3.00 – 3.45 pm
Chaired by Mr Yves Messer, with the victims’ families and ex-members
Psychological and Social Control in the Lyndon LaRouche Cult
By MOLLY HAMMETT KRONBERG
(Written for University of Northampton symposium on LaRouche and right-wing extremism, June 26, 2009. This is the document, updated, as it appears on Dennis King’s website, http://www.lyndonlarouchewatch.org )
Much has been written, and much theorized, about the nature of the “cadre” of the Lyndon LaRouche organization—particularly in the earlier days of the organization, in the 1970s and 1980s.
Concerning the LaRouche followers of those early days, the question arose repeatedly over the years, in newspaper articles and other published items and unpublished discussions: How could such apparently intelligent, well-educated, earnest youth—so many of them Jews—join and remain in an organization so obviously absurd in its philosophy and violent in its worldview, so evidently anti-Semitic, so entirely without intellectual or moral merit?
(This question does not arise so much of late, perhaps because the membership of the so-called LaRouche Youth Movement, LaRouche’s current chief organization, seems to be of a different type.)
As a former longtime member of the LaRouche organization—as a 25-year member of the organization’s National Committee (NC)—I want to address this question in memory of my husband, Kenneth Kronberg.
Ken was a member of the organization from the age of 23, and an NC member for 33 years, until his death by suicide at age 58, in April 2007. He was highly intelligent, extremely well-educated, earnest, sincere, and wholly dedicated to making the world a better place. Yet he was a member of the LaRouche organization for his entire adult life, ultimately driven to his death by the same vicious and destructive system of psychological and social control that has enabled LaRouche to dominate his followers so completely.
1973-1974, Year of Transformation
This LaRouchean system of “brainwashing” emerged in the year 1973-1974, a turning-point in the history of the LaRouche “cadre” organization, the International Caucus of Labor Committees (ICLC). Lyndon LaRouche (then still using the nom de guerre Lyn Marcus) was reacting to the fact that his long-time partner Carol had left him in the summer of 1972, a circumstance which had led him to withdraw from most human contact. (He was living at that time on Morton Street in New York City’s Greenwich Village, with no telephone.) As he emerged from that prolonged withdrawal, he announced that he was making profound psychoanalytical discoveries, which he began to test weekly in Saturday night sessions with the National Executive Committee (NEC)
–-the process which led to his “Beyond Psychoanalysis” series.
That year of 1973-1974 saw the following radical developments in the Labor Committee:
April 1973, “Mop-Up”: LaRouche announces at an “NC plenum” the policy of “Operation Mop-Up,” wherein Labor Committee members are sent out with nunchaku (“numchuks”) and pugil sticks to invade Communist Party meetings, to declare that “There is only one item on the agenda”—that item being, presumably, a discussion of why the Communist Party was going after the Labor Committee—and, when the CPers refused to allow such a discussion, to beat up the meeting participants.
For two months, Labor Committee members assault Communist Party members, with broken bones and broken teeth on both sides but, miraculously, no fatalities. Then, abruptly, LaRouche calls it off.
Early Summer 1973, “RYM”: LaRouche announces a new policy, the building of a “Revolutionary Youth Movement” (RYM) based on ghetto gangs. This dangerous tactic is short-lived.
Summer 1973, The Baraka Campaign: LaRouche launches a campaign in the ghettoes of Newark, New Jersey against Amiri Imamu Baraka (LeRoi Jones), the poet and Black Nationalist figure.
Summer 1973: LaRouche begins to promote his “new psychological methods” more broadly in the U.S. and European organizations of the ICLC.
Fall 1973: In Europe, LaRouche announces the so-called brainwashing of Konstantin George, claiming that the East German Stasi kidnapped and brainwashed Labor Committee member George.
September/October 1973: LaRouche publishes “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” the first in the Beyond Psych series.
November 1973: LaRouche publishes “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” the second in the series.
December 1973: LaRouche publishes “The Case of Ludwig Feuerbach,” the third in the series.
December 1973–January 1974: LaRouche declares that Chris W, the husband of Carol who left LaRouche in summer 1972, has been brainwashed by British Intelligence and the KGB to assassinate LaRouche. Chris is isolated and “deprogrammed” by LaRouche, who takes this occasion to “isolate” (in some cases, lock up) other members of the NEC as well and to put the organization on a quasi-military footing. LaRouche surrounds himself with “Security” (drawn from the members who were more successful—that is, more aggressive—in the “Mop-Up” period), and from January 1974 to the present day never stirs without “Security,” guards, weapons, and the like.
Members in New York are interviewed to ascertain whether they have been brainwashed. All information discovered is written down and turned over to “Security.” LaRouche generalizes the NEC “Beyond Psych” weekly sessions into ego-stripping attack sessions throughout the organization.
The Content of Beyond Psychoanalysis
So it was that from the end of winter/early spring of 1974, LaRouche’s soul-destroying sessions—the stories of them, the fear of them, the fear of him—began to permeate the organization.
From Operation Mop-Up on, LaRouche increasingly became an object of fear for his followers, in large part because of the reckless violence into which he led the organization. Mop-Up, RYM, the Baraka campaign, the so-called Newark City Council “police riot” (provoked by an invasion of Labor Committee members into the Newark, NJ City Council)—all these were wildly violent and irrational actions that terrorized, first and foremost, the members of the organization.
I can remember the first “sessions” during Operation Mop-Up—some of them held in our apartment, because we lived in a big apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a block from the LaRouche organization’s then-“National Headquarters.” Ken and I did not attend these sessions, not being members of the “squads.” We locked ourselves in our bedroom while the sessions raged in our living room, people screaming, sobbing, crashing around—being worked into a frenzy before going out on an “intervention,” or being flayed after a Mop-Up encounter, for having been too weak.
In retrospect, it is clear that LaRouche’s principal target in all this psychological and physical violence was his own followers. After the “Chris W brainwashing affair” of January 1974—as members were dragged off to New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, howling that they too were programmed to assassinate LaRouche, and as NEC members were held “isolated” under armed guard—things became worse and worse.
The teachings of Beyond Psychoanalysis became the touchstone of the organization’s social reality, and each member’s interior reality.
What were those teachings?
Above all, LaRouche demanded from his followers complete rejection of their families, their pasts, their friends—any former associations. This is why most members were pressured to quit work. Even though the “stipends” the organization paid were extremely hard for the organization to scrounge up (and for members to live on), paying them was preferable to the outside influences represented by a job—or by college or graduate school—which were far too dangerous to be tolerated.
In the year from May 1973 to May 1974, I quit graduate school, and Ken and I quit our jobs. By the end of 1974, almost no one in the New York organization held an ordinary job.
The fact that Ken and I insisted on getting married (June 1973) marked us as troublesome rebels, however, despite our other sacrifices. This was because in LaRouche’s world, the membership’s rejection of family was the most important thing. Vast swaths of the Beyond Psychoanalysis series were directed to that goal.
LaRouche’s central target in Beyond Psychoanalysis, and in the sessions, was the female: the dreaded Mother Image. The most destructive bond in all human society, he taught, was that between Mother and Child.
People were told to go home and denounce their parents—as fascists, as degraded, 1950s-style conformists, as soulless automata. Unbelievably, many people did. Family relations were ruptured for decades. People disowned mother and father, brother and sister, and all former friends.
That is to say: They became entirely dependent on LaRouche.
If you insisted on maintaining a relationship with your parents, as Ken and I did, you had to cover for it by claiming that your parents supported LaRouche, or were giving you money so you could devote your life to the cause, or some such ruse.
Once having abandoned family and friends, quit jobs and school, the members had no social relations outside the organization, and were therefore vulnerable to any depredations LaRouche might inflict.
In the sessions run by “Lyn” or by his “epigonoi” (a favorite LaRouchean word in those days), members were reduced to infantile states, made to confess their most discreditable sexual or other fantasies or experiences, made to confront their “Mother Images”—and then were somehow reborn, with LaRouche presiding over the rebirth.
LaRouche presented himself as the Father to these reborn individuals; the Superego, the voice in your head that told you what to do.
He was watching over your shoulder—your internal, psychic shoulder. He was the measure of all things, the standard to which you tuned your thoughts, your behavior, your self.
Rejection by LaRouche meant ego-death in the organization—and was meant to mean that. Thus every member would strive mightily to please “Lyn.” If you did not so strive, and did not strive obviously, you were suspect.
Thus the intent of Beyond Psychoanalysis was to remake members to be more useful, more biddable, more dependent.
Fear and love—the emotions felt for a Father—were the emotions engendered by “Lyn.” It was all part of his apotheosis, his assumption of Godlike qualities of infallibility.
In His Own Words
The violent sadism of LaRouche’s words, spoken and written, meant that his words had the same effect on his followers that his crazed “political tactics” had—to horrify them and to cow them into submission.
Here I want to quote a few characteristic passages from the Beyond Psychoanalysis series, and from one speech given in January 1974, during the “Chris W brainwashing” period.
I. Brainwashing. First, LaRouche on how to “brainwash” someone, from a speech given in January 1974 in New York City’s Union Square, at the Marc Ballroom. Mind you, this was a public speech, organized for broadly through mass leafleting and the like.
How do you brainwash somebody? Well, first of all, you generally pull a psychological profile or develop one in a preliminary period. You find every vulnerability of that person from a psychoanalytic standpoint. Now the next thing you do is you build them up for fear in males and females of homosexuality, aim them for an anal identification with anal sex, their mouth is identified with fellatio. Their mouth is identified only with the penis—that kind of sex, and with woman. Womanhood is the fellatio of the male mouth in a man who has been brainwashed by the KGB; that is sucking penises….
First they say your father was nothing, your father was a queer, your father was a woman. They play very strongly on homosexual fears. It doesn’t work on women….Most women are to a large degree homosexual in this society. The relationship between daughter and mother is homosexual, so the thing is not much of a threat.
But to young men it is generally a grave threat…fears about masturbation….They say, ‘See that sheep. Wouldn’t you like to do that to a sheep?’
It’s not the pain that brainwashes, it’s forcing the victim to run away from the pain by taking the bait of degrading himself. This persistent pattern of self-degradation, self-humiliation, is what essentially accomplishes the brainwashing.
Any of you who say this is a hoax—you’re cruds! You’re subhuman! You’re not serious. The human race is at stake. Either we win or there is no humanity. That’s the way she’s cut.
II. Impotence. Next, a few excerpts from LaRouche’s “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party”—the emphasis is added:
Night after intervening night, the Macho beds his whore-wife with an inner sense of bloody violence and self-degradation. In the morning, this miserable existentialist arises from the bed of disgust and self-disgust. He looks with disgust at the sleeping figure of the woman with whom he has shared self-degradation, and trudges, bearing an awful load of anomie, back to the house where he lives with his madonna-wife and her children. He needs a drink so desperately, to seem to wash the wretched taste from his mouth, but the drink merely begins the cycle of the new day’s recurring nightmare. Tonight, he will sleep beside his madonna-wife, after an evening of being patron to her children, and Friday night the homosexual, he will be back with his whore-wife again….
More deeply, it becomes a sense of psychological death. More deeply explored, the infantile love of the Macho for a woman is often reified hatred of his infantile, sadistically possessive mother. It is reified because infantile hatred toward the mother is associated with a powerful dependency, such that infantile love and infantile hate become thus mixed, confused. The need to love becomes also the need to destroy, to degrade; one can love only a degraded woman (the whore-wife) and one can love the madonna-wife (the mother of her children) only by sensing this to be an act of degrading the Virgin. His madonna-wife must be chaste (i.e., a certain kind of Virgin), so that she does not deprive him of the feeling of rape in her bed. The woman, especially the madonna-wife, is a pure sadist in bed—she lures and rejects, both as her labile, sadistic mother lured and rejected her, as her mother lured and rejected her father, and taught her thus the way of a madonna with men. The whore-wife artifices the madonna-wife as caricature, as parody; she is sadistic, but is always finally conquered, the payment of price the veiled homosexual’s consummate act of degradation of both the man and herself, the payment of the “gift” to the mistress her certification as a whore. For the mistress, to discard the lover’s gift is to destroy him totally—he never existed. He is merely an object, without inner life; he is dead.
These “hard” parasitical formations are so definite that names can be given to them. “The witch” is a not-uncommon form of such a “Poltergeist,” in both men and women, since the more common potential psychoses and extreme manic-depressive “parasites” of this sort are modeled upon a parody of the mother-image. (The labile, possessive mother, or the “Schwärmerei” of a variety of surrogate mothers is a common basis for a “witch” image.) In no case is such an inferred image a mere construct; in all cases, discovery of such a Gestalt of a mental parasite-entity permits empirical demonstration of the existence of precisely such an entity. Indeed, the afflicted individual has often been aware of such a parasite within himself or herself long before, and in many cases the ingenuous appellation of the name of the parasitical entity has been made by close acquaintances (e.g., “she’s a witch”) before then….
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 benches. Above, self-consciousness watches this horrid trial of the Ego, and sees with tearful fascination the fashion in which the images in the hallway terrorize the individual ego into self-degrading acts of “sincerity of feeling”….
As for the woman: one day, she too, tires of the monotony of tormenting her pet pathetic rapist, her husband. She becomes pregnant, and is now free to distance herself from her husband by exercising that form of more gratifying sadism she learned from her mother—the sadistic possession of her children. Through her sadism, her possessiveness, she turns her sons into Macho dogs like her husband before them, and her daughters into frigid pseudo-Virgin Marys, like herself. She and her husband meet as strangers, as hostile ambassadors from their respective worlds. He, from the homosexual world of his cronies and his whore-wives; she, from the world of the household, where she is the Virgin-Mother possessor of her victim-children….
The most conspicuous single feature of mother’s oppression of the son, daughter, and husband is her fears, her fear of rats—her demand that the family—out of respect for her fears—keep the house free of “strangers,” and do nothing to bring down the rage of the outer world upon the house. Thus, “I love and respect my mother” becomes the expression for the very essence of bourgeois ideology—and ultimately even the essence of fascism.
III. Woman as Satan. And finally, some excerpts from “The Case of Ludwig Feuerbach” (again, the emphasis is mine):
Contrary to Feuerbach’s hysterical assertion, Jesus becomes sinful by being born of woman. He acquires an infantile Ego, whose characteristic emotions are infantile fear, rage, and elation of object-possession. The Life of Jesus, its agony concentrated in the Passion [sic] of Gethsemane, is a struggle to free the soul of God-become-man, the self-conscious “I,” from the tyranny of the infantile Ego and that Ego’s desires. The self-conscious “I” conquers the Ego, and rejects the Mother during the crucifixion (crying out: “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”). Through the death of the Ego, through the crucifixion of his body from the corruption of the Ego, his body becomes the perfect material extension of his self-conscious “I,” he has become one with God….
It is the “mother-image,” constructed from the infantile quality of the alienated, bourgeois relationship between child and mother (and mother-surrogates), which provides the “ego-ideals” of bestiality in man. “Mother-love” is accordingly the association for the individual’s general sense of the most degraded varieties of sexual feelings, otherwise the emotion of “elation of object-possession,” the warm, homely glow of gluttony epitomized by an overdose of “mother’s home-made chicken soup.”
It is with this “mother’s religion,” the superstitious cult of witches and such, that the Catholic Church compromised to become the “Mother Church.” In this is located with secret of idolatry, headed by the cult of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary is the archetypical witch, the mother of witches—the Madonna whose secret self is “The Whore of Babylon”….
Probing deeper, most children discover that their mother is usually the immediate agent most responsible for crippling both their intellectual powers and their capacity to love. Only in later childhood did her children begin to imagine themselves to “really believe” that mother-love is love….
From such an unfortunately commonplace mothering, the child also recalls her treatment of her husband. She was generally a sadistic witch, deprecating everything of importance to him, frustrating his interests and preferred activities, aborting his close relationships to his children, except for those measured doses of approved associations she permitted him. She used her children’s dependency upon her to “turn them against their father” in one fashion or another, one degree or another. The child recalls this with horror and anger, especially his (or her) horror at his own childhood complicity in this vicious household game, especially as the adult is later able to recognize that the mother did the same sort of sadistic thing to him (or her)….
Feuerbach exemplifies the point in a certain fashion. Nowhere in his The Essence of Christianity do we find an account for the name of Satan. Imagine, Christianity without Satan! Luther would wallop his ears soundly! Yet, Satan reveals herself in that book despite the author’s whim; only Satan’s name is changed, to that of the Virgin Mary. More exactly, Satan is portrayed by her real name, her Arch-Witch’s canonical name of “Holy Mother.”
What It All Means
In the passages cited above, we get a glimpse of the condition of LaRouche’s own mind—an unfettered grandiosity, the delusion of being able to understand, and to pronounce upon, any subject, and the kind of solipsistic, apodictic certainty that means, simply, insanity. We also see the condition into which he intended to drive his followers.
Anything resembling a family, whether the relationship between husband and wife, or between parent and child, or among parents and children, was to be broken to pieces as bourgeois oppression. Higher consciousness, self-consciousness, “dialectical process,” “individual sovereign creativity,” was to be identified with LaRouche (sometimes posing as Jesus, sometimes, in passages from “Feuerbach” not quoted here, as the Promethean Lucifer).
The Father—as opposed to the Virgin Mary, or as opposed to the ordinary “bourgeois” witch-wife—was the figure of salvation, and that figure was not really God, it was LaRouche.
The combination of externally directed violence in action, internally directed violence in speech and writings, and psychological violence in endless sessions and “interventions,” was sufficient to shatter most members’ egos and personalities. Then those shattered personalities could be “lovingly rebuilt” into something closer to LaRouche’s heart’s desire.
Phenomena accompanying LaRouche’s various psychoanalytical breakthroughs included male NEC members beating their wives—blackened eyes, broken arms.
In the summer of 1974, LaRouche’s “Security” team ran a so-called Officer Training School on a farm in upstate New York—an exercise so brutal, so bullying, that LaRouche was forced to call it off after his former girlfriend, Carol W, confronted him.
Another phenomenon created and institutionalized by LaRouche’s Beyond Psychoanalysis was that of forced abortions—forced, if not physically, at least psychologically, on almost every woman in the organization who became pregnant. To have a child was to be ostracized, shunned, driven out.
Why? Because those who had children then had a higher loyalty and a higher responsibility than their loyalty to LaRouche. When Ken and I had our son in 1984—two National Committee members having a baby!—it was seen as a tremendous act of betrayal of LaRouche.
I don’t know how many infants were sacrificed to this Moloch over the years, but he devoured them with gusto, just as he devoured the lives and minds of his followers.
So the order of things in the LaRouche organization was: Break with your parents and your past, your jobs and your schools; maintain loveless, “political” relations with your husband or wife, making sure that any heterodoxy is intervened on by the leadership; destroy your own children; avoid contact with the “outside” world. “Lyn is Your Father.”
This is no scientific study, but I have done a survey of the family backgrounds of many, perhaps most, of the leaders of the LaRouche organization from the 1970s forward—those still in, and those long out.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, these individuals came to the organization with a history of “father problems”—fathers who abandoned them; fathers who died young; fathers who committed suicide; fathers who were distant, cold, withdrawn; fathers who were abusive, physically or psychologically.
If I had to identify one common thread connecting most of the Labor Committee leadership, past and present, it would be that.
So it was child’s play for LaRouche to interpose and impose himself as the Father Figure, who gave or withheld approval. He raised his wand and transformed you into a demigod; he bellowed and the flames incinerated you. And if, somehow, you didn’t play the game—if you refused invitations to his Musikabenden, refused to salivate over the genius of his insights—he would never forget the slight. And he would be sure to pay it back.
Now we come to the hard part of this little paper.
My husband Ken co-founded and ran for 30 years the organization’s printing and typesetting companies. He exemplified a level of independent intellectual life otherwise almost unknown in the later years of the organization, as more and more of the Old Guard dropped out.
Because the Old Guard, by and large, did drop out, more of them with each new proof of LaRouche’s devolution into sadistic tyranny.
Ken was, in fact, the last of the Old Guard who did not compromise himself totally. While LaRouche spouted anti-Semitic venom, Ken organized conferences on Heinrich Heine, or the Yiddish Renaissance. He taught poetry classes. He directed Shakespeare plays. He was a poet.
LaRouche gave the appearance of tolerating Ken’s aberrations, and his marriage to me, and the birth of our son, as long as he needed Ken for the printing and shipping of the organization’s literature.
But after LaRouche emerged in 1994 from a five-year term in U.S. Federal prison, he began a campaign of vicious attacks on Ken that continued unabated, mostly in secret but sometimes erupting into the view of the whole organization, sometimes in print, sometimes on tape—until the day that Ken committed suicide, in despair over the collapse of the printing company and over what he foresaw as endless attacks by LaRouche; aware of being legally responsible for many tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of taxes not paid to the IRS; sickened by LaRouche but unable to imagine a life outside the organization.
The morning that he died, Wednesday, April 11, 2007, Ken went into the printing company, knowing he was going to have to close the company before the week was out. He read the “Morning Briefing” of the LaRouche organization for that morning. Almost immediately thereafter, he left his office and drove to a nearby overpass, pulled his car off the road, turned on its hazard lights, and leapt to his death on the highway below.
Why? Because the Morning Briefing, dictated by LaRouche, suggested that of all parts of the organization, the “print shop” was the worst, and that Baby Boomers characterized by the stubborn refusal to believe LaRouche—a stubbornness exemplified by the “print shop”—should either get with LaRouche’s program or commit suicide.
The printing company collapsed chiefly because the LaRouche organization didn’t pay its bills. But, as Ken said to me two days before he died, he would be held responsible for the disaster the organization had created. “We will be vilified like you’ve never seen. He will go after us like you can’t imagine. It will be horrible.” After 36 years in the LaRouche organization, Ken could not face what he knew was coming.
In the last weeks of his life, I asked Ken what he really thought of LaRouche. After a long silence, Ken said, “Let’s just say that his god is not my God.” Then he went on: “When I was 23, I thought the universe was run by the ‘polemical method’ [a LaRouchean catchphrase], but now I know it’s run by love.”
Two days before Ken’s death, he and I were talking about the shipwreck of his companies. Enraged at the way LaRouche and the organization were treating him, I cried out, “I’ll give a press conference.” Ken smiled and said, “Mrs. Duggan, move over—eh?” I said, “You bet.”
Since then, I have been honored to meet and work with Erica Duggan, and Hugo Duggan, in their quest for justice for their son Jeremiah.
I hope that this paper in some way contributes to the process of finding justice for Jeremiah, and for Ken, and for countless other victims of the LaRouche organization—including many who are still members.
Addendum, July 8, 2009
Since writing this paper, I have had a few discussions that convinced me to remark on one other aspect of the 1973–74 developments. That aspect was “Operation Nuremberg”—LaRouche’s “anti-brainwashing” campaign. This consisted of Labor Committee members bursting into classrooms and forums, lecture halls and symposiums, around the country to denounce and “indict” as “Nuremberg criminals” supposed brainwashers—academics whose theories supposedly conduced to brainwashing, or psychiatrists who supposedly were performing and justifying brainwashing, or foundations that were supposedly funding it, or chemists who were supposedly concocting their mind-controlling drugs in favor of (Lyn’s bugaboo of the time) Rockefeller’s drive to take over the world.
In this context, for example, Labor Committee “truth squads” went after people like Nathan Kline, a promoter of lithium, who was a favorite whipping boy for left and right. (The fact that he was Jewish no doubt commended him to LaRouche as a target.)
The basic theme was that psychiatry was fascist mind control.
What was really going on here? In fact, with his “Chris W brainwashing” hysteria, and his “anti-brainwashing” campaign, and his attack on psychiatry, LaRouche was … brainwashing the membership of his own organization—but we were too busy chasing these chimeras to notice.
Nor did we appreciate the irony of the campaign against psychiatry—the perfect undertaking for a group of people who were in the process of being made psychotic, and who, by being organized against psychiatry, were in many cases being organized against precisely what they needed most.
Ken Kronberg memorial website
Dennis King’s website
“The death of Kenneth Kronberg,” by Chip Berlet, based on an interview with Molly Kronberg
“Publish and Perish: The mysterious death of Lyndon LaRouche’s printer,” Washington Monthly, by Avi Klein
Factnet message-board postings
THE LAROUCHE ORGANIZATION AND THE LANGUAGE OF HATE
A paper presented at the 26 June 2009 University of Northampton international symposium: “Speaking with Forked Tongues: The Rhetoric of Right-Wing Extremism Today”
My son Jeremiah Duggan died in March 2003 in a very violent and sudden way. Before his death we, like most British people, knew very little about Lyndon LaRouche, his international network of front groups, nor his newly-created Youth Movement. Since Jeremiah’s death, my son’s friends have established our website www. justiceforjeremiah.com, and now there is much more information circulating about the LaRouche Organization than before. In addition, there are now more websites (see list at the end) which describe the ways in which the LaRouche organization is a threat to the individual and a danger to society.
It was only with time, research, and further investigations that we found out how the language and terminology of this group amounted to a form of incitement to hatred.
It was in March 2003, and the Iraq War was just starting. Jeremiah was in Paris as a student at the British Institute of London University. He phoned home saying he had been invited to attend an anti-war conference in Germany. He felt very strongly that he wanted to protest against this impending war, and he was full of enthusiasm about how much he would learn from what thought were to be highly acclaimed political speakers. Five days later he phoned home again, but this time it was in the early hours of the morning, and things were very different. He said he was in big trouble; he sounded in terror for his life and cried out to be rescued from danger – that minute.
Within the hour, he was dead. His body found on the highway near to the offices of LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review European headquarters the Schiller Institute, and five kilometres outside the town of Wiesbaden. Almost immediately, the local police declared Jeremiah’s death a suicide – even without the investigatin officer interviewing the motorists at the scene or taking any kind of formal witness statement– and despite our pleas for a post mortem and for the return of his clothes and shoes, the case was closed. At that time, we were also excluded from any chance of further investigation.
The police were—or said they were—of the firm mind that this was suicide and that there was no necessity to investigate further. They showed no interest at all in the fact that the LaRouche Organization is documented as a dangerous, anti-Semitic movement, nor were they concerned about the strange circumstances surrounding his sudden,highly suspicious death. Nor did Hessen law enforcement officers appear to know anything about how the language and imagery used by the LaRouche group evokes the central anti-Semitic allegation of a powerful and hidden Jewish conspiracy trying to destroy the world. In fact, the police set up a meeting, and encouraged us to speak to the very people who we now know were involved in the circumstances surrounding Jeremiah’s death.
These were the leaders of Schiller Institute, who spoke to us openly about their goal being to “completely change the recruit’s identity” and to completely change everything recruits had learnt at University. It was further explained to us by two top leaders of the LaRouche Organization, Ortrun Cramer, the Manager of the Schiller Institute, and Jonathan Tennenbaum, a prominent LaRouchite lecturer, that the recruits had all the wrong ideas and that they were teaching them to change their assumptions because all that they had learnt up until then was wrong; at the time, what they were teaching their recruits could be summarised as “Bush is the new Hitler!”
So what happened to Jeremiah? How can our investigations of the language used by this totalitarian movement throw some light on what happened to Jeremiah?
Why has such organized anti-Semitism so long been ignored in Germany?
How can we clarify for the police and lawmakers Larouche’s language of demonisation and destruction, so that we can assist them in the identification of hate speech? Finally, how can an understanding of the phenomenon of speaking with forked tongue help us here? Do we need to understand how the language of bigoted conspiracies, of demonization and scape-goating, can have tragic consequences in the real world?
I write this paper to show that today, as in the past, the consequences of anti-Semitic discourse can be violent, and that more research is needed to provide analytic tools for the police and lawmakers, so that what happened to Jeremiah may provide a greater understanding of how the ‘rhetoric of forked tongues’ can lead to such infliction of pain and hurt. I attempt to provide the means of defining and clarifying what, to my view, constitutes the hate crimes leading to my son’s death. I suggest that the evidence is there, if we can only recognize what I will call here:
1. The Language of Deception
2. The Language of Hate
3. The Language of Hurt
4. The Language of Destruction
The Language of Deception
From the moment we learnt of our son’s death, we have encountered a range of anti-Semitic discourse disseminated by the LaRouche organization. It ranges through denial, distortions, total reversals of reality, falsification, and ultimately lies and fraud. This deception is even more dangerous because falsehoods are built upon half-truths – and of course that makes its camouflage even more sinister.
Examples: For example, the use of the poet Friedrich Schiller (the name of the LaRouche Organization in Germany being touted as “The Schiller Institute” as an institute engaging in the Arts) hides the political agenda at its base. The study of Plato and mathematics plays its part in deceiving outsiders as to the nature of its fascist ideology. When we were in the police station in Wiesbaden the day after our son was killed, the Inspector said: “Well, the Schiller Institute, that is a ‘respectable organization. They go in for poetry readings and music. Your son went to an exhibition of Rembrandt paintings the night before he died.”
The Language of Deception also works on members and non-members.
Needless to say, there are outright lies printed about my person by the LaRouche Organization and published worldwide. This consists of interwoven fabrications about how I am working for Baroness Symons, the British Foreign Office Minister —being her pawn only out to “get LaRouche” and of course my being under direction of Mrs. Lynne Cheney (whom I have never met in my life). This language of deception is the base of everything that holds the LaRouche Organization together. My son was surrounded by the language of deception and exposed to falsifications and lies. He was told that he had been lied to all his life. He was repeatedly told he could not believe anyone except Lyndon LaRouche. This use of language to create a controlled environment is the most dangerous aspect and consequence of such deceptive language.
The dangers of the LaRouche Organization can so easily be overlooked, as there is a tendency to accept groups at face value that insist: “We are not anti-Semitic. We are engaged in cultural activities like poetry, music and mathematics.” However, behind this smokescreen are the anti-Semitic and anti-British conspiracies that animate the organization, providing it with its targets and its goals. When we went to Germany on the day after our son died and were told by the German police that the Schiller Institute organized classes in singing and poetry and that the youth even attended an exhibition of Rembrandt paintings on the last night of Jeremiah’s life, we were witnesses to how easy it is for anyone to fall into the trap of believing that any organization that goes in for ‘High Culture’ and the Arts cannot possibly have any destructive or dangerous intentions.
But the “culture” facade is all predicated upon deceiving initiates in order to exercise power over them, to shut down enquiry and control the minds of new recruits. The unsuspecting recruits then devote their lives to working long hours, with very little pay, being deceived into imagining that their activities are doing something to make the world a better place. Destroying one life is bad enough, but destroying, over the course of years, many lives and the lives of families is an even more serious matter
The Language of Hate: A Conspiracy of Evil People Taking Over the World.
In the lectures and press releases at the 2003 LaRouche Conference in Bad Schwalbach, Germany there are examples of the language of hate. In the “Morning Briefings” found in my son’s knapsack, there are numerous examples of this hateful langauge. It took the form of demonizing Jewish individuals, vilifying and demeaning Jews as a group, and referring to Israel as a Nazi state or their leaders as fascists. Euphemisms and codes are used to imply in Jewish complicity in sinister aims. Reference is made to a pernicious group who are trying to spread a kind of universal fascism all over the world – even to the extent of destroying the world rather than losing worldwide control. There are notes taken down by Jeremiah, who recording these conspiracy theories at the LaRouchite conference in March 2003.
For example, in the Morning Briefings for Sunday, Monday or Tuesday 22nd, 23rd, 24th March 2003 the following can be found:
There is a pernicious group—the evil oligarchs who are attempting to impose fascist imperialism and world domination through nuclear war. This evil group is fomenting nuclear world war and bringing the world to the brink of destruction.
On the last page of Jeremiah’s lecture notes found in his bags it is stated “Jewish leads to Fascism leads to Cheney, Bush.”
It is further stated in these Morning Briefings, albeit in a veiled way, that there is a group who are essentially trying to destroy the world as we know it. This makes the LaRouche organization’s references even more dangerous because young people like my son are, at first, unaware of the true meaning behind this conspiratorial language of hate. The language is full of sinister undertones, innuendos, and suggestions such as: There are “forces behind,” “group forces,” “slime mould,” or “the people I told you about before.” Everywhere reference is made to a group of people – really Jews or Jewish sympathisers – but, because it is not politically correct to be open about who the group are, we get a form of hidden discourse that makes up this language of hate. Individual hate figures are the focus, with these featuring largely as Jewish persons who are well-known in some way—George Soros, Felix Rohatyn, Henry Kissinger all become targets for smear-mongering, derision and defamation.
Jeremiah heard the keynote opening address by Lyndon LaRouche, entitled “Physical Geometry as Strategy.” Jeremiah scribbled down notes about how Kennedy was killed not by Oswald but by a special warfare Section of the State apparatus that “does that sort of thing.” Again references to a shadowy, hidden group; a dark conspiracy of evil people trying to take control of the world.
Jonathan Tennenbaum, a longstanding official of the LaRouche Organization, told us personally, in our meeting after Jeremiah’s death, that he remembered how Jeremiah had said “But I am a Jew” at a time when he heard LaRouche members stating that the Jews were responsible for starting the Iraq War. This makes it clear that Jeremiah felt under attack from the insidious language of hate around him.
The Language of Hurt.
There is much evidence of how a language of hurt was exercised upon Jeremiah.
This process of undermining a person’s belief system is based on deliberate distortion of reality. For example, the British are said to be responsible for bringing Hitler to power. In fact, according to LaRouche, the British are the most evil people in the world and are responsible for Hitler’s fascism and all that followed. The organization’s anti-Semitic discourse was inflicted upon Jeremiah, in addition to the falsifications around how the British Tavistock clinic is part of British Intelligence, and a force of destruction and harm. Being Jewish, British, and having been briefly analysed at the Tavistock Clinic, Jeremiah appeared to personify several of LaRouche’s conspiracy theories – and he stood up and publicly said so.
Before this incident, Jeremiah was subjected to an onslaught of the language of hurt. According to the Morning Briefings found in his knapsack, he attended a lecture by LaRouche in which he was told that young people have no ability for independent critical thinking, because they have been lied to and deceived all their lives. Jeremiah was told he had been “brainwashed” and that he could not trust what he was told by his parents, his schooling, or his University. Everything that represented his identity and everything he believed came under attack. Even if Jeremiah made objections, these were not critically examined but turned into a process of attacking him as a person.
How is this done? By undermining a person’s confidence in his own abilities, his own knowledge, and his own judgment. Instead of debating in a normal discussion, sophisticated techniques are used to make a person question their own courage, and to give up his life to help the world. The world is said to be on the brink of destruction and a failure to join the LaRouche Organization is interpreted as meaning that the person is turning his or her back on the very destruction of the planet. When Jeremiah said he did not trust LaRouche or that he did not agree, he was told that the problem was in his character; in what he represented—he was told he had been manipulated. He had been lied to all his life and now, as a result, he just wanted to turn his back on the suffering world. He was told that he was actually bringing world destruction about due his own weakness. In this way, the language of hurt is coupled with brutal and damaging insults. But these go much deeper than insults, because they inflict on the individual a degree of psychological pain that merits being seen as a criminal assault against his person.
At the LaRouche youth training school, an attempt was made to recruit Jeremiah, but he was not willing to join. Then, when Jeremiah decided he had to leave, it appeared that they turned against him and no sooner was he was dead than he was seen as the enemy. Why? Was this because he questioned their views? Was it because he was dead and they saw his death as a threat? Or was it because, in trying to recruit him and using the language of hurt, they forced upon an idealistic young person fears and terrors of the world that would come about if he did not join forces with their organization so powerful that those fears and terrors in themselves could destroy people? At the March 2003 conference, in fact, mention was made to the notorious 1973 article “Beyond Psychoanalysis” ( the pen name Lyn Marcus is used, but the author is Lyndon LaRouche) of how, with LaRouche’s suggested method of breaking a person down in order to recruit them. there may be a “mess to clean up,” and LaRouche refers to cases where it can go wrong.
Within hours of Jeremiah’s death, Helga Zepp LaRouche told the youth movement in Wiesbaden that Jeremiah was British and a Jew, and therefore an enemy that intended to harm the organization. There are people even now in the LaRouche Organization that claim my son was a spy. The language of hate, hurt and deception appears to continue up to the point where the recruit is subjected to increasing stress, an overload of information, sleep deprivation—and then, at the point where all the individual’s vulnerabilities are fully exploited, the individual reaches breaking point. It is at that point, that we arrive at the Language of Destruction.
The Language of Destruction.
What evidence do I have of the use of a rhetoric that stirs up hatred against others and continues to the point that the well-being of an individual is threatened—to the point that we now have examples of the language of destruction? How does this work? The danger in the language of hate defines itself by the intention to destroy, an act which is knowingly undertaken. Indeed, the techniques of this process of using interrogation to break a person down are all stated in LaRouche’s 1973 “Beyond Psychoanalysis.” This manual is given to leaders and is mentioned in the lecture notes Jeremiah took at the training school that followed the Conference.
This process of peeling away the layers of a person’s identity, until the person is a shell of his former, self is all documented as a technique to be used in recruiting and organizing. It is a process whereby one person or a group of persons exercise pressure upon an individual: “the world is on the brink of destruction”; “you can trust no one”; “they have all lied to you”; “only by you changing yourself and committing to the truth of our plans and ideas can there be hope for humanity. But you don’t trust us—or believe us–—because you have been brainwashed. You have no independent power of thinking.” To take away an individual’s right to determine his future, to determine his own thought, by using lies, deceptions, and ultimately subjugation—all this is part of the language of destruction. These sentiments are clearly expressed in the Morning Briefings Jeremiah had in his bag when he died.
Article Two European Convention of Human Rights defines how it is the severity of the mental attack that establishes what can be legally termed “torture.”
For Jeremiah to die within such a short time after exposure to the LaRouche Organization’s “ego-stripping” techniques must raise questions of whether this rhetoric of destruction is not a sustained mental attack on an individual, one which ultimately led to a violent death, a crime?
We are back to the question, “Why did Jeremiah die?” He was a student of London University doing a language course in Paris, so why has none of this been exposed in a university before? I raise the question to suggest an answer:
Fear. This organization uses intimidation and the threat of litigation to close down any media coverage that may express ideas about their activities with which they disagree. Over the years, they have acquired a reputation for threatening litigation or making threats of litigation, and this has given the LaRouche Organization a feeling of having won the right to stop others from making criticism, while at the same time have been able to get away with spreading falsifications and lies.
For years, they have defamed the Tavistock Clinic, a highly respected institute in London which pioneered some forms of psychoanalysis. They write that the Tavistock breeds assassins who travel all over the world killing political opponents. The LaRouche Organization also writes about the Queen running the international drug trade, alongside many other acts of defamation against British royalty and nationals.
Many people choose to ignore their vicious attacks. They do this as it is time-consuming and expensive to fight back, even though these individuals—be they politicians, lawyers, media personnel or researchers— think they would surely win against such threats. Ever since his death, my son Jeremiah has been defamed as a drug addict and as mentally unstable, and I, his mother, defamed as a pawn manipulated by Mrs Cheney. The LaRouche Organization has taken it upon themselves to threaten legal action against me, or against media outlet that writes about my son’s death, let alone any politicians figures seeking to support me .
The LaRouche Organization has also threatened university lecturers and authors of books, and one wonders whether this is the reason why the academic world until now has preferred not to engage in critical research on LaRouche. These forms of intimidation are, to my mind, worthy of serious criminal investigation, as they threaten the democratic and political process, in addition to strangling the possibility of academic research.
Is it not offensive to allow the LaRouche Organization to use the Nazi card against anyone they consider a threat? Is it not doubly offensive in that they use it to evoke hatred against Jews as a group? Are the academic world and the media too afraid to enquire into areas of research when they assume such organizations are known to use intimidation? Meanwhile, the LaRouche Organization has free rein to defame and lie, without any legal challenges from anyone. For example, it is alleged by the LaRouche Organization that I said something on the phone that drove my son to suicide. Lyndon LaRouche can publish that I work for Cheney’s wife, for Baroness Symons, and so, and people laugh and ignore itWhat can be done about such a situation, where bullies are able to win by intimidation?
It is time for us to define our terms and classification so that calling Jews, or Jewish bankers Nazis, or referring in a masked way to conspiracies of Jews, is seen as part of the language of hate and comes under criminal law. For such rhetoric poses a threat to the individual and undermines the democratic process. Anti-Semitic discourse must be better understood and more effectively combated before it grows worse. An examination of the circumstances surrounding the death of our son, Jeremiah Duggan, provides much evidence of how the incitement to hatred, and the rhetoric of hatred, creates the consequences of terror and violence.
Why should any mother accept the unnecessary loss of a beloved son without answers to the question: Why did he die?
I know why he died. He died because for too long too many people have preferred to ignore the rhetoric of modern day fascism, and failed to use the law that does exist to prosecute crimes against incitement to hatred.
Action for Psychological Freedom (Ingo Heinemann) – http://www.AGPF.de/LaRouche.htm
Facts on LaRouche’s ties to former German military elites – http://wissen.spiegel.de/wissen/dokument/dokument.html?id=13521056&top=SPIEGEL
Justice for Jeremiah (Duggan family and friends) – http://justiceforjeremiah.org
LaRouche Planet (website run by ex-members) – http://laroucheplanet.com
Political Research Associates (Chip Berlet) – http://www.publiceye.org/larouche/index.html
Lyndon LaRouche Watch (Dennis King) – http://www.lyndonlarouchewatch.com (for massive documentation on LaRouche’s support for death squads and other perpetrators of human rights abuses around the world, go to http://lyndonlarouchewatch.org/larouche-fascism.htm)
Compass: Political Religions (Matthew Feldman) – http://www.religion-compass.com
Factnet (discussion board for ex-LaRouche followers) – http://www.factnet.org
Freedom of Mind archive – http://www.freedomofmind.com/resourcecenter/groups/larouche-movement
Rick Ross’s archive – http://rickross.com/groups/larouche.htm (GIVE SENTENCE ON ROSS IN PARENTHESES LIKE ABOVE…)
Verrit: Mein Leben in einer radikalen Politorganisation, Aglaja Beyes-Corleis, Freiburg: Herder/Spektrum, 1994.
Deckname Schiller: die Deutschen Patrioten des Lyndon LaRouche, Helmut Lorscheid and Leo A. Mueller, Rembek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1986.
Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism, Dennis King, New York: Doubleday, 1989.
Gilbert, Helen, Lyndon LaRouche: Fascism restyled for the New Millennium (Red Letter Press, Seattle: 2003)
PLEASE HAVE ALL REFERENCE CONFORM TO THE FORMAT OF THE ONE ABOVE
On the Edge: Political Cults Right and Left, Dennis Tourish and Tim Wohlforth, Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe Inc., 2000 (see Chap. 5).
Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, New York: Guildford Publications, 2000.