Posted by: exiwp | March 17, 2003

Letter to Michael Bloomberg (2003)

The Honorable Michael Bloomberg
Mayor of the City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

The Democratic Party machine and the Working Families Party recently mobilized 63
elected officials to sign on to a letter asking you to abandon your commitment to nonpartisan
elections. Did you note that their letter fails to mention that nonpartisans would not be enacted
by you, but by the voters? Democratic Party leaders love to substitute themselves for the people,
claiming (as always) that they know best.

Your promise on nonpartisans was to give the voters the right to decide the issue. We
presume that your commitment remains intact. The not-so-veiled threat made in the letter signed
by the Comptroller, the Public Advocate, three Borough Presidents, 19 members of the City
Council (with 37 Albany legislators and two members of Congress thrown in for good measure)
should be related to as what it is – a bullying tactic designed to deprive the voters of their right to
decide.

A few comments on their arguments against nonpartisans. They say party labels offset
“information and resource disadvantages” for poor, of-color and immigrant communities.
English translation: the above mentioned people are too stupid to choose a candidate on the
merits. In other words, if they don’t have party labels to guide them, they won’t know what to
think. We have more respect for the voters than that – not to mention the fact that many, many
New Yorkers ignored party labels altogether when they voted for you.

The opponents of nonpartisans argue that this reform will depress turnout. It’s hard to
imagine a more depressed level of participation than the one we currently have under a partisan
system. (A quick note here: in the special elections just conducted in February, the turnout rate in
the nonpartisan city council races was significantly higher than that of the partisan assembly
races.) Does a shift to nonpartisans guarantee a high turnout? No. Communities will have to
mobilize themselves under these changed conditions, but the changes create more incentive to do
so. Do partisan elections guarantee a continuation of low turnout? Yes.

Finally, your antagonists urge that you abandon nonpartisans because of the “rancor that
would inevitably accompany a charter amendment campaign.” At the Charter Revision
Commission hearings in Brooklyn last year the authors of the letter staged a major disruption, forcing their way into a filled-to-capacity room, shouting at the Commissioners and injuring a
security guard. This, apparently, is their idea of democratic public dialogue on the issue. Rancor?
The only rancor in the debate has come from them.

I imagine that what motivates the Working Families Party’s hysterical opposition to
nonpartisans is that it takes away the ballot line they have to wheel and deal within city politics.
As you recall from our discussions on this, the Independence Party supports nonpartisans (which
would similarly affect us) because we place the interests of the voters and the health of the
democratic process ahead of our own narrow interests. That’s what it means to be an independent
party.

I’ve seen the news reports that you’re moving ahead with a Commission. That’s great!
Let’s get the question before the voters and let the people decide.

Sincerely,

Jacqueline Salit
The Independence Party
225 Broadway, Suite 2010 ~ New York, NY 10007
Phone (212) 962-1699 Fax (212) 803-1899

Advertisements
Posted by: exiwp | August 11, 2000

Speech to the Reform Party National Convention (2000)

By Dr. Lenora Fulani, August 11, 2000

It’s great to be here. Thank you all for that beautiful welcome last night. It’s great to have a credential you can count on. As you know, I’ve been a political independent for a long time. I first ran for office as an independent almost 20 years ago, in the days when, if you told people you were an independent, they looked at you as if you had just come from Mars.

Today, the American independent is the new force in national politics. We’re the wild card. And it certainly has been wild. And it looks like that’s going to continue. I like that feature of our movement.

Since the very start I’ve been something of a controversial figure myself. Some people have objected to me on the grounds that I am too radical that I am a left winger, a progressive, a revolutionary and that a storm of controversy follows my every move. I want to address that reputation today. I want to address it because I believe it is at the very heart of the issues and the choices that face us, the Reform Party and the entire independent movement.

Let me get right to the point. The issue that we face is whether or not we are a revolutionary movement. What does that mean? What does it mean to be a revolutionary movement in the year 2000? Here’s what it means to me. It means being a movement dedicated to completing the first American Revolution by challenging the basic formula that is contemporary America a formula in which corporate interests rule and democracy takes a back seat. I believe we are a revolutionary movement. I believe we must be. American politics is too corrupt for us to be anything but. And let me tell you something more. If our Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and Benjamin Franklin and Tom Paine, and if you’ll grant me historical license, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony were in this room with us today, they’d be standing up here with me. They’d be saying to all of you Fellow Citizens, aren’t you ready to stand up to tyranny? Don’t you love freedom and liberty sufficiently to challenge the old order? Do you not understand that to be a patriot is to be a revolutionary?

Fellow Reformers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would not be on the side of the nay sayers who counsel us to avoid controversy, to appear moderate and to walk the straight and narrow. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be on my side because I am like them. I am cut from the same cloth.

Some people like to call me names and believe me, I’ve been called plenty. There’s nothing I haven’t been called: Left wing, Right wing, Nigger, Jew lover, Jew hater, Pervert, Provocateur, Opportunist. I’ve heard it all. And then some. But General Washington and Mr. Jefferson slave owners though they might have been were also revolutionaries. And I am certain, if they could rise from the dead this morning, they’d join me at this podium and say, Lenora Fulani? We know her. She’s with us. She’s an American Revolutionary. Aren’t you?

But what does it really mean to be a revolutionary in this new and high tech and frightening millennium? It means continuing the revolutionary process not violently but powerfully such that we can engage the fundamental contradiction of the American experience. What is that contradiction? It’s that while we believe with all our heart in democracy, we have been willing to compromise it for the good of the economy.

The deepest conflict among the Founding Fathers let us not forget was the issue of slavery. While virtually everyone knew it to be morally wrong, the institution was allowed to exist because it made the economy thrive. And so the democratic rights of a whole race of people were abrogated because slavery enriched the U.S. economy.

It is not altogether different from the circumstances we face today. The globalists argue that NAFTA, the WTO and a general trade policy that unleashes multi-national corporations around the globe are good for the economy. The negative impact on Americans workers, on the environment and on long term economic development is supposed to be considered negligible. We don’t believe it is negligible. But there is a far more profound problem at hand. For the globalist special interests have stolen our government so that they can prioritize their economic interests over all else. Some argue that the problem with the two parties is that they are captive to the special interests. I disagree. They are not captive to the special interests. They are the special interests. And they rule unequivocally on behalf of the globalists.

That’s why Ross Perot told the American people, when he first ran for President, that we had to take our government back. That we, the people, had to set the terms on which business does business. We’re not anti business. We’re pro democracy and we believe this is our country and we have the right to run it.

Sometimes people will say to us, “Oh, that political reform stuff very interesting. But what do you stand for?” Here’s our answer: We stand for the democratic right of the people of this country all the people of this country to collectively and democratically determine our economic, social, cultural, and policy priorities. The two parties have usurped that right. And we must re assert it.

The Reform Party has been through tremendous turmoil in the last year. I don’t have to recapitulate it for all of you, because you lived it we lived it, together. Some people have said to me that they have been beaten down by it. They feel demoralized, angered, and despairing. I can understand those feelings. I have felt them myself. I was, after all, a supporter of Pat Buchanan, before he betrayed his commitment to build this party on a pro democracy, left/center/right foundation. But, I want to thank Pat Buchanan. Yes, I want to thank him. Here’s why. I think Pat, by his presence and his neo reactionary takeover attempt of our party, has taught us a very important lesson. A lesson we needed to learn. He taught us that we you and I and millions of liberty loving Americans across the country, built something of extraordinary value, something he wanted so badly that he was willing to commit fraud to try to get.

We belittle ourselves if we think it’s just the $13 million. Yes, Pat wants the money. And John Hagelin will hopefully prevent him from getting his hands on it. But this party, if it remains honest and uncorrupted, and this movement this revolutionary movement are things of extraordinary value to ordinary people. But there’s another lesson to be learned here, too. It’s a harder one to learn. It’s a lesson about building building from the bottom up. A lot of people are angry at Pat Buchanan. They’re angry because he came in and tried to take over our party. But if we’re serious independents, and genuine revolutionaries, we have to ask ourselves how that happened. I think it happened because in many states, the party had simply not been built at the grassroots. When Pat Buchanan came in with 25 followers here and 70 followers.

There, he could make a power grab. How did that happen? How did a movement, which attracted 20 million Americans in 1992 and 8 1/2 million Americans in 1996, find itself with a political party in the year 2000 that was so vulnerable to being overrun by 300 Buchanan Brigadiers?

We find ourselves in this situation, fellow Reformers, because we failed to build the party from the bottom up. We remained too dependent on a top down model for party building, and that simply will not work. We were created by the 8/1/2 million votes cast for Ross Perot in 1996. We honor and respect Mr. Perot for that catalytic contribution. But we will not succeed in our historic mission if we rely on a model of party building that rests solely on big names and big money.

In New York, we have a state party that was created by a millionaire independent Tom Golisano, who spent $8 million on a run for governor in 1994 to poll 217,000 votes which won ballot status for the Independence Party. But in New York, hundreds of party activists believed that we had to take the gift we had been given and make it our own. And so we went out and built that party so that it now has 175,000 members and vibrant broad based democratic structures making it the largest and most significant state party organization in the Reform Party and an increasingly pivotal force in New York State politics.

In my view, we have paid too little attention to the New York model and too much attention to waiting for the next big name or big money to come along. That has hurt the party and hurt the movement. We have paid a price for that error. How big of a price we do not yet know.

But we must move on. And we will. And I must say that one of the things I like best about John Hagelin is that he is not a big name and he has no big money. But he’s been out there building and organizing and getting on the ballot and bringing new blood into the Reform Party and into independent politics. That’s who I think deserves the nomination of the Reform Party.

If you watched any of the Republican National Convention, as I did, you may have been astounded as I was, by the seeming transformation of that party. I was deeply touched by Colin Powell. I was thrilled to see John McCain. But if you look closely at that party, in spite of its new openness and inclusivity you can see that while Colin Powell and John McCain are permitted to speak, they will not be permitted to lead. It is not a revolutionary party. It’s a special interest party. That’s why, in my opinion, they both ultimately belong with us in the independent movement.

And we must carry on building our movement. The destructive divisions and unhealthy fractiousness in Reform did not begin on the day Pat Buchanan arrived. They will not be overcome merely by our shared opposition to his effort to transform us into a party of social conservatism. Nor will they be overcome by our trying to recreate ourselves as some bland and non controversial element hoping to survive the election and somehow, magically, get 5% of the vote.

Controversy is our business. We’re the people who want to bring down the two party system. We’re the people who want to open up the debates, close down the FEC and throw the corrupt politicians and their globalist benefactors out of office. If that ain’t controversial, I don’t know what is.

I am proud to be with all of you today. I fully expected that our New York delegation would be de credentialed by the Buchanan convention because democracy is out the window over there and so is election law and the constitution. I want to take a moment to acknowledge those delegates, our state chairman Frank MacKay, our most able delegation organizer Cathy Stewart, and our brilliant attorney Harry Kresky. They are some serious party builders and serious fighters. We’re fighting hard for the heart and

soul of our movement. And we are proud to be fighting alongside John Hagelin, soon to be our Presidential nominee. John Hagelin is a good and decent and highly intelligent and articulate spokesman for our cause. You all know that.

And you know, of course, that when we turned to him to champion the fight to preserve democracy in our party, he responded with enthusiasm and wit and grace. But let me tell you something else about John Hagelin that you may not have fully grasped. He’s got real guts. There were a lot of people out there in the media, in the two parties, on the right and on the left who couldn’t wait to attack Pat Buchanan. It was sound bite heaven for every would be, has been, wannabee political type across the spectrum, including some people who like to think of themselves as independents. But you know something? None of them, not one, was willing to come out and get into the Reform Party primary to have the fight the fight for the heart and soul of not just the Reform Party but of our revolutionary independent movement. None, except John Hagelin.

Let me leave you with this. If George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and Frederick Douglass were here today, do you know what they’d be doing? They’d be standing up with the American Revolutionary, John Hagelin. And do you know who else would be up here? The great Revolutionary War naval commander and hero, John Paul Jones. In a critical naval battle in 1779, under constant fire from the better armed and better equipped British Navy, Jones rallied his forces with words that inspire us today. “We have not yet begun to fight,” he cried. Several hours later, the British ship Serapis was forced to surrender to Jones and the revolutionary forces. And so, in the great tradition of our American Revolution which continues to this day I send this message to all who would try to denigrate or derail our independent populist revolution: We have not yet begun to fight!

Posted by: exiwp | August 9, 2000

Fred Newman: Lenin as Therapist (2000)

[Chapter 7 of “On the Edge:  Political Cults Right and Left”]
By Dennis Tourish & Tim Wohlforth, 2000

Let Hitler take office-he will soon be bankrupt, and then it will be our day.
-H. Remmele, Communist member of the Reichstag, 1933

Pat Buchanan and That Woman

In the fall of 1999 Pat Buchanan sat down to lunch with Dr. Lenora Fulani.  A pretty, light-skinned African American woman, conservatively dressed, with close-cropped hair, Fulani was by no means a novice to politics.  She had been the 1992 presidential candidate of the New Alliance Party (NAP).  The party qualified for more than $1 million in federal matching funds and was on the ballot in nearly all fifty states.  In the past Fulani had supported Jesse Jackson and had been a close confidante of Louis Farrakhan and the Reverend Al Sharpton.  She had a reputation as an outspoken lesbian and a defender of abortion rights.  Buchanan was on a tour promoting a book in which he expressed the view that the United States should not have interfered with Hitler, his subjugation of Europe, and the Holocaust.  Some eyebrows were raised in the mainstream press corps.

During an interview later that day, Buchanan was asked about his relations with the “black-nationalist Marxist.”  His eyes narrowed and he answered:  “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Lenora Fulani.”1  Political relations, however, were a different matter.  Fulani was about to launch her latest grand political maneuver, promoting Buchanan as the presidential candidate of the Reform Party.

Fred Newman runs the cult, which fuses politics seamlessly with psychotherapy.  While Newman is little known, Dr. Lenora Fulani is a national media figure.  The Newmanites prove that cults can affect mainstream politics in the United States in a dangerous way.  At the same time Newman’s distinctive method of cadre recruitment gives us an insight into the psychology of cult organization in general.

The Cult’s Obscure Origins

Fred Newman, a Korean War veteran, was awarded a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from Stanford University.2  He has had no formal training in any branch of psychology.  He turned to a Maoist version of Marxism in the mid-1960s.  In 1970 Newman gathered together a tiny collective, which shared a communal apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  This was a moment when the left was searching for a road forward after the collapse of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the New Left generally, while a cultural revolution was in full swing.  Newman’s collective, much like Harvey Jackins’ reevaluation counseling (see chapter 6), combined the radical politics of the sixties with the New Age therapy of the seventies.  The result was a potent mixture of cultic consequences.

They named their collective “If . Then.”3  While Jackins stressed techniques of co-counseling in which therapist and patient exchange places, Newman developed a group version of radical therapy led by a therapist, which he called “social therapy” or “crisis normalization.”4  All members underwent therapy while they, at the same time, carried out political activity.  By 1973 the group was called Centers for Change (CFC).  “CFC is,” Newman explained, “a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist organization.”4

The origins of the group in a communal setting gave it a cult-like character from the very beginning.  This aspect of Newman’s operation did not change.  Its core members have lived in shared facilities or are closely linked to such communes.  Core members are expected to quit their jobs, sell their private possessions, and earn a meager living through such activities as soliciting funds on street corners.

In Bed with Lyndon LaRouche

For approximately one year, from the middle of 1973 until the end of August in 1974, Newman’s group was under the influence of Lyndon LaRouche (see chapter 5).  The “United Front,” was formed, consisting of LaRouche’s National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC), Newman’s Center for Change, and a third group led by Eugenio Perente-Ramos (this later became another cult, the Communist Party U.S.A. (Provisional) (CPUSA [P])-see chapter 12).  Joint forums were held and activities coordinated.  On June 1, 1974, Newman wrote, “We have traveled from a community based storefront, to a health-service collective, to a cadre socialist organization.  We have traveled from non-existence to existence and finally back to non-existence at a higher level.  For CFC is disbanded.  We move, not as a collective, but as self- conscious human beings into the National Caucus of Labor Committees.”6

Fred Newman’s comment about moving into the NCLC “not as a collective” proved to be a bit disingenuous.  Then again, a cultist like LaRouche should have been sharp enough to spot another cultist.  The group had been formed around the personality of Fred Newman, they all underwent continuous group therapy under his guidance, and they shared common living quarters.  The Newman group continued to operate in lockstep while within the NCLC.  It should therefore come as no shock that the fusion did not work out.  The two gurus inevitably clashed.  In late August 1974 Newman and thirty-eight followers walked out of the NCLC to form the International Workers Party (IWP).  Newman announced that his tiny group had “now become the vanguard of the working class.”  Newman declared:  “The organization of the vanguard party is, as Marx makes clear, the organization of the class.  The formation of the IWP had grown from our attempt to organize the [NCLC] from within that it might move from a position of left hegemony to a position of leadership of the class.”7

Newman’s period of association with LaRouche was to have a major impact on his thinking and future development.  It is significant that he joined up with LaRouche precisely at the moment when the NCLC was moving from left to right and engaging in some rather bizarre conduct.  Newman contacted LaRouche within weeks of the conclusion of his “Operation Mop- Up,” involving physical attacks on the left.

Newman declared in 1974 that “the former workers of CFC will organize in the spirit outlined by Marcus [Lyndon LaRouche].”8  He wrote a book that contained extensive quotations from LaRouche.  He echoed LaRouche’s catastrophism, seeing the United States as facing “the grim reality of cannibalization and encroaching fascism.”9  He agreed with LaRouche that a “massive fascist brainwashing” was taking place.  Like LaRouche, he dismissed most of the left:  “Black nationalism, community control, feminism, the petty bourgeois movement, gay pride, worker participation programs, trade union parochialism, and so on, are concepts devised by the fascists to locate a group’s identity in something other than the working class.” 10

In 1974 Newman declared that “Liberalism is fascism.  The liberal do-gooders are the fascists.”11  And, “‘The Left Movement’ or ‘The Radical Movement’ or ‘The Movement’ . is the CIA-developed deterrent to the development of a vanguard party…  Fortunately there are some around working to destroy the CIA controlled left movement.  Lyn Marcus and the NCLC are such a group.”12

While Newman never again publicly referred to the left in such terms, he was never really part of the left.  His relationship was more that of a predator:  from time to time running in Democratic primaries, moving into existing leftist organizations with the aim of taking them over, and utilizing prominent black leaders to advance his own aims.

Just as important, there was a concurrence between LaRouche and Newman on the critical questions of the role of leadership, cadre formation, and the mental manipulation of the membership.  LaRouche brought to the “United Front” a far more developed distortion of Marxism than anything Newman had been able to extract from Mao Tse-Tung.  Crucial was the linking of an apocalyptic crisis theory with the necessity of creating an elite cadre.

Newman contributed his knowledge of psychotherapy and experience gained in transforming his followers through these techniques into political operators.  We suspect that LaRouche’s rantings about impotency and his ego-stripping sessions were at least partially inspired by Newman, who claimed that “all psychic problems are correctly diagnosed as impotency.” 13

After parting, the political evolution of the two gurus was, on the surface, quite different.  LaRouche transformed his hostility toward the left and its constituents into a new rightist ideology with links to fascism.  Newman continued to function politically on the left until 1994, when he began to move into the right-centrist Perot movement.  Yet both leaders shared a common disdain for ordinary citizens, who were to be manipulated; for their members, who were transformed into robots to be used to do the manipulation; and for the democratic norms of a pluralistic society.

The Theory of Proletarian Psychotherapy

Fred Newman developed, in his 1974 book Power and Authority, a theory of the mind and its relation to society that has served him well as a justification for the existence of his cult and has aided him in controlling his followers.  Newman saw revolution as a two-level process:  the external overthrow of the bourgeoisie and its state and the internal overthrow of the “Bourgeois ego.”

We must learn, he insisted, to see “in both directions-inside and outside.”14  “Proletarian or revolutionary psychotherapy is . the overthrow of the rulers of the mind by the workers of the mind.”15 “Revolutionary therapy,” he stated, “involves an act of insurrection; of overthrow.”16 Through this act the “bourgeois ego” is replaced by the “proletarian ego.”  “The proletarian or revolutionary therapist is . a leader.”17  This internal revolution is followed by “a long period of the withering away of the proletarian ego.”18

Newman viewed the “bourgeois ego” as the automatic product of the capitalist system.  Drawing from Marx via Lenin and LaRouche, he concluded that “the self-interested, rational individual is guided by a ruling class imposed conscience (or super ego) which she or he transforms into a self controlling bourgeois ego.” 19

This view could be interpreted as a reasonable distillation of Marx’s concept of alienation.  Capitalism tends to atomize people.  People then relate to each other in the belief that they are acting autonomously in their own self-interest.  Actually their relations are being determined by market forces and their thinking is influenced by the dominant capitalist culture and institutions.

Marx, however, noted countervailing effects of capitalist relations upon the worker.  The very organization of the production process brought workers together collectively, creating the conditions for their common action, such as trade union organization and the formation of workers’ parties.  Newman, following upon Lenin and LaRouche, dismissed such processes as expressions of “trade union parochialism” and therefore reactionary.  He proposed “therapy” as a substitute.

A difficulty arises out of Newman’s efforts to “overthrow” the individual’s “bourgeois” ego through a therapeutic act while the capitalist system remains intact and functioning.  The discarded ego is actually the only individual identity a person is capable of developing and sustaining within a capitalist society.  Its dissolution creates a vacuum that is filled by the ego of the therapist.  The therapist’s ego is no less shaped by the society within which he functions.  The guru therapist’s desire to control others, manipulate others, and drive others to carry out his wishes represents a demented form of the worse features of personality in contemporary capitalist society.

Newman developed a critique of Freudian and all other forms of psychotherapy, labeling them “bourgeois.”  Bourgeois psychology (read “all therapies excluding Newman’s”) “entails an act of transference (making the therapist into a substitute conscience and, at the same time, into a ‘temporary’ oppressive ruler) and eventually this transferential act itself must be analyzed and undone..  The bourgeois authoritarian leader allows a temporary and controlled regression to the bourgeois id and then leads the patient back again to her or his bourgeois ego.”20

These therapies, in Newman’s view, take a patient with a wounded ego; pass her or him through a process of transference; and, ending the transference, rebuild a healthy independent ego in the person.  However, Newman believed, this process simply strengthened the “bourgeois ego,” that is the mind control of a sick society.  He believed the very concept of a “self-interested rational individual” was reactionary.

What then is to be done?  As part of a group therapy practice, the “leadership” of the therapist is required to carry through an insurrection against individual egoism.  Once the “proletarian ego” is installed, the therapy is by no means at an end.  It continues and is coordinated with revolutionary activity.  “Revolutionary therapy becomes more and more indistinguishable from revolutionary organizing.”21  The victory of the “proletarian ego” over the “bourgeois ego” is thus expressed in the patient’s complete devotion to the political causes espoused by Fred Newman.

Normal therapy is designed to be completed during a limited time period.  The patient may be emotionally bound through the transference process to his or her therapist for a period of time.  However, health comes through the ending of the transference process and the restoration of the patient’s own sense of self and emotional independence.  Not so in Newman’s “social therapy.”  The process of transference, and therefore dependence upon the therapist, is never ending!

The difficulty is that the “proletarian ego”-read “emotional dependence on Newman”-withers away only when the proletarian state withers away.  Since the creation of a proletarian state does not appear to be imminent in the United States or any other advanced country, and further, since all attempts to create such states have so far led to growth rather than withering away, the patient must remain dependent on Newman indefinitely.  In the case of Newman’s oldest adherents, this dependency has persisted for more than twenty-five years!

The doctrines explicitly developed in this book continued to guide Newman’s practice right up to the current period.  Dr. Lenora Fulani, the group’s spokesperson, wrote in 1989:  “One of the earliest statements on the foundations of Social Therapy is contained in a book written by Newman in 1974 entitled Power and Authority.  It states that psychic and emotional life in contemporary society reflects the political and economic degeneration of capitalism.”22

The International Workers Party and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Having founded the IWP, Fred Newman was not quite sure what to do with it.  For a brief period he sought unification with various small Trotskyist groups as well as Marlene Dixon’s Democratic Workers Party (see chapter 9).  In June 1975 the Newmanites were admitted into the Peoples Party, a forerunner of the Citizens Party that ran Barry Commoner for president in 1980.  A bitter internal struggle ensued, which almost destroyed the small party.  The group was expelled in March 1978.23

It was in this period that Fred Newman developed a curious relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  In April 1974 Jim Retherford left the therapy cult.  He had had a child with Ann Green, a devoted member who stayed with Newman.  After Newman took his followers into the NCLC, Retherford, not wanting his son to be raised by people he viewed as crazy, took him away without the mother’s permission and left town.  Green appealed to Newman who enlisted the help of two young lawyers, one named Harry Kresky, who were cult members.  Together they developed a strategy that they hoped would enlist the aid of the federal government in finding Retherford and the child.

The lawyers contacted the FBI and arranged a meeting between Green and its agents.  Green told them that Retherford was a former member of the Weather Underground and maintained relations with Jane Alpert, at that time a fugitive.  Kresky met with representatives of the U.S. attorney in New York, giving them the same information.

The matter was brought out into the open in 1976.  A meeting was held at St. Gregory’s Church on the Upper West Side to form the New York State Working Peoples Party, a forerunner of the New Alliance Party.  A group called the Communist Cadre, which had recently split from Newman’s IWP, issued a statement primarily devoted to the Retherford matter.24  They accused Newman of working with the FBI.  The IWP, in an answer to the charges, admitted that the events had occurred but held three members, not Newman, responsible.25  King, however, believes that it is “unthinkable” that Kresky and Green, loyal followers, could have acted without Newman’s full knowledge and approval.26

This incident raises a question fairly early on in Newman’s political evolution about the seriousness of his commitment to the left and its causes.  Our study of political cults complements the conclusions reached by those who have studied a broader array of cult types:  they operate in the interest of their leaders rather than for the purposes they are purportedly created to promote.

A West Side Story

In 1977 Fred Newman turned his attention to the politics of New York City’s Upper West Side.  The area was and is among the most sophisticated liberal political strongholds in the nation.  His activities caused concern among political activists.  Newman’s group had resurfaced as the New York City Unemployed and Welfare Council.

He caused a stir when he ran a key follower, Nancy Ross, for local school board and actually won.  The startled liberal politicos decided to look a bit deeper at Newman, his past, and his current practices.  Dennis King, who was later to write a book about Lyndon LaRouche,27 conducted an investigation of the group, interviewing over thirty people, including many former members.  For the first time Fred Newman found himself publicly accused of leading a “therapy cult.”

There are about 35 individuals in the inner circle of the cult, most living in semi-communal apartments on the Upper West Side.  Through the years, a combination of group pressure and Newman’s directive therapy had induced most of them to give up their jobs and to break off all meaningful personal ties outside the group.  Likewise they have been induced to turn over all personal property and savings to the cult.  They regard themselves as full-time organizers for the cult’s front groups, operating under tight discipline and secrecy.  They eat and pay their rent through a variety of parasitical activities, such as street corner solicitations, the practice of amateur psychotherapy, the dunning of past and present patients for “political contributions,” and the occasional plucking of an inheritance or trust fund from a patient.28

Newman acted as a “benevolent despot,” to use his own words.  “Fred’s veneer of compassion and his deep-set Rasputin-type eyes created strong transference feelings in . [his] patients.”29

“His groupies,” King explained, “cut off from the outside world and with almost every waking hour spent either in ‘busywork’ or interminable meetings (so that independent thought could be kept at a minimum), had no feedback from reality.”30

When Nancy Ross campaigned for the school board, she insisted that the IWP had been disbanded.  Newman’s front organization, the New York City Unemployed and Welfare Council, issued a statement that the party had disbanded shortly after the factional struggle in 1976.  However, Jack Finn, another reporter for Heights and Valley News, discovered that the IWP continued to exist in a “clandestine” fashion.  It issued at least a dozen issues of an internal bulletin, “Party Building.”  These bulletins referred to the ongoing work of a “central committee” and of “chairman Fred Newman.”  There were mention of the “Party” and the “work of the Party,” while the IWP was called the “apparatus.”31

We believe Fred Newman concluded from his brief experience attempting to build the IWP that he had no need for an open vanguard formation.  He recruited new members through therapy and gained political influence by working within other groups or creating broad front organizations.  However, he did have need for a clandestine vanguard formation, based on the Leninist model and made up of core therapy patients.  As we will see, there is considerable evidence that the IWP continues to exist up to the present time.

The 1977 period of activism on the Upper West Side was a learning experience for Newman and his followers.  They became skilled at operating within politically ill-defined front organizations and raising funds from guilt-ridden middle-class liberals.  Most of all Newman got a taste for electoral activity.  This would shape the rest of his political life.

The New Alliance Party

Sometime in the late l970s Newman had the great good fortune of running into Lenora Fulani, an attractive black woman who had been raised in Pennsylvania and was earning a Ph.D. in psychology at the City University of New York.  She heard Newman lecture and “was very intrigued by the progressiveness of the politics guiding his thought.”  She dropped her black lesbian Gestalt therapist and joined a Newmanite social therapy clinic full time.32

In 1979 Newman and Fulani formed the New Alliance Party (NAP).  While the politics of the new party were purposely vague, they generally reflected a progressive agenda similar to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition.  Fulani ran as the NAP candidate for lieutenant governor of New York in 1982.

In 1984 the NAP ran Dennis Serrette, a black socialist and NAP member, for president.  The party was on the ballot in thirty-three states and received 35,000 votes.  A year later Serrette broke from the NAP, accusing it of having an all-white leadership that manipulated him.  He took his charges to the Jackson Advocate, the only black newspaper in Mississippi.  The NAP sued the paper in 1986 and lost.33

In May 1985 the NAP held its founding convention in Chicago, even though it had been formed six years earlier.  Emily Carter, a black woman from Jackson, Mississippi, who called herself a “former organizer, now therapist,” was elected chairperson.34  In 1988 Fulani ran for the office of president of the United States.  The party qualified for ballot status in all fifty states and received nearly $1 million in federal matching funds and a respectable 217,219 votes.35

Fulani’s tactics in 1992 became increasingly complicated.  She began the year by entering the New Hampshire primary on the Democratic Party line.  Then the Newmanites in California joined the Peace and Freedom Party and battled to capture it.  While Newman lost that factional struggle, he nearly destroyed the small leftist party in the process.  That spring Newman and Fulani turned their attention to the growing movement around Ross Perot, the right centrist billionaire curmudgeon.  When Perot withdrew from the race in July, Fulani commented that “we’ve been stabbed in the back.”  Fulani revived her presidential bid under the NAP label.  Walter Sheasby has noted:

Fulani offered herself and the Presidential campaign as the vehicle of a Perotism sans Perot..  Fulani claimed to represent “my base-the old ‘New Deal’ coalition base of African Americans, labor, Latinos, women and gays.”  And she said to the Perot followers “and there you are.  In the radical and independent Perot base lies the potential for a new majority coalition.”36

The NAP once again qualified for ballot status in all fifty states, and this time it received $2 million in federal matching funds.  Fulani received 73,708 votes, a considerable decline from 1988 and no doubt part of the reason Newman turned toward Perot.

A Washington, D.C., newspaper has exposed the complexity of Newman’s financial maneuvers that year.  This involved running in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, where Fulani received only 402 votes out of 167,900 cast.  She then switched tactics, running in several small party primaries, including California’s Peace and Freedom.  Finally she ran on the NAP ticket.  The total budget for primary activity alone was $4,161,495, which included the matching funds.

Interestingly, some $901,495 of this money “went to organizations that share offices, phones, and leadership with the NAP.”  This permitted a process of “double-dipping,” whereby members of the NAP, working for various front organizations, were paid with campaign funds and in turn made campaign contributions that qualified for federal matching funds.  While campaign funds are required by law to be spent on campaigning or returned to donors, the NAP, by spending a large portion of its funds on individuals and organizations associated with Newman, saw to it that the core group prospered.  For example, “Fred Newman Productions received $68,925 in retainers for Newman’s services as campaign manager.”37

Life Among the Newmanites

Loren Redwood, a lesbian who fell in love with a Newmanite, told her story in a letter to a gay newspaper in San Francisco:

My experience with NAP was a nightmare.  I am a white, working class lesbian and met NAP in Indiana where I was living at the time.  NAP was in Indiana petitioning to put Fulani’s name on the ballot there.  I was so excited and so moved to find that a black woman was running for president that I immediately began working for the campaign.  I also fell in love with a woman working on the campaign.  When it came time for NAP to leave Indiana, she asked me to go with them, and I did..  I was given 48 hours to prepare.  I quit my job, left my home, my friends, put my belongings in storage, found a home for my pet, and gave the use of my car to NAP in exchange for their taking over the payments..

As a working class lesbian, I thought I had finally found a political movement which included me.  What I found instead was an oppressive, disempowering, misogynistic machine.  All my decisions were made for me by someone else.  I was told where to go, and who to go with.  I worked seven days a week-sixteen to twenty hours a day (I had two days off in two and a half months).  There was an incredible urgency which overrode any personal needs or considerations, an urgency that meant complete self-sacrifice..  I felt totally powerless over my life, forced into a very submissive role where all control of my life belonged to someone else.  I had given up everything for the campaign, my job, my home and my support system, I felt desperate.

Another strange aspect of NAP is what they call social therapy.  This is political therapy founded by Fred Newman..  [I]t was expected that I enter social therapy and I did attend a few sessions..  My position on political issues was dictated to me by NAP-independent thought was discouraged.  We were all part of something bigger than ourselves and were of one mind.  I felt personally threatened, like I was being absorbed into something and was losing myself..  I was completely exhausted, so tired I was unable to work well.  Being unable to work I had no income, as I was expected to raise my salary myself in addition to raising money for the campaign..  I was very frightened.  I was in a strange city, I knew no one really except my lover, who couldn’t help me:  I had no job, no home and no money.  At this point I was feeling very suicidal.

It’s been four months since I left the campaign and I am putting my life back together piece by piece.38

This report is interesting in a number of respects.  First, it documents one method of recruitment to the Newmanite cult:  a person is attracted to one of the political projects sponsored by Newman, in this case the NAP, and is then urged to take group therapy.  Only those who combine political activism with therapy are considered solid core members of the group.

Second, we are given a picture of the intensity and time-consuming nature of the group’s political activity.  Loren Redwood felt “an incredible sense of urgency which overrode any personal needs.”  This in turn has a disorienting and numbing effect upon the recruit.  Her feelings and experience is identical to that reported to us by members of such groups as the Workers Revolutionary Party, the Militant Group, the Democratic Workers Party, and the LaRoucheites.  It helps explain how a politically oriented cult can produce the same degree of total control over members as religious cults.

Third, the Newmanites carry out a practice that is common among religious cults but not used as extensively by political cults.  This is having members quit their jobs, move into common quarters with other members, and solicit funds from the public to support the organization as well as themselves.  This increases the recruit’s isolation from civil society as well as his or her dependence upon the group for survival.  We have found this practice among the LaRoucheites (chapter 5), NATLFED (chapter 12), and Synanon (chapter 8).

Not all recruits have joined the cult through political activity and been steered toward social therapy.  Many seek out therapy because of emotional disturbances, only to find themselves sucked into Newmanite political groups.  Berlet reported this experience of an East Coast Latina activist:

I first came into contact with the Social Therapy Institutes through a friend who said there was a group that offered therapy for people with progressive views so I went to see what they offered..

Before and after the therapy session, they would say “why not sell the newspaper” or “maybe you could do us a favor and hand out those leaflets.”  The therapy offices were full of their political propaganda.  In the group therapy sometimes we discussed politics and their political party.

Some people get involved because they think the political work will help them get better emotionally.  They told us societal problems are making people ill and the New Alliance Party is going to change things so people get better.39

M. Ortiz, a single mother living in the Bronx, became involved in social therapy in 1985 in a similar fashion.

The trouble wasn’t “in our head,” but “in the world,” we learned.. Through Social Therapy, I was conditioned to relate to my personal history in exclusively political terms.  My family’s problems and subsequent poverty-and all my suffering-were all the result of the government’s imperialist invasion of Puerto Rico..  But consciousness-raising in itself was not enough.  Our individual development and growth, we were told, was dependent upon the group’s.

Only by embracing this psycho-therapeutic doctrine could I hope to change what it meant to be a “poor, working-class Puerto-Rican woman..”  [T]he “cure” for my depression and anxiety was ultimately conditional upon my becoming a serious political activist.

When I finally left the cult in July of 1990-after finally becoming disgusted with the totalitarian internal structure which, in my opinion, basically relies on slave labor for profit in the name of justice and empowerment-I had to literally rebuild my life.40

Individual distress is manipulated to transform the patient into a political activist under the total control of the therapist or the revolutionary leader.  The new “family” of fellow cultists replaces the traditional family and friends.  The followers become completely dependent upon Newman for their sense of self-esteem.  “When Newman was happy, everyone was happy,” commented one former member.  “When he was angry, everyone was terrified.”41

Organic Leaders:  Jackson, Farrakhan, Sharpton

Antonio Gramsci originated the concept of the “organic intellectual.”  In contrast to “traditional intellectuals,” such as clerics, teachers, and other professionals, Gramsci believed each social class created organically out of its own members a stratum capable of generalizing that class’s historic mission and projecting its hegemony over society as a whole.  Since he believed that the capability of being an intellectual is in all human beings, he was convinced that the working class could and would develop its own organic intellectuals.  This aspect of his thinking could be interpreted as more democratic than Lenin’s approach.

Lenin-particularly in What Is to Be Done?-advocated building a party composed exclusively of full-time professional revolutionaries drawn from the traditional intellectuals.  This vanguard would bring socialism from “outside” the working class into the proletarian milieu.  It matters little the degree to which Lenin may or may not have modified this view in a later period.  What is critical is that so many on the left, including virtually all cultists, have been influenced by this vanguardist “from the outside” theory.  Newman learned his Lenin from LaRouche.42

Fred Newman operated on the basis of both concepts of leadership.  He viewed his core group as a vanguard formation, made up overwhelmingly of white, middle-class, traditional intellectuals.  His elite members were professionals in two ways:  They largely worked full time for Newmanite fronts, and, in many cases, they were professional therapists.

Newman’s concept of “organic leaders,” borrowed from Gramsci, was given a decidedly undemocratic twist.  For Newman the term “organic” became a code word meaning “people of color.”  Organic leaders were therefore prominent black spokespersons with real bases of support in the black community and wide media recognition.  He embraced these “organic leaders” uncritically, but they were just so much window dressing to be used as a way of advancing the interests of the secretive vanguard made up of white traditional intellectuals.  The result was a manipulative and undemocratic relationship.

The Newmanites’ first major foray into organizing around an “organic leader” involved support of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition and his 1984 and 1988 Democratic Party presidential bids.  Declaring “Two Roads Are Better Than One,” Lenora Fulani announced support of Jackson while at the same time fielding her own independent candidacy under the New Alliance Party banner.43 Then, in an interesting and self-serving twist, the Newmanites organized the Rainbow Lobby.  The group, headed by Nancy Ross, had almost the same name as Jackson’s organization and an identical program.  However, it was not authorized by Jackson, was totally controlled by Newman, and raised its own independent funds to the tune of more than $1 million a year.44  In 1992 the Lobby was closed down and the lobbying firm Ross and Green was formed.  The “Ross” of Ross and Green is the very same Nancy Ross, former school board member from the Upper West Side and head of the Rainbow Lobby.45  The “Green” was Ann Green, whom we met earlier working with the FBI.  [Correction:  Deborah Greene co-founded Ross & Green, it was not Ann Green.]

The next “Organic Leader” to catch Newman and Fulani’s attention was Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, noted for his anti-Semitic rantings.  This is particularly interesting because, in the LaRouche cohabitation period, Newman shared NCLC’s extremely hostile (bordering on racist) attitude toward black nationalists.  The NAP moved its national headquarters to Chicago in order to be closer to Farrakhan.  In 1995, after Newman’s dissolution of the NAP and turn toward Perot, he ran a full page advertisement in the Village Voice entitled “Never Again! A New Pledge for the Jewish Community,” saluting the Million Man March.  It featured a photo of Newman, Farrakhan, and Fulani, and was signed “Dr. Fred Newman, Convenor, Jews for Farrakhan.”46

Soon Newman added the Reverend Al Sharpton to the organic roster.  Sharpton developed a particularly close relationship to the Newmanites during the period he was conducting confrontational marches through Howard Beach and promoting Tawana Brawley, whose tale of rape by white assailants has been proved to be a fabrication.  Sharpton has developed a reputation as an anti-white demagogue and has clashed with New York City’s Jewish community.  The Newmanites even rented office space to Sharpton and put him on their payroll as a $12,000 a year consultant.47

Noting the connections with Farrakhan and Sharpton, Dennis King wrote in 1992 that the NAP has “unsevered ties to anti-Semitism.”  Newman is Jewish but this did not prevent him from saying that “Jews ‘as a people’ have made a pact with ‘the devil’ to serve as the ‘storm-troopers of decadent capitalism against people of color the world over.'”48

Overall the Newmanites gained a high profile and significant membership growth in the decade between 1982 and 1992.  Newman expanded his base beyond the Upper West Side with therapy centers throughout New York City, as well as in Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; Jackson, Mississippi; and elsewhere.  During its first ten years of operations Newman’s core group numbered between thirty and forty people.  By the end of the next decade, Newman had several hundred core followers and significant political influence.  In 1992 NAP-related businesses employed fifty-six people and brought in at least $3.5 million a year.  The East Side Institute for Social Therapy alone reported sales in excess of $400,000 a year.49

Lenora Fulani was a popular, media-savvy spokesperson who received considerable, and largely favorable, press attention.  The potent combination of the NAP election campaigns with high-profile identification with Jackson, Farrakhan, and Sharpton made Lenora Fulani a well-known public figure.  However, the political winds were shifting to the right.  Discontent in America was finding a new path for expression:  Ross Perot.  Was this tiny white billionaire with his folksy manners and Texan twang a new “organic leader?”  If so, of what class?

A Pact with Ross Perot

Beginning in 1992 Ross Perot developed a movement around his quixotic personality.  He drew almost exclusively from whites, was particularly popular with small businessmen and people who lived in smaller cities and towns, and pulled support almost equally from the Democratic and Republican parties.  His politics were generally right of center.  He was anti-government, strongly against political action committees (PACs), and for electoral reform; he favored a balanced budget and welfare reform.  Perhaps his most popular position was his strong stance against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).  His economic nationalism gained him some support among workers hurt by job competition from south of the border.  Many voted for him because he was very rich and therefore beholden to no special interests (except, of course, himself).  The Perot movement definitely represented a radical departure from the traditional two-party system.  However, there is no evidence that this departure was in a left direction.

In 1993, immediately after the 1992 elections, Fulani met with Nicholas Sabatine III, a small-town Pennsylvania attorney, and helped form the Patriot Party.  In April 1994 the NAP officially dissolved into the Patriot Party.  The National Patriot Party was formed with Sabatine as national chair and Fulani as chair for New York State.  The apparatus of the Patriot Party was, for all intents and purposes, controlled by the Newmanites.50  The Patriot Party was, to quote Fulani, “based on the principles of democracy, fiscal responsibility, government accountability and a deep commitment to inclusivity and diversity.”  Many on the left view “fiscal responsibility” as a code meaning cuts in benefits to the poor.  According to Sabatine the party supported privatization of Social Security and a flat tax, hardly progressive positions.51

In 1994 Fulani ran in the New York State Democratic primary against Governor Mario Cuomo.  She received 142,000 votes, or 21 percent of the vote.  She then switched her support to businessman Tom Golisano, helping to create the Independence Party.  That party received 217,000 votes.52  The Independence Party, like the Patriot Party, was a forerunner of the Reform Party.

In 1996, Ross Perot, who had resisted forming a third party, preferring to run as an independent, permitted the formation of the Reform Party.  The problem facing Perot was how to get his party on the ballot in all fifty states in order to qualify for federal matching funds.  His supporters were, by and large, enthusiastic but disorganized and politically untrained.  Newman came to the rescue, throwing his cultists once again into a grueling nationwide ballot drive.  Russell J. Verney, national coordinator of the Reform Party and a Perot confidante, stated to the New York Times in 1996 that “Mr. Perot was aware and appreciative of the role Ms. Fulani and Dr. Newman have played in helping the Reform Party.  ‘They are just one voice in a very big group of individuals.'”53

At Newman’s and Fulani’s urging, the Patriot Party and the New York Independence Party affiliated with the Reform Party.  Verney recalled that, faced with the need to get 90,000 voters registered in the Reform Party in California, he called Jim Mangia, the chairman of that state’s Patriot Party.  Mangia was formerly a member of the New Alliance Party.  Having succeeded in registering 120,000 voters, Mangia was made secretary of the state Reform Party.54  In 1999 he assumed the same post in the national party.

In 1997 Richard Lamb, who was defeated by Ross Perot in his effort to become the Reform Party’s presidential candidate, split away to form the American Reform Party.  “They resented what they said was autocratic management of the party from Dallas,” the Chicago Tribune reported.  “In Illinois, additional resentment had grown over the presence in the party’s governing structure of former supporters of Lenora Fulani and the largely defunct New Alliance Party.”55

In 1998 Lenora Fulani organized the Democracy Slate of candidates for the State Committee of the Independence Party.  Both Fulani and Newman were on that slate.  She took over control of the party and then ran as the party’s candidate for Lieutenant Governor.56  The Independence Party’s platform calls for “fiscal conservatism.”  It states, “Wherever possible, we prefer to minimize the role of government, transferring needed activities into the private sector through privatization.”  It favors an alteration of civil service requirements to make it easier to discharge government workers, a one-year New York residency requirement for welfare benefits, no welfare for illegal aliens, public funding for private schools, and more cops.57

From early on Newman has displayed little interest in the political programs of the parties he participated in, such as the Democratic Party; or set up and controlled, as in the case of the NAP; or supported, like Farrakhan and Sharpton.  Still, until 1994, all his political machinations involved figures and parties generally considered to be on the left of American politics.  Since there is nothing even faintly liberal or progressive, not to mention socialist, about the politics of the Reform Party and affiliates, what trick of dialectics did Newman employ to justify his moving into the Perot movement?

Bill Lynch, an aide to former New York City Mayor David Dinkins came up with a cynical answer:  “We could never figure out what the New Alliance agenda was.  The one common thread was that they were always trying to move in and take over someone else’s political operation.”58

Alliance with Pat Buchanan

Political relations between the Newmanites and Pat Buchanan date back to 1996.  In an article entitled “Black Empowerment:  What Does the New Populism Mean for African-Americans?” Fulani claimed that Buchanan was being “demonized,” comparing him to Louis Farrakhan, Ross Perot, and Jesse Jackson.  Buchanan’s views were characterized as “anti-government, anti-big business, pro-people.”  Fulani saw the Reform Party as “populist, not centrist,” a populism that “cuts across the traditional labels of right, center and left.”59  She and Newman had already prepared the theoretical groundwork (read:  rationalization) for embracing Buchanan as a candidate for president on the Reform Party ticket.

Chip Berlet is one of the few political commentators to note Fulani’s shift to the right and to begin to develop a theoretical understanding of its broader implications.  He notes that the extreme right wing has developed a “producerist narrative” which pits “hard-working productive middle-class and working-class” people against a rich elite and a socially parasitic welfare class.  This movement is sometimes called “Middle American Nationalism” or the “Radical Center” or “Middle American Radicals.”  It is narrowly nationalist and isolationist, opposes free trade, and is against big government and business.  However, it also tends to be homophobic, racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic.60  Some leftists have become confused by the “anti-war” and anti-globalist demagogy of these rightists.  Fulani and Newman are contributing to that confusion.

Buchanan’s interest in Newman and Fulani stems from their power within the Reform Party as well as from the proven ability of their cult followers to put the party on state ballots.  At the 1999 Dearborn Convention of the Reform Party, Lenora Fulani received 45 percent of the vote for the position of vice-chair.61  They dominate the New York, Illinois, and California parties, and have extensive influence elsewhere.

Fulani and Newman have thrown their considerable support behind Pat Buchanan’s primary campaign.  On November 11, 1999, Fulani announced that she would serve as co-chair of Buchanan’s campaign.  “In traditional political terms, Pat Buchanan stands for all things that black progressives such as myself revile,” Fulani stated.  “So how can we get to be standing here together with me endorsing his candidacy?  Because we have a common interest in overthrowing the traditional political terms.”62  We are reminded of the German Communist Party in the early 1930s, which campaigned using the slogan “Hitler First, Then Us.”  There never was a second.

Fulani has framed Buchanan as “a mighty powerful spokesperson for issues of political reform” whose appeal goes “beyond ideology …  beyond issues of left, center and right.”63  When asked on Cable News Network (CNN) about Buchanan’s views on gay rights and abortion, she said that she could overlook them because Buchanan “can play a role as a unifier, bring everybody together.”64  In another interview Fulani said “We’re hoping he gets 10 to 15 percent of the vote.”  Newman added that such a result “keeps the dollars coming in, and it keeps us as America’s major minor party.”  When asked what would happen if Buchanan actually won the presidency, Newman cynically answered “Then we’re all in trouble.”65

It seems quite clear from the above that the Newmanite support for Buchanan is rooted more in opportunism than in ideology.  This fits with a pattern of political opportunism that goes back for decades.  Their past support for Farrakhan despite his anti-Semitism prepared them for their current role in Buchanan’s camp.  Hard as it is to believe, the core members of this group, believing themselves to be progressives, even Marxists, will carry out Newman’s instructions to advance the agenda of a man whose most recent book claims it was a mistake to oppose Hitler.

The Clandestine Party

We have noted that in 1976 Newman claimed to have dissolved the International Workers Party.  However, a reporter on the Upper West Side discovered that the party was never actually dissolved.  The evidence suggests that the IWP continues to exist today.  Cathy Hollandberg-Serrette, who left the NAP in 1985 with Dennis Serrette, reported that, at the time she left, “the IWP was alive and well with about 150 members in NAP.”  Sheila McCue, who was associated with Serrette, also confirmed the existence of the IWP.66  M. Ortiz reported that in the period between 1985 and 1990:  “I was drawn in the group’s underground web of pseudo-revolutionary cult activity-The International Workers Party..  Once indoctrinated, most IWP cadre are immediately divested of all assets and assigned mandatory fundraising quotas (ranging from $75-300 per week), and bi-weekly IWP ‘dues,’ which combined with Social Therapy fees, ranges from 15-30% of their income.”67  Wittes referred in 1994 to “a sub-rosa political core made up of the underground remnants of a self-declared Marxist-Leninist revolutionary organization.”  He stated that “at least five ex-members confirmed the continued existence of the IWP..”68

The New York Times interviewed Newman in 1996, describing him as “a 61-year-old white-bearded man who looks like Santa Claus after a bohemian makeover.”  The interview took place in a loft in downtown Manhattan “scattered with mementos of Ché Guevara.”  Newman came up with an interesting explanation for his support of the Reform Party:  “It’s like the left going into unions controlled by gangsters.  You have a chance to make a statement to the rank and file, and then maybe you can do something about the gangsters.”69

This indicates that Newman still thinks like the Leninist operator he was in the days of LaRouche.  His cadres, his comment suggests, sustain a long- term “left” goal.  The route has turned out to be more circuitous than it had originally appeared to be in his “Marxist-Leninist-Maoist” days.  Yet they believe that, someday and somehow, world progress is being served.  In the meantime his therapeutically enslaved minions operate within the Reform Party and, in some places, control its apparatus.  Political influence and power clearly please Newman and Fulani, while activism keeps the client/organizers busy, their minds empty, and their loyalties guaranteed.

The potential danger in this situation is not to be ignored.  After all, Jesse Ventura, a wrestler, ran on the Reform Party ticket in Minnesota in 1998 and won, becoming governor.  Considering the public’s disgust with the two major parties, it is not to be excluded that the Reform Party can win again.  That could place parasitic Newmanites into positions of influence.  Once in power, their allegiance would not be to the voters but to their guru Fred Newman.  The Newmanites’ support for Pat Buchanan has already had the negative and dangerous effect of assisting a right-wing demagogue in channeling legitimate dissatisfaction in a fascistic direction.

Today, in addition to his secretive political activities, Fred Newman considers himself a playwright.  He is also the artistic director of the Castillo Theater, an “interactive growth theater,” which is a form of therapy directed toward people of color.  He is the director of training at the East Side Institute for Short Term Psychotherapy and has written several books that are featured at his Castillo Bookstore.  He operates the West Coast Center for Social Therapy in San Francisco and similar centers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and other cities.  He describes these centers as “a unique ‘laboratory’-the 25-year-old development community of thousands of people who are living more developmental and joyous lives and helping thousands more to do so.”70

For all the deprivations he has demanded over the years from his followers, he, like other gurus, is not living that badly himself.  In the fall of 1993 he purchased, together with long-time member Susan Massad, a large Greenwich Village brownstone at 60 Bank Street for $928,000.  Revolution combined with therapy can be profitable.

Conclusion:  New Age Leninism

It should come as no surprise that Fred Newman, Lenora Fulani, and other spokespeople for the group do not share our assessment that they run a cult.  In fact in 1993 they took legal action against the FBI for characterizing them as a “political/cult organization.”71  Lenora Fulani stated that “the word ‘cult’ is a weapon, a murderously vicious, anti-democratic weapon used to attack people who are different in any way:  religiously, politically, culturally or otherwise..  There is no such thing as a cult [emphasis in original].”72  At the time Fulani and Newman’s lobbying arm, Ross and Green, was running a campaign in defense of the Branch Davidians after the Waco disaster.

Of course, if cults do not exist, then the Newmanites could not possibly be a cult.  The difficulty with this position comes when we confront events like the Jonestown massacre or the more recent Heaven’s Gate suicides.  Are we dealing in these cases simply with people who are “different,” or is there something more sinister involved, which requires serious inquiry?

Fulani and Newman’s defense of religious cults like the Branch Davjdians,73 is a recognition of a commonality with them.  In other words, if Fulani is wrong and cults do exist, then her statement represents a form of identification with the world of cults.  What she is really saying is that these groups are just “different” like us.

A study of the Newmanites deepens our understanding of other political cults as well as the cult phenomenon as a whole.  This is because Fred Newman’s therapeutic approach exposes the essential mechanisms of mind control utilized, though not necessarily admitted to, by all cults.  The Newmanites display another interesting feature.  Their preservation, though in clandestine fashion, of a Leninist cadre organization, suggests the usefulness of vanguard ideology to political cults.  LaRouche, for example, has sustained this side of his thinking during his travel to the extreme right of the political spectrum (see chapter 5).

This outlook has contributed to the manipulative nature of their political activity.  Newman, particularly after his LaRouchian period, has been relatively unconcerned with the content of politics, while becoming extremely adept at its practice.  This has permitted him to support anti-Semitic black leaders, build a vaguely defined left party, run in Democratic Party primaries, support the right centrist Reform Party, and finally assist Pat Buchanan in his presidential bid.  Politics is conceived as something to be practiced to achieve influence and power as well as to lead to growth of his core group.

Newman has become a New Age Leninist.  While his group has been wildly successful when we look at its meager beginnings in a West Side apartment, it does have its limits.  The Newmanites have learned better than most political cults how to successfully manipulate the American political arena and the media.  Yet they remain a small group.  One estimate does not give them more than a hundred core members today.74  However, these members are highly skilled political operatives, hard-working and motivated, and they function with lockstep discipline.  Newman has done considerable political damage in the past.  Given the state of politics in the United States, he may emerge as a serious threat to democratic processes in the future.

Notes

1.      B. Shapiro, “Buchanan-Fulani:  New Team?” Nation, November 1, 1999, P.  21.

2.      D. King, “West Side ‘Therapy Cult’ Conceals Its True Aims,” Heights and Valley News, November 1977, p. 14.

3.      C. Berlet, Clouds Blue the Rainbow:  The Other Side of the New Alliance Party (Cambridge, MA:  Political Research Associates.  December 1987).

4.      F. Newman, Power and Authority:  The Inside View of Class Struggle (New York:  Centers for Change, 1974), p. 1.

5.      Berlet, Clouds, p. 3.

6.      Newman, Power, p. vi.

7.      Berlet, Clouds, p. 3.

8.      Newman, Power, p. xvi.

9.      Ibid., p. xii.

10.    Ibid., p. xii-xii.

11.    Right on Time, May II, 1974.  This was the publication of Newman’s Center for Change.

12.    Right on Time, March 7, 1974.

13.    Newman, Power, p. 113.

14.    Ibid., p. 3.

15.    Ibid., before p. 1.

16.    Ibid., p. 113

17.    Ibid., p. 112.

18.    Ibid.

19.    Ibid., p. 74.

20.    Ibid., p. 112.

21.    Ibid., p. 123.

22.    Z Magazine, May 1989.

23.    W.C. Sheasby, A Brief History of Coalition:  Third Parties and the Rocky Road to the White House (Sierra Madre, CA, 1996).  Sheasby was a Green Party congressional candidate in California’s twenty-seventh district.

24.    Press release issued by Workers and Oppressed Unite, dated May 2, 1976.

25.    “IWP Admits Snitching To FBI!” undated statement issued by the above group sometime shortly after May 5, 1976.

26.    King, “West Side ‘Therapy Cult,'” p. 16.

27.    D. King, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism (New York:  Doubleday, 1989).

28.    King, “West Side ‘Therapy Cult,'” p. 14.

29.    Ibid.

30.    Ibid., pp. 14-18.

31.    J. Finn, “Proof:  Therapy Cultists Lied to Community,” Heights and Valley News (New York), holiday season, 1977, p. 18.

32.    B. Shapiro, “Dr. Fulani’s Snake-Oil Show,” Nation, May 4, 1992, p. 586.

33.    Ibid., 587.

34.    Berlet, Clouds, p. 1.

35.    L. Fulani, Lenora s Political History, http://www.fulani.org.

36.    Sheasby, Brief, p. 4.

37.    B. Wittes, “Lenora and the Money-Go-Round,” Washington City Paper (Washington, DC), July 8, 1994.

38.    Coming Up! (San Francisco), January 1989.

39.    Berlet, Clouds, p. 7.

40.    “Statement Issued by M. Ortiz” (Cult Awareness Network Meeting, New York, June 16, 1993).

41.    Shapiro, “Snake Oil,” p. 592.

42.    A. Gramsci, The Modern Prince and Other Writings (New York:  International, 1957), pp. 118-125; G. Vacca, “Intellectuals and the Marxist State,” in Approaches to Gramsci, ed. Anne Showstack Sassoon (London:  Writers and Readers, 1982) pp. 63-67.

43.    Berlet, Clouds, p. 7.

44.    Ibid., p. 9.

45.    J. and T. R. Goldman Cohen, “Controversial Lobbyists Stirring Up Waco Fight,” Legal Times (Washington, DC), May 2, 1994.

46.    “Never Again!” Village Voice (New York):  November 5, 1995, p. 5.

47.    Shapiro, “Snake Oil,” p. 587.

48.    D. King, letter to the editor, New York Times, August 13, 1992.

49.    Shapiro, “Snake Oil,” p. 587.

50.    Sheasby, Brief History, p. 2.

51.    F. Bruni, “Perot and Populist Group See Benefits in an Alliance,” New York Times, August 21, 1996.

52.    Fulani, History, p. 2.

53.    Bruni, “Perot.”

54.    Ibid.

55.    R. Worthington, “Ex-Perot Stalwarts Establish New Party,” Chicago Tribune, October 6, 1997.

56.    L. Fulani, The Democracy Slate, http://www.fulani.org.

57.    The Platform of the Independence Party of New York, http://www.fulani.org.

58.    Bruni, “Perot.”

59.    Originally posted online circa February 1996 by the Committee for a Unified Independent Party.  See http://www.publiceye.org.

60.    Buchanan, Fulani, Perot and the Reform Party, http://www.publiceye.org.

61.    Shapiro, “Buchanan.”

62.    S. McCaffrey, “Lenora Fulani Endorses Buchanan,” Associated Press, November 12, 1999.

63.    Ibid.

64.    “Reform Party Warming to Buchanan,” Washington Post, September 20, 1999.

65.    J. Bennet, “The Cable Guys,” New York Times Magazine, October 24, 1999, p. 79.

66.    T. Kingston, “The Seedy Side of the Rainbow,” in Coming Up! (San Francisco), November 1988.

67.    See note 40.

68.    Wittes, “Money Go Round.”

69.    Bruni, “Perot.”

70.    Posted on the Internet at http://webpsych and at http://www.pond.com.

71.    Ross and Green, What Is the Cult Awareness Network and What Role Did It Play in Waco? (Washington, DC:  WRS, 1993), p. 10.

72.    L. Fulani, We Must Stand Up for Democracy! (New York:  Castillo Communications, May 23, 1993).

73.    M. Breault, and M. King, Inside the Cult (New York:  Signet, 1993); B. Bailey and B. Darden, Mad Man in Waco (Waco, TX:  WRS, 1993).

74.    Shapiro, “Buchanan,” p. 22.

For more information, go to:  http://www.timwohlforth.com/edge.html.

By George Gurley
The New York Observer, December 6, 1999

Right now, Fred Newman is best known as the man behind Lenora Fulani, an African-American psychologist and two-time Presidential candidate who is a major force in the Reform Party. Recently, Mr. Newman and Ms. Fulani had lunch at the Essex House with Pat Buchanan, who is hoping to be the Reform Party’s candidate for President. Ms. Fulani ended up endorsing him and is now his campaign co-chair. All this resulted in jeers, derision, comparisons to the Hitler-Stalin pact, a lot of publicity for Ms. Fulani & and a few mentions in the press of that character in the shadows, Mr. Newman.

Mr. Newman, 64, is a psychotherapist, playwright and self-styled Marxist revolutionary whose organization has its headquarters at 500 Greenwich Street. Every few years, journalists take him apart and repeat accusations (he’s an anti-Semite, he runs a cult, he brainwashes people, etc.), but somehow he survives and prospers.

He presides over what he calls “a development community.” It’s made up of a small clique of members who’ve been following Mr. Newman for decades and a couple hundred worker bees who have joined more recently. Together, Mr. Newman and his followers run therapy centers around the country, as well as a theater and a talent show network for inner-city kids.

As you get off the elevator at the Greenwich Street headquarters, to the left is the East Side Center for Short-Term Social Therapy, to the right is the Castillo Theater (most recent production: Mr. Newman’s musical comedy, The Last Temptation of William Jefferson) and beyond that is a telemarketing room, where volunteers raise money every evening.

It doesn’t feel like New York City in there, but more like a community arts center in the Midwest. You see beaming faces, normal faces and a few blank ones, too.

On a Friday afternoon, Gabrielle Kurlander, 36, was sitting on a couch in her office. She acts in and directs Mr. Newman’s plays. Since 1990, she has run the All-Stars Talent Show Network.

Ms. Kurlander was wearing a Giorgio Armani pinstripe jacket, black sweater, black skirt. Behind her were some of Mr. Newman’s books – among them, Let’s Develop!, in which he lays out his philosophy and offers handy exercises like: “Do something wrong just for the sake of saying ‘I was completely wrong!'”

Ms. Kurlander said she moved to Manhattan from Ithaca, N.Y., to be an actress. She soon found a place in the community and began pounding nails, sweeping floors, recruiting and attending group therapy sessions led by Mr. Newman, who became her boyfriend 11 years ago.

“He’s somebody that I’m very, very close to and have tremendous respect for,” Ms. Kurlander said. “I think he’s very, very smart.” She laughed. “He’s not a guru, he’s not a cult leader, he’s just someone who people follow,” Ms. Kurlander said. “There is a grouping of us who’ve given our lives to this. I get paid now. I didn’t used to get paid, and probably if I wasn’t paid tomorrow, I’d still be doing this.”

Roger Grunwald, the publicist for the Newman group, was present for the interview with Ms. Kurlander, taking notes on a yellow pad.

Enter Mr. Newman, wearing a leather jacket over a button-down shirt, green slacks and New Balance running shoes. Early on, he talked about Pat Buchanan: “I hardly know him,” Mr. Newman said. “He seems like a decent man. Pat, when he was a kid, he was a tough Irish working-class kid who beat everyone up.”

Ms. Kurlander howled at the remark.

Mr. Newman said he likes Mr. Buchanan’s “smarts” and doesn’t think he’s an anti-Semite: “I’m a Jew, a Jew all my life, and I can smell anti-Semites. He doesn’t smell like an anti-Semite.”

Mr. Newman, who has long supported the Palestine Liberation Organization and criticized the American Jewish establishment, has also been called an anti-Semite. In 1985, he told a convention that Jews “are the stormtroopers of decadent capitalism against people of color the world over.”

“I’m hardly an anti-Semite, which is what I’ve been charged with,” he said. “But it’s been played up and it plays well for political purposes in some people’s hands and people make use of it and I’m not complaining.”

Mr. Newman then held forth on a number of subjects, including Donald Trump’s “soak the rich” plan. (Doesn’t go far enough, he said.) Ms. Kurlander laughed when appropriate; Mr. Grunwald was silent for the 45-minute session.

I suggested that Mr. Newman and I might be left alone, which Ms. Kurlander found very amusing: “Would you prefer that? Ha-ha-ha-ha! Have a private interview?”

Mr. Newman put Karl Marx at the top of his list of thinkers. “Marx’s thought has so permeated all of sociology,” he said. “And Bill Clinton is a Marxist. It’s taught in all the schools, whether it’s called that or not.”

Will his own work survive?

“History will let us know whether it’s worth anything or nothing, and we say that to each other constantly & Yes! I think it will survive.”

Fred Newman, whatever he is, has had an amazing New York life. He was born in 1935. His father, a salesman, died when he was 9. His mother raised five kids on welfare and ran serious poker games and rented out rooms in their house a half-block from Yankee Stadium. Mr. Newman sold baseball stuff there and his mother would talk to players like Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra as they walked by; the players called her Grandma Sadie.

He hated school, but tested well enough to get into Stuyvesant High School. At 19, he volunteered to serve in Korea, partly to escape a painful love affair. Back home, he attended City College of New York, majored in philosophy, married at 22, lost his virginity and got into Stanford University, where he earned a doctorate in philosophy.

Then he started teaching at City College. In 1966, one of his students asked for an A to avoid the draft. Professor Newman said O.K., started giving A’s to everyone, and was eventually fired from six more schools around the country.

By this time, he and his wife had two kids. (His son was severely brain damaged at birth and has spent his life in an institution.) In 1967, Mr. Newman moved to Reno, Nev., for divorce purposes. He took long naps, watched the sun set, listened to the Beatles, drank a little bit, didn’t smoke pot and tried to be a writer.

He would wake up at 5:30 A.M. to work on a novel based on his mother, In the Purple Roses of Her Dying Years. Somehow it got into the hands of family members and they hated it.

Back in New York, Mr. Newman went to protests, started a political collective called “If & Then.” He read Karl Marx, Mao Zedong and Leon Trotsky, saw a therapist, became a drug rehabilitation counselor at a Queens clinic, which fired him after he organized a work stoppage. In 1970, he started up a therapy practice of his own. And that’s when it all started really happening for him.

“Suddenly, I was making money again, more than I’d ever made in my life,” he said. He and some comrades created a therapeutic community on the Upper West Side, Centers for Change. They put out two newspapers, Unite and Right on Time, and started a free school for kids and a dental clinic.

“It’s probably fair to say I was the dominant leader,” Mr. Newman said. “& It’s probably fair to say it was my followingpeople were following me. I hope I wasn’t an authoritarian oppressor, but I think that’s probably accurate to say that.”

He and his “following” joined up with Lyndon LaRouche, but pulled out in 1974 to form the International Workers Party, which aimed to organize welfare recipients. Party members raised money on the sidewalks of the Upper West Side.

In 1979, his group evolved into the New Alliance Party; in 1984, it ran a candidate for President. That was Dennis Serrette, a black activist and trade union leader from Harlem.

“Fred was introduced to me at a party,” said Mr. Serrette, 59, from his Maryland home. “His persona is a warm, sensitive, sort of jolly, twinkly Santa Claus kind of guy, one that seems always to be a good listener. Then you start figuring out that this thing is not so loose as it looks, it’s a lot tighter. Then, when you try to look under the skirt of what’s happening, you begin to look a little sharper and you hear the name Fred Newman, Fred this and Fred that, and then you start to say, Well, is this guy the messiah or what?”

Mr. Serrette said he was badgered into Mr. Newman’s brand of “social therapy.”

“It was like a piranha attack and they all take a bite out of you,” he said. “It’s like a police interrogation but not with two – you got 10 bad guys biting at you, until they sort of break your spirit or break you down. The women around Newman who carry out his bidding are the ones that really are the lieutenants, they’ll smile at you but they kick ass. But he never gets his hands dirty “he always manages to stay just beyond the fray of the fight. He will never engage you in hard discussions. The reality is he’s a shrewd tactician who runs the cult through his mistresses.”

According to Mr. Newman’s spokesman, Roger Grunwald, “Dennis Serrette ended his association with Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani 15 years ago, after his personal relationship with Dr. Fulani broke up. Since then he periodically pops up to be interviewed and to grind a very old ax.”

In 1988, Ms. Fulani ran for President and got on the ballot in all 50 states in the race. “I am your sexual preference,” went one slogan. That got the Party some attention, as did its embrace of Louis Farrakhan.

On a Thursday evening, 30 or so people were gathered in the center’s “telemarketing room” to call “old friends” for money. They were buzzing about over takeout dinners and bottled water. “Volunteer of the Month” plaques were up on a wall.

At 6:30, as the spokesman Mr. Grunwald looked on, three middle-aged women answered questions. They’d all been through Mr. Newman’s brand of therapy and said they worked the phones four times a week. One of them, Phyllis Goldberg, said someone handed her a flier on the street and she’d been there for 21 years.

“He’s hilariously funny,” Ms. Goldberg said of Mr. Newman. “He’s probably the kindest person I ever met. He’s shy. He’s very, very, very smart.”

The telemarketers got into their “performance spaces” and got their three-page scripts ready.

Doug Balder, an architect, said he does four or five shifts a week and raises up to $100,000 a year for the Newman group. He has been there 16 years.

Mr. Grunwald said to me after a while: “George, ever done something like this?” he said, smiling, headset on. “You can come back another time, we’ll train you.” Soon, he led me to the elevator. “There are a lot of people around here who don’t make phone calls,” he said. “But for the people who do it, they’ve been organized in such a way that they relate to it in the way that a person would relate to theatrical activity as a member of an ensemble. They’re all working collectively.”

“They would embrace Adolf Hitler if it would give them credibility,” said ex-Newman follower Judi Miller, a writer. Feeling “very lonely” and “isolated,” she said she joined the community in 1984 at the suggestion of her dentist. She stuffed envelopes, attended therapy sessions, sold ad space for the New Alliance newspaper. She also agreed to pay a “tithe” and reduce her lithium dosage. Over all, she lasted four years.

“I was one of the only ones not to give up my apartment, and I didn’t, because it’s rent-controlled, so that would be stupid,” she said.

(According to Mr. Grunwald, “These allegations are ridiculous, untrue and politically motivated.”)

What did Ms. Miller think of Dr. Newman?

“Don’t say doctor,” Ms. Miller said. “It’s just Fred Newman or Fred. He’s not anything to be respected, he’s a bullshit artist & You know how you realize things and you have little signals that something’s wrong here? Like, well, he’s not our lord and master. There’s something wrong with this man. It was ridiculous. It was just so dumb. I’m ashamed that I belonged to that group and I was duped.”

One of the people who helped in her two-year “detox” was Chip Berlet, of the Boston-based Political Research Associates. Mr. Berlet has studied and condemned Mr. Newman and his group: “He thinks of himself as being one of the great left thinkers of our age,” he said. “He’s actually kind of a pompous egomaniac. He’s surrounded himself with people who constantly are telling him how smart he is, which is the classic aspect of a totalitarian organization.”

Mr. Grunwald was ready for that charge: “Chip Berlet works for a left wing think tank that has received substantial funding from major Democratic Party donors,” he said. “His charges have long been discredited as partisan `dirty tricks’ directed against the independent political movement.”

Fred Newman has been ill for the last five years, with diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure. Before undergoing three hours of dialysis, he met me for lunch at the Manatus Restaurant on Bleecker Street. His large blue eyes have a dizzying effect behind the wire-rimmed glasses. “Our work is, I don’t want to misrepresent it, it’s not Freud,” he said. “But it’s been accepted by a lot of very, very mainstream, good people.”

He said he rejects the idea of the self, along with addiction, victimization and Freud’s notion of the human being as fundamentally abnormal. He thinks people are “super-alienated” these days.

“Most of the people I see in therapy,” he said, “they have good jobs, they’re doing well, they’re respectable people. They’re the people who, you’re walking down the street you’re walking by. They’re not weirdos, they’re not in Bellevue, they’re desperately unhappy.”

When he’s not working, Mr. Newman watches sports and political shows, PBS, and Charlie Rose and watches videos at home. His favorite movie ever is Marcel Carne’s Les Enfants du Paradis.

“The character who plays the mime, I don’t relate to it,” he said. “Like I don’t think it’s me, but I feel an empathy for the tragedy of his life. By the fact that he’s this brilliant, extraordinarily gifted performer but his life is so openly unfulfilling. He can’t live in the real world. In some ways he can only fully live in his world of fantasy and I wouldn’t say I see that as how I am, but I feel close to that.”

Mr. Newman rents a place in the Hamptons every summer and writes out there. He has an assistant who drives him around in a rented Lincoln Town car. He said he once took Al Sharpton to the hospital after he was stabbed and met with Louis Farrakhan twice.

“I found him a very personable, decent man,” he said. “I didn’t have any sense at all of him being anti-Semitic.”

Mr. Newman ordered a piece of rye toast and a mint tea with lemon. “I can’t really eat anymore,” he said. “I used to be bigger and much heavier. I barely eat now.”

He never wears coats in the winter. He’s social, likes people coming over, but doesn’t like getting dressed up.

“Gabrielle wanted to put some gel in my hair, so I look better, and I still find that unpleasant,” he said.

Mr. Newman likes bluegrass music, plays a little piano and guitar. Carousel may be his favorite musical. He doesn’t like Mayor Giuliani.

“I think he’s taken too much credit and he’s been racially divisive,” he said. “I don’t think he’s a particularly good man.”

He wishes the Giants and Dodgers were still in New York. And he’s always loved sex: “I’ve always enjoyed it and always had an appetite. I wouldn’t describe it as in any way abnormal. I think I’ve had sex as often as the situation called for and the other person wanted it and I wanted it, ha-ha! I think of myself as a sexual person. I like to think I’m not as abusive as men [can be]. Maybe that’s not true, not for me to say. I work hard not to be abusive toward women, I have a high regard for women. Women have played a really important role in my life. A lot of the good work in the creating of the community has been done by brilliant and powerful women.”

In American history, he admires Eugene B. Debs and is “a little partial” to Thomas Paine. He hopes the American people pick up the issue of political reform.

“I live well,” he said. But he claimed he wasn’t even sure if he has a bank account, and said he doesn’t know what an A.T.M. is. His assistant gives him money. He said he has made a fair amount from therapy, but put his personal net worth at less than a million. In fact, it’s “nothing,” he said.

He lives in an ivy-covered brownstone in Greenwich Village, which he co-purchased with a female friend for $920,000 in 1993. Mr. Newman lives in a unit with Ms. Kurlander. The rest of the place is occupied by two men and nine women, some of whom Mr. Newman has been involved with over the years.

“I feel very good and proud about it,” he said. “I think it’s disgraceful the way people who have intimate relationships break up and then hate each other for life. I find that very offensive.”

I said his living arrangements sounded like every man’s dream.

“These are my dearest, dearest friends and colleges, co-workers,” he said, “who’ve invested millions of hours to build the All-Stars Talent Show Network. That’s who we’re talking about here, and many of these people are women, and in the case of some of them, but not all of them, we’ve been close in all kinds of ways, including physically, and I feel thrilled about that.”

He continued: “It’s not a harem of people, it’s a collection of human beings, some of whom are brilliant psychologists, heads of medical services of Long Island community hospital, vice presidents of major companies. That’s who they are, and they have an integrity as that. They’re not just women to have sex with.”

After we’d been talking about an hour, Mr. Newman told me he cries fairly often.

“I cry every time I see movies,” he said. “I’m a movie crier, I cry all the time. I certainly cried during Gods and Monsters. I thought that was very touching, their relationship. I’m kind of a sucker for romantic kind of things. When movies get touching and romantic, I cry. There’s a movie with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, their comeback movie.”

It was time for a nap before dialysis.

“It’s been a good life,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate and I don’t mind talking about it.”

Posted by: exiwp | November 15, 1999

Black Folk, Reject Fulani and Buchanan! (1999)

By Charles Barron
Black Radical Congress News, November 15, 1999

They say politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is getting ridiculous. Where ever you find rich white males in the political mix, you’ll find Dr. Lenora Fulani. It doesn’t matter if they are left, right, wrong or racist. She has pushed Fred Newman, Tom Galisano, Abe Herschfield, Ross Perot, and now arch racist conservative Pat Buchanan for President. I guess it’s pragmatism over principles for Dr. Fulani. It matters not that these men have done nothing for the Black community and as for Buchanan, his repugnant, vile views are diametrically opposed to any radical, progressive or civil rights agenda we’ve ever had. Buchanan, a defender of the pre-civil war south, the good ol’ days for racist white folk, a staunch supporter of Reaganomics, a supporter of closing borders and stopping immigrants of color from reuniting with their families, is considered by many a racist, fascist bigot.

Dr. Fulani, who has considered herself a progressive independent, has spent years criticizing Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton for delivering the Black vote to the Democratic Party, and now she has the nerve to try to deliver Black folk to a racist backward thinking political misfit like Pat Buchanan. This is madness!

Buchanan Coming to Harlem

According to an article in the Friday, November 12, 1999 edition of the New York Daily News, Dr. Fulani, in her endorsement of Buchanan’s attempt to win the Reform Party nomination for the White House, stated that, “I’m going to take Pat Buchanan to 125th Street in Harlem. We’re going to have lunch at Sylvia’s, I’m going to take him to speak at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.” She further stated that, “he is not a racist or a fascist or a bigot. He is not a hater.” Nothing can be further from the truth.


Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Black Folk! Harlem! Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing!! “Everything Black ain’t really Black!” We must not allow Black leaders to peddle political views to us that will turn back the hands of time. I’ll be the first to agree with Dr. Fulani that we need an alternative to the two party system of Democrats and Republicans, however, we don’t want to go from the frying pan into the fire. Pat Buchanan and the Reform Party is not the answer. As Chairperson of the newly formed Black led multi-racial Unity Party, I firmly believe in independent radical politics. But how could you call yourself a progressive and support a regressive like Buchanan? Fortunately, I don’t believe Black Folks are going to believe Fulani’s hype on Buchanan. And fortunately, Dr. Fulani does not have much influence in the Black community. Lets stay politically vigilant and be critical analytical thinkers. When Buchanan comes to Harlem, lets hope he leaves with Dr. Fulani all by her lonesome and is not welcomed at the National Action Network’s House of Justice. The House of Justice should not be contaminated with the stench of Buchanan. We should not give a platform to a man like Buchanan. Lest we forget, Buchanan was a columnist for Rupert Murdock’s racist rage sheet called the New York Post. Anybody that Murdock gives a column to can’t be for us. Buchanan regularly castigated Blacks and Latinos in his column. From affirmative action to welfare reform to supporting the Confederate flag, he has dissed us badly. This is war. We need not provide a forum for a man whose views are well known and clearly anti-Black and anti-Latino.

Support Reparations

The new millennium will usher in election years 2000 and 20001. Black leaders will be cutting all kinds of deals with white led parties and their white candidates. Unfortunately, these deals will gain only them access and favor with these parties and candidates. Nothing will trickle down to the “hood” and make life better for us folk on a grassroots level. Let’s not give them our votes so easily. Let’s be intelligent voters. Political candidates should be given a Black political litmus test. That test should start with this question. Will you support Reparations for people of African ancestry in America and the worldwide African diaspora? We certainly deserve it. Everybody else is getting paid for America’s and Europe’s “Crimes Against Humanity.” Why not us!

In 1990, the USA paid Japanese Americans 1.2 billion dollars or $20,000 each for their containment in concentration camps during the WWII years, and the Congressional Black Caucus supported the Japanese. In 1952, Germany paid $822 million to Jewish holocaust survivors. America is paying the indigenous people, whose land they stole, millions in Reparations. No one deserves it more than they do. But why not us? We were enslaved from 1619 to 1863, the date of the so-called Emancipation Proclamation. That’s 244 years of free labor for them and “pure-de-hell” for us. Then from 1863 to 1965, the date of Civil Rights legislation, represents 102 years of legal Jim Crow apartheid like racism. From 1965 to the present we still suffer from economic, political and social oppression. They owe us big time. Here’s how they can pay us. How about no taxes for us to pay for the next 20 years? How about free education for our people from kindergarten to graduated school? How some land? How about a $50 billion down payment? That’s for starters. They can take the $50 billion from the $260 billion bloated military budget, during this time of so-called peace. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We certainly deserve it. No support for Reparations, no Black vote! Wouldn’t it be great if we all united around that proposition? Congressman John Conyers and the Congressional Black Caucus has had a bill, HR40, stuck in Committee since 1989, on Reparations. Let’s force Congress to deal with it. This is a serious “doable” issue.

We Need New Leadership

We should choose candidates based upon their positions on issues, not because a self-proclaimed Black leader is promoting and parading them among us. From supporting the KKK’s right to march, to supporting Pat Buchanan for President and providing a forum for him in Harlem, Black leaders mut not be allowed to continue to confuse the masses.

We need new leadership, principled-centered, visionary, radical progressive leadership that supports the people over the party, principles over opportunistic egocentric pragmatism, that is honest, trustworthy and does not compromise the integrity and intelligence of the Black community. Let’s bring back “Power to the People.” Black folk, in the name of Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., reject Pat Buchanan and Dr. Lenora Fulani for her political hypocrisy. Let’s keep it real, and remember, “the struggle may be long, but our victory is certain.”

Charles Barron is the President and CEO of Dynamics of Leadership, Inc., a national leadership training firm and Chairperson of the Unity Party.

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.

Posted by: exiwp | August 9, 1999

Why I’m Backing Patrick Buchanan (1999)

By Lenora Fulani
WorldNetDaily.com (1999)

My endorsement last week of Pat Buchanan for the Reform Party presidential nomination set up a news cycle of incredulity over our political alliance. In some cases, the disbelief was so extreme as to make it appear that Buchanan and I are from different planets, rather than different ideological backgrounds. We are not, however, from different planets. We’re from the same one, and it’s facing a set of economic problems and challenges so great that the left/right differential can seem like a hill of beans in comparison.

“Aha!” you say. Just as I thought! She’s an economic determinist. A classic socialist! In some respects I suppose I am. But Pat Buchanan? Hardly. Yet, he pointed out at our joint press conference, “The great goal of social justice is not being served in America today by this economy and the way it is functioning. I don’t believe we ought to take away the money or the wealth of those who have earned it legitimately. But I do believe the disparities in income in this country are becoming too great. They’re becoming outrageous, and that is not healthy. They are far greater in this society than any other democracy or democratic republic on earth. That is not healthy.”

Those disparities are unhealthy. Ten percent of America’s households own 80 percent of the country’s private wealth, leaving 20 percent of the nation’s wealth distributed among the bottom 90 percent of the population. But worse than unhealthy, they are intrinsic to the current course of globalization and financialization of the world economy as long as special interests control U.S. economic and trade policy. Pat Buchanan and I are not the only right/left partners to observe this.

The anti-NAFTA movement was propelled by a “strange bedfellows” coalition of conservative, centrist, and progressive economic populists. So was the anti-Fast Track movement which muscled Congress into rejecting the process (authorizing the president to negotiate trade deals with only an up or down vote by Congress) along with its predatory product (trade deals that boosted the profiteering of multinational corporations at the expense of American jobs and international labor and environmental standards).

But what exactly is the solution? Conservative economic nationalists like Buchanan believe we need “tax and trade policies that put America before the global economy.” On the other end of the political spectrum progressive economists, who see the corrosive effects of globalism much in the way conservatives do, argue for a different approach. William Greider wrote in The Nation that globalization “has to be slowed down, not stopped, and redirected on a new course of development that is more moderate and progressive, that promises broader benefits to almost everyone.” Greider comments on the wide disparity in wealth adding, “When rising incomes are broadly distributed, it creates mass purchasing power — fueling a virtuous cycle of growth, savings and new investment. When incomes are narrowly distributed, as they are now, the economic system feeds upon itself, eroding its own energies for expansion, burying consumers and business, even governments, in impossible accumulations of debt.”

How to address what Greider calls this “pathological” state of the U.S. economy and what Buchanan calls the “betrayal” of the American worker? Progressives argue for shifting the tax burden from labor to capital, restructuring trade terms to balance the flow of commerce, raising wages at the low end of the pay scale, forgiving the bad debts of poorer nations, reforming the mission of central banks to support growth rather than “thwarting” it and refocusing national priorities on creating jobs and improving wages — rather than on multi-national competitiveness as the key to prosperity. Greider, in particular, appeals to the liberal notion that government must act responsibly to cure the pathology.

Buchanan’s view of the issues are not altogether different, though he does not concede the inevitability of globalization. He favors a fairer tax code that relies on a national sales tax rather than income tax, a 15 percent tariff on foreign products that compete with U.S. goods and a “wage equalization tariff on manufactures from low wage countries.” He supports an increase in the minimum wage and his goals include “full employment, with our working people as well compensated and rewarded as any on earth,” and “a wider, deeper distribution of property and prosperity.”

Buchanan does not, however, appeal directly to a notion of the innate responsibility of government. He projects that he wants to play hardball with our trading partners to eliminate the burgeoning U.S. trade deficit. He often uses China, or as Pat likes to emphasize, “Communist China,” as an example. Beijing imposes on average a 22 percent tariff on U.S. imports (just reduced to 17 percent by the new trade pact) while Washington imposes none in return. But the problem isn’t what China is up to. They’re doing what any nation — communist or capitalist — must do to gain advantage in the highly competitive global marketplace. The problem for the American people is that U.S. Big Business wants access to a billion Chinese consumers whose spending power is being enhanced by China’s trade surplus. And business is willing to have us endure the downsides of a trade deficit in order to get it.

The American people currently have no way to bring the U.S.-based transnationals to heel. Right now these special interests control the two parties that control our government. Labor pipes up every now and then — usually at election time — to demand things like restrictions on the import of foreign steel. But the AFL-CIO hooked its wagon to capital over 50 years ago, and consequently will not buck its two-party duopoly.

The rank and file, the unorganized (85 percent of the workforce) and the unemployed are not automatically so inclined. This is Buchanan’s and my constituency. It is multi-racial, male and female, urban and rural, and it is significantly disempowered under the current political arrangement. Buchanan hopes to sell them on the need to play hardball. I do, too. My difference with Buchanan, however, is that I think they need to play hardball — not with China, per se — but with the two parties and with special interest politics. How? By insisting on participating more directly in the policy-making and governmental process. How do we accomplish that? By a surgical reform of America’s electoral and political process that brings voter participation up, incumbency advantage down, and shifts decision making to the grassroots through the use of democratic forms like initiative and referendum and national town hall meetings.

The American people need more political capital. They should have the power to more directly set the terms for trade, taxes, and national economic priorities.

Buchanan’s decision to leave the Republican Party and join up with the Reform Party and me is one indicator that he is now willing to turn the tables on the special interests.

Turning the decision-making over to the American people is the next step. If we do something about the democracy disparity between the elites and ordinary citizens, the country will be on its way to effecting policies which close the gap between rich and poor as well.

Posted by: exiwp | August 9, 1999

The Strange Career of Dr. Lenora Fulani (1999)

By Ron Daniels
Black Radical Congress News, 23 December 1999

Dr. Lenora Fulani, former presidential candidate of the now defunct New Alliance Party, and “critic” of the two party monopoly on politics in this country, recently stunned many observers by endorsing Pat Buchanan’s campaign to become the Reform Party’s candidate for President in the 2000 election. In rationalizing her decision to endorse one of the most rabid, racist, sexist, homophobic, right wing political figures on the political scene today, Dr. Fulani suggested that Buchanan’s candidacy would be good for “independent” politics and the political fortunes of Black people.

Indeed, Dr. Fulani promised to bring Pat Buchanan to the heart of Harlem, the Capital of Black America, to dine at Sylvia’s restaurant and speak at the House of Justice, the headquarter of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. How could Dr. Fulani who claims to be a Marxist and a champion of Black causes endorse an arch adversary of Black people? From my vantage point no one should be surprised that Dr. Fulani could commit such a deplorable act. For some time, at the direction of her mentor and master Dr. Fred Newman, it appears that Dr. Fulani’s services as a political operative have been for sale to the highest bidder.

As a veteran of the progressive independent political movement, when I ran for President in 1992, 1 did so in part to protect the Black community against political interlopers and pretenders like Dr. Lenora Fulani. A cursory examination of the principal Black independent political movements in the last quarter century reveal that Dr. Lenora Fulani was nowhere to be found in any of them. From the National Black Political Assembly, the National Black Independent Political Party to the National Black United Fund, there is no evidence that Dr. Fulani played any significant role in the independent Black political movement. So how did Dr. Lenora Fulani become a “prominent” Black political leader purporting to represent the interests of Black people? The Fulani phenomenon is but the latest example of a predominantly White organization utilizing a Black face, and in this instance a Black female face, to establish a base in the Black community to carry out its own political agenda.

This scheme has been aided and abetted by well meaning but gullible Black people who arc understandably so fed up with many of the current crowd of Black “leaders” and the two establishment parties that they will give an audience to anyone who offers the appearance of an alternative. Many Black women are also understandably eager to see Black women break out of the mold of simply being followers in male dominated organizations and movements to becoming leaders in political organizations and movements. Dr. Fred Newman has cleverly attempted to exploit these legitimate aspirations within the Black community.

Most knowledgeable activists have always known that Dr. Fulani’s claim that the New Alliance Party (the political formation Newman created to carry out his machinations) was a Black led party was a fraudulent assertion. Fred Newman, a one-time associate of Lyndon LaRouche, has always been the headmaster of a predominantly White cult like operation, which included the New Alliance Party (NAP). Using a concept called “social therapy,” which essentially proclaims that people with mental disorders can be cured through service to the movement,” many of the patients of Newman’s social therapy clinics became the foot soldiers of NAP. It was these foot soldiers who largely comprised the army of volunteers who successfully labored to get NAP on the ballot in all fifty states during Fulani’s presidential campaigns; campaigns which may have been calculated to raise money for Newman’s operations by exploiting the matching fund provisions of the federal election laws more than to promote the interests of Black people and the oppressed.

Through it all, Fulani has never been the leader of anything. She has functioned as a devout servant of Fred Newman, who once said something to the effect that, “I made her, she is my proudest accomplishment.” For her part, Fulani is so mesmerized by Newman that she has praised him as a leader “who has done more for Black people than any Black leader alive.” Together this odd couple has been pimping and prostituting Black folks to promote their own agenda, which mostly appears to be enriching Newman and his associates. A few years ago, Newman abruptly declared that NAP had outlived its usefulness and disbanded it. If NAP was so successful then why did Newman shut it down? Shortly after the demise NAP Fulani popped up in the camp of the billionaire right wing populist Ross Perot. Apparently Perot was eager to use Newman’s foot soldiers to secure ballot status for his presidential campaign. Since that time Fulani has been deployed to mind the right wing independent movement founded by Perot. It was out of this movement and Perot’s presidential campaigns that the Reform Party was founded.

Noticeably quiet for the past few years, now Newman and Fulani have resurfaced as allies and co-partners of the right wing demagogue Patrick Buchanan, political bounty hunters whose only leverage is their purported ability to field an army of foot soldiers and the claim that they can deliver Black folks to the Reform Party and Buchanan. Such is the strange career of one Lenora Fulani. Now that we know the real deal, the sham, there is no reason for Black folks to be duped by Fred Newman and his “proudest accomplishment.”

Posted by: exiwp | August 9, 1999

Invasion of the body snatchers (1999)

By Joe Conason
Salon Magazine, November 16, 1999

When Pat Buchanan made his unholy alliance with Lenora Fulani, it wasn’t the “left” he embraced but a strange, secretive group of disrupters known as the “Newmanites.”

The oddest political story of the past week — “Lenora Fulani endorses Patrick Buchanan” — fit quite neatly into that venerable old news category known as man-bites-dog. But it was better than a mere news story, because this Reform Party love fest was so far out, so high-concept that it sounds like the synopsis for a sitcom: She’s a black leftist, he’s a white rightist, and now they’re taking on the Establishment — together. Fabulous!

This story line has a promising subplot, too. Dr. Fulani, as she prefers to be called, is a psychologist and one of the foremost practitioners of a controversial discipline known as “social therapy.” Pat Buchanan, with his blustering manner and tendency toward bigoted wisecracks, is clearly deeply in need of counseling. Every week, the show could open in Lenora’s office, with Pat stretched out on the couch, muttering about his uptight boyhood and his nostalgia for Joe McCarthy and General Franco.

Working through his hang-ups about gays, Jews, immigrants and other minorities is truly liberating for him, while his black female therapist strips away his benighted prejudices to reveal the core of humanity within him. It’s sort of a ’90s update of “All in the Family.” Beautiful!

Yeah, the “Lenora and Pat Show” has just the right combination of humor and pathos to make wonderful American entertainment. Best of all, it’s pure fantasy.

The truth about Fulani and her faction within the Reform Party is actually far more interesting than the version served up by the national media last week. The sharp-tongued therapist and her sheeplike followers have come a long way from their weird origins on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, but some things haven’t changed. They are as opportunistic and unprincipled as ever, and they have no real connection with “the left.”

However disorganized, disunited and difficult-to-define the American left may be, virtually all of its constituencies have had at least one thing in common during the past two decades: an unfortunate encounter with the Fulani faction, which has traveled under a variety of names and disguises since it first appeared in New York during the 1970s.

Liberal and left-wing Democratic clubs, gay rights groups, black community organizations and many others have been infiltrated, disrupted and denounced by the “social therapists,” who have then moved on to their next project.

Before Fulani’s outfit merged themselves into the Reform Party several years ago, they were known as the New Alliance Party, but their murky origins stretch all the way back to the early ’70s. That was when a philosophy teacher at City College named Fred Newman, who at age 64 is still believed to control the group, began to formulate his own theory of politically-tinged psychotherapy.

Among his small group of acolytes, Newman developed a guru status that apparently permitted him to build what is now a substantial network therapy centers and related cultural and political institutions. Therapy patients were encouraged, and some say coerced, into giving time and money to whatever political formation Newman and his fellow “therapists” were operating at the time.

Lenora Fulani joined up in the late ’70s and was soon elevated to a leadership position. Given the quasi-Marxist and feminist pretensions of Newman and his colleagues, a black female like Fulani provided the perfect public face. But the secret inner leadership of the organization remained wholly under Newman’s control, with many of its members taking their mandated “therapy” directly from him. Because they have changed their organizational moniker so many times, those who follow their antics refer to them as “the Newmanites.”

From the beginning, the nominally left-wing Newmanites had an antagonistic relationship with their comrades in other groups. For a tumultuous period in the early ’70s, Newman brought his followers into the even more cult-like National Caucus of Labor Committees, where Lyndon LaRouche was engaged in his own peculiar exercises in therapy and thought control.

At the time, LaRouche’s NCLC was notorious for attacking left groups not only with propaganda but physical violence. After a few months, Newman grew tired of taking orders from LaRouche and withdrew to create his own organization again. And ever since, in New York and elsewhere, the Newmanites have clashed with various leftists and liberals, usually over charges that they had attempted to take over some organization or campaign for their own purposes.

During the late ’70s and early ’80s, they pursued a strategy of simultaneously joining and attacking Democratic clubs in New York City. They were subsequently expelled from a short-lived New York leftist effort called the Unity Party. Then for a time they sought a coalition with the Nation of Islam, defending Louis Farrakhan against charges of homophobia and anti-Semitism (with Newman giving one speech in which he denounced Jews as “the storm troopers of decadent capitalism”).

After the 1988 presidential campaign, the Newmanites had a tense relationship with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, which they first infiltrated and then mimicked by setting up a front called the “Rainbow Lobby.” The resulting confusion led Jackson to publicly dissociate himself from them on more than one occasion, while they repudiated him as a “sellout.”

And then in 1992, when they perceived a potential for new mischief in the Reform Party, they disbanded the New Alliance Party altogether and allied themselves with conservative billionaire Ross Perot.

Throughout these permutations, Fulani has always articulated a leftish perspective on such topics as gay rights, affirmative action and economic justice. Her high-minded rhetoric, combined with a corps of dedicated activists, lawyers and writers drawn from the “social therapy” clientele, has afforded her group significant leverage within the Reform Party, particularly in New York, where Perot’s supporters are known as the Independence Party.

In a fledgling party that attracts thousands of inexperienced newcomers, the organizing muscle and political skill of the Newmanites provides them with influence disproportionate to their actual size. Moderate and conservative activists in the Reform Party have, not surprisingly, viewed the rise of this internal faction with undisguised dismay. Buchanan’s embrace of Fulani won’t endear him to them. And it is probably safe to predict that before the campaign is over, or soon afterward, the Newmanites will be denouncing Buchanan as a fascist, a racist and an enemy of independent politics.

Despite the media spin, nobody who has observed the Newmanites during their long and tortured history was shocked when they joined forces with the hero of the ultra-right. Repeatedly rejected by every element of the left, they finally took their tactics and therapy to another venue. Their quest for power has taken them from LaRouche to Farrakhan to Buchanan — a long, strange trip into the wilderness, with no left turns anywhere along the way.

Posted by: exiwp | November 7, 1997

Needed: A New Approach to U.S. Violence (1997)

By Gabrielle Kurlander
Christian Science Monitor, November 7, 1997

Violence in America is not new. Nor is it an aberration. From the revolution that founded our country to “Beavis and Butt-Head,” violence is as American as apple pie.

Still, many Americans feel strongly that somehow violence is not the same thing it has always been. It has taken a new place in our daily lives. Some people point to the fact that children are bringing guns and and knives to school; others cite the proliferation of violence on television and in the movies.

There is, I think, another important difference in what violence is today and in how we are experiencing it.

Historically, violence arose in the context of an America that was growing, prospering, progressing, and developing – economically, politically, and culturally. Consequently, violence generally occurred in the context of an overall constructive thrust to American life.

We can’t just ‘stop the violence’ by throwing more tax dollars into the pot. Similarly, harsh ‘tough on crime’ legislation has had little impact.

That is no longer the case. This is not to suggest that the violence of times gone by can be justified as having served a purpose. Violence was, and is, brutal and destructive. In a world that has in some respects all but stopped developing, however, violence takes on a different significance – in the lives of individuals and in the life of America itself.

This is particularly true of poor inner-city communities where, with economic and social development at a standstill, violence is often all that is happening.

Decades of liberal failure have shown us that you can’t just “stop the violence” by throwing more tax dollars into the pot. Similarly, the evidence suggests that even the harshest “tough on crime” legislation has had little impact. According to “The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission,” for example, “academic research has shown little or no correlation between rates of crime and the number of people in prison.”

Traditional solutions to violence, whether liberal or conservative, have simply not been effective.

The Senate is scheduled to take action soon on The Violent and Repeat Juvenile Offender Act of 1997, part of a package of proposed juvenile justice legislation. The debate, which is taking place along the old political fault line, ignores the historical changes in American violence.

Violence is the bad news. The good news is a new kind of development. Innovative programs – independent of government funding and politicking – are making use of cutting-edge research in human development to reinitiate the constructive development of tens of thousands of inner-city youngsters in some of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods. These same neighborhoods recently have witnessed an unprecedented downturn in crime and violence.

While the professional politicians continue to invoke traditional solutions to mobilize the shrinking pool of voters who keep them in office, these independent programs are developing the lives of young people and the future of America.

Gabrielle Kurlander is president of the nonprofit Community Literacy Research Project Inc., which sponsors the All-Stars Talent Show Network, a New York City anti-violence program for youth.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories