Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory, Religious Cult Leaves Minnesota, The Cult Next Door

January 26, 2017 Comments Off on Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory, Religious Cult Leaves Minnesota, The Cult Next Door


– Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory
Driven by opportunism, pragmatism, or fear, many begin to forget that they used to think certain things were unacceptable.

– Sex Abuse Victim Speaks Out After Religious Cult Leaves Minnesota

– The Cult Next Door: The Moaist Cult Leader Who Kept His Followers Imprisoned In Brixton For Decades
He brain-washed them into thinking he had God-like powers.
– The Cult Next Door

Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory

Driven by opportunism, pragmatism, or fear, many begin to forget that they used to think certain things were unacceptable.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat Jan 22, 2017

President Donald Trump’s journey to the pinnacle of American power has offered the opportunity to study these processes in real time. Although we cannot yet know what kind of president he will be, from his June 2015 declaration of candidacy to his January 2017 inauguration, Trump has undertaken two parallel projects aimed at unsettling the mental habits and moral foundations of American democracy. First, he has cultivated a political persona that inspires adulation and unquestioning loyalty that can be mobilized for action on his behalf. Second, he has initiated Americans into a culture of threat that not only desensitizes them to the effects of bigotry but also raises the possibility of violence without consequence.

The founding moment of this era came one year ago, when Trump declared at a rally, “I could stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any voters.” Trump signaled that rhetorical and actual violence might have a different place in America of the future, perhaps becoming something ordinary or unmemorable. During 2016, public hatred became part of everyday reality for many Americans: those who identify with the white supremacist alt-right like Richard Spencer openly hold rallies; elected officials feel emboldened to call for political opponents to be shot (as did New Hampshire and Oklahoma State Representatives Al Baldasaro and John Bennett, among others); journalists reporting on Trump and hijab-wearing women seek protection protocols and escorts. The bureaucratic-sounding term many use for this, “normalization,” does not fully render the operations of memory that make it possible. Driven by opportunism, pragmatism, or fear, many begin to forget that they used to think certain things were unacceptable.

The risk is that the parameters of thought and action will be nudged to align with those of the leader, easing the retrofitting of history to suit his personalization of the land’s highest office. Trump’s success at this in a country known for individualism, and with no history of living under an authoritarian ruler, shows how susceptible people are to such approaches….

Authoritarianism needs that predator edge;  that shared understanding that the leader’s body carries within it the potential for violence– and the power to make it difficult to prosecute him. Trump’s attacks on women; his targeting of Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, and others as dangers to the nation; and the threats from his supporters against the lives of ordinary citizens that follow his criticisms of them on Twitter (such as the union leader Chuck Jones and the college student Lauren Batchelder) all go into the category of things it’s safer not to talk about. Normalization is actually decriminalization, a willingness to forget that such things were once thought of as lawless behavior….
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/donald-trumps-authoritarian-politics-of-memory/514004/


Sex Abuse Victim Speaks Out After Religious Cult Leaves Minnesota
January 25, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A victim of sexual abuse by the leader of a religious sect in Minnesota spoke out Wednesday amid concerns that its members have relocated to the state of Washington.

Lindsay Tornambe, 30, and two of her attorneys held a news conference and urged any other possible victims to come forward.

In October, Victor Barnard, 55, longtime leader of the River Road Fellowship, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two teenage girls, including Tornambe, who were members of his sect in Minnesota.

Tornambe has filed a lawsuit in Minnesota against leaders of the sect for failing to protect her when she lived as a young girl at the River Road Fellowship near Finlayson.

“Our concern is that children are at risk today because of this cult,” said Leander James of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, an attorney for Tornambe.

Barnard was the only sect member charged in Minnesota with sex crimes. Lawyers for Tornambe said they were not aware of any abuse occurring in Washington.

They did not know why members had moved to the Spokane and Bellingham areas….

The women said they were among about 10 girls and young women chosen to live in a camp apart from their families as part of Barnard’s “Maidens Group.”

Barnard kept the girls secluded, using religious coercion and intimidation to maintain his control over them, authorities said….
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/01/25/sex-abuse-victim-speaks-out-after-religious-cult-leaves-minnesota/


The Cult Next Door: The Moaist Cult Leader Who Kept His Followers Imprisoned In Brixton For Decades
He brain-washed them into thinking he had God-like powers.
25/01/2017
Sara C Nelson Senior Editor, The Huffington Post UK

The 75-year-old cult leader who raped two of his followers and kept his daughter a “slave” for three decades sat impassive as he was jailed for 23 years.

A slight, grey-haired pensioner, there was little hint of the charismatic, arch manipulator Aravindan Balakrishnan truly was.

But since the 1970s Balakrishnan had successfully brainwashed a group of women into thinking he had God-like powers, effectively keeping them psychological prisoners as he subjected them to decades of abuse….

He ran his tiny south London cult, the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, with an iron fist – banning his daughter from leaving the house or mixing with other children and sexually assaulting two of his followers.

To keep his devotees in check, Balakrishnan invented an invisible war machine called Jackie which he said could kill or trigger earthquakes if anyone went against his will….

Acclaimed director Vanessa Engle tells the extraordinary story of Balakrishnan’s cult in a BBC2 documentary on Thursday at 9pm.

The Cult Next Door features interviews with two of the women who escaped: Aisha Wahab, a 72-year-old Malaysian woman who was part of the cult for 40 years, and Katy Morgan-Davies, Balakrishnan’s daughter, who was born and raised in captivity….
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-cult-next-door-the-moaist-cult-leader-who-kept-3-women-prisoner-in-brixton-for-30-years_uk_5887517be4b0f94bb304fded

The Cult Next Door

This documentary by acclaimed director Vanessa Engle tells the extraordinary story of a strange cult, which came to light in 2013 when a sensational news story broke about three women emerging from a small flat in Brixton in south London after decades in captivity. Tracing the group back to its roots in the 1970s, the film describes how its leader Aravindan Balakrishnan, a student of Indian origin, believed in an international communist revolution and created a tiny political sect that followed the teachings of China’s Chairman Mao.

The film features exclusive interviews with two of the women who escaped – Aisha Wahab, a 72-year-old Malaysian woman who was part of Balakrishnan’s group for 40 years, and Katy Morgan-Davies, Balakrishnan’s daughter, who was born and raised in captivity. The film documents how this left-wing collective evolved into a bizarre pseudo-religious cult, where members were controlled, threatened and brainwashed so that they were too terrified to leave.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08c3vrx

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