Street corner movement built on charges of ‘fascism’

Street corner movement built on charges of ‘fascism’

By Ryan Menard

A young man and woman hovered around a table on the corner of Huntington Avenue and Forsyth Street on a cold winter afternoon last week, waiting for the crowds of students to leave class.

To a passing glance, they didn’t look much different from the bustling students.

Roped down to the table were rows of pamphlets with titles like “Save Our Republic From Fascism” and “The Children of Satan IV.” A cardboard sign by the side of the road warned of a complete economic collapse.

“You like what you see?” the man asked. He was a husky, young black man, with a tight black jacket and big diamond earrings.

The female, a small Asian girl with a tight woven sweater and a knit cap, looked up.

“What were you doing before we went to war in Iraq?” she asked. “Did you know we were going to go to war? Do you think we’re going to war in Iran?”

Both requested anonymity, saying they have been directed not to give their names.

This is the familiar face of the LaRouche Youth Movement.

The LaRouche Youth Movement is a radical volunteer group rallying around perennial Presidential outsider Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr., a Northeastern dropout and political extremist whose fringe views have been the target of criticism from all parties. Most members are ages 18 to 25, the members said.

Since its formation in 2000, the youth movement has spanned the entire country, parts of Europe and most corners along Huntington Avenue on Northeastern’s campus.

The male street worker lives in Washington, D.C. and is in Boston temporarily. He first saw LaRouche’s movement outside his church at home, where a similar table was set up.

He said the group’s main focus is educating the public, in hopes of removing the Bush administration, which he said is based on satanic principles.

“This ideology is part of an ancient evil,” the campaigner said of newly sworn-in Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who LaRouche claims is a Nazi. “What makes a person a Satanist? Is it because he wears a swastika on his arm or is it because he stands against human good?”

Despite the extremism of the theories presented, he said most people who have stopped at the table were interested.

“Mostly people have responded in a more positive way,” he said. “They’re starting to see things as they really are.”

LaRouche, 83, has become somewhat of an enigma, characterized by his wildly controversial opinions and his inability to hide from a critical press.

His attacks on public leaders have included claims that Henry Kissinger was a Communist. Some of his recent targets have been against Vice President Dick Cheney and Alito, both of whom LaRouche says are involved in an underground Nazi organization, the Federalist Society.

“We have presently going on, in the Senate, a hearing of a man who lies: Sam Alito,” LaRouche said in a Jan. 11 speech that was broadcast over the Internet. “I see strong men – men and women I’ve regarded as strong men, in the Senate – flinching. When the issue is: Are you willing to defend this nation from a takeover by Nazism? The issue is not opinion. The issue is Hitler.”

He first ran as an independent in 1976. Since then, he has run for president on the Democratic bill in every election since 1980, including one run from jail in 1992.

In 1989, he served five years in jail for mail fraud and tax evasion. A federal indictment charged him with borrowing more than $30 million that would not be repaid. LaRouche claimed he was framed by then-President George H. W. Bush and Democratic hopeful Michael Dukakis, both of whom he said saw him as a political threat.

Born a Quaker, he dropped out of Northeastern due to poor grades. His Quaker church in Lynn asked the family to resign from the church in 1941 due to his already controversial image in the public eye.

But despite attacks from both the Republican and Democratic parties, the press and even “The Simpsons” (upon finding out aliens have hijacked the 1992 presidential elections, Homer said, “Oh, no! Aliens, bio-duplication, nude conspiracies … Oh my God! Lyndon LaRouche was right!”), LaRouche and his movement push for economic reform and political change.

He attracted additional press attention especially in the 2004 Presidential election, when the youth movement sparked protests both outside and inside Democratic conventions around the country. During the 2004 New Hampshire primary, The Boston Herald reported that one LaRouche protester was tackled to the ground by comedian and Democrat pundit Al Franken at a Howard Dean convention in New Hampshire.

As classes let out, passersby started to take notice of the table. A few more LaRouche Youth Movement members showed up and talked with Northeastern students who stopped to look at the magazines on the table.

“We’re basically a university on wheels,” the man said. “We want to educate people on what it’s like to have a real leadership.”

He looked around at the flood of people shuffling down Forsyth Street. The students here are misled into thinking they will have careers ahead of them in America, he said.

“This is the great lie that we’re a part of,” he said, noting that the nation’s economy is headed for destruction. “If you’re in a jobless society, you don’t have a job to look forward to. These things are obvious in many aspects. You won’t find many people that will disagree with you.”

The woman took a more classical approach to converting the unenlightened.

“What do you think a government should be?” she asked. She talked about Benjamin Franklin and said that he saw a greater ideal when he helped found the country.

“There’s our man,” she said, flipping to a picture of Franklin in one of the LaRouche pamphlet.

Though the two LaRouche members believe he has the answers, they point to a higher goal – that people try to see the world from a different perspective and learn to distrust politicians looking to corrupt America.

“We want people to rediscover things, not memorize them like a monkey,” the woman said, as students picked up LaRouche pamphlets. “Read this and compare it to what you read in a $70 textbook.”

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