Proposed SPGB statement on SWP 2013

May 2024 Forums General discussion Proposed SPGB statement on SWP 2013

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  • #91844
    ALB
    Keymaster

    OGW, as Jond has pointed out, I don't think any ex-SWPers who might be attracted by our leaflet will have any problem with rejecting Leninism. They will have been inoculated against it for life. I think any problems with Leninists will come later, when we are bigger, and they try to "enter" us and "bore from within" as they did with the Labour Party and before that with the old ILP.  At that time we'll have to find ways of stopping these parasites joining and, if any get through, of booting them out.

    #91845
    steve colborn
    Participant

    Not forgetting Adam, good Socialists, who are "helped" out of the door, (not booted mind you,) by obfuscation, bias, immoderation and the rest of the crap they are exposed to. It does not stop with the SWP. They are just an easy target because they do it overtly. Delusional paranoia is the province of those in control but who, by that control, claim it exists within those who have the temerity to fight and argue "against" that abuse and their control. Steve.

    #91846
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Not sure if its been quoted yet but it seems very apt.Cyril Smith in his Marx at the Millennium, in a footnote cites Don Cuckson's three principles of democratic centralism – 1. Father knows best;2. Not in front of the children;3. Keep it in the familyThe Libcom summary of the SWP split is worthwhile read. http://libcom.org/blog/swp-crisis-some-analysis-some-thoughts-13032013

    #91847

    Technically, we do have a ban on factions:

    Rule 6 wrote:
    6. A member shall not belong to any other political organisation or write or speak for any other political party except in opposition, or otherwise assist any other political party

    (my emphasis — key word is "organisation"), any Militant style faction would have to avoid being a political organisation (with formal membership, officers, policies, etc.)  Unlike then SWP, though, we certainly don't forbid agitation for a particular point of view, with a rule that dates back to some arguments in the Social Democratic Federation when our founding members were agitating as an internal tendency:

    Rule 5 wrote:
    Members have the right to attend at meetings of Branches other than their own, and speak with the permission of the Branch, but shall not have the right to vote thereat. Central Branch members, however, shall be informed of a party vote and forwarded a voting paper and shall be allowed to vote through the post or at any one Branch meeting on production of membership card. All members may attend the meetings of the Executive Committee, Delegate Meetings, or Conferences, and with permission may contribute to the discussion.

    (my emphasis).  The SWP actively prevents lateral communication between branches, in a method to ensure that the central organisation retained the control of information, save at regional aggregates (run by full timers).  These rules, I'd suggest, would be useful devices to preventing subversion of the party.Equally technically, we do sort of operate a slate system, as our EC is elected by bloc vote, and in the advent of a serious schism, the largest plurality of the party can take all the seats (if it ever becomes that open and formal).  Other methods, such as the right to attend and ask for permission to speak, do counteract that, a little.

    #91848
    jondwhite
    Participant

    To clarify, I don't think Lenin is that big a deal for many current SWPers (even the hardened cadre at district/NC level). Paper SWPers may just pay dues and some read their publications, whereas active members seem to follow the political line set out by the CC by parroting it or acting according to the line. Building the struggle in the now is always portrayed as urgent.Even for the more historically minded, if CC denounced Lenin as a renegade tomorrow, I don't think you'd see much of an exodus. Okay there'd be a problem with Tony Cliff's biography of Lenin. If the denunciation was in ISJ, hardly anyone would know the line had changed anyway.If anything, a case could be made that ex-SWPers are more likely to hold principled positions on Lenin (both for Lenin and perhaps against Lenin). What holds the SWP together is largely blind faith in the CC perspectives (it helps unity that critics are always portrayed as "attacks on the party"), some populism (which is why the CC take exceptional care to inflate the size of membership figures), friendship networks and not rigid ideological coherence among members at the bottom.

    #91849
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    I haven't been following this thread 100%, just dipping in and out. But I have a question regarding the statement.I assume the intention is to attract disillusioned SWPers. What strategy is to be used to get the statement to the intended audience?

    #91850
    ALB
    Keymaster

    We plan to distribute the leaflet (rather than the statement) at this meeting in Vauxhall (just down the road from Clapham) on Saturday 23 March. It has already been emailed to various individuals and groups in and around the SWP. Copies have also been sent to all our branches to distribute to similar or SWP routine meetings in their area. You don't have to be a member to distribute it. If anyone wants bulk copies they should contact Head Office on spgb [at] worldsocialism.org

    #91851
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Thanks ALB.That makes sense.Do you see a possibility of any "retaliation" from the SWP old guard?

    #91852
    ALB
    Keymaster
    SocialistPunk wrote:
    Do you see a possibility of any "retaliation" from the SWP old guard?

    They will be hating others much more than us, especially those who have left and who they will be regarding as renegades. It will be interesting to see where most of these go, possibly into the Labour Party even.

    #91853
    SocialistPunk
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    SocialistPunk wrote:
    Do you see a possibility of any "retaliation" from the SWP old guard?

    They will be hating others much more than us, especially those who have left and who they will be regarding as renegades. It will be interesting to see where most of these go, possibly into the Labour Party even.

    Perhaps the SWP are not the only ones who might view disillusioned ex party members as renegades?LOL

    #91854
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    What actual assets in the shape of cash and property do the SWP possess? Does anyone know the facts? With all the splits etc  how does the CC guarantee they remain in control of premises, publications etc.? A few occasions in the past there has been a struggle over such things ie Morning Star Seems there could be an argument to stay in the party and fight for control of those tangible benefits if they are substantial.

    #91855
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    What actual assets in the shape of cash and property do the SWP possess? Does anyone know the facts? With all the splits etc  how does the CC guarantee they remain in control of premses, publications etc.? A few occasions in the past there has been a struggle over such things ie Morning Star Seems there could be an argument to stay in the party and fight for control of those tangible benefits if they are substantial.

      That's a thought!

    #91856
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Interesting old blog item from three years ago here on the origin of the undemocratic slate system which all Leninist groups employ for electing their executive committee under which the outgoing committee proposes a slate of candidates to be voted on en bloc for the new committee.The author makes the same point that we do in our leaflet that this system is contrary to the more democratic procedures practised in the wider working class movement:

    Quote:
    The leadership-recommended slate system for internal elections to the national leadership is used in most leninist groups. It is not a natural system arising from the workers own experiences and democratic instincts but something artificially imported into the workers movement. In theory, the slate system can be used to recommend a list that consciously includes a good balance of talents and personalities. In practice, it gives the existing leadership a tremendous advantage in elections and experience has shown that it has allowed leaders to secure their continuous re-election along with a body of like-minded and loyal followers.
    #91857
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    The fall out spreads far and wide.http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/mar/27/message-swp-delhi-rape-inquiryCallinicos told he is no longer welcome at the South Asian Historical Materialism Conference taking place in Delhi, itself the focus of a rape scandal.

    #91858
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Looks like the SWP is getting a dose of its own medicine. After "No Platform for the BNP" a "No Platform for the SWP" campaign seems to be developing. Seriously though, I don't think this is a healthy development, especially as the organisers of the Delhi Conference invoked "threats of disruption" for disinviting Callinicos The same excuse invoked by other conference organisers for disinviting Salman Rushdie.

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