Posted by: exiwp | July 10, 1989

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Memorandum (July 10, 1989)

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The undersigned groups and individuals request in this letter that the membership application of the New Alliance Party (USA) be rejected by the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA), or be postponed for consideration until the ILGA’s 1990 conference. In prior correspondence, we sent a packet of background materials, some of which are referenced in this letter. Please copy and distribute the background information as you see fit.

We take this unusual and somewhat extreme measure because in its dealings with U.S. gay and lesbian organizations and communities, the New Alliance Party has never demonstrated significant commitment to the aspirations of the U.S. gay and lesbian political movement. We recognize the great difficulty presented to activists when asked to evaluate working relationships of organizations in other countries. However, we ask that you carefully consider our point of view and bear us in mind when you cast your votes on the New Alliance Party’s membership application.

The New Alliance Party’s long and disturbing history is filled with stories of deception, infiltration, disruption, and attempted destruction of autonomous organizations working within larger political movements. Within the past year, no fewer than one dozen gay and lesbian newspapers within the U.S. have published articles documenting an uneasy and sometimes hostile relationship with gay and lesbian activists and organizations. (See background materials.) Time and again, gay and lesbian activists and activists in other progressive movements report feeling exploited and used by the New Alliance Party and its many organizational affiliates to further the Party’s own agenda, not the agenda of an autonomous, grassroots gay and lesbian political movement or a larger movement for progressive social change.

In particular, during the 198S U.S. presidential campaign, the New Alliance Party alienated many activists by its tactics of exploitation and disruption.

In San Diego, California, New Alliance Party Presidential candidate Lenora Fulani dominated a spring, 1988 AIDS candlelight vigil with a long speech about her campaign. Many were offended by her takeover of the event. (See: St. Louis Gay and Lesbian News Telegraph “Behind the Scenes at the New Alliance Party.”)

At the 1988 nominating convention of the California Peace and Freedom Party, Fulani led a walkout of her delegates from the convention and declared the opening of a new Peace and Freedom Party convention. Both the genuine P&F convention and the bogus convention called by Fulani nominated candidates. The California Secretary of State’s office could not determine who the duly elected nominee for P&F was and thus refused to accept either candidate, leaving the P&F without a presidential candidate on the ballot unless P&F could hold a second nominating convention. (See Next: “Opportunists of the World Unite!”)

At an October 25 rally in San Francisco which was intended to focus on defeat of two right-wing AIDS related initiatives, Fulani again staged a takeover of the event and attempted to give a campaign speech, but was forced by the crowd and event organizers to stop speaking. A few days prior to the rally, four major speakers from the gay and lesbian community cancelled plans to attend because they did not want to give credibility to Fulani or the New Alliance Party. None had been told that Fulani would speak at the rally. (See GCN: “Fulani Fracas at SF Rally.”)

In August 19S7, New Alliance Party announced that Vernon Bellecourt, leader of the American Indian Movement, had endorsed the Fulani presidential campaign. I: was later brought to light that Bellecourt was paid $1,000 a month as a campaign consultant, rendering his “endorsement” politically meaningless since he was employed by the Fulani campaign. (See GCN: “A Queer Alliance.”)

Our objections to the New Alliance Party’s membership in ILGA are not based solely on their behavior in the 1988 U.S. presidential campaign.

The New Alliance Party defines homosexuality as a political protest against a repressive society caused by the breakdown of the nuclear family. This definition of gayness and lesbianism ignores many people’s experience of homosexuality so deeply rooted in their childhood (nurture) or even having genetic origins (nature) that it scarcely seems a matter of choice. Further, what are we to assume about homosexuality in a post revolutionary society? That it will no longer be a necessary “protest against a repressive society” and therefore will disappear? No gay and lesbian political organization we know subscribes to this theory of homosexuality, nor would any wish to, since it runs counter to our argument for civil rights protections on the basis of an unchangeable sexual orientation.

The New Alliance Party’s theory of homosexuality strikes us as inherently homophobic and utterly counterproductive to a movement for lesbian and gay freedom and liberation. Our freedom should never be conditional based on the particular constructions of society, culture or politics, especially given that homosexuality is a universal and wholly human expression of sexual and affectional orientation which has existed in every historical and cultural context on the planet.

The New Alliance Party and its affiliate the Rainbow Lobby have intentionally conducted fundraising campaigns in which they call themselves the “Rainbow” in order to make their organization appear connected with Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. Rev. Jackson was also a 1988 presidential candidate and received widespread support from lesbians and gay men across the country. The Rainbow Coalition has an excellent relationship with gay and lesbian communities and activists, having incorporated a “lavender stripe” during the ‘88 campaign for Jackson and hired a gay man to work with lesbians and gay men.

The New Jewish Agenda, a U.S. organization of progressive Jews based in New York City, reported an attempted takeover of their membership structure by the New Alliance Party in 1988 and 1989. NAP members joined New Jewish Agenda in large numbers and dominated meetings by attempting to steer NJA away from its own organizational agenda and toward a NAP agenda. After many frustrating months, NJA voted to expel from its membership all NAP members. (See: Correspondence from New Jewish Agenda to National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.)

In 1985, the Mississippi Welfare Rights Organization, a group of black women working for welfare reform in Mississippi, reported that New Alliance Party members proposed a merger of NAP and the Mississippi Welfare Rights Organization. After the merger was rejected by the welfare rights group, NAP begin scheduling meetings with key organizers from the welfare rights group to conflict with regular, monthly meetings of the Welfare Rights Organization. (See: “Clouds Blur the Rainbow.”)

The New Alliance Party is currently promoting its “AIDS Bill of Rights,” a copy of a California law that critics say is poorly conceived, poorly drafted and redundant of already existing legislation which protects people with AIDS as people with disabilities. Additionally, some activists believe that to promote apiece of legislation which is focused on people with AIDS and HIV infection only would be disruptive to a new and fragile alliance with disability rights groups. The Party has received no support for its “AIDS Bill of Rights” from any of the consistent and credible federal lobbying organizations, such as the AIDS Action Council, the Human Rights Campaign Fund, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the American Civil Liberties Union, or the National Organizations Responding to AIDS.

The New Alliance Party was denied a seat on the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights Steering Committee. The decision was unanimous based upon the deceptive and disruptive tactics of the New Alliance Party.

The New Alliance Party claims affinity with and supports Minister Louis Farrakhan, a notoriously anti Semitic and anti gay leader of the Nation of Islam. Their alignment with Farrakhan is completely inconsistent with their claims of support for the gay and lesbian political agenda.

For all the reasons stated in this letter and for all the reasons contained in the background material we have sent you, the organizations and individuals signing this letter urge the International Lesbian and Gay Association to reject New Alliance Party’s membership application. The New Alliance Party speaks only for itself and does not represent the U.S. gay and lesbian community and organizations. Further, we urge that they not be given any sanctioned forum or time on your conference agenda.

If you have questions or need further information, please feel free to contact the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, or any group co signing this letter. Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.

[signatures redacted]

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