It is a sign of the weakness of the Socialist Workers Party that Richard Seymour remains a member.
The party which responds to every internal crisis by excommunicating the mildest of dissenters now finds itself paralysed and incapable of reaction. The vitriol it is so used to throwing in the faces of its opponents now directed at its own senior officers. It does not know which way to turn.
Richard Seymour could, of course, make a living of sorts as a celebrity free range Trot. He has a gig writing (or, as some might describe it, “scabbing”) at The Guardian, and has just published a hatchet job book which purports to try the late Christopher Hitchens for his supposed crimes.
However, Trots are nothing without a political party. That’s because they honestly believe that they are on the verge of leading a revolution, that will sweep them to power. They can’t do that without their cadre, the supposed “vanguard of the proletariat”.
At the moment, Richard Seymour – and others – believe that they’re going to have some sort of emergency conference and will recall the whole Central Committee, and replace them with themselves. I may be proven wrong, but that ain’t gonna happen. The SWP Big Beasts would rather the party collapse than see that happen.
No. I understand from my correspondents that Richard Seymour is trying to foment a split within the SWP. Instead of establishing a new stand-alone party – which would have none of the money and resources of the SWP – he may try to create a London branch of the ISO-US. The ISO-US was expelled from the International Socialist Tendency after a dispute with the British SWP in 2001, although Wikipedia suggests that some SWPers – including the alleged rapist, Martin Smith – are presently on friendly terms with them. Those I’ve spoken to think that such a move could precipitate a sizeable split, particularly among younger SWPers. Seymour might take the majority of SWSS branches, if he was lucky.
Word is that Seymour has been waiting for an opportunity to do this for a little while.
So, let’s see.
Meanwhile, here’s a metaphorical representation of what is happening in the SWP: