[Marxism] Ian Birchall on the collapse of the British SWP
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 15 07:51:59 MST 2014
On 15 December 2013 I resigned from the Socialist Workers Party, after
some fifty years membership. I was no longer prepared to trust the party
leadership with my money, nor to accept its discipline. I said at the
time that I would make no further public criticism of the SWP and I have
tried to stand by this. There are many more useful and interesting
things to do than engage in arguments between small far left groups.
Polemics about splits in small revolutionary organisations tend to be
very tedious; I have no desire to add to that literary genre.
Yet I am left with the problem as to why it happened. Why did an
organisation which, though I knew its imperfections, seemed to me to be
by far the best thing going on the British left, and of which I was
proud to be a member, deteriorate so quickly? I have fifty years’
experience of the IS/SWP, seven of which I spent writing a biography of
Tony Cliff, a narrative which was necessarily entwined with the history
of the organisation. My observations may therefore be of some interest
to others on the left, both inside the SWP and in other groupings
currently at an early stage of their development.
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