14 Dec 2008
A bottom up democratic Socialist Workers Party?
Some of us like Emmerdale but the big soap opera on the left is the Socialist Workers Party, John Rees has been kicked off the top table and is responding with a bit of polemic.
My problem with the SWP, much as I have a lot of time for John Rees as a human being (we are both from Chippenham, so solidarity with those from Wiltshire is my sentiment), is that it is about a small group of full time leftists running a top down centralised political party, the emphasis is on building the party not on achieving radical change.
Politics on the left must go beyond Leninism and frankly I know plenty of Leninists who are more user friendly than the SWP.
The assumption from everyone outside the SWP is that what ever they get involved in is a means to recruitment not an end. So Green Party, anarchists, Labour left, non labour left, we all distrust them to a women and a man.
My approach is the opposite, the Green Party, Green Left and the EIN are instruments for promoting social justice, ecology, animal liberation, workers control, open source economies, anti-capitalism, etc.
I have big disagreements with the Communist Party and the FI but both organisations in the UK are not simply building themselves up, they are a bit more reflexive on where they have gone wrong in the past too.
John Rees picks up on an internal SWP document from Neil Davidson that seems more in tune with my thinking:
Neil suggests that if there were a less professional leadership that included those who hold down jobs and which was drawn from different parts of the country we would be more able to deal with these issues. He is more generally critical of a ‘top down’ and anti-democratic culture of debate in the SWP that closes off necessary discussion prematurely.
More years of the locust, I think we should be told!