Socialist Workers Party UK – How the far left makes itself useless

The Great Dictator

Oh gosh, the Socialist Workers Party UK is undergoing yet another of its regular blood-lettings. Their Stalinist central committee demands thought control and departing from their directives is not permitted, even if rape allegations have been made against one of them. After all, they’ve  investigated themselves and declared themselves pure as the driven snow and are just gobsmacked that some people believe them to be duplicitous, hypocritical weaseldicks.

The Party is demanding loyalty oaths from members. Walker notes that Party workers are being told that they must guarantee not to mention the case again at the pain of losing their job.

I was a member of a similar far left group here in the US until I was purged (I was walking away from them anyway.) In retrospect, it all seems a bit comical. A central committee of humorless zealots imposes their views on members and deludes themselves into thinking they are the vanguard of the revolution. In reality, the working class they fancy themselves leading generally thinks Marxist ideologues are idiots, when they think about them at all.

This is why the far left is basically dead. They have no support among the general population and mostly just engage in fratricidal infighting. I’m beginning to suspect most of their leaders don’t really want to lead a revolution when they can be tin pot dictators over their itty bitty empires instead.

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  • Technically, the SWP are Trotskyites, very definitely not Stalinists, although still mired in the corruption and nepotism that was the general downfall from popularity of the Old Left in the UK. I’d rather call these people and their ilk the Old Left because the whole spectrum of the left in the UK has broadly transitioned to democratic rather than revolutionary socialism and spotted the massive errors in Marx’s works. As a historian, he made a great plumber and as a creator of new political systems we was seminal but badly flawed – captured by the “big idea, big system set in stone” paradigm of his age. Still, “from each according to their means, to each according to their needs”, contrasted with the conservative ethos of “I’m alright, Jack, I’ve got mine”, remains the touchstone of civilized society for anyone on the left.

    P.S. The link you gave is from Harry’s Place blog – originally a Blairite bastion of the interventionist far right of the modern Labour Party (i.e. Tories in drag), they’ve moved even further right as they’ve entrenched themselves in support of Israel. Their exultant tone at the impending demise of the SWP was quite obvious.

  • The article’s calling it “Stalinist’ reflects more on it than on the SWP. I remember the SWP – then called “International Socialists”- to be most influential in the early seventies in the UK in both universities and workplaces, before it started to slide and harden.

    Their publication, International Socialism ,which has been archived, pretty much reflected leftist issues of the day (even looking at the covers tells you a lot) – and included the writings of the young Christopher Hitchens…

    • The Independent does a better job than Harry’s Place of relating the facts – it’s still a tawdry story though.

      The minutes of the disciplinary meeting, which was held during the party’s December conference, detail how SWP leaders were determined to keep the matter away from the police and official authorities – with one member stating that the party had “no faith in the bourgeois court system to deliver justice”.

    • I may have gotten my terms mixed up, even if I was in PSL, which a Harry’s Place commenter said makes SWP look conservative. I still can’t keep all the factions, splits, and decades old feuds straight which is probably why I never made a good commie. It all eventually just seemed nonsensical and self-destructive to me.

      I meant Stalinist is the sense of rigid top down, ‘we tell you the truth and you accept’ mode that SWP and PSL operate in, which isn’t much different from fundamentalist Christians.

      Harry’s Place sometimes call bullshit when it needs to be called. Other times they are certainly off track.

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