Update (February 25, 2016) : The SP has issued a statement in response to the below : Statement from Socialist Party National Committee (February 24, 2016).
Yesterday 14 Socialist Party members, including City of Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly, tendered their resignations from the party.
See : Stephen Jolly leads mass resignation from Socialist Party over allegations of abuse cover-up, Benjamin Preiss, The Age, February 23, 2016.
I expect these resignations may well signal the end of the SP as a functioning franchise of the CWI Down Under.
See also : Comrades at war: the decline and fall of the Socialist Workers Party, New Statesman, May 30, 2014.
This is an announcement of resignation from the Socialist Party, Australian section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).
We, the undersigned, refuse to be party to the cover-up of allegations of violence against women and will not remain complicit in the silencing of victims of abuse.
Over recent months we have watched the organisation we built be torn apart by attacks on a woman comrade for coming forward with serious allegations of abuse by a leading male member. We believe such allegations should always be investigated with seriousness and sensitivity, while open to scrutiny and democratic oversight. Instead, we have witnessed an attempted cover-up, defence of the alleged perpetrator and disgraceful treatment of the alleged victim.
As committed socialists and Marxists, we consider this an unforgivable breach between theory and practice. We have a proud history of fighting to end the oppression of women in society. We have published important material on the many ways women are oppressed by capitalist society and have expressed solidarity with the many movements throughout history that have fought and challenged this oppression. However, this important work will amount to nothing if we tolerate the silencing of women within our own ranks.
We are entering a new period of history where self-proclaimed socialists like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are inspiring people into political action and shaking up the capitalist system. A whole new generation is discovering the ideas of democratic socialism. Socialists should welcome them with open arms. But this can only be done on the basis of taking a principled stand against all forms of oppression.
The struggle for a socialist society – a society that puts the interests of people before profit – must be founded on the understanding that we cannot challenge capitalism while condoning violence against women within our movement. We must oppose all forms of oppression on the basis of class, gender, ethnicity, disability or sexuality.
We have a world to win through struggle, solidarity and socialism. We intend to fight for it.
*In other spotterly news, The Communists are back, baby! (Kinda. Sorta.) See : The Communist Party of Australia plans to fly the red flag at the federal election, news.com.au, February 18, 2016.
While I will reserve final judgement until the CWI have had a chance to put their side of the story, I have to say that, on the face of it, the resignation statement looks quite convincing. Leading cadre like that don’t walk out without a substantial reason. If the statement above about events in the SP is true, the signatories will deserve praise for putting political principle before organisational loyalty.
This is extraordinary! A split within one of the workers’ vanguards! Whoever would’ve thought it possible?
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It’s hardly the leading cadre who split. 3 out of 4 members of the National Secretariat plus 3 members I would genuinely call cadre, plus a bunch of inactive members. It speaks volumes that the vast majority of active members remained in the party, including many women members who have been vocal about their experiences of sexual violence whose opinion I trust, who voted supporting the findings of investigation (lead by international comrades) and have remained in the party, and have been elected into leadership positions. Since the split, a huge level of toxicity has left the party and members have a greater say in its day-to-day organisation. (Two of the three ex-NS members tried to rob the party’s bank account and office, before departing.) The split was political, and it only takes some on-the ground knowledge to see it clearly.
National Secretariat is not composed of leading cadre? Otherwise, I dunno about internal workings of SP, but split seems acrimonious … then again, most are.
In other (very late-breaking) news, a bunch of SAllies have left in Brizvegas: