Nats go nuts

Exposure of the sectarian plotting by Cymru Goch members in Wales has sent their nationalist co-thinkers in Scotland into apoplexy, reports Mark Fischer

Last week’s paper carried extracts from exchanges on the closed Socialist Republican Forum e-list. A small-minded and sordid plot was thoroughly exposed.

Members of the nationalist grouplet, Cymru Goch (Red Wales), were planning to ban the ‘Brit left’ from the August 9 ‘summer gathering’ hosted by John Marek, the independent assembly member.

We put a stop to that little game. Nevertheless, as the extracts conclusively proved, CG intends to press ahead with excluding the ‘Brit left’ from the Welsh Socialist Party’s founding conference in October. Applicants will be vetted by a steering committee, “with four CG out of nine”, Marc Davies, their leader, ominously declared; the new party will have “no platforms and no right to sell unapproved publications”; individual members of other organisations who want to join the established party will then have to “[renounce] membership of their particular party”.

Our report also revealed that Davies is effectively engaging in a conspiracy against John Marek himself. Comrade Marek does not seem to be a Welsh nationalist - although he tends to sidestep the issue rather than make his view clear (the fact that the comrade endorsed a Welsh Socialist Alliance candidate in a recent council by-election in Cardiff’s Pentwyn ward is encouraging). As a result the avowed Welsh nationalist Davies - who has attached himself to the Marek “bandwagon” - seems to view his host with some contempt. He is “a left Labourite and will remain one”. Davies intends to “take him as far as we can” with the CG project, then dump him. “He retires in less than four years - I’m a patient person” (Weekly Worker September 11).

Predictably this journalistic exposure has sparked off a series of hysterical attacks on our members and organisation. Davies and CG have been vigorously supported by prominent members of the Scottish Socialist Party. Their arguments - deeply nationalist and often incoherent - reveal something very disturbing about the political health of the SSP.

Take Kevin Williamson - a regular columnist in the SSP’s Scottish Socialist Voice and a promoter of wacky evolutionary psychology (see Weekly Worker February 28 2002). According to comrade Williamson, the information outing CG could only have come into the hands of the CPGB in one of two ways.

Option one: they “sent a spy” onto the Socialist Republican Forum e-list to “listen in on private conversations”. Option two: they “got the information through collaboration with agents of the British state who were monitoring the list discussion group” (UK Left Network posting, September 16). Either way, it seems that, even if we had burrowed a “CPGB mole” into the SFF e-list, the only purpose would be to “facilitate the work of the British state”.

Developing his theme on the SSP e-list, Williamson warns that unless the CPGB “come clean” on these supposed links with the state, it should be “assumed (and publicised as widely as possible) that the CPGB and its newspaper … work hand in hand with the British state to discredit socialists and activists for Welsh and Scottish independence”. In which case, “the entire movement should boycott their paper … and treat them as collaborators with the British state”.

As for Marc Davies and the Socialist Republican Forum e-list plotters, in a rather zany defence of them Williamson claims that they were “just being forthright and honest in their opinions (unlike the CPGB/Brit spies)”.

Jim Carroll goes further. In an email titled ‘CPGB: state agents?’, he despicably names a member of our organisation, strongly implying this comrade is a serving state asset. The most likely explanation he has of the material finding its way to the Weekly Worker is “contact with a state agency such as GCHC”. Calls to stop the distribution of the Weekly Worker are also made by others.

For the most part, Cymru Goch and its co-thinkers have found very little wider sympathy when they have cried foul and - on one level - it is quite hard to take such clowning seriously. There are some important points to make, however.

First, assuming that the organisational morality of a given trend in the movement flows from its programme, then the political project defended by these elements is clearly rotten to the core. They plot behind the backs of the movement - including the host organism (the John Marek Independent Party) they are attempting to parasitically use. When their grubby bureaucratic conspiracy is exposed, they cry out that they have been wronged!

Second, the dire poverty. Unable to honestly defend their political project which is aimed at the break-up of the working class of Britain, they have to turn to fabrication, inventing agents and demanding bans and exclusions. The CPGB defends the unity of the working class. Therefore, according to these liars, we defend the existing British state. Thus we are unwitting or (more likely) conscious agents of that state.

Jim Carroll warns other SSPers that, as their party becomes a “threat to the state, … that means in practical terms the introduction of the spies and touts”. “Given the history of the CPGB,” he observes cryptically, “it is probably not surprising that it should be in the forefront of any such attempt”.

Comrade Phil Pope - a Socialist Alliance independent - effectively answered this nonsense in a UK Left Network e-list posting on September 16. He starts by suggesting a simple explanation of how such damning material came into our possession:

 “One of the participants on the [SRF] list was probably appalled at the ‘anti-sectarian’ sectarianism of some of the other participants and forwarded the whole unsavoury exchange to the Weekly Worker. There seems to have been a public interest in publishing, so the WW has done nothing wrong. In contrast, those seeking to exclude sections of the left from any future Welsh Socialist Party have got many questions to answer. If you want to keep what you are saying secret then you probably shouldn’t be saying it - especially not in an email. I’m not sure which is more depressing: the sectarianism, the conspiratorial delusions, the idiocy of getting caught out or the shrill protests.”

Exactly. If, as Kevin Williamson claims, those exposed were “just being forthright and honest in their opinions”, then what is their objection to now defending these opinions - and the actions that have flowed from them - openly and honestly in front of the movement? How does publicity for their views and actions “discredit socialists and activists for Welsh and Scottish independence” (Williamson) - unless those actions were disreputable in the first place.

A certain juicy irony escapes these people who are so quick to throw accusations of state collusion at other trends in the movement. Serious socialists in the UK today should expect that our activities - on e-lists and elsewhere - are monitored (that, as they say, is what we pay our taxes for).

So, ‘comrades’ Davies and CG were, in effect, quite happy to conspire in front of the British state. It was only when their plotting was exposed before the workers’ movement that they squealed. What sort of “forthright” and “honest” morality is that?