Sunday, 10 March 2013

The SWP: A Short Obituary

So, in the end, all it took was a vote of 400 to 140 at today's gerrymandered special conference to kill the SWP. I'm sure the central committee are toasting a job well done at swappie towers tonight. After all, it takes some mean manoeuvring to pack a meeting with your supporters when your own team is outnumbered by 540+ to 512. And, characteristically for all gatherings on which the fates of organisations turn, according to this report it was something of a tepid, drippy affair. It's all redolent of the official closing of the original CPGB, the shutting down of the Socialist Alliance, and the winding up of my school's chess club.

Well, the central committee and its lynch mob may want to bury their heads in the sand. But that is not going to stop the rest of the labour movement casting them out as pariahs. The rough ride the SWP rightly received at Unison's Women's Conference is a foretaste of what's to come. I imagine their TUSC partners will be less keen to buddy up with them come the morning. Where the SWP have members in senior trade union positions I can't see them coming out fighting the inevitable rape-baiting campaigns sure to be run against its supporters. Anything that smacks of the SWP - model resolutions, front-organised campaigns, it's all irredeemably tainted. And when September comes round for the annual recruitment surge at freshers', Google and the efforts of student union women's societies will drive a further nail into the SWP's tatty coffin.

I don't and have never particularly liked the SWP. But it would be churlish not to recognise the occasional positive contribution it has made to the labour movement; there is also the production of popular and readable theoretical works that have, over the decades, assisted the politicisation of many thousands. And then when you glance at the other side of the balance sheet and see the breaking of campaigns, the wrecking behaviour and cod ultra-leftism, the bullying and systematic burning out/driving out of tens of thousands from the labour movement, and now its utterly appalling rape denialism over a period of time. It's time this rancid cult was put to bed. So thank you Alex Callinicos, Charlie Kimber and your 400 acolytes for doing the rest of the left a massive favour and ensuring your days are numbered.

Regards those SWP members currently considering their options, despite their politics, I hope this bruising experience does not disperse them into the comforting embrace of private life. To those who, I understand, are contemplating a public group resignation in short order - there is a wider movement for you to move into, and it's infinitely more deserving of your talents and energy.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

The SWP will rise again on the Day of Resurrection with Comrade Chavez, Jesus, and the Hidden Imam.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/06/hugo-chavez-return-resurrection-ahmadinejad

Phil said...

See also this resignation note from Andy Lawson in Hackney. The first of many, no doubt.

Dick Gregory said...

That it took a massive gerrymander to achieve this result is likely to convince many of the comrades that funeral arrangements might be put off for a while.
On chess similes.

Phil said...

Just goes to show that intelligent people are capable of believing the most stupid of things.

Rosa Lichtenstein said...

Indeed, Phil, if they accept dialectics, they ought to believe anything -- and its opposite, at the same time.

Dick Gregory said...

I understand well, your mistakes are comprehensible, they are crazy.

Gary Elsby said...

The way I read into the sexual assault case, I can be forgiven for having the thought that:

1. The case went to court.
2. The case was upheld.
3. The man went to prison.

I base these thoughts on what I've read so far.

Am I right to hold these views?

Evan said...

Just thought I'd plug my latest post on this, which indeed links to this very post:

http://hatfulofhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/is-this-a-turning-point-for-the-british-far-left/

Phil said...

This from the SWP's Party Notes:

SWP conference: the members decide

The SWP special conference on Sunday made clear decisions about recent debates and how we now need to move forward together.

It was a very democratic conference. Over 1,000 comrades took part in the aggregates which elected the delegates to conference. This is the largest direct participation in such elections for years.

And on the day itself there was a good debate.

On Sunday the Central Committee main motion was backed by 77 percent of delegates (483 for, 133 against, 13 abstentions) and another motion
amending the constitution was also passed overwhelmingly. Both motions are attached.

These decisions are binding on us all and therefore everyone should read the motions and implement them. As section three of the CC’s motion says,
“At the core of democratic centralism lies the understanding that we have full and honest debate among comrades in order to reach decisions
followed by united action to implement and argue for those decisions.”

The IDOOP faction that was set up before the conference has now dissolved.

As the CC made clear at conference, if comrades in the former faction accept the decisions of the conference then they can continue to play a full and equal part in the organisation on the same basis as everyone else.

However, continuing factionalism will be ruinous for the SWP and is not acceptable. We can’t continue with the attacks on the party and its members on blogs and Facebook and Twitter.

The conference elected four people to the body mentioned in section seven of the CC motion. This will look at the Disputes Committee procedures
and suggest changes where necessary.

There are also important debates we need to have in our publications and meetings, as section ten of the motion says.

The party has been through an intense period of internal debate. It is now crucial we turn outwards and ensure that the party is at the centre of
the resistance.

This needs to be the main theme of the conference report-backs this week. Ring the national office to talk about speakers.

Phil said...

How the SWP will be at the "centre of resistance" when no one in the labour movement will now go anywhere near them is an interesting proposition.

Phil said...

No Gary. It happened thus:

1) A young woman brought allegations of rape and sexual assault against a central committee member.

2) Rather than advise she go to rape crisis or the police, the SWP investigated it themselves.

3) The investigation was carried out by a cabal of the accused's mates and colleagues.

4) Unsurprisingly, the accusations were found to be 'not proven'.

Simultaneously another woman - a full timer at the party centre - made a similar complaint. Mysteriously, she was sacked.

It has come out in the wash since that the SWP have investigated at least nine complaints of this nature over the years. One particularly vile example found their then Sheffield full-timer guilty and he was expelled for two years and instructed to read up on women's liberation.

Gary Elsby said...

I'm baffled why a rape allegation is of any interest to a political party at all.

It should never be on the agenda.

The Unison 'women's speaker, wrote and spoke of 'blaming the victim'.

That comment should never have seen the light of day.

For some reason I cannot comprehend, the SWP (or whoever) has been put in a position of judgement.

I find that quite irresponsible in the first instance and quite outrageous in the second.

If the male has not been found guilty by a court, then he is an innocent man who has been beaten down by, what I call, thugs.

If those women, have never made an official complaint to the police, then they should be just discounted (ignore this nonsense of being intimidated by men or male police officers).

I think officers of a party may, if challenged to appear impartial, have to decide to remove both parties from meetings until a police investigation is completed.

Both may, suggest 'victim blaming'.
The courts may make a final decision on one of them.

Someone is out to wreck this organisation, and if I may say so, they have done quite a good job on it.

I'm very suspicious and think the Liberals are showing all, how this stuff is done properly.

jimboo said...

"I'm baffled why a rape allegation is of any interest to a political party at all."

They do not see themselves as a Political Party as such and are not registered as one. The perceive themselves to be the Revolutionary Vanguard and, within their mindset, work out with the norms of Bourgeois society rejecting the police and the courts. In relation to age the girl was 17 when the senior member initiated the relationship. In defence the CC and Disputes Committee said to consider the age difference would,again,be a surrender to bourgeois morality.

Gary Elsby said...

It would not interest the court either.

I still wish to know if she was a 'victim'.

Did this issue go to court?
Was he found guilty?

If not, people should shut up and understand that support for someone is not a crime and may appear to be common sense.

jimboo said...

Was he found guilty?

Was found not not proven, not enough evidence pointing one way or another. Surprising it was not not guilty as the jury were his pal. He was immediately sent on a payed holiday to Greece and given a full time paid job with Love Music Hate racism which is totally funded by the Trade Union Movement. People have voted with their feet.

Gary Elsby said...

Not proven?

Was this case heard in Scotland, where this bizzare verdict can be found?

jimboo said...

No it wasn't heard in Scotland so havent a clue how they come up with that one. We must remember it was an Internal Party Disputes Committee. No legal binding.
Read all about it.
http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4522

Anonymous said...

The year that rape rape everywhere, look one over here and one over there hysteria took place.

By no one in the Labour movement you mean tossers like yourself and those well paid bureaucrats! Not actual workers, who probably are unaware any of this shit is going on.

Let us be clear about that.

Phil said...

If only all rape denialists were as incoherent and as blunt as the fool above.

Anonymous said...

Watch out, there is a rapist about! Yes you better watch out there is a rapist about, sing along everyone!

Phil said...

Charming.

Gary Elsby said...

I'm now absolutely crystal clear on what has gone on.

There was no rape at all and the woman isn't sure either..

Whoever threw this out got it absolutely spot on.

If the Lady in question disagrees with me, then I will take her to a police station myself where she can inform them of an aleged crime.

Someone was out to cause trouble, and they succeeded.

No wonder, women get very angry about women such as this one.

Anonymous said...

Re "It has come out in the wash since that the SWP have investigated at least nine complaints of this nature over the years. One particularly vile example found their then Sheffield full-timer guilty and he was expelled for two years and instructed to read up on women's liberation." - I think the "nine complaints" probably isn't true, I think : Originally, a member of the SWP opposition said she was told this verbally by a "loyalist" , presumably to say this was 'normal' (!?), but she publicised the claim saying it was in fact far from reassuring . However, the SWP CC say in their statement for the special conference that that "we know of only one other that the party has dealt with in recent memory—we do not know where the figure of “nine rape cases” that has circulated
on the Internet comes from". Now it may be they are playing fast-and-loose, around that phrase "in recent memory", but I suspect not, I suspect the "nine cases" was a bit of blather that went wrong. However, as you say, the second , Sheffield case is in fact arguably much worse than the complaint that started all this - Solomon Hughes

Anonymous said...

Gary Elsby:

"I'm now absolutely crystal clear on what has gone on. There was no rape at all and the woman isn't sure either ..."

Would you be the Gary Elsby who got the magnificent vote of 36 in the July 2012 by-election? So given the fact that you are roundly unpopular in your home town you now think that it is wise to onto the internet and spread viscous lies about a young woman who says that she was raped and abused?

I hope the 36 people who voted for you read your comments and spit in your face. Including you, if you are one of them.

Anonymous said...

Martin Smith. Hope Not Rape.