Thursday, September 07, 2006
Hang together or hang seperately?
What is going on? This week’s Socialist Worker has an article by Esme Choonara about the launch of Solidarity last weekend. (Don’t worry you don’t have to buy it, you can see a PDF of the page here, or just the text here)
The article is surprisingly critical.
For example: “Tommy Sheridan spoke towards the end of the meeting. …The opening of his speech seemed a little downbeat compared to the mood of the meeting. He said, "We may collectively as socialists never realise our dream. We may never deliver the type of society we have burning away in our hearts, but can we say in unison that we will fight with all our ability to discover that type of world regardless of the obstacles?"Dave Sherry, from the southside of Glasgow, …, "I was a little disappointed not to have heard Tommy Sheridan spell out more about what we need to do over the next few months."
"Akhter Khan, an activist with Friends of Lebanon, told Socialist Worker, "I came to the meeting with some friends. I have voted for the SSP but never joined them."I will probably join the new organisation. But it needs more young people and more creative thinking, and there need to be strong people around Tommy Sheridan who can challenge him."
It seems the SWP are putting some shots across the bows of Sheridan, letting him know that they may have perjured themselves in court to defend the fiction of his perfect family life, but they cannot be taken for granted. Towards the end of the article we read:
"Euan Dargie, a student from Dundee, said, “The meeting gives me hope that we can build something wide and open that makes a real difference to people’s lives.
“But I don’t want a new party to have too much bureaucracy or for it to hold back the grassroots members.”
This rather reads like code for there being no mechanism to make the SWP answerable to the membership of Solidarity. The difficultly for the SWP is that having lied in court and exposed their members to potential prison sentences, they have rather hitched themselves to Sheridan. It also means that they have to go on lying, to their own members, to the working class, and to the world.
By the way, I strongly recommend that you read the report by Jim Jepps of both the SSP and Solidarity rallies last weekend. Jim very sensible argues: “However terrible you might think Sheridan is, or Leckie or Fox - the fact of the matter is that the more mud that is slung the harder it will be to build unions, build campaigns and a political alternative to neo-liberalism. The past is important but the future more so and we need to assess where now rather than concentrate on where we came from. We have two socialist organisations with strengths and weaknesses that have good cadre in the class struggle. They can both play a valuable role in the struggle.”
I am sure Jim is mainly right, but there can be no reconciliation without truth. That means being frank about the fact that the SWP and CWI were always opposed to the model of pluralist party that the SSP represents. It also means recognising that the Sheridan camp slandered comrades in order to prop up the myths that the cult of Tommy depended upon. By their perjury they have also opened up the workers movement to investigation by the police. .