Friday, 18 October 2013

Comrades still at war....................

There's still two whole months to go until the Socialist Workers Party has its early conference. There remain two "Internal Bulletins" to be leaked (the second will be out shortly) but to keep inveterate "trot-spotters" entertained the latest edition of their "theoretical journal" International Socialism has just been published with the following two contributions.

The first is from members who "wish to disassociate themselves" from the Callinicos/Kimber piece in the last edition (if they were really serious about that they would have left by now) but here is a taster and a link to the full article:

“The politics of the SWP crisis”-a response

by Jim Wolfreys, Colin Barker, Louis Bayman, Simon Behrman, Anindya Bhattacharyya, Estelle Cooch, Neil Davidson, Hannah Dee, Jacqui Freeman, Amy Gilligan, Mike Gonzalez, Mike Haynes, Jonny Jones, Andy Stone, Dan Swain, Megan Trudell, Alexis Wearmouth and Jennifer Wilkinson

As members of the editorial board of International Socialism we wish to disassociate ourselves from the recently published article, “The Politics of the SWP Crisis”, written by the journal’s editor and the national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).1 It purports to offer a summary of the recent disputes that have divided the organisation along with an overview of the party’s trajectory over the past decade. The article’s account of both processes is partial and misleading. More than this, however, we believe that the political stance adopted by the authors will, if left unchecked, destroy the SWP as we know it and turn it into an irrelevant sect.
The authors find much that is “shocking” about the dispute. They bemoan the “falsehoods” that circulated about it and the fact that people behaved “shamefully” or “outrageously”. Yet their anger is exclusively reserved for the way details of the case filtered out to the party membership and the public at large. They have nothing to say about the treatment meted out to the two women complainants, nothing to say about the campaign orchestrated by leading party members to undermine them, nothing to say about the denigration of these women as “jilted lovers” and “liars” carrying out a vendetta against a CC (central committee) member because they were motivated by “feminist”, “autonomist” and “movementist” deviations.2 Indeed, the authors have nothing to say about the second complainant at all, aside from an oblique reference to “a subsequent hearing”. She remains, as far as they are concerned, invisible.
Read the rest here 
Oh and it wasn't published without comment from the Prof and his batman as the following shows:

Can we move forward? a reply to Wolfreys and others

Charlie Kimber and Alex Callinicos

This journal is committed to acting as a forum for the debates that have developed within the Socialist Workers Party over the past year. The reply that Jim Wolfreys and other members of the International Socialism editorial board have written to our article on the politics of this crisis is a contribution to that debate. These comrades are all members of the faction that has existed-in defiance of the constitution and traditions of the SWP-since February this year. They are motivated by extreme hostility to the SWP leadership, which they seek to justify by an interpretation of the charges of serious sexual misconduct laid against a leading party member (who resigned from the SWP in July).
This comrade, then on the Central Committee (the party’s leading body), was accused of rape by a woman comrade, W, in September 2012. We italicise the date, because contrary to some of the falsehoods currently circulating, this was the first time that rape had been alleged against this comrade. The Disputes Committee, which was charged with investigating the case, eventually concluded that he had not committed rape (something the comrades glide over) and that sexual harassment was not proven.
But there was a prehistory to the accusation, as a result of which conflicts developed from the start. 
Read the rest of this here
The Guardian newspaper has picked up on this in it's diary:

As you get older, a wise man once said, you don't stop making mistakes; you merely strive to make fewer. And there was reason to hope this might apply to the Socialist Workers party. But it ain't necessarily so. Having triggered outrage and internal strife close to meltdown with its handling of an allegation of rape by a junior member against a senior one, the party appears to have repeated its mistake. Another detailed complaint from a member after an incident at a party, another internal investigation – yet again no apparent inclination to refer the matter to the bourgeois police. Here we go again.

The Socialist Party don't seem to be much happier in their own rather (albeit less squalid) internal disputes. Bruce Wallace reports on threats of expulsion against him in the latest edition of his (sometimes self indulgent but intelligent) blog Marx Returns from the Grave

I was attempting to defend the ideas of Karl Marx,  comrades certainly weren’t willing to listen or engage with the arguments and mere denunciation was definitely sufficient!
A string of comrades, many very experienced and stalwart comrades, one an ex-flatmate, who I have known for many, years got stuck into me.
A string of epithets were thrown at me; “dogmatist”, “fundamentalist”,”doctrinaire”,”sectarian”, “ultra-left” and, of course “undialectical” (three comrades) were the order of the day. Did any comrades, with the exception of young Wayne Scott, attempt to take seriously the content of the document “What are the causes of the current capitalist crisis” and answer with a serious counter argument? Well of course not as the stacks of evidence in the document could of course be wrong. The document was just a string of historical quotations put forward as an argument  pronounced somebody and figures from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis for example were probably doctored anyway as Peter Taaffe pointed out that in Marx’s day we had honest factory inspectors but no equivalent today!
One of the best bits was in a mounting peroration of denunciation of this blog at the end. Apparently, according to an old party lag, the name of this blog itself  meant that I actually thought I was the reincarnation of Karl Marx returned from the grave! The title of the blog, as I have pointed out, comes from a paper by the Italian Marxist economist  Guglielmo Carchedi with a similar title. This comrade, who said he didn’t even read blogs or use social media, said that my attacks “must stop”!
There's an old (albeit Stalinist) joke that if you put three trots in a room you get two parties and a faction.

They got that right!

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