Thursday, 2 January 2014

The comrades just don't get it

Judging by the traffic on this blog (and others no doubt) the falling apart of the Socialist Workers Party is still of interest to many people though new news is thin on the ground at the moment. Inveterate trot watchers will be aware that the new group of departes from the SWP are looking to set up a new organisation in the next couple of months or so.

You'd think they'd have enough common ground to link up with the previous group of dissidents who formed the International Socialist Network last year, however as usual when the comrades fall out there is usually no love lost between them. Rob Owen one of the latest people to resign anticipated this in a Face Book post before the recent party conference:

If we are likely to be driven out the SWP at conference then we must organise a meeting in the New Year to suggest next steps....

We are revolutionaries not just to wait for the glorious day but to get stuck into changing the world.

To encourage groups to write up and reflect on their activity. The organisation should become a forum for circulating experiences that could be of use elsewhere.

To start producing a regular magazine that could include some of these reports but mainly analysis of events, more theoretical pieces and some reviews.

To launch a proper website to access a wider audience.

Starting to organise a one day/weekend mini-Marxism event in early March. This would to open up the discussions we have been happening and show others in the SWP diaspora that we are serious about developing the non-sectarian tradition of the SWP. Why should we not debate Michael Rosen or host him on a platform? Why not debate Owen Jones on reform or revolution? It would however have to be mainly based around major workshops on the key areas of discussion.

We would have course have to elect some temporary committee with comrades delegated to edit what was agreed and coordinate the organisation. This must be an interim steering committee. Organisational questions must be secondary as we aim to develop a structure and leadership that fits the experience of working together outside the SWP. Similarly we can’t allow ourselves to become defined by hostility to the organisation that has left us behind. Bitterness is no basis to build.

So expect a new kid on the block sometime soon.

Meanwhile the ISN is falling apart as the verbose Richard Seymour liquidates leads his followers into the hilariously named Left Unity, the only organisation that managed to develop factions (under the guise of "platforms") before it was even founded. Go figure.

There is however one excellent new piece on the internal machinations of the SWP written by the highly lucid Soviet Goon Boy. Whilst there's nothing new on the delta affair itself, he does cover the historical "degeneration of the SWP. For example he tells us that:

It is well known that the SWP has an endemic culture of bullying, and often (not always by any means) it is the full-timer who sets the tone. (I immediately think of one organiser whose idea of fun is to bellow “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” in the faces of comrades half his age and size.) And again, the person who sets the tone is the one who organises the organisers; for many years that was Chris Bambery, who didn’t have a particularly emollient management style[5]; he was succeeded by Martin Smith, who was much worse.

This was patently obvious to those of us outside the SWP and it makes you wonder why the comrades put up with it, not that the SWP was the only group that used bullying to control its ranks. Gerry Healy's Workers Revolutionary Party was even worse until it too fell apart due to sexual abuse by its leader. 

Bit of a pattern here methinks.


No different to the machinations of some of the weirdo religious and millennial cults that abound in modern society as people look for easy answers to all their questions by literally getting someone else to do their thinking for them. SGB continues:

...there was a shift towards a closed system, the sort of Maginot Marxism people like Kidron had so effectively demolished in years gone by. Bookstalls and educationals were invariably framed by the small number of leading intellectuals at the top of the SWP; the Marxist classics were in a distant second place; and being seen reading, say, Mandel or Castoriadis was as big a faux pas as walking into a branch meeting with a copy of Penthouse under your arm.

...even asking an awkward question would have rubbed some people up the wrong way. John Molyneux, before he learned to love Big Brother, was dumped on regularly for asking awkward questions, and his experience was a lesson to others.

So we learned to bite our tongues and police our conversations. So it goes.

Scientology anyone?

The fact remains that no matter how the comrades try and spin themselves and their ideas the basic fact remains that authoritarianism is inherent in Marxism/Leninism, destroys individual free will and leads to dictatorial regimes even at a micro level in the SWP and the WRP.

It's no wonder that when they had power in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and even today in North Korea millions of lives are sacrificed for the cause.

Marxism is a dead end (literally) and its about time the comrades woke up and recognised that fact.

Communism not only doesn't work, it's darn right bloody evil.


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