Peoples Temple Letter to Soviet Union, September 5

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[Handwritten note as heading: “Soviets – Sept. 5, 1978”]

Dear Comrades,

Jim Jones has always had the greatest respect for the Soviet Union, not only as the avant-garde of socialist progress in the world, but as the most important force for peace, social justice, and liberation of oppressed peoples in the world. He has been forthright in his praise of the achievements of the Soviet Union in providing a high standard of living for all of its people, ensuring the basic necessities of decent housing, food, medical care, recreation, culture, and of course, full employment, even in spite of the great obstacles to progress, such as the ravages of the Great Patriotic War, which took a tremendous toll. Jim Jones has consistently praised the USSR and the Soviet People as having made the difference in that war, saving the world from fascism. (It was as a teenager that Jim Jones developed a high regard for the Soviet Union, and hearing of the valiant defense of Stalingrad: it was a major turning point in his life).

Many in the US, such as Dr. Carlton Goodlett, president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (black press of America) can attest to Cde. [Comrade] Jones’ strong pro-Soviet outlook. So can, for example, author-journalists Albert Kahn, and Mike Davidow, both good friends of Jim Jones. Peoples Temple, which was started by Jim Jones during the McCarthy Era in a period of intense anti-communism in American life, is well known for its involvement in support of peace and activism and liberation struggles. Supporters include the American-Russian Institute (whose San Francisco director recently praised Jim Jones in New Times Magazine), the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the World Peace Council. Peoples Temple in San Francisco has hosted delegations of artists, writers, and scientists from the USSR, and has sponsored Soviet-American cultural events. Peoples Temple has also shown many films of the USSR graciously loaned to us here in Guyana. Members of the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project have been studying Russian language and culture, and also world news as presented from the Soviet perspective. Several months ago, Cde. Alexander Voropaev, TASS correspondent from the Soviet Embassy in Georgetown, came to visit Jonestown and wrote a glowing article from the Soviet News Agency TASS praising the socialist achievement and progressive community that has been established here, and the dynamic leadership of Cde. Jones.

Cde. Jones has stressed that all members of the community should strive for an international consciousness of world events and liberation struggles from a working class perspective. He has consistently presented news events to the community from all over the world, with informed commentaries from an absolutely pro-Soviet perspective.

Cde. Jones has been openly and sharply critical of China’s betrayal of Marxist-Leninism, socialism, and proletarian internationalism, and the revolutionary and national liberation movements of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and her alignment with Western imperialism. He has said that China has sold out Marxist-Leninism for nationalism, chauvenism [chauvinism], and blatantly aggressive expansionism, which is having the effect of nullifying the gains they have made for the Chinese people domestically. Cde. Jones strongly disapproves of elements of elitism and personality cultism: in Jonestown, every person can have a voice. He refuses any special titles of honor, or any special conveniences or privileges above the rest of the people. Self-criticism is practiced daily, and all in the community are urged to give Jim Jones constructive criticism at least once a month. He has clearly shown that Maoists do not practice what they preach about self-criticism – as is evidenced by their arrogant, manipulative foreign policy directions, which are an open provocation of nuclear war. China is guilty of the very hegemony they claim to the size and cannot be justified by any humane communist (nor could any Marxist-Leninist carry the means of justify the ends to the degree they base their foreign policy on: the inflexible certainty of nuclear holocaust). Though many people in the Jonestown community cannot vocalize their views as well as Cde. Jones, everybody here feels much the same way. Jim Jones agrees that the Chinese are, without a doubt, a great people, and one way or another, sooner or later, they will sweep away the scum and overcome their profound ideological and political errors.

We are all grateful for the possibility of resettling someday in our spiritual motherland, the Soviet Union, should events make that necessary. It is almost impossible to practice a pure form of collectivism in a surrounding environment not only ignorant but frequently hostile to such a lifestyle that is based purely on Marxist-Leninist principles. As a thousand Americans, we would, were we to relocate in the Soviet Union, continue as we are presently to learn the Russian language and assimilate and contribute our many skills towards the building of

 

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socialism. Indeed our entire community is undertaking to learn Russian, and have enthusiastically exposed ourselves to much cultural material about the USSR. We would also be a thousand living witnesses to human rights violations in the United States, in our own lives and in the lives of many of our friends and loved ones, that would make the world understand the full measure of hypocrisy in the US ballyhoo about so-called “human rights” violations of a handful of criminal, reactionary elements in the Soviet Union. We would be proud to be a part of a nation that is backing all genuine people’s liberation struggles, as in Ethiopia and Angola, and that has the most humane domestic policies and constitution of any nation on earth, and which shows more restraint in the interests of maintaining world peace than any other nation on earth. We firmly believe that the only reason that a third world war has not broken out is because of the moral force of the Soviet Union. The United States is not have war on its soil for over a hundred years, and the abominable opiate of religion had led the nation into a terrible arrogance of power and moral self-righteousness that imperils world peace.

The people of this community are sickened, again, at US hypocrisy on the issue of human rights, and this ridiculous concern about reactionary criminal-type elements and even proven felons in Soviet society (the so-called “dissidents”) whose ‘rights’ are sanctimoniously defended in US ruling circles (and their mass-media), while tens of thousands (perhaps into the millions) of political prisoners of all races are languishing in US jails, or are suffering and dying in ghettos, Native American reservations, and in pockets of great poverty and degradation in the US, as a result of capitalist greed, to say nothing of the victims of US and NATO imperialism and criminal dictators propped up by US dollars abroad.

At the Jonestown community, residents are keenly aware of latest developments in world events, as we have mentioned. The liberation struggles in Africa all are carefully reviewed and supported. We are especially appreciative of the USSR and Cuba’s consistent support for the genuine liberation struggles on that strategic continent. We are appalled by the persistence of US aid to the racist Smith and Vorster regimes. Cde. Jones has pointed to the Kampuchean/Vietnam hostilities, discussing the nationalistic and retrograde nationalistic policies of the Kampuchean government, while extolling the internationalist and progressive outlook of Vietnam and the firm alliance with the Warsaw Pact nations. Residents in Jonestown are kept up-to-date on events in places such as Iran, where active resistance is now threatening the vicious, oppressive government of the Shah, and similar events in Nicaragua, where the Samoza [Somoza] regime, after 44 bloody years of US-backed repressive rule, is about to be ousted. Moreover, we are gratified that China as so little effect following her ethnocentric so-called “Doctrine of Three Worlds” philosophy while in Iran. We discussed daily the achievements of the USSR and Cuba (where Cde. Jones visited last year), etc., the achievements of the emerging Marxist-Leninist nations (like Ethiopia), and various past class struggles for liberation, such as in Algeria. We use audio/visual aids to make this study a community event. Films such as Pontecorvo’s Battle of Algiers, Eisenstein’s Potemkin, documentaries on the USSR, the Rosenbergs, on Hitlerian fascism, the Vietnam War, and many films on the ravages of US capitalism at home and imperialism abroad, have helped to enhance our understanding [and] appreciation of world events, and to put all in a comprehensive perspective. Jim Jones also points out the true reason the USA dropped the atomic bombs on Japan was primarily to keep the Soviet Union from genuinely liberating Japan. The entire community also has the firm history that originally the servants of imperialism, such as Churchill and US monopoly interests, made Hitler’s germinate possible in the first place with the hope that Hitler’s military might would destroy the great October 1917 Soviet Revolution. Western imperialist interests did not count on the contradictions of power anticompetition that ultimately will destroy the outmoded and consistently cruel finance monopoly capitalist system. We are now involved as a community in the study of political assassination as it has been used in the US to instill in the people an acceptance of neo-fascist, police-state policies and to whip up Cold War frenzies, such as a new, repressive crime bill that would further entrench and legitimize reactionary power in the hands of the US ruling elite. It would indeed take many pages to catalogue the entire range of world events and issues that we daily discuss in our study groups and classes in Jonestown, as the people – many of whom have been deprived of a decent education under conditions of racism and economic oppression in the US – develop an informed, socialist conscience. We have devoted time to teaching and discussing basic principles of Marxist-Leninism in our community here. Incidentally, we have nearly wiped out illiteracy in less than one year (over 50% of our people were absolutely illiterate as of last December, and now we have only). two

In conclusion, we are endeavoring in Jonestown, under the compassionate leadership and wisdom of our vast US and Guyana projects administrator, Cde. Jim Jones, to not only develop as a model of communism co-operation in production, but to understand our collective as part of the international movement for human

 

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liberation which our ‘spiritual motherland,’ the USSR, has pioneered in this century. Our heartfelt, profound fraternal greetings go out to our comrades in the Soviet Union, along with the greetings of Cde. Jones, and his desire, even though we today stand in the ominous shadow of nuclear war, that under the banner of Marxist-Leninist co-operation and internationalism, a great future will be realized for all mankind.

Fraternally yours in peace and international cooperation,

Mrs. Bea Orsot

Secretary for the Collective

Originally posted on December 10th, 2021.

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