Discussion of other UK political parties
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
#294385
Have had a few problems lately. This is quite incredible. The "dispute" referred to is an allegation of rape.

http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot. ... witch.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Stop the witch-hunt
Over the last several months there has been a campaign against a leading member of our party. This campaign has been carried out by a minority of comrades and shocked and appalled the majority of us. Although the campaign has been carried out by a minority it has done serious damage to the party as a whole, forcing us to focus on internal matters to the detriment of building the fight against austerity. The campaign has been a key element of all the factions formed, including the secret and unconstitutional ones. The campaign has to stop and stop now. Consequently, we propose that any comrade or groups of comrades continuing with it in the branches, via social media, blogs or in any form must face sanctions. These sanctions may, regrettably, have to include disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the party.

The Disputes Committee
The Disputes Committee, and before it the Control Commission, investigates and handles disputes between comrades and breaches of party discipline. And, as our constitution states, “The Disputes Committee reports to Conference, where its activities are subject to endorsement or otherwise,” (SWP Constitution, Section 7, Disputes Committee). It is the custom and practice of the SWP, and suggested by our constitution, that the findings of the Disputes Committee are made public for the first time at Conference.

The secret faction
Therefore, we were greatly surprised to read before our Annual Conference that a number of comrades had formed a secret faction (for which they were correctly expelled) at least in part because they disagreed with the handling of a case heard by the Disputes Committee involving the comrade. These people took their action before they had heard the Disputes Committee’s report and so one can only assume that they based their opinions on hearsay and speculation. It is hard to see how facts and reasoned argument could have played a role.

Factions
Unfortunately the secret faction was only just the beginning of the campaign. Both statements of the factions formed in the run-up to the Annual Conference made reference to the case. The faction statement of the ‘Democratic Opposition’ claimed that “It is disturbing that the comrade concerned did not voluntarily step down...” This was an absolute disgrace. (It is not clear what ‘steps down’ means here because the comrade had announced that he would not be standing for re-election to the Central Committee.) Again it should be made clear that these factions were formed without actually hearing the report of the Disputes Committee. (By this time the Central Committee (CC) had made a statement to a National Committee meeting which was subsequently summarized at a number of aggregates but the statement merely made members aware that an allegation had been made and that the Disputes Committee would present a report at our Conference.)

At Conference the Disputes Committee offered its report, which found that after a detailed and rigorous investigation the complaint was not upheld and thus no disciplinary action was taken. A debate took place concerning the Disputes Committee’s handling of the case after which Conference voted to accept the report and the decision of the Disputes Committee. And that should have been that. Unfortunately, the campaign against the comrade showed as little respect for democracy as it did for facts or reason.

In the branches
Having failed to force the leading comrade from an active role a number of comrades tried to pass motions in their branches calling for a Special Conference. The pretext here was a number of articles in the national press. A key demand of many of these motions was to continue the campaign against the comrade requesting that, for example, he no longer do paid work for the party. Those driving the campaign failed to get the 20 per cent of branches required to call a Special Conference, showing the lack of support for their campaign against the comrade and their political perspectives. What they were successful in doing was causing the party to become increasingly polarised.

The unconstitutional faction
Having failed to force the comrade out of a leading role in the party and our united front work a number of comrades launched an unconstitutional faction. (As the CC rightly pointed out at the time “The CC does not accept the right to form factions outside the three month pre-conference discussion period. Such factions open the door to permanent factions and permanent oppositions, making it impossible to unite and intervene effectively,” (CC Statement).)

Many of the people who formed the faction are so focused on their campaign against the comrade that they are prepared to go the length of breaking our constitution to demand that the comrade “...stand down from any paid or representative roles in our party or united front work for the foreseeable future,” (Faction Statement).

Stop the witch-hunt
Let us be clear that this comrade has been found guilty of nothing. Yet he has faced a concerted campaign over many months to oust him from a leading role in the party. A campaign that has seen people form a secret faction, launch two factions, attempt to call a Special Conference and, finally, break our constitution. It has been a campaign that has paid little heed to fact or reason but rather has been built on hearsay, speculation and sometimes downright lies. It has been nothing short of a witch-hunt. But it is a witch-hunt that has to stop. And it has to stop for three reasons:

(1) If the disputes procedure is ignored, or subverted it makes it impossible for any comrade to be confident of fair treatment, either if they are a complainant or are complained against. Every comrade must have the right to make a complaint if they so choose, and no-one is above being questioned, criticised or disciplined. It does a disservice to all of us if a proper system of investigating and adjudicating on such matters is destroyed. That is the danger of the way the faction has approached the issue.

(2) It does a grave injustice to the comrade.

(3) It has thrust our party into possibly the biggest crisis it has ever faced. It has forced us to focus on internal debate during the longest economic depression in modern times when we should be focusing all our energies in building the biggest possible fightback against austerity.

No more
Consequently, we propose that any comrade or groups of comrades continuing with it via the branches, social media, blogs or in any form must face sanctions. These sanctions may, regrettably, have to include disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the party.
Terry (North London)
Penny and Donny (Edinburgh)
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#294386
Been keeping tabs on this for a while - I have to say, this whole thing has just made me think, thank fuck these clowns don't hold any actual power outside of their own organisation. I always thought there was something a bit off about Swappies but I didn't realise quite how cultish some of them were. Fair play to the oppositionists, but I think their efforts will prove futile. The likes of Callinicos have no intention of going anywhere. The SWP is their meal ticket.
 
By youngian
Membership Days Posts
#294394
It has forced us to focus on internal debate during the longest economic depression in modern times when we should be focusing all our energies in building the biggest possible fightback against austerity.
Yes they're always fond of fighting back against cuts in public and welfare institutions. Ones that they have never or will ever have any place in creating or moulding because they never want to get their hands dirty with the realities of excercising political power.
 
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
#294400
There's a hugely respected SWPer on another board, who's strongly opposed the current circus and isn't at all cultish. Luckily for him he's the only one on there, so no-one can accuse him or organising a faction or any other trumped up bollocks. He's very practical too, and very nice.

I find that even with him, it can be a bit frustrating. Someone asked him about how he'd balance the budget in the long term, and he just said "I can't be expected to make work something I don't believe in". It was pointed out that Fidel Castro has to work with a budget, as did Hugo Chavez, but it wasn't really possible to move the discussion on.

I find the old Bennite left quite frustrating too. It was a lot about organisation rather than making things work. ie provided you have MPs who can be easily sacked by their CLPs, good decisions somehow flow from that.
 
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
#297787
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... t-swp-work" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Michael Rosen replies in the comments:
Julie, I'm afraid that you have missed the point. It's not that the organisation approved democratically of the way it had behaved or even that it was the complainant who wanted the organisation to deal with it. Quite simply, the organisation is unsuited to deal with this particular matter. The complainant should have been told this in the kindest possible way and been offered instead, help from a rape crisis counsellor (or any other experienced practitioner) to help her decide what to do. Delta should have been asked to step down from the SWP immediately the allegation was made and indeed from all organisations that the SWP plays an active part in. That way, it would have been clear to the world how seriously the SWP was taking the matter. Perhaps you could also have offered Delta some help from an experienced counsellor too, which he would have been at liberty to take up or refuse too.
Then you could have waited. Just waited. Given the long tailback that this issue has caused and generated anyway, this would have been no bad thing and could hardly have been worse than what has happened, and you would all have known that you had behaved ethically and properly according to the best examples of practice around rather than some of the not so good, or plain bad.
And some questions remain.
1) Why was it considered acceptable for Delta to be investigated by a panel of his mates (including his ex-girlfriend)?
2) Why were the two women who brought complaints questioned in a sexist way, about drinking habits and past relationships?
3) Why was Delta given weeks of access to Comrade W's evidence before being questioned, yet she still hasn't seen his?
4) Why does anyone think it's acceptable for a national secretary in his late 40s to abuse his position to start affairs with teenage new members?
5) Why have critical SWP members been bullied, slandered and ostracised by the party leadership and its loyal supporters?
6) Why were 4 comrades expelled just before conference when all they did was discuss their concerns regarding this matter privately with other comrades?
7) Why did the SWP think it could investigate a rape?
8) Why did the CC get the recent conference to pass a motion asserting 'Delta's right to a political life in the swp'?
9) Why were the women who brought complaints slandered as liars by party full-timers?
10) Why was 2011 SWP Conference not told of the allegation that had been made against Delta?
11) Why was the other woman, who brought a sexual harassment complaint against Delta, removed from her job working for the SWP after making her complaint?
12) What about the other rape investigation into a full-timer, discussed by Solomon Hughes here?
http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspo ... s-its.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
 
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
#297788
new puritan wrote:Been keeping tabs on this for a while - I have to say, this whole thing has just made me think, thank fuck these clowns don't hold any actual power outside of their own organisation.
I think that was key. Not just that they don't trust bourgeois courts, there was probably some excitement at doing a rape trial themselves. Like a proper court.
 
By Ebon Badger
Membership Days
#297837
Tubby Isaacs wrote:
new puritan wrote:Been keeping tabs on this for a while - I have to say, this whole thing has just made me think, thank fuck these clowns don't hold any actual power outside of their own organisation.
I think that was key. Not just that they don't trust bourgeois courts, there was probably some excitement at doing a rape trial themselves. Like a proper court.


And bollocksing it up, like a proper court- oh no, wait, proper courts don't allow people who know and are close to the defendant to decide on the defendant's guilt or innocence, they don't go round slandering people during the process and they don't then insist, having fucked up royally, that everyone else support the defendant in their job when they know full damn well that in any other organisation he would at the very least been suspended from the get go pending an inquiry into the allegations.
 
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
#298070
The saner part of the SWP replied in the Guardian today, via Richard Seymour.

He can talks bollocks too, as he does to a poster.
f you mean, do I totally foreclose the possibility of political parties trying to deal with these complaints in circumstances where women don't want to go to the police (for understandable reasons), then no I don't. There are practices of what is called 'transformative justice' among activist communities, usually very small and without resources, to deal with cases of rape when the complainant doesn't want to go to the police. An account of these practices can be found in The Revolution Starts at Home. They require resources, and patience, and they aren't even always appropriate. But from what I have read of these experiences, it is possible to make them work in some situations. Socialists who want to take this issue seriously have to start learning from these experiences.
So lots of groups setting their own procedures for investigating rapes, great. And "small groups" as well, like there won't be mates of the defendant and victim. With doubtless a skilled judge on hand.
 
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
#299071
We took the rape allegations against a leading member extremely seriously; the controversy over how the party handled these allegations is indicative of that seriousness.
Alex Callinicos still not very self-aware.

" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Some funny stuff below the line as well.
Its amazing how 40 year of fighting for pro abortion rights and equality in pay is some how negated in all of this.
Not to me, it isn't.
 
By Ebon Badger
Membership Days
#299140
Tubby Isaacs wrote:
We took the rape allegations against a leading member extremely seriously; the controversy over how the party handled these allegations is indicative of that seriousness.
Alex Callinicos still not very self-aware.

" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Some funny stuff below the line as well.
Its amazing how 40 year of fighting for pro abortion rights and equality in pay is some how negated in all of this.
Not to me, it isn't.
Are they being serious? We're supposed to give them a free pass on acting like morons over a rape allegation because they pay lip service to women's rights?
 
By Malcolm Armsteen
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#299144
Ebon Badger wrote:
Are they being serious? We're supposed to give them a free pass on acting like morons over a rape allegation because they pay lip service to women's rights?
I should think that's quite a widespread point of view, in some sections of society.

They're going hard after Swinson, which is underst[…]

The LibDems, generally

MPs defecting to the Lib Dems put me in mind of Em[…]

Boris Johnson

Well, I suppose to be fair, may as well give him a[…]

Labour, Generally.

It's understandable as a state of mind. I got pret[…]