Category Archives: Totalitarian Ideological Movements/Cults

Back at Ground-Truthing Again and Again and Again

Time and time again, the left sites just keep pushing all those international stories, all those stories tied to this or that political party head, and while China is important, and while we know the dirty deeds of Blinken to Pompeo, all the way back, we still miss out on the common people, us, the little ones.

Sure, this is a trending story, in California, tied to the vaccine mandate, the hysteria, the fascism:

The University of California, Irvine has placed their Director of Medical EthicsDr. Aaron Kheriaty, on ‘investigatory leave’ after he challenged the constitutionality of the UC’s vaccine mandate in regards to individuals who have recovered from Covid and have naturally-acquired immunity.

Last month Kheriaty, also a Professor of Psychiatry at UCI School of Medicine, filed a suit in Federal court over the mandate.

Natural immunity following Covid infection is equal to (indeed, superior to) vaccine-mediated immunity. Thus, forcing those with natural immunity to be vaccinated introduces unnecessary risks without commensurate benefits—either to individuals or to the population as a whole—and violates their equal protection rights guaranteed under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment,” Kheriaty wrote in a Sep. 21 blog post.

“Expert witness declarations in support of our case include, among others, a declaration from distinguished UC School of Medicine faculty members from infectious disease, microbiology/immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, pediatrics, OB/Gyn, and psychiatry,” the post continues (click here to read the rest).

…there is now considerable evidence that Covid recovered individuals may be at higher risk of vaccine adverse effects compared to those not previously infected (as seen in studies herehere, and here, among others). -Dr. Aaron Kheriaty

This issue, though, is more important on a local level for schmucks like me, who are overeducated, aging in a hateful society, left of left in a centrist and capitalism hard left/right contradictory world. I am back at a job, and the pay is embarrassing, and the fact that I am in a rural county with rural thinkers and with a service economy tied to beach combing, fishing, crabbing and vacation rentals also contributes to precarity.

You think I am ready to leave to go somewhere else, to some big sophisticated city, some harbinger of high tech and military industrial complex to find more sustainable and lucrative work? Each day, my skill sets, my background, all the ground-truthing and other on the job training, all the travel, all those deep learning moments in my life in several fields, all of that is mush to the masters of academia, the masters of companies that are small and large, getting on the gravy train of city, county, state, national and international money. Tax cheats and welfare queens and kings are those in the complex, the big C for the CRC, Corruption Racket Complex — military-banking-ag-energy-prison-pharma-education-medicine-mining-chemical-AI-surveillence-real estate-insurance-prison-legal-media-entertainment.

Yep, bad that an environmental lawyer was under ankle bracelet house arrest for more than two years and faces six months in jail for contempt as a lawyer who sued the pants off of Chevron for killing and polluting communities south of this border. Sure, the hellfire and brimstone of this rotting empire is addictive, with all these blogs and newsfeeds and whatnot tapping into the lizard part of the collective American brain.

Chevron Steven Donziger Feature photo

Judge Loretta Preska, an advisor to the conservative Federalist Society, to which Chevron is a major donor, sentenced human rights attorney and Chevron nemesis Steven Donziger to six months in prison Friday for misdemeanor contempt of court after he had already spent 787 days under house arrest in New York.

Preska’s caustic outbursts — she said at the sentencing, “It seems that only the proverbial two-by-four between the eyes will instill in him any respect for the law” — capped a judicial farce worthy of the antics of Vasiliy Vasilievich, the presiding judge at the major show trials of the Great Purges in the Soviet Union, and the Nazi judge Roland Freisler who once shouted at a defendant, “You really are a lousy piece of trash!”

full image
Original illustration by Mr. Fish

So, note the “proverbial two-by-four between the eyes” comment from this judicial devil . . . . From a multimillionaire “judge.” Imagine that! If I told a pig that exact same thing, after stopping me for a dangling mud flap on my minivan, just think what might happen to me. Or if I told that she needed a proverbial two by four between the eyes to a judge during my trial or someone else’s? Or, to the boss, uh? Or to the teacher if I was an 11th grader. Or, to the drill sergeant? Or the TSA guy smelling my feet at the airport.

This judge is human scum, and while this is of national and international importance, I have been in courtrooms (local, small and midsized town) where women lost their children, where drug addicted got the book thrown at them, where homeless rough sleepers were fined and incarcerated, where people more sane than this judge were committed to mental ward. This is the truth about systems of oppression, about modern white civilization, a fucked up rule of law lawlessness. This is it in our world. But it happens every day a few ten thousand times. To we the small ass people.

Now, multiple that by a factor a ten thousand — try suing Boeing, or Pfizer or FDA, or Ford, or General Mills, or Bayer, or Trump Towers or Bank of America, or Amazon, or Google, or the manufacturer of the air bag in the minivan or the pretzel maker  your kid is choking on.

Now, bring it back to a real perspective. Local, where cities have no money for infrastructure, where medical systems are threadbare at least, or missing altogether. No country for old men, for young people, for the sick, disabled, poor, mentally challenged, psychiatrically impaired. This is a country for no regular people.

Paperback No Country for Old Men Book

Yet, we will hear the media mental midgets yammer on and on about us bumkins, us flyover fucks, deplorables, or deploying any other laundry list of pejoratives or socio-psych mumbo jumbo for their elite brains to find more ways to subjugate the many in the name of profits, and in the words of their deep alter egos — “The world of elites and beautiful and worthy and good members of society have to deal with these useless breeders, breathers and eaters. Really, all we want is what’s best for the masses, for these misbegotten, less than high IQ, and multiple-dysfunctional people who in some cases, well, don’t mean to be useless eaters, breeders, breathers, existers. But we can corral them into good deeds, and we can make so much money from their faults, chronic illnesses, their low IQ’s, their inbreeding, their constant bad bad bad decisions in life. Their mistakes and pain and dysfunction are our opportunity to make society the way we want it designed, with a few trillion of profits in greenbacks to boot. But we would never say this outright to Anderson Cooper or Oprah or NPR or what not.”

But reality is always local, no matter how much bullshit college sports and pro football teams and idiotic Republican and Democrat lying and spewing interferes with their noggins. For example, the outfit I work with, as a social services guy, doesn’t ask our clients — developmental and intellectual disabled adults — if they have had “the jab,” but rather, they ask: “If an employer asks you to provide proof of vaccination, will that be a problem?”

That is the reality now — adults barely surviving, after their whole lives have been spent in special ed programs and being evaluated, separated, roomed, housed and institutionalized, and many coming from proverbial messed up families, dysfunction being the functional word — I have to navigate more of the same systems of oppression-poverty inducing-safety net fraying eating at our communities’ very souls. The chances of getting part-time work in a field tied to the five F’s (food, fur, factory, filth, foliage — restaurants, dog cleaning, warehouses, janitorial, and landscaping) are already slim, as so much is stacked against these folk. Think about the propaganda around “those with developmental disabilities are more vulnerable to the covid so they need to be vaxxed first” ideology.

Many clients were so scared that they were more or less forced into getting the Pfizer or J & J, both mRNA biomedical experimental treatments. Most live in supported housing, and most of these in group homes, sanctioned by the state, so the vaccine mandates are not just inferred, but demanded. Boosterism (booster x, y, z, omega) will continue to run rampant. More will be sick. Some will die, or course.

The reality is I know people who are losing jobs, and they are not sitting on piles of cash like a lot of professionals you might read about that are opting out of the forced chemical jabs. These people do not have the luxury of taking a stand with unlimited credit card limits, or fully owned homes, or hobby gardens out back with the swimming pool. These are people who read up about this planned pandemic, who take precautions, who listen to experts. Their choice is to not get jabbed.

Imagine, being a teacher, PhD in physics, after  20 years, and you have 130 accrued sick days (paid) and you refuse to do the jab but accept the draconian test and mask. You are still going to be fired, or put on unpaid leave, and those PTO days you have accrued, well, forget about them.

LEAKED GRANT PROPOSAL DETAILS HIGH-RISK CORONAVIRUS RESEARCH
The proposal, rejected by U.S. military research agency DARPA, describes the insertion of human-specific cleavage sites into SARS-related bat coronaviruses.” (source)

This is reality for one of my friends. Forget about the death proclamations of the Death Cult of Fauci. This guy is criminal, and he has sold millions a bill of goods. This bill of goods is dangerous, deadly, injurious.

A bill of goods, man, the lies, the continuing criminal enterprises, and then, remade, make overs, etc. Take these middle of the road news sites: Robert Scheer is not my favorite, but this takes the cake, no, as he appears as Mister New York Times and Most About USA is Good Scheer. So, no doubts about this fellow joining up with the CIA, and then now in Holly-Dirt?

This is the very celebrity culture that Chris Hedges rails against. This is a sick little blurb here promoting Scheer’s podcast of this criminal — CIA is a criminal outfit of the highest order.

A former CIA officer and Emmy award-winning creator of the hit FX series “The Americans” about two Soviet agents living secretly in Washington during the Cold War, Weisberg offers a refreshing perspective on the tense relationship between the two countries throughout his work. He joins Robert Scheer on this week’s “Scheer Intelligence” to talk about his latest book, “Russia Upside Down: An Exit Strategy for the Second Cold War,” in which he examines how he, like so many Americans, got Russia wrong.

The author tells Scheer about his childhood growing up in a liberal Jewish household in Chicago, Ill. before studying Soviet politics at Yale University and joining the CIA, eager to do his “duty as an American” and fight what he considered then to be the “evil” Soviet empire. Now, after years of writing fiction about the Soviet Union in novels and TV scripts, Weisberg has decided to reflect on the historical events that he briefly played an active role in during his brief time at the CIA as the Soviet Union was collapsing through a more critical, factual lens. Based on both his personal experience as well as detailed research, Weisberg dispels common misconceptions about Russia that he once held to be true in “Russia Upside Down.”

Here we go: More meaningless Hollywood-CIA-millionaire stuff that the average Joe in Tucson or Portland, in Kansas or Utah has zero connection to. But we get he is Jewish (hmm, why this?) a Yale graduate (Yale being a CIA-Imperialist school), and lover of CIA and USA (when he was young — what puke). Fiction writer, and now a book writer and TV series producer, wow, what a radical.  This is the upper echelons of America Putridity, and you couple that with his millions thrown at him as a Holly-Dirt thing, and we have the mini-Celebrity fawning.

Scheer Intelligence Is America’s View of ‘Evil’ Russia Merely Projection?

The Americans: The Complete First Season (DVD)
More TV junk!

I was at a hospital two weeks ago, and the nurses must have thought I wasn’t awake (I never sleep in a hospital, in jail, or on a plane). They talked about the Samaritan Hospital system they work for introducing a “no vaccine, no medical service” protocol. They did not sound happy about it. And here we have it yesterday:

The Associated Press

Leilani Lutali, foreground, and Jaimee Fougner pose for a photo, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Lutali recently found out her hospital wouldn’t approve her kidney transplant surgery until she got the COVID-19 vaccine. Even though she has stage 5 kidney disease that puts her at risk of dying without a new kidney. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert) — source

A hell of a country, and a hell of a “follow the science” kind of messed up system, no? Idiots of the Biden-Obama variety, like Thom Hartman, are yammering on and on about how these hospitals have a right to refuse un-jabbed folk. This is it for the liberals — you eat junk food, you drink booze, you suck on fags, you drive recklessly, you think this or that anti-Democratic Party thought, then we, the good beautiful, Hillary-Obama-Harris have a right to cut you off, cut you down, chop you off at the knees!

Many people I speak with and communicate with are tired of the pro-pro-pro forced jab perspective we are getting from the leftist Counterpunch, and from St. Clair.

I am referencing “Roaming Charges,” Counterpunch, 10/8/2921, from the anti-science pro-some-science get-out-of-that-science’s way thinking coming from some of the articles posted on the site. Very sad in many ways, so sad that there is not a robust discussion of the vaccination that we see on Dissident Voice, even Mint Press, and especially OffGuardian and Left Skeptics. Here, bullet points, direct quoting from “Roaming Charges”:

+ I’m against any exemptions (our social contract should require either all of us to get it or that the jab be completely voluntary ), but if there’s a religious exemption there should be one for philosophy, too. “Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s worried that people resisting COVID-19 vaccine shots based on religious grounds may be confusing that with a philosophical objection.”

+ Merck is selling its high-touted new Covid pill Molnupiravir, whose development was federally financed by NIH and the Department of Defense,  back to the U.S. government for 40 times what it costs to make.

+ These people, if you want to call them that, seem to have taken their “tactics” from the Westboro (“God Hates Fags”) Baptist Church which used to (and I suppose still does) scream their godly obscenities at mourners during the funerals of people who died of AIDS.

+ Anti-vaxism is itself a kind of brain-eating virus…A Cumberland, Maryland man murdered his brother and sister-in-law in their Ellicott City home last week because his brother, a local pharmacist, had administered COVID-19 vaccines.

+ Cuba began vaccinating its population 150 days ago. In that time, it has administered 192 doses per 100 people. In contrast, the US began its vaccination program 297 days ago and has managed to administer only 119 doses per 100 people. The Covid death rate in Cuba is: 684 per million. The death rate in the US is: 2190 per million. This seems to provide pretty clear evidence that the embargo has been placed on the wrong country for the last 60 years. (end quote)

And therein lies the problem with fake leftists — attacking even doctors and virologists and journalists and educated/educators who have doubts about the entire pandemic and mRNA and coronavirus multiplicity of very pro-pro Capitalist and pro-pro Authoritarian and pro-pro Government Bureaucracy rhetoric. The reality is Cuba is not jabbing its people with mRNA: “All of Cuba’s vaccine candidates—Abdala, Soberana 1, Soberana 2, Soberana Plus, and Mambisa, are subunit protein vaccines, like the Novavax vaccine. Crucially, the vaccines do not require extreme refrigeration, are cheap to produce, and are easy for the country to manufacture at scale. They are made by fermentation in mammalian cells, a process Cuba already uses for monoclonal antibodies.”

A nurse holds up a vial of vaccine

Now, we are worried about more of the celebrities, this time, a professor who was sacked —

Now, think about any criticism against any university, when you are employed by the institution. I was employed by the University of Texas at El Paso. I was an English Department faculty, part-time, a radical, and I fought like hell for adjuncts, for students, etc. I was part of a group of students as a faculty member who made a human chain to stop the group of overweight sheriff posse dudes dressed up as Conquistadors on horses strutting on campus. That was 1992, the 500th anniversary of that evil contact we call Columbus Day. The El Paso Times ran a front page photo of these undercover cops jumping out of the bushes, and wrangling students, clobbering male and female with forearms to the neck. I was right in the middle, and I had to answer for myself to the Provost and president.

This is what a university, then, in 1992, was encapsulated inside, under a rich white president, a campus that was and still is 80-plus percent Mexican-American, Latinx, now. You can’t protest without our permission and our approval of signs!

More cities are recognizing Native Americans on Columbus Day

This was a campus that introduced a free speech zone out of the way of foot traffic. A state sponsored school, with a limited small postage stamp of land near dumpsters where people can gain the public square for protesting. And the campus Nazis demanded permission, permits, and full written details of the “protest” or “information gathering.” Now, sure, talk about Covid, about Nuremburg protocol, about mandates, about those who have the jab and those who do not. Talk about NIH and Fauci and the shadowy origins of the SARS-CoV2, or the doctors who have protocols to stop not only Covid patients getting on ventilators, but getting patients out of the hospital and back home in recovery zone. Not allowed.

These articles are verboten on campuses:

And, if I was still on that campus, how quickly would I be sacked for criticizing a campus– that pushes the Hispanic University of the World theme while colonizing Hispanics (mostly Mexican Americans) — for lock-step falling into the fold of the Corruption Racket Complex — military-banking-ag-energy-prison-pharma-education-medicine-mining-chemical-AI-surveillence-real estate-insurance-prison-legal-media-entertainment? This campus is the whoring field of military, aerospace, drone and weapons makers, and even more nefarious. What ugly optics! Four Star Murder Bomber Air Force General all smiles and the PhD’s just lapping up the uniform!

So, back into that ground-truthing — try being a radical, a revolutionary, a critic of bureaucracies and corporate mandates and this sort of bullshit on a local level. UTEP is a sell-out, an embarrassment, but so are most all the colleges and universities in this shit hole. (Source) I have gone up against every single college and university I have taught in. EVERY ONE.  Can you imagine bringing this into the classroom — anti-war, anti-military, anti-corporation discourse and readings and critical thinking debates? Shit! Then, this? Pfizer Exposed! 

And while the big house is for us in the 80 percent, the ground-truthing in your neighborhood is littered with the poisons of that Complex, the Continuing Criminal Enterprise called capitalism.

[The aim of the international bankers was] nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.

— Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy & Hope, p. 324 (source)

Finally, another point from a friend: “Fishy Felonious Fraudulent Fauci: Read Whitney Webb’s latest.”

During the panel, the moderator—Michael Specter of the New Yorker—asked the question: “Why don’t we blow the system up? Obviously, we just can’t turn off the spigot on the system we have and then say ‘Hey! everyone in the world should get this new vaccine we haven’t given to anyone yet,’ but there must be some way.” Specter then mentioned how vaccine production is antiquated and asked how sufficient “disruption” could occur to prompt the modernization of the existing vaccination development and approval process. Hamburg responded first, saying that as a society we are behind where we need to be when it comes to moving toward a new, more technological approach and that it is now “time to act” to make that a reality.

Several minutes later, Anthony Fauci stated that the superior method of vaccine production involves “not growing the virus at all, but getting sequences, getting the appropriate protein and it sticking in on self-assembling nanoparticles,” essentially referring to mRNA vaccines. Fauci then stated: “The critical challenge . . . is that in order to make the transition from getting out of the tried and true egg-growing [method] . . . to something that has to be much better, you have to prove that this works and then you have got to go through all of the critical trials—phase 1, phase 2, phase 3—and show that this particular product is going to be good over a period of years. That alone, if it works perfectly, is going to take a decade.” Fauci later stated that there is a need to alter the public’s perception that the flu is not a serious disease in order to increase urgency and that it would be “difficult” to alter that perception along with the existing vaccine development and approval process unless the existing system takes the posture that “I don’t care what your perception is, we’re going to address the problem in a disruptive way and an iterative way.”

During the panel, Bright stated that “we need to move as quickly as possible and urgently as possible to get these technologies that address speed and effectiveness of the vaccine” before discussing how the White House Council of Economic Advisers had just issued a report emphasizing that prioritizing “fast” vaccines was paramount. Bright then added that a “mediocre and fast” vaccine was better than a “mediocre and slow” vaccine. He then said that we can make “better vaccines and make them faster” and that urgency and disruption were necessary to produce the targeted and accelerated development of one such vaccine. Later in the panel, Bright said the best way to “disrupt” the vaccine field in favor of “faster” vaccines would be the emergence of “an entity of excitement out there that’s completely disruptive, that’s not beholden to bureaucratic strings and processes.” He later very directly said that by “faster” vaccines he meant mRNA vaccines.

The Bright-led BARDA and the Fauci-led NIAID in just a few months’ time became the biggest backers of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, investing billions and co-developing the vaccine with the company, respectively. As will be explained in Part II of this series, the partnership between Moderna and the NIH to co-develop what would soon become Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine was being forged as early as January 7, 2020, long before the official declaration of the COVID-19 crisis as a pandemic and before a vaccine was proclaimed as necessary by officials and other individuals. Not only did the COVID-19 vaccine quickly become the answer to nearly all Moderna’s woes but it also provided the disruptive scenario necessary to alter the public’s perceptions of what a vaccine is and eliminate existing safeguards and bureaucracy in vaccine approval. (Watch the 2019 Universal Flu Vaccine event here.)

As Part II of this series will show, it was an alleged mix of “serendipity and foresight” from Moderna’s Stéphane Bancel and the NIH’s Barney Graham that propelled Moderna to the front of the “Warp Speed” race for a COVID-19 vaccine. That partnership, along with the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 crisis, created the very “Hail Mary” for which Moderna had been desperately waiting since at least 2017 while also turning most of Moderna’s executive team into billionaires and multi-millionaires in a matter of months.

However, Moderna’s “Hail Mary” won’t last – that is, unless the mass administration of its COVID-19 vaccine becomes an annual affair for millions of people worldwide. Even though real-world data since its administration began challenges the need for as well as the safety and efficacy of its vaccine, Moderna – and its stakeholders – cannot afford to let this opportunity slip through fingers. To do so would mean the end of Moderna’s carefully constructed house of cards.

The post Back at Ground-Truthing Again and Again and Again first appeared on Dissident Voice.

You Will Need No Stinkin’ Badge if you Want to Die in a Gutter

Nah, we are not a society ready for deep discussion and debate about work, forced revealing of health information, forced mRNA jabs, and more. So, here we are, a teacher, ready to be gone gone gone. Andy Libson has drawn a line in the sand.

The decision of where a person will draw a line comes to our show hosts. We speak to Andy Libson about the decisions he is being forced into at his own job. Workers and students across the nation are being mandated to submit their status or proof of the COVID injection. This has caused many to face a “choice” between their “freedoms” or their livelihoods. Get jabbed or be terminated and ostracized in a society where the obligation to get injected by the government is being encroached in almost every sector of our society. This episode poses the question…”where will you draw your line?”

At 1 hour and 37 minutes, Kenny and Eduardo and Andy discussing how Andy is handcuffed with San Francisco School District provisos of giving the school district his vaccination status, and if he has a medical or religious exemption, that too.

You see that information is really not protected in some red file in HR. The administration in his school has it, and, really, when you listen to this, any parent who comes in and says she saw teacher Andy without a mask (she could lie, of course), then she would have a right to ask about HIS vaccination status.

There are no five ways to look at this — it is a culture of snitching, but worse: fear, and accommodating the worst of the worst concepts of always treating humans as guilty-dirty-useless-sick-unvaccinated before proving otherwise. And there is no proving, since there is no discourse. All information is being banned, and the pigs in administrations, pigs in the CEO class (sic) and those HR fools who listen to lawyers and default to the most common denominator: workers are not to be trusted.

Now, this might be pulled from Fuck You Tube, since Andy and Eduardo and Kenny are having a conversation about risks, intended risks, unintended risks, the subterfuge, the fascist policies of compulsory this, compulsory gene therapy, and forced dictates. This is not controversial, in any other time, other baseline. But that shifting baseline syndrome has rotted the brains of the liberal (faux) class, and the rampant/rabid stupidity of people who label those of us who WANT more information, who want to RESEARCH, who want to delve into the shit that is corporate crime and bureaucratic crime and group think and lies are truth, and newspeak.

Here’s JJ on a Bike, and those creeps, those sexist pukes like Howard Stern, Sean Penn, Bill Maher, et al, the wouldn’t last a minute with this fellow talking about the Covid origins. And the origins of this Covid-19 are important — WAY important tied to the entire lock-up mentality, the entire rush for Warp Speed untested non-vaccines. It just is a little hindrance, no, on exactly how the SARS-CoV2

This is the new lay of the land, not wanting to talk, to research, to listen. JJ: Pittsburg scientist, and this is March 2020!!!

You think Physics Teacher Andy Libson — before he’s sacked — could show this episode to seniors and discuss what scientific inquiry is? Hell, I couldn’t show this in a college level writing class without a whole lot of pain: just one student complaining; just one passing fellow teacher complaining. Or what about having this essay as a reading piece for discussion and response?

“COVID-19 Detention Camps: Are Government Round-Ups of Resistors in Our Future?”

by John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead / September 29th, 2021

“No doubt concentration camps were a means, a menace used to keep order.”

— Albert Speer, Nuremberg Trials

It’s no longer a question of whether the government will lock up Americans for defying its mandates but when.

This is what we know: the government has the means, the muscle and the motivation to detain individuals who resist its orders and do not comply with its mandates in a vast array of prisons, detention centers, and FEMA concentration camps paid for with taxpayer dollars.

It’s just a matter of time.

Over at Dissident Voicehere.

The question that needs to be begged is what will the SFSD do when they access this episode of What’s Left . . . and they have tons of snitches? Remember, these are mostly spineless administrators, out to lunch school board members, lock-step thinkers in the hierarchy in unions. These are schools that have fully-SWAT outfitted pigs on campus, “resource officers,” and these are schools that let the armed mercenary services on campus to recruit, but they would never let an antiwar, anti-military peace loving group on campus, or even Veterans for Peace, or Coffee Strong.

Right!

This stuff was verboten —

Coffee Strong: Listening to the GI Voice at Fort Lewis

And, just breaking now, Shit-ehh-Fornia, and its bizarre Governor, mandating k12, 6 years of age to 20, the jab. This is how these people roll.

Gavin Newsom just announced that California would become the first state to mandate eligible students attending public and private schools be vaccinated against Covid for in-person instruction.

According to KFI News in Los Angeles, “The governor is directing the California Department of Public Health to add the COVID vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person learning.”

This would have NEVER been accepted treatment of young kids, in 2019! The rich see us all as diseased!

The post You Will Need No Stinkin’ Badge if you Want to Die in a Gutter first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Covidian Cult (Part III)

In The Covidian Cult (Part I) and (Part II), I characterized the so-called “New Normal” as a “global totalitarian ideological movement.” Since I published those essays, more and more people have come to see it for what it is, not “insanity” or “an overreaction,” but, in fact, a new form of totalitarianism, a globalized, pathologized, depoliticized form, which is being systematically implemented under the guise of “protecting the public health.”

In order to oppose this new form of totalitarianism, we need to understand how it both resembles and differs from earlier totalitarian systems. The similarities are fairly obvious — the suspension of constitutional rights, governments ruling by decree, official propaganda, public loyalty rituals, the outlawing of political opposition, censorship, social segregation, goon squads terrorizing the public, and so on — but the differences are not obvious.

Whereas 20th-Century totalitarianism (i.e., the form most people are generally familiar with) was more or less national and overtly political, New Normal totalitarianism is supranational, and its ideology is much more subtle. The New Normal is not Nazism or Stalinism. It is global-capitalist totalitarianism, and global capitalism doesn’t have an ideology, technically, or, rather, its ideology is “reality.” When you are an unrivaled global ideological hegemon, as global capitalism has been for the last 30 years or so, your ideology automatically becomes “reality,” because there are no competing ideologies. Actually, there is no ideology at all … there is only “reality” and “unreality,” “normality” and “deviations from the norm.”

Yes, I know, reality is reality … that’s why I’m putting all these terms in scare quotes, so, please, spare me the lengthy emails conclusively proving the reality of reality and try to understand how this works.

There is reality (whatever you believe it is), and there is “reality,” which dictates how our societies function. “Reality” is constructed (i.e., simulated), collectively, according to the ideology of whatever system controls society. In the past, “reality” was openly ideological, regardless of which “reality” you lived in, because there were other competing “realities” out there. There aren’t anymore. There is only the one “reality,” because the entire planet — yes, including China, Russia, North Korea, and wherever — is controlled by one globally hegemonic system.

A globally hegemonic system has no need for ideology, because it doesn’t have to compete with rival ideologies. So it erases ideology and replaces it with “reality.” Reality (whatever you personally believe it is, which, of course, is what it really is) is not actually erased. It just doesn’t matter, because you do not get to dictate “reality.” Global capitalism gets to dictate “reality,” or, more accurately, it simulates “reality,” and in so doing simulates the opposite of “reality,” which is equally if not more important.

This global-capitalist-manufactured “reality” is a depoliticized, ahistorical “reality,” which forms an invisible ideological boundary establishing the limits of what is “real.” In this way, global capitalism (a) conceals its ideological nature, and (b) renders any and all ideological opposition automatically illegitimate, or, more accurately, non-existent. Ideology as we knew it disappears. Political, ethical, and moral arguments are reduced to the question of what is “real” or “factual,” which the GloboCap “experts” and “fact checkers” dictate.

Also, because this “reality” is not a cohesive ideological system with fundamental values, core principles, and so on, it can be drastically revised or completely replaced more or less at a moment’s notice. Global capitalism has no fundamental values — other than exchange value, of course — and thus it is free to manufacture any kind of “reality” it wants, and replace one “reality” with a new “reality” any time that serves its purposes, like stagehands changing a theatrical set.

For example, the “Global War on Terror,” which was the official “reality” from 2001 until it was canceled in the Summer of 2016, when the “War on Populism” was officially launched. Or, now, the “New Normal,” which replaced the “War on Populism” in the Spring of 2020. Each of which new simulations of “reality” was rolled out abruptly, clumsily even, like that scene in 1984 where the Party switches official enemies right in the middle of a Hate Week speech.

Seriously, think about where we are currently, 18 months into our new “reality,” then go back and review how GloboCap blatantly rolled out the New Normal in the Spring of 2020 … and the majority of the masses didn’t even blink. They seamlessly transitioned to the new “reality” in which a virus, rather than “white supremacists,” or “Russian agents,” or “Islamic terrorists,” had become the new official enemy. They put away the scripts they had been reciting verbatim from for the previous four years, and the scripts they had been reciting from for the previous 15 years before that, and started frantically jabbering Covid cult-speak like they were auditioning for an over-the-top Orwell parody.

*****

Which brings us to the problem of the Covidian cult … how to get through to them, which, make no mistake, we have to do, one way or another, or the New Normal will become our permanent “reality.”

I called the New Normals a “Covidian Cult,” not to gratuitously insult or mock them, but because that is what totalitarianism is … a cult writ large, on a societal scale. Anyone who has tried to get through to them can confirm the accuracy of that analogy. You can show them the facts until you’re blue in the face. It will not make the slightest difference. You think you are having a debate over facts, but you are not. You are threatening their new “reality.” You think you are struggling to get them to think rationally. You are not. What you are is a heretic, an agent of demonic forces, an enemy of all that is “real” and “true.”

The Scientologists would label you a “suppressive person.” The New Normals call you a “conspiracy theorist,” an “anti-vaxxer,” or a “virus denier.” The specific epithets don’t really matter. They are just labels that cult members and totalitarians use to demonize those they perceive as “enemies” … anyone challenging the “reality” of the cult, or the “reality” of the totalitarian system.

The simple fact of the matter is, you can’t talk people out of a cult, and you can’t talk them out of totalitarianism. Usually, what you do, in the case of a cult, is, you get the person out of the cult. You kidnap them, take them to a safe house or wherever, surround them with a lot of non-cult members, and deprogram them gradually over the course of several days. You do this because, while they are still inside the cult, you cannot get through to them. They cannot hear you. A cult is a collective, self-contained “reality.” Its power flows from the social organism composed of the cult leaders and the other cult members. You cannot “talk” this power away. You have to physically remove the person from it before you can begin to reason with them.

Unfortunately, we do not have this option. The New Normal is a global totalitarian system. There is no “outside” of the system to retreat to. We can’t kidnap everyone and take them to Sweden. As I noted in Part I of this series, the cult/society paradigm has been inverted. The cult has become the dominant society, and those of us who have not been converted have become a collection of isolated islands existing, not outside, but within the cult.

So we need to adopt a different strategy. We need to make the monster show itself, not to those of us who can already see it, but to the New Normal masses, the Covidian cultists. We need to make Jim Jones drop the peace-and-love crap, move into the jungle, and break out the Kool-Aid. We need to make Charles Manson put down his guitar, cancel orgy-time, and go homicidal hippie. This is how you take down a cult from within. You do not try to thwart its progress; you push it toward its logical conclusion. You make it manifest its full expression, because that is when it implodes, and dies. You do not do that by being polite, conciliatory, or avoiding conflict. You do that by generating as much internal conflict within the cult as you can.

In other words, we need t0 make GloboCap (and its minions) go openly totalitarian … because it can’t. If it could, it would have done so already. Global capitalism cannot function that way. Going openly totalitarian will cause it to implode … no, not global capitalism itself, but this totalitarian version of it. In fact, this is starting to happen already. It needs the simulation of “reality,” and “democracy,” and “normality,” to keep the masses docile. So we need to attack that simulation. We need to hammer on it until it cracks, and the monster hiding within in appears.

That is the weakness of the system … the New Normal totalitarianism will not work if the masses perceive it as totalitarianism, as a political/ideological program, rather than as “a response to a deadly pandemic.” So we need to make it visible as totalitarianism. We need to force the New Normals to see it as what it is. I do not mean that we need to explain it to them. They are beyond the reach of explanations. I mean that we need to make them see it, feel it, tangibly, inescapably, until they recognize what they are collaborating with.

Stop arguing with them on their terms, and instead directly attack their “reality.” When they start jabbering about the virus, the variants, the “vaccines,” and all the other Covid cult-speak, do not get sucked into their narrative. Do not respond as if they were rational. Respond as if they were talking about “Xenu,” “body thetans,” “Helter Skelter,” or any other cultoid nonsense, because that it is exactly what it is. Same goes for their rules and restrictions, the “face coverings,” the “social distancing,” and so on. Stop arguing against them on the grounds that they don’t work. Of course, they don’t work, but that is not the point (and arguing that way sucks you into their “reality”). Oppose them because of what they are, a collection of bizarre compliance rituals performed to cement allegiance to the cult and create a general atmosphere of “deadly pandemic.”

There are many ways to go about doing this; i.e., generating internal conflict. I have been doing it my way, others are doing it theirs. If you’re one of them, thank you. If you’re not, start. Do it, however, and wherever you can. Make the New Normals face the monster, the monster they are feeding … the monster they have become.

The post The Covidian Cult (Part III) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Left-Wing Psychotherapy Cults: Sullivanians from Hedonism to Group Terror

Photo Image:  FilmDaily

Orientation

My Purpose

A few months ago, I wrote an article titled “Political and Spiritual Cults“. My purpose was to show the commonalties among all cults, whether they are political, spiritual or psychological. In this article I want to narrow the focus to discuss a left-wing psychological cult, the Sullivanians, a countercultural organization that made its mark on the Upper West Side of New York City between 1970 and the early 1990s. Why bother to do this? Because as a socialist I have to face that any socialist organization I join, whether it be social democratic, Leninist or even anarchist has the potential to become a cult. The more we know about the conditions under which cults emerge, the more we can combat them.

Overcoming Media Biases Against Cults

When mass media compares cults members to the general population, cult members are portrayed as:

  • Mentally unstable
  • Less educated
  • Lonelier
  • From the poor and working-class backgrounds
  • Physically intimidated into joining
  • Brainwashed
  • Drawn from criminal elements
  • Less moral as people

Research has shown none of this to be true.

Plan of the Article

For the most part I will be following the architecture I built in my previous article, including what is a totalistic institution; the ten characteristics of cults; the stages cults go through; the mechanisms of control in each stage; why people stay; what kind of qualities the leaders have and what is the impact of leaving on cult members.

I will be adding a short section on the theoretical assumptions of the Sullivanians at the beginning. For each of these units I will say something about how it applies to the Sullivanians. Besides my article, I will be referring to two books on the Sullivanians: Amy Siskind’s sociological analysis, The Sullivan Institute/Fourth Wall Community: The Relationship of Radical Individualism and Authoritarianism and a book by a participant, Artie Honan How Did A Smart Guy Like me….For my general understanding of cults, I owe the most to Margret Singer, Janja Lalich, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad.

Theoretical Assumptions

The Sullivanian Institute was a spin-off organization that broke away in 1957 from the work of Harry Stack Sullivan. Sullivan was sensitive to the social side of psychological dynamics and among other insights blamed the nuclear family for the formation of the ideal capitalist consumer. Both Dr. Jane Pearce and Saul Newton took these criticisms of the nuclear family much further. In 1963, Pearce and Newton coauthored a book called Conditions of Human Growth. In that book they identified the family as socially isolating the individual from developing healthy relationships with friends, especially in adolescence and adulthood.

Open-ended friendships, both sexual and otherwise, were the way out of the infantilization of the nuclear family and the road to maturity. For them, friendships are the first potential of experience of love between equals. A big part of therapeutic work was to get their patients to expand their friendships as they withdrew from their families. Newton and Pearce considered the desire for the security of exclusive relationships among their patients to be a neurotic symptom. In fact, one of the first things on the agenda of the Sullivanians therapists was to separate the patients from their parents. On the whole the two foundation stones of the Sullivanians community were:

  • To break from their family of origin
  • To have non-monogamous sexual relations among friends

What is a Totalistic Institution?

Calling an organization a cult has more to do with how an organization is run than what people believe. Cults are a subcategory of organizations which includes mental health institutions, prisons, army barracks, orphanages, and religious institutions such as monasteries. As opposed to this, in what Erving Goffman calls “pluralistic institutions”, people come and go as they please in and out of various institutions throughout the day as they go from playing one role to another. Within each institution, the group dynamics and power relationships vary. An individual can have great control in one area and little control in another. What produces critical thinking within the individual is the habit, whether conscious or unconscious, of comparing one institution to another, each with their strengths and weaknesses.

In totalistic social formations, all institutions are rolled into one. Economic exchanges, livelihood, sacred beliefs, political dynamics, living situations and sexual encounters are all concentrated within a single institution. In the more extreme institutions like prisons or in the military, working and play activities are done all at the same time, in the same place with uniform expectations. Boundaries between inside and outside are rigid. The authorities are centralized and there is little room for feedback. There are surveillance systems, spying and little privacy, and this breeds insecurity and paranoia.

Sullivanians as a Total Institution

The Sullivanian community was divided into four tiers. The four therapists at the top were Saul Newton, Joan Harvey, Ralph Klein and Helen Moses; a secondary tier of therapists in training; a third tier of psychotherapy patients and lastly, community members who were friends of the people in the first three tiers. When the Sullivanians morphed into the Fourth Wall Theatre community in 1977, the fourth tier were people living in Manhattan who came to see the plays, often from poor areas of the city. The biggest factor that made the Sullivanians a totalistic institution was the collapsed boundaries between the tiers. Members of all tiers were invited to have sex with each other, including therapists with clients, clients and those in therapy training. Sleeping alone was considered an interpersonal failure. Furthermore, the therapists ignored confidentiality and talked openly about the problems of their patients. The most important people – the therapists – knew everyone else’s business and encouraged others to be spies to report on any dissatisfactions anyone had with the leadership. This led to mistrust among people in the second and third tiers as well as paranoia.

The Sullivanians were not as rigid as a prison or an army barracks. Community members worked at different jobs and they lived in different apartment buildings.  However, all households occupied most of an apartment building and each household apparently consisted only of members of the Sullivanian community. These households made enough money to hire people from the outside to cook, clean and babysit. House members had regular meetings in which they talked about household problems but also about their lives. Members also knew each other’s weaknesses and these weaknesses got back to the leadership in one way or another.

The dependency of community members on the leadership ran deep. Therapists in training were dependent on leadership economically to provide them with referrals. People were dependent personally for their identity through therapy. Interpersonally they played together, lived together and in the 1980s, did political work together. All this supported the authoritarian control by the leaders and made the Sullivanians a totalistic institution.

Ten Characteristics of Cults

From my previous article on cults, I named ten characteristics.

  • It emerged out of a political, economic or ecological crisis.
  • It recruited young adults between 17 and 24 of middle-class and upper middle-class origins who were likely to be undergoing some developmental crisis in their personal lives.
  • It has an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
  • It has a revolutionary, dualistic ideology.
  • It possesses a social-psychological array of tools for luring in new members and sustaining their commitment.
  • It lacks mechanisms for critical feedback from the membership.
  • It requires a small group of lieutenants to isolate and keep atomized the membership through spying so that no coherent opposition can form.
  • It develops rituals, myths and celebrations that allow the group to mark time.
  • It demonizes outside groups that are in competition with the cult.
  • It has rigid, terrorized boundaries that make it extremely difficult to leave.

Sullivanians’ Characteristics of Cults

It is not true that the Sullivanians cult emerged as a reaction to a political, economic or ecological crisis. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the economy was not contracting. It was possible for community members to work at low paying jobs in the arts, have leisure time and still make the rent, especially because of group living. However, the decline of the Sullivanians community in the 1980s was definitely connected to contracting economic conditions where rents skyrocketed and jobs in the arts shrank. AIDS and the nuclear reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island added to the group paranoia.

The Sullivanians did appeal to upper middle-class adults. They weren’t in any serious psychological crisis. They were relatively healthy adults who were attracted to an alternative lifestyle including art. music, theatre and dance. Sexual exploration was part of the counterculture and not unique to the Sullivanians. In Saul Newton they had an authoritarian working-class leader who was once a member of the Communist Party and claimed to have fought in the Spanish Civil War. Both men and women in the community agreed he was charismatic. Newton was also erratic and explosive and most members were scared of him. There were no institutionalized feedback mechanisms for criticizing the leadership. Complaining behind his back was dangerous because of surveillance and could easily get back to the leaders.

Although Newton was either a Stalinist or a Maoist, in the first nine years of the community, he was not heavy-handed politically. It was in the descendent phase when the nuclear meltdown occurred, the AIDS epidemic spread and Yankeedom had become more conservative in the 1980s that his Stalinist or Maoist politics became more hard-edged.  Relations between the Sullivanians and other leftists became increasingly hostile, and their political ideology became more dualistic and sectarian. Here is where the characteristic of the demonization of outsiders took place.

The psychological array of tools for drawing people in and holding them was pretty straightforward. In all cults, sex is used to control people. However, in most cults sex flows one way, from the members to the leaders. Among the Sullivanians sex among members was immediate and expected. Secondly, unlike other cults, women were encouraged to have more than one partner at a time. Besides immediate and sustained sex for both men and women, there was the opportunity to work with therapists on their problems and to do so for a low fee, compared to the much higher going rate. Thirdly, friendships were made quickly and developed through household living arrangements. Fourthly, the Sullivanians were very supportive of the members developing their creativity. Siskind points out that many of them became famous in the arts, filmmaking, and dance. The Sullivanians were also a utopian community, so joining it helped people to feel that they were a special group, superior to others, in addition to being part of a movements which was going to overthrow capitalism.

Symbolism and ritual were a strong part of the Sullivanians community. They played hard together at parties and vacations, but this was all secular enjoyment. There was no celebration of revolutionary holidays or the singing of the Internationale, as we might expect of an aspiring socialist community. Neither was there a dramatic change of identity based on change of hair or clothes that I found.

Stages of Cults

As I said in my article Political and Spiritual Cults:

In their book, The Guru Papers, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad identify two stages of cults: the proselytizing stage and the apocalyptic paranoia stage.

In the proselytizing ascendant stage, the guru sees the possibility of realizing his ambitions. The group is touted as being at the cutting edge of new knowledge. Outsiders are welcomed although they are treated with a kind of benign superiority. In the ascendant phase, the guru rewards the enthusiasm of his followers and grants them positions which have opened up within the hierarchy. The tone of the community is celebratory. The guru is accessible to the public and is charming and playful. In terms of the recruitment, this is the “honeymoon phase”. The focus is to expand the organization and the emphasis is on the present.

The apocalyptic, paranoiac, decadent phase is when the numbers of recruits have leveled off and explanations need to be found. The public is now seen as too stupid and blind to acknowledge the merits of the cult. In the declining stage, the message becomes pessimistic, with a doomsday “I told you so” tone. Outsiders cease to be welcomed in a spirit of satisfying their curiosity. Rather they are seen as enemies out to destroy the organization. Part of the descendent phase also involves the guru making more grandiose claims while promising to invoke occult power. The membership begins to have doubts.

Sullivanians’ Stages of Cults

The Sullivanians definitely went through these stages. Siskind, in her sociological analysis of them, calls the proselytizing phase the “Halcyon Years” from 1969-1978. Siskind calls the apocalyptic phase “the Revolutionary period of 1979-1983. Between 1984 and 1992 there was a steep decline in membership. In the first period the emphasis was on the psychology of the individual and their full development, including taking classes and the practice of the arts. The full enjoyment of life through sex, friendship, creativity and community was all supported. They also had a comedy club run by a very talented member, Luba Elman who was also responsible for early theatrical productions which later turned into the Fourth Wall Theatre Company. Between 1970 and 1974 the Sullivanian community grew at a steady rate of 100 new members a year, culminating at a peak of 400 in 1974. Political relations with other leftists had some tension but that did not stop cooperation in large protests.

There were four shock waves which were scattered across the landscape of the Sullivanian community between 1977 to 1983 that turned it from growing, hopeful community into a more stagnant, paranoid and isolated community. The first was the driving out of Luba Elman as the organizer of the Fourth Wall Repertory Company and her replacement by therapist turned playwright and actress, Joan Harvey. Both she and her partner Saul were dictatorial in their expectations of the members of the stage crew and everyone else in the Fourth Wall community.

Another very dramatic event was the Fourth Wall takeover of the Truck and Warehouse Theatre. The previous company refused to leave the building although the lease was up. They were forced out in an orchestrated attack, with waves of Fourth Wall people invading the building. Some took over the stage sets, rebuilt them with the carpentry and electrical skills of the Fourth Wall community. Two hours after the initial takeover, 160 more members came to support the takeover and guard the building. Then they set up an elaborate security system to guard the building. The violent nature of the whole process must have affected the moral of people. Artie Honan, one of the chief organizers of the takeover, said: ”Looking back, I feel that this was a senseless act of violence. Something I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t been taking direction from Saul. (What’s a Smart Guy Like Me…) I doubt he was alone in these sentiments. Later he said I was preoccupied about having to organize security coverages …I had no time to reflect on the experience or to think about how it ran against the grain of my values. Lack of time to think is characteristic of all cults.

A third major event was the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979. This spread fear in the community. It led to a panic in which 200 community members en masse fled to Florida to avoid radiation. This event turned the Sullivanians into an explicitly political community as Saul’s Maoist orientation came to the fore. House meetings went from every day discussions about household and personal problems to political book readings and discussion groups. It was in this period that Saul implemented a Maoism anti-intellectual campaign in which community members would renounce their class background in group self-confession circles.

A fourth major event was the AIDS crisis of the early 1980s. This directly impacted the size of the community and the sex-economy of the organization. The Fourth Wallers were naturally wary of having sex with outsiders and limited the sexual activity to the already existing members. Since, on average, the women outnumbered the men two to one, the shortage affected the women more than the men. There was even a Male Chauvinism campaign within the community to force the men to have sex with women who didn’t have partners! Please see Table A for a contrast between the two stages within the Sullivan community

Characteristics of Sociopathic Leaders

In their book Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships, Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias identify fifteen characteristics of a sociopath that could apply to a cult leader. Here they are:

  • Glibness and superficial charm
  • Conning and maneuvering
  • Grandiose sense of self
  • Pathological lying
  • Lack of remorse, shame or guilt
  • Shallow emotions
  • Incapacity to love
  • Sensation seeking
  • Impulsivity and lack of behavioral control
  • Early behavior problems with juvenile delinquency
  • Scapegoating
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior and infidelity
  • Erratic work history of fits and starts
  • Materialistic lifestyle
  • Criminal and entrepreneurial versatility

Saul Newton as a Sociopath

As repulsive as Saul Newton might be to you and to me, he did not have all fifteen characteristics of a sociopath. I will begin by eliminating the characteristics he did not possess. We know very little of his history, so we don’t know anything about whether his teenage behavior might be categorized as juvenile delinquency or whether he had an erratic work history. From my reading I did not find instances of sensation-seeking. He put members in the Sullivanians community in risky situations, but he seemed to be sure that he and any of his wives were well-protected. It would be unfair to characterize him as having shallow emotions. He had problems controlling his anger, as in beating his wives. There is nothing I’ve read that indicated that Newton showed any deep emotion but anger. It is reasonable to say he was emotionally repressed, rather than being shallow.

Criminal and entrepreneurial creativity in cults usually means if one cult group fails and goes bankrupt, the leader wheels and deals and repackages himself with a new name and organization as Werner Erhard did. As far as I know, Saul Newton did not do this. He stuck with the Sullivanian community all his life. Lastly, a “materialistic lifestyle” is a very vague term. How many cars, boats, planes and houses does a leader have to possess to qualify as being materialistic? From my reading, I would classify Newton as upper middle-class, akin to a doctor, lawyer or architect living on the Upper West Side of New York City. He and his wives had their own chefs, childcare providers and shoppers. He owned a brownstone building. Newton lived well, but he didn’t have seven Cadillacs, as Rajneesh had. He did not own any boats or planes, nor did he buy other buildings and deal in real estate. He did not have the lifestyle of L. Ron Hubbard, Reverend Moon or Werner Erhard.

However, Newton had all the remaining characteristics of a sociopath big-time. He had superficial charm, and as I said earlier, both men and women characterized him as charismatic. He clearly was conning and manipulating the community all his life. He got them to take over a theatre building, told them who could and couldn’t date and set up an elaborate surveillance system for tracking people while convincing the members to do all the work. He maneuvered with Joan Harvey to oust Luba Elman from the Fourth Wall community and put themselves in the leadership position. He seemed to be a pathological liar, meaning he lied so much he lost track of the boundaries between truth and falsehood. There is no indication in either of the books I read that he has the slightest regret or remorse for anything he did. Neither were there any examples in which Newton claimed to love anyone. He was not loved by community members, but feared. In a small funeral gathering in 1992 not a single member of the Sullivan community showed up.

Newton definably had a grandiose sense of himself. What kind of person would have put himself at the head of a psychotherapy organization with no degree in the field or even having been in therapy himself? He was almost compulsively promiscuous. He had no problem asking his female patients for sex as part of the sessions. At the end of his life when he was suffering from dementia, he continued to see clients even when his memory was failing him. Newton was clearly impulsive (at least around getting angry) and could not control himself. However, in other situations he was extremely deliberative as he plotted and schemed to manipulate community members. Lastly, he was always blaming community members when things didn’t go right. He showed no power of self-reflection in seeing how his behavior was partly responsible for anything.

Reasons People Stayed in the Community

Why do People Stay?

Lalich and Tobias lay down the following most common reasons people stay in cults:

  • Attachment to new beliefs
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Entrapment
  • Peer pressure
  • Exhaustion from overwork allows little time for objectivity or self-reflection
  • Burned bridges separate members from their past
  • Being ridiculed and called names by cult members is very painful
  • Fear for your life
  • Guilt and embarrassment over having participated in the group to begin with

From the two books I’ve read about the Sullivanians, I would say virtually every one of these psychological conditions were operating. In the early years, the major belief centered around a conviction that their nuclear family was the major part of their problems. Giving up their belief would mean facing they were dupes who then burned their bridges and hurt their families badly. It would definitely cause cognitive dissonance. Community members were clearly entrapped. Most spend anywhere between 5 and 20 years in the community, forging deep friendships. They spent hundreds of hours in therapy and in the last years of the community, that was not cheap. For many, their livelihoods were dependent on the community and their living situations were all tied together. It is completely understandable they would not want to cut their losses.

There was a great deal of peer pressure to stay in the group. It was difficult to think clearly about whether or not to leave when they could not easily discuss openly their reservations about staying. They could never be sure if what they said would get back to the leadership. In addition, by the early 1980s, the economy was contracting, requiring members to work longer. Also, Newton was becoming increasingly demanding of members to be available for work on the Fourth Wall community. As Artie Honan says many times in his autobiography, there was little time to reflect on the big picture. Most were like frogs in slowly boiling water. They couldn’t see what was happening to them.

Unlike other leftist cults, there didn’t seem to be a great deal of name calling, but Saul Newton was brutal about getting rid of any community member he felt was too much trouble and, perhaps more painfully, community members executed his wishes. People were kicked out of the community quickly, often told they had 24 hours to leave their group housing situations. In at least one instance a person’s things were thrown in the street. Ex-members were shunned and ignored in public and the Upper West Side of New York is not a place to easily find anonymity.

Saul Newton was a violent man. He beat his wives and occasionally publicly punched a few of the men in the community. The violence he used in orchestrating the takeover of the theatre was probably never forgotten by anyone. When one of Saul’s psychological proteges decided to leave, upon Newton’s instruction he was followed, grabbed from behind and held over the subway tracks.

If members decided to leave, they had little in the way of a support system. Their families were heart-broken, angry and some members were disowned. The road back was unknown, lonely and full of doubt. There was no recovery groups from cult in those days. I don’t really know that the Sullivanian community felt a sense of guilt upon leaving the way members of other cults might. If a member got into the cult early, in the good days of the first seven years, those memories must have been breath-taking, intense and not easily forgettable compared to whatever normal life followed. It was the period from the early 1980s on they might have felt regretful about.

Aftermath for Cult Members

In their book Cults in Our Midst, Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich identify five major areas of life ex-cult members have to deal with:

  • Practical everyday life
  • Emotional volitivity
  • Cognitive inefficiencies
  • Theoretical instabilities
  • Lack of a social network

How Ex- Sullivanians Members Managed Their Lives in The Aftermath

Practical, everyday life

The two books I read on this subject do not have much information about how group members managed after the community broke up. Most of what follows will be what I would call reasonable speculation. In the area of everyday living, I believe the Sullivanians did better than ex-members of other cults. For example, Sullivanians had to find work to support themselves while in the cult and they succeeded in landing jobs in the arts or doing technical work. While ex-members who became therapists were dependent on referrals, this was not a community that was totally dependent economically. The same was true about managing money and finding an apartment. Members had practice in doing these things even when in the cult. While the Sullivanians were not provided with their own medical and health care, as upper middle-class urbanites they would not go without health and medical care as many members of other cults did. All this doesn’t mean they did not suffer. But compared to other cults, the climb back up might not have been as steep.

Emotional volatility

In terms of emotional volatility, I suspect the Sullivanians were more like other cults in that members suffered from PTSD, insomnia and dissociation at times. I don’t think difficulty concentrating or flashbacks were part of the psychological processes they had to constantly fight off because there were not that many bad experiences. I don’t believe a loss of a sense of humor was a psychological condition. Membership in households provided opportunity for play and laughter. It wouldn’t take much to bring them back. Depression over loss of the Sullivanian community and its vision must have been great. Before the community as a whole broke up, Saul‘s treatment of those who left would give them every reason to fear for themselves and their loved ones.

Cognitive inefficiencies

Many members of other cults have trouble thinking critically when they leave. Especially in spiritual cults which place a great deal of emphasis on meditation, and other altered states of consciousness, where critical thinking is frowned upon. Some young members of cults never learned to think critically. They simply did not know how to set up spread sheets for weighing the pros and cons of different job offers, school choices or romantic partners. After being in cults which for years explained causes and consequences by good and evil forces, it is difficult to reason about complex causes and intended and unintended consequences. I don’t think members of the Sullivanian community ran into these problems much. While they suspended judgment and criticality when under the spell of the leadership, they had to make analytical and comparative judgment while at work, with their partners and at house meetings when they were away from the leadership.

However, there is one area of cognition which must have been difficult and that is de-toxifying their vocabulary. All cults control their members thinking by narrowing the complexity of their language. When the leaders train someone’s vocabulary to use virtue and vice words, they are training them in dualistic thinking. Dualistic thinking makes people more controllable. This definitely went on in the Sullivanian community. It would take time to reintroduce previously “banned” vice words and repressed virtue words.

Theoretical instabilities

The overwhelming majority of cults are spin-offs from major theoretical schools in the fields of spirituality, politics or psychology. Spiritual cults might be spinoffs from Buddhism, Hinduism or Christianity. Political cults may draw from the work of Marx or Lenin. Psychological cults may have drawn from Freud, Jung or Humanistic psychology of Maslow. Upon leaving the cult, the ex-cult member is in a theoretical no-man’s-land. Does the psychological cult member whose leader drew from Freud therefore reject Freud completely or are they able to separate Freud from the cult interpretation of Freud? In the case of spirituality, can a member of the Hindu cult like the Hari Krishna’s reject the cult but hang on to Hinduism? In the case of the Sullivanians, Saul Newton was probably a Maoist. Can ex- Sullivanians separate Maoism as practiced by the Sullivanians from Maoist groups in general? Will they remain Leninists and switch from Mao to Stalin? Will they remain Leninists and become Trotskyists? Will they become democratic socialists?

A more extreme strategy is to reject the field entirely. So, a follower of a spiritual cult may become an atheist. A member of a political cult might become anti-political or apolitical. A member of a psychology cult might join a group that is anti-psychological, such as Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist who led the movement against his own field. This may be a good choice because you are starting from scratch. This may also be a bad choice because you are starting from scratch with no infrastructure. There are no easy answers.

Lack of a social network

As I mentioned earlier, leaving a cult is devastating for a support system. Most cult members have burned bridges with their family and friends, church and clubs they were once a part of. However, relative to other cults, with the Sullivanians the situation may have been different. I can imagine that anybody who left the cult in the early 1980s when the community was still functioning well would have a rough time. However, once the community itself was disbanded, it was a different story. Why? Because the members of this cult had lived together for years unsupervised directly by the leadership. They played together, they made art together and they made love together, hard and often. These types of connections are easy to remember and hard to forget. Artie Honan says he is still Facebook friends with many former members. He also reports that in 2007, they had a reunion in Harlem. One hundred and fifty people came. Considering the Sullivanians peaked in membership in 1974 at 400, this turnout shows there is something of quality in this community that superseded Saul Newton and the rest of the cult leadership.

How the Sullivanians Compared to the Experience of Other Cults

I have a number of reasons for suspecting that the Sullivanians had it better than other cults. In the first place, they did not emerge out of an ecological, economic or political crisis. Neither did they come into the cult at an impressionable age of late teens or early twenties. My sense is that most members were in their mid to late 20s when they joined and were probably more grounded. That meant people were less desperate when they joined the group. Secondly, unlike most, if not all cults, the sexual economy was far more horizontal. Members slept with each other, not just with the leadership, as in other cults. Thirdly, women were as sexually free as the men. Though Saul Newton was definitely patriarchal, women still had many sexual relationships with their peers, just as the men did. Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, the social networks that were built had relative autonomy from the leadership, especially in the living situations. This allowed them to form subgroups with their own experiences, independently of the leadership. In most cults, subgroups are not allowed to form. It was these experiences in subgroups that made it possible not to lose complete touch with each other after the Sullivanians broke up as an institution. It made it possible to have a reunion 15 years later.

The Socialist Political Spectrum: Which Tendencies are Most Likely to Form Cults

So, what does the fate of the Sullivanians tell us (if anything) about which tendencies on the political spectrum are likely to form cults? Are Leninists, democratic socialists and anarchists all equally likely to form cults or are some more likely to form than others? Remember earlier I said that the key element in determining a cult is not the beliefs but rather how the cult was organized. In addition, charisma, by itself is not enough to institutionalize a cult.

A good example of a socialist organizer who was charismatic but never turned his group into a cult was Murray Bookchin. I met Murray 50 years ago on the lower East Side of Manhattan and I can testify that he had a great deal of charisma and a significant following among young hippie anarchists. This continued as he moved to Vermont to teach and founded the Institute for Social Ecology.  But the Institute for Social Ecology or any other organization he was involved in did not became a cult because the egalitarian principles of anarchism blocked this from happening.

It would be unfair to characterize the Sullivanians as a pure political group. It was not a real political group until the 1980s. Yet the leader of the organization, Saul Newton, was a Maoist and during the last years of the group, he did use Maoist tactics like self-confession of the members’ class backgrounds, along with criticism and self-criticism.  In my previous article, a major focus was on a group called the Democratic Workers Party which definitely was a cult with a Leninist focus. What about other Leninists groups?

In their hostile analysis of Leninist organization, On the Edge: Political Cults Right and Left, Dennis Tourish and Tim Wohlforth identify five other Leninist groups that were either cults or might have at least cultlike characterhoods. Harvey Jackins’ Reevaluation Counseling and Fred Newman’s New Alliance Party and social therapy, Gerry Healy; Ted Grant and Gino Perente also led organizations that had cult-like characteristics which were either Stalinist or Trotskyist in orientation. Each received a chapter’s attention in the book On the Edge.

Tourish and Wohlforth summarize their book:

Each and every Marxist Leninist grouping has exhibited the same cultic symptoms: Authoritarianism, conformity, ideological rigidity, fetishistic dwelling on apocalyptic fantasies. Not all Leninist groups are full-blown cults. However, we have yet to discover one that did not have some cultic features (213).

As Lenin spelled out in 1910 in What is to Be Done, socialist ideas were to be introduced to the working class from the outside by professional revolutionaries drawn largely from the middle class. They view themselves as a chosen people, the possessor of a gnosis beyond the grasp of ordinary folk. Therefore, a separate organization is in order, tight discipline is required and superhuman sacrifice is demanded from members. Democratic centralism is required so that all members publicly defend the agreed positions of the party, whenever opinions they might hold to the contrary in private. (214) The communist front organization is particularly suited to political cult-manipulation (216).

In contrast to this, the organization of the Democratic Socialists of America has loosely associated chapters and the whole organization is opposed to any kind of authoritarian organization. In fact, they organized themselves intentionally so they would have no resemblance to Leninism.

Qualification

I do not mean to imply that Leninism is not successful as a political tendency in the world. Russia, China and Cuba have all offered working class people significant improvements in their lives by way of steady employment, good wages, safe and reasonably priced housing, free healthcare and literacy over the last 100 years. With the exception of Sweden between the 1930s and the 1970s, social democracy has not had a good track record with the poor and working class. As for anarchism, it certainly had a great deal of success in revolutionary movements in Russia, Spain and recently in Rojava. The problem with the anarchists is that it is harder to tell what successes have carried over after the revolutionary period ended.

The issue in this article, however, is not how successful each of the three socialist tendencies are in the end. Which group is most likely to use cult-like methods to get there? It is clear to me that Leninism has the most cult-like potential according to the criteria in this article.

• First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

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The Covidian Cult (Part II)

Back in October of 2020, I wrote an essay called The Covidian Cult, in which I described the so-called “New Normal” as a global totalitarian ideological movement. Developments over the last six months have borne out the accuracy of that analogy.

A full year after the initial roll-out of the utterly horrifying and completely fictional photos of people dropping dead in the streets, the projected 3.4% death rate, and all the rest of the official propaganda, despite the absence of any actual scientific evidence of an apocalyptic plague (and the abundance of evidence to the contrary), millions of people continue to behave like members of an enormous death cult, walking around in public with medical-looking masks, robotically repeating vacuous platitudes, torturing children, the elderly, the disabled, demanding that everyone submit to being injected with dangerous experimental “vaccines,” and just generally acting delusional and psychotic.

How did we ever get to this point … to the point where, as I put it in The Covidian Cult, “instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it?”

To understand this, one needs to understand how cults control the minds of their members, because totalitarian ideological movements operate more or less the same way, just on a much larger, societal scale. There is a wealth of research and knowledge on this subject (I mentioned Robert J. Lifton in my earlier essay), but, to keep things simple, I’ll just use Margaret Singer’s “Six Conditions of Mind Control” from her 1995 book, Cults in Our Midst, as a lens to view the Covidian Cult through. (The italics are Singer. The commentary is mine.)

Six Conditions of Mind Control

1. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group.

Looking back, it is easy to see how people were conditioned, step by step, to accept the “New Normal” ideology. They were bombarded with terrifying propaganda, locked down, stripped of their civil rights, forced to wear medical-looking masks in public, to act out absurd “social-distancing” rituals, submit to constant “testing,” and all the rest of it. Anyone not complying with this behavioral-change program or challenging the veracity and rationality of the new ideology was demonized as a “conspiracy theorist,” a “Covid denier,” an “anti-vaxxer,” in essence, an enemy of the cult, like a “suppresive person” in the Church of Scientology.

2. Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time.

For over a year now, the “New Normal” authorities have controlled the social/physical environment, and how New Normals spend their time, with lockdowns, social-distancing rituals, closure of “non-essential” businesses, omnipresent propaganda, isolation of the elderly, travel restrictions, mandatory mask-rules, protest bans, and now the segregation of the “Unvaccinated.”  Basically, society has been transformed into something resembling an infectious disease ward, or an enormous hospital from which there is no escape. You’ve seen the photos of the happy New Normals dining out at restaurants, relaxing at the beach, jogging, attending school, and so on, going about their “normal” lives with their medical-looking masks and prophylactic face shields. What you’re looking at is the pathologization of society, the pathologization of everyday life, the physical (social) manifestation of a morbid obsession with disease and death.

3. Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person.

What kind of person could feel more powerless than an obedient New Normal sitting at home, obsessively logging the “Covid death” count, sharing photos of his medical-looking mask and post-“vaccination” bandage on Facebook, as he waits for permission from the authorities to go outdoors, visit his family, kiss his lover, or shake hands with a colleague? The fact that in the Covidian Cult the traditional charismatic cult leader has been replaced by a menagerie of medical experts and government officials does not change the utter dependency and abject powerlessness of its members, who have been reduced to a state approaching infancy. This abject powerlessness is not experienced as a negative; on the contrary, it is proudly celebrated. Thus the mantra-like repetition of the “New Normal” platitude “Trust the Science!” by people who, if you try to show them the science, melt down completely and start jabbering aggressive nonsense at you to shut you up.

4. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person’s former social identity.

The point here is the transformation of the formerly basically rational person into an entirely different cult-approved person, in our case, an obedient “New Normal” person. Singer gets into this in greater detail, but her discussion applies mostly to subcultural cults, not to large-scale totalitarian movements. For our purposes, we can fold this into Condition 5.

5. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group’s ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors. Good behavior, demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of the group’s beliefs, and compliance are rewarded, while questioning, expressing doubts or criticizing are met with disapproval, redress and possible rejection. If one expresses a question, they are made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to be questioning.

OK, I’m going to tell you a little story. It’s a story about a personal experience, which I’m pretty sure you’ve also experienced. It’s a story about a certain New Normal who has been harassing me for several months. I’ll call him Brian Parks, because, well, that’s his name, and I no longer feel any compunction about sharing it.

Brian is a former friend/colleague from the theater world who has gone full “New Normal” and is absolutely furious that I have not. So outraged is Brian that I have not joined the cult that he has been going around on the Internet referring to me as a “conspiracy theorist” and suggesting that I’ve had some kind of nervous breakdown and require immediate psychiatric treatment because I do not believe the official “New Normal” narrative. Now, this would not be a very big deal, except that Brian is impugning my character and attempting to damage my reputation on the Facebook pages of other theater colleagues, which Brian feels entitled to do, given that I am a “Covid denier,” a “conspiracy theorist,” and an “anti-vaxxer,” or whatever, and given the fact that he has the power of the state, the media, etc., on his side.

This is how it works in cults, and in larger totalitarian societies. It isn’t usually the Gestapo that comes for you. It’s usually your friends and colleagues. What Brian is doing is working that system of rewards and punishments to enforce his ideology, because he knows that most of my other colleagues in the theater world have also gone full “New Normal,” or at least are looking the other way and staying silent while it is being implemented.

This tactic, obviously, has backfired on Brian, primarily because I do not give a fuck what any New Normals think of me, whether they work in the theater world or anywhere else, but I am in a rather privileged position, because I have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish in the theater, and would rather stick my hand in a blender than submit my novels to corporate publishers for review by “sensitivity readers,” so there isn’t much to threaten me with. That, and I have no children to support, or administrations to answer to (unlike, for example, Mark Crispin Miller, who is currently being persecuted by the “New Normal” administration at NYU).

The point is, this kind of ideological conditioning is happening everywhere, every day, on the job, among friends, even among families. The pressure to conform is intense, because nothing is more threatening to devoted cultists, or members of totalitarian ideological movements, than those who challenge their fundamental beliefs, confront them with facts, or otherwise demonstrate that their “reality” isn’t reality at all, but, rather, a delusional, paranoid fiction.

The key difference between how this works in cults and totalitarian ideological movements is that, usually, a cult is a subcultural group, and thus non-cult-members have the power of the ideology of the dominant society to draw on when resisting the mind-control tactics of the cult, and attempting to deprogram its members … whereas, in our case, this balance of power is inverted. Totalitarian ideological movements have the power of governments, the media, the police, the culture industry, academia, and the compliant masses on their side.  And, thus, they do not need to persuade anyone. They have the power to dictate “reality.” Only cults operating in total isolation, like Jim Jones’ People’s Temple in Guyana, enjoy this level of control over their members.

This pressure to conform, this ideological conditioning, must be fiercely resisted, regardless of the consequences, both publicly and in our private lives, or the “New Normal” will certainly become our “reality.” Despite the fact that we “Covid deniers” are currently outnumbered by the Covidian cultists, we need to behave as if we are not, and hold to reality, facts, and real science, and treat the New Normals as exactly what they are, members of a new totalitarian movement, delusional cultists run amok. If we do not, we will get to Singer’s Condition 6 …

6. Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order. The group has a top-down, pyramid structure. The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing.

We’re not there yet, but that is where we’re headed … global pathologized totalitarianism. So, please, speak up. Call things what they are. Confront the Brians in your life. Despite the fact that they tell themselves that they’re trying to help you “come to your senses” or “see the truth,” or “trust the Science,” they are not. They are cultists, desperately trying to get you to conform to their paranoid beliefs, pressuring you, manipulating you, bullying you, threatening you. Do not engage them on their terms, or let them goad you into accepting their premises. (Once they’ve sucked you into their narrative, they’ve won.) Expose them, confront them with their tactics and their motives. You will probably not change their minds in the least, but your example might help other New Normals whose faith is slipping to begin to recognize what has been done to their minds and break with the cult.

The post The Covidian Cult (Part II) first appeared on Dissident Voice.