Saturday, January 30, 2016

“Comrade Bala”, not our comrad

Court hearings commenced against Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, known by others as “Comrade Bala”. Bala was a Maoist cult leader based in Brixton and later Lambeth in South London charged with rape and indecent assault. A police investigation into trafficking and slavery led to his arrest and the rescue of three women from his residence in 2013, one of whom was his daughter. The prosecution allege “The atmosphere within the collective was controlled by Bala and his moods. Each woman lived a life of violence, fear, isolation and confinement. “(His daughter) in particular was bullied, beaten and separated from the world. She never went to school, played with a friend, saw a doctor or a dentist. “She barely left the house. She was hidden from the outside world, and it kept from her, except as a tool with which to terrify her into subjugation. “Her freedom of movement was restrained to the extent that even though she could have left physically, the power that (Bala) exercised over her meant that she could never leave.”

The other two women rescued are believed to have met him through the small political group he led called “Workers' Institute of Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought”. After a police raid in 1978 the then tiny group went underground and did not seem to appear in public.

Unfortunately just as people calling non-socialists “Comrade” is not new, nor are cults calling themselves communist. The “Workers Revolutionary Party” in the 1980s demonstrated such cults can practice widespread long-lasting abuse by leaders even within a relatively large membership. None of this is indictment of communism or what we call socialism. Socialists in Britain operate openly not insularly, socialists operate transparently not secretly, and socialists purporting to study Marxism over thirty years would not omit study of the Marxist perspective of the family in The Origin of the Family. There is no political justification for domestic violence.

He was found guilty and sentenced to 23 years prison


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