Is Martin Smith Resigning As National Secretary of the Swp?

I am advised that Martin Smith, the current National Secretary of the SWP is stepping down from that role, ostensibly to bolster the industrial and anti-fascist work of the SWP. Maybe so. However an e-mail sent to me from a concerned SWP member suggests that there may be other additional reasons.

I believe it would be wrong at this stage to have any sort of discussion on a public website. But the SWP’s conference starts next weekend. Hopefully behind closed doors that organisation can have a frank and private discussion, and comrades may want to question the official explanation.

347 comments on “Is Martin Smith Resigning As National Secretary of the Swp?

  1. The Undertaker on said:

    As Martin isn’t ‘resigning’ as your totally misleading headlines states the point of this thread is ,as your know full, well to encourage every anti SWP sectarian dullard to post the latest thing thats popped into their head.
    If you really want to know Andy re join the SWP and we might let you into the conference as an observer !
    Anyway what better way to stimulate some debate on here than opening a shooting gallery at Martin, nice one

  2. I am advised he is stepping down as National Secretary, but will still be on the CC slate. Is that true? or not?

    I received what seemed like an entirely credible e-mail about it, containing some highly persuasive factual details which convinced me it was genuine, along with suggested avenues that I could follow up for verification.

    If he isn’t resigning as National Secretary, then the rest of the info I was given is wrong.

  3. Christ on a bike on said:

    “I believe it would be wrong at this stage to have any sort of discussion on a public website”

    This must be the 5th time you’ve announced something into the public domain while declaring it is not to be discussed in the public domain.

    Here is your cake now plz eat it.

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

  5. Andy, what is the difference between you posting this gossip and the NOTW gossip about Sheridan? How can you claim to have solidarity with Sheridan when you post gossip on a public blog about the internal affairs of the SWP? So much for your claims that the accountability and democracy of a political organisation are paramount. I posted that I thought the NOTW threat to this blog was out of order but you certainly know how to burn your bridges.

  6. #6

    “between you posting this gossip and the NOTW gossip about Sheridan?”

    I haven’t said anything of substance here, except that some SWP members are concerned that there needs to be a private discussion at your conference. I haven’t even hinted what it might be about

    If you really think that is the same as the NOTW lurid stores about 4 in a bed romps and singers clubs, you need to get a sense of perspective.

  7. “If you really think that is the same as the NOTW lurid stores about 4 in a bed romps and singers clubs, you need to get a sense of perspective.”

    You still haven’t answered my question – what’s the difference between you posting gossip about someone in the SWP and NOTW publishing gossip about Sheridan? It’s none of your business and you are spreading tales about a socialist just like they’ve done. Another SU sensationalist thread about the SWP to get more hits is the same as NOTW printing another sensationalist exposé about the left to shift more copies. The SSP claimed they were acting in the interests of the left when they made public so-called “internal documents.” What’s your excuse?

  8. christian h. on said:

    Andy, serious question: from your perspective, what is the purpose of this post?

  9. “I am advised he is stepping down as National Secretary, but will still be on the CC slate. Is that true? or not?”

    So why should you know about internal affairs in the SWP before I do? How does that work? Someone hostile to the SWP i.e. Andy demands to know about internal matters before the SWP membership is informed. Where is your respect for the internal democracy of a political organisation?

    “I received what seemed like an entirely credible e-mail about it, containing some highly persuasive factual details which convinced me it was genuine, along with suggested avenues that I could follow up for verification.”

    When did random emails to non members become a democratic way to discuss the internal affairs of a left organisation?

    “If he isn’t resigning as National Secretary, then the rest of the info I was given is wrong.”

    Who cares about responsible reporting, eh? The thread’s been posted let the smears, innuendo and sectarianism commence. Anyone looking for a political debate can look elsewhere.

  10. David Ruaune on said:

    Anyway never mind that – how can Moira Nolan who was on the CC of the SWP now behave like a total bum and take up a management position in a school in North London?

  11. JellyTot on said:

    no.6 How can you claim to have solidarity with Sheridan when you post gossip on a public blog about the internal affairs of the SWP?

    Where’s the gossip? Although the thought that this, somehow, compares to the NOTW stuff has got my attention.

    Looking at Martin Smith you’d think he hasn’t got it in him! Never judge by appearances, eh?!

  12. JellyTot on said:

    no. 10 Who cares about responsible reporting, eh? The thread’s been posted let the smears, innuendo and sectarianism commence. Anyone looking for a political debate can look elsewhere.

    Lose the ‘holier than thou’ stance. The SWP have spread their fair share of shit around in the past about their political enemies.

  13. Morning all,

    Rather than gossip etc, I’d like to get some perspective on the anti-cuts struggle and how to lead it to some victories. I’d be interested to see the SWP’s pre-conference bulletins to see what they say. The paper, review, journal don’t give me the same sense of argument, sometimes. Love to see an explicit statement of how they think working class militants and socialists should lead the struggles – what demands should we rally our movements around? How might these demands might link together and become a strategy?

    In particular I’d like to know what other militants think about our relationship to councillors – I’ve help build a coalition which involves green and labour party members and councillors, (as well as trades unionists, community activists, anarchists and more). We have had numerous actions, and can regularly muster around 400 supporters on the streets of our small northern town.

    Our formative demand was ‘no cuts’. full stop. We originated as a politicised minority and organised our first street protest of about 250 locals on the day of the spending review on Oct 20th. Here, the movements politics were against the cuts in general. The argument that emerged to unify our movement was that rich should pay with more progressive taxes and particularly that the rich tax dodgers should pay the many tens of billions that they owe. This was a familiar argument accross the country. We would not accept supporting one cut to stop another, which would only set different service users against each other and divide the working class. The only way to build a united movement was around the class conscious demand that the super-rich should pay, not the workers and the poor.

    But now things grow more complicated, for two reasons:
    1) Firstly, as the cuts become real, we will see lots more sectional campaigns as new and wider forces arise to defend a particular service or facility. The answer is fairly simple – we attempt to build the biggest campaigns against each cut in particular – we unite with anyone and don’t demand that they are as advanced as us as a precondition – we don’t demand that everyone is against all the cuts as a precondition of getting involved to fight a particular cut. The way to maximum mobilisation is around simple demands ‘save our sports centre’ etc.

    Yet at the same time we must use the fact that we have already built a core of several hundred who want to oppose all the cuts. This substantial core can bring together all the different campaigns and prevent divide and rule. This will be especially important in the next wave of protest at council budget setting meetings.

    The anti-cuts group must do two jobs simultaneously – it must reach out to mobilise the widest forces against each particular cut (especially the most unpopular ones) while at the same time put forward the argument against every cut within this wider agitation. struggle. Therefore, often the local anti-cuts campaign will require tactical flexibility, getting the balance right, between fighting each battle and the wider war, requires thought and debate. Love to have that on here, and see what the SWP comrades think.

    2) This relates to the other thorny question. Councillors and budget setting. We must intervene in the budget setting process – and it seems logical to demand that the council refuse to do the Con-Dems dirty work, and that councillors should refuse to vote for a cuts budget. We have radical green councillors involved saying they think all the cuts are wrong, and that the rich and the corporations should pay. Thats great. They say they would like to find a strategy for councillors to defy the cuts. But they say they have found that if they vote for a deficit budget then they are personally liable to pay. If this is true then it seems to be our weak point. We can’t demand local fellow activists become liable for £millions of debt. But we can’t let this force us to accept the cuts. The social movement must oppose all the cuts and not accept a budget that mean cuts. It would make it impossible to fight the particular cuts that are to come if we have accepted the cuts budget. One answer would be to split from elected representatives / and / or their parties unless they vote against the budget. Should we do this? That seems a bit ultra-left. So we face problems either way here. Answers please. I would be interested in what revolutionary leaderships have to say. Sincerely interested.

  14. The ease at which certain SWP members can be wound up is quite bizarre, but Ray’s response is bizzare.

    Before he compared it to the NOTW and Sheridan, most people would have thought, oh another pointless wind up of the SWP by Andy, how boring.

    But now the mind boggles. Ray, how do you manage to be so stupid?

    And I am fascinated to read, ‘I posted that I thought the NOTW threat to this blog was out of order but you certainly know how to burn your bridges.’

    It would be interesting to know what that means.

  15. Gall Oglaigh on said:

    Ray is a star SWP member. Stupidity and loyalty, a proper Pavlovs dog. The Running Man, Martin Smith should get Ray in to run the show.

  16. #9

    “Andy, serious question: from your perspective, what is the purpose of this post?”

    Someone claiming to be an SWP member approached me via e-mail, asking if I would run a substantive article on what they claim has happened; becuse they were worried that the SWP CC would not tell the whole truth to the members; and they beleived there were issues of principle at stake that shoudl be discussed by the membership.

    I didn’t want to do that, but agreed that if true, the SWP membership should discuss it. Hopefully this article will mean that SWP comrades will ask some questions if Martin Smith des step down as National Secretary.

    If what I am told is not true, then no real harm done, it just makes me look silly.

  17. David Ellis on said:

    There is more to his resignation than:

    1. Letting John Rees’s CoR lash up leave their lash up languishing;
    2. for making them very unpopular in the student movement with their bullying and unrpedictability (Laurie Penny wasn’t writing in a vacuum);
    3 for assimilating too much of Nick Lowles’s anti anti fascism;
    4. hemorrhaging them membership and influence in the unions;

    amazing? That should really be enough.

    I too am intrigued by Ray’s `burning bridges’ comment but not as intrigued as by the Bruce Forsyth rumours.

    Personally I think any group that swans around the labour movement should discuss their reasoning, perspectives, plans, actions, beliefs, decisions openly in front of the movement (I won’t say programme because they don’t have one) and the idea that they are a private organisation is ridiculous hubris and hostility. Only certain very, very narrow operational matters should remain on a need to know basis everything else is fair game.

  18. Jonny Mac on said:

    17 – ‘Ray, how do you manage to be so stupid?’

    Years of practice combined with natural aptitude is my guess.

  19. Jodley on said:

    “I believe it would be wrong at this stage to have any sort of discussion on a public website.”

    Ermmmm – so, why have you posted this?

  20. I heard this a while ago, from two different people, and neither led me to think there were issues of principle involved. If his resignation was for pws

  21. …oops

    If it was for personal reasons, it might not prove to have been the most comradely act to plaster it over your website

  22. #25

    pws ????

    We can’t discuss whether the issues are of principle without discussing what the issues are; so I don’t think we should go there.

    #26

    I haven’t revealled any personal reasons. Suffice to say, sometimes the personal is political.

  23. #29 no doubt. I just think that if there is something political to discuss you should spell it out (ray’s self-importance notwithstanding). If not, then probably best to drop it.

  24. Amazing inflated ridiculous sense of their own importance. The SWP equates some clatter on the internet about Martin Smith with the NOTW attack on Sheridan.

  25. It becomes clear that Ray actually thinks it is slacious gossipt to discuss whether or not Martin Smith is resigning.

    Actually, that is the normal stuff of political journalism, and it is treating the SWP by the same rules as labour, Lib Dems or Tories are reported. Surely the SWP should think that is a good thing?

  26. The Undertaker on said:

    #19 Thanks for ‘allowing ‘ us SWP members the right to discuss ‘it’ the ‘it’ being that Martin may be stepping down as National Secretary at the next Party Conference if that is the case then I have no doubt that will happpen with or without Andys’ permission.
    I do have to laugh though at the ‘i got an email ‘ stuff from someone claiming to be an SWP member .
    Take from me and I am an SWP member the SWP is in much better shape thanks to Martin.
    The Rees/German faction has had little or no impact on the organisation in fact most members were glad to see the back of Rees ,less so Lyndsey, but certainly glad to get rid of the factionalising.
    Counterfire have not grown in any meaningful sense indeed Rees and German got out voted when they proposed turning Counterfire into a ‘Leninist’ organisation.
    Much as it pains the sad isolated sectarians on here jelly,Auntie Vanya and the crazy David Ellis etc the SWP has grown over the last year branch meetings are bigger and more focused, paper sales are up.
    On the numerous Sheridan threads on here even people hostile to the SWP have been moved to comment that the SWP has grown quite significantly attracting to it the polar opposite of many of the regulars on here, that is young enthusiastic activists.I can well understand some of the dullards and saddos on here looking on with a sense of jealously as the SWP leaves them behind lost in their inward looking bitter little world but thats life boys get used to it
    There is a real discourse about the real world ( Vanya,jelly ,ellis look away now) summed up well by Barry Kade ,those questions I’m sure will be addressed at some length at the SWP conference much more so than any changes on the CC after all the SWP unlike the snipes on here is focused on the fight to stop the cuts.
    The proof of how effective Martin has been is the level of hostility shown towrads him by the dullards on here, well down pal

  27. lovely on said:

    Hello The Undertaker. You say paper sales are up. This is indeed good news. Can I ask you a question about that?

    Do you know what the circulation of the paper is currently and what it was last year? Do the members generally know this?

    To clarify I’m not asking what the circulation is (I don’t care), I’m asking whether you know what it is.

    As this is part of the evidence on which you base your ‘the SWP is thriving’ hypothesis (and it might well be I keep seeing SW people out and about) I wondered whether you were given the figures or whether you were just told by your leadership that, under their watchfull eyes, everything is going swimmingly.

  28. I think Michael is more on the money but ‘guys’, (members of the SWP) – lets not go mad. The defensiveness of responses is half-explicable by some of the ludicrous sectarianism that gets thrown at the organisation, but I think members could probably relax a bit. There is a satisfaction in not being so easily rattled…

  29. Lovely – I don’t have them to hand, but circulation figures are published internally.

    Internal documents are not the self-delusional ‘big-up’ you seem to imagine. Give the few thousand people who choose to be members of the SWP for a reasonable period of time some credit in terms of, I don’t know, thinking, talking, moving, etc…

  30. Agree with Rev9
    This thread is a Heat article in political journalism, just gossip and speculation.
    I don’t think comrades do themselves much credit rising to the bait and getting ultra-defensive.

  31. It was claimed to be 10,000 in the mid 1990s. How the figure then went down to 3,500 a year ago (the most accurate figures I heard) is surely of some interest to everyone on the left?

  32. Indeed as the SWP claim to be the vanguard party they should tell the class a bit about themselves.

    As they are our leaders appointed by history we should be told……

  33. Bizarrely the British state has probably always had a much better idea of the true membership of the SWP, and a more accurate view of the weekly paper sales than the actual membership.

    And in terms of ‘party’ size does matter. If an organisation has 1000 members, it should be expected to have different ambitions than if it has 10,000 members. But if it has 1000 members and pretends it has 10,000 members then it leads to an enormous amount of running around, self-delusion, over-expectations, substitionalism and all the rest of those things that eventually lead to demoralisation and burn out.

    Not to mention the various comrades who left the centre because they were sick of the lying about ‘numbers’ that went on.

    It’s all rather silly. The SWP would have much more credibility (and therefore influence) if it was more honest about it’s own organisation. But when will such thinking ever break through the hysterical and diabolical materialism of the ‘leadership’?

  34. There are about 4,000 fee-paying members.

    This is not ‘oh-so-secret’ information. Just don’t pretend you’re an innocent ‘on a quest for information’, as your tone amply betrays otherwise.

  35. Anonymous on said:

    4000 ? But there were 4000 in 1985.

    In those days there were regular sales and plenty of posters around

    Havent seen one in london for years

  36. Anonymous on said:

    Am i right in saying the BNP use footage of Snith’s appearance on Newnight as part of a recruitment video?

  37. SantiagoTalk on said:

    As an SWP member I am delighted that there is so much interest in our party on this blog. We must be doing something right.

    If Martin Smith is resigning as National Secretary this will be discussed at the forthcoming SWP conferencee by our conference delegates and then reported back to our members at branch meetings.

    Membership and Socialist Worker sales totals are reported to the membership on a regular basis. If you would like details I would surgest you join the SWP.

  38. SantiagoTalk as you are our leader by virtue of your membership of the vanguard party dont you think you should share with those you lead

    By the way has it ever occured to you that your CC are lying to you?

  39. “Am i right in saying the BNP use footage of Snith’s appearance on Newnight as part of a recruitment video?”

    Perhaps you should ask one of your BNP friends anon?

  40. JellyTot on said:

    #35 As this is part of the evidence on which you base your ‘the SWP is thriving’ hypothesis

    Since they adopted the ‘new mood’ theory around 1988 the SWP has always been thriving and “there’s never a better time to be a Socialist”. It’s a circular argument. Socialist parties grow when confidence is high and because confidence is high then the SWP must be growing (even when it isn’t).

    #43 It was claimed to be 10,000 in the mid 1990s. How the figure then went down to 3,500 a year ago (the most accurate figures I heard) is surely of some interest to everyone on the left?

    Calculating SWP membership numbers is a bit like trying to hold water in your hand.

    Cliff always had a very fluid definition of what made a SWP member anyway. Most organisations would count it as somebody who signs up and pays subs for that year, whether they be ‘active’ or ‘inactive’. Cliff used to define it as “those who take and read the Socialist Worker”. Therefore, by that definition, those who regularly read the paper could be counted as ‘members’. My own view is that the SWP peaked in terms of membership, though not in influence, just after the Poll Tax riot and has been in decline ever since. It’s nadir was around 2005 as evidenced by Mark Steele’s last book.

  41. The Undertaker on said:

    What a moron you are Jelly and a liar to boot never did Cliff claim the membership of the SWP was ‘those who take and read the Socialist Worker’ which as a matter of fact includes several Mp’s trade union leaders and a significant number of Labour Party members
    On the question of membership figures as has been stated earlier they are available to members at conference ,which is more than can be said for most of the left .
    In any event it matters not one iota to me what clowns like Jelly etc think if we had a dozen members it would still amount to a dozen more people than ever cretins like him could accumulate around his dullard politcal outlook.
    ‘Your own view ‘ Jelly is irrelevent as are any of your other ‘views’ stick to navel gazing and being an imbittered old fart its your level.
    Mark Steels last book was as Callinicos stated a sad goodbye to years of revolutionary politics mixed with a nasty attack on his voiceless ex-partner sad but true and I suspect I know Mark a little better than you Jelly
    One thing I can guarentee this thread will not get a single mention at next weeks conference and nor will Jelly ,but Jelly will continue to obsess about the SWP until he is no more ..sad but true

  42. bob ford on said:

    56. One of the stipulations for party membership was, rather famously so that I don’t know how you could get it wrong, that members must “take and sell socialist worker”.

    Oh, I know how you could get it so wrong – because “take and read” makes cliff sound like some sort of delusional loon.

    As does claiming that people in the SWP think they are ‘the vanguard’. No they don’t. The term ‘vanguard party’ refers to an organisation which orientates its political activities upon the forward element of the working class – not a party which is itself ‘the vanguard’. But then that’s political theory and therefore boring – its much more fun to pretend that swp members are deranged.

  43. JellyTot on said:

    #57

    Pheeeww….Feel better after that rant? Good to read that the Trot ‘talent’ for throwing bile around hasn’t diminshed.

    P.S. Martin Smith’s “resignation”. If I was to say, “Gerry Healy” would I be getting warm?

  44. JellyTot on said:

    #58 The term ‘vanguard party’ refers to an organisation which orientates its political activities upon the forward element of the working class

    So if the “forward elements of the working class” have shrunk massively in size, lack confidence and the ‘Labour Movement’ to which they belong in moribund then it doesn’t really matter too much to ‘The Vanguard Party’ as it still orientates towards them.

    So everything’s GREAT! I like it!

  45. This thread has predictably attracted the usual sectarians. The personal insults are standard fare for those on here who think politics is peddling gossip about others on the left. It speaks volumes that they can’t understand that publishing gossip that deliberately flouts the democratic processes of a political organisation is no different from the gutter press doing it. Just when you think SU can’t sink any lower…

  46. The Undertaker on said:

    Seems Jelly’s getting hot under the collar also seems to think anything he says matters
    Like I said a sad old fart too tired for anything other than cynicism ,thnakfully his type stay a million miles away from the SWP and long may that continue
    Jelly Tot ? if I was to say Gary Glitter would I be getting warm ?

  47. JellyTot on said:

    #62 It speaks volumes that they can’t understand that publishing gossip that deliberately flouts the democratic processes of a political organisation is no different from the gutter press doing it. Just when you think SU can’t sink any lower…

    The SWP are democratic ?!

    #63 Like I said a sad old fart too tired for anything other than cynicism ,thnakfully his type stay a million miles away from the SWP and long may that continue

    Cynical? Moi? On the contrary, I have been invigorated and enlivened by the recent Student protests and the excellent work HnH and others have been doing around anti-fascism. Activity does exist outside the SWP you know?

    The reason I stay a million miles away from the SWP nowadays is that I used to be a member of it.

  48. redcogs on said:

    #53. “Delegates”? Can Party branches mandate their “delegates” these days Santiago’? That was not the practice that I recall, (on any issue, even on matters of critical import).. The inability of the rank and file membership to direct the Party by using even the occasional mandate always seemed a problematic issue somehow.

  49. anticapitalista on said:

    So Jelly where and when were you a member of the SWP? I think you said you were in Manchester in the 80′s, if so, we could have been in the same branch.

  50. JellyTot on said:

    #66

    Nope, you must be confusing me with somebody else.

    Only went to Manchester once to see West Ham lose 7-1 !

  51. Bellytot is at it again. Makes things up, keep saying them and hope others will go along with the bull. Jelly is clearly a moranic embittered sectarian.

  52. Alfie North. on said:

    @ 34 You’re trolling.

    @ 45 If you have a look on YouTube you’ll find a series of videos, with David Shayler (former MI5) and Larry O’Hara having a good old ding dong. Shayler, amonst other things, states this: ‘Certainly MI5 went crazy during the eighties about anarchists and Trotskyists, having lists of people…’ Specifically, Militant, SWP and Class War.

    “Good game, good game.”

  53. JellyTot on said:

    Apologies for besmirching the memory of “his holiness” T. Cliff but I distinctly remember him saying in a meeting that we (the SWP) have a vast pool of supporters who take, read, pass on the Socialist Worker to others and agree with the “What we Say” column and they are as good as members. “We are not a small Party” he exhorted to applause.

    Maybe I dreamt it.

  54. CC recommendations to be approved at conference

    Central Committee responsibilities

    National Secretary – Charlie Kimber
    Socialist Worker Editor – Judith Orr
    Anti Fascism – Weyman Bennett
    Right to Work – Chris Bambery
    Industry – Michael Bradley
    Industry/Anti Fascism – Martin Smith
    Students – Hannah Dee
    International/ISJ – Alex Callinicos

    Martin Smith seems to be supernumary helping to carry Weyman bennet’s and Michael Bradleys rucksacks.

  55. JellyTot on said:

    #68

    Apologies for besmirching the memory of “his holiness” T. Cliff but I distinctly remember him saying in a meeting that we (the SWP) have a vast pool of supporters who take, read, pass on the Socialist Worker to others and agree with the “What we Say” column and they are as good as members. “We are not a small Party” he exhorted to applause.

    Maybe I dreamt it.

    #70 CC recommendations to be approved at conference

    Has there ever been an occasion when CC recommendations haven’t been approved at conference?

  56. rayisfun@hotmail.com on said:

    “The SWP are democratic ?!”

    As opposed to non-members publicly publishing gossip and smears about the internal affairs of a left organisation you mean? Perhaps you think the democratic process is served by non-members receiving emails purporting to reveal internal information about an organisation on the left and then publishing this gossip on a public forum. It’s a shame your claimed concern for the democratic rights of its members doesn’t include giving them the right to discuss their internal affairs first. But then we all know that the principle of democracy isn’t valued by sectarians like you when it gets in the way of attacking others on the left.

  57. #71

    “then publishing this gossip on a public forum.”

    But I haven’t published the gosip have I? i have just stated the fact that martin Smith has resigned as national secretary. I made a decision not to report the gossip surrounding that move.

    personnel changes at the top of political parties are often reported in the press before all the democratic processes are carried out.

    That is the way mainstream politics works.

  58. JellyTot on said:

    #68

    Apologies for besmirching the memory of “his holiness” T. Cliff but I distinctly remember him saying in a meeting that we (the SWP) have a vast pool of supporters who take, read, pass on the Socialist Worker to others and agree with the “What we Say” column and they are as good as members. “We are not a small Party” he exhorted to applause.

    Maybe I dreamt it.

    #70 CC recommendations to be approved at conference

    Has there ever been an occasion when CC recommendations haven’t been approved at conference?

    Maybe Martin’s walked the plank for the stunning non-successes against the EDL last year?

    #72

    But then we all know that the principle of democracy isn’t valued by sectarians like you when it gets in the way of attacking others on the left.

    Get over yer friggin-selves !

  59. rayisfun@hotmail.com on said:

    “CC recommendations to be approved at conference”

    So as usual you made it all up. I know you won’t respect the internal process of the SWP in the future but when you claim to champion democracy within left organisations remember you flouted ours just like the SSP faction did with their own.

  60. #73

    “So as usual you made it all up. “

    no silly boy. the quote of CC responsibilities proves I was correct.

    martin Smith is no longer national secretary, Charlie kimber is.

    this will come into effect when the CC presents its recommended slate this weekend, and conference unanimously agrees it.

  61. Tony Brezhnev on said:

    #71 `It’s a shame your claimed concern for the democratic rights of its members doesn’t include giving them the right to discuss their internal affairs first.’

    Seems the discussion has been had and the decision is already made. Andy’s just engaging in a bit of Kremlinology. And why not? What do members think of their new Nat Sec by the way? Do they know yet?

  62. Halshall on said:

    #69 Andy

    Or maybe MS is just in need of assistance carrying double responsibilities.

  63. JellyTot on said:

    #81

    Or maybe MS is just in need of assistance carrying double responsibilities.

    Or he’s walked the plank for something or other? This situation has echoes of what happened to Pete Alexander. Give it a year and Martin Smith will be an un-person as far as the SWP are concerned.

  64. The Undertaker on said:

    Oh dear Andy is so divorced from having any influence in his own wonderfully democratic organisation that he has to start a thread off about the one he used to be a member of in the days when he was a socialist
    At least in our organisation Andy when members vote someone into a position there is not some other body that overules their decision ( Tower Hamlets spring to mind Mr Newman ?)
    Being responsible for anti racist work and Industrial in the SWP is hardly carrying anyones rut sack. Of course such a task would be somewhat beyond you Andy after all if the Labour Party had an anti racist organiser they’d have their work cut out simply dealing with racists in their own organisation like your HNH pal Phli ex MP Woolas, as for an Industrial dept well Labour opposes strikes so that’d be some job !
    There is of course a big difference between the elections in the SWP and your party I doubt if that newspaper of principle the SUN will recommend who should be SWP national sec
    As for tired old farts like Jelly he was never a member and proves it by the made up quotes from Cliff because anyone who knew Cliff knows he never said all SW readers are as good as members
    In many ways this thread has been useful in that it has wound up those dullards who as we all know secretly admire the vibrancy and effectiveness of the SWP.
    To saddos like Jelly the SWP represent all the things he would have liked to have done if only he could have been bothered ( thats why he claims to have been a member)
    Ever town and City has its Jellys tired sad figures usually to be found propping up a bar in some dingy part of town lamenting the passing of their youth seeking to regale anyone under 40 who might listen as to how things would have been so much different if only the Left had listened to them.
    One thing is for certain next weeks conference will be a real celebration of the rebirth of resistance and the key role played in it by the SWP aganist which all the bollocks spouted on here by various sectarians will seem totally irrelevent

  65. red mole on said:

    Part of the issue is that the SWP is over secretive about its internal affairs. Obviously there will always be some discussions best kept in house; but what’s so private about an election for party leadership positions, the results of which will probably be published in Socialist Worker anyway ? Why isn’t the SWP jumping at the chance to let anyone interested know who its leaders are ?

    Same thing over the issue of membership. According to recent party documents, “The registered membership of the SWP stands at 6,587. This is up on last year’s
    figure of 6,417. In 2008 it stood at 6,155. The registered membership that pays a regular sub to the organisation stands at 40%.” What reason does the SWP have to keep information like this to itself – unless it’s embarrassed by it ?

    As for this thread, Andy’s news isn’t really gossip, but neither Andy nor anyone else has said what they think is significant about it.

  66. The Undertaker on said:

    Firstly Andy chose to head this thread Martin Smith Resigns…which Andy knew was not true
    What Andy did know though was that such a headline would act likea red rag to a bull ( or Bullshitters) like Jelly et al people who are professional SWP haters and who like nothing better than to vent their spleen at the SWP for reasons ( see above)
    Given the dire state of the rest of the left we have no embarrassment about being twice as big as the rest of the left combined
    Incidently the printing of the membership figure came about because of a resolution moved by John Molyneux.
    As for being secretive our meetings are open and we publish our internal bulletins in a manner that we know will get into the hands of non members ( such as Andy )contrast that with Andys wonderful democratic Labour Party
    This thread was all about gossip a bait thrown out to attract some more tired anti SWP diatribes tragically for Andy all it lured was sprats better luck next time Andy

  67. JellyTot on said:

    @#83

    Apologies for besmirching the sacred memory of “his holiness” T. Cliff but I distinctly remember him saying in a meeting that we (the SWP) have a vast pool of supporters who take, read, pass on the Socialist Worker to others and agree with the “What we Say” column and they are as good as members. “We are not a small Party” he exhorted to applause.

  68. anticapitalista on said:

    #84 Exactly, (sort of) there is nothing significant at all about it really, except Andy added the ‘ostensibly to bolster the industrial and anti-fascist work of the SWP. Maybe so. However an e-mail sent to me from a concerned SWP member suggests that there may be other additional reasons.’ to get the gossipers talking

  69. anticapitalista on said:

    So Jelly care to let us know where and when you were a member of the SWP? I’m 99% sure you wrote in some thread here that you were a member in Manchester.

  70. JellyTot on said:

    @#85

    professional SWP haters and who like nothing better than to vent their spleen

    When it comes to “venting spleens” none of us can hold a candle to you , pal ! ;-)

    Back to the subject, maybe Martin Smith has walked the metaphorical plank, in part, as a result of the stunning non-successes against the EDL last year? Rather reminds me of the Pete Alexander episode of the late 1980′s (ask your older members about that one Undertaker). My conclusion is that Mr. Smith will be a non-person, as far as the SWP are concerned, this time next year. Tough place, Leftland.

  71. Another baiting thread this time on the SWP which ironically he lines with behind Sheridan. And of course he is backing Galloway in Glasgow who is standing in “support” of Tommy but not backed with by SWP. Does Newman have any principles or he is just an immature provocateur?

  72. #71 “But I haven’t published the gosip have I?”

    No, you haven’t. But that is a rather dissembling answer since you did publish that there *was* gossip. That sort of nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more is designed to stir the pot even more than coming straight out with a claim.

  73. National Secretary of any political party is a pretty significant role. It takes a great deal of sleight of hand to say that shifting someone out of this lofty position (and of course another person into it) has no political significance whatsoever, particularly in an organisation with the painful internal history of the SWP.

  74. JellyTot on said:

    @#88

    So Jelly care to let us know where and when you were a member of the SWP?

    London 20 years ago.

  75. Anonymous on said:

    Can someone one tell me who funds the SWP?

    They are not registered as a political party so it is very difficult to find out.

  76. JellyTot on said:

    #83

    Ever town and City has its Jellys tired sad figures usually to be found propping up a bar in some dingy part of town

    I’m teetotal!

  77. JellyTot on said:

    @#95

    Can someone one tell me who funds the SWP?

    It’s always been very opaque. They’ll say it’s purely through paper sales, subs and their constant appeals. Probably true although their stentorian defence of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi down the years has raised an eyebrow or two.

  78. Lobby Ludd on said:

    This article and its comments is a corker. Empty of content, but it still provokes armchair bitching. As a critical friend of this site I reckon it should employ fewer, but more experienced, journalists. They could create punchy article titles and leave the content to commentators. That would free up their time to do lots of investigative stuff or something, probably.

    The silence on the ‘Bruce Forsyth issue’ is telling. Rather than address this very real issue, we end up in a discussion about the size of the SWP’s organ.

    (In the interest of political clarity I approached, in an investigative way, MS and BF on the substantive issue. “Who the fuck are you” and “Piss off you twerp” was not quite what I expected. Perhaps I should have mentioned Socialist Unity, I’m sure I’d have got a better response.)

  79. The Undertaker on said:

    #88 you’re right Jelly did claim to have been a member of the SWP in Manchester now suddenly its ‘London’ 20 years ago the truth is he was never a member just thinks by claiming he was it gives his verbal bollocks some credibility sad tired old fart,incidently Jelly hows your mate racist phil woolas HNH doing these days I hear Nick Lowles is going to offer him a job as HNH liason with Lowles mate Tommy EDL Robinson( I take it you haven’t been privileged to the Facebook chit chat have you)
    93# River the Militant /SP spent a large part of its history denying they even existed and then when it all fell apart Ted Grant revealed they had never more than 1,500 subs paying members with a paper sale of less than 8,000 at its peak and was called senile by Peter Taffe for spilling the beans so talk of the SWPs so called ‘painful internal history’ is a bit wide of the mark I’d stick to fucking up the NSSN if I were you your organisation are doing a hell of a job there

  80. Tony Cliff's Spunky Backpack on said:

    The recommended slate for the Central Committee was published in the first internal bulletin of the pre-conference period in October. The proposed list of responsibilities for CC members was published in the third IB in December. There is nothing here that is not already part of the pre-conference discussion, which will be taken up at conference on the weekend.

    There is no news here, other than gossip for non-SWP members who wish to chuckle about how democratic or otherwise the SWP is. Have fun.

  81. #101

    “There is no news here, other than gossip for non-SWP members who wish to chuckle about how democratic or otherwise the SWP is. Have fun.”

    That depends upon what reason is given at conference for Martin Smith’s demotion.

  82. The Undertaker on said:

    Andy I know its a long time since you were in socialist organisation and with all those GMB junkets you enjoy these days with your pals on the Council ( trebles all round ) your faculties are perhaps not quite what they were but ‘demotion’ is what cheating football clubs like say Swindon get and not what is likelyto happen to Martin,though of course you are not encouraging gossip .
    Its interesting that whereas there is some serious political debate takes place over on Lenins Tomb you have managed to reduce this site to a third rate gossip column a parody of what it claims to be.Whilst much of that can be attributed to clowns like Jelly Auntie Vanya and the other assorted no marks the responsibility for that lies squarely with you ‘Fish rots from the head’ as Cliff DID used to say
    Mind you it does provide some good sport as finding and abusing such a large collection of political crazies like this would only happen once in a blue moon in the pre internet days ( usually on CND demo’s) but where oh where are the Sparts

  83. Of course Stalinoid Andy thinks moving from Gen Sec to doing industrial and anti fascist work is a demotion!!
    Get a grip..we have a massive attack on the working class and all you can do is raise tittle tattle. By the way Andy how is that beacon of hope Swindon Labour Party doing? Does it stand up for asylum seekers, against Islamaphobia, imperialism, defend ands support workers fighting back etc etc. Best look at the your own back yard.

  84. JellyTot on said:

    @88

    #88 you’re right Jelly did claim to have been a member of the SWP in Manchester now suddenly its ‘London’ 20 years ago

    Q

  85. JellyTot on said:

    @100

    #88 you’re right Jelly did claim to have been a member of the SWP in Manchester now suddenly its ‘London’ 20 years ago

    I’ll try again…..quote the thread title, date and comment number of where I claimed to have been a member in Manchester. Maybe, it’s you who’s making shit up now?

  86. JellyTot on said:

    @100

    93# River the Militant /SP spent a large part of its history denying they even existed and then when it all fell apart Ted Grant revealed they had never more than 1,500 subs paying members with a paper sale of less than 8,000 at its peak and was called senile by Peter Taffe for spilling the beans so talk of the SWPs so called ‘painful internal history’ is a bit wide of the mark I’d stick to fucking up the NSSN if I were you your organisation are doing a hell of a job there

    Of course the above contribution could in no way be considered sectarian!

    BTW, I had a dig around in the attic for a few old SWP Conference Reports and this one dates from 1992. It states;

    “Today a member of the party is someone who sells SW and is prepared to defend the politics it contains”

    It backs up what I recall Cliff saying around the same time in my comment 86.

  87. It seems clear that there is unfinished business with the John Rees split and that Smith’s sacking is the prelude to the return of Rees as his faction grows stronger (nothing succeeds like success). The purging of Smith is only the prelude to a serious bit of bloodletting and the winding down of Right To Work in favour of the Coalition of Resistance. What, may I ask, persuaded the SWP membership to elect Charlie?

  88. prianikoff on said:

    The only really solid information I got from skimming through this article and the comments is that the SWP’s paid up membership is around 2,600.

    The idea that people who don’t pay subs regularly are counted as “members” is, shall we say, an elastic conception of what constitutes membership.
    Of course Ed Miliband’s penny-a-member offer for Labour Party Membership is even more elastic. But Labour have recruited 50,000 since the election.

    What the SWP’s membership figures don’t indicate is how long they’ve been members, or anything about their social composition; manual, white collar, student pensioner, age, gender..
    That sort of information always used to be included in IB’s and is an indication of the health of the organisation. It shouldn’t really be a state secret.

    Such data was published in pamphlets of the RSDLP, such as “One Step Forward-Two Steps Back”, which was also a detailed account of the political and organisational debates between the major groupings in the organisation.

    The fact that the CC is proposing what amounts to a job-share for Martin Smith does seem rather like a demotion to me.
    If he was working as a middle manager in industry and that happened, I’d imagine he might feel a bit miffed.

    The IS-SWP does have a long tradition of discarding its former leadership figures and turning on them :-
    Roger Rosewell (just as well), Steve Jeffries, Jim Higgins, John Rees and Cliff’s annointed succesor Lynsey German to name but a few.
    So it’s not very surprising that some people speculate – and not necessarily done with hostile intent.

  89. BrokenWindow on said:

    Sources for courses? Come on,else you could blog any old crap.

    Any more of this lazy posting and people will just think it’s some conspiracy web site.

    Then you’ll have even more loons….

    What happened to he unity and peace sentiments on the new year thread?

  90. stockwellpete on said:

    Going back to the 1970s Cliff always used to emphasise the “activity” that was incumbent upon SWP membership. A revolutionary socialist paid subs, took and sold the paper, and was active in their trade union and various campaigns. But even then I remember we were told things like – membership was around 4,000, but only 3,000+ were active at the moment – so there has always been a “mystery element” to SWP membership figures.

    And I also remember being a branch treasurer in south London around 1990 and being given a great big computer print out from the centre with dozens and dozens of “members” on it, but only two of them were actually found to be paying subs (and one of them was me!).

    So this change with Martin Smith and Charlie Kimber, if SWP members endorse it, means exactly what in political terms? Any SWP members care to comment?

  91. aberfoyle on said:

    Crazy,2011,and still the S.W.P.are still disolving with its internal dialectic power.Maybe one day the workers will get their nose out of the books.

  92. David Ellis on said:

    #111 `So this change with Martin Smith and Charlie Kimber, if SWP members endorse it, means exactly what in political terms? Any SWP members care to comment?’

    `If the members endorse it’ … very funny Stockwell. And as for asking SWP members what this means politically forget it. I always said that if you wanted to leave politics you should join the SWP.

  93. What an unbelievable sense of entitlement the SWP members on here appear to possess.

    Why the hell shouldn’t the rest of us know if Martin Smith is being demoted and whether there is some sordid subtext?

    Can you imagine if a similar degeneration was taking place in the Green Party or Labour and their members told the Guardian that it must not publish anything on the subject because it was an ‘internal matter’?

    Bratty bollocks. You’re want to be the public realm so be glad of any attention you can get, even if it is only from those of us who enjoy this blog.

  94. Martel on said:

    Dave is right. The SWP is one of the forces on the left and if they start switching around the leadership posistions people are going to comment on it. Like they would for any other political group.

    It is not ‘gossip’ and the claim that it is an ‘internal matter’ just has sinister undertones.

    The SWP activists commenting here are not helping themselves, they just add to unease in regard to the SWP’s cultish tendencies.

  95. Don’t have a problem with this being discussed. I do have a problem at the suggestive innuendo in the first post but basically we should expect this sort of thing from sites like this.

  96. “suggestive innuendo” = the real reason why Martin Smith is being defenestrated.

    Who’d run a cult in the internet era, eh? It’s just too damn difficult to keep everything hermetically sealed from the outside world.

  97. David Ellis on said:

    #116 What innuendo. Andy received information about Smith being removed from Nat Sec post which turns out to be correct but the informant also suggests that the reason given for Smith’s demotion is not the reason the SWP intends to spin it as at their conference. Given the SWP’s history in this department and the informants track record so far I’d go with the informant and say there is more to this than meets the eye i.e. more to it than `bolstering anti-fascist and industrial work’. I think most people will be on that page and if there is to be a major turn or split then we should all know about it unless it’s a masonic lodge you’re building as opposed to a political party.

  98. And while we’re at it, perhaps the SWP members would like to tell the rest of us which member of the Central Committee is strongly suspected by some of the other high-ups of being a long-term agent for the security services?

  99. The Undertaker on said:

    Fuck it seems a good nights sleep has brought even more crazies out judging by this thread.
    Firstly Jelly the inveterate liar now changes his previous claim that Cliff said anyone who ‘takes and reads Socialist Worker’ was a member to anyone who sells SW.
    Whilst Jelly is clearly semi deranged the prize for the most insane poster has to go to Cupid #108 clearly after his morning meds have kicked in ( and there was me thinking all those Sparts were still on their CIA paid jollies)
    So much speculation amongst the unaligned and the various professional sectarians ,the reason Martin is stepping down and the changes proposed on the CC will be discussed and addressed at the conference.We’ll tell you later
    All that matters for the rest of you is that the SWP will continue to grow and annoy you by doing so,we will continue to take initiatives and organise events you can only dream about and will happily do so without the slighest concern for what a bunch of tired old farts say.
    My advice boys and girls get active, fight the cuts, do what you can and keep taking the meds it’ll make you feel so much better

  100. The Undertaker on said:

    #119 sorry Colin trumps Cupid unless they are one and the same !
    As for the ‘secret agent’ I always suspected it was Cliff

  101. #120 `So much speculation amongst the unaligned and the various professional sectarians ,the reason Martin is stepping down and the changes proposed on the CC will be discussed and addressed at the conference.We’ll tell you later.’

    Bet the members are dying to find out too. Anyhoo a lot of people currently enjoying SWP patronage will suddenly find themselves dumped or hung out to dry for no apparent reason when the line changes again for no apparent reason but that reflect the secret machinations of the SWP CC’s bureaucratic machinery. And frankly it wouldn’t matter how many agents you had on your CC if you conducted your politics in an open and honest way in front of the whole movement which is entitled to know what self-identifying parts of that movement are plotting.

  102. The Undertaker – a man who competes with Ray for title of Dribbling Party Sycophant of the Year – tells us all to get active in fighting the cuts.

    Tell us, comrade, should we get involved in the Coalition of Resistance, controlled by your fratricidal opponents in Counterfire, which has comprehensively beaten Right to Work for the anti-cuts franchise? Or if we’re students, should we join the National Campaign Against Cuts and Fees, run by Workers Power and AWL, which has successfully marginalised the Education Activist Network? Perhaps we could take our anti-tax dodging campaigning zeal to UK Uncut, another pioneering Left group which has little time for the SWP.

    The bad old days when the SWP was able to set up united fronts of a special type and then suck the energy out of uprisings while sucking in naive recruits are over. Other younger, savvier outfits are beating you at your own game and even Rees is proving more adept at playing the game than you lot.

    You are being left behind by history.

  103. Funny because the UK Uncut actions where I live would never have happened without the central involvement of SWP members. What are you doing at the moment, Colin? Which groups are you involved with building?

  104. What lies behind this hostility to the SWP?

    Many of the individuals here who are most hostile are former members, maybe the majority. It is perhaps understandable, but not inevitable that as former members their points of difference and/or negative experiences that propelled them from the organisation remain a motor force in their (political) lives.

    But this is also true of many organisations, not just individuals who sprang from the SWP and its foreunner, IS. Perhaps the most rotten of these is the AWL, but it would be unworthy to judge any parent by the behaviour of its worst offspring. These organisations are similarly characterised by how they postion themselves in relation to the SWP, rather than the class struggle. To take two current examples, some currents which have a verbal commitment to opposing the Afghan war play no part in StWC and others adopt the same policy in relation to UAF because of the predominance of the SWP.

    Yet, has any of these individual or organised breaks from the SWP represented a break from its economism, its failure to understand imperialism, its hostility to the self-organisation of the oppressed, its sectarian appoach to the united front and, shall we say, eclectic approach to Leninist norms of party-building and democracy?

    Historically, it has only been possible to break progressively from the SWP by a deepening commitment to the mass movement, not by retreating fom it. As such it has happened in only a handful of cases.

    It is over a 150 years since the Chartist movement, the last mass revolutionary party in Britain. When the CP was a revolutionary organisation in Britain it had less than 10,000 members. The SWP is exactly the Party you would expect in a country where the working class is burdened ideologically with the weight of centuries of imperialism- and absent any mass revolutionary upheaval to create a genuine revolutionary party.

    In general, and despite some small exceptions, the SWP tradition represents the better part of the British Left, as its participation in StWC and UAF demonstrates.

    As someone who has never remotely been tempted to join the SWP, it seems as if the vast bulk of its ex-members bear the imprint of some of the worst of its political legacy, without either its commitment to remain on the right side in certain key anti-racist and anti-imperialist struggles, or in making the related baby-step improvements in these areas as represented by the Callinicos book on Imperialism, for example.

  105. “What lies behind this hostility to the SWP?”

    Could it possibly be the culture of the SWP? Cultish, arrogant, conformist, hierarchical, duplicitous, neurotic, bombastic and sectarian to a fault.

  106. What is the best socialist group for people to get involved with instead, Colin, free from any of those problems?

  107. Apart from a few ultra-left crazies, I’d say almost any socialist group would be better.

    Better for the cause and certainly better for the mental health and morale of the cadre.

  108. I can’t think of one group on the British left I would rather be a member of than the SWP.

  109. From my reading of the history no-one had a lot of time for Lenin and the Bolsheviks either, they were, according to the menshiviki ” Cultish, arrogant, conformist, hierarchical, duplicitous, neurotic, bombastic and sectarian”

  110. Plebescite on said:

    #130 Apart of course from the working class none of whom have any time whatsoever for the SWP.

  111. Martel on said:

    # 130 And the Mensheviks were proven to be right, except they underestimated the Bolshevik’s brutality and disregard for human life.

  112. David Ellis on said:

    #132 Clap trap from Martel of course who is just an anti-communist, capitalist apologist pure and simple. Tony Blair, George Bush and now Barak Obama had much more disregard for human life than Lenin and Trotsky ever displayed. In fact they were meticulous in avoiding any kind of `collateral damage’ and would never have considered fire bombing Dresden or dropping two Atomic Bombs on Japanes civilians and children or the casual deployment of drones. The many war crimes of the 20th and now the 21st Century committed by Fascists, Liberals, Conservatives and yes Stalinists would have been an utter anathema to them and the Bolshevik party they were apart of, led and wanted to see.

    #126 That and the fact that for a nominally socialist, revolutionary vanguard party they act no better than the Labour and TU bureaucrats from whom they are supposedly trying to win the leadership of the movement. They are more like an outlying part of that bureaucracy, part of a division of labour, a mini me, than anything radical and are subject to even less scrutiny. They are an example of what happens when propagandists try to do politics. It’s like a pit mechanic driving a Formula One car.

  113. #133

    “In fact they were meticulous in avoiding any kind of `collateral damage’ “

    That isn’t true by the way, the Red Army under Trotsky used gas attacks in urban areas, did they not? the whole civil war was barbaric on both sides

    Lenin approved the taking and executing of hostages.

  114. Martel on said:

    # 133 ‘In fact they were meticulous in avoiding any kind of `collateral damage’

    This is a very odd statement and not really credible.

    I do not know how you can regard the Red Terror, where the Cheka executed quater of a million ‘enemies of the people’ as being meticulous in avoiding collateral damage.

  115. Martel on said:

    Not to forget Trotsky enforcing compulsory conscription of the peasantry by shooting their families if they refused to comply.

  116. David Ellis on said:

    #134 `the whole civil war was barbaric on both sides’

    That sums you up. Tsarist absolutism and its violence same as war for proletarian democracy and liberation.

  117. I am not sure whether the numbers Martel quotes are credible, but the Russian civil war saw barabarism on both sides on an appalling scale.

    I think it was not so much deleberate policy from the leaders of either side so much as an explosion of almost spontaneous rebelion, that reflected the suppressed violence and indignity of the former Czarist order.

    However, neither Lenin nor Trotsky opposed the terror, and Trotsky went as far a writing a book advocating mass terror.

    the first English edition of which was published by the CPUSA under the title “In defence of Terrorism”, mre commonly now translated as “terrorism and Communism”

  118. David Ellis on said:

    #139 `However, neither Lenin nor Trotsky opposed the terror, and Trotsky went as far a writing a book advocating mass terror.’

    Trotsky believed in the use of mass terror (proeltarian dictatorship) against the remnants of the Tsarist regime (not indiscriminate violence such as deployed today by messrs liberals in Afghanistan) to prevent counter revolution only an idiot would eschew such a thing. The Tsarist autocrats were rightly suppressed just at the Nazis were hung after the war not just as punishment but as warning. Had the Bolsheviks not take power and done what was necessary to hang on to it we would now, as Trotsky said, have a Russian word for fascism instead of an Italian one.

  119. Martel on said:

    Red Terror death estimates….

    Lowe (2002)

    Executed: 50-200,000
    Died in prison or killed in revolts: 400,000

    Overy (1997)

    Cheka responsible for maybe 250,000+ violent deaths.

  120. #140

    Well if he believed in terror, then he was not “scupulious in avoiding collatarol damage” was he.

    Trotsky advocated terror, which included the deliberate execution of people.

    Trotsky

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1920/terrcomm/ch04.htm

    War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will. The revolution works in the same way: it kills individuals, and intimidates thousands.< br />

    “But, in that case, in what do your tactics differ from the tactics of Tsarism?” we are asked, by the high priests of Liberalism and Kautskianism.

    You do not understand this, holy men? We shall explain to you. The terror of Tsarism was directed against the proletariat. The gendarmerie of Tsarism throttled the workers who were fighting for the Socialist order. Our Extraordinary Commissions shoot landlords, capitalists, and generals who are striving to restore the capitalist order. Do you grasp this … distinction? Yes? For us Communists it is quite sufficient.

  121. Andy – you are confusing Trotsky the historical figure with Trotsky the spotless revolutionary icon. An easy mistake to make, but they are actually two quite different people…

  122. #141

    Ok, my only caution would be this

    These figures I think class all the executions and violent deaths over the whole civil war; whereas I think that the “Red Terror” more properly concerns only the specific campaign of deleiberate executions and hostage takings in September to October 1918, where i think those figures are much too high, I would expect them to be several hundred a day over about 40 days, tens of thousands certainly, but less than you are quoting.

    the distintion is necessary to divide those deaths which part of a symmetrical brutal civil war over sevral years, (where the high end figures are plausible but sdaly also reciprocated by an equal white terror, and also famine and social collapse) and the more narrow and deliberate use of mass murder by the Bolsheviks to seek to establish the authority of their rule.

  123. David Ellis on said:

    #142 `Well if he believed in terror, then he was not “scupulious in avoiding collatarol damage” was he.

    Trotsky advocated terror, which included the deliberate execution of people.’

    Are you being deliberately obtuse or something. In a revolution you have two warring sides fighting each other. Or are you suggesting that Trotsky and the Red Army went around randomly bayonetting babies in order to intimidate the forces of Tsarist counter revolution? And what is a `deliberate’ execution when it is at home and is Trotsky’s use of execution worse than Truman’s or Churchill’s?

  124. Martel on said:

    Yeah it is whether you count Red Terror as during Sept.- Oct. 1918 or the terror exercised during the whole period of the civil war (1918-22)

    Lowe and Overy see the Red Terror as including the Cheka retributions during the civil war so take a wider period in estimating the scale of Cheka persercutions.

  125. David Ellis on said:

    #143 `Andy – you are confusing Trotsky the historical figure with Trotsky the spotless revolutionary icon. An easy mistake to make, but they are actually two quite different people…’

    Is that supposed to be amusing. Show me evidence of any of what you would consider a war crime committed or authorised by Lenin or Trotsky. On the other hand there were thousands of war crimes committed by Western liberals from including the mass slaughter of the populations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima which are considered quite legitimate by scum who think America is the epitomy of cultured civilisation and Lenin and Trotsky the archtype of eastern barbarism.

  126. Martel on said:

    Lowe (2002) however estimates ‘White Terror’ as ‘tens of thousands’ during the Civil War period.

    Considerably lower in magnitude.

  127. Martel on said:

    # 148…Yeah but a large proportion of those executed during the Civil War Period were peasants who deserted or would not conscript into the Red Army.

  128. anticapitalista on said:

    #149 Read Victor Serge’s “Year One of the Russian Revolution” to get his take on Red v White terror.

  129. David – I don’t know how good your Russian is (surely you wouldn’t be putting the world right about the Russian revolution without knowing any, would you?), but there is a very interesting collection of documents online relating to the suppression of the Tambov peasant rising in 1920-22.

    http://www.tstu.ru/win/kultur/other/antonov/raz210.htm

    - for example is an order by Antonov-Ovseenko and Tukhachevsky from 23 June 1921 outlining how the Red forces were to enter a village with “bandit” sympathies, take 60-100 civilians hostage, and shoot them if the “bandits” and their families were not given up by the rest of the village. If that didn’t work, the procedure was to be repeated. Of course, I don’t know what your definition of a “war crime” is. But I think those sorts of methods are officially outlawed these days.

  130. JellyTot on said:

    #120 Fuck it seems a good nights sleep has brought even more crazies out judging by this thread.
    Firstly Jelly the inveterate liar now changes his previous claim that Cliff said anyone who ‘takes and reads Socialist Worker’ was a member to anyone who sells SW.

    I haven’t changed my previous claim. One is my clear recollection of a Cliff meeting (which I thought bizarre at the time, even in the fevered atmosphere of the early nineties)and the other is a comment in a 1992 SWP Conference report supporting it. Read the threads and keep up.

    BTW, where is this comment where I claimed to be a member in Manchester? (#106). Or are you one of those types who likes throwing around words like “liar” without anything to back it up?

    #123 The Undertaker – a man who competes with Ray for title of Dribbling Party Sycophant of the Year

    I dunno – I quite like him/her. I have a soft spot for Stereotypical, hyper-earnest Trot ranters!

  131. #152

    It is also worth observing that the supression of the Tambov rebellion and use of mass terror was under the direct comand of a Trotskyist: Vladimir Antonov-ovseenko

  132. JellyTot on said:

    #126 Could it possibly be the culture of the SWP? Cultish, arrogant, conformist, hierarchical, duplicitous, neurotic, bombastic and sectarian to a fault.

    Yeah, that would be it.

    I recall how Martin Smith signed off his terse reply to Lindsay German’s resignation letter after decades of service on her part,

    “It’s up to you to cancel your subscription to Socialist Review”

    What goes around, comes around Martin !

  133. Uncle Albert on said:

    Re 155 JellyTot – Oddly, I’m beginning to enjoy the Undertaker’s posts, for their entertainment value.
    The Undertaker rants about the irrelevance of this thread/blog, comments disparagingly re the mental condition of some contributors and then just carries on posting as if this blog is crucial and those s/he dislikes are important!

  134. 154, 156… Then there is the suppression of the Astrakhan’ workers’ strike in February-March 1919. The most detailed source for this is from an indictment of the Cheka published by the SR Party in 1922, so the usual caveats would apply. But the basic facts of the business – that the workers went on strike against starvation rations, a mass meeting was fired on by Red troops, some local communists were killed and this was the pretext for violent retribution – are corroborated from other sources. My translation of the SR account is here:

    http://www.korolevperevody.co.uk/korolev/astrakhan.htm

  135. John T Chance on said:

    The idea of a palace coup against Martin Smith is almost certainly not the case. The most likely explaination is he’s worn out and fancies taking a few less responsibilities.

  136. SantiagoTalk on said:

    JellyTot

    The letter you refer to was a standard letter sent to any member who leaves the SWP.

    Martin Smith wrote to lindsay on a personal basis a few days later.

    It will be interesting to know the reason for the change of C C. responcabilities, but as a SWP member I am happy to wait a few more days to get the real explanation.

    I think all the speculation on this blog just reinforces the belief the the SWP is the main force on the left at this time.

  137. Karl Stewart on said:

    David Ellis, of course I and other communists would agree with you that the measures taken by the Reds during the civil war in early 20th-century Russia were – however brutal they seem to us – were tragically necessary at the time and were also an inevitable product of that conflict.
    But your canonisation of the “saint” Trotsky and your use of such dated and obsolete vocabulary means that the good points you make are often missed by people who just can’t resist taking the piss!! Sorry comrade, but it’s true.

  138. JellyTot on said:

    #161

    The letter you refer to was a standard letter sent to any member who leaves the SWP.

    They must send a lot of those out.

    Martin Smith wrote to lindsay on a personal basis a few days later.

    That’s nice.

    It will be interesting to know the reason for the change of C C. responcabilities, but as a SWP member I am happy to wait a few more days to get the real explanation.

    And even if you didn’t get an explanation you’d still be happy

    I think all the speculation on this blog just reinforces the belief the the SWP is the main force on the left at this time.

    Yeah, says a lot about the Left.

  139. redcogs on said:

    In relation to Martin Smith being exhausted, I can’t remember a single example of a Labour Party member becoming burnt out trying to change the world.. On the contrary, the bulk of the activist core usually appear desperate to get their snouts in capitalism’s trough by following the long line of delusionals who have wasted their political lives trying to convince others of the false belief that Labour will change anything at all.

    Whatever ones differences with the SWP, it is clear that it remains an organisation dedicated to ending privilege and class rule, and that its members appear to be largely decent and committed people.

    They need to be able to address the “democratic deficit” though. i can’t believe that the Bolsheviks were ever as democratically restrictive as the SWP evidently is.

  140. JellyTot on said:

    #163 I suppose it would be rude to mention Kronstadt,

    Awww….Go on. How about this for starters?:

    Judith Orr quote on a meeting on Kronstadt at Marxism 98:

    “If Kronstadt had succeeded then fascism wouldn’t be a word associated with Germany and Italy, it would be one associated with Russia.”

  141. #161

    “The letter you refer to was a standard letter sent to any member who leaves the SWP. ”

    NOt so. I got no acknowledgement whatsoever when i resigned from the SWP

  142. neprimerimye on said:

    Given that Martin Smith is already responsible in part for the anti-fascist work of the SWP, let us recall that he works for Love Music Hate Racism, and has a credible record as a trade union militant I would suggest that there is no mystery to his stepping down as National Secretary of the SWP. The rest is just blather.

    The real disgrace of this years SWP pre-conference period is, of course, the non-publication of the Internal Bulletins by the Weekly Worker! This has caused me no little inconvenience as I’m now obliged to open my mail to read the copies sent to me by snail mail.

  143. christian h. on said:

    Uhm of course Trotsky and Lenin supported terror during the civil war – I think Andy gets this mostly right. We really don’t do revolutionary socialism any favours by just denying this. I suppose Ellis’ unfailing hostility to the SWP may be explained by that party’s refusal to take Trotsky as a saint and his word as gospel (or maybe their refusal to take Ellis’ word as gospel, I’m not sure).

  144. SantiagoTalk on said:

    Andy

    The correspondence betweem Martin Smith and Lindsey German was published on Socialist Unity last year.

  145. Karl Stewart on said:

    Ted (127) “What is the best socialist group for people to get involved with?”

    The Communist Party Ted. Our aim is communism – a classless society in which there is no private property, no national borders, no competing classes and everyone works to the best of her or his ability and takes according to her or his need.

    What do you disagree with there comrade?
    Join us and fight for such a future.

  146. David Ellis on said:

    #163 What about Kronstadt?

    Andy to save trolling this thread any further perhaps you could open a new thread on the Russian Revolution where we could fully discuss the alleged war crimes of the Bolsheviks and Lenin? How they criminally ended the fratricidal First World War and overthrew one of Europe’s most cruel, reactionary and feudal monarchies then had the audacity to put down rebellions against the fledgling revolution. I’m sure Francis King has years of anti-communist research under his belt and access to thousands of documents in the original Russian proving all sorts of things. But I must say I particularly enjoyed your characterisation of Lenin’s order to put down one of the most organised and widespread rebellions against the revolution led by the White Russians with a war crime. King is the sort of person who condemns Palestinians for fighting back or who thinks the only good injun is a dead injun. He is on a crusade for western imperialism no matter how many real war crimes it commits.

  147. JellyTot on said:

    #173 If it makes you feel any better Andy I think they threw a party when I left

    They pleaded with me not to leave. I was one of the few in my branch from a working class background and gave them a lot of my time, although, thankfully, not much money.

  148. You forgot the peroration, David: “Before us are criminals, dangerous, hardened, cruel and ruthless towards our people, towards our ideals, towards the leaders of our struggle, the leaders of the land of Soviets, the leaders of the toilers of the whole world!…

    “I demand that dogs gone mad should be shot – every one of them!”

    It’s the only fate I deserve.

  149. anticapitalista on said:

    #178 not that old chestnut. I’m working class and the SWP are stooodents or social workers. I thought all that went out of fashion in the early 90′s.

  150. The Undertaker on said:

    Christ I go out to work ,organise with the RMT transport to the March 26th demo,build for the Student demo on the 29th Jan and when I come back every crazie has crawled out from the wood work to sling in their two penneth on the SWP and for fuck sake the ‘Red Terror’
    We have Andy the member of a party which in Government oversaw the murder of a million Iraqis not to mention its role of supporting imperialist wars throughout the 20th Century giving it large about the Bolsheviks,when you’ve wiped the blood off your hands pal you can comment until then newly joined member of the party of Blair I’d keep it shut.
    By the way did you get a letter from George when you resigned from Respect ?
    Then we have Jelly who’s only ( legal) activity is posting his fetid thoughts on here and drawing his pension, spouting off again and again and again as if his anti SWP bollocks means a fuck to anyone but him.
    Though it has to be said anyone who apparently is so obsessed with the SWP that they claim to have been a member ( but seems confused as to when and where) hoards internal SWP bulletins from 1992 and even claims to be able to quote Judith Orr from 1998 is in serious need of help,thankfully he doesn’t live near me as I have a young daughter to worry about
    Then we have Menshevik Martel and his views on the Russian Civil War where clearly he would have joined the anti Jewish pogromists but today has to content himself with the EDL
    But lastly we have Colin and his alter ego Cupid the multiple personality distordered lunatic who tops the lot. He can’t possibly be a police agent he’s simply too crazy.

    Once again Mr Newman has surpassed himself in bringing together the dregs of the ‘left’ and the not so left I commend you I salute your indefatablity you are indeed worthy of your Labour Party card

  151. Karl Stewart on said:

    Undertaker, do you think people should not be allowed to openly disagree with one another?

  152. The Undertaker on said:

    #179 I like the bit about shooting the ‘dogs gone mad’ harder than partridges but much more satifying, whose first ?
    Jelly too old too too slow be like shooting a tortoise without the shell
    Andy too big a target these days I’m afraid
    Colin/Cupid would need two bullets one for each personality
    I’ll put it to the conference on Saturday

  153. JellyTot on said:

    #180

    I thought all that went out of fashion in the early 90’s.

    That’s when I was a member and it was certainly true then in my experience. Looking back those few working class people were treated almost as ‘curiosities’. Then again the SWP had a handy “get out of jail free card” when it came to that one. It was explained to me that the “trustafarians” and those of a solidly middle class and upper class background in my branch were really as working class as me in terms of their socio-economic status. I’m not actually all that ‘workerist’ but remember feeling alienated by conversations about the cultural worth of ballet and talk of the Tate’s latest Poussin exhibition.

    Maybe the SWP is better now.

  154. Karl Stewart on said:

    I haven’t got any mates who have ever run gulags.
    So, do you think disagreement and the open and honest struggle of competing ideas helps us forge the way forward? Or is top-down imposed uniformity the best way forward?

  155. JellyTot on said:

    #181

    even claims to be able to quote Judith Orr from 1998 is in serious need of help

    I’ve just got a good memory for that sort of stuff.

    Ask her when you see her at the Conference.

    Then we have Jelly who’s only ( legal) activity is posting his fetid thoughts on here and drawing his pension,

    Pension ? I’m only 40!

    spouting off again and again and again as if his anti SWP bollocks means a fuck to anyone but him.

    Well, it certainly draws a reaction from you ;-)

  156. Martel on said:

    ~181 I do not mind being called a Menshevik by any means but to accuse me of supporting pogroms (or those EDL buffoons) is really unacceptable.

    Crudity of thought and speech however is one of those rather unpleasant SWP traits that seems to be encouraged.

  157. The Undertaker on said:

    Jelly you mistake ridicule for reaction but that’s been the sad story of your life
    Fuck where do they dig this lot up from ? thank god they all live in separate places ,I hope, because gathered in one place they’d be a frightening sight.

  158. anticapitalista on said:

    #184 I wouldn’t know about the class composition of the SWP now, but the branch I was in (Salford) from 1984-89 had a few students, a few unemployed, quite a few white-collar workers (council workers, care workers), quite a lot of manual workers, hospital workers and a couple of kids at college.

    I actually enjoyed the cultural discussions about whether going to watch football or rugby league was somehow superior/inferior to going to the theatre. And in the end it was just down to taste. Some of the manual workers hated football and much preferred to go to see a decent play while some of the ‘middle class’ care-workers preferred rugby league to cricket.

  159. JellyTot on said:

    #190 Crudity of thought and speech however is one of those rather unpleasant SWP traits that seems to be encouraged.

    Nah…just hissy-fits from those who come across as young and unworldly. To be honest, I was like that once.

  160. JellyTot on said:

    #191

    Maybe the Northern branches were better back then?

    I just recall once going around my branch organiser’s large house in Kensington to pick up posters and recall her speaking in, what I later learnt was, fluent Latin to her kids.

    “I didn’t know you were foreign?” I asked her and she replied, “I’m not, we just like speaking Latin to each other at home”.

    She was a nice person but I thought, “this ain’t for me”.

  161. The Undertaker on said:

    192 193# Keep this going Jelly its getting really bizarre, now what next I wonder Cliff was an alien perhaps?
    Colin/Cupid I take it all back Jelly makes you seem the sanest multiple personality on the planet

  162. Sure your not getting confused with the WRP there Jelly old fruit?

    The York SWP 83-85 were a great crew, transport and health workers, some local government workers, lots of lively students, academics like Alex Callincos, a couple of market stall holders, a mad ex-anarchist who liked blowing up electricity pylons. Made standing in the cold selling the paper a fun experience.

    It was the politics I disagreed with not the people. Particularly the opposing of setting up Lesbian and Gays support the Miners (A lifestyle distraction from the class struggle apparently)and the critical support of national liberation movements which appeared to be all criticism and no support.

  163. christian h. on said:

    Come on JellyTot, of course different branches are different. Try not to sound like the prolier-than-thou comrades from the CWI.

    Undertaker: you should be happy there are so many ex-members about. One way or another, even if they hate the SWP with the jealousy of the convert, it shows the party has influenced the formation of a significant chunk of the Left in the UK.

  164. #176

    “who thinks the only good injun is a dead injun”

    A number of Marxist exiles in the USA from the 1848 revolution did fight in the Indian wars. IIRC there was a Colonel of one of the so-called “Dutch” regiments in the Indan wars who was a Marxist.

    The USA is a good comparator. Lenin and Trotsky were ruthless in prosecution of the civil war, but so was Abraham Lincoln. The terror in the Shenandoah valley campaign under Sheridan was on a similar scale of brutality.

    the scale of violence in the Russian civil war did not spring from the heads of the Bolsheviks, but because the old Czarist order collapsed with the February revolution, and the result in the countryside was a Jacquerie, and almost complete economic and social break down. Any be government seeking to establish itself and to prevent the whole country sinking into anarchy and warlordism would have needed to use mass terror.

    Estabished social system continue out of habit, new social systems require force to establish the authority of the gvernment and the new ways of doing things. This seems to be the lesson of history, and is one of the reasons why revolutions are prudently avoided.

  165. Andy Wilson on said:

    by a curious coincidence:

    “Answer, sombre beast and dreary,
    Where is Brown, the young, the cheery,
    Smith, the pride of all his friends and half the Force?

    perchance, in years to follow,
    I shall watch your plump sides hollow,
    See Carnifex (gone lame) become a corse –
    See old age at last o’erpower you,
    And the Station Pack devour you,
    I shall chuckle then, O Undertaker’s Horse!

    But to insult, jibe, and quest, I’ve
    Still the hideously suggestive
    Trot that hammers out the unrelenting text,
    And I hear it hard behind me
    In what place soe’er I find me: –
    “‘Sure to catch you sooner or later. Who’s the next?”

    Rudyard Kipling, The Undertakers Horse

  166. anticapitalista on said:

    #200 yes some southern comrades reckoned it was grounds for expulsion, but as they shared a like of cricket – well – it was seen as just a northern bit of working class deviationism.

    #195 Here in Manchester district at least from the end of 1984 beginning of 1985, gay as lesbian comrades were very active in the Gay and Lesbian miners support groups, in many cases keeping them going and looking outwards beyond the (very large) pink ghetto.

  167. christian h. on said:

    This seems to be the lesson of history, and is one of the reasons why revolutions are prudently avoided.

    Oh dear. We’d still be living in feudalism if we followed Andy’s advice.

  168. "I'm Only a Poor Little Saddo" on said:

    It’s interesting reading these comments how one person in particular is becoming increasingly hysterical, pompous, patronising, aggressive, threatening and bilious.

    I’m beginning to wonder whether ‘The Undertaker’ is i) a parody, ii) a chat-bot or iii) that rather overgrown SWP member who always works himself up into a great heat whatever the occassion.

    And on that note, could we have a bit less use of the term ‘old’ in a disparaging way.

  169. JellyTot on said:

    #196

    You’re right and now it would be very different but back then, as a working class teen new to revolutionary politics, it was very strange.

    You’d hear people say, “what the working class need is this and what they require is that” and I’d think to myself, “what do you know about the working classes? You live in Hampstead and your dad’s a rear-Admiral !”

  170. JellyTot on said:

    #205

    I’m beginning to wonder whether ‘The Undertaker’ is … a chat-bot

    LOL….I’d like to see the syntax in that program !

  171. “preferred rugby league ”

    *shudder*

    Both in Yorkshire were I come from and in the Languedoc where I now live League is seen as a working class sport and Union as a game for toffs.

    Welcome to New Labour Andy, you’ll be having branch socials in the Moet & Chandon tent at Polo tournaments this summer!

  172. 203- I think it was just my branch not the Party that had a thing about LGSM, they weren’t too not on Women against Pit Closures either.

  173. #203- I think it was just my branch not the Party that had a thing about LGSM, they weren’t too keen on Women against Pit Closures either. I remember getting huffy about it and flouncing out.

  174. JellyTot on said:

    #205 From wikipedia: Chatbot may mean: Chatterbot, a type of conversational agent, a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users via auditory or textual methods.

    That certainly doesn’t sound like ‘The Undertaker’ !

    So that leaves i) and iii)

  175. The Undertaker on said:

    202 Andy wot no qoute from Lukas you’re getting soft
    205 you’re either yet another incarnation of Cupid/Colins mind or you are indeed a saddo and perhaps a young one who knows ( or cares )though ‘threatening’ is a little strong don’t you think saddo
    197 oh I see Andy still reads thought that was frowned upon in todays Party of Blair though I doubt you’ll be asked to give an educational to your comrades in Swindon CLP on the Battle cry of freedom more likely ‘the graduate tax how it can defuse the student marches’or ‘torture and rendition its the only language them mad mullahs understand ‘,sorry that might have been the last meeting in Oldham East
    But Jelly, dear OLD Jelly you really are getting quite hilarious ‘a rear admiral’ surely you mean a Field Marshall because we have at least 4 of them in my branch not counting the 8 Lords 3 Barons and a Prince Regent they can’t sell the paper but their subs ain’t bad

  176. sheffielder on said:

    #191 “while some of the ‘middle class’ care-workers preferred rugby league to cricket.”

    That would have been my signal to leave!

  177. #206

    ““what do you know about the working classes? You live in Hampstead and your dad’s a rear-Admiral !””

    That would be Cardiff branch woudl it not, where one long term members dad was in the House of Lords, yet her husband was the most affected workerist in the whole SWP.

    hence Billy Williams, long term EETPU militant and onetime IS/SWP member always greeting him with “how’s the bishop?”

  178. The Undertaker on said:

    Andy perhaps your geography is as bad as your political judgement but Jelly has previously told us he was in the SWP in Manchester then he changed it to London now its apparently Cardiff.
    I can accept Jelly is bordering on the clinically insane but you I always thought were just not the full shilling though comrades from your neck of the woods tell me your familiy’s not short of a bob or two
    Incidently wasn’t Paul Foots uncle the one time leader of your new party ?

  179. ross bradshaw on said:

    # 218. Reminds me of my old chum Bill Fishman coming across Sir Alfred Sherman (ex-International Brigade who became an advisor to Thatcher) in posh company. “How are you doing, Alf, how’s the Party?” he cried.

  180. *sigh*

    I never said that Jelly was in Cardiff, I was merely recounting what i think is a humorous observatin about Cardiff SWP in the old days.

    “comrades from your neck of the woods tell me your familiy’s not short of a bob or two”

    That is simply hilarious. I have a reasonable well paid job as a skilled engineer, but I don’t have any savings at all and live in a modest terraced house; and most of my familly don’t have tuppence.

  181. Andy- I think a few people would consider insults based on mental illness to be crossing a line. Strange that I remember being (rightly) taken to task for making a comment far milder than some of the stuff the Undertaker has been coming out with, and by an SWP member.

    Maybe they won’t say anything to him because he knows where the bodies are buried.

  182. JellyTot on said:

    #219

    Andy perhaps your geography is as bad as your political judgement but Jelly has previously told us he was in the SWP in Manchester then he changed it to London now its apparently Cardiff.

    The only time I’ve been to Cardiff was for the West Ham/Preston play-off final!

    I’ll ask for the third time…..Where is this comment were I stated I was in the SWP in Manchester? I’m intrigued!

  183. JellyTot on said:

    #221

    I never said that Jelly was in Cardiff, I was merely recounting what i think is a humorous observatin about Cardiff SWP in the old days.

    I think our friend ‘The Undertaker’ has trouble processing written English and takes off on mental flights-of-fancy after briefly scanning comments. Maybe we should write our posts in the style of those old ‘Janet and John’ books for his/her benefit?

    I’m writing “his/her” but I’m sure it’s a bloke.

  184. I’ve not noticed anyone explaining why I should get excited about a switch-around of some jobs that was proposed some weeks ago and about which at the time I thought “oh, right”.

    If I were more active at the moment I might have been bothered to find out. As it stands, I’m not.

    Why on earth anyone outside the party should care I really have no idea.

  185. brian the dog on said:

    #224 JellyTot we have been reliably informed by Evan Pritchard that ‘the undertaker’ is called Doug.

    I know he likes to come across as all hard and macho but maybe he is only Doug at the weekend and something else during the week, whilst of course pushing loads of Socialist Workers to random passers by as one must meet their targets to show their loyalty and revoluntionary zeal.

  186. Andy Wilson on said:

    “Andy wot no qoute from Lukas you’re getting soft”

    I was tempted, but somehow the author of the ‘Just So Stories’ seemed more appropriate.

  187. “I know he likes to come across as all hard and macho”

    He’s a real head the ball, claims he has a rubber bullet that he was shot with (and snatched up as a keep sake).

  188. What’s making this topic so interesting is not the original post, but the vehemence in the replies it has provoked:

    Andy: “Martin Smith is resigning as National Secretary of the SWP”

    Response: “LIES! Why are you attacking the SWP?”

    People change jobs all the time, so mentioning that someone is changing their job can hardly be seen as an ‘attack’ on anybody.

    And the fact remains that after the conference, Martin Smith will no longer be National Secretary of the SWP.

    So either he is resigning from this position, or he is being sacked from it, those are the two traditional ways of leaving a post, and I can’t think of any others.

    So which is it? Was Andy telling the truth, and Martin is resigning, or was Andy lieing, and Martin has been sacked?

    Logical responses that answer the question without ad hominem attacks would be nice.

  189. lone nut on said:

    Couldn’t there be some kind of workers’ inquiry into which branch of the SWP Jelly Tot was in? I am sure Ian Donovan would agree to chair, and with modern technology the Weekly Worker could put the latest footage up on Youtube. It really would seem like a worthwhile diversion for today’s far left.

  190. David Ellis on said:

    #197 `Estabished social systems continue out of habit, new social systems require force to establish the authority of the gvernment and the new ways of doing things. This seems to be the lesson of history, and is one of the reasons why revolutions are prudently avoided.’

    This is a conclusion only a thorough going conservative could draw surely?. If established social systems continue out of habit and new social systems require force to establish them then revolution can be the only possible driver of history. You have just repudiated both the Russian Revolution and the American Civil War. WHat are you, history’s King Canute?

  191. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “This is a conclusion only a thorough going conservative could draw surely?”

    Not just a conservative. I should say that this is a view commonly held by whigs, and liberals, and certain breeds of the social democrats.

  192. faultylpgic on said:

    Andy,
    I see you making references to SWP members backgrounds. Can you confirm you went to a private school. It is a bit rich of you with your fee paying education then trying to make out you are from “proletarian stock”.

  193. #235

    I went to a Direct Grant School, which were private schools with both fee paying and local authority funded students, as a bright lad I was LEA funded. This type of school was abolished in about 1977, and I left at 16 to go to an FE college.

    My dad left school at 14 with no qualifications, and later worked as the manager of the parts department in a local car dealership and was a retained fireman, and my mum never worked after leaving the army. My maternal grandfather was a fitter in a steelworks, and my maternal grandfather was a compositor on the Daily Herald.

    so yes, I come from a working class background.

    Not that it is any of your business

  194. Graham Day on said:

    #235 faultylpgic (sic), that’s a very bizarre point you’re making.

    1. I’ve never noticed Andy Newman “make out” that he’s from “proletarian stock”.

    2. The comment at #218 is obviously a bit of a joke, so doesn’t seem to warrant the bitterness of your response.

    3. While private education is a “bad thing”, we should all remember that Tony Benn went to public school and has probably contributed more to working class advance than 99.9% of people here.

  195. The Nazis brought in tests for how ‘Aryan’ people were, and people had to provide exactly the kind of family tree Andy’s just had to produce.

    I don’t think we need similar tests of how proletarian people are, not least because Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky would all have failed it miserably.

    At the end of the day, it’s which class you serve that matters.

  196. “Class” only makes sense when dealing with aggregates anyway. Once you start trying to apply the labels to individuals, you soon find that many people, even most people, don’t neatly fit the stereotypes.

    They tried ascribing fixed “class” categories to individuals in the early Soviet state. The result was just a “Marxist” parody of the Tsarist system of social estates (sosloviya).

  197. old dog on said:

    Michael Rosen, I think I can answer you.

    Bruce Forsyth has resigned from the SWP as a consequence.

    It seems Martin Smith was infatuated with Anne Widdicombe, and even though this year’ series of Strictly was over, Martin couldn’t accept that he would never get a guest spot for the pasa doble, and kept texting Bruce and pestering for more auditions.

    Had Bruce Forsyth and Martin Smith had equal status, then there would be nothing to discuss. Many of us have been infatuated and persistent even after the fire has gone out for the other person. It is a tragic part of human emotional life.

    But Bruce Forsyth was an ordinary SWP member, and felt that as Martin was National secretary he should not be asking for favours from an ordinary SWP member like Bruce to get on a TV dance show.

    Two members of the CC discussed this with Bruce, and Martin apologised: he has accepted that he will never dance on the BBC show, and has stepped down as national secretary. Arguably the SWP have handled this very well, certainly far far better than they handled the allegations against Chris Harman years ago, where there was a genuine closing of ranks and a bit of a cover up.

    Martin has been demoted. But the question is, if Martin felt he had to step down as national secretary over this, should he still be on the CC?

    Everyone knows that enthusiasm for Strictly is strong stuff and the emotions are hard to handle sometimes. These are difficult issues, if a senior manager at work was demoted to being a middle manager for similar reasons, their union would plausibly argue that the reasons for their demotion should be kept confidential.

    But if Bruce Forsyth has felt obliged to resign from the SWP rather than have Martin Smith as his boss, then is it right that Martin should still be on the CC? Should leading comrades in a political party have more sensitivity to imbalances of power and authority?

    These are the issues the SWP needs to discuss, not be fobbed off with guff about bolstering the anti-fascist and industrial work.

  198. Andy Newman,

    What purpose was this thread meant to serve other than to give the likes of ‘Jelly Tot’ yet another opportunity to go through their tired old routine of anti-SWP cliches?

  199. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    ““Class” only makes sense when dealing with aggregates anyway. Once you start trying to apply the labels to individuals, you soon find that many people, even most people, don’t neatly fit the stereotypes.”

    How is it that class analysis makes sense at an aggregate level if individual members of those aggregates cannot be sensibly assigned to classes?

  200. old dog on said:

    #241

    “What purpose was this thread meant to serve other than to give the likes of ‘Jelly Tot’ yet another opportunity to go through their tired old routine of anti-SWP cliches?”

    Perhaps the old dog is barking up the right tree, and the answer lay with Bruce Forsyth all along?

  201. The Undertaker on said:

    237# I’m not sure pushing through a productivity deal on the Miners which had been rejected by a national ballot and which was to sow the seeds of the divisions which undermined the 84-85 strike was a ‘working class advance’ nor was sending troops in to break a strike at sellafield
    On the subject of Andy being a public schoolboy I don’t hold that against him though hearing River a member of the SP comparing the issue of Andys’ class background( which was clearly lower middle class sorry Andy)to the Nazis race laws suggests either River is one of the many pseudo proles in the SP ( identified by their phoney scouse accents and poor dress sense) or a product of a party which clearly teaches its members nothing.
    #228 get it right Jimmy its heed the ball and now I am convinced you were the fucker who fired it
    Hey and nice of you to wake up Brian the poodle
    Back to my old pal Jelly so lets get this right
    you were a ‘teen’ member in Manchester/London/Cardiff 20 years ago the branch you were in had an organiser whos’s dad was a rear admiral and who apparently spoke Latin at home ( in Kensington) to her kids, you were the only working class member the rest being opera loving luvvies in Equity,you left when ? we are not sure and nor it seems are you,you collect old SWP internal bulletins which you spend hours reading each day,you heard Cliff say everyone who buys SW is a member and you distinctly recall word for word what Judith Orr said at a meeting at Marxism 1998.You spend most of your day writing bizarre posts about the SWP and your hatred for it
    Why do I get the impression you realy want to join us ?
    contact membership@swp.org.uk

  202. #236 “so yes, I come from a working class background”

    I’m very happy for you. So do I. So do most SWP members I know.

  203. JellyTot on said:

    #238 I don’t think we need similar tests of how proletarian people are, not least because Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky would all have failed it miserably.At the end of the day, it’s which class you serve that matters.

    I don’t think it matters either and give me a middle class Socialist over a working class fascist any day.

    However, those same Socialists who use your (valid) argument to excuse the class-composition of their respective organisations will be the first to point out the middle class backgrounds of BNP, EDL and NF leaders to bolster the tired and inaccurate thesis of modern ‘Fascism as Petit-Bourgeois reaction’. As if the thesis of a dead Russian of 80 years ago must be shoe-horned and made to fit the conditions of today.

  204. @Graham

    You will be concerned to learn that both my social background and ‘council paid to go to public school’ background is worryingly near identical to Newman’s. But not all of us end up as Labour lackeys like Benn, Newman or you. Some even become Tories and personally I’d never trust a leader of us Trots who didn’t got to public school – e.g. Derek Hatton or Paul Foot?

    Maybe you could have been a Trot, too. I recall one of the question from my coun cil entrance exam in 1974. What was the biggest island in the world before the discovery of Greenland?’ Maybe not

  205. That’s how most social sciences work, Janos. You can analyse group behaviours, but you cannot extrapolate from the group to individuals. So, for example, in any given group of working people, there will probably be some individuals with a private education, some who go to the ballet, some who run a private business in their spare time, some who own an extra house or flat and make money as a landlord, etc. etc. Sociological categories are approximations, averages, aggregates, whereas individuals are, well, individual.

  206. JellyTot on said:

    #245

    River is one of the many pseudo proles in the SP ( identified by their phoney scouse accents and poor dress sense) or a product of a party which clearly teaches its members nothing.

    And you accuse me of sectarianism and cliches!

    Why do I get the impression you realy want to join us ?

    Judging by you I don’t think your party have changed all that much so I’ll pass. Thanks for the offer though.

  207. @245

    Judging by his shrill excitement and bullshit machismo, the Undertaker is the SWP’s king mockney Martin Smith himself. Wanker.

  208. JellyTot on said:

    #246

    I’m very happy for you. So do I. So do most SWP members I know.

    Yeah, but the SWP do have a very broad definition of what working class is: You work therefore you’re working class.

  209. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    I do take your point Francis, but there must be a useful and objective criterion or criteria for assigning individuals into classes though. Otherwise any analysis of any population data is not possible.

  210. The Undertaker on said:

    #251 Sorry Tom there’s no way your entry late as it is can unseat Jelly or Colin/Cupid from being crazy#1 but keep trying and lets hope we meet sometime

  211. JellyTot on said:

    #245

    You spend most of your day writing bizarre posts about the SWP

    And you spend most of your day replying to them!

  212. #253 “Yeah, but the SWP do have a very broad definition of what working class is: You work therefore you’re working class”

    We have pretty much the same definition of working class as any other Marxist. It’s to do with selling your labour.

    Personally, I’m on minimum wage, so spare me your prolier than thou crap. Also, your bullshit anecdotes that you make up like Laurie Penny with a deadline to meet.

  213. “River is one of the many pseudo proles in the SP ( identified by their phoney scouse accents and poor dress sense) or a product of a party which clearly teaches its members nothing”

    I can’t see how putting forward a position against demanding a working class pedigree of anyone who argues for socialism would make me a ‘pseudo-prole’. Surely the pseudo-proles would be arguing for precisely the opposite, because they’re the ones making the song and dance about how working class they are in the first place?

    If it helps the discussion at all, I don’t have a scouse accent, or indeed a mockney one, though I have to admit to pretty bad dress sense, less to do with social class than with just not finding clothes very interesting, rather sadly, any money I had got spent on books rather than designer labels or black 501s.

    I still find an illicit thrill in every new book I buy, and literally dread the day some kind soul in my family gets me a Kindle.

  214. “Personally, I’m on minimum wage, so spare me your prolier than thou crap.”

    You must feel out of place in the SWP — all the swoppies I remember had stupid mockney accents and affected what they imagined were working class clothes. A bit like that tool Martin Smith with his ludicrous accent and silly glasses.

  215. JellyTot on said:

    #260 Also, your bullshit anecdotes that you make up like Laurie Penny with a deadline to meet.

    Or China Miéville ?!

    They’re all true, my friend, and anybody with experience of the SWP over the past quarter century would recognise them.

  216. JellyTot on said:

    #260 We have pretty much the same definition of working class as any other Marxist. It’s to do with selling your labour.

    Yes, but the cultural aspects matter too. People are more than economic units.

  217. Evan Pritchard on said:

    Brian the Dog- I think you have confused matters (or just stirring things)- I have no idea who the Undertaker is and have never made any suggestion that I did. The only Doug I am aware of in relation to this blog posts under that name and is clearly a member of the SP.

    He does appear to share certain personality traits with the Undertaker, and the Undertaker may coincidentally be called Doug, but I can confirm if that is the case I am not aware of it.

    I was in 2 minds whether fully to enter the twilight zone that is this thread but thanks to you I have been drawn in.

    I will say that David Ellis has a good point and it might not be a bad idea to have a thread where he can malign and abuse anyone who differs with his position on the Russian revolution.

  218. JellyTot on said:

    #261

    Don’t feel the need to justify yourself to that bunch.

    #262 A bit like that tool Martin Smith with his ludicrous accent

    Martin Smith: the ‘Dick Van Dyke’ of Left politics.

    “Cor Blimey…Mary Poppins”

  219. The Undertaker on said:

    262 # even the scottish ones no doubt prick
    Sorry River been a bit harsh on you the CC joke was funny though it is trus to say the SP/Militant were not particularly noted for their humour, its not helped by having to deal with the likes of Jelly bit like having dog shit on your shoe even after you’ve washed it off it leaves a slight after smell, only comparing Jelly to dogshit is a little unfair on the shit to be honest

  220. Why doesn’t Undertaker get a life? I cannot fucking believe how many posts he’s written on this blog today.

    Mate, you’re not a revolutionary. Your theme tune must be “As soon as this thread closes…” from the Socialist Songbook (digital edition).

  221. Uncle Albert on said:

    old dog at 240 could be onto something.
    And it must be said, Martin Smith and Anne Widdicombe make a lovely couple.

  222. Karl Stewart on said:

    Anon at (267) links to a speech by the SWP’s Martin Smith – must say it seems an excellent speech to me, very positive and witty in parts.
    (Is that a fake accent? I’ve no idea, but at least he doesn’t try to do inner London-style “jafaican”!)

  223. This thread almost makes me think Laurie Penny was right on said:

    You know what any FE student, looking up socialist politics online, who came upon this thread would think? I reckon they’d think: “What a bunch of childish, embittered and irrelevant wankers.” They’d be right.

    Then they’d think “Ooh, I wonder if that’s THE Michael Rosen, he’s cool!” And they’d be right again.

  224. Who the fuck's Laurie Penny? on said:

    What a bunch of childish, embittered and irrelevant wankers – apart from me of course!

  225. JellyTot on said:

    @267

    26 seconds in – “There’s nuffik we can do ab-abaart it”

    He should get a part on Eastenders!

  226. Anonymous on said:

    #272

    I just took a look at that too. Is this guy the inspiration for “Angelous” – from “Shooting Stars”? Or is it really him?

  227. christian h. on said:

    … and I still don’t see why Andy would post this in the first place if not to provoke exactly the reaction it received. There is quite simply nothing gained from “breaking” this… uhm… “huge” story. It is however psychologically interesting that the same people missing no opportunity to point out how irrelevant the SWP is also miss no opportunity to trumpet its more or less minor internal affairs all over the internet. Very strange.

    Also, who cares which branch JellyTot was in? He was a member, he decided to leave and throw his or her (sorry Jelly don’t know) lot in with people who want to fight fascism by PR and think striking is sooo 20th century… too bad but it happens, people change their minds about stuff.

  228. Nick Fredman on said:

    #273: “Then they’d think “Ooh, I wonder if that’s THE Michael Rosen, he’s cool!” And they’d be right again.”

    Indeed, my Christmas break extra children’s TV viewing has included seeing Michael reading a story to Bookaboo, the rock drumming dog who needs to be read a story a day by a different personality before he can belt out some tunes. That was way cool.

    On the alleged substantive issue of the post: in general socialist organisations, for the sake of building trust and useful discussion on the radical left, should make their discussions publicly available, apart from material clearly problematic (such as frank discussion of potentially vindictive union bureaucrats), including proposals for conferences including major personnel changes.

    On the other hand not doing so in itself is not a deadly sin that damns an organisation and all its works. There’s clearly some major vitriol around about the SWP. I have sympathy with some criticisms from afar as they sound much like the objectionable aspects of the Australian satellites of their little Pomintern. But they’re also obviously an important part of the radical left internationally, do good work and are not about to go away.

    I also agree vitriol is quite common up to irrational levels in ex-members of socialist groups, and this and vitriol from others who have always been politically opposed to any revolutionary politics would probably be much the same whether discussion bulletins are online or not.

  229. People who have been in the SWP for five years or longer need their heads examined.

    Why would you stay once it became obvious what kind of group you’d signed up to?

  230. #262

    Would it have been at Jelly Tot’s mythical Somewhere-In-London Branch that you met these posh “swoppies”? I guess a ‘swoppie’ must be something different than an SWP member, because none of the SWP members I’ve ever met even remotely resemble your description. They speak with various accents depending on where they’re from. And what the hell is “working class clothes” even meant to mean? There isn’t a uniform, outside of work.

    Jelly Tot,

    “Or China Miéville?!”

    What about him? I don’t think he’s ever claimed ‘Perdido Street Station’ was non-fiction.

    “They’re all true”

    I really doubt it. Of course who can PROVE it? That’s the advantage of anectdotal ‘evidence’.

    “anybody with experience of the SWP over the past quarter century would recognise them.”

    I’ve been a member of the SWP for a couple of years, & I don’t recognise them (these aristocrats of Somewhere-in-London Branch of 20 years ago).

    “Yes, but the cultural aspects matter too”

    How exactly would you define someone’s social class by “cultural aspects”? You really couldn’t unless you want to make a load of patronising false assumptions & generalisations.

    “People are more than economic units”

    Who said they weren’t? But the point here is what defines them as working class? That would be selling their labour, not whatever it is you mean by “cultural aspects”.

  231. christian h. on said:

    Seriously who gives a shit if the SWP has members who are “posh” whatever the hell that means? So what. These are just infantile games and attempts to provoke a reaction by people who are bored out of their minds b/c nothing is on the telly and they are too tired to do anything worthwhile.

  232. christian h. on said:

    Nick (278.): I’m not so sure about not having any internal debates that remain internal. For one thing, I think it’s a bit naive to believe this is possible. If internal written communications are made public, this will only push the real contentious debate into verbal communication – and this will inevitably happen between a select few people. This undermines democracy, it is how the so-called “pluralist” parties like Labour work. Any grouping or party who claim all their debates are public and out in the open are lying.

    But on a more fundamental level, no organisation is possible without internal, non-public discussion, so I don’t agree there is anything wrong with it.

  233. Best mockney I’ve heard from SWP “cadres” was during their crude AWL campaigns in the East End in the 1990s.

  234. #281

    “nothing is on the telly and they are too tired to do anything worthwhile”

    No, the cricket is on, which is why i am up so late.

    Going well, Cook is on 136 not out and England are 303 for 5.

    If this form continues we should be able to get a decent lead before the Ozzies come back in to bat.

  235. christian h. on said:

    I wondered what you were doing up…. that’s dedication :) Also, cricket = posh. I, as a man of the people, am watching American football.

  236. JellyTot on said:

    @282

    Seriously who gives a shit if the SWP has members who are “posh” whatever the hell that means? So what.

    Class composition in a Revolutionary Party is obviously a raw nerve otherwise it wouldn’t have provoked a ‘shit storm’ of a reaction.

    @277

    Also, who cares which branch JellyTot was in?

    I certainly don’t for one! I think some on here think that if they can catch somebody out in a lie then it negates everything else that person states(As if they, themselves, are the harbingers of truth and light). It’s infantile and bullying but being slagged off by the SWP isn’t something I’m too concerned about. It’s not as if they’ll amount to anything, is it?

  237. #285

    It is a massive match. If we win we take the series 3-1, the first time we have won a series in Australia for donkey’s years, and it means we have already won the Ashes on three of the last four occasions.

    It is the final proof of the end of the era when Australia was the giant team in the world.

  238. christian h. on said:

    Sorry jelly but you accusing others of being infantile made me laugh. Glass house, stones.

  239. JellyTot on said:

    @288 Sorry jelly but you accusing others of being infantile made me laugh. Glass house, stones.

    Just responding in kind.

    @277 he decided to leave and throw his or her lot in with people who want to fight fascism by PR

    It’s better than anything else on the table at the moment. At least I’m still around, unlike the thousands the SWP have ruined and turned away from political activity of any sort.

  240. christian h. on said:

    Just responding in kind.

    No that doesn’t fly. You came here to have some good clean totally non-political fun slagging of the SWP from the beginning. Fair enough. But then playing the martyr when people push back is a bit over the top.

    As for the thousands “ruined” by the SWP, it’s not exactly a controlled experiment you are running (and you of course pulled the number out of your ass unless you want to claim you personally know thousands of people who used to be in the SWP… all of them Rear Admirals I suppose?). I get it, you left so they must suck and it upsets you they are still around even though given you left by all rights they shouldn’t.

  241. #278

    “Australian satellites of their little Pomintern

    First the ” . . . nice to CC” quip, and now this one. There’s been real wit on this thread.

    More please.

  242. “People who have been in the SWP for five years or longer need their heads examined.

    Why would you stay once it became obvious what kind of group you’d signed up to?”

    Your wit is on the same level as your knowledge of the SWP i.e. not a lot. The question to ask yourself is why anyone would want to spend more than five minutes being you. No wonder no one will have you because your sectarian attitude stinks.

  243. “At least I’m still around…”

    I imagine Tony Blair thinks that as he basks in his own obscurity. The biggest egos shout the loudest when they have least to shout about Jelly.

  244. JellyTot on said:

    @290

    As for the thousands “ruined” by the SWP, it’s not exactly a controlled experiment you are running

    We all know the ‘revolving door’ that is the SWP membership. The majority don’t stick around for long.

    I get it, you left so they must suck and it upsets you they are still around even though given you left by all rights they shouldn’t.

    Spare me the cod psychology. It’s political not personal and you are engaging in that old ‘cultish’ trick of turning it around to the supposed failings of the individual.

    Maybe if organisations looked at their failed model, the shallowness of their politics, lack of clear strategy and, most importantly, their divisive tactics there wouldn’t be such a high turnover.

  245. Connor on said:

    Hooray – Ray is back on duty and spitting out such gems as “why anyone would want to spend more than five minutes being you.”

    The hair-trigger vituperation that criticism of the SWP provokes suggests that either it has a deeply fucked-up internal culture that turns decent, idealistic socialists into sour, dogmatic sociopaths, or it has a deeply fucked-up internal culture that attracts ready-made sociopaths and merely reinforces their least attractive qualities.

    To return to the topic of this thread, the demotion of Martin Smith (surely one of the ready-made variety) may go some way to improving the culture of the Party but it’s hard to see it making too much difference given the profusion of Rays, Undertakers and Seymours in the ranks.

  246. David Ellis on said:

    I can’t help thinking that a Central Committee that divvies out jobs in the way this one does mitigates against the development of collective leadership and democratic control. Each member of the CC has a discreet area of concern and an interest in promoting it above the others even at the expense of the others. The members of the CC are in permanent competition with each other for influence and resources and like some kind of echo of the British Civil Service are building their own little empires rather than concentrating on politics and the organisations primary mission which is the promotion of working class power. All this then gives the National Secretary supreme power as arbiter to play everybody off against each other which is probably where the cunning manipulator Cliffe was going with this and why who the NS is is of exaggerated importance.

    Unfortunately the SWP far from being a revolutionary party is more the leftish part of the division of labour within the labour and tu bureaucracy as a whole and seems to be a sausage factory for churning out embittered anti communists. There are not many ex bureaucratised centrist propaganda sect members who have taken their gut instinct that things are not quite right and arrived at a left critique and examined exactly where the Marxist method has been abandoned and sectarianism and opportunism have replaced it. They nearly all spiral off into the Labour bureaucracy proper or even further to the right or if they are not egomaniacs abandon politics altogether and keep their heads down. No doubt some of the anti Leninists, anti Bolsheviks, anti revokutionaries commenting on this thread were once amongst the most vocal, irritating and uncritical petty bourgeois mouthy arrogant defenders of everything SWP themselves not so long ago. Lightweights who have stayed that way but who simply swapped sides when they realised that even that small pond was too big for them.

  247. David Ellis on said:

    #295 Talking of Seymour I see he is doing his bit for pre-Conference wagon circling by adding to the SWP’s sense of isolation and victimhood by launching a thoroughly self-serving and disingenuous assault on the popular left philosopher Zizek as some kind of rabid racist. `Nobody likes us and we don’t care’ which acts as some kind of glue I suppose and prevents internal decent in the teeth of the deliberately created storm but does nothing for the movement as a whole except inject sectarian poison.

  248. BrokenWindow on said:

    #294
    ‘We all know the ‘revolving door’ that is the SWP membership. The majority don’t stick around for long’

    A few do though – Mark Steel the comedian and Indy columnist and minor schleb
    for one – who only left when he was forty! Most do leave after fresher’s week,
    though.It is the old problem of the left – the ideological arguments are
    outgrown easily but the passion for real lasting change isn’t,hence a lot of
    people forced to wish tere was some coherent alternative to the Labour party.

  249. Connor on said:

    #300 – and all the more shaming because Seymour used to swoon over Zizek like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber gig.

  250. #296/7 I have sometimes wondered whether you belong yourself to a revolutionary group, and your comments here about how a cc should function etc make me wonder again.

    It would be interesting to know if there are more like you.

    Also, and it clearly wouldn’t be for non-bolsheviks like me, but there may even be people attracted to what you say and would want to join.

    You never know.

  251. skidmarx on said:

    Aah, a return to the classic Socialist Unity SWP gossip thread, complete with the evasion that it’s not really gossip, random attacks on the SWP ranging from the trivial to the entirely void of meaning. All that seems to have changed is that rather than responding by pointing to the tragedy of Respect being led down the path of destruction by the hubris of social democrats trying to pass themselves off as revolutionaries, we now only have Andy Newman being asked if Galloway sent him on his way with an enconium (visions of Andy and George running around in Benny Hill style farce).

    Can we get back to the important issue?

  252. #305

    “(visions of Andy and George running around in Benny Hill style farce). ”

    It is the Saxophone that makes Yakety Sax sound funny, the Chet Atkins 1965 hit of the same tune on a guitar is a slightly cheesy virtuoso performance, but isn’t funny:

  253. The Undertaker on said:

    I see EDL Dave is back 282# see you in Luton pal
    Love the ‘we’ bit by Public School Boy Andy Newman,given nearly half the Ingerland cricket team are White South Africans I suppose he can claim some form of spurious internationalism by supporting ‘our boys’ next he’ll be telling us they taught Afrikaans at his private school ( though he does bear a striking resemblence to Eugene Terre Blanche ,these days)
    Its amazing really how never once have I ran across any post by Jelly that in any way indicates that he does anything but slag off the SWP ,on the odd occasion that his posts deviate from his usual obsession with the party he secretly loves, he reveals himself to be a quaint hearted right wing liberal with not the slightest idea about socialist politics
    As for the various other dullards who have joined in the feeding frenzy against Martin and the SWP its noticeable how many of them seem to take exception to the fact that he speaks with a cockney accent ,which betrays their inbred class hatred after all ‘leaders’ in their little world should speak posh like they do.
    This thread has only served to highlight how pathetic and bitter the unorganised ( or unorganisable) left is.
    The likes of Jelly, Brian the poodle,Cupid/Colin and even EDL Dave really are the dregs the sort thankfully the SWP can safely ignore and we do ,as the only time they feel able to mouth off is on here.
    We on the other hand are part of an organisation that, as they well know ,spends our time working with and relating to the people who live in the world the dullards have long left behind
    Enjoy your misery dullards and I’ll enjoy the conference

  254. “EDL Dave” – LOL. Tell me Undertaker, will the SWP conference delegates be told about sexual harassment and stalking at the highest levels? Or will they be fobbed off with fairy tales as usual?

  255. #308

    “Love the ‘we’ bit by Public School Boy Andy Newman,given nearly half the Ingerland cricket team are White South Africans”

    Interesting argument here, are you saying that immigrants cannot be properly British/English. The BNP have made similar arguments to the one you are making about the English football team.

    In Austrlaia at the moment there are quite serious arguments being rasied that the England and Wales cricket team is not properly English, and these argumenta are informed by an essentially racist Erde und Blut concept of national identity.

    It is interesting that the SWP, in the lack of any mature understanding of the material roots of national consciousness has no solid theoretical ground under its feet to combat ethnic concepts of nation.

    All we get is Harry Worth’s “ah’ve got maw in common wiv a Chinees wurkur than wiv the likes of Dayvid Camrun”

    I wonder if we could put that to the test. Can Martin hold a conversation with a Chinese worker, does he share the same cultural vocabulary and historical frames of reference, follow the same sport and music?

  256. Uncle Albert on said:

    308 – Undertaker: “the sort thankfully the SWP can safely ignore and we do” but your on here morning, noon and night corresponding with them!
    Don’t stop though, it’s comedy gold.

  257. Connor on said:

    310 – there’s one (non) worker in Brum who Martin certainly can’t talk to, for fear of a court order.

  258. old dog on said:

    309 – “will the SWP conference delegates be told about sexual harassment and stalking at the highest levels? Or will they be fobbed off with fairy tales as usual?”

    the penny drops at last

  259. brian the dog on said:

    Dear ‘The Undertaker’ i haven’t made any comment about Martin Smith and really couldn’t give a monkeys whether he stays or goes in the annoying sectarian cult you and he belongs to.

    What i have talked about is you playing the revolutionary hard man pushing and peddling your rag on street corners like some god squad wacko. Also you behaving on here like some overgrown hard man, increasingly hurling abuse and frothing at the mouth at anyone who dares question the behaviour of the cult you belong to.

    Its pure comedy gold to watch so do keep it up!

    Were you and Terry Fitz seperated at birth?

    I notice you posted a link earlier for membership to your cult may i suggest another one which is bigger but no less wacky – http://www.scientology.org.uk

  260. Dennis Lotto on said:

    #314 That’s just a string of insults any old right wing labour bureaucrat could come up with. What are your political and practical differences specifically?

  261. Vetus Sodalis on said:

    I’m not sure why comrades should be surprised that some SWP militants habitually speak Latin at home.
    To this day, Latin is the lingua franca of Communist Party Executive Committee meetings. The standard of Latin required is very high indeed.
    Indeed, Nick Wright was removed from the EC for failing to use the vocative case when addressing one particular comrade whose name ended in -ius, referring to him as “Comrade Petrius” instead of “Comrade Petri”.
    Such mistaken use of the nominative case is in clear breach of party Rule 18(b).

  262. Are Connor, Dave and the two “dogs” the same person? Their reactionary jibes about socialists being “god squad wackos” and “dogmatic sociopaths” indicate they aren’t on the left and are probably right wing trolls trying it on. If they keep on foaming at the mouth they’ll have a collective heart attack. Perhaps HP should reign in the leash as they’re not even up to their low standards in the wit department. Let’s see if the come back is a little less cliqued next time.

  263. Having said that, we must be doing something right if our existence is winding up the reactionary sectarians on here.

  264. #318. Ray- presumably you have read some of the comments from your (apparent) comrade the Undertaker where he reqularly makes nasty comments relating to people’s alleged mental health as insults, along with other bile.

    But as usual it’s one rule for the revolutionary vanguard party and another for everyone else.

  265. New regimes for old on said:

    It is a reasonable question whether the elevation of Kimber to the post of National Secretary will bring any significant change in the current regime. The justification I heard for Martin Smith standing down was that he is exhausted and having difficulty in delegating. Whether that’s the full picture or not, he certainly looks tired and unwell, and I hope he recovers, if that’s the reason for standing down.

    I don’t know how much Kimber is untainted from the previous goings-on – under German, Rees and Smith. I imagine he has some unspent political capital among the cadre. But I can’t see this leadership really leading the SWP out of the cul-de-sac.

    As for Richard Seymour’s piece on Zizek – better late than never. An utter charlatan. The Peter Lorre of an embarrassing academia.

  266. Uncle Albert on said:

    You can almost hear Undertaker working himself up into an absolute rage. Can’t be too long before he posts…

  267. brian the dog on said:

    So i get it, the gospel according to the SWPers on here is that if you in anyway disagree with them you are either an alcoholic, mentally ill, or a right wing troll.

    And these people don’t belong to a cult?

    You are starting to give Scientology a run for their money!

  268. #325

    “An utter charlatan. The Peter Lorre of an embarrassing academia.”

    That is very harsh about Peter Lorre, unless you know something I don’t?

    I think he was a great actor (interesting that out of the small number of people who werre Hollywood stars in the Horror genre, two should have been Hungarian).

  269. During the Cold War, there was a living to be made being a Kremlinologist, particularly in the Sunday broadsheets. Specially potent were the people who could mind-read. Anyway, their words of wisdom lit up many a dull, wintry Sunday afternoon, and we could hunker down in our armchairs and let the words of Edward Crankshaw flow over us. I, for one, felt much safer and more superior as a result.

    This was long ago but thankfully, a new kind of Kremlinology has emerged right here at SU – SWP-ology – produced by a committed team of observers, clustering round their crystal sets, using the hints and tip-offs as their raw material. With the eye of an alpine ornithologist, they spot the smallest ripple in the leaves of the SWP Central Committee, and then (again, thankfully) rush into print right here with news of their discoveries, each one garnished with their observations and analyses.

    Could SU award an Edward Crankshaw Prize for the best post of SWP-ologistics eg a couple of very fine pieces I remember reading on the subject of the ideological significance of Martin Smith’s haircut. Or was it his shirt. Socialism needs this sort of thing and the appropriately named Socialist Unity is the best place for it to be staged.

  270. Michael has a point. I nominate Andy. Connor’s not even in the running after his last lacklustre quip, dog is just silly and Vanya takes it all too seriously.

  271. Martel on said:

    # 329 But it should be noted that Kreminology could only exist because of the secretive, paranoid and closed nature of the Kremlin.

    If the Kremlin was open and transparent about its dealings then the Kreminologists would quickly die off.

  272. er…I think you’ll find, Martel, that Kremlinology thrived on something else: hatred of the Soviet Union, the function of which (at least partly) was to ‘prove’ that we in the West lived in the ‘best of all possible worlds’.

  273. Martel on said:

    # 332 It is a bit of a circular arguement. The Kremlinologists hated the Kremlin because it was ‘secretive, paranoid and closed’ and were able to express their hatred because it was ‘secretive, paranoid and closed.’

  274. The Undertaker on said:

    Could we have at least two awards one for each of Cupid/Colins multiple personalites and a special ‘Lifetime’ one for Jelly ,but be quick at his age it might be posthumous
    we could even call them Andy’s Ashes

  275. “Vanya takes it all too seriously.”

    From you that really is an insult! I’m hurt more than I can say.

  276. christian h. on said:

    JellyTot 297.: You have not made a single political argument on this thread, or for that matter, ever as far as I can recall. Everything you’ve “contributed” are personal anecdotes, most likely invented.

  277. christian h. on said:

    333.: Huh? You seriously want to claim that Torygraph columnist types just hate secretive governments, in general? Strikes me as a bit naive.

  278. The difference between Kremlinology and the current thread is that Kremlinology studied something that actually mattered to the outside world. To the best of my knowledge the SWP does not have nuclear weapons or a large, battle-ready, modern army. So I for one am happy to leave them to sort out their own internal affairs themselves. Can we have an argument about Russian history now, please? ;)

  279. Martel on said:

    # 337 I see no problem in hating authoritarian, closed and secretive governments, whatever the motivation.

  280. JellyTot on said:

    #326 So i get it, the gospel according to the SWPers on here is that if you in anyway disagree with them you are either an alcoholic, mentally ill, or a right wing troll.

    Not that they ever would, but can you imagine what it would be like if that party exercised any real power in this country? It would, most likely, be a re-run of late thirties Russia, where there was a similar intolerance of alternative view points.

    In such a scenario ‘The Undertaker’ would be a perfect reincarnation of Nikolai “The Poison Dwarf” Yezhov.

    #336 You have not made a single political argument on this thread, or for that matter, ever as far as I can recall.

    I have made contributions to past threads on anti-fascism arguing against the tactics of the UAF. Just because you haven’t read them doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    most likely invented

    You wish!

  281. JellyTot on said:

    #301 A few do though – Mark Steel the comedian and Indy columnist and minor schleb for one – who only left when he was forty!

    True and his parting gift was one of the most most effective and funny demolitions of that party and its internal culture I’ve read. I particularly liked the fact that they tried to stopping him contributing to an internal document by claiming he hadn’t paid his subs for years (he had).

    Many an ex-member would read it and think “I can relate to them…and that….and definitely that”. I did.

  282. Connor on said:

    If a Kremlinologist received genuine information from someone in an influential position within the CPSU to the effect that the Secretary General had been ousted in a power struggle and was being demoted to a lesser role, we would have been interested.

    If the Secretary General had made his demise inevitable by unacceptable conduct towards a female comrade we would have been intrigued.

    If Pravda’s resident writer for the Young Pioneers had come on here to rubbish the whole story we would have been amused.

    Amusing fellow, that Michael Rosen.

  283. JellyTot on said:

    #308 The likes of Jelly, Brian the poodle,Cupid/Colin and even EDL Dave really are the dregs the sort thankfully the SWP can safely ignore

    You’ve done a great job of safely ignoring us on this thread!

  284. Can someone let us know what practical political activity Mark Steel is now involved in now he’s not held back by the shackles of the SWP?

  285. Andy, given that it now appears that there are serious allegations being made, I think you need to take a view as to whether you are going to stick with, “I believe it would be wrong at this stage to have any sort of discussion on a public website…”

    Now I see what Ray was getting at in his comment #5, although in his position I may have been tempted to reveal a little less than he did.

    If you don’t want a public discussion on these allegations I suggest you close the thread.