SWP resignations in Scotland

This is the letter of resignation by 39 SWP members in  Scotland

Dear CC and Party Members,

We, the undersigned, are writing to inform you of our resignation from the Socialist Workers Party.  This is not a decision that we have taken lightly: for all of us, it is an immense emotional and political strain to abandon an organisation in which we have invested countless hours.

Following the last split from the Party we were told there would be an end to factionalism. It is our position that this was not followed out in
practice: factionalism persists at the very centre of the organisation.  Allegations have been made against some of us and will undoubtedly continue. However, we have been committed to building the party as well as intervening in the anti-cuts movement, both on campuses and through Right to Work as well as relating to the Arab revolutions. We have not departed from the party line; indeed, we have been at the forefront of developing the organisation.

 We are appalled by the factionalism which has driven Chris Bambery from the SWP. This is a consequence of a culture that pervades sections of the organisation and flows from the majority grouping on the Central Committee. This has impacted negatively on the work of the SWP, primarily demonstrated in a retreat from systematic united front work.

In particular our work around the Right to Work campaign has been confused and patchy across the country, primarily because the Central
Committee – as a whole – did not drive that perspective from its inception.

In the build-up to the 26 March we could have been organising to get every possible local anti-cuts and trade union activist working together to carry out mass leafleting, but the message from the centre was to concentrate on building it through our paper sales. Those were, of course, vital; but we also needed to place ourselves alongside the thousands who were working to build the march.

 Consequently the SWP’s ability to influence wider layers of people provided by the biggest demonstration in trade union history was restricted.  There are some very good SWSS groups, but the Glasgow students were the only SWSS group with any sizable presence on the
student feeder march. Amidst arguably the biggest youth revolt in British history – and despite reports of bumper recruitment to the Party after Millbank – this should have been a massive wake-up call.

But rather than face up to the consequences and adjust our strategy, a faction on the CC has turned its attention to Right to Work national
secretary Chris Bambery, who has been labelled “disgusting”, “filthy”, accused of playing a factional role in Scotland and of wanting to wreck the SWP. This culture means that the SWP nationally has not taken up the campaign in defence of Bryan Simpson, with the Morning Star giving it more coverage than Socialist Worker.  At the time of the Arab revolutions a pre-existing factional attitude towards the Stop the War Coalition meant too often we did not throw ourselves into building solidarity actions initiated by them.

Chris Bambery’s resignation means we can no longer trust a section of the Central Committee. Let us be clear, we are not leaving the organisation just because of Chris Bambery’s forced resignation, but rather because we understand as symptomatic of a disease within the party that has held back its work and development over the past couple of years and distorted its theoretical tradition.

We have fought for a non-sectarian approach to party building and our results bear this out.  Our position on this will not change.  We intend to establish a Marxist organisation in Scotland.  We wish to express our gratitude to the comrades in Scotland and elsewhere who have shared our frustrations but have not been willing or able to take this last step.  We want to work fraternally with the SWP as we do with all groups on the left and the Trade Union movement. We wish those in the SWP success in building revolutionary politics.

It is painful that it is not possible to move on together.  However, we are all as determined as ever to continue as revolutionary socialists and to meet the theoretical and practical challenges raised by the ruling class offensive and the emerging anti-austerity movement.

Gareth Beynon
Sam Beaton
Nik Brown
Gregor Clunie
Megan Cowie
Sean Coyle (Scottish Steering Committee)
Euan Dargie
Lucky Dhillon (Scottish Steering Committee)
Charley Dohren
James Ferns
James Foley (National Committee and Scottish Steering Committee)
Adam Frew
Rhiannon Garrity
Dominique Graham
Karen Huzzey
David Jamieson (Scottish Steering Committee)
Laura Jones
Eileen Boyle (Scottish Steering Committee)
Natalie Kerr
Gav Lavery
Calum Lawson
Mahmoud Mahdy
Eilidh McKnight
Danny McGregor
Rachel Meach
Callum Morrison
Jenny Morrison
Phil Neal
Claire Paterson
Pete Ramand (Glasgow organiser)
Laura Robertson
Danny Rooney
Suki Sangha (National Committee and Scottish Steering Committee)
Jonathon Shafi
Bryan Simpson
Katherine Stewart
Stuart Tuckwood
Chris Walsh
Ben Wray (East Coast of Scotland organiser)

369 comments on “SWP resignations in Scotland

  1. Numerologist on said:

    It’s highly significant that Bamberry has selected 39 people to be in his new group.

    There are 39 books in the Old Testament.

    The 39th Hexagram of the I Ching reads:

    “THE IMAGE
    Water on the mountain:
    The image of OBSTRUCTION.
    Thus the superior man turns his attention to himself
    And molds his character.”

    39 ‘Founding Fathers’ signed the first constitution of the United States of America.

    The rosary of the Precious Blood of Christ has 39 grains. The prayer of the Our-Father is told 33 times and the Glory to the Father 7 times. The seven meditated mysteries are the following:

    The circumcision
    The agony
    The flagellation
    The crowning of thorns
    The climbing to the Calvary
    The crucifixion
    The blow of lance

    There are 39 weeks in the gestation of a human foetus.

    The words ‘mischievous’ and ‘impure’ both appear 39 times in the Bible.

    Bamberry is sending a clear message here – and of course, 1 + 39, or Bamberry plus his 39 acolytes adds up to 40, and we all know what that means.

  2. 39 also has significance in the SWP’s own mythology, as it was strike action by the “39 Manchester nurses” that indicated the start of the “new mood” and the beginning of the end of the “downturn” in the 1980s.

    The “new mood” was especially nubulous, as you could only be detect evidence of it if your first believed in it.

  3. auld reekie on said:

    What a waste, rees and Bamberys vanity project, like a mid life crisis- all that glitters is not gold. Seriously, rather threadbare argument for resignation though. Poverty of theory if you ask me. The proof of the pudding is in the eating though.

  4. jim mclean on said:

    My favourite line
    “We intend to establish a Marxist organisation in Scotland”
    there are probably more Marxist organisations in Scotland than signatures on the letter.

  5. taggart on said:

    so that’s two full-timers, a smattering of national committee members and what appears to be the entire glasgow student group, with a few other new recruits thrown in. ouch.

  6. This line also suggests that those leaving are quite new members

    “it is an immense emotional and political strain to abandon an organisation in which we have invested countless hours

    not days then, or weeks, months or years!

  7. auld reekie on said:

    He made his bed, I’ve been at maybe three meetings in past three years. Lapsed member.
    Been on some good protests though. Gonna rejoin, all hands on deck! I’m big enough to say I’ve been far too inactive. Some good comrades leaving. If they have different analysis then fair enough. I tend to see it as psychological reasons for some and inexperience on the part of the others. Could be wrong though. Guess we shall see who proves this in practice though.

  8. Lynsey on said:

    Despite some of the harsh remarks in the comments above I think it takes a certain amount of bravery form the the 39 activists. Lets be brutally honest the Party has just lost it’s only relevant activists in Glasgow one of the UK’s biggest cities, so however we try and dress this up it’s a major blow.

  9. They way they have gone about this is fucking appalling, whatever the rights & wrongs in other respects

  10. #13

    So the rest of us, who they didn’t bother to speak to before collectively resigning, are not “relevant activists”? I mean, shit, I agree that there are major problems in the party, but did any of these people ever discuss them openly (except with each other)? No. That would have demonstrated “bravery” not to mention good sense, respect for other members, & political principle. In fact some of them were the most enthusiastic in pretending everything was fine, while others said literally nothing.

  11. Connor on said:

    All the crimes that Bambery and his merry band are being accused of could just as well be levelled at Martin Smith and the remaining pygmies of the CC. Two bald men fighting over a comb doesn’t even begin to describe the pathetic wrangling and name-calling between the fantasists who imagine they will somehow lead the working class to victory in the class war.

    Just as well the real working class is blissfully unaware of the existence of these jokers or the gales of laughter might create a North Sea tsunami.

  12. jim mclean on said:

    If I put on my neutral hat I do not see this story making the headlines in the Scottish papers tomorrow, nobody has ever heard of them. I imagine the timing was intended to damage the Respect / Solidarity campaign in Glasgow. Why, I can only assume there are internal, probably personal, differences. Will the absence of some footsoldiers affect the result, no, its not that sort of Campaign, are any of the small parties doing a leaflet drop. What really matters in relation to George Galloway is what the Labour Party activists say on the streets and on the doorsteps. George has committed himself to supporting a Labour Executive led by Iain Gray at Holyrood. Labour cannot win a list seat in Glasgow, I think there will be a definite nod and wink towards GG, all he has to do is keep to his schedule and hope for the best. But George will not be beholden to anyone after the election

  13. auld reekie on said:

    Fair enough, its a blow. I think major blow is stretching it a bit. Still trying to discover the substance however. Sour grapes, bruised egos, over sensitive – possibly, but substance? Dunno? I wish these precious hot house flowers well outside in the real world.

  14. christian h. on said:

    Well from the US it sure looks like Bambery didn’t resign with Rees and German for the single purpose of organizing a faction in Scotland that could then resign from the SWP as a group in as damaging a fashion as possible, at as damaging a point in time as possible. All fair enough (in love and war as it were) if a bit unsavoury to put it mildly. But to then turn around and whinge about being accused of factionalism is rather cheeky. Makes it hard to lend credence to anything Bambery and his crew say.

  15. All fair enough (in love and war as it were) if a bit unsavoury to put it mildly. But to then turn around and whinge about being accused of factionalism is rather cheeky.

  16. John Nicolson, Glasgow South branch on said:

    If any of these people should happen to be reading this, you should be ashamed of the way you’ve gone about this, & especially those of you who were full-timers working for the party.

    You should have spoken to the rest of us. You should have been honest. You should have raised these concerns (which a lot of the other members probably share to varying degrees) openly in the branches & at the other various meetings. Or if that wasn’t possible, you could have spoken to most of us individually. There is no fucking reason you couldn’t have done that. You all had every opportunity.

    And your rationalisations are pathetic. Oh, they would have expelled you? You were resigning anyway. What fucking difference would it have made to you in that respect? At the very least you would have looked a hell of a lot better to the members you didn’t see fit to include in your fucking clique, maybe we’d have supported you if you’d given us the chance.

    But no, you’d rather act like a bunch of sneaky wee shits operating behind everyone else’s backs, calling us “comrade” & lying to us to our faces or just disappearing completely without a word to us.

    And this is the basis on which you’re going to found the “new organisation”?

  17. John Nicolson, Glasgow South branch on said:

    “In the build-up to the 26 March we could have been organising to get every possible local anti-cuts and trade union activist working together to carry out mass leafleting”

    So why didn’t you (Pete, Suki, Eileen, Chris…)? I was at the RTW meetings where it was agreed that this was exactly what we were going to do, you had lists of people volunteering to do it, & you organised nothing. But somehow that’s the fault of the CC?

    And that sort of inaction, of decisions made at meetings that never lead to anything in reality has been typical since last July.

    And how many times have I disagreed or asked questions & never got a straight answer from you people?

  18. a scottish observer on said:

    is there a trade unionist amongst those that have resigned, doesnt look like it? Not even a lecturer in ucu? A handful of middle class students with no roots in the workers movement.

  19. pat kane on said:

    Good luck to Chris and the comrades.
    Hard to believe after all those years, what is it, 30 plus, this happens now.

  20. LondonBob on said:

    On the October 3rd 2010 ‘Right To Work’ march in Birmingham stewards collaborated with police against anarchists. Chris Bambery gathered other stewards with the intention of not allowing anarchists to join the march. People were directly told by Chris Bambery to “put that banner away or I’ll get you all nicked” before Bambery walked over to the police to complain.

    No doubth this will be removed by Andy yet again as is his way with any type of criticism from the libertarian left.

  21. It’s pretty puzzling to me. Surely, from their point of view, the problems that led this group to split off are not just in Scotland, but National, and International – so why did they keep their plans and politics secret, rather than attempting to win over members in other parts of the country and other parts of the world? There’s a world of difference between a principled faction fight and a secretive maneuvre, one gives everyone a chance to learn, the other leads to confusion and distrust, and actually reveals a surprisingly parochial lack of ambition.

  22. Charming man on said:

    @Scottish observer There are several workers and trade unionists on the list, so rather than spread outright lies, I suggest you apologise for your incorrect information and acknowledge there are both owkrers and trade unionists on the list, and you are a liar.

    @John Nicholls Do you really think throwing about obtuse insults is really the most productive and sensible way to try and win people back to the organisation? I am really unsure how one can make the claim of inaction since July, as it appears the mobilisations from around Scotland for a variety of events (marxism, UAF demonstrations, RTW events, party events) has been very good.
    Maybe you should look at your own conduct, and apologise for personally attacking people who were good members, and undermining the work people within the organisation are putting in to try and keep/win back members?

  23. prianikoff on said:

    But Bambery + 38 signatories makes 39, no?
    “Numerologist” seems to have missed the obvious Scottish connection – the 39 steps.

    Scottish exile Chris Bambery (clearly Richard Hannay) has uncovered a bid by the anarchists to takeover the anti-Cuts movement. Desperately trying to alert the SWP central Committee, he’s met by a wall of sectarian hostility.
    Convinced the C.C is now under the control of supporters of Ian Bone, he flees back to Scotland to rally the forces. He stays at a cottage in Galloway (signficant or what?)

    Note the muscial references carefully too; One of the signatories is called Rhiannon – a Welsh, not a Scottish name. Probably nicked by her mum from a Fleetwood Mac album. Then there’s someone called “Dominique”, which as everyone knows was a hit for the Singing Nun.

    But the 39 steps were at a Kentish Port town. Dover perhaps?
    Will ‘Bam’ soon be embarking for the continent in a bid to win over an important European meeting of the IST?

  24. This 20 year old critique of the SWP and it’s splits upto 1991 is still devastatingly relevant today:

    read it all here: http://bit.ly/gQ1mOD

    “Why is the Trotskyist left in Britain scattered and divided into competing groups? At the root the divisions are a product of the repeated defeats and the continuing marginalisation of revolutionary socialism.

    Small groups-and the biggest of the groups in Britain, the SWP, is still a small group -groups without implantation in the working class, have little power of cohesion when strong political divisions emerge. When members of a small organisation whose raison d’etre is propaganda for certain ideas begin to disagree, especially on some emotion-charged issue, then there is little motive for the minority not to break away. Little or no disruption of work follows division; there is no coercion available to the majority except persuasion or moral pressure; in practice the majority is often keen to be shot of the minority; and the minority, given will and determination, can set up a new organisation making more congenial propaganda…”

  25. Jonny Mac on said:

    #20 – don’t worry Mr Angry, you can still build the revolution in Glasgow South without them SPLITTERS!

    PS Do people in the SWP really call each other ‘comrade’? How fascinating. Don’t you feel a wee bit embarassed when you do that? Just a little…self-conscious? No?

  26. “Probably nicked by her mum from a Fleetwood Mac album”.

    Is there any significance in the fact that there was also one called TUSC?

    More seriously, what gets me is how little difference they seem to have with the basic concepts of the SWP. They talk about tactical differences about the 26/0311 demo, but how paper selling is obviously important. And they talk about factionalism against Chris B. It doesn’t look from the ouside as much of a basis for a split if you truly believe in the Leninist model (which I don’t).They didn’t even wait to be expelled having argued their corner.

    “…a disease within the party that has held back its work and development over the past couple of years and distorted its theoretical tradition.” Not exactly voting for war credits or refusing to have an honest balance sheet of the triumph of fascism is it?

    So is their intention to try and build an SWP Mark 2 (if you ignore the previous splits), complete with party paper and all the other Leninist parephenalia?

    I am completely against the SWP/ Leninist model, and I welcome people breaking from it and going for an open mass broad approach. Even better would have been if the SWP as a whole had done that when they were in Respect.

    But I see no reason to welcome the decison of people to break from the SWP on a fairly unclear basis if their goal now is simply to carry on regardless in a smaller version of the same thing.

    Of course if their experience leads them to organise in a new and better way, then that’s a different thing altogether.

  27. Mister Mister on said:

    There is an argument, put forward by Anslem Jappe among others, that the struggles of the working class have mostly been struggles for inclusion within capitalism rather than struggles against capitalism. The problem for Marxists today is that the emergence of debt-based capitalism since WW2 has served to facilitate such integration to such a degree over a prolonged period of time that it has disarmed the working class in face of the crisis of that debt-based model.

    This helps to explain why the working class has mostly been unable or unwilling to respond to the manifest injustice of being asked to pay for a crisis created by state and financial elites.

    Many Marxists have been profoundly wrong-footed by the highly uneven and uncertain nature of working class opposition to austerity. Hence the splits within the SWP.

  28. “We intend to establish a Marxist organisation in Scotland”

    Tony Benn once told me: The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough socialist parties, the problem is we don’t have enough socialists.

  29. The People Will Rise on said:

    #29 “Why is the Trotskyist left in Britain scattered and divided into competing groups?”

    Because Marxism (‘Trotskyism’ isn’t a very useful term these days) in Britain has been distorted by ultra-leftism on the one hand and by the influence of centuries of imperialism on the other.

    Capitalism can buy layers of the labour bureaucracy and it can distort the working class’s ideology, e.g. convincing them that the biggest problem following the crash is whether Muslim women wear burkas, that bombing Africans is humanitarian, etc.

    The Marxist left that hasn’t been bought by imperialism too often fails to accept the need for united fronts and broad alliances in building a socialist movement. It is also hampered by a very British anti-intellectualism.

  30. Matthew on said:

    Complaints about the Bamberyites not arguing their politics seem misplaced, if not dishonest, seeing as the internal regime, replicating the post-Civil War Communist Party, bans the formation of factions outside of a 3-month pre-conference period. So if they had started raising their arguments, trying to win support they would have denounced as factionalists and open to expulsion. If they dont raise their arguments they are a naughty clique. Sounds like Catch-22, and that’s some neat catch they’ve got there.

  31. anon no longer on said:

    On an actuarial basis, how many of those 39, or whatever the number is, who have resigned from the SWP, would otherwise still have been members in 2,3,4 or 5 years time?

    I’m guessing not too many.

  32. Ikram on said:

    This resignation letter makes it all clear again:
    The problem was not that there is no room for debate in the SWP (allegedly a product of no permanent factions etc, as some use to claim).
    The real problem is the logic that has dominated the politics of Chris Bambery and Rees/German:
    1. Urgentism.
    Their critique is: “In the build-up to the 26 March we could have been organising to get every possible local anti-cuts and trade union activist working together to carry out mass leafleting, but the message from the centre was to concentrate on building it through our paper sales.”
    Even if true, this of course is no reason for resigning – Unless you think that not the issue is almost a life and death question for the working class, which itself is the product of exaggerated expectation, the level of struggle etc. This leads to a sense of permanent urgency, which disables them to put things in perspective – their disagreement with the rest of the party becomes a matter of life and death as well.

    2. Then there is turning the ‘key link in the chain’ from an absolutely important tactic into a holy dogma. Not grasping the perceived ‘key link’ in conditions of permanent urgency becomes an unforgivable sin and a justification for splitting away, instead of debating inside the party.

    3. ‘My way or the high way’. This explains the way German/Rees and now Bambery have acted and argued the way they have – loosing the debate and taking the back seat never was an option for them. Hence factionalising and splitting, were the outcome of the way they participated in the debate – not the fact that disagreed. Some times, when you have argued your position but have lost the debate inside a party or a movement, you need to be prepared to take the back seat and let others take the lead and prove their politics in practice.

  33. Uncle Albert on said:

    How long before Martin Smith throws in the towel and takes another 39 members with him?
    Those wanting to leave had better get their resignations in quick or there won’t be any membership left to take with them.

  34. frank on said:

    A la Counterfire, no examination of the politics of the SWP, or even a single principle politcal disagreement with it.

    Proletarian parties break up over class issues, for or against the proletariat, the inter-imperialist war, the struggle against fascism, the overthrow of the workers’ states.

    Counterfire owes its existence to for or against permission to speak at a meeting in Newcastle. This latest split may represent a lesser egotism, being for or against leafletting for a demo, which would be an extremly modest step forward (especially when combned with reference to united front work). But it may also be no more than defering to egotism, with an inevitabe fall into the embrace of Counterfire, who themselves have no points of political difference with the SWP.

    #29 Much better to root yourself in the solid organisational and political grounds of support for NATO.

  35. pseudonym on said:

    Dishonesty both personal and political is the only word that describes the whole thing. Those in leadership positions in scotland who have resigned have abused the trust off all the members and finally hiding behind open letters and statements.

    In the end siding with the bruised ego of an individual rather than having open discussion with comrades.

    Participating in the launching of empty organisations that are fiefdoms of failed leaders. Henry Hyndman would not look out of place with you lot.

    May you all rot in political oblivion.

    For those left I hope the anger, disappointment and frustrations turn into a determination to rebuild and organise.

  36. #45
    I appreciate, as a fellow worker, our dislike and distrust of the legal system.
    Unfortunately comments like that can tangle you up in it very quickly.

  37. neprimerimye on said:

    #43. “Counterfire, who themselves have no points of political difference with the SWP.”

    This is by no means true. For a start Counterfart supporters voted against forming a revolutionary group at their founding conference. Supporters of the blog then are simply supporters not members. The SWP by contrast is open about wishing to build a revolutionary workers party.

    Moreover Counterfart backed a split in the Revolutionary Socialists, the only functioning revolutionary group in Egypt, which is now part of an attempt to form a Popular Front party. The RS by contrast, backed by both the SWP (Britain) and ISO (USA), have been instrumental in founding a workers party independent of all wings of the bourgeoisie.

    Counterfart still back the revisionist views of John Rees with regard to his ‘theory’ of the United Front sui generis. To their great credit the SWP have now rejected this foolishness and are engaged in genuine United Front work through a number of bodies.

  38. David Ruaune on said:

    “45.Martin Smith is too busy being a sexual predator within the SWP.”
    Ooooh I can’t believe that! What did he do?

  39. Rorschach on said:

    #47. Agreed. There are signficant political questions at stake between the SWP/Counterfire/Bambery et al, as there were with the group that defected to Galloway/Respect. Ultimately, what appear to be fairly mundane questions about tactics crystallize around the respective virtues of Leninism and autonomism.

  40. christian h. on said:

    #37.: But these members left anyway! What kind of argument is “we had to leave secretly because if we did it openly we would be expelled”?

  41. #50 – it’s the kind of argument one employs when trying to justify one’s actions as being defensive and the only ones possible. However, it’s more convincing when its dishonesty isn’t so absolutely obvious. And that’s the whole thing isn’t it – Bamberry was being oppressed for his views – even though he continued to be a full-timer on the CC, was the SWP’s representative on the RtW steering committee and its co-chair, etc. And then says that he resigned from the SWP because Martin Smith was angry with him and accused him of organizing a secret faction (using members’ dues) – except that it was true!
    The level of dishonesty is quite shocking but is really a continuation of the Rees/German faction that birthed Counterfire and its dishonest, secret methods. After all, real leadership requires imagination and flair and the job of the membership is to simply follow without question or mechanisms of accountability like public debate or election. It is of course sad what has happened in Glasgow but it seems that the rest of the country is unaffected and perhaps telling that the supposedly true leaders, those with imagination, flair, pizzazz etc, with a total combined history on the CC approaching a century, only managed to lead perhaps 5% of the dues paying members to follow them. Apparently flair and imagination only take you so far in the real world.

  42. Rorschach on said:

    #51. I really dislike the fetishization of flair and imagination (again, I blame Negri et al). Hard grind and pessimism of the intellect are socialist virtues.

  43. Anonymous on said:

    So as with Rees and co., leading SWPers are accused of ‘factionalism’ and respond by leaving en masse and setting up new groups? Almost as though these people were part of factional networks that could be easily and collectively mobilised.

    Not a great fan of the SWP, but you can’t help but see their point.

  44. prianikoff on said:

    #47/49 I’d tend to agree that “Counterfire” is based on the rightist “Popular Front of a Special Kind” notions that Rees developed during the period of the Socialist Alliance and StWC.

    But instead of tackling this politically by spelling out what a genuine working class united front is, the SWP seems to have retreated into the methodology of the sectarian front organisation.
    Hence the silly rivalry between the Right to Work Campaign and COR we saw develop at the end of last year.

    Chris Bambery was relatively open towards CoR, speaking quite well at their conference (despite what I took as a veiled attack on the SP and NSSN)

    He clearly wanted to turn outwards to the mass movement developing on the cuts.
    Whereas the central clique in the SWP see this as a threat and has retreated into their narrow “party-building” mode.
    In other words, recruit another 500 youth and students, get them involved in hyperactive leafletting, paper-selling and stunts, but don’t train them to work towards winning over the mass workers organisations.

    We’ve seen this all before from the SWP and it clearly doesn’t work.

  45. there has been a lot of debate within the party over reent years. Nobody has been expelled for differing views and raising those views in the organisation. The idea that the SWP have withdrawn from United Front work is obviously complete nonsense. We are involved in working with a wide range of people. Indeed the whole arguement of how to relate to Labour Party members/supporters etc is based on the need to build wide resistance between all in the labour movement etc. Whatever one’s position on this it hardly suggests sectarian withdrawal from building united front organisations does it?.
    Bambery was indeed a coward for never once arguing his views. It is pathetic in my view. Those that have gone to start a party with 38 or whatever members.. come on get real. The idea that Bambery is going to lead an open and democratic organisation is not evident by his own practice and not just on this issue.

  46. #54, But of course SWP members are working in the many local anti cuts groups and indeed often the catalyst for setting them up.. so I am afriad it doesn’t fit you usual sectarian rantings

  47. “37.Complaints about the Bamberyites not arguing their politics seem misplaced, if not dishonest, seeing as the internal regime, replicating the post-Civil War Communist Party, bans the formation of factions outside of a 3-month pre-conference period. So if they had started raising their arguments, trying to win support they would have denounced as factionalists and open to expulsion. If they dont raise their arguments they are a naughty clique. Sounds like Catch-22, and that’s some neat catch they’ve got there.”

    totally correct

    how do you effectively wage a fight to win the party to your ideas and programme without forming a faction? the fact that factions are banned just leads to more cliques, ‘secret factions’, personality clashes and intrigue. allowing factions is no guarentee to stop this of course, but it’s a basic element of a democracy within a healthy revolutionary party and could help prevent it.

    if you can’t openly disagree with the cc without being accused of ‘factionalism’, and don’t have any right to organise against them ‘officially’ and for your ideas / programme / tactics, then you have no choice but to in effect form a ‘secret faction’.

    it’s not just about the rules though, it’s also about culture, and the idea of factions should be seen as normal, and more to the point entirely healthy, because it encourages debate and discussion and it helps educate cadres. a party with no internal debate or discussion can never create genuine thinking cadre. how can you create a party that can correct the leaderships errors and guard against bureaucratism without such cadre?

    without democracy – no revolutionary education
    without centralism – no revolutionary action

  48. stockwellpete on said:

    #58 Absolutely correct. And with the emergence of the anti-cuts movement you would expect there to be a certain amount of factionalising within a healthy revolutionary organisation – perhaps between those who might be stuck in the “old routine” on the one hand, and those who want the party to change gear and embrace the new movement on the other.

  49. Allegedly there isnt a Glasgow Royal Wedding party because they couldnt get enough people to join. Sometimes numbers matter – but the SWP are obsessed with their size.

    The truth is that 43 people (mainly in one university) isnt going to make a huge deal of difference practically in the class struggle but it may lead to a rethink amongst some comrades in the SWP (and SP who are just as bad) about their internal democracy – one reason why the ISG did not join the SWP many years ago – see http://collectiveresistance.com/2011/04/11/chris-bambery-resigns-from-the-swp/#comment-496

    How is the new group going to relate to Solidarity/Galloway? They should make a break with the SWP line on Solidarity/galloway and build a relationship with the SSP.

  50. prianikoff on said:

    #56 I’m the least sectarian person on earth and have certificates to prove it.

    You still haven’t explained why Bambery feels that the SWP weren’t fully behind Right to Work, or his criticism of their response to the March 26th demonstration.
    These are quite serious allegations coming from a leading member like him.

    It’s certainly unfortunate that leading SWP comrades such as Rees, German and Bambery have resigned without fully clarifying their politics, but it must say something about the methods of debate and decision-making inside the SWP.

    SWP members tend to see anyone with any political experience outside the organisation as rivals and competitors unless they can get them to work in one of their own “united fronts”.

    They’re not good at working in mass organisations they don’t control.
    Quite a good example of this was the screaming ultra-left headline of SW on the March 26th demo about “kicking out Tory Scum” – which seemed more designed to appeal to the “Class War” direct action brigade than the 500,000 organised union members present.

    I would have been too embarassed to sell it (and I spent several years selling SW around estates, factories and mines)

  51. funny enough on my Unison coach it sold very well!! So you don’t like the headline which includes the term “Tory scum”..get over it.
    The reality is that Bambery, Rees and German in their differing ways were most responsible for a culture of closing down debate. Martin Smith is routinely attacked on thsi site, mainly it seems for the clothes he wears. This includes Andy attacking him for this. If that is the best people can do then its not serious is it.
    Martin Smith has been very important in making the party much more open to debate and discussion. In my view the party has very healthy discussions. In my district we regualry have debates and arguements about tactics, level of struggle/conciousness, etc etc. These have been aired and continued with CC members present and its been sharp debate but very fraternal.
    Now my experience of Bambery is the opposite. He wanted to never discuss problems etc. He was guilty of voluntarism and this led us on a destructive path. yes I would be critical of the past CC of letting that situation go on for way to long but the situation and internal culture of the aprty is much improved.
    Now Bambery’s arguement against selling a socialist newspaper and using those sales both public sales and industrial as one of the means by whcih we build a demo seems fairly strange. Why not?. We were also of course as Bambery knows urged to build it via anti cuts groups and in our union branches and workplaces etc etc. He knows it but is creating a smokescreen.

  52. Jellytot on said:

    @63 Martin Smith is routinely attacked on thsi site, mainly it seems for the clothes he wears. This includes Andy attacking him for this. If that is the best people can do then its not serious is it.

    Martin Smith is attacked on this site for his poor tactics and lack of strategy as a leader of UAF. They are criticisms of substance.

    The stuff about his ‘unique’ dress sense (i.e. wearing Stone Island – a brand clearly associated with the EDL) is just a bit of fluff and an attempt to keep things light-hearted.

  53. taggart on said:

    “Now Bambery’s arguement against selling a socialist newspaper and using those sales both public sales and industrial as one of the means by whcih we build a demo seems fairly strange. Why not?. We were also of course as Bambery knows urged to build it via anti cuts groups and in our union branches and workplaces etc etc. ”

    says it all, really. sell the paper first – then worry about building yr anticuts groups. no wonder bambery had a go at “united front work” if that was the method being used.

    this is all fall-out from 26 march. the swp intervention was a flop. remember those piles and piles of placards by the side of the road? never mind people not taking them – why weren’t there more swp members handing them out? and the least said about its role in trafalgar square, the better.

  54. SantiagoTalk on said:

    We sold 25 copies of Socialist Worker on our NUT / UCU coach. No one complained to me about the headline about Tory Scum. My branch organised for the 26th demo by selling Socialist Worker and putting out Socialist Worker leaflets.

    We also spent a lot of time working with our local anti cuts group putting out non SWP leaflets. THe idea that we would act in a secterian way about building for the demonstration is just not right.

    Much as been said about Martin Smiths comments to Chris Bamberry. Given the evidence that as now come to light about activity in Glasgow I think Martin Smiths remarks were extremly mild to say the least.

  55. John Nicolson on said:

    #26

    To be honest, yes, I probably have over-reacted pretty badly to this whole mess before really knowing enough of the details, & perhaps interpreted certain things wrongly, been excessively harsh, & generally a bit of a dick. Even so I have not at all meant to insult anyone except in relation to the WAY they have gone about this.

    That said, they have still handled their problems with the party & their eventual resignations really, really badly. These matters should have been discussed much more openly & widely, preferably at branch meetings but if, as they claim, that was not possible then even just by generally talking honestly to the other members. These discussions should not have been confined to a select group of the students & committee members/full-timers. When they all decided to leave they should have told everyone else immediately rather than leaving us to find out from various websites. Their failure to do this properly, even if (again as they claim) they would have risked expulsion, indicates a severe error of judgement at the very least.

    Regarding inaction, perhaps a better word would have been disorganisation, which has been a problem in Glasgow for a long time now. I in no way meant to imply that no one was doing anything, just that as I said decisions made in meetings to do various things have often failed to lead to any concrete result. And I think the people amongst the “new organisation” group bear as much responsibility for that as anyone.

  56. Uncle Albert on said:

    #61 “ultra-left headline of SW on the March 26th demo about “kicking out Tory Scum” ”

    You’d be too embarrassed to sell it – I’d be too embarrassed to buy it – condescending sloganising twaddle that is supposed to capture the spirit of the streets, I suppose. They should try communicating in an adult way, but then that wouldn’t work as adults won’t accept the underlying top-down bollox.

  57. Pity for John his ex cdes were organised enough to leave – next week’s SW may read ‘Kick out Bambery scum’ – at least the ex cdes wont have to compete now with the Stakhanov paperseller who sold 26 SWs to a captive audience on his bus

  58. Jellytot on said:

    @68

    But to give the SWP their dues, they’ve always been very good at marketing themselves to their key demographic layer; that being college/university students and a layer of workers in select public sector unions.

    It’s what’s kept them as a big fish in a small and increasingly stagnant pond.

  59. SantiagoTalk on said:

    68. 5500 people did buy Socialist Worker on the demonstration. Not enough I know, but its their reaction iam interested in not yours. You stated you did not even buy the paper!

    69 As a Socialist and trade union member of long standing I have got use to the hard work of trying to spread socialist ideas. I was delighted in the responce we received selling Socialist Worker on my bus.

    But to be quite frank with you what the hell are you doing on a site called Socialist Unity slagging off someone selling a Socialist Newspaper.????????

  60. John Nicolson on said:

    #69

    Well, obviously members can leave any time they want. It’s the way they did it that’s the problem here. And it’s a real shame that they weren’t willing to argue their position openly first. If they had been expelled for doing so(which they claim would have happened) then that would merely have proved them right, wouldn’t it? Their position would have been no worse than it is now, & probably better. If they had been expelled merely for disagreeing with the CC & honestly arguing their position within the party, some of us would no doubt have gone with them. But they walked out collectively with no discussion with the rest of us, in fact without even telling us.

  61. Is there a sub group of bus spotters that counts buses with SW sellers and how many papers they sold? Santiago does deserve respect for his efforts and he clearly has an excellent sales technique. I am in no doubt he has worked hard to spread socialist ideas.

    However I ask him what does he think of the Bambery letter and what bambery said about Right to Work. Is it not embarassing that the SWP fulltimer assigned to Right to Work makes it clear that its a party front. Surely inside any campaign that seeks to win broad working class support there needs to be democracy. Do you agree that to build Socialist unity we need to work together in democratic united fronts not party fronts!

  62. 73
    Yes its soooooooooo old hat selling a socialist paper.. I mean we have the Guardian to rely on.. pass the olives dear..

  63. OK Bull step up to the plate – what do you think of the Bambery letter and what bambery said about Right to Work. Is it not embarassing that the SWP fulltimer assigned to Right to Work makes it clear that its a party front?

    We have probably all sold a socialist paper at some time – but this is only one form of communication nowadays. For example, I was passed olives at a Euro demo in Amsterdam by italian unionists campaigning against laws affecting olive workers. I wonder if they had a guy on their bus who said I gave out 26 bags of olives today?

  64. SantiagoTalk on said:

    73. I was really shocked when I read Chris Bamberry letter in conjunction with the CCs responce. It was quite obvious that he had been factionising. I think he has let the party down. He has betrayed the trust of people he as worked with and the fact that he and the people in Scotland who have left the organisation did not bring up issues does not reflect well on them. Party democracy today is much better than in the past and there is no excuse for leaving in the manor that they did. I am sure that a full debate will be held in the party following this situation including the way the CC opperates.

    It is no secret that the The Right to Work Campaign is dominated by the SWP, the NSSM is dominsted by the Socialist Party and COR is dominated by a small coalition of organisations. This is the reallity of the situation. All these organisations would like to broaden out their respective opperations into united fronts as opposed to party fronts. But short of unity across the anti cuts movement at the moment the reality is that there will always be a main driving force behind most campaigns weather we like it or not.

    I would agree that to build socialist unity we need to work togehter in democratic fronts not party fronts. Unfortunatly history as shown us that this is rather more difficult than it should be. We all want unity!

  65. SantiagoTalk on said:

    73 & 74. I love olives. I also love selling a socialist newspaper with the perspective of spreading socialist ideas. But that may be a bit radical for some of the contributors to a web site called Socialist Unity??????

  66. I agree its a bit difficult working together in a party front – but Bambery said the SWP CC set up RTW as a party front – why didnt your organisation seek to set up something different from the beginning? Criticism of the SWP would say this method is central to problems with the party. Also there is a tendency for some left groups to train their cdes to see members of other left groups as innately hostile and sectarian. Thus cooperation is not seen as the norm but something to be avoided. It all feels cosy if you’re in a room surrounded by members of your own organisation but a healthy campaigning organisation against the cuts wont be built on this basis

  67. SantiagoTalk on said:

    Given the experience with Respect I think the CC was playing safe. The intention with Right to Work was to set it up and broaden it out. This was not as succesful as was hoped for. Some progress as been made in bringing in other forces and attemps have been to work with other national cuts organisations.

    Members have always been involved with anti cuts groups and I cannot at this stage understand what Bamberry and the Scotish comrades are complaining about. Its never been a one or the other approch.

    I think any organisation that trains its members to see other left groups as hostile and sectarian is mad! Comrade are comrades not enemies.

    I do not agree siting in a room with ones comrades is a cosy situation, that is why my comrades and myself are active in unions and many different campaigns and organisations. We work with members of other organisation and all activists locally.

  68. taggart on said:

    “Party democracy today is much better than in the past…”

    which apparently include a CC member – a CC member! – being so well-informed about party activity that they first hear about a major new initiative through party notes!

    but no. the internal communication and transparency thing has improved recently. standing ovation for comrade smith. another one.

  69. Stig of the Dump on said:

    Bambery was part for decades part of this cult-like ‘party’ and its intolerance of dissent. Now he’s fallen foul of what he himself long supported. I have no sympathy for him.

    The SWP is withering away to a well-deserved obscurity. Few will miss it.

  70. RtWc plays a role primarially at a national level it seems to me. By and large at local level SWP members are very active participants in anti cuts groups. It is a question of how things have developed. RTWC are able to call protests and conferences and that can be a good thing. The emergence of my local anti cuts group is from an initiative from SWP members in a particualr Union branch calling a broad based anti cuts meeting from which a campaign involving much of the left including the SP and others. I don’t see any problem with this approach and nor does any other member of the SWP in my area.
    Oh by the way the meeting of Edinburgh Unioson with hundreds attending ad passing a motion for a general strike and then winning Scottish Unison to that position was moved by SWP members. Dreadful sectairians..outside the movement…yawn yawn.

  71. Exexex Swp on said:

    @ 72. Sounds like a good idea that – explain your point of view and await constructive criticism – but have you ever tried to disagree with whoever the ruling group in a district is ???

    Less of the open sharing of ideas and more of the yelling, accusations and ultimately pretending you don’t exist – am I ringing a bell for any other ex SWP out there ?

  72. John Nicolson: where exactly could they have effectively argued their position to the Party? In a 50-word letter to Socialist Worker? In closed meetings with members of carefully screened sub-committees? Everybody knows that in the SWP there are few (if any) avenues through which to engage in debate and discussion among the rank and file membership with a view to transforming a minority view into a majority view. The space simply doesn’t exist. No platforms, no factions, no tolerance for the publication of material which sets out different arguments for theory, strategy and tactics — which is crucial to the functioning of party democracy. Of course Bambery knows this better than anyone, as he’s been complicit in it for decades. What a sham.

  73. #82

    “Oh by the way the meeting of Edinburgh Unioson with hundreds attending ad passing a motion for a general strike and then winning Scottish Unison to that position was moved by SWP members. Dreadful ”

    well the call for a general stike is an ultra-left foolishness, so it is no surprise that the SWP are behind such a move.

    But I don’t really understand UNISON’ rule book, which structure in UNISON could agree o this as policy at a Scotland wide level? Would that be the regional council, or Scottish equivalent?

  74. “@ 72. Sounds like a good idea that – explain your point of view and await constructive criticism – but have you ever tried to disagree with whoever the ruling group in a district is ???

    Less of the open sharing of ideas and more of the yelling, accusations and ultimately pretending you don’t exist – am I ringing a bell for any other ex SWP out there ?”

    It depends how you do it. If you offer a constructive alternative to a particular way of organising locally and prove its effectiveness then great. If you’re an egocentric whinger who harangues everyone in the branch to try and get them to do what you demand then haste la vista baby. Don’t let the door hit you on the arse as you leave.
    Every organisation has a few mavericks who think they must demonstrate their independence by bickering about every decision. Of course it’s never them in the wrong so it must be everyone else who they take great delight in caricaturing as sheep or drones to anyone who will listen because it gives them the excuse to puff up their chests and reinforce their delusion of superiority. So sad…

  75. Dundee SWP on said:

    I am a member of Dundee SWP. I am quite disguted by the fact that our branch secretary invited one of the people who left (former organiser Pete Ramand) to come to the branch tonight to give his case for why comrades were leaving. National secretary Charlie Kimber would not let him enter the branch. I think he was too cowardly to take on the debate. As a result I am also resigning from the SWP.

  76. “I am a member of Dundee SWP. I am quite disguted by the fact that our branch secretary invited one of the people who left (former organiser Pete Ramand) to come to the branch tonight to give his case for why comrades were leaving. National secretary Charlie Kimber would not let him enter the branch. I think he was too cowardly to take on the debate. As a result I am also resigning from the SWP.”

    Lucky you! The rest of us have heard nothing from this group until now. Rather than have the debate out in the open is the plan to visit local branches after the event and try to pull more out? How representative and democratic. If you’re leaving the party in favour of these sorts of tactics them don’t blame Charlie Kimber for not complying with them.

  77. Boredwithpointlessleftsplits on said:

    For a number years now Bambery has built a faction in Scotland. The actions of this split prove this. Faction’s are not always set up with the intention to split from an organisation. They can be set up to retain somebodies position in a grouping. When that function falls, they take this type of action.

    In this splinter group there is a lot of rich kids rebellion against Mummy and Daddy. James Foley the key one doing that. Father was the former Principle of Caledonia Uni in Glasgow.

    One member has had an experience of Trade Union Activism. The majority would not know what poverty or day to day working class life looked.

    99% of this group was recruited and developed politically by Eileen Boyle. She has assisted Bambery for a number years.

  78. jim mclean on said:

    People buy papers out of sympathy, was at a few IS meetings in the North of Scotland long time gone, 1. educational talk way above my head. 2. Report on the number papers sold, mostly in the local council offices. 3. Slag off everybody else, at the time the WRP being public enemy No1. 4. A reminder that the revolution was just about to kick off and it would be the job of members to seize control of the revolution. I assume nothing has changed.
    Also I sometimes think that the people who buy Marxists papers are the same people who do buy the War Cry, they dont want to hurt the sellers feelings.
    So if someone comes towards you with a newspaper JUST SAY NO, its the green alternative.

  79. “well the call for a general stike is an ultra-left foolishness, so it is no surprise that the SWP are behind such a move.”

    But of course Andy, your view is leave it to Labour to fix it.. ok we support having 80% of Tory cuts but what the fuck.

    Now to the contribution from Dundee. If I get it right the following happens. Bambery and some students do not argue inside the party. In their Branches, District cttee, Scottish organising ctte, Party council or National Cttee. They make no contributions with regards to these issues in the pre conference bulletins.

    They then leave to set up a new party (Sic) and ..hold on a minute want to come to address the SWP on why others should join them.. not having the fucking guts to argue when they were members!!!

    This is a joke. Lets be frank. Bambery inside the organisation has a dreadful reputation. He was the key person to undermine the party when he abolished branches. He is a total coward who simply cannot face being in a minority. Well I am sure he will be king of turd mountain now lol.

    There is plenty of oppourtunity to raise arguements. THis happens regualrly in my district. The arguements are robust but fraternal. Bambery could have written an article for the ISJ.. he choose not to. He offered not one word to try and win his position. Why? because his arguements simply do not stack up. SWP members are daily involved in united front work and yes want to build a revolutionary party. No shit sherlock.

    Andy wants to be involved in United front work I am sure, but he wants people to join the Labour Party. Whilst Andy bangs on about the SWP his party suports large cuts, wage freezes, islamaphobia, war…. etc etc. So the choice is a political one. But we won’t be taking any lessons from sectarian arseholes that exist on this site..

  80. #90
    “was at a few IS meetings in the North of Scotland long time gone”

    fucking hell.this sectarian tosser is reliving a branch meeting from at least 35 years ago!!!!!! What planet do this moran live on. Jeez what a prize tosser.

  81. Geraldo on said:

    There is a theory that large powerful organisations originally set up to have a transformative or ameliorative effect in society often gradually up with the energy of the organisation funelled mainly into maintaining itself and its power structures.

    The Socialist Workers Party seems to be an example of that – except that it’s not even a big and powerful organisation. Quite apart from its habit of trying to hijack as many left wing (and other) campaigns as possible, and screwing things up into the bargain, the SWP are a embarrassment to anyone who cares about left wing politics simply because they make left wing politics look so utterly ridiculous and trivial to many outsiders. There is nothing between Bambery and his erstwhile comrades in their robotic rhetoric and delusions of grandeur about committees, factions, building the party, etc. They are the political equivalent of Dungeons and Dragons nerds, being equally under the delusion that their universe is one of grand power struggles that actually mean something. They don’t.

    If MI5 wanted to stage an elaborate joke at the expense of the left, they could hardly have done better than the SWP. It stopped even being funny long ago.

  82. “idiot, the IS are what the Socialist Party (CWI) were called until recently”

    Except that Jim says: “Slag off everybody else, at the time the WRP being public enemy No1″
    Haven’t the WRP been gone since the 80s?

  83. Geraldo on said:

    “Capitalism can buy layers of the labour bureaucracy and it can distort the working class’s ideology, e.g. convincing them that the biggest problem following the crash is whether Muslim women wear burkas, that bombing Africans is humanitarian, etc.

    The Marxist left that hasn’t been bought by imperialism too often fails to accept the need for united fronts and broad alliances in building a socialist movement. It is also hampered by a very British anti-intellectualism.”

    Yes, the problem, as marxist revolutionaries have so often found, is the intractable stupidity of the working class. If only it were possible to abolish them and replace them with more ideologically correct comrades. From the educated middle and upper class vanguard, for instance, with their superior class-consciousness.

  84. Peter Hine on said:

    @ comment #92
    I realize that this blog is used for throwing mud around, and I have no comment of the issue here, but what I do have an issue with is the word ‘moron’ (which is what I assume you meant when you wrote ‘moran’).
    This was a word, thankfully no longer used to describe people with developmental disabilities.
    I have seen this word used a lot on progressive blog pages comments as a term of insult, but to me it is an objectionable word. It’s the same as using racist, sexist or homophobic language.
    Don’t forget that people with developmental disabilities were some of the first to be put into Hitler’s gas chambers, were used in horrid experiments around the world and are still discriminated around the world.
    Who will be hit by government cuts in the US or the UK? Those people who are the least able to defend themselves and are the most vulnerable in society.
    So I would just like you to think about the words you use when you pass by a paper seller of the people you disagree with before you call them ‘moron’ or ‘retard’.
    Thank you for your time.

  85. Bboredwithpointlessleftsplits on said:

    @ 87 Why should Charlie Kimber debate with Pete Ramand? Until Sunday Pete was Glasgow Organiser. The minute they made resignation public was the minute they lost any right to address branch meetings.

    For a period Pete must have helped coordinated the split. I am disgusted with Pete Ramand using our subs to break our party. Shame on him and other ex-full timers. It is not Charlie Kimber, but Pete Ramand who’s actions are cowardly. Why did he not bring these issues to all the members? The grouping is made up of select few they trusted to lead a faction split.

  86. Connor on said:

    “In this splinter group there is a lot of rich kids rebellion against Mummy and Daddy. James Foley the key one doing that. Father was the former Principle of Caledonia Uni in Glasgow.”

    What? Are the Bamberyites any different to the CC loyalists they left behind? The Current chief ideologist of the SWP comes from a family that may have been working class….a few hundred years ago:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Emerich_Edward_Dalberg-Acton,_1st_Baron_Acton

  87. boredwithpointlessleftsplits on said:

    @ 99 As far as I know – one member the remaining CC has a so called privileged background. Many of them grew up in working class home’s between the 1960s and 1980s. Hardly a few hundred years ago. Conor what has your link got to do with this?

  88. Connor on said:

    That member would be Alex Callinicos, right? The grandson of Lord Acton.

    But the rest of the CC are all from working class backgrounds, are they?

    What about the SWP’s national secretary, Charlie Kimber? What was his dad? A miner, perhaps? Or a fireman?

    Er, no:

    “Miraculously the castle was ready for its first guest (who, for the record, was Sir Tim Kimber, the chairman of Taiwan Opportunities Fund, the first fund I ever established in 1995″

    The family are positively steeped in class struggle:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Henry_Kimber,_1st_Baronet

  89. boredwithpointlessleftsplits on said:

    @ 101 I did say as far as know. What a sad life you live to know this rubbish. Like Paul Foot and Alex Callinicos this makes Charlie a class traitor of the most worthy kind.

  90. JellyTot on said:

    @91 This is a joke. Lets be frank. Bambery inside the organisation has a dreadful reputation. He was the key person to undermine the party when he abolished branches. He is a total coward who simply cannot face being in a minority. Well I am sure he will be king of turd mountain now lol.

    I bet you didn’t talk about him in that tone when he was senior in the Party…..BTW that would have been 3 days ago.

    “turd mountain?!….How old are you?….14?

  91. Speedy on said:

    Everyone loves a posh Trot!

    Given that Trotskyism is, in essence, an elitist Jacobin form of politics it is hardly surprising it attracts the dissaffected sons and daughters of the ruling class.

  92. No one on said:

    Bull, if what you say about Bamberys repertationinside the SWP in 91 is true why did the membership elect him onto the CC year after year?

  93. albacore on said:

    Is it use of the word “scum” that makes Socialist Worker ultra-left? Surely it can’t be the desire the bring down the ConDem government, which is already hated by millions. I don’t think most of those demonstrating on the 26th would be hostile to the idea. Do you?

    I know you guys hate SW, but really.

    And whilst sloganising around general strikes can be knee-jerk and cliched, most of the SW material I have seen is priorising the call for coordinated strike action (starting to happen to some extent) and more of it.

    Do you have a better alternative for beating the cuts? If so, let’s hear it.

  94. #85

    “well the call for a general stike is an ultra-left foolishness, so it is no surprise that the SWP are behind such a move.”

    That would depend on how the motion was worded, no? If, as I suspect, the SWP were simply making a bald call for a general strike with no explanation as to how it was to built then you could say certainly say there’s a lack of seriousness on display.

    On the other hand there is the NSSN resolution doing the rounds calling on public sector trade unions to hold co-ordinated strike action around the issue of pensions, in effect a public sector general strike, as a means of stepping up the struggle against the ConDems austerity program and popularising the idea of a general strike in a concrete fashion. http://www.shopstewards.net/PDFs/NSSN%20motion.pdf

    If you take the latter course then you are building on the “ultra-left foolishness” of… the TUC Congress composite motion 10!

  95. Paul Foot learned his socialism from the Glasgow branch of the SPGB, shame the rest of you have never bothered (especially all those disillusioned and disenchanted Scottish SWPers (In fact it’s said the SWP theory of state capitalism stems from the SPGB when the Trots were one united party – the RCP- and had their meetings regularly attended by the SPGBers.)

    Until the vanguardist model of the party is re-evalued and rejected splits (and expulsions) will remain the norm within the Trotskyist Left

  96. John Nicolson on said:

    #83

    Look at that list again. The district organiser, members of the national committee & Scottish committee. If there is such a thing as the “ruling group in the district” then Pete, Suki, Foley, Eileen, etc would surely have to be considered part of it or, you might say, a “faction” of it.

    And since you ask (well, sort of), yes, I have tried to have discussions about the party at branch meetings & in individual conversations, & many of the people on that list have not responded at all, have not been willing to give straight answers to questions. That’s precisely the problem here: that they did not see fit to include the “rank & file” members (outside of the uni students) in the discussions they have obviously (& they now admit) been having amongst themselves for a very long time.

    #84

    Well, speaking specifically of the former Glasgow members (who are after all the vast majority of the “new organisation” group) they could have had these discussions in the branches & at other meetings, or even just informally with the rest of us. Considering that many of them were apparently thinking of leaving for some time before this, I don’t see how the fear of expulsion from the party can be taken seriously as an excuse for not openly arguing their position. Now such disagreements may potentially have become unpleasant, but it would have been a lot cleaner &, I think, ultimately better for all involved (those who have left & those who have not). And if they were expelled for openly disagreeing with the CC, that would have demonstrated their point. If that had been the case I (& probably others) would certainly have gone with them. And they are now inviting us to join them, by the way, despite not being willing to speak openly to us while they were in the party.

    Also, it should be remembered that they didn’t tell us even when they did all resign, even afterwards. Finding out from ‘Socialist Unity’ feels a lot like having been stabbed in the back by these people, people who we’ve seen several times a week for months or years in some cases. I’ve spoke to some of them since, but they should at the very least have made damn sure to tell us at the time.

    #88

    Aye, the way they’ve done this has been completely undemocratic & elitist, & I don’t buy their arguments that this was the only or best way open to them. That’s bullshit. They could hardly have chosen a worse way.

    #89

    “In this splinter group there is a lot of rich kids rebellion against Mummy and Daddy… The majority would not know what poverty or day to day working class life looked.”

    Spare us that crap. God, I hate this knee-jerk “everyone I disagree with is middle-class” attitude that people use in favour of making any serious argument. How many times have you heard it from some passing right-wing troll?

  97. Jonny Mac on said:

    63 – the piss taking of Martin Smith over clothes etc has an important point. When he appeared on TV – newsnight was it? – in a debate re the UAF, I showed the clip to a fundametally non-political, but left-friendly friend of mine. She pissed herself laughing. ‘Bloody hell, who’s he, he looks and sounds like an absolute arse’, etc. It completely took away from the point he was making.

    In 2011, if the public face of an organisation invites mockery and derision from ordinary people because of how they look, dress and sound, I suggest that you need to ditch them.

  98. 110
    This sound slike new labour…. must have a certain “Look”. Cut the “My mate the non political one” bullshit. Its the standard cyber bollocks. I tell you what I have a mate who is not political and he thought he looked great.. but fuck me when he saw Ernerst Mandel he thought he was a right old codger…mind you he thought Che looked great and promptly fucked off the Bolivia…

  99. Justpassing on said:

    Looks like Bull was right at 92. Presumably that would now make you the ‘idiot’. You really ought to be sure about your facts before you respond in such an insulting way.

  100. Jonny Mac on said:

    111 – it’s true actually, but if you want to continue with numpty Mart the Fart at the helm I can tell you it’s no skin off my nose, quite the opposite in fact, I like a laugh.

  101. #113

    “if you want to continue with numpty Mart the Fart at the helm ”

    Actually, Martin Smith had to resign as a national secretary, due to the scandal of him sexually harrassing a woman SWP member in Birmingham over a prolonged period.

  102. #110

    My mother, who has disliked the SWP for many years (and still does), is quite a fan of Martin as it goes.

    We could swap meaningless anecdotes for ever on the subject. Or you could grow up.

  103. prianikoff on said:

    re SW and the “Tory Scum” headline.

    For a start the government is a coalition between Tory Scum and Liberal Scum.
    So I would have thought a slightly more sober banner headline might have been:
    “Now Strike to bring down the Cuts Coalition”.

    The front page article didn’t really go in to details about the mechanics of how this might come about.
    Inside was an article by Tom Walker titled”After 26 March – how do we smash the Tories?”
    This was a bit vague on the issue, but did talk about “coordination from below” and a “general strike”.

    There was an online article/leaflet (not in the main paper), which called for support for strike action by NUT, UCU and PCS on June 30th,
    A call to support nationally coordinated strikes and for the TUC to call a 24 general strike.

    This was better, but I think there should have been a more detailed article on this on the back page, as a centre spread article or a supplement.
    It could have contained interviews with leading trade unionists who backed this position.
    There was nothing on how to unite public sector and private sector workers.
    The unifying issue is inflation and the need to fight for pay rises which counter it.
    There was a need for more economic arguments against the Con-Dem Cuts programme.
    Quite a lot of working class people still believe that there is a need for cuts
    The COR broadsheet, which ran out on the demo, contained a good section on this which could be used as a basis for a socialist economic programme.

    There is also a need for detailed examination of the General Strike slogan, since it’s not a guarantee of automatic victory.
    A one day General strike in the public sector could rebuild confidence in the unions.
    But we don’t really want to create the illusion that an open-ended General Strike is on the agenda.
    That would not be seen as serious by many people and raises all sorts of issues.
    Not least of which is that the last time the British working class was involved in one, it failed.

    The question of what can replace the Tory-Lib Coalition arises from all this.
    The most realistic situation would be that the Libs pull out of the coalition under pressure of widespread strike action and popular protest.
    The Liberals have already tried to distance themselves over the NHS reforms.

    If there’s a fresh election anytime soon, and Labour will be swept back into power.
    This requires that the Socialist left put forward a programme for such a government.
    Were there a unified Socialist left, such as the Socialist Alliance tried to create
    One which included sections of the Labour party, like the LRC, it could act as the platform for a socialist programme.

  104. If Martin Smith is guilty of abusing his senior position in such a sickeningly sexist way, then why is he still on the central committee?

  105. Jim Larkin on said:

    @105 No one elects individuals to the SWP Central Committee in any meaningful sense. What happens is the departing CC puts forward a slate which the members are told to accept or reject en masse. Anyone trying to put up an alternative slate is usually prevented by some newly invented procedural rule (for example, if you wanted to put up a slate consisting of the current CC minus Martin Smith you would be told you had to get the agreement of everyone you proposed to put on your slate before being allowed to put it to Conference, a great mechanism for ensuring the members can’t remove any CC member who has the backing of his/her CC colleagues, no matter what the rank and file think) and subsequently either expelled or bullied into resigning.

  106. Uncle Albert on said:

    #120 – Thus ensuring the SWP remains a fiefdom for failed leaders who cannot be removed.

  107. #118
    “worse, he was given a standing ovation with laddish chanting at SWP conference when he announced he was having to resign.”

    That’s not how I remember it. Don’t remember seeing you there Andy?

  108. #122

    was he given a standing vocation?
    were people chanting “the workers united will never be defeated?

    That is what I was told by releiable folks who were there

    was there any discussion or acknowledgement at all of the abuse of power, and or reflection about the culture of institutionalises sexism in the SWP that had allowed it to continue?

  109. Learning is crucial in building leadership on said:

    Two lessons from this debacle: First: preventing the possibility of permanent factions actually makes an organisation MORE, not less fissile. In order for there to be ‘Unity’, we all need to learn how to disagree and live with disagreement.
    Second: Refusing to discuss disagreement because of the need to take urgent action cannot be a permanent excuse. If you’re too busy to think, then you’re too busy to lead.

  110. #111

    Yeah, and I like Lenin’s beard but have you seen Trotsky’s haircut?! Whereas Stalin had a fantastic ‘tache.

    #110

    Seriously, the constant lame jokes about Smith’s hair/clothes/accent/glasses/whatever on this site are just childish. Don’t try to dignify them by pretending they’re generally making a substantive political point.

    Which isn’t to say that presentation isn’t of some importance, as I remember the reaction I got off my family the day the SSP MSPs entered Holyrood. Their point was correct (that elected representative’s should not have to swear allegiance to a monarch, especially if they & the people who voted for them are for abolishing monarchy. That such a pledge is totally undemocratic, as is the institution of monarchy itself). But the way they did it was embarassing & made the SSP look like a bunch of clowns to many people.

    #114

    This is yet another thing that should have been discussed much more openly than it was, and really still needs to be. That’s a very serious allegation
    & the members really need to know the truth of the matter in order to judge whether Smith is fit to be on the CC. It isn’t enough for the rest of the CC to make that decision & assure us everything is fine. We do not need to know the woman’s identity if she wishes to remain anonymous, or every gory detail, but the general nature & truth of the matter, certainly.

  111. kraftwerk on said:

    “worse, he was given a standing ovation with laddish chanting at SWP conference when he announced he was having to resign.”

    That’s simply untrue. We were told the issue had been dealt with procedurally and that the complainant was happy with it and had been receiving support from Hannah Dee. Martin Apologised. The applause was when multiple people made the point that having been resolved satisfactorily between all parties concerned the matter was private to them and people on the outside making cynical use of it in moralistic attack without knowing the parties involved or their wishes shouldn’t be doing so and we wouldn’t be pressured into it.

  112. kraftwerk on said:

    As for ‘laddish chanting’ , it was just chanting. There were plenty of women at the conference too, and they were chanting also.

  113. #128 Why on earth would that item on the conference agenda be considered, by anyone, a suitable moment to start chanting?

  114. SantiagoTalk on said:

    This tread is runnung out of steam, thats why Andy is trying to wind it up again.

  115. kraftwerk on said:

    It was at the end. The applause was, as I say, to the points made after the substance of the discussion that having been resolved procedurally to people’s satisfaction (including the person who complained) that we won’t be pressured by people making use of it on the outside. it was the last session of the day and having punctured the mood of the optimistic previous session was a case of the conference bucking itself up. The substance of the discussion was listened to quietly and carefully.

  116. #114

    “Actually, Martin Smith had to resign as a national secretary, due to the scandal of him sexually harrassing a woman SWP member in Birmingham over a prolonged period.”

    If what Andy is saying is true then it is a scandal that Martin Smith has not been expelled from the SWP. We would all demand the same within any labour movement organisation. That said I’ve heard far worse stories about the SWP than even this one concerning Martin Smith.

  117. #122

    I wasn’t at conference either, but that is the version (“standing ovation”, etc) I heard at branch & afterwards from several people who were there. Those people have now left the party. There were others who said basically the same as you just have.

    However, the allegations themselves were discussed by EVERYONE who had been at conference in such vague terms as to make it impossible to form any clear judgement as to the exact nature, seriousness, or accuracy of them. The phrase “sexual harassment” or anything similar was not used by any of them, just completely unspecified “allegations” by a “female member” (which actually sounded even more worrying, at least to me). Questions were evaded rather than answered. Eileen Boyle particularly did that.

    Again, things need to be discussed openly & honestly. Why so many people apparently do not seem to understand the fundamental importance of just being fucking HONEST, I do not know. The SWP, the “new organisation”, or any other section of the left will never advance by being secretive &/or dishonest. That whole way of doing things needs to end. Problems might get sorted out if they could be acknowledged. Arguments might be won if people were willing to have them. People might trust you’se if you deserved to be trusted. FUCK ALL THE SECRECY, whoever is doing it. It is so stupid, unprincipled, & counter-productive.

  118. #131 It is shocking that you think that is acceptable.

    This was something serious enough to be reported to conference. Yet it is followed by grandstanding about how no-one outside our little club has any right to say anything about it. And to ram the point home, people think it is acceptable to start a round of congratulatory chanting.

  119. kraftwerk on said:

    “However, the allegations themselves were discussed by EVERYONE who had been at conference in such vague terms as to make it impossible to form any clear judgement as to the exact nature, seriousness, or accuracy of them”

    We didn’t go through it blow by blow detail; that’s how it was described to us. Part of the whole point was it was privately resolved procedurally and – i keep saying this – to the person who complained’s satisfaction too. It’s maybe their privacy as well as Martin’s, no? Hannah Dee had been supporting her, and conference trusted her account. It’s not just a question of secrecy but of privacy.

    “This was something serious enough to be reported to conference. Yet it is followed by grandstanding about how no-one outside our little club has any right to say anything about it. And to ram the point home, people think it is acceptable to start a round of congratulatory chanting.”

    It was followed by the winding up of *the day’s* proceedings, and you don’t have a right to say anything about something which *you have no knowledge of* the facts or the wishes of the complainant. If they want privacy, which was certainly the inference I drew from the discussion, then why should that be violated for your right to ‘say anything about it’.

  120. tangerine_dream on said:

    #120: The benefits of the slate method of electing the CC are, the members are constantly reminded, that it produces a strong and united leadership; as anyone who takes half a minute to think about it will *surely* recognise.

    #128: “As for ‘laddish chanting’ , it was just chanting. There were plenty of women at the conference too, and they were chanting also.”

    ‘Raunch Chanting’, perhaps? Someone should write a book about it. The delegates I spoke to didn’t join the chanting. They were were disgusted by it.

    #136: “If they want privacy”: they might have got both privacy and redress if the CC took some exemplary action, as should be called for when such a senior member fucks up. But they couldn’t really do that, could they, as they were locked into a private factional battle and it would have given succour to the ‘wrong people’ if Martin Smith had been taken down a peg. That’s politics for you.

    In a similar vein, can we take it that Sheila MacGreggor, Julie Waterson or similar got up to explain that sexual harassment, etc., is inevitable in an alienated society and that people shouldn’t react to it like whiny liberals – as is traditional when such situations arise in the SWP?

  121. Jonny Mac on said:

    125 – they’re childish AND illustrate a wider, important issue. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

    The way Martin Smith comes across is funny – risible – and that has serious consequences.

  122. #136

    As I explicitly said, we don’t need to know the woman’s identity if she prefers to remain anonymous, or every gory detail of the whole mess. We do need to know roughly what the allegations amount to & whether they are true.

    Now even if, as you say, it was “resolved” to the “satisfaction” of the woman in question (I doubt she was exactly ecstatic about the experience, whatever it was), do such allegations not raise questions about Martin Smith’s fitness to be on the CC, or even in the party? Should those questions not be answered, one way or the other, openly to the satisfaction of all members rather than sweeping it under the rug because the CC has decided?

  123. #136

    If the issue was resolved to the satisfaction of the woman in question, why did she feel the need to resign from the SWP over it?

    And why did friends of hers from Birmingham feel so unhappy about the outcome that they passed on all the details to me?

    Even if a resolution had been found, given the seriousness of the issues, how was it appropriate to respond with a standing ovation and chanting?

    How would a union respond if a shareholders meeting of a company behaved like that over alleagtions of sexual misconduct towards a female employee

  124. john l on said:

    JN -shut up and get over yourself. Bring up that smith had sexually harrassed a young member in a branch meeting following a conference where the cc had sought to put the issue to bed? they would have been isolated and expelled. But even if they hadn’t been their name would be muck in the organisation and they would have been unable to make any arguments of a more political nature.

  125. #141 “If the issue was resolved to the satisfaction of the woman in question, why did she feel the need to resign from the SWP over it?”

    Guess she didn’t find Hannah Dee very supportive…

  126. #141 “Even if a resolution had been found, given the seriousness of the issues, how was it appropriate to respond with a standing ovation and chanting? How would a union respond if a shareholders meeting of a company behaved like that over alleagtions of sexual misconduct towards a female employee”

    Andy is 100% correct. It is completely revolting, and reflects extremely badly on everyone who was present and said nothing.

  127. Connor on said:

    There is something about the combination of self-righteousness, hyper-aggression and naked hypocrisy that makes the SWP the single most unattractive organisation in left-wing politics.

    Martin Smith and Chris Bambery are like fans of Rangers and Celtic; full of venom for each other but pretty much identical in the eyes of outsiders.

  128. Jellytot on said:

    @114 Actually, Martin Smith had to resign as a national secretary, due to the scandal of him sexually harrassing a woman SWP member in Birmingham over a prolonged period.

    Poor woman. Like being hit on by Harry Worth!

    @119 worse, he was given a standing ovation with laddish chanting at SWP conference when he announced he was having to resign.

    Martin Smith promoting a ‘laddish’ culture? Maybe that was part of the friction between Bambery and Smith?

    Bambery wrote one of the worst single pieces on fascism that has ever appeared in an SWP publication in an article in International Socialism in autumn 1993. He regalled the KPD’s Rote Frontkämpferbund for the “crime” of their ‘laddish lifestyles’ (his term). Obviously Bambery takes a dim view of ‘laddishness’.

  129. It’s amusing to see Andy trying to reinvigorate this SWP bashing thread by pontificating about sexism in the SWP when he allows racists, homophobes and sexists to post on his blog. The amount of these revolting posts on Socialist Unity that are never deleted is evidence that no section of the left is immune to these oppressive attitudes. At least in the SWP it’s challenged and dealt with but on SU it’s excused as freedom of speech. What a shame…

  130. “…having punctured the mood of the optimistic previous session was a case of the conference bucking itself up.”

    that really is the worst, most f-ed up, rationale you could have put forward.

  131. Bystander on said:

    # 89

    “99% of this group was recruited and developed politically by Eileen Boyle.”

    If that is the case then they have my deepest sympathy. It would be hard find anyone more unprincipled, self – delusional, untrustworthy and dishonest on the left – and I do realise that she faces a fair bit of competition in that respect.

  132. rowche rumble on said:

    @ ray @ kraftwerk – as a delegate to SWP’s conference your defence of the standing ovation, cheering, feet banging on floors and the those who began to sing “the workers united will never be defeated”, the defence of Martin Smith being allowed to get up and make his lachrymose speech – were all appalling…there is no other word for it and you don’t serve the SWP by trying to justify or excuse it. It is a pity that since January you have not reflected on that session. It does not help in persuading people they should not follow Bambery out of the ranks or simply quit.

  133. “@ ray @ kraftwerk – as a delegate to SWP’s conference your defence of the standing ovation, cheering, feet banging on floors and the those who began to sing “the workers united will never be defeated”, the defence of Martin Smith being allowed to get up and make his lachrymose speech – were all appalling…there is no other word for it and you don’t serve the SWP by trying to justify or excuse it. It is a pity that since January you have not reflected on that session. It does not help in persuading people they should not follow Bambery out of the ranks or simply quit.”

    As you can see any right wing troll can pose as a member of the left and lie through their teeth. This blog is full of it and it’s common knowledge on the left that SU is like the Daily Star of the left.

  134. Anonymous on said:

    so let’s get this right
    Glasgow organiser after months of secret factionalising suddenly announces he is resigning never having raised any issues before
    Then said organiser turns off his phone as do the others who resign and they refuse to meet other swp members to discuss thw issuem
    Then ex organiser decides he will address
    The Dundee branch Charlie Kimber says no
    Well done Charlie when people act as political cowards they forfeit the right to be treated with respect
    Tell you what let members of the CC speak to the youngsters who have been conned into leaving then he can speak to Dundee
    Good luck getting another job pete you’ll need it

  135. Mark P (the Irish one) on said:

    Ray,

    You are quite right that anyone can pose as anything here, and that trolling is a common result of that.

    I’m curious though about what you are saying that this person is lying about. Is s/he lying about events at SWP conference, and if so what exactly is the lie?

  136. “And why did friends of hers from Birmingham feel so unhappy about the outcome that they passed on all the details to me?”

    So if this issue isn’t resolved then why aren’t you publishing this information? If you’re so interested in eradicating sexism from the left then put your money where your mouth is. This is the very least you could do to show you take sexism seriously.

    The fact that this appears to be another of your attempts to stir up hatred towards the SWP does not lend credence to your claims.

  137. “I’m curious though about what you are saying that this person is lying about. Is s/he lying about events at SWP conference, and if so what exactly is the lie?”

    Every last bit of “Mark”‘s comment. I’m not going to debate malicious gossip and hatemongering. If some troll made claims that your organisation tolerates sexism then I’d treat it with as much contempt. This blog is renowned for facilitating mendacious attempts to attack other sections of the left, especially revolutionary socialists.

  138. This blog is renowned for facilitating mendacious attempts to attack other sections of the left, especially revolutionary socialists.

    Too right, the shit I’ve taken here has been unbelievable.

  139. “ok Ray why did Martin Smith resign?”

    Refer back to my last comment for the answer.

  140. Mark P (the Irish one) on said:

    Ray,

    Did you mean every last bit of “rowche rumble’s post”?

    Just to be clear, I don’t think for a second that the SWP is an organisation which customarily tolerates sexism. Which doesn’t mean that I think it’s completely incapable of reacting poorly or inappropriately to a particular incident. The same applies to my own organisation, or indeed pretty much any organisation.

  141. Ian Croft on said:

    A bit cryptic that since that comment doesn’t state why Martin Smith resigned.

    He was either guilty, which means it is not slanderous gossip, or innocent, which means he resigned for another unrelated reason. Your previous answer would lead me to think he is actually guilty but you don’t want to talk about it.

    So why did he resign?

  142. #157 Are you on another attention seeking fishing expedition, or just too thick to know that you’re not a fucking socialist !

  143. “Just to be clear, I don’t think for a second that the SWP is an organisation which customarily tolerates sexism.”

    Ok then. @ Ian I don’t debate internal SWP issues with SWP hatemongers in case you missed that bit.

  144. ExexexSWP on said:

    I went to Marxsim a few years ago after a long absence and actually commented jokingly to my friends that the meetings were over run by a bunch of very impressive young Scots ! We wondered what they were feeding them up there !

    They knew their stuff – good speakers – even had a sense of humour – if the SWP have lost them then they really are in trouble

  145. Just to put Ian in context he’s posting in the “The risks of calling for a general strike” thread NOT to support the PCS hardship fund for Leeds Jobcentre strikers.

  146. Connor on said:

    Thanks Ray – I was listening to his very persuasive critique of Martin ‘Stalker’ Smith but now you’ve told me that, I’m going to put my fingers in my ears and chant ‘The workers, united..’ until he goes away.

  147. #157 Are you on another attention seeking fishing expedition, or just too thick to know that you’re not a fucking socialist !

    This is the type of sectarianism Ray and I are talking about. Socialists shouldn’t have to put up with this from their comrades.

  148. “Thanks Ray – I was listening to his very persuasive critique of Martin ‘Stalker’ Smith but now you’ve told me that, I’m going to put my fingers in my ears and chant ‘The workers, united..’ until he goes away.”

    Lol, like I care about what you think.

  149. Connor on said:

    Oh but you do, dear Ray – why else would you spend so much time on an anti-SWP blog in a futile mission to make us see sense (as defined for you by the CC).

  150. Jimmy Jazz on said:

    If you knew who Ray was, it might just tell you all about his motivation for trying to distract the thread.

  151. old dog on said:

    #159


    “Just to be clear, I don’t think for a second that the SWP is an organisation which customarily tolerates sexism.”

    Mark, that just shows that you have not been very well acquainted with the SWP, an organisation steeped in organisational sexism.

    What about the case this blog has mentioned before when a SW hack from Bristol P**e W*****n was persistently sexist and condescending to female comrades, including refusing to discuss his union activity with another SWP member in his same workplace, even though she was an experienced trade unionist and former Labour councillor.

    When a formal complaint was made about his sexism bny another woman comrade, a respected trade unionist who had been in the IS/SWP for nearly 40 years, the SWP organised a kangaroo court of four men, including pat stack, to put the woman who complained effectively on trial for factionalism. The result of which is that a layer of experienced long term women comrades from Bristol resigned.

    What about the way very serious allegations of sexual harassment by Chris harman were brushed under the carpet, and enormous pressure put on women and their male allies to shut up and leave the SWP; in which cover up a disgraceful role was played by some women mebers of the CC.

    What about the culture whereby trumped up charges of sexism were used to isolate and remove troublesome comrades; while fuck-buddies of leading CC members are found paid employment by the SWP

  152. As someone who spent years and years selling a newspaper that seemed to everyone be the most important thing and believing the revolution was just round the corner and the working class were ready to take to the streets and build workers defence groups in a armed struggle,,can i just tell you all it is not going to happen and unless you all work on the inside of the labour party and infiltrate all its committees you will spend your life chasing your tail..believe me i have learned the hard way and it gets to you in the end and you burn out …some of you who have been doing this for so long have sacrificed a lot but you owe it to yourself to take a back seat and see what is really going on around you..revolution…no…infiltration of a party maybe but at what cost because some idiot wants you too sell so many copies of a newspaper that no one wants to read unless they are in it or on a long coach journey..comrades,take stock and dont fall for some of the tricks i fell for..

  153. Jellytot on said:

    @151 This blog is full of it and it’s common knowledge on the left that SU is like the Daily Star of the left

    That begs the question, “Why do you visit this blog then and bother to comment?”…..if it’s beneath you and all?

    Not that you’re not welcome of course. I think it’s great that all and everybody contributes, although a few more RCP/LM/Spiked types would be good (JMHO)

  154. relatively new on said:

    I missed out on conference this year, and stupidly didn’t attend a post-conference aggregate. Not sure if this Smith thing was addressed. But it’s not something I’ve heard discussed since.
    Didn’t bat an eyelid at the absence of some CC members last weekend. Can’t help but feel incredibly out of the loop. Yes, there’s an awful lot going on at the moment and every comrade has a million and one things to keep occupied with. But were conference really told that Martin had resigned because he was guilty of sexually harassing another comrade? Because if so, I can imagine a large number of people would have felt let down and so I’m incredibly shocked that this is being swept under the carpet.
    Then again, I’ve never heard anything about Harman either.

  155. #145 er, not to these outsiders http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/13088419.stm

    Equating Celtic and Rangers doesnt really work outside Scotland, where the team of poor immigrants has to be as bad the team of the Unionist Establishment to prevent uncomfortable questions being asked about Scotland itself.

    And to make fans of smaller, rival, teams feel better too, of course.

    I’m sure thats not where you are coming from here though, and your ‘plague on both houses’ approach to the SWP infighting seems fair enough to me

  156. Jellytot on said:

    @179 Then again, I’ve never heard anything about Harman either.

    There’s always been rumours of bed-hopping all over the place on the “Revolutionary” Left – The top people are at it like jackrabbits – it will always exist in these parties that have a cultish dynamic.

    It’s tolerated but can be used later for factional purposes. Look what happened to the WRP in 1985.

  157. Jellytot on said:

    @174 Holy crap, is Ray actually Martin Smith?!?

    BTW We haven’t heard of Undertaker in ages. I thought this thread would have attracted him like a moth to the flame!

    A small part of me thinks that ‘Undertaker’ may be Bambery himself!

  158. “Oh but you do, dear Ray – why else would you spend so much time on an anti-SWP blog in a futile mission to make us see sense (as defined for you by the CC).”

    Just doing the left blog rounds and felt like pointing out that threads like this are a cesspit of sectarian gossip that have as much to do with the truth as Lansley’s health reforms. Take it or leave it. About you personally I could care less…

  159. Ray, I’m glad we’ve made a stand against sectarianism together in this thread. We make a pretty good team. Maybe we should start our own revolutionary socalist blog where we have no truck for the sectarianism that plagues so many of our left comrades?

  160. faultylpgic on said:

    170
    Jeez what a liar. For the record it Jo Benefield who you are referring to, I think you will find she left the SWP to go with Galloway…many years after the incident you referred to.. seems again you have made 2 plus 2 equal 7.
    Now how is Newmans labour party on womens rights.. well of course they bomb women as much as men in Iraq, Afghanistan.. Oh they freeze womens wages as well as mens, umm they whip up hatred against female Muslims as well as male Muslims.. by gum its a right royal record to be proud of,,, so fuck off with your lies and bullshit.

  161. Geraldo on said:

    “This blog is renowned for facilitating mendacious attempts to attack other sections of the left, especially revolutionary socialists.”

    On the other hand it does allow pompous, verbose swuppies to moan about it interminably on here.

    Whatever the faults of SU and Andy Newman, this place is light years ahead of the SWP in allowing dissent and argument. As was pointed out recently, that’s probably partly why the SWP is dwindling; it is utterly intolerant of dissent, to the point that it doesn’t even have a discussion forum on its the Socialist Worker site.

    The fact that Andy Newman allows you to post your hysterical nonsense, and constant accusations of anyone who disagrees with you of being a racist or a right-winger shows you up amply. Your party wouldn’t even allow Newman or any of us to make even the faintest criticism on its site. It doesn’t even allow its own party members to!

    You never seem to offer an argument on here, only a denunciation of those who don’t agree with you. At some point in the future, there will probably be an item on how ‘Ray’ has resigned from the SWP, an organisation he has given so much of his life to. And someone puppydog loyalist will be making the same sort of excuses you are making for the SWP about the idiotic Bambery.

    Get out while you can and stop wasting your life in that stupid mockney cult.

    Now call me a ‘zionist’ or a ‘racist’, it may make you feel better.

  162. Zhou Enlai on said:

    Just finished watching “The Battleship Potemkin”.

    That either the SWP or the CWI/ SP claim to be Leninist Parties is so funny as to be frankly unreal. Deeply embedded 57 varieties Trotskyites of course, and worthy of that questionable yet-oh-so-popular-student mantle.

    I was waiting for that bit in “The Battleship Potemkin” where the sailors start in an opportunistic fashion frantically attemping to sell sectarian Trotskyite rags to eachother, and trying to claim the battleship as a front to control.
    Sergei Eisenstein however was a Marxist Leninist, so showed us a better way! Lets follow it!

  163. “On the other hand it does allow pompous, verbose swuppies to moan about it interminably on here.”

    It takes one to know one! Is this sorry attempt at an ad hominem attack meant to be taken seriously? Instead of Trotting (haha! See what I did there?) the same old clichés can you please try harder to entertain me with something more original? It’s the least you could do if you’re going to be mendacious.

  164. The spectre on said:

    I blame Galloway. He should get a medal for single handedly starting the rout of the SWP.

  165. Howark Kirk on said:

    Came across this on the CPGB website:

    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/article.php?article_id=1004354

    Thought this bit was amusing:

    The report stated: “The main form of democratic difficulty we have experienced has been reluctance, at all levels of the party, of comrades with sincerely held doubts and/or differences to speak up. One reason for this has been the tendency to put down dissenters so severely and comprehensively as to deter any repetition or imitation.” It further stated: “Nor should there be a fear as – with reason – there has been in the past, of exclusion, isolation or ostracism for the expression of dissident views.”

    Has the SWP now discarded these bureaucratic, anti-democratic practices? I very much doubt it. Part and parcel of them has been the attempt to put down dissent by calling on those who question the CC’s wisdom to stop wasting time and get active. This was epitomised by one SWP comrade’s comment on the Socialist Unity site’s Bambery thread: “OK, this is all very exciting, but there are cuts to fight, so will you people please get back to fucking work? Most of us in the SWP actually have things to attend to and not much time to waste on gossip. You people remind me of the House of Lords.”[7]

  166. Jonny Mac on said:

    Ed D, I’d love to see that blog!

    Ah, Ray Ray Ray, the Rrrrrrreeeevolutionary socialist gift that keeps on giving. Gotta love you.

    Incidentally, for Ray to bang on about sexism is quite breathtaking, bearing in mind, to take one example, this comment from him last year:

    “50 year old women tottering around in 7″ heels with a face full of botox in the latest Sex and The City film is now what women are meant to aspire to it appears.”

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=6292

  167. #181

    “Jeez what a liar. For the record it Jo Benefield who you are referring to, I think you will find she left the SWP to go with Galloway…many years after the incident you referred to.. seems again you have made 2 plus 2 equal 7.”

    Jo was the one who made the complaint, she is not the person who the sexist behaviour had been made against. Jo stayed in the SWP at that time, but a group of three very experienced women comrades and one man left the SWP over the incident

  168. I just deleted two comments from “faultylogic” which includes offensive lies about my personal life.

    It is scraping the barrel in cult behaviour for the SWP to respond like that.

  169. prianikoff on said:

    This thread has degenerated into unverifiable gossip about issues that can never be settled in a public forum. And of course, such rumour-mongering opens up the possibility of false rumours being spread against *anyone*.

    This is an extremely irresponsible use of blogging.
    The far right trolls like Ed D and “Geoff” are using this to stir things up on the left.

    Of more interest to socialists is the fault line developing in the Coalition government: First over the NHS, now with Grinch Cables mutterings over immigration.
    Not that the Grinch has enough principles to resign over the issue.
    Power is like a drug to these non-entities.

    The Lib Dem charlatans offer no alternative to the Tories.
    They are two wings of the same ruling class.
    They went to the same public schools, where they were instilled with similar tribal values. “Conservatism” and “Liberalism” representing the acceptable limiting cases of bourgeois politics.

    Labour needs to cash in on their growing divisions.

    The Unions can help to ensure the Coalition doesn’t don’t serve its full five year term. They need to step up the public protests and strike action against the cuts to working class living standards the Coalition is engineering to solve the debt crisis in their own interests.

    But they also need to open up the question of policy in the Labour Party.
    We need to fight for a real socialist alternative to the cuts agenda.

  170. #194

    I agree. May I suggest that Prianikoff’s comment brings this thread to an end.

  171. Rorschach on said:

    #194. Degeneration is an under-statement. SU publishes a lot of good articles and interesting information, but this whole thing has been nauseating. Do people never stop to think what impact threads like this have on people who might come to SU wanting to learn something about the left? The whole sordid episode – the Kremlinology, the palpable hatred and contempt for Martin Smith (and various others), the tabloid-style innuendo and gossip – disgraces the socialist movement. Instead of invoking inspiration and solidarity, it stinks of defeat, desperation and irrelevance.

  172. SantiagoTalk on said:

    194 195 196. I fully agree this thread as scrapped the bottom of the barrel.I have been active as a socialist (SWP) and trade unionist (GMB and RMT)for 40 years and lived long enough to have seen many disagreements both on and off line but I have to say that at times contributors to this blog come out with some of the destructive comments I have had the pleasure? to read. By all means defend your corner, by all means have a go at someone in a sane manner but cut out the lies, deliberate distortions and charactor assasinations. These comments are aimed at all who post on here including Andy Newman, SWP members and all others.

  173. Colin on said:

    I agree with #194-197 and it seems that Counterfire or whoever have gone into counter-offensive. I just got this tweet forwarded to me on twitter:

    martin smith did not have to resign as swp nat.sec cos he sex.harassed woman brum cde 4 long period (or any wo/man, any city, 4 short period)

    They seem to be going all-guns out to protect his reputation.

  174. Jellytot on said:

    @196 Do people never stop to think what impact threads like this have on people who might come to SU wanting to learn something about the left?

    Another way of looking at it is that SU gives them an idea of what they might be in for if they join a Left sect?

  175. “Incidentally, for Ray to bang on about sexism is quite breathtaking, bearing in mind, to take one example, this comment from him last year”

    Link please! If you’re claiming that women should aspire to emulate the characters in Sex and The City then you have a very reactionary concept of women’s liberation which you can file with the rest of your reactionary attitudes.

    “Another way of looking at it is that SU gives them an idea of what they might be in for if they join a Left sect?”

    About 5 posters some of whom have no affiliation with the SWP have just commented how low this thread has descended and you think this reflects poorly on “Left sects”. Pause a moment from trot bashing and reflect on the situation…

  176. Ian Croft on said:

    I think this thread is an excellent place to learn about the Left. Shallow, petit, cruel and prone to ultra-left posturing and non-stop civil war waged by unthinking fanatics and hypocrits who lack anything like a moral spine.

  177. Uncle Albert on said:

    198: “SU gives them an idea of what they might be in for if they join a Left sect?”
    Way to go, my friend. No need to wait three decades for disillusionment to set in, get it over and done with immediately so you won’t waste your life.

  178. #203 Thats exactly the kind of incisive commentary that has made the political level of your average SWP member so justly famous.

  179. Peter Flange on said:

    #205 The socialist movement is no more wracked with self-serving cults, sectarians, utopians and opportunists than the far right or religion or even some branches of natural science or the civil service or private industry. The New Labour schism which was truly pathetic between Brownites and Blairites put the Tories back in. Of course it is easier on the far right where the falling out is usually exclusively over money rather than the politics which are really rather straight forward: `all those in favour of expelling all blacks say aye. Against say no. Thats unanimous then. Now hoodie sales.’

  180. Rorschach on said:

    #201 – unfortunately that’s right. Much of the left blogosphere simply provides ammunition for the right. It’s pitiful and disgusting.

  181. Turns out only a fraction of the Glasgow 38 were actually sub paying members of SWP. Many of them were simply supporters of the party. They have argued that they have resigned as a faction because they are opposed to factionalism. They also did not like the way some people spoke to them or when one of them was accused of hiding his revolutionary politics by not highlighting SWP membership in student election material. They have been groomed by Boyle and the duplicitous Bambery. Lots of them are nice people but who were probably never properly integrated into SWP depsite being handed leading organisational roles and responsibilities. They have made a gaffe that unfortunately positions them politically closer to Counterfire and to John Rees’s dodgy £5000 cheque (that was channelled into OFFU that allegedly came from a firm involved in PFI schemes in Britain and has been linked to a Dubai businessman that was provisionally ruled as contrary to the law concerning party funding by the electoral commission). Its clearly a a fairly apolitical mistake – some of them apparently wanted more of a voice and greater recognition of their theorising in the party. Because of this they felt they had to take their ball away. In the course of time they might come to realise that those they have shaken off in Glasgow – despite their personal human faults – are actually on their side. Glasgow needs another marxist party claiming the mantle of Tony Cliff as much as the people of Judea (or should that be Judean people). If I were them I would be big enough to apologise just come back and say sorry to one another resolve these piffling differences and move on with a shared focus on the issue of class. That would be better politics.

  182. scottish observer on said:

    I notice they have decided to call their new organisation the International Socialist Group.

    Seeing how few workers they actually have I suppose it would be a bit ironic to use the word worker in their organisation’s name so thats understandable I suppose.

  183. Jellytot on said:

    @210 Turns out only a fraction of the Glasgow 38 were actually sub paying members of SWP.

    Not that old Chesnut.

    Mark Steele recounts how he wanted to speak at a meeting in opposition to the CC line and the SWP leadership tried to stop him by claiming that he hadn’t paid his subs for years. He could prove that he had. It’s told in “What’s Going On?”

    The SWP have form when it comes to “conveniently” discovering that “splitters” weren’t actually members.

  184. Jimmy Jazz on said:

    Now come on, JellyTot. It was actually when Mark Steel submitted a critical article on the Respect split to the Internal Bulletin that a certain National Secretary suddenly discovered that apparently he had not been a subs paying member for a few years, even though he paid his subs.

    Lets not make myths. Only the facts.

  185. #213 Hi Jellybaby – If they were paying members they would have been counted as paying members. Just like Mark Steele should have been. Your point is not really a point – its just a parallel observation of no relevance to this particular case.

  186. It’s incredible that someone from the SWP is invoking Rees’s egregious error over the Offu check as a stick with which to beat those who have left the organisation in this split. The entire Central Committee, including Callinicos, Kimber and Smith, knew about the Offu business and brushed it to one side in order to defend Rees and pursue the split in Respect.

    The lot of them were responsible for that grim episode. I thought ‘the revolutionary party’ was supposed to be the ‘memory of the class’ – not something with the faculties of a dementing goldfish.

  187. Insider on said:

    #210 Fair dos in some respects, but fuck me once you’re out would you really want to rejoin a party of heroic gobshites like Ferguson, Gonzalez, McCormack and McKechnie who have massacred generations of good young socialists in order to preserve their position in the party and suck up to the leadership whoever they might be.

  188. No – Callinicos is on record as acknowledging that he knew about the Offu cheque, but brushed it aside as the split in Respect developed. Smith was also told. Consult the record. Kimber was also informed.

    The revisionism is the ridiculous claim that Rees was single-handedly responsible for the SWP’s errors in Respect. He was responsible. But so were the rest who were warned about what was happening and who knew what was going on.

    Whether you agree with Respect or the SWP, at least be honest. The SWP CC set a line and knew what was going on. They authorised every response. It is just plain dishonest to claim that it was all the fault of people who are now conveniently not in the SWP.

    No SWP loyalist was blaming Rees at the time. On the contrary, the party apparatus and cadre rallied to his defence in their majority. Don’t rewrite history now.

  189. Jellytot on said:

    @216 #213 Hi Jellybaby – If they were paying members they would have been counted as paying members. Just like Mark Steele should have been. Your point is not really a point – its just a parallel observation of no relevance to this particular case.

    I think it is relevant. Aren’t you just trotting out the, “Oh, they weren’t really paid up members” line to placate the nervous membership? Why even bring it up in #210?

    When SWP next announce their membership figures as proof that they are the “biggest Left Party”, and claim to have recruited thousands as a result of anti-Cuts work, I suppose we can legitimately ask, “…But how many are paid up?”

    You can’t have it both ways.

    #214 a certain National Secretary suddenly discovered that apparently he had not been a subs paying member for a few years, even though he paid his subs.

    Errr….begs the question, “why did the National Secretary make that error?”

    Honest mistake or duplicity? The latter answer would suggest you can’t trust senior SWP figures and they’ll lie for factional reasons.

  190. Jellytot on said:

    @220 On the contrary, the party apparatus and cadre rallied to his defence in their majority.

    Funny how former “friends” can become bitter enemies in a matter of days. Illustrates the fake nature of “Comradeship” in the sects.

  191. Jellytot on said:

    #210 Lots of them are nice people but who were probably never properly integrated into SWP depsite being handed leading organisational roles and responsibilities.

    Translates as, “we made the mistake of not confirming that they were sufficiently hackish before promoting them”.

  192. taggart on said:

    since we’re on the subject: what, exactly, was the problem with the offu cheque? nothing – precisely nothing at all. but an awful lot of nonsense has been spun out of it since.

    quite incredible to see it turning up, once again, paraded by swp loyalists like the stunningly patronising ‘jc’. no wonder the student and youth membership in glasgow has just left if that was the attitude they had to put up with.

  193. Kimberley on said:

    My first experience of the SWP was at Marxism last year. It’s a great event apart from being chased to join every 5 minutes. I shared my concerns that I wanted to learn more about the party before I joined, directly to a CC member who dismissed this – anything for a direct debit. In the end I joined for about 4 months and have decided to leave after gaining little more than a full junk mail folder. Their recruitment strategy is one of the ugliest I have ever seen and clearly their retention strategy isn’t too hot either. Yes it’s true, there are many socialist parties but only backward organisations see this as a problem. Lets face it, the SWP alone is NEVER going to create a revolution so instead of bitching about those who decide to leave, why not see this as another building block for the future. Maybe now there isn’t unity in the socialist movement but there are people who are passionate enough and brave enough to fight for their socialist values, at any cost. What’s so bad about that? It is not emerging parties that show a fragmented socialist movement, it is the reaction of existing parties.

  194. JellyTot on said:

    @226 Molyneux it is obvious that Bambery’s position as Secretary of the Right to Work Campaign will cause some problems, especially if he chooses to try to use it in that way, which I have to say seems likely. Given that in reality he owes that position almost entirely to the SWP he ought, in principle, to resign from that too – but I doubt that he will – so this matter will have to be resolved in some way

    A roundabout admission that RtW is an SWP front and it’s leading position is determined by the SWP. If they can’t get Bambery out they will just let RtW wither on the vine.

  195. JellyTot on said:

    @225 It’s a great event apart from being chased to join every 5 minutes. I shared my concerns that I wanted to learn more about the party before I joined, directly to a CC member who dismissed this – anything for a direct debit. In the end I joined for about 4 months and have decided to leave after gaining little more than a full junk mail folder. Their recruitment strategy is one of the ugliest I have ever seen and clearly their retention strategy isn’t too hot either

    Interesting post Kimberley and that’s most peoples’ experience. I find their Marxisms quite interesting and would always pop in if I’m in the centre of town when it’s on. I’d buy a ticket on the day and give a false name and contact details so I wouldn’t get visited later and mostly go to the smaller meetings in classrooms where you could learn something and have an interesting discussion instead of the big auditorium ones which are dominated by Hacks at the mic.

    Anyhow, the SWP operate on an “anyone can join basis as long as they’re mildly progressive”. It’s resulted in a revolving door culture in terms of its membership but as long as their is fresh blood coming in every few years they don’t seem to care. The problem is that this pool of new recruits seems to be getter smaller and younger generations are understandably turned off by their MO.

    Looking back, when I was in it, I found the quality of education of new members near to non-existant. Sure, it was offer if you felt like it but there was no compulsion; as long as you were there to sell the SW and go on demos that was enough for them. I think that they identify a few people who have CC potential (almost always middle/upper class Uni students) and fast-track them to the top; the rest can go hang as they will be replaced through turnover.

    Anyhow, it’s good that you sussed them out after only 4 months (and not 20 years like some people!). I’d recommend people who are into Left politics to join a sect, if only for a couple of months, just to open your eyes as to how they operate.

    Anybody

  196. johng on said:

    “I found the quality of education of new members near to non-existant. Sure, it was offer if you felt like it but there was no compulsion” Yes thats whats required! Compulsory educationals!! Jellytots why did you LEAVE!!????

  197. JellyTot on said:

    @229 When I was in it a lot of people were clueless about theory; they’d mouth Marxist buzzwords and jargon but wouldn’t understand what’s behind them or the implications of what they were saying. You’d ask a group of members about the sort of society they were STRUGGLING to bring forth you’d get a hundred different answers: ranging from a ‘hippy’ utopia to a full-blooded Boshevik dystopia.

  198. Jellytot

    It has to be said it’s not every day you hear someone criticise the SWP for NOT trying to compel their actions.

    And not only were you looking for compulsory educationals you were also keen that an absolutely minute section of the class not only determine the shape the revolution should take – but each should be able to recite – verbatim or thereabouts no doubt – this dogma. You DEFINITELY weren’t in the right place.

  199. Anonymous on said:

    I was at the SP’s annual ‘Socialism’ event this year and attended a workshop on dialectical materialism.

    An SWP member stood up and told us that the SWP don’t need to talk about Dialectical Materialism as it wasn’t relevant to practical work on the street.

  200. Memory Lane - on said:

    Taggart says “since we’re on the subject: what, exactly, was the problem with the offu cheque? nothing – precisely nothing at all. but an awful lot of nonsense has been spun out of it since.”

    except of course that the OFFU cheque was an illegal donation that had to be paid back … and risked the financial position and reputation of Respect.

    Now Callincos et at admitted post facto that taking it was a mistake. What a shame the CC didn’t do something at the time when they first knew about it.

    What’s bizzare is that the SWP and Counterfire apparatchiks are now arguing about something that they both thought was hunky-dory at the time but have only used later for their own factional purposes. Outside of the Trotskyist left this is called hypocrisy – within it’s “clear and decisive leadership.”

  201. From that Molyneux link:

    “Another notable feature of Bambery’s letter is that he resigns simultaneously from the CC and the SWP as a whole. Not for a second does he consider leaving the CC and becoming an ordinary rank-and-file member of the party (despite the fact that many people have done this in the past – for example, Sheila McGregor, Andy Strouthous, Phil Marfleet, John Rose, Viv Smith ). In this respect – and in others – he follows the pattern established by John Rees and Lyndsey German last year. Personally I find this arrogance, this attitude of only being part of the party if you can be a leader, extremely distasteful and unbecoming of a revolutionary but there is also a wider political point involved here that needs spelling out as part of the education of newer members.”

    Bit damning, isn’t it? Was Bambery ever a rank and file member in his 32 years of membership?

    I remember reading years ago that he went from being a IMG full-timer to being a SWP full-timer. Sad if true.

  202. I told you so on said:

    Molyneux also writes:

    “And far from it being a symptom of the SWP’s decline it is rather unfinished business from the struggle against Rees/German/Bambery regime which in my opinion was the pre-condition of the party’s recovery from the severe crisis into which we were plunged by the splitting and abandonment of local branch organisation in the late nineties and early noughhties”.

    Yes indeed: And Bambery wasn’t the only one who became hysterical about this.

    I had a small tour around Hackney today – where Rees, German and Bambery have lived for more than a total of 100 years – and saw little evidence of the SWP. Which in the mid-90s had 2 – 3 thriving branches in the area. (Although I did find a Labour Party stall with a petition against NHS cuts).

    I won’t be the only person reading this blog who felt very uncomfortable in the new regime which superceded the party branches and found that any attempt to raise questions about that turn led to the usual abuse, cold-shouldering, invective and character assassination. Yes, politics can be a dirty business; but when that’s all it is, it has little attraction for people who want to change the world.

    Molyneux has elsewhere talked about the ‘culture’ of the organisation. And yet, the culture remains the same.

    The reason why Bambery’s resignation letter has so little political points (as did German’s) is that there is little political difference between the current SWP leadership and the ex-leadership. Their organisational mode of operation is the same; hierarchical; oppressive; one-sided and supported by apparatchiks.

    Which is why, once they leave, they seem so ordinary.

  203. I have no sympathy with Bambery and his split is reckless. But Molyneux’s response follows a tired formula: a) you didn’t talk about world perspectives to it’s not political, b) accusations of intolerable behaviour by the leadership are apolitical personalism – in the rest of the human experience such outrageous behaviour is called… outrageous behaviour c) formalism – there can’t be factionalism when there are not factions (clearly Bambery was talking about the leadership pursuing a vendetta, not a Marxist term but perfectly explanatory), d) If you say you are committed to building a revolutionary party, then how could you possibly leave the one, true apostolic?

    It’s all tiresome. Molyneux has used his little pile of capital accumulated by being critical of the central committee for several years to come to the rescue of the twits over the Respect crisis, the Left Platform faction fight and now with Bambery’s departure.

    A much deeper rethink is required.

  204. SantiagoTalk on said:

    229 & 230. Lack of Education in the SWP?

    If new and existing members want to learn about politics they have every oppertunity to develop their knowledge and understanding as a member of the SWP.

    Discusion with comrades, Socialist Worker, Socialist Reveiw, International Socialism Journal, books written by party members on a wide range of subjects, branch bookstalls, Bookmarx Britains largest Socialist Bookshop, political discussion at weekly branch meeting, public meetings, Videos, attendence at trade union and movement meetings and events. Day schools and a five day Marxism each year with 200 meetings!

    As you can see from the above list we do try to encourage new members to develop their knoeledge. In some case we are successful, in some we are not.

    On the question of selling the Socialist Worker, we are an activist organiastion and Yes we do expect members old and new to make the commitment to sell Socialist Worker.

    We are told this is not the way to build a socialist organisation. If this is the case why is the SWP the largest revolutionary group in the country? Maybe our approach may be right?

    Finaly. all these SWP members who cannot tell you what society will be like after the revolution. I was always under the impression that the emancipaciion of the working class is the act of the working class and that it will be the working class who decide what sort of society they want. Its not the role of the SWP or any other organisation to dictate.

    And yes comrade before you say it of course we make lots of mistakes and get things wrong. But we dont give up we get on with it.

  205. I told you so on said:

    The point about making mistakes is surely to learn from them.

    An immediate question must be – if we follow the method of Molyneaux – to ask why is that since the mid 1990s which has seen huge anti-war protests, general strikes across Europe, an almost collapse of the global capitalist finance system – that the SWP is SMALLER now than it was in 1995???

    Surely the political situation is more favourable to the growth of revolutionary and marxist ideas (think of those educationals comrades…)?

    So maybe the lack of growth is due to an organisational flaw? To do with the culture of the organisation?

    There is nothing about the current SWP that suggests in either a practical, organisational or theoretical sense that it has learned much as an organisation in the past 15 years.

    Why do all the SWP members here have a tone that is one-dimensional?

  206. oldfart on said:

    238
    The more general point I think Molyneux raised was that the revolutionary left across Europe has not grown. I think there are objective reasons as much as subjective. I am not convinced that this or that error is the key reason for lack of the rev lefts growth. Now I would accept that as a member of the SWP we have made mistakes etc. I do think however there is much greater debate about the situation we face and more measured views.

  207. #238 The only one-dimensional view I find on this thread is the attempt among some to reduce the SWP into a reservoir of every kind of problem of the left.
    Seriously, do people here have any sense of proportion?
    – where is Labour and the Labour left? and what have those who have joined it recently to advance the class struggle and what is their balance sheet of the past 20 years
    – where is the rest of the radical and revolutionary left? how big are they compared to 20 years ago? what have they achieved? how effective have they been in building united action in recent years?
    etc etc

    The truth is that it has not been an easy time for the left internationally, even in the context of the economic crisis.

    Where do I go to if I want radical change?

    I am just interested where I can turn to if I am looking for a party that is
    – anti-capitalist and revolutionary
    – builds demonstrations, strikes and campaigns with other forces (if there is room for improvement, that wouldn’t put me off)
    – fights on many fronts
    – resists racism, fascism, islamophobia, sexism and homophobia
    – supports the Palestinian liberation struggle
    – opposes imperialist wars and ecological destruction
    – has rank and file members in trade unions and various movements
    – produces a regular paper in order to strengthen the influence of socialist ideas in society, report on struggles and organise
    – produces books and substantive articles to develop marxist theory
    – has hundreds and even rather thousands of members in order to be effective
    – has proved to be able to weather political storms that every organisation will go through in its life time (including splits)

    don’t bother to tell me the SWP doesn’t fit this picture.
    Where can I go to?
    If you agree with these points, what have you done to create a political organisation that I can join?
    (the SP is not an option for me, I have my reasons (for instance way too weak on theory and not enough involvement in building social movements), but I do not want to get into a discussion about those reasons, because what I am interested in is what ALTERNATIVE all those wise commentators here have for people like myself)

  208. #245
    Dont be like that, the lads clearly gone to a lot of effort typing all that self aggrandising waffle. Plus the total lack of self awareness is kind of endearing.

  209. Uncle Albert on said:

    RE 244 – And there ends the party political broadcast for the SWP. Only thing you forgot to add was: “Has not made any difference to anything.”
    Ffs,get a life.

  210. taggart on said:

    “except of course that the OFFU cheque was an illegal donation that had to be paid back … and risked the financial position and reputation of Respect.”

    except of course it was approved by the respect officers’ group at the time of its receipt, from both sides of the subsequent split. quite something to see it used, still, as a stick to beat certain individuals with. moving on.

    the enthusiasm for the cliques that were the swp branches of the late 1990s is quite something. they were a barrier to meaningful engagement with the wider movement – a self-perpetuating, self-affirming routine that entrenched bad habits and inward-looking practices.

    the swp’s failure was that not enough members involved themselves in those wider movements, preferring the routines of branch meeting-paper sale-branch meeting-paper sale: fine perhaps for a period where it was arguably necessary to batten down the hatches, less convincing in the midst of the anti-war movement; and by now a notable anachronism. the tragedy is that so little of the party ever moved over this – itself perhaps a pointer to deeper problems.

  211. I told you so on said:

    Except that in the mid 1990s the SWP had a presence in Hackney and sold papers and was beginning to get roots in the area…but after breaking the branches up and lots of revolutionary hopping around from one thing to another…the SWP doesn’t seem to have much of a presence in the area at all.

    Instead of all the histronics, if the project had been to work with people and encourage people to read the revolutionary history – Marx, Luxemborg, CLR James…(and more)…perhaps there might now be 200-300 people in the borough with roots in the area ….instead there is b*gger all.

    “Some party hack decreed that the people
    had lost the government’s confidence
    and could only regain it with redoubled effort.
    If that is the case, would it not be be simpler,
    If the government simply dissolved the people
    And elected another?”

    Substitute ‘SWP’ for ‘government’ for those who need everything spelled out.

  212. JellyTot on said:

    @238 I had a small tour around Hackney today …..and saw little evidence of the SWP. Which in the mid-90s had 2 – 3 thriving branches in the area.

    Incredible.

    @240 I was always under the impression that the emancipaciion of the working class is the act of the working class and that it will be the working class who decide what sort of society they want.

    That statement bears no reality to early 21st Century Britain. By what methods would the WC be reasonably excepted to “emanicpate” themselves here….even in the medium to long term? The opportunity, if it ever existed at all, has long passed. It’s a struggle just protecting the meagre Reformist gains and stunting the growth of fascism.

    Its not the role of the SWP or any other organisation to dictate.

    You seem to have gone a long way from Leninism. Cliff must be spinning in his grave.

    @244 resists racism, fascism, islamophobia, sexism and homophobia

    That last one shouldn’t be considered a shibboleth though….;-)

    @247 Only thing you forgot to add was: “Has not made any difference to anything”

    I think they have made a difference….for the worst!

  213. JellyTot on said:

    @234 Jellytot, It has to be said it’s not every day you hear someone criticise the SWP for NOT trying to compel their actions.

    I was only making the suggestion that if you had a better quality of member, as a result of the importance of education being put on the same plain as activity, your retention rates would be better. It would involve a paradigm shift in your thinking though and we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

  214. “Starts banging head against wall…..”

    Head banging won’t enlighten us as to why there is virtually no left opposition inside and outside of Labour apart from socialist organisations of a revolutionary kind. Where is the lively reformist opposition? It doesn’t exist! But I suppose you will blame that on the SWP as well.
    Why not deal with facts rather than engaging in wilful Trot bashing? The organised left collapsed and it’s only the organised revolutionary left who have weathered this storm even if in a much smaller form. Rather than the revolutionary left being responsible for the collapse of the left it was the rightward shift of the reformists who abandoned socialism for Blairite neoliberalism. If not for revolutionaries and other activists who rejected this rightward trajectory there would be absolutely no organised left remaining at all. So rather than attacking others on the left why don’t you try to help rebuild it?

  215. “It would involve a paradigm shift in your thinking though and we all know that ain’t gonna happen.”

    Thanks for the advice rather than your usual sectarian hostility but considering you belong to an organisation of two, you and your ego, your grasp of socialist organisation and education is not your strong point.

  216. oldfart on said:

    248
    wELCOME TO this site. First rule is SWP are scum, second rule, all ills are the responsibility of the SWP, Third rule is Andy Jellytot etc attack the SWP and think everyone should join the labour party and get behind Ed. Lastly ummm SWP are scum. SWP have never done anything any good etc etc Just students and all middle class, loads of money ummmm. Ok so if you are in the SWP this doesn’t fit the picture etc but then you are a liar and mentally ill according to this site…

  217. Jellytot – the default owner of this thread – has very little positive to say about the SWP.One is left with the distinct impression he does not like the organisation. Opponents of the SWP, especially those circling in the blogosphere, will doubtless seize on this comment.

  218. Give up and stop wasting your lives. The SWP is becoming a joke.

    With every passing year the gap between the aspiration to be a ‘revolutionary’ party and the sad reality of a shrinking band of ageing fantasists grows wider.

    Seriously, find it in yourselves to admit it ain’t working.

  219. Anonymous on said:

    Word is 6 of the ‘resigners’ have rejoined not happy at being misled by Bambery who never told them about his continuing links with Counterfire Ree’s rightward moving fan club . Bad call Bambery hope Jonathan cheers up. Good riddance

  220. Who gives a fuck if 6 of the 39 rejoin? Or if 12 of the 45 rejoin? Or if 23 or the 84 rejoin? It’s all pathetic.

    The IS, IMG, RSL and other Trot groups of the 1970s thought they were marching in the vanguard of history: many people believed them.

    Now we’ve got Socialist Action, the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party and no-one believes them, even their own leaders.

  221. Have never been in SWP on said:

    Don, JellyTot & others …
    Do you have any positive suggestions for people who want to change the world? Or have you found a comfortable niche in capitalism so don’t see the need for systemic change? Or do you think that change is impossible?
    Seriously, we know you don’t like the SWP, don’t like the groups that split off, don’t like the other “Trot” groups … but what do you stand for? Anything?
    I’m sorry, but whatever’s wrong with the “Trot” groups there appears to be a lot more wrong with the other posters on this thread.

  222. Alias on said:

    Thought the line was that none of them were members anyway, so how can they “rejoin” ?

  223. Memory Lane - on said:

    “except of course that the OFFU cheque was an illegal donation that had to be paid back … and risked the financial position and reputation of Respect.”

    except of course it was approved by the respect officers’ group at the time of its receipt, from both sides of the subsequent split. quite something to see it used, still, as a stick to beat certain individuals with. moving on.

    Actually, Taggart – maybe both sides of the subsequent SWP split knew about it. Most of the non-SWP leadership were kept in the dark. It was orgininally offered as a donation to Respect and the non-SWP parts said it shouldn’t be accepted – as it was illegal (and quite possibly a set-up to get Galloway. Rees than went behind the backs of the others to get the donation re-routed through OFFU – which being linked to Respect put the entire organisation at risk. Rees was cavalier with the rules, after having incredibly lost almost £10,000 on a conference that was full to the rafters. But Other members of the SWP CC including Callinicos dismissed concern from Galloway et al when the truth came out – as the CC collectively had already decided to ‘go nulcear’ .

    Callinicos only realised the error of his ways when he used the cheque as a stick to beat Rees in the post-Left List fiasco period.

    The idea that accepoting the OFFU cheque was supported by both sides of the split in Respect is simply a lie. The SWP as ‘Memory of the class?’ – get real! You’ll be claiming that Duncan Hallas was a teetotal non-smoker from Essex next.

  224. Anonymous on said:

    News is that the movement of people is the other way with another couple leaving the SWP to join the students !

  225. anonymous on said:

    I’ve heard of several more people in Edinburgh and Glasgow joining the new party.

  226. SantiagoTalk on said:

    I’ve heard that 11 people in Glasgow and 1 in Edinburgh have withdrawn their resignations and others are thinking it over.

  227. JellyTot on said:

    @261 Do you have any positive suggestions for people who want to change the world?

    Grassroots single issue campaigning employing new tactics and strategies, leading to a renewal in Progressive forces, defend the reformist gains, attempt to rebuild the Trade Union movement and the Left in the only realistic organisation for progress in Britain – The Labour Party. In the end new generations have to work out new methods – Their no road map from dead Russians and Germans.

    The main ‘Revolutionary’ groups are wasting their time and the chickens are coming hom to roost for them through splits and declining numbers – I predict this will get worst as they internalise as a reaction to their powerlessnesss. RESPECT was an interesting and worthwhile project but even that doesn’t seem able to sustain itself.

    Or have you found a comfortable niche in capitalism so don’t see the need for systemic change?

    I am fairly comfortable personally although it was through damn hard work and without the benefit of a University education (which I would have loved BTW but had to find a job at 16 to contribute financially to my family). Like most people though my social status could change rapidly through unemployment. I am concerned about the onward march of the Right including most worringly fascism and racism, the rapid roll-back on the gains our movement made, the widening wealth gap and the growth of the Underclass allied to the collapse of communial values and any notion of WC pride and solidarity.

    Except in the aftermath of some unforseen cataclysm, systemic change is impossible in Britain, the best we can achieve is a ‘battered shield’ defence of what we have and the possibility of extending it. I’m talking being realistic here and not head-in-the-clouds stuff.

    Or do you think that change is impossible?

    I think a 1917 style Revolution is impossible but what I’ve outline above is achievable, but even that seems

    @259 Word is 6 of the ‘resigners’ have rejoined

    But were they paid up members in first place? See post 212.

  228. JellyTot on said:

    @255 you belong to an organisation of two, you and your ego.

    I’m one of the most self-depricating people you could meet. When it comes to over-inflated egos I couldn’t hold a candle to the SWP CC.

  229. Uncle Albert on said:

    270 – SantiagoTalk. I heard that man who has lived most of his life in Melton Mowbray has founded a new trotskyist party. Some other people may consider joining.

  230. “Their no road map from dead Russians and Germans.”

    Either out of ignorance or dishonesty you conveniently disregard the German reformist tradition of Kautsky and Bernstein that sold workers out and sent them to their deaths in a disgusting capitalist war at the beginning of last century. But don’t let past revisionist failures get in the way of lying to workers now.

  231. SantiagoTalk on said:

    273 Uncle Albert do you mean the Melton Mowbray Revolutionary Trotskist Front (2011) by any chance? – it already exists!

    Looks like this thread as run out of steam again. Must be time for Andy to make a post to liven it up again.

    274 JellyTot thats the best post you have make on here. Now I understand where you are coming from. Thanks.

  232. anonymous on said:

    I seriously doubt people would withdraw resignations, what a stupid thing to do!

  233. Uncle Albert on said:

    274, Ray. Where has the dead Russians and Germans road map got us? I wouldn’t devalue the insights provided by the long dead of any country, many of which retain a relevance. But to piece them together into a road map which can only be deciphered by the chosen few (who are in continual and bitter disagreement with other competing infallible sects) is an insult to our intelligence.
    And there’s no need to pretend another WW1 will befall us if we commence grassroots single issue campaigning, employing new tactics and strategies, which might lead to a renewal of progressive forces.
    To do so is superstitious hokum, not materialism. It seems that it’s the tea leaves in your cup that are doing the lying.

  234. Vanya on said:

    #274 Bernstein and Kautsky both opposed the 1st World War. (Bernstein was also a pioneer of the cause of gay liberation).

    Kautsky was condemned by Lenin and Trotsky because of his criticisms of the Bolsheviks- some of which were in fact were quite apt. The kind of politics that Kautsky opposed in Germany were the domestic basis for the ultra-leftism that prevented the KPD being able to mount an effective struggle against the Nazis- the fertile soil in which Stalin’s 3rd Period line was able to grow.

  235. R-r-r-revolutionary proletarian like my mates on said:

    I’m afraid the Melton Mowbray Revolutionary Trotskyist Front has already suffered its first split.

    Having thrashed out a united position on a set of domestic theses (On the Working Class Struggle for Reduced Gelatin Content in Pork Pies), the comrades have failed to agree on Brandler’s role in the failed German insurrection of October 1923. Indeed, one comrade went so far as to question a minor aspect of Trotsky’s analysis of Brandler’s position.

    I fear the dispute is spreading through the Revolutionary Worker’s Committee for the Reconstruction of the Fourth International (Unification Tendency), where the worker concerned has openly come out against the Melton Mowbray-based International Secretariat.

    A whole issue of Revolutionary History will be examining the origins of this crisis, which has its roots in the Stalinist betrayal of the Great Pork Pie Strike of 1924, linked inextricably as it was to German events and the disastrous line of the Stalin-Zinoviev epigones at that time.

    Watch this space!

  236. “Ray. Where has the dead Russians and Germans road map got us? I wouldn’t devalue the insights provided by the long dead of any country, many of which retain a relevance. But to piece them together into a road map which can only be deciphered by the chosen few (who are in continual and bitter disagreement with other competing infallible sects) is an insult to our intelligence.
    And there’s no need to pretend another WW1 will befall us if we commence grassroots single issue campaigning, employing new tactics and strategies, which might lead to a renewal of progressive forces.
    To do so is superstitious hokum, not materialism. It seems that it’s the tea leaves in your cup that are doing the lying.”

    That you counterpose Jellytot’s reformist strategy with a revolutionary one and characterise socialism as “superstitious hokam” tells me that you have no idea about the history and legacy that inform the politics of your own movement. While I don’t subscribe to the relativity of postmodernism, the belief that the ideas you espouse are new and original is quaint but unfortunately ill-informed.
    At the heart of Marxism is the concept of learning from the successes and mistakes of the past but in your contemporary revision of reformism you do neither. Rather than a sectarian approach to fellow activists you might learn and benefit from encouraging unity in struggle.

  237. “Bernstein and Kautsky both opposed the 1st World War.”

    Both voted along with the German social democrats for war credits in 1914 at a time when their opposition would have counted. They later opposed the war after the carnage predicted by those against the war could hardly be ignored. These “little” details explain a lot about the failure of reformist strategies to offer an alternative to capitalist barbarism. The same mistaken heritage Labour and those who voted for war and supported intervention in Libya perpetuate today.

  238. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Kautsky

    In 1914, when the German Social-Democrat deputies in the Reichstag voted for war credits, Kautsky (who was not a deputy but attended their meetings) suggested abstaining. Kautsky claimed that Germany was waging a defensive war against the threat of Czarist Russia. However, in June 1915, about ten months after the war had begun and when it had become obvious that this was going to be a sustained, appallingly brutal and costly struggle, he issued an appeal with Eduard Bernstein and Hugo Haase against the pro-war leaders of the SPD and denounced the German government’s annexationist aims. In 1917 he left the SPD for the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD), which united Socialists who opposed the war.

    http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERbernstein.htm

    “Bernstein was elected to the Reichstag (1902-06 and 1912-18) where he led the right-wing of the Social Democrat Party. However, he sided with the left-wing over Germany’s participation in the First World War and in 1915 voted against war credits.”

    Ray- the position of supporting Germany against Tsarist reaction was integral to Marxism from its inception,and therefore it was not surprising that this grave error could be made by so many German socialists.

    One of these by the way was Parvus, the real author of Trotsky’s permanent revolution theory, and the person responisble for the deal with the German army that allowed Lenin to pass into Russia from exile in April 1917.

  239. Rather than bashing Trots the question you reformists should be asking is why after over 100 years has reformism not delivered? The gap between rich and poor is greater than it’s ever been, the UK is going through its worst recession after Labour were at the helm, working people are facing the most vicious attacks from the ruling class, there have been imperialist wars in the Middle East for the past two decades and the reformist left are a shadow of their former selves after they were trounced by the Blairites back in the ’90’s. What ever happened to the promises of the reformist project? In contrast the revolutionary left still has a presence and retains its independence at least.

    Seems to me you need to put your own house in order before hypocritically attacking others. Sadly this lesson seems to go over your heads.

  240. Ray the question you should be asking, given that the SWP believes that the Russian revolution was defeated in around 1926, and that you don’t regard any government that has existed ever since then as worthy of support, is what revolutionary socialism has achieved.

    Of course the reality is that both questions miss the point entirely.

  241. john l on said:

    Just so everybody knows nobody has left and rejoined SWP. the SWP are putting that about in a desparate attempt to demoralise those who have split. If I’m wrong then name them from the list. I know it can’t be done.

  242. rowche rumble on said:

    @ john I – honest curiousity: what is the basis or principle that has provoked the Scottish SWP / SWSS comrades to follow Bambery out of the SWP?

  243. Uncle Albert on said:

    281 – Ray. You say: “the question you reformists should be asking is why after over 100 years has reformism not delivered?”

    I’ll provide one example of what has been delivered by reformism (though there are many more): The Health and Safety at Work Act.
    If you’d worked in the sort of industries where I’ve spent much of my life – industries where asbestos was routinely sawn and chopped about without any form of protection from dust then perhaps you’d realise why the gains made by reformism are important and should not be dismissed by an elite who’s achievements are restricted to unengaged theory and the production of slogans.

  244. #281

    Ray, this is a ludicrous comment. Any gains or concessions won by the working class in this country over the past 100 years have been delivered by social democracy.

    The welfare state is the prime example.

    The real question you should be asking is why over the past sixty years revolutionary politics hasn’t delivered?

  245. #287

    Yes, Sandy, but that threat came from without, from the SU, and not within.

    And certaintly not from the tradition we’re talking about here.

  246. Anonymous on said:

    #286 ‘The real question you should be asking is why over the past sixty years revolutionary politics hasn’t delivered?’

    Only in the late 60’s did revolutionary organisations of any size develop in the UK. Social Democracy has until recently been able to deliver reforms. A signifacant barrier to revolutionary politics has been the example of the parties in the states that were claimed as socialist.For instance no pluralism or freedom of movement. Unfortunately many Morning Star readers still think the USSR was socialist.

  247. the threat comes from the working class forming itself a class for itself. There is no “within or with out” re this process- it is an international process and the ruling classes understand this. Indeed the ruling class has used national concessions in order to attempt to prevent the development of working class power-which is always international in essence. Mass working class movements over the last century have been strong enough to seriously threaten the rule of the capitalist class in britain. Reforms were granted to forestall socialist revolution-universal suffrage and the welfare state were granted under the fear of socialist revolution. After 1917 the capitalist class understood that it could lose power- and made concessions to attempt to prevent this happening. Social democracy did not win concessions- the concessions were granted because the ruling class feared that social democracy ( a form of counter revolution promoted by the ruling class)) was going to be superseded by workers power and communism

    sandy

  248. Martel on said:

    # 290 I am really surprised people are able to put forward these cartoon interpretations of British History with such earnestness.

    No substanation just aload of pseudo waffle which has little to do with anything.

  249. #290

    Sandy, the example of the Soviet Union as an alternative economic and social model breathed fear into the hearts of the ruling classes throughout Europe and beyond, as it gave confidence to their respective working classes. In Britain social democracy with its unique organic link to the labour movement has both impeded and advanced the interests of the working class at various times, according to shifting material conditions and the corresponding rise and decline of class consciousness.

    So, yes, the pressure that the working class at any given period is able to bring to bear upon the political levers of social democracy has been the key in the struggle over society’s surplus.

    But revolutionary politics of whatever tradition that have sought to bypass and/or attack social democracy rather than engage with it have singularly failed.

    Trotskyism did not win the working class the welfare state, the NHS, social housing, the 40 hour week, and so on.

    This is just a fact.

  250. #291 the essence of social democracy is counter revolutionary- a world historical fact recognized by all real communists. the function of social democracy is not to win reforms for the working class but to prevent socialist revolution. Social democracy aims to bind the working class to its own ruling class and thus prevent communism

    sandy

  251. Martel on said:

    #293 – ‘the essence of social democracy is counter revolutionary- a world historical fact’

    No its not. It just opinion of social democracy, you and some other ultra’s cling to.

    It has about as much substance as me saying I do not like the colour green.

  252. the upsurge of the international working class in 1917-1923 created fear in the hearts of the capitalist class. The highpoint of this upsurge was 1917 and the seizure of power by the working class and the creation of the communist international. The ruling class had a great fear that this upsurge would be repeated during the second world war and its aftermath. thus the welfare state. In that sense the trotskyists ( the forces that led the upsurge in 1917-23- the real communists) did cause the welfare state and universal suffrage to be conceded by the ruling class. When the ruling class loses its fear of communism there are no social democratic reforms.

    sandy

  253. Martel on said:

    ~ 295 All you are advocating is some comical contruction of history where Leon Trotsky is responsible for every worthwhile social reform (as well as the entire Russian revolution).

    To assert ‘fear of communism’ is responsible for every improving social measure is conceited, not true and unestimates the intiative and agency of social reformers and the labour movement itself.

    ‘When the ruling class loses its fear of communism there are no social democratic reforms.’

    …the 19th century Factory Acts, Public Health Acts, introduction of universal educational provision etc etc ad nauseam…

  254. 295, 296 297, those reforms were won due to the pressure of the rising power of the organised working class, often despite the leaders of this movement rather than because of them.

  255. It was well understood by communists in the 19th century that pro working class reforms were granted by Capital due to fear of working class revolution. The fear of chartism and what it could become. That fear became even greater after the working class upsurge of 1917-1923. have you not heard the saying- if we dont give them reform they will give us revolution-Tory politician Lord Hailsham,re 1945

    sandy

  256. Martel on said:

    # 299 ‘It was well understood by communists in the 19th century that pro working class reforms were granted by Capital due to fear of working class revolution.’

    It is not well understood, it is constructed history with no relation to reality. Every social reform was not due to fear of the working class.

    eg. the 1870 Education Act, which established universal education for 5 to 12 year olds, was primarily due to fear of falling behind Germany and the U.S.A.’s spectacular industrial growth.

    Likewise the Public Health Act 1875 was a reaction to squalour and an organised middle/upper class reform movement.

    You are not communicating history but some form of Trotsyist religious dogma. You have got to start reading books not published by Pathfinder or Bookmarks.

  257. Martel

    If you want to deny that the welfare state and universal suffrage etc were conceded by Capital due to its fear of the working class and communism that is up to you. But no real marxist will take you seriously. Rather than the class struggle you look to the good works of the liberal reformers who reformed capitalism out of the goodness of their hearts. I hope you dont kid yourself on that you are some kind of marxist revolutionary like the jokers in Socialist Action.

    sandy

  258. Graham Day on said:

    #302, Sandy I think “real Marxists” (whoever they are) will take Martel more seriously than they will take you. After all, in #300 Martel provides a couple of actual historical facts to contradict your assertions – and unless you’ve developed some form of historical telepathy, assertions is all they are.

    You seem to have a very mechanistic, unsubtle and (dare I say) un-Marxist view of history and class struggle.

  259. Denzil on said:

    I would have thought that it’s self-evident that every reform was conceded because Capital feared revolution, just look at all these middle-east dictators offering reforms left, right and centre in recent weeks for example.

    Also, to be frank, it’s no coincidence that Raul Castro stepped back from 500,000 public sector jobs in Cuba a few days after the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. It’s just common sense.

  260. Martel on said:

    # 302 I do not claim to be a marxist revolutionary. Especially if becoming one requires loosing all critical faculties, sacrificing a grasp of reality and adopting some form of morality tale in the place of what should be history.

    ‘But no real marxist will take you seriously.’

    Surely a real Marxist would pay heed to Engels warning about using the materialist conception of history as an excuse to not study history.

  261. Rorschach on said:

    #300 – it was certainly not only about fear of revolution although that has played a factor at certain times. It may well have something to do with the conscience of social reformers – although one then has to discuss the conditions that make reform possible. It also had a lot to do with efficiency – the view (peddled by Blairites) that social cohesion is instrumental for capital accumulation, war-mongering and the like. The nub of the issue is that whatever the intentions of social democrats maybe, they cannot deal with diminishing returns – the increasing inability of capitalism, as it ages, to deliver sustainable reforms such as those enhancing equality, democracy etc.

  262. #307

    The nub of the issue is that whatever the intentions of social democrats maybe, they cannot deal with diminishing returns – the increasing inability of capitalism, as it ages, to deliver sustainable reforms such as those enhancing equality, democracy etc.

    Do you seriously beleive that living standards, democracy and equality are worse now than they were 100 years ago ????

  263. #286 “The real question you should be asking is why over the past sixty years revolutionary politics hasn’t delivered?”

    I asked myself that only this morning, walking past the National Front paper sellers on my way to pay my poll tax.

  264. #310

    Well if living standards have improved, and we live ina more equitable and democratic society than we did, then manifestly your claim that capitalism is unable to deliver sustainable reforms is wrong.

  265. Andy Wilson on said:

    #313: I seriously believe that revolutionary methods, illegality, etc., were crucial to achieving both.

  266. sandy on said:

    Martel

    It is good that you accept that you are not a marxist. On that we can agree

    The central reason the welfare state was conceded by capital was its fear of working class revolution. It was that fear that allowed the liberal reformers to do their work ( same as in the 19 Century and the factory acts.) The central reason we are facing an onslaught on the welfare state is that the ruling class has lost its fear of the working class.

    sandy

  267. Rorschach on said:

    #311 – I don’t deny any of that (assuming we’re talking about Britain). However, I find it hard to accept that we have not regressed in relation to democracy and economic equality over the past 30 years or so.

    The really important issue is what is happening now and what will happen moving forward. Can capitalism continue to deliver side-payments for the majority? I’m no crystal ball gazer, but I fear that Marx may well have been right on that score. The inability of social democratic governments to promise, let alone deliver, anything of substance today is one indication that side-payments are becoming increasingly unaffordable. Declining GDP growth rates under Western neoliberalism is another. The rise of competitors in the East isn’t much of a counter-explanation. It too implies we’re in a zero sum game, when the game itself is supposed to be the engine of entrepreneurship, growth etc.

    I tend to think that we’re moving towards a ‘clusterfuck’ scenario – the combination of ongoing economic crisis and stagnation, the continuing decay of Western democracy and the sustainability crisis (i.e. ecology, climate, resource depletion etc). I am well aware of the fallibilities of the Marxist left, but at least it has a purchase on these questions. Contemporary social democracy does not even begin to approach them, let alone put forward ideas about how to deal with them.

  268. Of course capitalism is able to deliver sustainable reforms – just so long as it is able to sustain them. The point we have reached today is the developing inability of capitalism, as presently constituted, to deliver the kind of reforms it felt were necessary to ‘contain communism’ after the last world war.
    That capitalism at every stage of its developmen t, only concedes reforms under pressure is uncontestable. The fact that pressure may come about partly from working class agitation and revolt or it, as in the case of the 1870 Education Act, come about partly because the development of the productive forces (in competition with Germany) commands a more highly educated labour force cannot be deployed to support the idea of a benificient capitalism.

    The reason why revolutionary politics over the last sixty years has not delivered a revolution (in Britain) is precisely because, hitherto, capitalism has been able to deliver sustainable reforms – sustained largely by North Sea carbon reserves and capital inflows.

    The measure of a revolutionary ( and a revolutionary party) is not just how it performs in a revolution (after all even Trotsky played a largely positive role when the revolution was underway) but how it thinks and acts in non-revolutionary situations. The erratic and sectarian antics of Britain’s self-proclaimed revolutionary sects in the immediate past being a sign of this.

  269. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    #316. “Of course capitalism is able to deliver sustainable reforms – just so long as it is able to sustain them. The point we have reached today is the developing inability of capitalism, as presently constituted, to deliver the kind of reforms it felt were necessary to ‘contain communism’ after the last world war.” True. But with no USSR and with only a weak political left, they may feel they do not need “reforms” except those that make the rich richer, and they can get on with creating mass immiseration, without a risk of any reactions they cannot handle.

  270. Vanya on said:

    The questions of the anti-fascist movement and the Poll tax are important.

    In the case of the NF, the fascists themselves acknowleged that the ANL (original version) plaayed a big role in their demise in the late 70s / early 80s and it is undoubtedly the case that the SWP and other smaller far left groups such as the IMG were central to this.

    However, what was distinctively revolutionary about the tactics of the ANL? The most militant tactics were actually denounced in the end by the SWP and their practitioners expelled for squadism (one of them at least – a close friend of mine- while he was in jail for anti -fascist activities). In fact, some other far left groups such as Militant and the WRP denounced the ANL as a Popular Front!

    Interestingly, the most heroic and militant battle of the 30s against fascism before the Spanish Civil War was in Vienna, and who was doing the fighting? Social Democrats.

    Also, another major cause of the demise of the NF at the time was the incorporation of anti-immigrant racism by Thatcher in the 1979 election campaign.

    For the avoidance of doubt, as a teenager I was involved in the ANL and Rock aganist Racism and I am still proud of that. I just think we should put things in context.

    As for the Poll Tax, non-payment was not necessarally revolutionary activity, any more than is a strike in defiance of the anti-union laws. Maybe Prison Officers will be a major part of the revolutionary vanguard? :)

  271. #317
    This is a dangerously defeatist conception. Revolutionary change does not depend on the existence of the USSR although undoubtedly the existence of the socialist world was a powerful brake on imperialism and a powerful pressure for reform in the capitalist world.
    It is the contradictions within capitalism that provide the impetus for revolutionary change. One of the limitations of the left in Britain is its insularity with various groups, very small in global terms, self identifying as the central leaderships of world revolutionary forces.This is but a comical reflection of the rapidly diminishing idea of Britain itself as a key player.
    With both the US and Britain, as the two main global imperialist military powers, both on the back foot we just have to get used to the idea that as the productive forces are developing very fast in other parts of the globe, then the working class movement in these places will assume a more important role.

  272. David on said:

    Britain underwent a social transformation from the 1950s-1970s without any bloodshed. Given he failure of ‘working class revolutions’ the world over I say thank goodness that Britain did not have a revolution after the second world war.

    One of the things that amazes me about Sandy is that his textbook approach to history is non-dialectical. This is incredible for a Marxist. To reduce every progressive reform in this country to ‘fear of the working class’ is just nonsense.

  273. #314, #324 – the revolutionary left were at the heart of both struggles, and did much to provide the organisational framework within which much larger numbers of people participated. Real reforms were won, using methods of struggle drawn from the revolutionary rather than the reformist tradition.

  274. johng on said:

    To be fair its equally ridiculous to write the role of revolutions and revolutionaries in the history of the struggle for reforms and really basic things like unionisation. There is an interesting problem here. The politically committed reformist might choose to take William Morris’s dictum that we fight for one thing and get another, to argue that the revolutionary is deluded. But if we had not had a vision going beyond reformism we wouldn’t have got the kinds of reforms that were eventually achieved. In an era where reforms are being rolled back and legal and police measures are used against those who want to defend them, we seem to be back to these old questions again.

  275. Jellytot on said:

    @326 One of the things that amazes me about Sandy is that his textbook approach to history is non-dialectical. This is incredible for a Marxist.

    Agree, See post # 232

    @324 Also, another major cause of the demise of the NF at the time was the incorporation of anti-immigrant racism by Thatcher in the 1979 election campaign

    True and a mix of factors hastened the defeat of the NF, Anti-fascists played a role but internal factors within the NF were at play too as well as the role of the wider Right.

    Similarly, today we a seeing a rapid tailing off of the BNP. It’s true that anti-fascist campaigning played a worthwhile role, especially around the 2010 election, but we’re deluding ourselves if we don’t consider the woeful leadership of Nick Griffin, his alienation of the talented organisers the BNP did attract and the barely literate imbeciles he’s promoted to leadership positions as big factors in the decline. I’ve always been of the opinion that the BNP were successful in spite of themselves. We should count ourselves fortunate that something even bigger didn’t emerge during the last Labour administration. There was certainly the social base and toxic political mood for it to.

  276. sandy on said:

    326 David– why do you think there was a “progressive social transformation in Britain” post war? Do you not think the social strength of the international working class movement and its potential to go beyond capitalism was an important factor in convincing the ruling class to institute “this progressive change”? Was it not the same in the other imperialist centers? Did the ruling class just decide off its own bat to become more humanitarian? Excuse my cynicism but i dont believe it. Of course the ruling class is often split re progressive change with one section opposing any pro working class change. However what gives strength to the liberal side of the establishment debate is the danger that the working class can pose to the system as a whole if reforms are not conceded. Remove the fear of the working class and the liberals (and social democrats) fall silent on the need for progressive reform. Thus Keynesian policies in the 30s but not now

    sandy

  277. #321

    ” methods of struggle drawn from the revolutionary rather than the reformist tradition”

    sorry, did you overthrow the government? If not, there was nothing “revolutionary” about it.

    The only differentiating feature of your “revolutionary” tradition seems to be writing and selling turgid newspapers. Your whole differentiation between r-r-r-revolutionaries and “reformists” is a sad self-aggrandisement of your dungeons and dragons like fantasy where you will one day be the “leadership”.

    The repertoire of tactics used by the left in the poll tax were no more radical than those used by the miners in the strike of 1984/1985, for example.

  278. johng on said:

    Andy this is just silly. The Communist Party played a large role in unionising workers in new industries like car plants. Most of them regarded themselves as revolutionaries and they were far and away more effective then were their equivilants in the Labour Party. No doubt some form of unionisation would have emerged without them. Its doubtful if it would have been as effective, militant and transformative without the participation of those whose activity was often motivated by revolutionary as opposed to reformist politics. This is a more general feature of dialectical relationships within the movement going right back to the days of the chartists.

  279. And many of the tactics used by miners were revolutionary. They were not constrained by the limits of bourgeois law. And did not think that victory could be achieved through parliament.
    The limits of reformism are manifest in the current Tory offensive. Its the reformists who are leading the unions and the Labour Party in the fight against the cuts and what a shit job they’re doing.
    Unison have resigned themselves to losing 500,000 members as a result of the cuts and have no plans for strike action.
    The TUC’s strategy for fighting the cuts has already happened.
    Labour think we need cuts just not quite as bad as the Tories.
    Who’s strategy is failing? Not that of the revolutionaries.

  280. i dont get where this argument is going now, everyone knows labours a load of crud, no matter where u r on the left.

  281. Sandy are you aware that you come across as an arroagant tosser? My wife, who you would probaly say was a ‘reformist’, was reading one of your posts and said ‘could you imagine being stuck in a lift with that guy’? It’s like you read the first page of the Communist Manifesto and thought, ‘great that’s it, I have all the problems to the world worked out’!

  282. Anonymous on said:

    G

    I am aware that some people use personal insults as a substitute for political debate. Usually when they feel they have nothing useful to contribute to the matter in dispute and this makes them feel inadequate. Anyway my wife thinks you come across as a etc etc

    zzzzzzzzzzz

    sandy

  283. Hustings tonight in Kinning Park, Glasgow called by the local Community Council. All candidates (10) in attendance (including Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon)bar three -SSP, Respect and BNP .

    Socialist Labour candidate excellent.

  284. “Andy this is just silly. The Communist Party played a large role in unionising workers in new industries like car plants. Most of them regarded themselves as revolutionaries and they were far and away more effective then were their equivilants in the Labour Party. No doubt some form of unionisation would have emerged without them. Its doubtful if it would have been as effective, militant and transformative without the participation of those whose activity was often motivated by revolutionary as opposed to reformist politics. This is a more general feature of dialectical relationships within the movement going right back to the days of the chartists.”

    Andy’s caricature of revolutionaries is based on nothing other than knee-jerk hatred of anyone to the left of Kinnock. The fact that revolutionaries are also at the forefront of fighting for reforms is undeniable. Some of the best fighters for womens rights, gay rights, anti-racism, unionisation have been and still are revolutionaries. The Bolsheviks legalised gay sex and marriage for example. We don’t need lectures about reforms from supporters of Labour who have stabbed workers in the back each time they were in power. The Tories are about to steal the coats of our backs and Andy wants to convince us how fantastically well reformism has done. Pull the other one. Perhaps he means how fantastically well the rich have done out of successive Labour governments – that is the legacy of reformists in power.

  285. “The Bolsheviks legalised gay sex and marriage”

    Ray, I didn’t know men could marry each other in post-1917 Russia. I’d love to read about that. Where should I start?

  286. Calum on said:

    Given the quality of some of the comments, & reference to sects & cults, I’m reminded of the thoughtful considerations of Dennis Tourish & Hal Draper.

    Tourish, a veteran of Irish Militant (6 years a full-timer), wrote “Political Intransigence, Democratic Centralism, & Cultism”. It’s at whatnextjournal dot co dot uk (sorry, but Andy’s told me the spam filter won’t allow me to do it as a link), access is via the index.

    (I’ll do the Draper as separate comment as I don’t know if this comment will be accepted.)

  287. Calum on said:

    The pieces by Draper are at marxists dot org (again, as Andy told me, not creating a link may allow this comment to appear). They are “Toward a New Beginning – On Another Road: The Alternative of the Micro-Sect” (1971) & “Anatomy of the Micro-Sect” (1973).

    It would be useful to step back from the current Scottish debacle & consider the predominant organisational form & practices of far left groups. I suggest to Andy & co. that a thread be started on this, perhaps starting with the Tourish as it considers the more extreme form. (Although I judge they’re usually more like a sect.)

  288. Vanya on said:

    Ray- If you take the SWP’s position on the USSR as a starting point, the Russian revolution failed, and it is completely pointless banging on about positive achievements (even if you are accurate about them) if they were then reversed a few years later, if you are then going to dismiss achievements under Social Democracy which have survived.

    The ironic thing is that when capitalism was being restored in Russia you were calling it a ‘step sideways’, while urging people to resist privatisation in Britain.

  289. Don't worry Sandy on said:

    (330) & (331) Hey Sandy, I reckon G’s wife secretly wants to get stuck in a lift with you. Otherwise, why would she bring it up in the first place?

  290. tony collins on said:

    This “gay marriage” stuff has ruined my political compass anyway.

    I’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number of gay people putting “married” in their profiles on social networking sites, so I assumed that levels of repression had rocketed and gay people were being forced back into the closet.

    It was obviously cos of the Muslims, so I was about to join the EDL, get “Muslim-free zone” stickers printed up and start posting about extremism, when I realised it’s actually all the fault of Tatchell and some European court or other.

    That is why marriage is bad: It makes me think there are more hot closeted straight men out there than there really are.

  291. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    #319. Perhaps so, but the left has been on the back foot for the last two decades, contradictions within capitalism or not. This has been particularly noticeable in Europe, most recently with the Finnish elections, in which the left were nowhere but an unpleasant-sounding radical right party called the “True Finns” made dramatic gains.
    Social dissatisfaction is bound to grow. But it can go in several directions, including even fascism.

  292. Jonny Mac on said:

    “The Bolsheviks legalised gay sex and marriage”

    Snort.

    Oh Martin, I mean Ray, the Bolesheviks are supposed to be the one historical group that rrrrrevolutionaries like yourself know something about!

  293. Sh** for brains. on said:

    (335) If something is decriminalised, doesn’t this mean it is legalised?!

  294. # No it doesn’t. Decriminalization means the act does not attract a criminal sanction but is still subject to intervention from the law.
    For example smoking cannabis is decriminalized in Holland but if the cops see you smoking it on the street they have a legal right to tell you to put it out.
    As far as homosexuality is concerned it means you are not likely to get arrested for engaging in homosexual activity but the things like marriages, inheritance, child custody etc that may flow from such relationships are not recognised by the law.

  295. “Ray, I didn’t know men could marry each other in post-1917 Russia. I’d love to read about that. Where should I start?”

    Typical of you to assume it was between men…

    “A 1927 legal case provides another instance. It involved a woman who had lived as a man since the revolution, for which she had been an enthusiastic activist. She had married another woman in 1922. The court recognised her marriage as “legal, because concluded by mutual consent”.
    It is remarkable that Soviet Russia recognised a same-sex marriage in the 1920s when you consider that same-sex civil partnerships only became legal in Britain in December 2005.”

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=10491

    Next!

  296. lone nut on said:

    #345 If the case was in 1927 doesn’t that testify to the enlightened nature of Stalinism rather than the brand of Bolshevism the SWP espouse?

  297. #346 I’m sure you’re trying to be clever, but you don’t make sense. In 1927 the post-revolutionary Soviet penal code was still in force and although under attack most judgements were still made in line with it. Enlightened Stalinism finally shut the legal door on homosexuality in 1933.

  298. lone nut on said:

    “In 1927 the post-revolutionary Soviet penal code was still in force”
    Not true, a new penal code was introduced in 1926 so the judgement would have been in line with that.

  299. But not a code that affected the parts relevant to homosexuality. So the judgement was made in line with the post-revolutionary policy. In some republics there *was* legislation against cross-dressing and homosexuality introduced from 1923-7, but not in the central criminal code.

    I honestly have no idea what point you’re trying to make. That Stalinism was enlightened and more progressive than post-revolutionary Bolshevism because they hadn’t yet repealed all the laws by 1927?

  300. lone nut on said:

    “not a code that affected the parts relevant to homosexuality.”
    There were no parts relevant to homosexuality. The Tsarist criminal code was abolished as a whole, including the ban on homosexuality. No “right to homosexuality” was introduced in the Soviet codes.
    “That Stalinism was enlightened and more progressive than post-revolutionary Bolshevism because they hadn’t yet repealed all the laws by 1927″
    As I say there weren’t any laws to repeal. The judgement on same sex marriage, which is hailed by Ray as an example of Bolshevik enlightenment, in fact took place in the period of Thermidorian reaction, and it wasn’t based on any legal precedents established prior to that. My point is to refute stupid attempts to rewrite history in the light of the modern far left’s priorities. To pretend that there is some intrinsic connection between ultra leftism and enlightened views on homosexuality, or between Stalinism and everything nasty, is just ahistorical. It was Durutti’s anarchists, not the Stalinists, who shot gays during the Spanish Civil War. And the CPGB had a much more enlightened view of homosexuality than the Militant or the WRP.

  301. Incidently, the most enlightened government in the modern era towards pioneering recognition of same gender sexual and romantic relationships was arguably Erich Honecker’s.

    Honecker is someone who would not have objected to being caled a Stalinist.

  302. Luke Ivory on said:

    A nice way to end the thread. The similarities between reformists and Stalinists are eloquently expressed in Andy’s love of the GDR. The ‘twin evils’ should not be allowed to hold back the owrkers moevement any longer.

  303. Red Robbo's mate on said:

    Ah yes,all those workers being held back by the “evil Stalinists” (358). What a tedious, juvenile note on which to end this thread.
    I think 9.36 pm must have been Luke’s bed-time. Sweet dreams, Luke.
    Perhaps in the morning you can tell us what’s been preventing the workers from following the Trotskyist vanguard since, say, the early 1990s.

  304. The Bunk on said:

    “Perhaps in the morning you can tell us what’s been preventing the workers from following the Trotskyist vanguard since, say, the early 1990s.”

    The legacy of Stalinism? The end of history? Nintendo?

  305. Luke Ivory on said:

    I thought juvenile behaviour was obligatory on this site. If believing that Stalinists have played a dreadful role in the history of the working class movement is juvenile, then I plead guilty to being infantile. Night night Tankies, don’t let the Trotskyist bed bugs bite.

  306. To conclude more than a week has now passed and rumours now abound in the blogosphere that a number of the resignations have been withdrawn. Has it all been a storm in the cap of a screw top bottle of diet irn bru?

    Award from best political contribution to thread not shrouded in default ad nauseum repetitions of left-sectariana or philosophically bankrupt personalised smears, attacks and hate filled projectile vomit goes to post #226.

  307. Anonymous on said:

    Did you see that that idiot bambery and his attack dog pete ramand were speaking at the counterforum yesterday?
    No doubt this was their plan all along. They were just waiting in the swp to throw our organisation into turmoil and then join rees and german. What a disgrace.

  308. won't get fooled again on said:

    Apologies for being late on this, but i have to say something to ‘Taggart’ or should that be you Chris B.

    Your comments re the Offu cheque being effectively irrelevant re the Respect crisis are simply nonsense. I, like many others, had to defend Respect from attacks from left and right alike, due the almighty lapse of judgement on John Rees’ and others behalf in first accepting the cheque, then only late in the day, acknowleding their balls up.

    Moreove, your comments about the lack of swp members involvement in building the anti war movement are similarly,

    cack. How can u write such guff? The reason the Swp enjoyed huge respect, no pun intended, re Stop the War, was precisely due to the massive involvent of swp members right from the start of Stop the War. Your inference that it was otherwise is bull and u know it. You sound to me like you are trying to rewrite history to justify your turn against the swp. That Lindsey German andf John Rees now physically stop swp members from entering the Counterfire mtg in London the other week shows a strange

    attitude to being open and a deep nervousness about being debated with re Counterfire’s politics. It’s the sort of behaviour worthy of a sect, no group who is assured in their politics would bar people other socialists from their mtgs, shame on Rees/German and the others who witnessed their filthy behaviour and said/did nothing.

    What sort of organisation have u joined , comrades?

  309. john l on said:

    to the ninny at 364. bambery’s accusation is obviously that swp has had a sectarian attitude toward stw recently – which is undoubtedly true.

  310. carry on capitalism on said:

    who in the right mind would touch the swp with a 25 foot barge pole?

  311. Anonymous on said:

    Clearly the party line wass too “Submit Comment” on Socialist Unity denigrating Chris Bambery and everything he may ever have stood for. The fact meanwhile that the SWP continues too hemorrhage many of it’s most respected and established leaders is hidden from the party rank and file. Healy clearly wasn’t the only one to employ such a well worn schema.

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