Weekly Worker reports on Red Spark the SWP's new youth group, launched at Marxism 2002
But is it Marxism? Bits of gossip from Marxism 2002
A truth universally acknowledged Marcus flashes his wad - the gossip challenge
Sparky does it
Here's a little mystery. Weekly Worker reports:
'The Socialist Workers Party took the opportunity of this year's Marxism to launch Red Spark, a youth organisation "based on the politics of the SWP and [for] school and college students who want to fight capitalism". Around 30 trusted young comrades were gathered together prior to the formal launch on July 7, the first Sunday of the event. An editorial board of 12 was created - "basically those who put their hands in the air," I was told.'
I have searched the Socialist Worker for either a report of the meeting or a notice leading up to it. Now it may be that Weekly Worker is quicker off the mark or that Socialist Worker had more pressing matters to report, but where did the 30 come from? How did they know about the launch meeting? Is some form of telepathy a requirement for that 'hands in the air' editorial board?
You have to agree with WW's conclusion:
Red Spark will have very little formal structure - partially understandable for such a new organisation, but a bureaucrat's dream when it comes to unaccountable control. ...
Despite this, there has already been some dissent in the new organisation about its relationship to the 'parent' body. One participant in the inaugural meeting told me that he was aware of a general sentiment in favour of creating a distance from the SWP, particularly the Socialist Worker Student Societies that are widely regarded as failures. While various apparatchiks present themselves as supportive of this attitude to a certain extent - 'It's your organisation,' people were frequently told - the reality will be rather different, I suspect.'
But is it Marxism?
The SWP in the Socialist Alliance are keen to show their fluffy, non-sectarian side, but sometimes when they all get together, as at the laughably named Marxism, the strain shows.
Solidarity sellers caused a bit of a stir by talking to people (always a dangerous activity) and had to be severely warned off. An improvement, of course, on previous years, when actual punches were thrown.
Not quite a war zone. Unlike this bizarre report from the Marxism 2002 gay workshop when the issue of Afghanistan was raised. Apparently, Islam is not homophobic. And to prove it, an SWP member read out passages from a seventh-century Islamic text to his bemused listeners. You really don't know whether to laugh or cry.
A truth universally acknowledged
At the AWL's own summer school, Ideas for Freedom, the big money was out. Marcus (the Marvellous Mechanical Man) Strom of the CPGB and SA exec. challenged the assembled Workers Libbers that he would donate £100 if they were all fully paid up members of the Alliance.
You know what you have to do.
Then in a curious bit of over-trumping, in response to Jill Mountford's comment that Weekly Worker was 'all gossip', he promised another £100 to anyone who could produce evidence of any piece of gossip in the pages of WW. As an avid WW reader and gossip-lover, methinks he has money to burn.
Must be in need of a wife.