[Marxism] SWP CC caves
stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Sat Feb 9 16:42:55 MST 2013
Points out the bureaucratic manouvre in calling it with only four weeks
On 10 February 2013 06:52, Jim Moody <jim at redunity.org.uk> wrote:
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> Caving in to SWP members' pressure, the CC has now called a special
> conference for 10 March. This is
> the email sent out today to all SWPers:
> From: Charlie Kimber <Charlie at swp.org.uk>
> Date: 9 February 2013 13:44:10 GMT
> To: Charlie Kimber ext email <joeeamon at aol.com>
> Subject: Important statement from the CC and announcement of a special
> Dear Comrade,
> Here is a statement from the Central Committee outlining why we are
> calling a special conference.
> The call for a faction which is referred to in the statement is attached.
> A full timetable for the special conference will be circulated in Party
> Notes on Monday.
> Charlie Kimber, SWP national conference
> Statement from the CC
> 1. The SWP has seen an unprecedented amount of debate and discussion over
> the last four months. This
> includes pre-conference aggregates, three internal bulletins, the
> conference in January (with over
> 550 delegates, two factions, and faction meetings), post-conference report
> backs, a National
> Committee of delegates elected from conference and post-NC report backs.
> Throughout this process the
> majority of the party has backed the Central Committee and rejected the
> attacks on the party’s
> record and its leadership. But a minority has refused to accept a closure
> of the matters discussed.
> Instead of the party uniting over urgent issues of the class struggle, a
> minority seeks to drag us
> into continual internal debate. The latest example is the declaration of a
> faction, outside the
> pre-conference period.
> 2. The faction document not only contests issues discussed at the recent
> national conference. It
> also specifically repudiates the National Committee held on 3 February
> which rejected the central
> elements of the faction document by 39 votes to eight.
> That NC also supported the Central Committee’s motion by 39 votes to
> eight. It seemed that the basis
> existed for the party to move forward united and to throw itself into the
> class struggle. The report
> backs from the NC showed an increasing spirit of wanting to move forward.
> The faction, headed by the
> minority at the NC, seeks to set that back.
> 3. The faction document is extraordinarily unpolitical. It seeks to plunge
> the party into months of
> internal debate over issues that in truth were thoroughly discussed at the
> last conference and
> should have been settled there. It has nothing to say about the economic
> crisis and the fightback,
> the battle against racism and fascism, the union bureaucracy and the rank
> and file, Unite the
> Resistance, anti-imperialism, building the SWP - or much else. Presumably
> the faction supporters
> think the party is getting all of that right.
> 4. The CC does not accept the right to form factions outside the three
> month pre-conference
> discussion period. Such factions open the door to permanent factions and
> permanent oppositions,
> making it impossible to unite and intervene effectively. This time
> comrades want to launch a faction
> five weeks after the end of conference. Next time it may be five days
> afterwards. The SWP has never
> seen factions outside the pre-conference period – as certainly a large
> number of the comrades who
> have signed the faction statement know. The CC is criticised for acting
> bureaucratically. In truth
> it is the faction which bureaucratically seeks to use the lack of
> precision in the constitution to
> raise debates it has lost in other forums.
> 5. The CC rejects the specific demands of the faction document. We do not
> believe the DC process was
> fundamentally flawed or dealt with the complaint in a manner that
> besmirched our record of fighting
> for women's liberation. The complaint was a very serious matter which was
> treated with great care.
> We reject the implication that the SWP's present CC, or the CC in place in
> the run up to conference,
> would allow any comrade who brings a complaint forward to be vilified. We
> have said repeatedly that
> every comrade has the right to take issues to the disputes committee
> without the worry that they
> will face pressure for doing so.
> We do not agree with driving X from political life "for the forseeable
> future" when the DC decided
> no complaints were proven against him and no disciplinary action should be
> taken against him. All of
> those involved in the DC case have the right to be treated as members in
> good standing. We do not
> operate a regime of innuendo and slurs.
> 6. The CC has not sought to stifle arguments. That accusation is laughable
> after the last four
> months. Nor has the CC tried to operate by unpolitical or administrative
> means. There have been no
> expulsions since conference despite behaviour which is unaccountable,
> undemocratic and against the
> principles of democratic centralism.
> Some of this behaviour has been particularly disgusting – such as
> recording the DC session at
> conference that then led to the Daily Mail article attacking the women
> members of the DC.
> But despite this the CC did not have, nor does it have, plans for “mass
> expulsions”. We seek to win
> comrades politically while (as the NC agreed) we reserve the right to use
> disciplinary action
> against those who wilfully and repeatedly flout party discipline.
> 7. It is not controversial that feminism can be part of a process that
> leads people into struggle
> and towards a Marxist understanding of the world. It is a baseless slur
> that the CC sees feminists
> as enemies. We are always on the side of feminists against oppression. But
> we are also for winning
> women, and men, to a revolutionary socialist view, not adapting to a
> different view. We believe
> Marxism explains women's oppression and points the way to emancipation -
> this is not the same as
> slurring feminism.
> 8. It is clear that serious divisions have been created in our party.
> Sometimes genuine concerns
> have been preyed upon by a small minority of comrades who want a wholly
> different sort of party. A
> debilitating process of relentless internally-focused debate has gone on
> for weeks. The NC last
> weekend made clear that this must come to an end. Those who refuse to stop
> factionalising seek to
> continue the branch motions, the blogs, the Facebook battles and the
> inward focus for another 11
> months. There must be a resolution - and soon.
> 9. The fight against brutal austerity and against racism, and the need for
> a socialist alternative
> cannot be sidelined while we look inwards. The party is not shunned or
> isolated. The danger is it
> isolates itself by not pushing out. There are signs of new struggles - and
> great movements across
> the world. Are we going to intervene energetically with all our force as
> socialists or spend a year
> debating the internal structures of our party?
> 10. The CC has opposed the demand for a special conference, and those that
> agitated for one failed
> to win enough branches to call one. But we cannot go on as we are.
> Therefore, to establish absolute
> clarity and to draw a line that nobody serious can claim to ignore, the CC
> calls a one-day special
> conference for Sunday 10 March.
> We understand that many comrades who have voted in line with the majority
> decisions at our recent
> conference and have rejected the call for a recall conference in their
> branches, or who are simply
> weary of constant internal debate at a time of new possibilities in the
> class struggle, will not
> want another aggregate and a special conference focused on these issues.
> However we cannot allow
> factional debate to dominate party discussions for the next 11 months.
> The conference will be to reaffirm the decisions of January’s conference
> and the NC, resolve recent
> debates, clarify some elements of the constitution and move the party
> forwards. There will be
> aggregates over the next three weeks and an internal bulletin.
> Pre-conference discussion takes place
> in these aggregates, not branch meetings. Delegates will be elected on the
> same basis as the last
> party conference. Factions can be formed in the normal manner.
> 11. We believe all the decisions of the last conference and this special
> conference are binding,
> unlike those of our critics who believe they are binding unless they
> disagree with them. The special
> conference must be the final word. We demand factions accept that - in
> practice, not words.
> Jim Moody (jim at redunity.org.uk) on 09/02/2013
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“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is humanity’s
original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made,
through disobedience and through rebellion.” — Oscar Wilde, Soul of Man
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