Do the SWP matter? Well if you are involved in campaigning politics they do.
Like it or not (and I don’t), the Socialist Workers Party, are the driving force behind many of the grassroots campaigns on what remains of the ‘radical left’ – they effectively control the Stop the War Coalition, the Anti-Nazi League and the British wing of the anti-globalisation movement is the SWP’s Globalise Resitance.
If you want an idea of what it is like for those on the left who have tried to work alongside (or under the control of) the SWP then read Mike Marqusee’s speech to Sign of the Times which is reproduced on Paul Anderson’s blog Gauche.
An American sports writer, Marqusee left the Labour Party to join the SWP’s Socialist Alliance and also acted as press spokesman for Stop the War in the recent campaign. Few people have had to work as close to the SWP in the past two years as he.
Killer quote: In their competition with the rest of the left, in their drive to maintain control (including control of their own members), anything goes. Meetings can be packed, democratic decisions circumvented, dissenters smeared and threatened, cheques forged and money misappropriated.
The Enron revolutionaries?
Frankly no matter how much you might be frustrated by New Labour you’d have to be mad to want to work under the control freaks of the SWP and if you don’t like some of Labour ‘s corporate donors try even asking the SWP where they get their money from and you’ll find more evasiveness than at any select committee hearing.
The SWP lambast the corruption of Labour’s values by the links to business but have no problem in acting as cheerleaders for George Galloway, who actually brags that his campaigns have been financed by those friends of socialism and democracy – the Saudi and United Arab Emirates governments.
Nick Cohen also has a piece on the SWP in the New Statesman on the party’s bizarre turn to the mosques:
Intro: As with Voltaire’s Holy Roman Empire, the Socialist Workers Party negates the meaning of every word in its title. It never had much to do with the workers: like a minor public school, the SWP is a home for dim, middle-class children. For years it has been a sect or cult rather than a party – think of the Moonies, but without the smiles. Now it is giving up on socialism to form an alliance with Islamic fundamentalism.
Sadly the comrades at the New Statesman want you to pay £1.99 to read the item unless you are a subscriber – which I’m not.
I know I should be and I am not that tight but for every time that I see an article, like this, that I want to read I see another edition (like last week’s) with a Milosevic apologist profiling Noam Chomsky as one of the ‘great thinkers of our time’ .
Somehow the chequebook goes back in my pocket.
At least its safe from the SWP there.