SWP

The Paradoxes of Tony Cliff, 1917-2000: A Critical Memoir

Cliff

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

"The miners' strike is an extreme example of what we in the Socialist Workers Party have called the 'downturn' in the movement."

Tony Cliff, Socialist Worker, 14th April 1984

Examining the legacy of Tony Cliff, the chief leader of the Socialist Workers' Party in Britain until his death in 2000.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

AWL versus SWP

Material for an AWL day school, November/ December 2005, and other stuff on the political differences between AWL and SWP.

Download all the stuff for the dayschool as pdf (570 Kb), or read individual items below.

"AWL vs SWP" day school, November/ December 2005

Discussion points for the day school

1. Transitional programme vs fake ultra-leftism

Material for an AWL day school, November/ December 2005, and other stuff on the political differences between AWL and SWP.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

The Socialist Workers' Party and Syriza

Author: 

Martin Thomas

On 26 February 500 demonstrators marched in Athens denouncing the Syriza-led government’s deal with the Eurogroup finance ministers and demanding that Greece repudiate its debt and quit the EU.

Some of the demonstrators — not on the initiative of the organisers, it seems — smashed up shops, set cars on fire, and threw molotov cocktails.

The SWP can cope with the tasks of revolutionary socialist politics when all that requires is general shouting about the virtues of militancy and anger. When it requires strategic intelligence and patient political argument, the SWP flops from one pose to another.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Around the world: 

Egypt: militancy and Morsi

Author: 

Harry Glass

On 25 January 2011, an 18 day struggle began that toppled one of the Arab world’s longest-serving dictators, Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt.

Eighteen months later, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, the founding party of political Islam, was elected president. After barely a year he was deposed by a military coup and the old order was restored under Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. In the space of four years, Egypt has traversed from Mubarak’s military Bonapartism through the so-called “Republic of Tahrir” to the current “Republic of Fear”.

A review of Bread, Freedom, Social Justice: Workers and the Egyptian Revolution (Zed Books, 2014).

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Around the world: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Publications: 

The SWP and Charlie Hebdo

Those familiar with the Socialist Workers’ Party’s politics won’t have been surprised by its statement responding to the Charlie Hebdo attack. It was the most crude example of the kind of response we have seen from parts of the left in the UK.

The SWP’s statement included one line implying opposition to the killings and nothing at all about the basic principle of the right to free speech.

The Socialist Workers’ Party’s statement responding to the Charlie Hebdo attack included one line implying opposition to the killings and nothing at all about the basic principle of the right to free speech.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Verbal inflation blurs

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Mumsnet defines a rape apologist as “someone who seeks to excuse rape. Normally by finding a way to blame the victim...”

Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog summarises: “A rape apology is any argument that boils down to the myth that rapists can be provoked into raping by what the victim does or does not do”.

Cathy Nugent (Solidarity 346) defends her claim that the SWP is “rape apologist” by quoting reports from SWP oppositionists of responses by SWP members in the “Comrade X” and “Comrade W” cases. They are bad. But not all bad is “rape apologist”.

Reports from SWP oppositionists of responses by SWP members in the “Comrade X” and “Comrade W” cases are bad. But not all bad is “rape apologist”.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

The Party is not yet over

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

The 2014 conference of the Socialist Workers Party is in December. The content of the three conference internal discussion bulletins is a reminder that the SWP is not about to disappear.

It is still capable of organising activities and intervening in struggles on a scale not matched by the rest of the activist left except sometimes the Socialist Party — for instance, in the important workers’ struggles at Care UK in Doncaster and Lambeth College. It still has, in proportion to the left and trade union movement, a significant layer of union activists.

The 2014 conference of the Socialist Workers Party is in December. The content of the three conference internal discussion bulletins is a reminder that the SWP is not about to disappear.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

SWP: more than abuses of power

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

Martin Thomas objects to my use of the term “rape apologist” to describe the SWP's behaviour over complaints of rape and sexual harrassment, which eventually led to the group's implosion (Solidarity 346). He says the term is inaccurate, the SWP's real crimes were various abuses of power by the leadership and the party machine.

I accept that the accusation needs further explaination and the sentence in which I make the accusation was sloppily written, but I think the substance of the accusation makes sense.

Once the SWP's leadership decided they really wanted to keep Martin Smith in their organisation, that necessarily involved denying the possibility that he was guilty of rape.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

There must be room for doubt

Author: 

Martin Thomas

In her article “Don’t ban the SWP!” (Solidarity 344) Cathy Nugent argues, rightly, I think, that we should “challenge and protest”, “try to discuss with” SWP members, not try to ban.

Along the way, though, she drops in the assertion: “There is no doubt whatsoever that the SWP has been guilty of rape apologism, of denying the complaints of rape by women in their organisation”.

Bodies investigating rape charges should have a default, fallback assumption that there is a crime to be investigated. But there must still be room for due process, for “innocent until proven guilty”, for the possibility of finding that a particular charge does not have enough evidence.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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