So now it's official, John M is standing for Central Committee membership of the SWP. The fact that there hasn't been an independant candidate (i.e one not proposed by the existing CC) for years (decades?) in a party that's all about democracy and freedom of ideas, shows why it's high time someone did this.

John's been a loyal but critical member and activist since 1968, and has watched organisational structures become slowly ossified during the 80s and 90s, and a culture of willful overoptimism develop in parallel with shrinking membership.

He's extremely unlikely to get elected, but the idea is to promote some much needed facing of hard reality and reintroduce some genuine democracy by encouraging others to take similar stands.

The existing CC and their immidiate subordinates will, I suspect, initially respond by saying, "John has a few valid points, though he exagerates greatly, and we are taking care of the problems internally, so there's no cause for fuss."

This won't work, largely because a lot of the party old guard have the same concerns as John, and won't let the issue lie. Also, he's a highly respected theorist and commentator, so isn't that easy to dismiss.

Then the gloves come off, and we get insinuations and accusations that "Comrade M has gone strange in his dotage". "He's making a personal grab for power", and "He's causing trouble and splits just when we don't need it."

I doubt very much that's he'll be expelled, but he'll certainly be sidelined, ostracised, marginalised - if the CC behave as I expect.

All this is a footnote in the affairs of a party who are a footnote in British history. My small contribution is that I do the typing of his more important documents - including his CC membership submission - and OCR his 30 years worth of publishing history for an online audiance.

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