2014

Virginia Newspaper Owner Describes Former Association With LaRouche

    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
 '80s.
     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
 1986.
     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
 meritorious vocation."
     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
 themselves.
     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
 LaRouche.
     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
 KGB."
     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
              703-532-3267
 
 

SOURCE Falls Church News-Press

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