Original blog post [archive.today, Internet Archive] hosted on Medium was taken down [archive.today, Internet Archive] due to the platform's policy on sharing phone conversations and direct messages [archive.today, Internet Archive]. A living document is maintained on Google Docs.
Caleb Maupin’s Former Comrades Speak Out, His Abuses Must Stop!
Caleb Maupin with members D.L., Nick, “Member 1" and “Member 2" in 2019
1. Summary and Information for the Reader
2. Caleb Maupin’s Sexual Misconduct:
2A. Member 2’s Statement
2B. Member 1’s Statement
3. Caleb Maupin’s General Abusive and Exploitative Behavior:
3A. Keaten Mansfield’s Statement
3B. Joey Schantz’s (Yankee Tankie) Statement
3C. D.L.’ Statement
3D. Madeleine’s Statement
4. Corroboration from Other Members:
4A. Nick’s (Flame of Liberation) Statement
4B. Joe Gale’s (Joe the Red) Statement
4C. Don D.’s (Don D. in NYC) Statement
5. Going Forward
“Member 2", Lily, Keaten, Joey and Nick in a video staged for Caleb Maupin to record one year ago, on August 11, 2021. All but one of the people in the picture wrote statements condemning Caleb Maupin’s abuse.
1. Summary and Information for the Reader:
Bringing forward this statement was not easy for any of us, but there was no alternative to speaking the truth. It’s our responsibility to stop abuse of power against comrades. Those of us who want to fight for the ideas of constructive, optimistic socialism and anti-imperialism and who have contributed to the organization Center of Political Innovation have been betrayed by Caleb Maupin. Over the years he has subjected members of CPI to various forms of abuse and exploitation. He pushed his sexual desires on members who had considered him to be a leading comrade. He brought his sexual impulses into political organizing. Caleb pushed a member out of CPI and its predecessor Students and Youth for a New America after she made clear that she would not do sexual favors for him. Caleb paid a member for sex who he knew was economically desperate, and then went on to push them out of the group and slander them. Caleb Maupin has also targeted people in their teens with manipulative cult tactics in an effort to exploit their labor so that he can build himself up off their hard work and sacrifice, and then would go on to slander them behind their backs if they didn’t do exactly what he wanted. The abuses Caleb Maupin committed could have also done tremendous damage to all of us by discrediting all who associated with our political position. Despite these revelations now is not a time to despair, its a time to fight even harder for an optimistic socialism and anti-imperialism. It’s a difficult reality for many to face, but Caleb Maupin’s primary concern has not been advancing the cause of anti-imperialism, his primary concern has been self gain at the expense of others. However our goal is not to make an overly simplified picture of Caleb Maupin or to demonize him unjustly, our statements give credit where it is due, but at the same time they demonstrate his abusive behavior very clearly. The following statements from CPI members will show in detail how all of this was the case.
If you would like to get in contact, or if you have any questions please direct them to [email protected]. The two members who were victims of Caleb’s sexual misconduct wrote their statements in pseudonyms to protect themselves from any retaliation or harassment, please respect their privacy. If you have any evidence of Caleb’s further abuse please come forward.
2. Caleb Maupin’s Sexual Misconduct:
2A. Member 2’s Statement:
When I first met Caleb, I was 19 years old, living on my own for the first time, and paying my rent with my own paychecks while going to school full-time. I was in a very vulnerable place socially and financially; at the same time though, I considered myself to be more mature than my peers because of how independent I was compared to my other political science classmates and because I was one of the only communists. When I met him — a prominent YouTuber and accomplished journalist over a decade older than me who treated me like his intellectual equal — he made me feel intelligent and important, especially since he would frequently take me out to dinner where we’d discuss our political ambitions and the think tank he wanted me to help him build, The Center for Political Innovation. Beginning in 2019, we would have dinner together at least once a month, and sometimes during those dinners, he would bring up (what I assumed at the time was) his academic interest in corporal punishment, especially spanking. As time went on, we became closer and closer friends, which led to him confiding in me in 2020 during the beginning of the COVID pandemic that his “academic” special interest was, in fact, a sexual one. He even told me that he would engage other people in conversations about corporal punishment and spanking because it turned him on to do so; when we became closer friends in 2021, he finally admitted to me that he would masturbate to the thought of roping unsuspecting people, especially women, into these conversations about their experiences with being spanked and other forms of physical abuse.
I tend to be a very open and sexually liberal person, so I don’t really mind when my friends discuss their sex lives with me in a platonic way; as a matter of fact, I was honored that Caleb supposedly trusted me enough that he was willing to share that part of his life with me. However, I was still under the impression that he was interested in me as a platonic friend and comrade; nothing else. Which is why I continued to participate in CPI’s conferences and events. Including facilitating CPI’s California conference for him in September 2021, which entailed Caleb and I travelling together and sharing a hotel room and transportation. Back then, I was working for a math tutoring company; Caleb knew that this job was incredibly important to me, and that I needed the income to pay off my student loans and other financial expenses. I only agreed to go to California with Caleb under the condition that I would be able to work on the Monday we left because I had already been assigned a shift that day. When I first asked him, he told me that wouldn’t be an issue because the conference was from Friday-Sunday, so that Monday I could work after we checked out of the hotel. Nonetheless, when Monday rolled around, Caleb insisted that he wanted to have lunch at a Mexican restaurant before we left and refused to get me a separate Uber to get to the airport early to work. Since I couldn’t complete my shift in the restaurant, I ended up missing it and losing my job as a result. Even though I told him this is exactly what would happen and explained to him the many reasons why I couldn’t afford to lose my job, when I did get fired, Caleb insisted that I “will be okay” and that “we [himself and CPI] will not abandon you.” Little did I know that when Caleb reassured me he’d help me find another job, he didn’t necessarily mean another tutoring gig.
The main conflict between Caleb and I that arose after I lost my job was this: I’d started living in Jersey City with the John Brown Volunteers in August 2021, so I had been paying $200/week in rent to Caleb to cover my portion of the $600/week hotel cost. Before I moved in, Caleb had been paying the exact same hotel rate for only Joey and Keaten to live there, but he told me I had to pay a third of the rent when I moved in because he was supposedly paying the rest of all of our expenses. Despite this agreement, I was paying the majority of the household expenses for the John Brown Volunteers because the only money we received to support ourselves was the half of our canvassing money we kept each day; most of the time, we’d make about $30-$100 per day total. So when I lost my math tutoring job, Caleb still expected me to continue financially supporting the JBV while I also had to continue to pay for my student loans, which meant I desperately needed another source of income. Caleb expected me to spend even more time canvassing for the JBVs after I lost my job though, because he thought canvassing was a sufficient way of making money for myself and the organization. I could’ve canvassed less so I could get another job, or he could’ve stopped asking me to pay that third of the rent since it seemed unnecessary before I’d started living there. But part of what Caleb wanted was for me to spend less time away from him and CPI, giving basically every spare second I had to being a dutiful member of the group. The day after I lost my job at the math tutoring company, I told Caleb I wanted to try to at least find other part time work. However, his reaction to that suggestion made it very clear that he didn’t even see it as an option: he told me that I couldn’t have “one foot in living biologically and one foot in the revolution”. This quote, which was part of a much longer lecture he gave about how I needed to devote even more time to our political work if I truly considered myself serious about it, was very hurtful considering I had just given up my job for Caleb and his organization. Yet, just treating the Center for Political Innovation as the main aspect of my life wasn’t enough for him — Caleb made it clear that if I “really” cared about him and my other comrades, CPI would have to become my life.
Therefore, I ended up doing sex work so I could make enough to support our household and pay off my debts while still having enough time to canvass full-time for the JBVs. I distinctly remember telling Caleb that it seemed like sex work was my only way out of this delicate financial situation; his response was simply that he “respect[s] my decision.”
In retrospect, it seems like the real reason he didn’t mind me doing sex work while I was living in CPI’s New Jersey housing is because he probably wanted to become one of my clients. For what it’s worth, after I left the JBV House, he eventually did become a client of mine. Caleb kicked me out of the John Brown Volunteers in the beginning of November 2021 after I relapsed on heroin in late October. At that point I took some time away from the organization, only attended a few smaller events, and stayed at my fiancee’s apartment to focus on my recovery and getting clean again. While by that time I had started my own math tutoring business and had my own students, I was still doing sex work as a side hustle to supplement my income because I didn’t have enough students to cover the revenue I’d lost once I stopped canvassing entirely and had to pay my own utilities again. In December 2021, Caleb asked me to replace his former dominatrix, Miss Lucy. I agreed to do so — for $250 per session — because I did need the money, and it felt like if I said no, I’d be even more isolated from the rest of CPI than I already was as a result of my relapse. By that time, in mid-December, I was clean again, which Caleb insisted upon in order for us to see each other; yet he was still apparently lying to the rest of CPI that I continued to be in the midst of my drug addiction. He did this while saying to my face that he didn’t want me going to CPI events or his birthday party so I didn’t run into his wife, Meches, because he thought it would “make things awkward.” I later learned from other CPI members that this was a common tactic of his — isolating someone from the group through rumors and hearsay — in order to make sure I didn’t interact with other CPI members in case I decided to tell them about our arrangement. Truth be told, I was terribly afraid of anyone else in the organization finding out I was doing this with him; I was afraid if I told anyone, they wouldn’t believe me, and if he told someone, I’d be shunned and ostracized. I saw Caleb as his dominant a few times in December 2021; he essentially paid me to reenact his childhood corporal punishment as a fatherly figure to discipline him. Included in this arrangement was the understanding that he’d also compensate me for the several hours he spent “sexting” me about his kink when we weren’t seeing each other in person; he texted me so often, I eventually had to ask him to stop because I kept getting notifications from his sexually explicit messages while I was teaching my students. However, he only paid me for our in-person meetings and never even mentioned billing for my texting labor again despite that first agreement. After a couple of months of constant communication and a few “punishment sessions,” he abruptly stopped speaking to me, acting as if I suddenly didn’t exist. I was very confused and hurt by this, because I truly thought that by agreeing to do sex work for him, I had won his good graces so we could continue to be friends. I knew he didn’t want me in the group afterwards, but I thought at the time that he at least appreciated my contributions thus far and respected me as a person.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. The reason he stopped speaking to me was because apparently another group member came forward with her own allegations against him, and he assumed that I was the one who’d leaked it. Even though he’d already told other CPI members that I was a drug addict who couldn’t participate in group events before this, after Member 1 came forward, he began telling people I was “dangerous” and “two-faced,” so that no one would believe the allegations. Of course, from my perspective, I had done everything he’d asked me to do and kept our secret to protect myself, so when he ghosted me suddenly in the middle of January, I felt completely betrayed.
Nonetheless, I still publicly supported Caleb and CPI. To this day, I haven’t said a single disparaging thing about Caleb in public; to the contrary, throughout these past few years I often defended Caleb against online attacks on his character, even if they came from other principled communists. The last straw for me — what finally forced me to stop publicly aligning myself with Caleb once and for all — was his response to Yankee Tankie’s (AKA Joey’s) video exposing another CPI member, Keaten’s, inappropriate behaviors within the group. Caleb sent me the link to that video, after weeks of completely ignoring me, in the hopes that I would ask Joey to take the video down since many of the allegations against Keaten included intimate details of my personal life. And while I did agree with Caleb that Joey had no right to expose my personal life like that without my consent, he did keep me anonymous while discussing what happened, and I myself had complained to Caleb about many of Keaten’s actions as they were happening while we were still living in the JBV House, but Caleb’s response was always to dismiss my concerns or reassure me he’d talk to Keaten. When I reminded Caleb about the truth of what Joey was saying and how I’d made these complaints to Caleb myself, he lashed out at me, accusing me of being “obsessed” with Keaten and demanding to know why I was so preoccupied with a former fling from last summer. This temper tantrum of his — and the subsequent attacks on my character throughout that conversation — was when I decided enough was enough. Clearly, my dedication to socialism and CPI throughout the years and loyalty to Caleb was no longer relevant. These incidents, as well as some conversations I had later with other former members of CPI, have me fully convinced that Caleb Maupin is not qualified to lead any political organization, period. If he could callously abuse, manipulate, disregard, and shun a determined group member and close friend after almost half a decade of loyal service, there’s no telling what else he’s capable of.
2B. Member 1’s Statement:
As I originally intended to keep this information to myself for the rest of my life, I would like to ensure that my right to privacy is respected. Knowing Caleb’s behavior towards the youth has only deteriorated over the years, I feel the need to share my story in order to provide insight into how these issues with Caleb have evolved over time.
In September 2017, I was a 22-year-old woman who found out about SYNA through a mutual friend who was also engaged in political activism. My personal interest in foreign relations/history led me to join a group that prides itself on intellectual discourse and on educating ourselves/others about the human rights we deserve. I felt so engaged that I even included SYNA on my resume, listing that I helped with organizing events related to labor history, workers’ rights, and that some of our members did food drives and laundry drives. We all noticed that Caleb was an unofficial leader of the group. He was 29 at the time, had a consistent income, and was willing to spend his income on event space, whereas we were younger and without the ability to spend much of our incomes on event space and organizing. Caleb was SYNA’s de facto leader, and all decisions would need his approval. Anyone who made their own decisions regarding activism without his knowledge or approval could face his judgment, criticism, and gossip.
When I got a new side job that involved teaching in 2018, Caleb began to mention his rough childhood to me more often. During one on one conversations, he would mention different stories all tying back to these main points; he always found it hard to make friends, he was bullied badly, and he was physically abused growing up. Caleb spoke more often about being spanked at school, and then finally made it clear that he gets sexual gratification from being spanked now as an adult, and sees a dominatrix twice a month with his wife’s permission.
I thought it was kind of strange that Caleb was telling me all this, but I figured he was trying to be friendly and jovial, the way some friends do talk about sex, plus he had mentioned how much of a struggle it always was for him to make friends. It was weird to me because I thought our political/professional friendship in SYNA was fine the way that it was. I kept defaulting to having empathy for his rough situation and his self-proclaimed social awkwardness.
Another thing that Caleb mentioned to me at some point in 2018, was that he would ask women if they were ever spanked as a child, and liked to talk to women about their experiences and share his own childhood spanking memories. Caleb told me that he knows this is bad, but he would take what they shared with him and masturbate about them being spanked. NOT them being spanked as a child, but he would just masturbate to the whole idea of them expressing their feelings on being spanked and punished. I was really shocked and disgusted that he had told me this.
I was still an active SYNA member attending and organizing events. I never knew how to ask him to stop bringing up his fetish without there being any consequences. Also, I wanted to maintain empathy for him constantly bashing himself for being socially awkward. Additionally, everyone in SYNA who knew Caleb knows that he creates gossip between comrades, and will privately tell one comrade a lot of nasty and untrue things about another. With the way he made this gossip and wanted everything centered around his input/approval, we hardly ever spoke to each other outside of Caleb’s earshot. We certainly didn’t dislike each other, but he would tell us generally unsavory things about each other that we would shrug off. For example, he would tell us that one SYNA member is very spoiled, and is suposedly a whiney baby that lives off money from their parents (this was an 18–20 year old member at the time…), then there were two other members where Caleb’s negative gossip on them to me was asking me if I think they’re gay on multiple occasions, and Caleb would specifically point out the things about what they do or what they wear that make them “seem” gay. So, these were not inherently bad traits at all about these people, but we just all had this mutual understanding that speaking to each other or doing things without Caleb is a waste of time since he planted negative ideas about us in each others’ heads, and we can’t really make any group decisions without him anyways. So, this contributed to my fear of ever telling him to knock off the sexual conversations and sexual oversharing. I didn’t want to get kicked out or have any drama created about me to tarnish my image, the way I would see him constantly complain about other members to me. At that point, Caleb would say I was very special and trustworthy and hardworking, and the other SYNA members were supposedly not as hardworking or present as I was.
Between February 2019 and April 2019, Caleb began mentioning the idea of a “social media coach.” Caleb started to increase how often he would bring up the “social media coach” idea. He wanted to find a woman who would text him throughout the week to check in on him and make sure to shame and admonish him if he wasn’t reaching his goals in growing his following online. Then, the social media coach would meet up with him and spank his rear end at the end of the week, which he would pay for. I kept once again trying to do deflecting measures, like I would tell him to check out an app called Seeking Arrangements, where he can create a profile and find someone to charter up this sexual/financial agreement with. I wasn’t exactly uncomfortable yet because I knew I could always reject any advance, but it was also honestly starting to get annoying and if he wanted his fix so bad he needed to just go somewhere and find it and stop talking to me about it all the time, considering the fact that I was a member of SYNA and therefore first and foremost a comrade/activist. Again, Caleb was simultaneously telling me I was such a kind and special friend, and such a hardworking SYNA member. I felt empathy for how he said he felt like an outcast growing up, how I’m finally a great friend he has that he trusts, and also how disappointed he is in the other SYNA members compared to myself. I was worried if I clearly told him to stop talking about sexual fantasies and him needing prostitutes, I wouldn’t be able to be in SYNA anymore, or have a working friendship with him anymore.
Something clicked in my head on April 17, 2019, when he wrote in a message that he will get in touch with his old roommate about this “social media coach” idea.
He said he would talk about this idea to the roommate, and see if she is interested in being his “social media coach.” My response to that information was to take my chance and finally make it clear that I will never be interested in engaging in acts of prostitution for Caleb. To me, I believe that he was hoping I would do exactly what he had hoped would happen with his old roommate. He was talking about this idea to me often, the way he said he would talk about it to the old roommate, in the hopes that she responds to the idea in a positive way. This conversation on April 17, 2019 ended nicely, with him apologizing and complimenting me, complimenting my contributions to SYNA and how well I carry myself in my day-to-day life, heavily complimenting my personal/financial/career successes. As a side note, I was doing very well for myself in 2019. I had a great job, I had a vibrant social life/hobbies, I worked very hard both at my regular job and in SYNA, and Caleb knew all of this and complimented me very often for it. This is important for me to mention, due to the way Caleb has chosen to slander my image/reputation to other comrades. This conversation on April 17, 2019 was the first and final time I had ever made it clear that I was uninterested in any prostitution and sexual involvement with Caleb.
Our conversations between April 17 onwards then did focus more on politics, but he would still mention his sexual things to me, like messaging me on April 22, only mere days later, that he is getting ready to go meet his dominatrix to get spanked. I ignored that comment and continued trying to keep our conversations intellectual, jovial, and respectful.
Around this same time, there were offers to go on an all-expenses paid trip to Venezuela to promote friendship between America and Venezuela, and to protest against Juan Guaido’s presidency, paid for by Venezuelan political groups. Though this sounded like an alluring offer since it was all-expenses paid, the relations between America and Venezuela were particularly tense in April and May 2019, due to Juan Guaido’s insertion as President of Venezuela. At that time, Venezuelan officials made threats to shut off power at the US Embassy, and American officials began plans to pull diplomats out of Venezuela. I didn’t see why I should be pressured to take this “free trip” to Venezuela, to protest against Guaido (therefore, protesting against America), and risk consequences during my time there or upon my return to America. This idea seemed very risky and out-of-touch for Caleb to be suggesting. Usually, our activism was within NYC/America (we were “Students and Youth For a New America”), and Caleb was usually the first person to speak up loudly about us making sure we behave cordial and safe outside/online- for example, making sure that we never talk about guns or promoting violence, and just always trying to make sure that we only promote safe and legal forms of freedom of speech. So, this seemed very out of character that Caleb felt insistent that I needed to drop my work and take a trip to Venezuela to condemn America, and that I shouldn’t care about any repercussions this could have upon my return back to America.
Caleb’s insistence that I go to Venezuela to condemn America came to a head on May 1, 2019, where at 1am he sent me a message asking me why I and other SYNA members don’t have as much drive as him. He explained that he is so accomplished and has done so many risky political acts throughout his life, and now he has a “comfortable job,” which is why HE couldn’t go to Venezuela, but it was really disappointing that none of us would go to Venezuela. In my head, this was such a joke — he stated that he can’t go to Venezuela because he currently has a comfortable job, and he wants us to all drop whatever we’re doing and go there in such a tense political climate during May 2019? I told him that I had to wake up early in the morning for work, and that he needs to leave me alone.
If anyone knows Caleb, you know that he is extremely persistent, pushy, wants to isolate you and he wants you to take huge risks with your employment/family relationships to show your devotion and commitment to his group, and that he sends text message essays about why you’re wrong and bad. 30 minutes after I told him to leave me alone and let me sleep, my phone started buzzing with his incoming texts, rapid fire. What ensued next was a 2 hour back and forth argument, where he tried out every manipulation tactic to try to tell me why I’m wrong for not going to Venezuela, and adding in new argument components, such as accusing me of being the one to have initiated this argument (he was clearly the one who initiated the argument, while I was the one asking him to stop and let me sleep for work in the morning), claiming that I did this to feel superior to him and because I supposedly thought he was a freak, because I’m “a normie” and I’m scared of the US embassy in Venezuela closing so I should never have gotten involved with SYNA in the first place (which to me was an immediate red flag about his isolating behavior, he should not want his members to ever feel unsafe or unprotected, yet he keeps making people feel complimented for taking huge risks to their safety/employment/family relationships).
I maintained my position during our entire argument. I wanted him to apologize for being disrespectful to me and for pressuring me to engage in a situation I felt unsafe about, that he himself was unwilling to do himself (because of his “comfortable job”). The 2 hour conversation kept going, also at that point he owed me $157 which I had spotted him, because he was always running out of money. I didn’t want to get blocked by him before getting my $157 back. I also was nervous to silence or turn off my phone, because of how dramatically he twists stories about people. I felt like I wanted this argument to remain between only Caleb and I that evening, and to get resolved by us only(ideally), without him creating gossip and lies about me to other people over this. I was afraid if I truly did cut off our argument and go to sleep before getting him to stop on his own accord, I’d wake up in the morning to hundreds of messages or multiple people who had only heard Caleb’s version of events asking me why I was so horrible to Caleb, and a whole new messy issue of new twisted gossip and drama.
Our argument goes in circles, with me resisting all of his manipulation attempts and him baiting me to try to criticize him or call him names, until 3am.
After this May 1st argument, I shared a pdf file of the screenshots between Caleb and in the SYNA Facebook message group chat. The pdf file contained the entire 2 hour text argument, because I know Caleb creates drama and makes lies to suit himself, so I included the entire argument so that no one could ever accuse me of posting anything out of context. At the time when I shared the pdf in the SYNA chat, I told everyone that this is how Caleb speaks to me personally, and I really don’t like being treated this way. At the time, no one had my back, no one cared to reach out, and Caleb kicked me out of the chat group and told me that sharing screenshots of our personal conversation was wrong to do, and he once again accused me of “luring” him into trusting me, and that I betrayed him by posting the pdf of the argument. Everyone in the chat was super confused about what the pdf even meant. They were right to be confused, it happened out of nowhere at 1am, and even by showing all of the screenshots, it looked SO weird why Caleb was doing this to me out of nowhere, being upset with me for not going to Venezuela in May 2019, when usually he had spoken very highly of me to other members and other members respected me as a SYNA group member. It was uncharacteristic for Caleb to be mad at me. So, when I got no response from anyone in the SYNA group chat, this is when I realized that everyone in the group is currently in denial and is a victim themself.
I was removed from the SYNA chats, and since Caleb was the ringleader of everything, it was impossible for me to ever be able to come to events or continue to help out like I used to. When I would get removed from chats, other members would try to add me back, but since Caleb was ignoring my presence, it felt useless/hopeless for me to go any further in SYNA.
I feel like on April 17, 2019, when I shot down any notion of ever prostituting myself out for Caleb, I think he tried to act nice and normal for a bit, and then on May 1, 2019, created a strange argument over false pretenses to try to rile me up and get me pushed out. It turns out that after I got removed he still made up lies to discredit me. Other SYNA members were confused why I wasn’t in the group anymore, I was helpful and respected and everyone was happy to have my contributions and have me as a member. Caleb created disparaging remarks that I “couldn’t be part” of SYNA anymore and could no longer attend group SYNA functions, because I was supposedly an alcoholic all of a sudden (this parallels the situation I mentioned before where Caleb would keep gossiping about if other SYNA members were secretly gay based on what they wear, or how another member is “spoiled”). This is also why I mentioned earlier in this statement that in 2019 I had a great job, and how in our final argument, Caleb was the one who had still owed me $157. So, I found out in 2022 that Caleb told different SYNA/CPI members different slanderous versions about me- he told some people that I quit SYNA because I was an alcoholic, he told other people I couldn’t keep up with SYNA obligations anymore due to my alcoholism but that I’m welcome to come back. Established SYNA members knew this was weird but didn’t question it, and new SYNA/CPI members didn’t know who I was and didn’t question it. For the record, I have never had a drinking problem- when I was 23 in 2019 I had fun drinking socially with my friends. Caleb has an alcohol allergy and cannot drink any alcohol, and in addition to his gossipy/judgmental lifestyle, I think he has a bad perception on what is or isn’t a “normal” amount of alcohol to consume. I have never been a daily drinker. In 2019, I would probably average about 4–5 alcoholic drinks on a Friday/Saturday night if I went out with friends (and only in a scene where drinking is socially acceptable, like a bar/restaurant/music venue), and then about 2–3 drinks if I met a friend, such as Caleb, during the work week. I stick to the general “one drink per hour rule”, and in general I intrinsically value sobriety and alcohol moderation. Me, my family, and my closest people who know me would not at all characterize me as having an issue with alcoholism, let alone an alcoholism issue that would lead me to abandon my political activism. I am explaining this in such great detail because I and other SYNA members 100% believe that this was a slanderous/libelous tactic to detract from the fact that I had turned down money for sex with him.
I think that Caleb has devoted far too much time to talking about his sexual life and gossiping about/slandering comrades. To me, it’s very concerning, and I was partly silent from 2019 until now, because I was hoping that Caleb would just get the help that he needs. I have never wanted to “cancel” Caleb, or anyone. I always hoped Caleb would learn from his mistakes and improve himself without ever needing a public call-out to stop him from hurting anymore young people. Unfortunately, as much as I had hoped Caleb would improve, I realize that he has only become much worse than he was to me in 2019.
In March 2019, I noticed a newer member who was 19 years old began to get favored by Caleb, and something in my head started to feel worried that this innocent person might be getting asked questions about if they have ever been spanked (this member had vaguely mentioned stressful moments with their parents during group meetings, which scared me to wonder if this could have Caleb make that connect to his spanking/domination fetish), or that they might potentially get taken advantage of sexually by Caleb one day. This member I am speaking of is Member 2. This member seemed so excited to be in SYNA and to be Caleb’s friend, and I really didn’t know what to do. I was afraid of being accused of making false accusations/starting drama, if I were to preemptively warn this member before anything bad actually ever happened. I ended up never warning this member, never speaking to this member one-on-one, and it wasn’t until 2022 that I had found out the true extent of exploitation and prostitution that Caleb had put this young and innocent person through. Caleb ended up prostituting this person while they were homeless, and while Caleb told them repeatedly to not get a regular dayjob. Caleb told this person to not get a regular dayjob, because that isn’t what committed revolutionaries do. However, Caleb had no problem with paying them for his sexual gratification. I live with that guilt, I can’t believe I never warned that member back when I had the chance in 2019. I would have seemed crazy if I warned them.
I urge all young members of CPI to question everything and everyone. Do your due diligence. Don’t naively trust people just because they call themself an activist or a comrade. Do not be afraid to question Caleb’s credentials- does Caleb have experience in accounting, nonprofit accounting, or positive youth development? Caleb keeps working around young people, has he taken precautions to create strict boundaries with minors and young adults, has he been formally trained in how to work with high school/college freshman aged students? Does Caleb even see the value in taking a step back from CPI in order to learn more about how to teach youth appropriately and work on himself? This is an opportunity for people to prove if they are a true comrade or not. I was forced out of SYNA because I did not want to be Caleb’s prostitute. I have provided the background and details, and I have allowed SYNA members to hold my phone and look through my messages with Caleb. Will you take the side of the predators who wish to silence me, who continue to further break the law by creating libel and slander about me, who wish to intimidate victims into silence? Or, will you actually be a comrade and support injustice everywhere, even if it gives you cognitive dissonance?
3. Caleb Maupin’s General Abusive and Exploitative Behavior:
3A. Keaten Mansfield’s Statement:
On July 16th, 2021, when I was 18 years old, I left rural Illinois for NYC after a phone call from Caleb Maupin asking me to become a fulltime canvasser for the Center for Political Innovation under the outreach organization called the John Brown Volunteers.
I arrived in New York City that night at a hotel room in Jersey City with one bed where Joey (Yankee Tankie) had lived for several days before. Joey and I quickly got to know each other, both having to live in such a small space and travel into Manhattan daily.
In the coming months, Caleb and I would get to know each other on a very personal level. Caleb would mention wanting to leave his wife and how miserable it was back in his hometown in Ohio.
Looking back, many, if not most, of the things Caleb expressed to me in private, were designed to suddenly pit Joey and I against one another, culminating with the bestowing of the Aqeeq ring immediately before going to Texas in December. Caleb wanted us both vying for his favor at the expense of respecting one another. Caleb saw the Aqeeq ring in Iran; he wears one all the time because it is a symbol of power. After promising Joey and me we would both receive one, instead he gave one only to me in NYC before I left for Texas. At the time, he told me it was a status symbol, and that only his most trusted “inner circle” could wear one like him. Therefore, people will notice we were all wearing the same ring everywhere. When I got back home to Jersey City, it was awkward when Joey noticed it, and I didn’t have an explanation for why I got one and he didn’t. I eventually stopped wearing it because I felt disgusted with everything this represented: a manipulation tactic Caleb used to make each of us think we were individually special to him and that he trusted each of us the most. Caleb also gave one to another member who I was very close to, Lily. This trick of playing members off each other was not limited to Joey and me. Lily has also experienced and admitted to this being a reality.
When Caleb, Lily, and I were in Nicaragua for their November 2021 elections, Caleb would constantly complain to me about Lily’s immaturity and stress how glad he was that his “right hand guy” (referring to me) did not act like Lily.
When I arrived in New York City I drove my Buick from Illinois to Jersey City to become a full-time volunteer for CPI. Very much unfamiliar with daily life in cities the size of Jersey City and New York, I put my car in the parking garage several blocks from our motel. Several months later when Caleb wanted us to head south and connect with San Angelo Solidarity, a separate group allied with CPI, he became very angry with me when my car wouldn’t start because it had sat idle from July until the end of November. Fortunately for Caleb, my mother was willing to cosign on a dealer loan for another car, with the understanding that if this car was being used to transport members from New York City to Texas, Maupin would make the car insurance payments every month. Caleb readily agreed to this, excited to send us to San Angelo. However, since December, not a single dime has gone to uphold Caleb‘s agreement to make payments on the car that was being used solely for his organization.
Around the time of New Years 2022 Caleb sent me a screenshot of an argument he was having with his wife. In it you can see him mention that he plans to make enough money off of CPI that he can quit his job at RT. He also says blatantly that he will live in a “compound” in the woods where he would live with “the kids”.
After driving this car from New York to Texas, Texas to Chicago, Chicago to Kansas, and countless trips from the retreat center to the airport an hour away, the car gave out. I feel I was being tasked to drive for CPI to ensure I was not present at any facilitator meetings, despite the fact that only a few months before that, Caleb was praising me as CPI‘s most important asset. On the last day of the retreat, as everyone was preparing to go home, the transmission gave out, leaving me stranded in Kansas. After telling Caleb my car (which I’d put 40,000 miles on in six months specifically for CPI work) had broken down, his immediate concern was having drivers to make airport trips.
Caleb also spoke to me about what he was doing sexually with Member 2. He would make inappropriate comments about him to me, and in December in 2021 he admitted to me that he hired Member 2 as a sex worker/professional dom. He also made some very lewd comments about Member 2 to me, including through text.
After the retreat, Caleb asked me to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. He didn’t exactly specify what it was about, but he did give hints. Caleb said he would give me the rest of the money he owed me for allowing CPI to use my vehicle if I signed it, which he owed me prior to the creation of the NDA. Over text, I asked Caleb if I could read over the NDA and take some time to make a decision. Caleb took this to mean that I am “playing hard ball”, and that he can do that too. I restated that the money he owed me was accrued before the idea of this NDA was ever created.
Caleb‘s lack of concern for the well-being of any member save himself is in stark contrast to the political line he claims to believe in. The conduct of Caleb Maupin and CPI is the leading reason I’ve come to realize I no longer identify with communist political circles.
3B. Joey Schantz’s (Yankee Tankie) Statement:
Back in June 2021, when I was 27 years old, I went to the Saxton Lectures in Pennsylvania specifically to network with folks, and to join the CPI. I was strongly inspired by the words of Caleb Maupin, and motivated to get out of the movement and into the masses. There I discovered Caleb was putting together an outreach team in NYC and he invited anyone to talk to him who were interested in joining. I talked to Caleb and he told me to come out to NYC and he would have a place ready for me.
I went to NYC only to discover that he didn’t have a place, and I would have to go to a hotel. Caleb told me he didn’t want to pay for a hotel room for just me. At this point I sold a majority of my possessions and used that money to pay for hotel rooms. After the end of the week I was almost out of money so I was forced to sell my car to pay for the hotel room in Jersey City. I used that money to pay for a room. At the end of the week Keaten Mansfield came to Jersey City, which Caleb felt was worth paying for a hotel room for both of us.
During our time at the motel room, I used my food stamps to pay for food for me and Keaten. I got about $250 a month to pay for our food. Later another individual joined us and my food stamps had to pay for that person as well. Caleb often told us that we had to struggle to achieve Socialism. In hindsight I see that was Caleb’s attempt to manipulate us into not asking him for a lot of money.
I am diabetic and I also have MRSA which never goes away. So my bad diet connected to our limited budget ultimately led to my sugar spiking which fed the MRSA, and caused a MRSA infection which I had to go to the hospital for. The day I went into the hospital, the John Brown Volunteers were at a political rally in Times Square. Caleb asked if I could come join my comrades at the rally as soon as I left the hospital, even though I really should’ve been resting and recovering from the infection.
Caleb promised to take care of our food, our housing, and any other material needs that we had. Alas Caleb failed to provide even the most basic resources to help us survive, and insisted we use our canvassing contributions to cover everything. However, canvassing is very slow and tedious work, and it never brought in enough income to sustain us all. I often had to dig through garbage put out by grocery stores just so we could eat. My Comrades would even live on less because, according to Caleb, “this is what Revolutionaries had to do to survive”. We would ignore these problems, or even sometimes have fights with each other. Member 3 often would get in conflicts with me and Keaten about how Caleb should be helping us more and we would defend Caleb and his treatment of us. We would say to Member 3 that we had to tolerate the mistreatment because it was for the good of the organization. Eventually, Member 3 gave up on arguing against our mistreatment and began working as an “escort” to help us cover our expenses. I was still using my food stamps to keep us fed, but their additional income took care of everything else that our feeble canvassing earnings couldn’t cover.
Later when we went to Texas I came up with the idea of the branch of the CPI I called Bridges to Labor with the goal of building socialist reading groups within work places. Upon Caleb learning of this project he would have private conversations with Keaten Mansfield telling him that I was trying to steal his spotlight, that I was jealous of Keaten as a way to manipulate Keaten to be against me. I never had any desire to steal Keaten Mansfield’s spotlight. Instead I just wanted to expand the reach of the CPI into work places which I viewed as part of the goals of the CPI in the first place.
After an argument with Keaten that got me kicked out of the John Brown Volunteers Caleb offered to pay for a ticket home back to Pennsylvania. He never offered to pay me back for my possessions I sold for the organization, including my car. He never offered to provide any type of housing until I could get myself on my feet. He simply abandoned me with $200, either to be homeless in Texas or go back to Pennsylvania. I tried to live out in Texas and soon realized I couldn’t make enough money to get out of the hotel I was staying at and I would soon be homeless so I was forced to head back to Pennsylvania. I ultimately, since getting kicked out of the organization, have been living in an abandoned house to survive, forced into e-begging on the internet to sustain myself while in-between jobs. This has affected my public image, and thus has affected my ability to make content and organize in the future.
Because of these events and the experiences of others explained through their testimony, to me it seems as if Caleb doesn’t actually want to build a Think Tank but instead build an organization of yes-men willing to do whatever Caleb wants. To maintain that pool of Yes-men he will weed out the people who won’t follow his orders by manipulating members against each other.
Further, Caleb has broken his promises to take care of those who join his organization. I am incredibly disappointed because quite frankly Caleb is the whole reason I am a communist. It pains me to admit that the man I was willing to follow to the end of the earth has mistreated me and many other Comrades. Caleb has duped me, he has duped many, and he is an endangerment to many within these circles. I am disappointed on who Caleb has revealed himself to be, not a Revolutionary but a grifter trying to build a cult.
3C. D.L.’s Statement:
I first formally met Caleb Maupin in Philadelphia in July of 2016 during the Democratic National Convention; I was protesting and running events with World Can’t Wait at the time. I was 18 years old and had enrolled to begin college in Manhattan just a month later. Caleb said he wanted to speak with me once I moved to Manhattan for school, he had an idea for a new political project. This is how our relationship began and the seeds were planted. Throughout the earlier years of our relationship, he acted as a guide and provided me with some direction and opportunities, it wasn’t until later that I realized this was largely to help his own image and not out of any genuine spark he saw in me. When I first moved to Manhattan I hardly knew anybody, Caleb had my undivided attention and confided in me multiple times that I was one of the few people who understood him, he saw such potential in me, etc. Fast forward to 2020, our relationship took a turn for the worst. When I was forced to move back to PA because of the economic situation brought on by the pandemic, Caleb repeatedly expressed his opposition to me remaining with family for an extended period of time, I thought this was weird but didn’t think much of it since the plan wasn’t for me to remain in PA for too long anyway, of course the pandemic and the lockdowns lasted longer than we initially thought. Throughout 2020 and 2021 Caleb repeatedly tried to convince me to drop everything and move back to NYC/NJ, he was insistent that my continuing to have a relationship with my family and childhood friends was the root cause of all the issues in my life. He said I would never get anywhere or get a career like his if I didn’t shun them and have minimal contact with any of these people I held close to my heart. His efforts to get me to isolate myself from my family and friends would intensify when I would come to him when I was experiencing pits in my mental health and was more vulnerable. There were times when I was crying to him about how unhappy I was generally in life (not even bringing up my family or my personal relationships) and his advice was to move into some hotel in NJ with other people I hardly knew within the next few days. He wanted me to disappear in the eyes of my friends and family and job to join the John Brown Volunteers. It was at this point that I realized that this was also a point that he would bring up any time I went home for holidays or long weekends; whenever I was outside his sphere of influence or control. Whenever I would express that there were people in my life I did not intend to drop, he would be visibly upset with this and continue to urge me to do so. I thought this was bizarre, but I figured it was just a friend being over-zealous in trying to convince me to do things they were convinced would make me happier.
In July of 2021, I helped put together the CPI conference in Saxton PA. I drove from my location in PA to pick Caleb up in NYC, then drove to Saxton, back to NYC, and back to my location in PA in order to check out the venue Caleb selected. This day was over 12 hours of driving on my part with 0 compensation besides gas, despite my suggestions to make the trip easier on me. Once I got to the conference site a day or two early to set up and train to be a moderator, I realized once again how nefarious a lot of the tactics and methods Caleb was pushing were. Each of us were given a few attendees to “look after”, we were instructed to practice “deep listening” and never to break eye contact with the people we were speaking with, a sort of weird psychologically intimidating practice. Everything at this conference was orchestrated to the last detail by Caleb, people’s reactions to lines of his speeches, attendees in the inner circle had certain lines to rehearse and perfect to Caleb’s liking, and conversations were simulated in order to elicit certain responses.
A few months later Caleb invited me to come along on a CPI delegation to Nicaragua along with himself, and 2 other CPI members. The trip would be around a week long. At first I was interested and excited about the prospect of going to Nicaragua, but I soon found out that it would be logistically impossible. I was paying housing costs, I had a full time job, bills, a car payment, etc, I couldn’t shell out extra hundreds of dollars for a specialty COVID test, extra costs associated with the trip, etc. At the time I did not have any paid time off, so all the time off from the trip would also be unpaid, I especially couldn’t afford to be stranded in Nicaragua or Mexico like many other delegations because a specific COVID restriction wasn’t met. Caleb did not understand this and argued with me about it for days. It was at this point I believe he realized he didn’t have any control over me or practical influence over me, not like when I was 18, 19, or even 20. My main concern with the trip turned out to be well placed because his delegation then got stranded in Mexico for an extra couple of days because of specific COVID test result specifications; the trip I already couldn’t afford would have been a financial disaster for me. Much to my surprise, Caleb demanded I send him 500 dollars while they were in Nicaragua for the “flight” I “didn’t take” and for “refusing to go to Nicaragua”. Caleb explained that they had raised the money for my ticket. I wondered why he felt entitled to 500 dollars that didn’t come out of his pocket.. When I was offered a trip to Venezuela through my own contacts there shortly after the Nicaragua debacle, I took it. The expenses were covered and the COVID tests didn’t pose a problem because of different restrictions. About a month after I got back, having not heard from Caleb or CPI, I reached out to Caleb as to why this was. Caleb was furious with me. He called my trip to Venezuela a “big F you” to him and that he was “livid” that I didn’t “notify or consult” him. He said I didn’t belong in group settings and didn’t understand what being in an organization entails. He also suggested that “Maybe you should ask yourself why you had a total of 3 friends in your entire post-secondary educational experience”. We eventually agreed to stop arguing and came to a rough understanding, but it was clear our relationship was on a greater decline than before. This discussion with him was in December 2021. This was the last time we had a substantive conversation besides small talk.
I hadn’t thought much of my experiences with Caleb and CPI until I reached out to other people who had also left the group in the past few months. When I found out that some of the exact same lines that Caleb heaped upon me had also been said to other CPI members, the dots started to connect. All of the people who Caleb approaches(d) share a couple things in common; they feel lost, they have little sense of belonging to a supportive community, they have some problems with family/friends, they are disillusioned, they have little to no direction, they have low self esteem, they are longing for a purpose and want to change the world for the better. They are almost always younger, from 16–20, have little experience in the political realm and crave guidance. These traits also make somebody the perfect candidate for grooming or cult manipulation. Caleb’s obsession with public speaking’s “power of persuasion” as well as his obsession with manipulative psychology makes a lot more sense with the knowledge I now have. Caleb made me feel like his star pupil or something to that effect when I was manipulatable and also providing large amounts of exposure and clout for himself and his organization (also himself). Once I made it clear that I was not just a manipulatable pawn of his, I was dropped gradually from his interest. I believe that he has a vision for CPI to be a loose cult around himself; all the reading material is written by him and always on sale at every event, he would constantly complain that he is not recognized by the world enough, that he “should be a communist rockstar”. I believe that there are people currently in CPI who are in the same position that I was when I was 18 or 19, I hope they are able to understand the danger of this situation before they too outlive their usefulness for Caleb. This is not about politics, I hope all of the people who feel let down by these revelations about Caleb and CPI do not lose interest, there is a place for non identity politics centered populist organizing, but not from within a cult or in pursuit of further inflating a sociopathic demagogue’s ego.
3D. Madeleine’s Statement:
I became involved with Caleb Maupin’s thinktank, CPI, in December of 2021 when I was 23. Since my involvement, there have been a few incidents which have alarmed me regarding Maupin’s direction of CPI and the treatment of his members. I will be focusing on one personal conversation as well as a general overview of his recent political retreat in June.
A conversation that struck me as strange, in March 2022, seems to have deeper significance given the information brought to light by other members. Caleb told me a story of President LBJ spanking students he was teaching while in Texas in the 1920’s. I thought this was odd, as the story didn’t really have much bearing on our conversation, and I wasn’t sure how to respond to it. It felt out of place. I said I think spanking children is an immoral thing to do. It is my feeling that Caleb purposefully brought up this story to me in order to test the waters on my reaction to corporal punishment/spanking, or to encourage me to discuss my own experience if I had any. This lines up with the information brought up by Member 1. Given the fact that he has admitted to subtly hinting at his sexual fetish, or outright asking women their thoughts on it, it seems to me that this was his way of testing my reaction. While my particular experience here benign, it seems to fit a pattern of Caleb bringing up the topic of spanking with people who are unaware of his sexual proclivities related to it. If I had not made it clear I was against that sort of punishment, Caleb may have used that conversation to later open up about his sexual fetish with me as he has with others.
My second concern is the fact that Caleb has made it clear that he has the intentions to direct his members in a cultish manner. Many people know that he enjoys reading about cults and he will even discuss the history of cults over live-streams, etc. However, observing his direction of CPI has made it obvious he wants to implement some of the tactics he has read about. I was selected as a facilitator for his June CPI retreat, and noticed multiple instances of these bizarre tactics at the facilitator training. First, an exercise of “deep listening” was conducted in which facilitators were instructed to maintain continuous, unbroken eye-contact with the attendee, show engaged body-language, and ultimately memorize the conversation in order to make the attendee feel closely bonded to the facilitator. There was then a compliment-giving/receiving exercise done in order to rehearse interacting with guests. Caleb also requested that retreat facilitators approach attendees in the morning and ask them about their dreams from the night before. The content of the retreat was going to “affect people not only on a conscious level but on a subconscious level” and Caleb wanted to learn about the psychological effects of his political retreat on the attendees. He also explained that attendees should be separated from those whom they arrived with, in order for them to make friends with others. Thirdly, facilitators were made to practice group chanting during the facilitator training period. This included multiple minutes of chanting different political slogans and phrases. Maupin explicitly said this activity was meant to break the taboo around group chanting. Group chanting was used often throughout the entire retreat, usually with some sort of cue that prompted facilitators to begin the chant. It was clear that some of the attendees were put-off and made uncomfortable by this. Lastly, Caleb had facilitators repeatedly rehearse his “big entrance”. This consisted of prolonged clapping when he entered the room, him giving out handshakes and hugs, and extended chanting. Caleb told us he wanted to “jolt people” upon his arrival to the retreat building. This rehearsal was repeated three times. While these activities may just come across as strange or awkward, it is concerning that they show the beginning stages of Caleb’s implementation of manipulation tactics. It is one thing to want to foster an uplifting, positive environment, it is another thing to use cultish tactics and mechanically rehearse certain behavioral cues in order to manipulate people.
I have met a number of excellent, genuine individuals through my work with CPI who I am so glad to call friends. It saddens me to see these people be unknowingly used for Caleb’s own personal gain, rather than have their talents as political activists be used for authentic anti-imperialist purposes. All of us were brought together because of an interest in building a strong and compassionate political community; the ambitions of one self-interested person should not supersede the political goals of all of us.
4. Corroboration from Other Members:
4A. Nick’s (Flame of Liberation) Statement:
To be clear I am not writing this statement to shed light on abuse that I faced, because I do not believe that I was a victim of anything of much significance, but I am writing this to establish how far back I and Caleb go in political organizing and that I have verified the statements made by the other members who were abused by Caleb Maupin.
I had considered Caleb Maupin to be a close comrade since the year 2014 (I was 19 years old at the time). For the past 8 years I had consistently defended him and promoted him. I first began organizing with Caleb Maupin in the Spring of 2014 when he was a prominent member of the Workers World Party (WWP). He was eventually pushed out of WWP in late 2015. He would go on to form Students and Youth for a New America in 2016. After learning about SYNA I eventually joined the group in early 2017. Eventually Member 1 also joined SYNA in 2017. She contributed a tremendous amount to SYNA. I considered her to be a very committed comrade. She brought so many of her friends to SYNA events to introduce them to our politics and to try to get them involved in organizing with the group. Eventually in late 2018 Member 2 joined SYNA. During this period CPI (Center for Political Innovation) started up. Although CPI did not exist as a formalized concrete group as it exists now, we would sometimes hold events in the name of CPI and sometimes in the name of SYNA, such as ‘The History of Socialist Activism in the United States’ which occurred in October 2018. Going forward we would have events sometimes in the name of CPI and sometimes in SYNA’s name. One of the best actions I think that CPI did during this period was leafleting and doing outreach at a Bernie Sanders rally in early 2019. Me, Member 1, Member 2, D.L. and Caleb. We gave out information about the truth about Venezuela as at that time in 2019 there was an ongoing coup attempt by the US against Venezuela, and we were there to try to give Bernie Sanders supporters an anti-imperialist message and try to push them in a more anti-imperialist direction. A few months later, in May 2019, Member 1 posted screenshots of a confusing exchange where Caleb was picking a fight with her for some reason that was not clear. In the exchange she was clearly asking him to stop, but he continued to pick a fight with her. I had a suspicion that there was something more to the conversation, but I did not want to pry. Member 1 was pushed out of the group following this incident. Caleb claimed that Member 1 was an alcoholic in an attempt to discredit her. He also tried to come up with bizarre psychoanalysis of her claiming that she wanted to leave the group but didn’t want to be seen as letting everyone down so she wanted to be kicked out of the group, a very contrived explanation. Caleb would try to claim that Member 1 was not kicked out of SYNA/CPI, but it was very clear that she was not welcome at meetings or events and she was removed from the group chat, so she was indeed pushed out of the group. At the time I gave Caleb the benefit of the doubt, I had known him for five years and I figured that he would be honest about the situation. Today it’s now clear that that was not the case, as Member 1’s testimony makes clear. Since getting back in contact with her I have gone over the messages exchanged between her and Caleb during that final argument, as well as when she made clear that she had no interest in doing anything sexual with him, and previous messages where he would talk about his particular sexual interest. I have seen these exchanges in full, direct from Member 1’s FaceBook Messenger app, and what she says is indeed the true version of events.
With regards to Member 2, they first got involved in SYNA in the fall of 2018. Member 2 gave a very good class on the history of US imperialism in Haiti and was very active in organizing SYNA/CPI over the years. In 2021 Member 2 was active with the newly formed John Brown Volunteers (JBV) which was a full-time outreach team for CPI. Member 2 along with Joey (Yankee Tankie) and Keaten would do consistent outreach to people on the street trying to get them to buy buttons which say “Student Debt” crossed out. Half of the money would go to the John Brown Volunteers members to survive off of, and the other half would go to CPI, or in other words, it would go to Caleb Maupin. The JBVs would spend hours doing this outreach, and as you can imagine, they would bring in very little money, and only half of it would go to them to live off of. The JBVs were staying at a hotel in New Jersey and would commute back and forth to New York. I knew that they were not living in good conditions at the time, but I only found out later just how bad their living conditions were. I later found out that Member 2 asked Caleb if the JBVs could just get normal jobs instead of selling buttons to make money to survive off of, they would make more money. Caleb rejected this idea, which indicates that the idea of selling buttons was not just an ineffective and foolish idea (considering that trying to sell random people on the street buttons was not bringing much money), but a calculated plan to keep the JBVs in an impoverished situation so that they would stay reliant on him. This is a clearly abusive cult tactic. At the time I was able to overlook this because in my mind I was thinking “this is a not so well thought out plan by Caleb”, and being that I wasn’t doing full time outreach like the JBVs I didn’t feel that it would be appropriate for me to criticize the idea. I was not yet aware that Member 2 had suggested that the JBVs get regular jobs where they would be making much more money. I was also totally unaware that Member 2, who was in massive student loan debt, was resorting to “sex work” for survival. I was all the more disturbed to find out later that Caleb Maupin was fully aware of this and that Member 2 was using that money to feed themself and the other JBVs. As if this was not horrendous enough I would come to learn that Caleb Maupin was demanding that Member 2 fork over $200 a month to him “for the organization”. This is horrendous behavior on Caleb’s part and is far beyond anything acceptable to do to anyone, let alone someone who you call a comrade. I was even more disgusted to find out that in December of 2021 Caleb had approached Member 2, someone he knew was in a very economically vulnerable situation, and requested that Member 2 do sexual favors for him for money. In case Caleb tries to argue that Member 2 was not part of CPI at the time, I have a screenshot of him from late December where I asked him if Member 2 was still part of the group. I had asked him because there were some rumors circulated about him online; at the time I did not believe the rumors, but in this same screenshot you can also see that he accidentally admits to something that I hadn’t already known.
There you can clearly see he believes Member 2 was still part of the group. I was surprised when he mentioned “verbal abuse”. This was the first time Caleb had mentioned any of this sexual stuff to me and I believe he said it because he had lost track of what he told to whom over the years. To me this was the first major sign that there was something very troubling going on behind the scenes. As you can see in my next texts, I tried to cover my ears and look away. I tried my best to give him the benefit of the doubt. As months passed from that incident in late December 2021 Caleb began to talk about Member 2 who hadn’t been at CPI meetings or events since 2021. Caleb would say things to the effect that Member 2 was a drug addict and that they could not be part of CPI anymore. Caleb also told a story about an incident in California where he and Member 2 had gone out to dinner with local CPI members and that Member 2 disappeared and that they found Member 2 lying on the sidewalk “curled up outside the restaurant” and that it was because Member 2 was using drugs. This story did not sit right with me, because it took place in September 2021, and he was talking about it to me and others in June 2022. It was the first time I had heard about it, and it was very suspicious because if it had indeed been true I would have almost certainly heard about it shortly after it happened. It appeared to me to be a way of Caleb further discrediting Member 2. I got in contact with one of the CPI comrades in California who was there and asked him what he remembered happening at the restaurant, and as I had feared, what he said did not match up with Caleb’s version of events. He did not say that Member 2 was laying down or “curled up”, but that Member 2 was outside smoking a cigarette. What this meant was that Caleb was lying to me to try to preemptively discredit Member 2 in case they ever came forward about what happened.
Regarding the cult aspect of CPI, Caleb has made it very clear that he has studied cults in depth. He often will talk about this cult or that cult during his YouTube livestreams. Caleb’s longtime friend and ally Daniel Burke had also told me that Caleb had gone to a meeting of a cult and had studied their tactics. There is nothing inherently wrong with studying such things if the intention is to just be better informed on the topic, but the reason why this needs to be mentioned is because if such tactics were being used by Caleb it couldn’t be seen as a mistake or a coincidence, he was very familiar with such practices. When Caleb started using the same tactics which he had talked about during his YouTube live streams as cult tactics from cults he had studied I became even more concerned. At the June 2022 retreat I was a facilitator and I gave a class to the CPI members. During the facilitator training Caleb insisted that we do certain things with guests that were very cultish. He insisted that we do “deep listening” with the guest that we were paired with. By “deep listening” he said that we should keep eye contact with them for the whole conversation and not break eye contact at all, and also not interrupt or interject. To be on the receiving end of this treatment it feels like you’re being grilled to have the other person staring at you nonstop, and it also puts you on the spot to keep talking further because the other person isn’t saying anything. Caleb also suggested that we ask guests in the morning if they had any dreams. During the facilitator training Caleb said “this is going to affect people not just on a conscious level but on a subconscious level”. Caleb also insisted that we facilitators should practice doing chants which we would lead throughout the retreat. There is nothing wrong with chants in and of themselves, chanting is common practice at a rally or protest, but the way that these chants were done was very bizarre. People noticed that the chants would drag on to a point where it would feel uncomfortable. Caleb has talked in his YouTube livestreams about how cults use chants to get people into a psychological state where they are not thinking rationally. Caleb Maupin also insisted on having a grand entrance for the opening of the conference. He insisted that everyone should be waiting around for the event to start and that there should be classical music playing in the background. Then he would arrive and the chanting would begin and he would go around hugging everyone. He said he wanted the atmosphere to be very calm before he arrived and then when he made his entrance he wanted it to jolt everyone. Caleb made us practice his grand entrance 3 times. I had also noticed Caleb Maupin trying to do more and more bizarre psychoanalysis of people ranging from political figures, to people he claimed were his friends and comrades. He would come to conclusions about strange alleged secret motives that people had which often either betrayed issues that he himself has or was done to try and make members distrust each other.
It’s very clear that Caleb Maupin has ambitions to lead a cult and that he has been responsible for sexual misconduct against comrades, and then went on to push them out and slander them, which is totally unacceptable. The word comrade isn’t just a mere word, it has a deep meaning and significance to us who use it, it means having a deep bond and loyalty to a person in the cause we believe in. It’s a very heavy word which previous generations of revolutionaries all over the world shed their blood for, and if we’re serious about what we claim to believe in then we can’t betray that standard. As someone who was Caleb’s friend and comrade for eight years I have been his most consistent defender and ally over the years, so it was not easy for me to write this statement, but I knew there was no other way. After learning what people I consider to be comrades were put through by Caleb I could not do anything other than support them. Even if it were done to people that I didn’t know and didn’t consider to be comrades it would still be totally unacceptable, but the fact that this was done to comrades makes it all the more heinous. From my perspective, the most important thing is that the people he has taken advantage of and abused have their justice, for Caleb to be unable to ever repeat these acts against anyone ever again, and for Caleb to genuinely get the help he needs in resolving whatever deeper issues caused this behavior on his part.
4B. Joe Gale’s (Joe the Red) Statement:
The first people I ever organized with was Caleb Maupin along with many other like minded comrades. The recent events have left me heartbroken and lost in my political life, the pain that he has caused people who trusted him, the alleged lies and manipulation, all things I never thought Caleb was capable of. I feel foolish and naive to have put so much trust in someone, to think they would never do anything to those who looked up to them. We cannot let go of our political and economic ambitions over these events. The people who have come together while working with CPI are not done fighting for the people, we will keep working together to bring a social revolution to the United States. During so much attacks against anti imperialist forces it should only strengthen our resolve and drive us to only fight harder.
4C. Don D.’s (Don D. in NYC) Statement:
Caleb Maupin was someone I held in high regard because of his broad knowledge, his ability to inspire people, his willingness to take unpopular but correct positions, and to defend people who others shunned.
But he betrayed my trust in him with his selfish and unethical behavior. Personally, I’m heartbroken and angry. He took advantage of young comrades who were in need, urging one person to prostitute themself to pay the rent on a wretched hotel apartment where two other comrades were living rent-free (CPI paid the rent while they were full-time volunteers, selling books and buttons to earn enough to eat). This is only one of MANY of his unethical, uncomradely acts. He persuaded the same person to act out his own humiliating sexual fantasies. This isn’t about sex. It’s about manipulation and slander. What consenting adults do is not a part of my complaint, but manipulating someone in need is contemptible, and lying about them to hide what he’d done multiplies my contempt. I don’t think that two-faced coward can fathom the damage he’s done. It’s a shame when a valuable comrade undoes all of the good things he’s accomplished by lying, cheating, slandering comrades. (This should be a caution to anyone who considers doing something you shouldn’t because you think you won’t get caught.)
Mistakes could be forgiven, but this is an issue of Caleb’s repeated behaviors, of his character; he needs to apologize to everyone he’s harmed and stop pretending to be a communist leader. Honesty is a must!
My first notion that something was wrong occurred when a scalding video made the rounds accusing another CPI comrade of many things, including, worst of all in my opinion, abusing their authority. I asked Caleb what he was going to do, I didn’t want CPI to be wrecked by allowing anyone to get away with that. Caleb was indifferent, and now I know why. That same person had dirt on him.
Because the Center for Political Innovation and Caleb Maupin are so closely linked, I think CPI has to cease to operate as an organization, but I hope everyone who’s ready to continue to take communism to the masses would regroup with the same sense of purpose. It’s a necessity that we regroup without Caleb under a new name.
I know it’s going to take many people some time to decide what to do about this, especially those who only know the video persona Caleb presents. If you take the class struggle seriously, please help build a new organization.
5. Going Forward
All of us who were brought together by the ideals that we stand for must continue to fight for them. We must not allow charlatans who abuse our comrades to be in any position of leadership. If we are serious about what we claim to stand for we cannot make excuses for this kind of behavior. This is not about unfair demonization or “cancel culture”, this is about preventing this kind of abuse from happening within our ranks and against our comrades. An organization so tainted by this kind of abuse and dishonesty can not be repurposed. Even though it might seem like an easier option to simply continue CPI without Caleb Maupin leading it, it is really not possible to separate CPI as an organization from the image of Caleb Maupin. Something new will come about which will not be tainted by this and which can be a true vehicle for fighting for optimistic socialism and anti-imperialism. As far as what Caleb Maupin can do, the first thing he should do is own up to his abuses, admit that what we have laid out in this document is true, and not try to come up with ridiculous lies, or slander us to tarnish our motivations for bringing this corruption to light. A prerequisite for Caleb Maupin to do what is right would be for him to own up to everything and not try to lie about those who exposed this abuse. Caleb Maupin must not attempt to be in a leadership position or have authority over others (especially youth). At the end of the day it’s up to him as to which way he will go, but it should be abundantly clear to anyone reading this that Caleb needs to get help for his issues. We also want to provide support to other members of CPI, and we know that you don’t share any blame for Caleb Maupin’s abuses. We must not let this crisis dishearten us, we should realize that by resolving this situation ourselves and not allowing it to be hostile political forces that brought this scandal to light we avoided an even worse potential disaster. Whatever comes out of this crisis we should have confidence that we will all continue to be comrades and work together to fight for what we know to be true.
If you would like to get in contact, or if you have any questions, please direct them to [email protected]. The two members who were victims of Caleb’s sexual misconduct wrote their statements using pseudonyms to protect themselves from any retaliation or harassment, please respect their privacy. If you have any evidence of Caleb’s further abuse, please come forward.
CPI/SYNA members endorsing this document
Joey Schantz (Yankee Tankie)
Nick (Flame of Liberation)
Joe Gale (Joe the Red)
Don D. (Don D. in NYC)
Charlotte (CharChar Darling)