The A&E reality series Growing Up Gotti, featuring Victoria Gotti the daughter of deceased Mafia boss John Gotti and his three grandsons may have a cult following, but not quite the kind that’s good for ratings.

On last night’s show the “Mafia princess” introduced viewers to her “friend” Debra Pearl, a therapist brought in to provide “professional help” on the segment, but what those watching didn’t know is that Ms. Pearl’s form of therapy has been called “cult” “headgames.”

Debra Pearl is a twenty-five year devotee of so-called “Social Therapy,” a controversial group process created by self-described “Marxist/Leninist revolutionary” Fred Newman.

According to Newman his therapy is about “two workers, revolutionary therapist and slave/patient, [and their] struggle together to make a revolution through their practice.” The goal is “helping the slave reach the point of insurrection” and “to make proletarian truth and freedom where there is now bourgeois truth and slavery.”

However, Mr. Newman seems a bit “bourgeois” himself, with his four-story townhouse in Greenwich Village that just might be worth more than the Gotti mansion and he reportedly summers in the Hamptons.

Doesn’t the daughter of a Mafia boss seem like an unlikely pal for the follower of an avowed revolutionary that once said, “I don’t like the institution of the family in any of its forms”?

Maybe Mama Gotti better watch out whom she lets into her house?

Not only did Ms. Pearl offer “therapy,” but also signs were conspicuously shown inside and outside her office that essentially advertised “Social Therapy” and the “East Side Institute.”

Was this a reality show or an infomercial for a guru group?

Another long-time Newman devotee has been stirring things up for her “friend” too.

Lenora Fulani, once friendly with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has become something of a political pariah and potential liability for the re-election of Mayor Mike.

This month former NYC Mayor Ed Koch advised Mayor Blumberg to dump Fulani, who has a penchant for anti-Semitic remarks like her guru Fred Newman reported Newsday.

Newman says, “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.”

Maybe Koch should stop by Victoria Gotti’s Long Island home and offer some advice about her “friend”?

The moral of this story seems to be “with friends like these who needs enemies.”

It seems that Ralph Nader may be “losing his political judgement” reports a former fan for the liberal left publication The Nation.

Nader is “in bed with the ultra-sectarian cult-racket formerly known as the New Alliance Party,” says a writer for the newspaper.

The celebrated consumer advocate and former presidential candidate appeared January 11th as the featured speaker at an event titled “Choosing an Independent President 2004 Campaign” organized by Fred Newman, whose followers now effectively control the so-called “independents” or Independence Party of New York.

Newman heads a myriad of front organizations populated by his fervent devotees commonly called “Newmanites.” The self-styled political guru also created something he named “Social Therapy,” which has been described by its victims as “brainwashing.”

After playing the role of what many-labeled “spoiler” in the last presidential election, is Ralph Nader hoping to jump in this time as an Independent with Newmanite support?

The Nation blasted Newman’s politics as “the latest in a skein of…rackets… which have as their ultimate goal nothing more than enlarging the cult and subsidizing Newman’s…lavish lifestyle…”

The Nation article goes on to describe Nader’s involvement with the Newmanites as a “mind-bogglingly dumb…mistake.” And says, “One cannot believe that a politically sophisticated chap like Ralph doesn’t know exactly who Newman and Fulani are, and why they are so despicable. For Ralph to grace a Newman front group with his presence is the equivalent of cuddling up to Scientology, another cult-racket.”

Strong words from a Nader fan and past booster.

In the end the Nation reporter concludes that his one-time hero has become a “sad” figure seemingly set to damage “his image and…legacy.”

CultNews has reported for some time about the calculated manipulations of the Newman machine, which has hooked bigger fish than Ralph Nader. Newmanites have been linked politically to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Charles Schumer, Governor George Patacki and even much admired Rudy Giuliani.

Newman’s tentacles reach through a myriad of schemes that both benefit him financially and feed the “cult leader’s” considerable ego.

A prominent NY charity “All Stars,” a program supposedly designed to help disadvantaged children, appears to be one more Newman cash cow. Attorney General Elliott Spitzer once told the NY Post he would investigate the finances of Newman connected charities.

Ralph Nader, acclaimed as a consumer advocate, now appears to be an ego-driven aging activist pining for the limelight.

But by schmoozing with the likes of Newman Nader may get the kind of attention that will ultimately end in disgrace. The man who once encouraged “product warnings,” should heed the warning of his former fan about Newman.

After all, if a newspaper as liberal as The Nation is this critical of Nader’s new friends and behavior, Ralph is in real trouble.

Lenora Fulani, follower of alleged “cult leader” Fred Newman, is a pivotal player within New York’s Independent party. This has given Fulani and her mentor some political clout, which critics say has led to favors.

Visible evidence of Fulani’s political connections and influence could be seen at a recent NYC fundraiser attended by US Senator Charles Schumer and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reports NY 1.

Schumer spoke at the event as Fulani stood behind him.

Critics say Fulani is little more than a front for Fred Newman. And that her involvement in politics is a way of gaining attention and gathering favors for the controversial group often called the “Newmanites,” such as a $8.5 million tax-free bond issue for the All Stars Project Inc., another one of Fred Newman’s interests.

Last year NY Attorney General Elliot Spitzer claimed he would investigate All Stars for reported financial irregularities.

Fred Newman is the founding father of something called “Social Therapy,” which critics say is little more than “brainwashing.”

Newman says, “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.”


But in New York’s last very close mayoral election Bloomberg needed every vote he could muster and the billionaire businessman may not have won without the devotion and grass roots organizing provided by Newman’s faithful followers.

The mayor later donated $50,000 to the All Star Project.

Some elected officials are said to have a “cult following,” but this analogy just might be literally true for Mayor Bloomberg.

The American Psychological Association (APA) will be holding its annual convention next month in Toronto, Canada; it begins August 7th and continues through the 10th.

But who would think this prestigious bastion of psychologists and mental health professionals would allow a purported anti-Semitic organization frequently called a “cult,” numerous slots within its schedule of programs.

Lois Holzman a prominent proponent of so-called “Social Therapy,” which is closely associated with the “New Alliance Party,” is a devoted follower of notorious “cult leader” Fred Newman.

Holzman will be presenting four programs at the APA convention beginning on August 9th. She is currently the director of Newman’s East Side Institute for Short Term Psychotherapy.

Holzman starts on the morning of August 9th with a program titled “Impact of Participatory Youth Programs on Youth and Communities.” She then continues later with “Ensemble Meaning—Making, Constructing the Therapy Through Improvisation, Collaboration and Performance.”

Later that same day in the afternoon Holzman presents a one-act play about Karl Marx and Jesus seeking help through therapy — “Odd Couple Seeks Professional Help.”


Eventually on the last day of the APA convention Holzman offers her final program, which seems to sum up neatly her agenda. It is a discussion to answer the rather contrived and self-serving question; “Can Therapy Promote Human Liberation? A Humanistic—Postmodern Marxist Dialogue.”

Holzman’s mentor and leader Fred Newman is a self-proclaimed “revolutionary Marxist.”

Controversy swirls around Newman and his followers who are often called “Newmanites.” Some former members claim they were victimized through Newman’s organizations such as social therapy, which seems to mean working for Fred for free.

Many also question the potential harm of Newman’s philosophy and its influence upon young people.

Newmanites also have been scrutinized regarding their handling of funds through nonprofit tax-exempt charities, which included a probe, by New York’s Attorney General.

It seems that the founder of “Social Therapy” may be looking for new recruits amongst the ranks of the APA.

Holzman’s behavior can easily be seen as an effort to act as a stand-in or proxy for her leader. But what was the APA thinking when they provided a platform for this bunch?

Can it be that the respected professional association didn’t examine this speaker’s background before approving her for programs at their convention?

The APA has been known historically for its due diligence and research.

However, Holzman’s close and historic association with Newman is glaringly evident through her own website and the largely promotional links she provides for Newman enterprises elsewhere on the Internet.

Within Fred Newman’s book “Power and Authority” he explains the essence of “Social Therapy.”

Newman states, “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 overthrows the bourgeois authority or proletarian ego…Working to help the struggling slave go through the insurrectional act of overthrow of the proletarian ego and [then] helping the worker during the long period of withering away of the proletarian ego.”

Does this sound like something the APA would endorse?

Is this a description of the ethical practice of therapy? Or is Newman’s approach actually an unethical breach and/or blurring of boundaries in the therapist/patient relationship?

A mental health professional once involved with Newman, but who later left his Social Therapy organization concluded, “Therapy should be empowering and inclusive; it should help people build the lives they want. It should not be used as a recruitment tool for a particular movement.”

The same professional also offered the following advice:

“Anyone considering cooperating or working with Fred Newman and/or practicing Social Therapy should first read whatever historical and critical information is available.”

“And mental health professionals have a responsibility to their clients and profession to carefully consider what and whom they are supporting.”


Did the APA convention planners and organizers “first read” about Holzman and Fred Newman and then “carefully consider” their history before agreeing to provide them a platform?

New Yorker Fred Newman leads a movement named “Social Therapy,” which some critics have said is little more than a personality “cult.”

The organization, which supports Newman comfortably in a Manhattan townhouse, is based upon a network of volunteers and interlocking enterprises, such as the charity “All Stars.”

But entry into Newman’s world appears to begin for many rather innocently as patients to therapists under his influence.

One professional participant who studied Newman’s therapy approach is now speaking out critically about its seeming ethical lapses.

Erica Van Meir concluded, “In my opinion, it is a cult. And I don’t mean by that a bunch of a crazy, long-haired lunatics living in a commune. I think they’re very, very sophisticated — a modern-day cult.”

Complaints filed against Social Therapy practitioners in Atlanta are now under investigation by state officials, reports Creative Loafing.

A new short story about a cult-like therapy group is now online.

The writer is Tim Woulforth and the story is titled Self Defense, it ends in a strange twist.

Woulforth is also the co-author with Dennis Tourish of the book On The Edge: Political Cults Right and Left.

Self Defense tells the story of people victimized by “Relational Therapy,” a process that affords its practitioner “complete control of the patient’s mind.”

The protagonist says, “The gurus I had met were hollow creatures, afraid of exposure, needing to dominate others so no one would discover their secret. They knew they were frauds.”

Woulforth’s fictional story might easily describe many so-called “therapy cults” and seems eerily reminiscent of a group led by Fred Newman called “Social Therapy.”

Come to think of it, Newman is more than mentioned in the Woulforth book On the Edge.

Hmmm, very interesting.

Fred Newman wears several hats. He is not only the originator of “Social Therapy,” but also the founder of the New Alliance Party and artistic director of the “All Stars,” an after school children’s program in New York.

The Independence Party of New York arguably swung one election, for the mayor of NYC, in favor of Michael Bloomberg.

But soon there may be “a seismic change in NY politics” facilitated by the party, which notably includes former “New Alliance Party” presidential candidate and Fred Newman disciple Lenora Fulani.

Pundits claim this planned change could make New York “a three-party state,” reports

NY law currently requires that voters enroll as a Democrat, Republican or Independence party member to be eligible to vote in party primaries. However, a proposed change would allow 2.5 million additional independent voters to vote in the Independence party’s primary.

This would be ten times the 260,00 Independence Party registration now.

What this ultimately may mean is the makeover of Fred Newman’s disciples, who occupy pivotal positions in the Independence Party’s power structure, into potential “king makers.”

Instead of just helping out a local benefactor like “Mayor Mike,” Newman and his “Social Therapy” crowd could garner much heavier statewide political connections and corresponding largesse.

Fred Newman and his following have often been called a “cult.”

Will this possible shift in NY voter registration provide for political power sharing with a “cult”?

The NY Post ran a series of investigative pieces by Jeanne MacIntosh exposing the activities of a purported “cult” leader named Fred Newman and his acolyte Leonora Fulani, through various organizations they appear to largely control. This list of non-profit tax-exempt charities includes the Castillo Theater, the East Side Institute for Short Term Psychotherapy, and the heavily funded “All Stars,” a program supposedly designed to help kids. All Stars is supported by a virtual “Who’s Who” of corporate NY.

Newman, a self-described “neo-Marxist” and “revolutionary,” was once associated with perennial presidential aspirant Lyndon LaRouche. In 1992 LaRouche campaigned from a federal prison, where he was serving time for fraud and tax evasion. But now Fred runs his own shop, apparently largely fueled by the “All Stars,” which seemingly has become his cash cow. The money milked from “All Stars” appears to travel to other Newman entities.

Now after the NY Post’s revelations, Elliot Spitzer, NY Attorney General, is probing the interrelationships amongst Newman’s various charitable concerns.

Fred Newman, a failed philosophy professor who was fired from seven colleges, later created what he calls “Social Therapy.” According to Newman, who is not a psychologist, this therapy helps people to “overthrow” and “wither” what he labels their “proletarian ego.” However, former participants seem to think it is “brainwashing.”

Newman teaches that his therapy should include social activism. The net result of that activism appears to be working for Fred for free. This might include fund raising for one of his charities like All Stars, or perhaps petition drives for the Indendence Party.

Millions of dollars flow through the coffers of Newman related entities.

Some critics say that Newman has effectively co-opted or taken over the Independence Party of New York. It is within this area that perhaps the most controversial aspects of Fred Newman’s interrelationships become even more interesting. He has questionable ties to both Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg. Both have benefited through Independence Party endorsements and/or petition drives. Some say there is a kind of quid-pro-quo between Newman and these politicians. That is, they are now paying him back through arranging support for his endeavors, specifically through All Stars.

The Newman dominated Independence Party also endorsed Elliott Spitzer, but the Attorney General seems devoid of any meaningful connections to either Fred Newman or his interests. Hopefully, Spitzer’s probe will soon produce meaningful results, rahter than lead to a dead end.