This is a cross post from Howie’s Corner
The hunting season has begun inside the Socialist Workers Party early this year as the comrades head towards their (very much brought forward) Annual Conference. Not content with tearing themselves apart for most of the early part of 2013, they are now preparing the “lynch mobs” for the final purge of the professors orders.
The publication and wide dissemination of their first pre-conference bulletin (this link courtesy of the Weekly Worker) has become part of the course for the SWP who can no longer “wash their dirty laundry” in private any more. Despite the departure of Martin Smith, the man at the centre of the scandal that has bought the party to its’ knees, the Pandora’s box he managed to open continues to plague what was once, but no longer, the largest organisation on the British far-left.
The 92 page bulletin number one (there are two more of these to come) is full of articles attempting to soul search, witch-hunt and bizarrely lecture us on the nature of sales of Socialist Worker in Liverpool (or was it Manchester, lost the will to live after two paragraphs of that diatribe). There are those who seem to remain in denial of the position of the SWP following the “delta” revelations. Roger from Huddersfield opens his contribution thus:
The SWP continues to be the leading representative of the classical Marxist tradition of revolutionary socialism, with a very effective cadre of a few thousand comrades in the UK; whilst the ideas of that tradition are spreading internationally….
Comrade Delta, having stood down as National Secretary in 2011 and from the CC at the end of 2012, has now resigned from the Party. In the absence of any explanation having yet been given for this, I assume that this amounts to an admission that Comrade Delta himself, the CC and the Party majority have for the last year been attempting (no doubt unwittingly in most cases) to defend the indefensible, and that this is no longer possible.
If this is so, it is embarrassing but no disgrace. (my emphasis)
No disgrace? Who is he kidding. Has he not read the reams of criticisms published across the web and the mainstream media? I despair.
Then there is Ray, Dave and Alex from Liverpool who brush off the drastic membership losses:
So while the numbers we lost would seem to be high the proportion of these who could be described as active members even in the broadest sense was in fact small. We strongly suspect that being part of giving the SWP and its leadership a good kicking on the internet was a lot of fun for many of these people and much more exciting than selling papers, attending meetings and demos etc, the activities expected of our members. Such people were clearly not the loss they at first might seem.
Right, keep telling yourselves that comrades. Especially when there’s virtually nobody left to listen.
What immediately comes to ones attention is the call for expulsions of “the factionalisers” that have been openly operating in the SWP for some time. A number of the Professors supporters write:
Since our last conference, some members have organised in opposition to the Party, acting as a permanent group, separate from the Party, in opposition to our agreed perspectives and our elected leadership bodies.
We believe that being a member of a permanent faction is incompatible with membership of the SWP. Comrades who continue to belong to a permanent faction should be expelled, to ensure they do not damage and undermine our Party.
There we go. This is at the heart of what will happen at the SWP conference. A wave of expulsions, at least a couple of hundred more whilst the Prof and his crew sanitise their project for the future. I’m told that this is a foregone conclusion unless the oppostionists change their errant ways as Callinicos has a majority of the remaining membership behind him, motivated by the “broader struggle” or in layman’s terms blind loyalty. They summarise thus:
The Central Committee is responsible for bringing out Socialist Worker every week. The paper acts as an educator, an agitator, and organizer of the Party. We expect every member to sell the paper. It provides the ‘scaffolding’ around which the revolutionary party is built.
Our tradition is based upon the pursuit of the revolutionary road to socialism. The 1917 October revolution in Russia changed the world. The party of Lenin and the Bolsheviks won the political argument amongst the masses for the necessity of revolution, they organised the world’s first successful evolution that overthrew capitalism.
Our Party must be able to develop a determined and resolute political leadership, prepared to lead in the class and in the Party. We believe it is our historic responsibility to fight to build a leadership and a Party, fit for purpose, in the 21st century.
Fit for the 21st Century? Then they need to understand the lessons of history. The 1917 coup-d’etat led to the starvation, murder and incarceration of millions in not just Russia, but China, Cambodia and more. It led to oppression and suppression on a scale that equalled if not exceeded the crimes of Nazism and yet so many of the chattering classes still seem to think such ideology is acceptable in the modern era.
The fight that is needed for the 21st Century is for Human Rights, equality, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation and a commitment to the right of free speech and association upon which all the former depend.
Marxism is not the answer, it is part of the problem.
There will be more to come in the next two “internal” bulletins which will inevitably be leaked on line. The comrades do not seem to even be able to start to comprehend their shortcomings and failures let alone the contempt in which they, probably more than any other group on the left are held.
No expulsions comrades. Its’ time to shut up shop and leave politics to the grownups.