The SWP have already admitted that Marxism will be smaller than in previous years and early reports show that is certainly the case. And it isn't the extreme heat today that is keeping comrades at bay.
The opening rally was attended by an estimated 500 or so people if the photos that are currently in circulation on the Internet are to be believed. There is a claim that some more people are elsewhere watching the Professor and his remaining cronies on a big screen, even so that is much down from their usual ability to fill the Friends Meeting House which has a much larger capacity.
The initial exchanges have already taken place between the remaining "opposition" and the Prof at a meeting entitled "What is the real International Socialist tradition" led by long term SWP hack John Molyneux. According to the opposition website Molyneux argued:
But the starting point of the IS, John argued, must remain twofold – on the one hand, the self-emancipation of the working class, and on the other, building a revolutionary party now to overcome division in the working class.
For this reason the IS, and its modern day descendant in the SWP, developed a unique understanding of imperialism, war and oppression that often placed it in minority positions within the left.
The success of the Anti Nazi League, writings such as Chris Harman’s The Prophet and the Proletariat and polemics against separatist currents in the women’s movement have all played a role in consolidating this tradition, he added. The IS tradition combines unconditional defence of the oppressed from the standpoint of workers unity, rather from that of separatism.A rather old fashioned position, and one that fits squarely in the current view of the world promoted by Callinicos in order to justify his attitude towards those pesky feminists who have given him so much trouble of late. This was picked up by Ruth who put it thus:
“But over the last eight months the SWP has been through a sharp internal disagreement triggered by what many of us perceive to be a failure to apply our principles of women’s oppression in practice.
“This has led to the most serious crisis in the party’s history. Over 400 people have left the SWP in disgust, including almost all of our student membership – people who should have been part of the renewal of our tradition and our leadership.
“In my opinion this is a fundamental betrayal of the IS tradition – and I would like to know how you square that tradition with the actions of the leadership in the last few months.”Exactly how eh Prof?
Alex Callinicos gave a most bizarre response by attacking the "cult of youth". Strange words for a university lecturer. But then this is a man who clearly doesn't take women's rights seriously either judging by his handling of the "Delta affair".
If he wants to know what a cult looks like he only has to look in the mirror.
As for the what else has been going on at Marxism I direct you to a couple of wonderful tongue in cheek pieces at the Facing Reality blog.
Of course Marxism isn't the only gathering where the far-left are having an input this weekend. The Durham Miners Gala is in full swing and smug old Bob Crow is using the opportunity to call for the creation of a new (left-wing) party. Sky News reports:
Of course this isn't actually new. The RMT are ploughing their members money into an outfit called the Trade Union & Socialist Coalition which was set up by the SWP's rivals the Socialist Party (or Militant for older readers). The last by-election they contested in Eastleigh garnered the TUSC a mere 62 votes. The Sky News report adds the following:
But most people said they had come for a day out, to celebrate the area's mining heritage and to listen to the brass bands.
Nobodies really interested.
The old fashioned left has had its' day and the debates at Marxism along with the puerile calls of Bob Crow and his mates are falling on deaf ears.
Welcome to the twenty-first century.