3rd Party Politics for Fun and Profit
the last few election cycles, the Independence Party of New York State has
shown that when it comes to getting an extra party endorsement on the ballot,
ethical and ideological considerations take a backseat to “political reality”
for many that seek elected office. As our local political system implodes,
its nice to know that there’s a new group of “revolutionaries” setting up
tollbooths on our community’s road to recovery.
Independence Party has been a three ring circus ever since it sprouted from
the ashes of Ross Perot’s Reform Party, capitalizing on the cynicism many
Americans harbor over the pay-to-play two party system that dominates American
politics. Many voters, disgusted with the two party system, unwittingly registered
with the Independence Party as they considered themselves “Independent.”
New York Independence Party came to prominence with Tom Golisano’s 2002 gubernatorial
bid. “As to whether [Golisano will] have an effect on politics in New York
State over the next number of years, I’m pretty doubtful,” David Epstein,
associate professor of political science at Columbia University, told reporters
from the Columbia School of Journalism at the time of Golisano’s failed bid.
“He’s not building an identifiable coalition behind him for particular policy
Epstein and others could not grasp at the time was what the amorphous New
York State Independence Party would become. Although he failed to unseat Pataki,
the Golisano campaign may have unknowingly facilitated the same sort of “infiltrate
and destroy” takeover of the Independence Party that sunk Perot’s Reform party.
In fact, those who opposed his IP endorsement and sided with Pataki are now
in charge of the party.
with Marxist-psychotherapist mentor Fred Newman, Lenora Fulani controls the
New York City Independence Party. Fulani and Newman used to pal around with
Libyan leader Col. Muammar Khadafy, back when it was radically chic to do
so. They have long been outspoken Marxists, and have embraced the violent
overthrow of capitalist governments. The duo became a magnet for criticism
in several areas, not the least of which was the field of psychology, for
Newman’s self-invented field of “Social Therapy,” which asserts that certain
psychological troubles can be ameliorated through a program of Marxist indoctrination
and activism. Essentially, Newman runs a cult, and recruits “patients” to
work for his party and many front organizations.
the ‘70s, Newman and Fulani have aligned themselves with a dizzying array
of fringe candidates, including Lyndon LaRouche, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan,
Ralph Nader, Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan. Obviously, as time has passed, their
Marxist ideology has taken a backseat to their political opportunism.
surprisingly, Fulani and Newman got their start in party
politics on the extreme fringe. First, Newman started the
Centers for Change, which was briefly allied, and even more
briefly merged, with LaRouche’s NCLC, where Newman
learned how to lead a cult following. Newman soon split
with LaRouche and formed the violent revolutionary International
Workers Party. The IWP went underground in ‘77, but
apparently exists to this day, according to ex-members,
as the core of a number of front organizations. Newman then
founded the New Alliance Party, still pro-socialist but
with a broader liberal issue-based platform.
and Fulani have used all sorts of tricks to gain money and
power during their careers. One tactic was to name organizations
similarly to already famous ones, like the Rainbow Alliance,
formed in 1985 as a transparent attempt to divert funds
intended for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. Another
tactic which has worked extremely well for them has been
to infiltrate other third parties and take them over—this
is how they managed to get Fulani on the ballot in every
state in 1988, and also how they have managed to take over
the Independence Party in New York.
1989, Fulani wrote that Jews “had to sell their souls to acquire Israel and
are required to do the dirtiest work of capitalism” and currently “function
as mass murderers of people of color.” For these remarks, and her more recent
refusal to retract them, she has been widely condemned by NYC politicians.
naturally created problems for Jewish candidates, such as New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg, Senator Chuck Schumer and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer,
who have felt compelled to seek the Independence Party’s nod. Of the three
politicians, Bloomberg seems to be in the deepest water after his administration
funneled millions in grant money into not-forprofits run by Fulani in exchange
for the IP endorsement.
Lenora Fulani, I don’t agree with her despicable comments,” Mr. Bloomberg
told the New York Times. “But you know, you walk away from every party
where one person in it said something that you violently disagree with…you
wouldn’t be a member of any party.”
has a good reason to play ball with the IP: He won his last mayoral race by
less votes than he picked up on the Independence line.
Times also noted the growing influence Newman and Fulani have over
the Independence Party statewide. Indeed, if one looks behind the controversy
these two have managed to create, a picture of cynical opportunism comes into
focus. Lenin famously noted that capitalists would sell the very rope used
to execute them. His political party, the Bolsheviks, were a minority party
that managed to seize control of the larger movement for change. The New Alliance
Party has, on a much smaller scale, managed a similar feat. By taking over
the Independence Party and its valuable third slot on the ballot, Fulani and
Newman are in a position to make or break tight races.
counterpart of the Newman/Fulani team in Western New York appears to consist
of Independent Party Chairman Anthony Orsini and his main men, Joe Illuzzi
and Tom Pecoraro. Unlike yesteryear’s Marxist- Leninist Party, the Independence
Party does not seem to be stuck on issues of ideological purity; instead its
core belief seems to be something like, ‘if the system is broke, milk it for
all it’s worth.’
that’s why the new Illuzzi/Pecoraro publication, PoliticsWNY, looks
like a sort of trade publication for career politicians. The premise they
put forward is simple: Why shouldn’t these politicos have a place to go to
admire each other’s glossy photo spreads and press release/campaign lit? And
why shouldn’t we, the public, be able to pick up this free mag and see who
has the best haircut?
why: The politicos instinctively fear that this supposedly independent publication
is not truly free of its founders’ connections with Independence Party Boss
Anthony Orsini. Orsini has farmed out Independence Party publication work
to cronies in the past, and was roundly criticized for it.
Buffalo News political writer Bob McCarthy raised questions about these
“journalistic” efforts, Illuzzi called the News and McCarthy “disingenuous”
simply, the pay-to-play strategy works. What this means is that candidates
must pay homage to yet another tribal chieftain in their quest for elected
office, further insulating our electoral process from prospective leaders
from the lower financial depths.
The Beast ran a short item lampooning Illuzzi,
he threatened to destroy publisher Paul Fallon’s legal
career by having him disciplined by an ethical review board.
All told, a dozen judicial candidates have advertised with
Illuzzi & Co. Of course, that wouldn’t have anything
to do with that extra line on the ballot. That would be
out of order!
Illuzzi really have that kind of pull in the legal community? If so, how does
a semiliterate hack acquire that kind of influence? Presumably, the same way
a militant Marxist cult leader gets the wealthiest Mayor in New York City
history to grovel before her jackboots: not by promoting a specific ideology
or party platform, but by selling the party line.
this past Monday, the New York Post reported that Spitzer is investigating
charges of abuse at the “All Stars Project,” one of Fulani’s non-profits that
Mayor Bloomberg has seen fit to bestow his constituents’ money upon:
witnessed emotional and verbal abuse of teenagers who were
brought to New York under the auspices of being ‘program
leaders,’ ” Hardy wrote to Spitzer in the complaint against
Fulani and her group. “They were put up in a flop house,
verbally intimidated and abused by Lenora Fulani and worked
from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. They also panhandled on the streets
to earn money for the trip. ”
charges were leveled weeks ago, but Spitzer has dragged
his feet, even pretending not to have received the accuser’s
letter until City Confidential proved he had. Now
Spitzer is giving at least the appearance of action, despite
his own desire for Fulani’s endorsement. Apparently,
the price of political decay in New York State just keeps