Actually, this is even better than Dynasty. Red Maria has struck comedy gold. Facepalms all round, comrades.

Update: This may shed some light on matters. And what would Footie say?


  1. Alex Snowdon said,

    February 20, 2010 at 12:30 am

    I’ve posted the following comment on Red Maria’s post:

    ‘Just a quick note about this. It was me who spotted G’s untrue and libellous comments on Facebook at the time. I made a point of saving the relevant thread of comments (started by someone’s status update) before it was deleted. I also contacted the libelled individual immediately to let them know – this was followed by their polite and reasonable call to G.

    G’s response on the day was a welcome one. He deleted the offending comment and made a point of posting a status update which apologised for the comment. It is very sad that he now – as part of an attack us ex-Left Platform supporters – is trying to turn this into a case of intimidation with himself as a victim. It is an utterly false account.

    This has nothing to do with intimidation, personalities or the law. It is a basic question of integrity and ethics.’

    I’ll add here that the whole thing is a sorry substitute for reasoned political discussion. It is an attempt to discredit someone through claims that I know are false, a case of indulging in gossip and tittle-tattle with no regard for the truth.

  2. Alex Snowdon said,

    February 20, 2010 at 12:46 am

    This is the comment (on Clare Solomon’s Facebook status update, midway through the thread) by the comrade referred to as G. I still have the whole thread saved. This comment was obviously posted prior to him being phoned by the individual who he alleges ‘was offered a column’ by the Daily Sport (an untrue claim in itself, but of course the implication here is obvious: the comrade in question was willing to accept the invitation).

    ‘Well there are other questions such as whether to write for the bloody thing or not (I hear that at an STW meeting —— was offered a column, Andy Murry quoting Galloway to the effect: when the kaiser offers you money you should take it). I’m against. I think AlexS vastly over-eggs the cake: this is a small circulation rag, its not the sun or … Read Morethe star. we don’t know why it is doing this. It may or may not be because its recieved letters from serving soldiers or their families. the comparison with BB is that this was George grasping at straws and looking for a shortcut. The other comparison is these vastly overblown claims which just sound desperate to most people. This all feels very similar to me. And I do not want to see comrades bounced into something like this without a proper discussion. And I guess this is hardly the correct forum for it anyway.
    4 hours ago’

  3. johng said,

    February 20, 2010 at 9:24 am

    What a terrible thing to have been concerned about. Its worth saying that many of us who had lived through previous fiascos of this kind had every right to ask questions about what was going on (absolutely no ‘allegations’ were being made). People can judge for themselves who responded ‘politically’.

  4. neprimerimye said,

    February 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I note the known record of the attitude of George Galloway towards money, which was smiled upon by the Rees/German clique and made a joke of the SWPs position that worker representatives, whether in the bosses parliament or in the unions, ought only take the average pay of those they represent the comments. I further note the known atttiude of John Rees with respect to the handling of cheques. In addition I note promises made and broken with regard to the payment of those working for STWC.

    And in the light of the above I suspect I can guess who is in the right on this one.

  5. johng said,

    February 20, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I would dissassociate my myself from the remarks about George Galloway’s known record towards Money (I don’t know of any such ‘known record’). I would also stress that I was concerned about the politics of the situation. I corrected myself only because of the term ‘money’ (I’d remembered gold). In a state of real frustration about the possibility that we were about to be bounced into yet another embarressing situation got the famous kaiser and train analogy distorted. Rather then respond to political arguments between comrades it now transpires that some people prefer to tell teacher, and then ring around comrades who dare to ask questions making strange quasi-legal threats (after getting someone else to abuse their friendship with a number of people by getting a series of phone numbers under false pretenses). It would of course be perfectly open to anyone to say ‘actually, thats not the case, and, actually, I think this is the right course of action because of a,b,c’. But of course those who regard themselves as above the movement would regard this as an outrageous suggestion. Of course the fact that I find all this cultish and wierd is a purely subjective reaction. Finding things wierd tends to be.

  6. Phil said,

    February 20, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Could I ask people either to keep these things private (or on Facebook), or else go public properly? This nudge-nudge if-you-know-who-I-mean-and-I-think-you-do act strikes me as awfully childish. Thanks to the last couple of comments I know who G and Mr Big are, but I’ve got neither the patience nor the inclination to unscramble the rest of the dramatis personae.

    And if the LP are going to act like an external fraction of anything, could it be the SWP rather than RESPECT? Thanks in advance.

  7. johng said,

    February 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Actually my apologies to all who’ve had to see this. I think I’m going to have to unfriend a certain Red Maria. I’m not particularly snippy about it but it does really fall into breach of trust territory. So Red Maria: no more arcane disputes about Gramsci for you!

  8. lenin said,

    February 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I am unsurprised by the revelation that it was Alex Snowdon who alerted *sigh* “Mr Big” to the matter in question, but I might point out that the quoted comment contains nothing libellous. The claim would have to be in some sense damaging to the reputation of *sigh* “Mr Big”, and it is no slur on his character to be offered a column. Nowhere in the comment is it stated or implied that *sigh* “Mr Big” was amenable to such an offer. This quoted comment also disproves the claim made by “M” that “G” alleged that *sigh* “Mr Big” had a “contract” with anyone. The invocation of libel law is utterly mendacious. Its only purpose in this context is to intimidate, and one has to wonder about any socialist who would even raise such an idea.

    Finally, this should never have been taken off Facebook. No doubt we shall take it as a lesson not to assume that Facebook is any more secure than e-mail is, but it isn’t ‘public’ in the way that comments on a blog are. This is surely no way for someone on the Left to behave. And I must say I’m surprised to see that it is being encouraged in this citadel of revolutionary conscience. Even if it’s good craic for outsiders.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      February 20, 2010 at 4:39 pm

      Oh it’s entertaining enough. Funny thing, though, about the conscience thread. You make a subtle point and people don’t get it. You make it slightly more explicit and people still don’t get it. Then you get to the point where you’re practically drawing diagrams and people still don’t get it. Evidently the next effort will have to have “this means you” inserted at strategic points.

    • ejh said,

      February 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      Finally, this should never have been taken off Facebook. No doubt we shall take it as a lesson not to assume that Facebook is any more secure than e-mail is, but it isn’t ‘public’ in the way that comments on a blog are. This is surely no way for someone on the Left to behave

      Quite. Surely a Facebook thread is private between people who have access to it? And if people aren’t prepared to accept that, who the hell wants to be their Facebook friend?

  9. johng said,

    February 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Not to mention a subscriber to the tablet. I’m SHOCKED.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      February 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm

      I will say this for Ms Pepinster’s organ, its arts section is excellent. Beats the Staggers hands down.

  10. Danny said,

    February 20, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Cant someone just summarise this in a few sentences? It looks like a lot of nonsense to me

  11. johng said,

    February 20, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Comrade worried by rumours about yet another act of astonishing verve and derring do he and others will be forced to defend in workplaces, communities and movements up and down the country, gets slightly wrong what the rumour is, and this is then used as a pretext for loads of personalised apolitical bullying unpleasentness. All of it largely irrelevent now anyway as we thankfully no longer have to worry about such things.

  12. johng said,

    February 20, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Am pleased to report that a certain red marie will be donating to sin box (UAF) to make up for her mistake, whilst awaiting the vast honour of being re-admitted as a friend to the great johng. My faith in tablet readers is restored.

  13. neprimerimye said,

    February 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    To be fair to the lazy sod she does actively involve herself with UAF actions. If only she could get up in the mornings…

  14. Nas said,

    February 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    It is an interesting question whether the false claim that someone has taken up, or even been offered, a column in the Daily Sport is capable of bearing (baring?) a defammatory meaning.

    Almost certainly not, in my view, unless there was an imputation of hypocrisy, which is clearly a defammation.

    The legatic language shows all the signs of one overcome with emulsion. But that’s what this kind of badmouthing does.

    • Lobby Ludd said,

      February 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm

      “The legatic language shows all the signs of one overcome with emulsion.”

      Nah! He realized that he had painted himself into a corner.

  15. johng said,

    February 20, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    overcome with emulsion? From my own entirely subjective point of view its a sign of people used to being obeyed and attempting to substitute other forms of compulsion. But thats just my own extremely subjective and no doubt mistaken analyses. I mean I can’t say fairer then that can I gov?

  16. johng said,

    February 20, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Oh and there was no ‘bad mouthing’. I was extremely concerned about a discussion suggesting that we should take part in a campaign run by the Sport, and extremely concerned about a rumour that writing for it might be under consideration. With all the elitist rubbish about some peoples reputations no consideration at all seems to exist concerning the reputation of activists on the ground who might have had to bear the burden of such a decision. As we had already had to bare too many. OFFU being a prime example. The parrallel I made with the BB episode demonstrated that I did not see any of this having any connection to ‘corruption’. It was concerned about the problem of seeking shortcuts when the movement faced difficulties and the consequences of doing so.

  17. Dirty Red Bandana said,

    February 20, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    This is not about shortcutting the movement. That is truly idiotic analysis – when in doubt distrust anything that does not smell of partinost. Its actually about missing the bloody thing entirely. The Daily Sport is read by British squaddies occupying Afghanistan and gets letters of complaint (and numerous blogs are written as well) from its readership about the war. The paper decides to mount a campaign against the war. Something very significant is happening and it ain’t being called by the left.

    The Independent in Britain published a front page exposure of their FOI request demonstrating that more than 17,000 troops have gone AWOL since the invasion of Iraq. More than 2,000 in the last year. This is a development that we should watch very closely indeed and, Lenin forbid, try to influence in some way.

  18. De Northside Socialist said,

    February 20, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Jaysus, if only I had been educated by the Jesuits….

    party spirit (partinost) or loyalty (partinost)

    “and to convey socialist ideas in a language that was accessible to people who had never come across them before.”


    • Dirty Red Bandana said,

      February 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      Sorry, poor translation. Partinost is literally ‘partyness’, which has no perfect English counterpart and was, perhaps, designed not to be quite comprehensible. It came from discussions in Soviet philosophy and politics in the early 1930s.

      It was used as a term of abuse against anyone that showed insufficient deference to the party and its omniscience. In other words, unless it comes from the party, no initiative or insight is relevant.

      Or to “convey personal antagonisms in a language that is inaccessible and feigned as political to people that are not in the least bit interested”. There doesn’t seem to be an archive for that one, yet, but some are evidently working on it.

      • De Northside Socialist said,

        February 22, 2010 at 10:43 pm

        Thanks for the definition. Appreciated.

  19. andy newman said,

    February 21, 2010 at 12:18 am

    so the story is

    i) some people who used to like one another don’t like on another any more.

    ii) someone who three years ago threatened to sue other socialists for libel has threatened it again.

    it is time that people moved on and started doing whatever it is they are going to do next

  20. johng said,

    February 21, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Well Bandana perhaps your right: I didn’t agree though. And still don’t. And have every right to say so. But, it has to be said, I do in fact agree with Andy here.

    • Dirty Red Bandana said,

      February 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

      Well, John, you can either nod and wink or put your thumb in your mouth (all of which are perfectly understandable) on a blog as a result or you can express and debate the political issue that led to such frostiness.

      My point is simply that the issue is interesting and worth some thought. There seems little point in a thread that endlessly alludes to something that most of us find unpleasant and unfortunate even if we are interested.

      There is also the fascinating tactical debate about your claim about shortcuts as I suspect it is an overkill from the recent ructions in your organization. The more strategic discussion about whether the anti-war movement has continued relevance and the consequences for the left of either answer.

  21. battersea said,

    February 21, 2010 at 8:29 am

    John Rees once called me a, “mechanical Marxist,” in front of several of my erstwhile friends. Would members of the group advise a libel action?

    I kept the entire, “thread” on half-inch reel-to-reel tape.

  22. Danny said,

    February 21, 2010 at 10:58 am

    So a socialist might have been offered a column in the Daily Sport which on the one hand would associate us with an awful sexist publication, but on the other hand would have given us an audience amonst dissafected soldiers?

  23. Dirty Red Bandana said,

    February 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    As Danny notes, there are the politics of the issue that should not get lost in the personal backbiting and anguish that appears to accompany the decline and fall of a once proud tradition.

    My fear is that we lose sight of the shifts that are occurring in the popular mood on the war, especially in relation to the current PR driven military offensive in Afghanistan. The Facebook stuff may all feel so personal but is the minor taste.

  24. February 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Joe Higgins has a column in the reactionary tabloid the Irish Daily Mail (which instigated the blog-based assault on air traffic controllers and has a bad employee relations record), and few here cavil about it. As far as I know, he has full editorial control and it was only significant source of income for a while. Seems like a harmless enough means of reaching an audience who’d buy the paper anyway.

    Interesting to see social media putting cats amongst pigeons. If Trotsky had been on Facebook, would the purges have happened?

    • ejh said,

      February 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm

      Possibly not, but I imagine his enemies in the movment would have spent all their time reproducing his postings on their blogs and explaining how they proved for the millionth time that they were right.

  25. February 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Trotsky answered criticism about writing in the bourgeois press by saying that if it was necessary to air the views of the Fourth International he would write on lavatory walls. An apposite comparison in this case perhaps.
    But Trotsky also rejected an invitation to write for the Herald on one occasion because of its attitude on Mexico and oil nationalisation I believe. (the letter is is his collected writings from about 1937).
    I would expect a comrade in a revolutionary group to consult with others before deciding on such a move.
    As for being offered a column, the WRP made a big thing once about Alan Thornett being invited to speak at Bramshill police college. They even published the letter of invitation – Gerry Healy having employed someone to burgle Thornett’s home for his documents. As though it proved anything.
    It was not till years later that we learned an identical invitation had been sent to Vanessa Redgrave.

    • February 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm

      I think a good toilet-wall graffiti campaign would almost hit more spots in mass consciousness than a newspaper column in this day and age. Of course, most blogs these days have all the ambience of a public toilet anyway.

  26. February 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Oh, and I may add that as in the Joe Higgins case, it may be justified for socialists to exploit an opening. But I thought Ken Livingstone was a bit hasty in accepting a column in the Sun with Wapping fresh in mind. And his willingness to accept the Evening Standard’s shilling though tactfully forgotten by his supporters (myself included) did make his later stricture on that paper look a bit silly and hypocritical.

  27. Nas said,

    February 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Battersea: do you have a cause of action? That would depend on whether being called a “mechanical Marxist” lowered you in the estimation of right-thinking members of society.

    I don’t think antipathy to Materialism and Empiriocriticism has quite reached the point where public opprobrium is heaped on anyone who is associated with it.

    Sorry son, not worth a preliminary enquiry to Carter Ruck. Just be content that you were on the receiving end of a cliché from a philosophical illiterate.

  28. battersea said,

    February 22, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Thanks Nas. I do seem to remember being surrounded by Poly students at the time, and who could possibly deny their membership of the set of all, “right-thinking” members of society?

    Was their estimation of me lowered? Probably, but it’s all in statute of limitations territory now…

    I think things got heated because of my invocation of Schroedinger’s ‘Uncertainty Principle’ to explain the disappearance of several Socialist Reviews from the lad’s boudoir! The ensuing ping-pong touched on several, critical, issues of etiquette and home economics; Althusserianism, ‘Analytical’ Marxism and York’s SWSS group.

    All water under the bridge of course and I wish him well in developing his career at the Daily Sport! It struck me that there may be several, ahem, synergies or, perhaps, “points of contact,” between the paper’s editorial axis and the recent “Mutiny” event’s showcasing of poly-amorous campaigning!

  29. Nas said,

    February 23, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Battersea: I think you mean Schroedinger’s thought experiment on the collapse of superpositional quantum states into a definite observed state. The “undertainty principle” was, of course, Heisenberg’s

  30. David Ellis said,

    February 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    `The “undertainty principle” was, of course, Heisenberg’s.’

    Are you sure about that? I ask even though I don’t have a cat in this fight.

    • Dirty Red Bandana said,

      February 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm

      Its a good thing too because Shroedinger’s Cat was not much of a fighter. Nas is quite right as Shroedinger’s thought experiment on the cat was intended as a deterministic counter attack on Heisenberg’s position. Bohr accepted Heisenberg’s principle as indicative of his own Copenhagen interpretation, which suggested that quantum theories could only be instrumental, echoing Kant’s claims about the thing-in-itself. We could make probabilistic calculations of quantum behaviour but not know the reasons why these probabilities worked.

      The debate was rejoined in 1935 when Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen set out their objections to Bohr’s position, encapsulated in Einstein’s argument that ‘God does not play dice’. It also resurfaced in a new form in 1952 when David Bohm, a communist sympathizer and physicist who fled the US during McCarthyism, constructed a ‘hidden variables’ theory to add a ‘mechanical sub quantum level’ to the analysis in order to circumvent Bohr’s instrumental interpretation.

      Well, its better than discussing Facebook…

      • Battersea said,

        February 24, 2010 at 7:46 pm

        DRB: Nice one. I had no idea, until a couple of years ago, of how much work David Bohm did on the brain/psychology. Do you know much about ‘im? Can you recommend any, “easy reading”?…

  31. Battersea said,

    February 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    WANTED, |dead>, |alive> or 1/sqrt(2)(|dead> + |alive>): Nas!

  32. Nas said,

    February 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Battersea: incidentally, a former bright young thing in the RCP became the political editor of the Daily Star and now occupies that lofty position at the Express, I believe.

    As for your physical threats: you can Fregean ‘av a go if you think you’re Hardy enough.

  33. Battersea said,

    February 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Nas: That would make a lot of sense. I’ve tried, fairly unsuccessfully, to point up all sorts of parallels with the Furedists and the SWP’s Left Platform. Now that the dust is starting to settle, I think we’ll see more of them (parallels that is, certainly not LPers).

    This, for those interested (all three of you), is typical of the 1980s RCP:


    The highly observant will note the mannequins in bodice/suspenders and fishnets on the stage. It somehow marks a process of continuity and change with previous positions on “raunch culture”…

    It also puts a wrapper (don’t say cling-film) around a comment made to me while acting as a defence witness for cde. Wilson at his Control Commission hearing (chaired by a leading light of the Left Platform); that we were all, ‘bourgeois dilettantes” .

    Hey ho.

  34. Matthew Caygill said,

    February 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    “It somehow marks a process of continuity and change with previous positions on “raunch culture”…” could well one of the most marvellously open-ended comments possible.

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