“Unity” and “Action” are vital to the survival of a Leninist Party, which is precisely why the SWP uses the Super Safe Slate System to elect its leadership.
This year’s SWP will be the last for a few years that we discuss how our leadership is elected. (Resolution for conference at the end of this piece)
However, with the number of attacks on how revolutionaries elect our leadership by forces hostile to the SWP, we feel we must state once again why the slate system of elections – used by Trotskyists parties across the world since the 1940s, and Lenin’s party before that – is the most democratic way of ensuring members wishes expressed at conference are actually put into practice.
The Leninist Party must have a leadership that is united and can work together. Imagine if we were arguing all the time. It’d be horrible. And any of us who’s childhoods were blighted by rowing parents will understand why those differences that have occurred within the CC are best resolved within the CC, allowing the membership to intervene in the real struggles of workers.
However, in this dark age of internet gossip and bourgeois bloggers, some of you may be aware that there have been a few differences within the CC over the last few years.
Forces hostile to our party would like nothing better than for us to overeact and scrap our democratic method of election. However, a close look at how we have dealt with those differences reveals that far from causing confusion and splits, the Super Safe Slate System has allowed problems to be swiflty dealt with and the membership to focus on the real struggles of the working class.
(To fully grasp the role of the super safe slate system, comrades should read our previous article on Magical Leninism.)
So, how has the slate system ensured the greatest possible degree of unity and action?
CC Slates 2007 – 2012
The CC slates of 2007 and 2008 could have been problematic. After all, of 15 names, 4 went on to lead a split and form rival organisations, 1 is still trying to split the party, and 1 has just left.
But, Party members continued to sell Socialist Worker and intervene in workers struggles, thanks to the unity which flowed from the leadership. And not too members many left after George Galloway undemocratically witchunted us from Respect.
The CC slate of 2009 was ammended slightly from the year before as it transpired that one comrade could be moving away from our tradition and wished to take others with him. His removal led to two others withdrawing. This led to their replacement by more suitable comrades. And even though one of these turned out to be a problem too, SWP members continued to be active.
Though the 2010 slate still contained members who later turned out to be problematic ( two kept their desire to split secret, and two who would leave the SWP but not until 2013 ), the membership continued to intervene in the class struggle.
The 2011 slate was similar, though one of the secret splitters left the SWP a few months after we elected them onto the CC again. Democratic unity was maintained though, which enabled members to remain engaged with worker’s struggles. The membership also understood the importance of unity too as they united in a standing ovation behind an elected CC member who had a few difficulties aver a relationship that had gone wrong.
Perhaps it was during the 2012 conference that the Super Safe Slate System was best able to demonstrate its importance. For as it became clear that the secret splitters had undemocratically grouped more CC members around them, it was easy to simply alter the slate, removing the two ringleaders and allowing the other two to unite behind the democratic majority. Shamefully, they showed they had a weak grasp of democracy. They resigned from the CC and threatened to distract the membership from the worker’s struggles with their own agenda.Another CC member demonstrated the opposite approach, allowing our intervention to carry on as normal, when their problems could’ve interfered with party Unity and theyleft the SWP altogether. This allowed the Party to continue to focus on building unity in the worker’s movement with Unite the Resistance and Unite Against Fascism.
Please support the following resolution and help preserve the democratic unity so essential for a revolutionary party to intervene in struggle instead of being a talking shop.
The Central Committee
Resolution for SWP Conference 2013
1 Conference notes that there have been resolutions and arguments about how we elect the leadership year after year after year.
2 Conference believes that it is totally undemocratic for a small minority in the Party to use conference to rehash the same old debate, taking time away from a membership itching to discuss our important interventions in the real world
3 Conference resolves to not have any more discussions about the Super Slate Sytem for the next 5 years. (This means no more resolutions and IB articles, and definitely no “social network” chitter chatter or armchair blogging).
Please note that this years Cental Committee Slate will be announced later on in our pre-conference democratic discussion period.