Destroy the students?
The IDOOP report below indicates that a motion calling for a complete break by the SWP with its student members has been circulating
SWP - about to eat its young?
motion submitted to a branch by two well-respected longstanding
comrades in the organisation (and now circulating widely) essentially
lays the ground for a justification for forcing a split between the
students and the party, while justifying taking disciplinary measures
against students who remain in the organisation post-conference.
main issue isn’t the fear that the organisation won’t be able to
hold students, but that retrospective changes to perspectives,
constructed on a spurious basis, has had the effect of disorientating
many SWSS groups across the country. This is compounded by the
removal of Jamie W as NUS NEC candidate 2 days before the deadline,
after months of negotiation, and now the decision by the student
office not to submit our FE candidate's nomination for NEC block.
SWSS groups have continued to hold large meetings on key ideological
questions, as they were doing before conference and in line with
agreed perspectives, but groups feel this is in spite of the changes
to the student perspective, rather than because of them.
this context, it is important the CC clarifies whether or not they
support the cavalier attitude to losing students displayed in the
Tottenham branch motion.
student office has almost dissolved itself post conference. Many SWSS
groups are no longer being contacted by the Student Office. No
reason has been provided for this, no strategy or lead is being
provided by CC in a vital period in which student union elections are
about to begin on campus, as well as NUS elections in which the SWP
has intervened for decades. The SWP’s work inside NUS, includes
affiliating to our United Fronts, pulling together left unity and
intervening for national demonstrations while counter-attacking the
right inside of the union. This has taken years to build. At the same
time there are key debates ongoing over the role of NUS, from which
the SWP must not abstain.
W was blocked, without discussion with the student fraction, from
standing in the NUS elections. Now FE student and IDOOP faction
member Shereen P has not had her nominations to the NUS NEC
submitted, a position widely viewed to be secured, thus effectively
blocking her from standing. The explanation lies in the CC's actions
and they bear the responsibility.
and arguments need to take place over the new student strategy. The
CC should try to win students to their new strategy, but need to
clearly state what this it entails. The fact remains that the vast
majority of students share concerns over the way the disputes case
was handled. Students have called for a measured and adequate
response to strengthening the DC procedure; this has been met with
fierce resistance by the Central Committee, which has spilled over
into a complete shift in the CC's student strategy based purely on
factional disagreements, not on a basis in the real world which would
normally trigger a change in strategy or tactics.
by the CC and supporters are now being made that the ideological turn
has not been made in SWSS, that SWSS has been acting as an
'autonomous' section of the organisation, that SWSS should be a
‘support organisation’ of the SWP etc.
this is the case, then the CC should have made this clear in the
pre-conference period, in 3 internal bulletins, and a National SWSS
Meeting (NSM) the day before conference, or at conference. Two CC
members were present in the NSM, outlining the great part SWSS has
played in building in the movement, building the organisation and
building ideologically over the past years. The CC backed the student
commission at conference, which endorsed it overwhelmingly. In some
sense, SWSS has actually made all changes the CC is now proposing,
with the end of the student movement and an ideological thirst on
campus being fully addressed by SWSS across the country. Make no
mistake, despite the decline of the national movement, the anger on
campus and in colleges still burns, and this can be seen now through
the local struggles after the Higher Education Bill, where, for
example, post-92 universities are undergoing reforms and
privatisation. SWSS has been central in fighting this.
that SWSS members are demoralised from the collapse of the student
movement are misleading. SWP students have engaged both in local
struggles and in a process of political development in the party’s
tradition, engaging in all aspects of theory and ideology – which
give SWSS its political drive to build the party, both practically
and ideologically. Students have been involved in all key areas of
our united front work, linking up student struggles with workers,
confronting Sexism, Homophobia, Racism and Islamophobia on and off
students arrive at colleges every year, SWSS has been central to
building a periphery based on the IS tradition which seeks to win
students to revolutionary socialism. This work is maintained by SWSS
groups nationally, which strives to establish themselves on campus,
to build a political and critical culture while intervening in the
struggles around them. It can take years to establish SWSS groups on
campus in which vast sections of the student campus gravitate around
SWSS, for example Sussex University is currently in a 4 week
occupation, with SWSS taking a lead. Most importantly, the arguments
put forward by the CC shift the argument away from the Disputes Case,
onto political and ideological debates which cannot be concluded
properly in less than 2 weeks.
reject the notion that students have not fought for our ideas. The
struggle pre-2010 with the Gaza Protests and Post-2010 after the
defeat of 2010 required SWSS to raise the ideological standard to the
sudden rise in activity, but this was only possible with a
crystallized set of ideological demands and ideas, an extremely high
attention to ideological detail. SWSS has constantly fought and has a
serious ideological record. This is shown in the recruitment figures
year-on-year, shown in the serious SWSS groups developed, and the
calibre of the student cadre that the party now has, after the
decline of a national movement. The ‘Ideological turn’ now being
called for is founded on a false basis, it represents a
‘batten-down-the-hatches’ turn inwards, a retreat into Marxist
study circles in which ideology and education is the primary focus of
SWSS, with agitation and real intervention put to rest.
political period we are in, wars, revolutions, riots, strikes and
austerity, we believe that we cannot afford to turn inwards under the
rallying calls to ‘preserve the organisation’, to do so is
unnecessary and puts at risk the party’s intervention in the wider
fight against austerity the very intervention which conference
rightly prioritised. SWSS stands to fight for the party, despite the
crisis, reaffirming the SWP as both an ideological and an
interventionist organisation and seeking an adequate response to the
handling of the Disputes Case. Despite the situation - the conviction
of SWP students continues to grow.
J. (Newham/UEL SWSS)