How Not to Handle a Rape Allegation: the Case of the SWP

by Pham Binh on January 9, 2013

Trigger warning for trauma survivors

With a political backdrop of horrific rapes in India and Ohio, and the unfolding coverup of British entertainer Jimmy Savile’s decades of raping and molesting minors, Andy Newman of the Socialist Unity blog published the 27-page transcript of the British Socialist Workers Party’s (SWP) internal debate surrounding its Disputes Committee report that found that rape, harassment, and abuse charges against ousted Central Committee (CC) member Martin Smith to be “not proven.” This report was accepted by a razor-thin margin of 231 votes for, 209 votes against, and 18 abstentions.

Of course, you won’t find a hint of this in the Socialist Worker report on the annual party conference, the SWP’s highest decision-making body. Instead, we find a glowing report about the SWP’s role in fighting women’s oppression and news that the expulsion of four members for the crime of having “a closed Facebook conversation” (as the CC described it) has been ratified.

However, it is impossible for “Leninist” groups to conduct trials, purges, and expulsions in secret in the age of the internet. The way this scandal has unfolded in the SWP over the past few months bears an uncanny resemblance to the events in Steubenville, Ohio, in the following ways: conflicts of interest seriously undermined due process, leaks by anonymous (both lower case and upper case A) undermined attempts to keep things hush-hush and swept under the rug, and social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) has created new evidentiary and political battlegrounds.

The Disputes Committee debate transcript deserves to be read in its entirety by anyone who considers themselves a socialist or a feminist. Whether or not Smith (referred to as “Comrade Delta” in the documents) is guilty as charged is not the key issue, and the debate transcript reveals that both opponents and supporters of the “not proven” verdict sincerely believe that they are upholding their party’s commitment to fighting women’s oppression. However, as Marx explained: “We do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh.”

In other words, the subjective sincerity of the parties involved has nothing to do with the fatally flawed pseudo-judicial processes, practices, and methods applied by the SWP in this instance.

The following flaws and errors stand out:

1. The first and biggest problem was the following admission by “Candy” of the Disputes Committee:

“We’re not a law court. We are here to protect the interests of the party, and to make sure that any inappropriate behaviour of any kind by comrades is dealt with, and we do that according to the politics of a revolutionary party.”

Investigating and taking action against criminal or violent behavior by a member of any organization is best left to the actually existing bourgeois state, at least from the point of view of the victim or alleged victim, the admonition from “Sara B” that “[w]e have no faith in the bourgeois court system to deliver justice” notwithstanding. Anything less guarantees that due process will be denied thanks to  “amateur hour,” as inexperienced and unprofessional would-be revolutionaries mimic the bourgeois state’s mechanisms of judge and jury but without the power to detain, arrest, subpoena, and thoroughly investigate forensic evidence. Worse yet, incidents like this open the party up to criminal investigation by the capitalist state which does not take a positive view of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and tainting witnesses and evidence.

Anyone guilty of rape should be behind bars, not simply removed from the CC or the party.

Occupy Wall Street tried to handle similar issues internally without involving the New York Police Department and failed miserably, eventually adopting an admittedly flawed approach once they realized dealing with rapes and sexual assaults requires rape kits, counseling, and legal authority to protect victims and/or apprehend suspects.

Victims of sexual assault, burglary, and similar offenses are not betraying any revolutionary principle by calling the cops. That the female who made these allegations chose to handle it internally rather than going to the proper place — a law court — is testament to the powerful, unhealthy emotional attachment of members to their party, an attachment that gives rise to such profound groupthink that those outside the ranks view it as cult-like.

2. The second problem was the Disputes Committee’s inherent bias. Despite their loud and frequent declamations that they truly, honestly, and really were not biased towards Smith whom they “had worked incredibly closely with” and against a woman they practically never heard of, these comrades are apparently unfamiliar with unconscious bias. Again, the sincerity of these statements and reassurances is beyond a doubt, but that does not necessarily make them true.

The reason lawyers in the U.S. can eliminate jurors from a jury pool in criminal cases is precisely to guard against the problem of unconscious or hidden biases. Hardly any potential juror will say “I hate Blacks” or “all criminals deserve to be executed,” so lawyers have to eliminate jurors who privately think and feel this way but would never be so stupid as to admit it publicly.

Candy of the Disputes Committee even admitted that it was impossible to create a truly unbiased body in this situation:

“To be honest comrades, I don’t believe you could have another panel of people who didn’t know Comrade Delta better than they knew that woman.”

3. The Disputes Committee’s bias became exposed in practice when they asked the woman who brought the complaint “about past and subsequent sexual relationships” according to “Viv.” These comrades threw hypocritical and patriarchal bourgeois morality towards alleged rape victims out the door only to have it re-enter through the window. “Sadia” elaborated:

“She was questioned about why she went for a drink with him, her witnesses were repeatedly asked whether she’d been in a relationship with him, and you know, she was asked about (Karen begins to talk over Sadia to warn about providing details) [sic] … she was asked about relationships with other comrades including sexual relationships.”

Worse yet according to “Viv”:

[O]ne of the most distressing things for her was that she was expected to respond immediately to the evidence that Comrade Delta was able to bring – she never got to see it in advance. He had her statement for weeks before she appeared in front of the panel. Some of the issues that were raised were things she had blocked out, and it was an incredibly traumatic experience for her.

The Disputes Committee’s response to this complaint was, “he didn’t actually provide evidence in advance and that’s why they didn’t, why W didn’t see it.” So the accused knew weeks in advance how to prepare himself and his defense from his accuser but his accuser was expected to respond immediately to that defense.

How is that for revolutionary justice?

When a second woman (“X”, a former district organizer) brought forth a similar complaint against the accused, it was treated in much the same way (he saw the evidence in advance, she was questioned about her drinking habits, and she was removed from her job in the party’s office). The Disputes Committee excused its inexcusable behavior under the following pretext:

we’d asked her whether she wanted to make a formal complaint, and we’d made it clear to her that she had every right to do so. And at that point in time she did not want to make a formal complaint. Therefore we only listened to her testimony in regard to whether it changed our point of view on the original investigation.

The fact that similar incidents happened with two different women strongly indicates a pattern, an underlying systemic problem with the way the SWP is set up internally to deal with these issues.

4. The Disputes Committee in its entirety, including Pat Stack who was the lone dissident who felt “uneasy” about the question of sexual harassment, never denied the substance of the complaints about how the investigation was handled. Instead, they justified their actions using subjective and flimsy excuses based on their good intentions and revolutionary morality.

5. A proposal by 30 members that “included some very very basic things” like “comrades who bring a complaint of serious sexual misconduct should be supported, should be kept informed and not be questioned on their sexual history” were barred (presumably by the CC) from distributing this proposal.

So in the SWP, you can expect to be expelled for comments on Facebook while rape/sexual harassment charges against someone who is high up in the party will not be investigated with anything remotely approaching impartiality or due process, much less empathy.

  • Sue Sponte

    What the toy tribunals and internal investigations of this marginalized political group do or don’t do are of interest as it regards their attitude towards this case and the broader issues involved, but the real question is what real cops and courts will do about it.

  • Arthur

    I read the transcript and have no time at all for the SWP. This article strikes me as a thoroughly unprincipled smear attack.

    There’s nothing inherently suspicious about a complaint of rape or sexual harassment not being upheld when it was made two years after the event.

    Its clear from the transcript that the complaint was indeed taken seriously and with due process.

    There was an obvious flaw in that process:

    Since the accused was a well known leader who worked closely with members of the disputes committee they should have delegated the handling of the dispute to others who were not close to the accused despite the fact that the disputes committee was constitutionally elected to consider such disputes.

    That is not a particulaly difficult mistake to make.

    One can agree on that basis with the nearly half the delegates who voted to reject the disputes committee report with having to go along with the kind of malevolent scandal mongering in this article.

    Frankly I was quite surprised at the extent to which open democratic disscussion within the SWP was demonstrated in the transcript. My expectations of that group would have been for far less scope to point out the obvious flaw.

    I can’t be bothered responding to most of the points made in the article.

    Suffice to say that I don’t share the authors confidence in the police nor his belief that the onus is on the accused to provide details of their defence evidence to the accuser in advance, let alone the subtext that of course the accusation must be true.

    Part of the problem seems to be that the SWP itself is prone to this sort of tripe – eg excluding the accused from being present contrary to the basic requirements of justice.

    • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

      I never expressed “confidence in the police” nor did I imply that “the onus is on the accused to provide details of their defence evidence to the accuser in advance.” I merely pointed out the double standard between how testimony and evidence from the accuser and accused was handled.

      SWP members are joining in on what you call the “unprincipled smear attack”:
      http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/944/swp-why-i-am-resigning

      • Arthur

        1. “Investigating and taking action against criminal or violent behavior by a member of any organization is best left to the actually existing bourgeois state…”. That is an unequivocal expression of confidence in the police.

        2. The “double standard” you “pointed out” is fundamental to most people’s conceptions of basic justice. We would consider it outrageous if the defense were required to give the prosecution advance notice of their evidence instead of the other way round.

        3. It is obvious that SWP members are not only joining in but initiating the unprincipled attacks. Such behviour is typical of all factions in unprincipled organizations and should not be emulated.

        • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

          1. No. It is a recognition that no force outside of the capitalist state has the resources and expertise to even deal with this issue. That does not mean the capitalist state is good at delivering anything remotely approaching justice.

          2. There is no defense and prosecution here. The Disputes Committee is not a court. “Most people’s conception of basic justice” involve calling the police, not a Central Committee.

          3. It is unprincipled to let matters like this slide without saying anything about it, to attack the personal character of the accusers, question their sexual histories, to create kangaroo courts stacked with the friends and comrades of the accused. We have a duty to Combat Liberalism after all.

          • Arthur

            Points 1 and 2 are again a reaffirmation of your confidence in the police.

            I don’t like the SWP and I’m not letting your unprincipled attack on it slide. It would be more convenient for me to be liberal about it and let it slide.

            • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

              I don’t like the police but I will call them in a case of rape, murder, assault, pedophilia, and so on. When we set up an effective Red Guard, I’ll call them instead.

              • Arthur

                Its not about whether to ever call the police. Your confidence in the police is expressed by the claim that is always the best thing to do.

                The article Richard Estes linked to below expresses the same subtext as you – that accusations should be assumed true (and even rumours). But it says:

                “The backlash that women face when alleging sexual violence is a further factor. An attitude of “police or it didn’t happen“, silences women within an environment where the police are recognised as a force of state control with an appalling record on handling rape cases, particularly where the perpetrator is known to the victim. Most women who experience sexual violence do not go to the police – for very good reasons – yet whatever decision is made, it is likely to be the woman who loses. Only approximately 5% of rape allegations ever result in conviction. To go to the police with an allegation against a prominent member of a left wing party brings in accusations of “grassing” and with a 95% chance of no conviction resulting, the ongoing narrative is likely to be one of exoneration of the perpetrator and demonisation of the victim – making subsequent victims less likely to come forward.”
                Second Council House of Virgo (http://s.tt/1y14c)

                The contrast may help you understand that your aticle DOES express your confidence in the police.

                Also that article makes no suggestion that the onus is on the accused to provide details of their defence evidence to the accuser in advance.

                • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

                  “Whether or not Smith (referred to as ‘Comrade Delta’ in the documents) is guilty as charged is not the key issue” — as I wrote in the piece. But as you said in your first comment, “I can’t be bothered responding to most of the points made in the article.” So I shouldn’t be surprised at how many strawmen you created in this thread.

                • Brian S.

                  @Arthur I’m rather bewildered by your stance here Arthur. I would have thought you of all people would understand that the “bourgeois democratic” legal sytem, despite its many flaws and biases, represents an important acquisition gained by the struggles of democratic forces over more than a century. As such it offers the only robust social mechanism available for dealing for serious acts of misconduct, such are alleged here. The issue of treatment of rape victims, in particular, hasbeen (and is) the subject of a major campaign by feminist and civil liberties groups in the UK, which has produced some significant changes in how rape cases are handled both by the police and the public prosecutors. (and there is an important network of ngo support organisations). These are the only people capable of handling such a situation with a modicum of effectiveness.
                  While I’m on this subject, let me register my view that I do not think that “comrade Delta” should have been named in the reports of this issue, given that he has not been convicted of anything by anyone.

                  • Arthur

                    Brian, its pretty simple. Any revolutionary communist has to be first of all a revolutionary democrat and will therefore fight against more backward institutions without sharing in the confidence that conservatives have in such nstitutions as the police, the courts or the parliament.

                    Its really quite elementary that any organization such as a political party is OBLIGED to seriously investigate complaints about misconduct by its members and especially its leaders. One has to be really ignorant of issues related to sexual misconduct to be unaware that many victims are reluctant to go to the police. It would be OUTRAGEOUS for the SWP to have refused to investigate serious charges by one of its members against one of its leaders on the ground that it is up to the member to go to the police.

                    It is also obvious that far higher standards must be expected from the leaders and members of a political party than mere compliance with the criminal law and further that disciplinary tribunals can and do act to uphold their organizations integrity without needing to be satisfied “beyond reasonable doubt”.

                    Yet the central focus of this article is the ludicrous attack on the SWP for doing what any reasonable person (not necessarily a revolutionary democrat, let alone a revolutionary communist) would agree that it was OBLIGED to do. This is rather similar to the stance taken in “The Independent”:

                    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ranks-of-the-socialist-workers-party-are-split-over-handling-of-rape-allegation-8448429.html

                    BTW although I’m sure there have been improvements I doubt that many of the 29 regional Sexual Assault Referral Centers in the UK would be able to offer much help for a complaint 2 years after an incident. Typically they offer services up to one year.

                    http://www.rightsofwomen.org.uk/pdfs/Legal/report_to_court_for_web_may11.pdf (p31)

                    It isn’t just a matter of democracy either. The concept of a civil society with its own autonomous institutions pre-dates modern democracy by centuries. The claim being made here that only the state should handle disputes is really quite extremist.

                    Finally, you are right that “Delta” should not have been named. But not naming him would just have been a formality of the same self-serving type as the disclaimer that whether he “is guilty as charged is not the key issue”.

                    In fact the whole tone of the article assumes that he is guilty and even ludicrously suggests that exoneration in an SWP internal investigation has some magical power to keep a rapist out of prison – with more than a hint that this was its purpose.

                    ” Worse yet, incidents like this open the party up to criminal investigation by the capitalist state which does not take a positive view of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and tainting witnesses and evidence.

                    Anyone guilty of rape should be behind bars, not simply removed from the CC or the party.”

                    A principled stand would simply agree with nearly half the SWP conference that the disputes committee report should be rejected because they had failed to delegate to people who were not close to the accused.

                    The unprincipled smear attack here will naturally encourage splits along personal lines with people defending an obviously wrong procedure because their comrades are being viciously attacked.

                    A principled approach will support a political fight between supporters and opponents of basic democracy in the SWP and assist far more in the long overdue implosion of that absurdity.

                    • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

                      Smith was not charged nor investigated by the Disputes Committee for bringing the party into disrepute but for criminal acts.

                    • Arthur

                      Correction. I misunderstood that the incident was two years before the complaint. Actually according to the transcript “the complaint concerned incidents that had taken place over a period of about six months in 2008 and 2009, which was three or four years before we met.”

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  • http://www.amleft.blogspot.com Richard Estes

    The resignation statement of Tom Walker, linked in your article, is compelling. It is important to note that SWP members are currently under a directive to not speak any further about the matter upon pain of expulsion. Hence, people like Richard Seymour find themselves in the embarrassing position of trying to explain the relationship of capitalism and patriarchy, while refusing to engage those objecting the conduct of the SWP:

    http://www.leninology.com/2013/01/patriarchy-and-capitalist-state.html#comment-761449556

    Fortunately, others have stepped into the breach, as this excellent post indicates, “Misogyny and the Left”:

    http://www.2ndcouncilhouse.co.uk/blog/2013/01/06/misogynists-and-the-left/

    As an aside, based upon my limited contact, the Second Council House blog, the site where this article was posted, is excellent on a variety of subjects, such as, for example, the recent disclosure that Blackwater has been hired to provide law enforcement assistance by the Greek government.

  • patrickm

    I can’t see how any functioning organization can avoid a disputes committee and I don’t see how the seriousness of the dispute /crime allegation can make it too serious to be dealt with, irrespective of being dealt with by the forces of the state or not. People ought to be, and are expelled for bringing their organization into disrepute for example, there does not have to be a criminal style dispute between members but if there is the responsibility does not change. I think this is quite basic stuff.

    For example killing your infant as some sort of sacrifice in the desert would bring the group you belong to into disrepute, and if the leadership were doing their job it would end your membership. In short a dispute committee would via a leader or other member raising the complaint, have then heard a case, made a finding, and expelled you accordingly, as would the civilized state you live in jail you if you did such a thing.

    Now as it happens a functioning highly developed part of a bourgeois state (Australia) was gripped with something that I can only describe as madness just 30 year’s back and the N.T. courts convicted Lindy Chamberlain, when all along she was an innocent person that her organization (the Seventh Day Adventist church) ought to have stuck by and defended and fought for and they did. The organization should not just throw it’s collective hands in the air and declare what the hell do we know, we haven’t even got access to forensic science and scientists when it was those people that got her wrongly convicted in the bloody first place! You can’t be a member in good standing and kill infants in your spare time.

    Another example is the Hurricane boxer episode in the U.S., if he had been a member of any SWP type group they ought to have evaluated the situation for themselves and decided to stick by him irrespective of what the court found, and irrespective of whether the three gunned down had been other members of that same organization.

    Bringing your organization into disrepute can have you rightly hauled up to explain yourself or face expulsion. Taking it to the state, OR the state having taken its own interest does not absolve the organization of running a disputes resolution process and finding for or against, or even the Scottish case, not proved. (that however has real problems and is sometimes used by the forces of reaction that can’t get their way and yet want to pretend that they had a case in the first place) I know about this stuff first hand and can assure people that other mortals involved in running the state are often doing a terrible job even when not trying to deliberately frame people as with the Guildford 4, and Maguire 7, and the Birmingham 6.

    If revolutionaries want to see change they must embrace taking more and more responsibilities and not cop out when it gets serious.

    Only Neverland says never, never involve the state, and even when they say it they know they are lying both to themselves and everyone else, just as they lie about telling proletarian seafarers to never involve bourgeois navies of the word to deal with pirates threatening their lives while they do the honorable job of transporting stuff like COAL produced ready for shipping by other workers just as honorably employed! They know they have been lying to themselves and have to go quiet. Issues don’t get any more serious than these and we leftists take decisions over them!

    I think the OWS sexual assault situations showed exactly the same issue as the Cairo assault on that U.S. MSM female reporter namely that there are cases where the forces of the state ought to be involved. Soldiers in Cairo saved the reporter from shocking behavior by misbehaving ‘revolutionaries’ against the state. There can’t be any complete black and white Neverland world.

    The conclusion is; we must be flexible as always, and we must not unite with theories, but with real forces to get the revolutionary tasks attended to. If I belonged to a SWP type group I would want an expulsion motion put for any person who argues in support of pirates, as if workers don’t have a world to win and the right to do their jobs without being terrorized; raped; killed; kidnapped; ransomed and so forth. This is quite a divisive issue in Neverland and shuts a lot of people up but people will have noted, not supporters of Iraqi Baathists!

    • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

      patrickm: I’m not against a disputes committee and the things you mention. The problem is that the British SWP clearly set up and conducted this pathetic excuse for a process in lieu of and counterposed to calling the cops and involving the state.

      I also think Arthur has joined the Neverland crowd on this one.

      • R

        No, “clearly” not. There is absolutely nothing to stop “w” from making the accusation of rape to BOTH the DC AND the police.

        • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

          It has been reported (www.socialistunity.com/what-i-really-said-about-the-swp-and-sharia-law/#comment-631518) that W was told by a party official that going to the cops would damage the party and the cause. This corresponds with Tom Walker’s supposition in his resignation letter that she was pressured into going the internal route. This would also explain why the SWP took it upon themselves to issue a verdict on guilt/innocence on the accusations.

          • Arthur

            That link goes to comment 91 now. Please quote the actual “report” so I can find it.

            If such a report exists and is true then an attack on the official and/or the party for saying that would at least make sense. Though on the other hand it would be difficult to find anyone actually familiar with sexul assault complaints to the police who would advise in favour of going to the police with a complaint 3 or 4 years after the event.

            But you are not in a position to judge whether any such report is true. You *need* it to be true. You have not acknowledged that WITHOUT such a “report” being true you have attacked the SWP for doing what it was OBLIGED to do given that the woman had chosen not to go to the police and had made the complaint to them.

            • Brian S.

              @Arthur If you want to check this out, you can scroll up to comment 78 (the original) or down to comment 93 where it is quoted. But there is no source provided for it – it sems just another rumour. I am trying to stay out of this discussion in so far as it involves the internal situation in the SWP, partly because I think the issue has been aired enough publicly and the ball is now in the SWP’s court to work out how to react; and partly because this is (predictably) becoming a sectarian-fest for attacks on the SWP by its opponents.
              But on the more general issues raised by your post (and our previous exchange): first, the British legal authorities (police and DPP) have recently charged someone with sexual offences that go back 30-40 years; secondly, you are making the same mistake as Binh – he is assuming such reports are true; you are asuming that they are false. (and for exactly the same reason – you need them to be false for the rest of your argument) . From my point of view this just goes to bolster my judgement that issues like this cannot be seriously dealt with on a “do-it -yourself” basis. The fact that it takes an 84+ page booklet (the link posted by you in our previous exchange) to present just a layman’s account of the legal and procedural complexities involved in handling such issues demonstrates how inappropriate any diy mechanism is going to be. (And also demonstrate how seriously this issue has been treated in British society over the last decade).
              There is nothing in this that involves naive “faith in the police”. ( I think we have both experienced the rough edge of “bourgeois justice”.) Its simply a realisation that established legal procedures (at least in the UK – it may be different elsewhere) are the least flawed mechanism for dealing with allegations of this sort. And , as important, the flaws of the legal system are likely to be played out in the public domain where they can be the subject of public criticism and protest (unlike diy procedures).

              • Arthur

                Brian, thanks – I did notice #79 (quoted in #93). but as you say, it is obviously just a rumour. So I thought Pham’s broken link might have been intended to refer to some actual report by an identifiable person in a position to know – eg a claim by “W” as an explanation for the 3 to 4 year delay. I’m not so used to casual rumor-mongering as to just assume people are doing it without confirmation. So I’ll wait for Pham to confirm that is what he was doing.

                I am not making any assumption that the accusation is false at all. (I do believe there would need to be a good explanation for the 3 or 4 year delay and that such a delay would make any claim very difficult to prove but I would not form an opinion without access to the evidence).

                Regardless of how offences against children are treated it is as simple fact that allegations concerning incidents between adults 3 or 4 years ago have far less prospects of success through the courts than through disciplinary procedures of organizations that want to protect their reputations. It is also a simple fact that it is not up to an organization whether a victim of one of their officers chooses to go to the police or not.

                Your “judgement that issues like this cannot be seriously dealt with on a “do-it -yourself” basis” is a toal cop-out.

                As Secretary of a Disputes Committee how would you rephrase this draft for your letter to the complainant?

                “Dear Comrade W,

                Thanks you for your complaint informing us that a leading member of our organization raped you 3 or 4 years ago.

                As you haven’t gone to the police there is nothing we propose to do about it.

                Yours fraternally,

                Brian S”

                However you chose to phrase it you would be rightly condemned for OUTRAGEOUS refusal to carry out the obligations of a disputes committee.

              • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

                “Reported” in this case is hearsay, not an official document by the police or anyone else, but it would explain a lot. Only a full criminal investigation or a statement by W will clarify whether it is true or false.

                • Arthur

                  It isn’t even hearsay. Hearsay is a statement by some identifiable person that some other identifiable person in a position to know something made a certain statement about it. Hearsay is seldom of much value.

                  What you have done is simply quoted anonymous internet speculation as a “report”. That is pure rumor mongering. Pause and think about why you NEED to believe such a “report” and why you are reduced to such rumor-mongering by the stance you have taken.

      • patrickm

        The British SWP has been at the center of bankrupt Neverland thinking for some time. But this thread is well beyond a legitimate criticism of how a particular issue “the complaint concerned incidents that had taken place over a period of about six month’s in 2008 and 2009, was dealt with by that group’s leadership. Despite these efforts (some say in spite of) numerous members are putting an end to their involvement in what has become for them an authoritarian sect that they no longer have any confidence in. A sensible micro party faced with this level of stuff-up stays with it until there is close to a consensus before trying to move on. Only bullies and fools try to shut people up and rule by a slim majority in these circumstances.

        People do not have to look for an excuse to expose the SWP, after all it does not get much worse than the pseudoleftist response to the 9/11 attacks of setting up the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ a mere 10 days after 9/11. The masses were not buying that ‘anti-imperialist’ line then, and all the predictions from 11 year’s back sound pretty hollow now. But that paltry effort of the usual suspects obviously paid big dividends 1 year later when the SWP were beside themselves with new members tumbling on board, as the ‘peoples movement had begun’ in the turn-out of the march against the liberation of Iraq of 15 February 2003. Ten years on they have slowly seen their position collapse, and now their dispirited membership implode as we are beginning to see a ‘fighting left’, emerge again in the wake of the liberation of Libya, and the revolutionary war for the liberation of Syria.

        Undoubtedly the group is broken and will split – just as the NATO intervention into Syria is escalating. It seems that people are grasping a ‘that’s the last straw’ line. http://www.socialistunity.com/swps-serbian-section-splits-from-ist/#comments

        “Similarly, the SWP’s effective withdrawal from the Stop the War Coalition has damaged its anti-imperialist credibility in Britain and in the Middle East. In the case of Syria, there has been a clear tendency to downplay the role of imperialist intrigue, the key question in imperialist Britain given the Libyan fiasco. It is clear that the SWP has over-reacted to the failure of Respect, the left electoral coalition that grew out of the anti-war movement. Since then, the SWP has retreated to a sectarian comfort zone based on orthodox party-building, abstract propaganda and an economistic emphasis on industrial struggle. This sectarian approach has resulted in a stifling party culture and regime. Contrary to the traditions of the IST, new ideas and methods are often rejected to uphold existing tradition….”

        What is shattering the confidence of many in the SWP? Hands-off campaigning over Syria is not going to even potentially get the masses out like hands-off Iraq did! The turn out might be as small as the turnout for hands-off Libya events I suppose, but the way things are going a turnout to demand intervention is just as realistic. Something has changed big-time over the last decade.

        The masses want the Syrian regime put a stop to. The SWP type sects don’t want real military forces involved. They want the regime stopped in theory, but in practice act though they want it preserved. They know that the Baathist Iraqi regime was put a stop to and Iraq transformed, and they know who did it. They also know that ‘the journalist’ we all remember was in a new era when he did (the shoe throwing) what he would never have contemplated doing before the fall of the mass-murdering Hussein regime. They also know that the Libyan regime was eventually stopped by an ‘air’ war.

        There is a shattered anti-war movement that now has the most democratic of its elements speaking up for united-front methods, and confronting in doing so, the prospect of being seen as clearly mistaken over more than just 1 small war against a tyranny in Libya. When the tanks were advancing on a rebel city in Libya, and they told stories about supporting a no-fly zone it was because they could not call directly for war YET. They wanted war and were happy to be lied to about NFZ’s; and Responsibility 2 Protect (R2P). Many are still not prepared to call for war against the Syrian tyranny but now they tolerate other revolutionaries that always seek the overthrow of fascist regimes.

        The SWP leadership directly brought the ‘trigger’ problem on by not delegating the resolution of the issue to people in the group who would be seen to be at arms length from the parties in dispute. But we must all understand that the SWP was, as Arthur has systematically pointed out, obliged to deal with this matter.

        People are entitled to their views about what is the best way for the fully grown woman to deal with her complaint of some years earlier when she was also presumably of age. Assaults against children even if they turn out to be recovered memory nonsense are a different issue. Obviously women can’t be treated like children and can and will consider issues as they see fit, taking advice from any number of people with any number of views and possible outcomes including advising for or against police involvement. Only the woman can go to the police. No one can go to the police on her behalf acting in loco-parentis or whatever. If she chooses not to involve the police in this issue her view is perfectly valid and it establishes nothing either way to the merits of the matter.

        It’s clear that the SWP and all similar organizations are deep in Neverland pseudoleft politics and ‘getting real’ requires leaving Neverland far behind. But as people leave the sects and cults they can turn left or further right without necessarily noticing. This thread proposes to turn even further right.

        The ways that people come out of such a strange place as the ‘socialist’ anti-war milieu there is often no telling up from down, until they stop moving and can get a bearing on reality. If you can’t tell up from down you won’t be able to tell right from left either, and that seems to be what is being demonstrated in this thread. So I would like to introduce some 100% clear examples to indicate to Brian and Binh how to proceed when we are faced with no such uncertainty and then re-consider the uncertain example.

        The expression get a job resonates with working people across the globe. Perhaps Binh and Brian should (theoretically at least) get a job as a journalist, but then if they did I would recommend they adopt some journalistic standards and join together with other journalists to develop and enforce them and naturally be subject to those standards. Being self declared leftists they couldn’t object to joining, or forming a journalists union, and being subject to the rules of both civil society and the state at least as a general rule either. We can all now say that they would be dealt with by their journalists union if they bring the profession into disrepute.

        Munthather al-Zaidi was a journalist who stopped being a journalist and turned into a minor assailant of a head-of-state and was dealt with exactly as I argued he would be by the state authorities that he was compelled to answer to. The event happened and it was on film that we all saw – it was a 100% certain assault and predictable arrest. It was not a ‘he said, she said’ puzzle of accusations from events several year’s back as the SWP had to deal with. My basic assessment was subsequently confirmed by events, the fellow was arrested; tried; convicted; did some jail time and was released.

        A gatekeeper for Neverland Mike Ely, at Kasama would not permit a debate over what the new countries of the ME will produce, namely a legal process that results in just that outcome. This was all too emotional in Neverland. How dare people not see that the criminal was being stood up to! Censor Mike Ely / Nando is not subject to standards and held to account, so communists that speak up for reality like me @8,11 and 14 just get disappeared and never spoken of again. Munthather al-Zaidi shamed his professional body and own government and around the world the SWP members and supporters beamed with pride.

        Any fair-minded individual can see in this very important example how sect conduct harms the ‘ease of mind and liveliness’ required for the development of the ideas fit for our time with the tools of our time. The left that I was introduced to as a child prided itself on being able to stand up in a debate, but as this example demonstrates the quality of Kasama is at the level of the juvenile delinquent, and Kasama as we have seen over Libya and Syria has limped along degenerating even further since December 2008, and even turned on the revolutionaries of Nepal who have the nerve to run the Government.

        I noticed a couple of days ago a terribly unfair post (concerning yet another rape allegation) that was put up at Kasama about the Nepal prime minister not doing what a demo had demanded, supposedly not doing the right thing about the case, and then when it was challenged for being appallingly crappy journalism that could not pass the smell test, it was disappeared! The discussion no doubt has been taken to where the bright light of public exposure won’t harm Kasama and that’s exactly what’s wrong with these hive-mind sects.

        Remember these clowns at Kasama are supposed to have a Maoist background (100 flowers and all that) but yet won’t tolerate anyone that actually continues to uphold views that Mao was expounding when he died. When one reflects on the strange behavior of the RCP (USA) over 30yrs ago it brings to mind the Jesuit expression ‘give me the boy till he is 7 and I will give you the man.’ The current loopy cult is the product of a progressively distilled sect that was apparent by 1980. All these micro-parties that can’t handle the reality of even discussing what is happening to a publicly misbehaving journalist are like Kasama, and the SWP, dishonest intellectual bankrupts.

        Another concrete example I am very fond of is to ask the more academic type who defends piracy etc., to get a job welding; or truck driving; or as crew on a cargo carrying ship; indeed anywhere along the supply chain on actual products that the student ‘radical’ is right now touching, or about to.

        In Australia the entire Green movement is now rabidly anti-proletarian. (The SWP tendency dissolved in Australia to form the Green Left tendency that renounced Marxism!) We know about the revisionists but what about the anti-revisionists? In Australia we have the head of the Greens Party demanding an end to the coal industry!

        OK so the concrete connection is this.

        A year after the SWP set up ‘Stop the War’ to work against NATO and other countries even fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban (not debating how to fight them effectively by really unleashing social revolution in Afghanistan but just pointlessly opposing the half-arsed effort of our ruling-elites) the U.S. ruling-elite were planning an illegal war to smash the lawful tyranny in Iraq and to liberate the Iraqi peoples’ and enable all the freedoms that the Syrian peoples’ are now dying for in their many tens of thousands to achieve.

        It is Syria and that steady collapse from the comfortable position of never support the Great Satan when it all seemed so simple years ago that is setting the scene and people want to break this up.

        A debate over what the new countries of the ME will produce – a legal process as part of the bourgeois democratic revolution that would have to unfold in the wake of the destruction of the Baathist regime – ought to have been full on but was NOT. Instead the largest demonstrations ever were organized and people were encouraged to think and act like sheep. The SWP types were on cloud 9 as the masses turned up in very large numbers to protest what they thought was going to be a war of conquest for the aggrandizement of the U.S. ruling-class or some such thinking. They have been wrong from well before 9/11. Even Binh ought to know that all these sects got the issue of Kuwait totally wrong.

        The elections that Binh wants to (undoubtedly prematurely) focus on in the U.S., are at least a way out of the pathetic ‘demonstration’ nonsense from the pseudoleft; but one shudders at the thought of what politics Binh is actually proposing to take forward into any electoral arena. Garbage-in = Garbage-out is all people can get until the next steps are taken.

  • R

    Pham Binh,

    Firstly, the SWP is not a cult, or “cult-like”, and I’d appreciate it if you refrained from insulting the intelligence of the party’s members with such terms.

    Secondly, a lot of women choose not to report accusations of rape and sexual assault to the police, for understandable reasons. You have absolutely no right to make assumptions about someone’s motives for not doing so or to tell them the “proper place” to deal with it. Who the fuck do you think you are? If “W” chooses to report it to the police she has every right to do so but either way it is her decision; not the SWP’s and not yours.

    The DC of the SWP is obviously not a substitute for the police/courts. It obviously has authority o tnly within the party, and expulsion is the most it could possibly do. Making a complaint to the DC and going to the police are two different decisions and whether “w” decides to report it to the police or not, she has made the accusation to the DC who then have to figure out how the party should respond to it internally. Whether, and how, it should be dealt with by the state is not up to them. Whether they came to the correct conclusion, I don’t know but I think it’s clear they at least took it seriously.

    ‘Fatgollummuncher’,

    Grow the fuck up and try to have some clue what you’re talking about before you start slandering people. The SWP is obviously not a”rape cult”,whatever that is even meant to mean. If any member of the party, whatever their position, has committed rape or anything like it, they should be expelled (again that is aside from prosecution, etc).

    As to all the other bullshit, members of the CC of the SWP have faced both prosecution (which could potentially have resulted in jail time) and death threats for their role in Unite Against Fascism. Any Socialist with a brain in their head “fears the state” because the state can and will fuck you up if it considers you even remotely threatening to state or ruling class interests. And spare me the prolier-than-thou nonsense.

    • Ben Campbell

      You are right that the comment by ‘Fatgollummuncher’ was out of line and slanderous. It has been removed. Sorry about that; should have spotted it earlier.

    • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

      “Firstly, the SWP is not a cult, or ‘cult-like’, and I’d appreciate it if you refrained from insulting the intelligence of the party’s members with such terms.”

      It has nothing to do with anyone’s intelligence and everything to do with the culture of fear that rules the organization. As Tam Walker, former journalist for Socialist Worker wrote:

      The CC is shutting down all debate, on the pretext that it is about the rule that factions must dissolve after conference. Party workers are being spoken to individually, and if they refuse to give a guarantee that they will never so much as mention the case again, they are being told they must leave their party jobs.

      Silencing intimidation tactics like threatening to fire people if they speak their minds on forbidden topics are more akin to the practice of the church of Scientology than that of the Bolshevik wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party or really any party of the left.

      I’d appreciate it if you separate the issue of the SWP’s behavior in practice from the intelligence of its membership. I know that’s probably asking a bit much, but at least try.

      “Secondly, a lot of women choose not to report accusations of rape and sexual assault to the police, for understandable reasons. You have absolutely no right to make assumptions about someone’s motives for not doing so or to tell them the ‘proper place’ to deal with it. Who the fuck do you think you are? If “W” chooses to report it to the police she has every right to do so but either way it is her decision; not the SWP’s and not yours.”

      It was the SWP’s decision to either “handle it internally” and/or involve the police and the courts. They made the wrong decision on both counts and, in doing so, have created a legal liability for the whole organization by tampering with evidence, possibly coercing witnesses (depending on who said what to whom), conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. Martin Smith and whoever is left in the SWP better pray that “W” does not go to the proper authorities because if the state decides to prosecute the organization or its leadership or the Disputes Committee, that will be the end of group. No one on the left will defend them from the bourgeois state over this, and rightly so.

      And last but not least, please read and abide by our commenting policy here. Cursing and abusive language are not welcome here.

      • http://www.amleft.blogspot.com Richard Estes

        The question is how any socialist endeavor can effectively address sexual harassment and violence within its ranks. The SWP has failed to do so, and by some accounts, failed to do so for decades. Instead of defending the indefensible, as some socialists also recently did in regard to the deplorable, erroneous statements about what does and does not constitute rape by George Galloway, we should be trying to develop more effective alternatives.

      • R

        Regarding commenting policy, seems fair enough, and I think I met most of those criteria except that my tone was probably a bit aggressive and I do tend to swear. I’ll try to rein it in. However, I do object to being described as a member of a cult, let alone a “rape cult”.

        On the actual issue, I don’t see any evidence of it being a case of an internal matter OR a police investigation. The SWP does not have the power to imprison someone, only to expel them. The police have the power to imprison people, not to decide whether they are members of the SWP. It’s 2 separate things. If “w” makes the accusation to the police, I don’t see much the SWP could do to prevent that, even if they wanted to. If the accusation was proved beyond reasonable doubt, the CC would have to expel the accused or risk losing half the members.

        To be clear, I am not remotely an apologist for or defender of rapists. It’s one of the worst things you can possibly do, absolutely indefensible and unjustifiable under any circumstances. The problem is that I do not know if “delta” is or is not a rapist or anything similar without knowing specific facts and details which are covered by confidentiallity. Therefore it’s virtually impossible to make a reasonable judgement.

        • redfred

          R, From what I have read, the issue not the “verdict” itself, but how the whole process was handled. To be fair, one of the dispute resolution committee members works as a rape counselor.

          People on the DC who were close to Martin Smith should have recused themselves from this matter, and there are reports that the woman was questioned inappropriately when telling her account, which traumatized her further, the dc denies that they did this, so we really do not know.

          But the SWP is not a court: they cannot provide forensic scientists, psychotherapists, etc. As socialists, we oppose the courts and the police, of course, but if a woman is raped, this is her only recourse. And these modern bureaucratic centralist sects do pressure their people: big time.

    • SJD

      I back Pham on the bulk of what he’s said. It’s certainly far less a smear than most of what I’ve seen about this shocking episode.

      Cult membership has zero to do with intelligence.

      It was indeed the complainants decision to not call police.

      It was the decision of party systems that Dispute Committee was competent and appropriate to investigate and adjudicate on charges of rape. They are not and there is no way to suppose they are. It utterly belittles crime and the evidence indicates the treatment of the complainant was vile.

      Whatever one thinks of the Assange case, the SWP were highly vocal
      That he should be extradites to stand trial on charges that were serious, but less serious.
      The Swedish Court system won’t suffer too much less from ‘formal bourgeois morality’
      Oh, wait… Assange isn’t a leading light of the self appointed revolutionary vanguard. Silly me.

      There’s so much about this that is clearly rancid, or at least stupid. One thing that stands out is the claim that there is no better panel to have adjudicated. Despite the ‘life experience’ cited as qualification to investigate and adjudicate, this person seems to have not heard of juries.

      Lexicon, pomposity, arrogance and hypocrisy of some concerned raise the possibility that they assime they are running something like Moscow Show Trials, not a rather small party that has a fair bit to offer but has just shown itself to be an entity none would sensibly trust. I’d be interested to know what other TUSC components are thinking right now. I doubt it’s flattering.

    • John R

      Here’s a long quote from Andy Newman from Sept last year when Socialist Unity were defending George Galloway.

      “The long term editor of Socialist Worker used to have a reputation that “no means yes”, and when he vistied some districts, experienced comrades in the know sought to ensure he was not left alone with young women.

      When women who had been assaulted complained, they were diminished and hounded out of the SWP. I know of one occasion when a victim of sexual assault was sat down with a senior woman CC SWP member who told her to keep quiet for the good of “the party”, excusing the behaviour because “capitalism fucks everyone up”, and then warning if she didn’t keep quiet then no-one would believe her, and the SWP would destroy her reputation.

      During the 1980s there was a strange phenomenon of several angry young womwn comrades who used to talk about the sexism of this leading comrade, but they had been intimidated out of explaining what had happened, and instead the discusion often focussed on seemingly trivial details, like the fact that he always referred to women socialists by their first names, and male comrades by surnames (lenin and marx, but Rosa and Clara, for example)

      To fnd an organisation that systematicaly for decades covered up sexual assault and who intimidated women who complained into silence praised in this was is disgraceful.

      Even worse, I know of an IS/SWP district in the 1970s who colluded in silence and looked the other way when a leading industrial militant was raping his own step-daughter: the individual in question had previoulsy been in the IMG, who had also covered it up. When as a young 17 year old I confronted him at a party and asked him loudly if he was still fucking his duaghter, it was me cautioned by the SWP, while the truth of thse allegations was quietly ignored.”

      http://www.socialistunity.com/time-for-the-left-to-stand-up-for-galloway/#comment-617753

      Here’s what (ex) Socialist Worker Journalist, Tom Walker said in his resignation letter -

      “It is stated that the accuser did not want to go to the police, as is her absolute right if that was truly her decision. However, knowing the culture of the SWP, I doubt that was a decision she made entirely free from pressure.

      Do not underestimate the pressure the SWP can bring to bear on members by telling them to do or not do things for the ultimate cause of the socialist society the party’s members are all fighting for. Against the prospect of the liberation of the whole of humanity, they will attempt to make even the most serious issue seem less important than the party’s survival. I do not think the CC are cynical cultists, by the way – I think they believe this themselves.”

      http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/944/swp-why-i-am-resigning

      I would not say the SWP is a “rape cult” but I would say that there is a strong suspicion that they have tried to keep rape and sexual assault allegations “in house” for the greater good of the Party. Certainly on this occasion, maybe on others. We wait and see what else might come out.

      As for complaints against “bourgeois justice” – if a rape accused were investigated by friends in the police, tried by a jury of his friends with the judge also being a friend with the said accused being found “not guilty” there would be an outcry.

      But this is how the SWP handled this complaint.

      The Party’s over, Comrade. This will be flung in the face of the SWP for years to come – and the CC will expect their members to defend it.

    • R

      “…I think it’s clear they at least took it seriously.”

      On further thought, I’d like to retract that.

  • JJJ

    “If revolutionaries want to see change they must embrace taking more and more responsibilities and not cop out when it gets serious. ”

    [admin edit: insults removed] Serious? You mean as in like, if some woman had been say, seriously raped? If maybe TWO women had been sexually assaulted by a man? GET SERIOUS, GIRLS.

  • Ben Campbell
  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

    I never said the SWP was a cult.

    The issue here is not Smith’s guilt/innocence but how the SWP, specifically its CC and the Disputes Committee (DC) handled W’s complaint. Instead of advising her to get a lawyer and go to the police, they chose to set up a farce disguised as an investigation that was riddled with conflicts of interest and engaged in the very same behaviors the party derides when it happens outside its ranks (questioning W’s sex life, etc.).

    All of this was approved by the slimmest majority and the CC-approved slate was elected, which means the entire organization now bears political, moral, and dare I say legal responsibility for all of the fallout.

    If drastic reform doesn’t happen fast, the SWP is finished as a political force. Members are leaving/being expelled, the IST is falling apart, and no one on the left will come to the SWP’s defense if the cops begin investigating the organization for conspiracy, intimidating witnesses, and obstruction of justice in this case.

  • anitah

    Reading the transcript, my thoughts changed while reading the various statements etc.. I felt that the position to vote Yes to accept the report was strongly put and probably would have voted that way based upon the given information in the speakers for and against the motion. But there is more to it than that and it appears to be highly idealised and politicised and so it is no wonder there was a significant expression of dissatisfaction on the floor. Reading Lenin’s Tomb filled in some of the details but really none of this surprises me, and as far as I can see neither the accused or the accuser had anything like justice or good process. For example it is clear that confidentiality ought to have been maintained but is right out the window.

    The problem is that it is clear from the numbers that the majority knows the details as the rumour mill had been turning fast and so about 50% of the conference floor have no confidence in the leadership. So it becomes farcical.

    I once dealt with similar issues while a member of the CC of the student grouping Left Alliance. (LA) It was problematic and I would have said in hindsight that these committees only deal with sexual harassment issues and not rape allegations, but I recognise the contradictions and implications of making that distinction, and am stuck with the view that if the misconduct procedures apply, then they must apply to all levels of misconduct. Our matters were not further complicated by CC member involvement but it was still vexing and destructive to all concerned.

    It is simply wrong for the CC not to protect the organisation against accusations of conflict of interest and the leadership ought to have delegated to ‘disinterested’ parties. That is so very basic that their incompetence brings everything after that undone, and in the end one I would have had to vote to reject on the basis that the whole thing was flawed from the start. The winning side should have rejected it’s ‘win’ and stayed with this issue till a consensus was worked through of what to do now. Numbers crunching in these circumstances is bound to bring on a split. But then I would have to care about such a lot splitting.

    It is also wrong to conduct these procedures in lieu of pursuing remedies open via criminal law provisions. i.e members do not/ can not be expected to relinquish their rights when a crime is perpetrated by other Party members. These are the rights that they have just fought to obtain like in Iraq or Libya (I wonder what the Iraqi or Libyan SWP members think of this? LoL) . The Party can’t order an individual to not seek reparations for damages caused in the Party life. It is completely up to the individual. Without knowing the details which I don’t need to know or want to know, it is moving on time as I cannot and donot wish to comment further on this aspect.

    On the question of rape. It is sad to again see that responsibility for sexual conduct is in the spot light and in question. I think women and men have an obligation to pursue sexual relations ethically, and to pursue any kind of grievance in a timely fashion, this appears not to have been done in a timely fashion. Dispute Committees ought to only deliberate grievances up to 1 year of the occurrence, or risk being too vulnerable to misuse imv. Time limits can always be over-ridden in the event of a good argument but there still ought to be some restrictions. This would have to be a good argument to get by me.

    Sorry if it seems like crowing .but …dissolution quickly is a good option. Seeing this I understand why the Australian Communist Party (CPA) members voted Yes to dissolution – however I don’t think that will happen here any time soon. The CPA existed factionally riven for quite some years prior – the idea of unite and don’t split definitely unable to operate here as well, and so the prospects for solid Party building are just not there in the future imv – but the SWP are wrong on so much there isn’t any point fighting for the name as it’s rather like name and shame – that is a liability.

    In LA we operated on a democratic centralist based Constitution and I continue to support such operating practices though no longer belong to any such functioning community.

    It seems to me that the author is definitely biased on the side of the accuser and speaking as a woman that won’t do either.

  • Arthur

    PS

    1. “the flaws of the legal system are likely to be played out in the public domain where they can be the subject of public criticism and protest (unlike diy procedures).”

    I’ll just let that dangle gently in the breeze…

    2. Forgot to include a link for the #79 rumour.

    http://www.socialistunity.com/what-i-really-said-about-the-swp-and-sharia-law/#comment-631492

  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

    The guilty party here is the SWP which completely and totally mishandled this from start to finish. Thanks to them, we’ll never have a chance to figure out whether Smith is guilty or innocent of anything.

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  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh
  • Lamia

    “What you have done is simply quoted anonymous internet speculation as a “report”.”

    It’s not anonymous, it’s coming in profusion from numerous current and former members of the SWP.

    The SWP has had it. most of its members can see that. Most of them are disgusted by the behaviour of its leaders. The only curiosity is why people such as yourself are determined to defend [them] to the bitter end.

    [admin: edited]

  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh
  • Brandy Baker

    There are people who were on the inside on both sides of the Atlantic who are saying, off record, that the Martin Smith case is just one of many and the tip of the iceberg.

    I am writing about the SWP’s history right now as we speak, but even what I am putting out is based on public record and will not wholly catch the real picture.

    I hope that people in the know will start to come forward.

  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

    Not many have commented on this angle of the issue:
    http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/the-age-gap-and-why-it-matters/

    • Richard Estes

      Wow! When you think that it can’t get creepier, it does. It gives the appearance that the SWP is, for some members, a place where they can “recruit” new young members for their own sexual benefit.

  • http://www.amleft.blogspot.com Richard Estes

    turns out the University of North Carolina handles rape complaints just like the SWP

    let the Honor Court decide

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/02/26/unc-charged-student-honor-code-violation-discussing-her-rape-allegation

    makes the CC’s claim that it was rejecting bourgeois forms of justice a little hazy

  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

    British CWI member has been publicly accused of domestic violence by his former partner (they are both members of the British union RMT). This link should have a trigger warning at the top rather than the bottom of the page where her photos are:
    http://carolineleneghan.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/3/

    I doubt the British CWI will do anything about this since the statute of limitations was up by the time this woman went to the police to complain.

  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh
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  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

    How not to handle a rape allegation, part 35 (and counting):
    http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.com/2013/03/resignations-from-sheffield-swp.html?m=1

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  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

    Chickens come home to roost:

    “THIS IS A TAX DEMO, WHY DON’T YOU GO BACK TO YOUR RAPE DEMO”
    http://athousandflowers.net/2013/03/31/this-is-a-tax-demo-why-dont-you-go-back-to-your-rape-demo/

    • http://www.amleft.blogspot.com Richard Estes

      I saw this, too. The amazing thing is, the SWP, after complaining about being subjected to “no platform” measures, said that the protesting women should, in effect, be . . . . no platformed. The hypocrisy of these people is striking.

  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

    Progressive Labor Party takes a page from the SWP playbook:
    http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/3835

  • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh

    University of London’s Student Union is going to give the SWP a hard time at its yearly Marxism conference:

    http://www.ulu.co.uk/news/index.php?page=article&news_id=376413

    This is great news. Accountability will be enforced if not from within then from without.

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