The countdown to the "glorious tenth" continues with the publication on-line of the Socialist Workers Party's internal bulletin. The document which has been published on both the Socialist Unity and Weekly Worker websites is of truly gargantuan proportions in that it is 108 pages long, each page containing three columns of the printed collective wisdom of Professor Callinicos, his "lynch mob" and their opponents.
However if you are expecting a good read, don't. I virtually lost the will to live after going through the documents from the Central Committee who seem to have learnt nothing over the last few weeks. No contrition, no compromise. That appears to be the message.
In fact scanning through the rest of the document you'd actually begin to wonder what this "conference of a special" kind is all about. A lot of the contributions seem to be pure flannel, though there are glimpses that some of the comrades want to tackle the mishandling of the "Comrade delta" affair (he is referred to as X in this bulletin), but seem to be overshadowed by contributions that seem to miss the point entirely.
As expected the on-line debate has begun in earnest on the various forums such as Socialist Unity and Urban 75, the latter at least not taking itself too seriously as it attracts the more libertarian types. One comment published on the SU thread gave birth to the title of this article. "Pardeep" starts with the following;
You seem to have a worrying obsession with the internal machinations of the SWP. Is there nothing else that can fill your time, world wide economic collapse, never ending imperial wars, a savage onslaught on the working class, people on benefits, secret courts???
By the way I don’t support the SWP, never have done, but this silly leaking of private documents (which often expressley state that they are not for publication and private) just strikes me as very silly and bearing a strong resemblance to a witch hunt. There are a lot of allegations being hurled round, and even given that all our liberties are being slowly taken away from us and people are now being found guilty without even being tried in a court of law, allegations do not equate to guilt.
Even Comrade Andy Newman was astonished to say the least, describing this contribution as a "move along nothing to see here" ploy. Quite right comrade. The force is strong in you. I do have one query though there is a similarly named individual (Lovedeep?) signing a contribution in the internal bulletin. Could this be the same person...
Fact is it doesn't really matter any more. The SWP are in a terminal crisis because the whole way the "Comrade delta" affair has been handled has forced many people on the far-left and within the SWP to start questioning the validity of the "Leninist" model of organisation. The crisis is no longer "just" about the rape issue (and remember there have been allegations of nine similar cases being dealt with internally) but also about the "infallibility" of the Central Committee, or the cultish deference to party leaders.
The names of the contributors to the IB have been slightly redacted to first name basis to supposedly protect the authors from, well actually I'm not really sure what any more. Just self important paranoia by the cult these days. An example of how laughable this is can be seen in the contribution by Marianne (Cardiff). That'd be Marianne Owens a PCS union activist and she has the ability to understate the issue when she writes about accusations that there is a "conflict of interest between the women's movement and the SWP";
I am alarmed by this because as a Woman a Trade Unionist and an SWP member I do not recognise many of the accusations and allegations that I have encountered from within the Party as a true reflection of our work and intervention’s in the Women’s movement over the last few years.
I think someone should update her on what's been happening outside the cloistered world of the SWP for the past few weeks. Try googling Unison Women's Conference and pay particular reference to Cath Elliot's blog. There is no longer any trust Comrade Owens because your party has frankly behaved disgracefully over the whole issue that caused this crisis in the first place. Why can you not bring yourselves to admit that?
The "oppositionists" would do well to remember that the SWP is considered a toxic brand across the left and in the trade union movement. It no longer has a future. Nobody will want to work with the party any more.
More than that the SWP crisis has illustrated to anybody with at least half-a-brain that Leninism doesn't bloody work. From the suppression of non Bolshevik parties through the Gulags, the purges, the mass starvations, the cultural revolution to Pol Pots "Year Zero", the whole history of Leninism is one of oppression, mass murder, starvation and mindless obedience to (add your own Marxist icon here), of which the "professor" is frankly just a minor player with no state power.
My advice to the opposition on Sunday?
The sand people travel one behind the other to disguise their numbers.