Dave Dudley, Leninist Vanguard (personal capacity)
It would seem that the editors of this neo-con lickspittle blog view it necessary for me to have an opinion on recent developments within the SWP as it marches everlong into its unbending and ceaseless accommodation with Zionism. Apparently such stories are not really on the news radar until Dave Dudley has had his say, though I wish the rest of the editorial committee of Leninist Vanguard felt the same way! My partner Jo feels that I consciously cultivate a neo-con readership here at Harry’s Place, try as I might to convince her that I am simply bringing Marxist praxis to a new readership which might not have access to Leninist Vanguard (our paper sellers can’t compete with the Murdoch press!)
How then to react to the news that Lindsey German has been effectively removed from SWP party membership? As I remarked in the case of John Rees, the instant reflex on the part of many is “to titter, to gloat”. This is nothing short of juvenile, the kind of behaviour which makes joining the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty an appealing prospect for some. This kind of sectarian banter simply has no place on the left (though I am not sure you can actually call the AWL ‘left’). There are some commenters on the blogs which reported this much quicker than the Weekly Worker’s printing press could (nice one!) who have argued that the reprinting of the emails between German and SWP national secretary Martin Smith is somehow “unethical”. The reliance on the Greco-Roman construct of ethics merely serves to demonstrate how deluded and devoid of Marxist training these simpletons are. Besides, the reprinting of such emails is of benefit to the wider socialist movement, though the SWP does seem to think they and it are one and the same sometimes.
While I have admired much of Comrade German’s considerable output of feminist theory over the past two decades, her judgement on this occasion would appear to be as shoddy as the Cliffite stance on the state of Israel. For Comrade German to reject democratic centralism and the wishes of her party’s central committee (as dubious and ill-conceived its opinions often are) in favour of her own domestic arrangements is nothing short of a slap in the face to her own gender, a heterosexist logic predicated on the bourgeois doctrine of matrimony.
Readers of this blog have often criticised Comrade German for her insistence that gay rights are simply a “shibboleth”. Casting aside the characteristic SWP use of the Judaic biblical Hebrew there (trying to tell us something, Lindsey?), while this is possibly a crudely-formed praxis, it does at least acknowledge the fact that the left simply cannot allow liberation campaigns to stick in its throat when it comes to forming alliances with other anti-imperialist groups. I myself would have went much further and denounced the bourgeois deviationism of gay liberation as plain unnecessary and an anachronism when it comes to anti-imperialism in the 21st century. It seems that this socialist logic was lost on the SWP (why am I not surprised?) when instead of taking up Comrade German’s suggestion, it chose to split the Respect Coalition over some gay pride float. Needless to say, this is all red water under the bridge now as Respect continues to prosper without the dead hand of Rees and German at its helm and is now viewed as the first place to turn whenever the media want an alternative viewpoint on USUK’s military adventures. In fact, while the SWP’s own electoralism met with defeat at the hands of the Tower Hamlets electorate (well, would you want John Rees dealing with your housing application or child’s school place?) the Respect Unity Coalition was probably the most significant left unity project since the RCP’s Red Front in 1987. Unlike Rees and German, who now languish in their Hackney home amid piles of redundant newspapers and pamphlets, George Galloway stands a pretty good chance of becoming Mayor of Tower Hamlets if that referendum is passed this May (note to self: deliver those leaflets!)
Socialists should therefore applaud the democratic centralist will of the SWP central committee and its swift actions against Comrade German’s adventurism (though naturally they should also reject every dot and comma of what the SWP stands for, but this probably goes without saying!) Equally so, Comrade German should be applauded for seeking to speak to a Stop The War meeting in Newcastle, a journey by which (if not travelling by car) she would have had to undertake on Britain’s only state-owned national rail line. But I remain unconvinced as to Comrade German’s overall socialist conviction and any application to join Leninist Vanguard would come with the usual stipulations of intensive cadre training and repudiation of past deviationism.
Defend Lindsey German!
George Galloway for East End Mayor!
Smash the SWP!