"Verirrt" Mein Leben in einer radikalen Politorganisation

Title: Astray: My life in a radical political organisation.

By Aglaja Beyes -Corleis


Published Herder/Spektrum 1994. ISBN 3-451 -04278-9

The author describes how for more than 16 years she was a member of the LaRouche cult. In the seventies the well-known West German Cult expert, Friedrich Haack, described the destructive, dangerous nature of the LaRouche political network and the “youth cult” This information has therefore been available for a long time. The author provides information based on her personal experiences to confirm the viewpoint made by the cult expert Friedrich Haack . All that Haack describes  twenty years earlier corresponds with Beyes Corleis’s  experiences The author provides detailed information to confirm the dangers as she experienced them. Beyes-Corleis defected from the cult in the second half of 1990.

Beyes-Corleis describes her experiences :
Extreme mental manipulation, powerful psychological methods to break down a person's self esteem, constant humiliation to destroy the ability for independent thought and an enslavement to follow in military style cult orders. Added to these pressures she describes the punishment that is carried out against those who try and break away or express dissent. The process whereby the LaRouche organization sets up barriers between members and their families is described. In many cases members are encouraged to break with their families and their studies.

The author explains how the LaRouche method seeks to gain full and strict control over every aspect of member’s lives. Beyes-Corleis was turned into a 24 hours a day revolutionary. She states that "It should never be forgotten that the members of the LaRouche organization are victims of a "destructive cult"

Most revealing is the way the author describes the process by which the individual is deceived. The individual is persuaded to think that the world is facing destruction which threatens the future of mankind. If the individual has difficulty with that they are led to believe they are told that it is their own personal problem that stands in the way of their giving full commitment to the organization not the fault of the organization which is working towards saving the world.


The recruits are persuaded to believe that the leadership know what is best for them. Step by step the recruit is brought round to accept direction without question or dissent. The author describes the complex process whereby powerful and destructive manipulation of the individual’s identity takes place. The author describes how the individuals belief systems and world view is transformed. Misrepresentation and falsification of the facts lead the unsuspecting individual into accepting ideas which follow exactly the opposite of what they initially believed. An example of this is the way that idealistic, anti-fascist, unprejudiced individuals are transformed into fascist, racist anti-Semites. The different methods of influence are revealed. These include psychological techniques such as long exhausting work schedules with very little sleep, stirring up guilt, anger, scare-mongering, isolation from former lives and interests and much else besides. It is through constant repetition, imprinting and group pressures that complete control is exercised over the individual who begins to see the world only through the viewpoints suggested by LaRouche. There is no debate because only total acceptance of the ideological stance is acceptable.


The author describes what is at the heart of the destructive process. It is the way that the person’s  inner-most thinking, their emotions and hopes for the future are manipulated. In the authors opinion and based on her experience the formulation of policy for the Movement is in no way carried out in free deliberation. She states that the European Executive Committee, a group of seven people hand-picked by LaRouche, is not given access to the origin and purpose of the policy they help to develop. Her book describes how every cadre in the field, are told what to do and what to say, often by LaRouche personally in hour- long telephone or face to face briefings.


The author states that any reluctance on the side of a member is answered by sessions of psychoanalytical re-indoctrination. This book goes into great detail about how the majority of the members have no understanding of the mechanisms by which they are immersed in the LaRouche’s brand of psychological control. Thus individuals are frequently enslaved into doing long hours of unskilled manual labour for very little pay. Beyes Corleis describes how tasks are set to act as tests to see if members can live up to every demand and command.

This book gives examples of how recruits live under constant and unbearable pressures. There is widespread falsification of information to deceive individuals to accept a conspiracy world view where the world is seen to be dominated by a circle of Financiers who are trying to control, plunder and destroy the world. Members are led to believe that they are surrounded by fearful  enemies in a world that lies to them. The notion of being surrounded by individuals only out to assassinate their cult leader LaRouche is frequently put out as a device to gain unity. These assassins are said to team up with circles of enemies whose only interest is to harm LaRouche and the organization. All this is used as a ploy to draw the members into secrecy and distrust with the world outside. It is a way of further luring people closer within the organization. It is done through lengthy emotive lecturing on subjects like poverty, nuclear threats, circles of financiers wishing to achieve universal fascism etc.  It is all aimed to stir up feelings of terror and at the same time induce huge guilt. This method founded on the desire to shock and terrify, results in recruits becoming so distressed that their fears and anxieties develop into states of paranoia. This method when combined with a policy of isolating members from their former lives becomes even more menacing. The constant emphasis on an apocalyptic view of the world and its imminent destruction has the affect of reducing the individual’s ability for independent decision making or thought. In fact members are told that it is only by following the ideas of LaRouche that there is a future for the world.

Beyes Corleis describes two cases of people who had dangerous reactions to the psycho-sessions. The first is called "B"  This young girl was so badly humiliated and subjected to such lengthy interviews which consisted of aggressive verbal attacks that in the end she was mentally destroyed. She fled back to her parents but was still greatly affected by what had happened to her. This meant that she continued to be in a state of deep trauma. She was unable to rid herself of the feelings of guilt and shame that the LaRouche people had placed upon her. In this still highly damaged state she was yet again drawn back to the Movement. She returned to Helga blindly searching for help. After this Helga continued to exercise further harmful control over her, becoming a substitute mother and continuing the emotional abuse. This formerly bright, enthusiastic girl is described as being totally broken down by their treatment and in the end it was learnt she had committed suicide. This was hushed up and never spoken about.


Beyes- Corleis writes that she had experience of seeing how the psycho -sessions drove people into states of “freaking out” the most extreme mental distress. However it never occurred to the author to question these methods as she was deceived into thinking that revolutionaries of the world had to be subjected to what was the most suitable selection method. Members were led to see themselves as someone special if they were given the honour to be tested for leadership. It was a method of “shaming and blaming.” Here individuals were taken down the road of self delusion. Members are led to believe they were part of a special cadre attached to a world wide organization that alone had the noble and special task of saving the world. This whole notion of being a special group with special powers is put forward by the LaRouche organization. It is done by giving great emphasis on learning all about what is noble and fine in Classical Culture. Who would suspect when reciting Schiller or listening to Beethoven that this organization sought to skilfully transform the personality and identity of the individual so that they are gradually conditioned into loosing all ability for self- determination.

On pages 70-71 a description is given of how a young student came out of the well known psycho sessions and had a terrible reaction. She seemed to have lost control of herself for several hours. She incessantly painted circles on the wall like a small child. Any cult members who may have questioned such a terrible event were silenced with the answer: "don't take it so seriously - have a look at society – see how the rest of the world is insane and most people are crazy."
The author mentions many cases of members suddenly “going mad” or as she describes it “freaking out”. It is stated that in the years between1974 to 1976 this was most frequent.  She herself was taken to task in a hard Psycho session in Wiesbaden. If you were not selected for psycho-sessions you took it that you were not as worthy as the others and you then saw it as the clearest proof of your short-comings. This was all part of the deception and pressure.

The author describes how she was so psychologically in fear of the group that the escape only became possible 16 years later. "We believed we only had the vision of the world. We believed we only could save the world."
There were two main ideas: One was the notion of dependence on the mother. The individual is told he is weak and belittled if he has any reliance on mother and family. Then there is the notion of impotency. The recruit is told that they lack the courage to go out into the world and do something valuable and that means they are too bad to be allowed to participate in the noble task of imminent World Revolution. It was considered a huge honour if the leadership entrusted you with a task as leader.

The individual’s reliance on the mother figure is used to manipulate and attack individuals sense of worth and identity.


You are derided for being dependent on one's family. Members are constantly under a barrage of pressure to accept that the campaign to save the world can only be executed in military style and must take precedence over private lives. Even having babies is seen as a distraction.
Members are told that the work of the movement is too important to tolerate anyone who tries to contradict or question orders. They are told that the world situation is very serious and orders have to be followed in order to exclude the possibility of dissension inside the movement.

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