1970s >> 1978 >> no-882-february-1978

The Questions they ask

Mr. Speaker: Your party has an Executive Committee—right? And yet you say you are opposed to following leaders! Aren’t the EC the leaders of your party then?

Answer: No! The EC of the Socialist Party are not leaders. They could not lead the members if they wanted to (which they don’t) because Socialists do not need somebody to tell them what they should do.

Implicit in membership of the SPGB is an understanding of Socialist principles. In fact, membership is conditional upon this. Therefore the members have the knowledge which enables them to make their own minds up for themselves. It is a fact that the rules of the party are so framed as to guarantee that the members control the EC. First, the EC is elected annually by individual ballot. Each candidate is nominated by a Branch of the party.

Then, the EC is bound by rule to carry out the decisions of Annual Conference. In addition, any six Branches can demand a party poll on any question they deem to be of sufficient importance. Or, if they prefer, they can demand the calling of a general members’ meeting. And perhaps most important of all, every meeting of every committee of the party is open to all members—and indeed to all members of the public. Our door is always open for those who wish to know what’s going on. This, is the guarantee that no group or caucus can seize control of the party.
Contrast this with the intrigues, backstairs frame-ups and underhand double-dealing which are the stock-in-trade of all the other parties. The sort of carve-ups revealed in the Crossman Diaries, the manoeuvring for jobs in the Labour and Communist Parties, for example. All this can only flourish with an ignorant membership. The membership of the SPGB is small—because so far there are not many socialists.