The Columbus Free Press

No Compromise with Racism: Farrakhan, Chavis and Lyndon La Rouche - Part One of a Two Part Series

Along the Color Line by Dr. Manning Marable, Jan. 17, 1997

The controversy continues surrounding the political relationship between Minister Louis Farrakhan, Reverend Benjamin Chavis and the fascist racist leader Lyndon La Rouche. As previously reported in this column, La Rouche attempted to speak before last year's black political convention, sponsored in St. Louis by the National African American Leadership Summit. Black people shouted down La Rouche, and he was rejected from the stage. Nevertheless, La Rouche's ally and former 1992 vice-presidential running mate, ex-civil rights leader James Bevel, appeared as a central organizer of Farrakhan's "Day of Atonement" rally at the United Nations on October 15.

These recent events indicate that the white supremacist, fascist La Rouche organization is attempting to infiltrate and coopt a major tendency of the black liberation movement. Several voices have attempted to publicize this clear and present danger to black America. Both the Center for Democratic Renewal and Education, chaired by Dr. C. T. Vivian, and the Students for All-Afrikan Empowerment based in Atlanta, have produced detailed histories of how the La Rouchites have long attempted to destroy and manipulate black leaders, political organizations and the black church. For their part, La Rouche's supporters have responded to these charges with deliberate distortions, directly attacking this columnist in their newspaper.

What can explain the curious convergence of interests between the conservative black nationalism of Louis Farrakhan and the white supremacist fascist politics of Lyndon La Rouche? Part of the answer can be found from the history of the Nation of Islam, under the leadership of the late Elijah Muhammad. Conservative, patriarchal black nationalism has often reached out to the most racist, antiblack political cults within white America.

The NOI's relationship with the white Right was first revealed by Malcolm X, soon after his departure from the organization. At the height of the Civil Rights movement across the South, many white racists and ultraconservatives came to the conclusion that the racially separatist views of Elijah Muhammad were clearly preferable to the integrationism of Martin Luther King, Jr. The NOI's key contact with white reactionaries was X Ali, who has been identified by authors Louis Lomax and Karl Evanzz as the FBI's top informant within the organization. Soon after John X. Ali was named the NOI's national secretary in early 1960, Texas millionaire and ultraconservative H. L. Hunt began to send funds to the NOI.

According to Evanzz, John X. Ali suggested that the Nation establish a dialogue with the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party, which might lead to the purchase of land in the Deep South. According to FBI records, on January 28, 1961, a meeting between Ku Klux Klan representatives and the Nation, including Malcolm X, was held in Atlanta. Malcolm later explained that the Klan leaders "were trying to negotiate with Elijah Muhammad so they could make available to him a large area of land in Georgia or South Carolina . . ." The death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975 did not end the political relationship between black nationalism and white fascism.

What distinguished La Rouche's organization from the other white racists and conservatives was its advocacy of an explicitly fascist ideology and program. For years, La Rouche has advocated fundamental changes within the capitalist system. But instead of socialism, La Rouche envisions an authoritarian, corporate-dominated regime, with the Nazi-inspired elimination of entire groups. In 1977, La Rouche stated that African Americans who demand equal rights are obsessed with "zoological specifications of microconstituences' self interests" and "distinctions which would be proper to the classification of varieties of monkeys and baboons."

La Rouche's publications and organization aggressively attacked black leaders from a variety of political perspectives, including Congressman Parren Mitchell, then head of the Congressional Black Caucus, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, and Jesse Jackson. La Rouche's followers even carried out a racist assault against prominent activist/artist Amiri Baraka.

In these same years, La Rouche courted both leaders of the Ku Klux Klan and white fascism. In 1974 La Rouche's front organization, the National Democratic Policy Committee (NDPC) collaborated with racist groups in Boston to support an anti-busing candidate for Congress. The following year, the NDPC initiated a legal defense campaign on behalf of Roy Frankhouser, Grand Dragon of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. La Rouche subsequently provided intelligence information on the US anti-apartheid movement to the Bureau of State Security (BOSS) of the apartheid regime of South Africa. It is this same La Rouche, and his followers that Farrakhan and Chavis have invited into our black community.

Dr. Manning Marable is Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University, New York City. "Along the Color Line" appears in over 300 publications throughout the US and internationally.

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