Cultism in the LaRouche movement--and beyond

"It is absolutely imperative [to the cult leader] that the 'outside world' be seen as vulgar, evil, obscene, demonic, hopeless, near collapse and that the members see themselves as ABOVE all of this, with the safety of the cult's internal life as an alternative."

Factnet posting by "xlcr4life," Oct. 1, 2008, 09:56 AM:

[This posting by an ex-LaRouche follower is pertinent to the theme of the upcoming Oct. 17 Justice for Jeremiah protest meeting in Berlin. I've added my usual footnotes for those unfamiliar with the history of LaRouchism.--DK]

I watched last night the E! Channel show about cults which had Steve Hassan on for a few clips.[FN 1] It was a scary show to watch because you see the cult DNA of these leaders and their techniques being used on many more people than the LC.[FN 2] The LYM [FN 3] was not mentioned, but you clearly see how Lyn has his own spin with a political cult and how others use the same themes of apocalyptic collapse and the leader being the only one who knows what to do. What is also very real and scary is how the people who joined all had a similar outlook on life of wanting to do good in an idealistic way and thinking that this was the vehicle to do it in.

What is perhaps the most scary part of the TV show was something I noticed from the guest therapists and former cult members who were second generation members. The thoughts of suicide and extreme violence were very high among the offspring of cult parents who raised their kids to be in the cult instead of the real world. In many cases, the children end up later seeing how sick the whole process was and how they were denied a life and instead were offered to the cult leader. This is on a par with child abuse when you see how it has psychologically affected the offspring if they leave the cult later in life instead of early. The question asked is why did the parents not choose to keep their children from this?

Another thing which LocalGreek [user name of an earlier poster on the thread--ed.] has raised is why people stay in. In the documentary you see that over the course of many, many years, the person who leaves is facing serious problems of not having any skills, being a college dropout with no degree, having no work history and facing the fact that dozens of years of his or her life have been taken away with nothing left to their name. I can see how quite a few dead-enders in Leesburg [FN 4] and around the country really have no choice but to be subservient to Lyn just as a serf is to his local ruler. Also, many of these final-exit members have had both parents pass away and are now in their 60s with no one except the cult in their lives.

This is a big difference from members who left in the past who had degrees, were able to return to school for advanced degrees or had usable skills and support from families to leave.

What I also liked about the program is how they portrayed the people who joined as not being what most people thought they were which is dumb. The idealism is often the first weakness to be exploited and just about everyone there joined very young in college, except for the large offshoot Mormon cult recently in the news and a Miami-based preacher.

The documentary also answers some questions raised by LocalGreek. It is absolutely imperative that the "outside world" be seen as vulgar, evil, obscene, demonic, hopeless, near collapse and that the members see themselves as ABOVE all of this, with the safety of the cult's internal life as an alternative. You need to have a self-contained playpen so to speak so there is a "safe" world, a simpler world, where you can develop and become a Golden Soul [FN 5] on a par with Lyn. Don't laugh, I used to hear this a lot from some of the nuttier people I came across. Personal wealth [FN 6] is only going to be based on you keeping something from the cult, which uses the money to save humanity. There are exceptions in lifestyle, but Lyn also kept the leadership quite broke as well. The only reward with value was getting that invite to Club Ibykus.[FN 7] You might as well have Zeke [FN 8] manning a velvet rope at Club Ibykus, checking if you were on the invite list.

What is most disturbing is reviewing the deaths of members and the toll on their lives over the decades in the LC/LYM. We should be expecting another round of horrible acts and broken down LYMers very soon. One cult therapist answers a question raised here a lot which is that most cult leaders face very little retribution legally or criminally, which is why it is so profitable for them.

[1] For more information on the E! Channel show, read here. Steve Hassan is an exit counselor for people leaving cults, and one of the leading anti-cult activists in the United States; his Freedom of Mind website is here.

[2] The Labor Committees, informal name for LaRouche's cadre organization of "boomers," the National Caucus of Labor Committees. Also refers to his worldwide organization, the International Caucus of Labor Committees.

[3] The LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM), also known as the Worldwide LaRouche Youth Movement, which is rapidly replacing the NCLC and ICLC as the activist core of LaRouchism.

[4] The town in northern Virginia where LaRouche's boomer movement has its national and international headquarters. LaRouche has moved the LYM's offices to the nearby town of Purcellville, so the youth won't be contaminated by what he regards as the cynicism, laziness and potential treachery of the boomers.

[5] The "Golden Souls" are LaRouche's neo-Platonic counterpart to Lenin's professional revolutionaries, only with a much stronger connotation of being an elite. The term comes from Plato's Republic in which the golden souls are the philosopher kings who tell the "silver souls" and "bronze souls" what to do. The silver souls--the warrior caste--would be roughly comparable to Mitch WerBell, LaRouche's late security advisor, and Col. Mohamed Ali Seineldin, the notorious Argentinian fascist who was long allied with the LaRouchians. The workaday bronze souls would be all those businessmen whose credit card numbers got ripped off at airports--and the farmers and retired blue collar workers who were conned into giving LaRouche their nest eggs--back in the 1980s. As to the striving for Golden Soul (aka Joan of Arc) status in the LaRouche Youth Movement circa 2008, it basically means working seven days a week for the Transcendant One (a fate best compared to that of the captives in Plato's cave--folks even lower than the bronze souls--who saw shadows on the wall rather than the true reality).

[6] He means simply financial security.

[7] LaRouche's former country estate in northern Virginia. It was sold while he was in prison to pay off the organization's debts. LaRouche was very, very angry about this, and when he was released from prison after serving his minimum (five years of a 15-year sentence), he took out his wrath on the LC's printer, Ken Kronberg, eventually driving Kronberg to suicide. If the Clinton administration had kept LaRouche in jail to serve out his full sentence, Kronberg would probably be alive today, and so would Jeremiah Duggan.

[8] Zeke Boyd, a former Black Panther who joined the LaRouche movement in the 1970s and has sometimes served as a bodyguard for LaRouche. He is married to Barbara Boyd, a top LaRouche aide.