Here’s a letter that has been sent to the SWP’s Central Committee
The ongoing crisis in the Socialist Workers’ Party – precipitated by the handling of rape allegations against a senior party member – has raised fundamental questions about democracy, power and sexism in the organisations and culture of the left. We believe that the way in which the central committee of the SWP has handled the situation, and its lack of a reasonable response to the legitimate protests voiced by many of its own members, as well as others on the left, point to issues that cannot simply be swept under the rug.
We have all previously participated in events and initiatives promoted by the SWP, including the annual Marxism festival, or written for its publications. We continue to value the commitment and work of many SWP members as trades unionists, activists and comrades. Nonetheless, we can no longer in good conscience participate in SWP publications and platforms until the party recognises and seriously addresses the legitimate criticisms of its handling of this case and the ensuing crisis.
Greg Albo, Abbie Bakan, Jairus Banaji, Gail Day, Steve Edwards, Nadine El-Enany, Phil Gasper, Peter Hallward, Adam Hanieh, Owen Hatherley, Paul Kellogg, Brian Kelly, Conor Kostick, Robert Knox, Thomas Marois, David McNally, Adam Morton, James Murphy, Kevin Murphy, Ilan Pappé, Charles Post, Nina Power, Gregory Schwartz, Peter Thomas, Alberto Toscano, Thomas Walpole, Jeffery Webber, Rafeef Ziadah
Oh, now they have a problem with the SWP. Comrade Delta – Martin Smith – promoted and defended the neo-Nazi Atzmon for years, but that of course wasn’t a reason to break with this unpleasant cult. Neither, of course, was the fact that the SWP works for the destruction of liberal democracy. Nor the SWP’s use of every cause it gets involved in as a vehicle for the recruitment of party members, and destroys those campaigns once they’ve made use of them.
None of this prompted them to turn their backs on the SWP.
Oh, and if you can be bothered, here’s an article by Lord Astor’s grandson, Alex Callinicos, attacking the young pups who have the temerity to question the Central Committee’s judgement. It contains the following section:
One thing the entire business has reminded us of is the dark side of the Internet. Enormously liberating though the net is, it has long been known that it allows salacious gossip to be spread and perpetuated – unless the victim has the money and the lawyers to stop it. Unlike celebrities, small revolutionary organisations don’t have these resources, and their principles stop them from trying to settle political arguments in the bourgeois courts.
As you can imagine, the wags on the internet are having a field day.
And now the inevitable (but rather good) Downfall parody
There is also a very hard hitting article at Socialist Unity, which details a canteen culture of sexual harassment over the years.
The conclusion is pretty fatal to the “splitters”, led by Richard “Lenin” Seymour – given that sexual harassment is rife within the Socialist Workers Party, and has been for years and years, why have these dissenters only now raised their concerns openly. That being so, it is fair to make the point that they’re just as much part of the problem in the organisation, as Martin “Comrade Delta” Smith and his mates.
Also, if I’m reading this correctly, the following passage …
“…Counterfire, a splinter group from the SWP whose leading members have been associated in the past with the so-called “fuck circuit”, where patronage has been exercised by charismatic male leaders in favour of their sexual partners, at the expense of talented women who were known to be sexually unavailable to them… “
… is an allusion, I think, to the alleged conduct of John Rees.