In this week’s SWP Party Notes, we find my old party preparing to liberate itself from the tumor introduced into it by Chris Bambery’s fellow traveler, Doctor Doom himself. Not before time.
Richard [DON’T PANIC! DON’T PANIC!] Seymour refuses to provide a link to the SWP’s Party Notes. Doing that would allow the leadership of his party to speak for themselves. That would risk comrades weighing up the respective priorities of Richard Seymour and the democratically elected leadership of his party. Richard’s preference is to put words into other people’s mouths. In the world of Richard Seymour’s clown college, ‘Cliffite’ has been transformed into a term of abuse. I find that particularly odd given that his friends in Counterfire are posing as the salvation of Tony Cliff’s legacy.
Richard Seymour, even more so than Lindsey German and John Rees (who couldn’t tolerate being outvoted so split in an utterly unprincipled manner) denounce the democratic centralist vanguard party built by Chris Harman and Tony Cliff. But that isn’t enough for Richard Seymour. His ego demands a unique contribution to the liquidation of the party of Tony Cliff and Chris Harman. Richard has even adopted the Stalinist term, ‘Trotskyite,’ rather than the preferred terminology of ‘Trotskyist’, just to make it absolutely clear to everyone how hostile he is to the project of Trotsky, Lenin, Harman, Gramsci, Luxemburg etc.. What a sad little man Richard Seymour has become.
Richard Seymour’s fan club have even taken to designating the democratically elected leadership of his party as ‘terrorists’. Maybe we shouldn’t be all that surprised about this given that his cowardly friend ‘Donny Mayo’ has already compared them to the mafia. Richard himself has been dropping far from subtle hints that he too believes his party is little more than a criminal conspiracy against the working class. Richard has been shoveling this sectarian bullshit at every opportunity since he was roundly defeated at the SWP’s annual conference.
Richard is the kind of ‘democrat’ whose response to being outvoted is to demand a recount. And then another. And yet another. That way, while he knows that there is no prospect of his ever winning the vote, he can so demoralize everyone that he paralyzes the organisation for having the audacity to challenge his divine right to rule. In this respect, Richard Seymour stands in the tradition as Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin, the anarchist whose conspiratorial society strangled the First International so painstakingly built by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, amongst others.
Richard Seymour’s friends lie and lie and lie. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they boast (always behind false names, naturally, cowards that they are) about how they intend to use the capitalist state to have the democratically elected leaders of their party tossed in jail. What socialist party would tolerate such behavior?
These people are tools of the capitalist state. Most of them will not be the exact equivalent of Mark Stone Kennedy, the undercover cop who sexually and psychologically abused women in the environmental movement, helping the capitalist state to frame them and their brothers, fathers, sons, as well as mothers, sisters, daughters..
Most of Richard Seymour’s fan-club will not of course fall into the category of paid assets of the state, but that is not to say that none of them will be. Some of those attempting to destroy the SWP on a purely voluntary basis are hardly less contemptible than the conscious agents of the state. A few of these amateurs may be re-won to the cause of socialism at some point in the future. That is not impossible as they come to realise that their fucked-up behavior was the result of being badly mislead by a charismatic leader like Richard Seymour. A combination of experience in the class struggle and some serious study of Marxist literature may make at least some of them return to the socialist movement.
Prodigal sons must be embraced if the repentance is genuine, and amends made to win back trust. Whether an individual is deemed sufficiently repentant will be a matter for their ex-comrades. That is a decision for the future, after forgiveness is asked for. For time being, the actions of Richard Seymour’s loyal lieutenants fully justify expulsion. But not for everyone. Not for those who see the light before it is too late. But it is far too late for many.
Richard Seymour’s behavior is utterly unforgivable. He has expelled himself. I cannot foresee the circumstances where he personally will ever be able to do enough to make amends for his crimes against the party. The important thing now is to drive a wedge between him and any decent socialist who has been mislead by him. Patiently explain to the latter. Do not drive some confused comrades into his arms by prematurely deciding a comrade is lost. Salvage as many as possible.
- “The party has seen a lot of discussion and argument since conference. And these issues will no doubt be raised at the National Committee (NC) meeting on 3 February. The 50 comrades elected by our recent conference will want to have their say.
- “The NC is an important political body whose task is to question, advise, guide and assist the CC. There will be report-backs from the 3 February NC to branches.
- “Comrades have complained about some of the material that has appeared on blogs, Facebook etc. People are tired of slurs, lies and unsubstantiated allegations. Such matters, and what action to take, will also be discussed at the NC.
- “We need to make sure we are not paralysed and do not become unable to intervene in the class struggle.
- “We are moving ahead with the perspectives we agreed at conference. These were sent out last week in the post-conference bulletin. This is what our democracy looks like – debate, votes and elections involving all delegates and then carrying out the decisions in a united way.
- “We are not going to overturn the decisions made two weeks ago by a very open conference, the highest level of our democracy.
- “That is why the CC opposes the call for a recall conference, a demand that emerged even before the decisions of the 4-6 January conference had been sent to every member and which seeks to brush aside the decisions just made by the delegates.
- “It is also clear that as part of the discussions some people are raising a wider debate about the direction of the party. This does not mean that everyone who has raised issues about the recent events is attacking our political tradition. But some are seeking to overturn important parts of what we stand for – and the politics we reaffirmed at conference.
- “There are some people who want to replace a Marxist analysis of women’s liberation with one centred on patriarchy theory. Others believe that changes in capitalism have altered the structure of the working class so fundamentally that it is no longer the key element in the battle for socialism.
- “Others, outside the party, are making attacks on the SWP as a way to buttress Labour.
- “And in his article on why he is leaving the SWP, “Donny Mayo” attacks the party over recent events but then goes on to attack its attitude to Syriza and its failure to back Len McCluskey for Unite general secretary. He then delves deeper and claims there is a “global crisis of old-style Trotskyist Leninism” and that the SWP is an example of a “historically outdated model” and that democratic centralism has become an “increasingly cultish mantra”.
- “We need to win people to our analysis of exploitation and oppression, Leninism today, and the revolutionary party.
- “Please note that if branches are going to discuss motions they should be circulated to all branch members in good time in advance. This is to ensure that comrades have a democratic right to take part in the discussion. After consultation with the chair of the Conference Arrangements Committee, any motions for a recall conference have to be in by 5pm on Friday 1 February. This is to make the NC aware of them.”