A letter to the NCLC membership from Alice and Don Roth:

A Method in the Madness?

NOTE: The political polemic at the beginning of this letter exemplifies the type of conflict that LaRouche's alliance with Reagan Republicans in the early 1980s created in the minds of some NCLC members who had not fully divested themselves of the leftwing ideology of the organization's earlier years. It shows what's in store for today's members of the LaRouche Youth Movement who are being recruited out of the campus anti-war movement with anti-Bush and anti-neocon rhetoric but will be steered again by LaRouche (or his successor) into overtly ultraright activity once the requisite number of cadre have been gathered to replace the burned-out Boomers. In addition, the reader will note the Roths' comment that LaRouche had ordered his followers to work for Reagan's election in the final weeks of the 1980 presidential campaign. This shows the utter hypocrisy of LaRouche's recent attacks on Molly Kronberg, widow of Ken Kronberg (the businessman driven to suicide by LaRouche), for having donated money in 2004 to George Bush. But the most important part of the Roth's letter is in the last six paragraphs, where they discuss how LaRouche had injected paranoia and a virulent anti-Semitism into the organization. That portion requires no commentary.--DK

February 3, 1981

We are issuing this statement because we feel that the NCLC membership has become overly fixated on the long overdue internal crisis in the organization and has all but ignored the fundamental shift in the external political practice and policies of the organization in recent months. The reader should be forewarned that what follows is solely our own viewpoint and should not be attributed to Gus, Andy, or any of the individuals who have resigned from their positions or from the organization in protest. We do not agree with these individuals on some points and they should issue their own statements, when and if they deem it proper to do so.

In our view, the crux of the problem has been LaRouche's propitiation of the extreme rightwing of the Reagan machine, the Jesse Helms-Joe Coors-Liberty Lobby side of Reagan. The problem was especially manifest in the closing weeks of the New Hampshire campaign but it became even more acute when LaRouche decided to swing the organization behind Reagan's campaign two weeks before Election Day. The membership was then regaled with fantasy-laden tales of LaRouche's and the NEC's "successful" trip to Washington. The Reagan administration was said to have succumbed to the obvious superiority of the NCLC's ideas and programs, despite the fact that we had failed to mobilize a mass constituency capable of pressuring the administration to deliver on any promise.

The reality was quite different. What actually happened was that LaRouche's "KGB agents under every bed" campaign contributed to a McCarthyite hysteria among Reagan layers in Washington. Since the inauguration, the New Solidarity headlines of December and January have found their way into the mouths of Reagan, Alexander Haig, and Henry Kissinger. Each has charged in recent public appearances that the Soviet Union is masterminding every aspect of international terrorism and that "linkage" must be established on this issue to the SALT negotiations.

Reagan described the Soviet Union as bent on "world revolution and a one-world Communist state....The only morality they recognize is what will further their cause, meaning they reserve to themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat in order to attain" their goal. Brezhnev responded through TASS that the President "spoke in an unseemly manner....Such words can only mean that the people in Washington apparently cannot understand the meaning of the changes taking place in the world [which] are not dependent either on the United States or the Soviet Union." In other words, there are a lot of indigenous socialist and nationalist movements in the world over which the Soviets do not have much control (which is probably a fortunate thing in our estimation, too).

To be blunt, the Reagan administration is plunging the nation into a new Cold War. If not opposed, this will be followed within months by a massive military buildup and a reorganization of the U.S. economy along "sunrise-sunset" industry lines for this purpose. To give just one indication, Caspar Weinberger has just announced that the administration plans to build the neutron bomb and deploy it in Western Europe, and will look into stationing U.S. troops in Israel.

Granted, the Soviet Union's foreign policy during the last two years has been despicable, particularly in regards to its pragmatic adaptation to the Khomeiniac fascists in Iran. The NCLC was right when it belatedly condemned the Soviets for this. But does that mean that the NCLC must fuel "anti-red" hysteria in the U.S., which merely reinforces the Suslov hardliners and compels the Soviets to further their own military buildup? The pro-detente faction in Western Europe no longer has any room in which to maneuver. Reagan's tirades mean that Helmut Schmidt's days are probably numbered. The world strategic situation has taken a dramatic shift for the worse and the NCLC's role in this affair has been substantial.

We expect that the membership will be told that a military buildup is really all right because it will have technological spinoffs that will aid the economy. This is nonsense as the actual historical experience of the U.S. and Soviet Union has shown. A military buildup necessarily favors only a few, selected industries while scrapping all others, since it gobbles up most available capital goods and other resources. Rosa Luxemburg's devastating critique of military statism has been proven correct against all other so-called economists.

A military buildup will also require extremely harsh austerity measures and the destruction of the living standards of the American population. For this reason, the Reagan administration is planning Federal budget cuts, which in the words of Reagan advisor John Rutledge "will roll like a panzer division across the desert." Certain Social Security programs, unemployment benefits, food stamp programs, student scholarships, and farm price supports are slated for the chopping block.

The NCLC's response to Reagan's austerity drive has been a politically impotent campaign "against high interest rates." The Reagan administration's response to this has been: "Sure, we want to lower interest rates. We will do so, as soon as we finish wringing the fat out of the economy. By the way, our only problem with Paul Volcker is that he's been too soft in applying his monetarist philosophy."

Certain individuals on the NCLC intelligence staff proposed that the organization extend its "anti-tight money" campaign to a fight to rebuild Chrysler and the auto industry, perhaps through a program of reconversion to production of farm machinery or mass transit equipment. Such a campaign might have mobilized UAW and other trade union layers and put some muscle behind the NCLC's anti-austerity rhetoric. This proposal was ignored by LaRouche and the NEC, because it would have proved too offensive to the Reagan forces they were catering to, both to those rightwingers who oppose any government intervention into the economy as a matter of principle and those "dirigists" who believe Chrysler should be building tanks.

It is still possible to reverse the Reagan administration's drift into Cold War and a vicious military buildup-austerity policy. But it can only be done by mobilizing the traditional Democratic labor and minority constituencies. We believe that under the present, degenerated leadership, the organization is constitutionally incapable of playing such a positive role, and that in fact LaRouche is opposed to doing this.

The crucial question is: Why has the NCLC membership tolerated this for so long? A clue can be found in LaRouche's Feb. 1 internal memorandum on "budgetary and financial policy." The reader need only substitute "Lyndon L." for "Kostas K." throughout this memo to get a proper appreciation of what has been going on. LaRouche has merely employed the old bureaucratic trick of making someone else take the rap for his own political crimes.

LaRouche's use of "jokes" has been an important tool for psychological manipulation of the membership. For years, NCLC members have been subjected to sick "Jewish" and other "ethnic jokes." This has been used to create a "Bettelheim syndrome" among particularly the Jewish and "red diaper baby" members, who were bludgeoned into rejecting every aspect of their parents; and their own political past, no matter how valid. This led to a moral anaesthetization of the members, a splitting of their intellectual and emotional lives, so that they were capable of taking political actions which violated their most basic sense of morality. (For example, one "joke" that circulated went: "How many Jews can you fit into a Volkswagen?" "One hundred. Four on the seats and ninety-six in the ashtray.")

As a result, members were able to tolerate LaRouche's statement in an August 1978 New Solidarity article that "only" one and a half million Jews died in the Nazi holocaust. This statement was extremely damaging to the political credibility of the organization, particularly in the Jewish community, where some layers might otherwise have identified with the NCLC's Middle East development program as well as with certain of its domestic proposals. LaRouche's statement set the organization up for the vicious attack by Our Town and The New York Times. If enough members had confronted LaRouche on this question and insisted on his retracting the statement, the damage could have been contained. In fact, some members did call for a retraction but they did not bring the matter before the general membership and were quickly isolated through LaRouche's psychological smear campaigns. We can only conclude that LaRouche's reaffirmation of the one-and-a-half millions statement is designed to keep the membership in a controlled paranoid environment.

Finally, we must state that there are many fine individuals, our former friends, who feel they must remain within the organization and who suffer under the illusion that they will be changing it for the better. We believe that under the present leadership, this is impossible. Indeed, we fear that these individuals will be compelled to use their considerable talents in the commission of political crimes which they would not even have dreamed of committing even two months ago.

To those who remain, to those who accept the radical bifurcation of their intellectual and emotional being, to those who are willing to wait for all eternity to see "The Evidence" that Gus is "clinically insane and a KGB agent," that Andy is "an embezzler," that Don is a "sleeper," and that Alice is "brainwashed," the warning of the great humanist poet John Keats should be sufficient:

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,'—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

We further demand that, if LaRouche is serious about the charges that he has made about us, he publish these in New Solidarity and we will promptly resolve this in the courts.


Alice Roth
Don Roth