Who knows, maybe Jim Jones was providing money, people, and even sexual services from his followers (male or female) to some people in high places?
This is exactly what 'Cy Aaron' (pseudonym for a real person), leader of the cult Steve Susoyev, wrote about, did. You can read all this in Susoyev's memoir, People Farm
Cy Aaron invited highly placed therapists, academics, and yes journalists, to his human laboratory, a therapy ranch and his beautiful teenaged inner circle of 'professional sex surrogates' serviced these illustrious people. One of them was a Nobel Laureate.
Just about all these people wrote letter on Cy Aaron's behalf, to his sentencing judge, pleading for clemency or at least a mitigated sentence.
Cy Aaron's less famous though still damaging career, was built at the very same time Jim Jones was weaving his own support network in San Francisco and elsewhere. Susoyev captures the networking perfectly.
And...a few months after Cy Aaron and his wife fled the US to escape charges for sex with minor children and 'crimes against nature' Jim Jones and his followers died at Jonestown.
The news was still singing the airwaves when Cy Aaron and his wife slipped back to the United States and were caught trying to bribe a potential witness into silence. This background of indignation, plus Cy Aaron being a psychiatrist, (and therefore legally accountable for his actions in a way that a non licensed person is not...cough!) meant that the judge ignored the many pleas for clemency and sent Cy Aaron to prison.
*Interestingly, Cy Aaron had made it a point in his happier and more illustrious days, to lend his very considerable support to Gay Liberation. And though Susoyev saw that ghastly damage the man did, he admitted that Aaron's support for Gay Liberation came at a crucial time.
Steve Susoyev was homosexual and had been rehearsing his own suicide, just before he met Cy Aaron. He did horrible things to serve Cy Aaron, for he was sincerely convinced Aaron had been his savior.
To this day, Susoyev has to live with the knowledge that he himself did horrible things in loyalty to his brilliant and horrible leader, and he knows many people remain afraid of him...and Susoyev accepts this and knows thier emotions are valid.
Yet, though he is horrified by what his leader did, and wrote his book to make amends and educate the public about the dangers of cults, and especially therapy cults...he
admits that Cy Aarons support for Gay Liberation came at a crucial time. Many of Aarons most ardent supporters were closeted gay mental health professionals who were desperate for support.
Now I must ask whether there are psychopaths who have the finely honed survival instincts attributed to feral animals.
And whether people like Jim Jones and 'Cy Aaron' have a way of only coming to the support of worthy but controversial social reform movements at the instant, only at the instant, those movements are on the very point of becoming socially acceptable???
For remember, there were
activists who labored in painful obscurity for years, and even decades before that final crucial window of time, just before Stonewall.
Harry Hay and the Homophile Movement.
Lyon and Martin and early women supporters of The Daughters of Bilitis.
Harvey Milk placed a crucial role, but he was lucky to be there at the moment when the wave crested, partly with his help and partly because the moment itself was exactly right.
A great moment in social reform with its hero or heroine is like a great moment for surfing.
You need a surfer with splendid technique, years of experience, on that board.
But...that person who is made immortal in surfing annals also needs to find him or herself atop that Perfect Wave.
Afterward, the Perfect Wave itself vanishes back into the great ocean of anonymity. The surfer is remembered.
Still, getting back to my incoherant question, we must dare ask if some psychopaths are opportunists and whether they lend their support, their very public support, at the very instant, a social justice project is just about to succeed and look good--and make them look good.
People like Jim Jones and Cy Aaron seem to know how, in that regard, to 'time the market' and know just when to 'buy in' to what had formerly been a low priced, disreputable social movement.
It seems that a number of political people were involved with Jim Jones, perhaps due to believing in the social-sexual politics, or maybe for their own reasons.
But of course after the massacre, they all try to wipe that out of history.
I was shocked to find that Harvey Milk support letter for Jim Jones, Harvey Milk supporters should not try to hide that by omission. Harvery Milk was a big supporter of Jim Jones even after Jones was in serious trouble, that is factual, its in the letter to Pres Carter.
Harvey Milk was great. But great persons can make grave mistakes and they can allowe themselves to co-opted by adroit con artists and social manipulators like Jim Jones. Milk may have prided himself on his own political acumen (just as a fine musician is justifiably proud of his or her ability to play violin and do it well)...yet a brilliant politican who delights in working the scene may fail to imagine that he himself has been co-opted and is being himself used as a bishop or knight on a cult leader's even bigger chessboard
A guy like Milk may never imagine 'I am being used in someone elses game, a game that person hasnt even TOLD me about.'
Jones may have told a little bit about his 'game' but let it seem his game was manageably secular--religion with a reassuring dose of civil rights feel good fizzies mixed in.
Jones never told Milk and his secular backers that his chessboard and game were of non secular but actually of cosmic and ghastly proportions.
Jones may well have masked himself as just a very effective and innovative civil justice leader, sympathetic to Gay Liberation, not as someone who secretly thought he was Jesus at war with the Devil.
And he probably only backed Gay Liberation because Jones was feral and smelled out that Gay Liberation was now socially viable and had a critical mass of influential supporters who were on the point of going politically mainstream.In short, unlike Jesus who cared for the poor and oppressed, Jones only cared for the poor and oppressed--when they were in a movement that was about to WIN.
It would be a teachable moment if those of us who honor Harvey Milk to have the guts to do the research and see to what extent even a great activist like Harvey may have allowed himself to be used as a chesspiece in Jim Jones Game of Ego and Death.
Its not just that Jones died so horribly and took so many people to horrible death with him.
I think a lot of living politicians on the SF scene cant stand the mortification of facing that they were used by a bigger con artist than they were.
I cannot stress enough that persons who do become famous have an obligation to be
very careful about whom they endorse. For once they endorse someone, those endorsements cannot be taken back, even if the famous person later has misgivings.
This thread may have trouble adding up because this is a very complex and emotionally charged situation.
Jim Jones has a place in the history of liberal San Francisco, the way Charles Manson had a relationship with the rock music scene in LA.
When Jones became infamous, all the people who had had contacts with him, tried whenever possible to deny ever having had anything to do with him--even when they had.
And...Manson, apparently also used his collection of girls to compromise people who were devout heterosexuals.
It wasnt just notoriety and blackmail that were consequences. Apparently, to add insult to injury, a lot of the guys who bedded the Manson girls found themselves later having to get medical treatment.
Those were the days---the days when antibiotics still worked.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/10/2009 10:22PM by corboy.