Crackpots, the Left, and Jewish Banker Cabals

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

Dennis Speed is still active in the neofascist LaRouche cult
Vol. 43, No.17
April 22, 2016 – 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

Audio program here

2016 Left Forum Proposed Program

Jump to the full workshop text below on this page

Webster Tarpley

Daniela Walls
Dylan Shelton

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 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.

¡No Pasarán!

 [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,

[iv] Henry Makow, “The ‘Jewish” Conspiracy’ is British Imperialism,” May 30, 2004;;

[v] LaRouche interview,

[vi] Robert Fulford, “The socialism of fools,” The National Post, 22 October 2005,

[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,


[ix] Dead Souls of Venice.


[xi] “Peter Dale Scott: 9/11, Canada, Left Gatekeepers & Zelikow,” Snoeshow Documentary Films,


[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.”,,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”’

From the 2016 Left Forum Proposed Workshops Listing

Back in the 1970s, the Senate’s Church Committee, the Pike Committee in the House and citizens in Media, PA revealed a pattern of meddling by the FBI, CIA, etc. in US domestic politics, harassing and intimidating civil rights leaders, trade unions, and anti-war activists. During the 1980s, despite claims to the contrary, this illegal spook activity kept going. After 9/11, spying and harassment are now bigger and more intrusive than ever. This is COINTELPRO Stalking (COINTELPRO = COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE PROVOCATION). The old FBI methods have been supplemented by techniques from the STASI, the East German Communist secret police. The age of social media has become the Golden Age of Cointelpro. NSA surveillance has been known for a decade, but what happens once dissidents are identified? NSA works with a network of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs) – like the New York Red Squad, and another network of local intelligence offices called Fusion Centers. These direct a secret army of trolls, bloggers, disgruntled misfits, surveillance role players and others numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The response might be gaslighting – convincing the targets they are going insane. They plant bugs, issue slanders and threats, perform character assassinations, and publish embarrassing material. They slash bicycle and car tires, and misdirect deliveries. They want you to drop out of politics. COINTELPRO 2016 must be exposed and stopped.
Sponsoring Journal:
Panel/Workshop Topics:
Political And Social Movements
Prison-Industrial Complex
Culture and Everyday Life
More Panel/Workshop Information
Diversity of Persepctives:
One perspective will come from grassroots organizers who have personally undergone COINTELPRO harassment while organizing campaigns and other activities. A second perspective is the history of COINTELPRO operations from the 1950s until today. A third perspective is the input from the East German Communist secret police (STASI), which was copied by the FBI. A fourth perspective is the virtual impossibility of mass organizing unless COINTELPRO is exposed and stopped.


Name: Webster Tarpley View Details


Name: Daniela Walls View Details
Name: Dylan Shelton View Details

Three Big Anti-Union Bullies

Anti-Union Campaigns and The Big Three Bullies

Corporate America and a well-funded network of ultraconservative think tanks and policy centers are raising tens of millions of dollars to fight pending legislation allowing union card check campaigns. These campaigns collect a majority of worker signatures to qualify for their recognition as a union bargaining unit. The official title of the legislation is the “Employee Free Choice Act.”

The right-wing campaign is built around slogans claiming supervised “secret ballots” are a better “more American” system. What they don’t say is that corporate America has an arsenal of strategies and tactics to delay elections and intimidate and fire pro-union employees, rendering the current ballot system unfair and unworkable.

The long history of ultraconservative anti-union employer group activities makes clear why supporting something like the union card check legislation should be a high priority for activists on the left.

Up until the 1930s the two main employer organizations actively mounting campaigns to block union organizing were the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In the mid-1930s the newly created United States Business and Industry Council joined them. The three groups became the backbone of the early anti-union “Right to Work Network.”

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1895. NAM “tended to represent small businessmen, was fiercely anti-union and strongly endorsed the ‘open shop’ crusade to ban union influence in industrial plants,” according to historian M.J. Heale in her book American Anticommunism.

The organization’s position on labor unions was clear from the beginning, as it explains in its own history: “The genesis of the NAM’s commitment to sound employee relations policies was the anthracite coal strike of 1902. The following year, the NAM established an internal department to advocate open shop labor policies.”

The term “open shop” was coined at a NAM meeting in 1903. This was a way to stir up anti-union sentiment by reframing the debate as between an “open shop” versus what employers call a “closed shop,” shifting the focus from a group effort for economic fairness through union security to a claim of individual rights and liberties, observes pro-union journalist Karin Chenoweth.

This type of reframing of public perceptions has been of special interest to NAM. In 1934, concern over many of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal proposals and key labor issues prompted NAM to launch a public relations campaign “for the dissemination of sound American doctrines to the public.” During the next 13 years, NAM’s National Industrial Information Committee spent more than $15 million on leaflets, radio speeches, films for schools, reprints of articles by economists, and other public relations efforts. A daily NAM column appeared in 260 newspapers with a circulation of more than 4.5 million in 1936. NAM’s movie shorts were seen by six million in 1937.

NAM also directly attacked unions such as the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. “Red scare tactics were frequently employed in attempts to halt the surge of unionization,” writes Heale, with NAM issuing one pamphlet titled “Join the CIO and Help Build a Soviet America.” After the AFL and CIO unions merged, one NAM leader suggested businesses needed to help NAM “organize for solidarity or face a powerful attack on the free enterprise system” by unions in the 1950s, according to Gilbert J. Gall, author of The Politics of Right to Work.

Along the way, NAM claims credit for having “helped launch the National Council of Commerce in 1907.” This was a predecessor group to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In 1912 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was established at the suggestion of President Taft. A popular image of the Chamber of Commerce is a group of smiling business-owners shaking hands with the town mayor at the opening of a new hardware store. That’s one accurate snapshot—but there are other pictures worth examining. The national organization has a long history of promoting anti-union activism and legislation.

The Chamber was active in various “open shop” campaigns. Around World War I it helped formulate what was called the “American Plan.” The theme of this campaign was that “voluntary unionism” was one thing, but the union shop was “un-American,” wrote Chenoweth.

Local union #38 of the plumbers and pipefitters teaches its members about its roots battling the anti-union American Plan in the 1920s: “In San Francisco, the Industrial Relations Committee of the Chamber of Commerce established the Industrial Association, which, working with the Builders Exchange, an employers’ organization, set out to break the back of the city’s unions. In January 1922 the city’s Building Trades Council refused to submit to an across-the-board wage cut, and the employers responded with a citywide lockout. When the unions agreed to accept the new rates, the employers offered to rehire only those men who agreed to work in open shops.”

Chamber rhetoric about labor unions in the 1930s presaged the later McCarthy period reliance on red-baiting—the use of dubious or invented claims of communist allegiances to unfairly tar a target in the public mind. This was not entirely a marginal view at the time.

According to Heale: “The United States Chamber of Commerce represented the views of many small businessmen and some big ones in its periodic imprecations against the New Deal, labor unions, and anything resembling socialism….” The Chamber also set up a Voluntary Unionism committee to spread the “open shop” message.

Even further to the right of NAM and the Chamber is the United States Business and Industry Council (USBIC). John E. Edgerton was the first president of the Council after serving as president of NAM. Formed in 1933 as the Southern States Industrial Council, the organizing conference was attended by “presidents and secretaries of Southern state manufacturers’ associations.” The roots of USBIC tap directly into the backlash against Roosevelt. According to the official USBIC history: “The United States Business and Industry Council (USBIC) was established in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. Its founders intended it to respond to the economic challenges of that time, as well as to the political challenges posed to business by the Roosevelt Administration.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt the government should play a constructive role in promoting economic fairness and social justice. “A huge proportion of all those who became unionists during the 1930s and 1940s were African Americans, Mexican Americans, or European immigrants. For them the New Deal and the new unionism represented not just a higher standard of living,” explains Heale, “but a doorway that opened onto the democratic promise of American life.”

When anti-union forces mobilized to block Roosevelt’s agenda, they were eventually able to build an ad-hoc, but powerful coalition of conservative and libertarian business leaders, right-wing Christians, anti-Communists, anti-Semites, and white supremacists seeking the “rollback” of Roosevelt’s programs.

Fight Back to Defend Democracy

Be strong. Have each other’s backs. Defend every target of demonizing right-wing rhetoric threatening our allies and those facing oppression or repression. Leave no one behind: build a society where no one is thrown under the bus or out of the lifeboat. Take time for yourself and those close to you. Let the next generation grow into leaders. Pass it forward so that the circle remains unbroken.

Collective Rebirth after Period of Decay

Chip Berlet & Matthew N. Lyons:

In our view, this backlash character stamped the Reconstruction-era Klan movement as the United States’ first significant right-wing populist movement. To take the point a step further, the Klan was not simply an oppositional pressure group but rather an extralegal counterrevolutionary force literally at war with the established government. In the United States no other significant right-wing movement would adopt this insurgent strategy until sections of the neonazi movement did so in the 1980s.

The Klan, and the wider movement to “redeem” the South, also introduced a new ideological theme into U.S. politics. This was the theme of collective rebirth after a nearly fatal crisis—what Roger Griffin has labeled a myth of “palingenesis,” from the Greek word meaning rebirth.

In the twentieth century, as Griffin has emphasized, palingenesis has been central to the ideology of fascism, whose “mobilizing vision is that of the national community rising phoenix-like after a period of encroaching decadence which all but destroyed it.”[i] (This also replicates a prophetic theme from apocalyptic Christian narratives of the final battle between good and evil.) In the United States up until 1860, no part of the White racial caste had experienced a crisis such as Griffin describes.

But the re-imposition of racial oppression in the South, after total military defeat and the “barbarism” of Radical Reconstruction, seemed to White supremacists a phoenix-like rebirth indeed.

Since Reconstruction, this palingenetic myth has provided White supremacists a model for interpreting and addressing other crises in the racial order. That is part of the reason the Ku Klux Klan, unlike many other racist organizations of the nineteenth century, has been revived again and again. And in the twentieth century the Klan myth of collective rebirth helped prepare the ground for the spread of fascist doctrines.

[i] Roger Griffin, Nature of Fascism, p. 38 (italics in original).

Fascism, Populism, and the Middle Class

Middle Class Right-Wing Populism as Core Element of Fascism

Fascism is a complex political current that parasitizes other ideologies, includes many internal tensions and contradictions, and has chameleon-like adaptations based on the specific historic symbols, icons, slogans, traditions, myths, and heroes of the society it wishes to mobilize. In addition, fascism as a social movement often acts dramatically different from fascism once it holds state power. When holding state power, fascism tends to be rigidly hierarchical, authoritarian, and elitist. As a social movement fascism employs populist appeals against the current regime and promises a dramatic and quick transformation of the status quo.In interwar Europe there were three distinct forms of fascism, Italian economic corporatist fascism (the original fascism), German racial nationalist Nazism, and clerical fascism exemplified by religious/nationalist movements in Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and the Ukraine, among others.

Right-wing populism can act as both a precursor and a building block of fascism, with anti-elitist conspiracism and ethnocentric scapegoating as shared elements. The dynamic of right-wing populism interacting with and facilitating fascism in interwar Germany was chronicled by Peter Fritzsche in Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany. Fritzsche showed that distressed middle-class populists in Weimar launched bitter attacks against both the government and big business. This populist surge was later exploited by the Nazis which parasitized the forms and themes of the populists and moved their constituencies far to the right through ideological appeals involving demagoguery, scapegoating, and conspiracism.

===”The Nazis expressed the populist yearnings of middle-class constituents and at the same time advocated a strong and resolutely anti-Marxist mobilization….Against “unnaturally” divisive parties and querulous organized interest groups, National Socialists cast themselves as representatives of the commonweal, of an allegedly betrayed and neglected German public….[b]reaking social barriers of status and caste, and celebrating at least rhetorically the populist ideal of the people’s community…”

This populist rhetoric of the Nazis, focused the pre-existing “resentments of ordinary middle-class Germans against the bourgeois ‘establishment’ and against economic and political privilege, and by promising the resolution of these resentments in a forward-looking, technologically capable volkisch ‘utopia,'” according to Fritzsche.

As Umberto Eco explains, however, the populist rhetoric of fascism is selective and illusive:

===”individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is a theatrical fiction….There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People….Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell…Fascism.”

Fritzsche observed that “German fascism would have been inconceivable without the profound transformation” of mainstream electoral politics in the 1920’s “which saw the dissolution of traditional party allegiances.” He also argued that the Nazis, while an electorally-focused movement, had more in common rhetorically and stylistically with middle class reform movements than backwards looking reactionary movements. So the Nazis as a movement appeared to provide for radical social change while actually moving its constituency to the right.

The success of fascist movements in attracting members from reformist populist constituencies is due to many complex overlapping factors, but key factors are certainly the depth of the economic and social crisis and transformation of, and the degree of anger and frustration of those who see their demands not being met. Desperate people turn to desperate solutions.

A Collection of Links in no apparent order



Special treat:


Progressive Movement Building

What are the basic building blocks of a
successful social movement?

  • A discontented group of politicized persons who share the perception that they have common grievances they want society to address;
  • A powerful and lucid ideological vision linked to strategies and tactics that have some reasonable chance of success;
  • The recruitment of people into the movement through pre-existing social, political, and cultural networks;
  • A core group of trusted strategic leaders and local activists who effectively mobilize, organize, educate, and communicate with the politicized mass base;
  • The efficient mobilization of resources that are available, or can be developed, to assist the movement to meet its goals;
  • An institutional infrastructure integrating political coordination, research and policy think tanks, training centers, conferences, and alternative media.
  • Opportunities in the larger political and social scene that can be exploited by movement leaders and activists;
  • The skillful framing of ideas and slogans for multiple audiences such as leaders, members, potential recruits, policymakers, and the general public.
  • An attractive movement culture that creates a sense of community through mass rituals, celebrations, music, drama, poetry, art, and narrative stories about past victories, current struggles, and future successes.
  • The ability of recruits to craft a coherent and functional identity as a movement participant.

(This list is based on the work of Goffman, Zald, McCarthy, Meyer, Gamson, Snow, McAdam, Benford, Klandermans, Johnston, Ewick, Silbey, Polletta, and many other scholars)


“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to freedom and yet deprecate agitation…want crops without plowing. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its mighty waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Frederick Douglass

To build a movement for progressive social change, we need to reach across boundaries and build coalitions based on mutual respect and accountability. Ideally, we will engage in cross-sector work. Under the banner of a broad global human rights movement, these are some of the various sectors we need to support in a collective and collaborative manner:

Issues & Sectors

Global Human Rights Movement
Civil Rights Peace,
Foreign Policy, & Defense
Civil Liberties
Race, Ethnicity, & Nationality Economic Fairness, Class, & Work Gender & Sexuality
Environmental Sustainability Basic Human Needs
(Food, Housing,
Health Care)
Public Education
Students & Youth Communities of Faith & Spirituality Labor Unions
Cross-Sector Work

Coalition-Building is Crucial!

Bernice Johnson Reagon has discussed the practical problems of coalition work in terms of risk and discomfort. She built a metaphor around her problems breathing due to being at a high altitude for the first time at a 1981 meeting of women in Yosemite National Forest:

“You got one group of people who are in strain—and the group of people who are feeling fine are trying to figure out why you are staggering around, and that’s what this workshop [on coalition politics] is about this morning.”

“I wish there had been another way to graphically make me feel it because I belong to the group of people who are having a very difficult time being here. I feel as if I’m gonna keel over any minute and die. That is often what it feels like if you’re really doing coalition work. Most of the time you feel threatened to the core and if you don’t, you’re not really doing no coalescing.”

      –Bernice Johnson Reagon

Using the Human Rights Framework:

Methods & Infrastructure of
Collaborative Social Movements

International Social Movement Organizing
National Organizing
Community Based Organizing Individual Political Acts State & Regional Organizing
Direct Service Strategy
Issue Advocacy
Movement Philanthropy & Donors Intellectuals and Scholars Visual and Performing Arts
Legal Advocacy & Defense Think Tanks &
Watch Groups
Conferences & Retreats
Training and Technical Assistance Applied Research and Analysis Leadership Development
Networking &
Coalition Building
Collaborative Electoral & Legislative Work Media and Publishing



“…the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age.”

                                –Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We need to reach out across the divides within our movement, but also reach out to a broader audience using a variety of methods and media.

Outreach to External Groups

Electoral & Legislative Corporate
Alternative Media & Corporate Media Speakers Invited to Address Meetings National & State Political Party Builders Obtaining News Coverage
Leaflets & Flyers Information Placed in Newsletters Congressional Membership Organizations Op-Eds
Rallies & Events Tabling at Meetings & Conferences Political Coalitions & Networks Letters to the Editor

Based in part on Mapping the Progressive Movement by Jean Hardisty and Ana Perea.


“While many progressive people agree that we must work against racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, etc., I’m not sure that we always understand how intricately these oppressions are linked and how deeply they are connected to our very survival. For instance, do white lesbians and gay men truly understand that fighting against racism is key to our freedom? As we pursue liberation, we will have to build politics of connection from those glimpses we get of our shared destiny with other oppressed people.”

“Sometimes I feel our work is like celestial navigation. Before directional instruments were invented, sailors navigated the seas by fixing their compass on the North Star; however, if they fixed on the wrong star, then everything thereafter was off course. We are working against years of a society fixing on the wrong star. This nation has built all its institutions and policies from the starting point of a fundamental lie: that certain groups of people are inferior to others and hence should be subordinated to them. Every direction taken from this fundamental lie puts us off course, and group after group gets lost. If one begins with the lie that people of color are inferior to white people, then it makes equal sense that women are inferior to men. And so it goes. It is our work to fix upon the truth: that all people are of equal worth and deserve justice.”

“We must do this work as though our lives depend on it. Because they do–all of them, no matter what sex or race or sexual identity or class. There must be justice for all of us or there will be peace for none.”

                                        –Suzanne Pharr

Clarifying Basic Principles

While the focus of progressive movement-building is now on creating large organizations “to scale,” yet another of the movement’s greatest challenges is being neglected: We are undecided on the larger principles that underlie our work for social justice. Many people don’t like to do this “big picture” thinking. They prefer results-oriented activism and practical solutions. And they are correct that larger principles must be tied to people’s everyday concerns and identifiable, attainable goals.

But to be successful, mass organizing must be informed by visionary principles as well as nuts-and-bolts techniques. Most bold new policy proposals grow out of the everyday work that activists in submovements do on various issues. These proposals–for example, national healthcare, full rights and services for immigrants, or replacing the racist criminal justice system–are not the polished, poll-tested, slightly left-of-center ones increasingly attractive to Democratic Party centrists. Indeed, they may seem fringe and far out of the mainstream. But they have their roots in real material conditions.

What we lack are the overarching principles to tie these proposals together. In the 1960s and ’70s progressives generally agreed that government had a responsibility to defend the weak or temporarily weak, protect individual rights, provide a reasonable standard of living and regulate private enterprise to protect the public from rampant greed and criminal behavior. Battered by the right’s relentless assaults on these core principles, progressive movement activists today do not have a coherent vision. Instead, we are driven by a vague sense of what a better society would look like, a recognition of how times have changed and persistent despair as we fight one defensive battle after another.

It is therefore essential that we address several fundamental questions right now: What is the role and responsibility of government? How can the racial imbalance of our movement’s leadership be corrected? What role should religion play in public life? How should progressives respond to globalization? And what social issues should we identify as “bottom line”? As principles that respond to these questions emerge, we must not allow political expediency to trump creativity. The voices of people of color, and young people and women of all races must be explicitly sought out. Funding may facilitate this discussion, but it will not in itself produce a dynamic vision. Think tanks alone will not develop these principles, and framing and messaging will not substitute for them. The process of drawing out larger principles must be an organic one: a step-by-step process of slowly creating broad consensus. Here, we can learn from the right’s success with active listening.

While the challenges we face are considerable, they are not insurmountable. But we must get moving so that when the tide of public opinion turns in our direction, we are not caught flatfooted, with a movement badly in need of reform and lacking the very basics needed to seize the moment and go forward. The right was ready for the backlash of the late 1970s. We must be ready for the coming backlash against the outrages of the past twenty-five years.

Jean Hardisty & Deepak Bhargarva

Wrong About the Right (The Nation, October 20, 2005)

Chip Berlet: Social Movements Need an Infrastructure to Succeed

 Jean Hardisty: My On-Again, Off-Again Romance With Liberalism

How the Right Took Power and the Failure of Liberal Infrastructures

Progressive Movement Building

Featured Allies & More Resources

For more resources:  –

Trump, Right-Wing Populist Demagoguery, and Bigoted Violence

What’s Going On?

Right-wing Republicans, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz,
Fox News, Talk Radio, the Koch Brothers, the Tea Parties,
the Patriot movement, the Oath Keepers, the Oregon Standoff,
the New World Order conspiracy theories,
Obama is a Muslim?

It’s not one big conspiracy folks, but there are linkages and processes that are as old as the Presidency of Andrew Jackson
and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War.

Here is more bad news…even if Trump loses, the toxic bigotry he spews is a form of “scripted violence” that encourages angry people to harm and perhaps kill the scapegoated targets he identifies slyly as enemies of the “real” Americans: Angry White Men

How the Rhetoric of Right-Wing Populism
with its “Producerist” Conspiracy Theories
Fuels a Bigoted Right-Wing Juggernaut
Promoting White Nationalism

Available in these formats:

A Full Slide Show on Right-Wing Populism & “Producerist” Conspiracism:
As Web Pages (html)
MP4 VideoDownloadable PDF File

A Single-Page Chart
A Set of Connected Charts

The Trump Collection Landing Pages:

Progressive Security and Safety:
Threats from Right-Wing fanatics spurred on by demagogic political rhetoric have turned into isolated acts of violence against progressives. Pick up your self-defense homework here.

Ted Cruz, the Christian Right, and Dominionism

How the Right Took Power and the Failure of Liberal Infrastructures

Read more about it!

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How the Right Took Power and the Failure of Liberal Infrastructures

The political right took power in the United States due to a failure of liberal and centrist institutions to appreciate the threat to democracy and human rights.

The complete right-wing network strategy was outlined by progressive, liberal, and even some conservative journalists and scholars starting in the late 1970s.

Here are the main components of how the Right took power:

  • National Think Tanks
  • State Policy Institutes
  • Training of young conservative journalists and scholars
  • Funding of strategic and tactical mass media
  • Funding of national and regional conferences where researchers, ideologues, activists, politicians, and funders could meet each other and develop tactical projects.
  • Funding of national and grassroots social movement activism and SMOs—designed to put pressure on the Republican Party to move it to the Right. (See Scholzman 2015)

This all followed the Powell Memo outline, but was built organically by numerous organizations and individuals over 20 years.

So let’s talk about progressive movement building.

Resources for Challenging the
Right-Wing Juggernaut

Social movements should pull politicians and political movements toward them. It should NEVER be the other way around.

The Obama campaign learned from decades of Democrats losing elections that with a strong infrastructure, lots of resources, a mass movement mobilization, and a clear vision, progressive campaigns can win. But as progressives who welcome an Obama Administration, we can’t rest on our laurels, because the nature of our democracy is a constant struggle over power. The Political Right in the United States has not vanished, they just lost one election. They are already planning their comeback.

The U.S. Human Rights Network observes, “human rights are protected through building social movements.” That has been the clear message of progressive social movements throughout U.S. history, and we should pause and recall some of our past victories and moments of strength:

  • The movement for the abolition of slavery in the 1800s
  • The struggle to gain the vote for women
  • The organized labor union movements of the early Twentieth Century
  • The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-1960s
  • The Student Rights Movement
  • The Women’s Movement of the 1960s-1970s
  • The Environmental Movement
  • The movement to secure equal rights for the LGBTQ community
  • The movement against globalizing corporate power.

Since the election of Ronald Reagan who took office in 1980 we have a practical demonstration that human rights can be undermined through building right-wing backlash counter-movements. The Christian Right is simply the largest movements in this network.

Central to the conservative plan was their understanding that social movements pull politicians and political movements toward them, not the other way around. Social movements are often involved in politics, but they step outside the limits of the electoral and legislative system to use other means ranging from demonstrations to civil disobedience and beyond.

Conservative strategists studied how the Labor Movement had yanked the Roosevelt Administration into crafting a social safety net in the 1930s. They studied how the Civil Rights movement had whacked the Democratic Party in the north into pulling away from the segregationist demands of the southern Democratic Party “Dixiecrats.” So conservatives decided to build a right-wing social movement to pull the Republican Party to the right. It worked.

Now we have a chance to put the country back on track toward progressive social change, but only if we have learned from history.

The Democratic Party is not democratic, and is not interested in progressive social change.

The Democracy Alliance raises funds secretly, won’t disclose to whom the funds go, and refuses to let journalists and scholars see the highly-touted Rob Stein PowerPoint that purports to explain how the right took power.  Why can’t we see the slideshow? What if the slideshow content is wrong?

Studying Social Movements

Starting in the 1970s, many sociologists rejected the idea that militant political and cultural activists were engaged in irrational collective behavior, and instead began studying social movements as collections of people with complaints who develop a plan to make the larger society respond to their needs. Since then there has been a tremendous number of studies on what it takes to build a strong social movement.

Chip Berlet: Social Movements Need an Infrastructure to Succeed

 Jean Hardisty: My On-Again, Off-Again Romance With Liberalism

How the Right Took Power and the Failure of Liberal Infrastructures

Progressive Movement Building

Featured Allies & More Resources