SWP special conference: internal pre-conference documents

So much of the Socialist Workers Party’s (SWP) internal dealings have been published in the last few months, it almost seems rude not to publish the document that’s just been sent to all SWP members in the run-up to the conference this Sunday. Note that the bulletin is only being published after the bulk of pre-conference delegate elections have taken place. Click on the cover to read the document. In addition, Charlie Kimber sent out a separate document from Sheffield SWP in the mail-out. Click here to read the Sheffield SWP document (Charlie sent it as a Word document but I’ve converted it to PDF so that you naughty, naughty people can’t change it).

SWP special conference march 2013 internal bulletin

707 comments on “SWP special conference: internal pre-conference documents

  1. Jara Handala on said:

    Stuart, on the other SWP thread this evening, in the last hour or so, I left you a couple of questions, about (1) your own District Aggregate, & (2) the PCB piece by Andy (Hackney) quoting Paris T, one of the expelled Facebook Four, who said, “Sick of paranoid Facebook conversations. We’re in the SWP, not North Korea” (p.46).

    http://socialistunity.com/and-there-are-more-swp-sexual-abuse-scandals-to-come/

    And thanx SU team for both opening a new thread & posting the Sheffield document.

  2. Jara Handala on said:

    Stuart:

    Andy (Hackney) has a touching point: he quotes Paris, one of the expelled Facebook Four, who ended the interchange that got them expelled by saying, “Sick of paranoid Facebook conversations. We’re in the SWP, not North Korea”.

    Andy then says, “Sadly it appears the CC has decided we are in fact in North Korea”.

    Which reinforces the point he had just made: “Whether online or in person, comrades are entitled to a degree of privacy in their lives – the hypersuspicion towards the membership from the leadership and the belief it should spy in this way owes more to the Stalinist bureaucracies than to any reading of the IS tradition. In short, this behaviour should be ceased” (page 46).

    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

    Stuart, any idea how the CC got a copy of their private conversation? Has the CC got spies in your branch as well?

  3. Calvin on said:

    This first-names-only attempt at security on their bulletin is a half-baked. It might provide anonymity for John and Jane, but it ain’t doing much for poor old Xanthe (nc and South London) and Lovedeep (West London).

  4. Sam64 on said:

    Mm – couldn’t be arsed reading the thing this time of night. A little find search for ‘leak’ + ‘leaked’ produced a combined total of 43 hits. ‘The lifeblood of democratic centralism’ looks like a lot of fun..

  5. Jara Handala on said:

    That Sheffield statement is the pits: it talks down to the students, disparages them, patronises them, & exalts that fictitious homogeneous ‘[IS/SWP] tradition’ these people always go on about.

    It’s in the vein of the motion Princess Anna Gluckstein & Alan W were going to put to the Tottenham branch but withdrawn after the CC made it plain it was taking things too far to cut the students off from membership.

    But if Cde. Chaplin goes to the trouble of giving this Sheffield garbage national circulation then it shows the Lynchers’ determination to set the tone for The Glorious Tenth: all guns blazing at the turkey shoot.

    Those students who remain – & their elders – will have a lot of grovelling & self-debasement to subject themselves to. But who said it was easy trying to oppose, in whatever half-hearted way, the CC & the tradition of Cliffite supremacy? ‘Ave it!

  6. Nicked From Phils site on said:

    Tottenham Proposal

    ‘Taking the long view
    We are now in the 7th year of a worldwide capitalist crisis. The depth
    of the crisis in countries such as Greece is leading to deep
    polarisation between the left and the Fascist right. The UK is in a
    triple dip recession. There are no signs of any serious recovery.
    The history of our party (and of the Bolsheviks and indeed other
    organisations in our tendency) prove the need for a unified, Leninist
    organisation which can provide a revolutionary pole of attraction for
    the working class.

    There is a huge fear amongst our comrades that if we are too hard in holding the positions democratically won at our conference, branches
    and elected national committee we will lose many of the young student members of our organisation. None of us want that to happen. However, we also have to be clear that whilst engaging in a political argument to win and keep as many comrades as possible, we cannot hold on to members at a political price which will fundamentally damage our ability to organise in the working class.
    New students arrive at colleges every year. If we raise the level of politics to fit the present situation the SWP can recruit and develop layers of Marxist students successfully.
    To preserve a revolutionary current in this country for the inevitable struggles ahead we need to ensure that we fight to win all comrades to
    a democratic centralist position in practise as well as in name. And, at the same time, we need to demand and enforce with discipline if
    necessary the right of the majority of members to have decisions respected and our action to be unified. Without that we cannot effectively move forward in this epoch of crises, wars and revolutions.

    Proposed: Anna
    Seconded: Alan
    Tottenham Branch’

    http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/support-for-swp-central-committee.html

  7. Jara Handala on said:

    Nicked From Phils site: Tottenham Proposal
    ‘Taking the long view

    Thanx!!! Nice moniker too!

    But don’t these people make you sick? This crisis has just given them – & everyone else – the chance to see as plain as day who these people really are: the pits, nasty little power-crazy controllers, mean-spirited gossips, . . . I’ll get an ulcer if I carry on too much . . . Their sanctimonious bleating just riles me.

    And then to cap it all Queen Mum Chanie has a piece on the teaching course Crazy Toni had devised to make Marxists out of the chunks of meat (pp.42-3). Jesus. It just gets worse. Donny Osmond Gluckstein co-authors a hatchet piece too: stop the witch-hunt – of Basher.

  8. jim mclean on said:

    Tony Collins:
    The Tottenham motion has been withdrawn.

    Ah but its the thought that counts. I just cannot get into the world view or is it mindset of the SWP. Plus I have never seen so many leaks coming from a Political Party. Even at the height of the SSP split there was nothing like this. Not up on the Respect split but can’t remember anything like this. Meltdown as the SWP face the wrath of the Students Spring perhaps.

  9. Howark Kirk on said:

    I thought the contribution on Page 67 by John (east devon, Somerset & dorset) called is leninism finished? no, but which leninism do we mean? . . . . . . . . . . . .framed many of the issues within the paradigm the Lynch Mob Faction cannot easily dismiss.

    Personally, I thought the lack of support at conference for the mild, but bloody obvious critique to anyone in the party who was not an arse licker, worryingly defensive or naive, of John Molyneux’s some years ago was enough to say this party cannot be what it would like to be.

    And although the disputes are different, and names may have changed in who supports what, the song remains the same.

  10. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    Crumbs. Any chance of an executive summary? The Sheffield doc is good for a laugh though. Women’s Voice, anyone?

  11. Andy Newman on said:

    What surprises me is how few of the contributions seem to acknowledge that the crisis is about the mis handling of a RAPE allegation in the context of an abuse of an unequal power relationship.

    Many of them argue this is *really* about perspectives of growth since the student protests at Mill bank being un fulfilled.

    No it is about minimising the significance of rape

  12. Jara Handala on said:

    Candidate for Passage of the Bulletin:

    “This cuts against our whole tradition. It inevitably opens the door to adaptation and has led to a breakdown of democratic centralism in relation to our student work, to political disorientation on the campuses (particularly after the fees defeat) and a failure to sufficiently cadreise our student comrades”.

    All that was missing was sticking Kermit in the blender too.

    Thanx to Rob (East London) for penning that gem, part of his ‘Class Struggle, Adaptation and the Hollowing Out of a Revolutionary Party’, pp.91-3 (quote at p.92).

    As his sort repeat ‘tradition’ as a mantra I think he deserves a bag of Werther’s Originals – and if he wants to shove ’em up his passage he’s welcome to do so.

    God damn Toy-Town Bolsheviks. As if any of this makes the slightest difference to Joe & Joanna Sixpack as they try to make ends meet.

  13. jack on said:

    I’ve only had time to look over bits of this document so far, but had to smile when I read the bit in the opening CC statement where they criticize those SWP members who refused to defend the DC handling of the rape allegation. The fact that, under a barrage of criticism from a whole range of people including the mainstream press, Socialist Worker has not uttered one word in reply does not suggest to me that the CC were any more confident about discussing or defending this to the outside world than any rank and file member, save perhaps for the most bug-eyed party loyalist.

    I guess that the IDOOP faction will get well and truly trampled over at Sunday’s leadership rally. But that’s not really the point. A significant minority of SWP members are beginning to seriously think and reflect on the way the SWP is structured and where it’s going. A hardcore of party loyalists are clinging blindly to ‘our tradition’ and reject in principle any questioning of it. They are ‘implementing the perspectives’ and ‘building the vanguard party,’ seemingly blind to the fact that if Lenin had been trying to build the Bolsheviks for 40 years without any significant growth or breakthrough he would have no doubt written a pamphlet called “What the fucking hell are we doing, comrades, this is fucking bonkers!” I just don’t see how the two sides can co-exist long term.

    The laughable drivel from Rob (East London)shows what they are up against. Having an open mind or disagreeing with the leadership is ‘political disorientation’, and those guilty of it must be ‘caderised’, that is turned into pliant automatons straining to implement whatever the latest ‘initiative’ is. The far left needs a new direction desperately.

  14. maro on said:

    On no i saw an ex colleague’s name on a pro-cc statement! i can’t believe it! i thought this person was able to think for herself. I’m pretty sure she was. looks like the cc r very persuasive or perhaps people r so desperate to be a part if something they’re prepared to stoop to the depths if rape denial.

  15. brainwash on said:

    Good old Sheffield SWP. ‘Mad Max’ Bowler and friends – couldn’t all be happening to a nicer bunch.

  16. Sam64 on said:

    ‘cadreise’! Had me chuckling – and will no doubt have a few more SWSS members reaching for their coats and dre beats.

  17. Pardeep on said:

    You seem to have a worrying obsession with the internal machinations of the SWP. Is there nothing else that can fill your time, world wide economic collapse, never ending imperial wars, a savage onslaught on the working class, people on benefits, secret courts???

  18. Pardeep: You seem to have a worrying obsession with the internal machinations of the SWP. Is there nothing else that can fill your time, world wide economic collapse, never ending imperial wars, a savage onslaught on the working class, people on benefits, secret courts???

    I’m afraid that the old “Nothing to see here, move along now” ploy is wearing a little thin comrade. This site covers lots of other issues. As the SWP describes itself as THE party, the leadership of the class in waiting etc., it should come as no surprise if the rest of us on the left – who have to work with SWP comrades – take an interest in its very public internal dispute.

  19. Pardeep on said:

    jay blackwood,

    If you say so. By the way I don’t support the SWP, never have done, but this silly leaking of private documents (which often expressley state that they are not for publication and private) just strikes me as very silly and bearing a strong resemblance to a witch hunt. There are a lot of allegations being hurled round, and even given that all our liberties are being slowly taken away from us and people are now being found guilty without even being tried in a court of law, allegations do not equate to guilt.

  20. Pardeep: By the way I don’t support the SWP, never have done,

    Strange phenomenon that on the Intenet, where as we know everyone always feels compelled to tell the truth, all the people agreeing with the SWP are not SWP supporters

  21. wot wot on said:

    The comments about privilege theory and Sheffield students have at least some basis in reality, a lot of Sheffield SWSS do seem to care a lot more about teenage tumblr-style identity politics than class politics.

    That is absolutely not what any of this is about, though. You don’t have to be beholden to privilege theory to be appalled at covering up an (alleged) rape.

  22. Pardeep on said:

    Andy Newman: Strange phenomenon that on the Intenet, where as we know everyone always feels compelled to tell the truth, all the people agreeing with the SWP are not SWP supporters

    Perhaps that is because they can smell the strong stench of a witch hunt?

  23. jim mclean on said:

    tumblr-style identity politics is a horrendous political method that exists in exactly three places:
    1) online,
    2) 1st world universities, and
    3) the non-profit sector (which is, ironically, mostly funded by “cisgendered rich abled white men” using activists as pawns). liberal privilege theories lead no political struggles anywhere, and never will.

    http://selucha.tumblr.com/post/38295434889/tumblr-style-identity-politics-is-a-horrendous#_=_

    Actually never heard of it before. I AM SO LAST CENTURY

  24. Pardeep: Perhaps that is because they can smell the strong stench of a witch hunt?

    And the rest of us have learnt to smell the strong stench of bullshit when it wafts in our direction…
    “Never lie to the class”…Brouhahahahahahaha!

  25. Andy Newman: No it is about minimising the significance of rape

    Andy I don’t think you’ve got this right.

    The people outside the party who are angry are, as you say, angry about the lack of action, and the poor actions, over allegations of rape.

    Inside the party, this has all brought out the general unhappiness with the way the leadership acts like a faction, the way it treats dissenters, the way it doesn’t apply basic leninist doctrine to its own workings. Genuinely, inside the party this is about so much more than allegations of rape.

  26. wot wot: a lot of Sheffield SWSS do seem to care a lot more about teenage tumblr-style identity politics than class politics.

    The Sheffield article was so mealy-mouthed and so sneery, so full of the “we simply are right because we are right, and therefore everyone else is wrong”. If those are the comrades the students are dealing with, it’s no wonder they weren’t “won to the politics”.

    You can clearly see the bile just under the surface, the contempt for people who dare call themselves SWSS members but seem to have other perspectives.

    I read that and thought “well, if you’re the marxists you say you are, you’ve failed badly here”. Even inside the party there is sometimes a need to simply work out the points of agreement and collaborate from there. The party is full of political differences, which should be explored and worked out. It’s part of basic political education.

    So, if the Sheffield students are being pulled in all sorts of directions, first ask “but do we want them as comrades?” and then ask “how can we help them be the best student activists they can be?” – in doing so, and if done in an open and trusting way, you will win them to your politics, if they can be won.

    If they can’t be won, well what does it matter? Seriously, what does it matter? They clearly want to work with you, to be part of your group. I doubt if they’ll want to after reading how much contempt you have for them, but if there’s one thing guaranteed to draw people closer to the party, it’s giving them the space to start truly exploring and developing their politics (which doesn’t mean sending them to re-education camps).

  27. Pardeep: strikes me as very silly and bearing a strong resemblance to a witch hunt. There are a lot of allegations being hurled round, and even given that all our liberties are being slowly taken away from us and people are now being found guilty without even being tried in a court of law, allegations do not equate to guilt.

    I’ll take what you say in good faith. I really think you’ve got this wrong. It’s vital to understand how the SWP sees itself, cos that explains why the rest of us believe that what happens inside the party must not be a secret.

    It sees itself as being the nascent leadership of the working class. It adopts leninist theories which state that the SWP has no interests that are separate from the working class – in other words, there are no secret debates and no secret arguments, because if you hope to lead the working class you have to be in and of it, all the time, always. You’re not outside it.

    We believe that a lot of how the SWP acts is a perversion of some excellent marxist and leninist methods. We believe that this can lead them to act in a parasitic way sometimes, and in a dynamic way at other times.

    Taken on the SWP’s own political beliefs, there shouldn’t be this level of secrecy. The secrecy was born of the idea that socialists are targetted by the state. Well, indeed they are, we are. But keeping internal documents a tight secret a) doesn’t keep them out of the hands of the state and b) perverts your own relationship with the working class.

    Second to all of this is, as activists, what the SWP does can have a major impact on other people. In my union, the actions of the SWP over Respect in 2007 has helped to destroy the organised left, and has had a seriously corrosive effect on my union’s politics. In the stop the war movement, the SWP started refusing to allow supporters of George Galloway to attend events – they even didn’t let him come, as one of the chairs of StW, to the local AGM in his own constituency.

    And the thuggery of Martin Smith has left a number of people being the victims of violence. His bullying has reduced many women to tears. There have been numerous reports over the years of other SWP members physically attacking members of other groups.

    What happens inside the SWP is of interest to others cos a) they claim to be the best-placed people to lead us and b) cos they have a direct, day-to-day impact on other socialists.

    Anyway, I said I would take your words in good faith, but you started off being a sneering wanker to the rest of us. This psychologising – of making out that all we do in our lives is go over SWP documents – is a really nasty way to debate. You’re basically saying that you’re so much better than us. You’ve not got a sociology degree by any chance have you?

    Pardeep, you’re not. You’re not better than me. And I’m not better than you. I’m keeping a lot of plates spinning in my activism, and I move in a world where what the SWP does has an impact. But you felt it was fine to just come on here and make out that we were obsessed.

    So Pardeep, you’re the one who needs to start acting in good faith. You’re the one who needs to consider what it is you need to do – after all, do you really only have time to come here and sneer at people, without even taking on any of the allegations they make? Is that really the best you can do? (See? Not productive, is it?)

    And Pardeep, if you think there’s even the slightest hint of a witch hunt here, then you’ve lost all perspective. The party has this ability to bleat like victims to the outside world. In 2007, while actually trying to destroy Respect and the political lives of dozens of people, they had the gall to say they were victims of a witch hunt. They managed to convince people, despite the only evidence being a few angry emails.

    What’s your evidence for this “witch hunt” now, Pardeep? The fact that large numbers of people are discussing it? Or will you come back and point to the two, maybe (gosh!) three people who’ve said that the dismantling of the SWP would be a good thing?

    There is no witch hunt. What there is, as you’ve demonstrated so well in your posts, is an inability to engage in honest debate without trying to ratchet things up to the point where we all hate each other. You’ve come onto this site and decided to accuse all of us of basically being sad and obsessed, and taking part in a witch hunt. Aside from being wrong and deeply dishonest, what were you hoping to achieve?

    You made no argument. You provided no evidence. You didn’t engage in any way. So I can only conclude that you came here to cause ill-feeling. What was the point of that?

  28. Jara Handala on said:

    jack: A hardcore of party loyalists are clinging blindly to ‘our tradition’ and reject in principle any questioning of it. They are ‘implementing the perspectives’ and ‘building the vanguard party,’ seemingly blind to the fact that if Lenin had been trying to build the Bolsheviks for 40 years without any significant growth or breakthrough he would have no doubt written a pamphlet called “What the fucking hell are we doing, comrades, this is fucking bonkers!”
    #14, 6:29am

    Excellent point, goes to the heart of what does it mean to be a revolutionary in Britain today, what counts as a revolutionary act when the working class & its potential allies consistently & pervasively ignore you. The left of the CP in the UK (or Britain) has never risen above 10000 at any one time – and for present purposes let’s just consider the last 100 years. And in case anyone thinks 10k is a big number that’s 1 in 6000 of the population, say 16 people in a town with a population of 100k, 100000. ‘Nucleus’ may be apposite, of what is something else, self-centred it certainly is.

    One can call oneself a revolutionary, use revolutionary-sounding phrases but what IS a revolutionary act in the present? Probably an effective campaign to get an active union branch, or a union density in Britain of, say, 49%. THAT’S what would be revolutionary today (although obviously in a classical sense that’s just being sub-reformist, ‘just’ changing the relationship of forces, not achieving any improvements thru agreements or legislation). Coz that’s where we’re at, that’s why this morning I called it Toy-Town Bolshevism.

    It’s also of note to appreciate that the membership of the SWP is only one-sixth of what it claims. As I & others have said repeatedly, the official SWP figure is dangerously nominal, an illusion. The latest official figure was given indirectly by the anonymous author of the article in ‘Socialist Worker’ on the January Conference (http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=30285): Cde. Chaplin, as Nat. Sec., “told conference that the SWP had recruited 1,000 people last year”.

    We can use that to update the last more detailed figures, as given by the same Cde. Chaplin in Pre-conference Bulletin #2, Nov 2012 (CC report ‘Building the Party’). As of 25 Oct (perhaps coincidently the Julian date for the Second Russian Rev’n) there were 7597 members, 750 recruited to date in 2012. So 33% more in the last 9 weeks of the year to hit 4 figures for at least the last 5 years? Please. But we’ll let that pass. So let’s assume the membership is now 7597+250 = 7847, & being modest in that SWP sort of way, let’s call it 7800.

    The CC report also says only 32% pay “a regular sub”, so that makes 2496. So you might think that’s a good indication of the members who are interested in doing things for the SWP – but the evidence doesn’t support that belief.

    What are the faction figures? The last Defence figure is 481, as of 3:14pm, last Sunday 24 Feb, up 8 members since 21 Feb, so pretty much plateauing. So let’s be generous & call it 500. http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/idoop_faction_update/IDOOP%20Faction%20Membership%20List.pdf

    And the Lynchers? Well, the one & only List of Shame numbers 500, sent out by Cde. Chaplin 6 days after the CC called the unconstitutional Special Conference (thanx to Cde. Phil, http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.de/2013/02/support-for-swp-central-committee.html). In another example of SWP modesty Cde. Chaplin called it “The first 500 names”. As Tony Collins has related, both sides of the divide have leaked to SU, so one can assume if the Lynchers could inflict on us a List of 600 Shamers they would – even more so if they had THE List of 666 Shamers. But they obviously don’t. The CC has less than 600 supporters.

    So, assume 500+600 = 1100. Regular sub payers = 2500, nominal members = 7800. Both sides in the PCB warn the Party may split so NO member can sit on the fence, but let’s say at most 200 are uncertain who to align with (almost 20% of those already in factions). That makes 1300 who care in ANY way about the SWP.

    Conclusions:

    (1) Perhaps only just over half of regular sub paying members have any interest in the possible split of their organisation; &

    (2) For all intents & purposes SWP membership is only one-sixth of the nominal membership (1300/7800).

    In other words, despite the bombast, perhaps not much more than SPEW.

    And, yes, to echo Jack, any Lenin of today would be preoccupied with What Is To Be Done? How the ‘f’ have we got to this point, almost 50 years after 1968, almost 70 years since the defeat of fascism?

  29. wot wot on said:

    Tony Collins,

    You are of course right, and the Sheffield students’ obsession with privilege theory, identity politics etc certainly did not seem to pose an issue for the SWP until they started questioning the rape cover up. In fact, the Sheffield Against Sexism initiative mentioned in the leaked document if anything seemed like a project aimed at both appealing to this tendency within SWSS and co-opting the not inconsiderable number (relative to the number of swappies) of radical feminists in Sheffield.

  30. Jara Handala on said:

    Forgot to add in (#31, 2:20pm) that Jonathan Neale, co-author of the 2009 Democracy Commission report, ethnographer of Afghans of the early 1970s, children’s author, & teacher of creative writing (the last two providing wonderful qualities & skills for a fine career in the SWP), says, “There are about 3,000 active members of the SWP” (‘Understanding a Serious Situation’, PCB, March 2013, p.85).

    Guess he took the ‘regular sub-paying’ figure of c.2500 & added an arbitrary 20% – and why not? But then if he thinks 3000 are “active members” what sort of commitment, involvement, causes only about 43% of them (the 2 faction figures + 200) to care whether the organisation splits into two or not?

    As Lovedeep put it a few pages earlier in the title of their co-written piece, ‘Stop Digging’.

  31. John Grimshaw on said:

    #31 “And, yes, to echo Jack, any Lenin of today would be preoccupied with What Is To Be Done? How the ‘f’ have we got to this point, almost 50 years after 1968, almost 70 years since the defeat of fascism?2

    How indeed. Any thoughts?

  32. As the left’s own Invisible Woman, there’s probably no point in repeating myself, but here goes.

    When I saw the print-outs in late 1997, it was shockingly far fewer than 2,000 once you took out all the multiple-inclusions and people who, when you did the ring-rounds, told you to “fuck off, I keep telling you, take my name off your list!”. I did inform Rees and Pat among plenty others — not to mention, later, the charming Mr Neale — that I found the double, triple and quadruple counting and massaging of figures badly in need of a clean up, especially as we weren’t supposed to lie to the class. But when I offered to do this, did they let me? Or get someone else to do it? ‘Fraid not.

    I was surprised to see in the internal bulletin that Rees was accusing them of lying about the figures at the time of his split as he knew about it straight from me as far back as 1997 and wouldn’t let anyone correct them.

    Who can forget how they struggled to get around 1,100 or so to sign the Very Important loyalty pledge concerning Respect, which is another method of estimating numbers. Plus another senior member pointed out to me how attendance at Camden Town Hall rallies and conferences had visibly shrunk as the hall plus the balcony used to be full and was far from it around 2000 when the balcony was barely used.

    Of course, they could have tripled membership since the millennium but I kind of doubt it.

  33. Phil on said:

    I don’t support the SWP, never have done, but this silly leaking of private documents … just strikes me as very silly and bearing a strong resemblance to a witch hunt

    Pardeep, who do you think is being witch-hunted? I read the document headed “Stop the witch-hunt” and was surprised to find that the authors think a witch-hunt is being organised against a single person, who I’m sure I don’t need to name. Is that what you had in mind? If not, who?

  34. Charlie "Special" K on said:

    Listen, you sectarians! We have more members than you do so “F” off!

    If it wasn’t for them pesky kids we call SWSS(with all their idiotic fantasies), we’d have a party of 8000 hardline Bolsheviki ready to take on state power, just like the original Mark 1 Bolsheviki.

    You sectarians don’t aid the process by criticising and smearing us with lies and distortions.

    The issue at stake is not rape, it is class and Leninism. You seem to have forgotten that!

  35. Jara Handala on said:

    John Grimshaw: How indeed. Any thoughts?
    #34, 4:46pm

    Well, John, I know it’s not a socialist strategy thread, but let me watch Utd.-R Madrid, then I’ll make a few points, & then we all might want to discuss the topic, obviously in the context of a gratifying democen awakening within the SWP which has occurred without anyone mentioning the other ‘L’, a double ‘L’ in fact, Lars Lih. But, please, kick off yourself, if you want; after all, during the Cultural Rev’n the banner round the basketball court said, ‘Participation, not competition!’.

    Anna Chen: Who can forget how they struggled to get around 1,100 or so to sign the Very Important loyalty pledge concerning Respect, which is another method of estimating numbers.
    #35, 5:42pm

    Excellent evidence, what’s called in the philosophy of science a crucial experiment. That’s why I focused on the publicly available faction figures, Love & Hate in the Time of Competition.

  36. Todor Zhivkov on said:

    What might be a surprise for people looking at this pre conference report who have no membership or identification with the SWP, is how absolutely apolitical the whole document is . Contributers talk the code names and acronyms of politics – but mostly it boils down to personal hobbyhorses, sectarian points, personal behavioral observations of people without being in any position to effect change. Perhaps many outsiders may have realized the form on internal political life was juvenile, but did we realize it also devoid of content.

    Eric Hobsbawn remarked that for all the highs and lows of CPGB life, one thing that kept him there was the quality of intellectual inquiry from the trade unionists to the History Group specialist.

    On the evidence contained in the Notes here, Britain’s largest ostensibly marxist group is a country mile from that. SWP members of all sides should consider enriching there political lives.

  37. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jara Handala: What are the faction figures? The last Defence figure is 481, as of 3:14pm, last Sunday 24 Feb, up 8 members since 21 Feb, so pretty much plateauing. So let’s be generous & call it 500.
    And the Lynchers? Well, the one & only List of Shame numbers 500, In another example of SWP modesty Cde. Chaplin called it “The first 500 names”. As Tony Collins has related, both sides of the divide have leaked to SU, so one can assume if the Lynchers could inflict on us a List of 600 Shamers they would. But they obviously don’t.

    The latest figures the IDOOP are claiming is 526 signatories.
    And the CC statement has 511 signatories.

    So according to this, the IDOOP Faction are slightly ahead on numbers heading into the last few days.

  38. jim mclean on said:

    As the Revolutionary party shouldn’t they just be icing each other. No, its we’ll overthrow the state with our 511 signatures as the Class come rallying to our righteous cause.

  39. Good grief… This Sheffield SWP document is has made my blood boil! Where to start to dissect this appalling document. Sorry but the authors don’t know their socialist feminism from their radical feminism not their separatism from their autonomous organisation.

    OK… here goes:

    Did SAS actually talk to the women who work in these lap dancing clubs? Which, to be honest is should be part of your strategy. It’s about showing solidarity with those women in the lap dancing clubs not standing outside a lap dancing club and shouting.

    “was a political pull towards the separatism of Reclaim the Night and other feminist ideology and discussion, epitomised by the “slutwalks” internationally and the repulsion of the treatment of the woman involved in the Strauss- Khan case.”

    Why is it “separatism” to confront your own oppression? Slutwalk demos had men on there (the big one in London did).

    “After discussion with the District Committee we organised a caucus with the students to discuss our approach to fighting sexism and oppression. We agreed that we would argue for open meetings and activity, to link the issues they had raised to the Council cuts which had recently been announced, particularly those in caring services and grants to voluntary sector organisations, which would have a disproportionate effect on women in the city.”

    What was the content of this discussion? The start of the document talks about lap dancing clubs and now it swings around to council cuts. What was the political project? What were the demands? What were the political dynamics? What was the point?

    “We found some of the women at these meetings, who described themselves as feminists,”

    Oh the humanity! Feminists! FEMINISTS! Quick get on the phone… comrades, we have found a new specie!

    “It was clear that there was some confusion around feminist politics,
    understandably, as we have seen little campaigning and activity in the last few years around these issues.”

    Really? What issues may these be as the authors aren’t clear themselves? Actually there has been feminist activity on many issues around the country that’s if the SWP had looked around.

    “But what was also clear was that ‘third wave feminism’ meant something different to each comrade, many calling themselves ‘feminists’ (men and women) and arguing that patriarchy could embody a socialist method of fighting oppression. Whilst some had read feminist arguments, few had read any of our writings in this area, which we actively encouraged.”

    Don’t think the SWP are clear as to what feminism actually is themselves, they usually have a distorted and rather caricatured understanding. I mean, how dare these activists be reading feminist texts, thinking for themselves and holding ideas different to the SWP… Yeah, I bet they did encourage them to read their…erm… pamphlets.

    “Within a couple of days, after some criticism on Facebook of the demo
    route not being accessible and men shouting too loudly and being too prominent, an internalised and personalised argument developed, showing their lack of confidence in arguing our politics.”

    Well… Duh! If you don’t put forward a clear and concise project, demands and ideas then people will be pissed off. It looks more and more like a “front” campaign.

    “We have continued to argue for our tradition of fighting for women’s liberation since then, e.g. holding a women’s liberation day school in Sheffield last year, a regional one in Leeds and annual international women’s day meetings. We discussed Marxism and oppression at a recent educational attended by nearly 30 members. Unfortunately many of the students haven’t come along to these events and continue to be pulled by “socialist feminist” and identity politics, privilege theory, and argue that all men benefit from women’s oppression.”

    OMG! People thinking for themselves! Perish the thought! How dare these people hold ideas contrary to the SWP… And …. if these ideas are not curtailed then feminism will be creeping into the movement! Comrades… inoculate yourselves against this creeping feminism by repeating the mantra of “workerism”

    There’s no actual critique of socialist feminism (why the commas?) nor privilege theory, identity politics or whether men benefit. Instead there’s this sneery contempt in the tone towards people who hold these views. Hey comrades, the only way is the SWP…. You are empty vessels waiting to be filled with workerist goodness and the line from the leadership!

    “It is still important that we argue for our tradition of fighting oppression both inside the party and whilst working with people with often very different politics, in united front work. We have showed on Sheffield that our ideas are received well amongst feminists who invariably willing to work alongside us, as long as our members understand and are confident to put these arguments forward.”

    In other words, piss off a lot of feminists and alienate a whole layer of people. Brilliant! How NOT to build a campaign!

  40. wot wot on said:

    HarpyMarx:
    Did SAS actually talk to the women who work in these lap dancing clubs? Which, to be honest is should be part of your strategy. It’s about showing solidarity with those women in the lap dancing clubs not standing outside a lap dancing club and shouting.

    Sadly, they didn’t talk to the women who work in the lap dancing clubs. During the 2012 ‘Sheffield Against Sexism’ march it was made quite clear that the participants were against sex clubs as institutions and so were uninterested in helping lap dancers unionise. Characteristically, the AWL in Sheffield made as much out of this as possible.

    As to why they were so uninterested in unionising the women, I have no idea, but it does strike me as being pretty Rad Fem that they didn’t.

  41. @43

    Indeed. It easy to demonstrate outside rather than talk to the women inside the clubs and about joining the GMB, for example. I have seen this before regarding the SWP a kind of aping of radical feminism, which is utterly ironic. Along with the SWP’s bigging up of “raunch culture” and the awful “Female Chauvinist Pigs” by Ariel Levy. SWP shoulda read Lynne Segal’s excellent critique of said book.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/jun/28/anewsexualmanifestonothan

  42. Dem O'Cracy on said:

    I feel a little sad, reading the various ‘internal analyses’ documents etc. All that energy, including the energy of good folk like [for example] Anna C who clearly gave so much of their talents and commitment.

    The SWP have always helped introduce interested people, young and old, to Marxist thought, however folk come towards that way of thinking – experience, general look at the world, rebellion, personality-type-need-to-belong etc.

    And that is not a bad thing, not at all.

    But why won’t they face up to/look into the mIrror?

    Every institution – the Police, Care Homes, the Church, the BBC, political parties have had the spotlight cast over them, over the last 30 or so years, on these precise issues.

    So why not the SWP? Why not? A thousand times “Why not”?

    It’s the self-righteousness that I can’t abide.

    They perceive themselves to be beyond reflection or criticism.

    Like fundamentalists the world over, they need a critical eye and the pointing towards something kinder/better.

  43. jock mctrousers on said:

    ‘privilege theory’? Is that a theory that some people are privileged? Is that news? Or a theory, for that matter?

  44. Jara Handala on said:

    Karl Stewart: The latest figures the IDOOP are claiming is 526 signatories.
    And the CC statement has 511 signatories.

    #40, 7:32pm

    Karl, can you give links for these 2 lists?

    The list Cde. Phil posted Friday, 15 Feb, on his blog was 501 names (an email from Cde. Kimber to SWP members), which plus the 11 CC members (after Mark B resigned) makes 512 Lynchers. Is your 511 an augmentation of Phil’s list of 501?

    Thanx.

  45. John R on said:

    “It is alleged that the line of questioning faced by W was inappropriate. There was one question asked of W that has been contentious, and the disputes committee made clear at conference that it concerned clarifying a piece of written evidence brought to the dispute. Contrary to some claims that have circulated W was never asked about the clothes she wore or her drinking habits.” – SWP CC statement pg. 6

    “Sexual history is not relevant in rape cases and there is no place for such attitudes in a revolutionary party. Yet in this case the comrade making the accusation faced questioning about past relationships, about gossip concerning relationships with other male comrades and was asked to account for the fact that she went for a drink with the comrade she accused. She was not told why she was being asked these questions even though she had been assured that she would not be questioned on gossip and was also assured that any questions asked of her after the DC interviewed the accused, would be put into context for her. She felt humiliated by these questions, and told her witnesses that “they think I am a slut who asked for it”.” – Simon and Sadia (Birmingham), rita and Viv (hackney), comrade W, Jen (east london) Pg.47.

    Here, the SWP CC haven’t explicitly denied that Comrade W was asked about her past sexual relationships but have denied outright that she was asked about drinking and the clothes she wore.

    The SWP CC seem to be wanting to ignore the sexual history questioning accusation and call W a liar over the other points.

  46. Judith Orr is at it again… “How can women win liberation”

    “Feminism has always been a broad church with many different political currents. But it does not see the fundamental divide in society as between classes. Many feminists see the most important divide in society as between men and women”.

    Er.. obviously not heard of socialist feminism… Though I suppose, radical feminism… socialist feminism… What’s the difference!

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=30740

  47. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman: No it is about minimising the significance of rape

    Here is a response to a recent rape allegation from one of your co-administrators….

    ‘The truth is that rape has become such a politically loaded issue in this country it is impossible to have an honest discussion about it without feeling like you’re walking through a minefield of hysteria and semantic traps, designed to trip you up if you dare deviate from the path of an unwritten but no less rigid consensus, which is that any man accused of rape under any circumstances is guilty until proven innocent – with anyone who suggests it should be the other way round no better than a rapist him or herself’

    I cannot help feeling that SU have no right to claim the moral high ground here and also that your attitude to different cases is highly selective.

  48. stuart,

    The problem with that stuart is that it’s a bit of a double edged sword, I agreed with the line the SWP took on the Assange allegations. Just because people do amazing things in the public sphere doesn’t mean they can’t be shits, and the allegations need to be looked into by the competent authorities- which wouldn’t be a group of long serving Wikileaks militants. I was equally appalled by Galloway’s comments.

    But equally I have looked on from afar with growing horror at the series of events that have unfolded in the SWP as you fail to apply your stated politics to your own inner party ‘culture’ and practices.

    Don’t look here, look here may be a useful rhetorical tool in a bar but it doesn’t wash in the age of search engines. How the SWP will recruit anyone who knows how to type socialist workers party into Google will be a challenge from now on.

    For the sake of your own party’s future a little more give and a little less take might be a wise decision.

  49. No one on said:

    John R,
    Why don’t people just read the transcript it is all in there? W was apparently asked about her sexual history, while X, the second women to make a complaint, was asked about drinking habits.

  50. stuart on said:

    Pete Shield: The problem with that stuart is that it’s a bit of a double edged sword, I agreed with the line the SWP took on the Assange allegations.

    I’m pleased to hear that, the SWP did argue that the allegations against Assange should be taken seriously. On this site I was acused of pandering to feminism and a whole thread was devoted to the SWP ‘descent into liberalism’. SU most certainly did not cover themselves in glory.

    But I maintain that the SWP have been consistent. The accuser did not want to go to the police. That is a choice to be respected- we know that the police actively persaude women to withdraw allegations in order improve their conviction rates. But when asked to by the complainant, the SWP activated its own complaints procedure.

  51. Stuart,
    Actually this just comes across as opportunism and hypocrisy. Consistency? You argue that the two women in the Assange case should be taken seriously yet the woman comrade was subjected to a kangaroo court. Also, on the Assange I have been subjected to a load of sexist twaddle because I believe Assange should face his accusers .. I have been accused as being some ‘CIA man hating stooge’ to some utterly appalling deeply misogynist comments on my blog that will not see the light if day precisely coz they are offensive.

    I mean, the latest from comrade Orr in SW certainly pissed me off beyond belief, reductionist and workerist along with a sneering contempt towards feminism. And a deliberate misunderstanding of patriarchy. Just looks like the leadership is spoon feeding a load of crud to its membership.

    If you a more enlightened view on women’s oppression read the latest post on my blog http://harpymarx.wordpress.com

  52. I suppose, radical feminism… socialist feminism… What’s the difference!

    I teach this stuff, by way of background to talking about violence against women – a bit embarrassing as a middle-aged bloke to be standing up in front of a class explaining feminism, but better than not having it explained. What gets me is, it’s not hard. Liberal feminism: Helena Kennedy, Joan Bakewell, pretty uncontroversial these days. Socialist feminism: Spare Rib, Sheila, not so much of it about these days. Rad fem: Germaine, Andrea, lastingly controversial, please nobody mention Suzanne Moore. Bish bosh, job done, ten minutes max. Anyone who’s politically active and hasn’t got it by now has to be trying to avoid getting it.

  53. Manzil on said:

    HarpyMarx: Stuart,
    Actually this just comes across as opportunism and hypocrisy. Consistency? You argue that the two women in the Assange case should be taken seriously yet the woman comrade was subjected to a kangaroo court. Also, on the Assange I have been subjected to a load of sexist twaddle because I believe Assange should face his accusers .. I have been accused as being some ‘CIA man hating stooge’ to some utterly appalling deeply misogynist comments on my blog that will not see the light if day precisely coz they are offensive.

    I mean, the latest from comrade Orr in SW certainly pissed me off beyond belief, reductionist and workerist along with a sneering contempt towards feminism. And a deliberate misunderstanding of patriarchy. Just looks like the leadership is spoon feeding a load of crud to its membership.

    If you a more enlightened view on women’s oppression read the latest post on my blog http://harpymarx.wordpress.com

    Oooh, look at Harpy, with her enlightened views! Check your enlightenment privilege, yo. 🙂

    The truly shocking thing is the attempts to discuss feminism have been the only substantive ‘political’ bits in the entire pre-conference material, breaking away from rehashing the SWP’s history or the nature of a truly orthodox party organisation etc. Yet the only serious ideological discussion, on socialism and feminism, is dull as dishwater and absolutely shoddy in its representation of the issues.

    And if you’d just publish my appalling deeply misogynist comments, I wouldn’t have to keep sending them, would I! God. It’s so unfair. It took bloody ages to write those threats in faecal matter.

    Phil: a bit embarrassing as a middle-aged bloke to be standing up in front of a class explaining feminism

    This image will stay with me all day. Thank you. Truly. 😀

  54. “Please no one mention Suzanne Moore”

    Best article I have ever read by her was in a book called, “Unwrapping Masculinity” circa 1988. Very good piece slagging off postmodernism.

  55. I will check my privilege next time I look in the mirror, Manzil 😉

    Should have known it was you sending me those shocking comments.

    Indeed much of this debate is dull as ditchwater when it shouldn’t be, the whole reductionist and workerist arguments are so static and dull. Read my blog for some exciting views!! 😉

  56. Graham Day on said:

    HarpyMarx: Just looks like the leadership is spoon feeding a load of crud to its membership.

    Always give the audience what they want, and they’ll come back for more…

  57. “But when asked to by the complainant, the SWP activated its own complaints procedure.”

    Yes, and she was traumatized by the result. Is anyone in the SWP who has a serious complaint, particularly of a sexual nature and particularly if it’s against a ‘leading’ member, more or less likely to have confidence in the complaints procedure after this?

  58. jack: Yes, and she was traumatized by the result. Is anyone in the SWP who has a serious complaint, particularly of a sexual nature and particularly if it’s against a ‘leading’ member, more or less likely to have confidence in the complaints procedure after this?

    Is it true that the WRP’s disputs committee back in 1985 investigated an attempted murder of Healy by two full timers?

  59. stuart on said:

    jack,

    I work with trauma and it is a complex subject. Moreover, I believe it to be grossly inappropriate to draw convenient and politically loaded assumptions from such a sensitive case.

  60. Stuart, that’s the point nobody really knows how this woman comrade was treated. During the debate regards to the Disputes Committee report there were comrades from the floor contradicting how the comrade was treated. And because the SWP just seem to think that this an internal issue and anyone who questions this gets criticised who knows what the true is re how this woman comrade was treated. The problem is this has an impact on the whole of the Left and it betrays the class.

    Stuart, you say you know about the trauma of rape and the consequences you will know then how being questioned by individuals, who have no legal authority nor expertise, will bring the experience back and reliving the trauma. How was she questioned? Sensitivity shown? The fact there were apparently rape counsellors on that DC makes it all so much worse…

  61. Jara Handala on said:

    Andy Newman: Is it true that the WRP’s disputs committee back in 1985 investigated an attempted murder of Healy by two full timers?

    #64, 11:58am

    Yes, according to Norman Harding’s memoir, ‘Staying Red’:

    “During the three-month cadre school the comrade in charge of the school advised one of the girl students to go for a pregnancy test as she was concerned about her condition. The comrade in charge of the school was then charged with lowering the moral standing of the school and destroying three months of political work.

    Another example was when the manager of the school was called down to Healy’s bedroom where he complained that the sheets were damp. He left in the middle of the night to go back to London. The next day the two comrades were summoned to London to attend the Political Committee and were charged with trying to kill him — such as catching a cold, etc.”

    Norman was one of the three members of the WRP Control Commission that investigated Aileen Jennings’ allegations of sexual abuse by Healy, & their report includes the above quote about the murder charge. (This Control Commission performed the functions of the SWP’s Disputes Cttee. – which itself formerly had that name.)

    http://stayingred.wordpress.com/staying-red-html-version/#Ch16

  62. jack on said:

    Stating that this has damaged the reputation of the SWP is hardly a politically loaded assumption. Rather, it’s more a statement of the blindingly obvious. Ample evidence of that is given in your party’s own ‘internal’ bulletin, from speakers refusing to take part in Marxism to invitations to speak at events being withdrawn from SWP speakers.

    Your glorious leadership, forged in the white heat of class struggle, has instructed party members to simply pass on the message that the matter is now closed. Until it was faced with a massive internal rebellion, it refused to even acknowledge that it is under attack, much less defend itself from any of the central allegations being made against it in its publications. Callinicos made a cryptic reference to a “difficult” disciplinary case before going on about Leninism in an article that was directed at its own internal critics rather than the outside world it claims to want to focus on.

    By the way, in response to #64, I’m not sure if that question is directed at me specifically, but I have absolutely no idea what unsavoury things went on inside the WRP.

  63. John R on said:

    Andy Newman: Is it true that the WRP’s disputs committee back in 1985 investigated an attempted murder of Healy by two full timers?

    It seems that feelings were very volatile in the WRP in 1985. Bob Pitt’s writing on this period gives a good overview of how those who were once devoted adherents of Comrade Healy changed their mind. A few weeks later they were aiming to “break his legs” (at the very least!).

    Some choice quotes –

    “In the course of this developing crisis some truly mindless followers of Healy had turned almost overnight into his hysterical enemies.”

    “When members of the Torrance-Healy faction arrived at the Central Committee meeting on 12 October, they found themselves confronted by a mass lobby of Banda-Slaughter supporters. Although this was presented as an exercise of democratic rights by the WRP rank and file, given that only supporters of one faction were present it really amounted to organised intimidation of their political opponents. In the CC meeting itself, Price recounts, ‘there was a kind of lynch atmosphere. People were jumping up and down volunteering to get Healy, bring him here and deal with him now. Tony Banda was screaming at the top of his voice “We are now a military faction”. ”

    http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/pages/Healy/Chap11.html

  64. stuart on said:

    HarpyMarx,

    I’m sorry to hear that you were given a rough ride by people over your stance on the Assange case. I reject the ‘kangaroo court’ slur. Pat Stack chaired the DC, he is evidently not a ‘yes man’ for the CC. I believe very genuine attempts were made to hear the case sensitively.

    The arguments that you raise around feminism in your link appear similar to those addressed by the SWP back in the ‘Women’s Voice’ days. There is a lot of stuff accessible through the SWP website. I’m led to believe that more debate will be forthcoming through the ISJ. For the record, I support the position adopted by the party in the early 1980s, that of seeing class as of primary significance. Labour councils with ‘left’ reputations could easily embrace ‘feminism’ before making cuts rather than stand up to the Tories.

  65. stuart on said:

    HarpyMarx,

    I’m afraid this comes across as another example of opportunistic assumption making. I’m not saying that you wish for this but I do feel it encourages unacceptable gossip mongering. I’m unhappy with that from both a political and professional point of view.

  66. stuart on said:

    jack:
    Stating that this has damaged the reputation of the SWP is hardly a politically loaded assumption. Rather, it’s more a statement of the blindingly obvious.

    The nature of the case was always likely to give ammunition to those inclined to inflict sectarian fuelled damage. The leaking and subsequent publication of the transcript multiplied this irresponsibilty enormously.

  67. stockwellpete on said:

    stuart wrote:

    “I support the position adopted by the party in the early 1980s, that of seeing class as of primary significance.”

    But so did the people who supported Women’s Voice and Flame. It just shows how little that you understand about those debates, Stuart.

  68. “The nature of the case was always likely to give ammunition to those inclined to inflict sectarian fuelled damage. The leaking and subsequent publication of the transcript multiplied this irresponsibilty enormously.”

    This is the point Stuart, do you not understand to many on the Left that this is utterly shocking? Instead you look for excuses to detract from the fact this was a kangaroo court. You need to take a good long look at your own organisation. If another group had behaved like this in the labour movement I bet you would be amongst those criticising yet when it’s your own group………

  69. Democratic Left on said:

    #68 ‘Very good piece slagging off post-modernism.’

    The failure of the organised left to engage productively with post-modernism/post-structuralism is a real failing.

    Maybe why they keep wheeling out Marx, Trotsky and Lenin as some form of oracles.

    There is a lot in the writings of Foucault, Lyotard and even Derrida that is productive to developing a radical alternative to structures of exploitation.

  70. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I support the position adopted by the party in the early 1980s, that of seeing class as of primary significance.
    #70, 5:21pm

    Stuart, the people here are not fools so please don’t treat us in this way.

    You know as well as we do that ALL socialist feminists see class relations as primary in causing the oppression of women in capitalist society: that’s why they’re called socialist feminists, not plain simple feminists.

    That’s not what the closing down of ‘Women’s Voice’ (& ‘Flame’) was about: those projects were terminated coz the SWP leadership majority could no longer tolerate involvement in organisations that were deemed by that leadership majority as too loose for its continuing CONTROL – not, I hasten to add, too loose for rank & file SWP members to be influential. No, it chose to DESTROY vibrant organisations rather than accept weaker influence from the leadership majority, not the SWP as such. And 20 years later, Socialist Alliance, Respect?

    The destruction of ‘Women’s Voice’ & ‘Flame’ was about bureaucratic control from the SWP centre, not “seeing class as of primary significance”.

    Stuart, we were not born yesterday, & we are not impressed by a throw-away phrase.

  71. Manzil on said:

    Democratic Left: There is a lot in the writings of Foucault, Lyotard and even Derrida that is productive to developing a radical alternative to structures of exploitation.

    There’s also an incredible load of bollocks.

    At least Marx didn’t write like he was recovering from a concussion.

    “When classical Christianity speaks of the madness of the Cross, it is merely to humiliate false reason and add luster to the eternal light of truth; the madness of God-in-man’s-image is simply a wisdom not recognized by the men of unreason who live in this world”

    Yeah, all right mate, sure…

  72. Democratic Left on said:

    #77 ‘At least Marx didn’t write like he was recovering from a concussion.’

    Marx simply wrote a predictive theory that failed to predict.

    “When classical Christianity speaks of the madness of the Cross, it is merely to humiliate false reason and add luster to the eternal light of truth; the madness of God-in-man’s-image is simply a wisdom not recognized by the men of unreason who live in this world”

    I think that is just a nicely worded way of summing up Christianity’s belief in human fallibility. I do not see anything particularly controversial or outrageous in it.

  73. Manzil on said:

    Democratic Left: I think that is just a nicely worded way of summing up Christianity’s belief in human fallibility. I do not see anything particularly controversial or outrageous in it.

    It’s neither controversial nor outrageous. It’s pretentious bollocks.

    Christ, you could pick bits at random: “It was in a certain experience of labour that the indissociably economic and moral demand for confinement was formulated. Between labour and idleness in the classical world ran a line of demarcation that replaced the exclusion of leprosy.”

  74. Democratic Left on said:

    #79 I do not see how picking out perfectly reasonable statements and then shouting ‘Look he is mad!’ helps anyone.

    Ironically, Foucault is just writing about how during the development of capitalism madness and its institutions were used to control and confine those on the margins of society, the dissenters and outsiders, and reinforce the enlightenment narrative on the rest of the population.

    An argument very conducive to socialists.

  75. Manzil on said:

    Democratic Left,

    I’ve no disagreement with his argument – like I said, I don’t think it’s controversial or outrageous. Reading it, however, is very much akin to slapping oneself with a sock full of wet sand. I don’t know if it’s just the translation, but damn does French philosophy bring out the repressed philistine in me.

  76. Both Eagleton and Callinicos have ‘engaged’ with post-structuralism. Literary theory cannot escape from looking at people like Wolfgang Iser, Roland Barthes, Jonathan Culler, Genette and more classically Marxist writers like Bakhtin, Macherey and Jameson. I think Marxist lit crit is greatly enriched by these writers.

  77. Jara Handala on said:

    Michael Rosen: I think Marxist lit crit is greatly enriched by these writers.

    How?

    And if you are a SWP member, what’s your view on the current SWP crisis?

  78. Jara Handala on said:

    Michael Rosen: 1) I’m not doing a seminar just now thanks 2)If I was an SWP member that would be an interesting question.

    Being disingenuous demonstrates you are not Michael Rosen the SWP member.

    If you want to be absurd that’s your prerogative, but most people at SU are quite willing to give evidenced reasons for their assertions. But thank you for letting us know.

    I was interested in what you thought was the worth of the ideas & arguments of these writers.

  79. Geoff Collier on said:

    Jara Handala: Stuart, the people here are not fools so please don’t treat us in this way.

    You know as well as we do that ALL socialist feminists see class relations as primary in causing the oppression of women in capitalist society: that’s why they’re called socialist feminists, not plain simple feminists.

    You would call Bea Campbell a socialist feminist I presume? Would you care to hazard a guess as to why, at the end of May 1984, she did not support the miners’ strike?

  80. Jara Handala on said:

    Geoff Collier: Would you care to hazard a guess as to why, at the end of May 1984, she did not support the miners’ strike?

    I’m in no position to guess, sorry.

  81. Democratic Left on said:

    Eagleton, to give him his due, appreciates some postmodernist/post structuralist approaches and is willing to use what is useful while remaining critical. I remember him being quite favourable to Lacan.

    Callincos rather typically indulges in polemic. Though this is in his right as guardian of the one true light.

  82. Mark P on said:

    Lets nail this lie once and for all.

    You won’t find a single article where Bea Campbell didn’t support the Miners Strike of 1984-85.

    What you will find are articles she wrote supporting the miners cause, spotlighting the role of Women against Pit Closures and critical of the NUM leadership and tactics.

    Funnily enough when a leader is leading his members to defeat I tend to think its the duty of socialist, feminists or not, to offer some constructive advice. You might not agree with the advice but that is an entirely different matter to not supporting those in struggle.

    Mark P

  83. Geoff Collier on said:

    jay blackwood: Because she was a lousy Eurocomm socialist feminist, rather than a proper one?

    That’s clearly a subjective viewpoint. Socialist feminism is only what you say it is. I think what you’re evading saying is that not all socialist feminism sees (or saw) class as the primary issue.

  84. why why why on said:

    Mark P: You won’t find a single article where Bea Campbell didn’t support the Miners Strike of 1984-85.

    True

  85. Yeah I think Bea Campbell did support the miners’ strike but in one her books she does write re miners’ strike as the “the cult of masculinity in work and play and politics’ which ‘thrives only in exclusive masonries of men with their secret codes which render women immigrants in their own communities”.

    She obviously didn’t talk to Women Against Pit Closures….

    She may have been a Eurocom but her book on Cleveland was actually not that bad a book.

    She’s got worse over the years mind you.

  86. stuart on said:

    stockwellpete/Jara Handala,

    Whilst socialist feminists may well claim to uphold the primacy of class, in practice the lure of separatism militates against a class based approach towards women’s liberation.

  87. Geoff Collier on said:

    Mark P:
    Lets nail this lie once and for all.

    You won’t find a single article where Bea Campbell didn’t support the Miners Strike of 1984-85.

    What you will find are articles she wrote supporting the miners cause, spotlighting the role of Women against Pit Closures and critical of the NUM leadership and tactics.

    Funnily enough when a leader is leading his members to defeat I tend to think its the duty of socialist, feminists or not, to offer some constructive advice. You might not agree with the advice but that is an entirely different matter to not supporting those in struggle.

    Mark P

    Don’t call me a liar. I was there in the Hull Trades and Labour Club. I asked the question. She said the NUM deserved no support because they didn’t treat women properly. This was, of course, months before your Marxism Today even mentioned the miners strike. That wasn’t until September 1984. The idea that her kind of socialist feminism took class as the primary issue was a laughable joke

  88. stuart on said:

    HarpyMarx:If another group had behaved like this in the labour movement I bet you would be amongst those criticising yet when it’s your own group………

    I would hate to think that I would take the kind of witch-hunting approach I’ve witnessed on here. The SWP disagreed with Galloway but opposed attempts in UNISON and in NUS to push for ‘no platform’. The IS/SWP have for a long time voiced serious criticisms of the CP. We would not support a witch-hunt of their activists.

  89. @Geoff

    Majority of socialist feminists do use a class analysis when understanding patriarchal capitalism. But what I will say feminism isn’t cut and dried, I had a friend who was a committed Marxist but was a radical feminist. We had many friendly “discussions” over this as I believed radical feminism and Marxism are contradictions. I don’t see patriarchy as a monolithic unchanging entity. But feminism, like the left overall, has different threads and views. Again, I know marxist women who don’t think socialist feminism is an adequate theory hence support for radical feminism. The problem with revolutionary left is the simplification and caricaturing of feminism which is just plain distortion as opposed to having honest debate.

  90. stockwellpete on said:

    stuart:
    stockwellpete/Jara Handala,

    Whilst socialist feminists may well claim to uphold the primacy of class, in practice the lure of separatism militates against a class based approach towards women’s liberation.

    But we were talking about revolutionary socialist feminists within the SWP who supported Women’s Voice and they too upheld “the primacy of class”, so you are now moving the goalposts. The argument at that time was basically about how best could the party reach out to wider layers of working class women – that was what Women’s Voice was for.

    And what the hell is “the lure of separatism”, Stuart? How did it manifest itself? Sounds more like the “slur of separatism” to me – plenty of that about back in the day from Cliff and his acolytes, to be sure.

  91. @Stuart

    You don’t know anything about feminism except distortion and caricature. Lure of separatism… So we are all separatists. Still the same boring old argument that there is no difference between autonomy and separatism.

    Next you will be saying creeping feminism… Oh then again…

  92. Mark P on said:

    Geoff

    Absolute rubbish. Check your March and April 1984 issues of Marxism Today for aticles on the strike, archive available online at Amiel and Melburn Trust website.

    Your failure to get that right makes me doibt your memory of what Bea said. Again check her articles from the time, critical yet in support of the strike’s objectives. Which is the duty of all socialists feminists or not when they can see a union leader marching their members to defeat.

    Mark P

  93. Jara Handala: Being disingenuous demonstrates you are not Michael Rosen the SWP member.

    Michael Rosen has never been an SWP member, the role he plays is to be a decoration of the SWP to prove how funky and liberal organisation is, and going on websites defending the SWP.

    The protection of reputation of the SWP has also been shored up by its “celebrity” members (and some non-member supporters), who are effectively allowed much more leeway than any ordinary grunt member, and they allow the SWP to project an air of liberalism, and reach parts of polite society they would otherwise be excluded from. They provide a defensive wall so that if any less powerful member of the SWP who has been bullied or abused complains, then their complaint sounds inconsistent with the picture painted by the SWP’s celebrity cheer leaders and apologists.

    Back in 2011, for example, Michael Rosen, wrote the following “satirical” comment on this blog, ridiculing me for raising questions about Comrade Delta’s behaviour, around the time of W’s complaints first surrfacing:

    I don’t want to discuss this in public, but I’ve heard that [Comrade Delta] was having an affair with Bruce Forsyth. Don’t tell anyone, keep it under wraps but if people would like to discuss it, I won’t stand in their way. I think it could turn out to be of great significance to the…er…movement…

    Recall, that this was really over the issue of a man aproaching 50 years old, having a sexual relationship with someone who was basically a school girl, and over whom he had a position of power and infleunce, and who had allegd sexual harrasment, and later rape against him.

    Michael, how I roar with laughter at your funny gipes about the affair. These girls, eh, making things up.

    You can exactly see the parallels with how the Jimmy Saville affair involved making the victims voiceless.

  94. stockwellpete on said:

    Here is Lenin succumbing to the “lure of separatism” by supporting the working women’s movement on International Women’s Day in 1920, Stuart . . .

    “The working women’s movement has for its objective the fight for the economic and social, and not merely formal, equality of woman. The main task is to draw the women into socially productive labour, extricate them from “domestic slavery”, free them of their stultifying and humiliating resignation to the perpetual and exclusive atmosphere of the kitchen and nursery.”

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/mar/04.htm

  95. stockwellpete on said:

    I’m off to work in a minute but I have managed to find another excerpt from Lenin that was very important during the battle over Women’s Voice in the early 1980’s. Like most things, it is possible to interpret it in different ways – the Cliffites tended not to get past the first two sentences as if that ended the debate, but a more nuanced reading of the entire passage suggested to many of us that Lenin was saying that there could not be divisions within the revolutionary party between men and women but that the party needed special organisational forms to reach out to working class women (e.g. like Women’s Voice) . . .

    Firstly,

    “Our ideological conceptions give rise to principles of organisation. No special organisations for women. A woman communist is a member of the Party just as a man communist, with equal rights and duties. There can be no difference of opinion on that score.”

    Then . . .

    “Nevertheless, we must not close our eyes to the fact that the Party must have bodies, working groups, commissions, committees, bureaus or whatever you like, whose particular duty it is to arouse the masses of women workers, to bring them into contact with the Party, and to keep them under Its influence. That, of course, involves systematic work among them. We must train those whom we arouse and win, and equip them for the proletarian class struggle under the leadership of the Communist Party. I am thinking not only of proletarian women, whether they work in the factory or at home. The poor peasant women, the petty bourgeois – they, too, are the prey of capitalism, and more so than ever since the war. The unpolitical, unsocial, backward psychology of these women, their isolated sphere of activity, the entire manner of their life – these are facts. It would be absurd to overlook them, absolutely absurd.”

    And conclusively for WV supporters . . .

    “We need appropriate bodies to carry on work amongst them, special methods of agitation and forms of organisation. That is not feminism, that is practical, revolutionary expediency.”

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/mar/04.htm

  96. “The nature of the case was always likely to give ammunition to those inclined to inflict sectarian fuelled damage. The leaking and subsequent publication of the transcript multiplied this irresponsibilty enormously.”

    Then defend yourselves. Why doesn’t the SWP leadership defend itself in its own publications? Defend the way you handled the matter, the questions that were asked, the composition of the DC, its ability and suitability to investigate a case of this nature. These issues form the substance of the mountain of criticism being hurled against your organisation. In the Guardian recently the SWP was likened to the Catholic Church and the BBC.

    You claim you are being witch hunted but Socialist Worker has had precisely nothing whatsoever to say in response. I can’t think of any other example in the history of the left where it a left wing group was under such sustained attack and yet had absolutely nothing publicly to say in reply.

    The only possible conclusion is that the SWP central committee does not have the political confidence to defend itself on this issue. The arguments it has put internally would not stand up to a moments scrutiny outside the the organisation. They aren’t even standing up inside.

  97. stockwellpete: The argument at that time was basically about how best could the party reach out to wider layers of working class women – that was what Women’s Voice was for.

    I remember Cliff at Bristol aggregate in about 1980 saying that WV had to be closed down because it was a “conveyor belt out of the party”.

  98. stockwellpete on said:

    Andy Newman: I remember Cliff atBristol aggregate in about 1980 saying that WV had to be closed down because it was a “conveyor belt out of the party”.

    Cliff was a liar.

  99. Sam64 on said:

    ‘I remember Cliff at Bristol aggregate in about 1980 saying that WV had to be closed down because it was a “conveyor belt out of the party”’.

    That may have been the primary motive for the closing of WV: numbers, members. I think Cliff had come to have a similar, if not identical, view of the Anti Nazi League a little earlier. The argument there was though that though it had served its purpose to effectively confront the menace of fascism on the streets, terrenes etc., it had been, in his words, ‘Tom Robinson’s periphery, not our periphery’.

    As concerns, feminism, the women’s movement, the attitude of the SWP was, by the time I joined the SWP in 1983, hostile. Feminism was generally preceded by the term ‘bourgeois’. I remember a leading Liverpool member telling me that there were only a handful of feminist women in the city and they worked in the News From Nowhere bookshop and lived around Lark Lane. The visceral animosity in the SWP towards all shades of feminism also seemed to hinge on the experiences of leading members who had been involved joint initiatives in the women’s liberation movement in the mid 1970s. I remember Sheila McGregor recounting in great detail the, frankly, bitchy behaviour amongst the sisters. It seems nearly 40 years on she’s still angry about it.

    Now, in my view, it’s true that from the early 1980s (probably earlier), there was a radical, separatist orientation to feminism that was anti-socialist – and, yes, Bea Campbell was, at best, ambivalent about the NUM. The ‘man hating’ aspect may have been exaggerated but it wasn’t without some truth and it did serve to alienate many women, especially working class women.

    Thirty years on and things have changed somewhat. Women’s oppression is, as ever, blatantly evident in various forms and, broadly, in response new currents of feminism have emerged to challenge oppresion. What hasn’t changed, at least not much, is the attitude of leading SWP members’ attitude to feminism.

  100. Geoff Collier on said:

    Mark P:
    Geoff

    Absolute rubbish. Check your March and April 1984 issues of Marxism Today for aticles on the strike, archive available online at Amiel and Melburn Trust website.

    Your failure to get that right makes me doibt your memory of what Bea said. Again check her articles from the time, critical yet in support of the strike’s objectives. Which is the duty of all socialists feminists or not when they can see a union leader marching their members to defeat.

    Mark P

    Thanks. I missed the discussion, prominently placed on page 28 of the July 1984 issue. Couldn’t see anything in March or April (or May, June and August come to that. Maybe you can tell me what you meant?
    http://www.amielandmelburn.org.uk/collections/mt/index_frame.htm

  101. stockwellpete: Cliff was a liar.

    I am not sure about that, I think it was a moment of honesty concerning his instrumental view of combatting oppression.

    When I first joined the SWP in bath, IIRC January/February 1978, there was shortly afterwards a seperate WV group, that included a number of women, not in SWP, who were hostile to men and to the SWP, and this was indeed making women SWP members choose between WV and SWP to a certain degree.

  102. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: the kind of witch-hunting approach I’ve witnessed on here.
    #97, 9:21am

    Morning, Cde. CoS-2 Stuart (Conference of Shame, Minus 2).

    Stuart, you talk of witch-hunting on SU, which strikes me as strange, so to help anyone understand what you mean here are a few clarifying questions so you can put the record straight:

    (1) what do you mean by witch-hunting?;
    (2) please give an example from SU of what you deem witch-hunting; &
    (3) who has been witch-hunted here?

  103. Geoff Collier: She said the NUM deserved no support because they didn’t treat women properly.

    I have no problem believing that although no doubt she would remember it differently now.

    But lets be honest the social reality of the mining communities was about as far removed from that of most of the Left and the radfems as is possible to imagine. There was much mutual misunderstanding.

    And when the strike was over the miners new friends disapeared like a heat rash in winter.

  104. Sam64 on said:

    ‘But lets be honest the social reality of the mining communities was about as far removed from that of most of the Left and the radfems as is possible to imagine. There was much mutual misunderstanding.

    And when the strike was over the miners new friends disapeared like a heat rash in winter’.

    Were you actually there, involved with miners support groups and so on? This is both historically wrong and, frankly, an insult to so many involved in that dispute.

  105. Jara Handala on said:

    stockwellpete: And what the hell is “the lure of separatism”, Stuart? How did it manifest itself? Sounds more like the “slur of separatism” to me
    #99, 9:28am

    If Stuart found his inner-man-and-woman she/he would perhaps acknowledge it was the typo you imply, stockwellpete.

    Oh, and happy International Women’s Day, Stuart.

    Is Martin Smith speaking from the platform at tonite’s big London SWP meeting? We wouldn’t want the Party thinking the leadership had gone all soft, gone all separatist, would we? The members deserve better than the lure of separatism. The Party has a proud record of defeating separatism within its ranks & of promoting a revolutionary politics of women’s (and girls’) liberation.

    No socialism without women’s liberation!
    No women’s liberation without socialism!
    None of the above without Martin Smith!

  106. Andy, you’re quite right to pull me up for that. I had forgotten that I made such a misplaced, stupid, crap joke. No justification now, and hardly a smidgeon of one then. Apologies to all.

  107. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala: The Party has a proud record of defeating separatism within its ranks & of promoting a revolutionary politics of women’s (and girls’) liberation.
    No socialism without women’s liberation!
    No women’s liberation without socialism!
    None of the above without Martin Smith!

    Which logically leads me to ask you this, Stuart.

    As Martin Smith is a comrade in good standing, albeit with blemishes on his reputation (although enhancing it for some), the previous National Secretary & current front man for a central intervention of the Party, do you think the SWP would benefit from him being co-opted Monday morning back on to the Central Committee?

    Coming 3 days after International Women’s Day wouldn’t that be the best statement the Party could make to show that it still believes it stands proud combating separatism & with an exemplary record in practising the revolutionary politics of socialism & women’s liberation? Isn’t the SWP a lesser force with Martin Smith kept in the background?

  108. stuart on said:

    jack,

    The party has responded to the attacks on its website. It does so in the pre-conference bulletin. You may be left unhappy but then our objective is not specifically to please you.

  109. stuart on said:

    HarpyMarx: You don’t know anything about feminism except distortion and caricature. Lure of separatism… So we are all separatists. Still the same boring old argument that there is no difference between autonomy and separatism. Next you will be saying creeping feminism… Oh then again…

    Difficult to do justice to this with a short post. Feel free to read the various arguments on line. One important point for me is that liberation of be it black people or women is dependent upon successful class struggle which will inevitably involve white people and men. Revolutionary organisation, their structure, and their ability to intevene effectively should reflect this particular reality.

  110. Sam64: Were you actually there, involved with miners support groups and so on? This is both historically wrong and, frankly, an insult to so many involved in that dispute.

    Mining family grew up surrounded by pitmen, Granda was a steward in ’26, two great uncles killed in a flood along with another 24, and courted girls from pit villages when I got old enough. I did whatever I could during the strike as was natural to me and expected of me. My experience was directly from people I had known all my life.

    My abiding memory of the aftermath was young miners in London bewildered that the houses where they previously been feted were no longer open to them. I told them to go home.

    Of course later their workless home communities were devastated by crime and drugs. I should have told them to stay in London.

  111. stuart on said:

    stockwellpete: The argument at that time was basically about how best could the party reach out to wider layers of working class women – that was what Women’s Voice was for.

    But did WV successfully do that? Moreover, is this group not reliant upon success in the generalised class struggle? And further, I do not see how invoking Lenin helps your argument for separatism. Self-activity will by necessity require generalisation.

  112. stuart on said:

    Technical question to admin or whoever.

    I cannot access this site from my home computer. I don’t think my computer is at fault as I can easily access anything else I want. I can easily access SU when away from my home computer.

    I’m not paranoid but….

    Is it possible that something has been activated by the SU team to prevent my access? Could it be related to the numerous bans and moderations I’ve suffered of late? I am perfectly happy to accept that it is just as likely to be my own bad luck. But unless the situation is rectified or the problem mends itself I will not be able to make further posts until at least Monday.

    So everyone will miss out!

  113. John on said:

    stuart: Is it possible that something has been activated by the SU team to prevent my access?

    Nothing that I know of Stuart. Tony’s the IT whiz around here, but I know that you are definitely not banned, under moderation, or any other constraint at present.

  114. Michael Rosen: you’re quite right to pull me up for that. I had forgotten that I made such a misplaced, stupid, crap joke. No justification now, and hardly a smidgeon of one then. Apologies to all.

    Thanks MIchael, let’s not mention it again.

  115. Stuart, I found an instance where an almost identical IP address to yours was being used by a spammer. I’ve unblocked it. Please let me know if this changes things (IP addresses are often re-used, which can cause problems if you are assigned one that has previously been blocked for spamming).

    If not, please take down the email address office@socialistunity.com – if you cannot get on at the weekend, please get in touch; I will have a few questions to narrow down the problem and hopefully solve it.

  116. John Grimshaw on said:

    Manzil: Separatist.

    O Happy Day

    Oh happy day
    Oh happy day
    Oh happy happy day;
    Oh happy dayWhen Jesus washed
    Oh when he washed
    When Jesus washed
    He washed my sins away!
    Oh happy day
    Oh happy day
    Oh happy day
    Oh happy day
    When Jesus washed
    Oh when he washed
    When Jesus washed
    He washed my sins away!
    Oh happy day
    Oh happy day

    He taught me how
    He taught me
    Taught me how to watch
    He taught me how to watch
    and fight and pray
    fight and pray
    yes, fight and pray

    And he’ll rejoice
    and He’ll, and He’ll
    rejoice in things we say
    and He’ll rejoicein things we say
    things we say
    yes, things we say

    Oh happy day, Oh happy day
    Oh happy day, Oh happy day
    Oh happy day
    Oh happy day

    Oh happy day, Oh happy day
    When Jesus washed
    Oh when he washed
    He washed my sins awayHe tought me how
    to watch, fight and pray
    fight and pray
    Oh happy day, Oh happy day
    When Jesus washed
    Oh when he washed
    He washed my sins awayWe´ll live rejoicing
    ev´ry day, ev´ry day
    Oh happy day, Oh happy day
    When Jesus washed
    Oh when he washed
    He washed my sins away

  117. Manzil on said:

    stuart: So everyone will miss out!

    Did you… did you just crack a a joke…? Stuart 2.0. Mind = blown.

    I doubt it’s deliberate, Stuart. I was DELETED BY MODERATOR the other day. Sometimes the amped-up security on the site wrongly flags people as spammers.

  118. John Grimshaw on said:

    Did you… did you just crack a a joke…? Stuart 2.0. Mind = blown.

    Thats Stewie isn’t it?

  119. Sam64 on said:

    SA @ 122
    ‘Mining family grew up surrounded by pitmen, Granda was a steward in ’26, two great uncles killed in a flood along with another 24, and courted girls from pit villages when I got old enough’.

    Well then I can only think that you as first, perhaps second, generation not down the pit, now objective member of the middle class, you’re exaggerating the distance between what you still regarded as ‘your own kind’ and those on the left who were drawn to support the miners 84/5.

    All kinds of people, including separatist feminists, were drawn to support the miners. I witnessed at first hand some of the cultural shock when some middle class lefties (including SWP members) experienced when for the first time they encountered the casual racism, sexism and deep social conservatism of real live members of the proletariat: coal miners. I also witnessed how, through the support groups, both parties learnt from each other as the strike wore on.

    In respect to the aftermath of the strike, possibly you’re thinking about the decision to wind up the support groups not long after the return to work. I remember a CP member blaming the SWP for this decision and, by extension, the failure of the miners to go on strike again. I don’t know. I remember an overwhelming sense of defeat on the left after the strike had been defeated amongst those involved. Others, of course, most importantly the leadership of the Labour Party, also Marxism Today, saw it as an justification to head to the right.

    One thing I do remember, is a year after the strike had finished, a brass band from one of the S Wales collieries being invited to play at the front of the gay pride march in London. Gay groups in London had collected for the miners 84/85. So there you go. An example of how bridges were built between formerly the least likely comrades as a result of the transformative impact of the strike.

    The strike was, of course, a failure, loads of things wrong with it, I’m not romanticising it. But it doesn’t do to sneer at those involved.

  120. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins,

    I’ve managed to access SU at home through a site that offers alternative IP addresses. I couldn’t even do that this morning which is why I posted my concerns (see #124). It’s slower and it can’t access all links.

    I still cannot access SU ordinarily through my usual IP address.

  121. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    I take the view that Martin has been a good activist over the years and the complaint has not been upheld. How he is deployed is down to the leadership.

  122. Manzil on said:

    stuart:
    I take the view that Martin has been a good activist over the years and the complaint has not been upheld. How he is deployed is down to the leadership.

    Oh joy.

    Jara, that bright future is a-comin’. We have to flee.

  123. stuart: I take the view that Martin has been a good activist over the years and the complaint has not been upheld. How he is deployed is down to the leadership.

    Perhaps it’s time the party set up a youth wing?

  124. It seems fair to surmise that the first part of his contribution relates to former political infighting eg over Respect, given its position in the interview/report. His second contribution is pretty clear about the possiblity that this “spells the end for the SWP”. TBH don’t see much wrong with what he said…

  125. Manzil on said:

    jay blackwood:
    It seems fair to surmise that the first part of his contribution relates to former political infighting eg over Respect, given its position in the interview/report. His second contribution is pretty clear about the possiblity that this “spells the end for the SWP”. TBH don’t see much wrong with what he said…

    I think his point about the SWP (and by implication most of the sects) is probably accurate.

    In the context of the journo’s reference to People’s Fronts of Judea etc, however, I thought his first comment made it look like this was ‘just another one of those silly splits’.

    Maybe it was just editing, or I took it the wrong way?

  126. Manzil on said:

    J:
    Wow, this RMT fellow has good lawyers…

    lol. Whatever could you mean…

    Is it acceptable to say there exists a woman called Caroline Leneghan and she has a wordpress blog? If not, no worries; delete this.

  127. Has the post re RMT and Caroline gone? Why was it removed? I am shocked by all this but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to violence against women on the Left. And it shows just how bloody crap the system is and the Left is. No wonder many women walk away from the organised Left.

    And today being International Women’s Day….

  128. It’s interesting isn’t it? The SWP generally don’t resort to legal injunctions, whatever their other faults, so the worst we have to deal with is our old friend Stuart. Link to an accusation of domestic violence against a union fulltimer however, and a lawyer is on the phone within minutes… This problem increasingly seems endemic to the movement, both the left and the unions. Re “creeping feminism” – where do I sign up? Because something needs to be done, and quickly.

  129. @151

    It’s bloody disgusting and shocking. So angry. When will the Left take this seriously. The problem is feminists have been saying this for years and we were ignored, caricatured or told to piss off. Well, what do ya know… Violence happens!

    Regards to that evil feminism… creeping in. I can suggest some excellent feminist books.

    Indeed something needs to be done and done quickly. I have ideas.

  130. I am also reminded by this American feminist who I emailed some years ago and there were a number of cases of women experiencing domestic violence not just by male activists but full-timers. This isn’t new… Women are speaking out about violence both sexual and physical and as socialists it’s our duty to show solidarity! I can relate to on a personal level to these women too especially when you experience the contradictions of your trade unionist activist boyfriend speaking out against the oppression of women and the later on in the sanctity of your own home punching you in the face!

  131. HarpyMarx: Has the post re RMT and Caroline gone? Why was it removed? I am shocked by all this but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to violence against women on the Left. And it shows just how bloody crap the system is and the Left is. No wonder many women walk away from the organised Left.

    It is back, but rewitten, I hope that you can see why:

    http://socialistunity.com/has-the-rmt-acted-inadequately-over-allegations-of-domestic-violence/

    jay blackwood: The SWP generally don’t resort to legal injunctions, whatever their other faults, so the worst we have to deal with is our old friend Stuart. Link to an accusation of domestic violence against a union fulltimer however, and a lawyer is on the phone within minutes… This problem increasingly seems endemic to the movement, both the left and the unions. Re “creeping feminism” – where do I sign up? Because something needs to be done, and quickly.

    No lawyers involved, just an editorial decision. (BTW, the SWP have 3 times threatened me with lawyers, no union ever has)

  132. Fair enough Andy, sorry for the assumptions I was making there. I’d just seen the pics on Caroline’s blog when I posted my comment – they’re shocking.

  133. Howard Kirk on said:

    sandy,

    I can’t see many people being attracted to the party with that bunch of clowns on board.

    I love the oh so democratic unequal speaking time arrangement.

    They obviously would like most of China and RS’s group to walk away.

  134. @154

    Andy: “BTW, the SWP have 3 times threatened me with lawyers……”

    LOL! I thought the SWP were against the bourgeois courts!

  135. stockwellpete on said:

    Andy Newman: I am not sure about that, I think it was a moment of honesty concerning his instrumental view of combatting oppression.

    When I first joined the SWP in bath,IIRC January/February 1978, there was shortly afterwards a seperate WV group, that included a number of women, not in SWP, who were hostile to men and to the SWP, and this was indeed making women SWP members choose between WV and SWP to a certain degree.

    I am sure that things like that happened, Andy – but comrades come under all sorts of pressures when they intervene in the outside world, particularly when they are having to operate in quite small groups. And, of course, sometimes comrades make mistakes and I am sure comrades made many mistakes around WV. I have to say though that if the SWP centre had really got behind the WV initiative at that time then maybe it would have been a lot more successful than it was.

    There were various lines of attack used against WV by the Cliffites . . .

    i) WV equals separatism and is a complete break from Leninism
    ii) independent socialist women’s organisations like WV are tactically inappropriate in “the downturn”
    iii) WV acts as a conveyor belt for women comrades to leave the party
    iv) WV acts as a conveyor belt for feminists to bring petty bourgeois ideas into the party
    v) WV is hopeless and doesn’t relate to anybody

    Now, some of these so-called counter arguments were deployed in rather bizarre combinations – for example, I remember being berated simultaneously with arguments iii) and iv) and v) on a number of occasions when it should be obvious that iv) and v) are mutually exclusive. I think the most valid of the 5 counter-arguments was ii) – yes, it was definitely a tactical question about whether WV organisations were viable in the early 1980s.

    I was in South London district where we had two WV groups, one in Brixton/Streatham, the other in Croydon. Because the WV perspectives were well-supported by the district, these groups did quite well and were certainly still viable when the Cliffites closed them down. I remember that the “downturn” argument had some purchase with comrades in the district but we didn’t feel it warranted the complete battening down of the hatches that occurred at that time. It was generally felt in South London district that WV and Flame should continue.

    Remember that the “downturn” arguments made in relation to WV were bracketed between “The Winter of Discontent” and “The Great Miner’s Strike” and there were also major events such as the inner city riots, the Greenham Common mobilisations, the Falkands War and Irish solidarity to relate to. There were still many, many people that the revolutionary left were able to talk to seriously at that time.

    I used to take and sell WV at work along with Socialist Worker. Gradually I built the sale up and I did eventually recruit someone to both WV and the SWP. The WV group in Croydon did build a small periphery around its meetings and some of these women came to SW public meetings. They also took WV and sold it outside factories on the Purley Way and did an estate sale on New Addington. Not earth-shattering stuff by any means but good solid patient work that slowly raised the profile both of WV and the SWP within the working class of Croydon.

    All that was destroyed when WV was shut down as an independent organisation and most of the women SWP members involved in building the WV group left the party over the next year or so. It was the Cliffites who provided the conveyor belt out, not WV.

  136. @162

    stockwellpete: “All that was destroyed when WV was shut down as an independent organisation and most of the women SWP members involved in building the WV group left the party over the next year or so.”

    I remember a woman active on the left in Brighton during the late 1980s who I knew quite well, she was a member of Women’s Voice and left the SWP in disgust when it was shut down. Once she left, she joined the LP, along, she said, with other women who had left the SWP. She was still very angry regards to what happened to Women’s Voice.

  137. stockwellpete on said:

    stuart: But did WV successfully do that? Moreover, is this group not reliant upon success in the generalised class struggle? And further, I do not see how invoking Lenin helps your argument for separatism. Self-activity will by necessity require generalisation.

    The WV groups that I know of (in south London) did modestly wll in the period before their closure and hey were definitely still viable before the rug was pulled from under them.

    I was not making any sort of “argument for separatism”, Stuart. This was the sort of stupid comment we had to deal with back in the day from your fellow-Cliffites (Mark 1 model). The point about “invoking Lenin”, as you put it, was to hopefully pre-empt you using the argument that self-organisation of women somehow represents a clear political break with Leninism (see argument i) in my previous post). Obviously Lenin didn’t think so, did he? And if he had miraculously been teleported to South London circa 1980 he would have been on our side, not the Cliffites!! That’s what we used to tell ourselves in the pub afterwards after we had crossed swords with “Bumhole” and his mates at the various aggregates!! lol

  138. stockwellpete on said:

    HarpyMarx:
    @162

    stockwellpete: “All that was destroyed when WV was shut down as an independent organisation and most of the women SWP members involved in building the WV group left the party over the next year or so.”

    I remember a woman active on the left in Brighton during the late 1980s who I knew quite well, she was a member of Women’s Voice and left the SWP in disgust when it was shut down. Once she left, she joined the LP, along, she said, with other women who had left the SWP. She was still very angry regards to what happened to Women’s Voice.

    Yes, I well can believe it. The closure of WV was an act of political vandalism by he Cliffites, as far as I was concerned – and I still feel that way now.

  139. stockwellpete: The closure of WV was an act of political vandalism by he Cliffites, as far as I was concerned – and I still feel that way now.

    That didn’t stop you persuading me to rejoin in the mid-90s though did it? Bastard. Don’t think I’ve forgotten ;op

  140. In comment 96, Geoff Collier says on whether Bea Campbell supported the minsers’strike:

    Geoff Collier: I asked the question. She said the NUM deserved no support because they didn’t treat women properly.

    That is NOT proof that she didn’t support the miners’strike. It only proves she did not support the NUM, which is not quite the same thing.

  141. peter storm: That is NOT proof that she didn’t support the miners’strike. It only proves she did not support the NUM, which is not quite the same thing.

    Yes, I’m sure we all remember how useful her contributions were during that insignificant little dispute.

  142. “The party has responded to the attacks on its website. It does so in the pre-conference bulletin. You may be left unhappy but then our objective is not specifically to please you.”

    OK, you’ve been attacked in The Independent twice, including an opinion piece by one of the most well-known writers on the left,The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Daily Mail (at least twice in two major articles), virtually every left wing blog, and a number of left intellectuals who regularly contribute to Marxism and other events have openly declared they’re boycotting you.

    And you’ve responded with a statement on your website (which doesn’t address any of the central allegations) and in your internal bulletin.

    So, as I said. The SWP leadership does not exactly feel over-confident in publicly taking on and challenging the substance of these attacks. Witch-hunts against the left are traditionally responded to by openly and loudly campaigning in your defence, drawing in those outside your own ranks, etc. The silence speaks volumes.

  143. Howard Kirk on said:

    From from the Weekly Worker-

    Seymour: Failed leadership, sham conference – we will not be silenced

    The CPGB has been sent this copy of Richard Seymour’s reflections on the SWP crisis

    Leading SWP dissident Richard Seymour reflects on the battle for the party post- the looming special conference on March 10. The leadership’s hopes for a ‘return to normal’ – ie, bureacratism, lack of leadership accountability and rank and file passivity – must be frustrated, he demands

    Comrades, I have no intention of going quiet for six months either. [That is, until factions are allowed to briefly exist again in the lead up to the next SWP conference – ed] I don’t have any faith that in this period comrades would slowly come to embrace our arguments, in a more reflective period of calm. I think the CC will be looking to ‘normalise’ the situation, and thereby re-establish their control. They don’t deserve to achieve that. They’re the most pathetic shower.

    Consider: this leadership is actually afraid of debate. They’re frightened to have a serious argument with people. That’s why they tried to shut down discussion after conference, and that’s why they insist on the faction speaker having only 6 minutes. That’s why they’re gerrymandering conference.

    Now they can mobilise paper majorities based on paper members, and their control of the apparatus means they can contrive new rules and expel people. But what they can’t expect is disciplined behaviour on this basis. They have not won the political argument, and have demonstrated that they have no belief that they can do so.

    That being the case, my recommendation is that comrades openly declare this in a statement after conference. We should say: the CC’s win is a pyrrhic one, it’s a paper victory, it demonstrates no political confidence or coherence, and has simply shown the CC is afraid of debate. We should say: we aren’t afraid of their demonising us, we are right to have spoken out, we are right to have taken this stand, and the crisis can’t be resolved by bureaucratic manipulation. We should say: the faction has just been shafted in the most appalling fashion by a weak and stupid leadership, and we appeal to faction members to join us in rejecting this.

    Implicitly, we would also be saying that the strategy of the ‘moderates’ has failed. But that will be obvious.

  144. Chris on said:

    Howard Kirk: They obviously would like most of China and RS’s group to walk away.

    From a long way off, this seems to be madness on the part of the CC. With tactics like these, principles become meaningless. Or has Delta some irreplaceable abilities I’m not aware of? Otherwise, go with ‘sitemeter’

  145. Karl Stewart on said:

    Howard Kirk,

    Thanks for posting that link Howard. It’s an excellent piece – and it doesn’t appear to “retract” anything.
    With respect Howard, I think you’re confusing the article itself with the Weekly Worker Tendency’s “spin” on the article.

    The piece itself confirms a total of 532 signatories to the IDOP Faction statement, which is a remarkable achievement and very much to their credit.

    If one compares that to the 512 signatories to the CC Faction statement, then it’s a clear fact that IDOP has a slim majority within the SWP as a whole.

    It’s got to be the most successful opposition faction the SWP has ever had.

    And this has been achieved in opposition to a CC faction that has been in complete control of the party’s whole apparatus, the CC faction has been in control of the SWP’s publications, its website, its leading committees, its regions and districts and all the national membership lists and national contact listsan and the ewhole national network of its own as full-timers.

    Using all of these advantagesa to the fullest extent, the CC faction has mounted a disgusting internal campaign of bullying and intimidation, rigging agregate after aggregate, bussing its own supporters into meetings and around the meetings, posting its own goons on the doors to decide who may or may not enter and has pulled out all the stops to gerrymander tomorrow*s conference.

    But, despite all of this, the IDOP faction has behaved honourably and honestly, and courageously, and has continued to patiently and reasonably put its case to SWP members.

    While the CC faction has broken the agreement not to post publicly – the threats on facebook, and the moronic “stuart” postings on here – the IDOP faction has kept strictly to its word.

    And against all the odds, IDOP has won a majority of SWP members to its position.

    Yes, it looks likely that the CC faction may well win a Phyrric “victory” at their gerrymandered Hammersmith rally tomorrow.

    But every single signatory to the CC faction statement stands exposed as a supporter of lynch mobs, a supporter of spying on private conversations, a supporter of summary and arbitrary expulsions, a supporter of bullying and abuse of members by leaders, a supporter of employers who deny workers’ rights. Every single one of these people is an utter disgrace to socialism and to the working-class movement.

    And every single signatory to the IDOP faction statement should stand tall and proud that they have made a courageous stand for real socialist and working-class values and principles. I sincerely hope you will continue to stand together against any attempts to divide and victimise any of you.

    Respect and the very best to all IDOP supporters tomorrow and in the future.

  146. stuart on said:

    stockwellpete,

    The Cliff side of the argument over WV used Lenin’s warnings over ‘tailism’ , in other words the need to argue with those engaged in ‘self-activity’ of the need to ‘generalise’ in order to make struggle successful.

  147. daggi on said:

    Can someone provide here the link to the obligatory, yet unauthorised livestream of conference proceedings?

  148. stuart on said:

    jack,

    But ‘defence’ is constrained by the obligations to all parties concerning confidentiality and sensitivity. If you are of the left and have genuine concerns then surely you would realise that.

  149. stuart on said:

    Karl Stewart:

    If one compares that to the 512 signatories to the CC Faction statement, then it’s a clear fact that IDOP has a slim majority within the SWP as a whole.

    How are you calculating 512 maximum?

  150. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: in other words the need to argue with those engaged in ‘self-activity’ of the need to ‘generalise’ in order to make struggle successful.

    #174, 5:08pm

    Those poor misguided fools.

    Thank god – in other words, thanks to Crazy Toni – that we saw the light emanating from Our Deity so all could be revealed to us. It’s all been downhill since he was carried thru Golders Green.

    Bless.

    Stuart, you really do need to read what you write before posting.

  151. history tells us things on said:

    people must be arriving from all over the Uk, can we have a live update?

  152. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: How are you calculating 512 maximum?
    #177, 5:14pm

    As I reasoned the other day, when Cde. Chaplin released “the first 500”, as he put it, the Friday after Conference was called, if there was a 600 it would have been published, esp. if there had been a List of the 666 Shamers.

    So simple reason suggests it’s less than 600.

    But it makes no difference, as the Sheffield Aggregate showed: the split was 3:2 for the CC but ALL 26 Conference delegates are Lynchers. ‘Ave it! Get in there, my son!!

    “Sheffield
    I’m going to keep this brief as … it wasn’t really that significant/any different from the other reports we have had from Sheffield over the past couple of months. 26 Central Committee supporters were elected, and 0 faction members”
    http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/pre-conference-aggregates-faction-report-back

  153. Manzil on said:

    stuart: How are you calculating 512 maximum?

    Your contention is there are hundreds, nay thousands more who support the Central Committee but don’t feel the need to even put their name to a statement acknowledging that?

    Victory to the silent 85%!

  154. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala: It’s all been downhill since he was carried thru Golders Green.
    Bless.

    Guess the CC missed a trick: Crazy Toni should have been embalmed & stuck in a case at the entrance hall in Vauxhall.

    Ah, well, there’ll be time to do The Embrace of Death, stuff both Professor Ignorant & Martin Smith, & have them hugging, crushing the life out of the SWP.

    P.S. On the membership #, it’s 1250-1300 members out of the nominal 7800 who care the slightest about the SWP. So 50 yrs after 1968. That’s just 1 in 6 of the nominal.

    As an indicator the Joint North & North West London Aggregate had “just over 50 people” (same source as #180, 5:25pm).

  155. Oh, the internet is a dangerous place on said:

    Over on The Website That Dare Not Link To This One Yet Repeatedly Lately Has Been Quoting Andy Newman Very Approvingly, in the comments, referring to the article currently on the front page of the Guardian website:

    James
    I’m a Sheffield student (the second incident occurred in Sheffield) and I can shed a little more light on this case, I’ve heard people hint at it in passing several times over the past year without getting the full picture. People are talking now.

    The party member is [EDITED: COMRADE THETA]

    It really, really disturbs me that people have continued to organise on campus since 2011 when the incident took place. Most (perhaps all) Sheffield SWP members were aware of what happened. Most days, there is an SWP stall on the Uni of Sheffield campus recruiting impressionable undergraduates to the SWP in the full knowledge that if they were preyed upon by predatory middle aged men they would be coerced into not going to the police.

    It really puts their accusations of racism towards left opposition to misogynist and homophobic hate speakers in context though. A bit of homophobic or misogynist rhetoric must seem like small potatoes when you’re willing to put women into direct danger,
    6 △

    CAN I CLEAN SWEEP MY HARDDRIVE > James • 2 hours ago

    I’ve never heard of the man. But google him, ugh, the images are just too much information. Adds a new meaning to the phrase “SWP arsehole” / “SWP cock”.
    2 △

    Alex Ross > CAN I CLEAN SWEEP MY HARDDRIVE • 21 minutes ago

    Made the same mistake!!! Time to look at some nice pictures of kittens to repair mental damage!!

  156. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: . . . the obligations to all parties concerning confidentiality and sensitivity
    #176, 5:12pm

    You are getting more absurd, Stuart, the closer we get to the Conference of Shame: “sensitivity”? Lynchers respecting ‘sensitivity’?

    You Lynchers are thugs, plain as. You use administrative measures to keep the apparatus under the control of your faction: you choose not to argue. Decent people are being driven out, & that is the main fear of the authors of the last IDOOP document:

    “Over the few months, most comrades have had at least one ‘jaw dropping moment’, when something happened in the party that they had never believed possible, forcing them to reconsider their views and to take a stand. But these moments came at different times for different comrades – and they will continue to do so. If comrades leave the party in dribs and drabs they are highly unlikely to build anything of significance, and if the numbers leaving are significant enough it could shift the culture of the party so far towards conservatism that it could become unrealistic to imagine that the party could recover.”
    http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/after-conference-idop-signs-off

    But for the likes of unthinking autonoms like you, Stuart, obsequious ciphers, Uriah Heep-wannabes, that’ll be the best outcome, won’t it? Ridding the Party of the feckless & weak, the lily-livered liberals? Those who in whatever partial way are taking Chuck’s mantra to heart, ‘the ruthless criticism of all that exists’.

    You people are disingenuous destructive, controlling scum. Nothing more & nothing less.

  157. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala:

    You people are disingenuous destructive, controlling scum. Nothing more & nothing less.

    If I addressed someone on here like that what do you think would happen?

  158. Jellytot on said:

    @173Yes, it looks likely that the CC faction may well win a Phyrric “victory” at their gerrymandered Hammersmith rally tomorrow.

    They’re f*cked – plain and simple – the only thing to debate is the speed of the decline:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/09/socialist-workers-party-rape-kangaroo-court

    I’ve held off commenting too much recently because it seems to me to be like pissing on a corpse.

    Notice too how no major figures in the Left are coming forward to defend them – unlike during the mid-to-late 1980’s when Healy was, at least, defended by some high profile people.

  159. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala: the likes of unthinking autonoms like you, Stuart, obsequious ciphers, Uriah Heep-wannabes

    Wiki has it about right, but other readers can also judge:

    “Uriah Heep is a fictional character created by Charles Dickens in his novel David Copperfield.

    The character is notable for his cloying humility, obsequiousness, and insincerity, making frequent references to his own ‘humbleness’. His name has become synonymous with being a yes man.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uriah_Heep

    Notable for his cloying humility, obsequiousness, and insincerity, making frequent references to his own ‘humbleness’. It positively glows.

    Remember the time you told us you were so gratified to see a Central Cttee. member & hear them speak at your District Aggregate the other week?

    That was one of your lowest moments, which takes some doing, as we can all testify to. Did you bring tribute that evening? Did you offer to do corvée? Was there a relative you could bring as an offering? It’s really that transparent how you people worship those in power, bow down to your SWP rulers. It stinks. It’s a disgrace. You shame what it is to be a Leninist or any scientific socialist. The only good thing about all this is that you will all die. It’s the only saving grace about this scum regime that needs to be changed.

  160. Gavin on said:

    The only good thing about all this is that you will all die. It’s the only saving grace about this scum regime that needs to be changed.

    I think you need to get a bit of perspective

  161. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: If I addressed someone on here like that what do you think would happen?

    #185, 6:05pm

    Stuart, you know as well as I do that my claim is evidenced, it’s rooted in reality, it’s simply the truth.

    If you used those same words to describe reality you too would be justified in saying that, in expressing yourself in that way.

    You have no complaint.

    And, remember, I’m not even behaving like a Lyncher, a thuggish & bullying apolitical controller.

    But I surmise you are feeling just a hint of what has been dished out to critics of the CC. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s gladdened by that. You deserve more – and you know it.

  162. Jara Handala on said:

    Gavin: I think you need to get a bit of perspective

    #188, 6:17pm

    My perspective is rooted in the many documents & comments that the SU readers have presented here.

    The way the CC has called an unconstitutional Special Conference & treated critics is a disgrace not just to scientific socialism but to the accepted norms of the labour & socialist movement.

    My perspective has been argued with evidence from day one of this carnage. Just read the latest IDOOP document & the District Aggregate reports I linked above. The Lynchers are apolitical controllers, prepared to destroy the organisation to remain in power.

  163. Manzil on said:

    stuart: If I addressed someone on here like that what do you think would happen?

    It depends; how many bullies and thugs has Jara defended to precipitate addressing him like that?

  164. Tony Collins: Just kidding !

    But, Jara, don’t aim your fire at stuart. Even though you’re talking about the loyalists, the way it can come across is that only one person is being picked on. I think we should all be at peace with the fact that stuart has genuinely chosen not to hear/agree/engage with any of the material things people on here have raised, but that he’s not doing it to be a wanker.

  165. stephen marks on said:

    oh god, it’s getting worse. See Richard Seymour’s facebook thread on the Guardian story and the Sheffield case, and follow the comments from the beginning at
    https://www.facebook.com/home.php?\#!/richard.seymour1?fref=ts

    As someone says, it seems worse than the Delta case.

  166. stephen marks on said:

    Incidentally, in one of the earlier threads on Richard Seymour’s facebook page I saw the following which noone else seems to have picked up on;

    “The party’s recent difficulties don’t begin with what our old National Secretary did (whatever that was), or who it was on the CC who rang up the DC to persuade the comrades on it to reverse their original, interim verdict of misconduct inappropriate of an SWP member (whatever textile of jacket he wears)”

  167. daggi on said:

    stephen marks,

    Not all of us are on facebook. Can you post the extracts here, or maybe do some screenshots and put them somewhere else and provide a link?

  168. stephen marks on said:

    The WW crew are an odd bunch – as an organisation I’m sure they are as bad as everyone says, and a lot of their stuff is rabidly sectarian in a trainspotterly sort of way but every now and then they do publish some thoughtful stuff and I noticed this para in some of their recent coverage of the SWP omnishambles;

    ‘A decent slice, regrettably, will be disillusioned to the point of overt and irreconcilable hostility to the left – and, where they do not take this attitude out of the movement altogether, will reappear as witch-hunters in the unions and the Labour Party (there are simply too many examples of this ‘switcheroo’, hailing from the SWP and elsewhere, for its likelihood to be understated here).
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/952/swp-special-conference-divided-they-fall’

    This set me recollecting about the original split of the old IS Opposition of which I was part in 1974, along with Jim Higgins, John Palmer, Roger Protz and the rest. Shortly after we had all been excluded for not dissolving our faction, I ran into the IS London Regional Organiser at a party. ‘Well Stephen’ he said to me “what’s it like in the wilderness?”. “You tell me” I replied, “I’ve just left it”.

    A decade and more later I ran into the same ‘comrade’ again, this time at the London Regional Conference of the Labour Party. It was just after GLC abolition and some of us were trying to ensure that the basic policies of Ken’s GLC were continued as far as possible by the Boroughs. I and some others were acting as floor managers for the left, and here was the same comrade, now as I recall London Regional Organiser for Labour, doing the same dirty work for Neil Kinnnock as he had been doing for Tony Cliff as floor manager for the leadership. I recognised him, though he may not have recognised me.

    His name? Jim Fitzpatrick.

  169. From Charlie Kimber. A clever mis-statement of what happened – the person concerned wasn’t “removed from the party” but simply expelled for 2 years. I don’t know if he re-joined, but a temporary expulsion can’t be considered “removal from the party”:

    Dear comrade,

    Some of you may have seen an article on the Guardian website today that makes allegations about a disputes committee case in 2011.

    The party was approached by the Guardian in advance of the story going out, and we made a statement to them. Only a very small part of it was used, so I am letting you see the whole of it. You will see that we do not accept how the Guardian has framed the issue, and we contest much of the detail.

    Charlie Kimber, the party’s national secretary, says, “The SWP strongly contests major elements of this account of the Disputes Committee hearing. The woman concerned brought serious accusations to our attention, we investigated, found against the accused and took prompt action. Those are the facts of this case.

    “Fighting for women’s liberation is a central part of the struggle for socialism. We take any issues involving women’s oppression extremely seriously.

    “We give a guarantee of confidentiality to everyone involved in such hearings, and therefore we cannot go into full detail. But there was absolutely no cover-up.

    “The person accused was removed from the party, and the members of the party heard a full report on the case at our annual conference.

    “This report, and a special meeting in the district most affected, brought home the importance of what had happened.

    “It is to the credit of our organisation that we investigated this claim thoroughly and took effective action on the basis of the evidence that was presented.”

    Pat Stack, the chair of the disputes committee during this case, says, “I simply do not recognise this account of the hearing. For example, we did not ask the questions that are alleged. We are very conscious of how difficult such cases are for the women involved. I am sure that we dealt with the case in a proper way.”

    Charlie Kimber adds, “I hope that after the party’s conference we can move forward united. We are going to redouble our fight against this vicious government, against the attacks on jobs, pay, benefits and public services, against the bedroom tax and against privatisation.

    “We will continue to work in action with as wide a range of people outside the party as possible. The challenges facing working people across the globe are too urgent for us not to seek to build broader resistance to austerity, fascism and war. And at the centre of that fightback we will continue to argue for a socialist future which abolishes exploitation and tears out the roots of women’s oppression, LGBT oppression, racism and everything else that divides us.”

    Solidarity,

    Charlie Kimber, SWP national secretary

  170. daggi on said:

    …third most read story on the Graun website in the last 24 hours. Which either suggests very few people read the Guardian website, or that the SWP reputation is well and truly fucked amongst those who most tend to be their allies in wider society. Hang on, a good percentage of them are probably spineless liberals anyway, so won’t really be that bothered after all.

  171. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala: The only good thing about all this is that you will all die. It’s the only saving grace about this scum regime that needs to be changed.
    #187, 6:13pm

    This claim is a conclusion drawn from the historical record. For almost 40 years the IS/SWP has become increasingly sclerotic, an accelerating necrosis that has at last evoked an attempt at a democratic renewal: some comrades have finally stood up & shouted enough is enough, this has to stop. If this opportunity is missed, if the Lyncher methods triumph, the IDOOP Faction Cttee. is clear in its prognosis, one I gave in comment #184: “If comrades leave the party in dribs and drabs they are highly unlikely to build anything of significance, and if the numbers leaving are significant enough it could shift the culture of the party so far towards conservatism that it could become unrealistic to imagine that the party could recover.” The patient will die. That was my point.

    This necrotic view is echoed in one of best pieces in the Pre-conference Bulletin (PCB), that by Cde. John:

    “Our current method of electing the CC has much in common with the bureaucratic rituals of ‘dead-man’s shoes’ and ‘Buggins’ turn’.
    “When an existing CC member dies, resigns or is deemed inappropriate for some reason, the remaining members of the CC will choose a replacement” (the reference is given below)

    Since the driving out of the creative, open-minded group around Higgins, Palmer & the others in 1974-6 the regime has been entrenched for close on 40 years: the government has changed (the individuals in the CC) but the one-and-same regime has persisted, honing its controlling techniques & teaching the membership (Stuart is an exemplar of this) that there is only One Way, the Way of the Current CC. An uninterrupted lineage of die-hard conservatives, invoking ‘the tradition’ as a mantra, each taking their seat at the Central Cttee. table, a gentlemen’s club. For forty years. When Jellytots were on sale. CC members have died, each being replaced by either co-opting a co-thinker or adding Buggins to the sole CC list ritually, that is meaninglessly, presented to Conference. Likewise for those Brutus moments that bring a cascade of schadenfreude to the thousands who have been abused by this reactionary regime.

    Don’t take my word for all this, consider the words of 2 contributions to the PCB; please note I don’t say ‘to the pre-Conference discussion’ because almost all Conference delegates had been elected before the sole PCB was distributed, another consequence of the CC ignoring the Constitution which in article 4 makes the discussion period a mandatory 3 months.

    Lengthy quotes are warranted, not least because good sense is being drowned out by a barrage from the Lynchers. The first passages come from one of the best pieces in the PCB, the already-cited ‘Is Leninism finished? No, but which Leninism do we mean?’ by John (East Devon, Somerset & Dorset), pp.67-9; the next set is from ‘On the Central Committee’ by Kris (South London) & Julian (Merseyside), pp.59-60.

    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

    (1) Cde. John (pp.67-8):

    “. . . the current SWP model of democratic centralism, one that has been largely unchanged for over 40 years . . . (p.67)

    “Nobody can seriously say that the only appropriate model of democratic centralism has to be the one we formulated over 40 years ago and still use today. The political landscape has changed enormously over the last 40 years, the class struggle ebbs and flows, ideas gain and lose ground as does how we communicate and interact, both individually and as groups.

    “The question therefore becomes how do we organise ourselves in any given period, and, more particularly, how do we need to organise today?

    “It ought to be clear to everybody that our present arrangements are not provably fit for purpose. Either that or we are the unluckiest party in the world having suffered a string of crises (Respect, Counterfire, IS Group, Disputes Committee) in rapid succession. In a situation like this
    there can be a tendency to ‘batten down the hatches’, seek internal scapegoats and meet internal criticism with impatience, censure or even disciplinary measures.

    “Regrettably I would have to say that this is how I see the current CC acting. In my view this evidences a defensive attitude borne of insecurity and lack of political vision. It is 100% the wrong response.

    “There is a lesson to learn from Tony Cliff here. Cliff was well aware that, in a properly functioning party, discipline is political – not administrative – and is fundamentally a matter of conviction. Indeed, writing in Lenin Volume 4, Cliff states in relation to democratic centralism, ‘if “staff” [leadership] and “troops” [members] are well integrated, discipline follows 99% from conviction and only 1% from mechanical obedience. Where such conditions do not exist bureaucratic fiat will inevitably take over. After all no organizational rule can, in practice, rise much higher than the political base on which it rests.’ . . .

    “The CC will, no doubt, continue to say that we should not be spending our time looking internally when there are massive political battles to be fought outside. The irony is that it is the CC that are the inward-looking ones, because they see the present crisis in terms of party procedures, and not in terms of how it is perceived by our periphery and allies . . .

    “a) Central Committee – Composition and Election
    Our current method of electing the CC has much in common with the bureaucratic rituals of ‘dead-man’s shoes’ and ‘Buggins’ turn’.

    “When an existing CC member dies, resigns or is deemed inappropriate for some reason, the remaining members of the CC will choose a replacement. That replacement will generally live in London, be an ex-student and be an employee of the party.

    “Most importantly from the CC’s point of view, the person selected will be someone who agrees with their own current perspectives. What we end up with is a CC with limited experience of the world outside of the hothouse of National Office or student politics. In normal circumstances that CC will then carry on relatively unchanged until the next person dies, resigns or is deemed inappropriate.

    “Lenin was always adamant that leaders are only there because they have earned that right in the struggle and they have to continually re-earn that right. What we need is a leadership with experience of real struggles in the real world and a method of nomination and election that achieves it . . .” (p.68)

    Pages 67-8, http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

    (2) Cdes. Kris & Julian, ‘On the Central Committee’, p.60:

    “When conference voted by the slimmest of margins to accept the DC report, with dozens of comrades feeling unable to vote either way, the CC could have taken the cue to begin a process of healing. It chose instead to go on the offensive. To demand comrades not even report the discussion back to their branches. To insist all mention was forbidden. . . .

    “After a CC member accepted the right of comrades to form a faction over a decision at any time, the CC then claimed it did not recognise our right to do so. Except at the same time it did recognise exactly that. The CC also attacked comrades for using the tools available to us to argue – and did so using the tools available only to the CC (Party Notes and Socialist Review) to do so.

    “We are sure other comrades have written at length on how the CC has manoeuvred to win delegates to and votes at this special conference. Suffice to say that, as the CC announced the outcome of this conference weeks ago, no-one is going to be surprised at the decisions made.

    “Is all this incompetence and control-freakery down to the individuals concerned? Would things be better if we swapped a few names in and out? We don’t think so. It goes much deeper than that.

    “The CC setup we have now is simply not suitable to the task. We have a small group of mostly full-time party workers who live in or around London. The periphery of this group comes and goes as their stars wax and wane. The inner circle remains unless and until a serious fracture occurs. This inner circle has reserved to itself the right to do the party’s thinking.

    “Perspectives emanate whole from the CC and are pushed through the party without any genuine discussion – most often via a Party Council or National Committee, with very little if any notice given before approval is required. This is the model of ‘an interventionist leadership’ which we reject wholeheartedly. Instead the party needs a CC which builds the cadre and encourages members to play a full part in shaping the party’s perspectives and practice.

    “Our leading committee needs better to reflect the membership. In age, in experience, in opinions, in geography and in position in the class. We need a leadership group which
    can learn from the party and from the wider movement, as well as seek to intervene.

    “Currently, the vast majority of comrades, with all their talents and experience, are excluded even from being considered for the CC unless they are prepared to give up their job and any trade union role (i.e. their actual position in the working class) and move to the capital. The CC needs to be enlarged and should reflect the range of roles and activities which members perform as trade unionists, community activists, students and intellectuals, and in united fronts and campaigns . . .

    “And while we are on the subject, the Democracy Commission recommended that the CC share its disagreements with the party. The CC has ignored this, except when it has seen a factional advantage in revealing a split. We need to enforce this on the CC if it is unwilling. In the same way as we need to enforce the resolution conference passed on holding debates in our publications. The CC cannot be allowed to ignore party decisions.”
    Page 60, http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

  172. Many of us have heard rumours about another ‘worse case’ yet to break into the media. All I had been able to glean is that a district organiser in his twenties had been suspended for two years from the party (for reasons unknown). IF this is the same case – then two years suspension is disgusting. He should have been expelled and the woman encouraged to go to the rape crisis centre and / or the police. The party should then have engaged in an investigation into one thing it does have jurisdiction over – ‘Are its structures ever abused by some members to abuse other members? Is there an abuse of power within the party? – these would be suitable questions for a party investigative commission – rather than interrogating the women who complain!

    I had wondered when this second scandal would break in the media. I had also wondered whether it would be timed to coincide with the ‘crisis conference’. We last saw a flurry of minor newspaper stories timed to coincide with the National Committee (NC) meeting. So this confirms a pattern – and confirms that a few right wing hacks are determined to exploit this story – in a minor way. It is, of course, a pity the SWP CC provide them with such easy ammunition.

    Paradoxically (?) the strategy of the media hacks (Cohen et al) helps the CC and their authoritarian loyalists in its own twisted way, as well. For example, last time, just before the NC meeting, the Daily Mail published a piece naming and photographically identifying the women on the Disputes Committee of the SWP. On the eve of the NC, this helped harden the CC loyalists. Under attack, the siege mentality grows, along with paranoia and defensiveness. This makes it harder for processes of internal criticism and democratisation to save the day – and save the SWP.

    And finally, – IF these are the same cases – then is the location of the suspended fulltimer and the district the CC is making a special case of its students of in – more than sickening coincidence?

  173. jack ford on said:

    Nick Cohen and certain other neocons are drooling with glee at the chance to put the boot into the SWP. This is personal for Cohen and goes back to the Iraq war. However the CC have only themselves to blame and if they carry on down the path they’re taking they will destroy the party which will give the likes of Cohen deep personal satisfaction.

  174. Geoff Collier on said:

    peter storm:
    In comment 96, Geoff Collier says on whether Bea Campbell supported the minsers’strike:

    That is NOT proof that she didn’t support the miners’strike. It only proves she did not support the NUM, which is not quite the same thing.

    I used the NUM as shorthand. My actual question to her concerned the miners’s strike. She declined to support the strike because of a misguided criticism of the NUM. I say misguided because it was untrue

  175. Jara Handala on said:

    stephen marks: This set me recollecting about the original split of the old IS Opposition of which I was part in 1974, along with Jim Higgins, John Palmer, Roger Protz and the rest. Shortly after we had all been excluded for not dissolving our faction, I ran into the IS London Regional Organiser at a party. ‘Well Stephen’ he said to me “what’s it like in the wilderness?”. “You tell me” I replied, “I’ve just left it”.
    #201, 8:25pm

    Hilarious! I love jokes with that structure.

    As someone aspiring to be a rational discussant I address people’s claims, putative evidence, arguments & ideas, not their political affiliation. But for those who look elsewhere please let me say my only involvement with CPGB is that I have had letters published in ‘Weekly Worker’ – and family who were both in & around the CPGB from the late 1920s.

    Tony Collins: But, Jara, don’t aim your fire at stuart. Even though you’re talking about the loyalists, the way it can come across is that only one person is being picked on.
    #195, 7:12pm

    Point taken. I’m simply discussing with Stuart, & others here, but where she/he has identified with thuggery & bullying & other obscenities I rightly address such things to her/him. Also I have never picked on anyone here, and wouldn’t.

    I am in no position to give Stuart what she/he deserves: only her/his fellow SWP members can do that.

    As far as Stuart being a wanker, sorry, that’s beyond my competence to judge. Maybe something for a newly constituted, fully elected, Disputes Cttee.

  176. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart: How are you calculating 512 maximum?

    It’s the figure (to date) that your SWP CC have claimed in support of your statement – plus the CC members themselves. It’s your published figure (to date) not my “calculation.)

    Your SWP CC also claims there are a total of “7,000 SWP members”.

    So your CC is claiming (to date) that it is supported by 7.3 per cent of the total membership that your CC claims to have.

    That’s going solely by the figures your own CC claims.

  177. From a Facebook discussion which others on here may have accessed. I’m convinced by the content. Names “redacted”:

    “One thing we seem to have learned this afternoon- the Sheffield cover up is significantly worse than Nick Cohen’s report (!): The Party believed a district organiser really had hit and raped one woman comrade, and hit and harassed others. But the disgraceful two year suspension he was given wasn’t theoretical – they really were planning to send him back into the field as an organiser somewhere after he had read some books by Lindsey German or whatever. Two members of the current CC – xxxx xxxx and xxxx xxxx – were involved in trying to smooth over dissent, and make his return possible. It’s such a cover up that , as xxxxx xxxx says, he’s still “Facebook Friends” with many party members.Something has gone so seriously wrong here.”

  178. Also I have never picked on anyone here, and wouldn’t

    It’s cool, the real problem is that there is only one person who will defend them here. In a way it’s good – the sight of the rest of the loyalists on Facebook, unable to muster anything approaching a political argument and instead being deeply nasty, is something we’ve moved away from here.

    Still, people like Simon Assaf, who now fails to even show up at SWSS meetings he’s booked to speak at just cos people who are on the other side of an SWP argument are there, can’t stop themselves from reading this terrible, terrible website. I’m sure they feel really good about themselves. (Hi Simon! Hope you remember what Marxism is one day!)

  179. stephen marks on said:

    Jara Handala: Hilarious! I love jokes with that structure.

    Thanks – but I don’t always think of the punchline till later. For example, about the same time I was trying to argue with Chris Harman [never an easy matter] about the propriety of the fulltime apparatus acting as factional enforcers for the majority – a key factor in the gap between what Bagehot would have called the ‘useful’ and the ‘ornamental’ part of the SWP constitution: rather like the clause on the ‘leading role of the party’ in the otherwise apparently democratic constitution of an East European People’s Democracy.

    He told me I was guilty of subscribing to ‘the social democratic theory of checks and balances’. It was only some years later that I realised that the best reply would have been ‘Chris, that is a great compliment to social democracy’.

  180. Barry Kade: the second case refers to an issue that’s been obliquely discussed here and elsewhere, involving the former Sheffield organiser. You’ll be able to find all the details by skipping over various Facebook profiles, and I think someone even pasted in a comment with the central guy’s name in it on here somewhere earlier today.

  181. Tony Collins: You’ll be able to find all the details by skipping over various Facebook profiles, and I think someone even pasted in a comment with the central guy’s name in it on here somewhere earlier today.

    I’ve not posted anything with the organiser’s name, but in comment 211 I’ve posted one person’s summary from a F/b discussion.

  182. Jara Handala on said:

    Tony Collins: at the centre of that fightback we will continue to argue for a socialist future which abolishes exploitation and TEARS OUT THE ROOTS of women’s oppression, LGBT oppression, racism and everything else that divides us. ” (my emphases)
    #202, 8:56pm

    An unfortunate turn of phrase by Cde. Chaplin given the testimony of Caroline L.

  183. What the Nick Cohen/Shiv Malik article really exposes for me the contempt the SWP hold for violence against women.

    “She claims she was told the alleged rapist was going to be suspended and encouraged to read up on women’s liberation”.

    What fresh hell is this? Read a few books on women’s liberation… and you have a road to Damascus experience. ….

    And with the Sheffield incident … the guy will be allowed back in after two years. FFS! This is all beyond contempt.

    A group of people in the SWP get expelled for what, having a discussion on FB while when it comes to serious criminal allegations, violence against women… you get told to read a few books and come back when you have thought about it. The message this all send out damns the Left and it’s shameful.

    And now with the allegations about full-timer in the SP… I always knew this was just the tip of the iceberg. The statistics re domestic violence and rape means there are more women out there who have experienced some violent crime by someone on the Left.

  184. I’ve got no dog in this fight, but doesn’t naming the Sheffield guy who had rape/assault charges ‘proven’ against him (by the SWP CC), without so much as the benefit of a Delta-style nickname, tend to open up this site to legal action (e.g. subjudice if it goes to court, poss. libel etc)? If there is no confidence in the DC/CC when they acquit, why have it when they ‘convict’? Consistency would be good here or it looks like the SWP’s discomfort is the main event and not the rights and wrongs of the specific case.

  185. As the expulsions machine of the SWP revs up, readers may also be interested that this is not the first time SWP members have been banned from discussing rape. Under different circumstances – when it was more of a theoretical topic – rape was also a big issue twenty years ago.

    The document reproduced below was written in association with the Radical Anthropology Group. It summarizes debates during the SWP’s Marxism event in 1991 – debates triggered by the marxist anthropological theory that the prohibition against rape, enforced through struggle thousands of years ago, was the foundational rule of early human society and culture.

    SWP ‘expulsions’ for discussing rape – not for the first time!:
    http://libcom.org/history/swp-expulsions-discussing-rape-not-first-time

  186. G: Consistency would be good here or it looks like the SWP’s discomfort is the main event and not the rights and wrongs of the specific case.

    The “SWP’s discomfort” is neither here nor there. The emerging incidence of unreported incidents of rape and violence against women on the Left is the issue.

  187. I don’t disagree with Jay Blackwood, although some observers seem to be enjoying this a bit too much. Long-term, open justice is a good thing, meaning right now I would question the wisdom of naming ALLEGED rapists online. There’s plenty of that crap goes on Facebook – “this is a photo of Joe XX – he’s supposed to have done something which means he deserves your vigilante justice” – as it is.

  188. Jara Handala on said:

    stephen marks: ‘Chris, that is a great compliment to social democracy’.
    #213, 10:01pm

    And that’s the point (or one of them) about ‘decadent’ bourgeois democracy, in particular the normative ideas of political liberalism. I mentioned the other week Roy Medvedev’s ideas around socialist constitutionalism (Leninism & Western Socialism, 1981), & Anthony Arblaster’s discussions of liberalism & socialism (e.g. http://socialistregister.com/index.php/srv/article/view/5307).

    The same sort of thing came up this week with Tom Walker (the first big resigner after the January Conference, the ‘Socialist Worker’ journo) in his talk uploaded onto yt on Thursday (over 400 viewers already). He prescribes for a healthy revo soc org’n 5 (non-exhaustive) necessary features:
    participatory democracy
    pluralism
    a learning org’n from the bottom-up
    being experimental (which I note, is a rarely mentioned idea)
    being against all oppression, not being class reductive

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C3-oPm3-8w (thanx to Jay who linked this here on Thursday)

  189. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala: Stuart, you know as well as I do that my claim is evidenced, it’s rooted in reality, it’s simply the truth.

    If you used those same words to describe reality you too would be justified in saying that, in expressing yourself in that way.

    What you are doing is claiming a privileged ‘right’ to use particular modes of expression not available to me because you have appointed yourself as a spokesperson for, in your judgement, ‘victims’ (oppositional SWP members).

    But moving on to the more important topic of the Special Conference. We now have the somewhat predictable spectacle of Nick Cohen seeking to ‘intervene’ by exerting greater pressure on the members. Now I urge you to remember that this is the same Nick Cohen that thinks the Pentagon is some kind of human rights agency. He hates the far left, he hates all those who marched against the Iraq war in record numbers a decade ago. What is more, Cohen has form. In his book ‘What’s Left’, written in response to his horror at the anti-war movement he tells a blatant lie about the SWP by making a crucial misquotation (p 309), the effect of which was a combination of red-baiting and Islamophobia.

    Nick Cohen is a liar. Nick Cohen’s Guardian article today is rejected by Pat Stack, a member of the DC directly involved. Pat Stack is a leading member of IDOOP, the faction that many on here are cheering on tomorrow. I say to those sympathetic to IDOOP, you cannot agree with Pat Stack and Nick Cohen at the same time.

  190. stuart on said:

    Karl Stewart: It’s the figure (to date) that your SWP CC have claimed in support of your statement – plus the CC members themselves. It’s your published figure (to date) not my “calculation.)

    How can you say that strength is determined by a figure published some time ago?

  191. and there's more on said:

    G:
    I don’t disagree with Jay Blackwood, although some observers seem to be enjoying this a bit too much. Long-term, open justice is a good thing, meaning right now I would question the wisdom of naming ALLEGED rapists online. There’s plenty of that crap goes on Facebook – “this is a photo of Joe XX – he’s supposed to have done something which means he deserves your vigilante justice” – as it is.

    In contrast to the Delta case, the SWP quietly disposed of this “comrade” from Sheffield, infact they promoted him to their National Office. Google his name, it’s the same surname as Delta, and his first name is a horrible way of describing men who have an alcohol addiction, (it’s also an Americaniised version of the Christian name Jack. You will see the kind of assholes the SWP consider fit to be in their leadership.

  192. memoryoftheparty on said:

    Kinnel Stuart you cannot do ‘guilt by association’ to support your position. Can’t you see you are adopting the method of McCarthyism?

  193. stuart on said:

    memoryoftheparty:
    Kinnel Stuart you cannot do ‘guilt by association’ to support your position. Can’t you see you are adopting the method of McCarthyism?

    I’m not following you here. Cohen has a history of lying and I can quote to you the evidence. He has written an article today, key points of which are contradicted by Stack. Who are you most inclined to believe?

  194. Jara Handala on said:

    Oh, the internet is a dangerous place: The party member is [COMRADE THETA]#183, 5:48pm yesterday

    [IDENTIFYING BIOGRAPHICAL DETAIL DELETED]

    Who do these people think they are?

    You couldn’t make this up. The Yugoslav novelist, Danilo Kis, said in his profession you don’t need an imagination, just the ability to read the newspaper.

  195. and there's more on said:

    stuart,

    Stuart,

    Stop trying to muddy the waters.

    The young woman concerned only felt able to contact a journalist such as Nick Cohen because she felt so disrespected by assholes like you.

    As socialists we begin from a position that a woman who alleges rape is not lying.

    People like you and your shitty little party (which I was a member of for 10 years) start from a position of “why is this lying slut lying about our wonderful party” and that is why thousands of decent socialists have passed through your ranks, and want nothing more to do with you.

    And while we’re on the subject, ask your bosses why Donnna Guthrie was constructively dismissed from UAF when she asked awkward questions about the treatment of Comrade W.

  196. Jara Handala on said:

    and there's more: And while we’re on the subject, ask your bosses why Donnna Guthrie was constructively dismissed from UAF when she asked awkward questions about the treatment of Comrade W.

    Oh.

    SWP labour practices again? Those workers really need a union. Maybe some revolutionaries can help them.

  197. stuart on said:

    and there's more:

    Stuart,

    Stop trying to muddy the waters.

    I’m not, I’m trying to be crystal clear by concentrating on known facts. Nick Cohen has a history of lying about the SWP and I can provide proof. Pat Stack’s account contradicts that of Cohen’s. You say you are an ex-member but if you are believing Cohen over Stack then I would suggest you would not even be welcome within the ranks of IDOOP.

  198. and there's more on said:

    And you Stuart my ex-“comrade” would be welcome in the ranks of any Stasi/Stavak/Stalinist group in the world.

    You are an embarrassment to the socialist movement with your “my party right or wrong” rhetoric.

    I can’t believe you were in the same organization as me for so many years.

    I thought for a while you might be that East London brainless hack Roddy Slorack, but I’m open to arguments that you are indeed a voice for the collective CC and that your strings are being pulled by your elders and betters.

  199. stuart on said:

    and there's more,

    I have no contact whatsoever with any CC members, I never have done. What I post here is written in my own words. If you believe Cohen over Stack then your distance from the party is truly considerable.

  200. stuart on said:

    and there's more:
    And your distance from the Stasi is truly negligible

    Rather than trade insults why not explain why you believe the proven liar Cohen over oppositionist Stack?

  201. Jara Handala on said:

    Karl Stewart: Your SWP CC also claims there are a total of “7,000 SWP members”.
    So your CC is claiming (to date) that it is supported by 7.3 per cent of the total membership that your CC claims to have.
    #210, 9:49pm yesterday

    It’s worse than that, Karl, you’re overstating by 10%: it’s not 7.3% but 6.6%.

    I’ve posted before that the Nov 2012 Pre-conference Bulletin gave the CC report, ‘Building the Party’, disclosing to the members – and the world – the SWP membership figures. As of 25 Oct it stood at 7597 (page 5).
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/swpinternalbulletins/PreConf_Bulletin_ii_Nov_2012.pdf

    The update came from Cde. Chaplin in the 12 January ‘Socialist Worker’ report of Conference: “He told conference that the SWP had recruited 1,000 people last year”. (It seems the article was anonymous coz the CC demanded a re-write, removing mention of the Disputes Cttee. session, & the editor refused to agree to this being done.)
    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=30285

    As the PCB gave recruitment as 750 (page 5) that was an extra 33% in just over 2 mths. Please: as the previous 4 annual figures varied from 1021 to 1184 everyone knew that a 33% surge, aping the US military, was bound to happen. (But I don’t think this is what Tom Walker has in mind when he talks about a revo soc org’n having to be a learning org’n – vid link at my above comment #225.)

    So, being generous, add on 200, not 250, that makes a membership of 7600+200 = 7800. And how representative of the membership is the Lynch Mob Faction (Undeclared)? Well, that’s 512/7800 = 6.6%, or 1 in 15. So 1 in 15 of SWP members has shown support for the Lynchers, for the bullies & the thugs. You couldn’t make this up. (Guess the inflated figures have come back to haunt the Lynchers. Quantitative justice, you could say.)

    And what proportion of the SWP membership cares the slightest about what’s happening to the org’n? Well, in ‘After Sunday’ the M&M Defenders say, “532 party members have joined”, that makes the 2 factions = 512+532 = 1044 (13.4% of members, 1 in 7.5).
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/after-sunday-heavily-rigged…but-legitimate (all of this is the link: the ellipses just messed it up)

    So if you add in another 250 of ‘members-who-care-but-can’t-decide-who-to-care-for’ you get, 1044+250 = 1294, & 1294/7800 = 16.6%, 1 in 6 almost exactly.

    So 5/6 of the membership figure is fake. A fraud.

    You can’t have it both ways: either you have 7800 & the Lynchers represent 6.6% of members, or the Lynchers are 40% of a membership of 1300. That’s what the revolutionary socialist combat party, the leadership in waiting, the SWP, amounts to.

    As this is the greatest crisis ‘the tradition’ has faced, motivating the apparatus to corral all they can into the District Aggregates electing the Conference delegates, awakening every member with a revolutionary class consciousness, the evidence is clear that the Lynchers/bullies/thugs are 40% of a 1300-strong SWP.

    That’s why the Joint West & North West London District Aggregate, with the Clash of the Titans, Professor Ignorant in the dark corner, versus Slack Stack in the vanilla corner, with the Red Cross & St John’s Ambulance bods nowhere in sight, it mustered all of “A few over 50 people”. As I said, you couldn’t make it up.
    http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/pre-conference-aggregates-faction-report-back

  202. and there's more on said:

    Because I looked at the evidence from the female complainants and having known both of them, I believed their version of events (which even Stack partially did).

    And then I took into account the shit storm of lies that was generated by my ex-party against Comrade W.

    Subsequently I was party to some of the teleological explanations from my ex CC, defending their investigation of the allegations.

    And I mixed in a smidgeon of your dead eyed hackneyed responses to genuine questions on this site

    I took into consideration that you are a lying asshole who pretends he’s at a distance from the CC faction, but is nothing more than their mouthpiece, et voila, I have come to the conclusion that I believe Nick Cohen’s account of what happened in Sheffield under the watchful eye of both Smiths.

  203. stuart on said:

    and there's more,

    I have no contact whatsoever with CC so you are wrong about that for starters. Unless you were on the DC you will not have seen any evidence. Pat Stack was and did. Nick Cohen wasn’t and didn’t. Why believe Cohen when he has blatantly lied about the party in the past and should therefore be regarded as unreliable?

  204. and there's more on said:

    Why believe the CC when they have blatantly lied about the party in the past (7,000 members anyone ?) and should therefore be regarded as unreliable ?

  205. stuart on said:

    and there's more,

    I don’t believe membership claims are relevant to this discussion, as everyone knows there are marked differences in members levels of activity, commitment and engagement such that a quoted figure will in all likelihood represent a truth. Any ‘controversy’ over this is not comparable to the far more sinister actions of Cohen.

  206. Howard Kirk on said:

    Stuart

    Are you saying Cohen is lying about what has been said to him or are those who spoke to him lying?

    It appears you are saying the former, but how do you know?

  207. and there's more on said:

    I believe the CC’s blatant lies about the size of the membership of the SWP indicates a level of contempt for the party members who actually exist (and are not just names on a petition from 5 years ago.)

    I don’t believe the CC claims around either of the complaints of sexual violence against party leaders.

    And I believe that the CC’s actions in orchestrating a campaign of disinformation and defamation against the two women involved is distinctly more sinister than anything Nick Cohen could conjure up.

  208. stuart on said:

    Howard Kirk,

    What I’m saying is that an IDOOP leader and DC member, Pat Stack, disagrees fundamentally with Cohen’s account. They cannot both be right so I invite people to choose the most likely accurate version of events and in so doing take account of Cohen’s known track record of lying about the SWP to further his own political agenda.

  209. and there's more on said:

    I am not in the SWP anymore, consequently I am not in either/any faction, but I am accusing the CC, specifically Lord Alex of spreading disinformation and defamatory statements about the two women.

  210. Jara Handala: The only good thing about all this is that you will all die. It’s the only saving grace about this scum regime that needs to be changed.

    Jara Handala: And, remember, I’m not even behaving like a Lyncher, a thuggish & bullying apolitical controller.

    I am not happy about this language, which seems to be verging on dehumanising the SWP leadership, and caracaturing them as composite creatures of malice incarnate.

  211. and there's more on said:

    stuart:
    and there’s more,

    Why are the faction not doing so?

    Stuart, please read carefully what I posted above, and for confirmation please read below.

    I. am. not. in. the. S.W.P. any. more.

    Therefore. I. am. not. in. either. of. the. factions.

    Therefore. I. have. no. bloody. idea. why. the. factions. are. doing. or. not. doing. any. particular. thing.

    I am accusing Lord Alex of spreading lies about Comrade W and the young woman in the Sheffield case.

  212. Andy Newman:
    I am not happy about this language, which seems to be verging on dehumanising the SWP leadership, and caracaturing them as composite creatures of malice incarnate.

    Yeah also that (now deleted) link at #233 appeared to have been written by someone on the far-Right.I share most of the criticisms of the SWP expressed in these threads but why on earth would you wish to link to that?

  213. The only difference between DeLargy and Newman is that at least DeLargy has an excuse…

  214. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: you have appointed yourself as a spokesperson for, in your judgement, ‘victims’ (oppositional SWP members).
    #226, 12:02am

    (1) I have done no appointing (or anointing).

    (2) I have claimed to speak for no-one, indeed, not even for myself. If I were rich I might hire someone to speak for me, as spending time here isn’t my fave pastime, to be honest.

    (3) But let me ask you a question, Stuart, a question that goes to a heart of this whole sorry crisis. Stuart, how do you justify putting scare quotes around the word ‘victim’? Are you so detached or disingenuous (remember Uriah Heep?) or simply simple that you fail to recognise & be able to acknowledge to any interested person that some SWP members have been treated outrageously by fellow SWP members, by their supposed comrades?

    Take a deep breath, Stuart. Do you deny all the numerous accounts of uncomradely behaviour? Are they all false, either malicious inventions of factionalisers posing as ‘victims’, and/or are these ‘victims’ delusional, needing psychiatrists or psychotherapists? It’s one or the other, isn’t it, Stuart? Are your fellow SWP members, your comrades, bad or mad? Which is it, Stuart? Because if you call them ‘victims’, not victims, your comrades have no third way to take – other than totalling flipping & become abusers themselves.

    Sadly this is where you have led yourself. According to the Membership Dept. clerks in the Citadel the SWP has been led to this point by the 6.6%, the SWP’s version of the 1%, the SWP rulers of a special type. They who are the organisers of a Special Conference of a special type. They who apply treatment of a special type using the SWP’s own Sonderkommandos. As the corpses heap up around you, Stuart, other Sonderkommandos are going to work, disposing of the bodies, practising Cliffist hygiene, sprucing the place up, helping to make all this a Special Conference for a truly special SWP, the Party of your dreams, Stuart, a veritable Special Wonder Party.

  215. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart: How can you say that strength is determined by a figure published some time ago?

    It’s your CC faction’s figure the only figure your CC Faction has published to date.
    It’s slightly less than the latest figure published by IDOP.

    So, according to the current claimed figures from each of the two factions, at this time, there are:

    532 SWP members supporting IDOP
    And
    512 SWP members supporting your CC Faction.

    This is a total of 1,044, and this represents 14.9 per cent of the total SWP membership that your CC Faction claims of “7,000”.

    The vote your CC Faction claims – of 512 – is 7.3 per cent of the total SWP membership that your SWP CC Faction claims.

    All of the above is based on claims made by your own CC Faction (and the IDOP Faction figure is from the IDOP Faction.)

  216. brainwash on said:

    All of which makes the role of Sheffield SWP and its henchwoman Maxine Bowler in attacking the faction all the more disturbing. They are now actively involved in covering up at least two very serious allegations.

  217. Jara Handala on said:

    Just been on the sadly moribund DRP blog, looking up Cde. John Game (cited in my comment #204, 9:20pm yesterday), & noticed 2 things readers may find of interest:

    (1) JG approved of this point made by Phil Edwards, a point that seems to place Stuart in, for him, illustrious & enviable company:

    “I wonder if Callinicos genuinely doesn’t understand how people outside the party can simultaneously respect & admire the SWP’s achievements, dislike the way the party operates, and hope for a renewed party to come out of the current crisis. It seems pretty straightforward to me – you just have to make the distinction between the party itself and the way it’s led and managed. But I guess that’s a difficult distinction for somebody in his position to grasp.”
    http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk/#!/2013/01/is-zinovievism-finished-reply-to-alex.html

    (2) A comment by Paul Kellogg to the same essay with a link to his ‘Leninism: It’s Not What You Think’, 2009, 20pp.
    http://www.socialiststudies.com/index.php/sss/article/view/84/81

    One thinks of the joy, the excitement, that 5 week flowering brought, & then one thinks of its opposite, that stale regime of control, reminiscent of the leadership of North Korea, proud that for 9 months of the year it chooses to deprive members of an internal discussion bulletin. A rotting corpse.

    Let the last word be with Andy (Hackney), describing in the PCB what the Facebook Four went thru, 4 cdes. whose expulsions were supported by Defence, despite the efforts of the DRP:

    “This affair also raises the issue that the CC believes it has a right to intercept the private conversations of party members. I do not accept that it has any such right.

    “Whether online or in person, comrades are entitled to a degree of privacy in their lives – the hypersuspicion towards the membership from the leadership and the belief it should spy in this way owes more to the Stalinist bureaucracies than to any reading of the IS tradition. In short, this behaviour should be ceased. It is a point of irony that the final remark in the Facebook conversation was from Paris, who said ‘Sick of paranoid Facebook conversations. We’re in the SWP, not North Korea.’

    “Sadly it appears the CC has decided we are in fact in North Korea. Comrades, please reject this and support the reinstatement of the Facebook 4; so the party has a chance to move forward in a united way.” (pages 45-6)
    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

  218. I fear there may be more. Looking at the search terms that brought people to my blog this morning, a third SWP full-timer was named in connection to rape. I hope it isn’t true.

  219. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    From my own observations at my aggregate, I saw no evidence of rigging. Everything seemed above board. I think there is a particular weakness when it comes to the faction, that of a lack of any coherent message. Some in the faction have clear concerns over some aspects of DC. But for others the intentions appear harder to define and the message is not coming across. The party, I am sure, will be looking more closely at DC in any case. For those still not satisfied the ball is in their court but I would hope and trust that democratic decisions are adhered to.

  220. Julian on said:

    I have been viewing the SWP meltdown, but not posting about it: I’m not a member, nor ever will be, though I do know some very fine SWP activists.

    A strange thing happened yesterday morning. I was in my SE London flat – I live on a large estate – and there was a knock at the door.

    Outside were a young man and an older woman, with literature. I was just about to go into my “Sorry, I’m not interested in religion” spiel, thinking they were Jehovah’s witnesses, then the man showed me a paper called The Militant.

    I was completely baffled, thinking Militant had disappeared long ago. I asked what “faction” he was involved in, meaning which left group. He wouldn’t answer me even though I asked twice, so I asked what group published the paper. He said “Socialist Workers Party in the USA”

    This answer baffled me even more. I made some remark about it being odd that this was the weekend the SWP UK was imploding. I then explained that I was v. busy and didn’t really have time for this and they left, rather swiftly. Later I noticed there were a whole mob of them on the estate, all except the guy I spoke to fairly old. Nobody I recognised, which is also odd as I know several local activists.

    Later I had the thought that 1) The SWP brand has become so toxic that they dare not identify themselves on the doorstep (No SWP badges etc) and 2) that the CC sent out its drones to do a completely futile task to stop them meeting and conversing with the IDOOP faction in advance of the meltdown meeting today- I assume they must frequent the same pubs so unless they are kept busy they might have an actual…discussion thingy…and form some ideas of their own.

    I do not know for certain they were the (UK) SWP. But I am 90% sure.

    This is very cult-like behaviour, just what the scientologists or JWs would do to stop their members hearing another point of view.

    In ordinary circumstances I would have bought a paper or two off any left group that came to my door out of sympathy. But not when they wouldn’t say who they were. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

  221. stuart: From my own observations at my aggregate, I saw no evidence of rigging. Everything seemed above board.

    We are at war with East Asia. We have always been at war with East Asia…

  222. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart:
    Karl Stewart,
    The CC quite clearly has support far beyond the 500 signatories.

    You’ve claimed 500 supporters. You’ve published a list of 500 supporters.
    If you’re now claiming more than 500 supporters, where is the list?

  223. Julian,

    This is a different outfit isn’t it? The US SWP have no links at all to the UK SWP and share a name only (their paper was the Militant). Not sure why they would be making an appearance in London though. Presume if they were selling booklets as well as the paper it could be that most of the stories in the paper were about USA which would be of limited interest to most punters in SE London.

  224. Geoff Collier on said:

    Julian:
    I have been viewing the SWP meltdown, but not posting about it: I’m not a member, nor ever will be, though I do know some very fine SWP activists.

    A strange thing happened yesterday morning.I was in my SE London flat – I live on a large estate – and there was a knock at the door.

    Outside were a young man and an older woman, with literature.I was just about to go into my “Sorry, I’m not interested in religion” spiel, thinking they were Jehovah’s witnesses, then the man showed me a paper called The Militant.

    I was completely baffled, thinking Militant had disappeared long ago.I asked what “faction” he was involved in, meaning which left group. He wouldn’t answer me even though I asked twice, so I asked what group published the paper.He said “Socialist Workers Party in the USA”

    This answer baffled me even more.I made some remark about it being odd that this was the weekend the SWP UK was imploding.I then explained that I was v. busy and didn’t really have time for this and they left, rather swiftly.Later I noticed there were a whole mob of them on the estate, all except the guy I spoke to fairly old.Nobody I recognised, which is also odd as I know several local activists.

    Later I had the thought that 1) The SWP brand has become so toxic that they dare not identify themselves on the doorstep (No SWP badges etc) and 2) that the CC sent out its drones to do a completely futile task to stop them meeting and conversing with the IDOOP faction in advance of the meltdown meeting today- I assume they must frequent the same pubs so unless they are kept busy they might have an actual…discussion thingy…and form some ideas of their own.

    I do not know for certain they were the (UK) SWP. But I am 90% sure.

    This is very cult-like behaviour, just what the scientologists or JWs would do to stop their members hearing another point of view.

    In ordinary circumstances I would have bought a paper or two off any left group that came to my door out of sympathy. But not when they wouldn’t say who they were.Has anyone else had a similar experience?

    This was the Communist League, the British section of the Pathfinder tendency – which is dominated by the US SWP. That party has existed since 1938 btw. Absolutely nothing to do with the British SWP, as I’m sure you could have discovered for yourself

  225. Sorry but the group selling The Militant (US paper in English and Spanish) are the Communist League (UK, 1988) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_League_%28UK,_1988%29) who are fraternal with the Socialist Workers Party (US). They have a bookshop upstairs on the corner of Bethnal Green Road.

    Neither the Communist League (UK, 1988) nor Socialist Workers Party (US) have anything to do with the International Socialist Tendency or the Socialist Workers Party (UK).

  226. Karl Stewart on said:

    News from Hammersmith:

    I hear Calinicos is calling for the IDOP motions to be “treated with the contempt they deserve” and that calls from the podium for further expulsions are being met with applause.
    The Facebook Four are set to be expelled again at 2.30.

    The SWP CC Faction has clearly gerrymandered today’s event – but they failed to win a majority among the whole membership. They got 512 supporters compared to the IDOP’s latest figure of 540 as of this morning, with people still joining.

  227. stuart on said:

    Karl Stewart: You’ve claimed 500 supporters. You’ve published a list of 500 supporters.
    If you’re now claiming more than 500 supporters, where is the list?

    What list? I saw loads of people at my aggregate who supported the CC and were not on a list. That number (those not listed) includes myself.

  228. stuart on said:

    Zarathustra: We are at war with East Asia. We have always been at war with East Asia…

    Having my own observations challenged by someone on the net does feel a bit 1984.

  229. Karl Stewart on said:

    But you’re an anonymous person or persons carrying out an organised intervention on here on behalf of the SWP CC Faction, so no-one knows your name(s) in any case.

    The IDOP have published their list of supporters, which is 540 as of this morning and, I’m told, people are still joining.

    The people you’re working on behalf of, the SWP CC Faction, have published one list of 500 names. If one reasonably adds the 12 CC members (one would expect them to support their own list) then that comes to 512.

    So, from here, i.e. outside the SWP, there is an IDOP list of 540 and a CC Faction list of 512.

    So yes, well done for gerrymandering your event today, but you’re clearly in a minority among the SWP membership.

    Here’s an idea, why not look out for those “missing” 6,000 members you CC people keep pretending you have?

  230. neprimerimye on said:

    Yeah the CC has support beyond the statement in the form of the APPOINTED district organisers.

    As for the Sheffield case Pat Stack does not disagree with the fact that the then appointed District organiser, one Jake Smith, attacked a woman. he signed off on the DC report remember that suspended Smith.

    Your confusion, Stuart, arises from two reasons namely the Cohen article is very badly written and you are a f*****t.

  231. Julian on said:

    I should have made it clear, the two people who were selling the paper were definitely English. If they were not part of the UK SWP why didn’t they say so, or who they were?

  232. stuart on said:

    neprimerimye:

    Your confusion, Stuart, arises from two reasons namely the Cohen article is very badly written

    What makes it very badly written in your view ?

  233. Julian: If they were not part of the UK SWP why didn’t they say so, or who they were?

    Probably because they usually disdain to acknowledge other left sects, and/or they weren’t sure what reception they’d get to saying they were from the ‘Communist League’. Everything about your description of them fits that group’s profile. It’s unlikely to the point of absurdity that they were from the SWP (Britain).

  234. stuart on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    If you are claiming to be carrying out any kind of ‘research’ on support levels then to say it is badly flawed is something of an understatement.

  235. stuart on said:

    Julian,

    I’m still trying to get from you how could could be ‘90% sure’ (as opposed to say 1%) they were SWP?

  236. Geoff Collier on said:

    Julian:
    I should have made it clear, the two people who were selling the paper were definitely English.If they were not part of the UK SWP why didn’t they say so, or who they were?

    They did say so. They were selling a paper that wasn’t called Socialist Worker but was called Militant. As they said, the Militant is published by the US SWP. Their group in Britain is called the Communist League

  237. stuart on said:

    neprimerimye:
    and you are a f*****t.

    And I’m afraid I’m going to flag up this kind of thing every time as I have been banned for ‘aggressive’ posting yet I wouild never talk to others in that tone.

  238. I have heard ISO-USA may be poised to deliver the coup de grace to the SWP by starting a UK franchise.

  239. Julian on said:

    Thanks for the clarifications, everyone. Make more sense now. It wasn’t the SWp, although its bizarre as another poster said, to expect them to get much traction from a US publication here.

    @Ken McLeod: I’ve read some of your books. Enjoyed them.

  240. Geoff Collier on said:

    Julian:
    Thanks for the clarifications, everyone.Make more sense now. It wasn’t the SWp, although its bizarre as another poster said, to expect them to get much traction from a US publication here.

    @Ken McLeod:I’ve read some of your books.Enjoyed them.

    Did they say anything about the horsemeat crisis?

  241. Karl Stewart: Here’s an idea, why not look out for those “missing” 6,000 members you CC people keep pretending you have?

    I suspect they would be very hard to find ;o)

    Let me tell you a story about Saint Stack and SWP membership figures. Back in 1984/85 I was in a relationship with Harman’s ex-girlfriend Sally B., which granted me brief access to the inner circle of the party. Stack appeared in a fairly excitable state on the bar terrace at Marxism that summer and enthused to our little group about the fact that membership had leapt up to 4,000. But, I said in a confused kind of way, I thought we already had 4,000 members? Everyone else in our drinking circle burst out laughing. “No Jay”, Stack explained in an indulgent tone of voice, “now we’ve REALLY got 4,000 members.” More laughter all round. Except from me. I was appalled.

    True story, I’m afraid.

  242. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart:
    If you are claiming to be carrying out any kind of ‘research’ on support levels then to say it is badly flawed is something of an understatement.

    I’m just going by the relative claimed levels of support. The IDOP Faction have published lists of supporters. They’re saying they’ve got 540 supporters as of this morning, with more joining.

    The people you’re posting here on behalf of, the SWP CC Faction, have published a list of 500 supporters. If one makes the reasonable assumption that the CC supports its own position, then that takes the pro-CC total up to 512.

    One doesn’t need to be a professional researcher to see that this comes to 540 IDOP and 512 CC.

    You’ve made the anecdotal claim that there are many more supporters of the CC Faction statement above the 512, but you’ve not produced any further lists of supporters have you? No evidence has been produced to substantiate that further claim.

    Similarly, there are rumours that some on the CC Faction list have asked to be removed, and that some on the CC Faction list have never indicated support for the CC Faction statement. But as with your claim, no evidence has been produced to substantiate this either.

    So, going by the relative claimed levels of support from the two respective factions, there are 540 IDOP supporters and 512 CC Faction supporters.

    According to this, you are in the minority and IDOP is in the majority.

  243. stuart on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    But this is not and never has been a contest to see who can compile the longest list. Therefore, nothing is to be gained by making the comparisons that you do. Saying that IDOOP have a list with so many names and that the CC once produced a list with so many names is meaningless to all intents and purposes. However, you are trying to use the information to claim that CC supporters constitute a minority. No serious student of research would give it the time of day.

  244. Karl Stewart on said:

    If one is looking at which of the two factions has the most support, the only sources are the two levels of claimed support.

    And this produces a figure of 540 for IDOP and 512 for the CC Faction.

    Now, you’re saying that you think the CC Faction has more support than this. And of course you may be right. But if you expect to convince anyone of this, then you need to produce evidence of this.

  245. stuart on said:

    Karl Stewart:

    Now, you’re saying that you think the CC Faction has more support than this. And of course you may be right. But if you expect to convince anyone of this, then you need to produce evidence of this.

    Why bother going to the trouble of organising conferences when you can just as easily sort out these differences through lists? I think you are clutching at straws in order to make a point.

  246. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart:
    Karl Stewart,

    The CC quite clearly has support far beyond the 500 signatories.

    Nonsense Stuart. If they did we’d know about it. Apart from the years of exaggeration and lies (which have brilliantly calculated on this page but you have ignored again) the aggregates have been small. This wasn’t for want of trying on behalf of the Centralists-the meeting in my old area had people in the room who haven’t been since the 1st gulf war.

    But here’s the thing Stu. Even these deadhead inactive idiots got elected as loyal delegates! From what I gather by the timings of todays postings you didn’t even manage that! They would have sent a donkey as a delegate from my old district (so long as it was a loyal donkey).

    But it seems your Sturiah Heep personality goes unloved by your own glorious leaders. Awwwww, shame. Soooo loyal and obsequious but STILL your loyalty goes un-recognised.

    Chin up son. What you can’t see doesn’t exist, does it? And you are after all a member of the smallest mass party in the world. Who am I to criticise?

  247. Karl Stewart,

    Hi can i just say that there are people who I know support the CC but whose names are not on the list. Well, a handful that I know of anyway. It could be that some members are too afraid to speak out against the party within the party (hence perhaps they only ‘support’ the CC) but at the same time would not want their names associated with the list of shame. Perhaps because they know the info would be leaked, and they would not want people in the real world to know how gutless they are.
    It could also be a CC strategy, not getting everyone on their side to publicly sign their names to the list, as that way they can claim to have ‘won people over’.

  248. stuart on said:

    Totally Horrified Ex,

    I think you really misjudge me. I never sought election as a delegate though that’s irrelevant. On a personal level I’m closer to oppositionists. I have tremendous respect for them as socialist activists. I desperately want to continue working with them and I’m confident I will. They IMO have taken the wrong side in this dispute and I couldn’t vote for them. However I will stand side by side with them whether it be supporting the PCS strike, oppsing the Nazis or whatever.

  249. Manzil on said:

    Stuart, are you looking forward to when the revolutionary party goes back to normal, all this is forgotten about, and everything is hunky-dory after today?

    It’ll be something, that.

    I think I might ask Love Music Hate Feminism if we can get Martin Smith to come to town and talk about how the fight for women’s liberation can help inform the anti-fascist struggle.

  250. Karl Stewart on said:

    Hi anon, couple of points in response to that.

    Firstly, of course there could be plenty of SWP members sympathetic to either faction who may not have wanted to put their names to the respective lists for whatever reason. And we can only speculate as to what those reasons might be.

    Similarly, it is often claimed that there are lots of “natural” Labour supporters out there who regularly don’t make it to the polling station for whatever reason. And we can only speculate as to those reasons.

    But in all polls, we can only judge respective levels of support on the basis of actual votes counted.

    In this instance, the only solid data we have are the 540 for IDOP and the 512 for the CC Faction.

    That today’s event has zero credibility in terms of any recognisable representative democracy is transparently obvious to everyone.

    But if the CC Faction is serious in its claim that it has more support across the party as a whole than IDOP, and if the CC Faction is seriously claiming that there are hundreds of poor sensitive souls out there too frightened to publicly support the CC Faction, then the solution is obvious.

    Why not settle the dispute between the two factions by democratic means?

    Why not hold an independently scrutinised ballot of the SWP membership on the basis of agreed and transparent membership criteria and an agreed electorate?

  251. stuart on said:

    Manzil:
    Stuart, are you looking forward to when the revolutionary party goes back to normal, all this is forgotten about, and everything is hunky-dory after today?

    I’m looking forward to stability, not the same as forgetting. I’m aware that for those external forces hostile to the party further attempts at destabilisation, helped by the likes of Nick Cohen, will remain the order of the day.

  252. Karl Stewart,

    yes, agree with all that, i most definitely wasn’t defending the cc btw

    they’re clearly not interested in doing anything by democratic means

  253. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: If you are claiming to be carrying out any kind of ‘research’ on support levels then to say it is badly flawed is something of an understatement.

    #279, 1:13pm

    Stuart, Karl has been making the same point as me, & I thank him for bring to our attention that the Lynchers are such a small percentage of the nominal SWP membership.

    But rational people consider the evidence, & you are saying you know no more than us. And you know as well as us that, crucially, the Lynchers running the apparatus don’t have a reputation for false modesty. For example, if they can claim responsibility for a big number, shining a brighter light upon them as they emerge from the dark side, like bigging-up the membership to pushing 8000, they will, & do.

    Applying that behaviour to the List of Shame, if they had had 600 signatories they would have rubbed it in the face of the Defenders, especially when the Defence figure had exceeded the 501. If they had a List of the 666 Shamers, even more so.

    I’m sad to learn you dutifully sent in your email to HQ but they couldn’t bring themselves to issue an augmented List of Shamers. I know you would have liked to have seen your name in print, a modest, rank & filer, putting your reputation on the line, bravely adding yourself to the Righteous Among the Members. We all feel your pain. We really do.

    The evidence suggests they couldn’t get 600. When the Citadel is occupied by the membership again, like with Gaddafi’s secret service HQ, then maybe Cde. W, or more likely Cde. Birchall, will open a file, the one labelled Anti-Dross, & find this augmented List of Shame. But being rational, the evidence suggests the Lynchers couldn’t get 600 to sign up in support of their obscenity.

    Even so, as Chávez said at the UN, we all know, even you, there’s a strong smell of sulphur.

  254. Manzil on said:

    stuart: I’m looking forward to stability, not the same as forgetting. I’m aware that for those external forces hostile to the party further attempts at destabilisation, helped by the likes of Nick Cohen, will remain the order of the day.

    Are you hoping to serve on the next disputes committee that “investigates” an alleged rape?

    You could send the not-guilty verdict to Nick Cohen as a ‘so-there’.

  255. and there's more on said:

    stuart: I’m looking forward to stability, not the same as forgetting. I’m aware that for those external forces hostile to the party further attempts at destabilisation, helped by the likes of Nick Cohen, will remain the order of the day.

    Here’s a thought Stuart, maybe if you could convince your leadership to stop abusing young women and covering it up, then Nick Cohen would stop attempting to destabilize you ?

  256. stuart on said:

    Manzil:

    You could send the not-guilty verdict to Nick Cohen as a ‘so-there’.

    For someone who doesn’t even think Bush and Blair are guilty his opinion is worth nothing to me, my only concern is that others on the left may decide to afford him credibility.

  257. stuart on said:

    and there's more: then Nick Cohen would stop attempting to destabilize you ?

    He’s been trying to destabilise the party long before all this through the mechanism of lying.

  258. The reason it’s reasonable to discuss lists of signatures is, it’s become a favoured weapon of the CC in recent years. Indeed, they started the whole thing off with the “witch hunt petition” in 2007, which they got every organiser to work overtime on.

    Had they not wanted to get the maximum number of signatures, they wouldn’t have explicitly asked for signatures, and they wouldn’t have set up a specific, single-use Gmail account to collect those signatures.

    And, as people have said, when they did have X number of signatures, they made a point of telling every single registered party member.

    You get a strong picture of the way they would’ve liked to use the number of signatures.

    Now, sure, we’re evidence-based and we know that this doesn’t mean that only 500 or so people support the CC. But you can take it as an absolute that only 500 people were willing to be seen to be supporting the leadership of the party.

    Surely that must be cause for discomfort? Having been through the Respect witch-hunt petition, it’s fairly obvious that people will only add their name to these petitions if they truly agree with them. Too many people were misled into signing the Respect one, and I’m fairly sure they wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.

    In fact the people who seem to be most willing to make exactly the same mistakes are the CC’s hacks, playing the same bullying and intimidation game they played so well in all the recent crises.

  259. Manzil on said:

    stuart: He’s been trying to destabilise the party long before all this through the mechanism of lying.

    Is he lying about this?

  260. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I’m looking forward to stability
    #297, 4:15pm

    Of course you are.

    Ever the conservative, Stuart.

    The restoration of order.

    Returning to the safe, comforting habitat of SWP Lyncherworld, the Special Wonder Party.

    A line drawn under all that discussion, the debate, the uncertainity, the possibility of surprises, the unpredictable outcomes.

    As the Brazilian military made the abused comrades chant, the slogan on the national flag, ‘Ordem e Progresso!’

  261. and there's more on said:

    stuart: He’s been trying to destabilise the party long before all this through the mechanism of lying.

    He’s not lying this time Stuart, ask the Sheffield students.

    Like I said above, stop your leadership attacking young women, stop lying about it and giving them cover, and Nick Cohen, Owen Jones etc will move on and forget all about you.

  262. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: He’s been trying to destabilise the party
    #304, 4:43pm

    Which Lyncher on the CC are you talking about now, Stuart?

  263. stuart on said:

    and there's more,

    So the Sheffield students all heard the DC evidence? Cohen and Jones will attack the party so long as it ‘punches weight’ in such a way as to undermine their own form of politics.

  264. Manzil on said:

    stuart: According to a leading IDOOP member, Pat Stack, yes.

    This would be the same Pat Stack who, as part of the disputes committee, signed off on the SWP’s two-year suspension of its Sheffield full-time organiser for an allegation of assault and rape (along with the recommendation he go away and read some books on women’s liberation)?

    I wonder why he disagrees with Cohen’s account.

  265. Manzil on said:

    stuart:
    So the Sheffield students all heard the DC evidence? Cohen and Jones will attack the party so long as it ‘punches weight’ in such a way as to undermine their own form of politics.

    So Owen Jones is also an enemy now?

  266. and there's more on said:

    stuart:
    and there’s more,

    So the Sheffield students all heard the DC evidence? Cohen and Jones will attack the party so long as it ‘punches weight’ in such a way as to undermine their own form of politics.

    They knew the woman involved and they knew her attacker.

    I also knew both.

    You knew neither.

    That makes me and the Sheffield students more likely to have an informed opinion on the whole issue.

    It makes you a gullible man/woman who swallows whatever lies their leadership choose to shovel up.

    You are the future of the party Stuart and you can’t even get elected to the sham conference when the CC faction were crying out for voices of hackery like yourself.

  267. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: So I don’t have to take you seriously either
    #308, 4:48pm

    That’s the Stalinist method of the amalgam, the one Lenny the Lion always harped on about.

    Speaking of which, Cde. John Game found himself, surprise, surprise, saying this of your hero, Professor Ignorant:

    “The Alex Callinicos article ‘Is Leninism Finished?’ seeks to defend Leninism from a ‘flood of attacks’ from both the left-Labourite Owen Jones and from some in the SWP. As Paul D’Amato
    has remarked, ‘Leon Trotsky once described this debating technique as an “amalgam” – linking two separate things together in order to create guilt by association. Callinicos not only avoids having to respond seriously to the issues raised by SWP members, but he is able to declare them opponents of Leninism like Owen Jones.’” (page 67, which gives the D’Amato reference)
    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

    Stuart, you really need to return that shovel to the Citadel – or has HQ detailed you to the Sonderkommando, burying the bodies?

  268. Don’t understand why there isn’t a minute-by-minute running commentary on today’s proceedings here. Disappointed.

    No you’re not, Michael. It’s just another funny, funny post having a dig at other people.

  269. Karl Stewart on said:

    The facts are:

    512 SWP members have formally given support to the CC faction statement.

    A higher number of SWP members, 540, have formally given support to the IDOP faction statement.

    There are therefore a confirmed total of 1,052 SWP members.

    There may be more SWP members out there – we don’t know. Equally, after today, there may be fewer.

    But the CC Faction’s claim that there are “7,000 SWP members” has been exposed for the transparent lie that it is. The respective factional lists have proved this beyond doubt.

  270. Howard Kirk on said:

    From the poster Treelover on the Urban75 forums:
    ————————–
    “News from Hammersmith:I hear Calinicos is calling for the IDOP motions to be “treated with the contempt they deserve” and that calls from the podium for further expulsions are being met with applause.The Facebook Four are set to be expelled again at 2.30.
    The SWP CC Faction has clearly gerrymandered today’s event – but they failed to win a majority among the whole membership. They got 512 supporters compared to the IDOP’s latest figure of 540 as of this morning, with people still joining”

    Looks ugly, can’t believe people can join/stay in this oufit…
    ————————————————————————

  271. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: However I will stand side by side with them [oppositionists] whether it be supporting the PCS strike, oppsing the Nazis or whatever.
    #294, 3:42pm

    So, within that ‘whatever’, I repeat what I asked you this morning, which you have found yourself unable to address:

    Jara Handala: But let me ask you a question, Stuart, a question that goes to a heart of this whole sorry crisis. Stuart, how do you justify putting scare quotes around the word ‘victim’? Are you so detached or disingenuous (remember Uriah Heep?) or simply simple that you fail to recognise & be able to acknowledge to any interested person that some SWP members have been treated outrageously by fellow SWP members, by their supposed comrades?

    Take a deep breath, Stuart. Do you deny all the numerous accounts of uncomradely behaviour? Are they all false, either malicious inventions of factionalisers posing as ‘victims’, and/or are these ‘victims’ delusional, needing psychiatrists or psychotherapists? It’s one or the other, isn’t it, Stuart? Are your fellow SWP members, your comrades, bad or mad? Which is it, Stuart? Because if you call them ‘victims’, not victims, your comrades have no third way to take – other than totalling flipping & become abusers themselves.
    #256, 5:40am

    So please don’t go all California on us. Just tell us where you stand on the question I asked you. Your credibility & reputation is at stake, Stuart. Thank you.

  272. Jara Handala on said:

    Tony Collins: It’s just another funny, funny post
    #319, 5:21pm

    Oh, Michael, how we laughed!

    Jot down a hysterical ditty for us, can’t you? An ode to the Special Conference?

    Maybe with children bestowing bouquets of barbed wire upon Professor Ignorant?

    And Basher Smith shadow boxing in the shadows, awaiting his co-option onto the CC tomorrow morning?

  273. John R on said:

    Howard Kirk:
    From the poster Treelover on the Urban75 forums:
    ————————–
    “News from Hammersmith:I hear Calinicos is calling for the IDOP motions to be “treated with the contempt they deserve” and that calls from the podium for further expulsions are being met with applause.The Facebook Four are set to be expelled again at 2.30.
    The SWP CC Faction has clearly gerrymandered today’s event – but they failed to win a majority among the whole membership. They got 512 supporters compared to the IDOP’s latest figure of 540 as of this morning, with people still joining”

    Looks ugly, can’t believe people can join/stay in this oufit…
    ————————————————————————

    Poster Treelover has copied Karl Stewart’s comment from here (no. 270) and put it on Urban75 without acknowledgement.

  274. daggi on said:

    Michael Rosen: Don’t understand why there isn’t a minute-by-minute running commentary on today’s proceedings here. Disappointed.

    It’s due to the time zone difference between GMT and whatever planetary sphere Hammersmith Assembly Hall (or whatever) is currently in.

  275. stuart on said:

    Manzil:

    I wonder why he disagrees with Cohen’s account.

    Because he was on the DC? You’re not doing another trial by blog are you? If you take Cohen over Stack then your support for IDOOP can only be for destructive reasons. Cohen doctors SWP literature in his book in order to pursue his political agenda. He has no credibilty.

  276. stuart on said:

    Manzil: So Owen Jones is also an enemy now?

    I do admire much of his work. But when he was interviewed by the BBC about the SWP Special Conference he was not what I would call a friend of the party.

  277. Michael Rosen: Don’t understand why there isn’t a minute-by-minute running commentary on today’s proceedings here. Disappointed.

    Good man Michael stick up for your mates.

  278. Manzil on said:

    stuart: Because he was on the DC? You’re not doing another trial by blog are you? If you take Cohen over Stack then your support for IDOOP can only be for destructive reasons. Cohen doctors SWP literature in his book in order to pursue his political agenda. He has no credibilty.

    My point being, I don’t particularly trust the judgement of someone who signed off on a two-year suspension for the Sheffield organiser (who I had the misfortune of at one time knowing), who was accused of raping and assaulting another member, and told to go off and read up on women’s lib. This isn’t trial by blog, Stuart, it was trial by your party, and now that people have learned about it they are very, very pissed off.

    Cohen is a pro-war hack with a vendetta against the SWP. That doesn’t make Stack credible. I don’t know anything about either man that would justify immediately trusting their version.

  279. stuart,

    unike supporters of the CC, i think supporters of the idoop faction are not so inflexible in their thinking that they feel the need to agree with everything that an idoop faction member has ever said and done/will every say/do, to treat their word as gospel. indeed a name i recognise on the idoop list is that of a guy who behaved in a terribly misogynistic way towards an ex-member i once knew (no rape or physical assault of any kind though, fortunately)

  280. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    I have not witnessed uncomradely behaviour, obviously I can’t comment about things I’ve not seen (though you do). I think that IDOOP members who have the party’s best interests at heart- and I’m sure most do- have nothing to fear and I would not describe them as victims.

  281. stuart on said:

    Manzil,

    Yet again you are drawing conclusions from investigations that are necessarily confidential, I suspect for your own sectarian reasons.

  282. Stuart – I want to take what you say in good faith, however don’t you find it a bit alarming that so many people have told so many stories, and yet your response is always “I didn’t see it so I can’t comment”?

    Tons of us, both in the party now and who recently left it, tell of a culture where people are bullied and intimidated, lied about and messed about. We’re not all lying. Maybe some are, maybe some are attention-seeking. But for you to dismiss this as, in the main, the work of people trying to attack the party, is blindness on your part.

    Given your loyalty to the party, I think the rest of the movement should be able to say “stuart, please take our experiences seriously, find the truth and work within the party to change things”. Because stuart, your silence is your complicity. Your refusal to go further than “I didn’t see it and have no knowledge of it” is your acquiescence.

  283. stuart on said:

    Manzil: Well, apart from expulsion and ostracism, anyway.

    Not if they are committed to the party’s objectives.

  284. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins,

    With respect I really think we need base line standards when debating. For me that means avoiding hearsay and gossip and things that cannot be confirmed as being true. I try hard only to get into serious discussion when facts are understood on both sides, otherwise one or other side is seeking to manipulate. I hate to say this but this has been over the past few weeks an apalling chapter in left-wing debates.

  285. and there's more on said:

    stuart:
    and there’s more,

    If you want to run trial by blog you are talking to the wrong person.

    I doubt if I’m talking to a real person at all “Stuart”. Evidence is mounting that you are a computer programme that simply regurgitates one of several possible replies no matter what the question.

    You show no humanity or concern about the appalling treatment of a number of young women in your party.

    Your only concern is to point score in favour of your beloved CC who you admit to not even knowing personally.

    Socialists are usually motivated by a desire to help their fellow men and women and make the world a (slightly) better place, but none of that seems to penetrate your cold SWP heart.

  286. Manzil on said:

    stuart:
    Yet again you are drawing conclusions from investigations that are necessarily confidential, I suspect for your own sectarian reasons.

    Oh fuck off.

    Is any part of the following on the Sheffield case inaccurate?

    As one of the women who was involved in this disputes hearing and made a lesser complaint against [Sheffield organiser], I can confirm this story is 100% true and to even mention state agents in this context is appalling not to mention cliched.

    As [random1] and [random2] pointed out, it often takes one complaint coming to light to spark lots of other complainants to come forward- especially in cases like this- Just at the recent statement of the RMT netional sec’s partner. The man involved is [Sheffield organiser] and was full-time organiser in Sheffield.

    I want to take my time and write a proper blog post for this-detailing my experiences. But I must say that I was deeply unhappy and concerned about how the dispute was handled and the fact that [Sheffield organiser] could re-apply to join the SWP after 2 years and was simply being encouraged to read up on women’s liberation. When i questioned this, i was told ” we are socialist – we must leave room for people to change.”

    At a later branch meeting, when a CC member was invited up to let all the district know why [Sheffield organiser] had been dismissed, district was told [Sheffield organiser] had “done a lot for the party, was a great organizer and they hoped he’s be back soon.” It was said that he’d gone for “serious sexist behaviour” and that was that. I had to listen to members lamenting the fact he’d gone, and deal with lots of suspicion and accusations of “sectarian ultra-leftism” (sound familiar) after that- -it was clear I’d made a complaint against him.

    Various CC members were sent up to have one-on- one meeting with me- [CC1] and [CC2] – to assure me there was defo not a problem with sexism in the party (LOL) and that I’s just been really unlucky and the reason the DC and district had maybe not handled the case in the best way was due to the fact that this kind of thing was unprecedented in SWP’ history (HA FUCKING HA!)

    [Broken up for ease of reading, and named redacted]

    If that is how it happened, and the DC signed off on that, why should anyone trust Stack or anything he or other DC members has to say?

  287. stuart on said:

    and there's more:

    Socialists are usually motivated by a desire to help their fellow men and women and make the world a (slightly) better place,

    And you think agreeing with Nick Cohen is the way to go?

  288. Manzil on said:

    stuart: Not if they are committed to the party’s objectives.

    So those four former SWP full-timers who were expelled – for a private Facebook conversation agreeing not to form a faction – weren’t “committed to the party’s objectives”?

    Isn’t this a bit like Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin all turning out to be fascist agents?

  289. stuart: For me that means avoiding hearsay and gossip and things that cannot be confirmed as being true

    Look, I agree with that. Except… you’ve got so much more than hearsay now. You’ve got me, telling you my personal experience. You’ve got Andy. Fuck, you’ve got the posts of anonymous SWP members really trying to bully Andy. You’ve got people posting on Facebook saying they were raped. Now, this is not a trial – but it’s not hearsay and it’s not gossip.

    We moved far beyond the realms of gossip.

    I want to remind people that on this site, we’ve been hard as nails over the Comrade Delta issue cos we knew the truth here long ago, even back to last summer, back to the standing ovation at the 2011 conference. We have been pretty badly abused by SWP members over what we said. A number of people claimed that our claims about Smith were so outrageous, they were never gonna post here again. I can accept that it was gossip in some people’s eyes – except, what do we do when one group of people know the truth of something?

    Don’t you, at some point, have to say “maybe you’re on to something”?

  290. A tweet from @izaakson, who was apparently there:

    “It’s what you’d guess. CC loyalists crushed the faction. Defend the line or go. Have to accept votes at conference, so must go.”

  291. Is it likely that there may be undercover police infiltrated into the SWP?

    Obviously we all know that the SWP are utterly irrelevant (notwithstanding the time and effort people on here devote to every whiff and sniff) and don’t pose a threat to the system, but that doesn’t mean plod doesn’t still show an interest, even if it is just for old time sake.

    If so I wonder what they are required to do regarding all these allegations of rape, sexual assault etc that are flying around.

    Do they ignore them, report them, investigate them, leak the stories?

    Anyone know?

  292. Linda Kronstadt on said:

    stuart: And you think agreeing with Nick Cohen is the way to go?

    Stuart, as Uncle George told us, sometimes a thing is true even if the Daily Telegraph says it is true.

  293. Manzil on said:

    stuart: I hate to say this but this has been over the past few weeks an apalling chapter in left-wing debates.

    Can everyone please just read this sentence.

    In Stuart’s mind, these debates have been the appalling chapter.

  294. anon: notwithstanding the time and effort people on here devote to every whiff and sniff

    Says the anon poster who has posted approximately 30 posts in recent weeks, digging and digging at whether there’s been a police investigation yet.

    You people. Honestly.

  295. stephen marks on said:

    There really is no point in continuing to provoke Stuart. It increasingly reminds me of the ladies and gents in the C18th who used to amuse themselves by spending the afternoon at Bedlam goading and laughing at the lunatics, or people who poke sticks at zoo animals through the bars of their cages.

    He has obviously made a conscious decision to offer up his integrity and critical faculties to the CC as a sign of faith, much like some Hindu religious devotees who sit motionless in contemplation for years till they lose the use of their limbs, or the Russian Dukhobor sect who went so far as to castrate themselves to the greater glory of god..

    There is a certain grisly near-pornographic fascination in seeing just how many disingenuous and evasive apologetic hoops he is prepared to jump through, but surely the time has come when for decency’s sake we should cry ‘enough’ and leave him to it.

  296. darren redstar on said:

    Whenever I have the urge to listen to Michael Rosen on the bbc, or to read one of his books to my foster children, I will remember his position on this.
    Michael Rosen, were a hero to my children for bear hunt, It is a shame you are such a snivelling little turd.

  297. anon:
    Is it likely that there may be undercover police infiltrated into the SWP?

    Obviously we all know that the SWP are utterly irrelevant (notwithstanding the time and effort people on here devote to every whiff and sniff) and don’t pose a threat to the system, but that doesn’t mean plod doesn’t still show an interest, even if it is just for old time sake.

    Yes, they turned up with the intent of completely shredding all credibility, internal cohesion and moral authority that the SWP had left.

    Then they realised that Callinicos and co were doing a far more effective job than they ever could, and naffed off to the pub early.

  298. So whoever is the deep undercover cop in the SWP I hope they are in close contact with their colleagues in the sexual offences investigation unit…..

  299. Davros Kimber on said:

    All the idoop members will be expelled. MS(Delta) will return as a leading member. And what a member he is. The SWP is a dying party. Comrade Chaplin talks about unity. What a joke.

  300. Andrew on said:

    I’ve also lost respect for Mike Rosen over this whole episode and his juvenile tone and conduct.

    On the wider point the twittersphere/ blogsphere has been very quiet today, although I expect that wont last for long.

    If the SWP conference has overwhelmingly backed the CC and Comrade Delta then there should be mass resignations, because the reputation, and more importantly the potential for growth, will have been destroyed.Can anyone really see SWSS expanding in the near future?

    The reason that so many of us find this whole thing so vile is because it reeks of the same institutionalism sexism that you expect to find in the worst employers and most right wing parties. The SWP is meant to be a voice for liberation, not subordination.

    If the early indicators are true and the CC has overwhelmingly won then all decent minded people in the party need to ask themselves a number of questions, the main one being, how can you carry on as a member of a party that has such an awful attitude towards rape allegation and power? Would you ever want your daughter/ sister/ mother etc join such a hideous and discredited organisation?

  301. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: obviously I can’t comment about things I’ve not seen (though you do).
    #333, 6:55pm

    Stuart, this demonstrates your hypocrisy: you continually comment about decision-making within the SWP, by the CC, the DC, which you haven’t witnessed.

    But before you stop digging would you please be courteous enough to answer the question I asked in my comment #256, 5:40am repeated in #322, 5:41pm? You have just said the oppositionists complaining of being abused are not victims of anything, so are they making things up or simply deluded?

    stuart: I would not describe them as victims.
    #333

    As I said, your credibility & reputation is at stake in all this. If you have any self-respect left you’ll let us know. Thank you.

  302. Reminds me of that old Steve Bell cartoon with the two bobbies pounding the beat and looking out for trotskyist anarchists…

    “All quiet Bert?”
    “Mustn’t grumble, mustn’t grumble.”
    “Seen any extremists?”
    “Extremists? I should coco.”

    Actually, that was probably exactly how the conversation went when the undercover cops bailed out of the conference today.

    As for the crushing of the In Defence Of Our Party faction – well, for the opposition this is where despair ends and tactics begin, inside the party as well as out.

  303. Howard Kirk on said:

    From Scribbling S (2 posts) from another forum – name redacted:

    Yes the Sheffield case, the XXXXXX case is much worse than already described in the Guardian – btw Hi XXXXXX, I contacted you on FB about this -, I’ve since spoken to some Sheffield people: Where it is worse is that the 2 yr suspension for XXXXX was real, not theoretical – they really were preparing for him to return as a fulltimer in the full knowledge he had abused members – they really did think 2 yrs of him reading Lindsey German books would make him fit to be around – in charge of – students and young recruits, in the full knowledge of his behavior. More of this story is going to come out (i’m going to give it a go, I am sure others will), and it will look very ugly – like a small scale reenactment of the catholic church, with “troubled” priests shifted from diocese to diocese, and given ineffectual prayer to deal with their “inner demons”, while the heirarchy covered up and bamboozled the laity. Thankfully only adults (albeit young ones) involved. At the same time, Callinicos is winding members up to run around shouting “lies” at Nick Cohen – they seem to stupid to understand this means they are calling a woman who was hit by and raped by a party fulltimer a liar as well. Callinicos must know there is more , darker stuff here, so its a kamikaze strategy

    The CC , in the shape of XXXXX, XXXXX and XXXXX systematically misled members. Those members who knew about rape and assault were told it was “confidential”. Those members who did not know were told it was mysteriously undefined “serious sexist behaviour” . Members who had complained were consequently seen by some of those who weren’t “in the know” to be troublemakers drawn by feminism who had caused bother for a popular organiser. Because people were not told – they weren’t gathered in a room and given an explanation – some continued inviting him to Party linked social events, to the shock of those who understood the full gravity of the affair. The CC really did think that a weekly visit from an assigned member and a reading list of Lindsey German books would make him fit to return in two years. Anyone who isn’t at least threatened with expulsion will feel deep shame about their involvement when this story comes out – which it will.

  304. and there's more on said:

    Andrew:

    Would you ever want your daughter/ sister/ mother etc join such a hideous and discredited organisation?

    Or your sons brothers and fathers !

    Because the lesson they will learn from how the SWP has dealt with these complaints is that men can rape female comrades and basically get away with it.

    Not only that, but the woman will be the one put on trial, and shamed by enquiries into her sexual history, and she will be driven out of the party whereas you will carry on as usual.

    Great lessons to be learnt by joining the smallest mass party in the world.

  305. Karl Stewart on said:

    stephen marks,

    Stephen, in my opinion, these “stuart” postings are the SWP CC’s organised intervention on this site.

    So it’s likely this isn’t one specific individual you’re debating with, but more likely two or more people taking turns to consistently post the SWP CC’s line on here.

    It isn’t a new method. It isn’t particularly innovative, but neither is it particularly sinister. I’m sure other organisations practice this too. They use it as a method to get their message out.

    The point to remember is this isn’t an impressionable individual you’re debating with. You’re basically communicating with the SWP’s press office here.

  306. Karl Stewart: The point to remember is this isn’t an impressionable individual you’re debating with. You’re basically communicating with the SWP’s press office here.

    Not according to the site moderators, and they should know. I realise it’s hard to believe that Stuart the Trotbot is a real live human being, but I’m afraid it seems to be true. Which I find even scarier…

  307. stuart on said:

    Manzil: Oh fuck off.

    Is any part of the following on the Sheffield case inaccurate?

    Firstly, I’m flagging up the manner in which you address me. I will repeatedly do this, having been banned for ‘aggressive’ posting. I would never address any other poster like that.

    Secondly, what is the source for the material. A book? A newspaper artcle? A website, if so which one?

  308. John Grimshaw on said:

    In amongst the this seemingly endless verbiage, any chance yet that some one knows what the SWP have done at their post-conference conference? 🙂

  309. Stuart’s right, even if you’re frustrated with his answers, please can everyone respond to him the way you want people to respond to you. I don’t know if it ever helps to respond aggressively, tbh.

    Stuart, the actual victim of the Sheffield rape has posted details of her story on Facebook. The source for a lot of the comments about it are people who have been directly involved, posting under their own names on websites. Wouldn’t stand up in a court of law, but perhaps it should start you enquiring.

  310. Davros Kimber on said:

    The only victims are women. The CC does not see this as important, hence the sidetracking into Leninism etc. This is a corrupt party we are dealing with. The diversion from rape to feminism lacks principles.

    Party hacks have no principles. I have witnessed that. In the meantime, the class enemy don’t get effective opposition. SWP hacks are a brake in getting an anti-austerity movement going. People have anger. It reminds me of the anti-poll tax movement. We(as SWP mmebers)were told to pull out of the movement before the poll tax came into effect. This was a CC decision. SWP had to play catch-up after that, and did a bad job. The best fighters were people not in the standard left. The SWP never brought this onboard.
    The SWP has a load of middle-class pretenders amongst its ranks. I see Yunus Baksh got a payout from the ruling-class courts. Did he object? Would a woman get the same treatment?

    Mr D Kimber(not a professor of anykind)

  311. SWPBot on said:

    All sorted Comrade Delta s not a rapist the Cc were right about everything. Conference agree to take to the streets and sell those papers

  312. Jara Handala on said:

    and there's more: Great lessons to be learnt by joining the smallest mass party in the world.

    #360, 8:19pm

    Two obvious comments:

    (1) If only Lenny the Lion were still alive, he could have penned a book series: for the Special Conference of a special type, ‘Lessons of March’, for the Basher Smith episode, ‘Lessons of October: Part 2’, for the ‘informal chat’ with Cde. X last year, ‘Lessons of October: Part 3’, plus a nod to all the other months for all the other episodes: the CC meet of 3 to consider Cde. W’s initial attempt to raise this matter, the DC meet to consider Sheffield Jake, all the other rape cases they’ve deliberated upon, et cetera, et cetera.

    (2) One reason why the SWP is the smallest large mass vanguard party in the world is that it can’t even find 5/6ths of its own members. This is a real problem. It seems the Party managers have been derelict, abdicating their duty of care: how the hell can management LOSE 5/6ths of the members? Where are they? Where have they gone? Are they ok? Are they still alive, or mixed in with the piles of corpses? Should the Red Cross be involved to at least give them some food parcels? Maybe the Party managers should file with the police a missing persons report, 6500 of them, because that’s the number of members who just couldn’t care less what happened to the SWP in the greatest crisis it has ever known. That’s the scale of the problem management has created for itself. It really needs a proactive trade union to keep management on its toes. It needs all the help it can get.

  313. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins,

    Call me old fashioned but we have Disputes Committes for a reason. The SWP is not a trial by Facebook party. If delegates have backed the CC handsomely today then for me that it is strong message, and the right message, to those who favour trial by blog. I’m relieved and hopeful that we can push on.

  314. John R on said:

    Howard Kirk,

    Thank you for publishing this about the Sheffield case.

    On A. N. Other site the name of the alleged Sheffield SWP rapist was published. I googled his name and found a Facebook events page for Sheffield SWP from early 2011. Comrade “Sheffield Organiser” was the contact for the event. Then I noticed something odd. There was a mention in Facebook that we had a “mutual friend”.

    I looked up and realised that my 17 year old step-daughter had not logged out of her Facebook account. She had a mutual friend with the alleged rapist.

    My step-daughter is heavily involved with the Woodcraft Folk (as is the whole family). She has the mutual friend in Sheffield through Woodcraft. But what made made me pause and think was that my step-daughter has received an offer to go to Sheffield University this September.

    And this is where the complaints of SWP members about outside hostile forces collapse. The public interest we have is that your organisation is covering up rape allegations for the sake of your Party. These cover ups are then putting idealistic young adults at risk through coming into possible contact with “mutual friends”.

  315. Linda on said:

    Michael Rosen has never been in the SWP but has been a supporter, obviously, for many years. Just observing the lack of information leaked today. Like Michael I was relying on someone doing so. I am actually very impressed with the discipline on this – but it is frustrating. The only reason I came onto the site and have received not a lot in return! 😉

  316. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    I understand that IDOOP agreed to accept the legitimacy of conference decisions. So it’s time to move on. You might wish to carry on complaining but the faction at least officially will not.

  317. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I’m relieved and hopeful that we can push on.
    #372, 9:07pm

    Unfortunate turn of phrase – but no surprise there.

    Guess as you’re still digging the Citadel assigned you to one of the Sonderkommandos burying the corpses – or are there so many it’s pyres of railway sleepers? Has the Party manager in charge approached the RMT in an effort to get a discount from a supplier? The ties that bind.

  318. “Call me old fashioned but we have Disputes Committes for a reason.”

    Yes, to rubber stamp decisions by the CC.

  319. Sam64 on said:

    I know many here on SU have, more or less, taken the view of both CC loyalists and IDOOP: a plague upon both of their houses!

    Well I haven’t. As both a former member of the SWP and socialist, I had hoped that the whole grisly episode might, at the very least, shake a little democratic life into the SWP and, more pointedly, lead to a serious reform of the organisation’s internal disciplainary process. Therefore, if reported accurately in the above WW link, I find this sordid, more a whimper than a bang of a ‘special conference’ pretty depressing. But entirely predictable.

  320. Manzil on said:

    Tony Collins: Stuart’s right, even if you’re frustrated with his answers, please can everyone respond to him the way you want people to respond to you. I don’t know if it ever helps to respond aggressively, tbh.

    No Tony, he just makes snide insinuations about people’s motivations. He has his head in the sand, over the systemic covering-up of rape allegations, and he chooses to keep it there.

    Stuart, you are defending the indefensible, and doing it in the most dishonest, petty, cowardly way that you can. If you’d just use your head for a bit, I’d be more than happy if you called me an arsehole.

    Because those words would be preferable to your (in)action – they wouldn’t have any serious consequences beyond hurt feelings. Your complicity in defending the SWP is likely to result in another Delta, another Sheffield. That is serious. That is real life. But you don’t seem to care.

    The comment I quoted was a first-person account submitted to Richard Seymour’s Facebook page. Wheedle your way out of that one, you disreputable accessory.

  321. Howard Kirk on said:

    John R,

    Yes, let’s hope that if one thing comes out of this it will be that young people will be able to read and inform each other what kind of the organisation the SWP is.

    Universities are where they have tried to fuel the revolving door membership, and hopefully young people will be able to tell them to get lost. No doubt the CC will be trying to come up with a plausible story to tell potential recruits, but somehow I don’t thing the Freshers Fairs are ever going to be the same again.

  322. stuart on said:

    Manzil: Wheedle your way out of that one, you disreputable accessory.

    Out of what? As I said we do not do trial by blog, the result today taken in this context is a good result for socialists, a good result for the left.

  323. Manzil on said:

    stuart: the result today taken in this context is a good result for socialists, a good result for the left.

  324. JohnR

    ‘The public interest we have is that your organisation is covering up rape allegations for the sake of your Party.’

    Surely everyone who knows the details and hasn’t referred matters to the police is similarly guilty?

  325. and there's more on said:

    stuart: a good result for socialists, a good result for the left.

    I doubt that many on the genuine left in this country would refer to your party as socialist any more.

    You have disgraced yourself by willingly supporting and covering for two sexual abusers in your ranks.

    And now you revel in having “won” a gerrymandered conference composed unrepresentitively of CC faction delegates.

    I’m ashamed to have ever been in your party, and I know I’m not alone in feelin that.

  326. Knarky Badger on said:

    and there's more: I doubt that many on the genuine left in this country would refer to your party as socialist any more.

    You have disgraced yourself by willingly supporting and covering for two sexual abusers in your ranks.

    And now you revel in having “won” a gerrymandered conference composed unrepresentitively of CC faction delegates.

    I’m ashamed to have ever been in your party, and I know I’m not alone in feelin that.

    I agree entirely.

  327. Sam64 on said:

    Make that a quadruple. Bloody hell all those evenings in boring meetings, early morning paper sales, attempts to convince friends and family about the SWP as best place for socialists..

  328. Manzil on said:

    For god’s sake comrades, didn’t you hear? “This is a good result for socialists, a good result for the left”, “it’s time to move on”, and “I’m relieved and hopeful that we can push on”.

  329. memoryoftheparty on said:

    Yep, 16 years in the SWP. It seems that many of us ex-members care a hell of a lot more about the party and its esteem, standing and effectiveness than the bunch of self-serving, Stalinist halfwits who now run the show. It’s a disgrace. Have they no idea how they are perceived by large swathes of the labour movement, good people not opportunists, but principled socialists? I think there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. The self-destruction seems wilful. But hey – don’t worry be happy – even one of the leaders of the opposition thinks that us cyber warriors are the real filth.

  330. “What surprises me is how few of the contributions seem to acknowledge that the crisis is about the mis handling of a RAPE allegation in the context of an abuse of an unequal power relationship.”

    Who on earth would report a rape to the SWP? It’s not their job and frankly I don’t think it should be their concern. Rape is a matter for the cops, nothing more nothing less.

    I’m 100% with the SWP.

  331. Majikthise on said:

    Strikes me that one way of making the facts go away is to shout incredibly loudly about all kinds of other things – how can you focus on one person’s quiet story when there’s a firework display going on all round?

    The commonalities between the privileged treatment of that LibDem Lord and this SWP CC member are so obvious, it suggests that feminists have a point when they point to patriarchy in Britain’s political parties, and privilege theory seems to have some legs.

    Marx wasn’t immune to all the social prejudices of his time. Trotsky even advocated eugenics (read ‘if America should go communist’ to confirm this). This doesn’t dismiss the rest of their ideas, just points out that they’re human beings like the rest of us, with blind spots in their ideological vision, though it has to be said, neither Marx nor Trotsky raped anybody, or tried to cover up rape.

    There comes a point where quantity becomes quality. In the case of the SWP, the quantity of dictatorial perversion of ‘democratic centralism’ has led to a qualitative stepchange in the internal regime of their party, symbolised by the appalling treatment of their young female member, more reminiscent of a cult than of a serious political organisation.

    The SWP may continue for a while limping on like the remnants of the WRP, but even by previous low standards, they have utterly lost any possibilities of advancing or growing in the future.

  332. Andrew on said:

    Dan,

    I assume having a national organiser who is accused of raping a 17 year old would be a concern for most political parties, and even private companies.

  333. majikthise on said:

    Dan, she avoided going to the cops because her belief was that bourgeois justice would fail her, but that the proletarian justice of her party would unfailingly find the truth.

    Instead she was a single individual against a powerful machine.

  334. @395

    “The commonalities between the privileged treatment of that LibDem Lord and this SWP CC member are so obvious, it suggests that feminists have a point when they point to patriarchy in Britain’s political parties, and privilege theory seems to have some legs.”

    Yes, indeed.
    The Left isn’t closed off from the power imbalances between men and women. Maybe comrades who dismissed feminism and patriarchy will now think about these things more carefully, as opposed to the reductionist and workerist understanding of oppression.

  335. and there's more on said:

    Dan:
    “and frankly I don’t think it should be their concern”

    I’m 100% with the SWP.

    Sounds like you’re just the kind of guy the SWP will be recruiting from now on, give Martin a call, I’m sure he’ll be pleased to hear from you.

  336. For what it’s worth, I am still proud to have belonged to the SWP many years ago, when it was a genuinely socialist party.

    I am thoroughly ashamed of what it has become, though.

  337. Dr Falk on said:

    If I understand this right – the Faction that was seeking today more democracy, more accountability and a culture that listens better to victims in their own party was voted down. Would someone from the SWP like to explain or defend this?

  338. Perhaps Separatism is no longer a dirty word but at least a temporary necessity?

    I am not a separatist …. I believe in autonomous self-organisation which is not separatism. I am not a separatist feminist… I am a socialist feminist. There’s a BIG difference!!

    I am tempted to do a blog post on the different categories/threads/views on feminism….

  339. stockwellpete on said:

    jim mclean:

    Perhaps Separatism is no longer a dirty word but at least a temporary necessity?

    The self-organisation of women against their oppression has always been a necessary part of the struggle for socialism – to denigrate it as “separatism” or “creeping feminism” as the SWP does is just hopelessly sectarian and backward.

  340. ffs, I wasn’t joking. Blimey, talk about unearned abuse. I quite genuinely clicked on this site in order to find out what was going on. Apart from one brief chat with one member about a month ago, and one ex-member a week ago, this site is one of the main ways I’ve been finding out what was going on. I was also trying to read the runes at International Socialism and Richard Seymour’s facebook page.

    Christ, for this I’m a ‘snivelling little turd’?

    To repeat ad nauseam, I’ve never been a member of the SWP, I have never supported the idea that democratic socialism was right now or here. I was agnostic on the idea that it might have been or could be appropriate at some other time. When IS turned into the SWP I said to people I knew who went with it, that I thought it was a big mistake. Of course I’ve been friends with plenty of SWP people but also with plenty of other marxists and socialists. I call myself a marxist.

  341. majikthise

    ‘Dan, she avoided going to the cops because her belief was that bourgeois justice would fail her, but that the proletarian justice of her party would unfailingly find the truth.’

    The only attributable quote I’ve seen is in the Cohen article.

    ‘She felt that if she’d gone to the authorities, she would have be expelled from the party, because of the SWP’s hostility to the police. “If you go to the police you get kicked out automatically,” she said.

    Following the incident she quit the party but a local organiser then persuaded her to take her allegations to party’s internal disputes committee.’

    According to that she didn’t go to the police because she would have been expelled from the party.

    Though how that squares with her then leaving the party I’m not sure.

  342. stockwellpete: The self-organisation of women against their oppression has always been a necessary part of the struggle for socialism – to denigrate it as “separatism” or “creeping feminism” as the SWP does is just hopelessly sectarian and backward.

    Amen to that comrade!

  343. jim mclean on said:

    HarpyMarx,
    Never said you were just thinking out loud in a way. One thing that has shown up my last few weeks research is the strength of the Patriarchy, Untouchable. SWP,SU, SWP (US) IMT, Occupy and LibDems. The entire political system attracts a section of the male population that are predatory in nature,or more predatory than the norm. They lack a certain empathy. I have a brief memory of a Jackie Kay poem where she has to go back to embrace her Black (Glassgow?) sisters. Men and Women do not share the same place within the structures of oppression. Maybe I have read to much Spare Rib in the past. A relative used to pass them on.

  344. Jellytot on said:

    Michael Rosen

    If you are invited to speak at Marxism 2013 would you accept the invitaton?

  345. I don’t know who you are. I’m used to having conversations about such things with people I know or at least can say where they’re coming from. I’ve never understood the principle of being interrogated by anonymous people online.

  346. Jellytot on said:

    It’s not an interrogation, it’s merely a question.

    If you don’t want to answer it then fine.

    I’m just curious to find out how many of the SWP’s fellow travellers will stick around after this debacle. I suspect the guest list at this years Marxism may be a tad thin.

  347. Dr Falk on said:

    If you are invited to speak at Marxism 2013 would you accept the invitaton?

    It’s a fair question. I’ll generalise it. Should well known figures be speaking at Marxism 2013 and thereby helping promote and build the SWP?

  348. So where does this vote leave us all? This makes it worse – it does not resolve things. I have carried on working with the SWP, – after making my disapproval clear – and trying to air my criticisms of their leaderships methods around this whole tragic episode. But how long can this all go on for? Now it seems that the SWP is not going to change its position and learn from this episode. It will just carry on shrinking and getting more sect-like. This crisis has been affecting how they conduct themselves in the wider class struggle – in my experience they are already becoming less flexible and open to initiatives and suggestions from other activist forces, instead becoming more defensive and doctrinaire.

    I’m not sure if a split would improve things or not.

    On the one hand, it would be great to free up a body of younger activists from the dead-hand of the old guard of CC loyalists. The loyalists have failed the test of history today, having shown themselves to be utterly conservative and parsimonious, all flustered and outraged at breaches of hallowed procedure, about bloggers and that faddish internet thing, rather than outraged at the abuse of power at the centre of their organisation, Furthermore, the comrades around SWSS and the new generation have a better grasp of the political dynamics of contemporary anti-austerity movements than the leadership and the old guard. If there was a spit, these would be the best side of it, with more potential to positively shape the future.

    But a split would mean a further retreat from building a mass socialist party, as both sides became competing sects. The whole point is that we need a socialist left that can unite into a single party and still have disagreements and differences. The left needs to rise from the level of sects to the level of a mass party. That is only possible when differences can be managed publicly and honestly, without threats of expulsions, disciplinary hearings, bullying and splits. So a split would repeat the traditional pattern of far left immaturity.
    However, it may now be impossible to inhabit and organise for the class struggle within the SWP. Some sort of change is now necessary, and becomes ever more urgent. We need to start the discussion and the practice of developing a new form of socialist organisation for the 21st century class struggle. We need to help something better than the SWP to evolve out of this situation.

  349. memoryoftheparty on said:

    Barry Kade: So where does this vote leave us all? This makes it worse – it does not resolve things. I have carried on working with the SWP, – after making my disapproval clear – and trying to air my criticisms of their leaderships methods around this whole tragic episode. But how long can this all go on for? Now it seems that the SWP is not going to change its position and learn from this episode. It will just carry on shrinking and getting more sect-like. This crisis has been affecting how they conduct themselves in the wider class struggle – in my experience they are already becoming less flexible and open to initiatives and suggestions from other activist forces, instead becoming more defensive and doctrinaire.I’m not sure if a split would improve things or not. On the one hand, it would be great to free up a body of younger activists from the dead-hand of the old guard of CC loyalists. The loyalists have failed the test of history today, having shown themselves to be utterly conservative and parsimonious, all flustered and outraged at breaches of hallowed procedure, about bloggers and that faddish internet thing, rather than outraged at the abuse of power at the centre of their organisation, Furthermore, the comrades around SWSS and the new generation have a better grasp of the political dynamics of contemporary anti-austerity movements than the leadership and the old guard. If there was a spit, these would be the best side of it, with more potential to positively shape the future.But a split would mean a further retreat from building a mass socialist party, as both sides became competing sects. The whole point is that we need a socialist left that can unite into a single party and still have disagreements and differences. The left needs to rise from the level of sects to the level of a mass party. That is only possible when differences can be managed publicly and honestly, without threats of expulsions, disciplinary hearings, bullying and splits. So a split would repeat the traditional pattern of far left immaturity.However, it may now be impossible to inhabit and organise for the class struggle within the SWP. Some sort of change is now necessary, and becomes ever more urgent. We need to start the discussion and the practice of developing a new form of socialist organisation for the 21st century class struggle. We need to help something better than the SWP to evolve out of this situation.

    Extremely well summarised.

  350. Joseph Comrade on said:

    Michael Rosen:
    for this I’m a ‘snivelling little turd’?

    Was pleasantly surprised that you admit this quite so openly, Michael, and thanks for your uncharacteristic honesty.

  351. Michael Rosen: don’t know who you are. I’m used to having conversations about such things with people I know or at least can say where they’re coming from. I’ve never understood the principle of being interrogated by anonymous people online.

    I agree with Mike Rosen.
    It is OK, I suppose, to post anonymously but not for inquisitorial purpose or effect.
    Mike conducts himself with rather more integrity than some of those who are trying to include him in the collective punishment being inflicting on the SWP as an organization.
    People, including SWPers, are individually responsible for their actions.

  352. Nick Wright: Mike conducts himself with rather more integrity than some of those who are trying to include him in the collective punishment being inflicting on the SWP as an organization.

    Thats true. We must keep the level of debate political and comradely here. Tonight I have seen SWP comrades start to tear each other apart on facebook etc. Its becoming an unpolitical hate-fest amongst people who used to be strong comrades together. This is terrible. We must try to create a space of online debate (rough and raucous as it sometimes is) that is a place of refuge for dissenting SWP members or former supporters. A space that encourages its participants to rise to a relatively politically sophisticated level and remains comradely and respectful. We must try to build a new and better socialist organsiation from the ashes – and for that we need political clarity, not mud-slinging or trolling.

  353. Darren Cahil on said:

    Barry Kade,
    Why I’m more saddened by the rank and file “loyalists” than angry.(I save my anger for the branch and national leaderships)

    The “loyalists” believe the CC are truly wonderful and better than them I think, so that they need not feel any shame or humiliation in obeying them. That’s what happens with the “inhibiting authority”/irrational authority of the current CC. A rational authority would be truly democratic and teach people to think for themselves, but with the SWP’s current leadership, you get the opposite – and thus the “loyalists” overestimate and show a lot of undeserved admiration for the CC.

    What the “loyalists” are not aware of is that both their interests are antagonistic to the leaderships’, if their interests were mutual the members would be more politically, theoretically developed which would help to get stronger and more effective politically. Of course that would mean more people able to replace the leadership, the CC couldn’t have that could they?

  354. anotherprole on said:

    The SWP is finished, you lot are living in dreamland. GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE. I look forward to the day when the rapists, abusers and those that covered for them get a right good beating. May the day come sooner rather than later comrades.

  355. Pingback: Order prevails in Vauxhall | Soviet Goon Boy

  356. Darren Cahil on said:

    anotherprole:
    The SWP is finished, you lot are living in dreamland. GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE. I look forward to the day when the rapists, abusers and those that covered for them get a right good beating. May the day come sooner rather than later comrades.

    Please don’t tar us like with a sweeping statement like that. This was the result of a few people, I know the CC treats the SWP as its own private corporation, but the CC is not the rank and file membership.

  357. Jellytot on said:

    @420Mike conducts himself with rather more integrity than some of those who are trying to include him in the collective punishment being inflicting on the SWP as an organization.

    I don’t want to collectively punish anybody and all I did was ask a fairly clear and innocuous question at #412.

    However, I will state that I was very surprised to learn that Michael isn’t a member of the SWP and doesn’t appear to have ever been one.

    Even when I was a member of The Party, I, and many of my former comrades assumed he was a fellow member (and a senior one at that) given his omnipresence at Party events, functions and mobilisations.

  358. Jara Handala on said:

    Tony Collins: perhaps it should start you [Stuart] enquiring.
    #365, 8:40pm

    Stuart doesn’t do enquiring, Stuart doesn’t do thinking: it’s the SWP, stupid! It’s why the SWP has a Central Cttee., a collective brain, rooted in the class (well, at least in the salaried full-timers funded by the members), the fundament directing the intervention of those outside the class into the class, leading struggles, demonstrating to the class that they are worthy of leading it in a revolution, the ushering in of the good life, the land of milk & honey & a thousand virgins.

    It was all in Smith’s – yes, another one – Smith’s ‘The Wealth on Nations’, a division of labour, to the benefit of all. The CC does the thinking, the members do the doing. A happy equilibrium, but without all that equality nonsense. Taking Chuck-back-in-the-Gotha-day, but twisting it in a CC sort of way, equality can never be higher than the pre-existing inegalitarian structure of the SWP, never enough equality to challenge the control of the Lynchers over the membership, & never higher than the membership has been schooled to accept, when all that liberal rights & equality drivel has been driven from them, allowing them to fully enter the SWP womb as they experience their re-birth as a revolutionary socialist. (At this point you may surrender ecstatically, losing yourself in hallelujahs.)

    There are leaders and there are followers. Fellowship is for Christians, not revolutionary socialists. ‘Comrade’ is just a mode of address, not a cultural mode of creativity, a way of organising what the Party does. That’s why we have the Central Cttee., the collective brain, the organic intellectual growing out of its implantation in the Party salariat. The SWP is a machine, orders are issued from the top, conscientiously obeyed by the minions, pride is taken in their execution, satisfaction derived from a job well done. It all makes sense, it’s gratifying, the Party acts as one, for the greater good. SWP 101. Once you’ve grasped this it makes your time in the SWP so much easier. Just ask Stuart.

    Granted, Stuart might have had an adjustment problem, though unlikely, his character structure, especially the affective one, seems too good to be true for the purpose of being an obedient, compliant cipher in the SWP machine. For once a member knows their place it all makes sense. The machine reproduces daily life in SWPworld, reassuring everyone that they are valued & important, gold dust even, the CC being just an embodiment of all that is of value: for to attack the CC is to attack not just oneself but one’s self, to undermine the CC is to undermine one’s self, to denigrate the CC is to denigrate & debase one’s self. The CC is to be protected as it exudes all that is worthy & valuable, for it’s like a mirror, to extol the CC is to praise oneself, & correspondingly, to criticise the CC is to criticise oneself, to run oneself down.

    All this is an effect of performing on a daily basis, in a hostile environment, this merging, this collapsing, this identifying, the enfolding of self into the collective as represented by the CC. And full-timers are expressions of the CC, appointed by them, their representative, bearing their orders, an embodiment of the CC, so an embodiment of oneself, & so ’tis folly to resist what they ask for we are as one. One begins to live AS the Central Committee, one’s own fate is seen as no different from the fate of one’s lord & master, the CC.

    It means that criticism is solely reserved for the outsiders, the hostile forces that are everywhere, even contaminating, infecting, fellow members, the veritable fifth column, the Trojan Horse of our enemies, the hordes willing our destruction. When the CC is attacked it feels as if one’s self is being attacked, & this is magnified when the attacking is done by fifth columnists. It enrages the defenders of the CC, one’s very being is under attack from erstwhile comrades, those we trusted implicitly. It means these dissenters must be rooted out & punished without mercy, the waverers intimidated, offered a chance to merge back into the security of the fold, reassured that doubts can arise but only so they can be dispelled, to issue in fervoured enthusiasm, a ratcheting up, an even closer involvement, for otherwise the wilderness beckons, of being cast into eternal wandering and damnation.

    The stakes are high. This is the smallest large mass vanguard party in the world. The future of humanity rests on our shoulders. Our responsibility is great. Yes, we are the chosen ones, the collective Special One, but our colour is red, not blue. We must not falter, we must not capitulate to our enemies, we must not pass into temptation, we must not stray from The Way. That is why we have the CC, to look after us, guard us, to protect us, to make us safe, to make sure everything’s going to be alright. It’s a dangerous world out there, outside SWPworld, but the CC is our light, fighting the forces of darkness, the CC is our beacon, always there for us if we find ourselves lost. The CC is both our mother and our father, our carer and our discipline, it is family, guiding us, correcting us when we err. When one enters the SWP womb, and in comfort lie, we can safely graze, guarded by our shepherd, ruling the Party in wisdom, knowing and sharing the many blessings, which both peace and plenty bring.

    This is the official SWP vid for the pure in heart, for whom all questions have been answered by the Party, by the Central Committee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAD0kP0HVoY

    Whereas this is the offical SWP vid for the waverers, warning them of the perils of straying from the fold, and yes, it does involve a cliff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnGh2OTH1Us

    However the official SWP vid for those about to be expelled, cast into the wilderness, is, sadly, not publicly available but it has been reported that copies do circulate in Torland.

    But being serious for a moment, this is John Ogdon’s interpretation, which obviously is offered to represent all that is not rotten in the SWP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSwSCBSsE-I

    Respect and thanx to Johnny Stream.

  359. Thank you, Nick and Barry.

    Jellytot, of course you don’t get the point about being anonymous online whilst delivering judgements on them or demanding answers for the questions you ask. Ironic that this comes in a thread (quite rightly) about accountability. Same goes for “Joseph Comrade” who is of course anything but.

    Yes, there will be serious questions we will all have to deal with in relation to the SWP as there were with people who wanted to be marxists and socialists and who left the CP in the 50s over Hungary, Stalin and the purges and who then discovered that even Harry Pollitt who defied the party over the Nazi Soviet pact, was implicated (or at the least was silent) in the disappearance in the Soviet Union) of a woman friend of his. What’s going on now, in that sense, is not new.

  360. Jara Handala on said:

    Regretfully I have to announce that Andy Lawson from Hackney East has resigned from the SWP. He had been a member for more than 10 years, serving as Branch Secretary, District Organiser and a Fraction Convenor. When conference ended he sent his resignation email to the CC (not to Cde. Chaplin, the Nat. Sec.), ending it with these words: “This is not the behaviour of a revolutionary party, it is the behaviour of a cult. I have no intention of remaining in a cult”.
    https://www.facebook.com/keithwatermelon/posts/10151276048326371

    A member of the Democratic Renewal Platform, he argued without compromise in the PCB in support of the Facebook Four’s appeal to the Special Conference against their expulsions. Twice in recent days I had quoted from this piece, the one where Paris Thompson signed off the fateful conversation by saying, “‘Sick of paranoid Facebook conversations. We’re in the SWP, not North Korea.’” (‘The Facebook Four – A Defence’, pages 44-6).
    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

    As not everyone is on fb this is his resignation email in full:

    “Resgning from the SWP – My email to the Central Committee:

    “I am writing to notify you of my resignation from the Socialist Workers Party.

    “I am making this decision as I cannot in all conscience remain a party member following the travesty that passed for a Special Conference today. Quite aside from the gerrymandering of speaking times, aggregates and delegations, the decisions taken today are not ones that I am in any willing to accept. The effect of these decisions will be to further isolate the SWP from the rest of the Labour movement – already a number of trade unionists and academics are boycotting the party, and this wil only increase now the party has failed this most basic of tests.

    “The SWP is not a safe place for women. The revelations that appeared in Saturday’s Guardian indicate that repeatedly where women have come forward to report rapes by senior party members, their experience has been one of being horrifically mistreated. The statement from Charlie Kimber and Pat Stack is utterly inadequate as a response. I don’t care how unplesant Nick Cohen is (hint – it’s very), here we have a woman reporting how she was raped by a party organiser, and what happened to her when she reported it to the party’s Disputes Committee. And the official response of the party is to claim she’s not being truthful about it. This is unacceptable. This woman, like others, was failed miserably by the SWP when she sought redress from its official structures. I do not believe that any woman can now have confidence in bringing a similar complaint before the Disputes Committee, and abusive men will know they can get away with these acts. Having appeared as a witness at the DC hearing of the Facebook Four, I can confirm that the Kangaroo Court analogy is more than apt. How can I stay in such an organisation? Who would I ever want to recruit to it?

    “This has not been an easy decision. I joined the SWP in 2002. In that time I have been a Paper Organiser, Branch Secretary, District Organiser and a Fraction Convenor, as well as serving as a shop steward in 3 different unions and a Branch Secretary in the PCS. I value much of what I have learned from other SWP members in that time – even in recent years where I have had significant differences with the party’s perspectives, my relationships and discussions with comrades have remained fraternal. However, since December there has been a marked shift in this. I have been personally abused at every branch meeting I have attended in that time, as have other oppositional comrades. Vicious rumours have been spread about me by long-standing party members in an attempt to personally discredit me. I have been physically threatened. All of this because I stood in solidarity, first with the victims of rape and sexual harassment (who party members have happily lied about), and secondly with four comrades who were expelled on a trumped-up charge shortly before conference for their attempts to stop the CC from damaging the SWP in this way. This is not the behaviour of a revolutionary party, it is the behaviour of a cult. I have no intention of remaining in a cult.

    “Andy Lawson, Hackney East
    (a creeping feminist)”

    https://www.facebook.com/keithwatermelon/posts/10151276048326371

  361. Karl Stewart on said:

    The SWP CC spokesperson(s) on here, “stuart”, is making a big deal of targetting Nick Cohen for attack and seems to expect that the rest of the left should instinctively “defend” the SWP CC against Cohen’s criticisms.

    I think Cohen’s support for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq was a disgraceful position to take and no genuine socialist could take such a view.

    The person who does the thinking for the SWP CC, Calinicos, said in 2011 that the public lynching of an African leader by a NATO-sponsored lynch mob was something one should “celebrate”. The lynching of this leader was followed by progroms against black men in that country in which many thousands were reported to have been murdered.
    That too was a disgraceful position to take and no genuine socialist could take such a view.

    In both of these instances, someone ostensibly “of the left” and calling themself a “socialist” has taken a position in support of imperialism, but has used a “left” cover for this.

    In terms of relative positions towards imperialism, the general political orientations of Cohen and the Calinicos-run SWP are identical.

    The current hostility between the Calinicos-run SWP and Cohen has nothing to do with issues pertaining to imperialism. There are no significant differences between them on this point.

    How typical of the current SWP leadership’s congenital political dishonesty that they should lie about this too.

  362. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    # 430 Mike Rosen is referring to the murder of Rose Cohen (and her husband) by Stalin some time after she moved to the Soviet Union. Rose Cohen was a committed Communist and, from reading about this case, it was clear that Pollitt was probably in love with her. I believe that he did make representations about her but these were ignored, and her death remained an important personal issue for him. But it never shook his core belief. This is one of the tragedies of the CP in that some people would overlook the disappearance and murder of good friends hoping that the eventual outcome was for the best, unwilling to break – as communists – leaving the stain of Stalinism to blight the left up to the current generation. In the scheme of things the awful events in the SWP are not in the same league, but people will draw their own conclusions.

  363. Ross Bradshaw on said:

    # 433 Francis Becket’s Stalin’s British Victims is worth reading about this area.

  364. Just come back to the comments for the first time today, and seen some pointlessly abusive stuff up there. I would normally just remove various bits, but it’s hard once people have replied to it.

    If people want me to remove it, I will.

  365. Karl Stewart: SWP CC spokesperson(s) on here, “stuart”, is making a big deal of targetting Nick Cohen for attack and seems to expect that the rest of the left should instinctively “defend” the SWP CC against Cohen’s criticisms.

    Look, let us nail this.

    “Stuart” is a real person, not really called Stuart, who lives outside London. He is telling the truth that he did not sign the lynch mob petition, and I presume he speaks for no-one but himself. I say no more.

  366. stuart on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    The SWP CC spokesperson(s) on here, “stuart”, is making a big deal of targetting Nick Cohen for attack and seems to expect that the rest of the left should instinctively “defend” the SWP CC against Cohen’s criticisms.

    I think Cohen’s support for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq was a disgraceful position to take and no genuine socialist could take such a view.

    For the umpteenth time I’m not a spokesperson.

    Regarding Nick Cohen and what I see as a ‘big deal’. It’s not just that Cohen supported the Iraq war (and still does), outrageous as that was, that could be put down to political opinion in the same way that you have supported the crushing of the Hungarian uprising. It’s actually worse than that. Cohen wants to be taken as a serious journalist however in his book ‘What’s Left’ he is so determined to lie about the SWP he actually alters the wording of published SWP literature and passes it off as an actual quote, he even provides the reference (see p 309 and p 380). Cohen inserts sinister wording in order to give it a political twist. That is what we are up against here. Is that acceptable journalism?

  367. and there's more on said:

    A party that attempts to cover up the abuse of young women, is that acceptable political practice on the left ?

  368. stuart on said:

    and there's more: A party that attempts to cover up the abuse of young women, is that acceptable political practice on the left ?

    What is unacceptable is for a party to be guided by unaccountable blog postings. An important line in the sand is being drawn here. I wouldn’t like to think that RESPECT allows itself to be intimidated by Harry’s Place posters.

  369. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: An important line in the sand is being drawn here.
    #439, 9:28am

    What authority do you have to draw anything, ‘stuart’?

    And being correct, using those scare quotes for you plus the humble lower case ‘s’, they remind me that you never got back to me on the question I asked you twice yesterday about your alleged ‘victims’. But don’t worry, no-one’s asking you a third time to display some manners. We understand on what basis you operate here. Guess some of the regime’s frothy veneer has rubbed off on you. And it suits you. Don’t try and wash it off. Yes, it really suits you.

    P.S. Hope Johnny Stream’s lil number cheered you up.

  370. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    Firstly, I did get back on that. I do not regard them as victims, if they have the best interests of the party at heart they have nothing to fear. The faction agreed in advance to accept conference decisions in the spirit of party democracy. If you as a non-member are not satisfied then that says a lot more about you than it does about the SWP.

    The ‘drawing a line’ thing is IMO very important. There is a lot at stake here as clearly a lot of pressure is being exerted against the party on the internet from hostile forces with political agendas. There are very important principles around accountabilty that must be rigourously defended and yes, I do think this is a matter for all socialists.

  371. jim mclean on said:

    stuart,

    You cannot draw a line on this. I feel that the SWP will be left to rot in isolation. People,and more importantly, organisations, have been waiting to see what was going to happen at Hammersmith. Now that those seen as rape apologists have won I doubt there will be many invitations dropping through the SWP letterbox. I also understand that there is still anger at those who used their TU affiliations on the list of shame. So to protect and advance the career of Comrade Delta the SWP were willing to alienate Students, Feminists and the TU movement as a whole. Bonfire of the Vanities.Come to think about it, that was about not calling in the Police when it was the correct route.

  372. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: that says a lot more about you than it does about the SWP.

    stuart, when someone with the integrity & admirable qualities of Andy Lawson (#431, 7:30am) realises he can’t stomach any more it shows how low & rotten the SWP’s degeneration has progressed. I really worry about you. You are simply deluded. The s has hit the fan, & you’re all getting plastered. The more you all deny there’s a problem, or blame others, the faster the fan will go, the worse it will be for you all. Wake up. Smell. Coffee.

    stuart: There are very important principles around accountabilty that must be rigourously defended

    stuart, when will you get this? The experts in the sentence I just quoted are your political opponents in the SWP, not the thugs & bullies & cowards of the Lynchers. I know you have problems standing, but if you could you would find you don’t have a leg to stand on. Principles? Accountability? Being rigorous? Defending principles? Your delusional state may be certifiable.

    Maybe if you keep digging you’ll end up an antipodean. That would do us all a favour.

  373. stuart on said:

    jim mclean,

    I do recall that you openly lied on this site about the SWP working to ‘No Platform’ George Galloway in the NUS. You are therefore an example of what I mean about unaccountable use of the net in order to pursue a political agenda. Given that, why should the party take seriously your ‘analysis’?

  374. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    I do not regard IDOOP as my ‘political opponents’. When Pat Stack used the word ‘filth’ he meant people like yourself, not those who over this recent episode have been supportive of the CC.

    I do not want to see members leaving however some may have to ask whether the SWP is the party for them. Perhaps they would be more comfortable in some kind of Owen Jones party? At the end of the day conference has decided, there is an expectation on comrades to go along with the democratic will, I hope and trust that most will wish to do this as we face very important battles ahead- notably the PCS strike on Budget Day.

  375. Jon Fanning on said:

    and there's more: A party that attempts to cover up the abuse of young women, is that acceptable political practice on the left ?

    Arhh, whataboutery, always a strong argument.

  376. stuart: When Pat Stack used the word ‘filth’ he meant people like yourself

    So you think Pat was talking about posters such as Jara Handala, is that correct?

    If that’s the case, he must’ve been talking about me, Andy, John, Manzil, Vanya and so on. Correct?

    Do you think he was right, stuart? Personally, I think he’s full of shit. I think he looks like a complete joke when he does that kind of thing and calls it an “argument”. I think he undermines an awful lot of what he’s done by trying to polarise things like that.

    We do need to bear in mind that Pat has been guilty of an awful lot of the worst aspects of SWP hackery over the years. I don’t think he’s in a position to call people “filth”. Remind me again who was on the Disputes Committee when the Sheffield organiser was sentenced to two years reading Lindsey German books, after previously being moved cos of other allegations of sexual impropriety?

    Do you think Pat was right to describe me as “filth”, stuart? See, you now believe you can read Pat’s mind – I assume you haven’t had a personal conversation with him, so somehow, despite not ever wanting to discuss any aspect of these cases with which you haven’t been personally involved, you are able to say exactly what Pat Stack was referring to when he used the term.

    Was Pat right to describe me as “filth”?

  377. Jim

    ‘Now that those seen as rape apologists have won’

    I think the point is that they don’t accept that rape took place, or more correctly that it hasn’t been proved that rape took place.

    So while they may be seen as rape apologists, that tells us more about the perception and prejudices of their observers than anything else.

  378. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins,

    I think Pat is entitled to express an opinion. It is true that I’ve never spoken to him and I am relying on my own assumptions. In retrospect I should said have to Jara ‘I think he meant’.

    My further assumption is that Pat, in having the responsibilities that go with DC, is likely to get irritated (and that’s putting it extremely mildly), by unaccountable bloggers doing their utmost to undermine the process. I know I would. And as I’ve said there are important principles at stake across the left here, not just the SWP. For example, I would not visit Harry’s Place and then spew out a load of stuff about George Galloway especially if I couldn’t even verify the truth.

    I don’t want to get into precisely who Stack was thinking of, it wouldn’t be right to speak on his behalf in that way. I think IDOOP have taken a pretty negative view of SU according to some circulated documents I’ve seen. For myself, I’ve been consistent in opposing the practice of posters spreading what I have to regard as unsubstantiated material about cases that should rightfully be regarded as confidential.

  379. Stuart is apparently feeling very confident this morning. Line drawn in the sand, move on to other things, decision taken which everyone must abide by.

    The problem for Stuart and his co-thinkers is that when he/they move away from the keyboard and meet people in the unions and the anti-austerity movement, the decision taken at the SWP special conference to “draw a line” means nothing to them. Or in fact it does, it means that his organisation has affirmed the appalling way that the complaint against Delta was handled.

    A line may well have been drawn. By them. Against you.

  380. stuart: Pat, in having the responsibilities that go with DC, is likely to get irritated (and that’s putting it extremely mildly), by unaccountable bloggers doing their utmost to undermine the process

    Well the problem is, that’s a really unpolitical way of putting it. We have not tried to undermine the process – we think the SWP’s process was fundamentally flawed and has an impact on the wider movement, and we felt compelled to intervene. I think we have a right to do that.

    And in what way am I unaccountable? The SWP has threatened Andy Newman with libel proceedings 3 times, and last week apparently someone else said I would be taken to court for libel. We are in fact way more accountable than you, because we can be held accountable legally for what you say on here.

    I post under my own name precisely because of this. I am way, way more accountable than anyone in the SWP’s leadership, stuart.

    I’m sure some IDOOP people take a dim view of this site. It’s not a homogenous group. That’s a political issue, which requires people to understand just how much damage the SWP has tried to do to Andy and me, which necessarily is sometimes reflected in how we treat the organisation. But we also have serious political views about the movement, the working class, and British society. It’s simply unpolitical to call this site a “sectarian blog” as some of them do.

    And also, the evidence is still there for you to look at – the behaviour of so many SWP members on this site in 2007 and 2008 is entirely responsible for the reputation the site has. It’s a typical bully thing to do – they tried to make this site so unpleasant, so no one would want to read it.

    Finally, I do think that lots of people in the SWP will have wanted to find things to unite on – and hatred of SU is useful, cos it carries no real-world cost. I’ve said before, they did the same thing with Galloway: Even as John Rees left the SWP, he was still united in attacking Galloway.

    It’s a common thing in such organisations, so I wasn’t surprised to see people attacking SU.

    But y’know what? I’m a marxist. I don’t really care about those kind of personal disagreements. I think this site does a fucking fantastic job of representing all voices in the movement, and its readership is getting deeper and broader; we are going to be doing much more to broaden our readership, and I’m sure that any IDOOP or ex-SWP member would be more than welcome if they wanted to write about what they see as the future of the left in the UK.

    I think people’s view of SU is partly based upon political expediency as well as group mentality that tends to only see the threat from outside. Just spend some time going back through the archive and see how much we all tried to avoid trouble with the SWP in 2007, and see just how appallingly the SWP posters on here treated us. All of them were unaccountable, of course.

  381. jim mclean on said:

    stuart,
    Stuart I feel sorry for you.
    If you read my post again on that date I immediately apologized for my error. As I have stated before when entering debate on the internet using google errors are made. And I stil blieve we were disagreeing on a technicality. Besides If I Give Shit I Quite Happily Receive Shit.

    See Andy Lawson has resigned in Hackney. “The SWP is no safe place for a woman”

  382. Graham on said:

    stuart,

    So in other words Stuart you would prefer it the rest of the Labour Movement the political left had no knowledge of these cases and the allegations, or to be more specific you would be happy if the SWP had managed to cover up allegations of rape?

  383. jock mctrousers on said:

    HarpyMarx: The Left isn’t closed off from the power imbalances between men and women. Maybe comrades who dismissed feminism and patriarchy will now think about these things more carefully, as opposed to the reductionist and workerist understanding of oppression.

    Since you don’t share our ‘reductionist and workerist’ priorities, in what sense can you be said to be our ‘comrade’? Answer: in NO sense.

  384. On Nick Cohen: Our job is not to assist him. I won’t assist him. I’m an experienced activist, and the media has tried to discuss many things with me, many times. I take a tactical view of most of it, but I won’t assist Cohen, I won’t link to Harry’s Place – I don’t even agree with people on Twitter who get into conversations with HP posters.

    But you are not “up against” anything when it comes to Cohen. Your party acted atrociously, and the leadership has covered up serious sexual abuse. I can’t help you if you hand Nick Cohen a loaded gun and paint a target on your head.

    You have to see the difference here, surely? The party must adopt practices that don’t allow people like Cohen to make scandals out of what you do. Also, regardless, these people will lie about you anyway.

    You’re talking here to a man who has been on the front page of the Evening Standard; we all know the media will come for anyone on the left who successfully does anything. But if you don’t want the media to accuse you of rape denial and of covering up for abusers, then don’t deny rape and don’t cover up for abusers. It’s that simple.

    You’re not up against anything. There are numerous women in and now out of the SWP who have been treated disgustingly. Show some sympathy, for fucks sake – Nick Cohen reporting on the failure of the SWP to deal with rape allegations properly is the fault of the SWP, not of Nick Cohen.

    Also, not long ago, the only place that was reporting on the rape allegations was Socialist Unity. We reported on it after the “standing ovation”. You all called us liars. You said we were trying to damage the party. So it seems like all along, you would rather claim this was about enemies of the party, rather than about the fact that women have been raped by senior party members, and those party members have allegedly got away with it.

    You have SWP members who are now saying “the party is not a safe place for women”. How can you be so blind as to assume this is all about political disagreements, or “filth” trying to damage you?

  385. stuart: No you didn’t, not according to comment 19 (see comment 5 for false accusation)…

    You’re right, he didn’t apologise – but he was really clear that it was an error, not a lie. You see the difference?

    Why are you accusing people of lying, when they’ve said it was an error?

    It does seem that sometimes you declare yourself able to read the minds of people. So why won’t you agree to act on the allegations that so many of us have made, of bullying and intimidation inside the party? Are we all “lying” too?

  386. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins: rather than about the fact that women have been raped by senior party members, and those party members have allegedly got away with it.

    Please can you add allegedly?

  387. jim mclean on said:

    stuart,

    stuart,

    Oh yes, I remember , an SWP member in another thread did a cut and paste from wiki in reply to me. If he had looked more carefully he would have realised it had originated from Stormfront. Wiki – very dangerous. This guy is on the List of Shame.LMFAO. I did admit my error though just refused to apologise due to another SWP members underhand tactics on the same night.

  388. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins: You’re right, he didn’t apologise – but he was really clear that it was an error, not a lie. P>

    He didn’t have any choice but to admit the truth once it had been pointed out.

  389. stuart on said:

    Sean:>The problem for Stuart and his co-thinkers is that when he/they move away from the keyboard and meet people in the unions and the anti-austerity movement, the decision taken at the SWP special conference to “draw a line” means nothing to them.

    I think those in the unions, such as those in the PCS preparing to strike, and those in the anti-austerity movement will have a more natural political alignment with the SWP- certainly in terms of activity backed by leadership- than with the anti-strike, pro-austerity Labour party.

  390. stuart: He didn’t have any choice but to admit the truth once it had been pointed out.

    And this is what you call “openly lying”, is it? Yet you refuse to even discuss the mass of allegations of lying, bullying and intimidation from leading SWP CC loyalists towards so many of the opposition and outside the party?

  391. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins: And this is what you call “openly lying”, is it? Yet you refuse to even discuss the mass of allegations of lying, bullying and intimidation from leading SWP CC loyalists towards so many of the opposition and outside the party?

    As I said yesterday, I try as far as possible to debate around verifiable facts. Nobody can say that the SWP sought to ‘No Platform’ Galloway in the NUS and verify it.

  392. stuart: As I said yesterday, I try as far as possible to debate around verifiable facts. Nobody can say that the SWP sought to ‘No Platform’ Galloway in the NUS and verify it.

    And is what Jim did “openly lying” then?

  393. stuart on said:

    Graham: So in other words Stuart you would prefer it the rest of the Labour Movement the political left had no knowledge of these cases and the allegations, or to be more specific you would be happy if the SWP had managed to cover up allegations of rape?

    I would prefer it if everyone on the left did not frame questions in such a witch-hunting type manner.

  394. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins: And is what Jim did “openly lying” then?

    He wrote on a public forum…

    ‘Apparently a Labour Party / SWP joint proposal, sweet feck all to do with principles.’

    He provided no reference for his information. What he said was not true. If you want me to alter my language I’m happy to oblige.

  395. stuart: I think those in the unions, such as those in the PCS preparing to strike, and those in the anti-austerity movement will have a more natural political alignment with the SWP- certainly in terms of activity backed by leadership- than with the anti-strike, pro-austerity Labour party.

    Well you keep up with your Panglossian fantasies, and we’ll see what happens.

    The overwhelming majority of the PCS members who will strike on Budget Day, already have no political or industrial relationship with the SWP. This is not set to change any time soon.

    Its more that the union activists who currently give the SWP the time of day, will be much less likely to do so in the future. Certainly the union activists I’ve spoken to in recent times, not in the PCS, who have not been hostile to your organisation in the past, now are in light of what has happened in the Delta case.

  396. Graham on said:

    stuart: I would prefer it if everyone on the left did not frame questions in such a witch-hunting type manner.

    Stuart – that isn’t witchhunting , its asking you to confirm what appears to be the case, a simple yes or no would suffice.

    Incidentally if the SWP are excluded from anything in future it wont be because of your politics but because of your appalling behaviour and no one is to blame but your leadership

  397. stuart on said:

    Graham,

    You know my views on the case we’ve discussed it a lot. You know that I don’t accept the premise of your question. To pose it in terms of division within the left at a time of such appalling austerity and attacks is IMO irresponsible.

  398. stuart: I would prefer it if everyone on the left did not frame questions in such a witch-hunting type manner.

    Thing is, the rest of us aren’t bound by SWP discipline and hence are going to react to this as we see fit.

    You don’t seem a stupid bloke. Do you honestly think this is over just because the party wants it to be?

    Specifically, I think it would be unwise for either Callinicos or Smith to be put up on public platforms in the foreseeable future. Stacking your conference delegates is one thing, but you’re not going to be able to control people’s reactions to what’s gone on.

    You honestly don’t seem to recognise how nasty this may get. But, then, those who talk about “lynch mobs” aren’t in a position to complain when that comes back to haunt them.

    We shall see. But if you honestly think this is over, I think you’re deluding yourself.

  399. stuart on said:

    Sean: Certainly the union activists I’ve spoken to in recent times, not in the PCS, who have not been hostile to your organisation in the past, now are in light of what has happened in the Delta case.

    What are their views on how we can best resist the attacks on living standards?

  400. stuart on said:

    Hoom: You honestly don’t seem to recognise how nasty this may get.

    Can you say a bit more about who you are and what you mean by that?

  401. Graham on said:

    stuart,

    Actually Stuart I think its a perfectly fair question, you would prefer if the rest of the left and the Labour Movement hadn’t been made aware of these allegations at all and it had been confidential to the SWP?

  402. stuart on said:

    Graham: Actually Stuart I think its a perfectly fair question, you would prefer if the rest of the left and the Labour Movement hadn’t been made aware of these allegations at all and it had been confidential to the SWP?

    It’s not just about what I prefer it’s what the complainant prefers. No I don’t think a confidential internal matter should be a focus for unaccountable gossip and tittle-tattle.

  403. stuart: I think those in the unions, such as those in the PCS preparing to strike, and those in the anti-austerity movement will have a more natural political alignment with the SWP- certainly in terms of activity backed by leadership- than with the anti-strike, pro-austerity Labour party.

    Stuart, At least one of your multiple personalities is living in la-la land.
    PCS is a (mostly) well led trade union of low and medium ranking state functionaries (plus people working in the privatised bits of the state machine).
    A good proportion of these people are prepared to take demonstrative strike action to defend their wages and conditions under attack.
    In this they are served by an extremely capable general secretary backed by a very experienced cadre of full time officials and an executive whose caution is a necessary brake on the often idiotic directions they are advised to take by various ultra left tendencies to which some of them owe loyalty.
    A good example is the recent pension dispute when a sober assessment that a particular compromise was the best obtainable was endorsed by the executive including a handful of SWPers. Only for the SWP apparatus to demand that their followers break the democratic centralism of the NEC and campaign against the decision they had just reached.
    Underpinning this idiocy is the persistent belief among sectarians that the main factor holding back the revolutionary impulses of the working class is by turns, the stalinists, the social democrats and the trade union bureaucracy.
    If, as a group, the PCS leadership were to make the kind of category error which underpins your statement they would very rapidly lose office.
    Trade union militancy is not the same as a class conscious political understanding.
    Antipathy to the Labour Party come from a a wide spectrum inside the civil service trade union movement and does not unproblematically translate into affinity with any kind of socialist understanding.

  404. stuart: What are their views on how we can best resist the attacks on living standards?

    Their strongly held view is that attacks should be met with resistance in the workplace and by anti-cuts campaigns. Their strongly held view is also that your organisation has brought huge discredit upon itself by the way you have handled the allegations of rape made against Delta and now want little or nothing to do with the SWP.

    You do seem to have spent a lot of time on here on numerous threads defending your position, which until today I’ve made no comment on. Perhaps you and others in the SWP, focused as you have been on your internal party struggle and combating ‘dark forces on the internet’ have not recognised the hostility towards your organisation that has developed over the past couple of months or so.

    I hate to break it to you, but asking union militants ‘how best do you think the cuts can be resisted’, isn’t going to work when they are thinking, ‘these are the people (the SWP) who don’t deal properly with complaints from their own members about alleged rapes and sexual assaults.

  405. stuart on said:

    Nick Wright,

    I think it’s important that people who rise through the trade-union bureaucracy do not end up making compromises in such a way as to justify attacks on workers. If the SWP is able to in any way prevent this process then that for me is a good reason to support the party.

  406. stuart on said:

    Sean,

    When we strike together it is important not to let sectarian differences infect our joint struggle.

  407. Graham on said:

    Stuart – without wanting to be too cynical perhaps other people on the left (and its fair to say that this website should give you a broad impression of how activists on the left now regard the swp) no longer feel that an organisation that covers up rape allegations is an organisation worthy of support!

    Personally when Andy Newman first used the term ‘Cult’ to describe the SWP I thought he was way off the mark, the last couple of months (and your posts on this blog!) have convinced me otherwise.

  408. Jellytot on said:

    @430Yes, there will be serious questions we will all have to deal with in relation to the SWP

    Thanks Michael Rosen

    I’ll take the above as a,

    “Maybe/Maybe Not/let’s see how things pan out in the coming months”

    in response to my orignal question in #412.

  409. Graham on said:

    stuart: Sean, When we strike together it is important not to let sectarian differences infect our joint struggle.

    Stuart – do you actually understand what you just typed, you are seriously equating the cover up of rape allegations by leading members of your party with ‘sectarian differences’????

    I have to ask the admins is Stuart actually a genuine member of the SWP or is he someone who wants to discredit them further?

  410. stuart:
    Sean,

    When we strike together it is important not to let sectarian differences infect our joint struggle.

    Hahaha

    I look forward to being part of a conversation between union activists, on strike or otherwise, and SWP members in which concerns raised about the handling of the allegations against Delta are dismissed by members of the SWP as “sectarian differences infecting the struggle”.

  411. Jellytot on said:

    @484I have to ask the admins is Stuart actually a genuine member of the SWP or is he someone who wants to discredit them further?

    There’s a question.

    I’ve come to regard ‘stuart’ as a bit of a situationist prank these past few months.

    I was surprised to read this in Andy’s post #436 above:

    “He (stuart) is telling the truth that he did not sign the lynch mob petition”

    Surely, “stuart” is being remarkably inconsistent in not signing that petition? His stentorian defence of the CC and its (dysfunctional) structures on here and his non-signature just doesn’t add up.

  412. Jellytot: I’ll take the above as a,
    “Maybe/Maybe Not/let’s see how things pan out in the coming months”
    in response to my orignal question in #412.

    Whatever Michael decides, he probable feels it would be quite inappropriate for him to announce it on a blog

  413. Graham: I have to ask the admins is Stuart actually a genuine member of the SWP or is he someone who wants to discredit them further?

    We beleive he is a genuine member of the SWP.

    Jellytot: Surely, “stuart” is being remarkably inconsistent in not signing that petition? His stentorian defence of the CC and its (dysfunctional) structures on here and his non-signature just doesn’t add up.

    individuals can be complex

  414. stuart: I think it’s important that people who rise through the trade-union bureaucracy do not end up making compromises in such a way as to justify attacks on workers.

    ‘Rise up through the trade union buraucracy’ = ‘get elected by fellow workers’
    ‘making compromises’ = ‘assessing the balance of class forces, weighing up the consequences of alternative paths of action, taking a reading of the level of class consciousness and militancy’, ‘assessing the intenstions and capacities of the employer’

    Perhaps a better grounding in the realities of actual as opposed to rehetorical leadership might have served the SWP leadership a bit better in its own travails.

  415. Sean: I look forward to being part of a conversation between union activists, on strike or otherwise, and SWP members in which concerns raised about the handling of the allegations against Delta are dismissed by members of the SWP as “sectarian differences infecting the struggle”.

    Nobody out there in the real world knows or cares about this stuff. Seriously.

  416. stuart on said:

    Graham: Personally when Andy Newman first used the term ‘Cult’ to describe the SWP I thought he was way off the mark, the last couple of months (and your posts on this blog!) have convinced me otherwise.

    And when Alex Callinicos refers to the internet having a ‘dark side’ (a source of amusement for some), the opportunity for unaccountable sectarian postings doing a real disservice to those interested in furthering the class struggle in favour of workers, I instantly think of your posts and those similar.

  417. Jon Fanning on said:

    anon: Nobody out there in the real world knows or cares about this stuff. Seriously.

    If the SWP has a problem it will be a smaller reach and a weaker punch as it is likely to lose a whole section of its membership, I seriously doubt that many people outside the party and the blogs will know or care.

    However many senior left figures will not want to be seen on a platform with them so who turns up at their events from now on will be interesting.

    This is a disater for the left, I think the crowing is sectarian, but all of the blame is down to the CC. I suspect the SP will be the next to be exterminated by this tsunami of revulsion.

  418. stuart on said:

    Jellytot: Surely, “stuart” is being remarkably inconsistent in not signing that petition? His stentorian defence of the CC and its (dysfunctional) structures on here and his non-signature just doesn’t add up.

    My name does not appear on the list of 500. I did e-mail support at a later date after the list first appeared. I found it mildly amusing that I had added support yet several posters were insisting that support was stuck on 512 (the 500 plus CC members).

  419. Graham on said:

    stuart: And when Alex Callinicos refers to the internet having a ‘dark side’ (a source of amusement for some), the opportunity for unaccountable sectarian postings doing a real disservice to those interested in furthering the class struggle in favour of workers, I instantly think of your posts and those similar.

    Stuart (and I’m frankly not convinced that you are anything more than a windup), you seriously think that an organisation that attempts to cover up rape allegations is a useful tool in the class struggle?

    And as for Alex I doubt he knows what the word integrity means, his problem with the internet is a very simple one, he can’t control it!

  420. stuart on said:

    Nick Wright: Perhaps a better grounding in the realities of actual as opposed to rehetorical leadership might have served the SWP leadership a bit better in its own travails.

    As a party we are very wary of reformist adaption to the uneveness within class struggle. I would accept that an accurate assessment of the balance of class forces is important though.

  421. stuart on said:

    Graham: you seriously think that an organisation that attempts to cover up rape allegations is a useful tool in the class struggle?

    You are at it again. Sectarian opportunism gone mad.

  422. majikthise on said:

    Jon Fanning: I suspect the SP will be the next to be exterminated by this tsunami of revulsion.

    SP have a very different internal culture: no banning of internal factions, obsessive approach to recording every detail of all sides of internal debate, many more leading female members.

    They’ve also been very disciplined in not printing a word about the SWP’s current misfortunes, when most outsiders would be expecting just a little schadenfreude.

    SP have also kept principled positions with respect to other groups like RESPECT, which even if you disagree with them have been consistent and not characterised by duplicity or maneuver.

  423. anon: Nobody out there in the real world knows or cares about this stuff. Seriously.

    Wondered how long the “no-one cares about this out there in the real world” position would take to be mentioned.

    Well in the real world of trade unions, in which they have to deal with complaints and grievances from members about sexual harassment and worse by managers, other workers and other union members, it can and does matter.

    Its not trivial for union members “in the real world” to want to have confidence that their elected local reps and branch officers, who will deal with the complaints in the first instance, aren’t people who dismisses concerns about the handling of rape allegations in their own party (in this case the SWP) as sectarian divisions infecting the struggle.

  424. Graham on said:

    stuart: You are at it again. Sectarian opportunism gone mad.

    Would you like to actually answer the question Stuart, do you seriously think that a party that attempts to cover up rape allegations is a useful tool for anything?

    Incidentally the word sectarian when used correctly means quite simply putting the interests of ones own organisation before the interests of the class, there is nothing sectarian about asking you a question (your unwillingness to answer is neither here nor there)

  425. stuart on said:

    Sean: aren’t people who dismisses concerns about the handling of rape allegations in their own party (in this case the SWP) as sectarian divisions infecting the struggle.

    This needs clarification. I would not be referring to those members who express concerns through the established party structures, I refer to people who post on-line as a means of sectarian point scoring.

  426. stuart on said:

    Graham: Would you like to actually answer the question Stuart, do you seriously think that a party that attempts to cover up rape allegations is a useful tool for anything?>

    As I don’t believe there was any attempt to cover up, nor do the majority of party members, I regard your question as redundant and one that only serves to fulfill your own particular agenda.

  427. stuart: This needs clarification. I would not be referring to those members who express concerns through the established party structures, I refer to people who post on-line as a means of sectarian point scoring.

    Your position really does need some clarification. Because insofar as i understand it, it seems to be that all concerns, which are not raised through established party structures, are “sectarian point scoring”.

    If indeed that is your view, good luck explaining it to those members of movement who have worked alongside members of the SWP in a collaborative way in the past in the unions and various campaigns.

  428. Graham on said:

    stuart: As I don’t believe there was any attempt to cover up, nor do the majority of party members, I regard your question as redundant and one that only serves to fulfill your own particular agenda.

    Stuart – you’ve already said on this blog that you would rather that the information had been kept confidential, i.e that the rest of the left were unaware of the internal culture of the SWP and aforementioned allegations (of which there now appear to have been a considerable number concerning more than just Comrade Delta), that would have been a cover up regardless of how members of the SWP feel.

    As for my agenda pray do tell what you think that is?

  429. stuart on said:

    Sean,

    It is an internal matter as requested by the complainant. It is not for blog discussion however much people may dress it up as ‘well meaning’.

  430. Pingback: Order prevails in Vauxhall | The Chair Leg of Truth

  431. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I do not regard IDOOP as my ‘political opponents’.
    #445, 11:02am

    I apologise for saying the Lynchers had been engaging in politics, my mistake.

    Of course you are right, the good people in the opposition were simply opponents of the inhumane machine. The abuse of fellow members was solely to ensure control of the organisation, & if the feckless, the flakey, the feeble, like Andy Lawson (#431, 7:30am), are driven out that only confirms they weren’t up to it, not strong enough to be counted amongst the vanguard.

    As Soviet Goon Boy put it in their post that opened a thread this morning:
    “It’s the logical end of a process of dehumanisation, of chewing people up and spitting them out. I once remonstrated – quite mildly in retrospect – with a senior CC member about the party’s habit of losing good people by way of the apparat’s casual use of bullying and slander to get their way. ‘You have to understand,’ he explained, ‘it’s unfortunate, but some people just couldn’t carry the perspective.'”

    Guess Andy Lawson just couldn’t carry the perspective.

    Just as well he showed he was weak, a dilettante, a fake, that he exposed himself for all to see what he was made of before a decisive class battle, eh, stuart?

    You people have no idea. No idea at all. What is worse you are confirmed & contented in your alienation.

  432. stuart on said:

    Graham: As for my agenda pray do tell what you think that is?

    To discuss confidential complaints against the wish of the parties involved.

  433. Stuart – well then that’s a problem, because it is no longer an internal matter, which is no doubt extremely distressing for the complainant and self-evidently extremely difficult for the SWP.

    We’ll have to see how things develop for the future in terms of the impact it has on your organisation and its relationship with the rest of the movement.

    I have nothing further to say on the issue, no matter how ‘well meaning’.

  434. Graham on said:

    stuart: To discuss confidential complaints against the wish of the parties involved.

    Stuart – if you were remotely concerned about the complainant in this case you would have been appalled by her treatment (and the treatment of other female SWP members), you aren’t so that comment is disingenuous frankly.

  435. Jellytot on said:

    @506SGB: “It’s the logical end of a process of dehumanisation, of chewing people up and spitting them out”.

    I feel I benifitted from my few years in the SWP and I sussed them out after a fairly short time

    I learnt about people, hierarchies, organisations and bureaucracies that served me in good stead in later life.

    However, I was a WC and fairly street-wise young male…..The SWP today does not seem to be a safe environment for young women.

  436. Jara Handala on said:

    jock mctrousers: Since you [HarpyMarx] don’t share our ‘reductionist and workerist’ priorities, in what sense can you be said to be our ‘comrade’? Answer: in NO sense.

    #454, 11:55am

    (1) Please don’t be illogical: Harpy referred to a kind of analysis, not priorities.

    (2) Depends what you, JM, mean by ‘comrade’. From what I have read of Harpy, on her blog too, she has consistently expressed herself as an advocate of socialism & the interests of the working class & its allies.

    If you believe she is not a comrade please offer evidence for your assertion.

    From what I know you should apologise unreservedly for calling her a non-comrade. As stuart invoked this morning, there are principles, & not slandering is one of them.

    Thank you.

  437. stephen marks on said:

    stuart: To discuss confidential complaints against the wish of the parties involved.

    I am not aware of any in-depth discussion of the complaint itself – the details of who allegedly did what to whom or of course the identity of the complainant. On all these points the legitimate wish for confidentiality has been observed. Even the identity of ‘Cde delta’ though revealed on other blogs and by now well-known, has afaik remained unmentioned on this blog which indeed coined the name by which he is now universally known.

    The discussion has centred on claims of how the complaint was dealt with. Here afaik it was the complainant herself who was dissatisfied, which is the reason for the whole issue arising.

    Now the personal details of those involved are legitimately confidential. But the procedures adopted in such cases by a political party which lays claim to a leading role and which demands loyalty and respect on the basis of its actual or supposed role are NOT and should not be a matter for that party’s members alone.

    ‘It none of your business’ might be an appropriate response to outsiders by members of a local bowls club, but not by a political party which simply does not have the right to keep its broad policy debates and the basic outlines of its internal structures and procedures secret like the rites of a Masonic lodge.

  438. stuart on said:

    Sean/Graham/stephen marks,

    A few observations.

    Inevitably complaints involving a small number of individuals, particularly those of a highly sensitive nature, are very difficult to deal with. Of course as socialists committed to women’s liberation we want allegations such as these taken seriously. And we do have an obligation to maintain rights on both sides of the dispute. If someone chooses not to go to the police but elects to complain to the party we have an obligation to activate our procedures, the procedures and those carrying them out should always be accountable to the wider party and confidentiality should be maintained where it is promised. And further, we should always be willing to learn and if necessary update or reform the procedures. Now from what I can see all this was and is happening.

    The problem arises when there is some expressed disatisfaction and stuff is leaked on to the net. Then it becomes an opportunity for all kinds of gossip and sectarian point scoring. Opponents of the SWP can ‘align’ with the disatisfaction and utterly ignore any counterpoints to that, objectivity will fly out of the window in the most opportunistic manner. That to me does not seem like a proper way to proceed with these difficult cases that unfortunately can arise on the left.

    But lets take the SWP out of the equation for a minute. We had something of a foretaste to this with the Galloway/Assange affair. In this case two women made allegations of rape against Assange through the police. My view expressed was simply that Assange should face his accusers. Unfortunately many posters on this site started saying all kinds of inappropriate things about the two women. I never said anything other than their having gone to the police, the police should take the matter seriously. I was very uncomfortable at how so many people wanted to abandon women’s rights in the belief that they were striking a blow at US imperialism. But more widely, it made me think how important it is in these cases to keep a sense of proportion. The women have rights. Assange has rights. There is unfortnately a ‘dark side’ to the internet and there are times when those of us on the left need to exercise self-discipline rather than opportunistically attack other socialists (whether in the name of women’s rights or in the name of anti-imperialism) with whom they have political differences.

    That is how I think these situations should be handled when it comes to the internet.

  439. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: If someone chooses not to go to the police but elects to complain to the party we have an obligation to activate our procedures . . .
    #513, 6:05pm

    stuart, you’ve made an unwarranted logical & substantive leap: it is only rational do try to do something if one has the competence. You either intentionally or unwittingly fail to recognise that competence is necessarily fundamental here. For a rational person competence necessarily mediates between request & practice, competence is a necessary means in being able to fulfil a request. You cannot feign ignorance of this as I & others have repeatedly addressed this point to you.

    Again & again you have said that if a member brings a ‘complaint’ (SWP jargon) to the National Secretary then it MUST be investigated & adjudicated upon. That is not acceptable to a rational person: it is only rational to embark on this if the individual investigators & adjudicators have the competence to do so. Even for the SWP, sometimes the customer isn’t always right, sometimes they have to be turned away, however unfortunate that may be.

    So as a rational SWP member, stuart, what do you think should be the LIMITS of the Disputes Cttee.’s competence, that is, which matters should it be competent both to investigate & to adjudicate, & which ones shouldn’t it touch with a bargepole? The nature of all things is that they are bounded, they have limits. The idea of omnipotence is correctly ascribed to a certain period of the development of a child; it has no place in a revo soc org’n, you agree?

    So I’ll start you off: the SWP shouldn’t get involved when a member tells Cde. Chaplin that they think someone has been killed by a fellow member. That is, the SWP can never be competent to investigate whether a death involving the political family warrants a disciplinary measure against a member. I think we can agree Pat, Maxine & the others wouldn’t want to be involved in a possible murder or manslaughter, but we need to say WHY that is so. Why wouldn’t they? Why would they, presumably, not want to deal with an allegation of murder, even though they have shown that they feel quite competent to investigate an allegation of rape? Why would that be?

    So that example was just to help you start to think this thru. Although I must point out to you & our fellow readers that according to the SWP Constitution (article 7) the Disputes Cttee. is REQUIRED to investigate & adjudicate upon a ‘complaint’ of murder – however ridiculous that may seem. But then according to the same document (article 4) the Central Cttee. can only name a date for a Special Conference that allows the MANDATORY 3 months discussion period to take place. So perhaps the Constitution is just window-dressing for what the controllers of the apparatus want to do, but you know my view on that.

    Just to let readers see why I say the DC has to investigate an alleged murder by a SWP member this is the relevant part of the Constitution:

    “The DC has the right to refuse to pursue complaints if it deems any of the following to be the case:
    1. The complaint is frivolous;
    2. Based on the evidence presented, there is no case to answer;
    3. The comrade concerned is trying to use the DC to win battles already lost in the democratic processes of the party.”

    Page 26 of Pre-conference Bulletin #1, Oct 2012 http://www.cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/swpinternalbulletins/PreConf_Bulletin_i_Oct_2012.pdf

    So, stuart, which other kinds of ‘complaints’, other than the 3 classes identified, & perhaps murder & manslaughter, should the SWP not consider?

    And stuart, please don’t look for a cop-out by saying Conference has decided to have a commission examining what the DC should do: I am interested in YOUR opinion, your opinion as a conscientious Bolshevik, applying all the critical faculties the Party has worked so hard to help you develop & to be a skilled practitioner of what Chuck called the ruthless criticism of all that exists. What do you, stuart, have to say on this crucial point, what do you think should be the scope of competence of the individuals making up the Disputes Cttee.?

  440. stuart: If someone chooses not to go to the police but elects to complain to the party we have an obligation to activate our procedures

    If someone chose to go to the SWP rather than the NHS to have their appendix out would you still have such an obligation, or would you recognise the limits of your competence?

  441. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman: If someone chose to go to the SWP rather than the NHS to have their appendix out would you still have such an obligation, or would you recognise the limits of your competence?

    That’s not a complaint against a member. How does this scenario bring into question someone’s membership status?

  442. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    The investigations are clearly not forensic nor do they pretend to be. And the judgements are clearly not legal ones. But the party is faced with having to decide whether such and such should be able to remain a member and if so on what terms given the nature of any complaint. If I am on a DC (which of course I’m not), and I’m making judgements that deny someone their right to be a member (of course not a form of punshment comparable to that available to a law court), I will need some kind of criteria upon which to base my judgements. I owe it to those in dispute and those in the wider party to have some kind of answer to this. That is my opinion anyway, I can’t speak for anyone else.

  443. Forever Delayed on said:

    Stuart,

    How can the SWP ever learn if it refuses to admit that anything is fundamentally wrong? If it dismisses ALL external criticism as baseless “attacks”? If it treats any serious questioning of how the party operates, or disagreement with the CC, by its own members as “anti-Leninist” heresy? And if it refuses to substantively engage with anyone outside of its own sacred “IS tradition”, as if the SWP (that is the CC of the SWP) has all the answers and has nothing to learn from anyone?

    We have multiple accusations of sexual harassment and rape against leading party members (1 a CC member, the other a district organiser), which the party has completely failed to deal with even remotely adequately. Not even proper expulsions. You can not “draw a line” under that.

    We have the whole way in which the party is run. The slate system allows the leadership to choose itself before letting the delegates to conference, in the absence of any alternative, rubber-stamp their self-selection. The ban on “factions” is designed to prevent the emergence of any coherent or organised opposition to the CC. If it does emerge then it is treated as a treacherous enemy within to be defeated by any means necessary.

    The culture of blatant dishonesty and boosterism towards the members. The most obvious example of this is the refusal to ever give a straight and honest answer to the question of how many members the party actually has. The importance and success of every single thing is massively exaggerated, as if the party is marching from strength to strength and victory to victory.

    Here’s a clue: a socialist party that has existed for decades, that has maybe 1-2 thousand members in a country of 60+ million people, that is constantly losing members and splitting, that is not growing significantly in circumstances where it really should be…. IS NOT A SUCCESS. The SWP can’t even attempt to fix any of its fundamental problems because it won’t even admit to them.

  444. Jara Handala on said:

    jack ford: Four legs good two legs bad
    The CC is always right
    Baaaa…
    The Sheep.
    #520, 8:37pm

    Speaking of which, Jack, I found this official merchandise in the SWP Shop when I went to their last home match, & I posted the links this morning (#428):

    Jara : This is the official SWP vid for the pure in heart, for whom all questions have been answered by the Party, by the Central Committee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAD0kP0HVoY
    Whereas this is the official SWP vid for the waverers, warning them of the perils of straying from the fold, and yes, it does involve a cliff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnGh2OTH1Us
    However the official SWP vid for those about to be expelled, cast into the wilderness, is, sadly, not publicly available but it has been reported that copies do circulate in Torland.
    But being serious for a moment, this is John Ogdon’s interpretation, which obviously is offered to represent all that is not rotten in the SWP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSwSCBSsE-I
    Respect and thanx to Johnny Stream.

    And, of course, Rosa L is right (#516). I think I’ll join the sheep walking off the cliff: “this is the official SWP vid for the waverers, warning them of the perils of straying from the fold, and yes, it does involve a cliff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnGh2OTH1Us

  445. Jara Handala on said:

    Andy Newman: If someone chose to go to the SWP rather than the NHS to have their appendix out would you still have such an obligation, or would you recognise the limits of your competence?

    stuart: That’s not a complaint against a member. How does this scenario bring into question someone’s membership status?

    Andy, I think stuart might have a point there.

    But stuart, can’t you recognise the limits of seriousness & humour (that word ‘limits’ again)? But I’m glad you replied the way you did, it brightened my day. Your SWP branch meetings must be a laugh a minute; I’m serious.

  446. jim mclean on said:

    I just found out the SWP have a TV channel on Youtube.
    Today they uploaded a short, Laura Miles Sexuality and Capitalism, the Fight for LGTB Liberation. Yesterday it was the Role of Students in the Class Struggle.

    lots of stuff
    http://www.youtube.com/user/swpTvUk

  447. Jara Handala on said:

    jim mclean: the SWP have a TV channel on Youtube.
    #524, 9:54pm

    Yup, but the production quality went down when Ady Cousins resigned from the SWP – to join the Counterfire/Firebox Collective.

  448. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: the party is faced with having to decide whether such and such should be able to remain a member and if so on what terms given the nature of any complaint
    #519, 8:30pm

    stuart, my question to you was about competence. Why did you choose to be evasive, to ignore it, & speak about something else, judgmental criteria?

    Why are you trying to earn a reputation as a disingenuous discussant? We’re all comrades here, trying to apply Chuck’s prescription to make ruthless criticism of all that exists, to address problems & try to improve things, so why waste time obstructing the discussion?

    So I ask you again, please address the question of competence that I put to you, whether the Disputes Cttee. is omnipotent, able to investigate & adjudicate on any matter, or whether there are indeed limits to the DC’s ability to consider ‘complaints’, & if so what they are.

    Saying the same thing, but in terms of individuals, is there a limit to the investigative & adjudicative competence of ANY set of individuals on the DC, & if so are there kinds of matters they’re not qualified to investigate & adjudicate upon? Simple question. Pretty unambiguous. To any rational person an interesting question, worth trying to answer, don’t you think?

    To be frank, stuart, carrying on as you have not only makes people think you are being evasive, obstructive, illogical, thereby making yourself look ridiculous & absurd, but you should also be aware that if a near-on 20 year long member of the SWP behaves like this then readers will think is this what the SWP is all about, is this how it treats rational discussion?

    So have a think about this, stuart. You may also want to make clear whether you think the DC shouldn’t investigate someone’s death, coz as it stands you haven’t excluded it from the competence of the SWP’s Disputes Cttee.

    Have you read the considered & detailed article in the Pre-conference Bulletin? Tell us what you think of the ideas there.

  449. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart, the PCB article I’m referring to is ‘Reforming our Disputes Procedure’ by Alexandra (Central London), David (North London), Mikhil (Manchester) & Naomi (Kent), pp.86-9, the longest & most detailed article in the whole PCB. The authors are all either lawyers or law students. Its 8 sections indicate well the scope of & the concepts used in their analysis:
    1. Rejecting legal terms
    2. The relationship between internal complaints and police investigations
    3. When should a police complaint take priority?
    4. What standard of proof should we apply in our investigation?
    5. Confidentiality vs transparency
    6. Punishments should be decided according to the nature and circumstances of the misconduct, not negotiated between the parties
    7.Avoiding bias and the appearance of bias
    8. Questions
    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

    I would recommend this article to all readers for it raises many issues that have not been recognised by almost all commentators. And this reinforces the question I have put to stuart: there’s no surprise that this PCB article is quality: it’s written by legal SPECIALISTS, those with a certain relevant COMPETENCE most of us lack.

    My whole point, in fact, has the wider perspective that many socialists, especially more modern professed revolutionary socialists, are naive in their expectations about life, they underestimate the necessary relevance of competence (knowledge, skills & experience), the indispensibility of experts, of specialists. A large part of this, I would suggest, is an effect of a narrowing of the range of jobs that professed revolutionary socialists do for a living. It’s far too easy to say, ‘oh, that can’t be too difficult, anyone could do that’.

    And this is a root of the present SWP crisis, the decision that revolutionary ATTITUDE (whatever that can ever be) is enough, in effect using it to substitute for competence. This PCB article shows that what was expected of the DC had so many dimensions that had NEVER been problematised by the CC & others. But where is the surprise in all this, comrades? What has happened is that unwarranted claims & unacknowledged assumptions have been made about what the DC was able to do. It is not unfair to say that those without adequate expertise (the ignorant) created an institution, the Disputes Cttee., which could never deliver an adequate service to the members when it was asked to consider a ‘complaint’ beyond its competence.

    It is particularly galling that when in the present crisis this was presented to the creators & defenders of the DC institution it was met with supreme arrogance. An arrogance that fuelled an administrative & bullying abuse of the restless natives, who when they sacrificed the Facebook Four emboldened the Lynchers to go into overdrive & crush the revolting revolting peasants. The CC poured humiliation all over Defence by granting them those 6 minutes, & the pathetic response by Defence to this abuse was not to demand equality, equal time, but the Oliver tactic, ‘sir, I want more, sir, a few more minutes for the intro & the right to reply, sir, please sir’:

    “Comrades report being told that the faction committee has agreed faction speaking rights with the CC. This is untrue. The CC has decided that it will have up to 45 minutes to speak at aggregates, granting itself a lengthy introduction, an extended contribution from a second CC speaker, and a right of reply. Faction speakers have been granted just 6 minutes with no right of reply. Comrades in the aggregate should propose votes are taken on two changes – firstly to give the faction speaker the right of reply, and secondly to give a longer introduction. Many comrades who are undecided will want to hear the arguments.” [Let’s forget that equality principle]
    IDOOP Faction Cttee., ‘Tips on Organising for your Aggregate’
    http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/caucus-documents-and-idoop-update

    No wonder Cde. Chaplin, at the Liverpool Aggregate, had what can be called his Golden Wonder moment, even though the Defenders here were holding out for equality:

    “Charlie Kimber was our special guest speaker. The meeting started with a debate about speaking times. Faction comrades were proposing 15 minutes each for the CC and faction speaker, plus a right to reply for the faction. Charlie’s line was ‘interesting’ – basically, if we changed the rules laid down by the centre, he would have no reason to tell other branches that they should give any time to a faction speaker at all. An idle threat, perhaps, but a nasty one.

    “In the end a compromise was (just) passed, giving Charlie 25 minutes, Rick Lighten, the faction speaker, 12, plus a right to reply.”
    http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/pre-conference-aggregates-faction-report-back

    How more sadistic & contemptuous can these people get? ‘If you got ’em on the ground, put the boot in – hard. And keep kicking’. These people are unrelenting, unforgiving, ruthless. Unlike Defence they use all the resources at their disposal. Unlike Defence they are focused on winning, crushing their foe. That’s why even before the 28 Feb ‘Weekly Worker’ front page I was speaking on SU of the Defenders being lambs led to the slaughter.

    In so many ways the SWP is a sick, unhealthy organisation, which far too many people deem acceptable. Defence colluded with their abuse: never submitting a ‘complaint’ to the DC against Professor Ignorant for threatening lynch mobs; never submitting a ‘complaint’ that calling a Special Conference without the mandatory 3 months discussion was unconstitutional; never submitting a ‘complaint’ that the apparatus, including ‘Party Notes’, was being used for factional purposes by the Lynchers; never submitting ‘complaints’ about all the abuse & threats they were subjected to by Lynchers; & never submitting a ‘complaint’ that the CC edict on speaking times at the District Aggregates violated the socialist principle of equality. Can’t we learn from Solidarity in Poland, that a ‘legal’ approach is part of the struggle?

    Abusers, especially abusive leaders, must be held to account. It must be shouted loud & clear that ANY org’n of the labour & socialist movement MUST be treated as a rule-bounded association, that no-one can ever be allowed to feel they can get away with being abusive. Defence’s refusal to hold their abusers to account only encouraged them, only made them feel it was a safe environment for them to ratchet up the abuse. Defence chose to never confront their abusers. That’s why the abuse continued. That’s why the abuse got worse. The refusal of Defence to go onto the attack just gave the Lynchers a green light to intensify & extend their abusive behaviours. My calling the Lynchers scum is warranted by the evidence: they are a disgrace to what the labour & socialist movement stands for.

  450. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    Yes I did read the section in the bulletin that you refer to, I also read the CC position at the very start, both bits I found very useful.

    For me it is notable that much of the criticism aimed at the party offers very little about should be done. It feels very much like opportunism.

    My position, which I’ve made clear at various points throughout, is this. These kinds of allegations should not be dismissed so I’m therefore uneasy about a ‘do nothing’ approach whereby nothing happens to the accused if the complainant does not use the police. But I’m also very uncomfortable about expelling someone- or taking other forms of action- simply on the grounds that they are the subject of bad publicity on blogs. In part that is because it can encourage hate campaigns and the left should IMO have no truck with that.

    There is no avoiding the fact that if I was on the DC charged with making decisions I would have to read statements and be part of an interview process. This is not a forensic investigation nor is it a legal judgement. But to take action without doing this is IMO wrong. If I’m going to expel someone I need to explain how I arrived at my decision. And of course the process is confidential. That means I will have been party to an official process along with very few other people, I gain a privileged insight whereas the wider population do not.

    As I say, a problem arises when other political forces become aware of dissatisfaction and try to exploit this on the blogs. With the SWP it became convenient to talk about women’s rights, one side of the argument was automatically sided with due to political expediency. But earlier the SWP were being heavily criticised over the Assange case for ‘selling out’ to imperialism and ‘descending into liberalism’. The attacks are opportunistic they are not politically consistent.

  451. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart: I also read the CC position at the very start, both bits I found very useful.

    Who cares? You’ve only got about 1,100 ‘members’ (who got involved in the debate). “Comrades” are leaving in droves. The reputation of the SWP is in tatters. And only 6.6% of your alleged membership supported the CC.

    Its over Stu-riah. You lost.

  452. stuart on said:

    Totally Horrified Ex: Its over Stu-riah. You lost.

    These are the kind of ‘defeats’ I can take any day of the week. Though in all seriousness, a very important principle was upheld on Sunday.

  453. Indeed. The principle in question being that as long as the organisational forms are upheld, the ruling clique can pull the strings to get whatever result they like and call it ‘democratic’. God knows we’ve seen these kinds of strokes pulled often enough – we know that it’s the kind of thing that time-served SWP hacks are used to dishing out, and that they don’t much care what kind of wreckage they leave behind. But doing it to your own party, doing it for the sake of a vicious bully and serial sexual predator, and then rejoicing over the result – for shame, stuart. For shame.

  454. stuart on said:

    Phil:
    as long as the organisational forms are upheld….. doing it for the sake of a vicious bully and serial sexual predator,

    Yes to ‘organisational forms’ and No to trial by blog!

  455. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: These are the kind of ‘defeats’ I can take any day of the week. Though in all seriousness, a very important principle was upheld on Sunday.
    #531, 3:32pm

    Stuart, seems Principal Skinner had you sussed: this was him last night, announcing his resignation on his blog. Stuart, you sure he’s not your next-door neighbour? Or maybe he knows your type only too well. Anyway, here’s the Principal:

    “Thirdly, one is simply astounded by how inadequate, corrupt, stupid, narrow-mindedly bureaucratic and delusional the leadership of the SWP has proven to be. It is not just that having covered up serious sexual allegations, and so disastrously failed at least two female comrades, they can admit no fault. It is not just the absurd, scholastic, apolitical explanations they give for doing so, or the tragic retreat into bunkered dogma that has accompanied this. It is not just that they lie with impunity. It is not just that they ducked a real debate, with their absurd rules limiting faction speakers at aggregates, and their gerrymandering of conference. It is not just that EVEN NOW many of them are desperate to get the accused back into the leadership as soon as can conveniently be arranged. It is not just that their response to the most recent allegations by a female ex-member was to effectively dismiss her as a liar, without investigating further. It is that, having done a Jonestown, THEY THINK THEY’VE JUST TRIUMPHED.” (original emphases were italicised)

    http://www.leninology.com/2013/03/on-resigning-from-swp.html

    As you know, I take no pleasure in pointing all this out, no pleasure at all. I find it sad, dispiriting, quite difficult to explain, why comrades are so servile to this nonsense perpetrated in their name, this nonsense perpetrated in the name of – let’s not use the acronym – the Socialist Workers Party, this nonsense perpetrated in the name of revolutionary socialism, this nonsense perpetrated in the name of the working class & its allies, this nonsense perpetrated in the name of the future of humanity.

    I pride myself in the degree to which I have been able to practise as a social scientist, both as an analyst & as a political figure, but I have a problem adequately understanding why professed Marxists, so that includes you, Stuart, why some of my comrades can live out this nonsense, to defend it, to promote it, to think it, to feel it.

    I find Chris Pallis is on the mark, & maybe Principal Skinner had his essay in mind when he wrote his resignation announcement. But I’m not fully happy with the explanations I have read. It is something I have been applying myself to, & it is something I shall continue to do much reading & thinking about in the coming months.

    This group dynamic of self-destruction, oblivious to what is actually happening, this inversion of reality, is macabre. It disturbs me. How have Marxists descended into this denial? I can understand why the management & their employees have ganged up on the upstarts, although when people leave they do take with them the future wages of the Party salariat. But why the management, the bosses, have the support of what can’t be even 600 members does surprise me. I know their PR Dept. has a monopoly, I know the scribes & organs are in their palm, but it goes deeper than a battle of words, doesn’t it? The ties that bind are not primarily shared ideas, ties of shared discourse. No, the kernel of all this is buried in the shared living of an affectivity satisfying needs. That’s why it’s so hard for so many to break free from the collective abuser. The involvement with the abuser is corporeal, visceral, beyond words, perhaps for many beyond description. There’s a longing, however much tied up with frustration, anger, resentment, destroyed hopes. The lure to belong, to belong to the Socialist Workers Party, is still so strong for so many, especially for long-standing members like yourself, Stuart. It’s like an investment, isn’t it, like one of those confidence tricks, having passed a certain point there seems no way back, however strong the doubts. Sucked in, turned into a sucker. Horrible sexual imagery, but it’s there because it fits the bill.

    That’s why I’ve been talking about the ‘normalisation’ of abuse, it becomes so commonplace it’s no longer worthy of mention. I commented yesterday about all the violations of the SWP Constitution that not even one member saw as meriting a ‘complaint’ to the National Secretary. Acceptance of the unacceptable. Revolutionary socialists resigned to their fate of being subordinated to the Party bosses, but also actively finding self-validation in living a merging, an identification of one’s self with the collective, the Central Committee as the embodiment of one’s self, meaning to attack the CC is to attack oneself. You see what I’m struggling to explain? It’s of the same form as the Bukharin idea of performing one’s last service to the Party by acting out one’s responsibility for being victimised. I remember a line from Egoyan’s ‘Exotica’, the very first one: “You have to ask yourself . . . what brought the person to this point”. Exactly.

    Guess it shows how ignorant I am, how little I understand the drives, the needs, of members like yourself. Pallis makes many excellent, thought-provoking points, & I’m trying to develop them.

    http://libcom.org/library/suicide-for-socialism-jonestown-brinton

    (Wrote this while watching Barca’s performance of the season, so apologies if the quality isn’t what it could be.)

  456. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    I note that you joined the ‘IS network’ (I wasn’t aware that you had a great deal of sympathy with the SWP tradition). And then having joined you urged people to stay in the SWP. What are you urging, some kind of disruptive entryism?

  457. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I wasn’t aware that you had a great deal of sympathy with the SWP tradition.
    #535, 10:47pm

    Strange. What evidence do you have to support that assertion?

    stuart: you urged people to stay in the SWP.

    Strange. Why do you say that?

    stuart: What are you urging, some kind of disruptive entryism?

    Jesus, what are you on? Where on earth do you get that idea from? I have never spoken of such an indefensible thing, or, for any rational person, ever intimated such a thing.

    Your question, rhetorically, is scurrilous. It’s a question, not an assertion, yes, but no less distasteful for that.

  458. stuart: Yes to ‘organisational forms’ and No to trial by blog!

    Yes to upholding the ‘organisational forms’ of democracy while making a mockery of the substance (just as SWP hacks did before in Respect, to name only the most recent example). Yes to wrecking your own party, for the sake of a vicious bully and a serial sexual predator. (I noticed that you quoted this phrase without challenging it.)

    The difference between you and me, stuart, is that I care about the future of the SWP.

  459. Jara Handala,

    I think the question that you are asking there, Jara, is a deep and difficult one. I’ll etch what I think from my life, reflection, and reading, so far.

    Marxism is a fairly good theory of CLASS power, but isn’t a thorough explanation of power as such. Human beings, as social beings, have within them self-denying, almost masochistic tendencies – our social nature is not an add-on, but intrinsic.

    Certain forms of regulating, or control, structure are of necessity hierarchic (the “centralism” aspect, to use a certain terminology). How this combines with democracy and transparency is a problem which has so far, despite gains and all that, defeated the left. Over and over again.

    The irony is that marxism, or the party, or whatever, even if basically a correct idea, falls prey to natural human group identification, subservience to authority, and so on. Class analysis is another dimension to this, it “interpolates” with what I’m trying to model in a primitive way, but simply isn’t the whole story.

    If you try to get the class model to cover all bases, you will end up with “But he can’t be a bossy, dangerous, abusive bastard, because he is against the ruling class (one of our side’s best fighters), and is not objectively of the ruling class.” And this will be said by those subservient to him.

  460. I assume the ‘principle’ that’s been upheld is supposed to be that of democratic centralism. I’ve got to say, I’ve always been opposed to dem. cen., precisely because I think it’s open to abuse. But that’s not to say it can’t work, or that it can’t be genuinely democratic.

    Consider the example somebody gave earlier: Tony Cliff, under attack from two directions, giving equal time at an aggregate to himself and to each of his critics. He was all for interventionist leadership and “bending the stick”, was Cliff – and he wasn’t at all lacking in self-belief. I’m sure he went into those debates convinced that his line was correct and determined to make it prevail. And yet: equal time for not one but two oppositionists, so that those present heard only one Cliff as against two non-Cliffs. Why did he do this?

    I think he did it because it made for a better debate, and incidentally made his eventual victory more convincing; because it was better for the party for rival lines to be defeated openly rather than being suppressed; and because he thought he had a chance to learn from the opposition, and the only way to do this was to listen to what they had to say. Above all, I think he did it because it was the right thing to do – the democratic thing to do.

    Compare Comrade Kimber and his blatant bureaucratic manipulations – his “six minutes, oh go on then nine if you’re good”, and his “if I made an exception for you I could make exceptions for other people…”. Compare Comrade Herr Professor Callinicos – did he follow Cliff’s example and let both the effective oppositions have their say, ten minutes for the Prof, ten minutes for Pat Slack and ten minutes for China Mieville? (Is that a ridiculous question? Why, exactly?)

    That’s not democratic centralism, stuart, and that’s not a healthy party. It’s a bureaucratic shell presided over by bullies, and cowardly bullies at that – people who are never going to have a fair debate, because they’re terrified that they’d lose. For what it’s worth, and for those who care about these things, that is sure as hell not the kind of party Tony Cliff built.

  461. majikthise on said:

    How many of those who voted to accept the cover up and mishandling of abuse allegations work with rape victims or in academia training social workers to protect vulnerable people from abuse?

  462. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    My evidence of your lack of affinity with the SWP tradition would inclue your regular links to ‘Weekly Worker’, not exactly a publication in favour with our party members.

    You posted to the IS site yesterday saying you had joined the IS network, this appeared in the comments section under the post from Sussex students- the comment no longer appears, it seems comments have been removed for some reason- I think it a bit odd that someone joins something and then warns against trying to actually build it in its intended form.

  463. stuart on said:

    Phil: (I noticed that you quoted this phrase without challenging it.)

    The difference between you and me, stuart, is that I care about the future of the SWP.

    I challenged it by saying I rejected ‘trial by blog’. That is the difference between me and you, I adhere to standards when engaging in internet discussion. I do not throw labels around when facts are unproven just because it is politically convenient to do so. That is why I didn’t go around smearing the two women involved in the Assange case when several others did on this very site. There are certain lines I do not cross as a point of principle. That principle was upheld by my party on Sunday and I’m proud that that was the case.

  464. stuart on said:

    Phil:
    I assume the ‘principle’ that’s been upheld is supposed to be that of democratic centralism.

    Well maybe you assume too much. I wasn’t thinking of Democratic Centralism I was thinking about standards of debate on the left, see my point above. The faction lost because its case was weak, it lacked coherence. Some members within it were agitating against the party for wider political motives, motives that will start to become clearer over time. Others wanted more clarity around the role of the Disputes Committee. Time allocation was never the issue, it was presentation of the case. As I observed myself, faction members had ample opportunity to get their message across, it just didn’t resonate sufficiently.

  465. majikthise on said:

    What will resonate across the Labour movement is that the SWP is a nasty hypocritical party that would have fulminated robustly against any other organisation or employer that dealt with a rape allegation in the way that it dealt with it’s own internal scandal, and that anyone who still defends that organisation is now consciously defending this misogynistic hypocrisy.

  466. stuart: I do not throw labels around when facts are unproven just because it is politically convenient to do so.

    I thought quite carefully before I described the individual in question as a “vicious bully and serial sexual predator”. I think both those labels are supported by facts which aren’t in dispute.

    More generally, I find it bizarre that you think the rest of us have been “throw[ing] labels around”. Judging from your own dead-ball debating style, any attempt to assess the facts for oneself or express an independent opinion – however tentative, qualified or openly speculative – is “labelling” or “trial by blog”. It seems as if the real principle – the one which was upheld on Sunday – is “only the SWP shall rule on the SWP”. Never mind what the rest of the movement thinks; never mind if large chunks of the membership think this is so inadequate that they have no choice but to leave. There is still an SWP, and it has ruled that only it can judge what it does. Principle upheld, job done.

    stuart: The faction lost because its case was weak, it lacked coherence. Some members within it were agitating against the party for wider political motives, motives that will start to become clearer over time.

    Because that’s always the way with oppositionists. They leave, they develop their own projects, and then you discover that they were working against you all along! You’re starting to sound quite genuinely Stalinist.

    As for “the faction lost because its case was weak” – don’t make us laugh. The faction lost because it was outmanoeuvred and stitched up; this enables the CC and its loyalists to declare retrospectively that its case must have been weak. We all know that’s how it works.

  467. stuart on said:

    Phil: Never mind what the rest of the movement thinks;

    What is all this ‘rest of the movement’? You mean the Daily Mail? You mean Nick Cohen? You mean journalists busy ingratiating themselves with the Guardian, the Independent and the New Statesman? You mean individuals like yourself who post to blogs?

    If you don’t support the right of socialist organisations to adopt their own disputes procedures, for those procedures to be accountable to the mass membership and for confidentiality to upheld then just come out and say it. You have something in common with all of the above. Would you prefer it if we put it to a straw poll on Socilalist Unity?

  468. stuart on said:

    majikthise:
    and that anyone who still defends that organisation is now consciously defending this misogynistic hypocrisy.

    Hypocrisy? It wasn’t long ago that I was accused of selling out to US imperialism and descending into liberalism for refusing to smear the women in the Assange case. Well I’d rather by accused of those ‘crimes’ than break my principles on how I venture into debates.

  469. I don’t regard the Daily Mail as part of the movement – what a peculiar question. As for the rest of it, presumably even you are aware that the SWP is one party within a broader radical Left milieu, with an orientation towards working-class organisations (actual and potential). That’s “the rest of the movement” – the environment within which SWP members live and work and agitate and recruit. (Apart from full-timers, of course.)

    The argument – here, at SGB, on the IS blog – has never been about whether, as a point of abstract principle, a socialist organisation should be able to run its own disputes procedure. The argument has been about whether the SWP’s disputes procedure as it exists now has proved itself to be adequate in this particular case – and, if not, what lessons should be drawn. (Most of the debate has been about this second question.) It’s been a fruitful and interesting debate, with a lot of lessons for the Left – and, incidentally, it’s never breached the confidentiality of the individuals involved; all I know about “comrade W” is what she’s allowed to be made known. But if you’re stuck back at square one – the SWP has a disputes procedure, the leadership says the disputes procedure is adequate, therefore the SWP’s disputes procedure is adequate – I guess you won’t have got much out of it.

  470. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: My evidence of your lack of affinity with the SWP tradition would inclue your regular links to ‘Weekly Worker’, not exactly a publication in favour with our party members.
    #541, 7:56am

    Jesu, Stuu, you’re with the fairies, aren’t you?

    Why are you so illogical? Whenever I make a claim I do my best to reference the evidence I invoke. I don’t care where it comes from, it’s information. If the SWP had its own constitution on one of its websites that would be my first port of call – but it doesn’t! That’s the absurdity of the SWP today, Jesu-Stuu, if you want to find out about the SWP you don’t go to the SWP. That’s what your bosses are making us do. It’s laughable, isn’t it, Stuart? Another own goal.

    Another reason for you being absurdly illogical is that any political economy article in a SWP journal will reference, link, to the ‘Economist’ & ‘FT’. What you said would mean, ‘evidence of Professor Ignorant’s lack of affinity with the SWP tradition are his regular links to the ‘FT’ & the ‘Economist’, not exactly publications in favour of SWP members’.

    But seriously, if you keep being illogical, Stuart, it’s going to be difficult to persevere with you.

    And did you know you are linked to ‘Weekly Worker’? Does that show your ‘lack of affinity with the SWP tradition’? You appear on the ‘letters page’, 28 Feb.
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/951/letters

    Speaking of the SWP tradition, Stuart, for you, what does it consist in, & do you think other people who feel they live by that tradition might see it differently? In particular, what would are the necessary features (i.e., the non-contingent ones) of this SWP tradition, & has it ever changed? Are these features particular ideas, arguments, texts even, a certain affective disposition, particular ways of working? This is an important topic.

    stuart: and then warns against trying to actually build it in its intended form.

    What did I say for you to derive that interpretation?

  471. John R on said:

    One point about people going to Nick Cohen regarding rape allegations within the SWP.

    Leon Trotsky got a bit of a bashing from the CPGB when he published his views about Stalin in the Daily Express. I’m sure that Comrade Trotsky didn’t see the Express as “part of the movement” but still saw the need to get his views across to as many people as possible. The same is surely true for those who would go to Nick Cohen to expose their alleged abuse within the SWP.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/murphy-jt/1929/03/08.htm

    An anti-Trotsky cartoon makes the same point as the CPGB –

    http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/images/BB/TrotskyPen.JPG

  472. stuart on said:

    Phil:
    The argument has been about whether the SWP’s disputes procedure as it exists now has proved itself to be adequate in this particular case – and, if not, what lessons should be drawn. (Most of the debate has been about this second question.) It’s been a fruitful and interesting debate, with a lot of lessons for the Left – and, incidentally, it’s never breached the confidentiality of the individuals involved; all I know about “comrade W” is what she’s allowed to be made known.

    If the debate was framed simply in the above terms we wouldn’t have to put up with being called rape aplogists. The DC is accountable to our membership and the members agree they have acted in good faith and are without question committed to women’s liberation. Has comrade W consented to the transcript leak? If not, why is it acceptable to breach trust in that way?

  473. stuart on said:

    majikthise:

    Maybe we uphold the right of 17 year old girls to participate in politics without fear.

    If you believed this you would refrain from generating it.

  474. stuart on said:

    John R:
    The same is surely true for those who would go to Nick Cohen to expose their alleged abuse within the SWP.

    Anyone who approaches Nick Cohen is approaching a known liar, at least when it comes to reporting on the SWP. He even inserts wording into our published literature in order to alter the political meaning and serve his own agenda.

  475. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    Publications such as the FT are regularly referenced in our literature. This is done so often we could even accept it as traditional. We never, at least as far as I’m aware, reference the ‘Weekly Worker’. That is because our tradition is not to obsess with other groups on the left in petty sectarian ways.

  476. Graham on said:

    Stuart, could you answer the points made by Jara Handala at 9:54am?

    Nick Cohen (for all his faults) is not to be blame for this situation, you’ve bought it on yourselves, and the point John R has made is a perfectly valid one, presumably you would retrospectively condemn Trotsky?

  477. stuart on said:

    Graham,

    What, brought it upon ourselves by organising around Stop the War Coalition? It was that which led to Cohen’s out and out lying. Regarding the bourgeois media, Paul Foot wrote for a paper that witch-hunted Arthur Scargill through lies and smears. It was owned by a crook who ripped off pensioners. But Foot would never doctor literature in order to pursue a twisted political agenda. He would never stoop to such dishonest levels of journalism and shame his profession in that way.

    As regards Jara I thought I was answering his points along the way. Is there a specific thing that is bothering you that you feel requires more elaboration?

  478. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala:

    What did I say for you to derive that interpretation?

    Your post has reappeared, I’ll capture it in full…

    ‘Especially as someone living in Brighton, & a former Sussex Uni. student, I’m gladdened by your opposition to all the sick, unhealthy things in the SWP. I know everyone has their limits, it’s just that I’m concerned that as the final IDOOP circular put it, “If comrades leave the Party in dribs and drabs” there may be 2 highly deleterious effects: those outside may find themselves not as effective as they hoped; those who stay become so weakened the SWP will not be reformable.

    I understand why you have left, after everything that has happened. I just wanted to draw attention to the warning by the Faction Cttee.

    Lest I not be misunderstood, I have always said IDOOP was wrong to refuse to support the Facebook Four. In doing so IDOOP lived a contradiction it should never have created for itself.

    I have also just joined the IS Network; since December I have made quite a few lengthy comments at ‘Socialist Unity’ on the crisis in the Party.’

    As I read it, you have just joined a new network but warn people against leaving the party.

  479. Graham on said:

    there you Stuart I’ve included the whole post, perhaps the question about what the IS tradition means to you would be a good starting point.

    Incidentally I’ve just been made aware the Alex C is speaking at my work place next week, I take he won’t have any objection if a couple of female trade unionists ask him to defend your partys behaviour over Cd Delta ?

    “550.stuart: My evidence of your lack of affinity with the SWP tradition would inclue your regular links to ‘Weekly Worker’, not exactly a publication in favour with our party members.
    #541, 7:56am

    Jesu, Stuu, you’re with the fairies, aren’t you?

    Why are you so illogical? Whenever I make a claim I do my best to reference the evidence I invoke. I don’t care where it comes from, it’s information. If the SWP had its own constitution on one of its websites that would be my first port of call – but it doesn’t! That’s the absurdity of the SWP today, Jesu-Stuu, if you want to find out about the SWP you don’t go to the SWP. That’s what your bosses are making us do. It’s laughable, isn’t it, Stuart? Another own goal.

    Another reason for you being absurdly illogical is that any political economy article in a SWP journal will reference, link, to the ‘Economist’ & ‘FT’. What you said would mean, ‘evidence of Professor Ignorant’s lack of affinity with the SWP tradition are his regular links to the ‘FT’ & the ‘Economist’, not exactly publications in favour of SWP members’.

    But seriously, if you keep being illogical, Stuart, it’s going to be difficult to persevere with you.

    And did you know you are linked to ‘Weekly Worker’? Does that show your ‘lack of affinity with the SWP tradition’? You appear on the ‘letters page’, 28 Feb.
    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/951/letters

    Speaking of the SWP tradition, Stuart, for you, what does it consist in, & do you think other people who feel they live by that tradition might see it differently? In particular, what would are the necessary features (i.e., the non-contingent ones) of this SWP tradition, & has it ever changed? Are these features particular ideas, arguments, texts even, a certain affective disposition, particular ways of working? This is an important topic.

    stuart: and then warns against trying to actually build it in its intended form.

    What did I say for you to derive that interpretation?”

  480. Graham on said:

    stuart: Graham, What, brought it upon ourselves by organising around Stop the War Coalition? It was that which led to Cohen’s out and out lying. Regarding the bourgeois media, Paul Foot wrote for a paper that witch-hunted Arthur Scargill through lies and smears. It was owned by a crook who ripped off pensioners. But Foot would never doctor literature in order to pursue a twisted political agenda. He would never stoop to such dishonest levels of journalism and shame his profession in that way.As regards Jara I thought I was answering his points along the way. Is there a specific thing that is bothering you that you feel requires more elaboration?

    Ok ill try again in what specific way has Cohen lied about the recent allegations, is there something he has got factually wrong?

  481. stuart on said:

    Graham: there you Stuart I’ve included the whole post, perhaps the question about what the IS tradition means to you would be a good starting point.

    Incidentally I’ve just been made aware the Alex C is speaking at my work place next week, I take he won’t have any objection if a couple of female trade unionists ask him to defend your partys behaviour over Cd Delta ?

    If he couldn’t defend the party’s position he wouldn’t be on the CC. Where are they getting their information from?

    In response to the point about whether Jara fits the IS tradition, I propose that we make a deal. How about Jara and myself agree to intervene on other thread or threads available on this site, threads that do not cover the complaint to DC. It could be about trade union struggle, it could be about imperialism, economics, you name it. And myself and Jara can go ahead and put across the IS/SWP case and see how far we get.

  482. stuart on said:

    Graham: Ok ill try again in what specific way has Cohen lied about the recent allegations, is there something he has got factually wrong?

    His recent article in the Guardian was heavily disputed in terms of several ‘facts’ it contained, by DC member and leading IDOOP member (not a CC loyalist), Pat Stack. I understand Cohen took ‘interest’ when some story about ‘nine rapes’ appeared on a blog.

  483. Graham on said:

    stuart: His recent article in the Guardian was heavily disputed in terms of several ‘facts’ it contained, by DC member and leading IDOOP member (not a CC loyalist), Pat Stack. I understand Cohen took ‘interest’ when some story about ‘nine rapes’ appeared on a blog.

    Well I’m sure you will personally be able to point to those factual errors Stuart?

  484. stuart on said:

    Steel’s attempt at analysis does hit on some important points despite the tone and intention. Movements that have arisen following 1989 have contained something of an ‘anti-party’ character. This must in part be due to suspicions post-Stalinism. That was a point drawn out very insightfully by John Molyneux recently.

    And as Alex Callinicos correctly says, initiatives- post-Seattle, Occupy- will have limited shelf life if not backed by actual worker’s struggle. And that means rank and file struggle, if necessary against the conservatism of trade union buraeucracies. We are not at that stage yet but we do need organised parties that work theoretically and systematically to that objective. That’s why the SWP back the Jerry Hicks campaign in UNITE.

    There are no easy short cuts. Mark Steel, Laurie Penny, Owen Jones, these people cannot deliver action. It is no coincidence that such a debate has arisen when there is something of a crisis in militancy. It does remind us of the late 1970s and the arguments about movementism and separatism. We do need to have the hard arguments now and not duck these important debates.

  485. Graham on said:

    stuart: If he couldn’t defend the party’s position he wouldn’t be on the CC. Where are they getting their information from?In response to the point about whether Jara fits the IS tradition, I propose that we make a deal. How about Jara and myself agree to intervene on other thread or threads available on this site, threads that do not cover the complaint to DC. It could be about trade union struggle, it could be about imperialism, economics, you name it. And myself and Jara can go ahead and put across the IS/SWP case and see how far we get.

    Actually Stuart imo if the SWP leadership felt confident enough to defend themselves they would have allowed the opposition equal speaking time and put a stop to the bullying.

  486. stuart on said:

    Graham: Well I’m sure you will personally be able to point to those factual errors Stuart?

    What, when I wasn’t on the DC? Pat Stack was on the DC. The Guardian did print the party’s denial, although only a small proportion of our reply was used. My position is that Nick Cohen is not a journalist who can be reliably trusted when writing about the SWP.

  487. stuart on said:

    Graham: Actually Stuart imo if the SWP leadership felt confident enough to defend themselves they would have allowed the opposition equal speaking time and put a stop to the bullying.

    The IDOOP faction leadership accepted the Special Conference decisions as legitimate. Perhaps you need to address your concerns to them.

  488. Graham on said:

    stuart: What, when I wasn’t on the DC? Pat Stack was on the DC. The Guardian did print the party’s denial, although only a small proportion of our reply was used. My position is that Nick Cohen is not a journalist who can be reliably trusted when writing about the SWP.

    So you can’t point to the errors in the article then Stuart?

    Not saying there arent any and not defending Cohen but perhaps your leadership should provide you with the tools to back up your assertions?

  489. Graham on said:

    stuart: The IDOOP faction leadership accepted the Special Conference decisions as legitimate. Perhaps you need to address your concerns to them.

    They are responsible for their own decisions and behaviour, Alex C is responsible for his and his colleagues. Incidentally aren’t you breaking discipline even discussing this?

  490. stuart on said:

    Graham: So you can’t point to the errors in the article then Stuart?Not saying there arent any and not defending Cohen but perhaps your leadership should provide you with the tools to back up your assertions?

    What tools? The party has denied the ‘facts’ as stated by Cohen. What else can they do? As they are bound by confidentiality they can hardly send out detailed documents. You must know this, therefore your repeated questioning must be an example of trolling. If you want to believe a proven liar I can’t stop you.

  491. stuart on said:

    Graham: Incidentally aren’t you breaking discipline even discussing this?

    If I started introducing stories about ‘nine rapes’ that would IMO be an example of ‘breaking discipline’.

  492. Graham on said:

    I was asking you which details in the article were in correct, the case is in the public domain (unfortunately or otherwise) so your leadership should be provide with the details to deal with people who have read that and other articles. Simply saying its not true cos the CC says its not wont do really.

  493. Graham on said:

    stuart: Graham, You are trolling for reasons I set out in comment 571.

    Asking you to support a claim that you have made instead of continuously quoting your leadership isn’t trolling Stuart its asking you to back up a claim that you have made. Something that is increasingly striking me about your posts is their similarity to deeply held religeous faith, Im almost beginning to suspect thats how you view the SWP leadership which would be a real tragedy.

  494. stuart on said:

    Graham,

    Given the restraints imposed by confidentiality what else should be done other than the denial already made?

  495. stuart: majikthise:
    Maybe we uphold the right of 17 year old girls to participate in politics without fear.
    If you believed this you would refrain from generating it.

    Stuart, you sound like the mayor of Amity in the film Jaws.

    There is a wide literature both in Critial Leadership Studies (the mainstream organisations), and in studies of New Religious Movements (non-conformist organisations), which supports the idea that an older person in a position of authority, especially in a charismatic leadership role, should not have a sexual relationship with with a very much younger person that they are in a psoition of authority over.

    It is frankly unethical.

    What i do know is that W did want action taken to prevent this sort of thing happening again.

    Warning vulnerable women that someone they look up to in their political life is a serial sexual predator, is proportionate and precautionary.

  496. stuart: There are no easy short cuts. Mark Steel, Laurie Penny, Owen Jones, these people cannot deliver action.

    Just out of interst Stuart, can you name a single SWP member who has delivered more industrial action than I have in the last 12 months? Yet the Carillion dispute has hardly been mentioned in Socialist Wroker, despite 3200 strike days of mainly south Asian women.

    What is more the dispute has spilled over into the blacklist campiagn, so even if SWP take the view that prolonged strikes against racist bullying are too numerous to report them all, is not this a significant dispute for the movement?

    It is hard to escape the idea that SWP has under-reported this strike because they don’t like me? Do you think that would be sectraianism? Or do you have another explanation?

  497. Jellytot on said:

    @578Yet the Carillion dispute has hardly been mentioned in Socialist Wroker, despite 3200 strike days of mainly south Asian women.

    Probably because you’re involved in it….seriously, that’s probably the reason.

  498. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman:

    What i do know is that W did want action taken to prevent this sort of thing happening again.

    Warning vulnerable women that someone they look up to in their political life is a serial sexual predator, is proportionate and precautionary.

    Did W agree to the transcript leak and publication? Are you allowed to say that about someone without proof?

  499. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman:

    It is hard to escape the idea that SWP has under-reported this strike because they don’t like me? Do you think that would be sectraianism? Or do you have another explanation?

    It has been mentioned and supported. How much support has Ed Miliband given or does he not actually support strikes? And you do admit that Nick Cohen is a proven liar, don’t you?

  500. Jara Handala on said:

    John R: An anti-Trotsky cartoon makes the same point as the CPGB –
    #551, 10:24am

    Thanx for the warning, John, that Derek Trotter guy looks well crazy.
    http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/images/BB/TrotskyPen.JPG

    Who can we call about him? As we all know, the CPGB isn’t what it used to be, what with adding a ‘Provisional Central Committee’ to its title so it can have more letters in its name than members, & besides, these days it looks more favourably on Lenny the Lion.

    But there must be someone we can call, no? Maybe another investigative job for the SWP Disputes Cttee.? With its exemplary record for probity, judgment, & customer satisfaction, all this combining to build trust throughout the organisation, it should surely be adventurous & start bidding for contracts. And don’t forget the training function: equality & diversity officers, anti-discrimination bods, even rape counsellors. (Stuart could use his day job expertise to serve the Party, be über-Uriah Heepish, & head up the training division. But then again, he might have an Akaky Bashmachkin moment & find this a step too far.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Overcoat

    After all, the Disputes Cttee.’s reputation does proceed it, it can take advantage of that. Especially as the cashflow forecast for the Party is a sudden drop in revenue followed by the prospect of a steady decline in both paper sales & tithes. The days of the business model of turning buyers into sellers may be well & truly over. I wonder what the management will come up with? A switch to will bequests, like the CPB & CPGB (PCC)? Maybe an antiquarian bookshop – but obviously not over the net. Perhaps specialising in the occult & the macabre? It could mean the SWP winning its highest ever market share.

  501. stuart: How much support has Ed Miliband given or does he not actually support strikes?

    The support from the Labour Party has been very significant in the Carillion strike, we have had two public meetings at the House of Commons addressed by Labour MPs, two fringe meetings at Labour conference, both PPCs in the Swindon constituencies have actively supported the strike, albour councillors have passed motions looking at their procurement policies to seek to exclude carillion from conrracts; and this has succeded in costing Carillion some big contracts; added to which the fantastic support from labour MPs over blacklisting, which has kept Carillio0n linked into that strory, creating real pressure on them.

    Both labour councillors and PPCs have worked hard to help us maintain the morale of the strikers.

    This is of course another reason this strike is uncomfortable for the SWP. Trade union officials doing a great job at every level of the union, and the Labour Party actively supporting it, with effective results.

    This shows what grass roots activists can do if we leverage the mechanisms of power, instead of working at cross purpoes to them.

  502. stuart: It has been mentioned and supported. How much support has Ed Miliband given or does he not actually support strikes? And you do admit that Nick Cohen is a proven liar, don’t you?

    Why do you think it’s necessary to respond like that, stuart? You know damned well that if the SWP was really interested in building the fight back, it wouldn’t just “mention and support” this dispute. It would throw resources into it, into spreading it, into working with Andy on tactics etc.

    Your response is just nasty. The SWP is supposed to be the marxist party, the party that really intervenes in the movement. It’s instructive that you feel the need to compare your party to the Labour party.

    Given that you claim to have 7,000 members, surely your party should’ve actually tried to help Andy out? Surely a journalist should be regularly contacting Andy for news? Surely they should be asking Andy to write stories – isn’t one of the points of the paper to get non SWP journalists to write for it about disputes?

    The party should obviously be throwing resources into backing and building the Carillion dispute. That should be beyond question – and with 7,000 members, you’ve got the resources to do it.

    But instead, you toss in comments about Ed Milliband and Nick Cohen.

    Try harder, stuart.

    Tell you what, let’s make this concrete. You’re a regular poster here, more regular than any other SWP member. So do something real: Take the fact that you have some basic relationships, and go back to the SWP and ask them to put resources into giving real, living support to the Carillion dispute.

    That’s something you can do with a few phone calls. There is absolutely no reason for you not to do it.

    Will you do it?

  503. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I propose that we make a deal.
    #561, 1:44pm

    Stuart, I comment on other threads.

    What I, & perhaps other readers, would appreciate is an answer to my set of questions, not least telling us whether you believe the IS/SWP tradition is HOMOGENEOUS, which means you have to identify its limits of acceptable disagreement, that being a principal determinant of how rich its heterodoxy can be.

    Importantly, what does a ‘tradition’ mean to you, a conservative concept never found in Marx: Marx was a scientist, he never fixed ideas, arguments, organisational forms & kinds of practices. What did Chuck say about ‘tradition’? Oh, yes, “Tradition from all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.” (Shock, horror, even translations of ‘The 18th Brumaire’ change, this being the one by Terrell Carver, but it’s ok, Stuart, Paul Blackledge has a chapter in the same book, so you don’t have to think about how reasonable Carver has been. But please be warned, Bob Jessop’s there, that commie, the one Professor Ignorant said had infected Principal Skinner when he made his lynching rant at the ISJ meeting in January. Scary!)

    (Concerning the limits of acceptability you should consider this gem from the Gaffer: “Alex then summed up the session: The crisis has been driven from within the party. Richard Seymour is the principal culprit. He is an eclectic thinker; he grabs ideas from everywhere—including even Bob Jessop!—and throws them into an ‘incoherent mess.’” http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/callinicos-threatens-lynch-mobs.)

    So what is this tradition of YOURS, what does this tradition consist in & what does it mean & feel for YOU? I’m asking for YOUR opinion, so perhaps your evasion is in fact something else: is it that you just don’t have an opinion, on anything, that you are vacuous, without self-awareness, merely an organisational cipher? Just as people have been describing the SWP as a shell, a husk, a cavity, with 6/7ths of the members uninterested in the greatest crisis it has ever had, is 6/7ths of you empty space? Are you like a balloon, Stuart, a balloon pumped up by the Central Cttee., bigged up by Basher Smith & the Serjeant at Arms, Basher Bradley, & dispatched from SWPworld & dumped onto the streets of Britain, without organic ties but weighed down with all that tradition so you have no flight of imagination, to do the Party’s work? Stuart, you need to stand up for YOURSELF, tell us what you think the IS/SWP tradition is!

    Obviously if you are unable to describe what YOU deem this tradition to be then we can draw certain conclusions about you – and of the SWP, as you have been a beneficiary of its educational programmes for well nigh 20 years.

    Just to remind you, this was the question I put to you this morning (#550, 9:54am):

    Jara Handala: Speaking of the SWP tradition, Stuart, for you, what does it consist in, & do you think other people who feel they live by that tradition might see it differently? In particular, what would be the necessary features (i.e., the non-contingent ones) of this SWP tradition, & has it ever changed? Are these features particular ideas, arguments, texts even, a certain affective disposition, particular ways of working? This is an important topic.

    So no need for a deal, Stuart. After all, implicit in genuine conversation, sincere interaction between people, including fellow Marxists, is that we ask each other questions & we do our best to answer them. The way you come across would make the occasional visitor to this site go away thinking the SWP is a weird organisation, having members show to the public that it obstructs polite conversation, displaying an inability to speak plainly, sincerely, & be, in a word, decent. Is this really that difficult for you, Stuart? Is it?

    You may find this idea of Jim Higgins useful (the names he gives aren’t important – or are they, one is a precipice?) when considering what this tradition is for you & what it feels & means for you:

    “‘If you stand on the shoulders of a giant, it is possible to see even further than the giant.’ I first heard this piece of homely wisdom from the lips of Tony Cliff, none of which detracts from its truth or, indeed, its appositeness to the current discussion, in the pages of New Interventions, between Jim Dye, Mike Jones and Ken Tarbuck.

    “Cliff’s little aphorism is, of course, only true so long as two conditions are satisfied. First, that you do not use the advantage of the giants height to look steadfastly backwards (this seems to be Jim Dye’s stance). Second, that you do not abuse this privileged position by kicking the giant repeatedly in the ear (this seems to be Mike Jones’ standpoint).”

    He ends by saying,

    “It is long past the time when we should continue playing the fool with contending ‘isms’. Marxism is really the only one we need and we should be able to incorporate all that is valuable for class struggle from the different traditions under that one umbrella.”
    ‘From Gangrene … to the Danger of Amputation’, New Interventions, July 1993
    http://marxists.org/archive/higgins/1993/07/gangrene.htm#top

    So what do YOU think, Stuart, for you what does the IS/SWP tradition consist in?

    And I echo what Tony has just asked of you: will you call the Citadel tomorrow morning? Would such an act of socialist solidarity be part of the living of this fabled IS/SWP tradition?

    And if you don’t ask HQ how would you reconcile that with your belief in this tradition?

  504. stephen marks on said:

    John R:
    One point about people going to Nick Cohen regarding rape allegations within the SWP.

    Leon Trotsky got a bit of a bashing from the CPGB when he published his views about Stalin in the Daily Express.I’m sure that Comrade Trotsky didn’t see the Express as “part of the movement” but still saw the need to get his views across to as many people as possible.The same is surely true for those who would go to Nick Cohen to expose their alleged abuse within the SWP.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/murphy-jt/1929/03/08.htm

    An anti-Trotsky cartoon makes the same point as the CPGB –

    http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/images/BB/TrotskyPen.JPG

    As I recall Trotsky’s response to this sort of criticism was to say that he would of course far prefer to write for the press of the Comintern parties but he and his supporters had been expelled and denounced in the Comintern press with no right of reply. He concluded ‘if there is plague in the city it is permitted to post a warning notice even on the walls of a brothel’.

  505. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala: I’m gladdened by your opposition to all the sick, unhealthy things in the SWP.

    Jara Handala: I understand why you have left, after everything that has happened. I just wanted to draw attention to the warning by the Faction Cttee.
    #558, 1:04pm

    Any rational person can see my comment is directed towards people who have ALREADY left the SWP. You need a new brain, Stuart, one capable of logical thinking.

  506. Jara Handala on said:

    Here’s some more fuel for making a new generation to be devoured by the locusts: ‘Lenin was not a Leninist’ is by Joaquín Bustelo, & was published today by ‘The North Star’:
    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=7727

    This gives a flavour (or flavor) of it:

    “Following is the full text of all the articles Lenin ever wrote for the internal discussion bulletin of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party, or the party’s Bolshevik wing, or the ‘Bolshevik Party’ (which was never the formal name of a Party in the early 20th Century in Russia, but never mind), and the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks):

    “”

    And that is a direct word-for-word quote, except for the quotation marks, of course. And there is nothing except the quotation marks, because Lenin and his friends didn’t have an ‘internal discussion bulletin.’”

    Oh. I thought Professor Ignorant said we were Leninists? o. A big o, O. Maybe I need to do some independent reading here, something’s not quite right.

    *scratching of head, quizzical look, a grimace*

    So WHAT is the IS/SWP tradition? That pile of internal documents in the corner isn’t really Leninist? What have we been doing all these years? What has the tradition been making us do? More importantly, what is to be done about all this?

  507. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman/Tony Collins,

    I don’t know anything about the SWP in Andy’s locality. But surely from a political point of view the Labour party is not institutionally geared to building successful strikes- it has always been the case that individual members help out and that’s good, but the party at the end of the day seeks votes from the ‘middle ground’. This is not the approach taken by the SWP. I really cannot believe that the SWP is deliberately ignoring a strike because of the involvement of one individual, if I heard that strategy being proposed at an SWP meeting it would have to go down as one of the most bizarre experiences of my life.

  508. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala:
    Any rational person can see my comment is directed towards people who have ALREADY left the SWP. You need a new brain, Stuart, one capable of logical thinking.

    When someone makes a comment on a site I always presume it’s aimed at whoever is likely to read it.

  509. stuart: I really cannot believe that the SWP is deliberately ignoring a strike because of the involvement of one individual

    Stuart, you are going to have to start believing this sort of thing, because it’s true.

    Remember Greg Tucker? Major left wing activist. Big friend of the SWP. Member of the ISG. Took Galloway’s side of the Respect split, and then died of a really fucking nasty throat cancer.

    Not even a fucking mention in Socialist Worker, let alone an obituary. The man would’ve been paid fulsome tribute had he taken the SWP’s side in the dispute – he was respected throughout the whole union movement, but because the SWP didn’t like the side he’d taken in a dispute, they wrote him out of history.

    Similarly when local Muslim youth organised serious left-wing anti-war meetings, real self-activity with no real involvement from any of the existing left, but they did so under the name “Respect Youth”, the SWP completely ignored our attempts to get reports printed. Well, there’s not space for everything – except this was the biggest local political meeting the area had seen for years. It was serious left-wing politics. It was entirely young people organising and attenting. The party wouldn’t even acknowledge communications.

    Stuart, we don’t make this stuff up. The SWP will ignore a dispute if it is run by someone they don’t like. They don’t make “decisions” at meetings – it is just a natural thing the party has always done. That you haven’t seen it can’t be taken seriously, given that we can find you hundreds of people who can tell you the opposite – and given that I can tell you my personal story of how the SWP’s rank and file newspaper on the underground fell apart because the 1 SWP member who we ran it with, the one person who could organise design and printing, wouldn’t work with people who had left over Respect – despite us doing our best to work with him. This stuff is real, and happens all the time.

    Socialist Worker has reported on the Carillion dispute – except they’ve been tiny articles; the longest one was online only, and covered an event in London.

    I asked you if you would make calls and encourage your party to get more involved with the dispute. I’m asking you through this interface – the online one, where you comment several times a day and talk to people who aren’t fans of the SWP.

    This is a chance to put your marxist beliefs into practice: There’s a serious, long-term dispute that Andy is organising. You are a regular at one of the places Andy hangs out. You can influence other people in the movement.

    So, will you do it?

  510. stuart: Andy Newman/Tony Collins,

    I don’t know anything about the SWP in Andy’s locality. But surely from a political point of view the Labour party is not institutionally geared to building successful strikes- it has always been the case that individual members help out and that’s good, but the party at the end of the day seeks votes from the ‘middle ground’. This is not the approach taken by the SWP. I really cannot believe that the SWP is deliberately ignoring a strike because of the involvement of one individual, if I heard that strategy being proposed at an SWP meeting it would have to go down as one of the most bizarre experiences of my life.

    well that is just wrong because Labour is structured to have a relationship with our union, and the SWP is not. Labour can and has made the running on blacklisting in parliament, the swp has done little or nothing. Labour controls councils, with input into procurement policy, and our union has good leverage with coincillors.

    The interesting thing here is I don’t see what usr the swp even could be. Whereas labour are both structured to be useful and have been useful.

  511. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: When someone makes a comment on a site I always presume it’s aimed at whoever is likely to read it.
    #592, 9:55pm

    I know 10 o’clock is well past your bedtime, Stuart, but a third illogicality in one day just isn’t acceptable, even with the mitigation that is you.

    My text that you referred to was posted on the DRP site: therefore it couldn’t be directed to readers at this site. And as any rational person would discern from reading what I wrote, I was speaking to the 9 people who signed the post that started the thread, their announcement that they had resigned from the SWP, not any other readers of my comment.
    http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk/#!/2013/03/resignation-sussex-brighton-swss.html

    But let’s talk about the IS Network, whose stated aim is to “renew the IS tradition” thru allowing 3 groups to come together:

    “We welcome those who feel they have no choice but to leave the SWP, those who are committed to staying and fighting for change within the party, as well as all who wish to be part of a healthy International Socialist tradition in Britain.

    “Join us in renewing that tradition”
    http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/a-new-network.html

    The activities spoken of are talking, & attending events at which people will again . . . talk. This initial appeal says nothing about any other sort of action. Even so, we know that SWP members, like the Facebook Four, get thrown out for chatting, so this can be a very, very dangerous thing for them to join. Andy Lawson, who is the sole signatory of this appeal, said of FB4 in the Pre-conference Bulletin, “This affair also raises the issue that the CC believes it has a right to intercept the private conversations of party members.” (p.45)
    http://socialistunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SWP-internal-bulletin-special-conference-march2013.pdf

    Given your near 20 year experience of being a SWP member, Stuart, in YOUR opinion (scary, scary!), do you think any SWP member, perhaps those wanting to learn more about the IS tradition & what was thought about it, would be expelled for talking with such people? Would Professor Ignorant & his ilk, the Lynchers, view International Socialist Network as a ‘hostile force’, whatever that means? Is it likely Basher Smith, young Master Basher Bradley, & the Red Squads will turn up to these events, with on the opposite pavement the SWP Forward Intelligence Team, vidcams in hand, the agitated presence of those characters from ‘Macbeth’, Judith ‘Hectoring’ Orr, Maxine ‘smash-the-fems’ Bowler, & Jo ‘who-you-looking-at’ Cardwell? Would thinking, even curious, SWP members be risking expulsion, Stuart? Expelled just for talking?

  512. Jara Handala on said:

    Harsanyi_Janos: [addressed to Stuart, surprise, surprise] That’s not much of an answer, is it?
    #595, 11:05pm

    Stuart doesn’t really do answers, but in a way that doesn’t matter. It would be better if he could be normal, but it seems he can’t. I’m afraid it’s best to recognise the limitations and try & winkle out his inner-Marxist-bursting-to-be-set-free. You have to think of it as a project, not a friendly, normal exchange of opinions, ideas & arguments. Having been in the SWP almost 20 years, in hostile conditions, surrounded by hostile forces, Stuart is who he is. Take her/him as they are. The occasional nugget is revealed. They’re worth waiting for, believe me.

  513. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins:
    Stuart, forget Andy. I’m the one asking you. Will you do it?

    My advice is for Andy to get one of the strikers to make contact with our industrial department.

  514. majikthise on said:

    stuart: My advice is for Andy to get one of the strikers to make contact with our industrial department.

    When the class has to make an appointment to meet the party, you know bureaucratism is endemic.

  515. stuart: My advice is for Andy to get one of the strikers to make contact with our industrial department.

    Or else book a session at ACAS – the comrades will be along soon enough.

    Sorry, but the story Janos linked to – and especially the comment thread – made awfully depressing reading for a Thursday morning. When the party’s defenders are denying that an initiative matteredOK, so maybe it was a stupid idea, but I challenge you to show that it had any effect – you know things are getting desperate.

  516. Stuart, I am asking you, as a Marxist – someone who apparently believes in an interventionist party – to go and speak to people and say “we need to give this more support”.

    Will you do it? I won’t ask again after this, cos it’s quite obvious that you don’t even have the most basic idea about Marxist politics except when you write on a blog. When I was a party member, I would regularly talk to organisers about issues I felt deserved support. I’m asking you to do what any supposed Marxist should do.

    But instead, you’re saying it’s up to Andy to “make an appointment”. See, that’s not how a Marxist would ever operate – a Marxist would go to Andy and offer help, not suggest that he makes an appointment to request it.

  517. A good example is how Respect operates regarding Karen Reissmann’s sacking – we went to the SWP and offered to give her a platform to spread her case, including being a guest on George Galloway’a radio show. Cos that’s what you do – you don’t wait for people to make appointments. Not if you’re a Marxist who believes in a vanguard party.

    Oh, and the SWP refused to allow Karen to get potential mass support by appearing on George’s show. They said “we aren’t prepared to let her be used”

  518. John Grimshaw on said:

    #605 I clearly remember a dispute in Tottenham in the late 1990s of largely Turkish/Kurdish workers. I attended the picket line twice with an anarchist friend of mine. There were a few other anarchists/independent socialists involved also, but no members of the SWP. In their strongest area? I later found out that members were “dissuaded” from getting involved because of the involvement of said anarchists (sectarians).

  519. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala: So what do YOU think, Stuart, for you what does the IS/SWP tradition consist in?

    This is something I’ve sought to draw you into via some other threads on here. For me it comes down to the development of a theoretical understanding, which in turn informs our political interventions, the ability to intervene will be shaped by our organisational structures.

    So for example we could take the UNITE election for General Secretary. We have a theoretical understanding of capitalism and the workers movement, more specifically an analysis of the rank and file and the bureaucracy, our political intervention- support for Hicks- flows from that. What happens if say 40% of our members support McCluskey, how do we ensure an effective intervention for Hicks as voted for at conference? We ask for members to exercise self-discipline, accept the majority decision and get behind Hicks, an example of democratic centralism.

    Now there is a thread going on this. If you say you support the IS tradition how would you intervene? Would you insist on a democratic centralist approach to this question? Why don’t you intervene on the thread?

  520. stuart:

    This is something I’ve sought to draw you into via some other threads on here. For me it comes down to the development of a theoretical understanding, which in turn informs our political interventions, the ability to intervene will be shaped by our organisational structures.

    So for example we could take the UNITE election for General Secretary. We have a theoretical understanding of capitalism and the workers movement, more specifically an analysis of the rank and file and the bureaucracy, our political intervention- support for Hicks- flows from that. What happens if say 40% of our members support McCluskey, how do we ensure an effective intervention for Hicks as voted for at conference? We ask for members to exercise self-discipline, accept the majority decision and get behind Hicks,

    So you are privilaging dogma over a living and nuanced analysis of the actual state of play in the union movement.

  521. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman: So you are privilaging dogma over a living and nuanced analysis of the actual state of play in the union movement.

    ‘Living and nuanced’? Is that the way you explain your enthusiasm for Kinnock’s treachery nearly 30 years after the event?

  522. John Grimshaw: There’s an answer to this Andy. They might be very useful, if they would abandon their sectarian practices. But then the same could be said of other left groups also.

    Even the smallest left group can start making themselves useful if they would just turn up, express the most basic form of solidarity, and see where it goes from there. That’s the kind of thing that parties get built out of, on the longer term.

    But many lefts, at least in my country and especially the International Socialist Tendency group, seem to consider solidarity as a kind of business deal: we do this for you, now you do this for us. Buy papers, send speakers to our festival, whatever. And they determine business success in terms of the amount of short-term recruits.

  523. Jara Handala on said:

    majikthise: [referring to Stuart] When the class has to make an appointment to meet the party, you know bureaucratism is endemic.
    #602, 7:53am

    Superbly put!

    Majikthise, you have captured most succintly the degeneration of today’s SWP, the degeneration from the IS of the days of Higgins, Palmer, all-those-militants-without-names, & of Stephen Marks who comments here.

    And it does my fucking head in to put it like that.

    I mean, what SORT of professed Marxist, when informed by a credible source (Tony Collins) that their org’n (SWP) has been neglecting a long-standing workplace dispute (GMB-Carillion, Swindon), always simmering, sometimes breaking out into action, first of all doesn’t express shock, & then doesn’t say they’re going to get to the f’ing bottom of it? Instead, Stuart says, & be warned, this is a longish paraphrase of what goes on in Stuart’s head, much longer than he ever says in words on SU, but no less revealing, Stuart says,

    ‘guv, nowt to do with me, I’m just a member people hardly even notice, let alone talk to, best get onto Head Office, we have procedures, you know, well tested & honed procedures, & they don’t include independent action by people like me, an ordinary member, that would require initiative & in our Party that’s the monopoly of the higher-ups, they do the deciding, us minions just do as we’re told, it’s better that way coz encouraging autonomy at the base of the Party, amongst people like me, is dangerous, it would only be disruptive, causing problems, upsetting me bosses, undermining ’em, perhaps making ’em think, perhaps suggesting to ’em they might have got something wrong, while it’s best for all concerned (except the class, of course) that things get so bad that it’ll finally dawn on the Party bosses that summat’s wrong, then they can take the credit for spotting it & devising the new “turn”, so, as I say, it’s best they don’t hear it from me, coz they’d mark my card, see, I’d get into trouble, marginalised as a trouble-maker, so for my sake as well it’s best if it’s you that gets onto Head Office, the Industrial Department, & a clerk’ll log yer call & get back to you, but as the Industrial Office is a bit understaffed these days, what with all the resignations, the wrecking, the disrupting, the shifting of resources, it means there’ll probably be a bit of a queue, but don’t be put off, there’ll be a nice voice on the recorded message, an impressionable intern, maybe straight out of skool, maybe even still at skool, or a student, or someone straight out of college, anyways, they’ll be so naive they’ll actually believe what they’re saying, the “sorry for the delay, but the comrades are doing more important work, but your call is important to us, & we’ll be with you shortly”, & as a bonus there’ll be a nice selection of SWP House music, not to be confused with Chicago House (that’s those ISO opportunistic petit bougeois radicals), no, our House music is the best jazz, personally selected by Basher Smith, often tracks from our House anti-Jew, the incomparable Gilad Atzmon, so when the message gives you the prompt just leave yer details, the dispute’s in Swindon, right?, and someone’ll get in touch, not literally of course, & we prefer email anyway, remember the Facebook Four?, less messy than a phone call, best to keep yer distance from the human misery the Party sometimes has to cause for the sake of the Cause, but anyway, from what you say I wouldn’t hold yer breath, & I certainly don’t want to end up an illustrious corpse like that Tucker guy you mentioned (why the hell did he choose the wrong side over Respect?, he could have had a nice obit in “SW”, even one penned from the graveside by a fellow militant in the RMT), so anyway, best of luck with the Carillion thing, but as I say, it’s got nothing to do with me, guv, I’m just an ordinary member, keeping me head down, not making waves, have you seen how nasty the full-timers got over that Disputes Committee ruckus?, don’t want any of that!, I just wanna serve me time as a loyal member, maybe get meself a watch, pinned on me proud chest from a member of the Central Committee, maybe a tour of HQ thrown in as well, so please don’t ask me again, as I say, the higher-ups’ll deal with it, if it’s important, just leave me out of it, ok?’.

    So there you have it. That’s Stuart’s long-winded sub-textual response to Tony’s request, summed up in Majikthise’s evaluation, “When the class has to make an appointment to meet the party, you know bureaucratism is endemic”.

    And you see, it’s because of crap like that, that unthinking, spontaneous, automatic response by Stuart, a member of the SWP for nigh on 20 years, that I have posed the crucial question, what the f does this putative ‘IS/SWP tradition’ consist in? Has this tradition evolved, has it gone off the rails (sorry, Tony, don’t want you to see them in a different way, but guess it’s too late now), is it homogeneous, does it tolerate dissension, debate, if so within what limits, how heterodox has it been, should be, & could be, moreover, I want to stress this, is the very idea of a tradition consistent with being a scientific socialist? These are the kinds of questions I have been raising the last few days.

    Because when Stuart this morning says, “My advice is for Andy to get one of the strikers to make contact with our industrial department” (the whole of his comment #601, 7:36am), any rational informed person throws up their hands, presses the button for the ‘facepalm’ emoticon, & thinks what the f, what the f is going on, how can the fabled, exalted ‘IS/SWP tradition’ CAUSE a militant like Stuart, a member of the SWP for almost 20 years, to respond to a request for help with the bureaucratic flap of the hand, the look of world-weary indifference, ‘nothing to do with me, mate’, and the words “My advice is for Andy to get one of the strikers to make contact with our industrial department”.

    You’ve made me angry, Stuart. Obviously you’ve frustrated me before – no surprise there – but your response this morning really shows who you are, Stuart, it really shows, after almost 20 years of membership, what the custodians of the ‘IS/SWP tradition’ can turn a long-standing member into, what they have turned you into, Stuart, for you are the living embodiment of what that ‘tradition’ has degenerated into. You are the living proof of that degeneration – unfortunately.

    But you, Stuart, can redeem yourself by reflecting on our comments here & exercising some autonomy, some initiative, just acting as a class-conscious socialist & worker, backed-up by a party (sound familiar?), & respond to Tony’s request, using your authority of being a SWP member for almost 20 years, by telling HQ there may be something wrong going on here, that for the hospital workers employed by Carillion in Swindon the SWP could perhaps help them in some way, that perhaps the SWP would say to them, in the spirit of BUILDING SOCIALISM FROM BELOW, say we want to support you, we have resources, tell us how you would want us to help, in other words, not INTERVENING but being INVOLVED (crucial difference!), letting the workers in struggle, non-SWP members, in their self-mobilising, their self-activity, that they DECIDE how the SWP can be of help to THEM. For me, that’s the Marxist way, that’s what scientific socialists would say, that’s what it is IN PRACTICE to live the slogan ‘a Communist Party has no interest separate from the interest of the working class’. And that’s why if ‘the IS/SWP tradition’ is to be of any use in the struggle for socialism, for a more decent life, it MUST accept what Jim Higgins said in 1993, at almost exactly the time you, Stuart, joined the SWP:

    “The relinquishing of sectarian shibboleths may be as heart-wrenching and difficult as removing a child’s comfort blanket, but in both cases it must be done if maturity is to be achieved. The exclusive rectitude of groups, who could hold their aggregates in a telephone booth, is tragic and absurd. It is a sort of perverse hobby that cannot hold a candle to train spotting, where you see more of the country and might even meet some real workers.

    “It is long past the time when we should continue playing the fool with contending ‘isms’. Marxism is really the only one we need and we should be able to incorporate all that is valuable for class struggle from the different traditions under that one umbrella.”
    ‘From Gangrene … to the Danger of Amputation’, New Interventions, July 1993
    http://marxists.org/archive/higgins/1993/07/gangrene.htm#top (trains again, Tony).

    And Stuart, the pic below combines in one figure the pose of both your critics & you: above the shoulders depicts us, the rest depicts you, the cipher without clothes, the living embodiment of the degeneration of the fabled ‘IS/SWP tradition’, politically naked, not even deserving a fig-leaf, a pouch, or something to cover your arse. In fact you’re worse off than the figure: you don’t even have a leg to stand on. But it can be different: you just have to make that call to Vauxhall.
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cain_Henri_Vidal_Tuileries.jpg (strangely, English wiki doesn’t show the whole figure but the German does: evidence of a cultural difference?)

  524. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala:

    So there you have it. That’s Stuart’s long-winded sub-textual response

    Me long winded? Talk about pots and kettles. I did ask you about the UNITE general secretary election earlier in the context of our discussion about ‘IS tradition’. No response to that. You do seem to have a bit of a pre-occupation about Jim Higgins.

  525. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: Me long winded?
    #616, 7:51pm

    That’s your response, your response after the benefit of what must be over 20 years of being a pupil of the SWP Educational Department’s programmes? Bless us & save us.

    And just to note, that was illogicality #1 of the day: the long-windedness wasn’t you (you seem to have an overactive ego), it referred to the sub-text of what you said (#601, 7:36am), by definition something you didn’t say. Bless us & save us. I don’t even think new Popey saying a lil prayer would help – even if, like Messi didn’t, he flashed a Chávez tribute T-shirt.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STKkWj2WpWM (this also proves Cliff Richard isn’t all bad)

    But all that matters is this: will you call the Citadel?

    In case you lost the details, this is how the Party puts it:
    Industrial Department
    The industrial department produces leaflets around various disputes, gives help and advice about being a socialist at work and organises activity in the trade unions.
    phone: 020 7819 1175 email: industrial@swp.org.uk
    http://swp.org.uk/contact-us

    Please call them. What do you have to lose? Your reputation? It would be worth it. And you don’t have to believe me, there are plenty of others who know what’s right here.

    Think of it as a re-birth, as emerging from the bureaucratised & sclerotic womb of the SWP into the real world, a new Stuart, starting again, Stuart Unshackled! Stuart & Django Unchained! To echo Chuck & Freddy’s crazy manifesto, & Crazy Toni’s autobio, we have a world to win! Together! Andy & Tony, you & me, all the Swindon GMB workers, we can do it, Stuart! Just make that call!

    This isn’t personal: it’s about a member with authority, you, Stuart, a member for almost 20 years, who can help a group of low-paid workers who have struggled with determination & great honour for a number of years. The SWP can be part of this. It can help. Please help both the GMB workers & the SWP with just one call. You can even be like Comrade Charlie Chaplin was with the Facebook Four, & email the Industrial Department.

    Just contact your own Party, Stuart. You’re all comrades, after all.

    Please do it.

  526. stuart on said:

    Jara Handala,

    As I’ve already said, conversation needs to be with those on the ground, people who have a real sense of what needs to be done in relation to this specific dispute. I claim no local expertise.

  527. stuart: Jara Handala,

    As I’ve already said, conversation needs to be with those on the ground, people who have a real sense of what needs to be done in relation to this specific dispute. I claim no local expertise.

    So to clarify. You agree that it is the responsibility of striking workers to ASK the swp for help?

    What sort of help might they ask for? It looks to me like the swp can offer nothing at all.

  528. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: As I’ve already said, . . .

    As so many of us have already said, you just don’t get it, but it’s ok, we’re only talking about quite poorly paid manual workers, being harassed for years, & needing all the help they can get.

    You stay there in your bubble, all warm, confirmed & contented in your alienation.

    Your sub-text, of course, remains ‘guv, nowt to do with me, I’m just a . . .’ (my comment #614, 7:22pm yesterday).

    You’ve shown us all what a class struggle means to you, the feelings & emotions it evokes in you (flat affect), the responsibility you believe you have when you are asked to help, & you’ve shown us all what the degeneration of the fabled ‘IS/SWP tradition’ has reduced you to after nigh on 20 years of being formed by its alleged practitioners.

    As you know, your total lack of interest in human beings was summed up superbly by majikthise:

    “When the class has to make an appointment to meet the party, you know bureaucratism is endemic.” (comment #602, 7:53am yesterday).

    The People rest their case.

  529. stuart: Andy Newman,

    ~619,

    What do you think is needed to win the dispute at this stage?

    Don’t be an idiot. I am not going to discuss our strategy on a blog.

    GMB are leveraging a lot of pressure on Carillion and we ate fully confident of victory.

    Note I have not asked for your help. I don’t think the swp has any capacity to deliver help. And the last thing our members need is to be associated with a rape scandal.

    Many of our members are women and I would also not want them involved with the SWP. Which clearly does not take womens’ safety seriously.

  530. stuart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    #623,

    This never was a serious conversation was it? More to do with party bashing than winning a dispute. I would not be a member of a party that I felt was ‘unsafe’ for women. Why then did you remain a member for 20 years?

  531. stuart: Andy Newman,

    #623,

    This never was a serious conversation was it? More to do with party bashing than winning a dispute. I would not be a member of a party that I felt was ‘unsafe’ for women. Why then did you remain a member for 20 years?

    Stuart. Of course no serious discussion would include the ridiculous idea that the swp could be of any use in an industrial dispute.

  532. stuart: Andy Newman,

    Nice avoidance of my question there.

    Stuart- I think I have done as much as anyone to.expose sexism and abuse og power in the swp.
    My hands are clean. When I was in.the swp I was never a lick spittle for the bureaucracy which is why I was a marginal figure in the swp.

  533. Manzil on said:

    stuart,

    The two known allegations of rape both date from the last couple of years. If they are true, and this (or the party’s response) makes the SWP an unsafe place for women, how in the fuck would this remotely be relevant to someone who hasn’t been a member since the Respect split?

  534. Jara Handala on said:

    Manzil [to Stasi Stuart]: how in the fuck would this remotely be relevant to . . .

    Has today’s illogicality #1 been detected? The officials are huddling. No word yet. The pundits think there’s no question about it, it looks like being an open-&-shut-DC case, but we mustn’t prejudge things, innocent until proven guilty & all that. The huddle’s breaking up, the referee is about to speak into his mike . . . oh, no! Power cut! Stay tuned, folks, we’ll be back live in a second. Meanwhile here’s a trailer of a film being shown across the network this weekend. Enjoy!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3_iLOp6IhM

    In honour of the Facebook Four, who do read here, let’s remember these words of Cde. Paris Thompson, prefaced by remarks of a pointman in the IS Network:

    “Whether online or in person, comrades are entitled to a degree of privacy in their lives – the hypersuspicion towards the membership from the leadership and the belief it should spy in this way owes more to the Stalinist bureaucracies than to any reading of the IS tradition. In short, this behaviour should be ceased. It is a point of irony that the final remark in the Facebook conversation was from Paris, who said ‘Sick of paranoid Facebook conversations. We’re in the SWP, not North Korea.'” (PCB, p.46).

  535. Manzil: stuart,

    The two known allegations of rape both date from the last couple of years. If they are true, and this (or the party’s response) makes the SWP an unsafe place for women, how in the fuck would this remotely be relevant to someone who hasn’t been a member since the Respect split?

    I left the swp formally in 2004, but I had an extremely detached relationship before then. I hadn’t been to either Marxism or a conference since about 1993. And I remember the last time I sold a copy of socialist worker was during the Kosovo war.

  536. Manzil on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Apologies! And that just confirms what I was getting at.

    stuart:
    The party has been around for several decades. Andy was a member for two as have I been. I wouldn’t agree that allegations against two individuals entitles you to draw the conclusion that you do.

    Well no, of course you wouldn’t, Collin. The point is, comments about the SWP being unsafe for women were made in the context of the crisis resulting from those allegations. Meaning it has fuck all to do with your or Andy’s experience membership over two decades previously.

    Of course, the party’s existing degenerate culture came from somewhere. The leadership didn