Friday, 12 February 2010

Lindsey German: Why I resigned from the SWP

I have been asked by many people why I decided to resign from the SWP after a lifetime of commitment to it. I would like to explain the immediate reasons and then to give some background to my decisions and my increasing disenchantment with the direction in which the leadership is taking the party. I hope I can do so in as non confrontational a manner as possible. My resignation marks a turning point in my life and - whatever the agreement or disagreement with my political positions - it should be time to move on.

I resigned on Wednesday on my way to a Stop the War public meeting in Newcastle which I had been asked not to attend by the Central Committee. I was first phoned about this two days before by a CC member who told me this wasn't a proper STW meeting, that it was organised by ex members hostile to the party, and that most STW members in Newcastle knew nothing about it. This turned out not to be true, as two sets of minutes of meetings (in the public domain) make clear. Indeed, at the second meeting, it is clear that the only objections to it came from SWP members, one of whom appeared to object to me speaking at it.

A later conversation with the CC member made clear to me that the general feeling of CC members was that I should be asked not to attend the meeting. I found this unacceptable. For the convenor of Stop the War to be stopped from speaking at a STW meeting by the party leadership would not be understood or agreed in the wider movement and I thought it would damage the SWP in the movement locally and nationally. I therefore asked if I would be subject to discipline if I went and if I was being instructed not to go. Although no firm answer was given, it was clear from correspondence with the National Secretary that the CC 'reserved the right' to take action against me.

I have always been clear that if political differences between myself and the leadership brought about a conflict like this, I would resign rather than being expelled from an organisation which I have helped to build for more than 37 years, for most of which time I was part of the leadership. That is what I did, with great regret.

I believe the CC was wrong in the particulars of this case, but that this reflected a more general political error. The meeting itself was a success, with 35 people including a number of Muslims attending. There were unfortunately no SWP members (two paper sellers didn't come into the meeting) and only a handful of ex members. Most people represented the breadth of STW and saw themselves, rightly, as at a STW meeting, not some factional gathering.

The leadership's error was compounded by its reply to my resignation, when it glossed over these issues to assert that I resigned because I disagreed with the leadership and because of my membership of the Left Platform. That is simply untrue, and there is no logic in their statement that my resignation invalidated what I said at conference. I resigned because of their actions which I believe did a disservice to the movement. The assertion that there was no question of discipline is not true: the correspondence speaks for itself, as does the National Secretary's reply to my resignation letter.

The wider issues

There are, of course, major political differences, as evidenced in the debate before and during conference, where my position was clearly in a minority. But denigration of the Left Platform doesn't mean those issues and political debates go away, because they stem from real questions in the movement. I believe the party leadership has systematically moved away from the perspective applied in the past decade, which has been so successful in building the anti capitalist and anti war movements. I also believe that much of what we did with Respect was right and that to try to build a left electoral alternative involving working class people, including Muslims, was a courageous thing to do. Its failure meant that honest accounting on this question was impossible, drowned in a frenzy of personal abuse against John Rees for decisions which had been taken collectively.

Instead, the party has moved to a more inward looking and sectarian approach, expressed in the repeated views that 'we got nothing out of ' the united fronts and that the party must come first. Branch meetings and sales are prioritised above all else, and there is a growing tendency to rely on internal meetings rather than to confidently engage with the wider left. Most branch meetings remain small, however, and the majority of members passive.

My perspective has been characterised as nostalgic and my motivation as personal bitterness. Neither is true. Of course the situation with the movements has changed over the past decade. I have always argued that we should build a united front around the recession, which was rejected then adopted in part through the Right to Work conference (although this was effectively a 'united front from below', something we have always criticised in our tradition, and consequently was majority SWP).

This is not the time or place to rehearse these arguments at length. Some people have said to me that such political differences should not need to result in resignation. However there are two other issues here. One is the abandonment of the methods of building pioneered by Tony Cliff, following Lenin and expressed most clearly in his 'Lenin: building the party'. Talk of bending the stick, seizing the key link in the chain or indeed polemical debate is frowned on in the present climate, and is definitely not practiced by the leadership. That it strikes me is a serious retreat from how we have built for all my political lifetime.

The second issue is the internal regime, which has deteriorated. There have been more expulsions and 'offers you can't refuse' in the past year than at any time since the 1970s. Any national meeting now seems to be open season for personal attacks on Left Platform members. The disputes committee session at conference was effectively an attack on me by leading members, even though I had been accused of no offence. The only LP member on the disputes committee was not allowed to attend the session, despite the fact that she had written a minority report.

A leadership often not confident of its political arguments has resorted to gossip, innuendo and moralism. One of the claims about me was that I was 'standing by my man' because I agreed with John Rees politically. I wouldn't insult even a bourgeois politician with that. Again, my record should speak for itself. However, I have felt politically curtailed in recent months: all LP members who submitted journal articles had them rejected; none of us are ever commissioned to write reviews or articles in publications; I was not asked to speak at the women's school, despite having written and spoken more on theoretical questions on women than anyone else in the party. STW was not asked to speak at the RTW conference, despite backing it. Now the leadership attempting to curtail my STW work is a demand too far.

The future

Those are my reasons for resignation. What next? I intend to remain politically active in the movement and as a socialist. It is a critical time for the left, which in my view (and in the view of many other people across the left spectrum) has failed to rise to the challenges posed by the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. The left enters this election weak and divided. The lengthy downturn in class struggle and 13 years of new Labour has taken its toll. The danger for the left is that it becomes a reenactment society. Too much time is spent in nostalgia for the 70s rather than relating to the working class as it actually is, and the concerns that people have.

There are real questions about why the left has been unable to relate to mass movements like the anti war movement without it causing a crisis. There are also questions why at the first setback it retreats to a comfort zone which often cuts it off from the wider movement.

I am very proud of what socialists have achieved in the movements, and especially in STW which is still centrally important politically. I am also proud to be a socialist and have always thought that socialists have to organise and be part of a wider movement. How we do that in the 21st century is an urgent question for us all, if we are not to face the threat of barbarism.

I hope to be part of contributing to some answers on that question. I am sorry that this will no longer be done as part of the SWP. I am still committed to the ideas that I learnt from so many comrades, especially Tony Cliff with whom I worked closely for many years. I hope that I will continue to work with SWP comrades in the wider movements and that many of our differences will be resolved in practice. I hope too that we can work together in a comradely way in order to achieve the goals that we all share.

Lindsey German

39 comments:

  1. "But denigration of the Left Platform doesn't mean those issues and political debates go away, because they stem from real questions in the movement."

    But, you were defeated in this perspective at two conferences, so I afraid at that this point you must submit to democratic centralism. I'd love to see your reaction if the situation were referevsed and you had won the argument. I would have thought someone such as yourself would understand how democratic centralism works.

    We both know, whether you admit it or not, that this factionalising has been going on outside the preconference period. I myself was asked by a minority supporter to 'speak to John' if I was angry about anything, and frankly the party has been completely paralised by it.

    You are quick to point to your years of activity. Here I cannot disagree that you have led some very successful campaigns and written very good works. However Do you honestly think that any of these simply materialised because you said so? Many comrades myself included built stop the war, Left List etc. And you were only given the freedom to develop your theoretical work by being a CC member and given party encouragement, something we do not all receive. And so I think that given this 37 years, you should be the last person to behave in the manner that has charactised the last 18 months. In which case boasting 37 years only reinforces my belief that you have had more than a fair chance at leadership, and now its someone elses turn.

    Finally you refer to the party as sectarian and only concerned with selling papers, but let me ask you, when did you last sell a paper? Or attend a branch meeting for anything other than speaking or factionalising? When were you last trade union activist, or branch activist, or even an activist in a real job? You are in matter of fact an out of touch, ex-bureaucrat used to leading but with very little comphrension of what it means to be a good comrade or even member of the working class.

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  2. Finally you refer to the party as sectarian and only concerned with selling papers, but let me ask you, when did you last sell a paper?

    brilliant! lets try and bring out the logic:

    "You say we are a party of wife-beaters. But when did you last beat your wife?"

    "You say we are obsessed with saddle-sniffing. Have you ever tried sniffing a saddle?"

    its glorious

    thankyou, anon. thankyou.

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  3. Alex - that bucket of vile is a good demonstration of why you should not allow anonymous comments.

    Perhaps Anonymous could resubmit the comment using a screen name that would allow readers to identify her or him. It would certainly go some way to making the writer look less contemptible.

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  4. Lindsey
    I am verry sorry to hear that you have resigned.

    Yet I cannot see the logic of your position. Surely the tradition of Cliff would have been to stay and revisit these issues at the next conference. The LP perspectives only make sense in terms of molbilizing a party the size of the SWP. Are you saying that you cannot ride out a turn to 'party building' for the sake of a long term perspective (Personally I don't accept that your characterisation of the party's position is correct).

    I am sorry if you feel put upon by the current CC, but haven't we revisited the traditions of the Bolshevik tradition ad infinitum over the last 30 years at party meetings. Does your situation compare to previous rows and emnities in our movement.

    The Newcastle events seem like a siezed moment, a pretext, rather than a profound shock that has made you re-evaluate. Of course this is entirely a matter for you, party membership is always a voluntary association, I hope comrades can accept your decision and move on whilst working in a friendly and fraternal manner.

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  5. Anonymous, why are you posting as Anonymous? Either its because you think that by posting this diatribe you are breaking the same party discipline that you claim Lindsey has broken or you're too much of a coward to post this under your own name.

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  6. You are of course correct, Liam. I already have a stricter comments policy than many bloggers, however, and have happily declined to publish comments before.

    Mind you, that's rather mild - I've been called a 'scab' (both online and - by a different SWP member - to my face), Tony Dowling received an email from a Tyneside SWP member calling him a 'traitor to the cause' after he resigned, and another local member called Left Platform supporters 'counter-revolutionaries' at the pre-conference district meeting in December. Lindsey's putting it in very moderate terms when she refers to the culture of 'gossip, innuendo and moralism'. And I can't help feeling the 1st commenter here has proved her point.

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  7. Surely the tradition of Cliff would have been to stay and revisit these issues at the next conference.

    That would be the same Cliff who split from the RCP (etc), wouldn't it? It was right to do so then and it is right for Lindsey German to leave now.

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  8. Wow Night Tripper thats before my time. Didn't Cliff split around a profound theoretical difference (State Capitalism) rather than a dispute about the character of a united front meeting.

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  9. Almost all the major figures in the revolutionary Marxist tradition - not just Cliff - have been members of factions at some time, all of them have also split from organisations. It is just silly to have a hysterical reaction to such things, as if it is treachery or some awful sin. In most countries, at most times, it is the norm (not the exception) on the revolutionary left.

    Cliff spent months travelling to different parts of the country having secret meetings with various members of The Club (which developed from the by-then-dissolved RCP) - so what? When there are substantial differences - which we definitely have now - it is reasonable for someone to take the step Lindsey has taken. This is especially true when the internal culture has corroded so badly.

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  10. Didn't Cliff split around a profound theoretical difference (State Capitalism) rather than a dispute about the character of a united front meeting.

    ...and didn't the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks split over a tiny rewording of a couple of sentences in the RSDLP rule-book? (Or is that before your time, too?)

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  11. Lindsey, I am surprised. After a lifetime of marginalising and expelling anyone who dared disagree with or confront you in any way, now you simply throw in your hand at the moment that the tide within the party turns against you. A reasonable person might conclude that you are not entirely serious. I am reminded of the words in Jan Pallis's letter of resignation to Gerry Healey: "Goodbye - it has been very unpleasant knowing you".

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  12. I'm not really contesting the right of Comrades to 'split'. More failing to comprehend the profound issues involved. My branch has simply not been involved in any abuse, moralism or manouvering. Yet there is consensus over the current perspective. By breaking away the LP members have cut themselves of from a branch of 25 people who have no axe to grind against the LP but simply dont agree with the LP perspective. I cannot understand how the LP perspective can be implemented by a breakaway group, which even if all LP members broke together and staid together would constitute 40 odd people?

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  13. Am loving all the anonymous personal abuse. As AC says above, is it (1) simple personal cowardice or (2) fear of breaking the party discipline you insist Lindsey German submit to? Whatever the case, rest assured you're covering the SWP in glory with every bitter jab at the keyboard.

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  14. I cannot understand how the LP perspective can be implemented by a breakaway group, which even if all LP members broke together and staid together would constitute 40 odd people?

    And if they're right, they'll grow. If the SWP leadership are right, they'll grow. "If".

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  15. In reply to one comment above may I point out again that Cliff did not split from the RCP. In part because the RCP had been dissolved by the time that Cliff set up his own group. And in part because Cliff was a member of the Irish section of the FI and not of the RCP.

    But far more important is the fact that Cliff alaways fought for the centrality of the revolutionary organisation, as the most advanced part of the class, and as such would not have walked out on the RCP.

    neprimerimye

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  16. Comrade German's case will resonate with the experiences and memories of untold numbers (possibly thousands) of less prominent ex- SWP members. When the core party machine of the CC and full timer apparatus takes against you (for whatever reason, often abitrary), life inside the party becomes really hard, if not impossible. You either shut up and sell lots of papers (but still get treated as a political turd) or you leave. The apparatus is often wrong and unjust in its treatment of members who have been labled as 'dissenting' or 'troublesome'. Furthermore, for some strange reasons, the party always attacks its own cadres, usually those who were most enthusiastic leaders of a previous party 'turn' that is now unfashionable. It sheds these layers, like a snake shedding a skin before moving on. Buts thats one of the reasons why the SWP historically never really grows in a qualitative (or really quantitative) way. To grow it would need to keep these layers with it, and therefore have a less monolithic culture (obviously you could go too far with this, but the SWP is now at the other extreme). It is why the SWP has always hovered between being the largest sect and the "smallest mass party in the world" - but never quite making that transition forward. Like a one party state, it is a one faction party. Whatever the benefits one believes this may bring, there are also some obvious limitations this will always impose on the organisation.

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  17. All i know, from my experience at marxism creche 1990 is lindsey, keep with the movement and you will always have a billet in moss side, take care, kate and sara

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  18. Night Tripper, why shouldn't there be bitterness?

    German and Rees, blessed by Cliff, nearly drove the entire SWP off one. Their petit-bourgeois managerialism (you know, the "professional" leadership) stank.

    It was the RCP (the '80s variant) in the SWP. Voluntarism dressed as "leftism" and a good dose of opportunism to boot. Watching those "Mutiny" videos makes me think I'm in a nightmare of student politics circa 1986.

    The pair of them could mass a small district out of the comrades they've knifed, side-lined, demonised etc., etc. So boo-fucking-hoo.

    Of course, there'll be all sorts of shit-stirring for a while (more in sadness than in anger etc.). Keep an eye on Rees, Nineham and Bambery for news over the coming days...

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    Happy Valentines!

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  19. While I agree that Lyndsey should have resigned, its ridiculous to expect someone, let alone a revolutionary, to put up with the dictats of some petty bureaucrats, there is a lack of substance as to what she's suggesting for the next step forward.
    That's understandable perhaps, she still obviously hasn't left the faction fight behind, but we do as a left need to look at how we organise and what's the way forward? I think we should establish an Anti-Capitalist party similar to the French, which is very open and allows a diverse range of opinions, tendencies and ideas to operate within it.
    The left has been suffocated by the apparatuses of our respective organisations for too long its time to start again without them.

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  20. "...I'd love to see your reaction if the situation were reversed and you had won the argument..." Anonymous

    Left Platform did win the argument - that's why the post conference document agrees with Left Platform when it says, "Our starting point has to be our united front work."

    The problem is, as Left Platform has argued at two conferences, that this is just rhetoric & the instruction to Lindsey not to speak at the Tyneside StWC meeting demonstrates, in practice, what we have been saying.

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  21. In point of fact Cliff did not split, let us be clear his faction was expelled, over the issue of state capitalism. The comrades were expelled as they broke group discipline in a public forum, namely Brum Trades Council, voting against group instructions.

    As such their expulsion was legal. however it needs to be realled that this took place in a group in which internal democracy was being destroyed by Gerry Healy with the backing of Cannon and Mandel/Pablo. By comparison the old RCP had a very liberal internal regime. althoug factions which did not follow the democratically agreed on line in public were dealt with abd rightly so.

    alex however needs to understand that the state capitalist faction did not want to be removed from The Club or the FI. In other words they did not split over profound differences seeing those profound differences as secondary to the unity of revolutionaries.

    You see Alex the Cliff of 1948-50 understood that political groups are defined by their political platformsand not by the various theories that individual members or tendencies adhere to. A revolutionary party you see need not subscribe to 'Marxism' but it must have revolutionary politics.

    neprimerimye

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  22. I thought Anonymous's comments (the first lot) were entirely legitimate points to make for any comrade. I'm glad that the SWP is no longer a party where asking hard and critical questions of the leadership is not regarded as some kind of personal outrage. And incidently: there is nothing 'inward' about selling socialist worker.

    I would though like to express my own puzzlement about the comment about us 'getting nothing out of united front work' and the claim that this dominates discussion. There is, understandably, quite a lot of bitterness about the way those charged with responsibility with the SWP's intervention in Respect effectively left us with fewer forces afterwards then before.

    The response of the leadership of the SWP has been to argue against drawing the conclusion that we should not be involved in united front work. However there is nothing wrong with holding to account leaderships who made mistakes: particularly when they persist in making them.

    And there is nothing wrong either with changing the way one does something when something goes wrong. Which the SWP has done. Its hard to avoid drawing the conclusion that much of this fight has been a rebellion against the membership wanting accountability.

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  23. battersea:

    German and Rees, blessed by Cliff, nearly drove the entire SWP off one. Their petit-bourgeois managerialism (you know, the "professional" leadership) stank.

    You're re-writing history. The last decade, from 1999, was one in which the SWP successfully turned outwards: from the anti-capitalist movement, into leading the largest antiwar movement in British history, and onto Respect - which remains the most successful electoral intervention by the British non-Labour left in decades.

    A layer of the left - outside the SWP, and, sad to say, it would seem not a few inside it - preferred throughout to skulk in a far-left ghetto, occasionally waving newspapers at the outside world. They're welcome to it. You're welcome to it.

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  24. johng

    I thought Anonymous's comments (the first lot) were entirely legitimate points to make for any comrade.

    jesus fucking christ:

    you are in matter of fact an out of touch, ex-bureaucrat used to leading but with very little comphrension of what it means to be a good comrade or even member of the working class.

    so anonymous personal abuse is "legitimate", is it?

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  25. Night Tripper
    Your line just doesn't hold up. I thought the LP perspective was based on trying to get the SWP to use its weight and numbers to launch more effective united front work around the recession and to retain a strong focus on STWC. The perspective was surely based on 6,000 members adopting this position not 18 or so. The debate was framed by a perspective of urgency, the party had not acted quickly or decisively enough over the last year. You cannot seriously expect me to accept that you think a correct line implimented by such a small group is going to have any effect. Nor would having a 'more polemical' leadership style have any meaning or effect. You are starting where the IS was 40 years ago. Rather than spark a real debate in the party that could be revisited next year after RtW has been tested the LP has acted as a bridge out of the party for a number of good comrades.

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  26. so what next? it seems like we're all slightly fucked, the tories are going to get in, the war in afghanistan doesn't look likely to stop, the left is falling to pieces.... I feel like we need some sort of constructive place to re organise quick before it's too late!

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  27. reve
    That, indeed, is now the big question. Hopefully we can explore it more in coming days and weeks. My article 'Building the left in an age of crisis' - posted earlier today - is my attempt at broadly formulating an answer on a political level. See what you think.

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  28. The trouble with being outraged about German having had to resign is that turnabout is fair play. She's been on the leadership and in the party long enought to know how the SWP deals with its internal critics and has been happy enough with these methods when it was her opponents being expelled/made to resign. It's a bit late then to start crying foul when it's happening to you...

    Furthermore, though she mentions political differences as the underlying reason for resigning, I can't help but think it has more to do with her and her allies losing the power struggle in the party than anything else, with the kerfuffle over the meeting as an excuse to leave with some dignity.

    The real tragedy is that neither side in this struggle has any idea of how to proceed. One wants to return to the old methods of branch building and paper selling, the other wants to continue the incredibly successful strategy of building alliances with other socialists and leftists only to drive them away with control freakery. Perhaps it's time the SWP just called it a day.

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  29. "One wants to return to the old methods of branch building and paper selling"

    Noooooo, not this again, we are not, I repeat not returning to that, for example in my branch, Unite against Fascism has been relaunched, Campaign against Climate Change is about to be relaunched and comrades are discussing how to intervene in Stop the War more effectively.

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  30. As a former comrade in the antipodes who has been through several factional wars and sectarian declines I am both intrigued and appalled by some of the vitriol here.
    It actually reinforces Lindsey's point. I have see the IS/SWP tendency fall into this internal bickering and moralising on several occasions when the real world does not conform to the ideals of the leadership.
    It's a sad day, but not surprising given the recent history of the SWP.

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  31. Intervening in the STWC more effectively by stopping one of your leading cadre speaking at a STWC meeting....? Good luck with that.

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  32. ...and comrades are discussing how to intervene in Stop the War more effectively.

    Sell more papers?

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  33. In period during the 1980s in Australia the IS tendency pretty much forced comrades to live in share houses and selling the paper door-to-door,much like the Mormons, was how to build the party. There were several splits after that time and it was funny to see the leadership move one way and then the other.
    There were purges too.
    It seems to happen when the rhythm of struggle is at an ebb.
    Problem is, it makes it harder to engineer another 'turn' when things pick up politically.
    The hardest part of Leninist party discipline is applying it humanely and creatively in a downturn.

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  34. "so what next? it seems like we're all slightly fucked, the tories are going to get in, the war in afghanistan doesn't look likely to stop, the left is falling to pieces.... I feel like we need some sort of constructive place to re organise quick before it's too late!"

    Well despite what some may think, those of us who haven't spent all of the last year plotting and grubbling have actually, I believe made a good start at responding to the crisis. No one could argue that we in the swp haven't made mistakes, but we have been actively involved in struggle. Be it Vestas, Visteon, Prisme, arguing against 'British jobs for British Workers' at Lyndsey, fighting the BNP and EDL, or the Right to Work conference. I am in fact proud of what we have achieved and think that we will go on to improve this.

    We have ofcourse made a shift over the last 12 months, and I am sorry that a minority do not agree with that. I can say though that whether our position is right or we have made definete gains. Though I believe that we would have been better able to respond had we not had to worry about this on going argument with a few very vocal comrades. I hope this has come to end now, if you are so certain our line is wrong then I wish you luck in some other venture outside the party. However I think I echo the feelings of the vast majority of comrades that we are not all the CC, we are capable of free thought and that we (as conference showed) believe this is the right direction to be taking.

    This argument has gone on long enough and has paralysed the party. You lost, now lets move on.

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  35. Many of my former comrades in the SWP have decided to resign from the party. There decision is based on substantial political disagreements, as Lindsey’s resignation letter outlined.

    In the SWP both Lindsey and John made important theoretical contributions to our tradition. Along with Chris and many others they helped lead the biggest mass movement ever seen in Britain, against the war. Others who have resigned I am sure all have contributed to building in many parts of the class struggle of many years.

    There contributions are greater than many who blog on this site.

    I was a comrade who strongly argued against the perspective they put whilst in the SWP.

    With the Nazis BNP and the EDL on the rise, imperialist war spreading, and the biggest cuts ever seen in Britain on the horizon, now is not the time to focus on dissecting the past.

    We will need to rise above the tittle tattle and in order to unite to face the real struggles to come, whatever our political differences from the past.

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  36. Surely the great disappointment of the debate between the left platform and the remaining SWP central committee is that no political question seems to have entered into the debate at all. What political basis is there for a split? None. The only differences are personal or narrowly organisational/bureaucratic.
    No political clarification has been achieved by the debate. No questions on which we could decide between the two factions are aired. The entire event seems wholly devoid of principle on all sides.

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  37. The "great disappointment of the debate" has been the failure of much of the Left to realise what is at stake here: which says as much about their own problems, as it does about the difficulties any side has faced in stepping outside the insularity of a factional dispute.

    These differences will become clearer over time.

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  38. I would just like to say how shocked I am to hear of Lindsey German's resignation although not surprised. Due to the political climate I recently returned to the party for some guidance. I am gobsmacked that although I have been to 3 meetings and actually sold Lindsey's book Sex Class & Socialism at a sale last week no-one told me what had happened. However I have to say that after some years absent from the party I sensed that it did not feel like the SWP I knew - now I know why. I was never a well educated marxist but I come from a long line of old labour and after Blair I joined the party. I was a single parent and me and my children suffered a lot under the tories and then Blair. The first SWP book I read was your Sex Class and Socialism and it gave me the feminist answers that I was looking for which I had not found in any other feminist literature - actually it changed my life and I will be eternally grateful for your book. At a book sale I recommended your book to a male student and told him I had read it and how important it had been for me. I was surprised that one of the party members there suggested to him to take Judith Orr's new book instead (which I bought myself). I had to argue with the party member that your book was more historical and in depth and with no disrespect to Judith's book was probably better for a full historical perspective on women's oppression. I am glad to say he took my advice but I couldn't understand until now why as this male student put his hand in his pocket to buy the book the member intervened in the way he did - I understand now. Perhaps I am not right but at the time I felt very uncomfortable about the incident and could not explain it. I guess that's just a micro example of what is happening in the SWP today and it really makes me very sad and disappointed that this should happen at a time when the working class (me) needs to be informed as probably it never has before by Tony Cliff's Socialist Worker's Party.
    I have done a lot of political reading lately and I totally agree with what you have said in the reasons for your resignation. I want to say thankyou as a socialist and as a woman and I wish you well. I was going to rejoin the party and was very motivated to become very active again but that ain't gonna happen now.

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  39. The world is very big..Coming from New Zealand where few stand up for themselves. I am saddened to see the internal bickering and inward looking response of comrades. I was a member during the 80s and 90s and have a great deal of respect for Lynsey. She is a dedicated individual struggling to change the world...Internal bickering about the STW coalition is not going to get things done...The SWP has lost an exceptionally good voice...

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