Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Not so comradely on the far-left it would seem

Stories about the Socialist Workers Party and their on-going crisis have been few and far between of late, but all is still not well for the Professor and his crew as the establishment of yet another opposition group inside the SWP shows.

A blog, The Fault Lines has been established by a "group of comrades" who opposed the leaderships handling of the crisis. Their opening gambit makes quite an astonishing claim:

It was the experience of being part of the opposition that kept many of us as members.  We were energised by the comradely spirit, inspired by the debate and discussion, welcomed as people who could make valuable contributions regardless of length of time spent in the party.  It felt like an organisation we wanted to be part of.

Really? A comradely spirit? That would be the one whereby their leader, Professor Callinicos warned of "lynch mobs" to deal with opposition! Not quite, even from their perspective it would seem:

Many of us felt as though we couldn’t return to our branches, where CC loyalists fulminated with indignation and resentment.  The space available for discussion and debate inevitably closed and we are left with a choice of wait in silence or quietly leave the organisation.  We intend to do neither.

Doesn't sound like an organisation that anyone would want to be part of to be quite honest.

The latest post by Simon W refers to the loss of "the aura of competence" and in doing so re-iterates what has now become common knowledge, the false membership figures the SWP used to try and present themselves as the biggest fish in the very small pond that Trotskyists inhabit. The 7,000 plus members turned out to be just 2,300 subscription paying members of which 350 apparently quit in March alone. 

Given the two factions added up to just 1,100, even allowing for "fence sitters" that are found in most factional fights the real figure was probably much lower. Its not easy to give estimates of "quitters" as many of them have simply wandered off without joining anything else.

Meanwhile the annual Marxism 2013 bash that was once the biggest gathering of comrades on the far-left is clearly in trouble. With hardly anyone agreeing to speak they have started scraping the barrel. Disgraced Scottish trot Tommy Sheridan is unikley to to improve their tarnished image and neither will digging up ex PCS would-be-Grandees like Jane Aitchison who has been trying to revive her fortunes by appearing around the country on the SWPs "Unite the Resistance" platforms. With less than 40 people attending the Wales event, Jane has got a long way to go.

Speaking of quitters the breakaway International Socialist Network continues to amaze with the publication of its recent Steering Committee minutes on-line in which they tell us in all seriousness that:

·         It was agreed we start from the position that everything we say is for everyone in the organisation to hear, if not it has to be raised and agreed.
·         It was pointed out that sometimes the minutes could be too exhaustive. Keith F pointed out that it would be difficult, for instance to call Alex Callinicos a wanker on the Steering Committee without it being made public in the minutes.

So now you know. 

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