TrotskiLeaks: How not to engineer a sectarian split

An email exchange between members of the SWP and others in the Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition (BSCC), where an SWP activist accidentally 'reply alls' whilst planning a sectarian split on the pretext of the outcome of an unrelated conference of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN).

Submitted by honestsocialist on January 24, 2011

Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 18:03:35 +0000
Subject: [BrightonStopTheCuts] leaflets for the 29th (London) & 31st

Dear all,

See attached leaflets for the student demo in London next Saturday and one (that can be used in conjunction) for the following Monday's activist meeting.

If you can use them, feel free to download and print off.

Best regards,
‘Comrade A’

Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 21:03:59 +0000
Subject: RE: [BrightonStopTheCuts] leaflets for the 29th (London) & 31st

Dear ‘Comrade A’

Don't call it an 'activists' meeting, we've agreed not to - it doesn't make sense to do so as we are all activists... it gives the wrong impression. Call it an 'open discussion'; small point but it needs to be said.

‘Comrade Y’

Date: 24 January 2011 10:18
Subject: RE: [BrightonStopTheCuts] leaflets for the 29th (London) & 31st

Hi ‘Comrade B’, see below; I have no recollection of an 'agreement' not to call it an activist mtg. Maybe there was one but I was either absent or not listening. Verifiction needed, from ‘Comrade C’ maybe? In any case 'Comrade Y''s a smug git, as you can tell from his email, a load of bureaucratic bull.

I dare say you'll discuss NSSN tonight; we should to speak to the Unison comrades in B&H as the Unison branch could withdraw from BSCC now.

B&H Unison: ‘Comrade D’/‘Comrade E’/‘Comrade F’ and others (like ‘Comrade G’ ex-swp) too. Not sure when their next branch meeting is.

'Comrade A'

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 10:34:43 +0000
Subject: RE: [BrightonStopTheCuts] leaflets for the 29th (London) & 31st

Wow. This below email left me speechless for a second but let me try and recover myself….
Not sure if you meant to send this to all, or if this is some kind of tactic, but this is a very offensive and destructive email.

Firstly, it was discussed that perhaps the title ‘activist’s meeting’ was not the most accurate description to use, as it could be interpreted that the delegates meeting does therefore not consist of ‘activists’, which is misleading. I fail to see how this is ‘bureaucratic bull.’

It would be naïve to assume that everyone involved in this campaign is the best of friends, or even likes each other, but I would hope that we could all be grown ups and keep our personal opinions, and childish insults, to ourselves. Regardless of the fact that 'Comrade Y' is a personal friend of mine, I would hope that I would never hear any of the members of Brighton Stop the Cuts describing another member in this way. I fail to see how this is helpful in any way, and would please ask that you keep your opinions regarding the personalities of members to yourself – this is not relevant.

Regardless of what happened at the NSSN conference this weekend, this has no bearing at all to the local campaign, which has been one of the most successful in the country, and despite political party alliegances, I believe has been open, democratic, and constructive.

I fail to see why the UNISON branch (or anyone for that matter!) should ‘withdraw’ from the Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition, nor what this would achieve.

I actually have no idea who you are, or why on earth you think what you are proposing would be helpful or constructive, but I desperately hope you will not conjole others into your destructive and negative ways of thinking.

Why on earth would you want to cause divisions and splits in what has been (so far, up until this point!) a unified campaign?

I urge you to think again comrade.

‘Comrade Z’

Sent: 24 January 2011 10:58
Subject: RE: [BrightonStopTheCuts] leaflets for the 29th (London) & 31st

There was no tactic it was a mistake; I was a bit miffed by the tone of 'Comrade Y''s reply because I'd only ever heard of it being called an activist meeting.

As for NSSN, I hope that the outcome of Saturday's conference (which voted for a new all-Britain anti-cuts campaign) won't affect the unity of the group, though I was concerned because I know that some Unison comrades, amongst others, were/are unhappy about it. I have no desire to see a split or division in the BStC.

Once again, sorry to all concerned.

‘Comrade A’

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 11:11:47 +0000
Subject: RE: [BrightonStopTheCuts] leaflets for the 29th (London) & 31st

If you are 'a bit miffed' as to the tone of someone's email, why not simply address it with them directly, rather than harbour secret resentments? Surely the most open and constructive way of dealing with something?

I was at the NSSN conference, and this group email list is not a time or place to get into a discussion about whether people think the outcome is a good idea or not, so I won't. But I fail to see how the outcome of the conference will affect what is happening with the local campaign. It has no bearing on the organisational structure, the members, the desires of the campaign, anything.

If people want to have a discussion about the NSSN, then maybe we could set up a meeting locally to discuss it and have people put their views across, if people think this might be helpful? But again, I fail to see what the NSSN has to do with Brighton Stop the Cuts. The coalition exists as it is, and will continue to do so (I hope!)

If you have no desire to see a split or division in the coalition, then why are you sending emails suggesting that you speak with UNISON members to encourage them to split from the campaign?? Doesn't make sense to me.

But I hope that your retracting statement is genuine, both for the benefit of the future of the coalition, and all who we are trying to help by its existence.

In solidarity,
‘Comrade Z’

Date: Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 11:26 AM
Subject: RE: [BrightonStopTheCuts] leaflets for the 29th (London) & 31st

Yes, point taken about personal emails. Re Unison members it wasn't that I wanted to speak to them about leaving, but I was expressing a concern that the outcome of NSSN conference might lead to divisions (independently of me); I wasn't encouraging them to split and I hope they don't.

‘Comrade A’



13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Steven. on January 25, 2011