Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Scottish Socialist Party: majority statement

Tommy Sheridan and his supporters have this to say on developments in the Scottish Socialist Party in the wake of his dramatic libel trial victory.

For the record, the developments of the past few weeks have caused me to revise my earlier assessment. As far as I can judge thinks from London, I now tend to agree with his critique of the SSP leadership majority.

For the democratic renewal of the Scottish Socialist Party.

Dear Comrade and Friend,

The SSP has reached a crossroads.The issues raised by Comrade Tommy Sheridan's titanic victory over the gutter rag News of the World have underscored a number of political differences, outlook and methodologies within the SSP that have been increasingly apparent over the lastfew years.

The collaboration with the scabs of News International during the trial by leading 'comrades' of the now declared 'United Left' faction, and their camp followers, saw a new and saddening low reached in Scottish socialist politics.

These actions were a shameful and colossal misjudgement from any point of viewof socialist solidarity. Let us never forget that the party NC voted overwhelmingly in 2004 to respect Tommy's right to take his action, to keep his confidentiality and to keep the party out of the trial.

It was the actions of the cabal, in first of all taking and keeping a dodgy minute of the 9th November 2004, and then advertising its existence to the media that saw the party dragged into what shouldhave been, in essence, a private action.

The Executive of the SSP is now a redundant body until we can elect a newleadership in October. The EC ignored both the spirit and the letterof the decision by the Emergency National Council of the party to give Tommy "100 % political support" in his fight against the News of the World.

We understand the ULN faction have distributed the illegitimate 'minute' of 9th November to party members,together with a sectarian anti-Sheridan rant disguised as official party documentation. We call on genuine socialists to treat this documentwith the contempt it deserves.

Despite their inevitable protestations to the contrary, the ULN has been a centralising and bureaucratising tendency. It became clear in the course ofTommy's defamation trial that these individuals met and caucused outwith the party structures prior to Executive Committee [meetings] of the party -including preparing the stage managing of the meeting which saw Tommy Sheridan resign as Convenor of our party.

The time has come to take our party back! SSPMajority arose from hundreds of rank and file activists pledging their fullsupport to Tommy Sheridan in his battle with News International. It is not aplatform, a faction, or a network, but exactly what it says on the tin- the majority ofSSP members who are heartily sick of the antics of this minority grouping and who now want to see the democratic renewal of the Scottish Socialist Party in time to fight as an effective political force for working people and theirfamilies at next year's Scottish Parliamentary and council elections.

The signatories to this Open Letter propose to harness that democratic, renewing spirit and to utilise the SSP Majority blog and e-mail network to build for National Council in August and Party Conference in October. We call on all members and branches to:

• Take our People not Profits campaign, with its ten key demands outinto the streets, workplaces and communities over the next period, campaigning proudly in the best traditions of the SSP

• Demand the immediate resignation from their positions of all partyworkers who co-operated and collaborated with the NOTW and their lawyers, thereby ignoring the clear will of the party as expressed at our EmergencyNational Council of 28th May

• Ensure all other decisions of that Council are upheld

• Defend the right of all party members to a private life, without prurient party judgement or interference

• Offer the hand of friendship and reconciliation to those party members whohave been genuinely politically mislead or misinformed by theposturings of the ULN faction (declared and undeclared) and who now want to work withthe majority to reunify and build a broad, open party. It is not tolate forthose who made mistakes for reasons they believed to be genuine to return to the fold

• Organise Majority supporting delegations both to the National Council on the 27th August, and for Conference in October

• Campaign for the de-selection from the Executive, and all key partypositions, of ULN members and co-travellers, and for the election of SSP Majority signatories and supporters at the first available opportunity. Only by taking vigorous and decisive action now can the SSP be putfirmly back ontrack, and once again become a potential mass pole of attraction forworkingpeople and socialist politics in Scotland and internationally.

Signed:
Tommy Sheridan MSP
Rosemary Byrne TvISP
Steve Arnott Highlands and Islands
Mike Gonzalez SW Platform, EC
Penny Howard SW Platform, EC
Sinead Daty CWI Platform, EC
Philip Stott CWI Platform
John Aberdein Author and activist
Anne Macleod Highlands and Islands
GUI Hubbard SW Platform, EC
Jim Walls TGWU Convener, Opencast Miners Scotland
Alan Brown NEC PCS, Vice-President DWP (personal capacity)
Janice Godrich CWI Platform

PLEASE NOTE THIS COMMUNICATION WAS PAID FOR BY INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS FROM SUPPORTERS OF THE SSP MAJORITY.

Meanwhile, you can read the observations fo erstwhile Communist David Aaronovitch - a man who admits he would consider voting for Cameron's Conservatives - here. Amazing how these former student politicians remain obsessed with the far left.

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