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volunteering at the ccmp?

CCMP saga continues... sort of...

I'd gotten a call a few nights ago that they had a new computer donated and wondering if I could look at it, see what could be salvaged, etc...

I didn't have time then, didn't answer the phone, and figured I'd get to it later. Today, being in the mood to have time for such, I started trying to remember what the folks' names were that would know what I was supposed to be looking at so that I could call and ask if they were there.

I did a websearch because, well, I'm just not a people person. I couldn't remember their names because I really didn't ... well... I just didn't, I suppose.

One of the first things I came across, rather out of place, was:

http://www.indybay.org/news/2003/03/1580855_comment.php

linking CCMP to the CCBPP as "a front organization for the National Labor Federation":

NATLFED was "[h]ot 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."

and well, first impression is that it's all relatively absurd... but the more I read, the more absurd it gets, and really starts seeming almost plausible.

"group propaganda suggests that the real aim of [CPUSA/P] recruiting efforts is to attract followers for the eventual overthrow of the U.S. government"

more info:

http://users.rcn.com/xnatlfed/
http://www.freedomofmind.com/groups/natlfed/natlfed.htm

Does anybody know anything about anything about anything like this? :)

This could be one of three things, so far as I see it. NATLFED could be as crazy as claimed, and CCMP is connected... or NATLFED is as crazy as claimed and CCMP isn't really connected... or NATLFED is more normal (possibly with rogue organizations or something)... and then CCMP's connection doesn't really matter.

Yes, it could be a lot more complicated than all that, too. This is just... weird.

Another question that comes to mind is... does it really matter? So long as I don't walk into the brainwashing den (and I can't see as they'd want me with my attitude...), they do actually help people... or at least, nothing I've seen says otherwise. At the most extreme, they want to overthrow the government, brainwash you, and ... help folks in need. At best, they just want to help folks in need.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
derichi
Apr. 15th, 2003 10:23 pm (UTC)
Hmm
Dunno, but I'll ask our local activist Marxist labor professor about the National Labor Federation. Just getting raided by the police doesn't strike me as all that bad, concerning how the establishment normally views labor-activist type groups... But then again, you *are* in California, land of the cults. I'll see what he knows. :)

Mack
(Anonymous)
Aug. 12th, 2003 12:09 am (UTC)
CCMP/Natl'fed
And that is the crux of the nat'lfed issue....they do some good things, and some not so good things. Fifteen years ago when I was involved with them, they were definitely a cult. our lives were regimented and controlled, and not for any definably good reason.


But don't be naive. Of course they will want you, bad attitude and all. Who wouldn't want a computer guy for their revolution?
(Anonymous)
Oct. 4th, 2003 05:46 pm (UTC)
NATLFED cult
hi-

I was involved with the Watsonville (Santa Cruz) Western Service Workers in 1994. Not only are they a cult, or at least very cult like, but they don't accomplish much of anything. While I was there, I was lied to and manipulated. The "cadre" (full time workers) worked 12+ hour days, 365 a year, were deprived of contact with family, were not allowed to listen to music or watch t.v. (except to watch and critique the news, which actually was the only useful part of my time with them. While I was there, I was told that I would have to be willing to kill and die for the cause, and I was told that Stalin was not really a bad guy but just did what he had to do in the situation that Hitler created. They tried to recruit me for full time status, bullying me to drop out of school, telling me my UCSC fee money was supporting the "military industrial complex" and that I was a hypocrite for studying sociology when I should be working full time with them. This conversation lasted three hours and was emotionally devastating for me, as I was young, naive, and idealistic. One of the full timers left shortly after I did, telling me that he realized that though they met with other members in the region nightly to plan the overthrow of the government, he realized they were all talk, no action, so he left. I could say much, much more about them, but I'll leave it at this: Stay away from these people.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 18th, 2003 12:50 pm (UTC)
I worked with NATLFED for many years, and was in fact on the Central Committee of the Provisional Party before leaving under cover of darkness. This is an extremely dangerous group to be associated with-watch out! There are drugs, guns and other things involved here that you don't want to know about. Gino was a genius but totally deranged and dangerous. Margaret Ribar is just plain dangerous and sick. On the local level-don't delude yourself-they help people very minimally, and only with a goal of recruitment. They purport to want to help those who don't have a voice-but since 1972 they have done basically nothing except hurt people by recruiting them to one ideal that actually turns out to be something quite different. My advise is to stop all contact with them. If you ignore them, they'll eventually leave you alone. If you participate you could wind up getting hurt physically, economically or emotionally. Good luck.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 9th, 2003 01:06 am (UTC)
NATLFED POLITICAL POSITIONS?????
The issue is no longer whether or not NATLFED is a "cult" group. The issue is what are their politics?

Defining something as a Cult Group misdirects the inquirer from understanding the politics of the organization/or any organizaton.

NATLFED was at one time involved with the Lyndon LaRouche's group the Labor Committee and Fred Newman's group now known as the the New Alliance Party. The Labor Committee has actively attacked the Left over a period of 20-30 years. The Labor Committee has taken potentially good leftists with normally-screwed lives - called American Existence - and made their lives worst.

If you read between the lines, all the postings of loyal members and those who "fled" NATLFED appear to follow in the same path as the Labor Committee; potentially good leftists have a history of getting burned out due to following tedious action-oriented tasks without political substance.

Sounds to me like a covert government operation to misdirect leftists from really organizing; unless of course if you call following Stalinist Dictatorship mentality "real politics" - an obvious historical failure.

According to postings, NATLFED does nothing to organize mass organizations, their claim to organize cadre-based entities would seem to make Lenin roll over in his grave.

If you ever get a copy of "The Organizer" their organizers manifesto - post it here; I look forward to reading it; I presume it should be a good example of their politics. I look forward to seeing any political position papers/documents published from the minds of NATLFED; then there can be honest political debate and education.

Signed, waiting to read.
bill_abendroth
Mar. 7th, 2004 08:12 pm (UTC)
CCMP, Natlefed, My friend Margaret.....Part I
I was a cadre to National Labor Federation, and a member of the Communist Party USA (Provisional Wing) from 1980-1984. During that time, I worked in the field offices in San Diego, Santa Ana/Anaheim, Oakland, the west coast regional safe house in San Francisco, and very briefly in Santa Cruz.

My participation with this group began when I was recruited to volunteer while a student at UC San Diego. It was 1980, and I was discovering that almost everything I had been taught about post WWII US foreign policy had been a lie. NOTE: I'm not going to discuss that point. I still believe that US foreign policy is based on idiotic lies, and will not be persuaded otherwise. I am taking to time to write about NATLEFED, and why I became a communist revolutionary. What attracted me to Western Service Workers Association was the fact that they did not publish a newspaper, and that their political work involved canvassing low income neighborhoods to recruit members of the mass organizations, and did what they could to provide a benefit program. I had tried to work with some other leftist organizations, most notably, the different Trotskyite movements--but I couldn't make any sense of their newspapers; all they did was write bad articles about each other.

Natlefed is a clandestine revolutionary organization, built on the Leninist model from "What is to be Done." Volunteers are recruited to help with the benefits program, to do nice things for poor people. Once the volunteer begins helping, classes are offered that stress that poverty is a political problem, and requires a political solution. More advanced classes are offered, going into labor history and union organizing. If the volunteer continues to express interest, a "training program" is developed to teach the volunteer organizing skills, and also political theory/history. At this point, the volunteer is encouraged to read books like Zinn's "A People's History of the U.S."

If the volunteer is not interested in expanded his/her commitment, the volunteer (or financial supporter) may stay at this level of commitment and understanding. However, if the volunteer continues to express interest, then a more "advanced" set of classes is offered, dealing with Russian History, and very basic marxist ideology. The volunteer will be given books to read along the lines of Che Guevera's autobiography of the invasion of Cuba. Or "The Communist Manifesto." If the volunteer continues to express interest, and inceases the level of commitment, then the political officer and another cadre will present the party's "Analysis." The Analysis is the Party's central philosophy, and projection of what the current world situation requires. If the volunteer agrees with the analysis, and is willing to make the commitment to be a revoluntionary, then membership in the party is offered.

In essense, Natlefed and the Party are one organization with two parts. Natlefed is the "above-ground" mass organization, with the Party the "secret" quasi-underground part, and party members are recruited through these mass organizations.

When I joined in 1980, the target date of the "revolution" (whatever that meant) was March 15, 1984. Sometime in 1982, the date was moved to March 18. I still have no idea why. The date for the revolution has long come and gone--and by May 1984 when I left, many of the cadre who trained me had gone. The Party was clearly beginning to fall apart.

I first met Margaret Ribar at the regional safe house in San Francisco, and spent several months working with her. While I have not seen or spoken with her in twenty years, I can tell you that I take offense at some of the "annonymous" posters who call her "dangerous" or suggest that she is "insane." The Margaret Ribar I know is an extremely capable administrator, and did everything she could to make the best of a bad situation. While I never worked in the National Headquarters in New York, or visited any of the organizing drives on the east coast, the west coast carried the east--the National leadership, most notably Mr. Gino Perente, left much to be desired. Please note that this is my personal opinion, and those who would disagree are called "Legion" for they are many.....
bill_abendroth
Mar. 7th, 2004 08:14 pm (UTC)
Re: CCMP, Natlefed, My friend Margaret.....Part II

I have no idea what Natlefed's current analysis is, or their plans for building a socialist revolution. The latest information that I have seen all centers around the police raid in 1996. I have not found anything more recent.

As for "brainwashing," I can promise you that I was not "brainwashed." Yes, I did spend four years with chronic sleep deprivation and not enough to eat. But that was not because of some insidious plan from the central committee--It was because it took every waking minute of every cadre just to keep the rent paid, the lights on, and food donations coming in. There wasn't anyone getting rich from any of the organizing drives I worked with, let me tell you......In retrospect, I believe I was lied to about the size and scope of the Party. I was told that Natlefed was a "fraction" of a much larger whole--only to find out later the other "fractions" did not exist. Had I known that the Party was as small--and disorganized--as it was, I doubt I would have joined. But who knows....

Should you volunteer with CCMP? Understand, this is what your efforts will do: Help a group of dedicated revolutionaries try to get health care to low income people. Will your efforts foster global revolution? Only in the broadest possible sense. Will the Party try and recruit you as cadre? Of course--and whether their recruitment efforts are successful will depend on you. Nobody is going to make you do anything you don't want to do---but that said, many organizers were held against their will in the National Office. But it is very unlikely that would happen to you.

I mean--Suppose you were called to help with the computer systems at Salvation Army or Catholic Charities. Is your volunteering going to help further the christian agenda of those bodies, in addition to helping poor people? Of course. The question is, what do you think would be the best use of your time & talents......

My e-mail address is listed, so if you want more info--feel free to write me: billaben@teleport.com
(Anonymous)
Dec. 2nd, 2004 10:47 am (UTC)
Wow, what a huge difference of opinion! I am currently a pre-med student at UC Davis (applying to med school in 2005) and have worked at CCMP for almost a year. Although disturbed by the cult association listed on the internet it doesn't make a difference to me, I have personally helped six patients this year receive glasses, surgical dental work, full cataract surgery, relief from asthma, plus much more. All the patients who needed help I was able to find a physician, drive them to their appointment and provide follow up with care that they wouldn't have received otherwise. Previously some of these patients had been going to the emergency room to receive care, all at the taxpayers expense!
All I see is an organization that is helping so many in the community who need it. CCMP is always asking me to volunteer more, they would love me to quit school and help full time, but I secure in my mission in life and I don't have a problem saying no when I need to and helping where I can. As mentioned in another posting, it is no different than a local church who is zealous in there mission. My church would love me to quit school and volunteer for them full time too! Keep volunteering where you can and eventually everyone will have the health care they need.
kaolinfire
Dec. 5th, 2004 01:21 pm (UTC)
Lots of opinions running around. I'd completely forgotten about all this. I'm glad you've had a good experience with them.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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