'Respect' and George Galloway

Respect: a barren conference

At the end of October, the Respect Unity Coalition unveiled a list of sixty resolutions (http://www.respectcoalition.com/?ite=900) which have been submitted to their conference (19-20 November).

Many are merely a rehash of existing policy — applying to the post-7/7 climate their positions of “troops out of Iraq now” and defending the “Muslim community” and, in effect, all its beliefs. It is worth noting, however, the lack of transparency in the wording of resolutions so that they can mean different things to different people.

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Demagogues and Critics: The True Story of "Stop the War Coalition"

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Paul Hampton

“What is demagogy? It is a deliberate play with sham values in politics, the dissemination of false promises and the solace of non-existent blessings.” Leon Trotsky, The Stalin School of Falsification (1937)

The history of the movement against the war in Iraq has yet to be written. No doubt an enterprising student somewhere is already busy reconstructing the story of how it happened and why. Such an account would be extremely valuable, given the numbers that have been involved and the movement’s continuing impact on national and international politics.

A review of "Stop the War: The story of Britain’s biggest mass movement" by Andrew Murray and Lindsey German.

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Vote socialist or Labour!

By Colin Foster

Stay at home and curse at the TV? Go to the polling station and write something left-wing on your ballot paper, in the hope that you get a message across at least to the individual who counts your vote? Vote for the Lib-Dems, on the grounds that at least they criticised the Iraq war, however queasily and weakly, and gains for them will punish Blair?

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The two faces of George Galloway

At a time when New Labour and the Tories are competing to display the most virulent hostility towards asylum and immigration rights, you might expect the left to be united in its opposition to this reactionary filth.

Unfortunately, you’d be disappointed. Writing in the Morning Star on 12 February, George Galloway not only denounced the idea of open borders but endorsed the “points system” for immigration recently mooted by various ruling-class politicians.

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An open letter to a supporter of the Iraqi “resistance” (2005)

Dear comrade,

You have been persuaded by the leaders of the so-called anti-war movement and Respect that those who fight the US and British forces in Iraq are bona fide anti-imperialists who fight for national self-determination.

That was never true. The results of the recent election in Iraq show how untrue it is.

Progress lies with the Iraqi labour movement - not with the reactionary “resistance”.

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Debate and discussion: Galloway’s sexist tripe

I knew something was rotten at the core of Respect but, as a Nigerian, I had no idea how awful its leader, George Galloway, was until I read his book I’m Not the Only One.

I knew something was rotten at the core of Respect but, as a Nigerian, I had no idea how awful its leader, George Galloway, was until I read his book I’m Not the Only One which Solidarity reviewed a few months ago. I suppose I should have followed the recommendation of the review and not started the book, because I have never read such sexist and national-chauvinistic filth in all my time.

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The SWP should be condemned, but not for this reason

Solidarity has much to condemn the SWP for — most of all the way it has funnelled thousands of people who want to be socialists into being bag-carriers for George Galloway, for the Muslim Association of Britain (British offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood), and for the Islamist militias in Iraq.

And in part because we want, and fight for, a proper political confrontation with the SWP on those issues, we are against them being shoved aside and blurred over by slurs and manufactured scandals.

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What Galloway admitted

The libel case against the Daily Telegraph brought by George Galloway MP has finally come to court. It will run in court for five days, from 16 November, and then there will probably be some delay until the judge’s verdict.

The Telegraph argues that it does not need to prove that what was written in official Iraqi documents which its correspondent David Blair claimed he found in Baghdad, but that it had a journalistic right and duty to publish the documents.

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Not the workers’ tradition, nor the workers’ flag

By Colin Foster

At the Respect fringe meeting at the European Social Forum (Saturday 16 October), George Galloway set out to define for Respect “the traditions in which we stand... the flag we seek to carry”.

Starting with Wat Tyler and John Ball and going up to Antonio Gramsci, his references were distant enough to be shared by almost any left-winger. But already he had noticeably omitted Lenin, Trotsky, and any reference to the Russian Revolution.

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ESF rogues' gallery - The SWP and George Galloway

The Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) is the biggest left group in Britain. Earlier this year the SWP and some other socialists put a big effort into a Respect election campaign for the European Parliament (held on 10 June). The election campaign was organised around the politics and personality of George Galloway MP, a figure who will be prominent at the ESF. But was it left-wing? Does George Galloway deserve to be a hero of the left? Does the SWP’s self-submergence in Respect help socialist and anti-capitalist politics? Colin Foster says no.

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