Clare Solomon has been expelled from the Socialist Workers Party for alleged 'factionalism'. The student activist at SOAS in central London has been suspended since Friday 9 October; her disciplinary hearing took place a week after my own hearing which led to my expulsion on the basis of factionalism.
The SWP leadership arguably disciplined Clare because of her support for launching the Left Platform faction. Although the faction was formally launched after her suspension, it was evident to the Central Committee by 9 October that it might help to remove her from the pre-conference discussions. The timing is no coincidence.
The CC was also unable to tolerate the 'Money on Trial' event organised under the Mutiny banner on 24 September in east London. SWP members and non-members alike were involved in organising this, but an increasingly paranoid leadership called it a factional operation. In fact it troubled them because it was the kind of anti-capitalist event they now deride as 'nostalgia for the recent past' (an insult they also applied - in advance - to the Signs of Revolt festival which the CC's Alex Callinicos wasn't very happy about). And Mutiny showed - through sheer turnout never mind anything else - that such initiatives are well worth doing.
As recently as September Clare was elected to the SWP's national student committee. At a meeting of nearly 100 students she received the second highest vote. It will be particularly interesting to see how student activists in the party respond to this expulsion. SOAS was the first place in the country to witness an occupation in solidarity with Gaza, with over 30 other universities and colleges following. It was scene of another occupation in the summer term, in solidarity with migrant cleaners persecuted by college authorities.
Clare was centrally involved in organising both occupations. It may be regarded as perverse for the leadership to seemingly scupper one of the party's most influential student groups.