Posting by "Anonymous" on FactNet's ex-LaRouche message board, Wed., July 21, 2004, 11:54 PMReply to a father whose son has joined the LaRouche Youth Movement:
Thank you for the updates regarding your son: they help those of us who post here see we're not just gassing but can help others profit from our bitter experience.
Without giving too many details as I do not wish my identity to be known by the vindictive LaRouchites: my experience dates from long ago, but from what I read, things have changed little. When I was a full-time "organizer" I hated every single second of it. Say there are ten people in a local who are full-time "organizers," i.e. those available to be "deployed" in "squads." (N.B. the paramilitary lingo.) The night before the "deployment" the five squads of two each will be determined and you will know who to meet the next morning, usually by 8 AM at the latest.
The squads are grouped in twos; the assinine signs, the ratty cardtable, the (stolen) milkcrates replete with "literature" all are jammed into the unwashed rental car. By 9 AM you're at the site and spend the next eight hours hawking literature and subscriptions, lying to people to manipulate them into doing what you want.
At noon, the squad leader calls into the "office" to report on how the deployment is going. Each deployment, by the way, has a target number attached indicating how much money should be raised. It is also expected that contacts be made at each deployment, i.e. people who can be harassed to death by phone from the "boiler room" in the "office" for money. If the quality of contacts is poor, or an "organizer" supplies contact names with too many wrong numbers, that is cause too for chastisement. If one or the other members are not pulling their weight, they'll get a little talking to from the guy in the "office" by phone to help them get out of their "(ego) state."
And that's all it is, standing around a card table, in all kinds of weather, for at least eight hours per day for at least six if not seven (during "mobilizations") days per week. Then you'll be redeployed to another site for the evening or, better yet, be assigned a neighborhood to go to in order to do a "walking tour" which lasts until 8 or 9 PM, depending on how much money is raised. Needless to say, on $40 a week, cash is quietly pilfered from the deployment so that people can EAT.
At the end of the day people filter back into the office with their love offerings, and often a mandatory briefing will be inflicted on members until 11 PM. The so-called "briefing" is usually a ritual of public abuse by the "leadership" as they rove around the room lighting into one member after another on the basis of their alleged weaknesses. At this time of day, no one has the energy to resist.
It is after a few weeks or months of this that an intelligent person begins to wonder what happened to all those beautiful ideas I joined to promote? There is not even time to read the literature you are hawking, let alone have a moment for quiet reflection, to date outside the organization (which I did in defiance of the local leadership), to read a newspaper. When I had first joined it was the custom to give one night off a week plus Sunday, but for the last few years it was seven days a week with no pretense of providing time to foster the intellectual development of the membership.
I especially hated the walking tours because I was forcibly confronted door after door with people living normal, healthy, productive lives whereas I was advocating stuff I knew in my heart was nuts. Life in the National Caucus of Labor Committees is brutal, not only to the mind and body, but especially to the spirit.
If there is only one thing I could say to Baker, Jr., it would be this: ignore the "ideas" and watch the behavior of these people. Why do these people vilify your Mom and Dad? Compare your parents' love for you with these people. When they were trying to recruit me, they flattered me in many ways, made me feel needed by humanity, etc. But once I was in, it was like day into night, with a ceaseless round of abuse 24/7.
Also, Baker, Jr., if you want the feel of life inside the organization, I suggest two books which you can read in either order:
The opening scene of Dreiser's American Tragedy, I vaguely recall, describes the sense of being a street corner preacher with which I identified when I read it. Standing out in public twelve hours a day, making an absolute ass of yourself for a millionaire who doesn't care enough about you to pay you a living wage makes one feel acutely lonely and cut off from humanity.
Make something of your life: don't throw it away on these vampires.