Dear Professor Callinicos, some further questions….

Another Guest Post from my friend Dave

Dear Professor Callinicos,

young CallinicosI’m sorry you haven’t found time to answer my original questions. Perhaps Jo’s spoof answers were enough. Maybe you haven’t seen them. Or perhaps you felt that your “I’m having the last word” article in the International Socialist Journal  answers them. Unfortunately, that article merely raises more questions to which you owe those fighting oppression an answer.

This weeks pieces by Bolshie Elaine  and Tithi Bhattacharya  make even clearer some of the fact surrounding Comrade W’s case and how the CC first heard about it, and their points warrant serious answers soon.

I will just ask six more questions

1 If the SWP were a Sports Club, or if Martin Smith had been a teacher in a school or Sixth Form, UK law would have classified his “relationship” with Comrade W as non-consensual due to her age and the power-relationship between her and the older man. Smith would have been classified as a rapist an jailed. Were you aware of this and even though Smith isn’t a sports coach or teacher, did you not think that he was bringing the party into disrepute and therefore in need of disciplinary measures?

2 It took the SWP nearly 10 months to say the word “rape” in relation to the current SWP crisis. When others tried to debate rape, consent or feminism you responded with long articles about the Labour Party, reformism or Leninism or neo-liberalism or public sector workers. Can you really not see why many people on the left regard the SWP as an organisation that trivialises rape?

3 When you wrote “contrary to some of the falsehoods currently circulating, this [September 2012] was the first time that rape had been alleged against this comrade”, are we really expected to believe that given the discussions around the party centre for the previous 3 years the idea that a comrade may have been raped hadn’t crossed your mind once?

4 When you write “Plainly things went wrong in the W case. They went wrong partly because of the absence of any procedure for dealing with serious accusations against members of the leadership”, do you really expect us to believe that you in particular as IST Secretary had learnt absolutely nothing from the German IST dealing with CC members raping members? Or did you think that CC members in Britain, unlike Germany, had no grains and traces of sexism and therefore it could never happen here?

5 When you write “ the logic of the situation drives those breaking with the SWP in a movementist direction” does that apply to Martin Smith as well?

6 As you now admit that “Plainly things went wrong in the W case”, when will the women at the centre of this nightmare receive an apology from the CC on behalf of the whole party?

Dave, from Sheffield


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