SWP leadership fracturing under the pressure

It seems that Mark Bergfeld last night resigned from the Central Committee (CC) of the SWP; Mark stood for President of the National Union of Students in 2011, and his departure is further evidence of a generational split in the organisation. At this stage it is speculation, but his resignation may be because disciplinary measures were agreed at last night’s CC meeting, to expel SWP oppositionists.

The comrade Delta crisis has shown that the SWP’s lack of internal democratic structures and its monolithic culture has made it incapable of dealing with a real political crisis. At last Sunday’s 50 strong lay member National Committee I understand that the opposition garnered about 9 votes, which means that the majority acted like rabbits stuck in the headlights, unable to move as disaster hurtles towards them.

Particularly despicable and intellectually hollow was the letter circulated to NC by the SWP’s court jester, John Molyneux. He has in the past championed change in the SWP, but rather in the manner that Jaroslav Hašek, author of “The Good Soldier Švejk” once satirically suggested the idea of a political party dedicated to only those mild reforms acceptable to the Kaiser.

Molyneux believes that the crisis is to do with poor discipline about the SWP’s own decision making:

I attended the recent party conference and believe it was conducted in exemplary democratic fashion. Indeed I am not aware of any substantial complaint about the conduct of conference from any quarter. At that conference the CC majority received the backing of the majority on all the disputed questions after thorough and fair debate. The majority on accepting the DC was quite narrow, but still clear, and on electing the new CC it was substantial (5 to3). The CC, therefore, has a clear mandate to lead. Democracy does not mean that we all get our own way, it means the majority gets its way.

The demand for a recall conference is not a democratic demand but an anti-democratic demand designed to undermine the vote of the majority.

Yes, there are circumstances when the demand for a recall conference is legitimate; for example when there is major new development, such as the outbreak of an unforeseen war or major strike, on which the party is divided as to its response. But this not one of them. Nothing has changed in the outside world except for the public furore CREATED BY THOSE WHO DISAGREED with conference decisions.

No, the crisis is due to the fact that the SWP had the presumption to hold a kangaroo court to investigate an alleged RAPE, with an incompetent panel comprising the accused’s mates, and attitudes to what is appropriate questioning of a woman complaining of rape that would have embarassed the fictional detective, Gene Hunt. The crisis is due to the conceit of the SWP’s leadership that they could overcome the political scandal by reality defying edicts that the matter was closed. The crisis is casued by the scandal of expelling people from an organisation in a brutal and indefensible way. The crisis is caused by the self-interested actions of the senior management clique in the SWP, who are clearly more interested in preserving their own positions at the expense of their “party”, contemptuous of the work, dedication and commitment of hundreds of lay members they are jeopardising. The crisis is a real one as mainstream media attention, and the social media are exposing the lack of democracy, and unpleasant culture of bullying and authoritarianism in the SWP, making the brand toxic.

 John Molyneux’s argument that because what has happened in the real world has been precipitated by whistle blowers who oppose the SWP’s mishandling of the alleged rape, then the SWP can afford to ignore it, and try to carry on as normal is risible. What has changed in the real world is that the SWP has damaged its reputation beyond repair; and the loyalist majority are in danger of becoming a full blown cult. Molyneux’s position is forced upon him because to question or jettison the leadership at this stage would endanger the SWP’s existance; but it is timid and contemptible because not to do so creates an even greater risk of colluding in something that is morally bankrupt.

492 comments on “SWP leadership fracturing under the pressure

  1. Jon Fanning on said:

    I phoned the SWP this morning and explained that if any expulsions over this take place we will move no confidence in any SWP members on our UCU branch executive. It is tragic as they are far and away the best organisers we have.

    I will also cancel my DD to the party, I am not a member but I have been paying them money for years.

  2. Jara Handala on said:

    Jon Fanning,

    It is obviously regretful that you have decided to do this, Jon, but you are right to do so.

    It’s a stepping up of the gears to try and remove SWP members/supporters/sympathisers from their TU posts, but it is something that MAY bring the Callinicos permanent faction to their senses.

    But please let me ask you one thing: are you proposing to remove individuals regardless of their view about the SWP crisis, or just those who agree with the Disputes Cttee. action? Are you in favour of removing SWP oppositionists? Wouldn’t that be both counter-productive & unwarranted?

    Also is it of relevance to you the view someone held on the expulsions matter or is it simply the DC matter?

  3. Mark P on said:

    I feel the same way as Jon.

    In terms of Jara’s point, the SWP, or a dissident member, would have to release the votes and names of the NC members. Failing that the SWP menbers resisting such votes would have to break DC by admitting whivh way they voted in order to save their hard won positions.

    Probably won;t happen, but if it does, just about all those who’ve backed the bad Professor deserve.

    Mark P

  4. ‘It’s a stepping up of the gears to try and remove SWP members/supporters/sympathisers from their TU posts..

    I’m not aware of this sort of tactic being used before: left TU members seeking to remove branch reps from their posts because of their membership of a left wing party. I’m guessing it may have happened with CP reps in the past, but that would most likely have been from members on the right. And I’m not aware how constitutional it would be.

    .. but it is something that MAY bring the Callinicos permanent faction to their senses’.

    This I doubt. You only have to read the motions of the CC to the National Committee to see that it’s clear that the CC are as determined as they are oblivious to reality to move to expulsion.

  5. Jara Handala on said:

    Sam64,

    Having re-read what Jon wrote, he said that if any expulsions NOW occur a motion of no confidence would be made against ALL the SWP members on his branch exec.

    Hence my questions to Jon. But it isn’t a move coz they are MEMBERS of a certain party: it’s being done coz of WHAT that party has done. Hence my Qs to Jon as to whether the exec member is pro- or anti- 2013 expulsions is relevant. As he has phrased it their view would be irrelevant, & that has to be wrong.

  6. Jon Fanning on said:

    Sorry, should have been clear.

    Clearly they will be asked to repudiate the CCs decision on expulsions. (The message I left is clear, the move will only be made if the SWP expel oppositionists)and if they do then no problem.

    I have always believed the SWP would be at the core of any revolutionary movement, alongside other currents, it itself is not the revolutionary party in miniature, but that it needed to get its democratic act together if it was to “fulfil its historical role”.

    This is a key movement, if you allow it to become a sect and or a cult then you have no place on a union branch committee, if you fight for it to be an open democratic revolutionary socialist party then I believe you will be a force for good and a credit to the left on any committee regardless of where I stand on your specific brand of left wing politics.

    I actually understand why they tried to deal with comrade Delta internally, but they should have brought in outside experts on rape, and once it clearly had gone horribly wrong they should have held their hands up, we all fuck up sometimes, but there belief in the infallibility of the CC is the issue here.

  7. Yes well, Jon can answer for himself if he’s still around.

    Having thought about it for a couple of minutes, I think such a move would be a disaster if systematically carried out. We come back to the point that’s been made so often for: SWP members are the best, indeed in some cases the only, activists around in many TU branches. Certainly that’s the case in my union, UCU. And they make up the activists in UCU Left that was, in the past, quite effective.

    As for: ‘It isn’t a move coz they are MEMBERS of a certain party: it’s being done coz of WHAT that party has done’. I’m guessing that you’re a UCU member as well, it’s pretty much an academic distinction.

  8. Jon Fanning on said:

    To be clear the message I described as clear is the one I left with the SWP, not the two above both of which are not that clear, but hopefully are clearer now.

    Is that clear?

  9. Sam64: SWP members are the best, indeed in some cases the only, activists around in many TU branches.

    That certainly isn’t true in most unions. Not true in UNITE, certainly not true in GMB, not true in CWU.

    When I go to SW TUC meetings the SWP members there lecture the rest of us, but there is no evidence they have any better workplace organisation

  10. You are still around Jon but, as I suggest, I think it would be wrong to make UCU (or any other union) branch exec members continued position dependent on answering NO to the question ‘Do you agree with the expulsion of the oppositionists from the SWP?’. 1) It would weaken branches at a critical time for UCU & public FE, HE; 2) it would bemuse most branch members with, what they’d see, as the internecine goings on on the far left.

  11. stuart on said:

    Mark P,

    As SWP members we are bound by majority decisions so there is no point even trying to differentiate in the way that are attempting to do. BTW, are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? Answer the question! Answer the question!

  12. stuart: As SWP members we are bound by majority decisions so there is no point even trying to differentiate in the way that are attempting to do.

    In which case if their decisions are indeed made for them by people outside the union, they should be disqualified for elected union office, and that could be explained to members easliy.

  13. ‘That certainly isn’t true in most unions’.

    Perhaps. My outlook here is swayed by one SWP UCU activist I know who has worked tirelessly despite a very hostile management and apathetic workforce. Quite what her attitude to the SWP at the moment is I don’t know. I know of other SWP members who only like to rhetorically grand stand a bit at branch meetings..

  14. Mark P on said:

    Yes and no cttee was ever charged with investigating a rape by a member of the CP while I was a member.

    Don’t play the McCarthyite card. There will be SWP mebers standing for election to equality officer positions in my union, I have the absolute right to kow their view on the organisatiin they are a menber of investigating the charge of rape. If they choose not to give that view then thats their look out.

    Mark P

  15. Jon Fanning on said:

    you have never had to serve on committees with members of bizarre far left cults before obviously, the long term damage they could do to the union as they sink is frightening, maybe I should just stick to cancelling my dd though, up to now they have been the best activists in my union, but what could happen does not bare thinking about.

    Pause for thoughtful contemplation (obviously Stuart I do not CC infallibility)

  16. Jon Fanning on said:

    s it paranoid to suggest that at a time when the SWP is quite big in moribound union branches driving them forward, and the state is on the offensive, blowing up the SWP and thus crippling the opposition would be a good tactic, or am I underestimating our ability to destroy ourseleves at a time of opportunitty?

  17. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: In which case if their decisions are indeed made for them by people outside the union, they should be disqualified for elected union office, and that could be explained to members easliy.

    Stuart you rather fell in to that one.

  18. Jara Handala on said:

    Sam64,

    I don’t know what an academic distinction is.

    So, an example. Moving a motion of no confidence in someone coz they are simply a member of a political organisation (which happens to speak with one voice), compared with moving it against someone coz the political organisation they are a member of has done something unacceptable. So, the upsetting reason is being a member compared with the behaviour of the org’n.

    Have I made it clear?

  19. Jon Fannings idiotic proposal to visit collective punishment on SWP members if that organisation’s leadership decides to expel dissident members has the flavour of a spurned lover in vengeful temper at a betrayal.
    If the SWP’s defining conceit is to confuse its own fortunes with those of the working class this proposal echoes the SWP’s own substitutionism.
    People get elected to responsible positions in the trade union movement for a variety of reasons most usually for their personal qualities and but not often because they are members of this or that political organisation.
    The SWP seems intent on rendering itself a marginal sect again. This is a mixed blessing but where SWP members enjoy the confidence of their workmates they should be judged on their own merits.

  20. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    You say “SWP members are BOUND by majority decisions”. Bound to do what? What are you prohibited from doing? It’s really not obvious what the duty of an SWP member is after a decision has been made. Can you tell us what it means?

  21. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jon Fanning’s suggestion was to move no confidence in the SWP on his UCU branch if they start expelling their rebels. And clearly if thats what union branches want to do, then they will do it. Personally I think it would be wrong to do so on that issue. Internal SWP matters are their matters. On the other hand Mark Perryman raises a more important issue to which there is no easy answer. If the SWP doesn’t satisfactorily resolve the issues raised by its at best cack-handed handling of the rape allegations how can other trades unionists (or at least the ones who know about it) be happy with the organisations members being elected to TU positions, never mind just the equalities officers?

  22. Andy Newman: In which case if their decisions are indeed made for them by people outside the union, they should be disqualified for elected union office, and that could be explained to members easliy.

    So now you are in favour of turning the clock back to the dark days of the Cold War.

  23. Jon Fanning:
    s it paranoid to suggest that at a time when the SWP is quite big in moribound union branches driving them forward, and the state is on the offensive, blowing up the SWP and thus crippling the opposition would be a good tactic, or am I underestimating our ability to destroy ourseleves at a time of opportunitty?

    It probably would be extremely paranoid to suggest that is what is happening here.

    Occam’s razor, and all that.

    Do you believe the state is responsible for ‘blowing up the SWP’?

  24. Jon Fanning on said:

    Nick Wright,

    “Jon Fannings idiotic proposal”

    I don’t mind debate and criticism but thanks for demonstrating why the left gets nowhere – personal abuse to kick off an otherwise reasonable comment – you could not resist making your self feel clever could you.

    BTW most people end up in union positions these days becaus noone else wants them, the left is incredibly weak now, and the SWPs degeneration will only mkae it weaker.

  25. Jon Fanning on said:

    Manzil,

    Do you believe the state is responsible for ‘blowing up the SWP’?

    No, I think we destroy ourselves too readily, the state does not need to.

  26. Mark P: >Don’t play the McCarthyite card. There will be SWP mebers standing for election to equality officer positions in my union, I have the absolute right to kow their view on the organisatiin they are a menber of investigating the charge of rape. If they choose not to give that view then thats their look out.Mark P

    Perhaps you should stop using McCarthyite language. The complaint was an internal party matter, you seem to be in favour of people getting opinions from sources hostile to the party and the left. The other day you were in favour of ‘naming names’ on the basis of how people were voting without the slightest consideration of what arguments were being presented before any vote.

  27. Stuart ‘turning the clock back’

    Turning the click back to a time when revolutionary parties felt they were best placed to investigate an accusation of rape beggars belief and the organisation responsible for continuing on this course will be haunted by that for a long time to come. Can’t wait to see the Marxism 2013 programme to see which session Comrade Delta wil be speaking in!

    Mark P

  28. John Grimshaw on said:

    #24 Well he may be (but then he can clearly speak for himself) but I’m not at all in favour of a witch-hunt, especially given that the majority of SWP member trades unionists do a good job and are capable of both being SWP members and being supporters of their respective TU at the same time. But you do I think have to answer the point I made at #23. And you really can’t say things like you did at #12 which gives a false impression of how your comrades operate within TUs (well most of them). I find it strange Stuart, that if I as a none member can know this, why don’t you seem to?

  29. The accuatuin of rape and the way it is handled is not ‘an internal party matter’ whatever the party. The idea that a socialist could describe rape as such is really quite extraordinary.

    Mark P

  30. John Grimshaw on said:

    stuart: What, fell in to accepting a Cold War narrative?

    No into giving the impression (falsely IMO) that you and your comrades who operate in TUs are only concerned with their organisations priorities irrespective of whether this is at the expense of union members. Although I have known some trots over the years who get elected to TU positions and then spend most of their time on their respective party’s affairs, especially if the position involves facilities time.

  31. OldTrot on said:

    The obvious schadenfreude Andy Newman is deriving out of all this is nothing short of sickening.
    I wouldn’t mind his criticisms so much if he at least gave an honest account of the circumstances. But instead he continues to spread half-truths and slurs as though they are fact.

    For example, the uninformed reader would think that the DC was deliberately packed with D’s ‘mates’, and that it was constituted for the case. At least he has dropped the racist ‘sharia’ epithet for ‘kangaroo’. It’s still bollocks.

    The DC comprises elected representatives, 5 of them women, (one of whom is an experienced rape counsellor) and the fact that they all know Delta is hardly surprising given his prominent role in the Party. If the charge had been one of theft the same problem would have arisen. I doubt though that people would have questioned the competence of the DC to adjudicate on the matter or used caps for ‘theft’.

    There is certainly an urgent case for reviewing procedures when disciplinary issues involve prominent members, but the personal integrity of the comrades on the DC is not at question. As for competency, I would argue that their competence is no less (and possibly higher) than that of the average jury member.

    As for the foam-flecked and ad hominem attack on Molyneux’s statement, his arguments are perfectly legitimate, so tackle the arguments themselves, rather than resort to abstract moralising and appeals to fictional feelings from fictional characters.

  32. Mark P: The accuatuin of rape and the way it is handled is not ‘an internal party matter’ whatever the party. Mark P

    Even when the expressed wish of the complainant is to make it an internal party matter?

  33. John Grimshaw: No into giving the impression (falsely IMO) that you and your comrades who operate in TUs are only concerned with their organisations priorities irrespective of whether this is at the expense of union members.

    You seem to imply that party membership is likely to hinder trade union activism. I disagree.

    I would add however that loyalty to Labour is bound to hamper trade union effectiveness. Not wanting to upset Miliband is hardly a recipe for fighting cuts.

  34. What of Cde Delta was found guily? Does it then still remain an internal party matter?

    Theft, rape, murder? Is there anything outside of the SWP DC jusisdiction? Where and how is any line drawn?

    There is absolutely no logic in any of this except some warped logic founded on Bolshevik practice I suppose.

    Mark P

  35. Stuart, here’s a thought….and it’s radical but have you ever considered…erm.. thinking for yourself…? Have you considered breaking from this so-called collective decision? Give it a try it might be liberating.

    Also, this art of distraction politics is getting tedious. It would be oh so brilliant if the SWP leadership started to take some responsibility for its reprehensible behaviour over this allegation if rape. Instead you cry “not fair” and intimate it is some kind of witch hunt against SWP. But as a socialist feminist and a trade unionist I am bloody disgusted and have nothing but contempt for the way the rape allegation was dealt with or not dealt with and loyalist cheer leaders like yourself just increase my absolute contempt. Does it occur to you how people, especially women, on the outside looking in are perceiving the SWP? SWP are crumbling and destroying themselves due to their own arrogance and hubris. It shows no insight or awareness but a blinkered attitude and contempt for its own membership. Along with cult of leadership, which means no democracy and oppositionists silenced by expulsion. Wow…. The SWP are are exposing themselves daily just how rotten things can get….

    Wake up Stuart and smell the goddamn stench coming from the organisation you worship!

  36. As for the foam-flecked and ad hominem attack on Molyneux’s statement, his arguments are perfectly legitimate,

    His arguments are galavanting bollocks. The SW rulebook allows for a recall conference, but actually calling for one is undemocratic? He misses the second half of the democratic equation: the majority get their way, the minority get their say (and to be meaningful, getting your say means having the opportunity to try and become a majority). It is legitimate for the losing side of a vote to call attention to the strength of their feeling by calling for a ‘recount’ (and also an opportunity to to try and persuade some others to come over to their side).

    If the CC had half a wit, they’d call the conference themselves, and defuse the situation that way, rather than standing on their perogative.

  37. stuart: you seem to be in favour of people getting opinions from sources hostile to the party and the left.

    Let us be clear, all the info I have published has come from sources INSIDE the SWP

  38. #38 ‘What of Cde Delta was found guily? Does it then still remain an internal party matter?’

    Is that a question for the SWP, or the complainer?

  39. Nick Fredman on said:

    Andy Newman: In which case if their decisions are indeed made for them by people outside the union, they should be disqualified for elected union office, and that could be explained to members easliy.

    So the great majority of the Australian trade union leadership should have been sacked in the mid-1980s, because they implemented the disastrous Accord social contract that had been decided upon by the Labor cabinet and the Communist Party national executive? Actually that would have been a very good idea.

  40. OldTrot: The DC comprises elected representatives, 5 of them women, (one of whom is an experienced rape counsellor) and the fact that they all know Delta is hardly surprising given his prominent role in the Party.

    So even if it had been appropriate to investigate via the DC, why not bring in people from international sister organsiations, or even sympathetic people from outside the SWP?

    OldTrot: If the charge had been one of theft the same problem would have arisen. I doubt though that people would have questioned the competence of the DC to adjudicate on the matter or used caps for ‘theft’.

    Your comment here tells us everything we need to know abut your attitude to women

  41. OldTrot on said:

    Andy Newman: Rape is a crime under statute; it is always a matter of public interest

    And that overrides the interests of the woman concerned does it? Look to your own sexism

  42. OldTrot: As for competency, I would argue that their competence is no less (and possibly higher) than that of the average jury member.

    You obvioulsy have an intellual disadvantage. they were not a jury, they were an investigation panel.

    The whole process lacked legal competancy

  43. OldTrot: If the charge had been one of theft the same problem would have arisen.

    Yes it would, if Delta was the alleged thief; the point is that it is against usual principles of justice to have close friends and colleagues of the accused on the “jury”. I hope that really clears it up for you – perhaps it hasn’t been said here and elsewhere in a thousand different ways. If you’re still not clear on this point, just say so and I’ll explain it in more simple language.

  44. Red Deathy: If the CC had half a wit, they’d call the conference themselves, and defuse the situation that way, rather than standing on their perogative.

    This seems to be what the SWP’s sister group in Germnay, Linksruck, did in 2001, after a similar scandal of sexism in the Berlin HQ, and new female recruits being initated with older male cadre at Bunny parties in Munich, then brought out the case of a rape in Hamburg by a leading member, which had been covered up, and the victim intimidated into silence.

  45. So are people criticising the complainer for not reporting the alleged offence(s) to the police?

    Or the SWP for not reporting the allegations to the police?

  46. anon: So are people criticising the complainer for not reporting the alleged offence(s) to the police?

    Or the SWP for not reporting the allegations to the police?

    I’d say this crisis has arisen because the leadership failed to look outside its own ranks to get expert advice – both legal and in the form of an independent rape counselling service for the alleged victim – in the first instance. Police involvement would almost certainly have followed on from any legal advice, but surely no one is seriously arguing that independent legal advice should not have been sought in the first instance.

  47. Nick Fredman: So the great majority of the Australian trade union leadership should have been sacked in the mid-1980s, because they implemented the disastrous Accord social contract that had been decided upon by the Labor cabinet and the Communist Party national executive?

    The issue as it has arisen in the UK is the SWP forcing trade unionists to go against their own better judgement on instruction from the SWP and then expeling them or forcing them to resign if they refuse. Most famously CWU President Jane Loftus

    You have to trust trade unionists t make decsions based upon their own understanding of the situation.

  48. OldTrot on said:

    Andy Newman: So even if it had been appropriate to investigate via the DC, why not bring in people from international sister organsiations, or even sympathetic people from outside the SWP?

    As I stated, there is a strong case for reviewing the procedure.

    Andy Newman: Your comment here tells us everything we need to know abut your attitude to women

    Yes well that’s exactly the type of slur I would expect from you Andy. The point was about your over abundant use of screaming in caps. A word to the wise, It doesn’t make what you say more weighty, it just makes you look puerile. And as I already pointed out your deliberate ignorance of the fact that it was the express wish of the women concerned that the matter was dealt with internally really does say a lot about your attitude to the women.
    Or have you not stopped to consider what effect your missives might have had on them?

  49. Jon Fanning: I don’t mind debate and criticism but thanks for demonstrating why the left gets nowhere – personal abuse to kick off an otherwise reasonable comment – you could not resist making your self feel clever could you.

    BTW most people end up in union positions these days becaus noone else wants them, the left is incredibly weak now, and the SWPs degeneration will only mkae it weaker.

    This is not so. Particularly at decisive levels their is sharp competition for union leadership positions.

    BTW this is politics. If Lenin can call Trotsky a ‘swine’, a ‘liar’ and ‘Judas’ then you should not get so shirty about your proposal being described as ‘idiotic’

  50. John

    ‘Police involvement would almost certainly have followed on from any legal advice,’

    Are you suggesting that the SWP should have pressurised the complainer to go to the police against her wishes?

  51. Jon Fanning on said:

    Andy Newman: stuart: I would add however that loyalty to Labour is bound to hamper trade union effectiveness.
    bollocks.

    falied your own test there Andy, its a fair point, challenge it if you must but dismiss it like that? There may be a place for you on the CC yet.

  52. OldTrot: And as I already pointed out your deliberate ignorance of the fact that it was the express wish of the women concerned that the matter was dealt with internally really does say a lot about your attitude to the women.

    And were the women concerned satisfied with the way the matter was investigated and dealt with by the SWP’s DC?

    Clearly not, which merely emphasises the utter absurdity of the leadership taking it upon themselves to investigate and adjudicate on an allegation of rape.

    It really beggars belief that you don’t see this. In any rape allegation, the woman or women involved will be traumatised by the ensuing investigation. Sadly, due to the nature of rape and sexual abuse this seem unavoidable. The question is who is best equipped to minimise this traumatic experience, but also the issue of protecting society from a potential rapist must be fundamental to any investigation. This is why we have a legal system, to both administer justice and protect the public.

    What if Comrade Delta was found to be guilty by the DC? What would have happened to him? He would have just been expelled from the Party? There would have been no provision made to protect potential other victims? No sex register, no treatment or preventative measures taken?

    It’s scandalous.

    Too, the staggering hypocrisy of an organisation that exerted itself in calling for Julian Assange to face the courts over the rape allegations made against him, while knowing this was going on in its own ranks, will never be forgotten.

  53. OldTrot: Yes well that’s exactly the type of slur I would expect from you Andy. The point was about your over abundant use of screaming in caps.

    I don’t think you get it. Rape is a much more serious crime than theft, bearing with it all sorts of issues of unequal power, self esteem, oppression. For you to equate it to theft is totally inappropriate.

    OldTrot: And as I already pointed out your deliberate ignorance of the fact that it was the express wish of the women concerned that the matter was dealt with internally really does say a lot about your attitude to the women.

    Are you still hiding behind that. The entire culture of the SWP is hostile to the idea of going to the police.

  54. Stephen on said:

    Andy Newman wrote
    “No, the crisis is due to the fact that the SWP had the presumption to hold a kangaroo court to investigate an alleged RAPE, with an incompetent panel comprising the accused’s mates, and attitudes to what is appropriate questioning of a woman complaining of rape that would have embarassed the fictional detective, Gene Hunt.”

    At the risk of seeming pedantic – The investigation was a scandal not a crisis. The CRISIS arises from the fact that the SWP conference voted that this was OK. Had the SWP collectively said that this wasn’t on, even at that stage, they could have avoided much of this entirely self inflicted mess.

    “The crisis is due to the conceit of the SWP’s leadership that they could overcome the political scandal by reality defying edicts that the matter was closed.”

    One hates to be seen to to be sympathetic…but. Leaving aside the fact that the SWP membership had backed the leadership. When you are vain enough to consider your tiny organisation ‘the vanguard of the proletariat and ‘the memory of the class’ issuing General Strike calls to be delivered by footsoldiers to inquorate TU branch meetings etc ‘reality defying edicts’ are more the norm than the exception – they might well have thought that following a majority conference vote it might well go away

    (indeed until it was publicised here,it might well have)

  55. OldTrot: Or have you not stopped to consider what effect your missives might have had on them?

    So I shouldn’t have exposed the cover up in the SWP over an alleged rape, because you are arguing a cover up was in the interests of women!

  56. anon: Are you suggesting that the SWP should have pressurised the complainer to go to the police against her wishes?

    I’m not suggesting anything. I’m asserting that seeking independent legal advice was and is necessary in such cases.

    Rape can never, under any circumstances, be an internal matter. If it is wrong for the Catholic Church to cover up sex abuse; if it is wrong for the Church of Scientology to cover up sex abuse; it is wrong for the SWP.

  57. Stephen: At the risk of seeming pedantic – The investigation was a scandal not a crisis. The CRISIS arises from the fact that the SWP conference voted that this was OK. Had the SWP collectively said that this wasn’t on, even at that stage, they could have avoided much of this entirely self inflicted mess.

    True. The SWP membership and not just the leaders created the crisis.

    Stephen: When you are vain enough to consider your tiny organisation ‘the vanguard of the proletariat and ‘the memory of the class’ issuing General Strike calls to be delivered by footsoldiers to inquorate TU branch meetings etc ‘reality defying edicts’ are more the norm than the exception

    I agree

  58. OldTrot on said:

    David Ruaune: If you’re still not clear on this point, just say so and I’ll explain it in more simple language.

    I would expect nothing other than simple language from someone of your intellectual stature Andy, viz your use of caps.

    I am not making a point on the merits of the case or of the way it was handled. Rather I am seeking to correct the deliberately loaded half-truths and downright omissions you are making in your sectarian little crusade. Your concern for the women involved doesn’t extend to their wishes for the case to be kept internal and so amounts to nothing less than rank hypocrisy when you continue to use this whole sorry affair as a political stick to beat the entire IST with.

  59. Nick Fredman on said:

    Andy Newman: stuart: I would add however that loyalty to Labour is bound to hamper trade union effectiveness.

    bollocks.

    During the Accord period in Australia (1983-1996) union density went from 50% to 35% and wages share of national income went from 60% to 52%. But I’m sure that had nothing to do with loyalty to the Labor Party and that the situation is entirely different in the UK in any case.

  60. #66

    So if the complainer said she didn’t want to report the matter to the police should the SWP have ignored her wishes and reported the allegations to the police?

  61. anon: Are you suggesting that the SWP should have pressurised the complainer to go to the police against her wishes?

    Btw this wasn’t just about what was necessary in order to ensure a just outcome for the woman involved, it was also essential that the rights of the accused were protected.

    His name is now mud as a result of this process, whether guilty or innocent.

  62. anon: So if the complainer said she didn’t want to report the matter to the police should the SWP have ignored her wishes and reported the allegations to the police?

    You’re finding this difficult. I doubt whether the priority of the SWP leadership and DC was the right of the woman not to involve the police. It was to protect the organisation. This is why rape cannot be considered an internal matter.

    Legal advice should have been sought. The outcome of that advice should have been presented to the complainer, which if it was to involve the police she should have been encouraged to do.

    What the SWP should have made clear to her and the accused from the outset was that they were not competent or able to deal with such a serious allegation internally.

    Surely this is obvious.

  63. secret factioneer on said:

    It is pretty sick to see people justifying the appalling DC process on the grounds that the woman involved wanted a complaint dealt with by the party.

    Do these people give a flying one that the complainant was barred from entering and addressing conference as she wished to?

    If you give a shit for her, be consistent about it. You hypocrites.

  64. Nick Fredman: During the Accord period in Australia (1983-1996) union density went from 50% to 35% and wages share of national income went from 60% to 52%. But I’m sure that had nothing to do with loyalty to the Labor Party and that the situation is entirely different in the UK in any case.

    Nick, I can’t debate the pooint using a factual example I don’t know anything about

  65. OldTrot: David Ruaune: If you’re still not clear on this point, just say so and I’ll explain it in more simple language.
    I would expect nothing other than simple language from someone of your intellectual stature Andy , viz your use of caps.

    Here is a hint, they are different names, using different letters, and pronounced differently.

  66. John

    That’s all fine and dandy.

    But what IF, is spite of everything, the woman refused to go to the police?

    What do the SWP do then?

  67. anon: But what IF, is spite of everything, the woman refused to go to the police?
    What do the SWP do then?

    I suggest you read the excellent advice on how the SWP could have handled this, from Linda Rodgers

    http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk/#!/2013/01/can-swp-deal-with-rape-allegations.html

    Of course, part of the problem is that you have created a culture so hostile to the idea of going to the police that there are subtle and unsubtle pressures on women not to go to them

  68. #77

    I’m not an SWP hack.

    I left the organisation in the 70′s because of disquiet about the application of democratic centralism.

    In spite of my misgivings about the concept I would concede that whatever its failings it’s democratic centralism that’s allowed the SWP to survive.

    What I hadn’t taken into account back then was that there are individuals who, largely for personal reasons, perhaps over some real or imagined slight, would devote so much time and energy to undermining the organisation.

    You really should try to get some sense of perspective, for your own good.

  69. OldTrot: I am not making a point on the merits of the case or of the way it was handled. Rather I am seeking to correct the deliberately loaded half-truths and downright omissions you are making in your sectarian little crusade.

    you see this won’t do. You can’t make me the villan here. All you are doing is reinforcing the impression that the SWP is behaving like a cult

  70. #78

    I’m not sure if it’s in one of my posts that you deleted but I’ve already said that the complainer should have gone to the police in the first place and that it’s still not too late for her to do so.

  71. Nick Wright: BTW this is politics. If Lenin can call Trotsky a ‘swine’, a ‘liar’ and ‘Judas’ then you should not get so shirty about your proposal being described as ‘idiotic’

    I am sorry Comrade Wright your insults were not ones that Lenin used so they are obviously un-Bolshevik, please only use the permitted socialist insults in future and not bourgeois deviationist phrases like “Idiot”.
    Are you serious? In a debate that hinges around how the left adopts to the modern era, over what is Leninism, over whether Lenin intended what others call Leninism, whether we should be using new methods while keeping the best of the works of Lenin, Trotsky et al… You justify insulting me by reference to Lenin’s insults, do you drink only what Lenin drank, eat only what Lenin ate? Should you not have insulted me in Russian to be pure?
    For the record I am minded to agree my intervention was hasty and driven by feelings of anger and betrayal by an organisation I have been involved in since 1989, contributed lots of money to, more since stopping being a member than when I was, and which I have given time and effort to. I feel betrayed because they have betrayed the class, and yes as they sink some members will remain good trade unionists; others will become splitters and shills damaging their union branches.
    I feel it is not too late to save the best of the IS tradition and the SWP, and so I will not take bureaucratic measures against members on my Branch exec, but instead engage them in debate. If they go the way the WRP and RCP did inside unions then I will try and get them removed, but on a case by case basis.
    On, and they ain’t getting another penny off me for the foreseeable future.

  72. anon: I’m not an SWP hack.
    I left the organisation in the 70′s because of disquiet about the application of democratic centralism.

    Yes, because biographical information given by anonyous Internet commenters is ALWAYS accurate.

    anon: What I hadn’t taken into account back then was that there are individuals who, largely for personal reasons, perhaps over some real or imagined slight, would devote so much time and energy to undermining the organisation. You really should try to get some sense of perspective, for your own good.

    I am doing fine thanks, and already this morning I have done some real politics with a meeting with the leader of the Labour group on the council, wearing my GMB hat

    I disagree with the SWP’s political project, and the type of organisation it is. They seem very fragile. Given their objective is to overthrow the state, with all its resources, it doesn;t reflect well on their chances of doing that if they can’t cope with criticism from a blogger in Swindon.

    Yeah, I have reason to dislike the SWP; that doesn’t invalidate my criticism of them.

  73. ‘I am doing fine thanks, and already this morning I have done some real politics with a meeting with the leader of the Labour group on the council, wearing my GMB hat’

    Good for you.

    Maybe some day you’ll be the leader of the Labour group on the council.

  74. old timer on said:

    stuart: The complaint was an internal party matter,

    This goes to the heart of the matter. Because no, it wasn’t. It was an allegation of rape and “The Party” isn’t the place to discuss it. It isn’t an ‘internal matter’. If you think it, if I were to head but you and rob your house (and no, I’m not threatening to, it is rhetorical), would you call the Police?

    I realise that it is the belief of the CC and hanger on Molynuex (how sad) that they are State Power (in waiting, sure, but the State non the less). I understand that even in the worst states some at the bottom mistake the whip for a loving caress.

    But may I suggest you watch “The lives of others” (a film about sexual abuse covered up by a communist machine) and snap out of your creepy adoration of a bunch of toffs, sorry, revolutionary leaders, who have lost touch with the real world?

    Because it may have been reasonable to talk of “The Party” under monolithic communist rule (though no less unpleasant). But do to so about a handful of deluded miss-fits led by a thin arrogant layer of out of touch headbangers is truly deluded.

  75. anon: In spite of my misgivings about the concept I would concede that whatever its failings it’s democratic centralism that’s allowed the SWP to survive.

    Bureaucratic centralism, based on the unquestioning loyalty of the middle cadre and a revolving door policy for everyone else.

  76. OldTrot on said:

    secret factioneer: It is pretty sick to see people justifying the appalling DC process on the grounds that the woman involved wanted a complaint dealt with by the party.

    For fuck’s sake, the privacy (not cover-up) of the matter is not the problem. No-one in the party or even most critics (eg the ISO) is questioning the validity of respecting the privacy of all parties in the case. Nor are they questioning the validity of the matter being heard internally. Any organisation has a duty to consider whether or not a member is fit to remain so, especially if accused of serious criminal offences.
    The issue is about how the case was actually handled, not that it occurred, and about how concerns about the matter have subsequently dealt with.
    There legitimate points of rigorous debate and criticism that have yet to be resolved, and most of the non-sectarian Left hope will eventually lead to an outcome that strengthens the Left as a whole. But assumptions of guilt, pontification, speculation and misinformation based on partial and selective knowledge help no-one on any side of the issue.

  77. OldTrot: No-one in the party or even most critics (eg the ISO) is questioning the validity of…… the matter being heard internally.

    That is why you are truly fucked; because outside the SWP that is the issue which is resonating

  78. #88

    So if the complainer insisted that she wouldn’t go to the police and insisted that she wanted the SWP to deal with the matter, what were the SWP to do?

  79. John R on said:

    So far this blog has focussed (quite rightly) on how the SWP’s internal mechanisms were no way to investigate a rape allegation. How it was not fair on the accuser to have a jury of Comrade Delta’s colleagues be investigator, judge and jury on the matter. Also, as someone pointed out, it was not fair on the accused as, in many minds, he will be presumed guilty without a proper trial.

    Up till now the attacks have been on the SWP and how damaging it will be to them. However, I have concerns that there is a “ticking time bomb” where this matter might have wider ramifications on the wider Labour and Trade Union movement.

    I refer to this -

    Unite Against Fascism
    Conference 2013: Saturday 2 March,
    Central London

    http://uaf.org.uk/2013/01/uaf-conference-2013-saturday-2-march-central-london/

    Here’s a sentence from Saturday’s Daily Mail report -

    “All [Dispute Committee members] have either refused to comment about the controversy or have not yet responded to written requests to be interviewed.
    The partner of Comrade Delta shut the door when a Mail reporter called at the accused comrade’s address this week.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272231/A-hands-Thats-Socialist-Workers-Party-cleared-comrade-rape.html#axzz2Jq3MQY3s

    Maybe the Mail etc. will have no interest in this case by then but they may well wish to give the UAF and its supporters a kicking. If so, then Peter Hain MP (for example) won’t really have the option of shutting the door if he is asked to comment about an alleged rape cover up.

  80. John R: If so, then Peter Hain MP (for example) won’t really have the option of shutting the door if he is asked to comment about an alleged rape cover up.

    That is also true of trade union leaders who have been prepared to grace SWP platforms in the past.

    For the good of the movement, the SWP need to suspend Delta and remove him from circulation, without any prejudice obviously as he remains entitled to the presumption of innocence

  81. ‘For the good of the movement, the SWP need to suspend Delta and remove him from circulation, without any prejudice obviously as he remains entitled to the presumption of innocence’

    You forgot to add

    ‘And the complainer must go to the police so that the matter can be investigated properly and if appropriate comrade delta exonerated.’

    For the sake of balance.

  82. anon: ‘And the complainer must go to the police so that the matter can be investigated properly and if appropriate comrade delta exonerated.’

    yes, imposing demands on Rape victims is the way forward

  83. Jon: I am sorry Comrade Wright your insults were not ones that Lenin used so they are obviously un-Bolshevik, please only use the permitted socialist insults in future and not bourgeois deviationist phrases like “Idiot”.

    Blimey, that is what I get for defending the right of SWP members to be judged on their individual merits and not witch hunted.

  84. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Matt: So even the Daily Mail is using “Comrade Delta”. Andy, what have you done?

    Giving ammunition to the political right. But I am quite sure he realised he was doing that.

  85. anon: You forgot to add
    ‘And the complainer must go to the police so that the matter can be investigated properly and if appropriate comrade delta exonerated.’
    For the sake of balance.

    Oh come on, Delta’s reputation was trashed by the flawed a process set up by his own mates and colleagues.

  86. OldTrot on said:

    Andy Newman: That is why you are truly fucked; because outside the SWP that is the issue which is resonating

    I’m not in the SWP at the moment as it happens, although I have been. But you seem to have a habit of making assumptions based on little to no evidence, so no surprise there.

    The respect to privacy in rape accusations is normal and written – albeit inadequately – into UK law. There are also many, many cases where women choose not to go to the Police but instead seek redress through other means eg through a rape crisis centre. If a woman brings a charge of sexual harassment to a trade union the union has every right to consider whether the accused is fit to stay in the union based on any evidence it hears, and respect the confidentiality of the case, irrespective of whether the matter is taken to the Police. It is also worth remembering that the burden of proof in such case is somewhat lower. Your lack of respect for their confidentiality and choice to have it heard as a disciplinary matter in pursuit of your own obvious glee at the thought of an SWP breakup is frankly repugnant.

  87. ‘Delta’s reputation was trashed by the flawed a process set up by his own mates and colleagues’

    And you call me an idiot?

  88. tm: andy newman you’re a collossal prick

    that seems a bit rude are you suggesting that Andy Newman is like the vicious prison guard in the Shawshank Redemtion ?

    “Red: [narrating] And that’s how it came to pass that on the second-to-last day of the job, the convict crew that tarred the plate factory roof in the spring of forty-nine wound up sitting in a row at ten o’clock in the morning drinking icy cold, Bohemia-style beer, courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank State Prison.
    Captain Hadley: Drink up while it’s cold, ladies.
    Red: [narrating] The colossal prick even managed to sound magnanimous.”

    Andy Newman may be responding to the negativity and abuse of comrades in the SWP who fail to realise that they have been wasting their time [just as Andy did TWICE] by being members of the SWP…but I don’t feel that Andy Newman is ‘abusive’ towards those SWPers who are in Denial about the fracturing leadership of the Party.
    Perhaps if Andy is ‘hardening’his attitude to sects like the SWP and even moving towards an accomodation with stalinist and social democratic traditions in the Labour Movement then this is understandable as far as I am concerned – sometimes experience has effects on human beings analogous to the processes of Tempering Steel via heating it… actually the ‘hardness’ and ‘brittleness’ decreases in this process but ‘toughness’ increases. But all comrades should remember ‘How the Steel Was Tempered’
    “Man’s dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying, he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world──the fight for the Liberation of Mankind”
    ― Nikolai Ostrovsky

    tm your not in prison … andy is not the hardest screw… so there is not need for insults.

  89. OldTrot: If a woman brings a charge of sexual harassment to a trade union the union has every right to consider whether the accused is fit to stay in the union based on any evidence it hears, and respect the confidentiality of the case, irrespective of whether the matter is taken to the Police.

    *really*. And would a trade union have expressed the view that they wanted the police “driven off our streets and out of our estates”. Would a trade union implicitly assume that the police would use a rape inquiry as an excuse to disrupt the trade union? Would there be a culture of non-cooperation with the police in a trade union?

    Of course an organisation has a right to investigate, but should take legal advice and ensure that their own investigation gives precedence to a police one; furthermore it was encumbent upon them to ensure that the complainant was given indepenedent councelling and advice about whether or not to go to the police.

  90. Jon: yes, imposing demands on Rape victims is the way forward

    So should the SWP have told the complainer to go to the police?

  91. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Newman didn’t “fight for the Liberation of Mankind”, though, did he? Certainly debatable that that is what an SWP member does, but a rightward-moving hack running a blog certainly is not fighting for the liberation of mankind. He has given the Daily Hate something to work with against the left, for one thing. Ostrovsky didn’t turn on his party, move well to the right and then give material to the Nick Cohens of his time. I don’t think this is “toughness”.

    Grudge-bearing and wounded vanity has turned many people into traitors, not least to the left, but also more generally.

  92. OldTrot: David Ruaune: If you’re still not clear on this point, just say so and I’ll explain it in more simple language.

    I would expect nothing other than simple language from someone of your intellectual stature Andy

    Err – David. Or Dave. Like it says on the tin.

  93. stuart on said:

    Mark P,

    The investigation was not carried out by a law court, the judgement was not a legal one. The investigation was carried out in honour of the complainant’s wishes, the established machinery was used. At no time was the complainant prevented from going to the police.

  94. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman: So I shouldn’t have exposed the cover up in the SWP over an alleged rape, because you are arguing a cover up was in the interests of women!

    1. It wasn’t a cover up.
    2. You published against the wishes of the complainant.

  95. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman: well absolutely no evidence relevent to Britain in 2013 backs up Stuarts contention.

    Apart from the evidence of the institutional links between many unions and the Labour Party.

  96. stuart on said:

    old timer: This goes to the heart of the matter. Because no, it wasn’t. It was an allegation of rape and “The Party” isn’t the place to discuss it. It isn’t an ‘internal matter’.

    The complainant wanted it to be so. The party could have refused point blank and just carried on. As a member I would not have liked that approach. If the complainant wants to use the police that is her decision.

  97. stuart: The complainant wanted it to be so. The party could have refused point blank and just carried on. As a member I would not have liked that approach. If the complainant wants to use the police that is her decision.

    Perhaps the mistake the SWP made was in failing to consider what the complainer would do if she wasn’t satisfied with the outcome of the process she initiated.

  98. stuart: At no time was the complainant prevented from going to the police.

    Do you agree with the ISO’s statement:

    the police investigating such allegations within a revolutionary organization would care not a bit about justice for the woman making the charges. Instead, they would seize the opportunity to harass and persecute the left … a revolutionary socialist organization should have the capacity–and indeed the responsibility–to establish the means to handle such allegations … … in a way that is impartial and respects the rights of any person raising such charges. We believe that a socialist organization built around principles of democracy must be capable of this… to uphold the principles of revolutionary socialism.

    Do you really think the SWP members surrounding W were neutral about involving the police?

    Was she referred to independent counselling, absent from any SWP pressure, to help her decide?

    Had she read the Socialist Worker article from 2011 calling for the police to be “driven from our streets and estates”

  99. stuart: Apart from the evidence of the institutional links between many unions and the Labour Party.

    Can you give any examples at all, relevant to Britain in 2012, of how that link has acted against the interests of union members?

  100. Andy Newman: Do you agree with the ISO’s statement:

    Do you really think the SWP members surrounding W were neutral about involving the police?

    Was she referred to independent counselling, absent from any SWP pressure, to help her decide?

    Had she read the Socialist Worker article from 2011 calling for the police to be “driven from our streets and estates”

    Is there any reason why the complainer can not now go to the police?

  101. anon: Is there any reason why the complainer can not now go to the police?

    any investigation would be compromised by the fact that the accused has been given sight of the detail of the allegations against him, and would therefore be coached before any police interview.

    We can’t rule out someone taking it to the police complaining about a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice; but I think the CPS wouldn’t be interested.

  102. Andy Newman: any investigation would be compromised by the fact that the accused has been given sight of the detail of the allegations against him, and would therefore be coached before any police interview.

    We can’t rule out someone taking it to the police complaining about a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice; but I think the CPS wouldn’t be interested.

    That’s utter nonsense.

    Maybe you should speak to a lawyer.

    The only reason a prosecution might now be challenged is adverse publicity.

    But you know that already, don’t you?

  103. anon: That’s utter nonsense.
    Maybe you should speak to a lawyer.

    It isn’t nonsense. Itis a specific issue I have encountered wearing my trade union hat on another occasion, where legal advice waIs taken, can’t say any more about was taken. Clearly in circumstances where the accused has an opportunity to get their story straight before talking to the police, the police investigation is more diffcult

  104. Out of interest I spoke to two legal firms regarding a similar (but thankfully not as serious) case in a different organisation very recently.

    The legal advice was clear. Any internal investigation into a serious criminal offense will corrupt any police investigation into the matter. The law states that the organisation should report the suspected criminal offense to the police and can only conduct its own investigation once the police/cps give that the green light.

    It is potentially a criminal offense to conduct a quasi-legal investigation into an imprisonable offense, although suspending the accused without prejudice is sensible.

    This is because the organisation has corrupted the evidence, spoken to every witness, told them the “line” and told large numbers of people what the “facts” of the case are – thus helping the accused iron out any inconsistencies in his defense and identify those he needs to speak to before the police have a chance to investigate.

    Both these legal firms were clear. If an organisation conducts its own investigation into a serious criminal offense they potentially destroy any case that could have been put together and may in fact be committing a criminal act.

    I’m rather surprised that the DC did not seek legal advise before pursuing the investigation. Seems a pretty obvious first step to me.

  105. #109 So as far as the SWP leadership were concerned this could be a matter of public record? Had they known that someone was going to pass the information on to Andy Newman or anyone else likely to publish it they would have made no attempt to stop them?

  106. jim jepps: I’m rather surprised that the DC did not seek legal advise before pursuing the investigation. Seems a pretty obvious first step to me.

    It wouldn’t be beyond the bounds of possibility that they did and either didn’t like the advice they were given, thought it didn’t apply to them or decided that what they intended to do was justified and they would take the risk of illegality.

    They are revolutionaries after all.

  107. Andy Newman,

    You’re wrong.

    Nothing that has happened to date would prevent the police from investigating and if appropriate the CPS from prosecuting.

    And it’s unfortunate that your ill informed comments might influence the complainer not to go to the police.

    Even the publicity surrounding events, for which you share responsibility, while not ideal, would not prevent any case going to trial.

  108. Vanya: It wouldn’t be beyond the bounds of possibility that they did and either didn’t like the advice they were given, thought it didn’t apply to them or decided that what they intended to do was justified and they would take the risk of illegality.

    Would an SWP member who is a lawyer have a professional obligation to refer it to police at the time they became aware about it?

  109. jim jepps,

    Thanks Jim for a pretty straightforward clarification of the legal situation… It is a shame that the comrade on the DC who had extensive experience in the Rape and Domestic Abuse field did not seek this clarification… but in this case it seems the pressure was on to defend the more powerful, higher status Comrade Delta rather than suspend him without prejudice and encourage the complainant to go to the police.
    Now that a whole layer of SWP youth are leaving as a result of the exposure of the SWP Leadership – perhaps some of them will be at home in the Young Greens?

  110. anon: Nothing that has happened to date would prevent the police from investigating and if appropriate the CPS from prosecuting.
    And it’s unfortunate that your ill informed comments might influence the complainer not to go to the police.

    You are a bit of an idiot. Obviously the complainant could go to the police, the question is whether a police investigation would now find it much more difficult to gain enough evidence for a prosecution, assumming that a crime had been committed.

    See Jim Jeppp’s point:

    jim jepps: The legal advice was clear. Any internal investigation into a serious criminal offense will corrupt any police investigation into the matter. The law states that the organisation should report the suspected criminal offense to the police and can only conduct its own investigation once the police/cps give that the green light.
    It is potentially a criminal offense to conduct a quasi-legal investigation into an imprisonable offense, although suspending the accused without prejudice is sensible.
    This is because the organisation has corrupted the evidence, spoken to every witness, told them the “line” and told large numbers of people what the “facts” of the case are – thus helping the accused iron out any inconsistencies in his defense and identify those he needs to speak to before the police have a chance to investigate.

  111. ‘Obviously the complainant could go to the police, the question is whether a police investigation would now find it much more difficult to gain enough evidence for a prosecution, assumming that a crime had been committed.’

    Comrade Newman’s extensive experience of such matters clearly showing here.

  112. anon: Even the publicity surrounding events, for which you share responsibility, while not ideal, would not prevent any case going to trial.

    This is a particularly asinine point. There has actually been extremely little publicity about the factual background, and I don’t think anyone could say whether a crime was committed or not based upon the Internet discussion; which has concerned itself with the politics in general.

    But you seem to regret the fact that there has been publicity, whereas (whether or not a crime was committed in this case) sexual abuse thrives on secrecy; aand the scandalous ineptitude and underlying sexism of the SWP’s approach deserved to be exposed.

    It is pathetic to claim that blowing the lid on this scandal is somehow making it harder for women to report rape

  113. OldTrot on said:

    Andy Newman: See Jim Jeppp’s point:

    “I am not a laywer, but my friend who is also not a lawyer but who says he knows one said it was right so it must be”

  114. anon: Comrade Newman’s extensive experience of such matters clearly showing here.

    would you care to comment on Jim Jepp’s point:

    jim jepps: The legal advice was clear. Any internal investigation into a serious criminal offense will corrupt any police investigation into the matter. The law states that the organisation should report the suspected criminal offense to the police and can only conduct its own investigation once the police/cps give that the green light.
    It is potentially a criminal offense to conduct a quasi-legal investigation into an imprisonable offense, although suspending the accused without prejudice is sensible.
    This is because the organisation has corrupted the evidence, spoken to every witness, told them the “line” and told large numbers of people what the “facts” of the case are – thus helping the accused iron out any inconsistencies in his defense and identify those he needs to speak to before the police have a chance to investigate.
    Both these legal firms were clear. If an organisation conducts its own investigation into a serious criminal offense they potentially destroy any case that could have been put together and may in fact be committing a criminal act.

  115. OldTrot: my friend who is also not a lawyer but who says he knows one said it was right so it must be

    jim is not saying what his opinion of the law is, he is recounting what advice he was given by two firms of lawyers when he did consult them.

    In a different context of the union being involved with the accused, I have also read similar legal advice in the past.

  116. ‘would you care to comment on Jim Jepp’s point:’

    His spelling suggests he’s American.

  117. OldTrot on said:

    stuart: 1. It wasn’t a cover up.
    2. You published against the wishes of the complainant.

    Nicely put, but Andy Newman isn’t bothered about the wishes of W

    Andy Newman: Do you really think the SWP members surrounding W were neutral about involving the police?

    Was she referred to independent counselling, absent from any SWP pressure, to help her decide?

    Had she read the Socialist Worker article from 2011 calling for the police to be “driven from our streets and estates”

    Seeing as she was (and still is I believe) a member of the SWP I’m pretty sure that her attitude to the police needed no coaching. This is 2013, you should get used to the fact that women have minds of their own and can make their own decisions.
    And what of the article in SW? The revolutionary left’s attitude to the police is not exactly news.
    But, I get it now, you’re angling for a job at the Daily Mail

  118. The digger on said:

    jim jepps,

    Jim I would use google rather than a solicitor next time. It is at the discretion of an employer whether to pursue a disciplinary case whilst a criminal investigation/charges are pending, there is even an EAT decision on this.

    Jon Fanning:
    To be clear the message I described as clear is the one I left with the SWP, not the two above both of which are not that clear, but hopefully are clearer now.

    Is that clear?

  119. OldTrot: This is 2013, you should get used to the fact that women have minds of their own and can make their own decisions.
    And what of the article in SW? The revolutionary left’s attitude to the police is not exactly news.

    It is a sect, run by a buresucratic cult, so decisions made will reflect the ethos of the group.

    That is the whole problem.

    The fact that she might have delusional views about the police inculcated by the SWP itself does not make the situation better, it makes it worse.

  120. stuart on said:

    anon: Perhaps the mistake the SWP made was in failing to consider what the complainer would do if she wasn’t satisfied with the outcome of the process she initiated.

    Too much second guessing, neither you nor I are close to this case. This is where internet speculation becomes a problem.

  121. OldTrot on said:

    Andy Newman: The fact that she might have delusional views about the police inculcated by the SWP itself does not make the situation better, it makes it worse.

    So she’s “deluded” now is she? Nice

  122. Lewisham Left Lawyer on said:

    Andy Newman: Would an SWP member who is a lawyer have a professional obligation to refer it to police at the time they became aware about it?

    No.

  123. Lewisham Left Lawyer on said:

    The digger: Jim I would use google rather than a solicitor next time.

    Because the web never gets it wrong? Because the web knows how things work in practice not just theory?

    I don’t know the facts of the matters Jim refers to. But, based on the information he gives, the legal advice he was given seems pretty sound to me.

  124. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    #113,

    Regards the ISO, as far as I’m concerned the SWP was taking up a complaint and was correct to do so. The SWP have no principled objection to accusers reporting rape to the police. Speculating about what might have happened in any detail is not helpful, it’s not respectful, and it amounts to nothing more than spinning a sensitive situaion for political gain -or in Kimber’s words, ‘tawdry publicity’. The stuff about driving police off the streets is something you keep repeating and is frankly silly, it’s out of context for a start. The SWP, I repeat, has no principled objection to involving police in rape allegations. As is well known, a lot of women choose not to go, we should respect that.

  125. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman: Let us be clear, all the info I have published has come from sources INSIDE the SWP

    Hardly a defence. Any fool could see that sections will be selectively taken out of context in order create a monstrous distortion of events. And that forces outside the SWP would run with it, anyone from hostile groups and individuals on the left to the Daily Mail and journalists such as Nick Cohen. In fact there seems to bee some unlikely alliances forming here, Cohen and Anna Chen (it’s like the Iraq war never happened), Socialist Unity and Harry’s Place (it’s like Israel never existed).

  126. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman: Can you give any examples at all, relevant to Britain in 2012, of how that link has acted against the interests of union members?

    How about the ConDems are presiding over attacks on living standards, Ed Miliband supports cuts and opposes strikes, union bureaucracies are affiliated to Labour. We can call it ‘institutionalised conservatism’.

  127. The digger on said:

    Lewisham Left Lawyer,

    Didn’t need to use the net but could have just relied on my experience of representing members who face both employer action and police investigation. The fact that it is up to the employer discretion and there is EAT case law makes me wonder why anyone takes lawyers seriously
    Lewisham Left Lawyer,

  128. Lewisham Left Lawyer on said:

    The digger,

    I presume you mean Secretary of State for Justice v Mansfield [2010] UKEAT 0539_09_2403?

    That related to delay in pursuing disciplinary investigation, and the Tribunal decided was that delaying disciplinary investigations pending the conclusion of police investigation was reasonable. Not least as “[the employer] took into account the advice given in [employers’ written disciplinary procedure] that care must be taken to ensure that disciplinary proceedings do not prejudice the criminal proceedings.” (paragraph 25 of judgment)

    http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2010/0539_09_2403.html

    I think the advice Jim was given is sound and the advised approach would be all the more important to apply if allegations are serious.

    Different areas of law can point in different directions and a lawyer might advise a client to be cautious rather than gung-ho. I normally do, it’s generally the cheaper and less risky option. That’s why lawyers exist – to advise as to the law.

  129. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    #145, 4:50pm

    ‘Institutionalised conservatism’? So the bureaucratic centralism of the SWP doesn’t have a monopoly on this? Wow.

    By the way, Stuart, you’re slipping, you didn’t throw a quote there. But seriously, I’m impressed & pleased.

    Now to help us understand the reasons for SWP policy please give us YOUR justification for the SWP’s bureaucratic centralism, & to make it concrete why not focus on this case: Lenin’s speech at the Finland Station in front of tens of thousands decrying the Bolsheviks’ policy of stabilising capitalism in Russia, saying that what was needed was socialist revolution.

    Given SWP policy he would be instantly expelled (by email), so tell us, would YOU agree with his expulsion? If not, why not?

    My point is that bureaucratic centralism CANNOT tolerate such behaviour – the public airing of differences existing within the party – here a matter that could not possibly be of more strategic importance, making it the most forceful undermining imaginable of the democratically arrived at policy of the party (I’ll place my favourite Harman quote here).

  130. The digger: it is up to the employer discretion and there is EAT case law

    I have had some experience of police attanding premises to investigate a crime (when I was a rep in HBSSA now Accord),and it was made absolutely clear to the employer that the police investigation took precedence, and the employer must not interview the staff before the police had

  131. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    Lenin was able to win a majority for his position, a position that emerged out of a new set of circumstances. The SWP opposition have, unlike Lenin, been unable to win a majority through the party structures.

  132. stuart: How about the ConDems are presiding over attacks on living standards, Ed Miliband supports cuts and opposes strikes, union bureaucracies are affiliated to Labour. We can call it ‘institutionalised conservatism’.

    this is a particuularly foolish comment, revealing that you live in a bubble and have little or no involvement in the labour movement

  133. John Grimshaw on said:

    stuart: You seem to imply that party membership is likely to hinder trade union activism. I disagree.

    I would add however that loyalty to Labour is bound to hamper trade union effectiveness. Not wanting to upset Miliband is hardly a recipe for fighting cuts.

    Stuart sorry for the delay I had to work. I think you have wilfully or accidentally misunderstood what I’m trying to say. Where did I say that party work inevitably or always hinders TU activities? I don’t remember saying anything about Milliband or Labour and before you ask I’m certainly not a member of or sympathetic to the PLP. Stop trying to obfuscate. Look at my comments I am actually arguing against a “witch-hunt” and accepting that many SWP trades unionists are important to the TU movement.

  134. tigger on said:

    stuart,

    Hmmm I have to agree with your comment though I am no supporter of the SWP but even less a supporter of the pseudo phsychobabble that is now stock in trade of AN on this site. He has moved from the AWL, through SWP to Searchlight – ‘Only reporting what I am told honest guv’ when what it amounts to is no attempt at politics but cheap points scoring. unfortunately he is aided and abetted by a bureaucratic clique at the top of the SWP which is not used to the membership having any significant voice.

  135. Graham on said:

    stuart,

    Can you really not see the problem here, Lenin specifically denounced the Bolshevik party’s official position publically (i.e as a minority he publically criticised the majority), and THEN went onto win a majority to change those policies, so WHY cannot the SWP opposition do the same ?

  136. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman: this is a particuularly foolish comment, revealing that you live in a bubble and have little or no involvement in the labour movement

    Presumably you’re simply arguing that the affiliated trade unions have been a force for pushing Labour into a better (albeit still crap) position than would otherwise be the case, rather than denying Labour’s opposition to strikes and support for (slower) austerity?

    It doesn’t require you to (re)join the SWP to acknowledge that the labour bureaucracy has generally played a conservative role within the history of the labour movement, and that it has a direct material interest in mediating conflict rather than prosecuting it.

    I don’t believe the union link is particularly debilitating – but only because, as we see in most countries, where there aren’t formal ties to social democracy, the right wing of the unions would play the same role regardless of whether they got a formal seat at Labour Party conference.

    It’s a problem that is derived from the enhanced social weight of the labour aristocracy within the developed world, and the constitutionalist proclivities of the British working class especially, rather than a simple administrative shackle handily annulled through abolition of the union link.

  137. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    #153, 5:31pm

    You say, “Lenin was able to win a majority for his position”, but that’s beside the point because that came AFTER what I asked you: in making that speech Lenin REFUSED to follow the party line, it was an act HOSTILE in the strongest way to the democratically decided strategy of the party. So would YOU have agreed to his expulsion, & if not why?

    In answering this you will be able to show to us how the bureaucratic centralism of the SWP can be justified. Otherwise you are leaving us in the dark as to why we should think that the way the SWP does things is rational & reasonable.

    You’re not as dopey as you’re making yourself out to be here, Stuart, so please address what Lenin DID, making a public speech that broke ranks with the most strategic element of the party line.

  138. Jara Handala on said:

    Graham,

    #158, 5:39pm

    You seem to find it as worrying as I do that Stuart is afraid of what he knows the conclusion is & can’t bring himself to say it. I never knew words could be so terrifying. He’s acting like Professor Dark Side, immobilised by the car headlamps.

    Well put.

  139. Manzil: it has a direct material interest in mediating conflict rather than prosecuting it.

    That’s not always the case though. If huge numbers of union members are going to lose their jobs then the whole union, leadership/ bureacracy included will suffer. If the conservatism of the bureacracy holds them back from organising militant action then this could well be against their material interests. In fact, arguably more so than a rank and file member who chooses to take redundancy in the absence of such action or to the detriment of it.

    In my view putting too much on the sociological/ material rather than the political factors in respect of bureacracy is one of the problems with the SWP position on the question.

  140. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala,

    Guess your mum called you for your beans on toast.

    I can’t believe it but it may be true, was it your mum who was on http://www.mumsnet.com yesterday defending Professor Alex Dark Side against all those nasty attacks from all those unruly & noisy young people, those student types infected by feminism & autonomism, & just generally ignorant of all the sacred texts making the litany that only the Holy Inner Sanctum can be trusted with?

    Was that your mum, Stuart? Was she really Stuart’s mum?

  141. Manzil on said:

    Vanya: That’s not always the case though. If huge numbers of union members are going to lose their jobs then the whole union, leadership/ bureacracyincluded will suffer. If the conservatism of the bureacracy holds them back from organising militant action then this could well be against their material interests. In fact, arguably more so than a rank and file member who chooses to take redundancy in the absence of such action or to the detriment of it.

    In my view putting too much on the sociological/ material rather than the political factors in respect of bureacracy is one of the problems with the SWP position on the question.

    True. It can certainly be overstated. Len McCluskey, Bob Crow or Mark Serwotka (presumably all on six figures) are each a thousand times more effective advocates for the labour movement than a considerable number of individual trade unionists I have had the pleasure(?) of knowing.

    My old branch secretary in UNISON was a considerably more effective voice for the members than our full-time organiser, despite earning far more in his day job than she did from the union. So absolutely, the material interest isn’t absolute or even predominant.

    But it is a factor. And the political factors – the social partnership ‘camp’, while perhaps self-sustaining now – have their roots in the development of relatively large and privileged sector within the working class through the medium of a trade union appendage dependent on permanent capitalist growth. It is something that has to be fought against – and in the case of the ‘left’ gen secs mentioned above (and indeed my branch sec), that is through their openly socialist politics.

  142. Feodor on said:

    stuart:In fact there seems to bee some unlikely alliances forming here…

    You must be a sock-puppet of Andy’s, because you provide such striking proof of the critique he’s advancing. Just reading your comment brought this straight to mind:

    ‘…a particular aspect of Leninist thought is the creation of symbolic categories of opponents, in classic high Stalinism “Kulaks” or “Trotskyists”; for the modern SWP “Autonomists”, “Reformists”, “Feminists” and “the bureaucracy”.’ …and, it seems, the ‘unlikely alliance’.

    http://socialistunity.com/13439/#.URFRih3tQ2c

  143. Feodor: You must be a sock-puppet of Andy’s

    Everyone commenting here except you is a sock puppet, part of an elaborate hoax, where I write all the different contributions.

  144. Andy Newman is getting a kicking by a lot of people sympathetic to the SWP CC version of events here. More pointedly, it is worth reminding people not to shoot the messenger (in this case, Mr Newman)

    Secondly, whoever the whistleblower was on coming forth with the transcript from the conference which started the whole crisis off, are they not doing the same thing as all those brave people were doing in handing over material to Julian Assange (some of which he then used in a vile manner to have certain people dealt with by totalitarian regimes, it has to be said.)

    And because of the inept way the SWP have attempted to deal with the aftermath, that organisation is now toast.

  145. Graham,

    Because
    1) Lenin wasn’t on Facebook,
    2) He didn’t have an e-mail address to send the letter of expulsion too.
    3) The Bolsheviks had so many rows what was one more, if they expelled every one who said anything against the Party line they wouldn’t have a Central Committee, nor much of a Party

  146. Jara Handala on said:

    Jimbo,

    Toast?

    Did Stuart’s mum do it? Has she got Professor Alex Dark Side round again? Are all three of them feasting on their beans on toast? HP or Ketchup, with Worcester sauce for the good professor?

  147. Feodor on said:

    Andy Newman: Everyone commenting here except you is a sock puppet, part of an elaborate hoax, where I write all the different contributions.

    Or maybe I’m also one of your alternate personalities, but you no longer realise when you’re being controlled by me…

    @Jara Handala – *waves back*

    Were you trying a smilie? Because if so, no, it didn’t work. :(

  148. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jon Fanning: I phoned the SWP this morning and explained that if any expulsions over this take place we will move no confidence in any SWP members on our UCU branch executive. It is tragic as they are far and away the best organisers we have.I will also cancel my DD to the party, I am not a member but I have been paying them money for years.

    I don’t think I’d agree with a call for all SWP members to be voted out as TU representatives, but after discovering from their CC spokesman on this site that:

    1. Members’ conversations are monitored, other members report these conversations to the leaders and members can be summarily expelled for having an unauthorised coversation with another member.

    2. In response to complaints about working conditions among SWP employees and about summary sackings, the SWP CC refuses to answer as to the terms and conditions of its employees or whether they are permitted to have collective trade union negotiating rights.

    3. Leaders are allowed to bully members and behave inappropriately towards them with no internal sanction whatsoever.

    (And I’ve also recently been told – I don’t know if it’s true, but I have been told this – by SWP members who oppose the CC that the person who has been alleged against goes around with a group of “tough” companions who regularly bully opposing members. I don’t know if this is true, but if it is, perhaps the CC are frightened of this person too? Which might explain their indulgence towards the person.)

    I’ve held a view in the past of being critical of some SWP policies but of being overall sympathetic to it, but now I’ve come to the view that this is a bit of a sick organisation frankly.
    For those SWP members who oppose the above issues, and who’ve clearly tried hard, with a lot of courage and integrity, to win reform, I’m sorry but I really think it’s getting to the stage where you’re wasting your time – I think you should leave and be part of building an honest and principled movement for socialism.

    I think I’d advise anyone interested in left-wing politics not to become an SWP member or to attend SWP activities and I also now think that the TU movement should not under any circumstances give any support to the SWP or its publications.

    I’ve kind of had it altogether with the SWP now I think.

  149. jim mclean on said:

    Pete Shield,
    from the link.
    “I have also faced the argument that the DC has investigated 9 rapes in the past”

    So 9 have reached the DC. How many have not ,the vast majority perhaps. Has anybody been accused of rape and abuse more than once. Not a very safe place the land of the SWP.

  150. Don’t knock Mumsnet. Here’s the latest comment from their “where’s the SWP thread?” thread:

    I just can’t get over the fact that she didn’t go to the police or courts because they are bourgeois oppressors etc and the more equal than other comrades at the top found chappie innocent.

    Boys will be boys.

    Says it all, really.

  151. Phil:

    Boys will be boys.

    Says it all, really.

    Except that the majority were ‘girls’.

    As were both the Police officers I had cause to assist rape victims complain about on separate occasions, sadly.

  152. UCUMember on said:

    Re: the Sex-offenders at Work Party and TUs, it’s the worst kept secret around that SWP work for themselves, and not for their unions. With UCU they have been a pain in the proverbial, hence the poor performance of their candidates in last year’s elections.

    After reading all about the Comrade Delta affair here, I think that the SWP have no place in UCU, or any other union. This is not McCarthyism. UCU bans the BNP and other fascist groups because of its member’s commitment to anti-facism and racial equality. The SWP should be kicked out because its leadership protects rapists within its ranks, and persecutes whistle-blowers and those that complain against sexual violence. Unless their members break ranks with the leadership, they are unfit to be in UCU, or any other TU.

  153. UCUMember: The SWP should be kicked out because its leadership protects rapists within its ranks,

    Well I don’t agree with driving the SWP out of unions and nor do I think that any equivalence can be made between them and the BNP etc.

    Furthermore, I don’t think it can be said that they protect rapists. Just because there was an utterly flawed investigation does not mean that Delta should not still be presumed innocent.

  154. ‘The SWP should be kicked out because its leadership protects rapists within its ranks,’

    Comrade Newman is trying to maintain the pretence that he isn’t assuming guilt.

    That comment suggests he needs to try a little harder.

  155. anon:
    ‘The SWP should be kicked out because its leadership protects rapists within its ranks,’

    Comrade Newman is trying to maintain the pretence that he isn’t assuming guilt.

    That comment suggests he needs to try a little harder.

    Apart from the fact Andy Newman didn’t write that, ‘UCUMember’ did.

  156. OldTrot on said:

    UCUMember: The SWP should be kicked out because its leadership protects rapists within its ranks,

    So an accusation is proof of guilt? Are you on secondment with the Express or something?

  157. UCUMember: The SWP should be kicked out because its leadership protects rapists within its ranks

    UCU Member – that is an extremely serious allegation, and you are the first to make it, on this site or anywhere. Andy has never said any such thing. Best to be a big boy, then, and use your own name?

  158. Kate the Red on said:

    Some of you seemed to find it funny that left wing women are on mum’s net.Well there wasnt a paragraph on breast feeding in “what is to be done” I use these and other board forum’s and on my autism mums page have found 4 other socialist revolutionaries!

  159. Kate the Red on said:

    UCUMember< noplace in UCU, or any other union. This is not McCarthyism. UCU bans the BNP and other fascist groups because of its member’s commitment to anti-facism and racial equality. The SWP should be kicked out because its leadership protects rapists within its ranks,

    Ah here now I am no fan of the SWP or this whole bloody mess but that's way out of line.We also don't know if Cde Delta is a rapist or not as the correct investigation wasn't carried out( I have my own views)

    UCUMember:
    Re: the Sex-offenders at Work Party and TUs, it’s the worst kept secret around that SWP work for themselves, and not for their unions. With UCU they have been a pain in the proverbial, hence the poor performance of their candidates in last year’s elections.

    After reading all about the Comrade Delta affair here, I think that the SWP have no place in UCU, or any other union. This is not McCarthyism. UCU bans the BNP and other fascist groups because of its member’s commitment to anti-facism and racial equality. The SWP should be kicked out because its leadership protects rapists within its ranks, and persecutes whistle-blowers and those that complain against sexual violence. Unless their members break ranks with the leadership, they are unfit to be in UCU, or any other TU.

  160. secret factioneer on said:

    No news from tonight’s CC meeting as yet. A beautiful rumour that some of our students gave two of the nastiest CC members a real (verbal) shoeing, having been dragged in for a telling off. With the rest of the CC hanging around waiting to go into their meeting.

    One of the awful two did “fracture under pressure”, I hear.

  161. UCUMember -
    I’ve followed this case quite closely over about six strands now, since before Christmas, on Socialist Unity; pretty well everyone, so far, even those who HATE THE GUTS of the SWP, has, once they realized the seriousness of the issues involved, been very restrained, and have presumed innocence unless found guilty on the part of Comrade Thingy, since that is not the central issue. I’m hard-line anti the SWP CC, but to say they are protecting rapists is a presumption of guilt. I think UCU is a student organization, so see no reason why you cannot use your own name (actually I don’t see any reason why not if you work in a normal workplace – any boss that wants to argue this stuff with me is welcome to).

  162. I love the way the SWP is so keen on the anger, youth, freedom from past failures, energy, and beautiful innocence, of the new young people coming in, many of them students, until those same young people start questioning the organization – at that point they become anarchists, hot-heads, movementists, feminists, and just … well … just … silly young people.

  163. another secret factioneer on said:

    re posts 187 and 189: It is true.
    ‘Its my party and I’ll cry if i want to..’

  164. secret factioneer on said:

    Karl Stewart

    For those SWP members who oppose the above issues, and who’ve clearly tried hard, with a lot of courage and integrity, to win reform, I’m sorry but I really think it’s getting to the stage where you’re wasting your time – I think you should leave and be part of building an honest and principled movement for socialism.

    I think I’d advise anyone interested in left-wing politics not to become an SWP member or to attend SWP activities and I also now think that the TU movement should not under any circumstances give any support to the SWP or its publications.

    I’ve kind of had it altogether with the SWP now I think.

    Karl Stewart – there is a significant and growing opposition within the party. It would be exactly the wrong time for good comrades to leave now. Good comrades need to stick together and fight.

    Some think we can win, some don’t. But thinking you can win is not the only reason for fighting.

  165. anon: Comrade Newman is trying to maintain the pretence that he isn’t assuming guilt.
    That comment suggests he needs to try a little harder.

    The standard of your trolling is very poor, attributing the views of an anonymous commenter to me.

  166. Lurker on said:

    #194 secret factioneer is right. There is growing opposition and now is not the time to leave. The NC may have made a decision but that does not mean everyone is just accepting it quietly.

  167. stuart on said:

    John Grimshaw: Stuart sorry for the delay I had to work. I think you have wilfully or accidentally misunderstood what I’m trying to say.

    There seems to be a misunderstanding though certainly not wilfully on part.

    My take on it is this. At post 19 in response to Andy’s red-baiting, his suggestion that party commitments lead to a conflict with trade union work, you claimed I ‘fell for that’. At post 33 you seem to back up that assertion by saying that I ‘give the impression’ that there is indeed a conflict. This led me to defend my position by arguing that no conflict exists, rather party membership makes one a better trade unionist.

    But I’m more than happy to accept that I may have misread the discussion and would apologise should that be the case.

  168. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman: this is a particuularly foolish comment, revealing that you live in a bubble and have little or no involvement in the labour movement

    I can assure you that I do have involvement. I have to endure the effects of neo-liberal reforms and the bullying line management that goes with that every day. I also have to deal with the frustration that the reforms were implemented by a Labour government, supported by my union bureaucracy.

    And lest people forget, Len McLuskey praised Ed Miliband’s ‘One Nation Toryism’ speech at Labour conference.

  169. secret factioneer on said:

    Kimber off to Newcastle to rally the loyal troops this week. Someone give him a tissue to bring back to London for his CC colleague Amy (Delta’s “loyal lieutenant, who argues Delta should be brought back to the CC). Those nasty, nasty students.

    Also, ask him when the party is going to be told that its united interventionist leadership, made strong by the slate system, has already lost one member in the month since conference.

  170. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala (151, 161) and Graham (158,162),

    I think what was demonstrated in 1917 was that the Bolshevik party had enough flexibility to adapt to the rising class struggle. That was the test that it faced and ultimately passed. Lenin was able to see a new political situation and the party was able to respond. This stands in contrast to say the conservatism of the German SPD operating under the Kautsky model.

    But the situation today is of course entirely different. The test we face is not one of having to adapt to a rising struggle but instead to an attack on the party, fostered by as John Molyneux points out by a cumulative anti-party mood, articulated by Labourites like Owen Jones who stands for loose pluralism and is trying to trash Leninism. These ‘moods’ have found their way into the party and are expressed by a minority, a minority that because of its weakness within the party becomes reliant on hostile forces outside of the party, hence actions such as leaking transcripts. So the party response is necessarily a defensive one.

    Comparisons with 1917 are not valid.

  171. stuart: Comparisons with 1917 are not valid.

    Yet you are a member of an organisation which organises and maintains a collective worldview as if you and it are living in 1917.

    This is cognitive dissonance, surely?

  172. Paul L on said:

    199. CC member Amy Leather, one of the dullest, uncreative, unimaginative, robotic District Organisers ever to be foisted on the Manchester District, and there’s been plenty of howlers over the years.

    Only put on the CC because she was Smith loyalist in the battle against the ‘power couple, Cromwell and the Widow Twanky ( that’s Rees and German, for those not in the know).

    So reports of a confrontation with students, will play havoc with her irritable bowel. A bowel which demonstrates that at the very least, is the one part of her capable of some independent thought

  173. secret factioneer on said:

    The opposition is continually denied access to any in-party means of expression, stuart. Either you know this, and are being deliberately misleading, or you don’t know anything and you really need to learn.

    Pre-conference expulsions, pre-conference censoring of opposition statements and documents, manipulation of aggregates and delegations, shouting down of comrades in aggregates, the denial of the ability to form a faction to one group of comrades, the refusal to circulate the CC minority statement while circulating a “reply” to it – that is all in the pre-conference period. At conference, more of the same., Since conference? Worse. With Alex now using SR as his factional tool.

    Stop repeating any old crap that comes out of the dear leader’s mouth. There has not been an open and genuine debate within the party and this will happen, unless you expel us all. We are not going away and we are not shutting up.

  174. secret factioneer on said:

    She told Liverpool their special conference motion didn’t count, as it hadn’t been through one of the CC’s out-of-thin-air hoops. So they passed it anyway, then jumped through the hoop and passed it again the next week.

  175. Yo Secret-F: Don’t be coy, you’re protected by your secret name, tell us what you know about the CC meeting and the students etc.

    As for stuart – look, the guy refuses to answer the question “do you think it’s acceptable to be expelled by email without a hearing”. THe guy is the perfect party hack – he demonstrates such false consciousness, you get the feeling he actually believes what he’s saying. Sadly, when it comes to the SWP, stuart is only any good for demonstrating the mindset that a truly loyal party member can demonstrate to the rest of the world.

  176. Squandered inheritance on said:

    Paul L: 199. CC member Amy Leather, one of the dullest, uncreative, unimaginative, robotic District Organisers ever to be foisted on the Manchester District, and there’s been plenty of howlers over the years.Only put on the CC because she was Smith loyalist in the battle against the ‘power couple, Cromwell and the Widow Twanky ( that’s Rees and German, for those not in the know). So reports of a confrontation with students, will play havoc with her irritable bowel. A bowel which demonstrates that at the very least, is the one part of her capable of some independent thought

    Very droll comrade.

  177. secret factioneer on said:

    TC – confidences and the like, you know. I’m sure those closer will have plenty to say soon enough. Suffice to say I am heartened by the students and their refusal to be bullied and intimidated by Amy and Jo, even with Weyman and others looking on agog.

  178. Feodor on said:

    Kate the Red:
    Some of you seemed to find it funny that left wing women are on mum’s net.Well there wasnt a paragraph on breast feeding in “what is to be done”…

    This comment brought a big smile to my face – best thing I’ll read all day. :)

  179. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins:
    As for stuart – look, the guy refuses to answer the question “do you think it’s acceptable to be expelled by email without a hearing”.

    CC response..

    ‘They are entitled to appeal against their expulsions and such appeals will be heard by the Disputes Committee. The Disputes Committee case referred to by the faction concluded at the end of October. The Disputes Committee will present a report to conference where delegates will be able to vote on it.’

    I think it’s got more to do with you and others refusing to abide by democratic voting.

  180. secret factioneer on said:

    TC is even less likely to submit to your faction’s diktat than I am, his not being an SWP member and that.

  181. And let me be really clear – do *you*, the person who chooses to post under the pseudonym “stuart”, believe it’s acceptable? Don’t tell me what a report says, tell me whether *you* think it’s acceptable for people to be expelled by email without a hearing?

  182. John Grimshaw on said:

    #197 Stuart I will try once more to explain what I was trying to say to you, but please try not to be so dry. A UCU member was understandably concerned about what may have and what is going on in the SWP. He expressed this concern by wondering whether the matter was so serious that your comrades should be removed from union positions. This position now seems to be held by a minority of other posters on this site. Your defence against this was to say;

    “As SWP members we are bound by majority decisions so there is no point even trying to differentiate in the way that are attempting to do. BTW, are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? Answer the question! Answer the question!”

    This implies that you think that ALL your members who are active in TUs only do what the SWP wants and are essentially abusing their roles as TU activists and lay members. It also gives the impression that you are all robots who obey instructions given to them from on high. Its hardly surprising then that AN comes back to you by saying that if this is the case it would be easy to remove your members because; “…their decisions are indeed made for them by people outside the union.” Now Andy may be being serious or he may be ironic but you should stop giving people amunition. Hence the reason why I said that you had kinda’ve fallen for it.

    Later on I made it clear that I am against such a witch-hunt and furthermore I expressed surprise that you did not seem to realise that a lot of your members who are TU activists or elected lay members are NOT automatons and can represent both their union’s interests and their own at the same time. So in a way you see I was kinda defending you lot on that particular position. But if you don’t want any friends..? For the sake of completeness I also said that I have also experienced some lazy or shoddy trots (i.e. of whatever variety) who simply take advantage of their union positions, especially where facilities time is concerned. And I should’ve said also where conferences are concerned.

    Finally at #23/31 I do say that there are issues raised by the handling of the “comrade Delta” situation which are going to be of great concern to trades unionists and wondered what you thought about it and how your organisation was going to sort it out. Something which you did not get back to me on. And to go round in a circle you can see that there are issues with this, given some people’s comments, here and elsewhere, that are going to affect our trades union branches etc.

  183. Squandered inheritance on said:

    Paul L: 199. CC member Amy Leather, one of the dullest, uncreative, unimaginative, robotic District Organisers ever to be foisted on the Manchester District, and there’s been plenty of howlers over the years.Only put on the CC because she was Smith loyalist in the battle against the ‘power couple, Cromwell and the Widow Twanky ( that’s Rees and German, for those not in the know). So reports of a confrontation with students, will play havoc with her irritable bowel. A bowel which demonstrates that at the very least, is the one part of her capable of some independent thought

    The dullest and most robotic organiser? – it’s a very competitive field. Alan Ruddle takes some beating in the ‘mindless hackery, dolt like, piss good people off both inside and outside the party stakes’. Bambery was the master trainer – credit where it’s due.

  184. Stuart, majority of us are experiencing austerity, effects of neoliberalism and bosses. And Ed Miliband is useless…! Again stop using this as a distraction from just how shockingly appalling the organisation you are mindlessly cheerleading is behaving. Christ…. Wake-up!!!!!!! Your “obey the SWP leadership” is not only embarrassing but tedious…..along with your method of distraction

  185. John: Yet you are a member of an organisation which organises and maintains a collective worldview as if you and it are living in 1917.This is cognitive dissonance, surely?

    This is a misrepresentation on your part. We are discussing party models, the SWP model is one that takes into account uneveness in consciousnerss across the class. So if class consciousness is different in 1917 than today then party adaption will be different.

  186. Tony Collins: And let me be really clear – do *you*, the person who chooses to post under the pseudonym “stuart”, believe it’s acceptable? Don’t tell me what a report says, tell me whether *you* think it’s acceptable for people to be expelled by email without a hearing?

    My position is that if the party needs to act decisively then so be it. And it is not as if people were expelled with no other processes to follow. I have to judge actions on whether they turn out to be proven correct over time. From what I have seen over the course of this case I would say the party was right to take decisive action.

  187. stuart: I also have to deal with the frustration that the reforms were implemented by a Labour government, supported by my union bureaucracy.

    Are you interested in politics at all, or do you jusy like to posture base upon how you feel as an individual.

    Clearly trade unions as institutions have a complex relationship with both management and the state, representing the collective interests of workers but not seeking to transcend capitalist employment relations.

    You seem to be criticism the unions for not being revolutionary groups.

    I also think that you fail to recognise the practical, ideologcal and sometimes industrial opposition that the unions have put up, but please note that the unions can only fight as hard as the members are willing to. Far from holding back “the struggle” in recent years what you would call the bureaucracy has – in most unions – been keen to fan the flames.

  188. their refusal to be bullied and intimidated by Amy and Jo, even with Weyman and others looking on agog

    Decline of deference innit. When I started work – in a white-collar job, out of uni – there was a constant level of more and less friendly p-taking and banter at the expense of the ‘kids’ (like 22-year-old me): anyone who’d been in work for less than five years was automatically assumed to be useless, unreliable, totally lacking in common sense, etc. And that was when you were doing everything right – screw something up and you’d be in for a proper bollocking. It was assumed that kids were a lower form of being, and if you were a kid you just put up with it – and even then I heard older guys (particularly those who’d come off the shop floor) reminiscing about how much tougher they’d had it at my age.

    That sense that you’d only make a transition into full adulthood once you were in your first job has been lost now, with the break-up of big industrial workplaces and the decline of settled trades. In some ways that’s a shame – there are losses when you get rid of anything that gives structure to people’s lives, particularly if nothing is put in its place. But it does mean that young people have a much greater sense of their own worth than we did in our day – and they’re much more resistant to being told to shut up and get back in the box. Even by SWP full-timers.

    “Weyman and others looking on” is giving me a certain kind of mental picture, which (if I’m right) increases my respect for these bolshy young tykes. Would I be right in thinking that Weyman Bennett is a relatively large bloke?

  189. secret factioneer on said:

    Umm…he isn’t a little fella, but it wouldn’t occur to me to be scared of him, physically. Unless he has Delta and the Delta Squad with him, I suppose.

  190. Except that the majority were ‘girls’.

    As were both the Police officers I had cause to assist rape victims complain about on separate occasions, sadly.

    I read that comment differently – I think it encapsulated three different points about the case in about two lines flat. Viz:

    I just can’t get over the fact that she didn’t go to the police or courts because they are bourgeois oppressors etc

    Point 1 – it’s a damn shame that W chose or was persuaded to let the case be handled ‘internally’, and more generally that she didn’t get any better advice and support (see Linda Rogers’ post on the IS blog for some thoughts on how it could have been handled better). This was the wrong course of action, and if it was influenced by the party’s longstanding paranoia about the bourgeois state – or by its more recent flirtation with “kick out the pigs” ultra-leftism – then the party has some real questions to answer.

    and the more equal than other comrades at the top found chappie innocent.

    Point 2: the members of the CC aren’t just ‘first among equals’ within the party; they’re a self-sustaining, self-replicating caste. We know it, they know it. In a party with that kind of leadership structure – particularly one supported by a weird, calendar-driven version of democratic centralism – organs like the DC can never operate entirely independently. Some comrades are more equal than others: we know it, they know it.

    Boys will be boys.

    Point 3: this is usually phrased differently, more along the lines of “it’s her word against his”, or “I’m not joining a committee to decide on people’s sex lives”, or “I’m no angel, I admit it”. Yeah, there are these allegations, but come on… Yeah, things might have got a bit unpleasant back then, but come on… As a guy with a rape allegation hanging over him, Delta has been shown an extraordinary level of indulgence – you can’t help feeling that the underlying assumption is that a rape allegation is just one of those things, kind of thing that could happen to anyone, there but for the grace of God…

    This case has pulled an awful lot of loose threads, and it doesn’t look like the CC is going to be able to knit them up again. I hope the SWP comes out of this renewed, but I’m afraid it could go horribly wrong – the CC (majority) seems to be firmly on course for Healy land.

  191. sf – OK, consider that speculation retracted. You can tell us about the Delta Squad another time. The idea of wheeling out Delta in person to put the frighteners on is interesting, but I suspect they’ve got a bit more nous than to try that.

  192. paul hs on said:

    secret factioneer,

    If you really are a party member you clearly have little grasp of how the swp works, as for your remarks re ‘no open discussion’, it’s risible. You and the odious Paul L, who mixes it with personal mocking, deserve each other.

  193. John Grimshaw,

    Fair enough, I welcome your opposition to a witch-hunt.

    But to explain my case further, I responded initially to Mark P’s attempt to use a tactic of McCarthyism and splitting. He was basically saying that SWP members should be ‘naming names’ or attacking their own party in order to keep their ‘hard won positions’, see post 3. Andy later joined in along similar lines.

    I fail to see how the internal matter, the complaint, should impact upon ordinary trade union work. The SWP dealt with the complaint, if someone is trying to make an issue of it I’d want to know where they are getting their information from. If necessary I would direct them to the SWP website and the party’s ‘response to attacks’.

  194. secret factioneer: There has not been an open and genuine debate within the party and this will happen, unless you expel us all. We are not going away and we are not shutting up.

    I’m with John Molyneux on this.

  195. Howark Kirk on said:

    lol – stop laughing at the back.

    From some contributors to Urban75:

    1.Slightly more details about the London SWSS thing: apparently the two CC members now in charge of student work organised a meeting with a large bunch of students to whack them back into line. And it went badly wrong as they were unprepared for a totally hostile and insubordinate response.

    2.the whackers whacked

    3.’d love to know what “hostile and insubordinate” consisted of

    4. hope the line: “you can shove this weeks quota of Socialist Workers up your arse, sunshine” was used at some point.

  196. HarpyMarx: Stuart, majority of us are experiencing austerity, effects of neoliberalism and bosses. And Ed Miliband is useless…!

    I’ll make a guess. Despite your assessment of Miliband, and despite the fact that Labour has always acted in the interests of capitalism, and despite the fact the the left can never win a dominant position within the party, you are a Labour party member.

  197. stuart: , if someone is trying to make an issue of it I’d want to know where they are getting their information from. If necessary I would direct them to the SWP website and the party’s ‘response to attacks’.

    Yes that should do it. I should imagine that would be very effective in most union branches

  198. Andy Newman:Clearly trade unions as institutions have a complex relationship with both management and the state, representing the collective interests of workers but not seeking to transcend capitalist employment relations.

    Which is why we need parties like the SWP.

  199. Andy Newman: Yes that should do it. I should imagine that would be very effective in most union branches

    It would only be a problem if the branch is right-wing and/or full of sectarians.

  200. stuart: Which is why we need parties like the SWP.

    How does a party with a docile and aging membership, ossified theory, relatively few trade union activists, and an open rebelion from its students over a scandalous attemptd cover up of an alleged rape help anyone?

  201. stephen marks on said:

    ‘It would only be a problem if the branch is right-wing and/or full of sectarians’.

    Which for Stuart includes by definition all trade unionists who do not agree with the line of the SWP CC. The solipsistic circle is complete – the sure marker of terminal sectarian delusion.

  202. Stuart- the significance of the level of class consciousness escapes me, although it’s apparently high enough to demand that the police be driven off our streets and to call fo a general srtike.

    Even if it is a relevant question, the reality is that the bolsheviks (by then communists) and the young comintern had a more open regime than the SWP does now in the period when the revolution was faced with a huge downturn and lowering of class consciousness following the civil war, the Polish debacle and the general failure of the revolution to spread.

    Your current regime would be far more familiar to a member of a CP in the Stalin period than anything presided over by Lenin.

    The most significant difference between repression and terror under the former rather than the latter was the proportion of victims who were ordinary people rather than party members and particularly officials. Thankfully we can’t make that comparison in respect of your party.

    Referring to the level of attack on the party from external enemies and the influence on party members also seems a bit bizarre.

    In 1917 the majority of Bolshevik leaders were promoting a more conciliatory line towards political parties that were members of a government that was denouncing them, with particular fire on Lenin, as German agents. Lenin fled to Finland to avoid being arrested and facing charges of treason. Several Bolshevik leaders were arrested, their press was smashed up.

    Do you seriously think that none of the Bolshevik party members were influenced by what others were saying about their leaders?

    All this latter day bolshevik play-acting is about is keeping a self-perpetuating bureaucracy in power. Is it surprising that some people find it ironic to be accused of stalinism by those who blindly follow it?

    No, we are not living in 1917. Some of us cottoned on both to that fact and what flows from it a long time ago.

  203. John Grimshaw on said:

    #243 That about sums it up. I’m happy to go on about Kronstadt by the way but I might bore you before you bore me?

  204. John Grimshaw on said:

    #233 “I fail to see how the internal matter, the complaint, should impact upon ordinary trade union work. The SWP dealt with the complaint, if someone is trying to make an issue of it I’d want to know where they are getting their information from. If necessary I would direct them to the SWP website and the party’s ‘response to attacks’.”

    Where to begin? Coz if you can’t see it? So the internal matter this “rape thing” is just that is it? An internal matter? So because its an internal matter us other trades unionists should just ignore it and get on should we? the reason why you’re now in this situation is because you didn’t deal with it. And because we as activists and socialists have interests in common you can’t just subsume this whole matter into secretive “internal” stuff and pretend that we don’t have an interest. Stuart you haven’t dealt with it and equally you are in the process of disintegrating your organisation. Its time to wake up. Some people round here are chumps but some in my view have put forwards perfectly reasonable suggestions about how to sort this situation out. The SWP really needs to accept some help.

    Actually I’m angry now which is not a good place to be. If you can’t see how the “internal matter” impacts on yours and our trades union work then it beggars belief. I’m sorry if that was very shouty but I despair. By the way whats the difference between ordinarey trades union work and not..? Or is ordinary just an occupational situation?

    I welcome your comments but I would also like to hear from some other comrades who perhaps have a better angle on this. If possible. :)

  205. stuart: I fail to see how the internal matter, the complaint, should impact upon ordinary trade union work.

    Did it not cease to be an internal matter once lots of people outside the SWP started discussing it?

  206. secret factioneer on said:

    I have no idea which particular CC-majority-faction hack is insulting me here, no do I care very much. Trying to bully me at least keeps them away from bullying and intimidating others, giving other members some respite from the disgusting onslaught which has been unleashed.

  207. Jellytot on said:

    @228Umm…he isn’t a little fella, but it wouldn’t occur to me to be scared of him, physically.

    In my best Michael Caine voice…”You’re a big man, but you’re in bad shape”

    @235a large bunch of students …..I’d love to know what “hostile and insubordinate” consisted of

    Picture the audience in any random 1970′s episode of “University Challenge” only more aggressive

  208. John R on said:

    Jellytot:

    @235a large bunch of students …..I’d love to know what “hostile and insubordinate” consisted of

    Picture the audience in any random 1970′s episode of “University Challenge” only more aggressive

    Well, here are four hostile and insubordinate students on University Challenge from the 80′s -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysG96dUtGh4

  209. Graham Day on said:

    Andy Newman: Did it not cease to be an internal matter once lots of people outside the SWP started discussing it?

    It ceased to be an internal matter as soon as someone made an allegation of rape, surely…

  210. Graham Day: It ceased to be an internal matter as soon as someone made an allegation of rape, surely…

    That was the point it became a matter of public interest, where it should no longer have been treated by the SWP as an internal matter. In fact it was still being treated as an internal matter, though it shoudn’t have been.

    the point where it factually ceased to be an internal matter is when I published the transcript

  211. paul hs on said:

    secret factioneer,

    If this amounts to bullying, my, what a sheltered life you have led. Pitiful. Ditto with your friends, Facebook and the internet is one thing, real life and face to face discussion another.

  212. paul hs: Facebook and the internet is one thing, real life and face to face discussion another.

    well clearly face to face discussion is different from electronic communication, but both are “real life”

  213. I'm really hard me - honest on said:

    paul hs: secret factioneer, If this amounts to bullying, my, what a sheltered life you have led. Pitiful. Ditto with your friends, Facebook and the internet is one thing, real life and face to face discussion another.

    Oh my, my. Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough. Come on Millwall show us what you’ve got.

  214. secret factioneer on said:

    paul hs – a death threat is a death threat, whether it is delivered face to face or via another means. If the cc-majority-faction is tied up being rude in here, it means they are not wandering the planet, or the internet, delivering more death threats.

  215. secret factioneer on said:

    AN – can’t and won’t give any more details at this stage, so delete if you feel it needs doing.

  216. secret factioneer on said:

    We all have our quiet moments at work.

    I was quite surprised as well, comrade.

    I doubt there’s been a motion in a CC meeting in favour of threats of serious violence and worse, mind.

    More likely there’s a few drink-soaked old hacks with inflated ideas of their own machismo, encouraged by the corrupt leadership, and with too much time on their hands, exceeding their formal mandates.

    Most threats of violence, however seriously voiced, are not followed up, of course. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t serious. Nor does it make them acceptable.

  217. stuart on said:

    Vanya,

    During the civil war period the party had to substitute itself for the class (which was being decimated) so comparisons with the SWP are meaningless. And after that (the socialism in one country and state capitalism period) the Stalinist party used terminology like ‘socialism’ or ‘Marxism-Leninism’ or ‘democratic centralism’ as simply theoretical justification for organisational practice, not being in any sense being guided by any militacy in class consciousness, yet again the comparison with the SWP is meaningless.

  218. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    It seems a bit ironic that as we look back ten years to the Feb 15th march against the Iraq war, in which even people like Owen Jones have to grudgingly accept that we ‘punched above our weight’, you end up being politically aligned with Nick Cohen.

  219. stuart on said:

    John Grimshaw, Andy Newman, Graham Day,

    The complaint was an internal matter because that is what the complainant wished it to be. She did not want it being published on forums such as this. The SWP went along with the wishes of the complainant by activating its own procedures. I’d be quite happy to explain that at any trade-union meeting.

  220. Graham on said:

    stuart,

    Well you got that right Stuart the comparison between between the SWP and the Bolshevik Party of Lenin’s time is completely meaningless. However if you read the point put to you regarding Lenin’s public attack on the party leadership, that actually predated the Civil War by a few years so the question remains given that you claim to stand in Lenin’s political tradition why does it appear that that tradition is a considerable distance away from your own when it comes to the democratic rights of minorities to express their differences with the party leadership?

    Put it another way do you really think that the Bolshevik Party prior to the revolution would have expelled cadres for simply having a discussion about the possibility of forming a faction?

  221. OldTrot on said:

    stuart,

    This has been pointed out innumerable times already, but I fear you’re wasting your time. Their concern for the comrade is superficial and entirely secondary to their desire to stick sectarian boot in.

  222. Graham on said:

    Actually if concern for the comrade is an issue for SWP members why was she not allowed to address the conference as she requested?

  223. Lurker on said:

    stuart: The complaint was an internal matter because that is what the complainant wished it to be. She did not want it being published on forums such as this. The SWP went along with the wishes of the complainant by activating its own procedures.

    So is the complainant happy now – I strongly suspect not.

  224. OldTrot on said:

    Graham,

    Completely different discussion. Explain if you will why you think the comrade’s express wish for confidentiality should have been ignored, and also why you cheer on someone from outside of the organisation breeching that confidentiality by plastering it all over the Internet

  225. Graham on said:

    Actually in the context of your point about concern for the comrade concerned it isn’t a ‘completely different discussion’, why was this not an issue when she specifically requested to address the conference ?

    It seems to me that such concern is little more than a political point.

  226. Graham Day on said:

    stuart, serious criminal allegations are not an internal matter for private organisations, they are also matters of public concern.

    The best interests of all involved would have been best served by having the matter throughly investigated by the proper authorities.

  227. stuart: even people like Owen Jones have to grudgingly accept that we ‘punched above our weight’

    Yes, who am I do contradict the erudition and expereince of the Mighty Jones!

    Look mate, he was just trying to find something nice to say because it is polite to be diplomatic about the dead when giving the oration at their funeral.

    I don’t accept that the SWP “punch above your weight”. the opposite as your conformist regime makes individuals compliant, and you don’t bring out the talent and creativity of your members

  228. undertoad on said:

    three points here.

    1. What if the SWP had refused the woman’s request to investigate and potentially expel the accussed?

    2. What if the SWP had set-up a one-off committee to deal with this and they had come to the same comnclusion (ie we dont have enough evidence to reach the conclusion that delta should be expelled).

    3. At Marxism 2011 I was about to attend a talk by Delta and a comrade who is on the DC (who people hear are calling Delta’s mate) said to me “I hate his talks, but not as much as I hate him”. Is the fact that the DC members know the man the same thing as being his “mate”?

  229. egregious65 on said:

    There seem to be a lot of SWP CC fans suddenly let off the leash!

    I’m an ex-member and have to say that the sight of all these ‘loyalists’ attempting to stick the boot in isn’t particularly edifying, nor is is actually dealing with the issues of democracy and accountability (as understood outside of far left sects) that many are trying to engage with.

    On the basis of the comments above I’m presuming the strategy is to attempt to slur and shout down all unbelievers? Not exactly original I’d hazard to suggest!

  230. stuart: even people like Owen Jones have to grudgingly accept that we ‘punched above our weight’

    There is a dynamic here.

    Someone who beleived themselves to be a Bolshevik revolutionary in twenty-first century Britain, could function effectively in most situations, but their political practice is orthogonal to the social and political institutions of our society, which will limit their political effectiveness outside of short term radical campaigns; and there will be a tension between their big ambitions and the group’s limited achievements.

    But that very disengagement with mainstream politics, combined with skills in leafet writing, building pubic meetings etc’ can make the SWP very effective in the short term at responding to new campaigns like STW

  231. egregious65: I’m an ex-member and have to say that the sight of all these ‘loyalists’ attempting to stick the boot in isn’t particularly edifying

    This happened exactly the same during the Respect split. They descend all at once, then they all disappear, then come back again.

  232. Howard Kirk on said:

    Andy Newman,

    What was interesting about the period of the demo was even by that point it was quite clear the enthusiasm for the anti-war movement was not turning into members for the SWP. What were the many things that prevented this happening?

    The CC simply fell into imploring/blaming members for not doing enough to recruit rather than listen to the members and their experiences of not being able to recruit large numbers. It was quite clear that many people were happy to come along to a STWC meeting with speakers and stalls from the SWP, agreed about the war, but did not have any interest in joining.

    That form of democratic centralism was at fault then pretty much as it is now – there is little members can do to get the leadership to ask the tough questions about itself, the party they lead and it’s methods.

  233. egregious65 on said:

    Andy Newman: This happened exactly the same during the Respect split. They descend all at once, then they all disappear, then come back again.

    Sounds almost as if it’s coordinated, well I never! ;)

    undertoad:
    no egrorius, they were questions that you dont seem willing to answer, not slurs.

    If that’s aimed at me, and I guess the name you use is vaguely similar to the one I’m posting under, I have to say given the above was my second post on here (or on any socialist board/web page) and my first in this thread I’m unaware of any questions that have been asked specifically of me … or are you simply lumping all oppositionists, feminists, movementists, reormistst (or whatever sectarian tags you’ve been ordered to use this week) etc etc blah blah together and are simply trying to drown all ‘unbelievers’ out with your ‘noise’?

  234. undertoad on said:

    No, I havent posted at all until now so I dont I will drown anyone out. I dont disagree with eveything said here, and dont agree that I should be lumped in with people who are seen as loyalists, I have 3 pertinent questions. They were not aimed at you but your response was such that I thought I should reply. Anyone interested in having a pop at my points rather than dismissing me as anoisy loyalist?

  235. secret factioneer on said:

    I don’t imagine anyone is interested in your whataboutery, no “undertoad”.

  236. egregious65 on said:

    undertoad:
    No, I havent posted at all until now so I dont I will drown anyone out. I dont disagree with eveything said here, and dont agree that I should be lumped in with people who are seen as loyalists, I have 3 pertinent questions.They were not aimed at you but your response was such that I thought I should reply.Anyone interested in having a pop at my points rather than dismissing me as anoisy loyalist?

    In that case I wasn’t originally having a pop at you so I don’t understand why you’ve presumed my comments were aimed at you?

    I missed your questions frankly because I ended up scan reading most of the above because I got sick of all the noise, evasions and obfuscations from the SWP loyalists who suddenly seem to have descended en mass. You might actually conclude that your comments and questions were drowned out by their ‘noise’ too!

    So, sorry about that but if you’d like me to try do post again (far too lazy to look for them right now ;) )

    Here’s where I’m coming from, no particular axe to grind as an ex member, just fell out many years ago after coming to the conclusion that the SWP was utterly undemocratic and run by a ruling elite. My only interest in the current crisis I guess is that it all seems to confirm my view of what the SWP is and how it’s run. I guess the behaviour of the ‘comrades’ above is simply reinforcing that but I’m guessing that matters not to them, since I’m unrecruitable … mind you that probably goes for anyone outside the party who has been following this and a great many more too! ;)

  237. undertoad on said:

    I am, I was a SWP member briefly once and still attend some events, I think they have made a real hash of this but have real questions about some of the reaction here. I know for a fact that at least one DC member is not a “mate” of Delta’s, whereas Newman and others suggest the whole DC is made up of his mates. I only know one other DC member , have no idea whether they are a mate of Delta’s but it opens up the possibility to me, at least, that the DC might be people who know, but not necessarily people who like him or are his friends.

    If the SWP had disbanded an established DC for a one-off case and they had reached the same conclusion about whether to expel Delta then I suspect people would have more reason than now to claim the DC was loaded or rigged.

    No?

  238. undertoad: If the SWP had disbanded an established DC for a one-off case and they had reached the same conclusion about whether to expel Delta then I suspect people would have more reason than now to claim the DC was loaded or rigged.

    No?

    The fundamental problems would have still been present, but it certainly would have been a mitigating factor in their defence.

    This isn’t about a claim that there was loading or rigging.

    The rules of natural justice (like the rule of law) are about a general way of proceeding, and precisely not about specific cases.

    The rule against bias is not a rule against coruption or abuse of power, but against procedures where either is possible, or are open to the appearance that they are.

  239. egregious65 on said:

    undertoad:
    I am, I was a SWP member briefly once and still attend some events, I think they have made a real hash of this but have real questions about some of the reaction here.I know for a fact that at least one DC member is not a “mate” of Delta’s, whereas Newman and others suggest the whole DC is made up of his mates.I only know one other DC member , have no idea whether they are a mate of Delta’s but it opens up the possibility to me, at least, that the DC might be people who know, but not necessarily people who like him or are his friends.

    I guess we need to differentiate between the personal mate (would that be bourgeois ;) ) and the political mate.

    Again to declare my interest/lack of interest I know nothing about this Delta character, I don’t even recall him being around when I was a member which it’s obvious from that comment was a while back but he might have been. I have read some very unpleasant stuff though on the web and my partner was, until recently, much closer to the SWP (and much more active than me for that matter) and I heard a few things that rather ‘surprised’ me about him. So that’s all I know about the individual this all revolves around.

    From what I’ve heard it doesn’t surprise me in the last that he’s not best personal mates with everyone on the CC, in fact I’m more surprised he has any personal mates there (but maybe that’s a reflection on the kind of characters that make up the current SWP CC!). However it strikes me that with an organisation like the SWP these considerations don’t really matter so much, it’s the political that’s important. Delta is a political mate (read comrade) of the members of the CC and for that reason alone a tribunal made up of people who know him and for whom supressing scandal that might damage the SWP would be an important factor seems to me to be suspect. Add to that the evidence we have that the issue was sat on for some time and that debate over the issue seems to have been ‘minimised’ at the very least and I’d say the whole thing rather stinks and that’s before we get to the expulsions and the current battening down of the hatches, bureaucratic manoeuvrings and denunciations of anyone and everyone who disagrees with the CC line on this.

    If the SWP had disbanded an established DC for a one-off case and they had reached the same conclusion about whether to expel Delta then I suspect people would have more reason than now to claim the DC was loaded or rigged.

    No?

    That sounds like it could be even worse or better depending on who was chosen but the devil or the deep blue sea wasn’t/isn’t the only possible choice here IMHO.

  240. undertoad: it opens up the possibility to me, at least, that the DC might be people who know, but not necessarily people who like him or are his friends.

    Which is not really any better.

    undertoad: I was a SWP member briefly once and still attend some events,

    It is suprisingly common for people defending the SWP on the Internet to be non-members. I know they are non-members becasue on the Interent people ALWAYS give accurate biographical information

  241. brainwash on said:

    #199 and #218 –

    Hannah Dee in South East London circa 2001/2 – extraordinary absence of any people skills whatsoever. She would simply ignore anyone who took a different line over anything so that we ended up with two similarly sized District organisations in effect , one that was on-message and one not. Was later stunned when she appeared on the CC.

  242. brainwash on said:

    “Was later stunned when she appeared on the CC.”

    Actually probably makes sense when i think about it!

  243. ian johnson on said:

    Andy Newman “It is suprisingly common for people defending the SWP on the Internet to be non-members. I know they are non-members becasue on the Interent people ALWAYS give accurate biographical information”

    So we take the word of the “exmembers” who are critical of the SWP and reject those who are not?

    To answer Undertoad’s questions – yes, you are right to question the assumption that the DC members have a close working or personal relationship with Delta or that it influenced their decision.

    You are also correct that the charge had to be held by the existing DC and not one set-up for this one person or one allegation.

    But you are wrong on your first point, if the party had efused to deal with this internally it would have been defendable, as long as they had clarified that they had done so because they preferred this to be dealt with by independent courts or counsellors.

    Of course, the usual suspects would still be attacking them but it wouldnt be anywhere near the disaster that they have brought upon themselves.

    I am not and never have been an SWP member but await the judgement of the impartial and independent Lord Newman to find out whether I am lying about that or not

  244. stuart on said:

    Graham:
    Actually if concern for the comrade is an issue for SWP members why was she not allowed to address the conference as she requested?

    Is that normal procedure with a complaint?

  245. stuart on said:

    Lurker: So is the complainant happy now – I strongly suspect not.

    All I know is that she asked the party to investigate the complaint and that she did not want it discussed on this public forum.

  246. stuart on said:

    Graham Day:

    The best interests of all involved would have been best served by having the matter throughly investigated by the proper authorities.

    You mean the police? The complainant didn’t want that.

  247. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman:

    I don’t accept that the SWP “punch above your weight”. the opposite as your conformist regime makes individuals compliant, and you don’t bring out the talent and creativity of your members

    You mean that you can get on in the Labour Party by being creative, individual and independently minded? Is that the route to the front bench?

  248. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman:

    Someone who beleived themselves to be a Bolshevik revolutionary in twenty-first century Britain, could function effectively in most situations, but their political practice is orthogonal to the social and political institutions of our society, which will limit their political effectiveness

    Is that your excuse for lurching to the right?

  249. Graham on said:

    stuart,

    The point Stuart is that you and Oldtrot are expressing concern for the wishes of the complainant in this case, why were her wishes to address (or even be allowed in) the conference not respected if you are genuinely concerned?
    I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and accept that you are genuine, do YOU think (I’m not interested in the needs of the party at this point) she should have been allowed to address the conference?

  250. Graham Day on said:

    stuart: You mean the police? The complainant didn’t want that.

    A decision I’m sure she made entirely independently and free of any kind of outside influence.

    As I said, it would have been in the best interests of all concerned if the matter had been properly investigated by the proper authorities.

  251. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman,

    “Disengagement with mainstream politics” translating as not leafleting for the Labour Party?

    Or do you accept that an independent socialist organisation CAN be relevant, but just isn’t in the case of the SWP? (And which would seem to fit in fine with your comment at #274.)

  252. old timer on said:

    Stuart, Old Trot,

    You are weird .. . your messages are truly freakish … properly scary. You need to get some help.

  253. John Smith on said:

    Fascinating! All this blather about an minor sect! How many labour MP’s have been done for abusing there position and the working class? Rotherham by election comes to mind! And Newman has the audacity to have a poke! But then perhaps he is just a labour party lacky with a brown nose! An alleged rape! compared with his parties mass murders in Iraq and Afganistan! Some perspective please!

  254. Manzil on said:

    John Smith: An alleged rape! compared with his parties mass murders in Iraq and Afganistan! Some perspective please!

    Against which there were millions on the streets of Britain.

    I don’t think criticism by a few websites and newspapers is excessive, in the circumstances.

  255. Old timer on said:

    John Smith: ! Some perspective please!

    Noooooo! we are all important, fool. If a woman (one woman) alleges rape, and the man she says did it is a left wing ‘leader’ then the collective left has a duty of care towards her (and all women) to respond to her allegation (if his party is covering it up).

    Is it any wonder that women don’t trust left wing men? We will deal with rape after the revolution? Please.

    Or, to put it another way, perhaps me and you can meet privately. I will kick your head in. You can’t bleat about it or call the police. Because, and it’s true: Tony Blair is a dickhead.

    Fair? If yes: Type your address in the box below.

    Seriously. I love beating up bigots.

    Sexist idiot.

  256. jim mclean on said:

    Joe Bloggs is unfairly sacked. Does his SWP TU Rep tell him to accept his fate? Does his rep call for a one day General Strike? Or does he tell Joe to go to the Bourgeois courts and get a hefty lump of compo? Handy things courts when you need them.

  257. John Smith on said:

    Abstact bollocks old timer! Rapes a plenty in Iraq and Afganistan! Blair lives near Hyde Park corner i believe start
    your sexist vigilante shit their if you have the bottle!
    beware the of the Met with machine guns! Probabily officers moved from saphire for good behaviour!

  258. Jon Fanning on said:

    just to clarify

    if the complainant did not want to go to the police I support that

    if she asked the SWP to deal with the matter that is fine.

    I then part company with them over the fucked up way they did it BUT

    we all make mistakes, there was still time to get it right.

    However they instead tried to claim CC infallibility (not actually surprising to me) and the anti-democratic, centralised tendencies cut in, and as I oppose the centralised bureacracy (that is why I am not a SWAPPIE any more) I hoped that the exposure of why centralization is not the correct course for a revolutionary party might now bring asbout the democratic renewal of the SWP the class needs.

    I certainly feel that lots of sectarians, back sliders, right wingers etc. are all over this but I didn’t cause this fuck up, I am trying, in my own little way, to assert pressure to strenghen the left by helping the faction with the correct position win.

    I think it still hangs in the balance, but if they go the way of the WRP or RCP, and this moment is that big for them I feel, I won’t sit around and see them damage the labour movement in their death throws.

  259. Graham,

    You didn’t answer my question asked at post 293. Is it normal procedure to address conference when raising a complaint?

  260. Graham Day,

    As I said in post 295, the complainant did not want to go to the police. Why do you keep on going on about what you wished she had done? We have to deal with the reality, her actual wishes.

  261. stuart:
    As I said in post 295, the complainant did not want to go to the police. Why do you keep on going on about what you wished she had done?We have to deal with the reality, her actual wishes.

    So basically, it’s a pick ‘n’ mix to which of her wishes you accede to?

    Are there ‘normal procedures’ for allegations of rape against leading SWP members? I personally don’t know. But obviously it was signally inappropriate of the SWP to applaud themselves for their sensitivity to the alleged victim and at the same time make sure no one actually heard from her.

    Given that their report’s conclusions basically amount to calling the complainant a liar, shouldn’t emphasis have been put on not only being fair to her, but being seen to be fair?

  262. Stuart – you are contradicting yourself in less than two posts, in post 311 you express a desire to respect with the complainants wishes yet a mere two minutes previously, your primary concern is the SWP’s (presumably?) procedures rather than the complainants wishes.

  263. Stuart – I would really hope that this situation and the issues concerned aren’t considered normal to you?

    I have no idea whether the SWP’s constition allows the complainant to address conference but for the session concerned they should certainly have had the right to do so. Perhaps you could enlighten us what do the conference standing orders specifically say in relation to the right of a complainant having the right to address the session dealing with their complaint?

  264. I suppose it’s a step forward we can all agree there is only ‘the’ reality, singular…

  265. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    We meet again. I now know you don’t respond to questions people go to the trouble of asking you, so I apologise for the ones I’ve put to you. But people saw them & they’re in the record.

    Regretfully your strategy has been to stonewall. Maybe in another context it would be Millwall – you may even transition into it. In fact we have already seen the beginnings of it with your incantation of those dastardly “HOSTILE FORCES”. Ever read the Stalinist take on the embattled builders of socialism? Read up on it or talk with some ex-CPer who’s over 80. You’ll be able to expand your vocabulary & even learn some new choice phrases.

    The questions I’ll be asking now are rhetorical, placed here for you to consider, but anyone can reflect upon them in terms of their relevance & coherence, & chip in. But if you do find yourself drawn into responding that would be great. You have the respect of all of us here for sticking it out & taking the flack as someone trying to justify the unjustifiable. All we ask is that you start to think for yourself & develop some ideas & arguments. Just don’t avoid what’s said to you, choosing to speak about something besides the point, or lob some Harman or Professor Dark Side quote at us. Work on an argument, say something surprising. Remember, the tomes & speeches are full of exhortations to the faithful to be critical Marxists, to be iconoclastic, TO THINK FOR ONESELF. That’s what you need to do, Stuart, it’s part of your very own historical mission. Remember your Lukacs, the father of Rees’ algebra of the revolution? We all live mundane lives but we’re also all historical beings. Fulfil your potential, Stuart, think for yourself!

    So here goes:

    (1) You referred us to Professor Dark Side’s limp piece in ‘Socialist Review’ the other week, ‘Is Leninist Finished?’. So what do we find there? Take his 4th paragraph: “some [members] ensured that a highly distorted account of the disciplinary case was circulated on the web”. Account? A transcript of a recording of the Disputes Cttee. was passed to this site which put it up. Kimber asked for its removal & SU correctly said no. Note, Kimber in his email to SU did NOT challenge the accuracy of the post. So Kimber doesn’t even think it was distorted, let alone “highly distorted”. By his email Kimber is saying it is authentic.

    (2) Stuart, I can see this is a real problem for you. One leader says apples, the other leader says oranges. So which is it? In a way I sympathise with you here, I feel your pain, for now YOU will have to make a choice: which leader is right? Between the two ‘leading comrades’ which one are YOU going to agree with? Because you have to decide.

    (3) And it’s made immeasurably worse coz this confused shop steward came to you, a sympathiser for quite a while now, who had even been buying ‘Socialist Review’ from you. You told her to stop asking questions & instead go off & read the thoughts of Prof Dark Side. This didn’t go down too well, obviously. Then she came back to you. She’d been on the net, even found this site, & holy of holies, there it is in black & white & red: the scandal over the transcript, the mark of the beast, the anti-scripture! But before diving into it she saw Kimber’s letter to SU. Puzzling. None of the Prof’s “highly distorted” talk. Not a peep from CK. Strange. Ah, well, let’s see what all the fuss was about, & she started to read. And think. And think again. And then she came to you. Trying to hold back her disgust as best she could, looking you straight in the eye, she told you, who’s right, Callinicos or Kimber? Which is it?

    So, Stuart, which is it?

    (4) So, let’s talk about the transcript being published, about the state of transparency & accountability that is the SWP today. For if this hadn’t have been done would you have ever seen it? The highest body of the party is the annual National Conference. As an SWP member would you have access to a record of the proceedings? What I’m obviously getting at Stuart is whether there is a DIRECT connection between YOU & what happens in the party, or is it always MEDIATED thru some gatekeeper?

    Because Stuart, on my bookshelf I have the two-volume edition of the proceedings of the 2nd Congress of the Comintern, July -August 1920. During the Civil War. In a poor country. It was translated from the German edition published the following year in Berlin. It wasn’t just for CP members the world over. It was publicly available, Stuart, for everyone. Not secret. Even in those adverse conditions the Marxist attitude was to let people know. They weren’t embarrassed, they were proud of their Congress.

    Now I’m not saying you should be selling the DC transcript along with the paper. Don’t get me wrong. But adhering to the transparency principle all members should receive transcripts of ALL your sessions, so they know what was said, with no gatekeeper choosing what is known.

    And I can see one lil difficulty. The membership figures. Those 7597 as of 23 October last year (CC report, Pre-Conf. Bulletin #2). They’re not really all Bolsheviks are they, Stuart? One can be on a demo, sign the lil box & yippee, member! No category of candidate member, no compulsory educational course to go thru, no, the very same way as to become a member of Labour or the Tories. Some Leninist combat party that is.

    And what does all this mean for security (not to be paranoid, just reasonable), for the distribution of info within the party, like Conference proceedings? If a member would be entitled to know what had happened, what’s the opposite side of the coin? The party would know who the members are. And that’s the point: they don’t. They haven’t seen x, y, z for months, maybe years. But if they’re culled the branch figure goes down, the district figure goes down & the dear old full-timer looks a jerk. And there’s a slump in membership & things don’t look so rosey, the party’s in decline. So the whole SWP has been set-up to restrict the flow of info, to have gatekeepers, controllers, functionaries apart from the great majority of members. And that, Stuart, is a BIG problem. Don’t YOU agree?

    (5) In terms of a healthy atmosphere, Stuart, out of interest how many letters has ‘Socialist Worker’ had on the SWP crisis? How many? I know you currently have an article headlined, “We’ve had enough, say cake factory workers”, but that doesn’t count. How many letters, Stuart?

    The bourgeois press is all over it, & I’m just waiting for Paxman & Mason to do a ‘Newsnight’ special on the whole darn thing. Who knows, maybe for their re-union Matgamna will read a specially composed poem to Mason, with Martin Thomas looking on in desperation.

    Why do YOU think the SWP doesn’t respond to the widespread criticisms being showered upon it? Do YOU think if people are ignored they’ll just go away? That’s not how it works, Stuart. Reputations deteriorate even further when one is in denial.

    (6) Just to go back to Kimber’s 14 Jan statement in SW. It just doesn’t cut it. We even get Kimber saying the SWP “is not an institution of capitalist society”! I don’t know where Kimber lives but Britain is a capitalist society & has been ever since Tony Cliff stepped off the boat. The whole ‘IS tradition’ has developed in capitalist Britain. The SWP is involved in commodity production. Its members (albeit only 32% according to the CC report in PCB #2) pay regular subs, a fair number of them from renting out their labour power. The SWP may think of itself as non-capitalist, even anti-capitalist, but it IS an institution of a patriarchal & capitalist society – and that, dear Stuart, is at the root of the problem. For it is trying to grow, to create something in the womb of the society it is trying to transform. And that is the crux. Chuck & Freddy would talk of the new having to bear its bloody birth pangs as it popped out of the womb of the old. What they could have added is that the new-to-be unavoidably gets damaged while as an embryo & a foetus. And we all know that damaging a splitting cell causes 2 damaged cells.

    The SWP is bureaucratic centralist, it has chosen a top-down way of operating, it has grown a layer dependent for their wages from this 32% of regular payers of dues. The stratum at the top of this layer exercise patronage coz full-timers, even District Organisers, are NOT elected: they are beholden to the CC for their jobs. They dragoon the members for their paymasters. Deferring & conforming are the norm, rewards & punishments are meted out. Praise & being scolded the options on offer for those aspiring to ‘help the party’ (not ‘help the class’, you notice). And all this in an institution based on high energy, the immediacy of the moment, the next meeting, the next demo, bash the fash, the world’s in crisis, Allied Carpets in Tottenham is in flames (forget about the families trapped above), our great break-thru is just round the corner, only the class traitors are holding it all back, crank up hatred of the class collaborators, & if you have to forge a cheque so what, forge twenty.

    (7) As Manzil just put it, there’s only one reality. Not by accident did CLR James & Martin Glaberman & the others decide to make a plea for sanity even with the name of their group: Facing Reality.

    All this is not a time for stonewalling or self-absorbing Millwalling. We need healthy organisations on the left, all over the left, to try and resist in whatever way we can the attacks upon workers, the unemployed, domestic engineers, students, those on benefit, the retired, asylum applicants, & don’t forget the self-employed (remember Draper on Chuck & the workers’ allies). Now is a time for ENGAGING.

    Kimber is utterly wrong to say in his SW statement, “As far as we are concerned the case is closed”. He even calls it a case, not inquiry or episode. Despite Candy U saying at the start of her report “We’re not a law court” there’s no escaping the fact that ‘rape’ is a juridical concept, its meaning, its referent changing with case law. The DC couldn’t but help using legal terms: case, evidence, rape, sexual assault, sexual harrassment, sexual abuse, not proven. But the DC members are not trained judges, they are not professionals dealing with rape investigations, with general investigative procedure, with an exhaustive knowledge of the current law on rape, sexual assault, sexual harrassment. It’s quite simple, really: they were out of their depth. So far out they were way out. So far out they were unable to recognise that this was beyond the scope of their competence. But this has an expression in not just SWP politics: the denial that the extensive division of labour in our kind of society means that for any single job only a few of us have the EXPERTISE. Within a few years Lenin talked quite differently compared with ‘State & Revolution’: it’s called having to face reality.

    So we had poor old Pat S asking each DC member to self-evaluate their ability to be impartial. Self-evaluate! And asked one by one. Candy U’s report shows that concerning this procedure there was no collective discussion, the solidaristic way, just being asked in turn by the Headmaster. No recognition by anyone at all of the unavoidability of non-conscious bias. These people were ignorant of elementary psychology. People judging whether a man they had all known for years was a rapist.

    What was the burden of proof? Beyond reasonable doubt, balance of probabilities (if so favouring whom, the accuser or the accused), or something else? The delegates weren’t told.

    And then the category used for their verdicts: not proven. Not proven? Which not proven? The one in English law or the one in Scots law? Or maybe from some other body of law? Because that’s the problem, the delegates weren’t told.

    (8) So what does ENGAGING mean? No stonewalling, no referring readers of your comments to Kimber’s statement. Can you be more absurd, Stuart? Can you? You think the SWP preserves (we won’t speak of enhancing) its reputation by turning your members into call-centre workers? – your question is appreciated & is important to us but please find the answer in this snappy piece by someone you have never seen.
    That policy throws the members to the wolves. It disarms them. It sets them up to be ridiculed. And the point is, Stuart, it is the members, not the SWP office-holders, who have to face reality, who have to field all this puzzlement from people. The SWP has to prevent itself becoming more toxic by the day. And there’s only one way to try to achieve that, Stuart: face reality. And as you’re used to deferring you could do a lot worse & defer to CLR James’ watchword: face reality.

    (9) Time is running out for the SWP. And as you know from Candy U’s report to Conference, Cde. X told her she would bring her allegation of sexual harrassment against Martin Smith to the Disputes Cttee. after Conference had closed. How will that tie in with Kimber saying “as far as we are concerned, this case is closed”? The DC is a can of worms. It’s about to be opened up again. Are you ready for that, Stuart?

    P.S. Don’t forget to answer Tony Collins’ questions.

  266. Jara Handala: So the whole SWP has been set-up to restrict the flow of info, to have gatekeepers, controllers, functionaries apart from the great majority of members. And that, Stuart, is a BIG problem. Don’t YOU agree?

    Interestingly of course the middle level functionaries also lie to the leadership, telling them what they want to hear.

  267. Jara Handala on said:

    Andy Newman,

    I knew it wasn’t dialectical enough, comrade!

    It’s just that members like Stuart are not taking the opportunity that a site like this one actually gives them.

    They can learn things, just as we do, they can test their arguments. They just refuse to open up. Maybe they’re afraid. Afraid of having to think independently. Lenin of the Finland Station would bang their heads together. Hard.

  268. Not proven? Which not proven? The one in English law or the one in Scots law?

    There isn’t a ‘not proven’ verdict in English law; apparently they’re talking about doing away with it in Scots law. As it happens, the use of ‘not proven’ in rape cases in Scotland is massively controversial – in theory it means “we’re pretty sure you did it but we can’t prove it”, which ought to be a massive stain on the accused’s character, but all the victim sees is a rapist walking free. What’s more, ‘not proven’ verdicts don’t have to be disclosed in the Scots equivalent of a CRB check, so unless the case gets a lot of publicity it might just as well be ‘not guilty’.

    Any similarity with the DC verdict and its effects is entirely coincidental.

  269. in theory it means “we’re pretty sure you did it but we can’t prove it”
    Actually, historically, Not Prove = Not Guilty, it’s just some 18th century jury wanted to emphatically state that someone was not guilty: and to this day, IIRC from discussions around the time of the Sheridan fiasco, Judges offer to options Not proven and Not Guilty without explaining what the difference is.

  270. Manzil: Or do you accept that an independent socialist organisation CAN be relevant, but just isn’t in the case of the SWP? (And which would seem to fit in fine with your comment at #274.)

    Well yes, the CPB proves it can be done.

  271. Yes, Guilty/Not Proven/Not Guilty is a bit of a historical accident – originally the Scots pleas were Proven and Not Proven, used in very much the same way as Guilty and Not Guilty. (Presumably the accused couldn’t plead Guilty.) But there are people who defend the three-way verdict, and that’s pretty much how they defend it – NP is for when the jury is effectively saying well, somebody did it, and it certainly looks like it was you…

  272. Jara Handala on said:

    Phil,

    Why do you say, “Any similarity with the DC verdict & its effects is entirely coincidental”? That can only be an assumption for exactly my reason: the members were not told which body of law they were using.

    Nothing in the transcript speaks of either the set of possible verdicts available to them or the body of law they used. One can only assume they used a lay understanding of crime.

    Remember, the ‘complaint’ was only of rape but the DC decided unilaterally, with no statement in the report as to Cde. W’s view on this matter, to expand their investigation: “we agreed to extend the remit . . . we also wanted to include questions of sexual assault or harrassment, as well as whether Comrade Delta’s conduct was in any way abusive or the relationship as a whole” (the last 6 words seem meaningless: do they mean anything to you?). Looking at the SWP Constitution (section 7) the DC has been given the power to hear ‘complaints’ but not to create them: only a member can make a ‘complaint’.

    I’ll speak about not proven in English law in a sec.

  273. This is a message to the person posting as “Old Trot”.

    Yesterday you posted some sneery threats about how our email comment system was “breaking the law”. Actually, it’s a minor bug in a WordPress plugin that we’ve been looking at resolving (as it happens, the mail logs show that your subscription was inactive, which either means you were telling more than 1 lie, or we’ve found the source of the bug).

    You made a strong implied threat that you would take action against us, an implication that would not have been possible had you simply sent a friendly message saying “guys, I think there’s a problem”. But no, you sneered and claimed we were breaking the law. As a result, you’re not being allowed to post here anymore. You deliberately posted in a way designed to make us worry, instead of posting a message that would’ve allowed us to help resolve the problem.

    So why am I posting this message?

    Because you were bleating about the fact that you only visited the site cos the email bug kept alerting you to new comments, otherwise you wouldn’t have come here.

    Well, I removed you from the email system, and I removed your ability to read the posts.

    And what do we see? You have used an IP proxy to get access to the site, and have again tried to post comments.

    What is it with you dishonest hacks? Seriously, why come out with bullshit like “I’m only reading your site cos you keep spamming me with emails”? Do you think we’re that gullible?

    The fact that you have actively taken steps to mask your identity to allow you to post – well that just shows that you’re a liar, doesn’t it?

    Take comfort from the fact that I took action when I saw your complaint, and chased up the developer of the plugin (which, in data protection terms, would do us a world of good legally – not that you have faith in the bourgeois courts of course). In addition, as I said I removed your ability to receive email from us. That could’ve all been done by you sending us a polite note.

    But in keeping with the hacks who defend the CC, you prefer to act as shitty as possible.

    You are not welcome here.

    For everyone else: Because of the actions of this person, we might have to remove your ability to get email notifications of new comments and posts. If anyone else is having problems subscribing/unsubscribing, please let us know.

  274. A note in defence of poor Stuart without wishing to be patronising – although perhaps as my mate said to his teenage daughter the other day ‘I’m not patronising you, I’m just talking down to you!’

    It seems to me that the lad is getting a lot of stick – including the latest well constructed rhetorical missive of Jara – simply because he is, for the most part, the only SWP CC loyalist to put his head above the parapet on SU.

    Apart from a possible flurry of comments yesterday afternoon and a few feisty interventions from Old Trot, it is notable few SWP loyalists are prepared to take part in the discussion. So, regardless of what he actually says, Stuart deserves some credit for coming on and having a go.

  275. Why do you say, “Any similarity with the DC verdict & its effects is entirely coincidental”?

    Just because the verdict on Cde Delta has (a) left a massive stain on his character and (b) let him walk free without a stain on his character… hang on a minute… Basically I think NP verdicts have massive potential for creating confusion and being read both ways, which is part of what’s happened here.

  276. Jara Handala on said:

    Sam64,

    Hence the credit I gave him in my preamble, 3rd para. (sentences 2 & 3).

    I too want Stuart to keep coming here. After all, it’s only just begun.

    (But I did slip at the end: my P.S. should have started with a ‘please’. If Stuart replies to Tony’s questions I’ll give him a bumper voucher for Allied Carpets, Tottenham.)

  277. Jim Mclean – can you email me here and give me a bit more detail? If you can include the IP address you’re *actually* on (go here – http://dynupdate.no-ip.com/ip.php and tell me the address that comes up) it will help me work it out.

    Also, let me know if it happens no matter where you post from.

    We have some security systems in place that might be blocking you if your IP address is similar to that of someone who has attacked the site; I can try to sort that out for you, but I’m gonna need some detail. Don’t post any of it here.

  278. John Grimshaw: Whats an IP proxy?

    When you go to a website, your computer has to tell that website who it is – everything on the internet has an “IP address”, something like 81.164.0.231. That way, the website knows where to send its stuff to.

    An IP proxy is usually a website that you visit (call it “site 1″), and in that website you tell it the actual website you want to use (call it “site 2″). Site 1 then fetches site 2 and sends it back to you, as if you’d visited it yourself. But site 2 doesn’t get your IP address – it gets the IP address of site 1. That way, you have a little bit more privacy.

    It is also useful if, for example, your workplace blocks certain websites. If it blocks “socialistunity.com”, you can go to “specialipproxy.com” and tell *it* to get socialistunity.com for you, circumventing the block.

    And if you’re a troll who knows a little about the internet, you know that the way we usually block trolls from posting is by IP address – so, to get round a ban, you use the proxy. SU’s comments system doesn’t see your IP address.

    What this means of course is that we are progressively blocking more and more proxies, cos mostly they’re only used by people who just can’t grasp what it means to not be wanted.

    It’s actually really anti-social, the way these people operate. You tell them “we don’t want you here”, but they refuse to show the sort of courtesy they’d be forced to show if this was a local pub or shop. They just keep trying to come back. David Ellis, for example, has been told very, very clearly that neither we or our readers want his abusive postings. Yet he still keeps trying to post here, and sometimes succeeds in getting through our blocks. Totally anti-social.

    Happily, we don’t just use IP addresses, and we’ve also become much more aggressive in blocking these anti-social people altogether. You can see that we allow most debates to go on freely, so it’s not like we clamp down much. But we pay close attention to the way people act on here. The quality of debates on this “disgusting sectarian” (thanks, SWP!) website is way better than most sites. It’s actually the site’s reputation that does it the most harm – and what’s interesting about that is, almost all of the site’s bad reputation was caused by one group of people: SWP CC defenders, in 2007/8/9. It’s actually a common practice – make a place so nasty and unpleasant, that good people will say “I ain’t coming here again”. The SWP are masters at it. They made this place feel particularly nasty for quite a long time.

  279. The discussion about verdicts would have been pointless if the SWP had stuck to the line that they are not a court, but just an internal arbitration committee.

    But the whole affair has been made more confusing by the fact that they have been using legalese. I don’t have the time to check, but I think I’ve seen “case”, “not proven”, “exonerated”, etc.

    Instead of saying “We have found no reason to take disciplinary action against Delta”, they are basically saying “We have decided that Delta did not rape W”. This is a large part of the reason the affair is so devastating to the SWP, and it is the reason why it is being described as this pseudo-court.

    It is even deadlier when you consider the SWP’s interpretation of “democratic centralism”. Stuart’s interventions here demonstrate that there is a kind of internal language in which the phrase “I think” does not exist, but only “Read the report, it’s all there”. The SWP are essentially telling their members that the Party has decided that Delta is innocent of rape, and that anyone who disagrees with either the procedure or the content of this is a kind of factioneer.

  280. By the way, I think it’s hilarious that even SWP oppositionists go on about “sectarian blogs” or the evil Weekly Worker, yet when they want to resign, or when they want to leak something, where do they invariably go?

  281. Sam64: Apart from a possible flurry of comments yesterday afternoon and a few feisty interventions from Old Trot, it is notable few SWP loyalists are prepared to take part in the discussion. So, regardless of what he actually says, Stuart deserves some credit for coming on and having a go.

    I agree

  282. Phil:
    Not proven? Which not proven? The one in English law or the one in Scots law?

    As it happens, the use of ‘not proven’ in rape cases in Scotland is massively controversial – in theory it means “we’re pretty sure you did it but we can’t prove it”, which ought to be a massive stain on the accused’s character, but all the victim sees is a rapist walking free. What’s more, ‘not proven’ verdicts don’t have to be disclosed in the Scots equivalent of a CRB check, so unless the case gets a lot of publicity it might just as well be ‘not guilty’.

    FYI, here is an American academic paper where the Scottish “not proven” verdict is discussed particularly in relation to sexual assault and why it has still not been abolished yet -

    “First, it is claimed that the jury may well not be convinced of the accused’s
    innocence. Of particular significance here is the Scottish rule that the prosecution
    case must be corroborated. It is argued that there are many cases where
    one witness is completely believed, but there is insufficient corroborating evidence
    to allow the jury, or the judge in a nonjury trial, to convict, although they
    may be fairly certain that the accused is indeed guilty. This might be particularly
    so with regard to the victim of a sexual assault. The Scottish Office
    paper supports this claim by demonstrating that the not proven verdict comprised
    “a slightly higher proportion” of acquittals in rape and sexual assault
    cases over a number of years. In such cases, the not proven verdict is more
    satisfactory for the victim because it does not necessarily cast doubt upon her
    honesty or reliability. In response to this argument, it might well be observed
    that this does not alter the fact that the presumption of innocence demands a
    verdict of not guilty if the Crown case cannot be proved.

    Second, it is claimed that if jurors were faced with a straight choice between
    guilty and not guilty, they might opt for guilty where otherwise they would have
    found the case not proven. In other words, there would be an increased danger
    of wrongful convictions. The majority of the members of the Thomson
    Committee were sufficiently worried by this possibility to recommend that the
    not proven verdict should be retained, although they accepted the argument
    that the three verdict system was illogical.”

    http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1129&context=lcp

    However, in Candy U’s statement (DC Transcript) she stated -

    “We agreed to use the standard legal definition of rape, but to also widen the remit of what we investigated to include questions of sexual assault, harassment and whether the relationship as a whole was abusive.

    The disputes committee found that the charges were not proved. We didn’t think that Comrade Delta raped W. And it was not proved to the disputes committee that Comrade Delta had sexually assaulted, harassed or abused W.

    We found it difficult to rule on these issues, because the versions of events differed substantially and there were no witnesses. The disputes committee didn’t recommend any disciplinary action against Comrade Delta, and that final report was backed by six out of seven of the panel members.”

    As the DC were using a “legal definition of rape” (English Law, presumably), the question is why they didn’t opt for a straightforward “English verdict” of not guilty and go instead for what has been called the “bastard verdict’ of Scottish Law.

  283. #321/#322

    Does jeopardy attach if the verdict is ‘Not Proven’, or can you be tried again?

  284. Manzil:
    #321/#322

    Does jeopardy attach if the verdict is ‘Not Proven’, or can you be tried again?

    My mum (I’m from Glasgow) used to tell me this was the case and why it was different from “not guilty.” However, “not proven” is the same as “not guilty” in law but a “stain” remains over the reputation of the accused when it is announced.

    As for retrials if a “not guilty/proven” verdict is brought in, I don’t know what the law is at the moment – but, as I said, it wouldn’t make a difference.

  285. Jara Handala on said:

    Phil,

    Red Deathy,

    Yes, I knew English & Welsh criminal courts only have the 2 verdicts, but I remember reading (but can’t find it) that (1) E&W had the 3 options at some time, & (2) the meanings of ‘not proven’ & ‘not guilty’ reversed, confusing the matter. (And me!) It made me think who knows what set of available verdicts the DC gave themselves? Maybe they would even trawl the history of English law.

    On an E&W jury finding itself having to give a not guilty verdict in spite of the facts, a perverse verdict as they say, remember the trial of Pottle & Randall, 1991, for working with Bourke to spring Blake from the Scrubs in 1966? There are some good people about.

  286. Sam64,

    I kind of agree – at least Stuart is fighting. To be perhaps a tad patronizing myself, I hope he keeps copies of all this stuff to amuse his grandchildren with in the distant future.

  287. #340. Cheers JR.

    Andy Newman: Well yes, the CPB proves it can be done.

    Yet presumably the CPB’s idea of socialism is just as “orthogonal to the social and political institutions of our society” – to liberal capitalism – as the SWP’s? What I’m trying to get at is whether it is the idea of socialism itself, or the practical reality of modern-day ‘Leninism’ that you consider ultra vires.

  288. Manzil (312), Graham (313, 314),

    To reiterate, the complainant asked the SWP to invetigate through its own complaints procedures. The party went along with her wishes. John Molyneux is a long standing and respected member who has written much on party democracy over the years, he described conference proceedings as exemplary. He could not IMO have said that if the SWP had broken its own rules.

  289. Stuart

    She also asked to address the conference, do YOU think she should have been allowed to do so?

  290. Jara Handala: P.S. Don’t forget to answer Tony Collins’ questions.

    I thought I did that at post 223.

    I’ve read your very long post and coinsidered the points. It comes across as very determined and very sectarian. None of the issues raised IMO serve to undermine any of the points I have made on this site over the last few weeks. None of the points you raise encourage me to question my membership of the party. I’m tempted to simply say to you, if you don’t like the SWP don’t join it then.

    I am a member and have declared myself so on this site because I think the SWP has a positive role to play. But what is your interest in all this? Why are you spending time writing long posts about a party that you evidently dislike so much? What is your stake?

    I have developed the opinion that people are less bothered about this disciplinary case and more concerened with inflicting damage on the party via the internet. And reading your interventions on this site reinforces this view further. So how would you describe your political background?

  291. Jara Handala on said:

    dick,

    All the legalese you cite was used. I identified others in my point (7) above (#317, 7:59am).

    And you’re right to call it a pseudo-court (rather than a quasi-court) coz the DC could not conduct itself in this matter without using legal concepts (the content of ‘complaint’ itself was legalese: rape). it was a ‘seemingly but not really’ rather than an ‘almost’.

    Excellent final paragraph.

    I’m probably going to be unfair now, but thinking about your last para. I’m beginning to picture Stuart as resembling Dilbert. I’m sure I am wrong. It just keeps happening as I key this. It’ll be the dreams I would worry about. Dilbert & Professor Dark Side taking me to a black site. The horror! The horror!

  292. dick: >It is even deadlier when you consider the SWP’s interpretation of “democratic centralism”. Stuart’s interventions here demonstrate that there is a kind of internal language in which the phrase “I think” does not exist, but only “Read the report, it’s all there”..

    I think it’s important in this debate to go beyond what I might think. The SWP has a political philosophy upon which organisational structure and procedure is built. If I try to defend the party as a member I need to be able to illustrate how the two are connected. Attacks on the organisation can and do amount to an attempt to damage the party politically.

  293. Graham: She also asked to address the conference, do YOU think she should have been allowed to do so?

    My own feeling is that if one party member complains about another member, the complaint is best dealt with by the appropriate committee and neither individual should address conference.

  294. stuart:
    Manzil (312), Graham (313, 314),

    To reiterate, the complainant asked the SWP to invetigate through its own complaints procedures. The party went along with her wishes. John Molyneux is a long standing and respected member who has written much on party democracy over the years, he described conference proceedings as exemplary. He could not IMO have said that if the SWP had broken its own rules.

    I’ll ask again:

    Why does it matter what the complainant wanted when it suits the SWP leadership (an internal ‘investigation’ into the rape allegation), but it doesn’t matter what the complainant wanted when it doesn’t suit the SWP leadership (being allowed to address the conference)?

    And perhaps most importantly: “Given that their report’s conclusions basically amount to calling the complainant a liar, shouldn’t emphasis have been put on not only being fair to her, but being seen to be fair?”

    John Molyneux is someone who despite having criticisms of the CC has always fallen into line when the ‘interests of the party’ are invoked. IMO he would say whatever was asked of him.

  295. stuart,

    So not really so concerned about the needs or wishes of the complainent in this case then Stuart?

    And do you really just see this issue as nothing more than a ‘complaint’ ?

  296. stuart: My own feeling is that if one party member complains about another member, the complaint is best dealt with by the appropriate committee and neither individual should address conference.

    So you would agree that Martin Smith shouldn’t have been allowed to address conference on this issue a few years ago?

  297. I do find it odd to hear from Stuart how well these things work – why is it that when Kevin Ovenden made a complaint to the DC about Martin Smith in 2007, they wouldn’t even respond to him? No one would even acknowledge that a complaint about Smith’s behaviour had been made.

  298. Tony Collins: So you would agree that Martin Smith shouldn’t have been allowed to address conference on this issue a few years ago?

    And even if that’s the case, Stuart’s position is a complete cop-out.

    Emphasising that, ideally, neither person should be given the opportunity to address conference, when ‘the reality’ is that one side obviously received preferential treatment and was allowed to, is in the circumstances just a fair-sounding defence of silencing the complainant.

    It’s like Britain supporting non-intervention in Spain while the Axis are bunging Franco arms.

    Yes that’s right, I just compared the SWP crisis to the Spanish Civil War. All you lot talking in the other thread about the world-shaking importance of the post-1956 CPGB conference compared to the post-Disputes Committee SWP conference, how ya feel now huh?

  299. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    #347, 11:20

    Jesus, Stuart. I’m on the verge of giving up. You win.

    (1) Me sectarian? Unbelievable. At no point did I ‘attack’ the SWP: your allegation is serious. As you seem a decent fellow please quote where I was sectarian.

    I simply evaluated the behaviour of the permanent Callinicos faction & tried to offer some material reasons why it behaves the way it does, suggesting that the organisational form created since the dumping of Higgins, Protz, Palmer, Shaw et al. has simply extended in its scope & ossified even more since the banning of permanent factions (other than the one occupying the CC). But it’s ok, I understand.

    (2) “Very determined”? Meaning?

    (3) You’re such a drama queen! I never suggested you should consider your party membership! That’s what your FULL-TIMERS are telling decent folk up & down the country! You’re talking as if they TOO have got into your head. Are you dreaming of the Delta Force home-invading at 3.45am?

    I’ve just been trying to encourage YOU to THINK. I want you to stay a member, but accept how destructive for both the fightback & the SWP itself the present course is: it’s destructive, plain & simple.

    (4) Circle the waggons, Stuart. Create a new laager. Re-arm & repel those hostile forces!

    (5) Stuart, a dimension of politics is about argument, the defence & furtherance of interests. Neither your biography nor mine is relevant for that. Amongst others, it’s a Stalinist method to deal with an argument by trying to assassinate someone, finding episodes in their biography & ancestry. Witness the way Stalin discredited Trotsky by saying he was a Johnny-come-lately to the Bolly Party. A scientific socialist (a liberating term compared with Marxist, Leninist, Trotskyist, Luxemburgist, . . .) judges people, in part, on their arguments & the evidence they invoke & ignore. Politics is no different. Play the argument, not the man or woman.

  300. Manzil: Yes that’s right, I just compared the SWP crisis to the Spanish Civil War. All you lot talking in the other thread about the world-shaking importance of the post-1956 CPGB conference compared to the post-Disputes Committee SWP conference, how ya feel now huh?

    :)

  301. Jara Handala on said:

    Andy Newman,

    As you know, my prescription for the conduct of politics came from the scientific socialist perspective, not the ones spawning those calling Clegg a liar.

  302. Manzil: Yet presumably the CPB’s idea of socialism is just as “orthogonal to the social and political institutions of our society” – to liberal capitalism – as the SWP’s?

    Hmm. Maybe the counter revolution is symbolised up by communists hanging from a Budapest lamppost orthogonally to the ground.

  303. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    Thinking of Clegg up before the beak made me think of Stuart for some reason.

    So, Stuart, while you’re in my thoughts I may as well ask you a Q.

    What do you think of the constitutionality of this 1 Feb deadline for Special Conference re-call branch resolutions that Kimber created?

    As you know, if you don’t have the Constit’n in your desk, it’s at http://www.cpgb.org.uk, 3rd item from the left in the carousel at the top of the home page, ‘SWP Faction Declared’.

    Tell us where in the Constitution he has this power coz I can’t find it.

    Thanx.

  304. stuart: Why are you spending time writing long posts about a party that you evidently dislike so much?

    For the same reason that Socialist Worker spends time publishing long articles about the Tory Party – because it is political.

  305. Jara Handala: Witness the way Stalin discredited Trotsky by saying he was a Johnny-come-lately to the Bolly Party

    This is fun. Can anyone join in?
    Trotsky in May 1917 “I cannot call myself a Bolshevik. We cannot be asked to recognise Bolshevism.”

  306. Manzil on said:

    Nick Wright: This is fun. Can anyone join in?
    Trotsky in May 1917 “I cannot call myself a Bolshevik. We cannot be asked to recognise Bolshevism.”

    Blimey! Did no one tell Lenin? You’ll never believe it, but they went and let this Trotsky fella build the Red Army and everything! I bet if the Bolsheviks were still around they’d be well embarrassed.

  307. A bit of an anecdote regarding the SWP Constitution – I joined the SWP circa 1985, when I wore a younger man’s clothes (aged 22ish) and kept asking for the constitution. This was met with bemusement by my mentors, Phil Piatt (now deceased) and Phil Ramsell (I bear no malice against either of these two blokes, but short of using daft code, may as well use their names). A bit later, the constitution was printed on the back of one of the conference documents; they were quite relieved to be able to point it out to me – “There’s yer constitution, mate!” – I thought it was a bit scrappy, but by then I was IN …

  308. stuart on said:

    Manzil 351, Graham 352,

    In agreeing to carry out an investgation in to the complaint the party cannot go beyond the bounds of its own procedures.

  309. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins: So you would agree that Martin Smith shouldn’t have been allowed to address conference on this issue a few years ago?

    I don’t think there was an active complaint process at the time to which you may be referring.

  310. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins:
    why is it that when Kevin Ovenden made a complaint to the DC about Martin Smith in 2007, they wouldn’t even respond to him? No one would even acknowledge that a complaint about Smith’s behaviour had been made.

    I don’t know anything about this so I cannot comment.

  311. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    I believe you are being sectarian because you purport to being on the left but seem to have no interest in discussing the wider politics. Your entire focus is to try and trash one particular left-wing organisation.

    I’m happy to declare myself as an SWP member, never held any senior positions. I’m happy to defend the party on this site but am bound to ask, who are you? What is your political background? Who the hell am I talking to?

  312. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    #372, 1:16pm

    Excelling yourself, Stuart. Gary Lineker has just selected that reply as one of today’s 5 candidates for Dilbert of the Day.

    Well done. Collect a token from Samantha & get yourself a hot chocolate or probably a Bovril from the machine.

    Well done.

  313. Stuart, given that you post under a false name and never give any details about yourself, you don’t really have any high ground from which to ask “who the hell am I talking to?”

  314. I don’t know anything about this so I cannot comment.

    It was discussed in massive detail on here. Eventually, copies of the emails were offered so that you lot would stop claiming that you had no knowledge of it

  315. Manzil on said:

    stuart:
    In agreeing to carry out an investgation in to the complaint the party cannot go beyond the bounds of its own procedures.

    That doesn’t address whether you think it’s right, Stuart. Do you?

    If I wanted a description of the procedures as they exist I’d go on the Weekly Worker site and read through them. That’s not what we’re discussing. The question is: Why is the actual effect of the SWP’s procedures so partial towards the leading and most influential members?

  316. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    I actually rather admire stuart’s dogged defence of his organisation. This is a jaundiced view perhaps, but I am of the opinion that in the British left it is considered near-normal and even praiseworthy to denounce and betray your own organisation and to supply material to its enemies. If one group finds itself in difficulties, the others move in on it like a school of piranhas. Then people scratch their heads and wonder why the British left doesn’t get anywhere in anything it does.

  317. Manzil on said:

    Tony Collins:
    Stuart, given that you post under a false name and never give any details about yourself, you don’t really have any high ground from which to ask “who the hell am I talking to?”

    I’d just like to pre-empt any criticism by confirming my name is Manzil Lev Reginald Lampoon III.

    Well, that, and the fact the email I comment under (which presumably the admins can see? and which I’m fairly sure I’ve emailed you from before!) is my real name (as opposed to the above, obviously convincing lie), which could probs quite easily be confirmed via Emperor Mark Zuckerberg or what have you. If anyone would like to know I’d happily share; it just makes discussion a bit freer to not think my employer or thesis supervisor could read my contributions to a four week discussion about Comrade Delta by Googling my name. So I don’t think it’s wrong for Stuart (or Jara) to post pseudonymously.

  318. Manzil: Yet presumably the CPB’s idea of socialism is just as “orthogonal to the social and political institutions of our society” – to liberal capitalism – as the SWP’s? What I’m trying to get at is whether it is the idea of socialism itself, or the practical reality of modern-day ‘Leninism’ that you consider ultra vires.

    Any advance towards socialism requires several things:
    I suggest
    i) We need to understand what a left government could do, starting from where we are now, proposing concrete reforms
    ii) Convince enough people that such a socialist programe is credible
    iii) Understand how our existing society works
    iv) Achieve as much as possible in the interests of working people and oppressed and under-f a represented groups under existing arrangements and constitution by engaging with existing institutions
    v) Use mainstream mechanisms of opinion forming to legitimise socialist ideas
    What many of our soi disant “revolutionaries” do is leap to the idea of a “revolution”, without explaining what such a “revolution” would be aiming to achieve. Indeed, how can anyone be convinced that a revolution would be necessary if it has not been proven that the same results could not be achieved by reform.
    Indeed, a strategy for advance for socialism would also include reforms to weaken the power of those forces opposed to socialism.
    As Chavez has proven, in politics a battle postponed, is a battle won, provided that you use the respite to strengthen your position

  319. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    #372, 1:16pm

    Your reply was so inane, even by your standards – which is why it’s up for a Dilbert.

    You say ‘the party cannot go beyond its own procedures’ (I paraphrase).

    I’ll give just one example I made an hour or so ago: the DC, INVENTED at least 3 ‘complaints’ in addition to the one submitted by Cde. W.

    (1) When Cde. Candy U made this known in the session she did not invoke any aspect of current procedure for doing this. Nothing. It was just whipped out of the DC’s hat. It was the Paul Daniels moment, Sleazy Paul, playing his part in the circus choreographed by the permanent Callinicos faction!

    (2) Please show us, Stuart, where in section 7 of the Constitution the DC has this power to INVENT ‘complaints’ for it to hear?

    The Constit’n solely says that the DC RECEIVES ‘complaints’ that have been passed from the National Secretary to the CC, except when the ‘complaint’ involves someone on the CC, in which case the DC receives it directly from the N’al Sec.. The 2nd route came in in 2011 after the first time Cde. W tried to get justice from the SWP, when in 2010 her allegation of sexual harrassment was heard by the CC itself, who delegated Kimber, the Prof & Hannah Dee to interview Smith & Cde. W.

    (3) Why did Cde. Candy not say that this creating of 3 new ‘complaints’ had been done without either discussion or the agreement of Cde. W? Why? Why did she not feel & think it necessary to refer to Cde. W when saying this? Sadly, it’s as if Cde. W was a pawn to be pushed around.

    These are FACTS, Stuart. Hard, obdurate, and robust. They’re things that can’t be willed away. Your words therefore do not correspond with reality: they are figments of your imagination. (The only saving grace here, of course, is that at least in denying facts you have exercised some imagination, sparked some thought. The pity, of course, is that it is so wasted on trying to defend the indefensible. But, hey, we are where we are, as Tony Cliff might have said.)

  320. Linda Kronstadt on said:

    Jara Handala: The questions I’ll be asking now are rhetorical, placed here for you to consider, but anyone can reflect upon them in terms of their relevance & coherence, & chip in. But if you do find yourself drawn into responding that would be great.

    Awesomely awesome from Jara at 317. Stuart’s Millwalling at 347 is less so. An entertaining illustration of how to avoid debate. Repeat after me: repetition of a thing that is not true does not make it true.

  321. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    #375, 1:24pm

    (1) As anyone can read what I have said, they can see I have continually anchored the SWP’s current problems in a wider context.

    My long piece @ 7:59am this morning is perhaps my most systematic example of that.

    (2) My focus has not been the SWP but the permanent Dark Side faction that has been ruining it & looks set to make things way, way worse coz of the destructive course it has chosen. To misrepresent me like that is a demonstration of either your inability to read, your inability to understand what I have said, or your disingenuousness towards what have I said.

    (3) Stuart, you are talking to the arguments, ideas & comments I advance, not the person who wrote them. What I say could have been said by someone else: I’m not important. Have a look at Popper’s ‘Objective Knowledge’.

  322. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Firstly, it is thoroughly unfair that only Tony and yourself get the nice background colours to your comments. Some animals are more equal than others, eh? :P

    Anyway, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that.

    I think the problem with a lot of socialist groups is the collapse back into a de facto ‘minimum-minimum’ divide. They think it’s unity of opposites that complements one another (‘revolutionaries make the best reformists’ + ‘reforms are the way to revolution’) but it’s more a Faustian bargain.

    There is little theoretical clarity about that ‘maximum’ – just a syndicalist emphasis on the purity and energy of the ‘rank and file’ and a suspicion of capturing institutional arenas with decisive social weight. On the other hand, because the analysis of society now (and as we’d like it to be) is so shallow, everyday activism has no bridge towards a qualitative strengthening of socialist ideas or influence. Instead, socialism is just something that ‘happens’, falls from the sky fully-fledged in a cleansing putsch.

    Without that clearly-defined ‘strategy for advance to socialism’, however frenetic your activity on a daily basis, in the longer term you’re essentially left standing still.

    On this topic, a while ago there was an article in Critique (by one of my old lecturers, actually), which people may be interested in(?), as it comments on Venezuela and embraces a lot of these questions, drawing on Kagarlitsky. Ed Rooksby (2011): Towards a ‘Revolutionary Reformist’ Strategy: Within, Outside and Against the State, Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory, 39:1, 27-51. I uploaded a PDF of it; you should just be able to just click ‘download’ at http://www.wikiupload.com/ASRKAKX68EHAY8J

  323. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    #384

    Whoops, I erred: a ‘complaint’ goes straight from the N’al Sec. to the DC when the allegation involves either a CC member or a full-timer (i.e. someone who has a job coz the CC wants them to have a job).

    That’s one of the problems, Stuart: full-timers are IMPOSED on Districts by the CC. The full-timers have to stay tight with the CC to KEEP their jobs. Those material interests again, Stuart. Makes those facts awefully obdurate, robust, hard. Not easily to will away, Stuart.

  324. John Grimshaw on said:

    #333 Thanks for that explanation Tony. Still not sure I get it but I’ll have to work on my computer literacy. I like the fact that its 333 though, presumably half the number of the beast? Should I be worried in some kind of synergistic fashion? Basically its just some way of people hiding who they are? But then why would you wanna do that? Its only a computer thingy. Is that right?

  325. I don’t have a problem with people posting pseudonymously or anonymously – I just don’t think you have the right to dig at other people who do the same.

  326. John Grimshaw on said:

    #371 David we need to find some way to talk. Don’t mistake me. I’m not trying to use SU as a dating agency, but we seem to know each other? :)

  327. John Grimshaw on said:

    #392 You’ve started now. I’m not posting “pseudononymously”. But how do you know?

  328. Manzil on said:

    #392. Fair enough, “Tony” “Collins”. IF THAT EVEN IS YOUR REAL NAME.

    Andy Newman: Of the old “International Rooksbyism” blog fame?

    Yeah, when he was at Southampton Uni; I think he’s working at Ruskin College now. (He should fit in, from my few run-ins with them Ruskin’s Student Union looks to be right bolshy.)

    Plus he was regularly accused of Centrism, so you should love him. :P

  329. Manzil on said:

    John Grimshaw:
    #392 You’ve started now. I’m not posting “pseudononymously”. But how do you know?

    Because who the smeg would make up the name ‘Grimshaw’. :P

    Love,

    Bill Grimyclaw

  330. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil,

    Thanx a lot for that, Manzil.

    I’ve always seen ‘Critique’ behind a paywall, do you know an accessible place where they can be found?

    omg: paywall, Millwall, hope Stuart’s not behind it with the Delta Force.

  331. Manzil on said:

    #397/399. Fulsome apologies. If it makes you feel better, we’re all called Lawrence Snugglefluff and Arthur Flowerdance down here. My name consists entirely of vowels.

    Jara Handala:

    Thanx a lot for that, Manzil.

    I’ve always seen ‘Critique’ behind a paywall, do you know an accessible place where they can be found?

    omg: paywall, Millwall, hope Stuart’s not behind it with the Delta Force.

    Unfortunately not. I have access through a university institutional subscription to journals. Quite happy to upload anything you want to read, though. Let me know here or via greatpaywallofchina@gmail.com

  332. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil,

    Thanx, Manzil, I appreciate that a lot. Thanks.

    I subscribed to Critique when it started. It has always had excellent papers. They even did a 100pp. translation of Roman Rosdolsky on nationalism. Top stuff.

    Just heard the Tunisian Marxist, Chokri Belaid, murdered (Islamists probably) as he left home yesterday morning. 48. Head & chest. The government dissolved immediately, new elections called.

    Perhaps the best source I use in English on Middle East & North Africa for this sort of thing is http://www.vomena.org, a 1hr weekly radio show on http://www.kpfa.org out of Los Angeles. Excellent interviews.

  333. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins:
    Stuart, given that you post under a false name and never give any details about yourself, you don’t really have any high ground from which to ask “who the hell am I talking to?”

    I should have been clearer. I wasn’t insisting that the poster Jara identify their real name. As you correctly point out, I do not do so. It’s just that without any idea of where Jara is coming from, we are left with a very limited focus for our discussion.

    If I’m talking to you I will be thinking in terms of RESPECT, if it’s Andy Newman then it’s Labour. Sometimes I talk to posters from a CP background. This helps me to develop a perspective.

    Jara is simply saying that he/she doesn’t like how the SWP goes about things. I cannot really say anything beyond ‘if you don’t like it then don’t join’. I am left totally unaware of how the poster feels about building for socialism if that is indeed their intention.

  334. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins:

    It was discussed in massive detail on here. Eventually, copies of the emails were offered so that you lot would stop claiming that you had no knowledge of it

    I don’t recall being involved in that but even if I was I would be arguing that this site would, by its very nature, provide a very one-sided view. The internet really isn’t the best place for these kinds of arguments.

  335. stuart on said:

    Manzil: The question is: Why is the actual effect of the SWP’s procedures so partial towards the leading and most influential members?

    I’m not sure John Rees would agree with you on that.

  336. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    In reply to several posts from you, all of which I’ve read, I would say that taking into account my own assessment of the broader political situation, I’m comfortable with how the SWP is conducting itself and am happy to remain a member.

    If you are a non-member I find it odd that you are as concerned as you appear to be about this matter. Be that as it may, what are your more general perspectives on building socialist organisation?

  337. Manzil on said:

    stuart: I’m not sure John Rees would agree with you on that.

    Don’t be so bloody ridiculous.

    A split between two different sections of the leadership is not the same thing. And even if it were, let’s ignore your whataboutery (good attempt though it was), and get back to THIS case:

    Why has the practical effect of the SWP’s procedures in this case been so partial towards the influential leading member, Delta, and so biased against the complainant?

    Why have the complainant’s wishes only been taken into account when it is in the interests of Delta?

    Do you feel the SWP’s procedures, as you understand them, have been correct?

    Personally, I’m not going to patronise you or talk about what a credit it is for you keep defending this nonsense. It would be to your credit if you saw sense. This is just absurd.

  338. stuart on said:

    Manzil,

    I don’t support your premise. We have elected our Disputes Committee and in so doing we place our trust in them to carry out their duties objectively. That is my position as an SWP member and it enjoys majority support within the party.

  339. Manzil on said:

    How about this then: The SWP justified the ‘investigation’ by invoking the complainant’s wishes. The SWP did not allow the complainant to speak at conference, despite her wishes.

    Given this, do you accept that this shows a partial attitude, which could be explained by how the complainant’s wishes in each case affected the interests of the SWP and Delta?

    Do you believe the SWP’s procedures, regardless of the ‘majority’ view, have been correct? Specifically, do you believe the DC carried out its duties objectively, or do you merely trust that they have?

  340. stuart on said:

    Manzil,

    The party followed its own procedure. I believe the committee members acted objectively. The specific nature of the case will present those forces hostile to the party with opportunities to make sectarian attacks however the party acted.

  341. Back in the days when I wrote computer programs for a living I wrote a little widget that allowed you to enter in a string of phrases that would then be regurgitated in random sequence. It’s old hat now, but was pretty neat for its time, if I say so myself. I had no idea that many years later it would develop a minimal consciousness of its own, call itself ‘Stuart’, and spend its time spewing randomised versions of a handful of standard lines out on socialist discussion forums…

  342. Jellytot on said:

    stuart

    You are fetishising the importance and role of The Party. It’s a peculiarity of yours.

    Of course, your tradition has form in doing this:

    The party in the last analysis is always right because the party is the single historic instrument given to the proletariat for the solution of its fundamental problems. I have already said that in front of one’s own party nothing could be easier than to say: all my criticisms, my statements, my warnings, my protests–the whole thing was a mere mistake. I, however, comrades, cannot say that, because I do not think it. I know that one must not be right against the party. One can be right only with the party, and through the party, for history has created no other road for the realization of what is right.

    Leon Trotsky, XIII Party Congress, May 1924

  343. A bit harsh on our Stuart. Besides Swift got there long before your widget. In one of the later Gulliver books, there’s a hilarious (if vicious) description of the invention of a printing machine that spews, like a mangle, random words favoured by 18th Century intellectuals to save them the trouble of writing.

  344. Manzil on said:

    Stuart, it may have something to do with the fact you don’t actually offer answers. You deny the party’s ‘procedures’ discriminated in their effect in favour of the influential Delta, and at the same time refuse to actually offer an opinion over whether this is fair. If your robotic approach represents the attitude of the average member, the SWP is doomed regardless of what ‘forces hostile to the party’ do.

    Jellytot: You are fetishising the importance and role of The Party. It’s a peculiarity of yours.

    Of course, your tradition has form in doing this:

    Honestly thought that was from Nineteen Eighty-Four for a moment. :P

    Utterly terrifying.

  345. John Smith on said:

    Dear Manzil thank you for you comment 305! perhaps i bent the stick a bit to much! but never quite sure what Andy’s politics quite are! new on here!

    thought a bit of provocation might clarify! At least you didnt threaten “I will kick your head in! see 306! is this usual for this site?

    re 416 i am interested why you think “the party procedures discriminate in favour of Delta”?

  346. John Smith,

    I too not good English, but wonder why madness! English left – The guy probable only sleep with girl, then she HEY NO NO NO! two year later. He probable good guy, but then all of the fishes little move in – who’s this he is a Bad One!!! Such it.

  347. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    #404, 5:27pm

    Stuart, you worry me sometimes. I gave you an argument (#386, 2:24pm) as to why knowing ‘the perspective’ of someone, as you just put it, is IRRELEVANT for what is at hand, which is simply addressing the arguments & ideas that are presented by someone’s post. The argument I gave was easy to understand, & it’s a standard reasoning as to (1) what people do when they discuss together & (2) why it’s irrelevant as to which party they support, marital status, gender, or whether they prefer flower-arranging or cage fighting.

    But I do understand why many people can find what you speak of as uncomfortable. I hardly know you so I obviously won’t speculate about why you have indicated that this disturbs you a little. The reason is this: people like to pigeon-hole, they like to stereotype, they like to quickly put someone in a box. This reduces the anxiety we often feel when meeting someone new, the obverse being it raises our self-confidence, gives us a sense of what the future will be. It helps to make oneself feel comfortable, renders things less strange. But the biggest danger of doing this is, as you know, that one can easily, often unintentionally, pre-judge others & what they are saying. In a word, one becomes prejudiced. And we know about this only too well from early life, let alone when we act in a conscious political way. And in times of crisis it is especially intense, all kinds of crisis, societal, economic, cultural & political (& not just for today’s SWP members).

    But as I explained, in discussion it’s not NECESSARY to have this info to deal with what is at hand: for here one’s task is to understand & evaluate the points people make, & to present to others one’s own ideas & arguments, showing what evidence one includes & excludes, & offering justifications for these decisions. That’s all it’s about. Devising arguments to communicate one’s ideas.

    You ask ‘where am I coming from’. It’s all there in what I say. From statements one can infer what is presupposed. There’s no mystery. Marxists deal with arguments, not identities. Thankfully the years of wearing triangles are over for the moment – but maybe having Martin Smith heading the work & going to Greece this month may not be helping us here, especially in terms of credibility, in maintaining the integrity of revo soc politics & the reputation of rev soc organisations.

    I was particularly interested in your evasion yesterday of my Finland Station discussion & the questions it led me to ask you. As other posters noted, you evaded by jumping the chronology; for some reason (& it’s not important now) you couldn’t face the fact that IN PUBLIC Lenin broke with the strategic line of the Bollies: he decried the strategy of stabilising capitalism in Russia, instead he called for a socialist revolution of the workers leading the peasants. As I said, it wasn’t just Plekhanov who thought he was certifiable.

    I don’t think you grasped that I chose it for 3 main reasons: (1) it’s a very well-known example of a leader going out on a limb, risking expulsion, to publicly reject the democratically decided line of the Bolshevik party; (2) it was done by our hero; & (3) and this is the prime reason, it wasn’t over tactics (like the SWP since 6 Jan) it was over the fundamental decision of any political party, its strategy. Lenin was kicking the majority decision on strategy in the goolies, in public, before he even aired his view in private with his fellow members.

    You see, Stuart, by not addressing yourself to this stark example you damaged your own credibility, but most of all it showed how bankrupt is the policy adopted by the CC of refusing to discuss with interested people what the hell is going on these days in the SWP. As I’ve said to you before, the CC has thrown you & all the other members to the wolves, asking them to defend the indefensible, justify the unjustifiable, to try to render credible the incredible. The invidious position you’ve all been dumped in shows how despicable the permanent Callinicos faction has become: for they’re not in the vulnerable, exposed position that you’re in, taking flack day after day. Moreover, yesterday YOU showed that the policy isn’t working; & it’s because it CAN’T work, it’s incapable of achieving its aim because it is IRRATIONAL. Maybe after a few months of trying you yourself will realise this. But there’s no need to wait that long.

    People don’t earn respect by running away from arguments. Lenin didn’t run away. He fought for his position. And SOMETIMES he chose to do it in public. And why? Because it was rational to do so. He saw that the party was missing an HISTORICAL opportunity, & he was going to do his utmost to seize what was there – even if it ended in his expulsion from ‘the party’. For Lenin didn’t have a fetish for ‘the party’: his practical imperative was doing the RIGHT thing, getting the political PRACTICE right. If he was going to be expelled that’s how it was going to be, but it wouldn’t kill him. It would just mean he’d have to struggle for his politics elsewhere. And this is where his great moral courage came from, this is what drove him on.

    And, Stuart, that’s how the SWP opposition feel this very evening. They’re not going anywhere. They’re staying to fight this madness, this irrational & unnecessary policy that the CC has decided upon. They’re the TRUE party loyalists, the AUTHENTIC upholders of what the SWP stands for. They want to right a wrong. They’re not leaving. The permanent Callinicos faction (not by accident has he earned the name Stallinicos) are prepared to force them out, but the NC decisions have not cowered them. Their urgency is obviously not as elevated as Lenin’s but urgency it is that’s motivating them, & it really behoves you to recognise this, to try to understand why disgust has turned to anger has turned into deciding to go public, to let Britain & the wider world know that there are some members who won’t let the permanent Callinicos faction drag THEIR party down. They’re fighting for their political life, & they won’t give up. You have no idea what is in store for the coming months. But nothing is ending soon, & in your heart YOU know that too. Members have never been so energised after all these years of accepting, grumbling, cursing & despairing. Now is different. The day is being seized.

  348. It’s worth investigating Ian Birchall’s position on this – the author of a biography of Tony Cliff: does he support the young rebels or the old guard?

  349. John Smith: Dear Manzil thank you for you comment 305! perhaps i bent the stick a bit to much! but never quite sure what Andy’s politics quite are! new on here!

    thought a bit of provocation might clarify! At least you didnt threaten“I will kick your head in! see 306! is this usual for this site?

    re 416 i am interested why you think “the party procedures discriminate in favour of Delta”?

    I thought I explained it quite clearly here, here and again here.

    As to Old Timer’s comment at #306 about kicking your head in and you not going to the courts, I would imagine that s/he was, as Stewart Lee might put it, “using an exaggerated form of the rhetoric and the implied values of [the SWP] to satirise the rhetoric and the implied values of [the SWP].”

  350. lone nut on said:

    “It’s worth investigating Ian Birchall’s position on this – the author of a biography of Tony Cliff: does he support the young rebels or the old guard?”
    I think we have about 50 years experience of Birchall, don’t we? And I think we can confidently say that the day he adopts a position of principled opposition will coincide with the time Satan starts complaining about the ice in his apartment.

  351. Jara Handala on said:

    David Ruaune,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IAedvlqka0

    Birchall’s probably still exercising his mastery over Seb Budgen, the chairperson, while he gave this talk at ‘Historical Materialism’, Nov last year.

    It’s on how French trade unionists tried to subvert the army, leading upto WWI, during it, & after it when the PCF was set up.

    I suspect after his talk he caught a tube to Canning Town, and had a nice, lovely pot of tea with Alan Bennett in the ‘Mock Turtle’, dunking their ‘Rich Tea’ biscuits while discussing his wonderful TV film, ‘A Day Out’. How they laughed.

    It means he can’t be all bad.

  352. Jara Handala,

    I don’t really think anyone is bad – not Molyneux if I met him face to face, or anyone really – it is political, and the leadership of the SWP have to be overthrown, and their intellectuals must be put on the spot. Now.

  353. lone nut: I think we have about 50 years experience of Birchall, don’t we? And I think we can confidently say that the day he adopts a position of principled opposition will coincide with the time Satan starts complaining about the ice in his apartment.

    It’s pretty chilly in Hell these days.

  354. Jara Handala on said:

    David Ruaune,

    Speaking of vocational intellectuals (let’s not be forgetting our Grammy Gramps Gramsci), here’s the list of the inaugural signatories of the academic boycott of the SWP, their publications & events, including ‘Marxism’. It was launched 26 Jan.

    http://www.openletterswp.wordpress.com

    Includes Albo, Banaji, Brenner, Farber, Gasper, Kellogg, McNally, Moody, Morton, Murphy, Pappe, Post, Peter Thomas, & Webber.

    It is very significant – and highly commendable – that Phil Gasper signed. He’s an ISO stalwart, an organisation whose leadership on 15 Jan went even further into the abyss by saying a revo soc org’n MUST be capable, “indeed has the responsibility”, to be able to hear rape allegations.

  355. John Smith on said:

    mmmm! food for thought! give me a week to figure out your meaning? be safe! did you answer my question by the way! LOL!

  356. Jara Handala on said:

    Just got a ‘spam bot detected’ wrap on my post, so this is an abbreviated one just in case.

    New post on http://www.internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk by Mieville & Seymour.

    To be frank, and serious, it’s quite personal (target is an epigone referred to as ‘Nick Grant’ coz he’s not really human), & politically I think it is counter-productive.

    What do peops think (& feel)?

  357. Jara Handala on said:

    ‘stuart’ and ‘hollow man’

    Hi, ‘hollow man’

    Hi, ‘stuart’

    The party has decided its decision and has decided to act according to its decision.

    I have total confidence in the abilities of all the leading comrades the party has elected according to the democratically decided procedures as they constitute a harmonious team constrained in what they do by the constitution.

    This is a very difficult time for the party, with anti-party hostile forces in every direction. But we can all draw upon the strengths we have build up in many difficult times for the party in this very difficult time for the party.

    The democratically decided procedures have been proceeded with in the proceedings of the democratically constituted conference constituted according to the constitution.

    We can draw upon the knowledge that the party has been in difficult difficulties before, and although this is difficult, with many difficulties, these difficulties can be managed by the democratically elected Central Committee, elected using the correct procedures, which has had many experiences of dealing with difficult difficulties.

    That brings to an end the Annual Conference report-back meeting of this meeting of the party which proceeded according to the proceedings properly constituted in accordance with the constitution.

    Thank you, ‘stuart’

    Thank you, ‘hollow man’

    Bye, ‘stuart’

    Bye, ‘hollow man’

    ['hollow man' exits stage left]

    ['stuart' stacks the chairs, re-arranges the tables - obviously proceeding according to the democratically decided procedures properly constituted by a democratically run meeting before any of the members were born]

    ['stuart' surveys the room]

    ['stuart' is proud of his party, properly constituted according to the constitution]

    ['stuart' is pleased that yet another Annual Conference report-back meeting of this meeting of the party has ended according to the democratically decided ending procedures used at the end of a properly conducted Annual Conference report-back meeting of the meeting of the party]

    ['stuart' smiles within, the party is orderly, the party will grow, the future is ours]

    ['stuart' exits stage right]

  358. Howark Kirk on said:

    Jara Handara – it’s a shame nobody said what you said below at the SWP conference. lol

    QUOTE JARA HANDARA TO STUART
    People don’t earn respect by running away from arguments. Lenin didn’t run away. He fought for his position. And SOMETIMES he chose to do it in public. And why? Because it was rational to do so. He saw that the party was missing an HISTORICAL opportunity, & he was going to do his utmost to seize what was there – even if it ended in his expulsion from ‘the party’. For Lenin didn’t have a fetish for ‘the party’: his practical imperative was doing the RIGHT thing, getting the political PRACTICE right. If he was going to be expelled that’s how it was going to be, but it wouldn’t kill him. It would just mean he’d have to struggle for his politics elsewhere. And this is where his great moral courage came from, this is what drove him on.

    And, Stuart, that’s how the SWP opposition feel this very evening. They’re not going anywhere. They’re staying to fight this madness, this irrational & unnecessary policy that the CC has decided upon. They’re the TRUE party loyalists, the AUTHENTIC upholders of what the SWP stands for. They want to right a wrong. They’re not leaving. The permanent Callinicos faction (not by accident has he earned the name Stallinicos) are prepared to force them out, but the NC decisions have not cowered them. Their urgency is obviously not as elevated as Lenin’s but urgency it is that’s motivating them, & it really behoves you to recognise this, to try to understand why disgust has turned to anger has turned into deciding to go public, to let Britain & the wider world know that there are some members who won’t let the permanent Callinicos faction drag THEIR party down. They’re fighting for their political life, & they won’t give up. You have no idea what is in store for the coming months. But nothing is ending soon, & in your heart YOU know that too. Members have never been so energised after all these years of accepting, grumbling, cursing & despairing. Now is different. The day is being seized.

  359. Howark Kirk on said:

    Jara Handala:
    Just got a ‘spam bot detected’ wrap on my post, so this is an abbreviated one just in case.

    New post on http://www.internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk by Mieville & Seymour.

    To be frank, and serious, it’s quite personal (target is an epigone referred to as ‘Nick Grant’ coz he’s not really human), & politically I think it is counter-productive.

    What do peops think (& feel)?

    This is the problem for the opposition and maybe why they are unlikely to succeed – those in positions at NC and a significant amount of those at conference are the sort of unquestioning loyalists they refer to. Anyone who has been in the SWP has met them – there is usually at least one in a branch -and they will be encouraged to go to conference or join the NC by the full timer. And to a greater or lesser extent, the oppositionists were previously in their shoes,and even after the latest mess, they are not in a position of trying to convince or arguing with those whose critical faculties are fully intact.

    The defeats, embarrassments and setbacks have been more obvious in recent years prompting some to revolt but for many of them the song remains the same.

  360. stuart on said:

    Jellytot: You are fetishising the importance and role of The Party. It’s a peculiarity of yours. Of course, your tradition has form in doing this:

    Yet more misrepresentation. If you are going to make these jibes why not consult the records? For Cliff, Trotsky’s position represented a capitualation to the bureaucracy due to the very difficult material reality in 1924.

    ‘How depressed and paralysed must Trotsky have been’

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/works/1991/trotsky3/02-campaign.html#p5

    And in any case, the SWP does not claim to be ‘always right’.

  361. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    I had already addressed this strange Finland Station analogy back at post 200. Whereas then Lenin could win over the party, now the SWP ‘opposition’ cannot gain anything approaching a majority.

    This is not Russia 1917. In some respects there are similarities with the late 1970s/early 1980s IMO. The crisis in worker militacy is feeding into growing support for movementism and radical reformism (then expressed in Bennism, now expressed in Syriza).

  362. In Defence of Our Party on said:

    “The SWP ‘opposition’ cannot gain anything approaching a majority.” Stuart: you weren’t at conference were you? Remember the vote: 239 for, 219 against, with more than 100 abstaining or not voting.

    We’re coming Stuart, and we’re going to take back our party, one branch at a time. No more lies, no more excuses. No more allowing people like you to pretend they speak for us.

    And, just as you have seem to have some difficulty playing the man rather than the ball, here’s my record: 20 years subs-paying membership. ex-organiser. Current member – active.

    Name withheld, but email address supplied to the people running this webite, so they can confirm, if any confirmation was needed

  363. stuart,

    stuart I don’t feel comments by indefenceofoutparty constitute an attack on the SWP just the announcement of a public factional struggle within the party… which everyone and her dog knows is happening… get used to it… and remember that however harsh the divisions all socialists will one day have to meet at ‘Rendezvous of Victory’

  364. stuart: Why are you attacking the party from this website?

    Yeah, you’re only allowed to attack the party according to the properly constituted procedures!

    Jara Handala, give up mate. I think someone’s switched stuart onto automatic.

  365. stuart on said:

    446/447,

    Having lost the votes at conference, ‘In Defence of Our Party’ is using this site to attack the majority decision. Can I remind ‘In Defence of Our Party’ of this…http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ranks-of-the-socialist-workers-party-are-split-over-handling-of-rape-allegation-8448429.html

    ‘Mr Newman likened the SWP’s disciplinary hearing to an extrajudicial “sharia” system ‘

    Can I ask ‘In Defence of Our Party’ his/her opinion of the leaks and what has followed.

  366. John Grimshaw on said:

    #449 Maybe Stuart (or who ever you are) if the SWP had its own democratic website then “In Defence of the Party” (or whoever he/she is) wouldn’t feel the need to come on somebody elses web site thingy?

  367. Jara Handala on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    #441, 9:12am (as recorded in accordance with the democratically agreed recording system agreed upon by a democratically elected Central Committee meeting as a properly constituted party meeting meeting in accordance with the procedures for such meetings agreed upon by a properly constituted National Conference meeting meeting in accordance with the procedures laid down by the constitution)

    Hi, John, first time I have had the pleasure to speak with you directly. Let’s hope that today, more so than in other days, Stuart will respond DIRECTLY to the points people make, especially those addressed to him, rather than CHOOSING to speak past them (which I think even Stuart would agree is not a feature of ‘bourgeois morality’ but of rational, efficient discussion). Witness his response to me just now (#443, 9:33am), repeating what he said the other day, choosing not to talk about Lenin’s public speech to the crowd but, running ahead in time, to talk about Lenin winning the Bollies round to his view.

    Unfortunately Stuart REFUSES to deal with the simple matter in hand: is it justifiable for a party member to break ranks & speak forcefully & loudly in public coz she believes the party has been set by the leadership upon a disastrous course? Lenin thought so. He risked expulsion coz he took it upon himself to carry out the RESPONSIBILITY he had as a member to think thru what was happening & to act accordingly. He concluded that the URGENCY of what the party & the working class faced WARRANTED, in fact REQUIRED, that he speak out IN PUBLIC. THAT is the point: he knew it was his DUTY to do this, his duty to his party & to the class he identified with. Lenin, like any scientific socialist, didn’t make a fetish out of the party he was a member of: that party was simply a MEANS to an end, & if in pursuance of that end he found himself being expelled, so what? Circumstances dictated that he had the DUTY to speak out IN PUBLIC. He would have preferred not to (just like now with SWP members) but he saw he had NO CHOICE if he was to remain true to HIS assessment of where the party was going, & its consequences for the struggle for socialism. That is what the SWP oppositionists have also decided to do. No-one likes being out on a limb, one becomes exposed & vulnerable, it’s an anxious & uncertain time, one comes under savage attack from the CC enforcers, but BRAVE party members do it nevertheless.

    I want to stress, coz this point is rarely made, that this is a particularly difficult time for SWP members who feel they have a disposition that is not suited to what is sometimes called a fight, a faction fight. Many members are quite new to the party, they have great pride in their party, & they don’t want it to be harmed. Others are quite shy people, they prefer to avoid speaking out. Others try to steer away from conflict, especially with ‘hacks’. This is a matter that people should give more attention to. I would simply say, independently of one’s reluctance to ‘fight’, not seeing oneself as a ‘fighter’, one has to do one’s utmost to overcome this affective structure that holds one back. No member is alone in this; many comrades today find themselves in this very position. But coming together overcomes any isolation one feels: unity brings support to each and every member.

    All I can say is that I have tried to demonstrate that ALL comrades have a DUTY, a duty based in reason, to organise against the madness being pursued by the permanent Callinicos faction, a course that is endangering the organisation &, most of all, HARMS its work. That’s the point: the ability of the SWP to be involved in effective political action is being JEOPARDISED by the course set by the permanent Callinicos faction. To rise up against this destructive policy is the DUTY of each & every member of the SWP, even those members who find it very difficult to make the first step. But remember, unity is strength. There is no need to feel isolated, alone. A focus has been created, to have a new National Conference. Speak to fellow members. Organise. Have an open debate at a new Conference. Save the party.

    As I tried to make plain, in doing so these SWP members place themselves in the company of Lenin. The defenders of the CC decision to try to stop members even TALKING about this crisis places them – & this is crucial – in some other company, in some other tradition, the tradition of bureaucratic centralism (& in this they are not alone, I hasten to add).

    Yesterday I was perhaps naive in reserving judgment on why Stuart has this habit of not addressing what people have gone to the trouble to ask him, of speaking past what they have said, referring to something else. Yesterday I offered 3 reasons as to why he could be doing this; but now I think one can only conclude that he chooses a strategy of DEFLECTION, to be a disingenuous party to the discussion, & that is a great pity, not least coz rational people can spot it a mile off, & in being an obstruction to a rational examination of this whole sorry mess (besides being both irritating & very frustrating) it hinders our efforts to understand why the mess has happened & how the SWP can deal with it in a HEALTHY way, not the sanitising way of the CC as it tries to impose a quarantine on the crisis it has caused & is responsible for.

    After saying all that I can now respond to what you asked us, what has Nick Grant done to provoke this response by Me Ol’ China & Angry Raging Richard?

    At first I thought ‘Nick Grant’ was a pseudonym, a composite name based on his resemblance to 2 soap characters, Nick Cotton & Bobby or Barry Grant. But youtube quickly dispelled that thought.

    There we find a number of Nick Grants, as one would expect. (Even in this sense there’s more than one Dave Gorman.) We have an American high school wrestler, an executive chef(?), an aspiring singer (not bad voice, actually), and a guy who likes the snow. But THE Nick Grant is also there.

    Not a frightening figure on any account, but given the youtube evidence I would say this: short fuse, prone to hectoring, easily agitated, could be quite unstable, really, prefers to talk ‘at’ people, certainly not a conciliator in his day-job. And sure enough, he’s a teacher, on the NUT National Executive Cttee. Another committee. The NUT site says he works at a Catholic skool (Cardinal Wiseman secondary skool, Greenford). A typical habitat & skill set for a CC enforcer, a defender of the faith, so M&S may well be right. I have no reason to doubt what they say.

    But let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth, some quotes from his vids (which also feature ‘The Invasion of the Bodysnatchers’):

    “Unity, as ever, is crucial here”
    “You obey like a robot whatever the demands of the rulers are”
    “. . . a lobotomy, people losing their power to think clearly, because there has been no new improvement in what we are being asked to face in the coming months”

    Obviously, in its appropriate context, fine words. Many people here have been saying the same thing, again & again. But I fear, given the present predicament of the SWP, M&S are hearing the wrong words from him.

    But the visit to youtube wasn’t all disappointment. The singer I referred to was doing a cover of Michael Buble’s ‘Lost’. And it has some words which also apply to our context. Here they are:

    “I hope it’s not too late because you are not alone”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea_OZoXjgH0

    And he sings of resisting “the darkness”. Unwittingly this song evokes both Professor Dark Side, & the Enlightenment tradition which socialism draws upon. Let’s hope all is not lost, that reason can return to the policy & practice of the SWP, that its work is not further harmed by the pursuit of the ostrich posture that M&S pin on the permanent Callincos faction trying to control the SWP. The future of the SWP is at stake, its relevance to the fightback against the REAL attacks that are being made on workers & their potential allies.

  368. John Grimshaw on said:

    stuart: Can I ask ‘In Defence of Our Party’ his/her opinion of the leaks and what has followed.

    Well you can and should, but is that because you genuinely want to know or because..?

  369. stuart: …people are less bothered about this disciplinary case and more concerened with inflicting damage on the party via the internet

    I have to agree with this (although I wouldn’t use the phrase “the party”), as well as with Mark Victorystooge at #380 above.

    I take no sides in the internal arguments within the SWP and I have no great interest in who comrade delta was shagging or the acrimony of their break-up, but I have been genuinely shocked at the feeding frenzy of sections of the Left over it. For all its faults the SWP organizes hundreds or possibly thousands of people who believe, in all sincerity, that they are acting in the best interests of the proletariat. I find the sense of glee on this blog at it’s problems very unpleasant.

    Still, it’s interesting to speculate on the tactical options available to each side.

    Firstly from the leadership’s point of view: the generational nature of the split means that large sections of the opposition don’t have a long history of being in the organization and – as many of them are students – most didn’t have a long future in it either (even before the current crisis). So getting rid of them now is unlikely to do much lasting damage. I think many of the long-standing rank and file members are loyal, and if they are of a similar calibre to stuart, that constitutes a tremendous asset for the leadership (at least in the short term).

    My advice to the leadership would be to make no concessions as that will just embolden the trouble-makers. Get rid of the opposition as quickly as possible. It could be presented as petit-bourgeois elements (students, media types, science-fiction authors) undermining the party with a hostile class ideology. No more pandering to middle-class obsession with internal procedures and identity politics – it is, after all the Socialist WORKERS party, and the class struggle demands our attention

    For the opposition, the best strategy is less obvious. It’s hampered by having come into existence defined as being AGAINST something (and even that is a disciplinary procedure, of all things!) rather than being FOR anything. As such, it will contain a wide range of opinions on what it actually wants. The second problem is that it has to claim to be trying to win the organization, while actually preparing to split it (can anybody seriously expect things to go back to normal once all the debates have been aired and voted on, even if it gets that far?).

    My advice to the opposition would be rapidly to develop an alternative in terms of perspectives, strategy and tactics in the class struggle. It just won’t wash to say that Kimber, Callinicos and co constitute a bureaucratic corrupt leadership – but hey, guess what: they got things things absolutely spot on in their political analysis and what we should be doing. By doing that, you can split as a coherent bloc – otherwise people will drift away into other groups or drop out of politics altogether.

    Anyway, that’s my advice – for what it’s worth – to both sides.

  370. Jellytot on said:

    @442And in any case, the SWP does not claim to be ‘always right’.

    stuart

    OK, name me an instance when the SWP have admitted being wrong about something.

  371. Jara Handala on said:

    Howark Kirk,

    #440, 3:27am

    First time we are speaking, Howard, hello.

    Excellent point about the result of decades of enduring practices within the SWP & the likely consequence of this upon the efforts of the current opposition.

    At root, in part, is a refusal to institutionalise the adequate education of members, & giving them the time to engage in this. National Conference again & again says this has to be done but it has had little effect, sadly. The CC report, ‘Building the Party’, Nov 2012, in Pre-Conf. Bulletin #2, repeats the goal but says hardly anything as to how it could be fulfilled.

    But this is the SWP. And we can recall the parable of ruler, the ruled, & keeping them so busy they don’t have the time to think – or self-organise. It just makes ruling easier.

  372. Manzil on said:

    Zaid: Firstly from the leadership’s point of view: the generational nature of the split means that large sections of the opposition don’t have a long history of being in the organization and – as many of them are students – most didn’t have a long future in it either (even before the current crisis). So getting rid of them now is unlikely to do much lasting damage. I think many of the long-standing rank and file members are loyal, and if they are of a similar calibre to stuart, that constitutes a tremendous asset for the leadership (at least in the short term).

    My advice to the leadership would be to make no concessions as that will just embolden the trouble-makers. Get rid of the opposition as quickly as possible. It could be presented as petit-bourgeois elements (students, media types, science-fiction authors) undermining the party with a hostile class ideology. No more pandering to middle-class obsession with internal procedures and identity politics – it is, after all the Socialist WORKERS party, and the class struggle demands our attention

    Is this supposed to be a parody?

    If sincere, your advice is a non-stop journey into complete irrelevance for the SWP.

    I know a few of the students involved in the original democratic opposition. Whatever disagreements I may have with them politically, it cannot be denied that to a person they are sincere and committed revolutionary socialists and as working in what they feel are the best interests of the SWP. To attempt to defame them as ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ types is insulting, and profoundly ironic, given the utter dependence of the SWP on just such a revolving-door membership.

    I suppose, when they obediently follow the line of from on high, it doesn’t matter what their background or prospects, but if they start thinking for themselves, suddenly they’re beyond the pale?

    To dismiss them as ‘petit-bourgeois’ really is absurd, given the leadership is run by a professor and a bunch of full-timers whose lives entirely revolve around ‘the party’. If anything, the influx of students following the 2010 student protests, which led many of the current oppositionists into the SWP, helped to actually increase the relevance of the party towards the class struggle and away from the ‘media types’ and ‘united fronts of a bollocks kind’ on which the party had come to depend.

    Whatever stuart’s views of the criticisms being levelled at his party, I hope he and others in the SWP’s permanent majority faction understand that adopting your outlook and perspective would be sectarian poison in so far as the future of the SWP is concerned. If the SWP wants to cut itself off from the younger generation, its own future, and slowly morph into a support group for ossified full-time faction-builders, no one can stop it – but it will mean the complete eclipse of the organisation.

  373. Howard Kirk on said:

    Jara Handala,

    Hi Jara,

    And the quotes that Nick Grant – I’ve met him once or twice and found him quite personable – takes from the Invasion of the Bodysnatchers to critique the TUC on that video can easily be applied to many of the activists in the SWP. It’s sad that what he sees in others he cannot see in his own party.

    One of the problems with the education of members within the SWP is the CC or associates would decide what/how it is to be taught, although it has to be said that the breaking up of branches (and their meetings with speakers on a particular subject) around 2000 made that situation even worse, and led to disaster for the SWP which they have tried to subsequently rectify.

    And yes, as others have pointed out, the SWP do not make a habit of admitting they got it wrong, and members such as In Defence of Our Party do not have a legitimate means electronic communication with one another which is just how the CC likes it.

  374. I think many of the long-standing rank and file members are loyal, and if they are of a similar calibre to stuart, that constitutes a tremendous asset for the leadership

    Blimey. No offence to stuart personally – I’m sure he’s a lovely bloke in real life – but a party whose cadre had the approach to debate he’s shown on these threads would be irrelevant within a couple of years. The stuarts of the party may have contributed to its short-term organisational health, but the survival of a party that matters to anyone depends on activists who can think independently and aren’t afraid to do so.

  375. Jara Handala on said:

    Zaid,

    #453, 2:25pm

    Hi, Zaid.

    I’m sure we all agree that Stuart has shown to all of us his identity with the policy of the permanent Callinicos faction. Without question he’s a loyal factionalist.

    Stuart is just one example of such a person within the SWP, the sort continually proving that they choose not to engage in a lively, invigorating exchange of ideas & arguments, surprising readers with their comments, arresting them, making them think.

    But in so doing they create for the SWP a problem for the future. Their chosen approach is not attractive, it doesn’t encourage people to be drawn in. It’s not pretty. It really doesn’t put the SWP in a good light, showing it to be a healthy organisation that people would want to be part of. Frankly, the automatic, deadpan, unengaging tone & behaviour is the expression of something on its way to being a corpse, of something tired of life. And maybe it is. We’ll see.

    But it is evidence that the permanent Callinicos faction has spawned a set of clones. And Stuart is one of them – a proud clone.

    But the strategy of the permanent Callinicos faction has an important effect for what future the SWP is creating for itself: seeing this behaviour by the clones, the defenders of the faith, why would anyone want to join such an organisation?

    Even if they win this political contest, in the longer term that’s the self-defeating problem they are creating for themselves.

  376. Jon Fanning on said:

    Manzil: Is this supposed to be a parody?
    If sincere, your advice is a non-stop journey into complete irrelevance for the SWP.

    I think it is advice in the terms of, “if I was a CC member determined to hang onto power this is what I would do”, rather than in order to build the party this is what they should do. I suspect it is a rather accurate analysis of their thinking.

    It is known as scenario thinking and is a very useful way of planning your activities by trying to predict the oppositions next move.

    Interestingly a party loyalist has been in touch to welcome my fraternal comments (the signing of the letter) and to ask me to have a chat about the situation as I am being misled by t’internet.

    Hmmmm (should say this is a guy I think a lot of, not an automaton, a good comrade).

  377. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    Hi, Stuart, sorry I haven’t made time to speak with you today.

    Hope you are well.

    Tell us, are you going to join the new faction?

    If it does include the current chair (& re-elected member) of the Disputes Cttee., and Colin Barker, and Ian Birchall, and Mike Gonzalez you would have fine company.

    Think it over, no need to rush to judgment.

  378. Zaid: My advice to the leadership would be to make no concessions as that will just embolden the trouble-makers. Get rid of the opposition as quickly as possible.

    How did that work out for Sheila Torrence, Alex Mitchell and the Redgraves?

  379. stuart on said:

    John Grimshaw (450, 452),

    Tellingly, ‘In Defence of Our Party’ has, as yet, failed to offer an opinion about the leaks to this site and the aftermath thereof.

  380. stuart on said:

    Jellytot:

    OK, name me an instance when the SWP have admitted being wrong about something.

    An over-estimation of working class militancy following the downfall of Heath in 1974.

  381. zaid/ Jara Handala,

    Thanks for your contributions. Events have moved on a little. Hopefully, the special conference that has been called for in March can enable the party to (again) resolve the differences. Here’s hoping that when the votes are counted everyone can accept the decisions in the spirit of democratic centralism and then the party can start to look outward without on going internal distractions.

    I will say with confidence that for many posters to this site the SWP will never do enough. They will never be anything other than institutionally sexist or undemocratic or whatever. I anticipate a barrage of insults about how this forthcoming conference is stage managed. But I will gain comfort from knowing that those who issue these assaults are the same people, with perhaps a few exceptions, who have hitherto failed to stand in solidarity with a socialist party that has been under attack from the bourgeois press, notably the Daily Mail article, pictures included, aimed at a group of women comrades.

  382. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    Glad you’re still in one piece.

    But I asked you a question (#461) & you chose to ignore it, thereby discrediting even more the way you choose to interact with others. Ignoring & talking passed people repels any rational person from expressing any interest whatsoever in your politics (whatever they are), a rational person finds it utterly unattractive & wonders why you even present yourself in a political community. You must have a reason or three, but it’s certainly invisible, rather like ‘hollow man’ in that lil play you took part in.

    We have all seen that your political training has proceeded without the involvement of questions, & that you find them unsettling & difficult to deal with. Questions simply disturb you.

    And on the evidence you present you also seem incapable of practising a questioning approach to the matter at hand. And for a professed scientific socialist (also known by most people as a Marxist) that’s a big, big problem coz the ruthless criticism of all that exists was Chuck’s mantra as it is mine, not coz it was his but simply coz that’s the rational way to proceed in politics.

    I regret your reluctance to engage in constructive conversation. But that is your choice. All I shall say on this is to remind you that you are representing a political tradition, & as its representative it means readers are learning from you what that tradition & party is REALLY like. For some it might have been a revelation. I find it upsetting; I wish you would behave as a normal person. Your attitude & behaviour is frankly weird. You’re no doubt a bright chap, with the potential to offer a great deal, so the way you are is so unnecessary, you are being so irrational, but it has its virtuous side, coz it shows to readers how destructive the permanent Callinicos faction has been in the SWP, helping political agents like you to develop & reproduce.

    No-one but you is responsible for how you are; I simply make the point to readers that you are not alone, there are many of you, some readers & SWP members have spoken of the clones acting as CC enforcers up & down the country. The point is, you & the others are perpetrating within the SWP this ultimately nihilistic politics. And that is what you are judged on. And it is people like you that will bear the responsibility for any harm, any damage, any loss of prestige & reputation that the SWP suffers because of the course chosen by the permanent Callinicos faction. And that means it is people like you who should be accountable to those who do benefit from the SWP’s work, & to the degree that that work is impaired the responsibility lies solely with the permanent Callinicos faction. No-one else. No-one.

    I have made 2 comments addressed to the SWP crisis on another thread. They were made Saturday:
    http://www.socialistunity.com/swp-new-faction-declared

    #80, 4:07am
    Concerns the self-determination by members to associate when they want to, on what basis, & for how long, in other words their freedom to engage politically within the SWP (section 10 of the Constitution). I ask if 2 particular kinds of association by members, freely made, without the need to get permission from Big Daddy, the sort of liberty Marxists take for granted, are indeed illegal within the SWP.

    #99, 6:17pm
    A detailed analysis of SWP membership, recruitment & loss of members, 2008 to 2012. The source? The Central Committee report, ‘Building the Party’, Pre-Conf. Bulletin #2, Nov 2012. It seems the membership is kept artifically high thru an administrative action, applying an anti-culling policy, keeping a significant number of names on the books although the people have disappeared. Lost souls, one may say.

    By the way, if you’re having trouble sleeping why not pick up your copy of Cliff, coz from the way you express yourself you seem to have forgotten what he said in http://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/works/1960/xx/trotsub.htm#f40
    It’s ‘Trotsky on Substitutionism’.

  383. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    Looking out, looking in, looking out. That’s how it is, Stuart. The permanent Callinicos faction may think it lives in a bubble but it is under scrutiny like never before.

    As you speak of counting the votes, let’s return to the Disputes Cttee. (DC) session. But first let’s briefly address what this whole crisis is about.

    (1) SU published a transcript the day after Conference ended, & Cde. Kimber, SWP Nat. Sec., in his letter of 7 Jan to SU chose not to challenge its accuracy. It is noteworthy to recognise that its publication is in accordance with the IS/SWP ‘tradition’, as prescribed by Cliff’s 1960 piece, ‘Trotsky & Substitutionism’ (at http://www.marxist.org). And why? Coz the Conference proceeding is background evidence of what Cliff calls “basic issues of policy”, the one here being, in my opinion, that “the internal regime in the revolutionary party must be subordinated to the relation between the party and the class” (Cliff’s article again). And to help achieve that subordination he makes an appeal: “Let the mass of the workers take part in the discussion, put pressure on the party, its apparatus and leadership”, continuous pressure, unrelenting, unforgiving, always justified coz the leadership & apparatus must never be allowed to develop a special interest, its own interest. The policy here, never voted on, is decisively (& disastrously) expressed as the ingrained way the present SWP actually works within its walls, the practice & not the constitutional rules of the ‘internal regime’, & how this crucially affects the relation between the party & those it identifies with, & whose interests it is devoted to advancing.

    Now, most workers (& others) don’t give a monkey’s, they think revo socs live on Pluto (was the naming of the IS/SWP publisher ‘facing reality’ in 2 senses?), & you may think it’s largely those with ill-intent who write here & elsewhere, the sectarians, but please don’t pre-judge, don’t be prejudiced. Be rational, attend your critical faculty to the ideas & arguments expressed, don’t be cheap, don’t rubbish, don’t ignore what’s addressed to you, the points & questions fellow socialists have gone to the trouble to make, you choosing instead to display an unacceptable contempt towards fellow socialists, to talk past us, trying to render redundant what we say, ideas & arguments that thankfully remain on the record for all to see, for in so doing you discredit the few substantive remarks you do make. The saving grace of your strategy, of course, is that you reveal to all the unpalatable nature of the attitude & practice of both the permanent Callinicos faction & those, like you, who defend it. You are effectively a spokesperson for a destructive, bureaucratic faction that is in denial of the damage it is causing, in denial of it alone being responsible for that damage, & it is ignorant of its own nature, a group of members that have been destructive & have harmed the SWP, discrediting the efforts of socialists everywhere. That makes the permanent Callinicos faction a dangerous body within the SWP.

    But we can thank all of you in the faction for what you have revealed about yourselves, for bringing it out & placing it, as Cliff put it, “in the light of day”. And for this we thank you, all of us who have the best interests of the working class & its allies at heart, for we are the ones who advocate that “The Communists are not a special party vis-a-vis the other workers’ parties. They have no interests separate from the interests of the whole proletariat” (sec. 2, Comm. Man.). Keine Interessen trennen. For focusing our attention on this, on how the permanent Callinicos faction is systematically violating this imperative, & so requiring that this faction be removed, we sincerely thank you.

    As Cliff said, “The internal regime . . . apparatus and leadership” must not be allowed to PRIVILEGE itself above the relation between the SWP & the working class, to advance what it sees as its own interests at the expense of everyone else, at the expense of the members, at the expense of the class it aspires to serve. “The internal regime . . . apparatus and leadership” must not be allowed to HARM the SWP, placing its own perceived interest above that of the party which should have no interest other than that of the workers & its allies.

    In this the class of 2013 is as deserving as the class of 1960.

    (2) So, the DC, & what it reveals to us.

    http://www.socialistunity.com/swp-conference-transcript-disputes-committee-report

    The DC report was put to Conference to be accepted or rejected, in effect it was offered as a plebiscite, a vote of confidence in how it had heard the allegation of rape. Offered to the plebs, the common people.

    How did it go? Like this:
    231 to accept
    209 to reject
    18 abstentions

    But then we get some further information that puts these bald figures in a different light: the ‘Socialist Worker’ report on Conference, 12 Jan. This article has a revealing aside.

    (3) Surprisingly, the scribe’s name is kept secret. But then again, it seems the CC piled in, causing a re-write, excising a self-acknowledgment by the party that it had decided to let a group of comrades accept the chance to take some leave from their day-jobs, & in their free time test their competence as cops & judges, investigating & adjudicating an allegation of rape. They wouldn’t attempt installing the new boiler or doing the re-wiring, but anyone with the right ATTITUDE, one rooted in the IS/SWP tradition, validated by being voted onto the DC, can have a bash at a serious criminal matter, can’t they? They have the right skill set, don’t they? The knowledge of law that gives the word ‘rape’ meaning? The means at hand? The prior experience? The personal distance from the accused? To doubt all this is to capitulate to bourgeois claptrap, to accept debilitating mystification about the ability of the class (including its most conscious elements, as in the DC) to self-emancipate & deliver justice, isn’t it? What possible harm could the DC do in agreeing that it had the competence to deal with this? Where’s the harm?

    By not mentioning in the SW article the DC’s work the party would avoid alerting those readers it has who never use the internet or speak with anyone who does (SU had published 5 days before), protecting them from what the CC view as navel-gazing, an irrelevance for the party’s work, a distraction from the determination demonstrated by Conference & the National Cttee. to “throw itself into the class struggle” (CC statement, yesterday, 9 Feb). It’s nice to see the permanent Callinicos faction taking seriously & exercising what it sees as its duty of care towards what seems to be a big chunk of its readers, those not exposed to the Dark Side of the internet.

    In protest at this excision, demanded by the CC leaders, it seems the editor refused to sign. Hence its anonymity.

    This holding back, the restraint, the living out of denial, reminds me of an example close to my heart in more ways than one, to do with the Chilean Communist Party, of which Victor Jara was a member. East German TV was lauding the release of Cde. Luis Corvalan, the Gen. Sec., but avoided saying it was part of a prisoner exchange involving Vladimir Bukovsky. Point is, the citizenry simultaneously saw on West Berlin TV the full picture. But the Guardians of the Imagination couldn’t help but practise denial. And now we get the very same from the Comrades manning the Citadel.

    (4) So what did SW say? No mention of the allegation of rape, of course, but this revelation: “The conference brought together more than 580 delegates”.

    Interesting. So how does the voting look now? Given this coyness, but knowing the modesty of the SWP leaders, we’ll say this means between 581 & 589 delegates:

    231 accepting the report
    209 rejecting the report
    18 abstaining
    no vote cast by between 123 & 131

    Prior to this new info we knew the DC had got a majority, & that it had won 50.4% of the votes cast.

    But now this looks quite different: 21%-22% of delegates FOUND THEMSELVES UNABLE TO PARTICIPATE in the vote. The case had been sprung on them. They couldn’t absorb its meaning, make sense of it. They froze. They found themselves unable to take part in the vote. They couldn’t EVEN decide to abstain, it was as if they were somewhere else, not even in the hall. 21%-22%. Almost a quarter of delegates.

    The DC report was accepted by only 39.2%-39.8% of delegates, by less than 40% of them.

    In other words, & I think tabloid form is appropriate here,
    OVER 60% OF SWP DELEGATES CHOSE NOT TO ACCEPT THE DC REPORT

    When 21%-22% of delegates show that the preparations for the Conference were inadequate there is only one conclusion: the delegates, i.e. the Conference, had not been ALLOWED by the Conference organisers to acquire the COMPETENCE to evaluate what was asked of them.

    (5) This conclusion also meant it was necessary to convene a Special Conference, with adequate preparation time, to allow the elected delegates to make an INFORMED decision as to whether it accepts or rejects the DC report of 2012.

    That was the reason why members have been campaigning for a new Conference, & why they have received overwhelming support from socialists throughout the world.

    Yesterday’s CC statement worryingly showed their continuing denial, declaring that it opposes there being a Special Conference.

    Importantly, it is trying to stop the widest discussion within the party: it has FORBIDDEN branches talking about it. The CC could have met the In Defence of Our Party faction to agree a reasonable period for pre-conference discussion, but it has chosen not to. By edict it has said Special Conference will be Sunday, 10 March, in 4 weeks’ time. This is how they put it in point #10:
    “Pre-conference discussion takes place in these aggregates, not branch meetings”.

    Your talk of ‘counting the votes’, and the disparaging ‘looking outwards without internal distractions’ is the sort of superficial comment that is holding back the SWP. The members both deserve & NEED the widest discussion & range of association within the party precisely to give themselves the best chance to do effective work outside, &, in present circumstances, to allow them to hold their heads up high.

    (6) Lastly, another example from the DC session that shows the ingrained mind-set of the SWP top-hatters, the supervisors.

    The DC session was chaired by Cde. Karen R. The chair is the servant of the members, a facilitator, allowing the delegates to convey to the whole membership their view on what they hear at Conference.

    However, this is what Cde. Karen said in the very first part of the transcript:
    “One [item of the session] will be a report from the disputes committee, and people will have the opportunity to challenge that, at the end of which there will be a vote on whether or not to accept the report”
    http://www.socialistunity.com/swp-conference-transcript-disputes-committee-report

    “A vote on whether or not to accept”, not ‘a vote to reject or accept’, or ‘a vote to accept or reject’. Keep the ‘R’ word out of the delegates’ minds, we want you to love the leadership, to approve what we have done.

    This is an example of the non-conscious bias humans have, even leaders of the SWP (yes, they are of our species), something I drew attention to earlier this week when stressing that the chair of the DC, Cde. Pat S (now a founder of the faction declared on Friday), asked the other 7 members INDIVIDUALLY to SELF-EVALUATE their ability to be impartial. From the transcript there is no evidence that the members of the DC, with obvious special responsibility falling on its chair, Cde. Slack Stack, RECOGNISED there was a particular problem here given that the allegation involved Cde. Smith, who most of them didn’t just know well – some calling him their long-standing friend – but had worked with for many, many years.

    There was no appreciation that there was this significant problem, that it warranted a collective discussion. Instead the ship just sailed on. The captain, Cde. Postman, just went round the table, asking each in turn. Plain sailing. Only one member stood down, saying she was from Cde. W’s District. It was only AFTER this self-selecting that the DC7 had a chat about what a difficult job this was going to be. But these are revolutionaries. Steeled in the struggle, even knowledgable & skilled in the investigating & adjudicating of serious criminal matters. Decent. Beyond reproach. Of sterling character. For the seas are clear, the light is shining, with their compass in hand the DC7 can ensure that the party’s integrity is maintained, that justice can be delivered to both the accuser & the accused.

    We’ve had justified criticism of the inadequacies of the capitalist police & courts, & their ability to deliver our idea of justice. Institutions that are centuries old. We even had Cde. Charlie saying “the SWP is not an institution of capitalist society” (‘Response to Attacks on the SWP’, 14 Jan). But we also have the British idea of the civil servant, serving the citizen. A mystification, granted, but it suggests this.

    The permanent Callinicos faction could turn the leadership & apparatus into a means aiding the members as they do their work. To become servants of the members, serving the members. To facilitate what members do. Let’s even defer to the accursed & dreaded movementists & autonomists, stop calling Professor Dark Side & the others leaders, let’s call our office-holders our servants & facilitators. Let’s be radical: maybe the members don’t need to be led. Maybe the members can do their own thinking, deciding where they want the collective, the party, to go, that our centralism is made rationally bounded & thoroughly democratic. Maybe this deference to the party leaders, to the apparatus functionaries, this deference needs to be ripped out of us.

    Maybe we need to go back to basics, back to what it is to be a scientific socialist, without an -ism, the way the other Charlie refused being called a Marxist. Maybe we need to be a collective of socialists applying the best scientific analysis we have & use it in deciding how to organise ourselves & what we do. Maybe, just maybe, this permanent Callinicos faction has had its day. I for one think so. I know I am not alone. And the coming days will show if we are persuasive enough to bring about this necessary act of removal, this dethronement.

  384. Jara Handala,

    I don’t think that Cliff would have favoured the idea of an allegation involving individual party members being made widely open to ‘the class’ at least certainly not on a site such as this. Are you seriously suggesting that this site represents a forum of open democracy?

  385. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    Yo.

    So stew, would u please explain to us where in the SWP Constitution, regarding a Conference (Annual or Special), it gives the CC the power to choose the duration of the pre-conference discussion period?

    Obviously I say this coz the Constitution is unambiguous: it can only be 3 months.

    So what’s going on? The CC is acting beyond its powers, so which body in the SWP can bring it to heel with this unauthorised decision in its statement of Sat., 9 Feb?

  386. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    And in its statement (point 4) the CC claimed the IDOOP faction is an illegal faction.

    So who takes the decision to discipline its members? The CC secretary tells Cde. Postman, chair of the DC?

    Is the DC back in action?

  387. Jara Handala,

    Obviously a special conference is entirely different from a conference.

    It is, after all, very special.

    Indeed, were this even a regular ol’ conference, would it really be a conference? Obviously it is not designed to actually facilitate consultation or discussion, because as the leadership have patiently explained:

    “The conference will be to reaffirm the decisions of January’s conference and the NC”

    Basically Jara, it depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. :P

  388. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil,

    (1) Have you read the relevant article, #4? It’s so sloppily worded. Maybe Cde. Slack Stack wrote it. There’s a slippage from National Conference to Annual Conference. Then we get Special Conference.

    Someone needs to take it to the Disputes Cttee.

    (2) Why design a constitution so branches can’t bring resolutions to conference? Weird peeps. Guess they don’t want to grow coz their position would be threatened. Better to remain stagnant, rotating the membership, & co-opting the malleable. Now THAT makes sense – for the rulers of the biggest small mass party in the world.

    (3) Seen that appalling report of bullying by the CC enforcers touring the branches? Thugs. Glad my daughter has more sense. ‘Advice for Cdes. Feeling the Heat’. http://www.internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk

  389. Jara Handala,

    I think the more complicated the rules, the easier it is for people to take advantage of them in a way not necessarily considered within the spirit of them.

    Yes, a comrade in east London apparently had the call from on high about arranging a little visit to ‘discuss’ things. Does not sound particularly pleasant. (Good on your daughter. Arm her with one of those party horn things and just have her blow it in their stupid faces.)

    The problem with you, right, Jara, is you keep reading stuff like it’s meant to be taken seriously. You don’t understand this is democracy as performance art, you inconvenient git. As Comrade Humpty Dumpty said, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

  390. You genius.

    I’ve never heard it put that way before, like.

    I’ll get on the blower to Dumpty Towers, you should be a shoe-in for Central Committee.

  391. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil,

    The party needs to seize the chance to display the unity we must have as we immerse ourselves in the struggles ahead.

    It has been a painful time for us all, but if comrades show the generosity of spirit that marks our tradition then we shall be able to move forward.

    However, if a comrade has any doubts once the binding decisions are made at the Special Conference then they should consider their position. The party will have spoken, and part of our proud tradition is that its unity is paramount.

    The class deserves a party united and strong. Those who feel they have no part in that should recognise that this opportunity is not for them.

    Every comrade is valuable. Gold dust. Regretfully some are not cut out for the demanding work we have set ourselves. They will fall by the wayside. Those who remain will be all the stronger for it.

  392. Jara Handala,

    The disagreements will be reflective of political differences, I would hope that these can be resolved sooner rather than later. I still maintain that the best overview is that expressed in the Callinicos review article, backed up by Molyneux’s letter.

    Are you involved with the CPGB-Weekly Worker?

  393. prianikoff on said:

    Jara Handala is a funny name for an SWP’er.
    It seems to be a composite of Victor Jara and Shafiq Handal -Communist Party members in Chile and El-Salvador.

  394. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart,

    Callinicos’ is perspicacious, Molyneux’s perspicuous. Meanwhile Cde. X is perspiring.

    C & M. The MC. A geriatric tag-team. I can just picture them doing Lucha Libre. Up against El Paco & The Undertaker. But with Basher Smith as their corner real-man all is not lost. Basher will find a way to help the ideologues. He’ll weave his corner magic, patch up those wounds, transfer his charisma to the hapless duo. For this trio always manage to pull it off. Getting the crowd behind them, bending the stick to bend the rules, all justified coz no-one remembers the loser.

    But your Stasi-like question is a lil worrying, to say the least. As I said last week, all that’s important here are the ideas expressed in argument; the allegiance of the practitioner is irrelevant. But unfortunately, as you betrayed last week, freedom, uncertainty, you find unsettling, disturbing coz you like things to be tied down, ordered, regular, identifiable, predictable. Once that is achieved you can then switch off, not attend to what is before you coz you already think you know what it is given your habit of pre-judging, being prejudiced. You are, at heart, a dogmatist.

    I wonder what job you’d have after the revolution? Obviously something housed in a building. Given a disposition you have displayed perhaps subterranean. Like a basement. Those interview rooms in the Lubyanka.

    I would hope you would tell us sooner rather than later.

  395. Squandered inheritance on said:

    Jara Handala: stuart, Callinicos’ is perspicacious, Molyneux’s perspicuous. Meanwhile Cde. X is perspiring.C & M. The MC. A geriatric tag-team. I can just picture them doing Lucha Libre. Up against El Paco & The Undertaker. But with Basher Smith as their corner real-man all is not lost. Basher will find a way to help the ideologues. He’ll weave his corner magic, patch up those wounds, transfer his charisma to the hapless duo. For this trio always manage to pull it off. Getting the crowd behind them, bending the stick to bend the rules, all justified coz no-one remembers the loser.But your Stasi-like question is a lil worrying, to say the least. As I said last week, all that’s important here are the ideas expressed in argument; the allegiance of the practitioner is irrelevant. But unfortunately, as you betrayed last week, freedom, uncertainty, you find unsettling, disturbing coz you like things to be tied down, ordered, regular, identifiable, predictable. Once that is achieved you can then switch off, not attend to what is before you coz you already think you know what it is given your habit of pre-judging, being prejudiced. You are, at heart, a dogmatist. I wonder what job you’d have after the revolution? Obviously something housed in a building. Given a disposition you have displayed perhaps subterranean. Like a basement. Those interview rooms in the Lubyanka. I would hope you would tell us sooner rather than later.

    I am loving your posts. You are one funny but politically spohisticated and spot on bar steward. :)

  396. Squandered inheritance on said:

    Jara – do I know you so I can bask in reflected glory? But don’t let this praise go to your head lest it distort your behaviour like it did those whose vanity and hubris you critique so effectively.

  397. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: The disagreements will be reflective of political differences

    stuart,

    Of course. That’s why the 9 Feb CC statement (point 10) violated the Constitution (article 4) in naming a date which prevents there being 3 months’ discussion:

    “Three months before each Conference the Central Committee opens a special pre-conference period in the organisation”

    The consequences are this:
    (1) Cde. Chaplin, Nat. Sec., will receive a letter declaring that in the opinion of the IDOOP faction the naming of this date is an unconstitutional act by the CC members as it violates article 4 of the Constitution;

    (2) But in the interests of the party’s need to adequately discuss the CC & National Cttee. decisions & to make a conference decision speedily, the faction agrees to the Special Conference (SC) convening on Sunday, 5 May, that is 12 weeks & a day after the CC decision;

    (3) The faction names all CC members who voted for a 10 March SC as violators of the Constitution, noting that one of the three conditions of membership of the SWP is that she/he “accepts its constitution”: in acting beyond their powers (ultra vires) on such a fundamental matter, in such an arrogant way, these CC members have refused to accept the Constitution, & HAVE SUBSTITUTED THEMSELVES FOR THE MEMBERSHIP rather than being its servant, thereby treating the membership with contempt, & invalidating their own membership of the SWP, their action placing themselves outside the party;

    (4) The IDOOP faction explains that the CC members did this coz they were acting to further the interest of an undeclared & therefore illegal faction (hereafter may as well refer to it as the Permanent Callinicos Faction (PCF));

    (5) In making this complaint to the Nat. Sec. the signatories will insist that the the Disputes Cttee. (DC) hear this complaint before the SC;

    (6) Cde. Postman (Chair of the DC) will obviously stand down as a DC member in that hearing;

    (7) The 2 CC members on the DC will also not serve coz they’re on the other side, ‘in the dock’;

    (8) The political effect is that the IDOOP faction, during the pre-conference period, will enhance its prestige & moral authority at the expense of the PCF, & in effect be presenting itself as the providers of the new leadership of the party.

    Well, that’s it really, isn’t it?

    As simple as.

    Let’s just hope no-one tells Harry Wicks.

  398. Jara Handala on said:

    Squandered inheritance,

    Icarus, Icarus; & the colonists known as Icarians, Etienne Cabet & the others, utopian forebearers of ours.

    Thanx, the-anagram-of-IS, respect!

    “Alright, alright”, says Terry. We need to calm it, IS, coz we’ve hardly started.

  399. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala:
    (3) The faction names all CC members who voted for a 10 March SC as violators of the Constitution, noting that one of the three conditions of membership of the SWP is that she/he “accepts its constitution”

    I should have said that the 3 conditions of SWP membership are stated in article 2 of the Constitution.

    The SWP Constitution is here, at the back of this, the Pre-Conference Bulletin #1, Oct 2012:
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/swpinternalbulletins/PreConf_Bull_i_Oct_2012.pdf

    Thanx are extended to Stew’s favourite Marxist organisation, the smallest small non-mass group in the world, the CPGB (Provisional Central Cttee.).

    It may be the only political organisation in the world with more letters in its name than members but it has a knack of archiving thought-provoking vids & a weekly paper that at least carries surprises & recently was getting 14000 visitors a week. Like this site, Socialist Unity, it also does a service to the labour & socialist movement by archiving SWP documents.

    For example, on their own site, http://www.swp.org.uk, you won’t find the SWP Constitution, not even in ‘About’ or ‘Party Notes’.

    ‘Party Notes’, incidently, today had its first posting since 28 Jan, 2 long weeks ago, when the world looked more serene. So what was in it – and what was missing?

    (a) It declined to inform members thru it that both a CC-member had resigned & that 2 factions had been formed. But, hey, it’s only for notes about the party, notes for members. One needs to accept the SWP for what it is.

    (b) But it carried the CC statement from Saturday announcing the Special Conference for Sunday, 10 March.

    (c) Crucially, & this is indicative of bureaucratic centralism & permanent factionalising by the CC, immediately beneath the statement is this: “(see below if you wish to support the statement)”. SO THE CC FUNCTIONS AS A DE FACTO FACTION: it uses the party website (i) both to publicise its policy & to garner support for itself, while (ii) denying the members even basic info about the other 2 factions. That’s called being partial, favouring itself against the membership simply COZ IT CONTROLS THE APPARATUS! As I said above, as simple as!

    (d) It announced the national conference & AGM of Unite Against Fascism, with a partial list of speakers including the two Joint Secretaries. Cde. Smith, one of the two Assistant Secretaries, is not listed – but it is a partial list.

  400. Jara Handala,

    The dilemmas you appear to raise are not exactly new to the SWP. There has always been a necessary tension inherent to democratic centralism. When particular movements bring new people into political activity the party is faced with having to be non-defensive towards any suspicions such people may understandably hold towards parties whilst at the same time guarding against a dilution of their overall politics. Similarly there will on the one hand a need for the party leadership to avoid an unecessary authoritarianism whilst the membership should be able to exercise appropriate an self-discipline that entails accepting majority decisions and not creating ineffectiveness through endless debating.

    As a member that is how I see the situation now and how I’ve always seen it. I’m slightly intrigued by your fascination from the standpoint of a distant spectator.

  401. Kronsteen on said:

    OldtTrot: The DC comprises elected representatives

    By who?

    the fact that they all know Delta is hardly surprising given his prominent role in the Party.

    You have managed to simultaneously identify the point…and miss it. Is that dialectical?

    As for competency, I would argue that their competence is no less (and possibly higher) than that of the average jury member.

    A jury is specifically composed of people who have no conflict of interest. You have already acknowledged why the DC had a conflict of interest.

    As for the foam-flecked and ad hominem attack on Molyneux’s statement, his arguments are perfectly legitimate

    The argument was, and I quote: “The demand for a recall conference is not a democratic demand but an anti-democratic demand designed to undermine the vote of the majority.”

    So he’s confusing democracy in the sense of open discussion accountability, with democracy in the sense that a vote was taken without these things.

    so tackle the arguments themselves, rather than resort to abstract moralising

    I just have. Can you?

  402. Jara Handala on said:

    Kronsteen: OldtTrot: The DC comprises elected representatives
    By who?

    Wow, I thought this thread was moribund – must be the rattle.

    Anyway, the SWP Constitution (article 7) says this:

    “The Disputes Committee consists of not more than 12 members. Conference elects up to ten of these, and the incoming CC nominates two.” (page 26)

    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/swpinternalbulletins/PreConf_Bulletin_i_Oct_2012.pdf

    At January 2012 Conference 6 were elected, & the CC appointed Amy Leather & Esme Choonara. The elected 6 were a comrade from Cde. W’s District, Maxine Bowler (SWP National Cttee.; TUSC candidate, April 2012, Sheffield), Rhetta Moran (SWP National Cttee.; Manchester), Candy Udwin (SWP National Cttee.; Camden), Pat Slack (Camden), & Dave Sherry (Glasgow).

    Postman, a principal of the Defence faction, was subsequently re-elected by the DC as its Chair.

    The rape allegation made by Cde. W was heard in October last year by 5 members of the DC: the 2 CC members sat outside the room, as did the single DC member who had the courage, & good sense, to judge they couldn’t be impartial, saying it was coz they were from Cde. W’s District.

    All 6 were re-elected immediately after the vote on Saturday 5 Jan that accepted the DC report. The CC did not change its appointees.

    When Defence was formed only The Postman joined it (obviously it’s not publicly known whether the comrade from Cde.W’s District did too). The Lynch Mob Faction (Undeclared) had all the others signing their support, signing the List of 501 Self-Shamers: all 4 of them (3 being on the NC as well). It can be reliably assumed the 2 CC members are also Lynchers coz the Pre-conference Bulletin has statements signed ‘CC’, & there’s been no report of a CC split since Mark Bergfeld couldn’t stomach any more & resigned 4 Feb. It seems there is some constitution in the Central Cttee. Room but it isn’t the SWP Constitution coz the CC chose a Special Conference date that ignored there being the mandatory 3 month discussion period. So it goes.

    So of the 5 who investigated & adjudicated on whether Martin Smith was a rapist 4 of them are Lynchers. Nice.

    I hope OldtTrot is able to answer your doubts about what they said.

    Defence members: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/idoop_faction_update/IDOOP%20Faction%20Membership%20List.pdf

    List of the 501 Self-Shamers: http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.de/2013/02/support-for-swp-central-committee.html

    Article 4 of the SWP Constitution on the mandatory 3 month discussion period, p.26: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/swpinternalbulletins/PreConf_Bulletin_i_Oct_2012.pdf

  403. jack ford on said:

    After the uprising of the 17th June
    The Secretary of the Writer’s Union
    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
    Stating that the people
    Had forfeited the confidence of the government
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?