Once again on the Weekly Worker's nonsense

Submitted by AWL on 14 February, 2014 - 6:17

The Weekly Worker has published a reply to our reply. It is not serious but we want to respond to some of its more ridiculous distortions.

1. We have never denied that we previously had limited political connections with the person in question (who the WW refers to repeatedly as "Comrade Alpha" in a rather obvious attempt to imply, without actually stating it, that he was an AWL member and that there is a comparison with the SWP's Martin Smith case). In fact, as we say above, he was never an AWL member or "part of" the AWL (sympathiser, etc).

2. No one denies the individual in question is guilty of wrong-doing, or has defended him.

3. In contrast: Steve Hedley was a Socialist Party member, whose joining was hailed on the SP website. He is a prominent public figure in the labour movement and was promoted as such by them. Both before and after joining he was regularly interviewed for their publications. When he resigned, the SP's statements defending him praised him and said they would continue to work closely with him. The following winter he was a speaker at their most important national event.

4. In contrast, the WW's "evidence" against us is that one of our organisers had political contact with the person in question right at the start of the process of complaints against him, when relatively few facts were known and no one in the movement had yet got to grips with exactly what was going on.

5. There is no principle that anyone admitting anything that could be termed abuse should be banned from every event, or that a group's response to such issues should always be published whatever the issues and wishes of those involved, and even when they relate to a marginal individual. Rather than arguing that there are such principles, the WW again keeps its phrases as vague as possible, attempting to create a scandal around Ideas for Freedom 2013 where there was none.

6. The individual was banned, with his own assent and opposition from no one, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts in June 2013, the same month that IFF 2013 took place. After that we had no contact with him until, having been asked to re-discuss it, we wrote to him in December to tell him he could not attend AWL events. The idea that there was some sort of foot-dragging, let alone a campaign to defend him, is ludicrous. (Again, contrast the SP, who have never stopped defending Hedley and eight months after the accusations against him had him as a speaker at their most important event.)

7. The WW campaign claiming that the AWL has opportunistically promoted 'identity politics' in the student movement is laughable but typical of their cynicism about making things up to 'illustrate' their inventions.

8. The most striking thing is that the article once again defends Steve Hedley, claiming that the RMT investigation cleared him (which both ignores the flaws in that investigation and in any case is not true) and effectively endorsing the Socialist Party's stance by denouncing our challenges to them as "moralising" and motivated by "factional opportunism". That, together with their willingness to invent things and concoct falsehoods, is the real scandal here.