THE SCENES AT THE NEW ALLIANCE PARTY
There's More to Fulani and NAP Than
Meets the Eye:
Leaders Within the Gay and Lesbian Movement Encourage Caution
Openly pro-Gay, black, female presidential candidate who campaigns
at Gay Pride Rallies? A powerful, independent political party whose
platform calls for civil rights for Gays and Lesbians? Is this for
real? If it sounds too good to be true, it just might be.
St. Louis and Kansas City Gay and Lesbian communities are being courted
by members of an organization calling itself the only "openly
pro-Gay, black-led, woman-led, multi-racial" political party.
The New Alliance Party (NAP), as it is generally known, is campaigning
under the name Committee for Fair Elections to put its presidential
candidate, Lenora B. Fulani, a straight black woman, on the ballot
New Alliance Party platform calls for, among other things, a federal
AIDS bill of rights, and legislation to nullify the Supreme Court's
1986 Hardwick decision which upheld the state of Georgia's sodomy law.
New Alliance Party canvassers were a visible presence at the October
1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, although the organizers
of the march were strongly and openly opposed to their participation.
many Gay, Lesbian and progressive activists, local and national, are
skeptical, if not of NAP's stated positions, of their perceived tactics
and background. They charge that far from being a democratically run,
black-led independent party, the NAP is little more than a fringe cult
group, carrying out the political agenda of Fred Newman-a white intellectual
and radical extremist with historical ties to Lyndon LaRouche.
THE PARTY'S SONG AND DANCE
is notorious for his right-wing extremism. His psycho-sexual principles
of political organizing-which critics decry as sexist and homophobic-were
formulated in the early 1970s. At that time, his National Caucus of
Labor Committees (NCLC) became known for its confrontational and disruptive
campaign to subvert or destroy legitimate leftist and labor organizations.
In 1973, the NCLC ran Operation Mop-Up, in which members carried their
tactics to violent extremes-attacking labor and leftist organizers
with baseball bats and lead pipes.
Blur the Rainbow" was a paper published in December 1987 by Chip
Berlet, a researcher for Political Research Associates-a progressive
think-tank in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In it, Berlet documents Fred
Newman's affiliation with LaRouche in 1974, shortly after the bloody
summer of Operation Mop-Up. It is a connection which Newman and members
of his circle who were with him at that time have sought to hide or
writes, "Even after officially leaving the NCLC in August 1974,
Newman and his followers continued to debate . LaRouche and the NCLC
over issues of shared political ideology as if it represented legitimate
leftist theory-long after the rest of the American Left had denounced
NCLC as either proto-Nazi Brownshirts, a sick political cult, or outright
addition, Berlet outlines manipulative strategies and tactics which
he says LaRouchites and Newmanites share: "A methodological link
between the psychological and the political, which forms both a theoretical
worldview and a justification for indoctrinating members through so-called
'therapy' . attempts to establish hegemonic relationships with other
similar political groups, and, failing that, attempts to undermine
the group and establish parallel organizations . virulent and unprincipled
attacks on critics, including insults, agent-baiting, threats by attorneys
and defamation lawsuits . differentiation between internal in-group
and external out-group reality, use of propaganda, and implementation
of a 'secret society' style-all markedly similar to that of a totalitarian
denouncement has come from Dennis
Serrette, a long-time black activist and the NAP 1984 presidential
candidate, who broke with the party shortly after the election. In
a published statement, he says NAP is a sexist, racist "therapy
cult." Writes Serrette, "During the entire two and a half
years I sat on the Central Committee, there was never a single debate
. once Newman made his position known."
Berlet and others are highly critical of NAP's link with yet another
Newman organization, The Institute for Social Therapy and Research-which
operates therapy clinics in 14 cities, including several in New York
City alone. Its therapists attempt to show clients that the source
of their alienation lies in the racist, homophobic and sexist culture.
Clients are urged to become politically active to change social conditions.
More often than not, critics say, this means becoming active in the
New Alliance Party. They charge that the Institute does little more
than recruit "emotionally vulnerable" people to do the grunt work for
Fulani's campaign-a claim which NAP members deny.
party members even deny any connection between the Institute and NAP,
even though Newman-who is Fulani's official campaign [Deleted]ger-founded
the Institute, and Fulani is its director of community clinics.
Fulani, 38, is a mother of two. She has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology
which she received from City University of New York in 1984. She is
the founder of the Jackson-Luxemburg School at the Institute for Social
Therapy. A spokeswoman at the Fulani campaign headquarters told this
reporter that the school provides adult education on issues ranging
from health care to political action. She stated that Fulani became
involved with the Institute and the NAP in "either 1979 or 1980." The
Institute's therapy clients, she added, are encouraged to "build
independent alternatives that are not corporate-controlled."
an Executive Board member of NAP, ran for Lieutenant Governor of New
York in 1982, for mayor of New York City in 1985, and for governor
in 1986, according to the spokeswoman.
DON'T KNOW CAN HURT YOU
of NAP within the Gay community has come from, among others, Sue
Hyde, director of the Privacy Project for the National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). Last May, Hyde sent a letter to 13 Gay
and Lesbian newspapers across the country expressing her concern that
NAP "could subvert an autonomous grassroots Lesbian and Gay movement." She
cites personal experience as well as many of the same criticisms made
by Serrette and Berlet.
her efforts, Hyde was met with a vehement, factually incorrect attack
from The National Alliance, the NAP biweekly newspaper. A recent
article accuses Hyde and the NGLTF of "straight-baiting, white-baiting
and cult-baiting" the New Alliance Party. It also claims that
the NGLTF works for the Democratic party. The article quotes a NAP
official as saying that the NGLTF will eventually endorse Michael Dukakis,
whose homophobic track record in Massachusetts is well-known to Gay
and Lesbian activists.
NGLTF does not endorse candidates," says Hyde. She also points
out the she was a chief organizer of and spokesperson for the Gay and
Lesbian Defense Committee, a Massachusetts organization that opposed
Dukakis' homophobic foster care policies. That same committee gets
much positive play in The National Alliance article which attacks
Hunter is an Executive Committee member of the National March on Washington
for Lesbian and Gay Rights, and is director of social work services
for the Hettrick-Martin Institute-which serves Lesbian and Gay youth
in New York City. She calls NAP's explanation of homosexuality "incredibly
homophobic and condescending."
campaign manual defines homosexuality as pathological, and describes
it as historical and political in its origins. "Being gay is a
radical statement . Gayness is, in fact, a statement by a broad mass
of people who cut across class and race lines in this country about
lifestyle and the right to privacy. It is a protest
against the repressiveness of our society . [It isn't] a narrow
genetic thing, or . simply a statement about sex," the manual
the context of contemporary America being gay is a statement about
the right to privacy because of the existence of sodomy laws. It is
therefore a political statement, whatever the intentions of the individual
gay person," the manual continues. "What Fulani means by
being pro-gay is that she supports that right to privacy . in the sense
that she supports the protest that is gayness."
this definition "merely a political restatement of the pathology
view of homosexuality," Hunter adds, "Basically what it really
is, is that old Marxist line that if everything was well with the government
then the family would function. They are saying that the family is
dysfunctional and that Gay people are Gay by political choice. They
reduce our humanness to a political ideology. In terms of adolescents,
they act as if it was easy to give up your family and put yourself
at risk for violence. Teenagers simply don't think about it [sexuality]
in this way."
questioned about this definition of homosexuality, Ed Patuto, a Gay
man who is a campaign organizer for Fulani in the Midwest-and who says
he has been active in The New Alliance Party for eight years-said that "in
a less repressive society more people would be Gay." When asked
how he could draw such a conclusion from reading the above-quoted passages,
Patuto responded, "I don't know what more I can say."
progressive and Gay and Lesbian activists have expressed misgivings
about their experiences with Patuto, with NAP Midwest press representative
Marian Grossman, and with other party members. They cite what they
see as deceptions, distortions misrepresentations and even outright
lies in their dealing with NAP organizers.
Burack, director of the Women's Center at the University of Missouri
in St. Louis, was initially enthusiastic when contacted by NAP in July
of last year. She had conversations with NAP Midwest campaign coordinator
Joyce Dattner and with Ann Green of the Institute for Social Therapy-both
longtime Newmanites. She found them to be "very smooth, very professional,
very persuasive. I almost brought Fulani to campus," Burack said.
who holds a Masters degree in community psychology, became interested
in the work of the Institute for Social Therapy and attended a workshop
held in Chicago this past spring. She relates that during the workshop,
a woman staying in the hotel entered the meeting room by accident and
wound up being the subject of an impromptu group therapy session. Afterwards,
at the suggestion of its members, the woman joined the Institute. "Aside
from it being completely inappropriate to do therapy in this way," Burack
commented, "I was very concerned by what I perceived to be a smooth
manipulation of this woman's feelings."
became further concerned when she could find no progressive groups
with which she was familiar endorsing NAP activities. "I started
reading their paper, The National Alliance, which I thought
was terrible, and saw the ads for Farrakhan-who's never been a big
supporter of women's issues-but I still thought that they sounded good," Burack
Louis Farrakhan is a black Muslim leader who has called Judaism a "gutter
religion" and is known to be anti-Gay. Fulani supports him.
doubts grew when she read Serrette's and Berlet's articles. "I
contacted Marian Grossman and Ann Green with my concerns," Burack
related. "I had been in almost weekly contact with both of them
for several months by then. They first of all said there was no relationship
between the Institute and The New Alliance Party. Then they said that
Dennis Serrette was a 'disaffected lover' of Fulani's. They also said
that Chip Berlet had more information that disproved his assertions
but that he chose not to print it," Burack continued.
clinched it for me was when they asked me if I would be willing to
be listed as treasurer for the state [of Missouri] for the Committee
for Fair Elections. They said, 'You don't have to do anything-all you
have to do is let us use your name.' That was the worst thing they
could have said," explained Burack. She has since completely disassociated
herself from NAP and the Institute.
Busekrus, a member of the Privacy Rights Education Project (PREP) in
St. Louis, was also enthusiastic when he first encountered NAP canvassers
at the March on Washington. Dattner and Grossman contacted him in March
1988 about organizing St. Louis. He spoke with them by phone "about
twice a week for three to four week," and encouraged the NAP members
to get involved with PREP since "we seemed to be working on the same
kinds of issues," said Busekrus. He gave them contact names in
St. Louis and Kansas City.
Grossman's request, Busekrus agreed to house Ed Patuto for "three
to four days" when the latter first came to St Louis in early
May 1988. Patuto stayed for two and a half weeks, says Busekrus, who
began to have doubts about NAP at that time-having seen some of the
literature criticizing the organization. He "begged off" for
PREP on the question of the two groups working together. But by that
time Busekrus had already agreed to be listed as state chairman for
NAP, a position which he believes he still holds-although he has had
almost no contact with Patuto or the party since Patuto left his home
in late May.
relates that, in June, a Missouri driver's license and a St. Louis
County voter's registration were sent to his house with Ed Patuto's
name on them. "How could he use my address," said Busekrus, "if
he was only planning to stay here a few days? It also made me wonder
how many other places he's registered to vote." Busekrus's waning
interest in working with NAP was finally extinguished when he attended
an AIDS vigil in San Diego. Fulani dominated the event with a rambling
and obscure speech. "I was offended by her turning a memorial
service into a political rally. I felt they [NAP] were taking advantage
of us," Busekrus said.
questionable organizing tactics have come to light from a number of
sources. Notable among them are Berlet, activist Tom Bixby of Kansas
City and a Lesbian activist, also of Kansas City, who asked that her
name not be used.
says that while attending the National Lawyers Guild Conference in
St. Louis in June, he confronted Patuto who, he said, was "telling
people that I worked for the FBI. I asked him on what ground he was
basing this charge, and when he said he had none, I told him I would
have to sue if he continued to say this," Berlet stated.
Lesbian activist in Kansas City who was initially sympathetic to NAP
expressed her concerns to Patuto after reading Berlet's paper. She
says Patuto told her that the paper was a "lover's revenge against
Fulani," and that Berlet was "a white man who couldn't deal
with an assertive black woman."
denies having linked Berlet with Fulani sexually, but he acknowledges
having told people that "I wouldn't be surprised if he's on somebody's
payroll, like the FBI. His writings and his tactics are pernicious." When
asked by this reporter what information he had to discredit Berlet
politically, Patuto replied that "he works with a group of men
who have shady politics," referring to long-time leftist activists Dennis
King, Ken Lawrence and others who have
written pieces critical of the New Alliance Party.
Bixby says he met Patuto when the latter was doing door-to-door canvassing
in Kansas City. "He said he was with the Rainbow Alliance and
mentioned Fulani," said Bixby about Patuto, "but it wasn't
until I asked him that he said the Rainbow Alliance was not Jesse
Jackson's organization." The Rainbow Coalition, founded by
Jackson, has been plagued by Fulani's attempt to link the two campaigns
in her "two roads are better than one" plan. Jackson officials
vehemently deny any connection between the Alliance and the Coalition.
Bixby added that when he asked Patuto about himself, Patuto told him
that he was "a long-time Gay activist from St. Louis."
Louis activists who were invited to meet with Marian Grossman in February
of this year said they went expecting a chance to talk with someone
about the politics and strategies of the New Alliance Party. Instead,
they were treated to 45 minutes of "pure puff," as Grossman
read to them from various papers.
almost begged her to put down the paper and let us just have a conversation," said
Alice Senturia-labor activist and local co-chair of the New
Jewish Agenda's Task Force on Economic and Social Justice. "She
deflected the question saying, 'let me finish.' When we asked her what
the connection was between the New Alliance Party, the Institute for
Social Therapy and the Committee for Fair Elections, she said, 'What
do you need to know that for? I'm not here to organize a chapter of
NAP. I'm here to campaign for Fulani.'" added Senturia.
activist Bill Redding-who also attended the meeting-agrees with Senturia.
He says the meeting ended on a friendly note, but that the next day,
Grossman called him up from Chicago and "red-baited" both
him and Senturia. "She said she had been set up. She accused us
of being members of the Communist Party. It sounded just like red-baiting
to me. That just is not a legitimate tactic for a progressive organization."
denies that she red-baited Redding and Senturia. "I did not accuse
anybody of being a member of the Communist Party," she said, "I
asked if they were because all the questions they'd been asking were
right out of the CP's smear campaign against Fulani and the New Alliance
Party. They were attacking me. It was very unprincipled."
Redding, Burack, Hyde, Hunter and Berlet all expressed concern that
the New Alliance Party spent more time attacking the Left than working
with it. "They only attack left and liberal organizations," says
Burack. "They never talk about the Republicans. One of their goals
is to destroy the Democratic party." Fulani has frequently said
in public appearances that "we should be prepared to cost the
Democrats the election."
article in the July 21 edition of The National Alliance takes
issue with an anonymous flyer which was distributed at St. Louis's
Gay Pride Rally June 26. The flyer, titled "Lesbians and Gays
Beware of the New Alliance Party-Look Behind Their Slick Rhetoric," calls
attention to NAP's position on homosexuality and discusses Newman's
questionable background. It quotes Dennis
Serrette and lists some of the various names of Newman's organizations.
It mentions NAP's libel trial against a black-owned independent newspaper
in Jackson, Mississippi which refused to back NAP's candidate in a
The [National] Alliance article,
titled "Fulani's Success Within Gay Community Sparks Attack," calls
the flyer an "anti-NAP diatribe." It quotes Morton Singer-who
is identified as a "St. Louis gay activist" who is critical
of the flyer as saying "Fulani and NAP have been very well received
in the gay community. I've been impressed with what they've done." None
of the Gay and progressive activists interviewed locally for this article
were familiar with Singer. Repeated attempts to reach him by phone
article also quotes Blanche Hamilton, whom it describes as an "African
American woman running for state representative from St. Louis' 58th
District on a pro-gay platform," and as "a writer for the Evening
Whirl." Hamilton appears to lin[k] the flyer to the Dukakis
Whirl, a tabloid published in St. Louis, headlined its article
on the St. Louis Gay Pride Celebration as "The Unforgetable
[sic] Fag and Bull Tie Together Parade," and included such comments
as, "The switching and staid fairy men and deep-eyed sisters
of lust came out, and in all of their tempestuous activities." Hamilton
did not return phone messages.
Newman and his followers have been around for many years. Though currently
they operate through the auspices of various organizations-The New
Alliance Party, the Institute for Social Therapy, the Rainbow Alliance,
and the Committee for Fair Elections-in the past their activities have
been conducted under other names, including" the International Workers
Party, the New York City Unemployed and Welfare Council, the New Black
Alliance, and the Coalition of Grassroots Women.
things remain constant. Fred Newman and his inner circle have stayed
more or less intact for about 15 years. The same contradictions and
the same criticisms of their methods surface repeatedly. What is new
is that they seem to regard the Lesbian and Gay community as the hottest
piece of political property of the 1980s.
community is particularly vulnerable because of the problems posed
by our own invisibility: social isolation, cultural alienation, the
absence of a clear and strong political identity and, perhaps most
important, the lack of information.
and Lesbians are not used to the kind of sweet talk the NAP has to
offer. We have had to work long and hard on our own for what gains
we have made in this country. It is now up to our community to take
a long, critical look at what lies behind NAP's beguiling words-before
we give over our unquestioning support.
© 1988-The Lesbian
and Gay News-Telegraph. All rights reserved.