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Joe Higgins and SP dis-respects Comrade Bill Webster.

category international | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Monday September 01, 2014 17:41author by sean throne - Facts For Working People. Report this post to the editors

SP claims Bill Webster as own in spite of him resigning in protest many years before.

Sectarianism has many aspects to it. One is to seek to use any opportunity to try and gain advantage for your own group or organization irregardless of the interests of the movement, or irregardless of paying respect for other workers and activists.

I was very sorry i could not be present at the funeral of my friend and Comrade Bill Webster. I understand that it was well attended and Bill's life was commemorated. I would just like to raise one point. I think in situations like this it is important to be precise and principled and respectful. I see that Joe Higgins spoke at Bill's funeral. My understanding is that, and this would have been inevitable, Joe Higgins by speaking was doing so to associate Bills achievements and principled life with the CWI and the Socialist Party of which Joe Higgins is a leading member. I believe that Joe Higgins acted in a disrespectful manner by speaking at Bill's funeral. Bill had many years previously left the Socialist Party and the CWI. He did so because he concluded that it was no longer a principled organization. Specifically he did so around events at the time of the expulsion of myself and the small faction i was part of. At that time he traveled to Chicago to see if what Joe Higgin's organization the CWI and the SP was saying about me was true. He concluded that what was being said was not true and that I was the target of lies and slanders by Joe Higgins organization. He returned to Ireland and against my advice resigned in protest from the CWI and the SP. It was unprincipled and disrespectful of Joe Higgins to speak at Bill's funeral. It was another example of the sectarianism of that man and his organization. They will do whatever they think furthers the interests of their own organization irrespective of what this means to other people reputations and lives. In this case Joe Higgins and the CWI disrespected Bill.

Sean Throne.

Related Link: http://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.ie
author by fredpublication date Mon Sep 01, 2014 22:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As background, here is a previous post also by you John which I think is relevant and IMHO clarifies your position on JH better.


author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party / CWIpublication date Tue Sep 02, 2014 13:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This statement by John Throne about the attendance of Joe Higgins at the funeral of Bill Webster is an utter disgrace.

Bill Webster played a very important role in the formative years of the Militant / CWI and his involvement in the CWI helped shape the person that he was. When Bill left the CWI he continued to have respect for the organisation and the people involved in it. Bill continued to work with members of the CWI in a variety of political activities, attended CWI organised events and was shown a mutal respect by the CWI and its members. In contrast John Throne has engaged in a twenty year campaign of vilification against the CWI and individual members of that organisation, including repeatedly attacking Joe Higgins on a politcal and personal level. Joe Higgins attended the funeral of Bill Webster as a mark of respect for the man and the role that he played in the Militant / CWI in the past and the wider workers movement since. John Throne claims that Joe Higgins acted in a disrespectful manner in attending the funeral - I would contend that it is John Throne who has behaved in an utterly disrespectful and disgraceful way in dragging the memory of Bill Webster into his twenty year obsessive campaign of vilification against the CWI.

author by Former Militant Memberpublication date Wed Sep 03, 2014 21:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jolly Red Giant

The only person showing disrespect here is you. I have followed your comments for years and your disregard for anything resembling honesty regarding the CWI and its internal life is beyond contempt. I knew Bill well, and he was a man who above all treasured comradeship and honesty. He would be disgusted by the CWI in its present state, as am I. He was rightly outraged at its treatment of John and what it represented in terms of how it conducts itself. It is appalling that Joe associates himself with this. Not once have you answered any quite straightforward questions about John T and his expulsion. Nor has Joe or the CWI.

Bill had his problems, but he was a sincere man and quite incapable of duplicity. I honour his life, am proud to have known him, and am very glad he was a friend and influence in my life.

author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party / CWIpublication date Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Former Militant -

I couldn't care less about what you think of me, no more than I care what John Throne thinks of me or the CWI.

John Throne was expelled from the US section of the CWI 20 years ago - it is ancient history. The CWI has moved on, John Throne has not. The issues about what did and did not what happen are utterly irrelevent today - it was comprehensively dealt with at the time. There are mountains of documents that John Throne could publish in full if he wanted to - he has not.

It is interesting that you imply that you know the attitude of Bill Webster to the CWI since he left the Militant. I would contend that you do not. I also knew Bill well. After Bill Webster left the Militant he continued to work in the wider labour movement with members of the CWI, he continued to attend CWI organised events etc. He showed respect to the CWI and to its members despite what his personal views might have been - and that respect was reciprocated by the members of the CWI. Not once, to my knowledge, did Bill Webster every publically attack the CWI or engage in personal attacks on members of the CWI like John Throne has done and continues to do.

Furthermore, Joe Higgins did not attend the funeral of Bill Webster off his own bat. Do you seriously think that if Bill Webster's family had any problem with Joe Higgins attending the funeral he would have been there? His attendance was a recognition of the mutual respect that existed between Bill Webster and the members of the CWI.

If John Throne (and you) really wanted to give the respect due to the life and work of Bill Webster then John Throne (and you) should have made comments that celebrated his life and work. Joe Higgins made comments at the funeral that celebrated the dedication of a committed working class activist and the respect that all members of the CWI had for Bill Webster. John Throne (and now you) has dragged the memory of Bill Webster into a 20 year old vendetta against the CWI. It is the wrong way to remember the man and what he did during his life.

author by john throne - Facts For working people. publication date Thu Sep 04, 2014 15:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For years now I have been attacked by somebody who calls themselves Jolly Red Giant. I think it would be better if we knew who was who. Does anybody know who this person is. Or better still will they have the courage to come pout openly and say who they are, why they so viciously attack me and what their own views are. Other than of course supporting everything the SP/CWI does of course.

Related Link: http://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com
author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party / CWIpublication date Thu Sep 04, 2014 17:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With all due respect John, the only one who has been engaged in attacks is you - both on a political an personal level - against members of the CWI. Here again you have used the death of Bill Webster and the presence of Joe Higgins at his funeral to launch what I consider a quite disgraceful, unprovoked and personal attack on Joe Higgins. If you were really the friend of Bill Webster that you claimed to be then your thread on here would have been a commentary on the life and work of the man - instead you have chosen to use his sad passing as just one more opportunity to take a swipe at Joe Higgins and the CWI.

As for my identity - that is my business and utterly irrelevant. Your arguments either stand up to scrutiny or not - and the identity of the people who might debate with you when you choose to post on the internet is irrelevant. If I were at a public meeting and you were making the same comments you will be in no doubt about my identity. The only purpose for you knowing my identity is to launch similar personal attacks on me just as you have on Joe Higgins above. You can continue to engage with your ongoing obsession with the CWI and your perceived ill-treatment when you were expelled by the US section twenty years ago as much as you want. The CWI has no interest in engaging with you and the only time I will respond is when you post what are disgraceful personalised attacks like the one above. In my opinion you have disrespected the memory of Bill Webster by such antics. The man deserved and deserves to have his passing from life marked in a more humble, respectful and considered manner. This thread should have been about Bill Webster and not about the fact that Joe Higgins attended his funeral.

author by john throne - Fact for working peoplepublication date Fri Sep 05, 2014 14:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This Jolly Red Giant. He or is it she attacks me for being obsessed with the CWI. There is an obsession alright. It is this persons obsession with me. If I am so irrelevant and it is all 20 years ago and nobody cares then why on every occasion i post does this person attack me. Clearly an obsession.

I put on a very balanced comment on Joe Higgins when he announced his retirement. Acknowledging his role in the labor movement and praising it but taking up his refusal to fight internally for the rights of the membership. In particular his refusal to stand for the right of myself and the rest of the minority faction to be allowed to appeal against our expulsion. This is a stain on Joe Higgin's record. It will not go away unless he acknowledges it.

And to Bill. Why does this person Jolly Red Giant not address the fact that Bill Webster, unlike him or herself or anybody else, contact me in the US to hear my side of the story about the expulsions. Joe Higgins when I went to Dublin and asked him to refused to stand for my right to appeal. The US section, British section, the world conference all refused to allow me to appeal. But Bill. His actions were of the greatest principle. He traveled to the US to hear if what was being said about me was true. He concluded that it was lies and slanders and came back to Ireland and resigned in principle from the CWI. Incidently I advised him not to resign.

By the way. Look at what has happened since to the CWI. Resignations of leading members, the same secret machinations of the leadership against any alternative voice, see the recent resignation statement from leading Comrades in Ireland, see the wrecking role it played in the ULA.

This is ignored by the Jolly Red Giant, His obsession with me triumphs all. John Throne.

Related Link: http://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com
author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party / CWIpublication date Sat Sep 06, 2014 13:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wow - a case to answer - definitely.

It is telling that a thread started by John Throne who used the attendance of Joe Higgins at the funeral of Bill Webster to personally attack Joe Higgins and the CWI turns into a fishing expedition to find out my identity. This is not the first time that John Throne has attempted to use a thread attacking Joe Higgins or the CWI to engage in such a fishing expedition. And now as in the past another anonymous poster has added to a long list of CWI members that I am supposed to be (it started with Stephen Boyd, then Ciaran Crossey, several of the Mulhollands and then went on to numerous others - and this has been going on for ten years). As always when this happens I will not confirm or deny my identity - it is irrelevant to the discussion taking place.

I have been a member of the CWI for over 30 years. I joined the CWI when John Throne was a leading member of the Irish Section of the CWI before he went to work for the International Secretariat of the CWI. I read every document published during the expulsion of the John Throne and others from the US Section of the CWI (and it took a long time). I respected the work and activism of John Throne even after he was expelled. I discussed his expulsion in detail with him on several occasions including at least twice when he turned up and tried to get access to the annual conference of the Irish Section of the CWI and at the World Congress of the CWI in 1998 when he turned up to lobby the delegates. I have known many members of the CWI who have left the CWI and despite their differences with the CWI I still have the utmost respect for their political activism, including Dermot Connolly, Joan Collins, Clare Daly, the late Bill Webster and many others. I still regard many as friends even though we rarely come into contact these days. I lost my respect for John Throne when he chose to embark on a consistent campaign of denigration of the CWI, when he adopted the attitude of 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' and used every opportunity to launch political and personal attacks on the CWI and its members. I challenge John Throne, as I have repeatedly done in the past, to publish ALL the documents from the period of his expulsion on his website and allow people to judge for themselves the actions of the US CWI and the CWI in general in relation to his expusion. Twenty years later John Throne still has not done this. Furthermore, this is not the first time that John Throne has used a tragic or traumatic incident to further his agenda of attacking the CWI at every opportunity. Recently he was asked to leave a internet discussion group mainly composed of former members of the CWI when they got fed up of his constant obsession with the CWI after he used the traumatic experience of a former member of the CWI to launch an attack on the CWI. As for my obsession with John Throne - well maybe John can inform people of how many different internet forums he has posted a thread with a copy and paste of the OP to attack Joe Higgins? I have and will continue to rebuke unfounded accusations and personal attacks by John Throne on members of the CWI when I come across them on the internet. I would prefer not to have to do this and I will again suggest that John Throne find something more productive to do with his time.

It is also telling that this thread has brought the worms out of the woodwork, not to comment on what John Throne claimed in the OP, but instead turn it into an attack on me and a fishing expedition to find out my identity. In my view it demonstrates the irrelevance that Indymedia Ireland has become since its hayday 10-15 years ago.

I will finish by returning to the OP and again express my sympathy to the family of Bill Webster, to acknowledge and respect the life and work of Bill Webster while he was a member of the CWI and after he left and to suggest that the most appropriate way to show respect to Bill Webster is for people on here to take two seconds before shooting from the hip.

Goodbye Comrade Bill and thank you for your life and committment to the workers movement and the cause of socialism.

author by wageslave - personal capacitypublication date Sun Sep 07, 2014 04:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In my view it demonstrates the irrelevance that Indymedia Ireland has become since its hayday 10-15 years ago.

rather liker a "socialist party" who do not provide a credible alternative to the right wing neoliberals for the Irish electorate and who are reduced to kicking principled ex members like clare daly when they are down to jockey for electoral seats at the trough, some would say JRG!! ;-)


author by john throne - Facts for working people. publication date Sun Sep 07, 2014 04:18author email loughfinn at aol dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

[edited to remove references to poster's possible identity which was not voluntarily revealed -mod]

JRG refers to myself and a discussion list and my being asked to remove myself from this discussion list. I assume he is referring to the Socialist Discussion List moderated by Roger Silverman. At the time the discussion referred to was taking place there were up to 200 people on that list as. Three or at most four, I am pretty sure only three, asked me to remove myself from the list. The rest either said nothing or said they wanted me to stay on the list. This is the way JRG slanders.

But to the issue under debate at that time on that list. There was increasingly discussion on the special oppression of women. This is an issue I believe that I myself and the CWI paid insufficient attention to over the years and still does. As this was being discussed the following came up. Some time ago the leading member of the CWI in Canada a male, beat up another leading Comrade of the CWI there, a woman Comrade. He broke her finger, he threw scalding liquid at her, he drove her out on to the winter streets of Toronto in her bare feet. This Comrade protested as she rightly should have done. A leading member of the CWI was sent from London to try and keep her mouth shut. In the course of this the leading member from London called the Canadian member who had been beaten up a "whiner."

The member who had beaten up the other member then started to call the Comrades workplace and tell her employer that she was unstable etc. He was trying to get this Comrade fired and also to intimidate her into keeping quiet. The Comrade who had been beaten up had to eventually take legal action to get him to stop. It was only the day before the case was to come to court and with the Comrade who had been beaten up refusing to be blackmailed and intimidated that the CWI eventually suspended their leading member who had beaten the other Comrade. It appears that this person is now either back in the CWI or working closely with them again.

This Comrade who was beaten up took her experience up on the Socialist discussion List. But she then felt that all the old trauma was coming back and she could not handle it. She asked me to post her material dealing with her experiences. I did so. For this I was attacked by these people who wanted me off the list . They claimed I was manipulating and using the beaten up Comrade. This Comrade came back on the list and said she considered that these attacks on me were just more abuse and attacks on her like the physical abuse she had already suffered. This is what happened.

There are a few CWI members on the Socialist Discussion List. They lurk there to see what is going on. They refuse to discuss anything that goes on in the CWI except to trumpet victories that they think they have. Their refusal to discuss what goes on in the CWI is typical of the false internal lives of the left groups. These CWI people were asked again and again to explain what had happened in this case of physical abuse of this Comrade in Canada by the then leading Comrade in Canada. Another ex member of the CWI, a woman Comrade, also came into the discussion and spoke of her experience of abuse by a CWI member and another experience of abuse of another woman Comrade in the CWI.

After the most vicious attacks on myself for defending the woman Comrade in Canada, she had by then left the list and also the CWI, I took myself off the Socialist Discussion List. I was not put off it, I took myself off it.

During all this timeJRG's Comrades had all the time necessary to explain what had happened in the case of the physical beating of the then woman Comrade in Canada by the then leading member of the CWI in Canada. They refused to discuss this. Would I have been right to have kept my mouth closed on this. Or was I right to defend this Comrade and raise the need to increase the consciousness of the Socialist Discussion List and the CWI and all of us on this issue. I believe I was right.

When JRG answers let him leave aside his attacks on me and deal with the fact that the leading member of the CWI in Canada beat up another leading female Comrade of the CWI in Canada and the CWI tried to intimidate this Comrade, that the IS of the CWI sent a leading member to Canada to call her a "whiner", tried to make her keep quiet in what they were claiming was in the interests of the CWI. Just like the SWP did in Britain.

Please JRG. Do not think that you can whitewash the mistakes and false policies of the CWI. I know far more about them than you. One reason i do is that i was part of making many of these mistakes. But the difference between you and me is that i have had the honesty to face up to my mistakes and openly admit them. You have not. You remain a closed minded follower and slanderer of the CWI. You are doing far more damage to that organization than I could ever do. As for discussing with me. I have no memory whatever of that. I am dubious about any claims you make.

John Throne.

Related Link: http://wenowwhatsup.blogspot.com
author by Redoakpublication date Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

wageslave you're on the ball, they have the people who are most likely to fight for a fairer society tied up in this back and forth nonsense. I was seduced by the socialist philosophy for years before I opened my eyes and dug deeper, from the Fabians to the present it's just a diversion and a sop for the working classes. There are a lot of great people in the socialist/communist movement but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I despise the current neoliberal agenda but a lot of socialists are brainwashed which is evident in the hysterical reactions that are given when you try to present the dark side of the philosophy they have subscribed to. It's the same reaction that cult members have, they are otherwise intelligent people who are so invested and wanting socialism to be the answer that any threat to the psychological blanket is attacked with intensity. Socialism is not in opposition to the machine it was created by it and works for it.

author by john throne - Facts for working people. publication date Tue Sep 09, 2014 02:05author email loughfinn at aol dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

This might be a first. I am talking about me making a contribution without JRG saying something. Of course it is very difficult for him to do so at this stage of the discussion. He accused me of being put off a discussion list. I explained that this was not so that I had resigned from the discussion list. But what was difficult for JRG was that I explained why. I explained that it was because of the discussion around where the then leading member of the CWI in Canada had beaten up another woman Comrade of the CWI there, broken her finger, threw scalding liquid at her, drove her our onto the freezing Toronto streets in her bare feet and tried to get her fired. Then tried to intimidate this Comrade into silence, calling her a "whiner" and pressurizing her in other ways.

JRG you should answer these issues. Help your own organization. Do so by refusing to help it cover up such abuse of women Comrades. Help it by increasing the consciousness of the membership and of all activists and workers about the need to pay more attention to the special oppression of women.

If JRG does not deal with this issue of where the then leading member of the CWI in Canada beat up another CWI member then he will have not a shred of credibility left. I will be able to ignore anything he ever says about me in the future. I will be able to ignore all his slanders. On behalf of your organization JRG speak out now on the assault of your former member in Canada and prevent the cover up of this abuse.

John Throne.

Related Link: http://weknowwatsup.blogspot.com
author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party /CWIpublication date Tue Sep 09, 2014 20:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

John - I have zero interest in engaging with you. That boat sailed fifteen years ago.

Just like you took the tragic passing of Bill Webster to take a swipe at Joe Higgins and the SP, a few months ago you dredged up a traumatic incident involving a female member of the CWI in a country outside Ireland that occurred more than a decade ago and engaged in another attack on the CWI. You may have resigned from the discussion group but that came after several members of the group took you to task for using this incident to engage in your ongoing campaign of vilification of the CWI, and they asked you to leave the group.

You have continued your campaign with this thread. Bill Webster deserves better than to be a vehicle for your ongoing vilification. Joe Higgins attended to funeral of Bill Webster out of respect for the man, to offer sympathy to his family and to acknowledge the work of Bill within the CWI and in the wider workers movement after he left the CWIi. In my opinion, you should have restricted your comments to the same criteria and I make no apology for criticising your actions.

author by john throne - Facts for working peoplepublication date Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What have you to say about what you call a "traumatic incident." That is the then leading member beating up another member of the CWI and the CWI trying to cover this up. A "traumatic incident?" This was vicious violence against a woman member of the CWI. You try to white wash it by calling it a "traumatic incident." It was not an "incident". It was violence against a woman and a cover up of this violence. You have the opportunity to "uncover" this violence and cover up but of course you will not because you are a closed minded slanderer on behalf of the CWI. As I have said before in this role you do more damage to that organization than I could ever do.

And by the way if Joe Higgins attended Bill's funeral out of respect for Bill then why did he not speak of all of Bill's life, of his full life, including the last part where the resigned from the CWI out of disgust and in principle at the undemocratic and unprincipled internal life of that organization. Of course Joe Higgins was and is an active participant in that undemocratic and unprincipled internal life. As you are.

John Throne.

And as a PS. Why this obsession about hiding your identity?

Related Link: http://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com
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