Many of these campaigns were lodged against gay, minority and insurgent incumbents whom the NAP charged as “not progressive enough” while conveniently ignoring other races such as those in the Bronx where former Congressman-turned-federal-inmate, Mario Biaggi, was fresh out of jail and vying for power, and where Pedro Espada, a former NAP candidate turned Democrat ran successfully for State Senator. (In 1989, Espada received 42% of the vote as the NAP’s candidate against incumbent City Councilman, Rafael Castaneira Colon. The ductile dissident was then thrown off the ballot on residency grounds when he ran as a Democrat in 1991, but eventually cut a deal with Bronx District leader George Friedman for the machine’s endorsement.).
The NAP’s litmus test was instead applied to progressive Democrats such as Roger Green, who was kicked off the ballot by Lorraine Stevens, a 51-year-old social worker and veteran NAP candidate (Stevens’ lawyers also sought to overturn legislation introduced to allow Perot to retain control over – and prevent NAPers from appearing on – his “No Party” ballot line). Green then ran (and won) on a “Children First” line, while NAP crowed that they had made him “go independent,” and about the fact that no candidate appeared on the Democratic ballot in the 57th A.D.
The 8th C.D.: Arthur Block’s Dead Zone
After insisting that Congressman Ted Weiss’ sudden fatal heart attack days before the primary last September “should not be used as a political football by anyone,” NAP’s attorney and 8th congressional district candidate, Arthur Block, did just that by pursuing legal action against New York State Democratic Party Chairman, John Marino, who was charged with conspiracy for keeping the decedent’s name on the ballot. After questioning insightful figures such as Weiss’ barber, the Alliance then hinted that Marino and others may have knowingly contributed to Weiss’ death by allowing him to run while in poor health as “everyone knew” that the incumbent would not live long enough to serve.
Although Block, a “Social Therapy” patient of Newman’s since the late 70s (more on that later), never indicated whether he was as enlightened when he decided to run, he did hold several grand-standing press conferences in front of Fulani’s Upper West Side headquarters at 72nd Street and Broadway wherein he charged Marino with having “participated in committing a fraud on the voters of the 8th C.D. [and] violat[ing] their voting rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” Block was eventually beaten in the primary by the dead man (88% to 12%), while the seat itself was turned over to former West Side Assemblyman Jerold Nadler (Block then ran on the NAP line in the general election, where he received all of 1%).
Rafael Mendez: The Puerto Rican Culebra
The NAP also chose to run Dr. Rafael Mendez, an assistant professor of psychology at Bronx Community College, in the hotly contested race for the 12th congressional district (instead of in the South Bronx where he had an office – since closed – and where the machine was running at full force). After filing his petitions, Mendez attended a Brooklyn candidates’ forum and demanded an endorsement of Fulani as a condition for his withdrawal. Despite the fact that the insurgents (including winner Nydia Velazquez), were all Latino, NAP’s token then maintained that only he could save the community from the clutches of the racist Democratic Party. And so, Mendez was forced to run for control of a district where he was neither known nor welcomed (and where, according to Newsday, he received zero votes).
Mendez – who was also criticized during the presidential primary for leading a group of homeless men, often fronted at various marches and demonstrations for $5 and $10 a shot, into a volatile confrontation at a Jerry Brown rally in Union Square, as well as for his attempted cooptation of a student demonstration held outside a presidential debate at Lehman College – is described by Richard Perez of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights as a “carpetbagger” having “no interest in involving himself in the day-to-day struggles such as the ongoing fight against Bronx Lebanon Hospital’s proposed medical waste treatment center and the Parkchester tenants’ strike. His main activity,” Perez adds, “is to pop in and out of press events, demand endorsements and contributions, and, in effect, bleed our community” (Mendez has since slithered back up to the Bronx where he intends to run for City Council against fellow reptilian Castaneira Colon, while Upper West Side NAPers have launched campaigns for local school board seats).
The Case of Baltimore’s Morning Sunday
NAP’s commitment to grassroots minority empowerment was also challenged by African-American activist Morning Sunday, NAP’s former Maryland chair who, after breaking away from the party last spring, was legally charged with theft and sabotage for withholding 12,000 petition signatures – an action which Sunday maintains was dictated by her “moral conscience [against] the exploitation of the Black Baltimore community by a flim-flam campaign motivated strictly by greed and engaging in the political process for the sole purpose of making money” (see The Shadow No. 26, September 1992).
Sunday and her ally, Annie Chambers, were eventually cleared of all charges when their case was appealed before Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Martin Welch last November. During the six-day jury trial, NAP attorney Arthur Block admitted that, in the process of preparing a civil suit to “recover damages,” he had, indeed, contacted Sunday’s in-laws and inquired into her property (“irreprehensible behavior,” according to Welch, who also condemned Block’s “New York attitude”). The question of actual damages, meanwhile, remains a murky one as Sunday maintains that the lower-strata Baltimore residents who did most of the legwork in gathering signatures were only paid $15 per day (in addition, a request for verification of the relation to this case of receipts filed by attorneys on behalf of NAP’s Philadelphia-based Mid-Atlantic regional staff was denied).
For all of her efforts, Fulani received a total of 2,682 votes in Maryland. And, while NAPer Sherry Wormser did replace Sunday as the new state chair when she filed the official Statement of Intent to Form a Political Party, Sunday’s court victory nonetheless set a precedent for other state representatives whom the NAP may seek to threaten (Sunday was found to have borne equal liability and, therefore, equal entitlement to the petitions). Recognition may vary from state to state, however and so, volunteers beware: the year or so you dedicate to building this party may mean nothing in the eyes of the law (let alone the NAP).
The New Alliance Party
By Marina Ortiz
(The following is the second part of an exclusive Planet exposé on the New Alliance Party. In the last issue, the author reported on the activities of the party and its chair and 1992 presidential candidate, Dr. Lenora Fulani (including sectarian attempts to wreck havoc on local and national Democratic Party candidates, and a comparison of Fulani’s disastrous electoral average – less than 1% – with the amount of campaign money raised – $4.3 million). The author concludes with a report on the party “s alleged ties to minority activists, and details on Dr. Fred Newman – the mastermind behind the NAP and its internal cult apparatus).
The Tailing Factor
One of the more humorous highlights of the New Alliance Party “s 1992 campaign was an excerpt published in the party “s National Alliance newspaper from Dr. Lenora Fulani’s book, “The Making of a Fringe Candidate 1992,” which certainly lived up to its titillating title with an overly personalized and prurient description of Fulani’s premeditated encounters with the Rev. Jesse Jackson (whom the cult has stalked since the early 80s). Equally absurd was the group’s bizarre tailing of would-be Black power-broker, the Rev. Al Sharpton.
1992 also saw a tear in the delicate coalitional fabric between the NAP and Sharpton (an alleged sports-and-music-industry grafter turned FBI informant also known for his civil rights activism in the Michael Griffith, Tawana Brawley and Yusef Hawkins cases). According to an internal source, the rift occurred when Fulani’s “mentor,” Dr. Fred Newman, learned that “the hustler he “d been subsidizing for more than a year [with, among other things, weekly marches into Bensonhurst] had chosen to run in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate without consulting him.”
Soon after, Sharpton was reportedly threatened with eviction from Newman’s 57 Street offices. Newman eventually relented and even formed a committee called “White People for Sharpton,” although Sharpton had by then begun to distance himself from the NAP with media statements which likened the group to leeches (“They had attached themselves to me, but that ride is over,” Sharpton told the New York Post). Sharpton also blocked his name from being used on petitions gathered by NAPers, and refused to run on their independent line against incumbent Alfonse D “Amato, whom Sharpton had endorsed in 1986 in exchange for a $500,000 housing grant which D “Amato never delivered (NAP eventually ran Dr. Mohammad Mehdi, President of the Arab-American Relations Committee and secretary-general of the National Council on Islamic Affairs, who received over 50,000 votes – primarily from his own existent base).
More disturbing than the fact that Sharpton refused to discuss what really happened or even acknowledge the party “s disingenuous attitude towards minority empowerment (as was also the case with Sharpton’s new-found “advisor,” Michael Hardy, an Alliance attorney, who quietly jumped the sinking “Newmanite” dinghy in favor of Sharpton’s frigate), however, was his sudden pledge of allegiance to the Democrats.
Sharpton’s adoption by the NAP (and the dismissal of his role in FBI investigations as a “conscientious act”) had, by then, already cost him the support of some of the more radical sectors of the supposedly “dead” Black movement, while others who stayed looked on in horror as the man who once personified civil disobedience (and had called African-American Democrats “cocktail-sipping Uncle Toms” (an ironic statement considering Sharpton’s own lavish dinner meetings with Newman), was suddenly attending gala ceremonies and rubbing elbows with the likes of New York City Mayor David Dinkins and filmmaker Spike Lee (Sharpton’s explanation was that he had “matured” as a result of his near-death experience during a 1991 stabbing in Bensonhurst).
Having won the hearts of African-American clergymen and politicos such as Congressmen Floyd Rake and Charles Rangel, Jesse Jackson and former Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch (who helped Sharpton bypass primary ballot requirements and even hired him for a stint during the Clinton campaign), Sharpton next received endorsements from the New York Amsterdam News and El Diario (The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and other media now adore the new Sharpton, while prominent African- American theoreticians such as Princeton Professor Cornet West tout him as a “work in progress”).
Sharpton, meanwhile, persisted in his two-tone way – delivering the usual Black nationalist, anti-establishment rhetoric whenever addressing African-Americans, while taking a much more diplomatic approach in mixed company (as was the case during the primary when he chastised opponents Attorney General Robert Abrams, Comptroller Liz Holtzman, and former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, for focusing on “credibility and character” instead of more important issues). “We don’t want to send someone to Washington who “s going to break into closets to look for dirty linen,” he groaned. Of course, Sharpton had reason to distance himself from the muck because it would have raised his own excrement, including charges made by his cronies that Abrams had once masturbated before Tawana Brawley “s photo and that his 1990 indictment of Sharpton on 67 counts of tax evasion was merely an act of revenge for Sharpton’s lack of cooperation in the Brawley case, which Abrams had overseen.
Sharpton then proceeded to soft-peddle his connection to the NAP. “[O]verplay,” he told New York Newsday, “[t]here is no formal relationship between us. I don’t have anything to do with the party,” a claim challenged by reporter George Jordan, who revealed that Sharpton had, in fact, been paid $1,000 by Fulani’s 1988 campaign and had been reimbursed $725 (through his promotions business, Raw Talent), for travel expenses incurred during the 1992 New Hampshire primary (“For Alliance, the System Works –Newsday, April 6, 1992).
Journalist Bruce Shapiro then revealed that Sharpton still held a $12,000 dollar, one-year “consultant contract” with the group’s All Stars Talent Show Network” (“Dr. Fulani’s Snake-Oil Show,” The Nation, May 4, 1992). Fulani, meanwhile, was quoted by Shapiro bragging “We knew the ‘Rev.’ before the media found him” (a reflection, perhaps, on the many times that she and Sharpton stood alone in street corner demonstrations and marches during the early-to mid-80s – ignored by the media because they had not yet acquired enough capital to afford charter buses or to hire out (and disorganize) homeless men to inflate their “rank-n-file” support).
But, is Sharpton, in fact, still slopping from both troughs? His campaign, for example, reportedly spent less than $100,000 – a figure that would seem to prohibit items such as the extravagant, bright-green, NAP-like, bumper stickers and custom-made sweatshirts which made the rounds (let alone campaign offices in Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo). NAP’s Madelyn Chapman will only acknowledge that Sharpton is still being booked for paid speaking engagements and that the car he tools around in is, indeed, registered to an unnamed Newmanite.
As long as Sharpton continues to remain silent about these (and other matters such as the Newmanites’ continued profiting from sales of a “Yusef Hawkins” videotape, his own dispute over Newman’s 1991 production of “Malcolm, Yusef and Billie,” and the fate of Yusef’s father, Moses Stewart – a former employee of the cult who has since defected), whilst tap-dancing between Democratic haunts and NAP meetings and issuing misleading statements of solidarity such as was published in the Amsterdam News, Sharpton’s attempt to parlay his 16% primary turnout into an effective bartering whip (enough of a “base,” he now believes, with which to unseat U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1994), will fall flat on its opportunistic countenance.
The International Perspective
During its coverage of the NAP’s nominating convention last summer, the Alliance featured a picture of Luis Fernando Jaramillo and quoted a statement of support from Jaime Perea, two factional representatives of the Colombian M-19 Democratic Alliance (this was, presumably, to demonstrate the group’s solidarity with the struggles of “third-world” people). But, the hollow flaunting was exposed as such, when El Diario reported that NAP’s Rafael Mendez had failed to address, or even attend, an election forum held in the Colombian section of Elmhurst, Queens (an event wherein Jaramillo himself expressed concern with the candidates’ “lack of concrete strategies to include Colombians in the electoral process”).
No surprise then, that Jaramillo and Perea never again adorned the pages of the Alliance (the cult’s “affiliation” with the M-19 most likely ended just as suddenly as did their connection to Spanish, Portuguese and Zimbabwe forces during the mid-70s, New York City-based welfare recipients and black nationalists during the mid-80s, progressive Chileans and the American Indian Movement in 1988, Mexican and Central American radicals in 1991, and their ultimate abandonment of African progressives such as the Congolese Workers and Peasants Party of Zaire.
NAP and the Guardian Angels
Even more inconsistent has been the group’s oscillating outlook on the Guardian Angels, which the NAP had previously denounced as “fascist thugs” for its members’ actions in the Tompkins Square Park/homeless polemic and their hindrance of the NAP’s subway newspaper sales, but which they now consider a “working-class youth organization.” Why the turn around? Probably because they were one of the few groups willing to acknowledge Fulani during the New Hampshire primary (Angel Lisa Sliwa has since addressed a Harlem NAP meeting).
NAP’s Bill of Anti-Rights
During the NAP’s federally mandated presidential nominating convention last August, the party’s only nominee was, once again, Fulani. In addition to his hand-picked protégé, most local NAP candidates are likewise selected and/or approved by Newman. While there are some genuine grassroots types among them, most are simply die-hard Newmanites assigned to run. “Outsiders,” on the other hand, are often ignored, as was the case with Michael Stephen Levinson, a Buffalo-based independent denied a request to challenge Fulani for NAP’s presidential nomination in 1988. Levinson was instead dismissed as, of all things, a “kook” and his proposal was never discussed in any public NAP meetings, while subsequent protest letters submitted by him to the Alliance were rejected for publication.
And, while the party continues to promote freedom of speech (fundraisers know this issue sells), Newman’s internal attitude tells a different story. For example, when former media columnist Mary Fridley’s saucy declarations were published in the Alliance’s March 19, 1992 issue, Newman, sources say, did not at all appreciate the tone. Newman then reportedly “pulled the rest of the run from distribution [and] the paper was reprinted and redistributed without the column.” The following issue contained a “corrected” version of the same article with no public explanation (Fridley, sadly, later addressed a campaign fundraiser in Philadelphia in which the theme was censorship).
Equally ludicrous has been the party’s schizophrenic treatise on women s empowerment. For example, Fulani now likens former Black Panther Party leader Elaine Brown’s struggles against sexism to her own confuted fights with former NAPers such as Dennis Serrette (the party’s 1984 presidential candidate). “1 decided when I was fairly young that I didn’t want to be the ‘Black bitch’ of the top man who didn’t have the guts to stand up to the sexism of other Black men, claims the obtuse puppet, while praising Fred “he’s-no-guru-he’s-my- brother” Newman as a “feminist revolutionary who happens to be a Jewish man,” and dismissing charges of sexual harassment made about Los Angeles City’ Councilman Nate Holden as “a racist double standard [of] fake feminists.”
What’s the Bottom Line? Why, Mo’ Money, Honey
In the 14 years since the NAP was founded, the party’s general election averages have lingered at less than five percent. Despite this dismal figure, Fulani still postulates about the building of a “women-of-color-led” coalition, whilst ignoring the attack on Morning Sunday and her failure to back two long-time supporters, Kwaku Duren and Elizabeth Gilchrist, in their 1992 independent congressional campaigns in California and Mississippi. Gone are the NAP’s Harlem, South Bronx, and Oakland offices, and any and all pretense that it’s anything more than a money-making scheme. And, as campaign workers now feverishly target members of Ross Perot’s United We Stand and other factional elements of the black and white middle class, the party’s true “success” is revealed.
So, where did the money go? While some of it went to wage pretentious legal battles for electoral reform (i.e., attempts to revoke the tax-exempt status of the League of Women Voters and other such groups), quite a bit also went to challenging progressives. Thousands of dollars were raised in California – most of it spent on efforts to secure the independent Peace & Freedom Party nomination for Fulani through an attempted takeover of the party’s central committee (and lots of propaganda describing P&F affiliates as “cops”). Despite this endeavor, Fulani never appeared on the ballot in that state – she lost the nomination to independent Ron Daniels and never bothered to run as a NAP candidate (moreover, the Peace & Freedom Party received no report on monies raised by NAPers under its banner).
In addition, Shapiro wrote, “at least 35% of the campaign expenditures during 1991 went to NAP-related businesses.’’ According lit the FEC, diverting campaign funds to businesses run by member of a political party is perfectly legal “so long as the e expenditures are for actual services that arc reasonable and customary.” But, were they? Fred Newman Productions, Inc., New Alliance Productions, Inc., Ilene Advertising, Castillo Communications, and other NAP subsidiaries, for example, billed the campaign almost one million dollars for advertising, public relations and consultation services. However, aside from, perhaps, one or two salaried employees (who averaged $300 a week), much of the actual labor provided by these businesses was borne by unpaid “volunteers.”
Descriptions of services rendered are equally dubious. Automated Business Services, for example, was paid thousands of dollars for “payroll and accounting services,” while the owner himself was then listed under a “clerical services,” heading as were dozens of other supporters – including the late Steve Rose (by then an AIDS-stricken invalid). Quite a few, however, including Kellie Gasink, William Harris and William Pleasant (who were listed as having been paid $450 each – a figure which shelters companies from payroll taxes), maintain that they never received any money from the campaign,
As for those who did receive salaries, the disparaging figures tell a tale of commissions and misguided priorities. “Star” fundraisers Jeffrey Aaron, Linda Curtis, Joyce Dattner, Kathy Fiess, Sandy Friedman, Nancy Hanks, Julie Kinnett and Joe Spirito, for example, averaged $250-300 per week – plus expenses – while African Americans such as Emily Carter (NAP’s former chair), Vera Hill (a former welfare rights activist and Alliance columnist), and Robert Clay of Harlem made only $125 per week – with no reimbursements. Many of these staff members and other “volunteers” were also listed as regular contributors to the campaign. Moreover, dozens of New York City-based supporters were listed in expenditure reports as having been reimbursed thousands of dollars for out-of-pocket purchases of office supplies, Xeroxing and other such items, despite the fact that there were open accounts with companies such as Staples and Kinko’s.
And, while hundreds of thousands of dollars spent (on office renovations and rental fees, complex alarm systems, mobile phones and calling cards, Federal Express mailings, parking garage fees and taxi-cab rides, first-class accommodations and Deer Park water) may be “standard fate” for most Democrats and Republicans, when it comes to a party which garnered less than 75,000 votes and which has produced nothing in the way of broad-based empowerment, it becomes a disgrace. But then again, “[t]he more you give, the more you grow,” claims Fulani. “Take it out of your rent. It feels very, very good.”
What’s Behind the New Alliance Party?
The NAP is the political brainchild of Dr. Fred Newman, who oversees every strategic move and public statement which the party makes and who, through a combination of demagogic charisma and totalitarian coercion, maintains control over a sophisticated, multi-million dollar network of front groups, among them the NAP, the Community Literacy Research Project, Inc., the East Side Center for Social Therapy, the All Stars Talent Show Network, the Castillo Cultural Center, the Barbara Taylor School, and Ross & Green, Inc. (formerly the Rainbow Lobby).
The NAP and its sister entities are ephemeral “mass tactics” developed by Newman specifically to maximize his own financial, ideological and political leverage. The pseudo Marxist-Leninist, in fact, has absolutely no commitment to democracy, nor any concrete, tong-term agenda aside from that of his internal cult apparatus, the International Workers Party, whose totalitarian character belies its purported revolutionary goal of self- determination and minority empowerment.
In addition to exploiting (and crushing) aspirations for progressive social change, Newman’s front groups (dozens upon dozens of which have fallen by the wayside since the cult first surfaced in 1968), have also served to function in competition with, and at the expense of, existent independent parties such as the Peace and Freedom Party, the Harold Washington Party, the Vermont Liberty Union, the Philadelphia Consumers Party, the Wisconsin Labor and Farm Party, and progressive groups such as the Summerhill Society, New Jewish Agenda, the Rainbow Coalition, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Gay & Lesbian Taskforce, Local 1199 and the National Organization fur Women.
Newman is also the founder of Social Therapy (also used, in various forms, since 1968). While often billed as a progressive alternative to traditional therapies, Social Therapy is, in fact, a sophisticated indoctrination methodology which impairs critical thinking skills and which uses repression, dependency and guilt-inducing techniques to control and lure patients into political activity and, ultimately, into blind allegiance to Newman. These same seductive/coercive techniques are also used at NAI’ rallies and many of its leaders, including Fulani, are trained Social Therapists.
Once indoctrinated, most IWIP cadre are immediately divested of their assets and assigned mandatory fundraising quotas and bi-weekly dues. Lower echelon members are often urged 10 moved into cramped apartments (“It’ll be good for your political development”), and ordered to work 12- to 16-hour days for no little or no pay. Inculcates are also told that their cult activity takes priority over all else (including familial relationships), are continually “counseled” on all personal and political matters by superiors and therapists (whom often consult with one another), and kept in check by the cult’s “need-to-know” hypothesis.
And, in line with the group’s “progressive” lifestyle, cadre are often ridiculed for engaging in monogamous relationships (a “bourgeois” impediment to the cult’s “collective” mindset), while sonic – whose history had put them at risk – are counseled against being tested for some – whose history had put them at risk -are counseled against being tested for AIDS by the cult’s physician, Dr. Susan Massad. Similar criticism has also been made of her “holistic” approach to this and other medical disorders, as the cull’s insistence that homosexuality is neither a biological precondition nor a lifestyle preference, but rather an overt political statement (a claim disputed by most gays, many of whom took offense at Fulani’s outlandish declaration during last year’s Gay Pride March that supporting her candidacy was itself “a sexual preference”).
Party Leadership: It’s Not Who You Know, But Who “Knows” You
And, as in “bourgeois, capitalist” society, success within Newman’s cult is always measured by the Boss’s personal predilections. While Fulani says that she measures how “close” she is to Newman by the amount of work he demands (i.e., the more orders you are willing to follow, the closer to his “inner circle” you’ll be), her rule has not been the case for other long-time adherents who linger in relatively low-scale fundraising and administrative positions (some of whom, despite years of devotion, also remain poor and uneducated – even by the group’s Barbara Taylor School standards). Still others have been reduced to cleaning Newmanite homes for a living or been allowed to indulge in abusive and self-destructive behavior and alcohol and drug abuse while Dr. “Addiction-is-a-Myth” Newman looks the other way).
In contrast, several women (all young, middle-class and white), have managed to bypass the cult’s “rank-n-file” to “middle-management” to “central committee” ladder altogether – elevated to positions of “leadership” solely by virtue of their sexual relationship to Newman (often associated with an act known as “wanting” – a bogus [phrase] first induced by the mid-life- crisis-haunted charlatan back in 1989). And, while most slave away for a dream that was long ago sold out (from the get-go, to be precise), Newman and his cohorts enjoy incomes supplemented by an inexhaustible cash supply and perks such as 1992 Lincoln Town cars (replete with tinted windows, mobile telephones, and a personal chauffeur-bodyguard-attendant), and cruises to Europe and the Caribbean).
Ms. Ortiz is a former member of Newman’s cult who hopes this article will encourage other individuals formerly or currently involved to join her in speaking out.
We Want a JOB. So we Can EAT. (1978 ABC documentary on the NYCUWC)
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