SWP Crisis: Pat Stack Writes to Party Members

SWP member Pat Stack

This letter has been circulated by leading SWP member Pat Stack. Pat was on the Disputes Committee that heard the “Comrade Delta” case, and he was the only person who dissented against the decision to ‘clear’ Comrade Delta.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THIS TEXT BE POSTED ON THE INTERNET. FOR MEMBERS OF THE SWP ONLY.

Since conference I have been contacted by a number of longstanding comrades to find out where I stand on things. Due to my position as chair of the DC I have tried to be very circumspect in how I reply, and obviously have not discussed the ins and outs of the case (and in fairness none of these comrades have asked me to).

Like everybody else I am sure I have observed the goings on since conference with feelings of alarm and dismay, and feel I cannot simply say nothing when comrades seek my view. In light of that I feel I should make clear my views to you/the CC at the present time.

My starting point is that I want the essentials of our politics to be maintained whilst loss of membership is minimised. I realise getting that balance right is going to prove very tricky to say the least. Anyway, here goes.

After the vote at conference on the DC report I felt there needed to be a real awareness on the part of our leadership of how narrow the vote was and what measures had to be taken to reflect the genuine concerns expressed by the minority.

I felt that to do that three steps needed to be taken.

The first was to acknowledge that many people were uneasy, to say the least, about the processes of the DC and to either set up a commission to review them or at the very least commit the CC/DC to look at the whole process and see if there were things we would like to change. (With that wonderful gift, the benefit of hindsight, there are a number of changes I would want to examine, especially for cases of this sort). I drew up most of the processes and have to admit that looking back some of them were far from ideal for this case.

I also felt (though you won’t agree, and it is too late to change it now) that in light of the closeness of the vote the CC should have accepted Joseph Choonara’s unity slate. I think it would have sent out a message that we were serious about healing wounds, and if it turned out that the ‘nuanced’ (to quote Alex) political differences were rather more than that, we could have had those debates in the open between now and next conference. Instead the CC seemed to be declaring war on the minority and, in my opinion, in the process were allowing people with very substantial differences to leap into the vanguard of those comrades who were troubled, unhappy and unsure.

Finally, I am truly puzzled that Comrade M is still playing a prominent role. Surely after the closeness of the vote there had to be a recognition that very many members were unsure of his behaviour and that (for a period of time at the very least) it would have been wise and appropriate to ask him to step away from all public activities and engagements. To not do so is to tell the large body of comrades who are unhappy or unsure, ‘we don’t care about your concerns, like it or lump it’ (defend or resign is what I believe some comrades were initially told). If for no other reason than putting the interests of the party first it seems to me Comrade M has to be asked/told to step away.

Looking to the immediate future I have real concerns about the case about to be brought against the ‘Facebook Four’. This is not to do with their guilt or otherwise, rather that things have moved on so rapidly that their offenses seem almost trivial compared to the bloggers and their very public allies.

I believe the CC have very wisely not rushed in to disciplining Richard Seymour/China Mieville etc, but if I were one of the four I would certainly question the fairness of being disciplined when those comrades aren’t. My own view was that it was always a tactical error to move against them before conference, and perhaps if we hadn’t we would have some wriggle room now. My real fear is their case will be the next big cause celebre to set the bloggers off once more and probably trigger resignations. I think a lot of comrades would like some respite from the filth that is out there (here I’m talking about non-party bloggers), but these expulsions will only give that filth fresh impetus. If there is any way for the CC to step back from this I feel they should take it. For the same reasons I am against taking disciplinary action against Seymour.

What about the longer term? Here I feel that true and calm leadership may prevent us losing a huge chunk of our young recruits, and with them demoralised older members.

Any influx of young members presents challenges that we have to be able to respond to. I was on a student committee that openly rebelled about the punk paper, carried out a policy of non co-operation with Paul Holborow (his ‘grow up’ contribution brought that memory flooding back) when the CC took Chris Harman off student work because of his stand on the paper. (As an aside It is worth noting that Chris, and indeed for a period Steve Jeffries, remained on the CC long after their differences became very far from ‘nuanced’).

We fought the CC over our attitude to the Afghan rebels, and were all over the place on the downturn, Women’s Voice, Flame etc. The party combined vigorous debate with great patience, and most of us ended up on the right side in these debates and two or three ended up on the CC with others being organisers and longstanding members.

We had a healthy scepticism and distrust of all authority, which was partly why we became revolutionaries in the first place, and we carried some of that bloody-mindedness into the party and directed it at our own leaders.

I think any large scale recruitment of young members will find both a distrust of leadership, and an impatience for it. Such attitudes present challenges, such as the leadership having to earn the trust of young members because they weren’t there for many of the battles and lessons that has earned that leadership the trust and respect of many older members.

Indeed, such scepticism and impatience are necessary elements if these members are to become the next generation of leaders. The alternative is to ‘leave the young people of 29 to the liberals’.

What, though, of the political differences; democratic centralism, feminism etc?

Never has the need for patient explanation been greater. Partly some of the difficulties have been of our own making. Identifying democratic centralism with one type of slate system, or one very messy Disputes Committee case is a grand folly of miseducation.

Nevertheless there is a real ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ tendency among some of the bloggers and some who put their views in the IB. I believe the genuine core of democratic centralism has to be defended, but I believe it has taken a hammering (particularly over the case). So let’s use the pages of the journal to have the argument over the next 12/24 months. Of course there is the pre conference period, but the downturn and Women’s Voice debates lasted at least two years, they were argued out in the ISJ, at Skegness etc, not just in the formal pre conference period. We have to learn that lesson and repeat it.

Similarly over feminism. This year’s women’s discussion was largely uncontroversial, but last year’s felt like a dialogue of the deaf. The young women cadre were attacked by the older women cadre who merely seemed to brush off their ‘Women’s Voice’ debate notes and repeat them in a condescending and haranguing style.

This will not do. If we are to patiently explain, then we must also listen. The new feminism emerged from the wasteland of ‘post feminism’. It emerged against the background of new laddism, an exploding internet porn industry, and dubious models of girl power and raunch culture. This background made many radical women refuse to use the term feminism in case they were seen to be man-hating humourless oddballs. This was not a progressive or left wing rejection of feminism.

Therefore to have a new generation of women calling themselves feminist is a good thing. In articulating itself it frequently does not look or sound like the feminism of the past, and can seem on the face of it to be completely compatible with revolutionary socialism.

Our essential difference with it, however, is that it cannot achieve genuine women’s liberation. That has to be a serious debate, taking on the feminism of today, not that of yesterday (whatever the core similarities between them). It needs to be done in a comradely and serious way, again using the pages of the journal to invite all-comers as we seek to clarify.

We certainly have to get away from treating it as a nasty problem to be eradicated.

Finally, I think the leadership needs to ‘take a chill pill’ over social media. It seems alien to me, but perfectly normal to my nieces and nephews, that the pages of Facebook are used to share almost everything bar the darkest secrets. To them it’s as natural as it was for us to meet a bunch of people in a pub (or at a dinner party for the more sophisticated) and give vent to all our frustrations and disenchantments.

At conference an older comrade said to me we’ve got to ‘stop all this Facebook stuff’ I told him that if the ruling class had understood the internet before it was too late they would have seized and controlled it. If they couldn’t we sure as hell can’t and neither should we want to.

I feel this attitude was typified by the majority of the CC’s response to the internet debate last year. I remarked to somebody that the leadership sounded like aging CP’ersin the late 50s and early 60s denouncing Rock and Roll as an evil expression of American capitalism.

The times they have a changed. If we want young comrades to take us seriously, we need to seriously listen to them about this stuff, instead of panicking about what a seriously run website might do to the review, the journal or even the paper; we have to instead ask is it serious not to have a well run website that is absolutely central to our political/organisational priorities.

My point is that in all the ‘patient explaining’, and ‘politically educating’ we should keep at the forefront of our minds that famous maxim of Lenin’s: ‘Who teaches the teachers?’.

As I say, I have remained as quiet as possible throughout this whole process (though I know some would have liked me to be one speech quieter than I was), but I think we are now fighting for the party’s life and to say nothing is no longer possible.

Pat Stack

92 comments on “SWP Crisis: Pat Stack Writes to Party Members

  1. Why bother on said:

    UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THIS TEXT BE POSTED ON THE INTERNET.

    Hahahahahaha

    It’s the way they tell them

  2. Political precedents on said:

    I think it’s silly to keep tilting at these disclaimers at the top of these kinds of missives. It is surely there to indicate the wish of the person writing. That’s fair enough. It is there also because the person writing knows that that wish will not be respected. That’s life.

    We have all been in situations where we impart something in confidence but are not confident that it will remain so.

    Isn’t it more useful to engage with what this long-standing member of the SWP has to say? People may feel that the SWP is a cancer that should be eradicated. If that is your view, then nothing any of them say will be of merit. But if you think there are a number of people in the SWP who do good things but who are hampered by bad methods then you will have a more mature attitude.

  3. Why bother on said:

    “the filth that is out there (here I’m talking about non-party bloggers)”

    Oh dear, I hope no one’s feelings were hurt by that remark!

  4. Jury Service on said:

    Comrade M ? Mu is the 12th letter in the Greek alphabet . Being chairman of the DC is definitely a full-time job. Still awaiting the outcome of Comrade X’s case, Mr Stack must have a backlog of cases to adjudicate on.

  5. The responsiblity with these various statements being leaked doesn’t lie with Any Newman and Socialist Unity. Any isn’t an SWP member so I assume it wasn’t sent to hm. Instead an SWP member who received it chose to ignore Pat Stack’s express instructions and sent it on to Andy. In those circumstances it is quite obvious any sense of collective discupline, whether or not thats a good thing, has entirely broken down.

    The other point is that in these circumstances whether or not democratic centralism is to be cherished is entirely irrelevant, the discipline that democratic centralism depends on simply no longer exists. The SWP can either choose to ignore that self-evident fact and reduce its ranks solely to the true believers or accommodate to these new circiumstances. There is no other option.

    Mark P

  6. Political precedents on said:

    The disclaimer is clear, and there because it will be ignored. So why not talk about what Pat Stack has to say?

  7. Linda Kronstadt on said:

    Poor Pat, a reformist tinkering around the edges when what the SWP clearly needs … One solution, REVOLUTION.

  8. Why bother on said:

    Political precedents,

    “We have all been in situations where we impart something in confidence but are not confident that it will remain so.”

    A perfectly reasonable sentiment if you’re talking about a small group known personally to yourself. If you’re talking about circulating a document amongst hundreds of people, many of whom will be near or total strangers to the author, it’s just not a realistic thing to write.

  9. Political precedents on said:

    It all depends on confidence, doesn’t it? I can think of groups of hundreds of people I would confide in, under certain circumstances. The circumstances have changed. That’s the issue. It has nothing to do with the means of communication.

    In any case, I think Pat Stack makes some pertinent points. Those are what I find important, not the circumstances in the SWP whereby these things are surely spread far and wide – as Stack is acknowledging.

  10. Am I the only one who cringed at the (apparently obligatory) reference, in the context of engaging with ‘young comrades’, to a Dylan song from 1964?

    Anyway, I’m sick of reading these bulletins. Would anyone mind give it a scan and telling me if it is A) yet another defence of the indefensible, B) the latest brave attempt to engage with reality, or C) a cowardly attempt to fudge the two aforementioned positions?

    Mark P: Any isn’t an SWP member so I assume it wasn’t sent to hm.

    Either that or the SWP’s political acumen is matched only by its inability to keep email lists updated.

  11. Jury Service on said:

    #10
    The easiest multiple choice question I’ve seen in a while. Definitely C) a cowardly attempt to fudge the two aforementioned positions? ….. and sadly doomed to be an abject failure.

    Up till now I have been skeptical as to whether this crisis would lead to the end of the SWP’s existence. Reading this , I’m now starting to believe it. Now I need to ask myself whether we better off without the SWP. I’m not convinced the vacuum will be filled if they disappeared , and the left may be weakened permanently .

  12. It’s a shame those posting are so hostile to the SWP, it would be nice to hear some proper discussion. Par Stack is basically right and it’s surprising that more of the CC aren’t taking the same view.

  13. jim mclean on said:

    “filth”
    FFS.
    The elitism and mindset of the members of this organisation astounds me. I remember the 70′s when they ran around trying to get shop stewards to join and then kicked them out. They are actually afraid of the WC when it thinks for itself.

  14. No it wasn’t sent to me, Pat clearly only sent it to fellow SWP members.

    The point I made is that one of those, or more, chose to ignore Pat’s request and sent it on to Andy at SU. The responsibility for the leak lies with that member not Andy. He’s not an SWP member and any request not to publish doesn’t apply to him.

    But the key point is that for democatic centralism to operate it requires collective self-discipline. That may or may not be a good thing but it is the core requirement. The SWP membership no longer possesses that self-discipline. It will be restored either by the retreat to a party of only the true belivers, by the look of it losing a huge chunk of the membership in the process. Or by a clear decision to abandon the way democratic centralism currently operates in the SWP. No other outcome is feasible. These are high stakes both sides are playing with and Pat Stack’s well thought-out controbution may have decisively shifted that balance away from the CC.

    However, quite what relevance and impact this might have outside of the SWP and the smallish group of leftists fascinated by the SWP’s machinations, who knows?

    Mark P

  15. I’m sorry, but they’re not professionals, you can’t blame the disputes committee for not being able to handle it. They are blameless.

  16. Howard Kirk on said:

    It would be wise for anyone part of the factions/opposition to put the DO NOT LEEK TO THE INTERNET thing at the top just in case they get accused of making it available to the internet or at least giving a nod and a wink to leaking it to the internet.

    It’s a shame they don’t still have the printshop – they could print letterheads with the statement on it and use it for all their correspondence.

    At least SWP loyalists have stopped piping up complaining about putting internal SWP correspondence/matters on the internet. They remind me of record industry people complaining about filesharing or taping records from years back – they might have a point but they may as well not bother.

  17. Bob Noonan on said:

    A reasonable and well-reasoned letter, apart from the crack at non-SWP bloggers. However, someone should warn poor Pat that someone is going around impersonating him. This person spent the early nineties travelling to pre-conference aggregates where he would pour abusive falsehoods on the heads of anyone suspected of “disloyalty”, not to the party, but to the all-knowing CC. If only we’d known he wasn’t the real Pat Stack.

  18. “I think a lot of comrades would like some respite from the filth that is out there (here I’m talking about non-party bloggers), but these expulsions will only give that filth fresh impetus.”

    Sweet. The interesting thing is that as Pat must have realised the letter would appear on non-party blogs, he must have realised that this phrase would be picked up on. Ah, that puckish sense of humour…

    Much as I like my present blog name I may have to change it to Filthy McFilth, The Non-Party Blogger in honour of Pat’s little outburst.

    As for the substance of his letter, it seems to me to be a textbook example of “too little too late”.

  19. jon fanning on said:

    my nickname at school was Filth, short for filthy fanning, so I think he is just being endearing to me, not intending it as an insult

  20. John Grimshaw on said:

    #19 Marks and Spencer are doing two meals for the price of £20 for Valentines day? Is that it? Although if George Hallam is still around that was a WWII tank as well I think.

  21. John Grimshaw on said:

    #20 Avoid conflict with Shane MacGowan who did/used to own a pub in Islington called Filthy MacNasties.

  22. Knarky Badger on said:

    All in all I think Pat Stack is right in this letter. The SWP has to evolve or it will die. Some would celebrate this (There are many good people and activists in its ranks)but if it did die a massive hole on the left would need to be feeled.

  23. Well said on feminism, Pat… ‘to have a new generation of women calling themselves feminist is a good thing’. Women’s liberation is fundamental to socialism. There will be no socialism without women’s liberation.

  24. Howard Kirk on said:

    Maybe Stack is using it in an obligatory manner to prove loyalty a bit like the don’t leek to the internet heading.

    Maybe the filth that is out there can be seen as a new form of ‘bending the stick’ or whatever Tony Cliff used to call it – except it is used on the SWP.

    In this case, all this nasty blog stuff can be seen as adding pressure on the SWP to either change or wither away because it has become increasingly clear that at present, IT is part of the problem and not part of the solution (to reference another 60s lyric) which isn’t Bob Dylan.

  25. Howard Kirk: Maybe Stack is using it in an obligatory manner to prove loyalty a bit like the don’t leek to the internet heading.

    Maybe the filth that is out there can be seen as a new form of ‘bending the stick’ or whatever Tony Cliff used to call it – except it is used on the SWP.

    You could be right. Plus a little birdie has just whispered in my ear that he may have had someone specific in mind with that comment…

  26. Plus a little birdie has just whispered in my ear that he may have had someone specific in mind with that comment…

    That’ll be one of our mutual friends on FB saying it was aimed at Andy Newman here.

    The thing is, as I’ve said before, one of the cultural features you see on the left is, the single points of agreement – so even when the SWP kicked out John and Lindsey, all sides published words to the effect of “we still believe we were right to fight against George Galloway’s attempts to destroy the SWP”.

    And now, all sides agree that this site is, in the words of some oppositionist or other, “disgustingly sectarian”.

    These people don’t even have a clue what “sectarian” means. But it serves as a jumping-off point for the whole party: Andy Newman is beyond the pale. Yes, sure, the SWP has problems, but Andy is a special target cos he did the disgusting thing of publishing the transcript despite this or that alleged email.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, Andy doesn’t run this site alone – I’ve been sent several documents and have published them, and SWP members have specifically asked me to publish things because they know the CC will do whatever it can to avoid keeping the members informed.

  27. Kate: There will be no socialism without women’s liberation.

    There will be no women’s liberation without socialism.

  28. Tony Collins: Yes, sure, the SWP has problems, but Andy is a special target cos he did the disgusting thing of publishing the transcript despite this or that alleged email.

    There’s nothing quite like shooting the messenger eh? It was important that the Comrade Delta affair wasn’t just swept under the carpet, and this blog has played a major role in bringing it to light. Maybe some of the oppositionists might like to reflect on that.

  29. Howard Kirk on said:

    For a long time the standard SWP defence on here was to say:

    1. What right do you have talking about us because it’s an internal matter/you don’t know the details.

    2. Did you know there is x and y happening out there, so why are you not doing something about that instead.

    2. Whilst you were at your computers doing this, we were out doing (insert a worthy cause/activity the party is/was interested in that week).

    3. You disagree with us so you must be a sectarian.

  30. Memory of the party on said:

    Bob Noonan:
    A reasonable and well-reasoned letter, apart from the crack at non-SWP bloggers. However, someone should warn poor Pat that someone is going around impersonating him. This person spent the early nineties travelling to pre-conference aggregates where he would pour abusive falsehoods on the heads of anyone suspected of “disloyalty”, not to the party, but to the all-knowing CC. If only we’d known he wasn’t the real Pat Stack.

    A decent bloke – no doubt. In the pocket of the Stalinist German for years and years. And will he rethink his role in expelling people on the flimsiest of grounds when he was on the Control Commission in the early 1990s?

  31. jim mclean on said:

    If this were in the City of London it would have all the appearances of boardroom manoeuvrings. White Knight bid. All too late of course as the filth at mumsnet say the SWP have lost the students.

  32. Tony Collins: But it serves as a jumping-off point for the whole party

    In a larger and considerably less naff context, that of constructing ethnonationalist identities, Christophe Jaffrelot called this ‘stigmatisation of the Other’. By collectively agreeing that something – it doesn’t really matter what, so long as everyone has a common relation to it – is unconditionally beyond the pale, you implicitly create a safe area within which it is considered legitimate to disagree, increasing the likelihood of agreeing a new synthesis: after all, by creating an enemy, you reaffirm your common identity.

    Which is just my way of saying, it’s bang out of order, and says a lot about the unhealthy group dynamics operating within political movements that adopt this approach.

  33. So the main thrust of the argument was that if the CC had suspended cde Delta the whole thing could have been buried and no one would have known about it. So Pat who was one of the men on the DC and an overwhelming minority at that, wasn’t really interested in the issue, bury a cde for the sake of maintaining …party unity. So whats the point of having a DC committee in the first place? He then argues it was a ‘tactical error’ in expelling 4 comrades prior to conference, not that they cant handle internal criticism so they just expel people for the fun of it.
    Either cde Delta is suspended if this letter is written by Pat Stack or Pat Stack will be shown the revolving door as he has broke ranks with the CC. Factions are now being formed heralding the break up of the SWP…. as the CC will have to take measures against what Pat Stack says or enact his proposals or ingnore them, but they are there as a pre-conference proposal, so cde Deltas head is now on the the chopping block for the …new conference… which wasn’t happening, but now is… to be continued

  34. Jara Handala on said:

    Greetings from the Light Side.

    I had to post on another thread, but in it I made quite a few points about the weekend’s developments, being struck especially by the CC statement banning pre-Conference discussion in branches: the edict says, in effect, no collective discussions (unless you’re in a faction) until you get to the aggregate.

    I posted just a minute ago (#469) at:
    http://www.socialistunity.com/swp-leadership-fracturing-under-the-pressure

    I’ll post here once I’ve read everyone’s remarks.

  35. Man, all those bloggy bloggers with their blog things blogging all day, with their opinions and stuff, it’s just so frustrating! Non-party bloggers! They’re, like, people who are not members of our party, but who know what’s going on. They receive our internal documents, despite the explicit notice at the top. They have, like, their own opinions, and they’re posting them, and our people are reading them and forming their own filthy opinions. AAARGH.

    But the CC really need to take a chill pill about social media. >:-|

  36. I think there’s a danger of confusing the framing of the statement with its substance. It’s framed in terms which are party-minded in the extreme – everything positive is ultimately justified in terms of the (present or future) health of the SWP, because after all what higher good could there be? This can make it seem cynical or even petty to people outside that mindset. For people within it – including a lot of SWP members and the overwhelming majority of the SWP apparat, who I think Pat Stack is also trying to influence – it’s a kind of necessary background music, like Jesuit-taught kids who write “AMDG” at the top of every page, since after all everything should be for the greater glory of God.

    Tune that out & I think Father Stack – sorry, Comrade Stack – has some sensible things to say. You do have to wonder quite how deep this new-found hatred of groupthink and control-freakery runs, but maybe that’s a question for later.

  37. Karl Stewart on said:

    Strong rumour doing the rounds that Alex Callinicos told the ISJ editorial committee that at the forthcoming special conference the oppositionists will be facing “lynch mobs” if they don’t “knuckle down.

  38. “We must stop all this facebook stuff”

    If you wanted a quote that perhaps sums up why the SWP hierarchy is fucked it might be that. Maybe they should put on the masthead of Socialist Worker. Maybe make same placards.

    On the question of whether Martin Smith, or whatever cryptic pseudonym he’s being referred to as today, should remain in a ‘leadership position’, Charlie Kimber’s response was interesting when he insisted that it would be ‘unfair’ to remove him from ‘political life.’ Interesting only because ‘political life’ is equated with being in a leadership position. Heaven forbid he should be a rank and file member. Also interesting when you consider that the second woman who complained of sexual harassment was removed from her job at the national office ‘in the interests of harmony.’ However, even with the SWP imploding, apparently it’s not in the interests of harmony that Smith should step down, even temporarily. How filthy is that, Pat?

  39. Nick Fredman on said:

    Kate: Well said on feminism, Pat… ‘to have a new generation of women calling themselves feminist is a good thing’. Women’s liberation is fundamental to socialism. There will be no socialism without women’s liberation.

    But the ignorance of even those SWPers doing some re-thining on this apparently thinking there’s one homogenous ideology of “feminism” is a bit mind boggling. Presumably they don’t think there’s one single coherent form of trade unionism or anti-racism.

    Stack at least sort of recognises differences in feminism, in that today’s singular “feminism” is different from yesterday’s singular “feminism”: but he appears to have no idea that that there are various strands of Marxist, social democratic and liberal feminism just are there are various strands of Marxist, social democratic and liberal trade unionism and anti-racism. This ignorance (and idealist reification of a word) must be wilful unless they also haven’t worked out how to type “feminism” into the Google field of their browser toolbar.

  40. Following the logic of Nicks’s cod intelectualism perhaps this blog should be renamed socialist (sino-labourist) unity.

  41. Karl Stewart on said:

    If the “lynch mobs” statement was indeed made by Alex Calinicos at the ISJ editorial committee meeting, would this be a breach of SWP rule?

    Further to that, there is a claim that an SWP oppositionist in a north London branch has twice been physically assaulted by supporters of the Calinicos faction. If this is true, would this be a breach of SWP rule?

  42. Karl Stewart: Further to that, there is a claim that an SWP oppositionist in a north London branch has twice been physically assaulted by supporters of the Calinicos faction.

    Quick! Someone call the disputes committee…

  43. @Manzil

    “Quick! Call the disputes committee”

    Yes and make damn sure it is packed with supporters of the accused… Justice SWP style…

  44. jim mclean on said:

    Just went on to Urbandictionary to check out Filth.
    Obviously the top definition is the Met. But apparently its male equivalent of MILF, FILTH, Father I’d Like To Hump.My slang is so out of date.

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

  46. Jara Handala on said:

    We have the Parti Communiste Francais, now emerging from the Dark Side of Real Life is the Permanent Callinicos Faction.

    Mussolini & Hitler had plebiscites. PCF has plebiscites. Stallinicos forever!

    CC forbids discussion of Conf. matters in the branches; legal (article 1). Can you believe that? Controlling branch agenda? Guess it’s just hot air, distraction from immersion in the class & its struggle.

    Purpose of Conf.? “. . . to reaffirm the decisions of January’s conf. & the NC, resolve some recent debates [??], clarify some elements of the constit’n [on factions] & move the party forwards” (#10). So plebiscite. No motions from the floor? Seems so. So what’s the point of having a faction? But then plebiscites are for the plebs.

    CC is incorrect in saying (legal) factions can’t exist outside 3 mth. pre-conf. period, which is why they will try to change constit’n (by simple majority – article after the 10th).

    Q: if CC thinks IDOOP is illegal then its members MUST be disciplined. Is CC that weak it doesn’t? Seems so.

    Q: as CC has violated constit’n in calling a Special Conf. WITHOUT a 3 mth. disc’n period who will write & issue the summons for them to be disciplined in front of . . . the CC? Again, where’s the DC when you need it?

    Q:why didn’t CC have a chat with IDOOP to cool things a lil? Coz they’re well ‘ard. ‘Av it! Cumm on, cumm on, so you fink yur ‘ard?

    Kimber needs to go back to that agency & return with some decent PCF trolls to get on here coz the calibre they’ve sent so far has proved very, very disappointing. Their spelling is ok but we need PCF trolls with PERSONALITY.

    Latest rumour from Brick Lane: given all this extra expense the Merchandising Dept. of SWP plc has had 10000 T-shirts printed, on the front ‘Support the DC7, “maintain & strengthen party unity & principle” (article 7)’, on the back ‘Defenders & Protectors of the Faith’.

    Viva DC7!! Viva DC7!! Viva DC7!!

    But I sense a 3rd Period turn is on its way, some crazy ultra-leftism the likes of which we haven’t seen, something to galvanise the troops, to keep them very, very busy.

    Seems the locust is famished – again.

  47. Jara Handala: Latest rumour from Brick Lane: given all this extra expense the Merchandising Dept. of SWP plc has had 10000 T-shirts printed, on the front ‘Support the DC7, “maintain & strengthen party unity & principle” (article 7)’, on the back ‘Defenders & Protectors of the Faith’.

    You mock, but I’d buy one. ;)

  48. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil,

    Manzil, I admire your political openness, it’s refreshing: it’s how a scientific socialist has to be. It took me a while to get over an attachment to an -ism. The principal anti-scientific aspect of an -ism is that it is defined, it has as its nature, some body of argument that is deemed infallible, incapable of improvement.

    Chuck saw those French guys & said, “Je n’est pas un marxiste”. Ah, oui, Charles. Je comprends.

  49. Jara Handala on said:

    Hch,

    Yo, cde.

    Distraction.

    False flag.

    Party throws itself into the class struggle – not off the cliff.

    Respect.

  50. ‘Karl Stewart: Further to that, there is a claim that an SWP oppositionist in a north London branch has twice been physically assaulted by supporters of the Calinicos faction.

    Quick! Someone call the disputes committee…’

    Doubt they’d be interested, though the Daily Mail probably would be.

  51. Jara Handala: Their spelling is ok but we need PCF trolls with PERSONALITY.

    I had a personality once but must have left it in London when I moved to France.

    Now apparently congress has decided I have to throw out all my hammer and sickle T shirts and learn to love Trots- it’s not the same being a communist anymore.

  52. Pete Shield: Now apparently congress has decided I have to throw out all my hammer and sickle T shirts and learn to love Trots- it’s not the same being a communist anymore.

    Be strong Pete. What our trots need is tough love

  53. “My starting point is that I want the essentials of our politics to be maintained whilst loss of membership is minimised.”

    Human beings are expendable. Politics? Not so much.

    I wonder if they’ve read Marx’s stuff on alienation?

  54. Jara Handala on said:

    Pete Shield,

    The mountaineering equipment. The conveyor. The last act in the service of the Party.

    It was all downhill when they opened the camps. But I think it started when Stalin went soft & released some German workers-in-uniform in the late 40s – a sign of weakness.

    Professor Dark Side has learnt from all this. He’s written a secret book:
    Procrustean Marxism: Learning How to Purge, How to Remain Pure.
    Been sent to all full-timers by UPS Saturday afternoon.

    The Comrade Enforcer-in-Chief, trainer of the bash-the-fash squads, has been given the most exalted of missions: to release onto the membership freshly trained Red Renewal Brigades, all wearing the DC7 T-shirts I mentioned.

    It’s getting real ugly. This will be beyond Quasimodo. It could be Hostel III.

  55. “I think a lot of comrades would like some respite from the filth that is out there (here I’m talking about non-party bloggers), but these expulsions will only give that filth fresh impetus. If there is any way for the CC to step back from this I feel they should take it. For the same reasons I am against taking disciplinary action against Seymour.”

    This is a purely instrumentalist approach – the reason for not persecuting or excluding the opposition is not for any REAL matters of principle, considerations of comradeship, or wanting to discuss matters, but simply because the filth ( = any non-SWP who take an interest) might gain leverage.

  56. Todor Zhivkov on said:

    Nick Wright,

    A soft line on Trots is endemic in modern Stalinist these days.
    Be tough on Trots, and tough on the causes of Trots ; )

    Ray O. Light: ‘Socialism is. A chicken in every pot. And an ice-pick in every Trot’

  57. Todor Zhivkov: And an ice-pick in every Trot’

    Ice picks- so very last century, and anyway we may as well put these hammer and sickles we no longer are allowed to good use.

    I’m finding the PCF’s new line a little difficult to adopt, must be nice to Trots in the Front de Gauche, but luckily that still leaves the train wreck that is the NPA to make fun of, and LO if I can find any – they all seem to have disappeared.

    Only joking prianikoff about using the hammers and sickles- can never be sure which side you got out of bed this morning.

  58. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    In the lead up to the election of the Pope the College of Cardinals (the CC) has announced that factions of over 300,000 members of the Catholic Church are allowed which must be disbanded after the election. Faction documents can only be circulated via the Vatican to ensure that all members receive them. Anyone posting such documents on Catholic Unity will be excommunicated. A decision on the new Pope will be made by the CC, which is appointed by the previous Pope. The CC comprises full time Bishops in good standing who have been in control of dioceses. Outside of the main Catholic church related organisations are led by Patriarchs who have no say in the CC. In recent months, groups of liberation theologists have been challenging the accepted structures of the Church, in particular the role of Primate X and the Inquiry on Heretical Perversity. The most likely outcome of this debate is a schism.

  59. Jara Handala on said:

    Superb! Loved it!

    Ross Bradshaw: groups of liberation theologists have been challenging the accepted structures

    Contaminated with those alien ideas from the wider society, obviously. Movementism. Feminism. Autonomism. Transparency. Accountability. Participatory decision-making, even at the lowest level, the minions self-determining their future. Bishops elected by the priests, not by the cardinals. Attempts to dissolve the total institution, learning from Goffman.

    I even saw on the net a vid from ‘Spiritual Materialism’, the elevated expression of the simpler ‘Catholicism 2012′, the event for the mass market, the seminarians. ‘S/M’ is for the scholar caste in the Church, its very own select journal, international conferences, book series, hugely expensive.

    I showed the ‘S/M’ vid to a group of critical thinking seminarians, the best we have. It was Dr Roland Boer discussing the relevance of Hal Draper’s ideas on the pseudo-Marxist cult to institutional developments in Catholicism. These Brazilian lads went ballistic, crashing past me as they rushed outside to release tension, slamming a football about, losing it in the hothouse. The power of ideas, in these interesting times, remains undiminished.

    Ross Bradshaw: posting such documents on Catholic Unity

    Can we have the link, please.

    Ross Bradshaw: the role of Primate X

    The least said the better. Was it all those martial arts training trips into the forest, all that camping, the canoeing, the cavorting?

  60. Forever Delayed on said:

    “Here I feel that true and calm leadership may prevent us losing a huge chunk of our young recruits, and with them demoralised older members.”

    Surely the SWP has lost a “huge chunk” of its members already?

  61. Jon Fanning on said:

    So “What is to be done”, we should think practicalities, as a starter might I suggest 5 basic and very simple motions be put to conference. (I am an ex-member who left because of concerns about bureaucracy and behaviour, not politics).

    1 The CC, DC and NC to be elected at conference by majority vote, each branch to have 1 vote per member in good standing divided equally between delegates. The number of times each delegate votes shall be twice for every three members of the committee to be elected.

    2 Members may discuss within and without the party all policies and decisions of conference/party but may not act against those decisions or identify any member who may be put at risk by being identified.

    3 Delegates to be elected at branch meetings by majority vote, each branch member will have one vote less than the number of delegates to be elected. Branches are entitled to one delegate per 5 members in good standing, minimum of 2.

    4 No CC member shall be an employee of the party by virtue of being on the CC.

    5 All party committees to be re-elected at this conference under the new rules.

    This should protect minority rights without the need for permanent factions, any decent well organised minority opinion should get some representation on the various committees and minorities in Branches be able to get some delegates. No need to have permanent factions, and there will be a right to factions without the need for faction rights that can cause disputes to be ossified. (I am on this committee due to this dispute, better keep the dispute going to stay on this committee.)

  62. Jara Handala on said:

    Jon Fanning: The number of times each delegate votes shall be twice for every three members of the committee to be elected.

    Nice to meet you, Jon.

    I can see you’ve given this some thought, which is exactly what such matters as these deserve.

    I’m having a prob understanding. Can you go thru this with me, please?

    Thanx again for going to the trouble to do this.

  63. Jellytot on said:

    @78Surely the SWP has lost a “huge chunk” of its members already?

    What does and what doesn’t constitute a “member” of the SWP is a rather opaque affair.

    The SWP leadership have a rather cunning and devious little device where they will inform a “member” who is being troublesome that they’ve checked the records and the person in question isn’t a member after all and hasn’t been one for some time.

    This happened to Mark Steel and is recounted in his 2008 book. He had to get bank statements to prove he was paying his subs and the payments were up-to-date.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the same ruse wasn’t tried on these oppositionists….”Errr,Sorry, you missed a sub payment in November of 2009, that means technically you haven’t been a member since then….Bye!”

  64. Jara Handala on said:

    Jellytot: What does and what doesn’t constitute a “member” of the SWP is a rather opaque affair.

    Yo, Jellytot

    Constitution says, “Any member over three months in arrears may be excluded from membership” (article 2).

    Nice: are you with us or against us?

    Get your coat!

    Come to think of it, you owe 35 so we’ll keep it. Here’s 1.20 for your busfare.

  65. Jellytot on said:

    @82Here’s 1.20 for your busfare.

    God! Is that how much a busfare is nowadays?…..I haven’t been on one since about 1992 but thanks for the nice gesture.

    I will, of course, cancel my subscription to SR and ISJ.

  66. Karl Stewart on said:

    My understanding is there are two SWP membership “categories”

    According to the first one – “has paid a contribution in the last two years” – there were around 7,000 pre-crisis.
    (People in this “category,” who could, it seems, include anyone who’s made a donation, would be considered supporters or sympathisers rather than current members in other parties.)

    And according to the second – “pays a regular sub” (which would generally be considered a reasonable membership definition in other parties) – there were around 2,000 pre-crisis.

    Who knows what the true current figure is? It may be lower than that pre-crisis 2,000 number today.

    I think they’re not registered with the electoral commission as a political party, so they can make up any membership figures or “categories” they like.

  67. Jara Handala on said:

    Karl Stewart: two SWP membership “categories”

    Yo.

    Central Cttee. report, ‘Building the Party’, Nov 2012 (like the Constitution) uses only one conception of member: 7597 as of 25 Oct.

    Paying “regular subs” (regular not defined: great!) = 32% = 2431

    But my analysis somewhere here shows recruitment has been same 2008-12 (but down in the projected 2012) & the membership rise each & every year is only coz they aren’t culling like they have in the past.

    2008-12 recruited on average 18 a week. England & Wales population >18 = 45 million. Long way to go still.

    (But a cull – purge – may be ushered in with the ushers directing peeps to their seats for the theatrical trials.)

    We could all join today, online or fill in the box at a paper sale. You could be EDL & join, no question.

  68. Jara Handala on said:

    Karl Stewart: Who knows what the true current figure is?

    A good indication is turnout for key events, Resistance Against the Cuts, etc..

    Makes one think even 1500 may be on the high side.

    But all this running to stand still, now almost 80 years now in the UK, it must takes its toll, don’t you think?

  69. Jon Fanning on said:

    Jara Handala: I’m having a prob understanding. Can you go thru this with me, please?
    Thanx again for going to the trouble to do this.

    Yes it is a bit college of cardinals.

    the idea is you give every delegate a chunk of votes to allocate as they see fit, if they could vote once per seat the majority would get all the votes, if you voted only once even tiny minorities might end up on the CC getting it hopelessly split so you get to vote a fraction of the number of seats. I suggest 2/3, this means the majority get the majority of seats, maybe even an absolute majority if the majority is big enough, but a number of seats will end up in the hands of reasonably large minorities, who have the opportunity then to pursue their case, but are inside and thus have to put in some leg work for the good of the party if they want to remain legitimate in the eyes of the rank and file.

    Is that any clearer?

  70. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jara Handala: A good indication is turnout for key events, Resistance Against the Cuts, etc..
    Makes one think even 1500 may be on the high side.

    Hmmm…not so sure if turnout for national events is necessarily a fair measure of membership. There will always be those local branch members (in any organisation) who can’t get to national events, or don’t have the spare time etc. And also there’ll be supporters/sympathisers who aren’t members but still come along.

  71. Pingback: WHAT IS FILTH? | Socialist Unity

  72. Kronsteen on said:

    “Not to be flyposted.” :-)

    Compare Pat Stack’s sane and reasoned article above with the stuff at Harry’s Place – calling the SWP “a cult of rape”.

    Then compare with Callinicos’s article mentioning “the dark side of the internet”.

    Why are most politicos more into hate than politics?

  73. Will Podmore on said:

    If the SWP has 2 membership “categories”, the first one, “has paid a contribution in the last two years”,
    and the second, “pays a regular sub”, it sounds more like a pile of Mensheviks than a Bolshevik party.
    In fact, the whole Martin Smith affair proves the rottenness of the SWP, proves that its vaunted feminism is a lie, and proves that its purported respect for young people is a lie.
    The whole subsequent debate is just gutter politics, name-calling and factionalism.
    Don’t you ever wonder, any of you, whether the dishonest lack of realism so evident now typifies your whole lying ideology?