Letter from the ‘Facebook Four’ to the leadership of the SWP

Dear Charlie Kimber -

We are writing to you in light of Martin Smith’s resignation from the Socialist Workers Party, news of which reached us yesterday afternoon.

Whilst we are not in the business of simply repeating ‘We told you so” over and over again, tempting though that is, we do feel it is worth noting that house of cards you constructed in order to expel us have now crumbled.

We maintain now, as we did in November 2012 and throughout our vilification by Martin’s supporters both on and off the Central Committee, that we were in fact not guilty of the factionalism you accused us of. We maintain now, as we have done since our email expulsion, that the real reason we were expelled is because we were critical of a flawed disputes process that ‘exonerated’ the accused and did not give fair hearing to Comrade W- or to Comrade X, who we are pleased to learn will finally have her own hearing in the coming weeks. Our support for these women has not faltered, and our determination to see real justice for them remains unchanged. We feel that Martin’s resignation is an important part of their fight within the revolutionary party, which, whilst far from over, can be seen to have progressed somewhat this weekend.

You are hopefully well aware that the current battles you face within the party will not now simply disappear. Martin’s resignation cannot be seen as a panacea for peace in the SWP, and neither should it. The wider issues of democratic failure in the SWP will continue to be fought, and should now be seriously addressed by the leadership if you truly want to save the organisation that the vast majority of us have given so many years to. We sincerely hope you rise to the challenge that comrades in opposition have presented you with, and conduct a serious and thoroughgoing review into democracy in the party, making the changes to the organisation that must be made in order to prevent the total collapse of what was once, and could be again, the biggest and best revolutionary party on the British left.

Step one of this process needs to full and public apology to the Facebook Four with the option for all four of us to re-join the Socialist Workers Party should we wish to do so. You know, as we do, that our expulsion was a smokescreen to divert attention from the real issues of the party’s failure to take Women’s Liberation seriously. Martin’s resignation presents you with a unique opportunity to remove that smokescreen, by issuing us with an apology for the appalling handling, and outcome, of our case.

United, we can all begin to rebuild the organisation in the spirit of inclusivity, cooperation and democracy.

We await your response.

In comradeship,

Charlotte Bence, Adam Marks, Tim Nelson and Paris Thompson

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Letter from the ‘Facebook Four’ to the leadership of the SWP

  1. Justin T

    `We maintain now, as we have done since our email expulsion, that the real reason we were expelled is because we were critical of a flawed disputes process that ‘exonerated’ the accused and did not give fair hearing to Comrade W- or to Comrade X, who we are pleased to learn will finally have her own hearing in the coming weeks.’

    Not sure why you’d be pleased by this. Surely wider society should be protected from a potential rapist. Shouldn’t the CC advise Comrade X to take her complaint to the police (something they should have done with Comrade W in the first place) without fear of criticism so that either the allegation can be proved or the accused cleared. Or are you simply saying that an opposite verdict to the last one would be acceptable however flawed the process.

    What the SWP needs is a code of conduct in regard of sexual matters and bullying that can highlight arbitrary and inappropriate behaviour from the CC.

    • Ally across the pond

      I doubt the women involved need, or want, the CC to advise them on what to do. It’s up to them and no one else whether they want to engage a police process or not.

  2. Peter Emms

    Why would you make such a stupid statement. Clearly they do need and want the CC to advise them or they would have gone to the police in the first place. Believe it or not there is not a lot of trust in the police to investigate rape properly (in fact it is not unknown for the police to use rape as a weapon against the opponents of capitalism) and a lot of comrades are worried about inviting them into sniff around our organisations and people are intensly loyal to their organisations. You clearly have no understanding of the class nature of the state. Unfortunately the advice they received from the CC was utterly bogus and self-serving. Surely the correct advice from the CC to W and X would have been that they take their allegations to the police with the blessing of the CC so that either a rapist could be charged or Smith could clear his name. We are not yet in a police state and a lot of public pressure has forced the police to take rape a lot more seriously than they used to. As it is neither party has been best served by this silly and skewed internal process least of all the party itself.

  3. Len

    The three responses above clearly read a different post from me. The one I read was concerned with a smokescreen, party democracy and an apology. It has nothing to do with advice to W or X.