Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Bullying and intimidation breaks out in the SWP

There was a passing reference to an alleged incident of assault against a member of the "opposition" in North London according to a couple of comments on the Socialist Unity blog a couple of days ago. At the time I thought nothing of it but it seems that the situation inside the Socialist Workers Party is getting pretty grim.

A statement has appeared on the International Socialism blog which states that:

The bullying has to be addressed. Comrades involved in bringing the dispute have been experiencing this for months. Malicious aspersions have been cast on their character and political background and they have been shouted at and intimidated. Little action seems to have been taken.

Comrades across the party have been heckled, shouted down and intimidated at aggregates and branch meetings. When they have complained about this they have been heckled, shouted down and intimidated. Young comrades have received nasty messages from those much older than them. They have been threatened with violence. Why is this happening? Because the leadership is presiding over and at times taking part in the slander of oppositional comrades. There have been disturbing reports of threatening behaviour by leading members. A district organiser has threatened one of the expelled comrades with violence. If the rhetoric and slander does not stop we could be very close to an assault taking place.

Raising, as Alex Callinicos has done, the spectre of 'lynch mobs' of angry members if the debate continues after the special conference - even if this is a metaphor used at a particular moment - is irresponsible. Alex has refused to acknowledge anything wrong in what he said when spoken to by comrades. This kind of inflammatory rhetoric will filter down through the organisation and is likely to encourage the culture of intimidation and bullying we’ve described.

This isn't the first time there has been such outbreaks inside a far left organisation as Charlie Pottins  reminds us in his brief history of the Workers Revolutionary Party which I found on-line:

When members of the Torrance-Healy faction arrived at the Central Committee meeting on 12 October, they found themselves confronted by a mass lobby of Banda-Slaughter supporters. Although this was presented as an exercise of democratic rights by the WRP rank and file, given that only supporters of one faction were present it really amounted to organised intimidation of their political opponents. In the CC meeting itself, Price recounts, ‘there was a kind of lynch atmosphere. People were jumping up and down volunteering to get Healy, bring him here and deal with him now. Tony Banda was screaming at the top of his voice "We are now a military faction". This sort of stuff.... It was extremely difficult for anyone who wasn’t with the majority to speak – I mean, they were allowed to speak, but they were heckled, interrupted, there was a very, very hostile atmosphere.... 

Of course this is all small beer when compared to what happened when the followers of the theory of Marxism-Leninism actually had state power. Lenin cracked down on all the non-Bolshevik socialists and anarchists, followed by Trotsky suppressing all opposition inside the Communist Party only to find himself having the same methods used against him and his followers in the so-called Left Opposition  by  Stalin.

Of course what follows is well known to all students of history. The Stalinist purges cost the lives of millions in the Soviet Union alone. Chairman Mao used the same murderous processes in China up to and including the cultural revolution ending (for now) with the extermination of one fifth of the population of Cambodia under Pol Pot. Yet for some reason Marxism Leninism is still believed in by people like those in the SWP and their ilk today.

There is not only no future for the SWP as a result of all their current shenanigans but that of the basics ideology that they all follow. Leninism just doesn't work comrades, get over it. Its' time for you all to drop this cultish/near religious ideology and start thinking for yourselves.

As Immanuel Kant put it:

Always recognise that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as a means to your end.

Learn from that comrades, you only have the chains of ideology to lose!

Freedom is non-negotiable.

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