Kronberg as Judas in the mind of Lyndon LaRouche

"After driving Ken Kronberg (among the most loyal of his followers) to suicide--that is, after betraying Kronberg in the most profound way possible--LaRouche concocted a self-serving narrative in which it was Kronberg who betrayed...LaRouche!"

By Dennis King
Feb. 15, 2010

In a Nov. 3, 2009 press release on his LPAC website (read here or here), LaRouche provides us with a damning self-revelation of his attitude towards Kenneth Lewis Kronberg, the northern Virginia businessman and longtime LaRouche follower who committed suicide in 2007 after his leader dubbed him a failure and suggested that he might as well kill himself.

The Nov. 3 release, signed by LaRouche under the heading "Morality and Former Associates," lashes out at ex-members of his organization who

"chose a Judas-like apostasy, and who may have also chosen to hang themselves in one fashion or another. Usually, the choice of apostasy had something to do with 'money.'"

Although the statement is couched in LaRouche's usual euphemistic language, it's clear that he's referring to Kronberg, the only member of the U.S. LaRouche movement known to have committed suicide during or after a dispute with LaRouche, and whose despair involved, among other things, "money" (LaRouche had run up huge bills at Kronberg's printing company with no intention of ever paying them, and the company was facing bankruptcy as a result).[1]

Given the fact that Kronberg was Jewish, LaRouche's reference to "Judas-like apostasy" is clearly anti-Semitic. The statement, as deconstructed, says that the Jew (Kronberg) put money (pieces of silver, "dirty-Judaical"[2] materialism, etc.) before morality (the Platonic-Christian-LaRouchian values that supposedly stand in sharp contrast to the alleged usurious practices of Jews), and thus had betrayed LaRouche. (Characteristically, LaRouche sees betrayal of himself as the equivalent of betraying Jesus.)

The message is driven home by the sadistic mocking phrase about "those" (i.e., Kronberg) who "may have chosen to hang themselves in one fashion or another." Now, this phrase refers to suicide in general, so why confuse matters by calling suicide a "form of hanging"? Ken Kronberg committed suicide, but he did not hang himself--he jumped off a highway overpass.

Obviously LaRouche is reinforcing his prior reference to Judas, who--according to the Gospels--hung himself after receiving thirty pieces of silver for his treachery (as LaRouche would put it, his "apostasy had something to do with 'money'").

In effect, LaRouche is linking his victim Kronberg to the most hated Jew (by Christians) of all time: Judas the Christ-betrayer, a figure traditionally seen as far more evil than either Pontius Pilate, who condemned Jesus to die, or the Roman soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross.[3]

"What is a Jew good for?"

This interpretation of LaRouche's statement fits like a glove with his past pronouncements about the Jews. For instance, he wrote in "The Case of Ludwig Feuerbach" (The Campaigner, Dec. 1973, p. 37; read it here) that "Judaism is not a true religion, but only a half-religion, a curious appendage and sub-species of Christianity." LaRouche went on to claim that Judaism evolved as an "ideological abstraction" of the "Roman merchant-usurer who had not evolved to the state of Papal enlightenment, a half-Christian, who had not developed a Christian conscience...."

Five years later, he wrote: "The problem among Jews is ancient. The B'nai B'rith today resurrects the tradition of the Jews who demanded the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Jews who pleaded with Nero to launch the 'holocaust' against the Christians" ("New Pamphlet to Document the Cult Origins of Zionism," New Solidarity, Dec. 8, 1978; read it here).

And in this same 1978 article we find the following remarkable passage--aimed specifically at LaRouche's Jewish followers--which sheds much light on how LaRouche could welcome Kronberg into the organization, exploit his talents and dedication for over 35 years, and then fiercely turn on him and wish him dead.

In this passage LaRouche demands that the Jewish members join him wholeheartedly in denouncing Zionism as an "evil, racist doctrine" and proclaims:

"You have no right to hide behind the whimpering, morally degraded profession: 'I am only one little person...' You are personally, individually accountable for the ultimate consequences of what you do or fail to do....Either you take responsibility for the ultimate consequences of your conduct or you have no moral right to complain against whatever evil the world's developments bestow upon you.

"If you say, 'As a Jew, I must be concerned primarily with what is good for Jews,' you are already on the pathway to becoming a Nazi. You were better advised to ask yourself, 'What is a Jew good for? What can a Jew contribute to humanity generally which obliges humanity to value the Jew?'"[4]

LaRouche contradicts himself

The Nov. 3, 2009 press release shows that LaRouche has not changed his attitude towards Jews over the past three decades. It also reveals that LaRouche's efforts to blame Ken Kronberg's suicide on Ken's widow Molly are a total farce. The Molly-the-witch blame game is based on the premise that Ken was a loyal LaRouche follower driven to despair by Molly's constant pressure on him to betray LaRouche. And that, torn between his wife and LaRouche, Kronberg underwent a process of moral degeneration and killed himself.[5]

Apart from ignoring the fact that LaRouche himself had suggested that Kronberg commit suicide, the blame-Molly scenario is totally at variance with LaRouche's formulation in the Nov. 3 press release--that Kronberg was an actively evil "Judas" who betrayed LaRouche because of greed for money and an underlying moral turpitude.

Perhaps if Molly Kronberg's libel and harassment suit against LaRouche in the U.S. Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (read here and here) ever goes to trial, LaRouche will be asked about the glaring contradiction between the evil-Molly scenario and the evil-Ken scenario. And I think it could be conclusively established at that trial, based on (a) the record of LaRouche's previous hatred and bullying of Ken and (b) LaRouche's previous history of turning against other businessmen in his org and calling them traitors when they resisted his efforts to loot their assets, that the anti-Ken version represents LaRouche's core viewpoint and that the anti-Molly version is a malicious fabrication based on LaRouche's personal hatred for her, which began over 20 years ago when she testified under subpoena by the government (and did so reluctantly) at his trial for mail fraud and income tax evasion. (LaRouche was convicted and served five years in federal prison; he now absurdly claims--after years of rumination--that Mrs. Kronberg's testimony was the primary cause of his conviction. In fact, during her brief stint on the witness stand she was only asked about a very minor point in the prosecution's case; any rational person can verify this by reading the full transcript of her testimony here.)

LaRouche's "doublethink"

Aside from its legal implications in Kronberg v. LaRouche, LaRouche's Ken-as-Judas rhetoric sheds much light on how LaRouche's mind works, how he manipulates those around him, and how he manages to evade public outrage over his bigotry and extremism.

First, the Nov. 3 press release is a classic example of LaRouche inverting reality in his own head and then striving to establish the resulting inversion-narrative in the minds of his followers (usually with success) and in the minds of outsiders (more successfully than one would think--the media and the public are unaccustomed to the Orwellian "Newspeak" and "doublethink" at which LaRouche excels, and sometimes end up being bamboozled as if they were the audience at a David Copperfield magic show).

In this instance, after driving Kronberg (among the most loyal of his followers) to suicide--that is, after betraying Kronberg in the most profound way possible--LaRouche turned around and concocted a self-serving narrative in which it was Kronberg who betrayed and tried to kill (in an indirect "Judas" fashion) LaRouche himself!

Turning the facts inside out in this manner--in order to blame the victim--is also what LaRouche did in the late 1970s when he claimed that Hitler was put into power in Germany by a cabal of London Jewish bankers who supposedly were a hundred times worse than the Nazis, and who used their Hitler golem to stampede the Jews into fleeing to Palestine and establishing a "Nazi" state that would help the Jewish bankers trigger a worldwide nuclear holocaust in which billions of people would die.[6]

LaRouche and his follower are using the same doublethink today in their attacks on President Obama as a "fascist." This propaganda campaign has used posters of Obama sporting a Hitler moustache, and allegations that the Obama health care plan is worse than Hitler's health policies.[7]

And let's see the results: Through the Hitler-as-oligarchical-agent inversion, LaRouche was able to motivate followers who still thought of themselves as leftists on some residual level, to go forth and proclaim a crypto-Nazi ideology and form alliances with Nazi war criminals and Latin American death squad leaders while telling themselves that what they were doing was really "anti-fascist."

Through the Obama-is-a-fascist inversion, LaRouche contributed to keeping the media confused about the ideological motives behind the 2009 protests against the President's healthcare proposals in which LaRouche's org joined forces with the racist, farthest-right elements in the Tea Party movement (the ones who came to rallies with guns and Confederate flags and who eagerly picked up on LaRouche's Orwellian language as a useful smokescreen for their own extremism). To this day, there is public confusion--thanks in part to the deceptive political labels used by both the LaRouchians and the Tea Party activists (and the cynical spin doctoring by Republican Party pundits and talk show hosts who claimed that LaRouche was actually a "Democrat" and/or a "far leftist" in spite of his 35-year record of running dirty-tricks operations for the Republicans)--over what really happened at all those public meetings around the country on health care reform, and how ObamaCare was derailed.

And via the Kronberg inversion-narrative in its various forms--a plot by Ken, a plot by Molly, or a plot by both--LaRouche was able to completely squelch the discontent of his followers over his treatment of Ken, and to whip up some of them to mindlessly hate Molly; for instance, there was the appalling behavior on the web of "revenire" (user name of a LaRouchian whose identity will be revealed in good time), who kept posting suggestions that Molly should "join the jumper brigade," i.e., commit suicide as her husband did, or as the LaRouchians claim that Jeremiah Duggan did. More important, LaRouche guaranteed, through his projection onto Molly of his own reprehensible behavior, that his followers--even those who had been Molly's friends--would not give serious consideration to her side of the story, and that even those who were not personally fanatical enough to behave like "revenire" would at least put the tragedy of Ken's suicide out of mind, as if it were a bad dream.

Barbed-wire fences in the mind

The Nov. 3 statement also shows that LaRouche didn't just target Kronberg as a boomer who incidentally happened to be Jewish, but targeted him as a Jew. There is no other way to interpret LaRouche's description of Kronberg as a money-grubbing "Judas" devoid of "morality" (i.e., lacking a "Christian conscience," as LaRouche put it in his Feuerbach article).

I commented on the anti-Semitism behind LaRouche's hatred of Kronberg in "Lyndon LaRouche and the Art of Inducing Suicide" (2007). Although LaRouche had not at that point stated his feelings regarding Kronberg as clearly as in the Nov. 3 statement, I think I got it right: LaRouche is a fantasy Hitler who cannot express his sadism towards Jews in the ultimate way since he lacks the requisite political power. He therefore acts it out in the only way available to him. Using his skill at psychological manipulation, he entices Jews into his cult--his concentration camp of the spirit. There, he sadistically puts them through hoops, emotionally terrorizes them, creates ideological barbed-wire fences in their minds, uses them as his most extreme anti-Semitic propagandists, tries to prevent them from breeding (via his forced abortion policy), and then when they are getting old and are no longer especially useful, spurns them and even suggests that they commit suicide.[8]

Sure, the non-Jews in the cult are also grotesquely mistreated, but if you track the history of the LaRouche movement there is a special quality to Der Abscheulicher's relationship with his house Jews (who for decades have played leading roles in his national office and security staffs). Only they are expected to ritualistically humiliate themselves over and over by denying their own core identity in the most extreme manner. Only they were told by LaRouche--during the org's lunge to the far right in the 1970s--that they had a special obligation to follow him or else they would have "no moral right to complain against whatever evil the world's developments bestow upon you."

LaRouche never employed these ethnic guilt and veiled ethnic threat tactics to any significant degree on his non-Jewish followers--those of WASP, Italian, Irish, African-American or Hispanic backgrounds (in the U.S. organization) and those in the various foreign branches. When LaRouche tried to guilt-trip or terrify the non-Jews, he did it on the basis of their individual psychology--not by appealing to ethnic or denominational Original Sin.

The double standard is most shocking in reference to the LaRouche movement in Germany. LaRouche never required his Teutonic thugs based in Wiesbaden to ask themselves, "What is a German good for? What can a German contribute to humanity generally which obliges humanity to value the German?" And LaRouche never advanced any theory of German collective guilt for the Holocaust (indeed, he and his wife Helga have always ferociously opposed the idea[9]), focussing instead on the supposed obligation of "the Jew" to atone for special sins under penalty of retribution by "humanity."

LaRouche's smoke screen

LaRouche's coming out in the open with his hatred of Ken Kronberg as a Jew, shows the ultimate bankruptcy of the "Yiddish Renaissance" tactic that was developed by Kronberg and some of the other LaRouche Jews in the 1980s and 1990s (initially with good intentions, I believe) to develop some private space for themselves and encourage a more positive attitude within the organization towards Jewish history and the Jewish faith.

LaRouche allowed them to pursue their interest in the Yiddish Renaissance--a cultural and artistic movement that began among Eastern European Jews in the late 19th century--and even allowed a few articles on the topic to be published or circulated informally among members. Probably he figured it would be a useful safety valve and might serve as a smoke screen to help keep his organization off the German government's watchlist of far-right hate groups.

But he also began to twist and distort the research findings of the Yiddish Renaissance enthusiasts by devising a new brand of doublethink. Articles began to appear in his publications that urged Jews to dedicate themselves on this earth to promoting German culture and German music ( in the death camp slave orchestras that played for the SS officers?) and to vehemently reject Zionism, striving instead to become--even after all that happened in the camps--good and loyal servants of the German nation.

In light of this grotesque perversion of what Ken Kronberg (the prime mover of the Yiddish Renaissance research program) had intended--and considering what ultimately happened to Kronberg, and what happened to Jeremiah Duggan (also a Jew)--it should be clear that the LaRouche org's anti-Semitism cannot be ameliorated from within. There will never be an epiphany through which LaRouche and his inner ring suddenly decide that they love the Jews. The only rational (and moral) path for Jewish and non-Jewish boomers still trapped in the LaRouche org is to leave--now, today, this hour--and tell the world EVERYTHING THEY KNOW about LaRouche's crimes, intrigues and hate-filled political agenda.

[1] On Kronberg's desk, after his suicide, a letter was found addressed to the employees of his PMR Printing Company--most of whom where not LaRouche followers--explaining that he had no choice but to close the company. Within a week of his death PMR closed its doors due to the financial difficulties resulting from the LaRouche organization's unwillingness to pay its bills.

[2] In his 1973 essay "The Case of Ludwig Feuerbach," LaRouche used Karl Marx's infamous term "dirty-Judaical":

"Marx's 'dirty-Judaical' is emphasized here both to underline the characterization of Feuerbach's lapse in the 'Theses,' and to emphasize the epistemological significance of the infantile object-elation of the devoutly-alienated religious Jew. The significance of the brutally-sadistic moral castration of the Jewish boy by the domineering 'Jewish mother' is the basis for one of the most horrifying models of male sexual impotence, which expresses itself obsessively in the 'business Jew.' He suffers a hideous sense of secret worthlessness which would be revealed without power over the fixed object in its (fetishistic) commodity-form." (See note 78 on p. 37 here.)

[3] In Christian tradition, Judas the archetypal treacherous Jew suffers eternal damnation in Hell; in LaRouche's press release, Kronberg and various former high-level LaRouchians (and here LaRouche is not just talking about Jews) go to a "virtual Hell" (see note 5 below).

[4] LaRouche attacks Zionism and the idea of "what is good for Jews," but to my knowledge he has never questioned the right to national sovereignty, a national consciousness or a national interest of any states except the Jewish one, Israel, and the United Kingdom (which he believes is controlled by a Jewish financial oligarchy). LaRouche is a staunch promoter of German, Spanish, Paraguayan, Argentinian, Brazilian, and just about any other nationalism of an existing state (including, until the end of apartheid, the nationalism of South Africa's Afrikaners). As to the cultural distinctness and desire for freedom or autonomy of peoples trapped in someone else's sovereign (and usually authoritarian) state, the LaRouche org has often attacked such peoples in the most rabid and racist language in order to curry favor with the government in question. Targets of such rhetoric have included tribal peoples in the Brazilian Amazon, Mayas in the Guatemalan highlands, Christian and animist minorities in the Sudan, and the Tibetan people. For documentation of most of this, read my report on the LaRouche movement's history in the international shadow world of neo-fascism and human rights abuse here. For the LaRouchian attitude towards the Tibetans, who are seeking their freedom in the teeth of the Chinese communist regime's rampant brutality, read "Tibet Is a Tool of the British Empire!" (LPAC website, April 10, 2008).

[5] In a repulsively insensitive letter to Mrs. Kronberg on the day of her husband's funeral, LaRouche wrote that "in the storms of life, we [members of the LaRouche org] either cling to that dedication of our living, or we were no more than virtually beasts" (note the use of the past tense "were," which suggests that he means Ken Kronberg). As to LaRouche's choice of the word "beasts," I can't help noting that for several years prior to Kronberg's suicide, LaRouche had been referring to the mostly Jewish neoconservatives as "beast men." And his other epithet for the neocons, "children of Satan," also fits with his accusations against Ken Kronberg, since, according to the Gospel of Luke, Satan entered into Judas and caused him to betray Jesus.

[6] LaRouche asserted the core of this thesis in "Hitler: Runaway British Agent" (New Solidarity, Jan. 10, 1978; read the full text here) and elaborated it in later articles.

[7] This is LaRouchian Holocaust denial expressed indirectly through comparisons that trivialize Hitler's crimes to the point where they seem almost benign. Yet we should be clear on what Hitler's health care policies really were: the killing of mentally disabled and mentally ill patients (even "Aryan" ones) on grounds of eugenic necessity; the gassing of Jews at supposed public-health "delousing" facilities in the camps; hideous medical experiments conducted on Jews and other camp inmates (without anesthesia); the killing of slave laborers in the V-2 rocket factory at Nordhausen through starvation, beatings, overwork and disease (under the supervision of LaRouchian hero Arthur Rudolph); and forced abortions for supposedly inferior races. (For more on LaRouche's efforts to sanitize the Nazi record on health care, read here.)

However, the LaRouchians and the Tea Party extremists who adopted LaRouche's Orwellian language in 2009 depicted Hitler's record on "health care" as NO WORSE THAN the attempt of an African-American president, elected by a majority of American voters and operating within the law, to persuade Congress to extend health insurance to the uninsured, provide portability of plans from job to job, and prevent private insurers from denying people health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. It is appalling that the media never bothered to adequately convey just how repulsive this LaRouche/Tea Party trickery was, and that Democratic Party politicians never responded with appropriate outrage.

[8] The morning briefing of April 11, 2007 (a transcription by one Tony Papert of remarks by LaRouche) clearly referred to the "print shop" [Kronberg] as being the organization's "worst" failure, and then suggested that the Boomers [meaning Kronberg and other older Jewish and non-Jewish members regarded by LaRouche as useless or as failures] should shape up and become "human...[u]nless they want to commit suicide." In a follow-up statement later that morning, under his own name, LaRouche raved against "Boomer corruption" and said that "[s]ome among us [would] rather commit virtual suicide than admit I have been right on these matters."

This was not the first time that LaRouche and the more fanatical of his followers had discussed in a harsh or mocking manner the real or possible suicide of supposedly unworthy or evil people. And the anti-Semitic (and generally totalitarian) outlook beneath this rhetoric was made crystal clear in a 1983 New Solidarity editorial on the suicide of Jewish writer Arthur Koestler ("Koestler Takes His Own Advice; Kissinger to Follow?") which ends with the following Nazi-style quip:

"[W]hy should the worthwhile vast majority of the human race settle for attempts to solve its antisocial problems on a case-by-case basis? Why not get organized to settle with such characters all at once?" (Read full text here.)

Since LaRouche is pretty much the absolute dictator of his publishing empire, I doubt the unsigned editorial re the Koestler suicide would have been published without his explicit personal approval. Certainly he has never repudiated it. Nor has Nancy Spannaus--the editor of New Solidarity in 1983, and the author in 2007 of a treacly "In Memorium" for Ken Kronberg (celebrating him not as an independent human being but as a servant of the Jew-hater who drove him to his death)--ever repudiated this call for mass killing of Jews and other "characters" on the LaRouche movement's enemies list.

[9] See Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., "The Truth About German 'Collective Guilt,'" Part I, New Solidarity, Oct. 10, 1978; and Helga Zepp-LaRouche, "The Zionists' Holocaust Today," New Solidarity, Jan. 26, 1979.