Wednesday, April 13, 2011

SWP implodes in Scotland

This is a letter signed by SWP members from Scotland who have resigned from their party along with Chris Bambury. It seems a genuine and bona-fide list and as such represents a huge blow to the SWP in Scotland. It includes their Glasgow Organiser, East Scotland organiser and six of their Scottish Steering Committee. It also represents the loss of their student base in Glasgow and their active youth members in Dundee.

Dear CC and Party Members,

We, the undersigned, are writing to inform you of our resignation from the Socialist Workers Party. This is not a decision that we have taken lightly: for all of us, it is an immense emotional and political strain to abandon an organisation in which we have invested countless hours.

Following the last split from the Party we were told there would be an end to factionalism. It is our position that this was not followed out in practice: factionalism persists at the very centre of the organisation. Allegations have been made against some of us and will undoubtedly continue. However, we have been committed to building the party as well as intervening in the anti-cuts movement, both on campuses and through Right to Work as well as relating to the Arab revolutions. We have not departed from the party line; indeed, we have been at the forefront of developing the organisation.

We are appalled by the factionalism which has driven Chris Bambery from the SWP. This is a consequence of a culture that pervades sections of the organisation and flows from the majority grouping on the Central Committee. This has impacted negatively on the work of the SWP, primarily demonstrated in a retreat from systematic united front

work. In particular our work around the Right to Work campaign has been confused and patchy across the country, primarily because the Central Committee - as a whole - did not drive that perspective from its inception.

In the build-up to the 26 March we could have been organising to get every possible local anti-cuts and trade union activist working together to carry out mass leafleting, but the message from the centre was to concentrate on building it through our paper sales. Those were, of course, vital; but we also needed to place ourselves alongside the thousands who were working to build the march.

Consequently the SWP's ability to influence wider layers of people provided by the biggest demonstration in trade union history was restricted. There are some very good SWSS groups, but the Glasgow students were the only SWSS group with any sizable presence on the student feeder march. Amidst arguably the biggest youth revolt in British history - and despite reports of bumper recruitment to the Party after Millbank - this should have been a massive wake-up call.

But rather than face up to the consequences and adjust our strategy, a faction on the CC has turned its attention to Right to Work national secretary Chris Bambery, who has been labelled "disgusting", "filthy", accused of playing a factional role in Scotland and of wanting to wreck the SWP. This culture means that the SWP nationally has not

taken up the campaign in defence of Bryan Simpson, with the Morning Star giving it more coverage than Socialist Worker. At the time of the Arab revolutions a pre-existing factional attitude towards the Stop the War Coalition meant too often we did not throw ourselves into building solidarity actions initiated by them.

Chris Bambery's resignation means we can no longer trust a section of the Central Committee. Let us be clear, we are not leaving the organisation just because of Chris Bambery’s forced resignation, but rather because we understand as symptomatic of a disease within the party that has held back its work and development over the past couple of years and distorted its theoretical tradition.

We have fought for a non-sectarian approach to party building and our results bear this out. Our position on this will not change. We intend to establish a Marxist organisation in Scotland. We wish to express our gratitude to the comrades in Scotland and elsewhere who have shared our frustrations but have not been willing or able to take

this last step. We want to work fraternally with the SWP as we do with all groups on the Left and the Trade Union movement. We wish those in the SWP success in building revolutionary politics. It is painful that it is not possible to move on together. However, we are all as determined as ever to continue as revolutionary socialists and to meet the theoretical and practical challenges raised by the ruling class offensive and the emerging anti-austerity


Gareth Beynon

Sam Beaton

Nik Brown

Gregor Clunie

Megan Cowie

Sean Coyle (Scottish Steering Committee)

Euan Dargie

Lucky Dhillon (Scottish Steering Committee)

Charley Dohren

James Ferns

James Foley (National Committee and Scottish Steering Committee)

Adam Frew

Rhiannon Garrity

Dominique Graham

Karen Huzzey

David Jamieson (Scottish Steering Committee)

Laura Jones

Eileen Boyle (Scottish Steering Committee)

Natalie Kerr

Gav Lavery

Calum Lawson

Mahmoud Mahdy

Eilidh McKnight

Danny McGregor

Rachel Meach

Callum Morrison

Jenny Morrison

Phil Neal

Claire Paterson

Pete Ramand (Glasgow organiser)

Laura Robertson

Danny Rooney

Suki Sangha (National Committee and Scottish Steering Committee)

Jonathon Shafi

Bryan Simpson

Katherine Stewart

Stuart Tuckwood

Chris Walsh

Ben Wray (East Coast of Scotland organiser)

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