To SWP comrades: where’s the politics?

The Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) have decided to back Janice Godrich in the upcoming AGS (Assistant General Secretary) election within Left Unity. Of course this puts them in opposition to Chris Baugh and the Socialist Party (SP).

You can find the SWP’S reasoning for their decision here.

Once you get past what can only be described as political verbiage you get to the meat:

It is the SWP’s assessment that Mark Serwotka has been a driving force behind all of the national industrial action taken by PCS in recent years.

This does not mean we would never criticise Mark Serwotka’s leadership of the union. It is true that there has been an increasing reliance on officials rather than lay structures over the years when PCS has come under attack but has not managed to launch a national fightback. However this is a criticism that could equally be levelled at all of the senior officers of the union and is reflected in the operation of Left Unity as a whole.

However we think that of all the national officers of the union, Mark Serwotka’s policies are the ones that are most likely to lead the union to successfully fightback against the attacks we face. 

We believe that Janice Godrich is the candidate who is best able to work with Mark Serwotka to implement these policies. We also welcome her commitment to work to revitalise Left Unity.  It is on this basis we have decided to back Janice as the Left Unity candidate for AGS.

Boiling all the above down, the SWP’s position is that we don’t want to fall out with the General Secretary and so we will support Janice Godrich.

Note that they don’t demand as part of their support that there be less reliance on officials and more on lay structures; they don’t demand that Janice stand on a worker’s wage; they don’t demand that Janice should be recallable; in other words they don’t put any of their own politics forward.

Instead of demands and making their support conditional on those demands being met, they say:

We will argue within her campaign that it is necessary to renew the left in the union based on relating to the political movements outside of the union, combating racism and all forms of discrimination and at the same time re-building workplace based organisation and the most militant possible action to defend our members both locally and nationally.

Of course, Janice Godrich knows that she can ignore the SWP’s arguments as they have pledged their support already.

Their position is more akin to court politics rather than class politics. They see that the King wants one candidate rather than another. Instead of independently, in terms of their own politics, evaluating the candidates, putting demands on those candidates, or even standing their own candidate in LU, they go along with the King’s preference. All this whilst acknowledging that Mark Serwotka has not managed to launch a national fightback for years – which if course is true of Janice Godrich and Chris Baugh.

In contrast the IL will stand a candidate on a worker’s wage, who will argue for a bottom up transformation of the union where members are really in charge and led the union. In other words our candidate will be much closer to the formal politics of the SWP than Janice Godrich. So comrades in the election you have a choice; the King’s choice or backing someone who actually will try and deliver what you say you want in the PCS. So whose side are you on?

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