8/74: Rockefeller spreads bubonic plague

10/5/74: NCLC endorses food survivalist stockpiling plan

11/6/74: Nuclear war in the Middle East.

In less than a year, the NCLC had passed from a well-established and highly idealistic leftist sect to an apocalyptic mix of vanguard party and messiah cult. The socialist cadre organization that existed from 1967 to the spring of 1973 had been brutally dismantled and then reconstituted as a one-man personality cult in a process that arguably began with Operation Mop Up and the Konstantine George affair and culminated in the Chris White affair. Orpheus never came up into the sunlight; instead, the NCLC plunged into a Hades-like twilight existence filled with spooks and ghouls that it has never returned from and never will.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

NOTE: "BEYOND PSYCHOANALYSIS" COMES TO GERMANY

The role of destructive "Beyond Psychoanalysis" methods in the transformation of the Labor Committee into a cult is paralleled in developments inside the German organization as described by a former German member in her memoirs of her years in the group. Given that LaRouche first tried out some of his "BP" techniques on the early German organization almost as entry into leadership as opposed to the American organization where there had been a long process of political action before the invention of "BP," the experiences of German cadre with "BP" would have been that much more destructive.

(From: http://larouche-danger.com/html/verirrt_overview.html.)

"Verirrt" Mein Leben in einer radikalen Politorganisation
Title: Astray: My life in a radical political organisation.

By Aglaja Beyes-Corleis

Published Herder/Spektrum 1994. ISBN 3-451 -04278-9

The author describes how for more than 16 years she was a member of the LaRouche cult. In the seventies the well-known West German Cult expert, Friedrich Haack, described the destructive, dangerous nature of the LaRouche political network and the “youth cult.” This information has therefore been available for a long time. The author provides information based on her personal experiences to confirm the viewpoint made by the cult expert Friedrich Haack. All that Haack describes twenty years earlier corresponds with Beyes-Corleis’s experiences The author provides detailed information to confirm the dangers as she experienced them. Beyes-Corleis defected from the cult in the second half of 1990.

Beyes-Corleis describes her experiences :

Extreme mental manipulation, powerful psychological methods to break down a person's self esteem, constant humiliation to destroy the ability for independent thought and an enslavement to follow in military style cult orders. Added to these pressures she describes the punishment that is carried out against those who try and break away or express dissent. The process whereby the LaRouche organization sets up barriers between members and their families is described. In many cases members are encouraged to break with their families and their studies.

The author explains how the LaRouche method seeks to gain full and strict control over every aspect of member’s lives. Beyes-Corleis was turned into a 24 hours a day revolutionary. She states that "It should never be forgotten that the members of the LaRouche organization are victims of a "destructive cult." Most revealing is the way the author describes the process by which the individual is deceived. The individual is persuaded to think that the world is facing destruction which threatens the future of mankind. If the individual has difficulty with that they are led to believe they are told that it is their own personal problem that stands in the way of their giving full commitment to the organization not the fault of the organization which is working towards saving the world.

The recruits are persuaded to believe that the leadership know what is best for them. Step by step the recruit is brought round to accept direction without question or dissent. The author describes the complex process whereby powerful and destructive manipulation of the individual’s identity takes place. The author describes how the individual's belief systems and world view is transformed. Misrepresentation and falsification of the facts lead the unsuspecting individual into accepting ideas which follow exactly the opposite of what they initially believed. An example of this is the way that idealistic, anti-fascist, unprejudiced individuals are transformed into fascist, racist anti-Semites. The different methods of influence are revealed. These include psychological techniques such as long exhausting work schedules with very little sleep, stirring up guilt, anger, scare-mongering, isolation from former lives and interests and much else besides. It is through constant repetition, imprinting and group pressures that complete control is exercised over the individual who begins to see the world only through the viewpoints suggested by LaRouche. There is no debate because only total acceptance of the ideological stance is acceptable.

The author describes what is at the heart of the destructive process. It is the way that the person’s inner-most thinking, their emotions and hopes for the future are manipulated. In the author's opinion and based on her experience the formulation of policy for the Movement is in no way carried out in free deliberation. She states that the European Executive Committee, a group of seven people hand-picked by LaRouche, is not given access to the origin and purpose of the policy they help to develop. Her book describes how every cadre in the field, are told what to do and what to say, often by LaRouche personally in hour-long telephone or face to face briefings. The author states that any reluctance on the side of a member is answered by sessions of psychoanalytical re-indoctrination. This book goes into great detail about how the majority of the members have no understanding of the mechanisms by which they are immersed in the LaRouche brand of psychological control. Thus individuals are frequently enslaved into doing long hours of unskilled manual labor for very little pay. Beyes-Corleis describes how tasks are set to act as tests to see if members can live up to every demand and command.

This book gives examples of how recruits live under constant and unbearable pressures. There is widespread falsification of information to deceive individuals to accept a conspiracy worldview where the world is seen to be dominated by a circle of Financiers who are trying to control, plunder and destroy the world. Members are led to believe that they are surrounded by fearful enemies in a world that lies to them. The notion of being surrounded by individuals only out to assassinate their cult leader LaRouche is frequently put out as a device to gain unity. These assassins are said to team up with circles of enemies whose only interest is to harm LaRouche and the organization.

All this is used as a ploy to draw the members into secrecy and distrust with the world outside. It is a way of further luring people closer within the organization. It is done through lengthy emotive lecturing on subjects like poverty, nuclear threats, circles of financiers wishing to achieve universal fascism, etc. It is all aimed to stir up feelings of terror and at the same time induce huge guilt. This method, founded on the desire to shock and terrify, results in recruits becoming so distressed that their fears and anxieties develop into states of paranoia. This method when combined with a policy of isolating members from their former lives becomes even more menacing. The constant emphasis on an apocalyptic view of the world and its imminent destruction has the affect of reducing the individual’s ability for independent decision making or thought. In fact members are told that it is only by following the ideas of LaRouche that there is a future for the world.

Beyes-Corleis describes two cases of people who had dangerous reactions to the psycho-sessions. The first is called "B." This young girl was so badly humiliated and subjected to such lengthy interviews which consisted of aggressive verbal attacks that in the end she was mentally destroyed. She fled back to her parents but was still greatly affected by what had happened to her. This meant that she continued to be in a state of deep trauma. She was unable to rid herself of the feelings of guilt and shame that the LaRouche people had placed upon her. In this still highly-damaged state she was yet again drawn back to the Movement. She returned to Helga blindly searching for help. After this Helga continued to exercise further harmful control over her, becoming a substitute mother and continuing the emotional abuse. This formerly bright, enthusiastic girl is described as being totally broken down by their treatment and in the end it was learnt she had committed suicide. This was hushed up and never spoken about.

Beyes-Corleis writes that she had experience of seeing how the psycho-sessions drove people into states of “freaking out” the most extreme mental distress. However it never occurred to the author to question these methods as she was deceived into thinking that revolutionaries of the world had to be subjected to what was the most suitable selection method. Members were led to see themselves as someone special if they were given the honor to be tested for leadership. It was a method of “shaming and blaming.” Here individuals were taken down the road of self delusion. Members are led to believe they were part of a special cadre attached to a world wide organization that alone had the noble and special task of saving the world. This whole notion of being a special group with special powers is put forward by the LaRouche organization. It is done by giving great emphasis on learning all about what is noble and fine in Classical Culture. Who would suspect when reciting Schiller or listening to Beethoven that this organization sought to skilfully transform the personality and identity of the individual so that they are gradually conditioned into loosing all ability for self-determination. On pages 70-71 a description is given of how a young student came out of the well known psycho sessions and had a terrible reaction. She seemed to have lost control of herself for several hours. She incessantly painted circles on the wall like a small child. Any cult members who may have questioned such a terrible event were silenced with the answer: "Don't take it so seriously - have a look at society – see how the rest of the world is insane and most people are crazy."

The author mentions many cases of members suddenly “going mad” or as she describes it “freaking out.” It is stated that in the years between 1974 to 1976 this was most frequent. She herself was taken to task in a hard psycho-session in Wiesbaden. If you were not selected for psycho-sessions you took it that you were not as worthy as the others and you then saw it as the clearest proof of your short-comings. This was all part of the deception and pressure.

The author describes how she was so psychologically in fear of the group that the escape only became possible 16 years later. "We believed we only had the vision of the world. We believed we only could save the world." There were two main ideas: One was the notion of dependence on the mother. The individual is told he is weak and belittled if he has any reliance on mother and family. Then there is the notion of impotency. The recruit is told that they lack the courage to go out into the world and do something valuable and that means they are too bad to be allowed to participate in the noble task of imminent World Revolution. It was considered a huge honour if the leadership entrusted you with a task as leader. The individual’s reliance on the mother figure is used to manipulate and attack individuals sense of worth and identity. You are derided for being dependent on one's family. Members are constantly under a barrage of pressure to accept that the campaign to save the world can only be executed in military style and must take precedence over private lives. Even having babies is seen as a distraction. Members are told that the work of the movement is too important to tolerate anyone who tries to contradict or question orders. They are told that the world situation is very serious and orders have to be followed in order to exclude the possibility of dissension inside the movement.


Notes:

1. Storey was also quotes as saying about the NCLC: "We don't entertain police agents."

2. Unfortunately the important issue of New Solidarity examining the TUAD conference was missing from the microfilm collection that I examined.

3. On Healy, see http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.UnityNow4.


< CHAPTER 12 "No Sell Can Rat": The Chris White Affair – Part Two | NEW STUDY | CHAPTER 14 "Unity Now!" >

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