SWP student branch resign in Ireland

John O'Neill johnfergaloneill at eircom.net
Fri Jul 5 18:20:27 MDT 2002

people may be interested in the following group of students who have broke
from the Irish SWP for the reasons outlined below

you can read the whole article and other documentation at their web site


UCD SWSS Disaffiliation Documents by UCD SWSS Branch Committee 2001-2002

The UCD branch of the Socialist Workers Party have recently decided to
disaffiliate from the main party and form an independent socialist group,
Socialist Alternative. Since most people active on the left in Ireland have
to deal with the SWP, we believe the reasons for our decision may be of
general interest.
As most people will remember, this time last year there was a genuine buzz
on the radical left. Globalise Resistance was founded and brought together
many disparate groups and individuals. Two buses of Irish activists went to
Genoa and returned full of ideas and enthusiasm. The general outlook seemed
positive. Yet soon things turned sour. GR was torn apart by squabbling;
Gluaiseacht and the WSM walked out, along with many others. The SWP has
generally been blamed for this degeneration, and with some cause: by using
GR purely as a recruitment front, they alienated potential allies and
squandered a promising opportunity.
However, it would be wrong to attribute this behaviour to malice or
stupidity on the part of the SWP; the real cause lies deeper . For the last
few years the SWP leadership has adopted a daft approach of predicting the
imminence of revolution at any given time and driving the rank-and-file
membership into a frenzy of activism. Eventually they get tired and
disillusioned and a new crop are recruited. With party members dropping like
flies and the revolution always just around the corner, recruitment takes
priority over anything else: certainly over the task of creating a
broad-based anti-globalisation group.
The turnover of membership is so high that few party activists have the
experience to challenge the leadership, so their political analysis is free
to wander ever further away from reality. Wishful thinking and
hyper-activism take the place of any realistic assessment of the situation.
Since party members spend all their time running around from campaign to
campaign, they have little time to read and discuss about politics; if you
get the impression that someone from the SWP is just quoting from a leaflet,
its probably because its true.
This sort of thing was going on long before Seattle but the last two years
have seen matters get steadily worse. The SWP is heading for collapse within
a few years if it doesnt change course. Unfortunately, because of the partys
undemocratic internal regime, a debate could only begin if it was initiated
by the leadership. Since most of the Belfast branch of the SWP were expelled
a few months ago for raising similar points, the chances of such a debate
taking place are slim. Therefore weve decided that the only course open to
us is to leave and work as independent socialists. Weve published a much
more detailed account of the problems within the SWP at our website for
anyone interested.

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