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Submitted by martin on Thu, 10/09/2009 - 00:49

Hi Ben,

You say "the question of how much time/resources the campaign spends on the site is a tactical question". In other words, the SP isn't there any more, and, with the odd exception, hasn't been there for the last month or so; but you think that is a good tactical decision.

Ok. Then explain why, and we can debate it.

But:

(a) I don't then see why you object to us saying that the SP has ceased to be there. Or, in one word rather than four, quit. The argument cannot be about the fact. That is indisputable unless SPers have for some weird reason been there disguised as climate-campers, selling Solidarity or Socialist Worker in order to go "under cover", or lurking in the bushes so as not to be seen at all. The issue in debate is whether it was right to quit or not.

(b) Still less do I see why your initial fuss was about the word "quit" implying permanence. I understood you to be saying: ok, the SP wasn't there for a couple of weeks, but the SP would be back at the picket line soon, and I had wrongly implied that the not-being-there was permanent. At the time I made no judgement about permanent or temporary. But in fact the not-being-there (or, in a word, quitting) was permanent.

Your claim that "no-one else" thought of the issue of the 11 occupiers being sacked, or "engaging local people on the issue of jobs", is surreal. If no-one else mentioned them at that particular meeting, it would only have been because other people - maybe because they had been at the picket line! - took these as so obvious and so often-discussed that they need not be said.

Ed Maltby has already pointed out that we raised the question of nationalising the factory in a 24 June leaflet, before the SP appeared on the scene at all. Yet you write: "you may claim to have supported nationalization from the start, but if you did you all kept it very much to yourselves". How is putting out a leaflet which pushes an idea "keeping it to ourselves"?

"The AWL/Climate campers who seemed to think jeering [at] policemen and security guards was going to win anything"? Excuse me, which "AWL/climate campers" were those?

The "stunt" which the SP so condemned, and to which it counterposed blah-blah about "mobilising hundreds everywhere", had nothing to do with jeering. It consisted of maybe 20 people walking, very calmly and quietly, through the lines of security guards and police, mostly getting to below the balcony where the occupiers were standing, and throwing food up to them.

They were using the fact that, despite everything, the security guards and police had no legal right to use violence to stop them doing that. The action was well-planned and effective.

To that you counterpose some secret activity the RMT undertook, which you can't tell us about...

Best wishes,

Martin

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