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eejoynt
12-01-2013, 07:33 PM
Anyone following the crisis in SWP hq over the handling of allegations of rape against a senior party member?

apparently the aprty set up an internal sdispute committee to examine the matter - a bit like tha catholic church and canon law

link here

http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/laurie-penny-on-the-swp-rape-allegations/

and here

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ranks-of-the-socialist-workers-party-are-split-over-handling-of-rape-allegation-8448429.html

C. Flower
12-01-2013, 07:47 PM
The SWP in the UK ?

Yes, I have read that and it was mentioned on another thread here.

However, I think for legal reasons we should not go into the details of it as it involves allegations of criminal acts.

eejoynt
13-01-2013, 10:09 AM
yes of course the allegations of rape should not be discussed

how ever should we not discuss the likliehood of prosecution of the disputes committe members for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice

also the possibility of a crisis in swp spilling over into the irish operator of the franchise

C. Flower
13-01-2013, 10:16 AM
yes of course the allegations of rape should not be discussed

how ever should we not discuss the likliehood of prosecution of the disputes committe members for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice

also the possibility of a crisis in swp spilling over into the irish operator of the franchise

The site covers international politics. I was just making a point of clarification.

I had read the documents, as they are linked on another thread. The matter does seem to have been handled in an appalling way. The thread deals with the organisational forms adopted on the left, including the list system of electing the Central Committee. This seems to me to have a direct bearing on the kind of clique/bureaucratic politics emerging that seem to me to lie behind the way the SWP responded to an allegation of rape of one member of the organisation by another.

Dr. FIVE
13-01-2013, 10:33 AM
Extremely difficult to see any future for the SWP after this. No chance in fact.

Ogiol
13-01-2013, 12:24 PM
Shouldn't this thread be moved to the british politics section? It is very confusing when you're looking through the SWP section.

And just for the record, I think the british swp are finished too after this.

C. Flower
13-01-2013, 12:28 PM
Shouldn't this thread be moved to the british politics section? It is very confusing when you're looking through the SWP section.

And just for the record, I think the british swp are finished too after this.

I've moved the thread, and changed the thread title to clarify.

The thread here looks at the issue of overcontrol of parties by Central Committees elected through the list system.

http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=13600&highlight=call+discussion

Sam Lord
15-01-2013, 03:13 AM
The resignations have started.

And the cc moves to maintain control.



What has happened since the SWP conference at the weekend? Despite everything, the CC position is ‘draw a line under it and move on’. The opposition were also told to sign up to this or face expulsion. That applied as of the minute conference ended - and the leadership intends to enforce it.

The CC is shutting down all debate, on the pretext that it is about the rule that factions must dissolve after conference. Party workers are being spoken to individually, and if they refuse to give a guarantee that they will never so much as mention the case again, they are being told they must leave their party jobs. Some have already gone, others may be going as I write.

Meanwhile branches are being told that the criticisms of the disputes committee raised in conference will not be reported to them and cannot be discussed by any member, even in outline. At the behest of the CC, the Socialist Worker report of the conference does not even mention the disputes committee session. For one, this means that the reason behind the alternative CC slate is not explained at all.



http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/944/swp-why-i-am-resigning

C. Flower
15-01-2013, 09:35 AM
The resignations have started.

And the cc moves to maintain control.

http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/944/swp-why-i-am-resigning

Which brings us back to this thread -

http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=13600&highlight=call+discussion

The slate system creates a self perpetuating rule by clique.

Even if initially the best people were elected as leaders, over time, the internal democracy of the organisation is destroyed. It is not dialectical.
Information, ideas, debate of the most robust kind, all need the right conditions within an organisation.

In Russia, there extreme conditions there may have appeared to have justified this form of organisation in the 1920s, but I'm persuaded it was a mistake.

The same kind of exclusively top down structure in the ULA was a disaster - but as soon as something much more dialectical was put in place, the "tops" (lol) killed the organisation.

C. Flower
15-01-2013, 11:47 AM
Socialist Unity page discussing this. Many interesting comments.

http://www.socialistunity.com/swp-crawling-from-the-wreckage/

unspecific
15-01-2013, 03:30 PM
Which brings us back to this thread -

http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=13600&highlight=call+discussion

The slate system creates a self perpetuating rule by clique.

Even if initially the best people were elected as leaders, over time, the internal democracy of the organisation is destroyed. It is not dialectical.
Information, ideas, debate of the most robust kind, all need the right conditions within an organisation.

In Russia, there extreme conditions there may have appeared to have justified this form of organisation in the 1920s, but I'm persuaded it was a mistake.

The same kind of exclusively top down structure in the ULA was a disaster - but as soon as something much more dialectical was put in place, the "tops" (lol) killed the organisation.

Even if the opposition manage to win a recall conference and kick the parasite bureaucracy out, implement root and branch reform.. it'll still be called "SWP" which is now toxic.

The best possible result of this would be for the post-bureaucracy SWP to liquidate itself into a new pluralist organization like the LCR did. This allowed the nonaligned revolutionaries to merge into the process and within 9 months was triple the size the LCR was. From within some can try and rebuild the IST if they want.

I think that would actually be the way out of the cul-de-sac for the entire left.

C. Flower
15-01-2013, 03:57 PM
Even if the opposition manage to win a recall conference and kick the parasite bureaucracy out, implement root and branch reform.. it'll still be called "SWP" which is now toxic.

The best possible result of this would be for the post-bureaucracy SWP to liquidate itself into a new pluralist organization like the LCR did. This allowed the nonaligned revolutionaries to merge into the process and within 9 months was triple the size the LCR was. From within some can try and rebuild the IST if they want.

I think that would actually be the way out of the cul-de-sac for the entire left.

Would you help us out here and give the acronymed organisations in full?

I am not an SWP supporter (to say the least), and I think -from what I have read - that the CC acted disgracefully in the manner they conducted the investigation.

However, there is a big leap from that to saying the organisation should be dissolved. Has the CC called a special congress ? Surely, it should be for the membership to decide what to do, not outside commentators ?

C. Flower
15-01-2013, 04:14 PM
There is a lot more wrong with the SWP than one very damaging and reportedly disgraceful incident.

How would a merger help, if the politics aren't dealt with ?

unspecific
15-01-2013, 05:02 PM
Would you help us out here and give the acronymed organisations in full?

I am not an SWP supporter (to say the least), and I think -from what I have read - that the CC acted disgracefully in the manner they conducted the investigation.

However, there is a big leap from that to saying the organisation should be dissolved. Has the CC called a special congress ? Surely, it should be for the membership to decide what to do, not outside commentators ?

Sorry SWP = Socialist Workers Party. IST = International Socialist Tendency, the name of the SWP's international mother organization.

This piece is instructive on what has happened to the SWP.

http://www.leninology.com/2013/01/guest-post-on-crisis.html

A bureaucracy has seized control and are holding tight in their bunker - their survival is more important than the survival of the party. There's a battle now being waged by the grassroots to wrest control of the organization from them to restructure it democratically and save it from oblivion.

In a years time the SWP will either be a dying rump of 100 or so activists loyal to the Stalinist bureaucracy(lets call a spade a spade) or have undergone internal revolution, root & branch democratic restructuring and a name change which amounts to an LCR-NPA style transformation.

C. Flower
15-01-2013, 05:09 PM
Sorry SWP = Socialist Workers Party. IST = International Socialist Tendency, the name of the SWP's international mother organization.

This piece is instructive on what has happened to the SWP.

http://www.leninology.com/2013/01/guest-post-on-crisis.html

A bureaucracy has seized control and are holding tight in their bunker - their survival is more important than the survival of the party. There's a battle now being waged by the grassroots to wrest control of the organization from them to restructure it democratically and save it from oblivion.

In a years time the SWP will either be a dying rump of 100 or so activists loyal to the Stalinist bureaucracy(lets call a spade a spade) or have undergone internal revolution, root & branch democratic restructuring and a name change which amounts to an LCR-NPA style transformation.

LCR - NPA ?

And from me CC - Central Committee.

What do you mean by democratic restructuring ?

Do you see any relevance to the current discussion on the ULA structure ?

unspecific
15-01-2013, 05:32 PM
LCR - NPA ?

And from me CC - Central Committee.

What do you mean by democratic restructuring ?

Do you see any relevance to the current discussion on the ULA structure ?

Some solutions are apparently glaringly obvious as Seymour points to in his first article


"How do the CC[sic.] respond? A sane response would be to say, 'much of the party is still not convinced, we need to debate this further and work out a solution'. At the very least. More generally, a sane leadership might think about opening up year round communications so that party members can communicate with one another outside of conference season. They might think about creating more pluralistic party structures, ending the ban on factions outside of conference season and rethinking the way elections take place. Instead, they tell everyone in Party Notes that there will be no further discussion of the matter. CC members tell full-time party employees that the accused was 'exonerated' by conference (no such thing), insist that conference voted for an 'interventionist' party, rather than a 'federalist' party, and begin a purge."

Scrapping the slate system. Regular internal elections and term limits. Allowing permanent factions or tendencies. Democratic checks and controls on the Central Committee. Staff to be mandated by a delegates council or working group *not* the CC. Take the party apparatus out of the CC's hands. Then spend the next year designing a programme to ensure the CC can't act outside a certain political remit.

This is absolutely relevant for the ULA and pretty much every socialist organization in the world. The ULA hasnt been let move forward primarily because the similarly arisen self-interested bureaucracies in our SWP(and SP) see it as a threat to their survival. Plain and simple. As you said above, once there was the potential for it to get out of their control they put the lockdown on it and "diminished". Naturally, they've become degenerated workers parties after the long downturn of working class struggle. That's just an objective observation, not meant to be an insult. As Trotsky would call for in this situation is for the grassroots to rise up, take back their parties and institute grassroots control... as is the present battle in the SWP.

Dr. FIVE
16-01-2013, 10:50 AM
Have practically zero time for the SWP but anyone getting grim pleasure out of this would need to check themselves.
We've seen enough in this country to leave schadenfreude at the door I hope,

These are rape allegations.

C. Flower
16-01-2013, 10:57 AM
Have practically zero time for the SWP but anyone getting grim pleasure out of this would need to check themselves.
We've seen enough in this country to leave schadenfreude at the door I hope,

These are rape allegations.

Fortunately, not too much grim pleasure I don't think.

But a bit of a rush to devour the presumed corpse of the organisation.

C. Flower
16-01-2013, 12:14 PM
Some solutions are apparently glaringly obvious as Seymour points to in his first article

Scrapping the slate system. Regular internal elections and term limits. Allowing permanent factions or tendencies. Democratic checks and controls on the Central Committee. Staff to be mandated by a delegates council or working group *not* the CC. Take the party apparatus out of the CC's hands. Then spend the next year designing a programme to ensure the CC can't act outside a certain political remit.

This is absolutely relevant for the ULA and pretty much every socialist organization in the world. The ULA hasnt been let move forward primarily because the similarly arisen self-interested bureaucracies in our SWP(and SP) see it as a threat to their survival. Plain and simple. As you said above, once there was the potential for it to get out of their control they put the lockdown on it and "diminished". Naturally, they've become degenerated workers parties after the long downturn of working class struggle. That's just an objective observation, not meant to be an insult. As Trotsky would call for in this situation is for the grassroots to rise up, take back their parties and institute grassroots control... as is the present battle in the SWP.

I agree that these are the issues. But inevitably, in a state of flux like this, there will be pulls in all directions.

What the SP and SWP have been running and I presume other parties modelled on the CP is a constricted form of democratic centralism.
The centralism aspect with insufficient internal democracy.

I am quite sure that some people will want to throw democratic centralism out, rather than making it work.

Democratic centralism, working properly, gives a party the full benefit of the knowledge and commitment of all its members, while enabling it to act as one, when quick action is required.

I think some interesting things were emerging (fleetingly) in the ULA that are worth looking at in that context.

And certainly, imo, the slate system should be gone.

But I don't agree with neutering the Central Committee.

How do you envisage decisions being made that have to be made between conferences, particularly in emergencies or when things are moving very fast politically ?

Jolly Red Giant
17-01-2013, 08:32 PM
What the SP and SWP have been running and I presume other parties modelled on the CP is a constricted form of democratic centralism.


I am really not interested in getting into what has been happening within SWP UK - however, I will point out the following - the internal regimes of the SWP and the SP are nothing alike - the application of democratic centralism within the SWP and the SP are of a different character and the political organisation fostered by these internal regimes are of a different political character.

C. Flower
17-01-2013, 08:37 PM
I am really not interested in getting into what has been happening within SWP UK - however, I will point out the following - the internal regimes of the SWP and the SP are nothing alike - the application of democratic centralism within the SWP and the SP are of a different character and the political organisation fostered by these internal regimes are of a different political character.

There certainly are differences, which is one of the reasons I could see no logic in an alliance between the two beyond a united front on specific agreed issues.

Does the SP use the list system to elected its CC ? I should really be asking this question on a different thread here which discusses democratic centralism and the ULA experience, but since you are here...

Jolly Red Giant
17-01-2013, 09:46 PM
Does the SP use the list system to elected its CC ?
The Socialist Party has a National Committee not a Central Committee - and no - the Socialist Party National Committee is not elected by slate or list system. The Socialist Party dispensed with using the slate system many years ago (well before it actually became the Socialist Party if my memory serves me correctly).

There are times that a slate system can be appropriate for election to the governing body of a revolutionary organisation - the current period is not one of them. Many far-left organisations adopted the slate system because 'that's what the Bolsheviks did' - many also continue such systems because they see them as being set in stone rather than being a mechanism for a particular period and purpose.

C. Flower
17-01-2013, 10:44 PM
The Socialist Party has a National Committee not a Central Committee - and no - the Socialist Party National Committee is not elected by slate or list system. The Socialist Party dispensed with using the slate system many years ago (well before it actually became the Socialist Party if my memory serves me correctly).

There are times that a slate system can be appropriate for election to the governing body of a revolutionary organisation - the current period is not one of them. Many far-left organisations adopted the slate system because 'that's what the Bolsheviks did' - many also continue such systems because they see them as being set in stone rather than being a mechanism for a particular period and purpose.

So, you have an annual conference and branches send delegates, who nominate and elect a National Committee (not sure how that differs from a Central Committee), and policy is made by the Conference, after discussion at branch level ? Apologies for my assumption that you used the slate system, which is the case for a good number of left organisations.

Are factions permitted between conferences ? And can members call an emergency conference ?

The Bolsheviks did not use the slate system until the 1920s, and it didn't seem to do them a whole lot of good.

Jolly Red Giant
18-01-2013, 11:57 AM
So, you have an annual conference and branches send delegates, who nominate and elect a National Committee and policy is made by the Conference, after discussion at branch level ?
Yes


Are factions permitted between conferences ?
Yes


And can members call an emergency conference ?
Yes

elric666
18-01-2013, 06:57 PM
More articles about the SWP crisis in the Weekly Worker, also letters.

Weekly Worker issue 945 - January 17 2013

http ://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker /945

SWP crisis: Opposition emboldened as demand for recall grows
The leadership can no longer lead - but a positive outcome to the crisis requires more than the removal of the entire CC, argues Paul Demarty

Read more...

Letters
Rebellion; Shocking; Victim; Quantity left; Conflict site?;

Opposition blog?: Doubts exist over authenticity
The Weekly Worker is publishing a statement from the new 'SWP Opposition' blog, but doubts over the blogs authenticity remain, reports Peter Manson

The left: Rebellion, regroupment and the party we need
Ben Lewis surveys the British left’s response to the crisis gripping the SWP, and calls for a radical change of culture

SWP and women: Countless zigs and zags over women’s oppression
The central committee claims that the SWP has a consistent record of fighting for women’s liberation. Former national committee member Dave Isaacson sheds light on the not so excellent truth

SWP: Another week, another resignation
Jon Hosier explains why he has chosen to resign from the SWP

Sexism: Macho culture and the lessons we can learn from the Middle East
How should sexism be combated? Yassamine Mather compares the situation in Britain with the practice of two guerrilla organisations

C. Flower
18-01-2013, 08:10 PM
More articles about the SWP crisis in the Weekly Worker, also letters.

Weekly Worker issue 945 - January 17 2013

http ://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker /945

SWP crisis: Opposition emboldened as demand for recall grows
The leadership can no longer lead - but a positive outcome to the crisis requires more than the removal of the entire CC, argues Paul Demarty

Read more...

Letters
Rebellion; Shocking; Victim; Quantity left; Conflict site?;

Opposition blog?: Doubts exist over authenticity
The Weekly Worker is publishing a statement from the new 'SWP Opposition' blog, but doubts over the blogs authenticity remain, reports Peter Manson

The left: Rebellion, regroupment and the party we need
Ben Lewis surveys the British left’s response to the crisis gripping the SWP, and calls for a radical change of culture

SWP and women: Countless zigs and zags over women’s oppression
The central committee claims that the SWP has a consistent record of fighting for women’s liberation. Former national committee member Dave Isaacson sheds light on the not so excellent truth

SWP: Another week, another resignation
Jon Hosier explains why he has chosen to resign from the SWP

Sexism: Macho culture and the lessons we can learn from the Middle East
How should sexism be combated? Yassamine Mather compares the situation in Britain with the practice of two guerrilla organisations


Hi and welcome eiric666 and welcome. I've tried to fix that link, but for some reason it's not working.

What is your own view about the situation in the SWP ?

elric666
18-01-2013, 08:23 PM
I can't post links yet. Here it is again with a few gaps.


http://cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/945

Jolly Red Giant
18-01-2013, 08:24 PM
Weekly Worker - the gossip rag of the sectarian left.

Dr. FIVE
18-01-2013, 08:26 PM
jesus, am I missing something here or is the internal structure of the party really the issue here?

elric666
18-01-2013, 08:28 PM
I think the SWP is at risk of imploding, while I disagree with how they pursue their politics, I don't want to see the atomisation of that cadre of activists.I hope the dissidents stay and fight for a more democratic organisation.

My problem with the SWP here is their myriad front organisations and the way they try to take over every campaign they get involved with.

elric666
18-01-2013, 08:30 PM
Weekly Worker - the gossip rag of the sectarian left.

Why not point to what you disagree with in those articles?

FWIW I disagree with a lot of the criticism of the SP thats carried in the WW. I particular that about abortion.

unspecific
18-01-2013, 10:59 PM
jesus, am I missing something here or is the internal structure of the party really the issue here?

The structure and culture of the party creates basically a dictatorship where all the power and privilege is centrally vested in the handful of people in the CC. There could not have been 2 internal cover-ups - first in 2010 and then again now, had transparent democratic structures been in place to prevent it. Likewise the fear of going to the police inculcated in members stems from that. Also,Tom Walker makes this point in his letter.


Also, leaders are put into positions of power within an organisation with open recruitment but quite a closed culture, and this has a dramatic effect on any relationships that take place. Older male party leader with younger female party member is a triply unequal power relationship, and should be considered so.

So, should what creates these bureaucracies not be fixed then another abuse of power will happen over and over again. How does abuse of power reproduce itself? The internal dynamics, culture and structure. Clearly the SWP's is rotten to the core.

Jolly Red Giant
18-01-2013, 11:35 PM
Why not point to what you disagree with in those articles?
No point - its a weekly occurance - I read WW and adopt the same attiude to it as I do when watching Fox News - it's occasionally good for a laugh after a hard day's work.


FWIW I disagree with a lot of the criticism of the SP thats carried in the WW. I particular that about abortion.
I disagree with all the criticism of the CWI in the WW ;)

elric666
24-01-2013, 01:21 PM
More articles:


SWP opposition: Seymour in Greece
He may have been propelled to the vanguard of the SWP opposition - but it is not immediately clear what Richard Seymour’s politics actually are. Paul Demarty looks for clues

Nature and Programme: Wealth of nature and counterfeit Marxism
Why does SWP Online insist on carrying anti-Marxist nonsense? Jack Conrad shows why root-and-branch change is long overdue

SWP: No return to normal
The fight for democracy and accountability in the SWP is gaining ground, reports Ben Lewis
http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/946

C. Flower
24-01-2013, 01:50 PM
More articles:

Fascinating. Thanks for posting.


A salient point is Seymour's assertion that "we are all involved in left reformism."

Helpful towards understanding Syriza, too.

The article points out that the core grouping in Syriza came out of an electoral pact of communist parties that was reduced to a fraction by going into government - and that the same would happen to Syriza should it form a government.

eejoynt
23-02-2013, 07:40 AM
The embattled swp leadership is now promising 'lynch mobs' to control dissent at the forthcoming conference. This manages to make the late saintly Gerry Healy ( remember the WRP?) look moderate!!!!::D

C. Flower
23-02-2013, 08:38 AM
The embattled swp leadership is now promising 'lynch mobs' to control dissent at the forthcoming conference. This manages to make the late saintly Gerry Healy ( remember the WRP?) look moderate!!!!::D

As it happens, someone was selling "Newsline" on the ICTU march (uncritical report on Morsi, fgs) and there seems to have been a meeting in Dublin. The WRP splintered in all directions.

How is "dissent" shaping up? Is there an opposition slate for the CC ?

If so, what is it like, politically ?

Dr. FIVE
23-02-2013, 01:56 PM
Silence is deafening on this side of the water no?

Has there been any comment at all?

C. Flower
23-02-2013, 04:46 PM
Silence is deafening on this side of the water no?

Has there been any comment at all?

Deafening silence on the demise of the ULA too. Say nothing, and hope it will go away ?

Dr. FIVE
23-02-2013, 04:53 PM
Not even near good enough tbh.

C. Flower
23-02-2013, 05:14 PM
Not even near good enough tbh.

It's a mystery. It has always struck me as more like a brand or a franchise than a party.

Dr. FIVE
23-02-2013, 05:44 PM
either way,

eejoynt
23-02-2013, 07:55 PM
It's a mystery. It has always struck me as more like a brand or a franchise than a party.

That's the most accurate and succinct description I have ever seen.:)

eejoynt
25-02-2013, 08:03 PM
Seems this one will run and run. Details beginning to emerge of more SWP sharia law on Harrysplace
Where will it all end?

Dr. FIVE
25-02-2013, 08:09 PM
Will have to wait for a better source I think.

Splintered Sunrise had good post earlier in the month if you missed it

http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/the-swp-crisis-some-reflections/

C. Flower
25-02-2013, 08:40 PM
Amazing how much people will do, and give up, for such small aspirations... "We need the Left as a counterbalance .."

http://madammiaow.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/swp-sex-implosion-its-dehumanisation-in.html

C. Flower
25-02-2013, 08:46 PM
Will have to wait for a better source I think.

Splintered Sunrise had good post earlier in the month if you missed it

http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/the-swp-crisis-some-reflections/

Very interesting. A closed world. Hardly a mention of politics.

eejoynt
28-02-2013, 06:40 PM
Even the Irish SWP has passed a resolution condemning its British comrades’ handling of the Delta case.

Above taken from article 'silence of lambs' in the current CPGB
Weekly worker
Can anyone stand up the story.:cool:

Dr. FIVE
28-02-2013, 06:53 PM
A link would have helped eejoynt.

http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/951/swp-crisis-silence-of-the-lambs (Third paragraph, under 'self-censorship)


Even the Irish SWP has passed a resolution condemning its British comrades’ handling of the Delta case.

fluffybiscuits
01-03-2013, 10:20 PM
A link would have helped eejoynt.

http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/951/swp-crisis-silence-of-the-lambs (Third paragraph, under 'self-censorship)

Heard about it today from some friends through the branch Im in...

C. Flower
01-03-2013, 10:32 PM
A link would have helped eejoynt.

http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/951/swp-crisis-silence-of-the-lambs (Third paragraph, under 'self-censorship)

Not too much there beyond the clicking of knitting needles.

Mick Tully
02-03-2013, 12:00 AM
SWP, Posers, not political, not capable. Head in the sand for years, launching pad for loolahs.

eejoynt
02-03-2013, 08:50 PM
From a recent post on Cedar Lounge
It would appear that a motion of Criticism was put to irish CC and supported by a majority, however due to opposition of cde. K Allen and two others no decision was taken.
Maybe a whip for a (moral)compass ?:confused:

C. Flower
02-03-2013, 09:02 PM
For anyone who isn't following the OP, there is a thread here that discusses the current crisis in the SWP (UK) - http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=13609&page=3

Dr. FIVE
05-03-2013, 12:48 AM
special conference on the tenth.

Bulletin here, lengthy & from a brief read sophistry is probably giving it too much credit

http://cpgb.org.uk/assets/files/resources/special-conference-bulletin.pdf

eejoynt
09-03-2013, 08:05 PM
And it moves along. Further details on the second rape case....not the comrade delta case
Socialist Workers Party leadership under fire over rape kangaroo court
Headline In today's (Saturdays ) guardian

CEISTEANNA

How will the conference go on Sunday?

when will SWP Ireland break its silence?:confused:

Dr. FIVE
09-03-2013, 08:34 PM
What are your thoughts eejoynt

eejoynt
09-03-2013, 09:21 PM
This story is moving fast
Those seeking enlightenment should enter
The following terms into google for the latest

Sheffield swp rape

Seek and YE shall find

By the way now that we have used a biblical. Allusion:

The Lord sought one just man in sodom and Gomorrah and failed
There is at least one just man in the irish swp.....but maybe only one

C. Flower
09-03-2013, 09:53 PM
This story is moving fast
Those seeking enlightenment should enter
The following terms into google for the latest

Sheffield swp rape

Seek and YE shall find

By the way now that we have used a biblical. Allusion:

The Lord sought one just man in sodom and Gomorrah and failed
There is at least one just man in the irish swp.....but maybe only one

Let them have their conference. The Guardian newspaper dropping a little bombshell the night before would want to be treated with some caution.

Dr. FIVE
09-03-2013, 10:24 PM
finished

C. Flower
09-03-2013, 10:29 PM
finished

The SWP, the congress, or both ?

Dr. FIVE
09-03-2013, 10:38 PM
Congress going ahead but what will it achieve. What can it possibly achieve at this stage ?

C. Flower
09-03-2013, 10:42 PM
Congress going ahead but what will it achieve. What can it possibly achieve at this stage ?

A three way split ?

Dr. FIVE
09-03-2013, 10:48 PM
We shall wait and see, though any admittedly unlikely goodwill they might have attracted from me is gone . Official line doesn't look to promising either

http://www.swp.org.uk/14/01/2013/response-attacks-swp


There was a comment on a Splintered Sunrise (SWP who had taken to blogging about Catholism for while and only recently returned after a long hiatus) post awhile back that summed it up for me knowing all we already know


After you’d spent so much time exploring the maze of procedural shenanigans, obscure personal antagonisms, byzantine organizational structures, arcane doctrinal differences and peculiar ethical rationalizations – all quite bewildering to the uninitiated – that seems to make up the strange, closed world of ecclesiastical traditionalism, turning your attention once more to the far left must have been a refreshing change.

Garibaldy
09-03-2013, 11:06 PM
I wouldn't write off the British SWP yet. They remain well organised in certain unions for example, and those activists seem to be sticking by the leadership. There is clearly a substantial amount of money there that won't just disappear, and the target audience - students - are unlikely to have heard of all this in a year or three. The fact that the leadership seems to have so clearly won the struggle for dominating the conference also suggests that any ideas of a quick disintegration are likely to be wrong.

C. Flower
09-03-2013, 11:22 PM
I wouldn't write off the British SWP yet. They remain well organised in certain unions for example, and those activists seem to be sticking by the leadership. There is clearly a substantial amount of money there that won't just disappear, and the target audience - students - are unlikely to have heard of all this in a year or three. The fact that the leadership seems to have so clearly won the struggle for dominating the conference also suggests that any ideas of a quick disintegration are likely to be wrong.

Slate system is hard to rattle. Designed that way.

Politically, they seem to have found a formula that attracts people in for a few months before they get sense.

Dr. FIVE
09-03-2013, 11:31 PM
Not necessarily writing them off. Im sure they will tough it out like every other organisation caught up has done but in my eyes there will be a gigantic health warning over them for the foreseeable. Paul Mason was on Novara a week back (http://novaramedia.com/2013/02/why-its-still-kicking-off-everywhere-in-conversation-with-paul-mason/) and talking about the why its kicking off... and mentioned that people, or these generations have much better* understanding of power then his would have had. And how he was shocked when the WRP stuff emerged but people now wouldn't be surprised when dodgy stuff and subsequent lack of accountability occurs inside these somewhat closed organisations.


I would be very critical of anyone using this to score political points but even more so of the silence over here. RBB, Allen & co have left the door open. The lack of action is bad enough but as I mentioned over on CLR, the press haven't missed any of this and like the Wallace case it will be used to smear the entire left when the time is right. It's already too late for many people but it most certainly will be then in the public eye,

eejoynt
10-03-2013, 07:47 PM
Reports would indicate that the CC faction (rapeapologists)have beaten the dissidents by 400 to140

Both sides probably holding post mortems, maybe tomorrow shapes will emerge from the wreckage

C. Flower
10-03-2013, 07:51 PM
Reports would indicate that the CC faction (rapeapologists)have beaten the dissidents by 400 to140

Both sides probably holding post mortems, maybe tomorrow shapes will emerge from the wreckage

Tiny numbers, unless one rep per branch ?

Dr. FIVE
10-03-2013, 07:56 PM
Only report kicking about twitter at the moment

http://theredneedle.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/swp-crisis-opposition-smashed-at.html


OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS in the Socialist Workers Party were comfortably defeated at the Special Conference today, paving the way for further resignations to add to those who have already left the party in disgust.

The Special Conference had been called after an unprecedented level of anger amongst members about the way the party handled an allegation of rape against a senior member of the party, who was dubbed 'Comrade Delta'.

The SWP featured in damning media coverage after their annual January conference, with full reports carried in national newspapers, blogs and even the BBC.

The leadership of the party called the conference after student groups and other activists continued to rebel against them. The opposition eventually declared a 'faction' called 'In Defence of Our Party', which flew against the normal rules for forming a faction within a three month designated period before annual conferences in January.

At the conference, every significant vote was carried in favour of the Central Committee. It now leaves many activists on the verge of resignation.

Richard Seymour, a prominent writer and blogger within the opposition wrote simply on facebook: "Disgust, nausea, contempt. Rage."


Another activist wrote on facebook: "If it's the case that socialist organisations get the leaderships they deserve, then I don't know what that says for the SWP and the majority of delegates to today's Special "Conference".

"Another organisation retreating into the abyss of the sect, all the time dressing up their contemptable behaviour in the language of Proletarian Virtue. Well guess what? Working class people aren't interested in rape apologists, bureaucrats, petty bullies, middle class wanna-be's and tin-pot dictators.

"Time to start again..."

elric666
10-03-2013, 08:21 PM
SWP special conference: an initial assessment
http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/swp-special-conference-an-initial-assessment
Make or break? The CPGB has been sent a copy of this initial, personal, assesment of the Special Conference

Which future?
Predictably, the SWP central committee won the special conference hands down. However, this in no way reflects the real balance of forces in the organisation. The irremovable apparatus and hordes of inactive/paper members were mobilised in addition to all manner of bureaucratic dirty tricks to ensure an emphatic victory for the central committee: but this in no way reflects the reality of today’s SWP and the actual balance of opinion in the organisation. Where now for the dissidents?

Comrades

Conference was extremely disappointing, even for those of us who didn't expect much by way of surprises. The opposition was weak and scant; the level of debate very low and the CC was hardly pressed at all on any single count. The votes were overwhelmingly pro-co and the infamous middle ground which the faction has professed to want to win was, once again, absent. iDOOP will run to dissolve if it hasn't already done so. The CC managed to elevate the false accusation of permanent factionalism into a (successful) rallying cry.

Speakers, crass or not, repeatedly defended the view that the blog was the problem, that Richard and China are behind it and that nothing would be better than for them to be expelled. One of the most lauded interventions enjoined those who might be unhappy after today to leave. When some if us heckled a speaker for claiming that the blog was a Sino-seymorese conspiracy, we had to hear other delegates invite us to "join them outside", effectively as though they had already been expelled. The best by way of an example of such claims was given by Alex. Apparently it was only after the blog mentioned that the DC had ruled on 9 cases involving rape allegation that Nick Cohen decided to contact Pat for confirmation. It didn't seem to matter that Pat was able to deny this and that yesterday's piece was based on a new case, with no relation to blog material. The point was made that the worst thing about this crisis was, by far and away, the blog.

Nothing was said about the FB4 apart from hearing our argument turned around like the proverbial tortilla: "ah, you call for their reinstatement but you want Delta out"... Nothing on democracy except to be accused of the usual anti-Leninist deviations. The delta issue was always going to be controversial but nothing else could have been done. The leadership had not retreated to the bunker: "we were listening, this is why we are here"... Other allegations of rape were not taken up. Disagreements with students have apparently been raging since at least 2011, so nothing to see there. And a boring so on and so forth. Bottom line, you either work with the party or are seeking to undermine it. Unity, in a word.

The problem is not the numbers, comrades, but the party's deeply entrenched culture of obedience to a (less and less) "charismatic" leadership.

For those of you reading the temperature before deciding what to do next, it's cold, very cold. As we argued, between February and now, it was make or break. Personally, I think time's up, and it's break.

C. Flower
10-03-2013, 09:00 PM
"Time to start again..." ...

Neither the SP nor SWP is fit for purpose.

Dr. FIVE
10-03-2013, 09:30 PM
nope

C. Flower
10-03-2013, 09:39 PM
There are two underlying strata shifting to cause these disruptions and cracks in the SP, SWP and the ULA. Some people moving to the right, getting more individualistic, not prepared to put up with party discipline and injury, and other people getting frustrated and angry at the lack of purposeful action in the face of the austerity onslaught and not prepared to put up with self serving bureaucrats.

I don't think there is any other party that can afford to be complacent.

Dr. FIVE
10-03-2013, 10:10 PM
What's worse is we're now seeing the start of a turn against austerity.

Some time down the line when policy changes or at least becomes less overt it will be the other parties who capitalise.

Dr. FIVE
11-03-2013, 09:10 PM
China Mieville, Richard Seymour among others have left

Dr. FIVE
11-03-2013, 09:16 PM
FAO the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party

We, the undersigned, are writing to you to inform you that we can no longer remain in the Socialist Workers Party. The organisation’s tradition of fighting women’s oppression has been seriously undermined by the handling of a number of rape and sexual harassment allegations by the Disputes Committee and the Central Committee and the crisis of democracy and accountability in the party this has laid bare.

The SWP leadership has done everything it can to silence members’ genuine concerns on the matter including:
· Expelling four comrades for discussing concerns about how the rape allegation was handled
· Gerrymandering and abusing bureaucratic measures in conference, aggregates and district meetings;
· Sitting back whilst the Central Committee supporters have bullied the complainants, their supporters, and any
member of the opposition.

We are not prepared to accept or abide by the decisions of the special conference. The conference is a bureaucratic victory which will only lead to the demise of the SWP. The reputation of the SWP in the movement is irreparably damaged as a result of the handling of these complaints by the Disputes Committee and the leadership’s determination to protect one member rather than to develop a clear perspective on rape and consent.

The SWP leadership have utterly failed to uphold the organisation’s core principles of women’s liberation. This is corrosive to the party and thus it is not in spite but because of our commitment to the struggle that we feel forced to leave in order that we can remain committed socialists who can build militant activity in our workplaces and communities. We will not put the party before the class, or the organisation before our principles.

We stand in solidarity and comradeship with those who remain in the party and attempt to save it, but we can no longer do so.

In solidarity,



and seventy odd names here

http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.ie/2013/03/fao-central-committee-of-socialist.html

C. Flower
11-03-2013, 09:17 PM
What's worse is we're now seeing the start of a turn against austerity.

Some time down the line when policy changes or at least becomes less overt it will be the other parties who capitalise.

Austerity is not meant to be a little belt tightening followed by another boom - it's intended as a permanent shift to having much lower cost labour in the west - aka poverty.

It is hard to see that it is going to work even in terms acceptable to capitalists.

I know from ant-e that the SP thinks it will be back to "normal" after 10 years - I can't see what that is based on.

Dr. FIVE
11-03-2013, 09:38 PM
sorry, I mean there is growing international pressure on the EU kingpins and it's getting more and more difficult to pretend we're on the right track. This whole thing of them needing Ireland to work shows the enormity of the failure earlier but it goes unremarked. Similarly, in relation to the SP or other opposition parties, the complete failure to make progress since the general election at least means they are unlikely to get much credit for being right all along.

C. Flower
12-03-2013, 11:01 PM
[QUOTE=Dr. FIVE;322113]sorry, I mean there is growing international pressure on the EU kingpins and it's getting more and more difficult to pretend we're on the right track.

Their inclination will be to isolate themselves more and stick together tightly. Fear and loathing of the have nots by the haves is powerful.


This whole thing of them needing Ireland to work shows the enormity of the failure earlier but it goes unremarked.
I'm not sure how much that is a story of Fine Gael, to keep us compliant.


Similarly, in relation to the SP or other opposition parties, the complete failure to make progress since the general election at least means they are unlikely to get much credit for being right all along.

They burned off a lot of credibility in the ULA debacle. Their problem is that they believe in capitalism's resilience more than anyone else.

Dr. FIVE
12-03-2013, 11:24 PM
Well so did Marx tbf :) SWP have this statement out today, dismal


by Charlie Kimber, national secretary, Socialist Workers Party

This is a crucial time for the working class. And it poses big questions for the left.

Hundreds of delegates came to a Socialist Workers Party (SWP) special conference last Sunday.

In the weeks before over 1,000 party members went to local meetings to elect delegates to the conference and to debate.

SWP branches and districts discussed motions, and every one that was passed was discussed on Sunday.

At the conference speakers from a range of viewpoints powerfully put forward different arguments.

The SWP has faced strong criticism from people outside and inside the party over its handling of serious allegations against a leading party member.

This was the catalyst for the formation of an organised group, or faction, critical of the party’s leadership.

But it is also clear that wider political debates are involved over many issues.

These include what sort of party revolutionary socialists need, women’s oppression, democracy and the shape of the working class.

These questions confront the revolutionary left across the world.

Clarify

The SWP is part of a vibrant Marxist tradition that constantly tests its theory against reality.

We are committed to having discussions that clarify ideas so that we can be as effective as possible in the fight against capitalism.

On Sunday 77 percent of delegates backed a motion from the party’s leading body, the central committee.

It expressed confidence in the SWP’s democratic method of full discussion before making major decisions and then every member implementing them.

The conference made clear that this applied to all party members.

Slurs against fellow socialists and the party on blogs and Facebook are not how we should conduct debate.

The motion passed expressed

delegates’ belief in the integrity of the party members who were involved in handling the disciplinary case and of their investigation.

The conference set up an elected body to look at particular problems of confidentiality, the disciplinary process more generally, and to propose changes where necessary.

The party has been through an intense period of internal debate. It is now crucial it turns outwards.

Some 250,000 civil service workers in the PCS union are set to strike on Wednesday of next week.

This is budget day, when chancellor George Osborne will announce further attacks on working people.

The SWP must be at the centre of building solidarity and demonstrations on the day.

More generally the party will play a full part alongside others in the Unite the Resistance

initiative. This can increase pressure on union leaders to fight, deliver backing for strikes and bring the resistance together.

The next few weeks will also see party members supporting Jerry Hicks’ campaign for the leadership of the Unite union.

We are for action from union leaders, not just words. And we don’t believe that Labour offers any real hope for working people.

The bedroom tax is a focus for the feeling against austerity.

Socialist Worker has highlighted how people are organising against the tax and the SWP is asking every member to be part of this.

The result of the Eastleigh by‑election, the rise of Ukip and politicians’ scapegoating of migrants shows how our rulers will try to divide us.

We need to build on the successes of Unite Against Fascism and take on the arguments over who is really to blame for the lack of jobs, housing and services.

The working class needs socialists to unite against attacks and to put forward an alternative to capitalist exploitation and oppression.

This is what members of the SWP decided to do on Sunday

C. Flower
12-03-2013, 11:47 PM
Well so did Marx tbf :) SWP have this statement out today, dismal

Well, yes, but that was a very long time ago. He thought it was busy creating its own gravediggers and counted up the growing numbers of factory workers with enjoyment. :)

eejoynt
16-03-2013, 07:10 PM
Not normally a reliable source but the English daily mail has a seemingly thorough story on this today , with pics of three of the disputes committee members who hear cases of rape.

It would seem that beyond the original two there are anything between three and NINE cases
NINE!

PaddyJoe
16-03-2013, 10:15 PM
Special report: Did Socialist Workers Party cover up NINE rapes? Kangaroo court may have cleared an official of raping teenage member… but scandal goes far deeper
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2294198/Special-report-Did-Socialist-Workers-Party-cover-NINE-rapes-Kangaroo-court-cleared-official-raping-teenage-member-scandal-goes-far-deeper.html

Dojo
16-03-2013, 10:16 PM
It's clear the SWP should be investigated and should down if necessary. A truly vile cultish group.

Jolly Red Giant
16-03-2013, 11:16 PM
It's clear the SWP should be investigated and should down if necessary. A truly vile cultish group.

Absolutely - lets ban a political party because it makes a *****-up out of dealing with rape allegations - but don't stop there - let's hear you out on the streets calling for the state to shut down the Catholic Church. :rolleyes:

eejoynt
17-03-2013, 07:47 AM
Maybe it's time for swp here to make public it's deliberations on the emerging crisis on the mother ship
Specific questions like
What role did Kieran ( sociology lecturer ) Allen play ?
Is John molyneux a member of swp I swp uk or both ?

Dojo
17-03-2013, 11:26 AM
Absolutely - lets ban a political party because it makes a *****-up out of dealing with rape allegations - but don't stop there - let's hear you out on the streets calling for the state to shut down the Catholic Church. :rolleyes:

A ****-up is putting it mildly. The fact that the party tried to deny justice for the victims speaks volumes of the sheer corruption and inhumanity prevalent within the SWP. The party is rotten to the core. If it is discovered they illegally perverted the course of justice their entire hierarchy should be arrested, the organisation investigated and shut down if it deemed necessary. The British state would have no qualms banning Republican parties in the north, or dangerous cults for that matter. The SWP (UK) should be no exception if it's proven they're no different than the Jonestown mob.

C. Flower
17-03-2013, 11:31 AM
A ****-up is putting it mildly. The fact that the party tried to deny justice for the victims speaks volumes of the sheer corruption and inhumanity prevalent within the SWP. The party is rotten to the core. If it is discovered they illegally perverted the course of justice their entire hierarchy should be arrested, the organisation investigated and shut down if it deemed necessary. The British state would have no qualms banning Republican parties in the north, or dangerous cults for that matter. The SWP (UK) should be no exception if it's proven they're no different than the Jonestown mob.

"The Jonestown mob" ?

If ?

Would you not calm down a bit. It is a serious matter. But if an individual chooses not to report to police, that is their decision and in cases of rape virtually impossible to get a conviction without the evidence of the person who was raped. If it was not reported on the basis of threats, not choice, then that would I think be very serious. But these are all allegations, topped with media speculation and rumour, so it would be very unwise to try to draw conclusions at this stage.

Dojo
17-03-2013, 12:00 PM
"The Jonestown mob" ?

If ?

Would you not calm down a bit. It is a serious matter. But if an individual chooses not to report to police, that is their decision and in cases of rape virtually impossible to get a conviction without the evidence of the person who was raped. If it was not reported on the basis of threats, not choice, then that would I think be very serious. But these are all allegations, topped with media speculation and rumour, so it would be very unwise to try to draw conclusions at this stage.

Do I look like I'm making light of a serious matter? The SWP clearly exhibits all the classic signs of a cult. Domineering leadership, sexual abuse, internal "courts". The SWP makes Scientology look respectable.

Oh and it's not just me making the suggestion that the SWP is a cult or a dangerous self serving bunch of prats..............

Is The SWP A Cult? (http://trotskyschildren.blogspot.ie/2012/12/is-swp-cult.html)

A Deeper Insight Into The Group Psychology Of The Irish Swp (http://www.indymedia.ie/article/100833) ~ A critique of the Irish office of the UK SWP.

Why 'leftists revolutionaries' are not the best feminists (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/03/far-left-no-place-feminists-rape)

The SWP and rape: why I care about this Marxist-Leninist implosion (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/12/swp-rape-implosion-why-i-care)

Note all are from the left. Hmmm...........

As for your last sentence you'll forgive me if I laugh my arse off at the sheer hypocrisy displayed. You, and many others, didn't have any qualms about rushing in and speculating over possible transgressions of the newly elected Pope, BEFORE the man had even been elected FFS. I appreciate that this site was created principally for fluffing up the far left and socialism in general, but you'll have to accept some critique of your beloved ideology from time to time. :)

C. Flower
17-03-2013, 12:32 PM
Do I look like I'm making light of a serious matter? The SWP clearly exhibits all the classic signs of a cult. Domineering leadership, sexual abuse, internal "courts". The SWP makes Scientology look respectable.

Oh and it's not just me making the suggestion that the SWP is a cult or a dangerous self serving bunch of prats..............

Is The SWP A Cult? (http://trotskyschildren.blogspot.ie/2012/12/is-swp-cult.html)

A Deeper Insight Into The Group Psychology Of The Irish Swp (http://www.indymedia.ie/article/100833) ~ A critique of the Irish office of the UK SWP.

Why 'leftists revolutionaries' are not the best feminists (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/03/far-left-no-place-feminists-rape)

The SWP and rape: why I care about this Marxist-Leninist implosion (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/12/swp-rape-implosion-why-i-care)

Note all are from the left. Hmmm...........

As for your last sentence you'll forgive me if I laugh my arse off at the sheer hypocrisy displayed. You, and many others, didn't have any qualms about rushing in and speculating over possible transgressions of the newly elected Pope, BEFORE the man had even been elected FFS. I appreciate that this site was created principally for fluffing up the far left and socialism in general, but you'll have to accept some critique of your beloved ideology from time to time. :)

What I'm saying is based on what Francis did before he was Pope.

Also, I have not been calling for the Church to be shut down by force and everyone in it arrested, even though it is clearly proven responsible for many thousands of rapes.

Perhaps, on reflection, I should be.

Saoirse go Deo
17-03-2013, 12:41 PM
Internal discipline committees should only deal with things like bullying or theft, not rape. The only thing they should do is suspend them while the police investigate. They could provide support - details of groups that could help the alleged victim. They can't make rulings about accusations of rape in the absence of a criminal conviction. Not only is it bad practice to deal with such serious matters internally because of the possibility of coverups (or the perception of them) it also leaves the party wide open for litigation from the person accused.

Dr. FIVE
17-03-2013, 04:38 PM
accept some critique of your beloved ideology from time to time

I don't think sexual violence and the inability to deal with it has much to do with marxism tbh. Quite the opposite in fact. We've seen the SWP behaviour repeated across a number of institutions at this stage (from the Vatican to the Libdems) though they are making a good go at breaking new ground right enough. These are all questions of power. The party is finished as far I'm concerned and even without my opinion it's predominantly the youth who have lead the charge and left in droves. There will remain serious question of what will be left of the party but one already answered is they have no place in emancipatory politics.

As for cult, take a look at Fianna Fáil or almost any other political party.

Some of that might read like whataboutery but I only give broader examples because the issues are so pervasive. Not confined to any one group, party or workplace.

We can live without the SWP. The whole thing will at least further the left examining these things, as it has to.

C. Flower
17-03-2013, 05:57 PM
I don't think sexual violence and the inability to deal with it has much to do with marxism tbh. Quite the opposite in fact. We've seen the SWP behaviour repeated across a number of institutions at this stage (from the Vatican to the Libdems) though they are making a good go at breaking new ground right enough. These are all questions of power. The party is finished as far I'm concerned and even without my opinion it's predominantly the youth who have lead the charge and left in droves. There will remain serious question of what will be left of the party but one already answered is they have no place in emancipatory politics.

As for cult, take a look at Fianna Fáil or almost any other political party.

Some of that might read like whataboutery but I only give broader examples because the issues are so pervasive. Not confined to any one group, party or workplace.

We can live without the SWP. The whole thing will at least further the left examining these things, as it has to.

Sidewinder here is convinced that the SWP is a State run counter gang.
Personally, I think it is a part of the left, but like all of the left is subject to regular and insistent professional infiltration. Mark Stone is only one of many men and women in that role. Rape within left parties, and also sexual bullying of young women, is not at all apolitical. Over decades, it's driven young women out of politics. This reminds me of the situation in Egypt, where there was a systematic political and state drive to use sexual assault to drive women out of active politics. Imo, while not conclusive, I would consider any man or woman within a left party who used position and bullying or outright rape to get sex is not a communist and ought to be thoroughly investigated within their party.

One example that comes to mind is the ex-Weatherman Bill Ayres (and subsequent friend of Obama) - there was at least one rape allegation against him by someone who was a young recruit to the left, and if he was not an agent, I would eat my shorts. How many people who claim to have bombed the Pentagon were left running around because "there was an error in the paperwork" at his trial ?

That's not to say that all rape or sexism in left parties is done by police/ infiltrators. These parties are part of wider society and are not immune for any of its aspects.

C. Flower
17-03-2013, 06:41 PM
Do I look like I'm making light of a serious matter? The SWP clearly exhibits all the classic signs of a cult. Domineering leadership, sexual abuse, internal "courts". The SWP makes Scientology look respectable.

Oh and it's not just me making the suggestion that the SWP is a cult or a dangerous self serving bunch of prats..............

Is The SWP A Cult? (http://trotskyschildren.blogspot.ie/2012/12/is-swp-cult.html)

A Deeper Insight Into The Group Psychology Of The Irish Swp (http://www.indymedia.ie/article/100833) ~ A critique of the Irish office of the UK SWP.

Why 'leftists revolutionaries' are not the best feminists (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/03/far-left-no-place-feminists-rape)

The SWP and rape: why I care about this Marxist-Leninist implosion (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/12/swp-rape-implosion-why-i-care)

Note all are from the left. Hmmm...........

As for your last sentence you'll forgive me if I laugh my arse off at the sheer hypocrisy displayed. You, and many others, didn't have any qualms about rushing in and speculating over possible transgressions of the newly elected Pope, BEFORE the man had even been elected FFS. I appreciate that this site was created principally for fluffing up the far left and socialism in general, but you'll have to accept some critique of your beloved ideology from time to time. :)

I read your linked articles Dojo

The first was about an entirely different, US, organisation which the writer said was not a cult. No allegations about sex were mentioned and average members age seems to be 70ish.

The second was a post on an Indymedia thread that expressed the view that the Irish SWP was "narcissistic." No information of any kind supplied.

The third piece, in the Guardian, was a straightforward anti-communist rant and the final article, by Laurie Penny, says oh dear this is all terrible, but does not say that the SWP is a cult.

The SP and SWP are ossified, atrophied organisations politically. Part of the reason for this I think is the long, fake boom fuelled by finance capital that gave the impression that capitalism had infinite capacities to sustain itself.

Now that idea has been swept away, and both members and the public had expectations that they would do something, both of these organisations are in crisis.

Jolly Red Giant
17-03-2013, 11:25 PM
Austerity is not meant to be a little belt tightening followed by another boom - it's intended as a permanent shift to having much lower cost labour in the west - aka poverty.

It is hard to see that it is going to work even in terms acceptable to capitalists.

I know from ant-e that the SP thinks it will be back to "normal" after 10 years - I can't see what that is based on.

Just spotted this - don't know where you got the notion that the Socialist Party believes it will be "back to normal after ten years" from - it certainly wasn't from any Socialist Party source - the reality is that the current economic situation is normality - all bar about 15 years of the history of the state have been economic stagnation and recession with austerity.



The SP and SWP are ossified, atrophied organisations politically. Part of the reason for this I think is the long, fake boom fuelled by finance capital that gave the impression that capitalism had infinite capacities to sustain itself.

Now that idea has been swept away, and both members and the public had expectations that they would do something, both of these organisations are in crisis.
Just for clarification - the Socialist Party and the SWP are two different political groups, with different structures, different methods and different ways of membership engagement and participation. Also - the Socialist Party in Ireland and the CWI affiliates internationally are not in crisis (and haven't been since 1992), but are growing in every country where they are organised - and very rapidly in some countries (i.e South Africa, Greece, Kazakhstan)

Dojo
17-03-2013, 11:51 PM
Just spotted this - don't know where you got the notion that the Socialist Party believes it will be "back to normal after ten years" from - it certainly wasn't from any Socialist Party source - the reality is that the current economic situation is normality - all bar about 15 years of the history of the state have been economic stagnation and recession with austerity.


Just for clarification - the Socialist Party and the SWP are two different political groups, with different structures, different methods and different ways of membership engagement and participation. Also - the Socialist Party in Ireland and the CWI affiliates internationally are not in crisis (and haven't been since 1992), but are growing in every country where they are organised - and very rapidly in some countries (i.e South Africa, Greece, Kazakhstan)

What's the difference between the SP and SWP, or the WP for that matter?

Ceannaire
18-03-2013, 12:03 AM
SWP: a nominally revolutionary party which has in recent years lurched to the right. Vetoed even the use of the word "socialism" in the ULA's platform. Can be difficult to discern behind its plethora of front organisations.

SP: part of a Trotskyist tendency whose strategy was to achieve power through infiltrating social democratic parties before becoming an independent movement in the 1990s. Most doctrinally hardline of the parties.

WP: originated in the Republican movement, it broke from nationalists in 1970, and until the USSR broke up was effectively Mosow's main branch in Ireland. Has been in steady decline since then.

Dojo
18-03-2013, 01:00 AM
SWP: a nominally revolutionary party which has in recent years lurched to the right. Vetoed even the use of the word "socialism" in the ULA's platform. Can be difficult to discern behind its plethora of front organisations.

SP: part of a Trotskyist tendency whose strategy was to achieve power through infiltrating social democratic parties before becoming an independent movement in the 1990s. Most doctrinally hardline of the parties.

WP: originated in the Republican movement, it broke from nationalists in 1970, and until the USSR broke up was effectively Mosow's main branch in Ireland. Has been in steady decline since then.

But policy wise it can be argued all three are pretty much the same right? Surely they should just merge?

Dojo
18-03-2013, 01:12 AM
Speaking of Socialism apparently Ireland, along with China :confused: is among the top 10 most socialist countries in the world..............

http://blog.peerform.com/top-ten-most-socialist-countries-in-the-world/


Ireland has arguably one of the best welfare systems in the world, with unemployment checks higher on average than Denmark or Switzerland’s average. Around 25 percent of Ireland’s GDP goes towards paying for the welfare system, as compared to 15 percent of America’ GDP towards America’s social support programs.

Who knew? :eek:

Dr. FIVE
18-03-2013, 01:18 AM
But policy wise it can be argued all three are pretty much the same right?

only if you don't understand what you are talking about

Do you have response to my reply to you at 93?

Dojo
18-03-2013, 03:32 AM
only if you don't understand what you are talking about

I do oh condescending one. You could write all the differences between the three parties on the back of a rizla.


Do you have response to my reply to you at 93?

Not really.

C. Flower
18-03-2013, 08:42 AM
[QUOTE=Jolly Red Giant;323396]Just spotted this - don't know where you got the notion that the Socialist Party believes it will be "back to normal after ten years" from - it certainly wasn't from any Socialist Party source -

I got it from antiestablishmentarian, here, who at the time was a Socialist Party member. He wrote that this was the belief of the Socialist Party.


the reality is that the current economic situation is normality - all bar about 15 years of the history of the state have been economic stagnation and recession with austerity.

That I'm afraid confirms my view that the Socialist Party has no serious analysis of the economic crisis, as what is happening now is very different in kind and leading to a very different place than, say, the crisis of the 1980s. It is a shift both globally a relative and permanent decline of the west in relation to the east and south, and also an acceleration of the speed of crises of overproduction of finance, that were formerly cyclical with long waves of boom and slump to a more or less permanent rolling crisis, with a succession of bubbles (dot.com, property, commodities, bonds) building up and breaking one after another. This is overlaying a massive build up of toxic assets that is being masked over by one emergency measure after another, all of which are aimed at the working class and middle class, and which means there is constant risk of further devastating crashes as in 2007/8.

The SP in ignoring this, is making wrong assumptions about the issues that will bring people into action and also about the probable speed and relentlessness of events. This is exhibited, for example, in the position that SP reps have had that the Household Charge and Property Tax could be "defeated" by a protest campaign and boycott.


Just for clarification - the Socialist Party and the SWP are two different political groups, with different structures, different methods and different ways of membership engagement and participation.

There are differences in that the SP is rests more on certain layers of Trade Unionism and the SWP perhaps moreso on students and unorganised young people, but I mentioned them together as they both have a faulty analysis of the economy.


Also - the Socialist Party in Ireland and the CWI affiliates internationally are not in crisis (and haven't been since 1992), but are growing in every country where they are organised - and very rapidly in some countries (i.e South Africa, Greece, Kazakhstan)

It would be difficult not to grow in the current conditions, but if the figures quoted of 40 people attending a key national meeting in South Africa are correct, you are not talking about mass recruitment.

eejoynt
18-03-2013, 04:16 PM
And back on thread topic which is the abuse of power for sexual purposes..
There's mor
http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/sexism-and-abuse-of-power-in-swp.html?m=1

Seán Ryan
18-03-2013, 04:39 PM
And back on thread topic which is the abuse of power for sexual purposes..
There's mor
http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/sexism-and-abuse-of-power-in-swp.html?m=1

Very disturbing stuff. The comments make for interesting reading too.

I agree with one of the points in the comments made about taboo breaking and cult building.

C. Flower
18-03-2013, 06:49 PM
And back on thread topic which is the abuse of power for sexual purposes..
There's mor
http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/sexism-and-abuse-of-power-in-swp.html?m=1

Apologies, that was veering off topic. But the SWP events are political, not just a question of personal morality. The article makes the point that there is in the SWP an entrenched cabal at the leadership levels of the organisation and it is this that has led to abusive conduct.

Marx thought that it could be judged how advanced or otherwise a society was by the position of women within it. I guess the same goes for parties.

Abuse of young female recruits in a left party drives them out of political action. It is reactionary in the extreme.

Dr. FIVE
18-03-2013, 06:58 PM
as taking a view that a leadership is indispensable.

Doesn't bode well for revolutionary aspirations

C. Flower
18-03-2013, 08:08 PM
as taking a view that a leadership is indispensable.

Doesn't bode well for revolutionary aspirations

The association /confusion in parties of leadership with inequality, power over others and privilege is what does not bode well.

eejoynt
18-03-2013, 09:49 PM
What is to be made of the deafening silence of the irish swp on these issues?

C. Flower
18-03-2013, 09:55 PM
What is to be made of the deafening silence of the irish swp on these issues?

I find the SWP are pretty quiet on all political issues.

Unless they are not identifying themselves by party, that is.

It is a shame. Debate outside the tent/bubble is healthy. If they were confident of their politics they wouldn't fear it.

Dr. FIVE
18-03-2013, 10:11 PM
Certainly leaves us all to wonder.

Dojo
18-03-2013, 11:55 PM
What is to be made of the deafening silence of the irish swp on these issues?

Is there any formal links between the two parties? I would think the SWP (Irl) is making the case simply by its silence that it is unconnected to the UK SWP and therefore does not need to make a statement.

eejoynt
22-03-2013, 06:29 PM
The SWP leadership has turned the party into a sinking ship
The party's leadership has only itself to blame for the mass exodus of members caused by its cover-up of a rape complaint


It's from Richard Seymour who has an interest...he describes the party as like the titanic but without an orchestra :)

Dr. FIVE
16-12-2013, 05:48 AM
http://trotskydo.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/open-letter-to-the-swp/

C. Flower
16-12-2013, 08:08 AM
http://trotskydo.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/open-letter-to-the-swp/

Any idea who produces that ?

The promotion of trashing and burning left wing stalls, no matter how noxious their politics may be believed to be, I would associated more with neo-fascists than with people wanting to tackle the current political weakness of the left.

Sam Lord
16-12-2013, 02:29 PM
Any idea who produces that ?

The promotion of trashing and burning left wing stalls, no matter how noxious their politics may be believed to be, I would associated more with neo-fascists than with people wanting to tackle the current political weakness of the left.

That looks like a spoof thing to me.

Here is the blog of an individual associated with trashing the SWP stall.

http://crowdfury.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/why-we-trashed-swp-stall-and-why-well.html

Saoirse go Deo
16-12-2013, 02:34 PM
I see the habit of SWP gatecrashing events where they are not wanted to leaflet/sell stuff is not just an Irish phenomenon. Although if I were going to trash stalls SWP would not be the first.

C. Flower
16-12-2013, 03:24 PM
I see the habit of SWP gatecrashing events where they are not wanted to leaflet/sell stuff is not just an Irish phenomenon. Although if I were going to trash stalls SWP would not be the first.

The SWP and SP in Ireland are just like branches of UK franchises.

Dr. FIVE
16-12-2013, 03:44 PM
Resignation letter from one of the complainants


There are many reasons I am resigning after the events of the last twelve months, you can read some of them in my Internal Bulletin piece. I will give only one reason here: a member of the DC claimed at the SWP national conference this weekend that my email account might have been hacked but they were confident that the Central Committee was not responsible. How is it possible that this hasn’t generated outrage? When told that the woman who brought a complaint of sexual harassment has had her email account hacked and one of the emails used as evidence in her case deleted, most SWP members seem content that it is OK because the CC did not personally do it.

This typifies the problems of the past 12 months. There has been no political will to resolve any of the issues in a principled way. There is no political will to demand that the person who gave the CC hacked emails should have to conclusively prove how they got the emails or be expelled. Instead at every stage smoke and mirrors have been deployed to manoeuvre to win votes and political positions. In the process I have been sacked, bullied, smeared and marginalised but this has been tolerated to prevent Martin’s supporters from leaving and to avoid the CC accounting for their mistakes.

What of the apology? I do not accept as adequate or sincere an apology fought for and said through gritted teeth. I first found out that the CC regretted my hurt and distress when I read about it in their motion. No-one has met with me to communicate it personally. In tragic fashion I have had to speak to a motion to fight for an apology for myself. For months I was told no apology is necessary. Is it any wonder that I am unconvinced by the apology at conference?

A sincere apology would have political consequences. It would require those who have bullied and smeared to face some sanction. Instead the party leadership continue to argue that there is parity between the slandering and smearing of women who have brought allegations of rape and sexual harassment and people, angry at the handling of a rape allegation, calling Alex Callinicos a “wanker”. A comrade who called someone an “idiot” faced disciplinary sanction, while those who claimed I was a police spy have faced none. That this is now the official party position is reason enough to leave.

The potential for a meaningful renewal of the SWP has dwindled. The last 12 months have polarised and entrenched positions. Debate is now refracted through the prism of a bitter faction fight. Too many people have left and continue to leave. For any organisation to remain dynamic and relevant there needs to be a high level of debate and discussion in order to develop the theory and practice necessary to relate to the real world. This crisis has not caused all the problems in the SWP but it has smothered the possibility that the SWP can develop into a serious revolutionary party.

I am not an MI5 agent, so I am leaving to rebuild the revolutionary left in Britain. This will be a process of years not months but for now I leave proud of my time in the SWP, deeply saddened that this is the endpoint and a little excited at the fresh air I can now breathe.

C. Flower
16-12-2013, 09:50 PM
That looks like a spoof thing to me.

Here is the blog of an individual associated with trashing the SWP stall.

http://crowdfury.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/why-we-trashed-swp-stall-and-why-well.html

Yes, I got that: it seems to be a very elaborate anti-communist spoof that took many hours to pull off. The stall trasher did not impress me either,
Sexual abuse in political parties is not restricted to the left. It certainly is a sign of political sickness, as well as very wrong in itself and should be dealt with. But crowdfury's mob stirring is light years away from the dignity of the person who resigned from the SWP..

Dr. FIVE
17-12-2013, 05:45 PM
http://livesrunning.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/to-my-comrades-of-any-party-or-none/

Dave Renton's resignation statement




On Sunday evening, after conference had ended, I resigned from the SWP. I will explain why I have left, but before I do that, I first want to explain why for so many years I stayed with the party even while I often criticised it.

I first joined the SWP in 1991; at a meeting in the Sol’s Arms pub near Warren Street. A couple of days before, I had been stopped in the street by a man selling Socialist Worker. After I had bought a paper, the seller, John Walker, invited me to a meeting. “I’m not interested in buying one”, I told him, “I am much more left-wing than you are.” It was not a wise thing to have said. John had come into the SWP after years in the libertarian Marxist group Solidarity and knew his left history far better than I did. After half an hour of standing on the street losing an argument, I agreed to go to the meeting where I eventually filled in a membership form. It was assumed that I would pay by cash and there was a grid on the back of my membership card which could be used to check that I was paying my each month’s subs.

The SWP was the third left-wing party whose meetings I had attended in less than a year. After a few months in Slough Constituency Labour Party, I had resigned in disappointment at Labour’s timid response to the then Iraq War. Before then, I had spent a couple of unhappy months on the edges of the Revolutionary Communist Party (Living Marxism), from whom I had learned habits of ultra-leftism and contrarianism, a combination expressed in my premature, fighting words to John. If it had not been the SWP in 1991 it might have been any one of the left-wing parties.

It was easy to join the SWP, since I already considered myself a socialist, and in fact had done so for more than five years. The real bravery had come much earlier, even before I reached my teens, when I had first begun to identify with the left, a decision which had set me off into a perpetual civil war with my family, my teachers, and almost every one of my contemporaries at my school. My reasons for sticking with the SWP were more significant.

In my first few months, I considered leaving at several stages. I did not have a worked out criticism of the SWP and some of my complaints seem daft to me in retrospect. The group seemed impossibly old to me, with an average age of approximately 27 or 28 (I was just 18). Soon enough, I was selling the paper, but I was genuinely perplexed by the way in my fellow sellers would shout what sounded to me like reformist slogans “stop the war”, “beat the Tories”. Weren’t we supposed to be revolutionaries? I found the meetings dull and the contributions defensive. I tired of the way in which after the speaker had finished, there would be a long pause, and then whoever filled the silence would face 40 minutes of speaker after the speaker from the floor correcting them for some imagined deviation from the party “line”.

Yet one of the things I liked about the SWP was that, despite the branch culture which I have just described, there were also comrades who were self-effacing, articulate and principled. I think of well-known figures such as Duncan Hallas and Paul Foot, but the real strength of the SWP was far below, in the branches, almost every one of which had an autodidact Marxist, a worker who had never gone to university, a person who would quote obscure ideas of Marx or Lenin and use them to relate events happening in the world outside and to the tradition of the workers’ movement.

Over the past 20 years the self-taught workers have almost all left, while the party-liners have multiplied.

I might not have stayed in the group but for a series of events which happened in the course of my third year in the party. I was a student, in a tiny group of just 2-3 people. Through the unusual tactic of going out of our way to book the SWP speakers who would be most likely to interest a wider audience, and booking most of our meetings as debates or in combination with other groups, we were able to pull off weekly meetings of 100+ people. Locally and nationally (this was the time when the SWP was claiming 10,000 members) it seemed possible to envisage a genuinely mass party, something which would be on a scale the British left had not seen in decades.

Our MP John Patten was also the minister responsible for education, and was piloting through Parliament the rapid reduction of the student grant and its replacement with student loans, and had voted against the equalisation of the age of consent. We called demonstrations two or three times a week and found an audience for them. In no time at all the size of our group (its subs-paying membership) increased to 8 and then 25 people. We had an audience large enough so that we could legitimately stand people for office in the University and in the National Union of Students. Then, to coincide with my 21st birthday, the woman who I loved also joined our party. She and I were Luxemburg and Liebknecht, Trotsky and Sedova. Communism was our love story.

That spring there was a racist murder, and our local anti-fascist group met the family, supported them, and organised a demonstration in their support, while others on the left stayed aloof. I would not have had the confidence to support them had it not been for the training I had received in the SWP.

Over the next 20 years there were many other good moments of which I am also proud: the Anti-Nazi League carnival in 1994, editing a workplace bulletin with factory workers in Sheffield, organising a student occupation (of sorts) in Oxford in 1997, supporting refugees through hunger strikes in Liverpool in 2000-1, dispersing an emergent anti-immigrant campaign in Brent a year later.

In the most recent years, the best campaigns I have been involved in were ones which the leadership tolerated but did not seek to be part of: a London counterpart to the TUC’s Tolpuddle festival, then last year’s Counter Olympics Network.

I only learned the main details of the party crisis as recently as Christmas 2012. Long-standing comrades who I had known for years and trusted sought to set up a “third” faction, which would campaign within the SWP for the reform of our disputes procedures. I joined them. The leadership banned the faction, refused to publicise our documents or to allow us to speak at conference in January. My initial response to the January conference was to assume that the leadership would be chastened and that would be the end of the matter and spoke optimistically at meetings. But at our North London report back I heard Weyman Bennett promise, in his concluding remarks, “Never again will the SWP allow our student office to take a line independent from the leadership”.

I have been around long enough to have grasped immediately what he meant - that the CC were prepared to restructure the office and tear up the student perspective unanimously agreed at conference just days earlier, and were prepared to sacrifice our students to do so.

In February 2013, outside a meeting of the Defend the Right to Protest campaign, I met the second complainant, the woman who we were being told did not exist (“there is only one complaint”, as Judith Orr had told the Birmingham aggregate). I gathered from the woman that she wished to proceed with her complaint, and I decided to spend some time helping her, in practice by listening to her as we drafted together her statement about what had happened.

My days are given to listening to people in court, asking them questions and listening to their answers, and listening to the questions which other people ask them. I do not believe that someone is telling the truth merely because I want them to succeed at a hearing, or because I am their representative. If I get the opportunity to meet them before a case, I will grill them as intensely as I can. I will look for any flaw in their evidence, test any contradiction no matter how slight. And if they want to run a case which I do not believe, I will tell them my doubts and invite them to reconsider it.

I spent more than 20 hours in the company of the second complainant, read her documents, listened to her intensely. And at the end of our meetings, I was absolutely convinced that in every single thing she said she was telling the truth.

Once it became clear that she was telling the truth, then for me there was no longer any basis on which to doubt the evidence of the first complainant, who the second woman was only corroborating. Both women were describing a similar pattern of repeated unwanted advances by the same man.

I will not go through the details of what happened next; the shoddy attempts of the Disputes Committee (the same committee which of course had already heard the first case) to decline to hear the second complainant, and to put off her case until after January 2014 in the hope that she would leave the party. What I do want to explain is what happened at SWP conference last weekend.

There were approximately 540 delegates at conference; fewer than one in 7 were aged under 40. Of the young people in the room , a large majority were in the faction. The mood was serious, even grim. The conference was conducted throughout with the same degree of procedural propriety as you would expect of the conference of a trade union of about 30-40,000 people. Motions were taken; votes were even on occasion counted. “Delegates” were reminded of the importance of reporting back conference decisions, presumably to the 10 SWP members for whom each delegate is supposed to stand. But here were 500 people, elected from 40 aggregates in many of which there were had been fewer people in the room voting for candidates than there had been places to fill.

A number of the delegates would happily admit to never attending SWP meetings and never selling the paper; they were there solely because they had been asked to stand in order to prevent oppositional members attending. How many members does the SWP really have beyond those who were in the room? If your definition extends to a requirement that a person attend their branch meeting at least once a year, perhaps, at the very most, a further 4-500 people nationally. This is not a mass party; you cannot sustain anything healthy on the basis of the levels of fantasy that could be seen in the room.

On Saturday morning, Alex Callinicos made a supposed “apology”. The statement he read out was based on a CC motion which had been circulated in advance, and offered no specific regret for any specific action by any named individual but blamed merely “structural flaws in our disputes procedures”. Structures of course have to be carried out by people but there was no acknowledgement that any individual had done anything wrong. The motion, for which the CC apology stood as an abbreviation, blamed the faction for politicising the dispute, when it was Callinicos himself whose article in January’s Socialist Review had begun that process by mixing together the defence of the leadership’s handling of the dispute and the defence of “Leninism”. The motion explained the women’s distress in terms of the publicising of their case on the internet. It spoke for women who the CC does not know, has not asked, and about whom some CC members have been lying for a year.

A leadership supporter R- inadvertently captured the half-hearted nature of the CC’s manoeuvre when she explained to delegates in a later session; “I am prepared to say sorry. I am not going to apologise.”

Many important things were said during the course of conference. Two women who used to be on the SWP Disputes Committee explained how the majority of that committee had tried to prevent the second complaint from ever being heard, and the battle they had had to fight to have it heard, resulting eventually in the appointment of a new panel. The room quietened when they spoke; but afterwards, no-one voted differently.

The panel which heard the second complaint explained why they had found that there was a case to answer, and spelled out that they had heard from her and read her evidence, and spent 2 full days considering her case, as well as a further period debating their reasons. Any fair listener would have grasped that the panellists believed that Smith probably had harassed the second complainant. The comrades listened, and some were troubled. But they continued to vote for the leadership.

A member of the same panel explained that the second complainant also made a complaint that her email had been hacked. It was quite possibly hacked, the panel had accepted, by a member of the SWP. But if so, and this was the sole matter that interested them, the hacker had not been instructed beforehand by the Central Committee to hack her email account, and that meant there was nothing for them to investigate.

In this last episode, you can find expressed the degeneration of an entire party. What we were being told was that the DC accepted that a member of the SWP may well have chosen to hack the email account of a woman who had made a serious, sexual complaint against a leading member of the SWP. In fact while the hacker was there, as a comrade from Manchester had explained, he had not just forwarded emails belonging to the complainant, he had also deleted what he presumably thought were the only copies of emails passing between Smith and the complainant, and which subsequently helped to prove her complaint before the second disputes committee. He was doing what now passes for loyalty in the SWP – behaving in secret, destroying potential evidence, doing everything in his power to protect a man accused of rape.

If the individual who did this was not acting on orders, he was nevertheless doing something which he thought the leadership, or at least a section of it, would welcome. And there is no suggestion that he has ever been sanctioned for what he did. This mindset, of trying to think into the mind of a leadership, and of doing more and more grotesque things in the hope of winning their patronage, is associated with dark moments in history. Yet neither the disputes panel, nor it seems conference, found anything remarkable in it.

There were other bad times at conference; as when M- the outgoing chair of the Disputes Committee – sought to smear the second complainant by insinuating that she had spoken to the Daily Mail and encouraged them to doorstep Smith.

R-, who was of course a member of the SWP Disputes Committee which heard the first case, called the second complainant “obscene” for having supported a faction which had named Smith as being accused of “sexual predation” and insinuated that the second complaint had been made only for factional purposes. It was as if she could blank out of her mind the evidence of her comrades on the second panel who had accepted that Smith probably had sexually harassed a woman. She ended her speech with the words, “Honour and Respect democratic centralism! Honour and Respect confidentiality!”

I will never again use the word “socialist” to describe the middle aged trade unionist from my former branch who went round the edges of conference, confronting the youngest delegate at conference, a woman in her gap year before university who had never met him before, with the hostile greeting, “Martin is innocent”.

Conference voted by a majority of 8 to 1 in favour of a CC slate containing Callinicos and Kimber, with only 69 delegates voting for an alternative leadership (11 others abstained). I vainly shouted “count” when the vote on the apology was taken, not because it was close, but because I thought it the numbers should be a matter of record. The chair moved on, having declared the motion heavily defeated.

I believe that about 15 or so more comrades voted for it than for the alternative CC slate; or to put it another way, only 1 in 30 of the non-faction comrades broke from the leadership, even on the modt significant – and straightforward – question of whether there should be a genuine apology.

Against the many shameful things I saw, I must also insist that there were many people at conference sitting there with their heads in their hands, some in tears. You could see this most clearly among a section of the middle ground, who seemed visibly in pain at what they were watching.

As well as them, there were people who spoke out against the party’s degeneration. I think of the longstanding member who spoke twice in the debate about the Central Committee, and stated in the most direct of terms that a Central Committee which is united only to cover up a crime of this sort has no legitimacy, and that a leadership which has driven hundreds of socialists out no longer deserves to lead. It is a difficult and lonely thing to tell hundreds of people that they are wrong. You need to be brave to stand up before a room of several hundred people who are hostile to you, knowing that they will be given many more opportunities to attack you than you will be allowed friends to speak in your defence. I am proud to call that man a comrade.

Why did we lose? I looked at conference and I saw a group of ageing and tired people, who have watched their party at war with itself over the past year. Among the SWP majority, a belief is prevalent that nobody can ever really “know” what happens in the privacy of a relationship between a man and a woman. It follows that in the context of multiple allegations of sexual abuse, the party is the only thing that counts. The working class, which is under attack in an epoch of austerity, is best protected by a revolutionary party which is as strong as possible. The party is everything. Without the party, we as individuals, and the working class, are alike nothing. The protection of the party is based on a committed denial of the reality of what happened, and the self-deception that this small party whose active members count only in the hundreds, is in fact many times larger than we know it to be, and represents the whole of the class, the entirety of the movement. To keep the party you have to protect the leadership; no matter how many mistakes they have made. These members of the SWP made it a point of pride that they hadn’t read unwelcome articles in the Internal Bulletins, had not gone online or spoken to people who might disagree with them, had not tried to think for themselves about what had happened or who they believed. The leadership had spoken and that was enough for them.

Such an argument may satisfy my former comrades. But, unlike them, I have heard one of the complainants directly. Indeed, I have listened to her with more care, and over a longer period of time that anyone in the SWP ever will. And she is telling the truth.

The history of socialism is the story of a shifting border between principle and expediency. Edward Bernstein sought to put the former on a coherent basis when he argued that for him the socialist movement (i.e. the SPD, the party) was everything. To which Rosa Luxemburg famously responded that to her the movement was not everything, only the goal, the liberation of all humanity, counted for everything. Too many of my former comrades repeat Bernstein’s error in convincing themselves that the party of their (and my) youth still exists, or that they make themselves “revolutionaries” by giving cover to a leadership which has disgraced the left.

That in short is why I left, because I am a Marxist and revolutionary, because I believe in women’s liberation and will not cover up sexual abuse, and – above all – because I am loyal to the socialists of my youth and the principles they taught me. The decision, in the end, has not anguished me, and I am not in need of anyone’s sympathy. I do convey my best wishes on leaving, my love and my solidarity greetings, to the principled few who remain.

All of my adult life has been spent either as a member of or a close supporter of the SWP. Few of my closest friends are people who I met anywhere but in the SWP. I am not sad though to leave, if anything I am relieved, and the prospect of being part of a new left inspires me.

C. Flower
17-12-2013, 06:18 PM
The people leaving over issues of justice and of abuse al make very genuine expressions of their motivation and their reasons for leaving (or being in opposition), but I wish that they would dig in and find the underlying politics. Parties don't break up over these issues unless there is more going on politically. Why would the CC protect someone whose behaviour has driven young members away.?
What are they at, politically?

Dr. FIVE
17-12-2013, 06:53 PM
The party is not equipped to deal with allegations or criticism. The leadership has absolutely no intention of addressing this.

That's the politics of it, or at least the most generous way of putting it.

Dr. FIVE
17-12-2013, 07:42 PM
And Ian Birchall too

http://grimanddim.org/political-writings/2013-letter-of-resignation/

C. Flower
17-12-2013, 08:09 PM
The party is not equipped to deal with allegations or criticism. The leadership has absolutely no intention of addressing this.

That's the politics of it, or at least the most generous way of putting it.


During those fifty years there has been a great deal to be proud of. Cliff’s theory of state capitalism and the body of ideas deriving from it focussed our politics on the self-activity of the working class and rejected the notion that socialism is defined by state ownership. Our initiation of the Anti-Nazi League played a major role in blocking the rise of the far right in Britain. Our intervention in the miners’ strikes, the campaign against the poll tax, and the Stop The War movement was highly creditable. Equally important has been the role played by many hundreds of SWP members in keeping trade unionism alive in their workplaces and in animating local campaigns in defence of workers’ rights, against cuts, and against racism, sexism and war. The Marxism events and Bookmarks publications have done a very valuable job of disseminating socialist ideas. If I had died last year I should have died happy to have been a party member.



Have any of the people leaving, or staying, questioned why the name SWP fills so many people who have come across them with dread and a certain amount of disdain ? And why the same mistakes are repeated over and over again, in terms of frontism, bandwaggonery, hopping from one thing to the next, and nothing learned or changed ?
Linked to that is I think the wrong use of the all or nothing slate system of elections. If these things were tackled, and they did more solid less opportunist work, and could replace individuals on the CC, they would not have got into this mess perhaps. I think that perhaps Trotskyisms formative experiences have turned it inwards to a constantly defensive clinging on to leaderships that are very obviously not fit for purpose. Or it's something else.

Dr. FIVE
18-12-2013, 05:16 AM
Without getting intodemocratic centralism. From a review of Sheila Rowbotham's chapter in Beyond the Fragments

http://mccaine.org/2013/12/01/book-review-sheila-rowbotham-et-al-beyond-the-fragments/


For Ralph Miliband it had “always served as a convenient device for authoritarian party structures”, and indeed the crisis in the SWP and the patent inability of the tiny democratic-centralist sects in the West to achieve anything has called it once again into question. Here, too, Rowbotham’s essay is quite to the point for us now as for then. “There has been something very funny indeed about it in practice”, she writes. “It is a curious fact that the hard core of the leaderships of these groups, despite a series of palace revolutions, manage to tuck themselves into the centre in perpetuity and that bits of broken-off leaderships resurface within the splinters.” (73)

Mixed metaphors aside, is this not an apt description of every ‘democratic centralist’ party in the West today? It could have been written about the UK SWP and its splinter, Counterfire; but equally about the ISO in the US or the Trotskyist parties of France, or about other ‘tendency’ parties. What stands out among pretty much every left organisation based on ‘democratic centralism’ is that their rate of leadership turnover is equal to or less than that of the sclerotic phase of the Soviet Union, and despite the vaunting of this democratic formula, much less than the turnover of the centrist and liberal parties. In fact, the consequences of strategic failure are much more severe for leaders of Labour or liberal parties than for the central committees of the Marxists, at least until the moment of purges or palace coups.

The CC will have very little left to tuck themselves into at this rate though

C. Flower
18-12-2013, 06:37 AM
Without getting intodemocratic centralism. From a review of Sheila Rowbotham's chapter in Beyond the Fragments

http://mccaine.org/2013/12/01/book-review-sheila-rowbotham-et-al-beyond-the-fragments/

The CC will have very little left to tuck themselves into at this rate though

I don't think the problem is democratic centralism, I think it is the form they have stuck with, in particular the slate system, which makes it impossible to dislodge any individual without taking on the whole leadership. It was not used by the Bolshevik party until after it had been in power some time, and was facing a very severe situation in post war Russia. I can't see that it was ever a good idea though.

Ultraleftism, in reaction to the conservatism of the Stalinist parties. One side sees revolutions everywhere, all the time, the other never sees them.
Thus out of touch with reality and what really needs to be done - separate from the mass of workers and missing the moment the whole time. Then (as does virtually everyone on the left) getting sucked in in the hopes of an easy ride by whichever national liberation movement or social movement that seems to be doing well.

Small circle politics, beleagered. In the earlier days there were very few experienced people, they had their backs to the wall and became habitually defensive.

It suits these people once ensconced as little gods to stay aloof, and superior, not raising the political level right across the membership - send most people out selling newspapers the whole time.

They tuck themselves in to self importance, control, etc. Possibly (Sidewinder is convinced :)) some of them are dodgy. But politically, they certainly are.

Marxism is based on the idea that class, not gender is the main driver of change in society. Marx was in favour of equality for women, but it was never going to be the central plank of the thing. Women tend to make a breakthrough in revolutions, and come to the front, and then are pushed back afterwards. Maybe when all the class issues are ironed out, and classes dissolve into one, there will be one hell of a showdown between the sexes :) But until then, I think it will be incremental and only partly successful, for some (advance to gender equality). It tends to be dependent on general social advances.

PaddyJoe
20-12-2013, 09:59 PM
Pat Stack resignation letter.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/192705508/Pat-Stack-Resignation-letter

C. Flower
20-12-2013, 11:29 PM
Pat Stack resignation letter.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/192705508/Pat-Stack-Resignation-letter

For all the politics in most of these letters, it could be a dispute in the local golf club.
It is hard to understand what motivated them to stay for decades in a party to then leave it without saying where they are going, or trying to explain how the people they worked with in their view went off the rails suddenly.

Has there been any public response by the SWP ?

C. Flower
20-12-2013, 11:46 PM
Swp sounds as though it was already in choppy waters back in 2011

http://socialistunity.com/chris-bambury-resigns-from-swp/

C. Flower
20-12-2013, 11:51 PM
Central Committee Statement from yesterday

A number of comrades have in recent days decided to leave the Socialist Workers Party. We are sorry to see them go. We hope, even at this late stage, some of them will reconsider their decision and, regardless of that, we intend to continue to work alongside all those who seek to build resistance to the attacks faced by working class people.

We need a stronger and less fragmented left in Britain. Living standards for most are still falling despite the talk of recovery, trade unions are under attack, racist politicians are whipping up hatred against immigrants, and the Tories are handing vast swathes of the NHS to profiteers. Poverty and despair are growing.
Socialists have to work tirelessly to support any resistance that takes place and to focus the anger that people feel. We need to offer the hope of a socialist alternative to capitalist crisis, poverty and war. It is not a time for splits and division and we do not believe there is a principled basis for one.
Those leaving the SWP cite a number of different reasons, but most originate in the handling of two cases where very serious allegations were directed against a former leading member of our organisation. The Central Committee (CC) of the SWP disagrees strongly with the accounts of the crisis that are currently circulating online. Whatever mistakes were made, they were not because the party or its leadership are sexist or trampled on the politics of women’s liberation or covered up injustice.
This view goes much wider than the leadership. A statement circulated before our conference whose signatories included members of an opposition faction inside the party said, “We believe any charge that the party is morally corrupt, is a sexist organisation, or has abandoned its tradition of fighting women’s oppression has no basis.”
Uniting the Party
In any case, there have been developments which we believe can unite the party.
First, we have acknowledged that there were problems with the structures of our disputes process and we have sought to address these. On the basis of a proposal from the CC at the March 2013 special conference, a body was set up to review the procedures of the party’s disputes committee. It took suggestions from a very wide range of SWP members as well as consulting procedures used by other organisations.
The review body produced a report to the September meeting of the National Committee. This has been widely debated in the party and was then discussed at our recent national conference. After the discussion of amendments and a serious debate, the final review was passed with around 500 delegates voting for it, none against and two abstentions. The review is on our website (http://www.swp.org.uk/content/dc-review-dec-2013) so those in the wider movement can read it for themselves. Members of the opposition faction themselves voted almost unanimously to accept this review as a way forward.
We have now had three national conferences, a thoroughgoing review whose recommendations have been implemented and extensive discussion in our publications and our members’ bulletins about the issues raised by the disputes committee. This is as far away from a cover-up as it is possible to imagine.
Second, at the party’s annual conference in December the CC made a statement that many people have suffered real distress as a result of taking part in or giving evidence to the disputes committee, or due to slurs on the internet and we are sorry to all of them for that. And specifically we said that the two women who brought very serious allegations suffered real distress. We are sorry for the suffering caused to them by the structural flaws in our disputes procedures, the way in which the two cases became a subject of political conflict within the party and slurs on the internet.
Third, we made clear that we welcomed the decision of members of the opposition who intended to stay in the SWP on the basis of the votes taken at conference, and that we would insist on their right to participate fully in the life of the organisation if they followed our democracy. The entrenched factionalism in the party over the past year has done enormous damage to the party. Overcoming this requires that we move forwards together to engage in the various struggles ahead of us, while continuing to debate the wider political questions we face at our events and in our publications.
The sticking point for some who have left seems to be the CC that was elected at our conference. But this quarrel is not just with the leadership but with the overwhelming majority of the party. The group of candidates proposed by the outgoing CC won 449 votes. An alternative group of candidates proposed by the faction received 69 votes. That is a very decisive result - and SWP members are not “sheep”.
Responding to the Claims
The CC rejects many of the specific claims that have been made by those leaving. There are too many lurid allegations now circulating for us to rebut each one individually, but we must respond to some lest they become the common sense on the left.
David R has written an extremely lengthy account. He claims, for instance, regarding the second complaint of harassment, “The panel which heard the second complaint explained why they had found that there was a case to answer, and spelled out that they had heard from her and read her evidence, and spent two full days considering her case, as well as a further period debating their reasons. Any fair listener would have grasped that the panellists believed that M[name deleted] probably had harassed the second complainant. The comrades listened, and some were troubled. But they continued to vote for the leadership.”
In fact, most comrades accepted what the panel actually said: that there was a case to answer but that this certainly did not mean “probably guilty”. The panel added that the accused, who left the SWP before the hearing, would have to answer the allegations if he ever sought to rejoin. To claim that the majority of members, class fighters who argue with those around them each day, acquiesce without question to the “leadership” is an extraordinary insult. The notion that David, a lawyer, would pronounce on any accusation without hearing a response from the accused is bizarre.
Another of those leaving, Ian A, writes: “The SWP chose not to conduct a proper investigation into comrade X’s [the second complainant] hacking complaint… After I opposed the panel’s report at the party conference, a member of the panel accepted that there might have been hacking. The panel chose not to investigate further because they felt confident that hacking had not been carried out by the Central Committee or on its behalf (which was never the allegation).”
As was reported to conference, there is no way that a lay panel of members can determine whether an email account has been hacked. Ian seems to have expected that the panel should have been able to judge with certainty whether or not someone’s email account had been hacked over the last year by anybody at any time. Of course the panel could not deliver such a finding. Instead the panel did what it was asked to do – look at the specific claim that was made. This was that emails (about the organisation of a faction outside the party’s rules, not a disputes case) that ended up in the hands of the CC were obtained by hacking the second complainant’s email.
The panel heard evidence from the CC, which showed that the emails in question were sent to people other than their immediate recipients and that the national secretary of the party received them from one of those on the distribution list. The panel was able to say with total confidence that the CC had not acted in the way that was alleged. This is not a matter that requires specialist technical knowledge. If there was evidence of specific comrades hacking other members’ emails or forging evidence there would have been disciplinary action against them.
Finally, we take seriously any claims of harassment or intimidation in the party, whoever they are directed against. At no point, contrary to claims online, has the CC said that either of the complainants are “police spies” or “MI5 agents”. Anyone making such claims would be utterly absurd. Nor do we toss around claims that people are “drifting into bourgeois feminism or autonomism” as a substitute for substantive argument. We are, however, committed to continue the important debates about the nature of the contemporary working class, the tasks of Leninists in the 21st century, the new currents of feminism, and so on.
We have, over the past year, sometimes been reluctant to respond to specific claims circulating about the SWP, primarily because of our concerns about confidentiality. But we are always happy to answer the concerns and listen to the advice of those we work with in the movement on these matters.
Moving Forwards
In their resignation letters to the party, some comrades have put forward their hopes for the future. One wrote that they “look forward to working with SWP members and other socialists in the struggles, campaigns and movements to come”.
We entirely concur with such views. We are for clear revolutionary socialist organisation. We think that there is no alternative to building a revolutionary socialist party at the centre of all the struggles against exploitation and oppression that take place. But we are not for standing apart from any battle, or rejecting opportunities to unite in action with as wide a group of people as possible.
Central Committee

Sam Lord
21-12-2013, 01:05 AM
For all the politics in most of these letters, it could be a dispute in the local golf club.
It is hard to understand what motivated them to stay for decades in a party to then leave it without saying where they are going, or trying to explain how the people they worked with in their view went off the rails suddenly.


Is it an issue of politics? It seems to me that as a result of the way the rape complaints were handled they no longer have confidence in the leadership of the party. And they see no way of changing the leadership. That only leaves one course really ....

C. Flower
21-12-2013, 01:59 AM
Is it an issue of politics? It seems to me that as a result of the way the rape complaints were handled they no longer have confidence in the leadership of the party. And they see no way of changing the leadership. That only leaves one course really ....

Similar issues have been raised in Sinn Fein but nobody is suggesting that party is in any kind of terminal melt down.

In fact, I would be amazed if similar issues have not come up in many bourgeois parties. There certainly were cases in France. When you get power structures of any kind, they and people within them at times get abused and organisations frequently act defensively and wrongly.

Parties run as autocratically as the SWP I'm sure has seen resignations before: although not so much of long standing members perhaps. But they are famous for turnover. Perhaps one of the reasons this seems to be seen as threatening the existence of the SWP is that members leaving have the internet to go to as a platform, instead of disappearing into outer darkness. The internet allowed people to factionalise more easily.

In a left wing party, that should have a policy and practice of complete gender equality and comradely and equal treatment, abuse is a political issue. Imo it is not possible for a leadership of a left party to be abusing party members and at the same time giving good political leadership. If they were any good they would be doing everything to help develop them politically, not use them and drive them away. There is something wrong with them, politically. A lot, I think.

Birchall gives his political view at 54 here

http://socialistunity.com/socialist-workers-party-comrade-x-resigns/

Thinks barbarism more likely than socialism, but still things it is worth giving it a shot.

Sam Lord
21-12-2013, 04:01 AM
http://socialistunity.com/socialist-workers-party-comrade-x-resigns/



Best resignation comment:



It is not just the defence of rape by the upper echelons of the party, but also the very fact that their is an upper echelon in the SWP. ....




I can be brutal with language, I recognise Boss-like behaviour when I see it and I see it in the Party. You are the bosses, people like me, who trail around doing what we are instructed, are the workers ....

There seem to be the same sort if issues in the "S"P here judging by the recent resignation statement of some members. There are the "full timers" and then the the ones who run around doing the donkey work to keep the full timers in their paid positions.

C. Flower
21-12-2013, 04:26 AM
Best resignation comment:





There seem to be the same sort if issues in the "S"P here judging by the recent resignation statement of some members. There are the "full timers" and then the the ones who run around doing the donkey work to keep the full timers in their paid positions.

Yes. And it also explains why they aren't (with some carefully selected exceptions) in the thick of things in the different battles that people get in to against the system. There is an expectation of being able to step into the lead of things just on the basis of some political know how, without proving themselves in practice over a period of time.
Perhaps there has been a similar issue discussed in eirigi, about "foot soldiers" where they have concluded that all members need to be developed/develop in their political knowledge.

fluffybiscuits
03-01-2014, 03:55 PM
http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/this-is-the-way-the-party-ends-not-with-a-bang-but-with-a-whimper/

C. Flower
03-01-2014, 05:29 PM
http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/this-is-the-way-the-party-ends-not-with-a-bang-but-with-a-whimper/


The most useful account so far.

Dr. FIVE
03-01-2014, 05:53 PM
in the comments


In Ireland there are faultlines within the SWP (Ireland) apparent from social media with some Irish members liking or even sharing the statuses of some of the recently resigned SWP (Britain) members and then again one full timer ‘liking’ posts by Alex Callinicos though such displays of support for the British CC have been rarer. I won’t identify individuals except where the people concerned have made blog postings clearly setting out their position.

The position as I understand it in Ireland is that the majority of the Political Committee (not least John Molyneux who has intervened into the debate in Britain) initially held a position supportive of the British CC. However among some full time organisers and in the ranks there was support for the various opposition factions from the very outset of this crisis going public. This included former full timer and PC member Conor Kostick who has made public postings in this regard.

Motions from a couple of branches of the Irish SWP went to their National Committee in February 2013 which sought to commit the Irish SWP to a position critical of its British sister party. After some arguement this motion passed albeit in an amended form. The compromise essentially entailed the Irish SWP not pro-actively publicising its position but if members are asked by anybody the critical position is given

C. Flower
03-01-2014, 06:28 PM
in the comments

Impaled on the fence.