Yarra Councillor Stephen Jolly quits party over “Family violence” claims

Longtime Marxist activist and City of Yarra Councillor Stephen Jolly has dramatically quit the Victorian Socialists party over allegations that the party executive claims, if proven, would amount to “Family violence” and constitute criminal conduct.

Victorian Socialists party bosses convened an extraordinary meeting last night and voted unanimously to suspend Jolly from the party he helped found just last year. Councillor Jolly responded to his suspension with an immediate resignation.

There is no word yet if Jolly’s fellow City of Yarra Victorian Socialists Councillor and long-time friend and associate Brigid O’Brien will be resigning with him. If so, that would mean Victorian Socialists have lost two of their three Councillors.

The Victorian Socialists executive committee has released a statement declaring that it does not find Councillor Jolly’s denial of the allegations to be credible and that the account of the incident put to the committee is not only compelling but supported by documentation.

The Victorian Socialists party was created in the lead-up to the 2018 Victorian state elections as an electoral front for Jolly’s small band of followers. They joined together with their fellow Trotskyists in the waning Socialist Alliance and the growing Socialist Alternative groups to pool their resources.

They hoped that with Jolly’s electoral appeal as a successfully re-elected local Councillor in Melbourne’s inner north, they could win an upper house seat. They almost succeeded, missing out on preferences in what would have been the first open Communist elected to an Australian parliament since the 1940s.

Regular readers of The Unshackled would know that this isn’t the first time that Jolly has been accused of less than admirable conduct towards women. Late last year, it emerged that while Victorian Socialists was being formed, allegations of decades of sexual harassment against multiple female left-wing activists were raised against Councillor Jolly. These allegations included obscene text messages and sending unsolicited pictures of his genitalia.

At the time, Victorian Socialists held an inquiry that was heavily criticised by many on the far left as a whitewash. This failure to address these concerns and the perception of a cover-up led to members of the Socialist Alliance leadership quitting both the Victorian Socialists and the Alliance in protest.

One notable name resigning over the matter was that of Mia Sanders, a Sydney Marxist activist and the National Co-Convener of the Socialist Alliance’s youth branch “Resistance”.

Allegations of sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, abuse and even rape are common in Trotskyist groups. Ironically, Stephen Jolly himself was forced to leave the “Socialist Party” in 2015 in protest over allegations that one of his proteges had been acting inappropriately towards younger female members and that an internal investigation had only covered the matter up.

In Sydney, the Socialist Alliance three years ago forced the resignation of activist and Legislative Council candidate Jemma Notts for being too noisy about her complaints of constant unwanted sexual approaches from a more senior male activist.

Back in Britain, Tommy Sheridan, the Scottish leader of the party that originally recruited Stephen Jolly back in Ireland in the 80s, was exposed as having used members’ money to visit a swingers club in Manchester to carry out an adulterous affair with two women at the same time, fuelled by alcohol and cocaine.

Also in Britain, another Trotskyist group (and parent group of Socialist Alternative), the Socialist Worker’s Party, was caught trying to cover up allegations of sexual assault of young female activists by its National Secretary Martin Smith.

All this without even mentioning that just this year the largest Trotskyist group in the US, the International Socialist Organisation, had to dissolve itself when it was revealed that the leadership in 2013 rigged an internal appeals committee to overturn an earlier finding of rape in order to clear a member of the leadership and smear his alleged victim.

For people who talk an awful lot about rape, domestic violence and the demeaning of women, Marxist groups do seem to attract a lot of men who indulge in all of the above. Maybe there’s a lesson there. But what’s for certain is that the slimy socialist (alleged) sex pest Stephen Jolly seems to have finally gotten his comeuppance. About damn time.

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