In the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination,there is one candidate that has been flying under the radar of mostmainstream press, although supporters of Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.,who is making his fifth bid for the presidency, have made a strongpresence around Portland State lately.
Supporters have been holding demonstrations almost daily aroundcampus for the candidate, claiming that his unique politicalideology will turn America around.
On the other hand, many dismiss LaRouche as nothing more than aneccentric conspiracy theororist, and some critics believe that heand his followers are in a political cult promoting fascist andanti-Semitic ideology.
With his far-reaching theories (he once claimed that the queenof England was a drug-pusher and the Beatles “were a product shapedaccording to British Psychological Warfare Divisionspecifications”) and doomsday predictions, Larouche has establishedhimself as one of the most controversial figures in Americanpolitics.
“Larouche is the only (candidate) that is qualified to be ourpresident right now,” says Larouche supporter Peter Martinson. Aformer Astronomy major at the University of Washington in Seattle,26-year-old Martinson dropped out of school to join the LaRouchemovement full time.
“I’m not going to school with this educational system,” saidMartinson. However, he does intend to be part of LaRouche’s plan tocolonize mars after LaRouche comes in to power.
Martinson explained that “it must be called the LaRouchedoctrine or it won’t work,” because “if it isn’t, people inSouthwest Asia will not trust it.”
Harley Schlanger, LaRouche’s national spokesman made similarclaims last Thursday at a public meeting, saying, “it is beingdiscussed in Arab countries everywhere.” Schlanger also warned of alikely economic collapse, claiming that “we are on the brink of theworst depression in world history.”
LaRouche’s ideology and history has provoked ample criticismover three decades. Matthew Lyons and Chip Berlet, co-authors of”Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort,” havepublished a plethora of articles on LaRouche and his ideas.
“Since the early 1990s, the LaRouchites have promoted a kind offaked progressivism. They’ve opposed both Gulf Wars, attacked thedeath penalty, and defended social welfare programs and civilrights,” Lyons said in an interview with the Vanguard. “But theirunderlying political philosophy is based on conspiracy theories,not a critique of systemic oppression,”
He went on to explain that “LaRouche is in a long tradition ofright-wingers, such as Joe McCarthy and the John Birch Society, whosaw a plot by globalists, Eastern elites, and international bankersto undermine a virtuous, self-contained American republic.”
LaRouche supporter Wesley Irwin says of LaRouche’s critics, “thepeople putting out these slanders haven’t done the research.”
LaRouche supporters are often characterized by a fanaticalloyalty to the movement. A PSU student, who wished to remainanonymous, recalled a trip with the “LaRouchies” to Seattle,Washington. “They totally worship him,” he said. “They’re alwayslike, ‘LaRouche says this and LaRouche says that.'”
The student recalls that the LaRouche supporters don’t get theirnews reports from regular sources, “they get their information fromother places, what they call the ‘real news.'” He also recallsextremely aggressive demonstrations: “they would yell at people onthe street, waving their books and pamphlets around saying, ‘readthis – if you don’t you’re a fascist.'”
“They’re extremely patriarchal,” said the student, “and theyseriously target minorities and women.”
LaRouche supporters also told our source that the world needs anew renaissance and that the earth’s population will drop to 1billion in the near future.
LaRouche says he believes that we are on the brink of a terriblefinancial crisis of holocaustic proportions. At Thursday’s publicmeeting, Schlanger claimed that LaRouche told him, “my chances ofwinning (this election) are better than the chances of humanitysurviving if I don’t win.”
“LaRouchite economics is based on a phony dichotomy between”productive” industrial capital and “parasitic” finance capital.This lets them sound radical but defend capitalism at the sametime. In reality, bankers are no more and no less parasitic thanother capitalists,” said Lyons.
He believes that LaRouche’s ideas are rooted in fascistideology, “Scapegoating bankers is a classic fascist ploy and isclosely linked to anti-Semitism, through the myth that Jews controlthe banking industry. The LaRouchites deny that they’re anti-Jewishbut constantly invoke coded anti-Semitic themes.”
LaRouche ran for president five times between 1976 and 1992, heis currently on the Oregon Democratic Presidential ballot for theMay 18 primary.
Here is a breakdown of Lyndon LaRouche’s campaign financing for the2004 presidential race, as of March 31.
Cash on hand:
–Statistics courtesy of The Center for Responsive Politics, anon-partisan, non-profit research group based in Washington,D.C.
LaRouche on LaRouche
This policy statement originally appeared in the Oregon Voter’sGuide for the May 18, 2004 election. LaRouche is running forPresidential candidate of the Democratic party.
“Many voters choose their candidates the way they choose to cheerfor a sports figure in the arena. Soon, that will change. We are onthe edge of a collapse of present world monetary financial system,a collapse more dangerous than what President Franklin Rooseveltfaced in March 1933, whether President Bush is willing to face thatreality, or not. You, the voter, personally, are in the arena.
In the meantime, Senator John Kerry and I will soon be the onlymajor Democratic candidates left standing. It is important that heand I face off in constructive debates on the policies which thenext President will be facing this coming January. It will be afriendly debate, but a very serious one. The economic policy youchoose will be crucial.
Although the present world economic crisis is worse than in 1933,the philosophy of President Franklin Roosevelt is a model for theonly sane alternative available to the U.S. now. My policies aredetailed, and on my campaign Web site: www.larouchein2004.com. Youare in the arena of a world economic crisis. Don’t be a sidewalksuperintendent. Act in this election as if your personal futuredepended upon it. It does.”
|Lyndon LaRouche, atimeline: