Monday, August 28, 2006

When left-wingers go bad

You hear a lot of talk at the moment from blogosphere right-wingers and some on the pro-war left, insinuating that groups on the left, particularly some of those groups within it that opposed the war in Iraq, are comparable with, or accusable of support for, fascism. Whilst I don't particularly want to get into that debate on this thread (we all know where we stand on it, and rehearsing old debate over again won't get us very far), it did raise one question in my mind, which was originally brought up by our occasional commenter Daggi, on a different thread.

One group that actually did go all the way from Trotskyism to fascism, was that led by Lyndon LaRouche, aka Lyn Marcus, formerly a member of the SWP-USA. A former leftist, he has now been denounced as a fascist by many people across the political spectrum, and his views (convincingly on my reading) deconstructed to that effect, in print and on the web. A particularly good, and devastating, historical critique of the LaRouche group was done by Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, which as the name suggests is a liberal academic/political outfit based in the USA. "Fascism Wrapped in an American Flag" is probably the finest and most concise piece of work on the LaRouche group that I've ever read, and it should serve as a warning to those on the left who think that subsuming one's political principles to reaction in an effort to adapt to new political circumstances, does not eventually lead one to change beyond recognition. In LaRouche's case, his group seemingly quickly became something horrendous, taking increasingly bizarre political positions and being widely denounced as a right-wing political cult. It is to be hoped that history does not repeat itself, and that no more groups or individuals ever make the same political journey that LaRouche did.

Anyway, to return to Daggi's question. It's known that LaRouche operatives are around in Europe, in particular in Germany. But did they ever get to any meaningful level in Britain? I'd be delighted to hear that the answer is "no", by the way.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Boogski said...

Lol! I could probably get Tovar to post over here, Volty. It could be entertaining! Yea or Nay?

For those of you scratching your heads, "Tovar" is a LaRouchite. A rather funny one, too.

5:29 PM  
Blogger ajohnstone said...

have a quick read of
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/nov05/page10.html
About how the Democratic Workers Party became very much a Californian cult. i think you might find it illuminating .

7:58 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

I bumped into them doing a stall outside my local post office in Brooklyn. Don't take this the wrong way, but they struck me as akin to the now defunct RCP in Britain.

Not in terms of their politics, but more in their technique of how they want about presenting themselves and their ideas. It ended up with me having a shouting match with this bloke a couple of years younger than myself, and all the locals walking by in bemusement.

I almost thought for a second I was back in London arguing with a Spart at Marxism. ;-)

9:21 PM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

LOL, that's a "nay" on the Tovar question, Booger.

The LaRouche group are indeed very odd - although I suspect their ties with the US state may be somewhat different to the UK RCP's ties with our own (no LaRouchies on CNN, whereas you do get RCP'ers Channel 4 shows for instance :D).

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

At the risk of putting in a bid for Jim's position as resident geriatric sectariana and jazz expert (perhaps we could job share), let me answer the earlier question about the La Roucheites in the UK.

They had a small number of people recruited in IS ca 1973 who then set up an NCLC group in Britain. They were just starting to go totally barmy then. They turned up to a few Workers' Fight (AWL predecessor) meetings but we refused to let them in after they started breaking up CP and SWP meetings in the US. They developed totally mad but entertaining conspiracy theories - I recall something about the queen being part of a world conspiracy against the Marcusites and something about midget submarines. Their paper was always very lavishly produced - they must have been getting money from somewhere.

They had a big group in Germany which had quite a big presence in various elections where they were known as the 'tractor party' as they featured huge logos of a tractor in all their material!

I must go and find a Charles Mingus lp that contains a relevant press cutting...

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

At the risk of putting in a bid for Jim's position as resident geriatric sectariana and jazz expert (perhaps we could job share), let me answer the earlier question about the La Roucheites in the UK.

They had a small number of people recruited in IS ca 1973 who then set up an NCLC group in Britain. They were just starting to go totally barmy then. They turned up to a few Workers' Fight (AWL predecessor) meetings but we refused to let them in after they started breaking up CP and SWP meetings in the US. They developed totally mad but entertaining conspiracy theories - I recall something about the queen being part of a world conspiracy against the Marcusites and something about midget submarines. Their paper was always very lavishly produced - they must have been getting money from somewhere.

They had a big group in Germany which had quite a big presence in various elections where they were known as the 'tractor party' as they featured huge logos of a tractor in all their material!

I must go and find a Charles Mingus lp that contains a relevant press cutting...

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

At the risk of putting in a bid for Jim's position as resident geriatric sectariana and jazz expert (perhaps we could job share), let me answer the earlier question about the La Roucheites in the UK.

They had a small number of people recruited in IS ca 1973 who then set up an NCLC group in Britain. They were just starting to go totally barmy then. They turned up to a few Workers' Fight (AWL predecessor) meetings but we refused to let them in after they started breaking up CP and SWP meetings in the US. They developed totally mad but entertaining conspiracy theories - I recall something about the queen being part of a world conspiracy against the Marcusites and something about midget submarines. Their paper was always very lavishly produced - they must have been getting money from somewhere.

They had a big group in Germany which had quite a big presence in various elections where they were known as the 'tractor party' as they featured huge logos of a tractor in all their material!

I must go and find a Charles Mingus lp that contains a relevant press cutting...

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Bruce (again) said...

Oops - apologies for posting the same thing three times.

The newspaper cutting seems to have disappeared but if I remember rightly it consisted of an article on the death of segregationist Arkansas governor Orval Faubus (lampooned by Mingus in his 'Fables of Faubus, hence the original resting place of the article) and some information about how LaRouche was doing entry work in the Democratic Party and had just won some primary. This would have been 1994 as that's when Faubus died of prostate cancer - a fitting end.

4:09 PM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

So I take it the UK Larouchies just disappeared in the end?

There again, I suppose a political creed that says Brits are behind an evil plot to take over the world was always gonna be a hard sell over here...

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

Yes, they vanished.

I don't think their plot was limited to Brits. The Kremlin was the main enemy but in league with the Windsors and finance capital...

6:38 AM  

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