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SWP in disarray

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Anonymous
Apr 11 2011 13:58
SWP in disarray

Yet another leading figure has resigned from the Central Committee and party:

http://luna17activist.blogspot.com/2011/04/swp-chris-bambery-resignation-letter.html

He cites their inability to put themselves at the heart of the anti-cuts movement as one of the reasons for him leaving, this is probably one of the reasons why the anti-cuts struggle has been so exciting.

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Apr 11 2011 16:27

I give this much for trot "democratic" centralism, it does make for some entertaining, if repetitive, soap operas.

Also: "including loaning considerable sums of money during the financial crisis which has affected the party in recent years, money I am still owed." How does a trot careerist got hold of 'significant sums of money'? Still, I hope he sues them for it.

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Apr 12 2011 20:46

Oh wow it's all the Scottish people, including the East Coast organiser who's really lovely! Will be interesting to see where they go next.

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Apr 12 2011 20:54

Well if the SWP really is falling apart, I hope the more sensible rank and file members manage to extricate themselves from the wreck. I've heard there's a Libertarian movement in the UK that's really starting to flourish. wink

The SWP (at least round my way) seems to be very weak at the moment. They try all their usual tactics (front groups, pushing meetings, flooding rallies with their placards) but they just don't seem to be gaining traction, especially in the Anti-Cuts movement which is leaving them behind.

Although that may be wishful thinking on my part...

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Apr 13 2011 15:03

Next up CPGB based on a split over whether to orient to the Labour Party or not? With the anti faction led by everyone's favourite red-and-black-starred Stalinist I see grin.

If the CPB also implodes over whether it should go back to auto-Labourism, this could be the end of democratic centralism as we know it, just as things start to get interesting...

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Entdinglichung
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Apr 13 2011 15:28

two weeks ago, the Austrian clone of Workers Power expelled five members (among them their longtime chieftain) for forming a faction which criticised the prioritising of recruting students instead of recruiting workers

Android
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Apr 13 2011 15:38
Rob Ray wrote:
Next up CPGB based on a split over whether to orient to the Labour Party or not? With the anti faction led by everyone's favourite red-and-black-starred Stalinist I see .

If the CPB also implodes over whether it should go back to auto-Labourism, this could be the end of democratic centralism as we know it, just as things start to get interesting...

CPB and CPGB are two different organisations.

Since I know the author and as you noted he used to post here while he was in SolFed. I can't see there being a split in CPGB for no other reason then their whole political project is based on getting the left to unite and stop multiplying.

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Apr 13 2011 15:45

i know i'm anti-insurrectionary,
but my favourite moment on march 26th, was seeing a bunch of REVOLUTION (Worker's Power's youth branch who go for an insurrectionary image) members splitting off the main march and nervously joining the black bloc, looking absolutely terrified of some unwashed squatter punks wearing cricket shin protectors

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Apr 13 2011 16:20
Quote:
CPB and CPGB are two different organisations.

Yes that's why I said "also" and put in on a new line. Both of them are having the same argument just in different parties.

I wouldn't bank on a "we should all unite" approach staving off a split - the CPGB and CPB are actually the result of a split from the original CPGB. Rhetoric rarely reflects reality in the twilight world of leftism wink.

There's two factions in the CPB, one being supportive of the non-Labour initiatives like TUSC (ie. close to the "we need a new mass party" line) and one which believes it must work within the Labour Party. Chairman Rob Griffiths is the architect of the former, Anita Halpin is the latter I think? There's been a stalemate/compromise up until now but it can't last forever.

Android
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Apr 13 2011 16:26
Rob Ray wrote:
Yes that's why I said "also" and put in on a new line. Both of them are having the same argument just in different parties.

Apologies! Read over your post quickly before posting, didn't spot the 'also'.

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Apr 13 2011 16:39

If you read his message carefully, you'll notice that he's a very unsympathetic and cynical man. His fundamental quarrel with the SWP leadership is that they haven't been effective in their attempts to co-opt popular organizations and movements. He has no problem with their opportunistic tactics, he just feels that they have been conducted poorly.

So there goes another fucker. How many does that leave now?

Harrison
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Apr 13 2011 21:58
Gerostock wrote:
If you read his message carefully, you'll notice that he's a very unsympathetic and cynical man. His fundamental quarrel with the SWP leadership is that they haven't been effective in their attempts to co-opt popular organizations and movements. He has no problem with their opportunistic tactics, he just feels that they have been conducted poorly.

So there goes another fucker. How many does that leave now?

yeah i read through most of his message as well.
the problem he outlines is the SWP relentlessly prioritising recruitment over action. hence the stuff about the SWP 'should have been at the centre of the student movement', instead it was far more busy selling papers. however placing itself 'at the centre' still means using all the dirty tricks the trot left is famous for.

however, who knows.... it may have triggered more open thought among SWP members, as deep underlying divisions that were taboo to speak about before are being thrown into the open....

just out of interest, how much of the lib left is made up of ex-leninists?

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Apr 13 2011 22:19

I would say that a majority of the libertarian left is made up of ex-Leninists. Maybe 60% or more?

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Apr 13 2011 22:23
Steven. wrote:
I would say that a majority of the libertarian left is made up of ex-Leninists.

Speak for yourself.

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Apr 13 2011 22:50
Steven. wrote:
I would say that a majority of the libertarian left is made up of ex-Leninists. Maybe 60% or more?

Really? That certainly doesn;t pan out in any of the people i've met. Theres certainly a fair number, maybe one in four or five tops. Though i'd say most of those were never leninists really, just vaguely in some socialist party or other lefty group for a bit because it was the first thing they found. Personally I bumbled about with green left-liberal politics instead for a while. Also i think as the left has continued to shrink over the last decade, and access to informatio on the net (including anarchist ideas) has spread, thus younger people joining anarchist groups are less likely to have been in any leninist organisation than they were 5 or 10 years ago..

Not that thats neccesarily a good thing that the numbers so small, i mean the SWP even now still has a pretty massive turnover, so it'd be good if some more of them became interested in anarchist politics rather than just getting disilusioned and leaving politics altogether.

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Apr 14 2011 00:13

Isn't Banbury the guy that grassed young activists up to the Po?

Mike Harman
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Apr 14 2011 02:52
Gerostock wrote:
If you read his message carefully, you'll notice that he's a very unsympathetic and cynical man. His fundamental quarrel with the SWP leadership is that they haven't been effective in their attempts to co-opt popular organizations and movements. He has no problem with their opportunistic tactics, he just feels that they have been conducted poorly.

Yeah it reads like the resignation letter of a frustrated company executive, which is more or less what it is.

I'm a bit confused about who's actually left in the SWP cc now (not a bad situation to be in though), Callicinos? Who else?

Isn't Bamberry the guy who did the article about how much he hates football?

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Apr 14 2011 06:11
Mike Harman wrote:
Gerostock wrote:
If you read his message carefully, you'll notice that he's a very unsympathetic and cynical man. His fundamental quarrel with the SWP leadership is that they haven't been effective in their attempts to co-opt popular organizations and movements. He has no problem with their opportunistic tactics, he just feels that they have been conducted poorly.

Isn't Bamberry the guy who did the article about how much he hates football?

yeah thats the one
http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj73/bambery.htm

''Socialism will not be a society where 22 men still play football (far less where another 30,000 people will pay to watch them) or men and women crash up and down a swimming pool competing against each other and the clock. Physical recreation and play are about the enjoyment of one's body, human company and the environment. Sport is not. It is about competing, doing better than the next person, being the best. It is about obeying arbitrary rules ­ an ideal preparation for the capitalist productive process.''

Utter nonsense obviously. Its basically like some shit right wing parody of socialists wanting everyone to be thr same and thus being against all competition

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Apr 14 2011 10:48

I ran across the Socialist Unity website where these resignations are the big talking points. Reading the comments makes me so glad I was never in a Trotskyist organisation.

One of the worst comments was from a SWP-cc defender berating a non-UK Trot for even commenting on the event at all. To paraphrase his words: 'Shouldn't it be left to your party leadership to theorise/comment on the activities of other IST members?'

That basically sums up the whole thing for me.

(Also, Anarchists are much better at designing websites that don't make your eyes explode...)

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Apr 14 2011 12:04

more in the new WW: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/edition.php?issue_id=861

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Apr 15 2011 18:26

From the SWP website. who are counterfire btw?

http://www.swp.org.uk/party-notes

Quote:
Chris Bambery’s resignation

Chris Bambery has resigned from the Central Committee (CC) and the SWP. This is very disappointing, but we strongly reject the analysis Chris has put forward in his resignation letter.
The CC has for some time had worries about aspects of Chris’s work. As Chris’s letter states, the CC asked him to step aside from responsibility for our work in Scotland, and after the evidence that has now emerged of organised opposition to the party in Scotland it is obvious we were right.
If Chris believed there were fundamental problems around Right to Work and other issues, his responsibility in Scotland as elsewhere was to raise these questions and encourage other comrades to do the same.
There was criticism of his role in not effectively helping to build a broad Right to Work (RTW). But far from downgrading RTW, the CC had recently agreed to add another person to help build it.
Chris’s letter recycles many of the argument that came from people who left the party in February last year to set up Counterfire, particularly around the question of the united front. Far from running away from united front work, the SWP is centrally involved in anti-cuts campaigns, RTW activity, trade union activity, Unite Against Fascism, the Stop the War Coalition and the Education Activist Network. All of these involve systematic activity with people outside our ranks.
We have repeatedly stressed the need for full involvement in the anti-cuts movement as well as Right to Work.
Chris raises questions about recruitment. We are proud to be building a revolutionary socialist party. We regard a strong and well-organised socialist presence as indispensable. This does not happen by accident or without relentless effort. But the whole history of the revolutionary movement shows this is necessary.
The argument at the CC that Chris refers to involved him spreading information about internal CC discussions to those outside the CC. Several of us believed he was trying to stir up division in the party—a view which subsequent events confirmed. We are mystified by the allegations of “factional attack” Chris says was being prepared against him.
We do not think that the party is riven by factionalism, nor does it have a culture where it is impossible to raise political disagreement. As our leading comrade in RTW, as a central committee member, and as a member of the party’s finance committee Chris had the opportunity to register political disagreement about all the issues he raises in his resignation letter. In the past year he never has.
Instead he has written key documents for the party’s perspectives, introduced sessions at conference and headed up our work in a key united front—without any open political disagreements. Indeed, he said he had no differences with the perspectives document presented to Sunday’s Party Council—on the day he resigned. He could have attended the council and argued at it. Surely the Tony Cliff who Chris mentions would have done so! But Chris chose not to attend.
A number of other comrades have also left. In our tradition, if you disagree, you try to win your position in the party and seek to persuade others of your case. It is regrettable that these comrades walked away without doing so.
We want the party to move forward in a united way to implement the fighting perspectives agreed at the vibrant and united Party Council meeting on Sunday.

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Apr 15 2011 19:04

Counterfire are the group formed by Lyndsey German et al when they split last year.

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Apr 15 2011 21:55

This might not be the thread for it (let me know if it isn't) but could someone give me a rundown of the various British Trot groups and what they do/what to watch out for?

I must say my knowledge of them is pretty poor beyond the SWP.

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Apr 15 2011 23:19

http://libcom.org/blog/trotspotting-everything-you-always-wanted-know-about-sects-were-afraid-ask-18092009

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Apr 15 2011 23:44

Cheers, JK

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Apr 16 2011 00:00

that was an enjoyable and informative article. cheers

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Apr 16 2011 01:52

I thought Lindsey German was Left List and Counterfire was Claire 'I'M THE LEADER' Solomon? Can't keep up with all of this.....

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Apr 16 2011 14:18

Left List was the SWP side of the Respect split rather than a seperate group. Counterfire was created when Rees, German and Nineham lost their battle with other members of the CC. Solomon is a member too.

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Apr 16 2011 15:17
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Apr 16 2011 15:52

Ooh, it's been a bad week for the SWP.. laugh out loud

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Apr 16 2011 15:55

Someone should invite the geezer to our next solfed social
ill buy him a drink