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SWP Crisis – Commentary

For those following the crisis in the SWP, Jim Jepps has been compiling a list of many articles that have appeared on the Internet that have discussed the matter.

Of all the recent commentary, the one I feel deserved of highlighting is Paul Richards’s contribution for Progress. Despite the claim by the Central Committee of the SWP that the  ”party has a proud tradition of fighting for women’s liberation,” Richards notes the truth:

In the 1970s the SWP thought that:

‘because of its politics, its structure and its middle-class orientation the women’s liberation movement can have little left to contribute in practice…our emphasis has to be on women workers.’ (International Socialism Journal April 1974)

The reason for the relevance of this is because, as Richards also points out, the SWP hardly change their fundamental positions:

The point about the SWP is that it believes the same things it believed in the 1960s, based on a version of the things Leon Trotsky believed in the 1930s.

Providing hilarious anecdotal evidence of the never changing simplistic way the SWP deal with international affairs, he states:

I debated a leading member of the SWP central committee once at the SWP’s annual Marxism event. It was not long after the war in Iraq had started. The comrade kept referring to Vietnam when he meant Iraq. He was making the same speech he’d been making since the Tet Offensive.

And then there is the conclusion, well worth reading.

So of course the SWP is packed with nasty people who dismiss a woman’s allegation of rape. These are the same people who unequivocally backed the IRA when they were putting bombs into crowded pubs and shops; who sided with the anti-gay, anti-women Islamists in the Muslim Association of Britain; who support the views of Alex Callinicos, one of the SWP ‘writers and thinkers’ that Penny so admires, who wrote in 2004 in Socialist Worker that ‘a victory for the Iraqi resistance would also be a victory for all those fighting capitalism and imperialism around the world.’

The SWP are not socialist. Their only powerbase, in the redbrick universities, suggests the term ‘workers’ is a little suspect too. They are dangerously wrong about everything, from the Middle East to gay rights. They could be easily dismissed, like people who think they’re white witches, if not for their capacity to hoodwink young people who genuinely want to change the world, and instead send them out to sell papers outside Tescos.