Statement from the organising group of the Delhi HM conference
Over the past few days there have been suggestions that the journal Historical Materialism (HM) is run by Britain’s Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP), that the SWP is associated with the Delhi HM Conference on 3–5 April 2013, and that in light of the rape crisis in the SWP, the Delhi HM conference should be boycotted or disrupted.
Both propositions underlying the boycott and disruption call are absolutely false. HM has always been an independent journal, and is not controlled by the SWP or any other group. Three out of the 12-member Editorial Board were members of the SWP. During the recent controversy, all three have resigned their membership of the party in support of democracy and gender rights. Furthermore, there is no connection whatsoever between the SWP and the Delhi HM conference.
Participation at HM conferences across the world has always covered a wide spectrum of left-wing political thought. The Delhi HM conference includes participants from India and abroad and will continue this tradition of plurality. Members of the organising group of the Delhi HM conference, which is broadly Left in its composition, believe that equality between the sexes is central to building ‘new cultures of the Left’. This struggle must address violence against women wherever it occurs. Since the recent crisis in the SWP involves rape charges, it caused deep disquiet amongst us.
The bulk of the preparations for the conference, including the selection of submissions, took place well before the recent SWP controversy, yet the fact that one out of around 140 papers selected was by an SWP Central Committee member was used in the disinformation campaign against the Conference. As the success of the Conference is the organising group’s prime concern and we have no wish to be associated with the crisis of any other group, we asked the sole member of the SWP CC who was to attend the conference not to attend. The HM Conference remains an open event and its organisers cannot prevent the entry or exit of participants or stop anyone who chooses to speak from the floor of the Conference discussions from doing so.
(On behalf of the Delhi Conference organising group) 26/3/2013