Thursday, 30 October 2014

Internal exhortations to nowhere in the SWP

The Socialist Workers Party has just issued the second of it's Pre-Conference Internal bulletins which "should not be circulated to non-SWP members or outside the party" (you know the drill by now). The Professor and his "Lynch Mob" still do not understand the power of the Internet.

Or reality... 

The SWP claim their membership is some 5,678 (down from 7,180 last year) which surely no one, even the most ardent party loyalist can believe?

Good job Callincos doesn't teach maths.

The row about the Disciplinary Committee proceedings still continues to rear it's ugly head.  Frankly "comrades" you are never going to be allowed to forget the delta affair no matter how much you stick your heads in the sand.

"Andy W" a "National Member" writes:

Given the dreadful outcome of Dispute Committee’s cases from last year (in terms of loss of membership and soiling of the SWP’s reputation), a sensible course would have been to ‘bend the stick’ and ensure that any disciplinary cases were treated with the utmost care.

Not quite sure why anyone would need to bend a stick of any sort whatever that is supposed to mean.

Bit late to make sure disciplinary cases were treated with "care". The party has no reputation other than being considered a self perpetuating shower of (add your own expletive here) that no one wants to have anything to do with anymore.

As for all the stuff about working in the universities I'm not sure there will be anyone to listen.

Student activists are all about "safe spaces" at the moment and as for having a bunch of shouty (alleged) "rape apologists" in their midst's, no number of libel threats is going to force Socialist Worker down the throats of the student movement for want of a better phrase.

Still for those of you interested in such sectariana here is a link to the second bulletin:

Can't wait for IB number 3 ..........

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Kobane is this generations Stalingrad

Cross-post by Eric Lee

Stalingrad, 1943.

By the summer of 1942, the outcome of the second world war was easy to predict. The German U-boat operations in the North Atlantic were proving increasingly successful in sinking Allied ships. In North Africa, Rommel’s forces had taken Tobruk. And one year into Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the Wehrmacht had wrested control of most of the western part of the country. The forward march of Nazism seemed unstoppable.

For the last several months, news reports about the onward march of the fascists of “Islamic state” have echoed that same sense of inevitability. Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, fell in June. Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town, fell the next day. In August, the Yazidi stronghold Sinjar fell. Every day brought new reports of victories for the Islamists. ISIS seemed unstoppable.

Until Kobane.

Like Stalingrad, Kobane has become something of a ghost town, battered by shelling and bombing, most of its civilian population having fled. What remains behind are the determined fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) — many of them women. And those fighters have now fought the fascists to a standstill.

Before Stalingrad, the victory of Hitler seemed highly likely, if not inevitable. After Stalingrad, the defeat of the Nazis became certain. From the time the Wehrmacht’s 6th army finally surrendered in February 1943 until the final collapse of the Third Reich in May 1945, the German army never again won a decisive victory. From then on, the war consisted of a long and bloody retreat back to Berlin.

It is too early to say if this will be the case with Kobane.

Under enormous international pressure, the Erdogan regime in Turkey has finally agreed to allow Peshmerga fighters from the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq to join their fellow Kurds in defending Kobane. As I write these words, they are on their way.

At the same time, units of the pro-Western Free Syrian Army (FSA) have arrived in Kobane to join the YPG fighters.

And these forces — the YPG, the FSA and the Peshmerga — are being backed by the immense air power of the United States and its allies. The US is dropping not only bombs, but supplies that have been stiffening resistance in Kobane.

According to one report, “News reached the world on Monday morning that an airdrop by Coalition forces of 27 bundles of arms, ammunition and medical aid had been delivered successfully to the YPG in Kobane. Finally, the long awaited, much-needed arms had been delivered to the YPG guerrillas, much to the dismay of Turkey. All morning, people in the village received the news with satisfaction, proclaiming ‘Long live Obama.’”

In doing so, these airdrops repeat the support given by the US to the Soviets during the Second World War. At that time, there were no US “boots on the ground” in Russia, but there were plenty of supplies coming through. In fact, it has been argued that part of the reason why Hitler needed to take Stalingrad was to cut off the flow of US supplies and weapons going up the Volga.

A defeat for the Islamists in Kobane doesn’t necessarily deal the fascists a death blow. It’s more likely that the struggle will see ups and downs, with some victories for the Kurds and their allies, and some for “Islamic state”.

But for the first time in a long time, the fascists are feeling the sting of a strong and motivated resistance. In Kobane today, the spirit of Stalingrad lives.

Demonstrate to support the Kurds:
Saturday November 1st 2pm
London: Trafalgar Square.

On 1st November, people around the world will be out on the streets to protest against brutality by ISIS and at the same time express solidarity with the people of Kobane..

Londoners, in their hundreds and even thousands, will be out in Trafalgar Sq. between 2-5pm where there will be speeches as well as slogans. The purpose of the event in London will be to let the world know, and more importantly let Kobane know, that we are with them!

Dozens of English, Kurdish and Turkish speakers will be lined up to give their support. This will be a day when the world stands beside Kobane.

Union of Democratic Forces - London


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A "Socialist Appeal" to nowhere


One of the smaller organisations of the far-left is Socialist Appeal or the "British section of the International Marxist Tendency" to give them their full name. Socialist Appeal is the remains of the Militant Tendency that stayed in the Labour Party after Peter Taffe fell out with Militants founder Ted Grant and took his (majority) faction to form what is now known as the Socialist Party.

Like their former co-thinker in the Socialist Party, Socialist Appeal are a rather boring lot who are prone to delusions of grandeur and of course opportunism. In Scotland (like the rest of the UK) they have been getting absolutely nowhere so time to jump on the new nationalist socialist bandwagon for them.

In a typical Trotskyist statement entitled Scotland needs a revolution they excitedly report:

The Referendum campaign has transformed the political landscape in Scotland. It was a defining moment. This seismic shift has sent shock waves through the British capitalist establishment.
Sounds exiting.

They continue:

The political groundswell has also resulted in the Green Party growing to 6,000 members. The Scottish Socialist Party has grown from a small base to some 2-3,000. It claims to have grown by 2,000 members in 72 hours, with branches springing up throughout Scotland. The Radical Independence Campaign has also drawn in thousands of supporters and is now talking about a new Left Project in Scotland.

Ah, now I get it. Everybody is recruiting disaffected nationalist types and Socialist Appeal wants part of the action. So off they go from being buried deep inside the Labour Party where no one notices them to....

We have discussed the new situation and how best to utilize our energies in the next period in order to further the cause of socialism. We believe the Labour Party has been largely discredited in the eyes of most youth and workers. As Marxists, we are not going to stand on the sidelines in the present political realignment in Scotland.

We believe that the best way forward is the building of those forces on the left in Scotland, on a revolutionary and internationalist basis, beginning with the Scottish Socialist Party.

...being buried in the SSP where they hope someone (or two) will notice them.

And when that fails they'll probably trundle back to the Labour Party where.......

Meanwhile the tiny, but highly entertaining (for inveterate "trot spotters) Communist Party of Great Britain (Weekly Worker)has had a one man split. The rather odd Ian Donovan has developed some bizarre theories about the international influence of Jews (?) that the CPGB found a little unpalatable.
He's gone and formed a one man organisation of his own, grandly entitled Communist Explorations.

Who was it that coined the phrase "When the pub closes"?

They must have been thinking of these kind of people.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The hypocrites of the Socialist Workers Party


The right of free speech is at the heart of democracy, and even has to be extended to those who don't actually believe in freedom. 

The recent attempts by the student/feminist movement to prevent the Socialist Workers Party from exercising it's democratic rights is understandable given the behaviour of the SWP, but would without doubt set a dangerous precedent.

Quite simply where would it end?

But the recent actions of the SWP in Edinburgh really do show the "comrades" up for what hypocrites they are. 

The SWP has claimed a motion is "libellous" so the students union has withdrawn it. Now the Students newspaper has had to have every page containing a report about the motion on the SWP removed because the editors are worried about legal costs should the SWP pursue this course of action.

Is it a bluff?

Dave Renton, a former SWP member does and writes:

The SWP’s problem is that truth is a complete defence to libel. And the only way that a court can establish whether a person has spoken untrtuthfully is by ordering both sides to disclose all the documents of a case and forming a view for itself. That means that one of the tasks facing any organisation seriously maintaining libel is to disclose to the court and to the party which it accuses of libel all the documents of the case, both those that support its case, and those that potentially undermine its case.

Charlie Kimber knows very well the catastrophic impact that the details of what happened during the two investigations would have – even on Smith’s most blinkered supporters, let alone on any new recruits to the SWP – if they were finally made public. He has no doubt been advised, or if he has not been advised, he should have been – that once a document has been part of court proceedings, there is nothing you can do to stop its open discussion. For those reasons, he will not pursue a libel threat to court.

The real question that needs to be put to the Socialist Workers Party is this:

How come it's OK for the SWP to use the courts for libel and not rape allegations?


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Time for Muslims to say no to Jihad!

The news that a "fourth Portsmouth man" had been killed whilst fighting for ISIS caught my attention of the front page of The Sunday Times this morning. According to his family he had been "desperate" to come home. Why because he had become disillusioned by the "violent Jihadist life" he had become involved in.

Poor soul? Not in my book.

This wasn't some poor oppressed badly educated man. This 20 year old had been educated in a private school and had all the privileges afforded to him of a democratic society.

He and his idiot mates (there were six of them all told it would seem) went to fight for Jihad of their own free will.

Jihad is violent. Jihad is war. Jihad means killing people.

Muhammad Hassan and his mates knew this.

And the ISIS organisation they joined is one of the worst examples of what savagery mankind has to offer, especially when combined with this so-called "religion of peace".

And just where did this fanatic fall?


A city facing the onslaught and slaughter of the barbarian ISIS hordes. A city under siege and still waiting for the world to intervene to finally end the threat.

The time has come for the world of Islam to face the truth that their religion is not just being abused by extremists but that their religion is flawed to the core.
  • An Islamic government in Iran murders a woman for killing the man who raped her.
  • Another Islamic court in Pakistan has passed a death sentence on yet another Christian accused of blasphemy.
  • Now Islamists threaten the integrity of Egypt with their mass murder of soldiers in the Sianai desert.
  • In Canada Islamists murder at random.
No doubt some oddball anti-imperialist will call me an Islamophobe but my aim is to appeal to the ordinary Muslims of this world.

Worship how you please but the time has come for the reform of Islam. An Itjihad. I'd prefer you all to realise that there is no god, but one step at a time.

Learn tolerance.

And learn it quickly.

This violence must end. Now!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Jack Bruce 1943 to 2014

Jack Bruce one of the world's greatest bass players passed away today. He was a member of one of the world's best known "super-groups" Cream.

Rest In Peace Jack. Your music will live forever.

Friday, 24 October 2014

PCS: A union in terminal decline?

Earlier this year the Socialist Party and it's allies in the PCS union attempted to arrange a "shotgun wedding" to merge the union with Unite. There was much speculation as to whether this was to do with the state of PCS finances. Chris Baugh the Assistant General Secretary assured concerned reps and members that was not the case.

The merger did not go ahead after the National Executive motion was knocked back by conference and the Unite delegation left (some say stormed) out of the observers gallery. Certainly the route to shoring up the ever failing fortunes of PCS by being subsumed into Unite is on a back burner and certainly not on Unites list of current priorities given there will be a general election next year and they are more concerned with getting a Labour Government elected.

However something remains seriously wrong in PCS as the news was broken by the satirical PFLCPSA website that the union is considering another option that of selling off it's purpose built headquarters building in Falcon Road, Clapham Junction:

Well, we could sell Falconcrest to be turned into luxury flats, but that would involve enormous amounts of pre-planning, getting reports done, having architects draw up plans, consulting not just PCS members, but GMB members who work there. Nah, too much effort.

Although, we could sneak off and get that all done in August while everyone is on their hols and not bother to tell anyone, and then sneak in a a full scale planning application to the Local Council, also without telling anyone, because we wouldn't want anyone to find out until the time to register comments has expired.

And so it came to pass. The expiry date for comments was 02/10/14. Falconcrest is destined to become 65 luxury flats, subject to planning approval. Tory run Wandsworth will just lurve having a new bunch of yuppies to vote for them. Any affordable housing? Hahahahaha! What do you think we are, socialists or something?

All done in secret it would seem since none of the reps or members were informed of this possibility and yet when interviewed by The Socialist newspaper recently, Mark Serwotka the "Dear Leader" of PCS said:

I would say the union is unrecognisable from the one that existed when I became general secretary.

It's now a union that respects its activists as its lifeblood rather than an inconvenience. It has democratised massively in terms of electing its senior full time officers, of giving much more power to the groups, the branches and the regions, where decisions can be made at a level nearer the grassroots.

It is certainly true that PCS is unrecognisable from when Serwotka and his henchmen took over. PCS has changed from being a union that represents its members to one that represents only it's (far left) political activists. Most of the latter part of his statement about "grassroots" power is just hype.

PCS has become a very centralised, authoritarian union.

Serwotka also inherited a financially stable union that didn't need to look to merge with other unions or sell off the "family silver".

Members would be right to ask what is going on in PCS. 

Is there something we are not being told? After all the man who controls the purse strings, the rather useless Mr Baugh is a member of the Socialist Party which older readers will recall was formerley the Militant Tendency.

And Militant buggered up the finances of Liverpool Council.  So much so they had to send out taxis to issue redundancy notices to their staff. Hence Neil Kinnocks famous speech.

Oh and they helped make Labour unelectable hence the years of Thatcherism we ended up having to endure.

They still don't want a Labour Government by the way. PCS has a policy to "stand and support" candidates that will eventually lead to the union backing the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition which gets next to no votes.

PCS has become divorced from the political mainstream and far weaker than ever thanks to the actions of Serwoka and his far-left allies.

Members need a union, but it seems to me PCS is no longer up to the task.

The question is what happens next?

By the way for anyone that's interested Serwotka got re-elected unopposed this week. Hardly worth mentioning.

Will the last person out of Falcon road please turn the lights out.