Lawrence Freeman hardly an extremist candidate

September 13, 1998|By GREGORY KANE

THIS IS NO ordinary gubernatorial campaign headquarters you walk into here, in the 3900 block of Vero Ave. You first notice the dog, a right big piece of gray and white German shepherd sprawled on the floor near the door, looking as if he owns the joint.

The dog walks up, and you notice the critter has one red eye and one white one.

"Dog," you say to the canine, "do you know you have one white eye and one red eye? You've got a serious lack of symmetry thing going on."

Within seconds, the man you've come to see comes out to greet you. You're shaking hands with Lawrence Freeman, candidate for governor, friend of Lyndon LaRouche, long considered an extremist and a fringe candidate.

A few minutes in Freeman's office reminds you why you're there. A stack of newspapers lies on a desk to your left. You glance around the office and notice a picture of Malcolm X on the wall. You remember Malcolm X's famous quote about not letting the news media determine for you who is extremist and who is not. Malcolm urged people to investigate for themselves and come to their own conclusions. So you're here to talk to Freeman yourself, to get the lowdown on his relation with LaRouche and to see why he's running for governor. The discussion isn't too far gone before you learn this Freeman guy believes that political campaigns are really battles of ideas.

"My organization [the Schiller Institute] and myself have ideas," Freeman says. "In a time of crisis, you want the ideas that are not mainstream. It was the mainstream ideas that got you in the crisis in the first place."

The crisis facing us now, Freeman says, is economic collapse.

"We are facing a financial meltdown of the global monetary system," Freeman continues. "No other candidate was addressing this issue. This is the major issue we are facing in 1998."

Freeman believes the economic woes hitting Asia and Russia will soon hit America. Maryland's governor -- Freeman hopes it will be him, but feels the same applies no matter who will end up as governor -- would be to help the president establish a new monetary system, guarantee that the pensions and savings of Maryland's citizens are secure, provide low-interest loans to industries to modernize, develop and expand and have the state invest in the infrastructure -- highways, canals, roads and mass transit -- that would attract industries and make them profitable.

Such is the economic policy of old, Freeman says, the way guys like Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy did it before our leaders became afflicted with what Freeman calls the notion of the "postindustrial utopia." It's a society where leaders feel the economy is not based on industry or producing food but on services and information.

"This is nuts," Freeman sneered. "Employment is not based on tourism or the racetrack. We need to expand the port, reinvigorate the steel and farm industry and return to an agro-industrial policy."

What goes on here? This Freeman guy is not sounding like a political extremist. He sounds suspiciously like a New Deal Democrat. (OK, in some circles New Deal Democrats are considered extremist.) The question of his friendship with LaRouche comes up. Is LaRouche an anti-Semite?

"This is totally, completely untrue and unfounded," Freeman answers. "I myself am Jewish. My father was from Poland, my mom from Russia. So I come from Polish and Russian Jews. The idea I would be associated with anyone anti-Jewish is ridiculous. These charges are unfounded and have never been proven." Freeman said he has asked repeatedly for those making the charges to provide the quotes. No one has.

He first met LaRouche in 1968 at the City College of New York -- where Freeman obtained his degree in political science. As a high school student, Freeman fretted about starvation in Third World countries and pondered why anyone should have to starve. LaRouche supported the industrialization of Third World countries. His arguments were so persuasive that Freeman started a correspondence that led to a friendship that has him eating dinner with LaRouche weekly.

LaRouche felt there was a moral order to the universe, which also impressed Freeman. He won't support slot machines because he feels gambling is not only immoral, it's ineffective. "It won't expand the state's economy," Freeman asserts. He's also against drug legalization and Mayor Kurt Schmoke's needle-exchange program. He would have Maryland's classrooms return to a classical curriculum. The current trend toward a multicultural curriculum doesn't move him.

"I think it's a bogus issue," Freeman said of multiculturalism. "It goes back to the Dead White European Males thing. An idea is an idea. Ideas have no color, no nationality. It only matters if the idea is true or not. If it's true, it belongs to everybody. If it's not, we can ignore it."

Pub Date: 9/13/98

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