Sunday, 24 March 2013

"We are the people the Daily Mail warned you about"

It was sad but laughable to see an advert on the Bookmarks website headed: "We are the people the Daily Mail warned you about".  I'm not sure when the advert appeared but since this is the book shop of the Socialist Workers Party, you'd think they would take it down. After all what the Daily Mail have been writing about recently is hardly a positive story.

But then I suppose that is the least of the SWP's worries at the moment. The decline of their influence has begun to show. At last weekends Unite the Resistance rally in Sheffield around 200 people are claimed to have attended, though the one photograph published on-line would seem to suggest a much smaller audience than they claim, with empty seats in clear view of the small table of speakers at the front.

Certainly the meeting was smaller than the last one which claimed over 300 attending last year. With PCS nationally in dispute and a local campaign to defend Lee Rock, the sacked PCS Assistant  Branch Secretary* you'd think this campaign would attract more. The main speaker was Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary someone who has been known to be close to the SWP for years and one that would be expected to be able to command a decent audience, but not on this occasion it would seem.

According to Richard "Lenin" Seymour of the former SWP opposition, the Unite the Resistance campaign has been shedding supporters and backers as has Marxism 2013, normally the biggest gathering of the left in the UK. Some well known and regular international speakers from Canada will certainly not be turning up as they along with a number of other members of the Canadian International Socialist Organization have quit due to the ISO's refusal to even send a letter to the SWP about it's disgraceful shenanigans.

In a statement of resignation published on the International Socialist Network website they say:

1. Opposing violence against the oppressed, including violence against women, is a question of principle for socialists.

2. There has been an allegation of very serious sexual violence involving a leading member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party UK (SWP).

3. The SWP Central Committee has failed to deal with this with the seriousness it deserves. It has persistently rejected efforts by a substantial number of its members and supporters to address this adequately. In fact, members of the SWP have faced disciplinary action for attempting to remedy this situation.

4. The International Socialists (I.S.) in Canada has been for many years, and remains, a member of the International Socialist Tendency (IST), of which the SWP is the largest and leading organization.

5. In January 2013, delegates to the annual convention of the I.S. in Canada voted (14 to 2, with one abstention) to reject a resolution calling on the leadership to write a public a letter of concern over these matters.

6. It is now March. The SWP has held a special conference on this issue. The SWP leadership remains intransigent. The leadership of the I.S. in Canada still remains silent, and therefore continues to be undifferentiated from the SWP in the IST.

7. Silence is not an option. On principle, therefore, we the undersigned can no longer remain as members of the International Socialists. Regretfully, please accept this as our letter of resignation.

Three of the signatories are Abbie Bakan Paul Kellogg and  Suzanne Weiss.

Meanwhile this weekends Unite the Resistance meeting in Wales announced that some advertised speakers were not attending. They also had to change venue which had previously been in Cardiff University without any explanation. I wonder why?

I remain surprised to see Jane Aitchison still involved with this SWP front organisation. Most people are running for the hills when the SWP are seen coming. I also hope Mark Serwotka urgently reconsiders his connections with UtR/SWP. They are currently circulating a petition pushing his call for a General Strike mass strikes on June 26th, not that there will be many takers amongst most unions.

If there is one thing that the whole recent debacle in the SWP has taught us is that the far-left are just groups of sects and cults that should be shunned by the working class. They have no credibility in their thoughts or their actions.

The time has come for mainstream trade unionists to grasp the reins and take back the trade union movement from the negative influence of these nutters and build unions fit for the twenty-first century.

* Lee Rocks Defence Campaign can be found here

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