The SWP and the disturbing “Disputes Committee”.
January 11, 2013 3 Comments
So, it seems the Socialist Workers Party doesn’t believe in the bourgeois British justice system, and has decided to take matters into its own hands.
Just a few days ago, transcripts of an SWP conference were leaked on the internet. They reveal that a certain leading member of the party, known as ‘Comrade Delta’, was accused of rape by a female colleague. Rather than call the police, the SWP referred the matter to a ‘dispute committee’, and freely admitted that several of Comrade Delta’s friends would be on the panel.
You may be surprised to hear that Comrade Delta was found innocent.
Now, this raises some interesting questions from the libertarian standpoint. I do believe there is room for competing systems of arbitration and justice, but I can’t help getting a feeling of revulsion in this case. Don’t think that’s just me out to get the socialists. The Conservative Party or some other group secretly handling criminal matters internally, for the good of the organisation or ideological movement, would be equally off-putting. It becomes truly disgusting when a movement sees it as alright for the accused to be judged by a group of his own friends.
Besides, how would they have punished Comrade Delta if he had been found guilty? Does anybody believe mere expulsion from his party amounts to justice?
The SWP should be subject to a police investigation, though I’m still inclined to believe that consenting adults are entitled to resolve their problems this way. What bothers me is the SWP’s secrecy. It all leaves too much room for abuse. Even in an institution composed of many good and decent people, there is a tendency to suppress potentially damning facts. I”ve written about this before.
I’d be genuinely be interested in the SWP’s ideological reasoning here. Why keep such an important aspect of the SWP a secret? If the SWP were more transparent about this and stressed that everybody went through the system voluntarily, I might have some respect for their position. Why can’t they just say that this is what the SWP offers, and invite people to come on board if they wish? Maybe many more would be attracted to their unique courts system.
Now, there are ominous parallels with cults that have secret teachings, such as Scientology.
And any attacks the atheistic SWP have made against the Catholic Church’s internal investigations procedures when it comes to abuse look very, very hollow indeed.