During my ‘political training’ with MFJ/RIL I was subjected to classic cult tactics. Love bombing, progressive isolation, indoctrination, sleep deprivation, loyalty entrapment – first through emotional ties and then legal and financial.
I am taking a break from politics, as I cannot tell yet which things I still believe and why. MFJ/RIL was the first British political group I was properly involved with. They used their position as long-term involved in the British Left to explain the British Left to me, and British politics. They were giving me their perspective as the only true perspective, and I quickly learnt not to challenge much as for the responses ranging from 30min lectures, condenscending comments, faux-friendly manipulations using my personal history to ‘win me over’, to 1:1 emergency sessions with the RIL theorist ‘to explain’ or downright hostile shut-downs. I was trained to dismiss and become hostile towards anyone who was not ‘fighting to win’, to disregard them the moment they showed concerns, to treat them like means to an end ‘for this case/demo’, for ‘publicity’, for ‘building a movement’. I was being physically exhausted with ‘important work’ and encouraged to ‘vent’ about anyone who was not doing enough. I was encouraged to become like RIL in all these respects. In exchange, I received care, support, advice, help, a sense of belonging and being special (more love-bombing). For someone who is a migrant having escaped an abusive family, just became estranged from all family members and many long-years friends, wha had moved around over 20 times, who was in low-paid insecure employment, and have personally suffered a lot, this belonging felt invaluable and clouded my judgement.
During that time, the whole of last year when I worked hundreds of hours for MFJ/RIL and travelled across the country for them (whilst studying my last year at uni, working full time and recovering from an assault), I was also interacting with a lot of people, from the public, from various groups, from my friends circles, from universities, activists spheres, etc.
During the last ever MFJ demo I attended, in Brighton on 24th September, I ended up apologising to several people for having behaved in a hostile way earlier. I did not recognise myself. I was astounded with my level of anger towards my friends, I was so tired and underslept, but nevertheless this was not how I wished to conduct myself with people. I must have said sorry to 6-7 people. But it’s not enough.
I want to apologise.
I want to apologise to anyone I have been critical of, in person or in public, based on what I was being taught by RIL and accepting it as true.
I want to apologise to anyone who I have made feel inadequate, like they didn’t know enough, like their questioning was not appropriate.
I want to apologise to anyone I have dismissed or did not take into consideration, when I listened to RIL telling me it didn’t matter or ‘they’re too liberal’.
I want to apologise to anyone I have commented on, trying to fit into RIL. I believed I needed them and their approval for help and sometimes survival.
I want to apologise to anyone I have made believe MFJ is a trustworthy organisation or some place worth joining. I truly believed it in the past.
I want to apologise to anyone I may have talked about with RIL, thinking they will help them.
I want to apologise to anyone whose personal stories, details of traumas, private information I saw/heard about from RIL without consent, and did not challenge this more.
I want to apologise to anyone whom I encouraged to join MFJ, I feel sick for thinking I could endanger anyone else.
I want to apologise to anyone I have hurt or been mean to during my time with MFJ. I am really sorry for my behaviour.
And I’m sorry I didn’t raise alarm bells earlier, that I didn’t have the capacity to question harder, to challenge more, to investigate how the organisation actually works more.
I know better now. And this is why this blog exists, and this is why I went public. I did try to resolve it with the RIL first, believing it was just a one-off fuckup, but with every attempt it became clear there is no scope for anything but special private meetings with the person who had abused me before, and that all RIL will support them and back them up.
All abusers want is to sweep their horrific behaviour and violence under the carpet. All abusers want the victim to fail, to stay passive, be discreet, ask permission, be quiet, devastated and unable to cope, to not be able to get any support or justice, not take any action, not plan any supportive steps, not use the platforms they have access to, as this maintains the abusers’ position and control. The ‘good victim’ trope means the only ‘real’ victim is the one who fails. This is the immigration system tactic. This is the RIL tactic.
I will not be that. I have been through abuse before. I know silencing and smear campaigns are the only weapons left once legal and financial (or any other systemic) ties are not available to the abusers to control their victims. I know to back up evidence and access to networks. I know to fight back with truth and in the open when able to, because that’s what saves others, what allows others to speak too. Visibility can save lives. Everyone from marginalised background and suffering systemic abuse knows this to be true.
I know that if it was up to RIL nobody would ever hear about me, about any other people who have courageously stepped forward. This is why they banned me immediately from any chats where I could directly communicate with other MFJ members, logged me out of MFJ accounts, changed passwords, sent out ‘confidential’ letters asking people to be silent on abuse too or join them in harassing me (as if they can’t contact me directly themselves).
Nobody else will be sacrificed for emergingly dubious ‘work’ that an organisation does, hiding their true agenda, structure, finances, methods, hierarchies, decision-making, links to other groups, casework, hiding so much of truth from ‘less conscious’ ones.
Not anymore. Nobody abusive should have any power over vulnerable people, whether these people are strong and fighting back or not. Migrants rights are not a playground for a trotsky cult of people with mostly secure status, manipulating migrants and asylum seekers. No feeling good/powerful makes it ok to allow abuse of others. Dog-eat-dog approach and condescending manipulative lies will not get anyone justice.
RIL/MFJ is an abusive cult and this charade stops now. Believe the survivors. Speak up and #SpeakPlainTruth if you are safe enough to do so. Work to make it safe for others to do so, if you can. This cannot be buried.
If you want to share anything, anonymously or not, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or DM on Twitter @UnfollowMFJ