Saturday, September 25, 2004


This is bollocks, obviously
Under John Rees the Socialist Workers Party is relentlessly being refashioned into a vehicle to promote left populism. But many SWP members are unhappy and a few seem to be actively contemplating rebellion.

Externally, the Rees regime means crass electoralism - “a popular, radical alternative to neoliberalism and war”, in his words (Socialist Worker September 19). Fearing anything that might bring temporary unpopularity, the SWP has retreated from taking a definite principled stand on issues as diverse as a workers’ representative receiving a worker’s wage, opposition to all immigration controls, republicanism and supporting abortion rights. Lowest common denominator unity and making it as councillors and MPs is all that counts...

Some leading SWPers fear that comrade Rees in particular has ‘gone native’ in Respect - we have even been told that Rob Hoveman is amongst them. Reportedly he wants to quit as Respect organiser (permission was denied). Certainly the way John Rees and Lindsey German excitedly contrast the ‘new’ coalition to the ‘boring’ old left is being used as prima facia evidence of an opportunist metamorphosis.

It is easy to see why. For example, in the September 18 issue of Socialist Worker, comrade Rees says: “Respect has always done best … when it organises in ways that the traditional left has not.” He goes on to cite some examples: In Hartlepool, Respect football supporters are apparently “organising to hold up ‘Vote John Bloom’ placards at the match”. In Islington, “Respect is sponsoring a showing of Ken Loach’s Navigators” and in Birmingham, the local Respect organised a “Picnic for Peace in a local park”, with stalls, a barbecue and “inflatable castle”. In the same vein, the comrade lauds the experience of “the Italian left”, with its “long tradition of street festivals and cultural activities” which “Respect should replicate in this country”...

Again, this is nonsense. Cultural activities and political meetings should not be counterposed. They can and ought to complement each other. But serious political meetings should come first. Without them Respect’s membership cannot learn from each other, cannot think critically and cannot even begin to challenge the leadership. Clearly what the Rees-German partnership intend. Politics is to be for them and their chosen circle alone. They will flatter, bargain with, and manage the celebrities: George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley, Ken Loach, Mark Serwotka, etc. Meanwhile the rank and file is expected to get on with the donkey work of dishing out leaflets, raising the money and canvassing. Their reward for all the hard work is effectively to be a version of bread and circuses ... picnics and peace festivals.

The SWP once boasted of 10,000 members and Socialist Worker sales of 30,000. Very unlikely, even in the mid-1970s. Our estimate for dues-paying membership today would be around 2,000. But in terms of active members it surely cannot be more than a 1,000. A figure given credence by Respect’s own claim that it has notched up 3,500 paper members. Weekly Shirker Number 545
Lying bastard filthy scum Stalinist pig-dogs (except for Uncle George of course). Lindsey's fuckin' spitting! She's been in the phone booth on the Kilburn High Road screaming at people all afternoon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How dare they? Haven't they heard about our glorious victory in Hartlepool?A whopping 527 votes! This is the start of the revolution, comrade!


October 1, 2004 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Sean Delaney said...

Re: SWP election mania. Yes, its a real state these days, the SWP. The leadership of the SWP don't even bother selling the weekly newspaper! (Well known leading member on editorial board of Revolutionary History buys it off some minion, as is the case with all the leading bureaucrats in the party) What a state - but the paper's so rubbish, I don't blame them. The figure for paper sales is kept secret - because the figure is bad no-one would like to admit to it (less than a 1,000 per week) There is no SWP anymore, just a grouping of isolated individuals.

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