Matthew Sweet+ Your Authors @DrMatthewSweet Writer & broadcaster for hire. @bbcfreethinking @1843mag @bbcradio3 Sound of Cinema. Convener of @ClubVietnamese. Picture by @photohumourist Oct. 04, 2019 2 min read + Your Authors

It’s that moment when your obscure research subject pops up in the news. Yesterday @AOC was confronted by a woman claiming to be a climate activist at a town hall meeting. Her proposal to solve the climate crisis - “eat the babies”.

. @AOC did not denounce this woman. She thought that she was suffering from some kind of mental illness, and treated her kindly. But all kinds of figures on the right and the alt-right have pounced on the story. Including the President.

So who was this woman? Not a climate activist. Not even, perhaps, someone with a mental illness. She is a representative of the bizarre political cult once led by Lyndon LaRouche. Previous targets for this kind of stunt include @Janefonda Olof Palme & Michael Dukakis. Now @AOC.

The LaRouchies are pretty exotic. They believe that the Queen controls the drugs trade. They think Prince Philip wants to start WW3. They think Bertrand Russell used the Beatles as part of a secret British psy war against the USA. They are, to use a technical term, nuts.

The LaRouchies have been enemies of the green movement for decades. They used to carry signs that read “Feed Jane Fonda to the whales”. It’s linked with their conspiracy theory about the Queen’s “green fascism”. Piers Corbyn, by the way, was a member of their Facebook group.

The LaRouche group was once a fairly ordinary revolutionary Marxist group. In the early days Bernie Sanders subscribed to their literature. Then came the great Brainwashing Affair of 1974, when members were convinced they had been programmed to kill by the CIA.

Commercial message - all this is in my book, Operation Chaos, told through the courageous testimony of those who survived this madness. (And some who still insist on the Queen’s super villain status.) @picadorbooks @HenryHolt 

But the point here is that a small, weird, politically unclassifiable - once Marxist, now more often described as neo-fascist and antisemitic - has spent nearly five decades pulling these stunts. Democrat Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis was a notable victim.

The LaRouchies are now firm Trump supporters - though Putin is their first love.

And here they are, making headlines again. And still crazy after all these years.

It also shows, I suppose, the residual intellectualism of their little movement - the whole stunt is a call back to Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. Thomas Malthus - along with Bertrand Russell and the Queen - is one of their gallery of villains.

You can follow @DrMatthewSweet.


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