A Tale of Three Cults and the Necessity of A Fighting Communist Movement
The American “Left” has had quite a bit of interesting, yet sad, news this month. Firstly, former members and supporters of the CRCPUSA, or Committee to Reconstitute the Communist Party of the United States, decided that they had enough of being abused and run ragged by the old leadership clique, and bravely came forward with stories of horrid treatment at the hands of this supposed revolutionary vanguard. This mistreatment includes, most alarmingly, sexual/psychological/physical assault, from accounts of comrades not being allowed to visit sick and dying relatives to a cadre being ordered to physically assault another individual until his hands bled during a supposed struggle session. This on top of the eternal crusade against other organizations, especially Maoist ones. To those of us who witnessed the rise and fall of the former Red Guards formations, this pattern and these actions that the comrades revealed doesn’t come as a big surprise, but I do have to admit that I didn’t think that it was this bad.
Secondly, the Black Hammer Organization, which is notorious for seeking negative attention for itself for clout, made national news for an alleged kidnapping. This group, which bears several similarities to the CRCPUSA except the latter is better at couching their nonsense in Maoist jargon, started out as a garden variety revolutionary Black nationalist group, fooling many people, of which I was one. It quickly went to shit with several disgusting incidents and positions, calling victim of fascist murder Anne Frank a “Becky”, picking senseless quarrels with anti-fascist groups, embracing all kinds of revisionist and outright fascist groups such as the PBs and virulent Trump supporters, and generally making an ass out of itself. This group retired to Atlanta after several cadre left last year, where it sought to prey on and exploit the un-housed population. This group “adopted”/recruited un-housed youths, forced them to move into a series of houses, kept them under armed guard, and generally set itself up as a garden variety cult organization to the letter. Accounts from survivors detail drug abuse, physical abuse of cadres, and all kinds of other disgusting acts that are unbecoming of a serious Marxist organization, although to be fair, this formation has never claimed to be a Marxist one of any type, pursuing instead an eclectic ideology which varies based on whatever it believes will bring it attention and donations. Yesterday, the organization’s house in the Fayetteville suburb of Atlanta was raided by the police after an individual called for assistance, claiming that they had been kidnapped and were not being allowed to leave the residence. The police came, arrested the leadership of the organization, and found an 18 year old individual identified as a Minister of Defense inside the residence with a fatal gunshot wound. Naturally, we don’t believe anything the police say, but it can be said that the Black Hammer Organization has killed a person. Leadership cadres have been charged with a variety of crimes ranging from “gang activity” to “kidnapping”.
The temptation to see these outwardly ridiculous organizations as fringe jokes is a bad one. Accounts from survivors of both have shown how people were psychologically and physically harmed through their encounters with and membership in these groups.The Red Guards/CRCPUSA left many cadre and mass organization members in a funk after projects collapsed, did not correctly practice Maoist democratic centralism nor adhere to established Communist standards of party/organizational life, instead setting up a facade to cover the unprincipled actions of an unaccountable leadership. Organizations were established and then folded up with no accountability, self-criticism/struggle, or follow-up. Members were made to abandon all pretenses of a personal life and neglect obligations towards family and non-political relationships to labor for the organization. This is a form of isolation, which cults practice. Their use of ideology and polemics was not to advance the revolutionary movement, but to attack and drive a wedge between the different wings of the Maoist movement in the United States, obstruct the formation of a real Communist Party that was not under their sole leadership, and isolate comrades from the masses, building up instead a “hard core” of individuals who were blinded from the realities of the day. This is cult indoctrination. They also instructed comrades to leave a variety of dead animal parts at the residences and meeting places of those they deemed their political rivals, which most normal people would term serial-killer or troubled adolescent behavior.
Black Hammer abandoned all pretense of being a Communist formation, and threw out whatever they thought would catch naive and politically uneducated individuals, many drawn from the lumpen. In a similar fashion to the Red Guards milieu, they attacked other formations, most disgustingly claiming that New Afrikan theoretician and Minister of Defense of the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson doesn’t even exist and issuing a series of phony attacks on his Party. They isolated, in cult fashion, membership from the masses and society at large, sexually exploited members, having them pose naked on Instagram, and did a variety of other strange and senseless things that I will not revisit.
Political/politico-religious cults have plagued the Left since there has been a Left. These things usually come around in times of economic anxiety and worry. For example, the Father Divine movement, which forced members to give all their property to an individual named Reverend Major Jealous Divine and became known for communal living and communal meals open to the masses, thrived during the Depression years. During the Seventies, The People’s Temple, which sang a revised version of the Internationale during church services, hobnobbed with Rosalynn Carter and the remnants of the then-reformist Black Panther Party, and declared its loyalty to the Soviet Union, removed the bulk of its mainly New Afrikan membership to an isolated agrarian experiment in Guyana, and proceeded to murder them all with poison right down to the last squalling child. Thankfully, neither of the organizations that I just referred to got to this point, but the fact remains that leadership in both organizations could have happily ordered such a thing for their followers if they felt the need. We’ve already heard accounts of guns pulled on comrades and individuals not being allowed to leave organizational property, it’s really not that far of a jump to ordering cyanide laced Kool-Aid.
Cults and sects rise when there is not a fighting, organized, Communist-led workers’ movement to capture and channel the energies of disenchanted workers, youth, un-housed people, and all others who have a need for a new order, which is socialism. They prey on the best aspects of youth and workers, the desire to do something, the desire for action and discipline and organization. They twist these desires, manipulate our ideology, end up harming people and making the revolutionary movement, all of it, appear to be a ludicrous and dangerous cult. In a country where the average person believes that Communism is an all you can eat buffet of bullets, wanton slaughter, famine, mass reeducation camps, and all kinds of other bad things, it is the task of all Communists of goodwill to put the lie to these things by uniting and forming a Communist Party that has deep roots to the masses and all of their progressive movements. Only then will we be able to prevent these dangerous sects from harming more of our people.