Today (Saturday 7 July), a group of Workers’ Liberty supporters went along to the SWP’s annual Marxism festival. We wanted to talk to attendees and challenge some of the SWP’s politics, and especially their support for “Lexit” during the European referendum.
We were leafleting for a fringe meeting hosted by ourselves – The Left Should Oppose Brexit. One of the guest speakers was from Another Europe is Possible/Left Against Brexit.
The result of this activity? The SWP first overturning and breaking our stall while it was set up outside the Institute of Education. The material overturned from the stall was picked up by SWP organisers and put on the floor on the footpath. One of the organisers stole a chunk of the Brexit event leaflets. Some of the material was torn up.
Later, when standing outside Student Central (Malet Street) SWP members stood round our leafleters making petty comments and obstructing them for over an hour.
Behaving like police enforcers against picketers or demonstrators we were continually asked to move one or two metres in order to stand on the pavement. One SWPer challenged one of our members to a fight.
The image shows the result of a gang of them coming to remove us from IoE: the stall on its side, broken with a pile of material in the gutter, including some which has been ripped up.
The SWP have form here. At Marxism 1993 two of our comrades were physically assaulted by SWP thugs (see what we published about it here). At the time the AWL launched a campaign against violence in the labour movement. We said then and we repeat it now: the left has disagreements but these should always be resolved by discussion and debate.
It should be completely taken for granted that the left should interact without resorting to physical obstruction, removal from venues, destroying literature and threatening physical fights.
it should also be taken for granted that the left should not support israel and make it a flag about anything it does, let alone defending the european union, a capitalist construction that fills every day the sea of the mediterranean with human bodies
There is nothing new in this when it comes to the SWP.
Where on this website have you found support for Israel or the EU? The Awl’s attitude to Israel and the eu is pretty much identical to Corbyn’s. Two states for Israel and Palestine; antiEU as a neoliberal institution but also anti Brexit. Awl have a difference on tactics, strategy etc but on these issues it is basically in line with mainstream labour movement opinion. Groups like the swp have more far more bizarre (and bloodthirsty) positions. Perhaps if there was a more healthy culture of discussion and debate on the left, rather than boneheaded thuggery, then people like you, lefty, might get your facts straight. In the meantime maybe read the website before posting the thug’s propaganda?
During the form up for the anti far right demo on Saturday I was giving SWPers our leaflet asking their CC to investigate the incident.
First young SWPer says we are too big to be concerned about small groups and also that SWP had paid for venue so they could allow/disallow anybody they wanted. He said maybe it was inexperienced comrades but later I learned that a full time organiser was part of the offending group. I said that at some stage of the class struggle I hoped that all the socialists would be in one organisation but for that to happen the SWP would need to learn how to debate its differences with the rest of the left without resort to violence. I pointed out that they had done this to kind of thing to us before and that they’d also done it to the Sparts.
Second young SWPer quite apologetic genuinely didn’t seem to know anything about it. Older SWPer sees us discussing it, comes over and says in all his 30 years in the SWP he never heard of any SWPer doing anything like this. I said it had happened before; shrug of shoulders. When I asked if he would condemn it if it had happened then he said it was out of order that I should be discussing this on a day when we had all come together against the fascists, I replied that I was still intending to march with him against the far right but as we were all just standing around waiting for the demo to set off I didn’t see how that detracted from our ability to counter Robbo’s gang. He then changed tack and asked me how many people I had brought to the demo. I said I had only brought myself to which he triumphantly replied that he had brought 50 and having thus demonstrated his superiority walked away without once engaging with the issue on the leaflet.