Sunday, 24 January 2016

The smoking gun e-mail showing the sinister Stalinism of secretive Rise

While the accusations of financial shenaningans at Rise have rightly taken most of the publicity over the struggling SWP-led alliance, there has been increasing concern amongst SSP members over the increasingly controlling behaviour of the pro-Rise faction in the party's leadership. 

It is a matter, of course, of record that in an effort to ensure the destruction of the SSP was achieved, the anti-party faction on the Executive Committee subjected Rise-sceptic members to horrific bullying, harassment and abuse in order to silence them or bully them out of the party. 

Since the controversial gerrymandered National Conference vote in favour of Rise, where the support of just eighty members, many of whom had joined the SSP specifically to vote to dismantle the party, was enough to dissolve the SSP into the as-yet un-named alliance - which would definitely not be a party, and would definitely not have a leader (until it registered as a a party with the Electoral Commission, replete with leader) - the bullying has intensified. 

The Executive Committee is in crisis, and was paralysed with panic when it emerged that Pat Smith, who had perjured herself for Tommy Sheridan, had been selected as "leader" Colin Fox's running mate on the Lothians list. As has become typical of Rise's short existence, she was secretly removed from the List. But the impotence of the SSP was made clear as they realised the EC had no influence over things like this: and indeed the  only influence the SSP could exert on the "alliance" was through the small, self-selecting cabal of pro-Rise EC members. 

As they have been shunned by the anti-SSP group on the SSP EC, those who have defended the SSP against those who seek to destroy it have given up. Several EC members have walked, with some quitting the party entirely. Many members who founded the party last century have ripped up their membership cards in disgust at the treatment of pro-SSP members by a leadership faction completely out of control and having effectively suspended the constitution. 

Organisers have walked out of the party - just this week, the SSP lost its chief in North Glasgow and Clydebank. 

More resignations are set to follow next week following a scandalous conferment of powers by the EC on itself. At a closed meeting on Saturday last, January 16th, the anti-party faction succeeded in forcing through a change in the party's rules - completely bypassing the constitution - allowing it to throw out any member who did not express sufficient admiration for Rise. 

An e-mail was then sent out by a party secretary to local functionaries demanding their acquiescence to the coup. I have a copy of that e-mail in my possession. 

What this means in practice is that the anti-party group on the EC has taken it upon itself to grant itself the power to decide that anyone who "argu[es] against agreed party policy" on social media is "bringing the party into disrepute". It has given the pro-Rise secretary the right to initiate the complaint and investigate it himself, and then recommend to himself that such a member be expelled.

The only "safeguard" is that the secretary and "one other EC member" will be on the Court Farcial. But there's no agreement on who the other EC member will be. How will the other member be appointed? Will the secretary appoint the other EC member? This is a completely unconstitutional way of banning debate, taken without consultation with the membership. 

It would not surprise me if there were to be a legal challenge against the EC's assumption of power in this way. 

However - what this means in practice is that the following conversation could take place on, say, Twitter:

Person 1: Rise is by some distance the best political party in the world. The SSP were entirely right to join Rise and anyone who things otherwise is wrong and should leave the party.

Person 2: @Person1 I don't think joining Rise was the right idea for the SSP at this particular time. We should have contested the election.

Person 2 is, therefore "publicly arguing against agreed party policy". Person 1 - who could be the secretary - can now complain to himself that Person 2 is "bringing the party into disrepute". Having received his own complaint, he can decide refer the complaint to an investigative panel comprising, er, himself, and someone else he appoints from the EC. 

Person 2 would then be expelled from the SSP for expressing a view shared by the majority of the membership. 

It is a matter of little surprise that members are fleeing in their droves. 

There is growing talk of Continuity SSP candidates standing against Rise in the upcoming election (poor old Frances Curran "recoils from [such] language", bless her). It is of similarly little surprise that SSP members increasingly feel that it is in the best interests of the SSP to defeat Rise and throw out the stale old leadership which has wrecked the party. 

The SSP has lost founder members and dedicated workers as the result of the decision of a small minority of members to dissolve the party into an SWP front and stand alongside Solidarity members. It has lost intelligent leaders and experienced campaigners. 

All that is left is the stale, failed old guard which stood by helplessly while the party almost died in the wake of the Sheridan scandal (or in some cases agitated, even then, to wind the party up), and some deluded kids with absolutely no political experience outside debating societies, "safe spaces", and campaigning for Jemima to be the vice president of the student union sports society because she's, like, soooo much more popular than Cordelia. 

It's such a shame - the SSP was the only authentically working class party in Scotland. Now it's been destroyed by ego and self interest. 

The Rise types have tried to paint the SSP defenders as the David Owen to Rise's Liberal Democrats. It's rapidly becoming clear that those mounting a desperate rearguard action to keep the SSP afloat and out of the clutches of those who would destroy it for personal political and financial gain are the true defenders of working class socialist politics in Scotland.


  1. More of the same old same old. Forget the 20th century left. Vote Green, only chance we have got