The Truth About NATLFED

Is it a cult?

Part 1:

This article was inspired by an article written by John Hochman, MD.

Cults are groups that use thought reform to recruit and control members.  They instill beliefs within their members using a variety of methods.  Several tactics may be employed to further this effort including sleep deprivation, tedious and repetitive tasks that serve the organization in a way that seems inane to outsiders, verbal abuse (mockery of persons that speak or act contrary to the practices of the group) and physical abuse.  (This list is not exhaustive.).

What is it that Communist Party USA Provisional Wing desires?  Its original stated goal was power, to seize control and establish the international dictatorship of the proletariat.  The accumulation of wealth came hand in hand with its efforts, restricted to the few senior ranking leaders of the group.  Power and wealth is supplied by the members, directly as well as generated through approved Organizational tactics.

The Organization exhorts members to do more to recruit people and raise money.

What the Organization wants:

Power:

  • work assignments are made to suite the needs of the Organization; if a person is dissatisfied they are not “committed” and re-education is required
  • many cadres are required to relocate to different cities (usually far away from friends and family)
  • some cadres are kept cloistered in administrative offices, disallowed to venture outside except on approved Organizational activities
  • relationships are controlled (no sexual relationships with probational members were allowed, lest the political progress of the recruit be tainted; military personnel were forbidden to engage in any sexual activities, punishable by death)
  • group punishments as behavioral and ideological control such as trials (complete with judge and prosecutors), threatening expulsion, harm to the cadre or their family, “if you leave we’ll find you and get you”
  • re-education of errant cadres, usually hours at a time, late a night, two persons engaging one person, etc.
  • sleep (all a revolutionary needs is six and a half hours of sleep a night, the military recommends seven and we’re better than them)
  • “Real” cadres work 18 hours a day on Organizational activities to some day achieve the Organizational goal of international revolution; your “need” to visit a museum or attend church is contrary to that attribute

Wealth:

  • Cadres give the Organization their property, money and physical possessions, which are maintained “for the benefit of the Organization” by trusted leaders
  • Those working in the field entities as well as business ventures of the Organization do so with a main goal of raising money and recruiting people; all profits go to the central offices
  • Family members and friends are solicited for funds, sometimes on false pretenses (the need for drugs was replaced with the need to fight a court battle concerning a service center, as example)

What the Organization does not want:

The Organization does not want a cadre to have unselfish concerns for others as individuals, using those concerns to dictate a cadres’ particular course of action or thoughts.  This overrides the Organization’s agenda.  The Organization is more concerned about the needs of the groups it purports to represent.

The Organization does not want high overhead costs.  As little as possible should be spent on things that could otherwise be received as donations including food, clothing, medical services, etc.  Cadres do not receive salaries.  Cadres are entitled to $5 a week and a daily pack of cigarettes (see the Essential Organizer) but rarely see the $5 a week.  Those that work in the business ventures do so for no salary, with profits going directly to the national coffers.

The Organization does not want its inner workings exposed.  This is detrimental to its efforts to recruit new persons as well as generate funds or other resources.  A person putting money in a bucket has no idea the Organization strives to overthrow the government.  When criticisms are made public, the Organization resorts to using credible persons (the nuns that are not whores and the doctors that are noy drug addicts) as tools to change public perception of the criticism.

The Organization does not want to be called a cult.  This is partly why some practices were relaxed, to try and get away from the cult accusations.

We are better than the invention of sliced bread

The Organization purports to be building the revolution using Marxist-Leninist ideologies.  It has been engaged in this premise for almost forty years.  This agenda is hidden from recruits until they are adequately prepared for violation (TVTV process).  For a limited understanding of TVTV, please see the Essential Organizer.

Its leaders possess considerable intellectual acuity.  There was a time when a fair number of persons in the Organization held doctoral degrees (sociologists, doctors, even a couple of nuclear physicists) but the current leadership has few such persons.  Intellectual authority comes from a select few that dictate needs to the rank and file.

The Organization uses past victories in an attempt to awe potential recruits.  The strike at I.M. Young is the earliest example.  Other examples include the fight to keep the Riverhead center from being evicted, the TWOC strategy, and more.  Even walking into National Office Central during its heyday with eighty persons working within the confines of the complex was inspiring to a new recruit wanting to be part of something big.

Loose Lips Sink Ships

More than just an old WWII slogan, it embodied the need for secrecy.  Access to the news was not restricted but was subject to reinterpretation by political commissars.  Initial recruits are unaware of the Organizational agenda, to tell them too soon would scare them away.  Recruitment was conducted in stages.

People were told things on a need to know basis.  No one needed to know the full extent of the Organization’s dealings with other organizations such as CPUSA.  Such dealings were often discussed in general ways as deemed fit by leaders to further certain agenda.

While many cadres spent a lot of time living and working together, they knew very little about each other from a personal perspective.  There were exceptions to this, such as family members that participated together who had a previous history of activism.

The Organization uses a variety of groups to channel people into the main groups.  Support groups including Citizens for Migrant Workers strive to recruit persons toward the main Eastern Farm Workers Association.  EFWA then strives to recruit the persons as revolutionaries.  Visits to administrative entities to consolidate recruitment was integral back in the old days.

Do as I say

Gino worked as the Field Commander, the Party Organizer.  He controlled the entire Organization.  This was constitutionally established.

Power is highly centralized in the Organization.  Unit meetings (group meetings for interior cadres) give an appearance of local authority through a democratic process, but agenda items are mandated by national leaders.  Decision outcomes are predetermined and political commissars charged to see those outcomes arrive as National dictates.

The old days of full Central Committee meetings have been replaced with smaller quorum meetings, with some quorums maintaining more authority than other quorums.  A quorum was indicated as four central committee members, their decision supposedly binding for Organizational implementation.  This eventually lead to the creation of the quorum of quorums, the four highest ranking persons, a body that overrode other quorum decisions.

A real cadre works full-time, lives in Organizational housing, dedicates all time to the Organization.  (A point of note: there was an effort to relax rules pertaining to family visitations.  This is subjectively employed.).  The needs of the individual are less important than the needs of the Organization.

As I look back now, I wonder how my failing to get all the contacts typed on the various systems cards and required rosters was somehow detrimental to the cause.  Yet the Essential Organizer was the bible for how basic systems work was conducted.  Master file cards, systems cards, membership cards, corresponding rosters, etc.  It was a full-time job!  Failure to maintain such paperwork resulted in re-education — the contacts belong to the systems, not the individuals; you were withholding that rightful information from the systems.

The threat of expulsion used to be very real.  If you worked say ten years with the Organization, typically your family ties were cut off along with relations with friends.  Where would you go?  What would you do?  How could you dismiss what you had done with the Organization?

“They” will go after you.  “They” as the enemy will find you and force you to make statements, possibly even try to send you to jail.

We will come after you.  We as the Organization will find you and somehow cause harm to you and/or your family.  We will financially ruin you.  We will drive you to commit suicide.

Part 2:

This section is a reflection of ideas and concepts by a former member.

As I settle in for the evening and read my e-mails, I sift through the messages looking for interesting topics.  I have limited time so I only pick the ones that interest me.  I discard or ignore other messages completely.  Occasionally, I blow off an irate person with my trademark response, “I have neither the interest nor the time” response.

There was a time when I was curious about what others believed about the question, “Is it a cult?”

I will go ahead under the assumption that a reasonable person does not go looking to join a cult.  The organization was successful at recruiting a diverse population to fill the cadre ranks.  Whether it continues to diversely recruit cadres is difficult to know for certain.  One particularly enthusiastic e-mail critic applauded the fact that I am not aware of recent organizational operations or practices.  To that I say, “I am not in the organization anymore, nor have I been in it for years.”

Is is a cult?  This question is often referred to in web discussions as the cult paradigm.

While I am still somewhat curious about what others believe, I remain convinced that it did not start out as a cult but became one.  Others say it was a cult from day one.  Yet others believe it is not a cult, just a political organization that lost its way.  An angry e-mailer believes that I am juvenile for not accepting that it was a cult from the beginning.  Another polite e-mailer seems to think that I am being naïve about the thing.

This personal weblog centers on discussing the organizational methodologies, life styles, what it means to be a cadre, what the local drives do, talks about some of the histories and offers some links to additional web sites.  I do not possess the charisma to bend you to my will to convince you to agree with my opinion.  It is simply that: my opinion.  You are free to agree or disagree.

The organizational direction changed after the 1984 raid.  As senior leaders began abandoning their posts or were driven out, the very nature of the leadership structure thus changed.  The old activists were gone, some decrying the organization or the Old Man as a fraud.  Younger persons ascended the ranks.  The sociologists began to leave along with many professionals.  Old timers that remained were stuck in a rut.  Many were willing to go along with what the upper echelon said to do or believe, unquestioning, following blindly.  This was very different from pre-1984 where unit meetings were lively with discussions and cadres seriously considered the agenda items.

I do not believe the Central Committee was truly in command.  The Party Chair position was vacant for twelve years and the National General Secretary position was filled on an ad hoc basis for ten years.  It is true that Oldie was not a member of the Central Committee, yet as time progressed he called all of the shots.  If the Central Committee arrived at a decision he did not agree with, he overruled it.  No one dared to oppose him.  The structure had holes, missing pieces, or just persons emplaced into positions based on their physical relationships with other persons.

One might arrive at a conclusion that changed after his death.  After all, a new Chair took control, a permanent National General Secretary was posted, the basic leadership ranks were restructured to bring the organization somewhat into alignment with its own documentation.  The Field Commander position was retired; the Party Organizer position was to remain unfilled despite its requirement in the organization’s Constitution.  The Quorum of Quorums eventually took over all Central Committee functions.  To be on the Central Committee meant very little, for if you were “on the outs” you simply were not allowed at the meetings.  Whatever decisions were made in your absence, you had to still abide by those decisions even though you were deliberately excluded from the proceedings.  This type of selectivism allowed for a tightly centralized leadership core with minimal participants.

Thus was the final nail in the coffin of democratic centralism.

Some say I was too young and too close to see it as a cult until after many years.  Others think I am full of it.  I was not a particularly important person nor was I someone that held a senior leadership position.  Being at NOC  did not necessarily make a person senior leadership.  After all, someone has to scrub the toilets.  I remember one time being assigned as second cook with Struggs as first cook.  It was a little daunting, sixteen and cooking dinner with the Party Chair.  I was so scared that I would say something incredibly stupid.  Then my perspective changed when I realized she was drunk off her ass.

It was a strange scenario.

It was one of many occasions when Oldie apologized for something he was not responsible for but as I look back I wonder about such things.  He had a gift for pitting persons against each other, whether it was for his amusement or just to keep the organization off balance, that is subject to debate.  Some say he drove her to drink.  Others talk about the way he beat her up, physically and emotionally.  To treat her so badly after all that she tried to do for him, trying to get him off the drugs, it does not make sense to someone like myself.

It is all about power.  Either you have it or you do not.

I am going to wrap this up for now, somewhat a rough draft.  I cannot avoid the cult paradigm altogether in this personal blog.  I can only offer my thoughts and some experiences.  Others are tired of the cult paradigm and stand mute on the subject.  A few enthusiasts will argue from now until next Tuesday.  If you would like to share your thoughts on this, drop me a note.  As you know, I work very hard to support my family.  What time I devote to this personal weblog is my attempt to offer a service to those who are interested in learning more about an organization that hides its true agenda

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