#1
NATLFED

I worked with NATLFED for 2 days. Online, many claim they are a cult. Being myself, I assumed these claims were reactionaries observing that this was an active marxist-leninist org. Were the claims accurate?

My experiences led me to conclude that they are indeed a cult and are not in any way communist, despite their history (on e.g. wikpedia) of being a communist org. They denied association with the Provisional CPUSA. I'll detail the reasons below. I'm writing this on Jul 15, so I might be forgetting some details.

I worked with the Eastern Service Workers Association (ESWA) in downton Boston twice, once to deliver food for a full day in saturday and on the following Monday for another full day in early June, 2020. I learned about their existence when Candace, an ESWA member, approached me at a BLM protest. She claimed that ESWA is an organization by and for the working class, in order to help lower income communities in Boston, etc etc. I had nothing to do then, so I have them my name and phone number. Then form had a number of names already on it, and it also asked for my address (and possible other info I don't recall) but I did not provide it. I later spoke to Summer on the phone and scheduled myself to come in at 9AM (I believe) on Sat, Jun 13 2020.

That day, the ESWA was packaging and distributing food. A number of volunteers along with myself, Summer and Candace met at the ESWA office, where I was given a form to full out before I could do volunteer work. This form included name, phone #, and address which I absentmindedly gave away and regret doing so. The form also asked if I have any acquaintances who would be interested in working with ESWA and asked for their contact info. When all volunteers arrived, we moved to some middle- or high-school nearby, with some of the food in the kitchen. There I met the other volunteers: two high schoolers, two men my age (20s), and one older man. They were all white and the two organizers were the only women (I believe Summer and Candace were the only long-time organizers of ESWA I met on either day but I am not sure).

We moved some food from the cars into the building and before any other work took place, Candace gave us a 20 minute speech about the organization of ESWA. Assuming it was a leftist organization, and due to the length of the speech and acoustics of the room I did not pay attention much. However, I was surprised that Candace did not describe the organization in terms common in either anarchist or marxist vocabulary. She mentioned that they had changed locations 10 times in the last couple of years.

We then set to work assessing our inventory. We counted 90 lemons in this box 70 oranges, .... It was not the most skillfully organized and I ended up counting at least one box of oranges that someone already assessed. When this was done our task was to sort the food into ~20 or so bags that we would deliver to ESWA members. This took an hour and a half or so and each member was given a good amount of food (something I could survive on for a week if necessary). We then had to deliver the food. I was not aware of any of these steps before we completed the previous one.

Myself and another volunteer with no history at ESWA delivered 4 sets of 4 bags of groceries to 3 members, then returned to the school. We were given a decent lunch, then me and another volunteer with no history at ESWA went out and delivered 3 more sets of groceries to 3 members. All recipients were very grateful. We had a good conversation. Brennan(?), the second passenger I was with said we should exchange numbers, but we never did :(

After I arrived back at the high school, my first passenger/navigator was told by Summer that "Candace wants to speak to you" about further work with ESWA. They had a private conversation in the gym for a while. After I delivered the second set of groceries, I headed back to the ESWA office. We all did some smalltalk and eventually Candace asked to speak to me also.

This conversation could be characterized as an interrogation. Despite not indicating that I wanted to return to ESWA, I was being given what felt like an interview, with questions involving my perspective on society and social change. Candace asked leading questions about class and poverty, and since I was still mostly optimistic about this organization I answered most of these questions without hesitation. Without knowing whether this was a syndicalist, communist, or anarchist organization I tried to keep my answers within a relatively agreeable description of class analysis. With each answer, Candace wrote down some notes on a sheet of paper. After asking me questions like "and how do you define class?" "and how do you define imperialism?" she said that she agreed with "a lot of what I said" and described the ESWA philosophy. To do this, she drew a triangle on paper, with the point on top, labeled the bottom half as the working class, and the top as the ruling class (I'm not sure if my memory of these labels were accurate). She said that the goal of the ESWA was to make it look like THIS, and turned the triangle upside down to put the larger working class above the ruling class. In the moment, I thought she was agreeing with me, since I had just explained the concept of dictatorship of the proletariat, but I was confused about the presentation -- why not just say they want to seize the means of production and establish a worker's state, or something analogous that we've heard before?

Then she started asking if I planned to come back. I learned that they answer the telephone 24 / 7. As far as I can tell, it was just Candace and Summer who live here to make the telephone always available. I would later lean that they both live in the second floor of the same building. They also try to make themselves available all the time, so she suggested that I might come one day and stay over 24 hours. When she asked this, I hadn't given any indication of how much I wanted to put into ESWA work, and I don't remember saying I wanted to do anything more than volunteer that one day.

I agreed to come in from 8AM to 5PM the next Monday, Jun 15. They told me this was one of their more regular days, with no events planned. I arrived and packaged up some bread that was donated from a local bakery. I delivered some old pots to a member (who cooked for ESWA often) and picked up some food she had made. During the day I had conversations with Summer who would frequently take notes presumably about what I was saying. Summer looked to be in her 50s and had been doing similar work for a while. Candace, who looked to be in her early 20s, told me she had recently graduated with a spanish degree.

I ate a good lunch with Candace and Summer. Around noon, ESWA organizer Justin joined us. He had been with ESWA before but clearly not as long as Candace or Summer. From then to when I left, we were working with some individuals to file unemployment checks. Justin helped someone file for unemployment and I was working with someone and his sone to do the same. It took us hours because they had poor english skills, we were kept on hold with the unemployment agency, etc etc. In the meantime, me and Justin were given a list of members to call. We were given a script with which to inform them of various goings-on.

During the day, Candace told me that they did not intend to be part of a vanguard party (which seemed to be contrary to what she had told me of their philosophy before) and they were not a communist or anarchist organization. Summer told me that they thought education about labor history was important, and she emphasized that in American history, often workers would ignore racial differences to accomplish their goals. Candace indicated that she looked up to the IWW a couple times, and Summer described anarchism as reactionary (after I mentioned marxism). I am not sure how much of these conversations were simply Summer trying to agree with what she guessed my position was, or how well-educated either of them were about contemporary issues on the left. The conversations with Candace always felt like you were being interrogated and judged.

When I was getting ready to leave at 5PM, Summer asked to speak to me in the office. The conversation was pretty pushy, with her telling me many times "I owed it to myself" to return to ESWA. I insisted that I "just couldn't make a specific time commmitment" and eventually left. As I left Candace also asked when I was coming back and I practically couldn't wait to get to the door.

During that day, I learned that members have to pay a monthly fee. I never learned what the fee is, so this might all be a massive scam. Since I left, they have called me at least 3 times leaving a voicemail asking me to come back. (edit for the rhizzone post: they called me again a few days ago; I have never responded).

Edited by Acdtrux ()

#2

Acdtrux posted:

To do this, she drew a triangle on paper, with the point on top, labeled the bottom half as the working class, and the top as the ruling class (I'm not sure if my memory of these labels were accurate). She said that the goal of the ESWA was to make it look like THIS, and turned the triangle upside down to put the larger working class above the ruling class.


one weird trick

#3

shriekingviolet posted:

one weird trick





*spits out coffee*

#4
what is the provisional CPUSA then, if it's not a secret org using these guys as a front?
#5
National Fed
#6

shriekingviolet posted:

one weird trick




#7

kinch posted:

shriekingviolet posted:

one weird trick


'dictatorship of the proletariat' is the tripwire on the 'march of history' which will make the triangle into 'communism' via upside down

Edited by ribaraca ()

#8

kinch posted:

shriekingviolet posted:

one weird trick


badiou really knocked it out of the park with that diagram

#9

Acdtrux posted:

To do this, she drew a triangle on paper, with the point on top, labeled the bottom half as the working class, and the top as the ruling class (I'm not sure if my memory of these labels were accurate). She said that the goal of the ESWA was to make it look like THIS, and turned the triangle upside down to put the larger working class above the ruling class.


#10

lo posted:

what is the provisional CPUSA then, if it's not a secret org using these guys as a front?



90% sure it doesn't exist

#11

88888 posted:

90% sure it doesn't exist


yeah an organization that exists entirely in the hallucinated institutional memory of baseless intelligence agency conjecture and has trickled into public consciousness as an accepted fact is a hilariously real possibility. it wouldn't be the first time.

#12
You have to go through all the other orgs first and learn their ways, leveling up while vanquishing various crypto-fascist enemies like the Platypus Affiliated Society before unlocking the final stage, the Ray O' Light group, where you master the three-line struggle and only then can you discover the secrets of the provisional CPUSA. Also the different bosses have different traps they'll lay for you that have some connection to their ideology.
#13
if the pCPUSA didnt exist we would have to make them up