Category Archives: Cults

Political Cults: Truthers and NATLFED

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[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.

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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.

Unfortunately, some 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.

Abstract:

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.

 

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[Raid on NATLFED HQ: NYC, 1996]

“Your Black Muslim Bakery” Employees Charged with Murder of Newspaper Editor

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[Yusuf Bey: Founder of Your Black Muslim Bakery, Inc.]

Last weekend’s New York Times contained a disturbing article and one that struck close to home. I used to live in Oakland, California, not far from the early headquarters of the Black Panther Party and very close to Your Black Muslim Bakery, Inc. The bakery is not directly affiliated with the Nation of Islam but is an offshoot of the Black Muslim organization. The bakery’s founder, Yusuf Bey, was charged in 2002 of raping young girls over a period of nearly 20 years. Numerous accusations of rape and incest–27 counts of rape involving four girls under the age of 14–were sustained by DNA evidence but Bey died in 2003 before the conclusion of his trial.

At his funeral, the Los Angeles Times reported his 43 children stood “against a backdrop of his fez-clad image, 16 sons in white suits and red bow ties performed a military-style drill in his honor [and] Nation of Islam ministers from Chicago and Florida paid their respects.”

After Bey’s death things went from bad to worse to deadly. In 2006, thugs affiliated with the bakery went on a rampage, smashing up liquor stores in West Oakland owned by Yemenite Muslims, claiming that the merchants were violating the will of Allah. The guilty parties only received probation. Then, at the end of the year, bakery employees engaged in an Oakland crime spree starting in December, riddling a car with bullets from multiple guns. May 19, 2007, two people were kidnapped, one of whom was robbed and tortured and in July, two people were killed in North Oakland.

Individuals involved in those events are the primary suspects in the recent murder of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey. Mr. Bailey was murdered adjacent to the Alameda County Courthouse. Police subsequently “arrested seven men and seized several weapons that they suspected were used in his killing and those of two other men…He had been working on an article for the newspaper about possible links between the bakery and several killings in the area, said Walter Riley, a lawyer for the newspaper’s publisher, Paul Cobb. “

Black Voice News Online reports:

For over 20 years Bailey covered the African-American community for the Oakland Tribune. Prior to writing for the Tribune, he wrote for the Detroit News, UPI, and the Hartford Courant. After leaving the Tribune, he continued to distinguish himself as a reporter on issues of concern to all communities. He was a popular reporter for KDIA radio and Soul Beat TV, and wrote for various other publications, including the Sun Reporter and the Globe. Most recently he was one of the producers, co-founders and hosts for OUR-TV (Comcast Channel 78). In June, he was promoted to become the editor-in-chief of all of the Post Newspapers – Oakland, Berkeley Tri-City, Richmond, San Francisco and South County.

In addition to these legal troubles, the San Jose Mercury News notes that the Bakery is also facing financial woes:

A judge has ruled that Your Black Muslim Bakery will have to liquidate its assets to pay off debts, a move that might be the final blow for the troubled business linked to the recent shooting of a newspaper editor…U.S. bankruptcy Judge Edward Jellen said the bakery’s management problems are not improving and Chapter 7 liquidation is the best way for the business to repay the IRS, its mortgage company and other creditors.

My condolences to the Bailey family. May the killers receive quick and appropriate punishment.