The defining feature that the popular media have lampooned about the hard Left for decades is the absurd positions that the uber-Marxists will contort themselves into in an effort to attain some otherwise unachievable ideological purity. The best example of these have to be the whole skit on the permanent state of schism that grips the ideologically pure in ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ as the ‘People’s Front of Judea’, ‘Judean People’s Front’ and variations thereon, who spend more time fighting each other than they do the Roman Empire, and extremely presciently, demand that a man has a right to be a woman and is oppressed by the fact of biology. On television, Robert Lindsay played ‘Citizen Smith’, leader of the Tooting Popular Front, whose desire for armed revolution is thwarted by everyday challenges, but mainly not actually being taken seriously by anyone.
However, all this madness seems to be art imitating life. The difference is that, in real life, it is not remotely funny.
Last month, Aravindan Balakrishnan, a naturalised Briton, was jailed for a total of 23 years for a campaign of rape, indecent assault, and violence that he waged against a small group of women he brainwashed and kept as virtual prisoners in a house in South London. They were not incarcerated, but due to the mental intimidation they received, they felt compelled to return to the closed commune at the end of every working day. A child was fathered by Balakrishnan, and for thirty years she was kept away from the outside world. She was not told who her mother was. Her mother was too afraid of Balakrishnan to tell her. The mother died in suspicious circumstances in 1997. For some reason, the police did not investigate. The local Authority, Lambeth, apparently did nothing. No wonder south London was the fertile ground that allowed Kids Company to flourish.
The genesis of this decades-long campaign of oppression against a group of women was Balakrishnan’s political group, the ‘Workers’ Institute of Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought’, which he formed after being expelled from the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist).
(A slight digression is needed here. There have been, and seemingly always will be, a number of organisations called the Communist Party, indeed the Wikipedia article on the above party warns us that it is “Not to be confused with Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), or Revolutionary Communist Party.”. I hope that makes things clear.)
Balakrishnan founded his splinter grouping, which we can only assume was anti-Stalinist and Anti-Trotskyist, in 1974, the year of two general elections when Labour were governing the country only with the consent of the trades unions. The Left were apparently in the ascendant and socialism seemed the only game in town. Margaret Thatcher thought differently and the rest is history. The group went ‘underground’ in the late 1970s following a police raid. This may be the start of the commune and the brainwashing. Believing, as is common amongst the hard Left, that they were living in a fascist dictatorship, the commune members adopted a siege mentality. Balakrishnan convinced his vulnerable victims that he alone could operate a mysterious force he called Jackie that ‘controlled everything’. This force was not named after the 1970’s magazine. It stood for “Jehovah, Allah, Christ, Krishna and the Immortal Easwaran”. Thus his victims believed themselves under permanent surveillance, which is actually the natural order of things in a communist dictatorship, except they were no further east than Brixton. Over the years he broke their will to resist. He had complete power over them.
The charges that put Balakrishnan away concerned three women, including his daughter. His technique was to convince his victims that they needed to be controlled for their own good. This was reinforced with violence and humiliation in front of the group and rape in private. That he lived in a Marxist fantasy-world of his own making is a given. Although the women knew they were prisoners and took to secret activities to preserve their humanity, they could not walk away from this madhouse, such was the grip this self-appointed tyrant had over their impressionable minds. This was despite the fact that they held down day jobs and left the commune daily.
Balakrishnan’s worst victim was his very own daughter, who was a prisoner for thirty years. This man took away this poor woman’s childhood for his own gratification. She was seen as ‘communal property’ and was a captive in the house, forbidden to leave. Instead she would sit at the window crying as she saw children playing in games she would never ever enjoy herself because she was not allowed to join them.
Well, Balakrishnan is the prisoner now. Seventy-three years old, it is likely he will die in jail.
The disturbing fact is that this is not an isolated case of a hard-Left organisation facilitating and concealing rape.
The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is a hard-Left organisation that has been behind most left-wing initiatives in this country for the last four decades. The curious feature of this ‘party’ is that it has never put forward candidates of its own to stand for election. But this is normal practice. The SWP operates behind numerous front organisations that espouse the usual left-wing causes. Protest groups against capitalism, imagined racism, military action, anti-terrorism and the like are invariably organised by the SWP in one way or another. They were behind the Respect party that propelled George Galloway back into Parliament before there was – you guessed it – a split. Galloway was himself criticised for dismissing the rape allegations against Julian Assange as ‘bad sexual etiquette’. This, as you find when you read on, is par for the course for the Left. A woman violated by one of the faithful cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the ideology.
The SWP has had yet another split that has perhaps destroyed the ability of this party to function, and has damaged its credibility as an albeit minor force in British politics. This is due to the ‘Comrade Delta Affair’.
‘Comrade Delta’ has never been formally identified, but he held a senior position in the party. If you really want to know who he is, it can be found easily on the web. In 2010 a complaint was made by a female party member that she was the subject of sexual harassment by Delta. This was discussed at the party’s 2011 conference, where it appears to have been downplayed as a misunderstanding and a lovers’ tiff. The alleged perpetrator spoke on the topic at a meeting which invited the delegates to chant a socialist slogan in response to the accusations. The alleged victim quit the party, but, finding no other outlet for her ideological expression, rejoined in 2012, at which time she accused Delta of rape.
Instead of calling in the police, the party decided to investigate the allegation through its own ‘Disputes Committee’, whose main work, I presume, is to determine exactly which person’s interpretation of Marxism is correct and who should be purged as a consequence. The reason the police were not, and have never been called in, is because the SWP has “no faith in the bourgeois court system to deliver justice”. There is clearly one law for the socialists and another for the rest of us mortals who do not regularly call for global revolution. Plus ça change. So the SWP unilaterally decided that a bunch – yes, a bunch – of amateurs was best qualified to investigate a rape allegation. The alleged victim was sufficiently deluded with socialist dogma not to want to call in the police herself. Ideology was more important than her rights over her own body. But that’s socialism.
The investigation was biased against the alleged victim, who was seen as a trouble-maker by the party’s ruling clique. She was pressured by a party members, one apparently a rape counsellor, to drop the allegations. Her sexual past was exposed and ridiculed. She felt isolated by the party. The conduct of Delta was determined by a unanimous vote by Disputes Committee in this sham trial; there had been no rape. A majority vote determined that Delta was not guilty of being “sexually abusive or harassing”. The committee also stated “that while sexual harassment was still not proven, it was likely that it had occurred”. Work that one out if you can. The committee had even set its own standards of proof at a mass meeting, stating:
“We’re not a law court. We are here to protect the interests of the party, and to make sure that any inappropriate behaviour of any kind by comrades is dealt with, and we do that according to the politics of a revolutionary party. […] we used the best methods of the revolutionary tradition. We discussed, debated, considered, changed our minds, listened to each other, and then we came to the best conclusions that we could, to the best of our abilities, and it’s on that basis that I put this report to you and to the conference.”
‘According to the politics of a revolutionary party’. ‘The best methods of the revolutionary tradition.’ Not according to evidence, then. I do wonder which revolutionary tradition’s methods they used. American, French, Russian, Velvet, Orange, Glorious? Who knows? That’s socialism.
The report of the committee was subject to a vote at the meeting, where it was approved by 231 votes to 209. It was also disclosed that there were further allegations against Delta by another woman; these were never heard. The arbitrary behaviour of the leadership in this matter caused a split.
At second conference on the issue was called, but this rubber-stamped the decisions of the first conference. Following these conferences, more women came forward to say that they had been raped. One woman said the problem was that the rape in the party was “a systemic thing” and that the party was a
“dangerous environment to be in […] a group that is sexist, full of bullies, and above all will cover up rape to protect its male members and reputation.”
One of the alleged new victims was subject to the same kind interrogation as the first woman, where the two female members of the Disputes Committee tried to suggest that the use of drink and drugs may have had an effect that precluded rape.
As of 2014 SWP was left with about 200 members, and reportedly not the most talented ones.
The case of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party (WRP) seems depressingly similar to the above. This was a party that was able to punch above its weight thanks to support from Vanessa and Corin Redgrave and ‘Rising Damp’ actress Frances de la Tour. Indeed Corin Redgrave fronted the party’s 1983 election broadcast, accusing Margaret Thatcher’s government of keeping a secret database of two million people and threatening appropriation of all private property by the State. He also promised that Britain under a WRP government would align itself with the Warsaw pact and support the USSR should it go to war with the USA. Heady stuff.
The WRP was run like a Stalinist dictatorship by a highly aggressive and paranoid leader, Gerry Healy. It started as a faction of the Revolutionary Communist Party that wanted to enter and take over the Labour Party on the sly, much in the way that Militant succeeded in partially doing in the 1970s, except this was in the late 1940s. Healy purged members as his paranoia grew and his group left Labour. Those that remained unpurged showed extraordinary levels of loyalty. One member was ordered to place himself under ‘flat arrest’ for allegedly criticising the party in a single unguarded remark. He did as he was told.
As the focus of all power in the party, Healy leveraged this to have his way with women for many years. According to reports, Healy’s modus operandum was to twist Marxist thought into ‘from each according to her abilities, to each according to his needs.’ Not so much rape as sexual abuse from a position of trust, Healy was expelled from the party in the mid-1980s when the abuse was finally exposed after over a decade. The Redgraves were kicked out at the same time. The police were never involved for the same paranoid reasons as in the SWP, they were seen as the enemy. In 2015 the party ran seven candidates in the general election and amassed the grand total of 488 votes between them.
There does seem to be a pattern here. An extremist left-wing political organisation that is run like a religious cult, replacing a deity or prophet with a party leader who rules by decree as the recipient of the received word. Sexual abuse and rape of the vulnerable and unwilling justified on political grounds. Leaders who demand absolute loyalty to the point of worship and surrender of mind and body.
Of course, if there are any socialists reading, they may comment that the same kind of stuff happens on the Right. This is simply not true. This cultism, purging and splitting in the name of ideological ascendancy is the exclusive preserve of the Left. The Labour Party has to describe itself as a ‘broad church’ just to survive as a single party that is able to accommodate divergent views that range from support for a social market to open communism.
Only the Left substitute ideology for sexual morality. When politicians from the saner wings of the political spectrum inappropriately drop their trousers, they do not justify it through interpretations based on close readings of Adam Smith, Freidrich Hayek or Edmund Burke. They do it for the gratification, which is not now, nor ever will be, a defence. Defending rape with ideology is the preserve of those who cleave to the writings of Marx, Mao, Lenin and Trotsky.
Even in the Labour party, rape and sexual assault and thus women’s rights are trivialised. Jess Phillips, a Labour MP with designs on leadership, tried to talk down the politically-inconvenient serious sexual assaults committed in Cologne by migrant refugee men by saying that Broad Street in Birmingham was just as bad, thus making all men around the world to blame, regardless of race, colour, creed, locale, upbringing or morals. This is the kind of weaselling Gerry Adams would use when asked to condemn IRA violence, by equating it with all violence, including that used lawfully to defend the innocent. This dilution of blame by accusing all men everywhere of rape is disgraceful. But it is the only way that the Left can come to terms with the hard fact that men from the Third World will retain their Third-World attitude to women, even when they are in more civilised surroundings. And also men who run left-wing cults.
The truth is that in Cologne there were 800 incidents of sexual assault or robbery reported on one night. The figure for Broad Street for the last twelve weeks is five. Five, Jess.
Why is this all relevant? Well, the leadership of Labour has lurched violently towards the ideological positions occupied by Balakrishnan, Healy and Delta over the last few months. Labour’s leader is, in fact, almost an object of worship and veneration, despite his wider unelectability. There is a shadowy political organisation affiliated exclusively to the leader called Momentum that is welcoming extremists, including those from Comrade Delta’s beloved SWP. There are reports of abuse and intimidation of members of Momentum, which may be interpreted as a jockeying for position by the power-obsessed.
Labour itself seems on the verge of relaxing its anti-entryism rules, with a challenge by Unite against the prevention of the Alliance for Workers Liberty from joining the party. Jeremy Corbyn, who has shared platforms with Stalinists and Holocaust deniers, would probably be intensely relaxed by making this ‘broad church’ even broader, as he considers electoral pacts with the Green Party.
There is a t-shirt slogan popular with the left stating that the wearer has ‘never kissed a Tory’.
The truth is that kissing a socialist is actually fraught with risk.
The kissing has to stop.