The recent events inside the SWP have left Portsmouth SWSS comrades in anger and frustration at the actions of the CC.Portsmouth SWSS, like the SWP, have a proud record of fighting for women’s liberation and have gained a high standing amongst groups and individuals who wish to fight sexism on campus. However in light of the recent high profile hearing involving a leading member of the organisation, we find our record tarnished. The relationships built up with those on our periphery are now strained or have ended. Whilst we have no desire to reopen the hearing, respecting the wishes of the comrades involved, we believe that the current processes of the Disputes Committee have been found lacking and need to be reviewed. We also feel that some of the CC’s actions in the aftermath to conference have exacerbated the crisis we currently find ourselves in.
Accusations by some comrades of ‘creeping feminism’ in the party is an insult to all of our comrades, particularly those that have been involved in feminist or women’s organisations in our workplaces, unions, colleges and universities. SWSS comrades in Portsmouth have been able to have numerous successful interventions in these groups because of the analysis of women’s oppression that our tradition has. However, Portsmouth comrades believe that more needs to be done to ensure this analysis is put into practise within our organisation. This will improve our understanding and practise in the wider movement.
We are now seeing open and full discussions in our branches, in our view caused by pressure from below, but we are yet to see it in our SWSS groups. We believe that changes in the student office as well as obvious NUS candidates being discouraged from running are not only politically wrong, but in fact punishments to leading comrades who have voiced dissent or been involved in the factions in the run up to conference. Such decisions show that the CC are out of touch with conditions on the ground, and highlight its failure to trust the views of rank and file activists.
While no Portsmouth SWSS member joined either faction, we fully defend comrade’s right to form and join them in coherence with our constitution and utterly condemn any attempt to victimise those that did, particularly in this post-conference period.
Our desire is for our party to move forward united. In order for this to happen we need to act in the ways of our tradition. We believe that a national SWSS meeting open to all SWSS members wishing to attend must be held. In that meeting, real full and open discussion must be had, and the concerns of our student cadre must be taken into account. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the case recently handled by the Disputes Committee, we also believe that Comrade Delta should not represent the party whilst it handles the internal issues that have arisen.