"To face reality squarely; not to seek the line of least resistance; to call things by their right names; to speak the truth to the masses, no matter how bitter it may be; not to fear obstacles; to be true in little things as in big ones; to base one's program on the logic of the class struggle; to be bold when the hour for action arrives-these are the rules of the Fourth International." Leon Trotsky, 1938
The SWP leadership has long had a policy of "creating facts". This policy is supposed to be about a unity between theory and practice. However, it also serves to justify a bit of sectarian lying.
The "facts" that the SWP leadership have created around the Vestas campaign are slightly more bonkers than usual. According to several reports from around the country, SWP cadre are being told that the AWL did a good job at the start of the Vestas campaign in building the public meeting, but then messed it up and the SWP had to come in to save that campaign and make sure the occupation took place.
There are variants of this narrative. One says that the AWL had to call on the SWP to save them as we were "out of our depth". Another story says we turned to the trade union bureaucracy to "save us".
Clearly any readers of Solidarity will have heard a different narrative. One where a meeting was built via the Ryde Trade Council that involved various trade union bureaucrats. This meeting was advertised to other left groups and we encouraged local lefties to get involved. A couple of members of the SWP did work with us to build the campaign for an occupation and one SWPer even spent a few days inside the occupation.
In all of this, the AWL comrades acted entirely correctly, mobilising the local labour movement, building the campaign amongst the rank-and-file and seeking to involve the rest of the left.
On the island we have continued to seek to work with the SWP and the SP comrades, to organise joint meetings of supporters and to coordinate our efforts. We believe that these struggles are also an avenue to pursue left unity.
But if the leadership of SWP continue to "create facts" of this kind then there is still a long way to go. SWP members should question why their leadership needs to tell them these fictions, what purpose it serves in furthering the class struggle.
The roots of sectarianism lie in sectarianism towards the class, putting organisational interests - "build the party" - before the needs of the class struggle. We can only achieve meaningful unity if the SWP comrades start to question their leadership and engage honestly in the class struggle.