SWP: Losing grip on reality

swp chutzpah

This leaflet handed out today by SWP members at UNISON’s women’s’ conference in Liverpool sums up the disconnect between how loyal party members perceive their current crisis, and how the outside world sees the issues.

As seen from the outside, the SWP’s troubles concern an appallingly mishandled allegation of rape, which the SWP took the ridiculous decision to investigate themselves without involving independent rape advisors, and without involving the police; it involved the SWP’s kangaroo court asking inappropriate questions about the drinking habits and behaviour of women complaining; and it involved the SWP’s “amateur hour” investigation panel being packed with friends, colleagues and long-term acquaintances of the accused; it involved a second woman complainant being moved out of her job.

Furthermore, it has since been revealed that the SWP’s internal “Disputes Committee” has investigated 9 previous rapes over the years, and even found men “guilty”, where the worst sanction at their disposal was to expel them from the SWP. No police involvement, no sex offenders register, no professional risk assessment. We also learn that the SWP’s sister organisation in Germany, Linksruck, covered up an alleged case of rape by a leading member in Hamburg in the early 1990s.

So in the outside world the crisis surrounding the SWP is very much about them being the ones trivialising rape.

Yet the SWP leadership steadfastly refuse to engage with this real world narrative. Freelance journalist, and ex-SWP member Solomon Hughes points out:

But where is the public defence, where is the systematic taking apart of the allegations? The Party has been mostly silent, which is deeply destructive. Arguing that this is an “internal matter” and “confidential” doesn’t really work when the “confidential” debate has appeared in Britain’s top selling newspapers. There is nothing new about facing attacks in the newspapers. When the Sun accuses the SWP of helping organise teacher’s strikes and worrying ministers (as it recently did) the answer is “I bloody hope so”. When the Daily Mail attacks the SWP for mishandling allegations of rape, there should be the firmest possible answer. Instead the only firm stand in the party is being taken against critics of this mess.

In contrast, let us look at how the issue looks from within the walls of the bunker. This week the SWP circulated a risible statement from the oddball Australian group who identifies with the SWP. This states:

The National Committee has discussed the issue and wanted to set the record straight as we believe that there is a huge amount of misinformation circulating, as well as entirely opportunistic and unsubstantiated attempts to present the SWP as somehow sexist or sectarian towards feminism…. a long transcript of the debate about this issue at the SWP’s recent party conference was posted on the internet. While its posting is unfortunate, it does clarify that the process through which the allegation was investigated was scrupulously fair and entirely consistent with the understanding of and record of fighting sexism which revolutionary socialists and the SWP itself embody. …

The decision to deal with this complaint internally through the party’s Disputes Committee was entirely appropriate. The courts and the police have a terrible record in handling issues of rape and sexual assault. The only people we can have confidence in to deal with these issues are those with a clear political understanding of the way sexism is constructed under capitalism, how it affects men and women and how it must be fought. This means it is only experienced and trusted comrades who are capable of defending revolutionary principles and properly dealing with such sensitive issues.

The leaked notes of the editorial board discussions of the SWP’s theoretical journal, the ISJ, were very revealing. First the level of anger, secondly the denial of reality.

Sheila MacGregor, … is “very angry”. We should not hold a special conference! We just had a conference, at which the issues were “all” fully aired! The present turmoil was started by party members. The SWP’s reputation is not in fact suffering damage in the ‘outside world.’

Alex [Callinicos] … summed up the session: The crisis has been driven from within the party. Richard Seymour is the principal culprit. He is an eclectic thinker; he grabs ideas from everywhere—including even Bob Jessop!—and throws them into an “incoherent mess.”

[Comrade Delta] must be allowed to fully return to political activity. … There’s no way a 3 month discussion period before the special conference will be allowed. It would “destroy” us. If party members refuse to accept the legitimacy of the decisions taken at the special conference, “lynch mobs” (his words) will be formed.

The language of lynch mobs suggests an entirely frenzied mind-set. Furthermore, in a quite extraordinary development, the SWP leadership has published a list of 500 supporters around the country who buy into this nonsense. There are a number of things to say about this list, most obviously it exposes a huge generational rift in the SWP, most of the loyalists are over 40 years old; secondly, it shows a disproportionate tilt towards SWP members being teachers and lecturers. Politically, circulating this list shows a casual disregard for the interests of these individuals, and their standing in the unions. It is a desperate act by a desperate clique.

But for the 500 signatories, there is a bigger personal significance. They have rejected the evidence of their senses that the crisis in the SWP has real world impact and concerns mishandling of rape allegations; and instead adopted a narrative that only makes sense within a closed sub-culture of the SWP, that the crisis is about lack of Leninist discipline, and eclectic thinking.

It is perhaps worth repeating my argument about how the SWP can seem to act as a cult, even though it has many members rooted in the real world.

A mainstream religion or political movement to an extent possesses the virtue of truth correspondence between the group’s habitual character and behaviour when compared to the surrounding society they live in.

A sect may be regarded as a variant of the mainstream politics or religion; and sect members may live in both the mainstream society, and participate in the character and behaviour of their group, despite the fact that there is tension;. For example, someone who believed themselves to be a Bolshevik revolutionary in twenty-first century Britain, could function effectively in most situations, but their political practice is outside 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.

A cult seeks to resolve this tension by limiting their interaction with mainstream society. This can be dramatic, such as the migration of the Pilgrim fathers to the Americas. Or it can be undramatic, where cult members simply immerse themselves more and more in the routine and ritual of their religious or political observance.

There have been a number of very well grounded SWP members, who combine the basic politics of the organisation with a fairly active engagement in mainstream trade union and outwards looking campaigning activity. There is also, however, a bureaucratic core to the SWP, of the CC and full time organisers, and there is also a large layer of lay members of the SWP whose politics activity is all “party building” – paper sales, meetings, the contrived hot-house debates about theory, packing meetings of front organisations, etc.

There is quite a complex social interaction of an immanent cult within a sect; and it is the tendency towards cultishness from the bureaucracy that creates the bullying culture, and the haughty arrogance of those whose authority is entirely self-referential from within the SWP. Richard Seymour, confirms this insulation from outside society: “[the CC] can offer no lead to members beyond thrusting them out into that ‘real world’ they are all completely insulated from” (emphasis in the original)

What the 500 signatories have done is to move from the relatively normal world of belonging to a left sect and enter the door of the cult, by abandoning acknowledgement of the real world impact of these events, to instead immerse themselves in an SWP generated fantasy world of intrigues and betrayal. The battle lines are being drawn between the in-group loyalists against the traitors who  are aiding the out-group critics who want to destroy the SWP.

To a certain degree of course, the oppositionists share a similar world view. When the leader of the White Knight bid, Pat Stack, set out the prospectus of their proposed management buy-out for the SWP rank and file, he carefully noted “I think a lot of comrades would like some respite from the filth that is out there (here I’m talking about non-party bloggers)”. This is setting the parameters, that if everyone in the SWP can agree to all hate us purveyors of “filth”, then that establishes shared boundaries within which permitted secondary disagreements can be articulated.

The March 10th special conference will be decisive. The oppositionists seem unprepared for the ferocity with which the current leadership will hang to power, involving as it does control of significant physical and financial assets, and to a certain extent a career. But the indications are that the SWP’s leadership are prepared to retreat further into being a cult, in order to save themselves.

626 comments on “SWP: Losing grip on reality

  1. Jon Fanning on said:

    I repost this from elsewhere on this site, the oppostion needs to be thinking what it will propose at the National Conference – at least one signatory to the CCs document says he sees no problem with this motion.

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

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

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

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

    4 District committees to be elected at district party agregates by the same method as the CC. Committee roles to be decided by majority vote of the committee after election.

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

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

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

  2. This is similar to the leaflet they gave out at the Respect Renewal conference in 2007. Having done their best to wreck the entire organisation, they stood outside giving out a leaflet that called for unity on the left.

  3. Jon Fanning: I repost this from elsewhere on this site, the oppostion needs to be thinking what it will propose at the National Conference – at least one signatory to the CCs document says he sees no problem with this motion.

    Jon mate, I don’t think you get it. The rift is too big, and the stakes too high, for there to be anything so rational as a discussion about voting mechanisms.

  4. This latest SWP episode.

    One sizeable facrion vs the extraordinary 500 signatories to a CC petition. Each illustrate perfectly the disfunctionality of democratoc centralism without a collective will of self-discipline.

    There is now only one solution, and its not ‘revolution.’ One side will win yet face a significant minoriy that disagrees with the majority. Either they will choose to badly get on in a way the SWP at last in recent years is spectacularly ill-equipped to cope with. Or the monority will leave and.or drift away. Or the minority will be expelled.

    It is a solution that is expected to rebuild a paryy of true-believers. That may be possible but only via the loss/cowing into submission of a signifocant part of the SWP membership.

    The opposition have at least the advantahe of seeking to rebuild an organisation that may yet prove attractive enough to new members and allies. The CC will only save an organisation for a declining membership to cling on to.

    It is most likely that all of this is entirely irrelevant to a broader outside left as apart from the odd statement from the opposition none of those involved seem to have much interest in how any outcome might connect to the wider disengagement from the outside left from all forms of organised left politics. In this sense parties like the SWP apart from ther financial and organisational resources are of sharply declining significance.

    Mark P

  5. The picture at the top of the thread was posted to this site by a regular contributor to Harry’s Place- a Zionist, racist, Islamophobic and anti-socialist blog.

    I have worked professionally with rape victims for many years and can confidently say that the SWP has acted appropriately in this matter. Some in the party will have genuine concerns, others are using the inherent and unavoidable difficulties around the case to score points in a factional dispute with wider political considerations at stake.

    This site is very happy to reap the benefits of such a factional dispute by encouraging the inevitable distortions that flow from the gossip that naturally attaches to the subject matter. The fact that the complainant did not want to be the subject of internet discussions on here matters not.

    For a site calling itself Socialist Unity to act as a transmission belt for such hostile forces as the Daily Mail- what support have the SWP women who faced attacks from this horrible right wing rag received from Socialist Unity?- and journalists such as Nick Cohen who has made a career from trashing Islam and backing Bush and Blair is pretty contemptible.

    Already we are seeing regular posters on this site calling on unions to clamp down on ‘rape deniers’ which in practice means those of us on the socialist left. I’m in the SWP and I’m no rape denier so back off!

  6. The extremes of both sides of the internal debate put a great deal of weight on how much this crisis impacts on the swp’s work in “the real world”.

    Richard Seymour and the students seem to think it is making life very difficult, Alex Callinicos and co seem to think it is not having any impact on their work at all. It’s very difficult for me to judge the truth of these claims as the stuff I’m doing at the moment doesn’t really involve any SWP members (and to be honest that is not the central question for me anyway).

    So I’d like to ask anyone who was at the conference how this leaflet went down? Was it easy to “intervene” at this women’s conference? Were people friendly to the SWP activists there, or was it tricky?

    I know the SWP lost the vote over no platform for rape apologists (which is what this leaflet is about) but did the current crisis have an impact on the debate?

    To be clear I’m not asking about people in the “left” bubble, I’m refering to your average delegate who, whilst being someone who is politically engaged enough to go to a conference like this doesn’t have the kind of firm partisan ties of the super-activists.

  7. Because I’ve had a couple of pieces appear on HP over the last several months, I guess I’m a “regular contributor”.

    Still, I don’t expect Stuart to get something like basic facts right when there’s a beam in his eye.

  8. stuart: I have worked professionally with rape victims for many years and can confidently say that the SWP has acted appropriately in this matter.

    Ignoring the typical paranoid nonsense (which you’ve posted before – the smokescreen didn’t work last time either) in the first paragraph, I would not like to be have to be on the receiving side of your ‘professional’ help should I be unfortunate enough to be a rape victim. And the same for anyone else in a similar position.

  9. Solomon Hughes on said:

    Just in case there is any confusion, Andy has quoted me off his own bat, from a piece I gave to SWP members who wish to change the party’s current stand. For the sake of clarity, I think there are difficult issues here, but I don’t agree with his talk of “frenzy” and “cult” and so forth.

  10. stuart,

    The shorter version: You’ve gotta believe me cos I’m an expert. It’s perfectly normal to convene secret rape trials, and anyway even if it is a bit dodgy, it’s all Andy Newman’s fault for chatting our business on the net, so blame him not us. Now back off please, I’m busy advancing the class struggle by handing out leaflets attacking George Galloway.

  11. Stuart, you’re acting like an idiot again. Back on moderation you go.

    It’s for your own protection. I’ve worked with people suffering from the internal crises of Leninist organisations for many years now, and I can tell you, this whole situation has clearly caused you great emotional distress and put you in a state of deep denial. It’s for the best that you are kept in a quiet room until you stop being an idiot.

  12. Stephen on said:

    stuart: I have worked professionally with rape victims for many years and can confidently say that the SWP has acted appropriately in this matter.

    …yes , but things have moved on a bit since Life On Mars

  13. Phil BC: I guess I’m a “regular contributor”.

    I got tarred by the same brush by Comrade Beria, ah, Stuart, for daring to have left a comment over there. He can’t get enough of it, you know. His spying tendencies suggest he could be Andy’s Deep Throat and all these comments are just a scam to put the CC off the scent. Keep it up!

  14. The leaflet was possibly a preventive strike by the CC – at least some of them must be worried that they might be forced out of union positions in Unison – it’s just possible that the leaflet was aimwed at pre-empting it.

  15. and there's more on said:

    I have worked professionally with rape victims for many years.

    I’m sure you have Stuart, but I doubt you worked for any service that advocated on behalf of the victim. Every posting you have made on here has been a desperate attempt to deflect attention from the criminal actions of your lord and master, and to support the coverup by your cult.

  16. I left the SWP over 10 years ago. I figured cancelling my direct debit and informing my branch secretary that i was resigning would be sufficient.Today i’m still receiving mail asking me to increase my subs, attend meeting etc. You have to wonder how long you have to be inactive before they write you off. Perhaps i should have written a resignation letter in blood.

  17. There are a number of things to say about this list, most obviously it exposes a huge generational rift in the SWP, most of the loyalists are over 40 years old; secondly, it shows a disproportionate tilt towards SWP members being teachers and lecturers….

    That is what they always were.

    The title of the article is outdated. They lost a grip on reality when the said a decade ago there was hardly any movement of immigration into the country. When they formed Socialist Alliance in early 2000 the BNP and UKIP were marginal. Now they have received a combined vote of 2.5million due to the persistence of the SWP in ”’fighting fascism”’ ie adopting a total free market policy in free trade: goods, people and capital the cornerstone of the EU. Policies of course which affect the professional middle classes last…

  18. It really doesn’t get any more shameless or opportunistic than this.

    So in the parallel universe of the SWP the way to conceal the trivialisation of rape within their ranks is to produce a leaflet against trivialising rape outwith their ranks.

    It is the theatre of the absurd come to life.

    I hope they receive short shrift from whoever they attempt to hand this leaflet.

  19. “the oddball Australian group who identifies with the SWP”

    Do you mean these guys? What specifically are you referring to as oddball? Their hardest-core SWP loyalism, or the way that their main activity is picking fights with Australia’s other (bigger) state capitalist group, Socialist Alternative?

  20. It’s a weird phenomenon, thinking about it, how the SWP now oscillate between liberalism when it comes to issues like Libya and Syria, and cultism of the Church of Scientology type when it comes to the internal life of their organisation.

    Strange.

  21. jock mctrousers on said:

    jim jepps: The extremes of both sides of the internal debate put a great deal of weight on how much this crisis impacts on the swp’s work in “the real world”.

    Richard Seymour and the students seem to think it is making life very difficult,

    Yes, I suppose it could be a slight impediment to Seymour’s career development as a sort-of Guardianista Brian Sewell (flowery comic vocabulary) of the cruise-missile, humanitarian ‘left’ – the socialist defence of murder?. Who’d have seen that one coming? (must point out that Sewell is genuinely funny, very knowledgeable in his field, and a nice guy with much better politics than Seymour to boot).

  22. Readers might be interested in this list of links to articles on left-wing cults at libcom.org (a website for revolutionaries who are trying to organise without creating cults) :

    UNDERSTANDING LEFT CULTS (SWP, SP, SPIKED, WRP) – A READING LIST
    http://libcom.org/history/understanding-left-cults-swp-sp-spiked-wrp-reading-list

    In the often justified criticism of revolutionary cults on this blog, there is a tendency to overlook the extent to which the autocratic behaviour of the official labour movement compels principled left-wingers to survive by organising in political cults.

    At the same time, official Labour leaders will quite cynically use such cults to mobilise people for campaigns and votes. This cynicism was most clearly expressed by Ken Livingstone’s support for his ‘friend’, the serial sex abuser Gerry Healy, leader of the UK’s worst revolutionary cult: the Workers Revolutionary Party.

    For those who’ve never seen it, here’s Livingstone’s foreword to the book Gerry Healy: a Revolutionary Life by Corinna Lotz and Paul Feldman:
    .

    FOREWORD BY KEN LIVINGSTONE MP

    Paul and Corinna have been friends of mine for over 13 years. When they asked me to contribute a foreword to their biography of Gerry Healy I was delighted. At a time when political memories are growing increasingly short, it is good that the effort has been made to record the life of Gerry Healy, a revolutionary Marxist who had a massive impact on the working class socialist movement, in Britain and internationally.

    The fashionable obsession with the “end of history” is no more than a disguise for jettisoning valuable common experiences and major contributions made by revolutionaries such as Gerry Healy. Naturally this suits those who would like to bury for ever the memory of his unique concept of political work.

    I first met Gerry Healy in 1981, shortly after I became Leader of the Greater London Council and was immediately captivated by his vivid recollection of events and personalities on the left. He had recognised the changed political climate which enabled Labour to take control of County Hall, and that we were using the immense resources of the Greater London Council to support those struggling for jobs and other rights.

    Gerry Healy saw that it was possible to use the GLC as a rallying fortress for Londoners who were opposed to Thatcher’s hard-line monetarism. Contrary to the image spread by his opponents, I was impressed by the non-sectarian approach that the News Line took on the reforms the GLC introduced. News Line’s coverage was thorough and objective throughout our struggles. Given we were under siege by the Fleet Street press, it was a relief to pick up the WRP’s paper in the morning! The GLC’s public relations department usually put the News Line articles on the front page of the daily press cuttings bundle.

    The first discussion I had with Gerry Healy made a great impact on me. Coming from a party where long term thinking is usually defined by the next opinion poll, I was challenged by the broad sweep of his knowledge and the freshness of his approach. He knew how to operate in the political present through his understanding of the movement of economic and social forces.

    Although we were in totally different political organisations, Gerry Healy always tried to find a point of connection with the world in which I moved. He did this because he wanted to find ways of working with the left in the Labour Party on common issues and principles. But he never laid down conditions. He accepted that there were fundamental differences between us, but they should not prevent us from collaborating against the Tories. It was a refreshing change from the world of intrigues and back-stabbing politics of the Labour Party. That is why I felt happy about speaking at News Line rallies, even though I came under a lot of fire from those like Dennis Healey within my own party.

    During the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Gerry Healy and the News Line worked with a group of us in the Labour Party to end Labour’s silence on the repression of the Palestinian people. In the aftermath of the slaughter of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shattila camps, we succeeded in winning the recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organisation as the sole legitimate representatives of the Palestinian People by the Labour Party Conference of 1982.

    Gerry Healy and I both endured great upheavals during the 1985-1986 period with the Tories abolishing the GLC and the WRP torn apart by a major split. We lost touch for a time, but renewed contact a few years before he died because of his work in the USSR. I was happy but not surprised to discover that we had reached similar conclusions about the dramatic changes in the Soviet Union during 1987-1989. Our last meeting in the summer of 1989 was devoted to a long conversation about the significance of perestroika and glasnost. We both knew that the events in the Soviet Union would change the lives of everyone in the world, and especially those involved in socialist politics.

    The other area we had a close understanding about was the role of the secret services in Britain. We knew that joint campaigning between genuine Marxists and socialists in the Labour Party was viewed as a dangerous threat by the intelligence services. In particular, contacts between us and national liberation movements such as the Palestinians drew even more attention from the British state.

    My own research and experiences have strengthened, not weakened, my conviction that MI5 considers even the smallest left organisation worthy of close surveillance and disruption. Given the pivotal role of Healy in maintaining contact with Yasser Arafat’s HQ through the WRP’s use of the latest technology, MI5 clearly felt that they had to stop the growing influence of the WRP. I have never changed my belief that the split in the WRP during 1985 was the work of MI5 agents.

    It was a privilege to have worked with Gerry Healy. I know this book will give those who did not know him an opportunity to understand his contribution to the working class revolutionary movement.

    Ken Livingstone MP
    March 1994

    (From: http://www.aworldtowin.net/resources/GH.html)

  23. jock mctrousers on said:

    # 20 yes, that’s a big part of it. Unfortunately, it’s not just the SWP who are trying to pass off advocacy for open borders as being synonymous with ‘left’.

  24. daggi: Comrade Beria, ah, Stuart

    In fairness I think given the subject of the scandal that has given rise to all this, Beria is not a name that should be bandied around lightly.

  25. Darren redstar on said:

    Graham,

    I found threatening to chuck a chair at Martin smith whilst demanding twenty years of fucking subs back had the desired effect

  26. #34 I wasn’t disputing that he was, merely pointing out that he wasn’t subject to even the semblance of due process as a result of any such allegations.

    However maybe the enthusiasm of so many who were involved in his downfall was in part inspired by knowledge of his proclivities. And it’s not as if the exercise of due process was something he was known for himself!

  27. Jellytot on said:

    From the article The March 10th special conference will be decisive. The oppositionists seem unprepared for the ferocity with which the current leadership will hang to power

    To quote one of the main protagonists in Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’:

    “There’s gonna be hair on the walls”

    P.S. Andy…good luck getting a recording of this one. I hear that Smartphones will have to be surrendered beforehand and full cavity body searches loom for all that refuse!

  28. #20 and #30 Yes, the fact that the SWP are opposed to immigration calls was clearly a significant factor in the growth of the BNP.

    In a parallel universe.

  29. #38 So when the law was changed to make it a criminal offence in marriage, or that it could be committed if there was no reasonable belief in consent, or that it included penetration by any object or anal penetration and could also be committed against a man- who decided on all of that?

    Or what about the decisions about use of Police resources or funding of organisations to help victims? Or how the subject is taught in schools? Or how much is spent on sex offenders programmes in prisons?

    And if it were to be decriminalised, or made punishable by life imprisonment or by removal of genitals, or the burden of proof were to be changed?

  30. #40 The thing is that nobody who regularly contributes on here ever has tried to claim that the cops are wonderful or anything approaching that.

  31. Vanya:
    #20 and #30 Yes, the fact that the SWP are opposed to immigration calls was clearly a significant factor in the growth of the BNP.

    In a parallel universe.

    So are the EU. Thats why sections of the British Labour movement want the EU’s borders to reach Afgahanistan and are just abour giving a ‘left’ cover to the new EU Empire and one of the major reasons they remained totally stagnant in the last 15 years and are about to implode. You cant fight globalism on a Blairite programme, you only become part of it and that is what is currently occurring, as if one notices most of the groups of the break up of the WRP dissapeared, many ended up in the Labour Party… their natural home, they were just on extended vacation…

  32. Vanya: Beria was never convicted (or even tried) for rape

    It could be fairly added that someone who was “tried” by their colleagues and best mates and underlings at the same time was probably not tried at all, either.

    Anyway, all accounts suggest that Beria was, in some spheres, a talented operator (and with a good sense of fashion). Not things that could be said about the person “Delta”, really.

    Otherwise: those who think they might have missed what’s going on here could do worse than a glimse at “SWP Crisis for Beginners” by the Writers’ and Non-Internet-Readers’ Co-operative, featuring Mandy Blodwin and Zimbabwe Bonneville (guest appearance by French Master Mr. Birch-All) over at http://www.heartfield.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/redfriars/Billy_Delta.htm

  33. @38

    “Rape isn’t a political issue. It’s a law and order issue that should be left to the cops”..

    Are you serious Dan? Of course it’s a political issue. Clearly, an individual rape allegation is a legal issue BUT the ideology of rape is a political issue.

  34. Richard S on said:

    #2. I should add to Tony’s comment about the Respect Renewal conference, because not only did it involve a daft leaflet about Left Unity while trying to smash it up, but it also involved the sending in a large contingent of full-timers off the payroll to bully and harass, errant SWP members or those recently left.

    I witnessed, for example, the rather subtle debating tactic of 3 full timers ganging up to harangue one recently departed member from Tower Hamlets, fingers jabbing right in his face, to point errors of his ways, with the sort of ‘What you fail to understand Comrade’ accusations being direct at him

    This was but just one of a number of intimidatory encounters I witnessed on that day, which came as a bit of an unpleasant surprise.
    It just re-confirm my decision to leave quietly after a couple of decades ‘service’ at the end of 2006. (though didn’t stop me receiving Party Notes for another year)

    I was personally told by the ‘delightful’ ’rounded’ Weyman Bennett, exactly what I had said in a room in Manchester, the previous week even though he was 200 miles away at the time. Early proof of the living in a parallel universe syndrome I suppose.

    I mention this because that ‘intervention’ of theirs, just over 5 years ago would probably look like a tea party to what’s likely to happen on the 10th March conference.

    The payroll will be under orders to show its loyalty and protect the Apparat and its priviliges.

    The Opposition will need step up to the mark on this one, as I don’t think many are aware of how badly mauled they might be by ‘their’ party protecting itself. They also don’t have a salaried ‘goon squad’ to deploy, for example.

    Its not going to be the Oxford Uni debating society, it’s very likely to descend into violence, but then Professor Darkside has already hinted at a ‘flaming torch and pitchfork’ welcome.

    (I should add, that despite that ‘intervention’ 5 years ago, at the Respect Renewal Conference they did get a spanking)

  35. mike calvert on said:

    Earlier this week, Thursday, I had two SWPers express grave concern that outsiders were so interested in the “internal affairs” of their organisation.
    I have to say that none of this surprises me!
    Since the start of this crisis the SWP leadership have shown an incredible propensity in self-denial.
    The loyalist faction really think it is us on the outside who are to blame for conducting a witch-hunt against their wonderful party.
    There are about five of them in my TU branch and they all side with the majority, and are backing candidates in the branch elections on the basis of “equality”.
    Really, how disingenuous can they get?

  36. Solomon Hughes on said:

    andy Newman,

    Why not “cult” and “frenzy” – ? I guess because these are swear-words chucked at the far left, not political arguments. I’ve been to every Labour conference for the past decade, and I know how the party acted when they were planning, and pushing for, and arm twisting over and then “moving on” from the Iraq war. A war which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, and many thousands of assaults on women. And I can recall all the wierd, messianic arguments, the obvious stitch ups, the lies which you could tell were hardly believed by the people who told them. And I also remember when it went all sour, and the way so many Labour members only really hung together by mumbling a few apologies, and “moving on” and never mentioning the bloodshed and torture they went along with again . And all that behaviour was pretty glassy eyed to be honest. But I wouldn’t be so daft to call Labour a frenzied cult: They were just backed into a corner by some bad political decisions in difficult circumstances that got them where the party had its worst weaknesses. Similarly the crisis the SWP currently faces unfortunately plays on some of their weaknesses – but the argument within the SWP is , on the whole, more evenly matched and less dishonest than the one that took place (not hardly enough) inside Labour over Iraq.

  37. Janis Joplin on said:

    Is the rest of that statement from the “oddball group” available anywhere? Would be good to see more of what’s going on in the remnants of the IST.

  38. The only real issue now to ask is, ‘where is the gold buried?’ Buried in a variety of money making schemes, so I’m told. There is even a ‘Hallas Foundation’ – how it generates cash is anyone’s guess, but people are working on that. Of course, the Bookmarks bookshop bleeds money like a seive, but the real prize is in the real estate itself – a canny move on the part of the politbureau in the late 1990s – real estate values have just gone up and up for that part of town! A far cry from the days when the party faithful risked electrocution everytime they dared to step foot into the Cotton gardens printshop after a rain storm…

    What is so shocking is how the sheep of the 500 or so ‘loyal’ members don’t want to risk upsetting this lucrative applecart, of which hardly any of them know nothing. The murky truth of SWP finances, and how they are generated has been kept in the dark since forever, and just when you might expect a certain kind of ‘spring revolution’ the loyal 500 say nothing.

    Pathetic.

  39. The SWP is built on lies. Lying in defence of the working class has always been sanctioned.

    The national treasurer once confided in a friend of mine: ‘we don’t get anywhere close to 1000 papers sold nationally week to week. But don’t you dare tell anyone’ were her words.

    This was at a time when the SWP was boasting about having 7000 members, and loyal rank and file members were being driven on, hell for leather, to get out there every week, rain snow or shine, to sell the newspaper.

    Who is left today? Any intellectuals left in the SWP? Stallinicos, Chanoora, Ashman…that is pretty much it. All of them second rate. the party is over…

  40. Is there a link somewhere to Solidarity’s statement from Down Under in support of the CC? Or would someone mind posting the full text?

  41. Simon: Is there a link somewhere to Solidarity’s statement from Down Under in support of the CC? Or would someone mind posting the full text?

    Statement to members on crisis in SWP by National Committee of Solidarity, the Australian IST affiliate.

    A number of reports have been circulated on the internet, some of which have been posted to this list, about the British SWP’s handling of a serious allegation of rape against a member of the party’s leadership body, the Central Committee (CC).

    The National Committee has discussed the issue and wanted to set the record straight as we believe that there is a huge amount of misinformation circulating, as well as entirely opportunistic and unsubstantiated attempts to present the SWP as somehow sexist or sectarian towards feminism.

    Against the wishes of the woman who brought the complaint, and the SWP itself, a long transcript of the debate about this issue at the SWP’s recent party conference was posted on the internet. While its posting is unfortunate, it does clarify that the process through which the allegation was investigated was scrupulously fair and entirely consistent with the understanding of and record of fighting sexism which revolutionary socialists and the SWP itself embody.

    The SWP has released a statement on this issue (pasted below) which points out that, “Our party has a proud tradition of fighting for women’s liberation, as is shown, for example, by our consistent campaigning over the decades to defend abortion, and by our criticism of George Galloway for his remarks about the Julian Assange rape accusations.

    “Reflecting this tradition, our internal structures seek to promote women to leading roles and deal rigorously with any action by any member that is harmful or disrespectful of women. It is in the context of this commitment that we took allegations against a leading member of the party very seriously.”

    The decision to deal with this complaint internally through the party’s Disputes Committee was entirely appropriate. The courts and the police have a terrible record in handling issues of rape and sexual assault. The only people we can have confidence in to deal with these issues are those with a clear political understanding of the way sexism is constructed under capitalism, how it affects men and women and how it must be fought. This means it is only experienced and trusted comrades who are capable of defending revolutionary principles and properly dealing with such sensitive issues.

    For exactly this purpose, the SWP has a standing Disputes Committee that is designed to deal with complaints about personal behaviour by party members. It is elected annually by the party conference and reports only to the conference, the highest democratic forum in the group and the one most representative of the wider party membership. The Disputes Committee is composed of up to 10 members elected by conference plus two representatives from the CC, and operates entirely independently of the CC and other leading bodies in the party.

    In this case the woman who brought the complaint against the CC member chose to have it handled by the Disputes Committee rather than going to the police.

    The claim that the Disputes Committee was composed of friends of the accused and therefore could not be impartial is wrong. While everyone on the Disputes Committee knew the CC member accused, it would have been impossible to find experienced comrades in the party who were not in this situation given his long-term role in the group. The mandate of the Disputes Committee, set out in the SWP constitution, is specifically to investigate complaints against CC members where necessary.

    The accusation that the Disputes Committee asked inappropriate or sexist questions of the woman who brought the rape complaint has not been substantiated and was specifically refuted by the Disputes Committee at the party conference.

    Unfortunately the Disputes Committee issue appears to have been conflated by some SWP members with pre-existing grievances about party democracy that were raised by factions formed before the recent party conference.

    Nonetheless, the SWP conference, which heard first hand reports from the Disputes Committee members and debated the issue, voted by a narrow majority to accept the Disputes Committee’s report and then re-elected unopposed the same Disputes Committee. Far from revealing any democratic failing, the National Committee believes that the democratic structures and decision-making of the SWP provided the best possible way to handle this issue.

    There has also been considerable social network fascination with the expulsion of four SWP members for undeclared factionalising on Facebook. We are in no position to draw clear conclusions about all the issues at such a distance. But we reject the idea that the expulsions necessarily indicate any issue with the democratic functioning of the SWP. Expulsions are unfortunate and difficult decisions in any organisation and we note that the expulsions were ratified by conference by a margin of 3-1.

  42. But I wouldn’t be so daft to call Labour a frenzied cult:

    I think the difference in scale must account for something, surely? I know that sounds snarky, but Labour is and was a party with actual power to fundamentally affect the lives of people – and absolutely, has wrecklessly used that power to kill huge numbers. But one of the striking definitions of a cult is its sense of self-importance compared to reality: Labour really is important cos it can launch wars and lie about the reasons why. Groups such as the SWP CC (and the Fiat 500) have no power but act as if they’re outside of all normal societal biases and nuances, and are able to look above and beyond mere reality and mere normality and somehow be better just cos of who they are.

    Whatever you say about Labour, Blair wanted to reshape global democracy in favour of the market, and he was able to order the slaughter of huge numbers and the destabilisation of whole regions in order to achieve it. The SWP leadership is doing all the things you saw Labour doing, with the exception of the only reason to do it is to preserve their own status – Blair and the Labour apparatus actually had national and international power. You can certainly call the actions inside Labour “frenzied” up to the invasion of Iraq, but you could never call it a cult.

  43. Oil them up, they can hold the pass against the Persian hordes!

    Any of those clever students working on a YouTube parody yet?

  44. The SWP’s sister organisation in Oz is Solidarity, a mixed bag of former ISO heavies who merged with some small splits from Socialist Alternative on a fairly movementist basis. This statement clearly represents the views of the old ISO nucleus of the organisation. I’d be very surprised if every member of Solidarity felt as confident about siding with the CC; the leadership has obviously sought to preempt and shut down any discussion on the question by issuing this statement.

  45. Solomon Hughes on said:

    Tony Collins,

    I’m with Owen Jones here, the SWP certainly was and is able to affect the real world, beyond it’s size – obviously in the cases he cites, work against the far right, on Stop the War. Also many less visible influences, network of union militants and so forth. The SWP was, for instance, a driving force in Defend Council Housing , one of the least reported and most succesful grass roots campaigns of the last decade. And lets be honest, no one would be interested if they did not have an impact. I don’t think your logic is “snarky”, it’s just plain wrong – there was a lot more bizarre behaviour , denial, self deception and lies in Labour around Iraq .While rhetorically the Blairites were sometimes called ‘pod people’ etc., I don’t think you’d get all this “cult” stuff and psychologising. So I stick with my point,Tony, “cult” is just a lazy right wing insult in this case, in the same way lazy right wing commentators say that ‘marxism is like a religion’ etc: There is a good argument the SWP is making some very bad decisions, but argue the case, don’t just throw insults.

  46. Solomon Hughes,

    Solo mon. I am writing from my phone so cannot quote from it but I have very carefully in earlier articles calibrated a definition of sects, cults and mainstream ideologies and groups drawing on modern research. Sects and cults are not necessarily perjorative terms if they help us understand group dynamics. And of course cults can become the new mainstream – the North American colonies that became the USA were mainly founded by cults.

    I use it as a term to define a self referential group whose ethos is not “truth correspondent” with the societal cosmos that surrounds them.

    By definition the Labour Party – not least in its electoral expression – cannot afford to have an ethos orthogonal to the mainstream.

    The SWP can and does, and to an extent their effectiveness is a function of their structures being outside the mainstream, allowing them to respond quickly and having many organisational skills, but limiting their long term ability to consolidate.

  47. stuart,

    Do you not feel there were any problems with distributing the above leaflet in the present context?

    (Also: What does it matter where the picture was sourced from? The only question is whether it is true. Do you deny the above leaflet exists and was disseminated by SWP members? This strikes me as the objections about the conference transcript, none of which actually denied its accuracy.)

  48. Solomon Hughes,

    I see nothing “right wing” in the observation that Marxism, especially in its Leninist form, has sought to establish a hegemonic ideology, indeed in China and the USSR this succeeded. In many ways this was analogous to the ideological superstrcture created by religion.

    Professional research into non-conformust groups shows similarlity whether religious, political or even flying saucer, and this is not dismissive of the sometime virtuous social impact of the groups: indeed social diversity is itself inherently virtuous.

    The Green Party for example clearly operates as a political sect, by any objective evaluation, but its social impact is largely good, and Caroline Lucas is an effective MP

  49. Solomon Hughes,

    With regard to “psychologising” I found the discussion of the psychology of political leaders in Tim Bales excellent book “The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron” both compelling and a useful and transferable framework of analysis.

    In politics it is a mistake to take organisations at their own self assessment. A materialist approach also considers social factors

  50. Pauly Smith on said:

    This is another statement from the Solidarity NC

    It is with great concern that we have read that some SWP members of the Serbian group Marks21 have resigned from the SWP and that the group Marks21 has resigned from the IS Tendency.

    From the statement issued by Marks21, it would seem that there are significant and long standing issues over which the Serbian group has been at odds with the Tendency’s stance.

    In particular, Marks21 points to united front and electoral politics in Europe and the position of support for the insurrection in Syria as two issues with which the Serbian group disagrees with the general position of the SWP and the Tendency.

    We do not believe that the differences expressed in the group’s statement warrant their resignation. As they would know, the Tendency does not have a monolithic position on these issues. The German group Marx21, although not formally affiliated with the Tendency, regularly contributes to the ISJ and attends IST events and continues to play a major role in the Left Party in Germany.

    Regardless of your analysis of Syriza or Antarsya, the significant role of the Tendency group, SEK, building the class struggle against the Greek austerity regime and fighting the rise of the fascist Golden Dawn in Greece is unquestionable. There is plenty of opportunity within the Tendency for constructive discussion of these important questions.

    Similarly, despite the Marks21 statement indicating some closed attitude within the Tendency, there are opportunities to discuss the issues of the internet, the Facebook revolution or the international Occupy movements. The British Socialist Worker has carried an article dealing with the revolutionary paper (and the internet) in Egypt (http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=30272). There was an article about the Occupy movement in the ISJ as recently as June 2012 (www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=821issue=135).

    But Marks21 seems little interested in actively pursuing discussion within the Tendency.

    Of perhaps greater concern is that Marks21 seems to have quite opportunistically used what they call the “scandal involving allegations of rape and sexual harassment” in the SWP as the catalyst for their resignation.

    If Marks21 believed there were problems, the comradely response would have been to have sought to find ways to constructively discuss them. But Marks21’s resignation precludes that possibility and in the circumstances can only serve to impede the SWP’s efforts to resolve the issues.

    To have resigned in this way seems worse than hasty; it is designed to make a difficult situation even more difficult.

    All groups know how difficult these issues can be. In the first instance the response that might be expected from a fraternal Tendency group is to have confidence in the democratic processes of the constituent groups. There are avenues within the Tendency that could have used by Marks21 to raise any issues it thought the Tendency should discuss.

    As we have indicated elsewhere, the National Committee sees no fundamental problem with the seriousness with which the SWP has responded nor with the process or democratic procedures of the SWP to resolve the issue.

    It Britain, it seems to us that the sensitive issues surrounding the handling of the rape allegations have unfortunately been confused with, and subsumed by factional arguments over general issues of democracy and the Central Committee.

    The National Committee rejects the rationale for the Marks21 resignation and will take any opportunity to urge Marks21 to reconsider its resignation from the Tendency.

  51. It was a shock to me – or maybe not – to see some of the people on the 500 list who are on the SWP’sNC. Those I know of have little political culture. It tells a story too that Yunus Bakash, who was as unpleasant an SWPer as I’ve met and who I saw pushing around young comrades in other left groups as far back as the late 1980s is still making a living in the SWP.

  52. Manzil:

    Do you not feel there were any problems with distributing the above leaflet in the present context?

    No, I think it was a very important intervention.

  53. daggi:
    Anyway, all accounts suggest that Beria was, in some spheres, a talented operator (and with a good sense of fashion). Not things that could be said about the person “Delta”, really.

    Otherwise: those who think they might have missed what’s going on here could do worse than a glimse at “SWP Crisis for Beginners” by the Writers’ and Non-Internet-Readers’ Co-operative, featuring Mandy Blodwin and Zimbabwe Bonneville (guest appearance by French Master Mr. Birch-All)

    Why are you trivialising such a serious topic?

  54. and there's more: I’m sure you have Stuart, but I doubt you worked for any service that advocated on behalf of the victim.

    I have. And if an accuser does not want to go to the police I respect their wish. I need to maintain their trust.

  55. prianikoff on said:

    ANewman@62 “By definition the Labour Party – not least in its electoral expression – cannot afford to have an ethos orthogonal to the mainstream.”

    So, no chance of socialism then.
    Is this an attempt by Newman to emulate Milibland-speak?

    A recent e-Mail I received from Ed exhorted me to join the campaign for a “One Nation Labour budget” and “a One Nation Labour Government, which would make the tax system fairer” (by adopting Liberal policies) to create a “One Nation Economy”
    Obviously anyone who isn’t part of this “One Nation” isn’t just “outside the mainstream”, but a “sectarian”, if not a dangerous “cultist”.
    All this is justified using excruciating cod social-pyschology.

    Vote Labour, but reject this right-wing drivel.

  56. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    prianikoff:
    ANewman@62 “By definition the Labour Party – not least in its electoral expression – cannot afford to have an ethos orthogonal to the mainstream.”

    So, no chance of socialism then.
    Is this an attempt by Newman to emulate Milibland-speak?

    A recent e-Mail I received from Ed exhorted me to join the campaign for a “One Nation Labour budget” and “a One Nation Labour Government, which would make the tax system fairer” (by adoptingLiberal policies) to create a “One Nation Economy”
    Obviously anyone who isn’t part of this “One Nation” isn’t just “outside the mainstream”, but a “sectarian”, if not a dangerous “cultist”.
    All this is justified using excruciating cod social-pyschology.

    Vote Labour, but reject this right-wing drivel.

    Yep, Milliband-speak definitely. And obviously anything left of “Ed” (first name terms, huh?) must be a “cult”. All this when Labour talks and acts like the “left” wing of the Conservative Party. “One Nation”, eh? Where does that come from?

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

  58. Phil BC:
    Because I’ve had a couple of pieces appear on HP over the last several months, I guess I’m a “regular contributor”.

    Still, I don’t expect Stuart to get something like basic facts right when there’s a beam in his eye.

    The picture was posted to this site at 4.24 pm yesterday by a poster called John R.

  59. Jara Handala on said:

    Tony Collins: Groups such as the SWP CC (and the Fiat 500) have no power but act as if they’re outside of all normal societal biases and nuances

    More a Trabant, yes?

    Certainly a P50, not a P60. Note the modesty, just like the SWP, for a 500cc & 600cc engine. And nothing fantastic here either, simply facing reality, no marketing gimmicks like the Trabant Fantasy, or the Trabant Hubris, or the Trabant Indefatigable, or the Trabant Resolute.

    And a saloon, not the estate. They never made a hatchback but that would have been reserved for the filth, what with them laying bad eggs, collaborating with the other hostile forces from outside the Dark Side, forming alliances with the 5th column of malcontents within.

    But the car imagery is a little strained coz all cars have been made in what the SWP consider to be capitalist countries, & we know the SWP is not of that world: “the SWP is not an institution of capitalist society” (Nat. Sec. Charlie Chaplin, ‘Response to Attacks on the SWP’, 14 Jan, http://www.swp.org.uk). Guess Charlie Marx was having a Groucho moment when he spoke of the new, the birth pangs, & the womb of the old. If only Cde. Chaplin had been there to hit him over the head before meandering off into the distance. But maybe Professor Blonde will order a lynch mob to return in a time machine.

  60. Jara Handala on said:

    Jota: Any of those clever students working on a YouTube parody yet?

    Funny that you mention that . . .

    ‘Kimber Reacts to the Post-Conference Period’, 28 Jan onto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JllQnXl208&feature=player_embedded

    And, yes, ‘Downfall’ does meet the Permanent Callinicos Faction (Undeclared). Almost 4000 viewers, so less than half the SWP’s members may have seen it. In accordance with the principle of proletarian solidarity their branch meetings need to be leafleted.

    There’s also a Star Wars vid there, ‘IV Post-Conference’, since Monday, 11 Feb (only a few viewers so far).

    Both uploaded, & dare I say made, by vLADimir Lenin. There could be a Ruskin connection here.

    Just saying . . .

  61. Isabella on said:

    Courage as SWP women are witchunted
    I was at the Unison women’s conference where a small group of SWP women gave out leaflets referred to in the post ‘losing touch with reality’. The SWP women argued both in the leaflet and on the floor of conference that George Galloway’s recent comments on rape were disgraceful and should be condemned. They also argued that calling for a ‘no platform’ policy with George Galloway was an inappropriate and excessive response to his comments on rape. That is a legitimate viewpoint and the SWP women displayed considereable courage in raising it at conference for they were treated to a response that was nasty and witchunting – a shameful response that lowered the tone of Unison women’s conference. Disquiet about the conduct of this debate was expressed afterwards even by some senior women delegates.

  62. Jara Handala on said:

    Isabella: the SWP women displayed considereable courage in raising it at conference for they were treated to a response that was nasty and witchunting – a shameful response that lowered the tone of Unison women’s conference

    Would you please describe this ‘response’, this behaviour you call nasty & shameful, so we know what you are referring to?

    Thank you.

  63. Question:

    jim jepps: So I’d like to ask anyone who was at the conference how this leaflet went down? Was it easy to “intervene” at this women’s conference? Were people friendly to the SWP activists there, or was it tricky?
    I know the SWP lost the vote over no platform for rape apologists (which is what this leaflet is about) but did the current crisis have an impact on the debate?
    To be clear I’m not asking about people in the “left” bubble, I’m refering to your average delegate who, whilst being someone who is politically engaged enough to go to a conference like this doesn’t have the kind of firm partisan ties of the super-activists.

    Answer:

    Isabella: considereable courage in raising it at conference for they were treated to a response that was nasty and witchunting – a shameful response that lowered the tone of Unison women’s conference.

    My experience Jim is, which is mainly of my world of TU lay activists and officials, is that there is considerable facsination with this issue, and it has damaged the SWP’s standing – especially as the foundations had already been laid by the disgraceful position taken by Martin Smith and others over Lindsey Oil Refinary dispute, and the invasion of the BA ACAS talks by SW members – both of which damaged them.

  64. Mark Victorystooge: obviously anything left of “Ed” (first name terms, huh?) must be a “cult”.

    Silly point. I have made it clear that the issue is whether or not a group is self-referential or not, i.e. whetehr they retreat from reality.

    prianikoff: So, no chance of socialism then.

    If you can’t make support for socialism a mainstream political view, then there is no prospect of socialism. That task will not be acheived by Sealed KNot style Bolshevik re-enactment societies.

  65. Isabella: a shameful response that lowered the tone of Unison women’s conference. Disquiet about the conduct of this debate was expressed afterwards even by some senior women delegates.

    Indeed, an example of how the SWP’s crisis is not only affecting them, but also spilling over into the broader left. Surely the authority of SWP members arguing about rape were undermined by the Delta fiasco

  66. Solomon Hughes: There is a good argument the SWP is making some very bad decisions, but argue the case, don’t just throw insults.

    Ok, let is look at this. It is taken for granted that when looking at the behaviours of corporations, governments or mainstream political parties we will look at the material interests, ideological presumptions and social forces acting upon them.

    Why should we not use the same tools to analyse a socialist group?

  67. StevieB on said:

    #82 – You seem to miss the point Isabella is making Andy.

    A motion was carried by UNISON Women’s Conference which calls upon UNISON members to refuse to share a platform with George Galloway and other unnamed “rape deniers”. Hence the significance of the SWP issuing a leaflet to influence the debate in a positive direction. There were witch-hunting attacks upon the SWP in the debate, even though there is no reference to the SWP in the motion.

    Although carried, fortunately this motion was not prioritised to go to UNISON national conference. But it is clear from this that some in the movement are using Galloway’s wrong statement and the SWP’s mishandling of the Delta case as a platform for a general offensive against the left. You may deny this is happening, but Isabella writes in solidarity with those brave SWP women who stood up against it. In a comparable situation, would you?

  68. stuart: Why are you trivialising such a serious topic?

    I know your game. It’s two games actually:
    1. “Shoot the messenger” – if you had even more than an even basic knowledge of the internet you would see the “trivialising” is not by me, but by James Heartfield
    2. “Pot calling the kettle black” – probably you aren’t aware you are playing that game, as it isn’t remotely funny.

    Tally ho!

  69. Solomon Hughes on said:

    Andy Newman,

    To me the “cult” and “frenzy and “orthogonal to the mainstream” stuff just sounds like psychologising – a wordy way for you to say “loony left”.

  70. Solomon Hughes,

    No, you are declining to argue the politics, that in so far as the SWP have a theory of social change (and they are undertheorised in that area) it is a utopian project, and their organisational form flows from their wrong headed leninist paradigm.

    I dont see why the SWP expect that people who think their practice weakens the left, should soft paddle disagreements with them.

    In particular the lukacs inspired concepts of the party representing the ideal consciousness of the working class is highly problematic and can be used to justify anything

  71. Jara Handala on said:

    My earlier Q to Isabella : Would you please describe this ‘response’, this behaviour you call nasty & shameful, so we know what you are referring to?
    Thank you.

    #78, 3:14pm
    I repeat my question coz it is important for everyone to know what was said at UNISON conference that makes you call it “nasty . . . shameful”, even “witchhunting”.

    Andy Newman: Why should we not use the same tools to analyse a socialist group?

    #83, 3:49pm
    Excellent point – not least as it shows how inadequate, even in their own Marxist terms, have been the statements of both the Permanent Callinicos Faction (Undeclared) & their supporters here.

    StevieB: There were witch-hunting attacks upon the SWP in the debate

    #84, 4:27pm
    Can you please describe for us what was said in the debate, remarks that justify you labelling them as both “witch-hunting” & “attacks upon the SWP”? No-one would like to have hyperbole or misrepresentation as the take-away from yesterday’s conference.

    Thank you.

  72. StevieB,

    It was a highly problematic motion that I would have opposed, not only potentially used to witch hunt the left. But doing so on the basis of an ill-defined and subjective basis
    However, the SWP’s self inflicted damage to their own reputation over the Delta affair compromised their authority to oppose this motion. That is the point

  73. Solomon

    Look at it this way, as your own article argues the SWP leadership are acting in a way damaging to the institutional interests of the swp as a whole. And diminishing its influence in the wider movement.

    In.particular they have retreated from the substantive issues and instead focussed on a discussion of leninist discipline and the need for educating members in Swp theory.

    My explanation which fits the facts is that the leadership is insulated from reality and acts as a cult. It is an hypothesis that has the merit of explaining the known facts.

    What is your alternative explanation for the leaderships “bad decisions ” ???

  74. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    #77 Very funny, both of them, had seen the Downfall one already but not the SW (get it!) one before. “Leather the Hut”, lol…

  75. StevieB on said:

    #89 Andy, glad to hear you would have joined with the SWP in opposing the motion.

    If, as you say, the SWP’s “authority” to oppose the motion was “compromised” then that reinforces Isabella’s original point that the SWP women displayed courage in waging the fight on the conference floor.

    The point is not the damage to the SWP’s reputation,(real though that is) – the point is the SWP’s continuing relevance to the struggle despite it.

  76. Isabella: They also argued that calling for a ‘no platform’ policy with George Galloway was an inappropriate and excessive response to his comments on rape. That is a legitimate viewpoint and the SWP women displayed considereable courage in raising it at conference for they were treated to a response that was nasty and witchunting – a shameful response that lowered the tone of Unison women’s conference

    Thanks for this Isabella (and to Andy for his addition further down).

    I tend to agree with you that Galloway’s initial remarks were awful and that no platforming him is the wrong tool for the job, no matter how angry people might have been about them. It’s a counter-productive move, and begins to create the impression that the left bans people with views it doesn’t agree with rather than debates them (although I doubt Unison offer him a platform very often anyway but that is by the by). I hope this does not mark the beginning of the use of no platform as the way we deal with debate.

    Rape victims are ill served by this motion, but I would like to see the needs of rape victims go up the political agenda generally and on the left. These are emotive issues that are difficult to discuss so any unnecessary barriers to that are very regrettable.

    I’m sorry that due to the current crisis this argument couldn’t get the hearing it deserved. Hopefully it has led some to reconsider what taking rape seriously on the left actually means, and what the consequences are of not doing so.

  77. Certainly, if I was at Unison Women’s Conference I would have voted against that motion re rape deniers. It also reminds me of NUS NEC passing a similar motion on rape apologists/deniers.

    Motion is a political minefield. Firstly, what happens if one of them is on a platform sharing it with others on some issue i.e. anti-cuts, anti-war and so on, does that mean the event will not be supported?

    Secondly, it does indeed demean and devalue the true meaning of no-platform to fascists and racists.

    Thirdly, you can only defeat these misogynists by politically defeating them.

    Fourthly, the right-wing will use it for their own reasons possibly against the left.

  78. Isabella- Although I don’t want to appear as if I’m haranguing you on this in company with anyone else, I agree that we should be given the details of how the SWP women were attacked and witch-hunted.

    There are a number of reasons for this:

    1) I would be interested to know whether it was because of their (very conditional) defence of Galloway’s right to speak and against censorship. In which case I have every sympathy for them.

    2) I would be inteterested to know whether it was because of the scandal regarding the SWP’s own issues with rape in the wake of the publicity surrounding the Delta affair. In which case I would feel sympathy for them on a personal level but little politically.

    3) I have experience of allegations made by the SWP that they were being “witch-hunted” where when the facts were revealed they were not being witch-hunted at all. On that my sympathy is exhausted.

  79. daggi,

    Upon reading the comic strip that you posted, I find it hard to conclude that is does anything other than trivialise rape.

  80. HarpyMarx:
    Certainly, if I was at Unison Women’s Conference I would have voted against that motion re rape deniers. It also reminds me of NUS NEC passing a similar motion on rape apologists/deniers.

    Motion is a political minefield. Firstly, what happens if one of them is on a platform sharing it with others on some issue i.e. anti-cuts, anti-war and so on, does that mean the event will not be supported?

    CORRECT

    Secondly, it does indeed demean and devalue the true meaning of no-platform to fascists and racists.

    CORRECT

    Thirdly, you can only defeat these misogynists by politically defeating them.

    CORRECT (if that’s what ‘they’ are).

    Fourthly, the right-wing will use it for their own reasons possibly against the left.

    NOT SURE. Only in conjunction with the other arguments, because if the motion was otherwise right, this is something the left would have to live with. I can see why we were in different tenedencies/ factions back in the day).

  81. Could someone post the link to the Star Wars video, can’t seem to find it. Cheers. I need a good laugh. :)

    @Solomon, do you object to ‘psychologising’ because you see psychology as an inherently ‘bourgeois’ concept? That seems to be the implicit logic of your argument, a logic which is quite common on the (far) left, though not one I agree with – psychology is no more ‘bourgeois’ than general medicine.

    Indeed, while the majority of individual psychology theorists seem to have a right-wing bias, group psychology has been heavily influenced by Marxism – think of Fromm, e.g. Although I don’t think either of those facts speak to the inherent nature of the fields, more to the fundamental prejudices of practioners.

    I’ve long thought Jung’s psychology, esp. its implicit dialectic(s) (work-play, science-superstition, etc.), could lend itself well to a Marxist reinterpretation – turning Jung on his feet, if you like. Anyone know if anyone has ever attempted this?

  82. stuart:

    Upon reading the comic strip that you posted, I find it hard to conclude that is does anything other than trivialise rape.

    Surely you mean “alleged rape”?
    And, again, idiot – and that is not meant as abuse, but as a statement based on observation, painful observation, of your comments – I didn’t post it, I posted a link to it (as has A. Newman). It’s a not very subtle difference, too subtle for you though.

  83. Jellytot on said:

    stuartUpon reading the comic strip that you posted, I find it hard to conclude that is does anything other than trivialise rape.

    And using a quasi-legal Kangaroo Kourt to adjudicate upon it doesn’t trivialise it?

  84. daggi,

    No I mean rape in as much as the subject of rape allegations is seen running around with no trousers on in an attempt at humour. And only posting a link is no defence.

  85. I think the point of the humour is that The SWP trivialised the rape allegation. This would be obvious to anyone not in deep, deep denial about the corruption of their politics.

  86. Jellytot,

    As I think I might have pointed out to Comrade C.C. Catch above (and elsewhere).

    stuart,
    Does that mean you now understand what one of these new-fangled weblink are? Have you been on a course about “the interwebs”?

    Tony Collins,

    Yes, but I still suspect that is still too subtle.

  87. #107 From something in a previous comment if you are who I think you are that we may have both been involved in a certain trotskyist current at the same time.

    Then again I may be wrong. My apologies if I am.

    The political point I am making is that an argument that a position can be used against the left by the right is not in itself a reason for opposing it, if it is otherwise correct.

    In fact, it was a throwaway remark that thinking it through makes little sense so please forget it, again with my apologies.

  88. I feel I should point out that the motion was moved by left-wing women. It’s not about witch hunts or swallowing the propaganda of the right – it’s a debate among those on the left about the best way to deal with those who trivilise rape.

    They thought no platform was the right way to do it, others on the left (including me) think that is counter-productive.

  89. jim jepps: I feel I should point out that the motion was moved by left-wing women. It’s not about witch hunts…

    Well someone who was a member of a trade union and of Respect, most famous member being You Know Who, may feel a bit less confident about that.

    This is part of the reason Harpy Marx is correct in one of the points she made.

  90. Karl Stewart on said:

    jim jepps,

    Jim, the attempts to “no-platform” George Galloway come from the pro-CIA right-wing and must be opposed vigorously.

    There is absolutely zero connection between these attacks on Galloway and the SWP’s internal faction fight.

  91. Tony Collins:
    I think the point of the humour is that The SWP trivialised the rape allegation. This would be obvious to anyone not in deep, deep denial about the corruption of their politics.

    If you think someone like Pat Stack ( chair of and one of two men on the seven person disputes committee) is guilty of trivialising rape, more so than the poster of the comic strip, we are clearly working on different definitions for the word trivialise.

  92. And the other thing that keeps coming back to me is who decides on what is rape denial and who decides what is trivialisation?

    At the end of the day I’m not a woman or a member of Unison so I suppose it’s none or my business, but I hope those who intend to push th

  93. If you think someone like Pat Stack ( chair of and one of two men on the seven person disputes committee) is guilty of trivialising rape, more so than the poster of the comic strip, we are clearly working on different definitions for the word trivialise.

    And stuart, true to form, goes back to his fundamentally dishonest style of debating.

    Well done “stuart” – this must make you feel so much better, given your obvious distress about what you are pledging your loyalty to.

    And insofar as we’re working to different definitions, yes, I’d say so – mine is based in the real world, and yours is based on the idea that all you need to do to deal with rape is get your mates to hear the case, and not give the complainant any time to see the statement the accused has made.

  94. Vanya:
    And the other thing that keeps coming back to me is who decides on what is rape denial and who decides what is trivialisation?

    At the end of the day I’m not a woman or a member of Unison so I suppose it’s none or my business, but I hope those who intend to push this position realise that they may need to address those questions.

  95. Pete Jones on said:

    #77 Just watched the YouTube video. It was preceded by an advert for the SEAT Leon 2013. Wasn’t sure if the car advert was about to be revealed as a spoof of Trotskyites!

  96. I know women at Unison Women’s Conference (I am a member of Unison) who supported that specific motion and I have a lot of respect for but on this no-platforming rape deniers is wrong. I understand the sentiments but it is still politically wrong. How will it be enforced? How do you interpret “rape denier”? Again, it is about politically challenging these views as opposed to no-platforming them.

  97. Karl Stewart: Jim, the attempts to “no-platform” George Galloway come from the pro-CIA right-wing and must be opposed vigorously.

    There is absolutely zero connection between these attacks on Galloway and the SWP’s internal faction fight.

    1. No they aren’t. They are coming from left-wing feminists in the union. If you have any actual evidence of CIA involvement I’d get it to a newspaper immediately – what a scoop!

    2. The connection is simply that the SWP’s ability to argue these issues with clued up activists is fatally undermined. I’m sure the motion would have been moved regardless of the SWP situation.

  98. Karl Stewart on said:

    jim jepps,

    Jim, there may well be individuals who consider themselves to be “left-wing” who are backing the attack on Galloway, but this attack has originated from the same source as the smear campaign against Julian Assange – the US state.

    The intervention of the SWP into this debate appears to have been both diversionary and unhelpful.

  99. Forever Delayed on said:

    #118

    George Galloway’s comments on rape were incredibly stupid, ignorant, and offensive. They were also very damaging to Respect, and probably to his own political career. When the left is wrecking itself, the CIA doesn’t need to do anything.

  100. I’m the person who moved the Galloway/rape deniers motion at UNISON Women’s Conference and I can confirm I’m neither a rightwing CIA stooge nor interested in witch-hunting anyone. The debate went down the way it did because the SWP chose to reveal their complete hypocrisy by producing and distributing the ridiculous leaflet featured at the top of the post, and by choosing to defend the behaviour of the CC in their opposing speeches.

  101. Karl Stewart on said:

    Forever Delayed,

    No FD, you’re completely wrong.
    Galloway’s stated position on the crime of rape:

    “No never means Yes and sex without consent is always rape.”

    This is absolutely right.

    And on the specific issue of the CIA smear campaign against Assange, Galloway pointed out that the formal statement made to the Swedish police – the sole statement that has been made – refers to, in the statementee’s own words, a claim of a consensual sexual encounter.

    In the US, it has recently been reported that Bradley Manning has been held In detention in conditions that amount to torture.

    If Assange were sent to Sweden, he will be rendered directly to the US, where an indictment on potentially capital charges awaits him.

    Galloway’s response to all this was to stand up and staunchly oppose it, loudly and publicly – for which he was attacked, but he stood firm.

    Yes some fainthearts from the Respect Party buckled, turned tail and ran, so what?

  102. #120 I am a member of Respect. If someone in Unison wanted to share a platform with me, would they be going against the spirit of the motion? Or would they be expected to obtain an assurance from me that I didn’t agree with what GG said?

    And how will you go about defining who is a rape denier, or who is trivialising it?

    Will any of the self-declared feminists and rape campaigners who defended Assange be included?

    What about someone who in a given specific rape case declares that they believe someone to be innocent?

    What about a solicitor or barrister who defends someone accused of rape?

    As I said above, this may well be considered to be none of my business, but I would be interested to know.

    Btw I accept that most people who objected to GG’s comments were acting a in good faith and from conviction and I don’t think allegations about the CIA assist the discussion, albeit that I’m sure the CIA will be far from unhappy with the reaction he got to what he said.

  103. Vanya,

    It’s not actually a no-platform motion in the true sense of the phrase. If you read the text of motion 30 the relevant bullet points are:

    2)Encourage UNISON spokespeople to refuse to share a platform with George Galloway, or any other speakers who contribute to rape culture by blaming and undermining rape victims.
    3) To liaise with the NEC, Labour Link, and other UNISON bodies to try and ensure that UNISON never offers a platform to any speakers who are rape deniers, and who blame and undermine rape victims, and that it never officially supports any event that does.

    http://www.unison.org.uk/file/B6173.pdf

    So to answer your question, no, as a member of Respect no one would be going against the spirit of the motion if they wanted to share a platform with you, not unless you’d publicly made similar comments to Galloway’s anyway.

  104. #124 Thanks for your response.

    I also asked a number of other questions. Again, ultimately it’s not my affair, although I think it would be useful to understand how the policy could work in reality.

  105. Let’s not forget, when the NUS brought about the “no platform” bollocks against Galloway, they tried the same thing with Tony Benn as well. A bunch of time-serving student politicos hoping to be time-serving backbenchers, equating the likes of Nick fucking Griffing with Galloway and Benn?

    And now this at UNISON women’s conference? Cath Elliott said above that she didn’t propose it for right-wing, witch-hunting purposes. But then the attacks on Socialist Party members of UNISON were also covered with the veneer of progressive politics – in that case, it was supposedly anti-racism. The real issue is what the actual consequences of your decision is, not your intention.

  106. Karl Stewart on said:

    Manzil,

    I completely agree with most of that Manzil,
    But the last part, where you refer to the incident in which there were accusations of racism, although there clearly was no racist intent, there was genuine offence caused – albeit unintentionally.

  107. Ec
    Cath Elliott,

    I do have concerns about it. For example I have argued that the new definition of consent in the Canadian criminal code relating to sexual assault potentially criminalises mutually consensual acts that would be legal under English law. Does that make me a rape denier?

  108. Vanya,

    I believe under Unison’s rules this is not policy unless passed by full conference, and it was not prioritised for submission to the full conference from the women conference.

    Can anyone confirm?

  109. I don’t know the particulars of that situation, Karl, only what I read. Happy to accept that people were genuinely offended. I imagine – or at any rate, have no reason to doubt – that Cath Elliott is sincere in taking offence at George Galloway. I don’t think that changes the substance of it though.

    Whatever the intention, the result was that four Socialists were wrongly barred from holding office, and the union wasted years and hundreds of thousands of pounds in employment tribunals and the court of appeal, when even UNISON accepted there had been no malicious intent. That is so disproportionate as to invite serious questions as to the motives of the officials who pursued it.

    Likewise, even if people were honestly offended by Galloway’s comments, as I know many were, I don’t think that changes the central issue, which is the actual political effect this would have. It’s not the role of people who were offended that is issue – it is the likely role of the people who would be responsible for implementing the policy, if it was adopted on account of that genuine offence.

    It’s the same thing as the call for people remove SWP members from their positions in unions on account of the Comrade Delta crisis. I am hugely critical of the SWP’s actions, but not in a thousand years would I suggest SWP members are anything but a legitimate part of the Labour movement.

  110. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    I think she’s also saying the SWP’s “opposition” actually aided the success of her “no-platform” motion.

    I expect it must have been quite sickening for delegates to have had to listen to members of the SWP’s pro-lynch mob faction make a case for “free speech.”. Particularly on the same weekend that the Facebook Four have just had their expulsions confirmed.

    Still now we know a sure way to get a TU conference motion passed – get the “toxics” to oppose it!

  111. Karl Stewart: Particularly on the same weekend that the Facebook Four have just had their expulsions confirmed.

    Didn’t know that! Whereabouts did you read this?

  112. Karl Stewart: I completely agree with most of that Manzil,
    But the last part, where you refer to the incident in which there were accusations of racism, although there clearly was no racist intent, there was genuine offence caused – albeit unintentionally.

    Karl: So did you you agree with the actions the Unison NEC took in 2007: removing the 4 Socialist Party members from their elected positions, banning them from office for 3-5 years and putting 3 branches under regional administration?

  113. Forever Delayed on said:

    #121 Karl Stewart,

    “Galloway’s stated position on the crime of rape:

    “No never means Yes and sex without consent is always rape.””

    Well, who could possibly disagree with that? If that was all Galloway had said on the subject, there’d be no problem. Unfortunately he also said:

    “Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100% true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape. At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this.

    “Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him, claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.”

    You know what he said as well as I do. The SWP was absolutely right on this (it’s possible to be both right and totally hypocritical). Firstly, we can not dismiss an accusation of rape just because it happens to be against someone we like or think is important (whether that’s Assange or Smith or whoever). Secondly, what Galloway is saying here about what does and does not constitute rape is just horrific. Seriously, read it again: “she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen… not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.”

  114. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    Cath Elliott,

    This is probably the most significant post on this thread; the mover of the motion credits the SWP’s ham fisted opposition, including their defence of the CC during the debate, with its passing. And while I think from her responses to Vanya Cath Elliot seems sincere about the issue, she is sincerely, and very, wrong, and UNISON Women’s Conference has now adopted a disastrous policy which puts it in the same league as the NUS which Manzil has already so eloquently described. Thanks to the SWP’s “opposition”…

  115. Karl Stewart on said:

    Amnon,

    To be fair Amnon, I didn’t say I agreed with the disciplinary actions taken.

    I was just saying there was genuine offence taken at the time – although it was clearly unintentional on the part of those who produced the leaflet.

  116. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    “The intervention of the SWP into this debate appears to have been both diversionary and unhelpful.”

    Indeed. As well as having seemed to have swung the vote against their own side by conflating their opposition to the motion with a defence of Delta, the SWP’s “opposition” in the leaflet was incredibly lukewarm in any case. How could it be otherwise, given that they were leading the feeding frenzy against George at the time, completely hypocritically now that we now know what was going on in their own party. And now they seem to be using their opposition to George as a figleaf in the internal debates, as if “we take women’s rights so seriously we’ll attack the guy we’ve hated for years for his (real and immagined!) comments, so how can you accuse us of being sexist when we cover up an allegation of rape against our leader”…

  117. Andy Newman: Jon mate, I don’t think you get it. The rift is too big, and the stakes too high, for there to be anything so rational as a discussion about voting mechanisms.

    If you are right mate, then we are screwed, not just the SWP but the left as a whole, and after that the working class – you may think that if the SWP goes down in flames others will pick up the slack, but the right of the labour party will be laughing and the rest of the left has not the politics to lead a fight, my only hope is democratic renewal, and getting people to concentrate on ways we can go forward together, not just accept we are going to split apart. Forget the new “united force of the left” without a strong SWP it won’t happen.
    I used to joke the deeper the crisis of capitalism the more the British left split, looks too true now, at this rate we will each get a party of our own.

  118. Karl Stewart on said:

    Forever Delayed,

    No FD,
    There is one formal statement in existence relating to this matter.

    This is a formal, signed-off statement to Swedish police made by a woman who claims to have had a consensual sexual encounter with Assange.

    The word “consensual” is her word, in her own statement, not Galloway’s word, it’s the statementee’s own word.

    She also states, in this statement, that she does not want the involvement of the police crime unit.

    If that is true – and this one statement represents the entirety of the “case” against Assange – then do you think there is a crime of rape here FD?

    And away from the specifics, Galloway has repeatedly made clear his general position on the crime of rape:

    “No never means Yes and non-consensual sex is always rape.”

    How on earth can it be justified to “no-platform” someone with that position?

  119. Forever Delayed on said:

    Marxist Lennonist,

    As I said, the SWP was both right AND hypocritical. It’s funny how some of you are doing the exact same thing, with the added layer of hypocrisy of calling the SWP on its hypocrisy without recognising your own.

    And the SWP actively supported Galloway’s election campaign in Glasgow last year. But who cares about facts when you can claim everyone who disagrees with you is (wittingly or unwittingly) doing the work of the CIA?

  120. Andy Newman,

    Yes, it’s the case that this motion wasn’t prioritised to go forward to Unison National Conference, so therefore this is not going to be voted on to be Unison national policy. It’s the policy of Unison’s women’s self-organisation, but in reality no Unison women’s group was ever going to invite Galloway to share a platform anyway.

  121. Jon F: Forget the new “united force of the left” without a strong SWP it won’t happen.

    When the SWP blew it over Respect they proved that far from being an essential positive component of the renewal of the left, they were part of the problem. Nothing that has happened since then has told me otherwise.

    Jon F: the rest of the left has not the politics to lead a fight

    The SWP have virtually no politics, if by that word you mean the ability to help construct a strategy and programme to advance working people and the oppressed to take power.

  122. Karl Stewart on said:

    Manzil,

    Expulsions confirmed by the Disputes Committee – this was for the “crime” of having “conversations” with each other!!!!

    The charges state that “…we received extensive information concerning conversations on a closed facebook page…” and: “…we had to expel them to defend our democracy…”

    No news of any disciplinary action yet against Alex Calinicos for threatening to set “lynch mobs” on oppositionists.

  123. Vanya: When the SWP blew it over Respect they proved that far from being an essential positive component of the renewal of the left, they were part of the problem. Nothing that has happened since then has told me otherwise.

    and without the SWP left unity is going so well…. oh shit no its not, a SANE SWP is needed, and that is why I fight.

  124. Forever Delayed on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    Again, you know as well as I do what Galloway said. It’s right there. He did not just say that the case was unproven either way, or even that he believes Assange to be innocent. Galloway EXPLICITLY said that EVEN IF Assange did exactly what he’s accused of, he is innocent because it isn’t what Galloway considers rape. If you want to defend that then you are, of course, free to try but stop trying to get round it by misdirection.

    To be clear, I do consider what Galloway describes (“she woke up to him having sex with her… not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion”) to be rape. I don’t know if Julian Assange did that or not, but IF he did that would make him a rapist. That does not mean that I am anti-Wikileaks, or anti-Respect, or “pro-CIA”, for God’s sake!

    And I never said anything about “no platform”-ing Galloway. I don’t think it’s possible to “no platform” everyone we disagree with, no matter how strongly. It would be like attempting to boycott every country in the world.

  125. Jon F: and without the SWP left unity is going so well…. oh shit no its not, a SANE SWP is needed, and that is why I fight.

    One doeesn’t follow from the other. Just because I say the SWP is an obstacle doesn’t mean that without them i think the picture would be rosy.

    If it were possible for the SWP to turn back into the one that helped create Stop the War then I’d welcome that, but things don’t genrally work that way.

  126. Karl Stewart on said:

    Forever Delayed,

    FD,
    There is one bona fide statement in existence relating to this matter.

    It contains no mention of “waking-up sex” or “sleeping sex”.

    It does, however contain the statementee’s own claim, in her own words, that she claims to have had consensual sex with Assange.

  127. Jara Handala on said:

    This makes the 5th & 6th (& last) attempt Vanya & I have tried to get any evidence from either Isabella or StevieB to support their assertions that at the UNISON Women’s Conference, Saturday, 16 Feb, the SWP were subject to attacks, witch-hunting, & nasty & shameful behaviour (all their words).

    I hope they or an attendee can address this – Cath Elliott (comment #120 onwards), who was there, offers no evidence in support of the assertions.

    If nothing is presented that can be tested then the only conclusions are that (1) the assertions are false, & (2) Isabella & StevieB have at least once in their lives made false assertions.

  128. vanya: If it were possible for the SWP to turn back into the one that helped create Stop the War then I’d welcome that, but things don’t genrally work that way.

    Our disagreemnt seems to be about possibilites than politics, I think it can be turned into somehting even better than in 2001, if I am wrong then I am lost as to what to do next.

  129. David Ruaune: Jon F,
    After the SWP left Respect, Respect had a massive triumph in Bradford.

    An importnat city for the British revolution no doubt, the only one ever to be ehld by armed workers back in the very old day, but there were some pretty specific issues at play and as we speak Gallowway seems to be failing to build on this success, once agin trying to use it to get back into the Labour party and build a coalition with the local petty bourgeiouise (I cannot spell at this time of night)

  130. Forever Delayed on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    Do you actually read what you’re replying to? Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    The innocence or guilt of Julian Assange is one thing (and I’m not prepared to make a judgement on it based on my limited knowledge of the matter). What Galloway, and others, have said about it is another.

  131. Karl Stewart on said:

    Forever Delayed,

    Bit tricky for me to reply tp your comments about what you claim someone else said about something that has never even been alleged by anyone – all too hypothetical.

    Galloway is right to say that, if the one statement that does actually exist is true, then that statement does not allege rape.

    And Galloway is also right to say: “No never means Yes and sex without consent is always rape.”

  132. Jara Handala: If nothing is presented that can be tested then the only conclusions are that (1) the assertions are false, & (2) Isabella & StevieB have at least once in their lives made false assertions.

    No. You can’t conclude that at all. Perhaps they just don’t want to get into a debate about it on SU. Both are honourable people and good trade unionists.

  133. Solomon Hughes: “cult” is just a lazy right wing insult in this case, in the same way lazy right wing commentators say that ‘marxism is like a religion’ etc: There is a good argument the SWP is making some very bad decisions, but argue the case, don’t just throw insults.

    It is fair to say that Louis Proyect is not great admirer of mine, but he has some wise words on this specific point:
    http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/mike-gonzalez-and-the-ideological-priesthood/

    how in hell does the leadership of a group of a couple of thousand people trained in Tony Cliff’s “socialism from below” philosophy end up acting like a bunch of bureaucrats insensitive to the demands of a female comrade that her alleged rape be properly investigated? I don’t think it is an adequate explanation to say that Tony Cliff wrote some nonsense about feminism in the 1980s—reminiscent I should add of what Gus Hall wrote in the 1970s. You don’t have to have a fully evolved consciousness to understand that you don’t ask such a comrade about her drinking habits, her sexual experiences, etc.

    Since that faction was declared, there are signs that things have degraded further. The faction associated in the left public’s mind with Richard Seymour and China Mieville just issued a statement titled “Stop the Bullying” that states:

    Comrades across the party have been heckled, shouted down and intimidated at aggregates and branch meetings. When they have complained about this they have been heckled, shouted down and intimidated. Young comrades have received nasty messages from those much older than them. They have been threatened with violence.

    Threatened with violence? How does an organization that treats Tony Cliff’s writings in the same fashion that the Catholic Church treats the Sermon on the Mount end up threatening people with violence? The answer is obvious. In both cases, you are dealing with institutions that are governed more by expedience than principle. Whether you are a Cardinal in Rome or a full-timer in London, you have material interests that sometimes clash with lofty ethical, political or religious beliefs.

    And what really boggles the mind is Alex Callinicos’s warning that faction members face ‘lynch mobs’ of angry members if the debate continues after the special conference. Even if this is only a metaphor, what kind of fucked-up metaphor is that to use? Maybe the CC comrades should watch “Django Unchained”.

    Unfortunately all institutions are susceptible to abuse of the sort that is taking place in the SWP. What occurs to me, however, is that the lofty ideological basis upon which such “vanguard” groups are built paradoxically sets it up for violation of its core beliefs.

    When you develop a theory such as “state capitalism”, it becomes a kind of litmus test used against the rest of the left and as such logically implies that you are superior to it. This is not that different than the warring sects of Hasidic Jewry, all based on a particular interpretation of the Talmud and loyal to its founder or the founder’s male descendant. The same arrogance that is directed toward “opponent” groups often carries over to the rank and file of your own.

    Such groups necessitate a priesthood that is keeper of the faith. Only those who have fully mastered Cliff-thought (or Cannon-thought) are fully capable of steering the party through the white-water rapids of bourgeois society. One false move to the left or the right and the boat capsizes, thus leaving the world bereft of the leadership it needs to challenge the capitalist order.

    In my view people are not megalomaniacs prior to assuming leadership of a group like the SWP. It is only the heavy mantle of responsibility of being the “Lenin of today” that makes you a tin-pot dictator.

  134. Charles Dexter Ward on said:

    “I have worked professionally with rape victims for many years and can confidently say that the SWP has acted appropriately in this matter.” stuart

    A male rape expert. How shocking that someone with views like this should be allowed a distressed or vulnerable woman. :-(

  135. Jon F: if I am wrong then I am lost as to what to do next.

    That’s a shame, seriously.

    The SWP could have, had it genuinely changed its approach to working with others and engaging in real mass politics, and continued its development in that direction, played an important role in building a genuine mass left party in Britain.

    But the creation of such a party was not and is not dependent on the existence of the SWP or any other Leninist sect.

    If the crisis and possible termimal decline of the SWP is a blow to you because you have invested time, money and emotional energy into it then I am genuinely sympathetic because I know what that feels like.

    But it certainly doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

  136. Charles Dexter Ward:
    “I have worked professionally with rape victims for many years and can confidently say that the SWP has acted appropriately in this matter.” stuart

    A male rape expert.How shocking that someone with views like this should be allowed a distressed or vulnerable woman.

    Let’s not forget that the DC was majority women and at least one apparently an expert on helping rape victims.

  137. Jara Handala on said:

    Andy Newman: You can’t conclude that at all.

    That’s the nature of an assertion, it lacks any good reason to believe it is true. One can trust someone, & have a good reason, evidence, to do so, but that’s trusting them as a person, not trusting that either the last thing or next thing they say is true. They’re different matters.

    Trusting someone is no substitute for (& is much inferior to) them offering evidence in support of what they say. It was striking that since 4pm Saturday, in over 40hrs of comments, no-one has given any evidence supporting the assertions that the SWP or its members had been witch-hunted, attacked, & that their treatment had been nasty & shameful.

    I obviously addressed what they both said; honour doesn’t enter into it, & I’m surprised you introduced it. I was simply noting that they both made very important assertions, & despite being asked by 2 people no evidence was offered, & notably Cath Elliott, who attended the Conference, in her many comments not once said anything about this.

    So the assertions were left hanging, as were the implications: that UNISON attendees had been nasty & shameful in their conduct, & that they had attacked & witch-hunted the SWP & its members. Which isn’t a nice state of affairs, I’m sure all will agree.

  138. Solomon Hughes: To me the …. “orthogonal to the mainstream” stuff just sounds like psychologising – a wordy way for you to say “loony left”.

    Manzil expressed clearly what I mean by “orthogonal to the mainstream”

    Presumably in Stuart’s view, “working class activity” must be utterly autonomous from public affairs – that is to say, powerless over them – right up until the moment it assumes supreme power. From rank and file to ruling class without a misstep. Which would rely on such a cataclysmic situation, to utterly destroy the power and culture of the elite and thus allow an usurpation by the pristine forces of the radical Left, that I don’t think any but the most hardened believers would wish for the SWP path to be realised.

  139. Andy Newman:

    Silly boy. Cath is not regretting the result of the vote she is saying the debate was skewed by the SWP

    As Mandy Rice Davies would say….

  140. prianikoff on said:

    Newman@72 ” the envelope of labourism is a broad one, and any one particular position from Ed does not define the labour party”

    Oh silly me, there was I thinking Ed Miliband was leader of the Labour Party!
    When you’re superglued to a pogo-stick being orthogonal to the pavement is vital.
    But being orthogonal to the One Nation mainstream isn’t enough for a Socialist.
    You have to swim against the stream.

  141. Marxist Lennonist,

    The SWP condemned Galloway’s remarks but opposed ‘no platform’. Unfortunately some on this site have proposed that unions take punitive bureaucratic measures against SWP members. Quite simply, anyone on the left should oppose witch-hunts.

  142. Charles Dexter Ward:
    A male rape expert.How shocking that someone with views like this should be allowed a distressed or vulnerable woman

    I would oppose informing the police against their will and sending information about their case to a blog.

  143. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    stuart,

    To investigate the case in the way they did WAS trivialising rape, as anyone outside your self-referential world understands

  144. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    stuart,

    “Quite simply, anyone on the left should oppose witch-hunts.”

    Didn’t see you guys opposing the witch-hunting of George and Assange!

  145. Marxist Lennonist:

    To investigate the case in the way they did WAS trivialising rape, as anyone outside your self-referential world understands

    If something is trivial it’s not worth investigating.

  146. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: If the SWP were trivialising rape they would not have investigated the case.

    You couldn’t be more wrong: it is only rational to investigate (& adjudicate) what one can do COMPETENTLY, otherwise one disrespects & injures all involved.

    The DC, in fact any collective in the SWP, did not have the competence to investigate & adjudicate upon an allegation of a serious crime, such as rape.

    The DC, as explained by Candy U reporting to Conference on Saturday, 5 Jan, investigated & adjudicated coz they deemed they had the right ATTITUDE, being experienced cdes. with the right knowledge & practice of revolutionary politics. She was patently & glaringly silent on claiming the DC members were competent to investigate & adjudicate.

    In being ignorant of what was at stake, the DC – & ultimately the CC – insulted all concerned, including Cde. Smith, they harmed the reputation of the SWP, &, yes, they trivialised what is the very difficult matter of conducting properly an investigation & adjudication of an allegation of a serious crime.

    Here their attitude was pre-scientific & voluntarist, the belief that if they approached the matter in the common sense way a revolutionary deals with life then everything would work out fine. It displayed a wilful ignorance of the skills & knowledge that were needed. This is typical of a politics that denigrates expertise in the conduct of human affairs.

    The DC – & CC – was simply crass. But not as much as they & the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared) are today coz, after all the opportunities they have had, given the scrutiny their practice has been subject to, they are still unable to recognise how egregious the DC has been – & the CC for refusing to halt everything.

  147. Cath Elliott: he debate went down the way it did because the SWP chose to reveal their complete hypocrisy by producing and distributing the ridiculous leaflet featured at the top of the post, and by choosing to defend the behaviour of the CC in their opposing speeches

    Cath

    I’m curious about the implications for UNISON about the resolution adopted at UNISON Women’s Conference at the weekend.

    It’s at least arguable that the SWP Disputes Cttee – with their Lets get the alleged rapists mates to question the victim procedure’ those who backed them at SWP Conference and those who are now publicly backing the SWP CC now… fall within the terms of the resolution passed at UNISON Women’s Conference.

    Given that amongst this number are UNISON actvists at most levels from branch to NEC – are they to be refused platforms by UNISON?

  148. stuart: If something is trivial it’s not worth investigating.

    I don’t think my psyche can stand much more of this. It’s amazing: The fact that you investigated it proves you weren’t trivialising it, cos if you were trivialising it you wouldn’t have investigated it.

    Forget just how atrociously the investigation was conducted, how sloppy and amateurish, how biased (one side got a long time to read the other side’s statements, and the other side was never shown them) and how, as mentioned above, the DC felt it could investigate it cos they were proper revolutionaries.

    It’s just beyond parody.

  149. Stephen: I’m curious about the implications for UNISON about the resolution adopted at UNISON Women’s Conference at the weekend.

    It is only policy for UNISON’s self-organised women

  150. Tony Collins: the DC felt it could investigate it cos they were proper revolutionaries.

    The issue here is that if a DC member is competent to judge of rape allegations just because they are an expereinced “revolutionary socialist” who understands the politics of womens oppression; then by extension it must also be impossible for an expereinced “revolutionary socialist” who understands the politics of womens oppression to commit a rape. So they must – in this Kafkaesque world – be innocent.

  151. stuart: If the party had said it’s not worth investigating a bit of poor sexual etiquette, that would be trivialisation.

    See everyone? It takes a proper, loyal guy like “stuart” to explain to us all the intricate rules surrounding what you do when one of your leaders is accused of rape.

  152. stephen marks on said:

    Tony Collins:
    Andy Newman,

    That’s logically completely right. Will someone please hold me? My brain is feeling warped.

    Tony, I don’t want to warp your poor brain any further, but you do realise don’t you that by the same irrefutable logic it must follow that anyone bringing such a self-evidently false charge must be an enemy of the party and of the working class, to be dealt with accordingly.

  153. stephen marks: it must follow that anyone bringing such a self-evidently false charge must be an enemy of the party and of the working class, to be dealt with accordingly.

    Which is why they must be discouraged from going to the police

  154. stephen marks: Tony, I don’t want to warp your poor brain any further, but you do realise don’t you that by the same irrefutable logic it must follow that anyone bringing such a self-evidently false charge must be an enemy of the party and of the working class, to be dealt with accordingly.

  155. Andy Newman: So they must – in this Kafkaesque world – be innocent.

    By your logic everyone on the committe would have to arrive at the same view about rape and sexual harassment. Was that the case?

  156. stuart: you have no evidence you are wilfully distorting.

    Hows this for an example, in an SWP publication edited by Frau Delta:

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=25685

    … More “effective” policing means more deaths, more harassment, and more anger.

    The last thing we need is a state with more ways of attacking ordinary people. The police are the enemy of everyone who want to see a more just, fair society.

    It is the actions of the police that marginalise and criminalise so many.


    We should drive the police out of our estates and off our streets.

  157. Stuart, you’re supposedly a marxist yet you can’t see how the general “noise” and political discourse inside the party about the police and justice system might go a long way to making someone feel they shouldn’t go to the police?

    If it’s not trying to influence people, why bother printing that stuff then?

  158. Dafydd Goch on said:

    Jon F (157): I don’t know about Bradford workers actually holding the town in arms (was that the Chartist movement?) – but the armed ironworkers of Merthyr Tydfil certainly held their town against regular troops for a week or so in the Merthyr Rising of 1831.

  159. John Parker on said:

    You do realise that you’re all just talking to each other don’t you? I don’t know who comes out of this posting worst but please don’t believe you are talking to anybody but each other/

  160. #192 So are you saying that the the position expressed in that article about the Police does not apply to the Police as the only agency that has the job currently of investigating criminal allegations of rape?

    If so, why is that?

    If not, can you (a) explain why you think that a member of the SWP, knowing that this was the position of the party, would feel they had the support of the party in going to the Police?

    (b) Comment on the suggestion that an impartial observer (not one of your ‘external enemies’) could believe it likely that the party might discourage a member (or anyone else for that matter) who had accused another member of rape from going to the Police.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I know of no evidence that she WAS actively discouraged and I neither make that allegation nor think that anyone else should in the absence of such evidence.

  161. John Parker: please don’t believe you are talking to anybody but each other

    and yourself of course. I think the admin are aware of how many people visit the site.

  162. Tony Collins,

    Many of us on the left have all sorts of criticisms of the police. That would not in itself prove that accusers were prevented from using the police. That is not the position of the SWP..

    ‘It is a harsh reality that in this society there are no other mechanisms apart from the police and the prison system for dealing, for instance, with child molesters, rapists or serial killers’

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/harman/2006/07/police.htm

    If you have no evidence why are you pushing this line? It amounts to distortion.

  163. Vanya,

    To which impartial observer do you refer? My point is that if people on here have no evidence yet they repeatedly suggest that pressure must have been applied they are not setting a very good example in impartiality. It begins to look more like opportunistically trashing the SWP and/or scoring points in a faction fight.

  164. jim mclean on said:

    From Violence against women Online Resources

    If a man assaulted a pregnant friend of yours on the street and beat her until he broke her jaw, punched her repeatedly in the stomach, broke two of her ribs, who would you call?
    A. psychiatrist
    B cop? [1]

    A cop, of course. Police play a critical role in the quality and timeliness of protection available when someone turns violent.

    Jane Sadusky
    Battered Women’s Justice Project

    http://www.vaw.umn.edu/documents/bwjp/policev/policev.html

  165. Mr Spartypants on said:

    You know what trivialises rape? Giving a rapist party organiser a 2-year suspension from the party; and then a couple of years later giving 2 party members the same punishment for speaking to their mates about their concerns about how the party had handled a rape allegation.

  166. stuart,

    I think it should be clear what I mean by an impartial observer. Unless you think that the world is divided into people who either hate your organisation or are fanatically loyal to it, then I’m sure such a person is not difficult to hypothsise.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I don’t include people who already have clearly expressed gripes with your party leadership.

  167. stuart: It begins to look more like opportunistically trashing the SWP and/or scoring points in a faction fight.

    Yeah but to be fair, it begins to look like that to you, mainly because that was your initial assumption about the SWP’s critics (I remember you dismissing me as not having been “particularly kind” to the party on SU!) and you’ve probably been hoping to confirm that ever since. Because it means the problem isn’t the SWP, and that it doesn’t need to change.

    If you really think that, why keep trying to hold the line on here? If everyone’s just a committed sectarian, why bother? I don’t imagine you spend time defending the SWP to ConservativeHome.

  168. Vanya,

    You mean an imaginary impartial observer? I thought you had someone in mind. I hope an ‘impartial’ observer would accept that a socialist organisation would not interfere with the right to take an allegation of rape to the police. Taking the allegation to the police and taking it to the party are very different things. The party can only act use membership status as a sanction. That is what the compainant was requesting.

  169. Mr Spartypants: You know what trivialises rape? Giving a rapist party organiser a 2-year suspension from the party; and then a couple of years later giving 2 party members the same punishment for speaking to their mates about their concerns about how the party had handled a rape allegation.

    I’m guessing you believe it won’t be long before you’re kicked out of the party or driven to leave? (don’t worry I’m not gonna give your identity away) – the truth is, if party members are feeling this aggrieved, then it’s just more proof of just how unfit for leadership the CC is. Comrades like the poster above should be confident in the leadership, not angry like this.

  170. Manzil:

    If you really think that, why keep trying to hold the line on here? If everyone’s just a committed sectarian, why bother? I don’t imagine you spend time defending the SWP to ConservativeHome.

    I appeal to people on here as fellow socialists. The party is under attack from the bourgeois press and if yesterday is anything to go by, the trade union bureacracy may follow. This is not about the way a rape allegation was handled it’s about politics.

  171. stuart: I appeal to people on here as fellow socialists. The party is under attack from the bourgeois press and if yesterday is anything to go by, the trade union bureacracy may follow. This is not about the way a rape allegation was handled it’s about politics.

    Because “the way a rape allegation was handled” isn’t serious enough to invite criticism from ‘outsiders’? Or simply that everything melts away when the organisational continuity of the SWP is threatened?

  172. Stephen on said:

    stuart: The party is under attack from the bourgeois press and if yesterday is anything to go by, the trade union bureacracy may follow.

    … The boureois press may well be attacking the SWP … but they were rather slow on the uptake as lots and lots of socialists had as it were , been there and done that … as had lots of feminists … and then various groups insiode the SWP.

    And if yesterday is anything to go by it’s not the trade union bureacucracy that are the SWP’s problem , it’s the TU rank and file..who living in the real world ( sorry , lacking the revolutionary commitment and perspective of the SWP conference majority) know something rotten when they see it.

  173. Graham Day on said:

    stuart: This is not about the way a rape allegation was handled it’s about politics.

    It’s about both… your party’s messianic fantasy politics led it to deal badly with an allegation of rape.

  174. stuart: This is not about the way a rape allegation was handled it’s about politics.

    Yes its about politics like Assange and Galloway was and is about politics.

    The thing is what sort of politics ignored the few known facts of the Assange case, lined up with msm to denounce Galloway and went one further and tried to No Platform him and all while dealing with its own 9 (at a minimum) rape allegations in the most secretive and inept fashion its possible to imagine.

    Plainly those sort of politics are of no practical use to anyone seeking to effect positive change and in coming to the attention of the general population invite derision at best and contempt at worst.

    Its all over, done in by cronyism, idiocy and the internet. There will be no more student intakes and should the battle for resources be seriously joined there is worse to come.

    After hubris nemesis.

  175. The SWP wasn’t part of the “no platform” stuff, although SWSS put out a statement calling him a rape denier or apologist or some such.

    Of course, the party “broke with Galloway” (as they put it a few months ago) by calling for people to vote for a Blairite instead of voting for someone else simply cos they were standing for the same party that Galloway is an MP for. Thankfully the fuss that the members created meant that the leadership was able to correct the “error” and instead call for no support for anyone

  176. stuart: The party is under attack from the bourgeois press and if yesterday is anything to go by, the trade union bureacracy may follow.

    I am confused now by your position Stuart.

    The CC and loyalist line is that the Delta affair is not damaging the SWP in the real world, and it is all Internet froth. a line is being drawn under it, and there is no need to adress the political issues, as they are a distraction from all that virtuous real world campaigning that the SWP (and Jimmy Haddow) are alone on doing.

    You now seem to be flip flopping over to the IDOOP position that the SWP is being affected in the real world. In whhich case, surely you would have to concede that the SWP CC’s handling of the issue has made things worse?

    Stuart, are you a secret oppositionist? Will you be taking your recording device into the 10th march conference again for me?

  177. Andy Newman (214) and others,

    My ‘position’ is similar to that laid out by Alex Callinicos. The leaking of the transcript ensured that a highly distorted account of an internal matter was able to circulate. Oppositionists could capitalise on this in their effort to effect their desired changes.

    As someone who actually works in the field I am far more concerned by the fact that some have argued that the police should be informed against the wishes of the accuser and that others have supported the leaking and subsequent publication of this kind of information, than anything the party may have done.

  178. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart: ‘It is a harsh reality that in this society there are no other mechanisms apart from the police and the prison system for dealing, for instance, with child molesters, rapists or serial killers’

    Precisely Stuart. You do see what you just did there, don’t you?

    Or do we need to explain it to you slooooowly?

  179. Jellytot on said:

    @214Stuart, are you a secret oppositionist? Will you be taking your recording device into the 10th march conference again for me?

    He’ll need plenty of margarine if he does. :-)

    @217My ‘position’ is similar to that laid out by Alex Callinicos.

    I’m shocked….I thought it would be an exact carbon copy, right down to its DNA.

    In these fevered times “Similar” could put you into the metaphorical gulag.

  180. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart: The leaking of the transcript ensured that a highly distorted account of an internal matter was able to circulate.

    Do you mean it was a ‘highly distorted’ transcript? Because as far as I was aware it was an exact verbatim record. At which point does an exact copy/record become ‘highly distorted’?

    Is it at the point where reality is so distorted and twisted that an alleged serious crime becomes an ‘internal matter’?

    You claim to work professionally with women who have been abused. You can have no idea how much I hope that you are lying.

  181. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart: I appeal to people on here as fellow socialists. The party is under attack from the bourgeois press and if yesterday is anything to go by, the trade union bureacracy may follow. This is not about the way a rape allegation was handled it’s about politics.

    Your melodramatic air is initially laughable – of course you are not “under attack from the bourgeois press” how utterly ridiculous.
    The bourgeois press cynically paid your organisation some fleeting attention due to the nature of the subject that your DC discussed.

    To put it bluntly, in the world of sunday newspapers, sex stories sell papers. They’ve now moved on and they’ve returned to showing you zero interest.

    Politically, they have zero interest in your organisation. Politically, you are unimportant to them.

    It’s transparently obvious that the Calinicos “line” about being “under attack” is a posture adopted in order to create an internal bunker mentality in order to intimidate and terrorise your internal opposition.

    So your “under attack” lie, while initially laughable, is in truth quite sinister.

    And neither are you “under attack” from the trade union movement. A few richly deserved jeers from sickened delegates aimed at hypocritical conference speeches by supporters of lynch mobs, summary expulsions, bullying and abuse does not constitute an “attack”.

    Would that your lynch-mob faction was truly “under attack” from our movement – you most certainly deserve it.

  182. Totally Horrified Ex: At which point does an exact copy/record become ‘highly distorted’?

    The transcript can in no way represent the totality of the case. And in any case people will select out bits to suit their own particular agenda.

  183. stuart: The transcript can in no way represent the totality of the case.

    Woah, woah woah! You’re saying delegates were presented a distorted account? That they weren’t given a full account and then expected to vote?

    No wonder people are pissed off and don’t trust you.

  184. : if yesterday is anything to go by, the trade union bureacracy may follow.

    I still don’t know any details of what exactly happened at the conference in terms of what the SWP members experienced.

    stuart: The transcript can in no way represent the totality of the case. And in any case people will select out bits to suit their own particular agenda.

    Well the totality of the case includes the actual specific allegations and the defence to them, and these have not been discussed as far as I know, because they aren’t the issue.

    There has been no suggestion as far as I know that the transcript is innacurate or incomplete. And which bits do you think have not been focussed on that would refute the criticisms that people have made?

  185. jim jepps,

    It was a transcript of a debate about a report into the handling of a complaint. The complaint was heard by seven democratically elected committee members, in private.

  186. stuart:
    jim jepps,

    It was a transcript of a debate about a report into the handling of a complaint. The complaint was heard by seven democratically elected committee members, in private.

    but how would people be able to vote on whether things were handled properly or not without knowing the details of the case? that’s just ridiculous. In any case, something so serious should never have got to the stage where people had to vote on it, in fact, the whole case should never have been dealt with by the DC in the first place.

  187. Sandra Tyne on said:

    stuart:

    I have worked professionally with rape victims for many years and can confidently say that the SWP has acted appropriately in this matter.

    If you think, in your professional opinion, the SWP has acted appropriately in dealing with these allegations of rape and sexual assault then you need professional retraining.

    That you can confidently say it’s appropriate to have the accused judged by a group of his friends is pretty contemptible.

    That you can confidently say it’s appropriate to ask a rape complainant about her previous sexual relationships is pretty contemptible.

    That you can confidently say it’s appropriate to ask a rape complainant about her drinking habits is pretty contemptible.

    You wish to blame the rest of the left and the outside world for bringing this contempt upon you. But, in truth you have brought this contempt upon yourselves and have helped damage the rest of the left by association.

  188. stuart: The complaint was heard by seven democratically elected committee members, in private.

    I look forward to articles in SW criticising the use of secret courts in Britain.

  189. stephen marks on said:

    I think you are being unfair in questioning Stuart’s professional standing in these matters. I am sure neither the complainant nor the alleged rapist in any of the cases he has dealt with were SWP members, so there was no principled revolutionary objection to his treating the matter in accordance with bourgeois norms of so-called ‘fairness’ and ‘objectivity’.

  190. Jara Handala on said:

    stephen marks: so there was no principled revolutionary objection to his treating the matter in accordance with bourgeois norms of so-called ‘fairness’ and ‘objectivity’.

    Hi, Stephen, so are you saying that the rest of ‘the class’ is not worthy of the superior revolutionary socialist standards of fairness & objectivity that the SWP leaders have discovered & then institutionalised in the Disputes Cttee.?

    Is this a double standard, one standard for those who have seen the light, & an inferior one for the great unwashed awaiting revo soc leadership in this matter & the countless other ones?

    If the SWP is convinced of its superior procedures then it should be consistent & start a campaign in the labour & socialist movement to make the SWP approach the norm.

    Not to initiate such a campaign would be elitist, arrogant of them, as it would amount to saying that only SWP members are worthy of the superior SWP way of doing things.

    The SWP really mustn’t be shy in this matter. Having used their revolutionary methods (a nod to Georgie Lukács here?) to make these discoveries they should share them with the rest of the labour & socialist movement.

    It could even turn into a nice lil earner, & Cde. Martin Smith could even head up the training programme for trade unions, socialist organisations & other interested groups in civil society. It would more than make up for any loss of revenue resulting from a fall in membership – perish the thought.

    Letting Cde. Martin Smith head up the SWP’s new training division would really show the world that the SWP has a tight grip on reality.

  191. Karl Stewart on said:

    Sandra Tyne,

    Some excellent points Sandra, and I agree with almost every one.

    But just on the issue of the rest of the left, I think the rest of the left has shown remarkable unanimity here in utterly rejecting the bullying and abuse of the “lynch-mob” faction.

    Absolutely no-one at all outside the ranks of the lynch-mob faction has expressed even the tiniest degree of sympathy for them.

    Calinicos and his 500 pieces of shit stand completely and utterly isolated and held in contempt by all of us.

    I don’t agree that the rest of the left has been damaged at all by this – in fact quite the reverse.

    Despite the political differences we have with each other, we’ve united in defence of basic socialist and working-class principles of equality and dignity for all against bullying and abuse and in favour of real democratic accountability and open and honest debate.

    Whatever the outcome of the SWP’s conference, the sickening behaviour of Calinicos and his cronies and the whole abomination of socialism that they represented has already been comprehensively and utterly discredited across the left as a whole.

    The left and working-class movement is collectively strengthened by this.

  192. Karl Stewart,

    Good points. I didn’t think it was possible to get any more alienated from the Callinicos gang until reading about the lynch mobs. It’s been buried under all the prior outrages, but if anything, the undercurrent of violence behind their response should justify a political storm all on its own.

    Christ though, who’d have thought we’d have to take comfort in agreeing that being a complete shit isn’t something the Left is really ‘down’ with…

  193. michael banda on said:

    Manzil: didn’t think it was possible to get any more alienated from the Callinicos gang until reading about the lynch mobs

    How do you think the callinicos familly got to own farm land in rhodesia, where his lordship was born?

  194. Sandra Tyne on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    I wish I shared your optimism about the left being collectively strengthened by this.

    And although I’m glad the rest of the left have been unanimous in condemning the CC loyalists I still think we will face being tared with the same brush the next time the right need to smear an antifascist demo, an anti-austerity campaign or a strike that gains some momentum. I don’t think the CC loyalists should be let off the hook for that.

  195. Jara Handala on said:

    Seems the SWP is not alone – and how could it be? Arsène Wenger is also complaining about the Dark Side.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football reported last night, Monday evening, that the hapless Wenger said, “he and Arsenal are being wilfully undermined by sinister external forces”, & that “the club are ‘hunted’ by the media”. All that was missing was the ‘w-word’: witch.

    Unable to get Professor Blonde out of my head we learn that Wenger tells us, “I’m sure you would miss me when I’m gone”. Ah, they who believe they are indispensable: never underestimate the ego of a leader.

    And then this gem: “I am 30 years in this job and if I was paranoid, you would know it already”.

    Bringing the SWP & Arsenal together could be a marriage made in the Light Side, a union to counter the Dark Side. Maybe the Central Cttee. could second Cde. Martin Smith, the arch-communicator, allowing him to be Wenger’s press spokesman? Or maybe he could apply his people-skills, in charge of corporate hospitality? Or apply his talents to waste management, dealing with the filth, letting him be the scourge of all that blights the great club that is Arsenal? The possibilities are endless.

    Or maybe the SWP can strike out on its own, given what Manzil says (#84, 11:33pm, http://www.socialistunity.com/documents-of-the-swp-opposition): the SWP could turn the pugilistic proclivities of Cde. Martin Smith into a nice lil earner, creating a martial arts division, even training bouncers for clubs & Labour Party meetings – & heaven knows we need reform here, what with the appalling treatment of Cde. Walter Wolfgang, the 82-year-old, bundled out of the 2005 Conference during Straw’s Iraq speech.

    (Cde. Wolfgang is 90 in June, a LP member for 65 years. Maybe, as our tribute, someone can interview him for ‘Socialist Unity’.)

    Finally, some Wenger quotes from the Guardian transcript of the press conference – not to be confused with the Disputes Cttee. transcript or that of any CC meeting featuring Professor Blonde:

    “. . . wrong information, that has only one intention, which is to harm”
    “We know well what is going on here. What is important is to forget what people say and focus on our strengths”
    “It’s not what people say, it’s what we produce”
    “we live in a democracy of experts and opinions, but we have to live with that and cope with that and show we have the mental strength to deal with any opinion”
    “I feel I have a strong team. And I am sure they will prove me right”
    “You think I am so naive that I don’t see what is behind that? You think I am a complete idiot?”
    “it is unfinished business as long as we don’t win”
    “We are underdogs, yes. You just have to read the English press and you understand that”
    “we have beaten everybody, which is what people forget”
    “we fight the whole season against everybody hunting here”
    “one day, you will realise that this team has fantastic qualities”
    “I don’t take that personally”
    “they have to fight against everybody”
    “I’m angry because when you give wrong information like that . . . there’s not only wrong information behind that”
    “The lie is targeted to hurt. It’s easy to say people are not happy”
    “I deserve more credit”
    “we are not the only ones”
    “They are lies”
    “I reacted this way to the lie”
    “do you really think that I take all that personally? What I don’t accept is lies and when the target behind it is to manipulate people”
    “I am 30 years in this job and if I was paranoid, you would know it already”
    “You can criticise me and say I am doing a bad job”
    “this kind of thing that is a bit manipulative”
    “I am not completely sure that you are really interested”
    “I am sure you would miss me when I am gone”

  196. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    #238 Its not just Wenger, tonight BBC 4 announced it was doing a series on “the dark side of the internet”, starting with a programme at 10pm! I’m not making this up, really….

    Btw where do you get the “Professor Blonde” name from?

  197. Jara Handala on said:

    Marxist Lennonist: Btw where do you get the “Professor Blonde” name from?

    #239, 2:58am

    Sorry, I forgot to include the comment you’d made about BBC4! Hilarious!

    Well, when ‘Weekly Worker’ posted the ‘lynch mobs email’ they’d received, the detailed report of the regular ‘International Socialism’ journal editorial board meeting when Callinicos threatened lynch mobs if the natives didn’t stop being restless, WW headed the article with a photoshop job of Callinicos as a Reservoir Dog.
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/callinicos-threatens-lynch-mobs

    And the most violent Reservoir Dog is Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen). So that’s why he’s Professor Blonde – to add to all the other names he has earned.

    P.S. Is Yoko a party member too?

  198. stuart: But the accuser did not want to go to the police, she wanted it heard as a complaint by the party.

    Stuart I want to try this one more time.

    We accept that people have all sorts of distorted consciousness as a result of the ideology and experiences and environment they are exposed to, right? As marxists, we know that “agency” is a really complicated subject, cos yes, we live in a remarkably free society, but we are also tightly ideologically controlled.

    So, we hate racism but we need to have some understanding of why it is so useful to the ruling class: When someone is a racist, we don’t write them off forever, we seek to show them that their anger is being directed at the wrong target. We accept it about a large array of subjects.

    We accept all this about other people.

    Can we accept it about ourselves?

    Can we accept that even people as “advanced” as a female SWP member might be swayed by all sorts of internal and external pressures?

    I absolutely believe that the comrade didn’t want to go to the police. I accept it without question. But I don’t think you can use it in your argument. Cos you’re denying that there are any other influences on the way she thinks and acts, and being really unmarxist and thus simply using it to score points.

    I can’t and won’t speak for the woman. If I was a close and trusted friend, I would try and influence her one way or the other, as friends do. In this context though, I’m using her experience to discuss the unpolitical nature of your argument.

    But I also know that people don’t simply pull decisions out of thin air. Her decision about the police will have been influenced by her personality, previous experience, her marxist politics (she will almost certainly believe that Delta shouldn’t go to prison for a crime that, she might argue, is the result of the sort of mess capitalism makes of people’s minds, and thus won’t want the criminal justice system involved).

    But she will also be influenced by years of “the left doesn’t use the state”. I hear it all the time when my union, the RMT, treats its workers badly: You don’t use the courts to get justice. Doing so will invite a right-wing attack that will do more damage than good. Doing so might shine a spotlight on an organisation that needs to keep some things secret.

    She will have been, and continue to be, influenced by where her peer group is located. I don’t mean “she’s scared of losing friends” – I am not putting any motives on her here. This is just what we would all do when making these decisions. We have all seen how the party tries to destroy its enemies – FFS stuart, you must be blind if you’ve not seen it. There have been real, credible threats against Andy from SWP members. They really did try to make out that I was a head case. We all know that if you mess about with the party, it’ll fuck you up.

    So, behind this innocent “she didn’t want to involve the police” are a massive number of factors, all of which are entirely hers to weigh up. They are not yours to use in argument – cos it leads to you becoming dishonest again, and asking “so you’d go to the police even without her wanting you to?”

    It’s not binary. We’re supposed to be able to analyse the world properly and understand that people aren’t robots.

  199. Jellytot on said:

    @240Callinicos threatened lynch mobs

    This is just a prime example of a toff talking tough.

    One of the traditional attractions of “revolutionary” politics for minor aristos like Callinicos is that it provides them with the opportunity, periodically, to slum it with a bit of working class “rough”…..although what constitutes the working class in the SWP in recent decades is open to question and seems to be comprised of a disproportionate amount of teachers and university lecturers.

    While there is a chance, given all the bile and tension, that the March 10th meeting will degenerate into some form of handbags/fisticuffs, let’s face it, if the SWP were the real, hardened, Leninist Deal Andy would have woken up beside a severed horse’s head weeks ago.

  200. One other quick thing: Do you all understand what the “select text & quote in your reply” and “reply without quoting text” buttons do? I just relabelled them to try to make them clearer.

    I ask cos of the sheer number of people who manually copy and paste bits of people’s comments, which means I’ve not done a good enough job of making the buttons usable.

    The first button will auto-copy/paste any text that you select from a comment, and will put it into your comment, along with a link to the original comment. The second one will simply put the person’s name and a link to their comment.

  201. Jara Handala on said:

    Tony Collins,

    Just a thought, as the 2nd box trips into a 2nd line why don’t you have both boxes on a full line, placed as far apart as possible? I think all on one line avoids any confusion for new users.

    And thanx again to everyone for all the work you do.

  202. Jellytot:
    @240Callinicos threatened lynch mobs

    let’s face it, if the SWP were the real, hardened, Leninist Deal Andy would have woken up beside a severed horse’s head weeks ago.

    No, he would have woken up beside Tony Collins’s severed head weeks ago.

  203. “One other quick thing: Do you all understand what the “select text & quote in your reply” and “reply without quoting text” buttons do? I just relabelled them to try to make them clearer.

    I ask cos of the sheer number of people who manually copy and paste bits of people’s comments, which means I’ve not done a good enough job of making the buttons usable.”

    Yes.

  204. To various posters,

    As a professional working in the field I am disturbed that the transcript was ever leaked and displayed. One of the first problems with this is the temptation of many to read into it what they want to. To pretend that the committee hearing was something that it never was. To construct their own version of something in order to suit their political agenda. To extract particular bits of the transcript in order to ‘prove’ a point whilst of course ignoring other bits. The result is a number of ‘criticisms’ of the SWP for something they were not even doing rather than something they actually were.

    This would be bad in any event, with subject matter such as this it is apalling. Further, I’m disturbed by some posters who advocate going to the police against the wishes of the complainant and of others who think it’s ok to post a comic strip depicting the accused in humour mode.

    The party have ratified the procedure through their democratic structures and a conference has been arranged on 10th March at which further discussion will take place.

  205. Andy Newman:

    Stuart. You have claimed professional expertise seal ng with rape victims. In what capacity?

    I cannot say more than I already have as I wish to preserve anonymity.

  206. Jara Handala on said:

    Jellytot: would have woken up beside a severed horse’s head weeks ago

    And they who placed it there also have access to the details of the Defence faction members.

    We know where you live . . .

  207. stuart: I cannot say more than I already have as I wish to preserve anonymity.

    you mean you are lying, and you don’t want to be caught with your pants on fire. Given the huge numbers of people who work in all the professions associated with rape victimes, indicating the nature of your professional competence could hardly identify you as an individual

  208. Jara Handala on said:

    chickeman: its from pulp fiction

    D’oh! I wondered why the pic they used hadn’t matched my search for Mr Blonde in google image!

    It’s Jules Winnfield, yes, played by Samuel L Jackson?

    But Professor Blonde should remain as one of his names, & now we also have Professor Winnfield, nice!

  209. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: a conference has been arranged on 10th March

    #249, 10:07am

    Greetings, Stuart. Hope you are well today.

    I’d like your opinion. As indicated, you mention the 10 March Special Conference. Do you believe the calling on 9 Feb of a Conference for 10 March complies with the Constitution, & if so, why?

  210. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Jellytot:
    @240Callinicos threatened lynch mobs

    While there is a chance, given all the bile and tension, that the March 10th meeting will degenerate into some form of handbags/fisticuffs, let’s face it, if the SWP were the real, hardened, Leninist Deal Andy would have woken up beside a severed horse’s head weeks ago.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC1_tdnZq1A

    Definitely.
    Callinicos and the now strangely silent johng enthused about the way Gaddafi was killed, and more recently both Seymour and Simon Assaf were quite chuffed with last summer’s bomb attack in Damascus that killed several leading government officials (they thought it heralded the imminent collapse of the Syrian government), but this was about events a long way away, and their reactions were also not far removed from that of mainstream politics in Britain (interesting reactions from people claiming to be revolutionaries, but whatever). Actual ability to enact violence… No. This is the British left we’re talking about, remember.

  211. Andy- in fairness it is possible that Stuart could be involved in some specialised job that would make him more easily identifiable than most.

    For example, I have already stated on a number of occasions that I have represented rape victims in complaints against the Police. For a lot of people who know me under my real identity that would make it quite easy for them to work out who I am, but I still do not intend to reveal any more than that information, asuming anyone was interested enough to ask.

    Of course, the more specialised Stuart’s job may be, the more questions some people may ask as to his qualifications given the responses he has received to his comments, but that’s clearly his problem.

  212. Vanya: it is possible that Stuart could be involved in some specialised job that would make him more easily identifiable than most.

    Quite possibly. However, he has only remembered that he has this professional relationship with rape victimes in the last two days, despite having commented here every day on the topic for weeks.

    Also, the several remarks he has made are completely incompatible with any professional competence in this field.

  213. stuart: One of the first problems with this is the temptation of many to read into it what they want to. To pretend that the committee hearing was something that it never was. To construct their own version of something in order to suit their political agenda. To extract particular bits of the transcript in order to ‘prove’ a point whilst of course ignoring other bits. The result is a number of ‘criticisms’ of the SWP for something they were not even doing rather than something they actually were.

    But the question is how the SWP leadership and the committee themselves describe what hapoened in the investigation. That’s there for all to see, in their own words and not denied.

    When Charlie Kimber complained to Andy he was quite clear what he objected to. The accuracy of the transcript was not raised.

    Of course people will interpret it in different ways and consider some bits more important than others. But it is what it is.

    It’s not how the cynical old hacks and anti-SWP elements who you imagine make up the majority of the readership on here that you need to convince. It’s the “impartial observers” I referred to previously.

  214. 249 Stuart.

    Mounting a dogged defence is one thing, but this kind of moralism and, what’s the word, formalism, doesn’t wash mate. It just doesn’t.

    You may convince yourself by repeating Ad nauseam ‘The party disciplinary procedure was activated and duly implemented in the correct and proper fashion. A vote to ratify this difficult episode was subsequently taken at conference and passed. Everything else is mischief, lies and enmity. End of’. But beyond a few hundred people – albeit probably a majority of your party, including crucially the higher echelons – it doesn’t wash.

    Yes, for good and occasionally bad reasons, some posters here over the last 2 months have vented their hatred of the SWP. But the point is that for most socialists outside your, frankly, tiny fold, the Delta incident was 1) completely wrong handled (even loyalists have admitted this to me though they add that it was done with good intent); 2) indicative of the kind of organisation the SWP has become – call it a sect, cult, call it what you will; and 3) a product of deep seated organisational and ideological problems with so called democratic centralism.

  215. #256 I was going to post the poodle scene from Twin Town but it’s banned from Youtube apparently.

    I also think making light of the subject of horses is bad taste at the moment.

  216. Andy Newman,

    Or better yet: maybe he’s a copper.

    I’d piss my pants if that was the case.

    Maybe Stuart driving his cop car from the estate back to the station was what Socialist Worker had in mind when they published that oft-quoted remark…?

  217. Vanya: When Charlie Kimber complained to Andy he was quite clear what he objected to. The accuracy of the transcript was not raised.

    Sir Charles Kimber (bart) is not the brightest cove, otherwise he would have though of that ruse.

  218. Andy Newman: Quite possibly. However, he has only remembered that he has this professional relationship with rape victimes in the last two days, despite having commented here every day on the topic for weeks.

    Also, the several remarks he has made are completely incompatible with any professional competence in this field.

    I am not lying over this as you suggest in an earlier post. I never really wanted to reveal anything about my job in the first place but felt compelled to because I was so angry at the bile that was being expresed. I stand by what I said but in terms of further revelations I’m in something of a bind. The more I say to bolster my credentials the more I identify myself to the outside world and the more my actual identity is narrowed down, a state of affairs I wish to avoid. I’m happy to be addressed simply as a socialist, however as I say I do feel angry when posters preach what ‘should’ happen and then advocate things which are IMO pretty awful.

  219. Andy Newman: Also, the several remarks he has made are completely incompatible with any professional competence in this field.

    There are many ‘Therapists’ and ‘Councellors’ operating with no professional competences at all so that widens the field. I do agree though the idea that this case was properly handled would apall those trained and qualified specialists I have worked with.

  220. SA:I do agree though the idea that this case was properly handled would apall those trained and qualified specialists I have worked with.

    I think it appals anyone with even a modicum of common sense and human decency. Yet this is precisely what the SWP loyalists seem so incapable of understanding – it don’t think they’re dishonest, just so very deluded, wedded to a very dangerous ‘bunker mentality’.

    @Andy, Gene Hunt – Ouch!

  221. Vanya,

    On the other hand, it was Stuart who chose to invoke his claim to professional qualification – and after how many weeks discussing this very topic, with the defenders of the SWP majority increasingly desperate to justify the unhinged behaviour of Callinicos and co.?

    I declare shenanigans.

  222. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil: Stuart

    Manzil, this person writes differently from the earlier ‘stuart’: verbose, poorer construction, looser.

    Same IP addy? Or a proxy?

    Maybe a case for Inspector Collins.

  223. Tony Collins: I can’t and won’t speak for the woman. If I was a close and trusted friend, I would try and influence her one way or the other, as friends do. In this context though, I’m using her experience to discuss the unpolitical nature of your argument.

    Tony, based on the limited knowledge we have, which side of “one way or the other” do you think you would have landed on, to exert your influence?

  224. Jara Handala: Manzil, this person writes differently from the earlier ‘stuart’: verbose, poorer construction, looser.

    same guy, it may be deteriorating compusure on his part – “tired and emotional”

  225. Karl Stewart on said:

    Manzil,
    Jara Handala,

    I think the name “Stuart” is simply the posting name used when the lynch mob faction posts on here.

    So I doubt there’s a single individual behind this.

  226. Karl Stewart:

    I think the name “Stuart” is simply the posting name used when the lynch mob faction posts on here.

    So I doubt there’s a single individual behind this.

    I’m always the same person, have been since first posting in 2007, I do not know or have even met any CC members, I most certainly do not act on their behalf.

  227. If so Karl, then at least some of them appear to be half-way reasonable, and worth reaching out to. I don’t imagine the true lynch ‘em brigade would deign to explain themselves to us mere mortals.

    #273. In which case, in all sincerity ‘Stuart’: why don’t you take some time off arguing about the SWP online? Throughout these last few weeks you’ve come across as a very committed and sincere person, and while I disagree with your views have nothing but respect for your tenacity in defending them. But I don’t think having to wade through all this crisis is doing you any favours.

  228. Manzil:
    But I don’t think having to wade through all this crisis is doing you any favours.

    I’m genuinely intrigued by the nature of the opposition to the SWP on the supposed left. For me, the SWP represents the best hope for socialist future, others clearly disagree so I’m naturally drawn to these arguments.

  229. Tony Collins,

    I really don’t think it’s helpful getting into all this second guessing. My experience leads me to attempt to be objective, not start with pre-conceived ideas about what so and so must really have wanted. All I know is that the accuser did not use the police but chose the party complaints procedure. To speculate about how she must have been influenced is IMO disrespectful and ultimately abusive.

  230. stuart: I’m genuinely intrigued by the nature of the opposition to the SWP on the supposed left. For me, the SWP represents the best hope for socialist future, others clearly disagree so I’m naturally drawn to these arguments.

    Opposition to “the SWP”. The “supposed” left.

    Okay. This is what I’m talking about Stuart. It’s perfectly acceptable to just take a step back.

  231. stuart: I really don’t think it’s helpful getting into all this second guessing.

    I was doing no such thing. My point is, when the victim says “I want to keep this from the police” and when those who are supporting her say “she doesn’t want to go to the police”, that is qualitatively and politically different than an SWP member who says “she didn’t want to go to the police” as part of his defence of the DC’s conduct.

    So, I hoped I was careful in the way I phrased things, apologies if I wasn’t – I was using it as a starting point to explore how wrong it is for a marxist to use “she made a decision” as the ultimate arbiter of things.

    I’ve said elsewhere, but on the tube one of our drivers had a “near miss”, while the “The Tube” programme was being filmed. The manager said on camera that he hoped he could convince the person to carry on driving. The driver agreed, and also agreed to be filmed while driving. He was in a right state, completely unfit to drive. No way did he give serious informed consent – he was used by someone.

    I am *not* saying that W was used by the party. I am saying that “this person made a decision” is a flimsy, moralistic and apolitical way for a marxist to approach these arguments.

    I can believe that while still absolutely supporting her right to make whatever decision she feels is best.

  232. I know who stuart is, and this stuart is the same as normal stuart. I think that we’re seeing the results of the ramping up of tension within the party – the sheer number of anonymous comments we’re getting from SWP members shows that there’s a lot of frustration out there. That’s why he’s being so tetchy. That and something something bourgeois media.

  233. stuart: more my actual identity is narrowed down, a state of affairs I wish to avoid.

    I’m not suprised that you would be thoroughly ashamed to be associeted in the real world with the views you post here

  234. Andy Newman: I’m not suprised that you would be thoroughly ashamed to be associeted in the real world with the views you post here

    Andy I see where you’re coming from here but Stewart is not abusing his anonymity and therefore I don’t think any aspertions should be cast on why he chooses to be anonymous.

    If he feels it is because he is defending the indefensible, and would not want to be associated in real life with what he is saying, that’s a matter for his conscience.

  235. Andy Newman,

    I’m also a UNISON member and what finally led me to ‘break’ and reveal a little was the thought of some jumped up bureaucrat denying me certain rights that others enjoy because I’m a rape denier or something similar. The bloody cheek of it. Yes it made me angry.

  236. Mark Victorystooge: both Seymour and Simon Assaf were quite chuffed with last summer’s bomb attack

    I’ve never read it, but I found the publishers’ description of SWPer (based in the USA) Mike Davis’ book on Car Bombs* a bit strange – and then when I read a long-ish article on the same subject by him (a translation)** I decided something was badly wrong with this man’s idea of political activity. So much for “the work of the working class itself”, both read – to me – like a wet dream over half a pound of semtex and some petrol in the back of a Cortina.

    Is this now ‘the line’ for a certain section of the SWP leadership? Not that they’d get involved in that kind of stuff *themselves*, obviously.

    * http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/174885.Buda_s_Wagon

    Davis argues that it is the incessant impact of car bombs, [...] that is changing cities and urban lifestyles, as privileged centers of power increasingly surround themselves with “rings of steel” against a weapon
    that nevertheless seems impossible to defeat.

    ** http://www.lettre.de/content/mike-davis_autobomben (a tiny extract of a very long piece) – the title is
    “Car Bombs – The Small Man’s Weapon”.

  237. Vanya: Stewart is not abusing his anonymity

    Let us be clear, Stuart is playing the card of professional authority to give his opinion greater weight, but is not prepared to substantiate that authority. I think that is abusing anonymity.

  238. daggi: like a wet dream over half a pound of semtex and some petrol in the back of a Cortina.

    Let me first contextualise my remarks by stating my opposition to terrorism, and that car bombs are NEVER justified. But to use a Cortina, especially a Mark II Cortina, would by utterely sacreligous

  239. Andy Newman: Let us be clear, Stuart is playing the card of professional authority to give his opinion greater weight, but is not prepared to substantiate that authority. I think that is abusing anonymity.

    I defend the actions first and foremost as a socialist. I don’t really want people to agree with me because I boast certain qualifications or experience, I just felt that people were, whilst in the process of making opportunistic political attacks, setting themselves up as ‘experts’ in what should have been done. Yet in so doing they were advocating actions that from both a political and professional point of view would have been outrageous.

  240. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Speaking of car bombs… I was watching the American-owned Turkish TV channel CNN Turk this evening, and they had a visit to a “Free Syria Army” bomb factory in an undisclosed location, quite possibly in Turkey rather than Syria itself. It was not clear that the images were recent, as the people on camera were dressed for warmer weather than that region typically has in February. What was interesting was that the people putting improvised explosive devices together on camera were never called “terrorist” by the channel, a description otherwise used lavishly on most Turkish TV channels inc. CNN Turk, often to refer to people who go nowhere near the manufacture and use of explosive devices.

  241. Stephen on said:

    Tony Collins: I know who stuart is, and this stuart is the same as normal stuart

    I know what you mean but ‘usual Stuart’ or ‘frequent commenter Stuart’ or ‘blinkered SWP loyalist stuart’ or ‘crisis what crisis? stuart’ might be better …’normal” isn’t a word to be used in close conjunction to the pinheaded fanaticism which is his usual fare.

  242. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    daggi: I’ve never read it, but I found the publishers’ description of SWPer (based in the USA) Mike Davis’ book on Car Bombs* a bit strange – and then when I read a long-ish article on the same subject by him (a translation)** I decided something was badly wrong with this man’s idea of political activity. So much for “the work of the working class itself”, both read – to me – like a wet dream over half a pound of semtex and some petrol in the back of a Cortina.Is this now ‘the line’ for a certain section of the SWP leadership? Not that they’d get involved in that kind of stuff *themselves*, obviously.* http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/174885.Buda_s_WagonDavis argues that it is the incessant impact of car bombs, [...] that is changing cities and urban lifestyles, as privileged centers of power increasingly surround themselves with “rings of steel” against a weaponthat nevertheless seems impossible to defeat.** http://www.lettre.de/content/mike-davis_autobomben (a tiny extract of a very long piece) – the title is“Car Bombs – The Small Man’s Weapon”.

    It stood out, as the British left and the Western left as a whole usually run a mile from that sort of thing, sometimes firing off a quote from Trotsky’s Terrorism and Communism. Certainly in the Middle East, the car bomb is often the work of people who want to punish a neighbourhood for subscribing to another religious sect or confession.

    Not the least of my reasons for being cynical about the British left was precisely that Seymour-Assaf extravaganza – which was a bit of vicarious urban guerrilla warfare which their “own” ruling class happens to back, at least tacitly.

  243. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala: I’d like your opinion. As indicated, you mention the 10 March Special Conference. Do you believe the calling on 9 Feb of a Conference for 10 March complies with the Constitution, & if so, why?

    Hi, Stuart.

    I asked you this Q at 11am, over 8hrs ago, so I think you’ve had long enough to ponder your response, so we’d appreciate it if you would give it to us now.

    As you’ve shown yourself to be a stickler for the rules, procedure, democratically determined behaviour within the SWP, please enlighten us as to how this decision by the CC is all by the book, upholding the IS/SWP tradition that you, & others, are so proud of?

    And, Stuart, please don’t take another 8hrs.

    Thank you.

  244. Heather Downs on said:

    HarpyMarx,

    Yep.

    Politics is about socially validated exercise of power, so obviously, rape is political.

    This whole discussion has been about the failure of the criminal justice system to deal with sexual violence.

    There is a prevalent naive view that the SWP rape case should be dealt with by the police and judicial system based on the mistaken belief that the interests of survivors of sexual abuse are well represented by it.

    In a recent example, Frances Andrade took her own life after being manipulatd into taking her case to the police. She was then put through a court case where she was branded a liar and fantasist.

    There are good reasons why 85-90% of women don’t report sexual violence.

    The SWP’s political position on the police is therefore not necessarily a significant factor in W’s decision.

  245. Heather Downs: There is a prevalent naive view that the SWP rape case should be dealt with by the police and judicial system based on the mistaken belief that the interests of survivors of sexual abuse are well represented by it.

    Thankfully they had the Socialist Workers Party Disputes Committee to represent the interests of this particular survivor of sexual abuse, by asking about her drinking habits, blind-siding her with Comrade Delta’s version of events which she’d not been allowed to see beforehand (despite his having access to the details of her complaint), and not letting her ever actually speak to conference.

  246. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil: Show me in the SWP constitution where he has to answer in under eight hours.

    Good point.

    Hang on, let me just check that.

    But in my defence (pun not intended), I didn’t invoke the Constitution when I made the sub-8hr request.

    But good point, anyway. Just give me a moment – or perhaps Stuart knows that answer off the top of his head? Stuart?

  247. redbloodblackflag on said:

    “And yes, I think Candy’s absolutely right to say it’s important that the comrades on the panel were asked about whether or not they felt able to take part in the hearing, but I think we do need to consider and think about very carefully – and this is not an attack on the individuals involved – that when five of the people hearing the case were either current or former CC members, and that all of the people had worked incredibly closely with Comrade Delta, which is going to happen when you’re dealing with a leading comrade, I think you have to acknowledge that it brings an incredibly huge burden to bear. I’ve worked with Comrade Delta for 12 years and it’s an incredibly difficult situation”
    http://socialistunity.com/swp-conference-transcript-disputes-committee-report/

    Not to mention a blatant conflict of interest.

  248. Karl Stewart: Oi Vanya, “Stewart” doesn’t go anonymous.

    Sorry. But I obviously wasn’t referring to you. We weren’t at public school together were we? :)

  249. Jara Handala,

    From what I can see some members have been acting outside the terms of the constitution since conference in January. The Special Conference can only be seen IMO as a means of getting things resolved and has been called by the CC for that purpose. I cannot see how those blatantly defying the sprit of Democratic Centralism can now ask for even more ‘constitutional rights’. But that’s just my opinion it’s not definitive.

  250. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: The Special Conference can only be seen IMO as a means of getting things resolved and has been called by the CC for that purpose

    #307, 8:50pm

    You’re a bright lad, you know what I’m getting at, & you chose to ignore my point, my pointed Q, so let me put it this way.

    Your response is to offer an explanation for the CC calling a Special Conference, but that is not what I asked you to address.

    The point is this: the Constitution (article 4) says there has to be a 3 months pre-conference discussion. The CC has no discretion in this: the constitutional imperative is MANDATORY. It means if a Conference (Annual or Special) is called it MUST take place 3 months AFTER the day of that decision.

    Here, a CC decision on 9 Feb to call a Conference means the EARLIEST it can convene, and comply with the Constitution, is 3 months later. The CC decision called for a Conference in one month’s time, Sunday, 10 March. This obviously violates the Constitution, the CC members violating the Constitution in exceeding the powers the members have given them, the Constitution being an expression of the membership.

    So, Stuart, would you stop being evasive & face reality: would you please show how the CC decision complies with the powers given to the CC members by the membership as codified in the Constitution?

    We can all read the SWP Constitution (article 4) here:
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/swpinternalbulletins/PreConf_Bulletin_i_Oct_2012.pdf
    It’s at the back of Pre-Conference Bulletin, #1, Oct 2012, p.26 (the actual page #).

    The wording is this:
    “Three months before each Conference the Central Committee opens a special pre-conference discussion in the organisation”.

    I’m sure any readers who happen to be SWP members would be very interested in how you answer this question, how you demonstrate that you (and the Callinicos-Kimber faction you support) are promoters of transparency, adhering to the facts & logic, & are also courteous in not evading a straight-forward & obvious question about a seemingly unconstitutional action by the CC members.

    stuart: From what I can see some members have been acting outside the terms of the constitution since conference in January

    I think you are right there, Stuart, but everyone except you & the C-K faction are referring to the CC members & their bullying enforcers.

    Please answer my question, not least coz that question is not going away, placing a large question mark over the credibility of the faction you support & the willingness of the CC members to act as servants to the members, not trying to be masters over them.

    Thank you, Stuart.

  251. stuart,

    get real – this has nothing to do with the bourgeois press and everything to do with the disgraceful handling of a rape allegation. That is why the press picked it up. Because it is a complete scandal. To suggest that the crisis began outside of the party is to IGNORE REALITY. And I say this as a member of the party for 10 years who has recently left.

  252. Jara Handala,

    But factions are not supposed to be set up shortly after conference. That is why the CC referred to a ‘lack of precision’. To me it seems like compromise.

  253. There is no “view from the bunker.” Bunkers generally don’t have windows. I’d compare the view from within to a fishbowl — you can see parts of reality, but all the proportions and shapes are distorted.

  254. tom,

    It may not have started with the bourgeois press but they soon became involved. And is it really only about the handling of the case? I sense there are wider political arguments going on. And I fear that some members are not respecting the principles of democratic centralism and getting support from outside the party. I hope I’m wrong but I guess time will tell.

  255. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart: I defend the actions first and foremost as a socialist.

    On what possible basis can any supporter of Calinicos’s lynch mob faction call herself ore himself a “socialist”?

    1. All 500 of them support the summary expulsion of members foer having “unauthorised” private conversations with each other.

    2. All 500 of them believe that a boss should be able to behave inappropriately towards a 17-year-old female employee with no sanction.

    3. All 500 of them believe that female employees who complain about such a boss should be summarily fired.

    4. All 500 of them agree that they should be able to employ workers on what is essentially a workfare basis, below the Living Wage and with zero trade union collective bargaining rights.

    5. All 500 of them agree that there should be “lynch mobs” set against anyone who publicly disagrees with this.

    Who told these people that any of this has anything whatsoever to do with socialism?

    No

    Every single person on the Lynch Mob Faction’s 500 list of shame is an enemy of socialism and an enemy of the workiing class.

  256. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil: and not letting her ever actually speak to conference.

    #302, 8pm

    Manzil, it’s even worse than that:
    (1) the CC forbad Cde. W & others having a clarifying statement distributed to the members before Conference; &
    (2) the Conference Arrangements Cttee. – all members being appointees of the CC, albeit subject to approval by the first vote of Conference – forbad these comrades proposing a motion during the DC Conference session.
    (In case anyone is mixing up their letters, Cde. W brought the allegation of rape to the DC.)

    The 6 comrades despaired, writing a pre-Conference statement anyway, declaring, “This is a reluctant faction”. They were forced into this by the Callinicos-Kimber faction’s intransigence, an effect of their poor political judgment. These 6 comrades demonstrated their LOYALTY to a healthy SWP, they put constructive proposals to IMPROVE how the SWP works, but they were shunned, in effect told to go away, leave the CC alone, don’t try & disrupt its prerogative to rule the members how it wants.

    It’s difficult to picture a leadership more oblivious to a group of members who are reaching out, stretching out a hand, not to unseat them, but to make things better so that they can stay in their CC seats. But the Callinicos-Kimber faction are so incompetent that they can’t even recognise when disgruntled members are actually trying to help them, to offer a way to defuse the situation. This all beggars belief. It really does.

    These 6 comrades, not surprisingly, have joined the Defence faction, & their pre-Conference statement, & a preamble addressed to the Defence faction, are in this batch:
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/idoop-faction-caucus-agenda-and-documents, it is the doc. labelled ‘Statement regarding Dispute Committee challenge at conference’ (yes, it was a SWP typo).

    In their preamble they say this:
    “Many comrades do not know the lengths we went to in order to clarify our challenge and to ensure that comrades understood that, despite accusations of party smashing and anti-Leninism, our intentions were solely to challenge the handling of the dispute”.

    The statement says, & remember Cde. W is one of the 6 signatories:
    “we believe that the handling of this case and the unsupportive approach taken towards the woman involved call the report into question . . . The handling of the issue by the CC following the DC hearing has compounded many of the problems”.

    Referring to the expulsion of the Facebook Four, “This approach has been unnecessarily divisive, and has hindered our collective ability to resolve a difficult situation in the best interests of the party”.

    The CC’s attempts to shut off debate, to stem the flow of information, has meant, “Within the wider organisation, comrades have been left to draw political conclusions based on partial information at best, and gossip at worst”.

    But despite every obstacle put in their way the 6 comrades expressed a hope: “The solution is for conference to guide the CC in reaching a positive outcome that prevents these mistakes recurring. Adopting the above proposals will help facilitate this process. An honest discussion and a shared way forward is the best route to ensuring a strong and united party”.

    There’s only one thing to say: an arrogant & dismissive leadership like the Callinicos-Kimber faction do not deserve critics like this. Conversely, members like these deserve a decent leadership, a new leadership.

    The tragedy, of course, is that the Defence faction has presented no evidence that they are prepared to offer themselves as an alternative leadership. What the SWP obviously needs is a decent leadership with integrity. Perhaps Defence is just the beginning. But comrades need to be bold, they need to have the confidence to present themselves as a new leadership. Perhaps this will come.

    This preamble & statement by Cde. W and five other comrades puts Stuart’s words in a new light, doesn’t it?

  257. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: But factions are not supposed to be set up shortly after conference

    #310, 9:52pm

    I hope this isn’t a response to the question I asked you (my question is in my comments #255, 11:00am; & #308, 9:33pm), coz it has nothing to do with what I asked you.

    Please answer, coz I, & no doubt others, am interested in whether you believe the CC violated the Constitution, shafting the membership, in refusing a 3 months pre-conference discussion as required by article 4 of the Constitution, a requirement that is mandatory, offering no discretion to CC members.

    Your claim concerning factions, pasted at the head of this comment, is false, as well you know. Article 10 of the Constitution refers to disagreement with a decision or policy, it says NOTHING about this right being limited by a proximity to the last Conference. (I inserted a link to the Constitution in my comment #308, 9:33pm.)

    But on this topic, please give some evidence (if you can find it) in support of your assertion. If you don’t your nakedness will be obvious to all, & all you may have is some pity from readers to cloak your vulnerability & your foolishness.

    But to be honest, Stuart, you’re becoming more desperate, looking more & more absurd, & being even more disingenuous in terms of the responsibilities a discussant has in polite company, such as here, at Socialist Unity. We’re here as socialists & communists to discuss matters, not to adopt evasiveness as an excuse for not being upfront. By this I mean, sometimes one has to simply recognise that it is only rational to hold up one’s hands, & say, yes, my position has proved to be untenable & I thank you for helping me to recognise that an alternative view is more consistent with the facts. And that’s the point, Stuart, dogmatism is the ENEMY of socialist practice, indeed of any rational political practice. Rational people value, they treasure, discussion because it is one of the ways humans have found to be able to IMPROVE what they believe, to have a more rational affective disposition, &, most importantly, to improve our political PRACTICE so that we can finish with all this capitalist dross & start living together in a decent way.

    That’s what being a socialist or communist is all about. And that is why we abhor dogmatism, reject irrationality. As Chuck put it, ruthless criticism of all that exists. And for you, Stuart, that must include the behaviour & political perspectives of the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared).

    For the rest of us it is no mystery. But you owe it, not least to yourself, to exercise your critical faculties & to be an honest discussant here. You have the ability to do this so please show us that you can.

    Thank you.

    P.S. If you can answer my question about the 9 Feb CC decision I, and others, would be appreciative.

  258. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart: I cannot see how those blatantly defying the sprit of Democratic Centralism can now ask for even more ‘constitutional rights’.

    Stuart, surely you can read Jara’s excellent summation of the huge effort the original 6 put into helping the CC out, in a genuine attempt to support Comrade W (with her involvement and permission), to reach an internal solution (since you claim this is all you wanted).

    Unfortunately the CC top dogs who are running this show (and let’s not kid ourselves in imagining that the CC is a collective of equals) are so arrogant and sure in their self belief, born and educated as they are to know that only they can rule, they have broken the SWP on their knee to prove it.

    This is not leadership of any sensible or rational kind. It is the behaviour of madmen/women who deserve no respect. Whilst they have seem to have found the measure of the automatons in the SWP who would go along with anything (perhaps 700 by the 10th of March) they have also destroyed a party in the process.

    Are you seriously arguing that Pat Stack et al on the list of the recent caucus are people who ‘don’t belong in the party” as Field Marshal Assaf is? Seriously? He may be addicted to conflict and the rush that adrenalin causes in the middle of it (who can know why he’s showboating and acting up?). But do you think his has been a helpful intervention?

    This could have been dealt with democratically. Instead the two toffs have led their party over the top to obliterate itself. Just one more ‘big push’ and you’ll destroy the enemy and take Passchendaele! And look out chum! Here you are – bravely standing on the sidelines singing the national anthem and waving a flag.

    It would be funny, were it not tragic.

  259. Jara Handala on said:

    daggi: SWPer (based in the USA) Mike Davis

    #290, 5:01pm

    Hi, daggi, Davis being SWP[USA] is news to me. I’m sure he isn’t a current member, but he could conceivably have been one in the 60s, 70s, or early 80s.

    I know he came to London c.1982 or 1983 to work for Verso, staying 5 yrs or so, but your claim is the first I’ve ever seen that he was or is a SWP[USA] member.

    Do you have any evidence for this claim?

    Thanx.

  260. Stuart, it’s interesting that you pose the unconstitutional conference as a “compromise”.

    Doesn’t a compromise come after different sides put their cases and try to work out a middle ground?

    In what way was any of the opposition involved with the decision to call a conference with 4 weeks notice?

    I too would like an answer to the question about the constitution – specially cos you’ve also invoked it.

    The constitution doesn’t mention that factions aren’t supposed to be set up just after conference – after all, what if conference votes on an issue that then gets tested in the real world and is found to be a disaster? The constitution – or, to be more political, basic Leninism, doesn’t require you to stay silent for another 9 months just cos you’re not supposed to say anything for now.

    The constitution says that each conference has a 3 month discussion period. What’s the point in the constitution if the leadership can just come up with variations off the top of its head, without consulting with the people its supposedly responding to?

    And don’t respond with “compromise”. The leadership refused all serious discussion with the opposition about this.

  261. Every single person on the Lynch Mob Faction’s 500 list of shame is an enemy of socialism and an enemy of the workiing class.

    And I thought I was the militant one on this question!

    I don’t like your formulation, Karl – cos it assumes that socialism and working class gains will be actively reduced/removed by the actions of the SWP. I think some campaigns will be ruined of course, but I think the overall march of neo-liberalism is 99.999% of the reason for the state of the world – you can’t even detect any apparent malign influence of the left.

    How I’d put it is, these people are simply not socialists. They believe the right things, they can explain that they think the rate of profit falls (except they won’t be able to really explain why), they’ll understand the complex contraditions in working class consciousness and so on. But they are not socialists in the sense of actually truly acting in the interests of the working class, even their own conceptions of it.

    Same with people like Callinicos. I’m sick of seeing people look two ways here. The man is not a marxist. He’s damned clever, obviously, but he’s not a marxist. Marxists don’t try to destroy parts of the left that they can’t control. Marxists don’t try to create false consciousness and lie to the people they’re supposedly leading. How many times now has Callinicos cried “THEY’RE TRYING TO DESTROY THE PARTY!”?

    So: A marxist, a socialist, is someone who in every way acts to further the interests of the working class. They might make massive mistakes while they do it. But they don’t lie, they don’t smear, they don’t physically abuse people, they don’t bully. Anyone who does that is not a marxist.

    But it’s wrong to say that they’re “enemies”.

    The truth is, they’re sadly mostly irrelevant.

    Sadly, I’ve got a bigger audience than they have. You might read what I write and conclude that I’m still living the Respect split, but the truth is, I just want these fuckers to wake up and live what they claim to believe. But they don’t. So we have to be strong and clear in what we say to, and about them.

    I’m bending the stick :-)

    (no, literally, I am – the trains I drive are that old, we steer using twigs)

  262. Jara Handala: your claim is the first I’ve ever seen that he was or is a SWP[USA] member.

    daggi is not claiming that, but that Davis is or was a supporter of the SWP (Britain) who lives in the US. This isn’t at all controversial.

    daggi’s real unsupported claim is that Davis is enthusiastic about the use of a certain weapon. I haven’t read his book any more than daggi has, but I would make sure to do so before so much as suggesting that it’s a defence of the device/tactic whose history it recounts.

  263. Karl Stewart on said:

    Tony Collins,

    Fair points Tony, these 500 marginal individuals may have a small amount of influence within the professional associations of social workers, school teachers and university and college lecturers, but their political footprint in the working-class movement is negligible.

    So if my using the word “enemy” gives them an importance they don’t have, then fair enough.

    It is certain, as you say, that in terms of their practice, that every single signatory on the Lynch Mob Faction’s 500 list of shame is anti-socialist and anti-working class and has no place in our movement.

    The general point you make is the key point Tony. If one talks of “socialism” but acts at all times in the completely opposite manner, then one is not a socialist.

    But they are not just “not socialists,” they are active anti-socialists.

  264. Jara Handala: #290, 5:01pm

    Hi, daggi, Davis being SWP[USA] is news to me. your claim is the first I’ve ever seen that he was or is a SWP[USA] member.

    It must have been late/early for you when you read that comment and interpreted that. If you read it again I write – fairly clearly, in my opinion, that Davis is an SWPer (i.e. a UK-SWPer), based in the USA.

    Very different from “SWP-USA”.

  265. Ken MacLeod: claim is that Davis is enthusiastic about the use of a certain weapon.

    I read a ca. 12 page (A3 size, in pretty tiny text) article by Davis on this ‘certain weapon’ *my conclusion at the time* was that this was a very strange piece which certainly seemed to be excitedly gushing about the possiblities and actual uses of “the small mans weapon”. I was very bemused at the time.

  266. Jara Handala on said:

    daggi: Davis is an SWPer (i.e. a UK-SWPer), based in the USA.

    Glad we’re making progress. The way you’ve written it you’re saying he’s a member, not a supporter, of the SWP[UK], yes?

    I’ve never seen a statement about Davis being either. Can you tell us why you think he’s a member (or are you saying a supporter) of the SWP[UK]?

  267. Loyalists

    Jara Handala: I’ve never seen a statement about Davis being either.

    He was often quoted as such by Britsh SWP publications, after the silly break with their US sister group the ISO, Mike Davis went with the London loyalists (By analogy with the 1776 revolutionary war, those loyal to London shuld have been called the Tories)

  268. jim mclean on said:

    Rather strange and threatening statement from Comrade Assaf in relation to IDOOP

    http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/

    I would say that it is only by the grace of God that they should be suffered to live much longer.

    And the opposition are expected to attend a meeting where the delegates have been selected by these people.

  269. Stephen on said:

    Ken MacLeod: I haven’t read his book any more than daggi has, but I would make sure to do so before so much as suggesting that it’s a defence of the device/tactic whose history it recounts.

    I read ‘Buda’s Wagon’ when it came out (indeed spoke briefly to the author). It’s not a ‘defence. The impression I was left with was he had a degree of sympathy with some of the causes that some of the groups that have used car bombs had supported.

    The explanations of developments and the technology are a bit boyish…but pretty mild compared to the way other indiscriminate weapons are often discussed.

  270. brainwash on said:

    I was at a campaign meeting against service cuts in Sheffield last night and the SWP were giving out flyers for an International Womens Day event on 6th March entitled “How do we win liberation?” which includes the line “…women are still blamed for rape…”

    I’ve got to admit they have some front! Later on the flyer says that “attacks on women’s rights are not going unchallenged” meaning protests in India etc , but a bit close to home for the SWP too.

  271. Karl Stewart: Fair points Tony, these 500 marginal individuals may have a small amount of influence within the professional associations of social workers, school teachers and university and college lecturers, but their political footprint in the working-class movement is negligible.

    D’aww, what do you have against teachers and social workers? I think the labour movement benefits quite a bit from them. In fact I know they do: I have friends who work in both professions. Are UNISON and the NUT/NASUWT suddenly ‘professional associations’ rather than trade unions? So what is it, just not enough engine grease under their nails like… Morning Star journalists? :P

  272. Jim McLean, you’ve got that backwards and, given how much gossip there is, it’s important to clarify.

    That statement did NOT come from Assaf – read the article you linked to and you’ll see that the statement you quotes contains within it another quote attributed to Assaf. The ONLY thing Assaf said from the post you linked to is “these people do not belong in our party”.

  273. jim mclean on said:

    Tony Collins:
    Jim McLean, you’ve got that backwards and, given how much gossip there is, it’s important to clarify.

    That statement did NOT come from Assaf – read the article you linked to and you’ll see that the statement you quotes contains within it another quote attributed to Assaf. The ONLY thing Assaf said from the post you linked to is “these people do not belong in our party”.

    Apologies of course to Assaf – reread – but the threat is the still there only the source changes. Having read the flame war that was on facebook, now deleted, I feel that all sense of reality has been abandoned by both sides. Trouble is, the personal sense of Schadenfreude is hard to suppress.

  274. Karl Stewart on said:

    Manzil,

    My point is the Lynch Mob Faction supporters bought Unison, UCU, NUT into this when they implied those organisations had endorsed their factional position.

    It’s the Lynch Mob Faction who made this an issue Manzil.

    So it’s fair to ask members of those unions whether they want people who support bullying and abuse at work, workfare employment structures, zero workplace trade union collective organisation, and the setting of “lynch mobs” on those who disagree, to represent them.

  275. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: some members are not respecting the principles of democratic centralism and getting support from outside the party

    #312, 9:58pm

    It should go without saying that the principles (& norms) of democratic centralism are contestable & indeed have been contested, for that’s the nature of any human attempt to devise, organise & maintain relatively enduring relations, that is, to create institutions. And democen is an institution.

    It seems, Stuart, you are claiming that “getting support from outside the party” is a violation of how democratic centralism should be practised. Vlad from the Volga didn’t think so: that’s why he used the opportunity of having a crowd of workers & soldiers & youth greeting him at the Finland Station to both condemn & propose, to condemn the policies & strategy of the Bolsheviks (& Mensheviks), & to propose a radically different course, one condemned by all leaders as crazy, the ravings of a lunatic.

    Vlad was, & we need to repeat the words for at least Stuart’s benefit, ‘getting support from outside the party’. He appealed to those outside the party, directly to the class he identified with, precisely to show the SUPPORT he believed he would have for the policies & strategy he advocated. He did this to both show those present what his view was, & to show Bolsheviks & Mensheviks that he was not alone: he tried to get ‘support from outside the party’, he succeeded in that, & he then used it as LEVERAGE in the campaign he knew he would have to mount WITHIN the Bolshevik faction. Again, for Stuart’s benefit, Vlad from the Volga went OUTSIDE to help get what he wanted INSIDE: he showed his identity with OUTSIDE forces to mobilise INTERNAL forces, forces within the Bolshevik faction. It was as if he treated the party as simply a membrane, an interface between insiders & outsiders, & Vlad identified with BOTH. That was Vlad’s IDENTITY POLITICS, a class politics. He refused to treat the party as a hermetically sealed vessel, as a submarine hiding in a trench at the bottom of the ocean, waiting for some inconvenient storm, whipped up by hostile forces, to pass before finally surfacing again.

    That’s how Vlad practised democratic centralism. He wasn’t a wrecker, he wasn’t anti-party, a factionalist, a splitter. No, Vlad was just an ordinary party member speaking his mind to those he hoped would be interested in what he had to say. He had an opinion. He refused to keep it within the room of a Bolshevik meeting. He broadcasted it. If it were 2017 he would have tweeted it, facebooked it, done a Banksy, done some street theatre, blogged it, even told his mum & dad if they’d been alive. That was Vlad. From the Volga. That’s what democen meant to him. That’s what party discipline meant to him. That’s what toeing the line meant to him. Unity in action, of course, but insisting that party members have the self-confidence, & indeed the DUTY, to voice their opinion whether it complied with the majority view or not, even, as in his case, to condemn the Bolshevik & Menshevik policies & strategy as disastrous, & to advocate a radically different approach. Vlad, of course, was mad, crazy, certifiable. But he was a loyal Bolshevik, a disciplined Bolshevik, & that was coz of how he acted in word & in deed, in private & in public.

    This year has shown that the SWP, fortunately, also has plenty of loyal & disciplined members who have spoken their minds & acted accordingly. That’s why http://www.internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk was launched by what has been vilified as the Miéville-Seymour Terrorist-Wrecker Centre, which had first used as cover the imaginary Trotskyite-Cliffite Terrorist Centre, a futile & infantile evasion which fooled no-one, as Stuart can confirm. But they were simply the Lenins of the moment, the Lenins of the January Days, immediately after the end of Conference when it was imperative that someone had to strike while the iron was steaming, raging at the way the Permanent Callinicos Faction (Undeclared) had ambushed Conference, slaughtered the partisans, faced down the doubters, then tried to bury the bodies. So the comrades organised, & they gave themselves a chance to garner support to save the party. Since then the snowball has become unrecognisable & now we have Defence. The next step is for it to become Attack, but that’s racing ahead of ourselves. Much better to step back a little, contrasting all this creative exuberance, the living out of a vital, vibrant practice of democratic centralism, with picturing Stuart living his own April Days/January Days, travelling by train, returning from many years of exile, having made home in a cottage in Ireland, a respectful distance from John Molyneux’s, now set to arrive at his very own Finland Station, Paddington. Let’s see what happens.

    Having sailed through Wales, passed through the tunnel, the first anxious moment to be faced by Stuart from Slough comes as the train approaches Swindon, hoping, fingers crossed, that Brother Newman doesn’t get on, himself travelling to London to attend the Emergency All-England UNISON Grassroots Action Committees Conference in Euston Road. Even if he were to get on not all would be lost, for Bro Newman may not spot Our Stuart, saving him a probing from the Swindonian Red.

    This having passed, Stuart would then find himself helplessly enveloped in a deep melancholy, ushered in as Slough would now be in his sights, his hometown, the place where it had all begun. Stuart would sigh, seeing in the shades of grey the building where he had cut his teeth as a trade union militant, spending many, many years fighting the bosses, the bosses of Wernham Hogg Paper Company.

    Then through Royal Oak, only Paddington awaiting him. Stuart was still trying to decide whether he’d risk catching a tube to SWP HQ, not because of his antagonism towards the RMT leadership but because of something a bit more immediate: he might find himself hurtling thru London on a train driven by Brother Tony Collins, that guy crazier than Lenin coz he always spoke in a blue box.

    But Stuart from Slough remained focused. He was now returning to the centre of the British revolution, nothing would deflect him from arguing the party line, nothing would stop him patiently explaining why the Central Committee had decided on its course, why the party was the victim of a whirlwind brought on by hostile forces, forces that the CC saw as in league with malcontents amongst the rank & file. It was the enemy within that helped him focus on what was to come.

    Even before the train came to a halt the noise of the crowd had the passengers talking amongst themselves. What was all this commotion? Had revolution broken out on Platform 4? Stuart gathered his bags, pulled his notes from his pocket, rehearsing the key passages he knew he had to hammer into the heads of the hotheads.

    People were running along the platform, phonecams held aloft, trying to snap a pic of the returning revolutionary. Stuart made his way to the exit, the crowd screamed, chanting, this was their day! Stuart stood at the top of the step, the door held open, he began to speak, eyes on his notes as if the crowd didn’t exist:

    “Comrades! These are tumultuous times. The class is on the move. Great opportunities are presenting themselves. As our National Secretary, Prince Charles, put it only yesterday, ‘we have to build on this mood, take bold initiatives, & make sure our party is looking outwards’”.

    “The time for talking is over. The Conference has spoken. The course has been set. The fact no-one is listening only proves that we are indeed the vanguard”.

    The crowd fell silent. Puzzled looks.

    The comrade continued: “The Central Committee has deep roots in the Central Committee, a secure implantation in the Central Committee Room. For almost 40 years the Central Committee has reproduced itself, with only the occasional hiccup that is debate. Our one-dimensionality is our great strength. It means we always have unity of purpose at the top”.

    No-one is looking at Cde. Stuart. The banners have been lowered. The band has stopped playing. People are pulling faces, not sure what is going on.

    “The biggest danger the party faces is a wide debate. After decades of protecting members from having to think we have been infiltrated by hostile forces. Need I name them?”

    Silence. Cde. Stuart takes this as a cue:

    “Movementism, autonomism, horizontal organisation, feminism, cyberphilia. All this has disrupted our traditional way of working, the iron discipline that we learnt on our father’s knee”.

    The crowd is now finding all this most weird.

    “The Central Committee has therefore decided that any comrade offering an opinion, in or outside the party, will be deemed to have expelled themselves. We have a unitary Central Committee so that the members are not burdened with thinking. Theirs is not to think but to do as they are told”.

    People start to drift away, the crowd is beginning to break up.

    “The Central Committee is the thread of history. Its judgment has proven correct. The fact we are still the largest small mass party in the world only proves we remain pure & that we have not been contaminated by popularity. In all this we remain in a league of our own”.

    Now the crowd is disintegrating, it looks all over.

    “The leading lights of the Central Committee have shown how faithful they have been to our tradition, even though they have never been on a paper sale for 30 years, especially outside Costcutter’s on a cold, wet and windy winter’s day. The Committee is the party, the party is the Committee. What the Committee decides is all that matters”.

    By now Cde. Stuart was talking to himself. He would have carried on but he had to sneeze. At that point he looked up & saw he was all alone. After a moment’s hesitation he smiled. His motivational talk seemed to have worked. The members & supporters had been inspired to intervene into the class with renewed vigour. His speech had been a success.

    He stepped down onto English soil again. (Or at least a shiny platform.) He had decided not to risk a tube ride with Bro Collins. His eye caught a bronze by the escalators, & he started to make his way towards it.

    Putting down his bags he paused, looking at the figure. The comrade rummaged in his bag. He unfolded the aluminium foil, revealing a marmalade sandwich. Chewing, he began to smile again. From deepest, darkest Peru. The only good thing that ever came from the Dark Side.

    The party is showing once again its steely, tight grip on reality.

  276. brainwash:
    I was at a campaign meeting against service cuts in Sheffield last night and the SWP were giving out flyers for an International Womens Day event on 6th March entitled “How do we win liberation?” which includes the line “…women are still blamed for rape…”

    I’ve got to admit they have some front! Later on the flyer says that “attacks on women’s rights are not going unchallenged” meaning protests in India etc , but a bit close to home for the SWP too.

    Similar International Women’s Day meeting in London on March 7th.

    Among the speakers -

    Judith Orr, author A Rebel’s Guide to Women’s Liberation

    http://www.swp.org.uk/events/07/03/2013/international-womens-day

    I can’t make it myself but look forward to reading reports.

  277. jim mclean on said:

    Andy Newman: I think the “threat” was satirically intended by someone not aligned with the Lynch MOb faction.

    I googled the quote and ended up on Exodos, though shalt not suffer a witch to live. OK it was not a close match but appropriate.

  278. jim mclean on said:

    Plus one setback of using your real name is when you make an arse of yourself you have to take the full brunt. :$

  279. Karl Stewart:

    Every single person on the Lynch Mob Faction’s 500 list of shame is an enemy of socialism and an enemy of the workiing class.

    This reminds me of the Stalinist lies that justified the execution of hundreds of workers in Hungary, most of whom were around 20 years of age, they were apparently ‘enemies of socialism and of the working class’. Who would have supported that I wonder?

  280. Jara Handala,

    I thought the Opposition faction were in discussions with the CC over the questions you raise. Why as a non-member are you so bothered? You are quite clearly using the internet to stir up trouble, you make out you care about the opposition but the opposition make it clear they hold people like you in contempt.

  281. Tony Collins,

    My reply to you is similar to my reply to Jara. The opposition are in discussions with the CC, the debate will be carried out through the party. Why are you so keen to lend support to people who hold you in contempt?

  282. Jara Handala @ 336.

    Loved that. Work colleague thought I was going a bit mad I was laughing that much, but it was worth it. Particularly choice:

    “The Central Committee has deep roots in the Central Committee…’

  283. Heather Downs on said:

    Manzil,

    I never said the SWP DC was a suitable substitute for the Criminal Justice System. I pointed out (again) that the CJS is deeply flawed, not least in cases like this. It is therefore a mistake to assume that the only reason W did not go to the police is because of pressure from the SWP. 85-90% of sexual violence cases are not reported.

  284. Howard Kirk on said:

    Sam64:
    Jara Handala @ 336.

    Loved that. Work colleague thought I was going a bit mad I was laughing that much, but it was worth it. Particularly choice:

    “The Central Committee has deep roots in the Central Committee…’

    Yes, very good. lol

  285. Well the ultimate goodbye song is

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uV8a0-cXzNs

    I must say, I’m getting a bit carried away here when I have loads to do. And there are, of course, serious political issues comrades. But can you imagine Prof Callinicos, rather than Michael Caine, singing this at the end of the oh so special conference?

  286. Heather Downs: It is therefore a mistake to assume that the only reason W did not go to the police is because of pressure from the SWP. 85-90% of sexual violence cases are not reported.

    No one is assuming that is necessarily so in her individual case. However, the culture within the SWP might neverthless discousrage someone from going to the police generally, so it may still have been a factor for her.

  287. Jara Handala,

    I cannot accept your Finland Station analogy as I’ve said before. Events in Russia had led to a contradiction , namely Bolshevik support for the Provisional Government, which would have to be resolved. Lenin’s clarity was able to provide the resolution for confused party members who would go on to support his position. There is nothing comparable today.

  288. stuart: Lenin’s clarity was able to provide the resolution for confused party members who would go on to support his position. There is nothing comparable today.

    So the difference is that Lenin showed clarity in leadership, and there is therefore no comparison with the actions of Lord Callinicos and Sir Charles Kimber (bart) ??

  289. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: thought the Opposition faction were in discussions with

    I know you continually demonstrate an unhealthy deep denial but it is only polite to answer a question about YOUR OPINION on the constitutionality of a decision by 11 people that deprived the other 7586 or so members the 3 months pre-conference discussion that they are entitled to.

    Your refusal to face reality, to acknowledge that the CC members exceeded their powers (powers they only have coz of the consent of the members), & the fact that the best part of 7600 individuals do not resist the sort of thing they would be up in arms about if it were an action by their employer, trade union exec or other body in civil society, is a glaring demonstration of how passive & supine the membership has become, dwelling in a political culture that has twisted their otherwise healthy instincts. It is a fact that c.7600 professed revolutionary socialists have allowed themselves to be shafted by the 11 members of the CC, who have stolen their right to a 3 months pre-conference discussion. FACT.

    This masochistic group-think frightens & disturbs the labour & socialist movement. It also ruins the credibility of any SWP member offering themselves to be a representative of others: if you let your own party executive, the CC, steamroller the Constitution (article 4) & not make a complaint, why would anyone have any confidence you would stand up for them?

    It warrants repeating: if you refuse to stand up for yourself why would anyone think you would stand up for anyone else?

    Let me just say, your animosity towards me & Tony Collins is directed at the wrong target: I merely put into words what is tearing the SWP apart. It is not me that is doing this: the SWP is doing this damage to itself. And you know as well as I do that the responsibility lies solely with the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared).

    Please don’t try to lynch the messenger simply coz you are antagonised & raged by the message. Please be mature, Stuart, please be rational. The behaviour of the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared) has been outrageous. And your attempts to defend its destructive actions have been evasive & illogical, & I think even you are becoming aware of how untenable any defence has become.

    And of course, the worst thing for you, Stuart, is that you have another 18 days of this. Day after day. Day after day. 18 of them.

    As a semi-professional footballer I was notorious for the shout I would always put out, especially when we had secured a 3 goal lead: “we haven’t started yet!”.

    Stuart, the unravelling of the SWP is a serious matter coz politics, life, is a serious matter. This morning we have witnessed the most extreme unravelling of you, yourself, so far. Please try to restrain yourself. As I’ve said more than once, I take no pleasure in putting into words what is real, the disintegration of bureaucratic centralism within the SWP, & the corresponding effects it has on the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared) & its supporters. But it behoves us all to remain courteous & polite discussants. The application of reason is one way to salvage what is healthy from the breakdown of established rule in the SWP. Your anger, verging on nastiness, is neither healthy for yourself nor conducive to a reasoned discussion of what is happening, how we got here, & what may happen. So I appeal to you to behave decently – indeed, why not use as exemplars the many brave, decent, healthy comrades in the SWP?

    Please don’t lose your grip on reality.

    Please don’t ‘lose’ it.

  290. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I cannot accept your Finland Station analogy

    It’s not used as an analogy: it’s presented as evidence of a professed Marxist ‘reaching out to those outside the party’ & in so doing publicly criticising, in fact condemning, in the most strident & vivid terms the policies & strategy that had been democratically agreed by the party.

  291. Stuart, I’ll give you three quid in change and a petrol station Twix if you’ll promise to stay off the computer and not read anything SWP-ish for a week.

  292. Jara Handala,

    I like the way, from that interpretation, it is the internet that’s caused all the trouble, as though this situation wouldn’t still be FUBAR if no material had ever appeared online.

  293. jim mclean on said:

    The Internet has destroyed Democratic Centralism. But it has given birth to a new generation of radicals who are using it as a progressive tool in a positive manner. Unfortunately it has also given birth to the Conspiracy theorists.
    Now as for Manzil’s bringing up the subject of Twix, this is relevant as it highlights the differences between the Loyalists and IDOOP.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr6LkOU6oT4

  294. Jara Handala,

    The difference between me and you is this. I am a member who has the party’s interests at the forefront of my mind. I will participate in debates and listen to both sides. You are a non-member who uses the internet to attack the party. You have no genuine affinity with oppositionists, they dislike you, they lump you in with the Daily Mail.

    I am not only thinking about the date of the Special Conference. I am also asking why some members have been able to agitate against the party after conference whereas many more have exercised the required levels of self-discipline expected of members. I do not agitate against the party post-conference, why have others been able to do so? I would suggest many other members are thinking similarly. So for me, as I participate in debates and listen to other viewpoints, I will be taking as balanced a view as I possibly can.

  295. Jara Handala on said:

    Lesley2525: wonder if comrade W will be allowed to address the special conference

    #355, 12:29pm

    As Cde. W is a Defence faction member it is solely in the gift of the Defence Faction Cttee. (20 strong) to choose their speakers.

    I have no doubt she will speak – and do so with incredible authority.

    When she speaks the atmosphere will be electric.

    Whether Cde. Martin Smith speaks for the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared) is something for that faction to decide. They’ll have to weigh up the pros & cons. Maybe Stuart can help us out on this one, drawing on his insights into the psychical dynamics of the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared).

  296. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I will be taking as balanced a view as I possibly can.

    #369. 1:50pm

    That’s why everyone will find what you settle on so disturbing.

  297. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: You . . . [use] the internet to attack the party.

    #369, 1:50pm

    I have never attacked the SWP, as the record clearly shows.

    On the contrary, I have consistently developed evidenced arguments demonstrating the damage caused to the SWP by the self-interested behaviour of the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared), again, as clearly shown in the record.

    I can also assure you my political work concerning what is happening in the SWP & its effects on the labour & socialist movement doesn’t solely use the internet as a means. It is one of many.

  298. Jara Handala: I know you continually demonstrate an unhealthy deep denial but it is only polite to answer a question about YOUR OPINION on the constitutionality of a decision by 11 people that deprived the other 7586 or so members the 3 months pre-conference discussion that they are entitled to.
    Your refusal to face reality, to acknowledge that the CC members exceeded their powers (powers they only have coz of the consent of the members), & the fact that the best part of 7600 individuals do not resist the sort of thing they would be up in arms about if it were an action by their employer, trade union exec or other body in civil society, is a glaring demonstration of how passive & supine the membership has become, dwelling in a political culture that has twisted their otherwise healthy instincts. It is a fact that c.7600 professed revolutionary socialists have allowed themselves to be shafted by the 11 members of the CC, who have stolen their right to a 3 months pre-conference discussion. FACT.

    Jara, I’ve seen this point being made on this blog a lot recently and, with respect, it’s complete nonsense. The interpretation of the SWP constitution is a matter entirely for the SWP. Either you are a member of that organization, in which case you should be discussing it with your comrades in internal discussions, or you are not, in which case it’s none of your business.

    Some of the attacks on stuart, assuming he’s a real person, are quite vicious – almost tantamount to bullying – and I am impressed with his ability to remain so calm. If I were an SWP member who supported the leadership position, I would not feel any obligation to justify myself on here. If I did want to answer your supposedly important question, however, I would argue it something like this: I would point out that your reading of the SWP constitution is somewhat selective. True, it does mention a three-month discussion period before Conference but this is the context of just having said that National Conference takes place ANNUALLY. So the discussion period is mentioned in reference to to the conference which takes place every year in January. After this, comes the part stating that a Special Conference may be called. Rules relating to the conduct of a Special Conference are somewhat vague, possibly with some justification. One assumes a special conference would be necessitated by some kind of emergency. It would be totally ludicrous to expect a three month pre-conference discussion period under those circumstances.

    The CC could plausibly make quite a convincing case, so please drop that particular red herring.

    As for

    Karl Stewart: Every single person on the Lynch Mob Faction’s 500 list of shame is an enemy of socialism and an enemy of the workiing class

    that remark is truly beneath contempt. The comrades in question sincerely believe that they are acting in the best interests of the proletariat. In that they may be right or they may be wrong but this type of demonization should have no place in our movement – although, sadly, it has been prevalent throughout the troubled history of socialism over the last century.

  299. Zaid: Either you are a member of that organization, in which case you should be discussing it with your comrades in internal discussions, or you are not, in which case it’s none of your business.

    Can we clarify your view here that all private corporations and organisations are entitled to conduct their own business without any scrutiny or inquiry from outside or discussion of their affairs? So there should be no discussion of the Labour Party, or trade unions, or Murdoch’s empire, and indeed no discussion of the internal politics of states that we are not citizens of?

  300. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I do not agitate against the party post-conference, why have others been able to do so?

    #369, 1:50pm

    Under article 10 of the Constitution (the factions article) a member has that right when one disagrees with either a policy of the SWP or a decision by “a leading committee of the party”, & then finds 29 others with the same view. The 30 then issue a founding faction statement & bob’s your uncle, your faction gets further rights under article 10.

    As a long-standing member I’m surprised you’ve forgotten, so why not refresh your memory here, Stuart: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/swpinternalbulletins/PreConf_Bulletin_i_Oct_2012.pdf

    It’s the whole Pre-Conf. Bulletin #1, Oct 2012, & the SWP Constitution is there pp.25-7.

    And Stuart, you sound quite McCarthyist: it’s not AGITATING, it’s called EXERCISING ONE’S DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS. You are, perhaps non-consciously, revealing your antipathy towards comrades who just happen to have a different viewpoint to yours, it disturbs you, & you readily, spontaneously, use McCarthyist vocabulary.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that quite disturbing.

    Stuart, you are really revealing quite a lot about (1) your attitude towards comrades who have a different outlook to you, & (2) your attitude towards the democratic spirit (yielding principles, norms, & practices) which I need not remind you, is the basis of any healthy form of life, not just the kind of socialist society we would like to live in.

    You are displaying an intolerance of difference, which is obviously worrying. And remember, the socialist view is not to tolerate (what one finds abhorrent) but to accept. Big difference.

  301. Zaid: The interpretation of the SWP constitution is a matter entirely for the SWP. Either you are a member of that organization, in which case you should be discussing it with your comrades in internal discussions, or you are not, in which case it’s none of your business.

    An approach which the SWP and various other self-proclaimed leaders of the proletariat could well take towards the trade union movement and industrial disputes etc.

    I’ve been in the position of being lectured outside my workplace by paper-selling students with leaflets telling us to tell our reps what they should be doing about an issue they (said students) clearly knew little about, so forgive me if I have little sympathy for what you’re saying here.

    If you want to put yourself forward as a leadership, tell others in the labour movement what to do, then expect the same level of ‘interest’.

  302. Andy Newman: Can we clarify your view here that all private corporations and organisations are entitled to conduct their own business without any scrutiny or inquiry from outside or discussion of their affairs? So there should be no discussion of the Labour Party, or trade unions, or Murdoch’s empire, and indeed no discussion of the internal politics of states that we are not citizens of?

    Happy to clarify. Off the top of my head and without having given it a lot of thought, I am quite happy for the Labour Party to interpret its own constitution (i.e. how it appoints officials, how it organizes its conference, how it decides its policies etc) in whatever way it sees fit. Why on Earth would I possibly care? What those policies turn out to be, on the other hand, and their impact on society are things I will have a view on. The same applies to the other cases you mention

  303. Zaid: this, comes the part stating that a Special Conference may be called. Rules relating to the conduct of a Special Conference are somewhat vague, possibly with some justification. One assumes a special conference would be necessitated by some kind of emergency. It would be totally ludicrous to expect a three month pre-conference discussion period under those circumstances.

    Where the “emergency” required fast resolution then time might indeed be of the essence, where the “emergency” requires the airing and resolving of differences then a longer discussion period is necessary.

    For those of us who have spent years in the SWP, then the short notice for conference is what Cliff used to call “an organisational solution to a political problem”. It is a rally called specifically with the pro-ordained objective to rubber stamp the political eradication of the opposition.

    It is clear that the Lynch Mob faction thinks that there is nothing to be gained – and much to be lost – by a prolonged debate, and they want to get this over with.

  304. Zaid: Why on Earth would I possibly care?

    Because you’re not content to sit back and “have a view” on the end-result, rather than actively shaping those policies – and this means engaging with how people interpret their political theory and practice?

    As a guess, like.

  305. Zaid: Why on Earth would I possibly care?

    Because political parties aspire to political power. How a political party functions in respect of its internal democracy is presumably a reflection of how they would function outside of the party if they had any control of any levers of power.

    It’s pretty standard that politicians are subject to scrutiny as to whether they practice what the preach.

  306. Zaid: What those policies turn out to be, on the other hand, and their impact on society are things I will have a view on. The same applies to the other cases you mention

    .
    Good point. If we concluded that the behaviour of the SWP was of no relevance to the wider left or society, then we should all leave them to it.

    Though there is a broader public interest in how a rape is investigated.

    BUt as the SWP is involved in our campaigns and unions, and even aspires to be the government (!!) then their aproach to dissent and disagreement is relevant to outsiders.

    Many people have also been disgrracefully treated by the SWP, and have an interest in justice.

    t

  307. Jellytot on said:

    @375The comrades in question sincerely believe that they are acting in the best interests of the proletariat.

    :-)

    @380 It is a rally called specifically with the pro-ordained objective to rubber stamp the political eradication of the opposition.

    It’s gonna to be quite a sight.

    I’d be surprised if all the rancour, tension, factionalism and bile built up over the past few years wasn’t vomited up in those few hours and for the Opposition it will (literally) like walking into the Lions’ Den.

    IMHO it could be something akin to a latter day ‘Flint War Council’

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

  308. Zaid: Some of the attacks on stuart, assuming he’s a real person, are quite vicious – almost tantamount to bullying

    It’s tough love. I suggest you read the interesting discussion by Ungerleider and Wellisch on Deprogramming in the book on cults by the American Psychiatric Association edited by Galanter

  309. Andy Newman: Where the “emergency” required fast resolution then time might be of the essence, where g ofthe “emergency” requires the airing of differences then a longer discussion period is necessary

    I don’t necessarily disagree. Obviously the two sides have different conceptions of the purpose of the conference, and that’s an internal matter for the SWP to resolve. All I’m saying is that it’s silly to expect the same rules to apply to a “special” conference as to a “normal” conference.

  310. Zaid: All I’m saying is that it’s silly to expect the same rules to apply to a “special” conference as to a “normal” conference.

    Agreed, the CC are acting within the letter but outside the spirit of the constitution. IMO.

  311. Manzil: Because you’re not content to sit back and “have a view” on the end-result, rather than actively shaping those policies – and this means engaging with how people interpret their political theory and practice?

    Manzil, I’d love to stay and discuss this (and points raised by others) but, unfortunately, work calls. However I have some good news. The Oxford C.C.S. public meeting “No saviour from on high: the search for extraterrestrial intelligence” (which should have taken place last Thursday) was cancelled. It will be rescheduled so you may have a chance to come to it after all! The cancellation was a shame but it’s only the second time something like this has happened in around a hundred public meetings, so it’s not a bad record.

    If you are interested, tomorrow’s public meeting will be on “Imperialism and white supremacy”. Same time and place i.e. 7.30pm to 9.00pm, the Mitre ;)

    Admin – is there any way of sending private messages to other posters on here?

  312. Jellytot: he Opposition it will (literally) like walking into the Lions’ Den.

    Yes, I know exactly how it is going to pan out. Full timers lined up hissing and sneering at delegates as they go in, delegations stacked with loyalists, hysterical speeches, invocations of Cliff’s heritage. Emotional and physicial intimidation of opposition delegates.

    Indeed the October 1985 CC meeting of the WRP could be used and replayed as a template.

    What I expect the CC would like to engineer is the IDOOP getting so few delegates through farcical aggregates, that they don’t go to the conference, and will be regarded as splitters. Of course wise folk in IDDOP may already be booking another hall for the same day.

  313. Zaid,

    Haha. Brilliant! Definitely let me know, so I can talk about the need for a united front with E.T.

    As for tomorrow, I very well may. :) (My days consist of nothing but discussing imperialism anyway.)

    (Yes – Tony, can you get onto Zaid’s idea of a private messaging system, because then we could have the meta-situation of things discussed on Socialist Unity being leaked on Socialist Unity.)

  314. Jara Handala on said:

    Zaid: So the discussion period is mentioned in reference to to the conference which takes place every year in January.

    #375, 2:30pm

    You’re mistaken: it is not a red herring.

    Please re-read article 4 (I gave the link in my comment #377, 2:40pm).

    What you say in the quote that I pasted at the top of this comment is correct, & the very fact that in then talking about a Special Conference there is NO reference to the duration of its pre-Conference discussion that MEANS that the earlier reference IS NOT QUALIFIED IN ANY WAY: it has mandatory force for any kind of Conference, so a Special Conference likewise has a 3 months pre-Conference discussion.

    I now give the relevant sentence, the sentence that is not qualified, altered, in any way, regarding Conference, be it either an Annual Conference or a Special Conference:
    “Three months before each Conference the Central Committee opens a special pre-conference discussion in the organisation” (article 4)

    There’s no ambiguity; article 4 is written plainly, its meaning is unambiguous.

    The 3 months pre-Conference discussion is peremptory, it has mandatory force, it is not discretionary in the hands of either the Central Cttee. or the National Cttee., or a call by 20% of branches, the only 3 bodies in the SWP entitled to call a Conference.

    ____________________________________________________________

    It is worth noting that if the Defence faction has a majority of delegates at the Special Conference (whether it is held 10 March or 5 May or 12 May) it will be empowered to change the Constitution however it likes. For example, it could pass motions (1) abolishing the current slate method of CC election(article 5); (2) dissolving the CC; (3) adopting a new CC election procedure, e.g., either candidates standing individually, or a slate system that guarantees that all factions have representation on the CC; & (4) electing a new CC.

    Under the ‘Constitutional changes’ article in the Constitution all it takes to amend the Constitution is having “a majority of delegates” at Conference.

    This provision would allow a political transformation of the Defence faction into, in effect, the Attack faction: given the Constitution, with a majority of delegates it can transform the SWP & become the leadership, controlling the CC. All this is allowed by the rules.

  315. Jellytot on said:

    @389Yes, I know exactly how it is going to pan out. Full timers lined up hissing and sneering at delegates as they go in, delegations stacked with loyalists, hysterical speeches, invocations of Cliff’s heritage. Emotional and physicial intimidation of opposition delegates.

    The 20 foot long “SMASH SEYMOURISM” banner is being stitched as we type.

  316. Just been to see les Miserables, it was brilliant and i don’t normally like musicals.
    I urge all readers to go and see it.

    Do you hear the people sing SWP?
    This is the sound of angry men ( and women).

  317. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart: The complaint was heard by seven democratically elected committee members, in private.

    Do you mean like this committee?

    Because honestly Comrade Δ really shows his hand in his ability to conduct a fair ‘investigation’. Or for that matter a competent one.

    My favourite bit has got to be:

    “Did you tell him what went on? Did you say, `no I didn`t`? No, you didn`t. You said, one, “I don`t remember”, two, “It`s dialectical, isn`t it?” and, three, “I don`t believe he would say that”. Any other person would say `no, I didn`t`. So really I`ve come to the conclusion that we have to part company, because really it`s gone too far.”

    Thanks Comrade Δ. You certainly cleared that up. You should be on the stage. I pissed myself laughing!

    It seems this member could be expelled on the back of a badly argued show trial whereas Comrade Δ is untouchable.

    Or is it just another bunch of nasty internet gossip by the splitters?

    3.2.1. Stuart. Back in the room. Back in the room.

  318. 398

    Funnily enough, I once heard somebody at Marxism, who’d tried to make a Marxist defense of Woodstock, describe this classic as an ‘explicitly counter revolutionary’ anthem. Honest.

  319. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart: The complaint was heard by seven democratically elected members

    ps. You mean Selected members. I’ve been to conference. You are simply told when to put your hand up when it comes to voting.

    That’s why this whole affair is so out of the ordinary and why the CC has entered scorched earth mode.

  320. #401 I can see how that can be argued funnilly enough. I think the idea is that it implies that there’s no point fighting for change because it’ll be just as bad afterwards, even if you “win”.

    I must say one of the things that made me most angry at a left event was when I saw some anarchists at an anti-apartheid festival selling papers with a picture of Mandela while he was still in jail with the caption “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

    I still think it’s a great tune though.

  321. stuart,

    yes it goes deeper than the allegations. This is a test for the party – and for the CC in particular. They have failed the test. The language you use suggests a sectarian approach: ‘support from outside the party’, ‘may be political differences’.

    There is an astonishing lack of confidence in the ideas emanating from the CC – so little material being published. The only detailed piece was Alex Callinicos’ cringe-worthy contribution to Socialist Review. You would think the party would be all out to defend itself as it is under ‘attack’. But the main defense, as we know, is going on inside the party – a sure sign that the current leadership is committed to a sectarian agenda – save the party, what is left of it, or at least ‘our bit’, at all costs. There is a fear of debate, hence the limited pre-conference discussion period. Good comrades have left and will continue to leave as the crisis deepens.

  322. Bob Noonan on said:

    stuart: This reminds me of the Stalinist lies that justified the execution of hundreds of workers in Hungary, most of whom were around 20 years of age, they were apparently ‘enemies of socialism and of the working class’. Who would have supported that I wonder?

    You would Stuart. It’s increasingly clear you’ll support anything your self-selected CC tells you to, so why would you have been any different back then?

  323. From the above mentioned proceedings:

    Eric Karas But I`m a state capitalist and I believe in the permanent arms economy, etc.

    Martin Smith Yeah, but you believe a whole lot of other rubbish.

    Well, it made me laugh.

  324. Jara Handala on said:

    Totally Horrified Ex: Do you mean like this committee?

    #399, 6:04pm

    Well, I don’t see what the problem is, see?
    We have had it up to here with you.
    People have been talking.
    You are the problem.
    Plain as.
    And that is not how we do it in this organisation.
    So you got a choice, haven’t you? Either you resign now, or I expel you on the spot. Your choice.
    Coz I’m not leaving this room until I get an answer.
    Do you understand?

    For those who have yet to read the near-verbatim record made by Eric Karas, this is the sort of way that Martin Smith (I can’t bring myself to use ‘cde.’) talked at him.

    SWP HQ weren’t happy with the way Eric was conducting himself. So Smith & the local full-timer in Bedfordshire, Viv Smith, paid Eric a lil visit in early 2001.

    Jesus. This Smith character is even worse than I imagined. He comes across as an incredibly domineering & sadistic thug. But then who am I to judge?

    ‘Totally Horrified Ex’, thanks so much for linking this, Karas’ article in ‘Weekly Worker’, 5 July 2001. I know the other day I described the SWP as degenerated but I had no idea this is how they operate. And to think Martin Smith replaced Rees as National Secretary, & were it not for something else he would still be there.

    As I said, Jesus.

  325. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart,
    Zaid,

    My use of the term “enemy” with reference to your Lynch Mob Faction was criticised by TonyC on the grounds that it was unjustifiably melodramatic and gave undue importance to this group of just 500 individuals, a group which is essentially a marginal one.

    TonyC suggested “just not socialists” as an alternative description of you Lynch Mob Faction supporters.

    I responded to TonyC that on reflection I agreed with his criticism of my use of the term “enemy”, but that I didn’t agree with the description “just not socialists” and I thought the terms “anti-socialIst” and “anti-working class” were appropriate for Lynch Mob Faction members.

    These are appropriate terms because your Lynch Mob Faction, although tiny, is politically active (while the term “just not socialists”, for me, implies political passivity).

    And of course the political practice of Lynch Mob Faction members is indeed both anti-socialist and anti-working class for the reasons I listed previously.

    1. All 500 of them support the summary expulsion of members foer having “unauthorised” private conversations with each other.

    2. All 500 of them believe that a boss should be able to behave inappropriately towards a 17-year-old female employee with no sanction.

    3. All 500 of them believe that female employees who complain about such a boss should be summarily fired.

    4. All 500 of them agree that they should be able to employ workers on what is essentially a workfare basis, below the Living Wage and with zero trade union collective bargaining rights.

    5. All 500 of them agree that there should be “lynch mobs” set against anyone who publicly disagrees with this.

    These are clearly all anti-socialist and anti-working class positions. And these are all positions held by every single one of the 500 pieces of shit who have put their names forward as signatories of the Lynch Mob Faction.

    And therefore, In my opinion, members of the Lynch Mob Faction have no place within the left or wider working-class movement.

  326. stockwellpete on said:

    Jara Handala: #399, 6:04pm

    For those who have yet to read the near-verbatim record made by Eric Karas, this is the sort of way that Martin Smith (I can’t bring myself to use ‘cde.’) talked at him.

    SWP HQ weren’t happy with the way Eric was conducting himself. So Smith & the local full-timer in Bedfordshire, Viv Smith, paid Eric a lil visit in early 2001.

    Jesus. This Smith character is even worse than I imagined. He comes across as an incredibly domineering & sadistic thug. But then who am I to judge?

    ‘Totally Horrified Ex’, thanks so much for linking this, Karas’ article in ‘Weekly Worker’, 5 July 2001. I know the other day I described the SWP as degenerated but I had no idea this is how they operate. And to think Martin Smith replaced Rees as National Secretary, & were it not for something else he would still be there.

    As I said, Jesus.

    And all this happened in Comrade Karas’ home! Smith actually says, “Coz I’m not leaving this room until I get an answer.” WTF!!

  327. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    I notice that this thread has 397 more comments than those about the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy AGM. The CLPD needs to try harder.

  328. Ever wondered how to start up your own Party? One where you will be in charge? Where people will follow your every twist and turn without question?As the introduction of this wonderful video says -

    “Don’t you want devoted followers who leave their families for you, give their money to you, give their bodies to you…”

    Mind Control Made Easy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJfm71I0OyU

  329. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    With time to waste, I thought I’d look up Charlie Kimber on the net as he seems like a nice guy. Unfortunately his life and achievements have yet to register with Wikipedia, though other leading members of the SWP are there including Uncle Alex. Now, I’m really struggling with this… it is GOOD when upper class people desert their class. I’d be delighted if, for example, the odd prince joined Republic and we have the living example of Tony Benn, There have been plenty others who betrayed their private education and background. But I am nevertheless amused to discover that the leading intellectual of the SWP’s mum was called Hon. Ædgyth Bertha Milburg Mary Antonia Frances Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, daughter of the 2nd Lord Acton. It puts a strange light on the phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat”, don’t you think?

  330. George Hallam on said:

    stuart: This reminds me of the Stalinist lies that justified the execution of hundreds of workers in Hungary, most of whom were around 20 years of age

    “The following is an edited transcript of the chat conducted on Sunday, November 8, 1998, with Hungarian Ambassador Geza Jeszensky, who was 15 years old in 1956 when Soviet troops entered Budapest to stop the revolution. This chat was moderated by COLD WAR Senior Editor Gregg Russell. ”

    “Geza Jeszensky: About 3,000 people were killed in the streets in the battles, but when the fighting was over, when the military might from the Soviet Union prevailed, there were at first many summary executions on the spot. Just people having weapons, not even fighting. And then, after December 1956, tens of thousands of people were arrested, tried, and about 350 were executed. This was a war crime because they were really soldiers, or members of the New Hungarian National Guard, so they should have been taken prisoner perhaps. But they were tried, and many, as I said about 350, executed, including some teen-agers — although in a strange cynical way, these teen-agers were kept in prison until they turned 18 because that’s the legitimate age for the death penalty.”

    http://web.archive.org/web/20010511072116/http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/guides/debate/chats/jeszensky/

    What is the basis for saying “most of whom were around 20 years of age”?

  331. Karl Stewart,

    That’s not what I was getting at. It sounded from “professional associations” and picking out those jobs like you were putting forward the hoary old line that they’re not “real” workers, or are somehow a less legitimate part of the movement because of the nature of their work.

    If that wasn’t what you meant or I was being over-sensitive, I take it back! :)

  332. Jara Handala on said:

    stockwellpete: Smith actually says, “Coz I’m not leaving this room until I get an answer.” WTF!!

    #412, 8:40pm

    It seems I unintentionally misled you: the opening lines were my paraphrase – my words – capturing the sorts of things Martin Smith said to Eric in his own home, the atmosphere he created.

    Reader ‘Totally Horrified Ex’ (‘THE’) posted Eric Karas’ account. ‘THE’ gave the link in their comment #399 to the verbatim record (in error I had called it near-verbatim) Eric made of this ‘encounter’ on the Dark Side.

    The actual words in Eric’s record that you refer to are:
    “Eric: I’m not making that choice now.
    M Smith: Well, you are because I’ll make it for you instead. I’m not leaving this room without one answer or the other. I don’t care personally . . .”

    I must say, I much prefer the Dark Side of the internet to the Dark Side of SWPworld.

  333. Karl Stewart: 2. All 500 of them believe that a boss should be able to behave inappropriately towards a 17-year-old female employee with no sanction.

    Can you please say what this is in reference to? I haven’t heard anyone mentioning a 17-year-old before in any of the long discussions about this business.

  334. Jara Handala on said:

    Andy Newman: the age 17

    #415, 8:52pm

    I noticed that too when Karl first posted it last night ( #313, 10:23pm). Comrade X, who according to the DC session transcript, will submit her complaint against Martin Smith when she is ready?

  335. Jellytot on said:

    @420 a 17-year-old

    I was wondering, as I was reading The Transcript, why they they all banging on about not pandering to “bourgeois morality”.

  336. Lesley2525 on said:

    I am sure Callinicos is not the first son of an aristrocrat to believe him self to be above bougoeis morality As for ‘Comrade Delta, he woudl appear to be a mutant love child of Swiss Tony ( form the fast show)and Beria.

    Joking aside the Callinicos groupies seem vile and their interanl regime is more like the kind of thing one might have experienced working in 70′s builders merchant’s.

  337. Jara Handala on said:

    Party Notes came out yesterday, Tuesday: http://www.swp.org.uk/party-notes

    It shows that the apparatus is not neutral but uses PN in a factional way, rubbishing Defence, & even trying to get sympathy for the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared).

    It includes some things not in the 2 postings made by Manzil & a.n.o. yesterday.

  338. Jara Handala: It shows that the apparatus is not neutral but uses PN in a factional way, rubbishing Defence, & even trying to get sympathy for the Callinicos Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared).

    You’re not wrong. From Party Notes:

    Support the CC statement: A group of comrades who back the CC statement are collecting names in support. They cannot form a faction because they support the party’s policies! The first 500 names were circulated last week. To add your name email addmynametoccstatement@gmail.com

    (Can I stress at this point that you should not email addmynametoccstatement@gmail.com unless you are using your real name and you genuinely wish to add your name to the CC statement. Emailing addmynametoccstatement@gmail.com from a Hotmail address using an assumed name would be childish and irresponsible. Also, the email address addmynametoccstatement@gmail.com should only be shared with trusted comrades, and should not be published on the Internet under any circumstances.)

    The level of denial is incredible. They (the group of comrades, acting independently of the CC) can’t form a faction, poor loves, because you can only form a faction if you’re being all oppositional and factional and everything. So they don’t have the advantages of those wicked factionisers, like, you know, being able to organise as a faction. So they’re doing something sort of kind of faction-ish, because they need to be able to do it if they’re going to operate as a… as an organised sort of… group, sort of thing…

    It’s a faction for Bog’s sake. They’ve got their faction, you’ve got yours. The party is split down the middle. Get used to it.

    Just saying.

  339. Jara Handala on said:

    Phil: They cannot form a faction because they support the party’s policies!

    #426, 12:03am

    Phil, it’s also an implied misrepresentation coz Defence is not opposed to any SWP policy or policies: the faction has been formed as they disagree with DECISIONS, those of the CC & NC.

    Opening sentence of the founding statement of Defence:
    “The undersigned comrades are declaring a faction within the SWP constitution to argue for a rejection of some CC and NC decisions taken since our conference closed on 6 January 2013″.

    Typical disingenuousness from the Callinicos-Kimber Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared). Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, eh?

  340. Karl Stewart on said:

    Manzil,

    Yes, I see the point you’re making and it’s a fair point.
    My main purpose here is to highlight that many of the Lynch Mob signatories made a point of listing their organisation after their name – as in “Christian name” then “first initial of surname” and then “name of trade union”.

    The only possible purpose in doing so would be that these individuals are using their position in these unions and therefore using that trade uniion in order to give extra weight to their name and therefore they have brought their union into this factional dispute.

    So members of the unions listed – I noticed Unison, UCU and NUT for example – are perfectly justified in asking which body of their union has expressed support for the anti-working class agenda of the Lynch Mob Faction.

  341. and there's more on said:

    jay blackwood: Can you please say what this is in reference to? I haven’t heard anyone mentioning a 17-year-old before in any of the long discussions about this business.

    Comrade W was a 17 year old student at the time of the initial incident, while Delta was the 46 year old National Secretary of the SWP.

  342. Jara Handala on said:

    and there's more: Comrade W

    Well, the DC transcript reported she was going to put in her ‘complaint’ against Smith to the DC after 4-6 Jan Conference when she was good & ready.

    Cde. W is also a member of the Defence faction so may be a speaker at 10 March Conference if she becomes a delegate.

  343. Jara Handala: the DC transcript reported she was going to put in her ‘complaint’ against Smith to the DC after 4-6 Jan Conference when she was good & ready.

    No, that was comrade X

    This is comrade W:

    From Candy UNwin speaking at SWP conference: “In September 2012, a comrade who we’ve called W, a woman, made a complaint of rape against Comrade Delta, a member of the party’s central committee. “>

    So this is rather serious:

    and there's more: Comrade W was a 17 year old student at the time of the initial incident, while Delta was the 46 year old National Secretary of the SWP.

  344. Candy Unwin, speaking for the SWP kangaroo court:

    We also however thought it was important to be clear that the disputes committee doesn’t exist to police moral, er, bourgeois morality, so we agreed that issues that weren’t relevant to us were whether the comrade was monogamous, whether they were having an affair, whether the age differences in their relationahip, because as revolutionaries we didn’t consider that should be our remit to consider issues such as those.

    Yes, who would consider age differencess relevent in terms of abuse of power. How bourgeois.

  345. and there's more: Comrade W was a 17 year old student at the time of the initial incident, while Delta was the 46 year old National Secretary of the SWP.

    In England and Wales, the age of consent involving a person in a “position of authority” with someone over whem they exercise authority is 18.

    Did the SWP’s disputes committee consider that?

    Or do they also consider the age of consent also a bougeoois concept?

  346. Andy Newman: In England and Wales, the age of consent involving a person in a “position of authority” with someone over whem they exercise authority is 18.

    I think the phrase is “position of trust” and it refers to education & care relationships, not employment (I’ve just been looking at the SOA 2003 myself). But it’s pretty appalling that the leadership never seem to have considered W’s age a factor – more evidence of a well-er-basically-bourgeois-innit attitude to the law.

  347. Darren redstar on said:

    and there's more: Comrade W was a 17 year old student at the time of the initial incident, while Delta was the 46 year old National Secretary of the SWP.

    I pointed out a few weeks ago that by the SWPs standard, jimmy Saville would have had no problems.

  348. Delta should have been kicked out of the SWP for having any kind of ‘relationship’ with a 17 year old.

  349. Phil: But it’s pretty appalling that the leadership never seem to have considered W’s age a factor – more evidence of a well-er-basically-bourgeois-innit attitude to the law.

    NOt just the law, but also common sense; and also any informed opinion about unequal power relationships.

    I seriously don’t knw how we are supposed to work with these 500 signatories in the unions. FFS the woman who charied the SWP conference debate on the Disputes Commitee report about this sits on UNISON’s NEC.

  350. Karl Stewart on said:

    When the SWP’s Lynch Mob Faction published its list of supporters, many of the individuals listed the name of a trade union after their name.

    I noticed the unions Unison, UCU and NUT listed in this way for example.

    I don’t belong to any of these unions, but I will be taking another look at this list to see if anyone has listed the name of my union after their name and if anyone has, then I’ll contact my union’s executive to ask:

    Which body of the union – executive, region or branch – has authorised the use of the union’s name in this manner?

  351. and there's more on said:

    When Delta addressed the 2011 conference where he wallowed in the infamous standing ovation, he said it was a consensual peer based relationship that had gone awry. We now know at least part of that statement was an outright lie, and IMHO the rest if it is too.

  352. Heather Downs on said:

    Andy Newman: No one is assuming that is necessarily so in her individual case. However, the culture within the SWP might neverthless discousrage someone from going to the police generally, so it may still have been a factor for her.

    Andy Newman,

    Andy – the point is that 85-90% of sexual violence cases are never reported. Many people are so traumatised that they do not tell even their closest friends and family. Obviously, most cases do not involve two members of the same socialist organisation, so that is clearly not a factor in the vast majority. It is therefore more useful, surely, to analyse what is the most usual reason for not reporting. This is a much more significant factor than the specifics of any individual case. It is important that the left addresses this pernicious form of male violence against women, both in society in general and within our own ranks. It constitutes a source of division within the w/c and organisations claiming to represent us. That should be centre stage in this debate. Discussions about the internal culture, dynamics and (lack of) democracy are obscuring an effective analysis of the fundamental issue – violence against women. Constantly refocussing on what is obviously more comfortable and familiar territory for most participants will prove counterproductive in the long run.

  353. BeAndy Newman,

    be careful about the age thing. She was 19 at the time of the alleged rape, but was younger when they started seeing each other. Not that this changes anything, really.

  354. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    A sexual turpitude/rape allegation in history. From a Wikipedia article about John Paul Jones, a Scottish-born captain often regarded as the founder of the US Navy.

    “In June 1782, Jones was appointed to command the 74-gun America, but his command fell through when Congress decided to give the America to the French as replacement for the wrecked Le Magnifique. As a result, he was given assignment in Europe in 1783 to collect prize money due his former hands. At length, this too expired and Jones was left without prospects for active employment, leading him in 1788 to enter into the service of the Empress Catherine II of Russia, who placed great confidence in Jones, saying: “He will get to Constantinople.” He took the name Павел Джонз (Pavel Dzhons, Paul Jones).

    Jones avowed his intention, however, to preserve the condition of an American citizen and officer. As a rear admiral aboard the 24-gun flagship Vladimir, he took part in the naval campaign in the Liman (an arm of the Black Sea, into which flow the Southern Bug and Dnieper rivers) against the Turks. Jones successfully repulsed Ottoman forces from the area, but the jealous intrigues of Russian officer Prince Grigory Alexandrovich Potëmkin and his cohort Prince Charles of Nassau-Siegen caused him to be recalled to St. Petersburg for the pretended purpose of being transferred to a command in the North Sea. Here he was compelled to remain in idleness, while rival officers plotted against him and even maliciously assailed his private character through accusations of sexual misconduct. In April 1789 Jones was arrested and accused of raping a 12 year old girl named Katerina Goltzwart.[20] But the Count de Segur, the French representative at the Russian court (and also Jones’ last friend in the capital), conducted his own personal investigation into the matter and was able to convince Potëmkin that the girl had not been raped and that Jones had been accused by Prince de Nassau-Siegen for his own purposes;[21] however, Jones admitted to prosecutors that he had “often frolicked” with the girl “for a small cash payment,” only denying that he had deprived her of her virginity.[22] Even so, in that period he was able to author his Narrative of the Campaign of the Liman.

    On June 8, 1788, Jones was awarded the Order of St. Anne, but he left the following month, an embittered man.”

  355. Linda: She was 19 at the time of the alleged rape, but was younger when they started seeing each other. Not that this changes anything, really.

    Good clarification. Though the inappropriate balance of power is an issue at 17 or 19.

  356. Jara Handala,

    If there is any ambiguity then this needs clearing up as it has been a long established custom in the party that we don’t have permanent factions or factions popping up willy nilly any time of the year. That seems to be the outcome you are trying to enforce. I suspect the majority of our members do not want that kind of party and if that needs setting out more clearly then so be it.

    But I ask again, why are you posing as friend of the opposition? I will be debating fraternally with them. You? They despise you? You are to them at the same level as the Daily Mail ‘Hurrah’ and all that!

  357. George Hallam:

    What is the basis for saying “most of whom were around 20 years of age”?

    ‘three quarters of them (the 350 executions) workers around twenty years of age’ – according to Hungarian official documents summarised by G. Litvan (ed) ‘The Hungarian Revolution 1956′ (London, 1996) p 144

  358. stauart: it has been a long established custom in the party that we don’t have permanent factions or factions popping up willy nilly any time of the year.

    What is clear is that a lot of the “long established cusstoms” in the SWP are abusive and scandalous.

  359. George Hallam on said:

    stauart: ‘three quarters of them (the 350 executions) workers around twenty years of age’ – according to Hungarian official documents summarised by G. Litvan (ed) ‘The Hungarian Revolution 1956′ (London, 1996) p 144

    Thanks

  360. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stauart: popping up willy nilly

    Popping up willy nilly? A young women (17-19) is says she has been abused by a man pushing 50 in the most powerful position in ‘THE PARTY’ and he is celebrated with a standing ovation at it’s national conference.

    The young woman makes another complaint, this time, she believes, to the correct committee, because she has faith and trust that ‘THE PARTY’ will deal with it as they claim to be decent people with decent ideas and AGAIN she is abused and AGAIN he is lauded.

    Four comrades, true to their beliefs about women’s oppression, discuss their miss-givings and are EXPELLED for thinking that it is wrong and talking amongst themselves! For a thought crime Stuart?!

    So a ‘faction’ of socialists emerges to expose this and stand up for what is right and ‘THE PARTY’ turns on them like a pack of rabid dogs!

    Willy Nilly? What’s wrong with you Stuart? This is called Historical Materialism (actuality in the real world leads to to ideas –> action. Social being determines social consciousness).

    You think that you would have been on the right side in Hungary? Really? Stuart this is ABC stuff. You have failed an easy test.

    At least you are reading the evidence – unlike the 500 deadheads who don’t even know that she was 17. They are so used to swallowing sh*t they’ve grown quite used to the taste. They even think they like it.

    Heather is Om Mani Shanti-ing in the corner (repeating a mantra is best left to the religious Heather, though the weekly SWP meeting often felt like a prayer meeting).

    The scandal is bringing ‘THE PARTY’ down and all you can do is ask why socialist here are discussing it? Because it is a virus infecting the left, idiot.

    We are not doing this for the opposition faction, much as I admire their stand. We are doing this because it is right.

    Plus I’ve got to tell you there is nothing fraternal in the debate with the SWP. If Lords Callinicos and Kimber see the slightest glint of doubt in your eye one of their attack dogs will rip it out and feed it to you.

    Sorry, it’s very long. I’m very angry that the SWP couldn’t stand up for a woman who was so young and and that you Stuart et al, have let her down so cruelly.

    I don’t know if she is going to speak. But I do know this will scar her. But what does she matter, eh Stuart?

  361. stauart: why are you posing as friend of the opposition? I will be debating fraternally with them. You? They despise you

    Are you saying they despise Jara Handala personally, or that they despise anyone who comments on SU? If it’s the latter, I really doubt it. I know some IDOOP signatories through work and they haven’t started cutting me dead.

    It’s a Venn diagram thing – you share with the opposition a belief that the SWP is the revolutionary party; I don’t share that, but what I do share with the opposition is the belief that the Left will be a better place when the SWP’s sorted itself out. I also share that belief with most of the commenters here, although I don’t share Andy’s belief that the Left would be a better place without the SWP – I think it would leave a huge gap.

  362. Jara Handala on said:

    stauart: I suspect the majority of our members do not want that kind of party and if that needs setting out more clearly then so be it.

    #445, 12:23pm

    Afternoon, Stuart. Trust you are well?

    Well, Stuart, sorry to let logic & the evidence get in the way of your opinion that “I suspect the majority of our members do not want that kind of party”, but that’s what the delegates voted for when choosing their constitution: article 10 unambiguously says a legal faction exists when a policy or decision is disagreed with, & it says NOTHING else about WHEN a faction can be set up.

    But you may well be right, both then & now, i.e. when voting the delegates couldn’t extract the ordinary meaning of words (they were somehow confused), & that in the SWP of today the majority of the membership (or the active, say, 2000 members) want to change the Constitution & put in a time-clause to only allow self-organising during the pre-Conference discussion periods (be it either the mandatory 3 months, or the duration the dictators that is the CC deem the members can have, their small moment of participation in discussion & decision-making).

    (Permanent factions, i.e. a faction that doesn’t dissolve after Conference, are forbidden by the Constitution.)

    After all, to use your words, where would we be if “willy nilly” members started self-organising “any time of the year”? No doubt you find that anarchistic rather than normal & what democratic centralism is all about!

    But I’m sure your fear is right, that a confident, self-mobilising membership, challenging policies & decisions, expressing plurality & differences within the SWP, creating a vibrant internal life, would both horrify the Callinicos-Kimber Lynch-Mob Faction (Undeclared), & break with what you call “a long established custom in the party”.

    But even within the SWP a democratic spirit was going to break out some time, the sort of democratic spirit that was a great virtue of both its predecessors, the Socialist Review Group & the International Socialists. And I’m sure you find it gratifying that SWP members are learning about both the democratic roots of the IS/SWP tradition, & how that tradition is grossly violated by the present dictatorial & thuggish regime.

    P.S. I don’t know if you’ve been to Somerset House this morning or whether you’re nervous, but your name has changed. As the thread puts it, keep your grip on reality, resolve the tension, allow the SWP to return to health, not accelerating necrosis.

    P.P.S. Is there no way you can get some help on here from other Lynchers? There must be someone else you can rope in here (pardon the pun)?

  363. Totally Horrified Ex: Popping up willy nilly? A young women (17-19) is says she has been abused by a man pushing 50 in the most powerful position in ‘THE PARTY’ and he is celebrated with a standing ovation at it’s national conference.

    The more details emerge about this, the sicker I feel. Everything good about the IS tradition has been betrayed and dragged through the mire by “Delta” and the fools who are defending him and his rotten leadership coterie. The abuse of power couldn’t be plainer, or more tawdry, whatever the facts of the rape accusation might be. Those of us who put years of time and energy and work into building the SWP have been betrayed just us much as the existing membership. That’s why we’ve got the right to comment on it – that and the fact that this stinking, corrupt leadership still claims the mantle of “leadership of the class”. They deserve nothing but contempt. They are utterly vile.

  364. Jara Handala on said:

    For readers information, a copy of the CC motion to the 10 March Conference is at http://www.cpgb.org.uk. It’s currently on the move thru the class as one of the Four Horses of the SWP Apocalypse that is the carousel at the top of their homepage.
    It’s also here http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/swp-central-committee-motion-to-special-conference

    Seems with all this leaking the SWP is sinking, & perhaps Defence’s decision Sunday to keep things in-house isn’t working. But then maybe the Lynchers thought if the opposition were starting an embargo then the Filth Front could be monopolised by them. War is dirty.

    And today’s ‘Weekly Worker’ has just been posted.

    So, Andy, the Karen R chairing the DC session at January Conference was Reissman, herself victimised disgustingly by her employer for speaking up. Guess the SWP management have the advantage to learn their labour practices from the horse’s mouth – and also use enforcement methods, so far that is, that don’t involve either horse’s heads or adulterating food.

  365. Stalin 1937:

    Never in the history of the world have there been such really free and really democratic elections — never! History knows no other example like it. (Applause.) The point is not that our elections will be universal, equal, secret and direct, although that fact in itself is of great importance. The point is that our universal elections will be carried out as the freest elections and the most democratic compared with elections in any other country in the world.

    SWP CC 2013:
    1) The Socialist Workers Party stands out on the left by the fact that it has a history of genuine democratic debate without permanent factionalism. We have developed democratic and accountable structures from our branches, elected district committees, the national committee and disputes committee, central committee, party councils and conference. In the recent period these structures were re-examined and strengthened by the work of the SWP democracy commission. We have full confidence in these structures and the method of democratic centralism.

    Which one is, er, more disingenuous?

  366. stauart on said:

    tom,

    I thought Callinicos’s article was strong on politics. The opposition refers to ‘failures in long-term analysis and perspective’. Callinicos himself refers to ‘our theoretical tradition and our democratic structures will allow us to arrive at the necessary political clarity and to learn the lessons of the disciplinary case’.

    I look forward to trying to make more sense of these apparent differences.

  367. Jara Handala on said:

    Sam64: Which one is, er, more disingenuous?

    #454, 2:29pm

    One word: Stallinicos.

    Sam, this is a toughie. The more I think about it the more difficult I find it to answer.

  368. Stuart, you’re defending a culture in which the abuse of power seems to have become endemic. Is that what you got involved in socialist politics for? Or are you just going to hide from this question behind more inane platitudes?

  369. Not entirely sure myself. I guess I’d have to go with Uncle Jo as opposed to Lord Alex (sounds like a Beano gang), but a close call certainly.

  370. Jellytot on said:

    @452A young women (17-19) is says she has been abused by a man pushing 50 in the most powerful position in ‘THE PARTY’

    Watch it!

    Feeling even slightly queasy about a late-40-something cracking onto women in their late-teens is “bourgeois morality”.

    @454The Socialist Workers Party stands out on the left by the fact that it has a history of genuine democratic debate without permanent factionalism.

    The only reason they don’t have formal & declared permanent factionalism is because the Party doesn’t allow it….if it did, they would.

    Anyway, Chris Bambery, when he left, said the Party, from the CC down, was riven with defacto factionalism. And he should know.

  371. So, Andy, the Karen R chairing the DC session at January Conference was Reissman, herself victimised disgustingly by her employer for speaking up

    Yep. The Rhetta M who claimed to have experience working with rape victims, and who played the “we know it looks bad but we really had no alternative” card, will also be known to anyone active in the northwest, for similar reasons.

    All I can say is that the next time an SWP trade unionist gets victimised (and sadly there almost certainly will be a next time) I hope his or her name is on the IDOOP list. If it’s on the CC list, I might just leave that particular petition unsigned.

  372. Heather Downs: Discussions about the internal culture, dynamics and (lack of) democracy are obscuring an effective analysis of the fundamental issue – violence against women. Constantly refocussing on what is obviously more comfortable and familiar territory for most participants will prove counterproductive in the long run.

    I am at a loss to understand your point. Of course the background issue is violence against women; however, even accepting the general proposition there is too much violence against women, and too much acceptance of it politically and culturally, that does not allow us to conclude anything about whether worng doing happened in this particular case.

    All we know for sure is that the process was scandallously worng and biased, and that the complainant woman was treated without respect. That is why the discussion is about what we know, and not about what we don’t know.

    What is more, the bias in the procedure was itself an example of the acceptance of male power and not taking rape seriously; so discussing the deficinces of process is taking the issue seriously.

    What I also don’t understand about your argument, is that while no one would criticise a woman who decided not to go to the police, surely there is both a pubic policy and political advantage in rapists being prosecuted

  373. Phil: All I can say is that the next time an SWP trade unionist gets victimised (and sadly there almost certainly will be a next time) I hope his or her name is on the IDOOP list. If it’s on the CC list, I might just leave that particular petition unsigned.

    That would be extremely short-sighted and politically stupid.

    If trade unionists are victimised by the bosses, they deserve support, irrespective of other differences.

    And anyone who wants another good historical reason why this is short-sighted should read this.

  374. ‘But Stalin did smash Hitler, Lord Callinicos has done nothing.’

    Stalin had to dig the more competent Soviet generals out of Siberian labour camps to conduct the WW2 military campaign, and they were only able to do so effectively once he’d taken something of a back seat after initial blundering. After the war, he discreetly imprisoned the leading figures in the Red Army who’d had to act outside official command, i.e. during the siege of Stalingrad.

    But eh, don’t take this as a defence of Lord Theodore!!!

  375. redscribe – ordinarily I’d agree; I certainly wouldn’t let anyone’s party membership get in the way of giving them support if they needed it. What makes me feel differently this time is the damage these people are doing. Delta and the “Faction That Isn’t A Faction” Faction are wrecking the SWP organisationally by turning it against itself, at the same time as they’re blackening its name with the rest of the Left. They seem determined to take the party off the “co-operate with caution” list and get it reclassified as “avoid at all costs”. Until they come to their senses, they can fight their own battles.

  376. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: Stalin had to dig the more competent Soviet generals out of Siberian labour camps to conduct the WW2 military campaign, and they were only able to do so effectively once he’d taken something of a back seat after initial blundering.

    This is a myth that has been exploded by the research of David Glantz and other military historians.

    The “WW2 military campaign”, as you call it, was not conducted by Soviet generals who had been dug out of Siberian labour camps.

    Stalin never took “a back seat” at any time. He took an active part in commanding Soviet forces right the way through till the very end of the War.

  377. Jara Handala on said:

    tom: There is a fear of debate, hence the limited pre-conference discussion period. Good comrades have left and will continue to leave as the crisis deepens.

    #415, 7:17pm yesterday

    Hi, Tom.

    I couldn’t help but notice that Stuart (#455, 2:29pm) ignored the above points you made.

    As my recent comment (#451, 1:30pm) makes plain, there are obvious reasons why the Lynchers fear self-organising (an intra-party example of Draper’s socialism from below), widespread participation, debate, the availability of the mandatory 3 months pre-Conference discussion, in a phrase, reasons why the Lynchers fear a meaningful & EFFICACIOUS democracy.

    But it depends what is the aim of all this discussion & decision-making. Hence my stress on efficacy.

    If the CC dictators think they know best, that the Party, the whole tradition, is endangered by the restless natives, then they are rational in supporting institutional means, procedures, decisions (as you note, a one month discussion for the March Conference) & a Party ideological dogma that suits their end, which is to secure their own reproduction (with the occasional modifications of personnel & said means), coz they judge themselves to be the only possible custodians of ‘The Way’, the Protectors of the Cliffite Relics.

    Correspondingly, the CC dictators (& the fellow Lynchers) are also rational in disrupting attempts to change the status quo, even if it means thousands leave. They have to stay in control. There can be no compromise on this. Only they possess the truth & the vision. The doubters “have no place in this organisation”, as Martin Smith barked at Cde. Eric Karas (see link to his horrific treatment at the above comment #399, 6:04pm yesterday).

    However, if a different end is accepted then it needs different means. The point is, freedom within the Party, a vibrant, creative, even joyful internal life, the self-organising of members, not being orchestrated by the Lynchers-on-the-Gallows-Platform, such freedom threatens a group used to leading, getting a Party salary, the prestige, status, the associated pride, all this rather than being rank & file members. Their response here has been, ‘Don’t they know who we are?’, & their indignation is fuelling their counter-attack.

    Socialists don’t just think democracy is a good idea, a healthy way to organise participation in decision-making. Importantly, freedom helps the BEST ideas, arguments, policies, decisions & practices come to the fore, it makes them known, comrades don’t keep their misgivings & doubts to themselves but voice them, share their ideas on how the current policies have worked in practice, in a safe atmosphere, free from fear & intimidation. They feel involved, that it’s their org’n, they take ‘ownership’ of it. Because that’s the point: without a healthy inner-party democracy a disconnect NECESSARILY arises between decision-making, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, & new decisions. And with disconnects, when things start to go wrong, like with RESPECT, the corrective on the CC is missing, & they plough on regardless, even making exacerbatory decisions.

    The choice is obvious: do the best ideas come from a coterie claiming insight others lack, or does one trust the membership to do it thru open debate?

    A vibrant, joyful internal democracy is not a luxury, a good idea, it is simply the best means to make one’s practice better, to make adjustments, to truly unite decision & practice in a healthy, productive, efficacious way. And the efficiacy here is aimed at allowing the BEST decisions to be made. That determines the range of possible means – and which means must be rejected. There must be procedures to stop a group of comrades seizing the apparatus, institutionalising themselves, using the org’n in their own perceived self-interest. The org’n must never become captured by a coterie, using the members as its instrument. And wherever a coterie is ruling they must be deposed. It goes without saying that the human montrosity known as bureaucratic centralism has no place in a healthy labour & socialist movement.

    To refer to a matter raised in this SWP discussion, I believe ALL organised viewpoints should be on every leading cttee., comrades need to work together, not to think it’s us-&-them, & that is one way to overcome irrational suspicion & personal animosities. It has been immature (& un-Leninist) of the Lyncher Faction (Undeclared) to say diversity disrupts: capitalist society shows everyday how managements cope with different opinions.

    If an org’n is unhealthy, degenerating, dysfunctional, it can either be left to die or people try to re-new it, to re-form it, repair it. So it is no surprise then that the Miéville-Seymour Terrorist-Wrecker Centre formalised themselves as the Democratic Renewal Platform. That’s their view as loyal SWP members: their loyalty demands that the Party be saved from its present course.

    So, away with grumbles & withdrawal from activity! Arise, ye starvelings! You deserve plates & plates of democracy! The freedom principle draws everyone in, mobilises them, it makes them feel they have a stake in the Party, that it is THEIR Party, that elected officials are not just fellow comrades but ACCOUNTABLE to them.

    (Given Professor Dark Side’s ‘Is Leninism Finished?’ article in last month’s ‘Socialist Review’, I wouldn’t expect the sort of ideas I’ve expressed here to get a hearing in that journal. And that shows how resistant the Lynchers are to any renewal.)

    I think all this gives us a good idea why Stuart might have ignored your point. It seems he is of the view that bureaucratic centralism must be preserved at all cost, even if the SWP splits, even if many comrades either leave a unitary SWP or simply stop their Party work.

    The wider picture is this. A principal problem that many revo socs have failed to address concerns the internal life of the org’n. It is one important reason why for over 80 years they don’t grow, unable to institutionally contain differences, resulting in splits. It seems professed revo soc bureaucratic centralist org’ns can’t contain more than a few thousand members, the centrifugal forces easily overcoming what centripetal ones there are. Until this is discussed properly the working class & its allies suffer, as does the very idea of socialism & communism. Nothing less is at stake. And let me say, Stuart too can be part of this discussion, part of the solution rather than being the other bit of the cliché.

  378. Jara Handala on said:

    Sam64: Not entirely sure myself. I guess I’d have to go with Uncle Jo as opposed to Lord Alex (sounds like a Beano gang), but a close call certainly.

    #458, 2:51pm

    As far as we know only one of them has buried bodies.

    But as the other Joe put it, Enlai, it may be early days.

  379. stauart on said:

    Phil:

    All I can say is that the next time an SWP trade unionist gets victimised (and sadly there almost certainly will be a next time) I hope his or her name is on the IDOOP list. If it’s on the CC list, I might just leave that particular petition unsigned.

    Very unprincipled and very sectarian. If CP members were being victimised by employers or attacked by the right wing in the union in decades gone by I’m sure IS and SWP members didn’t refuse to support them because, like say Karl Stewart, they support the suppression of the workers’ rising in Hungary.

    BTW I’m off to my aggregate soon, CC motion to Special Conference seems to provide a good basis for unity, at least I hope.

  380. There seems to be a consensus here, excepting Stuart’s heroic defence of the indefensible, that the SWP have handled the allegations against its top (organisational) dog maladroitly; treated its young complainant member appallingly; that the organisation has developed a misplaced, even perverse, model of democratic centralism and that the tactics of the leadership ­ faced with a revolt by the youth and wavering by its middle cadre – are likely to bring ruin on the contending parties.

    It also seems to me that some people with bitter personal experiences rather welcome this.
    I don’t. Not because I have much affection for the remains of the SWP’s historic leadership. Cliff I liked in earlier days but thought him an amiable rogue. Harman, a clever ideologue who would have made a passable Beria. Foot reminded me very much of some patrician North London CPers in his effortless interplay of politics and charm. Watching it evolve since the sixties the SWP seemed very much a political chameleon.

    It never really amounted to much once it drove its industrial activists into exile, that is until the implosion of the Communist Party and the dismantling of actually existing socialism.

    It is precisely this changed world which has deprived such ‘third way’ formations of their raison d’être. What we are seeing now is its disintegration and decay into the political equivalent of those bits of space debris that never quite crash to earth.

    It seems to me profoundly unmatarialist to discuss this small drama purely in terms of the superstructural forms its takes rather than looking at the deeper politics.

  381. Jara Handala on said:

    Jellytot: Anyway, Chris Bambery, when he left, said the Party, from the CC down, was riven with defacto factionalism. And he should know.

    #459, 2:52pm

    My very point: in any collective there are necessarily different opinions. The question is how the variety of opinions is given institutional form. Are opinions hidden from members or subject to wide & rational evaluation? Do they remain inchoate or are they presented & discussed, developing their potentiality?

    Cde. Bambery is saying the institutional form these differences took in the SWP was a competition between open secret factions – with the great majority of members excluded, learning what they could thru gossip.

    Would anyone, even a Lyncher, find that healthy? But for a Lyncher any other arrangement would be immeasurably worse. So they’re stuck with sickness, dysfunctionality, an institution ensuring an irrational inner-Party life, & a disconnect between decision & practice – irrational, that is, for everyone except those who benefit, the Lynchers & their supporters.

  382. Jara Handala on said:

    stauart: BTW I’m off to my aggregate soon

    #470, 6:20pm

    So there we have it, another example of irrationality in the SWP’s internal life: comrades vote on their delegates for 10 March BEFORE any Pre-Conference Bulletin has been distributed! In fact there’ll only be one PCB, it’s deadline for articles being Friday, 1 March, so probably all the voting will be over before anyone has the chance to read the pearls of wisdom, & MAYBE change their minds.

    Shows how much the Masters of the SWP Universe value those well-meaning comrades who go to the trouble of writing down their ideas & arguments.

    It also shows how they feel as true rulers of offices, as true bureaucrats, that they have to go thru this charade of a Bulletin, choosing a timetable of Bulletin & Conference which means the aggregate voting is all over before – and this is 2013 – the Party’s press can have an effect.

    Priceless. (As is the PCB: it’s free – even free on the internet from Saturday, 2 March.)

  383. Francisco Ascaso on said:

    Interesting article from Tom Walker over at Left Unity:
    http://leftunity.org/learning-not-lecturing-why-the-left-doesnt-have-all-the-answers/

    “For all our talk of Leninism, I’m afraid this method of policy-making [top-down] is very similar to when revolutionary groups make their decisions through hours-long meetings of a central committee, who sit and deliberate in philosopher-king isolation until finally smoke rises from the chimney and the signal is ready to go out to the masses. Comrades, we have decided to launch a new campaign, and it shall be called Unite the Resistance, and it is now the central priority for us all. Comrades, the slogan of the day is ‘TUC, call a general strike’. Declarations fall on the membership’s head as if from a great height. The loyalists again exalt them as nuggets of revealed truth, and run off to tell the workers. The party turns up in the movement and shouts: hello, over here, we have the answers! Our tradition of dialogue with the working class has turned into a harangue.

    We’re told that such relentless top-downism is in fact ‘our model of democratic centralism’. But someone seems to have lost the democracy bit down the back of the sofa.”

  384. Karl Stewart on said:

    stauart: …because, like say Karl Stewart, they support the suppression of the workers’ rising in Hungary.

    For some reason, the SWP Lynch Mob Faction’s spokespeople on this site have more than once referred to “Hungary” as a defence of their own anti-socialist and anti-working class practice today.

    If I was a “supporter” of the crushing of the 1919 workers’ uprising in Hungary (I actually think the crushing of that uprising was a brutal and reactionary act in history, but for the sake of arguments..etc…), then how on earth would that excuse the abuses of today’s SWP Lynch Mob Faction?

    How on earth could someone else’s opinion about historical events of nearly a century ago in another country possibly excuse the Lynch Mob Faction’s support for this catalogue of vile and sickening contemporary behaviour?

  385. stauart: Very unprincipled and very sectarian. If CP members were being victimised by employers or attacked by the right wing in the union in decades gone by I’m sure IS and SWP members didn’t refuse to support them because, like say Karl Stewart, they support the suppression of the workers’ rising in Hungary.

    I do believe you still don’t get it. The SWP probably has lots of policies I don’t agree with – that’s not the issue. I’m talking about withdrawing solidarity – hypothetically, in a situation which I hope doesn’t arise – because of what these people are doing to the party (and, by extension, to the Left).

  386. Andy Newman: What I also don’t understand about your argument, is that while no one would criticise a woman who decided not to go to the police, surely there is both a pubic policy and political advantage in rapists being prosecuted

    At risk of putting words in Heather Downs’s mouth, I suspect her objection to some of the criticisms is close to mine.

    Whilst not trying to defend the appalling hash that the SWP CC has made of this, in the wider context of an undemocratic and hierarchical (and whatever else!) culture, I have trouble agreeing with the view that organisations should never consider such cases.

    Given that the vast majority of rape victims do not report, and of those only a small minority secure a conviction, there must inevitably be a range of situations where an organisation needs to form a view of a member’s behaviour, whatever the result of any criminal actions. As an analogy, someone on a previous thread mentioned the FA and John Terry, where the organisation took their own position, in this case after the legal channel had been exhausted.

    The suggestion made by many posters here is that, in effect, the organisation says “go to the police, or nothing happens”. There is a real chance that this will be (or will be seen to be) a stick to beat victims.

    I am not suggesting that an organisation’s internal procedures can bring “justice” for the victim. But to ignore, say, a repeated pattern of behaviour that, for one reason or another, will not result in a prosecution or conviction, is surely not the result we would want.

    This is why I challenged Tony, for instance, as to what he would advise the comrade to do, if she was a friend of his looking for support. In a case that is a number of years old, with only the word of the parties involved, I wouldn’t hold out much chance of being among the 6% of reported cases that results in a conviction. Would you urge a friend to go to the police in those circumstances?

    And I think this is why both Heather and I have been reacting against this mantra about the SWP’s attitude to the police being the reason the victim would not have reported. Of course, her political views, and those of her comrades, and the hierarchy, are part of the picture. But don’t pretend the problem goes away if the SWP’s politics goes away.

  387. Andy Newman on said:

    Matt,

    I dont recognise a similarity in what you and Heather are saying. To me she seems to be arguing women shouldn’t go to the police but sh ould instead campaign politically for a change in societal attitudes.

  388. Andy Newman on said:

    I
    Matt,

    Your argument has some substance, but were that the case an organisation faced with such a situation would have a responsibility to ensure the woman had independent advice and councellibg, and also legal advice.

    An organisation in that position would also make it clear they were not acting as a substitute for criminal law, but acting in a supplementary way, and they wet working to the burden if proof of balance of probability not beyond reasonable doubt. And they would distinguish between issues of fact and law.

    It is quite clear that the SWP – from their own words on the transcript – believe an internal investigation is superior to and should be preferred over a police investigation

  389. Matt: The suggestion made by many posters here is that, in effect, the organisation says “go to the police, or nothing happens”.

    I really recommend reading Linda Rodgers’ post on the IS blog, “Can the SWP deal with rape allegations?”. Linda demonstrates that there’s an awful lot of middle ground between “DC deals with it” and “go to the police”, and lays out a better course of action in some detail.

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

  390. Pingback: UNISON women, the SWP, and the vote to support rape victims | Too Much To Say For Myself

  391. Phil: I do believe you still don’t get it. The SWP probably has lots of policies I don’t agree with – that’s not the issue. I’m talking about withdrawing solidarity – hypothetically, in a situation which I hope doesn’t arise – because of what these people are doing to the party (and, by extension, to the Left).

    What you are advocating is not ‘solidarity’ but a form of scabbing at a time when so many are under attack from government policies. Please do not delude yourself into believing that you or others who post similarly have any positive influence on the SWP or for that matter the broader left.

  392. Stuart

    You describe yourself as ‘a socialist’. What exactly are you doing now politically other than using this blog for a spot of sectarian opportunism?

  393. Karl Stewart,

    I was referring to 1956 as you well know. You are being hypocritical in that you support historical acts that involve suppressing workers’ uprisings, leading to the mass execution of young workers. You manage to combine the politics of Joe Stalin and Joe McCarthy and then lecture others.

  394. Francisco Ascaso on said:

    stuart: What you are advocating is not ‘solidarity’ but a form of scabbing at a time when so many are under attack from government policies. Please do not delude yourself into believing that you or others who post similarly have any positive influence on the SWP or for that matter the broader left.

    So Stuart, to sum up the thrust of your posts: Those of us on the left who are not SWP members are, ipso facto, sectarians. This is simply confirmed when we express any reservations about the current CC line, and if we dare to consider acting on those reservations then it is now apparent that we are scabs. Is that the size of it?

    All of this must be self-evident to a loyalist, but please be patient with those of us less familiar with the IS tradition (as interpreted by the current CC).

  395. Tony Collins,

    I am a proud member of an interventionist party, a socialist party that intervenes wherever intervention into the class struggle becomes necessary. I am sorry that you are left behind a one-man-band affair.

  396. Francisco Ascaso,

    Depends what you mean by ‘acting on those reservations’. As a party member I am engaged in fraternal discussions around various matters including the disciplinary case. It is an internal party matter. The leaking of the transcript has quite predictably turned into an opportunity for gossip, highly inappropriate for such an issue.

  397. Stuart, you are clearly suffering from the stress of what’s going on. You’re lashing out at people more and more, and acting in an extremely sectarian way. The fact that you keep thinking you’re scoring points by talking about people being “despised”, and now, “one mand band” affairs, shows that this is getting to you. Y’see, you know absolutely nothing about what other people are doing. And given that you claim to have been posting here since 2007, why have you never said or done anything about the continuous attempts of the local SWP leadership to drive dissenters like me out of the movement altogether. You can’t have it both ways, Stuart – your party did its best to ensure that a large number of us could never get involved in local joint activities, and yet you think it’s an insult to call people “one man bands”.

    You can’t have it both ways. You’ve been posting on here for years yet done absolutely nothing inside the party to deal with the thousands of comments on here providing evidence of the nasty, sectarian, destructive behaviour of your party’s leadership. You chose not to see it. You are, as people have said, a part of the problem: You really cannot comprehend just how much your way of thinking is actually damaging the movement.

  398. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    George Hallam: This is a myth that has been exploded by the research of David Glantz and other military historians.

    The “WW2 military campaign”, as you call it, was not conducted by Soviet generals who had been dug out of Siberian labour camps.

    Stalin never took “a back seat” at any time. He took an active part in commanding Soviet forces right the way through till the very end of the War.

    One leading general, Konstantin Rokossovsky, was in the Gulag in the late 1930s but was released in 1940. Another, Kirill Meretskov, was actually arrested just after the German invasion started, but was released a few months later and put in command near Leningrad. A subordinate of Meretskov’s, Andrey Vlasov, went over to the Germans after being captured, though Vlasov, unlike Meretskov, had no arrest record under the Soviet Union. The claim that most of Stalin’s generals were dug out of the Gulag to retrieve the situation is false. Apart from anything else, giving key commands to people with a grudge is a risky move to make, though Rokossovsky and Meretskov remained loyal. Most Gulag inmates who were released to military service seem to have been put in punishment battalions, not given senior command.

  399. Tony Collins:
    Stuart, you are clearly suffering from the stress of what’s going on. You’re lashing out at people more and more, and acting in an extremely sectarian way.

    I’m not under stress, contrary to what you say. The SWP will remain intact, March 10th will provide us with the opportunity to achieve greater clarity internally and enable us to continue immersing ourselves in the struggles that are all around. We will withstand the constant sectarian attacks facilitated by this site. We have, and will continue to have, an interventionist model of organisation. We are happy to work alongside other sections of the left but would naturally make the obvious point that divisive sectarianism is unwelcome.

  400. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: Depends what you mean by ‘acting on those reservations’. As a party member I am engaged in fraternal discussions

    #489, 12:32pm

    Sexist!

    But it’s ok, Stuart, once the Party has been successfully railroaded through an unconstitutional Special Conference, Good Egg Martin Smith will be “allowed to fully return to political activity” (the Great Leader to the restless natives of ISJ), meaning appointed to head Women’s Liberation work, & in a national tour to launch the ‘Save Women from Sexual Abuse Campaign’, CC-member-to-be-Smith will knock some sense into cdes. like you with such sexist ideas in this ideological whirlwind, bending the stick for the good of the Party.

    So once Normal Service Has Been Resumed, the Good Ship SWP, with Queen Mum Chanie strapped to the front as the figurehead, grasping the Cliffite Relics, we shall see the full transformation of the SWP into the BUP, the Business as Usual Party. And the Lynchers will party like hell on the deck.

    Sorted, as Esteemed Smith would say.

  401. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart,

    So the Lynch Mob Faction’s argument here essentially boils down to this:

    “We bully and abuse our own members as much as we like, expel, intimidate and terrorise our internal critics, but all of this is OK because a nobody who sometimes posts on SU has opinions on another subject altogether.”

    No Lynch Mob Faction supporters, even if I were a practising devil-worshipper (…I’m not by the way, but for the sake of arguments etc…) that would still not justify the anti-socialist and anti-working class political practice of your Lynch Mob Faction.

    The SWP Lynch Mob Faction’s political practice is utterly reactionary and your hypocrisy is profoundly sickening.

  402. stuart: What you are advocating is not ‘solidarity’ but a form of scabbing at a time when so many are under attack from government policies.

    That’s actually a very revealing comment. If I break a strike or cross a picket line, that’s scabbing. If I withhold solidarity from another activist, that’s me choosing to withhold solidarity. The difference is the level of obligation.

    You can argue that withdrawing support from members of the “Not A Faction Honest” Faction wouldn’t be correct, but you can’t call it scabbing. SWP members don’t have the right to expect support from the rest of the Left – SWP members who are actively wrecking the party least of all.

  403. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: It is an internal party matter.

    #489, 12:32pm

    Seems like it. But then I never use the internet.

    stuart: The leaking of the transcript has quite predictably turned into an opportunity for gossip

    If you think the reasoned & evidenced criticism of the Callinicos-Kimber Lynchers Faction (Undeclared) is “gossip” then, sadly, you are showing you are incorrigible in this matter, & so anti-Marxist (we can even leave Vlad out of this).

  404. stuart: I’m not under stress, contrary to what you say. The SWP will remain intact, March 10th will provide us with the opportunity to achieve greater clarity internally and enable us to continue immersing ourselves in the struggles that are all around. We will withstand the constant sectarian attacks facilitated by this site. We have, and will continue to have, an interventionist model of organisation. We are happy to work alongside other sections of the left but would naturally make the obvious point that divisive sectarianism is unwelcome.

    The future’s bright, the future’s Martin Smith?

  405. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart: What exactly are you doing now politically

    Ah Stuart, back from your little aggregate – pumped up and on the attack?

    Let me just set the record straight. Not being under the instruction of a bunch of odd-bod bullies ie THE PARTY , doesn’t mean we are not politically active, it just means we don’t have to hang out with a bunch of lower middle class, bossy boot, billy no mate, fruitcakes anymore.

    I know, I know, last night was sooooo good wasn’t it? Soooo political. It made ya feel all warm in inside didn’t it? Can I say wanted? Valued even.

    Of course it’s a bit strange that in a party of a couple of thousand you’ve never actually spoken to a CC member, as you said. I guess you just aren’t noticeable enough.

    But hey, who knows? Maybe your uber-loyalty is going to pay off? Maybe they’ll spot you Stuart! Wow! Think of that! You, yes you, little old Stuart. Good enough to talk to the leaders!

    I’ve got to say I’m excited for ya!

    Of course you may still be just too dull, and too dense to be useful. Even to this gang of Public School bullies looking for a new batman to shine up their shoes. But keep salutin’ and it could be your chance to shine!

    I’m sure that you thought John Rees and Lyndsay G could do no wrong in their day. That any discussion of mistakes was Verboten! You didn’t see his slimey fingers or her bossy boots. All criticism was ‘sectarian’ and ‘not political’.

    And then what happened? Oh yes, the truth came out (or rather was allowed out by their CC enemies) and even the arse-lickers turned on them. I’ll bet even you joined in Stuart!

    But soon the same old song was being played:

    Enemies of the PARTY are enemies of the State are enemies of SOCIALISM! We are right! You are wrong! We carry the blood line. Kim Jong’s wife still lives! All hail the great leaders. Spread rumors and lies. Running dogs of Imperialism! Enemy ENEMY ENEMY!

    They said so at the aggregate. And a 17-19 young woman? Who Cares?

    Yesterday you were creeping me out with your robotic responses, now you’re wierding me out.

  406. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: The SWP will remain intact

    #492, 1:21pm

    Stuart, I’m pleased besides not being stressed you also show no evidence of either delusion or hubris.

    The Party – or at least the ageing Stallinicos-Kimber-Smith Lynchers Faction (Undeclared) – will, as you say, remain united & clarified.

    As clarified does that now make you the Ghee Party?

    It’s ok to face reality, Stuart, after all it was Vlad who advocated better fewer but better. And he penned that almost 90 years ago, 2 March 1923. Thing is, Vlad was referring to qualities of human virtue that will be largely driven out of the SWP. But it’s ok, you’ve consistently demonstrated you are adept at ignoring the evidence & logic, so maybe you’re best left confirmed & contented in your ignorance & alienation. Although as an aspiring scientific socialist, I have to say every comrade is gold dust, all deserve to be saved & restored to health. But usually the patient has to help in their becoming a solidaristic, an amiable, agent.

  407. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil: The future’s bright, the future’s Martin Smith?

    Haven’t you read the tea leaves recently?

    Seriously, it’s that f’d up. It really is.

    The Lyncher statements may just as well be reduced to an audio clip emailed to the members:

    HE’S COMING HOME
    HE’S COMING HOME
    HE’S COMING, BASHER’S COMING HOME

    No doubt Chanie & the Cliffites, after a few heart-felt Soul numbers, will close Conference with a rousing rendition of this, emboldening the delegates to return to the provinces & cities, intervening in the class & its struggles.

    Manzil, you’ve hit it on the head (as Basher says), the future’s bright, the future’s Sleezy Smith!

    As you & others have also said, it’s looking FUBAR.

  408. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: We have, and will continue to have, an interventionist model of organisation.

    #492, 1:21pm

    Stuart, the formulations of your beloved leaders, that you repeat as a mantra, are quite revealing.

    This one takes the biscuit, especially coz its author (& Chanie chanters) don’t seem to recognise what it means:

    one can only intervene from the outside.

    So this pearl of wisdom of the Lynchers Faction (Undeclared) is to tell the world that the SWP is an outsider, that the SWP is outside the working class.

    Please stop digging, Stuart. It’s becoming embarrassing.

  409. Karl Stewart,

    You were effectively of the wrong side of history in 1956 and you are today. The mover of the motion at UNISON women’s conference(see post 482) thinks it is fine to call for a No Platform for George Galloway. The SWP are rightly critical of Galloway but we naturally oppose no platform. That would put us on the ‘wrong side’. But the mover thinks it is then ok to brand SWP women who opposed the motion rape deniers. This is a disgraceful attack. Supporting the SWP does not make them rape deniers and opposing the motion means they are principled socialists. Yet it is the kind of attack you seem hell bent on making continuously. You are on the wrong side.

  410. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: It’s a shame that all you seem to have left is personal abuse.
    #501, 2:36pm

    *shake of head*

    To use a rhetorical phrase of Galloway’s, I can hear the men in white coats rushing down the corridor.

    Totally Horrified Ex

    does not deserve that, Stuart. You’re showing you are on the way to being as unhinged as Callinicos.

  411. Jara Handala on said:

    Sam64: seems strangely born again though

    #503, 2:50pm

    Thanx for the revelation!

    And what makes it worse is that those people believed it, including the uploader, Júnior.

    The horror! The horror!

  412. Jara

    Embarrassing for you and I will tell you why. All the effort you have put into dragging down the SWP is going to fail. The members want to, in large part, back the leadership position and move on. They want the interventionist model. They want democratic centralism. They want to organise in a cohesive fashion. Your attacks are missing the target I’m afraid. And you are left here with your witch-hunting, gossipy internet friends.

  413. Victorystooge @ 491 & George Hallam earlier.

    You seem to have some knowledge of the subject. Can we conclude that ‘Several senior figures in the Soviet high command, 41-45, were dug out of gulags at the start of the war and numerous others were sent as foot soldiers to the front’? Something like that?

    How about Stalin playing a more removed role in military operations after initial tactical blunders? What’s your take on that Victorystooge?

    Finally, I take it that neither of you dispute that leaders of besieged Stalingrad were ostracised and then removed after the war? Stalin, the paranoid psychopath that he was, hated the fact that anybody might enjoy independent political capital.

    Didn’t get back to last night George as I was watching Liverpool play Zenit St Petersburg – or as you’d probably call it comrades FC Stalingrad!

  414. Phil,

    So if someone like Karen Reissman is under attack from her employers, as she has factually been, as she supports the SWP please tell me why you would give her less then wholehearted support?

  415. Jara Handala on said:

    Totally Horrified Ex: Yesterday you were creeping me out with your robotic responses, now you’re wierding me out.

    Posted

    #498, 2:14pm

    You thought yesterday was a robotic performance by Stuart??? You should have seen last week!

  416. When Karen Reissman was factually under attack I factually supported her. If it was happening now – and I’m glad it isn’t – I, reluctantly, wouldn’t support her again. Not because she “supports the SWP” – Pat Stack supports the SWP; China Mieville supports the SWP – but because she’s signed up to a faction which seems determined to drive the SWP onto the rocks and poison the Left against it. Actions have consequences, and you can’t expect to be treated as a comrade if you’re acting like a wrecker.

  417. johnny r on said:

    stuart: Embarrassing for you and I will tell you why. All the effort you have put into dragging down the SWP is going to fail. The members want to, in large part, back the leadership position and move on. They want the interventionist model. They want democratic centralism. They want to organise in a cohesive fashion. Your attacks are missing the target I’m afraid. And you are left here with your witch-hunting, gossipy internet friends.

    and in “backing your leadership” and “moving on” the swp will condemn itself to the contempt of the world, wither and die.

  418. stuart: Embarrassing for you and I will tell you why. All the effort you have put into dragging down the SWP is going to fail. The members want to, in large part, back the leadership position and move on. They want the interventionist model. They want democratic centralism. They want to organise in a cohesive fashion. Your attacks are missing the target I’m afraid. And you are left here with your witch-hunting, gossipy internet friends.

    But it’s not a competition to see who can out-Bolshevik the rest, Stuart.

    Our task is to increase the social weight of the Left, to win the popular support of the vast majority of the working class and its allies, or at the very least to build a coherent and well-organised movement which can substantively impact the development of society, so that we are able to change society.

    And it looks like the SWP is going to become less relevant to that process.

    The effort Jara and others have put in, was not to drag the SWP down, it was to get it to see sense: to realise just how profoundly askew the party’s understanding of socialist politics has become, and the effect this will have on how people view it and, possibly, the Left in general.

    It may very well be that the majority, possibly even the bulk of the oppositionists, are prepared to back the leadership. Not the “leadership position”, because let’s be honest, who knows what that will be in six weeks or six months. We don’t even know who the leadership will be – undoubtedly there will come another split amongst the old hands who inherited the title deeds to the SWP.

    What we do know is, excluding the possibility of a change of leadership or a change of culture within the leadership, whoever ends up in charge in a year’s time, on whatever policies, will be people who were complicit in reaffirming this whole sordid carry-on as ‘no big deal’. And quite frankly, I don’t think I, or many others, will be wanting much to do with an organisation that behaves like this.

    Your interventionist model, without friends and without allies, will leave the SWP intervening from the absolute periphery, and quite frankly that is nothing less than it deserves.

  419. stuart: Embarrassing for you and I will tell you why. All the effort you have put into dragging down the SWP is going to fail. The members want to, in large part, back the leadership position and move on. They want the interventionist model. They want democratic centralism. They want to organise in a cohesive fashion. Your attacks are missing the target I’m afraid. And you are left here with your witch-hunting, gossipy internet friends.

    Gossip? You’ve got some bloody nerve Stuart. Nobody has disputed the facts of the case, which at the very least involves the sordid abuse of power and position by a mid-40s party leader over a 17 – 19 year old woman, whatever the truth about the accusations of rape and sexual harrassment (and as I’ve said before, any decent socialist starts from the position that the woman is unlikely to be making the accusation without good reason). What do you have to say about that? Fuck all, that’s what. It’s useful idiots like you that are destroying everything that was worthwhile in the IS tradition, and grand-standing while you do it. I hope you enjoy the culture of bullying and intimidation that you’re helping to perpetuate inside the SWP, because you’re going to be feeling awfully lonely in there once the dust has settled and the purges are over. People like you represent everything that’s worst on the left – vile, supine apologists for delusional authoritarians like “Comrade Delta”.

  420. ‘People like you represent everything that’s worst on the left – vile, supine apologists for delusional authoritarians like “Comrade Delta”.’

    Come on, this is out of order. I don’t think Stuart really deserves this. He hasn’t really ‘said’ enough to merit such abuse. Far worse are some of the people on the 500 list, ambitious senior academics and the like, who, seemingly, never come anywhere near SU, but in the words of Pat Stack, scorn it as ‘filth’ or regard it superciliously, as if it’s beneath them to even name it, as a ‘hostile’ website.

  421. When Karen Reissman was factually under attack I factually supported her.

    I want to recap an aspect of her case.

    It was going on during the Respect split. George Galloway had his Talksport radio show, and we approached the SWP (at the height of the split) to ask her to be a guest on his show. We told them and her: This will massively increase awareness of what’s happened to her, and could prove a turning point if we can harness George’s audience.

    We also invited her to speak at the Respect Renewal conference.

    Why? On both counts, we wanted to show the SWP that we knew that some things were bigger than mere inter-left squabbles. The treatment of Karen was awful, and we could do stuff to help win the case. We actually hoped it might allow us to reconcile to a degree.

    The SWP refused to allow Karen to appear on any of our platforms or on George’s show. Lindsey German told a (now ex) party member “we aren’t prepared to let her be used like that”.

    So, can we not have any of this nonsense that we’re all under obligations to this or that, when the SWP itself decided that wider trade union movement solidarity should be subjugated to an argument between two left wing organisations.

    As a postscript: A month or two later, Karen came to meet a few MPs at Parliament. But she refused to meet the one MP with the biggest audience. We all commented on just how wry John McDonnell’s smile was as we walked past him.

    Have you ever noticed how the SWP expects the rest of us to behave in ways they won’t behave in themselves? Let’s not pretend this was anything to do with Lord & Lady Macbeth – we contacted Karen directly, for a start, and neither Lord or Lady Macbeth were responsible for the party’s industrial work. In fact, a certain Lord Kimbote* was, wasn’t he?

    [*500 points if you get the reference without looking it up]

  422. Sam64: Come on, this is out of order. I don’t think Stuart really deserves this.

    I’m afraid my sympathy is reserved for the women at the centre of this fiasco and for the oppositionists who will be hounded out of the party after the special conference. The culture that facilitates all of this is one that’s defended to the hilt by people like Stuart, who has simply come on here and repeated arguments by rote rather than engaging with the substance of the matter.

  423. Sam64: Come on, this is out of order.

    Look, that’s true. Part of the problem here is that people are so frustrated with the actual real world supine apologism for bullying and intimidation that passes for the modern IS Tradition, it becomes easy to get really personally angry with people like Stuart.

    So… we have to stop doing that. Me included. Stuart is incredibly frustrating, and I’m frequently on record as saying he’s fundamentally dishonest in debate. But he hasn’t got any more fundamentally dishonest – he’s not the one who’s moved. He’s just content to support the people who do.

    None of us are gonna convince people like Stuart, cos the false consciousness that develops when you’re a loyal party member is stronger than that that binds a worker to capitalism. Because these people believe they are beyond false and contradictory consciousness, their denial is so much stronger. That’s why Stuart won’t argue with the meat of what anyone is saying. That’s why, despite taking part in debates on here for 6 years, he claims “no knowledge” of most of the accusations we make. It’s cos in this state of mind, he cannot actually hear and process the words people are saying.

    A friend was talking to an SWP member a few days ago about all this, and the SWP member’s only issue was how much gall the non-member had to raise issues of internal party discipline. The SWP member just could not see, would not accept, that there was any case for the party to ever be responsible to the wider movement.

    They can’t see it. They can’t live their politics, which would surely always make them question the rightness of their actions, listening to the movement and the working class to learn and correct mistakes. The distorted conscioiusness of people in this kind of organisation means they have this fundamental, unshakeable belief that they hold some truths higher than other people hold any.

  424. “Should’ve been a psychiatrist”, my Jewish grandmother used to say. But only cos it allowed her to express her disappointment at the fact that I didn’t go to uni.

  425. Phil,

    How irresponsible. If Michael Edwardes attacks Derek Robinson we support Robinson regardless of what we think of him and the CP. We support him because if Edwardes wins we all suffer. If Reismann loses we all suffer. You cannot even understand basic principles here.

  426. I wasn’t suggesting that you should have sympathy for Stuart, simply that he doesn’t deserve abuse.

    He hasn’t said anything enlightening it’s true, or engaged with many of the valid points that have been put to him. But the very fact that, unlike much more senior people in the SWP who should have independent minds and the willingness to debate, he does try to defend his party – defending the indefensible perhaps but at least he puts his head over the parapet. My real contempt is for those who somehow think that everything out on ‘the dark side’ is just lies, slander, sectarian gossip etc – typified (here’s some abuse) by the odious Callinicos.

  427. Stuart, what is your view about the SWP’s refusal to allow Karen R to be a guest on a radio show with a huge audience, at the height of her fight? This was another part of the left trying to show solidarity – and your organisation absolutely refused to let us.

    What’s your view of it? Did you even know it had happened?

  428. johnny r/Manzil,
    The SWP will not die it will still be around. If you want to continue to throw stones at the party or snipe from the sidelines post March 10th then that sad practice is for you to defend. As you know the government attacks are coming in thick and fast, fascism is trying to get a foothold. We hang together or we hang separately but divisions on the left make it easier for the boss class. The stakes are high.

  429. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: . . . the effort you have put into dragging down the SWP . . . And you are left here with your witch-hunting, gossipy internet friends.

    #508, 3:02pm

    Stuart, you are descending fast.

    I have never tried to ‘drag down the SWP’. As anyone who has read my comments will know, I have consistently evaluated the statements & behaviour of the Lynchers Faction (Undeclared), they who are intent on destroying the SWP so that they can remain in control.

    Being new to SU it would be premature to say I have a friend here; acquaintances, yes, courteous & sometimes funny discussants, certainly. But you have been unique in choosing to be evasive, & to be obstructive to a constructive discussion of a very serious matter. You, Stuart, have proven to be an insincere discussant, an inauthentic participant, & it seems not to be unrelated to the political posture of a faction struggling to stay in control at all costs, even threatening violence to comrades. You express the values & norms of your faction, & you have not disappointed us, not surprised us. You have proven yourself to be a model example of a degenerate political perspective, & the inverse of moral rectitude. Gramsci spoke of moral, intellectual & political leadership, of hegemony; the Lynchers Faction is THE anti-hegemonic force in the SWP, & it is destroying, wrecking the organisation.

    It is also an insult to call people here either “witch-hunting” or “gossipy”. It is simply untrue. We have had an informed, serious discussion, but unfortunately what informs your behaviour here is a result of a deep-seated pre-judgment that your fellow discussants are largely sectarian & anti-SWP. You know as well as I do that is simply false: criticism here has been of SWP policy & practice, the practising of the majority view; discussants have repeatedly spoken of SWP members they greatly admire for the work they have done, it’s just that they can see that the majority view year after year causes problems for everyone & wastes so much potential. In other words, the SWP majority view has consistently harmed the working class & its allies, & by extension their own comrades, as we struggle for some decency in this life, in our own lives.

    Breaking a revo soc organisation for the sake of Sleezy Smith is the ultimate expression of that majority view – sadly. That’s the reality, Stuart. That’s what upsets us, what horrifies us. But obviously you & Sleezy Smith & all the others deserve one another, deserve to have your own lil outfit. And no doubt you will. And you may well be right, that may all be for the good. It may help you become politically marginalised even sooner. And that would be for the best.

  430. stuart: . If you want to continue to throw stones at the party or snipe from the sidelines post March 10th then that sad practice is for you to defend.

    The fact that, in your mind, anything that is not membership of or fulsome praise for the SWP constitutes “sniping from the sidelines” and must necessarily result from political inactivity or apathy is a perfect example of the skewed attitude I referred to.

    Your critics will continue their political activity, as they have been throughout this mess, regardless of whether you acknowledge it or not. But remember: the clock doesn’t get reset on the 10th March.

  431. Jara Handala,

    Sounds like what you want to do is pose as friend of some SWP ‘minority’ after March 10th, continue to offer your ‘wisdom’, and pretend that this is all for the good of the SWP. It really is not what we need on the left right now, really it isn’t.

  432. Sam64: He hasn’t said anything enlightening it’s true, or engaged with many of the valid points that have been put to him. But the very fact that, unlike much more senior people in the SWP who should have independent minds and the willingness to debate, he does try to defend his party – defending the indefensible perhaps but at least he puts his head over the parapet.

    Okay, I can see where you’re coming from with this, ditto Tony’s comments above. But I must admit that I’m a little sceptical that Stuart’s “interventions” on here are quite as completely unauthorised and off-the-cuff as they appear to be. That probably sounds paranoid, however it would be naive to think that the CC faction wouldn’t want at least one person on SU to be putting the counter-arguments, despite their professed indifference to the ‘dark side’ of the internet. This was certainly my experience on Facebook, where I found I’d been asigned a “minder” who popped up whenever I made a critical comment about the CC faction. I compared notes with a couple of friends and found they’d had the same experience.

    The other point is this. Even if Stuart is the innocent, naive lad he appears to be, if it wasn’t for the unswerving loyalty to the CC faction of people like him the ground would fall away beneath the current leadership’s feet. Loyalty can be a good thing. Unthinking loyalty is dangerous and creepy, and I have little sympathy for the people who promote it.

  433. George Hallam on said:

    Mark Victorystooge: One leading general, Konstantin Rokossovsky, was in the Gulag in the late 1930s but was released in 1940. Another, Kirill Meretskov, was actually arrested just after the German invasion started, but was released a few months later and put in command near Leningrad.

    Rokossovsky, was released on 22nd March 1940 and returned to the command of the 5th Cavalry Corps at the rank of Colonel. He was rapidly promoted and was a Major General by the 22nd June 1941.

    Meretskov was arrested on the 23rd June 1941, the day after the invasion and released in September. He was given the command of the 7th Separate Army, so-named becasue it was directly subordinate to STAVKA.

    Another would be General Vannikov (1897 – 1962) who was People’s Commissar for Armament from January 1939 to 7th June 1941, when he Vannikov was arrested for “failing to carry out his duties”. He was released on 25 July 1941 and became the First Deputy People’s Commissar for Ammunition from February 1942 until June 1946.

  434. ‘That probably sounds paranoid, however it would be naive to think that the CC faction wouldn’t want at least one person on SU to be putting the counter-arguments’.

    Well, I doubt it’s Stuart. As much as there are some elitists who disdain the internet, there are some bruisers in the Callinicos 500 who’d welcome the opportunity to mix it on SU now and again if so directed.

  435. stuart: How irresponsible. If Michael Edwardes attacks Derek Robinson we support Robinson regardless of what we think of him and the CP. We support him because if Edwardes wins we all suffer. If Reismann loses we all suffer. You cannot even understand basic principles here.

    Are you honestly telling me that you’d sign a petition in defence of Pat Slack or Richard Seymour right now?

  436. Jara Handala on said:

    Phil: Karen Reissman . . . she’s signed up to a faction

    #512, 3:17pm

    And it’s not just Cde. K Reissman who has joined the List of Shame. She chaired the DC session at Conference, but almost everyone involved has joined the Lynchers Faction.

    The DC in 2012 (all re-elected/appointed for 2013) had & has 10 members, 2 from the CC. Eight are on the List of Shame; Cde. Slack Stack is a founder of Defence; that leaves the member from Cde. W’s district who was rational enough to not deliberate on the allegation of rapes (please note the plural).

    Speaking of which, I wonder why Sleezy Smith didn’t feel politically self-confident enough to be one of the Shameful 500? Hasn’t Ropey Stallinicos put him straight on that one, that all this is for his benefit, to re-new his political life as a CC member? But then perhaps Sleezy Smith’s in a class of his own. Amazingly, despite the company, this does sound about right.

  437. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: Can we conclude that ‘Several senior figures in the Soviet high command, 41-45, were dug out of gulags at the start of the war

    This is an improvement.

    I hope you won’t be offended if I still have a few quibbles.

    1. “several” – unless you can come up with some more examples, I think that ‘at least one’ would be better.

    “Soviet high command” will just about do if this is undestood loosely as in a ‘senior position’, not STAVKA.

    “were dug out of gulags” – is too strong, as it implies long-term imprisonment. How about ‘released from detention’?

  438. jay blackwood: That probably sounds paranoid, however it would be naive to think that the CC faction wouldn’t want at least one person on SU to be putting the counter-arguments,

    I have no authority to speak for anyone other than myself. I have no communication with any of the CC collectively or individually.

  439. George Hallam

    1. Surely you’ve just come up with 2 others who’d, more or less, fit such a description?

    2. Agreed.

    3. ‘Released from detention’? This to me evokes Arthur Daley picking up Terry McCann outside Wandsworth Nick at the start of every Minder episode. I rather doubt the transition from a Soviet prison or camp was a seamless transition that released from detention implies. But the very fact that, whether high or low, personnel from the gulag were put to work immediately in the war effort, I suppose indicates that the process was a rapid one.

  440. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I have no authority to speak for anyone other than myself. I have no communication with any of the CC collectively or individually.

    Posted

    #535, 4:43pm

    And with the Lynchers Faction (Undeclared)? You have had the modicum of consistency to join the List of Shame?

  441. between
    stuart: Michael Edwardes attacks Derek Robinson we support Robinson regardless of what we think of him and the CP. We support him because if Edwardes wins we all suffer. If Reismann loses we all suffer.

    ARe you seriously offering a comparison between Karen Riessman and Derek Robinson!

  442. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: Surely you’ve just come up with 2 others who’d, more or less, fit such a description?

    Rather ‘less’ than ‘more’, I’m afraid.

    Meretskov was an advisor to STAVKA prior to his arrest. That that occured after the outbreak of war.

    Vannikov, who was arrested before 22nd (just), was in a ministerial, rather than a command postion.

    But I don’t want to be pedantic. Shall we say ‘more than one’?

  443. George Hallam on said:

    Manzil: I’m just surprised you haven’t disputed use of the word “in”, yet.

    I agree that this needs clarification but I’m rather busy at the moment. Please forgive me this lapse.

  444. ‘Shall we say ‘more than one’?’

    Sound George. Agreement breaks out on SU. Tara comrades.

  445. Andy Newman: ARe you seriously offering a comparison between Karen Riessman and Derek Robinson!

    Well ok, it’s true Reissmann comes from a far superior political tradition. But regardless of the individual cases, the principle here is trade unionist under attack from bosses. Surely any socialist would back Reissmann? You would, wouldn’t you?

  446. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: ‘Released from detention’? This to me evokes Arthur Daley picking up Terry McCann outside Wandsworth Nick at the start of every Minder episode. I rather doubt the transition from a Soviet prison or camp was a seamless transition that released from detention implies.

    “Words strain,
    Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
    Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
    Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
    Will not stay still.”

    ‘Released from detention’ was the best I could do at short notice.

    ‘Gulag’, more correctly ‘GULag’, is the acronym for ‘Chief Administration of Corrective Labour Camps and Colonies’.

    This was separate from the prison system. The distinction is important in understanding soviet records and statistics and, by extention, the ‘purges’.

    I have no evidence that any of the three got as far as the the ‘Gulag’ system.

  447. Graham Day,

    You mean you wouldn’t support an SWP trade union activist under attack from the bosses, someone trying to defend service provision?

  448. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: the bosses

    Stuart, over an hour ago I asked you if you’d been logical enough to sign up to the List of Shame. Any chance logic, & the culture of this unitary IS/SWP tradition, can extend to you being courteous & giving us your reply?

    And at your aggregate last night, all delegates elected were Shamers?

  449. Graham Day on said:

    stuart, presumably the solidarity campaign would be aiming to get “the bosses” to set up a subcommittee of the board of directors to decide on who was in the right – the Chief Executive or the trade unionist?

  450. Jara Handala on said:

    For information, Socialist Project in Canada (Albo, Panitch, Gindin et al.) has just posted Jane Kelly’s article, ‘Whose Democratic Centralism? In answer to Alex Callinicos’:
    http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article27874

    She addresses what Professor Rope said in happier days, March 2012, about “institutionalised factionalism” supposedly ripping apart the French revo soc org’n, NPA.

    She puts him to rights (no pun) on democracy, including minority rights, in revo soc org’ns, fermenting the D in DC. (In comparison the SWP is stale flat beer.)

    It was first published by Socialist Resistance, 17 Jan. For those who may not know, they’re the tiny Brit section of the version of the 4th International which had Ernest Mandel as its long-term advocate.

    P.S. I have Bertell Ollman’s game, ‘Class Struggle’. Maybe he can use Professor Rope as a character to inspire him to devise a Marxist/anti-Marxist version of ‘Cluedo’? It would be at least a two-storey building, needing a basement.

  451. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala: Stuart, over an hour ago I asked you if you’d been logical enough to sign up to the List of Shame.

    stuart: Yes to first question , don’t know about election results.

    Posted

    #552, 6:26pm

    Thanx, Stuart. Wow, I was surprised by your politeness; feel a little guilty seeing you’re agreed to me using ‘the List of Shame’ denotation for what you signed up to, the statement in support of the CC. (Sorry there.)

    I think we’re getting on better already – which is great.

  452. Graham Day on said:

    stuart, what, are you saying that the supposed “attack” on your hypothetical “SWP trade union activist” would simply be a pretext for you to propagandise for the messianic nonsense that passes for your political theory?

  453. jim mclean on said:

    Notice 3 local Fife SWP members and 5 from next door in Dundee have signed the Groomer’s Charter. Would write a letter of protest to the local press, but they are almost as insignificant as me,so “why bother”. Really like that pseudonym, encapsulates the left totally.

  454. George Hallam: I have no evidence that any of the three got as far as the the ‘Gulag’ system.

    Were they arrested in the Ezhovshchina in which case they would probably have been imprisoned, or were they purged in the chistka in which case they would have been arrested, expelled from the CPSU and discharged from the army.

    Confusion between the two processes, and underestimation of the size of the Red Army offcier corps in 1938 is generally what has led Western historians to overestimate the scale of the purge, and its impact of the fighting strength of the USSR.

    For example Robert Service says 25% of officers were arrested and imprisoned or shot, but even in 1938, at the height of the terror, 7% of officers were arrested, and most of them simply discharged

  455. RedMomma on said:

    stuart,

    Stuart,

    Comrade Delta has admitted to having had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl. Do you think that appropriate?

  456. Jara Handala on said:

    Here’s an interesting evidence-based discussion by John Riddell, who has worked tirelessly for over 30 years to bring into English so much documentation of the first 4 congresses of the Comintern. He posted it on his blog this Wednesday, 20 Feb.

    His opening sentence is, “How did Communist parties handle issues of internal discipline and democracy in Lenin’s time?”.

    Relating all this to the SWP he says, “Four issues of internal democracy in the current British discussion suggest comparisons with the Comintern record”:
    (1) Factions and tendencies: “There was no ban on factions in the Comintern”.
    (2) Discussions: “Disagreements within Communist parties were routinely argued out before the working class in the parties’ publications”.
    (3) Executive unity: “Members of the Comintern Executive and its Small Bureau in Moscow frequently carried their disagreements to world congresses, as did members of national leaderships”.
    (4) Leadership: “Leaderships in the Comintern and its parties were elected, and where slates were presented, these were subject to amendment”.

    He ends by assessing the contemporary relevance of these matters, speaking of “small-group Marxism”, organisations whose debilitating “characteristics can best be explained as an evolutionary adaptation to conditions of small-group existence in difficult political conditions”.

    The evidence presented shows that the ideas of Professor Rope in his ‘Socialist Review’ article last month, ‘Is Leninism Finished?’, have hardly anything to do with either Lenin or the communist movement of his day; more importantly, these ideas are helping to destroy the SWP. But then why let evidence get in the way of trying to keep control of an organisation?

    It makes interesting reading to combine Riddell’s discussion with Jane Kelly’s (link in my above comment #554, 6:57pm yesterday).

    http://johnriddell.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/party-democracy-in-lenins-comintern-and-now

  457. RedMomma on said:

    stuart:
    RedMomma</strong

    That is matter for the Disputes Committee in whom I have full confidence.

    NO.

    This is a simple question which has been addressed to *you*, not the Disputes Committee.

    Again:

    Comrade Delta has admitted to having had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl. Do you think that a) appropriate b) not or c) are you unable to say?

  458. Sylvia webbe on said:

    Read socialist action on this and move on. Stop fetishising the Swp and its undoubted major weaknesses. It is hundreds of times better than most of the rest of the left who do nothing to fight imperialism and just engages in sectarian discussion , in a thoroughly non Marxist way. Imperialism will love what you are all wasting your time on. Left unity is what is needed, obviously in areas it can unite and agree, involving mass forces where possible. Despite its title some of these threads do not facilitate that necessary development, perhaps it is good many of you are kept from indulging your suicidal/fratricidal /sectricidal tendencies out on the real high roads and by roads out there by burying your ‘heads in threads’

  459. Jara Handala on said:

    “It is the contention of this article that the political culture of the SWP is a bureaucratic distortion of Leninism. It should also be clear that the anti-democratic norms of the SWP are no historical accident, but the logical progression of a theory of organisation held by the leadership and unchallenged by the membership. In recent years the shrillness of the SWP leadership’s attacks on any criticism of its methods – from both inside and outside the organisation – has increased, and the cadre of the party has consequently been almost entirely extinguished or demoralised”

    (Ian Land, The SWP vs. Lenin, 1994 – not 2013; same old same old, another 20 years for the locust)

    http://www.unkant.com/2012/12/ian-land-swp-vs-lenin.html

  460. A female member of a fringe British political party leaves citing Stalinism and a culture of bullying. Further, ‘Unfortunately, their party leader treats any views other than his own with contempt… His actions, surrounding himself with an old boys’ club of like-minded sycophants, are dictatorial’.

    The response from on high is a curt, ‘The woman is impossible.’

    Who could she be referring to? Lord Stallinicos, Charlie Kimber perhaps, of the SWP? Well, not quite.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/feb/22/ukip-mep-defects-tories

  461. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: How about Stalin playing a more removed role in military operations after initial tactical blunders?

    One reason for getting children to play sports is that they come to realise that other people can be good at things even though they don’t like them. Theoretically watching football should play the same role for adults. As far as I have been able to observe, it doesn’t work like that. The same seems to apply to military history.

    Of course, in this case there is no attempt to engage with the either the relevant historical or the military issues.

    Please don’t take this as a personal criticism, Left’s disregard for objectivity mean that such errors are inevitable.

    As far “tactical blunders” are concerned; the Left’s habit of flirting with military terms has meant that, amongst themselves, the conventional distinction between the levels of tactics, operations, strategy and policy, has been completely destroyed. So, while Stalin made military blunders, they were operational and strategic, not tactical.

    Stalin was involved in the planning and conduct of operations throughout the war. If he is to be blamed for any blunders then he should also be given credit for the successes. Under Stalin’s leadership the Soviet Union had been transformed by the ending of NEP, and the start of the five year plans, industrialisation and the collectivisation of agriculture.

    These policies were carried through in the teeth of opposition from both ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ inside the CPSU. The bitter struggle with this opposition was central to the Ezhovshchina.

    The defeat of the world’s most powerful military machine by what had been an underdeveloped country was an achievement that vindicated the whole line of Stalin’s policies.

    To me, the denigration of Stalin’s achievement by asserting that the price of victory was “too high”, that things could have been “done better”, etc., seem to be based more on political self-interest than on historical insight.

    It is perfectly understandable that people should dislike Stalin and/or disapprove of his methods. However, it would be nice if they could try to put these personal feelings aside when discussing history.

  462. Linda Kronstadt on said:

    Sylvia webbe: Read socialist action on this and move on. Stop fetishising the Swp and its undoubted major weaknesses. It is hundreds of times better than most of the rest of the left who do nothing to fight imperialism and just engages in sectarian discussion , in a thoroughly non Marxist way. Imperialism will love what you are all wasting your time on. Left unity is what is needed, obviously in areas it can unite and agree, involving mass forces where possible.

    Roll up! Roll up! Laydeez, wimmin, gurlz. (Especially the GURLZ!) Join the revolution. Never mind that hand up yer skirt. What are you, some sort of filthy bourgeois moralist? Move along, nuthin’ to see except the flaming red of our very best members. Enter here (ooh, gennelmen, you are awful but I like you. A lot.) Sign up to march into the rising sun right on over this Cliff.

    Speaking of whom, here’s his luvverly family to welcome you — and you know how much we love family values. Addams family values they may be but they are OUR family values. Don’t question, don’t argue, don’t think … because it is UNITY we need, with the odd stop-off for a bit of slap ‘n’ tickle in the ranks. And when I say “rank” …

    The CC knows … don’t hargue. When they want your opinion, they’ll give it to you.

  463. Graham Day:
    what, are you saying that the supposed “attack” on your hypothetical “SWP trade union activist” would simply be a pretext for you to propagandise for the messianic nonsense that passes for your political theory?

    There was nothing hypothetical about the attacks on Karen Reissman a few years back. For any socialist it must surely be easy to see it in terms of class. And it would be very naive of socialists not to understand that the trade union bureaucracy, perhaps aided by some who consider themselves ‘left’, can use terms like rape denier (with no justification I might add) to attack socialist activists. If they try to do this they must be opposed.

  464. RedMomma,

    I’ve already responded to this on another thread. We have Disputes Committees for a reason. We don’t entertain trial by blog.

  465. stuart:
    RedMomma,

    I’ve already responded to this on another thread. We have Disputes Committees for a reason. We don’t entertain trial by blog.

    Or trial by trial, apparently.

  466. George Hallam

    Are you familiar with C. Wright Mills famous lampooning of Talcott Parsons George? How about 567 being boiled down to: Children, children when will you learn? Stalin was a great man who did great things for his people. OK he made a few mistakes (code perhaps for killed a few million people, not to mention virtually the entire 1917 leadership of the Bolshevik Party etc) but that was all in the course of doing them. ?

  467. Manzil: Or trial by trial, apparently.

    Wrong. We dealt with the complaint, we did not ignore it. Our Disputes Committee has the support of our membership.

  468. Or perhaps more succinctly still George: You can’t make a socialist omelette without cracking a few (million) socialist eggs!

  469. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: Our Disputes Committee has the support of our membership.

    That has not been demonstrated. All that’s happened is that a DC oral report was voted on by Conference delegates, in which less than 40% of delegates accepted the report, with 21%-22% (123 or more delegates) so stunned they couldn’t even involve themselves in the vote, not even able to bring themselves to register an abstention. (The evidence for this argument was posted above, using the DC transcript & the ‘Socialist Worker’ report on Conference, 12 Jan.)

    Thanks to a transcript being on the net (its accuracy not disputed in Cde. Chaplin’s 7 Jan email to SU) ALL members can have immeasurably more info than they would otherwise have had from CC-controlled Conference-reportback aggregates.

    So, Stuart, please don’t say for a 3rd time that the DC has the support of “the membership”.

  470. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: Stalin was a great man who did great things for his people.

    Did I say this?

    My point was that, in military matters, Stalin was not the bumbling incompetant that you assume he was.

    “The myth is that Stalin micromanaged the first year, then at about the time of Stalingrad began deferring to his commanders, and thereafter the commanders fought the war under his general guidance. That’s wrong. He was hands-on throughout. In 1941, his stubbornness and insistence on fighting back cost him a lot, but also ensured that Hitler’s key assumption—that the Red Army would dissolve once it was smashed—didn’t happen. By 1942, after Leningrad and Moscow, Stalin and Marshal Georgi Zhukov think alike. They understand that even if you have to ruthlessly expend manpower, resistance will wear down a numerically weaker opponent. That tactic cost probably 14 million military dead—the price of defeating a more experienced, battle-worthy, savvy Wehrmacht.”

    http://www.historynet.com/david-m-glantz.htm

  471. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: Or perhaps more succinctly still George: You can’t make a socialist omelette without cracking a few (million) socialist eggs!

    Some people might say that the petty-bourgeois democrats, those sham socialists who replaced the class struggle by dreams of class harmony, even pictured the socialist transformation in a dreamy fashion — not as the overthrow of the rule of the exploiting class, but as the peaceful submission of the minority to the majority which has become aware of its aims. This petty-bourgeois utopia, which is inseparable from the idea of the state being above classes, led in practice to the betrayal of the interests of the working classes, as was shown, for example, by the history of the French revolutions of 1848 and 1871, and by the experience of “socialist” participation in bourgeois Cabinets in Britain, France, Italy and other countries at the turn of the century.

    All his life Marx fought against this petty-bourgeois socialism…

    Opportunism does not extend recognition of the class struggle to the cardinal point, to the period of transition from capitalism to communism, of the overthrow and the complete abolition of the bourgeoisie. In reality, this period inevitably is a period of an unprecedently violent class struggle in unprecedentedly acute forms..

    Of course, this is just one point of view.

    Personally, I couldn’t possibly comment.

  472. George:

    ‘Under Stalin’s leadership the Soviet Union had been transformed by the ending of NEP, and the start of the five year plans, industrialisation and the collectivisation of agriculture’.

    I’d say this, taken together with your defence of his war record, is pretty close to ‘Stalin was a great man…’. Do you, in fact, dispute this characterisation?

    As for his war record, I thought it was established that, as the German armies moved across the Ukraine and Western Russia, Stalin insisted, contrary to the advice of his generals, didn’t pull back but tried to protect territory. This led directly to surrender and mass capture. After this near catastrophic error of judgement, he did take defer to military advice on the conduct of the campaign. Of course a dictator like Stalin was hardly likely to take a back seat, but there was a marked change in this respect.

    Is this historically wrong? I don’t think anything the generalities of the authority you quote would contradict this. That Stalin came to be a symbol of resistance to the Nazis in the USSR and beyond during the war is undeniable.

  473. stuart: Wrong. We dealt with the complaint, we did not ignore it. Our Disputes Committee has the support of our membership.

    “Dealt with” is a charming euphemism for bumbling incompetence and whitewashing.

    It’s a question of your MANNER of the SWP’s dealing with it.

  474. Manzil:

    It’s a question of your MANNER of the SWP’s dealing with it.

    But this was voted on at conference. It was further ratified by the elected NC. It will be revisited again at Special Conference. The case itself is closed. Nobody in the party as far as I know is challenging the verdict. Your ‘concern’ seems entirely sectarian.

  475. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: Is this historically wrong?

    I wouldn’t say “wrong”. Just that:

    Sam64: Of course a dictator like Stalin was hardly likely to take a back seat

    is a good deal more accurate than you original statement that:

    Sam64: Stalin had to dig the more competent Soviet generals out of Siberian labour camps to conduct the WW2 military campaign, and they were only able to do so effectively once he’d taken something of a back seat

  476. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: But this was voted on at conference

    And the report was accepted by less than 40% of delegates. Partly coz 21%-22% (123 to 131 delegates) were so stunned they couldn’t even take part in the vote & register an abstention.

    That’s how acceptable the delegates found it all.

  477. Jara Handala,

    Be careful what you wish for. Some Tories want to apply your logic to strike ballots. In any case, the party is looking to revisit Disputes Committee work.

  478. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: Under Stalin’s leadership the Soviet Union had been transformed by the ending of NEP, and the start of the five year plans, industrialisation and the collectivisation of agriculture’.
    I’d say this, taken together with your defence of his war record, is pretty close to ‘Stalin was a great man…’. Do you, in fact, dispute this characterisation?

    You seem to have a problem with the concept of history as an attempt to discover: what happened, why it happened and why it happened when it happened. This process requires a degree of objectivity.

    Objectivity means suppressing one’s (subjective) feelings. Raising a flag over the Reichstag depended on a long train of events. The five year plans, industrialisation and the collectivisation of agriculture were essential preconditions for the victory of 1945.

    Denigning Stalin’s role in these events is not just churlish, it’s bad history.

  479. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: That Stalin came to be a symbol of resistance to the Nazis in the USSR and beyond during the war is undeniable.

    This is rather mealy mouthed. He wasn’t just a passive symbol: he played an active role in shaping events.

  480. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: How about 567 being boiled down to: Children, children when will you learn? Stalin was a great man who did great things for his people.

    No. I was making a very different point.

  481. stuart: But this was voted on at conference. It was further ratified by the elected NC. It will be revisited again at Special Conference. The case itself is closed. Nobody in the party as far as I know is challenging the verdict. Your ‘concern’ seems entirely sectarian.

    All this tells us is that the culture of the SWP bureaucratic majority is equally degenerate as the attitude of the leadership and the disputes committee members.

    Stuart, it is not sectarian to acknowledge that the SWP, like any political party, is not separate from society, that its members are not unique or perfect or endowed with special powers. That conference supported it tell us that conference supported it; that’s all. It doesn’t say whether the conference was right to do so. Unless you believe that the SWP is a special instrument that is unfalteringly correct…

    I know that no one can be right against the party. It is only possible to be right with the party and through it since history has not created any other way to determine the correct position.

    Your lack of concern appears designed to make the SWP leadership faction seem almost pathological. Let me try and put it simply: I do not give a damn what the conference, the NC, or the special conference decided. I do not care. It does not change what has happened, how the leadership has behaved or how the membership (so far) acquiesced in it. Because I do not believe that the institutions of the Socialist Workers Party are the fount of all morality or good political practice.

    For the SWP’s critics, this is not a question of quibbling over procedure. The actions of the disputes committee were in their very essence ultra vires, not to mention arbitrary and offensive. The response of the leadership has just been outright political thuggery. No amount of ringing endorsements from party stooges like yourself will change what the overwhelming majority of the Left, because they are outside of this weird group culture, unhesitatingly accepted: that you have gone off the rails.

    I only hope that, if the party does its own Stuart routine at the special conference, and declares total victory over common sense, that the various oppositions manage to cohere into a healthy and positive political formation that can continue to express the better traditions of revolutionary socialism, and are not suppressed beneath a bureaucratic weight into emulating the tedious, cult-like behaviour which your own conduct suggests the SWP leadership would like from its cadres.

  482. Manzil,

    If you dont like the SWP don’t join it. Best of luck with whatever political project you are attached to. The amount of time you spend talking about SWP suggests things are not exactly thriving.

  483. stuart:

    If you dont like the SWP don’t join it. Best of luck with whatever political project you are attached to. The amount of time you spend talking about SWP suggests things are not exactly thriving.

    Stuart, believe it or not, it takes less time to point out the hypocrisy and political failings of the SWP than it does to check my emails. Technology is a marvellous thing.

    That you consistently accuse other people of being politically inactive or motivated solely by some personal vendetta against the SWP highlights just how thoroughly unhinged you’re becoming.

  484. Manzil,

    Like I say, the SWP will not become what you want it to become. Perhaps in the light of that you need to move on and build whatever it is you are trying to build.

  485. stuart:
    Manzil,

    Like I say, the SWP will not become what you want it to become. Perhaps in the light of that you need to move on and build whatever it is you are trying to build.

    “Move on” as in don’t mention your leadership’s disgraceful conduct? Yeah, not gonna happen, Stu. Just because you’re OK with it doesn’t mean anyone else has to be.

    Besides, what does that even mean, what I “want it to become”? A party that doesn’t ask alleged rape victims about their past relationships and drinking habits? A party that doesn’t respond to members’ furore over this by expelling people for talking on Facebook and threatening lynch mobs on its critics?

    That’s a shame, because a party that didn’t do those sorts of things might be worth socialists actually supporting. Thankfully not everyone is as thoroughly closed-minded as you:

    http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/when-is-conference-not-conference.html

  486. Manzil,

    If you think the only difference is around the handling of the allegation you are mistaken.

    The opposition refers to ‘failures in long-term analysis and perspective’.

    The CC line, as articulated by Callinicos is ‘our theoretical tradition and our democratic structures will allow us to arrive at the necessary political clarity and to learn the lessons of the disciplinary case’.

  487. jon fanning on said:

    Sam64:
    George Hallam

    Are you familiar with C. Wright Mills famous lampooning of Talcott Parsons George?How about 567 being boiled down to: Children, children when will you learn? Stalin was a great man who did great things for his people. OK he made a few mistakes (code perhaps for killed a few million people, not to mention virtually the entire 1917 leadership of the Bolshevik Party etc) but that was all in the course of doing them. ?

    Stalin killed tens of thousands, not millions, there was a lot of bourgeois anti-communist propaganda around at the time that is often still quoted when giving the figures.

    Stalin, leader of the new political bureaucratic class, brilliant, unprincipled, paranoid and murderous certainly but killing millions, he wasn’t Hitler (or Pol Pot) he had labour camps not death camps, and show trials that targeted his political opponents, not mass random killings in the street.

  488. George Hallam on said:

    jon fanning: Stalin, leader of the new political bureaucratic class, brilliant, unprincipled, paranoid and murderous certainly but killing millions, he wasn’t Hitler (or Pol Pot) he had labour camps not death camps, and show trials that targeted his political opponents, not mass random killings in the street.

    A nicely balanced piece of apologetics that is certain to upset virtually everybody. Well done.

  489. George Hallam above

    ‘You seem to have a problem with the concept of history as an attempt to discover: what happened, why it happened and why it happened when it happened. This process requires a degree of objectivity.

    Objectivity means suppressing one’s (subjective) feelings. Raising a flag over the Reichstag depended on a long train of events. The five year plans, industrialisation and the collectivisation of agriculture were essential preconditions for the victory of 1945.

    Denigning Stalin’s role in these events is not just churlish, it’s bad history.’

    This, frankly rather pompous statement, is off target George. Best to provide a little clarity me thinks:
    1. This discussion, such as it is, begun when I unwisely responded to Andy Newman’s post – when I suspect that he was at least half only being funny, at least that was the spirit it was written in – that whilst Stalin was responsible for stopping Hitler, Callinicos has done nothing. This was in response to my comparison of equal levels of hypocrisy between Stalin and the SWP vis democracy – the SWP being the subject, as it happens, of this blog.
    2. I replied that Stalin ‘had to dig the more competent Soviet generals out of Siberian labour camps to conduct the WW2 military campaign, and they were only able to do so effectively once he’d taken something of a back seat’.
    3. We have now established that 1) at least one leading military figure in the Red Army was retrieved from imprisonment; 2) Stalin’s initial tactical – actually more strategic – blunders in refusing to heed the advice of his generals to cede territory at the start of the German invasion, that led directly to surrender and mass capture of Soviet troops, saw to him subsequently taking a relative back seat in military decisions (at least I assume that we have accepted this as you haven’t taken issue with the claim and it’s surely crucial to any discussion of Stalin and WW2).
    4. So I think this claim is, just about, justified. I don’t take the thrust of it back. Qualifications are always possible, I conceded a couple to humour you, but this isn’t an academic journal George.
    5. Whilst we’re at it, I note that you haven’t sought to challenge my claim that Stalin ostracised and then removed genuine heroes of the war, the leaders of besieged Stalingrad, as he hated anybody with independent political capital, murderous psychopath that he was.
    6. None of this is affects the, wait for it, ‘objective fact’ that Stalin (probably about as much as Churchill) was a symbol of resistance to fascism 41-45 – if not before for obvious reasons – in the Soviet Union and beyond.
    7. You introduced mention of Soviet development prior to the war George not me – and then inferred that I had sought to dis Stalin’s record in respect to this. I can see why you did, as you say that the USSR’s industrial strength etc was intrinsic to its subsequent defeat of fascism. Well that debate would take us ages, suffice it to say that I certainly don’t accept that industrialisation was attributable to Stalin’s individual leadership. Quite the contrary in fact. Possibly industrialisation, not to mention the collectivisation of agriculture, might have been achieved without the millions (yes millions) who perished in the 1930s. But we all know what E.P. Thompson once said about historical counter factuals..
    8. Finally, I’ll tell you straight George, I regard Stalin and Stalinism, as the greatest disasters in the history of socialism – disasters that have, in the broadest sense, enormously set back the prospects for its realisation. Given that, I find your calls for ‘objectivity’ distasteful – no more tasteful than, say, an ‘objective’ discussion about whether Mussolini made the trains run on time. However, I stand by what I’ve said above.

    Can’t we get back to talking about the SWP?!

  490. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: I’ll tell you straight George, I regard Stalin and Stalinism, as the greatest disasters in the history of socialism

    Thank you for being so frank. I would never have guessed.

  491. Well that’s OK George – although as I say, this is the kind of place where such opinions are expressed, sometimes strong. I tried to pin you down yesterday on just where just where you stand on Joe Stalin, principally to cut the verbiage, but you demurred.

  492. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: This, frankly rather pompous statement, is off target George.

    If one ignores Proverbs 26:4 them there are really only three tones:
    shrill, abusive or pompous.

    I chose ‘pompous’.

  493. Bob Noonan on said:

    stuart: The case itself is closed. Nobody in the party as far as I know is challenging the verdict.

    You cannot be serious????????????

  494. Bob Noonan on said:

    Stuart, nearly half your conference refused to accept the report – what the Hell do you mean “Nobody in the party as far as I know is challenging the verdict”? Are you ill?

  495. jon fanning on said:

    Sam64: Possibly industrialisation, not to mention the collectivisation of agriculture, might have been achieved without the millions (yes millions) who perished in the 1930s.

    If you are going to lay the blame for the deaths of the millions who starved on Stalin then you can only do so by recognising the equal guilt of Churchill, millions died in famines while he led the British Empire, Victoria, many, many millions – far more than Stalin allowed to die. (Ireland, India, Africa). King Leopold, the Congo etc…, highland clearances etc…

    All industrialization and forced development saw millions die in every developing society in History – even the fall of the Roman Republic saw the starvation and impoverishment of the peasantry and the rise of the “collectivised” slave estates.

    I get tired of lazy economic and historical thinking that says Stalin must take the blame for the horrific side effects of industrialization, the same side effects every industrialising society has suffered, counts up the dead and says, see Stalin killed millions just like Hitler.

    Stalin killed tens of thousands, the change from feudalism to state capitalism killed many, many more – though even this figure is often exaggerated, but once over a million die exact figures mean little.

  496. George Hallam on said:

    jon fanning: I get tired of lazy economic and historical thinking that says Stalin must take the blame for the horrific side effects of industrialization, the same side effects every industrialising society has suffered..

    Well put. This style of thinking is just moralising masquerading as history.

  497. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: None of this is affects the, wait for it, ‘objective fact’ that Stalin (probably about as much as Churchill) was a symbol of resistance to fascism 41-45 – if not before for obvious reasons – in the Soviet Union and beyond.

    Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
    And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
    Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
    Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.

    Pope

    Why take about Stalin’s symbolic role when the disagreement is about his real role?

  498. What’s ‘objective’ about poetry? Pretty sure Stalin would have damned it as bourgeois shite – unless, of course, it was in praise of him or one of his supposed achievements.

    Well that’s precisely it George isn’t it, just the point I made. Clearly Stalin was a figurehead in the Soviet war effort and the struggle against fascism more widely; his real role was rather different.

  499. “jon fanning: I get tired of lazy economic and historical thinking that says Stalin must take the blame for the horrific side effects of industrialization, the same side effects every industrialising society has suffered..

    Well put. This style of thinking is just moralising masquerading as history.”

    Yeah how unreasonable to blame Stalin for the death by starvation of five million peasants, shooting a million people in the back of the head and deporting three million others to the gulag. Moralist backsliding scum.

  500. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: I certainly don’t accept that industrialisation was attributable to Stalin’s individual leadership. Quite the contrary in fact.

    I’m relieved to hear that you accept (albeit implicitly) that the Soviet economy was industrialised prior to the war.

    On the other hand, I’m intrigued by your assertion that this was accomplished in spite of Stalin.

    In order to ‘preserve the phenomena’ you need to completely rewrite this.

    Sam64: Possibly industrialisation, not to mention the collectivisation of agriculture, might have been achieved without the millions (yes millions) who perished in the 1930s.

    I take this to be a reference to the economic programme of the Left Opposition.

    Under NEP the Soviet industry suffered from chronic under-investment. Heavy industry was especially badly effected.

    The programme had a solution to this problem.

    http://economics.about.com/od/termsbeginningwith1/g/assume_a_can_opener.htm

  501. Sam64: hat’s ‘objective’ about poetry? Pretty sure Stalin would have damned it as bourgeois shite – unless, of course, it was in praise of him or one of his supposed achievements.

    Montifiore says that Stalin’s own poems “were widely read and much admired. They became minor Georgian classics, to be published in anthologies and memorised by schoolchildren until the 1970s (and not as part of Stalin’s cult; they were usually published as “Anonymous”).”

    And of course, Stalin’s critics are always upset at his praise for Mayakovsky: ‘Mayakovsky is still the best and the most talented poet of our Soviet epoch. Indifference to his cultural heritage is a crime’

  502. George Hallam on said:

    bill j: Yeah how unreasonable to blame Stalin for the death by starvation of five million peasants, shooting a million people in the back of the head and deporting three million others to the gulag. Moralist backsliding scum.

    I assume that the performative contradiction is meant to be funny. That’s fine, so long as you remember that it’s just a joke.

    People can be moralistic in a sincere way.

    I know lots of people who hold such attitudes. I have campaigned with them and will continue to do so.

    Most of them are dedicated and sincere. I respect them for their work.

    The problem with moralism is that it has a crippling effect on how people think on certain issues.

    Hate the sin, but love the sinner.

  503. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: What’s ‘objective’ about poetry? Pretty sure Stalin would have damned it as bourgeois shite – unless, of course, it was in praise of him or one of his supposed achievements.

    Here is one Marvell did earlier:

    In Effigiem Oliveri Cromwell

    Haec est quae toties Inimicos Umbra fugavit,
    At sub quâ Cives Otia lenta terunt.

    Before this shadow oft his en’mies fled;
    Beneath it lives secure the people led.

  504. Nick Wright @609.

    That’s interesting, didn’t know that. Are you sure the poetry would have been disseminated and read had Stalin not been the author – anonymous or not (presumably he became so after 1956? And presumably it’s not coincidental that his poems were esteemed in Georgia, not just because of the language but because he continued to be something of a national hero there some time after his pictures had been taken down across the USSR.

    I know that Stalin could discuss art with some subtlety – the plays of Gorky for instance. And he wasn’t adverse to dealing directly with an artist from time to time. He telephoned Bulgakov when he said he wanted to emigrate didn’t he? But I’m sure that you can think of several Russian poets that Stalin took exception to – for bourgeois deviation or the like – and had bumped off (George here can fill in the dates for their precise movement from prison, to gulag, to firing squad etc). The Russian intelligentsia didn’t exactly fare well under his rule did they?

    George, with respect, you strike me as one of those pedantic academics that doesn’t like answering questions directly, still less having words attributed to him, as it cedes authorial direction and power. Instead, you prefer to pontificate at your discretion and usually proceed by trying to mine an opponent’s argument from within. The heart of the debate is about Stalin and the war, so can we stick on that? I therefore direct you to address point 3.2 and, whilst we’re at it, 5 (@ 597 above). Issues you have hitherto ignored despite prompting.

  505. Sam64
    Even anti-communist commentators, displaying a range of critical responses to Stalin’s poetry, seem to acknowledge that he was a poet of some note before he became politically prominent.
    In fact. it seems he gave up poetry because of his political duties.
    see http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/08/bad_politics_worse_prose?page=0,3

    On a general point of method concerning cultural history.
    TJ Clarke wrote recently,concerning British art: ‘The culture of art in England is genteel. It is tied to Home Counties, late-imperial class values and attitudes in ways – with a depth and tightness of affiliation – that mark it out from Turin or St Petersburg or Prague or Paris, or even Habsburg Vienna. This has nothing to do, need I say it, with the actual vileness of any particular bourgeoisie. It depends on the means – the insistence, the ‘givenness’ – of that bourgeoisie’s hegemony.’
    There we have an admirable exposition of the first principle.
    Look at the context.
    The second principle concerns the primacy of the work itself.
    You may have all kinds of reasons to dislike Stalin but before you venture an opinion on his attitude to poetry, or anything else, get up to speed.

  506. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: But I’m sure that you can think of several Russian poets that Stalin took exception to – for bourgeois deviation or the like – and had bumped off (George here can fill in the dates for their precise movement from prison, to gulag, to firing squad etc). The Russian intelligentsia didn’t exactly fare well under his rule did they?

    If you’re interested see:

    J. Arch Getty and William Chase ‘View Patterns of Repression Among the Soviet Elite in the Late 1930s: A Biographical Approach’
    In Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives (1993) Cambridge University Press
    pp. 225-246

  507. George Hallam on said:

    Sam64: George, with respect, you strike me as one of those pedantic academics that doesn’t like answering questions directly, still less having words attributed to him, as it cedes authorial direction and power.

    Oh, you flatterer, you!

    Sam64: Instead, you prefer to pontificate at your discretion and usually proceed by trying to mine an opponent’s argument from within.

    But you make it so easy for me.

  508. Sam64: The Russian intelligentsia didn’t exactly fare well under his rule did they?

    George Hallam: J. Arch Getty and William Chase ‘View Patterns of Repression Among the Soviet Elite in the Late 1930s: A Biographical Approach’
    In Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives (1993) Cambridge University Press
    pp. 225-246

    From which:

    “The less educated suffered more”

    Contrary to Trotskyist and liberal myth, the Great Purge targets were neither the intellectual elite, nor the Old Bolshevks, but most typicaly those with a political position in the Bureaucracy

  509. Oh George! Here we go again, just one more time on the central issue in this, ahem, edifying exchange. Direct comment required (as perhaps your Latin master might have said whilst ploughing through your prep) on the main topic(s). I’ll repeat them for you:

    ‘We have now established that 1) at least one leading military figure in the Red Army was retrieved from imprisonment; 2) Stalin’s initial tactical – actually more strategic – blunders in refusing to heed the advice of his generals to cede territory at the start of the German invasion, that led directly to surrender and mass capture of Soviet troops, saw to him subsequently taking a relative back seat in military decisions (at least I assume that we have accepted this as you haven’t taken issue with the claim and it’s surely crucial to any discussion of Stalin and WW2)’.
    And
    5. Whilst we’re at it, I note that you haven’t sought to challenge my claim that Stalin ostracised and then removed genuine heroes of the war, the leaders of besieged Stalingrad, as he hated anybody with independent political capital, murderous psychopath that he was.

    If you can’t answer the points directly at least have go at mining them from within as you find this easier.

    Nick Wright. Yes, fair point – but only up to a point. Notwithstanding the unnecessary lesson in the interpretation of art, it boils down to ‘don’t talk about something if you don’t know what you’re talking about’. (Although if that was a stipulation on SU I’d reckon the comment would fall by at least half, ask Andy!) I did acknowledge that I was unaware of the not uninteresting fact that Stalin was a bit of poet. Incidentally, I’ve always considered him a top comedian: ‘Dizzy with success’ being a little pamphlet he wrote after millions had starved to death as a result of the requisition of grain in the Ukraine, is my favourite. But here’s another maxim that George is still struggling with: answer the question.

    So:
    Are you sure the poetry would have been disseminated and read had Stalin not been the author – anonymous or not (presumably he became so after 1956? And presumably it’s not coincidental that his poems were esteemed in Georgia, not just because of the language but because he continued to be something of a national hero there some time after his pictures had been taken down across the USSR?

    And

    And he wasn’t adverse to dealing directly with an artist from time to time. He telephoned Bulgakov when he said he wanted to emigrate didn’t he? But I’m sure that you can think of several Russian poets that Stalin took exception to – for bourgeois deviation or the like – and had bumped off (George here can fill in the dates for their precise movement from prison, to gulag, to firing squad etc)?

  510. ““jon fanning: I get tired of lazy economic and historical thinking that says Stalin must take the blame for the horrific side effects of industrialization, the same side effects every industrialising society has suffered..”

    Blatant lies. Over the last two decades China has transformed 300 million small farmers into workers without widespread starvation. When Mao attempted to follow Stalin in the late 1950s an estimated 30 million died. Good riddance to the lazy slackers, no doubt.

  511. ‘Contrary to Trotskyist and liberal myth, the Great Purge targets were neither the intellectual elite, nor the Old Bolshevks, but most typicaly those with a political position in the Bureaucracy’.

    Interesting point Andy, I’d have to look at the book. But whilst they may not have been central political targets, surely writers etc were swept up in the purges?

  512. John Grimshaw on said:

    jon fanning: Stalin killed tens of thousands, the change from feudalism to state capitalism killed many, many more – though even this figure is often exaggerated, but once over a million die exact figures mean little.

    This sentence appears to need clarification.

  513. John Grimshaw on said:

    Nick Wright: Montifiore says that Stalin’s own poems “were widely read and much admired. They became minor Georgian classics, to be published in anthologies and memorised by schoolchildren until the 1970s (and not as part of Stalin’s cult; they were usually published as “Anonymous”).”

    Is this like Sean Matgamna’s poems? Or is it more biblical (substitute as appropriate for your culture)?

  514. Jellytot on said:

    @621Montifiore says that Stalin’s own poems “were widely read and much admired. They became minor Georgian classics”

    Mao’s were good as well and his calligraphy (Shufa) was proficient too.

    They probably don’t come across too well in translation but in the original Mandarin they are rather beautiful.

  515. John Grimshaw on said:

    Whose house jade flute secret fly sound
    Lose enter spring wind fill Luoyang city
    This nocturne middle hear break willow
    What person not start home feel From whose home secretly flies the sound of a jade flute?
    It’s lost amid the spring wind which fills Luoyang city.
    In the middle of this nocturne I remember the snapped willow,
    What person would not start to think of home!

  516. Jellytot on said:

    C’mon John, who could not see the beauty in this?

    Changsha (长沙) (1925):

    独立寒秋,湘江北去,橘子洲头。

    看万山红遍,层林尽染,漫江碧透,百舸争流。

    鹰击长空,鱼翔浅底,万类霜天竞自由。

    怅寥廓,问苍茫大地,谁主沉浮。

    携来百侣曾游,忆往昔峥嵘岁月稠。

    恰同学少年,风华正茂,书生意气,挥斥方遒。

    指点江山,激扬文字,粪土当年万户侯。

    曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟。