"The damn New York Institute for Social Therapy and Research is a bloody goldmine. I really wish I could convince you business types that that's true. There's big money out there. In all of its versions--Marxist version, cleaned-up version--all the different versions. There's heavy money."
Introduction by Dennis King: The following document--originally posted at http://ex-iwp.org--is a partial transcript of a 1983 meeting of the International Workers Party's internal Office of Economic Development (OED) at which party chairman Fred Newman describes the self-styled Marxist-Leninist party's centralized control of various front groups, including the New York Institute for Social Therapy and Research. The transcript--in which Newman expresses a seemingly boundless greed and cynicism while also alluding to "scams" and the "laundering" of funds--has not received the attention it deserves because of the turgidness of the original transcipt (I have inspected a paper copy, discussed its origins with the person who obtained it, and am convinced it's genuine).
In preparing it for reposting, I have conformed its punctuation to accepted usage, added more paragraph breaks, and highlighted what I think are the most important passages. It is still a difficult read, but I think that wealthy New Yorkers who today are naively donating large sums of money to Fred Newman's All Stars Project youth charity might want to ask their attorneys to read it (and to also read my "Report to the City" on the history of the Newman cult's youth work at https://lyndonlarouchewatch.org/devloan.htm) before cutting any more hundred-thousand-dollar checks for this gang.
The reader will notice that Newman does most of the talking, going on and on (and on). This tendency to monopolize the discussion would only get worse over the years. New York State Independence Party chairman Frank MacKay (a former Newman ally turned foe) has described to me--in graphic language--a meeting at Newman's townhouse circa 2001 in which Newman pontificated while his top aides just sat there and nodded their heads. I myself attended Newman's annual public lecture at Manhattan's Town Hall in 2003 where the atmosphere was unmistakably that of a personality cult: Newman's followers sat utterly rapt while he delivered a string of meaningless platitudes. The African-American kids from All Stars were relegated to the balcony--probably out of fear that they'd get visibly restless and/or fall asleep, as I almost did.
Unfortunately, I missed another and perhaps livelier Newman speech that year entitled "Why I'm Still a Marxist" (which was also the title of a 2006 Newman seminar the audio tape of which is being sold as of 2009 by the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy--the same organization (under a new name) that Newman described in 1983 as his clandestine party's "bloody goldmine").
I see NO REASON WHATSOEVER to believe that over the years the International Workers Party leadership (coterminous with the core of "wives" and other longtime therapy patients around Newman) has magically "reformed" and no longer has the authoritarian life style, the relaxed (to put it mildly) attitudes toward "scams" and money "laundering," and the cynical approach to psychotherapy revealed in the below document. Individuals change, but totalistic cults rarely do. And the narcissistic gurus at the helm of such organizations almost never change for the better--only for the worse.
In the transcript, the IWP is referred to as the "pre-party"--a deceptive linguistic device that was apparently intended to keep the FBI from focussing on the IWP. The owner of the ex-iwp website, before she posted this transcript, made a decision to remove "all references to personal names and private businesses" of IWP members, while retaining the initials of the speakers and the names of public figures and IWP front groups." However, "FN" is obviously Fred Newman, and "HK" (also referred to as "Harry") appears to be New York attorney Harry Kresky, whose law firm, the transcript makes clear, was basically the IWP's in-house firm at the time.
Among the entities referred to below that were controlled by the IWP circa 1983 were the New Alliance Party (NAP), an electoral front, and The New York Alliance (also referred to in the transcript as the NYA and the Alliance), a weekly newspaper ostensibly published by NAP but, as the transcript makes clear, really a propaganda organ of the IWP. The New York Alliance would soon change its name to The National Alliance. Both NAP and the newspaper affected the tactics and style of radical "street politics"--at first in New York City but during the late 1980s, nationwide--without overt Marxist-Leninist jargon. Both entities would be disbanded in the early 1990s when the IWP decided to infiltrate mainstream politics by way of the Reform party of Ross Perot. Today, Newman's IWP "core" controls the New York City Independence Party (the fruit of its work in the Reform party) in a manner similar to how it once controlled NAP. The successor newspaper to The National Alliance as an IWP propaganda organ is called The New York Times (I'm joking, folks...but not entirely; read here.)
FN: This is our first meeting of '83; Happy New Year. I want to welcome two new members of the OED. [Deleted]--one-half owner of a construction company. What's the name of your construction company?
SF: [Deleted] Construction.
FN: What's [Deleted] stand for?
SF: [Deleted] and my initials. We were going to call it [Deleted] but we didn't like how it sounded, so we changed it to [Deleted]. We needed something.
JS: It's an improvement over Morning Dew.
SF: You gave me North Star; we were ready to fill it out, but [it] was too reminiscent.
FN: [Deleted] is here as one-half owner of [Deleted] and [Deleted] is here representing ABC organizing. Who else? [Deleted] is here representing Robin Hood Distributing Co. Will you be here all the time or will you be rotating?
MH: We haven't decided yet.
FN: So, it'll be [Deleted] or [Deleted]. Let me take five minutes here to say some very general words about how things have been going in terms of schedule to motivate tonight's piece of work. So, I think our first full month of operation under [Deleted]'s leadership has been, in my opinion, an extraordinary success. She's been doing marvelous work. I think we've done many of the activities that we identified in our first series of four meetings before [Deleted] coming on board and I think for the first time in the history of the organization we've begun to produce both a centralized plan and a rationalized economic arrangement. We've gone through some of the crises that are endemic to the operation--business crises--we're in the midst of some. But I think we've put significant portions of our work on a sound basis.
Concretely, I think a financial accomplishment of note is [Deleted]'s presence here. We've succeeded in identifying the funds for developing, at least for six months, a relatively well-funded community organizing operation, which is a first--believe it or not--in the history of the organization. I think that it represents an extraordinary step forward. I think that it represents the first time that we've been able to move organizing off the level of essentially voluntarist activity, to a professional activity. So, to be sure, we all have always functioned as organizers, but there's a difference between everyone functioning as an organizer--which remains true given who we are--and having a professionalized organizing department. That's been something that we've wanted to accomplish for a very, very long time, and indeed we've accomplished it. That's a quite exciting development.
I think that the NYI [New York Institute for Social Therapy and Research, also referred to herein as "the Institute"] has been profoundly helped by OED. I think we're going to see some real dividends from that work. I think we've again for the first time, begun to make some centralized and coordinated decisions on the finances of members of the organization, an activity which has always been heretofore left on a catch-as-catch-can basis.
In a sense, when I think of the work we've been doing, it's most accurately described as a full-fledged attack on financial anarchism. And we're [going to] win this fight. The anarchism has been rampant, and it's a fight that we're in the process of winning. So, I'm eager for us to begin to regularize these meetings, now that the New Year is here, and also to start producing within the next several weeks a fairly regular report that will go out in conjunction with these meetings--maybe the week before these meetings--in which [Deleted] will report to the OED as to specific accomplishments, which are many, and to also identify ongoing projects that are under way. Right now we're doing an initial round of housecleaning. The plan always involves several cleaning ups, that first bit of cleaning is when you get the house in shape enough to clean it up. That's kind of what January has been.
And in some ways the work we have to do tonight is the dirtiest corner of the initial cleanup, which was the NAP [New Alliance Party] to some extent, although I think the cleanup there is relatively modest, next to the New York Alliance newspaper, which I think has embodied in some ways the worst features of our financial anarchy. We have, I think, very precisely identified the problem in both political terms and financial terms. Tonight we're going to present both the NAP and the Alliance situation and work is already underway in cleaning it up, and clearing it up. But, I think, we want to collectively make the necessary determinations to conclude that process and stabilize those two very critical pieces.
Once that's accomplished, I think we can begin the second stage of cleaning up, we can begin to refine some of the things that need to be refined, we can begin some more positive work, on building some new pieces, which again, are already underway. So, some of the work on business equipment, some of the work on various investments, the continuing work on the opening of new centers, in the case of the Institute, some of the business possibilities that we're beginning to do now for the first time, involving how to best use our money, how to best cover our money, how to protect our money. How to best launder it, we've just begun some of that work, but I think once we've finished this first round of cleaning up, we're going to be able to save enormous amounts of money, once [Deleted]'s freed up from getting through the garbage.
People have been generally quite cooperative, though there have been several fistfights. No doubt there will be several others, though I think that everyone's kind of getting the idea, getting the hang, of the new regime, and as soon as that's completely internalized, everything will go more smoothly. Just to, once again, reassure you all, this period will succeed. So, the agenda is [Deleted]'s going to present these reports, when she finishes these reports, I want to speak briefly on some of the political considerations associated with [Deleted]'s presentation, and then we'll open up for discussion. I'll turn it over to [Deleted].
DG: Tonight's meeting will be devoted to beginning a major project of this office: the complete reorganization of the financial management of NAP and the NYA. In the process of completing this project we will also be reorganizing the financial management of the organization, although this piece will not be focused on tonight.
Since the campaign ended, the financial management of these entities has been very unsatisfactory, characterized by an anarchy and brinkmanship which has impacted adversely on the morale of personnel and also on the level of which operations are carried out. Political leadership of those entities have updated that they're being driven crazy by the situation. Rank and file are complaining that they don't understand what's going on, the person to whom they supposedly report is never accessible, no one knows the answer to questions like who renews the service contract on the compugraphic, etc. [Deleted] is hired as bookkeeper but the books which she's supposed to be working on are kept in [Deleted]'s office down at [Deleted].
Things kind of came to a head with [Deleted]'s report to the Tactical Committee two weeks ago which kind of exposed the desperation of the situation--that there were these big problems and the three-man committee did not have a serious plan as to how to deal with them. [Deleted] identified the political deviation underlying the mishandling of the finances in a staff meeting we had the next day and in a later meeting with [Deleted].
Basically, the deviation is the belief that because you're the one to come through with the money, then that gives you the right to decide when, how and to whom the money is disbursed.
[Deleted] identified this deviation as macho, very controlling, and most of all, extremely privatized. So the projects are more or less held hostage to your willingness to return a phone call or your ability to come through with money at the last minute. It also doesn't socialize the risks or difficulties in coming up with the money so that objective assessments can be made by the organization. It leaves everything in your heads where it not only drives you crazy but everyone else associated with the project.
One of the first tasks in the reorganization is separating those two functions: coming up with the money and controlling the money. The control function will be centralized in the office. Each of the projects will continue to have financial officers who will administer the budget, but all budgets will be received and approved by the OED. Working out the details of this takeover will be first on the agenda.
Rest of talk is need to know.
AG: [Deleted], I don't know if this belongs in the hopper, but [Deleted] and I just came from a meeting where--the contract we settled after the meeting--at least initially an $8,500 payment was due the contractor, it was money that was borrowed for the office and used to help finance the campaign.
DG: Right. I forgot to mention the campaign debts of NAP. That was an important piece. NAP has $77,000 in outstanding campaign debts, of which [Deleted] says $18,000 don't have to be repaid, they're from contractors, and $3,800 has been paid off, so that leaves $55,375. Part of that money, $7,800, was money that [Deleted] borrowed from people for the [Deleted] construction and then instead paid NAP, so now he owes both the contractor for whom the money was borrowed and the people from whom he borrowed. So, we need $7,800 not only to pay off the contractor, but to pay off the people we borrowed from.
FN: So, let me just comment briefly on this situation. Let me comment by way of identifying a--actually the--superstructural reflection of this economic base situation that's being described. Namely, the problem that the HQ grouping of the organization has consistently had in identifying themselves. That is, a long-standing problem for the HQ fraction has been the failure on their part to appreciate that they represent the various departments, the various staffs, which operate and run and carry out the activities of the major organization of all of those organizations of which we are appropriately concerned: the pre-party organization.
And I think that there is a tendency for those various elements, the propaganda arm, propaganda department, the finance department, the legal department, the security department, the health and welfare department, the department of the chair, those various departments which are in fact staffs, departments and components of the pre-party organization have had difficulty in, and have in many cases failed to function as, a coordinated body. I think, though I might be slightly overstating the case, that our financial organization is a superstructural reflection of this failure. In the simplest of terms, the primary responsibility of our economic entities, both the businesses, the individual organizers, our stock, our bonds, our scams, our piggy banks--whatever it is we have--the off-the-top responsibility, the off-the-top concern of all that money--is to support the pre-party.
Now, that might seem on the one hand obvious, but it's not. If one examines in detail the actual functioning, there is a very, very strong pull on the part of many to regard the pre-party having as its function the supporting of these other organizations. There is in fact a very, complicated dynamic--a dialectic--there. And at the core of the resolution of this situation there's going to be implementation of concrete plans which make absolutely plain that priority. That's the core piece that people have to be straight on. That the organs of the pre-party will have balanced budgets and will have the necessary funding--period. That it will not be the case that any entities will be in better shape at any point in time, by any measure, most specifically by our measure, than the entities of the pre-party. That dictum will be followed. So, for example, I think it's very important to identify that the legal practice is not to be understood merely as a law firm, but as the legal arm of the pre-party. To be sure, it has a, if you will, a public identity. Just as the NYA has a public identity but remains if you will, fundamentally, the propaganda arm of the pre-party. The legal department of the pre-party will henceforth, with a modest amount of time for implementing this, have no financial problems--period. The Health and Welfare Department of the pre-party, a reasonable functioning name for the Secretariat, will not have financial problems. The New York Alliance will not have financial problems. Point One.
Point Two, going back to what [Deleted] was saying in her presentation, I think one of the major problems has been--I'll give you an example of the kind of thing that's still rampant as we stamp out anarchism--I had a drink last night with [Deleted]--who I think is merely talking in the ways that people have been accustomed--because we're still in the process of purging this. She has a package of money available--because of the house that she sold--and with that money, she has been subjected to almost as many people calling her as call her for free medical advice. These people are seeking to grab that money. Can this money go for that project? Can it go for this project? Can it go over here? There's only one place that money goes. It goes to the organization. The money that [Deleted] has available belongs to the organization. It's done under our directive, at our determined risk, and we receive the proceeds of it. It's not a decision for [Deleted] to reach by any means. It's a decision that we reach. If we want him to continue getting money and double the amount he's getting, we dictate that. So, what we mean by centralization of money, is not simply bookkeeping, we mean that the money that we have is centralized, coordinated in the hands of this body, as representative of this organization.
And, our highest order of priority is that the organizational entities, that is the entities of the organization--by that I don't mean for example, the Institute, which though it is a party organization is not an organization of the party. I don't mean for example the New Alliance Party, which though it is owned by the Party, is not a Party organization. I don't mean the New Black Alliance. Those entities have a responsibility to maintain budgets. But the pre-party--this represents a major policy change--the pre-party will be properly funded.
So, the reorganization of the Alliance and of NAP, are to be seen as different issues. It is NAP we identify as an organization that has to implement a permanent budget, and the financial officers and the leadership of NAP will be obliged to maintain that budget. Much as the Institute now has to do. The Alliance will be related to as the propaganda arm of the pre-party organization. But the fundamental political premise that I'm now articulating is going to be enacted, and I think that some people are already having some difficulties with that. But that's the rule of the day.
So, the notion for example that a business entity that belongs to this organization has as its first responsibility its own financial stability and then provides what it can to the support of the pre-party is completely unacceptable. Completely unacceptable! It goes quite the other way around. The necessary financial support of the pre-party is at the top of the budget. Not the bottom; the top and, in determining the viability of these entities, that will be placed in its proper position. It's only with that being clearly understood, that we can develop the necessary stability for pre-party operation, which is fundamental for this period.
We can't go, literally, another moment--given the political climate and the political realities--with the pre-party in any way unstable. We've gone a long way without that. And I think we've done that for a host of reasons. Having to build a certain capacity, having to indeed provide for entities to flourish, to grow and so on, we've now reached a point both in the history of struggle in this country and in this city, and the history of the party, where we can't afford that for another moment.
So, I want to be clear on the guidelines for this discussion and the magnitude of the reorganization that's being talked about. We're not talking here about a bookkeeping reorganization. We're not talking here about balancing some columns. We're talking about a thorough reorganization of the concrete reality of our political relationships to money. We're talking about nothing less than that. No special consideration will be given to people in this organization because they have a privileged relationship to money. So, if we insist that our organizers without money do exactly what they're told in terms of their investment of time, their investment of their lives, etc., we're not going to back off of that vis-à-vis organizers with money. People will respond the exact same way. And will carry out what needs to be carried out. It is very, very clear to [Deleted] and myself that this attitude is profoundly consistent with upgrading and advancing qualitatively the various business entities. This, indeed, is exactly the special advantage that our financial entities have.
To not do this, in fact, is to put our businesses in a disadvantaged position. The pull is to go the other way. But this is what we will insist on and, moreover, I am convinced and I believe [Deleted] is convinced that in carrying this out we will profoundly and qualitatively advance insofar as they are advanceable. We are not magicians. If Polygram does [Deleted] dirty, Democratic Centralism will not do a goddamn thing for the solution. However, to the extent that we control variables, operating on this basis will enormously advance our operation, and I know that though people give lip service to believing that what I'm saying is true, there will be profound resistance to this, there always has been. Again, let me simply point out that this resistance will be rolled over with a huge steamroller. So, if you wish to persist in it, you'll simply probably increase your therapeutic bill. That will help out one of our entities.
So, that's pretty much what I have to say, and now the floor is open for discussion, questions. I see tonight's meeting as being a kind of workshop, for ideas, for dialogue, on this. I don't think we have to come to a voting conclusion tonight or expect that we will. We will come up with the answers on an operational basis, in the next two to three weeks. We want the benefit of everyone's thinking, thoughts and ideas. That's what this meeting is for. We need your creative energies.
AL: I'm not clear [Deleted], do you want to work on a budget? Do we want to address those particular issues? Do we need to come up with new sources of income?
FN: Do you have some ideas? The floor is open for discussion; if people have those kinds of ideas that would be helpful. If people want to discuss any [of] the issues that we raised, the floor is open for any and all discussion. All I'm saying is that we're not committed at this meeting to come out with a finished plan. The ideas raised tonight will be taken into [Deleted]'s hands--in consultation with appropriate people--we'll then come up with [a] tactic that solves this problem.
So we're looking for any and all ideas, if they're directly financial, fine; if they're political, fine; if they're philosophical, fine, whatever they might be.
In response to a question about centralizing organizers' money:
FN: So, for example, one of our sources of money is money available to our organizers. That's in fact, one of our sources of money. We don't always check how they got it. I think part of the problem with that is that we haven't related to our organizers as financial entities whom we have to control. We have to make arrangements as to what they should and shouldn't get, and how they should get it. We've done that a little bit in the case of some large sums of monies that people have come into. We by and large haven't done it in the case of all our organizers. And that's something that needs to be centralized, and it is being centralized.
And it must be clear that the money is coming into the pre-party and not to an individual department or project of the pre-party. That's by and large not how things are treated. So, money tends to get grabbed by whoever can grab it, whenever they can grab it, with no centralized decision as to how we come to it and where it goes. Because if it went through proper channels, there is, I think, a generalized fear on the part of the HQ staff; for instance, that some decisions might be made that would lead, then, not to have the money, which is in turn, based I think on our discussion earlier on the concern that the pre-party comes last.
When that gets turned around--and that is being turned around--it will facilitate people not being so worried about that because what one will know is that the pre-party comes first. So people won't have the problem of not sharing information on money on the grounds that jeez, we better grab what we can get because we're on the bottom of the totem pole around here. That's what's got to be stopped. And this comes directly from that incorrect organization. Even in terms of the mass organizations, I'm talking about NAP, for example. We don't want the money to go directly from an organizer to NAP. Accept their dues. That'd be fine. NAP dues, not organization dues. But large amounts of money will be cleared through here. And we'll make determinations as to how much money organizers will give NAP to make it run and then there'll be a budget for NAP, and your responsibility--NAP people's responsibility--will be to run the NAP budget; to maintain the budget, and make that run. With the budget including raising money from the public for NAP--which will be part of the budget--and one of the elements of the budget will be some kind of laundered contribution from the organization.
But it won't be the case that, for example, look at the NAP budget now. [Deleted] is identified as the person of last resort for that $2,500 per month. That's [going to] be changed. That money's [going to] come here. [Deleted] will no longer give money to NAP. That's a not good arrangement. It just raises all kinds of hell. [Deleted]'s job is to be a financial officer for NAP. Not to be its personal patron. That's a change that's [going to] take place immediately.
AL: It seems like one of the ways, that all the personal contributions could come to the fund for New Alliance, for instance.
FN: There's all kinds of manipulations possible when that's all in front of you and that's coordinated, there's all kinds of things you can do, that you currently can't do because of this utter anarchy. It's literally a physical issue when you don't have in front of you all that money. So, there is some transparently obvious moves to make time and time again, to save money, sometimes by so simple a maneuver as having this amount of cash available to pay something off, those kinds of maneuvers can be made. But you can't make them if the way that money actually moves is in a way by [Deleted]'s whim; giving his $2,500 in advance. You can't make any of those kinds of moves. You can't make that kind of money. But that can be accomplished by planned economic arrangements.
But I think what's gone on, cash flow has been tight, money is tight, and there's no small amount of classist, sexist, stuff operative. And as [Deleted] pointed out, I think it's very important to underline this, people have held onto the privilege of how they run finances based on the fact that they're putting out the money. So, [Deleted], I think relates to that $2,500 as his money. Well, that's [going to] be changed. That's our money. He's [going to] have to manage that total budget, but that total budget won't come with all those names attached to it. So he won't have to go through the painful process of giving away his money, directly, and all the abuse that accompanies it. That can't happen any more.
CRS: I was wondering what the expansion budget looked like.
LB: Basically, there is no expansion budget, other than the special events.
AL: Isn't the membership department the expansion component?
LB: I'm not sure. There's been a lot of misunderstanding like who's going to run events, or where the money is coming from, fundraising from [Deleted], or if that should come from [Deleted], the membership department trying to raise additional monies other than collection of dues.
FN: I'm actually confused. I thought that was crystal clear. I thought the membership thing was a primary component of the expansion budget. I don't understand how that got confused with [Deleted]'s special events budget.
LB: Well, no, it's not membershipping, but it was to raise money. [Deleted] wanted to have fundraisers around the membershipping.
FN: What does that mean, [Deleted], fundraisers around membershipping?
LB: To hold special events to try to bring in more money for membershipping. I guess what happened there around the Xmas period was that [Deleted] was going to have an event for fundraising and [Deleted] wanted to have an event for membershipping.
FN: But I don't know what that means. What does [it] mean to have an event for fundraising?
DG: You mean an event for membershipping?
LB: I mean like, something like the concert.
FN: No, an event for fundraising. It seems very clear-cut. There is the expansion budget. What we meant by the expansion budget was ways of making money off of the ongoing, regularized activities of the New Alliance Party. That's how we defined the expansion budget. The primary one being membershipping. That's the department that we added. [Deleted]'s department was non-regular events--special events, the concert, etc., all of which money was to be made [from]. So all of that money went to the same place: it went to support NAP. And then [Deleted]'s budget--which was the maintenance budget--was what we see up on the board there. Although it was balanced, it has since lost that particular contour. I still don't see what was unclear about that.
LB: When you say it, it sounds clear, but...
BL: We weren't able to separate that out.
FN: Yeah, that was a big discussion, because first of all the budget that was provided to maintenance was way, way low. The figures that [Deleted] gave were off by thousands of dollars, so that already got us in some big troubles. And then we also went through an extended period with no special events. The membershipping has been what the membershipping has been. I think it's still growing. It's brought in maybe $1,000 as of now, in the two-month period, but is also beginning now to bring in, I think, a little more money. I still feel optimistic about it. But the membership department was never counted as far as maintenance; that's not how come we set it up. So, we have a maintenance budget which was balanced, which in fact it turns out we didn't have, and then expansion which counted on some developments, and then an extra thing which we thought would be the backup, for other stuff.
LB: Membership department having some type of event wasn't going to go into maintenance; it was going to be rolled over so they would be able to pay for their own goods. So, like for membership cards, printing, stuff like that.
FN: But I can't see how membershipping would have under that structure the authority to run such an event. That's a financial decision that's to be determined by the three of you. I mean that would be like [Deleted] running a special event to get his salary. What could that possibly mean? That's ludicrous. You can't run something financially that way. You don't have any financial coordination if you allow that to go on. That's sheer anarchy. That's the worst form of entrepreneurism. That's every person for themselves-ism. Go out and scrounge it up anywhere you can. If you bring in the money we'll pay you the salary. That's what you're supporting with them. That can't be allowed. The membership department can't possibly be allowed to do that.
AG: I thought the dues would pay for the salary of [Deleted] and [Deleted] and providing for its own work. Again, going back to the September/October meeting, that wasn't something raised as part of the maintenance budget.
FN: The hope was that that would be accomplished and more. That was part of the expansion budget. What we said to [Deleted], that if [Deleted] did not succeed in doing that we would have to dismiss her. The situation with [Deleted] is rather confused. It just turns out that [Deleted] can't do that work. Can't or doesn't. So that's raised a special problem. We were hoping that [Deleted] and [Deleted] would do that work, but [Deleted] just doesn't do it. But, yes, there was no particular necessity for special events for that. That's supposed [to] be accomplished by that department and indeed in my own opinion, it will be and we're giving more personnel to it. It was never supposed to handle maintenance; special events was supposed to have been our backup.
LB: I was looking for...what [Deleted] and I talked about was a way to raise some seed money. It wasn't going be a continual type of thing but it was to, around the Xmas period, get something going around Xmas.
HK: I think one offshoot of the political problem people have identified in terms of how NAP is financed is--and I think it's really notable in the budget--is how little money actually comes in through fundraising. That the budget reflects that for a political party to be funded to that extent internally, I think is indicative of a dependency of people to have this small group of people get money however they can. So it seems that such a position can also include the introduction of some kind of discipline around that so that the organization can say: this is what you get and the job of the fundraising department is to raise X amount of money this month--so it's really underdeveloped in that regard. That was certainly true with the legal work. I know, because I've done a little bit of fundraising work around Salvador [Agron]'s case. Like when money came to be raised for legal defense--that was never done. That's been a consistent failure. So, in fact, the law firm ends up paying for that deficit, to the tune of thousands of dollars.
FN: Which is no longer going to be allowed. Also, I think, the fundraising of all varieties. It's shocking that an organization like NAP has only now begun to develop a membership department. That's been, I think, a direct consequence of the way finances have been done. In that case, I know personally the kind of pressure I've been trying to bring on NAP to do membershipping--which it consistently refused to do. And part of that I think had to do with the way financial work was being done. To be sure, part of it had to do with other elements of misleadership, but financial misleadership was a significant component of that. And again, I think that goes back in turn to this strange conception of the pre-party supports NAP rather than the other way around. Or, in the case of NAP, not the other way around, but our organizers and our financial resources first and foremost support our pre-party.
DG: Another way that we discussed that we don't do the fundraising is with the dinner. People haven't been working on thinking who to bring to the dinners, so they're stuck paying $200 a month anyway [instead of thinking about] who can they bring along that might bring somebody else the next month. Rather than bring a friend who belongs to the New Alliance Party, or one of our own organizers.
FN: For two months of the dinners, the planning of the speakers was very badly done, and I don't want to pick on one incident, but I think it's indicative of not paying attention to the large fundraising possibilities. So, I think the dinner is treated as counting on the same old folks. So the $200 is coming anyway, so fine. So, the dinner I don't think has been really dynamically organized as a potential for adding, even by using your two...I favor the plan of people having to come up with the two seats. We needed that. But that could be done very dynamically and creatively. People could really use that, as [Deleted] was pointing out, people could really build that damn thing. It's not being related to in that way. It's not being related to that way at all.
So again, what it goes back to is that underlying sense of, well, we'll keep coming back to the same few people and they'll make it go. Well, we don't allow that in any other aspect of our organizing work--organizers are out there busting their ass, organizing new people--that's how things have grown. We can't allow that with our money workers; that's an expression of the middle class privilege. And I think people think it's okay, because the people who do the financial work are the people who bear the bulk of the burden of coming up with the dough. So they say, well, I don't have to be creative; I got the money. But it really creates a dreadful dynamic, not to mention periodic crises. It was, really relates to organizers in a--it changes the whole hierarchy of organizational structure in a way that is thoroughly petty bourgeois and inappropriate. The money people are not the leaders of those organizations. They have very specific tasks to carry out, but they're not the leadership.
JS: Yeah, I was thinking of some of the problems, some of the political problems that we're talking about seem like they have to do with the confusion between strategy and tactics. So, I was thinking about the history of how some of the arrangements evolved as [Deleted] was describing them. So, when, at an earlier period in the organization's development, following the Galiber campaign, we reorganized organizational finances and went through a lower level than where we're at now--nonetheless an intense centralization and stabilization of the pre-party organization and its finances--and we determined that that budget absolutely had to be balanced and resources of the organization were to be allocated there first, and that we had to break the dependency of our mass organizations on the pre-party organization by insisting that they be administratively and financially independent.
So, we made those moves and then part of what we did during the expansion period that followed that consolidation, I think, was to help support the political and financial expansion necessary for the mass organizations by allocating particular people with particular kinds of financial resources to particular mass organizations to help support their financial development. So, that decision I think was a necessary decision at the time. But it was a tactical decision, and not a strategic decision. So, [Deleted] got assigned to, associated with the financial development of the New Alliance Party. It was decided that his financial resources would go to the development of NAP and similarly, [Deleted] to the newspaper. But, as that stuff grew, a need for centralization arose.
To some sense, it seems that the people who were associated in those positions with the money work weren't functioning on the basis that their particular assignment to that project was a tactical decision and not a strategic one, so that those were moves that we made based on what the conditions and the demands were at a particular time, but that that wasn't how NAP was [going to] be financed forever. So, there wasn't sufficient attention paid to the expansion. I guess the dinner and other kinds of fundraising activities, off of where we had come from to expand financial independence and to expand its financial growth off of the development of the base of the organizations; support of the organizations through the periphery. So, it seemed like we got screwed up, that that financial arrangement was a strategical rather than a tactical decision.
FN: I think that's an idealized analysis. I think what it leaves out is how come it was done that way. It was done that way because we had no alternative. It was done that way because we didn't have at that point and time a developed pre-party. We're now in a position to have that and we're now in a position where we must have that. I mean the pre-party has only taken on the kind of definitive shape that it now has in the course of the last 36 months. That's a fact that anyone who's attended to our development knows.
Our resources, our structures, our number of membership, our collective capacities, have reached a qualitative level where these kinds of structures are possible and they are necessary. We didn't have those options. It's not that we suddenly got around to hiring [Deleted]. [Deleted] was unhirable up until now. It didn't suddenly come to mind. As a matter of fact, it was stuff that had been thought about for a long time. I had first raised this idea with [Deleted] directly, quite a while back, and didn't push it, to no small extent. One might argue the case that it wasn't pushed because [Deleted] was reluctant. But [Deleted]'s reluctance is also not separable from the reality of what we had. [Deleted]'s decision to do this, has to be related to what the this is that [Deleted] is doing. As materialists, we have to appreciate that fact.
So, yes, I mean, it would have been easy enough, the authority, as it were, to demand that this happen...is there, just as much as it was two years ago. But the conditions weren't there two years ago. We couldn't have done it. We couldn't have done this meeting two years ago. It would have made no sense whatsoever. Even in terms of the personnel represented at it. We've reached that level of development where we can now make this demand and therefore where we have the capacity to reorganize for extraordinary qualitative advances--financially as well as politically.
That's what our plenum was all about. That was the message of our plenum. That wasn't just interesting rhetoric. That plenum couldn't have been held two years ago. That plenum is quite historically specific to this period. People really have to--as Marxists--take a look at that. Because only if you appreciate that, I think that you become predisposed towards the necessary level of full cooperation in carrying out this plan that we need you to have. It shouldn't be seen as some--oh God, we're being clamped down on--that's bullshit. It represents an extraordinary advance. I mean, by and large, [the] reason why we shouldn't put tighter clamps on [Deleted] or that stuff is that we couldn't; because, as [Deleted] points out, we just sort of had to grab what we could grab. We're now in a position that we can do better than just grab what we can grab--a lot better. And we will.
AL: In the report on NAP, there's no mention about the locals, like the Bronx and Brooklyn, so I assume they're supposed to be self-sufficient. So, that was one question. But, I didn't understand your point. So, I assume that--I know the Bronx has fundraising activities--so I don't understand why like the membership department couldn't be told by the fundraising department to raise money. Isn't that what you do in Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens?
FN: The work of the membership department is to raise money by membershipping. Not to raise money by doing other things to support the membershipping department. If you allow that, if you have a membership department raising enough money to pay the personnel to work in a membership department--if in fact, they're capable of raising the money necessary to justify having a membership department--then there's no basis for them doing fundraisers for the membership department, is there? It's ludicrous having a department whose activity is to raise money to sustain the department. There's an easy way to handle such departments. This happens all the time. So what you actually have is you have a kind of a primitive sort of pre-feudal economic arrangement of entrepreneurialism. What you have is nothing more than straight-out hustle. The organization's economic plan becomes kind of a form of street hustle. And everyone's figuring how they can hustle up money to pay themselves. That's what goes on. This organization will no longer be running a hustle.
AL: I'm sure this is really dense, but I keep thinking of the NYI [New York Institute], and the move that we're making is that for each of the departments we are making the demand that they become self-sufficient. I know that our work is to raise money; I still don't get the difference.
FN: Which department?
AL: Say, for instance, the education department has been supported by the clinical department. The education department hasn't been raising money, and we want them to be doing their work such that they get enough students to raise money so that they can support some full-time workers, so they can do more.
FN: Why don't they raise enough money to give the centralized budget what it needs to support a school? How would that be?
AL: But isn't part of that raising money to keep people on salary, to have full-time workers to do that move?
FN: But why would you want to characterize it or formulate it your way? What does that mean? That's called wishful thinking. That's not budgeting. Either these departments are capable of raising a certain amount of money or they're not. If they can raise this money based on this amount of allocation, then it's worth having them. But to say to them, you've got to raise enough money to cover the people you hire, I mean that's just embodying anarchy. What if the person in charge of the department decides that, well, we want to have one person at $75,000 a year. What is that supposed to mean? It's inviting disaster. You're essentially...you're setting it up so it's one thing to say that a department has to be self-sustaining, meaning that they're budgeted in such a way as to not be allowed to function at a loss. That's perfectly reasonable. But, that's quite different from saying raise your own salaries. That's not the same thing at all. That's a disastrous thing to say. It never works. You're inviting a hustle.
AL: But the issue for the membership department was that the money was for the salaries.
FN: It was to sustain the membership department.
LB: I pay their salaries.
FN: Right. It was to sustain the membership department. The membership department devotes its energies to being another fundraising department, only to support itself. But, if the membershipping department can't justify its existence--by virtue of carrying out membershipping work, which brings in sufficient money, so that the organization called NAP can support having a membershipping department--than we shouldn't have one. You can't run a business that way. The therapists at the NYI get money, and that money gets turned in. That's the money of the NYI. And salaries are paid to people. That's not a system we used to have. It took two goddamn years to get that installed because that's my money, that's not your money. That's the Institute's money. And we pay the salaries if we have the salaries. And if we don't have the salaries, we pay the other bills so we can sustain the place, and we pay the salaries later. And the extension of that is the priority position of the organization of the pre-party. That's stabilized first.
HK: Doing it the other way, you never really know what it costs to have a membership department. So, in other words, you never find out that this [is] how much money the membership department can make doing membership, and this is what NAP has to contribute each month if it wants to continue the membership work. So, an actual, political, economic decision can be made to do that--if in fact what they're doing is just continuing their own existence by having fundraisers for their salaries.
FN: So, essentially, you have this person over here who's unemployed, who's a dynamite membershipper. They could make a lot of money doing membershipping. Then you have your actual membership department. Now, the actual membership person, they're good at raising $275 a week salary for themselves every week. That's what they know how to, and they don't membership nobody. But they raise that money. So, what you said to them is: listen, what you [have to] do, is you [have to] support yourself--so they are. I mean, isn't that wonderful? No, it's not wonderful. It stinks. It's terrible. What's the point of having a membershipping department? That's what goes on a lot. That's what that encourages, and it happens as a matter of fact.
If we can't have a membershipping department--if we don't have the talent, the capacity and the structure of a membershipping department that signs up lots and lots of members--then we should give up on the notion of having a membershipping department. One of the first things that [Deleted] and I instituted--and we're still doing it and it will continue to happen more and more--the OED is making money. We're [going to] keep making money; not only for you--but from you. We're not going to treat the OED as some service organization, cause if that's what it is and that's how it's being related to then we'll close down right now. It's making heavy demands and will pay dividends--because we're committed to having this office and this operation. 'Cause as Harry says: it's a farce to have a membership department that's raising salaries. There's no rationale in having a membership department in that case; why the hell have it? And, I'm really pushing [Deleted], and so is [Deleted] pushing [Deleted] like crazy.
I think we can do membershipping. The evidence, I think, is now mounting that we can bring in $25 memberships at the rate of five or six per-hour yes's on the phone and two of those turning in their money. Now that calculates--if you add enough people and you have people to add--to some money being made off of membershipping. We're getting that kind of response. And that's in spite of that the fact that there have been some real dreadful weeks where [the] department kind of fell apart. There was a two- or three-week period where the department just kind of closed down--another one of the consequences of self-supporting departments. On that basis what they say is: Well I'd like to close down whenever I feel like it 'cause all I have to do is raise my own money. So if I decide not to--fuck it--I'll close up. See you in a couple of weeks. Don't give me a hard time; I'm just not raising my money this week. I'll get by on what I have. So what happens to the membership department? Say, what do you care? I'm supporting myself, am I asking for anything? It's a hard argument to respond to. I came in one week, and said, [Deleted] how'd membershipping go last week? She said, I had a tough week. There was a fire at the house. I didn't come in. I said, [Deleted], I don't understand. I feel badly you had a fire in the house, but what does it mean you didn't come? You closed down the membershipping department? What other job can you do that at? It can't be done that way.
CRS: I don't know if this is really moralistic. I don t understand--being in charge of the finances--what have you been doing with your time, I don't know: [Deleted]?
FN: Well, [Deleted] has been getting money and the rest of the time he's been worrying about it. That can take up the better part of your week!
JS: You must know something about that.
FN: [Deleted] has been doing something quite similar. They also turn out some advertising.
BL: Getting the money is the least time; it's the worrying.
FN: So, we're going to centralize worrying. That's the motto. [Deleted]'s thrilled.
DG: Now I know why I was hired.
FN: That's what's been going on here. I think people have been working hard. I don't think that the money people have been not doing a lot of work. I think they've been doing some sexism, classist, oppressive stuff along the way--but I think they've been working their asses off. But I think it's been done badly. I mean: doing something badly always takes more energy than doing it correctly. So I don't think they haven't been working, they've been working incorrectly. What they do is, they sort of corner people in the hallway, try to get another 10 bucks, 50 bucks, 100 bucks out of the same old people, over and over and over again--rather than professionally expanding the process of raising money in appropriate kinds of ways. And we have that capacity. That's there.
The Institute, in my opinion, you can make up numbers, so I don't know, the Institute is making but a miniscule component of what it is now capable of making. Not six months or two years from now--NOW capable of making. I think it's like 20%. There's all kinds of money, not to mention all kinds of organizing, that could be accomplished now. We're seeing that much more clearly now--both in our organizing work and in our money work. We're seeing openings for our organizing work that are kind of mind-boggling. Literally, sitting on my desk at 102nd Street are 20 extraordinary organizing opportunities. They're all over the damn place, and part of why we don't reach them is that we're not properly organized. And the same is true in money situations. They're all over the damn place now. There's big money right now in Marxist-Leninist organizing if we set up the structure.
I really want this committee to see that. I really want you to get out of the head of thinking well the real money is in [Deleted]. The real money is in [Deleted]. I don t doubt that there's money there, I don't know how big the money is, but there is in fact real money to be made in the model we developed--real money, serious money. The damn New York Institute for Social Therapy and Research is a bloody goldmine. I really wish I could convince you business types that that's true. There's big money out there. In all of its versions--Marxist version, cleaned-up version--all the different versions. There's heavy money.
EC: Can attest to that. They're able to get $275 a month from me.
AL: On time!
FN: Right. That's heavy evidence, if people know [Deleted].
FN: I mean, the openings we're now making with the Institute--I mean in the middle class areas--they're extraordinary; there's lots and lots of money there; medical possibilities now, with some of the professionals that we're adding, in areas like Holistic medical treatments and so on--enormous amounts of money. My plan now is to make in two years from now, I'd like to see the whole [Deleted] become the advertising agency give them a really serious client, the NYI. I'm serious. I see no reason why the Institute and the other entities that we've developed could [not?] be major clients. But I think it needs some continued investment of energy. [Deleted]'s project on the East Side has extraordinary possibilities. And I think we're just beginning to see some of that stuff rolling now.
DG: Centralizing the finances raises a lot of administrative issues. The money for various expenses comes in at various times of the month--the last minute--and it's hard to rationalize it. So, there's a mad scramble Friday for payroll, and as [Deleted] says, the man with the $100 bills walks in.
FN: Why is that a problem? That's solvable.
DG: Seems like there's still cash flow issues.
No "cash flow issues" in 2009...thanks to Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Just what hold over him do these dreadful people have?