November 19, 2009
By Elinor Lynn Warner
In 1970s America, two infamous organizations were gearing up for big
things. Wade Rathke founded ACORN in Arkansas and soon after moved
its headquarters to New Orleans. Jim Jones was building the Peoples
Temple and set up operations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Rathke
and Jones were btoh gifted community organizers utilizing Democrat
politicians, a compliant media, and vulnerable citizens to further
their quests for power and money. Their identical pretense was to
help the poor and downtrodden.
Jim Jones could round up crowds of protesters and door-to-door
campaign workers on demand. Admired and enabled by San Francisco
Democrats and media moguls, Jones gathered emotionally and
economically needy people around him, pretending to minister to their
needs. He coerced them into draining their bank accounts, signing
over their homes, and relinquishin their welfare and social security checks.
Jones generously gave their money to the Democrat liberal elite and
stashed millions in illegal overseas accounts. When Democrats needed
a crowd of thousands, Jones provided his willing flock. He ran
faith-healing and miracle scams. He loved and admired communism, Mao,
Lenin, Marx, and Angela Davis. He railed against capitalism, but he
was ready to pocket everything his followers signed over to him. He
was a sought-after Democrat community organizer masquerading as a man of faith:
We are not really a church, but a socialist organization. We must
pretend to be a church so we're not taxed by the government ... Those
who remained drugged with the opiate of religion had to be brought
into enlightenment -- socialism. -Deborah Layton, Seductive Poison
While Jones peddled the drug of religion and talked socialism, he
imposed communism. Once his followers were hooked, he trapped them in
his demoralizing dictatorship, all under the guise of fighting
poverty and prejudice. The hierarchy of the Peoples Temple was
largely white and the congregation mostly black, yet Jones engineered
fake letter-writing campaigns to call attention to himself as an
We produced hundreds of letters that were driven out of state and
mailed from different locations to members of congress and local
government figures. ... The letters looked as if they came from
racists, angry at Jim's attempts to help the poor and people of
color. The correspondence exhibited unharnessed racism, using the
term "nigger-lover" to describe him and his good deeds.
Jones cried racism in the face of an unflattering story set to run in
New West Magazine. In an effort to kill the story, he asked the editor:
Tell me, Rosalie, do you believe that this article will solve the
problems Marshall Kilduff [New West writer] seems to have with people
of color? [Ibid.]
Like recent Acorn whistle-blowers, Peoples Temple whistle-blowers
feared for their lives and reputations. Jones had volumes of
blackmail-ready tape recordings of his Planning Committee members
"proving their loyalty to socialism by revealing their worst
A true believer who had joined the Peoples Temple as a lost
18-year-old, Deborah Layton became a whistle-blower and proved to be
Jones' downfall...but not soon enough to save over 900 lives,
including 276 children. Those with political power just looked away.
Jones understood the necessity of friends in high places.
Tim Stoen [church attorney] was being hired as chief prosecutor in
an investigation into allegations that large numbers of non-residents
had voted illegally in the 1975 election. Stoen would end up using
volunteer clerical workers from the Temple in this sensitive
investigation. Later, similar voter fraud allegations would be
leveled against the Temple itself, though not proved.
... Jones often-denied ambitions for political recognition and
power. It was not even enough that Gov. Brown appointed church
attorney Tim Stoen in April 1976 to serve on the California Advisory
Council to the Legal Services Corporation... he [Jones] wanted more
than to host the Jan. 15, 1977 city wide celebration in honor of MLK,
Jr. ... more than to share the podium that day with Gov. Jerry Brown
and the head of President Carter's transition team. [Raven: The
Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones by Tim Reiterman]
The big Democrat names and newspaper editors in 1970s San Francisco
sat in Jones' pews and either bought his act or just liked his
payoffs and power. But in 1977, things began to spin out of Jones'
tight control, and a few frank stories of his oppressive Peoples
Temple saw the light of day.
Jones fled to socialist Guyana, where the constraints of polite
society would not hinder him. He paid off government officials and
isolated his flock as he set up his dream dictatorship. When the move
spiraled out of control, a congressman investigating the group, an
NBC news crew, and some disenchanted Jones followers were all gunned
down as they tried to board planes to depart and tell their story.
Later on that day in November of 1978, nearly one thousand forsaken
men, women and children, virtual prisoners of Jim Jones, were forced
to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. They died hideous deaths in the
communist paradise of Jonestown, Guyana, a perfect snapshot of a
communist dictator's respect for humanity. The media preferred the
storyline that Jones was a crazed religious zealot and cult leader.
The story of Jones' help from friendly big-name Democrats was also swept away.
More businesslike, stable and enduring than Jim Jones, Wade Rathke
built a nationwide, taxpayer-funded, partisan criminal enterprise. He
was also enabled by like-minded Democrats and the media. Partisan
protection of ACORN continues today, even from career politicians
like Jerry Brown. Remember that Brown assisted Jones by placing the
Temple attorney in a position of political power. Either Brown is a
naïve man, or he lusts for the political power that both Jones and
ACORN wielded. He is not alone.
Now ACORN's tentacles reach many organizations, including the
Communist Party USA (CPUSA), which wrote glowingly about highly
partisan campaign work in 2004:
The chair of ACORN and Working Families Party called upon us as
family to make our contribution known. Did we respond? YES, we responded!
In 2008, the CPUSA website gushed:
The grand coalition of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win along with
National Council of La Raza, Women's Vote, ACORN, MoveOn and Rock the
Vote has launched the biggest ever-independent voter mobilization,
which is at the heart of winning a massive turnout on Election Day and after.
Numerous voter fraud and corruption investigations and ACORN's links
to the CPUSA, labor unions, and other questionable and partisan
groups did not interest the traditional media. Most often, the media
praised and protected this massive organization. In the face of a
couple of young adults' recent undercover ACORN sting, the
traditional media was first shamed into coverage, but now has no
interest in getting to the bottom of any of it.
Wade Rathke's replacement, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, responded to the
video evidence of nationwide corruption in her organization with the
false cry of racism. This is a familiar tactic used by determined
community organizers emboldened by political friends and a
sympathetic media. ACORN's ties to big-name Democrats resemble Jim
Jones' San Francisco political alliances on four decades of steroids.
A glance into Bertha Lewis's Rolodex reveals the private contact
information on Patrick Gaspard, former SEIU V.P., and the current
"Karl Rove" of the Obama administration. Friends in high places prove
Like a good communist leader, Jones squirreled away millions in
offshore accounts. The recent raid on ACORN offices in New Orleans
seeks to find evidence of Dale Rathke's embezzlement and a cover-up
by Wade Rathke. ACORN national board members with sincere motives and
questions about this financial wrongdoing were fired. Like many in
the Peoples Temple, these members believed that their mission was
altruistic, that community organizing was to benefit the needy.
The reality is that both Jones and the leaders of ACORN used the weak
and goodhearted to line their own pockets and further their own
power. Similar themes of exploitation, communism, race-baiting,
intimidation, and dishonesty run through their stories. Their stroke
of genius was to support Democrats, and in so doing, buy off the
media. Despite lessons learned from the largest mass murder-suicide
in history, this formula for unfettered corruption continues unabated.