The Jim Jones cultists were not a religious group but a Marxist dictatorship—a mini-Cuba.
A movie called “Sacrament” will be in Theaters on June 6 and is currently available on iTunes and Amazon.com.
It is an R-rated suspense thriller. I don’t know that I will see it. But the reason it is important is because it is based partially on the story of Jim Jones and the Guyana mass suicide. Furthermore, it is important because it provides more accuracy regarding that horrible episode than Walter Cronkite ever did.
Jim Jordan was a radical Leftist—and ardent admirer of Stalin, Mao, and Fidel Castro. He started a church as a way of recruiting a communist organization. But in the end he was much more of a secular dictator of any kind.
A. J. Delgado exposes the truth at the National Review. A snippet:
Following the mass suicide, the mainstream media spun the story into one of religious fanaticism rather than leftist fanaticism. Had a right-winger persuaded followers to join him in retreating from society and building their own enclave, then held them prisoner and ultimately persuaded or forced them to take their own lives in some sort of revolutionary act, Jonestown would be taught more widely in schools than Abe Lincoln. Instead, when Jonestown is addressed, the Marxism of the People’s Temple is whitewashed and the story is packaged as one of a religious cult gone awry, or as a warning against the perils of organized religion.
This deliberate obfuscation happened immediately. As a contemporaneous (1978) Accuracy in Media report made clear, “The ideology of Jonestown was communism, not Christianity, but the media have obscured rather than explained that fact.”
AIM explained, “Our media have concealed, misrepresented, or downplayed the key element in the philosophy of Jim Jones,” rightly noting that Jones was, contrary to the misleading media reports, “a long-time dedicated Marxist communist who admired totalitarian communist dictatorships such as the Soviet Union and Cuba so much that he built one of his own in Guyana.”
Even weeks after the event, AIM found there was not a single article in the mainstream press that delved into Jones’s Marxist beliefs and connections. Instead, despite his views and his well-known admiration for Castro’s Cuba and the Soviet Union, reporters went out of their way to avoid labeling Jones a Communist. Some in the media, such as Walter Cronkite, even reported on Jones as a “fascist” — any “ist” as long as it wasn’t a Communist.
Yet Marxist he was, and so was his group. Jonestown life was nearly identical to that in Communist nations: Inhabitants were essentially prisoners (prohibited from leaving the settlement and punished if caught trying to leave); no private ownership of any goods was allowed; no communication with the outside world was allowed; hard labor in the fields was mandatory, as was attendance at Jones’s lengthy, Castro-like sermons; armed henchmen spied on and intimidated others who dared step out of line or complain; family structures were deliberately destroyed, with Jones encouraging adultery or assigning husbands and wives to separate living quarters; residents were poorly fed and overworked, while Jones himself lived in luxury; and, of course, in keeping with Jonestown’s Marxism, there was almost no religious observance, making the media’s description of Jonestown cultists as religious fanatics, over more than 30 years, all the more dishonest.
There is a lot more in the article but the bottom line is that the story of the church that became deadly is all a media myth, just like the myth of right-wing fascists or right-wing Nazis. Once again it was Leftist ideology—admitted and self-conscious—that produced the disgusting prison camp and “mass suicide” (we don’t actually know how many committed suicide and how many were killed) in Guyana.