antisemitism,  Trots

Richard Seymour, the SWP, and Antisemitism

Richard Seymour had been a long term, high-profile member of the Socialist Workers Party until his recent resignation. He now believes everyone on the left has to confess to their crimes:

If you have never, as a socialist activist, found yourself defending a line you later regretted, kept quiet about something you shouldn’t have, rationalised away a feeling of unease, then you’re either still deluded or a fucking liar.

He comments on his own crimes:

Shall I start the ball rolling? What mistakes did I personally make as an SWP member? Not making my objections to our hosting of the antisemitic crank Atzmon, and the preposterous rationale for doing so, explicit – particularly when it was made clear to me that the paper wouldn’t host a letter on the subject. Party members can attest that I and others took this up within the party, and that I trolled Atzmon’s talk at Bookmarks, but it really wasn’t enough.

We can list the facts:

1. Richard Seymour believed that the SWP was hosting an antisemite

2. He admits that didn’t kick up too much of a fuss about it.

3. He stayed in the Party despite the fact that he thought the Party hosted an antisemite.

We can therefore conclude that antisemitism in his party didn’t bother him too much, certainly not enough to leave the party. I would not be surprised to hear him say that he is bothered about antisemitism, but that he did not want to “have it as a shibboleth.” Throw the Jews into the sea. What does it matter if there is a greater good: revolution?

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