On Chris Bambery’s Organisation

In April 2011, the International Socialist Group was formed by 39 members of the Socialist Workers Party in Scotland.  The letter sent to the SWP, announcing its formation makes reference to a number of issues that they have with that organisation, including the treatment of Chris Bambery, who had just resigned (read pushed out) from the SWP .  In the 18 months or so that the ISG has been in operation it has gone from strength to strength – it now has over 100 members in all major cities in Scotland, and a majority female membership.  Yet still, it is considered by the English Left as “Chris Bambury’s organisation“.  They cant even bring themselves to say its name.

Chris Bambery is a controversial figure in Scottish left politics.  The Sheridan split and the atrocious role that the SWP  played in lying and obfuscating the situation was eventually exposed by the second court case.  Sheridan’s subsequent degeneration into the realms of a figure of mockery made anyone associated with the SWP at the time roundly loathed by  Sheridan’s victims and those supportingthem. Consequently the association between Bambery and the ISG led the SSP and others on the Scottish Left to initially view the ISG with suspicion.

In time however, the ISG and their activists have gained a level of respect from the rest of the left in Scotland through their willingness to engage in an open and unsectarian manner.  One such example of this is their involvement in the Radical Independence Conference.  Although a broad coalition of activists from across the left spectrum contributed to the success of this initiative, the role of the ISG in driving it forward should not be underestimated and indeed their commitment to Scottish Independence stands in contrast to the grudging forced support of the SWP, who can see which way the wind is blowing, and that even their old farts cant stop it.

Although it was never stated officially in any of the documents associated with the founding of the ISG, from talking to members it has become very clear that one of the main reasons for a number of people forming the organisation was the treatment of women, and the covering up of sexual violence, abuse and harassment within SWP ranks.  The behaviour of prominent members of the party, and their exploitation of young female comrades and the manner in which the SWP as an organisation dealt with this behaviour sickened a number of activists.   Yet it was not mentioned in their official statement.

This wasn’t mentioned, I suspect, out of a weird sense of loyalty to their parent organisation and out of a general taboo of raising issues of sexual misconduct.  To do so leaves you open to accusations of CIA honeytraps and hysteria.  Yet it ain’t going to die.  The latest schism in the SWP is much more open about these issues, although still rather delicately refers to them obtusely, unwilling to actually state that senior members of the SWP have raped female comrades.  And so, like the ISG before, they too must be smeared.  And one such smear is that they are working on behalf of “Chris Bambery’s organisation

Despite working with the ISG fairly closely from a few months after its founding, I only met Chris Bambery in person at RIC, and I wouldn’t even have recognised him had he not introduced himself to me.  He certainly writes for Communique, the ISG media outlet, but as an actual organiser or one who determines the political direction of the organisation, he features but in passing.  Yet it is inconceivable to the SWP that a successful socialist organisation could exist and thrive in the absence of a great man.

Most activists in the ISG are under 30, a majority of its members female and a high proportion from ethnic minorities.  Its focus is firmly anti-colonialist.  Yet for the SWP, all that is ignored in one short phrase.  ”Chris Bambery’s organisation“.  It is simply inconceivable to them that Scottish, young, female and black activists could actually establish and maintain a thriving left alternative   Instead strings must be being pulled by a high profile older white man living in London who is secretly telling them what to do.  God forbid the natives actually figure out how to run an organisation themselves.

Acht away and haud yer wheesht.

 

 

 

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36 comments
colin
colin

Hex - I see that you have still failed to publish the list of rapists in the leadership of the SWP that Mhairi alleges above in a blog posting that you support. You must get some kind of perverted kick out of supporting malicious unfounded dirt spreading. Your contributions are just noise. They add nothing.

Hex
Hex

Hey Col, sorry I haven't posted for a while, I've been so busy reading all the resignation letters from your cult. I've also heard a rumour that you're having meetings entitled "How do we fight for women's liberation today" ! It would be too easy a jibe to suggest that the speaker might be Comrade Delta ? I would say the first step in achieving women's liberation would be to tell young women not to go anywhere near the SWP

Colin
Colin

Hex, Not surprising to see The Sun and News International headlines rolled out to support your style of argumentation. Colin

Hex
Hex

Hey Col, not surprised to see you still defending your wee cult.

Colin
Colin

That's the stuff - get it all out now.

Colin
Colin

Hex, Given your style of argument I don't anybody will be very sure of what your sure of. The post-match stats reveal that you addressed nil points with lots of failed assists. Colin

Hex
Hex

Au contraire Colin, I addressed, and continue to do so, the one point you don't want anyone to even think about .....that Martin Smith harassed at least two women in your organisation, that your CC colluded in a cover up, and villified anyone who dared to question them. They then tried to supress dissent by expelling people who intended to raise it at conference. Finally some of your comrades realise they were lied to and have begun to take appropriate action. Will the last person leaving the SWP please turn the lights out...........

colin
colin

Hex, Your style of argumentation is noted. Trusting its cathartic. Colin

Hex
Hex

It's working well for me Col, not so sure about you.

colin
colin

cheers hex, thanks for the way you have seriously engaged with the discussion. Colin

Hex
Hex

No problem Col, glad to have been of some help in stulifying your attempt to create a diversionary smokescreen to protect the "integrity" of your sect. Get your own house in order and then a serious discussion can ensue. In the meantime please thank Martin Smith and your esteemed CC for their role in undermining the entire concept of the Leninist party, I know it took them at least 4 years to be aware of the allegations, cover up the cover up and then decide to expel people who questioned them. The British State has been trying to do that unsuccessfully for a whole lot longer, and you beat them to it. Bravo comrade, Bravo.

colin
colin

Rex, "How about a written apology from the SWP for their treatment of a young woman who dared to make an allegation of sexual abuse and the subsequent cover-up that “comrade Delta” and his cronies manufactured ?" Answer: No problem if its raised by members, investigated and agreed on by a majority of delegates after democratic discussion. You OK with that? But lets face it rexy baby from here it sounds like you have an inbuilt antipathy towards the SWP. You argue in the style of a Harry's Place Zionist troll. Try sticking to the point rather than thinking the raising additional topics is somehow addressing the original point or focus of discussion. It is predictable, tedious and pointless (if you get my point), - a spiralling circle of argumentative tosh. Some people in your situation find it helpful to list all the things that they don't like about the party based on their own understandings and perceptions. These can be based on gossip, hearsay or reconstructed memories - contributions based on the 'socialist disunity blog' or 'weekly worker' or even internal SSP bulletin can all be cited as acceptable sources. You could rank then rank each item in order of importance to you. The process might be cathartic for you. Some report it helps them to reach a point whereby they are able to engage in positive political activity aimed at alleviating oppression in the real world. But even id that does not work for you you could consider keeping each element of the list as an electronic sticky note that could be pasted into any blog response you happen to make that is in any way related to the SWP. But for clarity are you arguing that Mhairi is right to claim that multiple males in the leadership of the SWP have raped female comrades? If so what do you think would be the minmal evidential requirements to publish such rape claims? What kind of gutter politics politics would lead an individual to support accusations of multiple rapes based on zero evidence? Maybe you will agree that such an approach is both morally barren and philosophically bankrupt.

Hex
Hex

The "additional topic" I keep raising Col old bean is the very one you don't want to talk about. It's the one that has your organisation circling the drain as you tear yourself apart. The cover up of sexual abuse in your strange little sect. You'll be counting your membership in single digits before the weekend is over :-)

colin
colin

Mhairi, You raise some very interesting points I think it would take a convoluted reading of history to support your claims. You might want to check out: The Origins of Scottish Nationhood by Neil Davidson Neo-liberal Scotland: Class and Society in a Stateless Nation by Neil Davidson, Patricia McCafferty and David Miller Discovering the Scottish Revolution 1692-1746 by Neil Davidson These provide a fairly in depth rebuttal of your interpretation of history. As you are no doubt aware Scots have long history of being at the forefront of Britain's imperialist endeavours having played a key role in the brutal highland clearances. You state "you cant talk of “the working class” as one entity. The situation of call centre worker in the UK is vastly different from a garment worker in India – and the first gains from the second through imperialism." This involves a fare degree of intellectual jiggery pokery about the nature of class relationships. The key question is how you end the exploitation of all workers. Is the capitalist not the real exploiter. Of course wage labour within an increasingly regionalised and globalised capitalist system ensures mutual dependencies of exploitation at varying levels of alienation. But would Scottish and Indian workers not all gain if they revolted against their exploiters and created the basis for a different set of economic relations? Have the comparatively improved Western conditions of workers not been gained through solidarity and unity of action as a class? Some workers may experience different historical trajectories but this does not alter the nature of the centrally exploitative relationship they experience within the capitalist class system. Your arguments sound very much like those of the autonomists and Negri. I note also that you seem to have gone very quiet on your very serious allegation that multiple males within the leadership of the SWP have been engaging in the rape of female party comrades. A sympathetic former investigative journalist from the national 'left' wing press is currently examining your claims. They may attempt to get in touch with you shortly and ask to look at your evidence for each case. If you have the details to hand that will certainly speed the process up. I know that some ISG members are also stunned by your claims as well as the way which you have chosen to go public with them. Frankly very few people in the SWP leadership seem to have a clue who you are and are amazed that given some of the geographical issues involved that female comrades have chosen to confide in you. No doubt this will be further evidence of a cover up to you. At present I have to say that the detailed but still incomplete enquiries held earlier today found no evidence to back the multiple rapist claims. Absolutely nothing has been found so far that would allow the journalist go to print under existing libel laws. You have already suggested that the victims are happy for their cases to receive wider publicity in order to stamp out this evil - obviously the reporter intends to respect the individual women concerned. If (on the other hand) you have made up specific allegations of rape by multiple male members of the SWP leadership and have no evidence to support such claims (beyond material you have drawn from Andy Newman's blog) it may be advisable to display some political integrity by simply admitting to this publicly and sending a written copy of your apology to the SWP offices for their party records. Whilst support for the victims of rape must remain our foremost priority you can imagine the darkness and scale of the cloud you have created for so many of our male members. This is one of the costs and dangers of going public with unsourced and generic claims. An apology will only take you a couple of minutes and stop a lot of mental anguish. I have tried to temper some of the anger expressed by members and suggested that you have hold evidence that you will be able to hand over. Please tell me that you have not (consciously or unconsciously) produced an ill-informed malicious blog. Regards, Colin

Hex
Hex

How about a written apology from the SWP for their treatment of a young woman who dared to make an allegation of sexual abuse and the subsequent cover-up that "comrade Delta" and his cronies manufactured ? Or an apology to some of the people who believed her - like Pat Stack from your own organisation - but were then vilified for daring to go against the cult line ( I can't even type party line with a straight face anymore ) If you could send that by first post to every socialist in Britain who is now cringing at the mention of your name that would be just super. Because we all know you are desperately trying to manufacture a smokescreen to detract from the ill informed malicious sect you represent.

colin
colin

Mhairi, Are you seriously suggesting that leninist models of organisation are responsible for rape? Are you suggesting that organisations like the ISG are actively (perhaps even subconsciuosly) creating conditions which in time are likely to contribute to the subjugation and rape of female members? If so if you are against oppression why would you play an indirect part in supporting the oppression of women in this way? I guess you have a really different understanding of that leninist model than me. For me, the self-activity of the working class is not outdated - its collective organisation is the route through which all forms of capitalist oppression can be challenged. If you look at real world leninism in action, female workers power was central to its success. What is the scale of rape of woman members among male SWP leadership that you have alleged in your blog and are now using to make a point about political organisation? You have openly alleged in electronic print that more than one member of the leadership is involved. You also state that the issue of Scottish Independence only receives "the grudging forced support of the SWP". With the greatest respect I thought it was a fairly well considered and enlightened choice. The position has been repeatedly overwhelmingly agreed by delegates at national conference after open debate by elected delegates. The issue of Scottish independence question has had a fairly prominent place in all our party publications over the years. The party recognises the imperialist nature of the British state and has no interest in maintaining the UK. However we reject the arguments that Scotland is an oppressed nation and that an independent Scotland would be more inclined to socialism . The Scottish National Party is not a force for liberation and follows neoliberal economic policies. Is it this position that is you characterise as 'grudging'? I find what you write about the SWP from an external perspective consistently jaw dropping. So much of it seems based on whacky sources and malicious hear say. Have you considered the potential value to your argument sof being able to substantiate the points you make. Do you have any peer-reviewed published statistics correlating rape behaviour among different forms of political organisation? Or are you just shooting the breeze? Colin

admin
admin

Yes, I think that the leninist model of organisation consolidates kyriarchial power. You cant talk of "the working class" as one entity. The situation of call centre worker in the UK is vastly different from a garment worker in India - and the first gains from the second through imperialism, just as men benefit from patriarchy. You asked my opinion on the organisational form and I answered you. As you can see from the blogpost misogyny within prominent members of left wing organisations isn't confined to the SWP. As you will see from the blogposts I have written on it, I consider Scotland subject to colonisation. There is no comparison between the colonisation of Scotland and its more overt forms, but regardless, I regard the fight for scottish independence an anti-colonial struggle. The SWP has only supported indy for less than 10 years and had a dramatic turn around.

colin
colin

Hex, How do you feel about age a racial stereotyping? I know you probably have a value base that is opposed to it yet it seems to be be at the forefront to your approach to political argument. If I am honest I find your previous response a bit closed, possibly arrogant and a little concerning. Sometimes its good to admit that a point made could have been more considered or better put or was based on very limited evidence. You are right to suggest that no left political group can afford to be complacment about the extent to which their membership is representaive of the wider working class. For what its worth I have a fairly sound knowledge of the age, and race profile of the SWP membership and you are absolutely right to suggest it would require to change if it conformed to the caricature you present. I can say that it does not but that will not be accepted by you at face value- I would hope many former members of the SWP in the ISG would be able to back this up. Chris Bamberry or Jonathan will be able to for sure. Anyway I remain happy to review the membership situation and take any positive suggestions you make about youth recruitment forward. It is absolutely undeniable that age profile of the SWP membership in Glasgow was certainly affected by the loss of a number of student members to the ISG. We wish them well - they are comrades of good standing and will serve the ISG well. I extend an invitation to you to the Marxism festival in July next year if you would like to get a feel for the full spectrum of the SWP membership as well as have the opportunity to engage in discusion about ideas that will help to change the world. You will have the opportunity outside the meetings to explore the theoretical reasons and differences behind various forms of united front tactics and models of organisation proposed by SWP, Counterfire and ISG. I trust you are committed to putting in place recruitment measures that would ensure that the many the older white males who sizable make up a portion of the forces of the Scottish working class be made to feel comfortable or and welcome in the ISG. It is long standing tradition of health of left political organisations in Scotland and the UK that individuas are not discriminated against on the basis of age or sex. Regards, Colin

Hex
Hex

Until they make abuse allegations about a CC member and suddenly they are not quite so included in the SWP fold ? Thanks for the invitation to Marxism this year, I'm afraid it clashes with a Scientology convention which I'm thinking might be a little less cult like.

colin
colin

Good luck with that- if you change your mind the offer still stands. Regards, Colin

colin
colin

Mhairi, That is really reassuring. The many woman victims of these hideous crimes that you have alleged must be at the forefront of all our thoughts on this matter. If proven to be true - this will obviously be one of the biggest scandals to emerge on the organised UK left in the post-war period. If there is any truth in your blog allegations, I have every faith that professional rape counselling services will ultimately ensure that the groups of men in the leadership of the revolutionary party (who you have publicly alleged have been raping women members) will soon be charged. You will also be aware that if there is any truth to your very serous allegations it it will no doubt be a major story for the type of politically sectarian blogs you have used as sources to take up as well as elements with in the mainstream media. Given the depth of your political experience you will clearly be aware that such allegations even in their current form - even if ultimately proven to be another example of politically malicious blogging - will have a direct impact on the the growth of organised revolutionary politics in the UK - something I am sure you would not want to harm. I have obviously discussed you posts with others - everybody is really alarmed and genuinely concerned for the women who you state have been raped. It is highly likely that you will not accept this but it has been suggested that I should not treat everything I read on your blog at face value and that you might actually be motivated by a desire to damage the SWP, its reputation for fighting oppression and to achieve tasteless publicity for your blog. In your defence I have said that you will openly deny this - I guess you get cheeky monkeys everywhere. It is clear that no genuine individual would put there political credibility or the organizations they are associated with on the left at risk (e.g. ISG) without being scrupulous about there sources and being in possession of the necessary proof. Most informed readers will be able to judge for themselves the likely merits of your unsourced allegations. I have obviously explained that you have claimed that you have absolutely no personal or political antipathy towards the SWP and through your involvement with the ISG are very close to their brand of revolutionary politics. I know that you are ware that the Socialist Unity blog is considered as a cesspit of left sectarian political reaction within the UK left and its and is controlled by long standing obsessive SWP abhorrer Andy Newman. It is famed for hosting and propagating malevolent gossip about SWPs activities and serves as a forum for others political agendas that would be served by the dissolution of the SWP. The suggestion in your comments that other women have come to you with additional evidence of being raped must be a heavy burden in itself. The decision to break the news of these vile attacks by men on your blog was obviously not taken lightly and I can only imagine taken with their consent and genuine interests at heart. Given the fairly earth shattering nature of your revelations, the time has surely come for the ISG, Mhairi McAlpine as an individual, Chris Bamberry, Jonathan Shafi and the SWP and other left groups to re-affirm and work together to defend the right for women to join left wing organizations without being subjected to rape by any of the leadership (or anyone else) as well as denounce all forms reactionary, malicious internet gossip that seeks to undermine the movement of resistance to austerity. Discussions on this matter will no doubt be overtaken by events here given that you indicate that specialist professional organisations are now involved. So it is perhaps better to try and re-focus discussion in a unity-building, outward direction. Given your links to an SWP influenced organization like the ISG with its roots in the the traditions of organised revolutionary socialism as well growing climate of resistance to austerity in the UK - what is it about organised revolutionary politics that most appeals to you? What for you are are key ideas and strategies for changing the world? How can the to be much welcomed, emerging and exciting new forces within the ISG be best channelled in to resisting the austerity measures of the capitalist system? Regards, Colin

Hex
Hex

Colin, you're not getting it pal - after the relevations about what your party has been involved in, treating women who make allegations of abuse as if they were the problem, smearing them and anyone who dares to support them, noone is going to want to work with your wee cult on anything - at all. Whatever respect you had in the movement has been fatally undermined and I can't see a way back for you.

admin
admin

Rape crisis offers support for women who choose to go to the police, but does not pressure them to do so. It is very clear that the decision is for the victim. As far as I am aware they do not get involved with organisations unless specifically invited and they believe it would be a productive use of their (very) limited resources. I appreciate that people are alarmed and upset, very possibly because it chimes with things that they have heard before but have dismissed. I am very glad that it is now being taken much more seriously and would suggest that they look carefully at ways of eradicting sexual violence (as much as is possible) from the organisation. I think that a hierarchical organisational form has dangers for imbalances of power which can be used to subjucate members. I think (and this is where the ISG and I differ) that the Leninist model is outdated and inappropriate for precisely these reasons. If you have a read around the blog I am sure you will find some answers to the questions asked in your final paragraph.

colin
colin

Hex, I agree that it is entirely possible that the new 60 plus members may have never met or heard of Chris Bamberry. This might require all 61 new members never to attend ISG organised meetings at which Chris Bamberry speaks, visit the ISG website which prominently displays a wide range of articles authored by him, or view any of the video links of Mr. Bamberry hosted by the site. It may be also be possible that Chris Bamberry plays little or no role in founding or shaping the campaigning perspectives of ISG. It may also be possible that ISG activists never discuss Mr. Bamberry with each other. All this is entirely possible - however unlikely. I also note that you do appear to accept that around 100% of the founders of ISG would have been acquainted in some capacity with Mr. Bamberry. Where's the politics here? None of this internal naval gazing is important or productive. However your agism is offensive and appalling reflective of a backward political consciousness. It will not serve to engage or appeal to all the diverse voices in the working class whose collective action will necessary for maximal resistance against the system. I wish you well in developing your style of argumentation. Mhairi, You have repeatedly raised here a mind bogglingly important issue that will obviously now be required to taken up. I urge you to do something positive with the evidence of widespread rape that you have gathered (if you have not already done so). I urge you to act quickly to support all the women concerned. Unless you have their explicit permission it does not do justice to their situation to widen their pain by discussing it in a public forum such as this. Given the gravity and scale of your allegations as well as the robustness of the alleged evidence I think you need to get rape support agencies involved in this immediately. Regards, Colin

admin
admin

I'm not a member of the ISG, so I cant properly comment, but I'm not aware of any meetings that Bambury has addressed within the last year and I believe - as a non-member - that I have written more articles for the website than Bambury has. You really have very little clue about the ISG or the way it works. You give advice on appealling to diverse voices - what are these diverse voices - older white men with big ears, older white men with little ears, older white men with grey hair, older white men with white hair? That really isnt diversity you know, although it passes for it in some organisation. The ISG is majority female and probably includes a higher proportion of Black activists than the general Scottish population, its certainly the most diverse organisation on the Scottish left, and probably the UK left as well. I am really glad that you now appreciate that there is an issue within the SWP and the need to address it. I have indeed advised people to go to Rape Crisis. In terms of systemic change, I know that Rape Crisis in Scotland sometimes run sessions on request, it might be worth contacting the English branch to see if they can advise you as an organisation, there are also a number of good pamphlets on consent available on the web, it might be worth distributing these to members, or printing their contents in your publication. As I am not a member of the SWP, far less in any position of influence within it, its not within my power to involve rape prevention agencies, but I think its a very good suggestion.

Hex
Hex

I'm guessing you're one of the old angry white men then Colin ? Of course we need all ages of people to participate in the struggle, I was merely commenting on the fact that your group seems to be overwhelmingly constituted of members on one end of the age scale. How attractive is that going to be to the students or young workers that the left so desperately needs involved in the battles to come. Your concern for me as I develop my "style of argumentation" is touching but misplaced, I think I'm doing just fine thanks.

colin
colin

"senior members of the SWP have raped female comrades" Why the emphasis on the plural? Of course you state your source is the Socialist Unity blog - enuff said. For someone who claims not be anti-SWP to be suggesting that raping of women is widespread among senior figures of the SWP is hideous. Would you care to withdraw the comment and apologise in writing to the National secretary of the SWP? But are you seriously also claiming that the vast majority of those who formed the ISG did not know of Chris Bamberry? To do so requires a significant revisionism and intellectual dishonesty. If you are either neutral or favourable towards towards the SWP I would love to see what an anti-SWP blog post looks like. For what its worth such intellectual defensiveness actually weakens one's ability to engage meaningfully with people on key arguments resisting austerity.

admin
admin

mmm...glad you picked up on the plural. Interesting I chose plural isn't it. Perhaps you should ask *why* I might have chosen plural. My source for the transcript is indeed the SU blog, another cesspit of misogyny which actually if I am anti-SWP, given that I've written an entire post criticising the tolerence of rape apologism on SU, there is a plague on both your houses. But I know and speak with a number of people who have experienced misogyny within the SWP 30 odd members formed the ISG, they probably all have known Bambury, but ex-SWP members are in the minority of the current ISG membership. I have to say I dont really care about the SWP - although I cant say Im particularly enamoured with them. I'm more concerned about the safety of women within left organisations which pretend to promote womens rights while covering up sexual abuse.

Hex
Hex

Not too good with numbers are you Colin ? 39 ex SWP members founded the ISG, it now has something over 100 members. It is entirely possible that the new 60 plus members have never met or heard of Chris Bambery. The SWP are still fucked off, nearly two years later, that all their youth left with Bambery and they haven't recovered. Have you seen the average age of the old blokes they have out on the streets at their stalls ? Old angry white men, they're like the US Republican party with worse haircuts :-)

colin
colin

"Yet it is inconceivable to the SWP that a successful socialist organisation could exist and thrive in the absence of a great man." This is laughable and a complete revisionism. Mhairi are you the living embodiment of Winston Smith? Ask Johnathan Shafi what was the key reason behind him leaving the SWP to join the ISG. If he is honest he will tell you that he "could not imagine being in an organisation without Chris Bamberry being in it". Anyway this type of redress drags one into dead end historical naval gazing tosh - what an apolitical way to start the new year. I'm off to build some rank and file resistance to austerity.

admin
admin

You are *still* doing it. Are you seriously suggesting that that is the entire basis of the ISG? That they all gather secretly to worship at the Bambery shine? Half of them dont know who Bambery even is!

colin
colin

The stuff you write about the SWP is hideous and conforms to the typically unsourced standards of an anti-SWP blog. Making malicious allegations of rape is obviously a serious business. I know the SWP won't go to bourgeois courts to defend their reputation but you come across as someone who makes a lot of effort to rely on ill-informed gossip and sectarian web blogs as sources. If what you perceive to be the behaviour of the SWP is such an issue for you, you might want to ask what was the position and internal party dealings of Chris Bamberry in the Sheridan split and the fantastical allegations you make about the "atrocious role that the SWP played in lying and obfuscating the situation was eventually exposed by the second court case." You will no doubt be aware that the police have arrested and charged key News Group Newspapers witnesses with attempting to pervert the course of justice both in 2006 and at Tommy Sheridan's subsequent perjury trial at the end of 2010. In addition another News Group Newspapers employee was charged with conspiracy to hack telephones and multiple charges of conspiracy to obtain personal data. One wonders whether the truth when and if it finally come out will have any impact on your reasoning - but I won't hold my breath.

admin
admin

I don't know where you get the idea that this is an "anti-SWP" blog from - mostly I ignore the SWP. If you look at the sidebar, you will see the most common topics that I write on - prominent are feminism, rape, sexual violence and misogyny. Your interpretation of it as an "anti-SWP" blog given the actual content of this blog is telling. You have no idea what my sources are, or what further information I have of further sexual abuse which has been covered up within the SWP. I am aware that the police have arrested and charged News International personnel with perverting the course of justice in Sheridan's perjury trial. It certainly doesnt surprise me. The NoTW was a disgraceful right-wing rag - as has subsequently been exposed, and I fully expected some of the witnesses that Sheridan called to be charged with perjury, I am only surprised that there are not others. I wrote this the other day, in response to the transcript of the SWP conference emerging on the Socialist Unity blog, but decided against publishing it - that it would be sectarian and unhelpful in a time when SWP members were coming to terms with what was emerging, but actually it seems like you have learned nothing at all...look carefully at yourselves...very carefully... ************************** The Socialist Unity Blog has now published a transcript of the Disputes Committee Report into an allegation of rape by a member of the party's Central Committee. It is shocking. In the official response of the disputes committee it is stated that ...the hardest thing was for comrades to hear that an allegation of rape had been made against a leading member of the party. That says it all. It is stated several members of the committee having been involved in "dealing with" people who have experience of rape or abuse, yet still the hardest thing for them to hear was that an allegation had been made against a leading member of the party, not that a party member had suffered sexual violence. The disputes committee records a decision of "not proven" as a "compromise" because there was "conflicting information" from the rapist and the victim and there were no witnesses to the event. Its not exactly rare in cases of rape for there to be differing accounts from the rapist and the victim. It is a rare rape case, Assange not withstanding, where the rapist actually admits to raping the victim, yet on the basis of this "conflicting information" the rape was "not proven". The disputes committee claim that after four days of evidence they had "concrete proof that we didn’t think he’d done this". The victim is clear that this is rape, yet is denied access to session and to speak. The one person who does actually know whether or not a rape took place is completely debarred from a discussion over whether the manner in which the investigation into her sexual abuse was correctly handled. It is stated that when "people make a complaint of rape, comrades, I’m afraid we have to investigate that complaint.", yet on receiving the complaint, the dispute committee decided to investigate "broader issues". ...we had made clear that we were going to investigate not just the question of rape, but the broader relationship, the broader issues. the whole investigation was actually about conduct, and we extend that to both parties. So they decided to investigate the "conduct" of women, one of whom was a victim of rape, the other a victim of sexual harrassment. The conduct that they investigated included their alcohol consumption and sexual relationships that they had with other members of the party. They "came to a compromise" of "not proven". For after all, the disputes committee is there protect the interests of the party For after all, they are clear that they ... wouldn’t tolerate issues of rape, of sexism, harassment or abuse from any of our members. But for a central committee member, it’s not just about the personal behaviour, it’s about also damaging the party. And they don't tolerate "issues of rape" or "issues of harassment". They dont tolerate it at all. There are no rapists in senior positions within the SWP because the disputes committee of the SWP says that there are no rapists in senior positions in the SWP. They are the arbitrators of whether consent was given, and they have concluded that this woman did consent to the sexual contact between her and the senior member. The fact that the victim herself is clear that she did not consent and is making a complaint of rape, not requesting the disputes committee to investigate her conduct is neither here nor there as she is out shut of the session, refused the opportunity to address the meeting herself and silenced through bureaucratic means. Peppered through the transcript there are multiple denials that they are accusing people of being "feminists" (the shame!), that this is a feminist issue (heavens forbid!), or that there is a feminist faction (can't have those nasty drunken slutty women getting together now, can we!) and concerned about former members obtaining any information about this case, noting that non-members of the SWP obtained information about it before members did. The issue that female members of the party might be put at risk by having a sexual preditor in a position of power is of less consequence to them than that other people may have that information.

Cat
Cat

I have a grudging respect for the ISG, but cannot thole Mr Bambury. The SWP have behaved time and time again disgracefully. I have not followed the recent split but misogynistic behaviour always rises to the top and eventually women and some progressive men can't bear it any longer. I wish the ISG well.

George Mackin
George Mackin

I have limited dealings with the ISG but I always found the individual comrades to be open and positive in their political dealings. I like them. Politics for me it is not just what you believe but the manner in which you behave. The WRP, the former Militant group the SWP and others behaviour over the years (at times) has left a lot to be desired. They are not greater than their some of parts but rather less - what a waste. There is a deep cultic element to how those groups have operated historically and many people who have been in these organisations who have left have been victims of abuse. Politics is for me seeking common cause with other liked minded people and the paranoid enclosures of a number of political groupings have had lasting damage to the building of a truly radical left.

John Sangster
John Sangster

As an elderly comrade and one who has had specific dealings with left organisations, namely the WRP and SWP I have come to a stage in my life where I think it important to say exactly where I stand. I have always believed that socialism is about how we live our own lives, I chair my Community Council here in Inverurie in Aberdeenshire because I think it is vital to let the community know that those who put forward socialism are not "the big bad wolf". I will have no truck with those who try to make cult status out of politics and I am more concerned about pensioners dying of the cold in todays energy rich Scotland than I am of what Marx said to Engels in nineteen canteen. George is absolutely right, it's about how we behave when trying to explain our politics, I have say that elements of both the WRP and SWP have behaved disgracefully in the past and are not organisations I could ever support again. I seek to repair the damage done in the past with like minded comrades, it will not be easy, nor will it be a short road but it is a path I wish to take

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