14. WHO IS LYNDON LaROUCHE AND WHY SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT HIM?

Lyndon LaRouche is a former U.S. presidential candidate. He now reportedly runs a multi-million dollar fundraising scheme built around a political intelligence operation with ties to a motley assortment of ultra-right, anti-Jewish, single-issue groups and individuals. These range from U.S. intelligence agents to the Liberty Lobby to the Teamsters Union to organized crime and even to the Reagan administration.

LaRouche ran for president twice, in 1976 and 1980, on platforms that called for immediate construction of 120 nuclear power plants, blamed the B'Nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League for funding the Nazis, and called publicly for an "American Whig" coalition of business and labor to turn the country around while secretly seeking a military solution to the nation's problems.

In early 1982, Mother Jones published an expose of how LaRouche's political party, the U.S. Labor Party, gained a foothold in the labor movement. It introduced the story as follows "This is the story of how a bizarre cult called the U.S. Labor Party penetrated the largest labor union in the U.S. to indoctrinate members in the party's brand of right-wing politics. Through its success with the Teamsters, it has gained a frightening foothold in the labor movement."

Through the American Labor Beacon, a widely circulated glossy magazine, LaRouche associates try to effectively propagandize not only union leadership but rank-and-file workers as well. The Beacon once warned its readers about Mother Jones, The Village Voice, and mass media on the whole.

Today LaRouche's organizational membership lists a cadre of several hundred hard-core activists, plus one to three thousand supporters who participate in rallies, seminars, and other programs. Altogether the network reportedly produces annual revenues variously estimated to range from $3 million to $15 million.

One of the most respected labor writers in the country, A. H. Raskin, now retired from The New York Times, says he considers it historically unprecedented for a group of such certifiable extremists to make headway inside the labor movement.

Even those well acquainted with the organization are not fully certain as to LaRouche's motivation. What does appear certain, however, is that the organization is real, that it is able to mount successful propaganda campaigns, and that it able to infiltrate legitimate U.S. groups.

SOURCES:

Mother Jones, January 1982, "Teamster Madness" by Douglas Foster; "The LaRouche Cult: Tales from the Fringe" by Joel Bellman and Chip Berlet, 1982, based on an award-winning radio documentary produced by Bellman for KBIG-FM, Los Angeles.