The LaRouche Network:

A History of Intimidation

By Chip Berlet


This research paper was prepared at the request of Mrs. Erica Duggan to assist her in understanding the context of the death of her son, Jeremiah, who had been attending a LaRouche network conference in Germany.



The worldwide network controlled by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. has a long history of violence, physical assaults, intimidation, psychological manipulation, emotional blackmail, and harassment. The LaRouche network is a totalitarian political organization that operates through a variety of front groups, with detailed reports from the field constantly being sent back to the worldwide headquarters in the United States. Incidents perceived as security threats to the organization, or its leadership, are dealt with quickly and aggressively. It is likely that Jeremiah Duggan was perceived as just such a security threat. Given the history of the LaRouche network, the possibility that persons connected to the LaRouche network subjected Jeremiah Duggan to extreme emotional pressure or physical intimidation could reasonably be investigated as a potential factor in his death. Communications among the various LaRouche network groups regarding the Jeremiah Duggan incident, and interviews with those who spoke with him in Germany, might provide important details as to his actual treatment.

What is the LaRouche Network?

The LaRouche network is a small yet energetic totalitarian organization with a fascist political ideology. It maintains outposts worldwide. It began in the late 1960s in New York City in the United States as the labor committee of the radical left group Students for a Democratic Society. Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. was an older "adviser" to the students; and after a series of altercations, led his followers into a break-away group called the National Caucus of Labor Committees.

Like other political demagogues before him, LaRouche moved across the political spectrum from left to right, ending up supporting a plan to build the working class through rapid industrialization and the remolding of the psyche of his followers into a heroic new consciousness--a totalitarian plan almost identical to that proposed by Mussolini in pre-World War II fascist Italy. The concept of taking political ideas and turning them into a sacred struggle as part of a totalitarian political movement is discussed by professor Emilio Gentile of the University "La Sapienza" in Rome in his book The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy.[1]

The LaRouche network operates through a variety of front groups, including the Schiller Institute, the FDR Political Action Committee, the Worldwide LaRouche Youth Movement and its online training school Academy 2004. The LaRouche network publishes numerous publications, including the New Federalist newspaper; Fidelio magazine; Twenty-First Century Science & Technology magazine; and Executive Intelligence Review magazine.

Dangerous Dynamics

The LaRouche network combines totalitarian forms of social control, fascist political ideology, and a dualistic apocalyptic style, which encourages followers to fear that time is running out and they must act immediately to stave off some cataclysmic event. According to professor Roger Griffin of Oxford Brookes University, at the heart of fascism is "a revolutionary form of nationalism, one that sets out to be a political, social and ethical revolution, welding the ‘people’ into a dynamic national community under new elites infused with heroic values. The core myth that inspires this project is that only a populist, trans-class movement of purifying, cathartic national rebirth (palingenesis) can stem the tide of decadence.”[2] One way to understand palingenesis is to see it as a version of dualistic apocalyptic belief in which there is an intractable struggle between absolute good and absolute evil.[3]

A central goal of fascism is to construct a totalitarian state.[4] Philosopher and political analyst Hannah Arendt argued that Nazism and Stalinism were examples of totalitarian systems that gained state power.[5] Fascist movements in their stage as a political movement do not have state power, yet they still seek to enforce total control over every aspect of a person's life--political, social, and cultural--in order to reshape the individual and unify the society. Arendt discusses how totalitarian movements are built around a central fiction of a powerful conspiracy, (in the case of the Nazis, a conspiracy of Jews which planned to dominate the world) which requires a secretive counter-conspiracy be organized. Totalitarian groups organize the counter-conspiracy in a hierarchical manner that mimics the levels of membership and rituals of social and religious secret societies.

When combined in a in a political or social movement the elements of totalitarianism, fascism, and apocalyptic or palingenetic fervor, create a demand for absolute obedience by followers, and the demonization of all opponents as so evil that they must be exposed and stopped by any means necessary.

Among the means used by the LaRouche network are illegal activities. In the 1980s LaRouche followers were pressured into using inappropriate coercive tactics to raise funds from gullible investors and donors, especially elderly persons. Funds were improperly handled, transferred, converted, and recorded. As a result, LaRouche and several of his top aides were convicted of crimes. Charges included tax fraud, failure to file proper tax returns, and illegal securities transactions and fundraising practices. LaRouche spent several years in federal prison.

History of Intimidation

Apocalyptic dualism within a totalitarian organization creates a situation where demagogic leaders constantly harass followers, urging them to devote more and more time, energy, and money to the cause. The enemy is demonized as not just wholly evil, but on the brink of causing some catastrophe to the idealized society. Only the followers can stop the catastrophe through heroic action. This is the applied form of the concept of palingenesis as it is practiced in an apocalyptic and totalitarian political or social movement.

An early example of this in the LaRouche movement was Operation Mop-up, a project that ran from May to September of 1973. LaRouche followers were told that in order to stop the world from destruction, they had to first crush their critics in the Communist Party and Socialist Workers Party. So squads of young intellectuals who had dropped out of college to join the LaRouche group were sent into meetings to physically attack their rivals. There were numerous injuries, some requiring hospitalization. Opponents were chased through the streets by LaRouche followers brandishing sticks and bats and other weapons. Other acts of violence continued on into 1974.[6]

It was during this period that LaRouche began to warn of vast conspiracies and plots against him and his organization. LaRouche spent the summer and early fall of 1973 obsessed with his broken marriage, brooding over the humiliating betrayal, according to ex-members. His former aide in charge of operations in England, Christopher White, had run off with LaRouche's wife. Late in December, a revelation came to LaRouche. Christopher White had actually been secretly programmed by the KGB, with the aid of the MI5 division of British intelligence, to assassinate LaRouche himself--in retaliation for Operation Mop-Up's assaults on pro-Soviet Communist groups. Further, the CIA--jealous of LaRouche's success in uncovering a previous victim of KGB brainwashing--had resolved either to kidnap LaRouche to extract his secret, or kill him itself to prevent his falling into Soviet hands.[7]

Only LaRouche possessed the intelligence and perception to uncover and foil this fiendish plot, and not surprisingly, he alone held the keys for the cure--in White's case, days of isolation and intense pressure from a battery of LaRouche inquisitors. White finally caved in and confessed to his alleged "psychosexual brainwashing" by the KGB/CIA/MI5 conspirators. Based on tape-recordings offered by LaRouche defenders as "proof," the New York Times later carried a harrowing account of this so-called "deprogramming" session. LaRouche's revenge was complete; White--who had taken his wife--had been reduced to a repentant, sobbing psychological wreck.

LaRouche lost no time in applying his cure. Any sign of restiveness or dissent on the part of his followers now became evidence of "brainwashing" by the KGB, the CIA, or both. Six fellow members held one young woman, attempting to quit what was rapidly becoming a totalitarian cult, prisoner in a New York apartment in an effort to "deprogram" her. She somehow managed to fold a plea for help into a paper airplane, sailing it out the window--where a passerby found it, and called the police.

On January 3, 1974, the day the six "deprogrammers" were arraigned, LaRouche gave a long, rambling and altogether extraordinary speech--later reprinted in his own newspaper New Solidarity--laying out his theory of how sinister forces had secretly kidnapped and brainwashed his followers. According to LaRouche, the methods used by the KGB and British Intelligence to brainwash the membership of his group caused fear of impotence and homosexuality to immobilize each member and thus destroy their capability to organize effectively.

This "brainwashing," LaRouche would come to believe, was orchestrated by the Tavistock Institute of London. To this day, members and potential recruits are confronted by organizational leaders with demands to get past their blocks to full commitment to the LaRouche cause. The assumption of the LaRouche leaders is that they have to reach deep into the psyche of all recruits and rip out the psychological blocks instilled by the sophisticated Tavistock brainwashing methods. In fact, what the LaRouche cadre are doing is a form of totalitarian psychological manipulation and vicious emotional blackmail that is popularly described as "brainwashing" by a "cult" group. While these terms are often brandished about carelessly, the concept of a political, religious, or social movement using "totalist" or totalitarian methods to tamper with the psyche of a targeted person has been studied and described by academics.[8]

According to author Dennis King, whose book Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism is the primary published source on the LaRouche network, LaRouche and his followers also have a long history of attacking critics. "Every totalitarian movement needs a special cadre for secret, illegal, and often violent activities," wrote King. Inside the LaRouche network this apparatus became known simply as "Security," and it was begun in the early 1970s to organize Operation Mop Up and train LaRouche followers for self-defense. According to King, "In the wake of the Chris White affair, Security took on the functions of an internal secret police."[9]

What followed was a campaign of harassment of critics and reporters that included a range of techniques. LaRouche warned reporter Jon Presstage in New Hampshire about asking tough questions or writing negative stories. After critical articles appeared anyway, the reporter found his family's three cats dead--one-by-one--on his doorstep on successive days.[10] Freelance reporter Russ Bellant arrived home one day after criticizing LaRouche to find his neighbors had been invited by flyer to his gay coming out party. Marcie Permut, a young researcher for NBC TV news in Chicago, had flyers passed out in the neighborhood where she and her parents lived. The flyers listed her home phone number and claimed she was a prostitute.

As the author of this document, I can personally report that while I was a journalist in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., I was told by police authorities that a person connected to the LaRouche organization had approached a person who was secretly a police informant inquiring about hiring him to tamper with the brakes of my car and the car of a Chicago Sun-Times reporter to warn us against writing further articles about the LaRouche network.

LaRouche also unsuccessfully sued me for defamation. The lawsuit named Dennis King, along with NBC News and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. King and I were severed from the case by an exasperated judge after LaRouche aides claimed King and I were plotting an assassination attempt on LaRouche while he was giving his deposition, and therefore LaRouche would refuse to attend his own deposition unless surrounded by armed guards. NBC News and the Anti-Defamation League went to trial on the case. The jury returned a verdict affirming that calling LaRouche a cult leader, an antisemite, and a "small-time Hitler" was not defamatory.

The most recent public account of the intimidation and manipulation of LaRouche recruits appeared in a California student newspaper at Pasadena City College in 2001. [11] Reporter Matthew Robinson wrote the following account:

Philip Mullendore, chief of campus police, reported that they get complaints on regular basis from students about LaRouche recruits harassing them in the quad. Others complain of repeated phone calls, urging them to attend a meeting. Many students who attend those meetings end up dropping out of school and devoting their lives to LaRouche.

"We have documented several incidents of aggressive tactics by this group and we monitor them very closely," said Mullendore.

The mother of an 18-year-old student who was lured into the cult complained to campus police that the LaRouche group had taken over her son's life.

In the article, a student (called Tom as a pseudonym) who dropped out of school to join the LaRouche network, described the pressures he experienced:

Once you start listening, you'll hear over and over that LaRouche is the solution to every problem in the world. They'll ask, "Do you want children in Africa to starve?" Of course you don't, so they convince you that you have to come to a meeting. They repeatedly tell you if you don't come to the meeting, you must want the world to starve. So you go to the meeting," he said.

One of the hallmarks of the LaRouche organization is to turn you against your family, Tom said. They tell you that "family values are really immoral, they are only in place to keep you from getting political. They say that the baby-boomers are evil and are corrupted by the British neo-liberal banking establishment, but it's not their fault.

"The more you are around these people, the more they turn you against your parents and your friends. "They want you to try and recruit your friends. "What they tell you if your friends resist is they are" blocked," and you should just leave them behind. They are not worth it. They ask what's more important, your friends or the world?" Soon you see yourself as someone who can actually change the world and you really do see your friends and family as obstacles.

Tom moved out of his parent's house and moved to Glendale. The organization paid his rent, phone bill, and all his utilities. He also got $50 a week for food.

Once you alienate your family and let the group support you, you've got nowhere else to go, Tom said.

According to the article, Tom emphasized that LaRouche is not particularly dangerous on a worldwide level,"but on a personal level, such as manipulating your thoughts and your psyche, he is lethal…"

Anglophobia and Antisemitism

As LaRouche moved his political movement to the right of the political spectrum, he and his followers began to incorporate historic antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jewish power.[12] Writing under the pen name Lyn Marcus, LaRouche wrote:

"Judaism is not a true religion, but only a half-religion, a curious appendage and sub-species of Christianity."

"Judaism is ideological abstraction of the secular life of Christianity's Jew, the Roman merchant-usurer who had not yet evolved to the state of Papal enlightenment, a half-Christian, who had not developed a Christian conscience."

"Judaism is the religion of a caste of subjects of Christianity, entirely molded by ingenious rabbis to fit into the ideological and secular life of Christianity. In short, a self- sustaining Judaism never existed and never could exist. As for Jewish culture otherwise, it is merely the residue left to the Jewish home after everything saleable has been marketed to the Goyim."[13]

There were several high-profile early leaders of the LaRouche movement with Jewish heritage. They were forced to adopt the antisemitic conspiracy theories, but some later left the group in protest. Others remained active, such as Jeffrey Steinberg, author of articles claiming a British conspiracy including “Scandals Shake British Throne,” and “Prince Phillip’s Eco-Terrorists Make Death Threats vs. Clinton, Chirac.”[14] The type of anglophobia in Steinberg's articles is interwoven with antisemitism in other LaRouche publications. This is not a new combination. Linking the British royal family and London financial interests with Jewish intrigue has a long history. A key example is E. C. Knuth’s 1944 tract The Empire of “The City”: alias International Finance, alias the British Empire, alias “ONE WORLD” superstate.[15]

According to Knuth, Jewish banking families such as the Rothschilds and Sassoons manipulated the British economy and various financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund. The LaRouche conspiracy theory is a variation on this theme. In one editorial a LaRouche publication claimed, “Zionism is that state of collective psychosis through which London manipulates most of international Jewry.”[16] In recent years the coded antisemitism has often appeared in the form of claims that Jewish organizations including the Anti-Defamation League or the B'nai B'rith are part of the vast secret conspiracy.[17]

In the LaRouche networks' conspiracy theories the plot for world control is run by the financial center of the City of London, elements of the royal family, MI5, the Tavistock Institute, and powerful Jewish interests. A search of several LaRouche-related websites reveals that conspiracy theories about the Tavistock Institute and Tavistock Clinic continue to appear in LaRouche publications. In a 2002 issue of Executive Intelligence Review, Jeffrey Steinberg claims critics of LaRouche are part of:

[The] stable of "Reesian psychiatric shock troops" (after the British Tavistock Institute's Dr. John Rawlings Rees) [who] operate in tandem with a number of known terrorist and mercenary-for-hire agencies, which at one time constituted perhaps the largest professional kidnapping ring in modern American history. Those kidnapping operations have often intersected the activities of criminalized segments of the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence community, and this complication allowed some members of the criminal enterprise to escape prosecution.[18]

In the United States, the LaRouche network conspiracy theory is extended to include the neoconservative movement and its leaders such as Paul Wolfowitz and others with substantial influence in the Republican Bush administration. These Republican strategists are called the "Children of Satan" in LaRouche publications.[19] This echoes the historic antisemitic claim that Jews are agents of Satan.[20]

This explains why LaRouche runs for president on the Democratic Party ticket and denounces the Republicans. His criticism of conservatives actually comes from the fascist right, but he can package it as a populist protest against corrupt elites that is attractive to some on the political left--especially antiwar students opposed to unilateral U.S. military action around the world.

The Jeremiah Duggan Incident

Given that the LaRouche network is a totalitarian group with fascist ideology and an apocalyptic dualist worldview, the incident involving Jeremiah Duggan can be seen in a different context.

The first reaction to Jeremiah Duggan's concern that some of the antiwar rhetoric at the German antiwar conference was antisemitic likely would be to pressure him into conforming to the expectation of recruits to drop their family, religious, or ethnic allegiances and embrace the LaRouche worldview unquestioningly. Failing that, the next likely approach would be to pressure Jeremiah Duggan into confessing he was a secret agent for the Tavistock Institute. This latter claim at first glance appears simply bizarre, but the explanation is rooted in the LaRouche conspiracy view of history detailed above.

It is likely that LaRouche Security went on alert as soon as Jeremiah Duggan announced he was Jewish and concerned about the rhetoric he found to be antisemitic. Given the history of inappropriate overreaction by LaRouche Security forces to critics, it is likely that they would seek to interview Jeremiah Duggan at the earliest possible moment. Given the history of aggressive behaviour on the part of LaRouche Security forces, it is quite possible and even likely that Jeremiah Duggan was subjected to extreme emotional pressure or physical intimidation.


I respectfully submit this research paper as a plain English affidavit of fact, and swear under penalty of law that the above is truthful and accurate to the best of my ability.


2 November 2003


Chip Berlet

(John F. Berlet}

Political Research Associates

1310 Broadway, Suite 201

Somerville, Massachusetts,

United States of America


About the Author:


Chip Berlet is senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank in the Boston area. As a journalist his byline has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Nation, and the Progressive. Although his roots are in the alternative press, starting in the 1990s, Berlet began writing scholarly work examining apocalyptic social movements, scapegoating, and fascism. He has been invited to present papers at annual meetings of the International Sociological Association and the American Sociological Association (ASA), and is listed as an expert in an ASA publication on Hate Crime in America. He is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and spent several years on the advisory board of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University. He is currently working on an article on fascist movements and apocalypticism for the international journal Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions.

Berlet is a contributing editor for the Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements with articles on "Apocalypse," "Conspiracism," "Demagogues," "Demonization," "Populism," and "Totalitarianism," among others. He has also contributed articles to the Encyclopedia of Fundamentalism, the Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, and the forthcoming Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia.

Berlet is co-author (with Matthew N. Lyons) of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, (New York: Guilford Press, 2000). He edited Eye’s Right!: Challenging the Right Wing Backlash, (Boston, South End Press, 1995). Both books were recipients of the Gustavus Myers Center Award for outstanding scholarship on the subject of human rights and intolerance in North America.

Selected Relevant Writing:

Chip Berlet. Forthcoming. “When Alienation Turns Right: Populist Conspiracism, the Apocalyptic Style, and Neofascist Movements.” In Lauren Langman & Devorah Kalekin Fishman, Trauma, Promise, and the Millennium: The Evolution of Alienation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

_______. (2001). “Hate Groups, Racial Tension and Ethnoviolence in an Integrating Chicago Neighborhood 1976-1988.” In Betty A. Dobratz, Lisa K. Walder, and Timothy Buzzell, eds., The Politics of Social Inequality, Vol. 9, pp. 117-163.

_______. (1998). “Y2K and Millennial Pinball: How Y2K Shapes Survivalism in the US Christian Right, Patriot and Armed Militia Movements, and Far Right.” Paper presented at the annual symposium, Center for Millennial Studies, Boston University.

_______. (1998). “Mad as Hell: Right–wing Populism, Fascism, and Apocalyptic Millennialism.” Paper presented at the 14th World Congress of Sociology (XIVe Congrès Mondial de Sociologie), International Sociological Association, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

_______. (1997). “Fascism’s Franchises: Stating the Differences from Movement to Totalitarian Government.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting, American Sociological Association, Toronto, Canada.

_______. (1996). “Three Models for Analyzing Conspiracist Mass Movements of the Right,” in Eric Ward, ed., Conspiracies: Real Grievances, Paranoia, and Mass Movements. Seattle: Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment [PB Publishing].

_______. (1995). “The Violence of Right-Wing Populism.” Peace Review, Vol. 7, Nos. 3 & 4, pp. 283-288. Oxford: Journals Oxford, Ltd.



[1] Emilio Gentile, The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1996).

[2] Roger Griffin, The Nature of Fascism, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991), xi.

[3] Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap/Harvard University Press, 1992); Stephen O’Leary, Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Robert Fuller, Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); Philip Lamy, Millennium Rage: Survivalists, White Supremacists, and the Doomsday Prophecy, (New York: Plenum, 1996).

[4] Paul M. Hayes, Fascism, (New York: Free Press, 1973), especially Chapter 4, “The Concept of the Totalitarian State,” 39-50.

[5] Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1951] 1973).

[6] Nat Hentoff, Of Thugs and Liars, the Village Voice, 24 January 1974, p. 8; Paul L. Montgomery, "How a Radical-Left Group Moved Toward Savagery," New York Times, 20 January 1974, p. 1; James C. Hyatt, "A Communist Group Uses Fists and Epithets To Battle U.S. Unions," Wall Street Journal, 7 October 1975; "An Introduction to NCLC: "The Word is Beware," Liberation New Service, #599, 23 March 1974; Charles M. Young, "Mind Control, Political Violence & Sexual Warfare: Inside the NCLC," Crawdaddy, June 1976, p. 48-56; Chronology of Labor Committee Attacks, issued by New York Committee to Stop Terrorist Attacks, 1973; articles and photographs in the Daily World, the Militant, Workers Power, the Fifth Estate, the Boston Phoenix, and the Drummer; interviews by author with former LaRouche cadre and witnesses to the attacks.

[7] This paragraph and the following three paragraphs are adapted from Chip Berlet and Joel Bellman, Lyndon LaRouche: Fascism Wrapped in an American Flag, briefing paper, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Political Research Associates, 1989).

[8] Robert Jay Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, reprint, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, [1961] 1989).

[9] Dennis King, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism, (New York: Doubleday, 1989), p.

[10] King, Lyndon LaRouche, p. 230.

[11] Matthew Robinson, "LaRouche Exposed," PCC Courier Online, (Pasadena City College, California, USA), 15 November 2001,, retrieved October 31, 2003.

[12] King, Lyndon LaRouche, pp. 38-46, 136-139, 271-285.; Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, (New York: Guilford: 2000), pp. 273-276.

[13] Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., (under pen name L. Marcus), "The Case of Ludwig Feuerbach", The Campaigner, December 1973, p. 37, footnote 76.

[14] Jeffrey Steinberg, “Scandals Shake British Throne,” New Solidarity, October 31, 1994; Jeffrey Steinberg, “Prince Phillip’s Eco-Terrorists Make Death Threats vs. Clinton, Chirac,” New Solidarity, September 4, 1995.

[15] E.C. Knuth, Empire of "The City": A Basic History of International Power Politics, reprint, (Mequon, Wisconsin: Empire Publishing Co., 1946)

[16] “Zionism Is Not Judaism,” editorial, The Campaigner, December 1978.

[17] See list of cites documenting this claim in Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, pp. 393-394, footnotes. See also: Editors of Executive Intelligence Review, The Ugly Truth about the ADL, (Washington, DC: EIR, 1992).

[18] Jeffrey Steinberg, "Who Are The American Family Foundation Mind-Controllers Targetting Larouche?, Executive Intelligence Review, April 19, 2002, online at, retrieved 1 November, 2003.

[19] "LaRouche Campaign Exposes "Children of Satan," press release, April 17, 2003, online at, retrieved 2 November 2003.

[20] Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, (London: Serif, [1967] 1996).