The ‘Peoples Temple’ has always felt deep sympathy for the heroic people of the Soviet Union. Your remarkable achievements over 60 years of socialist construction, and the dedication of the Soviet people who defended their homeland (and the world) from the Nazis, has guaranteed our continued strong and consistent support of the Soviet Union, as well as all the liberation movements in the world – which serve as our constant source of inspiration. As Marxist-Leninists and internationalists, we not only are friends of the Soviet Union, but also, as I wrote to the director of the American Russian Institute in San Francisco (CA) – reported recently (in February 1978) and published in the journal ‘New Times’ – we also believe the Soviet Union is our spiritual home. The report also stated that the ‘Peoples Temple’ is actively working among the poor of all races, trying to pull them out of the abyss of despair prevailing in the ghetto, get rid of drug addiction, physical and the social ills caused by capitalism. This is why the ‘People’s Temple’ has established close contact with the American Institute of Russian Affairs which has provided us with invaluable support and material assistance. The motives of this support are because the ‘People’s Temple’ wants to contribute to the creation of conditions for world peace and detente between the United States and the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the ‘Peoples Temple’ supports all progressive movements and organizations.’
Jim Jones – Communication with Soviet Authorities
The Jonestown Massacre occurred on November 18th, 1978, in the South American country of Guyana. Jonestown was a community of mostly African-American men, women and children, and a much smaller number of White and other Ethnic Minority US citizens. The community was overseen by the anti-racist radical known as Jim Jones (1931-1978), who many years earlier, had founded the People’s Temple as a means to build a society free of Eurocentric racism, where Black people could live ‘free’ of all forms of capitalist oppression, morally supported by non-Black people wherever needed or required. This approach emphasised that Black people should be accorded the dignity and material means to live a full and productive existence as true human beings, no longer hindered by the limitations of systemic racism. The point of this approach was to avoid co-dependency and the usual class system prevalent in modern capitalist societies, where the White bourgeoisie (which controls the means of intellectual and material production) attempts to continuously replicate their natural cultural (and racist) dominance at the point of contact, in all social groupings. This event has attracted a massive amount of academic research, not only from the West (varying in quality, insight and coherency), but also in the former Soviet Union. Extraordinarily, in 1987, when the last General Security of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union – Mikhail Gorbachev – was beginning his disastrous non-Socialist reforms (pandering to Western capitalism), the Soviet Progress Press published an extraordinarily well researched book entitled ‘The Jonestown Carnage: A CIA Crime (1978), authored by S.F. Alinin, B.G. Antonov and A.N. Itskov. This book was simultaneously published in both Russian and English formats, and soon became very popular in the West, even begrudgingly amongst those who habitually support capitalism. This is a sound dialectical Soviet text that lays the factual foundation of ALL the events surrounding Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, the Criminal Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the racist US political system. Many Western researchers point-out (whilst denying any interest in Communism), that the facts recorded in this ‘Soviet’ book mirrors those arrived at (or discovered) by many ardent non-Soviet researchers. A brief summary of the Soviet version is that Jim Jones was a genuine Marxist-Leninist (and atheist) who had informed the Soviet Authorities that he intended to apply the teachings of ‘Internationalism’ and ‘anti-racism’ in the USA through the front of a Socialist Christian Church – named the ‘People’s Temple’. Indeed, it is recorded that the Soviet Authorities applauded this revolutionary act aimed to combat the racism implicit in the US system, and referred to the approach of Jones as being one of ‘Utopian Socialism’. Jones received not only moral, but also apparently material and financial support from the USSR that allowed him to relocate his church a number of times around the US (gathering tens of thousands of adherents as he went), before purchasing land and finally settling in Guyana with probably about 1000 followers. The US government ordered the CIA to put a stop to this revolutionary movement because it was felt that Jones was encouraging Black people to rise-up and break White racist hegemony in the USA.
However, the story many of us are taught is that Jim Jones was a lunatic Christian who through the use of brain-washing, misled nearly a thousand people to take their lives (with those who resisted, being killed by those who complied). The mostly ‘Black’ victims are portrayed as ‘stupid’ adherents of a socio-pathic killer, who misused the Christian religion as a personal power trip (murdering a US Congressman along the way). An extension of this version (preferred by such researchers as Mae Brussell, who refers to Jones as a ‘Nazi’, and his commune as a modern-style ‘Concentration Camp’), is that Jim Jones was a CIA operative involved in an extension of the MKUltra mind control programme initiated by the CIA in the 1950’s, as a means to prevent people converting to Communism, and to make (primarily ‘Black’) US citizens angry and violent whenever the subject of Communism was encountered. The Jonestown experiment was aimed primarily at Black people as a means to encourage a sense of self-destruction brought-on by religious fanaticism, Brussell suggests. Once perfected, this method was to be deployed throughout the Black populations of the US, and thereby used to prevent a Communist Revolution in the USA, through the ethnic cleansing and genocide of African-Americans. The Soviet account states that Jones appeared to be genuine in his Socialist intentions, but that the CIA had been agitating for years to gain influence into his movement. In fact, there is a suggestion (in other sources not supported by the Soviet account) that Jones may have been a double-agent and that his remit was from the beginning, to pursue a covert CIA agenda, whilst also appearing to follow an ‘overt’ Socialist experiment. Whatever the case, the Soviet account states that the US military (possibly assisted by the militaries of Guyana and Britain), encircled Jonestown just after the murder of Congressman Ryan (carried out by military personnel), and slowly made their way into the camp. Both Western and Soviet accounts agree that around 80% of those that had died, were either injected with cyanide in the scapula (an area behind the shoulder), shot in the back of the head, or even strangled – with very few drinking the flavour aid (laced with cyanide). As Jim Jones was non-violent, his community possessed very few guns, and those that were recovered after the massacre, amounted to 39 small (.22) calibre pistols, used to protect the compound against snake attacks (these weapons, it is agreed, do not amount to an arsenal, and were too limited to be used to successfully defend the compound from a concerted military-style attack). The Western soldiers methodically worked their way from the periphery of the compound toward the centre pavilion meeting little organised resistance, executing all the men, women, and children as they went, with Jim Jones (recorded on the ‘final’ tape asking his followers not to resist the evil, but to die peacefully like good Socialist – Communist Revolutionaries), being the last to die, being shot with a single round, in the back of the head. It is believed that the killing in the compound was complete by midnight, but that a message was sent from the compound on a secret CIA radio frequency – stating that the mission had been successfully completed. In the meantime, hundreds of followers of Jones had escaped into the surrounding jungle, and over the following hours and days, were ruthlessly hunted down by the US (and associated) military, killed and their bodies brought back to the compound. Bizarrely, the CIA insisted that all the bodies be placed face-down, with their heads positioned toward the pavilion. As the bodies were allowed to lie in the heat for so long, faces were indistinguishable, and finger prints apparently unreadable due to cellular breakdown. This is despite denials from the US government, and stating that their troops had arrived in the area five hours after the massacre! The Soviet Embassy in Guyana had extensive contact with Jim Jones, and probably had Soviet observers in the compound that witnessed the massacre by Western forces, before reporting back. The Soviet account states that Jonestown was a politically motivated massacre, and not a religiously inspired mass suicide, but by comparison, many Western narratives are of a generally racist and anti-Communist nature. The nearly one thousand (predominantly Black victims) are treated with a wide-spread racist disdain, and Jim Jones is portrayed as an unhinged psychopath. I suspect Jonestown was an exercise in the Western capitalist system protecting its own hegemony against the threat of Black-inspired Communist Revolution in the US, probably by an out of control CIA that wanted to act independent of any control of the left-leaning President Jimmy Carter, and in so doing, send a clear message to elected politicians that it was the security agencies of the US that actually ran the country. Things got so bad for the People’s Temple that the Soviet Union agreed to relocate it to the USSR prior to the massacre, and as the massacre is unfolding, Jones is recorded discussing with Christine Miller the possibility that the Russians might air-lift them out, although Jones thought it might be too late, as indeed it was. The main problem with the Jonestown story, is that there is too much information available that does not agree, and which is contradictory in nature. From a logical perspective, how could Jones simultaneously be:
a) A devout Christian.
b) An ardent Marxist-Leninist.
c) A committed (rightwing) CIA operative.
The Roman Catholic Church (during the 1930’s and 1940’s) openly supported fascist Italy, fascist Spain and Nazi Germany (being complicit in the Holocaust), so it is entirely possible that a committed Christian could in theory support the CIA (and the political right) whilst a priori rejecting Marxist-Leninism. A Marxist-Leninist rejects the inverted mind-set that underlies theistic religion and its theology, and by definition, thoroughly rejects ALL rightwing political ideology. A CIA operative, however, is trained to use all forms of lying and subterfuge to achieve the aims and objectives of the US government. A CIA operative could ‘pretend’ to be a Christian or a Communist, and until the revelations contained in the Soviet account of 1987, this may have seemed the only logical conclusion – Jim Jones was a CIA operative. However, the Soviet account cannot be ignored as the Soviet System was antagonistic toward US capitalism and would never have agreed with it, or assisted it in anyway. This new Soviet logic suggests that Jim Jones was a Marxist-Leninist ‘pretending’ to be a Christian whilst apply Socialist ideology to the Black community. Along the way he became associated with the CIA, but was not an agent or supporter. When his approach of racial equality was beginning to pay dividends, the CIA made its move and killed him and his followers.
Mae Brussell, for all her insightful work, refers to the Black population of Jonestown (and the People’s Temple in general), as being ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’, and unable to read the extensive library of Marxist-Leninist texts available within the Guyanan compound. She refers to this population as being the dregs of earth, but from film footage of these people, they appear on the contrary, as being intelligent and happy to be here. Although Mae Brussell obviously finds Nazism repulsive (particularly as she is accusing Jones of being a Nazi), she nevertheless appears to be using ‘racist’ stereotypes to refer to the Black population of Jonestown – as if these people were inherently ‘inferior’ to the White people around them – and Jim Jones their slave master. I mention Mae Brussell because she follows the CIA conspiracy model, whilst stating that the Soviet Union had no connection to Jonestown, despite the rumours. She states, for instance, that when Jones offered a large monetary donation to the USSR, the Soviet authorities declined to receive it, instead advising that the money should be given to the United Nations (UN). Brussell’s logic assumes that Jim Jones was a corrupt CIA operative making money out of organised crime, and that as the USSR did not get involved in what it perceived to be ‘capitalist’ crime, it would not, as a Socialist System, accept his donations. Brussell suggests that this interaction, even in 1978, was a matter of public record. Her view was that Jim Jones was a CIA agent involved in a CIA plot that simultaneously sought to denigrate Black people, Communism and the Soviet Union. Of course, as she was writing in 1978, she did not have access to the Soviet account covered above, which was not published until 1987. One last comment is that the infamous ‘final’ audio tape of Jim Jones appearing to tell his flock that the time had come for ‘Revolutionary Suicide’ because soldiers were coming to kill them all, was in fact heavily ‘spliced’, and the content presented not necessarily from the night in question, or even presented in a correct chronological order. If this is correct, then this tape was ‘fabricated’ to present a certain interpretation of the last hours of the compound, to fit as near as possible to the ‘official’ story. This would suggest that the Jonestown Massacre was an atrocity ‘hidden in plain sight’, and that we are all still trying to disentangle the ‘real’ from the ‘false’ information. My opinion is that the Soviet account is crucially important in this process.
Russian Language Reference:
Research of Mae Brussell: