SWP’s “good old days”?

Martin Thomas

Oppositionist writers in the SWP, in their polemics against the SWP’s current regime, are sometimes harking back to the ideas of the SWP (then called IS) before 1968, as summarised by two texts by Tony Cliff: Trotsky on substitutionism (1960) and Rosa Luxemburg (actually also 1960, but usually attributed to 1959).

Why the Crisis in the SWP? "The politics of IS" - a 1969 polemic

Sean Matgamna

The explosion of political discussion in IS, ignited by the sudden change of line by Cliff in favour of building the embryo of a "revolutionary party" seemed six months ago to be the most hopeful thing on the British left. Many, seeing also the new-type IS positions on Vietnam and the Middle East — a radical break with the abstentionist attitude of the group to this kind of struggle in the first 15 years of its existence — wondered whether the leadership might not even disavow other aspects of its past.

The SWP crisis: socialism, democracy and feminism. A round-table discussion

27 February, 2013 - 19:00 - 21:00

ULU, Malet St, London WC1E 7HY


A roundtable discussion with Joan Smith and Cathy Nugent.

The Socialist Workers’ Party is in crisis.

An internal fight over democracy and women’s rights has seen many activists expelled, and a broad debate has sprung up over what a revolutionary organisation is for and how it should be organised.

The fact that the fight pitted the Central Committee against what they called “creeping feminism” has also raised the question of what the attitude of Marxists to women’s liberation should be, and where the SWP leadership’s mistrust of “feminism” comes from.

Joan Smith, former editor of the SWP women’s magazine Women’s Voice, will speak alongside Cathy Nugent from Workers’ Liberty.

What lessons can socialists draw from the SWP’s current crisis - not just about the SWP but about other organisations (including their own) and the wider movement? How should revolutionary socialists inside and outside the SWP pick up the pieces from the current crisis and continue the fight?

All are welcome to this public debate on the state of the socialist left, hosted by Workers’ Liberty.

Facebook event

The SWP: where did it all go wrong?

Tom Walker; Martin Thomas; Sean Matgamna

On 3 February the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) National Committee met and voted to authorise the smaller Central Committee to expel members of the opposition which has developed within the SWP since the run-up to its 4-6 January conference. Former Socialist Worker journalist Tom Walker has already quit and published a long analysis of the SWP. We print extracts. Full text: http://bit.ly/twalk.

The SWP and "Leninism"

Martin Thomas

The Central Committee (CC) of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has changed its line. For the first while after the SWP's unhappy conference on 4-6 January, the CC said that the conference had decided the controversial issues. The case was closed, SWP members were instructed to think and talk about other things, and, as for non-SWPers, it was none of their business.

Where will SWP opposition go?

Martin Thomas

The row in the Socialist Workers Party is heading for a split. The opposition, which now has a public website, internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk, is calling for an SWP special conference and the removal of the current Central Committee and Disputes Committee.