Response to the Guardian 9 March 2013
This statement appeared in response to an article on the Guardian website on 9 March 2013.
There is an article on the Guardian website today that makes allegations about a disputes committee case in 2011.
The party was approached by the Guardian in advance of the story going out, and we made a statement to them. Only a very small part of it was used, so I am letting you see the whole of it. You will see that we do not accept how the Guardian has framed the issue, and we contest much of the detail.
Charlie Kimber, the party’s national secretary, says, “The SWP strongly contests major elements of this account of the Disputes Committee hearing. The woman concerned brought serious accusations to our attention, we investigated, found against the accused and took prompt action. Those are the facts of this case.
“Fighting for women’s liberation is a central part of the struggle for socialism. We take any issues involving women’s oppression extremely seriously.
“We give a guarantee of confidentiality to everyone involved in such hearings, and therefore we cannot go into full detail. But there was absolutely no cover-up.
“The person accused was removed from the party, and the members of the party heard a full report on the case at our annual conference.
“This report, and a special meeting in the district most affected, brought home the importance of what had happened.
“It is to the credit of our organisation that we investigated this claim thoroughly and took effective action on the basis of the evidence that was presented.”
Pat Stack, the chair of the disputes committee during this case, says, “I simply do not recognise this account of the hearing. For example, we did not ask the questions that are alleged. We are very conscious of how difficult such cases are for the women involved. I am sure that we dealt with the case in a proper way.”
Charlie Kimber adds, “I hope that after the party’s conference we can move forward united. We are going to redouble our fight against this vicious government, against the attacks on jobs, pay, benefits and public services, against the bedroom tax and against privatisation.
“We will continue to work in action with as wide a range of people outside the party as possible. The challenges facing working people across the globe are too urgent for us not to seek to build broader resistance to austerity, fascism and war. And at the centre of that fightback we will continue to argue for a socialist future which abolishes exploitation and tears out the roots of women’s oppression, LGBT oppression, racism and everything else that divides us.”