Sunday 15 December 2013

SWP: 'Comrade X' Resigns

The below comes from 'Comrade X', the woman who, like 'Comrade W' made a sexual assault complaint to the SWP's Dispute Commission about the alleged behaviour of a former leading member. Again, it is worth reiterating that "Delta" has never had charges brought against him and is entitled to the presumption of innocence like anyone else. The scandal, the putrescent stench has always been about the appalling handling of those allegations and hounding of alleged sexual abuse survivors by active SWP'ers. As you can see from X's resignation note (original here via Ciara Squires), her experience too is of being bullied, harassed and smeared. What a disgusting bunch.

I'm glad to hear that now SWP conference has closed, those few decent socialists who've remained are packing their bags and bidding farewell. Good. A slow, painful fade into the footnotes of labour movement history now awaits the SWP, a decline that cannot come soon enough.
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.
Update Ever behind the curve, "we aren't rape apologists unless we believe that women always tell the truth - and guess what, some women and children lie" got a round of applause in yesterday's session. Stay classy, SWP.


Howard Fuller said...

Bit late to tell the SWP to "stay classy" Phil. After a year of this they can't even recognise what a mess they have made.

I notice you chose to use the picture from Sussex uni anarchists after they "turned over" the SWP stall. There'll be more of that if a couple of other bloggers are to be beleived (and I do).

One of their Unite NEC members has quit tonight, I hope the ones in my Union (PCS) do as well.

The Party's over.

Frankly "revolutionary" politics is a joke. If the vabguard cannot deal with the human rights of one of their own members god help the rest of us if they ever got to power. Stalinism is inherent in the politics of this type.

Off topic, I did thank you for your support (in publicising my blog) on the first anniversary of Howie's Corner.

We may not always agree but its' good to listen to differing views!

James Gibson said...

Doesn't really matter what they say or do beyond this point - they're reputation has been damaged beyond repair.

Alex Dawson said...

Members of smaller rival groups already crowing about this. As if their own set ups wouldn't (and haven't already tried to) cover up the transgressions of senior "cadres" in relation to their personal lives.

As I have said on twitter, the sooner young radicalised people are not sucked into life destroying paperselling cults led by boring old political failures the better.

Of course there are good people involved in them, of course they do some good things etc, but the larger number of decent people new to politics they alienate and burn out cannot ever be forgiven.

An end to the cults might see us actually get somewhere.

Phil said...

Be interesting to see if the latest round of refugees end up in Left Unity, and whether they'll leave the "old methods" at the door ...

Anonymous said...

Leave the "old methods" ...?

That's what concerns me. What 'old methods' ? If you don't know what they are how do you know that you need to divest yourself of them?

What I'm reading from afar is that the exer milieu is held hostage to an idealism in politics resting on 'a tradition' that maybe is problematical to begin with.

The only way out of that sentence, I think, is to courageously embrace here-and-now politics and take up a process of open ended change which demands humility in place of arrogance.

And to be frank, the English grouplets ALL are one of the biggest bunches of arrogant Marxist patronizers on the planet.

So friggin right. Always. So that they always talk at you and never with.

We don't call London 'sect central' for nothing.

If you think you are so right -- even in exer mode -- then there is little space for dialogue, or even democracy. That doesn't mean that the left should become confessional and mea culpa itself into the good books .

IT DOES, however, suggest that maybe what matters is outside the bunker and that the circle spirit is a disease that warrants curing oneself of.

The Delta epsiode surely reflects not only a skewed attitude to feminism but a groupthink that fosters a perverse loyalty. Embedded there is a obsession with class politics (an English left specialty as is the rule of august ''principles') to the detriment of recognising the complexity of capitalist society...warped by the overbearing arrogance of small propaganda groupings wallowing in their own self importance.

T-Childs said...

When the Middle class revolutionaries take over political parties that are supposed to be about Working class issues, rights and struggles, what do you expect? It becomes a talking shop and a constant line of 'who's the most authentic lefty?' and all that bullshit that no Working class person is remotely interested in one iota. I wonder if that is the whole reason why some Middle class people infest Left wing politics in the first place, to discredit it and give it a bad name and make it completely ineffectual at being a competent opposition? Makes you wonder hey? Cynical, me? Know I just live in the real world.

Vinyl Miner said...

TV has killed the purity of the revolution as the reality of the barbarism of armed conflict is brought into our living rooms on a daily basis. Consumerism has killed the revolutionary stance as a class concious proletariat openly accept the consumer society and reject any form of Totalitarian government, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat is still a dictatorship.