SWP: Another week, another resignation
Jon Hosier explains why he has chosen to resign from the SWP
am writing to you to make you aware of my resignation from the
Socialist Workers Party and my reasons for this. In light of the
recent articles in the national media, and other resignations, I
feel, as a recently new member, it is important to highlight my
concerns as well.
way in which the SWP handled the cases of Julian Assange and Jimmy
Savile, both within the party (discussions at branch meetings) and
through Socialist Worker, made me proud to stand with others
who saw through capitalist notions of justice, women’s liberation,
gender and power relationships. We are aware that women are too often
not taken seriously or treated in a manner that helps push them
deeper into their trauma, pushing back their ability to process and
come to terms with the horrors that they may have endured.
is why I have been so appalled at the handling of the recent
allegations heard by the party’s disputes committee. Despite our
concern over the methods the current political system uses, we are
not independent of it; we are part of this system and therefore in
order to change it from within, we need to be seen to be a legitimate
organisation that works for the good of all people. How else will the
SWP ever be seen as a viable alternative by the masses?
allegations of rape, our hands are tied and we are very limited in
our abilities to carry out true justice ourselves. We do not have the
means in order to achieve this. We can only stand by to a certain
extent and allow the processes of the capitalist police and courts
take their course. But, because we are aware of the injustices and
the inherent flaws in these capitalist institutions, we can only
offer to serve as a ‘buffer’ of sorts to soften the blow to both
parties if either faces the often cold and uncaring hand of the
could debate and discuss what could potentially be within our remit,
all at the discretion of the accuser, perhaps, advocating adequate
counselling services for the people involved, making sure that, if
they have grievances with the handling of the case - such as,
treatment by the police, issues with legal representation and
counselling/crisis services - we can be there to offer support and
DC has defended its actions, saying, “had the disputes committee
believed that the accused person was guilty, it would have expelled
him from the SWP immediately”. This statement fails to address the
wider consequences of a guilty verdict of rape and/or other sexual
misconduct. Does this mean as long as the defendant has no access to
female comrades, it is acceptable for women outside the party to be
at risk of being attacked?
DC’s response to a now hypothetical situation does not address the
fact that the accused will need mental health treatment for an
underlying illness and/or help them to address their abusive violent
impulses if they are indeed guilty. Where is any suggestion of such a
in the current political system, rehabilitation either does not go
far enough or is patchy, even non-existent in some places, with the
state all too ready and willing to put people in jail, with little or
no support in preparation for life after their sentence, let alone
helping them become aware of their actions and learn to address and
adjust their behaviour to become functional members of society.
Regardless of our views, it’s currently all we have.
if the accused is innocent, regardless of the internal decision made,
but proven by an established court of law? It would be yet another
injustice at the hands of the disputes committee. When someone is
accused of such a crime, there needs to be a proper system of
investigation and court-based time for them to defend themselves
adequately. Neither of these could be achieved through the sham court
of the DC. Due to the lack of credibility of the DC, comrades have
had to draw their own conclusions concerning this matter, mostly
based on conjecture and hearsay, which will inevitably filter out
into their personal lives and involvement with the party, causing it
to become a constant reminder for those actually involved.
DC never had the right to investigate this case in the first place.
One of the committee members knew the accuser from being in the same
district and, aware of a conflict of interest, they stepped down from
the case. Five committee members were or are comrades on the CC,
having close ties with the accused. Seven comrades on the disputes
committee then viewed the ‘evidence’ for “four long days” to
conclude, in their opinion, a verdict of not guilty. We are also told
that this decision was not reached unanimously - one comrade
disagreed, believing harassment was “at least likely”. How can it
be that seven people on a disputes committee took it upon themselves
to be judge, jury and executioner in matters of such magnitude?
this is a case of bad judgment on behalf of the DC even to entertain
the idea of holding a committee on an issue such as rape? I do not
doubt that members thought about the matter seriously, but it was not
a jury of the accused’s peers. Rather, to quote a recent member in
the news, it was “a jury of his mates”.
of the most important attributes of a socialist, in my view, is the
capacity for humility. I may be wrong but, by admitting our mistakes,
we learn from ourselves and from others; in turn helping to shape the
society we want to live in. Humility opens us up to being accountable
for our actions, especially for those in our leadership who we allow
to hold a certain level of power over democracy in the party.
see no humility and no acceptance of wrongdoing by the disputes
committee or the central committee with their dealings in this case.
Now conference has passed, the factions have dissolved and dissent
kept in check (under threat of expulsion) until the three months
preceding next year’s conference, as stated in our constitution. A
pressing issue such as this needs to be resolved at the time, not a
year later. Otherwise the SWP stands for even less than the parties
that claim to be democratic at the moment.
have seen no reasonable outcome to the problems we face and no longer
feel the SWP in its current form reflects my values, morals and
understanding of socialism. Therefore, I feel I have no other option
but to leave the SWP.