Earlier this year I was removed from the Revolutionary Socialist Party – an unconstitutional* expulsion in which I was given no notice of disciplinary proceedings, and my right to have my appeal heard was ignored.
The party itself didn’t exist in much more than name, and had an internal culture that was quite hostile to women members wanting less sexism, and wanting us to maintain our marxism in the face of general pressure to accede to poststructuralism, especially in feminist activism. Nonetheless I had tried to stay a member (and was still financial) in case I could somehow help it find its way again. (As part of the former Democratic Socialist Party, it had had an impressive activist history, including in feminism, a heritage which it would be tragic to lose.)
I may update this post later with the details of my expulsion and appeal (sadly for the RSP’s admirable history, it omitted the real reason for expelling me – my being at odds with the internal anti-feminist culture – and made some easily debunkable claims about my not having made membership payments).
My illness means that compiling documents referencing multiple matters is physically difficult for me and makes me sicker. So I haven’t compiled the detailed information about the RSP that the young women whom it attempts to recruit using its ‘feminist’ credentials have a right to know. My aim is not to endorse the sexist silencing technique that tells women that their differences with sexist forces are “a personal matter” – they are not. We need to work past the conditioning which tells each and every one of us that in documenting these matters, even if it is after decades of trying to build a party while making no external criticism, that we are somehow ‘petty’ or apolitical. We cannot think such a think while valuing the revolutionary party. These things need to be discussed.
For now, here is a link** to a Facebook discussion (a group of posts) I was involved in, in which a well-known Australian militant unionist and his friends engaged in vilification of feminists and lesbians (so, vilification of women, due to the message that any woman who disagrees with our role of subjugation within the hetero family unit needs to be socially humiliated), and sexual harassment. Near the end of this, a man who is held up as a central leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (but had formally lapsed 5 or so months before this incident, and had not been rejoined by the time of my expulsion***), Andrew Ian ‘Jammo’ Jamieson, turned up not to add his solidarity with me against this treatment, but to give apparent endorsement to the behaviour of Ark Tribe and his friends.
* The RSP Constitution is here. It is broad enough to be used in a range of scenarios, and is designed to prevent the Party from being undermined by the personal limitations or agenda of individual members or factions, including those on leadership bodies, or by guilt being established by gossip or unexamined prejudice. The disciplinary procedures enable a range of complaints to be tested in a way that allows all involved to comment.
If a member is engaging in behaviour destructive to the party, for instance, disciplinary procedures allow charges to be designed around that. This requires evidence around that to be provided by the complainant and charged members, so the charged member has an opportunity to answer to this, and the complainants need to justify their claims.
No formal disciplinary measures can substitute for the conscious promotion of a culture where sexism and bullying are discouraged (and not treated as the responsibility of individual women to address) since without proper education on these things, the manner of approaching these problems, even at the formal, disciplinary level, will always be affected.
However, there is no good reason for not adhering to the measures provided by a constitution which caters to many scenarios.
** If that link doesn’t work (eg if you don’t have Open Office installed), try this one.
*** The anti-feminism of Andrew Jamieson is relevant because it highlights even further the extremely poor judgement, and cliquism, of the RSP leadership in continuing to allow him to attend leadership meetings and harass me about my membership even while his own membership had, according to the Constitution and as reported in Perth, lapsed some time ago (nearly a year earlier, by the time of my removal).