Wednesday, 14 November 2007
The following is a letter to Socialist Worker by SSP National Convenor Colin Fox. As an SSP member, I have extracted many lulz from the SWP's theoretical "analysis" of what's happening in RESPECT, given their behaviour in the SSP during the whole Sheridan debacle. Cheers to Colin for pointing the irony out.
Is it any wonder that anyone watching the tragic unfolding collapse of Respect is confused about the issues when the article ‘What’s behind the crisis in Respect?’
published in Socialist Worker online Tuesday 6th November tries to compare the situation with circumstances in other left parties ‘right across Europe’.
But it is the particular nonsense contained in Alex Callinicos’s pious wishful thinking ‘the Scottish Socialist Party has effectively collapsed since the leadership decided to drive Tommy Sheridan out’ with which I wish to take issue.
Let’s leave aside the fact that the Scottish Socialist Party has in the period since the May elections been on every picket line in the country, first of all supporting the Tesco lorry drivers in Livingston, then the Royal Mail postal workers the length and breadth of Scotland and the Glasgow care workers. Let’s also leave aside the role that I and other SSP members played in defeating Edinburgh City Council’s plans to close 22 primary schools in the city. Lets also set aside our hugely successful party conference held last month in Dundee wherein hundreds of delegates showed their continuing commitment to the party and the confidence that it will survive recent horrific events when those who were keener to split the left have not. And let’s leave aside our presence, as the Scottish SWP at least were forced to recognise at last weekends anti Trident demonstration through Edinburgh.
What cannot be ignored however is the contrast in attitude of the Socialist Worker who today condemn George Galloway for splitting RESPECT, for ignoring the will of the majority, of setting up a rival party and of not staying in the party to argue his position. Because last year Socialist Worker was on the other side of this argument. Indeed, were it not for the SWP, Tommy Sheridan would have been forced to stay in the Scottish Socialist Party, justify his lunatic libel action and try to wrestle back the leadership. He knew of course, just as George Galloway knows now, that he would have lost the vote of party members and he did what all ‘mavericks’ do in such circumstances, he tried to justify, citing high principles, the formation of yet another insignificant wee group on the left.
If anyone drove Tommy Sheridan out of the SSP it was the SWP – you could say they supplied the getaway car!
So when the Socialist Worker gets all pious about internal party democracy, left unity and the crisis in left parties across Europe I suggest members best start by looking at their own record. As they say, ‘people in glass houses…..’
Socialist Worker will convince very few people outside their own party of their case in the disunification of Respect if their explanations of events and their role in them are as flimsy as those they offer up in relation to their actions in Scotland these past two years.
Scottish Socialist Party National Convenor