SWP: the latest round of resignations and expulsions begins

December 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm (Beyond parody, ex-SWP, posted by JD, reactionay "anti-imperialism", sectarianism, SWP, wankers)

This (below) has been posted on Facebook by veteran SWP’er Pete Gillard, and is there for all to see, so I’m not betraying him:

Comrade X would like to continue to remain anonymous. I post her resignation statement from the SWP with permission below. She is happy for the statement to be shared but please avoid names:


There are many reasons I am resigning after the events of the last twelve months, you can read some of them in my Internal Bulletin piece. I will give only one reason here: a member of the DC claimed at the SWP national conference this weekend that my email account might have been hacked but they were confident that the Central Committee was not responsible. How is it possible that this hasn’t generated outrage? When told that the woman who brought a complaint of sexual harassment has had her email account hacked and one of the emails used as evidence in her case deleted, most SWP members seem content that it is OK because the CC did not personally do it.

This typifies the problems of the past 12 months. There has been no political will to resolve any of the issues in a principled way. There is no political will to demand that the person who gave the CC hacked emails should have to conclusively prove how they got the emails or be expelled. Instead at every stage smoke and mirrors have been deployed to manoeuvre to win votes and political positions. In the process I have been sacked, bullied, smeared and marginalised but this has been tolerated to prevent Martin’s supporters from leaving and to avoid the CC accounting for their mistakes.

What of the apology? I do not accept as adequate or sincere an apology fought for and said through gritted teeth. I first found out that the CC regretted my hurt and distress when I read about it in their motion. No-one has met with me to communicate it personally. In tragic fashion I have had to speak to a motion to fight for an apology for myself. For months I was told no apology is necessary. Is it any wonder that I am unconvinced by the apology at conference?

A sincere apology would have political consequences. It would require those who have bullied and smeared to face some sanction. Instead the party leadership continue to argue that there is parity between the slandering and smearing of women who have brought allegations of rape and sexual harassment and people, angry at the handling of a rape allegation, calling Alex Callinicos a “wanker”. A comrade who called someone an “idiot” faced disciplinary sanction, while those who claimed I was a police spy have faced none. That this is now the official party position is reason enough to leave.

The potential for a meaningful renewal of the SWP has dwindled. The last 12 months have polarised and entrenched positions. Debate is now refracted through the prism of a bitter faction fight. Too many people have left and continue to leave. For any organisation to remain dynamic and relevant there needs to be a high level of debate and discussion in order to develop the theory and practice necessary to relate to the real world. This crisis has not caused all the problems in the SWP but it has smothered the possibility that the SWP can develop into a serious revolutionary party.

I am not an MI5 agent, so I am leaving to rebuild the revolutionary left in Britain. This will be a process of years not months but for now I leave proud of my time in the SWP, deeply saddened that this is the endpoint and a little excited at the fresh air I can now breathe.


  1. SWP: the latest round of resignations and expulsions begins | OzHouse said,

    […] Dec 15 2013 by admin […]

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Pete Gillard, who joined IS in 1969 has resigned from the SWP:

    Statement from Pete Gillard

    My resignation letter:

    Dear Charlie,

    I joined the International Socialists in August 1969. Since then I have had continuous membership in the IST: IS/SWP, ISO US, and IS Netherlands. I believe I’m one of the only 40 or so members left from the 60s.

    I in no way regret the 44 years I have spent building our tendency. I remain as committed to fighting for a socialist world today as when I was in my teens.

    But I can no longer remain a member of the SWP. I’ve had many differences with the SWP line over the years. But on every occasion in the past I have been able to say either that I was wrong or that the organisation has the capacity to correct itself. I no longer believe that.

    The Central Committee has demonstrated over the last year, now with the support of the December Conference, that it has learnt nothing from the disputes. The leadership has allowed the SWP to sacrifice its reputation for fighting oppression in the failed defence of a leading member who was thought ‘indispensable’. The SWP leadership has reacted ostrich-like to any suggestion that its reputation in the wider movement has been severely damaged.

    The refusal to face reality is the hallmark of a sect. It leads the SWP leadership to raise its interest in protecting the SWP organisational structures above its responsibility to the class.

    The fact that an aging organisation can lose most of its younger members with hardly a murmur is again an indictment against the SWP leadership. Cliff always used to say that the youthful composition of a revolutionary organisation was its best guarantee against conservatism and sectarianism. The SWP no longer thinks this important.

    I believe the SWP is no longer fit for purpose as a revolutionary organisation.

    I haven’t lost faith in the working class. I don’t believe that ‘the movements’ can bring socialism. I reject all the slurs the CC has promoted in attempting to discredit the SWP Opposition.

    In leaving the SWP, I will play my part in the process of building a new revolutionary socialist organisation, one which builds on the best of the International Socialist tradition.

    I fully expect to be working and to welcome working with SWP members in my union and in campaigning activities. The revolutionary left in Britain, as a whole, is weaker than it has been for decades. We need to work together. In the process, I hope that remaining SWP members will reflect on what has gone wrong with their organisation, and in the future be part of building a revolutionary socialist alternative that can lead a real challenge to capitalism on the scale we need today.

    Pete Gillard

  3. jimmy glesga said,

    The real problem that the SWP and all the other potential dictator lefties have is the working class nor anyone else will vote for them. They should disband, recant their dictator ideaology and beg to join the democratic Labour Party.

  4. Gavin Cardy said,

    On a bright note he’ll still ‘vote labour and only labour’

  5. Has it sunk in yet? | Sometimes, it's just a cigar said,

    […] SWP: the latest round of resignations and expulsions begins (shirazsocialist.wordpress.com) […]

  6. The man who destroyed the SWP | Pride's Purge said,

    […] But it’s increasingly looking unlikely after the SWP’s recent disastrous conference which has led to yet more resignations from its already depleted membership. […]

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