Student activists to protest SWP conference over rape allegations


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The Independent Online

Student activists are planning a demonstration at the Socialist Workers Party’s summer conference, over its actions regarding a rape accusation.

The University of London Union (ULU) has promised to ‘actively confront’ the SWP following a controversy in September 2012 , over the party leadership's handling of a serious rape allegation.

ULU has labelled the SWP’s actions as ‘a despicable act of denial, nepotism and sexism’. Students plan to demonstrate at the SWP’s annual summer school event, Marxist 2013, part of which is scheduled to take place inside a ULU building in London this Sunday.

The controversy erupted over allegations that the SWP set up a ‘socialist sharia court’ to investigate the accusation rather than reporting the matter to police. Details of the court emerged after a disaffected member of the SWP reportedly leaked the minutes of a controversial disciplinary meeting which acquitted the official accused of rape.

In response to the outcry, the SWP held a further committee meeting on 5 January 2013, which upheld the original meeting’s decision 231 votes to 209, with 18 abstentions.

The Union has released a statement condemning the handling of the affaor, stating: ‘allowing the event [Marxist 2013] to continue with no public intervention would be tantamount to complicity in the situation.’

They continued: “It would be wrong for the SWP to use its muscle to shut down debate and escape accountability for its actions.” The Union has called on student activists to confront the SWP by appearing at the protest.

The affair has also angered many erstwhile members of the SWP, and opened up deep splits within the largest far-left political organisation in the country.

The leaked minutes apparently recorded SWP leaders’ decision to keep the matter away from the notice of the police or any authorities. One member stated the party had ‘no faith in the bourgeois court system to deliver justice.’

The Independent contacted the SWP head office over the allegations and ULU statement but received no reply.