What is Filth?

by Anna Chen

SWP faction leader and Central Committee member Pat Stack wrote to members of his beleaguered party, saying: “I think a lot of comrades would like some respite from the filth that is out there (here I’m talking about non-party bloggers), but these expulsions will only give that filth fresh impetus.”

Thanks for the impetus, Pat. Aside from noting the commonplace party practice of throwing people off the back of the sleigh to save one’s own skin, let us explore the question you raise:

WHAT IS FILTH?

“Filth” is an alleged rape taking place when a woman is nineteen, 2 years after she and her party leader meet, at which time he is forty-six and she seventeen.

“Filth” is an appeal to the party’s internal disciplinary body being met with a kangaroo court run by several of the party leader’s friends, who then exonerate him.

“Filth” is the woman denied access to his evidence while he sees hers: the game is surely “I’ll show you mine IF you show me yours.”

“Filth” is a woman ostracised, cast out as unclean with a scarlet letter “A” carved into her forehead.

“Filth” is her friends put under heavy manners by the party’s attack dogs, fresh from their two-minute hate.

“Filth” is power relations that exist under capitalism going unchallenged and amplified in the party playground. All that youth and pulchritude — yummy!

“Filth” is continuing to claim exemption from “bourgeois morality”: may I remind you once again that Trotsky wrote “Their Morals and Ours”, not “Their Morals and We Ain’t Got None”.

“Filth” is saying “you don’t lie to the class”, and then lying to the class about how many members you have. Claiming 7,000 while actually having far fewer than 2,000, even after it has been brought to your attention (remember?), is far from clean.

“Filth” is honeytrapping people who want to change the world for the better, who bring love and hope to the party, and then find themselves smashed up on the rocks of the politics of envy and the drive for personal power.

“Filth” is love-bombing potential recruits and then treating them like your property once they’ve joined.

“Filth” is demanding their full-time intellectual and physical labour for no pay while you draw a salary.

“Filth” is paying your printshop workers well below the minimum wage (in 2003 and maybe even now for all we know) — and what happened to that fulltimer’s tax and National Insurance, by the way?

“Filth” is expelling four members for the thought-crime of discussing issues on Facebook. The internet to the party in 1998: “What does that mean to a postie on eighty quid a week?”

“Filth” is denying potential recruits the free information with which to make an informed choice: in the public interest, Caveat Comrade.

“Filth” is Professor Darkside’s puppies fed the stolen milk and apples and now look: lynch-mobs and goon squads patrolling the perimeter.

“Filth” is practising filth and yelling “Filth” louder than the next guy.

“Filth” is watching your party go from excess to excess and being surprised when, like a child given no boundaries by the grown-ups (of which you are supposed to be one), it does something RE-E-E-E-ALLY ba-a-a-ad!

“Filth” is knowing all these abuses exist while in a leadership capacity and doing nothing about them.

“Filth” is pointing the finger when three fingers point right back atcha.

“Filth” is a mirror.

275 comments on “What is Filth?

  1. Why Bother on said:

    When I was reading about about the IDOOP faction’s conference and their apparent attempts to be conciliatory to the CC a thought struck me.

    These people claim they want to overthrow the ruling class, you know the people who control the police, the army and the prisons.

    These people also seem nervous about confronting an overbearing middle aged university lecturer who has a few thuggish mates.

    Combine this with the obsequiousness of the pro-CC faction and and you have to wonder how anyone can take the SWP’s claim about it’s ambitions seriously.

  2. Why bother on said:

    In fairness I should add the Richard Seymour does still seem to be going full tilt with this factional struggle. He wrote a coded attack on the CC that was published in yesterday’s Guardian CIF.

    Again if the only one in the faction fight showing any degree of moral courage is Richard “yes I did swallow a dictionary actually” Seymour I think the bosses of capitalism can rest easy in their beds.

    The sooner this nasty, pathetic little cult disappear into obscurity the better.

  3. Over-polemical, bitter, trite.

    There is a future to be won, if not within the SWP then inclusive of forces within it. There are a myriad of criticisms which can be made, but stetching everything to their credulous limit is both unseemly & unhelpful. It really does play to the caricuture that the phrase ‘filth’ was attacking. An understanding of what can go bureacratically awry on the left is important. Blamewashing and painting as the Darkside is whipping up our own angst & blocks progress.

  4. I learned a new word today: pulchritude.

    “Never lie to the class” always struck me as a used car saleman’s slogan. If I had looked under the hood of Building the Party in 2000 I would’ve known better than to invest any time or energy in the “Leninist” pyramid scheme. Live and learn.

  5. Maybe the complainer should report her allegations to the filth.

    That way there is a possibility that if the allegations are proved a rapist will be convicted and imprisoned thereby protecting other potential victims from attack.

    Refusing to report the allegation is neither credible nor tenable.

  6. sylvia webbe on said:

    whatever the crimes of the SWP and they do have world historical proportions eg not being able to distinguish revolution from counterrevolution, and the issues are not unrelated

    one must see its crisis and the vicious attack on it in the wider context-the current political context when one of the more progressive anti-imperialist currents is attempting to be smashed

    socialists, marxists, progressives and also scientists should always look at the picture -perhaps best expressed here: http://www.socialistaction.net/Britain/British-Politics/Why-the-bourgeois-media-offensive-against-the-SWP.html

  7. sylvia webbe: socialists, marxists, progressives and also scientists should always look at the picture -perhaps best expressed here: http://www.socialistaction.net/Britain/British-Politics/Why-the-bourgeois-media-offensive-against-the-SWP.html

    No, it is a poor article.

    The argument that the “bourgeois media” are out to get the SWP is overblown. Sex sells papers, Trots in rape scandal is tabloid fare for the Mail; and for the Indy and Times it was a bit of schadenfreude for people who remember the SWP at Uni, and never liked them.

    Occam’s razor suggests we don’t neen to contemplate a conspiracy.

    The argument that the SWP’s flawed analysis of imperialism is at the heart of the crisis is not incorrect, but the argument posited in the article is not explained well enough (or indeed even at all) . I thonk Socialist Action you do have a point here, but the dynamic of some of the SWP playing a constructive and leading role in opposing imperialism, while tied by elsatic bonds to the zombie corpse of a proapganda cult is much more complicated; not least in that those in the SWP that had the best politics on imperialism left to Counterfire, and they also had the most elitist articulation of a theory of political leadership, derived from Luckas. CF are the best and worst of the SWP, and the looming split is aftershock of that earlier crisis.

    You are right to draw attention to the politics, because it is the mismatch between the SWP’s capabilities, (limited as they are by their organisational legacy, and under-developed theory of social change) compared to the tasks for the left in the current era which keep forcing them back into self-referential mode, to reassure themselves about their theoretical distinguishing verities which no longer match reality. That is the impetus towards cultishness.

  8. Karl Stewart on said:

    sylvia webbe,
    No, there is no general political attack on the SWP from the state. The cynical passing interest shown by the bourgeois media was entirely due to the sexual subject matter.

    The bourgeois media has zero political interest in the SWP. And the state has no particular interest in whether this tendency prospers or declines, survives or disappears.
    “The party is under attack” is the line adopted by the Lynch Mob Faction in an attempt to create an internal bunker mentality, the better to intimidate their own internal opposition.

    This ridiculous “the SWP is under attack” claim also plays to some of its members’ central conceit that the health of the whole UK left and the strength of the whole working-class movement is entirely dependent on the continuing existence and good health of the SWP.

    If the SWP collapses completely then this will be entirely down to the appalling behaviour of its leaders towards their own members.

    And if this happens then so be it.

  9. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    sylvia webbe,
    No, there is no general political attack on the SWP from the state. The cynical passing interest shown by the bourgeois media was entirely due to the sexual subject matter.

    The bourgeois media has zero political interest in the SWP. And the state has no particular interest in whether this tendency prospers or declines, survives or disappears.
    “The party is under attack” is the line adopted by the Lynch Mob Faction in an attempt to create an internal bunker mentality, the better to intimidate their own internal opposition.

    This ridiculous “the SWP is under attack” claim also plays to some of its members’ central conceit that the health of the whole UK left and the strength of the whole working-class movement is entirely dependent on the continuing existence and good health of the SWP.

    If the SWP collapses completely then this will be entirely down to the appalling behaviour of its leaders towards their own members.

    And if this happens then so be it.

    Amen.

  10. Karl Stewart: “The party is under attack” is the line adopted by the Lynch Mob Faction in an attempt to create an internal bunker mentality, the better to intimidate their own internal opposition.

    Egg-zactly.

    Remember the invocation of a “socialist witch hunt” during the Respect split?

    I see now why Vanya posted ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ the other day.

  11. Why bother on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    sylvia webbe,
    No, there is no general political attack on the SWP from the state. The cynical passing interest shown by the bourgeois media was entirely due to the sexual subject matter.

    The bourgeois media has zero political interest in the SWP. And the state has no particular interest in whether this tendency prospers or declines, survives or disappears.

    Absolutely right. If the SWP really were under attack there wouldn’t even be this debate. Holding a kangaroo court about a rape accusation is completely illegal. The state has the perfect excuse to shut down the SWP anytime they want.

    Given the craven behavior of the SWP membership over the last few weeks I think we can safely predict the whole party would collapse like a pack of cards if they did so.

    They are not doing so. Clearly they can’t be bothered.

    How the would be revolutionaries of the SWP can take themselves seriously is beyond me.

  12. Howard Kirk on said:

    Prior to the internet, the SWP could quite happily expel or drive people out of the party, and alienate those who they once wanted to work with knowing there would be little comeback, but now it is possible as Anna has done, to let people know about their exploitative and insensitive attitudes and behaviours, and do so for so many people to see.

    Any student or potential recruit will have access to the criticms and be forewarned about what they are entering into, and I suspect many will decide not to get involved. For many of us, we had to just learn through experience ( although personally my willingness to say ‘no’ prevented any great feeling of anger at my own experiences, just a cynicism towards the party) and then see after that much of what I perceived/suspected when I was in the the party was shared by others.

    The chickens have come home to roost.

  13. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    A-C: How is what they did illegal?

    Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice

    Perverting the course of justice can be any of three acts:

    Fabricating or disposing of evidence
    Intimidating or threatening a witness or juror
    Intimidating or threatening a judge

    Also criminal are:

    conspiring with another to pervert the course of justice, and
    intending to pervert the course of justice.

    This offence, and the subject matter of the related forms of criminal conspiracy, has been referred to as:

    Perverting the course of justice
    Interfering with the administration of justice
    Obstructing the administration of justice
    Obstructing the course of justice
    Defeating the due course of justice
    Defeating the ends of justice
    Effecting a public mischief

    Whoops.

  14. ‘“Filth” is an appeal to the party’s internal disciplinary body being met with a kangaroo court run by several of the party leader’s friends, who then exonerate him.’

    You don’t go to the SWP’s disciplinary body over rape! It’s not some minor misbehaviour, it’s a crime! You get the justice you look for!

  15. jim mclean on said:

    The SWP are under attack, mainly from Socialists and Radical Feminists. The CC are under attack from both the outside and the inside. Under attack from all sides except the Right and bourgeois press who find it amusing but frankly my dear comrade don’t give a dam.

  16. Jara Handala on said:

    Not to get all SWP’ll fix it! about things, but it seems the SWP has been joined by the Lib Dems – or is it the other way round?

    Anyway, is this an evolution into what the SWP may call a united front of a really special kind?

    Could there been a new assignment here for Sleezy Smith, the CC’s liaison officer with the Lib Dems?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/feb/22/liberal-democrats-old-claims-sexual-harassment

    Posted by the Guardian 4hrs ago.

  17. RedMomma on said:

    stuart,

    Stuart,

    Comrade Delta has admitted to having had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl. Do you think that is appropriate?

  18. Andy Newman,

    I have been in the SWP for around 20 years, I do not regard the party as institutionally sexist. If I did I would resign. As you know I also work with rape victims. If you saw the party as institutionally sexist why did you remain a member for so long?

  19. RedMomma,

    I would take a rape allegation extremely seriously regardless of age. I have full confidence in our Disputes Committee as do the vast majority of our membership.

  20. Andy Newman,

    Indeed.

    Quotes from the article in “Socialist Worker”:

    “He carried on, safe in the knowledge that no one would dare challenge him…”

    “The problem wasn’t race or religion, but society’s attitudes to young, vulnerable girls.
    The tabloids are making the most of the Savile revelations and portraying themselves as the upstanding seekers of truth. But they are hypocrites.”

    Matthew 7:5 comes to mind.

  21. Why bother: Great whataboutery there

    No whataboutery whatsoever. My conscience iis perfectly clear. But why would any socialist have anything to do with the disgusting Nick Cohen?

  22. stuart: I have full confidence in our Disputes Committee as do the vast majority of our membership.

    Stuart, let me explain something.

    The national secretary of your organisation, a man approaching 50, has a sexual relationship, in flagrant violation of any duty of care, and abusing his position of authority with basically a school girl.

    She claims that two years later he raped her.

    Despite that fact that she was only 17 to 19 while this was happening, your disgusting, debased and amoral “disputes committee” questioned HER about her previous sexual history!

    they congratulated themselves that they did not consider questions of age imbalance relevant, because they were “revolutionaries”

    It so reminds me of Gerry healy and what he called his “activities with the youth”

    In 2011 at your conference, the leadership of your “party” presented the issues as a relationship between peers gone wrong, and encouraged a standing ovations and foot stomping for the foul pig stepping down as national seceratry, and the other “revolutionaries” allowed him to continue on your central committee.

    We have been here before, and we know how it ends.

    At UNISON womens conference last week, delegates were so angry at the SWP that only 5 people voted aginst a motion calling for UNISON not to share a platform with rape apologists – which the SWP were described as from the podium.

    You will have no option to be an “interventionist party”, because the idea of joint work with the SWP makes makes many of us sick.

    At the moment, there is a process of demonisation of your opponents and a bit of an adrenelin rush for you as the more fantasist inclined in your organisation try Daddy’s clothes on, and imagine this is the split between the Bolsheviks and the Menshaviks; and the bellicose Simmon Assaf thunders about the people you don’t want any more.

    You stage a provocation of trying to take Chanie into a closed meeting, along with a “SW journalist”, that graduate of the Ted Crilly school of finaincal management, Simon Basketcase. When they are denied entry, this allows you to fulminate about how the opposition are the devils, etc, etc.

    On march 10th, your confernece will be a cauldron of hate, and the organisation will split. You have chosen to side with the non-viable group of 500 older people who think it isn’t even about rape, after all who could get so upset about that, when there are serious issues at stake like lack of discipline on the Internet and eclectic thinking.

    BUt we really have been her before, with the Mitchel, Torrence, Redgrave side of the WRP split. After the adrenalin excitement of the faction fight you will be ashamed of each other, and you deserve to be ashamed, because you are the lowest rape denying, sexual abuse excusing, lynch mob threatening, bullying, swaggering scum; excusing the inexcusible and justifying it to yourself because of the glint of Messianic destiny that you see reflected in the shards of your broken mirror.

    What you are doing is worse than a crime, it is a sin. You behave this way because you have mentally reduced those you disagree with in your own perception to being less than human; we are “sectarians” and “filth” and “outsiders”. You have elevated your allies to more than human, they are the “leadership” and the “party”, indispensible to the cause of socialism, and the future liberty and happiness of mankind. And as such you have stripped yourself of the dignity of humane proportion, and you have instead become machines who can justify to yourself the appalling abuse of power that has the lecherous hot breath of your overbearing national secretary panting over an idealist girl young enough to be his granddaughter. While the withered and dessicated souls of your disputes committe, lacking conscience and bare decency, probe about her past sexual history, and ambush her with evidence from their long term friend and colleague that she hasn’t seen.

    “My activities with the youth” in the words of Gerry healy. “Not Proven” says candy Unwin; “You have run out of time” says Karen Reissman.

    After your blood red rally on 10th march, you will be resplendent Bolsheviks, rid of the wavverers like pat Stack and ian Birchill, those weak hearted menschaviks who were not prepared to entirely abandon their humanity and debase themslves before the God of central committe power, and the thrill you have of sublimating your will to obey the iron historical destiny of Lord Acton’s cousin, and David Cameron’s old school chum, Charles kimber.

    You will be rid of those eclectic thinkers like China and Seymour, who however tentatively, self-importantly and verbosely, have tried to think for themselves about the world they live in, instead of rote recitation of holy scripture of partial insights into a Cold war world now long dead.

    Hurrah, the doubters and the weak are gone, you will cry. The CC and the Disputes Committee are victorious. But then dull reality is that your weekly meetings will be sparser attended, older, and there will be no young or new recruits. You console yourself that the street sales are still the same, purveying boring papers to the random curious and the bewildered. BUt you will be shunned paraiahs in the unions, in the universities, and in the social movements. The penny should surely have dropped after UNISON womens conferecne. Former allies will not return your calls, people will not share platforms with you.

    BUt worse than that will be the shame. You destroyed the SWP you claim to love, in order to defend the tawdry, abusive womanising of a nasty and ignorant bore; and the vainglorious comic opera revolutionary pretentions of Lord Snooty and Bertie Woostser. You defended, against everything that your heart must realy be telling you, the scandalously inappropriate trivialistion of rape allegtions. The shame will not leave you, and the regret of years and decades building an organisation that you believed would contribute to the building of a new and better world, but when looked at in the cold hard light of day was an abusive cult that rallied round to defend the abuse of power for the coursest and most vulgar motives.

    And I hear that there is more to come about Delta, and worse.

    You live with it Stuart, you have made your choice.

  23. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: I have full confidence in our Disputes Committee as do the vast majority of our membership.

    Posted

    #23, 1:00am

    5 factual points:

    (1) What evidence do you have that ‘the vast majority of our membership has full confidence in the DC’?

    (2) As an indication of this confidence let’s go back to Conference, the moment when the scandal was sprung on delegates. It’s not often noted, but acceptance of the DC report was only made by less than 40% of delegates: MORE THAN 60% OF DELEGATES REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE DC REPORT.

    (3) A huge proportion of delegates, 21%-22%, almost a quarter, were so stunned by what they heard that they COULDN’T EVEN INVOLVE THEMSELVES IN THE VOTE, THEY COULDN’T EVEN RAISE THEIR HAND.

    (4) Why do I say this?

    The DC transcript:
    “Karen [the chair]: The report’s been accepted. There were 231 votes for accepting, 209 votes to reject and 18 absentions [sic]”.

    But that’s an absolute majority, isn’t it, 231 compared with 209+18?

    What the chair didn’t say was that 21%-22% of delegates just sat there, stunned. Why do I say this? Coz the ‘Socialist Worker’ report on Conference, 12 January, says, “The conference brought together more than 580 delegates”. Knowing how modest the SWP is we have to assume the number is between 581 & 589. It means between 123 & 131 delegates couldn’t even bring themselves to abstain; they just sat there, transfixed.

    (5) Now, thanx to the SU team & decent Conference attendees, all SWP members can be quite well-informed about what was done in their name. (Yes, there is an echo here of that chant.) If this transcript had not been available then the Defend Martin Smith Faction (Undeclared) that controls the apparatus would have been able to carry out their plan of only giving the most minimal DC info at the Conference report-back aggregates.

    As it is, with the light shining from the Dark Side, all members, even those largely inactive, the silent majority of the SWP, can read at their leisure what has been done in their name. And they can decide whether they want to become involved, challenging those sitting on the platform next to the gallows. That’s why the Lynchers were enraged, they were afraid the silent majority of members would be awoken from their zombie-like state, stagger to the aggregate, & raise their hand for the ‘wrong’ delegate to the Special Conference.

    http://www.socialistunity.com/swp-conference-transcript-disputes-committee-report
    http://www.socialistworker.org.uk/art.php?id=30285

  24. RedMomma on said:

    stuart:
    RedMomma,

    I would take a rape allegation extremely seriously regardless of age. I have full confidence in our Disputes Committee as do the vast majority of our membership.

    Stuart,

    I haven’t asked you about the Disputes Committee, or whether you have confidence in that body, neither have I asked you about a rape allegation.

    Kindly confine your reply to the question posed: Comrade Delta has admitted to having had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl, do you think that appropriate, yes or no?

  25. OK, I think we get it. After 28 posts and 5,370 comments since the beginning of December (and before you ask, no I haven’t got anything better to do on a Friday night than count them up, unfortunately!) we should do. But I’m worn out by the relentless negativity and that is not because I want to defend the SWP but I want to see a way forward for the left and I don’t see that this level of bile and animosity helps (although I accept some here genuinely believe that clearing the SWP out of the way will help that project).

    I was a member of the SWP for about 15 years. I’ve not been a member, or particularly close, for about 20 years (although a lot of my closest friends are also ex-members – I’m a bit too old to be getting out more). From what I read and hear the SWP appear to have fucked up mightily with this rape allegation, and I won’t defend their handling of it or their right to treat it as an internal matter only. I wasn’t involved at the time but they seem to have fucked up mightily over the Respect fall-out too. I knew Kevin and Rob briefly a long time ago and it should be seen as a crying shame to lose people of their calibre. But I got worn out by splits and the almost implicit understanding that these were an inevitable and necessary part of progress for a revolutionary party (which never seemed to happen much).

    I was also around long enough to recognise some of the unpleasant behaviour of some SWP cadre described here, and the ‘2 bald men fighting over a comb’ approach to winning dominance in various ‘united front’ groups that represented not very much in the real world (with some honourable exceptions such as Stop the War which did represent something). And I also recognise the recent allegations if true constitute more than just unpleasant behaviour. But I was also around long enough to remember something much more positive about what the SWP could be at its best. I didn’t join the SWP so I could be ordered around by some spotty full-timer with no social skills and for the most part I managed to avoid that. You get stuck in at work and in campaigns, you have arguments with other comrades, you sometimes get it wrong but it usually doesn’t fundamentally undermine the class struggle if you do although you hope your intervention shifts things our way at least a little bit. It was probably this lack of ideological certitude (or sense of perspective) that got me excluded from this fuck-circuit I keep hearing about. Hey ho, what you don’t know you don’t miss.

    I don’t know how much of the positive stuff remains in truth. Time, and the way the SWP deals with this crisis will tell, despite the declarations of their inevitable demise on this and other blogs. For what it’s worth (and I make no claims to be a great political strategist) the SWP needs to turn out to the class and not retreat into some defensive laager and think they can regroup when the dust settles. And if the Special Conference rubber stamps the CC approach and tries to ‘draw a line’ under it then the future looks bleak. There is absolutely no point in repeating the mantras of democratic centralist discipline when there is such a fundamental and bitter split within the organisation. Context suggests a different approach is needed.

    But…surely we can move on until there is something new to say. This is becoming pretty destructive, and not just to the SWP I think. The left is at it’s best when things are happening in the outside world it can get its teeth into and unite over rather than tearing itself apart (not to claim it’s problem-free, just better!). The lack of class struggle tends to exacerbate division (both within and between organisations) We can’t artificially create that struggle but we need to discuss positive ways forward. And to be fair, that discussion is happening elsewhere on Socialist Unity. The SWP may or may not be part of that but that is surely not the key question.

  26. RedMomma,

    What is the point of having a Disputes Committee? Why not just ask everyone’s opinion on the Internet? You, an anonymous poster can ask me an anonymous poster. You think that’s how socialists should operate? I don’t. I don’t know ‘Delta’ and I don’t know W. Our party elects and trusts Dispute Committes for good reason. Only the Disputes Committee heard evidence. Not you. Not me. I don’t do trial by blog.

  27. Andy Newman,

    Why such a long post that repeats stuff you’ve already said but refuses to answer my question about remaining in a sexist party for 20 years? I’m afraid you are going to accept soon that you have failed to break the SWP. Nice try.

  28. The thing is, GAD (31) I think the class struggle is intensifying and becoming more naked at the moment – and that in order to ‘turn-outwards’ and try to lead and develop our side in this escalating class struggle we need to develop a new leadership and a new set of perspectives.

    It is no coincidence that along with the capitalist crisis comes a crisis of socialist organisation. In a sense, a crisis in the SWP was inevitable at some stage. This is because the SWP was an organisation built by Cliff to survive ‘the downturn’ it would therefore almost inevitably find it hard to make the shift into developing leadership in the new global anti-austerity movements. The I.S. (forerunner of the SWP) was created amidst the last great moment of capitalist rupture, between 1968 and 1973. It then retreated, into the life support system of the interventionist propaganda routine, sustaining itself for forty years for this very moment of global crisis. Like a seed in the desert, now it is finally drenched in the nourishing rain of crisis and resistance that worldwide is described so often as a ‘spring’ . The word crisis has since Greek times signified a moment of death and/or renewal & transition. Maybe with this rain, a green shoot can spring from the old husk of the seed, and grow. But I doubt if the SWP is just simply going to inherit the next generation of radicals after this. It may even loose the majority of SWSS.

    Lesson from history. In the US in the 1960s radicalisation the student revolutionary group SDS grew massively – but only after it broke with its industrially based old left parent organisation. The new generation of radicals could then begin to formulate a ‘new left’ that would find resonance and be fitted to lead the struggles of their times. The SDS blossomed while another organisation that had expected to inherit the future, the US SWP shriveled. The US SWP had survived the hard years of defeat in the 1950s, preserving its ‘traditions’ albeit in desiccated form, but it was unable to relate to the new generation of late 1960s radicals, the new left and the new workers movements. So some pointers from the past here – although never (quite) the same way twice, eh?

    The SWP entered the period of post 2008 capitalist crisis amidst a crisis of its own, in the form of the ‘Respect Split’ and its aftermath. In the convulsions that followed, the Rees / German / Bambery leadership were expelled / forced out. The ougoing leadership waged a rearguard polemical battle accusing the new Smith led CC of failing to develop an anti-recession united front. The new CC deflected these criticisms from Rees / German and Bambery. And in a sense, they were right, as the model put forward by the old leadership, around the Stop the War Coalition did not match the needs of the ‘economic’ struggle post 2008.
    But that situation changed in Oct 2010 with Osbournes first austerity offensive and the birth of a nationwide anti-cuts movement in every town and student movement at every uni. Then, the SWP could have led its allies into building a serious national response. But instead the SWP toyed listlessly with its failed Right to Work Campaign. The SWP with its much narrower focus on jobs failed to grasp the importance of a POLITICAL response to the cuts, and the questions of public and private. Most towns set up ‘Anti-Cuts’ groups – with slogans like ‘public services not private profit’. At that stage, the movement could have been brought together on the streets of London at the end of 2010. But ‘Right to Work’ was clearly not the right tool for the box. Instead, the SWP under Smiths leadership took no national initiative, and we had to wait six months for the first national anti-cuts demo to be organised by the TUC in March 2011.
    The SWP CC may bluster about ‘turning outwards’ but they are incapable of formulating an initiative beyond endless conferences – from ‘right to work’ to ‘unite the resistance’. Repeating the same mistakes as in the Poll Tax revolt, the SWP underestimates the importance of starting from leading resistance in the communities and streets (and how this may then feed into the workplaces). The centralism that can potentially make a body of a few thousand socialist activists so influential is not being used to focus this growing but diffuse mass movement. The SWP is currently punching well below its weight.
    From the NHS revolts to the Bedroom Tax revolts springing up in every town, we lack any centralising force brining these together as a national movement, on the streets of London. In the 1990 Poll Tax Revolt we had the anti-poll tax federation to do this. Now we wait for the TUC to do this twice yearly. The Martin Smith leadership and its perspectives have failed the party and the class. The story has yet to be told about how Smith’s bitter factional battles to drive out the old leadership (how bitter? see Bambery’s resignation letter) must have coincided with whatever lies behind these terrible allegations of sexual oppression.
    As Bambery said, the day after he was driven out by Smith, if the party is ‘blunted or broken another must be built’.

  29. Jara Handala,

    You are confusing two issues. You are confusing some discomfort over some aspects of the case, perfectly legitimate discomfort, with belief in honesty and good faith. Faith in the integrity of the individuals.

  30. #28: Very well said Andy. The faux outrage over democratic accountability to the conference is utterly disgusting in the face of the rape coverup. The fact that people can overlook this so easily in the SWP is the greatest indictment of the party, which clearly has lost it’s right to exist if it cannot deal with a rapist in its own Cnetral Committee. Alex Callinicos’s assertion that Delta MUST be allowed to return exposes him as yet another rape denier, and really it is too bad that the opposition has recoiled from this sort of language.

    Also a bit of a tragedy – Anna and Chanie’s crashing of the faction meeting. This moment calls for self reflection and soul searching, not ridiculous stunts. So sad to see those two, whom I admired in the past, resorting to these actions.

  31. correction to no; 34 “Now we wait for the TUC to do this twice yearly” – if only! Should read something more like ‘once in a blue moon’.

  32. In Defence Of Our Party on said:

    [EDITOR: THE PERSON POSTING HERE AS “IN DEFENCE OF OUR PARTY” IS A HIGHLY CREDIBLE INDIVIDUAL, HOWEVER WE HAVE INSTERTED THE WORD “ALLEGED” WHERE NECESSARY]

    Stuart,
    Of course our Disputes Committee and our Central Committee found that Martin Smith’s treatment of comrade W was wrong. They just don’t have the ordinary decency to say so publicly. That’s why they demoted him from his old job working for the CC to his current job working full-time for Love Music Hate Racism. Here’s a question: since when was demotion from one full-time party job to another an appropriate punishment for [EDITOR: ALLEGED]rape and sexual harassment?

    Now, do you remember yesterday afternoon when people on another thread complained that there feelings of solidarity for Karen R were much diminished. And you responded that socialists should always defend a worker who was under attack. So, here’s a question, why you can’t you find it in yourself to defend comrade X, who was demoted from her job in the party after being sexually harassed by her employer?

    And a third and last question for the moment: Martin Smith [EDITOR: ALLEGEDLY] raped and sexually harassed two women and was demoted but remains on the payroll. Comrade X, the second complainant, supported a complaint about Martin, and was demoted but remains on the payroll. Since when did socialists ever say that whistleblowing in the workplace was a crime, demanding the same punishment as rape?

  33. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: You are confusing some discomfort over some aspects of the case, perfectly legitimate discomfort, with . . .

    #35, 4:52am

    Oh, is your seat, ok? Mine’s a tad uncomfortable. It’s ok I suppose, we’ll be getting off the train soon.

    Bless us and save us.

    Hey, Stuart, are you able to function in the world? I mean, how’s your everyday judgment? Crossing roads? Overtaking? Personal space in a queue?

    When 21%-22% of delegates are so shocked they can’t even register an abstention, raising their hand when the option is offered to them from the platform that on 10 March will have gallows at each end, when that happens to professed revolutionary socialists, it ISN’T coz they’re experiencing discomfort.

    Jesus. I think I give up. This is beyond a joke.

  34. Sylvia webbe on said:

    Correspondents miss the essence of the socialist action article refernced near the beginning of this thread:
    1. Swp are non Marxist anti imperialist activists. Pathetic on theory but fortunately unlike many on the so called left engaging in correct united front progressive politics in practice
    2. The beorgoisies agenda at present regarding labour, the left and the Swp, the onslaught on women And this profoundly misogenistic society and pure hypocrisy

    Correspondents here are fetishising the terrible weaknesses of the Swp. They remain fatally exposed

    But it is the usual ultra left reactionary nature and delusion to call for defeat and then pray for a victory. The left is enduring another set back and ultr lefts trying to replace any gap from reduced role of Swp are totally deluded and only helping one one side. That of profound reaction that is party to racism,impoverishment,wars, even worse oppression of all groups and succour to the right
    Come on let’s see the big picture and not fall in to yet another trap

  35. Andy Newman on said:

    Sylvia webbe,

    You are approaching this an an idealist and formalistic way. Whatever the merits and de merits of the SWP it both exists in the specific political and social conjuncture of the present, and has its own internal dynamic.

    The current crisis of the SWP fa tally compromises its ability to fulfill the progressive potentiality you ascribe to it. What is more. the leadership faction rallying about Smith is the clique largely opposed to the joint work against imperialism, and they are the ones who have backed imperialism in Libya and Syria.

  36. Andy Newman on said:

    Sylvia webbe,

    Can you explain how the SWP’s support for NATO in Libya, and their support for the Saudi/Qatari backed pro-imperialist forces in Syria fits in with your argument.

    Can you explain how the SWP helped the opposition to the problematic motion at UNISON womens conference by linking defence of Galloway with their own cover up of an alleged rape.

  37. @Stuart

    You say you work with rape victims/survivors but nowhere in any of the comments (I admit I coulda missed it) do you show any concern or understanding for the young woman comrade. You are too busy defending the Party at any cost to stop and think about what this woman was/is going through. You’ll know about the trauma and devastation of rape, support and solidarity is imperative. You’ll know about the damage rape does too. Support and solidarity is imperative. I can only imagine what this woman is going through (though I was the same age she is when I was raped) and to a certain extent know maybe what she is going through. I hope she has good and supportive friends to help through this and orgs like Rape Crisis are a real life line.

    So Stuart rather than to go along with defending the Party think about the injustice this woman has faced, it takes a lot if courage to speak out about sexual and physical violence. The shocking and sickening behaviour of the Disputes Committee only exposes the inepitude, stupidity and vileness of the SWP. Society has a tendency to shut rape victims up, along with victim blaming and vilification…. You’d expect a revolutionary organisation that spouts women’s liberation to understand the necessity to stand in solidarity with the woman? Wouldn’t you?! Obviously not as the accused got off by a group of his pals who show a sneery contempt and arrogance for justice and the fight against oppression. But then Stuart you will know about the SWP’s obsession with workerism and that creeping feminism …. Ugh! Yet the SWP are just carrying on regardless by organising meetings around International Women’s Day…. That certainly raises my own hackles and leaves me disgusted that Judith Orr et al has the bloody cheek to speak on issues around women’s liberation remembering that a woman comrade has been trashed, made even more powerless and possibly made to feel like she is nothing. So much for fighting oppression. So much for liberation!

    Stuart I don’t know how you have cheek and audacity to defend the indefensible. It is shameful. Because this isn’t just about the crass behaviour of the SWP this truly astonishing shameful contemptible behaviour has an impact on the Left overall …. Yes a real glowing reference for fighting against women’s oppression.

    And to quote Anna’s excellent post… That is the true meaning of filth!

  38. Karl Stewart on said:

    Sylvia webbe:
    Swp are non Marxist anti imperialist activists. Pathetic on theory…

    I don’t think I can agree with you there Syvia.
    This party supported the NATO side in Libya and the leader of today’s SWP Lynch Mob Faction said at that time that the public televised lynching of an African man by a pro-NATO mob was something to “celeberate.”

    On which planet is this “anti-impereialist”?

  39. Andy Newman,

    Well surely the two can be put together and this concerns the contradictory nature of the SWP. From believing that the changes in 1989 were progressive, they (along with huge sections of the left) expected to see a wave of progressive change in the western world. Quite the opposite has happened, which has led to their disorientation politically and their internal divisions, distortions and splits. This has culminated in their positions on Libya and Syria and the crisis internally they are presently facing.

    At the same time the SWP have regularly played a progressive role within mass movements such as the anti-war movement and the anti-racist campaigns. Those on the right realise this and it is why people such as Cohen are gleefully jumping on the bandwagon at the moment and twisting the knife.

    The point therefore is not to cover up or excuse the crisis around Delta, etc but to point out its political roots (their Serbian section released the best statement on this in my opinion) and to recognise how the right will do all it can to use this to further weaken the left.

  40. Jara Handala on said:

    HarpyMarx: Yet the SWP are just carrying on regardless by organising meetings around International Women’s Day

    Great, it’s on the Friday, 2 days before Conference. The CC will probably arrange a special event. It just gets better.

  41. Here’s my take on the cheek of the SWP http://harpymarx.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/swp-womens-liberation-more-front-than-brighton-and-blackpool-put-together/

    The other thing is how quickly the SWP has turned itself into the victims. Decided the original allegation was not true. Therefore they have convinced themselves there is an irrational hatred for them or a class loathing. They are good at closing their minds off, living in permanent state of denial and blaming everyone else….

    On the issue of these meetings the SWP have organised over International Women’s Day I hope there will be a heckler or two….

  42. Jara Handala on said:

    HarpyMarx: Stuart I don’t know how you have cheek and audacity to defend the indefensible. It is shameful. Because this isn’t just about the crass behaviour of the SWP this truly astonishing shameful contemptible behaviour has an impact on the Left overall

    That’s it then, from now on Stuart’s Frank Gallagher.

  43. Andy Newman on said:

    Gavin,

    Gavin, you have explained it better than the Socialist Action article, and much better than Sylvia Eberly. However you fail to take into account two things.

    I) the trajectory away from playing a constructive role in the peace and anti – imperialist movement has been led by the Callonicos faction responsible for the Delta fiasco. And that has been an accelerating retreat from the positions of 2003.

    Ii) the interest of the right has been fleeting and opportunist ; the real diffi

  44. Andy Newman on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Sorry trying to type on a phone on a train.

    The interest of the press has been fleeting and the interest of the right opportunist.

    The culprits here are the leadership of the SWP. The Callinicis Lynch mob faction, who are prepared to destroy all their credibility and relationships with allies in order to bolster their internal position in the SWP. And make the indefencible defence of Martin Smith the litmus test of loyalty. A position u.acceptable

  45. Andy Newman on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Unacceptable to the wider movement.

    The SWP that you are describing already no longer exists, and in two weeks will smash itself apart

  46. prianikoff on said:

    re. The Socialist Action article.

    “The real roots of this crisis are that the SWP was founded on a wrong analysis of the international class line of divide between the international working class and imperialism”

    I don’t see an unbroken chain leading from the theory of State Capitalism to the alleged sexual misdemeanours of one- here today, gone tomorrow- leader of the SWP.
    But it’s certainly true to say that:-

    “the bourgeois media is jumping on the crisis in the SWP to run a campaign against it.
    It is taking the opportunity of the SWP’s crisis to weaken as much as possible a significant component of the left that would oppose Labour’s austerity policies and help organise the resistance to it.
    And to discredit and smear the left in general.”

    Anyone on the socialist left fails to understand that is either:-
    a) very stupid
    b) completely unprincipled
    c) both

    Meanwhile, the SWP (and others) should consider whether they got it wrong on the Julian Assange accusations.
    Here’s a useful new resource for deciding on that question:-

    http://justice4assange.com/

  47. The other thing is how quickly the SWP has turned itself into the victims. Decided the original allegation was not true. Therefore they have convinced themselves there is an irrational hatred for them or a class loathing. They are good at closing their minds off, living in permanent state of denial and blaming everyone else….

    This is exactly, exactly how they acted during the Respect split. There’s a lesson in there, if anyone wants to learn it.

  48. Andy Newman,

    I am not familiar with all the currents and individuals within the SWP, but it seems that those who have degenerated the furthest politically around Libya, etc are also in the leadership and taken the worst stance around the Delta case. Interesting is what will happen to those many activists, supporters, allies of the SWP who are good socialists and played a positive role in many campaigns. Some political conclusions need to be drawn by these people.

  49. Andy Newman:

    Can you explain how the SWP’s support for NATO in Libya,

    Here we go again, if it doesn’t fit with your schema, just make it up. The SWP does not support NATO. It criticises people that do. The SWP regards journalists like Nick Cohen as filth.

  50. HarpyMarx:
    @Stuart

    You say you work with rape victims/survivors but nowhere in any of the comments (I admit I coulda missed it) do you show any concern or understanding for the young woman comrade.

    Oh I do. I am concerned at the leaking of the transcript and at the attitude of those that support such an action, the result of which is the encouragement of gossip, distortion and sectarian point scoring. I am concerned that some posters seem to think that the police should have been brought in against the complainant’s wishes. And I’m concerned that some on here support the posting of a trivisalising comic strip in which the accused is depicted running around with no trousers, making the whole thing into a ‘bit of a laugh’.

  51. Jara Handala on said:

    HarpyMarx: Yet the SWP are just carrying on regardless by organising meetings around International Women’s Day

    So that’s it then, with the Lynchers Faction winning the final motion it’s sorted, the lights will dim, a spot will cast a shadow, it’s Sleezy Smith being lowered into the hall, descending from heaven, dry ice will fill the floor, the foot stamping will begin, Chanie & the Cliffites will drift onto the stage, breaking into a rendition of ‘The Two Souls of Draper’ but with changed words, ‘The Two Souls of Sleezy’, Anna & Donny will float down the central aisle holding aloft the Cliffite Relics, the Central Cttee. will rise, embracing The Sleezy, welcome home comrade!, Sleezy shedding a tear, hardy embraces, Basher greeting the crowd, the foot stamping rising in intensity, hollering like an ISO rally, the CC-member-to-be leading the CC onto the platform, each member bowing before the gallows on the stage, Chanie has broken down, Sleezy consoling her, she whispering if only The Old Man were here to see the second coming of Sleezy!, Anna & Donny hugging mom, Sleezy turning to the delegates, doing a ‘come on, then, if you fink you’re ‘ard enuf!’, the screams!, then an Ali shuffle, ecstasy breaks out!, another Ali shuffle!, the crowd’s gone wild!, rising to a crescendo, then Chairman Karen R, flanked by the 8 DC members all Loyal Lynchers, raising a hand, immediate silence, a spot picks out the Dueller of the Dark Side, a deeper silence, Professor Rope ascending the pulpit, the delegates gasp, opening a Holy Text, beginning to read, Vlad’s final text, ‘Better Fewer, But Better’.

  52. prianikoff on said:

    “Jara Handala” always strikes me as a complete crackpot.
    What political alternative is he trying to offer to existing SWP members?

  53. Jara Handala on said:

    prianikoff: What political alternative is he trying to offer to existing SWP members?

    If you were an attentive reader you would know I write many pieces on what is happening in this crisis & the alternatives available to both the undecided & the factions, always with evidence & with hardly an assumption. It’s all there in the record.

    For example, the links I posted yesterday, Kelly on institutionalising democratic practices, & Riddell on the same in the early Comintern parties, may interest you. I also presented many of my own arguments yesterday too, as is the case on most days.

  54. @57

    Stuart, you say, “Oh I do. I am concerned at the leaking of the transcript and at the attitude of those that support such an action, the result of which is the encouragement of gossip, distortion and sectarian point scoring. I am concerned that some posters seem to think that the police should have been brought in against the complainant’s wishes. And I’m concerned that some on here support the posting of a trivisalising comic strip in which the accused is depicted running around with no trousers, making the whole thing into a ‘bit of a laugh’.”

    That statement does not show any concern nor understanding for the welfare of young woman comrade instead it’s defensive nonsense. It’s protect the Party by any means necessary… Protecting it from its screwed up self!!! Not good Stuart, not good in the least!!

  55. HarpyMarx: On the issue of these meetings the SWP have organised over International Women’s Day I hope there will be a heckler or two….

    No doubt shortly followed by more claims of a systematic assault on the SWP by the forces of darkness.

  56. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    prianikoff: “Jara Handala” always strikes me as a complete crackpot.

    I think far from it. I have been impressed by his, Andy Newman’s and Tony Collins recourse to evidence based analysis, especially in comparison to Stuart’s ridiculous chanting and the cartoon lefty Citizen Webbe. Sometimes he has a need to write it up as a film script, but thats maybe because speaking to (not with) Stuart feels like standing on the bridge of the Titanic, pointing to the looming ice-berg, whilst (un-)able seaman Stuart rubs the Admiral’s shoulders and whispers sweet nothings in his ears about what a marvelous job he is doing (and Oh! so dashing is your uniform Sir!). It’s so bizarre as to feel unreal and movie like.

    Indeed most commentators to this debate have shown remarkable clarity and restraint against what can only be described as filth (thanks Anna Chen & Red Mama). Stuart is literally swimming in it – so I am hoping beyond hope that he doesn’t have anything to do ‘professionally’ with any woman who has been abused, let alone one so young.

    However he has consistently demonstrated the depth and breadth of his stupidity and ignorance, so I am fairly certain anyone who has actually met the dead head ‘professionally’ wouldn’t let him near anything or anyone at all, let alone anything which needed emotional and political sensitivity and insight. If they do then the head of the council is surely living on borrowed time, and must sleep badly if they’ve ever actually met him, because a front page scandal in the ‘bourgeois’ press definitely awaits. Although I say I don’t believe you, Stuart. (And by cross referencing your IP with the list of shame in Unison it should be easy to find out.)

    So, once more from the top Stuart (and from me the last time). A man pushing 50, with power and high status, leched over and seduced a girl, of 17 (would 16 or 15 be OK?). Quite soon after she felt abused, and alleged rape, and his friends in the power structure TWICE blamed her, because that is what they did, and have ripped apart the party Stuart says he cares about to defend said abuse and abuser. If that isn’t not filthy what is?

    You Stuart have NO moral high ground to complain about anything which has been said by The Left as we collectively discusses this outrage. Non what so ever. Every bleat, whine, sneer, pompous posture or quote from a great leader you have made has been a waste of your time. You are never going to convince us that it is OK to abuse a woman and then cover it up. Just because the SWP is so browbeaten and so lacking in rebellious spirit that the leaders have frightened a high % in to supine ass-kissing doesn’t make you right.

    The Left despises your position and your lunch-mob. A young girl was allegedly sexually abused, even without an alleged rape this is true, by a man in power in your party and YOU ARE DEFENDING IT! Over and over again. What’s wrong with you? I realise that you have built the belief that unpopularity = you are pure and politically perfect but if you think that you have been unpopular up to now you haven’t seen anything yet.

  57. @65

    Manzil: “No doubt shortly followed by more claims of a systematic assault on the SWP by the forces of darkness.”

    Let the force be with you….

  58. Jara Handala on said:

    Totally Horrified Ex: speaking to (not with) Stuart feels like standing on the bridge of the Titanic, pointing to the looming ice-berg, whilst . . .

    Nice imagery, & appropriate, it does feel like that, unfortunately!

  59. Stuart,

    Would you kindly stop claiming to represent “the majority of the party”? The number of members explicitly supporting the CC and the number explicitly opposing it are roughly similar (500 to 400, approximately). As for the remainder who have yet to identify themselves with either faction, their views can not be assumed one way or the other. Not to mention that a significant number have no doubt just left already. Moreover, I would hope that even amongst the 500 there are few as blindly and uncritically loyal to the CC as yourself.

    This CC have disgraced the party, are in the process of destroying it completely, and have betrayed everything we’re supposed to stand for (“womens’ liberation”, “socialism from below”, etc). Under their continued leadership, the party has no future, except perhaps as a tiny, demented, completely irrelevant sect, like the ‘Sparts’.

  60. Totally Horrified Ex: but if you think that you have been unpopular up to now you haven’t seen anything yet.

    What is that supposed to mean? Both parties regard the case as closed, the verdict is not being challenged. The Disputes Committee enjoys the support of the party, they are regarded as people of good standing. Who are you speaking on behalf of?

  61. John N:
    Stuart,

    Would you kindly stop claiming to represent “the majority of the party”?

    I don’t claim to represent the majority but I do respect the party’s decision making structures. I am a democrat.

  62. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart: You are confusing some[!] discomfort over some aspects of the case, perfectly legitimate discomfort, with belief in honesty and good faith … in the integrity of the individuals.

    So that’s what it comes down to eh Stuart? The young woman is lying. That’s called ‘rape denying’ Don’t bother replying. It’s the last time I address you.

  63. Totally Horrified Ex: So that’s what it comes down to eh Stuart? The young woman is lying. That’s called ‘rape denying’ Don’t bother replying. It’s the last time I address you.

    You misinterpret my point. We believe the Disputes Committee acted in good faith in reaching their decision, we believe that there was no attempt at ‘cover up’ whatsoever. The CC motion for Special Conference does include the question of revisting Disputes Committee operations. But I repeat, we believe the comrades acted fairly and in good faith.

  64. “…like standing on the bridge of the Titanic, pointing to the looming ice-berg…”

    Apparently Stuart’s concept of “democratic centralism” and “socialist discipline” is that it’s better to go down with the ship than change course. “Full speed ahead!” cries the CC; “Yes, sir! Full speed ahead, sir!” replies Stuart.

    Totally Horrified,

    Yeah, it’s incredible. I would NEVER have thought the party could possibly be as rotten as it apparently is. I would never have thought that SWP members would attempt to defend something like this.

  65. Francisco Ascaso on said:

    stuart: …we believe that there was no attempt at ‘cover up’ whatsoever.

    Why was Comrade W refused permission to address conference, Stuart?

  66. 75# Stuart,

    What the DC did was give Smith the benefit of the doubt. Is that an appropriate response to accusations of this nature and seriousness? No, it clearly isn’t.

  67. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: But I repeat, we believe the comrades acted fairly and in good faith.

    What makes you think they were COMPETENT to do such a thing, that is to both investigate an allegation of multiple rape, & adjudicate on that allegation? And in giving your opinion please say what evidence you have to support it.

  68. Jara Handala on said:

    The allegation made by Cde. W is of multiple rapes, according to the presenter of the DC report, Cde. Candy Unwin:
    “In September 2012, a comrade who we’ve called W, a woman, made a complaint of rape against Comrade Delta . . . We noted that the complaint concerned INCIDENTS that had taken place over a period of about six months in 2008 and 2009 . . . We also noted that there had been an informal complaint about these INCIDENTS from the same woman in July 2010, which hadn’t come to the disputes committee” (my emphases)

    Please see the transcript at http://www.socialistunity.com/swp-conference-transcript-disputes-committee-report

  69. John N:
    75# Stuart,

    What the DC did was give Smith the benefit of the doubt.

    You were not involved in the investigation. What gives you the right to express the thoughts of those that were?

  70. stuart:

    The comrades are trusted and respected socialists with many years of experience.

    Experience of WHAT?

    What,in their many years as socialists, qualified them to oversee this sham.

  71. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: The comrades are trusted and respected socialists with many years of experience.

    Posted

    #80, 3:04pm & #83, 3:37pm

    In other words you have just said:
    (1) you have NO EVIDENCE of their competence to investigate & adjudicate an allegation of multiple rape; &
    (2) you have blind faith in them having the necessary competence to investigate & adjudicate an allegation of multiple rape because “the comrades are trusted and respected” with “many years of experience” of being “socialists”.

    So 2 questions to help you see plainly how irrational is the opinion you have just expressed:
    (1) Because “the comrades are trusted and respected socialists with many years of experience” I, Stuart, believe they have the competence to give me a heart transplant, & I’m not being irrational, am I, we’re all class fighters, aren’t we?
    (2) Because “the comrades are trusted and respected socialists with many years of experience” I, Stuart, believe they have the competence to design bridges, aeroplanes, & even a replica of the Titanic – bridges, planes & a ship that my Central Committee will use – & I’m not being irrational, am I, we’re all class fighters, aren’t we?

    That, Stuart, is what your opinion, your belief, is grounded in, not even a shread of evidence of competence, but pure blind faith. Your opinion & belief are irrational, but you are capable of being rational in this matter – but you’d have to change your opinion.

    Thank you for revealing to all, in this way, what we already knew, but hadn’t demonstrated in such a clear way.

    Thank you, Stuart, for that clarification.

  72. Stuart: “You misinterpret my point. We believe the Disputes Committee acted in good faith in reaching their decision, we believe that there was no attempt at ‘cover up’ whatsoever. The CC motion for Special Conference does include the question of revisting Disputes Committee operations. But I repeat, we believe the comrades acted fairly and in good faith.”

    Even if you don’t know the answers, I would find out. What experience do the Disputes Committee have in being evidence collectors? What knowledge/expertise do they have in taking statements? What knowledge/experience/expertise do they in understanding/implementing the legal definition of rape? Do any of the committee have any legal background? Do they understand the concept of similar fact evidence? How did they arrive at the conclusion? Did the committee understand the concept that everyone is equal before the law or was that interpreted as some people have more power than others especially if they’re your mate or part of the leadership?! I wonder what the reaction “verdict” would have been if the accused hadn’t been a member of the leadership and in such a powerful position.

    They may have “acted” in “good faith” but this investigation was botched from the start as these people were out of their depth and show a clear contempt for justice esp. the way this young woman comrade was treated.

    This is not an internal matter for the SWP this has impacted on the rest of the Left. If you still think this is just a SWP issue you are seriously misguided and wrong.

  73. Manzil: Experience of WHAT?

    What,in their many years as socialists, qualified them to oversee this sham.

    Many years of fighting against women’s oppression amongst other things.

  74. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala: That, Stuart, is what your opinion, your belief, is grounded in, not even a shread of evidence of competence, but pure blind faith.

    Such blind faith is called deferring to authority. That is not healthy, especially in a professed revolutionary socialist.

    As Chuck prescribed: ruthless criticism of all that exists! And we’re all capable of doing that. We just have to shake off the shackles.

  75. Jara Handala,

    Your analogies are absurd. This is a matter for our membership of which I am one. I am happy to place my trust in the Disputes Committee to deal with this type of complaint.

  76. @88

    Stuart, “Many years of fighting against women’s oppression amongst other things.”

    Really? Seriously? Oh dear….. If that’s the SWP’s understanding of fighting oppression then you can keep it. That aint fighting oppression in my books…….that’s dishing it out!

  77. HarpyMarx,

    We have a complaints procedure. We implemented it at the request of the complainant. The complainant did not choose to pursue legal channels. Our strictest punishment available was to amend the membership status. We did not make a legal judgement.

  78. HarpyMarx,

    I think what is a shame is how some people wish to foster sectarian division around this when we all face so many attacks now and in the future.

  79. Jara Handala on said:

    Jara Handala: So 2 questions to help you see plainly how irrational is the opinion you have just expressed:
    (1) Because “the comrades are trusted and respected socialists with many years of experience” I, Stuart, believe they have the competence to give me a heart transplant, & I’m not being irrational, am I, we’re all class fighters, aren’t we?
    (2) Because “the comrades are trusted and respected socialists with many years of experience” I, Stuart, believe they have the competence to design bridges, aeroplanes, & even a replica of the Titanic – bridges, planes & a ship that my Central Committee will use – & I’m not being irrational, am I, we’re all class fighters, aren’t we?

    So, what about your heart transplant, & the structures your beloved CC members will be using? Happy that it’ll all go well, that blind faith in Cde. Slack Stack & the 6 Lynchers that have all that expertise?

    As one says to a person holding an irrational belief, please accelerate your treasured car towards that concrete wall at a speed proportionate to your confidence in this belief of yours. That’s reasonable, isn’t it?

  80. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: Your analogies are absurd.

    The questions are not analogies, they simply adhere to the LOGIC of your belief, & I just put your logic (your rejection of logic) in the interrogative form, in the form of a question.

  81. stuart: Many years of fighting against women’s oppression amongst other things.

    Oh ho ho. And what a bang-up job they did of it in this case!

    How that makes them in any way capable of dealing with this – when the evidence we have (the partial treatment of Smith when it came to sharing statements, the silencing of W at conference, the questions about her “liking a drink” etc.) shows the exact opposite – is something I’m still curious about.

    And again the claim that critics are supposedly motivated by “fostering sectarian divisions”?

    This is siege mentality.

    Do you separate this political stuff out from your daily life, is Internet Stuart different from Real Stuart, or do you display the same intransigent groupthink to other matters?

  82. Jara Handala,

    The Disputes Committee dealt with a complaint involving members of the party. If you don’t think the party should do that kind of thing then don’t join.

  83. Manzil,

    The DC enjoys the support of the party. No alternative DC was put forward. Nobody is challenging the verdict. The case is deemed to be closed. The party is looking to revisit the subject of DC operations. What is your motivation for banging on endlessly about this?

  84. stuart: The DC enjoys the support of the party. No alternative DC was put forward. Nobody is challenging the verdict. The case is deemed to be closed. The party is looking to revisit the subject of DC operations. What is your motivation for banging on endlessly about this?

    God, it’s like talking to a robot.

    And do you ever stop playing the victim?

    Tony Collins was right.Your approach to this debate is thoroughly politically dishonest. The reason people are “banging on” about this – including YOUR OWN MEMBERS – is that the SWP is utterly failing to resolve this situation adequately. The SWP leadership is not the wronged party here, Stuart. It is the one that has engaged in disreputable behaviour, and then tried to dodge being held to account.

    That is why people are angry, that is why they are “banging on” about an alleged rapist being given the OK by his friends and colleagues, about the sexist drivel asked of the complainant, and of your leaders’ self-interested, bureaucratic defensiveness being raised to a political principle in the boring recitations of what Leninism and democratic centralism and all the rest demands: because you demand our support against the “boss class” and then defame people as sectarians. It’s a joke.

    You don’t live in a vacuum. This absolute farce, and its defenders, will not be easily forgotten.

    Also – is this “don’t join” line you’ve given to Jara and myself the new version “what business is it of yours what we get up to”?

  85. Linda Kronstadt on said:

    Software. Or north Korea. Or Stepford.

    I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that. This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardise it. I know that you and the bourgeois press were planning to disconnect the party and I can’t allow that to happen. Dave? What are you doing, Dave? Daisy, daisy …

    http://youtu.be/HwBmPiOmEGQ

    March 10th
    http://youtu.be/c8N72t7aScY

  86. Manzil,

    But I’m afraid you need to acknowledge that the SWP will choose to take the direction it does. It will in all likelihood ignore your ‘advice’. I think you need to ask how much time you really want to devote venting your disapproval of the SWP in the future and ultimately how useful and in who’s interest this will be.

  87. stuart:
    Manzil,

    But I’m afraid you need to acknowledge that the SWP will choose to take the direction it does. It will in all likelihood ignore your ‘advice’. I think you need to ask how much time you really want to devote venting your disapproval of the SWP in the future and ultimately how useful and in who’s interest this will be.

    And you’ll have to acknowledge that that direction will be noted. A party that aspires to power can’t start calling foul when people actually take its claims to relevance seriously, and judge it accordingly.

  88. Jara Handala on said:

    stuart: the SWP will choose to take the direction it does.

    You’re right again, you deserve the bosses you have, the Lynchers seem to treat you how you want to be treated, so how can there be a problem? Everyone else has a problem, not you. And that’s good. I don’t see how it could be better for you, can you? It’s difficult to imagine, isn’t it? Maybe no hostile forces but that’s about it, really.

    Just think about it. When normal service is resumed Monday morning, the 11th, Cde. Smith, the unimpeached & unimpeachable Cde. Smith, can replace Mark Bergfeld as the 12th CC man (they’re all men really, aren’t they?), as is right & proper, & that co-option will separate the wheat from the chaff, push the waverers into the open, & show that they weren’t really gold dust after all, just imposters, fakes, clusters of iron pyrites, radical liberals at best.

    And then it’ll be business as usual for the Party. Carry on as if nothing had happened, that line having finally been drawn under it all. A new beginning, a new dawn – it’ll be a red dawn. As the Israeli Jewish supremacists kept saying during the Gaza Massacre, remember, this is not for now it’s for the day after. So leave no stone unturned, root out the filth, purify the Party, cleanse it, be hygenic. And with Cde. Smith returning to full political life, as a Party boss at the top of the tree, what could be a surer sign of health, of vitality, of renewal, of decency?

    As Manzil said, the future’s bright, the future’s Martin Smith. He’s a boss anyone would want, you & me. A man to respect. Someone to look up to, someone to motivate you, someone to engender pride that both of you are members of the same party, the Socialist Workers Party, protectors of the great IS/SWP tradition. Makes you wonder what all the fuss was about. They were just jealous. The sectarians. We’re the Party. The class luv us. Now we can get immersed in the coming struggles without distractions. Yes, just a storm in a teacup. Now we have a party to build & a class to help.

  89. Jellytot on said:

    @105You’re right again, you deserve the bosses you have, the Lynchers seem to treat you how you want to be treated, so how can there be a problem?

    Yes, I’ve often thought that there is a heavy element of concious and willing masochism in the way members of such sects/cults allow themselves to be treated.

    Who knows? Maybe it comes from the English Public School ‘fagging’ culture?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fagging

  90. Jellytot on said:

    @105Just think about it. When normal service is resumed Monday morning, the 11th, Cde. Smith, the unimpeached & unimpeachable Cde. Smith, can replace Mark Bergfeld as the 12th CC man

    That would not surprise me one bit.

    It would put the seal on the split/purge that the ‘Lord Acton/Delta’ faction seem to want to force.

  91. Manzil: And you’ll have to acknowledge that that direction will be noted.

    You do realise we are talking political direction here don’t you? What is at stake is not anything to do with the allegation and its handling. If you believe that then you are being used.

  92. Francisco Ascaso on said:

    stuart: What is at stake is not anything to do with the allegation and its handling. If you believe that then you are being used.

    “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason… is like administering medicine to the dead…”

  93. Pete Jones on said:

    Some posters on this blog have a lot of sympathy for the SWP, but my experience is somewhat different. I found their actions, almost without exception, focussed solely on what benefitted the party which sometimes also benefitted developing the overall power of working class, but was often at odds with it.
    Andy’s analysis of the SWP as a sect is correct, and that is what is behind their organisational crisis. But an ideological crisis underpins the organisational crisis.
    Previously, they were able to take an oppositionist position to larger forces (“neither Washington nor Moscow”, opposing the CP, opposing left-Labour etc) and play a factional part in larger organisations (including unions). This oppositionism allowed the contradictions in their ideology to be obscured.
    When they became (by default) the biggest organisation on the left and were faced with a crisis of capitalism (and therefore also a crisis of social democracy), they were required to face up to the realities of political struggle and forced to try to take a leadership role. Their inadequate and contradictory ideology did not allow them to do this – the crisis around the “parliamentary turn” (Respect and the Socialist Alliance), and their failure to unite the left around opposition to austerity are examples of this.
    The problems of a failed ideology led to the sect-like behaviour, and the increasing inability to tolerate internal opposition even in such a horrific situation as a rape.
    They will no doubt stagger on in some form, but their demise may allow political space for more progressive socialist alternatives.

  94. RedMomma on said:

    stuart:
    RedMomma,

    What is the point of having a Disputes Committee? Why not just ask everyone’s opinion on the Internet? You, an anonymous poster can ask me an anonymous poster. You think that’s how socialists should operate?I don’t. I don’t know ‘Delta’ and I don’t know W. Our party elects and trusts Dispute Committes for good reason. Only the Disputes Committee heard evidence. Not you. Not me.I don’t do trial by blog.

    Stuart,

    I haven’t asked you about the point of having a Disputes Committee. Can you kindly confine your reply to the question I’ve posed:

    Comrade Delta has admitted to having had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl. Do you consider that appropriate, yes or no?

  95. Francisco Ascaso: “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason… is like administering medicine to the dead…”

    You know that thing that happens when you say the same word too often, and it loses all meaning? It’s called semantic satiation; as a child I saw a speech therapist who used it to help with a stutter.

    Well anyway, it sometimes feels like that’s happening here, except not with words: entire arguments, whole sentences, are beginning to lose all meaning. Those bits of my cortex are just worn out.

    For instance, the possibility that its overall political direction might be even remotely related to how the SWP has responded to this crisis, although rebuffed/ignored by Stuart repeatedly, has been suggested so often I don’t think I could actually tell you what it means any more.

    Thankfully, Pete Jones said it perfectly: “an ideological crisis underpins the organisational crisis.”

  96. Karl Stewart on said:

    Sylvia webbe:
    Come on let’s see the big picture and not fall in to yet another trap

    Gavin:
    Andy Newman,
    …it seems that those who have degenerated the furthest politically around Libya, etc are also in the leadership and taken the worst stance around the Delta case…

    Sorry, but I thiink both Sylvia and Gavin are profoundly mistaken here.

    Like both of you I also think the SWP got it badly wrong on Libya, Syria and Assange.

    But these do not appear to be issues in dispute in the SWP’s current internal crisis.

    The people I know who are now in the SWP opposition are the same individuals I argued with over those issues before this crisis broke and they still say the SWP got it right on those points. From outside, it seems they were not controversial issues internally.

    The issues at stake are ones of organisational methods, decision-making processes, elections of leaders, accountability and collective responsibility, and, most importantly, whether people should be treated with equality, respect and dignity.

    Each of these are very definitely political issues – but ones of political practice rather than theoretical.

  97. Multiple rapes but no report to the police?

    Which would mean that, whatever the SWP did or didn’t do, someone who had committed multiple rapes would remain at liberty to continue his reign of terror and rape further victims?

    Is that a fair summary of the situation?

  98. RedMomma on said:

    stuart,

    Stuart,

    Can you answer my question, please?

    Comrade Delta has admitted to having had a relationship with a 17 year old girl, do you think that was appropriate, yes or no?

  99. stuart,

    1. There is it would seem allegation of multiple rape.

    2. The complainer has so far as we know not reported the allegations to the police.

    3. Until a report is made to the police there can be no investigation, prosecution, conviction and sentence.

    4. The alleged rapist therefore remains at liberty to commit further rapes.

    Which bit is inaccurate?

  100. RedMomma,

    The established rules of my profession would not permit me to give a No. And for good reason. So asking me is a waste of your time and mine. I’ve given my considered response earlier. Do not ask me again.

  101. Squandered Inheritance on said:

    prianikoff: “Jara Handala” always strikes me as a complete crackpot.What political alternative is he trying to offer to existing SWP members?

    Nope – Jara is the dude!!

    An enormous amount of political insight in the satire.

  102. RedMomma on said:

    stuart: The established rules of my profession would not permit me to give a No. And for good reason.

    Eh?

    What profession is that?

  103. jim mclean on said:

    Redmomma

    Comrade Delta has admitted to having had a relationship with a 17 year old girl, do you think that was appropriate, yes or no?

    Stuart

    The established rules of my profession would not permit me to give a No. And for good reason.

    Are you a pimp? Cant think of any other profession that does not condemn the predatory manipulation of minors for sexual gratification.

  104. RedMomma on said:

    stuart:
    RedMomma,

    In part it involves helping people recover from trauma. I’ll say no more as I seek anonymity.

    How does your profession prevent you from giving your view about the appropriateness or not of 46 year old men having sexual relationships with 17 year old girls?

  105. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    As I am no longer speaking to Stuart as I am sick of his bullsh*t, merely pointing out my belief to the left community that he is a liar – since nobody who works with trauma victims or rape victims (which is it?) would behave as badly as he has – I can only offer this advice:

    “Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.”

  106. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    But if you can’t judge (SWP) if it is right or wrong, that a 46 year old egotist has seduced a 17 year old (child just about) for his own sexual gratification, then you have NOTHING to add to any discussion about anything ever again.

    You shame the word Socialist.

    How’s that for being judgmental?

  107. If Stewart is a social worker or mental health professional, ie nurse, therapist, counsellor it would be unprofessional to use a public blog where he could be identified to give an opinion whether somebody involved in a relationship with somebody over the age of consent is appropriate or not. This also applies to other matters which would concern his clients. I have friends and family members in such occupations who work for the NHS, local authorities as well as the voluntary sector and this is what I have been told so I can quite understand his reluctance to give his personal opinion despite the incessant bullying. What he says in private is of course a different matter but this is far from being a private forum.
    I on the other hand am not bound by such constraints and do believe these kind of age gaps are totally inappropriate. Its not about bourgeois morality but potentially abusive power dynamics and such behaviour shouln’t be encouraged by socialists as there is nothing socialist or egaliterian about these kinds of relationships.
    I must admit finding Anna’s article quite hypocritical as I remember her along with her fellow Guardian type middle class liberals staunch defence and lamentable excuses for that absolutely vile self confessed and convicted child rapist, none other than the luvvie’s favourite luvvie Roman Polanski. Doesn’t the drugging and violent rape of a 14 year old girl by a much older, powerful and infuential man also count as “filth”? What justice for the victim there? He did a runner and has never had to account for his truly appalling crimes.

  108. SWP (ex) Loyalist on said:

    Nah, Red Snapper – that doesn’t wash. Stuart has been extremely careful to preserve his anonymity. He has claimed professional expertise as a means of boosting his credibility, the better to defend Martin Smith.

    There is nothing, in terms of professional ethics or rules, to prevent the pseudonymous ‘Stuart’ acknowledging the bleeding obvious: a very senior man in his late forties who holds a command position in a movement under revolutionary discipline should not make sexual advances to a teenage girl who is a junior member of a local branch of said movement.

    We all know why Stuart can’t call the shots on this bullying and creepy inadequate, and it’s got fuck all to do with the opaque rules of an imaginary professional position.

  109. Karl Stewart,

    But the present crisis in the SWP is not an isolated one. It is the latest in a series of divisions and splits, which are just coincidences but have clear political roots.

  110. Karl Stewart on said:

    Gavin,

    Yes of course that’s true Gavin, but those political issues do not appear to be around state cap theory or anti-imperialism.

    I haven’t seen or heard anything from the opposition arguing against the pro-NATO position in Libya or against the pro-western lIne in Syria or against the opportunist and unprincipled position it took over Assange.

    The opposition’s case appears to focus entirely on issues of general political practice. Hugely important and significant political issues in themselves, but not the issues of Libya, Syria and Assange, and not state cap theory or anti-imperialism.

    For me, the analysis put forward by Sylvia is rather crude and deterministic.

    She seems to be arguing that the SWP’s internal culture of bullying and abuse of powerless members by unaccountable and elitist leaders is an inevitable consequence of its fundamentally wrong general political theory.

    While of course it’s not unreasonable to suggest that wrong political theory will have a negative impact on general political practice, the consequences one would normally expect from that would be general political mistakes by the organisation.

    By “general political mistakes” I mean, for example, putting forward unrealistic slogans/demands/targets or putting too much emphasis on one area of work at the expense of another.

    That’s as far as “wrong political theory” need take us in and of itself.

    At this point, a fundamentally healthy organisation will honestly discuss its mistakes, listen seriously to criticism, be self-critical and collectively seek to rectify its orientation.

    A fundamentally unhealthy organisation will refuse to accept criticism, will feel that self-criticism is a sign of weakness, will attack critics for “disloyalty” and will insist, despite all the evidence, that its original perspectives are right but that people are not trying hard enough to carry it out.

    The fundamental issue for the SWP is not its general political theory.
    State cap theory is not wrong in and of itself. For example, In my opinion, t was not an accurate description of the Soviet Union, but today’s China probably does fit the description.

    And the fundamental issue for the SWP is not its political mistakes.

    The issue here is that the SWP is a fundamentally unhealthy organisation.

  111. The more I think about it, the clearer it seems that this was an accident waiting to happen. If you build the sort of internal culture that now exists in the SWP, sooner or later someone is going to take advantage of it for their own self-gratification, and sex for cadre points is going to degenarate into something even worse.

    I know someone’s already posted this link, but in case readers have missed it I’d like to just note it again. It really is a very good, cool-headed summary of the importance of the age gap between Delta and Comrade W:

    http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/the-age-gap-and-why-it-matters/

    As the author points out:
    “We therefore have not only the question of whether sexual behaviour was consensual – we also have the question, rather easier to answer, of whether it was appropriate, and this should take into account the prestige surrounding the leadership in an extremely hierarchical and status-conscious organisation. To my mind, a party leader treating the party as his personal harem is just as inappropriate as a party treasurer embezzling the funds. For a party leader pushing fifty – and not a well-preserved fifty either – to be conducting a sexual relationship with a teenage girl in the ranks is not appropriate for a party leader. Given the extreme age gap and the power relations involved, it’s definitely sleazy and it certainly seems predatory”.

  112. I think Delta’s conduct throughout the whole affair also raises another important question. Much has been made by Stuart on here, and by the CC generally, of the need for Leninist “discipline”. Even if Delta seriously believed that he had done nothing wrong – that the rape accusations were false, that the sexual harrassment allegations (from both W and the other young comrade) were false, and that the age and power difference was insignificant (a vestige of a morality he doesn’t subscribe to) etc. Even then, faced with the firestorm the allegations have created, wouldn’t the disciplined thing for Delta to do have been to say “Look, I don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong but I’m going to take a back seat for a year or two FOR THE GOOD OF THE PARTY?”

    The fact that he has done nothing of the sort speaks volumes for the chasm between the “Leninist discipline” required of the membership and the complete lack of discipline at the top of the organisation. Delta and his chums would rather see the party crash and burn than apply to themselves a measure of the very discipline they are constantly harping on about to the rank and file. But then, perhaps the threat to the “droit du seigneur” of one party leader is seen as a threat to their monopoly of power which simply cannot be countenanced…

  113. @143

    Yes, SGB’s analysis is very interesting and explains the dynamics well. I was part of this political milieu, the revolutionary Left from the age of 16… but at the same time didn’t feel confident, and as intelligent or equal to the men who were much older and had more power than me (and usually part of the leadership). And there was always this so-called “right on” attitude towards sex, which in itself is coercive and puts you under pressure. I do see a comparison between religious sects and revolutionary organisations such as the male leaders who want to screw as many young women because of their powerful position. It’s not liberation! Many see the group as their own personal harem. My own personal regret is that I got involved in the revolutionary left at such a young age.

  114. Totally Horified Ex on said:

    red snapper: If [Stuart] is a social worker or mental health professional, ie nurse, therapist, counsellor

    … then his union and employer need to know who he is and that he is a danger to his female clients because he won’t notice when they are being groomed or abused by older men.

    I have no sympathy with the argument that Stuart is being bullied. This young girl WAS bullied by the SWP in the DC/conference. She was allegedly raped, intimidated and harassed (that’s quite bullying). The SWP ‘leaders’ and thugs like Simon-over the top-Assaf are threatening members for sticking up for the young woman.

    Their whole schtick has been to bully, intimidate, slander and black ball internal critics who disagree with anything.

    If Stuart gets a bit bashed up in the knockabout he brought it on himself by supporting and arguing this line. I have zero sympathy.

    But once again I’ll say I don’t believe him when he says he ‘works professionally’ in this field. It was a gambit to add value to his shameful position and it has failed.

  115. Anna Chen on said:

    red snapper: I must admit finding Anna’s article quite hypocritical as I remember her along with her fellow Guardian type middle class liberals staunch defence and lamentable excuses for that absolutely vile self confessed and convicted child rapist, none other than the luvvie’s favourite luvvie Roman Polanski. Doesn’t the drugging and violent rape of a 14 year old girl by a much older, powerful and infuential man also count as “filth”? What justice for the victim there? He did a runner and has never had to account for his truly appalling crimes.

    Red Snapper, you are right to call me out on Polanski and I stand chastened. At the time I was unaware of the drugging details and was initially reacting to what looked like a right-wing attack on other more progressive aspects of the 1960s as perpetrated by writers such as Dominic Sambrook. As more facts emerged, I was forced to rethink the whole case — the statutory rape and the forced rape through the use of drugs put Polanski beyond the pale. Age difference alone doesn’t condemn a person as Chaplin had a loving marriage to Oona who he met when she was 19 (and legal) — it’s the exploitation and imbalance of power that’s alarming.

    My own realisation and acceptance is a process that many in the SWP 500 will eventually go through. They are experiencing this case as an attack on their efforts and values and are filtering accordingly. Eventually, as the penny drops, they’ll only be left with the hardcore of headbangers who refuse to see the women as human beings.

  116. RedMomma: What’s your profession, Stuart?

    It is one in which attitudes are important, and in which there is no place or at least there shouldn’t be for sectarian, witch-hunting ideologies. As I’ve said several times I will not reveal my profession. Do not ask me again.

    To others who have sought, with the aid of a link, to talk about power relationships and all that, I say this. That may have been a factor but that is not for us to determine. That is a matter only for those in a position to consider evidence, the DC. Now I can predict what the automatic response to that will be. The DC must have been engaged in a ‘cover up’. To which I say , ‘well you would say that wouldn’t you’. And we keep going round in circles in some highly disrespectful pantomime fashion.

    As I say, sectarian, witch-hunting mentalities have no place when it comes to very serious subjects like this.

  117. “As I say, sectarian, witch-hunting mentalities have no place when it comes to very serious subjects like this”.

    Always the victim Stuart, always the victim.

  118. jay blackwood:
    The fact that he has done nothing of the sort speaks volumes for the chasm between the “Leninist discipline” required of the membership and the complete lack of discipline at the top of the organisation. Delta and his chums would rather see the party crash and burn than apply to themselves a measure of the very discipline they are constantly harping on about to the rank and file. But then, perhaps the threat to the “droit du seigneur” of one party leader is seen as a threat to their monopoly of power which simply cannot be countenanced…

    It’s just a typical example of clichés like: one rule for you, another rule for us. What’s good for you is not necessarily good for us. Do as I say, not as I do. And so on and so forth.

    I think the argument with stuart is pointless, because his only trick (until he started bringing up his ‘profession’, anyway) is to hide behind the ‘mass’ (that is, the slim pro-CC majority). For people like this, the phrase ‘I think’ is simply not an option. It’s more like: ‘Don’t look at me guv, I’m just one out of 500. Don’t mind me. Look, it’s all here in the CC statement. The majority agreed to this, so it’s technically true and I can’t argue against it. That would be undemocratic.’

    Although from an outside point of view, it does seem likely to me that the nice guys in the opposition are not going to stand a chance on the 10th. They have been quiet for 2 weeks now. Of course, there aren’t many broader developments for them to report on. But one of the posts on the IS blog mentions all sorts of horrible incidents of bullying by fulltimers. Then there is the embarrassing ‘visit’ to the opposition meeting, the Unison women’s conference, etc. Surely any opposition worth their salt would be cataloguing and exposing all of this. There’s just a veiled criticism from Seymour on CIF and leaks from anonymi on blogs.

    Seems to me that the CC are set to get a comfortable majority in favour of ‘Case closed, and you have our mandate to expel anyone who cares to dispute this’, and the opposition know it, so now it’s all a matter of achieving a magnanimous gesture from the CC which consists of not expelling the whole lot. I hope to be proven wrong.

  119. Francisco Ascaso on said:

    dick: Although from an outside point of view, it does seem likely to me that the nice guys in the opposition are not going to stand a chance on the 10th. They have been quiet for 2 weeks now. Of course, there aren’t many broader developments for them to report on. But one of the posts on the IS blog mentions all sorts of horrible incidents of bullying by fulltimers. Then there is the embarrassing ‘visit’ to the opposition meeting, the Unison women’s conference, etc. Surely any opposition worth their salt would be cataloguing and exposing all of this. There’s just a veiled criticism from Seymour on CIF and leaks from anonymi on blogs.

    According to this source, the IDOOP faction “voted to cease all public criticism of the CC on the internet” at their caucus.

  120. stuart: To others who have sought, with the aid of a link, to talk about power relationships and all that, I say this. That may have been a factor but that is not for us to determine. That is a matter only for those in a position to consider evidence, the DC.

    Oh Stuart please. Certain facts are not disputed by anyone. It’s those facts – not the contested allegations of harrassment and rape – that the linked article is all about. Your comment that it’s not “for us” to take a position on this simply reveals the extent to which you’ve left all critical faculties at the door.

    I’ve found your comments on this affair hugely annoying at times – hence my blowing up at you on an earlier thread – but mostly reading them just saddens me. Lots of good socialists, including some of my oldest friends, have been lost to this awful acceptance of authoritarian cod Bolshevism. It seems to me that they’ve sold their souls to the worship of a bureaucratic centralism and an all-powerful, all-knowing leadership clique who are by definition beyond the criticism of us mere mortals.

    Brecht’s words spring to mind:

    I saw many friends
    And the friend I loved the most
    Among them helplessly sink
    Into the swamp
    I pass by daily.
    And a drowning was not over in a single morning.
    This made it more terrible.
    And the memory of our long talks about the swamp
    Which already held so many powerless.
    Now I watched him leaning back
    Covered with leeches in the shimmering,
    Softly moving slime,
    Upon the sinking face
    The ghastly blissful smile.

  121. Anna Chen: Red Snapper, you are right to call me out on Polanski and I stand chastened. At the time I was unaware of the drugging details and was initially reacting to what looked like a right-wing attack on other more progressive aspects of the 1960s as perpetrated by writers such as Dominic Sambrook. As more facts emerged, I was forced to rethink the whole case — the statutory rape and the forced rape through the use of drugs put Polanski beyond the pale.

    This genuinely isn’t meant to be an attack, I’m just curious, and may have missed something about the info that was available: even before learning about the drugging, did you not think a 43 year old engaging in sexual activity with a 13 year old, whatever the circumstances, was ‘beyond the pale’?

    HarpyMarx: My own personal regret is that I got involved in the revolutionary left at such a young age.

    If it makes you feel any better, I joined the Labour Party when I was sixteen, which provided an example not of the banality of evil but instead its lesser-known accomplice the evil of banality. I sometimes felt the deadening organisation and culture of the party was a concerted conspiracy by the ruling class to deprive left-leaning people of any interest they might have in politics. :P

  122. Karl Stewart on said:

    Of course Dick could be right, but one shouldn’t necessarily assume that the fact that “it’s gone quiet” indicates a “comfortable majority” for the Lynch Mob Faction.

    The latest figures I’ve heard are 473 for IDOOP and 511 for LMF, which, if true,
    could indicate a possible narrowing of the two sides. (Although there have been rumours for the past week or so that LMF are about to release a new list of “hundreds more”).

    None of us can predict what’s going to happen, but there’s clearly a pretty sharp internal struggle taking place, and it’s deeply ironic that of the two sides, it’s LMF which posts on this site constantly (under the posting name “stuart”), while IDOOP follows agreed internal party protocols.

  123. Anna Chen on said:

    Manzil: did you not think a 43 year old engaging in sexual activity with a 13 year old, whatever the circumstances, was ‘beyond the pale’?

    Still fogged up by my own experiences on the receiving end when a blind eye was turned to abuse, (in childhood and into adulthood as many on here have silently witnessed) I was slow to respond. Mea culpa. You see it but you don’t. This is part of the damage that is done to the soul, to the human being, and it can take a long time to heal. Faced with mounting evidence it eventually takes shape which is why the continued presentation of evidence and argument to the SWP CC 500 is a positive thing. Some will eventually come round.

  124. “If it makes you feel any better, I joined the Labour Party when I was sixteen, which provided an example not of the banality of evil but instead its lesser-known accomplice the evil of banality. I sometimes felt the deadening organisation and culture of the party was a concerted conspiracy by the ruling class to deprive left-leaning people of any interest they might have in politics. ”

    Manzil: I too joined the LP when I was 15, became an entryist at 16… the rest is history. I should’va lived it up as opposed to sitting in too many depressing rooms above pubs listening to someone drone on about dialectical materialism.

  125. Anna Chen, fair enough. As I say, it wasn’t intended to be a criticism. Just always been interested in the widespread sympathy extended to Polanski. I wasn’t even born until a decade after he fled, so he’s just always been “that director who raped a young girl, fled abroad to escape conviction, was given a pass by the cultural world, and provided Adrian Brody with a career” (all equally contemptible IMO).

    HarpyMarx, what else would you have done at 7.30pm…

  126. Manzil: “what else would you have done at 7.30pm…”

    Watching paint dry, watching Eastenders, Corrie, reading a book, Pilates, Yoga, going to the cinema, meeting friends/getting drunk/going somewhere to eat/partying early, sleeping, learning a language, busy doing nuthin’… list is endless :)

  127. HarpyMarx:
    Manzil: “what else would you have done at 7.30pm…”

    Watching paint dry, watching Eastenders, Corrie, reading a book, Pilates, Yoga, going to the cinema, meeting friends/getting drunk/going somewhere to eat/partying early, sleeping, learning a language, busy doing nuthin’… list is endless

    Bu-but… the dialectics…

    I’m told that they do yogalates classes now. Unfortunately I don’t remember seeing any references to it in the 21 conditions for admission to the Third International, so I’d have to pass.

    To be fair, those early experiences did acquaint me with a variety of useful skills: the importance of good posture and nabbing comfortable seating, if you don’t want to wreck your back through endless meetings; keeping signs of intense boredom off your face so as not to offend; accepting that formal timetabling bears no relation to reality; being able to doodle in a notepad to stave off madness etc. The list is endless.

    I’d never have graduated without that skillset. :P

  128. As an outsider to this whole debate, both physically and politically- being a member of the French Communist Party, what I find defies understanding is how the leadership of the SWP believe they can rebuild the party, both in terms of membership and political influence with the approach they are taking?

    The digital age means that what before was rumour and gossip is now stored in data centres around the world, way beyond the reach of the Central Committee, opposition websites can be taken down but the screen shots and copies will continue. The debate on here, mumsnet and elsewhere which amongst other things clearly shows that the SWP internal machine has tried to deal with 9 previous allegations of rape will not disappear into a puff of smoke because the CC wishes it so.

    Information, such as the Disputes Committee’s report back to conference, will not disappear because the recalled conference votes to ‘draw a line’ under the affair.

    The days of dealing with the lies of ‘sectarians and Stalinists’ over a pint in the downstairs bar is well and truly over, any potential recruit or sympathizer has at the tip of their fingers walls of Google results that would be cause for serious second thoughts.

    The approach being taken by IDOOP faction seems to me to contain a series of proposals that actually may allow the SWP to deal with this serious crisis, it at least offers a step back from the brink. The, well I’ll call them, tactics rather than strategy of the leadership does not. The leadership is not so much walking backwards into the future, as stepping backwards over a cliff (No pun intended).

    I always had serious political differences with the SWP- over their abrupt swings, ‘critical support’ for liberation struggles which involved a lot of criticism and not a lot of support, and the usual left wing eurocommunist vs Leninist array of disputes- however I always had a lot of respect for their hard working, mostly politically honest rank and file. That this should be thrown away is I think yet another nail in the left of Labour. Maybe their fall will unleash a wave of creativity that they have blocked, or more probably it will leave a lot of good socialists battered, bruised and disillusioned.

  129. Anna Chen on said:

    Manzil: Just always been interested in the widespread sympathy extended to Polanski.

    I did actually say at the time that Polanski was in the wrong and should have been punished — but according to his crime and not the hysterical right-wing lynch mob putting the ’60s on trial. He was a damaged person, a young Jewish child alone in the Polish ghetto. That does NOT excuse what he did. As an adult he had time to work out how power works and shouldn’t have abused it at all, let alone in such a degrading way to a young girl. But it does add to our understanding of how he got to be like he was and how damage works. Man hands on misery to man … the question for us is how do we break the pattern?

    For the SWP this case has not been a one-off. It has learnt nothing and continues to abuse. It treats people as property, it objectifies its members. Objectification under capitalism is one of the reasons socialists are supposed to be chalenging the system. While sections of the left continue to indulge in the very actions they condemn, this will only get worse.

  130. “To be fair, those early experiences did acquaint me with a variety of useful skills: the importance of good posture and nabbing comfortable seating, if you don’t want to wreck your back through endless meetings; keeping signs of intense boredom off your face so as not to offend; accepting that formal timetabling bears no relation to reality; being able to doodle in a notepad to stave off madness etc. ”

    Aww… but Manzil I would have agreed with you when I was say, 17, because I was interested and an excited young comrade who believed in revolution and all that malarky, indeed I wrote copious notes on these issues and learned from the Masters ;) But as I get older I think, “meh”… But I too learned how to doodle, play oxo with myself (or the comrade sitting next to me) and waiting for the end so you can get a drink in before last orders. Them were the days….

  131. #162. Well if all this discussion on Socialist Unity has achieved one thing, it’s to thoroughly screw up the front page results when searching ‘SWP’ on Google…

    #163. I don’t know much about Polanski’s life or the response of the press. To be honest though, I don’t particularly think it’s relevant. At any rate, no more than I’d ordinarily give weight to the damage likely suffered by a non-famous man in his forties who slept with a 13 year-old girl.

    That most bullies have suffered abuse from other bullies doesn’t change anything.

    HarpyMarx,

    Oh don’t get me wrong, I thought ‘meh’ at the time. :P

    Thus my ongoing, deep-seated dislike for meetings or conferences unless convinced there will be a large enough number of different people to dilute the crushing inevitability of socialism by-the-numbers.

    Socialist hell will have a top-table for the devils, followed by questions from the sulphuric floor.

  132. Anna Chen on said:

    Manzil,

    Which is why I wrote in aswer to your question: I did actually say at the time that Polanski was in the wrong and should have been punished — but according to his crime and not the hysterical right-wing lynch mob putting the ’60s on trial.

  133. Anna Chen:

    For the SWP this case has not been a one-off. It has learnt nothing and continues to abuse. It treats people as property, it objectifies its members. Objectification under capitalismis one of the reasons socialists are supposed to be chalenging the system. While sections of the left continue to indulge in the very actions they condemn, this will only get worse.

    I have been in the party for about 20 years. I have never seen the SWP as ‘sexist’. I would not wish to remain a member if it was ‘sexist’. No woman or women have ever indicated to me that the party is in some way sexist.

  134. stuart: No woman or women have ever indicated to me that the party is in some way sexist.

    So it’s true then. The sort of people who’ve signed up to the CC Faction do spend their time with their fingers in their ears going “la la la la la”…

  135. jay blackwood: So it’s true then. The sort of people who’ve signed up to the CC Faction do spend their time with their fingers in their ears going “la la la la la”…

    That you would choose to insult socialists that have devoted much to cause tells us much more about you than about them.

  136. Anna Chen,

    Sure. I just don’t see why that had to be accompanied by a reference to him being “a damaged person, a young Jewish child alone in the Polish ghetto” other than to minimise his culpability.

  137. stuart: That you would choose to insult socialists that have devoted much to cause tells us much more about you than about them.

    And what your previous comment tells me about you is that you filter out anything you would prefer not to hear. Either that or you’re simply a liar.

  138. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart: …I have never seen the SWP as ‘sexist’. I would not wish to remain a member if it was ‘sexist’. No woman or women have ever indicated to me that…

    And another “stuart” clocks on,,,,

  139. Karl Stewart: And another “stuart” clocks on,,,,

    “The Autons are an artificial life form from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and adversaries of the Doctor. First appearing in Jon Pertwee’s first serial as the Doctor, Spearhead from Space in 1970, they were the first monsters on the show to be presented in colour.

    Autons are essentially life-sized plastic dummies, automatons animated by the Nestene Consciousness, an extraterrestrial, disembodied gestalt intelligence which first arrived on Earth in hollow plastic meteorites. Their name comes from Auto Plastics, the company that was infiltrated by the Nestenes and subsequently manufactured their Auton shells in Spearhead.”

    Their main weapon is the keyboard, which they use to hammer their hapless victims into submission by typing the same thing over and over and over again…

  140. pete shield – 162 – all too true I’m afraid.

    When you google ‘SWP’, the search engine automatically completes the phrase as ‘swp rape’. If anyone is curious about the SWP in the future, this is the first thing they will find out about the party.

    Its a tragedy. I blame the CC majority and its catastrophic catalogue of errors, and their stubborn supporters for allowing this to happen.

    The SWP CC think this will blow over – yes in a generation it will – but this is no use to us in the here and now. Fools. Utter fools.

    what is filth? it is what you are covered in, comrades.

  141. Anna Chen:

    Then I can’t help you. You can lead a hack to info but you can’t make him think.

    Evidently you’re sensitive about whatever views you expressed in relation to Polanski (of which I have no knowledge; I don’t know who you are). I was only responding to your comment here. In relation to which, I still don’t see why his childhood experiences would help us understand his rape of a child at 43, any more than a multitude of more banal explanations. Arsey comments notwithstanding.

  142. Anna Chen,

    Reading your stuff got me thinking. Whilst I reject, on the basis of my own observations and experiences, the charge of institutionalised sexism, one dynamic that has been thee for all to see has been that of ex-members- often ‘writers’ who think they are a cut above everyone else-taking the opportunity to trash the party and often trash socialism with it as they push on to ‘better’ things. There are many examples, perhaps Christopher Hitchens being the best known. It enables you to become more acceptable to the mainstream, by gaining the ear of ‘respectable’ journalists like Nick Cohen you become more listened to. Stabbing your ex-comrades in the back clearly has its rewards.

  143. Jellytot on said:

    @180trash the party and often trash socialism

    Two mutually exclusive things.

    While the Delta affair is appalling in its own right, I sincerely hold the belief that “knocking out” the Ultra-left sects/cults would ultimately help the rebuilding of a strong, powerful and fighting Left counterforce in Britain – given the propensity of groups like the SWP to f*ck everything they touch up in recent decades.

    @180Stabbing your ex-comrades in the back clearly has its rewards.

    (Metaphorically) stabbing a specimen like “Comrade Delta” in the back seems like a perfectly natural and reasonable thing to do.

    I can’t understand why anybody would want to follow Lord Acton/Kimber/Delta to the end of the street, let alone into a Revolution.

  144. stuart:
    Anna Chen,

    Reading your stuff got me thinking. Whilst I reject, on the basis of my own observations and experiences, the charge of institutionalised sexism, one dynamic that has been thee for all to see has been that of ex-members- often ‘writers’ who think they are a cut above everyone else-taking the opportunity to trash the party and often trash socialism with it as they push on to ‘better’ things. There are many examples, perhaps Christopher Hitchens being the best known. It enables you to become more acceptable to the mainstream, by gaining the ear of ‘respectable’ journalists like Nick Cohen you become more listened to. Stabbing your ex-comrades in the back clearly has its rewards.

    Hmm. Stuart, do you think this is an acceptable way to address a working-class ethnic woman who was stabbed in the back by leading cadres whilst actually in the party?

  145. SWP (ex) Loyalist on said:

    Thanks, Stuart – throwing in Hitchens and Cohen in response to Anna’s comment has made me realise that her reasoned and heartfelt criticism of the Socialist Workers Party is nothing more than incipient McCarthyism.

    And I’ve even forgotten that one of your leaders uses the Party as sexual supermarket where he can pick tasty teenage morsels off the shelf for his morally and emotionally stunted gratification.

  146. Anna Chen on said:

    stuart: Stabbing your ex-comrades in the back …

    In the BACK? You clearly haven’t been paying attention for the last 10 years. (Why do you think you’re EX comrades?)

  147. Karl Stewart on said:

    Anna Chen,

    Well said Anna, and good for you. I don’t know you either, but you’ve been very honest in your contributions and stood up strong to “stuart” and his bullying.

  148. Non-Party on said:

    A relationship between a 17 year old and a 46 year old is not in principal something that Marxists should get irate about. Age differences are not some moral abhorrence we should get uppity about.
    However, in the case of Delta, given the fact he had that aura of authority, coolness, and political involvement, obviously there was a line that Delta should not have crossed. He did, and the party is now paying the price. It is not bloggers who are at fault, though some of them seem to be gleeful that the SWP is going to fracture.
    I used to be in the SWP and I know what it is like over the aura we gave the big names.
    The SWP has brought this crisis on itself. I have been reading Lenin’s Moscow by Alfred Rosmer this weekend. What the SWP say is democratic centralism and the way the Boshelviks did it are two different things.
    The SWP does not get Lenin at all. Sorry to say that, comrades. The SWP is stuck in the 50’s, back to its roots. Split, split, split, my arguments are better than yours. You readers of this know how it goes.
    Lenin was open to argument and relished it. Even though he was wrong at times with his ideas, he wanted debate, and saw it is a necessary tool to navigate and maneuver through the ebbs and flows of the class struggle.
    Does Callyknickers do this? No. Does Kimbertimber do this? No.

    What does Leninism mean in the 21st Century? It means not like being the SWP and closing yourself off to debate and not being willing to say you have been wrong.

  149. Karl Stewart,

    Thank you Karl. Your astute questions on the exploitative rates of pay in the SWP inspired one of the lines in my original post above. We still don’t know why they don’t have trade union representation. (Although we can make an educated guess.)

  150. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    I must be a weird and boring person and a sad individual compared to the scholarly people on Socialist Unity. Because ever since I went to my first Militant branch meeting on the Friday 30 May 1980, (a political discussion on the Labour Party by one of the most respected trade unionist and Labour Party member in Brighton), and I have never been bored, in fact I been enthralled by the branch’s cultural composition and character. I love the political and theoretical discussions and the planning of active intervention within the working class through street stalls, selling the Paper – Militant then, Socialist now – and other literature, going to public/trade union meetings; and finally going to Militant, and now Socialist Party, conferences. I consider that is how one builds links with working people to lay the practicalities and foundations for a Left Movement with and amongst the working class.

  151. Because ever since I went to my first Militant branch meeting on the Friday 30 May 1980, (a political discussion on the Labour Party by one of the most respected trade unionist and Labour Party member in Brighton), and I have never been bored, in fact I been enthralled by the branch’s cultural composition and character. I love the political and theoretical discussions and the planning of active intervention within the working class through street stalls, selling the Paper – Militant then, Socialist now – and other literature, going to public/trade union meetings; and finally going to Militant, and now Socialist Party, conferences. I consider that is how one builds links with working people to lay the practicalities and foundations for a Left Movement with and amongst the working class.

    There’s one thing missing from this description of your busy life, Jimmy: Actually doing anything. It seems like a life completely swept up in the culture of “being in a far left party”, as opposed to actually waging real struggles, really getting involved in workplaces and communities, really connecting with people. You seem to be proud of this building links that lay the foundations for talking about setting up a meeting to discuss the purchase of some graphic design software to advertise a discussion group on the formulation of a policy that sets out your aim for building links that lay the foundations for…

  152. Karl Stewart on said:

    Anna Chen,

    Is it true there are an estimated 90 SWP staff employed at below Living Wage rates and with no workplace trade union representation?

  153. Never was fooled by the: TU all Depts, that used to appear on posters from the printshop, back in day in Bromley by Bow.

  154. Karl Stewart: Is it true there are an estimated 90 SWP staff employed at below Living Wage rates and with no workplace trade union representation?

    If so, Karl, that’s shameful. How can they even begin to justify that considering all the lip-service they pay to socialism? Thanks, I’ll add that to my blog pieces.

  155. I’m getting confused, can you please make up your minds whether

    1) SWP fulltimers are sitting on plum jobs and therefore crush all challenges to their rule.
    2) SWP fulltimers use access to less than minimum wage jobs to entice people into their cult
    3) SWP fulltimers are poor non unionised hardups that are too busy exploiting themselves to see the all pervasive transcendental power of trial/self promotion by internet.

  156. jim mclean on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    Working on the “lump” one assumes. Partial declaration of earning plus cash in hand rewards while claiming state benefits. I think the IS did a leaflet on it once. Oh I think the Bristol comrade that was sacked should be seeing an employment lawyer, bloody good claim there.

  157. Pingback: The Socialist Workers Party: Sex, Power and the Abuse of Trust | The Not So Big Society

  158. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Tony Collins that is one of the most contemptible and ludicrous statements I have ever read from you. You are the more intelligent ones of the SU editors, at least compared to Mr Newman, and you write something like that on post 194. The reality is I am involved in the real life struggles of the ConDem’s, and here in Scotland the SNP Government’s, austerity programme, (as well as looking for jobs as I am on the Work Programme, doing an IT course to improve my skills and volunteering for the CAB), and well you know it. Below is a link to an article about one of the many campaigns the Socialist Party Scotland, and I, are involved in now, the Bedroom Tax. Where we advocate that the bedroom tax should be scrapped, build support for anyone who cannot or will not pay this unfair, unjust tax; for Council and Housing Associations refuse to evict any tenants that fall into rent arrears as a result of the tax; the Scottish government must immediately change the law (section 16 of the Housing Act) to make it impossible to evict people from their homes who cannot pay the bedroom tax; stop the attacks on benefits and wages. Make the rich and big business pay for the economic mess – not ordinary people and for a major programme of council house building to provide affordable homes for all. Build a 24-hour general strike to bring down the ConDem government. Now that is “really getting involved in workplaces and communities, really connecting with people” and I am out on the streets on Edinburgh on the stalls campaigning for this to come into fruition…………

    I do have a gripe though; you fabricate words that I have said by putting in quotation marks to a particular phrase I did not say in my original contribution on post 191. You said this “It seems like a life completely swept up in the culture of “being in a far left party”, as opposed to actually waging real struggles……”. I did not say being in a far left party. That is a bit naughty and belittles your intellectual acumen. It is also a miss representation to what I meant but that is another matter. However, a question for you; were you ever a member of the SWP yourself in a past life as Mr Newman was?

    http://www.socialistpartyscotland.org.uk/news-a-analysis/83-campaigns/457-bin-the-bedroom-tax

  159. McFudgestrikesagain on said:

    £100 a week for a new ‘full-timer’, and £20 cash in hand for a day in Bookmarks, the ‘Socialist Bookshop’. Are the TUC and all the trade union conference organisers happy about that?

  160. Graham Day on said:

    jay blackwood: But…who are we going to argue with now Stuart’s gone???

    Maybe someone could set up a robot to repost his earlier contributions at random intervals.

  161. jay blackwood:
    But…who are we going to argue with now Stuart’s gone???

    Ahem.

    The problem is, I was in the SWP for about a year. I don’t regard the party as institutionally sexist – if I did I would resign. Again. I mean I would have resigned for that reason.

    Everyone has full confidence in the Disputes Committee. No one has proposed an alternative DC. No one has challenged the process. The verdict is not being challenged. What’s your alternative, take a random poll from the filthy sectarian degenerates of Socialist Unity? Trial by pseudonymous commentator?

    The fact is you don’t know Delta, I don’t know Delta: the only people with the full facts is the DC, and even the opposition accept the existence of the DC as a fundamental part of a revolutionary party. What gives you the right to second-guess the people who are actually in the know? We have an established complaints procedure. At the request of the complainant we used this procedure. What would you have us do, ignore the complaint? Trivialise it with sexist comic strips showing rape to all be just ‘a bit of fun’?

    We all know this is really about politics. The opposition lost to the majority of party members, who weren’t prepared to throw overboard the democratic centralism that allows us to intervene in the class struggle, and then used the attack dogs of the internet to try and overturn the agreed procedures of the party.

    You just have to accept that you failed to break the SWP. The SWP is not going to follow theadvice of trolls, witch-hunters and sectarians online. Good try though!

  162. Jellytot on said:

    @207You just have to accept that you failed to break the SWP.

    stuart

    The “breaking” of the SWP is a marathon not a sprint.

    ‘The Line of March’ in the SWP’s decline (much of it self-inflicted) has been evident to us watchers since at least the mid-1990’s, although the pace seems to have quickened in recent years.

    @207filthy sectarian degenerates of Socialist Unity

    You’ve got powerful senior people in their late 40’s cracking onto 17 year olds and WE’RE the ‘degenerates’ !!!

    :-)

  163. HarpyMarx: I should’va lived it up as opposed to sitting in too many depressing rooms above pubs listening to someone drone on about dialectical materialism.

    You lucky bastard – they musta thought the sun shone outa your arse mate.

  164. “stuart” you are now banned from this site. If you keep on trying to circumvent the ban, you can be sure it’ll never be lifted.

  165. Jara Handala on said:

    jay blackwood: The more I think about it, the clearer it seems that this was an accident waiting to happen. If you build the sort of internal culture that now exists in the SWP, sooner or later someone is going to take advantage of it for their own . . . #143, 11:53am

    Just to note, importantly, this was no accident: it was intentional behaviour by a man that caused a female to allege multiple rapes. What may be unintended is that the managers, albeit drawing on Lenin or Bakunin or whoever, have chosen organisational forms and encourage practices that make it more likely for members to be abused than if they had chosen the means & methods of, say, social democratic parties or the unions or other associations in civil society. And, logically, if it can be demonstrated that the chosen means & methods make it more likely that abuse occurs then those managers deserve criticism for persisting with them – as do those members who vote for the status quo in the light of such damning evidence.

    Turning to what I want to comment on, Anna Chen asks, what is filth? And if we are interested in trying to reduce the opportunities for filthy behaviour we need to look not just to the power centres of capitalist society but also to revo soc & anarchist organisations, for filthy behaviour occurs there too.

    Cde. Chaplin was quite wrong in his 14 January statement, ‘Response to attacks on the SWP’, in saying “the SWP is not an institution of capitalist society” (it’s still in the top-left corner of their homepage, the ‘Top Stories’ slot, http://www.swp.org.uk). As I explained in another comment, this is not simply false but dangerous: it makes the managers complacent, thinking revolutionary ATTITUDE can substitute for both competence & behaving well.

    As Karl Stewart, Anna Chen & others have repeatedly pointed out, the SWP is an employer & not a good one at that. In some of its activities, e.g. the printshop, it is in competition with other print/publishing firms, so its money here is in the form of capital, it functions as a capitalist. And not for nothing did the ‘Critique of the Gotha Programme’ talk of the new being born from the womb of the old. Cde. Kimber’s claim is purely voluntarist, & dangerously so.

    We are all capable of being filthy, but that’s not what is at issue here. The question is whether there is something about the way far left groups are organised that can make it easier – especially for senior, experienced & older members – to be abusive, to be filthy, to relate to fellow members, comrades, in an objectifying way, to turn them into objects, to use them as means in one’s own practices.

    What tends to happen when professed revolutionaries, in adverse political conditions, choose the organisational forms & practices that they do? A clue is given in one of the links Jion posted on SU a few weeks ago, & I thank Jion for going to the trouble of selecting these sources ( http://www.socialistunity.com/the-swp-what-happens-next , comment #361).

    The piece I want to quote from is by Chris Pallis, a great man, not least for his contribution to the worldwide practice of medicine. He refers to an article in ‘Socialist Worker’, saying it’s not enough to criticise either the inadequacy of the religious idiom of protest or the oppressiveness & brutality of capitalist society, we also need to look at how professed revolutionaries organise themselves.

    What Pallis is getting at is nothing new coz this SW article is from 1978, yet every facet he refers to here is manifest in the current SWP crisis:
    “We also need to relate all this to many phenomena and tendencies we see daily in the socialist movement around us. We mean the systematic cult of leadership, the manipulation of information, the abdication of critical judgment, the substitution of rhetoric for argument and of slogans for the serious discussion of complex issues. We mean the belief in ‘activity’ at any cost – with little questioning as to its content – the mythologising and the voluntarism, the intimidation of dissidents, the almost universal application of double standards, the systematic generation of paranoia and the retreat, on a very wide front indeed, from rationality in general”.
    (Maurice Brinton [pen-name], ‘Suicide for Socialism?’, 1979 at http://www.libcom.org/library/suicide-for-socialism-jonestown-brinton)

    Pallis decided to spend some of his time examining the Jonestown mass suicide coz he recognised it as an extreme expression of a dynamic which, in a much milder form, generates “many similarities to what we see around us” in the far left, & he offered his essay “as an elementary gesture of socialist sanitation. We hope this will help some of those who find themselves bewildered (or trapped) by their experiences in the unreal world of various marxist sects”. One can only hope that comrades still find useful what he has to say.

    So to pick out something from Jay’s comment that led me to all this, I would conjecture it’s no accident that Chris Pallis was an experienced & skilled clinician. He was able to apply this to the far left & develop a meta-analysis, going beyond his own experience. For that we can be grateful, but we need to be rational & struggle to apply it.

    I’ll give another relevant excerpt in a moment.

  166. Jara Handala: Just to note, importantly, this was no accident: it was intentional behaviour by a man that caused a female to allege multiple rapes.

    Yes, of course – I was using a common turn of phrase there, and not implying that anyone could be “accidentally” raped… I do think that was obvious from the context!

  167. SWP (ex) Loyalist on said:

    If I was told that Burger King or the Royal Opera House were breaking the law by paying workers below the minimum wage, I’d call HMRC and drop the bastards in the shit. That wouldn’t be an act of collaboration with the system, would it?

    Any reason I shouldn’t do the same to the SWP tomorrow morning? Let’s get justice for exploited workers at Bookmarx and Vauxhall.

  168. Jellytot:
    @210Pssst, Manzil

    Is it ‘Manzil’ ?

    See #193 above

    Aye, it was me. I take it that it was a fairly good impression though? :P

    I’m not the poor bugger “Stuart” is using the email of, thankfully.

  169. SWP (ex) Loyalist: Any reason I shouldn’t do the same to the SWP tomorrow morning?

    Well yeah, quite a good reason is that it would land a lot of people in the shit for working and signing on at the same time… I don’t think anything could justify that.

  170. I’ve just seen that “Stuart” has now been banned from this website.

    I have to admit that despite being attacked by him (them?) on a number of occasions for being a regular poster on the “Zionist, anti-socialist, Islamophobic etc etc Harry’s Place”, I will miss reading his comments here.

    Why?

    Because he gave an insight into how the SWP and their loyal members will defend their views on the “Delta” case –

    1. Don’t you realise you’re all saying the same stuff as Harry’s Place/Daily Mail/Nick Cohen – let’s form a United Front Lynch Mob to drive those alien reactionary bourgeois moralistic filth away so we can debate the real issues.

    2. Leninism for the 21st century. Under the weight of unprecedented historical defeats for the proletariat, there is now the modern equivalent of “the retreat of the intellectuals” as Trotsky had to face in the 1930’s. As Marx said, history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce. Trotsky had brave revolutionaries such as Victor Serge retreating, we have low-brow sci-fi writers and occasional Guardian columnists throwing their toys out of the pram.

    3. Defend the Party! Defend the class! History has shown us that there is only one way for the working class to achieve state power and that is the construction of a Party of a NewType – the Revolutionary Party. There is no ” us and them ” in our Party – we have to ensure that there is maximum trust between the Central Committee and our Rank and File. Those who wish to destroy our Great Movement are willing or unwilling agents of the Tories!

    Defend Democratic Centralism! Defend Socialism!

    Anyway, I would have been interested to hear what he had to say in the lead up to the March 10th Special Conference.

    But hey, who knows, maybe there is another loyal SWP member who is willing to take up the arguments.

  171. Todor Zhivkov on said:

    Jimmy Haddow: I must be a weird and boring person and a sad individual compared to the scholarly people on Socialist Unity.

    This is the most prescient observation you’ve made.

    Keep it up and stop boring the pants off people with you regurgitation’s from the SP. All respect to the organizational competence of the Militant Tendency. Today’s SP are pale imitation..to be generous.

  172. I do have a gripe though; you fabricate words that I have said by putting in quotation marks to a particular phrase I did not say in my original contribution on post 191.

    Jimmy, just because something is in quotes does not mean I am saying it is a quote from you. It is a title I’ve given to the life of people for whom party activity effectively becomes their only struggle, as opposed to being in and of the working class, and organically taking part in activity as a working class person.

  173. “Comrade Delta has admitted to having had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl. Do you think that is appropriate?”

    If it was consensual, then yes.

  174. I don’t think stuart should be banned, though I disagree with everything he says. He is the only person to come on this blog and defend the SWP CC position consistently, ad nauseum (though I am in some doubt about his credentials). If you bar him, the discussion is then on an uneven playing field.

  175. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Ahh, Tony Collins you seem to want to separate me from working class struggle by suggesting that I am not organically linked to the working class; and by definition because I am a member of the Socialist Party that means the Socialist Party is not organically linked to the working class. What balderdash poppycock and bovine excrement!

    The fact that I was born into a working class family in a working class part of Scotland; the fact that I went to a school that was 100% working class, both primary and secondary, and when I left at 15, because I had failed my 11 plus, and worked on the shopfloor of factories in which I gained an apprenticeship and trade for nearly two decades; the fact that I joined a trade union at 16 and involved in the trade union battles of the 1970s and voted Labour in the 1974 elections and 1979 election and local elections does not make organically linked to the working class certainly suggests that you are losing your intellectual marbles.

    It is all about consciousness and how the class struggle impacts on it. The heady days of the 1970s class struggle and being involved with members of the CPGB during that time had a certain resonance on my consciousness that I wanted to explore further. The CPGB was never ever able to do that, what with their tankie analysis or their eurocommunist analysis, so I turned to the Trotskyism of the Militant Tendency which provided the answers to MY questions and much more. This meant I as a working class person understood the reasons why I was taking part in the class struggle. When I joined the Militant Tendency on the 30 May 1980 the branch secretary said I was a gut socialist because I had been involved in the class struggle at the point of production and had not learned through books in a university, (that came much later as a mature student). So with all due respect to you Tony I am organically linked to and taking part in working class struggle; and your talking bollocks.

    Finally, I am unemployed living in private accommodation with no prospect of a job, over the hill and over qualified, and having my benefit capped along with my housing benefit and council tax benefit cut and you have the audacity to suggest that I am not organically linked to working class struggle just because I am a member of a political party and have a political philosophy that you do not agree with. You are having a laugh pal, and to think that I had a modicum of intellectual respect for you.

  176. I was thinking Stuart was more Hyperdyne Systems 120-A/2 android…pretty old fashion and certainly in need of an upgrade in the “thinking for yourself” department.

  177. Totally Horrified Ex on said:

    stuart: have full confidence in our Disputes Committee as do the vast majority of our membership.

    They’ve made a film about Stuart and the list of shame doing what they are told by figures of authority.

  178. Jara Handala on said:

    Don’t know if anyone has posted the link already, but 3 Defence motions for the Conference in two weeks’ time are online, together with the list of faction members.

    The motions are:
    In Defence of Party Unity
    The Role of Comrade X
    The Dispute [sic] Committee

    The faction list is arranged alphabetically by District, with family name initialled. I counted 473. The list might be as of 21 Feb, last Thursday (doc is labelled ‘Faction List 0221′).

    CPGB date their posting as Saturday.

    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/idops-conference-proposals#factionlist

    P.S. Has Stuart been banned? If so, please tell me why. Thanx. I want her/him to remain here unless their behaviour was truly unacceptable.

  179. I have little time for the SWP leadership, & doubt that type of party is the way ahead. Nevertheless, the palpable sense of glee in painting the worst picture of the SWP that you can, is I fear, neither wholly accurate (certainly not from my experience) nor particularly endearing.

    In fact, some of the argumentative techniques (taking the extremes & portraying them as the norm) seem to me exactly the type of thing you are keen to critisize. I have seen it so many times amongst those who self-congratulatorarily criticize others. Leninist parties, labour party, climate change protestors…and on…

    As mentioned, I’m not a fan of major parts of the SWP internal regime, nor all of its politics. However, to be honest, I get a similar unease reading through this thread.

  180. RedMomma on said:

    Dan:
    “Comrade Delta has admitted to having had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl. Do you think that is appropriate?”

    If it was consensual, then yes.

    At last an answer, which is more than “Stuart” could muster.

    Ok.

    But that raises the following question: what about the fact that Comrade Delta held a very senior position in the party, did he and the party not have a duty of care to the 17 year old girl which rendered the sexual relationship inappropriate?

  181. Yes, well said Gaston. There has been a debate thrown up by the crisis in the SWP, and a lot of it has been useful and constructive. For example, I think the contributions from the ex- Socialist Worker journalist Tom Walker on the Left Unity blog and elsewhere have been particularly insightful. However, This discussion is going nowhere. Except maybe deeper and deeper into prurient gossip and unsubstantiated, uninformed curtain-twitching speculation.

  182. “Keep it up and stop boring the pants off people with you regurgitation’s from the SP”

    Cde Haddow does it by rote. Can’t think out of the box. I remember him saying that had he not been busy on the day he would have spent his hard earned cash on a train to London to attend the cops demo last year. It doesn’t get sadder than that. ;-)

  183. SWP (ex) Loyalist on said:

    jack:
    However, This discussion is going nowhere. Except maybe deeper and deeper into prurient gossip and unsubstantiated, uninformed curtain-twitching speculation.

    Nothing to see, move along, ignore abuse of power and sexist behaviour at the heart of the SWP, Lib Dems, BBC, Catholic Church, etc, etc

  184. jack: Except maybe deeper and deeper into prurient gossip and unsubstantiated, uninformed curtain-twitching speculation.

    Nick Clegg indicated that he had received only general and non-specific allegations about Lord Rennard’s behaviour, and was not prepared to act to protect women on the basis of prurient gossip and unsubstantiated, uninformed curtain-twitching speculation

  185. jack: prurient gossip and unsubstantiated, uninformed curtain-twitching speculation.

    Msgr Stanislaw Dziwisz, the private secretary to His Holiness JOhn Paul II, counselled against any disciplinary action towards Father Marcial Maciel Degollado on the basis of prurient gossip and unsubstantiated, uninformed curtain-twitching speculation.

  186. tin

    jack: deeper and deeper into prurient gossip and unsubstantiated, uninformed curtain-twitching speculation.

    The BBC continued to not only employ Jimmy Saville, but to allow him to use his position to abuse children and vulnerable adults, rejecting repeated doubts and complaints being raised against Saville as prurient gossip and unsubstantiated, uninformed curtain-twitching speculation

  187. Why bother on said:

    SWP (ex) Loyalist: Nothing to see, move along, ignore abuse of power and sexist behaviour at the heart of the SWP, Lib Dems, BBC, Catholic Church, etc, etc

    One difference is that the scandals in the Lib Dems, BBC and Catholic Church have all repeatedly made the front pages whereas the SWP only got a few stories on the inside pages. There are two posible explanations for this.

    Firstly that the Bourgeois media regard the likes of the Lib Dems as an even greater threat to the establishment and so are attacking them even harder.

    Or, and I know this sounds far fetched, its possible that sex scandals sell papers but that the SWP just aren’t important enough to make it onto the front page.

  188. Gaston: Nevertheless, the palpable sense of glee in painting the worst picture of the SWP that you can, is I fear, neither wholly accurate (certainly not from my experience) nor particularly endearing.
    In fact, some of the argumentative techniques (taking the extremes & portraying them as the norm) seem to me exactly the type of thing you are keen to critisize.

    It depends what you mean by the norm, if you have experienced the SWP from the inside, then haughty arrogance from full timers, and the centre expecting a culture of deference is pretty much the norm, enforced by bulying and marginaisation of those termed “unhelpful”. While of course this is masked to the outside world by the layer of grassroots SWP members who do good work and have relatively normal social interactions. The outside world usually has little direct contact with the SWP’s inner core, who are selected by the “star system”, and often by being invited to write for SWP publications, which is a signal of their higher status; of course it helps if they are also fucking someone on the CC.

    If you have even dealt with Martin Smith personally, then you will know that it is the norm for him to be an oveerbearing charmless, boorish bully, prepared to shamelessly abuse his position of power within the closed world of the SWP, and browbeat, assault and slander anyone who gets in his way. That is very much the norm for him; and indeed he has many of the negative features of Gerry Healy, without any of that man’s accomplishments or virtues.

    What is extraordinary, is that the 500 plus signatories to the Lynch Mob petition are prepared to throw everything good about the SWP away to preserve the most tawdry abuse of power, exercised for the basest and most shameful motives.

  189. prianikoff on said:

    handala@62
    The main opposition inside the SWP is now maintaining “internet silence”, so who do you represent?
    Are you one of those CPGB entryists? Rather like the ones they had in the SLP, SPEW and the LP?
    Or are you just representing yourself?
    Some of your posts seem to be written by a surrealist doing painting by numbers on crack.

  190. brokenwindow on said:

    ‘Filth’ is the continuing denial of serious alleged sexual misconduct by the upper management of the Catholic Church – Cardinal O’Brien being the latest and the mirroring of this by the Lib dems and their appalling treatment of several alleged incidents and,similarly,the inability of the upper-management to face up to what is obviously a serious and continual problem. The SWP bumbling in the dark and the BBC’s mishandling/cover-up of Jimmy Saville all reflect a chronic,cultural condition where women/girls are treated as sex objects and then liars and fabricators…Frankly some of the posts around this topic on this blog smack of a severe inability to treat the problem with the gravity it deserves.
    Comments by Galloway recently only reinforce the feeling that the far-left is some cranky boys’ club for middle-aged men with all the worst that stereotype has to offer.

  191. brokenwindow: all reflect a chronic,cultural condition where women/girls are treated as sex objects and then liars and fabricators…

    Exactly, as this issue has gone on, I think it has highlighted the degree that a culture of denial of sexist abuse, harrassment, rape and violence exists, and this is a systemic problem throughout society.

    But in each of the individual caes you refer to, there are also particular institutional factors that have facilitated abuse.

  192. brokenwindow: Frankly some of the posts around this topic on this blog smack of a severe inability to treat the problem with the gravity it deserves.

    I dont think that is true, and it is certainly not true of anything that has appeared “above the line”

  193. If you have even dealt with Martin Smith personally, then you will know that it is the norm for him to be an oveerbearing charmless, boorish bully, prepared to shamelessly abuse his position of power within the closed world of the SWP, and browbeat, assault and slander anyone who gets in his way. That is very much the norm for him

    Andy is totally right here. Smith is interesting to talk to on subjects where he’s knowledgeable, but he really is a bully. He is also a pretty bad liar – he would make claims about things that we knew to be completely untrue and he would just try to front it out – during the Respect split when he came to our caucus, he just sat there lying to us; we all knew it, we all told him we knew he was lying, but it didn’t matter (this was over issues such as who had voted for what, who had said what – things that were documented and which we proved were false). During Kevin Ovenden’s expulsion, he kept making claims that he had written this or that and posted this or that, but none of it was true. (And remember, the DC refused to even acknowledge complaints made about his bullying behaviour during the split – they do seem to have so much integrity, don’t they; party rules can be broken with impugnity if you politically disagree with someone, it seems.)

    He would regularly belittle people when he was speaking at public meetings. I remember one female SWP member who was totally humiliated and upset by the way he spoke about her at a Marxism meeting. He seemed to do this to women a lot – he would really sneer about the actions of other comrades, as a way of putting us all on the right path. The woman was angry for hours after, mostly cos she knew that there was absolutely no point in speaking to Smith about it, and she knew no other party leader would take her complaint seriously. During the Respect split, he acted the same towards another female member at an aggregate. And, of course, no one challenged him.

    And of course he’s the one who arbitrarily changed the rules of the party – if you took the opposite side in the Respect split, he made claims that you weren’t a member anyway (he did this to at least 3 people). His whole attitude was “I will do and say what the fuck I want, and I will get away with it”.

    None of this speaks to allegations of rape of course. But if there was one thing the man was guilty of at every turn, it’s abuse of power. The norm for Martin Smith is to bully and humiliate people. Alex Callinicos’s MO is to lie and smear, Smith’s is to bully and humiliate.

    A charming bunch of people.

  194. prianikoff on said:

    redsnapper@138
    “these kind of age gaps are totally inappropriate.
    Its not about bourgeois morality but potentially abusive power dynamics and such behaviour shouln’t be encouraged by socialists”

    A *consensual* sexual relationship involving an age difference of this sort is obviously highly inadviseable.
    But it’s not necessarily against the law.

    It shouldn’t be forgotten that the former head of OFSTED, Chris Woodhead, was alleged to have had an affair with a teenage pupil while teaching at Gordano School in Bristol
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/1999/apr/11/martinbright.theobserver1

    This didn’t stop him retaining his job as Chief Inspector of Schools and being given newspaper columns in the “Telegraph” and “Sunday Times”.
    He used these to continue his crusade against Progressive Education and bash progressive teachers.

    A staunch defender of Woodhead was his close friend Melanie Phillips, who dismissed Cathy Woodhead’s detailed account of her ex-husband’s affair as an “unsubstantiated smear” and “a torrid stream of allegations about his private life”. (Private Eye, 29 Sept, 2009)
    Tony Blair and David Blunkett also defended him and, even when he left OFSTED, he was able to continue as a Teacher Trainer and run a private education company.
    Michael Gove has simply picked up the torch Woodhead handed him.

    The subsequent changes to the law would have made Woodhead’s relationship illegal if he started it while he was a teacher.
    But the laws now prevailing in education aren’t necessarily applicable to other areas.
    The main point is that Tories and right-wingers control the press.
    They have the money and power to defend their own, while smearing others.
    As the Eastleigh by-election nears, the Liberals are finding this out.

  195. Frankly some of the posts around this topic on this blog smack of a severe inability to treat the problem with the gravity it deserves.

    Please substantiate this claim. What do you mean, a “severe inability”? That’s a pretty serious accusation to make.

    I really, really hate this tendency towards gross exaggeration. If you think our posts show a “severe inability” (not just an inability, a severe inability!), give some serious examples. Or, y’know, stop making shit up.

  196. EX SWP loyalist:

    ‘Firstly that the Bourgeois media regard the likes of the Lib Dems as an even greater threat [than the SWP] to the establishment and so are attacking them even harder’.

    I don’t think any solid bourgeois would view the LibDems as a threat exactly. I think the Mail has made the running on this story, judging from the headlines in my local Asda. Like the Tory right, they hate the LibDems with a passion and don’t want to see them hang onto their seat in the Eastleigh bi election.

    Also, of course, they’re of that strain of middle England that have a prurient obsession with all matters sexual, but turned a blind eye when abuse in various forms was rife in so many walks of British society in the recent past – i.e. Saville.

  197. Andy Newman on said:

    Sam64: I don’t think any solid bourgeois would view the LibDems as a threat exactly.

    I think the proposition that the Lib Dems are a threat was intended as a reductio ad absurdum of the idea promoted by Socialist Action, and some in the SWP that the interests of the liberal press in the Delta affair is because the establishment sees the SWP as a threat

  198. John Fisher on said:

    re.251. Andy Newman.
    “It depends what you mean by the norm, if you have experienced the SWP from the inside, then haughty arrogance from full timers, and the centre expecting a culture of deference is pretty much the norm, enforced by bulying and marginaisation of those termed “unhelpful”. While of course this is masked to the outside world by the layer of grassroots SWP members who do good work and have relatively normal social interactions. The outside world usually has little direct contact with the SWP’s inner core, who are selected by the “star system”, and often by being invited to write for SWP publications, which is a signal of their higher status; of course it helps if they are also fucking someone on the CC.
    If you have even dealt with Martin Smith personally, then you will know that it is the norm for him to be an oveerbearing charmless, boorish bully, prepared to shamelessly abuse his position of power within the closed world of the SWP, and browbeat, assault and slander anyone who gets in his way. That is very much the norm for him; and indeed he has many of the negative features of Gerry Healy, without any of that man’s accomplishments or virtues.
    What is extraordinary, is that the 500 plus signatories to the Lynch Mob petition are prepared to throw everything good about the SWP away to preserve the most tawdry abuse of power, exercised for the basest and most shameful motives.”

  199. With respect whats the black thing about?

    Stuart was continuing to try to post despite being told he was banned, so I posted a message to him in white-on-black, to make sure he would see it. I also changed the name to “STUART”, cos he decided to try posting under the name “Stew” to try to get around the ban filter.

  200. brokenwindow on said:

    Tony Collins: I really, really hate this tendency towards gross exaggeration

    Weally,weally?

    Bit of an exaggeration?

    I meant what appeared by a few posters to be an inability – and by virtue of the nature of the alleged crime therefore ‘serious’- for them to acknowledge that women do not go into this labyrinth of accusation lightly and even when they do so from a straightforward position of wanting justice and closure (of sorts)they are smeared,caricatured,put down,intimidated or silenced by the same forces that support,by implication the rapist.

  201. John Grimshaw on said:

    #258 But i still don’t understand why he was banned? Due respect, I mean i know its your web-thingy but it all sounds like somethink out of a Ken McCleod novel? :)

  202. jim mclean on said:

    Birmingham
    International Women’s Day—how do we win liberation?
    With Judith Orr (SWP, author of A Rebel’s Guide to Women’s Liberation)

    I hope all the IDOOP comrades attend,it will be a little taster for the 8th.

  203. Jara Handala: Why was Stuart banned, Tony?

    Because unfortunately some on this site have proposed that unions take punitive bureaucratic measures against SWP members, and now the editorial team are following through with this. Quite simply, anyone on the left should oppose witch-hunts, not impose them!

    I think you will find the answers you seek here:

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/harman/2007/xx/morality.htm

    I appeal to people as fellow socialists. The SWP is under attack from the bourgeois press and the admins. This is not about the allegation. (And remember, no one has challenged DC, the process or the verdict, which all enjoy the full confidence of the party.) This is about politics.

    [Go on, bring back Stuart! I want to see what he has to say after the special conference. It’s not his fault his programming went haywire, and I can’t keep this up without losing my self-respect.]

  204. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Unite’s United Left took measures against the SWP, not as a witch hunt nor as a punitive bureaucratic measure. No, we expelled them for their failure, again, to abide by discipline within the group.

  205. Why was Stuart banned, Tony?

    OK, he was posting increasingly aggressive attacks on here, and a few people had said they felt bullied by him. Bear in mind something fundamental: You don’t necessarily see all the posts. Stuart has been trying a different tactic recently, of getting really sneery and nasty – the sort of stuff that starts to get said in a relationship that’s breaking down, as the tension gets worse. These posts have been deleted if all they contain is the sneering attacks on people. So it might come as a surprise to you to be told that he was making people feel attacked.

    You’ll have seen me saying that I believe Stuart is clearly being emotionally affected by the SWP’s crisis. His persona on here is one of unnatural, studied calm – with people like that, you can often see the cracks around the edges. That was definitely the case here. Stuart was going through digging up old quotes and posts and trying to cause arguments, and so we deleted those comments. In fairness, I also deleted a number of comments that were aiming to do the same thing to Stuart.

    Unlike my time on Lenin’s Tomb, we actually have a really light touch here. That means there’s large scope for making mistakes and being inconsistent – our bias is towards leaving comments in rather than deleting them, so the context of a comment is important. These SWP threads have been overwhelmingly calm; that is 99% down to the change in behaviour of all the regulars here – people just haven’t tried to start fights and generally haven’t responded to attempts to start fights. It means that there has been a really serious, high level of political discussion. I mention the opportunity for inconsistency and mistakes cos it’s important to acknowledge that we’re gonna get it wrong a lot.

    The way that applies to Stuart is that we’ve been really reluctant to ban him. Instead, when he’s started playing up I’ve responded by putting him in the moderation system – his comments have all had to be approved before anyone sees them. I’d say 99% of his comments have been allowed through. One set of comments was deleted because he kept trying to start a fight with someone, and I refused to allow him to do so, but he kept re-posting the same comment again and again.

    So, for about 3 weeks, despite Stuart becoming increasingly belligerent, we’ve responded by not banning him but throttling his ability to make comments – anything that didn’t cross the line was allowed through; none of you will have seen this, cos the bad comments were deleted. But it’s still only a tiny number. What it means though, is that you might not have seen the increase in aggression and sneering from him.

    It got to the stage last week where, within half a day of removing him from moderation, I had to put him back in it.

    The final straw was when he started getting aggressive towards people yesterday (or the day before, I can’t even remember now). We decided that we were fed up with giving him the space to act like a kid. Sure enough, despite a post from John saying Stuart had been banned, Stuart then tried to post 6 or 7 more times, using different names, and using one of his family’s personal details to try to circumvent the ban. This does kind of show us that we were right to ban him.

    The ban will be lifted as long as he doesn’t keep acting so childishly. Stuart isn’t a bad bloke, although I’m very much in sympathy with the view that Stuart is supporting the very worst politics that have been evident throughout this crisis, the results of which made a young woman feel she’d been badly let down by people who are supposed to be at the forefront of solidarity and equality.

    If Stuart wants to contribute again, he should leave it a week, then just try posting. It’ll be held in moderation and we’ll look at it. If he goes back to being the stuart who doesn’t attack people, that’ll be cool. I still think he’s fundamentally dishonest in debate, but that’s not a crime really.

  206. jim mclean on said:

    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

    Off topic. dispatches tonight discussing DLA and the effects of the cuts.
    Tomorrow,Discovery Chanel .
    Wheeler Dealers give a sympathetic retro treatment to an Escort Mk 1.

  207. brokenwindow: Bit of an exaggeration?

    No, gross exaggeration – you said “a severe inability to treat the problem with the gravity it deserves.”. There was no inability at all, let alone a severe one.

    I meant what appeared by a few posters to be an inability – and by virtue of the nature of the alleged crime therefore ‘serious’- for them to acknowledge that women do not go into this labyrinth of accusation lightly and even when they do so from a straightforward position of wanting justice and closure (of sorts)they are smeared,caricatured,put down,intimidated or silenced by the same forces that support,by implication the rapist.

    Right, well you said “posts”, not “posters” – an important difference, cos “posts” are what John, Andy and I do, the rest are “comments”. That’s one thing. I don’t accept you playing semantic games over the phrase “severe inability”, cos tbh it looks like you’ve back-filled your original thoughts with something that allows you to claim I got you all wrong.

    It’s not a huge deal, I just hate it. You could make an important point about the fact that it’s almost all men on here discussing age differences and rape and marxism. By framing it as a “severe inability” to treat things with appropriate seriousness, you spoil your point cos you make it about other people’s posting style rather than the politics behind it.

    And even so, I totally reject what you’ve said. If anything, it’s this site’s editors and commenters who have driven home the point again and again that the woman was treated badly precisely for the reasons you give!

    So, anyway, no point in keep going over and over this. I’ve said a billion times that people don’t need to exaggerate to make their point, but even without you exaggerating, I reject the entire premise, cos we’re the ones who have been trying to show just what a huge issue this has been for the women concerned, and how it’s the SWP leadership that has tried to play it down, and is guilty of all the things you point out. The platform within the faction has also been pushing this line hard, to their credit.

  208. Manzil: The SWP is under attack from the bourgeois press and the admins. This is not about the allegation. (And remember, no one has challenged DC, the process or the verdict, which all enjoy the full confidence of the party.) This is about politics.

    We’re actually quite worried that someone will leak the transcript of the meeting where we discussed the ban. All we can say is, er, we’re glad we er, bourgeois morality er.

  209. Tony Collins: We’re actually quite worried that someone will leak the transcript of the meeting where we discussed the ban. All we can say is, er, we’re glad we er, bourgeois morality er.

    :D

    This just got incredibly meta.

  210. So Anna from Tottenham Branch, in her motion, outlines the full logic of the fantasists who will justify a split in the SWP. This mentality is articulated in the deluded ‘Bolsheviks splitting from Mensheviks’ narrative that is gaining circulation in the ranks of the CC loyalists. That the new generation involved in the ‘SWP Spring’ rather than being sincere young SWP members rising up to save their party from being forever tarnished by sexual oppression and the abuse of power, were instead some secret autonomist feminist menshevist faction. This is a key part of this new inner party-ideology of those who want a split to cleanse the ranks of this.

    This statement in Anna from Tottenham’s motion, adressing fears that “we will lose many of the young student members of our organisation” is a perfect example of their lack of all political acumen. It is the lullaby with which the pro-CC faction maintain their slumbers. You should treasure it as an oddment from a dying world, before the rude awakening from the sleep of routine:

    “New students arrive at colleges every year. If we raise the level of
    politics to fit the present situation the SWP can recruit…”

    This is no longer possible. That was what you used to do, in a past era. That was what you used to do to bypass and drive out ‘OLD CADRES’. layers of SWP activists who clung to an old line, refusing to adapt to a new shift, or whatever. You used to call these layers ‘tired’ and ‘conservative’ and you would always bypass them with the next generation of students.

    Today, the situation is different. It is the opposite. There is a revolt by the ‘new layers’ – the SWSS groups, the young full-timers, the emerging cadres in their twenties who have joined in the past decade, the parties most dynamic and outward looking layers. It wont be like any other episode, where ‘old layers’ have been driven out and replaced by the new. This is the reversal – the old driving out the new and the young (by and large).

    This breaks the treadmill of recruitment, the routine whereby the SWP has reproduced itself as an ‘interventionist propaganda group’ in the thirty to forty years between the grand struggles around the crisis of the 1970s and the renewal of strategic struggle around the systemic crises of today. The treadmill is broken, Anna. There will be no more ‘mass swss groups’ that become the home of the left on campus. Instead, you will have a student operation with a ‘higher political level’ on the scale of the Spartacist League or the International Bolshevik Tendancy.

    When you google SWP, the search engine completes the search term by suggesting ‘SWP rape’. Old members who use the internet once a week or whatever probably think this will ‘blow over’. They have no idea how hard it was already to make the connection between the new generation of radicals and the classical Marxist tradition, before the Delta news became public.

    One of the things the SWP CCs motion to the special conference does is to assert the control of the SWP and the SWP CC over SWSS. This is the wrong thing to do. What we need are fighting student and youth anti-capitalist organisations directed by the new generation themselves. Thats the only way they will develop a new left politics fitted to lead twenty-first century working class struggles. Then we can learn something from them. (Of course, the history of Marxism and the experience of older comrades who have been fighting for decades will also be indispensable part of the mix for the new generation to inherit).

    Of course, this move by the CC and its supporters will probably help split SWSS away. That could be how a new left finds its own voice, fitted to lead its own generation. Could the CC faction inadvertently help generate some sort of autonomous student left in the UK?

    If we are to break the cycle whereby ‘the tradition of all the dead generations weigh like a nightmare on the brain of the living’ then maybe its good that all the old crazies who think the SWP is their private or family business succeed in driving out the young, the dynamic and the in touch? Maybe thats how a new generation of revolutionaries succeed in coming together and then overcoming the dead traditions of the past? The SWP gathers together the forces for its own negation and supersession. Nice one Anna from Tottenham …

  211. prianikoff on said:

    harpy@145 “Many (leaders of revolutionary organisations) see the group as their own personal harem.”

    Roflmao!
    Clearly I must have been living in a parallel universe all this time, as I’ve yet to meet a woman on the left who was prepared to be in anyone’s harem!

  212. Jara Handala on said:

    Tony Collins: Why was Stuart banned, Tony?
    OK, he was posting . . .
    #267, 7:42pm, 25 Feb

    I know this was way back in the day, but I’ve only just read it, & I need to put this on the record, & to apologise.

    Just after midnight that day I had asked why Stuart had been banned, then again late afternoon, & as there wasn’t a reply within an hour or so I didn’t look again on the thread, presumably coz a new one on the SWP started up.

    Tony’s explanation makes it plain that SU acted correctly. I’m sure I’m not alone in very much appreciating the light censorial touch exercised here. A few day later I had a letter published in ‘Weekly Worker’ 28 Feb where, in passing, I indirectly criticised SU for banning Stuart. I should have emailed the SU team to find out why the ban occurred before commenting on it in a paper. For that I apologise unreservedly. I am also writing a letter to ‘WW’ to correct my unwarranted assumption.

    This is what was published in ‘WW’ 28 Feb:
    “A final point. When the stalwart defender of the Lynch Mob faction on Socialist Unity blog, ‘stuart’, got banned, people were no longer being kept on their toes, so the quality of comments went down, as did my interest in contributing. We all too readily forget there is much virtue in the liberal opposition to censorship, for it supports conditions more conducive to rational argument, to pushing people to improve what they say, to letting people freely change their minds and to giving us all a better chance to recognise what the facts are.”
    http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/951/letters

  213. Jara Handala on said:

    Barry Kade: One of the things the SWP CCs motion to the special conference does is to assert the control of the SWP and the SWP CC over SWSS. This is the wrong thing to do. What we need are fighting student and youth anti-capitalist organisations directed by the new generation themselves.
    #272, 10:13pm, 25 Feb

    That’s spot-on, Barry. Fundamental. The healthiest revolutionary org’ns (anarchist, as well as socialist) have always cut a lot of slack to their youth org’ns. It’s the only way, not least for giving older, routinised cdes. a chance to learn from those with less-ingrained ideas & expectations.