Sunday, 20 January 2013

SWP: Purges and growing isolation

The latest (but as yet unconfirmed) news is that a series of purges are now taking place inside the Socialist Workers Party. According to comments from an SWP member published on Tony Greenstein's blog, several members have now been expelled and staff are being sacked from their Vauxhall office. 

It also appears that Hannah Dee has also been kicked off their Central Committee. There is reason to believe that Judith Orr (a long term SWP hack) who backed the victims in the botched internal disciplinary "process" may be next.

What is clear is that there is open rebellion going on inside the SWP led by Richard Seymour (of Lenin's Tomb) and China Melville (a well known writer). Already SWP students in Leeds and Sussex Universities have published open letters attacking the SWP leadership.

There has been talk amongst the "comrades" that other activists on the left are beginning to shun  the SWP. A letter has been published by students at Essex University who are now publicly calling on the local SWP students to issue a statement:

We, the undersigned, believe that in the past week details have become public of alleged sexual abuse and rape within the Socialist Workers Party involving a senior party member, and of a Disputes Committee meeting that ultimately failed to take these allegations seriously, going so far as to question the victim's personal life and relationships. This is totally unacceptable anywhere, even more so when it comes from a socialist group that claims "We campaign for real social, political and economic equality for women". Actions such as these hint at a culture of victim blaming and misogyny, which the party is supposed to be taking a stance against and which we are sure it's members must be appalled by. A commitment to equality must be put into practice, not just in writing.

A rival Trotskyist organisation has also issued a statement in which they state:

The SWP is now going through arguably the most turbulent period in its history. This will have an impact on the entire radical left in Britain and will also affect left currents internationally. If the SWP disintegrates this will be a profoundly negative outcome as it will mean the demoralisation and fragmentation of thousands of activists who relate to the party and a weakening of the class struggle left in unions and campaigns. It will also shape the views of tens of thousands of activists whose understanding of revolutionary Marxism is strongly influenced by their contacts with the SWP. In particular the radical left is looking to see how the party deals with issues of internal democracy, women’s rights and its understanding of feminism. The right wing in the union movement is also following it closely and we can expect that they will use it in dishonest polemics against the entire left.

I forget where I read it but one commentator has suggested the SWP won't last another week. I think that's a wee bit of an exaggeration but certainly the organisation is in terminal decline. For those of us who fight political extremism that will be a good thing. 

Lets hope the comrades finally learn the lesson that Marxism-Leninism in any form just doesn't work.

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