Saturday, 26 January 2013

Can I get a conference?

The SWP is in crisis. In the weeks since our annual conference, comrades around the country have been doing everything we can to rescue the party from the disastrous course the current Central Committee seems intent on following. The stakes are high - we are fighting for the future of our party and of the International Socialist tradition in Britain.
One question that continually comes up when discussing our crisis with other members and within the movement is whether it is possible to win our position within the party. The Central Committee clearly has no intention of backing down, of listening to members, of taking action to correct the crisis. Instead it is committed to using bureaucratic manoeuvres in its attempts to close down discussion. And where it cannot close down discussion, it is resorting to appalling misrepresentations off the arguments and the comrades opposed to it.
However, there is a growing call for a special conference, where the issues facing us can be fully discussed, openly and honestly. According to our rules we need 20% of branches to call a special conference. We have counted 93 official branches from information supplied by the National Secretary and he has accepted that the trigger point is 19 branches.
Already at least seven branches have passed motions which go all the way in calling for a special conference. These are:
Manchester Rusholme
This call has met with huge support from our student comrades, with the following dozen Socialist Worker Student Society groups making public calls for comrades to support a special conference:
UKC (Kent)
University of Essex
University of East London
Queen Mary
Manchester University
Leeds University
Sussex University
Comrades in at least a further eight party branches have passed various motions critical of the CC's handling of the issues before and/or since conference:
Wandsworth & Merton
Tower Hamlets
To have fifteen party branches and a dozen SWSS groups already openly criticising the CC shows that there is a party to be won here. We must continue to push for a special conference. Comrades in other branches or in branches which have so far not yet been won to this position should take heart from the progress so far. We may not have won yet, but we can. And to be clear, even if we can't, we have to fight.
(The Central Committee has attempted to impose an arbitrary and unconstitutional deadline of 1 Feb for such a call. Comrades and branches around the country have rejected this. We expect the CC to use next weekend's National Committee meeting to attempt once again to shut down debate within the party. We and many, many other comrades will not allow that to happen.)
Good luck!
Emma – Norwich
Alex – Oxford
Richard – Hornsey & Wood Green
Linda - Edinburgh
Gareth - Camden
Jamie - Edinburgh
Gonzalo – Euston
China, Brent & Harrow
Kris – Wandsworth & Merton
Julian – Liverpool
John – Euston
Andy - Leicester

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