Because we are a democratic Party all our meetings are open and our propaganda meetings organised to allow open debate. To this end visitors are given ample opportunity and encouragement to ask questions or state an opposing view. At a recent Socialist Party meeting a visitor from the SWP took the opportunity to explain how “the average bloke in the street”, could be led to socialism by the SWP. Another visitor, obviously impressed, asked for further information:
Visitor: “Is the SWP a democratic organisation?”
Visitor: “Before I could join The Socialist Party I have to show my agreement and my understanding of the Socialist case. If I wanted to join the SWP I wouldn’t have to mess about with that?”
Leader: “No, if you were at a meeting and were impressed enough you could join there and then.”
Visitor: “What about the ideas I might have – I could be a racist say?”
Leader: “That could be sorted out later in the branch, at education meetings and whilst you’re selling papers.”
Visitor: “Obviously I wouldn’t be allowed to represent the SWP or be allowed full access to the party until you were satsified about my ideas.”
Leader: “That’s right.”
Visitor: “If I’ve got you right that means that you have two types of members: those with power in the party and those without. That doesn’t sound much like democracy to me.”
Leader: Long pause.
The visitor has attended all our meetings since but remains convinced by the argument put by the SWP. Leadership makes you stupid.