The SWP conference took place over the last weekend.
What happened is that the conference was very hostile to John Rees, and so it was clear that if he challenged the Central Committee’s slate for re-electing itself, and from which he had been omitted, then he would be humiliatingly defeated. So I understand he withdrew his challenge.
What then happened is that his closest political allies, Lindsey German and Chris Nineham also resigned from the CC slate.
There are a number of odd things about this. Firstly, if John Rees and Lindsey German were serious about the proposed campaign they were suggesting against the recession broadly along the lines of the Stop the War Coalition, then German and Nineham resigning from the CC means that they have no leverage to make it happen.
But it also means that all of the SWP members who are officers of the Stop the War Coalition have now left the SWP CC. This is at precisely the time when the Stop the War Coalition has revived its vital political relevance. It was apparent from Alex Callinicos’s contribution to the pre-conference bulletins that there was a reassessment of the importance of the STWC going on, but events seem to have overtaken that.
The SWP remain an important part of the political landscape with the capability to play a very positive role; and a proven track record in a number of campaigns. It has been extremely healthy that a debate has taken place, but it is hard for me to make any political sense at all of the resignations of Lindsey German and Chris Nineham, except as non-political solidarity with their friend.
It is very unclear what will happen next, and whether the relationship between Stop the War Coalition and the SWP will be affected.