Friday, 21 February 2014

Another suspension from the Socialist Party (updated)

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There never seems to be a day go by when members of the various Trotskyist sects don't squabble and fall out with each other. A couple of days ago we learnt that the rather ego-eccentric Bruce Wallace had been suspended by the Socialist Party in one of the most tedious of factional disputes over areas of Marxist economic theory.

The only saving grace for "brucie babes" as he self referentially refers to himself on occasion has been the inclusion of some sarcastic personal attacks on the Grandees of the SP in his prefaces to impenetrable Marxist verbiage (and lots of graphs) published on his blog, Marx Returns from the Grave.

It turns out he has some mates. Well some factional collaborators anyway. That's the way things work in the Trotskyoid milieu. 

There's been a further suspension announced, this time in London in the form of Steve Dobbs. One of his crimes against the party was to secretly record a debate between himself and Lynne Walsh at a Branch meeting. Then to the horror of his comrades it appeared on the den of wickedness the Internet. (No link I'm afraid, frankly couldn't be arsed to find and listen to the rantings of the Mediocrity Tendency on line, life's to short). However for all you inveterate sectarians out there (and you are legion) here is the man's statement from his own blog Socialism is Crucial

Steve Dobbs suspended from Socialist Party/CWI

On Thursday 20th February 2014, I was informed of the West London branch agenda, 4 hours prior to the actual meeting, that it included the item “Conduct of Steve Dobbs”.

I queried the branch secretary via email on what this was and he replied “It’s exactly what it says, a discussion about your conduct as a member of the branch.”

I then replied “ok thanks for confirming that this is simply a discussion.”

My branch secretary replied: “What do you mean ‘simply’ a discussion. There may well be action arising from the discussion as is always the case with our discussions. We are not a talking shop.”

When I arrived at the branch meeting, it was announced that an “emergency motion” was proposed by my branch secretary, and forwarded by the Chair. This was read out at the end of the meeting.

The “Emergency Motion” was as follows:

This branch believes that trust between Steve Dobbs and the branch has deteriorated to such a degree that he should be suspended from membership of the branch. This is due to his public attacks and accusations against the branch secretary, the branch, the leadership of the party, the CWI, his repeated failure to heed any requests from the branch to stop such attacks, and his secret recording of a branch meeting when members had clearly stated this should not happen without members’ consent.

I responded many times throughout the “discussion” that it was unconstitutional to carry a disciplinary/suspension motion as an “emergency motion”, when my branch secretary clearly knew what would be discussed. Even capitalist bosses and the bourgeois courts let you know what you are being ‘disciplined’ about before you enter a discussion/tribunal/court!

Additionally, according to the Socialist Party’s own constitution:

“26.5 Members violating majority decisions of Branches or of the National Congress, National Committee, or Socialist Party Wales Committee may be subject to disciplinary action. The National Executive Committee and the National Committee shall have the power to remove from office, suspend or expel members who act contrary to the constitution, or who act against majority decisions of the Party, or whose actions and conduct are contrary to the aims and policies of the Party or damaging to the political reputation and influence of the Party.”

In other words, only the EC and the NC have the power to suspend members. The branch does not have the power to do so. However, this “emergency motion” came from one branch member, which directly contravenes the Party’s own constitution. What were the full-timers and branch committee members’ responses to this?

“We’ll let the EC decide that”.
“This organisation bases itself on the first 3 congresses of the Communist International…. ‘It is the supreme duty of every Party member to defend the Communist Party, and above all the Communist International, against all enemies of Communism. Anyone who forgets this, and instead publicly attacks the Party, or the Communist International, is to be treated as an opponent of the Party.’”
“You can’t turn up when you like”
“You ought to be careful of the allegations you raise”
“You hide behind formality and bureaucracy”
And my personal favourite from Paula Mitchell: “Some of this is written, some of this isn’t written, it’s a living function and we don’t have a rulebook”

No one was able to show me the rules and documented process that the Party were following. The full-timers and branch committee blatant flaunted the democratically agreed constitution of the Socialist Party. I was told I had a right of appeal, which I will exercise.

I made it clear, and it is clear, that this suspension follows hotly on the heels of Bruce Wallace’s suspension from the Socialist Party Scotland last week. The Socialist Party’s Congress is in two weeks time and the CWI want to stop all known “heretics” from attending. This is the real agenda behind the timing of the suspension. They want to get rid of us for our political critiques of the leadership, which incidentally my branch secretary has refused to circulate amongst West London members.

Heretics? That's interesting. And people wonder why I define Marxism as a religion!

Not sure how much of interest will come out of this. No real scandal, just boring theological disputes that will have no impact outside the myopic world of Trotskyism.

Ice Pick

Update: Sources now indicate that NUT NEC member Pete Glover is also getting e-mails threatening him with disciplinary action by the Socialist Party. There appears to be a full drive against dissidents inside the SP in the run up to their National Congress.

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