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The SWP's Misogyny: an unsurprising revelation

Just recently the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), beloved Trotskyist vanguard of the labour aristocracy in Europe and North America, is imploding over its inability to deal with member-on-member sexual harassment.  Considering that its leadership is trying to sweep this problem under the proverbial rug ("this is not a cover up" the aforelinked article cites the SWP leadership as saying), if it wasn't for Tom Walker's open letter regarding his resignation from the SWP, the problem probably would have remained a big secret.

Except it is not really that much of a secret.  The publicization of misogyny in an organization that uses "feminism" like a swear-word, disparages anything that is not some banal practice of class essentialism as "identity politics" (this despite a failure to agitate outside of the labour aristocracy since, well, forever), and is generally an organization run by stuffy old anglo-saxon men (like Christopher Hitchens without the pro-imperialism) who have turned parasitical activism (where they get involved with other initiatives and attempt to take them over) into an art form should not be entirely surprising.  Indeed, the comment string of Laurie Penny's pretty decent article on this debacle is filled with SWP acolytes complaining about "identity politics" and adhering to some moribund notion of democratic centralism.

SWP brocialists

The truth is that the SWP has always catered to the lowest common denominator of class politics and has tailed the most conservative trends in the so-called "working class movement"––that is, of course, the trends of opportunism, a hallmark of labour aristocrat politics––while being primarily a petty-bourgeois organization.  Take, for example, its long-term unwillingness to support Palestine by declaring itself anti-zionist: I know former party members who were discipline and/or purged for their pro-Palestinian activism; the argument was that these types of politics would "alienate" the working class.  Apparently feminism has been alienating the working class (read, white/straight/male working class) for decades, according to the SWP, considering that their leadership feel it is such a dirty word.

And really, how far behind the times do you have to be––how irrelevant to proletarian struggle is your ideology––to think that "feminism" is anti-communist?  This in the context of decades of marxist-feminism, decades of feminist struggle against patriarch, and now a developing theory of "proletarian feminism"… But no, the SWP is not only against feminism in theory but is against it in practice: silencing cadre who have been assaulted, claiming that they are dealing with the problem when they are simply pretending it isn't a problem.

At the same time, however, I have to wonder at all this rigamarole surrounding the publicization of the SWP's misogynist practice.  First of all, as noted above, it shouldn't be too much of a revelation that a group that condemns feminism and is rather "brocialist" would be guilty of sexual harassment.  Secondly, who the hell cares about the SWP anyways considering that, despite their postering and ability to in-gather petty-bourgeois intellectuals, they are no longer as significant as they imagine––in light of all the peoples wars that have been springing up since the late 1980s, groups like the SWP look pretty silly when their only "revolutionary" practice is organizing parades in collaboration with the pigs and then complaining when militants want the parades to be direct action marches.  Thirdly, and most importantly, this problem is not confined to the SWP.

Penny's article, linked above, is in fact about the larger problem of sexism within the left as a whole and it is worth noting that, while the SWP's brand of misogyny might be particular to its out-of-date ideology and leadership composition, the problem itself is still pretty fucking universal.  Indeed, Penny points out that, due to the general left's recognition that chauvinism is wrong and that leftists are combating said chauvinism, when sexist practices emerge in left organizations there is the tendency to dismiss these practices since we imagine we are above such behaviour.  After all, we are the left!  We are fighting for a world where none of this will happen!

The truth is that we need to recognize that sexist practice will persist––sometimes violently––for as long as sexism exists and that we are all, raised in societies where male privilege is still a normative reality, socialized to some degree to accept the values connected to this persistence.  Indeed, those organizations that have recognized the reality of this persistence are generally those organizations who have a better practice internally: sexism or sexual harassment does not go away, but mechanisms to deal with it can be established (i.e. Anuradha Gandhy and Hisila Yami have written about this in the context of India and Nepal––people's courts, women's militias, etc.––while both noting that the practice hasn't disappeared but being realistic about how to recognize and rectify it).  The problem, however, is that these mechanisms do not exist in a lot of organizations because these organizations: a) imagine that in fighting patriarchy they are beyond patriarchy; b) imagine, like the SWP, that sexism isn't a big deal and that "feminism" is stupid.

Even many of those organizations who are good at critiquing the sexist behaviour in others do not possess the mechanisms necessary to deal with internal chauvinist practice––especially at the centres of capitalism where there is not an organization that has established its hegemony to the level where it can build mechanisms that can actually discipline and rectify backwards behaviour.  And in the case of the SWP, such mechanisms would need to be directed at the anti-feminist leadership itself which demonstrates, perhaps, why the organization as a whole should be confined to its prophet's so-called "dustbin of history".

[On a related note, it is good to see that China Mieville is publicly chastising his organization.  I always did find it disappointing that one of my favourite authors was a member of the SWP.  And though I suspect the crappy marxist analysis that is a hallmark of Trotskyism and especially the SWP has hampered his work in some way, at least I do not have to worry about him being a pro-misogynist when I crack Railsea next week.]


  1. I will engage in a longer, more encompassing analysis around this. But want to do a quick response to your text:

    1) I unite in the main with you critique in Maoism or Trotskyism - however, I take issue with the description of Cliffite tradition's intellectual contributions, in particular in the field of theory. While obviously some works are hack works of party-line spousal, others are not and taken as whole it is the most solid and rigorous Marxism out there - even when they inevitably stare the truth in the face to arrive to the wrong conclusions. Volumes of empirical data of unquestionable rigor, immense collections of rigorous examinations in questions of State, economics, hegemony, textual analysis, etc etc etc. Even their unique view on State capitalism is at times more rigorous than the rather mechanical one that is usually served by the MLM intellectuals. Of course, these have a material basis, and of course some of it is due to a particular hegemony, etc etc etc. But such equivocations do not hide the truth. There is no shame in recognizing the rival strength. Know yourself...

    2) The SWP is not labor aristocratic in the main, at least not in a rigorous non-epithet definition of the phrase, and in fact are among the most correctly anti-imperialist of the Trotskyites. See for example line on Cuba. Even on the question of gender - in theory - they are more advanced. The influence of Althusser, Poulantzas, Gramsci etc, is felt, and these are non-MLM sources that have had an influence in developing MLM. In other words, epistemologicaly they represent a break with Trotskyism that is similar to the break that MLM represents with ML-MZT and previous anti-revisionism.

    3) More importantly, the problems of the SWP, its crisis, is a crisis of the entire left - globally and across traditions.

    4) What is burning up the SWP-UK and the IST will burn up the MLM movement too if there is not a rectification and a resurgence of investigation and correctly handling the contradictions among the people. Vulgar Zinovievism and the the disjoint between theory and practice that are at the core of this issue are not exclusive to them, but in fact are the prevalent commonality among the left - even among those who decry these methods.

  2. (cont)

    6) So I would advice to be more tempered, strategic, and self-critical in how this is approached. Otherwise, the lessons will be lost in the canine sharpening of the sectarian kneejerk. The lessons of this process - I suspect - are of deep universal application, and reflect deeper changes at the sociological level Certainly more investigation is needed, but I think the preponderance evidence supports at least this as hypotheses.

    7) Do not be disingenuous. The left - from the social-democratic and revisionist to the most anarchist of anarchists is facing this very same crisis, and the old answers are clearly not working. When women are either blamed for raped or believed without investigation, clearly something is wrong and broken. And you cannot claim this is solely the preserve and reserve of the Cliffites, Trotskyists, Revisionists or non-MLM. That would be cow manure.

    8) The issue is not just misogyny - but accountability and left culture. Rape culture is rampant in the left in ways that it is has been bought under (bourgeois) control in academia and labor unions, the usual stomping grounds of the left. This is how misogyny relates: demographics have changed and with it the schoolroom and workplace culture. The left has not changed: once relatively progressive it is now behind even mainstream liberalism. This is the first major crisis of its nature, but was not the first period nor will it be the last.

    9)"Even many of those organizations who are good at critiquing the sexist behaviour in others do not possess the mechanisms necessary to deal with internal chauvinist practice––especially at the centres of capitalism where there is not an organization that has established its hegemony to the level where it can build mechanisms that can actually discipline and rectify backwards behaviour."

    Neither do you. That is precisely the issue the left - as whole - faces. And in this debate indeed the MLMs can bring up a theoretical and practical history that with its contradictions can contribute directly to advance the movement as a whole, and win people over.

    I mean, 20 years ago gays were even shot by MLMs gor being gay. Today there are gay marriages in some people's armies. That is progress.

    10) The future of the socialist movement, and of MLM as the scientific part of it, is dependent on how this challenge is faced. While in the main your contributions have been positive in this respect, this one clearly is not. Of course, it clearly is not intended as such, but it is actually not-reflective - amounts to gloating. Where is the self-criticism? Where is the investigation? Where is the respect to the women involved who are members of the SWP? We cease to struggle for their liberation because we decided arbitrarily that they are labor aristocratic trotskyites? These are not rhetorical questions, nor strawmen - these are the questions that are opened up in a quick reading of this post.

    11) I write this in the spirit of unity-struggle-transformation, recognizing we have much in common, and in particular a common epistemology.

    1. First of all, you've seemed to misunderstand the tone of this entry: it was mainly a rhetorical rant and not an academic assessment. Secondly, I ended this entry by agreeing with Penny's assessment that the problem affects the left as a whole and not just the SWP––a fact you ignored (in a rather high-handed tone filled with a chortling "I'm so much smarter than you" smugness that I found rather annoying) in points 6-9. Indeed when you quoted me, and then said "neither do you" it is clear you utterly misread what I was writing: *this* was precisely my point, that none of us have this mechanism––I said so above––so it is rather bemusing that you would make it seem I was writing something other than this.

      As for your claims about the SWP being more than a labour aristocratic organization, I severely disagree. Despite the existence of some theorists who I respect, the group composition as a whole has degenerated into an organization that speaks of the working class as the intellectuals and trade unionists it mobilizes. Years of organizing in coalitions with the IS has taught me that they tail the work done by others and ruin every coalition in which they are involved. So excuse me for the long disdain.

      Point ten is just insulting based on the misreading I pointed out above. All these rhetorical questions that are just as much "gloating" as you have accused me because they are questions that result from your inability to recognize the genre of this post and your refusal to understand that the point of this was precisely what you think I was ignoring. In fact, it's pretty bloody obvious from the get-go where I write: "Penny's article, linked above, is in fact about the larger problem of sexism within the left as a whole and it is worth noting that, while the SWP's brand of misogyny might be particular to its out-of-date ideology and leadership composition, the problem itself is still pretty fucking universal. Indeed, Penny points out that, due to the general left's recognition that chauvinism is wrong and that leftists are combating said chauvinism, when sexist practices emerge in left organizations there is the tendency to dismiss these practices since we imagine we are above such behaviour."


    2. [cont.]

      So yes your questions are quick and straw-person because they ignored the main point of this hasty post which was precisely what you thought I was dismissing. Nor do I need to be lectured about "rape culture" and the misogyny which affects the left since I've written about this frequently, implicating even myself, and noted this in the above quotation from the article.

      Truthfully, I have little respect for the SWP/IS, and have considered their actions in the left in my social context as counter-revolutionary––as have others. I don't think I need a careful analysis of their implosion because they have been imploding for some time, and groups that have split from them (like the NSG and its affiliate groups) are actually more productive and less of an old boys club. So yes, that tone probably coloured what I was saying as a whole, but if you hadn't read so quickly you would be able to separate content from tone.

      Despite my responses here, I still agree whole-heartedly with point (11) and value your contributions.

    3. I didn't ignore your agreement with Penny. I highlighted the fact that this agreement was buried under a rather on an attack on the SWP itself. Brocialism is not exclusively SWP or its tradition. The main thrust of your text is not about this agreement, in other words.

      Even the title of the post "The SWP's Misogyny: an unsurprising revelation" sets this tone. I think this kind of focus can and in history, has, lead in the wrong direction: a feeling of superiority over the "other side" - rather then understanding.

      For example, if the SWP is so broken and labor aristocratic, why has this crisis developed? If it is so homogeneous and broken, why is there such a membership upsurge against the leadership and its handling of this process? Why are all of the SWP's public intellectuals - who refuse to resign - confident if not in their victory, but the worthiness of this fight?

      So it is not a strawman - it is a disagreement with a principled basis. I do - obviously - have differences with the SWP/IST and with that tradition in general. But their composition is no different in essence to the rest of the left - including the PRC-RCP. Such triumphalism I have always critiqued - even in my own organizational contexts. "The sectarians are always the other ones" is a left-wide diseases, and we should - when speaking of other groups - recognize this.

      And the SWP, unlike the entire western left outside of France, is a small mass party. Thus, what happens in it is of our scientific concern. In my estimation incorrectly identifying its class composition it left opportunism.

      I gave it another re-read, and yes, my questions are still valid - and unanswered. However, I do recognize that my phrasing was not the best - these are questions for the whole of the movement to answer, not to solely lay upon your back. But they still remain open and unanswered.

      And in my exposition of points - I recognize you often address these points - when commenting, I was not intending to address solely you, but also your readers - among which I count myself.

      As to "in a rather high-handed tone filled with a chortling "I'm so much smarter than you" smugness that I found rather annoying" - well, I cannot help that. I am not an academic - as you are - so perhaps my writing is colored differently - but that was not the intent.

      My intent, however, is to bring up the necessity to make this debate not about how unsurprising it is that this is happening, but precisely why it is bad it is happening.

      And furthermore, to be honest, it is in this tradition - and its principled breakaways - where those in MLM in the west can find a united front with. Or you think tankies and ortotrots are better?

      Or you think we can, at this point, continue with sectarian attitudes?

    4. First of all, the triumphalism you think is in this article is being imposed by your reading. If anything there is outright scorn for the SWP and that shouldn't be surprising; I've had scorn for them since I was almost recruited by them in my undergrad and realized how politically vapid they were. This is not "sectarian" otherwise, by your logic, it is sectarian to take a principled stand against capitalism. The SWP takes positions against other organizations and, though I think the SWP is currently useless as a political organization, I would never have called it "sectarian". I am getting tired of the empty-headed charge of sectarian, that is not semantically and logically correct, that is used to advocate for basically not taking a political position against organizations.

      And speaking of organizations, your claim that the PCR-RCP's composition is no different from the SWP is baseless. I'm assuming you are US-based so I am also assuming that you know nothing of this organization, how it organizes, and who supports it. One of the reasons us Toronto leftists were drawn to the PCR was precisely because of the high level of female cadre involvement we observed that was happening on a level that was not simply tokenistic. Action Socialiste, the forerunner of the PCR-RCP, partially grew from the ranks of the 1980s feminist movement in Quebec and this has affected the organization to this day. Does this mean that it is free from the problems of patriarchy? Of course not: I agree, and again did mention in this article, that patriarchy will affect every organization. But I'm getting a little annoyed about your assumptions about an organization you seem to know little about in a concrete manner.

      Let me go further. The PCR-sponsored mass organization to which I belong has been seriously grappling with the issues that the SWP dismisses as "identity politics" (and, to be clear, some SWP/IS members have accused us of engaging in "identity politics" in the past) and so is involved in answering these questions. Indeed, as I pointed out, I have written about this elsewhere on this blog and this was not the point, aside to indicate that it was something we needed to take out of this as the entire left, of this rant.

      One thing you did not respond to in this reply was what I said specifically above about the SWP. There were two points to this article: a) the general point that the left as a whole is affected by this problem; b) the fact that we shouldn't be surprised that an organization *that refuses to recognize feminism as a viable political position* and is, de facto, an old boy's club is going to have this problem. The thing is, while other organizations will be affected by this problem, groups like the SWP *who continuously use 'feminism' as a dirty word* and have a leadership composed of sexist men and don't question this composition, is a group who will not even try to produce the necessary mechanisms: their practice comes from a theory that doesn't attempt to understand the problem of patriarchy. Groups like the PCR-RCP (and it is not alone), I should add, by recognizing this problem and having active internal and external debates on it, are trying to build those mechanisms.

      I don't understand why you would think that I find tankies and orthotrots any better. A lot of those organizations are also quite anti-feminist and have similar problems. As is the RCP-USA, to talk about a previous MLM org, whose cadre have said the same thing about "feminism" and, while pretending to be for women's liberation, have also mocked feminists (i.e. I'm thinking here of the meeting with Avakian that Dunbar-Ortiz reports in one of her memoirs). But this was about the SWP because the logical result of the SWP's anti-feminism––something they used to claim wouldn't happen or actively swept under the rug––is now evident.

  3. I may be in error regarding the 30 hour week for 40 hours of pay (but I'm willing to bet that it was an I.S. and/or NDP SC thing). As I mentioned, I could hardly tell the two apart.

    Another thing about them I did not like was their constant nationalist bashing while still holding on to the idea that there was some revolutionary Canadian working class.

    At one time I was what would be considered a Canadian left nationalist (oooooooooo). I had it in my head that Canada could break from imperialism and move on to fight it. Of course, I understand now that Canada, would not be Canada if this became the case. I grew up, so to speak, but it took disappointment in, disaffection with and a break with Canadian unionism (not to mention so called "international" unionism--see: North American settler unionism), most of my class and involvement in an imperialist war to make that happen.

    What is truly amazing with the I.S. is that despite a whole shit-tonne of evidence pointing to the need for a correction, they have not really changed their position in decades. They still see the "Canadian working class", or the working class in imperialist countries in general, as some revolutionary subject just waiting to, well, be revolutionary. They continue to go on about the "union bureaucrats" as being oh so separate from the "rank and file" membership (who, from my experience, by and large, wear the same Harley Davidson outfits and keep voting "the bureaucrats" in; if you get my drift).

    How many "market recovery", "stab", "give back now, get it back later" (ho, ho, ho) "job saving" etc. contracts with a 80%+ approval vote do they have to see? How many murderous ISAFs which are not responded to with a single strike (or even a slow down) in Canada's unionized war industry? How many hi-ways of heroes, yellow ribbons, Harley rides, in-ground swimming pools, big assed trucks,immigrant bashing email pass alongs, "WE STAND UNITED" stickers, NYPD hats, ridiculously huge houses with in-ground swimming pools and home imax theatres, Naziesque organized sports/activities "for the kids", trips to Disneyland "for the kids", Vegas and other fits of bourgeois inspired labour aristocrat foolishness do they have to see that their revolutionary subject is about as revolutionary as Watkins cough syrup... you probably don't remember or know about that nasty black thick as tar, codeine laden shit they used to ply to us as kids when we "had a fever" see: sedation.

    Even a simple "Stalinist" like me could see that the great Canadian working class, and his Anglo-American clone, were (are), for the most part, just what Sakai called them:

    A garrison community with an impoverished culture.

    And I'll add that they'd gladly see every I.S. ass thrown into ol' chokey.

    Especially if what they were preaching threatened to get in between them and the above (and/or their appointment to get some barbarian looking gibberish tatooed on their whatevers). It never fails to amaze me how Trots rant on about imperialism while holding up imperialist labour aristocrats as agents of socialist revolution.

    And, I stopped buying a long time ago that these folks are just backward or not class conscious. These are not Russian peasants circa 1905. Again, as Sakai pointed out, it's not that they are not organized. It's that they're plenty organized. I see it every day.

    So, again. No, I'm not surprised at all that these guys are misogynists. This to me would be their version of the mass line.

    Now that was a rant.


    I know you've covered this but I just can't help myself here.

    1. And what a rant it was! Glad to have you back, RRH, look forward to seeing more of you again…

      Generally I'm in agreement with your comments about union opportunism and the labour aristocracy –– and also find it interesting that for many [but not all] SWP ideologues there has been increasingly absurd attempts to deny its existence, and ex-SWP groups like the NSG have gone so far as to publish Charlie Post's euro-communist reply to Cope's article as well as, years earlier, publish that terrible Lamb critique of Sakai.

      What I think is also significant, however, is the fact that the SWP/IS does not seem to have, at least not in my context, a significant presence amongst the "rank and file" workers who, as you noted, couldn't give a shit about the SWP. Indeed, every loyal IS cadre involved in a union that I have met has been involved precisely in what the SWP has classified as the union bureaucracy or has sided with top-down bureaucratic concepts of unionism that undercut bottom-up rank and file social unionist attempts that, though limited, are at least better than business unionism. Indeed, in my local's strike the one or two odd IS members were arguing for less general membership meetings and complete autonomy for the Bargaining Team to sell us down the river. So even their claims about rank and file unionism are garbage.

    2. It's funny you mention their lack of presence among the rank and file. During the ten years of involvement with labour, I never met a rank and file member of the I.S. They were always these petis bourgeois academic types who ended up with an appointed "education" position or some such thing (one of the bureaucrats you mentioned).

      Of course, we did not see too many of them in my neck of the woods. My biggest exposure to I.S. was, as I said, during trips to Toronto or some NDP convention (I know, I cringe at the thought of attending an NDP convention today). When they did come down, however, it was usually to push something from the national union or, worse, the CLC.

      Like you, I find them to be hyporcrites as they'll holler up and down about "Stalinist" bureaucracy but you'll never see one of them turn down an appointed position. Another thing you'll rarely see is one them cracking a sweat on the handle end of a tool.

      And you know, I rarely ever saw a female I.S. member in those plum spots either. I think I would have known they were I.S. the minute they opened their mouths. I sure did with the men.

      This sounds bad, but I always had the impression that they used the so called "attractive"---with all the attendant connotations--- female members to bait workers into getting involved with them. I remember this happening at one of those "educational" conferences that a bunch of us active workers attendended in the early 2000s. She was rounding guys up to 'go to the show'---see sign up.

      I never liked the I.S. Comrade J. or any of it's clones (NDP SC, SA, SWP). The fact that the Bolsheviks went after Trots like these (and the organizations which harboured them) makes me all the more supportive of them and the G.S. I would have definitely been a part of that campaign.

      You really hit a nerve with this post. I thought I was the one who said you should right about something more relevant?


    3. If you view organized labour in Canada as a reactionary labour aristocracy, who exactly were you counting on to carry out a working class revolution in this country?

    4. I don't know if RRH will see this comment but I will respond in his absence here. While I do not think that organized labour as a whole is reactionary, I do think it generally constitutes a labour aristocracy because clearly it doesn't have nothing left to lose but its chains. Social investigation and class analysis of the Canadian context should lead one to realize that there is a "hard core" of the proletariat that is *not* to be found in the unions but in the vast ranks of non-unionized industrial labour (some of which is being organized here and there in different ways), migrant labour, and entire sectors of workers that do not have the privilege of belonging to a union. In fact, the majority of productive labour done in Canada is not performed by unionized workers: any empirical investigation should tell you this. So is this majority of workers not the "working class"––because it seems as if you have equivocated "working class" with "unionized workers" and this is a serious problem. As someone who spent over a decade organizing in the union movement, it's pretty clear that this movement does not represent the majority of workers, or is it proletarian in the sense of being a class *for* itself––having an interest in revolution and the emancipation of all workers… Lenin was quite clear about this problem.

  4. i must agree with SKS here - this essay displays a lack of seriousness about the issue of male dominance on the left, framing it as the problem of a group that we already have other reasons to dislike. For a supporter of Group X to really grapple with this problem would require an examination of the problem in Group X, not in some other party. I.e. it would require uncomfortable self-examination. (And if, in the midst of this patriarchal society, one finds that one's own party is "clean" in this regard, i would suggest that that would indicate that the problem may in fact be particularly deep, or else that there is a flaw in one's methodology...)

    i am not saying that one cannot criticize the SWP's sexism, or Cliff's anti-feminist ideas, without at the same time doing a self-criticism every step of the way. Just that one should be a little less self-congratulatory. A fail for Trotskyism does not translate into a win for Maoism (or anarchism, for that matter) in this regard.

    i am reminded of a passage from David Gilbert's book Love and Struggle, regarding the PLP vs Weather pandemonium that broke out after a Panther rep dismissed feminism as "pussy power". David remembers that

    "Like virtually everyone else, I was responding to the situation in terms of the all-consuming faction fight. When I saw Naomi Jaffe approach the mike, I said to myself, with a sigh of relief, “Great, one of our people will get to speak and put PL in its place.” To my surprise, Naomi’s voice rang out across the tumultuous hall with, “We will not allow women’s liberation to be used as a political football!” What a dramatic moment and powerful lesson: women’s oppression and politics were too important to be reduced to a weapon in a faction fight—even a historic one by her/our side. It was only with later discussion that I understood the second aspect, her refusal to excuse our side’s shortcomings on women."

    1. I'm going to respond to sks a second time above, so most of my response to you will be there as well due to the intersection. But specifically to you I want to point out the following things that I feel you've misunderstood about this entry.

      1) The form: simply that it appears as a rant does not mean that I am not taking the problem of misogyny seriously. I have written elsewhere about how this problem affects the left; I am in an organization that has done a lot of internal work on this and grapples with it practically; my anger at the SWP situation is that it is *theoretically* a sexist organization. Yes the problems of misogyny will affect all organizations, but some organizations have mechanisms that recognize this and deal with it openly and do not hide that struggle under anti-feminist rhetoric. And yes, I do work with an organization that openly struggles with this question.

      2) This essay was not about sexism in the left but about the specific manifestation it took in the SWP and thus the SWP's problem with this. Obviously I did indicate it was a problem with the left as a whole but since I was addressing the SWP case particularly (and with lack of sleep, and while arguing about this issue on line with others) I focused primarily, in a ranting and perhaps strident way, with the SWP––a group I do not respect for reasons I will outline in my reply to sks.

      Good quote at the end; I remember it from reading that book. But I was not using it as a political football as you suggest and, aside from the fact that I balanced it with the reality that it affects us all, if you would recall at the beginning of this essay I asked why people are surprised with the SWP's problems. That, more than anything else, is what I am concerned with: why the shock when this organization has been openly anti-feminist for a long time and has dismissed those of us who cared about feminism as doing identity politics?

  5. You can delete this comment upon reading, I'm just posting here because I couldn't locate a contact e-mail.

    I'm a long time reader and big fan. I must say - can you PLEASE change the layout on this blog? I've never before encountered a design that makes it so difficult to navigate or read a blog. On a computer, any slight flick of the mouse or touch of an arrow key sends you flying off to a different post from the one you're reading. It's impossible to highlight, copy/paste, or share the URL in any practical way without the post closing or changing.

    On any mobile device, it's even worse. This site, from what I've tested it on, doesn't work on Kindles, nooks, smartphones, or (as far as I know) anything that isn't a full computer. Even on the computer, it can be incredibly difficult to get functioning properly.

    A constructive criticism. I love the content of this blog, but its form makes reading it a monumental difficulty.

    1. I'm publishing this so that I can respond. Unfortunately, blogger has the ugliest lay-outs in the world and its active lay-outs (though rife with their own problems) are the best that they have (I should have gone with wordpress, long long ago). The majority of my readers liked the switch from the ugly-ass version, and were extremely happy when I changed it.

      However, I do know that this specific active function is difficult according to a few readers which is why there is an easy way around it: on the drop down menu in the left hand corner choose "classic" and set that as your default. It should solve precisely the problem you have outlined.

    2. Forgot to add: the url you would type (because viewing it in the first place is a problem) would be the normal url plus "/?view=classic" … so altogether:

      Hope that helps.

  6. I'm afraid to say that China Mieville himself has been shockingly outed as a misogynist by a major UK journalist, risking her own standing to write it.

    1. The page doesn't show up. But if your allegations are true (because right now, since the url you provided doesn't link to an article), then yes it is quite disappointing.


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