Jabberwocky Weekly Worker style…..

I have read some garbled articles in my time but this one takes the biscuit! The author desperately wants to take a pop at the SWP but basically seems to agree with the SWP’s line on women and feminism. Confused? You will be after reading this article. It’s jumps around from the Mail, “creeping” feminism, Women in the labour movement blog, SWP, rape culture, no-platform and back to feminism. One mish-mash of a dog’s dinner of an article. Criticising the SWP yet blaming feminism.

What is meant by?

The far left’s complete loss of traction on the women’s question – and the latter’s domination by decreasingly rational forms of feminism – is a particularly clear example.

Ah yes, by meaning decreasingly rational forms of feminism… he’s saying irrational. Irrational feminism. Just say it. To be honest, there’s a distinct heavy stench of the irrationality about Demarty’s article.

Another attack on feminism is with this they aint much like allies just now. The motion to Unison women’s conference, apparently, a tissue of hoary feminist clichés. 

Firstly, I disagreed with the motion, as I believe it can be used by the bureaucracy to attack the Left BUT reducing the criticism to insults and stereotypes isn’t honest debate. Let’s have a real discussion about this as opposed to reaching for your favourite caricatures that could have been lifted from The Sun newspaper.

Secondly,  I do understand the sentiments and reasoning behind this motion. Politically wrongheaded but totally understandable. In the current climate of devaluing, demeaning and denigrating rape, it’s been shocking and damaging to the Left. It has unearthed nasty misogynistic views and exposed a seriously worrying trend of rape apolologism. And you only have to look at how the SWP dealt with the allegations of rape. And when people speak out about any kind of sexual assault and rape there’s a tendency to dismiss, blame and ultimately to blame the victim/survivor. For me it’s about listening and taking seriously what is being said, including allegations as opposed to the knee jerk reaction of disbelief, and this is reflected on the Left too. I am sick and tired of this, women being disbelieved, demeaned, humiliated, and confronted by the Left’s version of rough justice! This article written in this sneering, sarcastic, ranty and juvenile way is utterly disrespectful and isn’t about debate. It is not clever nor can he put forward cogent arguments. It’s pathetic.

And why is the statement about “Our movement must be a safe space for women” dubious? I signed it because I agreed with it. Why it is so dubious to show solidarity regarding confronting and challenging violence against women?! Again, the author is dismissive and actually it exposes his ignorance.

But the icing on cake, pièce de résistance is this half-baked nonsense:

Rape – and domestic violence – are not conducted, by and large, by people who explicitly hold women in contempt, but are rather symptoms of an underlying social psychopathology, a deformed consciousness that does not manifest itself in a way that it can, as the writers of the statement imagine, be “confronted” or “challenged” in a direct way.

Huh? Say what?

Where to start? Where’s the empirical and rational basis for this? Good grief… this really is highfalutin’ verbiage.  Where does this fit in with a rigorous Marxist analysis. My favourite has to be “underlying social psychopathology”… Methinks that is psychobabble along with”a deformed consciousness”…

This “analysis” lets violent men off the hook. No mention of power relationships between men and women. Of course, patriarchy theory to the author (and many on the Left) would be like opening the blinds on a sunny day to a vampire. Nooooooo…

But the underlying issue here is the lack of individual responsibility (also collective responsibility is a bit thin on the ground too) for violent behaviour. The statement is not counterproductive it’s a valid view of the Left.

Finally (as I don’t want to spent too much time on this)

Most of all, we can now see why the charge of ‘creeping feminism’ was so pathetic. In its utterly moralistic approach to politics, the SWP encouraged its members to become feminists. It fostered illusions in campus campaigns to ban lads’ mags, in local campaigns to close down strip clubs, in all the censorious and oppressive nonsense to have come out of that movement (the carnivalesque and gleefully perverse side of feminism seems hardly to have appealed to the SWP at all, alas).

Now the curtain-twitcher’s finger is being wagged at the SWP – and it has no answers at all.

Did the SWP encourage its member to become feminists? That’s news to me. And what fresh hell is this, the carnivalesque and gleefully perverse side of feminism seems hardly to have appealed to the SWP at all, alas.

Just what is the author talking about? Wot… Not workerist enough? SWP shoulda/coulda been more resolute against that creepy crawly feminism?

The mind boggles at this incoherence…. and that makes it utterly reactionary!

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9 thoughts on “Jabberwocky Weekly Worker style…..

  1. While completely agreeing with most of your analysis, especially the bit about the absurdity of the phrase ‘social psychopathology’ (which actually seems to me to chime with the worst kind of reactionary psychotherapy – perhaps it could be cured by CBT? – sorry obsessional hatred of latter coming out), I am not sure that the analysis of the phrase “the carnivalesque and gleefully perverse side of feminism seems hardly to have appealed to the SWP at all, alas.” is quite accurate. I am of course merely guessing at the author’s meaning,but my instant reaction was to think of Angela Carter (a sadly obvious connection probably), of Slut Walk, even of (showing my age) some of the Greenham tactics (these are not necessarily reconcilable). Now whether or not these are or are not ‘feminist’ is a hot potato which I will not handle (it opens a mass of discussion) but I do not think they are workerist, while they might be described as ‘carnivalesque and gleefully perverse’ – and I don’t think they ever did appeal much to the SWP as far as I can recall.

  2. Weekly Worker always come across as entertaining and essentially harmless until they stop talking about the foibles and failings of other Left groups and start to tell us what THEY actually think. It’s rather like that moment when the person you’ve just been having a good moan with about the iniquity of the banking system suddenly informs you that it’s all because the earth has been taken over by Pod People from Pluto. I sometimes wonder if the Weekly Worker crew secretly believe that Marx never died, but actually lives inside the hollow earth, kept alive by Vril energy and the ministrations of shiny little robots…

  3. Enjoyable commentry Harpymarx! A question for you: I’ve just been reading a facebook discussion among my UCU colleagues and it appears that the SWP’s position is that working-class men don’t benefit from sexism and/or from gender oppression. Just wondered where you stood on this?

  4. Loony Lefty, wasn’t this the issue where John Molyneux showed some mettle and challenged it way back when? I agree with him. Shame his judgement is so skewed on the Delta case.

    Harpy, I too read the WW piece with increasing dismay. Uplandtrout sums up my feeling very well — a universal recoil at the horror … the horror …

  5. Hiya,
    Men do benefit from women’s oppression, including working class men, to deny this is to deny the plain facts of oppression. The man who bullies his female partner to cook the meals, housework and childcare is gaining a direct benefit from her oppression. Yes, the man is exploited by capitalism but that does not mean he cannot benefit from the oppression of a woman.

  6. You are missing the key element. The weekly worker crew have for the past 10 years based everything around the assumption that a future united communist party will be born out of the existing left, and that means an orientation on the largest group of the British left, the SWP.
    The splintering of this group might bring individual recruits to the weekly worker but the shattering of the SWP would be disastrous for the cpgb (pcc) and its perspectives. This is the reason behind such a crass article, as they seek to maintain a relationship with the rape denying loyalists.

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