Left Forum welcomes crackpot neo-fascist antisemites?
From the 2015 Left Forum Program
Intelligentsia, Working Class, and the “Spirit of Generalization”
Through the Lens of Organic Intellectuals of the
Working Class (OIWC) 1.63
Bronislaw Czarnocha, Chair ……… Hostos CC, CUNY
Jarekh Stelmark …………………………Hostos CC, CUNY
Dennis Speed ………………………….Executive Intelligence Review
From the 2015 Left Forum Program
Not Hillary, Not Jeb: Stopping the Permanent Dictatorship
of Austerity and War 1.119 The United Front Against Austerity
Daniela Walls, Chair …………………….. Deputy Director
Webster Tarpley ….United Front Against Austerity & Tax Wall Street Party Dylan Shelton ………………………..Tax Wall Street Party North Carolina Local
2016 Left Forum Proposed Program
Webster Tarpley has left the LaRouche cult but the ideas he developed for the LaRouche cult have not left Webster Tarpley…
The issue is not that Webster Tarpley was once a major theoretician in the LaRouche cult, the issue is that Tarpley is still spouting the crackpot bigoted conspiracy theories he developed for the LaRouche cult.
Interview with Webster Tarpley prior to election of Barak Obama as President. 2:34 into the video interview:
Obama is “a puppet of the Trilateral Commission and in particular of Zbigniew Brzezinski…and this is a clique of bankers, they ran the Carter administration.”
According to Tarpley, Obama is a “left-wing demagogue who promises hope and change but actually represents policies that are qualitatively worse, qualitatively more destructive…he can deliver Europe as pawns…as puppets…as expendable assets…because this project of the next administration in the US—if it is Obama—is going to be…not so much wars in the Middle East, but wars on a greater scale.
So according to Tarpley, Obama, under orders from Zbigniew Brzezinski, will “smash Russia and China in order to bring British world domination go on for another hundred years. According to Tarpley, Obama is “the puppet of finance capital, David Rockefeller, George Soros, and this group”
Since Obama is running for President when this interview with Tarpley was videoed, Tarpley explains what citizens of the US needs to know about Obama:
“…if he was a Moslem at some point…let’s find out…did he sign up for Selective Service, is he HIV positive, does he have a criminal record, is he bisexual, does he smoke crack cocaine?
Chip Berlet for Z Magazine (appeared circa 2007)
If I told you that Jewish bankers ran the world, and there was a secret cabal who had manipulated world history for centuries, you would dismiss me as a crackpot and antisemite (or at least you should). Apparently if you change the name of the conspirators to the “cliques of bankers and financiers,” you are a hero to some activists for removing the veil of secrecy to expose the evil plotters behind George Bush and Dick Cheney.
Last July 4th in Philadelphia, peace activists held an Emergency Antiwar Convention. [i] It was staged as a coalition-building event, and featured 9/11 conspiracy films, as well as presentations from conspiracy mongers including former LaRouchite activists Lewis DuPont Smith and Webster Griffin Tarpley. The convention issued a statement crafted by Tarpley calling for “Government by the people, not by cliques of bankers and financiers,”[ii] a phrase which sounds like it was borrowed from a Hitlerian diatribe against parasitic Jewish moneylenders. This type of rhetoric, which replicates the language of historic antisemites, discredits the antiwar movement.
Periodically, right-wing, neofascist, and antisemitic conspiracy theorists see an opportunity to recruit from the political left. This happened when Danny Sheehan of the Christic Institute began importing conspiracy theories about the “Secret Team” from the Lyndon LaRouche and Willis Carto networks. Both LaRouche and Carto are neofascist Holocaust deniers. During the first Gulf War antisemitic rhetoric began to appear at rallies, and this has continued to divide activists seeking peace in the Middle East.
The Holocaust Denial outfit blandly called the Institute for Historical Review bought a series of 1/8-page ads scheduled for the Nation magazine promoting their like-minded publication, The Founding Myths of Modern Israel. (Check out the Amazon.com reader reviews for a taste of bigotry). After the first ad appeared in the May 3 issue, it was pulled when irate readers helped the Nation relocate its moral compass. Let’s be clear that I do not think that any criticism of the state of Israel, its foundation, its policies, or the actions or ideas of specific individuals who are secular or religious Jews is automatically antisemitic. Philip Green examined this issue in The Nation back in 2003, and it has reverberated several times since then.[iii]
But any claim that there is a vast, longstanding, secret conspiracy involving Jews manipulating the government, media, and banks, is antisemitic. Sometimes these conspiracy theorists replace “Jews” with phrases such as “cliques of bankers and financiers” (Webster G. Tarpley) or the “financial oligarchy run by the ‘City of London’” (Henry Makow)[iv] or the “neo-Venetian circles of the Anglo-Dutch philosophically liberal circles of rentier-financier power”[v] (Lyndon LaRouche). Whether or not it is intentional, these phrases are historically linked to conspiracy claims about the vast Jewish plot that gamed fame through Hitler’s favorite hoax document, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
This is nothing new. In the 1800s August Bebel called antisemitic conspiracy theories the “socialism of fools.”[vi] In 1920, Lenin called the tendency toward opportunism and adventurism typical of many conspiracy theorists an “infantile disorder.”[vii] Bebel, a social democrat, was trying to get German workers to pay attention to the structural inequalities of the economic system rather than scapegoating Jewish financiers and bankers. Lenin, a communist, was warning that sometimes people who claim to be on the cutting edge are actually dull blades ripping at the fabric of the movement.
What would they make of LaRouche and Tarpley?
The world according to LaRouche is a centuries old conspiracy of “parasites” who have “powerful, Anglo-American financier-oligarchical patrons,” and the result of their secret conspiracy is the “accelerating descent of humanity into a new dark age.”[viii] Recent LaRouchite publications rail about the neoconservatives, who include a number of high profile Jews, with titles including phrases such as the “Children of Satan,” or “The Beast Men,” both of which echo ancient antisemitic rhetoric.
Tarpley’s analysis is virtually identical to that of the LaRouchites, in fact Tarpley helped shape the core LaRouchite obsessions. Back in 1995 when he was a LaRouche acolyte, Tarpley wrote:
===An agent shared by Memmo with the Morosini family was one Giacomo Casanova, a homosexual who was backed up by a network of lesbians. Venetian oligarchs turned to homosexuality because of their obsession with keeping the family fortune intact by guaranteeing that there would only be one heir to inherit it; by this time more than two-thirds of male nobles, and an even higher percentage of female nobles, never married. Here we have the roots of Henry Kissinger’s modern homintern. Casanova’s main task was to target the French King Louis XV through his sexual appetites.”[ix]
Hominterm/Cominterm. Cute. In one paragraph Tarpley scapegoats Jews, Communists, and Homosexuals. It’s funnier when Mel Brooks does this riff, not so much in the hands of Tarpley. And note that this same linkage was central to the McCarthyist witch hunts in the 1950s…another borrowed idea. These days Tarpley is also a featured author on the Jeff Rense website, along with more obvious antisemites such as Henry Makow. Is the language of Tarpley and LaRouche all a coincidence? It doesn’t matter. People who claim such a vast knowledge of history should know these phrases signal anti-Jewish themes.
Even when conspiracist theories do not center on Jews, homosexuals, people of color, immigrants or other scapegoated groups, they create an environment where racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice, bigotry, and oppression can flourish. We do not need conspiracism to challenge social injustice. There are other forms of analysis. With any form of conspiracism, serious questions of race, class, and gender are almost always shoved aside. Political and economic policies are framed as controlled by a handful of powerful and wealthy secret elites manipulating elections, foreign and domestic policy, and the media.
Tarpley shared the stage with Peter Dale Scott at a June 2007 Vancouver 9/11 “Truth” conference along with other conspiracists.[x] In an interview at that conference, Scott criticized the form of political analysis of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky as “structuralist;” saying this analytical model is superficial compared to the “deep politics” unveiled by the more “fundamental” understanding developed through conspiracy theories.[xi] This turns political reality on its head. It is precisely those forms of analysis that explore the structural, institutional, and systemic aspects of power that provide substantial “deep analysis” that help activists make effective strategic and tactical decisions.
A common perception is that the 1989 collapse of communism in Europe, [xii] cast social change activists adrift without an ideological rudder.[xiii] This is not accurate. For decades there have been other analytical frameworks used by organizers who had stepped away from traditional Marxism and crafted approaches based in humanism, ecology, liberation theology, anarchism, and the politics of race and gender. C Wright Mills’ famous study The Power Elite was published in 1956. Power Structure Research emerged from the student movement of the 1960s. Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, and other models grew in the 1970s and 1980s.
Well-known activists who follow these traditions include democratic socialists Barbara Ehrenreich and Cornel West, and left-libertarian egalitarians (libertarian socialists) best represented by the work of Noam Chomsky. Today, academics such as G. William Domhoff, Adolph Reed, Jr., and Jean Hardisty; as well as and journalist-activists such as Holly Sklar, Roberto Lovato, and Amy Goodman have refined the Power Structure Research model inspired by Mills. What all of these perspectives share is an analysis of complex systems of power; rather than a fixation on individuals who may or may not be involved in conspiracies. As Domhoff observes, our “opponents are the corporate conservatives and the Republican Party, not the Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderbergers, and Bohemians. It is the same people more or less, but it puts them in their most important roles, as capitalists and political leaders,” where they are “readily identifiable and working through visible and legitimate institutions.”
The process of individualizing history through conspiracy theories sets the stage for antisemitism. On the Tarpley, LaRouche, and Jeff Rense websites, legitimate criticism of the role of U.S. “neoconservatives” in staging the war in Iraq is mixed with historic antisemitic stereotypes.[xiv] This issue of masked antisemitism goes beyond debates over the validity of conspiracism as an analytical model, strategies for the peace movement, or lingering questions about 9/11. These jerks have tramped antisemitic crap into our kitchen, and it is time for us on the Political Left to hose out their dirt, and them with it.
[i] Call: “In the spirit of our Declaration of Independence, join activist organizations throughout the country to collaborate and forge common strategies and actions. As our forefathers of this nation did, we too must face tyranny, this time from the collusion of government, big business, media, and religion.”
[iii] Philip Green, “‘Anti-Semitism,’ Israel and the Left,” The Nation, May 5, 2003, http://www.thenation.com/doc/20030505/green.
[v] LaRouche interview, larouchein2004.net/pages/interviews/2002/020923bankindex.htm.
[vii] Vladimir Lenin, “Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder, pamphlet issued in 1920, in Collected Works, Volume 31, p. 17—118, Progress Publishers, USSR, 1964. See especially chapter 4, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/lwc/ch04.htm.
[ix] Dead Souls of Venice. http://www.abjpress.com/tarpv4.html.
[xi] “Peter Dale Scott: 9/11, Canada, Left Gatekeepers & Zelikow,” Snoeshow Documentary Films, http://www.911blogger.com/node/9763.
[xiii] Martin Jacques, The Guardian, Wednesday November 29, 2006, “This has been a timorous and craven government at home and abroad…New Labour was born of defeat and has displayed a profound lack of ambition in power. But the party can still recover its purpose. “Neoliberalism, however, was only one aspect of the left’s defeat. The other main plank was the collapse of communism in 1989. Labour was always aligned with the US during the cold war, but the ignominious implosion of communism reinforced the belief that no alternative to the prevailing common sense was possible. It also helped to cut the left off from any sense of its historical moorings, leaving it adrift and rudderless. There was a new kind of willingness on the part of many on the left to see the role of the US in a different light. Blair’s position combined the pro-Americanism of the right – not least, again, Thatcher – with a born-again, macho conversion to the cause of the US resulting from the collapse of communism.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1959491,00.html
[xiv] Jonny Paul, “UK Parliament discusses suspicious death of Jewish student in Germany” ‘Jerusalem Post. Jerusalem”: Mar 27, 2007. pg. 07. ”It was actually a meeting organized by the far-right Schiller Institute, and Duggan found himself involved with followers of Lyndon LaRouche, an American millionaire and convicted fraudster with ”’virulent anti-Semitic views”’
Arnaud de Borchgrave, “Thinking the unthinkable” Washington Times. Washington, D.C.: Aug 27, 2002. pg. A.15. , ”For 10 years, Mr. Murawiec, had worked as the German-based correspondent of Mr. LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review, an ”’anti-Semitic potpourri of disinformation, factoids, rumor, gossip, loony tunes and an occasional fact”’