Social Therapy Speaks

Excerpts from the writings and interviews of Fred Newman, Leonora Fulani and other proponents of "Social Therapy"

"The therapist, again, functions in the therapeutic interaction as a revolutionary leader, leading by forming a revolutionary relationship of sisterhood or brotherhood with the worker patient and together becoming a proletarian authority which overthwrows the bourgeois authority or bourg. ego: leading by intensive listening and by working to help the struggling slave go through the insurrectional act of overthrow of the bourg. ego by the prolet. ego and the helping the prolet. worker during the long period of withering away of the prolet. ego...The therapist helps the patient to break out rather than regress. For from the perspective of prolet. or rev. therapy all psychic problems are correctly diagnosed as impotency."
--Excerpted from the book "Power and Authority" by Fred Newman 1974 pages 111-113

"The proletarian or revolutionary therapist is a leader. Proletarian therapy is not leaderless. To say the leader is non-authoritarian is not the same as saying it is leaderless. The identification of leader with authoritarian is a bourgeois identification. The revolutionary leader leads the suffering and struggling worker from the bourgeois ego to the proletarian ego, through an authoritarian act of violent overthrow. For as Engles pointed out, 'A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is...' But it is proletarian authority--the dictatorship of the proletarian rather than bourgeois authority. Revolutionary therapy involves an act of insurrection; of overthrow. The therapist is not a substitute conscience; the therapist is another worker who has been through the insurrection and is still working and struggling during the long period of withering away of the proletarian ego."
--Excerpted from the book "Power and Authority" by Fred Newman 1974 pages 112-113

"Lawfully, people seek therapy to get help with their own problems.Yet the joint activity of social therapy is building the group, using members' problems as building materials, not getting help with one's problems! For the social therapy group is tool-and-result; the activity of building the group is what is curative (F. Newman, 1983;1989) People come to therapy seeking hardware store tools to use; they are offered the chance to be toolmakers, to take the predetermming elements of their life space and create something entirely new of it, to define collectively for themselves what and how their (in the Marxian sense) emotions can be."
--Newman and Holzman, Lev Vygotsky: revolutionary scientist, Routledge, 1993, pages 193-194.

"...These early stages of proletarian therapy have to do with helping the slave reach the point of insurrection, which is a manifestation of worker power--in most cases the first expression of power ever expressed by the worker. Feelings are typically a big issue in the early stages. We are all products of social practice and bourgeois therapy is part of bourgeois social practice, and bourgeois therapy as currently practiced is very much concerned with bourgeois feelings. And, with good reason, they are feeling very badly...They have difficulty accepting that their love and sadness, and so on, are bourgeoisie love and bourgeoisie sadness. Indeed, pointing this out in the early stages of proletarian therapy produces bourgeois anger! It is important for the therapist to accept these bourgeois emotions."
--Excerpted from the book "Power and Authority" by Fred Newman 1974 page 117

"The two workers, revolutionary therapist and slave/patient, struggle together to make a revolution through their practice. The work is not to simply understand in a causal or logical sense but to engage in the practice of making revolution."
--Excerpted from the book "Power and Authority" by Fred Newman 1974 pages 119

"Following the act of insurrection, which might well take a substantial period of time, the process of therapy moves to the elongated stage of the withering away of the proletarian ego. It is important to see this stage as a long process, which will end at the same time as the political state fully withers away. Hence, once the slave has overthrown the bourgeois ego she or he will work as revolutionary; simultaneously moving towards the withering away of the proletarian ego and the proletarian state..."
--Excerpted from the book "Power and Authority" by Fred Newman 1974 pages 120

"The focus must be on the masses: the brainwashing of the masses and the capacity of the masses to make proletarian truth and freedom where there is now bourgeois truth and slavery...We cannot deny the brainwashing of revolutionaries. Yet our focus must be to organize the masses by exposing the brainwashing of the masses."
--Excerpted from the book "Power and Authority" by Fred Newman 1974

"I'm not pro-cult and I'm not part of a cult, but I don't want to get into a heavy attack on cults. Cults make sense in this world...What we are, ironically, is the absolute opposite of a cult. I think they wish we were a cult! If we were a cult we would simply find a place and hide out. But here we are, not pulling back from our world and our people. We are insisting that we got out into the world, that we engage in social change, whether it's therapeutic, political, cultural--whatever social form it takes...What the hell do people on 85th Street mean when they say, 'You can't come over here because you're invading the privacy of my enclave?' What are you talking about? This is my world. This belongs to my people, and my community...We're not looking for a cult because cults don't make basic changes in the world. What makes that is people who get together to create new possibilities and build, saying, 'This belongs to us.'...Hey world, here we are!' Check out the New Alliance Party. Check out social therapy. Here we are. We're standing outside, here on Irving Place."
--The Myth of Psychology by Fred Newman, 1991, Castillo International, NY, pages 210-211

"I am a leftist and I've been a leftist all my life."
-- from Philadelphia Weekly interview 2002

"I am an American Marxist/Leninist revolutionary living at a time when orthodox communism throughout the world has died. And if that weren't enough I am a controversial revolutionary...I don't like the institution of the family in any of its forms. Oh well, as my mother used to say, "if you can't stand the goddamn heat, get the hell out of the kitchen."
--Excerpted from "Women I Live With" by Fred Newman 1990

"I along many others, women and men, are collectively outraging the hypocritical progressive movement; defying the powers that be right and left. Sticking our collective tongues out; first to show our disdain for those who have sold out and then to kiss our comrades and the masses who still desperately need the love that is genuine communism; 'mooning' the revisionist revolutionaries first to fart in their petty faces and then to wink playfully to our comrades and the masses who still need the sensuality and sexuality that is genuine communism."
--Excerpted from "Women I Live With" by Fred Newman 1990 page 9

"The Jew, the dirty Jew, once the ultimate victim of capitalism's soul, fascism, would become a victimizer on behalf of capitalism; a self-righteous dehumanizer and murderer of people of color; a racist bigot who in the language of Zionism changed the meaning of 'Never Again' from 'Never Again for anyone' to 'Never Again for us--and let the devil take everyone else'...there was no room for Zion, no less community, no less Communism, in Zionism."
--A quotation of Fred Newman contained within the Anti Defamation League Report "A cult by any other name: The New Alliance Party Dismantled and Reincarnated" 1995 page 10

  • Question: "One thing frequently noted about Fred Newman, whom you've described as your mentor, is that he sees nothing wrong in sleeping with patients. Is that correct?"

"What he's challenging there is the traditional assumption of how therapy works, that there has to be some distance in order for it to be helpful. And we disagree with that, not just from the vantage point of whether or not you can sleep with somebody you're doing therapy with, but also just in how close and open you can be."
--Leonora Fulani responding in an interview, NY TIMES, July 9, 2000

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