Socialist Alliance: Appeals committee begins work

Committee member Anne Mc Shane reports on its first meeting

The newly elected Socialist Alliance appeals committee has begun to look at the thorny problem of Bedfordshire SA and the proposed expulsions of Danny Thompson and Jane Clarke, both supporters of the Revolutionary Democratic Group.

This is a long-running problem with the most recent developments dating back to December 2002, when the officers of Bedfordshire SA requested that comrades Thompson and Clarke be expelled because of unacceptable behaviour. The national executive had been involved prior to that in trying to sort out issues between the Socialist Workers Party, the RDG and a number of independents who tended to line up on one side or the other.

Unfortunately the resolution of the present situation has taken far longer than it should have. This had to do with difficulties within the previous appeals committee - principally the fact that it never actually met.

The present committee was elected at the SA conference in May. It is comprised of Brian Butterworth (SWP), Pete Wearden (SWP), Greg Tucker (International Socialist Group), Jim Gilbert (independent) and myself from the CPGB.

We have had one meeting, where it was agreed that a delegation of three of us would meet with both sides to determine the way forward. The attitude of all AC members was that if possible the problems should be resolved without expulsions.

One meeting has so far been held - with Keith Woods (Bedfordshire SA officer and SWP member) and further meetings will be arranged with others involved.

We aim to determine this matter in a democratic and fair way - and as soon as possible. It is particularly problematic that Bedfordshire SA has not met since January.

All involved are concerned at this and quite rightly point to the fact that electoral opportunities have been lost and the whole saga has created demoralization.