earliest days

From the Winter 85-86 “Spartacist”, propaganda rag for a long running Trotskyite organization…

An illustrative example of a cult is the Lynn Marcus organization in the U.S., which is today a virulently reactionary outfit which seeks to function as a think tank for the far right wing of the bourgeoisie.  In the mid-60s, the Marcus group, the Labor Committee, was a leftist group active in the New Left mileu.  We ran into them a lot at Columbia University, and when they suggested a debate between our groups on Marxist economics, we agreed readily.  We sent our most highly qualified comrade, Joseph Seymour, as our debater:  the Marcusites were mortally insulted because we hadn’t sent our “leader”.  But just because someone is elected head of a party does not mean he is thereafter the ultimate fount of all knowledge and authority in every field of human endevour.  In ordinary organizations, there are dozens of comrades who have more knowledge and expertise in particular fields relevant to the Marxist movement.  But not in Marcus’ organization.  And not in Healy’s either.

I have read “The Conceputal History of the Labor Committees”, found [surely at the laroucheplanet website by now], in tandem with various news articles from 1968 concerning the Columbia University student strike.  The history of “Lynn Marcus” was that he rolled out of various Trotskyite circles into the student New Left at Columbia University, and according to him from behind the scenes lead the strike, splintered as he was within SDS between what he aptly called “Action Faction” and “Praxis Axis”.  From there, he rolled that humble beginning on… and on… and on through its metamorphoses to what we have right now — everything becoming insane in the period of 1973 to 1974 when the cult of Personality solidified.  The game I have with old news articles is to find any particular resonance in which you can say Larouche and the earliest imprints of the Labor Committee.  It is somewhat difficult to spot, even if one can plug in certain names — Tony Papert.  Out of school class sessions for an alternate education, all the rage as the students struck a blow against the Establishment in the late 1960s, somewhat craftily copied in a sick parody in today’s cult in “Larouche cadre schools”.

BTW… the Student Strikers were actually referred to as “The 68ers… and a bit of a step down from events in French Universitys  Columbia being the largest one in the United States.  Which is the point of reference for the attack on the “68ers”, … whom “Lyn Marcus” claimed to have lead in the first place.

But the “Marcus” group was the sane group in that mileu of SDS.  In many ways.  I imagine him as one of any number of “third choices” of where one finds themselves when looking around SDS.  One is fooling yourself if one does not see that Cult of Personality being forced as Lynn Marcus holds his lectures and places himself in the middle of some historic events — and the photograph of the bow-tie wearing man holding forth at a lecturn to a full auditorium sits there.  But, at that time, the events he tossed himself into were reasonably plausible.  (Did he spark the Columbia student strikes?  Probably not him, but some of his followers played some role in that one.)  “Action Faction” devolved into The Weathermen terrorist group, for gawd’s sake, and much of the other grouping burned out on drugs.

As it were, the earliest group joined “The Labor Committees”.  Note the name.  Which is a far cry, in terms of what it is you think you are joining, from today’s “Larouche Youth Movement”.  Crucial difference in names, crucial difference in political focus.   One can at least plausibly see themselves working on the edges of Labor politics (as all Marxist organizations tend to see themselved doing), as regards to what is the final burst of members in a cult who haven’t much excuse there — the very name tells them they are working for the aggrandizement of a lunatic.

So what happened?  Any outer motives clouded out as Lyn, always a self-aggrandizement sort, weaved his way further and further into his self-importance, today making no pretense of purpose — I think the idea at the moment being that a college student learns a whole lot of new names, and Larouche’s minions float Larouche as just one more new name.  It doesn’t work too much, but for the past few years it’s worked well enough for his purposes, ie: a small group wholly committed persons joining him in his Fantasy.

2 Responses to “earliest days”

  1. Rachel Holmes Says:

    That early organization, the Labor Committee, is what so many of the prominent ex-LaRouche followers joined–like Ken and Molly Kronberg, Linda de Hoyos, Fernando Quijano, all those names you hear over and over in LaRouche’s denunciations or on FactNet.

    They were the same age then, as the “yutes” in the “LYM” are today. But in those bygone days, they were the organization, not the “yute” wing, who are completely run and controlled, with money doled out to them and food and a crash pad and nonsense “briefings” where the Labor Committees once had at least quasi-intellectual discussion.

  2. Hylozoic Hedgehog Says:

    For a detailed study of the early NCLC, see my new book How It All Began: The Origins and History of the National Caucus of Labor Committees in New York and Philadelphia (1966-1971) available at

Leave a Reply