From Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort
by Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons
New York: Guilford Press, 2000.

The LaRouchite Secret Elite Synthesis


©2000, The Guilford Press, all rights reserved.
This material may not be circulated on the internet or posted on other websites.
The authors thank Guilford Press for permission to post this excerpt online.

Though often dismissed as a bizarre political cult, the LaRouche organization and its various front groups are a fascist movement whose pronouncements echo elements of Nazi ideology.[1] Beginning in the 1970s, the LaRouchites combined populist antielitism with attacks on leftists, environmentalists, feminists, gay men and lesbians, and organized labor. They advocated a dictatorship in which a "humanist" elite would rule on behalf of industrial capitalists. They developed an idiosyncratic, coded variation on the Illuminati Freemason and Jewish banker conspiracy theories. Their views, though exotic, were internally consistent and rooted in right-wing populist traditions.

A former Trotskyist, Lyndon H. LaRouche , Jr., founded the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC) in 1968 as an offshoot of the radical student movement. But in the early 1970s, LaRouche engineered a political about-face, using cult pressure tactics to consolidate his grip over the NCLC and initiating a campaign of physical attacks on Communists and Black nationalists, which cut his followers off from the Left. The result was a fascist organization with some unique strengths: a dedicated, full-time cadre of several hundred members, a high proportion of intellectuals with advanced training, familiarity with leftist theory and organizing, and inside information about radical organizations and leaders.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the LaRouchites built an international network for spying and propaganda, with links to the upper levels of government, business, and organized crime. The LaRouchites traded information with intelligence agencies in the United States,South Africa, East Germany, and elsewhere. Their dirty tricks record included harassment campaigns against the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers of America in the 1970s. In 1980, they branded George Bush an agent of the Trilateral Commission to help Ronald Reagan win the Republican presidential nomination, and in 1984, they helped Jesse Helms retain his U.S. Senate seat by gay-baiting his opponent. During the 1980s, the LaRouchites raised an estimated $200 million through legal and illegal fund-raising and fielded thousands of candidates for political office in every region of the country. Seeking the George Wallace vote, the LaRouche candidates usually ran in Democratic primaries.[2]

The LaRouchites generally operated under front groups such as Food for Peace and the Schiller Institute, and put out such publications as New Solidarity (later The New Federalist) and Executive Intelligence Review.

In 1976 LaRouche’s original electoral arm, the U.S. Labor Party (USLP), published a conspiracist attack on President Jimmy Carter, claiming he was a tool of secret international elites. The Liberty Lobby criticized the report for failing to mention the role of Jewish bankers, and soon LaRouche publications picked up the theme.[3] The Liberty Lobby and the LaRouche group soon began to cooperate closely on projects. When some groups on the right criticized the Liberty Lobby for working with ostensible leftists, meaning the USLP, the Liberty Lobby defended the relationship in 1981: "No group has done so much to confuse, disorient, and disunify the Left as they have. . . . The USLP should be encouraged, as should all similar breakaway groups from the Left, for this is the only way that the Left can be weakened and broken."[4]

In the 1970s, the LaRouchites’ anti-Jewish propaganda was relatively explicit, as in LaRouche’s 1978 article "New Pamphlet to Document Cult Origins of Zionism," which declared that "The B’Nai B’rith today resurrects the tradition of the Jews who demanded the crucifixion of Jesus Christ , the Jews who pleaded with Nero to launch the ´holocaust´ against the Christians."[5] Gradually the LaRouchites developed increasingly sophisticated ways to invoke antisemitic themes while still maintaining deniability.

The LaRouchites borrowed conspiracist elements from various sources to produce their own Manichean picture of world history. For thousands of years, they argued, the good "humanists" had been locked in a power struggle with a vast conspiracy of evil "oligarchs." In ancient times, the oligarchic conspiracy was centered in Babylon; later it shifted to Venice; in modern times it was centered in Britain’s royal House of Windsor. This narrative evoked standard elements of antisemitic doctrine: that Jews had dominated ancient Babylon and that Jewish banking families controlled the British government. Sometimes the LaRouchites highlighted prominent Jews as members of the conspiracy, such as "[Henry] Kissinger ’s friends, the Rothschild family, and other representatives of Britain’s financial power." At other times, they portrayed Jews as unwitting tools of the oligarchs, as for example, "Zionism is that state of collective psychosis through which London manipulates most of international Jewry."[6]

The LaRouchite analysis of British oligarchic control resembles a number of earlier right-wing populist works, such as E. C. Knuth’s 1944 tract The Empire of "The City": alias International Finance, alias the British Empire, alias "ONE WORLD" superstate. Knuth claimed that the Rothschilds and Sassoons controlled British financial interests, and he cited the International Monetary Fund as proof of their plot for global dominance.

Unlike neonazi groups such as the White Aryan Resistance or the National Alliance, the NCLC has always denied that it is antisemitic and has always included Jewish members (such as LaRouche’s longtime security aides Jeffrey Steinberg and Paul Goldstein). The LaRouchites insisted they were not targeting Jews as a whole, but only the "bad" Jews such as Henry Kissinger,Roy Cohn, the Rothschild banking family, and the Anti-Defamation League.

The LaRouchites seem to have shifted from biological to cultural racism, at least in their public pronouncements. In the 1970s, LaRouche and his followers described the British oligarchs as a separate "species" and often referred to people of color as bestial or subhuman. But in 1995, New Federalist editor Nancy Spannaus declared, "We don’t believe blood or race has anything to do with determining history. Never fear! It’s ideas."[7] LaRouchite ideology has continued to glorify western Christianity and European civilization—especially the classical German culture of Beethoven , Schiller, and Leibniz—over the "barbarism" of non-Europeans. For example, LaRouchites asserted that by bringing Christianity to the Americas, " Columbus ’ discovery made it possible to liberate the native populations" from "the practices of human sacrifice, cannibalism, and slavery of the Aztec Empire." The LaRouchites vilified jazz and rock music while praising African American spirituals—so long as they conformed to the rules of European classical music.[8]

U.S. right-wing traditions such as business nationalism echoed loudly in the LaRouchites’ attacks on Britain, the "liberal Eastern Establishment," homosexuality, globalism, free trade, and international bankers. Pro­ducer­ism, with its problematic distinction between productive industrial capital and parasitic finance capital, was central to LaRouchite economics, as it enabled LaRouche to be procapitalist and "anti-imperialist" at the same time: "Imperialism was not the result of capitalist development; it was the result of the conquest of power over capitalist nations by a usury-oriented rentier–financier interest older than feudalism."[9]

Like traditional fascists of the 1920s and 1930s, but unlike many neonazis and other U.S. rightists today, LaRouchites championed a strong, centralized nation-state as vital to economic and social progress. They declared they were continuing the old Federalist–Whig program of economic protectionism, national control of banking, and government-sponsored infrastructure development to stimulate industrial growth. They attacked both states’ rights and laissez-faire conservatism as part of a British plot to undermine the nation-state.[10]

Also, unlike some neonazis, the LaRouchites vilified the environmental movement and nature romanticism while praising high-technology projects such as nuclear power. But here, too, the LaRouchites were partly repackaging earlier conspiracy theories. Their attacks on the Club of Rome, an ecology and population control group, echoed a 1974 article in the rightist American Mercury entitled "The Curious Club of Rome," which asked whether the group was "merely a bunch of boring pedants and doom- sayers, or is it a sinister cabal aiming for world control?"[11]

In 1989, LaRouche was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for mail fraud conspiracy, based on illegal and manipulative fund-raising practices, as well as tax evasion. His organization continued to operate while he was in prison, and he was released in early 1994.

LaRouche continued his leadership role in various organizations such as the National Caucus of Labor Committees and the Schiller Institute while in prison, and after his release he resumed his peripatetic speaking circuit, quickly building contacts with a number of groups around the world. His call for new global economic policies in opposition to the International Monetary Fund found favor not only in Europe, but in Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. He spoke at a number of conferences organized in countries previously under Soviet influence or control.

During the 1990s, the LaRouchites once again adopted a more "progressive" guise. They opposed the Gulf War against Iraq and worked to build links with liberal and leftist antiwar groups. They made particular efforts to recruit African Americans. They opposed the death penalty, anti-immigrant racism, and law enforcement agencies’ harassment of Black elected officials. They defended social programs against Gingrich–Republican budget cuts. They praised the Israeli–Palestinian negotiations and the Israeli Labor Party while denouncing the rightist Likud Party and the Islamic fundamentalists in Hamas. Starting in 1990, the LaRouchites and Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam cultivated friendly ties, sharing articles and praising each other’s work.[12]

The LaRouchites set an example of how to package fascist ideology as maverick conservatism, progressive antielitism, or both. In 1986, when LaRouche followers shocked the Illinois Democratic Party by winning the party primaries for lieutenant governor and secretary of state, other far rightists praised their efforts. Some, such as David Duke, looked for lessons in their electoral strategy.[13]



[1] See Dennis King, Lyndon LaRouche.
[2] Ibid., p. 89.
[3] Ibid., pp. 39–40.
[4] Spotlight, March 2, 1981, p. 20.
[5] Lyndon H. LaRouche, "New Pamphlet to Document Cult Origins of Zionism," New Solidarity, December 8, 1978, quoted in Dennis King, Nazis Without Swastikas, p. 9.
[6] "Zionism Is Not Judaism," editorial, The Campaigner, December 1978.
[7]New Federalist, June 19, 1995, p. 10.
[8]William F. Wertz, Jr., " Fidelo Magazine Refutes Slanderers of Columbus ,"New Federalist, June 29, 1992, p. 11; Dennis Speed, "African-American Spiritual and the Resurrection of Classical Art
," New Federalist, October 9, 1995, pp. 6–7.
[9] "Imperialism . . . " quoted in LaRouche, Power of Reason, p. 191. "Kissinger ’s friends . . . " quote in Christopher White, "George Bush’s Countdown to Middle East War."
[10]In the early 1980s, LaRouche described himself as "an American Whig by family ancestry stretching back into the early 19th century, born a New Hampshire Whig, and a Whig Democrat by profession today," Lyndon LaRouche, "Is Republican George Bush a ´Manchurian Candidate´?" issued by Citizens for LaRouche, Manchester, New Hampshire, January 12, 1980; as cited in Tarpley and Chaitkin, George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography , online at http://www.tarpley.net/bush16.htm. LaRouche briefly explains how one can be a modern Federalist Whig Democrat in Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., A Program for America (Washington, DC: The LaRouche Democratic Campaign, 1995), pp. 315–332.
On rapid growth economic and industrialization policies, see LaRouche, The Case for Walter Lippman: A Presidential Strategy (New York: Campaigner Publications/University Editions, 1977), especially pp. 164–167; LaRouche, There Are No Limits to Growth (New York: New Benjamin Franklin House, 1983); and LaRouche, Program for America, especially ch. 4, " LaRouche’s Proposals for Economic Reform," pp. 37–120, including subtitles "Great Projects versus Kissinger Genocide," and "The United States Under President Reagan’s ´Hoover´ Recovery"; and ch. 8, "The Pathway to a U.S. Economic Recovery," pp. 263–313, including the subtitle "Reopen America’s Steel Plants Now!"
On a LaRouchite critique of the 1995 Republican Contract with America proposed by Newt Gingrich, see "How the Conservative Revolution Crowd Plans to Destroy America," pamplet, Leesburg, Virginia, New Federalist, March 1995.
On British conspiracy against the United States, see LaRouche, "Foreword," in The Trilateral Conspiracy Against the U.S. Constitution: Fact or Fiction? ([EIR Special Report] Washington, DC: Executive Intelligence Review, 1985), in which the Trilateral Commission is identified as "merely one of numerous ventures, launched by the same Anglo-American Liberal Establishment which created the New York Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)," p. 2; and Christopher White, "The Socialist One-World Conspiracy," The Campaigner, April 1981, pp. 2–3.
A large amount of LaRouchite conspiracist anti-British material was found at the American Almanac website, http://members.com/~american_almanac/britspt.htm April 1, 2000) including an entire section titled "´Winds of Change´—The Sun Never Sets on the New British Empire—Financial Control and the Destabilization of Governments." Another website containing material illustrating several of our points was "LaRouche’s Major Writings," at http://www.larouchepub.com/major_writings.html April 1, 2000).
[11]American Mercury, Fall 1974, p. 16.
[12] See the following articles from the New Federalist: Marianna Wertz, "American Opposition Is Growing to the Use of the Death Penalty," June 29, 1992, p. 12; Edward Spannaus, "Supreme Court Upholds Limits on Death Row Prisoners’ Habeas Petitions," July 15, 1996, p. 12; Stuart Lewis, "Anti-Immigration Fanatics Assess Efficacy of Efforts Against Mexico," June 12, 1995, p. 3; Debra Hanania Freeman, "National Scandal," June 12, 1995, p. 4; Marianna Wertz, "Clinton and Democrats Fight GOP’s Budget Gouging," May 29, 1995, p. 12; Anton Chaitkin, "President Rejects ´Crush the Poor´ Welfare Plan," June 19, 1995, p. 2; Richard Freeman, "Privatization," June 19, 1995, p. 11; Dean Andromidas, " Likud, GOP Out to Wreck Mideast Peace," May 29, 1995, p. 3. See also Caryle Murphy, " LaRouche Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison," The Washington Post, January 28, 1989; Associated Press, "Supreme Court Upholds LaRouche Convictions," The Washington Post, June 12, 1990; Peter Pae and Leef Smith, " LaRouche, Paroled After 5 Years in Prison, Returns to Loudoun," The Washington Post, January 27, 1994. On LaRouche’s postjail activities, see the following articles from the New Federalist: " LaRouche: Accepting Gingrich Nazi Policies Means Doom for the U.S.," February 26, 1996, p. 1; Rachel Douglas, " LaRouche Urges U.S.–Russian Cooperation Against British," May 6, 1996, p. 1; Nancy Spannaus, "The World Depression Has Arrived," February 24, 1997, p. 1. On LaRouchite continued Anglophobic conspiracism, see the following articles from the New Federalist: Jeffrey Steinberg, "Scandals Shake British Throne," October 31, 1994; Jeffrey Steinberg, "Prince Phillip’s Eco-Terrorists Make Death Threats vs. Clinton , Chirac," September 4, 1995, p. 1.
[13]Dennis King,Lyndon LaRouche, pp. 103, 119.


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