SWP: more suspensions - leading members boycott ‘Marxism’ festival
The second wave of the SWP crisis breaks...
Professor Darkside attacks a rebel base on the internet
UPDATE: The central committee has now rescinded the four suspensions.
Just days before this year’s annual ‘Marxism’ festival in London, it is clear that the crisis that has engulfed the Socialist Workers Party is not only refusing to go away, but has become faster and deeper.
In the name of a spurious and manifestly delusional ‘Bolshevism’, the SWP Central Committee around Charlie Kimber and Alex Callinicos still insist that there can be absolutely no public opposition whatsoever to their particular worldview from the ranks of the SWP. This is an insult to the best democratic traditions of the workers’ movement, including the Bolsheviks and the RSDLP this revolutionary faction evolved from. (See below for relevant links and articles.)
Long standing SWP historian Ian Birchall pointed out in a recent piece in Socialist Review that this historical falsification explains the stark fact that the contemporary SWP’s record on open debate is actually worse than the Stalinist-led Communist Party’s, concretely its willingness to publicly discuss the differences that exploded in the ranks over Hungary in 1956.
Following the suspensions of four dissident members at an ‘emergency’ National Committee meeting last weekend, many leading members - including (now former) International Socialism editor, Jonny Jones and comrade Birchall himself - have decided to withdraw from presenting talks at Marxism unless the suspensions are rescinded. The ludicrous attempts to silence SWP critics who have been publicly blogging their misgivings about this discredited and clueless leadership is disaggregating the whole organisation.
Symptomatic of this, the atmosphere in the SWP is becoming fractious and poisonous. Accusations of the hacking of opposition email accounts and epithets like 'malignant tumour' and 'systematic liar' are thick in the air. The responsibility for this criminal, sectarian vandalism lies exclusively with the leadership; the comrades of the opposition, whatever our disagreements with them, are rebelling against a crass bureaucratic regime of an unaccountable, apparatus power. They deserve the solidarity of all partisans of the workers movement.
Encouragingly, there are signs that the SWP leadership might have overplayed its hand. The number of signatories to the opposition’s statement underlines the extent of the rebellion.
Things are moving quickly. We in the will CPGB keep comrades abreast of new developments as they reach us. The July 11 issue of the Weekly Worker will be a ‘Marxism’ special, featuring articles on the SWP, democratic centralism and programme. As and when our comrades see/hear interesting developments at the festival itself, we'll try to pass them on as quickly as possible.
If you are planning to attend ‘Marxism’, pop by our stall to say hello, pick up a copy of the Weekly Worker, give your impressions of the event and let us know of any developments you think our readers and followers online would find useful.
The latest on the crisis in the SWP
- Ian Birchall has tweeted: “Because of http://revolutionarysocialism.tumblr.com/post/54901525674/statement-on-the-swp-crisis I shall not be speaking at Marxism this year.”
- Central committee statement
- Statement by the opposition on 'bank accounts': Used by the leadership as a reason to suspend four oppositionists.
Debates in and around the SWP
- Ian Birchall replies to his critics: Ian Birchall has written a comprehensive reply to the criticisms of his article “What does it mean to be a Leninist".
- Soviet Goonboy: Just dropped in (to see what condition my condition was in)
- Dave Renton: Thinking aloud about democratic centralism
- Ian Birchall: What does it mean to be a Leninist?: Feature in Socialist Review by Ian Birchall, March 2013.In February's issue of Socialist Review Alex Callinicos addressed the claim that Leninism is finished. Here, Ian Birchall responds to Alex arguing that he asks the question, but does not fully answer it.
- Alex Callinicos: Is Leninism finished? Feature by Alex Callinicos, Socialist Review, January 2013.