In recent days reports in the bourgeois press have emerged of three women allegedly kept captive in Brixton by a so-called Maoist known as ‘Comrade Bala’ (Aravindan Balakrishnan) and his wife Chanda. This has been accompanied by much talk of how political groups can indoctrinate and brainwash people. Nobody seems to have heard of Bala and his wife being politiclly active since 1981. His group ‘The Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought’ appears to have disappeared in 1978. In any case it was not an institute but a propaganda group and it promoted capitalism and a delusional set of beliefs rather than Maoism. On the subject of the accusations made against Bala and his wife, we should just let the people who were living in the house speak for themselves. However, when it comes to the claim that Bala and his group were Maoist or even Leftist, we must reply.
The article ‘On Building a Revolutionary Stable Base Area’ shows the non-Maoist and frankly delusional character of the ‘Institute’s’ thought. The article, written in 1977, claims that the Chinese Communist Party was leading the world to revolution. It also uses the term ‘Gang of Four’ as a term of abuse. What had happened in the real world? In 1976 Mao had died. The so-called Gang of Four were a group of prominent Leftists in the Party who opposed the restoration of capitalism in China. They were arrested shortly after Hua Guofeng launched a coup with the backing of rightest political forces and made himself the leader of China, until Deng Xiaoping usurped him in turn. After this coup, China went down a clearly counter-revolutionary road. Hua Guofeng stressed the idea of bringing ‘great order’ in China, ditching Mao’s principle that the class struggle against the new capitalist class must continue under socialism.
The article ‘On the Closure of the Mao Zedong Memorial Centre by the British Fascist State’ makes clear the ‘Institute’s’, anti-Maoist line (see:http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/uk.hightide/closure.htm). The article states that: ‘They [Marxist-Leninists in the UK outside the ‘Institute’] pay no heed when China says that science and technology plays the key role in its modernisation.’ Of course they did not pay heed to this principle. This represents the theory of Deng Xiaoping that the development of productive forces was primary in China rather than class struggle. Mao’s theories are reduced to nothing if you take away his principle that class struggle is the key link not efforts to boost national income by whatever means seem most easily at hand. No-one in the world believes that the China that Hua and Deng created is in any sense Maoist or communist. Hua and Deng brought back the capitalist ownership of land and industry and made the Chinese people the wage slaves of the western powers. So how can Bala and his group have been Maoist when they stood for the destruction of everything Mao believed in? How is Bala a communist when he supported the line that destroyed communism in China?
Of course it could be argued that Bala had simply been mistaken, that things were not clear in 1977 and 1978 and so on. There is no indication, however, that Bala or his group ever corrected their errors. The group still seems to have believed itself to have a political stance in 1997, despite doing no obvious political work.
One group member Sian Davies died after falling out of a window. A reporter from Independent Television tried to question the group at their house over this mysterious death. Josephine Herival is seen on film denouncing the ITV reporter as being part of the British ‘Fascist State’, echoing the group’s 1970s rhetoric. (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513964/Pictured-time-Communist-sect-leader-accused-keeping-women-slaves-30-years.html.)
(Ms Herival is reportedly the person who phoned the Freedom Charity alleging that she and two other women were being held captive by Arivindan and Chanda Balakrishnan. She also attempted to discuss Sian Davies’ death with Ms Davies’ cousin Eleni Morgan in 1997 who angrily refused to speak to her.) Despite the group continuing to adhere to some sort of political stance they did not choose to publicly correct their errors or work towards promoting Maoism or Marxism. Instead they seem to have disappeared into their own world. The inability to relate to reality due to mental or psychological problems ultimately may be the explanation for this whole disturbing matter. Although the propaganda of the ‘Institute’ does seem to be fairly standard revisionist political tracts at first glance, when they are read fully it becomes clear that revisionism has become mixed with delusions that are purely personal to Bala and his group. Thus in ‘On the Closure…’ it is stated that the ‘Institute’ is actually part of the Communist Party of China, which is taking over the world through covert electronic means, and has taken control of all the satellites put in orbit by the USA and USSR.
There is much that may emerge from this story in the coming months. As tragic as this case may turn out to be, we must be clear that it has nothing to do with Mao or Maoism and we must not allow it to be used as an excuse by the British state to bring in yet more repressive measures against so-called extremists.
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