FALLS CHURCH, Va., July 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In his weekly
national affairs column last month, Nicholas F. Benton, founder, owner and
editor of the Falls Church News-Press, an award-winning weekly newspaper in
Northern Virginia, became the first person in the U.S., other than on the
Internet, to openly and publicly describe his former association with
political extremist Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., during the 1970s and into the
Saying he became involved with LaRouche as a seminary graduate in the
context of the political and counterculture ferment of the Vietnam War era,
Benton wrote, "By the late 1970s, LaRouche's movement had turned decidedly
ugly, into something existing only for the purposes of LaRouche's own
aggrandizement and the twisted agendas of too many sinister forces that
seemed to influence him. As undernourished members 'deployed' for 16 hours
a day raising money, and were forced to have, collectively, hundreds of
abortions to save their energies for serving him, LaRouche built up his
ego, bully-lust and palatial estate."
He added that he "began a measured, phased exit in that era, the way a
lot of former members left, completed in the 1980s."
The article is the first known high-profile published account on the
subject by a former associate of LaRouche in the U.S. He wrote it, Benton
stated, to clarify his personal and professional purpose for being the
first news entity to write and publish the report in April on the
coincidence between the suicide of a long-time LaRouche associate, Ken
Kronberg, and a LaRouche memorandum circulated in his organization the same
day. The memo assailed Kronberg's operation within the LaRouche circle, and
stating that "baby boomers," ostensibly of the Kronberg ilk, are not "the
real world ... unless they want to commit suicide."
Benton graduated with honors with a Master of Divinity degree from the
Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., in 1969. He had been an
award- winning editor of his high school and college newspapers and worked
for his hometown daily before leaving for seminary. After seminary, he was
a principal writer for the counterculture flagship Berkeley Barb newspaper
and wrote the editorial for the first edition of the Gay Sunshine
newspaper. In the 1980s, he was a member of the White House press corps,
and has been a member of the White House Correspondents Association since
He founded the Falls Church News-Press in 1991 as a weekly "newspaper
of record" for the City of Falls Church, Virginia, an independent
jurisdiction inside the Washington, D.C., beltway. In its first year, it
was named "Business of the Year" by the Falls Church City Council, an honor
that was repeated in 2001. Benton was honored with the "Pillar of the
Community" award presented by the Greater Falls Church Chamber of Commerce
in both 1992 and 2003. Currently, its weekly circulation is 30,500.
"There are many people who were once associates of LaRouche who cut
that off once the true nature of it became clear to emerge as highly
accomplished and successful," Benton said.
He wrote in his column, "I and others who aligned with LaRouche in that
period, like Kronberg, were generally well-meaning young people determined
to follow through on their zeal to end the Vietnam War by bringing social
and economic justice to the world. In that era, being a socialist,
advocating the creation and re-distribution of wealth, was considered a
Since the publication of his column, entitled, "How I Explain
LaRouche," in the June 28, 2007 edition of the Falls Church News-Press,
Benton has been interviewed on the subject by Avi Klein of the Washington
Monthly magazine and Chip Berlet of the Public Eye.Org.
The following is the full text of the column:
"How I Explain LaRouche"
By Nicholas F. Benton
It was my own experience, as a late 1960s anti-war, pro-civil rights
activist who came through a complicated maze to align with the
then-socialist designs of one Lyn Marcus, a.k.a. Lyndon LaRouche, that
informed my exclusive journalistic expose this April. I broke the news of
the link between the suicide of a long-time LaRouche associate and a
published diatribe from LaRouche headquarters the same day contending that
the only good his group's used-up "baby boomers" could do was kill
My article in the April 19, 2007 edition of the Falls Church News-Press
entitled, "Rt. 28 Suicide Jumper Was Long-Time Associate of LaRouche,"
noted the coincidence of the suicide of Ken Kronberg, 58, in Loudoun
County, Virginia, on April 11 and the LaRouche group's internal so-called
"morning briefing" issued earlier that day which assailed Kronberg work for
The document, authoritative among members of LaRouche's group, lashed
out at the failures of the "baby boom" generation, including among its own
members, and singled out "the print shop" headed by Kronberg as "among the
worst." It stated, speaking to young recruits, "the Boomers will be scared
into becoming human, because you're the real world, and they're not. Unless
they want to commit suicide."
My expose caused a huge reaction among legions worldwide whose lives
have been damaged by LaRouche and his tiny, cult-like organization. They
include those who support the crusade of a London-based mother of one
Jeremiah Duggan, a young LaRouche-influenced student who wound up dying
under suspicious circumstances in Germany four years ago.
When I got involved with LaRouche in the early 1970s, it was a
different world. The power of the anti-war and civil rights movements,
propelled even more forcefully by reaction to the assassinations of Martin
Luther King and Robert Kennedy, created a thirst and hope for a profound
shift in society's fundamental values.
As a seminarian who drove to classes many days past long lines of
National Guard, who tasted tear gas at anti-war marches, becoming part of
this movement was like a religious calling.
Steeped in the speeches of King and the seething ferment of the Bay
Area, having taken leading roles in the fledgling gay and women's
liberation causes, I worked for the election of George McGovern in 1972.
But in the wake of the Nixon landslide, and estranged from my family
because of my radicalism, I took a hard turn to the left, abandoning the
theories of Hannah Arendt for Rosa Luxemburg.
So I got involved with LaRouche, despite warnings from some, like Rep.
Fortney Stark, who told me personally that LaRouche "was CIA." Others, like
the late right-wing Georgia Rep. Larry McDonald, insisted LaRouche "was
However, I and others who aligned with LaRouche in that period, like
Kronberg, were generally well-meaning young people determined to follow
through on their zeal to end the Vietnam War by bringing social and
economic justice to the world. In that era, being a socialist, advocating
the creation and re-distribution of wealth, was considered a meritorious
vocation. Besides, standing for what you believed, against social
convention and its often angry reaction to you, steeled one's character.
Maybe it was always bad, but by the late 1970's, LaRouche's movement
had turned decidedly ugly, into something existing only for the purposes of
LaRouche's own aggrandizement and the twisted agendas of too many sinister
forces that seemed to influence him. As undernourished members "deployed"
for 16 hours a day raising money, and were forced to have, collectively,
hundreds of abortions to save their energies for serving him, LaRouche
built up his ego, bully-lust, and palatial estate.
But I was reluctant to admit my efforts were for naught, and mistakenly
feared the consequences of abandoning my convictions. Still, I began a
measured, phased exit in that era, the way a lot of former members left,
completed in the '80's. To this day there are some I once felt were good
people who remain trapped, psychologically, by LaRouche. Neither they, nor
I, were "right wing" or "anti-Semitic" as many, perhaps rightly, now
consider LaRouche and his movement.
But just as LaRouche told us in 1973 our parents were society's
problem, he's now telling a new generation that their parents, and all baby
boomers, even those who brought their heartfelt passions for justice and
peace to associate with him, are society's bane.
CONTACT: Falls Church News-Press
SOURCE Falls Church News-Press