Posted by: exiwp | August 9, 1999

Fred Newman: “Communism is Dead, I Killed It!”

The Destruction of the International Workers Party (IWP)
By Lumpen Thunder and the AK-47s (William Pleasant, 1993)

The IWP was the premiere political combat organization in the U.S. from 1984 thru 1990. It achieved a relatively fused relationship with the lower-strata and working class elements of the Black, Latino and gay communities through its electoral political tactic; [the] New Alliance Party. In a like manner, the IWP succeeded in building a primarily white, petit-bourgeois (political and financial) base organization in support of its working class tactics; this was the Rainbow Lobby. The party organ, The National Alliance newspaper was read throughout the U.S. by tens of thousands of people weekly. It became the radical paper of note, particularly in the Black community. Moreover, the party’s cultural work gained international recognition. The IWP was seen as a leader in the debate over the relationship of culture to politics. The success of the IWP attracted scores of young leftists, though it was immediately clear that the party had many serious internal flaws. They were generally overlooked or seen as incomplete organizational development, i.e., in time they would work themselves out.

These achievements must be noted in order to deeply appreciate what has happened to the IWP. For all practical. purposes, the party has been systematically liquidated as a political combat organization and its financial resources looted by Fred Newman and his followers–from here on referred to as The Cult. The International Workers Party no longer exists. It has been replaced by The Cult and brainwashed periphery., led and exploited by Newman.

Newman’s destruction of the IWP began in August 1989. It was completed by January 1993. This paper will, explore the ways in which the IWP was sold out, and in the process shed some light on Newman’s real motivations. Newman’s liquidation of the IWP must be understood as an attack on the working class and Marxism-Leninism. It was fundamentally anti-communist. In the act of destroying the IWP, Newman effectively politically disarmed working and oppressed peoples in the U.S. and beyond. He has carried out his betrayal at a time when people are crying out for opposition organizations and politics, and also at a time when the right and the neo-fascist tendencies are consolidating and growing around the world. Fred Newman is now a political criminal.

What follows will be an analysis of the various IWP tactics (NAP, Rainbow Lobby and ublications/Culture) and the ways in which Newman liquidated them.

FRED NEWMAN: COMRADE DICTATOR

In order to understand how Newman could get away with his heist, it is necessary to review the nature and structure of the IWP. There was really no way that Newman could have been stopped without bloodshed.

The IWP was an underground Marxist-Leninist combat organization. It was a communist party with the mission of overthrowing the bourgeois state and establishing a socialist order. It was founded in 1975, in New York City by Fred Newman and his Cult (40 therapy patients) along with dissident members of Sam Marcy’s Workers World Party. The IWP existed above-ground until 1976 when Newman moved to base the party structure on a secret cell model. Party meetings and business were conducted covertly. Likewise, internal political communication between cadre was managed on a “need-to-know” basis. In short, rank-and-file party members only knew what Newman and The Cult wanted them to know about party policy, finances and political strategy. Newman had a monopoly on setting policy, distributing financial resources and assigning jobs to party members. His decrees were dutifully communicated to the membership by a body known as the Secretariat, the cell leaders. They collected party dues and doled out internal communications–usually a notice of who had joined or quit the IWP, The Secretariat was composed of the more rabidly pro-Newman and politically underdeveloped cadre. Generally, they are not members of the inner-core, The Cult.

In some respects, there were actually two IWPs, or more aptly, there was Newman’s Cult and a body of genuine political activists who believed that they were actually members of a communist party. They were fond of referring to non-party supporters as “the periphery,” while, ironically, they themselves were the periphery of their own political party! The only people who were really “in” were Newman and his Cult. Everyone else was simply a disposable worker or trophy.

In a political organization of the IWP’s type, the power of the top leadership is always regulated by the Central Committee. The CC is supposed to represent the various social constituencies and political trends that exist within the party. No such body existed within the IWP.

The IWP had a Central Committee mainly composed of The Cult and a handful of genuine activists. The Central Committee was a rubber-stamp body for Newman’s ideological meanderings. Seating on the CC was totally controlled by Newman. Though on rare occasions, rank-and-file members made nominations of their number to the CC, Newman simply picked and chose who he would allow to be elected. Central Committee elections were conducted at the party’s plenum, held in secret until 1991. The election amounted to little more than the unanimous vote for Newman’s slate. Election (selection) to the CC was purely honorific, a reward for donating large sums of money, slavish obedience to Newman or a ploy to further organize for-the-moment valuable leftists. The CC had no power to override Newman’s decrees. Central Committee meetings–held increasingly infrequently after 1989–tended to be day-long lectures by Newman, punctuated by questions from the floor designed to support Newman. There was no political debate, nor was debate tolerated. Any CC member who dared to cross Newman was immediately attacked by The Cult and its supporters as oppositional, sexist, competitive with Fred, anti-Semitic, etc., ad nauseum.

The IWP has a constitution, but not only is it a “secret” document–99% of the cadre have never heard of it–but it is also constantly violated by Newman whenever the spirit moves him. The IWP was ruled by a single dictator, Fred Newman. Like the CC, project organizations like NAP and Castillo Center were operated in the same manner, except Newman’s oracles were delivered by his flunkies or members of The Cult. Newman was absolutely unaccountable to the membership and “leadership” of the IWP.

This made it possible for Newman to liquidate the party without any public debate among the membership. The act was simply a product of his all-powerful will. It was a fait accompli.

NEWMAN’S EUROPEAN LIE

Many IWP members believe that Newman’s decision to destroy the party developed in the summer of 1989. At that time, he slipped out of the country with his new bride, Gabrielle Kurlander–the wife of National Alliance staffer David Nackman–in the company of NA Executive Editor Jackie Salit and Castillo Center activist [name deleted]–a former member of the Greek Communist Party and a major Newman contributor.

At the same time, Newman ordered William Pleasant–NA Senior Editor–and [name deleted]–an Austrian IWP member and Castillo activist–to go to Europe and arrange a series of meetings between Newman and European leftists. They were told by Salit that their mission was so secret that the IWP could not finance the trip. They were commanded to raise funds from the so-called periphery under the guise of a recruiting trip for artist to participate in the so-called FESTIVAL OF REVOLUTION; Castillo Center s inaugural season at its 500 Greenwich St. location. Pleasant and [name deleted], with great difficulty, raised the funds and went to Europe. There they arranged a series of meetings with leftists in Austria, Germany, East Germany, France and Belgium.

While in Europe, there was never any direct communication between Newman and Pleasant and [name deleted]. Pleasant and [name deleted] had to literally telephone NYC and then wait for a call from Newman or one of his entourage. Nonetheless, the meetings were arranged. Newman appeared in Vienna, Austria for ONLY ONE OF THE MEETINGS–June 8th, 1989.

The next stop after Vienna would have been East Berlin for a meeting with cultural and political leaders involved in the growing communist opposition to the Stalinist Eric Honnecker regime. Newman refused to leave Vienna, claiming that he was too ill to travel to Berlin by car–the motorcade was painstakingly arranged under Newman’s orders, because he was deathly afraid of flying. [name deleted] and Pleasant went to Berlin and made excuses for Newman, under the expressed instructions that Newman would soon arrive after he overcame his minor illness. Newman never arrived! Instead, Salit and [name deleted] came into town with no explanation. They attempted to cover for Newman in the Berlin meetings. This was a major sabotage of the work that [name deleted] and Pleasant did in East and West Germany to promote the IWP and Newman’s political line. We lost our credibility.

Salit and [name deleted] exited Berlin as mysteriously as they had arrived. Pleasant and [name deleted] never received another order from Newman to move forward with the program. He had vanished, and they were stranded in Berlin with dwindling funds. (Pleasant survived in Berlin only because he was taken in by a sympathetic renegade STASSI agent.) The series of meetings in France and Belgium collapsed. [name deleted] returned to her home in Vienna.

Pleasant remained in Berlin waiting for a telephone call from Newman. The call never came. Instead, Peasant’s wife, [name deleted]–an Iranian IWP member and Castillo activist–called to tell him that Newman was not in Europe at all, but back in NYC demanding that the membership of the IWP “want” him in the way that his new girlfriend, Kurlander (age 24) wanted him. His decree was based upon his experience in Europe and his many meetings with European leftists. They had convinced him that “Communism Was Dead.”

Newman’s introduction to the European Left had taken place on a single evening in [name deleted]’s mother’s Viennese living room. On his Athens honeymoon, he had stood in the antechamber of the Greek Communist Party, urging it to form an alliance with the right-wing to oust the Social Dem Popandreou regime. The rightist eventually accomplished that without the CP and initiated a campaign of purging all leftists from the government! Another brilliant political strategy from the brow of Newman–eh?

In short, Newman lied about the content of his European trip. He did no political work in Europe. The trip was simply a wedding trip financed by the IWP treasury to the tune of more than $30,000! That money was spent on 5-star hotels, cruise ship fares, a Mercedes Benz and the other incidental accessories of an upper-class white man on tour with his new bride. Meanwhile, Pleasant and [name deleted] slept on the floors of IWP supporters and scrounged for lunch money. At one point in Berlin, they resorted to outright thievery to survive, as they waited for a call from Fred.

When Pleasant and [name deleted] cornered Newman back in NYC and demanded an explanation of his betrayal In Europe, he whined that he couldn’t leave Vienna because Kurlander was afflicted with an ectopic pregnancy, and he had to rush her back to NYC. Newman remained in Vienna for at least four days after Pleasant and [name deleted] left for Berlin. Also, an ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening situation, requiring immediate medical attention.

Upon hearing Newman’s excuse for leaving her high and dry, [name deleted] became very upset because (1) Newman had lied to [name deleted] and Pleasant in the first place; and (2) if Kurlander had been really ill, then she had access to the best medical facilities in the world in Vienna. Moreover, given that [name deleted]’s father had been the equivalent to the President of the AMA in Austria, Kurlander’s treatment would have been even better and more or less free! Newman had no explanation for his moves. [Name deleted] resigned from the IWP in October 1989.

Newman’s so-called trip to Europe was a farce. It amounted to little more than a pleasure cruise. There were no high-level meetings with the Left. [Name deleted] and Pleasant were employed as political covers to divert the criticisms of IWP militants who would have raised some objections to Newman’s lavish honeymoon. When Newman returned to NYC, he complained that he felt discomfort in Europe as a Jew. Maybe that was true, but he was ultimately a white man in a Mercedes Benz, with a group of other white people, with a pocket full of money! Pleasant was arrested and body-searched twice in West Germany!

Newman’s discomfort made the headlines of The National Alliance, Pleasant–a Black communist–had a nervous breakdown!

“WANT FRED, WANT THE REVOLUTION!”

Newman returned to NYC demanding that the cadre of the IWP want him. He declared that he was the last hope of the revolution on earth. The demand was that all revolutionary politics be located in him and him alone. The IWP, euphemistically termed the “Organization” was replaced with the “Tendency.” Newman decreed that he was the leader and sole repository of the Tendency. He threatened that if his primacy was not recognized, then he would “leave” with his new girlfriend–i.e., he and The Cult would exit with the bank accounts. He also threatened anyone who would think about attacking his new bride. Everyone was ordered to worship Newman’s relationship with “Rie” or get out.

Lawfully, a number of female cadre had a reaction to the fact that Newman had promoted Kurlander to virtual co-chairman simply because she had had sex with him. Kurlander, a political unsophisticate and a mediocre administrative aide to the 1988 Fulani Presidential campaign was viewed as no more than a gold-digging whore. Her motis-operandi had always been to exchange sex for status in the IWP; she had always been in search of the “powerful man” in the organization who would punch her ticket out of the drudge work. Like a warming bottle of beer, she had been passed around by the high status males in the IWP. Newman, an aging man, was captivated by the white, middle-class nymphet, though he already lorded over a harem of three women, including Hazel Daren, his ostensible first follower. Kurlander’s husband, David Nackman, was a grunt. When Newman took Kurlander as a bride, Nackman was rewarded with high status and seat on the CC. He was paid off.

Daren, an emotional wreck who rejected Newman’s Social Therapy to the extent that she sought counseling from a Greenwich Village shrink, was organized by Newman to provide the feminist cover to his pimp action. Daren authored the “Clubs of Sexism,” an attack on the IWP’s lesbian and male-dominated factions, who knew a whore when they saw one. Suddenly, Daren became the spokeswoman of lower-status females. It must be said that Daren had always occupied the location as Newman’s queen bee. She had never related to other women except as her inferiors. Her status and privilege–vis-à-vis other IWP females–was secure for no other reason than she had the goods on Newman. But the inclusion of Kurlander into the harem, a woman who had “paid no dues whatsoever” further undermined Daren.

In response and in support of her lover Newman, she launched a campaign that defined all IWP women as Kurlanders, i.e., outside women who were kept on the fringes by male “rapists” and lesbian/middle-class women. Their only salvation could be in “Wanting Fred,” meaning that they could make candidacy for The Cult by virtue of their sexual attraction to Newman. Newman was defined as a sort of god, who had “developed” beyond sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. He was “more than a man.” The lesbian faction of the IWP was destroyed by this. Freda Rosen, its chief spokeswoman was driven out of the National Alliance. Her sex advice column was killed and she was forced to acknowledge Newman–an ultra-straight, white, middle-aged male–as the authority on sexual liberation.

In a like manner, the Black and Latino male IWP members and their supporters were branded as sexist and anti-Semitic, because they had profound reactions to the “New Order.” Men, particularly men of color, were branded as rapists. Newman became obsessed with Black and Latino men who were abusing–“raping”–young Jewish women in the organization. Needless to say, there were only a handful of Black and Latino male heterosexuals in the IWP at any point in its development. Interracial relationships were actually attacked in the IWP, because non-white males tended to be an oppositional faction to Newman and they challenged him for the allegiance of white females who provided the moneymaking labor for The Cult! Black male/Jewish female relationships were very rare in the organization. Newman was really obsessed with who had been the “niggers” who had screwed Kurlander. There had actually been many in her search for a political sugar daddy.

An atmosphere of terror developed in all IWP projects. Meetings were called in which members were routinely denounced by Newman’s new stooges, i.e., politically backwards women who proclaimed their “wanting” of Newman and his concubine. Physical attacks on oppositional members were also common. Declaring that sexism arose from the fact that men, particularly men of color, were “big and intimidating,” goon squads of white males were formed to support the new women’s leadership. Pleasant was attacked in this manger, so was NA photography editors [names deleted]. They walked away from the party as a result. Similar episodes happened in other projects.

At one memorable Castillo Center meeting (August 1989), Newman commanded that everyone sit in silence as his harem–Kurlander, Daren, Deborah Green–and Dr. Lenora Fulani give a lesson on “how to want Fred.” As Newman and his girlfriends sat in silence, Fulani confessed to being anti-Semitic, and not “wanting” Newman and Kurlander. She was guilty of high crimes against Newman–the revolution. In short, she humiliated herself. When some IWP cadre attempted to question Newman at this meeting, they were screamed into silence by Newman and his goons. Fulani, the most successful and most respected IWP activist, was effectively overthrown, and the last pocket of possible opposition destroyed. What followed was the I WANT FRED FEST–Castillo Center’s Festival of Revolution.

The Festival of Revolution was the brainchild of Pleasant and [name deleted]. It was envisioned as an international arts project featuring the works of cultural activists from around the world in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. The tactic was designed to locate Castillo in the international. Pleasant and [name deleted] had managed to get the program adopted as an official celebration by the French Government. In the name of the Tendency “taking over,” Newman threw out [name deleted] and Pleasant as the leaders of the festival and installed his chief stooge Emmy Gay, the new director of Castillo Center.

Gay, a failed actress and political imbecile became Newman’s willing tool. Like Kurlander, she had been promoted by virtue of her passionate “wanting” and nothing more. Newman then proceeded to turn the festival into a showcase for his “message,” i.e., communism is dead, Jews are dead and he is the messiah to save the genocide-bound darker folks. Castillo Center activists were worked into a frenzy of fundraising. The workable fund raising campaign designed by [name deleted] and Pleasant almost six months before the October 1989 festival was dumped by Newman. He intentionally created a funding crisis for the festival. It was his way of further breaking the back of the remaining opposition. People were simply being worked into a stupor.

Newman convinced them that his self-promoting plays and bad paintings were the revolution. The festival was transformed into a sort of Newman showcase. What resulted was a barbaric production model and a hostile environment in which the international participants in the festival were effectively disorganized. The festival was a flop in terms of its original goals, but it was a stunning victory for Newman. From that point on, he was enthroned at Castillo Center.

What had been envisioned as a Marxist cultural facility was now a sort of high temple dedicated to Newman and his bad tastes. All pretense to a collective leadership at the Center was dropped. Newman ruled supreme. Arrogantly, Newman urged that IWP members write letters to him. Taking their cue from Kurlander’s published love poems to her new benefactor, IWP cadre began to write love poems to Newman. This was one of most sickening episodes in the whole period. Meanwhile, with his purge accomplished, Newman dumped Daren’s “Clubs of Sexism” line. The grunts had been given the license to attack their project leaders–people who tended to be suspicious or opposed to Newman and his new orders with the leaders whipped into line or replaced by flunkies, criticism could no longer be tolerated. Former cadre were unceremoniously put back in their place.

In the summer of 1989, the stage was set in this way for the liquidation of the IWP as a communist party. The question remains that, given the success of the party, why would Newman move to destroy it? The collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe didn’t mark the end of communism. Moreover, the IWP’s vision of revolution had never been based upon a tactical nor strategic relationship to Moscow-led socialism. We never counted on them to support us. Trotsky had predicted 50 years ago, that the Stalinists would fall and be replaced by right-wing nationalist/capitalists, if a non-revisionist communist movement didn’t overthrow them first. That’s exactly what happened. There was no crisis in that for the IWP.

There are at least three current explanations for why Newman made the break in 1989. One assumes that Newman was in fact a Marxist-Leninist who lost his nerve. Others believe that Newman was approached by the State and coerced into destroying the IWP. Finally, one school of thought holds that Newman was never a Marxist-Leninist, but simply a cult leader who used leftist politics as a marketing strategy for building his cult.

What is clear is that Newman’s 1989 declaration that he was the red messiah in the wake of the collapse of Stalinism was in fact his final ideological break with Marxism-Leninism. It was a fundamentally anti-communist statement. Scientific socialism is not a messianic movement, but an application of political principles, tactics and strategies to the task of building a communist order. There are no saviors in communism, there is only history and the will of the working class to transform it. At some point in 1989, Newman ceased to be a revolutionary, he chickened out. He came to reject revolution as a possibility or a desirable solution to class oppression. Newman simply substituted his ego for political principle. The IWP became merely a tool for the gratification of that ego. The stage had been set for Newman to “take his shot.” Unfortunately, his shot had nothing to do with communism or revolution, and everything to do with aggrandizing himself and The Cult. A communist combat organization was not necessary to accomplish that goal, hence, the IWP was liquidated.

THE ROTTING CORPSE

With the IWP destroyed as a communist party, Newman set out to convert the party’s more successful political projects into businesses that would provide hefty incomes for he and The Cult. Communist revolution can’t be marketed for the simple reason that at some point the salesman has to produce the product. And that would definitely be bad for the business environment. For that reason, Newman had to depoliticize his holdings. Newman was faced with two problems: (1) how to maintain the husk of the IWP with its corps of highly motivated activist willing to work long hours for next to no pay? They had been told that they were working for a revolution, but Newman was no longer interested in that; and (2) how to take his little company into the mainstream of American business?

Newman answered the first question by eliminating communists from the IWP. That process began in August 1989 and is near completion in 1993. Along with the purge, Newman began to construct a new ideology around himself as the leader of a “humanistic” movement. This movement was based on a rejection of the leadership of the proletariat. Revolution was supplanted with a call for more bourgeois democracy! Newman reasoned that the inclusion of the oppressed in the institution of bourgeois democracy would in some way mark the beginning of the millennium. Electoral politics would be the means through which the working class would achieve it historical mission of making the policy for the bourgeois state. As silly as this sounds, it was a very successful ploy.

Given that the cadre who remained in the dead IWP were usually of such low political caliber and were actually discouraged from seeking Marxist training besides Newman’s new catechism, Newman easily got away with creating a virtual ideology for a virtual revolution. The IWP’s successful electoral political project was turned on its ear. What had been a combat tactic for disrupting the New Deal Coalition of the Democratic Party and the construction of a leftist mass party in its ashes, was stripped of its class content and declared a strategy. This produced nonsense slogans like “Democratize Democracy.” The only reason why Newman bothered with the ideology at all was to string along what was left of the IWP which, though moribund, still harbored some shards of class political sentiments. His objective was never to make a genuine theoretical advance on the electoral tactic, but only to make it marketable. Who would turn down a chance to buy democracy if its packaged right?

With democracy wrapped in red-white-and-blue class-neutral ribbons, Newman set out to use the New Alliance Party as his sales team. NAP had been reeling since 1989. Though the party’s base of support had grown almost ten-fold since its 1984 Presidential campaign, Newman decreed that the national apparatus of NAP be gutted. Party offices were closed and the personnel ordered to NYC for “training.” NAP literally disappeared across the country. It’s organizers were “redeployed” as fundraisers in the NYC area. The money that they raised went into Newman’s personal slush fund, never into building the party structure, even in NYC, Though the party’s activists worked day and night canvassing, they never seemed to have enough funds to pay their office rent and telephone bills. NAP organizers were among the most personally impoverished in the IWP.

At the same time, NAP was switched from a combat formation into a coalitional organization. This was a recipe for disaster from the start. It ceased to do grassroots organizing in the Black and Latino communities. Fulani, the leader of the project, was recreated as a Black nationalist leader and ordered to tail any Black activist who would return her phone calls. Meanwhile, Newman sought out headlines by attempting to latch on to every cause celebre he could find, from Larry Davis to Yusef Hawkins. In the case of Davis, NAP was kicked out of the coalition because it refused to allow the Black community supporters to manage the money that was raised in support of the case. This led to the suspicions that Newman was simply using the case as a fundraising ploy. The suspicion was well-grounded. In respect to Yusef Hawkins, Newman managed to buy out Moses Stewart, Hawkins’ father. Stewart, a crack-head, became alarmed when he recognized that Newman was using his son’s death as a marketing ploy for not only a video tape, but also the Rainbow Lobby. He demanded a bigger share of the action and ended his “relationship” to Newman with a crowbar-wielding rampage through Castillo Center.

This type of strategy inevitably led to Newman’s alliance with the hustler Al Sharpton. A shrewd entertainment shark and admitted FBI informer, Sharpton peeped Newman’s game from the outset. He saw Newman as a liberal-talking, white businessman attempting to muscle in on the outrage concession. Sharpton reasoned that since Newman was politically bankrupt enough to have to seek out his patronage–Sharpton had nothing going for him but his notorious mouth–then Newman would pay dearly for even the smallest crumbs of an endorsement. Newman believed that “Sharpton would give Fulani (him) legitimacy in the Black community.”

Sharpton was determined to give Fulani and Newman as little as possible for as much money as he could get for his troubles. Newman courted Sharpton with abandon, supplying demonstrators for his street actions, chartering buses for Sharpton, even supplying him with a column in the National Alliance. Sharpton wisely kept his distance and cashed the checks. All the while, Newman trumpeted his love for Sharpton in every issue of the NA. He even went as far as to declare a fusion between NAP and Sharpton’s United African Movement. The problem was that UAM forbade white people in its meetings and NAP was a multi-racial party! But that didn’t faze Newman.

The story of the Newman-Sharpton tryst is well-known by many, so further description is not necessary to the thrust of this paper. But the Sharpton-Newman alliance was the first clear-cut example of the new NAP strategy for self liquidation. The expression of its political bankruptcy was manifest in the 1989 NYC mayoral race and the 1990 NY State gubernatorial campaign.

In 1989, Fulani courted David Dinkins, going as far as to collect nominating petition signatures for him. (Dinkins repaid her by publicly repudiating Fulani’s support.) She then began a dogging Dinkins campaign, showing up at his events with a handful of IWP cadre employed as hecklers. This politically impotent gesture not only failed to capture any headlines, but it failed to generate any grassroots political support. After the primary, though she was on the ballot as an independent, Fulani liquidated her campaign and supported Dinkins. The idiocy of these tactics is self-apparent.

NAP was supposed to be an opposition leftist party. It was supposed to attack both Dinkins and the Republican Giuliani! That’s why the party received support from the Black and Latino communities. These people actually wanted to vote for communist candidates! The status of the party would have gone through the ceiling if Fulani had cost Dinkins the election. Only a few thousand votes separated him from the Republican. If Fulani had campaigned and received as few as 30,000 votes, then she would have made history. But Newman didn’t want to make history, he wanted to make money!

The 1990 gubernatorial campaign was an even bigger fiasco. Under the slogan of “Youth And Democracy,” IWP canvassers raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars–dwarfing the resources that had been available for Fulani’s 1986 bid for ballot status. With Sharpton in tow and a useless endorsement from Louis Farrakhan, Newman set out a strategy based on harnessing the Black community for the 50,000 votes needed for ballot status.

He went so far as to deep-six Fulani’s Puerto Rican running mate Yvonne Vasquez! The only problem with that strategy was that NAP’s electoral base included the Latino community. No effort was made to get Latino votes. This slight oversight cost Fulani ballot status in 1990. But the 1990 gubernatorial was also a harbinger of things to come. It was the first time that a campaign was used primarily as a fundraising tactic. A small fraction (15% to 20%) of the money collected ever went into the Fulani campaign. The rest went into Newman’s coffers. Meanwhile, NAP’s local candidates went virtually penniless. The combination of the 1989 and 1990 campaigns effectively crushed NAP’s political credibility in NYC:

The corruption of Fulani’s 1992 Presidential campaign has been well documented in M. Ortiz’s series in the New York Planet (See “Parasites In Drag”). Needless to say, the campaign was a smoke and mirrors trick. Newman pocketed over four million dollars! And the working class responded to Newman’s arrogant contempt by walking away from Fulani at the polls.

At the end of 1992, the New Alliance Party lay in ruins, destroyed by Newman. By changing the strategy of the party, Newman broke its back. NAP was never meant to be a coalitional formation. It’s a working-class oppositional organization. To ally with the Democratic Party at any point destroyed the party’s raison de^tre. To fuse with Sharpton or Farrakhan–in his case, there wasn’t much to fuse with–also obliterated the class content of the party. Working class means all oppressed peoples. Communists organize and lead the working class! We are not nationalists nor separatists, yet Newman put the IWP in the stupid position of trying to sell nationalists and separatists to its base, a pro-communist base!

It is apparent that Newman is no longer interested in base building. He is, in fact, interested in market building. Political principles simply get in the way of that activity. The demise of the Rainbow Lobby is a good example of the “new politics” in action. The Rainbow Lobby was the most successful tactic. It produced a financial and political support base of well over 200,000 people. The Marxist-Leninist objective of the Rainbow Lobby was to build a support network among the primarily white middle class for the IWP’s other more overtly pro-working class tactics. It was also designed to establish the IWP as a player in the legislative arena. Later on, Rainbow Lobby also took on the job as the liaison between the IWP and the international left. Rainbow Lobby was a living expression of Lenin’s command to go out and organize all strata of society for the revolution.

The Rainbow Lobby turned out to be Newman’s cash cow. Day in and day out IWP militants went door to door enrolling people into the Rainbow Lobby. Millions of person-hours were spent on the project. Canvassers worked for peanuts and literally starved when they failed to meet their fundraising quotas. Meanwhile, the leadership of the Lobby lived high on the hog.

Yet it became clear over time that Newman had no intention of allowing the Lobby to be effective. From the AIDS Bill of Rights to the Indian Treaty Rights to Fair Elections legislation, he commanded the Rainbow Lobby to flip and flop. It failed at every turn to deliver the legislation that its constituency supported.

On the international front, the Rainbow Lobby was never politically equipped to deal with revolutionary forces. Stupidly, Newman instructed the leadership to sell his democracy canard to people who were involved in armed insurrections! Contacts with the FSLN, FMLN, POLISARIO, Cuba, Algeria, Libya, etc., were sabotaged by Newman. In revolutionary political circles, Rainbow Lobby was looked upon with suspicion, as a possible front of the CIA.

Newman’s love affair with the Zairian butcher Etienne Tshishekedi drove a stake through the heart of IWP’s credibility in the international arena. Tshishekedi had been a CIA operative since the early 1960s. He was one of the plotters in the assassination of Lumumba. He was Mobutu’s Minister of Interior and Justice Minister, meaning that he orchestrated the murders of thousands of Congolese communists and progressives. That fact was not lost on the International Left, nor on the Congolese people. But Newman, recognizing that Tshishekedi was the State Department’s boy to replace Mobutu, jumped on his coattails in hope of winning a lucrative foreign agent contract with the next Zairian dictator. Of course, Tshishekedi and the State Department already had their PR men picked out. Newman’s Tshishekedi game was carried out at the expense of support for the armed Congolese left!

The Rainbow Lobby was literally run into the dirt as a communist tactic. In January 1993, it was liquidated and transformed into a business for the aggrandizement of Deborah Green and Nancy Ross, two members of The Cult. Newman no longer needed middle-class support for communism, since he was no longer a communist. Poor IWP militants had slaved for seven years across the U.S. to now supply Newman with a database for direct marketing and for sale to other businesses. They got nothing, just as poor and oppressed people got nothing in the end.

LET THE DEAD BURY THE DEAD

The destruction of the IWP, as flawed as it was, stands as a vicious crime against the oppressed and the progressive movement in the U.S. There will be justice for Newman. The question is where do we go from here?

Attempts to reanimate the IWP are doomed to failure. There is a lawful tendency to want to rescue the many good friends and comrades who remain tied to the rotting corpse of the IWP. But we must take into consideration the political and emotional flaws in these people that keep them under Newman’s spell. Politically speaking, many of them have simply given up on class politics. They have sacrificed everything for the party–marriages, health, jobs, bank accounts, children, etc., and they have powerlessly watched Newman tear up the red flag that they believed in. They, like many of us, also believed in Newman as a genuine Marxist. There has been a double betrayal, and the response of many of the remaining IWP has been one of cynicism and quiet mourning. They have made their peace with the bourgeoisie. They can no longer be politically motivated, they only respond to Newman’s psychological and financial coercion. They are defeated, dependent slaves.

Emotionally, these folks are balls of rage. They are furious at Newman, but completely cowered by his manipulative skills. They can’t bite the hand that feeds them. Their outlet for anger tends to be self-destructive behaviors like alcoholism and drug abuse, degrading sex and self humiliation. It is not likely that they can even hear someone tell them that they have, for all practical purposes, squandered their youths and idealism on a money-grubbing swine. They are terrified by the prospect that in order to carry on with their political lives–if they may even chose to do that–requires that they start over from scratch. There is probably no way to convince them that they need to cut their losses and get away from the clutches of The Cult. There are old people in the CPUSA who recognized that their party had sold out 50 years ago, but they remained. They lived with the pain and the hope that somehow things could be turned around. Eventually, that way of living became an unbreakable habit. Meanwhile, the world simply passed them by. That is the fate of most of our dear comrades and worse, Newman will dump them altogether in the near future. They will have nothing, except their bitterness.

If we are successful in carrying out our future political projects, then some of our comrades will come out and join us. Some of them will just come out. Even that would be a powerful progressive statement about the humanity and intelligence of our people.

A TENDENCY TOWARD MEGALOMANIA

Newman is fond of describing himself as the “organizer of organizers.” Many decent, well-meaning, but initially nonpolitical people looked up to him and followed him. Likewise, he was able to draw a number of dedicated Marxists-Leninists into his circle, as well as grassroots community organizers. In many respects, the cadre of the IWP were among the best educated and most competent grouping of political activists in the U.S. Fools were few and far between. As a rule, IWP cadre sacrificed everything for the party–jobs, families, children, money, etc.

Yet, the practice and structure of the party prohibited these people from politically developing, so much so that they had no power to stop Newman’s mad dash to destroy the organization. They were unable to conceive of the party without the very man who was methodically running the IWP into the dirt before their eyes! Did they lose their critical faculties? Were they brainwashed? Were they simply psychotic?

The answer to these questions is YES, but the reason why it is yes has very little to do with psychology [or] some collective innate personality flaw. The cadre of IWP were brainwashed, rendered infantile and driven mad through a sophisticated process carried out by Newman. He “produced” the IWP and the consciousnesses of its members. And that consciousness was a direct product of the nature of the practice and structure of an evolving cult.

The IWP was not a cult, but a political organization that was designed to become a cult, with Newman as its master. This position is in opposition of other analysts who believe that the party always was a cult, that Newman used the political aspects of the organization’s activity as a vehicle to expand his social influence and fund his lifestyle. This, of course, implies that the cadre of the IWP were simply duped by Newman.

Indeed, Newman is a manipulative liar. But to say that almost 300 people were tricked by their ostensible leader avoids the fact that they also consciously participated in the sham. They knew that they were being b.s.’ed. Moreover, the more outrageous Newman’s lies and corruption became, the more they clung to him, emotionally and politically! The evolution of the IWP into a cult had effectively stripped away their capacities to make sense of the world. This was convenient because they no longer lived in the world. They lived in their devotion and labor for Newman.

As Newman’s rantings and political opportunism became increasingly rejected by not only other progressive people, but regular people in the streets, the IWP cadre became more and more isolated in a sort of virtual world created and controlled by Newman. In NEWMANWORLD, all of their needs–sex, money, friendship, sense of relevance–were taken care of. And those needs that were not satisfied were simply dismissed as “oppositional to the Tendency” and/ or the product of “political underdevelopment.” Newman always determined what was good for the Tendency, i.e., himself, and what was politically developed.

Newman founded the IWP because he wanted a bigger and better cult than the one that he initially created at City College in 1968. He had tried several other ways to get to messiah status–If … Then…, sex, CFC, LaRouche, Social Therapy, etc. Newman’s vision of power has always been patently nonpolitical. It is grounded in his notion that people are moved by the exercise of his singular will–expressed through the appropriately manipulative technique, of course. Like Wittgenstein’s questioner who asks, “Do I create the world when I open my eyes and destroy it when I close them to sleep?,” Newman envisions himself as the maker and breaker of worlds for his followers. Newman never wanted a revolution or socialism–he identified himself as the revolution and the working class, the object of labor and adoration. And after all, he had already arrived! He wanted a cult. He wanted a grouping who would satisfy his TENDENCY TOWARD MEGALOMANIA, his need to feel attractive and potent. And he was willing to get it by any means necessary. The IWP was simply the high quality putty out of which he would carefully fashion his new and improved cult.

TO LOSE ONESELF; TO FIND FRED

The vast majority of members of the IWP started off as reasonable and reflective people. Yet, they were transformed by their experience in the party to become unquestioning drones in service to Newman’s fancy. How could that have happened? Some writers claim that Social Therapy was the means through which people were brainwashed. Indeed, Social Therapy is a brainwashing technique, as are most forms of existential group therapy currently practiced. But Social Therapy was not the only means through which cultists were made. It had two very limited roles in Newman’s program. Firstly, Social Therapy was designed to normalize the negative reactions that IWP members were having to their lousy working conditions and degraded lifestyles, created by Newman. Cadre members were regularly urged to enroll in Social Therapy groups. It was sold as a way in which they would be “politically developed.” They were also forced to pay for their therapy from their scandalously low salaries. It was the way that Newman fleeced them again. (More on that topic later.)

Social Therapy sessions were places where political revolt was crushed by a process of manipulation. The therapist (leader, usually a member of Newman’s inner circle) “pushes” individual patients to expose their feelings. If those feelings are oppositional, i.e., call into question the righteousness of Social Therapy or the NEWMANWORLD, then the therapist leads the other members to support him/her in attacking the rebel. Since the therapist is familiar with the histories of the patients, then she/he can easily attack the vulnerabilities of the rebel.

For example: A group member voices that she is feeling guilty about t the fact that she is not spending enough time with her child. But of course, spending time with a child is time not spent serving Newman. That’s a no-no! In response, the therapist charges that the woman is organized by motherhood and not the Tendency. Motherhood is bourgeois! Her relationship with her child has to be organized around supporting her very, very important “political” work. The therapist will then employ the rest of the group in the attack on the rebel, who proceed to “kick her ass” around not supporting the therapist’s position. Fearing ostracism from the group, the rebel capitulates. She has “gotten some help” with her “emotional issues.” In short, her objections to how her time is being used by Newman are silenced. Social therapy was critical to Newman’s need to uncover opposition in the IWP and to smash it.

Secondly, Social Therapy was an effective con game on the white middle class. Its patients forked over massive amounts of money to get help with their emotional problems. The master therapist, Newman–he has no training in psychotherapy whatsoever, not to mention simple counseling–cultivated a following of patients whom he milked for money with abandon. Usually upper-middle-class, middle-aged women, Newman charmed them blind with a combination of sexual seduction and declarations of the obvious.

There is a rather comical report that one well-heeled patient complained that she was feeling depressed in a therapy session. In response, Newman flew into a rage and told the woman that after 15 years of his therapy, she was saying and feeling “the same old shit since you first walked in the door!” Realizing that he had just indicted Social Therapy as being utterly useless, Newman excused himself from the session and disappeared for the evening. Newman is personally very cynical about the effectiveness of his “practice.” In fact, the IWP–the biggest therapy-going group–is laced with chronic manics, drug and alcohol abusers and assorted other psychopaths! While making money for Newman, Social Therapy also fed his pool of possible new IWP members. (A separate paper will discuss the experiences of ex-therapy patients in more detail.)

“Becoming political”–joining the IWP or supporting one or more of its tactics–was deemed a critical part of “the cure” he was selling. As Newman dismantled the politics of the IWP, he relied more and more on recruiting members from therapy groups. By 1991, therapy was the near-exclusive portal to IWP membership.

With Social Therapy placed in its proper context within Newman’s program for developing a cult, then other destructive practices in the IWP come into focus. It is sometimes argued that the positive political developments achieved by the IWP could not have been possible without cultism. In examining this statement against the historical record, this position has little weight.

There have been numerous political organizations in the U.S. alone that succeeded to heights far beyond the IWP. The old Populist Party was the first multiracial mass opposition formation. The Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World were Marxist-influenced, anarcho-syndicalist movements that enjoyed widespread support at the beginning of the century. The CPUSA literally built the industrial labor union movement in this country. During the 1960s, the Young Lords and Black Panther parties electrified the country. These organizations were not cults! They were successful and they were persecuted out of existence by the State.

Politically speaking, the IWP’s success stemmed from its historical location created by the decline of the so-called New Left and the destruction of the Panthers and Lords, not Fred Newman’s “brilliance.” Armed with a corrected Marxist understanding of the relationship between vanguard and mass organizations–an understanding crystallized but in no way “created” by Newman–the IWP was able locate its program for revolution and growth. But that was not Newman’s program. In fact, a successful IWP got in the way of building a cult. The dynamic of political combat created constant challenges to “leadership,” a central one being the emergence of new leaders. Rule number one in cult-making is that there can be only one MESSIAH.

By 1989, several non-white IWP cadre had come to the fore, among them Lenora Fulani. Newman feared a challenge to his primacy over the IWP. They had to be purged or brought under his thumb. In a like manner, grassroots supporters began to demand that the New Alliance Party actually become a mass party instead of a remote-controlled electoral vehicle.

Do not forget that the major criticism of people like Rev. Calvin Peterson of Atlanta, Helen Oxidine of North Carolina, Dianne Ragsdale of Texas and others was that they were not being supported in building local NAP operations, though their regions were being bled dry by IWP fundraisers. These NAP supporters and activists–“the periphery”–were simply being given instructions from NYC, with a demand for tribute tacked on. These people broke with NAP, declaring that Newman wasn’t serious. Newman really was serious about sabotaging any power centers beyond his bedroom! The development of NAP would have forced Newman to do politics instead of business. He wasn’t interested in politics in the long run. The IWP was successful IN SPITE of Newman’s treachery!

In examining the evolving cultism of the IWP, we are observing a deliberate program of de-politicization orchestrated by Newman. Not only did IWP members have to be transformed into cultists, but their activities had to be cultish too. Public work could no longer be oriented toward concrete political goals–winning an election, building an oppositional party, mobilizing people for mass action–but instead around gratifying the LEADER, who rationalized its significance in his virtual world.

For example: Lenora Fulani ran in the 1992 New Hampshire Democratic Party Presidential primary. She spent close to $200,000 and received less than 400 votes. The actor Tom Laughlin–Billy Jack–did ten times better at the polls and never spent a cent, nor did he bother to campaign! The IWP cadre who trudged through the bitter New England winter to organize for Fulani were told that Fulani’s showing was a “victory.”

Why? Because in Newman’s virtual world, the nonparty endorsed candidates received 10% of the vote in the primary, and Fulani was the leader of that “independent” pack–inside the DP! He neglected to add that independent voters make up 1/3 of the New Hampshire electorate and they could have voted in either the DP or Republican primaries! They were supposed to have been Fulani’s electoral base. She never touched them. In other words, Fulani had spent approximately $600 per vote to lead the progressive opposition within the DP. Yet, her progressive hegemony was endorsed by 0.07% of the electorate. Such a leader! The vast majority of IWP cadre swallowed Newman’s b.s., hook line and sinker. Those who didn’t got drunk.

This is in no way saying that cultish tendencies within the party didn’t exist prior to 1989. They did! They were a result of the fact that Newman was very reluctant to delegate any authority–the power to spend money independently–to anyone who was not a member of his original cult–the 40 or so early followers who came out of Centers for Change. It’s simply difficult to teach old dogs new tricks! As he had done when he “fused” with Lyndon LaRouche in 1974 (the subject of another paper), Newman maintained his small circle of cultists intact. Within the subsequent IWP, he installed them as overseers and money handlers. Their strategic location in the structure of the organization assured Newman a near-dictatorship over the party.

Prior to 1989, communists and The Cult existed simultaneously within the IWP. In fact, in late 1988, the communists and their supporters made an attempt to challenge Newman and The Cult, which was denounced as the “Aryan Nation” within the party. This was the period of the so-called “secret meetings” of an oppositional faction–despite the fact that the meetings were publicized. Even Newman’s wife Hazel Daren showed up to one! Newman shrewdly responded by bribing off and dividing the opposition.

What is being said here is that in 1989 Newman–The Cult–gained hegemony over the IWP. Remember The National Alliance headline? “THE TENDENCY TAKES OVER!” Well, Newman took over.

The question remains, how did relatively intelligent political activists let Newman destroy the organization as a communist combat formation? The authoritarian structure of the IWP [has already been] described. But the de jure character of the IWP in no way accounts for the political paralysis of its members in the face of what amounted to a hostile take over. A distinction has to be made between the formal structure of the party and its operative existence, and how that operative existence, along with Social Therapy, produced a politically passive base for Newman’s transition to cultism.

MOBE’D TO MADNESS

The key feature of the operative character of the IWP was destabilization. IWP cadre always lived on the brink of personal disaster. Members of the IWP were expected to answer Newman’s call to action 24 hours a day, and at any cost to their families, relationships, jobs, health, etc. Given the combined and uneven political education of the cadre, Newman opted to supplant political motivation–explaining the objectives of any given tactic and strategy–with crisis motivation. The lives of IWP cadre were organized around responding to emergencies created by Newman. Since information was very closely managed, cadre had no way of evaluating for themselves what needed to be or could be done to respond to a political confrontation or opportunity. There was never any “collective” decisions made about political policy and activity. That was all decreed by 110th Street–Newman’s boudoir!

IWP MEMBERS NEVER KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON, WHY IT WAS HAPPENING, AND WHO WAS IT BENEFITING?

The IWP existed in a state of constant “mobilization”–mobe–whether in respect to conducting an electoral campaign or fundraising. This meant that every action of the party was equivalent to manning the barricades. Every action relied on party “discipline,” i.e., the willingness of the cadre to unquestionably do as they were told by their leadership. Any question of the value or course of an action was denounced as oppositional to the “revolution.”

In effect, IWP cadre were kept in a sort of political limbo. They only had a vague notion that the activities they were engaged in had something to do with making a revolution. After the 1989 takeover, their activities were explicitly defined as “supporting” Newman. Terms like socialism, revolutionary politics, communist tactics and strategy were dropped from the IWP lexicon. They were replaced with “wanting Fred,” “humanism,” “democracy movement,” etc. Political discussions within the IWP were virtually phased out. The party’s plenums–the ultimate forum where the tactics and strategies of the organization were to be debated–became theatrically produced affairs, orgies of self-congratulation, featuring Newman as the Father-Prophet-Hero.

GETTING WHAT YOU NEED

Assuming the role of Newman’s devoted hand servants, inevitably led to IWP members living in poverty. Only a fraction of the cadre received salaries for their labor. The amount of these salaries depended on the status of the member in the Cult, not the volume and quality of their work. For example, the staff writers of The National Alliance received salaries ranging from $250 to $325 per week, with no health insurance whatsoever. That means that they lived on salaries lower than the average McDonald’s worker. And these people were actually the privileged class within the party! NAP activists and most fundraisers fared worse.

For this pay, NA staffers were expected to labor around the clock if necessary to produce the newspaper and all of the party’s literature. They got what they needed to carry out “The Work.” Though IWP cadre were paid salaries at times, most of their money–besides what was required for food, rent and clothing when possible–was funneled back to Newman through payments for Social Therapy, party dues and fees for often mandatory participation in party cultural events. Moreover, cadre were commanded to turn over their tax returns and any other monies from investments or trust funds. For example: IWP Attorney Harry Kresky received $35,000 per year payment from his mother’s estate. Kresky is reported to have turned that entire amount over to Newman. Needless to say, Newman provided no accounting whatsoever to party members for any of this money. He “spent it on the revolution.” Case closed!

On the other hand, Alvaader Frazier–a non-practicing attorney–the titular head of the now-defunct International People’s Law Institution (IPLI) is reported to have received a salary from the profits of Attorney Harry Kresky’s Harlem law practice–closed since 1992 due to lack of funds!–to the tune of $4,000 per month! Moreover, she was provided with a free apartment, automobile and maid service–an IWP member was literally given the “political” job of cleaning Frazier’s house! Frazier, a dipsomaniac, did little more than lay around her apartment all day. She styled herself as the “Spokesperson for the Tendency,” meaning that she was used to attack and intimidate recalcitrant, white, female IWP cadre on Newman’s command.

Newman and his inner circle didn’t need salaries, since they had unhindered access to all of the party’s seemingly bottomless supply of funds–held mainly in small bills. After all, “The money belonged to Fred.” They simply dipped their hands into the till whenever they fancied a nice vacation, a meal in an expensive cafe or some fancy new duds. Not surprisingly, as Newman politically liquidated the party, he simultaneously closed out the party’s projects. He also commanded that the cadre get jobs and supply their labor to him on a “voluntary” basis! In short, he reduced his overhead to the minimum required to administrate a cult.

Rank-and-file party members, many well-educated and skilled people, tended to live rather degraded lives. Due to the high costs of Manhattan rentals, most were forced to share apartments with three or more fellow activists. Often, people who were entirely incompatible were jammed into shabby housing, sometimes two to a bedroom. Naturally, these conditions produced a high degree of personal conflict between cadre.

Open violence was not uncommon. Lower status cadre–generally, the most impoverished–were completely at the mercy of Newman and his henchmen, who dictated the living arrangements for most households. This meant that a new cadre member or a person who had been “re-deployed” from out of town could be literally dumped on an already overcrowded apartment. The lawful negative reactions of the original tenants were usually “reorganized” by a combination of Social Therapy brainwashing and outright coercion. In the realm of housing, food and income, self degradation and humiliation reigned supreme for IWP members. Newman used that to build a dependency relationship between himself and the cadre, especially those on salary. To raise opposition as a salaried activist meant compromising a pay check–even a paltry one. Newman punched the lunch tickets. Everyone eventually came to fear him and his power for that.

Not all IWP cadre were poverty-stricken. A few were very wealthy, and they bought their freedom of action-punking-out on demonstrations and other party activities, vacations and other emblems of their status–by paying extra tribute to Newman and The Cult. The wealthy members of the party tended to be the least politically motivated stratum. They were essentially Social Therapy patients who had been conned into taking the next step in their “cures,” i.e., divesting to Newman.

RED SEX

The sexual lives of cadre members were also degraded. Like most figures who arose from the sexual revolution of the 1960s, Newman preached free sex. With a few half-digested quotes from Engels’ writings on the bourgeois family and a little feminism thrown in, he fashioned a moral line within the IWP that attacked couplings–heterosexual or gay–as “oppositional” to the Tendency. Marriages of new cadre were regularly broken up through “couples counseling.”

IWP members were encouraged to have sex, but to avoid forming lasting emotional relationships. The pressure was placed upon cadre to live as sexual atoms, seeking physical gratification whenever desired and convenient. Given the fact that IWP rank-and-filers tended to work around-the-clock, the recreational component of their lives was often reduced to past-midnight drinking binges and occasional rushed bedroom romps. For the most part, they didn’t have much fun, and it showed in their relationships with each other.

Not surprisingly, one of the main topics of Social Therapy sessions was cadre members’ sexual deprivation and frustration. They simply weren’t getting any and what they got, they weren’t satisfied with! So much for Newman’s revolutionary sexual liberation!

When ongoing relationships were allowed to exist, they had to constantly pass the litmus test of whether or not they were “supportive of the Tendency” and/or “politically developmental.” A supportive relationship was one in which both partners slaved for and adored Newman. A politically developmental relationship was one in which the less “organized” member of the partnership followed the political “leadership” of the true believer.

Newman was keenly aware that emotional relationships outside of his control quickly became nests of opposition–“parties of two.” Unmanaged emotional relationships had the propensity to become “oppositional” for no other reason than two people could come together in an atmosphere of relative trust and talk. This talk inevitably led to questioning of Newman’s “philosophy” and schemes. In the paranoiac atmosphere of the cult-bound IWP, discussions had to always be “supportive” of the Tendency. Public criticism of Newman was forbidden! And the bedroom, by Newman’s decree, was also a public place.

Sex was also used as a means of recruiting new cadre and gaining influence over high status males–particularly men-of-color. For example, NAP’S 1984 Presidential candidate Dennis Serrette was recruited by a team of IWP women in 1982. Seduction became a chief tactic in the Rainbow Lobby’s international liaison work with progressive foreign government officials and revolutionary representatives. For lower status males and females, sex was a viewed as a tool for rising in the party hierarchy. By copulating with the appropriate high status cadre, they could get “closer to Fred.” Their role models were the women who serviced Newman.

Though “Red Sex” Newman (age 58) railed against the bourgeois institution of marriage, he, in fact, had FOUR WIVES (Hazel Daren, Deborah Green, Gail Elberg and his newest bride, Gabrielle Kurlander) whom he pampered at the party’s expense and elevated to near-regal status. They were his plenipotentiaries. Elberg, always the bottom woman in Newman’s stable, has been recently ejected from his Westside love nest.

While the sexual lives of cadre were monitored through Social Therapy and outright spying, the nature of Newman’s relationship to his live-in harem was off-limits to criticism, no less simple discussion. Newman’s bedroom was his private affair.


FRED NEWMAN: “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CULT.”

The general picture of an IWP member is one of an overworked, impoverished devotee to Fred Newman. Stripped of individuality and the capacity to function outside of Newman’s virtual world, they are dependent on his will. Actually, a minority of cadre split with Newman for clear-cut political reasons. The vast majority left because of some particular personal betrayal by the Chairman or his flunkies. These ranged from being “deployed” out of NYC to do some organizing/fundraising mission, only to later discover later that their salaries have been cut off, to having their savings ravished as a loan to a campaign or project, and being given a letter stating that their loans have been converted into gifts never to be repaid.

Many leave because they have simply been ripped off. Others leave out of a feeling of fatigue. They have been worked to the bone, and Newman’s rationalizations fail to justify their sacrifices. These people generally split with the notion that they didn’t have what it took to be a “revolutionary,” i.e., a Newman cultist. They remain “supportive,” meaning that they seek to win Newman’s approval by paying him money. The “supportive” ex-IWP cadre are generally the most pathetic. They understand their opposition as a failure. They are locked into a scene where they must somehow make up for their “political” shortcomings. Newman laughs at them and rides their guilt to the bank.

An IWP member who may choose to leave the party is often faced with unemployment, homelessness and loneliness. Their sense of relevance and purpose evaporates. In the process of their incorporation into the party, they have often smashed their relationships with families and friends. They have also alienated themselves from their communities. An IWP member believes, often correctly, that he/she has nothing.

To add insult to injury, ex-cadre are shunned by their former comrades, people who were supposed to be their friends and, sometimes, even their lovers. Since 1992, oppositional cadre have been expelled from the party. Since the IWP is a clandestine organization, cadre are dependent upon their cell meetings for information about party business and meetings. Even Central Committee members are dependent upon communications from Newman’s so-called Secretariat. Newman’s way of dumping his political opposition now takes the form of informing the Secretariat to refuse to inform rebellious cadre of the time and place of cell meetings. They are effectively locked out of the party! When that fails, goons are placed at the doors of party gatherings to keep out the opposition. That was the case of the 1993 IWP Plenum.

If Newman puts the word out that a certain ex-cadre is “hostile,” this further creates a sense of abandonment, degradation and hopelessness. It also fosters self-hatred. Eventually, ex-cadre comes to realize that they have been conned out of their money, labor and self-respect by Newman. They despise themselves for allowing that to happen. It is for this reason that the people who remain in the politically dead IWP are there because it is the only place that they can be. They are the weakest. Taking advantage of their vulnerability, Newman basks in the glow of conquest. He finally has what he always wanted.

In the May 6, 1993 edition of the once-popular National Alliance–now reduced to an internal IWP newsletter/ advertising circular for Fred Newman-brand goods–the Chairman attacks the Cult Awareness Network as a front for the FBI, part of a “post-modern, post-political” conspiracy to destroy “extremist of all kind who threaten them.” The article conveniently uses the fiasco in Waco, Texas to paint a picture of things to come for “NAP.” Newman is telling his followers that any description of him and his followers as cultists is “tantamount to an invitation to kill members of the New Alliance Party before they [make] other people ‘casualties’ of their alleged cultism.”

Newman’s new cosmic conspiracy theory has little to do with what happened in Waco and everything to do with the fact that several high profile ex-cadre and dissident party members have launched a campaign to “out” him as a political fraud and a cultist. Afraid of directly confronting his political adversaries, for fear that in doing so he would give their charges credibility–charges that many IWP members know to be true–Newman has had to cook up a monster to spook his devotees into line. Neither the Cult Awareness Network nor the FBI are the targets of his agent-baiting, but the people inside and outside of the IWP who have recognized that they have been the “casualties” of his cultism. He must paint them as state operatives, bent on destroying his righteous virtual world. Sadly, most of his followers will buy this madness.

When Newman declares in the May 6 Alliance, that “[T]here’s no such thing as a cult,” he speaks with arrogant confidence. He knows his audience well. For only a CULT LEADER can get away with telling his CULT such a transparent lie.

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