Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)

On Soviet-Jonestown connection: Tape exposes CP’s coverup

First Published: The Call, Vol. 8, No. 13, April 2, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The tape recording of the final 43 minutes of the Jonestown mass suicide, played on NBC television, was another source of embarrassment for the pro-Moscow revisionists of the Communist Party U.S.A.

The tape of cult leader Jim Jones calling on his followers to “take a drink to go to sleep” refutes the bogus theory promoted by the revisionists that Jones and the members of People’s Temple were “murdered by the CIA.” The CIA-murder story was manufactured by CPUSA leader Gus Hall and appeared in the pages of the CP’s paper, the Daily World as their explanation for the great tragedy in Guyana.

But the revisionist press, obviously embarrassed by the revelations of CP backing for the Jones cult and Jones’ own profession of admiration for the Hall-Brezhnev gang, has dropped all mention of the Jonestown incident. They dared not even comment when Jones’ own bodyguards were found with a half-million in cash on their way to the Soviet Embassy.

Nor could they respond when Jones’ last will and testament was found, leaving all of the People’s Temple fortune to the CPUSA in the event his family died.

The latest tape recording further incriminates the revisionists in the bloody Jonestown events. Aside from proving that the cult members were not “assassinated by the CIA.” but rather committed “revolutionary” suicide on instructions from Jones himself, the tape recording and the events around it show even further ties between the revisionists and the anti-people policies of the cult.

For one thing, the existence of the tape, made by someone in Jonestown, was revealed the day the before its release by a loyal surviving cultist, Michael Prokes, who following his press conference, fatally shot himself. Prokes had gone to Guyana with Jones in August 1978 and became one of his top aides. It was Prokes, along with two other followers, who was arrested by Guyanese police while delivering a suitcase full of cash to the Soviet embassy in Georgetown.

The tape includes several more references to the USSR. Jones, outraged by the defection of some members of his cult who fled Jonestown with the late California congressman Leo Ryan, is recorded calling on his followers to “take the potion,” calling it a “revolutionary act.”

Then cultist Christine Miller asks: “Is it too late for Russia?” This comment showed that Jones had a plan to flee to Moscow if life became too difficult in Guyana.

Jones responds: “It’s too late, I can’t control these people. They’ve gone with the guns: And it’s too late.”

Miller: “Well. I say let’s make an airlift to Russia, I don’t think nothing is impossible. if you believe it.”

Jones: “How are we going to do that? How are you going to airlift to Russia?”

Miller: “Well. I thought they said if we got in an emergency, they gave you a code to let them know.”

Jones: “No. they didn’t.” (Apparently to pacify the woman, Jones said he would try to check with the Russians, but doubted it would help.) “To me death is not a fearful thing. It’s living that’s cursed. It’s not worth living like this.”

Miller: “I think these were too few who left for 1.200 people to give their lives for those people that left:”

Jones: “Do you know how many left?”

Miller: “Oh, 20-odd. That’s small compared to what’s here.”

Jones: “20-odd. But what’s gonna happen when they don’t leave? When they get on the plane and the plane goes down? That plane’ll come out of the air. There’s no way you fly a plane without a pilot.” (Jones is referring to the plan to murder the pilot following take-off.) “You think Russia’s gonna want us with all this stigma. We had some value, but now we don’t have any value.”

Later in the tape Jones attacks his followers for not “dying with dignity.” He scolds them. saying: “This is not the way for people who are socialistic Communists to die.”

But Jones and his followers were no more “socialistic Communists” than their revisionist backers in Moscow and the USSR. It is clear now that the revisionists had much influence in the cult, in their politics and in their anti-people suicidal policies, while abandoning them in their moment of need when they no longer “had any value.”

The capitalist press will no doubt continue to use the Jonestown events to smear the name of socialism with the revisionists once again providing them with the ammunition. But real communists the world over deplore the actions of the People’s Temple and Jones and are disgusted by the involvement of the revisionists in this type of “socialism in words – fascism in deeds.”