What Lyndon LaRouche Believes
WASHINGTON (AP) _ History is nothing but conspiracy, says Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr., the perennial fringe candidate for president who sees plots that escape others.
He thinks the Queen of England is involved in the drug trade, the United States is headed for economic collapse, the Holocaust is fiction.
What LaRouche thinks has taken on new importance - or at least gained new attention - in light of last month’s startling Democratic primary victories by two LaRouche candidates in Illinois and the abundancy of LaRouche candidates across the nation.
In the Illinois races, LaRouche’s candidates declared Americans were responding to the views held by their leader: opposition to the Gramm-Rudman balanced budget law, calls for widespread testing and quarantining to combat the disease AIDS and condemnation of white-collar drug traffickers.
Those seem tame, though, next to the theories LaRouche has promoted - views that seem incoherent on their face and defy normal political labels, just as LaRouche himself does.
- Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is a ″Soviet agent-of- influence, ″ as is Walter Mondale and other prominent Americans.
- Zionism is ″crazy ... cult nonsense.″ The Holocaust was ″mythical.″ Israel ″is ruled from London as a zombie-state.″
- The Queen of England is involved in drug trade.
- Former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos ″was opposed to me and he fell as a result.″
- Poland’s trade union Solidarity is ″British-infiltrated″ and threatens Poland with ″economic ruin, starvation and social chaos.″
- The FBI and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith share ″complicity in the assassination of (India’s) Prime Minister Gandhi and the killing of the 329 passengers on the June 23, 1985, flight of Air India flight 182.″
- The United States faces economic collapse this year, President Reagan’s economic policies are unchanged from the Carter administration’s and U.S. defense capability ″is being destroyed right now″ by budget cutting.
LaRouche, 63, a four-time fringe candidate for president, expounds these views in prolific writings and in a calm voice with a New England accent that grows excited when challenged.
His attacks can be vicious, and his critics often are dismissed as part of the ″drug lobby,″ crazy, communist or homosexual. At a news conference last week, LaRouche snapped at a questioning reporter, ″How can I talk with a drug pusher like you?″
An issue of his New Solidarity newspaper last month said Secretary of State George Shultz should be tried for treason for selling out allies. ″Let’s give Shultz a fair trial first - and then hang him,″ it said.
Dismissed by Democratic Party regulars as a kook, LaRouche gained just 150,000 votes in a dozen 1984 primaries despite airing nine rambling - and expensive - half-hour broadcasts on national television.
The name of LaRouche’s political organization, National Democratic Policy Committee, has caused discomfort for national Democrats. Party officials have responded to the Illinois primary by trying to inform voters about his candidates and his views in hopes exposure will evaporate support.
″It’s the rantings and ravings of a mad man,″ said Democratic National Committee spokesman Terry Michael. ″You can’t put them on the political map. It’s not ultra-left or ultra-right to say Queen Elizabeth is a drug pusher. It’s ultra-crazy.″
Underlying LaRouche’s views is a vast, complicated web of global conspiracies, some centuries old.
He sees shadowy links between the Soviet KGB, British intelligence, the conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation, the FBI, the ADL, and international terrorists.
LaRouche frequently cites obscure 19th-century German writers and secret European societies. He can present his theories with a dizzying circumlocution.
In a recent telephone interview, LaRouche said this:
″History is nothing but conspiracies. There are lawful processes which determine what kind of conspiracies work and what kinds don’t, but history is nothing but the history of conspiracies intersecting what the laws of history will allow to happen.″
Asked to explain his claim that the British royal family is involved in drug trade, LaRouche responded: ″The Westminster Act of 1787, which put the British government in the drug business, and they’ve never gone out of it. They don’t happen to be the dominent force in the drug business today, but they’re still in it. And they shouldn’t be, should they?″
A spokesman for British Information Services at the British consulate in New York, Stewart Grainger, said he had never heard of ″the Westminster Act of 1787″ and could find no such reference in the index of acts of British Parliament.
Westminster is a section of London where Parliament is located, and some Parliament actions dealing with that area are known by the name. But there were none in 1787 and none that deal with drugs, he said.
″If they say the Westminster Act of 1787, there’s no such thing,″ Grainger said.
Calls to LaRouche’s headquarters seeking elaboration were referred to spokesman Mel Klenetsky. He did not return return the calls.
LaRouche doesn’t hesitate to declare his own importance.
″I’m probably the best economist living today,″ LaRouche, who has no college degree, said in the interview. ″But that’s largely because there are no economists living today. People that call themselves economists aren’t economists. They’re monetarists. They wouldn’t be able to understand ... famous economists of the past.″
LaRouche grew up in Lynn, Mass., and in the late 1940s and early 1950s was a member of the Socialist Workers Party, a Trotskyite group. He took the name ″Lyn Marcus,″ and later was involved in or formed a series of other radical organizations.
He ran for president in 1976 on the U.S. Labor Party ticket, but by 1980 was running in Democratic primaries and had made an apparent shift to the right. LaRouche describes himself now as in the tradition of the American Whig party, forerunner of the Republican Party in the first half of the 19th century.
He operates out of a heavily guarded $1.3 million estate in Leesburg, Va., and the source of financing for his organizations and corporations is unclear. A federal investigation in Boston is reported to be looking into allegations LaRouche groups raised money through credit-card fraud.
LaRouche said during a 1984 libel trial that he has no income and has filed no tax returns for 12 years. He says he doesn’t know who pays his bills.
The federal court rejected LaRouche’s libel suit against NBC and ordered him to pay the network a $200,000 judgment in a countersuit charging LaRouche followers made repeated threats and posed as NBC and Senate aides to falsely cancel an NBC interview with a senator.
LaRouche’s followers sell his publications and seek support in airports and in shopping centers. LaRouche remains in seclusion because, he says, drug pushers and the Soviets have plotted his assassination.
Estimates of the membership of his organization number in the hundreds, and some say it has the appearance of a cult. Some reporters who have written about LaRouche’s organization report receiving threats and harassment.
″It’s an anti-Semitic political cult combining elements of the left and right,″ said Mira B. Lansky, Washington fact-finding director of the Anti- Defamation League.
″The wild-eyed fanaticism you see in the eyes of his followers certainly to me seems cult-like,″ said Milton R. Copulos, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation who has written about LaRouche.
Dennis King, a free-lance journalist who has written often about LaRouche, says he thinks many of LaRouche’s attention-getting statements are calculated to distract attention from a ″neo-Nazi″ ideology. He calls LaRouche a ″strange mixture of shrewdness and craziness.″
Copulos describes LaRouche’s political views as ″chameleon-like,″ capitalizing on public fears about AIDS or nuclear war to attract wider support.
″They focus on issues that are of concern to working Americans ... then manipulate them to their overall purpose,″ he said.
LaRouche has been a proponent of a nuclear missile shield using beam weaponry before President Reagan proposed his ″Star Wars″ program. But he is critical of the specific technologies pushed by the White House, and Copulos contends that the group’s ultimate positions on this and other issues ″are favorable to the Soviet Union.″
″The fact that their positions are cloaked in ostensibly conservative rhetoric merely makes their pro-Soviet slant harder to perceive,″ he said in a Heritage report.