A 1989 "Learning about socialism" column.
Lyndon LaRouche and 'The new American fascism'
BY DOUG JENNESS
Most readers are probably not aware that Lyndon LaRouche
is a candidate for U.S. Congress from Virginia's
lOth Congressional District in the 1990 elections. The
fascist leader, whose group made a big splash in 1986 when
its candidates won the Democratic primary for lieutenant
governor and secretary of state in Illinois, is running from
his cell in the Alexandria City Jail. Convicted last December
for mail fraud and tax evasion, along with a half dozen
supporters, he's serving a 15-year term.
LaRouche's entry into the race last June didn't get much
publicity nationally. But the Washington Post, a major daily
in the nation's capital, ran a fairly prominent article on it.
The report simply described LaRouche as a "Democrat"
with no other mention of his political outlook, activity, or
history, let alone the fascist nature of his views.
In some respects this is not surprising. The big business
press has almost universally been unable or has chosen not
to present an accurate picture of LaRouche and his organization,
the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC).
They have either referred to LaRouche's views as "bizarre"
and "crazy," or at best ultraright. Often they have
ignored dealing with his political perspectives at all, either
on the grounds that silence is the most effective way to fight
them or out of fear of being confronted with lawsuits, a
favorite form of LaRouchite harassment.
Dennis King in Lyndon LaRouche and the New American
Fascism (Doubleday, New York. 1989) offers a different
King, who has been following and writing on the NCLC
for many years, accurately points out that LaRouche embodies
"the essence of fascism in an updated, Americanized
King details the LaRouchite group's evolution from its
origins in the radical left to a group with all the characteristics
of a fascist outfit. (King's view that LaRouche "broke
completely with Marxism" isn't quite right. More precisely,
this middle-class radical broke from his Marxist pretensions.)
King shows that the LaRouchites' shift to the right in the
early 1970s was accompanied by a pattern of physical
intimidation and provocative behavior that continue to
characterize their activity today. He describes the LaRouche
group's collaboration with members of the Ku
Klux Klan, the Liberty Lobby, and other right-wing, antilabor,
and racist groups, as well as its links with cops from
the local beat to the federal secret police agencies.
In a section on "Conspiracies and Code Words," he
explains how the LaRouchites use codewords for racist and
anti-Semitic ideas in the name of fighting "racism" and
"anti-Semitism." For example, "Zionist," "Babylon," and
"British" are some of the tenns used for Jews.
King also discusses LaRouche's conspiracy theory that
a Jewish-banker oligarchy is behind the problems of the
Unfortunately, in 400 pages King doesn't take up extensively
LaRouche's economic nostrums that are aimed especially
at disoriented farmers and small businessmen nor
the fascist leader's counterposition of bankers to industrialists,
also a prominent theme in the demagogy of the
German Nazis and the Italian Fascists.
The weakest feature of King's book is that while he
recognizes the fascist character of the LaRouchites, his
assessment is abstracted from the class structure of capitalist
society. This is particularly revealed in his view that
what is needed to combat the likes of LaRouche are "political
pressure," "grassroots resistance," and reporting accurately
their fascist nature. The class forces fascism represents
and those needed to fight it are not mentioned.
Fascism rears its head whenever the capitalist system is
wracked by crisis and the working class and worldng
farmers begin to engage in mass class combat that heads in
a revolutionary direction. The fascists will especially attract
disillusioned middle-class and lumpen social layers, which
are open to demagogic appeals that only radical solutions
can restore "security," "order," and "prosperity" for the
The employing class will tum to them to counter working-class
combativity and to crush the labor movement. The
fight against fascism then will require a mobilized working-class
ready to defend itself by any means necessary.
Neither the LaRouchites nor any other fascist group in
the United States today are a mass movement or on the
verge of becoming one. They represent an incipient movement
that could grow rapidly in a period of acute crisis for
the capitalist system.
The rulers don't have an immediate need to use fascist
groups like the NCLC today and the electoral gains of the
LaRouchites in the mid-1980s were in fact an embarassment
to them, because it exposed an ugly face of a reactionary
trend that exists in mainstream capitalist politics.
That's why they moved to arrest and jail LaRouche and
other leaders of his group.
13 October 1989