Our comrades have steeled themselves in acute and violent class struggles in the past two years. Fearing neither hardship nor death in upholding the proletarian revolutionary line of Chairman Mao and following closely our great, glorious and correct Party, the Party of World Revolution, we are preparing ourselves to greet the greatest event in the history of mankind – the victory of world people’s revolution and the establishment of the International Dictatorship of the Proletariat!
March 31, 1977
No one who watched the BBC Two documentary The Cult Next Door can have failed to be shocked and saddened by what happened to those poor women who followed Aravindan Balakrishnan behind locked doors. Brain washing, abuse and sexual assault. All in the name of Maoism.
Like many others I was familiar with the literature produced by the Institute of Workers' Institute of Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought as it was handed out on the streets of Brixton. As Paul Flewers stated on the programme we all used to grab a copy and have a laugh down the pub about their latest nonsense until they suddenly disappeared.
Tin foil hats seemed to be the order of the day as we were warned of the activities of the British fascist state. Other than picking up leaflets everyone steered clear of these lunatics,there really was no other word to describe them.
Brixton High Street was a central focus for the far-left in the late seventies and early eighties. A walk down the road would introduce the average passer by to almost the full range of newspapers and journals available at that time. Socialist Worker, Morning Star, the News Line and others would be selling their wares every Saturday morning/early afternoon.
And then there was the bookshop run by the Workers Revoltionary Party just around the corner from the tube station. In those days no one knew the extent of the abuse that took place in the Workers Institute or for that matter the WRP until the mid-eighties.
The Workers Institute went into hiding. The rumour was they'd all gone to China but truth be know the Instute was forgotten by most people as other matters caught our attention in those heady days when the far left was highly visible and active.
The extent of the abuse by Balakrishnan only came to light in 2013 and that poor girl had spent all 30 years of her life in a prison in the middle of London. How was all this missed by not just social services or the police. We shall never know. Only the escape of the three women, all of whom were seriously damaged by their experience finally brought Balakrishnan to face justice.
One of Balakrishnan's followers was described as an academic and "deep thinker" who studied law before she became a communist. How did such a woman descend into total madness? One of the survivors was seen campaigning for Balakrishnan's release from the "British fascist state". Deluded even now.
Mao's China became a nightmare of mass starvation, torture and death. North Korea remains like that today having become the world's largest prison camp. Yet there are those on the "left" like the New Communist Party who see such barbarity as the true form of socialism. It seems many are just capable of self delusion.
But whilst we recoil in horror at the micro-antics of the Workers Institute it must be remembered that other left sects have behaved atrociously. A few years after Balakrishnan and his followers went into hiding a sex scandle erupted in the Workers Revolutionary Party as their leader and founder Gerry Healy was expelled. The reason? Healy had been abusing women inside the party for years and a fiancial crisis led to all this coming out in 1985.
Yet Healy retained around two the three hundred followers including Corin and Vanessa Redgrave. When Healy died his funeral was attended by a large crowd of mourners carrying placards with his picture. Ken Livingstone was "delighted" to write an introduction to a fawning biography of Healy.
And still the left didn't learn.
The Socialist Workers Party attempted to cover up an alleged rape by "comrade delta" and their organisation fell apart as a result. The SWP still has hard core followers in denial of events.
The far left pose as liberators of mankind yet have produced world-wide some of the worst mass-murders of the twentieth century. Stalin, Mao, Kim Il-Jung, Pol Pot and many others. That's what happens when the individual is subsumed by ideology and human rights are crushed by supposed "class interest" and the need to establish socialism at any cost.
Communism is an evil the world can do without.
If you missed the programme it is available for the next 29 days here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08c3vrx