SWP: Callinicos and Kimber, “They’re all out of step but us”.
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.