Thursday, 3 October 2013

Feminists take direct action against SWP as party crisis deepens

The Socialist Workers Party (or whats left of it) remains in turmoil with the Professors hard-line "lynch mob" facing at least two factions as` the comrades fight over the corpse of the party. There are many, even within the so-called opposition who are failing to face up to the fact that the SWP is a totally discredited brand.

A letter in the latest edition of the Weekly Worker tells us about the recent demonstration at the Tory party conference:

In terms of the left, the Socialist Workers Party, despite the loss of members following the Delta debacle, still had the largest presence, with countless stalls along the route and numerous paper-sellers. However, it did not dominate the demonstration, as it might have done in the past - this can partly be explained by the mass desertions from the Socialist Worker Student Societies. I heard one or two demonstrators sneering at the SWP posters taped to lampposts - one woman meticulously ripped down every single one she could get her hands on. There were a significant number of defaced SWP placards, which had phrases like “Rape apologists” scrawled across them.

One of the women involved in the backlash against the SWP writes the following over at her blog:

The nature of the problems that arose in the Socialist Workers Party, and the Socialist Party have been discussed widely - both by disgusted ex-members, and by feminist and feminism-friendly activists in the wider movementOn Sunday, myself and some feminist comrades took direct action against the attempts of these two parties to at least visually dominate the protest.

The moment I stepped off the coach from Liverpool, I was greeted by people offering placards with SWP and SP logos on. There were others, but it is these two which caused offence. There were more placards on offer on nearly every corner, and the entire length of the march had both party's posters on display on either side of the road. 

We became quite concerned that people were carrying placards displaying the logo of parties that have such appalling gender politics, and that it was highly possible that they are not even aware of the problems......

The first stall to be given back their posters was the Socialist Workers. They did not react at first, however several women responded that it was a great idea and joined us. When the same was done to the Socialist Party, their members seemed baffled stating that they were "not the SWP". A male comrade replied with "no, but you supported Steve Hedley, despite the domestic abuse". They just shook their heads, mumbling about "evidence".

By now we had a decent sized group, tearing down posters on either side of the road. Some were left, albeit upside down and 'improved' with new slogans. The next SWP stall was attacked by a group of women, whom tore town their posters and replaced them with ones saying "no class war without women" - a retaliation to the notion that feminism is 'dividing the class'. By the end of the march there were no posters from either party visible, apart from those held by marchers.

Many will see this a side issue - and possibly a distraction from what should have been the main focus of the day - opposing the Tories. For myself and others it was the most positive outcome. 

Currently all the SWP leadership have to say about matters arising from their immediate past is summed up thus:

“The SWP has faced the biggest internal crisis in the party since at least 1979-81”

Bit of an understatement if you ask me.

There remain two more pre-conference bulletins to come before the comrades meet for their latest showdown, but surely some, if not most SWP members must now realise that the damage is done and the party is now the pariah of the left.

The SWP were never the most popular outfit and their recent antics in giving support to reactionary Islamist clerics and their respective outfits should have warned everyone that this group were already going off the rails.

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