Jim Jones was a community organizer and head of the Peoples Temple, a progressive Democrat activist group in San Francisco in the 1970s. After fleeing the United States with about 1,000 members in 1977 due to several investigations, Jones led the group of socialists in an act of "revolutionary suicide protesting the inhumane conditions of this world." The group was a resistance movement fearing a fascist takeover of the United States. Days later, Dan White, a moderate Democrat, murdered two prominent Democrats that Jones was instrumental in getting elected, Mayor George Moscone and city councilman Harvey Milk, a homosexual "rights" activist. The events elevated Dianne Feinstein into the national limelight.
Social Justice Warrior
Jim Jones was an avowed atheist. Jones was frustrated with opposition to Communism within the United States which lead him to ask, "How can I demonstrate my Marxism? The thought was, infiltrate the church."
Jones was never spiritually-minded, but as a young man he did attend a Methodist church because serving the physical well-being of the poor appealed to him in the way it took place in that church's form of evangelical community outreach. But the particular church he eventually chose to "infiltrate" that lasted until the Jonestown Massacre was the Disciples of Christ denomination, which at the time gave their ministers a great deal of independence in operating their member churches. But that leeway was limited with regard to doctrine, and a Disciples of Christ minister who stopped by Jones' front while on a road trip had to be intercepted so he wouldn't be able to attend the church "services" of Marxist indoctrination and expose them.
The Temple openly preached to established members that "religion is an opiate to the people." Accordingly, "those who remained drugged with the opiate of religion had to be brought to enlightenment - socialism." In that regard, Jones also openly stated that he "took the church and used the church to bring people to atheism."  Jones often mixed those concepts, such as preaching that "If you're born in this church, this socialist revolution, you're not born in sin. If you're born in capitalist America, racist America, fascist America, then you're born with a big d***o in sin. But if you're born in socialism, you're not born in sin." Speaking to the Jonestown community, Jones declared:
|"I brought you here to regroup, recoup, rehabilitate and gain strength, and militancy, and a proper education in Marxist-Leninism, which you had never picked up, even though I was avowedly, openly Marxist-Leninist and atheist, you have never picked it up, for the most part, in the United States, except for a handful."|
The question for 21st century Americans is, "What is the significance of Jim Jones, and Why should we bother reading about him? Like it or not, Jim Jones is now part of American history, as Adolf Hitler is part of German history. What can we learn? Much, yet there is still much to learn.
Jim Jones was instrumental in the defeat of the Progressive movement and election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Yet Progressivism was reborn in the first decade of the 21st century with the rise of Barack Obama.
The first principle lesson we can learn applies to the abortion debate: they murdered their children first, sapping the adults' will to live.
- Main article: Homosexual agenda
"Our paths have crossed. They will stay crossed. It is a fight that I will walk with you into . . . The first time I heard you, you made a statement: 'Take one of us, and you must take all of us.' Please add my name.”
Milk spoke at Peoples Temple and Jones provided Milk's campaigns with “volunteers,” a printing press, and publicity through the Peoples Temple newspaper, the Peoples Forum, with a readership of a half million. Once elected with Jones help, Harvey Milk provided Jim Jones with legitimacy. He lobbied on Jones's behalf to President Jimmy Carter, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph Califano, Guyanese Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, and other powerful figures.
Milk wrote to President Carter defending Jones "as a man of the highest character," and stating that people wanting to leave the Temple were trying to "damage Rev. Jones' reputation" with "apparent bold-faced lies".
Milk wrote to Jones "my name is cut into stone in support of you - and your people." On the 40th anniversary of his assassination, Milk was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.
- See also: San Francisco values
It was Willie Brown, the mentor of Kamala Harris, who first recognized that Jim Jones's organization could play a pivotal role in George Moscone’s run for mayor. Jones filled buses with temple members in Redwood Valley and Los Angeles and shuttled them to San Francisco. Voting procedures were liberal, and many nonresidents were able to cast their ballots for Moscone, some more than once. ‘You could have run around to 1200 precincts and voted 1200 times,’ said Moscone's opponent after losing by a whisper of a margin. Temple leaders claimed credit for Moscone's win. The new mayor appointed Jones chairman of the Housing Commission Authority, making Jones the largest landlord in the city.
Salon magazine says,
|“no political figures were more gushing in their praise of Jones than Willie Brown and Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s rising tribune of gay freedom."|
Willie Brown, Governor Jerry Brown, George Moscone, Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally and S.F. District Attorney Joseph Freitas among others attended a large testimonial dinner in Jim Jones' honor in September 1976. Willie Brown served as master of ceremonies and introduced Jones, stating
|"Let me present to you what you should see every day when you look in the mirror in the early morning hours ... Let me present to you a combination of Martin King, Angela Davis, Albert Einstein ... Chairman Mao."|
Willie Brown had visited the People's Temple a dozen times, some by invitation and some on his own. When investigations into the Temple's activities began, Brown said at a rally in support of Jones attended by Harvey Milk and others,
|"[h]e is a rare human being....he cares about people...Rev. Jim Jones is that person who can be helpful when all appears to be lost and hope is just about gone."|
After Congressman Leo Ryan announced that he would investigate Jonestown following the November 1978 elections, Willie Brown was still planning a fund raising dinner for the Temple that was to be held on December 2, 1978.
Brown continued to praise Jones after the mass suicide, claiming that attacks on Jones were "attacks" on the black community. Brown stated he had "no regrets" over his past association the Temple and that he would not dissociate himself from it like other politicians.
|"They all like to say, 'Forgive me, I was wrong', but that's bulls—t. It doesn't mean a thing now, it just isn't relevant."|
- See also: Progressivism
Eleven days after Governor Jerry Brown was elected to a second term, the White Night in Guyana occurred. Not until Barack Obama led a resurgence of Progressivism and Jonestown faded into memory did Jerry Brown seek a third term.
Jones made his followers available to support progressive Democrat candidates. Of particular interest to politicians was the Temple's ability to produce 2,000 people for campaign work or attendance at an event with only six hours notice. Mayor Moscone's press aide said that Jones offered thousands of "foot soldiers" willing to walk precincts and get out the vote, which was "an offer no politician in his right mind could refuse." Similarly, Mayor Art Agnos stated that "If you were having a rally for a presidential candidate, you needed to fill up the crowd, you could always get busloads from Jim Jones' church." The chairman of the county Democratic Central Committee, the governing body of the Democrat Party in San Francisco, referred to the Temple as "a ready-made volunteer workforce," and Jones was "a man who touched a component of the consensus power forces in the city, such as labor and ethnicity groups....here was a guy who could provide workers for causes progressives cared about."
Jerry Brown headed President Carter's transition team, and the month Carter was inaugurated, Jim Jones led citywide Martin Luther King celebrations a decade in advance of the day becoming a federal holiday. Jerry Brown was invited to speak at the People's Temple. President Carter sent a representative to a dinner. Gov. Brown considered Jones for an appointment to the University of California Board of Regents.
Jimmy Carter's running mate, Walter Mondale, met with Jones during the campaign. Jones was one of the few people invited aboard his chartered jet for a private visit. Mondale stated regarding the Temple that "knowing the congregations deep involvement in the major social and constitutional issues of our country . . . is a great inspiration to me."
Forbes Burnham was the founder of the People's Progressive Party of Guyana 1950 and the President of Guyana from 1964 to 1980. Burnham believed that, given the geopolitical conditions of the era, communism would be a better alternative. The USA and Britain nevertheless supported Burnham, leading to a disastrous economic situation in Guyana - the effects of which can still be felt today. In effect, much of Burnham's leadership saw Guyana obtain massive debts, experience stagflation, suffer a massive rise in crime, and was generally characterized by rigging of elections.
Burnham stated that Guyana allowed the Temple to operate in the manner it did on the references of Mondale, Rosalyn Carter and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Burnham also said that, when Deputy Minister Ptolemy Reid traveled to Washington in September 1977 to sign the Panama Canal Treaties, Mondale asked him "How's Jim?", which indicated to Reid that Mondale had a personal interest in Jones' well being."
First Lady Rosalyn Carter
- See also: Carter administration
|“You should have seen it – old ladies on crutches, whole families, little kids, blacks, whites. Made to order."|
After Carter was elected, Jones sat with Rosalynn Carter at the head table of the Democratic Convention Dinner. Jones wrote to Carter requesting aid for Fidel Castro, whom Jones had earlier met with in Cuba. In a handwritten letter to Jones on White House stationery, the First Lady wrote "Your comments on Cuba have been helpful. I hope your suggestion can be acted on in the near future." Carter also wrote that "I enjoyed being with you during the campaign -- and do hope you can meet Ruth soon", referring to her sister-in-law, Ruth Carter Stapleton.
- See also: Communist Party USA
In 1970, Marin Count Judge Harold Haley's head was blown off by a sawed-off shotgun in a hostage incident in which members of the Black Panthers attempted to free Davis' lover, Black Panther member George Jackson. Jackson's younger brother took the judge, the prosecutor, and three female jurors as hostages and armed the defendants. Davis had purchased several of the firearms used in the attack, including the shotgun used to kill the judge. Davis was also found to have corresponded with Jackson. California considers "all persons concerned in the commission of a crime, whether they directly commit the act constituting the offense... principals in any crime so committed", and a warrant for her arrest was issued. J. Edgar Hoover listed Davis on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List; the third woman to ever be listed behind Ma Barker and Bernardine Dohrn. She was apprehended and John Abt, general counsel of the Communist Party USA, represent her. Davis was eventually acquitted of any role in the plotting and execution of the crime.
Jim Jones initiated friendships with progressives in the area including Angela Davis and Dennis Banks of the American Indian Movement (AIM). Angela Davis addressed the crowd in Jonestown via shortwave radio in the days just prior to the final "white night." In her statement Davis expressed support for the People's Temple and told members there was a conspiracy against them. She said,
|"when you are attacked, it is because of your progressive stand, and we feel that it is directly an attack against us as well."|
- See also: Black Panthers
|“The concept of revolutionary suicide is not defeatist or fatalistic. On the contrary, it conveys an awareness of reality in combination with the possibility of hope—reality because the revolutionary must always be prepared to face death, and hope because it symbolizes a resolute determination to bring about change.”|
In January 1977, Jones journeyed to Cuba following a letter of introduction from Willie Brown asking Fidel Castro to treat Jones trip as a state visit. There, he held a summit with Huey Newton, who fled from charges in the United States involving the murder of a teenage girl and the pistol whipping of an older tailor. Both made the mistake of calling him "Baby." In Cuba, Jones and Newton discussed “revolutionary suicide” and other Marxist dialectical garbage. Jones made certain to publicize the trip to the congregation which included some of Newton's relatives. Jones boasted of healing Newton's parents of cancer.
In 1978 reporter Paul Avery depicted Huey Newton as addicted to drugs and rape and bullying and more. Jones attacked Avery in the Peoples Forum. “He’s sold his soul to the white company store,” Jones said of Avery, who years earlier told a Temple member of Jones: “I have yet to find one shred of evidence backing up anything bad that has been said against him. In fact, most everyone I’ve contacted has had nothing but good words about Jim Jones and his work.”
Jones read the entire 15,000 word article to his captive audience in Jonestown. Every paragraph or so, Jones interspersed his own critical commentary on Avery and co-author Kate Coleman's words. At the conclusion of the article, Avery and Coleman cite Newton's books, To Die for the People and Revolutionary Suicide, to buttress the idea that Newton, rather than face punishment for murder and beating his tailor, was likely scheming to partake in a self-destructive act granting him heroic socialist martyr status.
|“And Paul Avery ought to be sick in his gut, because he knew what those historic words meant. To die for the people means to give up your life for the people you love. And revolutionary suicide is an act of giving yourself—if it even sacrifices yourself—to bring down the corrupt racist capitalist system.”|
Newton spoke to Temple members via shortwave expressing support for Jones during one of the Temple's "White Nights".
Newton's cousin, Stanley Clayton, was one of the few residents of Jonestown to escape.
|"It is always good to hear that the spirit of the American people is still as vibrant and generous as ever. Pastor Jones seems to be a credit to your community, and I hope his good works continue to play an important power in the continued well-being of your area. Citizen power has always been one of my watchwords, and I’m glad to see it in action.|
The work of Reverend Jones and his congregation is testimony to the positive and truly Christian approach to dealing with the myriad problems confronting our society today.”
- Jim Jones & Harvey Milk: The Secret History, By Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, October 15, 2018.
- Jim Jones, The Most Admired Democrat of The 1970s, Censored Info, youtube
- Revolutionary suicide protesting the inhumane conditions of this world, Jim Jones, Guyana, November 18, 1978.
- "what we saw in the United States was creeping fascism. It was apparent that corporations, or the multinationals, were getting much larger, their influence was growing within the government, and the United States is a racist place." Tim Carter. There was no choice in Jonestown that day... Template:Webarchive Oregon Public Broadcasting Radio interview. 9 April 2007. Archived copy. Archived from the original on 2019-01-30.
- Peoples Temple Endorsements Packet (Text).
- An untitled collection of reminiscences by Jim Jones
- Wessinger, Catherine (2000), How the Millennium Comes Violently: From Jonestown to Heaven's Gate, Seven Bridges Press, ISBN 978-1-889119-24-3
- Jones, Jim. "Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 134". Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Jonestown Project: San Diego State University
- Jones, Jim. "Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 1053." Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Jonestown Project: San Diego State University.
- Layton 1999, page 53.
- Jones, Jim. "Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 757." Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Jonestown Project: San Diego State University.
- Jones, Jim. "Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 1053." Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Jonestown Project: San Diego State University. Archived copy. Archived from the original on 2019-01-30.
- The Jonestown Institute, “Q235 Transcript,” Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple.
- Peoples Temple, Victims of Conspiracy Brochure, Jonestown Alternative Considerations, San Diego State University Archived copy. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019. Retrieved on 2019-01-31.
- "In 1978, Jim Jones and his impeccably progressive inner circle murdered nearly 1,000 sect followers, mostly Black families, rather than relinquish utopia. Today U.S. policy elites carry out war and subversion to export liberal democracy across the globe while racial antagonism at home takes on ever more vicious forms....What we know to be the actual diversity and dignity of creation among mankind must be abolished and re-engineered into Diversity, Inc., as life attains all the depth of a Doritos commercial. A coming unified race of Wal-Martians is to worship at the altar of Mammon, whose incarnation will utter blasphemies earlier foreshadowed by the Reverend Jim Jones: I am freedom. I am justice. I am peace, and I am equality. I AM GOD!" The People’s Temple Cult & the Rainbow Nation, Andrew Rurikson, June 2, 2015.
- Actually, Jim Jones cult was Bay Area Democrats, by John Seiler, 18 Dec, 2013. https://calwatchdog.com/
- Everybody is a homosexual" by Michael Bellefountaine, Jonestown Alternative Considerations, San Diego State University.
- Milk, Harvey Letter Addressed to President Jimmy Carter, Dated February 19, 1978 Template:Webarchive
- Supervisor Harvey Milk letter to President Jimmy Carter, February 19, 1978.
- Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death, Lillian Faderman, Yale University Press, May 22, 2018, p.
- President Obama Honors Harvey Milk With Presidential Medal of Freedom, youtube.
- Jim Jones' sinister grip on San Francisco: How the Peoples Temple cult leader ensnared Harvey Milk and other progressive icons, David Talbot, Slate, May 1, 2012.
- Jim Jones' sinister grip on San Francisco: How the Peoples Temple cult leader ensnared Harvey Milk and other progressive icons, David Talbot, Slate, May 1, 2012.
- Layton, Deborah. Seductive Poison. Anchor, 1999. ISBN|978-0-385-48984-3. page 105.
- Tim Reiterman (1982) "Raven (book)|Raven: The Untold Story of Rev. Jim Jones and His People" ISBN|978-0-525-24136-2 page 307
- Layton, Deborah 1999. p. 105
- Tim Reiterman (1982) "Raven (book)|Raven: The Untold Story of Rev. Jim Jones and His People" ISBN|978-0-525-24136-2 page 308
- Kinsolving, Kathleen and Tom. "Madman in Our Midst: Jim Jones and the California Cover Up." Ross Institute. 1998. Template:Webarchive
- Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 784 Template:Webarchive
- Kilduff, Marshall and Ron Javers. Suicide Cult: The Inside Story of the Peoples Temple Sect and the Massacre in Guyana. Bantam Books, New York, 1978. ISBN|978-0-553-12920-5. page 49.
- Nancy Dooley & Tim Reiterman, "Jim Jones: Power Broker", San Francisco Examiner, August 7, 1977
- Layton, Deborah. Seductive Poison. Anchor, 1999. ISBN|978-0-385-48984-3. p. 105.
- Reiterman, Tim, and John Jacobs. Raven (book)|Raven: The Untold Story of Rev. Jim Jones and His People. Dutton, 1982. ISBN 978-0-525-24136-2. page 327
- Richardson, James, Willie Brown A Biography, University of California Press, 1996, p. 251 Template:Webarchive
- Richardson, James (1997). Willie Brown: A Biography. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-585-24985-8.
- Richardson, James, Willie Brown A Biography, University of California Press, 1996, p. 252 Template:Webarchive
- Jim Jones, The Most Admired Democrat of The 1970s, Censored Info, youtube
- The Jonestown Apologist
- Los Angeles Herald Examiner, "The Political Pull of Jim Jones", November 21, 1978
- Lindsay, Robert. "How Rev. Jim Jones Gained His Power Over Followers." New York Times. 26 November 1978.
- Richardson, James, Willie Brown A Biography, University of California Press, 1996, p. 250 Template:Webarchive
- Taylor, Michael, "Jones Captivated S.F.'s Liberal Elite", San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 1998.
- Mehren, Elizabeth, "Politicians Defend Associations With Jones", Oakland Tribune, November 21, 1978
- Los Angeles Times, "S.F. Temple Active in Politics", November 21, 1978
- When Deputy Minister Ptolemy Reid traveled to Washington, D.C. in September 1977 to sign the Panama Canal Treaties, Mondale asked him, "How's Jim?", which indicated to Reid that Mondale had a personal interest in Jones' well being, p. 173.
Moore, Rebecca. American as Cherry Pie Template:Webarchive, Jonestown Institute, San Diego State University
- "First Lady Among Cult's References" "First Lady Among Cult's References; Mondale and Califano also listed", Los Angeles Times, November 21, 1978.
- Moore, Rebecca. American as Cherry Pie Template:Webarchive, Jonestown Institute, San Diego State University, , p. 173.
- “Inside Peoples Temple” (Text)
- Layton, Deborah. Seductive Poison. Anchor, 1999. ISBN|978-0-385-48984-. p. 53.
- Reiterman, Tim, and John Jacobs. Raven (book)|Raven: The Untold Story of Rev. Jim Jones and His People. Dutton, 1982. ISBN|978-0-525-24136-2. page 305.
- LA Times November 21, 1978
- Davis ran behind Gus Hall in 1980 and 1984. Hall made two earlier efforts in 1972 and 1976. Former CIA director John Brennan admitted under lie detector that he had voted for Hall in 1976. When the Soviet Union collapsed, receipts for $2 million and $3 million were found in Soviet archives with Hall's signature, proving collusion and conspiracy between the Communist Party USA and Russia to illegally interfere in American elections.
- Aptheker, Bettina (1997). The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis. Cornell University Press.
- "Search broadens for Angela Davis", August 17, 1970. Retrieved on September 14, 2009.
- Angela Davis’ Archive Comes to Harvard. Smithsonian Magazine (16 February 2018). Retrieved on 7 February 2019.
- "A Shotgun That Miss Davis Purchased Is Linked to the Fatal Shooting of Judge", The New York Times, April 18, 1972. Retrieved on February 7, 2019.
- Freedom on My Mind. Bedford/St. Martin's. ISBN 978-0-312-64884-8.
- Biography. Davis (Angela) Legal Defense Collection, 1970–1972. Retrieved on June 14, 2013.
- (1993) Advocate and Activist: Memoirs of an American Communist Lawyer. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-02030-8.
- Scheers, Julia (2011). A Thousand Lives: the Untold Story of Jonestown. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781451628968. Retrieved on February 5, 2019.
- (1982) Raven (book). Dutton. ISBN 978-0-525-24136-2.
- Angela Davis & the Six Day Siege. Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple.
- Statement of Angela Davis (Text). Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple. Retrieved on February 5, 2019.
- The Clinton Crisis: A Question of Loyalties, David Horowitz, FrontPageMagazine.com, June 6, 1999.
- Revolutionary Suicide The close – and nihilistic – relationship between Huey Newton and Jim Jones. Daniel Flynn. November 14, 2018. frontpagemag.com
- Reiterman and Jacobs (1982). Raven: The Untold Story of Reverend Jim Jones and His People.
- Fannie Lou Hamer's Powerful Testimony, American Experience, PBS. youtube.
- Jim Jones on gay marriage, women's rights, white privilege and other Progressive causes
- Meet God’s Communists, Trevor Loudon