Maoist cult behind London ‘slavery’ case

November 25, 2013 at 8:08 pm (Beyond parody, conspiracy theories, crime, Jim D, mental health, political groups, stalinism)

Those of us old enough to have been active on the student and petty-bourgeois left in the 1970′s will remember the various Maoist sects who then infected that milieu. Us Trotskyists may sometimes have looked and sounded a bit wacky, and one or two of the ‘Trot’ sects (ie: the WRP and the Sparts) were downright sinister. But it was the various ultra-Stalinist Maoist sects (whose names invariably ended with the initials ‘M L’) who really brought the left into disrepute with their ludicrous slogans, bizarre posturing and denunciations of “revisionists,” “social fascists,” “running dogs of imperialism” etc, etc (believe me: I am not joking).

As Comrade Coatesy points out, the “slavery” case is in many respects a dreadful tragedy. There is also, of course, the risk that it will put serious young people off the idea of becoming involved with the organised left. And the idea that these Maoist lunatics had anything to do with Marxism is, of course, preposterous.

Some reactions today from comrades who remember these crackpots:

* “These people were total fruitcakes (if I may use that term). I recall them appearing at a Tim Wohlforth meeting where their speaker said that Chairman Hua, Mao’s successor, could control the weather and was responsible for blizzards then raging on the coast of the USA. They also claimed the British fascist police unjustly persecuted one of their members driving through a red light (red meant go on Chinese roads during the Cultural Revolution). As Coatesy says, tragic and also dangerous for the rest of the left after Martin Smith, etc.”

* “Oh, the Workers Institute of Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought … I had actually concluded, looking back on them, that they must have been a joke. Aside from a leaflet I was once handed promising that the ‘day of revolutionary victory is nigh’ because the Chinese CP was digging a tunnel from which the Red Army would triumphantly emerge (soon) in London, I remember a campaign in defence of ‘Comrade Norman Rajeeb’ (maybe this was the guy who drove through the traffic light). As I recall he denounced not only the imperialists but ‘revisionists of all hues’ from the dock, and you could ‘literally see the representatives of the fascist imperialist state quaking in their shoes.’ Okay, these are quotes from memory and it was a long time ago, but, well, I laughed so long and hard it sort of stuck, I think.”

* “I presume they split from the CPE(ML) because of the Albanian turn of the latter. I think the avant garde composer Cornelius Cardew may have had something to do with them at one point.  Cardew himself (who wrote the legendary book ‘Stockhausen Serves Imperialism’) moved away from Maoism towards the end, and then was killed in a road accident, which of course fuelled all sorts of conspiracy theories on the Maoist ‘left.’”

10 Comments

  1. animalizard said,

    Nothing about this surprises me. The Janus face of socialism. And yet it is fascinating as a historian to see the archival sources!

  2. Maoist cult behind London ‘slavery’ case | OzHouse said,

    […] Nov 25 2013 by admin […]

  3. Sally Graham said,

    I’m a BBC News producer and interested in finding out more about the maoist sect in Brixton in the 70s as discussed above. please give me a call if you can on 07768 858643

  4. neprimerimye said,

    Cornelius Cardew did not move away from Maoism. He died as a member of the RCPB(ml) the successor organisation to the CEP(ml).

  5. dagmar said,

    “But it was the various ultra-Stalinist Maoist sects (whose names invariably ended with the initials ‘M L’) who really brought the left into disrepute with their ludicrous slogans, bizarre posturing and denunciations of “revisionists,” “social fascists,” “running dogs of imperialism” etc, etc ”

    In Germany the most important people from that milieu escaped from it by entering bourgeois politics by founding the Green Party, becoming government ministers or the leader of the state of Baden-Württemburg. Some also become leading bourgeois journalists, after repenting their sins.

    But the vast majority of the far ‘revolutionary’ left were in “M-L” sects in West Germany.

    • Leon J Williams said,

      I thought the German Green Party were centre-right? Much unlike the England & Wales Green Party.

      • dagmar said,

        Indeed they are. And your point is?

        A number of important Blairites were hardline Stalinists in the old “real” CPGB.

  6. Howard Fuller said,

  7. hatfulofhistory said,

    • Jim Denham said,

      Excellent stuff and very well researched. Thanks for the work and for sharing the link.

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