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Fred Newman is a philosopher, psychotherapist, playwright and political activist and the creator of therapeutic modality called Social Therapy. As a psychotherapy, this approach has been practiced since the mid-1970s in social therapy centers, mental health clinics and private therapy offices in a number of U.S. cities.[1]

Newman received his Ph.D. in analytic philosophy and foundations of mathematics from Stanford University in 1962. He and his primary collaborator, developmental psychologist Lois Holzman, have described the approach as a type of group therapy involving theatre, improvisation, and political activism which can help clients learn how to develop beyond their self- and societally-imposed limitations and live more creative and growthful lives.[2][3]

Newman and Lois Holzman co-founded the New York Institute for Social Therapy and Research (now The East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy) in 1979. Their social therapy approach is currently practiced at nine centers in the U.S., including New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C.[4]

In 1983, Newman was the co-founder of the experimental Castillo Theatre in New York City,[5] where he served as Artistic Director from 1989 to 2005.[6] Newman's 2004 independent film Nothing Really Happens (Memories of Aging Strippers) received the Grand Festival Special Recognition Award at the 2004 Berkeley Video and Film Festival and First Prize at the Director’s View Film Festival in Connecticut in the Feature category. Organizations founded by Newman, including the New York City-based All Stars Talent Show Network, have garnered a fair amount of public support for their work amoung inner city youth.[3]

Some long-time critics, including Chip Berlet, Dennis King, and several formers members of groups founded or led by Newman, have claimed that Newman's Social Therapy approach creates a cultic dependency that manipulates clients into working with a variety of political operations.[4]

Newman—who has had a number of his plays performed at American Psychological Association annual conventions.[7]—has described these claims about his therapeutic approach as hostile political critiques of his work.[8]

Newman was born in 1935 in the Bronx, New York, and grew up in a Jewish working class neighborhood there. He served in the Army, including a stint in Korea, and after a brief time working in machine shops on returning home, enrolled in The City College of New York on a G.I. Bill scholarship, studying philosophy. Following his graduate work at Stanford, Newman taught at several colleges and universities in the 1960s around the country, including The City College of New York, Knox College, Case Western Reserve University, and Antioch College.

Newman’s earliest philosophical writings were influenced by the logical positivist work of the mid-20th century philosopher of science Carl Gustav Hempel.[9][10] In his 1991 book The Myth of Psychology, Newman wrote that he became increasingly radicalized during this time and adopted a policy of giving all of his philosophy students an "A" grade regardless of their participation in his classes to avoid their chances of flunking out and possibly be drafted during the Vietnam War. He also worked briefly after his academic career as a counselor at the New York State Drug Rehabilitation Program.

Early years: Marxist psychology and politics[edit | edit source]

Newman considers himself a Marxist,[11] which he has used as a foundation to develop a therapeutic approach that addressed the alienating effects of the societal institutions have on human personality development. Others consider him an anti-semite and a cult leader, based on his writings and testimony from those who once were part of his inner circle.

In more recent years, he (along with his primary collaborator Holzman) have incorporated the work of a range of other influences, including early russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, the 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, and a variety of postmodern theorists.[12][13] In his earliest statement of his attempt to develop a Marxist approach to emotional problems, Newman wrote in 1974:

Proletarian or revolutionary psychotherapy is a journey which begins with the rejection of our inadequacy and ends in the acceptance of our smallness; it is the overthrow of the rulers of the mind.[14]

In his work on childhood learning development in the 1930s, Vygotsky described what he termed the zone of proximal development (ZPD) as the location in which learning and development take place, i.e., the range between a child's abilities without assistance, and the child's abilities with assistance. Newman and Holzman, a Vygotsky scholar and developmental psychologist, began to incorporate this idea into Social Therapy as a way of understanding the mechanism of emotional growth and development in a group context.[15] In 1993 Newman and Holzman co-authored Lev Vygotsky: Revolutionary Scientist.

Vygotsky himself was a harsh critic of the psychological and therapeutic approaches of his day, including psychoanalysis, which he described as limiting mental life "to primitive, primordial, essentially prehistorical, prehuman roots, leaving no room for history."[16] Vygotsky devoted the bulk of his efforts to experimental work in the underdeveloped far reaches of the Soviet Union, doing extensive experimental work in literacy and learning development among young children. His work was suppressed under Stalin, and wasn't widely disseminated until the early 1960s. His research and theoretical work on early childhood development and language formation has been embraced by mainstream psychologists and educators at Harvard and other leading universities independently of the work of Newman and Holzman, and a growing "Vygotskian" movement has taken foot internationally.[17] This trend has included the establishment of experimental schools employing Vygotsky's approach; Holzman has written that she, Newman and their supporters introduced this approach at the former Barbara Taylor School.[18] Holzman and Newman's publication of their work has had an influence especially on the way in which some postmodern psychologists view Vygotsky's theories and research. In the mid-2000s, Holzman and Newman began to also emphasize activity theory, an approach founded by Soviet era psychologists Aleksey Leontyev and Sergei Rubinshtein which was based on Vygotsky's work but took it in very original directions. In a series of books, Newman and Holzman have challenged and analyzed what they describe as the "hoax/myth of psychology" whose various component myths are "destructive pieces of pseudoscience," and offer the anti-epistomological approach of social therapy and the use of performance as an alternative to traditional modalities that are heavily reliant on interpretive, classificatory, and explanatory (knowing) foundations.[19]

Political and social roots[edit | edit source]

Newman founded the collective Centers for Change (CFC) in the late 1960s after the student strikes at Columbia University.[20] CFC was dedicated to 60s-style radical community organizing and the practice of an evolving form of psychotherapy which Newman would refer to circa 1974 as "proletarian" therapy, subsequently adopting the name Social Therapy. CFC set up clinics and briefly ran a small alternative high school.[21] Centers for Change briefly merged with Lyndon LaRouche's National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC) in 1974. Within a few months, the brief alliance fell apart, which Newman attributed to LaRouche's increasingly "paranoid" and "authoritarian" direction[22] and the NCLC's "capacity to produce psychosis and to opportunistically manipulate it in the name of socialist politics."[23] In August 1974, the Newman/CFC group went on to found the International Workers Party]] (IWP) as an explicitly Marxist-Leninist revolutionary party. Newman’s IWP briefly attempted to maintain fraternal ties to LaRouche’s NCLC, but soon broke all ties as mutual hostilities reached a breaking point.

In the wake of another factional fight in 1976, the IWP disbanded as a public party. In 2005, Newman told The New York Times that the IWP had transformed into a "core collective" that continues to function, made up of what he described as a "grouping of people who I have organized who have been with me for a very, very long time, and organized around the philosophical perspective that I put forth on this issue of enfranchisement and alienation."[24] Critics contend that the IWP continued to secretly function as a communist cadre organization.[25] [26] Throughout the latter part of the '70s, Newman and his core of organizers founded or took over a series of small grassroots organizations, including Union W.A.G.E., the New York City Unemployed and Welfare Council, School for Progress, the Lake County Coalition for Survival in Illinois, and a local branch of the national People's Party known as the New York Working People's Party.[27] [28]

Newman and his political colleagues continued organizing the New York City Unemployed and Welfare Council, and soon after the Labor Community Alliance for Change.[29] By the early 1980s, Newman and the organizations he had founded had begun to have a local impact in New York City via the New York Institute for Social Therapy and the newly founded New Alliance Party.

Playwriting and theatre[edit | edit source]

Newman was a founder and long-time Artistic Director and Playwright-in-Residence of the Castillo Theatre, which is currently a project of the All Stars Project, Inc. The theatre--named for the Guatemalan poet Otto René Castillo, has served as the primary venue for the production of the 30 plays Newman has written since the 1980s, four of which were written for and performed at annual conventions of the American Psychological Association beginning in 1996.[30] Newman has decribed the Castillo Theatre as a "sister" organization to the the Social Therapy clinics and Institutes that also employs Vygotsky's methodological approach.[31] writing in 2000 in New Therapist, Newman and Holzman discussed the Vygotskian thread that linked these sister organizations:

The entire enterprise - human life and its study - is a search for method. Performance social therapeutics, the name we use to describe our Marxian-based, dialectical practice, originated in our group therapy but is also the basis for a continuously emergent development community.

We coined the term tool-and-result methodology for Vygotsky's (and our) practice of method in order to distinguish it from the instrumental tool for result methodology that characterizes the natural and social sciences (Newman and Holzman, 1993). Our community building and the projects that comprise it - the East Side Institute for Short Term Psychotherapy, the East Side Center for Social Therapy and affiliated centers in other cities, the Castillo Theatre, the All Stars Talent Show Network, the Development School for Youth, etc. - are practices of this methodology."[32]

Electoral politics[edit | edit source]

In 1979 Newman became one of the founders of the New Alliance Party (NAP). The party, whose first chairperson was then New York City Councilman Gilberto Gerena-Valentin, advocated positions less radical than those of the IWP, which continued to operate as a secret Marxist-Leninist cadre organization. The Party's first candidate that year was a Democratic Party machine politician, Joe Galiber, who ran on the line as an independent candidate for Bronx borough president, following a defeat in the Democratic primary, ultimately finishing second ahead of the Republicans. Within a few months of its founding, NAP was proclaiming itself in the pages of the affiliated New York (later, National) Alliance newspaper as the Bronx' second party. It would continue to grow as a force in Bronx politics in coming years. The NAP also brought Newman's ideas to a much broader audience and ran election campaigns all over the country. By the mid-1980s, African American psychologist and activist Lenora Fulani had become the NAP's chief public spokesperson, while Newman served primarily as the party's tactician, campaign manager, and sometimes candidate.

In 1985, Newman ran for Mayor of New York. In 1986 he ran for United States Senator from New York and in 1990 for New York State Attorney General.[5]

National politics[edit | edit source]

NAP entered the national political scene in 1984, running African American trade union activist Dennis Serrette for President, with Ross as his running mate, achieving ballot status in 33 states. By 1987, as Fulani and her campaign manager newman were preparing for her historic independent Presidential run (becoming the first African American and first woman to achieve ballot status in all 50 states), the controversies emerged again in full swing, with a number of establishment left wing, lesbian and gay, African American and feminist organization leaders turning to the decade-old "cult" charges to attack Fulani, then a newcomer to the progressive scene, and her self-described Black-led, pro-gay entry into national politics.[6]. In an issue that featured a series of essays denouncing NAP, the leftist magazine Radical America wrote "We have become convinced that [various political organizations associated with Newman and the Institute for Social Therapy]... are not just other legitimate groups with whom we must coexist" adding that the New Alliance Party is not "a legitimate political organization", that it fails the journal's "basic test" for one, that NAP threatens to "discredit the left" and urges its readers to do what is necessary to dissuade "anyone" who might be attracted to them, noting "we can't be liberal about this one, comrades." [33].

Independence Party of New York[edit | edit source]

The New Alliance Party was dissolved in 1994, and many of its members and supporters, including Newman and Fulani, immersed themselves in the national, and more centrist, independent political movement that had arisen in the wake of Ross Perot's 1992 Presidential bid and the subsequent founding of the the Reform Party. Newman, Fulani and a number of former NAP activists eventually became leaders in the Independence Party of New York (IPNY), a local offshoot of the Perot movement, and were frequently at the center of factional quarrels that have characterized the party from the time of its founding, and which continue. In September 2005, the New York State Executive Committee of the Independence Party -- under the leadership of IPNY State Chairman Frank MacKay, a one-time Newman and Fulani ally, cited the earlier charges as the basis for a vote to remove several Newman associates, including Fulani, from the party's Excecutive Committee. Notably, the majority of the Newman-affiliated Executive Committee members who were targeted were themselves either African American or Jewish.

In the following months, MacKay initiated proceedings to have close to 200 Independence Party members in New York City whom he identified as being sympathetic to Fulani disenrolled from the party. This attempt was dismissed in each effort MacKay brought before the New York State Supreme Court. Despite the claims of MacKay that charges of anti-Semitism underlied his attempts at mass disenrollment of party members he claimed were affiliated with Newman, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman in dismissing the case wrote that the charges were "more political than philosophical."[7] Albany Times-Union reporter Elizabeth Benjamin noted that the failed attempt by MacKay likely had the "at least tacit support" of Senator Clinton and New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, who had both accepted nomination to the IPNY ballot line. [8]

The "cult" claim[edit | edit source]

Dennis King first charged Newman with being the leader of a political therapy cult in 1977.[34] The Public Eye magazine also carried an article in late 1977 making this claim, although at the time, believing Newman to still be a follower of Lyndon LaRouche[35] At the time, Newman reponded that "it is of the greatest importance that the entire community of social scientists insist that there be open and critical discussion and dialogue towards the advancement and development of the human sciences; that as scientists and as professionals we do not quiver and shake under the socio-pathological and essentially anti-communist rampages of a Dennis King or others like him."[36] The cult charge was repeated a few years later in the Village Voice.[37]

When Berlet became the new editor of The Public Eye magazine in 1984, he first announced that the magazine no longer held to that characterization, based on false claims by the Newmanites that the IWP had been disbanded:

As you will learn from a forthcoming article on Fred Newman and the IWP, the Public Eye no longer feels it is accurate to call Newman's political network a cult. We do feel that at one point in its development it was fair to characterize the group as a cult, and we still have strong criticisms of the group's organizing style and the relationship between Newman's Therapy Institute and his political organizing. (Editor's Note, Public Eye, 1984; Vol. 4, Nos. 3-4)

The "forthcoming article" retracting the "cult" charge never appeared. Three years later, criticism from a variety of progressive activists and journalists, some of who claimed that the name "Rainbow Lobby" was designed to confuse activists into thinking there was a relationship with the Rainbow Coalition led by Jesse Jackson, began to appear in the alternative press.[38][39][40][41][42] In 1987 Berlet's Clouds Blur the Rainbow: The Other Side of the New Alliance Party.appeared. Berlet then joined with others on the political left to write a series of articles for the magazine Radical America. The special issue of the magazine was written in the midst of Lenora Fulani's campaign, and contained charges of manipulation, political deceit, and cultic practices. Berlet, however, noted that Fulani “deserves tremendous credit for apparently gaining ballot status in a majority of states.” The editors of Radical America, however, concluded that there were "dangerous...implications" in failing to confront Newman and his groups: "Painful and unpleasant as it is, the time has come to expose the NAP before it discredits the Left--especially among blacks, gays and those exploring progressive politics for the first time."[43]

A former New Alliance Party campaign worker, Loren Redwood, currently a teaching assistant at Washington State University, gave a much more critical account of her experiences with the New Alliance Party in a 1989 letter to the editor to Coming Up!, a lesbian and gay newspaper published in San Francisco. In the letter, which was reprinted in "Clouds Blur the Rainbow", Redwood describes having fallen in love with a NAP campaign worker and her difficulties encountered after joining her lover on the road campaigning for NAP's 1988 Presidential candidate Lenora Fulani:

NAP claims to be a multi-racial, black led, woman led, pro gay, political party, an organization which recognizes and fights against racism, sexism, classism and homophobia-but NAP is a lie. NAP is always using the slogan: "the personal is political" and emphasizing the importance of enacting one's politics into daily life. But this vision and the way their politics are enacted within the organization and life of those working for them is very much in conflict. As a working class lesbian, I thought I had finally found a political movement which included me. What I found instead was an oppressive, disempowering, misogynistic machine. All my decisions were made for me by someone else. I was told where to go, and who to go with.
I worked seven days a week -- 16 to 20 hours a day (I had two days off in 2.5 months). There was an incredible urgency which overrode any personal needs or considerations, an urgency that meant complete self-sacrifice. I realize now how sexist that is. As a woman, I have always been taught that self-sacrifice is good and that I must be willing to give up everything for the greater good for all. Traditionally, this has come in the form of a husband and children; NAP is simply a substitute. I felt totally powerless over my life, forced into a very submissive role where all control of my life belonged to someone else.
I felt more oppressed by NAP than I have ever felt in the outside world.[44]

Redwood's story was included in a section of Berlet's study entitled "Institutes for Social Therapy and Totalitarian Cultism."

In 1989 Newman told The New York Times that Berlet and his other critics were "being sectarian and refusing to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments" of Fulani and the NAP leadership.[45] Interviewed in the Times in 1991, Newman described the criticisms as “absurd” and the product of jealousies on the left, and claimed that the majority of social therapy clients don't involve themselves in his political activities.[46] In the Boston Globe in 1992, Fulani claimed "the entire thing is a lie," and cited what she described as Political Research Associates ties to the Democratic Party. [47]

Additional evidence surfaced in the early 1990s that indicated Newman's new lover had once been a "patient" of his. Claims by Rick Ross and others suggest that Newman coerced his young and emotionally vulnerable lover to renounce her husband and join his inner circle. Reports by former members of NAP indicate that she had been sleep-deprived for days, like Redwood, while Newman worked on her "conversion."

FBI surveillance and the "cult" claim[edit | edit source]

The reasserting of the “cult” charge took a more ominous turn for Newman and his political associates during Fulani's 1988 presidential campaign. FBI documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act showed that in the midst of her groundbreaking national run, the Bureau, had classified her party as a ”political cult” which “should be considered armed and dangerous.” As described by investigative reporter Kelvyn Anderson in the Washington City Paper in 1992, “The 101-page FBI file, freed by an FOIA request, also contains media coverage of Fulani’s 1988 campaign, memos between FBI field offices on the subject of NAP, a letter from an Army Counterintelligence official about NAP, and a copy of Clouds Blur the Rainbow, a report issued in late 1987 by Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates (PRA). PRA, which studies fringe political groups and intelligence agency abuses, is a prominent critic of the NAP, and its research is frequently used to discredit NAP as a psycho-political cult with totalitarian overtones.” [48]

Newman, Fulani and the New Alliance Party challenged the FBI in a 1993 lawsuit asserting the FBI "political cult" labeling had violated their constitutional rights, and was using private third-party organizations to evade federal guidelines prohibiting investigations of political organizations in the absence of evidence of criminal activity. In their suit, Newman et al. argued that

"Political intelligence reports like [the ADL’s 1990 report] The New Alliance Party and [PRA's] Clouds Blur the Rainbow, could not constitutionally be funded by the FBI directly. Organizations like the ADL and PRA engage in political intelligence gathering and political attacks on plaintiffs which the defendants are barred from carrying out directly by the Guidelines. The FBI then distributes the results of those “private” studies to its agents, and gives credibility to the “private” findings by incorporating the reports into files that are then obtained through FOIA by journalists and others[49]

The ADL had been investigating left wing political groups since at least the early 1970s, a number of whom were characterized as "anti-Semitic" based on their opposition to U.S. Middle East policy and support of Palestinian rights[50] Leonard Zakim, the former New England Regional Director of the ADL acknowledged in 1993 Berlet and the PRA shared information with the ADL on right-wing antisemitic hate groups that "has been very useful."[51]

In her ruling on the case, Federal judge Constance Baker Motley ruled that the "political cult" charge "could not be directly traced to the 1988 FBI investigation," and that "any stigmatization which NAP suffers could be traced to a myriad of statements and publications made by private individuals and organizations, many of which preceded the FBI investigation.[52]

Berlet, while upholding the charge of cultism, was critical of the FBI, noting that FBI characterizations were “not a protection of civil liberties but a smear of a group.” Anderson claimed that the FBI investigation “sends a chilling political message: Groups outside of the political norm operate at their own risk and should expect state-sanctioned surveillance and intrusion into their affairs.”[53] A year later, the ADL became embroiled in a massive scandal when reports surfaced that the organization had conducted extensive surveillance of civil rights, progressive, and Central American solidarity organizations, and was sharing information with law enforcement officials and foreign governments.[54] Berlet and King then joined to write an op-ed in the New York Times critical of ADL's surveillance practices.

Controvery continues[edit | edit source]

Some of the cult criticisms have been disputed by some of Newman's peers in the therapeutic milieu.[55] According to British psychologist Ian Parker, "Even those [Newman and Holzman] who have been marked by the FBI as a 'cult' may still be a source of useful radical theory and practice. Like a weed, a cult is something that is growing in the wrong place. We would want to ask 'wrong' for who, and whether it might sometimes be right for us. We have no desire to line up with the psychological establishment to rule out of the debate those who offer something valuable to anti-racist, feminist or working-class practice."[56]

The cult charges continued to appear in newspaper accounts of Newman's political acivities (see below).

Response by Newman and his supporters[edit | edit source]

Newman (along with Holzman) responded to this ongoing controversy in a 2003 with interview John Söderlund, editor of New Therapist, in a special issue devoted to mind control.[57] In her introduction to the responses, Holzman claimed that the editor's questions "have that “When did you stop beating your wife?” quality," and were unfalsifiable:

These kinds of attacks are ludicrous in the way that the charge of being a witch was in centuries past. A cult is a made-up thing for which (like the made-up witch) there is no falsifiability. An entire mythology can thus be created, complete with attributes and activities that cannot be proven or disproven. Indeed, that’s the virtue of such made-up things. They paint a picture that holds you captive.

Söderlund asked about the recent focus of the American Psychological Association on the “potential dangers of mind control.” Newman replied that he didn’t quite know what was meant by the term, noting

The closest association I have to it is what happens between parents and their young children. When children are very young, parents create a very controlled environment where there’s a great level of dependency on the parents. Gradually, as children come to experience other kinds of institutions (day care, school, etc.) their lived environment becomes less controlled and their dependency lessens.

Newman explained that didn’t think this sort of “totally controlled environment” can be imposed on an adult relationship, “outside of the extraordinary circumstances of say, the Manchurian candidate. I don’t see how mind control has any applicability to therapy—therapy of any kind—as it’s a relationship where the clients have control.... They pay, they can not show up, etc.” Newman acknowledged that he believed there were authoritarian and coercive therapists who were likely doing bad therapy, but did not consider this to be mind control.

Söderlund asked Newman to respond to an anonymous former social therapist’s statement that the practice has “the criteria of groups which are considered cults: an authoritarian, charismatic leader, black-and-white thinking, repression of individuality, constant drive for fundraising, control of information, lack of tolerance for opposition within the group, etc.” Newman claimed he didn’t know what a cult was, or even if there was such a thing, and that the use of use of the cult charge is “hostile, mean-spirited, and destructive.” He denied being “authoritarian,” acknowledged the perception that he was “charismatic,” and considered the claim of “black-and-white thinking” to be “antithetical to everything we do,” citing social therapy’s interactions “with practitioners and theorists across a very wide spectrum of traditions and worldviews.” Newman also countered the charge by insisting “We don’t repress individuality; we critique it. There is a difference!”

Newman commented as well on charges that he “held in contempt” ethical guidelines of professional associations such as the APA: “We don’t look to the APA, CPA or any other institution for ethical standards, he replied. “We’re critical (not contemptuous) of them for being hypocritical and think that depending on them for an ethical standard is ethically unsound.”[58]

Recent controversies and official evaluations[edit | edit source]

The cult charges appeared again in the 2004 Presidential election, and have extended beyond Newman and Fulani to include other independent political challengers, most recently, 2004 independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.[59][60] The Nation magazine, a leading liberal weekly which had supported Nader in 2000, asked, citing Berlet’s report, “what in the world is Ralph Nader doing in bed with the ultrasectarian cult-racket formerly known as the New Alliance Party?” In its introduction to an article later that year by political writer Christopher Hitchens, the magazine Vanity Fair noted, “Democrats are furious that Ralph Nader, whose last presidential bid helped put George W. Bush in office, is running again. Equally dismaying, the author finds, is Nader's backing from a crackpot group with ties to Pat Buchanan, Lyndon LaRouche, and Louis Farrakhan.” Echoing Berlet (who had attacked Nader in 2000 for working with figures like conservative industrialist Roger Millikan), Hitchens charged that “the Newman-Fulani group is a fascistic zombie cult outfit.” Nader also came under fire from the ADL that year for his own Middle East views [61]

These political critiques of Newman's organizations contrast sharply with recent official evaluations of the Newman-founded All Stars Project.

In 2003, the Institute for Minority Education of Columbia University's Teachers College undertook an evaluation of All Stars programs. The 124-page report was based on extensive on-site observation of two of the the All Stars programs, which were described as "as an exemplary effort in a field that is bursting with creative activity."[62] The report made a single brief reference to controversies regarding All Stars staff and volunteers being "involved in various political movements, most centrally Independent [sic] Party politics," noting that "while sometimes used as a point of attack by unfriendly media, the political networking has given the All Stars Project access to some halls of power that would have otherwise been closed." [p.9]

The Columbia researchers noted the political character of the All Stars program: "Although political activism is not an explicit part of the All Stars and the DSY curriculum, it is an outcome of the programs. Young people who are empowered to get what they want are also likely to fight for what they think is right." [p.14] The report further added "The participants and staff of the ASTSN/DSY [All Stars Talent Show Network/Development School for Youth] have developed policy approaches to working with youth that are practical, efficient, and successful. That they have also worked to develop some influence in the halls of power is a tremendous asset to the development of the programs—as well as to the political process, which needs all the direction it can get in developing and implementing policy." The report also extensively discussed the employment of social therapy and other approaches in the programs, noting "The guiding theories, which include social therapy, activity theory, identity play, and performance theory, are palpably present in the strategies and goals of the project. The All Stars Project benefits greatly from the compass provided by the strong theoretical and philosophical grounding, both explicit in the vocabulary and implicit in the personalities, of the organization’s founders and directors. Its rich and fertile environment provides the stage on which new organizational ideas can be tested." [p. 104]

In 2006, the New York City Industrial Development Agency performed a review of the All Stars pursuant to an All Stars application for a bond. Several Democratic Party officials expressed strong opposition. Critics of the IDA bond, including New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, charged that the All Stars were connected to "leaders who have taken positions that are misogynistic and Anti-Semitic," and questioned whether Newman and Fulani still ran All Stars, despite their having stepped down from official positions.[9] Despite the harsh public criticisms, the IDA board voted 6 to 4 in favor of approving the bond, with all those in favor being mayoral appointees or representatives of ex officio members who were mayoral appointees, and those opposed all representatives of local Democratic Party officials.[10]. After the vote, IDA chairman Joshua J. Sirefman told reporters that, based on the IDA's review of the All Stars Project, "we have determined that the organization is in good standing, we found no evidence of misconduct of any kind by the organization, and we established that the project would benefit New York City," adding, "We are aware that allegations of wrongdoing by individuals associated with the organization existed a number of years ago.”[11][12]

In subsequent news coverage, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the Agency's vote to approve the bonds, noting "“I don't think I heard one argument made that there was something wrong with the All Stars Project and that's what we look at.” [13]

Endnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. Holzman , L. (2004) Psychological Investigations: An Introduction to Social Therapy A talk given at the University of California, Berkeley, as part of the UC system-wide Education for Sustainable Living Program.
  2. Eastside Institute for Group and Short Term Therapy, official site. Accessed 16 October 2006.
  3. Social Therapy Group website Retrieved Oct 2006
  4. Social Therapy Group website Retrieved Oct 2006
  5. Brenner, Eva. (1992) Theatre of the Unorganized: The Radical Independence of the Castillo Cultural Center. The Drama Review. 36, 3:28–60.
  6. Cook, Sean. Walking the Talk. Castillo Theatre of 2002. (2003). The Drama Review. 47, 3:78-98.
  7. Soderlund, John. Just Perform It: A Review of Performing Psychology Edited by Lois Holzman. New Therapist 5 (January/February 2000), online online
  8. "Culture shock." New Therapist 24 (March/April 2003)
  9. Newman, Fred. Explanation Sketches. (1965) Philosophy of Science, Vol. 32, No. 2 : 168-172
  10. Newman, F. (1968). Explanation by description: An essay on historical methodology. The Hague: Mouton.
  11. Why I'm Still a Marxist, A Seminar with Fred Newman
  12. Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (1997). The end of knowing: A new developmental way of learning. London: Routledge.
  13. Holzman L. Activating Postmodernism. Theory & Psychology, Vol. 16, No. 1, 109-123 (2006)
  14. Fred Newman, Preface to Power and Authority: the Inside View of the Class Struggle (1974).
  15. Holzman, L. and Newman, F. (1979). The practice of method: An introduction to the foundations of social therapy. New York: New York Institute for Social Therapy and Research.
  16. Vygotsky, Lev, The Historical Meaning of the Crisis in Psychology: A Methodological Investigation; original publication 1927; online version translated by Rene Van Der Veer, Plenum Press, 1987. Accessed online 17 October 2006.
  17. Program and schedule, International Conference:L.S.Vygotsky and the Contemporary Human Sciences, Moscow, September, 5-8, 1994. Accessed online 16 October 2006
  18. Holzman, L. What Kind of Theory is Activity Theory?: Introduction. Theory & Psychology. 2006;16:5-11
  19. Nissen M, Axel E, Bechmann Jensen T. The Abstract Zone of Proximal Conditioning. Theory & Psychology, Vol. 9, No. 3, 417-426 (1999).
  20. CFC—A Collection of Liberation Centers. CFC Press. (1972)
  21. Newman, Fred. Power and Authority: The Inside View of Class Struggle. Centers For Change (1974)
  22. Fred Newman, assisted by Hazel Daren, A Manifesto on Method: A study of the transformation from the capitalist mind to the fascist mind, International Workers Party (1974). Accessed online on, 17 October 2006.
  23. Fred Newman, An Open Letter to the NCLC (1974). Accessed online on, 17 October 2006.
  24. Slackman, Michael. In New York, Fringe Politics in Mainstream. The New York Times, May 28, 2005.
  25. Tourish, Dennis and Wohlforth, Tim. On the Edge: Political Cults Right and Left:Lenin as Therapist. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000.
  26. Chip Berlet, 1987, Clouds Blur the Rainbow: The Other Side of the New Alliance Party, Cambridge, MA: Political Research Associates, online.
  27. Harvey Kahn, "NCLC: America's Largest Political Intelligence Army," The Public Eye, Vol 1., No. 1, Fall 1977, pp. 6-37; see section on "NCLC and Its Extended Political 'Community'"
  28. Chip Berlet, 1987, Clouds Blur the Rainbow: The Other Side of the New Alliance Party, Cambridge, MA: Political Research Associates, online.
  29. New Alliance Party. Games the New Alliance Party Won't Play (1982).
  30. Theatre for the Whole City: the All Stars Project Performs New York City, eNewsletter of All Stars Project, Inc. Accessed 28 October 2006
  31. Newman, Fred. (1992). Surely Castillo is left but is it right or wrong? Nobody knows. The Drama Review. Vol. 36, No. 3:24-27
  32. Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (2000). The relevance of Marx to therapeutics in the 21st century. New Therapist, 3, 24-27.
  33. Radical America, 1987; Vol. 21, No. 5
  34. King, Dennis. West Side "Therapy Cult" Conceals Its True Aims. Heights and Valley News, November 1977
  35. Harvey Kahn, "NCLC: America's Largest Political Intelligence Army," The Public Eye, Vol 1., No. 1, Fall 1977, pp. 6-37.
  36. Newman, Fred. Matter Over Mind. Vol. 1, No. 1, December, 1977.
  37. Conason, Joe. Psycho-Politics: What Kind of Party Is This, Anyway? Village Voice. June 1, 1982).
  38. Chip Berlet, 1987, Clouds Blur the Rainbow: The Other Side of the New Alliance Party, Cambridge, MA: Political Research Associates, online.
  39. "Rainbows and Psuedos: The Tortured Trail of the New Alliance Party," SPecial section, Radical America, v. 21, n. 5, September-October 1987 (mailed November 1988).
  40. Kris Kleindienst, "Behind the Scenes at the New Alliance Party," The Lesbian and Gay News-Telegraph, August 1988
  41. Leigh Peake, "A Queer Alliance?," Gay Community News, October 9-15, 1988.
  42. Tim Kingston, "The Seedy Side of the Rainbow: Lenora Fulani, Fred Newman and the New Alliance Party, Alternative Politics or Cultist Carpetbaggers," Coming Up!, November 1988.
  43. "Introduction, Radical America, p. 3
  44. Chip Berlet, 1987, Clouds Blur the Rainbow: The Other Side of the New Alliance Party, Cambridge, MA: Political Research Associates, online.
  45. Party, Described as Cult, Seeks Role in Primary. The New York Times. September 9, 1989
  46. Street-Wise Impresario; Sharpton Calls the Tunes, and Players Take Their Cues. The New York Times. December 19, 1991.
  47. The Boston Globe. February 13, 1992.
  48. Anderson, Kelvyn. Capitolism: The FBI’s Spying Campaign against Candidate Lenora Fulani’s New Alliance Party. Washington City Paper, March 6, 1992
  49. New Alliance Party vs. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 93 CIV 3490 (1993)
  50. Forster, Arnold & Epstein, Benjamin. The New Anti-Semitism. McGraw-Hill (1974).
  51. Miller, Dale. Blown cover. Forward, January 22, 1993
  52. New Alliance Party vs. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 93 CIV 3490 (1993)
  53. Anderson, Kelvyn. Capitolism: The FBI’s Spying Campaign against Candidate Lenora Fulani’s New Alliance Party. Washington City Paper, March 6, 1992.
  54. Friedman, Robert I. The Enemy Within. The Village Voice, May 11, 1993.
  55. Nissen M et al Theory & Psychology, Vol. 9, No. 3, 417-426 (1999)
  56. Parker, I. (1999) "Critical Psychology: Critical Links", Annual Review of Critical Psychology , 1, pp. 3-18.[1]
  57. "Culture shock." New Therapist 24 (March/April 2003)
  58. "Culture shock." New Therapist 24 (March/April 2003)
  59. Hitchens, Christopher. Unsafe On Any Ballot Vanity Fair, May 2004.
  60. Ireland, Doug. Nader and the Newmanites The Nation. January 26, 2004.
  61. By Faler, Brian. Nader vs. the ADL. Washington Post, August 12, 2004.
  62. Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. (2003). Changing the Script for Youth Development: An Evaluation of the All Stars Talent Show Network and the Joseph A. Forgione Development School for Youth. Available at [[2]] Accessed October 2006.

Publications[edit | edit source]

  • Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (in press). All Power to the Developing. To appear in the Annual Review of Critical Psychology.
  • Holzman, L. and Newman, F. (2004). Power, authority and pointless activity (The developmental discourse of social therapy.) In T. Strong and D. Paré (Eds.), Furthering talk: Advances in the discursive therapies . Kluwer Academic/Plenum, pp. 73-86.
  • Newman, F. (2003). Undecidable emotions (What is social therapy? And how is it revolutionary?). Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 16: 215-232.
  • Power, authority and pointless activity (The developmental discourse of social therapy).*Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (2001). La relevancia de Marx en la Terapeutica del siglo XXI. Revista Venezolana de Psicologia Clinica Comunitaria, No. 2, 47-55.
  • Newman, F. (2001). Therapists of the world, unite. New Therapist. No. 16.
  • Newman, F. (2001). Rehaciendo el pasado: Unas cuantas historias exitosas en materia de Terapia Social y sus moralejas. Revista Venezolana de Psicologia Clinica Comunitaria, No. 2, 57-70.
  • Newman, F. (2000) Does a story need a theory? (understanding the methodology of narrative therapy). In D. Fee (Ed.) Pathology and the postmodern: mental illness as discourse and experience. London: Sage.
  • Newman F. and Holzman, L. (2000). Against Against-ism. Theory & Psychology, 10(2), 265-270.
  • Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (2000). Engaging the alienation. New Therapist, 10(4).
  • Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (2000). The relevance of Marx to therapeutics in the 21st century. New Therapist, 5, 24-27.
  • Newman, F. (1999). One dogma of dialectical materialism. Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 1. 83-99.
  • Newman, F. and L. Holzman. (1999). Beyond narrative to performed conversation (in the beginning comes much later). Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 12, 1, 23-40.
  • Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (1997). The end of knowing: A new developmental way of learning. London: Routledge.
  • Newman, F. (1996). Performance of a lifetime: A practical-philosophical guide to the joyous life. New York: Castillo.
  • Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (1996). Unscientific psychology: A cultural-performatory approach to understanding human life. Westport, CT: Praeger.
  • Newman, F. (1994). Let's develop! A guide to continuous personal growth. New York: Castillo International.
  • Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (1993). Lev Vygotsky: Revolutionary scientist. London: Routledge.
  • Newman, F. (1992). Surely Castillo is left but is it right or wrong? Nobody knows. The Drama Review. Fall (T135), pp. 24- 27.
  • Newman, F. (1991). The myth of psychology. New York: Castillo International.
  • Holzman, L. and Newman, F. (1979). The practice of method: An introduction to the foundations of social therapy. New York: New York Institute for Social Therapy and Research.
  • Newman, F. (1977). Practical-critical activities. New York: Institute for Social Therapy.
  • Newman, F. (1974). Power and authority: The inside view of the class struggle. New York: Centers for Change.
  • Newman, F. (1968). Explanation by description: An essay on historical methodology. The Hague: Mouton.

External links[edit | edit source]

Newman-related websites[edit | edit source]


Lois Holzman's website[edit | edit source]

Newman's critics[edit | edit source]


  • Studies on Newman from Political Research Associates; PRA claims to "expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights". Contains only anti-Newman reports.
  •, Former Newman associate Marina J. Ortiz's website. Selective compilation of negative news articles and materials about Newman and associates.
  •, Self-published reports on history of Newman movement by journalist Dennis King, who claims New York City children are "being indoctrinated and exploited by Newman and Fulani with the help of taxpayer support and the mayor's personal fortune."
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