LaRouche candidates aim to spread 'gospel' CAMPAIGN 1994

August 22, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer

In the crowded gubernatorial race, candidate Lawrence K. Freeman has staked out one issue all to himself -- floating nuclear power plants.

The Maryland industrial economy, he says, could be revived by building the nuclear facilities, which would be placed on barges and shipped across the ocean to developing countries in Africa.

"Think of all the jobs that could be created by this," Mr. Freeman says.

None of the other candidates has embraced the idea, which industry spokesmen say is far-fetched if not impossible.

But that's nothing new for Mr. Freeman, a longtime follower of political extremist Lyndon H. LaRouche making his fourth run for elective office in Maryland.

The 71-year-old LaRouche, a former Marxist, espouses a mostly conservative, conspiracy-driven ideology. His group contends the queen of England is involved in international drug trafficking, that Walter F. Mondale is a KGB agent and that a morally decayed nation will be plagued by AIDS, in part because of the policies of the International Monetary Fund.

Mr. LaRouche, who intends to run for president in 1996, was released from federal prison in January after serving five years for mail fraud and conspiracy stemming from charges that he deliberately defaulted on millions of dollars in loans.

No expectation of victory

In Maryland, Mr. Freeman, 43, has no illusions of winning the Sept. 13 Democratic primary. But he considers the campaign an opportunity to continue spreading the LaRouche gospel and to bring new members into the fold.

Based in a drab industrial office park in Catonsville, Mr. Freeman and his LaRouche Maryland operation have recruited about 50 candidates for the primary. Most are running for the state legislature or the Democratic State Central Committee, or both, mainly in the Baltimore and Washington areas.

Mr. Freeman, the ticket leader, is running radio commercials that offer a dry recitation of his platform, which he describes as "pro-development, pro-growth, pro-science, pro-human."

Opposes abortion

He is strongly anti-abortion and notes that he is the only gubernatorial candidate who opposes the death penalty.

He rails against a population-control conference to be held next month in Cairo that he says amounts to planned genocide. He also preaches against Baltimore's new needle exchange program and giving Norplant birth control to young city women -- two more examples of "genocide" against blacks.

Nation's collapse predicted

Mr. Freeman first heard Mr. LaRouche lecture as a college student in New York City 25 years ago. He married another LaRouche follower in 1973, moved to Maryland a year later and has worked for LaRouche-affiliated companies most of the time since.

In an office decorated with portraits of Benjamin Franklin, Mikhail Gorbachev and Malcolm X, Mr. Freeman predicts the nation is headed toward a financial collapse brought on by an explosion of credit and speculative investments.

He seems content simply spreading his message.

"My principle is to provide people with the truth," he says. "If I don't win, I will educate more people. If I do win, so much the better."

Mr. Freeman and his followers gather recruits at various speaking engagements, political events or even by going door-to-door.

Some people who find the ideas appealing get involved -- giving money or attending classes held weekly at the LaRouche organization's offices.

Focusing on discontent

Many are urged to run for office. Those who do, run on platforms of discontent.

"The country is in trouble," says Leighton D. Williams, a retired engineer in Prince George's County seeking a House of Delegates seat. He says the country needs "real patriots instead of phony patriots like Oliver North" -- who, according to LaRouche teachings, is a cocaine smuggler.

Mr. Williams, 65, is making at least his fourth run for office. He says he is strongly anti-drug and anti-pornography and opposed to outcome-based education, a favorite target of the LaRouche candidates. Friday, he joined a LaRouche group protesting the needle giveaway in West Baltimore.

'Telling the truth'

Fannie Powell, 76, says she was persuaded to run for the Democratic Central Committee at a LaRouche organization class she attended. She says she likes Mr. LaRouche's philosophy, although she cannot cite any specifics.

"He's just as good as any of the rest of 'em," says Ms. Powell. "He's telling the truth. Everything he's said has come true -- what's going on now, all these people getting killed and all that stuff."

She laughs about winning. "I might get a couple votes," she

says, noting that she has done no campaigning.

Concern among Democrats

Some in the Democratic Party aren't laughing.

Asked about the LaRouche slate, Kevin Kamenetz, head of the Baltimore County Democratic Party and a candidate for the County Council, said party officials worked to ensure there were mainstream Democratic candidates in every county race.

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