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Respect coalition in crisis.

Uncle Joe | 30.12.2005 11:58 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Workers' Movements | London

The elation over Galloway's election has subsided and now the strain of maintaining a coalition of contradictory views comes to the fore.

The Respect coalition project, in which George Galloway has joined forces with the Muslim Association of Britain and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), appears to be fraying at the seams as the contradictory ideologies involved struggle to reconcile themselves with one another. The focus is now on the May 2006 local elections and failure is not an option.

"For Respect in its current form, this is also a question of survival. SWP leaders need to get a number of local councillors elected in order to prove - mainly to their own comrades - that Respect is successful."

"Apart from George Galloway’s election to parliament, however, Respect has so far not exactly been a runaway
success story; and even this had more to do with the man himself than the organisation he represents. The official
membership figure stands at around 3,500 - far from a mass organisation, especially as in reality even this figure seems to be rather inflated, judging by the turnout at local and national meetings. No trade unions have affiliated to Respect, nor has the organisation any roots in wider society."

Both quoted from

The bulk of Respect is clearly made up of the SWP as is clear from the following (3,000 of 3,500). However, what must be more worrying for the SWP is that they have actually been losing members since the birth of the anti-capitalist movement in the late 1990's.

"The SWP claimed to have 10,000 members in the late 1990s. The 2004 Party Conference reported a membership figure of 7,585 members, although other socialist groups estimate it to now be closer to 3,000. There is debate within the party as to the reason for failure to grow out of the radicalism of the anti-war movement."

Quoted from

Well may the SWP pose the question of their failure to grow from the anti-war movement (ie. their participation in the front group STW coalition). But also their other front groups have been equally unsuccessful at attracting members to the SWP - ie. Respect, Globalise Resistance, Unite against fascism, Defend council housing, SWP student society). UAF has some success in reducing the BNP vote, DCH has managed to stop some stock transfers, and the SWP always seem to recruit their usual quota of students for their 3 years of university.

But, none of this seems to garner many long term members for the SWP. The numbers who have passed through the
SWP's ranks over the years must be massive. It could be argued that it is a symptom of their opportunism and arrogance. They have never appealed to the working class and are prepared to jettison Marxist principles when it suits them, but any criticism is rejected with finger-wagging of the "we know best" variety. It would appear that they don't.

Members of Respect may be slightly disconcerted by the RMT union calling a meeting for debate about working class
representation on Sat Jan 21 2006 at Friends Meeting House, Euston road, London from 12-3pm. Speakers include RMT gen sec Bob Crow, Tony Benn, a Labour MP, a Green MEP, Scottish Socialist MSP, Forward Wales AM, Socialist Party councillor, but no representative of Respect or the SWP. The aim of meeting is just for discussion and there are no plans to form a new party, but it is clear the rest of the left do not see Respect as the answer to the crisis of working class representation in Britain caused by New Labour.

As much as ultra-leftists such as anarchists might hope that the decline of mainstream politicians presents an opening for them, the sad fact is that without a left-wing workers party the far-right capitalises on working class disillusion and marches from strength to strength in the ominous form of the BNP.

Uncle Joe


Hide the following 78 comments


30.12.2005 12:52

Another rant allowed to foul the Indymedia project.

Where are the moderators?

Memory Hole Catchers Mitt

Respect and accounting irregularities

30.12.2005 13:55

I disagree that a disillusioned left will lead to a resurgence for the BNP. The British National Party are a entity which only seem to make the headlines when the left attack it. Let the police and law deal with these criminals and racists. As a political entity the BNP is a joke and only serve to distract the left from more important causes such as the racist/ imperialist policies of New Labour. Tony Blair is responsible for more deaths than the BNP. Let's get things in perspective.

As for Respect, it would be better for left political activism if this party which allies with homophobes and antisemites disapear. They are also in trouble because of some accounting irregularities.
Below is a quote from the New Political Network;

"One party that boasts, more than any comparable rival, not to be dependent on major donors is Respect, which spent more than £550,000 in its last two election campaigns while only registering £50,000 in large donations (figure 3). This would be a cause of celebration for us, were it not for the fact that Respect have failed to submit their accounts, despite being required to do so by the Electoral Commission as far back as July. To be clear, Respect is not alone here: the Scottish Socialist Party have similarly failed to submit their accounts. But the SSP does not have anything like the same gulf between large donations and campaign expenditure.

Figure 3: Respect’s “missing” half million Campaign Campaign Expenditure Registered Donor Income %age of donations compared with expenditure
European Parliamentary Elections 2004 (donations: Jan 2004-June 2004) £239,118.00 £13,000.00 5.44%
General Election 2005 (donations: July 2004-May 2005) £320,716.00 £40,486.67 12.62%
Total: £559,834.00 £53,486.67 9.55%

In response to a public challenge issued by the Network this week, the party is now promising to submit its accounts within the next fortnight, five and a half months late and eleven and a half months after the end of their accounting year.

Respect’s glib excuse, “the accountant’s dog ate its homework (sic),” is simply not satisfactory. If, as Respect claim, they simply depend on 10,000 indefatigable members and supporters to pay for everything, it is hard to see how the accounts could be in such a state, and rather suggests that the party lacks even the most basic protocols. We understand that the party has agreed to a year long remedial programme with the Electoral Commission to sort out how it runs its finances, but are concerned that the situation has been allowed to fester for so long. Despite being a new party, Respect is to all intents and purposes the successor to the Socialist Alliance, itself a coalition of socialist parties with decades of organisational experience, while George Galloway himself has a background in running charities such as War on Want and the Mariam Appeal. Blaming everything on the accountant (and his dog), and espousing conspiracy theories suggests that the party is highly complacent about its need to introduce significant reforms.

If calling for transparency and openness from political parties makes us, as Respect suggests, “New Labour stooges” then so be it. We look forward to the Labour Party returning the favour by adopting our position on caps on political donations, matched funding on small donations, replacing the House of Lords with a democratic second chamber and electoral reform."


whaty makes this a rant?

30.12.2005 14:02

What makes this a rant? It reads more like a calm and measured analysis peppered with sufficient statistics and facts, which by definition makes it far less than a rant.

I think you need to explain what you mean, instead of yourself peppering indymedia with one-liner rants which consist of no form or explanation.

what memory hole?

Sad sectarians and wishful thinking

30.12.2005 14:26

What a sad posting from a miserable sectarian ranter.Get out a bit more and get active ! You coward.. not even willing to put your name to your posting!!
As for the other charlatan and liar who accuses Respect of being anti semitic and homophobic what planet are you from??
Respect has achieved a great deal in the past 2 years and beating New Labour in East London has been a fantastic achievement.Galloway trouncing the neo cons in Washington was also pretty damn good.
Those sad sectarians who throw mud at Respect and its members and supporters are indulging in wishful thinking but there again they are lining up with New Labour,the gutter press,the neo cons and the warmongers in their attacks.
Of course Respect needs to become stronger and strengthen its links inside the working class but as for the churls who gloat in print... well they can stick to their keyboard capers and jolly japes.


Why Respect & the SWP?

30.12.2005 16:35

Why is it always the SWP and Respect that get bashed by the rest of the left and our under achieving anarchist movement??

I think its because the SWP and its affiliated groups have seen more success than the rest of the radical movement in this pitiful country put together. Noone seems to bother slagging off the CPGB, Workers Power, AWL, AF or Class War because these groups are so fucking irrelevant that all their members and supporters put together are still less people than 1 quarter of the SWP. If people put the same energy into building an alternative then the SWP would not be in a position to set the agenda.

The words sour and grapes spring to mind.......


read this story about one insider's disillusionment with Respect

30.12.2005 20:06

This is one of the few short stories about an insider's disllusion with the current direction of the left in the UK. It's on this link:

or at under books/short stories. read it and see what you think. it's pretty angry and aggressive


SWP success?

30.12.2005 20:06

The biggest "success" of the Socialist Workers Party is in disillusioning so many people with the Left. They are Blood Sucking Leaches from the radical fringes of Middle England.

Tony Soprano

"Socialist Worker!"

30.12.2005 21:23

I always thought the purpose of the SWP was to show up at marches and try to sell papers. Live and learn.



30.12.2005 22:07

i have to laugh at all the anti swp and anti respect ranters who crawl out of the woodwork at any opportunity ...bob for example ought to go on the stage for his originality of wit and humour.what a gob!what a bob!



30.12.2005 22:42

I see the SWP/RESPECT androids are rushing to the defence of their latest front like good little Trotbots.

The original article seemed reasonable enough to me. It highlights some of the internal crises that currently beset the SWP/RESPECT, and is referenced and well written.

In the interests of balance, I wonder whether those who jump to defend the SWP/RESPECT at a click of the Central Committee's fingers can be considered to be any less biased, partisan and partial as those 'sectarians' they are attacking.

Personally, I don't think they can.

If anything, they are just as bad if not worse.



30.12.2005 23:19

"anarchists as ultra-left"- EEEXXXTREEEMISSSTSSS me with my tabloid language


leftwing? right wing?

There are various anarchist left (and right? ?)

But anarchist is not necesarily either "left nor right" * - cue "seating arrangements" or "authoritian " vs "anti-authoriitaraians" "powerer relations" vs "bifurcated ontologies"- wot the fuks that ha ha etc. etc.

*"and no - that does not mean liberal (oooh what a complex word now hah ha ) - wrong model.

Ultra -what a word

this plane tis at war (this planet is at...)


31.12.2005 11:34

To Be A Pilgrim?

It seems to me that there are some out there in computerland who like nothing better than a good old sectarian attack on the SWP and RESPECT.
We live in a world of grinding global poverty and disease for billions...a world of imperialism and war ...a world where the rich get richer and the poor are marginalised and beaten down by those in power.
There are a million stories to tell whether it is the state of the low paid in our hospitals....the lack of healthcare services in African cities ... the slaughter of innocent civilians in Iraq....the billion pound arms trade ..and so much more.
But what is the response of Pilgrim and his sectarian pals?
Lets attack the SWP and RESPECT!! A party of socialists that has done a huge amount of work to build an anti war movement, to defend civil liberties and moslems and take on the xenophobic racists who keep crawling out of the woodwork.
RESPECT actually showed that New Labour could be beaten at the polls through the election of Galloway in East London.This at a time when New Labour and the war hawks in London and the USA were baying for his blood.
Here in my industrial town in Wales the SWP have consistently worked to build the anti war coalition,defend firefighters ,support refugees and oppose privatisation of council services.Respect members have raised money for medical aid for Iraqi children and opposed the dumping of huge amounts of waste at the edge of town.
All the cackling and crowing from the grim sectarians who can only play one tune from their sectarian hymn sheet amounts to little more than song of support for New Labour and the war gang.
Pilgrim is following a dubious master

May Day

May Day

Galloway and accounting irregularities

31.12.2005 11:45

The great hero of the antiwar movement, Herr George Galloway is once more involved in accounting irregularities. Check his previous history at War on Want when the Daily Mirror revealed his jetsetting lifestyle whilst representing War on Want, a mishap that nearly destryed War on Want. Then of course there are the irregularities associated with the Oil for Food program, and now those friendly homophobic/ antisemites at Respect can't yet account for a missing £500.000 of donations.
These irregularities are happening too regular to be chance.


Secret Squirrel

31.12.2005 15:18

Goode one squirrel, could you actually direct us to where one of these allegations has been proven. No, that's because they haven't been despite numerous investigations.

If your into shonky business connections I highly recommend chapter 5 of George Monbiot's "Captive State" where he tabulates some of Labour's string pullers.

I don't vote, but if you are going to vote it would be better if you voted Respect than Nu-Lab or Tory.

Seeing these same phoney allegations time after time really makes me wonder about the intelligence of some of the users of this site.


Has Galloway not learnt his lesson?

31.12.2005 18:16

I think more worrying than the rumours of accounting irregularities and oil deals - which may well be largely smears - are his various comments in support of repressive dictators from the Pakistani regime to his most recent glowing descriptions of Assad in Syria. You'd have thought he would have learnt from the infamous 'indefatigability' remarks at the feet of Saddam. Even if you accept his explanations of that incident there's no ambiguity about his relationship with Saddam's stooge Tariq Aziz who he openly admits is a good friend. Sure, Galloway is a brilliant debater, and seeing him destroying the US senate was particularly good to watch, but you have to question his character when he openly supports such ruthless authoritarians. Not to mention it's a burden on the anti-war movement who constantly have to fight off smears about being apologists for the regimes under attack. With Galloway it does seem to actually be the case.

I'd genuinely like to see any members of Respect on here explain and justify their leader's position on the Syrian dictatorship:

"All dignified people in the world, whether Arabs or Muslims or others with dignity, are very proud of the speech made by president Bashar al-Assad a few days ago here in Damascus...For me he is the last Arab ruler, and Syria is the last Arab country. It is the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs, and that's why I'm proud to be here"


Galloway and Syria

31.12.2005 20:30

Reply to Andrew
There are several websites devoted to smearing George Galloway and they each quote one another and then call each smear a "fact".
One of the latest is an unwholesome smearsheet called "Hang Galloway".Its the sort of misinformation and black propoganda that the CIA and its British equivalents specialise in .Remember these organisations have multibillion pound budgets to deal with political upstarts like Galloway..politicians who get in their way.
So why the sudden interest in Galloway ? Gosh,can it be linked to the growing pressure on Syria by the USA ,aided and abetted by its faithful sidekick good ol'Britain led by Blair and the usual war gang?
And who has been speaking out against an attack on Syria and Iran.Yes,well it not rocket science..Galloway and the Stop The War Coalition.At the recent peace conference in London Galloway spoke out against any invasion ,not because he is a lover of Assad in Syria but because he knows as do millions of others that an attack on Syria would be ,well, wrong ,and an international war crime. Galloway is not afaid to call Bush and Blair war criminals to their faces and they hate him for it.
An attack on Syria could set Damascus ablaze like Beirut two decades ago and would further the cause of US domination of the region.Yes,it boils down to oil and US strategic powerover the Middle East.Its not about whether Galloway likes Assad or not after all the USA and Britain have supported ,armed and funded some of the most brutal regimes in the world.They have trained their torturers and supplied torture instruments.
Galloway and the anti war movement stands in the way like an inconvenient roadblock and the war gang and their allies are determined to destroy him and the anti war movement.
The real murderers and their supporters are still in the corridors of power,still in the boardrooms of big business,still involved in the shipping of arms to faraway places,still receiving honours and wealth from their cronies and still in the officer clubs.
That's why they hate Galloway .He knows them but ain't one of them.He was in the Labour Party for 35 years before being thrown out for calling on British troops fto disobey illegal orders.He could have retired to a quiet life but he has seen the effects of war and the long years of sanctions that plunged Iraq back to barbarism.He is still raising hell and urging opposition to the warmongers and that is why he is hated by them.A few remarks from dubious sources.. wrenched out of context.. and then swapped lovingly around the internet websites by professional haters of him is one kind of response.Another kind of response is to build opposition to the present war and the coming wars!!!



GG is the topic

01.01.2006 17:08

"Its not about whether Galloway likes Assad or not after all the USA and Britain have supported ,armed and funded some of the most brutal regimes in the world."

Typical shift of topic. It IS about whether Galloway is an apologist for authoritarians. That's what I was discussing. I know full well the sorry (and continuing) history of the US and Britain in installing and supporting repressive regimes throughout the world. That though is completely irrelevent to the question of Galloway's character. I'm sure we're all capable of holding two different thoughts in our heads at once.

You might think it's playing into their hands by discussing these things because no doubt there has been a lot of cynical smears. I look at it the other way though - refusing to even discuss certain issues, simply screaming 'smear' at every possible criticism without even bothering to refute it rationally as if Galloway were a saint who could never be guilty of anything - it's THIS attitude that is playing into their hands and doing the damage. It is also Galloway's constant fawning at the feet of various crooks that plays into their hands. Galloway may be slick and a ruthless debater but he discredits the anti-war movement and hands ammo on a plate to those seeking to portray all critics as apologists.

You claim all his comments have merely been ripped out of context. Well I gave him the benefit of the doubt over the most infamous (the Saddam speech) but more and more keep cropping up. You ignored my mention of his open friendship with Tariz Aziz, Saddam's stooge. Could it be because there is absolutely NO doubt over this? He openly declared the fact before the Senate to give just one occasion. The context doesn't help him there. Galloway is right that Rumsfeld and co should be in the dock with Saddam as complicit partners in crime, why therefore does he call for the release of Aziz??

If the contexts of Galloway's comments in support of Assad on his trip to Syria somehow make a "breath of fresh air" and "the last Arab leader" less glowing than please do post them and enlighten us. Or if you prefer a different challenge, did he carefully place 'anti-' before describing his "hero" Castro? I somehow suspect not.


King of the Penguins

02.01.2006 08:19

C'mon Andrew
If Galloway was found to be totally innocent over Syria,Iraq and Cuba you would suddenly pop up and accuse him of being wrong over Antarctica."Hey ,he was close to the King of the Penguins...he was a lover of the albatross that queen of the southern seas...and having seen King Kong last week he is a true monarchist!"
Andrew,c'mon admit Galloway cannot do right in your eyes.Never mind his opposition to the long years of sanctions in Iraq [by the way what did you ever do about that?]
Nevermind his public and vocal and articulate opposition to the war and the warmongers,which led him to be thrown out of the labour party.And let it be remembered that he has won several libel actions after he was falsely accused of being in the pay of Saddam.Isn't it amazing that in those first days of the occupation of Baghdad as the city was looted somehow incriminating papers about Galloway suddenly,miraculously appeared in the hands of sympathetic embedded journalists.,
Nevermind that he is one of only a handful of politicians to stick it to the neocons where it public and in the senate.
And when thousands were outside the welsh Labour party conference in the torrential rain just prior to the invasion where was Galloway?
Well he wasn't having tea and buns with Peer Hain or the queen..he was getting soaked and manhandled by the police with the rest of them.
C'mon Andrew wake up man there are real war criminals out there causing real death and suffering.....admit it Andrew you are full of sectarian tosh.


A Line In The Sand

02.01.2006 12:05

Reply To Andrew,
The invasion of Iraq and the future threats to the Middle East has drawn a line in the sand. Across the world millions have stood on one side of that line to oppose the war in the huge marches,rallies and protests .On the other side of the line have been the Bush/Blair war crew aided by the oil industry,a right wing press and a few from the left such as Christopher Hitchens and David Aeronovitch.
Andrew,were the millions who marched all blameless radicals with impeccable political credentials?Somehow I doubt it.They came from a wide background of politics or even no politics.
However when it counted ..on the question of war and peace and imperialism and slaughter and invasion and occupation and barbarism and repression... they stood up to the warmongers.Galloway was among that number. And he was prominent and remains prominent because he was seemingly unafraid of his political enemies and the right wing press [always willing to go into a feeding frenzy over Galloway] .
You mention Castro as an example of his support for "authoritarians".That is so pathetic!Would this be the same Castro who got into a little boat to sail to Cuba with a handful of comrades [were these guys, Guevera among them, really authoritarians as you so quaintly call them or were they revolutionaries who got organised?].Was this the same bloke who kicked out that vicious killer Batista from Cuba which he ran for the benefit of the Mafia and US imperialism.
Was this the same Castro who has stood up the American imperialism ever since?

Galloway's admiration of Castro is not the issue.The issue is in this world of invasions,nuclear threat,exploitation and economic imperialism a line has been drawn in the sand .
We know which side Galloway is on .OUR side Hey Andrew you sound like a tired replay of Christopher Hitchens.Which side are you on?


It isn't all about George Galloway.

02.01.2006 13:56

Reply to Dai's first comment.
"What a sad posting from a miserable sectarian ranter.Get out a bit more and get active !"

I was an active member of the SWP for nearly two years and I was on the Oct 2002 anti-war demo and the massive Feb 2003 London march. I was also a member of the Socialist Alliance and Respect. Initially, Respect seemed like a reasonable proposal, but it quickly became apparent that it was a vehicle for the SWP to destroy the SA and create a middle class Muslim and anti-war party led by millionaires like George Galloway and the central commitee of the SWP.

"You coward.. not even willing to put your name to your posting!!"

You hypocrite, I notice you didn't either.

"As for the other charlatan and liar who accuses Respect of being anti semitic and homophobic what planet are you from??"

You must be quite naive if you think the Islamic fundamentalists who have joined Respect have suddenly become big fans of the gays and Jews.

"Those sad sectarians who throw mud at Respect and its members and supporters are indulging in wishful thinking but there again they are lining up with New Labour,the gutter press,the neo cons and the warmongers in their attacks."

As I clearly stated in the article, the non-Respect left who are all elected members of one body or another have organised to discuss working class alternatives to New Labour. It appears to be very telling that no speaker from Respect or the SWP have been invited.

Reply to G-Whizz,
"Why is it always the SWP and Respect that get bashed by the rest of the left and our under achieving anarchist movement??...
If people put the same energy into building an alternative then the SWP would not be in a position to set the agenda."

Yes, the SWP are the biggest far left group but as I touched on in the article they have made many great fundamental errors over the years which the rest of the left despise them for. Hopefully, the RMT meeting about working class representation will go some way towards achieving an alternative to the SWP. Additionally, during the 2005 general election the Socialist Party, the Alliance for Green Socialism, Socialist Unity (comprising the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the Socialist Unity Network), and the Democratic Socialist Alliance combined together to form the Socialist Green Unity Coalition, so hopefully this alliance will continue.

Reply to May Day,
"But what is the response of Pilgrim and his sectarian pals?
Lets attack the SWP and RESPECT!! A party of socialists that has done a huge amount of work to build an anti war movement"

So, now the SWP built the anti war movement. If that's the case why have they only got a few thousand members from the 1 million + who marched in London in Feb 2003.

"RESPECT actually showed that New Labour could be beaten at the polls through the election of Galloway in East London."

Yes, but they only did it by a few hundred votes in a constituency with the highest Muslim population in the country and with a man who is noted for his support for Muslim causes for decades.

Reply to Squirrel's first post,
"I disagree that a disillusioned left will lead to a resurgence for the BNP."

You obviously need to brush on your anti-fascist theory, Squirrel. The BNP are ALREADY having a resurgence due to a disillusioned left and working class. They came close to winning a Euro seat in 2004 in the north west. Also, in 2004 they came close to winning a London assembly seat and polled significantly for the Mayor. They have some 20 councillors across England and can truly claim to be a nationwide organisation.

"We look forward to the Labour Party returning the favour by adopting our position on caps on political donations, matched funding on small donations, replacing the House of Lords with a democratic second chamber and electoral reform."

What on earth makes you think that Blair or Brown are going to do any of these things for you?

Uncle Joe

Sectarianism cup runneth over with bile!

02.01.2006 16:12

Uncle Joe,
You really are spouting a load of sectarian nonsense about Galloway and Respect.The world is run by competing gangs of corrupt politicians and killers ...and you pick out Galloway.Respect is a product of the anti war and internationalist movement against the free market and imperialism ...and arouses your hatred. Moslems and other minorities are being harassed by the state and in many cases threatened or attacked by racist thugs ...and Respect members who stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of their basic rights are subject to your bile.
In my home town ,last year, a kurdish Iraqi refugee was murdered by a vicious racist thug.It was members of Respect and the SWP who helped build ,along with others,the anti racist public protests which marginalised the racists.
And I am sure that if it happens again they will be out there doing the same .Come on admit it Uncle Joe, your sectarian cup is overflowing with bile!
...and it is my name!!


Black and white worlds, black and white words

02.01.2006 17:27

"Andrew,c'mon admit Galloway cannot do right in your eyes."

On the contrary, I've seen him deliver some devastating speeches at anti-war rallies, I've applauded him myself. Seeing him destroy the Senate committee was another inspiring display. Unfortunately like many people I've slowly began to realise that whilst I may agree with him on these issues he is ultimately motivated by blind oppositionism which is presumably why he allies himself with these authoritarians when convenient. It's Bush's 'with us or against us' philosophy but in reverse, 'good vs evil', 'us and them'. And you and the next poster are reflecting this simple-minded playground philosophy.

"The invasion of Iraq and the future threats to the Middle East has drawn a line in the sand. Across the world millions have stood on one side of that line to oppose the war in the huge marches,rallies and protests .On the other side of the line have been the Bush/Blair war crew aided by the oil industry,a right wing press and a few from the left such as Christopher Hitchens and David Aeronovitch"

"We know which side Galloway is on .OUR side Hey Andrew you sound like a tired replay of Christopher Hitchens.Which side are you on?"

Again, you're closer to Bush and his gang of ideologues than you could ever know. Two sides of the same dirty coin. The enemy of our enemy is NOT necessarily our friend.
It's hardly purist to ask that the self appointed leader of a movement supposedly against repression - one of the key "questions" as you put it - is not "dear dear friends" with the right hand man of a violent dictatorship (Tariq Aziz, to use an undeniable example that Galloway is open about, but which everyone here has so far conveniently ignored)

It's not just hypocritical but completely counterproductive to downplay and ignore this. Because the media sure as hell won't next time the anti-war movement is trying to clean itself of the smear that it is an active apologist for the regime in question, rather than simply being opposed to aggression and conquest.

“I was very impressed by the President’s sharpness, by his flexible mind. Syria is lucky to have Bashar al-Assad as her President.” - George Galloway

Please feel free to explain this quote. Or ignore it if its easier.


If they make a valid criticism, squeal sectarianism!

02.01.2006 19:59

Reply to Dai,
"You really are spouting a load of sectarian nonsense about Galloway and Respect."

Given that I am not a member of any sect, or political party for that matter, how can I be being sectarian?

"The world is run by competing gangs of corrupt politicians and killers ...and you pick out Galloway."

You obviously didn't notice the title of my previous post - It isn't all about George Galloway. As Andrew has stated, George Galloway is a very effective speaker at denouncing the Bush and Blair war machines. However, he has this nasty habit of offering his sincere support to Middle-Eastern dictators. It is telling that the SWP/Respect posters continue to rant about sectarianism, rather than try and answer any of the criticisms made of Galloway and their groups.

"Respect is a product of the anti war and internationalist movement" - INCORRECT.

"It was members of Respect and the SWP....." - CORRECT.

The Respect party IS the SWP, in alliance with George Galloway and the Muslim Association of Britain. Therefore, all valid criticisms of the SWP apply to Respect as well.

"Come on admit it Uncle Joe, your sectarian cup is overflowing with bile!"

Maybe your'e right. Watching the authoritarian way the SWP treat people when I was a member really got my back up against them. Also, their arrogance about the correctness of their theories annoys me. Sometimes their incompetence pisses me off (eg. them getting infiltrated by two BNP members or getting penned in by the police on May Day a couple of years ago). And all this was before I started reading up about them on the internet and found out things like they opposed the non-payment campaign against the Poll Tax, which is what eventually brought down Thatcher. The list goes on.....

Uncle Joe

a Trifle Confused

02.01.2006 21:55

The more I read your comments attacking Galloway,Respect and the SWP the clearer I am about your political standpoint.Somebody obviously once said something to you a while ago and it really upset you and you have hated the aforementioned ever since. What a sensitive soul you must be!!You must now be in a party or grouping of one!!
And to compare the SWP/ Respect and Galloway to Bush and co is frankly bizarre.One lot is trying to bomb the Middle East into submission ,the other lot is trying to block them.Well,that is one quite major difference I suppose.
Andrew ..I am worried for you ...get out a bit ....its time to stop believing all the sectarian claptrap you have fallen for. I am not for one moment suggesting you rejoin Respect but get out of the clutches of those who strut around attacking Respect et al having done nothing themselves to defend civil liberties, oppose the war and support those from ethnic and religious minorities.


Animal Farm, anyone?

02.01.2006 22:29

Has anyone else noticed something a tad Orwellian about our resident SWP/RESPECT drones and their endless defence of Galloway, come what may?

A certain hint of "Four Legs Good - Two Legs Bad!"?

No matter what criticism of the SWP/RESPECT is made, whether it be an outright assault or, in this case, a reasonable and relatively restrained criticism, it inevitably attracts the usual suspects (or should I say 'defects'?) screaming 'Sectarians! Sectarians! It's all a counter-revolutionary plot! Anyone who disagrees with the SWP CC must, knowingly or unknowingly, be doing the work of the State!' and so on. Hence, presumably, the implication that I am 'Serving a dubious master' when supporting the original post.

Well, I don't serve ANY master. I'm an Anarchist. I'm also a former (and once very active) member of the SWP. I know what goes on because I've seen and heard it being done at first hand.

I reiterate my original remark that this seems like reasonable criticism to me, and that I support the original writer and the points they have raised.

As you were.


Haven't done anything?

02.01.2006 23:04

I am not for one moment suggesting you rejoin Respect but get out of the clutches of those who strut around attacking Respect et al having done nothing themselves to defend civil liberties, oppose the war and support those from ethnic and religious minorities.

So, let me get this straight...

People who criticise the SWP/RESPECT have all done nothing to defend civil liberties, oppose the war and support those from ethnic and religious minorites.

Truly, another masterpiece from the SWP/RESPECT school of slander.

How, H2, do you know what the critics of the SWP/RESPECT have or haven't done?

And on what causes?

You don't, do you. Because there is no way that you can.

Are all those people active in groups campaigning on the above issues (and many others besides) members or supporters or the SWP/RESPECT?

No. Thay are not.

Are they composed of people from different groups and affiliations, working together in areas of common interest?

Yes. More than likely.

If your idea that the SWP/RESPECT's opponents are all keyboard warriors is an attempt at trolling, it is pathetic.

If it's an attempt at serious analysis, it is simply unbelievable.



03.01.2006 00:48

I'm afraid your psychoanalysis is a little off mark. It's presumably a lot easier for you though to attribute my comments to some bizarre personal grudge than actually ackowledge possible criticisms, heaven forbid!

It is quite worrying though the way you seem physically allergic to dissent from the party-line and scramble to avoid addressing a single specific criticism. Instead I'm accused of 'hating' Respect and we get the screams of 'sectarianism' - about as meaningless but as convenient as the 'anti-American' tag that critics of US foreign policy are blindly dismissed with. The more you speak the more you remind me of an inverted Bush. The same dogmatism. The same black and white view of the world. The same evasion tactics. It's this mindset I was comparing. Maybe it's just as well Respect will never gain power. This kind of totalitarian thinking is quite disturbing.



03.01.2006 07:58

To go back to the beginning...
I notice that the original posting from uncle Joe quotes as its source the CPGB [Communist Party of Great Britain ].Observers of left wing politics will know that the CPGB is a far from unbiased commentator on all things connected to Respect.
In fact they seemed to be obsessed with smearing Respect and the SWP.If something went right it was no thanks to those pesky socialists.If something went wrong it was all down to those pesky socialists again.If an anti war march attracted 100 000 it should have been much bigger [the SWP did not book enough coaches] If it was a million strong the SWPand Respect claimed the credit without doing the work.
Blair and the war buddies are going to spend a great deal of time in the next couple of years attacking Galloway and neutralizing him in any way possible and they will try anything including finding some spurious excuse to remove him from far these moves have backfired.
As far as I can see Respect is an allince of people from differing political backgrounds who have come together to provide a left wing political challenge to th right wing policies of New Labour and the tories.It is a challenge based on opposition to the war and the neo liberalism of the so called freemarket. It supports workers in struggle and has clear environmental aims.It supports greater civil rights and defends moslems and other minorities from attacks by racists and bigots.I think that is good!


Chillin' wit ma bitches!!!

03.01.2006 15:13

Hal, the CPGB are part of the Respect coalition.

"Respect is an allince of people from differing political backgrounds" - Have a laugh! It's another SWP front group.

"did you ask an SWP person out for a date and they turned you down?" - The SWP is full of minging feminists so I wouldn't ask any of them out if I were you!

Maybe if I had as much money as George Galloway or Alex Callinicos I could buy as many women as I wanted!

Harry Pothead


03.01.2006 15:47

Why is it that whenever the STW, Respect, Globalise Resistance or any other SWP fronts are critisised they can only resort to accusing the critic of being sectarian? What does that mean?
Real sectarism is represented by religious/political conflicts in places like Northern Ireland, and it is insulting for the reformist SWP to hijack such a term.
It is a similar tactic as employed by Israeli supporters, who call anybody critising Israeli policies as anti-semitic. It serves to stifle debate.
So by calling me sectarian it just goes to prove that the SWP are incapable of measured debate and can only resort to abuse.


Comment on Harry's Posting

03.01.2006 16:54

Dear Harry,
Your choice of language is racist ,sexist and offensive and you sound like some "Hooray Henry"trying to imitate who you must think is a young working class man.How gross!
You obviously know next to nothing about socialists and socialism and I would suggest you go home to mama and get some basic home tuition in how to relate to others [lets call it respect ].
You clearly have a high opinion of yourself but you have been seriously indulged in the past by those close to you . However all is not lost could even go back to public school and get some form of certificate in good manners for toffs.
Yours Sincerely


Bertie, that's a very pretty name!

03.01.2006 17:42

Thanks for the psychoanalysis, Bertie. My psychiatrist tells me the same but it costs a lot more.

I actually learned everything I know 'bout Respec' from my main man GG, especially about how to treat the ho's...

"In the 1987 election, Galloway won Glasgow Hillhead with a majority of 3,251. He faced an almost immediate scandal when, as part of the War on Want expenses probe, he was asked about a conference on Mykonos, Greece and replied:

I travelled to and spent lots of time with people in Greece, many of whom were women, some of whom were known carnally to me. I actually had sexual intercourse with some of the people in Greece.

Troubles within the Labour Party
The statement put Galloway on the front pages of the tabloid press and in February 1988 the Executive Committee of his Constituency Labour Party passed a vote of no confidence in him. He went on to win reselection over Trish Godman (wife of fellow MP Norman Godman) in June 1989, but failed to get a majority of the electoral college on the first ballot. This was the worst result for any sitting Labour MP who was reselected; 13 out of the 26 members of
the Constituency Party's Executive Committee resigned that August, indicating their dissatisfaction with the result."


Harry Pothead

Respect Yourself

03.01.2006 22:08

Respect has done a good job so far.The victory of Galloway over New Labour in Bethnall Green was sweet and his demolition of the Senate chairman in Washington was a joy.

Galloway showed the democrats how the war mob can be taken on and taken apart.
Bur Bush and his crazies still look good for a war or two in the Middle East which is one reason why the war crowd are so keen to get Galloway.He has many enemies...the zionists,the US govt and military,Tony Blair and the whole of New Labour [and they can play dirty] and the right wing press led by The Mail and the Telegraph.Bringing up the rear is a gaggle of sectarians led by some pro Israel so called socialists .

These powerful people are slavering at the prospect of Respect failing in the future.The thought of Respect draining away Labour supporters and voters appals them...and cheers me up enormously!

If Respect can beat New Labour in its east London stronghold then New Labour can be beaten elsewhere in the UK. Last year New Labour lost its parliamentary seat in Nye Bevan's old fortress in South Wales.

The case should not be overstated but how much better for Blair to be challenged from the left by Respect rather than the racist right.
Respect to those who have earned it and that includes Galloway who has spoken at hundreds of anti war meetings across the Uk and elsewhere during the past three years!


Naive support for Respect.

04.01.2006 14:17

Galloway is a millionaire who has political links with Libya, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Palestine. These links did nothing to help his Scottish constituents and will do nothing for the people of Bethnal Green.

It was good to see Blair get a slap in the face when Oona King was booted out, but the pleasure was shortlived when you realise it's the SWP and Galloway who have gained.

The sooner the rest of the socialist left outside New Labour get their act together, the sooner we can forget about the SWP and Respect, in the same way that Socialist Labour are forgotten, and the Socialist Alliance is forgotten having been destroyed by the SWP.



04.01.2006 14:37

"Bringing up the rear is a gaggle of sectarians led by some pro Israel so called socialists"

Have you even read the comments on here? The more Respect supporters try and 'defend' Galloway - to use a generous term given your complete lack of any basic debating skills - the stupider they look. As Squirrel said a few posts back:

"Why is it that whenever the STW, Respect, Globalise Resistance or any other SWP fronts are critisised they can only resort to accusing the critic of being sectarian? What does that mean?...It is a similar tactic as employed by Israeli supporters, who call anybody critising Israeli policies as anti-semitic. It serves to stifle debate."

Far having to support Israeli policies in order to criticise Galloway, we're actually despairing at your constant use of Israeli evasion tactics when trying to avoid addressing any specific points.


Just One Question

04.01.2006 16:08

Why are you all so obsessed with the SWP?

Mr Spoon


04.01.2006 17:58

Andrew ,
Having read your various postings about Galloway and Respect I have to say that you do sound like an obsessive sectarian.
You ask the question what is a sectarian? I believe a sectarian is a person [or more likely a group] who continually seeks to divide the movement or campaign without good cause .The postings from you and others on Galloway ,Respect and the SWP reek of a kind of pious hatred. It is a hatred that drips of venom.Respect is a broad coalition of left wingers from differing socialist and radical backgrounds.Although its members and supporters may disagree on particular issues [say for example the nature of the former USSR] it is united on other important questions such as the need to oppose the US led invasion of Iraq and the wider Middle East,the need to free Palestine and to oppose privatisation and the attack on pensions here at home.
On these issues there is a general agreement in Respect that we are more effective when we stand together.The sectarians on the fringes however in delight in pointing to disagreements [often trumped up ] in order to weaken the opposition to the war abroad and the neoliberal assault at home. They [and Andrew I have to say you and several others here ] see Galloway as the main enemy while barely stirring themselves to the real venal killers and gangsters who have slaughtered over one hundred thousand in Iraq during the past three years.
Galloway met Saddam twice in order to try to end the sanctions which killed, according to Un commisioners ,a half million Iraqi children. Other US and British politicians and businessmen were lined up to sell him weapons,military equipment,nuclear technology and poison gas .These are the real war criminals.Andrew ,you know that .I don't need to tell you the facts about Iraq.But you and your sectarian chums are not interested in them and you are interested in chasing the coattails of the warhawks in attacking Galloway .A man who has proved in practice as being one of the most effective opponents of the war gang both here in Britain and in America.
If Galloway was proved to be right about Palestine and Iraq you would find him guilty about something he said on Outer Mongolia in 1972 and you would probably quote a dubious source in finding the evidence of his guilt.
Thankfully,the anti war movement is not made up of hardened sectarians but of many people who believe the anti war coalition has important things to say and do. You must be gutted that the Stop The War Coalition was founded by the Socialist Workers Party and Galloway.If it was left to you and your ilk we would be be in floundering around without a clue..divided and weakened.
And let me make it clear that I am NOT arguing that the SWP and Galloway and Respect are the bees knees of the anti war movement .I am saying that they have made a valued contribution to almost all the initiatives that have opposed the drive to war.These initiatives have been made often in the face of scurrilous and bileous attacks from sectarians like yourself whether it involved the founding of the STW Coalition itself or the building of the huge marches to oppose the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
You sectarians have proved in practice to be a waste of time at best and willing dupes of the war gang at worst.


The obsession with the SWP.

05.01.2006 16:22

Mr Spoon, the obsession with the SWP is because they are the biggest far-left group in Britain and as far as I'm aware have been for at least ten years. I think that the Militant Tendency were bigger during the 1980's and possibly the 1970's as well.

That the SWP are the biggest is a bit of a surprise given that so many people dislike them, and yet very often the critics were at one time SWP members themselves.

In the past I did not know it was possible to be a member of an anarchist group. This seemed a bit contradictory to me. Then I discovered that even anarchists are as sectarian and divided as socialists or communists or the left in general.

As far as I'm aware the main three UK anarchist groups are the Solidarity Federation, the Anarchist Federation and Class War, and I believe there are others. It would be interesting to know which of these groups, if any, Indymedia supports or that the moderators are members of.

Another interesting thing to know would be exactly how many members all these far-left groups have. If we say the SWP may have 3,000 members, then realistically I would be surprised if there are more than 1,000 anarchists in the whole of the UK. It is possible these figures are too conservative, but given that the stated aim of most far-left groups is revolution, then a few thousand members is unfortunately not a very good start.

Uncle Joe

Respect for women - not

05.01.2006 22:54

Yes, well, let me tell you this about the great Mr Galloway. I'm a trade union activist, publicity officer & a member of the SWP. Last year, I asked Mr Galloway's office if I could have a short interview with him to discuss allegations that he was an anti-abortionist. A number of women had come up to my desk at work to say that they were thinking of voting for Respect, but had heard that Galloway had conservative views on abortion and they didn't feel that they could vote for someone in that category.

Anyway, all I wanted was ten minutes with GG (this was long before he won Bethnall Green - think he was running for European parliament at that point, so his time wasn't at such a premium). I would even have taken a press statement from him - I just wanted something that I could publish that would clarify the position on abortion and reassure women voters. I worked on his office for about a month to try and get the interview and in the end, GG said No. His office told me that he 'just didn't really want to get into that topic.' Charming. Abortion rights are paramount to women's rights and abortion rights are under threat across America, etc - it's a v big issue and so important to women. To be written off and told to get lost in that was upsetting and v disturbing. I was simply dismissed as an hysterical woman. I don't think the SWP should be anywhere near power as a result and I don't think Respect will last either - the people running it at the moment are not socialists.


Big brother is watching me but I'm not watching Big Brother

06.01.2006 07:59

The House of Commons is due to resume business on Monday after the Xmas recess; does anyone know how George plans to represent the needs and wishes of the people of Bethnal Green and Bow while he's locked in the Big Brother house instead? Or will he simply show them the same lack of interest that he has displayed since they voted him in?

Also, can anyone shed any light on the piece in the last issue of Private Eye that described an incident at a Respect Q&A where a member of the audience was thrown out and allegedly beaten up for critcising The Beloved Leader right after said leader ranted on about that poor old bloke who was kicked out of the Labour conference for shouting at Tony Blair?


Oh and...

06.01.2006 09:10

"you must be gutted that the Stop The War Coalition was founded by the Socialist Workers Party and Galloway.If it was left to you and your ilk we would be be in floundering around without a clue"

Given that the war hasn't, you know, stopped, and that after the first giant march there has been nothing comparable in terms of size despite numerous attempts, can you clear up exactly how the the STWC is not "floundering around"?

PS: the Daily Mail encouraged people to go on the 2003 demo, so surely you should be giving them due credit for turning out Middle England.


Respect and womens' rights

06.01.2006 13:48

In reply to KB - I'm also a trade unionist and Respect supporter, and I was concerned about Galloway's stated anti-abortion views.

But rather than quit, what I and others did was put a motion in to last Respect conference supporting women's right to choose. And guess what? It was passed without dissent.

So Respect does have explicit pro-choice policy, and Galloway has stated since that he won't go against that or any Respect policy in Parliament.

There's a lot of hype about Respect esp. on t'internet. Most of it isn't true.

Mr Spoon

to FTB

06.01.2006 18:11

to David
It was touch and go at one point in the days leading up to the war whether Blair would have to resin under the pressure from the anti war movement ...this was admitted later.Only the cowardly inaction of many New Labour MP Ss kept him in office.
Bush and Blair have both said that the global anti war movement was a major obstacle to war...and by the way it wasnt the mail but the mirrow that was anti war back then...although it was to change its tune later.
get your facts right!


Respect & women & Mr Spoon

06.01.2006 19:25

Hello Mr Spoon,

I take your comment about putting a motion to conference - good stuff. I wouldn't quit the party either - any loser can run away when things get tough, and plenty have.

I think the problem that I really have is the fact that so many men in the party wanted me to shut up when I raised the abortion issue and questions around Respect's socialist credentials generally, and the fact that Galloway refused point-blank to talk about it with me. He wouldn't even give me a statement saying that he'd support a woman's right to free abortion, regardless of his personal views. That's all he had to do. He could have got one of his press people to do it, and that would have been an end to it.

Everytime I brought this up, though, party members would tell me to pipe down and toe the party line. I could only conclude that they were sensitive about the abortion issue, and about the way some of Galloway's friends view women generally, and they knew it was an area of weakness. They were very, very keen for this not to be discussed.

I'm not of the opinion that the core groups in Respect - namely the SWP and various religious friends - are socialist when it comes down to it. They are controlling men who, now that they have the taste of power, wish to appeal to voters who are conservative in nature and who take the long view of issues like abortion, etc. I have just been surprised at the venom with which my own party has responded to my concerns and don't believe that it augers well. I do believe, though, that a lot of other people involved in Respect are genuine and want to see an end to the war in Iraq, and end to privatisation of public services, etc - just as do as active trade unionists.

Let's also remember that the SWP's manifesto says 'No Parliamentary Road' - ie, we as members are not supposed to want to engage in the present political process, because it is such a shambles. We're supposed to want to inspire working people to come together and demand their rights. By supporting Galloway and fighting to hard to win a seat in what is a dreadful parliament, the party has abandoned its own rule. It'll be getting into property development next, or something equally whorish.

Gotta fight on tho


The Importance of being...George

06.01.2006 20:04

It is interesting to see so many comments on Galloway,Respect and the SWP. The reason why Galloway evokes such powerful responses is that he is not afraid to stir up a hornets nest.
The pro war lobby is powerful ,wealthy and controls 98 percent of the world's mainstream media.Despite this Galloway has led from the front ..he has called the oh so respectable Bush and Blair "war criminals" and has refused to be cowed by the newspaper barons or by others in the media [Paxman included ].
He has won several lawsuits which would have exhausted and tested most individuals . He has spoken at loads of anti war marches and rallies and has faced down jihadis,pro zionists and others.
All the time he has stated the anti war case with passion, with accuracy and with insight.He is his own man.He has helped found Respect which is a COALITION of anti war activists,socialists and environmentalists and has beaten New Labour where it the ballot box.
The hatred in the mainstream media is open and virulent !However ,when supposed radicals crawl all over the indymedia website and queue to attack Galloway it is quite a sight.
Galloway,Respect and the SWP are at the heart of the anti war movement.In my hometown it was an SWP member who booked 18 coaches for the monster march in London almost three years ago.He dealt with massive problems relating to the booking of the coaches with grace and won a great deal of respect from those on the coaches who were aware of the work he had put in .
Galloway remains relevant .....and there is so much work to do to end the invasion and occupation and as one other commentator has written...let us remember who the real enemies are!!


Many ideologies, one movement

06.01.2006 21:37

When you get down to it, who cares if Respect or Stop the War is supported by Trotskyites, Marxist-Leninists, Social-Democrats, Liberal-Democrats, Anarchists or Little Green Men from Mars? If people want to take steps to help the anti-war movement, then so long as they do so, it doesn't matter what ideology, religion, race or planetary origin they are associated with. Taking a stand on the side of the movement doesn't mean you have to start supporting Trotsky -- that isn't the dividing line for the anti-war movement. Being sectarian in this context means trying to split up the movement along these lines. Plenty of us have views on Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Kropotkin, Engels and all kinds of things, and we might not agree about them, but if we share a commitment to help the movement, then there is no obstacle to unity in action. By all means, hold your own views dear, but trying to split the movement along ideological lines is doing Blair's dirty work.

Big Brother


07.01.2006 04:18

"Andrew ,
Having read your various postings about Galloway and Respect I have to say that you do sound like an obsessive sectarian.
You ask the question what is a sectarian? I believe a sectarian is a person [or more likely a group] who continually seeks to divide the movement or campaign without good cause .The postings from you and others on Galloway ,Respect and the SWP reek of a kind of pious hatred."

Have you really read my postings? It doesn't sound like you have. As I said before: it's quite worrying though the way you seem physically allergic to dissent from the party-line and scramble to avoid addressing a single specific criticism. Instead I'm accused of 'hating' Respect and we get the screams of 'sectarianism' - about as meaningless but as convenient as the 'anti-American' tag that critics of US foreign policy are blindly dismissed with.

Yet since posting this the same empty retorts are regurgitated once again.

"They [and Andrew I have to say you and several others here ] see Galloway as the main enemy while barely stirring themselves to the real venal killers and gangsters who have slaughtered over one hundred thousand in Iraq during the past three years."

That is an outright lie. I hope you'll have the decency to withdraw such an ignorant comment.

"If Galloway was proved to be right about Palestine and Iraq you would find him guilty about something he said on Outer Mongolia in 1972 and you would probably quote a dubious source in finding the evidence of his guilt."

Cheap sarcasm like that doesn't prove anything except your unwillingness to seriously discuss real issues. The fact that there is a host of serious allegations is hardly a flaw of the critics. As I've said repeatedly, many of the attacks may genuinely be smear attempts yet the most damning evidence comes from Galloway's particular his open support for Aziz and to Assad to give just two clear examples mentioned previously in more detail yet so far completely ignored by Respect supporters.


That is an outright lie?

07.01.2006 08:23

To Andrew
You got a bit touchy when you accused Les of saying an "outright lie".Isn t this the sort of thing that happened to Galloway .However,he faced his accusers head on one case flying to Washington to demolish his opponents in the Senate and in duing so ruining at least one senator's presidential ambitions.In other cases he took some of the most powerful sections of the media to court ...and won.
And of course stood up to Blair and New Labour time and time again until he was expelled from the party after a show trial.The transcript of that trial is widely available as a pamphlet and makes good reading.Of course after his expulsion he continues to attack New Labour and has beaten them from the left in Bethnall Green.
Not a bad few years work for a man who has come from a reformist tradition and who is now working alongside others in the anti war movement from different political backgrounds.
Galloway has also faced attacks from jihadis in his own constituency ..and not just verbal attacks but at least one physical attack which left him shaken. Actually I would like to know why Indymedia allows people to come on line and advocate his physical assault.
You keep mentioning his support for Azziz and Assad ..where are your sources for such an assertion?What is clear that Syria is in the firing line for an American attack and Iraq has been pillaged and destroyed by the US and Britain. Galloway was an early critic of Saddam when the rest of the political mainstream were falling overthemselves to be his chum.
Dont be so easily led Andrew .


Galloway has earned some respect

07.01.2006 10:34

I think Galloway and the Respect coalition has earned some respect for their work in confronting Blair and New Labour since the invasion of Iraq.
Galloway was right on the war and the Stop The War Coalition which he helped found was right on a raft of other related issues including the need for a free Palestine and the necessity of defending moslemsand others from the far right and New Labour.
I am amazed at the rather creepy comments from Andrew and Pilgrim and others who attack him especially as he is continually being frenziedly attacked by the war brigade in the press and in the corridors of power.I am convinced that New Labour are all set to remove him as an MPif it can only find half an excuse.
I can only think that Andrew and Pilgrim support some small sectarian group that would celebrate his downfall. Galloway is a pretty tough hombre and seems well able to handle the flak.


Open for business

07.01.2006 12:13

I agree with you that Galloway has done good work on the anti-war topic and that the political scene of the last few years would have been the poorer without him.

The point that I'm trying to make is that the movement needs to be more open to internal debate about its platforms if it is to go forward. I have not been impressed with the outright hostility that I've had to endure from some of my fellow SWP members when I've raised issues around some of Galloway's other political positions - abortion being one example, as I've said earlier in this thread. There's no need for the SWP to be so hostile to its own members who try and raise issues behind closed doors. This is the first time in two years that I've ever raised these concerns in a public forum, and it's because I think it's important to do so now. (I'm definitely a bitter cow too, after being told to get shut up for so long).

No matter how laudable the ideals of Respect are - and they are - the SWP's aggression and hostility towards anyone who just wants to discuss things may well be Respect's downfall. The SWP really does seem to think that anyone who raises points for discussion about Respect - even behind closed doors - needs to be closed down, and fast. That has absolutely been my experience and I'm happy to go into more detail about my experiences on this front and sign my name to them.

The thing to remember is that the SWP isn't Respect - Respect is made up of all kinds of people, many affiliated to no other groups/parties at all - but that many people who are not in Respect or the SWP confuse the two, and see the SWP's hostility to dissent and discussion as typical of Respect as well. There are many who say that in the Vietnam anti-war movement, there was much dissent and that people like Dworkin pulled out of that movement and moved into radical feminism precisely because they felt the more aggressive of the anti-war movement's factions were prepared to sacrifice socialist/liberal platforms in their attempt to get political traction. I see the same thing happening here.

Go well, though. The fact that this thread has developed is positive and exciting and healthy if you ask me.

- Homepage:

show and tell

07.01.2006 16:15

Response to k8
The meetings and forums that I have been to organised by the SWP have been excellent.Full of ideas,different points of view and with lots of open debate.
However, the comrades have never been backward in coming forward to challenge me on ideas which were clearly wrong including one that I remember when I called Israel a fascist state.I was firmly put right on that one.
The annaul Marxism event has also been an incredible experience and I have learned so much from going there ..not just about politics but about history ,culture and so much more.One thing I have never experienced is the sort complaint made by k8 experience of the SWP has been very positive in the realms of ideas but also in practical campaigns.


Read the thread, my good wo/man

07.01.2006 18:47

Hello there P21 if that's yr real name,

Read my contributions on the threads above on abortion in particlar if you want more on the reasons I feel a tad disgruntled with the comrades @ the moment. Points 2 keep in mind while you're at it: I'M A MEMBER OF THE SWP AND I THINK A LOT OF IT IS GOOD - just some of the behaviour of some BLOKES in it as they've gone mad with power over their involvement in Respect and getting an MP into power has done my head in a bit. Also, they're tied up with religious groups which is very tragic. George Bush is the one who is wrapped up with religious fundamentalists - you don't want to see yr own party repeat the trick.

Glad u enjoyed Marxism. Good event, even if Galloway was at it.

Ciao 4 now. Out 4 a few drinks and then back in for big brother.

- Homepage:

Tied up with religious groups...oh come on?

07.01.2006 22:42

The SWP has been accused of being "tied up wuth religious groups". What a lot of nonsense!The SWP is a socialist organisation .
It supports freedom of religious belief . It is part of the Respect coalition which itself draws support from people from a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs.
Many ,but by no means all Moslem people support Respect because the Respect Coalition has stood up to the racists,the mainstream media and New Labour when they have launched their attacks on moslems.
The SWP has a long history of opposing racism and bigotry and lets be clear it is racism not religion which is at the heart of the attacks on if the bigots care whether they are attacking Moslems,Sikhs or Hindus or for that matter black Roman Catholics.
The SWP formed the Anti Nazi League in the late 1970 s and there was never a requirement that you had to be an aetheist to oppose the nazis .More recently the SWP helped form Unite Against Fascism and again there is no requirement to be a secularist to be an active supporter.
Those who are spreading the myth that the SWP are tied up with religious groups are lying but more to the point miss totally that there are many Moslems and others who are being harassed or threatened by the state and by the racists.Last year the BNP was secretly filmed boasting about shoving dog mess through the letter boxes of Moslem homes.In my town the mosque and the synagogue have been vandalised or daubed .
The SWP and Respect have stood by those under threat like any socialist organisation worth its salt.



07.01.2006 23:41

"You keep mentioning his support for Azziz and Assad ..where are your sources for such an assertion"

The source is George Galloway's mouth. Regarding Aziz, watch Galloway's Senate testimony, brilliant in many ways but disturbing on this, and bear in mind that he is speaking of a man known to have been heavily involved in countless crimes against humanity -

"SEN. COLEMAN: Just one follow-up on the Tariq Aziz question. How often did you uh ... Can you describe the relation with Tariq Aziz?

GALLOWAY: Friendly.

SEN. COLEMAN: How often did you meet him?

GALLOWAY: Many times.

SEN. COLEMAN: Can you give an estimate of that?

GALLOWAY: No. Many times.

SEN. COLEMAN: Is it more than five?

GALLOWAY: Yes, sir.

SEN. COLEMAN: More than ten?


SEN. COLEMAN: Fifteen? Around fifteen?

GALLOWAY: Well, we're getting nearer, but I haven't counted. But many times. I'm saying to you "Many times," and I'm saying to you that I was friendly with him.

SEN. COLEMAN: And you describe him as "a very dear friend"?

GALLOWAY: I think you've quoted me as saying "a dear, dear friend." I don't often use the double adjective, but--

SEN. COLEMAN: --I was looking into your heart on that.--

GALLOWAY: --but "friend" I have no problem with."

He also furthermore presented a petition on Al Jazeera in March last year calling for his release and went on to say that "the obvious fact is that Mr Tariq Aziz is a more respectful man than the people who are holding him now. He is viewed with high esteem worldwide by figures like the Pope in the Vatican and other international figures who have valued his counsel, met him, discussed and negotiated with him. He is an eminent diplomatic and intellectual person".

It was again on al Jazeera in November that he praised the Syrian dictator Assad -

"All dignified people in the world, whether Arabs or Muslims or others with dignity, are very proud of the speech made by president Bashar al-Assad a few days ago here in Damascus"

"For me he is the last Arab ruler, and Syria is the last Arab country. It is the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs, and that's why I'm proud to be here."

He had already claimed that Syria was "lucky to have Bashar Al-Assad as her president" in a speech at the Al-Assad National Library in July. This has been widely reported too.


Check your own facts, David

09.01.2006 06:15

I know the Mirror was anti-war (along with the Indy and the Guardian) and I can also assure you that the Mail was rabidly against it from the get-go, primarily because it hates anything Blair does (just like GG, actually).

It published guides to how to get to the march and even had people out on the streets giving free copies out to demonstrators, at least until the police told them they couldn't protect them from the increasing vitriol coming their way...


Reply to FTB

09.01.2006 18:24

You must be the only anti war person on Indymedia reading the Daily Mail and it has obviusly had a big effect on you [turned you off Galloway for instance ? ] .The Mail if taken in large amounts can rot the brain and turn you into a little englander so do take care.And you are wrong about the Mail being an anti war paper.That suggestion is rubbish. That short lived honour belonged to the Mirror until its editor got sacked [or did he resign ?] and the line changed. It amazes me how often you vitriolic anti Respect and anti SWP types get your facts so very wrong!
one of the million on the march!



10.01.2006 08:11

How do you know what the Daily Mail said if you don't read it? Guesswork? I prefer to work on the principle of "know your enemy", so I've compiled the following clippings from Feburary 2003. It's not the Socialist Worker, but ask yourself if a rabidly pro-war paper would run stuff like this.

DAILY MAIL, 15 FEB 2003:


John Mortimer, Novelist
'A war against Iraq would destabilise the entire Middle East, unleash civil
war between the Sunni and the Shia Moslems, unite the Arab world against us
and hugely increase the dangers to us from terrorism. Conflict could be
justified only if we were now threatened by Iraq, and there is not a shred of
evidence of this.'

General Sir Hugh Beach, Master General of the Ordnance, 1977-81 'Going to war
would cause an even more virulent reaction against the West and particularly
against America. The UN weapons inspectors should be given more time. Far more chemical and biological weapons were destroyed by inspectors in
the 1991-1998 period than in the Gulf War itself.'

Lord Rea of Eskdale, Labour peer
'The Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal declared:
'To initiate a war of aggression is the supreme international crime –
containing within itself the accumulated evil of all other (war) crimes.' If
we do nothing to prevent a U.S. attack, or worse actually take part in one,
Britain is likely to be dubbed as a U.S. lackey and judged guilty of
aggression in the eyes of the world, particularlythe Arab world – and the
risks of terrorist attacks on us will escalate.'

Anthony Sampson, Writer
'In pressing ahead with plans for war, the Government has ignored or bypassed
the normal democratic process, including Parliament and institutions such as
the UN.'

Ray Hewitt, 32-year-old reservist in the Royal Signals
'It's fine for Bush and Blair to say 'Let's go to war' but they haven't seen
warfare at first hand. I fought in the Gulf War when I was 19. I saw hundreds
of Iraqi bodies scooped up in bulldozers and body parts flying everywhere.
This is my first political march but I feel strongly that the evidence
against Iraq is too flaky.'

Marcelle D'Argy Smith, Writer
'The thought of bombing thousands of normal decent people in Iraq – as well as seeing American and British troops killed – appalls me. Iraq was not responsible for 9/ll. Iraq is not the reason why we are on terror alert.'

Bianca Jagger, Human rights campaigner
'Bush wants Iraq's oil, and Blair appears willing to flout international law to help him.'



ON a day without precedent and in numbers beyond imagination, the
people of Britain took to the streets to demonstrate their anger.

In London, they shuffled through the city for hour upon hour; feet stamping,
teeth chattering, breath billowing in the winter air. Some came in
pushchairs, others in wheelchairs; some struggled on crutches and a dogged
few inched along on Zimmer frames. Yet every one had the same message to
impart: No War, No Attack, Not In My Name.

London has seen many a march in many a cause, but never one like this. Some
said that a million people were present, others believed there were many more.

In truth, the arithmetic was unimportant.

What stunned the senses was the sheer volume of humanity protesting for

There were placards, tens of thousands of them, raised protectively against
the February wind. And there were songs; from Lennon to Geldof, with a touch
of the terraces. There was muted cheering and self-conscious chanting and a
man with bright red hair who produced a saxophone and played Teddy Bears'

But the ones who registered most strongly were those who held no placards
and sang no songs, but walked silently with serious intent.

They were present in their hundreds of thousands, for this was above all a
demonstration for people who never go on demonstrations. But they had
considered the issues and the terrifying implications, and they had decided
that they had to play their part.

As one lady put it: 'I don't want to make a fuss.

I just want to tell Tony Blair that he's wrong. If one more person turning
up can make that case, I'll be satisfied.' It was scarcely the stuff of
revolution, yet it was all the more powerful for its moderation.

And it reinforced the feeling that Britain's Prime Minister has made a
calamitous miscalculation in his efforts to subdue Iraq.

Almost all of the anger was directed at Mr Blair. His was the name which
brought the jeers. The man who has achieved two electoral landslides had
become the target of venomous abuse.

Not since Margaret Thatcher in her abrasive prime has a British politician
provoked such feelings, and these from the people who worked so hard to elect

Of course, he can withstand the insults of the pantomime loons – of the
London School of Economics Socialist Worker Students' Society ('One
Stockbroker Is One Too Many'); of Tony Benn, bulging with moral pomposity,
striding the stage for the last time and milking every moment, or of dear old
Tariq Ali, the jobbing protester from the seething Sixties.

But Blair will be deeply damaged by those countless members of the rank and
file who now feel bitterly betrayed.

A senior trade unionist on yesterday's march spoke more in sorrow than in
anger when he said: 'There was a time when a Labour Prime Minister would have
been leading this bloody march. Now our feller's the one they're protesting

Tony's got this badly wrong, and I'm not sure he realises it. But he
will.' If Blair provoked anger, then the name of George Bush evoked nothing
but derision. One banner quoted one of his more memorable remarks: 'They
Misunderestimate Me'. To which the author added: 'You tell 'em, George!' Even
more telling was a placard waved by one of his countrymen: 'Don't Think We're
All Like George Dubya', it said. And the bearer was roundly applauded.

There was no hatred, just universal contempt for someone perceived to be an
inarticulate cowboy with delusions of competence, a toddler holding a hand

Up at Speakers' Corner, they were testing the public address system before
the march began.

There were rockers and rappers and kids with all manner of metal
embellishments. Somebody put on a tape: Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller.
An elderly couple began to dance. The kids applauded. It was thoroughly
surreal. A few marchers sat on the benches in the Princess of Wales Walk,
listening to the Prime Minister speaking to Scottish Labour in Glasgow. That
anger again. 'He's lost it', they said. 'He's bloody lost it.' They spoke
with great gravity of the Middle East in flames, of terrorists given carte
blanche to do their worst, of Western unity shattered and of thousands of
lives destroyed.

'How could he do it?' they asked.

And their confusion was as affecting as their outrage.

As Blair spoke at the SECC, a wave of protesters also surged through
Glasgow, writes Fidelma Cook.

Many were what used to be termed the silent majority – the middleclass,
often middle-aged men and women who have disdained active protest all their

In youth they were not to be found in the ranks of the ban the bomb
marchers, never held union cards or walked under the banners of the Trades
Union Congress.

Yet these 'protest virgins' as one commentator sniffily labelled them, were
at the heart of one of the largest demonstrations the city has ever seen.

Of course the professional protesters, the anarchists, the far Left, the
generally disaffected and disappointed were there too. But for those in the
Government with deep misgivings about the seemingly headlong rush to war., it
was surely the sight of so many 'protest virgins' in their sensible, warm
winter coats clutching home-made posters which must make them ponder their

There were young men and women pushing babies or carrying toddlers – earnest
professionals, the kind Tony Blair courted in his determination to rout
Conservatism for good in Britain.

The kind of voters, in fact, who may use the Scottish elections truly
register their alarm at what they see as the hijacking of democracy in a
determination for war. Women whose Saturdays in the city centre are normally
spent shopping or meeting friends for coffee found themselves shouting
antiwar slogans to the beat of drums down St Vincent Street.

Women like 54-year-old housewife Margaret Eaves, from the city's arguably
most genteel suburb, Bearsden. Normally, she said, she'd be in Marks &
Spencer's food hall, doing her weekend shopping and deciding which vegetables
should accompany the Sunday roast.

Today, seemingly slightly amazed at finding herself waving a paper dove of
peace mounted on a stick, she admitted: 'I have never been on a protest in my
life. I've never felt moved enough to actually come out of my house and be

'But I'm disgusted with Tony Blair and his conviction that he has the moral
high ground on this.

'The vast majority in this country do not want war. We do not want to be
outside the UN at Bush's side for something which has more to do with oil and
American imperialism than with right. Blair has no mandate on this. It is not
a just cause.' By the time the marchers arrived to form a ring of peace
around the SECC, their plans to drown out Tony Blair's war cries with a
chorus of noisy protest had been thwarted. As the last of the marchers were
shepherded by the police into the main car park beside the Armadillo, they
knew he was long gone.

He had spoken and departed for London even as the protesters had gathered on
Glasgow Green.

But somehow it didn't seem to matter. They had arrived, this mismatched but
united army of protest – the punks and the suburban princesses, the shaved
heads and the sensible ski-caps, the old and the young.

And if the man himself had gone, he had only to turn on his television to
know that they had been, had marched, had spoken.



THE last time I took to the streets in protest was in the Sixties -
so long ago that I can't clearly recall what I was demonstrating against -
and I have never regarded myself as one of life's marchers.

But I feel so strongly that the seemingly inexorable build-up to war in
Iraq is premature, misguided and morally wrong that I believed I had no
alternative but to join the hundreds of thousands of people on yesterday's
Stop The War march.

There are two main issues that have been troubling my conscience. First, I
believe that an overwhelming case for war has not been made. I am not a
pacifist, but I have always firmly believed war is the ultimate horror and
must be the sanction of last resort.

Clearly Saddam Hussein is a cruel and evil tyrant, but launching a
pre-emptive strike against Iraq will unleash the most unimaginable
humanitarian and ecological disaster.

I have not been persuaded by the evidence that he presents an immediate
threat either to the Middle East or to global security. Neither am I
convinced that a compelling link between Saddam and the Al Qaeda terrorist
network has been established or that the post-war scenario has been properly

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are certain to be killed in a sustained
ground and air war, the vast majority innocent civilians and children. War
will only intensify their suffering, and contribute to the 'domino-effect'
destabilisation of the region.

But a second issue which I have found equally disturbing is the way
Britain seems to be moving towards war without any firm democratic mandate. I
sit on the Labour benches in the House of Lords and, while we have debated
the Iraq situation, there has never been a vote either there or in the House
of Commons.

There is also no firm groundswell of opinion among the British people for
war on Iraq. Opinion polls last week suggested only ten per cent of the
population want it without the backing of the United Nations.

HISTORY tells us the great mass of British people will take to the streets
in protest only when they believe the Government is imposing an unpopular
policy against the will of the people.

This tradition of public protest acts as a valuable safety valve for
democracy. It sends a clear message to those in power that they should think
very carefully about their actions.

I hope the Government will take into account the weight of public opinion
evident in the numbers who turned out yesterday. These were ordinary,
lawabiding citizens, many of whom have never been on any demonstration,
united in their opposition and angry that the Prime Minister seemed to have
so little regard for the democratic process.

Surely one of the things that has made Britain such a great, successful
and harmonious country is our tradition of lively and effective political

Over the centuries there has usually been a rough sense of balance between
government and opposition that has, on the whole, produced a broad consensus
on which the majority can agree or at least accept as the democratic will of
the majority.

That is why it is dangerous for Tony Blair to risk taking the country into
war in what many see as an autocratic and unaccountable manner. His large
Commons majority and the current lack of a credible and effective
Parliamentary Opposition makes it even more imperative he be seen to seek the
firmest possible democratic backing.

In a moment of crisis, the mood of fear can threaten the very foundations
of a liberal society. A country in which the Government loses its sense of
legitimacy is opening its doors to political extremism.

I am aware, of course, that Tony Blair believes he is morally right to
pursue war against Saddam. But if the argument for war is so clear-cut, I
would hope he would put the decision to Parliament. Certainly many people,
myself included, might suggest the £1.75 billion that Chancellor Gordon Brown
has set aside to pay for the war would be better spent on schools, hospitals
and urban regeneration.

If Mr Blair is to gain clear Parliamentary backing for invading Iraq, he
must prove Saddam poses a clear, severe and immediate threat to destabilising
the Middle East and the world. Parliament must also be persuaded that Iraq is
providing financial and logistical support to the Al Qaeda network. But the
so-called evidence of Saddam's wrongdoing provided by both Washington and
London shows no such compelling or credible threat. We should be highly
sceptical of the evidence served up by the Government to bolster its case -
either woefully out of date or culled from a dusty postgraduate research

AS FOR the United States, its considerable record of manufacturing
evidence to justify military action is well documented - let none of us
forget President Johnson's deliberate fabrication of the events in the Gulf
of Tonkin, resulting in full-scale war against North Vietnam. Suspicions also
remain that Iraq's oil - 20 per cent of the world's total reserves -
plays a significant, though unstated, part in America's calculations.

I accept the military build-up in the Middle East is already nearly
complete, but that in itself is not a satisfactory reason for war. Why must
we attack now? Far better to use the presence of so much firepower as an
effective incentive for Saddam Hussein to co-operate with the United Nations
weapons inspectors. Their presence in Iraq could also act as a restraint on
Saddam's programme of armament production. Hans Blix and his team should be
allowed to finish their work, with the threat that if Saddam continued to
defy the United Nations they could then order an invasion.

There is also a definite risk that, far from decreasing the global threat
of terrorism, this war will have the opposite effect. President Bush's
ill-judged comments about launching a ' Crusade' to wipe out Al Qaeda will be
interpreted by many impoverished people of the Muslim world as a direct
attack on Islam.

It is axiomatic that war breeds war, but it also breeds hatred, fear and
intolerance. I am worried this war runs the grave danger of becoming the most
effective recruiting sergeant yet for extremist groups bent on revenge on
America and Britain: it will have ramifications for years to come.

The placards that I and many others carried in Hyde Park yesterday read:
'Why Iraq? Why now?' These are valid questions that have not been
convincingly answered.



BRITAIN found its voice yesterday and led the world in the march
towards peace.

Amid unprecedented scenes, a human sea of protesters converged on London
to oppose an invasion of Iraq - while equally passionate and peaceful
demonstrations were held in some 600 cities around the globe.

Organisers of the London rally claimed their counting, backed by aerial
photos, showed the support of more than two million marchers. Others said
one-and-a-half million. Scotland Yard put the number on the official route to
Hyde Park at
750,000 but conceded the overall figure could be significantly higher because
many made their own way to the park. Whatever the actual number, the protest
was by far the biggest in British history - dwarfing the 400,000 on last
year's countryside march - and a staggering display of people power. It was
also a crushing humiliation for Tony Blair, who, increasingly isolated, was
obliged to switch tack in his drive towards war.

Although unshakeable in his support for President Bush over Iraq, he said
that UN weapons inspectors would be granted more time. And he mounted a
'humanitarian' argument for war because of Saddam Hussein's treatment of his
people rather than focusing again on the military threat that the Iraqi
dictator posed to the West.

In a speech to the Labour faithful in Glasgow yesterday, Mr Blair
acknowledged his support for President Bush had made him unpopular. But he
said: 'Ridding the world of Saddam would be an act of humanity - it is
leaving him there that is, in truth, inhumane.' Lindsey German, spokeswoman
for the Stop the War Coalition, said: 'If Blair thinks this rally is it, he
will be surprised. This is just the beginning.' It was the diversity of those
at the rally which amazed observers. Organisers celebrated 'the mass
mobilisation of the middle classes' and the huge number of women. There were
many anxious but determined Middle England protest virgins marching alongside
rally-hardened veterans.

But all were united in pursuit of a common goal - peace. Reflecting the
nature of the day, Scotland Yard reported only three arrests for minor
offences . . . 'remarkable given the amount of people', said a senior officer.

Many famous faces joined the marchers, led from the Embankment by US civil
rights veteran the Rev Jesse Jackson. Actress Vanessa Redgrave, speaking
afterwards, said: 'This is the largest rally since the 1840s. The world is
against this war. No one doubts Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator but war
is the most ghastly way to try to bring change.' Tony Benn said: 'This is a
majority. This is democracy.' But it was the faces in the crowd which were
really impressive. There were women and children; pensioners on their first
march; peaceniks from the Sixties in woollen kaftans and groups from Middle
England, such as those waving the banner 'Bury St Edmunds Against The War'.

Connie Black, 78, from Staines, Middlesex, said: 'I have never marched
before. I just feel what is happening is wrong and so I had to come.' It was
a common theme among the marchers, many of whom voted for Tony Blair at the
last Election.

Language student Caty Palin, 24, from West London, said: 'I have never
been moved to hold a placard before. It was an amazing experience. I will
never forget the sight of that sea of people. I have voted for Blair twice
but I have just lost all respect for politicians. They do not listen.'
Walking among the banners proclaiming 'No War For Oil', 'Make Tea Not War'
and, the most common, a sign which said simply 'No', was Sasha Eggan, 32,
with her children Robbie, three, and Jack, 15 months. She said: 'We are here
because this war is going ahead for the wrong reasons. I think it's about
oil, not Saddam.' Lisa Goodall, 36, from Leeds, said: 'We have enough
problems in this country and this is what the Government should be sorting
out. I don't believe we should be going to war.'



MAKE no mistake, more than anything else Saturday's huge antiwar
demonstration was a howl of impotent rage from Middle Britain.

A howl of protest against a Prime Minister who has become increasingly
imperious and a Government that simply refuses to listen to the voice of the

It was this anger - more than understandable fears and doubts about
almost certain military action - that brought out hundreds of thousands of
ordinary, non-protesting individuals and families to make common cause with
those working to a more overtly political and ideological agenda.

Like the petrol-price protests and the Countryside Alliance march,
Saturday's demo was an unmistakable manifestation of the growing anger of
people convinced, and with every justification, that Mr Blair is impervious
to their views.

Yet in believing such a protest could be countered by a PR operation
mounted by senior Ministers - especially one spearheaded by 'Two Jags'
Prescott, who had to perform somersaults yesterday, given his violent
hostility to the Falklands campaign 21 years ago - Downing Street once
again shows its failure to recognise the underlying mood of the country.

The voters are fed up with an out of touch Prime Minister who refuses to
allow debate, even on a subject as important as war. They are furious about
being misled - particularly by such cheap deceptions as the cut-and-paste
exercise in plagiarism by Alastair Campbell passed off as a dossier on Saddam
Hussein's crimes.

After six years of lies and spin, the people do not trust this Government
an inch - which explains the cynicism about last week's dramatic security
alert at Heathrow.

Such cynicism, and the hostility to the policy on Iraq, spells trouble for
Mr Blair. Far more worrying is what it could spell for the health of our
democratic system.


Response to FTB

10.01.2006 17:31

What an expert you have turned out to be on the Mail.But most of what you have quoted is from the day of the march or the following day! And of course the editorials are missing...i think its a form of selective omission allied to a touch of wishful thinking! What the pieces you have quoted do show is that the anti war marches did have an enormous impact on public opinion and quite a big impact on the events leading up to "shock and awe".It was a close run thing and Blair had a real fear that he could have been turfed out of office in the days before the invasion started and all credit to all in the Stop The War Coalition who did so much to oppose the Bush /Blair attack.
Perhaps from now on you could keep indymedia informed with the progressive policies of the Mail on a regular basis!


Me again

11.01.2006 09:50

The last article quoted is an editorial. As I said in my original post, the main reason the paper was against the war was because it is against anything Blair does (not unlike the good people of Indymedia, actually), but against the invasion it most certainly was. The whole reason I archived the articles above at the time was because I was so shocked and knew people wouldn't remember it in years to come.

And the thing about the Mail is that it doesn't allow comment from sides that don't agree with its editorial line — you''ll never seen someone writing a column that says travellers have every right to live near chocolate-box villages, that asylum seekers make a valuable contribution to British society and so on. So if they're running pieces by Lord someone of somewher saying attacking Iraq is unjust and wrong, what does that tell you?


It take a lot to takes a sectarian to cry

12.01.2006 17:46

You gotta laugh at you sad sectarians who start off quoting the weekly worker and end up spouting off with the daily mail.
The reason why galloway is being attacked ,along with Respect is that amazingly they remain relevant to what is happening in the world.
The war is a disaster three years after the invasion with one senior retired military calling for the impeachment of Blair.Then there is the continued free market attack on our welfare services ,pensions and employment rights.And then there is the attack on moslems and our civil rights.
Respect is trying to fill that space to the left of New Labour ..and bloody great..
it opposes the war
it opposes the free market
it defends civil rights and our moslem neighbours
it has got involved in environmental issues both locally and nationally.
it defends public housing from property developers and new labour.
The problem is it is still too small but well done for being RELEVANT and for trying.


Respect will move on from this minor side-show

13.01.2006 12:51

Not surprising Uncle Joe (as in Uncle Joe Stalin, ooh what a giveaway) and his New Labour apologist mates are getting all over-excited over Galloway's BB appearance. And hardly surprising they'd like to think it's creating a crisis in Respect? Truth is they wish it was.

In reality (real reality not BB 'reality'!) Respect is a lot bigger than Gorgeous George, and his brief sojourn on this unedifying spectacle may be a mistake, but not that big a deal. He'll come out, probably a bit embarrassed, we'll forgive him - then we'll get on with the real business of kicking New Labour's ass in the local elections in East London, Birmingham, Preston and elsewhere.

And if you ask me that's what really bothers our dear old Uncle!

(PS: Dear Editors, I know some may ask for this to be hidden as promoting a party - but is it fair for others to be allowed to attack us party-politically but we can't reply? Same rule for all!)

Mr Spoon

Synchronised regurgitation

14.01.2006 01:25

Is this the only tactic they teach you at Respect?...

"What a sad posting from a miserable sectarian ranter"

"Those sad sectarians"

"It seems to me that there are some out there in computerland who like nothing better than a good old sectarian attack"

"All the cackling and crowing from the grim sectarians who can only play one tune from their sectarian hymn sheet"

"admit it Andrew you are full of sectarian tosh."

"Sectarianism cup runneth over with bile!"

"You really are spouting a load of sectarian nonsense"

"its time to stop believing all the sectarian claptrap you have fallen for"

"a gaggle of sectarians led by some pro Israel so called socialists"

"The sectarians on the fringes however in delight in pointing to disagreements"

"Being sectarian in this context means trying to split up the movement along these lines."

"you do sound like an obsessive sectarian."

"I can only think that Andrew and Pilgrim support some small sectarian group that would celebrate his downfall"


The War Guys Bay For His Head But Galloway Does it His Way!

14.01.2006 13:32

Having read the contributions from Andrew I have to say he is such a sensitive soul and is very iffy about being called a sectarian .
Galloway by contrast seems to a very strong character.. able to shrug off attacks from all quarters with aplomb.
However ,Galloway's main enemy is the most powerful imperial power that the world has seen and he is obviously pissing it off hence the forged documents in Baghdad ,the temper tantrums of New Labour in Parliament and the vitriolic attacks in the press [and occasionally on Indymedia].
What I like about Galloway is he chose not to take the easy option.He could have sat back and said nothing about Palestine or Iraq but instead supported the Palestinians and Iraqi when they were being half starved ,beaten or attacked by America or its close ally Israel.
Seeing him in Big Brother is a bit weird .I don't think I could stay in a house with members of my own family for a weekend let alone with others for weeks on end.
But what is important is not the Big Brother business but his vocal and articulate stand against the war and imperialism.This is why the war guys hate him..when the Labour MP for the Rhondda got caught out in a minor scandal a few years back there was a bit of minor titillation for a few weeks but the caravan soon moved on.I suspect that things will be different for Galloway.In a few months time the war guys will still be baying for his head and those who are opposed to the war will still be shaking our heads[ and probably wringing our hands ] and wondering how he does it.


AI....(Artificial Intelligence?)

14.01.2006 20:00

"Having read the contributions from Andrew I have to say he is such a sensitive soul and is very iffy about being called a sectarian."

Not at all. I couldn't give a damn what I'm called. The only thing that annoys me is people using these meaningless labels to avoid actual debate. It's a totalitarian tactic and it's quite disturbing to see it from supposed 'free thinkers'. Rather than refute a single specific point personal attacks are launched.

My original point, if anyone is actually interested in adult discussion, was that Galloway has done a lot of great anti-war work but that he does seem to frequently act as an apologist for various repressive regimes (see my evidence of a couple of posts back) and that this, as well as being hypocritical and morally bankrupt, also undermines the anti-war movement in the long term.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm open to being proved wrong on this. But do it with relevent evidence not with regurgitated, vacuous terminology.


Viva !

14.01.2006 22:42

To Andrew
A few postings back you accused the Stop The War Coaition of being a front for the SWP.We know that the SWP played an important role in forming the STWC in the aftermath of the attack on the twin towers in New York but your accusation reeks of a rank hatred for the SWP and the STWC itself.
What else can I think about your carping on about socialists who are active in the anti war campaigns?When the STWC was formed it had three founding principles which a number of people objected to but which the founding conference voted for...I bet you objected to them.

The founding principles were
1 Opposition to any Imperial invasions in the Middle East

2 Defence of moslems here in Britain and opposition to any racist backlash in the aftermath of the New York atrocity.

3 A defence of civil liberties which New Labour would almost certainly seek to curtail as part of its right wing authoritarian pro war agenda.

The STWC's founding principles were correct and resulted in moslems,trade unionists,socialists,greens ,young people and many others coming together in a way that has never happened before.
A million plus people marched on the 15th February 2003 and there have been other huge demonstrations including 300000 who turned out to protest at Bush's visit to London in November 2003.
Whyam I rehashing a reminder that there is no SWP front as described by you.But why do you say there is have regurgitated a bunch of stale sectarian lies and called it the truth.
And your comments about Galloway are about equally trustworthy. You go on about totalitarianism...but the real totalitarians are dropping bombs in Iraq in our name and torturing hunger strikers in Guantamano Bay and preparing for an attack on Syria or Iran and supporting Israel in its subjugation of the Palestinian people. Galloway of course is a staunch supporter of a free Palestine as his Big Brother support for a Palestine charity reminds us.
Viva Palestine !
Viva all opposed to the war!
Jack William

Jack William


15.01.2006 01:27

I did no such thing. That's completely untrue and anyone who wants to go back and read the thread again will see I didn't once even suggest that the Stop The War Coalition was 'a front for the SWP'.

Why would I? I've been a supporter of the campaign. I don't particularly believe it is 'a front' and even if it was it would be pretty irrelevent - the vast majority of people at the huge anti-war marches weren't interested in who was arranging the coaches and doing the paperwork, they simply wanted to express their opposition to a blatant act of aggression.

I guess that makes most of your ramble slightly redundant.

The only thing I will say is that your distinction of 'real totalitarians' is itself again a totalitarian way of thinking. Totalitarians are totalitarians. Full stop. Political convenience should not enter into it. Assad, Aziz...Blair and Bush. ALL totalitarians in different ways. You can't be selective on such fundamental matters. Unfortunately Galloway and his disciples seem to be.


A time for war, a time for peace..i swear its not too late!

15.01.2006 07:46

How timely of you to remind us that Syria and Iran are ruled by totalitarians especially as Bush is gearing up the USA and the world for another attack on one of these countries and needs all the political cover he can get in order to justify his actions.

When he moves he will probably say that he is bringing peace and freedom to the region just as he brought peace and freedom to Iraq ....and 100000 war dead and countless traumatised and maimed or made homeless as cities and towns have been destroyed.

The war when it comes will not only be waged on the "elite" of the countries mentioned above but will also smash the civilian populations just as the USA did to the Vietnamese and the Koreans or even the people of Beirut when its battleship punded that city in ,I think 1981.

You dont have to be a chum of the "totalitarians" in thse countries to oppose the coming wars and to oppose the warmongers like Bush and his faithful pal Blair.
George Galloway has been right on the war and for all your smears is a democrat and a socialist .


Galloway Smeared Yet Again

15.01.2006 09:25

George Galloway who you are so ready to smear a totalitarian is the only member of parliament to have been expelled from his party for opposing the invasion of Iraq.

He called upon British troops to disobey illegal orders and said that Bush and Blair were war criminals.The transcript of his show trial is widely available.

Tony Benn and Mark Seddon spoke up for him as witnesses for the defence but he was found guilty as charged by New Labour and duly expelled.

The attack was launched with operation "Shock And Awe " and the country was plunged into barbarism.Galloway tried to prevent the carnage and the slaughter.. for that he was villified in the press,attacked in parliament and in the senate and hounded by his opponents.

He found time, however, to win aby election,help found RESPECT ,the anti war party and win a couple of libel cases.Oh and he also flew to the Senate and demolished in person those bullyboys who were so keen to see him ruined.He has also spoken at hundreds of anti war meetings up and down the country.He has also defended the fire station service in Bow .
He has been a staunch opponent of those who wage war and rain death on innocent people smear him as a totalitarian or as a lover of dictators is absurd and a bit creepy.You seemed to be obsessed by Galloway ..perhaps you should be obsessed a bit more with the war and the rebuilding of the anti war movement.


going round in circles

15.01.2006 14:30

P2...I didn't actually mention Iran but don't let reality get in the way of your rant.

I mentioned Assad and Aziz - that is, Tariq Aziz Saddam's old righthand man and far from it being a 'smear' it is undeniable fact that Galloway is a close friend of his. He openly admits it as I have said countless times already (see above).

"You dont have to be a chum of the "totalitarians" in thse countries to oppose the coming wars and to oppose the warmongers like Bush and his faithful pal Blair."

Exactly! Why then does Galloway not seem to realise this?


Respect to those who earn it!

15.01.2006 17:24

It seems to me that those who have criticised George Galloway,Respect or the Socialist Workers Party on Indymedia do not like having their motives questioned in turn.
Galloway , Respect and the SWP are called totalitarians or authoritarians and some critics have even called for Galloway to attacked.
I think you have to give repect to those who have earned it and Galloway Respect and the SWP have earned it with their record in the campaigns against the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
That well known champion of freedom in Irq Nick Cohen was given a whole page in the Observer today to attack Galloway and the others andhis desperate distortions are clear for any to see.
Galloway war right about the war and did not sit back into a cosy retirement as he could so easily have done.Instead he started Respect and actually beat New Labour in East London....something that few would have thought possible [myself included ] a year earlier.
Galoway has been consistently smeared by his enemies who so wanted a troublefree political space in the UK to go ahead with the invasion of the Middle East.Galloway, and the SWP together with the whole Stop The War Coalition made sure that every step of the road to war was dogged by mass opposition . How Blair and the others hated that opposition.With such a mass movement the war gang could not even easily write and rewrite history in their favour.
Galloway is still calling for the prime minister and his accomplices to be called to legal account in launching their illegal war of mass murder and mayhem and that is why he is important. He is worth more than that whole spineless lot in parliament who voted for the war and all that went with it.Galloway has earned our respect.The SWP has earned respect for its role and Respect has earned ....respect.


Note for AI

16.01.2006 08:56

"What I like about Galloway is he chose not to take the easy option"

If GG didn't like taking the easy option, he'd have stood against Blair in Sedgefield, maybe stuck around in Glasgow, or even gone to Angelsey (where the population is almost entirely white).

Instead he picked out a parliamentary seat with a huge proporiton of muslim voters and a Bairite MP (with Jewish roots, to boot), then ran on a single issue campaign designed solely to win the election with no thought for afterwards.

If that's not taking the easy option, I don't know what is.


reply to FTB

16.01.2006 17:46

Whatever you say George took the hard route!

Expelled from New Labour for being anti war,hounded weekly by the press,framed by US military in Baghdad and denounced in the Senate.That aint no easy route.

Did he retire hurt or did he bow to the bullies?Like hell he did!

He stood at the general elections in the Labour heartland of East London where the Labour vote is usually weighed not counted. A heartland where the Labour Party first took root 100 years ago.

He took on a New Labour MP representing a still formidable party machine with almost unlimited funds and prepared to fight dirty.

Galloway stood for a party only 6months old,with limited funds and he himself was a scottish roman catholic.

So did he win because he was scottish or gorgeous?

Like hell he did! He won because he had been a clear and outspoken opponent of the war gang and the whole neo liberal Blairite agenda. Whole swathes of working class voters swung over to support him in the last days because they agreed with core message
1 Opposition to the war
2 Opposition to the privatisation agenda
3 Support for public sector workers.

Make mistake wasnt just a moslem vote that put him into parliament.What also helped was the fact he stood for everything that was not New Labour.That is why Oona King was swept out of office.

If you think that taking on New Labour in its stronghold was an easy option you have not stood in any election let alone a general election.


Respect and SWP incapable of addressing criticism.

19.01.2006 18:09

Actually AI it WAS just the Muslim vote that got Galloway elected. He scraped in by a few hundred votes which explains why he immediately stated he wouldn't stand there again, as he knows he'll lose the seat.

Of the 26 Respect candidates who stood, 9 of the 10 who got more than 5% of the vote were all in Muslim areas. Where Respect stood in white working class areas they did worse than the Socialist Alliance in 2001.

Are any SWP'ers or Respect members going to actually address any of the criticisms I made in the original article? I doubt it. They'll just carry on squealing about sectarians.

And on the subject of Galloway, still nobody has explained why he chose to ally himself with Tariq Aziz and Assad of Syria. And yet he claims that the famous Saddam speech was a mistake!

George Galloway, the SWP and Islamic fundamentalists deserve each other! The astute British working class and the rest of the socialist left have seen straight through these nauseating people and want nothing to do with them.

Uncle Joe

Uncle Joe..Dont Be Daft Man!

19.01.2006 22:59

Uncle Joe,
Dont be daft man.George did not win in Bethnal Green on the moslem vote alone .He also attracted a massive working class white vote.
Just think of the enormity of that win.Many said that beating Labour from the left could never be done but Respect did it.And by the way Galloway announced before the election that he would not stand there again...but hey dont let the facts get in the way of your sad sectarian wishful thinking.
The Respect victory in Bethnall Green was monumental and wouldn' t it been great if it could have been repeated elsewhere.....of course the moslem working class vote was fantastically important ..but do remember uncle joe that moslems are workers too imply that somehow that are not members of the working class ...and what a bigoted ,vicious and narrow minded position that is.What did Marx remind us about workers of the world uniting...and it strike me that uniting over the war and opposition to the neo liberal policies of Blair is a pretty good start. And let it be stressed that the war remains the central issue in our political life.Bush and Blair want to move on but it keeps dragging them back into the quagmire.
And when we look at the record Galloway has done sterling work on behalf f the anti war movement and the people of Iraq.He met Saddam twice not to sell him arms or for personal enrichment but to try to end the sanctions which killed half a million Iraqi children according to UN senior figures in Iraq.
It is the pro war ,pro bombing ,pro big business crowd who have tried to frame him over Iraq with a bunch of false documents and cobbled together allegations ...your support for that sordid crowd puts YOUR judgement into question Uncle Joe. What a sorry sectarian you are!!


Like sheep lying with wolves

20.01.2006 13:33

We should remember that Galloway did not do the brave thing and leave the imperialist Labour Party he had to be thrown out. He even sees Respect as a dual strategy of working with those still in the Labour Party.

Within Respect the SWP has been more than coy on the issue of gay rights and abortion both to appease Galloway's Catholic voters when he was in Scotland and the Muslim groups they were courting. This leaves them defenceless against attacks when leading memebers of Respect like Adam Yosef come out with homophobic comments.

There is the wider problem with any parliamentary strategy that you end-up stuck with the personality of the effective figureheads. Hence the hoo-har about him in Big Brother and his emmence personal wealth and lifestyle.

I really cannot see how the constant strategical failures of the SWP it can carry on like this much longer. Only blind optimism and high rate of turnover can save them.

mail e-mail:

I wouldn't hold your breath Uncle Joe...

20.01.2006 16:01

"And on the subject of Galloway, still nobody has explained why he chose to ally himself with Tariq Aziz and Assad of Syria. And yet he claims that the famous Saddam speech was a mistake!"

yup and I don't expect anybody will get round to answering those questions. Far too inconvenient. Much easier to launch childish personal attacks. If this is what the level of debate is like on here, I dread to think what it's like in Respect meetings and forums. Still, given their tendency to regurgitate whole speeches from Saint Galloway they probably all agree on everything anyway. What a wonderful world to live in...


strategic failure.??..Keep wishing

20.01.2006 16:58

I dont agree with your claim that there has been a strategic failure inside the SWP.
Firstly it was central to the formation of the Stop The War Coalition which led to the biggest anti war campaign in the history of this country....and the task is ongoing as further wars in the Middle East loom over the horizon. Because the correct decisions were taken at the formation of the coalition 5 years ago millions have been drawn into activity of some kind...and theyhave involved peoples of all kinds.
Secondly the SWP has helped form Unite Against Fascism to beat the right wing backlash in this country against moslems and others.This has been a difficult especially with the record of New Labour in stoking up racism.The record of the sectarian left has been less than glorious as they also sought to divide moslem workers from others.
Then there is Respect.This is a broad coalition formed out of the anti war movement ...and to beat New Labour in its East London fortress is quite a staggering achievement.Again the SWP was important to the forming of Respect but has not sought to take it over.Again the record of the sectarian fringe has been quite appalling in its sectarian attacks on this anti war party [see Indymedia for some of the details ].The Daily Telegraph could not have done a better hatchet job.
Lastly the SWP publishes one of the few weekly left wing papers which is consistently on the side of the workers and the broad anti capitalist movement.It doesnt take adverts and its finances must be quite precarious.But it is sustained by workers and students [not to mention quite a few pensioners ] who read it and sell it and frequently write for it.I think that is quite an achievement!
I think the SWP punches above its weight but needs to be bigger...then it will hopefully be better!! But I tell you what that Tony Cliff did a remarkable job in training a whole generation of socialists in the revolutionary socialist tradition.


Discussion and debate!

27.01.2006 01:29

It is very important that we get 100 comments on this post in order that we can analyse the direction of the anti-war Respect coalition, the SWP and of course our indefatigable George Galloway.

Please feel free to contribute your comments which are invaluable in our democratic analysis of these organisations.

Uncle Joe

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