‘Citizen Smith’ leftist group: ‘slavery’ charges

Police stand guard at a property in Peckford Place, south London, where three women were rescued after allegedly being kept as slaves for 30 years.

A bizarre communist group in London is at the centre of police investigations after three women were rescued by police from a house in Peckford Place, Stockwell, south London.  One of the women, aged 30, is believed to have spent her entire life as a slave. The other two women rescued were a 57 year old Irish woman and a 69 year old Malaysian woman.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said only that they had arrested two suspects, and that the male suspect had met the alleged victims via a shared political ideology.

Heritage and Destiny has learned that this ideology was a Maoist variant of Marxist-Leninism, and that this extraordinary case revolves around the leaders of a 1970s political sect that inspired the political comedy Citizen Smith.

In April 1977 the diary column in The Times entertained its readers with reports about the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought, which had converted a shop in Acre Lane, Brixton, into a “workers’ centre” complete with library and bookshop.  The institute’s weekly journal – South London Workers’ Bulletin – proudly proclaimed that “this new development in Britain has taken the British fascist state by storm”.

The British state had in fact barely registered the group’s existence, but somewhere in the darkest recesses of Special Branch and MI5, a file had been opened which is now being hastily dusted down, in readiness for what seems likely to be a sensational criminal trial some time in 2014.

The file no doubt begins with Aravindan Balakrishnan, who Heritage and Destiny can reveal is the male suspect in this week’s “slavery” case. In the summer of 1974 Balakrishnan (known to his friends as Comrade Bala) split from what was then the UK’s leading Maoist group, the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist), having previously been a member of the party’s national executive and central committee. In May 1973 the CPE (M-L) had been responsible for a violent attack on Professor Hans Eysenck before a lecture at the London School of Economics.  The brave anti-fascists punched and kicked Prof. Eysenck because they viewed his research on race, heredity and intelligence as “racist”.

Comrade Bala set up the Brixton institute, taking with him a small faction of Maoist fanatics. His group was among several analysed in a 1978 doctoral thesis by a researcher at University College London, who described the institute as “the clearest case of far-left millenarianism which I have encountered, …a tiny Maoist sect with about 25 members, located in the Brixton area. …In 1977, they confidently predicted that the world would be liberated from capitalist oppression by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army before the end of the year.”

The UCL researcher found that the institute had all the trappings of a political cult:

“The central core of the Workers’ Institute is a ‘communist collective’, numbering about thirteen people, who live at the Mao Xedong Memorial Centre in Brixton. Those who do not live in the Centre live in co-resident groups in the vicinity and meet with the residents every day at the Centre, which is the focus for the activity of the whole group. Non-residents are expected to contribute their earnings, surplus to subsistence requirements, to the work of the organisation.

“…All of these activities are oriented towards the main political task of the group, which is seen as ‘building a stable revolutionary base in and around Brixton’.  This part of London was chosen for the Institute’s location, ‘because it is the worst place in the world’.

“Political cooperation with other groups is rejected. The Institute is extraordinarily hostile to other left-wing organisations, most of which they see as agents provocateurs for the state. …Similarly, work in the trade unions is rejected by the Institute because all established Labour movement structures are simply ‘organs of fascism’.

“…The Workers’ Institute claims an absolute monopoly of truth as the only correct upholder of the line of the Communist Party of China in the Imperialist Heartlands.  The members are required to witness to their beliefs at all times.  They talk of little else and are rarely to be seen without their prominent Mao badges.”

Among Balakrishnan’s supporters was his wife, known as Comrade Chanda. Between them they were arrested at least eight times during the 1970s. A typical example of the group’s rhetoric came after an incident at Brixton prison in February 1976 when Comrades Bala and Chanda were being visited by two fellow Brixton Maoists. As they put it (and no I’m really not making this up):

“A surprise attack was made on Comrades Brome and Najeeb by some prison wardens who pounced on them and violently assaulted them inside the Brixton Prison compound. Both their spectacles were smashed and their faces were covered with bloody bruises. The fascist prison wardens bared their anti-communist fangs further by tearing off a badge of Chairman Mao from Comrade Najeeb’s coat! These fascist hoodlums revealed only too clearly that they were acting on the direct instructions of the panic stricken British fascist state when they turned truth upside down and hastily charged our comrades with assaulting them!”

Sadly Comrade Brome didn’t stay a hero for long: soon after Comrade Bala’s release from prison he expelled the Trinidad-born Brome and two of his friends.

Eventually the Brixton centre was closed down following a police raid in March 1978, when Comrades Bala and Chanda were charged with assaulting the police and sentenced to six months and three months respectively. By the time of the Brixton riots in 1981, their group had “gone underground”, where it remained until this month’s arrests.

H&D cannot comment further about the latest slavery case, pending next year’s trial, but we would simply ask readers to consider: would the leaders of a nationalist faction have got away with imprisoning women for thirty years and treating them as slaves?  What else has the British far left been getting away with for all these years?

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