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Yet more on The CWI April 5, 2019

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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There were more leaks from the CWI this week in The Statement from the ‘In Defence of a Working Class Trotskyist CWI’ Faction to all members of the CWI where it appears that the Spanish Section of the CWI walked out.

There’s an analysis of what is happening in the CWI at the minute in The Weekly Worker

Interestingly enough ….

The trigger events themselves, moreover, remain shrouded in secrecy. It seems that a senior member of the Irish Socialist Party – the CWI’s section – was suspected of some “reprehensible action”. The investigation into this matter, however, was not reported outside Ireland, and it seems that people in the international leadership in political alliance with this mystery member were outraged at this “breach of protocol”.

 

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1. GW - April 8, 2019

You are truly spoiling us with world-shaking sweaty Trot-on-Trot ideological wrestling and intrigue.

Game of Thrones has nothing on this. Are we at series 6 yet?

The actors probably yearn deeply to be a TV series. With plenty of bodily fluids, if acronyms like SPEW are any guide to their collective subconscious.

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2. Joe - April 8, 2019

“The International Faction is involved in a political and theoretical struggle against the opportunist capitulation represented by the Non Faction Faction.”

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3. NSS - July 15, 2019

Stop the bureaucratic coup and financial hijack by the minority faction – pay full-timers their wages
A reply to the ‘IS majority’ statement
On July 11th, the IS majority released a statement trying to justify their non-payment of about 60% of the monthly wages of International full-timers DB and CG – while the IS majority members continue to take home their full pay. They had to produce a cover-up statement after a storm of protests on the internal CWI Facebook group by hundreds of CWI members badly exposed their bureaucratic methods. The IS majority describes this as a “tirade of incredible allegations and abusive remarks directed at the IS majority”. This is an Orwellian attempt to turn reality on its head, by trying to present as victims the very perpetrators of a victimisation process. Most comrades fully understand that the real abuse is the abuse of power by the IS majority, which is using its control over the International treasury to arbitrarily deny the wages of two of its employees for political reasons, without discussion in any legitimate and democratically-elected body, trampling upon their employment rights and displaying a brutal lack of concern for the material needs of two struggling families. In retaliation to the scale of the outrage provoked by its actions, the next day the IS-majority removed the four comrades who are not supporters of their faction as administrators of the Facebook group. This happened without any notice or discussion, taking effective control of that group for their faction.
These recent developments only add to a long series of bureaucratic measures taken against those who oppose the IDWCTCWI faction’s headlong rush towards a split in the CWI. Since the beginning of this dispute, the IS majority has cancelled IS meetings, decided on buying new premises without informing DB and GG, pushed them to work away from the office and to give prior notice when they want to come inside, unilaterally scrapped the Editorial Board of the CWI website and removed the minority IS members from its day-to-day administration, changed the shutter locks of the centre’s door, cut off their wages and organised an effective coup on both the Facebook public page and internal group. No matter what the faction says, these indefensible methods represent a decisive break with the democratic culture which had so far prevailed in the CWI, and provides a cookbook for bureaucratic leaders on how to punish democratically elected officials for their political differences. “If you dare to disagree with the leadership, we can starve you off to submission” is, in essence, the message conveyed by the faction leaders. Any socialist worthy of the name will oppose such bullying tactics.
The IS majority calls GG’s post as a “deliberately misleading account of the financial relations”. Yet nothing in their statement contradicts any of the facts supporting that account: as we made clear, the 2 international full timers who don’t agree with the minority faction have been refused the payment of the most substantial part of their wages, and were communicated this factional decision, without any prior notice, when this payment was already ten days overdue, and after having ignored their demand to be paid for an entire week.
DB and GG are usually paid £390 (remitted to the bank directly) and are paid another £490 and 504.90 in cash respectively. Yet the IS majority statement repeats the misleading assertion that DB & GG are claiming “financial assistance”. Other faction supporters have referred to a “top-up” or to “travel expenses”. These are all terminological tricks aimed at masking the gravity of what is nothing but a wage theft undertaken by the IS majority.
The faction is trying to cover this shameful act, totally at odds with the practices of the labour movement, by resorting to a new series of slanders and ‘alternative facts’ aimed at deceiving its own supporters. For example, the IS majority argues that “Up until 7th June this [the cash part of GG and DB’s wage] was being given in full”. This is blatantly untrue. GG was reluctantly paid that part of his wage only on June 20, i.e. with 20 days delays, three days after his rent was already due, after several written requests to BL.
The IS majority attempts to rationalise the withholding of wages on the basis that DB cosigned a letter that called on sections within the CWI to pay their subs “into secure bank accounts, until such time as the CWI finances are audited”. This is a compelling admission that GG and DB’s wages were cut as a political retaliation for their position in the international debate. DB’s signature on the above-mentioned document is yet another lame excuse: as the faction leaders know full well, the first attempts at financially sanctioning opponents of the IDWCTCWI faction predate this call. Already in May, KD, the national treasurer of the England & Wales section, tried to hold back the payment of PC and CLM’s cash wages, engaging in a tirade of abuse against PC, which included repeatedly telling him to “piss off” and “fuck off” and “We’ve wasted enough money on you trying to smash the party”. The comrades had to write a protest letter to get this money eventually paid. It is truly incredible that we have to even explain that disagreement over questions of politics or finances, regardless of an imminent split in the organisation, do not free the IS or the England & Wales EC from their legal and financial obligations as employers. Like all IS members, DB and GG have been democratically elected by the IEC to carry their duty, and the very fact that the IS majority, which is acting in flagrant violation of the IEC itself, openly defends its right to cut the pay of two elected full-time international workers without warning, speaks volumes about how detached the faction’s leading clique has become from the democratic centralist norms of the CWI, but also from the basic values at the heart of the workers’ and trade union movement.
Furthermore, the minority faction has still not provided a reasonable explanation as to why sections would continue to diligently pay subs, no questions asked, to a bank account monopolised by a faction that is deliberately withholding financial information over the past 8 months, and rejecting any form of democratic accountability from the structures who elected it. As we made clear many times, the money is currently being paid to a secure account until an audit is performed by the democratically elected comrade, and proper democratic norms have been restored. Do the faction really expect sections to boost the international treasury while everything points in the direction of them stealing the totality of these resources as part of their now openly-admitted plans for a split? This only emphasises the degree of bureaucratic cynicism reached by the IS majority in the course of this dispute. The faction has accused entire CWI sections of Mandelism and rightward opportunism, refuses to assist them in the midst of important battles, wipes them out of existence on the CWI website, threatens them with expulsion, and then expects these sections’ cash to continue to flow into faction-controlled accounts, otherwise they “severely weaken the CWI’s finances”. By “CWI finances” the IS majority only means the finances hijacked by the faction (over which the majority of the CWI has no say anymore) and which are exclusively used for its factional/split project (in which the majority of the CWI plays no part). The IS majority statement feigns shock at being “accused of planning to ‘steal’ the CWI’s reserves, which according to the guess of Bart V amount to ‘at least €400,000’. This is completely fabricated and untrue.” If this was indeed fabricated, the faction would surely open the books and allow an audit to take place in order to refute these “fabricated” allegations and would explain its plans on how to democratically discuss the future of the collective resources of the International. Unless that is the case and the faction dramatically changes its course of action, the accusation that it is planning to steal the CWI’s reserves remains a simple observation of what is taking place before our eyes. Very tellingly, while the IS majority brushes aside Bart V’s guess about the current state of the reserves, we are not told the real figure. Doing so would mean the faction disclosing how much of the members’ money they are effectively planning to run away with, and how they have spent that money since the beginning of the international dispute without any democratic oversight whatsoever.
The faction hides behind grotesque factual somersaults and bureaucratic language to ridiculously try and blame the IEC majority for the lack of a recent audit: “between February and early June we explored the possibility of finding a suitable date for an audit which both of the auditors and the CWI treasurer could manage”. This would be laughable if it wasn’t such a dramatically serious matter. Is the IS majority seriously arguing that the “exploration of possibilities” found no suitable date in four months’ time? It goes on: “So the NFF has been demanding an ‘audit’ while at the same time trying to undermine the financial health of the funds to be audited”. This literally does not make any sense. The request for an audit was obviously made long before any calls were made for sections to insist on the opening of the books before continuing to aliment unaudited accounts. But as the adage says, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
All at once, contradicting itself, the IS majority also tries to justify its months-long obstruction of the auditor’s job by inventing new ‘ad hoc’ rules that suits its line of arguments of the day. Thus we are being told that “The CWI’s financial records and reports were audited and approved before the last world congress and will be before the next one”. The idea that the audit should be timed at the sole discretion and convenience of the comrades controlling the treasury makes a joke of the very concept of an audit. And in the current context, automatically tying such an audit to the World Congress is really an insult to the members’ intelligence. The last World Congress took place before the current factional dispute, and the faction has made explicitly clear it is boycotting the next one – which will take place after the split the faction is currently orchestrating. The faction incredibly rejects the representativity of the international structures while using these very same structures as a shield to protect itself from any democratic scrutiny and accountability. The structures are only resorted to as an argument when it suits the faction’s line, but completely disregarded otherwise. Clinging to the congress of a national section where its minority faction holds control, the IS majority states that the “NFF” is heading for a “decisive political defeat” at the coming special Congress in England & Wales – while it has become transparently clear that the faction is running away from the international debate precisely because it would be “decisively defeated” in the democratically-elected structures of the International, the IEC and the World Congress. The same absurd and incoherent logic is used to justify the takeover of the Facebook group by the faction-part of the IS, portraying itself as the “elected leadership of the CWI” – despite having labelled the very body who elected them, the IEC, as “unrepresentative”, and having categorically refused to convene it or take any part in its future meetings.
All in all, this IS majority statement defends its financial malpractices and doubles down on its bureaucratic methods, which have absolutely no place in the workers’ movement. We call on the faction to reinstate DB and GG’s pay immediately. We demand the rights of all fulltimers to fair treatment and due process, redundancy notices and compensation to be respected. We demand that the books be opened for an international audit and made transparent to the CWI membership immediately. If this does not happen, we will not hesitate to raise these issues in the broader trade union movement, in Britain and internationally.
Cedric Gerome, IS alternate
Danny Byrne, IS alternate
Claire Laker-Mansfield, England & Wales NC, ex-EC Paul Callanan, England & Wales NC.

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The ghost of Tom Joad - July 15, 2019

“these indefensible methods represent a decisive break with the democratic culture which had so far prevailed in the CWI,” – well, I’ve got news for you comrades, these methods are exactly the same that were used in the dispute against Ted Grant and Alan Woods in 1991-92, and plenty of other times since, including by supporters of the comrades now complaining…

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4. Joe - July 15, 2019

“the IDWCTCWI faction”. Give us a TLA why don’tcha?

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Peter Taaffe is someone I disagree with - July 15, 2019

Please keep it civil! WBS is trying to enjoy a well deserved holiday on the continent. He was doesn’t need folks acting like children or turning this site into P.ie yourcousin

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EWI - July 15, 2019

“the IDWCTCWI faction”. Give us a TLA why don’tcha?

You actually read through all that? I prefer my own acronym:

STAITS (Shoot Them All Into The Sun).

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5. roddy - July 15, 2019

I haven’t heard of part cheque,part cash since a short spell on Belfast building sites in the 80s!

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6. Alibaba - July 16, 2019

For obvious reasons, we differ on some things and we all come here with our own ideological baggage. I suggest we approach the CWI controversy by viewing any evidence or opinions supplied with critical reasoning and not with withering remarks.

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WorldbyStorm - July 16, 2019

+1

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Joe - July 16, 2019

Ah yeah. You’re right Ali.
It seems pretty clear that there’s a split or splits in train in the CWI. The politics of it all though…so buried in internal factionalism and internal power dynamics and so on … very hard to apply critical reasoning to it. I’m afraid I’ll be leaving the ‘critical reasoning’ to those within the CWI (God help them) and those outside who could be bothered.

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7. Pangurbán - July 16, 2019

I agree , the silence of Jolly Red Giant is deafening

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8. Jim Monaghan - July 17, 2019

A conclusion “Sadly, a reckoning between the SP’s antiquated politics and the realities of 21st century class politics are overdue, the result, as with all splits, will see dozens of socialists give up on politics altogether, their fingers burned by the hothouse pressures of sectarian struggle. I sincerely hope that is not the case. Plenty of former SP members made the leap into Corbynism while their former organisation pratted about on the fringes of the labour movement and, in some instances, tried sabotaging it. If you happen to be in this position, don’t give up and retire into private life punctuated by occasional Twitter ranting. Corbynism is an expression of the new class politics, warts and all. Its importance cannot be overstated, which is why we need your experience and your commitment.” from https://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com/2019/06/obsolete-politics-and-socialist-party.html

I agree that the biggest result of unseemly stuff like this is the departure of many from active politics.

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WorldbyStorm - July 17, 2019

Great point from AVPS – agree entirely Jim

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9. Alibaba - July 18, 2019

I’m remembering a previous post on this site by a SP comrade who objected to those members who left the organisation and put out a statement anonymously condemning it. The accusation was for ‘cowardice’ as best as I can remember.

I would steer clear of that. People are patently hiding from one another. There could be legitimate reasons for them not being identified. But I neither know nor care for their reasons. It’s not the main issue.

There has long since been complaints about the deficit of internal democracy in SP by people who left and suggestions it will not entertain criticism or self-reflection. Nobody who says so verbally has given me any details: discussions are shut down. Meanwhile it should go with saying there are serious concerns politically and organisationally about its International and the forthcoming split(s).

I dislike the fact that CLR was damned in another post for having the nerve to permit CWI controversy observations here. As correctly noted by WBS the genie is out of the bottle given that so many online developments happened. In these particular circumstances I believe that any party needs to make its position clear. There is no easy way of doing this, especially if the organisation is being torn apart. Understandably it is protective of internal matters. Yet in the interests of fairness and credibility SP should clarify its response. It’s the principled and pragmatic thing to do.

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