As against George Galloway and his close friends, our sympathies in the split now taking place in Respect cannot but be with the SWP. We protested when the SWP trashed its alliance with other socialists, in 2003, rallying its members behind the demagogue Galloway... We can't be other than glad that the SWP is now breaking that alliance, so discreditable for the whole socialist left.
To do the job properly the SWP CC would have to tell the truth about Galloway... But to do that the SWP CC would have to condemn itself. Instead it has conducted the struggle against Galloway by appeals to SWP loyalty...
So to SWP members and sympathisers, and socialists in Respect, we say: break with Galloway. But also: do it politically! Then settle accounts properly with the SWP leaders who drew you into this demoralising, destructive mess!
I don't agree with the supportive stance towards the SWP - at least, to its leadership. They have lain down with dogs, got up with fleas, and are now complaining about itching.
he SWP leadership knew exactly what it was doing when it got into bed with The Gorgeous One. It threw a shedload of socialist principles out of the window, from women's rights to secularism. And don't forget that when we said the things about Galloway that they are saying now, they called us racists!
It is faintly absurd to suggest that an appeal to their better natures will bring them back onto the road of principled Marxism. No chance.
Janine Booth rightly censures the SWP for allying with Galloway. Agreed. But are Galloway and the SWP the same? The original article concludes by calling on SWP members to "settle accounts properly with the SWP leaders who drew you into this demoralising, destructive mess!"
Obviously this is not suggesting that an appeal to the better nature of the SWP leaders will bring them back to principled Marxism.
Calling for the SWP rank and file to "settle accounts" is a futile demand. It would be less futile if three things existed; one, a critical, open, democratic culture; two, an educated, solid cadre of revolutionary socialists... three, a genuinely democratic centralist organisation... But we know that none of those exist and have not existed for a long while....
How do we win SWPers? Do we encourage them to wage a fight, a fight that not only will they lose but in all probability demoralise them? I know from my first-hand experience that the line is given by the CC to the district organisers, who then feed it on the local cadre; those who support the new line are pushed and encouraged; those who disagree with the new line are sidelined and demoted.
What do we say to an SWPer, or Respect supporter, who is not yet ready to agree with us on the big range of quite complex questions (quite complex, anyway, if you start looking at them from the angle of having had your first "induction" into what socialism and Marxism mean from the SWP) which define AWL against SWP? But who has to take a decision now, today, on which side they take in the Respect split, and can't wait to do so until they have sorted out all those questions?
Do we assent to what must be the "natural" inclination of many critical-minded people - to side with the Gallowayites on grounds of the hamfisted bureaucratism of the SWP's methods? Or do we say that there are much bigger fish to fry here? I'd say the latter.