Marxist Bulletin joins witch hunt

An expelled member of Vauxhall CSLP and supporter of the Marxist Bulletin, Alan Gibson, tries to save himself by condemning his former comrades

To Vauxhall SLP

cc: NEC

Dear comrades

At the meeting on Tuesday May 27 I moved a motion aimed at disassociating the Vauxhall group of expelled members from the ‘Campaign for a Democratic Socialist Labour Party’ (copy of motion attached). This campaign is external to the SLP. It plans to produce a publicly available journal, which, while claiming to be aimed at the membership of the SLP, will argue for its own (and, I suspect, quite distinctive) version(s) of socialist politics in the wider labour movement. Whatever the intentions of those supporting this project, the political reality is that this represents a split from the SLP.

The Campaign for a Democratic Socialist Labour Party (CDSLP) also contains within it elements who are openly hostile to the very existence of the SLP. Kirstie Paton, the Vauxhall elected secretary, has declared herself to be a member of Socialist Labour Action. SLA is a group of SLP comrades who describe themselves as “open faction of the SLP in political sympathy with Workers Power”. Workers Power is an organisation which supports the Labour Party against the SLP. Workers Power called for a vote for Labour and apparently even went so far as to produce a leaflet supporting Howarth against Scargill! Workers Power also campaign for retaining the union link to the Labour Party and are opposed to unions affiliating to the SLP.

The CDSLP, which is by its very nature an external campaign open to all those who are critical of the SLP, is a rotten bloc providing cover for overt opponents of the SLP such as Workers Power. Comrades who believe that the SLP still retains the potential to help lay the foundation for the creation of a mass workers’ party which can lead the working class to socialism should not join or endorse in any way the CDSLP.

Following the defeat of my motion, and therefore the de facto endorsement of this external campaign, I felt unable to continue as part of the group and I left the meeting. I will no longer take part in the meetings of this group while it does not make a clear break with campaigns external to the SLP such as the CDSLP.

One criticism that was raised of my motion was that I was not offering a concrete alternative to the CDSLP and therefore we should give it a chance as the only grouping fighting for democracy in the SLP. This is no longer true. I enclose a statement [see Weekly Worker June 12] being circulated within the SLP by a diverse grouping of comrades who are building an internal campaign to democratise the SLP. I encourage all Vauxhall comrades to support this initiative by endorsing the statement (please contact me if you wish to do so) and I ask you to reject the CDSLP and any other external campaigns which can only harm our party.

I intend to continue to build the SLP by supporting local branches in their activities and being part of any wider campaigns that the SLP is involved in. I will also be continuing to press the NEC for our right to an appeals procedure (as promised by NEC member Terry Dunn at the farcical ‘Vauxhall re-constitution’ meeting) and the reinstatement, pending appeals, of all comrades, including those ‘voided’ like Barry Biddulph, who have been undemocratically excluded from the party. I would encourage any comrades who share this approach to contact me and we can talk about working together in some kind of SLP supporters’ group while we wait for our appeals to take place.

Comradely regards,

Alan Gibson
former president of Vauxhall CSLP