Notes from a Dead Socialist

The song we sang so often:

Soon, yes, very soon, we are going to the Promised Land, Promised Land, Promised Land, Promised Land.

We will all be free there, eating tropical fruits, enjoying the sun and the beauty of the land, free from racism and the oppression of capitalism.

We will all be happy there, very happy. One big happy family, living and working together.

Until I got there.

Much has been said about me. Mostly lies, you know. They will say any amount of deceitful lies to discredit us and our movement. They do not want to set us free. Us, black people, poor people. Rising out of ignorance that capitalism has sown. Imprisoned by a thousand faces of delusion.

Religion, the biggest lie of all. The opiate of the people. Pie in the sky in the sweet by and by. Focus on the next life while you suffer in this one. “Slaves, obey your master.” That’s what your Bible told us to keep us ignorant and subservient.

Your father’s house has many mansions. That’s why I brought you here. We have to sacrifice in order to provide for our children a better world. A world where our young black men do not have to grow up to live in prison.

Dead children. They are all dead now. Poisoned. Along with me. Shot in the head. But we are together. No one has left me today. Even those who tried. I have killed them all, including the congressman, the evil reporters, and the traitors to the cause.

They would take away what we have worked so hard for. They will spread lies that I kept you here against your will. That we only had rice to eat. Starving in Paradise. All lies.

You see, my friend, these enemies of freedom will never let us live in peace, because we are a threat to them.

So it is better for us to lay down our lives and die with dignity than to be defeated by those who would have us live as slaves to capitalism.

They will talk about us for a long time. They will see that we just wanted to live our lives in our own paradise – JONESTOWN!

It was a one-way ticket to the Promised Land.

(Vernon Gosney left Jonestown with Rep. Leo Ryan’s party on November 18. He was shot and seriously wounded at the Port Kaituma airstrip. His complete collection of writings for the jonestown report is here.)