The SWP crisis: accounts and resources

* updates at end of post, generally most recent last *

I hadn’t really intended to write anything on this. So I won’t. However, lots of other people have and many of those contributions have been articulate, intelligent and go well beyond the specific issue that brought it all to a head.

So, in an effort to be helpful I thought I’d collect together all the pieces (of any worth) in one place so that people can read for themselves the various perspectives. I’m bound to have missed some, as I’ve not exactly been dedicating myself  to trawling the internet over the last two weeks, but I hope it is reasonably comprehensive. If you want to bring a piece to my attention that I’ve not linked to contact details are at the bottom of the post – do let me know.

* updates at end of post, generally most recent last *

Let’s try to put this in some sort of order.

In the run up to the SWP’s national conference at the beginning of this month there was an unprecedented amount of fractiousness, four members who were unhappy with the Central Committee were expelled and in response two factions were set up formally and a minority grouping on the Central Committee formed demanding their reinstatement and other reforms – all highly unusual. However it is the fall out after conference that we shall concentrate on here;

  • Socialist Unity published a leaked transcript of a discussion at SWP conference dealing with a highly contentious report on an internal investigation conducted by friends of the “defendant” over an accusation of rape which, obviously, exonerated him.
  • SWP leader Charlie Kimber issued an order for SU to take it down (also on Socialist Unity). He didn’t.
  • Tom Walker a journalist on Socialist Worker publicly resigned in the pages of Weekly Worker.
  • Laurie Penny wrote a very measured piece on this in the New Statesman.
  • The Independent wrote a piece on it, bizarrely linking the story to Sharia law.
  • Andy Newman of Socialist Unity was compelled to point out that was not his analogy in The SWP and quasi-judicial proceedings.
  • The Daily Mail and the Sunday Times also printed stories on this.
  • Richard Seymour then came out as part of the opposition in a very well written piece The SWP in crisis.
  • The crisis in the SWP broke into full view. Even the Swindon Advertiser is covering the story.
  • It’s been pointed out that Unkant was possibly the first to publicly speculate that this conference was going to be a lot hotter than people realised – in their own inimitable fashion.

Resignation letters

  • Donny Mayo” (Counterfire) * recommended letter from former Central Commitee member
  • Tom Walker (Weekly Worker) * recommended letter from Socialist Worker journalist
  • Jon Hosier (Socialist Unity)

I’m disgusted but not resigning letters

The case for the defense There’s not much of it…

  • Socialist Worker’s official report of the conference.
  • Lenin’s Tomb in urgent need of repair Snowball, possibly the only pro-CC piece online by an SWP member. Quite funny.
  • A much delayed edition of “party notes” which tells everyone to shut up. Hilarious.
  • Gilad Atzmon has written a foul defense of Martin Smith in which he explicitly and repeatedly says it is all down to the Jews. I’m the SWP CC are far from doing cartwheels at this sort of support.

Discussion from those in the SWP and SWP tradition

Discussion by non-SWP members on the wider implications of this case

Ones I’d missed Readers are welcome to let me know of any interesting links I’ve missed or that were written after I posted this.

SWP “opposition” members have launched a blog to bring together their efforts into one place. Visit the International Socialism blog for more info.   More updates (Monday 21st onwards)

Yet more updates (from Monday 28th onwards)

Even more updates (from Saturday 2nd Feb onwards)

Next batch of updates: from Sunday 17th Feb.

March updates

From 16th march

From 28th March

From May 2013

Pre-Marxism 2013 batch

Event: 4 members have been suspended fro the party and one full timer sacked for supporting the opposition. ISN.

According to this FB post by a party worker who has now resigned a number of full tiers have resigned at the suspension of members and the sacking of one oppositionist who worked for the party.

Weekly Worker: How did this bloody mess come to pass?


Marxism 2013


Catch-up batch


The pre-conference period 2013

The national conference which was due for January 2014 has been brought forwards to December 2013 presumably to help give everyone expelled a stress-free Christmas.

NB: while some of the more theoretical pieces have been included these are generally those that seemed the most pertinent and I am still trying to avoid posting articles not directly related to the crisis, even when the author thinks they are.

New batch (Oct’ 2013)

Incident on Sussex University campus (and related)

Post-December 2013 Conference

2014 onwards

Oct’ 2014 SWP threeatens legal action against Edinburgh’s The Student leading to them scrapping their front page;  

Goldsmiths students vote to ban the SWP from campus and burn their literature;

If I’ve missed anything useful please do let me know, and many thanks to those who’ve emailed in. 

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