SWP Conference 2013 : The Not-Internal Bulletin 3

1 – Regrets and apologies – Central Committee

2 – Expulsion of the 5,033 faction

3 – Statement of the SWP(M-L)

4 – A Reply to S**** from B******n

5 – Callinicos answers Facing Reality

6 – Apologies        for Typos – CC submissions accidentally in IB2

Regrets and Apologies

Central Committee

Over the last year, a number of members of our organisation have been making demands of our Party’s leadership regarding the difficulties we have recently faced.

Unfortunately, some members seem to think that we, the democratically elected leadership of the Socialist Workers Party are incapable of listening to the membership and recognising our mistakes.

So lets be clear about exactly where we have corrected ourselves over the last year.

  • The opposition wanted a special conference. We organised one.
  • The opposition wanted us to change the Disputes committee procedures. I have no doubt we will be doing this democratically at our forthcoming conference.
  • The opposition wanted us to reverse the suspensions of the “Bank Account Four”. The suspensions were lifted.
  • The opposition wanted us to actually say the words crisis, and rape. In this winter’s International Socialism Journal we did this.
  • The opposition wanted Comrade X’s complaint about Comrade to be heard by the Disputes Committee. We have ensured that this has happened.
  • The opposition wanted Martin Smith out of the SWP. He is no longer a member.
  • The opposition wanted us to apologise to comrades W and X. We have expressed our regret about the distress caused to Comrades W and X. But those in the opposition who elevate the question of an apology to a point of principle must recognise that serious politicians are a bit like car drivers who cause accidents. We express regret instead of apologies, as to do otherwise implies culpability.

Since the democratically elected leadership has accepted so much of the opposition’s demands, we urge them to step back from the split they seem determined to engineer. We ask : if the revolutionary movement in this country was to be weakened by such a split, would they really be able to hold their heads up high and declare that it was worth it because the leadership had used the word regret instead of apologise.

Or perhaps they will admit that they are being pulled by reformism, centrism, pessimism, movementism, substitutionism, and sillyism.

Expulsion of the Gold Dust 5,033 (Majority/Bolshevik) faction

We have checked our records and we have found that the 5,033 members of this faction have not been paying subs to the SWP. The constitution of the SWP clearly states that a member is one who, among other revolutionary duties, pays subs to the organisation.

We do not therefore recognise the faction. They are not members of the Socialist Workers Party.

Statement of the SWP (M-L)

We recently requested that the CC expel us as we realised we had been factionilisng, which is against the principles of democratic centralism and Magical Lenism.

Typical of the weakness of the current CC majority, they have failed to act.

Furthermore, they have failed to act against the permanent faction led by the likes of Dave Renton, despite their bank accounts, blogs, facebook comments and general drift towards movementism, reformism, and bourgeois feminism.

This kind of weakness has no place in a Revolutionary Party. Decisive leadership is essential for any organisation seeking to follow the path of Lenin and lead the Socialist Revolution.

This is so important that we have no alternative to plan the formation of a new organisation after conference should the SWP continue to move away from democratic centralism and Magical Leninism.

We have therefore plan to form a new organisation, the Socialist Workers Party (Magical-Leninist) and will be launching our paper “Socialist Worker” as soon as possible.

We urge all comrades serious about World Revolution to join us.

We stand in the tradition of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Cliff, Smith and Leather.

A Reply to S**** from B******n’s reply to A****w from C*******e

Unite the Opposition, external faction of the SWP, B******n

There are far too many moments of amnesia in this lengthy account of what happened in B******n SWP last year to deal with properly.

We shall make just 4 points

Who kept things from the members?

S**** writes that “certain parties there being well aware of” the dispute around the “Delta” case and that in their “full scale, orchestrated assault on the leadership” they were “relying on the ignorance and confusion of the majority of the delegates ”.

Actually, at the aggregate S**** refers to, there was one person who knew exactly what was going on. The speaker from the Central Committee.

Furthermore, all those who’d been delegates at the 2011 conference were aware of the sexual harassment allegations against Martin Smith, and that it had already been discussed on the “Socialist Unity” blog, and why Smith was no longer National Secretary. Why was this was kept from the rest of the branch? (B******n UtO only heard the detail of this last month.) So when we heard in the I.B. that there was going to be a disputed DC report regarding Smith at the conference, we were immediately concerned that there was no knowledge of such a serious situation at the top of our party and that it needed to be debated openly. Around Christmas time, we heard the allegation was actually rape. The secrecy around this in the organisation was extremely concerning to say the least. We were desperate to get it sorted before our party’s name was ruined by treating women who felt they’d been raped in such an appalling way. We asked ourselves if we could be part of a party that had acted so unjustly and bureaucratically, but we never imagined at first that it would lead to hundreds of us feeling we had no choice but to resign.

Who was “entirely” factionalising ?

S**** writes that of opposition faction “the leading elements were entirely engaged in building

their numbers and strengthening their position, being conspicuously absent from involvement in

regular party activities ”. He seems to have totally forgotten that these “elements” were involved in helping lead and sustain the struggle against privatisation at Sussex University which included one of the longest occupations at a British campus for decades. Other “elements” continued to work in union branches and anti-cuts campaigns. Of course, we found time to try and find a way out of the mess the leadership had got the party into, just as the leadership found time to make sure we “moved on”.

What’s wrong with crusading?

Lenin said that socialists ought to be the “Tribune of the Oppressed”.

Revolutionaries are often seen as “extremists” because we are so passionate about justice, so disgusted by exploitation, war, oppression etc. Sometimes we get a bit hot under the collar and have been known to shout.

When S**** complains about our “gusto”, “zealotry” and “crusading”, what on earth does he expect?

Five million women and half a million men in this country have been raped or sexually assaulted. We all have close friends who have been traumatised by such abuse.

We all feel angry that our society doesn’t take such abuse seriously.

We all expected that our Party, that the “Tribune of the Oppressed” to be different from he church, the law courts, the BBC etc.

We were all shocked to find out this was not the case and we felt an enormous sense of betrayal.

We got passionate, zealous, about justice for the women, which in our eyes soon became a desperate bid/crusade to save our party.

What does the faction stand for?

S**** seems to think that the faction should have a united perspective on a range of issues different from the leadership.

But why on earth would a group of SWP members appalled at an alleged-rape cover up have similar criticisms about other parts of the SWP leadership’s perspective?

Does S**** really not get it? The crisis, our zealotry, the split, the crusading and the gusto is absolutely nothing to do with neo-liberalism, voluntarism or movementism or Leninism.

It’s about rape.

Facing Reality : Why we Are Not Responding

Alex C

Some SWP members seemed to have been expecting the Central committee to give some kind of response to the questions posed by the likes of Michael Rosen, and “Dave” on Facing Reality.

We would like to point out that

  1. These are not SWP members and therefore we owe them nothing
  2. By relying on the internet for discussion, they are unaccountable and have moved away from democracy.

Therefore we will not be responding.

Articles mistakenly included in “Internal” Bulletin 2

The following 3 articles were submitted to the “Internal” Bulletin while the second one was being prepared. Due to a typo, they were accidentally included in IB2. There was no intent to give CC members privileged access to our democratic debate.

A Response to Jonathan

Central Committee

This article contains a series of accusations about the CC and others. We robustly contest these accusations which are based on supposed knowledge rather than facts.

A response to Hannah’s article on leadership

Alex C

Hannah has written a lengthy, tendentious, and self-aggrandising account of how divisions developed on the Central Committee over the W case. That is her right, and her arguments deserve rigorous critical scrutiny in the pre-conference discussion. But she makes two factual claims that require immediate challenge.

  1. Hannah asserts that when she, Charlie K, and I were attempting to mediate between W and M in July 2010 I asked her if she “had it in for” M. This is an absolutely false and grossly prejudicial claim. Though I agree with Hannah that our attempt at mediation was not ultimately successful, it was carried out in good faith and the three of us worked together quite harmoniously in an effort (as I repeatedly stressed in our discussions) to be fair to both parties. I did ask her this question, but six months later, in January 2011, in a very different context, following arguments on the Central Committee in the autumn and immediately before the party conference.
  2. Hannah also implies that she believed 2010 that W had been raped. If that is so, she must explain why she did not communicate this very serious charge to Charlie and me at the time (which would have resulted in the case immediately being referred to the Disputes Committee) and why indeed she remained silent about this belief for the following three years.

The demand Hannah now makes for an “accounting” applies as much to her as it does to anyone else.

A response to Alex’s Response by Hannah

I agree with the last sentence – we all need to account for our actions here, both to the Party and the wider movement.

 

A response to Hannah from Alex

Yeah but you do!

A response to Phil on UAF

Weyman Bennett

I strongly contest the accusations made accountability and UAF”.

I was not part of any delegation that went the Home Office calling for a ban. There were three major press conferences called by UAF/UEE/the Mayor of Tower Hamlets on Wednesday 4 September, Friday 6 September and Saturday 7 September. All were called to update the press on our plans to oppose the EDL, none was called to dis cuss a ban. I opposed the idea of a ban at all three although others including the Mayor and the representative of the East London Mosque made it clear they supported a ban. On numerous occasions, both in public and in various publications, I have opposed the idea of state bans.

There was a statement issued by a number of activists for a ban in the run up to the Tower Hamlets demonstration on 7 September 2013, I refused to sign such a statement. There have been numerous anti EDL demonstrations where local commitees, councillors and MPS have called for a ban. I have never signed a single one.

I ind it disheartnening that a comrade can use an IB submission to call for someone to personally be disciplined, even before they have the courtesy to find out the most basic facts or allow myself to answer those accusations.

Phil and others in the faction are insinuating that UAF is a failure. The question I ask is; would Tommy Robinson have resigned from the EDL if their demonstration had successfully marched through Tower Hamlets?

UAF is far too precious to be turned into a factional football

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5 thoughts on “SWP Conference 2013 : The Not-Internal Bulletin 3

  1. As soon as the actual bulletin becomes available will someone please post it to me? I only read stuff posted off blogs on the internet.

  2. Many thanks for your Not-the Internal Bulletins, which have proved to be so uncannily like the real thing that you clearly know how to tune into the CC mindset (telepathy or too many years in the party?). In fact, the Regrets and Apologies from the CC in the current issue is a pure gem and only the final word gives it away as a spoof! I guess that SWP slow motion car crash has been so unremittingly depressing that we really do need some of the wry humour you have so well provided. Chapeau!

    • Yes, and thanks – though perhaps the women at the centre of all this need something more than humour.
      Also, I have found writing out my anger and disbelief theraputic, but as it gets the swp out of my system I have to find other subjects to write about.
      Unfortunately, my non-swp spoofs and serious articles get far far fewer views.
      This may mean my blog dies over the next few months

      • The women who have been treated so appallingly by the SWP leadership deserve (at the very least) a complete public apology from the party. Unfortunately, this is looking increasingly unlikely in the current context….. The only saving grace in the whole business is the courage and persistence of those members who have defended the women in question.

        Regarding your blog, it would be a great shame if it is laid to rest as much of the non-SWP stuff is also very interesting. The solution might be to be pragmatic: keep blogging on the SWP (given the composition of the CC slate, I’m pretty sure there will more horror stories and splits in the future), but carry on posting other stuff too. SWP junkies like myself will be drawn to the former, but many of us will also read the latter. Whatever the case, best of luck for the future!

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