SWP poorly treat 2 young women member victims of sexist behaviour/rape by CC member. Lessons for ultra/anarchist groups?

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sihhi
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Jan 7 2013 22:51
SWP poorly treat 2 young women member victims of sexist behaviour/rape by CC member. Lessons for ultra/anarchist groups?

TRIGGER WARNING - discussion of rape and sexual assault

It can't be discussed on the site that has this report:

http://www.socialistunity.com/swp-conference-transcript-disputes-committ...

What do LibComists think about this?
How can this kind of stuff be avoided?
If the rape/alleged rape happens within a group or 'network', are groups ready to deal with it sensibly and quickly?
I don't know what to think I'm a bit in shock at the allegations.

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jonthom
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Jan 8 2013 15:20

http://www.2ndcouncilhouse.co.uk/blog/2013/01/06/misogynists-and-the-lef...

Quote:
The question must be asked.
Why do misogynists rise to such positions of prominence on the left?

Firstly, there is simply the issue that lots of men are misogynist cunts. Its really not that uncommon. Consequently it is unsurprising that a number of them find their way to left-wing organisations. We should not be taken aback that at least some of them emerge within left wing organisations, we should expect it. From rape culture to raunch culture, misogyny is everywhere. One in twenty men have raped at least one person, each one committing an average of six rapes. And consequently we should look at ways that we can limit the opportunities for misogyny, and in particular sexual violence, to manifest within our organisations.

wojtek
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Jan 8 2013 16:52

TRIGGER WARNING: sexual harassment

Why I joined the [Black Panther] Party: An Africana womanist reflection - Regina Jennings

wojtek
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Jan 8 2013 21:44

A Collection of Essays on Feminism and Sexism in the Anarchist Movement

- various authors, published on International Womens Day, 2011, to commemorate the international day of struggle for womens liberation.

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Ramona
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Jan 8 2013 22:54

Oh god, that's a lot to take in. Obviously a huge amount of weird shit, but to pick just one - why do they all keep on talking about people being "labelled" or "accused" of being feminists, like that's something you'd need to defend yourself against in a supposedly radical anti-capitalist organisation? And even the people challenging the DC and the process are so keen to say that it's absolutely not an issue about feminism, that's it's nothing to do with feminism? What the actual fuck, I can't think of a subject that's more entwined with feminism ffs.

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Steven.
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Jan 8 2013 23:04

I know this is off topic, but could you add that to the library?

Dannny
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Jan 8 2013 23:21

That was a very distressing read.
It's hard to know where to begin really - even allowing for blind party loyalty this is shocking.

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Steven.
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Jan 9 2013 20:02
Ramona wrote:
Oh god, that's a lot to take in. Obviously a huge amount of weird shit, but to pick just one - why do they all keep on talking about people being "labelled" or "accused" of being feminists, like that's something you'd need to defend yourself against in a supposedly radical anti-capitalist organisation? And even the people challenging the DC and the process are so keen to say that it's absolutely not an issue about feminism, that's it's nothing to do with feminism? What the actual fuck, I can't think of a subject that's more entwined with feminism ffs.

yes, that is very bizarre. Also, having the investigation committee all be long-term friends with the accused, and not knowing the accuser at all is a ridiculous situation. They slag off bourgeois justice - which is of course highly problematic, not least in sexual assault cases - but at least in a capitalist court judge and jury wouldn't all be mates with the accused!

no1
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Jan 11 2013 19:44

Sympathies and loyalties of the Disputes Committee become completely obvious once you notice that the leading member accused and found not guilty of rape is referred to throughout as "comrade delta" whereas the accuser is just "W". One wonders if "W" stands for "woman".

EDIT: it turns out that this was introduced when Andy Newman redacted the transcript - http://www.socialistunity.com/statement-of-the-swps-democratic-oppositio...

They are pretty open about what their role is:

SWP Disputes Committee wrote:
We’re not a law court. We are here to protect the interests of the party, and to make sure that any inappropriate behaviour of any kind by comrades is dealt with

... presumably dealt with in accordance with the interests of the party.

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Ramona
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Jan 10 2013 10:27

Also horrendous is them vicitmising one of their own paid staff after she made a complaint about the same guy, making her stay away from work then moving her elsewhere because she would be "disruptive"... That's the kind of shit a normal employer could get burned for, and absolutely shocking behaviour for an employer who is supposed to be a "worker's party". I'm not surprised of course that the SWP as an employer would exempt itself from the critiques it may have of other employers, because it's all for the good of the party and all, but fuck that.

[edit-triple posted cos my cat has decided to help with typing]

Dannny
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Jan 10 2013 11:10
no1 wrote:
Sympathies and loyalties of the Disputes Committee become completely obvious once you notice that the leading member accused and found not guilty of rape is referred to throughout as "comrade delta" whereas the accuser is just "W". One wonders if "W" stands for "woman".

That is an error of the transcription apparently.

The process once entered into has obviously been horrendous. I would have thought that the SWP would have other mechanisms for dealing with something so serious than to set up their own investigation into the matter, however. Where do they get off thinking that they can guarantee proletarian justice to their members (regardless of the fact that this case shows that they can't)? I know the politics of the party are awful but I didn't realise they were this detached from reality.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 10 2013 12:10

With tragic predictability, the central committee is apparently purging 'feminists' who just won't shut up about how rape is wrong...

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Party workers are being spoken to individually, and if they refuse to give a guarantee that they will never so much as mention the case again, they are being told they must leave their party jobs. Some have already gone, others may be going as I write.

Mind you, anarchists can't really get on a high horse here as it's often not dealt with any better (with some laudable exceptions).

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Ramona
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Jan 10 2013 15:06

This is fucking awful sad

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jura
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Jan 10 2013 15:25

Do people think they're going to split and disintegrate over this? (That's a real question, I haven't been following this & am not in the UK.)

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Fall Back
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Jan 10 2013 15:45

Best I can tell it's not quite the disintegration of the WRP, but a lot bigger than the Counterfire split. Looks like it'll be the end of the SWP as the biggest Trot group.

A lot of the response to the situation has been fucking horrible, from the barely concealed glee from across lots of the non-SWP left to the CC loyalists "its not true, he's not like that".

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the button
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Jan 10 2013 16:38
jura wrote:
Do people think they're going to split and disintegrate over this? (That's a real question, I haven't been following this & am not in the UK.)

They might split, but the toxic organisational form will live on.

Android
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Jan 10 2013 17:10
Fall Back wrote:
it'll be the end of the SWP as the biggest Trot group.

I think that has happened already. I would imagine SPEW is bigger, no?

Fall Back wrote:
A lot of the response to the situation has been fucking horrible, from the barely concealed glee from across lots of the non-SWP left to the CC loyalists "its not true, he's not like that".

Absolutely. One of the shittier responses I have seen is by a leading member of CPGB arguing that the 'real' issue in this crisis for SWP is not rape/sexual harassment but rather a crisis of SWP perspectives. And that dealing with the former is not something they should do - 'report to police and move on'.

jura wrote:
Do people think they're going to split and disintegrate over this? (That's a real question, I haven't been following this & am not in the UK.)

Disintegration a la WRP I can't really see happening, though it is possible I suppose. SWP have already expelled four members of one of the two factions, afaik they are committed to staying in (in the case of the expelled ones, getting back in) SWP no matter what it seems. The other faction is a faction composed of full-timers, middle cadre types. I am quite cynical about aims of this grouping.

If the SWP CC continue with the current behaviour, forcing people out, then maybe there will be splits. I think its more likely that individuals will be forced out and others leave on their own accord, then organised splits occurring.

martinh
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Jan 10 2013 21:07

As the guy who has resigned from the paper and the party has made clear, how can they recruit people if all this is just a google away? And how are they going to relate to people not in the SWP when it is the first thing they will be asked about?

Whatever the outcome for the SWP, they will spend a lot of time fielding this for the foreseeable future.

wojtek
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Jan 10 2013 21:51
Quote:
A Collection of Essays on Feminism and Sexism in the Anarchist Movement

- various authors, published on International Womens Day, 2011, to commemorate the international day of struggle for womens liberation.

Which if any of these articles resonate and are worth putting in the library?

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Ramona
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Jan 10 2013 22:29

A really good, short piece about the issue here: http://imagesfromthefuture.tumblr.com/post/40199221384/for-friends-sexis...

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Steven.
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Jan 10 2013 23:21
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Socialist Worker writer resigns - http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/944/swp-why-i-am-resigning

TBH I think that would be worth having in the library. What do people reckon?

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Marigold
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Jan 10 2013 23:50
wojtek wrote:
Quote:
A Collection of Essays on Feminism and Sexism in the Anarchist Movement

- various authors, published on International Womens Day, 2011, to commemorate the international day of struggle for womens liberation.

Which if any of these articles resonate and are worth putting in the library?

all of them.

redsdisease
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Jan 10 2013 23:49

So that this thread is not just lefty gossip, I'm really interested in this question from the op:

sihhi wrote:
How can this kind of stuff be avoided?
If the rape/alleged rape happens within a group or 'network', are groups ready to deal with it sensibly and quickly?]

Obviously there are no easy solutions to dealing with sexual assault even just within radical groups, but I think it's really important for groups to have thought out and developed ways to respond to this before it happens. I'd be interested in hearing from people from various groups about what, if any, measures they've taken or discussed do deal with inter-group sexual assault.

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Mr. Jolly
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Jan 11 2013 05:11

Whatever the changes in organisation, cultural and pre-emtive etc., rape and sexual assault will continue to be a problem. Responses where the solution is to set up some alternative judicial process where an organisation investigates itself whether it be trot, anarchist, broadcaster or church, of 'keeping it in the family', however it is justified, is something that is a tad obscene.

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Mr. Jolly
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Jan 11 2013 05:14
Quote:
And that dealing with the former is not something they should do - 'report to police and move on'.

Of course there is a diabolical conviction rate for rape and sexual assault, but having a culture of not reporting to the cops is something that potentially plays into the hands of the rapists. The cult like behaviour of trot and anarchist groups in this respect ensures that such behaviour is never met with anything but some crappy process, with loyalty to 'party' and 'comrades' being an inevitable part of the mix when considering what should be done.

no1
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Jan 11 2013 19:34

it's being reported in the mainstream press now:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ranks-of-the-socialist-wor...
http://www.newstatesman.com/laurie-penny/2013/01/what-does-swps-way-deal...

Mark.
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Jan 11 2013 21:11

Lenin's Tomb on the crisis in the SWP:
http://www.leninology.com/2013/01/crisis-in-swp.html

martinh
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Jan 11 2013 21:22

Just read the Lenin's Tomb piece, and I think its quite clear that a big chunk of the SWP finds itself against its own Central Committee, and are not minded to do what they are told. I've no idea of how the dynamics are playing out within the SWP but the reaction to the stitch-up does the ordinary members credit. I can hardly ever remember many SWPers arguing against the Party line, so for people to do it publicly is a new departure.

Of course, aside from the cover-up attempt, there are other political questions relating to the Central Committee that ought to be considered, such as "why have people in this role who are not accountable to you?"

teh
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Jan 11 2013 22:20
Mr. Jolly wrote:
Quote:
And that dealing with the former is not something they should do - 'report to police and move on'.

Of course there is a diabolical conviction rate for rape and sexual assault, but having a culture of not reporting to the cops is something that potentially plays into the hands of the rapists. The cult like behaviour of trot and anarchist groups in this respect ensures that such behaviour is never met with anything but some crappy process, with loyalty to 'party' and 'comrades' being an inevitable part of the mix when considering what should be done.

The thing is that the accuser didn't want to go to the police but to make sure this person was no longer in a position/associated with the party. Given the trauma and humiliation that goes with dealing with the police its a perfectly reasonable position. Even if the Committee ignored her request and reported to the police anyway how with that solve the problem of what to do while the case is being investigated- suspend the guy until the police drop the matter and then move on? But I agree 'alternative justice' is cult behavior and the fact that apparently some of the Committee members were involved in activist work with related issues shows that having the 'right ideology' doesn't preclude abuse of authority.

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Mr. Jolly
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Jan 12 2013 03:20

deleted, drunken nonsense

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Ernestine
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Jan 12 2013 14:25

Yes