Friday, 5 April 2013

SWP seek "ban" on feminist demonstrators

Just when you think things can't get worse for the Socialist Workers Party something happens that just beggars belief. The latest atrocity from the SWP (and their allies) is the following statement in which they attack feminist hecklers at the recent anti-bedroom tax demo in Glasgow and have the audacity to demand they are "banned" from future marches:

The West of Scotland Anti Bedroom Tax Federation condemns the actions of the people who tried to wreck Saturday's rally at George Square by attempting to heckle and silence an agreed speaker.

In doing so, they upset and endangered many of the general public who wished to hear the speaker especially children and disabled activists at the front of the rally.

We further condemn their false allegations against the stewards who responded in a professional and appropriate manner to help maintain a safe environment, a peaceful rally for all demonstrators.

We condemn the posting of video clips on social media, which endangers the personal safety of those involved in trying to maintain a peaceful protest.

The West of Scotland Anti- Bedroom Tax Federation strongly believes that any place where anti-bedroom tax campaigners come together to discuss, plan and protest against the bedroom tax must be a safe space for all people, free of harassment, bullying and intimidation. It is totally unacceptable to physically threaten or verbally abuse other activists, protesters and stewards.

Any individual or group that fails to uphold these basic standards of respectful behaviour will be asked not to attend future meeting and events, in order to ensure the safety of WoS Federation members and all those in attendance"

Would this be the same SWP that under orders from Martin Smith gate-crashed the airline pilots negotiations putting peoples jobs at risk if things went badly for their union? 

Endanger who exactly anyway? Heckling is a way of life in politics and always has been. It happens comrades, get over yourselves.

The appearance of one of the SWP's "disciplinary committee" on the march in the shape of one Dave Sherry was asking for trouble given the recent controversies of the handling of rape allegations inside the SWP.

The over-reaction of the SWP stewards has been widely publicised with a video and commentaries from some of the women affected.

Writing on Harry's Place Sarah Higgins says:

This is what actually happened. Their response is completely disgusting, they were roughing people up (a response they jumped to without hesitation) and screaming abuse in people's faces while anti-rape activists did their best to keep their cool in the face of that, and managed very well given some of the threats directed at us. For them to claim WE were making that situation dangerous is beyond reproach.
They have stitched up this anti-bedroom tax Federation, forced out all the real community activists and the Committee is now solely run by SWP, CWI and Solidarity hacks. And they've banned non-Committee members from speaking at meetings, so you can't question any of their decisions.
I've had enough of being screamed down every time any woman even says the word rape. In Glasgow now it is clear that the CWI and Solidarity have re-emerged from years in the wilderness, galvanised by the opportunity to be complicit in the cover up of rape and the demonisation of women in the movement. This will not be allowed to continue.

While we are on the subject what is it with the SWP and their use of the term "feminist" as a term of abuse anyway?  I'm no expert on the various strands of thought within feminism but the women's movement is very broad with a variety of different outlooks that range across the political spectrum.

There will probably be times when I might take issue with one individual or another within terms of the general debate and possibly organised groups that I would not agree with. That's a normal part of political life. However I cannot foresee any circumstances where I would use the term "feminist" as a term of abuse. It doesn't make any logical sense. The SWP are just plain stupid.

The threat to "ban" certain women activists comes after some debate on various forums where the question of "no-platforming" the SWP came up. It wouldn't happen. Too impractical, but certainly people should stop appearing at any SWP (or their front organisations like Unite the Resistance) meetings.

The arrogance of the SWP and their allies in Solidarity & the CWI (Socialist Party) in hi-jacking the WaS anti bedroom tax campaign and issuing this ridiculous self-serving statement shows there is also a need for ordinary activists stopping these trotskyist cults from taking over campaigns like this.

The Socialist Workers Party (et al) demonstrate time and time again that their only interest is in themselves and their agendas. They will wreck the anti-bedroom tax campaign in the same way they wreck everything else they touch.

The women anti-rape protesters should be welcome on any march they choose to attend. Its the SWP that must be told where to go!

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