Socialist Workers Party (SWP): Pre-conference bulletin 1 released

SWP IB contents pageHere is the SWP’s pre-conference bulletin 1 (IB1). I haven’t read it fully yet, but a few things jump out: There are good, solid people inside the organisation fighting for it, and our best bet is to give those people solidarity and support rather than just demanding that they do the same thing we all did (leave!) – they’re not stupid, they are conscious of the poor likelihood of winning this fight. In order to win against a CC that has proved it will tell any lie, carry out any level of bullying and intimidation, and lose any politics in order to win, they would have to wage a relentless fight against their own comrades. It’s something they’ve not been able to do, but it doesn’t make them any less worthy of our support.

The other thing that jumps out is: the leadership is not fit to lead. Not in any way.

There’s been so much wrong with the way the SWP works for so long – the lack of democracy, the bullying of dissidents, the use of full-timers as enforcers, the way oppositionists are tossed out and pushed out of the movement. The way the party leadership reacted to allegations of rape against a leading member have brought all this to a head: it’s one thing for the party to bully and cheat when there are political differences. But when it comes to allegations of rape denial and rape apologism, that’s quite another.

Have a read and add a comment below!

79 comments on “Socialist Workers Party (SWP): Pre-conference bulletin 1 released

  1. I had to smile when I saw this, from one of the more upbeat pieces (about the benefits of organising against the bedroom tax):

    We now have a member who is a tenant in Wythenshawe, a massive working class district on [sic] Manchester.

    A member from Wythenshawe (estimated population 86,000)! And a renting, tenant-type person, too. Gosh, I bet that person is really quite working-class – or if she (or he) isn’t, his or her neighbours certainly will be. She (or he) must have some stories!

    I remember a piece in Red Action mocking the weakness of the revolutionary socialist groups by saying you’d never see them on the estates. Well, er… that’s showed them!

  2. John Grimshaw on said:

    I have scanned through some of this. I am struck by this from the CC

    “…the CC is also strongly
    committed to the view that it will mark
    the restoration of the collective discipline
    of the party and the termination of what
    has been the effective existence of permanent
    factions. Unless the conference votes
    to support permanent factions, then any
    attempt to continue such factions outside
    a pre-conference period, and in defiance
    of the decisions of successive conferences,
    will lead to disciplinary action.”

    And the many contributions from exasperated and sometimes sorrowful comrades who wish to see systemic change in the Party and who are opposed to the CC.

  3. John Grimshaw: “…the CC is also strongly
    committed to the view that it will mark
    the restoration of the collective discipline
    of the party and the termination of what
    has been the effective existence of permanent
    factions. Unless the conference votes
    to support permanent factions, then any
    attempt to continue such factions outside
    a pre-conference period, and in defiance
    of the decisions of successive conferences,
    will lead to disciplinary action.”

    Satan said it better

    Here at least we shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
    Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
    Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
    to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
    Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.

  4. Jara Handala on said:

    John Grimshaw:
    I am struck by this from the CC [edited, with an interjection – JH]

    “. . . the CC is also strongly committed to the view that
    it [conference decisions] will mark the restoration of the
    collective discipline of the party and the termination of what
    has been the effective existence of permanent factions . . .
    any attempt to continue such factions outside a
    pre-conference period, and in defiance of the decisions
    of successive conferences, will lead to disciplinary action.”
    [page 10]

    Welcome to the new New: out with the Loyalists, in with the Restorationists, in with the Terminators. I wonder who will cometh in this moment & emerge as the new John Vanbrugh? The Brutes deserve no less.

    I can hear Master Bradley, Terminator-in-Chief, gleefully lacing up his boots, caressing those specially chosen orange laces for the days ahead.

    I circulated to fellow ISN members in July an analysis that included the prognosis that the Restorationists are determined to put an end to all the nonsense, to embark on a slash-&-burn campaign coz almost everyone has an entrenched position, hardly anyone is open to persuasion, & this simply can’t go on year after year after year after year.

    That’s why the epigones have already set the type of Collected Works, volume 33, pages 487-502.

    I also have no doubt that the sectarians will not disappoint the Restorationists in their bile, vitriol, & slander. But they can’t help themselves, they’re just jealous of the smallest mass combat party the world has ever known.

    A nice quote from the beginning, Cde. Chaplin’s ‘Introduction’, shows how far we’ve moved on, how much has been learnt, how prepared we all are for the Modern Age:

    “THIS BULLETIN IS FOR MEMBERS OF THE SWP ONLY AND IT SHOULD NOT BE DISTRIBUTED OR FORWARDED TO OTHERS.” (original capitalising, page 3)

    So that’s sorted, then.

  5. Jellytot on said:

    Pat (Stack) from Euston’s contribution is interesting and a piece of Yan’an-style self criticism….”I FAILED YOU!”…… The ‘M’ (who walked away leaving a trail of destruction behind him….according to Stack) referred to is Comrade Delta.

    The anti-fascism piece holds no new surprises – least of all the continued insistance that the UAF comprises some kind of early 1930’s Trotskyite ‘United Front’ – It isn’t, never was and never could be – the UAF is simply a campaign group. When Trotsky was writing the SPD and KPD were both mass, hardened, working class organisations with (vitally) structured, organised and equally mass fighting groups attached to them (The RFKB and Reichsbanner) – That was the clear context in which he was writing and proposing front unity. Today in the UK we have nothing even remotely resembling that – what you have is a campaign where Labour Party members are invited to join: a completely different animal.

    As for Tony’s comment about offering “those people solidarity and support rather than just demanding that they do the same thing we all did (leave!)”. That’s fine and supportable and people should do that but in the end there is a central conceit around the whole exercise of being in a self declared ‘revolutionary’ party in the UK in the 21st Century – That conceit is that a 1917 style revolutionary upheaval simply will not occur – modern British society is just not configured that way. Sure, you can do some good campaigning work inside such parties and it’s always nice and totally understandable to use it as a sanctuary to be with people who think like you (a natural human need) but in the end it’s all predicated on a lie and a falsehood – that circle cannot be squared.

  6. “Let me say, first, that this is not because
    I think we made no mistakes in our handling of the Delta case. Given that I
    absolutely do not believe that the party or
    its leadership deliberately covered up or
    attempted to cover up a rape or rape allegation
    my commitment to remaining in
    the party exists regardless of whether or
    not, with hindsight, we can be seen to have
    made particular mistakes.
    All parties, like
    all individuals, make mistakes – the Bolsheviks made many mistakes and so has
    the SWP over the years and, of course, we
    should work to try to correct them.” -Jon in Portsmouth on why he didn’t leave the party.

    What do the Bolsheviks have to do with the SWP again? I completely forgot or am completely oblivious to the historical torch being passed on from Lenin himself to whatever Trotskyist or left-communist functionary and then to Callinicos et. al. I thought that was passed down to Worker’s Power when Trotsky bit the dust anyway.
    And just what mistakes were these that were made then? If the CC didn’t collude to hide things from members, bully significant numbers of them and set up a probably illegal kangaroo court staffed by the defendant’s best mates…why isn’t he being up front with what these mistakes actually were?

    I really don’t like the feel of this clandestine pact the leadership and their loyalists seem to have made. Whatever it is, I would really like some kind of honesty and openness from this conference, but you can accuse me of wishful thinking for wanting this from any party’s conference, especially one that refuses to reform its errant ways that haven’t pushed the socialist wing of the labour movement forward either theoretically or more into the mainstream for god knows how many years. I think you can forgive me for saying this, but they haven’t done anything because their leadership is simply paranoid and shit.

  7. Jellytot:

    The anti-fascism piece holds no new surprises –

    Oh, I wouldn’t say that. If you read between the lines, it’s frightfully interesting.

    The fact that they feel the need to write denunciations of squadism again is telling. Naturally, they misrepresent what squadism actually is, as always. But they’re worried. There’s no doubt of that.

    Part of the reason for that is:

    . But out of frustration, some on the left, including some of our own members, have turned towards “squadism” and ultra-left stunts to try to defeat the EDL

    They’re losing control of the rank and file on this. Again. For the SWP to actually mention this (generally they prefer to ignore other anti-fascist strategies) means that it’s a genuine issue for them.

    It’s amusing that they try to claim the last time there was any kind of squadism in the UK was the early 80’s. The reason for this becomes clear a bit later:

    Because of the major defeats the BNP and NF suffered during the 1970s and
    1990s, a key section of British fascism moved away from building a street movement and instead concentrated on building electoral support. Talk of smashing the
    BNP on the streets was not serious when the BNP was not marching

    To recognise the existence of AFA in the 1990’s would raise difficult questions like “so, exactly what caused the BNP to abandon the street? And while they could claim it was them, that is even more problematic. Because they’d be going “the ANL was really effective, so we shut it down and formed UAF instead”.

    I could do this all night (seriously, that whole part is comedy genius for anyone aware of context), but this gem is particularly worth taking note of:

    This has proved to be a mistake as other political currents have set up anti-fascist groups and we have failed to capitalise on the mood among many students to fight fascism.

    The sheer cynical opportunism of that statement is staggering. Surely they realised this would inevitably be read by those outside the SWP?

    More then that though, I think they’re in trouble. What that says to me is that the UAF’s attempts to be all things to all people is coming unstuck. On one hand, HnH is mopping up the support from the state bans/candlelit vigils “everyone against the fascists” liberals. And at the other end, militants who want to directly confront the fascists head-on are increasingly being drawn towards AFN. Which raises the question. What exactly is UAF for, now there are other anti-fascist organisations that cater to both the liberals and the militants? And, because they don’t try and cover both sides, it’s fair to say that both HnH and AFN are covering their side of the spectrum more effectively than UAF are managing with either.

  8. Jellytot on said:

    Hmmm…Thanks ‘Hoom’ for pointing that out – I’ve always seen SWP denunciations of Squadism as a ritualistic exercise that they feel almost honour-bound to engage in now and then (I recall Bambury’s slur against them in the early 90’s as, “merely White blokes who like a punch up”). However, as you pointed out, there could be some substance behind this latest one.

  9. john sexton on said:

    Phil,

    what an irony that your website is called Socialist Unity. You people would do the cause more good by simply shutting up shop. And I’m not in the SWP by the way.
    facing Reality,

  10. john sexton,

    A few things. Firstly, it’s Andy’s site, not mine – I’m just a commenter here, like yourself.

    As for the SWP – and I’m certainly not speaking for Andy on this one – in all honesty I wish them well. I think it’d be a tragedy if the party disappeared completely – or went WRP – and I applaud everyone who’s hanging on in there trying to make it change course, even at this late date. I think it’ll be resolved one way or another before long – one more round of expulsions and there will be more SWP cadre outside the party than in it. Hand on heart, I’m hopeful that the CC will finally see reason – and accept the necessity of their own replacement – although I don’t think the chances are good. I think some on the CC positively welcome the creation of a new model SWP, consisting of fulltimers, loyalists and people who have joined in the past couple of years and not burned out yet – plus this year’s freshers, of course.

    The thing is, this kind of development would be the culmination of a delusional course that the party has been on for a very long time. In the IB, the Q&A headed “Why I am not resigning from the SWP” sums it up; the first three questions the cde asks himself are, in order:

    1. Do we need a socialist revolution in Britain and internationally?
    and
    2. For this revolution to win do we need a mass revolutionary socialist party?

    The answers are ‘yes’ and ‘yes’, of course. And then:

    3. Is the SWP this revolutionary party?
    Here’s his reply, unedited:

    Not yet – it remains too small and lacks sufficient roots in the working class. However, it is a substantial and serious revolutionary socialist organisation, engaged in a serious attempt to build such a party and it is part of an international tendency that is undertaking this task in many countries. Crucially it has proved far more successful at building a revolutionary party, quantitatively and qualitatively, than any of its rivals in Britain and one of the most successful attempts in the world.

    We need a revolution; for a revolution to succeed we need a revolutionary party; and the SWP is “one of the most successful attempts” at building a revolutionary party. Nothing about the state of capitalism, nothing about the likelihood of a revolution any time in the next decade (or century), nothing about the state of the class… He might as well have written

    2. For this revolution to win do we need a mass revolutionary socialist party?
    Yes.
    2a. Just to be clear, for this revolution to win, are there any other prerequisites at all? Or is it just the party?
    Yes, that’s about it. Just the party.

    That outlook is sad – and incredibly un-Marxist, by the way – but what’s really sad is the little glimpse of reality in the paragraph I quoted: the party “lacks sufficient roots in the working class”. Say what? You’ve been building this party for forty years and you haven’t got round to putting down roots in the working class? In fact, scrub that – you’re building a revolutionary party and it didn’t begin with roots in the working class? (Oh, that’s right, it did. But you lost them.) So you end up with the idiotic position of a revolutionary socialist group whose strongest branch in south Manchester is in the incredibly middle-class district of Chorlton, and this branch goes into print boasting about having recruited an actual working-class person.

    I think the SWP is salvageable, and it would be a big blow to the Left if it went down. But the party and all its resources need to be seen as means to the end of intervening in the struggles that are going on – and, if necessary, weighed up and found wanting.

  11. Phil: I think the SWP is salvageable, and it would be a big blow to the Left if it went down.

    Do me a favour. I’m trying to think of a more vile, sectarian, self-obsessed elitist vanguard than this bunch of posers but having trouble. They give Socialism such a bad name. Into the dustbin of history with them!

  12. From a purely voyeuristic perspective, the IB is interesting as an example of how the post(?)-split SWP views itself.

    As others have noted, what struck me was the combination of perhaps naively-expressed cynicism about the party’s relationship with popular movements, and its blindness as to the health of those movements. (As in, they aren’t really popular. Can it even be a movement if it isn’t actually going anywhere?!)

    Unlike some above, I find little contentious in the belief that ‘socialist revolution’ is possible and necessary. But the ossification of that belief into a dogma, one that sees the United Kingdom of 2013 as a plausible focal point for a radically transformative global political struggle, and the bureaucratic detritus of the old far left as the vehicle for leading it, is dispiriting in the extreme.

    It is, indeed, hard to argue with those who simply point to the likes of the SWP and say, ‘Why bother?’ Even as a means of keeping socialists active, informed and organised as a coherent force within the mass organisations of the working class, (let alone the class itself), the left is failing.

    The worrying thing isn’t that the SWP will no longer attract the middle-class full-time activists of tomorrow to its banner, it’s that what is happening to the SWP, which, for the left as a whole, amounts to a serious knock to prospects of Marxism, merely confirms how bloody irrelevant we were to people even before that sudden decline.

  13. #17 Part of the problem is not so much reaching agreement as to whether socialist revolution is necessary or possible but more a question of what it is or would be, presumably the reason you put it in parenthesis.

    One of the issues I have with the SWP is that they appear to have no concept of what a socialist revolution would be here, and fail to support or recognise it when it happens elsewhere.

    I don’t get the impression the various opposition or split factions are any better, and it wouldn’t surprise me if some are worse.

    I’m pleased that they realise their leaders handled the rape issue appallingly but then so does virtually everyone else who knows about it on all parts of the political spectrum.

    For all those reasons if I read these posts about the SWP at all, it’s usually accompanied by a huge yawn.

  14. “A small group of comrades were convinced that the shopping working class…were open and accessible to revolutionary ideas.”

    So begins one of the most earnest, and hilarious, contributions to the ‘internal’ bulletin, on the fight to establish a Saturday paper sale in a Manchester shopping precinct. Reporting on the (surprise, surprise) fantastic success of this venture, the writer makes this priceless observation on those poor souls brow-beaten by some over-zealous, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer hack into joining the party: “These new recruits didn’t always turn into solid SWP members, but they were willing to fill in a form.” Yes, anything to get away, I’d imagine.

    The droning on of the party loyalists is actually excruciating to read now. I just couldn’t manage to stomach too much of it. There are some voices of sanity, there. Trouble is, I don’t fancy their chances.

  15. #19 Amusing. But did Lenin and all the other boys in the band spend a great deal of time worrying about what Robespierre would have said about what they were saying or doing? Or do you think they would have been impressed if they thought their words would be treated as catechisms now?

  16. Are you saying that the implosion of the SWP can be equated to the liquidation of the CPGB?

    This is a party that was either dodging the the heat of battle with theoretical impossibilities only a student orientated base could accept (remember the “Cuba’s State Cap” gymnastics) and standing on the wrong side of the pivotal class issues or disrupting broad domestic movements in the everlasting battle to recruit new members. The SWP achieved nearly nothing, politically. Its death agony can only be welcomed.

    The achievements of the CPGB are well recognized by friends and foe alike (read Spycatcher) – anti fascism, tenants campaigns, general strikes, international brigades, dockers, car workers, miners, Tory governments falling. Not to mention a rich intellectual and cultural tradition.

    The SWP recruited talent energetic cadre, but the quality was always lost ultimately. It made creative propaganda, but what did it achieve concretely? Its a genuine question to those who mourn its passing as serious force on the left. Where are the SWP familes, passing the struggle through generations? Where will history record the SWPs decisive interventions in the class struggle?

    This is an interesting point of labour movement history. To what extent did a large and vibrant party actually manage to go beyond propaganda and make a difference?

    Phil:
    Hch,

    I was never a big fan of the Communist Party, either, but on balance having them around was better than not.

  17. Jara Handala on said:

    Vanya,

    Don’t get me wrong, I was feeling no doubt similar to yourself, not tut-tutting while seated & dressed in the sartorial style of a Lenin, or an Ernest Mandel, or an Isaac Blank.

    Here is not the place to argue it, but a principal tragedy of the 20th century has been the magical thinking & ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ approach of those who want to create a fundamentally gentler, less oppressive & exploitative society. An important cause has been the belief that ‘the movement of the class struggle’ will pose these questions & do so concretely, the unexpected will always loom large, & outlining scenarios is a waste of time & simply panders to the utopian tradition. Result? The disastrous abolition of state-sanctioned money under both War Communism & Pol Pot, & no conception of what participatory economic planning would consist in & how it could be institutionalised. Göran Therborn has written well on this, as to why anyone should believe & therefore trust those who assert that capitalism should & can be transformed in a fundamental way into a society regulated by what can be deemed socialist imperatives.

    Your points about the ancestors, offending the gods (including the Gods), & about the Word being preserved in amber, revered, repeated, are unfortunately too often true – although these habitual practices do have powerful non-conscious causes, involving affective bonds which burst to the fore in times of crisis, as witnessed in the intensity of the current travails within the SWP.

    To emphasise one aspect of liturgical practice, buttress-quoting when posing in dreary articles performs the same function as booty-padding when twerking; neither is laudable.

  18. Phil: I was never a big fan of the Communist Party, either, but on balance having them around was better than not.

    I’m having trouble thinking of any major struggles of the 20th century in which the Communist Party has NOT played a treacherous role.

  19. Hch,

    More likely you just have trouble thinking, period. I guess the CP was, at least, in positions to be able to betray. Ye gotta get to first base mate.

  20. George Hallam on said:

    Hch: I’m having trouble thinking of any major struggles of the 20th century in which the Communist Party has NOT played a treacherous role.

    Without in any way defending the actions of Communist Parties during the 20th century, might I suggest that your difficulty may well be because, for you, ‘Communist Party betrayal of struggles’ is an a priori form of intuition.

    This means that whatever the empirical evidence you will see it as treachery.

  21. Todor,

    I’m saying it’d leave a hole; in some situations we’d notice the hacks weren’t there any more, and miss ’em. Not as many situations as in the case of the CPGB (or as many hacks), but some.

  22. Vanya,

    The delicate reference to socialist revolution was not even a question of side-stepping differing interpretations – (such is the disorientation and disorganisation of the labour movement?) a sincere declaration of revolutionary socialist belief, even on a blog called Socialist Unity no less, is likely to be met with varying degrees of mirth and disdain. So it’s always best to tread lightly when hoisting the colours, and if possible soften the inevitable reaction by demonstrating an excessively polite, reasonable and borderline up-oneself demeanour. 😛

    I tend to interpret (for instance) Jara’s liberal use of colourful prose, and George’s single-minded focus on the small print, as means to the same end. We all have our defences. SU, like the left generally, is a psychiatric ward where the patients have agreed that we’re all quite, quite sane, and no one apart from the occasional spoilsport wants to shatter the illusion.

    Anyway, I understand your apathy towards SWP-related posts. I just think that with the left’s tide having gone out, the continued viability of our remaining small rock pools, however shallow, is ultimately in the best interest of socialists everywhere, whatever our current home.

    Perhaps I am biased in having grown up in an IS-influenced family, not to mention having been politically educated in the almost-entirely Trotskyist (‘Trotskyish’?) ‘post-Communist’ left. The attitude which Hch is being taken to task for, is the ‘common sense’ which I, and I imagine many other socialists, were inculcated in by default: semi-religious deference towards The First Four Congresses Of The Comintern (albeit in an abstract and rather slogan-driven way: the United Front; the Revolutionary Party; Reformism and Stalinism etc.), followed by a uniform and unqualified rejection of the entire official ‘Communist’ tradition (albeit at different dates, depending on one’s sectarian disposition), whereupon the monolithic stain of Stalinism disappears from the left’s collective memory.

    It is in that context, of the total disappearance of the CPGB and the Communist-influenced broad left from the record, that the more absurd claims of British socialism can be presented, e.g. Militant was ‘Britain’s fifth political party’ (if we only take the true believers and not the Labour lefties caught in its wake, surely it was dwarfed by the Communists right up to their collapse?), or that revolutionary socialism means always Taking the Third Option and finding reasons to abstain from any class struggles that we are not suitably distanced from by the passage of time.

    Perhaps it is too much to hope that the SWP – or the scattered human materiel formerly known as the SWP – would find itself qualitatively improved by the Comrade Delta crisis. The IB is a disheartening document in that sense. Tony asks us to offer solidarity to the non-bastards left inside the party. But on a local level I haven’t seen any change in how it operates. The Volkssturm who rallied behind the Central Committee remain its most prominent representatives and if the same is true nationally, now that the awkward squad have largely been kicked out, attempts to rejuvenate the party and its traditions are likely taking place within a vacuum: the brief glimpses of sanity appearing within the IB likely constitutes, rather than reflects, the opposition struggle.

    That, to put it simply, sucks big fat donkey balls. I know people on here and other blogs said the CC’s ownership of the assets and brand likely made its ultimate victory preordained, but knowing/expecting something and actually witnessing it are two very different things.

  23. Jellytot on said:

    From IB P.86
    The most important reason is that the
    database has not been kept up to date for
    as long as five years. There are members
    who joined as long ago as 2007 who have
    never paid subs and no longer have valid
    contact details; members who cancelled
    a Direct Debit or Standing Order as long
    ago as 2007;
    members who transferred out
    years ago, etc. This is not an issue confined
    to Leeds; for example 32% of members
    nationally pay regular subs
    (Conference
    I.B No 1 2012, p5) and Leeds is exactly in
    this average with 31.3%.
    Clearly this dramatic reduction in membership
    is not good news – I certainly didn’t
    re-join the SWP after a long gap in order to
    precipitate such a reduction.

    Why you should never believe CC membership figure claims.

    Not paid subs since 2007, no new contact details but still (presumably) counted as members?!

  24. Hch: I’m having trouble thinking of any major struggles of the 20th century in which the Communist Party has NOT played a treacherous role.

    Apart from the Communist Party ceased to be relevant in about 1960. And it last had a genuine organic link to the working class in the 1950’s, hence the turn to trade union leaders.

    The CP is a distraction and has been for years. It simply doesn’t matter anymore, it’s a place for nostalgia junkies to wallow in stories of past glory. To concentrate on it is just a way to avoid taking responsibility for the rest of the left’s failure.

    The real question is why the gap left when the CP lost relevance to the working class wasn’t filled by any other group or political tradition. That’s the crucial point. And one of the reasons we are where we find ourselves is the failure to take that question seriously. The SWP being a case in point; it’s a middle class party through and through.

  25. Phil, lol I was thinking that the other day. Most SWP aren’t working class as it’s commonly known, so they aren’t representative of most workers’ wishes. Maybe they want to use the workers to get into power themselves. Not sure what they are- petit bourgeois intelligentsia?

  26. Hoom: Apart from the Communist Party ceased to be relevant in about 1960. And it last had a genuine organic link to the working class in the 1950′s, hence the turn to trade union leaders.

    This is poor history based on deep ignorance.
    It wasn’t until the seventies that the large Communist Party base in factories, pits and depots began to be reflected in higher echelons of the trade union leadership. Up until that point the CP was most effective at shop steward level and in some deeply proletarian communities.

    It was Bert Ramelson, the CP’s industrial organiser who framed the strategy that linked workplace power with more left wing elements in trade union leaderships – a strategy that gave the ruling class a fright.
    http://communist-party.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1544:bert-ramelson-biography-revolutionary-tale-of-an-enemy-within-&catid=48:robert-griffiths-in-the-morning-star&Itemid=100

  27. George Hallam on said:

    Hoom: Apart from the Communist Party ceased to be relevant in about 1960. And it last had a genuine organic link to the working class in the 1950′s, hence the turn to trade union leaders.

    Nick Wright: This is poor history based on deep ignorance.

    1960 is way before most people who post on this site became politically active, or were even born. So unless Hoom is in his late 70’s, it’s unlikely to be an observation based on personal experience.

    I don’t know of any histories of the 1970s that suggest that the CP was irrelevant to, say the miners’ strikes or the ending of the Industrial Relations Act. So where would this idea come from?

    Is it ignorance or prejudice?

  28. Jellytot on said:

    oooh,

    Most SWP aren’t working class as it’s commonly known,…….Not sure what they are- petit bourgeois intelligentsia?

    According to the TU membership declarations appended to names backing one or another recent factional documents, they have a large and disproportional amount of teachers/college lecturers in their ranks.

  29. Nick Wright: This is poor history based on deep ignorance.

    It wasn’t until the seventies that the large Communist Party base in factories, pits and depots began to be reflected in higher echelons of the trade union leadership. Up until that point the CP was most effective at shop steward level and in some deeply proletarian communities.

    Compare that to the squatting or anti-fascist campaigns. It is clear that the CP was already in decline by that point. As the falling membership figures showed. Their industrial work in the 70’s was just a pale reflection of past glories. It’s true that they still had more of a working class base then most of their rivals on the left. But that is merely an indicator of how they had far further to fall on that point. And note the word “organic”. I’m not saying that the CP had no links with the working class by that point. I’m saying that they were no longer an integral part of the working class.

    a strategy that gave the ruling class a fright.

    And, yet, the ruling class are still sadly in good health today. The Communist Party? Not so much. At the end of the day, it’s results that matter. To fetishise failure is a good way of making sure it happens repeatedly.

    George Hallam:
    1960 is way before most people who post on this site became politically active, or were even born. So unless Hoom is in his late 70’s, it’s unlikely to be an observation based on personal experience.

    Indeed. In fact, I’m only in my late 30’s. Depressingly, that still is likely to qualify me as “young” in far left terms. Which is something of an issue.

    Anyway, I wasn’t a participant. But neither were many of the left around in the Russian revolution. Which doesn’t stop them banging on about it at every opportunity.

    I don’t know of any histories of the 1970s that suggest that the CP was irrelevant to, say the miners’ strikes or the ending of the Industrial Relations Act. So where would this idea come from?

    Results. It’s always about the results. I accept this separates me from most of the left, who prefer to concentrate on who has the correct analysis.

    Is it ignorance or prejudice?

    Heh, last time I got into a historical debate on here I believe I was accused of being too pro KPD at the expense of the SPD. So it’s nice to have the circle squared.

    Let me reassure you George, I have absolutely no personal animosity towards the CP. Hell, back in the day I even worked closely with a few members. They were good blokes and courageous anti-fascists. But it’s not really about my personal feelings, no?

    The very fact that the main crux of my argument is that blaming CP “betrayals” for the failure of other left groups is a dereliction of personal responsibility should suggest to you I’m not quite coming to this from the same position as most critics. Equally, the fact I think the CP is one of the very few groups to have ever had an organic link to the working class is a compliment, if admittedly a backhanded one. It’s noticeable that you and Nick dispute the point at which the CP fell into irrelevance, not that it did.

    The bare essentials are this. Society is drifting to the right and has been since the 70’s at least. There is a crisis of working class representation. If that vacuum is not filled by the left, it will be filled by the right. And, to fill it, we need to throw the failed strategies of the cobweb left into the bin and start anew. Because there is everything to play for and the consequences of continued failure may be catastrophic, as we see in Greece.

  30. Morning Star Reader on said:

    As Hoom is understandably interested in results, he might like to know that we won the miners’ strikes of 1972 and 1974, and the struggle against the Industrial Relations Act – and that Communist Party’s trade union organisation and influence played a major part in all these victories. Which is why his earlier remark that” the Communist Party ceased to be relevant in about 1960″ was so ludicrous. Rather than react so truculently to being corrected, it might have been better for Hoom to accept the corrections with good grace,

  31. George Hallam on said:

    Hoom: I’m only in my late 30′s.

    OH! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
    For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
    Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
    Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
    But to be young was very heaven!

    Hoom: Anyway, I wasn’t a participant. But neither were many of the left around in the Russian revolution. Which doesn’t stop them banging on about it at every opportunity.

    Quite. Perhaps there is a lesson here.

  32. George Hallam on said:

    Hoom: The very fact that the main crux of my argument is that blaming CP “betrayals” for the failure of other left groups is a dereliction of personal responsibility should suggest to you I’m not quite coming to this from the same position as most critics.

    You have a point there, I accept this.

    It’s nothing personal. If you have followed this site you will know that I include being a stickler for historical accuracy amongst my annoying traits .

    To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.
    Cicero

  33. Hoom: As the falling membership figures showed. Their industrial work in the 70′s was just a pale reflection of past glories. It’s true that they still had more of a working class base then most of their rivals on the left.

    It is not bad faith that is at issue here but Hoom’s bad history.
    On Communist Party numbers I can throw at little light on the subject from personal experience. I joined the party, proposed for membership at a 70 strong meeting by my mum, in 1965. This was the year of party building when the membership went up by several thousand to over 35,000 as I recollect. (The Young Communists throughout this period were on a fast rising membership curve reaching at one point more than 5,000).

    This was not merely a pale reflection of ‘past glories’ but in part the product of the earlier development of the party and in part the expression of new alignments and new developments within capitalism. It was precisely because the Communist Party remained rooted in the working class in ways, and with numbers, that no other formation even aspired to to let alone attained that this period is so interesting.
    At he highest point in the early seventies there were only about a 1000 students, not all middle class, and the overwhelming bulk of party members were working class.

    There is no rerun of history. The way capitalism has reconstituted the working class on a global scale presents new problems.
    In present conditions ‘relevance’ has more to do with the capacity of political formations to make a concrete analysis of a concrete situation and propose effective courses of action.

    http://communist-party.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1822:cp-executive-assembly-could-be-vehicle-for-broad-popular-democractic-anti-monopoly-struggle&catid=133:political-report&Itemid=168

  34. Ian Birchall on said:

    Jellytot: Most SWP aren’t working class as it’s commonly known,…….Not sure what they are- petit bourgeois intelligentsia?

    According to the TU membership declarations appended to names backing one or another recent factional documents, they have a large and disproportional amount of teachers/college lecturers in their ranks.

    For the whole of my working life I was a Polytechnic (later University) lecturer. I was better paid than most workers (though probably less than some highly skilled workers like printers). Apart from a very small legacy, I had no other source of income than what I earned for my job. I didn’t work with my hands (apart from writing on the blackboard). I was a lifelong member of a TUC-affiliated union and served on two trades councils. I certainly wasn’t “petit bourgeois” – which, when not used as a meaningless term of abuse, means someone who owns their own means of production, but employs at most a very few others. You can call me “middle class” if you like, but that emphasises the relatively marginal privileges I had in relation to other workers as compared to the much greater gap between all of us and the really rich and powerful.

    So what is the “working class as it’s commonly known”? Simply manual workers? But in many ways the classic divisions betwen manual/non-manual or white/blue collar are breaking down. Some years ago my son worked in a factory as an unskilled store-keeper – but he had to use a computer as part of his job.

    When I was young the core of the working class was engineers, miners, dockers etc. That’s gone and it’s not coming back. There are some serious issues here. Traditionally the organised labour movement was always more oriented to skilled workers as against unskilled workers. Now there are far fewer apprentices but far more graduates in the labour force.

    There are some difficult questions here that have as yet not been adequately analysed (and I certainly don’t have the answers). But of course it’s much easier to slag off the SWP than to confront these questions.

  35. Ian Birchall: I certainly wasn’t “petit bourgeois” – which, when not used as a meaningless term of abuse, means someone who owns their own means of production, but employs at most a very few other

    This touches on an important theoretical problem – the class composition of our society – which requires constant consideration.

    I think ‘petit bourgeois’ means something more complex than suggested here. While it is undoubtedly true that the primary contradiction is between the tiny elite and the vast mass of people (the logical basis of ‘popular front’ strategies of all kinds) there are very real distinctions in the way the several classes and strata of working people are constituted that compel us to take careful account.

    It is no insult to draw attention to the relatively stronger base of the SWP in some sections – hardly surprising in an organisation that has grounded its recruitment and growth among students for as long as I have been observing it. It is a fact.

    Similarly, it is no insult to comment on the smaller size of the Communist Party compared to earlier periods. It is a fact.

    The important thing is how political organisations relate to popular struggle and their actual relationship with the working class and its potential allies.

    What would be useful is the revival of the spirit of enquiry into the material conditions under which capitalist exploitation takes pace and the ways in which the organisation of production, distribution and exchange has constituted and is constituting the class structure. This is something which requires people to cooperate.

  36. George Hallam on said:

    Nick Wright: It is not bad faith that is at issue here but Hoom’s bad history.

    I think you are right. I withdraw my suggestion that it was prejudice.

    Apologies to Hoom.

  37. Jellytot on said:

    Ian Birchall,

    I wasn’t necessarily insulting the SWP here just pointing out the clear overrepresentation of teachers – which is generally regarded as a more middle class profession – abeit one that isn’t that well paid and one that has been somewhat “proletarianised” in recent decades – as have many other traditional middle class professions.

    Of course, the SWP, like other parties of their ilk, recruit across all classes but have been most successful in recruiting (and more importantly retaining) middle class students, who then progress into teaching or other branches of academia – indeed many of the upper echelons of the party have held academic positions or are in that milieu (I’ll refrain at this point from calling them “overgrown students”).

    I don’t think there is any great mystery in this – it’s a natural and predictable progression of focusing upon student recruitment.

    However, when an organisations leading and cadre members are so heavily concentrated in a few professions (the public sector is another) it can skew its analysis when it comes to relating to the populace as a whole.

  38. simon webbe on said:

    what hot air-please stay here! and waste your worthless energies!
    for those fighting fascism and racist attacks and islamophobia, opposing austerity: investment not cuts; opposing imperialistic intervention in Syria (and Iran) and palestine; defending venezuela; defending China-carry on-

    those writing here have nothing to offer-the SWP whatever its many weaknesses is better than most of the so called ‘left’-sectarian imperialist and just worth ‘walking on by’ (or some such)

  39. #45 Quite. Simon Webbe has no idea how active any of the contributors on here actually are, and has, iro ically joined our ranks by commenting himself.

    Simon, just think how much revolutionary energy you have expended there that could have been used defending the government of Venezuela in alliance with the SWP.

    Oh hang on a minute…

  40. Jara Handala on said:

    As I said Tuesday, “I also have no doubt that the sectarians will not disappoint the Restorationists in their bile, vitriol, & slander.” This faction-forming statement, Rebuilding the Party, is just incitement for those spectatorial bulls:
    http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/swp-faction-formed (CPGB dateline is Friday)

    It is not on the Revolutionary Socialism tumblr blog, but then nothing has been posted there since 12 Sep, which is before the pre-conf. period started.

    Neither is it at the SWP’s site – but then it’s only the party, the united United, not a mouthpiece of the fifth columnists, the wreckers, the splitters. As befits an interventionist Leninist combat party the site is dominated by a H U G E Hovis loaf, freshly prised from the mould, emblazoned with ‘R E S I S T’. I’m looking forward to a H U G E Dinky fire engine racing across the homepage in the coming weeks. There has never been a finer time to storm the Heavens.

  41. Found the piece by Andrew Osborne quite interesting. The SWP Unite faction opposed the CC support for Jerry Hicks during the recent GS election in Unite. Its on page 61. Its a pity we cant see what the Unite faction had against Hicks standing. It appears that they were vilified by the CC for doing this but like all good ‘democratic centralists’ supported the party line. The Unite faction obviously had the correct position

  42. #49 Not only is that anti-democratic as far as the SWP is concerned but also in terms of the Union itself. Personally I don’t think a caucus inside a union should have the right to mandate anyone to vote in a particular way in any case, but the idea that a political party can override the views of its own members in a union is particularly obnoxious. So I am a branch secretary and my members want to support one candidate, who I also support, but I have to argue for another candidate because the SWP central commitee say so?

    I was going to say funny anti-stalinists, these. But then I recalled that of all the best known boys in the band it was LDT who had the strongest position against independence of the trade unions.

    Well done btw, something aboutnthe SWP that can get me sufficiently interested to be pissed off!

  43. But if it’s true democratic centralism, then it’s what they signed up for and it’s fine: There would’ve (should’ve) been really deep, serious, critical debate, and the CC, which should be the embodiment of the party’s politics, experience and method, would’ve had slightly broader perspectives on the issues. If democratic centralism was really in operation there, that’s no problem, cos the debate will have been full and honest and people would go into their union and have full and honest debates with members.

    Obviously that’s the idea, and we know it doesn’t and didn’t happen. But my point is, there’s nothing in principle wrong with democratic centralism, if a) it’s truly democratic, b) the party members freely agreed to be bound by it, and c) the arguments were not conducted in secret.

    When we had a good, functioning SWP tube worker group, we were very open about how we got together and discussed and argued things out. There were no secret caucuses, no hidden motives.

    My first real taste of true SWP “democratic centralism” was when several people tried to get the London region of the RMT to vote to build broad left-wing parties; the motion was really sensible, but Smith and Bradley instructed us to “smash it” and dismissed (ie refused to engage with) our arguments against their position.

    We did what all good democratic centralists do when the democracy is missing from the equation: we simply didn’t turn up to the meeting.

  44. Jara Handala on said:

    It might have seemed quiet on the Dark Side of the Earth, but only the naive would have believed that.

    The Pre-conference Bulletin (PCB) may be open to all members who raise their brow above the parapet, but the Party organs are under the firm control of The Defenders of The Faith. On 30 Sep Cde. C & Cde. Chaplin had ‘The Politics of the SWP Crisis’ published in the International Socialism quarterly journal:
    http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=915

    The oppositional tumblr blog has been silent since before the PCB came out, but Dave Renton has today offered his opinion on the piece from the pinnacle:
    http://livesrunning.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/alex-callinicos-charlie-kimber-and-the-rape-investigation/

  45. daniel young on said:

    Always when the S.W.P.appear on this line as a topic,they, by most comments, are ridiculed.And you would find it hard not to agree, given their past record of remorseless pillory of those members, who dared to question the ruling select cadre,who!s rule of compliance to their views of control was Trotsyism in its execution.And for most offenders who dared to question,expulsion with ridicule,no matter length of service or commitment, to the Party.

    Have they changed,have they moved to more collective agreement of its members wishes,or are they still a select cadre with a Trotsky bent for controlling their membership.

  46. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    The sectarianism of the SWP both nationally and internationally knows no bounds. It looks like the Irish SWP in standing against the socialist MEP, Paul Murphy, Socialist Party, in next year’s European election is a testing ground to stand against Joe Higgins, Socialist Party TD, when their national elections come around.

    (Quote)There is a rumour going around Facebook and twitter, in both cases originating with SWP members, that the SWP has decided to stand Brid Smith in the Dublin constituency against Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy. Smith would be standing under the banner of their People Before Profit electoral front rather than openly as an SWP candidate.

    She would be a no hope candidate, so their rationale for standing seems to be to raise her profile to better position her to take on independent socialist Joan Collins in the general election. Or to put it another way, damaging Murphy’s chances would merely be an added bonus in a two for the price one piece of naked sectarianism.

    There has been no official announcement as of yet, so I sincerely hope that saner heads will prevail. But for the moment there are quite senior SWP people welcoming this “fantastic news” on Facebook.(Unquote)

    http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/left-unity-how-are-you/

  47. Jimmy Haddow:
    The sectarianism of the SWP both nationally and internationally knows no bounds.It looks like the Irish SWP in standing against the socialist MEP, Paul Murphy, Socialist Party, in next year’s European election is a testing ground to stand against Joe Higgins, Socialist Party TD, when their national elections come around.

    (Quote)There is a rumour going around Facebook and twitter, in both cases originating with SWP members, that the SWP has decided to stand Brid Smith in the Dublin constituency against Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy. Smith would be standing under the banner of their People Before Profit electoral front rather than openly as an SWP candidate.

    She would be a no hope candidate, so their rationale for standing seems to be to raise her profile to better position her to take on independent socialist Joan Collins in the general election. Or to put it another way, damaging Murphy’s chances would merely be an added bonus in a two for the price one piece of naked sectarianism.

    There has been no official announcement as of yet, so I sincerely hope that saner heads will prevail. But for the moment there are quite senior SWP people welcoming this “fantastic news” on Facebook.(Unquote)

    http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/left-unity-how-are-you/

    While your here Jimmy, tell us why SP democratic centralism is better than SWP democratic centralism?

  48. Jara Handala on said:

    facing Reality,

    Thanx, always appreciate the articles, & if you keep getting those scoops expect Soviet Goon Boy to celebrate your work, to accompany his (?) latest offering. That should increase the visits to both your blogs, & deservedly so. (As you know, not many visitors leave comments, but they do keep coming back; double fact.)

    If H. Ende were alive he could do a sequel, what with “the parallel world of Fantastica . . . a world being destroyed by the Nothing, a mysterious force” (the ever reliable wiki).

  49. John Grimshaw on said:

    Tony Collins,

    This is a good point Tony. The SWP spend much time elucidating on democratic centralism, and I left after 11 years when I realised that what they doing in practice wasn’t what they said it was. In principle however I still have no objection to real democratic centralism. I realise that many contributors on your blog site of course think that no such thing is possible or desirable. What the SWP have been operating over the years is moot point. Bureaucratic centralism?

  50. Pingback: SWP crisis: who is saying what « Jim Jepps

  51. Maybe the SWP are analogous to paedophiles – they want young people who are enthusiastic, but don’t really know much about the world, and produce a newspaper directed mainly at politically innocent people, who don’t know much about the left but have recently become radicalised for some reason. None of the articles in Socialist Worker are directed at older and more experienced people within the working class movement; they are directed at young people, or people who are inexperienced, with the purpose of using them.

  52. John Grimshaw on said:

    David Ruaune: Maybe the SWP are analogous to paedophiles

    I think the paedophile label is a bit strong David. There’s nothing wrong with recruiting radicalised people imo. And they are often an asset as they are more enthusiastic and have more energy to do stuff than old fogey’s like me and you. However the culture within an organisation is really important and so is internal democracy. In the past in my memory new comrades were educated and encouraged, although I think this was then abandoned in the late 90s. Despite this however there was never any sense that young people or indeed ordinary members could really influence the direction the organisation took. Everything came from the centre outwards. Conferences were/are a farce. People were/are never encouraged to be involved in the organisations publications in a meaningful way. Debate in branches which was then sent to the centre was ignored at will. SWSS branches were/are vital to the SWP’s method but were also mistrusted precisely because students might do things that were not sanctioned by the centre. In this context young people were seen as a resource but not as valuable, equal new members.

  53. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post 62 says (quote)And they are often an asset as they are more enthusiastic and have more energy to do stuff than old fogey’s like me and you.(unquote)

    You speak for yourself John at being on the cusp of 58 I have the enthusiasm for the political activity of the Socialist Party/CWI as a newly radicalised teenager. That is maybe because the political perspectives and political culture of the Socialist Party/CWI is far more superior than the SWP’s which allows the oldies in the Socialist Party to continue as newly radicalised teenagers.

    Of course this will bring down the walls of Jericho from all the tired revolutionary has beens who only have the internet world as their comfort blanket, let me post the report from the Socialist Party Scotland on the Scottish Anti Bedroom Tax Federation conference I went to on Saturday which was working class to the core and fighting for unrealistic dreams and winning.

    http://www.socialistpartyscotland.org.uk/news-a-analysis/83-campaigns/524-federation-conference-beating-the-bedroom-tax
    (quote) “The bedroom tax is now a dead tax walking” commented Tommy Sheridan, the chair of the Scottish Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation in opening Saturday’s conference. Over 120 delegates from 25 local campaigns and trade unions attended the second Fed conference of 2013. The overwhelming feeling at the conference was one of confidence that the bedroom tax could be defeated.(unquote)
    Read the rest of the article.

  54. George Hallam on said:

    John Grimshaw: David Ruaune: Maybe the SWP are analogous to paedophiles
    I think the paedophile label is a bit strong David. There’s nothing wrong with recruiting radicalised people imo.

    I agree. Emotive language clouds the debate and feelings are running high enough already.

    How would people feel is someone on site discussing abuse suggested that paedophiles were analogous to the SWP?

  55. John Grimshaw,

    You’re probably right, John, but I only made an analogy, and didn’t state an identity. You talk about how the SWP use young people as a resource, (the expression “human resources” has always, to me, sounded like “nazi soap”) but don’t regard them as equal to themselves (the higher echelons). Such attitudes are conducive to cynical, using behaviour.

  56. Cailean on said:

    Jimmy Haddow,

    i am so tempted to wade into this debate of a gaggle of Trots.
    But more importantly, how are you and your mum doing?

  57. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jimmy Haddow: is far more superior than the SWP’s

    And you quote Tommy Sheridan at us as proof? I would say that the SP and the SWP need each other even if they detest each other. How else could they justify setting up rival front campaigns on whatever issue it is and use them to try and control a situation? By the way I’m only 48 Jimmy (old in Trot terms though) and I only spend some time in front of the computer the rest I spend in deep contemplation!

  58. John Grimshaw on said:

    Cailean:
    Jimmy Haddow,

    i am so tempted to wade into this debate of a gaggle of Trots.
    But more importantly, how are you and your mum doing?

    Please feel free Cailean. Not a sectarian bone in my body you know? Anyway these days I have the occasional privilidge of having the occasional conversation with Kevin Halpin who informs me of some of the developments on your side of the fence. I like the noun by the way “gaggle” although I’m not sure its the right one. H’mmm, Any suggestions anyone. “Parcel”?

    Sorry Jimmy I forgot my manners. How is your mum?

  59. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    John and Cailean, thank you for asking after my mother. She is out of hospital now and she is well. It looks like the doctors at the hospital have finally been able to diagnose the problem that was causing her illness, so fingers crossed she will not be going back over that situation. The difference between the Socialist Party/CWI and the SWP is due to perspective, programme and method which is too numerous to mention so I leave a link to a pamphlet on this very question. Just read each page and click next to continue:
    http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/books_pamphlets/Socialism_and_Left_Unity_-_A_critique_of_the_Socialist_Workers_Party

  60. Cailean on said:

    Thanks Jimmy for the update,

    I am so pleased that your mum is out of hospital. Hopefully you can both relax a bit after this stressful time.

    Cheers,
    Cailean

  61. Cailean on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    Haha, fantastic, glad you are a friend and comrade of Kevin Halpin! He is a legend in the labour, trade union and progressive movement – and he would hate me saying so lol. You know he wrote his memoirs, a romping great read of the labour movement and anyone can buy it online here Memoirs of a Militant, Sharply and to the Point by Kevin Halpin http://www.unitybooks.co.uk/index.php/component/virtuemart/brand-new-books/memoirs-of-a-militant-sharply-and-to-the-point-by-kevin-halpin-detail?Itemid=109

    Enjoy your posts, keep them coming!
    Best wishes,
    Cailean

  62. John Grimshaw on said:

    Cailean,

    Cailean I think friend may be a little too strong in fairness but I do enjoy our occasional chats. I have a signed copy of his book, but thanks for the link. I would encourage others to read it definitely.

  63. Pingback: Socialist Unity | Debate & analysis for activists & trade unionists

  64. I think the SWP leadership were broadly right about the whole Comrade Delta thing. Radfems have browbeaten you into thinking otherwise, of course.

  65. #76 Which bits were they right about?

    Not allowing the alleged victim to see the statement of the accused? Asking her the sort of questions they themselves would have condemned the defence or the police for asking in the course of a rape investigation/trial? Believing themselves competent in any event to hold an investigation into what if proved was a serious criminal offence? Including on the investigating body people who were friends of the accused? Allowing someone who they knew to be under investigation for rape to be cheered by a stomping crowd chanting the workers united will never be defeated?

    I suspect that it it’s not necessary to be a radical feminst to have problems with any of that, seen together or separately. I’m certainly not one, and often find myself seriously at odds with those who are. And to be honest I suspect that the fact that the SWP as a whole use rad femish arguments sometimes when it suits them possibly made them look even worse over this matter.

    Perhaps you do have a problem with all of those features of how the SWP handled the affair, but feel that otherwise they got it right. Maybe they held the investigation in a room with the right decor? Or had a proper break for tea and used decent china?

  66. I think to most people, what Delta probably did and how the party backed him up would be seen as absolutely disgusting. I haven’t seen the SWP make any radfem-ish arguments. If anything on women’s oppression and rape, they make Daily Mail arguments.

  67. Feodor on said:

    Their position on Assange (and Galloway) was pretty ‘rad fem’–Vanya’s right that it came back to bite them on the ass.