SWP calls special conference for 10 March

Author: 
Martin Thomas

The SWP Central Committee has not expelled the opposition, but instead called a conference for 10 March.

This follows the launching of a "moderate" faction on 9 March. Many prominent SWP old-timers and writers back the faction. Though its other demands are vague, it calls for Smith no longer to be a paid public representative of the SWP, and opposes expulsion of the more militant oppositionists.

The more outspoken SWP opposition says it will join the faction and work within it.

Former SWP student organiser Mark Bergfeld has resigned from the CC.

When the CC got a clear majority at the SWP national committee on 3 February for motions authorising it to expel oppositionists, it looked as if the CC would move quickly to expulsions and a split. Evidently the CC did not feel strong enough to do that.

The oppositionists say that the calling of a special conference at such short notice is a move to squash the opposition, and to cow the moderates by using against them the SWP rule that factions must dissolve after conference.

Whether the SWP CC can get away with that is another matter. Its authority in the organisation is evidently diminished.

The short-term prospect is of continuing ferment in and around the SWP, and a continuing loss of authority by the CC. No opposition group has yet raised issues of SWP politics as distinct from democratic procedures, but against this background the next sizeable political turn could cause ructions.

AWL members will continue to seek comradely discussions, and unity in action, with SWPers. Some SWP oppositionists evidently still have, or feel obliged to feign, the standard SWP CC AWL-ophobia; but not all.

Weblinks for SWP and opposition documents, and for AWL commentary and background: http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2013/01/30/swp-crisis.