Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Why I am not resigning from the SWP

I didn't really want to write a post like this - but have been prompted to do so in part by the (uncharacteristically) incredibly sectarian and indeed rather disgusting tweet by left wing Labour Party member Owen Jones, who as a respected journalist one might have hoped would have known that there are often two sides to any story, and that he knows and can know only one side of this particular story. As a SWP member who attended the party's national conference this weekend, I thought I should just briefly explain why I am not joining those who have sadly decided to now leave, but am instead - like the overwhelming majority of comrades, including a significant section (and indeed possibly the majority) of the former 'Rebuilding the Party' faction - staying in the party.

It is pointless to try and pretend that this last year has been one of the 'finest hours' in the history of the SWP - despite the many positive contributions to the wider movements and struggles the SWP has made over the past year - to the anti-Bedroom tax movement, helping to force the Labour Party to include a commitment to abolition in their manifesto - to the anti-racist and anti-fascist movement, helping through mass Unite Against Fascism mobilisations to block the advance of the fascist EDL at a time when fascism is growing across crisis-ridden Europe - to name just two examples. A useful report of this weekend's conference by the party's national secretary Charlie Kimber can be found here, but in short the conference went as well as possible given the depth of the crisis that has so badly afflicted the organisation this past year, a crisis that has now hopefully been finally resolved as a result of the democratic decisions taken at the conference. It is worth quoting from this section of Kimber's report:

The conference passed overwhelmingly a motion that set out the political context of the divisions and the debates they have sparked. And delegates passed near-unanimously a revised set of procedures for our disputes committee which looks at matters of discipline and conduct. We hope this will give every member confidence in the processes. 
Furthermore the central committee (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. Specifically 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.
Delegates showed through the votes at conference that they did not believe the party and its leadership are sexist or trampled on the politics of women’s liberation or covered up injustice.

In fact, it is testament to how well the conference went - given fears among members about how it might go beforehand - and the new spirit of unity that the vast majority of those attending the conference would have left with - that the faction not only voted to wind itself up after conference but have also handed over their factional blog to those who have just left the party. There will still of course be debates, tensions and discussion within the party - (to be honest, there are always debates, tensions and discussion within an organisation like the SWP) - especially when the matter of the causes of the crisis arises, but the vast majority of the party voted essentially to 'agree to disagree' about the details of this - and try to move on, hopefully slowly rebuilding the trust that has been damaged through actions rather than words. In other words, the SWP has survived, and, with time, can hopefully slowly move forward in a unified manner now and rebuild.

Why is this important or noteworthy for anyone reading outside the SWP? Well, this is partly because for all its faults the SWP remains the largest revolutionary socialist organisation in Britain, and one of the largest internationally. To build up such a revolutionary organisation to the size of something like the SWP takes decades - anyone wanting to read more on this should definitely read Ian Birchall's fine biography of SWP founder Tony Cliff. It is telling that in his resignation letter, Birchall notes that 'I do not intend to join any other organisation'. This is doubtless not just because of his age and health as he says, and not only because none of the alternatives on the revolutionary left in Britain look particularly appetising for various reasons, but because as a historian and activist he knows just what a long hard slog building a revolutionary organisation from very small beginnings is - particularly in the non-revolutionary conditions of modern Britain. After all, Birchall has dedicated a large part of fifty years of his life to the building of such an organisation - indeed he has made a incredibly valuable contribution to such a task over those years. Such a task of building from scratch is surely only to be taken if it is absolutely necessary (I once wrote about when this would be the case before on this blog here).

No doubt at least some of those now leaving will try to form some new revolutionary socialist organisation at some point - but they should not be in any doubts about the very difficult task they have ahead of them. They would say of course such a task is easier than working to rebuild the SWP - well now they are free to go and test that opinion in practice. This to be honest will probably be the best for all of us in many cases. I will still see many of those leaving as comrades and am sure many of them will continue to make a very positive contribution to the working class movement. They should just not be under any illusions as to how difficult such a task they have ahead in waiting for them.

This is particularly because in the current conditions, when there is a basic contradiction in Britain between huge anger at the Tories' brutal class warfare - and the general lack of a fightback, at least on a national level, from our side in response. The low level of class struggle means that any socialist organisation is going to be in ever-present danger of turning inwards through frustration at the lack of progress. In such a context, a very serious accusation as that levelled against the SWP's former national secretary was always going to be incredibly damaging, and serve as the catalyst for pent up bitterness and wider frustration with the leadership.

More critically, the low level of class struggle means that there are pressures in two directions on every revolutionary organisation - and indeed on every individual revolutionary. Firstly, there is an ever-present danger of sectarianism - standing aside from the movements and just denouncing everyone else on the Left - and in particular the trade union leaders who (since retreating from the mass co-ordinated strikes in 2011) have not led as effective a fightback against the Tories as they might have done - from the sidelines. This is easy to do - there are numerous sects on the left in every country one can find who just do this. The temptation to simply rail against the trade union bureaucracy for the sake of it when one is in a tiny minuscule grouplet is even greater. The SWP - no doubt in part because of not only its intellectual tradition and culture but because of its small but not insignificant roots in the wider movements and class struggles - has not retreated into sectarianism but continued to build the wider movements against austerity, working with the trade union leaders for example when they call even the mildest kind of action in the hope it can fan the flames of a wider revolt - and supporting more moderate initiatives like the People's Assembly as well as building more militant groups such as Unite the Resistance to try and put more pressure on the official leaders of the trade union movement through building up rank-and-file networks from below.

Secondly, the SWP has also to date resisted the other ever-present danger or temptation - that towards liquidationism. It sometimes seems easier and more desirable and 'realistic' for revolutionaries (again particularly those in very small organisations) to play down their revolutionary Marxist politics and make 'short cuts' (towards for example electoralism, particularly strong after the welcome success of left parties like Syriza in Greece) or look for a new 'saviour upon high' to deliver instead of stressing the centrality of the organised working class in changing society. For example, in Britain we have seen a widespread pessimism towards the possibility of militant class struggle in response to the Tories attacks, and an adaptation towards the dominant popular ideas of both 'movementism' and 'left reformism'. The SWP for example was rather a lone voice on the left in Britain when it criticised Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union (and someone whose militant rhetoric about civil disobedience against austerity has meant he has been seen by many as a kind of 'saviour from on high'), after his disastrous failure to effectively act to defend jobs at Grangemouth.

Many of those on the wider Left - including Owen Jones - who refused to criticise McCluskey for not organising a militant class fightback over Grangemouth (through for example trying to encourage workplace occupations) did so because they agreed with McCluskey about the possibilities and potentialities of 'reclaiming Labour'. This idea would make more sense if it was 1913 instead of 2013 - we have over 100 years of trying to 'reclaim Labour' and since 1945 every Labour government has been worse than the previous one. An Ed Miliband government, given the economic crisis which looks set to continue, will - sad to say - be even worse than Blair and Brown's governments, not because Miliband is personally politically worse than Blair or Brown, but because of the scale of the crisis, and the resulting welfare cuts and attacks on workers Labour in office will make as a result in order to try to show they can 'manage' British capitalism just as 'responsibly' as the Tories.

The need for independent working class politics and revolutionary socialist organisation remains as great as ever - indeed in some ways it has never been more needed than now. As many people have noted, if an organisation like the SWP - a revolutionary organisation that tried to intervene in the movements to win people to the politics of socialism from below while avoiding both sectarianism and liquidationism didn't exist, it would have to be re-invented from scratch. Fortunately, the organisation does still exist. In his resignation letter (the partial, misleading and one-sided nature of his account about conference and the dispute cases I am not going to try and respond to), Dave Renton notes that

'one of the things I liked about the SWP was that ... there were 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...'

The reason this decline of self-taught working class Marxist intellectuals in the SWP has happened is overwhelmingly for objective reasons - the defeats the working class movement has suffered in Britain over the past 30 years under Thatcherism and then Blairism and now neo-Thatcherism, and the resulting wider decline of the revolutionary Left and its wider cultural institutions in society. It would have been more incredible and surprising in a sense if the regrettable shift that Renton describes had not happened in such circumstances. What the SWP has nonetheless still managed to do - in a way that most of the revolutionary Left has not done - is to survive as a relatively sizeable national organisation in this objectively unfavourable climate with small but at least in some places significant roots in the organised working class movement.

Since Dave Renton evoked Paul Foot, it seems perhaps fitting to end with a quote from Foot which remains as essentially true today - despite the damage done to the organisation this year - as it was over ten years ago when it was written:

Of the socialist parties in Britain today by far the largest, by far the most disciplined, by far the party most likely to organise wider campaigns in a non-sectarian manner, is the Socialist Workers Party, whose main (though not its only) fault is that it is not big enough.

Edited to add: A statement from the SWP in response to some of the recent resignations

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At 2:47 am, Blogger Unknown said...

Lest we forget


And though, in true Stalinist form, this comment may well not end up published, you dear reader may in some part of your brain register the rank hypocrisy in the difference between the parties attitude towards Assange and Smith. But then, some animals are more equal than others and Assange has never been in the same elite to which you very possibly aspire.

At 5:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lest we forget, unlike the Assange case, the SWP did hear the complaints made against Comrade Delta and is reforming its disputes process unlike any other organisation on the left who we must assume are perfect and in no need of ever reassessing their own disputes processes.
Lest we forget, Simon, one of the comrades supposedly advising the complainant lied about his role in this dispute in IB2, broke confidentiality and tried to factionalise even before this case had been heard and then set out to ruin the reputations of comrades in his district who would not go along with this strategy by publishing their names and allegations made against them on the internet.
Lest we forget, the comrades who left to form the ISN after using the sectarian blogs and the bourgeois press to make personalised attacks against individual SWP members and spread accusations that the SWP was elitist, over the hill and suppressing the views of younger members who are now defending themselves from the very same accusations in a farcical reenactment of their original dishonest strategy.
Lest we forget, the debates about political organisation and oppression that have taken place in SWP publications, meetings and elsewhere recently unlike in other left organisations who we must assume always have the correct line on these issues with all their members in agreement.

At 11:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What nonsense. You are not Snowball, you are Squealer. History is littered with your kind.

Always ready to justify and horror at the behest of Uncle Alex or Kim Jong Kimber and the fight against The Running Dogs of Capitalism (so much more poetic a phrase that 'sectarians' I always think).

Believing you are Socilalist heroes but secretly lined up for the chop.

This is The Real Marxist Tradition .

Why did your Party engineer a standing, foot stamping ovation for a man of 47 who had been accused of sexual abuse by a woman who was little more the a child?

Why did they sack and bully another woman who accused him of sexual harassment at your centre HQ, where he was a senior manager?

Have you actually read their accounts and those of their supporters? About the bullying and threats and lies and rumours?

Or does Squealing drown out the need for intelligent thought and independent investigation of your own?

You see it's no good, as someone who claims the right to name themselves 'Revolutionary' to parrot a Party Line and not expect to be shown up as no more than a Stakanovite.

Quoting the Politburo might work in circles of people who respect them but to the rest of the world (ie not the 1000 members you've been left with) it just looks sad and crawly.

Anyway I prefer a quote from a real Old Timer:

"Oh my word" a peasant in Russia exclaims to his friend, "The Tsar spoke to me!!"

"Wow" says his friend "that's amazing. What did he say?"

"Out of the way, scum"

Dare you not to delete this.

At 3:56 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

I'm happy not to delete your 'poetic' comments - I have never been denounced as a 'Stakhanovite' working for both 'Uncle Alex' (you missed out the ever so amusing and original 'Stalinicos' bit though) and 'Kim Jong Kimber' before.

One difficulty of course for your analogy is that the Stalinist state capitalism of 1930s Russia was able to bestow all sorts of careerist favours and financial incentives for the original 'Stakhanovites' - whereas anyone in any revolutionary socialist organisation in a capitalist society does not get any such advantages - in fact the opposite. The idea that it is somehow a kind of careerist choice to remain in an organisation like the SWP is frankly perverse.

However, I accept my post may appear to some to be a bit on the 'Squealer' side parroting the party line - which is why as I said at the beginning of my piece I didn't really want to write this post. Far more dignified in a way to let those leaving and resigning say their piece without a response. However, the current wave of abuse against the party (mostly from those outside the party and those who have just left eg Owen Jones) currently around on social media / the blogosphere - which is actually reaching close to some kind of witch-hunting atmosphere - means that I am glad I did put something out there in response.

At 3:57 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Briefly in reply to your specific questions:

1. 'Why did your Party engineer a standing, foot stamping ovation for a man of 47 who had been accused of sexual abuse by a woman...?'

A: It didn't - the precise nature of the accusations were not public knowledge in the SWP at the time. I was not at that conference (2010?) personally, but my understanding is that Alex Callinicos the day after this applause happened stated that any applause had been wrong given there had been an allegation of sexual harassment made.

2. 'Why did they sack and bully another woman who accused him of sexual harassment at your centre HQ, where he was a senior manager?'

Again an inaccurate question - the second woman was not sacked - indeed she wanted to resign but her resignation was not accepted by Charlie Kimber (national secretary). She much later resigned from her job of her own accord. Also we don't have 'managers', senior or otherwise, in the SWP - we are a socialist organisation that has an elected leadership body accountable to conference for their actions. The Party has apologised publically and privately this year for any bullying of the second woman that took place, and the wider distress caused by her move from one area of work in the party to the other among other matters.

3. 'Have you actually read their accounts and those of their supporters? About the bullying and threats and lies and rumours? Or does Squealing drown out the need for intelligent thought and independent investigation of your own?'

This is - with respect - the most insulting question you ask. It would have been impossible for any SWP member not to have read the accounts and those of their supporters you allude to given they have been broadcast widely over the internet and social media over the course of a year - as well as discussed in a democratic fashion over the course of many many many internal meetings this year inside the SWP itself. It is interesting however to note that you talk of 'bullying and threats and lies and rumours' - there have certainly been one hell of a lot of 'lies and rumours' spread around the internet about internal matters of the SWP - and the fact that both your questions posed at me contain inaccuracies is in a sense a reflection of that.

However, what I have not done is carried out any kind of 'independent investigation' of my own about the specific allegations - in a sense because it was none of my business to do so. The SWP conference each year elects a body of ordinary members - the Disputes committee - to investigate such matters - and the rest of the SWP in a sense has to trust their judgement and integrity - they actually look into the case and take evidence. Of course there are times when the findings of the DC will be controversial - this is why there is recourse of appeal to conference. But once conference votes to accept the findings of the DC, then it is not acting like 'Squealer' to accept the majority decisions of a democratic conference.

But to be honest I don't want to get into an extended discussion about all this - not because there is anything to hide or cover up here - but because such discussions are - for any number of reasons - better taking place offline not online.

At 5:44 pm, Anonymous John Charlton said...

In brief Snowball I find your account admirable and along the lies of what I would also write. I find the vulgar attacks on what is a rational and clearly written statement of where we are at appalling. People are welcome to disagree but it does former members and comrades no credit at all to descend to the gutter. I know several who will not. However it is quite understandable, a consequence of an over long period of factionalising (both sides). For better or worse we all have to move on and hopefully work together in many different spheres were we will presumably see eye to eye.

At 5:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

unfortunate slip! lines not lies!

At 6:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vulgar? Your arrogant, amateur, unthinking leaders drag the reputations of a movement through the mud with their pound shop Leninism and you think that our anger is vulgar?

Is it any wonder working people view your sort with suspicion?

You've destroyed your party you know? For ever. You've broken 100's of good people on the wheel of upper class instinct and training. That's vulgar.

And that's the last thing I'll say on the matter.

At 6:18 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Many thanks for leaving a comment in support, John - it means a lot and is appreciated. Yes, the bitterness floating around (and yes, to some degree, on both sides) is in very large part down to the experience of permanent factionalism over the past year. Everyone on each side has been bruised and damaged by this experience - one that we have to all hope is now behind us in the SWP. I strongly agree with your statement that:

'For better or worse we all have to move on and hopefully work together in many different spheres were we will presumably see eye to eye.'

At 8:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good account and response. Yes, Owen Jones will not denounce the cyber-bullying and threats to women, either, that sprung from his tweet/FB. The irony..

At 10:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leaving aside the arguments around the SWP, Owen Jones might want to leave his own party before he decides to talk about the SWP.

How many crimes has his party tacitly and implicitly supported over the period of his life.

The hypocrite.

At 3:48 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does make you wonder at the veracity of the narrative of one of the opposition comrades in IB2 who claimed to be supporting the complainant when he was seen cheering comrade Delta much to the disgust of those comrades in his district who he went on to try to discredit by publishing their names and alleged crimes on the internet. I assume he expected them to recant publicly prior to execution.

This kind of dishonesty is exactly what fuels the factoids spread across the internet by some in the opposition. How can any comrade trust, let alone work with this person politically again?

At 4:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comment 3 has got to be some Daily Mail hack. That bit about 'This is The Real Marxist Tradition' is a dead giveaway. In Bold too...

Although, on second thoughts, it could be one of the more unscrupulous members of the opposition. It's hard to tell sometimes.

At 9:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you trust the honesty and integrity of Pat Stack?

At 12:00 am, Blogger Snowball said...

Am not sure who your question is to, but after reading Pat Stack's letter of resignation I would just say this:

I wouldn't want to impune the honesty and integrity of Pat Stack at all - and it is a very real loss to the SWP that he has gone - if only because at his best he was probably the finest orator the Party had.

However, his stated reasons for leaving are weak, and it is tragic he is leaving - particularly given how weak these stated reasons are. He notes that one third of conference delegates gave the woman reporting back about the disputes case hearing a standing ovation. Okay - he was at the back of the room - I will take his figure on trust. However, while I didn't stand to give an ovation myself, my sense about why some comrades did so was not so much because of the reasons Pat gives, but I would guess out of a basic human solidarity with the woman comrade in question, who has also almost certainly suffered an unimaginable amount of distress over this past year or so - including being attacked personally in the Daily Mail. It was a way I guess of acknowledging the distress suffered by those on the disputes committee and their discipline in not breaking confidentiality to try and defend themselves from the mountain of abuse and smears all over the internet and in papers like the Mail, when the temptation to do so must have been quite intense.

That a comrade who is normally so astute as Pat can only see matters like this in such a one-sided way is undoubtedly again down to the damage that has come with his part in lending legitimacy and encouraging permanent factionalism over the past year or so. A warning there to people about the perils of permanent factionalism. It remains though a small tragedy such an experienced comrade as Pat has been lost though from the organisation in this way.

At 3:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have more respect for Pat Stack's reasons for leaving if he had made more of an attempt to distinguish himself from some of the utterly reprehensible and dishonest behaviour of some of the opposition who he allied himself without criticism.

Not only that, but his political analysis of the internet was based on observing the phone use of his nieces and nephews which is frankly worrying if this is the level of his political and theoretical analysis of other areas of our work.

It is beyond any doubt now that many of the leading members of IDOOP who left earlier this year had already adopted a poststructuralist analysis of how we should organise and fight oppression. My impression, based on Colin Wilson's contributions to the debate about reproduction, is that a number of comrades, including possibly Stack, have been drawn to these ideas but, unlike Wilson, are unwilling or unable to have that debate.

While I don't discount Stacks feelings and beliefs about the Delta case I believe this is also a parting of the ways brought about by fundamental political differences concerning organisation and oppression that have been brewing long before this crisis.

Richard Seymour has been engaged, on his blog, in rehabilitating the politics of Althusser and Poulantzas over a year before these cases arose. As one of the leading members of IDOOP I suspect that he was influential in shaping the politics in the opposition even if this was not directly acknowledged, by Stack and others, at the time.

At 4:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the other questions I have concerning Stack's resignation is what is his political analysis of the so-called "IDOOM" faction? If such an undisclosed faction even exists.

What Stack seems to think it amounts to is loyalty to a single leading member of the SWP. Even the faction around Rees and German had a political basis for their opposition. But according to Stack, loyalty and sectarianism (albeit not a Marxist definition of sectarianism) seem to apply in this case.

Again, I think this analysis is subjective and superficial rather than based on a political analysis of the political disagreements that have arisen. It's pretty easy to write a dismissal and post it on the sectarian blogs, as some in the opposition have done, that is full of put downs, slurs and assumptions about the motivations of others rather than actually put forward a political analysis of the current crisis.

To the poster who elevates Stack's integrity beyond reproach in this thread - isn't that just the strategy so-called "loyalists" have been accused of? I don't believe we should ignore the politics and base our analysis on the perceived integrity of individual comrades. Does that mean that anyone who has disagreed with some of Stacks interventions at meetings (I know I have on occasions) lacks integrity?

Political debate then becomes a matter of perceived personal integrity. Those whose lobbyists maintain are most liked or willing to compromise are designated arbiters of truth. Very soon the competition for likeability forms the basis of an organisation where politics are homogenised to such an extent under the banner of "integrity" that anyone raising political disagreement is characterised as lacking this quality. Presumed personal qualities signify political legitimacy. Ok, I'm stretching a point here but it's worth thinking through the implications of an argument.

At 9:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an idiot, faux intellectual embarrassment this blog is. Pat Stack is a post-structuralist and that's why your party is finished? Spare us the fake PhD application letter.

Wake up. Your leaders blew it. It's over. Not because if the Daily Mail, or sectarians. But because a handful of people covered their arses and a layer of pretend revolutionaries didn't have the guts to stand up to them.

Luckily a few hundred SWP members put their training into action and stood up against the system.

You robots did what you were told to.

Shame on you.

At 3:47 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google Translation of the above post:

DON'T TALK ABOUT THE POLITICS! Lots of Cold War red baiting cliches. The end of the revolutionary left is nigh! Sprinkled with a liberal dose of anti-intellectual, moralising epiplexis.

At 9:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubbish. Throwing around cliches like red baiting and whitchunt doesn't put you on the left and the opposition on the right. That's an idiot trick which shows you up as the amateur political activist you are.

You think Johnny Jones, Viv Smith, Pat Stack, Ian Birchill, Jonathan Neale and the 100's of other decent oppositionists who have resigned are red baiters? Please, do a bit better than that if you ate going to defend the indefensible.

Standing up against institutional sexism and bullying, recognising real polotik, political posturing and power games, abandoning decades of activity and millions of hours of sacrifice to stay true to principle - that's being political.

Your side has destroyed your party. You will be shunned and despised from here on. Not because you are being whitchunted, but because you deserve it and are a political liability.

You brought it on yourselves. Stop whining.

At 11:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whenever the "stop whining" cliche is wheeled out it's invariably by a right wing red baiter eager to promote his own version of individual moralism. I don't know what's more despicable, your use of these cases and members of the opposition to pursue your own reactionary agenda or your undisguised relish at the thought of a witchhunt on the left. Either way you represent some of the worst aspects of the internet.

At 12:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, I'm critical of the hearsay, slurs and factoids that the opposition have used to try to discredit other comrades. I'm critical of the lack of integrity that allowed those in the opposition to go along with this strategy. And I'm critical of the dishonesty of some in the opposition about their political agenda and the politics of those in the opposition that I disagree with. Even to your mindset where any disagreement is characterised as an "attack" that is not a defensive position.

At 11:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" ....the "stop whining" cliche is wheeled out ... invariably by a right wing red baiter eager to promote ... individual moralism". Er, what? Like when? Talk about shoe horning tired phrases into any sentence to construct a false premise. Bizarre.

As I read the crazy nonsense coming out of North Korea I can't help but think of the SWP, their paranoid leadership and a craven population cowed into watching stage managed performances which bear no resemblance to reality.

You see it's simple.

When a girl barely out of puberty is seduced by a powerful old man, and she very quickly complains she has been sexually abused & appeals for help from a socialist party, it isn't 'right wing red baiting' to defend her.

It's the right thing to do.

When a campaign is constructed against her (she's been slandered as an MI5 'honey trap' by SWP members) but the old man is publicly lauded and applauded by the apparatus of the party (and every robotnik with no backbone) it shouldn't be hard to pick a side (for any instinctive left winger with half a brain).

Your behaviour has been right wing. No amount of fantasising yourselves valiantly fighting the forces of reaction changes the bare truths. Role play in your head all you like, it doesn't matter.

You sold your principles out.

Of course your leaders have an investment in siding with their top dog, especially his girlfriends in the leadership (otherwise all the hot air and printers ink they have spewed looks a bit vacuous in hindsight).

But you don't. It's in your interest to face the facts and be true to your beliefs. The wilderness grows colder and more lonely over time.

At 10:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's xmas time but your fantastical tale has more to do with The Brother Grimm than what actually happened in the SWP. Prick a troll and the bile comes pouring out. Especially those refreshingly original North Korean comparisons we take so seriously on the left which, of course, have nothing to do with Cold War red baiting! Well done for confirming your agenda! Over to you for some more pointless red baiting...

At 11:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear! I do apologise!

I now totally see that you are a delusional fruitcake unable to read the testimonies of the actual women and their friends and hear what they are saying.

Your leadership abused and bullied them.

Playing SWP internet bingo — Troll; Bile; Sectarian; Red-Baiting; HOUSE! — a political argument does not make.

It's just kind of cheap, childish and lazy.

When your Glorious Leaders behave like a tin-pot version of a barmy Stalinist dictatorship don't boo-hoo-hoo when they are compared to one.

It's not Red-Baiting son. It's for your own good to be told this. Even if you don't want to hear it and you haven't got the decency or back-bone to face up to the truth (and stick up for the women).

The whole world is watching. (Well the fringe bit of the fringe is.)

So it doesn't matter what we say here.

It doesn't matter that I'm kindly offering to help snap you out of your right wing behaviour and beliefs about sexual abuse complaints in your party, before you are drummed out of the left, never to be allowed to return.

It doesn't matter that you will have another fantastical tantrum and imagine yourself in front of the House of un-American activities, or what ever nonsensical dream you are in, rather than hear the facts of the cases.

History will be the judge. You are heading for it's dustbin. You won't be missed.

At 5:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think exploiting these cases for your own sectarian agenda is going to convince anyone knock yourself out...

It's very easy to make superficial and generalised condemnations as part of a sectarian smear campaign. Much more difficult to sustain this strategy when examining the details of these allegations.

Could you explain why Simon, supposedly acting on behalf one of one of the women, went around canvassing for support and breaking confidentiality in his district before the case was even heard by the DC? Why did he applaud Comrade Delta at conference, then deny doing this and release the names of comrades in his district onto the internet who would not go along with his strategy, fallaciously accusing them of doing what he actually did?

How did the lawyer, David R, reach a conclusion about a case based on one testimony without hearing all the evidence?

Perhaps you could throw some light on why Ian A believes email accounts were hacked when the comrades who were expelled admit sharing their emails wider than just themselves?

At 1:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear God man, use your head!

Hundreds of members have resigned including 3 or 4 ex Central Committee members, the official biographer of your founder, the Deputy Editor of your theoretical journal and dozens of comrades each with decades of loyal membership behind them.

Sectarians? Please!

Why not go the whole hog and celebrate the action to eliminate factionalist filth within the Socialist Workers' Party?

I'm sure that you actually believe it has bolstered the party's unity by 100 times!


At 11:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Predictably you haven't addressed any of the contradictions I've raised concerning the reasons some of those who you use for your own sectarian agenda decided to resign.

The disparity between Simon's account of his own behaviour and those in his district and the account of those he slurs.

David R's one sided condemnations and conviction.

Important details about the distribution of factional emails left out of Ian A's account.

There are a number of other factional slurs, misrepresentations and factoids that remain open to question. That's why the overwhelming majority of comrades rejected their version of events.

At 12:59 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"explain why Simon? ... ", "How did the lawyer, David R? ..."

... what on earth are you talking about? Yep: ... tittle tattle and hearsay! Classic SWP tactic.

The whispers against anyone in the Party or This Great Movement Of Ours who deviated slightly.

The rumours, cold shoulder, 'not one of us, chaps' tradition.

No wonder you think decent left wig politics is actually this.

Actual long statements by women who say they were abused? errrr..... !!!! Sectarian !!! ALERT ALERT !!! Lies Lies Lies !!! Feminism, errrr, Labour Party ... er ...WARRRRR!! Fascists!! Imperialism, erm quick, ... look over there ... The Daily Mail!!!

The overwhelming majority stayed? = about 500 people. Tops. It's over. You're finished.

See ya.

At 3:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The statements by the women involved were taken seriously and actually investigated by the DC which is more than can be said for David R's method of judgement which is not even based on the whole evidence.

Then there is the false account of events presented by Simon who was supposed to be acting on behalf of one of the women involved - not disclosing confidential information before the case was even heard by the DC and slurring those who wouldn't go along with this strategy.

The SWP disputes process has been reviewed after lengthy discussion involving members of the SWP and advice from others in the labour movement. The conclusions of the review have been unanimously accepted even by those who subsequently left the SWP. (Including all those members who you try to use without their endorsement in a desperate attempt to try to legitimise your sectarian slur campaign.)

This process of review cannot be said for David R's method of judgement or of any of the other elements of the faction where the end justifies any means necessary regardless of how mendacious they are.

At 8:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"advice from others in the labour movement"


I was actually of the opinion that MI6 were running the CC to discredit the SWP and break up the party.

Your nonsensical defence has convinced me that I was correct.

Nobody could actually be as delusional or dishonest as you are.


At 12:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your denunciations are becoming more and more farcical.

Responding in kind, what system of measurement do you use for delusion and dishonesty? When you claim that I am at the top of your scale are you including the living and the dead?

For example, I would argue that on any scale those who believed but are no longer living and those who continue to believe that Stalinism equals Marxism are at the top end of the delusionary and/or dishonesty scale.

Another example, Simon who applauded Comrade Delta, subsequently denied this and then published the names of comrades who didn't do this accusing them of doing it is up there on your scale.

David R, a lawyer, pontificating about justice while at the same time finding someone guilty without hearing all the evidence has a place on your scale.

Or what about reaching a conclusion, as Ian did, that factional emails distributed beyond the faction could only have come from hacked accounts and not from those who received the emails but disagreed with secret factionalising? Where does he sit on your scale?

Unlike you, who is using these cases to red bait, I had genuine concerns about the way these cases were handled initially but the more I began to read the various accounts published on the internet by different elements of the faction, the more I began to distrust these often inconsistent accounts of what happened. These inconsistencies have never been clarified or criticised by the different elements that came together to form the IDOOP faction either. So when parts of IDOOP began promoting a Foucauldian analysis of oppression, including Colin W, to a greater or lesser extent I knew that they had made a political departure from a class analysis as the CC had argued. In which case where does having a poststructuralist analysis and claiming it is a class analysis fit on your scale?

At 1:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A. I ask again: who in the Labour movement has supported the SWP officials? Answer = none. If you say it's confidential: Answer = you're making this up.

B. It is dishonest to say that the women's complaints were taken seriously. One was humiliated numerously including by a baying mob at the conference, the other pushed aside until the complaint was finally investigated after a long campaign by which time Delta had slipped away.

This is on public record from the pens of the women themselves. The evidence is irrefutable. Either you are deluded and calling them liars or you are lieing about the evidence and their statements.

C. Your obsession with tittle-tattle re 'Simon' and 'Dave R' is an embarrassment. 100's of your members have left. Well argued factual accounts litter the web. Hearsay, playground ner na na ner ner statements about what you think happened are laughable.

D. As is your faux intellectualism.

You're mind is retreating into delusion. When the spaceship didn't arrive at the expected time those waiting went more crazy to explain it, not less.

When a mother killed her baby with the first of Jim Jones kool-aid the other cult members lined up to drink theirs.

But a minority hid in the long grass or took the tin foil off their heads and survived.

They thought for themselves.

Wake up man! You've lost your marbles along with your moral compass and supposed principles.

At 3:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A. If you want names of individuals involved in the consultation process contact the SWP. Your claim that this process didn't involve others outside the SWP is more baseless sectariana. The whole of the SWP, including the faction, supported its recommendations.

B. Your sectarian campaign is based on generalised condemnations that avoid addressing specific details of the allegations about a cover up. A formal complaint hadn't been made at the conference where Delta was applauded, the CC condemned how Delta behaved. Both cases were heard by the DC. The complaints made by both women about this process have been taken seriously and the recommendations of the consultation were accepted unanimously even by those in the faction who you try to use for your sectarian campaign.

C. 100's of comrades like me have stayed because allegations of a cover up need to be judged on evidence not on generalised and superficial condemnations made by you. That is why I am questioning how the allegations made by those comrades I keep referring to were reached. You have no interest in this because you are only interested in using these cases to red bait.

D. Trivialising the politics involved in this crisis is your method of avoiding specifics which get in the way of your superficial sectarian agenda.

At 5:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A. You refuse to supply names of outside supporters who have agreed with your 'commission'?

What surprise.

(Incidentally you didn't say individuals. You claimed 'advice from others in the labour movement'.)

That's because it was a lie.

If it were true the SWP would be shouting it from the rooftops. I wouldn't have to 'go to the SWP'. Anyway I thought you were in the SWP?

But I can name many 100's of international labour activists (such as Michael Rosen) who have commended your 'process'.

That's why you are finished as a party. Dontcha get it?

It's not red baiting. It's coming from the left. You are now outside of the left circle.

Delta was applauded at the conference AFTER the first DC investigation. The 1st poor woman was there. She wasn't allowed to speak, but he was.

When some decent socialist woman tried to support the woman from teh conference floor a ginger loon from Birmingham climbed over chairs to attack her and had to be held back.

Haven't you actually read the facts of the case?

Insult your own intelligence all you like (or not as the case may be). But don't insult ours.

You are being attacked from the left, not the right.

So can you stop telling lies? We can read the evidence. I suggest you go and do the same.


At 5:32 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But I can name many 100's of international labour activists (such as Michael Rosen) who have condemned your 'process'.


At 7:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to check your facts and re-read that otherwise highly mendacious article you link to, the case was investigated by the DC after the Delta applause incident.

The more you use Cold War red baiting tropes to attack the SWP the more I doubt you are on the left even the parts of the left who waste their time indulging in sectariana.

At 1:27 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes. Sorry. I meant to saySWP investigation. It was the CC, not DC. Slip of the finger. Point taken.

It was the CC which involved themselves in the abuse of the young woman not the DC. To begin with.

So what? When a man pushing 50, in a massive position of power, seduces a girl just out of school, and she quickly feels that she has been sexually abused, it doesn't matter which adjective hushes it up.

Delta orchestrated a macho and aggressive public show of strength against a woman (almost a child) who believed she had been sexually abused. Whilst she was in the room!

Even if he is innocent this is sexual abuse/an abuse of power.

Any Socialist would have thought about her and how she was feeling!

What he/the SWP conference did was MASSIVELY abusive! You make Charles Saatchi look like the Dali Lama.

And if it is true? A man allegedly rapes/abuses a very young woman then gets 100's of your 'comrades' to stamp their feet and jeer! And they do so.

It's obscene. It's actually Fascist. It's certainly sexually twisted.

How do you think she felt?

The fact that you don't understand this is shocking. You are INSTITUTIONALLY abusers.

I pity you. The left will dance on your grave.

Viva Women! Viva Humanity! Viva Socialism!

At 7:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you've got it wrong because you're relying on someone named, "Soviet Goon Boy", for your information. Not that the carefully selected and utterly mendacious version of events on that blog would bother you because it fits perfectly with your sectarian agenda. Which makes your cynical use of these cases all the more despicable.

At 9:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus! To think you have daughters the same age. Arsehole.


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