Skip to content or view mobile version

Home | Mobile | Editorial | Mission | Privacy | About | Contact | Help | Security | Support

A network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues.

Lindsey German Resigns from the SWP

not a swper | 10.02.2010 22:27

Another one bites the dust...

Dear Lindsey,

On behalf of the CC, we are repeating our request that you don't speak at the disputed StW meeting in Newcastle tonight [Wednesday 10th February]. We expect you, like all SWP members, to respect our decisions.

We also think that it is imperative that you meet with members of the CC at the earliest possible opportunity. Could you please give us some dates when you are free.

Martin Smith (SWP National Secretary)


Dear Martin,

I asked Judith whether I would be subject to disciplinary action if I went to Newcastle. Your reply is ambiguous on this question. Could you please clarify. The STW meeting is not disputed, as you put it. It was agreed at two Tyneside STW steering committees, despite our comrades raising why I was going to the meeting. I therefore think your request is misplaced.



Dear Lindsey,

We have already made our decision very clear to you. If you ignore our request we reserve the right to respond as we see fit.



Dear Martin,

It is clear from your reply that your request is in fact an instruction not to speak in Newcastle tonight at the Stop the War meeting.

I regard such a course of action as damaging both to the party and STW. The meeting is properly constituted as evidenced by two sets of minutes of steering committee. There is no good reason for me to withdraw and none that I could possibly justify to STW members locally or nationally.

I have always tried to prevent internal disputes from damaging the movement. I feel that you have brought these disputes into STW and that is unacceptable.

It is therefore with the greatest regret that I am resigning from the SWP. This is a very hard decision for me. I joined more than 37 years ago and have always been committed to building it, which in my view meant relating to the wider movement.

I was on the CC for 30 years, edited the Review for 20 and played a major role in the movement and party building. My respect and affection for many party members remains, and my commitment to socialism as ever. I hope to continue working with them in the wider movement.

Lindsey German



I acknowledge receipt of your resignation and have amended our records accordingly.

Please note it is your responsibility to inform your bank to close your Direct Debit/Standing Order.

Martin Smith (SWP National Secretary)

not a swper


Hide the following 9 comments

No Learning

11.02.2010 00:56

The real tragedy here is that there is absolutely nothing to learn from this factional dispute.

A well conducted split can be immensely educational, The political differences in this dispute are so nuanced however, that one can only conclude it's more about power than politics.

You'd imagine there would be a point where even the biggest headbangers in the SWP woke up to the political bankruptcy of their organisation.

Sadly, just like the Labour Party, most people have such lazy thinking, and such an incapacity to learn, that they sit like frogs in the pan, until the water boils them alive.


Oh dear

11.02.2010 01:13

What every shall we do?!

Fucking middle class swappies

Oh dear

reactionary SWP call for vote for racist Labour Party

11.02.2010 01:26

in the latest online version of Socialist Worker, in a piece called 'Who do you vote for?', the social democratic SWP has called for a vote at the 2010 general election, yet again, for the racist warmongering Labour party.

Don't vote for racists! Beware false friends!
All imperialist troops out of Afghanistan!!!
No deportations!

James taylor

It is shite, I would vote tactically as a anarchist for campaign group labour MP

11.02.2010 05:48

s only if there were no red,green or black candidates or a direct democracy candidate, I would always go for a real DD candidate first,unless they were a right wing,then green. Campaign group of real labour have been one of the most effective opposition groups to attacks on democracy,nhs etc.

Brown might not have taken us into Iraq, but the labour party generally still stood behind Blair in the election after against micheal Howards conservatives with usual excuses.
Photoshop Cameroon will likely win 5th may election, conservative councils are already pushing through vicious cuts worse than labour would do. Many people with families are facing job loses from vital jobs, not end of the world but not nice, not much choice in a 2party system.

Direct democracy with a universal rights framework& no corruption, direct or pure democracy works, Swiss have most immigration,good living & best at dealing with climate change despite their mostly corrupted banks.

Red,green & Black

A toast!

11.02.2010 10:40

Good news- the quicker the SWP dissolves into infighting the better. The SWP is a vampire on creative radical thinking in this country. Too many campaigns are dragged into their rigid campaigning structures. Whilst they must be admired for their organisational skills and tenacity (something anarchists should learn from), they have become a lead weight that prevents the growth of any influential radical movement.

I'll drink a toast to this split tonight.


Swiss racists defenders behind the times

11.02.2010 23:20

As usual those who defend racism whether labour's racism or Swiss racism are behind the times.

the swiss have good living? yes because 25% of the Swiss workforce consists of immigrants on low pay working th elongest hours. Swiss 'good living' is based on exploitation of the poor countries and the pool fo cheap labour immigrants they produce. Just like Britain.

'Good living' also includes frequent racist attacks about which the police do nothing, just like in Britain; and according to Doudou Diene, the U.N. special rapporteur on racism, a "racist and xenophobic dynamic" has moved from extremist politics to the MAINSTREAM in Switzerland. Muslim Minarets are to be banned even though there are only four in Switzerland. Remember the Black sheep being kicked off the swiss flag by three white sheep?
See and

Don't defend racism!
Don't vote Labour!

James Taylor
- Homepage:

Why I resigned from the SWP

13.02.2010 11:18

I have been asked by many people why I decided to resign from the SWP
after a lifetime of commitment to it. I would like to explain the
immediate reasons and then to give some background to my decisions and my
increasing disenchantment with the direction in which the leadership is
taking the party. I hope I can do so in as non confrontational a manner as
possible. My resignation marks a turning point in my life and _ whatever
the agreement or disagreement with my political positions _ it should be
time to move on.

I resigned on Wednesday on my way to a Stop the War public meeting in
Newcastle which I had been asked not to attend by the Central Committee. I
was first phoned about this two days before by a CC member who told me
this wasn't a proper STW meeting, that it was organised by ex members
hostile to the party, and that most STW members in Newcastle knew nothing
about it. This turned out not to be true, as two sets of minutes of
meetings (in the public domain) make clear. Indeed, at the second meeting,
it is clear that the only objections to it came from SWP members, one of
whom appeared to object to me speaking at it.

A later conversation with the CC member made clear to me that the general
feeling of CC members was that I should be asked not to attend the
meeting. I found this unacceptable. For the convenor of Stop the War to be
stopped from speaking at a STW meeting by the party leadership would not
be understood or agreed in the wider movement and I thought it would
damage the SWP in the movement locally and nationally. I therefore asked
if I would be subject to discipline if I went and if I was being
instructed not to go. Although no firm answer was given, it was clear from
correspondence with the National Secretary that the CC 'reserved the
right' to take action against me. I have always been clear that if
political differences between myself and the leadership brought about a
conflict like this, I would resign rather than being expelled from an
organisation which I have helped to build for more than 37 years, for most
of which time I was part of the leadership. That is what I did, w ith
great regret.

I believe the CC was wrong in the particulars of this case, but that this
reflected a more general political error. The meeting itself was a
success, with 35 people including a number of Muslims attending. There
were unfortunately no SWP members (two paper sellers didn't come into the
meeting) and only a handful of ex members. Most people represented the
breadth of STW and saw themselves, rightly, as at a STW meeting, not some
factional gathering.

The leadership's error was compounded by its reply to my resignation, when
it glossed over these issues to assert that I resigned because I disagreed
with the leadership and because of my membership of the Left Platform.
That is simply untrue, and there is no logic in their statement that my
resignation invalidated what I said at conference. I resigned because of
their actions which I believe did a disservice to the movement. The
assertion that there was no question of discipline is not true: the
correspondence speaks for itself, as does the National Secretary's reply
to my resignation letter.

The wider issues

There are, of course, major political differences, as evidenced in the
debate before and during conference, where my position was clearly in a
minority. But denigration of the Left Platform doesn't mean those issues
and political debates go away, because they stem from real questions in
the movement. I believe the party leadership has systematically moved away
from the perspective applied in the past decade, which has been so
successful in building the anti capitalist and anti war movements. I also
believe that much of what we did with Respect was right and that to try to
build a left electoral alternative involving working class people,
including Muslims, was a courageous thing to do. Its failure meant that
honest accounting on this question was impossible, drowned in a frenzy of
personal abuse against John Rees for decisions which had been taken

Instead, the party has moved to a more inward looking and sectarian
approach, expressed in the repeated views that 'we got nothing out of '
the united fronts and that the party must come first. Branch meetings and
sales are prioritised above all else, and there is a growing tendency to
rely on internal meetings rather than to confidently engage with the wider
left. Most branch meetings remain small, however, and the majority of
members passive.

My perspective has been characterised as nostalgic and my motivation as
personal bitterness. Neither is true. Of course the situation with the
movements has changed over the past decade. I have always argued that we
should build a united front around the recession, which was rejected then
adopted in part through the Right to Work conference (although this was
effectively a 'united front from below', something we have always
criticised in our tradition, and consequently was majority SWP).
This is not the time or place to rehearse these arguments at length. Some
people have said to me that such political differences should not need to
result in resignation. However there are two other issues here. One is the
abandonment of the methods of building pioneered by Tony Cliff, following
Lenin and expressed most clearly in his 'Lenin: building the party'. Talk
of bending the stick, seizing the key link in the chain or indeed
polemical debate is frowned on in the present climate, and is definitely
not practiced by the leadership. That it strikes me is a serious retreat
from how we have built for all my political lifetime.

The second issue is the internal regime, which has deteriorated. There
have been more expulsions and 'offers you can't refuse' in the past year
than at any time since the 1970s. Any national meeting now seems to be
open season for personal attacks on Left Platform members. The disputes
committee session at conference was effectively an attack on me by leading
members, even though I had been accused of no offence. The only LP member
on the disputes committee was not allowed to attend the session, despite
the fact that she had written a minority report.

A leadership often not confident of its political arguments has resorted
to gossip, innuendo and moralism. One of the claims about me was that I
was 'standing by my man' because I agreed with John Rees politically. I
wouldn't insult even a bourgeois politician with that. Again, my record
should speak for itself. However, I have felt politically curtailed in
recent months: all LP members who submitted journal articles had them
rejected; none of us are ever commissioned to write reviews or articles in
publications; I was not asked to speak at the women's school, despite
having written and spoken more on theoretical questions on women than
anyone else in the party. STW was not asked to speak at the RTW
conference, despite backing it. Now the leadership attempting to curtail
my STW work is a demand too far.

The future

Those are my reasons for resignation. What next? I intend to remain
politically active in the movement and as a socialist. It is a critical
time for the left, which in my view (and in the view of many other people
across the left spectrum) has failed to rise to the challenges posed by
the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. The left enters this election
weak and divided. The lengthy downturn in class struggle and 13 years of
new Labour has taken its toll. The danger for the left is that it becomes
a reenactment society. Too much time is spent in nostalgia for the 70s
rather than relating to the working class as it actually is, and the
concerns that people have.

There are real questions about why the left has been unable to relate to
mass movements like the anti war movement without it causing a crisis.
There are also questions why at the first setback it retreats to a comfort
zone which often cuts it off from the wider movement.

I am very proud of what socialists have achieved in the movements, and
especially in STW which is still centrally important politically. I am
also proud to be a socialist and have always thought that socialists have
to organise and be part of a wider movement. How we do that in the 21st
century is an urgent question for us all, if we are not to face the threat
of barbarism.

I hope to be part of contributing to some answers on that question. I am
sorry that this will no longer be done as part of the SWP. I am still
committed to the ideas that I learnt from so many comrades, especially
Tony Cliff with whom I worked closely for many years. I hope that I will
continue to work with SWP comrades in the wider movements and that many of
our differences will be resolved in practice. I hope too that we can work
together in a comradely way in order to achieve the goals that we all

Lindsey German

those who live by ..

14.02.2010 13:02

.. the sword die by it .. as Lindsey said, she helped build ( and was in the leadership of) this undemocratic party for '37 years'. the lack of democracy, the obscenely anti-socialist practices are all of her own making and it is irony indeed she complains about them now the come down on her.



16.02.2010 10:47

Well this is an interesting development. So the split has finally emerged.

Having been at the Iraq enquiry and listened to Lindsey give a passionate speech outside which lumped the Labour Party in all the right places, it isn't difficult to see the politics behind her being pushed out. There has been a long emerging thread of conflict within the SWP over the STW and the tactics used to fell the Government over its war policy. The STW have always had a vein running through it which has acted to quiten criticism of the Government and that vein now looks sensitive and exposed.

In late 2005 through 2006/7 and up unitil January 2008, the STW had a clear line of sight on the Government over SOCPA but when activists challenged the STW leadership about this breach of civil liberties they went along with the Government line that it was neccessary to fight terrorism. They did nothing on the subject but support the Labour Government forcing activists to take matters into their own hands. Soon enough the STW were forced to climb-down but only through the rigid activism by those who saw the liberty breach and acted on it. From that moment on hard at-it activists became suspicious of the STW and its motives. Lindsey took the brunt of it as she was the public face of the STW.

From then on the STW began experiencing problems with core activists who were puzzled that the STW seemed progressively unable to act on its anti-war instincts. There were a number of occasions when the opportunity to strike at the Government appeared and were missed. On too many occasions the STW seemed to be blind to what was going on and this appeared as inaction and procrastination.

The core activists became more and more disenchanted and fatal faultlines emerged as deeply held suspicion about what was going on inside STW became entrenched. These were the most competent activists that were available to the STW and their loss was fatal.

Ever since, the numbers the STW were able to move onto the streets diminished and have all but dissapeared.

Throughout, many have identified and cited the SWP as the cause of this policy of organised inaction at sensitive times for the Labour Party. The charge has been that the SWP have acted within the STW to render it inactive on the streets and that this policy has come indirectly from Downing Street. There have been a number of occasions when the Government could have been firmly held to account over the things it has done and at these times the STW have failed to act.

As the financial crisis took hold of Government war policy and shook it violently, small groups of activists appeared in the City of London to hold protests over the bailing out of British banks. The banner slogans were 'no bail out'. There were just a few of them and as the Government moved to announce its bail-out plan would result with a policy of nationalisation the protests stopped abruptly. They were not repeated. Many in the media couldn't understand why people were not out on the streets regularly. The SWP organised and staffed these protests.

Now Lindsey German appears to have been pushed out not because she she is inneffective, but because she is too effective. She continues to choose a sharp blade to use for her criticism of Brown and the Government and this is unnacceptable to Downing Street. The SWP have stepped in and played roll-over right on cue.

As the last and final assault in Afghanistan gets underway and the US and UK Governments make a last-ditch effort to 'stage' a win for socially idle domestic populations in the UK and US, the SWP are acting to rid its ranks of its most effective members. The leadership of the SWP is not concerned with its effectiveness on the streets at this point, more concerned with its relationship with the Labour Party as it prepares to go into opposition. Lindsey is no longer useful to it and that 'wisdom' emanates directly from Downing Street.

I name the SWP as war collaborators.

Let me clarify for you Lindsey!

Upcoming Coverage
View and post events
Upcoming Events UK
24th October, London: 2015 London Anarchist Bookfair
2nd - 8th November: Wrexham, Wales, UK & Everywhere: Week of Action Against the North Wales Prison & the Prison Industrial Complex. Cymraeg: Wythnos o Weithredu yn Erbyn Carchar Gogledd Cymru

Ongoing UK
Every Tuesday 6pm-8pm, Yorkshire: Demo/vigil at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill US Spy Base More info: CAAB.

Every Tuesday, UK & worldwide: Counter Terror Tuesdays. Call the US Embassy nearest to you to protest Obama's Terror Tuesdays. More info here

Every day, London: Vigil for Julian Assange outside Ecuadorian Embassy

Parliament Sq Protest: see topic page
Ongoing Global
Rossport, Ireland: see topic page
Israel-Palestine: Israel Indymedia | Palestine Indymedia
Oaxaca: Chiapas Indymedia
All Regions
South Coast
Other Local IMCs
Bristol/South West
Social Media
You can follow @ukindymedia on and Twitter. We are working on a Twitter policy. We do not use Facebook, and advise you not to either.
Support Us
We need help paying the bills for hosting this site, please consider supporting us financially.
Other Media Projects
Dissident Island Radio
Corporate Watch
Media Lens
Earth First! Action Update
Earth First! Action Reports
All Topics
Animal Liberation
Climate Chaos
Energy Crisis
Free Spaces
Ocean Defence
Other Press
Public sector cuts
Social Struggles
Terror War
Workers' Movements
Major Reports
NATO 2014
G8 2013
2011 Census Resistance
Occupy Everywhere
August Riots
Dale Farm
J30 Strike
Flotilla to Gaza
Mayday 2010
Tar Sands
G20 London Summit
University Occupations for Gaza
Indymedia Server Seizure
COP15 Climate Summit 2009
Carmel Agrexco
G8 Japan 2008
Stop Sequani
Stop RWB
Climate Camp 2008
Oaxaca Uprising
Rossport Solidarity
Smash EDO
Past Major Reports
Encrypted Page
You are viewing this page using an encrypted connection. If you bookmark this page or send its address in an email you might want to use the un-encrypted address of this page.
If you recieved a warning about an untrusted root certificate please install the CAcert root certificate, for more information see the security page.

Global IMC Network

satellite tv


estrecho / madiaq
la plana
northern england
nottingham imc
united kingdom

Latin America
chile sur
cmi brasil
cmi sucre
puerto rico


South Asia

United States
hudson mohawk
kansas city
minneapolis/st. paul
new hampshire
new jersey
new mexico
new orleans
north carolina
north texas
rogue valley
saint louis
san diego
san francisco
san francisco bay area
santa barbara
santa cruz, ca
tampa bay
united states
western mass

West Asia


fbi/legal updates
mailing lists
process & imc docs