It takes a nation to protect the nation
The SWP is the largest progressive (Trotskyist) party in Britain. It is rumoured to have at least 1000 members. Critics have argued that most of its members are middle class students, despite the fact that its leaders are not students (they are ex-students). Many critics also say that if you are a first-year university student it is compulsory to join the SWP (that is if the Deep Greens and Islamists won't have you). The SWP is keen to stress the fact that it has two members who are working class (both of whom clean the homes of the SWP leadership).
The SWP has formed and participated in (or taken over, infiltrated) a number of campaigns, such as Unite Against Fascism (which it formed), the Stop the War Coalition (StWC), Respect, Rock against Racism and Students against Paying Fees Although We Can Afford It. (The punk rock band the Clash is said to have lent the Party a bob or two in the early 1980s.)
The SWP also incorporates the Socialist Workers' Student Society, which is actually made up of the entire SWP (except for the ex-students who are now its leaders). Such societies run weekly meetings on such things as "How to master the mockney accent", "How to pretend that one's parents aren't rich" and "How to memorise the party line".
Activists in the SWP argue that even though Stalin murdered 50 million or more of his fellow Russians, including workers and socialists, at least he wasn't an American and a supporter of capitalist democracy. The SWP say that Uncle Joe was indeed a fool, but his heart was in the right place. They argue that if only Stalin had read Tony Cliff's Trotsky, he would himself have become a Trotskyite and probably joined the SWP.
The SWP runs a website, originally called Socialist Worker, which is said to be read by as many as twenty people (although ten of the twenty actually write the website). The newspaper includes in-depth analyses of vital political issues (e.g., "How can we get more members?"), as well as many photos of SWP students and Islamists raising their fists (in the style of the SWP logo) and getting angry at some demonstration or other at something or other. The Socialist Review is a more technical and academic publication from the SWP and is said to be read by no one.
The leadership is formed by a Central Committee and a National Committee, as in the Soviet model (though the SWP says that it isn't based on the Soviet model). Those branch leaders who agree with the Central Committee on everything can elect the Central Committee at the National Conference. As of 2013, the members of the Central Committee include Lord Alexander Theodore Callinicos and Lord Charles Kimber (both of whom are offspring of 19th century lords and ladies; carrying on the tradition of Lenin, the son of a nobleman). Lord Callinicos has been in the Party for a long time and has sold literally over 101 books to people who like reading books written by him.
[Images above. Right: The SWP's Alexander Theodore Callinicos, of the SWP's Central Committee, and Lord Acton, his 19th century forbear.]
In 1997, despite being highly opposed to Tony Blair's policies, the SWP called for a vote for the Labour Party. The idea was to vote for a party that the SWP knew 'would not last very long', primarily because of the 10th or 11th 'deadly capitalist crisis' of that year; as forecast by the Marxist Futurology Office. John Rees, a leader of the SWP at the time (who's from 'a working-class background', according to a Wiki article written by a SWP friend), hoped that the working class would suffer more so that they would then embrace the SWP and its middle class revolution.
Recently the SWP was involved in Respect (formed in 2003). SWP leaders and members realised that brown and extreme middle class Islamists had a lot in common with the SWP's middle class, white and very-angry membership. The Islamists had even borrowed certain Trotskyite clichés from the SWP. Later, around three days after its formation, a degree of factionalism occurred in Respect. The SWP argued that this is a necessary factor of all Islamo-Trotskyite politics and was once called 'permanent revolution'.
The MP George Galloway, a full-time clinical exhibitionist, helped in the forming of Respect. Galloway is well known for liking Arabs a lot (he married one – no, not Saddam) and also for wanting to destroy capitalism and all things Western (i.e., non-Arabic). His love for all things Arabic was shown when he met Saddam Hussein and committed a public act of fellatio on him in order to smooth Arab-Western relations (which have been very bad since all Arab countries realised just how shit their countries were). Then there was a 'schism' within Respect. However, not all things were that good. The group Left List was formed from this split. Then the Left List split into the Far-Left Split, the Left Split, the Right Split and the Banana Split. Apparently, the main area of contention was the third sentence of paragraph two in the chapter "Should I Go to Mexico?" in Trotsky's seminal book, How to Kill Capitalists.
The SWP has an extremely open way of recruitment – the SWP is extremely easy to join. You only have to give its leaders money and then you automatically become a member. The students who do join do not tend to stay long, usually for three years (the length of their degree course). The rest who do stay are by then delegates or leaders of the Party.
The Zionist Criticisms of the SWP
The SWP has been criticised by some in the direct action, anti-capitalist and anarchist movements for its perceived attempts to manipulate them for its own ends. SWP activists argue that although all these groups are different from the Party, it is still the case that 'we all, basically, still want to kill some capitalists'.
The SWP has also been accused of being overly accommodating to the allegedly reactionary concerns of some practicing Muslims. It denies this. The SWP says that although it does accept that brown men have the right to lock their wives in the bedroom and/ or kitchen and carry out female genital mutilation, as long as they don't do these things at Walthamstow dinner parties for the revolutionary socialist elite, all is fine. In addition, its 'anti-Zionist' stance has been accused of being anti-Semitic. The SWP denies this accusation and argues that such a rumour 'has been spread by Jewish scum'. As for gay rights, they argue that 'they accept that homosexuality is OK for the Walthamstow Set', but 'it may not be right for the Brown Man'.
The SWP has also caused controversy by supporting elements of the Iraqi insurgency. It was also rumoured that it was contemplating endorsing the group Paedophiles Against the Government as well as Serial Killers Against Capitalism. The SWP, therefore, supports Hezbollah and all the other Islamic groups which blow American, European and Israeli children to pieces. Its support, however, is 'unconditional but critical'.
There has also been criticism and debate in, around and outside the party about its perceived failure to intervene in, or be a visible part of, many popular front movements. The SWP says that it will join any popular front movement as long as they display its banners and uphold the diktats of the Central Committee (which, they argue, 'is perfectly fair and indeed democratic'). Some commentators also criticise the SWP for being sectarian. The SWP argued that these organisations didn't need to be Trotskyist in nature as long as the members read at least one book a week by Trotsky or a SWP member.
Members of other socialist political parties, and ex-members of the SWP, often claim that it is undemocratic. The SWP's Central Committee has told all its members that it is fully democratic and it will not allow any claims to the contrary. Those who deny the democratic nature of the SWP are told to leave.
The SWP also says that it can work with other groups 'as long as these groups agree with all SWP policy and theory' and then 'everything else is open to debate'. It is also said that the SWP aims to seize control of united fronts and control them. The SWP responds by saying that 'the people who say such things only do so because they disagree with us'. Either that, or 'they are working for the Zionist Party of Barnsley or the extreme right-wing Snooker Players' Union'.
Many left-wing pundits argue that the SWP is not as revolutionary as Workers' Power. And that Workers' Power is not as revolutionary as Permanent Revolution (UK). However, the SWP itself claims that 'it is more revolutionary than both these parties put together' and is 'prepared for a punch-up with both parties to prove it'.
I find the organisational chart of the SWP very interesting. It looks like the Departments of a government-in-waiting. Only it looks like the organisational structure of a Communist or National Socialist government. I'd love to see a similar structure for either Mussolini's government or Hitler's. I'll bet it would look very similar (i.e. making propaganda and party into governmental departments).
Do you mean the image? That may not be the SWP's own image. In fact I don't think they use the word "republic". It may be the Soviet Union model. Nonetheless, the SWP's Central Committee model will be very similar otherwise why do they still use that very illuminating description?
Because the piece was done in a jokey manner, some people thought my references to Charlie Kimber and Callinicos's aristocratic ancestors were a joke! Also, I said that the SWP has around 1000 members. At present, they have around 500! But that doesn't matter. The SWP does it's damage not as a political party, but through its front groups, such as: UAF, The People's Assembly (along with John Rees's Counterfire), Rock Against Racism, Respect (at the start), the BDS movement, Stop the War, etc. Above and beyond all that are the many SWP who are academics, who are interviewed by the BBC (especially Radio 4), who are lawyers, journalists, teachers, etc. The Party itself is always in the background. (In 1917, the total memberships of the Bolsheviks was, I think, less than 10,000.)
I see. Irony is tricky :) Even in speech (a friend of mine almost got into a fight last week because of his routine and off-hand deadpan irony), but more so in writing.
Still, it would be useful to compare the organisational structure of the governments of Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin, Franco. I'm guessing they would all be very similar. But we might be surprised. Franco may not have merged his party with the government - I'm pretty sure the other 3 would have done.
No, I didn't use that image of CC organisation in an ironic manner. (People may think my references to Callinicos great-granddad (or whatever) is. It is true.) The SWP has a Central Committee, so I used that image. The SWP headline "Challenge those who trivialise rape" is certainly ironic.
You are right about irony though. I've misread a lot of people because I didn't recognise the irony. On the Liberty GB website someone said, "The Jews did it', and another person thought that he meant it!
It's not just irony. People misread others comments. I think this is less so in the case of articles. Misreading usually occurs in "replies" or "comments" sections when you haven't got much to go on and when you don't know the person you're responding to - or even if you do. That's why people use those smiling, etc. icons on Facebook.