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: 

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.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

A tale of two meetings

Author: 

Mark Osborn

On Tuesday I stood outside a meeting of Goldsmiths Student Assembly leafleting on behalf of Workers’ Liberty. A motion was to be discussed which would disband the SWP’s student society on campus.

Our leaflet said, in brief: the SWP are a degenerate sect, who have been responsible for covering up rape allegations inside their organisation, but don’t ban them, argue with them. A few dozen people took my leaflet, politely, and went in. No fuss.

Debating the SWP on campus.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Unity: real steps, or “rebranding”?

Author: 

Colin Foster

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has made another call for left unity (21 November). Sadly, it seems that the SWP aims more to “brand” itself as pro-unity than to get any actual unity.

Exits from the SWP in the last couple of years have taken maybe half its previous active membership and made it seem more of an expert on how to get splits than on unity. However, the new call makes no offer to recent splinters from the SWP — Counterfire, ISG, RS21, ISN — of terms on which they could reunite.

The Socialist Workers Party has made another call for left unity. Sadly, it seems that the SWP aims more to “brand” itself as pro-unity than to get any actual unity.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Don’t ban the SWP! Challenge and protest!

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

In recent weeks there have been attemps to ban the Socialist Worker Student Society at Edinburgh University, Sussex University and Goldsmiths, University of London.

The motion to ban at Edinburgh was withdrawn when the SWP threatened to sue the student union. The motion at Sussex failed by a large majority. As we go to press we do not know the result at Goldsmiths.

In recent weeks there have been attemps to ban the Socialist Worker Student Society at Edinburgh University, Sussex University and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

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