A Message from Respect

Help Make a Political Earthquake

AN URGENT MESSAGE TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS

Dear Friend,

We are on the edge of a political earthquake in British politics. In polling conducted at the weekend, the Respect candidate in the Rotherham by-election, Yvonne Ridley, has the lead over Labour. Labour has panicked and launched a vicious and negative campaign of dirty tricks against Respect but this has been sidelined by our magnificent positive campaign with the Respect battle bus, advertizing truck and campaign groups in every ward.

Polling conducted in the Croydon North by-election suggests that Lee Jasper, the Respect candidate, is now neck and neck with the Labour Party to win the constituency. This overturns a Labour majority of over 16,000 at the last general election. This is nothing short of astounding and is testament to the excellent campaign team, candidate and brilliant policies we have.
The voters go to the polls for both constituencies on Thursday this week. If Respect wins one of these constituencies, it will make headlines across the world. If we win both, we will deliver the biggest blow to the squalid political consensus that has suffocated British politics since the 1970s. It will mark the transformation of our party into the fourth force in British politics and the most sustained challenge to three party politics since it developed in the 1980s.

WE NEED YOUR HELP

There are three ways that you can help Respect to shake British politics to its foundations. First, you can donate to help us pay for more leaflets, posters and stickers in the final days of the campaign. Please donate HERE.

Second, you can volunteer to help in Rotherham or Croydon over the next few days. We need people to give out leaflets, canvas door to door and travel on the Respect battle buses in each constituency. We need people to telephone and send text messages urging a vote for Respect.

For Croydon please contact Junior 07717791688- if unobtainable then Carole ( 07966 377162 ) or Patricia ( 07508 950589 ) or email RespectLG@talktalk.net.

For Rotherham, please contact Alias on 07960 430082 or email therespectparty@gmail.com

Third, you can share everything that the campaigns are posting on our websites, Facebook and Twitter. Get the message out now.

For Respect, the next few days are like a general election. We can deliver a damning verdict on the path of British politics and society in the last two years. We can deliver a challenge that shows what real Labour means and what real communities need. Please help us deliver Yvonne Ridley and Lee Jasper to Parliament to make a formidable team with George Galloway.

Many thanks

Chris
Dr Christopher Chilvers
National Secretary The Respect Party
07794 192 670
PO Box 167 Manchester M19 0AH.
therespectparty@gmail.com

142 comments on “A Message from Respect

  1. ‘In polling conducted at the weekend, the Respect candidate in the Rotherham by-election, Yvonne Ridley, has the lead over Labour’.

    Really? In a traditional Labour, working class town like Rotherham, one without as big a Muslim constituency as in Bradford or such a high profile Respect candidate? I know the former MP, Dennis MacShane, was perhaps the most contemptible of all New Labour MPs, if ever an individual was going to alienate people from a political party it was going to be him, but that does surprise me.

    Oh well, guess we’ll see tomorrow..

  2. Good stuff. Unfortunately, for personal reasons (not political) I am not in a position to get involved in this campaign at the moment. Of course, for revolutionary socialists, campaign’s even by principled left reformists like George Galloway need to be supported criticially. But here’s hoping that Respect give the bourgeois and pro-imperialist parties a bloody nose in both Croydon North and Rotherham.

    The support for Labour against Respect in Croydon by the SWP in my view is also politically very important – as an index of a further stage in the degeneration of the SWP towards capitulation to imperialism. Effectively they have become part of a liberal witchhunt against left-wing defenders of Julian Assange. Not just George Galloway, but also the American Humanist-Feminist Naomi Wolf have been vilified by the SWP and others on the so-called far left for defending Assange.

    Indeed for some on the far left, the vilification of Naomi Wolf has shaded over into outright misogyny, ironic given their claim that this has something to do with defending women’s rights. It has nothing to do with this, it has to do with capitulating to imperialism in a spirit that is not that far removed from the wretched politics – pro-imperialist and also male-feminist – of Denis MacShane, the corrupt Labourite neocon whose disgrace triggered the Rotherham by-election.

    I have just finished reading Naomi Wolf’s book, ‘The Vagina, A New Biography’ which is a powerful contribution that offers something important to a materialist understanding of the mechanism of important aspects of women’s oppression. I shall be doing a review of this at some point, though this may take several weeks again for logistical/personal reasons. But the dismissal of this work, and the ridicule of its author and her work purely for taking a position in defence of Assange shows a mindless, short-sighted perspective that appears ‘sectarian’ but is in fact simply capitulatory.

  3. mary seacole on said:

    All the evidence is that Labour are in huge trouble in Rotherham and that UKIP and Respect are both mounting very strong challenges. Labour seem better set in Croydon but Lee Jasper for Respect has been mounting a very credible campaign. No-one can predict the outcome of either election but the bookies have radically shortened odds on the Respect candidates in both elections and on UKIP in Rotherham. What seems evident at this stage and what is acknowledged by all and sundry, including Respect’s enemies on the left, is that Respect has conducted campaigns over a very short period of time which has made them contenders in a way that other organisations on the left who contest elections, like TUSC can only dream of when their dreams are wild.

    How bizarre then that the SWP has decided to call for a vote for Labour in Croydon and for the pathetic TUSC candidate in Rotherham. The Rotherham decision is simply sectarian, given the TUSC candidate has run an extraordinarily sectarian campaign seeking to smear Respect with a pack of lies and will get a derisory vote reflecting that sectarianism.

    The call for a vote for Labour in Croydon however is the electoral equivalent of scabbing. How could any self-respecting organisation claiming to be to the left of Labour, never mind revolutionary, support a call for Labour when Lee Jasper is a very credible candidate of the radical left?

    I remember being told that Cliff would always say at elections, in order to justify not voting for the far left candidate getting a couple of hundred votes, that when you are in a game between Tottenham and Arsenal, there’s no point in shouting for Brentford. That is what the SWP has chosen to do in Rotherham. But in Croydon they have decided to side with the party that brought us the Iraq war and the neo-liberal policies that are simply being continued and extended by the Condems.

    The only mitigation in all of this is that what Socialist Worker says and does will have absolutely no effect on how anyone will vote in these elections. This is something the SWP might want to reflect on some 35 years after the organisation declared itself to be THE revolutionary party, except reflection seems to be something they are constitutionally incapable of as they seem to have learned less than nothing from the split with Respect five years ago.

  4. The peculiar snide remarks of both #1 and #2 are uncalled for.

    Dick Gregory, Respect got enormous votes in the constituencies you mention. The fact that these were considered disappointing says a great deal.

    I, for one, wish both Yvonne and Lee the best of luck. I also take my hat off to Chris for all his hard work.

  5. Marxist Lenonist on said:

    Absolutely agree on all the anti-SWP points here, to back New Labour’s most Blairite of candidates in protest at George is a new low.

  6. Sorry, #2 seems to have been deleted so my previous post appears to make no sense (I know, I know – so what else is new, some will be thinking)

  7. Zaid – know I frequently disagree with you but on this question I’m with you 100% (albeit Dick Gregory’s comment disapeared (no criticism btw admin) before I had a chance to read it.

  8. For a website whose very name calls for unity I find the comments above sectarian in the extreme. Condemning Galloway’s execrable remarks isn’t ‘vilification’, it’s basic anti-sexism.
    Respect lost one of its very best people, Salma Yaqoob, because of Galloway remember, or will you claim she’s ‘scabbing’, or ‘capitulating to imperialism’?

  9. oldtrot,

    Unfortunately Salma Yaqoob did indeed capitulate to a liberal witchhunt, as did Kate Hudson. Its a shame, but despite the Islamophobic vitriol often thrown at her by some on the left, she was actually politically soft and inclined towards liberal/green type politics. Hence when the crap hit the fan and the liberals went on the warpath, she surrendered.

  10. If there’s any capitulation going on it’s to sexism. Just because someone has an anti-imperialist gloss on their politics doesn’t absolve them from that sexism.

  11. If these predictions are borne out, then that will be remarkable.

    In particular, I understand, all the affiliated unions backed Richard Burgon for the Rotherham candidacy, who would have walked the seat for Labour, and been an MP that the whole labour movement could be proud of – but Richard was excluded from the shortlist by the NEC for inexplicable reasons.

    I stress that I personally advocate a Labour vote in both by-elections, although I think that both Lee and Yvonna are good candidates and would make good MPs.

  12. oldtrot,

    “If there’s any capitulation going on it’s to sexism. Just because someone has an anti-imperialist gloss on their politics doesn’t absolve them from that sexism.”

    There is no sexism. Galloway spoke the truth about Assange being framed by means of a CIA-organised honeytrap, and pointed out that that the actual testimony that is cited against him did not constitute rape even if true. Naomi Wolf said the same thing, that these women according to their own testimonies consented to sex with Assange, and that no-one in their accounts used the simple word ‘no’.

    Which is probably why one of the women involved – the innocent party of the two – refused to sign the statement drafted for her by the other supposed victim and her policewoman friend/co-thinker – and yet her supposed ‘testimony’ was used in British courts against her apparent wishes.

    The capitulation is to a lynch campaign organised by the ruling class. The SWP is just as much part of that as William Hague was when he threatened to invade the Ecuadorian Embassy.

  13. Keep calm - and carry on on said:

    What a mess. People need to act with some responsibility here. That’s if they are serious about the long term prospects of building an effective left in England.

    The idea that to ‘punish’ George Galloway for his idiotic comments it is right to vote for Labour against Lee Jasper is itself idiotic. All that can do is to create further recrimination. It does not ‘punish’ Galloway. It isolates those who think they are doing the punishing. It does nothing to change his wrong view. It strengthens people way to the right of Galloway. I find it hard to think of a more stupid tactic.

    Galloway’s comments on rape created an unnecessary division on the left and were wrong. This response to them creates another unnecessary division. Thus we have a cycle of enmity and division that we cannot afford. People are going to have to work with each other. This kind of indulgent division is ridiculous. We need to break out of this death spiral.

    On Salma Yaqoob. There is a major difference. It is unfair to say she capitulated to liberalism. She has maintained opposition to imperialism. She left Respect not mainly because of Galloway’s comments, but because he would not through collective discussion correct them. That’s a different thing. She is also clear about supporting the left against the right and made her balanced appreciation of Galloway’s contribution clear when she resigned.

    Both those who use turbo-charged language about ‘scabbing’ and those who allege a greater division between Yaqoob and Galloway than actually exists are doing us no favours. The SWP’s decision is a terrible mistake. Galloway made a major blunder that encouraged this further mistake and he refused to back away from it. Let’s just hope that lessons are learnt on all sides. The first lesson is that the left outside of Labour should be clear where it stands over something as clear cut as the Croydon election.

  14. Organisations that advocate a ‘Vote Labour’ position in this (or most other elections) ought to be treated with contempt by socialists. Its not even as thought the fascists are jackbooting their way to the top and needing a united anti nazi vote for tactical reasons.

    If an end to capitalism is the objective, socialists should openly state that and insist that workers vote for socialists and not for the scoundrels whose reason for existence is to bail out the free market system at the expense of the little people yet again.

    Labour and the fools who sustain it with their money time and arguments are a disastrous joke.

  15. GoriBoy,

    An interesting observation.

    i’ve more time for a principled free marketeering libertarian Tory than i have for a reality twisting double speaking Labourite who talks left to get to the top of the greasy electoral pole and then spend his/her time urinating on those who placed them there in the first instance.

    Socialists and working people deserve better than this frightful Labour Conservative seesaw that delivers only false promise and war.

  16. While I’m not going to get into a childish fytp (‘f*** you too pall’) over this, I will say that there is a limit to which Respect should really have any concern about what the SWP have to say about this, and not so much from the pragmatic question of how much influence they may have.

    To me, Respect is not merely (if at all) another vehicle in the long far left march to build a party to the left of Labour, the support of which should be demanded from all the assorted outfits and individuals proclaiming alleigance to socialism, communism, marxism etc.

    Respect to me represents the potential future of socialist progressive politics, and the experienced activists and campaigners who are involved in it at various levels can see that. The British far left is by and large stuck in the last century (if not the one before that) and of minimal relevance to the mass of people.

    That’s why the idea pushed by the SWP and others that the result in Bradford was a positive signal to encourage them was so wide of the mark.

    If the SWP don’t want to support Respect, fair enough on one level. The CPB in Croydon are standing a separate candidate and I’m not going to denounce them, even if some of those who vote for them may have voted for Lee.

    And I don’t even have a problem in principle with them saying vote Labour. There are plenty of occasions when I think tactically that would be the ‘correct’ thing to do for various specific reasons. I have to say I can’t think of a single one in these by-elections even if Respect weren’t standing, but maybe someone could enlighten me.

    But if it’s true that the reason they are doing so is because of what GG said about Assange then words fail me.

  17. Uncle Albert on said:

    Labour’s NEC imposed a New-Labour style shortlist on Rotherham CLP. This was done in the name of a “clean break” (for those not familiar with New-Labour speak this is another way of saying “stitch-up”. At the selection meeting out of a possible 100+ votes (due to a walkout) Sarah Champion received only 13 and won the candidacy.

    Let’s hope the Rotherham electorate respond in kind and deliver a clean break of a different sort.

  18. Vanya: I have to say I can’t think of a single one in these by-elections even if Respect weren’t standing, but maybe someone could enlighten me.

    It would be the correct thing to do were you a member of the Labour Party.

  19. Jellytot on said:

    I wouldn’t get too hot under the collar about the SWP’s line in Croydon. In practical terms it means nothing as they have no electoral pull whatsoever (if they did they would stand in elections under their own name). We all know they’ve been acting very weird and have been all over the place on multiple fronts since the ’07 Respect split.

    I suspect, a lot of this stuff about the polls tightening is pre-by-election “bandwagon” creation which is a legitimate political art in itself (The Liberals used to be masters at it). Still, a decent RESPECT vote is possible and that wouldn’t be a bad thing after the torrid time they’ve been having lately. I admire an organisation that can bounce back like that.

  20. redcogs on said:

    People who support freemarket chaos, periodic mass unemployment, more or less permanent warfare etc have no shortage of political Party’s that they can support – Labour, Liberal, Conservative, which one is pretty well immaterial.

    i can’t imagine socialists contemplating giving alliegance to any capitalist political Party, unless it came to a straight choice between capitalism and fascism, when the choice for most was really already obvious.

    It is hard to take seriously those who proclaim ‘Socialism’ whilst simultaneously asking conscious workers to vote for a Party of capitalism.

    Perhaps this absence of principled clarity is a strong reason why the Left remains miniscule in its influence?

  21. #26 I don’t see it as being quite as simple as that.

    However, my choice in this election would be, were I to live in either constituency.

    Come on Lee! Come on Yvonne!

  22. oldtrot on said:

    Jellytot,

    Arrant nonsense. The SWP’s position was quite clear on the issue, namely that while there are aspects of the charges that Assange should answer – as he himself has offered to do – they nevertheless opposed any attempt to extradite him to the US, or to violate the sovereignty of the Ecuadorean embassy. That there is extreme pressure from the US to at the very least silence and discredit him is beyond question, and there are undoubted efforts to have him imprisoned in the US or even executed. The SWP has at no time denied this and stated so in a number of editorials and articles. It has also clearly stated that the Swedish and British states should provide legal guarantees that Assange won’t be extradited to the US – something both states have signally failed to do.
    On the subject of whether Assange is guilty under Swedish law of a sexual misdemeanour is impossible to say without full access to the facts and a profound knowledge of Swedish law. I have neither, nor I suspect do you.

  23. Jellytot on said:

    oldtrot

    But Assange isn’t even mentioned in SW’s justification for not voting for Jasper in Croydon.

    From this week’s SW:

    Respect’s Lee Jasper has tapped into anger around police racism in the Croydon run-off. But Socialist Worker is not calling for a vote for him, following Respect leader George Galloway’s disgraceful and well-publicised comments on rape. Instead we encourage supporters to vote for Labour in this instance.

    This is just rank sectarianism aimed at Galloway.

  24. oldtrot on said:

    Vanya,

    Just to be clear, I wasn’t claiming that the SWP wasn’t supporting Respect because of Galloway’s behaviour. I don’t speak for them or their strategy in the bye-elections. I was defending them against the charge of vilification and pointing to the fact that criticism of his behaviour also came from within Respect to the point that it caused leading members to resign. That this was met with a torrent of abuse against Salma Yaqoob – some of it revoltingly sexist – is a sign of just how far some Respect members have their heads up their own backsides.

  25. Jellytot,

    The SWP supported Galloway in Bradford and welcomed his win. He was even listed as speaking at Marxism. But that was before his comments on rape.

    As an aside, there have been several posters on this site who have sought to rationalise Galloway’s remarks and even suggest that those who express outrage are not anti-imperialist enough.

  26. oldtrot,

    “That this was met with a torrent of abuse against Salma Yaqoob – some of it revoltingly sexist – is a sign of just how far some Respect members have their heads up their own backsides.”

    The only sexist abuse against Salma Yaqoob was posted by a troll/sockpuppet who for all we know could have had any agenda, including a pro-SWP/anti-Galloway one for all anyone knows. His obscenities were deleted, but not before he was told by me to ‘fuck off and die’.

    How is it sexist to criticise Salma Yaqoob for having semi-liberal politics?

    Presumably then it would be ok for someone to say the SWP is racist for not calling for a vote for Lee Jasper?

    It is that kind of logic that is sexist if anything is!

  27. #30 Can you quote anyone in Respect who has subjected Salma Yaqoob to sexist abuse?

    As for the SWP’s position I refer you to #29 unless of course this has been misquoted.

  28. stuart,

    “As an aside, there have been several posters on this site who have sought to rationalise Galloway’s remarks and even suggest that those who express outrage are not anti-imperialist enough.”

    “Not anti-imperialist enough” does not quite capture it. Your position on this is pro-imperialist.

  29. oldtrot on said:

    Jellytot,

    Fair enough. I hadn’t seen that particular quote. I don’t see how it’s rank sectarianism though. His comments on rape were absolutely atrocious and indefensible, and as such bring the whole party into serious disrepute. It would be sectarian if it were about the political program and goals of Respect, but it’s not. This is about the behaviour of a leading member of a party whose principles are supposed to be diametrically opposed to such views.

  30. #31 Anyone who’s been around the SWP for any length of time will know that, even if Galloway was being correctly quoted/ interpreted re his views on rape, they would rationalise, gloss over, or ignore them if they felt it served a ‘higher’ purpose.

    I honestly believe that this is being used by your leaders to justify them turning on him definitively.

  31. anticapitalista on said:

    #29 From this week’s SW:

    Respect’s Lee Jasper has tapped into anger around police racism in the Croydon run-off. But Socialist Worker is not calling for a vote for him, following Respect leader George Galloway’s disgraceful and well-publicised comments on rape. Instead we encourage supporters to vote for Labour in this instance.

    This is a really feeble reason for not backing the RESPECT candidate IMO. Since I’m not in the Uk I can just speculate that the vast majority of those voting RESPECT will do so not because of what Galloway said on rape (and I think he was wrong), but because they want to see an end to neo-liberal austerity measures and quite rightly don’t trust Labour to do anything against the cuts.

    Who is the Labour party candidate? Is (s)/he a typical New Labour drone or one considered on the Left?

  32. Jellytot on said:

    @31The SWP supported Galloway in Bradford and welcomed his win. He was even listed as speaking at Marxism. But that was before his comments on rape.

    Hmmmm….I think the post Bradford chill set in before the unfortunate comments.

    You lot were desperate to ditch TUSC and “get it on again” with RESPECT immediately post-Bradford and you were quickly and understandly re-buffed. You listed Galloway as a Marxism speaker (and sold tickets on that basis) while Galloway’s diary showed him on a far-eastern tour that week.

    The later comments gave you cover and an excuse to act sectarian, the cumulation of which is your paper’s statement in #29.

  33. oldtrot on said:

    redscribe,

    “The only sexist abuse against Salma Yaqoob was posted by a troll/sockpuppet who for all we know could have had any agenda, including a pro-SWP/anti-Galloway one for all anyone knows.”

    Oh come off it, that sort of smear is really scraping the barrel and you know it.

    “How is it sexist to criticise Salma Yaqoob for having semi-liberal politics?”

    I said “some” of the abuse, not all of it, but dismissing her as a liberal, thereby trivialising/ignoring her thoroughly valid criticism from her point of view as a woman, is sexist. As she put it

    “That’s why it’s been deeply disappointing, because I do feel that those women have been let down,” she said. “[Comments like that] open the door to women being treated in a certain way; you are just dismissed, your views are not taken seriously and a certain reactionary attitude is encouraged rather than challenged.

    She may well be ‘soft’ left, with liberal leanings, but that doesn’t in anyway negate her criticsim of Galloway. And let’s not kid ourselves, Galloway is himself no revolutionary, and would jump back into the Labour Party reformist fold like a shot if he were offered a way back in.

    “Presumably then it would be ok for someone to say the SWP is racist for not calling for a vote for Lee Jasper?”

    That barrel is not quite empty yet, is it?

  34. ‘This is a really feeble reason for not backing the RESPECT candidate IMO.’

    Yes, I’m sure they wish they had a better one. But beggars can’t be choosers I suppose.

  35. anticapitalista on said:

    #44 Well there might have been a better reason ie the Labour candidate is a know activist against the cuts, in the union or whatever and the electoral battle was between labour winning or the Tories (or UKIP).
    As I’m not in the UK, I have no idea if that scenario is the case.

  36. redscribe,

    Would you not accept that Galloway sent out the wrong message to women who may want to report rape? And that those on the left who are motivated in favour of women’s rights may feel disturbed? And that this would be the case regardless of their position on imperialism?

  37. This is disgusting trolling. Hopefully Tony will delete all this filth asap.

    I was late to the party, but having seen the name “Michael Moran” pop up just now accusing readers of being “queers”, I can guess what was being said.

  38. Jellytot,

    The SWP want to build a strong and successful left in Britain. Galloway’s remarks, over which the SWP had no control of course, undermined this project- the whole left suffered.

  39. Jellytot on said:

    @45And that those on the left who are motivated in favour of women’s rights may feel disturbed?

    Two words……Martin Smith

  40. Vanya,

    Galloway is part of the left whether we like it or not. His utterances, good or bad, reflect on us all. If the wider left is not seen to put some kind of distance between GG’s remarks and itself, it could be accused of being soft on the issue.

  41. stuart,

    “Putting distance” between yourself and GG is one thing, actively calling for a vote for someone other than a proven activist (with strong roots in South London) like Lee Jasper ,just because he belongs to RESPECT is pure sectarianism, and will have much bigger repercussions (should Jasper lose) for the left than GG’s remarks.

  42. Karl Stewart on said:

    This is Galloway’s position on the crime of rape:

    “No never means yes and non-consensual sex is rape. There’s no doubt about it and that has always been my position.”

    What is it about that position that anyone has a problem with?

  43. Omar,

    But Respect as a party did not, to my knowledge, issue an official statement of condemnation with regard to Galloway’s remarks. I don’t know how representative this site actually is but many posters tried to justify his position and accusing those dissenting of being weak on imperialism. That’s not good.

  44. Karl Stewart:

    What is it about that position that anyone has a problem with?

    What is meant by ‘consensual’? Is there a difference between the legal position and Galloway’s?

  45. GoriBoy,

    According to a poll one of the previous posters referred to he’s neck to neck with the Labour candidate and the betting shops have shortened the odds considerably , just like Bradford.

  46. stuart,

    Probably because the remarks didn’t require condemnation. Clearly,many female members of RESPECT such as Yvonne Ridley or Nadia Chern,who posts here semi-regularly, didn’t tear up their memberships over them.Besides, all of this transpired long before Lee Jasper was chosen as the candidate for the Croydon by-election, so as a candidate judged on his own merits and record, wouldn’t he be more worthy of support than some New Labourite ? Do you think you are advancing the interests of the Left as a whole with this decision?

  47. Karl Stewart on said:

    What happened was that one person claimed to have had consensual sex with Assange and the same person also claimed that another person had had consensual sex with Assange.

    Galloway pointed out the fact that these claims, even if true, did not amount to rape.

    He was absolutely right.

  48. Karl Stewart on said:

    Galloway’s general position on rape is:

    “No never means yes and non-consensual sex is rape. There’s no doubt about it and that has always been my position.”

    I can’t see what there is in that position that the SWP, or indeed anyone, would object to.

    Galloway’s specific position on the claims made by one person that she had consensual sex with Assange and the claims by the same person that another person also had consensual sex with Assange was that, if true, this did not amount to rape.

    I can’t see what there is in that viewpoint for the SWP, or indeed anyone, to object to.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, Bradley Manning is being torture, now, in a US jail and facing a 50-year prison sentence. If the US get their hands on Assange they’ll do exactly the same to him.

    The concoted non-case against Assange was manufactured solely to undercut the support he was receiving in his fight for justice.

    And in that respect, it did have some success among the softer sections of the UK left.

  49. “46.Jellytot,
    The SWP want to build a strong and successful left in Britain.”

    So supporting the war mongering Labour Party is the way to build a “strong and succesful left in Britain” You must be joking and this must really be the low point for the SWP in the last 20 years who i have and still have respect for (unlike some on thsi site)- a huge mistake and i have made my position clear on the TUSC Facebok site tonight.

    Good luck to Respect in the Croydon by-election.

  50. Omar,

    The SWP have never opposed voting Labour (and Labour has always been a capitalist party) as a point of principle over many decades.

  51. Neil:

    So supporting the war mongering Labour Party is the way to build a “strong and succesful left in Britain”

    When has Labour never been a warmongering party?

  52. It wouldn’t bother me so much if the SWP were calling for a vote for a left-wing Labour candidate over Jasper but, no, they are calling for support of a known Blairite over a long-time radical activist in a strongly working-class constituency!! It is utterly appalling politics. How is that even going to help the left within the LP ?

  53. stuart,

    stuart: Omar, The SWP have never opposed voting Labour (and Labour has always been a capitalist party) as a point of principle over many decades.

    Oh, I see, but you still had no qualms about attempting to start an alternative party,i.e. the original RESPECT? Were you calling for a vote for Oona King in 2005? Were you calling for a Labour vote in Bradford?

  54. Omar,

    A Labour vote is better than a Tory vote. Respect have not distanced themselves from Galloway. I guess that’s the rationale.

  55. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart: Karl Stewart, Didn’t he make some offensive remark about ‘being in the sex game’ or something and that effectively amounting to consent?

    Stuart, for some reason you’re deliberately trying not to understand something that’s pretty straightforward.

    One person claimed that she had had consensual sex with Assange a few years ago.
    This same person also claimed that another person had consensual sex with Assagne a few years ago.

    Galloway said that,if these claims were true, then this did not amount to rape.

    He was absolutely right.

    What’s your problem?

  56. stuart,

    #71

    Which is a pretty feeble rationale and, judging by your near-monosyllabic answers, one you’re not particularly convinced by, either.

  57. anticapitalista on said:

    stuart, I really think you are trying to defend the indefensible here.

    The SWP should have called for a vote for RSPECT in Croydon with or without a disclaimer about them distancing themselves from Galloway’s clanger. It is not too hard is it?

    (the disclaimer is for the SWP)

  58. Karl Stewart,

    My ‘problem’ is that my interpretation of GG’s remarks are the same as Hudson and Yaqoob. And my further ‘problem’ is that the more people like yourself defend GG the more I believe it to be important that some distance is maintained. It’s not as if it’s a trivial matter.

  59. anticapitalista on said:

    stuart, do you really believe that those people who will vote for RESPECT in the election will do so because of Galloway’s comments or depite them?

  60. anticapitalista,

    I think the SWP see TUSC as a better left-activist type of party, rather than a party that tries to build up votes on the basis of name recognition (like Respect post 2007). The SWP always put activism above electoralism.

  61. anticapitalista on said:

    #77 Well of course the SWP always put activism above electoralism and preferring TUSC over RESPECT is fine by me. But TUSC isn’t standing in Croydon. So the question boils down to how is the best way to build the Left and activism in that area?
    Surely, calling for a vote for the Blairite Labour party candidate will not do that, but a ‘critical vote’ (if you like) for RESPECT would.

  62. I really hope RESPECT do well in Rotherham and Croydon North tomorrow. If we are to believe some betting agency calculations from earlier in the week, plus some other indicators, RESPECT could generate a political upset. Its amazing that despite the massive publicity and support given to UKIP by important sections of the media and the Tory establishment, a left-challenge that has experienced a media blackout, may have a chance of a good vote.
    This shows that despite the fact that the aftermath of GG’s inept statements on rape, and the resignations from RESPECT have tarnished the reputation of this organisation in the eyes of many left activists, in the eyes of many working class former labour voters, ‘RESPECT (George Galloway)’ is still a credible place to make a protest vote against labour.
    If RESPECT do well tomorrow, what will change on the political landscape? For me, having a few MPs across the country would provide a rallying point to politically organise tens of thousands of activists into a popular, grassroots, campaigning force. It can help form a common political umbrella or platform, for us all to gather around, and organise collectively to make real change.
    But here I have misgivings. The following are genuine questions, from a socialist, community and trades union activist looking to find / make a political home. I am, it seems, one of many.
    Am I right in understanding that comrades like Yaqoob and Hudson resigned, around the issue of lack of collective accountability in the organisation to correct GGs mishandled statement? This is where I have misgivings and doubts about whether RESPECT could be inhabitable for large sections of activists, who are currently found in anti-cuts campaigns across the land. I work with dozens of local activists in my town, including trades unionists, community anti-cuts campaigners, students. I would like to bring as many of these together around a popular and fairly broad left programme and movement or party. A few RESPECT MPs, or even near misses would cause an earthquake that could help precipitate such a grassroots convergence. And yet for the layer of 30 or 40 existing activists I work with, who have become active and come together around the anti-austerity movement, mention of RESPECT and GG have tended to make people cringe. It would have been impossible to unite even a small section of these activists around the RSPECT banner. If we are to believe some speculation, this may change as we wake up on Friday morning, and we may have to try and make RESPECT a habitable place for tens of thousands of left campaigners. Is that possible? Convince me…

  63. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart:
    Karl Stewart,
    My ‘problem’ is that my interpretation of GG’s remarks are the same as Hudson and Yaqoob. And my further ‘problem’ is that the more people like yourself defend GG the more I believe it to be important that some distance is maintained. It’s not as if it’s a trivial matter.

    Men such as the establishment’s favourite pet “left-winger” Owen Jones and others such as you and peole like Kate Hudson and Salma Yaqoob were tested and wimped out.

    Principled women and men on the left treated the CIA’s smear campaign with the utter contempt it deserved.

    And the fact that someone claimed to have chosen to have consensual sex with Assange a few years ago is in itself, indeed utterly trivial.

    But the fact that Bradley Manning is being tortured in a US jail and that the US wants to do the same to Assange is not trivial.

  64. Jellytot on said:

    Talking of wimping out; this just posted on the SW site:

    [Note: An earlier version of this article called for a vote for Labour in the Croydon North by-election. This was an editorial error. Socialist Worker is not endorsing any of the candidates in the Croydon North by-election.]

  65. oldtrot,

    “dismissing her as a liberal, thereby trivialising/ignoring her thoroughly valid criticism from her point of view as a woman, is sexist.”

    and then he quotes Salma Yaqoob thus:

    “That’s why it’s been deeply disappointing, because I do feel that those women have been let down,” she said. “[Comments like that] open the door to women being treated in a certain way; you are just dismissed, your views are not taken seriously and a certain reactionary attitude is encouraged rather than challenged.”

    The problem with this is elementary, and shows that not only has the SWP betrayed socialism over this case, but that it is supporting elements of the liberal milieu (including Salma Yaqoob) who are betraying even some of the basic norms of liberalism.

    The only basis on which you can endorse her remarks that “I do feel that those women have been let down” and say that “as a woman” her criticism is “thoroughly valid” is on the basis of one simple assumption: that Assange is guilty and that the one (and only) woman who has signed a statement accusing him (Anna Ardin) is most definitely a victim of rape.

    But this is disputed. There are reasonable grounds to suspect that Anna Ardin could be a CIA agent. There are very few political activists in Sweden, I would reckon, who have had the experience of being deported from Cuba for ‘subversive activities’ in support of movements that have among their supporters people accused of right-wing terrorism against Cuba. What are the odds of these two events being a complete coincicdence, her activities in Cuba, and her being the person who invited him to Sweden, and to stay in her one-bedroom flat with her (and sleep in her single bed!), and then accuse him of rape?

    She is the only one of the two who signed her statement. The other, SW, was so upset at the material concocted by Ardin and her policewoman friend Ms Klaas that she refused to sign the statement imputed to her, and to this day it is not signed.

    Your (and Salma Yaqoob’s) statements about how “those women have been let down” is a betrayal of not only socialism, but also even liberalism and basic natural justice and civil liberties. The idea that Assange is innocent until proven guilty is completely counterposed to any statement that “those women have been let down” by people questioning this.

    It does not even rise to the disgusting level of ‘guilty until proven innocent’.

    Because it dismisses even evidence of innocence, and the strong evidence on the balance of probablities that says that Anna Ardin is most likely a spook. It simply ignores this evidence that Assange is being set up, and baldly says he is guilty.

    Chris Bambery’s even more useless Scottish ISG were more honest in coming out baldly and saying that “Julian Assange raped two women”.

    Its disgusting, its lynch mob behaviour, and its crossing class lines.

    Of course, you can dismiss those who suspect this as ‘conspiracy theorists’ if you like.

    But being as it is not exactly unknown for people in a similar ‘league’ to Assange to be set up using honey traps and/or fake sexual allegations – cf. Mordechai Vanunu and Craig Murray for a start – then if you start mouthing that stuff you end up sounding like David Aaronovitch, or someone from Harry’s Place.

    The SWP can’t even rise to the level of basic liberalism any more, let alone socialism. It is a pathetic spectacle.

  66. stuart,

    “I’m not discussing rape allegations of specific cases over the Internet”

    A reactionary position. If such an attitude had prevailed in those days (before the internet, but not before public discussion), no one would have dared to defend the Scotsboro Boys.

    “my problem is how GG made a generalisation.”

    Except he didn’t, he was talking about the specific case Stuart refuses to discuss.

  67. #84

    Of course he made a generalisation, read what he said:

    “Not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion. Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you’re already in the sex game with them.”

    He is describing the idea of a man having sex with a woman who is sleeping as merely being “bad sexual etiquette” that was “not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it.” Even if you believe that the specific allegations against Julian Assange are part of a US led smear then it would be very hard, if not impossible, for anyone with any sense to conclude that the scenario he paints could possibly constitute anything other than rape.

    That doesn’t change the SWPs opportunism on this question, but please let’s not forget that what he said was appaling and he lost a lot of credibility and was rightfully condemned by rape charities for saying it. However, the SWP should remember that Lee Jasper didn’t say it and is a different man.

  68. Karl Stewart on said:

    Stuart, please please try to understand.

    There is no “rape allegation”.

    All there is, is one person, who has claimed to have chosen to have had consensual sex with Assange a few years ago.

    The same person has also claimed that someone else told her that they had also chosen to have consensual sex with Assange a few years ago.

    That’s it Stuart.

  69. ” What seems evident at this stage and what is acknowledged by all and sundry, including Respect’s enemies on the left, is that Respect has conducted campaigns over a very short period of time which has made them contenders in a way that other organisations on the left who contest elections, like TUSC can only dream of when their dreams are wild.

    How bizarre then that the SWP has decided to call for a vote for Labour in Croydon and for the pathetic TUSC candidate in Rotherham. The Rotherham decision is simply sectarian, given the TUSC candidate has run an extraordinarily sectarian campaign seeking to smear Respect with a pack of lies and will get a derisory vote reflecting that sectarianism.”

    @Mary Seacole

    I’m genuinely offended to read such drivel. You clearly haven’t been out on the stump in Rotherham, for any party. RESPECT were so badly organised there that they missed the chance to have Royal Mail deliver their leaflets for them, and they haven’t been doing any serious canvassing, I don’t know whether because of a lack of numbers on the ground or because of the negative response that quite a lot of people have had to Respect and Galloway in particular. Either way, I do know they have a lot of undelivered leaflets. They certainly haven’t run a great campaign; all they’ve done is open a shop, blair messages through a megaphone outside a mosque during prayers, and get in a fracas with the Deputy Leader of the Labour council.

    TUSC has not, by the way, smeared Respect with a pack of lies-an allegation I notice Mary does not substantiate. When the question has come up, we’ve simply explained that we don’t see Respect as a credible force to oppose cuts and build working class unity. It’s been a great campaign to be involved in as well, in which SP and SWP members have worked well together, unaligned individuals have been attracted to the campaign and the candidate is an unaligned trade unionist with a good local reputation. It’s needed to be a great campaign; we get none of the coverage that UKIP or Respect do, and we have done our best to make up for that by being the only party that has seriously attempted to canvass the constituency.

    I can only assume Mary Seacole is a Respect member who lives nowhere near Rotherham, and a particularly vile and sectarian one at that.

    PS Not an SWP member, can’t be arsed responding to Croydon discussion.

  70. redscribe/karl stewart,

    How Assange should be dealt with is a separate argument. The problem is that in speaking out against US imperialism Galloway made some offensive remarks about rape generally.

  71. Andrew,

    “Not everybody” is not a generalisation. In some ways it is the opposite of a generalisation.

    It also describes something that happens in lots of different situations. But he was relating it to the specific events here when even in the supposed account cited by the Swedish prosecutor, but never signed by the supposed victim, she made it clear that she did not even verbally say no to the sexual activity referred to, when she said that she ‘could not be bothered’ to say no. Not that she was forced, or frightened, but ‘could not be bothered’.

    A point that was picked up by Naomi Wolf, in noting that in this particular case, the woman consented even in terms of the word attributed to her by the policewoman who drafted the unsigned statement.

    He was clearly talking about this specific case and scenario.

  72. stuart,

    “How Assange should be dealt with is a separate argument. The problem is that in speaking out against US imperialism Galloway made some offensive remarks about rape generally.”

    You would like to seperate them because it suits your purposes, as well as everyone else from the Guardian on who wants to vilify Galloway. But that does not make your seperation true. See my previous post #90

  73. Karl Stewart on said:

    stuart:
    redscribe/karl stewart,
    How Assange should be dealt with is a separate argument. The problem is that in speaking out against US imperialism Galloway made some offensive remarks about rape generally.

    Galloway’s general position on the crime of rape is:

    “No never means yes and non-consensual sex is rape. There’s no doubt about it and that has always been my position.”

    Stuart, those were his comments about the crime of rape generally.

    What is there in that stated position that you disagree with?

  74. redscribe:

    You would like to seperate them because it suits your purposes,

    It would have suited my purposes if he had said nothing. It damaged the left. He made a judgement that effectively gave women less protection than at present. Speaking out against imperialism is no excuse for this.

  75. mary seacole on said:

    #87 Sam: “When the question has come up, we’ve simply explained that we don’t see Respect as a credible force to oppose cuts and build working class unity.”

    This is ludicrous. TUSC is clearly not a credible force to oppose cuts and build working class unity as the vast majority of the working class neither vote for TUSC nor support its activists in the trade unions when they are in a trade union.

    What this smear against Respect in fact means is that Respect is too Muslim. TUSC campaigners have claimed that Respect is homophobic, no doubt on the basis that it appeals to Muslims, and they’ve also suggested Respect is a party of mysoginists, hardly surprising given that the SWP’s student organisation characterised George Galloway as a ‘rape apologist’. Both claims are as absurd as they are disgusting.

  76. TUSC campaigners have claimed that Respect is homophobic

    SWP member Hanif Leylabi, on a publically viewable wall on Facebook, said yesterday that Galloway had “said and done homophobic things”.

    Tusc clearly gets its ideas from somewhere. Indeed, as you say, SWSS put out a statement calling Galloway a “rape apologist”, which seems to me they’re daring George to sue the SWP.

  77. #97 I wonder whether GG is alleged to have been homophobic before or after the SWP were welcoming his victory in Bradford.

  78. @Mary Seacole

    Firstly, I’ve responded to your accusation that the TUSC campaign and candidate, Ralph Dyson, are “deeply sectarian” and have “smeared” Respect. No TUSC supporter or TUSC material associated with Rotherham has accused Respect of being “too Muslim” or “homophobic”. Indeed, I think it will hurt Respects vote in Rotherham that they chose to interrupt and disrespect Muslims at prayer by screaming “Vote Yvonne Ridley-the candidate that respects Muslims”, and then proceeding to have a very undignified fight with the local labour party. TUSC activists meanwhile have canvassed at Mosques as in all areas of the community, and did so by patiently waiting until prayers were over to leaflet and speak to local Muslims. Our leaflets were well received and we were thanked for our time and respect. It’s also the case that Ralph Dyson, the TUSC candidate, was the only candidate to refuse to share a platform with the racists and fascists of the EDL and BNP-unlike Yvonne Ridley.

    You haven’t been able to mention any such smear or sectarianism, you’ve merely claimed that TUSC is “ludicrous”, and you sound pretty sectarian yourself.

    “TUSC is clearly not a credible force to oppose cuts and build working class unity as the vast majority of the working class neither vote for TUSC nor support its activists in the trade unions when they are in a trade union.”

    The vast majority of the working class doesn’t support Respect either, so your response is moot. Incidentally though, I do think that the majority of working class people would support TUSC supporters campaigns within their unions against cuts and job losses. Why don’t you tell us about Respects thriving TU base and we can compare?

    As it goes, I think Respect, built as it is around short term communalist politics and the ever growing ego of GG, isn’t a long term option for building a left alternative to Labour. Time will tell and you’re free to disagree with me, but to claim I am smearing you is very childish. Grow up.

    @Tony Collins

    I don’t know who Hanif Leylabi is or where he is from, but he’s nothing to do with the TUSC campaign in Rotherham. You cannot claim that an organisation as a whole believes or says something on the basis that one supporter of this organisation makes a comment on the internet. I know of 2 or 3 Respect activists who have said very anti-semitic things; I wouldn’t therefore claim that Respect as a whole is anti-semitic.

    The SWSS statement has nothing to do with the Rotherham by-election, and while I wouldn’t say GG was a “rape apoogist”, he did say some stupid things and should expect to come under fire for doing so. More importantly, I want to make it clear that no SWP members (I AM NOT IN THE SWP) who have helped in Rotherham have called Respect homophobic or made any other smears.

    The fact that Mary and Tony seem to think they can tell everyone what is happening in Rotherham because they’ve seen some things posted on Facebook is just so, so sad. I’ve already made the point Mary that you clearly haven’t been in Rotherham, and you haven’t responded so I guess I was right. Why don’t you think about listening to people campaigning on the ground, instead of repeating a narrative that you would like to be true? I notice you haven’t responded to my points about how badly organised the Respect campaign has been either; I guess again it’s because you’re a keyboard warrior posing as an informed commentator. Do yourself a favour and go outside.

  79. I don’t dare hope for victory but I always hope for a large vote for candidates of the left. If Respect were to finish in the top three in one or both constituencies, that would be a stunning achievement. Bear in mind that these seats are outside Respect’s orginal heartlands of East london and Birmingham, and neither candidate has previously been an MP or has George’s high profile.

  80. Chris Chilvers on said:

    Zaid, you’re spot on.

    We should remember that Respect started these campaigns with a handful of supporters in each constituency three weeks ago.

    The big question is the mobilization of the vote. Labour has struggled in both Rotherham and Croydon but still has a vote harvesting machine (you will see this most clearly in the postal vote count). Respect is building its machine from scratch as it goes along, with differing fortunes in the two constituencies.

    In Rotherham, the press has played along with Farage’s tactical gambit on the foster home issue so giving UKIP enormous amounts of exposure in the last few days. This may well affect the result.

    Whatever transpires in the next 12 hours, Respect has delivered strong campaigns and powerful messages that working class people understand even if the residual left dare not.

  81. Jellytot on said:

    @99I know of 2 or 3 Respect activists who have said very anti-semitic things

    Then you should report them to the RESPECT head office and I’m sure they would investigate.

  82. Karl Stewart on said:

    Stuart,
    The comments that Galloway has made about the crime of rape are:

    “No never means yes and non-consensual sex is rape. There’s no doubt about it and that has always been my position.”

    If you’re criticising that position, then explain what it is about that position that you disagree with.

    Galloway’s other comments, the ones he made about the US persecution of Assange, were NOT comments about rape, they were comments explaining that the claims relating to Assange were NOT claims of rape and that they were claims of a consensual sexual encounter.

    What you and others on the liberal left did and continue to do through adopting the attitude that you have, is to objectively assist the CIA’s persecution of Assange, which is shameful.

    For you, it matters not that a man’s life is at stake here. You are totally unprincipled and utterly pathetic.

  83. stuart,

    “Criticising Galloway’s comments on rape is not capitulating to a witch-hunt against Assange.”

    In context, it certainly is. Explain then the vilification of Naomi Wolf also – in the liberal media and Socialist Worker – for her position that the statements of the supposed Assange case ‘victims’ depicted consensual acts.

    Both were driven by the witch-hunt against Assange. Like so many witch-hunts, it was extended from the original target to others of any prominence who had the guts to speak out against it.

    That is a classic witch-hunt dynamic. Unfortunately the left at the moment is so politically weak and damaged that it is not an infrequent event even in our own circles. When the left then joins in a similar dynamic under the political leadership of a wing of the ruling class, then it is doubly damaging and tragic.

  84. I think the author of this article, Dr. Chilvers, may want to look into finding a new source for his polling info.

  85. Red S:

    In context, it certainly is.

    Galloway’s pronouncement on rape was simply wrong, those defending him cannot keep using ‘context’ as an excuse. It was wrong.

  86. stuart,

    “Galloway’s pronouncement on rape was simply wrong, those defending him cannot keep using ‘context’ as an excuse. It was wrong.”

    Context is everything, and quoting out of context is oldest dirty trick in the book.

    Why don’t you address the rest of my evidence of your organisation’s involvement in a witchhunt. Such as the vilification of Naomi Wolf in Socialist Worker, in unison with much of the liberal bourgeois media?

  87. redscribe,

    SWP are not joining any witch-hunt. With situations such as these we need to look at the ‘totality’. Socialists cannot go soft on women’s rights, we cannot just trade them away. It cannot be reduced to an either/or situation- anti-imperialism versus respect for women. In any case the Galloway line does nor really fight against imperialism. The pro-imperialist camp have always tried to say that socialists and anti-imperialists are against women’s rights. We must demonstrate that they are wrong. This is what the article I posted in post no. 105 tries to do.

    It seems we are not going to agree on this anytime soon, but I restate my view, Galloway made some terrible remarks.

  88. Karl Stewart on said:

    A very poor result for the Respect Party last night, in comparison to the claims made in this article.
    Could the author of this article please give some more details of this “weekend poll” that indicated a Respect lead in Rotherham?
    And of the polling that the claim that Respect was “neck and neck” with Labour in Croydon was based on?

    And Stuart, do you accept the stark fact that the only first-hand account that exists relating to the Assange extradition proceedings is a claim by one person that she chose to have consensual sex with Assange?

  89. Karl Stewart: A very poor result for the Respect Party last night

    Although not as poor as the TUSC one despite the latter’s “thriving TU base”. Still it would be good to see the analysis.

    Karl you are quite right on Assange.

  90. stuart,

    Its a bit rich to say ‘look at the totality’ when you refuse to even discuss the facts of the case that point to Assange’s innocence; or the strong circumstantial evidence that points to CIA involvement in attempting to frame him. Nor do you address the abuse of Naomi Wolf that appeared in SW – the ridiculous and screaming ‘review’ of her recent book (in tandem with similar crude hatchet jobs from the likes of the Guardian, Laurie Penny and the AWL) that claimed that she ‘reduces women to vaginas’ and similar material, clearly motivated by antipathy to her views on Assange.

    Wolf’s book contains some rather important and powerful material on women’s sexuality and its relation to women’s oppression, but gets a crude and shrill denunciation from some on the left whose real concern is their ‘credibility’ with people whose politics are about enlisting part of the ruling class in a war between the sexes, in which men in general are assumed to be the oppressors, not a fight against the real roots of women’s oppression.

    Wolf work, and her defence of Assange, does not fit this template, so she gets added to the enemies list along with Galloway.

    Look at the totality indeed! You should look at it yourself!

  91. prianikoff on said:

    It was also suspicious when Joan Smith was invited to debate the Assange case with Craig Murray on BBC’s Newsnight.
    Smith played the role of the outraged “feminist”.
    But you have to wonder what sort.
    This is a woman who had a seven-year relationship with Dennis McShane.
    I’ve also noticed that over at the New Statesman, Laurie Penny (who is now a contributing editor) has written a disparaging review of Assange’s book “Cypherpunks”.
    She got so much flack in the comments section, that it was rapidly shut down.

    I wonder, what exactly is the process whereby some radical journalists make it and others don’t?

  92. @SA

    At the risk of being pedantic, the whole quote was “Why don’t you tell us about Respects thriving TU base and we can compare?” I didn’t actually claim that TUSC has a thriving trade union base in Rotherham, but I do think that in general TUSC is developing as an idea in some of the smaller and more radical unions.

    You obviously see it as a disappointing result but believe it or not I don’t. We didn’t expect to get a large share of the vote in a by-election with 11 candidates in which we had only 21 days to campaign. But we felt it was essential to stand in a constituency where the previous Labour MP had demonstrated such wanton corruption, where the far right have been extremely active recently, and where 750 jobs are about to be lost from Rotherham NHS Trust. Realistically I think we did all right considering, and we have also laid the basis for a local campaign against NHS cuts. Very little about this by election makes me happy, but I think it would be that little bit worse if we hadn’t stood on an anti-austerity, anti-racist, Socialist platform.

  93. albacore on said:

    redscribe: Why don’t you address the rest of my evidence of your organisation’s involvement in a witchhunt. Such as the vilification of Naomi Wolf in Socialist Worker, in unison with much of the liberal bourgeois media?

    Could you provide examples of this vilification in Socialist Worker? Perhaps you mean a rather scathing review of her latest book. Are you telling us that the book is really good, and SW was only settling scores?

  94. sam: At the risk of being pedantic, the whole quote was “Why don’t you tell us about Respects thriving TU base and we can compare?”

    So you were sneering at Respect for not possessing something you didn’t have either. That explains it nicely.

    Realistically though you polled well within the parameters of your previous electoral outings elsewhere. That should be telling you something about TUSC’s credibility with the working class. Something is consistently not working and the % achieved is too low to build on in my view.

  95. SA: Although not as poor as the TUSC one despite the latter’s “thriving TU base”.

    Bald men fighting over a comb, comes to mind.

    Disastrous all round for the Left. The Respect reliance on star-power and selective targeting of potential upsets is only outweighed in its pointlessness by the TUSC position of just popping on this stupid electoral label every few years and then disappearing afterwards.

    Sustained and coordinated work, both electoral and campaigning, over a long period of time is the only way we’re going to develop roots in communities, and build up credibility in the minds of working-class people.

    I’m not surprised people voted for Labour. At least they’ll still be around come 2015.

  96. Fair enough. I think that after just two years in to an electoral coalition we’ve done no worse than we expected. But I also think that building something of substance to the left of labour is the only option left to us, and that it will be a very long process, unlikely to gather pace while Labour are in opposition.

    Of course, if you think theres something more constructive I could be doing, feel free to enlighten me.

  97. albacore,

    Yes, I am referring to that review. It is not merely critical, it claims in the headline that ‘Naomi Wolf reduces women to vaginas’.

    Which as I pointed out earlier, is a description that might well fit the Viz cartoon character ‘Sid the Sexist’, but is utterly bizarre as a characterisation of Naomi Wolf. At the time I said that, I had not read the book.

    Now that I have, I have to say that there is much in it that is positive and useful, particularly in its analysis of the question of mass rape in wartime and the purpose for that in subjugating a conquered population, and also the more general issue of the relationship between sexual abuse and self-esteem in relation of the oppression of women.

    It is not, as some say, a ‘self-help’ book though parts of it are like that.

    In fact the material on wartime rape is both analytically powerful and pretty harrowing to read.

    There is much in the book that is useful for Marxists, though obviously Naomi Wolf is not a Marxist. When I get the time I will do a proper review (though don’t hold your breath too long – I don’t have a great deal of time right now). I would recommend that people read it though.

    But the attacks on it are unserious and obviously largely motivated by the Assange case.

  98. Neil Williams on said:

    A poor result for all the Left, Respect and TUSC (and I have said so on the TUSC Facebook site). What is more worrying is the support for very right wing groups and UKIP in particular, who are far more right wing than the public realise and who the media treat with kid gloves (to put presure on the Tory Party over Europe amoungst other things).

    The Left need to work together both Respect and TUSC and others need to work together – something i have been saying for some time now (TUSC has tried for sure, to be ignored by Respect so far). There is a great deal wrong with the way TUSC is currently operating (as there is in Respect as well) but that does not mean its moving in the wrong direction. Only time will tell but the biggest danger is the fragmentation of the Left and the failure for groups to even talk to each other let alone run joint campiagns.
    The Left as a whole has a long way to go but while we dance on a pin head the right and far right will soon be dancing in Westmeinster with MP’s in we are not careful.
    Its feels like banging your head against a wall sometimes!

  99. brainwash on said:

    #101 – Your agreement that finishing in the first three in either constituency would be an excellent result is in complete contrast to the tone of the article which does strongly suggest that Respect is poised to win both seats. No-one from Respect has answered the challenge to give some details of the polling which the article is based on. It is one thing to buoy up supporters but quite another to make something up.

  100. Morning Star reader on said:

    The kind of polling claims made at the top of this thread are in the worst traditions of thoroughly dishonest LibDem electioneering.
    Almost without fail, in any type of election, the LibDems publish a bogus poll the day before voting which invariably shows how only they can beat the favourites.
    It’s a little depressing to see anyone on the left do the same. It makes the left look stupid and stands in the way of making sober assessments about people’s attitudes and what electoral policy is most appropriate.

  101. Karl Stewart on said:

    Christopher Chilvers
    National Secretary The Respect Party
    “In polling conducted at the weekend, the Respect candidate in the Rotherham by-election, Yvonne Ridley, has the lead over Labour.”
    “Polling conducted in the Croydon North by-election suggests that Lee Jasper, the Respect candidate, is now neck and neck with the Labour Party to win the constituency.”

    Chris, can you tell us who you commissioned to carry out this polling? How many people did they sample etc?

    And are you now going to ask for your money back?

  102. Karl Stewart,

    “Chris, can you tell us who you commissioned to carry out this polling? How many people did they sample etc?

    And are you now going to ask for your money back?”

    I agree, it was a very foolish thing to do, all the more so in the aftermath of Bradford West which surprised everyone one way.

    Trying to capitalise on that pleasant surprise by talking up the likely results to this extent is a good way to disorient and piss off people who actually would like to see Respect and the rest of the left do well.

    With that in mind, and given the large vote to very reactionary right-wing parties like UKIP and the BNP, the Rotherham result of 8.34% was actually quite creditable, though the Croydon one was certainly not.

    What we actually need is a much more open left project that can draw some basic class lines in elections but also be open to fundamental debates on the real alternative to capitalism, so we can develop a coherent alternative, instead of the crippling sectarian one-upmanship that disfigures the left at the moment.

  103. #125 ‘…stands in the way of making sober assessments about people’s attitudes and what electoral policy is most appropriate,,,’ How?

    We have a failsafe accurate poll now which nobody can question called the election result.

    What was the CPB’s assessment that it was a good idea to stand based on?

    The predictions here about the Respect vote were clearly wrong, and I’m not privy to what they were based on.

    But how does it make ‘the left’ look stupid. If anyone is made to look stupid it’s hardly anyone other than Respect is it? (and I make no admission or allegation there btw).

    You stood a candidate you knew had absolutely zero chance of getting other than an absolutely negligible vote in order to make propaganda. You succeeded. We (a party with a sitting MP) stood a candidate thinking they may possibly win and failed pretty badly.

    Which of us makes ‘the left’ look stupid?

    Given that (presumably) you don’t think that, were it not for us, you might have won, or that (a)our predictions may have made people vote for us rather than UKIP or the Tories and (b) you think that would have been a bad thing, I can’t see what your beef is.

    At least Karl has the grace to ask what the predictions were based on rather than flat out accusing Chris Chilvers of lying and comparing us to the Lib Dems.

    If you can’t think of a better stick to beat us with I wouldn’t bother if I were you.

  104. Jellytot on said:

    @128We (a party with a sitting MP) stood a candidate thinking they may possibly win and failed pretty badly

    I don’t think RESPECT’s performance in Rotherham was particularly bad. Chilver’s post at the top should be seen as something done to gee up activists in the fevered atmosphere of by-election politics. Nothing to beat yourself up over.

    Jasper’s vote should be seen as merely an introduction to that constituency and he should build on it.

  105. redscribe,

    What should happen to Assange is the subject of a debate in which socialists may take different positions. But regadless of one’s opinion on that question, the Galloway remarks can only be seen as offensively bad. The fact that he may have been acting with the best of intentions over Assange does not alter that. Contextualisation is no defence for the particular generalised remarks he made. Not for him and not for his supporters.

  106. I wouldn’t be too critical of the opening post. A little exaggeration about candidates’ prospects is quite common in elections (although I would caution against overdoing it – if the result is grossly short of expectations, it can cause demoralization).

    I can also believe that the erroneous predictions were driven by over-optimism rather than deliberate distortion. Being in Respect must feel very odd at the moment. You stand in elections: sometimes you lose your deposit, sometimes you get more than all the other candidates put together – that must make it very hard to assess your chances. The win in Bradford West was a gigantic achievement and would have encouraged dreams of a repeat in Rotherham. The bookmakers’ odds against a Respect win were shortening in both Rotherham and Croydon North. By the day before the election the bookies had Respects chances (in each costituency) in the same ball park as Romney’s chances against Obama. I can well imagine it may have felt an upset was possible. I’m sure there must have been evidence of the opposite too – but in the heat of the moment it’s all too easy to not see what you don’t want to see.

    I actually think the result in Rotherham wasn’t too bad.

  107. Morning Star reader on said:

    Vanya (128), I did not make my points about the Chilvers “polling” returns out of hostility to Respect.
    The CPB ran as a propaganda exercise, without any boasts or pretensions. Others on the left do the same. I have no problem with that. Does this make the left look stupid? Not necessarily, in my view.
    What does make the left look stupid is to make false claims that do not bear a moment’s examination – and are quickly shown to be ridiculous. Neither the CPB nor TUSC did that, to their credit.
    If you do not see the difference between making ludicrous over-estimations of support on the one hand, and sober estimations of reality on the other, then I think you have a problem.

  108. James H on said:

    Ugh, I have a go at Socialist Unity after the Galloway/rape debate made it one of the least attractive left forums on the internet in the hope that it might have restored some of its former strengths, and I still have to trawl through offensive comments like Karl Stewart’s, who – in an amazing piece of double-speak – seeks ‘persuasive definition’ to describe particular accusations of rape as ‘consensual sex’. (V trad comm.)

    And months later Salma Yaqoob is still a running-dog of imperialism…

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  109. #134 Salma Yaqoob is one of the most impressive political figures on the British left in recent years.

    Her performance on the edition of Question Time set in Wooton Basset a few years ago was marvelous, the way she managed to dominate the council chamber in Birmingham awesome and the political inspiration she has provided to young women, particularly young muslim women brilliant.

    Her break from Respect was sad, and, if it was merely to do with George’s comments on rape, disapointing to say the least.

    But running dog of imperialism? I don’t think so. Not even a paper tiger. There are far better candidates for those accolades.

  110. Karl Stewart on said:

    JamesH,
    The only statement that’s actually been made does indeed describe a consensual sexual encounter, in the person’s own words.

    How is it “offensive” to state something that’s plainly true?

    What is truly offensive is people like you who pretend to be “socialists” but are relaxed about the very real danger of Assange being thrown in a US jail as Bradley Manning has been, and then tortured and then facing a 50-year prison sentence for the “crime” of telling the truth.
    There have also been calls from some in the US for Assange’s execution.

    It truly is offensive that people like you are still stubbornly refusing to see this as the transparent CiA smear campaign that it is, and that you also claim to be some kind of socialist at the same time.

  111. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    You can act like someone in charge of his own destiny and stop bleating nonsense about this site. You can look back at some of the most outstanding analysis of the middle east you’ll find anywhere on the left – something which you have completely failed to notice in your desire to have your prejudices confirmed – and you can decide that, instead of acting like a kid, you’ll be an adult and engage in serious debate. If you think Karl is wrong, argue with him like an adult.

    Karl is one of the most thoughtful contriubtors here. He can still be 100% wrong though, but he doesn’t just hammer and derp derp all over this site: He’s worth engaging with, every time.

    What this site has proved recently is that there is a battle of ideas, and that if you want to influence people you’ve got to be prepared to argue hard. You’ll argue with people who are on the same side on almost all issues, but who you feel are completely wrong on other issues.

    That’s what has happened on this site. Unfortunately, there’s a type of person who, if they think men are wrong on rape, prefer to simply call them “rape apologists” and completely close down the debate.

    My view is, if you’re right and Karl is wrong, your job is to convince him. He’s not a fascist, he doesn’t need “no-platforming”, he needs convincing.

    What we’re really proud of on this site is that in general people take their responsibilities seriously. That means it can contain uncomfortable reading for all of us. That means, sometimes we misfire.

    But I have to admit, the couple of people who have decided that this is the worst site on the left have made me more sure than ever that it can be the best.

    Now, in that spirit, from your point of view there are people on the left who are wrong about rape: Here’s your chance to convince them. Win the argument, don’t walk away from it.

  112. Karl Stewart on said:

    *Karl is one of the most thoughtful contributors here.*

    Many thanks for that Tony – (but the truth is I am actually a seriously annoying pain in the arse!)

    Anyway, JamesH,
    See the below link:
    http://rixstep.com/1/20110204,02.shtml

    According to this, the person spoke to the police on 20th and 21st August 2010 and the report on this is by police officer Sara Wennerblom.

    Her report concludes:
    (This person) “…says she freely consented to have sex with Assange”
    (This person) “…does not want any help from the crime victims unit”

    And at the end, the police officer states:
    “Interrogation read back and approved.”

    So, according to the above:

    This person chose to engage in a consensual sexual encounter with Assange.

    She then had the consensual sexual encounter with Assange.

    She then told the police that she had had a consensual sexual encounter with Assange.

    She then approved and signed off a formal police report stating that she had chosen to have a consensual sexual encounter with Assange.

    She also approved and signed off, in the same formal police report, that she did not want the involvement of the police crime victims unit.

    JamesH, if thie above is true, then this is a consensual sexual encounter and it is not rape.

  113. alistair tice on said:

    In post no.3 Mary Seacole says “….the pathetic TUSC candidate in Rotherham. The Rotherham decision is simply sectarian, given the TUSC candidate has run an extraordinarily sectarian campaign seeking to smear Respect with a pack of lies and will get a derisory vote reflecting that sectarianism.”
    As the Rotherham TUSC election agent all I can ask is where does Mary get this crap from? For anyone on the Left to call our candidate Ralph Dyson pathetic is outrageous. Last year Ralph, as a new NUT rep at Rawmarsh Community School in Rotherham, led a partially victorious strike by NUT members against compulsory redundancies. He has since been victimised by the headteacher for that role. Ralph is a fine class-fighter, trade unionist and socialist. How dare you call him pathetic?
    And where does she get her info from that TUSC has run a sectarian campaign and smeared Respect? This rubbish is repeated by Chris Chilvers, Respect National Secreatry on the Repect website “…the absurdly sectarian Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Rotherham (its votes would have actually placed us, ahead of the BNP). TUSC has been trying to build for the last few years in Rotherham yet managed only a redundant vote. As George Galloway has noted, ‘now, the dogs barking can scarcely be heard’.
    First of all, TUSC has twice stood in Boston Castle ward in Rotherham constituency gaining 5% of the vote. By Respect’s own admission, they had no members in Rotherham before this election. TUSC decided to stand in the by-election and adopted a candidate before Respect had even decided to stand. TUSC has not been sectarian or smeared Respect at all.
    In fact the local Rotherham Respect supporters invited TUSC to attend their post election meeting on Sunday to discuss joint work. A Labour Party member who defected to Respect wrote on Ralph’s FaceBook “Well done on a good, clean and socially responsible campaign.” Hardly the actions or views of people on the ground who think we are sectarian or spread smears.
    TUSC hopes that we can work with local Respect members against the Cuts and against the far-right, and discuss future electoral challenges in Rotherham. It would be helpful if Respect’s national organisation would do the same instead of making completely untrue statements.

  114. alistair tice on said:

    My report of the Rotherham by-election for The Socialist:

    Once the TV cameras and chauffeured-in politicians had left the Rotherham by-election count, it was only Trade Unionists and Socialists (TUSC) who were out the next day supporting local Unison members campaigning against local NHS cuts.
    Ralph Dyson became known as the candidate against the hospital cuts and in the space of three weeks TUSC collected over 3000 signatures against the £50 million cuts proposed by the Trust chief executive that will reduce Rotherham to having little more than a cottage hospital.
    TUSC’s election leaflet, featuring Ralph’s daughter’s pet pig, with the caption “No more snouts in the trough” raised a lot of laughs whilst contrasting MacShame’s expenses fiddling with Ralph’s pledge to take a Workers Wage.
    Wherever TUSC went, the town centre, bus station, hospital, council offices, mosques, schools, estates, we got a friendly response. Respect, an Independent, even Labour complimented us on our campaign. We seemed to be everybody’s second favourite party. But under first past the post, being second doesn’t get many votes. 281 voted for TUSC, 1.3%, about what we expected. That said, we were only 170 votes behind the Lib-Dems who lost their deposit.
    Politically this was quite a complicated by-election. For weeks before the far-right had targeted the town with two demonstrations, supposedly protesting against the alleged “asian grooming cover-up”, but in reality sowing racism and division. Bowing to this pressure, Labour excluded a favoured local asian councillor from being adopted as their candidate leading to more than half the delegates walking out of the selection meeting. This opened the way for Respect to stand and take a significant slice of the asian votes. Then UKIP cynically exploited the removal of east european foster children from UKIP foster parents to gain huge sympathy and publicity. Whilst handled clumbsily, as more information comes out, this decision by social services was undoubtedly in the best interests of the children.
    At the count, Labour were mightily relieved to hold a seat they’ve held for 80 years. Whilst their majority almost halved due to the low turn-out, they did marginally increase their share of the vote, 46%, compared with the general election. Disgust with MacShane and politicians did not break traditional Labour loyalties, especially amongst the older generations, who have an undying class hatred of the Conservatives.
    And with eleven candidates, the protest votes were divided amongst many parties. Whilst UKIP did get their best ever parliamentary election vote, 21%, it was still a protest vote inflated by the fostering issue publicity. Many voters switched to UKIP to punish Labour without realising what a right-wing party they are.
    The BNP came third with 8% which is down on the 10% they got in the general election, losing votes to UKIP and the English Democrats.
    Yvonne Ridley, the journalist who converted to Islam, came forth with nearly 1800 votes just behind the BNP. Starting from scratch, in the space of three weeks, energising the campaign with their Ad-Van and Battle-bus, this vote shows the potential for a new left-wing party. But many of their new local supporters will be disappointed that they didn’t do a Bradford West (where George Galloway won a stunning by-election victory earlier this year) or even come second which was the message being put out on FaceBook and twitter. Whilst taking a big slice of asian votes, Respect could not penetrate the white working-class because they are widely perceived to be a muslim party.
    Despite Respect nationally not responding to TUSC requests to discuss future electoral agreements, locally their new supporters, especially asian women and youth, are very open to joint campaigning with TUSC against the cuts and against the far-right.
    Biggest joke of the night was the vote for the English Defence League (EDL) candidate, masquerading as an Independent, he got 29 votes and was even beaten by “Spoilt ballot papers”!
    The real winner though was “fed up of all of them” with two thirds not voting. This makes TUSC’s task even more urgent, to promote the formation of a new workers party, rooted in the trade unions which can appeal to all working-class communities, especially those that are the most exploited and disenfranchised under the current corrupt capitalist system.

  115. Caroline on said:

    Alistair thanks for your report this is a breath of fresh air as quite honestly the Assange discussion is getting a bit boring this ground has been covered so many times on SU