There's More to Fulani and NAP Than Meets the Eye:
Leaders Within the Gay and Lesbian Movement Encourage Caution

By Kris Kleindienst

An 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.

The 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 in Missouri.

The 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.

Indeed, 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.


LaRouche 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.

"Clouds 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 play down.

Berlet 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 police agents."

In 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 movement."

Further 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."

Serrette, 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.

Some 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.

Lenora 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."

Fulani, 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.


Criticism 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.

For 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.

"The 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 Hyde.


Joyce 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."

Fulani's 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 asserts.

"In 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."

Calling 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."

When 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."


Local 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.

Cathy 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.

Burack, 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."

Burack 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 said.

Minister Louis Farrakhan is a black Muslim leader who has called Judaism a "gutter religion" and is known to be anti-Gay. Fulani supports him.

Burack's 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.

"What 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.

Tom 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.

At 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.

Busekrus 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.

Patuto's 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.

Berlet 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.

A 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."

Patuto 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.

Tom 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."

St 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.

"We 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.

Political 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."

Grossman 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."

Senturia, 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."

An 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 local election.

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 were unsuccessful.

The 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 campaign.

The Evening 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.


Fred 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.

Some 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.

Our 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.

Gays 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.

Click HERE to visit the giant '' archive on the history of the Newman cult.