Writings about skeezy left groups?

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Nate
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Dec 19 2011 21:03
Writings about skeezy left groups?

hey all, I recently heard some stories about a left group that I'm not gonna name (the person who told me is still friends with some members of the group is sorting out how she wants to respond to this and she doesn't want me naming names here). Basically the group she used to be part of has really common dynamics where older men in the group are in positions of formal authority as well as informal authority (respected, writers for group publications, conduct educational events etc) and they hit on and sleep with younger women recruits a lot. The roles women play in the group tend more often than not are to be girlfriends or to be hit on by the older men who run the group and by the younger up and coming men in the group who are climbing the ranks (formally and informally). There have also been repeated incidents where men in the group have made advances on women in the group, been turned down, made more advances, been turned down and told to stop it, and the men keep on trying to get these women to sleep with them. When raised within the organization the group has basically just dodged the issue. Unsurprisingly women don't tend to stick around.

I imagine they can't be particularly rare but I can't remember ever reading something that talks about this sort of thing. That may be just a gap in what I read. So have you ever read anything about these kinds of dynamics?

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plasmatelly
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Dec 19 2011 21:20

Sounds a prize-winning nightmare! Heard tales on smaller scales but not as wide scale as what you're talking about. I'm always surprised that groups stay together when I hear tales like this.

tigersiskillers
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Dec 19 2011 22:07

The most notorious example I can think of is Gerry Healy from the WRP.

There's a little about it here: http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/Pages/Healy/Chap11.html

Mike Harman
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Dec 20 2011 04:26

We have the Solidarity article on the WRP and Iraq: http://libcom.org/library/revolution-betrayed-wrp-iraq

this mentions:

Quote:
This was as a result of allegations of sexual abuse, even rape, of women in the party, physical assault on other members, and the establishment of a "mercenary relationship" with a number of Arab despotisms (see Solidarity issue 11).

However I'm not finding Solidarity issue 11 online anywhere.

There's also http://libcom.org/library/suicide-for-socialism-jonestown-brinton although that's a more extreme example than even the WRP.

sawa
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Dec 20 2011 04:52

That sounds terrible although I doubt its that irregular for groups in the milieu. :[ I presume you have informally spread this around people especially women likely to work with them, if thats possible obv. What do the women in the group currently think about this, any chance women in your org or whatever can reach out to them. &&& solidarity to ya both obv. :[
Hmm sorry dunno about writings some of the recent stuff in response to the Occupy movement may be useful or stuff about Tommy Sheridan.

darren red star
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Dec 20 2011 07:45

Anna Chen described this as the "fuck circuit" and claimed that this was the only way that young activists were selected for full timer posts inside the British SWP. Those who caught the eye of senior comrades were groomed and promoted according to their willingneess to be sexually exploited.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Dec 20 2011 10:39
darren red star wrote:
Anna Chen described this as the "fuck circuit" and claimed that this was the only way that young activists were selected for full timer posts inside the British SWP. Those who caught the eye of senior comrades were groomed and promoted according to their willingneess to be sexually exploited.

I like Anna Chen and a lot of what she says, and she was undoubtedly treated badly by the leadership of the SWP, but I'm not convinced it's the way people get promoted.

I have no doubt there is a "fuck circuit" among the upper echelons of the SWP - and there may be a link between joining it and getting promoted through the ranks, after all its a way to build relationships with the existing holders of power, but I think the best way to rise through the ranks of the SWP is to enthusiastically promote the CC line, write a few articles basically plagerising articles by the existing leadership, and to be quite forward and a confident speaker and debater (in the right direction of course).

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Nate
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Dec 20 2011 17:43

Thanks all. This was news to me when I heard though it was also one of those things where after she told me about it was "ohhhhh why didn't I see that, it sounds so obvious once you say it" kind of things -- like, not surprising once you get over the surprise. I'm trying to get my friend to write something about it eventually, either the specifics of the specific group or at least a general description of the group dynamics. I think I said this but it's something that I feel like there ought to be stuff written on and it's just that I haven't happened to read them. If there isn't something on this then it's one that'd be good to try to get more people to write about as it can't be all that rare. I feel like for some stuff when someone tells me a story I can think of a half dozen things that I've read that that makes me think of and then there's stuff like this where it's important and I can't think of anything I've ever read on it and don't even know where to look to see if such writing exists, that's always a weird feeling.