113 comments on “The Best Ever Resignation Letter

  1. It doesn’t start well though when he gets the name of his ex-party wrong.

    Otherwise was there anything new here? Would it (the “politcal bit” until I got tinnitus – though the last 20 seconds were amusing, especially the last 2 seconds) have been worth reading as text?

    Here the medium is the message – doing it as a video suggests a overinflated sense of self importance. We haven’t heard the last of him, no? Even if it is as a consultant in a 3rd rate think tank ;)

    Maybe the Comic Strip should get back together to make “SWP” and get Brindelli to do the music. God I do hate musicals.

  2. Andy Newman,

    Not so much of the old – I said I was amused by bits of it!

    I hope you are going to sing your blog posts in the future :)
    Will he get a vido/vid-eo reply from the SWP office?

  3. You guys are taking that “Britain has talent” thing a wee bit to far here. Bloody hell.

    I pray to Lenin that Callinicos does not respond in kind.

  4. Manzil on said:

    God, I cringed so much at this. It’s like one of those awkward, under-staffed flash mob videos.

    Jack, if you read this, please, please, don’t sing again.

    You’re starting us down a road that ends up, inevitably, with people summarising The State and Revolution through the medium of interpretive dance.

    Comradely regards,

    Manzil

  5. “You’re starting us down a road that ends up, inevitably, with people summarising The State and Revolution through the medium of interpretive dance.”

    Bring – it – on

    *** jazz hands ***

  6. Manzil: You’re starting us down a road that ends up, inevitably, with people summarising The State and Revolution through the medium of interpretive dance.

    I believe that is actually where a certain road began, as part of the “Mutiny” event organised by the Reesites before they got expelled, in a Bethnal Green art gallery.

  7. Hats Off Off to comrade jack https://www.youtube.com/user/JackBrindelli?feature=watchc
    bye bye SWP …. now lets get on to the serious stuff of how we create a genuine alliance of socaiists prepared to do the hard work of creating both an organisational and an eletoral poll of attraction to the ‘left’ of the Labour Party in the NEAR ~FuTure…. As a stop gap Why not join the Green Party ? http://www.greenparty.org.uk/ the GP has a conference in Feb… socialists have a chance to influence the outcome of debates…. in a way unimaginable in the Labour Party… or perhaps ex SWP memmbers could decide to do ‘fuck all’ in the time honoured tradition of ‘International Socialism’ …. DO FUCK ALL

  8. Manzil on said:

    Yeah, I’m sure the Greens would bloody love that.

    daggi,

    Unlike about 99% of Downfall parodies, that was really well done. Hilarious.

  9. That Mark Antony France post reads just like something by Derek Wall. And I thought that before it came to the “join the Greens” bit.

    (I only found that Downfall parody, hm, elsewhere. I didn’t make it).

  10. prianikoff on said:

    Brindelli is sipping a cappuccino in Pret a Manger, when he sees a contingent of SWP’ers outside being attacked by the EDL.

    Does he:-

    (a) Continue sipping, because he can’t possibly appear on a common platform with members of his former party.

    (b) Call the police, because it’s unclear to him who was attacked first and he isn’t competent to judge the issue.

    (c) Film the incident and post it on Facebook with a soundtrack from Les Miserables.

    (d) Get stuck in?

  11. Jellytot on said:

    @10Jack, if you read this, please, please, don’t sing again.

    C’mon….He’s a better singer than Russell Crowe in the new ‘Les Miserables’ movie.

  12. Manzil on said:

    You leave Comrade Crowe alone.

    prianikoff,

    It’s a trick question, no self-respecting member of the SWP would have resisted the urge to go into Pret long enough for the EDL to turn up. (Okay, that’s my bit of sectarianism for the year. I’m done now. It was also hypocritical, because I bloody love chain-store cappuccinos.)

  13. Jellytot on said:

    graham: ok could someone explain who Harry Worth is/was ?

    Some cheeky so-and-so has inserted this on Harry’s Wiki page:

    Former national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) Martin Smith announced at the annual Marxism event in 2006 that he based his public image on Harry Worth, having been a big fan of him since he was active in the Westminster branch in the late 1980s. In a meeting on “Socialists and the power of the small screen” (television), chaired by Chanie Rosenberg, he recalled that it would be “better for SWP members to get away from the Citizen Smith image, and instead be more like great working class heroes such as Harry Worth”. This quote can be heard on audio cassettes of the discussion as available from the party bookshop Bookmarks’.

    Class!…. :-)

  14. swpmember on said:

    as a swper currently protesting the cc, i have to say this is the best thing i have ever seen. good man!

  15. When you made it into a Downfall parody, you know your time has come.

    The lack of respect being shown here for people going through some troubling ‘internal’ matters, well it beggars belief.

    So stop sniggering.. all of you.

  16. Howard Kirk on said:

    Maybe the SWP will try and say they the cannot accept his resignation as it didn’t follow the usual procedures, and then expel him because of it. He could then take it to the Disputes Committee.

    I like the Downfall video as well:

    ‘and China Mievelle will get my job, and print fucking sci-fi in the paper.’

  17. Jellytot,

    I quite like the Citizen Smith page myself, while it isn’t quite up to the standards of that which you quote above.

    Prianikoff: c. I claim my ten pounds.

  18. nothing wrong with the citizen smithm image… it sweeps away any ambiquity over the class nature of the soviet union and is completely intune with the International Majority Tendancy of the Fourth Inteternational on guerillla foco…. applied to the situation in the UK in 1978 … the only problem is that the Revolutonary left did NOT apply the localised ie ‘Tooting Popular Front’ idea across the nation…. giving electoral space to the Lib Dems …. and wasting loads of effort that should have gone into building the left in the Labour Party or alternatively building a non ‘democratic centralistist’ broadbased wishy washy leftist movement….. Instead we got the LP [like a monolith with an even more monolithic ‘opposition’ in the shape of the ‘Militant’] or the dazzeling variety of extra parliamertary currents the worst of which was the CBGB
    When I was a school student organising school striked in March 1978 the local Communist Party Apparatus decided to intervence in a sectarian way…. they built a meeting in the the middle of mass activety which was carefully aimed at ‘leaders’ …. we dutifully attended in the ‘apprentices hut’ at the Longbridge plant… there was only about 6 people present and only me and my mate had actually been involved in organising school students strikes … when it became clear that we were not intereated in promoting the Communist Party … the meeting was swiftly brought to an end. What is interesting is that simply because I refused to join the CP in 1978… then any ‘tactical’ objectives that I proposed in the local birmingham anti nuclear movement were opposed by the [so called] communists.
    At that time the Communist Party was really ‘conservative’ ‘passive’ and totally fucking crap………to be continued

  19. Leninschweiß (“Lenin’s Sweat”) was apparently a nickname for red-coloured lemonade in East Germany.

  20. Richard S on said:

    Rather pleased the young lad came from Norwich. Its was where I spent my formative years in said organisation.

    I just quietly cancelled my subs when I could have resigned through the medium of contemporary dance

    Well done Jack, that’s show business !

  21. Richard S,

    hello richard… I am begining to feel that there is the potential form an IS Damce Troup ….IN Fact I feel that there is sufficient material for a fully fledged MUSICAL …. called Lemmings……. or Swamprats or whateverr

  22. Jellytot on said:

    @4I pray to Lenin that Callinicos does not respond in kind.

    No, he wrote this long and dense article instead:

    http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=12210

    Like Harman’s article on the RESPECT split in ’07, this is all blamed on, “wider political differences” (SWP-speak for a Left/Right split and, of course, Alex and his cohorts represent the Left in this equation).

    What is interesting is that in the last paragraph Alex posits the theory of the SWP collapsing – the first time, to my knowledge, that such a notion has been countenanced by somebody at the top.

  23. Londongrad on said:

    Harry Worth reminded me of a programme called ‘Comrade Dad’ – does anyone remember it? I’m sure they had a dog called Trotsky, but I can’t remember if it was funny or not?

  24. #39 This blog isn’t an organisation with a membership and doesn’t aspire to lead the proletariat to take state power.

    Frankly the admin are free to delete and block at will as far as I’m concerned (and would be anyway). One of the more recent improvovements in my opinion is that they seem to do it more often.

  25. #40 Now doesn’t make sense as the person I was responding to has been deleted just as I was posting. Why doesn’t that sort of thing happen to me more often?

  26. Shuggy LP on said:

    Funny video! Note to self. Put the name of Jack Brindelli in the memory bank. Will be interesting to see where he ends up!

  27. I see that he’s made a lot of prior videos in a similar vein. I guess the SWP didn’t mind them when he was a member…

  28. I’ve just read (or I should say skimmed through…life is too short) Lord Callinicos’s ‘defence of Leninism’. In one sense it’s the same tedious, repetitive bullshit about the SWP being the modern-day Bolsheviks etc that anyone familiar with left politics will be familiar with. It doesn’t engage substantially with any of the specific criticisms of the way the ‘difficult disciplinary matter’ was handled or wider criticisms of the way the SWP is structured, other than inferring that it’s all an attack on the ‘Bolshevik tradition’ as kindly interpreted for us by the SWP leadership.

    What’s more interesting is the way his Lordship sneeringly refers to ‘Owen Jones and his like’. I don’t know Owen Jones and I’m sure we’d have disagreements over various things, but isn’t he the guy who has written an excellent book in defence of the working class, who has helped popularise the idea of socialism, equality etc on numerous TV and radio shows recently? I believe he thinks that socialists should try to push Labour into adopting and enacting policies favourable to working class people. In that, he’s pretty much like many activists and trade unionists the SWP will come into contact with. Now, Callinicos is fully entitled to disagree with that project and point out why he does. However, it’s that sneering tone that tells us something about why the self-important leaders of the SWP like Callinicos (and his like) are perhaps in so much shit right now.

  29. Jellytot on said:

    @45Put the name of Jack Brindelli in the memory bank. Will be interesting to see where he ends up!

    Question: “Do you reckon there’s anybody out there who’s ever actually regretted leaving the SWP?”

    …and if not, shouldn’t that tell you something?

    @50why the self-important leaders of the SWP like Callinicos (and his like) are perhaps in so much shit right now.

    The thing is that Callinicos will probably be fine whatever happens to the SWP.

    He has always given me the impression that the Party,to him, is some kind of personal side project and I’d imagine those scholars who interact with him in the rarefied upper echelons of academia, especially outside the UK, would be surprised to learn that he poses as Britain’s leading revolutionary.

  30. Charles Dexter Ward on said:

    I almost sprayed coffee over my keyboard, you bastards. 5.08 os an interesting variant of the SWP logo; maybe the CC could print it on button badges in support of Comrade Delta.

  31. Insider on said:

    jack: I’ve just read (or I should say skimmed through…life is too short) Lord Callinicos’s ‘defence of Leninism’. In one sense it’s the same tedious, repetitive bullshit about the SWP being the modern-day Bolsheviks etc that anyone familiar with left politics will be familiar with. It doesn’t engage substantially with any of the specific criticisms of the way the ‘difficult disciplinary matter’ was handled or wider criticisms of the way the SWP is structured, other than inferring that it’s all an attack on the ‘Bolshevik tradition’ as kindly interpreted for us by the SWP leadership.What’s more interesting is the way his Lordship sneeringly refers to ‘Owen Jones and his like’. I don’t know Owen Jones and I’m sure we’d have disagreements over various things, but isn’t he the guy who has written an excellent book in defence of the working class, who has helped popularise the idea of socialism, equality etc on numerous TV and radio shows recently? I believe he thinks that socialists should try to push Labour into adopting and enacting policies favourable to working class people. In that, he’s pretty much like many activists and trade unionists the SWP will come into contact with. Now, Callinicos is fully entitled to disagree with that project and point out why he does. However, it’s that sneering tone that tells us something about why the self-important leaders of the SWP like Callinicos (and his like) are perhaps in so much shit right now.

    Jack – nail the hit head the on (re-arrange). Yep that has been the MO since about the mid-1980s. It explains both the voluntary and involuntary exits from its ranks, it cynical manipultation of front and UFs (special lind or otherwise) and it sums up perfectly the character of the Lord and even more so German, Rees and the odious sectarian Bambery. It helps explain why they get things so wrong -dismissing those who were collecting food for the miners in the early stages of the miners strike (Bambery’s notorious tins of beans speech at Skegness, Easter 1984), the appalling sectraianism to the Militant in the Poll Tax). The imperative was to make the party distinctive and therefore a source of recruits.

    BTW based on my experience German was the one most responsible for the Stalinisation of the SWP. I remember her once (a very long time ago c1988) musing on whether the CC should not just get rid of the National Committee as it was an impediment. At the momemnt the CC is trying to rally the troops by raising the spectre of hostile external forces which include German, Rees and the odious Bambery (did I say that before?). The party is getting better they say now these malevolent influences are gone. Yet the politicl culture that the Lord, CK and MS and others have is pretty inseprable in style and content to those of LG, JR and CB.

  32. stuart on said:

    Jellytot,

    The SWP were proved correct in their analysis of the RESPECT split in 2007, Galloway’s closeness the the ideals of Labourism provides testimony to that. It was a left-right split.

    And Callinicos is, and will be proved, correct in his take on the current disagreements. This is not just about unhappiness over how a dispute was handled the politics go far deeper. The ‘opposition’ bears all the hallmarks of a rightward shift.

    And Alex is right about another thing. The Internet for all its wonders does provide opportinties for those sufficiently inclined to indulge in endless gossip aimed at damaging the selected target.

  33. The SWP were proved correct in their analysis of the RESPECT split in 2007, Galloway’s closeness the the ideals of Labourism provides testimony to that. It was a left-right split.

    This is the most incredible anti-political comment I have ever seen.

    Galloway had just come out of Labour when Respect was formed. He was always close to Labour. He was a fucking Labour MP! He wasn’t and isn’t on the road to marxism. He always called himself “old Labour”.

    Anyway Stuart, in the comment above, you prove just how dishonest you are. The Respect split happened because George Galloway sent this mild letter to the Respect NC. Go on, read it. Please, just pause and read it. The party didn’t carry out any political analysis, it immediately moved to destroy the organisation.

    Pretty much everyone now recognises that the SWP “went nuclear”, expelling people, driving really good activists out, and using the… what’s the term? ‘bourgeois media’ to smear Galloway and others. Martin Smith went round lying to everyone who would listen, making up ridiculous shit about what people were saying and doing. Alex Callinicos went round claiming that Ken Loach and others wanted “to destroy the very existence of the SWP”.

    And then, oh boy, your councillors. The ones who went to Labour. Left/right split? If it was, it was the polar opposite of what you’re claiming.

    Actually there’s another way you’re dishonest: The purpose, as I understand it, of a united front, is for revolutionaries and reformists to work together, with the marxists trying to be the best activists and, in doing so, expose the bankruptcy of the reformist method and vision. OK, even if we calm that down a bit, the very fucking point of Respect was to be a coalition of the SWP and people to its right.

    In other words, if the SWP ever split Respect, it would be splitting with people to its right. A LEFT/RIGHT SPLIT.

    You’re really a joke, stuart. The paucity of your political statements shows how insulated you are from the real world.

    The rest of us will never forget the destructive, sectarian, dishonest behaviour of your party. Not just during the split, but after – with the open intention of trying to ruin Galloway’s chances in the GLA elections, with the destruction of your credibility among a layer of TU activists cos of your “left alternative” adventure, which spent the whole 2008 GLA election attacking Livingstone, and forced Unison to pull out of an anti-racist event cos you refused to allow a Labour speaker, instead allowing only Lindsey German.

    Seriously Stuart, the very fact that you can say “Galloway’s closeness to the ideals of Labourism” proves that the SWP was right, given that Galloway was always close to the ideals of Labourism and that closeness has never changed, shows that you’re just not even serious.

    Still, you keep on sticking your head in the sand Stuart. If anything, as much as I despise some of the opposition – after all, it was Roobin and others who did the dirty work of the SWP in this “left/right split” of yours – they are certainly not to the right of the SWP.

    Unless what you’re really saying is, the SWP is about to take another turn to the ultra-left, in which case you’re welcome to the audience you will get.

  34. More SWP or closely associated need to take a side on their blogs / facebooks / twitters over the next couple of days, and need to use their real names unless they have a very good reason not to.
    Peer pressure and fear of losing friends is a pathetic reason not to speak out.

  35. stuart on said:

    Tony Collins,

    The SWP was not sufficiently prepared for Galloway’s move against the party. It was obvious, looking back, that he would move at some point. Those least prepared were those most immersed in the RESPECT project, people like Rees and German. And as Callinicos rightly notes, their Counterfire group takes a position to the right of the SWP, witness the response to a letter by ex-SWP leading member ‘Donny Mayo’.

  36. secret factioneer on said:

    It is kinda embarrassing to read how the SWP were right over the Respect debacle. I don’t share TC’s analysis in full and I don’t believe the shell of Respect represents anything much now, but surely no-one in the party genuinely and honestly believes the SWP handled that situation well, to the benefit of the class?

  37. daggi: Didn’t one go to the Tories?

    From East London Advertiser.

    FORMER Respect councillor Ahmed Hussain put pen to paper today (Thurs) and signed his Tory party membership forms… only hours after frenzied speculation he had changed his mind.
    He met local Tory bosses at 12.30pm and sealed his defection after an extraordinary 24 hours of confusion over his future.

    After Tower Hamlets council confirmed the defection a short while ago, Cllr Hussain, a former strong ally of Respect MP George Galloway, told the Advertiser: “I’ve signed the forms and I’m just relieved it’s now all settled so I can look forward to the future.

    “It’s been a very tough 24 hours. It’s always difficult to leave your friends, but when you have to make a decision, you’ve got to do it.”

    The Tower Hamlets political scene went into ‘meltdown’ yesterday after we revealed that Hussain, representing Mile End East ward on the authority and a member of the Socialist Workers Party, was defecting to the Conservatives. After being greeted like a king at Tory HQ in Millbank yesterday morning, Cllr Hussain had a sudden last minute attack of nerves sparking a day of dramatic twists and turns.

    He told the Advertiser at 2pm yesterday he was going ahead with the defection and applauded his new national party leader David Cameron’s approach in a quote.

    But when rumours started circulating around the Town Hall that he was set to become the Tory’s first Bengali councillor in Tower Hamlets, he was bombarded with calls and text messages from colleagues urging him to change his mind.

    Some warned he was committing political suicide.

    About an hour before he was due to inform council chief executive Martin Smith of his move, he told Tory group leader Peter Golds he needed ‘more time.’

    He then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening consulting with councillors from all parties for advice.

    At midnight, leading political figures believed that he had U-turned and decided to remain with the rebel Respect Unity Coalition group, and leave Cllr Golds as the humiliated ‘bride at the altar.’

    Respect Unity group leader Oli Rahman and SWP boss John Rees then issued a press statement in the early hours of this morning attacking the Advertiser’s story as “a rumour”. They insisted Cllr Hussain remained firmly on their side.

    But after spending the night thinking, Cllr Hussain called the paper at 9.30am to confirm he was defecting.

    Three hours later, he met Cllr Golds and former Tory group leader Simon Rouse to sign his party membership forms, then emailed the council’s chief executive shortly after.

    It means the Tories, who less than two years ago had just one councillor at Tower Hamlets, now have eight and have become the main Opposition group.

    Cllr Golds said: “I’m absolutely delighted he has joined us. We’ve been in discussions with each other for some time on this matter and have had meetings both locally and with Conservative Central Office.

    “Ahmed will make a wonderful addition to the Conservative group and will continue to contribute to the political debate in both Tower Hamlets and nationally.

    John Rees’s press release earlier the same morning:

    For immediate release
    14/02/08

    Tower Hamlets Councillor stays with Respect

    Tower Hamlets Councillor Ahmed Hussain quashed rumours that he had joined the Tory party today and insisted that he was sticking with Respect.

    Following stories in the local paper, The East London Advertiser, the leader of the Respect group of councillors Oliur Rahman said: “I spoke with Councillor Ahmed Hussain today and he made it absolutely clear that he is staying with Respect and stands by its values.”

    Councillor Rahman added, “there are some people who want to jump on any rumour that gets out to damage Respect. They would be better advised to check the facts with me. Our Respect group remains united and ready to join the fight against the Tories and New Labour in the Greater London Authority elections.”

    ENDS

  38. #56 “The SWP were proved correct in their analysis of the RESPECT split in 2007, Galloway’s closeness the the ideals of Labourism provides testimony to that. It was a left-right split.”

    I don’t think Galloway ever claimed to be anything other than committed to the ideals of what he would probably see as ‘traditional’ Labourism. A left electoral alliance was obviously going to be a mixture of people from a fairly wide spectrum of left-of-New Labour politics.

    If you remember, at the time the SWP absurdly claimed they were being ‘witch hunted.’ This campaign of terror against the SWP included not only Galloway, but Salma Yaqoob, Ken Loach and pretty much everyone else who didn’t think the SWP were handling the situation correctly. What allies, outside the ranks of the party ultra-faithful, did you have in that particular battle?

    In this mindset, the SWP is always being ‘attacked from the right.’ Individuals who get pissed off and leave it are always ‘moving to the right.’ No doubt sometimes it is, and sometimes they are. But you’ve as yet failed to point out either what was so principled about the way the SWP operated in Respect, or what is so right wing about what SWP oppositionists are advocating now.

  39. jack:
    But you’ve as yet failed to point out either what was so principled about the way the SWP operated in Respect, or what is so right wing about what SWP oppositionists are advocating now.

    As Callinicos correctly points out, Leninism, as practiced by way of a democratic centralist party, has for time now been under attack as a result of what might be described as anti-party moods, or a sentiment in favour of ‘pluralism’, as advocated by anyone from Owen Jones to at least some of those posing as SWP ‘oppositionsts’. John Molyneaux has described this as ‘radicalised liberal individualism’. It represents a shift to the right away from the traditions of the SWP.

  40. stuart: John Molyneaux has described this as ‘radicalised liberal individualism’. It represents a shift to the right away from the traditions of the SWP.

    Just to clarify. In the narrative you present of a left/right split in Respect, was AhmedHussain on the left when he was an SWP councillor? How come he joined the Tories?

    More to the point, after I flagged up the day before he defected to the Tories that he was intending to do so, why did so many SWP members come on here and call me a liar?

  41. I don’t share TC’s analysis in full and I don’t believe the shell of Respect represents anything much now, but surely no-one in the party genuinely and honestly believes the SWP handled that situation well, to the benefit of the class?

    Hi secret factioneer :)

    The truth is, I would fucking love to have a really serious discussion about what went wrong and right on both sides, without all the emotional stuff we all always put in, cos my view of the latest crisis is that it’s a result of the same mistakes that were made in 2007 – and now, you guys in the factions are being treated just as badly. It’s really shit, cos the biggest impact is that a lot of good people end up hating each other, you bastard.

  42. Andy Newman,

    Hussain most clearly represented part of the problem, diagnosed at the time by SWP thinkers, of local careerism taking precedent over principled socialism. The fact that he may have briefly joined the SWP and was for a time part of a minority within the Tower Hamlets Respect group alters this not one jot.

    To mention the fate of one not very important individual in this way five years on is frankly to not give this discussion on the political left the seriousness it deserves. As I say it proves nothing other than the pull of local careerism is important when analysing electoral politics.

    As regards you being called a liar, that could not possibly have been me, that is simply not the way I operate on this board. I try to be polite, I stick to the house rules. I cannot vouch for what any other posters may have said on this site at the time.

  43. stuart: I try to be polite, I stick to the house rules. I cannot vouch for what any other posters may have said on this site at the time.

    True, by and large you debate constructively on here, although it must be a daunting task! It is hardly a home game for you

  44. stuart: To mention the fate of one not very important individual in this way five years on is frankly to not give this discussion on the political left the seriousness it deserves. As I say it proves nothing other than the pull of local careerism is important when analysing electoral politics.

    Don’t start being all reasonable now. Where is the fun in that?

  45. secret factioneer on said:

    Yo TC

    Stuart – recruiting someone who then joins the Tories is not a minor issue relating to a single individual.

    Painting everyone to our right as “liberals” is bloody stupid. Especially at the same time as protesting our belief in the United Front.

  46. #65 Yes, but Stuart you have still not really articulated either a defence of the SWP’s involvement in Respect or why those opposing the leadership line are objectively right wing, other than repeating something John Molyneux has said about ‘liberal individualists.’ From what I gather, some of them are proposing changes in the way the leadership group in the SWP is elected, and the right to form permanent factions. Both these things actually existed in the Bolshevik Party, which you claim as a model.

    If an ‘anti-party mood’ exists, the question surely is why? If the SWP were being attacked from the right in Respect, then surely they would have been able to generate a bit more support and solidarity outside their own ranks if they had been principled and dedicated to building that organisation alongside many other serious left wingers?

    I think there are probably a number of reasons why people are distrustful of organisations claiming to be ‘Leninist.’ Not all of them are the fault of Leninists. But are you claiming seriously that there is nothing in the way the SWP conducts itself that might take some of the blame?

  47. Neil Williams on said:

    I for one thought this was very powerful message using todays medium – the Net(the medium the SWP CC hate!)- it was intersting,funny and yet carries a serious message that did get across. And that young man does have a great voice.
    An excellent example how how to get a message across in a new way – deserves to be seen by many more people on the Net.

  48. jack,

    Quite simply the opposition were defeated at conference. To then spend a great deal of time trying to change that is not keeping within either the rules or the traditions of the SWP. And it’s not simply an organisational issue, it is also about how we relate to broader, looser political formations (eg Greece). There is a political element to the debate.

    Of course the SWP is likely to find the going harder when there is a low level of class struggle (see the Callinicos article). The earlier phase within RESPECT made sense because of the strong anti-war mood. But once this waned and the class struggle remained low, the very powerful reformist pull towards electoralism and away from socialist principle meant we were operating in a harsher environment. And events since then have politically favoured those who want to see reformist, pluralist arrangements. It has been a tough time for the party because its been a tough time for the class.

  49. Manzil on said:

    stuart: it is also about how we relate to broader, looser political formations (eg Greece). There is a political element to the debate.

    Side-stepping the UK for one second, how do you mean re: Greece?

  50. secret factioneer on said:

    Quite simply, the SWP is not significantly bigger now than it was on its proclamation. Either the party has got a lot of things wrong over that period, or the party cannot be built into something more.

    We aren’t immune from the period. But it’s been bloody long and we’ve got more or less nowhere so far.

  51. daft punk on said:

    never thought brindelli’s endless stream of youtube videos were funny, but I watched most of them (cringing), funnily he never mentioned being in the SWP in any of the videos I watched and, in this one, doesnt even know the name of the party?

  52. Neil Williams on said:

    “81.I am surprised, Neil – I think the singing is pretty rotten.”

    Suggest you get a new set of ears then! My wife watched it and was almost in tears! An excellent voice and thats without a studio to help. More importantly the sense of disappointment was so real (join the rest of us Jack that have been there and got the tea shirt).

    One of the best recent examples of how the use the internet to get a message across and an accurate portrayal of events. Well done Jack Brindelli!

    I would urge all those who have left Respect and the SWP or are fighting in it along with other Socialists to work together to forge a better more open and more democratic Socialist organisation.

  53. daft punk,

    After he got the name of the SWP wrong at the beginning, I googled him, suspecting this was someone “resigning” who was never a member. I found some student union election website, with a lot of detail and “vote for me” leaflets. Not a single mention of the SWP.

    Of course, it’s (often) how they work – but he hadn’t even mentioned the SWPs major fronts. And the website wasn’t that old, and he was a member for apparently 3-4 years.

    I find it all a bit strange.

  54. Don’t you people realise that some people get their plurals mixed up all the time? Plenty of people would say “worker” instead of “workers”. It’s evidence of nothing.

  55. secret factioneer on said:

    He was a member.

    I didn’t listen for very long once he started singing, Neil. I just thought he was poor.

  56. Tony Collins: It’s evidence of nothing.

    Yes it’s just a question of missing letters off the end of words.

    Like ‘i-s-t’ (snigger, hey that was original!)

  57. #92 Yes but I still laugh at Eric Morcame and the paper bag. In fact I still do it myself to amuse my wife’s grandchildren.

  58. Feodor on said:

    Clayton:
    How Mr Delta ever got to be leader of the SWP is incredible, the first two minutes of this speech are so cringing andhis body language so awkward its untrue, how anyone could every take him seriously as a Party leader just beggers belief.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gyRhui63BI

    The honourable comrade from Westminster north doubtless has many talents*, but oratory is not one of them.

    *If, like me you read Hello and are in the know, you’ll have heard the rumours that Kevin Bacon originally wanted Delta, but settled for Dyer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NsWU7HHrKM

  59. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    I think Brindelli’s commitment to the SWP was probably shallow – the SWP’s “open recruitment” makes it easy for time-servers, revolving door types, fascists and state agents to gain admittance. In most cases, they exit fairly quickly but in a few cases, they can wreak havoc. In fact the ease with which the SWP admits people to membership is a highly un-Leninist characteristic.

  60. Manzil: Hahahaha.

    Although I suspect that MV does sometimes go over the top about such matters, you may not be aware that the SWP (and in the process UAF) in Manchester were infiltrated by 2 BNP members a few years ago. I say that not to cast aspertions on the SWP for the avoidance of doubt, I don’t know enough about the circumstances to judge whether they were in any way at fault.

  61. From what I recall (correct me if I’m wrong), that was the case with the two students who wheedled their way in via Manchester SWSS? They then spent a year helping to organise an array of the SWP’s front groups – UAF, Stop the War, Respect etc. – but not actually getting access to membership lists or achieving very much beyond acting as bums on seats at their national conference.

    Serious, undoubtedly. But they did not ‘wreak havoc’ as far as I remember. Certainly it isn’t proof in the present conditions of the need to restrict membership to some sort of self-selecting elite or propagate an ‘us against the world’ attitude. Especially given that sort of thing wouldn’t be as likely to occur outside of the here-today, gone-tomorrow student milieu. Random ‘lefts’ popping up without a back story and being invited in uncritically is a lot less workable in actual trade union and labour politics.

  62. Manzil: Certainly it isn’t proof in the present conditions of the need to restrict membership to some sort of self-selecting elite or propagate an ‘us against the world’ attitude.

    I agree, I just thought you mzy not have been aware of the incident.

  63. Fair do’s and point taken.

    I just think the idea of a bunch of Special Branch officers and Combat 18 thugs flogging Socialist Worker because the SWP didn’t institute a SPGB-like formal examination is hilarious.

  64. #78 “Quite simply the opposition were defeated at conference.”

    Stuart, of course the opposition were defeated at conference. That’s like saying the sun rises in the morning or a fart stinks. The opposition is always defeated at conference. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I know of no instance in the last twenty, possibly thirty, years when the existing leadership of the SWP were ever defeated, or an expulsion ever overturned. Now, either this means that the leadership of the SWP has never been wrong, not even once, or there is something profoundly undemocratic about the organisation’s ‘democracy.’ It’s the latter conclusion that is driving the opposition within the SWP, and much of the criticism from outside its ranks.

  65. Feodor on said:

    jack:
    Now, either this means that the leadership of the SWP has never been wrong, not even once…

    Please see, Alex Callinicos, ‘Why All Truth *Is* Relative [to the Interests of the CC]’, Journal of International Skulduggery and R-R-Revolutionary History, 24(2) (Oct 1997), pp. 103-7002.

    Can be downloaded from: http://www.i-am-right-you-are-wrong-now-fuck-off.pdf

    It’s a long, difficult document, with Callinicos at his Bolshevik best. But for this reason it’s easy to see why so many lesser minds, like yourself Jack, have failed to properly grasp the truly epoch-shifting ideas that Callinicos plagiarised, er, um, outlined.

  66. stuart on said:

    jack,

    The opposition were defeated at the conference and will be expected to go along with the majority decision. It is not as if anything has changed since conference, the only thing that has changed is that some have used the internet in a very unaccountable way against the democratic decision of party.

    And I do not buy into this view, a view that seems very attractive to many who post here, that the SWP’s problem is that it has a ‘bad’ leadership but one that that is very good at manipulating well meaning but naive party members. The problems experienced by the SWP over the years has far more to do with the success or otherwise of the wider class struggle.

  67. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Manzil: Christ, that is ridiculous. How the hell did they get that info?

    You really don’t get it, do you?
    The SWP and indeed the left as a whole are a soft and easy target for the security services and the fash (the two often going together – esp. in Germany, where I am now). I was well aware of the Manchester incident but there has been at least one other incident I am aware of. In the 1970s, a female member of a small Nazi group managed to infiltrate the SWP. No doubt there have been others. I doubt whether exams in Marxism would keep them out but simply ignoring the problem definitely won’t. All the state, or the fash, have to do to get their hands on membership lists etc. is get someone to infiltrate, volunteer for the unpopular job of secretary or membership secretary and Adolf’s your uncle.

  68. Manzil on said:

    Mark Victorystooge: You really don’t get it, do you?
    The SWP and indeed the left as a whole are a soft and easy target for the security services and the fash (the two often going together – esp. in Germany, where I am now). I was well aware of the Manchester incident but there has been at least one other incident I am aware of. In the 1970s, a female member of a small Nazi group managed to infiltrate the SWP. No doubt there have been others. I doubt whether exams in Marxism would keep them out but simply ignoring the problem definitely won’t. All the state, or the fash, have to do to get their hands on membership lists etc. is get someone to infiltrate, volunteer for the unpopular job of secretary or membership secretary and Adolf’s your uncle.

    If that’s the case then there’s sod all that can be done about it (although it should be able to minimise the possibility by not randomly handing out even non-party members’ details to people who suddenly turn up to help – thus my question). If your solution is a more ‘Leninist’ method, er, I’ll take my chances.

    Who here hasn’t had their details up on Redwatch or been photographed by FIT police? It’s concerning, but trade unionists aren’t being executed on their way home in Clapham and Gosport. Most socialist activism – rather unlike ‘eco’ direct action, I guess – generally all takes place in the open, anyway.

  69. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    Well, if you start off with an assumption that it is ludicrous to think the state or the fash would infiltrate the left (see #101, which you had to backtrack from rather hurriedly) you are going to get a surprise when it actually happens. And you aren’t going to question why that bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new recruit is so eager to be membership secretary.