Anti-Semitic "ashtray joke" and denial of Holocaust cited
Our Town, April 12, 1981
By DENNIS KING
After years of blind loyalty to the anti-Semitic politics of the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC), Jewish cult-followers of NCLC chairman Lyndon LaRouche are beginning to see the light.
Recent discussion documents and letters of resignation by several Jewish members (Jews comprise about 20 percent of the organization) reveal a deep anger over LaRouche's bigotry and his authoritarian methods of leadership.
The authors of these documents have not yet broken fully with the LaRouche worldview. They continue to call themselves "humanists" (in the LaRouchian sense), and they still regard the outside world as "the enemy."
Nevertheless, their documents are a strong critique of the tactics and goals of LaRouche, who launched NCLC as a far-left organization in 1967 and gradually led it to the opposite end of the political spectrum, where it linked up with traditional anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi and Klan fanatics.
The current unrest inside NCLC has its origins in a dispute over money between LaRouche and two of his top aides, Konstandinos Kalimtgis and Andreas Typaldos.
As described in last week's Our Town, Kalimtgis and Typaldos wanted to use NCLC funds to prop up an ailing party business front, Computron Technologies Corporation, of which Typaldos was the president, Kalimtgis the "founder," and Kalimtgis' wife the office manager.
LaRouche disagreed with the salvage scheme, and several clashes took place, resulting in the suspension of Kalimtgis from his longtime post as NCLC chief of staff.
Informed sources say that about 20 Jewish and non-Jewish NCLC members came forward to support Kalimtgis and Typaldos after LaRouche produced a series of memos accusing the Greeks of financial dishonesty and ideological laxness.
The anti-Semitism issue surfaced in mid-January when NCLC put out a news release, "LaRouche Reaffirms '1.5 Millions' Analysis," which underscored and refined a previous well-known LaRouche statement that only 1.5 million Jews had been killed by the Nazis in World War Two. The earlier statement had been contained in an NCLC article similar to the propaganda of the Liberty Lobby, a far-right organization led by LaRouche ally Willis Carto. (The Liberty Lobby claims to believe the Holocaust is a "myth" concocted by Zionists to gain world sympathy.)
LaRouche's latest version of the 1.5 million thesis was relatively mild compared to many of his previous statements on the Jewish question, but it came at a critical moment for members of the pro-Kalimtgis faction and apparently was the final straw for some.
Two of the dissidents, Donald and Alice Roth, immediately dashed off a letter announcing their resignation from NCLC:"The memos of Lyndon H. LaRouche," they wrote, "are a hideous, moral abomination....It was bad enough that LaRouche should echo the words of a known Nazi sympathizer, Willis Carto, cynically dismissing the true horror of the Nazi holocaust with the argument that 'only' one and a half million Jews died. Much, much worse is the fact that LaRouche was too small a person to admit his mistake and retract that damaging statement, but instead sought to wallow in its reaffirmation. That reaffirmation was the sign of a mind which has become dangerously ill...."
The Roths followed up with a more detailed letter analyzing the relationship between bigotry and brainwashing in NCLC. The letter cited, as a prime case, how NCLC members are "subjected to sick 'Jewish' and other 'ethnic jokes.'" (Example given: "How many Jews can you fit into a Volkswagen?" "One hundred. Four on the seats and ninety-six in the ashtray.")
According to the Roths, LaRouche's use of such jokes "has been an important tool for psychological manipulation of the membership." The jokes, the Roths charged, help to generate self-hate among Jewish party members, as part of a process by which members are psychologically "bludgeoned" into rejecting their parents and their previous values.
The entire process had resulted in a "moral anaesthetization," the Roths recalled, so that NCLC members became "capable of taking political actions which violated their most basic sense of morality."
The resignation of the Roths from NCLC was followed by that of Computron executive Paul Teitelbaum (among others). Ten days before resigning, Teitelbaum wrote an "NCLC Internal Discussion Document" which gives a vivid picture of the totalitarian atmosphere inside the party.
"Some time ago," Teitelbaum recalled, "[LaRouche] returned from an extended stay in Europe and gave a public presentation in New York. Some of our German members were present. At the end of the speech, the claque initiated the chant of 'Lah'Rouche, Lah'Rouche, Lah'Rouche, Lah'Rouche....' My reaction at this and all subsequent occasions is difficult to describe. Suffice it to say that one's hair really does stand up on one's neck...."
Teitelbaum concluded with a demand that LaRouche "be suspended from all policy and decision making functions in the organization, for his, own good and for the good of the human race." If the NCLC membership should fail to implement this demand, Teitelbaum said, "then the characterization of the organization as fascist will become irrevocable, with all that you know that this implies."
The forthright statements of the above and other dissidents contrasted sharply with the vacillating tactics of the nominal leaders of the dissidents, Kalimtgis and Typaldos.
Sources close to Computron say the two Greeks urged their supporters not to go public against LaRouche, because it might upset attempts at a reconciliation and also jeopardize the Chapter 11 reorganization of Computron.
In addition, NCLC documents show clearly that Kalimgtis and Typaldos have not really broken with NCLC's political program, and are willing to repudiate their own supporters to placate LaRouche.
For instance, Kalimtgis said in a letter to LaRouche (Jan. 26): "I wish to reassure you and others that I would never degrade myself by allowing myself to become the instrument of enemy efforts to demoralize or destroy the membership of the organization which I spent so many years in building."
Kalimtgis then praised the NCLC chairman's alleged theoretical achievements, saying: "These accomplishments are not subject to opinion or to rejection on my part due to ephemeral disagreements on other matters. If, therefore, others, be they misguided individuals or agents, choose to 'rally around' my person, I hope that you will spare me the humiliation of ascribing to me the responsibility for such an occurrence."
Computron chief Typaldos was even more conciliatory to LaRouche, in spite of the abuse LaRouche had heaped upon him. In late January, Typaldos and LaRouche both signed a "Memorandum of Agreement" which stated that Typaldos "deplores the use of misguided defenses of his character and his actions to fashion attacks against the organization [NCLC] that he supports and continues to belong to."
Informed sources say that, two months later, Kalimtgis and Typaldos continue to avoid attacking LaRouche. And the other dissidents continue to honor the wishes of the two Greeks by not going public (outside NCLC circles) with their important revelations about the inner life of the LaRouche cult.