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Reply to Jonathan Clyne by former CWI control commission member

posted 7 Mar 2012, 09:26 by heiko khoo   [ updated 8 Mar 2012, 00:10 by Admin uk ]
International Marxist Tendency       

Dear Heiko and Jonathan,                

I have received this statement from Birgitte in reply to Jonathan's statement on ( ). She is asking that it be  published on and any other forums where Jonathan's text has been published.                           

Dear Jordi,
Inclosed please find answer to Jonathan.
All the best

I have just seen on a document signed by Jonathan Clyne called “Reply to what seems to be the IMT's defence against the rape allegations”. I do not want to comment on the arguments he puts forward. He has, however, not the right to say things that are not true and he has not the right to make personal attacks, especially against comrades who are not in a position where they can defend themselves.

In his document he says:
“An example is the experience of a young Swedish comrade who was raped many years ago by a South African comrade. At an international control commission the Swedish comrade was subjected to the type of interrogation that would be unacceptable if done by the police or a court of law in Sweden. After that the South African was suspended for two years and the whole thing was silenced. Nothing was done to use this dreadful event to clarify the gravity of this issue to the whole organization. Rape, just like all other political issues, must be dealt with openly.”
I have, as Jonathan knows very well had very serious political differences with Peter Taaffe and his supporters in the old CWI and parted company with them long ago.
There were many things wrong with the way that the organization worked, and I have criticized them openly at the time when they happened. But it is wrong to invent stories and to claim that some things happened when they never happened.
He then says that this was hushed up by the leadership, and the “rapist” was never punished properly.
Rape is a serious accusation. If any comrade in a revolutionary organization is guilty of this, he should be treated accordingly. It is known, however, that for the wrong reasons it is sometimes easy for someone to say they have been raped. Also: Sometimes there might be exaggeration involved. It is necessary to look carefully into such accusations and try to be as objective as possible. I believe that this was the case here.
The question was not ignored. There was an internal investigation and I was a member of the commission of inquiry which was formed to find the facts.
The commission went into this very thoroughly and interviewed both the girl in question and the man for quite a long time. In the end we found that the accusation of rape was not true.
Therefore, there was no question of a “cover-up”, or of any disciplinary measures.
Jonathan says that a female Swedish comrade was raped by a South African comrade and states this as a fact. But how does he know? Was he present at the rape? I do not think he was. Was he present when we talked with the two individuals? I know he was not. In other words, what he presents as a fact is not a fact at all but only his personal opinion.
If Jonathan had any proof of the rape allegation he should have presented them to the investigating commission 25 years ago. He did not, because he didn’t have any proof then, and he does not have any now. Now he expects everybody to accept his opinion as if it was a fact. This is not honest.
1)  These events took place 25 YEARS AGO. I do not understand why Jonathan Clyne, after having said nothing all these years, suddenly decides to talk about this case. If he was really so concerned about it as he says, why did he not raise it at the time?
If he felt that the commission was not being conducted properly, why did he not make a complaint about it? He could have written to the Swedish CC or EC, and if he was not satisfied with the reply, he could have made a complaint to the IEC or the IS. But he did not do any of these things. As a matter of fact, he said nothing at all. Why was all this not considered interesting for 25 years and why has it suddenly become interesting now?
2)  How can he claim to have such a thorough knowledge of events that occurred so long ago? And how does he know how the investigation was conducted WHEN HE WAS NOT PRESENT AT ANY OF THE INTERVIEWS WE HAD WITH BOTH PARTIES?
Maybe he will say he has spoken to the girl who made the accusations. But then he has made up his mind without listening to both sides. This is not to be serious.
He says he is dissatisfied with how the investigation was conducted. But he cannot say anything about this because he was not there. So what is his complaint against us? Is it because we did not automatically support the allegations made by the Swedish comrade? Is he saying that every accusation of rape must be true? If that is so, then I disagree. Even in a capitalist court it is usual to listen to both sides. I know from experience that they do. The youth wing of the Danish Social Democracy took me to court in 1989. The court listened to both sides and the YS did not win the case. I think that our standards of justice should be at least as good as the one we get in a capitalist court.
Jonathan says that the female member of the commission (myself) behaved badly:
“It is not uncommon for rape victims to consider the “investigation” as a second 'rape'. This has nothing to do with whether the “investigators” are men or women. In the Swedish case mentioned earlier, the woman “investigator” was by far the worse.”
How does he know that my conduct “was by far the worse”? What did my “bad behaviour” consist of? He does not know and he cannot know, because he never took any part in the proceedings. But now 25 years later he is playing the part of Judge as well as Jury. This is not to be honest.
What he writes is a personal attack upon me. I am used to being attacked by all kinds of people. I am, however, still here and can defend myself. But the South African comrade whose name he also tries to dirty is not able to defend himself because he has been reported dead.
Maybe Jonathan will say he has not slandered anybody because he does not use any name. He just writes about “a South African comrade”. But I know who he means and so do other people. That is what I call a slander.
It is not OK that somebody keeps silent for 25 years and then attacks someone who is reported dead
As for myself, I have been active in the Movement for 33 years. No doubt I have made many mistakes. But to tell lies was never one of them:
I remember the South African comrade concerned. He was a black comrade with an outstanding record in the revolutionary movement. He was in South Africa when he was accused and he came back to face the charges. This was at the height of the Apartheid period, when it was very difficult and dangerous to get in and out of South Africa. He could have refused to come to answer the charges, but he did not do so. He came as he was asked to do and answered all our questions. It was very clear to us that he was not guilty of what he was accused of.
Jonathan Clyne says that the man was kept out of the organization for two years. That is also not true. As he was found not guilty, the question of sanctions did not arise. He went back to South Africa where he continued his revolutionary work.
Whatever gossip about me Jonathan wants to bring to the market place I cannot care less about but the S.A. comrade is dead and cannot defend himself.
Birgitte, Denmark