I’ve been shooting in the dark too long
When something’s not right it’s wrong
Dear Charlie Next May I would have been in the SWP for 40 years. In my 39 years in the IS/SWP, 20 of those working full time for the organisation, there were of course many ups and downs. But I was always sure that this was my political home. I was chosen to be our representative on the NUS executive, became a full-timer, got elected onto the Central Committee, on which I served for 12 years. I look back on that time as an honour made all the greater by having worked alongside the likes of Tony Cliff, Duncan Hallas, Chris Harman and Paul Foot. However after a year of shooting in the dark trying to put right a wrong, I feel I have been brought to
a crossroads. The SWP’s failure to
deal with the dispute arising from the complaint of the two women against the former national secretary, its failure to correct the errors that arose from that dispute, and the complete lack of honest accounting as to what went wrong, have all brought me to this point. The leadership had so many opportunities to do the right thing, to make decisions that would save the SWP from a huge cost to its reputation and huge loss of membership. It remains a source of heartbreak and bewilderment for me that you failed so badly at every turn. Leaderships can only be judged on what they have done, what results they have achieved. W
hatever way we look at it, this leadership failed to deal with the issue that lies at the heart of the biggest crisis the SWP ever faced.
If the problem were exclusively one of failed leadership I might just still be considering my continued membership. Sadly it is clear that for a large section of the loyal membership, a short-
sighted “defence of the party” has overridden every other consider
principles, and furthermore for them “defence of the party” has become synonymous with “defence of the leadership”.
The full horror of this was exemplified at conference by the standing ovation for Maxine’s
disputes committee report, followed by the complete lack of response to the revelations of dispute committee members C and J (neither of them faction members) that Maxine and the majority on the disputes committee had indeed blocked the second case from being heard.
Those who gave the standing ovation for Maxine
about a third of the conference
long ago decided that the two women were lying, either for factional reasons or because they were stooges of the state. They decided this way despite having no reliable knowledge of either case.
It is laughable to pretend this group of people has not broken fundamentally
with our principles over women’s liberation.