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Ive been shooting in the dark too long When somethings not right its 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 SWPs 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. Whatever 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 ation, including 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 Maxines 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 womens liberation.

In the light of this I feel I have no choice but to resign from the SWP. I do so with much sadness. I do so, however, in the company of many others alongside whom I have fought and who, like me, now feel they have to move on. They have been outstanding examples of how to fight for what is right in very difficult circumstances, and I stand by them with pride. I know that in doing so I am saying goodbye to something that has been a huge part of almost my entire adult life. I am also saying goodbye to those members of the faction who will choose to stay inside the SWP. I would say to them: we fought an honourable fight together, we did the right thing, we defended principle rather than organisation. So never ever apologise for what you have done this past year. I know you think the SWP can still be changed. I think you are wrong, but wish you every success in your efforts. I am further saying goodbye to many comrades who despite their horror at the behaviour of the IDOOM ultras (the undeclared faction committed to defending the former national secretary at all costs), didnt join our faction. A number of them have contacted me asking me not to leave, to stay and to try to prevent the party being taken over by those representing this sectarian distortion of our traditions. I hate having to tell them I am going, but I fear they are fighting a losing fight. I will always regard them as comrades and hope to see them in the struggles of the future. For myself, I remain a committed revolutionary, a champion of socialism from below, and a believer in revolutionary organisation. I am just sad that the vehicle I chose to travel on has hit the buffers, and angry that some of those still on it have betrayed everything it once stood for. Pat Stack

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