Fred Newman

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE NCLC

By Fred Newman, 1974

What follows is a letter from IWP Chairman F. Newman to International Caucus of Labor Committees (ICLC) Chairman L. Marcus [Lyndon LaRouche]. This letter is a response to a Sept. 8 letter the IWP received from the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ICLC.

With each passing day it becomes more and more transparently obvious that the National Caucus of Labor Committees' minimal understanding of psychosis and psychotic behavior derives not from its "electrifying" theoretical breakthroughs but rather from its capacity to produce psychosis and to opportunistically manipulate it in the name of socialist politics. Still another example of this is the National Executive Committee's (NEC) claim that. Comrade Jacobs is "certified without a doubt as clinically paranoid schizophrenic, acting under control of police agents."

If the NEC truly believes that the formation of the International Workers Party "was tantamount to fleeing from continued discussion," they are simply blind to historical reality. For almost a year the organizers of the IWP (most of whom were formerly members of the disbanded Centers for Change-CFC), have demanded principled discussion of differences between the two organizations. These requests were consistently sabotaged by the NCLC. It has been the NCLC which has consistently fled from continued discussion. Indeed, the NEC letter of September 8 astounds us by its reference to Comrade Marcus' paper "Marxian or Existentialist Socialism" as the "first response" to our request for discussion! Indeed, it was virtually the first recognition by Comrade Marcus that there had been an attempt by the CFC organizers to produce serious discussion for almost a year! We believe that Comrade Marcus has not been honestly informed of the ongoing requests for serious discussion. We believe that other members of the NCLC (and in particular, members of the NEC) have misinformed Comrade Marcus (by omission and commission) and that this conscious sabotaging accounts in part for Comrade Marcus' mistaken historical understanding.

Again, the September 8 letter by the NEC speaks of "well worn traditions for exchanges between organizations which-to the best of our knowledge-we (the NCLC) have not rejected in fact." The best of the NEC's knowledge-in that case-is not enough! For in fact such requests have been consistently turned down and moreover-on the few occasions when honored-the ensuing discussions were turned, by the NCLC, into unprincipled fiascos. Let us reference this statement with but a single example (we could offer hundreds!) In the spring of this year-as the former CFC moved closer and closer into united front with the NCLC-members of the CFC Central Committee and members of the NEC met to discuss serious differences between the two tendencies. (This meeting involving H. Daren, F. Newman, Chris White, Carol White and C. Menzel was itself brought about by repeated demands on the part of the CFC Central Committee for discussion of serious differences vis-à-vis the methodological and psychological tendencies of the two organizations.) At this meeting it was decided to have a series of Friday night public forums led by Carol White and Fred Newman for the purpose of having extended and serious discussion of these issues. The decision was not taken seriously by the NCLC! Carol White failed to attend the opening session. Gene Inch represented the NCLC and there was no attempt on his part to seriously begin the discussion of differences in methodology and psychology.

Carol White came to the second Friday night discussion and made a presentation that was totally incompetent by everybody's standards. (E.g., in a meeting following that second session Chris White roundly criticized Carol for the incompetency of her presentation.) Carol's "defense" was that, in the name of solidarity she did not want to expose F. Newman and the CFC publicly. Since exposing the differences was the purpose of the public debates, we must understand that "defense" not as misdirected comradely love but as impotency. Carol was again absent on the Friday of Lecture III. In her place Comrade Dan Lin presented an incompetent lecture, which was criticized in detail by F. Newman. These criticisms were simply ignored (a practice that has now become a commonplace in this polemic). The fourth and final Friday night public forum saw Carol (apparently compensating for her impotency by what she mistakenly took to be hubris) ending the public discussion (which were never actually begun) by demanding that the CFC join the NCLC! Again, this little bit of history is but an indicator of the incompetent and unprincipled behavior of the NCLC vis-à-vis serious discussion. We must demand that Comrade Marcus (whom we have been led to believe authored the September 8 letter) demand an internal inquiry to "get the facts" on what has heed going on for almost a year now vis-à-vis this polemic-and much else besides!

Yet we cannot simply suppose that Comrade Marcus has been acting out of ignorance. Rather, his careless disregard of serious criticism produces an organizational atmosphere in which carelessness is transformed into a virtue. For the serious criticisms of Idealism, Paranoia and the Mass Organization were simply ignored in his response. In place of a serious attempt at dealing with the criticisms came incompetent psychologizing (see Chapter II, "The 'Interpretation of Reality," of A Manifesto on Method, copy enclosed).

The methodological outlook of the IWP is not within the scope of empiricism, existentialism or R.D. Laing. Indeed, the methodology of Beyond Psychoanalysis et al. is precisely within that scope. Again, what we see is LC projection. The NCLC must face the reality that it is not the methods and psychosexual practices of the IWP which tend to induce psychotic or semi-psychotic episodes. Rather, it is the methods of the NCLC which produce psychosis.

The IWP and the NCLC both know well what the historical moment demands of us. From the outset we have taken a united-front perspective toward the NCLC and have supported the historically hegemonic position off the NCLC. Our public and private statements have always reflected that position. Precisely for that reason we once again demand serious discussion of the methodological and psychological differences.

To this end, the IWP proposes to the NCLC joint sponsorship of a series of four public dialogues between L. Marcus and F. Newman on socialist methodology and psychology to take place at the earliest possible moment. The events of the last two weeks (the circulation of the document "Goons on the Left" as a document supposedly coauthored by Comrade Jacobs (who is a member of the IWP); the banning of the IWPers from LC classes and briefings; the absurd "reports" that IWP organizers had labeled the NCLC as "fascistic" and "CIA" in talks with labor leaders and political contacts; the threatening statements of LC security to IWP security that the LC would not be responsible for the behavior of unnamed labor contacts supposedly contacted by IWP and allegedly irate at the IWP for "labeling" the NCLC fascistic and CIA); all these moves make plain that we must work hard to assure that the differences between the IWP and the NCLC are not exploited by whatever forces might benefit from the breakdown of the relationship (strained as it is) between the IWP and the NCLC. For it is clear that the working class will not benefit from such a breakdown. In the spirit of respect and comradeship, we once again, demand that this vital polemic be treated with principled seriousness.

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Fred Newman