Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday sectarianism: SWP branch resigns over control of Union branch secretary

Interesting post on “A Very Public Sociologist” on the resignation letter by practically the “entire” membership of the SWP in Doncaster. Aside from the fact that the “branch” probably could meet comfortably inside a telephone box. The letter of resignation is rather fascinating and gives you an insight into the murky internal workings of the SWP and its control of union activists.

I’ve always known that all SWP union activists have to do what they are told by their central committee (or else) but now it appears that local SWP branches also think they can order “their” union activists about! Perhaps this has always been the case?

It appears that SWP members who hold full time elected union positions should only do so “in exceptional circumstances and only on the proviso that the party closely monitors the comrade’s work, which must involve the CC, the local SWP branch and the respective union fraction”.

I’ve heard of (un)democratic centralism but now it appears that there is also (un)democratic localism! It seems that an union official elected by trade union members not the local SWP branch had stood up to them and refused to do what he had been told (and stopped selling the Party rag) – sensible chap. He even “often acted unilaterally against branch decisions”. Shame on him.

The Doncaster branch of the SWP are so disgusted with the failure of “their” (not the union) branch secretary that they have now gone off and joined the Counterfire splitters who left or were witch-hunted out of SWP in recent years.

I do hope it is made clear in future union elections that SWP candidates firstly admit that there are members of the SWP and whether they will do what they are told by their Central Committees and/or what local SWP branches tell them.

Finally, the letter claims that it was a deliberate decision of the SWP central committee to break up the ACAS meeting between Unite and BA. If true then the SWP is definitely falling apart even faster then I thought. Shame!


notatrot said...


I hope you are equally strict about union members declaring their Labour Party membership when standing for election?

John Gray said...

Hi Notatrot

I've always made it clear when standing - but the idea that the Labour Party NEC or local CLP would tell a union rep what to is laughable:)

Anonymous said...

Hi. I went to a few SWP meetings in Doncaster. There were 5 members who were nicknamed the Famous Five. I also used to be a good friend of the union guy mentioned and I feel this letter was really unfair! He maintained his political views but was treated unfairly due to not selling the paper etc! Serious talks were held at one point because he had missed a couple of meetings due to decorating. The other members felt this was not the case and that the guy in question was having issues! It was laughable. The guy does a fantastic job in the union and is very highly thought of. He doesn't deserve this weird treatment!

Stuart King said...

Well maybe if Labour MPs were under the control of the CLP members who campaigned for them and got them elected we wouldn't have been dragged into war in Iraq, Afghanistan, been implicated in rendition, torture etc etc.

Even better lets have the right of recall of MPs and councillors by their electorate. I am sure John Gray would favour that - its called democratic control.

John Gray said...

Hi Stuart

West Ham CLP fully supported the war in Iraq?