A Letter of Resignation from the SWP

A resignation letter to the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) from Jon Hosier

Dear Comrades,

I am writing to you to make you aware of my resignation from the SWP and my reasons for this. In light of the recent articles in the national media, and other resignations – I feel as a recently new member it is important to highlight my concerns as well.

The way in which the SWP handled the case of Assange and Jimmy Savile both within the party (discussions at branch meetings) and through the Socialist Worker, made me proud to stand with others who saw through capitalist notions of justice, women’s liberation, gender and power relationships.

We are aware that women are too often not taken seriously or treated in a manner that helps push them deeper into their trauma, pushing back their ability to process and come to terms with the horrors that they may have endured.

This is why I have been so appalled at the handling of the recent allegations heard by the Disputes Committee. Despite our concern over the methods the current political system use, we are not independent of it, we are part of this system and therefore in order to change it from within, we need to be seen to be a legitimate organisation that works for the good of all people. How else will the SWP ever be seen as a viable alternative to the masses?

With allegations of rape, our hands are tied and we are very limited in our abilities to carry out true justice ourselves, we do not have the means in order to achieve this, we can only stand by to a certain extent and allow the processes of the capitalist police and courts take their course, but because we are aware of the injustices and the inherent flaws in these capitalist institutions, we can only offer to serve as a ‘buffer’ of sorts to soften the blow to both parties if either face the often cold and uncaring hand of the state.

We could debate and discuss what could potentially be within our remit, all at the discretion of the accuser, perhaps, advocating for adequate counselling services for the people involved, make sure that if they have grievances with the handling of the case such as, treatment by the police, issues with legal representation and counselling/crisis services., we can be there to offer support and advice.

The DC has defended their actions, “had the Disputes Committee believed that the accused person was guilty, it would have expelled him from the SWP immediately”. This statement fails to address the wider consequences of a guilty verdict of rape and/or other sexual misconduct, does this mean as long as the defendant has no access to female comrades, it is acceptable for women outside the party to be at risk of being attacked?

The DC’s response to a now hypothetical situation does not address the fact that the accused, if they are indeed guilty, might need mental health treatment for an underlying illness and/or help them to address their abusive violent impulses. Where is any suggestion of such a program?

Obviously in the current political system rehabilitation either does not go far enough or is patchy, even nonexistent in some places, with the state all to ready and willing to put people into jail, with little or no support in preparation for life after their sentence, let alone helping them become aware of their actions and learn to address and adjust their behaviour to become functional members of society, regardless of our views, it’s currently all we have.

What if the accused is innocent? – Regardless of the internal decision made, but proven by an established court of law. It would be yet another injustice at the hands of the Disputes Committee. When someone is accused of such a crime there needs to be a proper system of investigation, and court based time for them to defend themselves adequately, neither of these could be achieved through the sham court of the DC. Due to the lack of credibility of the DC, comrades have had to draw their own conclusions concerning this matter, mostly based on conjecture and hearsay, which will inevitably filter out into their personal lives and involvement with the party, causing it to become a constant reminder for those actually involved.

The DC never had the right to investigate this case in the first place.

One of the committee members knew the accuser from being in the same district, aware of a conflict of interest they stepped down from the case, 5 committee members were or are comrades on the CC, having close ties with the accused. Seven comrades on the disputes committee then viewed the ‘evidence’ for “four long days” to conclude, in their opinion, a verdict of not guilty.

We are also told that this decision was not reached unanimously, one comrade disagreed believing “harassment at least likely”.

How can it be that seven people on a disputes committee took it upon themselves to be judge, jury and executioner in matters of such magnitude?

Surely this is a case of bad judgment on behalf of the DC, to even entertain the idea of holding a committee on an issue such as rape? I do not doubt that members thought about the matter seriously, but it was not a jury of the accused peers, but to quote a recent member in the news – “a jury of his mates”.

One of the most important attributes of a socialist, in my view, is the capacity for humility, I maybe wrong, but by admitting our mistakes we learn from ourselves and from others; in turn helping to shape the society we want to live in. Humility opens us up to being accountable for our actions, especially for those in our leadership who we allow to hold a certain level of power over democracy in the party.

I see no humility and no acceptance of wrong doing by the Disputes Committee or the Central Committee with their dealings in this case. Now conference has passed, the factions have dissolved and dissent kept in check (under threat of expulsion) until the three months preceding next year’s conference, as stated in our constitution.

A pressing issue such as this needs to be resolved at the time not a year later, otherwise the SWP stand for even less than the parties that claim to be democratic at the moment.

I have seen no reasonable outcome to the problems we face and no longer feel the SWP in its current form reflects my values, morals and understanding of Socialism. Therefore, I feel I have no other option but to leave the SWP.

Jon Hosier

90 comments on “A Letter of Resignation from the SWP

  1. Steven Banks on said:

    One event springs to mind: Ceaucescu. Socialist Workers unite, you have nothing to lose but subservient subordinatiuon to the slate. The only thing worse than a bourgeois court? A kangaroo court asking a potential rape victim how much she had drunk, her sexual history and giving their mate, the accused, disproportianate time to argue his case. If a court is good enough for Assange…

  2. Freddie on said:

    Lot of `decents’ taking the opportunity to jump ship. The SWP’s position on Assange was flat hostility whilst I hadn’t realised they’d played such a prominent role in the Savile investigation. This letter reads like a primary school child’s effort.

  3. John b on said:

    Freddie: This letter reads like a primary school child’s effort.

    Grow up, Freddie, and stick to the issues. How many ‘primary school’ children do you know who can write like that?

  4. One of the most important attributes of a socialist, in my view, is the capacity for humility, I may be wrong

    I see what you did there.

    Perhaps it would be worth distinguishing between three different charges made by this post. One is that the accusations against, um, Delta should not have been heard by “a jury of his mates”: the problem is that individual members of the DC didn’t recuse themselves, or that the DC didn’t step down en masse to be replaced by people who didn’t know the guy personally.

    Another, which Jon doesn’t make explicitly but which I think is lurking, is that the accusations shouldn’t have been dealt with within the party, because the party’s structures – and the premium it places on “unity in action” – were bound to make the DC defer to the CC and to prominent (former) CC members.

    But the strongest argument of all is that the accusations shouldn’t have been dealt with internally, because the party doesn’t run its own criminal justice system. Expulsion would have been a laughably inadequate penalty for a guilty verdict; acquittal on the word of the DC isn’t a satisfactory verdict of not guilty (see arguments 1 and 2). I think this is the key argument, and it’s good to hear it from a member of the party – even one who’s in the act of leaving.

  5. Stephen on said:

    Phil: But the strongest argument of all is that the accusations shouldn’t have been dealt with internally…. I think this is the key argument

    The longer this goes on the more concerned I get that the standard line that gets paraded by the SWP in relation to every other organisation (TU’s, Labour Party) namely ‘betrayal by leadership’ is very much the dominant trope in their current discussions.

    Whilst it was certainly the leadership that got them into this mess with the (ahem) controversial decision to handle a rape allegation internally using pals of the alleged rapist etc etc..it was the SWP memebrship at conference who voted that not only that an internal investigation was correct but that it was handled properly.

    This, suggests an unwillingness to use any sort of critical intelligence as being a widely held attribute inside the SWP – if they don’t make that cultural change it won’t matter how many CC members end up with their head on a stick.

  6. Stephen: Whilst it was certainly the leadership that got them into this mess with the (ahem) controversial decision to handle a rape allegation internally using pals of the alleged rapist etc etc..it was the SWP memebrship at conference who voted that not only that an internal investigation was correct but that it was handled properly.

    The key issue will be who knew what, and when.
    It is all very well Richard Seymour and China Mieville parading their opposition now, but Seymour implies that he knew the SWP were conducting an internal inquiry as far back as September.
    In an appalling lapse of judgement, unconcerned about the mess spilling out and damaging the wider movement, Candy Unwin declared at SWP conference that Mark Serwotka knew about it since October.
    Yet neither Seymour nor China made a public statement until AFTER the issue was already in the public domain. It could be called the “after the horse has bolted” opposition.
    Now perhaps China Mieville is semi-detached and didn’t previously know. But Seymour?
    It seems that for many SWP members this is an instrumental opposition, and their main complaint is that it got out, and has damaged them. They still don’t acknowledge that running their own inquiry was a disaster.

  7. Stephen on said:

    Andy Newman: It seems that for many SWP members this is an instrumental opposition, and their main complaint is that it got out, and has damaged them. They still don’t acknowledge that running their own inquiry was a disaster

    Yep. Lots of people keen to look at the top table – not many keen to look in the mirror.

  8. Re Richard Seymour’s “Crisis in the SWP blog, I asked –

    “Would you have written about this if Socialist Unity/Weekly Worker had not printed their stories? ”

    He didn’t answer this question but did say about the person who leaked the transcript –

    “…the person who did that was engaging – whether they realised it or not – in the type of bureaucratic manoeuvre that is a problem.”

    http://www.leninology.com/2013/01/crisis-in-swp.html#comment-764226734

    Bureaucratic manoeuvre or justified whistle-blowing? I think the latter.

  9. OK, so an *even bigger* problem is the fact that a great majority of rank & file activists have for so long been willing to accept and internalise something very similar to the CC’s current “all settled now, nothing to see here, move along” attitude. (These issues have been discussed before, you shouldn’t believe what you read in the sects’ media, this isn’t a big enough issue to cause trouble, now isn’t the time to raise it, you’ll have your chance in the pre-Conference period… and so on.) It wouldn’t have been possible for the leadership to make the disastrous decision to handle the affair internally if internal party democracy & communications hadn’t been so ossified for so long – and that situation couldn’t have persisted if active members and supporters hadn’t been willing to perpetuate and justify it.

    All this is true. But frankly I’m prepared to give the emerging oppositionalists a free pass on it for now – at least, I don’t think beating them up about it is the most helpful thing to do.

  10. From the outside – what were the committee thinking? As soon as the accusation was raised it should have been referred to the police (whether they like it or not) – it would have been handled and probably looking at their appalling record on these things quite quickly and cleanly – as it is – its tarred the SWP and the left for ever – ‘do as I say not as I do’ comes to mind. Its the sort of thing ‘thinking above the law’ that the Tories do…

  11. Manzil on said:

    John R: He didn’t answer this question but did say about the person who leaked the transcript –

    “…the person who did that was engaging – whether they realised it or not – in the type of bureaucratic manoeuvre that is a problem.”

    Which is obviously self-serving bollocks.

    Whistle-blowers aren’t forced into secretive organising through an aversion to open democratic politics, but by the prevailing system which ensures formal channel of redress end in a political cul de sac.

    They are a reaction in kind. And eminently justifiable.

  12. As someone who has brought a no. of successful whistleblowing cases in employment tribunals http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/whistleblowing-triumph-in-brighton.html including the precedent setting Lucas v Chichester Diocesan Housing Association (see http://www.11kbw.com/articles/docs/WhistleblowingAB.pdf) then I can confirm the above comment. People blow the whistle when they have no alternative.

    But they also have to do so internally within the organisation first (unless it’s exceptionally serious). 2 women did blow the whistle internally in the SWP. We know what (didn’t) happen. Someone else leaked the transcript of the conference proceedings externally. It’s just what they are supposed to do unless Richard Seymour believes that they should have kept quiet and let this travesty of justice take place.

    It was a travesty because, since the DC had decided to hear and make a decision on the rape allegations (goodness knows why since they have no qualifications to do so) the SWP had a duty to ensure that none of the members knew Martin Smith (comrade Delta). In failing to do this they failed to live up to even the most basic standards of even bourgeois democracy. As Lord Hewart CJ laid down the legal maxim, in R v Susssex Magistrates ex p McCarthy, as long ago as 1924 that “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.”

    It is something the SWP CC might take to heart.

    I strongly disagree with one poster however that the matter should have been reported to the Police regardless of the wishes of the woman involved. What matters are the best interests of the woman and given how traumatic many women’s experiences are of how the Police deal with rape cases, coupled with the fact that the allegations were 3-4 years old, there would have been no forensic evidence. That decision cannot be overidden by well meaning comrades and in any event I doubt if the Police could even take up the case without the woman agreeing to make a complaint.

    What strikes me about what is happening, and a purge is going on of some scale in the SWP now (I know one full-timer who has effectively been dismissed) http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/trade-mark-swp-badge-martin-smith.html it strikes me that the old Greek saying that those whom the gods wish to destroy they first drive mad. Expulsions may be an easy bureaucratic response to any dissent from the membership but you cannot use such methods when half your organisation disagrees with such a decision.

    In my view what is needed is for those who dissent in the SWP to leave now and make a concerted attempt to set up a far-left party which includes all those who were in the SA and wish to see a genuine far-left socialist formation in Britain which isn’t hidebound by democratic or bureaucratic centralism.

  13. Andy Newman: Tony Greenstein: they also have to do so internally within the organisation first

    That doesn’t apply when dealing with a criminal offence, where they can go straight to the police

    Yes I said that in exceptionally serious cases someone can go externally immediately. However there is no ruling that I’m aware of that this would apply to all criminal offences. Indeed I doubt very much that such a ruling would apply because it would be for the employer to determined whether they wanted to prosecute say a straighforward case of theft. But where it is a case such as child abuse, defrauding of public money or there is a reasonable belief that the employer would cover it up then there is this exception.

    Incidentally it doesn’t just apply to criminal offences. Indeed the leading case on this, Collins v National Trust (2005) was not a criminal case but one of public health and safety.

    Either way I would recommend SWP employees who have been dismissed or subject to victimisation or detriment to apply (before the fees come in!) to an employment tribunal. Socialist employers are not exempt from the normal obligations of capitalist employers.

  14. Tony Greenstein: However there is no ruling that I’m aware of that this would apply to all criminal offences.

    That is an interesting question.

    Incidently, the issue we have with carillion in Swindon is where ten staff gave evidence that they had monies or goods extorted by duress from them by supervisors, and did raise it through the proper internal procedures, they were disciplined for gross misconduct for giving “bribes”, but no supervisor has been given any disciplinary sanction from Carillion.

    Carillion have refused to say why they think the Public Interest Disclosure Act does not apply, and have refused to explain why the evidence given was not a protected submission under the Act.

    This has had the consequence that while we now have evidence of Carillion forcing cleaners to work outside best practice of infection control, other whistle blowers have been intimidated out of making complaints through the formal channels.

  15. John O'Connor (a pseudonym) on said:

    People seem to believe that, when push comes to shove (and let’s face it, push ALWAYS comes to shove) we should actually defer to the police and the courts, employment tribunals and other arms of the state. Of course, we use these latter bodies in our fights against the employers but they are not our main weapon. The police are an absolute non-runner in any and all conditions.

    The thing is ‘comrades’, you can’t have it both ways. Either the state is a bloodsucking, corrupt, racist, sexist, homophobic, elitist monster OR sometimes, especially if “we’ve got like a really serious problem” that “we just can’t handle” and are not competent (meaning?) to deal with it, we can fall back into its benevolent embrace. We can then quote High Court judges freely and continue a rightward shuffle or we can reject all that, accept that the SWP did what the rules said they should do and choke back the bile any of us may feel about the process or even the outcome. I have no idea of what really happened, only the people involved really know, and only the Disputes Committee heard any evidence.

    On a wider point, people join the SWP freely. Actually it can be hard work (from which I’ve been shockingly absent for a while) and, on joining, it is reasonable to assume they accept the basic tenets of the politics AND the organisation. If something terrible happens to them at the hands of another member (which is pretty unusual) they can do one of two things. Leave the Party and go to the state for redress or refer the issue to the Disputes Committee. There is no in-between.

    As for those in other ‘left’ organisations it is a) none of your business and b) if you’re in the Labour Party then you are a steaming hypocrite. Labour in power / office has in the past meant racist laws, denial of equal pay, cover ups, corruption, lies and the organised murder..yes..murder of children through wars (illegal or ‘legal’) so Andy Newman, (are you the ex-Bristol SWP bloke?) you should look in the mirror

  16. I’d be interested to know if you’d maintain that stance if murder had been committed (any and all circumstances?). Come to that, I’d be interested to know who you call when your home’s burgled – your full-timer?

  17. John O'Connor (a pseudonym): As for those in other ‘left’ organisations it is a) none of your business

    John O'Connor (a pseudonym): If something terrible happens to them at the hands of another member (which is pretty unusual) they can do one of two things. Leave the Party and go to the state for redress or refer the issue to the Disputes Committee. There is no in-between.

    My god, this beggars belief!

  18. #20 It would also be against what SWP members have said on here, not to mention Tony Cliff’s historic position on the question of tactical attitudes to the state apparatus.

    ‘John O’Connor’s’ is actually a more consistent position than that of some on the far left but I can’t think of anything else positive to say about it!

  19. Feodor on said:

    I was reading the discussions on Lenin’s Tomb last night, and it really struck me how little the internal opposition have actually broken with the SWP mindset. They’ve been at it for days, yet don’t seem able to formulate anything concrete, not even a criticism of the slate system! It’s all vague talk and even vaguer criticisms, all of which parrot the underlying principles espoused by the leadership.

    And Seymour, for all his intellectual posturing, is as bankrupt as anyone else. His long-winded articles have pretty much always been a case of Socialist Worker meets a thesaurus. Yet underneath all that quasi-scholarly jargon, there’s very little original thought, and imo he’s shown himself completely inept in terms of formulating anything specific – though his denunciations of the leadership are quite good, there’s not much substance behind them.

    It must be considered a great shame then that someone like Seymour has become the vocal point of the opposition, rather than the eminently more sensible figures like the author of this op-ed and Tom Walker, who actually have a much better grasp of the issues, not to mention the fundamental modesty that means they communicate their ideas in simple English!

  20. Manzil on said:

    John O'Connor (a pseudonym): The thing is ‘comrades’, you can’t have it both ways.

    Yes you obviously bloody can.

    Society is complex. (Go figure.) Things – people, their ideas, their relationships, their institutions etc. – often have dual and even contradictory purposes. EVERYTHING is contingent.

    The reverse of your view is to assume a socialist state would be hunky-dory: nothing would ever go wrong, sunshine would blow out people’s backsides and the rivers run red with Merlot. When you consider how absurd that sounds, you’ll understand why your own, equally simplistic argument doesn’t hold water.

  21. Manzil on said:

    Feodor: not to mention the fundamental modesty that means they communicate their ideas in simple English!

    Glad someone’s mentioned that.

    The spate of articles from various SWP members has been the first time I’ve been able to read his blog without being overcome by a migraine, deep spiritual pain, and a sense of impending doom.

    Vanya: ‘John O’Connor’s’ is actually a more consistent position than that of some on the far left but I can’t think of anything else positive to say about it!

    He has very nice paragraphs.

  22. John O'Connor (a pseudonym): Leave the Party and go to the state for redress or refer the issue to the Disputes Committee. There is no in-between.

    this is one of the problems with the swp – very black and white in their approach to, well, everything.

  23. Feodor on said:

    Manzil:
    The spate of articles from various SWP members has been the first time I’ve been able to read his blog without being overcome by a migraine, deep spiritual pain, and a sense of impending doom.

    Indeed.

    Before [someone I knew quit] quit, they used to quite enjoy rolling a big spliff then smoking it while reading Seymour’s blog. They’d highly recommend it: [they say] it’s as close as you can get to tripping without taking LSD! ;)

    PS. Sorry if blog policy is not to allow drug references – feel free to delete if it is. :)

  24. Tony Greenstein: Either way I would recommend SWP employees who have been dismissed or subject to victimisation or detriment to apply (before the fees come in!) to an employment tribunal. Socialist employers are not exempt from the normal obligations of capitalist employers.

    I dont think full time workers for socialist organizations should go to Employment tribunals to seek compensation for unfair dismissal, sex discrimination etc. Any employment disputes should be resolved internally by the organization. Socialist parties should not be capitalist institutions. If you work for them it is for political reasons and you should be able to be removed for political reasons. Lets not let the ruling class rule on these matters or disputes

    sandy

  25. I’ve got a friend who’s a professional mediator. His job is to get people to agree, even if they come into the process totally opposed to each other, even if he has to park them in separate rooms and shuttle between them. Can you say, without knowing any more about him, that he’s part of the ruling class? If so, how?

  26. Phil: Can you say, without knowing any more about him, that he’s part of the ruling class? If so, how?

    I doubt that he is part of the ruling class but your question is irrelevant. Employment tribunal judges are vetted. You dont get the post if you are a marxist or communist etc.

    If either of the two sides in the SWP crisis were to take their cases for unfair dismissal etc to the Tribunals and the courts it would be a disaster. For instance if the opposition won the present struggle and removed the majority of the full timers and they went to tribunal to get reinstatement it would be a political and financial bloodbath

    I am for the regular election of full timers in socialist parties- this is probably best done for most posts in the locality
    If the members vote for a new person to take the role is the incumbent going to go to tribunal for reinstatement or compensation etc? A daft idea. We need to sort out our own problems re any internal employment disputes. To go to employment judges to ask them to rule on such matters displays a lack of knowledge or foresight. To work for a socialist party as a full timer is a vocation not a job

    sandy

  27. ex SWP member on said:

    Not sure where to leave this comment, here seems as good a place as any.

    When I was an SWP member many moons ago, I attended party conference and heard the report of what was then called the Control Commission. One year this involved the case of a relatively senior “comrade” – though not as senior as “Comrade Delta” – who was accused of rape. The case was found proven and the “comrade” was expelled.

    The circumstances of the rape were described to the conference – not the identity of the woman involved, obviously, but an account of what had taken place. This allowed conference delegates to understand the basis of the decision, in the same way that a rape trial is reported but the identity of the victim is protected.

    I understand that the Disputes Committee had a very difficult task with this case. I still know some members of that committee and respect their personal integrity, although I don’t believe they were qualified or competent to hear the case, as is borne out by the transcript of the conference discussion, the questions they asked during the hearing, etc. What I don’t understand is why the facts of the case, on which they based their decision, were not reported to conference. All conference were told was that the accounts of the complainant and the accused did not agree, not the basis on which the committee chose to accept Comrade Delta’s version of events rather than the complainant’s.

    If you are going to accept the responsibility of judging a case, you are required to explain why you have arrived at your judgement. The veil of “confidentiality” has been used to obscure the facts of this case, completely unnecessarily in my view. Inevitably this will lead to accusations of whitewash etc. The members of the committee need to explain the reasoning behind their decision, maybe not to me and the readers of this blog, but to their party members. They have not done so. If the Disputes Committee want to make “bourgeois justice” look good, they’re going exactly the right way about it.

  28. swp member on said:

    resigning is the wrong call.
    Edinburgh swp passed a motion last night calling for an emergency conference, in line with section 4 of the swp constitution. That’s the right call.

  29. ex SWP member: One year this involved the case of a relatively senior “comrade” – though not as senior as “Comrade Delta” – who was accused of rape. The case was found proven and the “comrade” was expelled.

    How long ago was that?

  30. I doubt that he is part of the ruling class but your question is irrelevant.

    Easy, Tiger. I’m talking about a guy who resolves disputes single-handedly. If lots of disputes are being resolved by him and other mediators like him, then it’s simply not the case to say that going to mediation equals “let[ting] the ruling class rule on these matters”.

    Obviously mediation operates within a framework set by the law, and obviously the law is fundamentally bourgeois law (I’ve read Pashukanis). But that’s a very long way from saying that involving the law equals letting the ruling class decide.

    Not that it’s up to us whether we involve the law or not – if you think about it for a second, all our social interactions are underpinned by a universal set of standards (money, taxation, trading, employment) which everyone is expected to adhere to all the time. If I’m a party worker and my pay’s docked for no good reason – or I’m told to put in ridiculous hours for no good reason – then I’ve got a grievance under (bourgeois) employment law, whether I proceed with it or not; that’s an objective social fact. If I’m robbed or defrauded by the party, then I’m the victim of a crime under (bourgeois) criminal law just as much as if I’d been robbed in the street.

    Any organisation can agree that its members will act, among themselves, as if the law doesn’t exist (even if this might look like a bit hollow the moment anyone had to interact with the outside world). We do not observe your earth ‘law’ – we are bound by higher standards. Yes, very nice, run along now. But those higher standards had better be standards and they’d better be higher – they’d better be applied at least as consistently as bourgeois law, involve procedures at least as fair as bourgeois criminal justice and give the victim at least as much respect and support. If those things aren’t happening, then your supposedly ‘socialist’ standards are actually lower than those of bourgeois law.

    Ex-SWP member:

    If the Disputes Committee want to make “bourgeois justice” look good, they’re going exactly the right way about it.

    Exactly.

  31. Phil: then it’s simply not the case to say that going to mediation equals “let[ting] the ruling class rule on these matters”.

    Yes and i did not say that it was. But going to the judges is. Before going to mediation you have to agree the terms of reference and if any decision by the mediator is binding. A very different thing from going to court or tribunal to get them to rule on a dispute. The important point is that if a full timer worker for a socialist party is badly treated or is discriminated against on the grounds of race or sex or nationality or disability etc they have a duty to take that to the membership of the party and fight as hard as possible against any such treatment. To go to the courts on such a matter is to give up on the socialist movement. As i said full time work for a socialist party is a vocation not a job

  32. Pingback: SWP : Protests Continue « Grumpy Old Trot

  33. sandy: To go to the courts on such a matter is to give up on the socialist movement. As i said full time work for a socialist party is a vocation not a job

    This is bollocks. If a “socialist party” is a worse employer than a for-profit private corportation, then they don’t deserve defending.

  34. Andy Newman: This is bollocks. If a “socialist party” is a worse employer than a for-profit private corportation, then they don’t deserve defending.

    But a socialist party often has to be worse than a capitalist institution (lower pay, longer hours, less holidays etc) because it does not have the resources. In the 70s and 80s they used to encourage full timers to sign on for benefit in order to make the wages up to a livable level. maybe still do. Socialist partys are not capitalist institutions. You take a job working for them only if you are willing to make sacrifices re your material conditions

    sandy

  35. sandy: a socialist party often has to be worse than a capitalist institution (lower pay, longer hours, less holidays etc)

    But above you said:

    sandy: The important point is that if a full timer worker for a socialist party is badly treated or is discriminated against on the grounds of race or sex or nationality or disability etc they have a duty to take that to the membership of the party and fight as hard as possible against any such treatment

    One of the incidences currently hanging over the SWP is a full time female worker for the party, X, who has accused comrade Delta of sexual harrassment. She has been moved out of her existing department becasue she complained, a clear detriment; and she has been asked to submit the complaint to be heard by a disputs committee comprising long term friends and colleagues of her alleged harrasser.

    Frankly, she should take this to her trade union, and put in an ET claim. Although the original harrassment may be out of time, the way she has subsequently been treated is suggestive of continued discrimination.

    Or are you saying that women who work for “socialist parties” have also opted out of protection of Equality legislation?

    How can you justify that?

  36. Sandy-

    1) Before going to a tribunal, subject to the 3 month less one day rule, an employee needs to exhaust internal disciplinary procedures unless there is a good reason not to do so.

    2) How is it possible to win a majority for socialist politics if we take the position that our organisations are not subject to the same laws as other employers? Why should it be one rule for us and a different one for everyone else?

    Should trade union employees adopt the same approach? What about people who work for Shelter? Or Law Centres?

    Oh, and how do you feel about someone who blows the whistle on people working and signing on at the same time? Where I live it’s frowned on to say the least :)

  37. Andy Newman: Or are you saying that women who work for “socialist parties” have also opted out of protection of Equality legislation?

    How can you justify that?

    Yes i am saying that. She should take her claim to the party and fight for any injustice to be reversed by the party. That is her duty as a socialst. I dont think full time party workers should take employment claims to the courts or Tribunals against the party. The justification is that being a full time party worker is a vocation not a job. You do it for love not money. Anyway cant write more at present as i am of to work

    sandy

    sandy

  38. sandy: The justification is that being a full time party worker is a vocation not a job.

    I can see that argument being used by all sorts of employers, not only trade unions obviously, but also schools, hospitals, probations officers, social workers, etc

  39. #39 It could be victimisation. Any other employee who has suffered a detriment for supporting her also has a potential claim.

  40. sandy: You do it for love not money.

    I don’t think you have grasped the purpose of the equality legislation at all. Just because someone takes lower wages doesnt mean they have to accept racial, sexual or other forms of discrimination

  41. Andy Newman: I can see that argument being used by all sorts of employers, not only trade unions obviously, but also schools, hospitals, probations officers, social workers, etc

    not at Tribunal you wont- it would be laughed out

    sandy

  42. Andy Newman: I don’t think you have grasped the purpose of the equality legislation at all. Just because someone takes lower wages doesnt mean they have to accept racial, sexual or other forms of discrimination

    Andy- i dont think you have grasped the essence of socialist politics. We fight against any racism or sexism or national prejudice within our ranks but we dont let the bosses dictate our internal structures.

    sandy

  43. Good lord I’d hate to see what worker’s rights would be like if Sandy’s lot came to power.

  44. sandy: not at Tribunal you wont- it would be laughed out

    Yes, but if we concede the argument that people in “vocations” shouldn’t rock the boat, then it will be used informally to disuade people taking it to tribunals.

    Incidently, are people who work for the BNP, or even the Tories also covered by your opt of Employment rights?

  45. sandy: we dont let the bosses dictate our internal structures.

    The Equality Act 2010, and the previous anti-discriminaion legislation did not come from “the bosses”, they were achievements of Labour governments, putting into legislation measures which organised labour had campaigned for; often facing stiff opposition from “the bosses”

  46. Sandy, if your position only applies to the party, do you mean all socialist parties or just The Party.

    The message that The Party is not subject to the same laws as the rest of society under the current system will not augur well in many people’s minds for how likely The Party would be to respect the rule of law in the event of it having its hands on the levers of power.

    But I suppose the idea that it MUST substitute itself for an employment tribunal in respect of a discrimination or unfair dismissal claim is slightly less scary than the idea that it CAN substitute itself for the CPS, the Crown Court (and possibly the Legal services commission) in respect of a rape charge.

  47. Andy Newman: Incidently, are people who work for the BNP, or even the Tories also covered by your opt of Employment rights?

    Andy- if you dont see the difference between the BNP and a socialist party you are beyond help. The values that we should have for any socialist party have nothing in common with the BNP or the parties of big business.

    sandy

  48. sandy: if you dont see the difference between the BNP and a socialist party you are beyond help.

    I see the differnce, but you are stating as a matter of principle that where there is a vocation for party work, then employment legislation should not apply. Don’t fascists also feel a sense of vocation?

    If the issue of vocation is not sufficient for your argument, then why did you raise it?

    What you are saying is that “socialist parties” are outwith the law, and everything should be heard internally. I know you have already agreed with the idea of rape being investigated “in house”, so how about murder? Child pornography?

    What attribute do socialist parties possess – in your opinion – that places them in this privileged position?

  49. sandy: We fight against any racism or sexism or national prejudice within our ranks but we dont let the bosses dictate our internal structures.

    Sandy, your conception and understanding of British society in the 21st century is perverse to the point of being disturbing.

    You try coming out with this stuff to an ordinary working class person in the street and I guarantee you’d get short shrift. It really is ultra leftism gone made.

  50. Marx in 1871 on said:

    Issues to do with this case aside, the state should never be involved in the workers’ movement or the Left.

    The fact that people continue to raise the party’s failure to go to the police as a crime merely indicates they lack the most basic critique of the bourgeois state. Why is a judicial system set up by a party any more or less arbitrary than the anti-working class, racist, sexist and fundamentally conservative system set up by the capitalists?

    #timetorereadlenin.

  51. Andy Newman: I can see that argument being used by all sorts of employers, not only trade unions obviously,

    And they do (in Germany at least). As do many of the rest in that list. And worse: the law is explicitly, in many cases, on the side of that argument – i.e. on the side of the employer.

  52. Marx in 1871:
    The fact that people continue to raise the party’s failure to go to the police as a crime merely indicates they lack the most basic critique of the bourgeois state. Why is a judicial system set up by a party any more or less arbitrary than the anti-working class, racist, sexist and fundamentally conservative system set up by the capitalists?

    #timetorereadlenin.

    Because in this case it sets up a kangaroo court without relevant expertise or legal power to investigate an alleged rape by a mate of the presiding panel?

  53. John: You try coming out with this stuff to an ordinary working class person in the street and I guarantee you’d get short shrift. It really is ultra leftism gone made.

    I think you will find that many working class people are reluctant to take their personal disputes to the courts. They understand that if family or friends fall out it is best to try to sort thing out between themselves. Same with many disputes within the community where most working class people are reluctant to involve the police or the law unless their is no alternative. It is true that this anti state feeling is less than it was but it is still there- certainly among the people i know and work with. It is true that it less than it was but that is a example of the decline of class consciousness over the last 30 years and the increased atomization of the working class.

    moreover I think most working class people would view with amusement or mild disgust socialists going to court over internal political disputes within a professed socialist party. It really is an example of servility to the powers that be. In Scotland we had one prominent socialist taking a defamation case to court because another had called her a scab. The judge must have had a laugh at that one.

    sandy

  54. as some of you may know employment law used to be know as the law of master and servant. A more accurate and truthful term than employment law and for that reason a bit embarrassing for the ruling class. a bit like the change from the ministry of war to the ministry of defense. If you work full time for a socialist party you are a comrade not a servant. The capitalist hierarchy should not apply. If you view the position as just another job you should not be doing it

    sandy

  55. not counterfire on said:

    There’s another interesting resignation letter here

    http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/analysis/16236-why-i-resigned-from-socialist-workers-party-swp

    It gets more interesting once you know this is a certain former CC member who recently organised the Marxism festival

    Look at his comments about membership

    ‘In an Internal Bulletin article that massively over inflated the membership figures (the reality is around 2,500, they claimed 7,500)’

    and

    ‘Almost everyone who joined with me around the anti-capitalist and anti-war movements has already left the SWP (in fact it has retained between ten and twenty subs paying members for each year 2000-2005). The generation who joined over Millbank will mostly leave over this.’

    This is a serious insider view

  56. sandy: They understand that if family or friends fall out it is best to try to sort thing out between themselves.

    Including rape? Are you sure? And if so do you think this is the right course of action?

    sandy: certainly among the people i know and work with.

    No one I know or work with, all working class, would even consider not going to the police with an allegation of rape. As Andy asked previously, how about child pornography, murder?

    sandy: moreover I think most working class people would view with amusement or mild disgust socialists going to court over internal political disputes within a professed socialist party.

    This is where your consistent dishonesty shines forth, Sandy. To you an allegation of rape is an ‘internal dispute’. That’s a disgusting inversion of the facts, isn’t it?

    I think you’ll find that most working class people would view you and your perverse politics with mild disgust, Sandy, I really do.

  57. I feel the urge to repeat myself (I won’t make a habit of it):

    Any organisation can agree that its members will act, among themselves, as if the law doesn’t exist and its own, higher, standards will be followed instead. But those higher standards had better be standards and they’d better be higher – they’d better be applied at least as consistently as bourgeois law, involve procedures at least as fair as bourgeois criminal justice and give the victim at least as much respect and support. If those things aren’t happening, then your supposedly ‘socialist’ standards are actually lower than those of bourgeois law.

  58. John: This is where your consistent dishonesty shines forth, Sandy. To you an allegation of rape is an ‘internal dispute’.

    John you must learn to debate what people say and not what you hope they will say. I was not talking about an allegation of rape. If you had followed the discussion you can see i am talking about claims for unfair dismissal or sex discrimination etc that go to an employment tribunal. Nothing to do with rape which is a criminal matter. In respect of rape i would expect and encourage the victim to go to the police but it is their decision

    sandy

  59. Andy Newman: What you are saying is that “socialist parties” are outwith the law, and everything should be heard internally

    No what i am saying is political disputes between socialists should not be settled in the courts or tribunals. Socialists should not take cases to the courts against their party. Thus if members of a left party want to democratically remove their full timer he/she should not go to the courts for reinstatement or financial compensation

    sandy

  60. sandy: moreover I think most working class people would view with amusement or mild disgust socialists going to court over internal political disputes within a professed socialist party. It really is an example of servility to the powers that be.

    Sandy. in this case under discussion ie the way the SWP handled rape and sexual harrassment allegations against a leading ‘comrade’ is not one centered around an ‘internal political dispute’ – and it does precisely raise the question of the competency of the SWP’s Disputes Committee to deal with the situation.

    There are plenty of comrades who are or have been SWP members who are employed in the Domestic Violence field and some who work for organisations like Rape Crisis and other voluntary sector projects or statutory organisations like the Probation Service/Social Services etc. These comrades normal instincts when confronted with a person who discloses Abuse Rape or Harrassment Allegations.. in the context of their working lives will be to provide support and to advise reporting the problem to the Police… often the organisations both voluntary and statutory encourage victims to seek legal advice and will assist victims through the difficult process as well as signposting victims to additional support like counselling services etc. The context of the working lives of many working class people is shaped by the policies procedures and protocols that the organisations they work for have in place for dealing with Workplace Bullying/Abuse/Harrassment etc. Often the frustration many people face is that these ‘paper policies’ mean nothing in practice and people are understandably cynical. It is true that many working class people are also very cynical about the criminal justice system the police and the judiciary… this is espeacially true when it comes to the well known failings of the system when dealing with Rape, Domestice or Racial Abuse/Violence, Sexual Harrassment etc.
    Over many decades socialist and feminist activists have fought for changes to the Law and changes to the practice of the police and the judiciary when dealing with such crimes. This long struggle has born fruit and the situation now is better than it was.
    In the abscence of any alternative structures within the working class to ensure justice is seen to be done then most of us when confronted with someone reporting a rape would have no hesitation in encouraging them to seek advice and with support to report the rape to the police.

    Whatever happened inside the SWP – it is clear that it has done no one any favours and resolved nothing. Even at this late stage and with all the possible implications taken into account I would say that the best route for dealing with the allegations would be via reporting them to the police.

    Of course in years to come when there is a large scale massive revolutionary movement accross Wales Scotland and England and a defacto situation of Dual Power… we should indeed debate the establishment a shadow police and judicary and perhaps some internal prison system [or at least local ‘kneecapping squads’ to deal with convicted offenders] – We seems to be a long way from some sort of insurrectionary situation – and for the moment the working class and working class organisations are not competent to enforce their own Laws or proletarian morality via kangaroo courts.

  61. prianikoff on said:

    John #60
    “No one I know or work with, all working class, would even consider not going to the police with an allegation of rape.”

    Totally anecdotal and almost certainly completely wrong.
    Self report studies indicate that the opposite is the case.

    According to the most recent Home Office Statistics, only 15% of victims of the most serious sexual offences
    – rape (including attempts), assault by penetration (including attempts)- report the incident to the police.

    The most frequent reasons for not doing so are:-

    ‘it would be ‘embarrassing’,
    ‘didn’t think the police could do much to help’,
    ‘the incident was ‘too trivial/ not worth reporting’,
    it was as ‘a ‘private/family matter and not police business’.

    The same report suggests that 56% of offences in the most serious category are by a partner.

    Source; Home Office
    “An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales”
    published Jan 2013

  62. prianikoff: Totally anecdotal and almost certainly completely wrong.

    How can that possibly be, when I’m describing the people that I know. I would think I’m better placed to know this than you, despite regaling us with stats.

  63. prianikoff: According to the most recent Home Office Statistics, only 15% of victims of the most serious sexual offences
    – rape (including attempts), assault by penetration (including attempts)- report the incident to the police.
    The most frequent reasons for not doing so are:-
    …it was as ‘a ‘private/family matter and not police business’.

    Surely as socialists we deplore the low conviction rate for rape, and regard the social and institutional pressure on women not to report it as evidence of oppression and patriarchy.

    It seems that you are now engaged in a “regressive problem shift” where to defend your idea that the SWP were competent to carry out a rape inquiry you have to justify the pressure women are under not to report rape.

    Your statistics show an alarming trend, which socialists shoudl be in the forefront of opposing, which necessarily meas supporting and encouraging women in going to the police.

  64. sandy: political disputes between socialists should not be settled in the courts or tribunals

    RAPE is not a “political dispute” it is an act of sexual violence and abuse of power

  65. #63 Sandy as I suggested above, one of my problems here is that you have not established the criteria for which organisations/ employers should feel exempt from being subject to actions by their employees under employment legislation.

    Talking about ‘socialists’ is not sufficient. How far would you spread your no-go zone on this?

    Btw I appreciate that you would not have opposed the alleged victim going to the Police and in any case the alleged ‘comrade delta’ rape issue is not a sufficiently similar comparator- the criminal allegation is not against the SWP but an individual, so let’s leave that out of this specific question.

  66. prianikoff: John #60
    “No one I know or work with, all working class, would even consider not going to the police with an allegation of rape.”
    Totally anecdotal and almost certainly completely wrong.
    Self report studies indicate that the opposite is the case.

    prianikoff – what you say is valid but so is John’s point.. As a socialist if you were confronted with someone who disclosed a Rape Allegation… what advice and support would you give… and would that advice and support have been of a different character in 1983 than today in 2013… ?

    For example in April 1980 my sister who was 14 at the time was Raped in a car park in Digbeth Birmingham… She did not go to the police… and I spent much of the next week wandering the streets with armed with the first name of her assailant a description of his car and a claw hammer in my donkey jacket… perhaps fortunately for both of us I never found him.
    If a similar attack were to happen to my sister today… then I would take her immediately to the police station and if she showed a reluctance to go I would encourage to seek the support of an organisation like Rape Crisis…
    At the time my sister was a member of what was to become the IMG’s youth organisation Revolution Youth – she never felt confident to discuss the attack against her with the Marxists and Feminists she knew because she felt that their essentially abstract understanding of ‘Rape’ would not lead to any real support for her personally…The situation was made worse for my sister because within hours of her Rape she was taken advantage of while at her most vulnerable by a 15 year old member of Revolution Youth and the IMG who also sexually assaulted her… She never reported this assault to anyone except me … and asked me not to act.
    Shortly after these events my sister dropped out of activity in the left for nearly a decade… and never talked about these experiences.
    Neither the Police nor the Revolutionary Left were fit for purpose 30 years ago for defending vulnerable young women from Sexual Abuse and Rape… Today the Police are marginally better… but the remanents of the Revolutionary Left… still stuck in a time warp.

  67. Andy Newman: RAPE is not a “political dispute” it is an act of sexual violence and abuse of power

    I did not say rape was a political dispute.. I am replying to a line of argument put forward initially by Tony G saying that SWP full timers should take cases for unfair dismissal, whistle blowing, sex discrimination etc to employment tribunals. Nothing about rape which is a criminal matter and would not go to an employment tribunal. Stop trying to move the goal posts in the discussion.
    I am saying if SWP full timers are dismissed or discriminated against at their work they should not take their case to an employment tribunal. Nothing about rape. How much clearer can i be. lets not waste time on straw men arguments

    sandy

  68. Manzil on said:

    John,

    I suppose there’s a difference between thinking about whether you’d report it in a hypothetical context, and actually going through with it after having suffered that traumatic experience.

    I imagine a significant number of the 85% of people, who didn’t report rapes or sexual assaults to the police, would have said they would do so before it actually happened to them.

  69. daniel young on said:

    Power over fear base line for our children!s employment,let alone the complication of rape.

  70. Manzil: I imagine a significant number of the 85% of people, who didn’t report rapes or sexual assaults to the police, would have said they would do so before it actually happened to them.

    True. There’s no doubt it’s easier said than done.

  71. mark anthony france,

    A correction to my earlier post my sister was just 16 at the time of her rape and the IMG member who added insult to injury immediately after was 17years old at the time.

    Another anecdote springs to mind about a trip I made up to Glasgow in August 1979 on behalf of the IMG’s Youth Organisation Revoltion Youth. I was meant to be meeting with several youth ‘contacts’ with a view to forming a Revolution YOuth branch. Instead I found myself trapped in a squalid forth storey tennement bedsit with an IMG member in his mid ’30s [I was 17 at the time] he was an agressive sexual predator and if I had not been able to physically resist his efforts with the assistance of jumping into a snug fitting sleeping bag and curling up into a ball … I felt sure I too would have been a rape victim… Did I report this incident when I attended a Glasgow IMG branch meeting the next evening … NO.. but I did try to express diplomatically, to the comrades that I would very much like to find another ‘billet’ for the night… Perhaps I was too subtle in my approach or perhaps they just couldn’t understand my Brummie accent but none of the more affulent IMGers seemed to want to step in and rescue me from my predicament…
    Fortunately, I escaped from Glasgow with my dignity intact … but I have never returned. I heard that the ‘comrade’ who attempted to abuse me latter left the IMG and attached himself to ‘Republican’ circles in Glasgow and got into trouble for sexually abuse young male members of the Ardrie and Coatbridge Republican Flute Band… this was dealt with ‘internally’ via traditional Republican methods not via reporting him to the Police.

    Sometimes like loads of working class people I would DESPAIR at the reality of life as a revolutionary activist… often it was the closing senteneces of Trotsky’s ‘Their Morals and Ours’ which would give me some solace…
    “They learned not to fall into despair over the fact that the laws of history do not depend upon their individual tastes and are not subordinated to their own moral criteria. they learned to subordinate their indivdual desires to the laws of history. they learnd not to become frightened by the most powerfull enemies if their power is in contradiction to the needs of historical development. They know how to swim against the stream in the deep convition that the new historic flood will carry them to the other shore. Not all will reach that shore, many will drown. but to particiape in this movement with open eyes and with an intense will – only this can give the highest moral satisfaction to a thinking being!”

    Unfortunately… the flood still hasn’t come but long before many would be revolutionaries reached any shore they ended up drowning in their own hubris…

  72. Observing on said:

    Another resignation, this time by a former CC member. Stinging.

    “The Socialist Workers Party is dying. For all the good it has done over many years, it has imploded over allegations of sexual assault and its inability to deal sensibly with them.

    It will continue to limp on for at least a few more years but the descent into cultishness will now be rapid. Those who have chosen to ‘stay and fight’ will be expelled or driven out soon enough (although I do, of course, wish them the best of luck in their fight) and those who see the need to ‘defend the line’ will find themselves saying and doing things they never dreamt they would say or do; they are in the process of crossing an intellectual ‘line in the sand’ from which their political minds will probably never recover.”

    also

    “Once any criticism of the religion – I say religion because that is what it is when an ideology becomes organisationally frozen in the past – once any criticism is labelled heresy – it is only a short step to what we have now. To the Sopranos’ model of leadership that the party suffers from. The mafia approach to criticism.

    Because anything from beyond the brains of the central committee must have originated in the scary outside world. It must therefore be a Trojan horse for autonomism or reformism or Chris Bambery or whoever the main enemy is today.

    Good ideas can only come from dead people or the central committee. A monopoly on ideas means a monopoly on power. And that is not the organisation I wanted to join, that I built, that I fought for, that I defended.”

    http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/analysis/16236-why-i-resigned-from-socialist-workers-party-swp

  73. mark anthony france: Another anecdote springs to mind about a trip I made up to Glasgow in August 1979 on behalf of the IMG’s Youth Organisation Revoltion Youth

    Mark

    I was in the IMG at that time in Glasgow so sorry to hear about what happened during your visit

    One thing we can try to do in socialist organizations is to encourage people to stand up for themselves and be strong confident individuals who wont take any shit from those who claim authority. That was one good thing about the initial revolt with in the SSP against TS. Can you believe that TS was expecting others in the SSP to back him up in his bogus defamation action without even asking them first if they were willing to give “evidence”. A practice more mafioso than marxist. Thankfully the majority told him to fuck off.

    Despite the IMG being one of the more democratic organization it had a authoritarian streak and a hierarchy which got worse as time passed and the class struggle declined

    I joined when i was young and had quite a few run ins with sections of the leadership although nothing as bad as you describe. An amusing one was with the IMG full timer who sold me his bicycle and then a few weeks later, after having bought a new one, minus light and chain, came round to my place to say he was here to collect the bicycle chain and lights from my bike as they had not been part of the sale. When it became obvious that he was not joking I had to tell him to fuck off. It was obvious he was trying to use his political authority to get me to be subservient to his daft demand.

    Quite a few of these types went on to be managers in local government etc. Bullies. If it was bad in the IMG how much worse was it in other left organizations which had even less of an internally democratic regime. Most working class rebels would not tolerate for long the type of internal regime practiced by the SWP and others over the last 30 years. they would vote with their feet

    sandy

  74. sandy,

    sandy
    Thanks for your concern about my bad experiences in Glasgow… The only good thing I remeber about the trip was going to Parkhead to see Celtic smash the Peoples Republic of China in a ‘Friendly’… I was in the ‘Jungle’ and got asked ‘are you with the away team’ because I was wearing a hammer and sickle fouth international badge!!
    I admire your courage in standing up to the ‘senior’ IMGer and keeping the bike chain and light!
    I joined the IMG after nearly 2 and half years of activity on the Left in Birmingham… I was courted as the new kid on the block by the SWP, Militant, Workers Fight, the CPGB [very briefly] and even the Sparts… my libertarian and Anarchist instincts drew me towards Big Flame which I actually joined for a while…
    Most of the people I worked with in the Troops out movement were ex IS people expelled in 1975… but eventually I opted to join the IMG and build their youth organisation … I was rapidly ‘co-opted’ onto a Branch Committee… but when they got wind that I had organised an informal ‘unity’ meeting between the Revolution YOuth members and SWP Rebel members – I was unceremoniously ‘unco-opted’…. I agree that formally the IMG’s internal democracy was probably the best on offer in the far left in the late ’70’s which was one of he main reasons I joined.

    By 1988 I was working in the National Centre with John Ross Jude Woodward, Redmond O’Neil and others and saw with my own eyes how completely fucked up and authoritarian these people were… and I was not suprised that the all ended up on 6 figure salaries working for City Hall with Ken Livingstone.

    In July 1991 I was expelled by the organisation at a kangaroo court held in Birmingham for an ‘alledged’ breech of Proletarian Morality… so I ran away to Cuba… hoping to die heroically defending the island from a yankee invasion…

    I agree with you that most working class rebels would not tolerate such treatment and vote with their feet… If I could have my life over again I would have followed exactly that same instinct back in January 1979 and left the IMG….but then I might never have seen Celtic play!

  75. prianikoff on said:

    #67 “It seems that you are now engaged in a “regressive problem shift” where to defend your idea that the SWP were competent to carry out a rape inquiry you have to justify the pressure women are under not to report rape.”

    Except that I didn’t “justify” anything.
    I simply pointed out the latest Home Office Statistics.

    Whereas you seem to be completely denying the possibility that the competency of the police and criminal courts might be tainted by political pressures.

    Once again, the evidence shows that you’re wrong.

    “Ten women who say they were deceived into having sexual relationships with undercover police officers have won only a partial victory in their fight to have their case heard in the high court.

    Mr Justice Tugendhat said the lawsuit alleged “the gravest interference” with the fundamental rights of women who had long-term relationships with police officers sent to spy on their political groups. The judge rejected an attempt by the Metropolitan police to have the whole case struck out of the court.

    However, in a mixed ruling, the judge said that half the cases in the legal action should first be heard by a secretive tribunal that usually deals with complaints against MI5.”

    …..some cases stretch as far back as the mid-1980s. One woman, who is bringing a separate legal action, had a child with a police officer she presumed was a fellow animal rights activists in the 1980s. He later disappeared from her life and ceased all contact.

    Full:-
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/17/women-relationships-police-spies-victory

  76. prianikoff: Ten women who say they were deceived into having sexual relationships with undercover police officers have won only a partial victory in their fight to have their case heard in the high court.

    For this to be relevent, you have to be claiming that Comrade Delta is an undercover police officer (unlikely, though it would explain a lot!)

    Or you are claiming that W is an undercover police officer (highly offensive, if you are)

    If you are not claiming either, then there is no relevence at all to your point.

    You are blowing smoke to distract from the impropriety of the SWP conducting a rape inquiry

  77. Jellytot on said:

    @85For this to be relevent, you have to be claiming that Comrade Delta is an undercover police officer (unlikely, though it would explain a lot!)

  78. Jellytot on said:

    @85For this to be relevent, you have to be claiming that Comrade Delta is an undercover police officer (unlikely, though it would explain a lot!)

    Yes, it would but do the Police allow their ‘moles’ to be charged by the CPS? I’m thinking about matters in 2010 unrelated to the currrent scandal.

    If they do then that would be deep cover!

  79. prianikoff on said:

    #85 The judgement shows that the police wanted the cases to be dealt with internally. MI5 and the judiciary still want the most sensitive allegations dealt with in secret.

    What does this tell us about their impartiality when it comes to dealing with the left?

    Of course they have state power and can enforce their decisions. Whereas the most the SWP could have done would be to expel Delta and to refuse to defend him against any potential court case.

    Debating the issue in front of 400 members doesn’t seem like a great way to engage in a cover-up!