TRIGGER WARNING - discussion of rape and sexual assault
It can't be discussed on the site that has this report:
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.
TRIGGER WARNING: sexual
TRIGGER WARNING: sexual harassment
Why I joined the [Black Panther] Party: An Africana womanist reflection - Regina Jennings
A Collection of Essays on
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.
Oh god, that's a lot to take
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.
wojtek wrote: TRIGGER
I know this is off topic, but could you add that to the library?
That was a very distressing
That was a very distressing read.
It's hard to know where to begin really - even allowing for blind party loyalty this is shocking.
Ramona wrote: Oh god, that's
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!
Sympathies and loyalties of
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-opposition/#comment-630700
They are pretty open about what their role is:
SWP Disputes Committee
... presumably dealt with in accordance with the interests of the party.
Also horrendous is them
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]
no1 wrote: Sympathies and
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.
With tragic predictability,
With tragic predictability, the central committee is apparently purging 'feminists' who just won't shut up about how rape is wrong...
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).
This is fucking awful
This is fucking awful :(
Do people think they're going
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.)
Best I can tell it's not
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".
jura wrote: Do people think
They might split, but the toxic organisational form will live on.
Fall Back wrote: it'll be the
I think that has happened already. I would imagine SPEW is bigger, no?
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'.
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.
As the guy who has resigned
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.
Quote: A Collection of Essays
Which if any of these articles resonate and are worth putting in the library?
A really good, short piece
A really good, short piece about the issue here: http://imagesfromthefuture.tumblr.com/post/40199221384/for-friends-sexism-in-the-swp
Jim Clarke wrote: Socialist
TBH I think that would be worth having in the library. What do people reckon?
wojtek wrote: Quote: A
all of them.
So that this thread is not
So that this thread is not just lefty gossip, I'm really interested in this question from the op: sihhi
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.
Whatever the changes in
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.
Quote: And that dealing with
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.
it's being reported in the
it's being reported in the mainstream press now:
Lenin's Tomb on the crisis in
Lenin's Tomb on the crisis in the SWP:
Just read the Lenin's Tomb
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?"
Mr. Jolly wrote: Quote: And
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.
deleted, drunken nonsense
deleted, drunken nonsense
Comment from cynical, jaded
Comment from cynical, jaded New Yorker:
Wish I could say I was shocked, but I'm not.
International fall-out: http://grumpyoldtrot.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/swps-serbian-section-splits-from-ist/
and a student revolt within party circles: http://grumpyoldtrot.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/swp-leeds-university-swss-statement/
That Leeds SWSS statement is
That Leeds SWSS statement is really good, reaffirms my faith in humanity a little
I don't know, not being a
I don't know, not being a Leninist and all that, but it seems to me any party committed to being a party and to the tasks of the party would have immediately and permanently (as permanently as these things go), removed the accused from all official leadership positions. Nobody's that important on a central committee that he or she can't be replaced. hell, a central committee isn't that important that it can't be replaced.
And then? Then if the accuser wants to pursue the matter, he or she can take it up with the bourgeoisie. Really, what's the big deal that requires rallying around a member of the central committee? The "title" "position" is a form, a character, that can be filled by anyone.
Right, you're accused of rape? OK, adios, turn in your platinum status access card to the CC business class lounge. You're done.
And if it means severing all ties with the accuse individual, so be it. I mean if I were a Leninist, convinced that the party was needed to lead the class, and all other that other stuff, the individual is gone in a heartbeat.
Makes me think the problem isn't just with the individual, but the very notion of having, requiring, a central committee.
S. Artesian wrote: I don't
My feeling is that the head honchos of the larger and hence more opportunistic Trotskyist groups have all long ago stopped believing that a Bolshevik-style revolution led by them is even remotely possible. Instead they embrace the perks their career in the party brings them which includes access to young women and happily go about their business of trying to steer any social movements that do emerge onto the safe terrain of unions and/or elections.
At the end of the day when
At the end of the day when you strip away all the lefty language it was just mates closing ranks around mates. This happens everywhere and the anarchist movement definitely cant get on its high horse over it.
yeah i definately dont think
yeah i definately dont think by attaching a prefix to oneself or to a group like anarchist, marxist, or christian acts as a guaranteur against heinious acts and practices.
cantdocartwheels wrote: At
in general there is some truth to this. However even though I'm not particularly actively involved in anarchist organisation as such (apart from libcom, which doesn't really count) I'm aware of a couple of cases where things like this occurred (like this), but in these cases the group convened to deal with it did not solely consist of the mates of the accused.
That said, outside of the formal organisations in the broader anarchist milieu there are some pretty vile men about. But then in an informal milieu/scene dealing with stuff like that is not so simple, even from the point of view of who should even attempt to deal with it
View from an outsider who was
View from an outsider who was on the inside: http://grumpyoldtrot.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/alan-gibbons-for-a-creative-regroupment-of-the-left/ Much recognition there, I must admit, I traveled s similar road, in and out the Dutch IS, in my case - before - and there's a difference with Gibbons - moving to anarchism.
Quote: Steven wrote: However
You are aware of libcom's shit reputation right?
Shit reputation with regard
Shit reputation with regard to anarchist organising, or gender issues, or attitudes to sexual violence, or just general shit reputation?
wojtek wrote: Quote: Steven
not sure what that's got to do with how the SWP handled a rape accusation :confused:
Gender issues, but the two
Gender issues, but the two are related surely. On the first thread about the Afed discussion on privilege theory women were dismissed as liberals, shouted down and then asked to prove they felt belittled, culminating in someone being blamed for being felt up.
^^That happened here?
^^That happened here?
wojtek wrote: Gender issues,
TBH, I fully admit to not reading that thread after it got past a few pages cos I found it really depressing and I was sick and stressed anyway.
I'm acutely aware of libcom's collective shit reputation on gender issues and I think it's not undeserved, and I guess perhaps not wanting to read that thread cos I couldn't face the train wreck is symptomatic of that - I'm not a new poster, I've been an admin since we started, I can fully appreciate that elements of the site are massively off-putting for female posters and that makes me incredibly unhappy. We are working to change things, but yeah, we've a long way to go.
I am proud that the admin team both collectively and individuals have been quick to get involved in conversations and processes in our organisations and in the wider anarchist movement with regards to dealing with sexual violence within the anarchist movement - none of these processes have been perfect, but I can assure you trying to support friends and comrades in Edinburgh and London around these issues hasn't been a walk in the park, and I've personally come up against plenty of people who would be quick to fight against any kind of process or even discussion about dealing with cases of sexual assault. My blog about safer spaces and what we do when they're violated didn't go down well with everyone, much as the comments on this site were, on the whole, supportive.
So yeah I perhaps get a little over defensive and very discouraged to see the "manarchists on libcom" still being the thing we're known for, but it's not like we can quite say that's behind us.
Also I think it's worth
Also I think it's worth pointing out that the person who was a dick about someone being groped was banned. And of course there are over 5000 people who post here, and we cannot control what they say, so we are not entirely responsible for everything everyone says here. We can't pre-emptively ban everyone, we can only do so after they have said something out of order.
Still, this ground has been covered in lots of other discussions. I still don't see the relevance in terms of my point saying that where comparable situations have arisen in UK anarchist organisations that I'm aware of it was dealt with differently. This does not equate to me saying that all of libcom's posters have impeccable gender politics. Indeed many of them have entirely shit politics all round.
Though frankly I have no fucking idea why any sex pest dickhead would even bother pretending having anything to do with radical politics. And I wish they would all just fuck off. Unfortunately that is not likely to happen…
Steven, how about reflecting
Steven, how about reflecting on your own fuckiness in that thread - asking people for evidence that they had been belittled/shouted down, I mean come on. What happens when admins are being sexist? Will other admins make them accountable? Why did it take until page 9 and victim baiting for an admin to intervene?
The relevence? It's called getting our own house in order.
Steven. wrote: Though
Because in a lot of anarchist/activist/alternative scenes there has been historically a laissez-faire attitude to such behaviour, and abusive behaviour in general, these people can slither around squats, camps, protests etc. without much hassle, and to an extent the subcultural dynamics facilitate such behaviour.
Steven. wrote: Though frankly
This is a bit of an odd thing to say IMO. Do you think that all sex pests are career sex pests, all devious, conspiratorial manipulators looking for the best subculture/community to infiltrate in order to commit sexual abuse? I'd say the vast majority are just chancers - often under the influence, often motivated by deep-seated (ie unconcious) hatred & resentment for women - rather than Hannibal Lector types. And I'm sure that most of them would believe that they're bona fide anarchists/radicals regardless of their behaviour towards women. Tacks certainly refuses to fuck off, for example, and there's a second example of a student radical in the UK who's been openly challenged and apparently ostracised only to insist on showing up to various events.
I'd say rather than telling individual would-be sex abusers to fuck off (although obviously anyone who does commit sexual assault should be ostracised, at least until there's sufficient contrition & rehabilitation), we should be challenging the behaviour within them/ourselves.
Yeah, excellent post by
Yeah, excellent post by Caiman del Barrio. This isn't just about individual relationships but recognising how far rape culture pervades into our lives as a form of patriarchical violence. Simply stating that our groups/our politics are against sexist behaviour isn't enough; challenging sexism requires us to analyse and recognise how our interactions both as individuals and groups are influenced and dominated by structures of patriarchical oppression and how we come to replicate those structures.
cantdocartwheels wrote: At
I think that's over-simplistic to the point of actually liquidating libertarian critiques of hierarchical and authoritarian power structures.
I take the point that libertarian or anarchist groups are also going to encounter issues around sexual abuse and even the most rigourously horizontal organisational structures and practices are not capable of fully guarding against the informal hierarchies of status, affinity and influence that accompany group dynamics in current society. But the statement above bends the stick too far in the authoritarian direction (i.e. the one that maintains that any supposed difference between authoritarian and libertarian relations are nonexistent and/or pure bourgeois ideology). Also it's less perceptive than the dissident SWP reflections already published on this issue, which do make the connection between the abuse and an internal political and structural top-down, anti-democratic/bureaucratic culture.
Yes the rape culture and that of sexual abuse is omnipresent throughout society, but even though abuse may occur within the body of Alcoholics Anonymous or the Catholic church, it does not mean that the two organisations (or, to take a specifically Irish example, the GAA) are equivalent. The church has been exposed as a virtual machine for enabling and perpetrating abuse in a way that AA or the GAA never will. And that is inextricably connected to the authoritarian and hierarchical and psychologically abusive and domination-oriented nature of the church. Not "just a bunch of mates closing ranks around mates" - that would be an utterly woeful assessment of the role of the church in perpetrating sexual abuse in Irish (and other) society. Similarly the abuses of a Gerry Healy are inconceivable without the hierarchical and authoritarian structures of the WRP and the culture of self-abnegation it promoted (in the name of the revolution) amongst its members. The critique of the structures and coercive psychology of the power to abuse apply equally to BBC pop radio DJs, residential social care managers, psychiatric hospitals, etc - any social institution that grants people unlimited, unmonitored and unchallengeable power over other people, particularly the most socially powerless, is a structural enabler of the abuse that inevitably follows.
I think making the link to
I think making the link to unaccountable/hierarchical structures - as some of the SWP dissidents have done to an extent - is important. But at the other extreme - the 'structureless' informal hierarchies of the activist/anarchist/squat/punk scenes - there's also plenty of horror stories (though also a lot of the literature on accountability processes comes more from this quarter).
And like I say, formal anarchist orgs can't really get on a high horse. The AF dealt with the one case we know about well. SF's dealt with a few things ok. But generally that's meant expulsion/naming, which could just mean someone moving on to another scene/city/subculture and repeating the pattern. Naming/outing might help there, but it's kinda the nuclear option, not to be used lightly. I know there's been some attempts at formal, survivor-led accountability processes where the perpetrator commits to change their behaviour and is supported in doing so. There's been mixed success afaik, though a lot of the info is rightly need-to-know, and I don't need to know much.
But doing the above needs a supportive culture where survivors feel able to speak up and know they'll be supported - even if they're naming someone on the central committee or informal hierarchy equivalent. I know in the AF, the existence of the women's' caucus was crucial. SF recently created a Women's' Officer post to serve a similar role. But there is opposition to these kind of things from some quarters.
And libcom, including the admins, including me, has been and remains to an extent pretty implicated in that shitty dismissive culture, which has real effects in silencing survivors and therefore letting people get away with this stuff. We've taken some steps to improve things*, but when even the admins don't want to venture into some threads, or are sometimes part of the problem ourselves, I don't think we can pretend it's all in the past.
* following feedback from users, as well as several offline incidents which have brought the stakes of that kind of 'banter' into harsh perspective.
cantdocartwheels wrote: At
true ... in 1988 or 89, the anarchist scene in Frankfurt was ripped apart after an anarchist who was an editiorial collective member of the journal AKTION (probably then one of the most popular A-journals in Germany, not to be confused with today's Die Aktion) and an FAU activist drugged his partner trying to rape her, the AKTION editorial group did split more or less on gender lines with a male majority excusing the perpetrator's attempted rape while the local FAU branch saw its priority in siding with the woman, don't remember if they formally expelled the perpetrator or if the latter left the FAU voluntarily ... AKTION split into two journals which disappeared after one or two issues
generally speaking, there are Maoists, Trotskyists, Anarchists, Autonome, hierarchical, non-hierarchical, etc. who expel rapists & etc. relatively fast (which unfortunately does not mean in many cases that the victim/survivor will ever feel comfortable in the org again, many leave despite the rapist being expelled) and there are those who don't ... as far as I know, the historical FSLN, the FMLN and many maoist guerilla groups in India and Nepal generally execute(d) members who were convicted of rape while "in action" (which I do not advocate at all!!!)
p.s.: having been involved myself in orgs/projects who had to deal with cases of rape and domestic violence and and where at least on an informal level a kind of general consensus existed, that these things are unacceptable and that that there is no place for a rapist/etc. in an emancipatory project, it is my experience that it is very unpredictable - despite the best intentions - what will happened, after these things become known, sadly, it is not really possible to have an action plan after the catastrophe had occured
Good points raised there by
Good points raised there by Entdinglichung. Even if the SWP's closed central commitee obviously exacerbated things the problem they had is something that occurs everywhere.
IMO I think the point is its not just about dealing with the ''other'' of 'evil sex pests'' as some have said here but about recognising that such actions the tip of a pattern of behaviour endemic in todays society. One in 5 women are sexually assaulted at some point and tbh almost all women get comments/harrassment from time to time.. My sister works in a pub, she gets comments most nights, You cant however just say ''i hope all those evil sex pests don't become interested in anarchism'' because the pub in question is just full of ordinary people like us. You have to find ways to collectively deal with this stuff, which is definitely not easy.
Joseph Kay wrote: I think
as far as I know, Lutte Ouvriere which is pretty hierarchically structured deals with cases of sexist or other types of violence in the organization very fast and strict (as with internal opponents of the general party line and other stuff, they define as "deviant") ... and in the mentioned scenes, you occasionally have also few cases of quick reaction ... not always in an anti-authoritarian way but more like "rough justice", after an rape in the largest squat in Hamburg in the the mid-80ies, the (male) perpetrator and his (female) partner who did at least nothing to stop her partner from raping and torturing another women were severely beaten, shaved and dumped without clothes and money at night somewhere in the countryside (also the only case of rape in the radical left of which I know which later also led to a prosecution by a court)
to their credit, it was my perception from the outside that the FAU is really dedicated to develop a good practice for cases like this
even if you have these kind of structures, it is my experience that a rape survivor who is generally deeply traumatized (mostly for her (or his, I know at least one case of a man raped by another man in the radical left) whole life)) is far more likely to speak first not to any kind of supporting structure but to persons (inside or outside the org), she feels she can really trust and who will believe her ... some opposition against specific structures (by people who do not have anything against immediately expelling rapists) comes from the fear, that this will create a "two-tier system" of appeal rights for members in an org ... in reality, to handle a rape case in a normal (democratic) framework of something like a Disciplinary Commission would be similar to a rape trial at a normal law court with all its implications, it is my experience that especially a good organisational constitution which defends individual and factional membership rights against administrative expulsions will completely backfire in cases of rapists who insist on their "rights" as an org member
one last remark, one of the most problematic aspects of public discussions about concrete rape cases on the radical left are those orgs and individuals who try to make political gains out of the fact that something has happened in another org/scene, they do not like
Joseph Kay wrote: which could
or simply to another political group which will be glad to have recruited a "good activist" what the MLPD did after another group (where friends of mine were involved) and a union had expelled a man after a case of domestic violence
from http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article27616 by "Socialist Resistance" ... you don't have to have that optimistic view of the SWP to draw the conclusion, that the SWP's crisis will also affect "us"
this sick piece is not taken
this sick piece is not taken from East German television news from summer 1989 but from the current issue of the SWP's Party Notes
a reply at http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/reply-to-party-notes.html
I don't think that we can
I don't think that we can take any pleasure in this, although it is hardly surprising and the CC has reacted to this as they have to any other 'threat' to the party (read themselves).
Of more interest is when this happens in our own organisations and how we deal with it. And sadly the figure of 1 in 5 sexually assaulted is probably a top low. I think virtually every woman I know has been groped and others have survived worse. We must support survivors and we can't assume that just because we believe in equality that we automatically practise it. We need to work on all of our prejudices. Not in the navel-gazing self-flagellating pointless way that the left is mocked for but in a real way when faced with real situations. Obviously an anarchist organisation which isn't trying to defend its formal hierarchy would struggle but it also requires people to take ownership of the issue and fight for it which survivors are not always willing or able to do. In the same way as everyone at a meeting should feel that they can address it everyone should be able to make a complaint and be listened to.
To be honest the saddest thing about this is that a so many of the decent sounding voices in this are still defending the party line and describing this as out of character or not what the party is really like. I hope that they will start thinking more critically about it a recognise that it is a corrupt institution that allows abuse of power to take place and sex is just one way of doing that. And sadly imperfect anarchist organisations will have these problems and hopefully they will deal with them well. I remember the AF actions as being done well.
Although the discussion about the safer spaces was something I found a little painful I think ultimately it did end up in a good place. I personally felt I had a better understanding of the issues and I think quite a few posters and hopefully readers did too. I know it does take its toll on people who do speak out which is why we have to share what we've learnt. If a comrade takes the time to explain a theory to me I would try to pass it on, and it should eb the same about this even though it seems a bit more 'personal' we are trying to re-organise ourselves as well as society.
In terms of morality one of the SWP people said it well (although in a bad context) ad I took it to mean just because we reject bourgeois morality does not mean we do not have ethics. So while we may reject bourgeois notions of monogamy we would still consider it wrong to deceive a partner and have an affair. We might consider property as theft but we don't steal from our own class.
additional stuff I posted as
additional stuff I posted as comments on http://www.2ndcouncilhouse.co.uk/blog/2013/01/06/misogynists-and-the-left/ on similar stuff which happened in the SWP's German clone on the question by someone else "Didn’t Linsruck, the SWP’s sister section in Germany, collapse a few years ago due to a rape coverup scandal?"
Oh FFS! the collapse of the
Oh FFS! the collapse of the SWP is not in the least negative, it's something I've been wishing for for many years.
Battlescarred wrote: Oh FFS!
But without the SWP who will anarchists be able to whine about when things don't go their way?
the issue is far more
the issue is far more complex, when an org (if we like or do not like it) collapses, the most common reaction of members who leave it is not to join "the real revolutionaries" but to drop out of organized politics often combined with signs of deep resignation
The way the press has
The way the press has responded to this implies that the SWP was taking the responsibilty to deal with this out of the hands of the judicial system. This article
starts with this nonsense
Apart from the ridiculous "sharia court" thing, this implies that the SWPs process was an alternative to going to the police, as if that is what happens when a rape occurs. It's not. Most rapes don't get reported to the police. Most people, when raped, either don't tell anyone or just tell people they're close to. Few people who experience something that traumatic are likely to be able to face sharing all the details with a stranger let alone a police officer. It's not just the left who don't trust the police. Even people who think the police are "a good thing" don't perceive them as the most sensitive and sympathetic people.
So this doesn't make much sense to me
We currently have a wider culture where a rape survivor isn't taken seriously unless they report it to the cops, and where most rape survivors don't report it to the cops. This plays into the hands of rapists. The least we could do is encourage a culture which takes survivors of rape seriously, whether or not they've reported it.
Also you imply that some crappy process will automatically be worse than the judicial system. Tbh, the example of the SWP is one of the few I've seen where the process was even crappier than the one the state has to offer, which is saying something. I don't mean that comrades should be denounced when going to the police, as I've heard some anarchists do. If someone wants to go to the police after a rape they shouldn't be judged for it, and they should be able to rely on us to support them through that because it's most likely going to be really hard (the "report to the police and move on" idea is just laughable). But most people, whether anarchists or not, won't want to. And I wouldn't dream of encouraging them to as it's likely to be a horrific and pointless experience, with the most likely outcome being nothing at all, and with the best and least likely outcome being that the rapist will be locked up for a period of time, then let out again. If all the survivor really wanted was for their attacker to understand what they had done wrong and/or to never have to run into them again then it's the kind of thing we should try to be able to arrange. Either way, whether they report it to the police or not, we should have processes to deal with these incidents which might also involve helping the survivor deal with the police but should at least involve kicking the rapist out of our organisations.
Agree. That was the one
Agree. That was the one aspect of the Tom Walker resignation statement I thought was most problematic. In the process of criticising the Disciplinary Committee's actions, it seemed like he was suggesting that the idea that any organisational process should have any role at all was "the arrogance of setting yourself up as a kangaroo court".
It doesn't matter whether the organisation is a political organisation, a social centre, a housing coop, or the chess club. When a serious allegation of sexual assault (or other violence) is made against a member of that body, there is no choice other than to face the decision of whether or not the accused should be excluded (regardless whether the victim decides to go to the police or not).
You just can't implement, say a safer spaces policy in a social centre, without having to face up to those decisions when they arise. Of course that doesn't mean deluding yourselves that you have the power to remedy the situation, restore justice or what have you. But the only decision that is really in your power to make - whether or not to exclude - still matters vitally to every member of that body (and, usually a good number outsde of it as well) and must be made in as best/least-worst way as possible.
Obviously, as the SWP disciplinary body did, interrogating the victim in such as way as to put them "on trial" and question their morals, like the mainstream courts do, is horrific, despicable and a prime example of the worst possible way of dealing with the issue. But not dealing with it, is not an acceptable option either - for any group.
Quote: Tbh, the example of
Indeed, much "crappier." Keep in mind that once the SWP starts its "investigation" the state can step in, demand the transcripts and notes, and then decide to indict the accused, regardless of the wishes of the victim.
In major felonies, the state is the complainant and the victim is a witness. The victim can be compelled to testify against his/her will.
So....anyone accused of an action like rape hasto be pretty stupid to say anything to a "disputes committee" other than, "I did no such thing. Address any further questions to my lawyer."
All the SWP disputes committee should do, and really can do, is recommend the immediate suspension of the accused, and make the parties aware of the legal implications.
Vdeo resignation.... words
Vdeo resignation.... words fail me....
If you don't have time for the whole video but still want to appreciate what an agony the existence of a SWP student has become, the climax is from 8.15 or so.
no1 wrote: Vdeo
West End, Broadway? Ladies
West End, Broadway? Ladies and Gentlemen, the next Hugh Jackman
oh god its like shame, lack
oh god its like shame, lack of self-awareness, smug arrogance and idiocy all converging in a videographic form to create the funniest thing I've seen.
"how can I ever go on paper sales?"
a former CC member of the WRP looks back and compares "his party's" downfall with the SWP's case
Wow. Just wow.
Wow. Just wow.
Is this really a thread where
Is this really a thread where its in good taste to make fun of (ex)swappies?
One famous anarchist blamed
One famous anarchist blamed it on democratic centralism and then went into SWP-style recruitment overdrive, it was gross.
sawa wrote: Is this really a
I hope that me posting that video doesn't come across as being oblivious to the gravity of the rape case, apologies if it does. I think of this thread as being about the disintegration of the SWP as it is unfolding before our eyes. This musical resignation is part of that, and actually expresses various aspects of it in an absurdly exaggerated way. Due to democratic centralism, the party's decision that the rape accusation against one of their leaders is baseless must be upheld by every SWP member - which makes every loyal SWP member an accomplice in covering up likely sexual assault. There's actually a recent account on the first stage of making ordinary members accomplices, when the CC got Smith a standing ovation two years ago at their 2011 conference (*) :
Reminiscent of the film Festen (aka The Celebration). Getting people to applaud a likely rapist in this way goes a long way towards explaining the revulsion and anger among usually loyal members.
(*) as far as I understand it, there are two parts to the story. The rape accusation was only made a few months ago after the SWP position in the Assange case gave the complainant the confidence that her accusation would be taken seriously. However the story first emerged at the time of the Counterfire split, when Smith was on the side of the current CC, and accusations against him would have weakened them significantly. As I understand it, three members of the CC including Callinicos met up with 'comrade W' and it seems that no official complaint was made.
er. I'm quite sure that video
er. I'm quite sure that video is a spoof. He buries his head in snow FFS.
Konsequent wrote: I don't
For fucks sake as if that EVEN needs saying, what planet are people on?
Sorry if that sounded harsh
Sorry if that sounded harsh but that whole statement creeped me out a bit. That when someone is raped then there is this set of moral edicts within 'the anarchist subculture' where all the options that victims may have or want to pursue are curtailed because they are deemed pointless or antithetical to the sensibilities of such subcultures. As I said before its all very culty. Im rather glad that I no longer really have much to do with 'the scene'.
The other side of it is that
The other side of it is that we should be aware that people who do go to the police after being sexually assaulted are fairly likely to be badly treated and have traumatic experiences during that process due to the systemic failings and sexist, victim blaming culture it exists in and perpetuates. A decent anarchist analysis (rather than a doctrinaire, knee jerk one) can help us support people through that side of things too.
Dealing with the dirty
Dealing with the dirty laundry
I have had personal
I have had personal experience dealing with aggressive potential rapists, luckily I was in the vicinity and it required an equal and opposite force of severe stomping to help them get the message. I consider this the A/C method of delivering community justice, I do not believe in prisons, and I thought that this is the L/C way also, how else does one deal with sexists and nazis? The only language they understand is a reciprocity of violence. I'm a gentle person, but I will not tolerate bullies.
While lots of people are
While lots of people are understandably rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of the SWP imploding, it is true as others have said there that dealing with (and in many cases mishandling) accusations of rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse is hardly an issue just for trotskyists. Clearly the power dynamic of authoritarian structures potentially provide additional cover for abusers, but so too (if perhaps less so) does status/reputation of being a good activist/good bloke/good singer.
Haven't got any great conclusions but was thinking about some other incidents from earlier periods:
- Molesworth Peace Camp mid 1980s - I believe two women were raped there and had to wage a campaign about apparent indifference of other activists and the wider peace movement.
- similar period - weren't some Hackney anarchos arrested for allegedly driving some guy out to the countryside and tying him to a tree on Salisbury Plain or somewhere - charges later dropped
- Anarchy in the UK festival 1994 - I recall a punch up at 121 Centre in Brixton as a result of an argument about whether to name and shame a member of an anarcho-punk band accused of rape.
Apologies if this isn't
Apologies if this isn't completely on topic.
I'm someone who just getting to grips with anarchism/libertarian communism, but I'm still in the learning process. Being a fan of China Mieville and knowing he's an SWP member, I did a search and found this article:
While I find it interesting, I can't help but feel that the way the SWP, and authoritarian Marxist/Trotskyist/Leninism organizations are structured makes situations like this likely to happen. It seems that Mieville's demands touch on concepts ideas that are at the very heart of the ideology. Does his call for the removal of the CC and DC mean to just replace it with another one? Surely then it's just same system and power structure, different faces. If he's calling for huge changes to their ways of organizing, isn't that the same as challenging the fundamental beliefs of the Party? It seems, to me, that the top down nature of the SWP is just a smaller version of how they would look if they achieved the 'dictatorship of the proletariat', you'd have the same unaccountability, hierarchy and top down control, but on a much larger scale. These features seem fundamental to the philosophy of the party. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, by criticizing the way the SWP is structured (and rightly so), are you not also criticizing authoritarian Marxism/Trotskyism/Leninism as a whole?
I hope I'm being clear, and making a valid point to the topic. If not, I'll happily move to another thread. I'm just getting to grips with these concepts of class, hierarchy etc. after a long while of ignoring them and not having a very clear idea.
History is Made at Night
History is Made at Night
was it about a punk/HC band which was especially liked in the Animal Lib scene and whose name starts with a C? ... some of their concerts were picketed around that period for the same reason in Germany
Matt wrote: Apologies if this
wouldn't say so, ... it's about patriarchy and how an org or scene deals with it, as I've said in earlier posting, there are ML ot trotskyist orgs who try to do their best in supporting the survivor when a rape or domestic violence occurs in the org and those who don't
Sure, I completely agree that
Sure, I completely agree that the issue is patriarchy. It was just some late night theorizing on my part. I'm just wondering that if some of the calls for changing the way the SWP is organized don't actually call into question some of the main concepts behind authoritarian Marxism etc. Again, don't mean to derail the thread too much. I'll quote some of the Mieville artcle:
Matt, on a level you are
Matt, on a level you are right, yes. That quote shows he's not critiquing the concept of the hierarchical party form, he's just saying that there is a problem with the current leadership: "The removal of this CC and DC".
TBH I think this would be expected in general because this is in line with their politics. Similarly, for example, rather than have a critique of the trade union form as such trots campaign for a different leadership to the unions (i.e. themselves), ignoring the fact that they would act in the same way were they in the positions of power.
I don't think your post was it all off topic, it is very much on topic.
Entdinglichung is right to point out that in some state socialist groups this kind of abuse has been dealt with effectively. However, I agree with you in suggesting that the Leninist party form is a contributing factor.
Many/most trots really believe that their party is the authentic leadership of the working class and is the key to accomplishing the great historical mission of the working class (TM). And so the ends justify the means. That article by Simon Pirani linked to above illustrates this very well I think:
Now, in anarchist organisations this whole concept doesn't exist. It is true that some anarchists see anarchism (TM) as a brand which must be defended at all costs but there is not the same ideological imperative to defend an organisation above things like this. As at least part of anarchism is the idea that means and ends at the same (not that all anarchists practice what they preach of course, but their/our ideology does not give us a get out of jail free card like Trotskyism).
Arbeiten wrote: er. I'm quite
IT was so painful that for his sake I can only hope that it was a spoof but I don't think so.
Betrayal - a critical
Betrayal - a critical analysis of rape culture in anarchist subcultures
Sexual violence: it still
Sexual violence: it still matters, even when there isn’t a political agenda.
Another accusation by a
Another accusation by a different woman against a different leading member?
I assumed it was the same
I assumed it was the same woman when I read it, being another example of the Guardian finally picking up a story weeks after it's broken elsewhere, like they did with the John Lewis cleaners' strike, but it might be someone else, it's not as if the SWP haven't got form for this, going back a long time.
On Richard Seymour's page on
On Richard Seymour's page on Facebook they're saying it's a different woman bringing accusations against a different leading member.
Apparently the "Disputes
Apparently the "Disputes Committee" have ruled on no less than 9 cases of allegations of rape. Sadly there are probably many more victims of this organisation who have been forced for several reasons to keep their silence.
Very thoughtful post-match
Very thoughtful post-match summary by 'Soviet Goon Boy' (aka 'Splintered Sunrise'). Order prevails in Vauxhall
It includes this :
Earlier pieces on this blog are also worth reading. One of my personal favourites is the very acute analysis of the composition of the SWP 'loyalists' who signed the Central Committee statement which called the special conference :
From Another brick in the wall
Fuck me that Atzmon article
Fuck me that Atzmon article (referenced earlier in this thread) is beyond vile. Link broken for obvious reasons: http://www[dot]gilad[dot]co[dot]uk/writings/sax-offender-vs-progressive-rapists.html
Holy fucking shit. I've seen
Holy fucking shit. I've seen people talking about this Atzmon guy being a prick but hadn't actually read anything he's been saying until now. So many layers of fuckwittedness where would you even begin?
Not as reactionary as Atzmon,
Not as reactionary as Atzmon, but still a good contender for the 'Most Misguided Response to the SWP Crisis' prize, is the following Huffington Post article.
It's by ex RCP/Living Marxism, now Spiked/Telegraph journalist, Brendan O'Neill:
Who Needs the State to Smash the Radical Left When Feminists Are Doing Such a Fine Job of It?
Fortunately, there have been a number of far more interesting responses such as:
Understanding women’s oppression (SWP take note!) by Harpymarx
Feminism is a Dirty Word. What Would Marx and Engels Think Today? by Camilla Power, available here: http://libcom.org/history/‘feminism-dirty-word’-what-would-marx-engels-think-today-camilla-power-radical-anthropol
Ramona wrote: Holy fucking
Same, never read him before. I just, I just.... :eek:
The resignations begin
More SWP rape accusations: "a
More SWP rape accusations: "a dangerous environment to be in"
Rachel wrote: The
and continue: http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.com/2013/03/resignation-sussex-brighton-swss.html
Matt wrote: Sure, I
Between the pre-conference bulletin and the various factional blogs, the rape and abuse aside, there is a lot of politics that is/was interesting to wade through. If you look at the bulletin which is a good source of the arguments, the pro-cc faction were basically asserting that the opposition don't understand Leninism and lack party discipline. In one sense their correct. The SWPs internal culture curtails factionalism outside of the run up to conference (recent conference was a special emergency conference since there was a dispute over the previous conference only a month before) and breaking ranks with social media/bringing the party in disrepute.
The IDOOP opposition, I have to disagree with you, seem to have been all over the place. I genuinely got the feeling some of them we're eager on abandoning party building, or the SWP as a project. What's merged in addition to the critique of the awful abuse though, is disputes over internal democracy, the nature of the CC slate, the nature of the DC, approach to student work, women's lib etc. I think the sex abuse has been the trigger for a wider split/break away, because of an underlying fault in the organisation and it's harmony. We're in the middle of a crisis and this is reflected in the SWP quite dramatically.
As much as I despise the SWP, I am not convinced the outcome from the wreckage for the libcom milieu is necessarily a good one. Very little of the forces here will darken our door. Any fragmentation will likely lead to further attempts at left unity, which seemed to have a a number of potential avenues at the moment and the SWP splits have nearly always been hostile to anarchism.
Resignation: Sussex &
Resignation: Sussex & Brighton SWSS
A new trot group in formation?
Resigning from the Socialist Workers Party
It will be interesting to know what the make up is of those that are resigning are, how many cadre members leave compared to students, also how many simply drop out and if any can take a leap from the present reformist politics to more revolutionary political positions.
Deep breath . . . My name is
Deep breath . . .
My name is Andy and I'm an ex SWuPpie . . .
Resigned today as cannot contemplate accepting the authority of the 'leadership' . Left lots of very good comrades behind and would still place myself in IS tradition . Will see what comes of ISN - I think we are making it up as we go along for now , while we work out what next.
Mark's the end of a twenty plus year association with SWP and still a bit raw so go easy on the wise cracks
Well done. You have my
Well done. You have my respect.
Hi, Yes, well done Andy. As
Hi, Yes, well done Andy.
As far as i can tell, the people who have been forced out of the SWP are their best and brightest, and quite a few are open to doing something more interesting than just forming another party.
I was talkin to an IS person tonight here (other side of the world from you, but still...) who reckons quite a few of the people who have just resigned may drop out of radical politics altogether cos of the stress and exhaustion of what they have just been through, but those who keep at it may well come up with something new and exciting. The best activists in Britain's largest leninist party have been purged and will now be looking for a new way forward. Libertarian communists should be talking to them and if they (as I hope) end up rejecting the traditional Leninist party building methods then we should be supporting and encouraging them.
PS there is a good list of links to all the stuff written on this here
Mm tbh most of the libcoms I
Mm tbh most of the libcoms I know who have seen this going through have been saddened by the fallout rather than entertained. Much as we tend to dislike the CC and the headbangers there's always been solid people in the SWP. As Mark says, a lot of them will probably drop out of politics now and who can blame them - all because a bunch of hacks would rather cling like limpets to their positions rather than do the right thing :(.
Looking through the list of
Looking through the list of those resigning, China Mielville is the most famous name which jumps out at me. Also I noticed that Pat Stack has not resigned…
Anyway, well done to those of you who have resigned, from another former SWP member!
Edited to add: Richard Seymour is gone as well!
Rob Ray wrote: Mm tbh most of
that's what happened to the German Communist Party (DKP) after Chernobyl and the downfall of GDR and USSR: of the ~ 50.000 members of the party around 1985, there are around 3.500 left today, of around 25.000 members of its youth org SDAJ 600 ... the majority dropped out of organized politics (a non-neglible number found religion and/or alcohol) or went to the right (SPD, Gruene, Die Linke/PDS, trade union and NGO bureaucrats), very few adopted a revolutionary rejection of the DKP's politics ... I hated the control the DKP and its fronts together with left SPDers exercised e.g. in the peace movement, in the city-wide school students council (especially there ;-)), in tenants associations, etc. ~ 25 years ago in my home city but their decline together with the disintegration of the left ("Fundi") wing of the Greens and the crisis of the Autonomen seriously weakened movements, the void they left was either filled by more rightwing or non-political forces or not filled at all
Rob Ray wrote: there's always
Solid people and members of a reactionary organisation.
http://www.jimjepps.net/?p=273 ... a regularly updated link list on the "SWP crisis"
To Andy g : Big hug 2 U. And
To Andy g : Big hug 2 U. And I wish you strength. I went through a small-scale similar thing in 2008 when I left the IS group in the Netherlands (sister group of the SWP) after the reaction of the CC, supported by a vast majority, to criticism I formulated almost suffocated me. Again, I 'm with you in feeling here, or try to be.
You know, I was going to make
You know, I was going to make an andy g wisecrack but instead I'm calling it before anyone else: I think the SWP collapsing is a good thing.
My suspicions have been confirmed and it has been revealed that the SWP is a den of violent misogynists, rapists and rapist-enablers. Anyone with anything resembling a moral backbone have jumped ship or are already planning to and, pretty soon, all that's going to be left of this goddam travesty of a trot front is going to a bunch of damn splits. This myopic, inward looking cult that turns all its membership into a damn fief for the upper echelons to exploit for money has finally fallen apart thanks to all the power-hungry reprobates in the CC.
Yeah, they'll be a lot of solid and good people dropping out of radical politics in general but I certainly wouldn't see working a second job as a firm foundation for radical politics anyway. I guarantee that anyone who's broken a sweat for those eternally ungrateful elitists were going to be let down eventually. Anyone who were loyal to the SWP and leaves because of this are probably to worn out to do anything else, regardless of ideological conviction.
Man, I thought the SWP was a big cult before all the stooges decided to do the defend-rape shuffle. I felt it was a useless organization that turned a bunch of middle class college kids into paper selling machines with no individual initiative beyond the downright stupid decrees of an pretentious and pigheaded elite.
Only now do I realize that the SWP is just like a capitalist business and is just as bad as the old WRP. The big drives for membership might as well have been capital accumulation, and all that damn paper selling might as well have been a nice easy way to make some profits for the upper echelons.
The SWP has been revealed to be the most misogynistic group on the whole left which has fostered an environment where rapists can act out on their base instincts with full immunity, they instead put the women on trial and ask them about their "drinking habits". It's an organization where "feminist" is a fucking slur.
Like the state, reform is impossible in the so-called "Socialist" "Workers" Party. Elites are so-completely entrenched in the party-state that they make it a point to squash anyone inventive or unique or innovative. They expelled someone for proposing a cultural section - I'd like to see what would happen if these leninists, reprobates and misogynists were in farting distance of genuine political power.
I used to be shocked at the situation and was scandalized by it. When I first found out about it, I immediately contrasted it to the case of an idiotic anarchist "joking" about raping women fascists on his organization's facebook. I thought that Martin Smith/Comrade Delta would be immediately expelled and the CC would be going on the defensive trying to save face - that's what happened when something like this happened to us, and we didn't even fucking cover up an actual rape!
Only now have I stopped looking at this scandal with a gossipy voyeurism and now feel completely outraged. This was not an isolated incident, and the pigheaded idiots haven't learned shit. The whole organization deserves to burn down to the ground and the earth on which it stood deserves to thoroughly salted. I'll be clapping for every exodus and hollering when it's a big Fone. I hope to god this incident doesn' t just blow over and all the SWP falls the fuck apart. I wish the absolute worst for the SWP.
Also Steven was SWP and andy
Also Steven was SWP and andy g was there for twenty years?
(For the record, I was only a
(For the record, I was only a member for about 9-12 months, and not a particularly active one at that. I only did one paper sale, under duress)
To Andy G - wishing you all
To Andy G - wishing you all the best. To end a 20 year commitment couldn't have been an easy thing to do and you have my support and respect.
I was never tempted to join, but I had friends who did and they were good people, however odious I think the SWP is as an organisation is, there's a lot of people who have had their political foundations rocked and I'm inclined to deal with this with kindness, rather than gloating.
I am getting really fed up though about in some places this is being referred to as a sex scandal. A sex scandal is when some celebrity's illicit affair is splattered over the tabloids, this is about rape and abuse of power. Some of the language used (not on this site) totally belittles what has happened. Also not a criticism of this site, but since this story started to break, some people have been rubbing their hands with glee about it all. Personally I'd love to see the SWP disappear into a hole and never come back out again, but there are real live, feeling women at the heart of this story and I can't imagine what they are going through.
None of that was directed at anyone posting here, just got a bit of the irritation at some of the chatter that's been going around off my chest. Too much twitter, I suspect.
Exactly fleur: I don't think
Exactly fleur: I don't think there should be any type of celebration about this, because it is rooted in events which must have been horrible for the individuals concerned - and it would have been better if these events never occurred at all.
Totally agree. And recently seeing quite a lot of patronising, preachy crap advising newly resigned SWP members to go and read some books about Marxism has been quite cringe worthy indeed, as one woman put it on facebook:
Also, it's been discussed on the site but the arrogance of people assuming that totally inadequate handling of sexual assault is something Trot-specific, when there's been plenty enough badly-dealt with sexual assaults in the anarchist and radical left (or autonomist or whatever the fuck, non-trot) scene recently. Yeah there's been some examples of really good practice too but it's not like we've got our house in order just yet.
Ramona wrote: Yeah there's
Is there something written up on this? I've searched in vain for good accountability processes; they all seem to end really horribly and never with a productive outcome, so I'd be really interested in reading examples of good practice. Needless to say, the reason I am inquiring is because of some very problematic behaviour in anarchist/activisty circles that we're trying to combat as best as we can.
Not to derail but i was kinda
Not to derail but i was kinda taken aback that so many of the 500 signatories supporting the CCs procedures were teachers. Not that i think teachers are immune from any of the shit that circulates in society; but more down to the fact that being involved in a profession like that, one gets a lot of training on "good practice", "child protection", and "working with vulnerable people. The whole process, as depicted by the SWPs documents go against practically all the stuff one learns within a profession like that.
I mean obviously people will behave in ways that contravene those kinda principles, but to put ones name behind a process that would be considered 'bad practice' at every level is a bit astounding.
Whilst i don't think anybody should be rooting for people to lose their jobs, it does seem somewhat problematic that one of the justifications behind the DCs procedure was on the basis of one of the members of that committees having expertise in these matters by virtue of working in rape crisis situations. Not really sure if that person should be in that line of work if they are happy to go along with such a shoddy procedure...
Khawaga wrote: Is there
I'm not sure of anything written up on best practice, but I'd point you towards Support New York who have a lot of experience in facilitating accountability processes. A lot of this stuff comes from the fluffier, less class-struggle side of the anarcho scene which can be off-putting at times but I still think there's a lot we can gain from it.
Khawaga wrote: Ramona
TBH I think if something did have a productive outcome them probably no one would hear about it, as probably neither party would want it to be advertised.
I, for example, am aware of just one case where there was such a process which as far as I know both sides ended up happy with, and part of the resolution was that neither wanted it to be public knowledge...
One example I guess is Sam from Anarchist Federation who was booted out in a survivor-led process, whose case has been linked to earlier in the thread.
On the SWP teachers, not defending the ones who are sticking with the CC, but the one SWP teacher I know through work resigned a few weeks ago. (Although the other SWP types in my union branch are sticking with the CC, but none of them work in safeguarding roles)
Laurie Penny and Stavvers on
Laurie Penny and Stavvers on the latest (earlier this evening) Circled A show discussing sexual violence and hierarchy:
It could do with being a hour long - only begin to talk practical solutions in the last few minutes.
I joined in 1991 at the
I joined in 1991 at the tender age of 17 so (allowing for periods of inactivity) had been in and around the SWP for 22 years. Fuck I feel old...
I am not going to engage in any recantations or damn the SWP to high heaven or suchlike. As I said, there are plenty of good comrades who remain members in the hope of engineering change or whatever. Even more will continue as good activists and militants. Good luck to them. As I said in my resignation letter to the National Secretary, I can no longer accept the political authority of a leadership that has debased itself so abjectly.
I guess all of us who have resigned need to go through a settling of accounts and I intend to scrutinise my core beliefs and ask myself what is of value in the "IS tradition" and what is now a matter of historical curiosity. The resistance to dogmatic orthodoxy and openess of the SRG/IS would certainly be one for me. That is what I am looking for from the International Socialist Network. Where it will lead us is an open question....
Good piece by comedian and
Good piece by comedian and former SWP member Mark steel:
My Libcom blog piece on the
My Libcom blog piece on the SWP crisis: http://libcom.org/blog/swp-crisis-some-analysis-some-thoughts-13032013
Spiked mag top it for the
:eek: Spiked mag top it for the most insane comment on this whole thing. I'm not even going to link it.
I know it's a sordid detail
I know it's a sordid detail in an even more sordid affair, but I was wondering (independently of the issue of rape) about the brushing away of criticism of the intergenerational affair as "bourgeois morality". Surely even for people who believe in the democracy of the party and that CC members are not in a position of authority over new recruits, they are still in a teacher-student kind of relationship? Isn't that problematic in itself? Or am I thinking with my bourgeois morality again?
Quote: I was wondering
Soviet goon boy - by far the best of the blogs on this issue - has this on that aspect: http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/the-age-gap-and-why-it-matters/
Thanks for the links to
Thanks for the links to Soviet Goon boy, very interesting. A lot of very good posts here.
Every time I think that this cannot get worse the CC or its defenders manage to make it so.
reading this hypocritical
reading this hypocritical stuff in the new SW makes me sick: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=30860
SWP crisis, you wouldn't
SWP crisis, you wouldn't think so to look at all the paper sellers today at Bedroom Tax protest here in Sheffield, though the lack of any anarchist or pro-revolutionary presence was more telling,
jonthom wrote: Fuck me that
He was booked to play at our local (Newcastle) volunteer run cinema/gig space, a few weeks back, where he was also to play a film and push his anti-semitic and vile misogyny to the usual apolitical liberal twits, in the programmers defence they knew little of his politics other than Jazz Northeast saying you may have some problems with 'Zionists', it was a tough one, with me and one other guy going mental at the beginning, but thanks to facebook kickoff and after 4 hours of meetings, he had his gig cancelled costing the cinema some 800 quid. But fucking sound that they were willing to take such a hit when they are financially on the edge. Well done the Star and Shadow.
Gilad Atzmon on twitter:
Gilad Atzmon on twitter: @Schmazz @xxxxx I had a dinner in town tonight and was approached by a few people who told me what they think of this SS collective...
@Schmazz @xxxxxx I believe that this all even will backfire big time. . I must have hit a raw nerve, namely the truth..
@schmazz @starandshadow I left the matter with my lawyer ..this ss collective made a mistake.. I feel sorry for them
Apparenty Sheffield is a
Apparenty Sheffield is a bastion of SWP reactionaries
I understand basically the
I understand basically the entire Leeds student section has now disaffiliated. This seems like a significant blow; Leeds is one of the bigger universities, the SWP rely heavily on recruitment through students, and SP & Revo will be snapping up any leftovers on campus.
Sheffield does seem to have a
Sheffield does seem to have a lot of rabid pro - CCers. Was a strong branch through the eighties and nineties - given that that "generation" of members have been disproportionately loyalist may have something to do with it.
The standard retort to talk of a crisis in the party is "well no-one mentioned it to me on paper sale / in my local / in the chippie / when I was communing with the devil (repeat ever more ridiculous iterations until boredom takes you)".
Leeds SWSS have disaffiliated and constituted themselves as Leeds Revolutionary Socialists. They are very active on campus and include one of the "Facebook Four".
New edition of The Fucking
New edition of The Fucking Left Rag: ALEX CALLINOCOS RETREATS INTO FANTASY WORLD, SWP IN CRISIS, SCUM oh god, why did it ever have to happen.
I fucking love the Fucking
I fucking love the Fucking Left Rag! (Sitting back and wondering which one of you lot is behind it.)
Pure fucking genius.
Pure fucking genius.
SWP stewards attack a (apparently majority female) group chanting RAPE APOLOGISTS at SWP speaker at anti-bedroom tax demo in...Glasgow?
Caiman del Barrio
Caiman del Barrio
More about the above here:
"This is a tax demo, why don't you go back to your rape demo"
Steven. wrote: One example I
I couldn't find that link but would be interested to read about it.
here's the link:
here's the link: http://www.afed.org.uk/blog/society/194-af-statement-on-the-disassociation-of-sam-sheffield-group.html
a new recruit for UAF Ipswich
Page is dead could you give us a summary?
a former Tory councillor who had been persecuted for acts of indecency against minors
Fucking hell, I hope the post
Fucking hell, I hope the post is dead because the SWP didn't know and canned them when it came out. To think the original posts in this thread weren't the bottom of the barrel is just shocking.
Interesting new statement
Interesting new statement from over 200 dissidents within the party following the suspension of four more members over this. The statement also says that 400 members have left so far over the scandal, including nearly all the students, that 15 party workers have either quit or been sacked, and that attendance at Marxism may drop by 50% this year as people boycott the event:
and some scheduled speakers
and some scheduled speakers who are still SWP members have withdrawn from participating at Marxism 2013
They are even expelling
They are even expelling people ho are advertised to speak at Marxism, it looks to be a pitifully poor parody of its past performances.
The 4 have now been
The 4 have now been re-instated:
Defiant response from the 4 who have been re-instated:
Tbh, if the SWP CC can't even arbitrarily expell/suspend members anymore then they're just about to disintegrate.
Some analysis, just posted:
Some analysis, just posted: http://libcom.org/blog/trotskyism-edge-swp-crisis-10072013
no1 wrote: The 4 have now
Yes, but.. Read the subtext of this http://revolutionarysocialism.tumblr.com/post/55121115026/marxism-2013-festival
So they are saying it was the potential embarrassment of the speakers at Marxism pulling out that forced the rowback. I wouldn't give many odds to them still being there once Marxism is safely out of the way. Also, from that same post:
which begs the question of how "safely out of the way" Marxism ends up being. Could be a very ghoulish spectacle.
Not absolutely sure but it
Not absolutely sure but it seems that 'Delta", has finally lost his remaining position. This: http://internationalsocialistnetwork.org/index.php/ideas-and-arguments/organisation/swp-crisis/resignations/186-good-riddance-now-sack-the-rest. It talks of "Delta's "resignation"".
more saying so
more saying so http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/martin-smith-resigns-from-swp.html
now I wonder if the SWP leadership are really wondering if defending him was worth it?
Steve: Quote: now I wonder if
Good question. I don't believe for one minute that Delta's 'resignation' was voluntary. In other words, the CC finally got rid of him. I have no proof of that, but do we really believe this Delta guy saw sense without a bit of prodding? I don t believe it will save the leadership people will see this as admission of guilt, and - because of the long thelay - a very unwilling admission as well. Worst of both world.
On the effects: I think it will give new strength to those SWP oppositionists who see it as proof that the party still can be saved, can be "reclaimed" for "the real IS tradition". The whole melodrama will drag on and on.
Michael Rosen wrote a good
Michael Rosen wrote a good open letter to the SWP about this on his blog. And SWP loyalist wrote this response, which is pretty eye opening about how fucked up and insane they are:
(trigger warning) Rape in the
(trigger warning) Rape in the SWP: a comrade’s testimony and experience of the disputes committee
Interesting recollections from former WRP CC member regarding abuse similar to that of the SWP.
Delta was not kicked out as
Delta was not kicked out as that would mean admitting they were wrong. He left to avoid the repercussions of a second woman's case against him being fully heard, i.e that he would be shown to be what he really was. If he ever decides to come back to the party it's been decided he has a 'case to answer' for the sexual harrassment of a work colleague. By resigning, he avoided this.
In fact, comrades have set him up in a PhD to do further 'work' with young and vulnerable women! http://libcom.org/blog/martin-smith-given-phd-place-liverpool-hope-university-21102013 After his first move out of the central committee, he abused again, this time a young work comrade, no-brainer what might happen now they've moved him again :(
Unrelated to the above post,
Unrelated to the above post, I heard the ISN was recently / is now having an internal debate about whether to employ a full timer or not, with a substantial faction against, surprising for ex SWP members.
a document by Solidarity
a document by Solidarity about dealing with sexism and sexual violence in their org: http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/sexualviolenceprocess
Here's three useful recent
Here's three useful recent articles about the SWP from well-informed ex-members. The first is from Sovietgoonboy:
'This is the way the party ends: not with a bang, but with a whimper'
(the comments section is also definitely worth a read)
The second article is by Sam Farber which (perhaps unintentionally) helps dismantle the myth that things were much better in the days of the International Socialists.
In his article, Farber points out that 'at the beginning of the missile crisis in October 1962, [Tony Cliff] predicted in all seriousness that there would be no war — because the rate of profit was too high ... [And in 1968 he thought that] the new outbreaks of racism ... [meant] that Fascism was a real and immediate threat.'
The important point being not that Cliff got it so wrong (getting it wrong is one of the left's favourite habits) but that so many smart people were impressed by Cliff's obvious shallowness:
Sam Farber: 'Tony Cliff as a Socialist Leader'
This piece from a more recent SWP leader is also worth a look and shows the severity of the present SWP collapse:
SWP: Resignation of recent CC member
Thanks that makes for some
Thanks that makes for some interesting reading, I think that resignation letter might be useful in the Library as it shows how abusive and false "Democratic" Centralism is and how such parties operate.
In addition to exposing how flawed such groups commitment to women's liberation is in theory and practice.
Interesting but really to
Interesting but really to read Lyndsey German deny her own overbearing and bullying behaviour whilst in SWP is totally laughable. As regards the denial of the tactic of ostracism NOT being used inside the SWP until recently go tell it to the marines. My long term companera was in the SWP in the 1970s and was being groomed for high leadership role. When there was a theoretical disagreement over a point of economics she and others were ostracised by the leadership and she avows that this was a regular tactic employed by them.
Interesting to hear mention of the sleazy Nagliatti, one time Industrial Organiser. He returned to Italy and became chief industrial adviser for FIat, instructing them on how to fight militancy in their car factories.
Ex-swp people doing
Ex-swp people doing interesting and worthwhile stuff:
Mass resignation from
Mass resignation from Australian section of Peter Taaffe’s CWI over abuse of women members
among those who resigned is Stephen Jolly, their only local councillor
and in Sheridan's Solidarity:
and in Sheridan's Solidarity: http://www.thenational.scot/news/solidarity-in-turmoil-tommy-sheridan-accused-of-ignoring-sexual-harassment-of-female-party-members.15773
and in the AWL:
and in the AWL: https://awlstatement.blogspot.co.uk/
And the RCG (this is their
And the RCG (this is their statements where they suspended then reinstated someone three months later, not sure if there's a site collecting testimonials though) http://www.revolutionarycommunist.org/9-uncategorised/5056-our-311217
Entdinglichung wrote: and in
and the reply by the AWL: http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2018-01-11/response-statement
another AWL statement:
another AWL statement: http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2018-02-14/note-readers