Archive for the ‘SWP’ Category
Building Unite the Resistance to Expose the Left Misleaders.
The SWP has responded….
Charlie Kimber and Alex Callinicos.
The article begins, “For almost a year the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has been seized by deep division. It has not stopped us acting as a revolutionary organisation. We have had successes and recruited hundreds of new members. The trade union conferences saw some of the biggest party fringe meetings ever and near-record sales of Socialist Worker.”
I continue for the many (very many) who have stopped at this point and skip to the next paragraph.
“But none of that is to underestimate the shock we have suffered or the damage inflicted, as hundreds of members resigned from the SWP.”
For those interested in a serious in-depth discussion on the “specific issues that sparked this process” read (while you can) the just published Alex Callinicos, Charlie Kimber and the investigation of rape. (Hat-Tip AC).
The present piece will concentrate on what lies behind what the Author of the article summarises as,
The strategy behind Callinicos and Kimber’s piece is to blame everyone but themselves for the crisis in the SWP: Michael Rosen, Lindsey German, John Rees, George Galloway, John McDonell, Jeremy Corbyn and many others get criticised by name for their failures of revolutionary nerve.
Amongst the gems we have this, ” Respect was too small and too narrow. The International Socialist Network is at fault. They note the “disgraceful attacks that Seymour and his ilk were making on the rest of the party.” Their former comrades German and Rees, “Counterfire has become little more than decorative coverage for the efforts by Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, to rebuild the Labour left.”
The SWP’s present analysis will no doubt please Len McClusky, and Counterfire, leading forces in the People’s Assembly,
a rank and file to the left of the union leaders does still exist, although not as an organised movement. It was reflected in the 36 percent of the vote won by Jerry Hicks in the Unite general secretary election against Len McCluskey, one of the most left wing leaders. It was seen in the votes at the trade union conferences this year where a substantial minority of a third or more wanted to go much further than the union leaders proposed. It made itself felt in the warm reception at the local and national People’s Assemblies for criticism of the trade union and Labour leaders’ lack of action.
This is the primary layer that Unite the Resistance seeks to pull together and organise into more solid networks of solidarity and political understanding.
In other words the SWP, through its front organisation, Unite the Resistance, intends to use the People’s Assembly’s meetings as pools from which to build their own organisation.
Expect “criticisms” (we are only too familiar with how they are delivered) of “trade unions” and Labour” leaders at every People’s Assembly event.
But then, naturally, “Ultra-left sectarians never have any problem about denouncing trade union bureaucrats such as McCluskey. But, by counterposing abstract programmes to living movements, they ensure there is no interaction between them and activists influenced by reformism but open to the arguments of revolutionaries.”
Is the SWP’s way?
A successful party must seek to chart a clear way forward, and to develop alternatives to capitalist explanations of the world, but crucially it must also raise the level of confidence and struggle by the working class. Ultimately a revolutionary party is about providing the leadership that can enable the working class to conquer state power-in its own country and internationally.
We will be interested to see what “living movement” can be resurrected from the SWP, ready to “conquer state power”.
And how their front organisation’s actions will raise anybody’s ”confidence” apart from their own.
SWP Reaches New Moral Bankruptcy, “The horror in Kenya is a direct product of Western intervention. “
Al-Shabab: No Will of their Own, Says SWP.
“The shocking attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya’s capital Nairobi was not just mindless terrorism.”
The SWP goes on to explain in the latest Socialist Worker why the centre was targeted.
“Westgate was chosen for this operation because, as Kenyan socialist Zahid Rajan put it, “It is the venue of choice for wealthy people across the racial divide”. To most better-off Kenyans the malls like Westgate were seen as a haven from the embittered, violent country.”
Apparently Al-Shabab are no so bad.
After the chaos in the early 200s, they restored some kind of government in Somilia
Central authority collapsed in Somalia with the fall of US-backed dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991. Al Shabaab was part of the Islamic Courts movement that restored some kind of government in 2006.
“This was overthrown by a US-backed invasion and the group has since moved to more extreme forms of Islamism. “
As opposed no doubt to their ‘moderate’ form of Sharia before.
“After the invasion by Kenyan and Ethiopian troops in 2011 it said that it supported the ideas of Al Qaida. Even Rob Wise of the US Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tank comments that it was “a relatively moderate Islamist organisation”, which was driven towards Al Qaida by invasion.
He added that since 2008 al Shabaab has “increasingly embraced transnational terrorism and attempted to portray itself as part of the Al Qaida-led global war on the West.”
“The horror in Kenya is a direct product of Western intervention.”
Al-Shabab themselves say (Al Jazeera),
The place we attacked is Westgate shopping mall. It is a place where tourists from across the world come to shop, where diplomats gather. It is a place where Kenya’s decision-makers go to relax and enjoy themselves. Westgate is a place where there are Jewish and American shops. So we have to attack them.
And as for the ‘anti-Western’ claims they underline their wish during the attack to kill only non-Muslims (the majority of Kenyan for a start).
We released all Muslims when we took control of the mall. Witnesses have backed us on this.
Now the SWP may think that Al-Shabab are forces swept into history by Western ‘imperialism’.
They deny them free will – who to kill or not to kill.
Few others will sympathise with this self-indulgent moral bankruptcy.
Least of those suffering from the Al-Shabab attack on a Kenyan Border post today.
Undercover. The True Story of Britain’s Political Police. Rob Evans and Paul Lewis. Faber & Faber 2013.
Many of the reported 8,931 political campaigners on the “national data base of political extremists” took a keen interest in the publication of Undercover. Some police infiltrators had already been publicly unmasked. Mark Kennedy – “Stone” – has been fingered by Indymedia in 2010. ‘Progressive academic’ and advocate of a dialogue with Islamists, Bob Lambert, was confronted with his spy chief past at a conference to “celebrate diversity, defend multiculturalism, oppose Islamophobia and racism” in October 2011. Suddenly people on the left, and other campaigners, were reminded of the existence of intense police surveillance on our political activity.
Undercover has marked a new stage. The extracts in the Guardian, which contains fuller revelations about Kennedy and Lambert, and others’ including long-term relationships with activists, and the use of dead children’s birth certificates to procure undercover identities, did not just whet the appetite of a broader public. They raised serious issues about the involvement of what Evans and Lewis rightly call the “political police” in Britain.
One case continues to cause an uproar. On spy, Pete Black, began his work in the 1990s in anti-fascist groups, then the (what has become) Socialist Party’s Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE). He moved on to spy on community-organised fights against legal injustices affecting the black community. Black finally began to recoil when asked to “smear” those involved in the Stephan Lawrence campaign and discover anything he could to discredit the key figure of Duwayne Brooks. (Page 156)
Questions about their role have extended to allegations about their use as agents provocateurs. It has been claimed that Lambert helped write the anti-MacDonald leaflet by London Greenpeace (an autonomous body) – the origin of the notorious libel action. It’s also said that Lambert “encouraged and even participated in an arson campaign that caused millions of pounds of damage. Lambert has firmly denied that he planted the incendiary device at the Harrow store, of Debenehams.”(Page 43) He strongly denies this, though claims credit for putting the animal rights activists involved in prison.
Nor is this a purely domestic matter. Kennedy has been cited in the French case, the Tarnac Affair, in which he allegedly witnessed bomb making. Briefly alluded to in Undercover (Page 265) this – dismissed – claim made headlines in Le Monde. They raised questions (details here) about Kennedy’s role in the prosecution of a group of libertarian leftists.
They Steal Identities, They Break the Law, They Sleep with the Enemy. Under these words on the book cover there is a lot more detail to ponder over in this excellent book. The causal deception the spies used to maintain their ‘cover’ deceived more than their comrades and friends. “There was no specific rule against having sexual partners. It was so commonplace they, he says, it was barely remarked on.”(Page 142) The heartbreaking stories of Charlotte, and Helen Steel, abandoned by their lying long-term partners, Lambert, the mother of Charlotte’s child, and John Dimes, whom Helen was “madly in love with”, are gut-wrenching. There are plenty of others; nine of the operatives identified in the book had “meaningful relationships” with the opposite sex. (Page 322) When the time came the agents simply slunk away
History of the Political Police.
These human tragedies had their origins in government and security decisions. Undercover traces the history of the British political police. The Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), founded in wake of 1968, put in place its agents throughout the left. Ideally they would be the “trusted confidant, a deputy who lingered in the background”(Page 23) It was disbanded in 2008. Another body, which with the increasing focus on civil resistance, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) – was founded in 1999, under Tony Blair, with 70 staff. What were (are) their targets? “Domestic extremists, police decided, were those who wanted to ‘prevent something from happening or to change legislation or domestic policy’, often doing so ‘outside of the normal democratic process.”(Page 202)
Initially they went for animal rights activists, including the less than appealing Animal Liberation Front, and “environmental extremists”.Then broadened their scope, “Domestic extremists now included campaigners against war, nuclear weapons, racism, genetically modified crops, globalisation, tax evasion, airport expansion and asylum laws, as well as those calling for reform of prisons and peace in the Middle East.”(Pages 203) Today we also have the National Domestic Extremism Team, all which are brought under the control and merged of the Association of Chief Police Officers.
There is little doubt that those who offer a violent threat, not just to “the demcoratic process” but the people at large – have to followed. But this is hardly the case for those of the above list.
Why these official bodies go to the lengths they do remains something of a mystery to many on the left. Why do they need infiltrators? Is it because we are all plotting something subversive – a wide term the previous paragraph suggests covers most of the activist left’s campaigning including large sections of the Labour Party – in secret?
It is true that some groups cultivate an aura of mystery. Ian Bone once wrote that if anarchists ran the train carrying Lenin to the Finland Station they would have no identity on the side except a Post Office Box Number. The Socialist Workers Party has fought a losing battle to keep its internal discussions secret.
But most of what we do is easy to follow. Blogs, Facebook and the rest, are full of details about we do. Some people – specifically the tradition the Tendance comes from – believe in being as open as possible about how we reach decisions – by democratic vote – and what we do. To the great interest, no doubt of all coppers well up on Leftist Trainspotting and the finer points of the history of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Internationals.
Others have a way of reaching conclusions, and a distinct political culture, which may be harder for the political police to follow. That is the ‘consensus method’ of some of the groups covered in the course of Undercover; “activists used a strange-looking ritual known as ‘jazz hands’, in which they wriggled their fingers in the air to express support for speakers.” (Page 245) But if they want to do this, why not? Wiggle away, we say, far far away from, say any industrial action where we suspect consensus would never permit a strike in the first place.
In reality, the Web, as they say, shows just about everything these days. Which may or may not be a good guide. Indeed it well may not as we found with our own visit from the local rozzers after a malicious complaint by a local Islamic cult.
It will be interesting to follow the Net news on Bob Lambert if he does, as Evans and Lewis suggest, convert to Islam. (Page 331) Perhaps he will find peace – in a religion of order. Some would say that the version he is most familiar with, from his days in the Muslim Contact Unit, Political Islam, offers many possibilities for police surveillance and repression. Or, it might be that, following Kennedy, his personality is unravelling – as indeed Bob’s last television interview seemed to suggest.
Wounds Remain Unhealed.
An open wound remains. The legal action taken by 11 of the deceived women is proceeding at a snail’s pace. The latest news suggests that the women are profoundly dissatisfied with the procedure. Public knowledge of the activities of the political police has not changed things. Post-Kennedy recommendations to clean up the system have not been implemented. Further official inquiries, are, as the authors predicted early on, less than forthcoming. Operation Herne has trawled wide, but “has not yet made a single disclosure about any undercover operation.”(Pages 327 –80)
The last word should go to Steel and Morris, to Lambert – “Shame on you!”
Socialist Worker states,
The media made much of a joint walk between a Muslim organisation, Jimas, and the English Defence League (EDL) to lay wreathes in Ipswich two weeks ago.
Manwar Ali, chief executive of Jimas, told Socialist Worker they wanted to help “peace and harmony in Ipswich”. But he now thinks taking part in the walk was “politically naive”.
Since the walk he has come to believe that such joint actions with “a known fascist, racist and Islamophobic organisation known to target other communities and political groupings” are “counterproductive”.
He said they “will not be engaging in any public activity organised by the EDL in future”.
The “media made much” of a march through the town – perhaps, just perhaps, because a joint wreath-laying between a Muslim organisation and a groupuscule whose public presence is dedicated to attacking Islam is, to say the least, news.
One can imagine that the media, including Socialist Worker, would have “made much” of a joint march, say, of the Ipswich Conservative Association and the English Defence League.
It remains to be seen what the full statement of Jimas was, or if they intend to foray into this area again.
For the present it is of interest to know what the Socialist Worker Party thinks of the EDL
Socialist Worker says this.
The racist English Defence League (EDL) and the fascist British National Party are allowed to peddle their foul Islamophobia on the airwaves and the streets.
Many would agree with this.
But, as Howie’s Corner points out, they say more, a lot more.
In the same article on the prosecution of the would-be attackers of an EDL march in Dewsbury they say.
Is it a surprise that some decided they couldn’t take any more and planned an attack on an EDL rally?That’s what six men in the West Midlands, who have been jailed for up to 19 and a half years each, were guilty of.They took a bomb, knives and shotguns to an EDL rally in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, last June.
They arrived after the EDL rally had finished and the attack didn’t happen.
Some have said that the actions of the Dewsbury men are equivalent to the violence of the fascists.
This argument says that there are extremists on both sides and that socialists should oppose both equally.
But this ignores racism and oppression.
The plan to attack the EDL was a reaction to discrimination.
It is not equal to the violence of the state, or of racists or fascists who attack people because of their race or religion.
It was an act of despair against racist thugs.
Not having the SWP’s mind-reading ability we cannot be sure of the motives of these individuals.
A prolonged bout of whataboutery – a list including state violence, fascist attacks and racialist oppression and discrimination – obscures any condemnation of the planned violence.
One might remark that it veers towards the reasoning of ”Tout comprendre, c’est tout pardonner’ – to understand all is to forgive all.
The SWP goes on to say,
Had the attack gone ahead, it could have killed or injured people protesting against the EDL.
It could have generated sympathy for the EDL rather than weakening them.
And it could have helped the state increase the clampdown on Muslims and anti-fascists.
Even though the attack didn’t happen, EDL leader Tommy Robinson has used it to blame Muslims for violence and call for the state to deal with them all.
This is from the leader of an organisation committed to race hate and thuggery.
Its initials were spray painted on the walls of the burned out Islamic centre in north London last week.
And EDL members openly sang “Burn the Mosque” in Lincoln town centre last Saturday.
Victory over fascism will not be won by killing individual fascists.
It will be achieved by mobilising mass opposition across the working class and confronting them where ever they organise.
The SWP, in other words, is opposed to individual terrorism.
The SWP’s policy on the alternative, ”mass mobilisation” has been this, “no Platform for Fascists“.
What does it mean?
John Molyneux of the SWP explained in 2009.
Stopping the BNP (and other fascists) from growing and building influence, including by stopping their marches, and denying them public platforms is therefore both a political duty, a necessary act of solidarity with all vulnerable minorities AND, for everyone of colour, LGBT people, Jews, Muslims, trade unionists, socialists etc a matter of self preservation.
Anybody interested in this should follow the problems the SWP has had itself with ‘no-platforming’ and its national organiser, Martin Smith - here.
In the meantime we hope that Jimas are aware of what the SWP policies on the fight against groups like the EDL are.
Peaceful Bangladeshi Islamists in Dhaka.
This is how Socialist Worker reports a march with Bangladeshi fascists in London.
Around 1,000 people protested in central London last Sunday in solidarity with anti-government protesters in Bangladesh. The protest marched from Hyde Park to the Bangladeshi Embassy.
Muhammad Ayyub is part of the Feb28 Justice for Bangladesh group that organised the protest. “We stand with the people of Bangladesh against the government,” he told Socialist Worker.
“Police are killing protesters there and opposition supporters have been unlawfully arrested.”
The protest coincided with a deepening political crisis in Bangladesh.
“Ordinary people in Bangladesh don’t matter,” said Rashid. “Many live on less than a dollar a day. But when the rich people came here for the Olympics they booked a whole floor of a five-star hotel.”
Protesters chanted, “We want peace. We want justice,” at a rally outside the embassy.
Speakers who talked about the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt won loud cheers.
Charlie Kimber, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, told the crowd, “The tide of revolution has swept through Tunisia and Egypt.
“Now the tide of revolution must sweep through Gaza, Syria and Bangladesh.”
There is no mention in the article of who is behind this Feb28 movement.
We can help,
“The Feb28 Justice for Bangladesh movement came about in response to this escalating crisis that has engulfed Bangladesh. It aims to expose the tyranny and anti-Islamic hatred of the oppressive Awami League regime and is dedicated to bringing you fresh and unbiased news on the struggle of the Bangladeshi people.”
This is some of its ‘unbiased’ news,
An estimated 2500 Muslim scholars and devotees killed
· Thousands injured, hospitalised in critical conditions and thousands arrested.
· Night completely blackened out to comfortably commit genocide.
· Media clamped to hide genocide.
It is rare in the history of human civilization that a Muslim country’s ruling government can be such fascist, ruthless and brutal to run a barbaric violence and systematic killing spree of such scale against the nation’s peaceful, unarmed and Islam-loving most revered scholars (ulama) of high repute and the devotee mass Muslims that took place in the deep black night following May 5, 2013 in Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka that is well known as the city of masjid (mosque).
It is also unprecedented in the history of human civilization to observe serious insult on Allah, the Prophet (PBUH), his highly respected wives, Islam and different forms of Islamic ibadah (worships) like prayer, fasting etc. in such shameful vulgar language used by some Bangladeshi atheist bloggers and political activists belonging to the ruling Awami League party of Bangladesh that the world has never experienced before.
These, as cited yesterday are some of the demands of the Bangladesh movement these creatures back,
1. Reinstatement of ‘Absolute trust and faith in Allah’ in the constitution of Bangladesh and abolishment of all laws which are in conflict with the values of the Quran and Sunnah
2. Enactment of (anti-defamation) law at the parliament keeping death penalty as the highest form of punishment to prevent defamation of Allah, Muhammad (S.A.W) and Islam, and prevent spreading hate against Muslims (highest penalty prevalent for defamation is 10 years).
3. Immediate end to the negative propaganda by all atheist bloggers in a leading role in the so called Shahbag movement who have defamed Allah, Mohammad (S.A.W), and Islam and their exemplary punishment.
4. End to all alien cultural practices like immodesty, lewdness, misconduct, culture of free mixing of the sexes, candle lighting in the name of personal freedom and free speech.
5. Abolishment of the anti-Islamic inheritance law and the ungodly education policy. Making Islamic education compulsory in all levels from primary to higher secondary.
6. Declaration of Ahmadis as non-Muslims by the government and put a stop to their negative and conspirational activities.
The SWP in another article published today suggests that in Bangladesh,
The Islamic protest comes as thousands of workers have been on the streets demanding justice for those killed in the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory.
The week of demonstrations proves there is a massive political vacuum in Bangladesh which many forces are trying to fill.
The left needs to draw those who rage against putting profit before people into a movement that can challenge the rich.
This can attract those who look to the Islamists.
No doubt those raging at atheist bloggers, “lewdness”, demand the death penalty for blasphemy and the persecution of fellow Muslims they call ‘heretics’ are potential recruits to the SWP.
No doubt at all.