Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

International Socialist Network: Seymour and Others Split over Race Play.

with 19 comments

Is this the Shortest Lived Left group ever? 

“I shall eat grass and die in a ditch in the brown water where dead leaves have rotted”.

Not from Richard Seymour, China Miéville, and Magpie Corven and other comrades’ resignation letter from the International Socialist Network (ISN).

 Which is here (with helpful comments “intercalated” as Seymour would put it), 

To the SC and our comrades in the ISN

With great regrets, we are resigning from the ISNetwork. Many of us were involved in the setting up of the network, and we are very sad that it has come to this. We remain in full solidarity with ISN comrades, and look forward to working with them on campaigns.

Despite the repeated characterisation of us as a ‘right bloc’ (Note: heavens what is the world coming to?) , we do not represent any unified political position beyond our concerns about both the political direction and internal culture of the ISNetwork. It has been clear for some time that our critiques put us in a minority: contrary to a common smear, we have always been willing to argue from this position, and welcomed this political debate. However, there has been an increasing breakdown of trust between us and various leading members of the organisation. It is now clear that we are not welcome in the ISN (Note: But very welcome Chez Tendance Coatesy which we hope you will soon join in our “rotten iqudationist bloc”)

One of us is a woman sex-worker and bdsm practitioner. After many years of self imposed isolation from politics, she believed she had finally found a space where even those comrades who disagreed with her positions would discuss controversial topics of sexuality and desire in respect and comradeship. Instead she has been browbeaten, patronised, marginalised and moralised against, and the topics she wishes to discuss with her comrades dismissed as, in the words of one SC member, self-evidently ‘sordid.’ She has been made to feel so unwelcome that she feels forced to leave the SC and ISN.

The SC has put out a statement strongly implying racism and claiming ‘inappropriate’ argumentative techniques against three of our members. We entirely reject these insinuations and urge anyone interested to examine the threads in question here & “comment currently unavailable” (Note: we wonder why…)  and judge for themselves.

That they are over a controversial and charged topic -and one on which the signatories to this letter do not necessarily agree- is not in doubt: however, if there is a single statement made by any comrade that can reasonably be judged ‘inappropriate’, let alone racist, we urge their accusers to state it (Note: be warned, as a reader who enjoys Lacan and Judith Butler and can be seen flipping through a copy of Spinoza on a sunny day – this is hard, hard going).

It is claimed, on the basis of a leaked email thread (Note: Tush!)  of a private conversation, that we have been politically dishonest, and set out to split or even destroy the network.

This is wholly untrue (Note: well said!) . As has been made clear in this week’s bulletin, we had intended to launch a platform within the IS Network in order to argue for our position. However, recent events had given us an increasing sense that we might not be able to remain members, due both to legitimate political differences and to the personalised politics of vituperation at the brunt of which we have felt.

Accordingly – as is explicitly allowed in the ISN constitution – we have been discussing among ourselves to work out how best to argue our position within the network, our chances, and our contingency strategies if we felt unable to continue.

At issue here is not just the conduct or content of recent discussions or even the political direction of the ISN, but the question of making a habitable culture of discussion on the Left. When some of us recently wrote an article criticising a politics of anathema within the ISN, we were derided by opponents who denied any such thing exists (Note: how very true, how very very true).

Unfortunately, it does. One SC member has recently publicly insisted that ‘no one is being targeted personally’. The very same SC member recently seconded a denouncement on Facebook, by another SC member, of several of us as ‘arrogant fucks’ and ‘bad rubbish’ to whom ‘good riddance’ (Note: a disgrace the overweening toe-rag twats!).

One leading member expressed a desire on Facebook to strangle one of us – referring to her as a ‘nauseating tosser’ – and not one of the SC members to whom she said this suggested it was an inappropriate comment to make (Note: and they use such discourse  well I mean, what can you discursively intersectionalise?).

Several SC members openly expressed their agreement with a status referring to us as ‘parasites’ (Note: there is no room for such language in the workers’ movement!).

Another SC member wrote ‘they should count themselves lucky they haven’t been expelled’ – particularly galling to two of the ‘Facebook Four’ involved in our thread. There are further examples, but this culture is one in which we can no longer work: we also would like comrades to consider whether left organisations can hope to attract a new generation of members if they treat each other in this way.

We look forward to working in a left culture that has ended certain practices inherited from the SWP. These include moralistic browbeating; the implicit claim that various controversial topics are inappropriate for discussion; that certain comrades can not be argued with on them; and that dissenters from these nostrums deserve to be attacked in personalised terms.

We know many ISN members look forward to this with similar enthusiasm (Note: indeed we do!).

Jamie A

Magpie C

Kieran C

A. M.

China M

Richard S

Len T

Rosie W

Document here.

“There is some check in the flow of my being; a deep stream presses and some obstacles;  it jokes; it toys; he in the centre resists.”

My attitude is one of defiance. I am fearless. I conquer.”

Not  the words of Richard Seymour.

More comment here .

Defend the Seymourites!

For an International Workers’ Inquiry!

Now!

19 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. From Lenin’s Tomb (hat-tip DT):

    ” Near death experience. posted by lenin

    This should cheer you up.

    This morning, rushing to work and late, I decided to make a quick stop at a Burger King in the train station and have one of their Bacon and Egg rolls with HP Sauce. Very tasty if you’re into that sort of thing. Unfortunately, the bacon lump was much larger than I expected, and as a half-chewed bolus disappeared down my throat, I realised I wouldn’t be able to swallow it. I tried to cough it up, but instead it seemed to disappear into my windpipe. I bent over, made several noises that might have led passers by to expect a torrent of vomit to come gushing forth. My eyes bulged out of the sockets, sweat suddenly couldn’t get out of my body fast enough, and I casually pissed down the side of my leg. People resiled from me as if I was a nutter. I tried to pull the bacon out, but I could only grab a slick rind, which detached itself from the main body of the blockage and left me choking.

    I pissed again, and saw stars.

    Some bloke walking past with his friend seemed to gather the problem, and I allowed him to simulate buggery on me so that he could attempt a Heimlich Manoeuvre. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do it – and I now realise that I couldn’t have done it either. Another bloke who turned out to be a policeman, and therefore knew his shit, made me bend over with my head down on the floor while he socked me right under the diaphragm. Amazingly this worked. It forced a gasp of air which pushed the bacon halfway up into my mouth from whence it could be dislodged with my index finger and thumb.

    A bit of blood and saliva dribbled out (the windpipe is apparently very sensitive). And I pissed again, this time more in relief than stress. A few British Transport police had made their way to the scene and led me, shaking, to a medical clinic. I was checked for blood pressure and then whisked off by a couple of ambulance men to the hospital.

    No problem, the doctor said. Lungs fine, blood pressure fine – no apparent brain damage. I had a lucky escape, so I’m told. Sixty more seconds with that bloody bacon in my throat and I’d have returned my body to the makers.

    Okay, you can stop laughing your fucking ass off now. Ha ha ha, well I’m still alive, so tough shit. Personally, I think Raymond put a hex on me for eating meat. And yes, before any smartarse points this out, I am fully cognisant of the fact that I owe my life to a policeman. But just think, if I’d been black he might have hauled my arse to the station and kicked my head in. Ungracious, I know – but since when have you come to expect grace and good manners at the Tomb? ”

    2004.

    http://www.leninology.com/2004/11/near-death-experience.html

    Andrew Coates

    January 27, 2014 at 12:59 pm

  2. This must rank as the most hilarious, irrelevant and thoroughly petty bourgeois far-left faction fight since the 1954 “makeup” row in the (US) SWP;

    http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/?q=node/2571:

    Actually, in comparison the row over cosmetics was relatively down-to-earth, and of some relevance to working class people.

    And is this a speed-record for a far-left group splitting within a few months of its formation?

    Jim Denham

    January 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm

  3. “One of us is a woman sex-worker and bdsm practitioner. After many years of self imposed isolation from politics, she believed she had finally found a space where even those comrades who disagreed with her positions would discuss controversial topics of sexuality and desire in respect and comradeship. Instead she has been browbeaten, patronised, marginalised and moralised against, and the topics she wishes to discuss with her comrades dismissed as, in the words of one SC member, self-evidently ‘sordid.’ She has been made to feel so unwelcome that she feels forced to leave the SC and ISN.”

    I suspect the left is more puritanical than society in general.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    January 27, 2014 at 5:19 pm

  4. Indeed we are a miserable lot.

    Unlike the poet Seymour (who re-named himself after the Principal in the Simpsons), who wrote the lines,

    “I pissed again, and saw stars.

    Some bloke walking past with his friend seemed to gather the problem, and I allowed him to simulate buggery on me so that he could attempt a Heimlich Manoeuvre. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do it – and I now realise that I couldn’t have done it either.”

    In 2004 already!

    As Jim says, this must be an all-time winner in the “most hilarious, irrelevant and thoroughly petty bourgeois far-left faction fight” in the history of the left.

    Apart from the cosmetics battle (which I was unaware of, though shall cherish for ever), it reminds me of the kind of dispute people in Kommune 1 would get into, such as whether the toilets should have doors on them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kommune_1

    Truly since the writers of Le décadentisme and Remy de Gourmont, we have not seen somebody of the stature of Seymour.

    We dedicate this to Lenny;

    “If the secret of being a bore is to tell all, the secret of pleasing is to say just enough to be – not understood, but divined.”

    Remy de Gourmont

    Andrew Coates

    January 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm

  5. Did you read the stuff about ghaddafi holding young girls hostage as sex slaves? Some girls were alledgedly raped to death, their bodies just discarded in local parks. Now, that’s the sort of sex I think a revolutionary organisation should talk about, not what consenting adults chose to do behind closed doors.

    Sue R

    January 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm

  6. Ghaddafi was keen on little boys too. I thought that the men who caught him ripped off his genitals as an act of degradation, but I now understand exactly why they did it. All the free electricity in the world doesn’t make up for that sort of feudalistic droit de seigneur type of behaviour. What was the name of the Knight’s Templar fellow who was accused of carrying on like that? Bluebeard or something.

    Sue R

    January 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm

  7. surely it is worse than the shortest lived left group – surely it survived minus time in the sense it is still only at steering committee stage and not yet fully formed

    Ian Malcolm-Walker

    January 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm

  8. Sue R. I think you mean Giles De Rais but I am sure Andrew would know.

    themadmullahofbricklane

    January 28, 2014 at 6:10 am

  9. We hear that the second ( December) split from the SWP – RS21 ( Revolutionary Socialists 21) want nothing to do with the International Socialist Network after this.

    It does seem to have unleashed all kinds of unpleasantness.

    Sue, I would actually say that Seymour is just plain silly.

    The sight of a near-middle aged man and his friends pontificating on these topics makes them look ridiculous.

    The posts on Tendance Coatesy are in that spirit.

    And more specifically, on Seymour, he has insulted plenty of people in the past (including my good self) and now he complains when people turn on him.

    Tough.

    Andrew Coates

    January 28, 2014 at 10:44 am

  10. “Did you read the stuff about ghaddafi holding young girls hostage as sex slaves? Ghaddafi was keen on little boys too.”

    You are skilled in the art of fabrication and misinformation. Do you work for the MOD or national intelligence or are you simply defective in some way?

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    January 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm

  11. No, I don’t work for the MOD or National Intelligence; so I guess, that just makes me defective.

    Sue R

    January 28, 2014 at 8:29 pm

  12. Socialism In One Bedroom. Are you saying that Sue R has fabricated the information about Ghaddafi? I don’t see the point of your comment otherwise.

    themadmullahofbricklane

    January 29, 2014 at 1:08 am

  13. ‘Madmullah: I refer you to Lewis Carroll’s ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’.

    ‘And answer came there none,
    For they had eaten every one.’.

    Not that I expect our solipsistic friend has eaten anyone (and surely oysters are non-halal), but I will be jolly surprised if there is any answer to your question.

    Sue r

    January 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm

  14. Beyond farce, beyond satire.

    I like how the comrades refer to themselves by first name and only the initial of their surname – presumably in order to evade the scrutiny of MI5 and other government agencies. Clever stuff.

    In the time it took to read Seymour and co’s turgid resignation letter I could myself have joined and resigned from the ISW.

    Lamia

    January 30, 2014 at 7:18 pm

  15. Burger King? “Train station”?

    Imperialist running dog!

    Robin Carmody

    January 31, 2014 at 2:27 am

  16. The real obscentity about the ‘black woman chair picture’ is not the figure of a black woman scantily clad in a subservient position, the really disgusting thing about it (in my old-fashioned opinion) is that the woman sitting on the chair is part of the whole Billionaire scene. What can be more obscene than the snaching of the world’s resources by a very few for personal enrichment? But, I’m old fashioned in that way.

    Sue R

    February 1, 2014 at 9:41 am

  17. ‘snatching’

    Sue R

    February 1, 2014 at 9:41 am

  18. China Mieville is himself an abusive man, as everyone including his colleagues knows: http://www.Bidisha-online.blogspot.com/2010/12/venice.html

    Mary Corsey

    April 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm

  19. Wow. I just read that whole FB thread.

    I think this particular comment, by one of Magpie and Richard’s critics, makes for a rather monumentally ironic epitaph to the whole affair:

    “Its also worth me saying here, I think, is that one of the things that I like about being in the ISN, is that Im in an organisation big enough for us to have disagreements, and serious enough to do it in public.”

    nimh2

    May 27, 2014 at 5:20 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: