Jim Jones Reads the News

After Jim Jones had relocated to Guyana with many of the other members of the People’s Temple, he began to relay news from the outside that came to him. These readings became one of the only ways the people in Jonestown could stay up to date on current events in the United States and around to world, although they came with Jones’ spin of each story. This is a collection of some of the stories that he relayed to the people living in Jonestown, annotated to give a broader context to the stories themselves and Jones’ take on them. All of the following are quotes of Jim Jones in 1978, transcribed from audio recordings courtesy of the Jonestown Institute at San Diego State University.


Death of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation, claiming that the current epidemic of terrorism in Europe and particularly evidence by the Red Brigade in Europe will spread to the United States and is preparing a massive anti-terrorist program. The kidnapping of former Italian premier Aldo Moro by the Red Brigade and his execution by the people and similar recent incidents in Europe and Latin America have brought on a strong feeling of uneasiness in fascist US government circles in this country.” – May 20th

“The government lawyers in Italy are demanding 15-year prison sentences for 16 — they’re men of the Red Brigade on trial in Turin, Italy, who were attempted to be released by activists of the Red Brigade who held Prime Minister Aldo Moro and subsequently executed him by a people’s court after the Trilateral Commission and the Christian Democratic Party — the capitalist puppet regime of Italy and US capitalism — refused to release even one prisoner anywhere in the world for the Prime Minister of Italy, who’d been chief proponent and spokesperson and architect of capitalism in Italy. Thus showing capitalism’s disregard and total disloyalty to those who serve the great monster, the monolith of monopoly capitalism, finance capitalism or world imperialism, as embodied in the USA-controlled Trilateral Commission.” – June 2nd


FBI Officials allegedly quit over Illegal Activities

“Five Justice Department lawyers, investigative prosecutors, quit in investigation into the alleged illegal FBI activities, because Attorney General Griffith Bell refused to move quickly to seek any indictments. A Justice Department spokesman said the lawyers, who comprised a– a Task Force that has been gathering evidence for 28 months against a former supervisor of the FBI’s New York offices who had been guilty of all kinds of criminal acts, asked to be relieved of their duties because of the clash, with Bell who refuses to do anything to bring down an indictment against these treacherous criminals that were working as FBI supervisors. Bell yesterday characterized the dispute as a disagreement in principle. He told a luncheon that the Task Force for some time had sought additional indictments against FBI officials. But he said for now, he wants to limit the investigation – of course, he does, because it might cause some of the FBI to talk about the assassinations of our presidents and other things that’ve been done against the American people. So the attorney general of the United States is going to limit the investigation to the case involving John Kearney, former supervisor of the FBI New York office, but he is still dragging his feet on that case.” – August 6th


Police brutality in the United States toward Minority Groups

“Twenty-two Attica brothers shot down by New York City cops. Twenty-two former defendants in the 1971 Attica prison rebellion were shot, and one was killed immediately, three died later, by two New York City policemen with submachine guns earlier this week. Maliano Gonzales, who was known at Attica and in the defense movement as Dalu, was shot to death. Cleveland Davis, who was also cull— called Jomo Eric Thompson, is near death, and has been charged with murder and conspiracy. Both police officers, Norman Sahulo and Christy Masson, were killed. Good…. The New York Times quoted one of Masoni’s fellow police as praising him as an officer who pulled people off the streets for searches simply on suspicion that they looked wrong.” – May 20th

“There is more news constantly of black people being killed by riotous police, mob killings, and castrations that go on all the time. Now campaigns of hysteria whipped up also against the homosexual as well as the black and Indian co– and Asian community. This continues to plague the nation. The last one I remember is a black woman raped by seven men in Seattle, and then her breasts were cut half off when the rape was finished. No one had any clues, it said, to the crime, though it was in a neighborhood traveled by many people, passerbys did nothing to help, and this happened open daylight, she was drug into an alley, raped, mutilated, one black mother with four children.” – August 6th


Relations with a Post-War Vietnam

“Afghanistan continues to reform its government and draws closer to the Soviet Union. Kampuchea has been driven back out of Vietnam— Vietnamese territory after it penetrated again with Chinese backing. The border is calm between Vietnam and China at this moment, as Soviet backing has always been staunch. One thing one can say: the Soviet Union has been in the avant garde of supporting liberation movements the world over.” – May 20th

“The vice-president of Vietnam, an ally of the Soviet Union, has completed his official visit to Angola. In a communiqué signed at the end of his visit, he denounced China’s agreement- aggression against Vietnam and called for its stop by pursuing the expansionist policy. The communiqué said China aligns with the imperialist powers. This policy is a threat to peace in South East Asia, Africa and the whole world. The communiqué expresses full support for the national liberation movement in southern Africa. It also denounced Israeli aggressor’s actions in upsetting the unity of the Arab people and depriving the Arab people of Palestine to form their own state. The vice president of Vietnam went on stress that the Chinese had made great strides in the service of their own people in domestic collectives, and why could they not change their complete barbaric foreign policy before it’s too late and ultimately a nuclear war comes.” – October 9th


Chilean Prime Minister Augusto Pinochet and Relations with the US and China

“Leaders of the fascist regime of Chi- Chile and the Chinese foreign policy sellout leaders plan reciprocal talks and visits, trade that is. Chile’s foreign minister is to go to Peking, mainland China in a few days. It is reported that Peking’s minister received a letter from Pinochet inviting him to Chile. According to the minister, Pinochet may make take a trip to China in the near future. Undoubtedly China’s doctrine of three worlds which we must always remind ourselves of, is indeed being applied to some degree. And she is indeed not in the pocket of USA, because she supported Mozambique, and Zambia and Tanzania. And she no doubt thinks that she’s gaining by moving into areas like even Chile. It would not be the first right wing regime that’s been known to move away from that posture when it was convenient it almost happened with the Philippines, when Mrs. Marcos attempted to bega- uh, become an ally of the Soviet Union, but it was squelched. As I said, Chilean’s foreign minister is to go to Peking in a few days. It is reported the Peking’s minister received a letter from Pinochet inviting him to Chile. According to the minister, Pinochet might make a trip to China in the near future.” – October 9th


The State of the Working Class in the United States

“Need for analysis of United States workers is desperate. Especially important is an in-depth analysis of the US working class today, with particular attention to the industrial working class, or what we know as the proletariat. Such an analysis must take up the multi-national character of the working class, role of women workers, status of the unemployed, movements toward organizing the unorganized, role of the trade unions and the trade union bureaucracy, and some estimate of the nature of backward consciousness in the working class, particularly in relation to racism that is so pronounced in the working class in USA, and sexism, and their strong currents of anti-communism that is frighteningly, dangerously leading to the destruction of USA. This investigation and analysis is of course only one aspect of the formulation of a general line, and many other questions are involved, including an historical assessment of the communist movement in the United States. Space does not permit a further elaboration at this time of the many specific tasks connected to the development of general political line for a Marxist-Leninist party. Suffice it to say that what is being put forward here is an attempt to give concrete and practical definition to what is meant in saying that theoretical work is it— is primary in our communist, Marxist-Leninist building today.” – May 20th


Treatment of LGBTQ Communities in the United States

“This gives an idea of the attitude towards homosexuals in United States. New York Times. Payment of some $55,000 was approved under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act last November for the Trans-Experience Center in Coconut Grove to assist it in support of gay, bi-sexual and heterosexual alternative lifestyles. Only $4500 of the grant was sent, however, before outraged protest forced cancellation of the grant. The CETA program was supposedly created to train the unemployed, but its purposes, said the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, have frequently been perverted. In Los Angeles, for instance, the gay community services center was presented with $640,000 in CETA money to instruct the public about the happy lifestyles of homosexuals. Elsewhere, it is the same, as syndicated columnist Nick Thimmesch reported not long ago. Thimmesch noted for example in the New York Times that in Rochester, New York, the Gay Alliance of Genesee — G-e-n-e-c-e, uh, G-e-n-e-s-e-e — County, New York got a $35,000 grant, though it took a city council debate to improve the lives and opportunities of the local faggots. That’s horrible to see racism, sexism to that degree, that they would use that word.” – May 20th


The Philippines in talks with The Soviet Union regarding a Nuclear Power Plant

“The Philippine Islands, in spite of Marcos’ return from ill health, and his wife Imelda negotiating with the Soviets about nuclear reactors, a continued dialogue is going on with the Philippines and the Soviet Union. Strange bedfellows. That’s the contradiction of capitalism. The capitalists don’t trust each other, and so they’re turning to the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union is wise enough to know that the end justifies the means, to try to work economically to some degree to pull away the Philippines and the Philippine leader, the dictator Marcos is uh, almost pressured into dealing with the communist Warsaw Pact, because the majority of his opposition — strong rebellion is growing throughout the Philippine Islands, and it is all Marxist-Leninist, all the parties of resistance are Marxist-Leninist, and so I guess he’s concluded, you’re going to have to deal with the Soviet Union, and US capitalism. The Trilateral Commission always shows its arrogance and racism by dealing shoddily with the Philippines, even though Marcos is a good capitalist dictator. They were prepared to give him a leaky nuclear reactor that had been outlawed in USA and was established on a fault line. The Soviet Union are humane people, and they at least are going to put a nuclear reactor without the potential of helping the Philippines to build a nuclear war um, capacity, or nuclear arsenal, and the agreement includes that Soviet aides must remain in tight control of the nuclear reactor. That’s one safeguard that the Soviets have looked to, that USA has abandoned.” – May 20th


Gold and the United States Economy

“For years, America’s bankers, investment houses and federal governments have been trying to sell Americans the idea that gold is good only for making jewelry and crowning teeth, a hard piece to put over when nine-tenths of the world has confidence in no other monetary standard. But the push to demonetize gold continued, and if the recent collapse of the dollar on the world market does not teach Washington its folly, nothing will. These capitalists are getting nervous. Even the New York Times doesn’t believe in the dollar any more. That’s good news! The flurry of apprehension that hit the boss— the [unintelligible] of Europe as Carter let the dollar slide proved again the old truism that gold is the classic crisis metal to which investors turn when threatened by inflation, war, or an unstable foreign exchange market. And we must admit, as US businessmen said, the New York Times business section, that that’s what happening. We are threatened by inflation, nuclear war, and unstable foreign exchange market. I guess they’re going to buy some gold and bury it, and hope that they can survive. They won’t survive, but the gold might. On the first, gold soared to $181.95 per fine ounce at the nineteenth auction of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, the month of March was subsequently the most turbulent on the gold markets since December of 1974. The rise was due to the fall of the dollar, as demand for gold goes up when the dollar goes down, and the dollar goes down every day. And since gold is still quoted in dollars at the great trading centers of Zurich, London, Hong Kong and New York, the price increase really meant that gold was maintaining its value, while the money which— against which it is measuring, the US dollar, is constantly falling.” – May 20th


The Zimbabwean Patriotic Liberation Front

“There is a more important news bulletin coming from Africa. The British Broadcasting Company observes and states, in spite of Britain being in the alliance of NATO, US imperialism. The statement is, Britain and United States is getting ready for some sort of military effort in Africa. They have had a (radio interference) total failure in suppressing the struggle of the Zimbabwean people. (radio interference) Right now mercenaries are being secreted in to Rhodesia or Zimbabwe. It is 97 percent under the control of the rightful government, the people, the liberation– Zimbabwean Patriotic Liberation Front. Britain says it’s obvious that they will have to do something. Three hundred and fifty US multinational corporations have interest there, 400 British multinational corporations, US and British combined. 400 West German, the capitalist portion of West Germany that is claimed to be the inheritor of Hitler’s fascist Third Reich, 230 and a half million dollars is going out of there every six months to the west.” – August 6th