And there are more SWP sexual abuse scandals to come

The parallels between the failure of the Liberal Democrats to deal with allegations of sexual abuse by Chris Rennard, and the SWP’s appalling failure to deal with allegations of multiple rape of a teenager, and a separate case of sexual harassment of an office employee, by their then national secretary, Martin Smith, are too close to ignore. These scandals occur in a wider societal context of widespread complacency and collusion about sexual abuse  being exposed  in the BBC, Catholic Church, and other institutions.

In all these cases, there are peculiar and particular circumstances or institutional factors that have allowed abuse to continue; but those unique circumstances are all manifestations of a cultural acceptance of women (and sometimes vulnerable men and children) being objectified; their subjection to violence and sexual assault being tolerated; and systemic institutional collusion to protect the reputations of powerful people and organisations at the expense of silenced victims.

I am sure that many of us have heard the rumours that there is more and worse to come out in the SWP sex scandals, and a bitter fore-taste is to be found in Nick Cohen’s Spectator article:

My colleagues are working on more stories of rape on the far left. One as yet unreported case comes from a woman who wrote to me after my Observer piece {details redacted}

I wanted to tell you that I was in the SWP a few years ago, and was physically and sexually abused. Following the rape, I left the party, but was encouraged to take the complaint to the disputes committee to make sure he didn’t do it to other women in the party. The disputes committee meeting lasted 5 hours. I was asked if I had been drinking. They said that if {the alleged assailant} and I had recently broken up my case would be invalid. They constantly asked me if I was still attracted to him, and referred to instances of him hitting me as ‘shaking’. They also constantly asked if I was sure I had not consented to sex.

The disputes committee also told me that if I talked to the media or anyone else that I was in trouble. {The man} was allowed to bring two character witnesses who claimed I was a convincing slut, and he had my statement for a month before the meeting, but I had no idea what he would say in his statement.”

Notice the tenor of the questioning. Are you a vengeful ex-girlfriend? Are you a drunk? Are you still besotted with him? Are you sure what he did to you was really so bad? You wanted it really didn’t you? Naturally, after this performance, the SWP let its comrade off with a few years suspension from the party, and hushed up the scandal.

The similarities in process between this case and the way the complaint against Martin Smith was handled show a clear pattern. This literally is the way the SWP treats complaints of rape, not just once, but systematically again and again. It is perhaps unfair to say it is a “rape culture”, but it is certainly a culture which encourages abuse of power imbalances, and then colludes in covering up complaints of rape. It is a disgrace.

442 comments on “And there are more SWP sexual abuse scandals to come

  1. Howard Fuller on said:

    Actually if you read his article the problem appears to be more than “just” the SWP”.

    Nick Cohen also writes:

    “My colleagues are working on more stories of rape on the far left.”

    Since Healy is old news (and somewhat dead) we’ll have to wait & see.

  2. McFudgestrikesagain on said:

    There’s an idea out there that IDOOP are the goodies in the disgusting SWP mess and the CC faction are the baddies. In the experience of many ex-SWPers, the CC faction are certainly baddies, but IDOOP contains a fair few old hacks who really support the CC, like loyal Stalinists used to do.

  3. red snapper on said:

    Nick Cohen? The enemy of the left, and in The Spectator too. With friends like these……….

  4. red snapper: The enemy of the left, and in The Spectator too.

    Surely in the broader scheme of things, Nick Cohen is on the left; and perhaps those SWP oppositionists discovering Jim Higgins’ writings for the first time might defend the Spectator, which is after all where HIggins wrote for, after he left Socialist Worker

  5. McFudgestrikesagain on said:

    Andy, don’t you understand, it’s a Manichean world view that’s on show with all the SWP? We’re with ‘em or against ‘em, and to hell with dialectics and marxist analysis.

    They’re so ignorant that none of them know that ‘Leninist’ was a term of abuse after 1903 in the RSDRP. In fact, they probably don’t know what those letters stand for.

  6. stockwellpete on said:

    red snapper:
    Nick Cohen? The enemy of the left, and in The Spectator too. With friends like these……….

    But we already know that the Disputes Committee has dealt with nine other “alleged rape situations” in recent times, so maybe this “new” case is one of those? And maybe some of the women involved in those nine cases have decided to come forward now? I don’t know for sure, I am just wondering if this is going to happen.

    What I am also wondering is why on earth the opposition group inside the SWP want “party unity” now – surely they realise that it is time to leave? And why have they agreed to “internet silence”? Surely this all needs to be out in the open however painful it is?

    This whole thing has completely astonished me and somehow now I feel very queazy about having been a member (was in 1976-81 and again around 1990 for a year or so). Does anybody else feel like this too? How the hell can the SWP operate normally from now on? They’re toast, aren’t they?

  7. red snapper on said:

    Nick Cohen on the left? Get real mate. He has lost all credibility since his support for imperialist war and mass murder. He has an issue with the left and this article is part of his revenge. You really should find a more credible source for these allegations. Article also mentions that this latest complainant chose not to go to the police either. Why? Could it be that there is just isn’t enough evidence for a prosecution, especially years after the alleged events took place?

  8. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    #5 In the broad scheme of things Nick Cohen is not of the left, even if he used to speak at Marxism. For years he has been making a career out of dissing the whole left by equating it to, as a constant example, the WRP. He has an agenda… But even so, if he does point out a culture of acceptance of or colluding with sexual harrassment on the left that goes beyond dredging up the old, if foul, stories of the WRP he will be doing a service. And might even shame some of the SWP 500 to think again. BTW, out of curiosity I emailed my local SWP branch asking their views about the basics of the Delta case but have had no reply.

  9. jim mclean on said:

    SWP Maths Test

    If only 10% of women report rape,and 9 women reported being raped to the DC. How many women have been raped within the Party.

    A) 9
    B) 90
    C) None.

    The answer is of course “C” as decided at conference.

  10. stockwellpete: This whole thing has completely astonished me and somehow now I feel very queazy about having been a member (was in 1976-81 and again around 1990 for a year or so). Does anybody else feel like this too? How the hell can the SWP operate normally from now on? They’re toast, aren’t they?

    I think that explains why some of the most vocal outrage comes from ex-members, horrified that this has happened, but also we know it is plausible with what we know, and becuase we have not been members for a while we have enough distance from the SWP to speak out.

    stockwellpete: What I am also wondering is why on earth the opposition group inside the SWP want “party unity” now – surely they realise that it is time to leave? And why have they agreed to “internet silence”? Surely this all needs to be out in the open however painful it is?

    A huge tactical error I think, they are going to get rolled over. The Michael Banda / Cyril Smith / Cliff Slaughter side in the WRP split made the running, and rescued their own personal self-respect in so doing; IDOOP should have called themselves the Stockholm Syndrome faction

  11. Howard Fuller on said:

    The Liberal Democrats are already suffering the consequences of their mishandling of a sexual misconduct case, dropping to just 8% in the latest Opinion Poall and in 4th place behind the UKIP.

    It is likely they could now lose the Eastleigh by-election on Thursday.

    The SWP doesn’t figure in opinion polls but with all these revelations is clearly heading to an “extinction level” event on March 10th.

    The RMT was bemoaning the lack of publicity for the TUSC candidate in Eastleigh, but could get more than they bargined for if the media cotton on the fact that the SWP are..err a major component of said coalition.

    It is no longer possible to associate with the SWP on a formal basis.

  12. Andy Newman on said:

    So if a woman doesn’t want to go to the police her complaint is not credible to you?

    Do you wonder what the expression “rape denier ” means? Look in a mirror. Clearer now?

  13. and there's more on said:

    stockwellpete:

    This whole thing has completely astonished me and somehow now I feel very queazy about having been a member. Does anybody else feel like this too? How the hell can the SWP operate normally now

    Queasy is just my starting point. Try anger, disgust and embarrassment. I spent many years building the SWP because I honestly believed they were the best left wing party in Britain. I left after the standing ovation of 2011 when Delta point blank lied to us, and Lord Alex and his cronies spent the entire weekend running around whispering to people that Comrade W was unstable and that the complaint was a pack of lies. I knew she was telling the truth, and to watch their maneuvering as they tried to cover for Delta was and is sickening.

  14. red snapper on said:

    Not at all. But don’t you think its a possible reason? After all what kind of justice could the alleged victim expect the DC to deliver apart from expelling the culprit resulting in someone who may be a serial sex offender on the loose to do it again.

  15. stockwellpete on said:

    and there's more: Queasy is just my starting point. Try anger, disgust and embarrassment.

    Yes, I can understand your point of view. I suppose it is a lot easier for me given the length of time that I have been out of the party now.

  16. Howard Fuller,

    Youre right that if the media had taken an interest in the TUSC it would have been for the reasons you have outlined.

    The same applies to the UAF conference this weekend where many more Labour and Trade Union dignitaries willl be attending. Will the media take an interest if they realise how prominent Comrade Delta is here?

    Especially as he was sent off to Athens in January to represent the UAF after being a clean bill of health at the SWPs conference.

  17. Jellytot on said:

    @16what may be a serial sex offender on the loose to do it again.

    You forget the power paradigm.

    Outside the SWP he would essentially be cast adrift in society; an ordinary “Joe Schmo” with limited access to much younger women in organisationally subservient positions. It would follow, therefore, that his ability to engage in (alleged) abuse could be curtailed.

    “Delta” only matters in the cosseted world in which he operates and which provides him succour and protection.

  18. red snapper on said:

    As far as I’m concerned if the obscene the age gap, even if totally consensual between Delta and W, is as reported, that is reason enough for him to face some kind of sanction/warning not to carry on as its totally inappropriate and could bring the party into disrepute and if he failed to stop then suspension and possible expulsion should follow. The alleged rape is a different matter as it is a criminal act and if true should be dealt with in the appropriate manner if the evidence is there.

  19. and there's more on said:

    stockwellpete,

    Thanks Pete,

    I used to wonder why when people left the party they then hated it so much !

    They’re having meetings in my area on “Women’s Liberation, how to get it”. I would say the first step would be to not go anywhere near the SWP !

    If they dare to show up on the International Women’s Day march they’re going to get a mouthful from me and some other pissed off men and women.

  20. I was discussing the business or relationships between old male members and young (in some cases very young) female members with a former leading member of one of Britain’s Trot groups. He said to me, “That sort of thing goes on in all Trotskyist organisations.” He particularly emphasised the word “all” in his comment.

  21. red snapper on said:

    Not just in Trot groups, its a societal problem not limited to the left. I must admit I seen some pretty eyebrow raising age gaps between older men and young, sometimes, very young women and girls in my time on the left. Some young enough to to be their grand daughters.

  22. Andy Newman: The Michael Banda / Cyril Smith / Cliff Slaughter side in the WRP split made the running, and rescued their own personal self-respect in so doing

    They basically expelled Healy, didn’t they? And kept a fair amount of political cred as a result, although they squandered most of it later. The lesson is to move hard and move fast – working with Healy taught them that at least. By extension, presumably what the SWP opposition learned from working with Callinicos & Kimber was not to move at all until it’s absolutely necessary, and even then to cover their backs by denying that anything’s changed.

    Like you, I fear they’re going to get rolled over – the IDOOP motions published by the WW are incredibly timid. Perhaps they were never going to call for the CC to resign right now, but they don’t even seem to be calling for the establishment of any mechanisms or structures that might make bigger changes possible in future. My guess is that on March 11th Delta will be hung out to dry, 90% of IDOOP will say “job done” and Mieville, Seymour and a few others will be facing friendly chats with the local full-timer. I hope I’m wrong, though.

  23. Andy Newman on said:

    Phil,

    Then after the split, the Mitchell / Torrence faction also sought to sideline Healy, and only a year later Healy and the Redgraves were expelled a second time.

    My judgement is that the SWP Lynch mob faction will make a point of insisting Martin Smith stays in post, or rather is prompted again. Because by so doing they assert their authority beyond question

  24. Graham Day on said:

    Phil: My guess is that on March 11th Delta will be hung out to dry, 90% of IDOOP will say “job done”…I hope I’m wrong, though.

    My guess is that on March 11th Delta will be back on the CC, and IDOOP will slope off with their tails between their legs. I also hope I’m wrong.

  25. Jellytot on said:

    It’s a tough one and could go a few different ways.

    I still feel that “Delta” will be given something like a 6 month suspension (and will accept as all these things would have been worked out in advance).

    Seymour & (me old) China will be expelled (although the Party will miss their sizable subs so they may wait for them to resign just so they can milk a bit more cash from them).

    The IDOOP will roll over and have its tummy tickled whatever happens.

    However, to believe that this will draw a line under everything and that everybody will ‘make nice’ is naive in the extreme.

  26. Rich Peacock on said:

    Jellytot: The IDOOP will roll over and have its tummy tickled whatever happens.

    Sorry I think you are wrong. They have made a brave stand.

    Please understand it is emotionally exhausting for them. They are midwife to the killing of their own party, something which they have spent 100’s of years, collectively, constructing. Do you think Pat Stack is not weeping over its death? Do you understand that he knows that he will have been one of the honourable ones who wielded the knife?

    Of course the opposition will be wiped out. At every aggregate, NC and now special meeting is fixed. The coming conference will be a farce. Cheering and toasting and voting in a room full of people elected to conference who haven’t been to a meeting in 15 years.

    It will be a Pyrrhic victory. The post celebration in some sad Euston pub will be written about as the end of the SWP, not the new beginning.

    So the opposition WILL get wiped out. They know that, though I see noone giving up. Members age old have been bussed to meetings to vote down active comrades who oppose the abuse saga. Like some awful ending of a spaghetti western the opposition have lined up to get shot too shreds.

    But in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid who were the heroes?

    Old friends and comrades lie about the opposition. They are dismissed as un-socialist, as enemies, untrustworthy, splitters, traitors. And this pain will be felt, viscerally, for many of the opposition until they day they die. As an insult to decades of decent socialist work for a real belief.

    It will call into question years of values and behaviour. And like all abused people the opposition will blame themselves and be in shock for years after. Every honest, decent battle they have fought till now will taste bitter. It can only cause widespread confusion and pain — so dishonest is it. And yet they are correct and brave.

    These people are not blancmanges, they are not dogs to have their tummies tickled. They are heroes.

    They stood up to a machine. They stood true to their hearts and ideals. They took the insults honourably (mistaken for a weakness) and the put the marker down. And in the process they have inflicted the mortal blow to all that they held dear. That’s not cowardice at all.

    and I, personally, have rejoined the SWP tonight (I left after 24 years two years ago) so I can add my name to their list of honour and stand up to abuse. Wish I’d been invited to the aggregate. Though I guess the head honchos knew my opinion anyway.

    I thought this is what I signed up to in 1986 after all.

  27. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    Idle curiousity, how much does it cost to be a paying member of the SWP? Curiousity only!

  28. Ross Bradshaw,

    you decide how much to contribute, anything from a few pounds to hundreds a month…. but you constantlyvget harrassed to increase your contribution

    i have to say i’m not all that surprised by all these revelations… when i was a member i had a niggling feelingthat there was a problem with sexism in the swp but i kept dismissing my suspicions , reasoning that they’re leftists so it just cant be. i mean some of the things i heard said, some totally horrendously sexist behaviour i was subjected to, i put up with cos it just didnt match up with what i thought the party was about.
    i feel really disgusted.

  29. Rich Peacock: They took the insults honourably (mistaken for a weakness) and the put the marker down.

    Well to me this sounds like a ritual of religious purification, not politics. I am sure that standing up and doing the right thing is spiritually uplifting, and IDOOP will emerge the better people; but all this Christian turning of the other cheek while they are slandered and vilified; all this sucking up to the CC by calibrating theiir demands to be as modest and unassuming as possible;and all this Internet silence, is designed to ensure their defeat.

  30. maro: you decide how much to contribute, anything from a few pounds to hundreds a month…. but you constantlyvget harrassed to increase your contribution

    I used to pay £2 per month, and addressed the demands for more by saying I had reduced it to match my political commitment – that was an off script argument they had no answer to

  31. stockwellpete: This whole thing has completely astonished me and somehow now I feel very queazy about having been a member (was in 1976-81 and again around 1990 for a year or so). Does anybody else feel like this too?

    Absolutely Pete – Different dates for me, but I feel defamed by the people that have stayed in, because I’ve always been quite open about my past. I am also sorry that I may have got other people involved, and unwittingly led to their corruption. That’s why I’m all guns blazing now.(I’m not obsessed by the SWP – my main work is not in this area, but while things can be changed, now is the time. I curse those who are silent, worse than I curse the 500)

  32. Charlie Saben Fox on said:

    @ Ross Bradshaw – it costs what you can afford. As a single parent, no one in the SWP has ever put pressure on me to hand over my pitiful life savings. Rape and sexual harassment aren’t confined to the SWP and the left in general. A couple of years ago I had to attend the national conferences of all 3 main political parties and they were all grim in terms of casual sexism and downright nastiness.

  33. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Not sure I agree with you there Andy. If the relative figures claimed by IDOOP (nudging 500) and the Lynch Mob Faction (a little over 500) are accurate then it would appear there is a narrowing gap between the two sides.

    So unless the rumour of the past couple of weeks (that LMF is poised to release a new list of “hundreds more” supporters) is actually true, then it would seem the two factions could be heading into their conference relatively evenly matched.

    If that is the case (and again, from outside the picture is by no means clear, so one must be cautious with predictions) then it may well be that the sensible and reasonable strategy of IDOOP might turn out to have been the correct one from their own perspective.

    And I say “from their perspective” because they do have a different aim from you and I Andy. Personally, although I strongly want justice for those who’ve been bullied and abused, and for the perpetrators to be punished, I am utterly indifferent as to whether the SWP continues as an organisation. (As no doubt you are too.)

    But IDOOP actively want the SWP to continue and to be a reformed and healthy organisation – so their strategy and tactics are on that basis. And, within that context, their strategy and tactics may be right.

  34. Karl Stewart: But IDOOP actively want the SWP to continue and to be a reformed and healthy organisation – so their strategy and tactics are on that basis. And, within that context, their strategy and tactics may be right.

    They will get disproportionately few delegates to conference as the aggregates will be stacked against them; this is bread and butter stuff for the SWP bureacracy; we also need to look at the extremely intransigent motion from the CC, which basically says “Fit In or Fuck Off”. The lurid postings on FB and twiiter by Lynch Mob supporters.

    So in terms of pure machine politics the SWP lynch mobbers will roll them over; they will then be forced to either leave the SWP, individually or collectively, or knuckle under. It is hard to see how Internet silence, and modest motions, will prepare them for that.

  35. I’ve tried to retain some perspective on this whole horrible business over the last couple of months. However, the more it goes on and the more that emerges, the more loathsome and contemptible those who gave their names – the 500 – to the CC appear.

    It’s worth making the point that if one was to dig into virtually any organisation in British society one would find similar things – probably worse.

    The issue is how you respond and deal with it once it’s in the open and there’s the possibility to affect change. The 500 have made their response clear.

  36. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    These “aggregates” do sound extremely dodgy yes. Very poorly attended in the main, LMF supporters being “bussed in” and “bussed around”, denunciations of IDOOP supporters and demands for pledges of loyalty etc.

    How much credibility can such a process actually have?

  37. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    #39 At least the Liberal Party does not ask its members to sign a loyalty pledge to its central committee for its handling of their current abuse case. Not that etc.

  38. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    #45 Of course, just curious to know whether they tithed their serious membership like the Church used to, or whether, like the WRP you had to buy an amount of papers regardless of whether you sold them. It is reasonable for any party to charge, though from reading the various blogs it appeared that you didn’t really have to pay anything or do anything to be one of the ever growing membership of the SWP!

  39. Andy Newman on said:

    Ross Bradshaw,

    Yes theoretically there was an increasing scale of subs, but it often came down to what the branch treasurer could get out of people. No one had to buy papers in bulk but when I was in charge of collecting money in, I suspected people dug into their own pockets for pretend sales

  40. prianikoff on said:

    The recent press publicity regarding the sexual scandals at the BBC, in the Catholic Church, the Liberal Party and the SWP aren’t inconsistent with a right wing agenda.
    – privatisation of the Beeb, anti-Gay Catholics, discrediting the Tories’ Coalition partners, the Sheridan Affair, Assange and the SWP
    there is always a political angle that the right can exploit.

    Only 9 rape allegations in the recent history of the SWP indicates that it’s an unusually “safe place” for women compared to society at large.
    A quick calculation, based on the most recent Home Office Self Report studies and the SWP’s published membership, indicates that you might expect more than this in ONE YEAR.
    Obviously none at all would be even better, but we don’t believe that socialist utopias are possible within class society.

    Meanwhile, it’s strange (and frankly unbelievable) that the Tories appear completely immune.
    Just think of poor Chris Woodhead, as his mental faculties deteriorate and he contemplates a trip to Switzerland.

  41. prianikoff: The recent press publicity regarding the sexual scandals at the BBC, in the Catholic Church, the Liberal Party and the SWP aren’t inconsistent with a right wing agenda.

    Get a grip.

  42. In the letter quoted above the woman states that ” Following the rape, I left the party, but was encouraged to take the complaint to the disputes committee…”. Later she says “The disputes committee also told me that if I talked to the media or anyone else that I was in trouble. ”

    What kind of “trouble” could she get into? After all she had left the Party, she couldn’t be expelled. What kind of threat was this?

    On another note, I see that the Met are now investigating the Lib Dems to see whether or not a crime has been committed in the Rennard case. This came about because Labour MP John Mann wrote to the police to investigate, forcing Lib Dem officials to talk to the Met.

    In the Guardian report there was no talk about the women involved having gone to the police first.

    With at least one woman going to Nick Cohen I can’t see how the police can’t become involved in the SWP allegations. Especially as the most recent “Delta” case is much more serious than what Rennard has so far been accused of.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/feb/26/lib-dems-rennard-claims-police

  43. red snapper,

    If the war mongering, imperialist Nick Cohen is part of the left then I for one would want nothing to do with it. At the end of the day these are allegations, a long, long time ago there used to be a quaint idea that you were innocent until proven guilty (unless you were Irish or Black) but now allegations seem to be regarded in themselves as being proof of guilt. It seems as if good old Nick is the judge, jury and hangman in this case.

  44. Karl: How much credibility can such a process actually have?

    It doesn’t need credibility, it just needs enough stuarts in positions of (relative) power. “The party has agreed mechanisms, the mechanisms were used, the result was arrived at through the party’s agreed mechanisms”, rinse, repeat. Anyone who remembers 2007/8 will know exactly how this one is likely to go down.

    Unless something big happens the opposition is heading for a crushing defeat. The only question is whether the CC has the political nous to concede their demand re Delta – they could do that to stave off the total implosion of the party, and keep everything important pretty much the same. Rees and German were indispensable until they weren’t.

    Ross: from reading the various blogs it appeared that you didn’t really have to pay anything or do anything to be one of the ever growing membership of the SWP!

    Two different things. I imagine that becoming a member and being asked for subs are pretty closely connected. But you can stay a member for a long time after you stop paying subs – or a “member”, at least; the party maintains two separate totals.

  45. Allegations of multiple rape but no report to the police?

    Am I the only person who has some difficulty in believing that?

  46. Seems to me – the DC should have passed the complaint onto the police – and be done with it- as it is its death by a 1000 cuts – they’re reputation is in tatters.

  47. anon: Allegations of multiple rape but no report to the police?

    Am I the only person who has some difficulty in believing that?

    Ok listen, this has ended up being the only thing you’re posting on here. Every post asks why someone didn’t go to the police. We get it, you’re trying to stir shit. Now please stop.

    And also, get your allegations right – it’s not allegations of multiple rape, it’s allegations that there have been a number of different cases. You’ve now posted I think 3 times trying to re-shape the case into making it sound like there’s a serial rapist in the SWP. But all we know, all we have been told, is that a specific number of cases have been investigated over the years. We’ve not been told how many different people have been involved or what other agencies might have been involed.

    I’m asking you now to stop posting the same thing over and over again.

  48. anon: Allegations of multiple rape but no report to the police?

    Gerry Healy was never reported to the police, despite credible complaints of rape from at least 29 women.

  49. “The dead do not sexually harass young female comrades.”

    It was meant as an attack on the reputation of Chris Harman. With a reference to “Lexx”, wot is fantastic and nothing to do with the left in Britain.

  50. Richard Peacock on said:

    Phil: Andy Newman: Rich Peacock: in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid who were the heroes?

    They were dead though, weren’t they?

    Andy wins the thread.

    Yes, maybe. But I didn’t come here to squabble. Simply point out that the IDOOP faction have, in my opinion, kept the disagreement civil and principled and that is important. The issues at stake here are ones of morality in the treatment of Comrade W. The argument should be kept clean.

    I appreciate that Andy left the SWP many years ago and his little emotional investment in his friends in the SWP still, but the IDOOP faction does.

    He may wish to dance on the grave of the SWP, if that’s what it comes to, but the faction, compelled to stand up for their principles of women’s rights, certainly don’t.

    Yes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are dead. Shot to pieces, actually. That was kind of my original point.

    You’d be a fool not to realise that the special conference will be a total wipe out on behalf of the CC. So I was speaking figuratively. And so now never again will the supporters of the CC be able to identify with the heroes in any film about rebellion, small v’s big, individuals vs the machine. Never Ever Again.

    It will be a massacre. That’s what has been planned.

    Some of my most trusted friends are on both sides of the argument and although I have kept out of the fight until now, though I’ve always been clear I am on the anti-CC side, I am merely pointing out that the IDOOP faction have fought with honour, as best they could.

    Maybe not as vicious as Andy thinks is necessary to win. The match was always an away match anyway, with little chance of victory like he wants. I also appreciate Andy was hurt by the talk of filth, totally unwarranted in my opinion. But he showed his hand years back and has faced the falling out with trusted friends/walking away from a project/ etc. and got over it.

    This is all new to the IDOOP people. Of course they are not fighting with the same vitriol that he has. He’s been feeding the anger, for right or wrong, and getting his strength up for this fight for some time now.

    Now that I’ve shown my hand in public, on this blog which I never really look at and isn’t much appreciated amongst my friends, I expect argument and rancor to be directed towards me just as the faction has had to deal with. Probably from both sides. Oh well.

    It’s deeply unpleasant to be forced to walk away from a lifetime’s project and long time trusted friends. Sorry if we don’t do it with the required amount of anger and glee. A little bit of insight on your part though may go further than you imagine.

    Fraternally etc.

  51. Andy Newman on said:

    Richard Peacock: Maybe not as vicious as Andy thinks is necessary to win. The match was always an away match anyway, with little chance of victory like he wants. I also appreciate Andy was hurt by the talk of filth, totally unwarranted in my opinion. But he showed his hand years back and has faced the falling out with trusted friends/walking away from a project/ etc. and got over it.

    I respect your approach, and appreciate your tone; but it does raise a question of what IDOOP mean by “winning”. Every political project requires a range of acceptable outcomes to aim for.

    It may be an honourable approach to walk into certain defeat knowing that you have taken the moral high ground; but where do you go from there?

    Perhaps you are suggesting IDOOP need to couch the terms of their opposition as non-confrontationaly as possible in order to appeal – more in sorrow than in anger – to the greatest number of SWP members; but there seems something horribly passive about going like lambs to the slaughter.

    I hope that you achieve more than just catharsis, and that some phoenix political project will result, though the last thing the world needs is an attempt to create another new left group.

  52. Latest story circulating amongst IDOOP / DRP people – apparently its true:

    “The CC has decided that it will have up to 45 minutes to speak at aggregates, granting itself a lengthy introduction, an extended contribution from a second CC speaker, and a right of reply. Faction speakers have been granted just 6 minutes with no right of reply.”

  53. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Howard Fuller,

    Howard Fuller:
    Actually if you read his article the problem appears to be more than “just” the SWP”.

    Nick Cohen also writes:

    “My colleagues are working on more stories of rape on the far left.”

    Since Healy is old news (and somewhat dead) we’ll have to wait & see.

    I feel that this is the point underlying all this. It is not about the SWP per se, it is about attacking the left, and Cohen is up for such a project, as are, presumably, his colleagues of the Fourth Estate. They would gladly pass up three Deltas in return for a crack at, say, George Galloway.

    When Cohen wrote What’s Left?, he devoted a lot of attention to Healy and the WRP though they were long defunct. He would probably have liked to have more dirt on, say, the SWP or Galloway, but he did not have it, so he needed to rake over events and people from well over a decade previously. But perhaps he has the dirt he needs now.

  54. Andy Newman on said:

    Barry Kade: “The CC has decided that it will have up to 45 minutes to speak at aggregates, granting itself a lengthy introduction, an extended contribution from a second CC speaker, and a right of reply. Faction speakers have been granted just 6 minutes with no right of reply.”

    It is clever psychology, or crude bullying, or both.

    By demonstrating to the IDOOP faction that they cannot win, and that they are considered objectified dehumanised and worthless, the Lynch Mob faction is inviting IDOOP to simply fuck off and die.

    This allows the Lynch Mob to win the faction fight, but simulataneously they have a perhaps unintended effect, in that every lyncher who participates and tolerates this has destroyed themselves, abandoning their humanity and slipping loose any reference points for their morality in the outside world. What is left will be amoral husks – hollow cultists ready to drink the koolaid.

    Because actions have consequences, and the SWP (lynch mob) will be shunned in the wider movement, and the UNISON womens’ conference was just the first of many humiliations.

  55. Richard Peacock on said:

    Andy Newman: but it does raise a question of what IDOOP mean by “winning”.

    To be honest Andy, I don’t know. I walked away from the SWP a couple of years ago. The party machine drove me mad (I was shouted at and sneered at by a CC member the day after I got 18% in a local council election — which was odd to say the least).

    I wanted to save my energy for things which I believe are more useful.

    I’m also not trying to add my tactical advice from the sidelines. I am no good a factionising as I believe the left’s habit of a viscious punch is a sad reflection of the poor personal values by those in charge.

    I was simply offering my support to people who have stood up against sexual oppression and have offered their support to the woman at the centre of this situation (is it ever a question?).

    They have done so as best as they feel they have the strength for, given the limitations of immature, unconscious organisations such as the SWP. I wanted to do it in public and your site seemed most appropriate.

    I thank you for the platform (from which I am now a clear object for target practice).

    Where it leads to I don’t know. It isn’t going to be pretty. But if at least some of the participants can retain their socialist values in behavior maybe it will lead to a more decent socialist movement overall? For me that was what Socialism was all about (but I am an artist and was never one for reading books on theory).

    Fratenally, etc.

  56. Andy Newman on said:

    Richard Peacock: But if at least some of the participants can retain their socialist values in behavior maybe it will lead to a more decent socialist movement overall? .

    well said

  57. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Andy Newman,

    “…abandoning their humanity and slipping loose any reference points for their morality in the outside world. What is left will be amoral husks – hollow cultists ready to drink the koolaid.”

    There actually is morality in the outside world? Can’t say I have noticed much of it myself. Takfiris who set off bombs are “terrorists” or “freedom-fighting revolutionaries” depending on which countries they target, long-time TV stars go from hero to sex abuse zero only after they are safely dead (and cannot sue), and the morality (if any) behind using clandestine recording devices goes safely unexamined, at least if it is the SWP on the receiving end of the surveillance.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUKUe15WZkE

  58. Andy Newman on said:

    Mark Victorystooge: There actually is morality in the outside world? Can’t say I have noticed much of it myself.

    Well I appreciate the candour of your solipsism; but for those of us who believe that human beings are social animals, and that politics is about effecting change in mainstream society rather than retreating into a self-referential cult world, then yes there is a socially constructed morality in the mainstream. The usual socialist project is to improve the world, not walk away from it.

    Frankly, I am comfortable with the moral choices I have made, I think publishing a transcript of a conference is easy to live with; colluding in the cover up of abuse of power for sexual exploitation of a teenage girl, that I couldn’t have lived with.

  59. Dixon of Dock Green on said:

    How is it that the police can intervene to investigate Rennard but not Smudger where the allegations are far more serious? It makes me wonder who this mans employer really is.

  60. Dixon of Dock Green:

    How is it that the police can intervene to investigate Rennard but not Smudger where the allegations are far more serious? It makes me wonder who this mans employer really is.

    Someone has gone to the police about Rennard, but not about Martin Smith.

  61. Howard Fuller on said:

    Mark Victorystooge: When Cohen wrote What’s Left?, he devoted a lot of attention to Healy and the WRP though they were long defunct.

    The WRP were the ultimate “cult” on the left. Their degeneracy has been widely documented. The problem is the SWP is going down the same road.

    The lessons have not been learned it would seem.

    As for Galloway, he manages to put his foot in his mouth from time to time without any help from anyone else

  62. Dixon of Dock Green:
    How is it that the police can intervene to investigate Rennard but not Smudger where the allegations are far more serious? It makes me wonder who this mans employer really is.

    Labour MP John Mann wrote to the Met about it then the Lib Dems went to the police –

    “The Metropolitan police special investigations command has been approached by officials in the Liberal Democrat party and is working with them to ascertain whether or not criminal activity has taken place.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/feb/26/lib-dems-rennard-claims-police

    But the women involved don’t appear to have contacted the police themselves yet –

    “The Liberal Democrats are meeting the police today to discuss the Lord Rennard allegations, but a party source told me just now that it would be a mistake to present this as the police getting involved in the investigation. The Lib Dems want to discuss procedural matters, such as what women in the party should do if they do want to submit a formal complaint to the police; they are not going to present a dossier of information and demand immediate arrests etc. ” (Guardian 9.32am)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2013/feb/26/lib-dem-rennard-claims-politics-live

    It’s not clear what would have happened if the Lib Dems had not volunteered to go to the police themselves. Would the police have still got involved just based on John Mann’s complaint? Clegg and Co obviously have to been seen as pro-active and wanting to give support to any possible complaint from the women involved to minimise political damage. It also means they can say “no comment” to any questions as they are chatting to the Met about Rennard.

  63. stockwellpete on said:

    Barry Kade:
    Latest story circulating amongst IDOOP / DRP people – apparently its true:

    “The CC has decided that it will have up to 45 minutes to speak at aggregates, granting itself a lengthy introduction, an extended contribution from a second CC speaker, and a right of reply. Faction speakers have been granted just 6 minutes with no right of reply.”

    If the opposition have any self-respect then they should not participate on this basis. In my view, they should boycott the special conference and they should get back on the internet. They really need to demand that the entire Central Committee stands down now. Otherwise, what’s the point of staying in an organisation as disgusting as this?

  64. Heather Downs: Those articles give an idea why women don’t report to the police and what happens if others report without their permission

    You see Heather, everything you have argued here suggests you think that women actually shouldn’t go to the police in principle.

    On public policy grounds, while it is understandable if individual victims don’t want to go to the police, the outcome of no rapists being prosecuted would be to increase the social acceptablity of rape, and increase the impunity of male power.

    No one is blaming victims if they don’t go to the police, but they should be encouraged to do so. Indeed an organisation where a powerful male leader had been accused of rape should ensure that the woman has every support to seek justice.

  65. David Ruaune: Only one way to settle this … FIGHT!!!

    I would be surprised if the 10th March conferece passes without any violence. Quiet, discrete intimidation rather than a bun-fight, but clearly the Lynch mob faction have been wound up

  66. ‘The CC has decided that it will have up to 45 minutes to speak at aggregates, granting itself a lengthy introduction, an extended contribution from a second CC speaker, and a right of reply. Faction speakers have been granted just 6 minutes with no right of reply.”

    All that’s now needed to complete this exercise in inner party democracy, is instead of a flashing light or an intervention from the chair when the opposition reach their allotted 6 mins, is for a giant gallows to appear on a huge PP slide behind the back of the stage where the CC look on.

  67. Howard Kirk on said:

    Now a few weeks have passed, what is clearly absent is a plausible account that leading members of the SWP, having heard the allegatrions, implored Comrade W to go to the police as their own internal processes were not set up to deal with allegations of this gravity, and following a period of stalemate where she decided against their advice not to go to the police, they very reluctantly agreed to investigate it themselves with both parties fully aware of the limitations of their ability/competence/sanctions. And when she was assured that she was not taking the ‘party’ to the police but only one member of that party, and the party was fully supportive even if it meant embarassment for the party if it all went public etc.

    Following such investigations, it is clear Comrade W did not feel the case was heard with due sensitivity and fairly, eg, then allowing both parties to see what was being said about them prior to the hearing(s).

    She was then put in the bizarre position of apparently being cold-shouldered by some SWPers for making the allegations. She did not feel, despite the obvious limitations, that she and her allegations were treated fairly and reasonable.

    Now they SWP may have been wrong to then use the DC etc, but at least it could have been seen an honest mistake, but many of us have the experience to know the SWP does not tend to work that way.

  68. John Morgan-Evans on said:

    When I was a member (1983 to 1993ish) I paid 10% of my income. When I had stopped working at the SWP printshop in 1989 and begun working at a commercial printshop it represented quite a lot of money. However, I don’t remember a great deal of pressure being applied to me to increase it as I got pay rises.

  69. Jellytot on said:

    @80I would be surprised if the 10th March conferece passes without any violence.

    and it’s possible that the intimidation won’t be from actual SWP members (on either side) and that people will be brought in.

    IIRC “Delta” was observed paying ‘security’ on one of the big UAF anti-EDL demos so presumably he has connections?

    Upon entering, if IDOOP observe rather ‘robust’ people in the conference hall (people who don’t fit the usual ‘thinkers-not-fighters’ Lefty stereotype) then they should be prepared.

  70. John Morgan-Evans:
    When I was a member (1983 to 1993ish) I paid 10% of my income. When I had stopped working at the SWP printshop in 1989 and begun working at a commercial printshop it represented quite a lot of money. However, I don’t remember a great deal of pressure being applied to me to increase it as I got pay rises.

    Revolutionary tithe?

  71. Jellytot on said:

    @83John Morgan-Evans:When I was a member (1983 to 1993ish) I paid 10% of my income.

    I used to chuck ‘em a fiver a month so I got off lightly.

  72. “In all these cases, there are peculiar and particular circumstances or institutional factors that have allowed abuse to continue”

    Including the Lib Dems? Abuse happened? Definitely? Are you sure?

  73. telephone terror on said:

    Jellytot: Upon entering, if IDOOP observe rather ‘robust’ people in the conference hall (people who don’t fit the usual ‘thinkers-not-fighters’ Lefty stereotype) then they should be prepared.

    So is anyone going to publicise the venue beforehand? Heaven forbid anyone would try and cancel the booking.

  74. Jellytot on said:

    @85Andy Newman is a shit stirrer who is inciting violence

    And what was Callinicos doing when he (reportedly) deployed the term ‘Lynch Mobs’ recently?

  75. Heather Downs on said:

    Andy Newman,

    I’m putting those articles up because some contributors seem baffled why sexual violence is unreported. Politically, you are right; but it’s debatable whether any individual rape victim should be obliged to take responsibility for a such a serious and widespread problem

    Not at all sure where we go with this without significant changes to the legal system

  76. Jara Handala on said:

    A. Defence faction docs.

    New IDOOP (hereafter, Defence) docs posted today by CPGB:
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/caucus-documents-and-idoop-update
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/expel-the-students

    They are:

    (1) News digest (“increasing attacks on SWP students”; inexplicably the Defence faction allowed the proceedings of their Manchester faction meeting to be organised by CC supporters, who prompted structured it so CC supporters had 45mins, whereas defence only got 6mins! This is unbelievable: the Lynchers are taking the piss, & Defence are allowing themselves to be humiliated (given point (2) below the author might have meant it was the Manchester District Aggregate); both the Manchester & the Leeds faction meetings had their room booking cancelled by person or persons unknown; the digest also says the inaugural national Defence meeting, at London University, Sunday, 17 Feb, which the Queen Mum & Princess Anna tried to gate-crash, had also had its room booking cancelled by a person unknown).

    (2) ‘Tips on organising for your aggregate’ (it also says the CC has unilaterally decided that all District Aggregates will be structured 45mins for the 2 CC members present & 6mins for Defence (there’s no mention of how speakers from the floor are to be organised) ; the prescription from Defence is, & these are MY words, NOT to have a vote at the start of the meeting for equal time; no, Defence say try & get a vote on an unspecified increase on the 6mins granted (why isn’t it 5?) plus a response speech.

    (3) Announcement of Defence faction meetings tonite in Sheffield & Leeds.

    (4) Updated faction membership list as of Sunday afternoon (481; 8 up on the list I previously linked to which seemed to be dated Thursday of last week).

    (5) The 11 page Democracy Commission report from early 2009, an effect of the Respect fiasco, ratified by the June Special Conference. And yes, Basher was one of its 14 signatories.

    (6) SWP may separate from its student members: posted an hour ago by CPGB, this is a Defence doc authored by Cde. Arnie J (Newham & Uni. of East London SWSS).
    (a) A motion to Tottenham SWP branch, presumably by Lynchers, calls for a new relationship between the SWP & its student groups:
    “A motion submitted to a branch by two well-respected longstanding comrades in the organisation (and now circulating widely) essentially lays the ground for a justification for forcing a split between the students and the party, while justifying taking disciplinary measures against students who remain in the organisation post-conference . . . it is important the CC clarifies whether or not they support the cavalier attitude to losing students displayed in the Tottenham branch motion”.
    (b) 3 quotes to give the flavour of what Cde. Arnie reports to the faction members:
    “The student office has almost dissolved itself post conference. Many SWSS groups are no longer being contacted by the Student Office. No reason has been provided for this, no strategy or lead is being provided by CC in a vital period in which student union elections are about to begin on campus, as well as NUS elections in which the SWP has intervened for decades. The SWP’s work inside NUS, includes affiliating to our United Fronts, pulling together left unity and intervening for national demonstrations while counter-attacking the right inside of the union. This has taken years to build. At the same time there are key debates ongoing over the role of NUS, from which the SWP must not abstain”. What’s that compared with having to punish dissenters & tell them they’re not wanted?
    “Students have called for a measured and adequate response to strengthening the DC procedure; this has been met with fierce resistance by the Central Committee, which has spilled over into a complete shift in the CC’s student strategy based purely on factional disagreements, not on a basis in the real world which would normally trigger a change in strategy or tactics”.
    “Arguments by the CC and supporters are now being made that the ideological turn has not been made in SWSS, that SWSS has been acting as an ‘autonomous’ section of the organisation, that SWSS should be a ‘support organisation’ of the SWP etc.”.

    B. On the matter of the SWP & allegations of rape:

    The comment by the DRP member, Cde. Linda Rodgers, was this:
    “I have also faced the argument that the DC has investigated 9 rapes in the past (I’m not clear on how recently these ‘investigations’ were conducted). I believe this argument is put forward to reassure comrades of the competency of the DC. I don’t find it reassuring in the slightest; in fact I find it terrifying” (‘Can the SWP deal with rape allegations?’, http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk/#!/2013/01/can-swp-deal-with-rape-allegations.html )

    (1) LR implies she believes the claim, but doesn’t explicitly say so.
    (2) LR offers no evidence in support of the claim reported to her.
    (3) The phrase “has investigated 9 rapes” is (dangerously) ambiguous. Does it mean:
    (a) the DC investigated 9 allegations of rape? LR did not say this, but is it what she meant to write?; or
    (b) the DC investigated 1 alleged rapist, an allegation it decided (using a burden of evidence that has not been disclosed) was true? This is consistent with what she said; or
    (c) the DC investigated between 2 & 9 or, indeed, more alleged rapists (be they all SWP members or not), each allegation being found by the DC to be true? This is consistent with what she said; or
    (d) the DC has investigated more than 9 allegations of rape & decided 9 were true? This is consistent with what LR said.

    I don’t like having to make all these possibilities explicit – I find it distasteful – but given how some commentators here have used LR’s statement it needed to be done. We need to appreciate how ambiguous Cde. Linda Rodger’s statement is (note: she makes no truth claim) so that we do not use her statement in the wrong way.

  77. Jara Handala on said:

    One other point, this on the allegation of rape made by Cde. W.

    In a previous comment I quoted twice from the DC report given by Cde. Candy Unwin, at the beginning of the 5 January Conference session devoted to the DC’s work in 2012.

    In each quote she used the word ‘incidents’ when referring to the allegation of rape. Maybe she meant to say it in the singular, maybe the transcript is in error twice. But that is what is said by the DC session transcript posted on the net.

    One can only say that according to the transcript the allegation of rape refers to the multiple rape of Cde. W.

    No-one likes saying this, but that is the meaning of what is said by the DC session transcript posted on the net.

  78. Howard Kirk on said:

    I also remember something about a seperate local subs request as well.

    They did try and get you to up your national subs once a year but I wouldn’t say the pressure was anything heavy – I think I added a pound or so every couple of years due to inflation etc.

    The centre/full timer seemed more interested in trawling through the list of lapsed or supposed member who were not contributing as all, and not surprisingly, this was almost a complete waste of time. And of course, the annual ‘appeal’.

  79. Johnnie on said:

    Can you tell me the source of where you get Healy committed rape against 29 women from. It keeps getting bandied about but have never been able to find the source.

  80. Upon entering, if IDOOP observe rather ‘robust’ people in the conference hall (people who don’t fit the usual ‘thinkers-not-fighters’ Lefty stereotype) then they should be prepared.

    Simple solution – IDOOP should ring round some squaddists. It’s been a while, but I’m sure some of them would be up for it.

    (On reflection I almost think that would actually be a good idea. Almost.)

  81. Cutting SWSS loose? Are they insane? Where do they think they’re going to get new members – rank-and-file shop stewards’ committees?

  82. Jellytot on said:

    @96Cutting SWSS loose?

    Or replace it with a new, renamed student group more tightly controlled by the centre.

    The CC could use this whole thing as an excuse to have a massive clear-out.

  83. Jara Handala on said:

    Johnnie: Can you tell me the source of where you get Healy committed rape against 29 women from. It keeps getting bandied about but have never been able to find the source.

    #94, 7:46pm

    Posted

    The investigation within the WRP was done by the Control Commission elected by the previous annual conference (sound familiar?), 3 cdes., Cde. Norman Harding (Secretary for this inquiry), Cde. Larry Kavanagh & Cde. Jean Kerrigan.

    This is what Harding wrote in his memoir, ‘Staying Red’, Index Books (London), 2005:

    (1) The scandal broke with Aileen Jennings’ 30 June 1985 letter to the Political Cttee. of the WRP:

    “‘. . . I must therefore say to the Committee that I can no longer go on covering up a position at both the office and in the flats at 155 Clapham High Street which also opens the Party to police provocation; namely that whilst for 19 years I have been the close personal companion of Comrade Healy I have also covered up a problem which the Political Committee must now deal with because I cannot.

    This is that the flats in particular are used in a completely opportunist way for sexual liaisons with female members employed by the Party on News Line, female members of the International Committee and others [26 individuals were then named] . . .

    In 1964, after the Control Commission of Investigation Comrade Healy gave an undertaking that he would cease these practices, this has not happened and I cannot sit on this volcano any longer'” (the brackets & what’s inside are NH’s, not mine).

    So, there were also allegations from before 1965.

    (2) “Our job was to establish whether the contents of Aileen’s letter were true or not, and report our findings and recommendations to a national conference of all Party members.

    The identities of all those who were victims of Healy’s abuse have to be protected. We took verbal, hand-written and typed statements from everyone we interviewed. They are all owed a great deal of respect and recognition for their courage in coming forward to make their statements. Everyone during these interviews held on to the basic principle of the need to fight for a socialist society. After the Commission had been sitting for a couple of weeks Jean Kerrigan failed to turn up for a session. She had decided to split away from the WRP with the group led by Sheila Torrance, Healy and his supporters. They were all expelled from the WRP at the next Central Committee meeting. I gave the following Report of the Control Commission to the Special Conference of the Workers Revolutionary Party on 26 and 27 October 1985″.

    (3) Excerpts from the Control Commission report:

    Two instances are given in detail, one a female member of the highest body, the International Cttee. of their version of the Fourth International.

    The investigation also disclosed that the Political Cttee. had charged 2 party workers with trying to kill (yes, KILL) Healy:

    “During the three-month cadre school the comrade in charge of the school advised one of the girl students to go for a pregnancy test as she was concerned about her condition. The comrade in charge of the school was then charged with lowering the moral standing of the school and destroying three months of political work.

    Another example was when the manager of the school was called down to Healy’s bedroom where he complained that the sheets were damp. He left in the middle of the night to go back to London. The next day the two comrades were summoned to London to attend the Political Committee and were charged with trying to kill him — such as catching a cold, etc.”.

    “We have met for the last eight days. We have interviewed nine comrades who appeared on the original list. Seven say that the accusations are true. One said that it was true but nothing happened to her. The other said that advances were made on many occasions but she always managed to put him off. There was also another statement saying it was true from a comrade who was not on the list and was from another section of the International.

    The evidence gathered from those on the list as well as from many parents and older comrades who have been in the party a long time made it obvious that stretching over the last 25 years or so, many more comrades had been subjected to this abuse. Further investigations will be necessary”.

    (4) So the official WRP report speaks not of 29 females (one can’t presume and say ‘women’) but nine who were interviewed. Of course that is not evidence that there weren’t more.

    http://stayingred.wordpress.com/staying-red-html-version/#Ch16

  84. history tells us things on said:

    Apprently the SWP are the key player in the new national ‘Benefit Justice Campaign’ along with DPAC and DCH, I really hope its a successful campaign, the issues are just too important. But they, the SWP, showed no interest five years ago when people were challenging the intro of ESA(partly under James Purnell, now sickeningly appointed Director of Strategy at the BBC)and of course the shadow of the Delta affair and the above will colour other groups responses and involvement with the BJC…

  85. history tells us things: Apprently the SWP are the key player in the new national ‘Benefit Justice Campaign’

    If so, that’s a fairly typical example of how this parasitic sect operates.

    Eg, spot a campaign which is gathering momentum, and then, if it’s not possible to acquire leadership of it by directing a hundred or so activists (from whatever they were previously doing) to join and take over existing organisations; in that case, set up (or target) a new ‘alliance’ in order to gain control of the issue, sideline the existing groups, and try to recruit members etc.

    A cynical & manipulative method which the SWP has used to ‘build’ and promote itself, on the back of progressive movements.

  86. Jara Handala on said:

    Just for information, I’ve just noticed the CPGB uploaded some Defence docs. (3 no.) & added them to a pre-existing batch of uploads, so you may have missed them too:
    http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/idoop-faction-caucus-agenda-and-documents

    The recently 3 added docs are:

    CPGB #7, ‘Students': feminism & autonomism, & the CC’s call for ‘an ideological turn’ (re-education campaign for those who tough it out & stay).

    #9, ‘Internet': “In responding to these charges we must clearly demarcate between online commentary coming from hostile sources that aim to destroy the party and that coming from sources within or close to the party that aim at saving it. Socialist Unity and the Daily Mail are in the former category. Lenin’s Tomb, the IS blog and the open letters to the SWP are in the latter. It is disingenuous to conflate these two”. So we’re destroyers – official.

    #10, ‘Internet: Six Basic Points':
    “2. We recognise that immediately following conference the party had not allowed any of it’s processes to be used to continue the debate – hence the importance of the blogs.
    3. Since the formation of the faction internal democratic structures have opened up to use”. Sure: the one & only discussion bulletin distributed after all motions are in.

  87. Why bother on said:

    Seeing the newspaper front pages on a news stand I saw that the Lib Dem sex scandal was the main story of several front pages. The Scottish Archbishop sex scandal was also on several front pages. The Sun chose to put a sex scandal about someone I’d never heard of called ‘shamed TV star Jason Manford, 31′ on its front page. The SWP scandal was not mentioned in any paper yet again.

    Two possibilities. Firstly that the bourgeois press regard not only the Lib Dems and the Catholic church but also shamed TV star Jason Manford, 31 as being a greater threat to capitalism than the SWP and are acting accordingly.

    Or secondly that given the seriousness of the SWP actions they’ve actually had a comparatively easy ride from the press (thanks to their obscurity) and that their claims to be suffering from media persecution are both laughable and an insult to the intelligence.

  88. Caroline on said:

    Hang on a minute re the Benefit Justice Campaign wasn’t it Labour in Government that brought in Employment Support Allowance handed contracts ATOS to administer the assessments and consulted with Unum on how to harass the sick and disabled in some cases to their deaths.

  89. eastendleo on said:

    I think I know the answer to my question, but I don’t want to assume, so:
    Does the SWP allow media access to their Conferences? Do any left groups?
    Yes, I know this pegs me as a hatchling, but,,,I’d still like to know.

  90. Karl Stewart on said:

    If the SWP approach anyone in the labour movement for money for any of their “front” organisations – “right to work” “unite the resistance” or this new one etc – then ask them about their owen employees and whether they pay them the Living Wage and whether they allow their own employees to have independent workplace trade union organisation, collective bargaining and representation.

  91. eastendleo: Does the SWP allow media access to their Conferences? Do any left groups?

    I think they have made a virtue of necessity because the press aren’t interested, they imagine that they need a confidential conferece.

  92. Andy Newman,

    In Ireland the press sometimes attend Socialist Party conference, or at least they did when I was a member there (not because I was there obviously, just giving my recollections) :)

  93. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 107~~~ and gave vasts amounts of money to A4e for prison education contracts and prison working out contracts, as well as allowing private contractors like A4e into the unemployed. What ‘good’ the Blair/Brown government gave with the left hand was all undone and made worse with the right hand, in my humble opinion!!!!!

  94. Jimmy Haddow:
    Post 107~~~ and gave vasts amounts of money to A4e for prison education contracts and prison working out contracts, as well as allowing private contractors like A4e into the unemployed.What ‘good’ the Blair/Brown government gave with the left hand was all undone and made worse with the right hand, in my humble opinion!!!!!

    You think Britain in 2010 was worse than 1997?

  95. Geoff Collier on said:

    Jimmy Haddow:
    Post 107~~~ and gave vasts amounts of money to A4e for prison education contracts and prison working out contracts, as well as allowing private contractors like A4e into the unemployed.What ‘good’ the Blair/Brown government gave with the left hand was all undone and made worse with the right hand, in my humble opinion!!!!!

    I often wonder why the introduction of a “bedroom tax” in the privately-rented sector, by the Labour government in 2008, is never mentioned. Are people generally unaware of this?

  96. Geoff Collier: I often wonder why the introduction of a “bedroom tax” in the privately-rented sector, by the Labour government in 2008, is never mentioned. Are people generally unaware of this?

    Affected fewer people, I’d imagine? Maybe I’m just generalising from my own experience as a private tenant, but it could be that people in private rented housing tend to find it easier to move? Less likely to have kids, more likely to have shorter contracts or be more mobile in terms of jobs etc.

  97. Graham Day on said:

    Geoff Collier: I often wonder why the introduction of a “bedroom tax” in the privately-rented sector, by the Labour government in 2008, is never mentioned. Are people generally unaware of this?

    Maybe because that’s not what happened.

    Local Housing Allowance was introduced in 2008. This put a limit on Housing Benefit payments (for claims starting after 7 April 2008) that’s dependent on market rates in the area and the number of bedrooms a property has. There is a limit on the number of bedrooms you can claim for – e.g. one person living alone can only claim for one bedroom – which I suppose is the point of comparison with the “Bedroom Tax”. But the administration of the two is quite different – the current plans implement a flat rate cut (14% or 25%) in Housing Benefit payments dependent on whether you’re assessed as having “extra bedrooms”, and it’s irrelevant when your claim started.

    So, practically, the impact in 2008 if you were “currently” claiming Housing Benefit was zero. If you started a new claim then it might not cover all of your rent. The impact of the current changes is that people need to find an extra 14% or 25% of the rent, regardless of whether this is a new claim or not.

  98. Jara Handala on said:

    Here’s Bash-the-Fash Smith almost exactly 2 weeks after the Disputes Cttee. session at Conference, speaking in Athens on behalf of Unite Against Fascism, Saturday early evening, 19 January, during the ‘Athens Anti-Fascist City’ event.

    For some reason he choose the monkey & organ-grinder metaphor before moving on to decry the scum of the earth, & then the imagery of a-finger-is-weak-but-a-fist-is-strong! His rousing finale, was also close to his heart: “I’m not a poet, and I’m not a musician, but I have a very simple poem: Fuck Golden Dawn! Fuck the BNP! Fuck Golden Dawn! Fuck the BNP! That’s my chant, thank you”.

    The 8mins speech had few short sentences to help out the hapless simultaneous translator who performed heroically:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RATz2wrGbsE

    Uploaded the next day, 251 viewings, 3 abusive comments. It seems to be the only yt of his speech.

  99. jim mclean on said:

    Re Bedroom Tax or whatever. Get bedroom reclassified.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/100000-scots-to-cash-in-on-bedroom-tax-loophole.20243112
    A LOOPHOLE in the law gives up to 100,000 Scots the chance to sidestep deep cuts to their housing benefit, consumer advice groups claim.

    The so-called bedroom tax, which penalises tenants with spare rooms in social housing, would lead to a rise in people getting into debt and, ultimately, evictions, campaigners have warned.

    But now advice agencies say tenants might be able to get around the tax because the law is unclear about what is classed as a bedroom.

    They claim if tenants simply ensure spare rooms are not used as bedrooms, local authorities and housing associations can be challenged over any cuts in payments for housing benefit purposes.

  100. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Jara Handala: Just for information, I’ve just noticed the CPGB uploaded some Defence docs. (3 no.) & added them to a pre-existing batch of uploads, so you may have missed them too:http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/idoop-faction-caucus-agenda-and-documentsThe recently 3 added docs are:CPGB #7, ‘Students’: feminism & autonomism, & the CC’s call for ‘an ideological turn’ (re-education campaign for those who tough it out & stay).#9, ‘Internet’: “In responding to these charges we must clearly demarcate between online commentary coming from hostile sources that aim to destroy the party and that coming from sources within or close to the party that aim at saving it. Socialist Unity and the Daily Mail are in the former category. Lenin’s Tomb, the IS blog and the open letters to the SWP are in the latter. It is disingenuous to conflate these two”. So we’re destroyers – official.</P.

    I would have thought it obvious that this site and some others are out to get the SWP, and internal opponents of the current SWP leadership clearly feel they need to put some distance between themselves and such sites. One trump card in the leadership’s favour is that they can align the opposition with openly anti-SWP, and in some cases openly anti-socialist forces, and the SWP internal opposition has to find a way round that.

  101. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Andy Newman: Well I appreciate the candour of your solipsism; but for those of us who believe that human beings are social animals, and that politics is about effecting change in mainstream society rather than retreating into a self-referential cult world, then yes there is a socially constructed morality in the mainstream. The usual socialist project is to improve the world, not walk away from it.Frankly, I am comfortable with the moral choices I have made, I think publishing a transcript of a conference is easy to live with; colluding in the cover up of abuse of power for sexual exploitation of a teenage girl, that I couldn’t have lived with.

    Not solipsism, just cynical experience based on over two decades on the British left, as well as some personal experience of the prize creatures you can get running local Labour Party machines, not that that will arouse your moral indignation, of course, nor make you think the Labour Party is a destructive cult.

    Do you think the British security services are particularly concerned about the treatment of young girls? Do you think that determines where they put their recording devices? They might do that kind of thing for blackmailing purposes, to be sure. And they no doubt have certain individuals and blogs which are prepared to help them.

  102. Mark Victorystooge: One trump card in the leadership’s favour is that they can align the opposition with openly anti-SWP, and in some cases openly anti-socialist forces, and the SWP internal opposition has to find a way round that.

    No, the party leadership Ltnch Mob faction have also sent leaks to both SU and WW sites. We don’t publish everything sent to us, as we have no obligation to do so.

  103. Jellytot on said:

    @122Do you think the British security services are particularly concerned about the treatment of young girls? Do you think that determines where they put their recording devices? They might do that kind of thing for blackmailing purposes, to be sure. And they no doubt have certain individuals and blogs which are prepared to help them

    Andy Newman…..a Special Branch tout?!

    Don’t think so.

    And to assume the Security Services are in the least bit interested in the far left points to narcissism, paranoia and delusions of grandeur.

    It’s long been my view that the utter dysfunctionality and strategic and tactical conservatism of most Left groups does the Powers-That-Be a favour and acts as a kind of safety valve. They take individuals who desire change and diverts them down the cul-de-sac of ultra-left irrelevance.

  104. Jellytot: And to assume the Security Services are in the least bit interested in the far left points to narcissism, paranoia and delusions of grandeur.

    I rememeber some years ago at an anti-war march in Manchester during Labour Conference, there were about 2000 protesters, and perhaps 200 cops; at the edge were 15 clowns.

    When the march started, the clowns went in a different direction at a purposeful quick pace; about 50 cops went with the 2000 leftniks, and the rest followed the 15 clowns – the police knew where the unpredictable threat might come from.

  105. Jara Handala on said:

    Mark Victorystooge: this site [CPGB] and some others are out to get the SWP
    #121, 4:14pm

    I don’t know which other sites you are referring to (please name them) but it cannot be said that the CPGB is “out to get the SWP”. Their writers have many criticisms of SWP policies & practices, but concerning the present SWP crisis whatever you mean by “out to get the SWP” doesn’t apply to them. Please give evidence in support of your assertion so we can judge your claim.

    ‘Weekly Worker’ writers have consistently supported those within the SWP who have stood up against the destructive, suffocating practices of the SWP leadership that has appropriated the organisational means of the SWP for its own perceived interests. A fellow commentator of ours here at SU last week posted the case from January 2001 of Eric Karas who was disgracefully abused by Martin Smith & the local full-timer:
    http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/391/expelled-by-the-swp-inquisition-eric-karas-describes-his-final-interrogation-at-the-hands-of-the-swp-thought-police

    These attitudes & practices towards members they are not happy with is not new. We could go back to the clean-out of Higgins & the industrial militants of the early-mid 1970s.

    A great virtue of the usual analysis by CPGBers is recognising the SWP & others as bureaucratic centralist org’ns (BC), a way of living different in kind to democratic centralism. The current SWP oppositionists (they vary in outlook) are all opposed to certain BC practices, but no-one as yet has publicly called for the Gallows-&-Lyncher Faction (Undeclared) to be replaced – which exemplifies their defeatist strategy. Without their removal BC will remain.

    My recollection is that CPGB writers call for the reform of the SWP, for dissenters to stay and fight, & decries them if they just walk away, refusing to declare to fellow members what their profound disagreements are with the coterie (which is what they said to the Rees-German-Nineham & Bambery factions). Their present call is the same, not for the SWP to split. I don’t think it makes much difference as the org’n IS split; if only the Democratic Renewalists leave then come October another faction or factions will form: the spell has broken, the non-conformist spirit is out of the box.

    So from what the CPGBers say it isn’t warranted to say they are “out to get the SWP”, as you put it, presumably trying to discredit the SWP or wish its destruction. Why would they, even if they wanted this? The Gallows-&-Lynching Faction is on the platform directing the process they initiated themselves when they allowed the Disputes Cttee. to consider the allegation of multiple rape against Basher Smith. The SWP is turning in on itself (involving), it needs no outside help, the Callinicos-Kimber goons are competent enough to achieve a renewed SWP rendered more ideologically homogenised, perhaps laced with some ultra-left adventures. British Airways-Unite & Millbank give a flavour.

  106. Jellytot: It’s long been my view that the utter dysfunctionality and strategic and tactical conservatism of most Left groups does the Powers-That-Be a favour and acts as a kind of safety valve.

    Yes useful is as useful does.

  107. Mark Victorystooge: Do you think the British security services are particularly concerned about the treatment of young girls?

    Following that line of thought, if you believed (which I do not remotely entertain – due to i Occams’ razor and ii I am not a delusional paranoid) that the security services were really behind the crisis in the SWP, then that would suggest there would be only two or three people placed to have been able to cause all this damage. All of them currently in senior leadership positions in the SWP and in the lynch mob factions.

  108. Jellytot on said:

    Here’s an old quote ascribed to a former BOSS agent called Gordon Winter:

    “British intelligence has a saying that if there is a left-wing movement in Britain bigger than a football team our man is the captain or the vice captain, and if not, he is the referee and he can send any man off the field and call our man on at any time he likes”

    Whether it reflects the truth or not is open to question and, to me, it is very redolent of the cold war atmosphere of the 70’s when Peter Wright types were active. While I wouldn’t discount entirely hands-off monitoring, I’d be genuinely surprised if there was any active intervention and derailing going on.

  109. Jara Handala on said:

    Mark Victorystooge: internal opponents of the current SWP leadership clearly feel they need to put some distance between themselves and such sites. One trump card in the leadership’s favour is that they can align the opposition with openly anti-SWP, and in some cases openly anti-socialist forces, and the SWP internal opposition has to find a way round that.

    #121, 4:14pm

    I agree this is what the oppositionists have largely chosen to do (but there are still some leaks), that the Lynchers can always defame them for associating with anti-Party wreckers & of the need to keep the faith, & all this poses the Q to the oppositionists as to what they are going to do.

    Jellytot just spoke of illusions of grandeur (#125, 4:51pm) & that’s a big part of the problem: the ‘party’ denotation is more than a word, new members are taught to have an exaggerated pride in being a member, the ‘red fist’ enamelled badge, the fronts they engineer, using their very limited TU presence to supposedly elevate themselves above the sects & the rat groups, the Untermenschen.

    It means that when the oppositionists want to be honest to those workers & others who MIGHT be interested when a political contest occurs in the world’s smallest mass workers’ party they can hardly bring themselves to be frank & open. That’s why despite everything Democratic Renewal Platform was a great achievement, albeit for 5 exciting weeks. It showed what interest there could be when the hermetic seal around the ‘Party’ broke. Unlike previous contests there was an internet presence, we saw palpable anger, Cde. R Seymour enraged, & it was so healthy. Here was life! But under the pressure of the Stack-Barker-Birchall grandees they’ve buckled & withdrawn – to await the slaughter, unfortunately. There’s been an air of tragedy since the inaugural Defence national faction meeting, a voluntary silence whilst one hears the abbatoir workers sharpening their blades, testing the electrified plates, the managing director making sure that at least one event isn’t cancelled, the Glorious 10th.

    It seems the oppositionists weren’t ready to officially reach out & let those interested know what was happening to them, & thru dialogue use their support for the struggle waged within. But the latest Defence news digest shows how the Lynchers have taken advantage of their self-imposed splendid isolation. Room bookings for the national meeting on 17 Feb, & the Manchester & Leeds faction meetings were all cancelled by strangers. The digest also says the CC has decided to blatantly fix in their favour all District Aggregates, the mtgs. electing the Conference delegates: the CC will have 45mins (2 speakers) whereas Defence can have 6mins. Defence’s response is to ask at the start of each DA for more time, including a response to CC remarks.

    As soon as Defence said nothing when the CC unconstitutionally called a Conference date without the MANDATORY 3 mth discussion everyone knew, as the vernacular puts it, that the Lynchers ‘owned’ the dissenters. They had them in their pocket. And in consenting to internet silence they were being complicit with their abuse: and like any rational abuser, when they feel safe they intensify the abuse, & surprise, surprise, we get a 45mins versus 6mins. And Defence says, sir, please give me more sir, please sir, just like Oliver. I wouldn’t be surprised when they put in their requests at the Aggregates the Lynchers put in a counter-motion, simplifying things for the Chair, rounding down the 6 to 5 minutes. And in a way it would be what they deserve for being so supine. Jesus, the socialist movement, not just professed revolutionaries, are egalitarians! If one side has 45mins we have 45mins! But that is not what the Defence Faction Cttee. steels its members with. It’s self-demeaning, self-insulting. But as I said before, abused people self-debase. This is just an exaggerated example, adding to the evidence. It shows the SWP is a sick, unhealthy & damaging organisation. It is really that bad.

  110. Morning Star reader on said:

    I’m afraid that either Jara Handala (127) was born yesterday, or he thinks the rest of us were.
    The idea that the pretend-CPGB is a disinterested body in the SWP affair, with the interests of the SWP or the left at heart, is laughable.
    For years, this bunch of imposters have been digging up and inventing dirt about every significant organisation on the left – when not infiltrating them, getting hold of internal documents and publishing them etc. They have been caught out blatantly lying about the CPB, for example, which has been exposed on this and other sites before.
    Usually, Weekly Worker coverage is aimed at promoting divisions within the left group being targeted, not helping them with “objective” advice.
    The pretend-CPGB’s enthusiasm for “openness” does not, of course, run to key aspects of their own affairs. What is their membership figure? Is it still the 27 or so claimed by a defector a few years ago? Where do they get their money from for premises, full timers, publications etc? Does any of it come from wills, bequests etc. originally intended for the original CPGB?
    And does the big chief still go around humiliating members by declaring that he will be fucking their partners by Christmas?
    The CPGB as the well-meaning friends of women and the left? I don’t think so.

  111. Andy Newman: This is a bit disingenuous as the “CPGB” has no political perspectives other than gossiping about left groups.

    Sounds like what Alex Callinicos would say about Socialist Unity. ;)

    Besides, at least their paper is readable.

  112. Jara Handala on said:

    Andy Newman: Well I walked away from the SWP, it hasn’t stopped me airing “profound disagreements”

    #128, 5:48pm

    I was referring to the CPGB saying SWP members, esp. when they are a group, should stay & argue their differences, not resign or lapse their membership, even if later they reveal their ‘profound disagreements’.

    It’s simply the rational view that one has a duty to present to fellow members one’s arguments as to what is wrong & how things can be improved so that the whole organisation can benefit from the suggested improvements. Not to stay, especially when a view is supported by many, is a dereliction of one’s duty as a member of that organisation: one has to show that one tried to change its direction, perhaps even demonstrating that in all likelihood reform is impossible coz the coterie is too entrenched in their control over the means, procedures & decision-making of the org’n.

  113. Jara Handala on said:

    Morning Star reader: The idea that the pretend-CPGB is a disinterested body in the SWP affair, with the interests of the SWP or the left at heart, is laughable.
    #134, 6:58pm

    Please don’t misrepresent me, I never spoke of the CPGB being a “disinterested” party in the SWP crisis; I simply argued against Mark V’s assertion that the CPGB is “out to get the SWP”. I see no evidence of that, & I asked MV to provide any if MV has it so we can better evaluate MV’s claim.

    I know very little about the people who run the ‘Weekly Worker’ site. That is one reason why I appreciated the link given by one commentator here to John Pearson’s site. I try to be rational in my behaviour, thoughts & feelings; I abhor dogmatism, so please never think I am impervious to the ruthless criticism of all that exists: it is my mantra, I relish it.

  114. Andy Newman,

    I was just being flippant. I don’t think people would spend so much time and effort on something they didn’t take seriously themselves. There are surely easier forms of train-spotting.

    There’s a different thing between saying they have no politics, and bad politics.

  115. Morning Star reader on said:

    Point taken, Jara (137). But I think the “CPGB”/WW should be judged on their record over a whole period of time, including their deeply dishonest and disruptive approach to political work. While they have carried information of interest on the current SWP crisis, their analysis and advice is based on the same malignant motives as ever, unless they’ve changed fundamentally.
    However wise or correct their advice to the SWP opposition might appear, it does not spring from any desire to strengthen the left or any part of it.
    Which is not to say that their proposals in this case might not coincide with what needs to be done. But, as all left-wing Guardian readers should know, beware false friends.

  116. Morning Star reader on said:

    Fair question, Manzil (141). I try to avoid cod psychology and the wilder shores of conspiracy theory, so my guess would be no better than anyone else’s. What I do know is that the “CPGB” go in for systematic and conscious lying, deception and disruption, while portraying themselves as champions of integrity, openness and unity.
    They appear to engage in little or no activity on the ground to improve the lot of working class people or even to win new people to socialist and communist ideas.
    Whatever my political disagreements with the SWP or SP, they are active in working class communities and organisations, arguing for left and socialist policies, rather than devoting most of their resources to attacking and splitting other organisations, often through fabrication (the CPB) and scurrilous abuse (Socialist Party = SPEW; the SSP = National Socialists) etc.
    What motivates the “CPGB” cabal, with their multiple names and pretensions to revolutionary principle? I suspect the explanation will emerge in the fullness of time.

  117. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “What motivates the “CPGB” cabal, with their multiple names and pretensions to revolutionary principle? I suspect the explanation will emerge in the fullness of time.”

    I do not know what their motives are; but the so-called CPGB is run by John Chamberlain (“Jack Conrad”) who left the old CP for the NCP in the late 1980s I believe. I cannot recall how long Chamberlain spent in the NCP (as their youth organiser) but he did attempt to rejoin the “official” CP at some point prior to its winding up.

  118. The thing is, whatever political disagreements I might have with the Weekly Worker crew and/or with Socialist Unity, I think they’ve both performed a very useful function by bringing this material to light – particularly so in the case of the people who run this site.

    The Left needs to know about this scandal because it will, directly or indirectly, affect all of us. As for the WW’s politics, whatever their shortcomings they have still served as a useful conduit for oppositional tendencies in the past. Were it not for the highly bureaucratised nature of the SWP, their role would be largely redundant.

    Shooting the messenger is a popular but rather dishonourable passtime IMHO.

  119. Geoff Collier on said:

    Harsanyi_Janos:
    “What motivates the “CPGB” cabal, with their multiple names and pretensions to revolutionary principle? I suspect the explanation will emerge in the fullness of time.”

    I do not know what their motives are; but the so-called CPGB is run by John Chamberlain (“Jack Conrad”) who left the old CP for the NCP in the late 1980s I believe. I cannot recall how long Chamberlain spent in the NCP (as their youth organiser) but he did attempt to rejoin the “official” CP at some point prior to its winding up.

    Cmanberlain/Conrad was a founding member of the NCP in 1977. By 1981 he wanted to lead his leninist faction back into the CPGB

  120. lone nut on said:

    “As for the WW’s politics, whatever their shortcomings they have still served as a useful conduit for oppositional tendencies in the past”.
    Well they have frequently invented “oppositional tendencies” of their own, alleged members of other far left organisations who just happen to share the politics of the CPGB in its entirety, so the accuracy and fidelity of your “conduit” can be questioned.
    On state sponsored far left organisations, we do have an indubitable case in the history of the Communist Party of the Netherlands (Marxist-Leninist) sponsored by Dutch intelligence. What they didn’t do was aggressive mass recruitment combined with a revolving door membership policy. Nor did they do any serious trade union work or lead any mass campaigns. They kept the organisation to a group of a few dozen people who were kept apart as much as possible but ground down with attending meetings and selling papers, and critiquing other groups. Remind you of anyone?
    As far as sexual abuse is concerned, it does not surprise me that all the Trotskyist organisations I know of have been rather circumspect in dealing with this aspect of the SWP crisis, preferring to concentrate on criticising the Cliffite party model/internal democracy/failure to defend the Soviet Union or whatever. There are, I suspect, good reasons for that, and I imagine that, as Ian Paisley would put it, the hidden things of God will come to light in the coming weeks. I am certainly surprised to see a Furedite like John Heartfield making light of the SWP’s plight re the sexual exploitation of young female students, to mention just one occasion on which my jaw has hit the floor recently.

  121. I regard Larry O’Hara as one of the good guys, but Notes from the Borderland isn’t a journal of record.

    I knew a Labour activist who used to share a CLP with Bettaney; she said he was a good comrade, albeit rather pro-Soviet for her tastes. I suspect there was no more to it than that.

  122. Morning Star reader on said:

    Lone nut is right to remind us that the “CPGB” has invented bogus “oppositional tendencies” in other left groups, just as it has fabricated its own identity as the “CPGB”.
    They had an operation going on inside the SLP for several years, where they devoted a regular muck-spreading column as well as frequent features to stirring things up in Scargill’s party (helped unwittingly by others, it must be said). Always in the cause of openness and free debate, of course, the WW reported every dispute – real and imagined – with the aim of widening differences, stigmatising individuals and injecting as much poison as possible.
    They ran similar operations in the Socialist Alliance, SSP and Respect. Attempts to infiltrate the CPB-Morning Star dispute in 1998/99 were less successful. But a few years later, “oppositional tendencies” were invented inside the CPB executive (led by Nick Wright!), where an entire “account” of an executive meeting was fabricated in the WW, complete with “oppositionist” resolutions moved by people who were not on the executive, and which had actually been put forward by the leadership!
    More recently, the pretend-CPGB have concocted “Labour Party Marxists”, no doubt to act as a “conduit for oppositional tendencies” there as well.
    Yet, strangely for a grouplet that is so keen on publishing everyone else’s internal documents, none of the WW accounts of “CPGB” meetings have ever revealed anything about how, when or why they decided to enter, disrupt and try to split left-wing parties.
    I’m not denying the importance of what has been revealed about the inner workings of the SWP in relation to the current allegations. But, unlike SU, the “CPGB” intention in this case is the same as ever – to do everything it can to divide and discredit all socialist and communist organisations of any significance in Britain.
    By the way, it may be just a coincidence, but Jack Conrad/ John Chamberlain and his favourite subject for long tedious features in the WW, Jesus Christ, all share something in common.

  123. Jara Handala on said:

    Morning Star reader: Point taken, Jara (137).
    #140, 8:08pm

    I really appreciate your response, thanx. It can be quite easy without face-to-face contact to misinterpret what someone says, escalating things not just unnecessarily but also quite wrongly, so I’m glad you have taken what I said as it was intended. A success!

    I want to sincerely ask you a serious Q: do you really think someone like Moshé Machover, a militant of impeccable reputation, a co-founder of Matzpen with Akiva Orr, Haim Hanegbi, Jabra Nicola & others, would associate with CPGB if they were as you say they are? As you can imagine I’m not prone to being persuaded by authority, but do you think Machover would be hoodwinked by these CPGBers?

  124. Morning Star reader on said:

    Quite honestly, Jara (154), I don’t read the WW often enough to have a clear idea about what the the relationship actually is between Machover, Orr and the pretend-CPGB/WW.
    I stopped looking at the “CPGB” website more than once a quarter some time ago, because I find it so malignant, dishonest and – most of the time – irrelevant to the political struggle actually taking place.
    The WW makes a point of offering a platform to many different people and groups in a bid to gain credibility and readership. But that’s only in order to further its basic project. I’ve found some of Orr’s books particularly interesting but I don’t think he – or anyone else for that matter – enhances his credibility by writing for the WW or having anything to do with the “CPGB”.
    Comrades will make their own judgements, but I don’t regard the “CPGB” as part of the legitimate left. I had a similar view about the RCP. In my view, their enthusiasm for division, disruption and provocation far outweighs any commitment to the working class and the labour movement. As for any commitment to communism …

  125. Jara Handala on said:

    Morning Star reader,

    Thanks for replying, and promptly. I’m making time in the next few days to read Cde. Pearson’s account that someone linked last week (& an hour ago or so), so is it ok for me to ask you some things later?

  126. Dave Parks on said:

    I agree with Jay in #145. I think both Socialist Unity and the CPGB have done the movement a service by reporting on this issue.

    For myself, a long term critic of the SWP, my initial gut response was sod the SWP get out of there comrades it is shit! I would like to thank the Weekly Worker (CPGB) for putting forward a far more measured and sensible response – namely, an address to the dedicated socialists within the SWP, that they are better of staying and fighting for a change of direction. On reflection this is a much more constructive and sensible approach. It looks unlikely that the opposition will win but if they do it could transform radical politics to the benefit of us all.

    Morning Star reader complains that the CPGB routinely report on disputes and inner debates within left groupings. Obviously this is some huge crime! (I’m taking the piss for those who don’t get my tone here).

    Amongst other things Morning Star reader implies that the CPGB infiltrated the Socialist Alliance (SA) to stir things up. This is rediculous, the Socialist Alliance included most of the Far Left groups of the day and the CPGB had every right to be part of it and they almost alone actually reported the internal debates ( with the occasional exceptions of reports in the AWL’s Workers Liberty ). Is this objectionable? I don’t think they always got it right – indeed they once devoted an article condemning myself as an “anarchist” for my contributions to debates on democratic centralism on the Socialist Alliance discussion list. In a nutshell as an independent in the socialist alliance I was calling on all the groups to drop the bureaucratic control of voting by their members on issues like Europe within the SA and suggested we should all treat the SA as *our party* and allow some freedom of thought, debate and voting. The CPGB had a similar partyist agenda but I was taking it a bit too far for their liking. The thing is whilst I disagreed with them they were reporting the debates inside the organization and they were entitled to their view – what is more unlike most other papers I suspect they would have given me the right of reply – indeed later they carried articles by me that did not necssary reflect their agenda.

    I consider the CPGB to be another sect – they may not agree with that label but they do accept they are NOT the party and that what we do have is a number of sects. I think they are to be congratulated on their critical but constructive engagement in this issue. I think Morning Star reader would rather that forums that allow critical dabate were silent. Sod that!

  127. Morning Star reader on said:

    Jara, if I can be of any help, ask away! I’ve got a series of union-related meetings coming up, so I might not be able to reply until the weekend.
    I read the John Pearson materials a while ago, and they make unpleasant reading. If we had a stronger Labour left and a much stronger communist party in Britain – and there are reasons why we currently have neither – I can’t help thinking that people like John and others might have been spared some pain and misery. And the left might have built something more solid.
    Still, “A luta continua!”

  128. Morning Star reader on said:

    Dave (157), I’m all in favour of blogs, website and critical debate. That’s one reason why I’m a fan and fairly frequent contributor to SU.
    Nor am I against public discussion of “internal” party matters as such. What I oppose is when this is promoted not in order to clarify and, if possible, resolve issues, but to sow maximum division and disruption.
    I am particularly opposed to organised lying, deception and fabrication in order to divide or discredit left-wing organisations.
    That said, I have also acknowledged the value of the SWP documents that have been brought to light in the current case.

  129. Dave Parks on said:

    RE #159

    Morning Star reader wrote:

    “Nor am I against public discussion of “internal” party matters as such. What I oppose is when this is promoted not in order to clarify and, if possible, resolve issues, but to sow maximum division and disruption.”

    That is your view of their motives. Another interpretation is that they genuinely support democratic currents and open debate within the groups within the movement. This is not that different to the contributions on the SWP here on Socialist Unity. Of course they put their interpretation and agenda on such disputes – but I think the basic idea that organisations of the Left should be open to examination and debate is a thoroughly healthy and welcome thing. What bothers me far more is the rest of the Left press that only reports the activities of their own fronts and never comment on the issues we debate on forums such as this.

    Perhaps the crux of this is the right of reply. Do they publish replies that they do not agree with? As far as I can tell they do. If you disagree with their coverage of something – write a good letter in reply!

  130. Morning Star reader on said:

    Dave (160), I think you are taking a very benign view of the “CPGB” and WW in view of their long record of deception and downright fabrication. That’s your prerogative, of course.
    Perhaps, after reading their distortions, deceptions and double standards for more than 25 years, I see a different pattern to the picture that you see.
    You write: “What bothers me far more is the rest of the Left press that only reports the activities of their own fronts and never comment on the issues we debate on forums such as this.”
    While the Morning Star does not usually print much about the internal affairs of left and labour movement organisations, it covers the activities and prints the views of many people and organisations well beyond the ranks of any one left group. I think that kind of paper is of far more value to the working class movement and the left than a paper committed to sectarian shit-stirring. Even if, after 25 years of stirring the pot, the WW has finally hit upon something of significance to the left.

  131. Morning Star reader: Dave (160), I think you are taking a very benign view of the “CPGB” and WW in view of their long record of deception and downright fabrication.

    I think it’s a bit simpler than that, MSR. As an independent socialist Dave comes to the question with an open mind and without the baggage of a bitter factional dispute from years back. Your attacks on Weekly Worker, their attacks on you…frankly who gives a damn?

  132. jay blackwood: Your attacks on Weekly Worker, their attacks on you…frankly who gives a damn?

    jay blackwood:

    I think it’s a bit simpler than that, MSR. As an independent socialist Dave comes to the question with an open mind and without the baggage of a bitter factional dispute from years back. Your attacks on Weekly Worker, their attacks on you…frankly who gives a damn?

    Well, that is comparing oranges and pears, because the CPB and Morning Star are obvioulsy engaged in the broad labour movement, and whether you agree with them or not, are seeking to move the whole left forwards/

    The WW crew, in contrast, are signally absent from any constructive campaigning for the betterment of peoples’ lives; and concentrate on exaggerating and fanning the flames of discord within left groups.

    I am sure that MOrning Star Reader doesn’t expect you to care about WW’s dishonest mischeif making in CPB; but offers it as an example of dishonesty so that you can factor that in when assessing the credibility of the WW.

    It is simply a fact that the WW prints things which are outright lies about the CPB in particular. and thereofre by inference other groups as well.

  133. lone nut on said:

    “do you really think someone like Moshé Machover, a militant of impeccable reputation… would associate with CPGB if they were as you say they are?”
    As far as I know Machover merely speaks at their summer school and occasionally has articles published in their paper. That is the limit of his “association” with them. I don’t imagine he supervises their entry work into other organisations, or is involved in the publication of scabrous and inaccurate articles by non-existent people with made-up names intended to promote tensions within those organisations.
    I have enough experience of academics to know that most of them would attend the opening of an envelope if there was a free lunch in it, and would happily publish their articles in the “Beano” if they thought it would boost their profile. I doubt Machover is any exception. And given that the CPGB believe themselves to be masters of psychology and doubtless are good at preening vanity, what is more noteworthy is how few people will have anything to do with them. I suspect the roots of Dave Parks’ affection for the Conradites can be located in the giveaway line, “they have published my articles”.

  134. Morning Star reader on said:

    Thanks Andy (163), the pretend-CPGB have never been significant enough for the CPB (or its forerunner in the former authentic CPGB) to have a “bitter factional dispute” with. I’m not damaged, honest. But their attempts to create one have given me an understanding of their motivations and techniques. Jay and others can take as much or as little notice as they like – but I think it’s in everyone’s interests not to develop any illusions about a pernicious outfit.
    So I’m caring and sharing for all other socialists and communists. Bless.

  135. lone nut: I suspect the roots of Dave Parks’ affection for the Conradites can be located in the giveaway line, “they have published my articles”.

    Well, they haven’t published any of my articles. Not that I’ve written any, mind. The thing is, their website is an entertaining read and full of scurrilous gossip, most of which is probably twaddle – but it’s fun for us indies and it fills a niche in the market. Whether I’d actually pay for a copy of the paper is another matter entirely!

  136. Morning Star reader: Jay and others can take as much or as little notice as they like – but I think it’s in everyone’s interests not to develop any illusions about a pernicious outfit.
    So I’m caring and sharing for all other socialists and communists. Bless.

    Er…and so should I be! Sorry if my initial comment replying to your post was a bit abrupt.

  137. lone nut on said:

    “their website is an entertaining read and full of scurrilous gossip, most of which is probably twaddle”
    The same might be said of the kind of stuff circulated by the FBI under the COINTELPRO programme in the 1960s to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, or otherwise neutralize” civil rights and anti-war activists and the left in general. I have no idea why you consider this a good thing.

  138. lone nut on said:

    “So your implication is that they are state agents?”
    I don’t think I was exactly being mealy-mouthed about implying that. Perhaps they can sue me. I can only note that they do behave in a manner which resembles that of state sponsored operations – I have mentioned the Dutch and US examples, and I could mention some operations in the Spanish state also.

  139. Geoff Collier on said:

    Graham Day: Maybe because that’s not what happened.

    Local Housing Allowance was introduced in 2008. This put a limit on Housing Benefit payments (for claims starting after 7 April 2008) that’s dependent on market rates in the area and the number of bedrooms a property has.There is a limit on the number of bedrooms you can claim for – e.g. one person living alone can only claim for one bedroom – which I suppose is the point of comparison with the “Bedroom Tax”.But the administration of the two is quite different – the current plans implement a flat rate cut (14% or 25%) in Housing Benefit payments dependent on whether you’re assessed as having “extra bedrooms”, and it’s irrelevant when your claim started.

    So, practically, the impact in 2008 if you were “currently” claiming Housing Benefit was zero. If you started a new claim then it might not cover all of your rent.The impact of the current changes is that people need to find an extra 14% or 25% of the rent, regardless of whether this is a new claim or not.

    So, essentially you and other people consider the 2008 cuts in housing benefit to be unimportant. Just because it’s not quite as bad as the current measures doesn’t make it any less harsh on people like me. I moved into a 2 bedroom house when my stepdaughter was with us. She left around the time I claimed HB and I was assessed on an eligiblility (current figures) of £80.77 rather than £98.77. That surely means a cut of around 20%.
    The fact that existing claims were not cut in 2008 does not mean that those claimants were unaffected. People have temporary jobs, changes in income etc which mean new claims.
    I didn’t say that that the two things were the same but the LHA cuts were also a cut in Housing Benefit based on alleged under-occupancy.

  140. Paul Mason, the ex-Trotskyist BBC journalist, has recently made a comment that is very relevant to any discussion on the decline of hierarchical ‘revolutionary’ parties.

    In response to an interviewer’s question about the present crisis leading to a return to fascism and violence, he said:

    “One of the things that impresses me about the generation that I am writing about is their intelligence, their emotional and political intelligence, about power … I’ll give you an example:

    It was a surprise to me when it was found out that one of the leaders of British Trotskyism was a paedophile. OK, whatever you thought about them, the WRP, he [Mason must mean Gerry Healy] was a rapist and a paedophile. It was a surprise. You will go: ‘Why would it be a surprise? You are running a hierarchical, semi-dictatorial, secret organisation and it turns out that bad stuff has gone on!’ But it was a surprise to our generation because we genuinely thought that the solution to one hierarchical problem, and I don’t mean just my generation born in the 1960s, I mean the 20th Century person … the people who did in fact fight fascism in Germany before it triumphed. A lot of them thought (it was a bit like that child’s toy that hits the wall and flips the other way), they went: ‘Alright, well this hierarchical solution hasn’t worked, let’s adopt another one’.

    Whereas this generation is very critical of power, bloodshed, hierarchy, needless violence, needless trauma, emotional and psychological, and therefore that they are prepared to try and find a soft route towards what they are trying to do that will mitigate having a series of violent clashes a la the 1930s. But, I think, who knows, you just can’t tell.”

    Resonance FM interview with Paul Mason: ‘Why It’s Still Kicking Off Everywhere’ (quote is at 32 mins). http://soundcloud.com/resonance-fm/unknown-novara-february

  141. I like Paul Mason, but that’s the most awful toss. “This generation” has been rejecting hierarchical forms of organisation since before the WRP was even formed. It’s a reciprocal relationship, not a generational one – the big Trot parties were founded precisely as islands of democratic centralism in a sea of informal mobilisation. We look around now and it’s mostly sea and not many islands, but you could argue that that’s a consequence of the low level of activity – it’s not that nobody believes in the party form enough to form a new one, just that nobody thinks it’s worth doing.

  142. #173 But these aren’t absolute contradictions- structurelessness on the one hand (often with its own informal and oppressive hierarchy) and ‘leninist’ democratic centralism on the other.

  143. Todor Zhivkov on said:

    The CPGB/Leninist have always been an interesting operation to try and understand; probably they get much more publicity than is warranted for a political project which is solely about propaganda – intervene in left circles.

    Over the last 25 years i’ve observed this project. First as a young communist attracted to there solid position on Ireland, the Miners Strike, perestroika, others. They had an interesting fresh analysis. Don’t share there politics today, but WW is worth a read for sure. That the CPGB can be used to publish internal documents has been useful for regular members. Although the SWP revelations are extreme, we cannot deny the anti-demoncratic internal culture on all the main left group that could count count membership in 4 figures over the years – CPGB (antithetic one) Militant, CPB, WRP, RCP, SWP.

    So the pretend CPGB have a differentiated position in a crowded marked; but it is a mistake the view then similarly to other small, basically honest politically motivated left groups – for e.g. like Socialist Resistance, RCPBML, DAM.

    Some observations on they’re practice over the last a long period of time and there inability to form political alliances with ANYONE, and there honesty and consistency. Some slightly random observation I would make include:

    1. Formative years: The Leninist were initiation was inspired by a faction of the TKP (IS), they helped them with printing. They were 4 individual, 2 from the NCP, 1 Spart, 1 YCL. They were never a faction of the CPGB – that is a myth.The TKP (IS) dropped the Leninist group sometime later – despairing of their tiny size, inability to break of an obsession with the British ultra left scene. At that TKP comrades told them if they continued as they were they’d never amount to more than 6 members they had at the time.
    3. Political interventions: Attempts to politically engage: Hands off Ireland (set up to paralyse Time to Go), Unemployed Workers Charters (collecting for the unemployed, staffed by one student), the Workers Theater Movement (offensive but only on an artistic level). The Iran campaign was sensibly given a wide birth by STW – Andrew Murray would no doubt know a thing or two about the practice of the ‘CPGB’. Conclusion – there is no systematic orientation towards political work/campaigns; dishonesty is endemic.
    4. Leadership – Relatively stable despite no-end of political u-turns, which in itself is odd.
    5. Finances – members used to have to deliver 10% of gross income to the organization, plus the summer offensive campaign. Ex-supporters supporters have suggest all the fund raising campaigns often feel short. Numbers were made up….as indeed were the letters to the paper.
    5. Alliances: None have longevity. Come and go, ideally claiming you’ve been victimized by which ever leadership needs demonizing. They’re comrade Ann McShane told the org. they wanted to stick the knife into the Socialist Alliance…just as they were joining.
    6. Stunts: The occupation of the Morning Star offices in 1993(?) anyone remember this…in the words on Samuel Johnson ‘it is impossible to critise unresisting imbecility’); they also tried to frame a SU contributor for homophobia as I recall. Nice guys.

    Good people on the left want to give small groups of the left like the ‘CPGB’ the benefit of the doubt, are attracted to ‘extreme democracy’ to break from the stifling culture on the left.

    Very understandable, but in this case, a naive wish. After the collapse of the socialist countries, The ‘CPGB’ orientated to the now more significant left groups from a Trotskyist background, SWP, SP, WP and the politics followed. Parasites prefer a decent sized host.

    It is hard to think that this could be state sponsored – there isn’t the competence on display to suggest that.

  144. Todor seems to have the measure of the Chamberlain Party of Great Britain. They’ve come a long way since their origins as the British hangers-on of the “Union of Turkish Progressives in Britain”. But the political dishonesty has been a feature throughout. If you assume in all your dealings with them that they are probably acting in bad faith, you won’t go far wrong.

  145. Todor Zhivkov: They were never a faction of the CPGB – that is a myth.

    Great, so the one thing I (thought I) knew about the Weekly Worker turns out to be bollocks.

  146. According to the latest weekly worker, Andy Newman is a “sub stalinist”- whatever that means!
    They certainly do a nice line in photoshopped piss takes of Alex Callinicos.

  147. Jellytot on said:

    @178Andy Newman is a “sub stalinist”

    I’ve heard Trots use the term “Soft Stalinist” to describe everybody from GG in Livingstone but ‘sub Stalinist’ is a new one on me.

    @178They certainly do a nice line in photoshopped piss takes of Alex Callinicos

    Don’t like HP but their “SWP’ll Fix It” banner did raise a smile.

  148. Retweeted Callinicos tweet just received. Something like ‘ Blue skies above me as Venice basks in the afternoon sun’. Prick.

  149. Jellytot on said:

    @180Blue skies above me as Venice basks in the afternoon sun

    Maybe it’s some kind of code?

    Similar to what Bletchley Park were transmitting to the Maquis just prior to D-Day ?

  150. Jellytot:
    @180Blue skies above me as Venice basks in the afternoon sun

    Maybe it’s some kind of code?

    Similar to what Bletchley Park were transmitting to the Maquis just prior to D-Day ?

    Cut down the tall trees?

    I think I’d prefer a violent conspiracy to the thought he’s living it up in Venice, the insufferable pillock.

  151. Francis King: Todor seems to have the measure of the Chamberlain Party of Great Britain. They’ve come a long way since their origins as the British hangers-on of the “Union of Turkish Progressives in Britain”. But the political dishonesty has been a feature throughout. If you assume in all your dealings with them that they are probably acting in bad faith, you won’t go far wrong.

    Who is that has sued the Weekly Wanker?
    I know people who would contribute to their legal fund if the paper goes under without paying up.

  152. Karl Stewart on said:

    If it’s true that there are now 507 registered IDOP supporters, then if you take the “pay roll” vote off the Lynch Mob Faction’s current total, this puts IDOP ahead, with the majority of SWP members.

    (Unless of course LMF releases its “new list” of “hundreds more” supporters, which has been rumoured for the past fortnight.)

    Anyway, if the figures stay as they are, with IDOP slightly ahead, would they be able to call themselves the “Bolshveiks” and the LMF the “Menshveiks”?

  153. Dave Parks on said:

    Lone nut wrote #164: ‘I suspect the roots of Dave Parks’ affection for the Conradites can be located in the giveaway line, “they have published my articles”’.

    Presumably you would assume I have affection for the AWL as well since I have also been published in Workers Liberty. Obviously you do not know me. In both cases they asked whether they could publish material I had already circulated on email lists related to the Socialist Alliance. I’m very skeptical of all of the sects – but I see no need to be stubbornly hostile to them. I think it is healthy for papers on the Left to publish material from outside their own ranks and yes I would be happy to published in the Morning Star as well. In fact on a personal level if there is one paper I could have reason to be deeply hostile to then it would be WW because I have been slagged off twice by them – but how is the left to overcome its sectarian differences if we permanently hold grudges against any and every slight or perceived slight dating back years? Get a life and get a grip is what I say to those who can’t move on. If you disagree with the politics of others it doesn’t mean that they are wreckers or agents of the state – it just reflects the diversity within the movement.

  154. John Haylett on said:

    Nick Wright: Who is that has sued the Weekly Wanker?

    According to WW February 7, it’s Unite official Wayne King, as follows.

    An unreserved apology to Unite regional officer Wayne King

    In an article in the January 12 2012 edition of the Weekly Worker entitled ‘Sovereign busworkers fight back’ untrue and highly defamatory allegations were made about Unite regional officer Wayne King: viz that Mr King lied on behalf of London Sovereign Ltd and that he lied to support London Sovereign Ltd upon issues that conflicted with Unite members’ interests. These allegations could be read as leading to the inference that Mr King was corrupt in his role as a Unite regional officer.

    We published these allegations without checking the sources of them, which we now regret. We accept that these allegations and any inferences that could be drawn from them were untrue. We wholeheartedly regret publishing the article in that form. It was an unfounded attack on Mr King, although we did not realise this at the time of publication. We retract the allegations completely.

    We are happy to confirm that we accept that Mr King acted entirely with a view to what he saw as Unite members’ best interests and we apologise to Mr King for any distress and embarrassment that the allegations may have caused him.

  155. Manzil: I was thinking there were dom-Stalinists and sub-Stalinists.

    Oh Christ, images of some of the old Straight Left comrades in leather bondage gear are going to haunt me, almost fell of my chair laughing.

  156. John Haylett,

    Does this mean someone has “taken the CPGB to the cleaners”? They do know the meaning of cleaning.

    Otherwise: Wayne King suing the Weekly Wanker? They are wanking as I write this?

  157. Geoff Collier on said:

    Manzil: Great, so the one thing I (thought I) knew about the Weekly Worker turns out to be bollocks.

    I don’t know about the internal life of the old CPGB but throughout the 80s the group did present itself in its press as a grouping within that party. They have all their old journals available online if you feel the need to check. I’m not saying they were of any significant influence but they orientated that way.

  158. The “Leninist” grouping, the forerunners of the WW group, originated outside the CPGB, largely around the person of John Chamberlain, who around 1980 had been won over to the position of the UTPB (supporters of the “Workers’ Voice” group from within the Turkish CP) while he has in the NCP. His application to rejoin the CPGB was refused. The “Leninist” group attempted to win supporters inside the CPGB and operate as a faction, but with very little success. I think for a time they took over one moribund CPGB branch in London, and caused a bit of bother within the YCL, but that was it. They were seen by all indigenous factions of the CPGB as a hostile entrist group, and were very effectively frozen out. Nobody wanted to work with them, not that it would have been possible to do so anyway. Consequently, there were always many more of them (around 5) selling papers outside CP congresses and conferences than there were inside (usually none). To call them a faction of the real CPGB is to mistake their thwarted aspirations for the reality.

  159. Manzil on said:

    Francis King: around 1980 had been won over to the position of the UTPB

    Do you know what that consisted of? Did it have any direct relevance to a British context? Or did it just make their group feel very daring and internationalist to be associated with it?

  160. The UTPB was a very active bunch of Turks, which went around left-wing events in Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s, particularly CP events, selling a well-produced and quite interesting journal called Turkey Today. They impressed lots of people who met them with their dedication and commitment. Their basic argument was that there was a “revolutionary situation” in Turkey, which they regarded as the “weak link of imperialism”. The official Turkish CP was underground in Turkey and not well-organised in Britain, which meant that it took some time for the official Turkish CP line (that there wasn’t a revolutionary situation in Turkey and that the UTPB were an ultra-leftist group) to percolate through to CPGB members. So the UTPB for a while was quite well regarded among CPGB members. I remember UTPB members as always plausible and personable.

  161. Manzil on said:

    Tony Collins:
    I’m not sure how widely known this is, but at the UAF conference this weekend, Martin Smith will not be standing for a position on the UAF national officers group.

    Maybe he does have some shame, after all.

    Either that or he’ll need the free time when he’s co-opted onto the central committee…

  162. Manzil – do you know if there’s an accessible copy online somewhere of the Socialist Party’s constitution? Not a *joke* question btw!

  163. Maybe he does have some shame, after all.

    No, it was entirely tactical. It would’ve destroyed UAF had they not done something.

    Smith has absolutely no shame, at all.

  164. Francis King: I remember UTPB members as always plausible and personable.

    Something the so-called CPGB has failed to emulate.

    Francis is spot on.
    One or two of the handful of Weekly Wankers who have survived the torturous evolution of this parasitic and chameleonic micro-faction can boast family connections with the CPGB or youthful flirtations with the YCL. That is about their only connection with British communist politics.
    It must have been at the point when their adolescent hormones were particularly active that they fastened onto the Turkey Today group – led by a figure who had been sent by the Turkish Party to Britain to establish a printshop for the production of an illegal newspaper – and seen by our spotty sectarians as bearers of an exotically hardline ‘Stalinist’ franchise.
    I knew the Turkey Today people – some of them rather impressive individuals – having helped them in establishing their printing operation. The Leninist’ – as the WWers labelled themselves – were described, in a Turkish phrase which passed me by, as likened to a bodily infestation – too small to be seen but constantly irritating.
    The Turkey Today people fell out with the central TKP leadership and went their own way. They were always rather embarrassed about their wannabe groupies and were, for a while, a serious force in the emigration at least, and keen on establishing bilateral relations with authentic communist party organisations to establish their own legitimacy.
    The host body has succumbed to the iron law of Turkish left wing politics which rules that every split eventually vanishes to the point of extinction – a process which the play school ‘CPGB’ has managed to avoid by departing the material world and existing exclusively online or as temporary visitors to whatever left wing formation is currently enjoying the limelight.

  165. Jellytot on said:

    Mark Twain once described the Book of Mormon as ‘chloroform in print’.

    Maybe an apt description of the Socialist Party’s constitution?

  166. In 1973 the old FNRP inflitrated the RWL which caused the BWLSP to break away. Some of the excellent militants in the BWLSP didn’t accept the line on the Balkans. Those are the facts.

  167. prianikoff on said:

    “They (the “Leninist”) were never a faction of the CPGB – that is a myth”.

    The “Leninist” newspaper wasn’t, but Jack Conrad (Chamberlain) was a member of the Surrey District of the CPGB from around 16 and a supporter of Sid French.

    After the Frenchites rupture with the official Communist party, they formed the NCP. Many of its members entered the Labour Party, some going on to form “Straight Left”, some are still in the LRC.

    Conrad’s erstwhile hostility to “auto-Labourism” seems to stem from this period, but there is now a CPGB entryist group in the Labour Party called the “Labour Party Marxists” which seems to consist of Stan Keable.

    Branch meetings must be indescribably boring.

  168. A non-entrist group under the leadership of Jack ‘Dresden’ Peters formed a group in the Derby branch which produced a journal called ‘The Way Forward – Socialism ‘ .

  169. Delroy Booth on said:

    Hi I’ve been trying to get hold of a copy of the Socialist Party constitution too. This is a task that has proven to be quite hard, even when I’ve been a member they wouldn’t give me a copy. My membership lapsed several months ago, due to unemployment I couldn’t continue to pay subs, but I’d be quite happy to start them up again for a bit if that’s required to see the constitution.

  170. Manzil on said:

    jay blackwood:
    Manzil – do you know if there’s an accessible copy online somewhere of the Socialist Party’s constitution? Not a *joke* question btw!

    Absolutely no idea.

    Never even seen a paper copy of one. I mean, there must be one, presumably, but I wouldn’t put money on ever seeing it. The party seems to run on the basis of routine, or through informal negotiation (i.e. let’s talk about why you’re wrong long enough for you to change your mind).

    Tony Collins:
    No, it was entirely tactical. It would’ve destroyed UAF had they not done something.

    Smith has absolutely no shame, at all.

    Well that’s a depressing thought.

  171. Jara Handala on said:

    10am today was an SWP deadline, two in fact – with gallows humour the decided theme for this clarifying exercise it is no accident Cde. Chaplin used the word twice in the current ‘Party Notes’, perhaps denoting the gallows to be placed at each end of the Conference stage.

    Cde. Chaplin’s reminder was for Conference motions, & for articles to go into what he called the “Internal Bulletin”: he couldn’t bring himself to make the farce explicit by calling it by its title, the sole ‘Pre-Conference Bulletin’, ideas & arguments that can only be distributed after the event – after the discussions, certainly for passing motions, & probably for electing most Conference delegates at rigged District Aggregates. As Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim put it, so it goes.

    So to celebrate this, & to prepare us all for The Glorious Tenth, especially the members themselves, here is a reminder of what the SWP was & hoped to be:

    “The main form of democratic difficulty we have experienced has been reluctance, at all levels of the party, of comrades with sincerely held doubts and/or differences to speak up. One reason for this has been the tendency to put down dissenters so severely and comprehensively as to deter any repetition or imitation . . .

    . . . vigorous political argument should not include personal denigration or abuse.

    There should also be some regard for proportionality: comrades who happen to be in the minority should not be crushed to the point of humiliation. All party meetings – branch, district, national, CC , conference – should be conducted and chaired with this in mind. Nor should there be a fear as – with reason – there has been in the past, of exclusion, isolation or ostracism for the expression of dissident views”.

    “Reluctance . . . to speak up”? How can this be, these are people who take no shit from the bosses or the state, they are leaders or wannabe leaders of the class, steeled in the struggle? Workplace & movement representatives who take great pride in refusing to be subdued, in having the courage to make a stand, to go against the grain? Militants determined to preserve & even enhance their reputation as willing to go out on a limb & break with convention, to put their politics on the line?

    How can these experienced or wannabe miltants be cowered by an internal culture that is the sole responsibility of decades & decades of a carefully self-selecting leadership, almost a close family, the red thread from Crazy Tony’s crib to Crazy Calli today? How have they created this widespread disposition to conform, to obey, to be resigned, to be complicit in a culture of silence, to accept what’s dished out? Why does their self-confidence suddenly disappear once they address a Party matter? What sort of organisation is this? Isn’t it supposed to encourage the ruthless criticism of all that exists? Seriously, how can this be?

    Oh, the authors have given us a clue, “the tendency to put down dissenters so severely and comprehensively as to deter any repetition or imitation”. Oh. Sounds like the Human Resources Dept. of Walmart. And it’s implied this has been combined with “personal denigration or abuse”. Probably still Walmart. That’s not good, is it, that’s not healthy, especially for a professed revo soc organisation, advocating self-emancipation, freedom for the whole of humanity.

    But it’s even worse than the intimidating & the denigrating: “comrades who happen to be in the minority should not be crushed to the point of humiliation . . . Nor should there be a fear as – with reason – there has been in the past, of exclusion, isolation or ostracism for the expression of dissident views”. Oh dear, this is bad. Humiliation & internal exile. Sounds like the SWP leadership has learnt from Saddam Hussein, the Czars, & Stalin. This is serious.

    But it had been worse. Revealing is a passage that’s presumably the result of sloppy editing. Later in the report the ‘crushing to humiliation’ point is quoted but it must be using the words from an earlier version of the document: “There should also be some regard for proportionality: erring, i.e. minority, comrades should not in general be crushed to the point of humiliation” (section 3(iii), p.32). So we get a shift from this to the less damning quote I’ve given, “comrades who happen to be in the minority should not be crushed to the point of humiliation”. So out goes the labelling of dissenters as “erring”, straying from The Way, falling into error, sinning, & also out goes saying it’s OK to crush comrades into humiliation, but only sometimes. So, you see how the discussion process works in the SWP, it helps restrain the leadership, making them more humane, philanthropic, less misanthropic? It’s a wonder to behold. All hail the leaders! The leaders pull in their horns when the members want them to! The members rule! The leaders serve the members! SWP democracy works – yet again!

    But there’s no need to get all liberal about this, to be soft, thinking the leadership is an easy touch. Remember, keeping things in proportion just means you can’t actually humiliate the wayward, you can only drive them to that point, forcing them to stare down into the abyss, seeing a future outside the Party, & once the recantation can be detected thru the blubbering, dragging them back into the fold, suitably chastised & re-formed. So, crushing individuals is OK, but no more than a near-humiliation experience. Never forget, comrades, every member is gold dust!

    So with a gallows at each end of the Conference stage which slogans will be on the banners? The document is again illuminating: on the two long sides of the hall will be “Democracy is essential because the emancipation of the working class is the act of the working class itself!”, & “For a more open, democratic culture in the SWP, conducive to the frank debate of political differences!”, facing the leaders & each speaker taking the stage will be “Don’t fear exclusion, isolation or ostracism for expressing dissident views!”, but above the stage, above the principal actors, to remind the delegates what this Special Conference is all about, for whose benefit this is all being done, will be the special message, emblazoned in capitals, “Every member is gold dust!”.

    And the 11 page SWP document that sparked my comment? The Democracy Commission report as amended & adopted by the June 2009 Special Conference; below is the link to its Oct 2009 publication in Pre-conference Bulletin #1. Just shows that debate can be all-year round in the SWP – & a guide for the present.

    The authors? Yours truly, Martin Smith, & 13 others: Professor Rope, Candy Udwin, Slack Stack, dear John Molyneux, Hannah Dee, Neil Davidson, Sheila McGregor, Maxine Bowler, Michael Lavalette, Jonathan Neale, Estelle Cooch, Viv Smith, & Julie Waterson.

    6 Lynchers:
    M Smith (who, strangely wasn’t an original signatory of the List of Shame – or is he already treated as a CC member?)
    Prof Rope
    Udwin (NC & Disputes Cttee.)
    Dissident Pet Molyneux (in abstentia)
    Bowler (NC; TUSC candidate for Sheffield Council, April 2012)
    Lavalette (TUSC councillor, Preston)

    4 Lambs:
    Stack
    Dee
    Davidson (inaugural signer of Democratic Renewal Platform)
    Cooch (then LSE student, ‘Socialist Review’, may not be a DRP member)

    4 not on a faction list:
    McGregor (with L German, at Cliff’s command, shut down ‘Women’s Voice’ in 1982)
    Neale (writes children fiction & teaches creative writing – a talent needed for this report)
    Viv Smith (Basher’s largely passive sidekick when Eric Karas was brutalised by them, January 2001: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/391/expelled-by-the-swp-inquisition-eric-karas-describes-his-final-interrogation-at-the-hands-of-the-swp-thought-police)
    Julie Waterson (died 16 Nov 2012)

    Democracy Commission report as amended & adopted, June 2009:
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/idoop_faction_update/Democracy%20Commission.pdf

    So it goes.

  172. Delroy Booth: I’ve been trying to get hold of a copy of the Socialist Party constitution too.

    Clause i. The General Secretary’s name is Peter Taafe.
    Clause ii. All members will buy their clothes from Primark

    I wonder if the elaborate hand gestures and false scouse accents of the Miliant era was in the constitution.

  173. prianikoff on said:

    @216 I’ve never been sure about the rumour that Jack Conrad is an heir to the Sketchley family fortune and finances the “Weekly Worker” out of his inheritance.
    The fund-raising appeals being something of a cover for this.
    I have met one or two of them over the years, but never heard of a local branch, or seen a public meeting advertised, besides their annual “Communist University”.

  174. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman: Clause ii. All members will buy their clothes from Primark

    Snobbery much?

    I know SP members who work in WHSmith too, if you’d like to have a pop at that. Some of them don’t even have degrees. :o

  175. Delroy Booth on said:

    Manzil: Snobbery much?

    I know SP members who work in WHSmith too, if you’d like to have a pop at that. Some of them don’t even have degrees.

    Agreed. Andy, please feel free to fuck off, take your petty sectarianism out on someone else.

    Anyone who can furnish me with a copy of the Socialist Party constitution, my email address is DelroyBooth@gmail.com .

    Might turn this into a blog or something, my epic quest to see the constitution of the Socialist Party. It’s twice the length of Lord of the Rings.

  176. Manzil: Snobbery much?

    No, it has been a long observed phenomenon that SP members adopt particularly dowdy clothes like a uniform, it is a bit of a sub-culture thing I suppose. IN the same way, years ago, SWP members all had a sort of student jumble sale chic, even if they were senior tax inspectors, or chartered surveyors; and the RCP all looked like they were presenters on the Tube

  177. Delroy Booth: Andy, please feel free to fuck off, take your petty sectarianism out on someone else.

    Really ??

    By what possible credible definition of the word “sectarianism” could it embrace teasing a small left propaganda group about their tendency to converge towards dowdy conformity in their dress sense?

  178. Andy Newman: IN the same way, years ago, SWP members all had a sort of student jumble sale chic, even if they were senior tax inspectors, or chartered surveyors;

    Duh! Wrong! The London uniform for male comrades was: i) Harrington jacket ii) DM shoes (NOT boots) iii)501 jeans, preferably blue but black at a pinch.
    Although fuck knows what people in Swindon were wearing…shepherds’ smocks probably ;op

  179. Jellytot on said:

    @228IN the same way, years ago, SWP members all had a sort of student jumble sale chic

    I was a WC football ‘casual’ during my time in the Party in the 80’s and insisted on continuing to wear gear like Fila, Lacoste and Adidas Forest Hills.

    I got a lot of stick over it from comrades in their ‘Lawrence Corner’ army surplus greatcoats.

  180. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman: No, it has been a long observed phenomenon that SP members adopt particularly dowdy clothes like a uniform, it is a bit of a sub-culture thing I suppose. IN the same way, years ago, SWP members all had a sort of student jumble sale chic, even if they were senior tax inspectors, or chartered surveyors; and the RCP all looked like they were presenters on the Tube

    No, you’re observing it. And in a sneering, dismissive way that completely makes discussion about the democratic inadequacies of the party seem like an example of a snobbish sectarian grudge.

    Believe it or not, as someone whose friends regularly shop in Primark (a not unheard of ‘phenomenon’ amongst the vulgar mob, either), you’d be surprised that they sell quite a lot of bright, fashionable things there. (I guess. Having no style myself, I’m reluctant to put forward an opinion on the subject.)

    I’d go to a branch meeting and take pictures for you, so you could comfort yourself that the average member talks with whatever accent they happen to have, looks like anyone else on the street, and doesn’t reflect As Soon As This Pub Closes stereotyping.

    Y’know, if it wasn’t such an utterly stupid thing to be discussing in the first place.

  181. Manzil on said:

    Jellytot:
    I was a WC football ‘casual’ during my time in the Party in the 80′s and insisted on continuing to wear gear like Fila, Lacoste and Adidas Forest Hills.

    I got a lot of stick over it from comrades in their ‘Lawrence Corner’ army surplus greatcoats.

    I like to think you’re still rocking the casuals look, personally.

    Don’t tell me you’re suited and booted now.

  182. Delroy Booth on said:

    Andy Newman: No, it has been a long observed phenomenon that SP members adopt particularly dowdy clothes like a uniform, it is a bit of a sub-culture thing I suppose. IN the same way, years ago, SWP members all had a sort of student jumble sale chic, even if they were senior tax inspectors, or chartered surveyors; and the RCP all looked like they were presenters on the Tube

    So are you the one behind this blog then Andy? > http://farleftfashion.tumblr.com/

    Anyway, it’s an “observed phenomenon” that a members of a political party you don’t like very much “adopt particularly dowdy clothes” yes no doubt to con the working class into thinking they’re one of their own, and to trick them into not voting Labour! The scoundrels! Scruffy bastards! Dirty povs, shopping in primark, using public transport, etc etc. If only the Labour party had listened to the Fabian’s eugenics we could’ve bred these primitives out of the working class, but alas it wasn’t to be.

    Of course when you say “observed phenomenon” you are referring to an actual study, and not just your own anecdotal stories, right? And you presume it’s a sub-cultural thing, rather than the possibility that members of the Socialist Party aren’t, on the whole, wealthy enough to buy expensive and fashionable clothes? I think that says a lot more about your presumptions than it does about ordinary members of the Socialist Party.

    Just so you know Andy I’m unemployed at the moment, and no doubt if you saw me in the street wearing knackered 3rd hand clothing and looking a bit worse for wear you’d be able to point and laugh at me for it. Nice clothes are a luxury I, and many others like me, simply can’t afford. I must say, it feels a bit strange being mocked by a member of the Labour Party for being to poor to afford nice clothes, but I suppose that’s between you and your conscience.

    See you at London Fashion Week, comrade!

  183. Delroy Booth on said:

    Manzil: No, you’re observing it. And in a sneering, dismissive way that completely makes discussion about the democratic inadequacies of the party seem like an example of a snobbish sectarian grudge.

    Believe it or not, as someone whose friends regularly shop in Primark (a not unheard of ‘phenomenon’ amongst the vulgar mob, either), you’d be surprised that they sell quite a lot of bright, fashionable things there. (I guess. Having no style myself, I’m reluctant to put forward an opinion on the subject.)

    I’d go to a branch meeting and take pictures for you, so you could comfort yourself that the average member talks with whatever accent they happen to have, looks like anyone else on the street, and doesn’t reflect As Soon As This Pub Closes stereotyping.

    Y’know, if it wasn’t such an utterly stupid thing to be discussing in the first place.

    I think it’s pretty revealing about Andy Newman that he thinks that “dowdy clothes” are what you get in Primark. No comrade, I understand the shopping habits of the swinish multitude are beneath you, but nontheless it’s obnoxiously garish clothing you’ll find in primark, not dowdy.

    But let’s stop teasing the poor middle-class Labour hack about his snobbery and get back to the issue at hand, getting a copy of the Socialist Party constitution. Any idea where to start Manzil?

  184. @224

    Andy: “Clause ii. All members will buy their clothes from Primark”

    Er, what’s wrong *cough* with buying your clothes *cough* at Primark…? Before anyone says it is unethical for various reasons and unacceptable to the fashion police… there’s some *cough* fashionable stuff there….

  185. Delroy Booth on said:

    Manzil: In the Ark of the Covenant, maybe?

    A fiver says it’s more of an unwritten constitution.

    I think they’re embarassed coz it’s still got them down as the “Revolutionary Socialist League” myself

  186. Delroy Booth: rather than the possibility that members of the Socialist Party aren’t, on the whole, wealthy enough to buy expensive and fashionable clothes?

    Don’t be ridiculous, the commentary about the boring style of Socialist Party members, who dress as if they are off for a lively night out at a substance abuse survivors meeting, is a widespread source of humour in the left and the unions.

    Style is not related to money, you know very little about me if you think I swan around with the monied classes.

    Delroy Booth: it’s obnoxiously garish clothing you’ll find in primark, not dowdy.

    that used to be the case with womens’ clothes but not mens’.

    Delroy Booth: ’s stop teasing the poor middle-class Labour hack about his snobbery

    What we should talk about is how your candidate was soundly beaten by Elvis Loves Cats, and Beer and Crumpets parties in Eastleigh.

  187. …. And I encouraged a group of workers in Primark to join a trade union while I was perusing the clothes while listening intently to them quietly discussing how oppressive their managers were and giving them a hard time. It was awful what they were going through.

  188. Manzil on said:

    HarpyMarx:
    @224

    Er, what’s wrong *cough* with buying your clothes *cough* at Primark…? Before anyone says it is unethical for various reasons and unacceptable to the fashion police… there’s some *cough* fashionable stuff there….

    I once went into the big Primark in Southampton to meet a friend after his shift ended, and couldn’t find my way out of the store. It was like the Father Ted episode where all the priests get lost in the women’s lingerie section. I still have nightmares.

  189. Jellytot on said:

    @233I like to think you’re still rocking the casuals look, personally.Don’t tell me you’re suited and booted now.

    Hmmm….The classic Lacoste pique suits any age (and I have a few) and I like CP Company which is similar to Stone Island but without the hooligan connotations.

    However, early 40-somethings dressing like 18 year olds (which you see a lot of sadly) is not a good look.

  190. HarpyMarx: Er, what’s wrong *cough* with buying your clothes *cough* at Primark…? Before anyone says it is unethical for various reasons and unacceptable to the fashion police… there’s some *cough* fashionable stuff there….

    Well that is a good point, there is clearly nothing wrong with Primark on principle, nor your clothes sense in particular! The issue I have is that ALL socialist party members have the same dress sense, seemingly so that they could – if necessary – blend in with a crowd of drunks down the bus station.

  191. Andy Newman: IN the same way, years ago, SWP members all had a sort of student jumble sale chic, even if they were senior tax inspectors, or chartered surveyors; and the RCP all looked like they were presenters on the Tube

    If we were to elevate this acute observation into a general theory we would conclude that, on the basis that there has existed no common style, that the Communist Party is historically the most representative formation on the left in Britain.
    However, the estimable Elizabeth Wilson is a professor of Cultural Studies at the London College of Fashion and author of Adorned in Dreams, fashion and Modernity, for my money one of the best books on the theme.

  192. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman: The issue I have is that ALL socialist party members have the same dress sense, seemingly so that they could – if necessary – blend in with a crowd of drunks down the bus station.

    Right, so now we’ve officially established that you’re talking shit, and offensive, nasty, bullying shit at that. Absolutely pathetic.

  193. @243

    Andy: “The issue I have is that ALL socialist party members have the same dress sense, seemingly so that they could – if necessary – blend in with a crowd of drunks down the bus station”.

    Huh? Kinda offensive that…

  194. jay blackwood: The London uniform for male comrades was: i) Harrington jacket ii) DM shoes (NOT boots) iii)501 jeans,

    I think that was later, I seem to remember in the 1980s it was a very Bohemian look.

  195. @245

    Nick: “However, the estimable Elizabeth Wilson is a professor of Cultural Studies at the London College of Fashion and author of Adorned in Dreams, fashion and Modernity, for my money one of the best books on the theme”.

    Oh… lefty feminist Elizabeth Wilson *swoon* she’s brilliant. I have her excellent Adorned in Dreams along with most of what’s written…

  196. Manzil: I’d go to a branch meeting and take pictures for you, so you could comfort yourself that the average member talks with whatever accent they happen to have, looks like anyone else on the street, and doesn’t reflect As Soon As This Pub Closes stereotyping.

    It is possible, but remember I only come across SP members of a certain age who are union activists.

    Manzil: we’ve officially established that you’re talking shit, and offensive, nasty, bullying shit at that.

    Blimey, you do have a brittle carapace.

  197. Manzil on said:

    Delroy Booth: I think they’re embarassed coz it’s still got them down as the “Revolutionary Socialist League” myself

    Well if you ever get a hold of a copy, precis it for me will you. I tried to read an SP publication once and bits of my brain well away like wet cake. I don’t think a document about conference arrangements and branch secretary duties would be exactly the Communist Manifesto. :)

    Jellytot: However, early 40-somethings dressing like 18 year olds (which you see a lot of sadly) is not a good look.

    Depends on how late on a Saturday night it is, I guess!!

    To be fair, even when I was 18 I don’t think I pulled off dressing like an 18 year old very well…

  198. @Manzil

    “To be fair, even when I was 18 I don’t think I pulled off dressing like an 18 year old very well…”

    I dressed like cross between a goth and an art student. Twas the 1980s…

  199. Nick Wright,

    There is a very interesting discussion of fashion in the DDR, by Judd Stitziel “Shopping, Sewing, Networking and Complaining” in the anthology “Socialist Modern, Est German Everyday Culture and Politics”

  200. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman: It is possible, but remember I only come across SP members of a certain age who are union activists.

    Blimey, you do have a brittle carapace.

    No, I dislike nasty little comments stigmatising people for things not even remotely related to their politics. It’s truly shocking you don’t see how off-putting it is; like some weird clique where everyone has in-jokes and common prejudices. As one of the “ALL socialist party members” you were talking about – until you suddenly decided that you weren’t – it’s just wonderful to have snide generalisations made about you, then be told you’re brittle for taking it the wrong way.

  201. Delroy Booth: the possibility that members of the Socialist Party aren’t, on the whole, wealthy enough to buy expensive and fashionable clothes?

    Interesting observation though; given that fashionable and not always cheap clothes are worn by many working class people, and that many skilled workers earn good money, especially in unionised trades; are you saying that the SP is disproportionately drawn from outside well paid working class jobs?

  202. Manzil: As one of the “ALL socialist party members” you were talking about – until you suddenly decided that you weren’t – it’s just wonderful to have snide generalisations made about you, then be told you’re brittle for taking it the wrong way.

    My experience is that SP members all dress in a dowdy way, and generally lack a sense of self deprecation, or humour.

    It is after all a relatively self referential sub-culture, and will inevitably develop some convergence of social norms.

    Certainly it is possible to accurately predict whether someone at a union or left conference is likely to be a SP member, from their dress sense alone.

  203. Manzil: not even remotely related to their politics.

    But it is related to political organisation, precisely because the SP broadly operates as a sect, and has developed its own sub-cultural norms. That is a political observation.

  204. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman: My experience is that SP members all dress in a dowdy way, and generally lack a sense of self deprecation, or humour.

    It is after all a relatively self referential sub-culture, and will inevitably develop some convergence of social norms.

    Certainly it is possible to accurately predict whether someone at a union or left conference is likely to be a SP member, from their dress sense alone.

    “It’s just a joke – like on Top Gear.”

    I think the problem is that you’re evidently a lot more embedded in this “self-referential sub-culture” than the people you’re talking about.

    I’ve never seen any uniformity of appearance or manners among people at a SWP meeting, an SP meeting or a Labour Party meeting for that matter. Or any difference between any of them them and a random selection of people you could get on the street. But by all means, tell me what I’m wearing and how this reflects my politics. It can be like a cross between Mystic Meg, the Fashion Police and a Maoist self-criticism circle.

  205. Lewisham Left Lawyer on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Andy, you are a wag.

    Would you like my tailor’s details? His slogan is “Savile Row style on skid row credentials”. From the few photos I’ve seen of you, it looks as if you could do with popping in to be measured up.

    Pip pip!

  206. Delroy Booth on said:

    Andy Newman: Don’t be ridiculous, the commentary about the boring style of Socialist Party members, who dress as if they are off for a lively night out at a substance abuse survivors meeting, is a widespread source of humour in the left and the unions.

    Ah yes a substance abuse survivors meeting! Those alcy’s and smackheads and other remnants of the surplus population! George Bernard Shaw was right! Atavists! Primitives! Degenerate Smackheads! Worse – scruffy smackheads!

    Andy Newman:you know very little about me if you think I swan around with the monied classes.

    You’re a member of the Labour party, and in my book that’s a reasonable assumption. It’s an “observed phenomenon” round my way to see members of the Labour party, yes even the nominally left in Labour, swanning around with the local bigwigs – no doubt laughing at all the dowdy dressed socialists as you light your cigars with £20 notes.

    Andy Newman:
    What we should talk about is how your candidate was soundly beaten by Elvis Loves Cats, and Beer and Crumpets parties in Eastleigh.

    My candidate? I’m not a member of tusc, nor am I a member of any of the supporting parties. I was, briefly, a member of the Socialist Party for my sins. No doubt this explains why I don’t dress smartly enough to impress you – nothing to do with me being skint, but a conscious decision to adopt prole-kitsch clothing as a fashion statement and/or a childishly simplistic attempt to look like proper workers!

    As for the TUSC result? Stop the press, fringe sociailst paper candidate in Tory/LibDem seat gets derisory vote! Coming up next – Pope expresses a fondness for the catholic faith, bears shockingly choose to defecate in the forests.

    Nick Wrack’s doing a good job of honestly assessing the failures of TUSC to get anywhere. Best off checking his blog. My view? I wouldn’t even vote TUSC, let alone campaign for them, until they sever their connections with the SWP. I’m not voting for rape apologists.

    And btw that’s a view a fair few of the of the members of the Socialist Party who I’m still friendly with take.

  207. SP are very involved in the anti-cuts stuff here in Bristol and they dress pretty much the same as anyone else. And they’re a most unsectarian, pleasant bunch of people to work with as well. Sorry to disappoint!

  208. Delroy Booth on said:

    HarpyMarx:
    @243

    Andy: “The issue I have is that ALL socialist party members have the same dress sense, seemingly so that they could – if necessary – blend in with a crowd of drunks down the bus station”.

    Huh? Kinda offensive that…

    Drunks down the bus station! Not only are they drunk, but they’re so poor they have to use public transport!

    Know your place! Vote Labour!

  209. Delroy Booth on said:

    jay blackwood:
    SP are very involved in the anti-cuts stuff here in Bristol and they dress pretty much the same as anyone else. And they’re a most unsectarian, pleasant bunch of people to work with as well. Sorry to disappoint!

    I’m not a Leninist of any complexion but they’re a decent bunch here in Huddersfield too. And I’m not a member either before any asks, I see no future in Leninist sects, but I’d rather them than a party that lined up behind George W. Bush and the extreme right neo-cons in the US to bomb and invade Iraq, who have sold off schools and hospitals and went further than Thatcher in undermining the welfare state, etc etc.

    Tusc might be incompetent, and the SP might be anachronistic, but the Labour party is actively evil. And that’s including the small percentage of good people still clinging onto it. The sooner they go the way of PASOK the better.

  210. Wow, you lot have either had a hard week, or you’ve all been down the pub.

    I just had a 5 minute long voicemail from Andy Newman, having been butt-dialed by him. He sounded like he was wearing comfortable clothing.

  211. Manzil on said:

    Tony Collins:
    Wow, you lot have either had a hard week, or you’ve all been down the pub.

    I just had a 5 minute long voicemail from Andy Newman,having been butt-dialed by hi. He sounded like he was wearing comfortable clothing.

    It’s not the first time he’s been talking out his arse today.

    OK OK, I’m following Jay out the door.

  212. daggi on said:

    prianikoff: I’ve never been sure about the rumour that Jack Conrad is an heir to the Sketchley family fortune and finances the “Weekly Worker” out of his inheritance.

    Mark Lewis-Fischer stated that one of their members once worked in a Sketchley franchise and that was the sole basis of the rumour. Doesn’t mean it’s not worth repeating, though.

  213. Andy Newman: There is a very interesting discussion of fashion in the DDR, by Judd Stitziel “Shopping, Sewing, Networking and Complaining” in the anthology “Socialist Modern, Est German Everyday Culture and Politics”

    Indeed.
    I did some work on photography with Fur Dich the leading DDR women’s magazine. Very groundbreaking stuff. I especially like the colour ads for women to join the DDR air force with the chance to fly state of the art jet fighters in defence of socialism.

  214. daggi on said:

    Nick Wright: I especially like the colour ads for women to join the DDR air force

    The Chinese government do a similar line in advertising for their army and airforces, as I am sure Andy is aware.

    Otherwise the most artistically interesting (fashion)photography in teh GDR was in ‘Sibylle’, e.g. by Sibylle Bergemann and others who went on to found the agency “Ostkreuz” and photography school of the same name, after unification.

  215. Impossible to read this stuff after a few ciders without wondering if someone down the pub spiked your drink with acid. Interesting…

    I was just puzzled as to why the issue of Primark came up, but more than that, why the fuck did people take it so seriously?

  216. Delroy Booth on said:

    Tony Collins:
    Impossible to read this stuff after a few ciders without wondering if someone down the pub spiked your drink with acid. Interesting…

    I was just puzzled as to why the issue of Primark came up, but more than that, why the fuck did people take it so seriously?

    because that’s how he meant it perhaps? Don’t stoop to the old Top Gear “It’s just a joke” defence coz I’m not buying it. Perhaps you should save the backpedalling for Andy himself?

    I’m not happy about being laughed at by the Labour Left and the Unions for my appearance to be honest. Is this a common thing? I’d like to know more.

    like I said I suppose the benefit of being a young healthy handsome 20-something is that I can still look better than Andy Newman pretty much whatever I choose to wear.

  217. Don’t stoop to the old Top Gear “It’s just a joke” defence coz I’m not buying it.

    See, the mistake you’re making is in thinking that I’m stooping anywhere at all. I’m more interested in how you can start banging on about it being “sectarian”. Regardless of Andy’s intentions, you’ve managed to go way overboard in your response.

    When I was in the SWP and people used to make these sort of comments about me, I didn’t get annoyed about it, and certainly didn’t think that comments about my clothes counted as an example of “sectarianism”. I think it’s worth trying not to be po-faced about people making comments about clothing.

    like I said I suppose the benefit of being a young healthy handsome 20-something is that I can still look better than Andy Newman pretty much whatever I choose to wear.

    Ah, right, so your response to a general bit of ridicule from someone is to make an entirely personal comment back at them.

    What was that about “stooping”?

  218. Delroy Booth on said:

    Tony Collins:
    Don’t stoop to the old Top Gear “It’s just a joke” defence coz I’m not buying it.

    See, the mistake you’re making is in thinking that I’m stooping anywhere at all. I’m more interested in how you can start banging on about it being “sectarian”. Regardless of Andy’s intentions, you’ve managed to go way overboard in your response.

    It’s sectarian because it’s a from a Labour party supporter aimed at a small left-wing rival. That’s why. A cheap nasty snide ad hom attack ridddled with a latent class prejudice on people in a rival political organisation for wearing the wrong things, for shopping at primark (the dirty fecklesss poors!) for what was it “looking like substance abuse survivors meeting” nice really classy that Andy, why not crack a few rape jokes whilst we’re at it?

    Tony Collins:

    When I was in the SWP and people used to make these sort of comments about me, I didn’t get annoyed about it, and certainly didn’t think that comments about my clothes counted as an example of “sectarianism”. I think it’s worth trying not to be po-faced about people making comments about clothing.

    Are you trying to tell me what I should and shouldn’t be offended by? Are you trying to police my reaction, and tell me that I have no right to be offended by someone’s witless snobbery? Fuck yourself, you have no place to tell me how I ought to react to comments like that. I am offended, and I’m not joking, and I don’t care if he tries wriggling his way out of it by. I’m not even a member of the SP but I’m definitely the exact sort of person who wears dowdy clothes, not out of sub-culture, but out of necessity. Having some witless fuckwit laughing at my expense because of this is exactly the sort of thing I’d expect from Tories, not from a self-proclaimed socialist.

    We’ve seen enough of this “Oh get a thicker skin” shit from Andy’s generation of bitter fucked up far-left headbangers when they choose to engage in pitiful and nasty comments such as that. Well no I’m not laughing it off, and I don’t take it as a joke because he didn’t meant it as a joke. Any attempt by to pass it off as a joke later on is down to his embarassment, and I’m not accepting it. This macho posturing shit is pathetic and it’s beneath me. I don’t care what you did when you were in the SWP, at all, and I’m certainly not using it as a template on which to base my reactions.

    Tony Collins:
    like I said I suppose the benefit of being a young healthy handsome 20-something is that I can still look better than Andy Newman pretty much whatever I choose to wear.

    Ah, right, so your response to a general bit of ridicule from someone is to make an entirely personal comment back at them.

    What was that about “stooping”?

    That’s just an undisputable fact of life. I’ll be a middle-aged fart too one day if it’s any consolation to you.

    Anyway I’d like to know more about this idea that those who aren’t dressed up to code are routinely laughed at on the “left” and in the unions? Is pointing and laughing at the people who shop at Primark a widely practiced hobby in Swindon Labour Party? Perhaps a strongly worded letter would clarify this? I’m sure I could get a few other dowdy primark-wearing chavscum from my unite branch to co-sign it.

    Disgusting creeps like Newman are one of the majors reason I left the Labour party – I saw more examples of casual racism, sexism and class bigotry in my 3 year tenure in the Labour party than I ever did on the far-left y’know. Not only that but the contempt, the hatred, for those beneath them was so palpable I couldn’t stay a member out of conscience. Andy you’re not the first Labour party hack to make snide comments about the poors dressing at primark, I remember going canvassing with a Labour councillor in greater manchester once who visibly recoiled when confronted by the clothing worn by the people he expected to vote him into his sinecure, the phrase “they must spend all their dole in Primark” was one of many choice cuts I was subject to that day.

  219. Jellytot on said:

    @274 I suppose the benefit of being a young healthy handsome 20-something is that I can still look better than Andy Newman pretty much whatever I choose to wear

    Jesus, these young un’s are thin-skinned and seem to take offence at everything.

    Lighten up mate.

    @275When I was in the SWP and people used to make these sort of comments about me, I didn’t get annoyed about it, and certainly didn’t think that comments about my clothes counted as an example of “sectarianism”.

    Me too. They’d accuse me of dressing like a Tory and I’d call them “Crusties” and “Tramps”.

    Back in the day, pub-talk after a papersale would be a litany of ribbing and piss-taking…..a normal part of WC culture.

    People seem sooooo sensitive now.

  220. Are you trying to tell me what I should and shouldn’t be offended by? Are you trying to police my reaction, and tell me that I have no right to be offended by someone’s witless snobbery? Fuck yourself, you have no place to tell me how I ought to react to comments like that.

    Get over yourself man. Seriously, if this is the attitude you bring, don’t bother commenting on here again. You are incredibly, absurdly po-faced and determined to be offended, and it’s become laughable. Your lack of ability to think logically and clearly (for example, assuming that my own opinion about how I respond to people is actually me “telling you that you have no right to be offended”) means you’re really out of your depth here.

    You’re right, I have no place to tell you how you ought to react, which is why I wasn’t, y’know, telling you how you ought to react. I think I will tell you to get over yourself and to not bother bringing this kind of shit onto this site again though. I have the right to do that.

  221. Jellytot on said:

    Andy’s generation of bitter fucked up far-left headbangers

    I’m of Andy’s generation but I am the most unembittered person you could wish to meet.

    Andy, Tony and the rest of them on here come across like that too.

    @280what if it was racism or sexism, would you say “stop being so determined to be offended” because I didn’t like your racist joke and refused to just accept it?

    but it ain’t.

    @280 I’ll react any way I see fit if it’s ok by you?

    You are, indeed, entitled to react anyway you want although you should consider toning down the ‘effing and blinding’.

    Swearing at strangers over the internet is neither tough nor clever.

  222. Jellytot on said:

    @282let me translate that for you Back in the day, pub-talk after a papersale would be a litany of snide bullying, barely-concealed middle-class contempt for the poor, 1970′s dinosaur humour, slapping women’s arse and other such behaviour that’s systematically alienated practically everyone who’s not a middle-class boorish white heterosexual male from the left over a period of 30 years

    God….you make it sound like a Benny Hill sketch!

    It wasn’t like that at all.

    I suppose it was a bit laddish looking back….but, hey, we were lads.

    It mainly consisted of me (a young WC male), who liked to spend what money he could earn or borrow on expensive clothes, trading fairly light-hearted insults with very middle class comrades who wore filthy jeans and ex-East German Army greatcoats…..no racism, no sexism and fairly innocuous.

    I think you’re making this into a bigger deal than it is.

    @283If I were Andy I really wouldn’t go around criticizing the fashion sense of others.

    I kinda like the shirt……has a ‘Levi Vintage Collection’ look to it……the whole retro denim ‘workwear’ look is a hip youth sub-culture in Japan

  223. EasternHemisphere (fashion victims liberation army) on said:

    Jellytot,
    “kinda like the shirt……has a ‘Levi Vintage Collection’ look to it……the whole retro denim ‘workwear’ look is a hip youth sub-culture in Japan”
    Comrade if you continue this sectarian line of argument and your defence of fashion policeman Andy Newman’s dress sense, your power dressing will be exposed. We will post photos here of your own shoulder pad wearing and pony-tail sporting ass. The working-class demands the dress sense of the fashion police, including the pathetic use of brush-overs in a feeble attempt to hide their baldness, be exposed. We will vigorously defend our right to ridicule those tired old men grinding axes who attempt to police what we wear.

  224. EasternHemisphere (fashion victims liberation army) on said:

    Jellytot,
    What’s more our Japanese section has informed us that your insinuation that your beloved leader Chairman Newman’s clothes would somehow be the height of fashion in Japan is in fact the utter bollocks that we suspected from the start. Never! Not in Japan, not in Britain, not even the in the former Mongolian People’s Republic.

  225. Omar on said:

    Can I just say I rarely ever pay attention to how someone dresses. If it’s comfy and doesn’t stink, it’s good to go in Omar-land.

  226. stockwellpete on said:

    We have a middle-aged Socialist Party chap come into our library where I work. He is known by staff as “Millets Man” as he looks like he has bought all his clothes from the same shop! lol A couple of months ago he came up to me and asked if we needed any help in fighting the cuts and that he could organise a petition for us if we liked. I told him that it had gone way past that and what we needed now was some guns! You should have seen the expression on his face! He hasn’t spoken to me since either. I wonder why? lol

  227. Vanya on said:

    #287 Millets used to sell patches for sewing on denim in the 70s. I found my old Che one the other day. Funnily enough you could buy Che t-shirts in Primark a couple of years ago, cheaper than the ones the SP now produce as (for some reason) they’re no longer a middle class thing to wear.

  228. Jara Handala on said:

    Not that clothes, people, & meaning is an uninteresting topic but is there any chance anyone wants to talk about the SWP crisis? Maybe Professor Dark Side is right, if a news blackout can be maintained the Lynchers can do their worst in peace on The Glorious Tenth, a week tomorrow.

    Back in the day, like 5pm yesterday (#223), I commented to some length on the SWP’s Democracy Commission report of 2009, in particular some quotes I pulled out that acknowledged how unhealthy it was for any member raising a critical word. I spotted an editorial lapse that showed in an earlier version of the report the authors (Martin Smith & 13 others) thought it acceptable to humiliate dissenters – in the more prominent version of that passage it became “to the point of humiliation”.

    Any chance we can get back to the SWP crisis? Even, as a compromise, trends in the dress-sense of SWP members, perhaps any observations Lynchers versus Lambs? And remember it isn’t taboo to refer to the way female members dress.

    Just a thought as this site is ‘Socialist Unity’, not ‘Sartorial Disunity’.

  229. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Delroy Booth: I’m not a Leninist of any complexion but they’re a decent bunch here in Huddersfield too. And I’m not a member either before any asks, I see no future in Leninist sects, but I’d rather them than a party that lined up behind George W. Bush and the extreme right neo-cons in the US to bomb and invade Iraq, who have sold off schools and hospitals and went further than Thatcher in undermining the welfare state, etc etc. Tusc might be incompetent, and the SP might be anachronistic, but the Labour party is actively evil. And that’s including the small percentage of good people still clinging onto it. The sooner they go the way of PASOK the better.

    Oh come on. They’re not that evil. Look at Prescott, realising the Iraq war was wrong.
    Ten years, hundreds of thousands of dead and thousands of raped Iraqi women and girls later.
    Oh hang on a minute. You’re right. The Labour Party is evil.

  230. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    sandy: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/01/police-spy-fictional-characterHow many more of these bastards have the state sent into the left?The left should unite to promote a national campaign against the anti democratic activities of the secret state.sandy

    Ah, but there are always the jellytots and suchlike to tell us that the police and the state don’t take any notice of the left these days. A dubious viewpoint, but perhaps put forward so tough questions about covert listening devices and who might want to plant them do not get asked.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_listening_device

    Note that this article scarcely entertains the idea that anyone but police or state intelligence services would plant and use these things.

  231. Manzil on said:

    Jara Handala: Any chance we can get back to the SWP crisis?

    If you’d like. Go on then! :)

    Re: #223 it is all quite appalling, but is anyone surprised by it?

    And there’s not much to discuss since the opposition went radio-silent, which was probably their intention. They obviously think there’s enough internal support that they needn’t risk being seen as indisciplined snipers banking on the support of non-party sectarians. Personally I’d have thought they’re going down to a pretty heavy defeat, and that this DIY approach will lead them all into a political cul-de-sac of making their peace with the bright Martin Smith future. But who knows.

  232. Any chance we can get back to the SWP crisis?

    I’m thinking of giving you a stern look after your terrible terrible “sartorial disunity” comment. My hackles rise whenever anyone thinks it’s funny to do that. So you might be murdered by tomorrow. For revolutionary purity.

    That, or I’ll tell Delroy Booth that you criticised his smile.

  233. Jellytot,

    Benny Hill by the way was from Eastleigh, the most famous son of the Town.

    If this was a game of Kevin Bacon I would certainly have won by making that connection.

  234. prianikoff,

    Prianikoff

    You have posted a libellous attack on me written by someone with both mental distress problems (he was sectioned last year) and autism. He has a number of fantasies of left leaders in the uk being police agents.

    I suggest you apologise or you are permanently banned.

  235. Jellytot on said:

    @287I told him that it had gone way past that and what we needed now was some guns!

    You’ll be able to print yer own soon (I’m not kidding!)

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/12/21/printable-guns/

    If you think that the internet, smartphones and the social network have revolutionised the world you wait what the advances in so-called ‘3-D Printing’ will do……a factory in your attic or basement?…..why not?

  236. Manzil: Derek Thomas?

    Tom Delargy. he is a scottish indivdiual with severe aggrophobia who never leaves his flat, and has both acknowleged and diagnosed mental health and personality disorder problems.

    It is despicable for Prianikoff to both cause mischeif by drawing attention to his libellous and incendiary articles, and also in so doing to exploit Delargy’s condition.

    [note from tony: spelling of name corrected]

  237. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Yikes. A link was posted to that blog a while ago; I thought they were taking it all a bit far…

    To be fair, I neck anti-depressants by the bottle load. Sometimes people with mental health problems are just dicks and it’s nothing to do with their medical situation!

  238. Manzil: Sometimes people with mental health problems are just dicks and it’s nothing to do with their medical situation!

    Mental distress covers a wide range of issues.

    If you read Delargy’s blog it is clear that not only does he have a number of severely delusional and paranoid views, but that his personal behaviour leads to people being very angry with him, and he seems to often be either the victim of violence, or beleive himslef to have been the victim of violence.

    He seems to inhabit a distrurbing and fearful life under siege.

    I await an explanation from Prianikoff why he seeks to both exploit Delargy’s mental distress, and give wider currency to the inflamatory and libellous conspiracies that Delargy promotes.

  239. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman: If you read Delargy’s blog

    I think I’ll leave it ta!

    If the guy’s that troubled it might be an idea to get rid of the link though..

  240. prianikoff: A dissenting view:-

    Prianikoff, I just wanted to back up what Andy said to you earlier. Anyone who spends more than a few seconds looking at that “Derek Thomas” site will know that it is a really fucking nasty libel site, designed to get people as angry as possible and turn friends into enemies. Every single post is full of lies.

    Additionally, even a quick bit of research will tell you that the guy has serious mental health problems – these problems interact with his political views and lead him into situations where people refuse to associate with him; he claims to have been the victim of regular physical violence, part of what he claims to be a conspiracy which the SSP is involved with. So, it is not “a dissenting view”.

    What worries me is, you didn’t even bother to look at the credibility of Tom Delargy, did you? You simply saw something controversial and decided it was worth posting. This completely undermines every shred of credibility you had – your recent behaviour, with the most bizarre accusations of state involvement in this or that, ties in with what you posted today: You didn’t care about the accuracy of the information, you simply saw controversy and decided it must be true.

    Tom Delargy is guilty of gross libel, of threatening violence, and of trying to really bust up everyone and everything. His postings are so fucking absurd, it’s hard to even know where to start – as much as I think the SWP leadership is full of thugs, liars and bullies, none of them sink to the level of Delargy.

    You chose to post an article by him – and to repeat, just a few seconds of browsing his website will show you that he’s written half a dozen articles purely about Andy in the last 10 days. You don’t care about truth or politics, evidently.

    Andy has told you to apologise or face a permanent ban. That’s Andy’s call, as he is the one you have attacked with the lies you posted. But know this: As much as your posts have frequently been valuable and added to the debate, both me and John will give Andy 100% backing in any decision he makes – not cos Andy has any greater standing than anyone else, but cos all of us on here deserve to not be lied about, smeared or otherwise libelled.

    You should think hard about the way you’ve been acting on here recently. And then you should apologise for being so willing to post libellous material about Andy.

  241. prianikoff on said:

    re306:-
    I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.
    I didn’t write the material, or endorse it. I just notified you that it was there. Its high page ranking in Google indicates it’s already getting quite a few hits .
    If you think what it contains is libellous, it’s up to you to take action about it.

    For the record, when I came across Mr Delargy in various internet forums a few years ago, I thought his views were pretty peculiar. But he’s changed his name since then, so I didn’t realise it was the same bloke.

    BTW, I did check the fact that he *doesn’t* threaten violence to anyone on the left, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted his material.

  242. Prianikoff

    Let us draw a line under it, although please take more care with what you post here; but Tom Delargy is playing a poisonous role, although perhaps he cannot help himself.

    Delargy has threatned to sue me for libel for saying that he has complex problems and is diagnosed with autism and was sectioned last year, and is agrophobic who hasn’t left his flat since 2005..

    All of that infomration comes from Delargy himslf. I suggest people make their own mind up from his own description:

    http://derekthomas2010.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/am-i-a-liar-insane-or-a-prankster/

    I am not joking. I am not lying. Nor am I mentally ill. I have to explain about the nature of my disabilities though, because some who have been paid to help me with those have made my situation considerably worse. They have been doing this for years now. I asked for the behaviour of these individuals to be investigated and they took revenge by having me smeared as mentally ill, then sectioned under the mental health act. I want all these individuals investigated for what they did. They include a Dr Bennie who prescribed me a drug that could have killed me, Renfrewshire Council Social Workers who have allowed me to be deprived of human contact since moving me out of Paisley in 2005, and Scottish Autism support workers, including the woman who runs the organisation in Glasgow.

    Renfrewshire Council, Scottish Autism and Dr Bennie are among those who have reduced my life to a nightmare for the last few years. In addition to everything else I’ve addressed here, I have been reduced to being a shut-in since 2005 and I have not even begun to address the reason for that in this blog post. Ever since Scottish Autism got involved (2006), I have had zero contact with the outside world apart from the two days I got support from them. There have been exceptions to this rule but they have been few and far between. I have developed agoraphobia as a consequence of all this. Renfrewshire Council don’t want me to tell the world about how they have reduced me to a shut-in since 2005. That won’t stop me. They tried to shut me up by having me locked up by Dr Bennie after I complained about what they had done and what Dr Bennie had done: prescribed a drug that he ought to have known could have killed me. Thus far I have been unable to get anyone to investigate Renfrewshire Council, Scottish Autism or Dr Bennie. I don’t know how to get any of them investigated. While I am waiting for information from someone on how I go about doing this, I will make my case against each and every one of them on this blog.

    That is the cross that Mr Delgardy has to bear, and this is what he beleives about politics:

    I used to hide behind a pseudonym: Derek Thomas, but I have emerged from that, bit by bit. Derek Thomas is Tom Delargy.

    Tom Delargy was a victim of a smear campaign involving the police and others. This fact was covered up by a series of members of the executive of the Scottish Socialist Party: national secretary Allan Green, SSP co-chair Catriona Grant, Frances Curran’s assistant Barbara Scott, the SSP’s national convenor’s Case Worker as an MSP (Keith Baldasserra), policy coordinator Alan McCombes, and a police spy who goes by the name of Frances Curran. As I have said before many times, the toppling of Tommy Sheridan was precipitated by my trying to get Tommy Sheridan to investigate Frances Curran and that is when Baldasserra, McCombes and Curran worked with Rupert Murdoch’s hacks, including those who went on to work closely under David Cameron at Downing Street to smash the Scottish Socialist Party to smithereens. From being a country whose left was held up world-wide as a beacon of hope, Scotland is now badly placed where socialist representation and unity is concerned. And it is undercover-cops on the SSP executive who worked with Rupert Murdoch’s News International and David Cameron’s Tory Party who are responsible for this.

    All of those I am going to accuse of betraying me felt confident they’d get away with this because they felt I would never feel able to put into the public arena the smear started by cops under investigation for collusion with those who hospitalised me. Their lie was that I was a paedophile on the sex offenders register. Evidence of who was behind this lie was destroyed by the head of the investigation at Strathclyde Police Complaints and Discipline Branch and former head of Special Branch for five years: Assistant Chief Constable Jim Orr, who resigned from the police within 24 hours of his being caught at my lawyers office of destroying this evidence.

    Lord McAlpine received a substantial pay-out from the BBC due to Newsnight’s mistakenly identifying him as a paedophile. The BBC is aware that they allowed their Scottish Correspondant Glenn Campbell to help Alan McCombes smear me as mentally ill in order specifically to stop me getting an investigation into the role of Frances Curran in supporting the cops who spread these rumours, hospitalised me, lead to a delay of 12 hours in my receiving prompt medical attention, lead to the loss of hundreds of pounds in Criminal Injuries Compensation, lead to an eighteen months malicious prosecution based on lies spread by someone who was sent to jail for sending me a death threat, proof of whose illegal interception of my mail was destroyed by the head of the investigation into police collusion with this criminal, Jim Orr, former head of Special Branch.

    I am accusing Alan McCombes and Frances Curran of knowing what they were doing, the latter because she is an undercover cop, the former of destroying the SSP in order to protect Frances Curran’s identity as an undercover cop, with Keith Baldasserra acting as the go-between who got them to frame Tommy Sheridan in order to stop my getting the SSP’s national convenor to understand why he had to set up an investigation into Frances Curran for being a police spy. Frances Curran and Alan McCombes each (separately) had a conversation with me about another police spy back in the mid-1990s: his name is Chris Bambery.

  243. prianikoff: , I did check the fact that he *doesn’t* threaten violence to anyone on the left, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted his material.

    So you DO admit that you checked the source. The fact that he smears people as police agents and supporters of paedophilia doesn’t bother you?

    If you thought Delgardy was a credible source why did you feel the need to check whether there were threats of violence included? Do you normally think left webistes might threaten violence?

    You find it a credible explaantion that Frances Curran and Chris bambery are police agants, and the sole person who knows the truth is Tom Delgardy, and that senior police officers have destroyed eveidence to get Delgrady dIScredited.

    Delgardy even claimed last week thaT I had spoken on the BBC Jeremey Vine show last week about Catholic church, when I had not.

    I do think you should reflect on why you want to give further credibility to Delgardy.

    I do think you owe us an me an apology

  244. Secret Squirrel on said:

    Is this the Tom Delargy that Andy Newman himself claimed was an SWP member when it suited him only a few weeks ago? That comment was subsequently deleted. As this one will be in 3… 2… 1…

  245. I did check the fact that he *doesn’t* threaten violence to anyone on the left, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted his material.

    He’s made all sorts of threats in all sorts of arenas. I’ve not seen one for a while, but this man has been posting his poison for years now.

  246. Is this the Tom Delargy that Andy Newman himself claimed was an SWP member when it suited him only a few weeks ago? That comment was subsequently deleted. As this one will be in 3… 2… 1…

    What’s the point of these victim-complex “I know you’ll delete this post” comments?

    On the substantive issue, Ms/Mrs/Mr Anonymous, Delargy himself claims he was an SWP member, and claims he was expelled not that long ago.

    I’m trying to fathom a point, but I guess the complex world of anonymous sneerers is hard to get a grip on. This was clearly the most important thing on your mind today.

  247. prianikoff: Its high page ranking in Google indicates it’s already getting quite a few hits .

    Really? And how did you come accross it. Whatever search string I type into google, Delargy’s website doesn’t come up.

    So you found an obscure website and decided to boost it.

    BTW, I know that you beleive in the frankly preposterous idea that mark Curtis was framed; but surely even you must think it unlikely that if Chris bambery and Frances Curran are police agents, the evidence of it is only known to a solitary agrophobic who has hardly left his flat since 2005, diagnosed with autism, and who has been recently sectioned under the Mental Health Act; and that there is a conspiracy to silence him involving senior police officers, the Scottish autism society, Renfrewshire council, his psychiatrist, local gangsters, and most leading socialists in Scotland?

    Since you admit that you checked through his blog to see there were no threats of violence (why do that if you thought it was a legitimate source?) then did none of the views expressed by Delgardy strike you as odd?

    It is hard to avoid the belief that you were deliberately shit stirring, and prepared to exploit the frailities of someone with genuine mental distress in order to score cheap political points.

  248. Geoff Collier on said:

    <a href="#comment-640672" but surely even you must think it unlikely that if Chris bambery and Frances Curran are police agents,

    I don’t have any evidence that Chris Bambery is a police agent either but I wonder how he would behaved any differently if he were?

  249. Bill Danbury on said:

    Unless of course inspector Bambery created the Tom Delargy blog to discredit the rumours that he was a police spy

  250. Manzil on said:

    Dixon of Dock Green:
    http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/once-tiberius-is-dead-i-sejanus-will-rule-as-emperor-in-rome/

    I was with it right up until (apparently sincerely?) calling Tony Cliff “a genius, a force of nature “…

    I think the criticism of UtR for engaging with left union officials is misplaced. If anything, the problem is its artificiality – Martin Smith’s “close personal relationships with two or three union leaders” made it possible – not that it rejected the absurdity of rank-and-fileism in a period lacking rank-and-file movements…

    It does bring up a new issue, though. If the SWP is defending Smith because he’s “the indispensable man – the united front of one – who can make things happen”, surely the onus is on left union figures involved in UAF/UtR to make clear they’re not prepared to countenance his involvement.

  251. SteveS on said:

    Surely there was an opportunity for them to vote Comrade Delta out of any positions of responsibility at yesterday’s UAF Conference?

  252. Jara Handala on said:

    And at this time next Sunday it’ll all be over – as it probably is already, the rot starting once Defence (1) voted to support the Disputes Cttee. decision in late January to reject the appeal by the Facebook Four who had been expelled in December, & (2) accepted, without discussion, the CC ignoring the Constitution’s requirement that the pre-Conference discussion had to be 3 months.

    On these 2 matters the Democratic Renewal Platform (DRP) had been of the opposite view in its founding statement but its members obviously haven’t been able to win a majority within Defence.

    After this collusion with the Lynchers the chances of Defence winning at next Sunday’s Conference were fatally damaged by making 2 more complicitous decisions: (1) refusing to talk publicly on the net, & (2) refusing to demand equal time at District Aggregates, where Conference delegates were elected, the CC rigging the events with 45mins for 2 CC speakers & only 6mins for Defence (a tinge of sadism & humiliation in giving them that extra minute). All this shows, as if it were needed, that the Lynchers ‘own’ Defence members. One can only imagine how the bullying, that DRP had drawn attention to on its now moribund website, has gone into overdrive – and how much they are enjoying putting the boot in.

    So with all this in mind I came across today for the first time a 1995 account by Steve Jefferys (the correct spelling of his surname – unlike the word used in the link below), the former Industrial Organiser, that readers may be familiar with. He makes a number of points that show how little has changed in the almost 30 years since he resigned in 1984.

    http://www.workersliberty.org/jeffreys

  253. Jara Handala on said:

    SteveS: Surely there was an opportunity for them to vote Comrade Delta out of any positions of responsibility at yesterday’s UAF Conference?

    #320, 7:49pm

    Constable George Dixon posted a few hours ago (#318, 5:51pm) referring to Basher & the UAF:
    http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/once-tiberius-is-dead-i-sejanus-will-rule-as-emperor-in-rome/

    Manzil had obviously read what I’m going to quote now but had his mind blown by SGB’s lauding of Crazy Tony so he couldn’t pass it on to you: “the Unite Against Fascism conference has just been held and was remarkable for two things – firstly, Delta didn’t attend, and secondly, Delta was not on the list of nominees for the new executive . . . Although it may be worth watching to see if he manages to sneak back in, for instance as a delegate from LMHR”.

    SGB has made 3 other posts on the SWP since Wednesday (27 Feb) that haven’t been linked from SU.

  254. This is just crap. Had I been expelled as opposed to leaving, then why did not one of the 146 comments on the post explaining why I left failed to mention this, or that no one SP member has raised it in the three years since?

    And just so folk are aware, I am part of the “conspiracy” against Delargy because some 10 or 11 years ago I ‘promoted’ Jim Carroll – a SSP member and friend of those SSP activists Delargy fulminates against – to the UK Left Network’s moderation committee alongside Dave Parks and Mick Hall.

    Prianikoff is giving credence to the fantasies of a very ill man and in so doing may be making himself an accessory to libel.

  255. stuart on said:

    [note from tony]Ok Stuart, knock yourself out. Ban lifted. Be good.

    (Note tho, it wasn’t a one week ban, what I said was, stop trying to post every few minutes – wait a few weeks and see what happens.)

  256. Jellytot on said:

    @326Stuart, why were you banned?

    I was under the impression that ‘Stuart’ was bombarding Anna Chen (the author of a particular blog post) with questions and points that veered towards bullying. He/She was doing this under multiple aliases.

    Given what Anna went through in the StWC, and in the context of the Delta affair generally, this was not a good thing.

    The admin of this Blog (wisely IMO) decided that a cooling off period was in order.

  257. Jara Handala on said:

    PCB starts with 8 pages of 3 CC statements: “Perspectives”; “Women’s Oppression” (nice); & students.

    The last 5 pages give the 14 motions, 2 from the CC (a general one that has already been on SU or linked from SU; & another that consists in 2 amendments to the Constitution: “Conference” which is article 4; & “Factions” which is article 10).

    Strangely the amendment to article 10 DOESN’T achieve what the CC is presumably intending: it refers to factions being formed in the pre-conference discussion period but DOESN’T say a legal faction can ONLY (double underline, italicised & in bold!) be founded in this period. The amendment as proposed DOESN’T prohibit a faction being founded whenever 30 members disagree with a policy or higher-body decision. In other words, the amendment doesn’t change the meaning of article 10.

    It’s also strange that the CC chooses the phrase “preconference period” rather than ‘pre-Conference discussion period’, but I guess that’s a non-conscious expression of the CC’s attitude towards that period of time in the organisation’s internal life – and perhaps a truer, more realistic, description.

  258. Jara Handala on said:

    Jellytot: ‘Stuart’ was bombarding Anna Chen (the author of a particular blog post) with questions and points that veered towards bullying.

    Thanx Jellytot.

    P.S. Did you like Jellytots then?

  259. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins:

    OK, he was posting increasingly aggressive attacks on here, and a few people had said they felt bullied by him. Bear in mind something fundamental: You don’t necessarily see all the posts. Stuart has been trying a different tactic recently, of getting really sneery and nasty

    Tony,
    In good faith and in the interests of clarity, please can you provide examples of my offensive posts. My request is wholly sincere I can assure you.

  260. stuart on said:

    Jellytot:

    I was under the impression that ‘Stuart’ was bombarding Anna Chen (the author of a particular blog post) with questions and points that veered towards bullying. He/She was doing this under multiple aliases.

    Not true. Please can we see the proof.

  261. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala:

    Stuart, why were you banned?

    [note from tony: You know why – you were warned and warned, and you chose to ignore them. This subject is closed, Stuart, do you understand?]

    I’m genuinely seeking clarification.

  262. Jellytot on said:

    @333Not true. Please can we see the proof.

    Jesus!….you’re not going to start bombarding me with repeated questions, are you?

    My post at #329 was merely my impression as to why you were temporarily banned. Tony or another admin could provide the definitive reason.

    @331P.S. Did you like Jellytots then?

    Old nickname.

  263. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: seeking clarification

    When you were disappeared more than a week ago I asked why but no-one replied.

    I even mentioned in ‘Weekly Worker’ last Thursday that you had been banned, & then commented on what was lost by your absence.

    So I’m glad you’re in one piece.

  264. stuart on said:

    Jellytot:


    Jesus!….you’re not going to start bombarding me with repeated questions, are you?

    Surely I am entitled to correct false information.

  265. When you were disappeared more than a week ago I asked why but no-one replied.

    Oh Jara I’m really disappointed with you – I posted a detailed response to you, and now you say no one replied!

  266. I’m genuinely seeking clarification.

    And I’m genuinely telling you the subject is closed. If you didn’t take the time to read the warnings you were given, that’s not my problem.

  267. Karl Stewart on said:

    Not my call, but for what it’s worth, my view is that I think the SWP spokesperson(s) who post here under the name “stuart” should remain banned until she/he/they call for the reinstatement of the Facebook Four

  268. Jara Handala on said:

    Jellytot: Jesus!….you’re not going to start bombarding me with repeated questions, are you?
    My post at #329 was merely my impression as to why you were temporarily banned. Tony or another . . .
    #335, 8:03pm

    Calm down!, calm down!, Terry.

  269. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins:

    And I’m genuinely telling you the subject is closed. If you didn’t take the time to read the warnings you were given, that’s not my problem.

    Tony,
    I genuinely do not understand why posts cannot be free flowing. I do not make aggressive posts. I want to stick by the rules and that is why I seek clarification.

  270. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: Surely I am entitled to correct false information.

    #337, 8:07pm

    As I’m sure Basher has put it, don’t push it, ok?

  271. Jara Handala on said:

    Tony Collins: I posted a detailed response to you, and now you say no one replied!

    Posted by Tony Collins
    4 March, 2013 at 8:18 pm Tony Collins

    Tony, I never saw it, when was it?

  272. Jara Handala on said:

    Karl Stewart: “stuart” should remain banned until she/he/they call for the reinstatement of the Facebook Four

    #340, 8:24pm

    Karl, Stuart’ll end up looking like that prophet in ‘Life of Brian’, the one no-one would listen to, all old & wizened, long white hair & beard, dressed in rags, emaciated, preaching to an open space.

    Stuart would have the Facebook Four roasted & served at high table to the CC – bringing the platters to each member, bowing, averting his gaze from his masters & betters.

  273. stuart on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    Not my call, but for what it’s worth, my view is that I think the SWP spokesperson(s) who post here under the name “stuart” should remain banned until she/he/they call for the reinstatement of the Facebook Four

    I am not a spokesperson, there is only one of me and I only speak for myself.

    For the record I have never used aliases. I did slightly alter the spelling of my name on a few occasions as that was the only way that I could register particular complaints. One complaint being that my post had been altered, another that I was being repeatedly called a liar by a specific poster. My identity remained very clear.

    Are you proposing that supporting the ‘facebook four’ is explicitly written into house rules?

  274. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: Thank you. And I’m looking forward very much to continuing the debates.

    At your District Aggregate were delegates apportioned between different positions (CC, IDOOP, any other position) or was it winner take all?

    And is your District sending the full number of delegates that it’s eligible to send?

  275. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    “Post 340: Not my call, but for what it’s worth, my view is that I think the SWP spokesperson(s) who post here under the name “stuart” should remain banned until she/he/they call for the reinstatement of the Facebook Four”
    “Posted by Karl Stewart 4 March, 2013 at 8:24 pm”

    Jesus, is KS a reincarnation of Stalin, both in political thought and dictatorial method. The next thing will be is to have “Stuart” shot for being an alleged Trotskyist.

  276. Jara Handala on said:

    Andy (Hackney) has a touching point: he quotes Paris, one of the expelled Facebook Four, who ended the interchange that got them expelled by saying, “Sick of paranoid Facebook conversations. We’re in the SWP, not North Korea”.

    Andy then says, “Sadly it appears the CC has decided we are in fact in North Korea”.

    Which reinforces the point he had just made: “Whether online or in person, comrades are entitled to a degree of privacy in their lives – the hypersuspicion towards the membership from the leadership and the belief it should spy in this way owes more to the Stalinist bureaucracies than to any reading of the IS tradition. In short, this behaviour should be ceased” (page 46).

    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

    Stuart, any idea how the CC got a copy of their private conversation? Has the CC got spies in your branch as well?

  277. Tony, I never saw it, when was it?

    It was within a few hours of you asking. I’m dead busy right now so I can’t obsessively hunt it down :)

  278. Tony,
    I genuinely do not understand why posts cannot be free flowing. I do not make aggressive posts. I want to stick by the rules and that is why I seek clarification.

    Stuart I genuinely feel that you have quite a lot of trouble relating to how people perceive you and how people interact on the internet. I’m not saying that as a crticism, but as an observation based upon seeing over a thousand of your posts.

    Over several weeks, several people took you to task for how you were behaving. On numerous occasions, we put you on pre-moderation and then took you off, only to put you back on within hours.

    We pay very close attention to the comments. We often have a view that’s broader than most people. And we repeatedly warned you that you were acting in a way designed to cause upset.

    What I’m getting at is, you were given numerous warnings and numerous examples about the way you were dealing with people on here. For me, I believe that these types of comments threads cause you quite a lot of distress but that you’re not able to really see it. You also aren’t really able to see how much you can wind people up. Me, I think you’re really really dishonest in how you speak to people. But I also don’t think you’re malicious – except that sometimes when you get very upset you do tend towards attacking people.

    Anyway, my point, eventually, is that we’ve been over this with you again and again, and each time you say you don’t know what we’re talking about. It’s either a weird bit of blindness to the subtleties of online conversation, or it’s a tactic I’ve seen used again and again in the SWP when you don’t want to accept the answer you’ve been given.

    Either way, I really have spent way more time on this than it deserved. I’m sure that you simply didn’t quite follow me when I said “try posting again in a few weeks”, which is why you suddenly decided that the ban was only for a week. These things can be really annoying, cos we’ve tried to be really clear with you – but these small things add up into big headaches, and result in a much lower threshold for getting pissed off with people. I don’t wanna be like that on here – I have to tolerate Andy Newman’s atrocious dress sense as it is, which causes me real anguish.

    So… I really do mean it when I say the subject is closed. Let’s not try to find out what happens if you keep raising it, ok?

  279. Manzil on said:

    Stuart!!! I missed you. I double-donkey-dare you to try and re-open the subject.

    Jara Handala: Manzil had obviously read what I’m going to quote now but had his mind blown by SGB’s lauding of Crazy Tony so he couldn’t pass it on to you

    Unfortunately Jara, your eclectic style makes it difficult for me to assess whether you’re having a dig at me or not. So, ‘bugger off’/’haha what larks, bloody good point’ [delete as appropriate]. :)

  280. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart:Are you proposing that supporting the ‘facebook four’ is explicitly written into house rules?

    Do you think the Facebook Four should be re-instated or remain expelled?

  281. Jara Handala on said:

    Jimmy Haddow: is KS a reincarnation of Stalin
    #349, 9:32pm Monday

    Well, if he is he might have come back to celebrate his death 60yrs ago today (Tuesday) . . .

    Jimmy Haddow: The next thing will be is to have “Stuart” shot for being an alleged Trotskyist

    – omg, maybe he’s going to mind-control Karl to do Stuart in. At least that way Stuart will become famous as the Second Trotsky – and ‘Socialist Unity’ will become a crime scene, CSI will interview Andy, Tony, & John, they’ll all be famous, but not as renowned as Stuart, the Second Trotsky.

    We could even get the Disputes Cttee. involved to test their new procedures. Whether Slack Stack’s heart would stand the strain I’m not qualified to judge but there would be plenty of Lynchers who would jump at the chance to serve the Party.

  282. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil: . . . makes it difficult for me to assess whether you’re having a dig at me or not
    #354, 10:45pm Monday

    Manzil, you saw some ambiguity there, I’m surprised but obviously my poor choice of words – I was just joshing along with you!

  283. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jimmy Haddow: “Post 340: Not my call, but for what it’s worth, my view is that I think the SWP spokesperson(s) who post here under the name “stuart” should remain banned until she/he/they call for the reinstatement of the Facebook Four”“Posted by Karl Stewart 4 March, 2013 at 8:24 pm”Jesus, is KS a reincarnation of Stalin, both in political thought and dictatorial method. The next thing will be is to have “Stuart” shot for being an alleged Trotskyist.

    JimmyH, even by your standards, that’s an astonishingly moronic contribution.

    My beef against “stuart” is that she/he/they support(s) the summary expulsion of four people for having an unauthorised private conversation.

    But rather than express solidarity with them, you express symnpathy with the supporter(s) of this mini-purge.

    You really are an utter idiot.

  284. stuart on said:

    Karl Stewart: Do you think the Facebook Four should be re-instated or remain expelled?

    I do not favour re-instatement. I judge their behaviour in terms of how I believe I should conduct myself. If I did someting similar, could I expect to avoid disciplinary action? No. You could argue that I have the ‘right’ to have conversations as an individual but for me there are wider responsibilties to consider.

  285. Manzil on said:

    stuart: You could argue that I have the ‘right’ to have conversations as an individual but for me there are wider responsibilties to consider.

    You’re a fucking comedy genius, Stu.

  286. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala: >Stuart, any idea how the CC got a copy of their private conversation? Has the CC got spies in your branch as well?

    I’ve no idea how information was brought to their attention.

  287. Manzil on said:

    stuart: I’ve no idea how information was brought to their attention.

    Do you care – have you asked? Would it make a difference to your support for their expulsions if the SWP were getting people to rat on each other’s Facebook conversations?

    Are there any limitations to the power of the party to police its members’ private discussions? Do we really need to talk about whether revolutionary socialism allows for spousal privilege?

  288. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala: Which are!

    As a non-member you would perhaps not feel them as keenly. For a start members should respect the constitition’s rules around factionalising and more broadly, as we have seen the internet has been used to spread gossip and provided hostile forces with opportunities to damage the party. That’s what I meant by responsibilty.

  289. stuart on said:

    Manzil: Do you care – have you asked? Would it make a difference to your support for their expulsions if the SWP were getting people to rat on each other’s Facebook conversations?

    I am far from the centre of events in this case. But as a member I do place trust in my elected representatives to act to protect the party’s, and my own, best interests. I was asked the question and I answer it honestly.

  290. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: respect the constitition’s rules around factionalising and more broadly, as we have seen the internet has . . .

    (1) How does WRITING in a private FB discussion, not even BEHAVING, violate the SWP Constitution? So written down THOUGHTS warrant expulsion? Just as well they didn’t act out a conspiracy to murder the Central Cttee., don’t you think? (But Stuart, be careful what you think, we don’t want you unwittingly expelling yourself.)

    (2) Talk of “the internet” is irrelevant: they were expelled for saying something in a private FB discussion. It was PRIVATE: invoking ‘the internet’ is as relevant as mentioning they used language to communicate.

    stuart: there are wider responsibilties to consider.

    So, to repeat myself, what are these?

    (3) Readers can refer to Andy of Hackney’s detailed account of what the Facebook Four did (including Paris Thompson, one of the expelled, saying this is like North Korea – does this mean the SWP is a state cap regime?), on pages 44-6 of the PCB:
    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

  291. Manzil on said:

    stuart: I am far from the centre of events in this case. But as a member I do place trust in my elected representatives to act to protect the party’s, and my own, best interests. I was asked the question and I answer it honestly.

    No, Stuart – but you are facilitating the people behind these events. The attitude you reflect is the reason they can get away with these shenanigans.

    I’ll try again though: would it change anything if the SWP had people snooping on members’ online conversations, or encouraged people to inform on one another if they saw rule-breakin’ afoot? Or is the nature of the ‘discovery’ (assuming it really did constitute a violation of the rules) immaterial?

  292. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    I understand that non-members were involved and that they were deemed to be unofficially factionalising. And as ex full timers they would know the rules.

  293. stuart on said:

    Manzil,

    I’ve no idea how they were discovered. You seem to be tactically raising the ‘nature of discovery’ question in the hope that this somehow lessens the offence. All I know is that they were deemed to have acted outside the constitution. That’s all I can comment on.

  294. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala: At your District Aggregate were delegates apportioned between different positions (CC, IDOOP, any other position) or was it winner take all?And is your District sending the full number of delegates that it’s eligible to send?

    I’m very wary of being drawn into offering details of party meetings. It doesn’t seem fair to other party members. I will only say that both sides had ample opportunity to have their case heard, the debate was conducted fairly and in good spirits and I believe the full quota of delegates have been elected and will attend Special Conference.

  295. Manzil on said:

    stuart:
    Manzil,

    I’ve no idea how they were discovered. You seem to be tactically raising the ‘nature of discovery’ question in the hope that this somehow lessens the offence. All I know is that they were deemed to have acted outside the constitution. That’s all I can comment on.

    WHAT. FUCKING. OFFENCE. They had a conversation!

    But in any case, it absolutely does matter. Let’s say I break the law somehow. In many legal regimes, if the police act ultra vires, by overstepping their constituted authority, any evidence they have gained against me through those acts would be considered void.

    Now obviously it is not the exact same situation – there are not the same kind of restrictions on the activities of voluntary associations as there are when you’re talking about a state with guns and courts. But do you agree that some powers would be inappropriate for a political organisation to wield?

    Let’s say that the SWP required everyone to die their hair pink and answer exclusively to the name Collin. Do you think that’s something you should have to obey, if a majority decided? What about if they bugged your flat and used that to get prove you’d broken the rules?

    What I’m trying to get at, is are there any acts that are so OTT, in nature or application, as to be obligatory to refuse? Or is your “trust” quite limitless?

  296. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: both sides had ample opportunity to have their case heard
    #370

    Just to be clear, the CC commanded that at each District Aggregate the 2 CC speakers would have 45mins & Defence would have only 6mins (that extra minute was a nice touch of humiliation & sadism).

    So was your DA obedient in carrying out this edict?

  297. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    I can’t remember the exact times but it was put to a vote and agreed upon at the start of the meeting. And a lot of people spoke from the faction.

  298. Graham on said:

    Stuart

    Sorry but I have to ask, you can’t remember whether one side had 6 minutes and the other had 45????

  299. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I can’t remember the exact times but . . .

    That doesn’t surprise me, but, and please give this some thought, do you have a recollection, albeit somewhat hazy, that the CC members spoke for almost 8 times as long as the Defence spokesperson?

    Or are you saying that such a crass bias didn’t register, it just passed you by, that such bias, such inequality, is nothing unusual in the SWP so it wasn’t noteworthy?

    And this bias of almost 8 to 1 doesn’t grate a lil with the idea of equality? It doesn’t bother you? I mean, I know it was supine compliance with a CC edict, but if the CC is inegalitarian, being partial, not equal, you don’t find that disturbing? And how does this work for you & fellow kowtowers when you leave the SWP meeting-room & enter the wider world? Do you also advocate inequality in the rest of your lives? Are you that consistent?

    How can anyone take you people seriously as socialists when you so easily accept inegalitarian demands & practices from your unquestioned leaders? Why are you people so supine & lacking guts?

    (Graham, only in post-posting editing have I seen your comment!)

  300. Karl Stewart on said:

    It’s odd how the SWP’s CC supporters spend so much time attacking this site but still consider it extremely important to post on here under this “stuart” alias.

    Interesting that the SWP CC supporters have desperately pleaded to be permitted to resume posting on here with just a few days to go before their conference.

    Perhaps, given that the SWP opposition has kept to its word on not posting, we should bar the SWP’s CC supporters from posting on here, at least until after their conference.

  301. Manzil: Let’s say that the SWP required everyone to die [sic] their hair pink and answer exclusively to the name Collin. Do you think that’s something you should have to obey, if a majority decided?

    Now you’re talking! If the SWP adopted the policy you have outlined here, I would beg to be allowed to rejoin.

  302. David Ruaune,

    No problem Collin, or is it Col (Proletarian pretensions)? You do realise that we mean all your body hair pink- no half measures in the SWP comrade.

    We have senior members experienced in checking these little details..

  303. John Grimshaw on said:

    #382 Have these “senior members” passed some kind of qualification such that they are capable of checking for pink body hair?

  304. Colin on said:

    Manzil: Let’s say that the SWP required everyone to die their hair pink and answer exclusively to the name Collin. Do you think that’s something you should have to obey, if a majority decided? What about if they bugged your flat and used that to get prove you’d broken the rules?

    You talk some bull. One L

  305. Manzil on said:

    :D I may have been watching The Forbidden Kingdom with the two-L’d Collin Chou at the time. Which in retrospect seems like a good term for the SWP.

    John Grimshaw:
    #382 Have these “senior members” passed some kind of qualification such that they are capable of checking for pink body hair?

    Look, the salon committee doesn’t exist to police, er, bourgeois hairstyling…

  306. Manzil: Look, the salon committee doesn’t exist to police, er, bourgeois hairstyling…

    Almost though. I used to be on the same branch committee as Paul Holborrow in south London, and I well remember his twenty minute rant about a forty-something branch member who’d dyed her hair pink. He kept telling us how “disgraceful” it was (apparently because of her age, rather than on principle), and we kept explaining to him that it wasn’t our job to tell comrades what colour their hair should be. We won that argument. Mind you, we lost all the others…

  307. stuart on said:

    Jara/Graham,

    I do not know where 45 minutes comes from. What I do recall is that the CC member spoke initially for 25 minutes. The allocation of speaking time was put to a vote of all those in attendence. Speaking as a party member I have to say I wanted to take the opportunity to hear exactly how my elected leadership were leading the party, an opportunity I do not get very often.

    Contributions from the floor were numerous and the debate lasted for some time, many spoke from the faction. It could not have been an 8 to 1 ratio overall.

    But as I say, the meeting itself agreed to the timings.

  308. Manzil on said:

    stuart: I wanted to take the opportunity to hear exactly how my elected leadership were leading the party, an opportunity I do not get very often.

    :D

    So… you fancy saying whether you feel the Great and Powerful Comrade Oz should have any limitations upon his conduct? Or should Jay pop down to Boots for the hair dye, just in case?

  309. Talk of “the internet” is irrelevant: they were expelled for saying something in a private FB discussion.

    I’ve just read Andy-from-Hackney’s account in the leaked document, and I’m frankly incensed. How was it that anyone other than the participants even knew that this conversation had taken place, let alone being in a position to quote from it? Manzil’s absolutely right – it’s as if me and Andy Newman were taken to court, and the prosecution’s exhibit A was an email from me to Andy. I don’t even know how it was done in technical terms, but procedurally it’s surely totally illegitimate. I can’t believe there hasn’t been a bigger fuss about this.

  310. Graham on said:

    stuart: Jara/Graham,I do not know where 45 minutes comes from. What I do recall is that the CC member spoke initially for 25 minutes. The allocation of speaking time was put to a vote of all those in attendence. Speaking as a party member I have to say I wanted to take the opportunity to hear exactly how my elected leadership were leading the party, an opportunity I do not get very often. Contributions from the floor were numerous and the debate lasted for some time, many spoke from the faction. It could not have been an 8 to 1 ratio overall. But as I say, the meeting itself agreed to the timings.

    As a party member you didn’t want to listen to both sides of the debate equally?

    Am I right to assume that whilst the CC speaker was allowed 25 minutes to introduce the opposition were allocated less, do you not see anything wrong with this?

  311. stuart on said:

    Manzil,

    There really is limited value in appealing to me if the fate of the facebook four is for whatever reason close to your heart. As explained I am some distance from this dispute and have never had to vote on it, nor am I likely to. If you believe their supporters have compelling arguments along the lines you stress, then they will no doubt integrate those into their defence. I cannot see that the IDOOP faction are calling for their reinstatement.

  312. stuart on said:

    Manzil/Graham,

    Whenever I’ve attended aggregates in the past, the CC rep has led with a perspectives address. For me I regard that as a duty that they should fulfil having been elected not a right that I generously grant them. And the vote from the floor would seem to endorse this view. And further, I cannot agree with anyone who might say that those from the faction were not able to get their case across and make themselves understood.

  313. Manzil on said:

    stuart:

    There really is limited value in appealing to me if the fate of the facebook four is for whatever reason close to your heart. As explained I am some distance from this dispute and have never had to vote on it, nor am I likely to. If you believe their supporters have compelling arguments along the lines you stress, then they will no doubt integrate those into their defence. I cannot see that the IDOOP faction are calling for their reinstatement.

    As I said before, your “It’s not my call, guv” line is a cop-out that, when expressed by the entire party, is precisely what’s allowing the leadership to expel people for having a conversation. You can’t duck yuor responsibility. If it’s a democratic centralist party, take ownership of its behaviour.

    Is it so hard to offer your opinion?

    If you’re asking why it’s “for whatever reason close to [my] heart”, I’ll happily explain: if it could happen to them, it could happen to anyone. Conversations are not an offence in any fair, rational group. And any party whose members claim it has an unlimited right to snoop on its members (you have yet to say whether the manner of discovery is relevant, I note) is neither fair nor rational.

    And if the SWP is going to play a role on the British left, this sort of intolerant, bullying, policing behaviour means that influence is likely to be exercised in an increasingly negative way. That is why I care.

  314. stuart on said:

    Manzil,

    I believe that if the party has behaved outrageously, the four and their supporters would be able to build a strong defence.

  315. stockwellpete on said:

    jay blackwood: Almost though. I used to be on the same branch committee as Paul Holborrow in south London, and I well remember his twenty minute rant about a forty-something branch member who’d dyed her hair pink. He kept telling us how “disgraceful” it was (apparently because of her age, rather than on principle), and we kept explaining to him that it wasn’t our job to tell comrades what colour their hair should be. We won that argument. Mind you, we lost all the others…

    I didn’t know that Jan Neilsen had once dyed her hair pink, Jay! lol

  316. Manzil on said:

    stuart:
    Manzil,

    I believe that if the party has behaved outrageously, the four and their supporters would be able to build a strong defence.

    That isn’t what I asked you.

    You mention the possibility “the party has behaved outrageously”. Is this as close as we’re going to get to an acceptance that some things are inappropriate even for the revolutionary party?

  317. stockwellpete: I didn’t know that Jan Neilsen had once dyed her hair pink, Jay!

    Now there’s a sobering thought… Actually it was Maureen who had the funky hair. Don’t know if you remember her? I believe that Jan Nielsen’s main claim to fame was that as a small child she played the youngest of the von Trapp children in a West End production of The Sound Of Music.

    The other interesting thing about Jan Nielsen, which also indicates something about her modus operandi, is that when she was running Wandsworth SWP branch she and her lieutenant Dave M had a list marked “dross” – which included branch members who were either seen as ‘oppos’ (ex Women’s Voice supporters, rank and filers etc) or who were not sufficiently active as far as they were concerned. Dave M gave me that particular snippet of info after he broke with Nielsen, explaining that he “felt tired of playing Beria to her Stalin” in the branch!

    Happy days :O)

  318. I probably would have been if I’d been in her branch at the time, but in those days I was in Brixton branch, the fiefdom of her partner Holborrow. He was actually quite entertaining when he wasn’t moaning about people’s hair or trying to persuade me to stitch up the older ‘oppos’…

  319. Manzil on said:

    Oh I see, so you’re pro-oppo then, you little crazy-haired oppo.

    I like writing oppo.

  320. Manzil: “I like writing oppo.”

    And threatening to send shocking poems to my blog. You’ll be on my bleeding list I can tells ya!

  321. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart:
    I do not know where 45 minutes comes from.
    #388, 9:35am

    I gave the link here at SU last Tuesday, 9 days ago, 26 Feb, the day the source was leaked onto the net: comment #91, 7:04pm, 26 Feb http://socialistunity.com/and-there-are-more-swp-sexual-abuse-scandals-to-come

    The source is the Defence document entitled ‘Tips on Organising for Your Aggregate’. This is the relevant passage, including the wimpy, also inegalitarian, response by Defence (yes, the rot is deep & wide):

    “Comrades report being told that the faction committee has agreed faction speaking rights with the CC. This is untrue. The CC has decided that it will have up to 45 minutes to speak at aggregates, granting itself a lengthy introduction, an extended contribution from a second CC speaker, and a right of reply. Faction speakers have been granted just 6 minutes with no right of reply. Comrades in the aggregate should propose votes are taken on two changes – firstly to give the faction speaker the right of reply, and secondly to give a longer introduction. Many comrades who are undecided will want to hear the arguments”.

    This is where it was leaked 26 Feb: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/caucus-documents-and-idoop-update

    But let me ask you, Stuart, questions any rational person will now be asking of both you & the SWP:

    (1) Are you seriously saying that you were less informed than readers at ‘Socialist Unity’ (including yourself, in your persona of not being seated in a SWP meeting-room), so when you turned up at your District Aggregate you learnt for the first time that the CC had fixed the meeting in its favour?

    (2) Are you seriously telling us that an allotment of unequal time in a debate is acceptable to you (independent of whether the meeting votes in favour of inequality)? Shouldn’t the SWP be honest to everyone & amend “equality” in the last line of its ‘Where We Stand’ statement to make it read ‘We are committed to fight for peace, inequality, justice and socialism’?

    (3) Don’t you see how this causes severe problems for SWP members, the creating of a ‘tradition’ (you people are so conservative), a tradition of inequality, a soiled reputation that creates a crisis of trust in your relationship with those outside the SWP?

    Let me spell it out.

    How can you expect anyone to vote for a SWP candidate, workplace or otherwise, when they won’t even stand up for equality in their own organisation? How can anyone respect a SWP member for being so supine?

    And how can anyone have any confidence in a SWP member who accepts inequality in their own organisation but, in effect, says they’ll be a hypocrite & then argue (we won’t even use the pseudo-militant language of ‘fight’), & then argue for equality for the people they may be elected to represent? And I won’t even be so stark, as others here have pointed out, to say what this means for SWP members who are Equal Opportunity Officers in their organisations.

    Stuart, don’t you see how this inegalitarian view & practice of you & the SWP majority makes the SWP a joke? How it makes the SWP risible as a self-professed socialist, even revolutionary, organisation?

    You’ve heard school debates, Stuart, you’ve been in union meetings, both apply the liberal principle – it’s not even a socialist principle – of equality, equal time, with no pre-judgment of the outcome. But that’s not how it is in the SWP, is it, Stuart? The SWP is a regression from liberalism, it rejects in words & actions the socialist principle of equality, & it is bureaucratic centralist coz the controllers of the apparatus fix events in its favour.

    In a word, Stuart, the SWP is an abomination. The SWP is a disgrace. The SWP is dragging the good name of socialists & communists thru the dirt. And, Stuart, it is people like you, drones, who are allowing it to happen. Without its accomplices the Lynchers running the Central Cttee. couldn’t get away with their scum activities.

    And remember, this is not just any old debate: both sides agree it threatens to destroy the organisation.

    Yesterday, ‘Red Snapper’ linked to a nice set of photos they’d taken of militants. One poster was along the lines of ‘Ed Millepede, grow yourself a spine!’. Rational people will say the same of you, Stuart, you & the SWP. It is an epithet you all deserve, the Spineless Wussies Party.

  322. Jara Handala: It is an epithet you all deserve, the Spineless Wussies Party.

    I used to waste a lot of time and energy wondering why comrades in the party didn’t apply the same rigorous critique to their own leadership that they applied to everything else in their lives. For instance, to break through the SWP’s twisted version of democratic centralism you actually only need to read two or three books not on the “recommended” reading list. Yet these smart people, dedicated rebels who spent much of their spare time reading up on political theory and history, could never find the time to read e.g. Liebman, or for that matter even Deutscher. They restricted their reading largely to the formal cannon approved by the leadership.

    Eventually two thoughts struck me, neither very original I’m afraid, but they at least helped me understand a bit more of what was going on.

    Firstly, people who question everything in their lives sometimes NEED one thing – in this case “the party”, whose authority is vested in (you might almost say incarnated in) the CC – that is utterly beyond question. “My party right or wrong”, etc. etc. It’s the one still point in a chaotic world.

    Secondly, the largely ex-university base that makes up the bulk of the party cadre actually ENJOYS the feeling of discipline, of “revolutionary” discipline, that the CC and the full-timers impose. It brings an almost revivalist aura of (cod) Bolshevism and the faint whiff of cordite in its wake. It’s the thrill of 1917…in 21st century bedsit land. Where else are you going to get that?

    As someone on here once commented, most SWP members are fully aware of what sort of party they’re in, and they’re perfectly happy with it. The fact that that might finally be changing is good to see. But it’s hard to see where currents developments will take the SWP, and it might be a bit early to write off the CC – or the organisation in its existing form – quite yet.

  323. Jara Handala on said:

    jay blackwood: when she was running Wandsworth SWP branch she and her lieutenant Dave M had a list marked “dross” – which included branch members who were either seen as
    #398, 2:01pm

    Dross. The de-humanising, presumably non-conscious, choice of vocabulary that shows what the SWP does to people, calling fellow comrades dross.

    The administration of a workers’ state would be safe in the hands of salaried SWP members. They would be volunteering to run the deportations, the prisons, & the re-education camps.

    The future is bright for the SWP. As Manzil said, the future is Martin Smith.

  324. @405

    Jay: Good analysis. It is about security and you can rely on that world, therefore no thinking except believing in the party. Parallels can be made with religion and pretty much similar arguments can be made there especially about a fixed point in a chaotic world. And so many men (usually) like to think they are the next leading Bolshevik… Reading your Lenin in your bedroom.

  325. Jara Handala on said:

    jay blackwood: Firstly, people who question everything in their lives sometimes NEED one thing – in this case “the party”, whose authority is vested in (you might almost say incarnated in) the CC – that is utterly beyond question. “My party right or wrong”, etc. etc. It’s the one still point in a chaotic world.
    Secondly, the largely ex-university base that makes up the bulk of the party cadre actually ENJOYS the feeling of discipline, of “revolutionary” discipline, that the CC and the full-timers impose. It brings an almost revivalist aura
    #405, 4:59pm

    Well put, Jay. It is important to try to explain why so many members live this contradiction, accepting within the org’n what they resolutely oppose outside it. Just giving them flack can never be enough.

    A few weeks ago someone here at SU gave a list of studies on cult-like behaviour on the far left. One was this excellent piece by Chris Pallis which elaborates on your 2 points:
    http://libcom.org/library/suicide-for-socialism-jonestown-brinton

    As you know, Cde. Pallis was a mainstay of Solidarity, of which Cde. Akiva Orr was also a member.

    By an unhappy coincidence the 8th anniversary of Chris Pallis’ death is the Conference of Shame this Sunday.

  326. stuart on said:

    Manzil: Is this as close as we’re going to get to an acceptance that some things are inappropriate even for the revolutionary party?

    It’s not an acceptance of anything. It is clear that dissenting voices are given enormous scope, one only needs to read the recent bulletin. I’ve no idea how much support exists for the four but I’m interested to know why, given that members enjoy such scope and given the openness as witnessed by the publication and distribution of the bulletin (plus the opportunities at aggregates), the fate of the four means so much to you as a non-member.

  327. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    You seem to want to re-write the rules for SWP aggregates. Let me make my position clear. The SWP is a revolutionary socialist organisation. Trade unions are not. The Labour party is not. We elect a leadership and we want to be regularly informed as to how that elected leadership is carrying out the tasks as set by conference. We do allow factions and factions have rights within aggregates.

  328. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: You seem to want to . . .

    You either don’t get it or you play the fool.

    Your refusal to mention the matter of equality/inequality simply demonstrates you are happy (or unaware) that the SWP is becoming increasingly marginalised, politically irrelevant.

    And when only 1 in 6 of the 7800 members Cde. Chaplin says the SWP has can be bothered to be involved in this do-or-die discussion it shows that even the nominal members of the SWP agree with me.

    I allow 5/6ths of the members to speak on my behalf. And with that I, and them, rest our case.

  329. Manzil on said:

    stuart: It’s not an acceptance of anything. It is clear that dissenting voices are given enormous scope, one only needs to read the recent bulletin. I’ve no idea how much support exists for the four but I’m interested to know why, given that members enjoy such scope and given the openness as witnessed by the publication and distribution of the bulletin (plus the opportunities at aggregates), the fate of the four means so much to you as a non-member.

    Don’t be thick, I already explained that:

    If you’re asking why it’s “for whatever reason close to [my] heart”, I’ll happily explain: if it could happen to them, it could happen to anyone. Conversations are not an offence in any fair, rational group. And any party whose members claim it has an unlimited right to snoop on its members (you have yet to say whether the manner of discovery is relevant, I note) is neither fair nor rational.

    And if the SWP is going to play a role on the British left, this sort of intolerant, bullying, policing behaviour means that influence is likely to be exercised in an increasingly negative way. That is why I care.

    What you actually mean is you suspect me of some evil sectarian purpose, but don’t actually have the bottle to accuse me directly.

    Now I’ve answered that question – twice – can you return the favour: are there or are there not any limits on how a party organisation acts towards its members? It’s quite simple.

  330. stuart on said:

    Manzil: are there or are there not any limits on how a party organisation acts towards its members? It’s quite simple.

    Of course there are, there is the constitution for a start. Actions or events that are not catered for by the constitution should be addressed through debate as facilitated by the party structures.

  331. Manzil on said:

    stuart: Of course there are, there is the constitution for a start. Actions or events that are not catered for by the constitution should be addressed through debate as facilitated by the party structures.

    Great! Was there a reason it took so much time and effort to answer possibly the biggest softball question I could think of, other than “are bad things bad”?

    So, now we’ve established the principle that the party can err. Although it was somewhat disheartening that the only example you could think of was not it following its own constitution.

    I don’t imagine the constitution says anything about my “pink hair and deed poll” proposal, nor about the admissibility of wiretaps. It’s not scripture; it’s not an exhaustive manual for life.

    But anyway, it’s a start. Onto the next step in our merry jaunt towards your moral rehabilitation:

    Would you consider it appropriate for the party to spy on its members’ private conversations, or to encourage or be complicit in members informing on one another for having private conversations?

    Does the party have a right to demand total obedience in all spheres and at all times?

  332. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil: Would you consider it appropriate for the party to spy on its members’ private conversations, or to encourage or be complicit in members informing on one another for having private conversations?
    Does the party have a right to demand total obedience in all spheres and at all times?

    The Constitution does not prohibit such activities so the CC is correct in acting on information received that justifies the expulsion of said members.

    No member is above the Constitution, which, need I remind you, was accepted by a democratic vote of Conference delegates.

    There is an appeals process and I am sure that if the said members felt their explusion was wrong they would appeal. I believe they appealed and the Disputes Committee, chaired by the very experienced oppositionist, Pat S, rejected their appeal having reviewed the evidence, consulted any documents they saw fit, and interviewed anyone who was relevant (obviously not those who had been expelled because they could not be impartial in all this).

    There is nothing else I can say on the matter. The appropriate procedures have been used, carried out by the democratically elected DC, ably assisted in their work by two members appointed by the Central Committee, so I don’t think there is anything to add, do you?

  333. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil: Of all the Stuarts

    It is a great credit to our tradition that individuals can slip in and out of what it is to be a loyal member of the SWP. It will prove invaluable when state repression is so severe that the party, with total ease, will be able to replace anyone who is arrested without the Party losing any of its effectiveness. (Which is why some members are of the view that comrades should not dye their hair pink: it is usually noticeable when a brunette or blonde replaces them.)

    And moving on to rinses, may I also refer you a timely piece by The Queen Mum, Chanie, in the democratically produced Pre-conference Bulletin, which that hostile force, the mis-named Socialist Unity, has posted on their site:
    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

    On pages 42 & 43 you will find ‘The importance of Marxist education’. The opening words are,

    “I have long bemoaned the fact that thoroughgoing Marxist education of our members,
    particularly the new ones, seems not to be a priority for the Party. I suspect this is a factor aggravating the current dissension in the Party, with differing attitudes to democratic centralism, personal behaviour etc.

    Years back, when we had big branches, the member’s minimum duty was . . .”, & so it continues.

    Nothing can be more important than ensuring that the tradition initiated by her life-long partner, Crazy Toni, is continued. As Crazy Chanie intimated, this lack of discipline is an aggravating factor in “the current dissension in the Party”. It is important that SWSS as a whole takes an ideological turn to combat the infections of feminism, autonomism, and talk of bourgeois rights and democracy. Ours is a revolutionary party, and we are governed in a democratic centralist way. The members need to learn to accept this. And I have every confidence they will follow the lead and example set by our Central Committee. I also have every expectation that the Special Conference will be a ringing endorsement of the path that has been outlined for our interventionist party.

    Those who find themselves with doubts after Conference has spoken will need to consider their position. They owe that to the Party.

  334. David Ruaune: Manzil: Of all the Stuarts, Jara Handala is my bestest, most favouritest Stuart.

    I think you have a bit of a cavalier attitude to the stuarts, Manzil. (Seriously though, love Manzil and Jara’s writing.)

  335. Jara Handala on said:

    David Ruaune: Seriously though, love . . . writing.

    As a loyal Party member I must say that what the individual wants or does is of no relevance. It is the Party that matters, only the Party. That is why we have the upmost respect for the Central Committee as it truly is the incarnation of what the Party stands for.

    We are trying to win the class to our positions so that we can build a healthy socialist society, not just in Britain but across the world. It is this aim that keeps us focused on a daily basis as we intervene in the class struggle.

  336. Manzil on said:

    Jara Handala,

    It brings a tear to the eye.

    Man, that stuff from Collin (Hackney) is such patronising guff. A lack of “thoroughgoing Marxist education” is the problem…?! ‘If only they understood why The Party is objectively right. I mean, we’ve got tonnes of pamphlets explaining it!’ Very Brechtian. When will they elect a new membership?

  337. Jara Handala: As a loyal Party member I must say that what the individual wants or does is of no relevance. It is the Party that matters, only the Party. That is why we have the upmost respect for the Central Committee as it truly is the incarnation of what the Party stands for.

    Erm – I think you might be preaching to the deconverted on this one Jara.

    Andy Newman: I have a clear sartorial aim to always look like a minor character from Lovejoy

    Sounds good – I go for a “David Essex For The 2000s” look. By the way, you split an infinitive.

  338. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil: we’ve got tonnes of pamphlets explaining it!’

    In a link posted by that hostile force, Jara, the one to a confession piece by the Renegade Jefferys, he mentioned that Crazy Toni’s 1976 pamphlet on Portugal, thousands of copies of it, sat in the basement in Cotton Gardens unsold.

    Which only adds evidence to your mention of Brecht.

  339. Jellytot on said:

    @419It will prove invaluable when state repression is so severe that the party, with total ease, will be able to replace anyone who is arrested without the Party losing any of its effectiveness.

    They’d collapse like a deck of cards if the State really decided to play hardball with them.

    Scratch the surface and they’re essentially a bunch of liberals.

    Did you notice last year when they got some brief publicity when they started to picket shops and

    @419“I have long bemoaned the fact that thoroughgoing Marxist education of our members”

    I always thought that keeping most of the members uneducated about theory was a deliberate policy; all the better to control them.

  340. Jara Handala on said:

    Jellytot: I always thought that keeping most of the members uneducated about theory was a deliberate policy; all the better to control them.

    #426, 8:08pm

    Which explains why supporters of that Central Committee policy advocate the opposite in a Pre-conference Bulletin: anything said in a Pre-conference Bulletin ends up in one of the many circular files in the Citadel, & it makes it look like the organiser of an even healthier democracy when an unimpeachable loyalist discloses a note of regret.

  341. Jellytot: I always thought that keeping most of the members uneducated about theory was a deliberate policy; all the better to control them.

    Well, it depends how you define theory doesn’t it? Like most rev groups the SWP’s concept of political education revolved around reading and absorbing the party’s own theoretical positions on all the key issues. These were set out in the pamphlets that were used as the basis for branch educationals, and in the books by prominent party theoreticians that set out the various positions in more detail and at greater length. Outside of those publications, most back-up reading would be provided by the material that was constantly being published by Bookmarks, and some of the ‘classics’ by Marx, Engels and Lenin (with a smattering of Trotsky, whose later writings were regarded as highly suspect). Very little of the Bookmarks output would involve texts that presented a substantially different picture from the ‘official’ SWP one.

    Educationals were always based on equipping people with a thorough grasp of the SWP’s ‘tradition’. The emphasis was on training the comrades in one particular current, and doing that as if it was the only current worthy of consideration. Counter-arguments and different traditions would only be touched on in order to knock them down, and were generally presented as ‘straw men’ – caricatured, simplified versions – in order to fulfil that function. The whole development of Marxist theory was a single movement towards the inevitable apotheosis reached in the SWP’s own theoretical contribution.

    Serious (as opposed to casual or occasional) reading around and outside of the accepted cannon was regarded as a little bit suspect. It could only lead to trouble…

  342. stuart on said:

    Manzil,

    You are wasting time in trying to draw me into an argument around hypotheticals, one in which I could respond with counter-hypotheticals.
    I am not writing an alternative constitution on the internet.

  343. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala:Your refusal to mention the matter of equality/inequality simply demonstrates you are happy (or unaware) that the SWP is becoming increasingly marginalised, politically irrelevant…..I allow 5/6ths of the members to speak on my behalf. And with that I, and them, rest our case.

    What are you waiting for? You seem to have everything sewn up. Your political group or party (what is it BTW?), can now hegemonise the left!

  344. Manzil on said:

    stuart:
    Manzil,

    You are wasting time in trying to draw me into an argument around hypotheticals, one in which I could respond with counter-hypotheticals.
    I am not writing an alternative constitution on the internet.

    It’s a very, very simple question Collin (or should be!), that doesn’t require hypotheticals at all: does the manner of the party’s “discovery” of this vile, dirty conversation in any way potentially impact on whether it has a right to use that evidence of that conversation to expel four of its members?

    Is there a single circumstance where ends would not justify means?

  345. stephen marks on said:

    I suppose, if you think about it, that the socialist revolution could be said to be a hypothetical…

  346. Manzil on said:

    stephen marks:
    I suppose, if you think about it, that the socialist revolution could be said to be a hypothetical…

    Only if you’re a reactionary counter-hypothetical.

  347. Andy Newman:
    David Ruaune,

    True – I was just being silly. I think you had gone for the most readable option.
    I see no problem in splitting infinitives, it is a correct usage to split infinitives where it improves rradability. And I also start sentsnces with conjunctives.

  348. brokenwindow on said:

    The overwhelming picture that emerges are these institutions – RCC,BBC,SWP,Lib Dems,etc – are male-run institutions with fatally flawed processes to grant victims – women,girls,boys – the respect,intimidation-free space and assurance that their case will be dealt with in a fair,transparent,supportive way. Regardless of the label on the tin – socialist,catholic,corporation etc,the de facto modus operandi of these respective institutions were to obfiscate,intimidate,use crony-style internal procvesses that placed the accuser in a position of extreme isolation,mental vulnerability that prolonged suffering and subjected them to a kind of sentencing,though without the required visit to HM prisons. Furthermore,with all that to deal with,the accuser then has to decide whether to brave it with an institution that is racist,sexist and homophobic and not all with a good track record of dealing with these cases,although I know sections of the police are honestly dedicated to improving this.

    To say these people are caught between the jaws of a tiger doesn’t really cover it.

    These institutions can ONLY manage themselves towards people who report rape because they are deeply undemocratic,top-down hierarchies with hidden agendas of a parapolitical nature. They are neither accountable,transparent or interested in anything other than following their self-justified missions regardless of who members or groups allegedly rape. For some of these individiuals the process for getting a hearing,never mind justice has lasted decades. People who support these institutions make red-herring attacks on anyone who is critical of these undemocratic structures – the RCC is a particular case – as being prejudiced against Catholics etc and part of a wider attack on them. This is nonsense. What the RCC (and all these institutions above) are guilty of is harbouring and supporting individuals who should be given full exposure to due legal process. In the case of the RCC,I suspect there is,as has been alleged before,a systemic and high-level cover-up of child-rape that stretches back decades. exposing this corruption and sexual violence against minors – as in the case of the BBC too – must surely be given absolute priority by the institutions assigned to establish what happened. Pretending it ios sopme right-wing campaign – FFS – only throws genuine claims of suffering and abuse into the whirl of political conspiracy where protected ideological positions become more important than standing up for minorities – women,children – in these male,power bases where abuse is treated as something to hide,repress,be rid of.

    Unless of course deep down you think all women are worthless sluts to act out your repressed rage to power on or children must be seen and raped and then not heard.

  349. stuart on said:

    Manzil,

    I will not be voting on this disciplinary matter. It is for those that support the four to make their case. It is not appropriate for someone like myself with limited information to make pronouncements.

  350. Manzil on said:

    stuart:
    Manzil,

    I will not be voting on this disciplinary matter. It is for those that support the four to make their case. It is not appropriate for someone like myself with limited information to make pronouncements.

    You won’t answer a hypothetical. You won’t address the actual case. You won’t even discuss the principle of whether an inappropriate act by the party – which we, finally, established as a possibility – should have any bearing on how it conducts itself subsequently (hint: the answer is “yes, obviously”).

    In which case, what is the point of you commenting in these discussions, other than to wish others took your absurdly uncritical approach to politics? How you think you’re achieving anything on here, other than to demonstrate how shockingly out of whack the SWP culture has gotten, I’ve honestly no idea.

    What’s the point of a damage limitation exercise that does more damage?

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  352. Calvin on said:

    I don’t know, but according to google you have posted this exact same question on other blogs over one million times over the past 10 years. It must be really bugging you!