The LaRouchites and the Gulf War

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The most disruptive rightist penetration of antiwar groups was by the LaRouchians. The LaRouchians generally operate under front groups such as Food for Peace, Schiller Institute, and Executive Intelligence Review. Some local antiwar groups have worked with the LaRouchians, while others have not. While often described merely as conservative or extremist, the LaRouche organization and its various front groups are a fascist political movement with echoes of neo-Nazi ideology. The group's ultimate leader, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., was jailed because his fundraisers sold unsecured securities to the elderly and because LaRouche paid no taxes while living in a Virginia mansion. LaRouche was sentenced in January, 1989 to fifteen years in prison after a federal court found LaRouche and six codefendants guilty of a mail fraud conspiracy related to fundraising. LaRouche was also convicted of tax evasion. On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court let the convictions stand without comment. LaRouche was released in early 1994 after serving over five years of his sentence.

LaRouche's lawyers have repeatedly sued activist critics who describe him as a fascist, racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Jewish bigot, lunatic cult leader, neo-Nazi racial theorist, crook, and demagogue. LaRouche has lost every case. One jury in Virginia found that calling LaRouche a "small-time Hitler" was not defamatory and then awarded damages to the news organization sued by LaRouche.

During the Gulf War the LaRouchites appeared at antiwar rallies and meetings in thirty cities, including New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, St. Louis, Omaha, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

At the University of Ottawa in Canada, LaRouche's Schiller Institute co-sponsored an antiwar event with an organization of Middle Eastern students. At an October 20, 1990 antiwar demonstration in New York City, the Schiller Institute had four people carrying a large banner and a small group of supporters organized in a contingent. The LaRouchians have passed out petitions at antiwar rallies, and then called the persons who signed the petitions to solicit money for the LaRouche organization. Other fundraising pitches are made at antiwar rallies.

In a flyer announcing a December 15, 1990 rally, a group called simply the "LaRouche Organization" was originally listed as a coalition member. The presence of the LaRouchians, as well as other anti-Jewish bigots, in the St. Louis antiwar coalition originally caused consternation, especially among members of New Jewish Agenda, a group which supports a democratic Israel, Palestinian rights, and a Palestinian homeland. When coalition leaders were provided with documentation of LaRouchian attacks on Jews, Blacks and other minorities, including LaRouchian support for the apartheid government of South Africa, the LaRouche supporters were booted out of the coalition.

In Los Angeles, several LaRouchites were dismayed when the local antiwar coalition pointed to its principles of unity, which included a call for a sensible non-nuclear energy policy. The LaRouchians are vocal supporters of nuclear power. In Richmond, Virginia, local antiwar organizers simply kept shouting at the LaRouchians to "shut up" when they began their bizarre spiels and for a time the LaRouchians stopped coming to meetings. The LaRouchians soon returned, but attempted to keep a low profile while persistently circulating their literature.

During December, LaRouche's followers held vigils on a number of campuses to build support for a touted "National Teach-In to Stop the War" held December 15-16 in Chicago. The Chicago conference, titled "Development is the New Name for Peace," turned out to be the annual LaRouche-sponsored Food for Peace Conference, repackaged to attract antiwar activists. The conference drew over 350 attendees. Several persons active with the St. Louis African-American Anti-War/Peace Coalition who attended the conference were later asked to leave the Coalition for being disruptive and spreading anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, according to several St. Louis activists who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Only three dozen students were sprinkled among the crowd which drew persons from California, Oregon, North and South Dakota, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nebraska, and the Canadian province of Quebec. Many in the audience were farmers. Close to one-third of the conference attendees were African-Americans.

While the number of students was small, the emphasis on the situation in the Middle East was not neglected. LaRouche regulars Mel Klenetsky and Nancy Spannaus moderated the program which included a videotaped message and live phone patch from the cultural attache for the Iraqi embassy, Dr. Mayser Al Mallah. The LaRouche organization has maintained ties with the Iraqi Ba'ath Party for many years, according to several former LaRouchian intelligence gatherers who have left the group.

Other panelists at the LaRouchite conference included the Rev. James Bevel, an early civil rights leader long active in several LaRouchian front groups; a representative from Minister Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, Abdul Wali Muhammad, editor of the Final Call; and Gene Wheaton, a private investigator who has worked with both left-wing and right-wing critics of U.S. clandestine operations.

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