[Highway Interchange in Oakland, California Collapses After Fire]
Thanks to Bob from Brockley and Shagya Blog for the link to 9/11 Cult Watch in the U.K. Know of similar websites or blogs in the U.S. and elsewhere? Please let me know! Political and religious cults are a personal interest and the truthers are among the nuttiest these days. But at least they are not violent.
Back in April there was a major accident on a freeway in Oakland, California that resulted in an overpass collapsing. Remember the fatuous truther claim that fire cannot cause steel to collapse. Well, here are some of their responses to the incident in Oakland.
Expect more posts on truthers in the weeks ahead.
Another cult I’ll be writing about in the future is the National Labor Federation (NATLFED), aka the Provisional Communist Party or the Formation. NATLFED is much more centralized than the truther movement, operating through a network of “mutual benefit associations” or “entities” including the Eastern Farmworkers Association, Western Service Workers Assocation, the Commemoration Committee for the Black Panther Party (CCBPP) and numerous other front groups.
useful idiots naive college students are routinely duped into thinking NATLFED is connected with just about every revolutionary movement from the Sandinistas in Nicaragua to the Black Panther Party in the U.S. For example, Salon magazine’s Novella Carpenter (a graduate student in the department of journalism at UC Berkeley) recently penned an article, “Why I pick lettuce for the Panthers” which repeats one myth of the cult:
At Alcatraz, I turn east for half a block, and I’ve arrived. A gold embossed sign above the door reads: “The Commemorator.” A quarterly published by the Commemoration Committee for the Black Panther Party, the newspaper has a circulation of 10,000 and specializes in stories for the black community. It was started in 1990, a year after founding Panther Huey Newton was shot in Oakland in August 1989. The remaining members of the party feared the positive legacy of the Panthers would be lost.
None of the individuals who started the CCBPP were ever members of the Black Panther Party. It was started as front for NATLFED. You would think a graduate student of journalism would spend at least a bit of time doing some preliminary research for this piece. After all, there are actual Panthers living in the San Francisco Bay Area including David Hilliard. In addition to Mr. Hilliard and other Panthers, the author could have contacted The Huey P. Newton Foundation, made use of libraries, archives and yes even the Internet. More worrying than the author’s lack of basic research is that Salon.com ran this factually flawed and dangerous article.
For the perspective of one ex-NATLFED member please have a look at The Truth About NATLFED via archive.org:
Hot news after its NYC headquarters was raided by police in November 1996, NATLFED actually has been active for 27 years in dozens of small fronts across the country. NATLFED fronts, using innocent names like “Western Service Workers Association,” “Eastern Farm Workers Association,” “Coalition of Concerned Medical Professionals,” and “Women’s Press Collective,” lure liberal volunteers from communities and colleges into brainwashed separation from their families, jobs, and friends.
Discovered this thread about NATLFED at Libcom.org.
NATLFED’s FBI file is available here.
Recommended reading on the general subject of political cults:
Dennis Tourish. Ideological Intransigence, Democratic Centralism and Cultism: A Case Study from the Political Left. Cultic Studies Journal. Vol. 15., No. 1. 1998.
There is a dearth of literature documenting the existence of cults in the political sphere. This paper suggests that some left wing organizations share a number of ideological underpinnings and organizational practices which inherently inclines them to the adoption of cultic practices. In particular, it is argued that doctrines of ‘catastrophism’ and democratic centralist modes of organization normally found among Trotskyist groupings are implicated in such phenomenon. A case history is offered of a comparatively influential Trotskyist grouping in Britain, which split in 1992, where it is suggested that an analysis of the organization in terms of cultic norms is particularly fruitful. This is not intended to imply that a radical critique of society is necessarily inappropriate. Rather, it is to argue that political movements frequently adopt organizational forms, coupled with ‘black and white’ political programmes, which facilitate the exercise of undue social influence. This stifles genuinely creative political thought. Issues which this analysis suggests are particularly pertinent for those involved in radical politics are considered.
[Raid on NATLFED HQ: NYC, 1996]