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Brainwashing and Lyndon LaRouche

by Michael Winstead

Monday, March 03, 2003

"Don't let her leave!" The group leader had thoroughly worked her over, hammering her with guilt about her previous actions, accusing her of being delusional, telling her to confess, until she was no longer recognizable as a woman, but only as a blubbering mess of tearful convulsions. The tearful woman got up to flee the room.

"Don't let her leave! Keep her in here!" Someone got up and physically blocked her from leaving the room.

"SIT DOWN. Now M-----," the leader said in a calm voice, "You know you've got to stop doing this..." She went on calmly for some time, and then everyone else left the room. I sat across the room and watched her sob hysterically with her face in her hands, and not for the first time wondered what the LaRouche organization was all about.

Throughout the summer I witnessed similar scenes over and over again in different forms; in personal meetings with the leadership, in small group meetings, Sunday "Field Meetings," at "retreats," and one-on-one conversations. There was a clear pattern being used in each case; the sowing of guilt (real or imagined), fear, confusion, and the use of "sore spots" (personal shames or shortcomings) to browbeat someone into an extremely worked up emotional state. Once the person has been whipped up she is then questioned until she contradicts herself on some minute point. This contradiction is then used as a stick to beat her with until there is a complete emotional breakdown, then they admit their faults (confess), after which the leadership then redefines the "mission" for them. I recognized it as manipulation. I recently took interest in a book by William Sargant, "The Battle for the Mind," and he had another name for it: Brainwashing.

In the section on political indoctrination, there is a description of how Communist China brainwashed workers into being a "conduit from the Party to the people," and oddly enough I found the program used fits almost precisely what I've undertaken in the Lyndon LaRouche organization. It begins for many with indoctrination “retreats,” where students go out to cabins for a “weekend of intellectual discussion,” where new recruits are worked on from the minute they walk in, to join the organization. For a weekend they are bombarded with classes that challenge their identity, culture, past training, and are given an apocalyptic view of the near future. Very frequently, “freak-outs” occur; crying, violent outbursts, or complete inhibition—-which is exactly the necessary response, for the weakened mind state makes an individual ripe to be implanted with ideas. Those who then begin working with LaRouche will immediately see very little sleep, physical exhaustion (LaRouchies work seven days, 90-100 hours a week), a large number of classes (in the beginning indoctrination), strong encouragement to break ties with family and friends, mental fatigue, fellow organizers reporting to the leadership any deviations in thought, a groupthink atmosphere, vicious attacks from the leadership, group confessions, and "struggle meetings." They will receive around $80.00 per week, and be housed somewhere by the organization. The organization makes sure organizers have little or no free time, to make sure there is not a pause to examine their enslaved condition. If they ever do, as one defector from California stated, ”By the time I realized what had happened, I had dropped out of school, had no money, the organization owned my lease, and I had told all my family and friends they were fascists.” I've now done a great deal of study into the physiology of brainwashing and the Communist's tactics, and each report I read confirms my suspicions, and so many confusing incidents over the summer have been replayed in books that are almost fifty years old!

LaRouche began his political career as a member of the CPUSA (Communist Party USA), and recruited many of his first followers from the Maoist PLP. As recently as 1976, during a series of lectures called, "What Every Communist Knows," LaRouche described his movement as part of the "world's Marxist labor movement" working to "bring into being a new Communist international". After reading “Mein Kampf” by Adolph Hitler, I saw so many striking similarities in LaRouche ideology I have little doubt that he is the fascist that Dennis King claimed in his book, "Lyndon LaRouche: The New American Fascism." LaRouche purports to be the only true progenitor of the “American Intellectual Tradition,” and in between thinly veiled anti-Semitic rhetoric, and wild conspiracy theories, claims to be the new Franklin Roosevelt.

For thirty years, LaRouche has been a parasitical entity, soliciting millions of dollars per year, marching young wives of members to abortion clinics, and doing irreparable psychological damage to hundreds of his organizers. One former organizer used to show up and stand in front of the office talking to him. The ones who stay are completely unable to think for themselves, and are so paranoid that anyone they meet who opposes LaRouche is an “agent” or a fascist. Anyone who has been there for more than a few years generally feels completely unable to live in the ”outside world,” and the organization has instilled a sense of superiority in them that living among the “population” would be wasting their lives anyway. They have committed themselves to making LaRouche president, never mind the Supreme Court ruling that stated he was disqualified from candidacy because he is a convicted felon (fraud, tax evasion), and candidates must be registered to vote.

Using Communist brainwashing, fascist ideology, and American propaganda, LaRouche has built a multi-million dollar network and, I believe, today poses one of the greatest threats to the American way of life, not to mention the number of bright, young students the organization has pulled out of college to sell newspapers in the street, feeding their egos with the thought that they are “saving civilization.”

Michael Winstead is an author and political activist.

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