Community Church of New York: Pacifists Suspended, Maoists Welcome

When radicals triumph.

[](/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/07/CommunityChurch.jpg)Frontpage Magazine has received documentation confirming that pacifist Robert Reiss has been suspended from the Unitarian-Universalist Community Church of New York following the publication of an article about his crusade against the Church leadership for tolerating the growing influence of the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and extreme Israel-hating anti-Semitism. Reiss could not immediately be reached for comment, but the documentation accuses him of “working against the mission of Community Church of New York to grow as a caring, justice-making, anti-racist, diverse, spiritual community.”

While they accuse Reiss of such things, let’s keep in mind the character of the Church’s unofficial guests: the RCP.

Paul Berman wrote about the RCP in his book Power and the Idealists:

The RCP was a California group mostly, but it was animated by an ambitious view of the proletarian revolution and a determination to cultivate fraternal ties with Maoist parties around the world. The RCP ran a curiously plush bookstore at Union Square in Manhattan, which stocked the most complete collection anywhere in New York of pamphlets from the Latin American left.  The RCP’s comrades devoted unusual energies to celebrating Stalin, and this was not as odd as it may seem. Stalin had his charms, in some people’s eyes. The mere invocation of the tyrant’s name was guaranteed to drive liberals up the wall, which meant that, from a mischievous New Left point of view, Stalin-worship could seem appealingly impudent. But mostly the cult of Stalin reflected the influence of the Chinese Communists, who regarded Stalin as the heroic predecessor to Mao-the Soviet leader who, unlike Nikita Khrushchev and his heirs, did not betray the world proletariat. The RCP dutifully set about burnishing Stalin’s reputation in the world of the American left. … The RCP took a genuine interest in Iran. In West Germany, a protest against the shah of Iran, back in 1967, helped launch the New Left. Nothing like that took place in the United States. Still, in 1973, the RCP, with its internationalist view of the world, began to agitate against the shah, and the Iranian students in America responded as might have been predicted.

On the other end of the political spectrum from Paul Berman is the activist known to New York talk radio fans as “Jimmy from Brooklyn”, who for about four decades had been infiltrating Communist groups on his own initiative. He had amassed an enormous collection of Soviet-bloc literature that the Communists would share amongst themselves, including an undated pamphlet called Soviet Power and Islam. It tells the reader that, in Stalin’s time, “The Soviet Government showed every consideration for the way of life of the Muslims, their social psychology, and their traditions, manners and customs, while at the same time encouraging them to take part in carrying out revolutionary transformations.” So was Stalin’s example, so was the practice of the RCP toward Khomeini.

“Jimmy” knew the RCP. He learned from them that their ideological strategy was “politicize, radicalize and militarize”, but that they had developed a shortcut by recruiting in the prisons. They sought to convince violent criminals that their flaws are not actually their fault, but the result of a racist, capitalistic society that made them what they are and thus should be subject to their revenge. In Radical Son, David Horowitz writes of encountering an outgrowth of this attitude when he confronted a top RCP apparatchik named C. Clark Kissinger:

Shortly after the [1992 Los Angeles] riot, I appeared on a radio talk show with Clark Kissinger, a former president of SDS. Kissinger had created a new organization in South Central, Refuse and Resist, to promote the idea that local Crip gangs were revolutionaries battling an oppressive state. On the air, Kissinger was adamant that the looters and burners were social rebels, and that anyone doubting this was a “racist.”

Horowitz wrote of the riot that “Two thousand Korean businesses were burned, and fifty-seven people killed – many of them targeted, like the businesses destroyed, simply because they were not black.” Predictably, the racial bloodletting had RCP’s full endorsement.

When they would come by my alma mater, NYU, looking for recruits, RCP members would personally tell me of their trips to China during the Cultural Revolution - one of the darkest episodes of the 20th century - and that it was their ideal society. They would pass out propaganda on behalf of the Iraqi and Afghan/Pakistani “resistance” (Al Qaeda) and the “revolution” in Mubarak’s Egypt and Gaza. Others remember their leafleting on behalf of Shining Path, the Maoist narco-terror group in Peru who killed around 20,000 people before being put down. On the back of a 2010 issue of RCP’s newspaper is a quote from their leader, Robert “Chairman Bob” Avakian, declaring: “After the holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel.”

If anyone deserves to be thrown out of Community Church on the grounds of ”working against the mission of Community Church of New York to grow as a caring, justice-making, anti-racist, diverse, spiritual community,” it should be the Revolutionary Communist Party, and not their opponents.

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