Don’t laugh: the SWP appeals for unity on the left!

October 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm (Beyond parody, Champagne Charlie, political groups, sectarianism, socialism, SWP)

The latest edition of Socialist Worker carries an extraordinary appeal for far-left unity, closing with the following observations:

The problem is the extreme fragmentation of the radical left, compounded by the mutual hostility that exists among these fragments. This is, if anything, worse in Scotland than it is in England and Wales. Wallowing in the rights and wrongs of these divisions is futile and self-destructive.

The combination of the Scottish referendum and Ukip’s rise demands that we change.

We have to shake off the petty narcissism of our different projects and work together to create united left wing alternatives to neoliberalism both sides of the border. 

History will judge us very harshly if we fail.

Those of us who, over the years, have witnessed the SWP’s unique combination of self-important bombast, ultra-sectarianism towards others on the left, opportunistic grovelling to the likes of Galloway, intolerance of internal dissent and regular expulsions of oppositionists, will have difficulty suppressing our laughter – especially at the stuff about “wallowing  in the rights and wrongs of these divisions” and the wonderful phrase “petty narcissism’ which just about sums up the present SWP leadership and much of its middle cadre.

Unity on the far left would be a wonderful thing, but at the moment it looks further away than ever. And it seems (to put it mildly) highly unlikely that the SWP will have any positive role to play in the process of honest accounting and open debate that will be necessary in order to eventually achieve this desirable but elusive objective.

In the meanwhile, serious socialists would be better advised to devote their energies to work in the labour and trade union movement.


  1. Pinkie said,

    I would think that if you can’t deal with the SWP you are fairly fucked.

  2. Ted Edwards said,

    Yes that really is rich coming from them.

  3. Howard Fuller said,

    They’re on the left?

  4. Scott Reeve said,

    Where are the 4 points that were on their last appeal for unity of the left in 1968? Only Workers Fight took up their offer only to be chucked out 3 years later at a special conference called for the purpose.
    . .

  5. Rilke said,

    It is a scam.

  6. Boleyn Ali said,

    Thought the image was of their annual report

  7. Jim Denham said,

    From the ‘RS21’ (ie ex-SWP’ers) website, but written (as I understand it) by a current member of the SWP leadership:
    The quotes from Hallas are highly entertaining, as is the BTL comment from Michael Rosen:

    Phhil Gasper, can you honestly think of any reason at all why anyone inside the SWP, anyone who is an ex-member or anyone who has been sympathetic to the SWP who might possibly for any general or specific reason find that the SWP has not managed to live up to the idea that:

    “there must be wide and free discussion of Party questions, free comradely criticism and assessment of events in Party life.” (as you quote it)

    If not, then fine. All’s well

    If you can think of any situation in which there hasn’t been ‘wide and free discussion, comradely criticism and assessment of events in Party life’, do you have an analysis for why or how this could have happened? If you do have an analysis, is it one that you can share with us?

  8. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    Callinicos comments are 100% correct. The history of the SWP doesn’t detract from that fact. We should all join up together – I suggest through the (too soft) Left Unity – my party. Why does Callinicos make no firm proposals – just a call

    • Jack Bron said,

      I guess he makes no proposals for two reasons. Firstly because any agreement would need to be thrashed out, and coming up with an immediate plan smacks of ‘do-it-like-we-want-you-to’. Secondly, previous attempts (Socialist Alliance) became a sectarian’s joy which none of us want to go through again. But we need an electoral front and those who sneer are positively stupid. Neoliberalism loves these idiots.

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