Is the SWP collapsing?

October 17, 2007 at 9:54 pm (blogging, deviants, Galloway, geeks, Respect, SWP, twat, voltairespriest, wankers)

Any thoughts, readers? For myself, I actually think they were right to kick out Hoveman and the other Galloway groupies. However it also seems to me that they’re trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted. Possibly we’re witnessing the collapse of the last of the “big three” trot groups from the 1970s and 80s, following the explosion of the WRP and the implosion of Militant. Also one wonders whether the rats are about to leave the sinking ship in light of the crisis. This thread’s open – feel free to comment if you wish.


  1. Mike said,

    Well Jim while one is happy tosee the likes of Hoveman and Ovenden expelled from even a degenerating socialist group such as the SWP things will only get better (cough) when the SWP membership expell the architects of the Respect fiasco. Which aint gonna happen.

    Expell German and Rees!

  2. modernityblog said,

    to use that old expression, the “internal contradictions” of the situation are finally playing out

    SWP’s opportunism, which it could be argued (granted I don’t believe it) was one of their strengths, is shown for what it is a fatal weakness

    the question isn’t so much IF they are stuff, just when?

    even their membership, with its infinite flexibility and watered-down politics, must be having a problem with this situation?

    I think the lessons to learn are to avoid those patterns of behaviour which made the SWP what it was:

    centralised leadership;
    “dictatorial” line;
    lack of pluralism
    irrelevance to the working-class;
    lack of universal principles;
    student and overwhelmingly middle class composition, etc

    plus a whole lot of other things to junk

  3. Darren said,

    No, they won’t collapse, but maybe Respect has now jumped the shark.

  4. johnnyrook said,


  5. twp77 said,

    I say a damned pox on both of their houses. Let the thing fall apart and let’s move on. Every day this nonsense goes on is another day that formerly good activists are being dragged into supporting one sect over another in an irrelevant debate while the posties and the public sector are getting screwed.

  6. les wade said,

    I think this is one of the best comments I’ve read on this whole debate so far. Acting in defense of the public sector should be high up on the list of priorities for every socialist. Even though I don’t live in the UK, I’ve been following this whole sad story, and it seems to have rapidly degenerated into the usual either/or dichotomy that can siphon attention away from some current struggles that actually impact the lives of working people. I mean, after a certain point, it’s almost as if we’ve rephrased the question “What is to be done” into “Who is to be blamed?”

  7. modernityblog said,

    it is a shame that the regular SWP readers of this blog don’t feel up to commenting on the situation

    if they are fearful of expulsion they can always use an alias!

  8. Jason S. said,

    If the SWP completely collapses, where are the former rank-and-file SWP members likely to go, politically?

  9. modernityblog said,

    not sure, I’ll bet a few go into Labour (needing a political home), some become greeny, a few might go far right, and some more will become converts or straight Islamists?

    who knows

    a chunk will go apolitical, as often happens

  10. voltaires_priest said,

    Mr Rook is, I believe, an SWP member – albeit (judging by his rather good blog) far less of a tosser than many of them.

  11. Renegade Eye said,

    It’s hard to tell as an outsider what is happening. I don’t think it’s the end of anything.

  12. tim said,

  13. modernityblog said,

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I am getting overload with the Respect debacle

    I must congratulate Andy Newman as the SU blog is like an alternative “Respect” blog,

    the coverage is outstanding, it’s like watching a car crash in slow motion, with a blog-based commentary, perhaps overkill but still it provides information and a public servce to SWPers and Respect members that they won’t find from other sources (much for political transparency?)

  14. Jason S. said,

    So it’s not at all likely that ex-rank-and-file SWP members might end up in more genuinely democratic Marxist quarters? So it’d be 1956 all over again, then.

  15. voltairespriest said,

    I think it’s possible. People don’t join the SWP to be part of an anti-democratic cult, and when they discover that’s what they’ve joined, they tend to leave. The important thing is to make sure they’re not simply lost to politics for ever.

  16. Paulie said,

    Where will SWPers end up when (if) it collapses?

    Who cares?

    Who will notice?

    It’s not as if a surfeit of intellect and talent will be on the market, distorting other projects, is it? I suppose a few small groupuscules on the far left will notice that there is a few particularly gullable and bidable students have started turning up at their meetings.

    In which case, it may be worth dusting off some sort of ‘are you now or have you ever been…’ initiation questions for screening purposes…

  17. voltaires_priest said,

    In fairness to them (and it doesn’t come easy) they’re not all “gullible students”. Most of them join because of some kind of desire to change the world for the better. They’re mislead by a sickening and cultish leadership clique, but they – the members – are by and large sound people who deserve to be part of something better than the ex-cliffite political vehicle for its leaders’ ambitions that they’ve ended up in.

  18. Paulie said,

    “…political vehicle for its leaders’ ambitions”???

    I’m baffled by the view that any organisation that has failed in every campaign that it has ever engaged in – over decades – could be regarded as a ‘vehicle for its leaders’ political ambitions’.

    Imagine you were running some single issue campaign or other? The moment that the SWP decided to support you is the moment you realise that your campaign is irretrievably fucked. I don’t really go for conspiracy theories, but if I did, I’d start thinking aloud about how every worthwhile progressive cause gets hijacked and throttled by the SWP. I’d wonder what dark forces were *really* behind them.

    But I generally prefer cock-up to conspiracy as a theory.

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