An Open Letter to the Community from CCSU Profs4Progress
Profs4Progress commends the members of PRIDE, Youth for Socialist Action (YSA), Hillel, Native American Club, Progressive Student Alliance (PSA), Latin American Student Organization (LASO), and others for organizing a leafleting action at the recent lecture by Lyndon LaRouche.
LaRouche is a far-right cult leader widely condemned for his venomous verbal, and dangerous physical, assaults on progressive groups and individuals. He was sponsored and invited to our campus by CSU Professor Norton Mezvinsky.
When students learned of this gathering, they quickly organized a response that respected the right of anyone to speak on campus, but exposed the fascist ideology of the LaRouche group.
We disassociate ourselves completely with the homophobic, misogynist, racist and anti-Semitic views of Lyndon LaRouche. We stand in solidarity with our students in the fight against bigotry – and in the struggle for civil and human rights.
In the article entitled Controversial Activist Speaks at Central, The Recorder failed to do the most elementary fact checking or research on the event.
First, the Recorder misidentified students flyering as “mostly members of the Youth for Socialist Action” and “protesters.” However, the students were from a wide-range of groups on campus: the Progressive Student Alliance, Hillel, Pride, Wambli Takota, and YSA—none of whom were quoted in the article, despite a conversation that I had with the News Editor.
Next, we were not “protesting”—as advocates of free speech, we did not dispute LaRouche’s right to speak on campus. Instead, we distributed literature documenting his racist views and history of violent attacks on gays and others.
These inaccuracies are minor compared to the major problem with this article. Clearly the reporter did no independent research on LaRouche. If she had, she might have discovered that Senator Patrick Moynihan soberly characterized LaRouche as a neo-Nazi. She might have found a 1984 NY court ruling asserting that that LaRouche could fairly be called an anti-Semite. She might have spoken to some of the victims of “Operation Mop Up,” the LaRouche paramilitary operation that broke up socialist meetings with baseball bats. Most irresponsible was the utter failure to provide an informed analysis of the meaning of the LaRouche talk.
We have heard a great deal lately about the “professionalism” and “ethics” of The Recorder. Coverage of the LaRouche event reveals that both are only code words for a failure to engage on a sophisticated level with the major issues and events that animate our campus. An uninformed reporter prettified a dangerous fascist, who is famous for decrying women, African Americans, the Jewish people, and the GLBT community as subhuman.
Professional? Ethical? Time for a reality check.
Treasurer of Youth for Socialist Action
ED: It has come to our attention that the YSA did not want to comment during coverage of the event, and therefore has reduced what would have been more balanced coverage. We encourage anyone who would like to have their side heard to speak to our reporters during such an event, controversial or not.