Skip to content or view screen version

SWP condemn direct action in run up to G8 visit

sleepy | 04.11.2004 19:11 | G8 2005 | European Social Forum

The Socialist Workers Party's (SWP) condemnation of a popular action against Labour politician Ken Livingstone at the recent European Social Forum (ESF) in London marks a significiant move to the right for the SWP. It is a deliberate attempt to help the state demonise and criminalise direct action in the run up to the G8's visit to Scotland next year.

The SWP have sought to portray the action at Alexander Palace as 'violent' and 'racist'. In fact, the action took place in response to the anti-democratic, exclusive and right wing methods Livingstone, the SWP and others used to organise this year's ESF.

The SWP brought the methods of British social democracy into the organising process for the ESF, condemning and sabotaging all attempts at consensus decision. Meetings were packed, speakers made endless choreographed interventions, votes were whipped, people were excluded from meetings and so on. The action at Alexander Palace was a response to this. The SWP’s attempt to convince the European left that it was a racist attack is a deliberate, divisive smear and an attempt to take attention away from the SWP’s anti-democratic practice within the ESF.

The SWP have always objected to direct action in almost all circumstances. For instance, during the invasion of Iraq they consistently condemned direct action as 'elitist' and sought to vilify or patronise anyone involved in such actions.

Now, thanks to their increased interest in electioneering, the SWP have taken a clear step to the right. Direct action is no longer wrong-headed - it is ‘violent’ and ‘has no place in our movement’. Echoing right wing pundits, the SWP now condemn those involved in direct action for not going through the right channels, not observing the (rigged) rules and so on.

This condemnation of ‘violent’, ‘racist’ anti-capitalists is an important signal to the state and the SWP’s own membership. It says that the SWP and their allies will cooperate with the police if, in the future, ‘violent’ anti-capitalists seek to disrupt ‘genuine’ protests.

The SWP's comments, of course, are closely related to build up to the G8’s visit to Scotland next year. Already, the SWP is seeking money from the G8 security budget to organise a concert miles from the G8 meeting to ‘oppose’ the visit. Such a concert would give the SWP an opportunity to recruit members (its main aim) while allowing them to join with the state and the capitalist media in portraying any direct action against the summit as ‘elitist’ or ‘violent’ or ‘racist’.

The SWP are now actively working with the state to undermine the building of an anti-capitalist movement. We should draw the conclusions we need to from this.

- Homepage: