by Gary Temple
Back in September 2005, State Chairman Frank MacKay and a majority of the Independence Party's State Committee fired a salvo across the bow of all independent minded members of this party. The message behind this verbal attack was as clear to those delegates in attendance at that September meeting as it was obscure to the larger number of delegates who were not in attendance, but who allowed their vote to be used in proxy form .... no one will be allowed to hold an elected position within the party if they exercise their constitutional rights to free speech and association and if such speech or association does not meet with the approval of a majority of the State Committee members.
'The 6' intended victims of this purge (last September) were Dr. Lenora Fulani, then party attorneys Harry Kresky, Esq., and Gary Sinawski, Esq.; Manhattan Chairwoman Cathy Stewart, then party Treasurer Debbie Holland, and Dr. Jessie Fields, all members of the Executive Committee at that time. These 6 people had been elected to their respective party positions just 1 yr. prior; all received the support and vote of the man now pulling the trigger against them, Chairman Frank MacKay.
Let me be even clearer; for years, Frank MacKay's several elections to the Chair's position were in no small part accomplished with the complete support of the New York City contingent in the State Committee, including Fulani, Kresky. In a shift as sudden as a lightning bolt, the self-righteous MacKay reinvented himself as the chief litmus tester of the party, and greased the skids for the removal of his supposedly politically incorrect pals from NYC. What were the dynamics behind Frank's new-found concerns about 'the 6'? More importantly, what were the accusations against 'the 6'?
I was one of those who sat in attendance at that September meeting, listening to the debate on the question of removal of 'the 6' from the Executive Committee. When the debate was almost at an end, I rose to sum up the non-evidence that McKay had produced against 'the 6'. Briefly stated, the only evidence against Dr. Fulani was that she had made an oft-quoted statement, way back in 1989, and that Kresky, Sinawski, Stewart, Holland, and Fields were somehow associated with Fulani. I imagine that U.S. Senator McCarthy would have been proud.
My remarks that fall day were interrupted by applause on numerous occasions, albeit not from the weighty box of proxy votes that had already been decided and counted well before any debate began. Many of these proxy members have never attended a single committee meeting in person, and most do not have the foggiest idea what the agenda of a given meeting is, but their votes to remove 'the 6' counted equally with those members physically in the room who applauded my analysis of the non-evidence.
Whether yours was an informed proxy vote or not, all of those of who voted to remove 'the 6' (just because MacKay wanted them gone) gave MacKay the green light to expand his September purge, to include hundreds of other NYC members in the February meeting. For those of you who do not understand how your proxy was used, and have never met the newest victims you have helped create, I must tell you that you helped hurt some very good people. MacKay's February reasoning was the same as the rationale he used last September. The newest targets are also accused of associating with Fulani.
I am the only person in the Cayuga County ICO who has ever spoken to Dr. Fulani. Will the Cayuga ICO be included in the next wave of targets of those who associated with those who associated with those who associated with Dr. Fulani? Otherwise asked; Will there be anyone left to serve in party positions after MacKay and his proxy brigades finish with their litmus testing?
Yes, all you attackers have now finally started a war. After the September purge, I was amazed how calmly 'the 6' accepted their public scourging at the collective hands of their fellow committee members. There was a uniform and quiet determination to focus on the NYC mayor's race that was underway, and not to fight back against their detractors. After all, they reasoned, they still had local control. Ah yes, we all thought that the prized political concept of local control was still alive and well.
I wonder if Chairman MacKay ever thought for a minute that he could strip constitutional and statutory rights from a great number of his Independence Party members, and back them into a proverbial corner, without having a war? I wonder if MacKay understands that these currently disenfranchised activists from NYC will roar back to life after the next reorganization just 9 months from now? I wonder if MacKay wants the end of his chairmanship to be pock-marked with endless court battles, heightened divisions, and lessened effectiveness of the party?
I can't know what goes thru the mind of Frank MacKay, but even a blind person with a nose knows when they are in the midst of a barnyard. Yes Frank, this smells like a war to me; it quacks like a war; it looks like a war; and it sounds like a war. Thanks a lot, Frank, for declaring a war against your fellow I.P. members.
Gary Temple is a State Committee member and former Treasurer.
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