Crisis in the SWP by Jay Knott (01/21/13) ⇌ (Crisis in the Socialist Workers Party)
If there's one thing worse than a fossilized, Stalinist organization, it's the opposition factions within it. Britain's Socialist Workers Party is having a crisis, and Richard Seymour, author of the Leninology blog, is a leading member of the opposition.
Don't trust him. He was a typical Trotskyist hack, defending the party line, until recently. His difference with the party's central committee is - it's not politically correct enough. He uses terms like 'racist', 'anti-semitic', and 'Islamophobic' to undermine honest debate. He wanted his publisher, Zero Books, to drop Gilad Atzmon's "Wandering Who" for being 'anti-semitic'. He barred me from commenting because he thinks I believe in 'racism' 1. In his analysis of the crisis in the SWP, he claims that the Independent published an article about the crisis without speaking to party members, which called the internal hearings a 'sharia court', which is 'racist', and therefore he advises us to disregard the article: http://tinyurl.com/bj3e8l7.
In fact, the Independent article - http://tinyurl.com/ay5gxns - does not accuse the SWP of 'sharia', it cites a blogger doing so. The word has nothing to do with race (it is, at worst, religiously sectarian), and the Independent says it tried to speak the SWP, but the party wouldn't answer.
A member of the SWP accused another of rape. She didn't go to the 'capitalist courts'. Even if the SWP encouraged her not to do so, this has no legal standing. The SWP cannot force its members not to do anything. It might unfairly expel dissidents, but it doesn't kneecap them. If the party encouraged her to go to the police, it could not force her to do so. The decision not to report the alleged offence was hers. The party couldn't ignore such an allegation - it had to 'try' the case. It did, and reached the only conclusion it could - not guilty. End of case. End of discussion.
Tony Greenstein's narrative about a 'young comrade' being exploited by an evil patriarch is misleading: http://tinyurl.com/cj36pxz. He knows the left. He knows it's not like it was in George Orwell's time. The woman might be young, but she's not a minor. She is a citizen of the UK as well as a member of the party. She could have gone to the police. When feminists complain how traumatic this is, and how the police don't believe the victim, they are obscuring an important point. The police aren't supposed to believe you, because the defendant is presumed innocent. It follows, as night follows day, that the plaintiff is presumed to be lying.
Another consequence of presumption of innocence is that the defendant's attorney is given considerable leeway when cross-examining witnesses. This is why the defense ask obnoxious questions about the behavior of the alleged victim - "slut-shaming", as feminists call it. Many on the left haven't thought this through - they (rightly) supported the acquittal of O.J. Simpson, which depended on the very high standard of proof the court required for a murder conviction, but demand a lower standard of proof for sex crimes.
In the eighties, they had some success. The result was the 'satanic child abuse' hysteria, which destroyed families on both sides of the Atlantic, and sent innocent people away for decades. See http://tinyurl.com/a64yuy9 for the late Alexander Cockburn's exposure of the poisonous influence of loony feminism in the left's response to this panic.
By inserting the word 'even' in the middle of a sentence, Greenstein tries to make it look like he has a more advanced concept of justice than the UK legal system, and that the SWP doesn't: "The SWP has to know that it is not above the most basic laws that even capitalist society has conceded in respect of discrimination and sexual and other harassment.".
But capitalist society has conceded an even more basic law: presumption of innocence. The SWP followed that law to the letter, and Greenstein criticizes it for doing so.
If you're raped, go to the police. Put up with the experience of not being believed. If you can prove your case, do. If you can't, accept that that's the price of the prosecution's burden of proof. Yes, that sounds insensitive. Justice or sensitivity. Take your pick. If you want the judicial system to continue to insist the burden of proof is on the prosecution, "slut-shaming" alleged rape victims will continue to be a valid defense tactic.
A lefty woman is not powerless. If she didn't trust the 'bourgeois courts' or the SWP's socialist ones, she could have taken her case to the large and active milieu of p.c. leftists. The only danger with this approach would be that they would believe her, because she's a woman. You think I'm exaggerating?
See here - http://tinyurl.com/a3mj8h4 - "senior male member... scumbag... committee that “investigates” the allegations in an incredibly problematic and sexist way... even though we can’t be certain if the rape allegations are true (my personal judgement is that they are; when it comes to rape allegations, you always trust the woman making the allegation)" (my emphasis). 2
Instead, she went to the SWP. So it had to 'try' the case to the best of its ability. Given its complete inability to prove the allegations, it had to find the accused not guilty.
1. I hadn't realized gypsies were flavour of the month in the British left - I thought Muslims still occupied that hallowed ground
2. Another serious example of the danger of the policy of always believing the victim is the case of the Duke Three
A "kangaroo court" which is too fair to the defendant - according to the Guardian
by Jay Knott:
"She felt that if she'd gone to the authorities, she would have be expelled from the party, because of the SWP's hostility to the police. "If you go to the police you get kicked out automatically," she said."
My reply to Greenstein's response to Alcott's defense of Atzmon
by Jay Knott:
"Alcott believes that The fact that Atzmon reserves most of his bile, not for Dershowitz but us shows where he is really coming from."
Why would you support Zionists and Communists against Fascists?
by Jay Knott:
Tony Greenstein is an anti-fascist campaigner in the UK.
Here, he reviews a book about the history of fascism in Britain (it's quite a small book). He takes for granted that it is justified to form united fronts with communists...