The Culture of Violence: Essays on Tragedy and History. Francis. Barker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Pp. xiii+ Francis Barker explains that.
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Frequently depicted as poor and dispossessed, these new African-American recruits actually came from the working and professional classes: They were teachers, postal clerks, civil service employees, domestics, military veterans, laborers and more. The promise of racial equality and social activism operating within a Christian context enticed them.
Regardless of the motives of their leader, the followers wholeheartedly believed in the possibility of change. During an era that witnessed the collapse of the civil rights movement, the decimation of the Black Panther Party and the assassinations of black activists, the group was especially committed to a program of racial reconciliation.
These eight young adults left the organization, in part, because they watched new white members advance into leadership ahead of experienced, older black members.
Members saw themselves as battling on the front lines against colonialism, as they listened to guests from Pan-African organizations and from the recently deposed Marxist Chilean government speak in their San Francisco gatherings. They joined coalition groups that were agitating against the Bakke case , which ruled that race-based admissions quotas were unconstitutional, and demonstrating in support of the Wilmington Ten , 10 African Americans who were wrongfully convicted of arson in North Carolina.
Members and nonmembers received a variety of free social services: rental assistance, funds for shopping trips, health exams, legal assistance and student scholarships. By pooling their resources, in addition to filling the collection plates, members received more in goods and services than they might have earned on their own.
Living communally not only saved money, but also built solidarity.
Although communal housing existed in Redwood Valley, it was greatly expanded in San Francisco. Entire apartment buildings in the city were dedicated to accommodating unrelated Temple members — many of them senior citizens — who lived with and cared for one another. As early as , a few hardy volunteers began clearing land for an agricultural settlement in the Northwest District of Guyana , near the disputed border with Venezuela. Even as they toiled to clear hundreds of acres of jungle, build roads and construct housing, the first settlers were filled with hope, freedom and a sense of possibility.
But Jim Jones arrived , and an influx of 1, immigrants — including more than children and senior citizens — followed. The situation changed. Conditions were primitive, and though the residents of Jonestown were no worse off than their Guyanese neighbors, it was a far cry from the lives they were used to.
Everything — sidewalks, sanitation, housing, water, electricity, food production, livestock care, schools, libraries, meal preparation, laundry, security — had to be developed from scratch. Everyone but the youngest of children needed to pitch in to develop and maintain the community. Some have described the project as a prison camp. Dissidents were cruelly punished. Others have described it as heaven on earth.
A new book from Sharon Marcus, Columbia scholar and friend of the journal:
For years, Peoples Temple provided decent housing for hundreds of church members; it ran care homes for hundreds of mentally ill or disabled individuals; and it created a social and political space for African-Americans and whites to live and work together in California and in Guyana. To focus on the leader is to overlook the basic decency and genuine idealism of the members. Jim Jones would have accomplished nothing without the people of Peoples Temple. They were the activists, the foot soldiers, the letter writers, the demonstrators, the organizers.
Do editors pander to audiences more than they should? Polly Curtis on the future of journalism — Dundee, Dundee City. The Maldon UP! Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. In the s, the Temple established nine residential care facilities for the elderly and six homes for foster children in the Redwood Valley.
The problems with Jonestown are self-evident. Marceline Jones, the wife of Jim Jones, administered licensed care homes. Peoples Temple Collection, —, I.
The Culture of Violence: Essays on Tragedy and History
In the mids, more than 80 members of the group packed up and headed west together. A food truck was one of several moneymaking operations the Temple ran in Northern California.
On 13 August, 30 miners were delegated to cross the veld field that separated them from another Lonmin platinum mine, Karee, where miners were also undergoing a wildcat strike. The 30 miners were forced by security to turn back without being allowed to meet with miners on the other side. On their way back they were met with a contingent of police.
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Eye-witness reports say there were about 10 nyalas military police vans and two police trucks. The police barred their way and told them to lay down their weapons machetes also known as pangas , to which the workers refused, saying they needed the pangas for everyday living in the 'bush'.
The police allowed the miners to continue, but once they were about 10 metres away, the police allegedly began to open gun fire rubber bullets and later live ammunition on them, and the miners retaliated. Two policemen and two miners were killed in this battle, and one miner injured severely. The strike continued despite gaining no support from NUM and receiving no official commitment from Lonmin management to enter into negotiations.
The strike was for a wage increase and to address the poor living and work conditions of miners and their families in Marikana. These issues were not formally addressed by the NUM or by Lonmin during the protest. Many of the strikers instead began losing their jobs and the protesters were met with unrelenting hostility by security, the police, and union personnel and management. The families of the striking miners were also in general solidarity with the protest and worked to support the movement, joining in protest action and bringing supplies when necessary.
Striking mine workers gather on hill on 16 August , before massacre occurs. The miners set up camp on a hill called Wonderkop near the Lonmin mine. Police and miners occasionally entered into discussions however the miners remained steadfast in their strike action, and on 16 August a full frontal attack was launched on them. More than police were deployed, most in camouflage military gear and armed with R5s, a licensed replica of the Israeli Galil SAR, or LM5 assault rifles, designed for infantry and tactical police use.
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A barb wire fence was set along the outside perimeter to close the miners in, and military police vehicles and helicopters were deployed on the scene. Despite statements that the police were acting in self defence, it is considered by many that they were not in any real danger. About a dozen miners were caught on camera being shot at directly, and this footage has received global attention and outrage. However most of the miners who were killed and injured were not caught on camera, with some of the miner's bodies reportedly discovered behind boulders and in retreat.
Many of the slain and injured had gunshots in their backs and there were miners who were found with injuries of being ridden over by nyalas.
The Culture of Violence: Essays on Tragedy and History - Francis Barker - Google Books
Addressing a press conference, SAPS authorities claimed its officers opened fire on the miners in self-defence, after the miners attempted to attack them using machetes, spears and clubs. The official number of people killed was confirmed by National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega, weeks after the incident.
The Marikana Commission of Inquiry was set up to investigate the massacre of miners at Marikana. The report absolved the key political figures who were accused of having a hand in the events leading to the massacre, including Deputy State President Cyril Ramaphosa who at the time of the massacre was a non-executive director at Lomnin, former Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, former Mineral Resource Minister Susan Shabangu and the National Police Commissioner Ria Phiyega.