(en) Freedom Extract

esperanto (lingvoj@lds.co.uk)
Fri, 11 Apr 1997 23:50:54 +0100


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WITCH-HUNTING IN SCARGILL'S SLP

A recent casualty of the ongoing purge against dissident left-wingers within Arthur Scargill' s Socialist Labour Party (SLP) is the well-known North West political activist John Pearson. A member of the SLP since January 1996, Mr Pearson has been told by the General Secretary of the SLP, Arthur Scargill, that his activities are "not compatible with the constitution of the party" and therefore his application for membership of the SLP is ineligible.

Mr Pearson joins the growing list of SLP members who have been expelled from the party since its official launch in May 1996. Expulsion from the SLP, as with the case of Mr Pearson, often begins when a party member is denounced for being a member or supporter of another political organisation which is specifically banned by the SLP's draft constitution. Indeed, a climate of fear appears to reign within the SLP as members denounce other members for being 'entryists' from other political sects and are then ignominiously expelled from the party.

In June 1996 a Manchester SLP member, Steve Smethurst, was expelled from the party after he was denounced by another SLP member, Phil Griffin, for producing an inappropriate leaflet which was condemned as ultra-leftist. He was subsequently told at a Manchester branch AGM by the chairman, Phil Griffin, that he had never been a member of the SLP. Mr Griffin is currently the North West representative on the SLP's National Executive Committee (NEC).

A member of the East London branch of the SLP, Bob Davis, was also expelled from the party during the summer of 1996. He was told by the then general secretary, Pat Sikorski, that his membership of the SLP was invalid because he refused to accept or abide by the constitution of the SLP. Other East London branch members include Carolyn Sikorski and Bob Crow, who at the time of Mr Davis's expulsion were members of the general purposes committee of the NEC.

One SLP member, Stan Keable, who was chosen by the Brent East CSLP to fight against Ken Livingstone in the constituency of Brent East, found himself rubbed out of the SLP when Arthur Scargill issued a press release in February stating that Mr Keable was not a member of the SLP and that the party would not be challenging Ken Livingstone at the next general election.

Amidst allegations of witch-hunts, where SLP members denounce other party members for heresy against a background of collective hysteria, membership of Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party is beginning to resemble something out of Arthur Miller' s The Crucible. In Mr Pearson' s case, where he was denounced by the chairman of the Stockport branch of the SLP Royston Bull, the similarities with witch-hunts in seventeenth century Salem, Massachusetts, are deeply worrying.

Like many people who have been expelled from the SLP, Mr Pearson was denounced as an active member and supporter of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), which he emphatically denies. Curiously, although the SLP's draft constitution bans SLP members from belonging to or supporting another political organisation, a number of factions do appear to operate openly within the SLP. Two of these factions are the Stalinist Society and the Fourth International Supporters Caucus (FISC). Many SLP members allege that these groups effectively police the SLP and are responsible for the witch-hunts in the party.

Mr Bull and his cronies within the Stockport branch of the SLP are former members of the International Leninist Workers Party, which split from the Workers Revolutionary Party in the early 1980s. They now organise around a weekly publication entitled the Economic and Philosophical Science Review, which is edited by Royston Bull from his Stockport home. Despite its pretentious title, this rag is little more than a rant on paper. For instance, in issue no. 881 three political opponents in Manchester are denounced as "CPGB stooges and fucking jerks", with a threat that they will be named if they cause trouble. In issue no. 880 the MEP Michael Hindley is called a "pompous twat" and in issue no. 854 an article which was written by Eammon McAnn, the chairman of Derry Trades Council in the publication the Weekly Worker, is described as a "giant subjective wank by a posturing left nincompoop". Like the Stalinist Society and the FISC group, Mr Bull's group also appear to have been given 'approved status' by the SLP leadership and are now effectively running the Stockport SLP branch.

Since the SLP's official inception in March 1996, a number of members have had their membership 'voided' on the pretext of belonging to or being supporters of another political organisation. What many of these people have in common with Mr Pearson from Stockport is that they have been denied natural justice such as the right of appeal, the right to a defence and the right to know what they have been charged with.

This basic denial of natural justice within the SLP's draft constitution seems all the more strange when one considers that it was drafted with the help of John Hendy QC and Michael Mansfield QC. Similarly, it is also strange how a man like Arthur Scargill, who not so long ago denounced witch- hunts in the Labour Party, now leads a party which also stands accused of the same thing. As Lord Acton observed many years ago: "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Joe McCarthy

FREEDOM PRESS INTERNATIONAL http://www.tao.ca/~freedom

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