Lair Of A Squirrel Red

Summer Mode by korakious
July 23, 2007, 10:34 am
Filed under: announcements, summer mode

Comrades, I am currently in Greece and being tortured by the heatwave. Therefore, I can’t for the life of me muster enough attention to make a good post. So, from now on and until I return to Scotland, I will be posting random articles I find interesting and/or amusing. Cheerio.


SWP thuggery by korakious
July 10, 2007, 9:13 am
Filed under: sectariana, Trotskyists

The following is from Weekly Worker. Readers should know by now that my politics are quite at odds with the CPGB’s, however, I thought that the following was too serious not to be passed on by the Lair.

Condemn physical assaults on this year’s Marxism!

On July 7, the second full day of this year’s Marxism, SWP national organiser Martin Smith physically assaulted Communist Party comrade, Simon D. The attack occurred while our comrade was waiting for the session on ‘Organising for fighting unions’ to begin.
Simon was a member of the SWP for three years up to 2006, when he was suddenly expelled (by phone!) for “bringing the party into disrepute” – the catch-all charge loved by bureaucrats everywhere. In fact, all he was ‘guilty’ of was raising some criticisms and questions publicly and reporting on his blog – verbatum – the words of leading SWPers at a Respect meeting in Tower Hamlets. At the comrade’s appeal, led by Pat Stack and where Martin Smith gave ‘evidence’, he was not given any specific examples of his alleged crimes. He was subjected to a show trial with no pretence of allowing the comrade a fair hearing and then was simply turfed out.
In the following weeks, comrade Simon attended a Camden SWP public meeting on Respect. Incredibly, the next day Martin Smith left a message on the comrade’s phone telling him that he was henceforth “not allowed to go to any SWP events”. Smith also said he had written to the party organiser in comrade Simon’s area to let them know this. Comrade Simon texted back pointing out that it was advertised as an SWP public meeting and surely, as a member of the public, he was entitled to go. The response came back: “When you are expelled from the [SWP], that means you are not allowed to attend any SWP event, public meeting, Marxism, period.”
To make this crass exclusion official, Smith sent through a letter a few weeks later that put this in black and white: “an expelled member of the SWP cannot attend SWP public events (that includes Marxism/rallies/public meetings)” (Weekly Worker June 8 2006).
The fact is that comrade Simon has attended SWP meetings since – despite threats. Indeed, how many people at this year’s Marxism were once expelled from the SWP? Applied consistently, this would see the exclusion of hundreds of comrades on the left of the working class movement who have been in that organisation and fallen foul of its crass bureaucratic regime.
Clearly Smith is personally slighted because his foul role in the comrade’s crude show trial and expulsion was publicly exposed by the Weekly Worker. This is clearly what prompted Smith to aggressively approach comrade Simon, to demand his ticket to the whole event be returned and to physically attack him. He was wrestled to the floor, sustaining bruising, abrasions and back strain. A second SWPer then joined in and they started to go through our prone comrade’s pockets to take his Marxism ticket.
This is a foul and cowardly act. In their sect, SWP leaders are used to wielding unaccountable power, they treat the ‘party’ and the wider movement almost as their own property. Disgustingly, when Simon was expelled, Pat Stack told him “You’re now not going to have any life on the left – your activist days are over”. Who the hell do these people think they are? Since when have they been in charge of our common movement? Since when has it been their prerogative to decide who is a working class partisan and who is not?
However, this Stack comment and the attack on Simon reveal the foul, anti-Marxist mindset of people who treat their own members as little more than paper-selling and leaflet-distributing machines. And ordinary SWPers are the people who should really be disturbed by the physical assault at this year’s Marxism.
After all, the likes of the thug Smith cannot shut up comrade Simon or – even more frustratingly for him – the Weekly Worker itself. We will feature this story next week to make sure that Martin Smith is exposed for the anti-democratic goon that he is and that this information is widely disseminated in the movement in this country and internationally.
SWPers have no such outlet, of course. We can brush off these sorts of crude incidents; Martin Smith’s reputation will take the really bad bruising here. But comrades of the SWP – if you tolerate this despicable culture in your ranks, what about when you develop differences, what about when you want to criticise and hold your leaders to account?
That’s the real lesson from this new SWP assault on political opponents and it is one SWPers themselves should really take to heart.