New Alliance Party

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New Alliance Party
Founded 1979 (1979)
Dissolved 1993 (1993)
Succeeded by Patriot Party
Ideology Socialism, socialist feminism
Political position

Fiscal: Left-wing

Social: Left-wing
International affiliation International Workers Party
Politics of the United States
Political parties
Elections

The New Alliance Party (NAP) was an American political party formed in New York City in 1979. Its immediate precursor was an umbrella organization known as the Labor Community Alliance for Change, whose member groups included the coalition of Grass Roots Women and the New York City Unemployed and Welfare Council. All of these groups were associated with controversial psychologist and political activist Fred Newman, whose radical health care collective Centers for Change and Marxist International Workers Party were active in grassroots politics in New York City. The NAP's first chairperson was then-South Bronx City Councilman Gilberto Gerena-Valentin, a veteran Puerto Rican political activist. [1]. The party is notable for getting African American psychologist Lenora Fulani on the ballot in all 50 states during her first Presidential campaign in 1988, making her both the first African-American and woman to do so.

Background and ideas[edit]

From 1974 to 1979, Newman had acquired some experience in politics in managing the International Workers Party. The New Alliance Party was founded as an electoral party that was independent of Democrats and Republicans and that could create "new alliances" of groups marginalized by the American electoral process, namely people of color, the lesbian and gay community, progressives, and women. The New Alliance Party described itself as "pro-socialist."

Electoral politics[edit]

The NAP's first impact on the New York city political scene was its participation in the early stages of what became known as the "Dump Koch" movement, which focused on then Mayor Edward I. Koch, a former liberal Congressman who had moved steadily rightward. [2] [3] [4] [5]

In 1984 the NAP made its entry into the Presidential campaign scene. Its candidate was Dennis L. Serrette, an African-American union activist who would later leave the NAP alleging questionable methods used by Newman and others. Serrette's running mate was Nancy Ross, a NAP leader who had served on a community school board on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

In 1985 the NAP began its unusual political "relationship" with Jesse Jackson. While Newman was initially dismissive of Jackson, Fulani had praised the popular activist during his 1984 Presidential run. After Jackson founded his Rainbow Coalition group, Newman and Fulani created the Rainbow Alliance, which at first lobbied for the benefit of small political parties. It later changed its name to the Rainbow Lobby and expanded its lobby to include issues of opposing U.S.-backed Joseph Mobutu's dictatorship in Zaire and the Haitian dictatorship of Prosper Avril. When asked about his political relationship to Fulani in the press Jackson said that there was no relationship at all. The Rainbow Lobby continued its lobbying activities into the early 1990s, while Fulani repeatedly rebuked Jackson for his support of the Democratic Party.

The 1988 presidential race was a major step for the NAP. The Fulani campaign ran under the slogan "Two Roads are Better than One," supporting Reverend Jesse Jackson's campaign within the Democratic Party while launching her own run designed to challenge the African American community to sever their historic relationship to the Democratic Party and embrace an independent path.[6] In the previous election, NAP was able to secure a ballot spot in only 33 states. This time around NAP pursued every avenue possible to gain ballot access. This included attempts to gain the nomination of small independent parties which existed around the country, such as the Solidarity Party in Illinois. Fulani had six different running mates; different ones in different states, among them Joyce Dattner and (in Oregon only) Harold Moore,[1] each "representing different constituencies."[2] Asked which one would become Vice President if she won, she answered "If we got elected, we'd figure it out."[3] Fulani’s vote total throughout the country was 217,221, or 0.2% of the vote, coming in fourth place. She was the second most successful third party presidential candidate that year, behind Libertarian Ron Paul. Also in the 1988 election, the NAP ran some candidates for other offices, including US Senate candidates in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Nebraska. Though the party had its strongest roots in the east coast, the best result for the NAP was in Nebraska, where they had a well-known candidate in independent state senator Ernie Chambers who received 1.6% of the vote.

Fulani ran unsuccessfully as a New York gubernatorial candidate in 1990. She was endorsed by Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, who had recently been politically involved with Jesse Jackson's 1988 campaign only to be dropped at the recommendation of Jackson's campaign advisors. This was in the wake of Farrakhan being characterized in the press as anti-semitic, as well as Jackson's slipped comment of calling New York City "Hymietown". Fulani and Newman embraced Farrakhan, eliciting the anger of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In the wake of this criticism, Fulani moderated a "historic conference" on Black-Jewish relations, featuring the "Jewish Marxist" Newman dialoguing with activist Reverend Al Sharpton.

Fulani again ran for president in 1992 on the NAP ticket. Maria Elizabeth Muñoz, a chicano activist, was chosen as her running mate. Muñoz had previously run for Senate and Governor in California on Peace and Freedom Party tickets. Fulani lost the party's nomination to Ron Daniels of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition. She also entered the New Hampshire primary for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination in 1992, and gained some press coverage for frequent heckling of Bill Clinton's campaign appearances after she was excluded from the New Hampshire Democratic debates. In 1992, the NAP also ran some candidates in other races, including US Senate candidates in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana and New York. The best result for NAP Senate candidates was for Mohammad T. Mehdi in New York, who received 0.8% of the vote and fourth place.

By the mid 1990s the NAP and its weekly newspaper The National Alliance had been disbanded. In 1994, Fulani and Newman for a period joined the Patriot Party, one of many groups which would later compete for control over Ross Perot's Reform Party in the years to come. This same year, Fulani and former National Alliance editor Jacqueline Salit formed the Committee for a Unified Independent Party, an organization dedicated to bringing various independent groups together to challenge the bipartisan nature of American politics.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]