- The O (political group)
The O., short for 'the Organization', was a
Maoistpolitical group which grew out of the U.S.cities of Minneapolis-Saint Paul food cooperativemovement in the 1970s. Former member Alexandra Stein described it as "a leftist political cult" and as practicing "a form of fascism". [http://www.csj.org/pub_affnews/aff_news42.htm]
In the early 70s, anti-war activists in Minneapolis and St Paul had founded more than two dozen natural food co-operatives, which were owned and operated entirely by volunteer members. There were politically oriented co-operatives in other sectors as well.
These co-operatives the most successful in the United States at the time. Ironically, a contributing factor to their success was the rise of larger supermarkets. This put many smaller, family-owned grocers out of business, and thus meant there was a large amount of cheap, already furnished storefront space.
Political differences arose between those who were influenced by the ideas of the
counter-cultureof the time, and more orthodox Marxist-Leninists. The second group argued that the co-operatives should sell products such as Coke, sugar, and canned goods, which natural food co-operatives obviously declined to sell, and should adopt a Leninist vanguard organisation.
By 1975 the orthodox Marxist faction had coalesced into a group called the Cooperative Organization, which was to evolve into 'the O'. Their aim was to take control of the co-operatives from the other faction. They quickly began to use violence to achieve this aim. [http://www.somethingilearnedtoday.org/coop_wars.html]
Use of Violence
On May 3rd, 1975, a group of members of the CO took over the People’s Warehouse co-operative, seizing the cash box and beating anyone who attempted to resist the incursion. The Warehouse served as the primary distribution center for most of the neighborhood co-ops. When a couple of supporters of the Warehouse came by the Warehouse to heckle the CO, they were attacked with baseball bats. One of the victims was later treated for broken bones.
Now known officially as the 'Mass Organization', the faction attacked and took over a number of other cooperatives. They also harassed their 'counter-culture' rivals, for example by slashing their tyres.According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the CO "were believed to have a cache of weapons stored on the South Side of Minneapolis." [http://www.somethingilearnedtoday.org/coop_wars.html]
The CO's campaign had no long-term success. Although they managed to take over several enterprises, the customers and workers largely transferred their efforts to enterprises the CO did not control.
A former member of the Minneapolis cooperative movement said that "what tended to happen in those situations, is that [the CO] would come, and they would take over, and then no one would shop there anymore. They would just go to a different store! I remember, they took over Powderhorn, which is this itty bitty little store! And the people who were volunteering there just said 'OK' – and they left. So there were CO cadre sitting at Powderhorn, and nobody came to shop!" [http://www.somethingilearnedtoday.org/coop_wars3.html]
The group was characterized by an extreme form of secrecy. Members used code-names, and instructions were communicated by memos. The secrecy was such that many members had never met, or could not even name, group leader Theophilus Smith. Some members were under the totally false impression that the group was related to the
Black Panthersor the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or was part of a nationwide group. At one point members received no orders for a year, with no explanation given at the time or afterwards. The reason was that Smith was spending a year in jail for manslaughter. [http://www.alexandrastein.com/Trib%20first%20section.htm]
Alleged Status as a Cult
Sociology professor and specialist on cults
Janja Lalichstated that the O, "with its clandestine structure, charismatic leader and all-controlling environment", was a cult. However some former members have disagreed. Former member Bob Malles described being in the O as a "bizarre and painful experience". However he describes it not as a cult, but as a failed social experiment which "blew up in the lab, so to speak, flinging the research staff far and wide." [http://www.alexandrastein.com/Trib%20sidebar.htm]
Because of the O's total secrecy, it is unknown as of 2008 whether the group still exists. It survived until at least 1991. [http://www.alexandrastein.com/Trib%20first%20section.htm]
International Workers Partyand Tvind- Two groups with similar politics, which have also been accused of being cults.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
The Co-operative Group — Co operative Group Ltd. Type Consumer cooperative Founded 1863 (1863) Headquarters … Wikipedia
Political Group of Okinawa Revolution — The nihongo|Political Group of Okinawa Revolution|政党そうぞう|Seitō Sōzō is a local political party in Okinawa, Japan. Seitō means political party , while sōzō may mean nihongo| creation |創造 or nihongo| imagination |想像. Contrary to what its official… … Wikipedia
The Cook Political Report — is an independent, non partisan online newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns for the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, Governor s offices and the American Presidency. The Cook Political Report is led by… … Wikipedia
Big Flame (political group) — Big Flame were a libertarian Marxist political party in the United Kingdom. They were founded in Liverpool in 1970 and at first grew rapidly in the prevailing climate on the left, developing branches in a number of cities. They have been… … Wikipedia
10 September (political group) — 10 September (in Turkish: 10 Eylül ) was a communist group in Turkey. It was formed in 1988 by a group of Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) militants who disapproved of the merger of the party into the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP). 10… … Wikipedia
History of the Macedonians (ethnic group) — The history of the Macedonian people is closely associated with the historical and geographical region of Macedonia, and is manifested with their constant struggle for an independent state. After many decades of insurrections and living through… … Wikipedia
Communist, Republican, Citizen, and Senators of the Left Party Group — France This article is part of the series: Politics and government of France … Wikipedia
Spanish Absolute Honesty Political Group — (in Spanish: Grupo Político Honradez Absoluta Española ) is a small political party in Spain. In the 2004 parliamentary elections GPHAE was the least voted party, with just 52 votes … Wikipedia
Feuillant (political group) — The Feuillants were a political grouping that emerged during the French Revolution. It came into existence from a split within the Jacobins from those opposing the overthrow of the king and proposing a constitutional monarchy. The deputies… … Wikipedia
No Turning Back (political group) — For other meanings, see No Turning Back (disambiguation) Part of the Politics series on Thatcherism … Wikipedia