The Scottish Socialist Party suffered yet another set back as their National Secretary, Connor Beaton, sensationally quit the party on Saturday due to “serious political shortcomings” within the organisation, and accusations that the left wing party’s internal democracy is “fundamentally broken”.
Mr Beaton defended his record as National Secretary, since being elected 18 months ago in modernising the party’s internal communications and in building positive relationships with other organisations on the left, such as Radical Independence Campaign, Living Rent, Fans Against Criminalisation, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Catalan Defence Committee Scotland, Anti-Capitalist Queers, and the Student Solidarity Network. However he feels he has been undermined at every turn by members of the Executive Committee who opposed his initial candidacy for the position of National Secretary.
Beaton claims a group on the SSP Executive Committee wish to exclude the wider membership from the decision making process and accused National Spokesperson Colin Fox of abusing his position by regularly phoning branch secretaries and instructing them as to how their members should vote in internal elections. He told Ungagged;
“Political power in the SSP is held by a small handful of individuals who despite assertions to the contrary, function as the SSP’s de facto leadership and continue to try to centralise power even further.”
It marks a new low point for the SSP who at its height in had six members elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2003 but failed to have any elected four years later after former leader Tommy Sheridan tore the party apart over a court action that ultimately lead to him being jailed for perjury.
The SSP experienced a brief renaissance in 2014-2015 after their successful involvement in the Yes campaign but saw another exodus of members after their ill-fated decision to affiliate to “RISE – Scotland’s Left Alliance.