You’ve seen them before. You’ve heard their dire warnings of impending economic doom. And you’ve heard their urgent messages regarding the fate of the world. Who is it that possesses this infinite wisdom of which I speak? The LaRouche Youth Movement, of course.
Aside from their incoherent claims, the fact remains that there are many students here on campus who still don’t know who “LaRouche” is. Lyndon LaRouche is a politician, if we may venture so far as to call him that. He has been everywhere on the political map over the past 40 years. It is also said that he has described himself as “a neo-Platonic democratic republican.” Hard to follow?
The supporters have claimed to not promote Christianity, although the title “Children of Satan” has been spotted on their literature to describe the “enemies.” They claim President George W. Bush is an extremist who wants to impose his religion on the world, yet they are seen crudely sight-singing a Bach cantata entitled “Jesu, Meine Freude.”
LaRouche supporters organize on campus a few times a week and weigh students down with stacks of inappropriately called “literature.” But what does it all mean? Who are they? And what do they want from us?
Why don’t you stop by their table and ask them this very question? A straight-forward question will get a straight-forward answer, right? Wrong. Their answer will undoubtedly be in the form of a distorted tree of digression. It will go off on tangent after tangent, until you have forgotten what your original question was. Embedded in the conversation will be promptings to attend their group meetings and to leave contact information and/or financial contributions.
A familiar tag line with which you may be approached will probably have something to do with our current “economic crisis.” You may even be told that presently, our economy is worse off than it was during the Depression. I find that hard to believe, as the unemployment rate neared 30 percent at its peak during the Depression, compared to the current unemployment rate of around 5 percent.
LaRouche’s supporters, generally speaking, share an outlook on life. They are the greatest believers in their own conspiracy theories, and often tell us that we are not in control of our education. Their second most popular slogan will probably be something similar to, “The education you are receiving has been filtered by: a) the Bush administration, b) Corporate leaders in Texas, c) NASA, or d) illegal aliens from outer space. You need to open your eyes. You’re not being educated. You’re being trained.”
It’s made to sound as if our professors are not challenging us nearly enough, but are instead teaching us to hammer the red block through the corresponding hole. If this education is so inadequate, why are they here, on our campus? Are they going to lead us out of the cave and show us the light in a Plato-esque manner? Maybe a pamphlet entitled “The Allegory of a CSU Education” is necessary.
LaRouche has spent 5 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Bring this up with a member of the movement, and they’ll tell you it’s a part of the master plan to eliminate him. They’ll brush off the criminal record and ask you, “What kind of a charge is that, anyway?” It’s the kind of charge that can land you in jail.
And then the conversation will likely evolve into a discussion about cognitive psychology, or Borneo, since there is seldom any consistency in the argument. Although members of the youth movement are generally eloquent speakers and are knowledgeable about a number of subjects, both of which make for an impressive presentation, they rarely say anything that adds up.
This organization is very likely designed to appeal to intellectual misfits, as it promotes art and creativity, but lacks content. The campaign eventually loses its novelty and becomes tiresome. It’s gotten to the point where as long as they are exercising their freedom of speech, I’m going to make sure my right to ignore them gets a strenuous workout.
The next time you are sitting on a bench and are approached, maybe you can put it in smart-people terms they will understand. Make use of Greek philosopher Diogenes’ response when he was approached by Alexander the Great: “Don’t block my sun.”
Nareen Manoukian is an undeclared freshman.