60 Members resign from SWP, sign open letter

February 16, 2010 at 9:37 pm (SWP, voltairespriest)

Well, well, well!

Yes, they’re all probably part of the politically virtually-indistinguishable “Left Faction”. Yes, this is a bit of sectarian gossip. But hey, it’s interesting to those of us who are connoisseurs of these matters, right?

Alex Snowdon of Luna17 publishes the letter and signatories. He’s understandably closed the comments on that thread. They’re open here.

(H/T – Red Maria)


  1. entdinglichung said,

    60 resignations … does this mean, that the remaining SWP has only around 65 members?

  2. johng said,

    “He’s understandably closed the comments on that thread”

    Yeah it is very understandable.

  3. Red Maria said,

    So whaddaya think of it?

  4. Jenny said,

    I really hate the sound of this democratic centralism business now. How could they forbid her to attend a rally within her own damn party?

  5. Red Maria said,

    Weeeeell, see Jenny, it’s all about party discipline.

    It’s not unlike the position Catholic priests willingly put themselves in when they subject themselves to their bishops who can and do tell them where to go and what not to do. If a priest’s bishop tells him he cannot attend a meeting, then he can’t. End of.

    Lindsey German is the Lucifer character in all this, shouting “Non serviam”. Or if

  6. Red Maria said,

    Bugger, computer went barmy there.

    Yes, Lindsey German can also be seen as the Zinoviev figure here.

    Which would make Martin Smith Soso Koba. Make of that what you willl.

    Or Sejanus.

    And Lindsey is Tiberius and the Party is Rome.

    There are always historical precendents for these sorts of things.

  7. Red Maria said,

    Or Martin Smith could be a Bonapartist, there’s always that possibility.

  8. skidmarx said,

    Or John & Lindsey as Dougal and Florence and Martin Smith as Zebedee, and you as the cultural commentator claiming imposing your own view of what it’s really all about.,

  9. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Actually I quite like that last analogy!

  10. entdinglichung said,

    far worse: John & Lindsey as John & Lindsey and Martin Smith as Martin Smith

  11. johng said,

    Red Maria, I find it little short of shocking that despite being warned, many members of the SWP (some of them not even full timers) continued to disagree with leading members of Left Platform. Is this what you call democracy I cried, as (again, outrageously) leading members of Left Platform were treated like anyone else. Its simply not possible to respond to this appalling state of affairs in any other way then by pretending its got something to do with hostility to new technology, or something like that. And STILL the criticism went on. Some people were even REWARDED for speaking their minds and the situation just got worse and worse. I really am wery angry.

  12. johng said,

    I should also say that so appalling is the way in which a bunch of people have been treated like any other bunch of people that even Mr Wilson, not a great fan usually of this particular bunch of people, was moved to write a fulsome tribute of Alex Snowdon. I share almost all his positive thoughts on this very impressive comrade:

    While I disagree with you about many things Alex you are nevertheless right about Cliff. Having lost the argument about the downturn on the rickety and threadbare stage of SWP conference he constructively dismissed himself immediately, resigning all of his positions in the party in order to cuddle up more closely to his tiny praetorian guard of true believers while patiently awaiting the inevitable vindication of history…. THE ONLY JUDGMENT THAT COUNTS.

    This is the real Marxist tradition – nothing to do with the snivelling bureaucratism of the SWP majority and it’s humdrum routine of ‘party building’. You would NEVER have caught Cliff putting the party at the center of his strategy. Sir, we salute your steely resolution and your willingness to swim against the stream in the face of the whey-faced ditherers, the triflers and slack-jawed dilettantes of the majority. For a long time I have been secretly in awe of you but I can no longer keep these feelings to myself: you, sir, are a genuine fucking MENSCH, and an inspiration to all embryonic leaders of the working class. I’ve heard some people whisper behind your back that studying drama is not an ideal preparation for leadership, but I think you’ve shown, on the contrary, that it lends an appropriate panache and an air of derring-do to your every utterance, no matter how insignificant or mistaken they might be when taken in isolation

  13. Red Maria said,

    JohnG: I was joking, sorta.

    You’re angry?

    I’m angry, albeit about something totally different.

    We’re all angry.

    But Lindsey is the Zinoviev character having called for iron discipline when she was on the CC but democracy and unfettered free speech when she wasn’t.

    The blazing hypocrisy of that is amusing.

  14. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Who’s Mr Wilson?

  15. Red Maria said,

    I think he’s talking about Andy Wilson, someone who was expelled from the SWP. I believe his offence was the fact that he had a fully functioning respiratory system.

    He writes under a pseudonym which I will vouchsafe to you, VP by the usual means: a letter written in invisible ink (hold it to a candle, this time, don’t chuck it in the bin) conveyed to you by carrier pigeon. I must, as you know, take these precautions because we are surrounded by spies and could be invaded at any time.

  16. Jim Denham said,

    Was that really John G? I only ask because the author appears to possess something resembling a sense of humour – not a quality I’ve ever noticed in the G Man before. But maybe, until now, his satirical edge has been too subtle to be noticed by an oik like me.

  17. Jenny said,

    Thanks Maria. I think I understand now and I’m not even a member of the swp. 🙂

  18. maxdunbar said,

    I don’t think those posts were really JohnG.

    If we are doing Catholic analogies I would like to make the case for Lindsey German as Father Jack, Rees as Bishop Brennan and Galloway as Father Ted Crilly.

    ‘The money was just resting in my account.’

    ‘It rested there for quite a while, Ted. It had a good long rest.’

  19. Jenny said,

    John g’s posting at Louis’ entry on this affair too: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/lindsey-german-resigns-from-the-swp/

  20. johng said,

    wery angry. its outwageous.

  21. Red Maria said,

    I’ve heard something quite mad, so mad, in fact that it just can’t be true.

    Apparently someone from a left group was phoned up by an erstwhile member of said left group and threatened with a libel action.

    Whatever happened to the ability to have a good old honest to goodness screaming match in a pub or online? I mean life’s just too short.

    These libel and defamation fanatics should just fuck the fuck off.

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