The Truth About NATLFED

November 30, 2014

When the cold wind blows

Filed under: Cult,NATLFED,Politics,Uncategorized — ghostwriter1984 @ 19:40

Some of us are located away from God’s “ice bucket challenge” with the Nor’easter.  Others are digging tunnels.  It is kind of difficult to tweet with an old Royal typewriter, but if you’re snowbound then at least you can still do the FIIN letters.  (Former insiders will get the joke.).

Do not let scam artists tell you they are delivering food or firewood by snowmobile.  That seems to be on the rise in some areas where they suffered 7′ of snow.  Snowmobiles can only go so far before needing gas.  There are a couple of well-organized networks, unaffiliated with any of the NATLFED locals.  Boys and their toys — suddenly those trucks with over-sized tires are somewhat useful despite the bad gas mileage.

Winter survival campaigns are an annual fundraising and recruitment activity run by NATLFED affiliates in the areas subject to the cold and snow.  We have discussed “targets of opportunities” and as tasteless and cruel as it may sound, the Nor’easter is a target of opportunity.  The front organizations will exploit this act of God to expand its coffers.

The Organization always say the two greatest things are people and money.  Notice how the people comes first?  It implies people are more important.  Yet when push comes to shove, money is pursued first and foremost.  Why?  If you’re in an entity that is about to get its lights shut off, you’re not going to run a class on the IM Young Strike for a couple of volunteers that you’re trying to violate.  (Remember – violate is part of the jargon, a change in status to bring the recruit closer to the inside of the Organization.  Although it does imply something else.  Still, it is rather nasty.).

They will get on that phone, call for the dollars, call for the food, call for the winter clothing, call, call, and call some more for stuff.  Ten percent of what is generated is exported out of the area to support the National office.  Depending on how empty the local pantry is, food and other resources will be diverted to satisfy the needs of the local office.  And remember, the Organization does not give out money.

You are better off taking your food and clothing directly to the doorstep of a low-income person.  Toss in a few dollars if that’s all you have.  Or use the established charities that use the minimal amount to keep their offices and staff taken care of.  Some of them operate on very little, a lot less than the front organizations, and provide a lot more relief to those in need.

This will, of course, start the old argument about band-aid solutions.  And that argument is conducted among the ranks of former insiders who still kind of give a damn.  Others too, we’re sure, but as this blog is somewhat focused on a topic people only care about when it directly affects them, well, what else can you expect?

As always, do the research.  There will not be airlifts of resources from sunny climate areas to snow buried localities even if such things are promised.  The so-called airlifts only happened a couple of times.


February 8, 2009

The Truth About NATLFED

Filed under: Cult,NATLFED,Politics,Uncategorized — marystruggler @ 03:32

If you had an encounter with National Labor Federation or any of its subordinate groups (Eastern Farm Workers Association, Eastern Service Workers Association, Women’s Press Collective in Brooklyn, Northwest Seasonal Workers Association, California Homemakers Association, Coalition of Concerned Medical Professionals, Coalition of Concerned Legal Professionals, Western Service Workers Association, Western Farm Workers Association, just to name a few) you might want to learn more about the inner workings of this organization.

Some call it a cult.  In its beginnings, NATLFED was a dedicated labor organization.  It strove to organize the unrecognized worker strata of the country (those not protected by the labor laws of the country).  It suffered from the losses of key leaders such as Mary Donovan Seeber (left after fellow leaders refused to support her as Chair and eventually murdered), Mary ‘Polly’ Gardner (died of untreated breast cancer), David Shapiro (left after a falling out with fellow leaders), David Mitchell (abandoned the organization after his incarceration), Nelle Christensen (left calling Gino and the Organization a fraud, not on indefinite medical leave) and finally, the death of the founder Gino Perente.

When the new regime took over under the leadership of Margaret Ribar in 1995, the Organization changed radically.  The Organization’s new focus of passive revolution replaced its previous effort of establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat through whatever means necessary.  Many key leaders were expelled.  Democratic centralism was replaced with selective centralism.  The membership body no longer had any say in the strategies or tactics.

The current leadership is attempting to change the perspective that the Organization is a cult.  If a person leaves, he or she is “free” to do so (this is very different from the period before 1996).  Communal living arrangements have been reduced from numbers in the thirties to numbers by the handful or less.  Reports of physical abuse have decreased after the 1996 raid.  However, former cadres do continue to talk about psychological and emotional trauma suffered after that time.

Some choose to refer to NATLFED as a controversial organization.  I prefer to call it a paper tiger, the fight long gone while some desperately cling to the victories of the past.  What is the significance of the IM Young strike today?  Not much has changed to improve working conditions for farm workers on Long Island after 1984.  Some say conditions are worse now than in 1972.

NATLFED is just one fraction of Communist Party USA/Provisional Wing, also called the Provisional Party.  Openly, the Party is called the Organization.  Within some circles, it is called the American Formation.  Other fractions continue to operate while some are defunct, relics of the past.  While they tout expansion with new entities in Alaska and the midwest, they neglect to mention the loss of entities such as Native American Research Bureau or the Association of Federal Aid Students.  The losses far outnumber the new.

The articles within this blog are written by former cadres.  There are three primary periods of the Organization that are indicated as follows:

  1. 1971-1984: the building and expansion of the Organization starting with an assemblage of a few persons, creating Eastern Farm Workers Association, the entity “jumps” (starting offices in other areas across the country).  This was the time that Gino Perente controlled the Organization.  Some believe during this time it was not a cult, that it was a dedicated movement (this is a controversial point).  The Central Committee had real power.
  2. 1984-1995: after the raid at the brownstone complex on Carroll Street, the Organization drastically changed.  Gino was injured in the raid and confined to one apartment.  He still controlled the Organization, while many true believers left after the failed date of the revolution (February 15, 1984).  The Central Committee began to change, decisions often overruled by Gino.
  3. 1995 to present: with Gino’s death March 18, 1995, there was a temporary power struggle until Margaret Ribar assumed control of the Organization.  Even Gino’s last will and testament was subject to debate and re-interpretation.  The first year of her leadership, she aggressively operated a campaign of “better fewer but better” (the purges).  Many cadres were forced out of the Organization, several by violent means while most through psychological or emotional abuse.  The agenda changed from armed struggle to passive revolution (when it comes, it comes).

At this time, the primary authors of this blog are persons from the 1979 to 1996 period, originally from a field entity and then assigned to the National Office Central (NOC).  Field entity assignments are different from administrative entity assignments such as NOC or COSHAD (Committee for Occupational Safety and Health of Attendants and Domestics, the cover for the west coast regional office).  Other former cadres are invited to submit articles for inclusion.

Feel free to leave a comment in the Discussion Board.   This blog intends to educate people about some of the inner workings of the Provisional Party, describe the terminology, educate about the cadre lifestyle, talk about the organizing methodology and more.

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