The Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) have come under fire in recent years for ‘rape apologism’. A senior ranking member, only known as ‘Comrade Delta’, was accused of sexually assaulting a young female member of the party.
The organisation chose not to involve police, instead using their own disputes committee to handle the matter. During the trial, the woman who had made the allegations of the attack was reportedly asked intimate questions such as her drinking habits and her sexual history.
The internal review resulted in Comrade Delta being cleared of all charges, and evidence was never handed over to police for further scrutiny.
This has led to many people accusing the SWP of ‘rape apologism’ and perverting the course of justice in an attempt to protect its senior members. It also led to many members resigning in protest of the ‘cover up’.
In response to this, a motion was submitted to the NUS National Executive Council (NEC) to cut ties between the NUS and the SWP. The motion proposed to support students’ unions nationally in preventing the SWP or its affiliated organisations from being invited to campus.
An amendment proposed by NUS Women’s Officer Hareem Ghani went further and called on NUS delegates to refuse to speak at events organised by the SWP or it’s affiliates.
Ghani later tweeted a screen-grab of an email sent to the NUS senior leadership by the SWP, threatening legal action.
The email states, “If this motion is passed [it is] sanctioning harassment and intimidation of our members then we reserve the right as a party and also as individual members of the SWP to take legal action against the NUS.’
Despite these threats, the motion and the amendment were both passed by the NUS NEC. It remains to be seen whether or not the SWP will move to take legal action against the NUS.
Both the SWP and NUS have been approached for comment.