Monday, 16 December 2013

Rage against the (SWP) machine

In resigning from the Socialist Workers Party, former Central Committee member Viv Smith (who was one of the first to take up "W"s case) summarises the conflict inside their organisation:

For three years a handful of us, growing to an impressive 400-500, have tried to resolve the appalling handling of the two disputes cases. In this time it became clear that the CC chose to cover up rather than address their and the DCs mistakes or confront Martin’s behaviour.

Despite countless opportunities to resolve the situation, the CC chose to allow sexist, uncomradely and undemocratic behaviour from CC members and Smith supporters, including condoning lies that the women were spurned lovers and/or politically motivated.

This process has lead to the degeneration of our politics on women’s oppression and has destroyed the small steps we took under the Democracy Commission to open up party democracy.

It's no surprise then that the SWP are beginning to find growing hostility wherever they intervene. 

At Sussex University a group of anarchists decided to take action and not only threw water over the SWP's political literature stall and then tore up their placards. The crowd fury write

One of the first things we noticed was the SWP had a stall selling their rag and there were dozens of placards nearby, ready to hand out to unsuspecting students when the march started. I considered leaving the demo again but then I thought it shouldn’t be me who’s excluded from these events, it should be the rape-enabling SWP.

I spotted a comrade who – thanks to Twitter – I knew was critical of the SWP. I approached him and told him I was uncomfortable about the SWP presence and asked if he’d like to help me get rid of them. He didn’t need much persuading! We walked around and talked to a few other comrades about our plan. As soon as there were a few of us, we marched over to the SWP stall. I poured water over their filthy papers to make them unsellable, then my comrade tipped over their table. We then grabbed the placards and destroyed them.

Several trots came over to have a go but in all honesty, I wasn’t listening. I caught a few choice words; ‘unity… sectarianism… Nazis… Tory-led agenda’. Blah, blah, blah. None of us were bothered by what the trots had to say, we were buzzing! After the boring speeches given mostly by more swappies (seriously, they’ve infested all Sussex demos), we went on a march around campus that was more vibrant and energetic than the ones I’d been on recently.

Feminist groups aren't putting up with the SWP either.

Sign seen at a Cops Off Campus demo in London. Reads "To the SWP: We're getting real tired of your sh*t. From #creepingfeminism2013". Taken from here.

The name of love blog takes up the cudgels:

The Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) have in recent months been revealed to be a pit of misogyny, rape cover-ups and apologism.....

What we should do

We need to keep the pressure up. The more voices are raised against the SWP’s visible presence on campus and at protests, the quicker we can shut them down.

If you feel you can, verbally confront those giving out SWP merchandise, and those accepting it. This shouldn’t be our job, and goodness knows I rarely have the mental energy or courage to do it alone, but if you can, do.

If you see someone confronting SWP members, back them up. Even if it’s only shouting encouragement, or talking to them afterwards and letting them know you’re on their side.

  1. Don't organise with the SWP and if you see them on the streets, make it clear that they are not welcome and they are not our comrades.
  2. The SWP cannot and must not be welcome in any of our spaces.

Truth is the SWP have always been a pain. The blog Revolting Pleb reminds us:

The SWP have been opportunist leeches for as long as I’ve been an activist and that can be measured in decades! They flip around from one struggle to the next, cynically using each one as a recruitment opportunity while managing on too many occasions to suck the life blood out of them. For an impassioned account of the crass opportunism of the SWP....

We are then directed to read about the SWP's antics in Tower Hamlets with some dodgy characters over at durruti02.

The only question that really remains to be asked is why has it taken so long for members of the SWP to recognise what a rotten and authoritarian organisation it is.

Women's rights are not optional they are central to creating a fairer society. The SWP along with the Islamists need to be opposed wherever they raise their ugly heads.

Hat-tip: Michael Ezra

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