Although I am not a member of the Socialist Workers Party, I have seen the motions to today’s national committee. They have been posted by the usual suspects, presumably after receiving an electronic copy from one of their entryists.
My initial inclination was to post onto my blog those motions I like, which just so happens to be most of them. Only took me a fraction of a second, however, to reject that idea. I respect the SWP’s rights to organise their national committee away from prying eyes, even if Richard Seymour and his fan club do not. Those who want to read these motions (which will include most of their own members, readers of Socialist Worker, and just about all socialists in Britain as well as most people interested in politics) will know where to find them.
Hopefully the SWP national committee will, sooner rather than later, agree to post the NC motions onto the internet themselves. I think they would be making a serious mistake if they do not post them, especially given that refusing to post them would only increase internet traffic to the sectarians. Let the supporters of the SWP get the information they need from the party, rather than second hand from those who flout the party’s democracy.
Although I have chosen not to pass on these the motions to the NC until I know for certain that the party agrees with their being passed on, I want to make a few comments on some of them.
I would probably have asked for slightly different phrasing and some differences in emphases to the central committee’s motion. If there had been an opportunity for an amendment or two, to strengthen majority support for them, I would probably go for that. However, they are better than I expected. On a second reading I discovered I was insufficiently positive. I would endorse the CC’s motion with only one minor quibble. I am opposed to factionalism. However, I think a case can be made for a different relationship between a democratic centralist organistion and factions.
One small part of the CC’s motion reads in such a way that it can be exploited by Richard Seymour, I think. Those comrades who believe the party can be improved in terms of the relationship between minorities and the majority need to be given some kind of hope. Minorities have to be convinced they will have a fair chance of persuading the party to switch to a different position, but in a united, disciplined fashion.
It is possible that some decent socialists might abstain because they quibble with one or two minor points that I think could have been less ambiguously drafted. Even so, I would be amazed if any genuine socialist with half a brain votes against the CC’s motion.
I am very happy with John Molyneux’s contribution. I suspect what he says will carry a lot of weight at the NC and within the SWP’s international tendency. I see no good reason why his contribution would be withheld from the public. The more socialists get to read what he says, the quicker the SWP can recover from the damage inflicted on it by Richard Seymour and his friends.
John Molyneux has chosen to be considerably more diplomatic than I have been of late vis-a-vis Richard Seymour. I suspect he would be as outraged as I am if Richard Seymour isn’t shown the door. Nevertheless, John has clearly chosen to help the party restore some sense of unity as soon as possible, and if that means employing overly moderate language, he’s up for that. Anyway…
While John Molyneux has chosen to employ diplomatic language, all the better to rapidly defuse the tension, by occupying the high moral ground and allowing Richard Seymour’s friends to expose themselves before all the membership as the disruptive elements they are, other comrades are every bit as incensed as I am and no better at hiding this fact than I am. Clearly they are every bit as anxious for a surgical removal of the tumor asap.
It looks like no one is so categorical as to remove wriggle room even for Richard Seymour himself to climb down. Even so, I don’t think anyone seriously believes that is going to happen. Richard Seymour has sold his soul to the devil and there’s no going back. He and his friends will now be weighing up their various options.
Should Richard Seymour and his chums pack their bags? Should they attempt instead to persist with their guerrilla warfare in the hope of crippling the party, inciting public unrest during paper sales, possibly getting the cops involved to court bad publicity, then posing as martyrs for standing up for their rights to be complete and utter omnishambling dickheads? Should they keep their heads down to pretend they intend to be good boys while waiting in the wings so they can do serious damage when the party least expects it?
You know what I think? I think they will be divided on what they should do next. I suspect many of them will wake up to the fact that they are united around next to nothing other than their need to destroy the SWP. They will have a variety of political homes to go to when it is all over: SNP, Greens, Labour, Counterfire, SSP, ISG. They will fight amongst themselves over what to do about an EU referendum, about the events in Egypt, Mali, pretty much everything.
Richard Seymour’s friends will probably fight amongst themselves about which of them is doing to their group what they have been doing to the SWP. In other words, they will be casting a suspicious eye over each other: who amongst them is a double agent, working undercover for the central committee? They are all such good liars, so it could be almost anyone! They will turn on each other.
Some of Richard Seymour’s chums will probably think they have been infiltrated by agents of the state, and I am pretty sure they will be right about that. On the other hand, maybe they’re all undercover cops. Maybe their boss is just a massive dickhead playing a prank on them so they are all wasting each others time spying on themselves. That would be SO cool. Probably not true though.
Richard Seymour will probably fall out with his fan club, for not being sufficiently deferential to his massive brain. As his rabble proves ungovernable, he will increasingly turn away from them to focus on his academic career, just as James Burnham did after leading the anti-democratic centralist faction in the American Socialist Workers Party. That is something I would put money on.