On combating Bossism, Landlordism, and Ku Klux Kommunism
**CW: sexual violence, emotional abuse, racism, gas-lighting, grooming****
Check out the receipts (various emails, texts, etc.): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1u7kd24nxds3hdx/AACm7htS-vgE-SfQpl640Sh1a?dl=0
- Bosses and landlords are dangerous parasites to the working class; the former garnish our stolen labor and the latter take what is left to profit at our suffering. As Marxists, we reject the idea of private property. As anti-imperialists, we reject the idea that colonizers can own stolen property on colonized land. We do not respect these fascist notions and seek to wipe them from existence.
- We write this to expose the class violence perpetuated and enabled by Workers World Party leadership, to share our experiences, and to warn organizers and activists of the reactionary behaviors that must be extinguished before any party can become a revolutionary vanguard of the working-class. We will speak on the sexual abuse and rape apologia in Baltimore within the Party, manipulative practices and double standards from bosses and landlords within Party leadership, the racism, tokenism and disposal endemic to treatment of nationally oppressed cadre, and the constant gas-lighting that results in a revolving door of LGBTQ+ gender-and-nationally-oppressed youth.
- The non-profit industrial complex and the influences of its abusive million-dollar tendril Southern Vision Alliance has gone largely unspoken of within and outside the Party. Bossism, landlordism and the weaponization of tokenized members as scabs foster a liberal current amongst the rank-and-file general membership, replicating existing oppressive power structures even in a self-described revolutionary party that claims to fight against the fascist social relations of boss-employee and landlord-tenant. This rogue faction has taken recent leadership instabilities as an opportunity to further hollow out the Party leadership from within, consolidating its control over various decision making bodies and material resources while treating the most oppressed cadre like fungible commodities and enabling the same non-accountability practices that reactionary misogynist forces used to normalize the presence of inappropriate behavior, sexual abuse and other forms of gender violence within the Baltimore branch.
- The highest body of leadership of any revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party should be its general membership, but the internal structure of the Party tactically prevents its rank-and-file general membership from being able to engage in good faith discourse with itself. Members of the Secretariat directly censor certain comrades in good standing from using Party email listservs to communicate with the general membership even regarding principled political line struggles and dire circumstances in which the life and safety of young oppressed cadre are in serious jeopardy. From the Secretariat, to the Executive Committee, to the Committee on Party Relations and Conduct, to the Interim Coordinating Committee, the effective Workers World Party decision-making leadership is composed largely of elderly whites, a small percentage of elderly nationally oppressed members, and an even smaller percentage of nationally oppressed youth members, the lion’s share of whom are directly employed by Southern Vision Alliance, and none of whom are dealing with housing instability or lack of revenue for basic survival so long as they remain employed by Southern Vision Alliance.
- These relations are entangled in numerous closed-door financial ties that determine who receives payment for services rendered to the Party and who has the last word on the Party’s coffers. As a rule, prominent Black cadre whose bold actions bring renown and waves of cadre and donations to the Party are inconsistently compensated for their political and aesthetic labor, and often treated abusively by the same nonprofit board and Party members who are able to take spur-of-the-moment “self care” vacations to Scandinavia because of the material resources generated by the work and presence of these prominent Black cadre.
- Information and power are withheld in bad faith from the general membership, leaving the rank-and-file in the dark as various harms are perpetuated against cadre from the most oppressed (and advanced) sectors of the working class. Over the course of months, survivors of the gender violence crisis in Baltimore exhausted every internal channel “offered” by the Party, and the Party leadership still decided to spend several thousand dollars to send the serial rapist and abuser in question on an overseas solidarity mission. Furthermore, the general membership only became aware of these events after these survivors correctly ignored the Party’s Kafkaesque social media protocol and spoke candidly to the masses. Instead of immediately apologizing and validating the survivors’ neglected grievances, leadership summarily violated its own rules, taking to Twitter to accuse these thirteen gender-oppressed survivors of doing police work. Only after months of principled struggle lead by young multi-oppressed cadre were the most direct enablers and apologists of the violence removed from the Party and even then only after they had seized Party property, and by then many of these multi-oppressed youth had ended up leaving the Party themselves as their uncompensated labor to politically advance the Party would be met by extreme hostility from longtime members that leadership was also unwilling to discipline for liberal reasons like personal friendships and shared movement history.
- Certain nationally oppressed cadre struggling under capitalism are temporarily encouraged to accept job opportunities from and take up residence in the houses of older white members who possess such resources “independently.” These offers of employment and housing are immediately rescinded should the oppressed cadre raise any issue with the power dynamics at play, or simply at the whim of their property-owning, rent-collecting, employment-terminating “Comrade.” In the past several years and within the Durham branch alone, two cadre have been evicted and three fired (or fired-with-extra-steps) by members holding national leadership positions. Three others have faced severe workplace abuses from a member in New York. Instead of all these bosses and landlords being summarily liquidated from the organization as per the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism, they are allowed to weaponize members in their direct employ to argue semantics and traffic in racist rumors designed to justify the absurdity of a “Communist” utilizing the tools of capitalism to fire or evict anyone, let alone other cadre in their Communist party. Much the same way as in Baltimore, these grievances were intentionally obscured from the general membership prior to an internal conference and continue to be obscured pending the release of this document. Harmed comrades have already been called “wreckers,” “agents,” “crazy,” “browbeaters,” “bitch,” “asshole,” and told to leave the Party by members at the highest levels of Party leadership.
- One of the harmed multi-oppressed cadre was informally suspended within six hours of posting a meme on their private page critical of non-profit practices within the Party, even as leadership took months to suspend members who argued relentlessly on the Party’s internal communications that adult men pursuing relationships with teenage girls constituted a form of “self-determination.” Another had their resignation letter intentionally frozen on the internal Party listserv queue for an entire business day while they received numerous unsolicited messages from leadership entities against whom they had grievances. Three cadre tendering their resignations in solidarity were told that the Party intended to spend several thousand dollars to fly out these same leadership entities to share “sensitive information” as these multi-oppressed cadre who had been isolated to the point that they were kept off of listservs months into full membership were now considered “very important Comrades.” Another multi-oppressed cadre submitting a proposal to gain redress through the Party’s internal structures was illicitly denied from even joining a conference call for the Interim Coordinating Committee (the body with the closest access to the general membership), after the Committee had previously voted that all members in good standing be allowed as observers to ICC communication channels, and this cadre was later asked for a “face-to-face meeting” privately by the same leadership entity who had told them to leave the Party just days before. In a botched attempt to get them to recant, white members then also privately contacted the six other multi-oppressed youth signatories, insisting that the cadre who had been harmed are a “faction” attempting to “tear apart the Party.” One of these self-deputized white Party saviors is employed by Southern Vision Alliance.
- These are the hallmarks of a cult, not a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist vanguard formation.
- Make no mistake, ultimate responsibility for the corruption of the Party must be placed on the leadership of the Party and their manipulated proxies of color, not the rank-and-file general membership. With great sadness we declare that the Party we joined, the Party whose history and work in the movement inspired us to take up our duties as revolutionaries, the Party for which we have put our minds, bodies, reputations and lives on the line, has become irredeemably consumed by the liberalism it claims to struggle against. As advertised, the focus of the Party is the defense of the most oppressed, advanced sectors of the working class, but internally, the Party’s mission might as well be the recruitment and empowerment of colonizers, bosses, landlords, scabs and other traitors to the working class.
We hereby submit our resignations, terminate our candidacies or stand in solidarity having submitted our resignations previously for the above reasons.
Baltimore and sexism
On July 3rd, a series of tweets were put out by various members and candidates of Workers World Party to share their experiences of harm done against them. A leading comrade of the Baltimore branch, Andrew Mayton, had abused, groomed, and raped several people in Baltimore using his position of power within the movement and within Workers World Party to do so. The survivors had decided to collectively share their experiences and proposals for accountability which only asked for Andrew to be removed from major organizing and candidacy recruitment for a year in which leadership refused and concluded that these survivors were “anti-communist wreckers”. It was not until July 3rd, after months of meeting with leadership, that the general membership, through murmurs and screenshots, discovered what had happened in Baltimore. The details can be found on twitter, however we will explain the events to follow from within the party. After backlash from the movement and online communities, the party declared what had happened as “the Baltimore crisis”. Leadership became divided, half apologizing profusely for their actions and then believing the survivors (for which we do not believe and see as a facade for damage control) while the others such as Sharon Black, John Parker, and various other California and Baltimore leaderships firmly held onto rape apologia. Sharon Black, Andre P., and Andrew Mayton were immediately suspended and the latter expelled but in name only. The first two organized as the People’s Power Assembly, which the party claimed to have no control over as it was a mass organization, while a faction emerged that sought to protect them tooth and nail. The party then became divided between three groups: those calling fighting to re-educate the party on misogyny and sexual violence while holding those complicit responsible, those who put friendships and the career of an abuser before victims, and those who just “were unsure of either side”. Because the abuser in question was a man of color, the rape apologist faction, as we will call them, referred to his expulsion from the party as a violation of the national question. Additionally, the questioned the blackness of Black LGBTQ+ comrades who were fighting against this reactionary current, they pit oppressed nationalities and gendered comrades against one-another, and even called the state on survivors. Many times during caucus calls, we would hear members of this faction say “where’s the evidence a rape even happened?” while non-Black members of this faction abused and ridiculed Black women in the party for their position on the rape apologia. One person in the faction, California based, had alluded to her experience in Hollywood suggesting many women lie about rape to get better roles and that these survivors simply wanted leadership positions.
It took the party six months to purge these members, desperately pleading for these people to retract their positions, while letting survivors and youth of color who left fall into the cracks. Survivors were attacked online and in the Baltimore Solidarity Center by this faction leadership fervently tried to hold onto, even despite a member of the San Diego branch defended pedophilia. During this time, the Chicago, Rockland, and Detroit branches left the party (the latter due to valid critiques but reactionary positions including rape apologia) and formed the Communist Workers League. The Workers World Party D.C. liquidated themselves, especially due to the Party’s leadership sending Andrew Mayton to work with the DC branch after hearing the survivor’s experience. While the investigation in Baltimore took place, a New York City comrade, who will also be discussed later as a bossrade, was also accused of rape in which the party refused to respond to. During this time, 2 full members and 3 candidates of Workers World Party became homeless.
Racism and tokenism
It has often been the case, and is a shared experience for many of us, that when an oppressed candidate (particularly gender/nationality/race) comes to the party, they are thrown into roles that can improve the party’s reputation as a multi-gender, multi-national, and multi-generational party. Of course we do not mean developing the most oppressed and supporting them is incorrect, however what happens is the contrary; the most oppressed are not developed but rather paraded as a toy, they are often left out of the discussions determining what their role in the organization will be. This has been the case when an indigenous Honduran comrade was thrust into speaking and translating for a Honduran Solidarity Event however felt extremely uncomfortable as they were 1) not the face of anything and everything Honduran and 2) were not comfortable relating and translating such an important message to be shared. They had relayed to party leadership about their feelings and day of the solidarity event, they were still pressured to speak. Nothing had been communicated to organizers who still expected the Honduran comrade to speak. They all had to scramble to change the program and let the MC know about the changes despite there having been a conversation with leadership nearly a week prior.
In the Baltimore branch, there was a young black woman who was involved in 2017 who spoke to other comrades about her feeling very tokenized in the party. She was very frustrated that they wanted her to be the voice on Black issues. Other comrades witnessed leadership from the Baltimore branch cornering her and pressuring her into writing content for the newspaper despite her repeatedly saying she did not want to. This was a violation of boundaries and consent, none of which seemed to register with leadership who viewed it as pushing her towards leadership.
On “mutual aid”
We understand what a cadre organization in the empire of capital has the capacity to do and what it cannot. The Workers World weekly newspaper, of course, is a vital aspect of what the party can do to spread the message of Marxism-Leninism to relate with the masses. In fact ⅓ of the WWP newspaper subscribers are people who are incarcerated.
On September 12th, one of our comrades in New York was violently and illegally evicted from her home by her landlord. There were comrades in New York that supported her and helped her find temporary housing and supplies she must need as she was evicted with nothing but the clothes on her back. Though she had been working and going to school, her income was not enough to get a new home with and she and her husband spent two months homeless. Luckily her husband had a friend with a spare bedroom but only for sometime before they slept in an office. During this time, she began working two jobs, had a third lined up, and a roommate to split costs of housing with. Her issue was that she wouldn’t have been able to sleep in the office any longer and found herself days removed from sleeping on the trains.
This comrade had been approved for an apartment to share however needed help with the additional costs such as the mandatory brokers fee the landlord applied and security. Additionally, as she had just started her newer jobs, she wouldn’t have had all the money for the costs which totaled $3,000 until another month. Because of the time urgency, she started a gofundme and hoped that while she was working 73 hours a week, those in the movement who could and those who cared would donate or share her gofundme to help cover the costs. After some time, she decided to put an email to the party-wide internal listserv under the subject “Please share this!!!!”(a copy of the email can be found in the dropbox) asking for comrades to share her gofundme on their social media, thanking those who already donated, and thanked those who would. The party leadership refused to put the gofundme through the internal listserv. She attempted to send the email through the party’s internal listservs to reach the general membership and was denied that opportunity a total of three times. (See dropbox files labeled 1,2, and 3)
Another comrade sent a piece to the internal listserv advocating for comrades to share, if not donate (see file labled 4); leadership refused to put the email through stating “it would set a bad precedent” and that this comrade had a “browbeating tone”. This email and the responses will also be available in the drop box. Eventually, thankfully to comrades of the general membership hearing word of this, they advocated for the homeless comrade at a Party meeting and raised most of the money within 24 hours. When a comrade told the story of this comrade’s experienced with homelessness, working and being a student, and still dedicated to the revolutionary struggle, other members of the same branch murmured “I had no idea this was happening” which again shows the severity of the culture of secrecy inside the party.
Additionally, party leadership has sent mass emails to futher antagonize those who ask for help, even through sharing a link on social media, by stigmatizing them as “browbeaters” and sending many emails on the dangers of mutual aid culture in the party.
Comrade G in Durham woke up at 8am on Sept. 4th, 2018 to use the bathroom and found a Durham sheriff in their hallway telling them they had until 5pm to pack up his belongings and vacate the premises. After already paying rent, Comrade G found out that their landlord had been hiding the fact that she had been going to court for a year after being notified of an eviction. She hid this foreclosure from her tenants while still collecting rent and when they were all evicted she left town with the remaining rent balance and security deposits and has not responded to repeated requests for reimbursement. At the invitation of married Comrades Megan and Sam, Comrade G ended up staying in the basement of their three-floor townhouse — a space previously used as their yoga room.
After months of anxiety due to homelessness and job insecurity, Comrade G was offered an opportunity from their previous employer which would have taken him out of the country for several months. Comrade G told Comrades Megan and Sam that they would be leaving by January 17th, 2019. The weekend before the Puerto Rico tribunal, Comrade Megan had asked G to vacate the home for the weekend as she was hosting a yoga party over the weekend. Despite the oddity of this yoga event that could only be conducted without the presence of a person of color, Comrade G agreed as they would be in New York anyway for the Puerto Rico tribunal, staying at Comrade Dante house for a day before he would leave to New York and the night after returning. The tribunal was on October 27th and Comrade G returned to the house on Tuesday October 30th.
The whole time Comrade G had been dealing with severe wrist pain but did not have any insurance to see a doctor. Eventually, they decided to pay out of pocket to go to a community clinic and scheduled an appointment for early morning Friday, November 9th. Around 6pm on November 8th, Comrade G decided to go to bed early as their injury was giving them too much pain, when they received a text from Comrade J-Cat saying that they were on their way to pick up Comrade G as Comrade Megan’s child was sick and wanted G to vacate the basement for “one night.” Comrade G’s presence in their bed two floors down had apparently caused so much anxiety to this white person that Comrade Megan had contacted the Local Coordinating Committee and assembled from them a squadron of five Comrades (three non-white) to evict Comrade G. Comrade Megan first reached out to the youngest and most oppressed Comrades of the group to enlist their help evicting G from the basement. Comrades J-Cat, L-Truck, A-stars, Phil, and Logan (then a candidate) showed up to remove this person of color from the basement of a white family while the landlord surrogate and master tenant Comrade Megan enjoyed a wine, cheese, and Cracker night with her friends.
Within two hours of Comrade J-cat’s first text, Comrade G was permanently evicted from the basement in which they was residing, spending the following ten days on couches and futons until they were able to secure a stable housing situation. Furthermore, one week after Comrade G’s eviction, the Durham branch held an open meeting on Marxism and Feminism for which Comrade G had undertaken fundraising responsibilities, but upon their arrival with Comrade T, Comrade Phil accosted the two, demanding that Comrade G leave the meeting because Comrade Megan (ironically presenting on bourgeois feminism) was feeling uncomfortable at the presence of the person of color that she had just evicted. Comrade G refused as they had a right to be at a public Party meeting he helped organize, gave his pitch for the Party and at the end there was $100+ present in the donation bucket.
Following the meeting, Comrade T asked to speak to Comrade J-Cat regarding their role in G’s eviction. Comrade J-Cat agreed to speak to Comrade T but then gestured to G stating “but I won’t talk to this.” The conversation escalated to Comrade J-Cat screaming that they were “happy” to assist in removing Comrade G from Comrade Megan’s home, stating that Comrade G was “not easy to live with” despite the two having never lived together. This suggests that Comrade Megan had been complaining about Comrade G behind their back and planning to evict them. She simply needed a pretext for doing so, and it was always going to be indefinite — not for “one night.” Comrade J-Cat also yelled at Comrade T during the exchange, which was witnessed by random passerby and meeting attendees as it took place on a busy street in Chapel Hill. Comrade Phil was present but had not made any remarks of his own since attempting to throw out a Comrade in good standing from this public meeting without having consulted the branch or the Party.
While Comrades Megan and Sam do not own the home they live in, they are landlords in the sense that they own a home in Maryland that they rent to African migrants, which Comrade Sam openly bragged about, stating that this was justified because these tenants of theirs called them their “friends” and not their landlords. Comrade Sam’s job as an outside industrial sales representative with [Bougie] Industrial Group provides the family with a comfortable lifestyle. Sam would brag that he could make $15,000 by closing just one deal. In fact, his income alone is able to provide paid child care for three children while also Comrade Megan attends the [Redacted but fancy school]
Since the incident has transpired, numerous Comrades have engaged in racist rumor-milling and the Party has responded with either silence or hostility. In Utah, a white woman leader of the Party insisted that there was more than meets the eye regarding G’s eviction. In fact, she told the youth of that branch, all youth of color, that she’d heard G was exposing the children to drugs and that that was part of the reason for them being evicted. These lies are part and parcel of the casual racism tossed about in the Workers World Party. Not only is it a lie that comrade G, who works with kids for a living, was exposing the children to drugs, but the landlord herself has smoked marijuana at the home and has kept marijuana in the home. An elder member of the secretariat also engaged numerous comrades with saying that G would yell at the kids, use drugs, he was disruptive, an asshole and more racism.
Here is a piece written by Comrade K to explain to leadership how Megan and Sam functioned as landlords and how an eviction took place:
“In the bourgeois legal system, a landlord-tenant relationship is established when a property owner lends their property to be in use for commercial or residential purposes by a (typically) property-less person and is often legitimized through money transactions or in the presence of a lease. In New York City, a city plagued with extreme gentrification, rent hikes, predatory landlords, and a housing crisis, residential tenants are defined as anyone dwelling in a property and is proved through a lease, rent receipts, and neither of those exist, have lived in the property for 30 days or more. To remove the tenant, the landlord or prime-tenant must issue a 30 day notice prior to the start of the new rental period (ex:1 st of the month) and must allow the full 30 days to expire before initiating a case in housing court which could take close to a year or more, if the landlord even serves the notice properly! Only marshall can evict a tenant giving them at least six days with ample time to get the court to stay the eviction. “Self-Help” or illegal lockouts are when the landlord changes the locks on the tenant which results in the tenant being restored to the property and if the tenant had been financially harmed, liable for up to 3x the damages. Even after being evicted, tenants can still go to housing court and request a judge restore them to property should certain requirements be met. In our Marxist definition, landlordism is described as the parasitic relationship in which one profits off the back of the property-less person. The capitalist state, in the battle of the landlord-tenant, favors the property owners and the landlord has that power to render the property-less person homeless. G was invited the live in the basement of the 3-floor-townhouse Megan and Sam live in where an end date was not immediately discussed until G was offered a position with their employers that required them to leave the country for some time. G, Meghan, and Sam then all agreed on G’s move-out date of January 17th. Shortly after, he was forcefully evicted, at Meghan’s request, from where they were living, by comrades no less, 2 months prior to their termnation date. There was no stable housing situation set up or forseeable. Initially, the excuse was that meghan’s child was sick and she was so anxious, she need the person of color in her basement to leave. Then, it was that they was “disruptive” and “hard to live with”, in which several comrades who never lived with and hardly knew G recited verbatim. Finally, it was said that they used drugs in the home, which was a blatant and racist lie, especially considering this comrade’s employment is working with children. However this did not stop Workers World Party leadership to justify an eviction based on the use of drugs, despite the landlord herself also using and keeping drugs at home. The proposal to resolve these issues were extremely mild, it only required complicit folks and perpetrators to step down from one of the many positions they are afforded to reflect on their actions and grow while attempting to minimize continued harm to oppressed comrades as much as possible.
Comrade K and several other victims of the bossism and landlordism had written a proposal to rectify the issues without forcing anyone to leave the party. Leadership had called this document “anticommunist” and “dangerous”. Comrade K had sent this proposal to a representative of the ICC for the NYC branch who tried to stop the proposal from being shared. Eventually, through backdoor meetings, the leadership of the party had decided the proposal was asking for too much, in fact they explicitly told Comrade K at the most there would be an apology, and to quickly denounce the authors and signers to the rest of the membership as an anti-communist faction. Additionally, they met with each of the signers to try to talk them out of this position, even going so far as buying plane tickets from New York City to Salt Lake City to talk three nationally oppressed youth there about their stance on bossism and landlordism. Comrade K had requested to be on the ICC call to observe the discussion as the party had voted all members in good standing are allowed to do in August. COmrade K was given the run-around to speak to other comrades for information, despite this info just being a text/email away, and got a response when the meeting came to a close. Additionally, she requested to see the notes of the meeting and was also denied. We find this to be a violation of democratic centralism. (see dropbox files labeled Proposal and 20
Bossism in NYC Branch
A young queer comrade of color in the New York City branch began working for an anti-gentrification group whose leadership is a member of Workers World Party and the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network in early April 2018, shortly before they graduated college. This comrade worked for this organization until September 1st, 2018. The leader of this organization offered a job to the comrade part time making 17 an hour. Upon graduating, the comrade would begin working 30 hours a week, and no more than that as according to leadership, there was no more money in the budget for more hours. The comrade in question accepted these terms and began to work for this anti-gentrification group.
Almost overnight, leadership of this organization became verbally abusive, calling the comrade hours late into the evening (at times 10 pm or later), demanding weekly schedules then changing that schedule at a whim guilting them into keeping their schedule open, insinuating they were not committed to the work because the comrade wanted to take weekends off. Anything and everything set leadership off, and the comrade was gaslit, verbally abused, belittled, and harassed. 4–5 texts and calls in a row were to be expected, if texts were not answered within a few minutes more would ensue (outside of work hours), or the comrade would just be lectured and yelled at the next day. Work leadership was extremely mercurial, his mood changing one second to the next and the comrade was expected to deal with this without any complaint or being able to defend themselves, even when they were screamed at for no reason.
In addition to the verbal abuse and harassment, the comrade was at work leadership’s financial mercy — getting paid whenever he decided rather than previously agreed upon dates (1st and 15th of every month). When the comrade asked workleadership to get their paycheck, they were screamed at and told “This is not a large non-profit! You can’t expect to get paid whenever you feel like it! It might take up to a week to get paid”. This happened nearly every single time the comrade was supposed to get paid to the extent that the comrade suffered extreme anxiety over trying to ask for money they had already done the labor for. The comrade in question was screamed at in front of other volunteers for asking to be paid on multiple occasions as as well. During the initial interview process, and even during the orientation process, the comrade was never told beforehand that there were money issues or that they should expect any delays getting paid. It was only mentioned that they could not work more than 30 hours due to budget constraints (which work work leadership frequently attempted to demand more than 30 hours, despite said issues paying the employee).
This was the comrades only source of income and the unpredictable schedule made the comrade unable to get a second job for more income. There were many times the comrade had to hop turnstiles to get to work, missed meals, and was forced to incur late fees on various bills because there was no real schedule to when or even if they would get paid. Everytime the comrade brought this up or asked for their money, their bossrade would yell at them and demean them implying they were not committed and were asking for too much. It finally hit a breaking point when work leadership left for a week long trip out of the country. At this point, he had hired another queer woman to work for the organization and was treating her in a similar manner. Work leadership assured them both before he left that he would be able to pay them despite him being out of the country. The comrade in question even asked if it was possible to receive half their check before he left so they did not have to bother him on his vacation. Work leadership was adamant that it was fine and he had arranged it all with his bank so they both could be paid. Sure enough when the 15th came, work leadership did not pay the comrade. This particular pay period, the comrade was absolutely broke, had run out of food in their apartment, and had to hop the turnstiles to get anywhere. When they emailed leadership to request payment, he again gaslit the comrade insinuating they were being impatient, unfair, and entitled and attempted to guilt them by saying he would have to take him out of his vacation activities to find wifi to pay them. This was the last straw for the comrade who had worked over the 30 hours the last few weeks and taken on a lot of extra responsibility in preparation for an upcoming action in September.
There was much overlap between Party work and the anti-gentrification work which caused the comrade to have to interact with their boss nearly every single day for most of the day, in multiple spaces. This paved the way for really exploitative and abusive power dynamics and unclear boundaries as the comrade felt any time they disagreed with their boss in Party spaces, it bled into the work environment. Work leadership would hold things over the comrades head and treat them as if they disrespected him. There was one day in particular where the comrade was disagreeing with their boss about party issues in a group chat before work, and when they came to work they made sure to let their boss know that they still respected him and they were not angry at the disagreement to address the issue before he could take it out on them. He began to get louder and louder, disagreeing with the comrade and acting extremely erratic. He eventually stormed out of the office and left the comrade standing there in shock. This was a regular occurence in the workplace. Work leadership constantly allowed party matters to bleed into the workplace while simultaneously chastising the comrade for being too involved in party chats and matters at work. He was also inconsistent in the definition of the relationship. He would call the comrade in question “comrade”, or “family” while at work, try to talk to them about personal matter in his life, question them about their personal life, etc. then randomly switch up and tell the comrade to “get back to work” if they tried to reciprocate and make general conversation. This made the boundaries very unclear and made the comrade constantly unsure of what was acceptable so they gradually became more reserved at work. When the comrade brought up their confusion about the boundaries and expressed their interest in “either being comrades or boss and employee”, they were gaslit and told that they were just not a satisfactory employee and they need to “manage up” and “handle” him and prevent him from getting upset, none of which had anything to do with the initial question of defining their professional relationship.Ultimately, the comrade decided to leave this workplace and raised the abusive workplace practices to the party leadership after finding out another comrade had worked for him briefly and he was abusive towards her as well. Because of the work leadership’s (bossrade) status and role in the party, party leadership refused to suspend the bossrade who had abused two comrades at work and then refused to suspend him again when one former comrade had written about being raped by him years ago. Party leadership’s excuse for this was “to be in solidarity with a black trans comrade” rather than those he had abused. The bossrade had turned rape allegations against him into a trans issue and began harassing the former employee for suggesting to other party members that he should remove himself from a commission focused on accountability in light of the rape allegations. In the dropbox, there are several email exchanges contained that reveal the responses of this bossrade to the suggestion he be held accountable. National leadership of Workers World Party was cc’d on these threads and chose to take the position that there were issues on “both sides”, rather than an abuser harassing a comrade and that comrade defending themselves. They chose to watch these emails go back and forth and offered no public solidarity nor did they ask him to stop harassing the comrade after the comrade requested that he leave them alone. Party leadership instead called the employee-comrade later, asked what they wanted to inform them that he has been enabled for decades by stating that “he has always been a controversial figure” in the party. Ultimately, the bossrade took a self-imposed leave of absence and then resigned to avoid accountability after several weeks of no action on behalf of leadership. (see dropbox files labeled 5 & 6).
Bossism in Durham Branch
While also participating in this eviction, Comrade A-Star, a single Latina mother, was forced into adminstrative leave from her job at the Southern Vision Alliance, a million dollar nonprofit on the board of which sits Comrades Elena, Peter, and J-Christ, for questioning Comrade Elena and her exploitative behavior as a boss. This also resulted in the termination of her son’s health care while she was on forced leave. This firing happened after over a year of gaslighting, manipulation, and abuse which several comrades have experienced, including Comrade [redacted], a queer Black comrade, who said they had to take multiple breaks throughout their candidacy due to Comrade Elena’s behavior impacting their mental health.
Comrade Elena has dodged accountability at every step along the way and has wielded her economic power over others in the branch time and time again, including the manner in which she invited Comrade [redacted] to quit his job and live in her basement to work full-time on party work before kicking him out and rendering him homeless which she and her husband Comrade Peter justified due to Comrade [redacted]’s criticisms of non-profits. More recently, Comrade M was terminated from her position as a paid organizer with UE150 because her paystub was funnelled through the government grants controlled by the Southern Vision Alliance. The issue of this matter is that Comrade Elena chose to tell Comrade M’s only white coworker that their contracts would not be renewed. How can we profess to be revolutionary Communists yet cater to the whims of a boardroom white supremacist and literal capitalist boss?
In a telegram thread between party leadership and the Souther Vision Alliance leadership (who are also part of party leadership), J-Christ (party and SVA leader) went on a rant against the comrades they helped fire as being “childish” and “unstable”. Additionally J-Cat (party leader and SVA scab) went on another rant asking to fight some of the fired comrades. (see dropbox files labeled 21–24)
Culture of secrecy
The structure of the party has been key in the party’s survival through the reactionary period it had birthed from. Workers World Party was founded in 1959 with McCarthy era witch hunts still fresh in the minds of communists everywhere. Moving into the ’70s and 80’s the United States fell into a deep period of right-wing reaction and COINTELPRO subversion. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union communist organizing everywhere took a major blow as well. It is this historical context that paints the backdrop for the veil of secrecy that is upheld by so much of the entrenched within Workers World Party.
It remains true today that without some measure of stealth and discretion, revolutionary organizations open themselves to infiltration and subversion. The state’s surveillance of leftist organization posed a serious threat to the effectiveness of Left organizing and measures were taken to ensure the survival of revolutionary parties. Workers World Party is no exception to this and had developed some structures within the party to protect itself while through the decades maintaining ties and even personally meeting with socialist countries and organizations throughout the world.
But this culture of secrecy has forced the party now, in 2019 to operate in silos while the leadership consolidates power and conceals information from the general membership and rumor-mills began to form. This has also created the culture where comrades have put personal relationships above our principles. This has caused increasing animosity regarding “comradely relations”. However this is to say, the lack of sufficient structures where comrades have a path to report grievances and have at the least, some investigation conducted has made it so that the national leadership has enabled harm to continue and, often, sides with abusers in question who are in party leadership. For example, the party initially believed Andrew Mayton before survivors of sexual violence because of his party position, and the party leadership has continued to side and falsify justifications for the eviction aforementioned as two of the branch and national leadership members are implicated.
There have been isolated incidents of white members of the Workers World Party using racial slurs or overhearing racial slurs uttered by white people outside of the Party and remained silent. These incidents as well as the inaction of secretariat members to intervene speaks to the prioritization of white feelings over the safety and wellbeing of racially oppressed people.
At a candidacy class in the Durham branch, a white leader and landlord used an analogy in which she referred to a Chinese comrade as a fisherman. This incident was brought directly to the secretariat. National leadership’s response was to send a secretariat member down to Durham where a meeting was called with all of the people of color in the branch. The meeting essentially consisted of an hour worth of anecdotes about how we have to “meet members of our class where they are” and how all of us, at one point or another has held backward views. There was never a discussion surrounding the exact slur or any interrogation of the racist caricatures used to demean Asian people. Further, the white landlord who made these comments was never made to apologize for what she had said. It’s one thing to meet the masses where they are, it’s another thing entirely to meet them, coddle them, and move further to the right-wing along with them.
In another incident on a FIRE delegation to the tijuana border a white, Trotskyite US military vet used the N-word in a van with a secretariat member of Workers World Party along with several long standing members of national leadership. When a comrade of color looked around the van in shock, all of these members diverted eye contact and pretended they didn’t hear what they heard. Though the comrade who heard the N-word didn’t intervene in the moment, they refused to talk to the vet who did. At the end of the van ride everyone exited the van and thanked the vet for his “leadership” and doled out hugs and handshakes. When the comrade refused to acknowledge or shake hands with this racist, a rumor mill began stirring through the party that this comrade was a “disruptive” and an “asshole” who for these reasons, also deserved their eviction from the home of the white landlord who had previously referred to them as a fisherman.
There was a max exodus of youth from the party, mostly queer youth of color. These youths were spread out across the country from branches in Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, D.C., Durham, San Diego, and Boston. Many of these youth, like ourselves, were attracted to the party because of its inviting nature. Upon entering a Workers World Party branch meeting you would typically find a truly multi-national, multi-gender, intergenerational grouping. We would often joke about how such an odd grouping of people could be so united. In public and at rally’s we’d often generate lots of attention due to our composition.
When these youth began to raise concerns related to the Parties mishandling of sexual abuse and misconduct, they were almost summarily ignored. As comrades left Workers World Party, there were only murmurs about so and so leaving here or there but never an internal, Party wide interrogation of why these comrades wanted to leave. Other than two mass resignation letters signed by former members of Workers World Party D.C. branch, and members of the Workers World Party Baltimore branch who were against the rape apologia, general membership was clueless when when individual members left. Leadership was aware of these resignations and yet members only learned of resignations through gossip mills and facebook posts. This is part and parcel of the overall culture of secrecy within the Party.
It must be mentioned here with a great sadness, a group of young comrades in San Diego who were summarily expelled from the party because of their objections to the mishandling of sexual abuse and misconduct. These were queer comrades who were already living in an extremely unstable housing situation, estranged from their families, and at extreme risk of homelessness. Crushed by the forces of capitalism that relegate gender and nationally oppressed people to the margins of society, these comrades were left broke with nowhere to live. When these comrades reached out to the San Diego branch as well as long standing members of national leadership, these comrades were ignored by both. Ultimately these comrades were forced to hike out into the San Diego deserts and set up an encampment.
In total, over 30 comrades, mostly LGBTQ+ comrades of color, had left the party in response to leadership’s handling of the sexual violence in Baltimore.
In a final meeting on January 22nd, Comrade K had met with Comrades Teresa and Taryn in which the latter two would present this comrade with two options: leave the party or defend bosses and landlords. Comrade K had been mislead into the meeting as Comrade Teresa had implied to have the proposal for resolution drafted by Comrade K, she must attend this meeting. During this meeting, she was called a “Third Worldist” for implying that white workers are also settlers (which the party rejects) and for demanding reparations for the victims of bossism and landlordism. It became abundantly clear during this meeting that the party’s goal was to build by any means necessary and not following the Marxist-Leninist values it claims to adhere to. In fact, Comrade K argued that should the party continue on its road, it will never truly build as the revolving door of oppressed youth in and out of the party would cease to end.
Through the struggle for our grieavnces to be resolved, leadership suggested that we were “Maoists” simply because we quoted Mao on his words of the types of liberalism and connecting it to party leadership as well as, if not most importantly, we are a cohort of Black, Indigenous, and Asian youth.
Comrade M had also posted on Facebook a status about nationally oppressed people who work for the interests of white people. It was clear the message was about Comrade J-Christ, who is a lightskin Black person, and Comrade M had put quotations around Black. To some, it suggested that Comrade M didn’t think Comrade J-Christ was Black. When asking Comrade M, she explained she did not mean they weren’t Black but had written it to mean Black in race but white in interests and thought of Franz Fanon’s “Black Skin, White Masks”. In the status, Comrade M shared her cashapp info as she had been fired by Elena, Peter, and Comrade J-Christ so Comrade K shared the status. Then, a white comrade who is J-Christ’s partner messaged Comrade K and began to berate her for also suggesting that Comrade J-Christ is not Black. (see dropbox files labeled 25a -30)
Prior to our resignations and this document, we too had tried to exhaust every avenue for resolutions the party “offered” and we were met with racist lies, gas lighting, verbal abuse, ostracized, and the run-around of bureaucracy to tire us out from seeking demands. The party we loved dearly has now declared, explicitly, that it will defend the landlords and bosses in question and has gone to the extent of pushing out nationally and class oppressed youth who dare to defend the party’s core values.