Renew Respect – Conference Invitation

RENEW RESPECT

We are inviting you to attend the Respect Renewal conference.

It will take place on Saturday 17 November, at the Bishopsgate Institute in London, from 11am to 5pm.

Speakers include George Galloway MP, Linda Smith, Cllr Salma Yaqoob, Ken Loach. There will be plenty of time for debate.

It will be an opportunity for all Respect members and others who want to continue the process of building a vibrant, radical, left alternative to New Labour to come together and discuss how to do this following the recent debilitating divisions that have split Respect.

It will be an opportunity to reflect on the mistaken methods and lack of political vision that have led to the split in Respect and to learn lessons on how to work together and with others in the future.

We remain committed to the radical policies which have been the cornerstone of Respect since its inception. Our organisational model is based on plurality, democracy and transparency.

For us, the acronym RESPECT – Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environment, Community and Trade Unions – remains as valid today as it did at our launch in 2004.

We want to build Respect but we also want to work together with all others who share a vision of a better, more equitable society, to create a broader, united party to represent the interests of all working-class people.

We want to reach out to all those in the anti-war movement who still need a voice for peace and against imperialism.

We want to reach out to all those concerned about climate change and the destruction of the environment.

We want to reach out to all those in the trade unions who feel betrayed by New Labour under Brown as under Blair.

We want to reach out to all those in the black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities who suffer racism and Islamophobia.

We want to reach out to all those who want to fight against discrimination, whether or the grounds of religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age.

We want to reach out to the dispossessed, the asylum seeker, the migrant worker and to all who defend them.

If you want to reach out with us, come along and join in our discussion.

The Respect Renewal conference is called by the following Respect National Council members:

Linda Smith National Chair,
Salma Yaqoob National Vice-Chair,
Mobeen Azhar,
Ayesha Bajwa,
Victoria Brittain,
Rita Carter,
Ger Francis,
George Galloway MP,
Jerry Hicks,
John Lister,
Ken Loach,
Abdul Khalik,
Abdurahman Jafar,
Abjol Miah,
Bernie Parkes,
Yvonne Ridley,
Clive Searle,
Alan Thornett,
Nick Wrack.

If you would like to attend to our conference, or would like to know more about us, please get in touch.

e-mail: respectrenewal@gmail.com

http://www.respectrenewal.org

Tel. Nos: Ghada 07958 450 867; Rob 07507 600 561; Kevin 07930 532 952 or 020 7219 6940.

141 comments on “Renew Respect – Conference Invitation

  1. bysshe on said:

    i would like to apologise for the impression i may have given on another thread that the above signers didn’t want a conference.

    Clearly they do, its just that they want a rigged conference. No nasty elected delegates, no students and no SWP members thank you very much.

    And remember of course it is the SWP that is spliting Respect.

  2. Kent&CanterburyDan on said:

    So as an ordinary member i am now effectively given the choise of choosing sides or buggering off? I’ve half a mind to do the latter to be honest.

  3. That’s ok Bysshe, I think you were mislead.

    And he wore a kingly crown;
    And in his grasp a sceptre shone;
    On his brow this mark I saw -
    ‘I AM GOD, AND KING, AND LAW!’

  4. The call for an alternative conference recalls Brecht’s comments on the leadership of the SED in East Germany: who decide to dissolve the people and elect a new one. As a number of people have remarked, this strategy assumes utter stupidity and naivity of the Respect membership, or on the other hand is an expression of utter stupidity and naivity. A straightfoward attempt to scupper democracy and accountability in the name of democracy and accountability. Seen this somewhere before. Its also desperately cynical to call it on
    the same day as the conference. a move backed up by turfing
    out the national office from their premises.

  5. A wise friend of mine with long experience of the European left points out that a split like this can mean people on opposite sides can do things like reach electoral agreements 18 months down the line. A split at a conference that physically breaks up (whether punches are exchanged or not) usually means ongoing war for five years.

  6. a clean break is best

    ok, too late for clean. but not any more dirty.

    both sides should just go off and do their own thing.

    individuals in respect will have to choose between the swp and galloway. alternatively they could join something else, start their own new organisation, or leave politics.

    ks

  7. socialist monster on said:

    This just in from office@respectcoalition.org:

    George Galloway splits from Respect

    George Galloway and his supporters have split from Respect. After a week in which he has tried to pretend that the SWP and other socialists were leaving Respect he has announced a rival conference on the same day as the Respect national conference.

    The split conference, under the name Respect Renewal, does not have the support of the majority of Respect members nor has it been authorised or endorsed by any of the elected bodies of Respect.

    George Galloway has chosen to ignore the resolutions from Respect branches around the country demanding that the Respect conference go ahead. The attempt by Linda Smith and Salma Yaqoob earlier this week to call off the long planned Respect annual conference failed because most rank and file members demanded that it go ahead.

    George Galloway’s response has been to try and split the organisation by calling a separate conference. He has failed to win votes at the national officers meetings or to put his call to a national council. He fears he will not have the support of a majority at a the Respect conference.

    Every Respect member should support the original and properly delegated conference. No other conference will be a delegate body with the authority to speak for Respect members. We remain committed to the radical, democratic principles of Respect as it was first founded.

  8. Ok Socialist Monster

    I have to leave the PC in a minute; and leave this debate for a while
    BUt Let is look at this e-mail #11

    Note that this e-mail was sent from the Respect office, so all the guff about Resepct being unable to operate because Rees has been locked out the office is obviously false.

    Secondly, there would have been a national Council meeting last Sunday, but it was called off at the insistence of the SWP, as part of the negotiations about the SWP leaving respect. So of course Galloway “has failed to win votes at the national officers meetings or to put his call to a national council.” – because the SWP stopped the national Council from meeting!!!!!

  9. Canadien on said:

    No offence Andy but nobody is likely to feel any great compunction to believe your sides version of the called off NC meeting, the character of negotiations, the nonsense about a coalition with TH Liberals, the TH meeting that was shut down by the Galloway supporting chair when he couldn’t win a vote (after unconstitutionally calling the meeting in the first place) et al. Because the record on truthfully representing things has been horrendous and deteriorating by the day.
    The reports from branches even in the small sample that appeared on here – and from unity resolutions, the appeal, etc. – were demonstrations that the membership wanted the opportunity to, at the very least, correct the divisions of the leadership.
    Your lot are now denying the membership any chance to have a say in the future shape of a “pluralistic left of Labour party.”
    Your side stands exposed of betrayal, dishonesty and anti-democratic maneouvres to maintain control of Respect. I suspect the membership will judge you harshly.

  10. i suspect that the swp-respect conference will be 90% or more swp members.

    so who exactly are you in a coalition with now?

    why not just be the swp if that’s all you are? i notice that swp still has their name registered for elections. why not use it?

    i also suspect that no one in the labour movement or on the left will come near the swp ever again.

    further more, i predict at least 100 swp members will switch to the new respect renewal party.

    best wishes,

    ks

  11. Yet more apolitical comments by Canadien and others, what a shocker. Everything that has happened was predicted by many others from the very start, but it was easier to call them Islamophobes and sectarians.

    “Your side stands exposed of betrayal, dishonesty and anti-democratic maneouvres to maintain control of Respect. I suspect the membership will judge you harshly.”

    Get over yourself, what membership? We were told that RESECT came out of the anti-war movement, but in reality it didn’t at all, it was a lash up between the SWP and Galloway and the SWP had to act as the shadow reformists as virtually no real forces got involved.

    “The reports from branches even in the small sample that appeared on here – and from unity resolutions, the appeal, etc. – were demonstrations that the membership wanted the opportunity to, at the very least, correct the divisions of the leadership.”

    No the reports showed how pathetically small the membership of the both RESPECT and the SWP are and showed how outside a couple of areas the SWP could dominate branches which seemed almost inactive in a lot of cases.

    The SWP put Galloway on pedestal, voted down socialism, extended abortion rights, a workers wage for candidates (to appease Galloway), freedom of movement for the working class etc and now you have the audacity to complain?

    It’s just apolitical whinging.

  12. Dave Riley on said:

    A Respect Renewal Conference on the same day as the SWP engineered one?

    Best tactics. Best of luck. A breakthrough in England would be a big win for regroupment politics internationally . All the best with your new party endeavour. We’ll be cheering you on here in Australia.

  13. For the 17th Nov – ‘May try to attend

    ‘It will be an opportunity to reflect on the mistaken methods and lack of political vision that have led to the split in Respect and to learn lessons on how to work together and with others in the future’

    Good points in the article, more especially the point raised above.

    I to would be interested in hearing the discussion and debate, my focus though would be more especially in regard to the grassroots campaigning aspect – and lessons learnt and experience gained etc.

    Also as to how genuine and fraternal workings together can be enhanced, of those with some differing organisational and political view points, but with the same core beliefs.

  14. Nick Bird on said:

    The Respect Renewal conference sounds far more attractive and contructive than a potential bloodbath. I will certainly be going. The analysis by Lister and Thornett is accurate and true to the spirit in which Respect was launched. It makes me sad to see what the SWP has thrown away by its actions of the past two months, especially given all the years I spent as a member. I don’t know where its present trajectory will lead it, but I think it will be a lonely place when all the heat and fury has died down.

  15. What a phenomenon to suddenly hear all the SWPers bleat like sheep AS THEY DO.Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh POOR DEARS! They wont get their much hoped for gut wrenching big bust up and crushing ‘democratic’ victory for the SWP CC at their packed ‘democratic’ conference. How many members and activists have they lost in the process? Quick pass me the dictionary….D…E…m…o..c..r..a..c..y. Sad bastards!

  16. Canadien on said:

    Ah, what a lot. Raise the roofs in celebration – our great leaders have circumvented the delegated conference. Hurray! Hurray¡

    Who are the sheep, I wonder? Those fighting to elect delegates to attend a decision-making conference – or those following the maneouvres of their leaders into a pep rally?

  17. “i suspect that the swp-respect conference will be 90% or more swp members”

    One of the reasons to have democratic processes is that good politics cannot be based on what people ‘suspect’. Nor is what people ‘suspect’ a basis for contravening normal democratic and constitutional processes within an organisation even if the words ‘democracy’ and ‘pluralism’ are thrown into the mix.

  18. Logan's Jog on said:

    “The split conference, under the name Respect Renewal, does not have the support of the majority of Respect members nor has it been authorised or endorsed by any of the elected bodies of Respect.”

    Ah, like the SWP “Respect” Conference, which has been endorsed by all of those phantom Student Respect members and SWP “Respect supporters” on the “witch-hunt” petition. Oh, I forgot – the SWP CC don’t bother to ask even their loyal followers for their opinions. Like a great hive mind, they assume authority for the whole of their brood, and now call unto battle their rival hive.

  19. Logan's Jog on said:

    The Respect Renewal conference, where questions will be asked as to where Respect has gone wrong in the past (i.e. reliance on the SWP for its manpower) and what can be done to rebuild a new Respect (i.e. this time make it a party and not a convenient coalition of parties) sounds like an opportunity for debate, where everyone present (hopefully) will want only one thing – to make Respect successful. This is in contrast to the SWP bleaters – who want something else: to make the SWP successful, whether it is in Respect, the Socialist Alliance, the SSP, and so on.

    I used to admire the SWP activists for their hard work but if they cannot see that the path to a broad left British party that connects with millions of people in the country involves leaving the SWP to the 20th century trap it belongs to, then they are as welcome in the new Respect as the AWL would be.

  20. A few years ago here in the States, a faction broke from a major Left organization and started their own group (I’m being deliberately vague about who they are.)

    To the huge credit of both groups, there was no public trashing of the other side, because everyone thought this would be bad for the movement. Instead, they just went their separate ways.

    Maybe, somehow, some way, that could happen here too. Circular firing squads are real bad for morale.

  21. George T on said:

    I fully support a RESPECT renewal conference – for those who genuinely want to build a pluralistic left party rather than an SWP front. There is surely a place at this Conference for all SWP members that want to work inside a broad socialist party reaching out for a mass audience. The alternative for SWP comrades is Rees’s rally and a retreat into a small group mentality.

  22. “Who are the sheep, I wonder? Those fighting to elect delegates to attend a decision-making conference – or those following the maneouvres of their leaders into a pep rally?”

    A bit rich from someone who is supporting an organisation which bans organised opposition for 9 months of the year and makes it all but impossible to organise in the other three months. Can’t you see the irony here?

  23. Logan's Jog on said:

    *25 – delegate members? The ones they “democratically” forced in as conference delegates? Hardly going to have anything of an impartial take on these things are they? When this all began, I had absolutely no intention of taking a side. I knew that doing so would lead to the end of Respect. But the SWP CC’s behaviour, and the unquestioning subservience of their loyal underlings, has convinced me the SWP do not belong in the broad Left party of the future.

    They have done this to themselves. If all they had done was accept the criticisms GG made back in August! We could be even stronger, instead of internally divided. The SWP have only themselves to blame. Their rank and file have never had the guts or the wherewithal to take on the CC.

  24. 17th November will be an historic day indeed.
    Scotland play Italy in a European championship qualifier !
    A bit of light relief there comrades, carry on as you were.
    Oh, before I go, does Jim Denham have a form of tueretts syndrome that makes him shout “Islamist” every time he gets over excited ?

  25. Logan's Jog on said:

    Having said all of that about the SWP not really belonging in any future broad Left party, I do think the true heirs of Respect should re-orientate their leadership around figures like Yaqoob, Yvonne Ridley, Ken Loach, and younger members. GG is worth a thousand SWPers but he, like the SWP, has too much of a past for him to take centre stage in the new party. He, despite all his talent and achievements, is too divisive a figure on the broad Left.

    Another thing to consider is the CNWP launched by the Socialist Youth Network – perhaps some links need to be made with them, as I’m sure by now they realise Labour is a lost cause as far as left-wing politics go.

    The comparison does not hold well given both countries have very different histories of left-wing politics, but what I would like to see is a mass re-alignment of the Left into one big party like Die Linke (literally “The Left”) in Germany.

  26. Logan's Jog on said:

    *31 – you mean, “Islamofascist”, “clerical fascist”, “veiled terrorist”, “islamoclericalprolifeantiwomensrightsburkawearingfascistislamist”? goodness, how useful these AWL/CPGB micro-sects are, at least they keep the real progressives away from the people who actually want to see someone succeed on the Left!

  27. Ian, read the post again (25) and the one it refers to (24).

    I was talking about SWP Party Council on today. Delegated from their branches.

  28. Ian Donovan on said:

    ” The SWP and those who have made the running in the anti-SWP faction have competed to see who can sink the lowest in carrying this dispute out through demagoguery, dirty tricks and bureaucratic manoeuvers.”

    Yes, lets have a split and purge Workers Power/PR style, when the incumbetents accuse the dissidents of having no politics at all, but simply being common theives. As happened quite regularly through the 1990s, I seem to recall.

  29. Logan's Jog on said:

    36 – if he is serious about left-wing politics in this country, he will have already realised that the new, renewed Respect cannot simply revolve around his personality, as that will lead us down the same road that led to this whole mess in the first place – Respect has hitherto relied on a tripolar structure of Galloway, Muslims, and the SWP. To avoid the mistakes of the past, we need to focus on things that unite us beyond these three poles – and the diverse and experienced bunch that make up what the SWP have dubbed “the Galloway faction” could in fact lead to a much more diffuse personality base to draw in supporters. Ken Loach is a fantastic left-wing film maker, and Salma Yaqoob is a brilliant left-wing politician who has a bright future ahead of her.

    SWP Party Council? Ha ha

  30. Better yet you’re all welcome to attend the LRC conference on the 17th and see what we can make out of it. I’m willing to bet something better will come of it than the current pile of bodies that the Respect fiasco has created. Oh and you don’t have to be in the LP to attend. I think it will be a good place to discuss some concrete politics.

    From the LRC website: The LRC’s 2007 national conference ‘The Next Steps for the Left’ takes place at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square on Saturday 17th November.

    You can register online for the event on the LRC payments page.

    Speakers so far confirmed include Murray Benham (WDM), Tony Benn, Katy Clark MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Jane Davidson AM, Kate Hudson (CND), Joe Marino (BFAWU), John McDonnell MP, Mark Serwotka (PCS), Jon Trickett MP, Matt Wrack (FBU). We are also proud to welcome Alexander Ulrich, a member of the German Bundestag, representing Die Linke – the new Party of the Left in Germany.

    This one-day conference is open to all trade unionists, Labour Party members and supporters of democratic socialism. A great chance to come and debate the future of the Left!

    http://www.l-r-c.org.uk

  31. Mark P on said:

    Ok here’s the deal on democracy, conference and splits.

    The SWP organise Respect 2004-2007. The membership of Respect in 2007 is around 2000. The SWP are criticised, fairly mildly, given what they’ve had to say about George Galloway and Salma Yaqoob in internal bulletins which have a nasty habit of being leaked. They seek to suppress legitimate debate and decide there’s no point in compromise. They do what they’re perfectly entitled to do, mobilise their members, enforce a party line and decide the key objective is to win conference, maintain control whatever the consequences.

    Respect organised as a ‘unity coaltion’ falls apart. The unwritten agreement in any coalition is pluralism. With one element controlling at least 1000 of the members there’s no coalition any more. The rest of the membership decide OK you can have your conference, which will be 90% SWP and no meaningful debate and we’ll have ours. We’ll see whether we have the people, the principles and the politics to renew a political project founded on principles of pluralism and participation. at your conference you’ll no doubt debate how right-wing we are and decide that you’re really Respect now, even though the only ‘unity colation’ is between the SWP and themselves.

    And on 18 November we’ll have two separate parties. The one remaining issue is the name, SWP-Respect vs The Rest-Respect doesn’t have much of a ring to it. Anyone with any suggestions, back of a postcard to John Rees or George Galloway.

    As for locking the National Secretary out of the office from which he organises press conferences for Councillors who resigned from the Councillors Group, well done. We might be soft, but we ain’t that soft. The P45 is in the post.

  32. Why are my comments being deleted?

    It’s ok for Ian Donovan to put up ridiculous comments but when I try and be constructive my posts are taken off?

  33. I warned you that coomments just promoting “Permanent Revolution” and saying how unpolitical this all is were going to be deleted, so don’t be surprised when they are.

    Read and compare your contributions with those of jason, and you will see whay his are not deleted and yours are – becasue he has something constructive to say about practical measures to build left unity, and you are just slagging both sides of the Respect debate off.

  34. Andrew Coates on said:

    Anything involving Galloway, not to mention Taliban supporter and private education backer, Yvonne Ridley, is hardly renewing anything at all. Most of the left would not touch Galloway with a barge-pole in the past, and will not do so in the future. Besides a mate of mine reckons that all his actions in recent times have been to prepare him for a rather cheesy media career.

    Having been involved in European left efforts to create serious new parties (in France) I would say that the road is not always as simple as Die Linke’s. The French case in the Nouvelle Gauche at the end of the ‘eighties broke up (though not with much bitterness it must be said). But now, witness the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire’s present efforts at a new party (after having been involved in their own heated controversy with the supporters of Jose Bove and the PCF and others initially united in the Comites anti-liberaux).

    It’s hard not to suspect that it will take longer for people to get together than some claim. Take the soft/hard left division in the Labour Party: united as left of centre in the Grassroots Alliance, only after Blair had consolidated his pwoer and turned obviously to the right. So, after some very sharp differences in the ‘eighties, they came together…more than a decade together.

  35. “Read and compare your contributions with those of jason, and you will see whay his are not deleted and yours are – becasue he has something constructive to say about practical measures to build left unity, and you are just slagging both sides of the Respect debate off.”

    But I don’t think criticising both sides of the split means “slagging them off”! I agree with Jason’s comments but as I think (rightly or wrongly) that the political method of both sides is totally flawed them I’m gonna say so. And I don’t see how this is promoting PR? But anyway I’ll leave it for now because you obviously don’t want those kinda posts on here.

  36. Andy,

    This is appalling. Dan was clearly answering a point that someone else was trying to make in an attempt to discredit his opinion on the Respect issue. I didn’t see any “self-promotion” whatsoever. I know it’s been a tough week for you, being proved so horribly wrong and all that about how supposedly wonderful Respect is but deleting post from someone just because they are in a particular group is ridiculous.

    If you delete Dan’s response defending himself then you need to delete Ian’s statement as well – which is not correct and seeks to discredit the opinions coming from members of PR.

  37. “One of the reasons to have democratic processes is that good politics cannot be based on what people ’suspect’. Nor is what people ’suspect’ a basis for contravening normal democratic and constitutional processes within an organisation even if the words ‘democracy’ and ‘pluralism’ are thrown into the mix.”

    So when are you going to introduce democratic processes in the SWP, as opposed to the ‘leadership slate’?

  38. Norwegian on said:

    Re # 40: “The rest of the membership decide” bla bla bla.
    But you never dared to ask the membership, did you?

  39. Thanks twp.

    Also why was Dave A’s comment deleted?! He has hardly post on this site.

    And while Ian Donovan has just been needlessly insulting me, Dave and Jason have all tried to be polite and constructive (even if you totally disagree with what’s being said).

  40. Lastly (as I’m going out) I’d appreciate it if you either delete IDs comment or allow this one to stay up.

    My only point was that while WP did sadly resort to personal insults and ridiculous accusations the split between PR and WP was a political one and had its roots in a total disagreement with WPs view that we are in a “pre-revolutionary period” and therefore we had very different views of the tactics that flow from that.

    But I’d agree the apolitical bits in the PR/WP split were wrong (and a side issue to the political issues) but the sad thing about the SSP and RESPECT split is that they do seem to be very apolitical and ignore any analysis of opportunistic and tailist politics, except when it suits the SWP.

  41. Yes I just noticed Dave A’s post was deleted as well. Andy, care to tell us why you think it’s acceptable to start deleting comments depending on which organisation people are in?

  42. lilian thring on said:

    I hear there was a SWP delegate meeting held at ULU today, signed loyalty oaths were required (some refused to sign.). Anyone know what happened?

  43. So “slagging off” both factions should be censored for promoting Permanent Revolution – not mentioned except in the web link in my original post, which did try to argue about the kinds of unity we need to be building.

    Seems like PR are welcome to post comments slagging someone off as long as the sole target is the SWP (Dan in comment #29), and it is ok for Ian Donovan’s scurrilous reply to my now censored message to remain.

    These responses, from Ian and Andy, are one small symptom that whatever all this fuss is about is not “democracy” in the abstract.

  44. Personally, I don’t think anyone’s comments should be deleted. Perhaps, Andy is just feeling a little frazzled?

    Surely it’s not too hard to have an open political debate- especially on a blog with the ambitious and inclusive sounding name of SOCIALIST UNITY.

  45. TWP #50

    Becasue I warned them what the comments policy was – at the moment there is a serious desire to debate from people who basically support the Respect project, and I am intolerant of a false axis of debate being created from an unrepresentative small Trotskyite group.

    The point has been made by Permanent Revolution that they think both sides are wrong on this, yada, yada, yada.

    I left up a number of comments from PR saying that including links to their website, then when i warned them that they should post less, or make their posts more relevant to the debate they persisted.

    So i deleted the commments. I posted yesterday about the comments policy, and I am sticking to it.

  46. Indeed Dave – but I am afraid many of us knew that all along. Sadly Andy and Liam and the others are merely stepping into the line to have their heads removed once they tread on Galloway’s toes. They probably won’t want to be reminded of the fact that people had predicted this as well when it happens – but so be it. The rest of the left will have to get on with trying to salvage our dignity out of the disaster that these comrades had a hand in.

  47. Will members of PR please stop clogging the comments up.

    I am sure that you have some interetsing thinkgs to say, but I woould hope you might show mre discipline in how frequently you post, given your peripheral involvement in this whole affair.

    TWP – I see no disaster.

  48. No Andy, I don’t accept that. First of all your comments section has been posted in by people from various far left organisations but you don’t similarly slag them off as being “Trotskyite” – which is universally considered a slander against left groups generally.

    I don’t understand your comments “policy” at all. It appears to me that what you are saying is that if someone offers an alternative viewpoint to being in favour of Respect then their comments will be removed. That is completely alien to the spirit of democratic debate and to the tradition of the labour movement.

  49. Chris Edwards on said:

    Email sent to Galloway and Linda Smith. 3.11.07

    EE: Locks changed on Respect office

    Dear Linda and George,

    I realise that I am probably wasting my time sending this message to you because it is clear that you are hell bent on your course of political self-destruction.

    But I am duty bound to protest against the changing of the locks at the national office. You have no right to do this–Respect does not belong to either of you. It belongs to the membership. Media celebrities may think they are more important than the rest of us and that they can do as they please, but I assure you that they are not.

    Only the annual national conference has the right to appoint national officers who have the right to access and use the national office. The national secretary and national treasurer were elected by the last national conference and only the national conference can remove them from these positions. By denying them access to the office, you are violating the decisions of the last national conference.

    Please stop this nonsense which has already undermined the mobilisation for the national NHS demonstration today. Could there be a more important mobilisation than this? Just what the hell do think you are playing at? Our health and lives are on the line here.

    Your actions serve only the Islamophobes, New Labour and the BNP.

    There will nothing left of Respect if you keep carrying on like this.

  50. Mark P hits the nail on the head. If the SWP leadership had any sense, not to mention confidence in their strategy, they would simply disengage and go down their chosen path. I can’t help feeling that they are in a gotterdamerung mindset, in which case Galloway et al have done the right thing in declaring that the two sides are separate. Best thing now would be for SWP to re-enter discussions to seek to resolve the thorny legal issues and then both sides head off to hoe their own row. We can see down the line how it works out.

  51. Andy,

    Every socialist is involved in this mess, whether or not they are a member of Respect. Members of Permanent Revolution – and many others who stayed well clear of Respect – have spent decades trying to build a fighting unity of the working class. Now an opportunist project is ending in bureaucratic manoeuvering from both contending factions. It will make what is already a dire situation worse for all of us.

    Sorry I didn’t realise what the quota was for the pariahs of the peripherally involved. In future I promise to exercise more discipline, having seen the first contribution I have made here or anywhere on the interweb censored.

  52. “My only point was that while WP did sadly resort to personal insults and ridiculous accusations the split between PR and WP was a political one and had its roots in a total disagreement with WPs view that we are in a “pre-revolutionary period” and therefore we had very different views of the tactics that flow from that.” Dan

    If this is what Permenant Revolution and Workers Power spend their time arguing(sorry ‘discussing’) about then why dont you all just find a little room or a phone box(popular these days, apparently)somewhere, love it up and make up.You know you’d love to get back together really……..’the WP’s view that we are entering a “PRE-REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD”‘…………..That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard since the SWP well ….urrrrrrrrr held themselves up as the….tttttttttrue bastion of ‘democratic’ accountablity and transparency!

    Glad to hear the locks have been changed at the Respect office. About time too. I’m surprised the SWP didnt get there first or have a round the clock revolutionary cadre guarding the door and premises.Dont be too surprised if the locks get changed yet again or there’s a mysterious ‘break in’.

  53. I don’t understand your comments “policy” at all. It appears to me that what you are saying is that if someone offers an alternative viewpoint to being in favour of Respect then their comments will be removed.

    I’m sorry that Andy’s started moderating comments on the grounds of content. I hope & trust that it won’t last. The thing is, these aren’t normal times – in the last four hours there have been 59 comments on this thread and 67 on the ‘Parliament…’ thread. One comment every two minutes – on a Saturday afternoon!

    This is a heated debate as well as a rather verbose one, and I think it’s reasonable to ask people to stay on-topic and constructive. Contributions which are essentially denunciations of both sides in the current split fail both tests. I’d very much rather they weren’t deleted, but it’s Andy’s call, & I think in the current situation his decision to delete is defensible.

  54. Alex Nichols on said:

    As the situation in Respect has now reached the Decree Nisi stage and the personal effects will soon be on the removal van, there’s no longer much point in discussing why things reached the current pass.

    But already some new issues are beginning to materialise from the political murk:-

    1) Given that Respect was supposed to be the political expression of the StWC and given that there were no evident political differences in its leadership at the recent conference, how will Respect(SWP) and Respect(Renewal) be working together in it?

    2) Given the East London Advertiser is read by the electorate in Tower Hamlets, don’t the leadership of the SWP feel some obligation to clear up their position re. the alleged pact with the Lib-Dems. Or do they think that they should be treated as crypto-Bloggers?

    3) Looking at the three conferences being held on November 17th, I think it’s not stretching the truth too much to say:-

    (i) The Respect(SWP) Conference will mainly be a rally, where quite a lot of delegates won’t be entirely clear why they’re there and the votes will be of the 99.9% unanimous variety.

    (ii) The Respect (Renewal) Conference won’t be a delegate conference, since it’s open to all interested members. There are likely to be a variety of position papers and much reaffirmation of democracy and pluralism, but it will have a big organisational problem from day one, such as branches. It remains to be seen how Alan Thornett and John Lister’s relationships with George Galloway will pan out, given their previous criticisms were made more openly than the SWP’s

    (iii) The LRC Conference will be the one that has by far the greatest number of represenative politicians present, including at least 4 well-known left-wing Labour MP’s with a long record of anti-war activity in parliament and at least 3 left wing union secretaries, including a Wrack elected by the membership of his organisation. Not to mention an international delegate from a large party.

    This will undoubtedly tens of thousands of non-aligned socialists with something of a conundrum and the vast majority of them won’t be at any of the three.

    Of course what should have been happening was a single Conference and since the areas of political agreement vastly outweigh the differences (not only on paper, but in action), this is a pretty sorry state of affairs.

    Tragedy, farce or new dawn?

  55. Alex Nichols on said:

    #63 erratum:

    “….This will undoubtedly [present] tens of thousands of non-aligned socialists…..”

  56. Concerned socialist on said:

    Phil, brave defender of democracy in Respect. I found this on your blog, dated May 2007:
    ‘We need a Left alternative to New Labour, but RESPECT clearly isn’t it. For the moment, the party is doing better on a local level than the Socialist Party or the post-traumatic SSP, but that’s not much to boast about. On the other hand, its achievements are dwarfed by those of the Greens – who are, among other things, more coherently anti-capitalist than RESPECT’s broad-front reformism will permit it to be. A workers’ party would be a good thing to vote for, but to organise one will take more combative times than these (and younger people than me to do the organising). Till then, the Greens will continue to get my vote.’
    When did you decide to join Respect, then?

  57. Logan's Jog on said:

    63 – “This will undoubtedly tens of thousands of non-aligned socialists with something of a conundrum and the vast majority of them won’t be at any of the three.

    Of course what should have been happening was a single Conference and since the areas of political agreement vastly outweigh the differences (not only on paper, but in action), this is a pretty sorry state of affairs.”

    This is, of course, what socialists and progressives have been trying to do for over a century now.

    Why hasn’t it happened? Who knows. Answers on a postcard.

    “Tragedy, farce or new dawn?”

    1) LRC – Tragedy

    2) SWP conference – farce

    3) Respect renewal conference – new dawn?

  58. Tony T on said:

    The difference between the Respect Renewal conference and the Respect SWP conference is incredibly simple.

    At the first there will be genuine discussion, debate and even disagreement. Positions will be argued and a dialectic process will result in progress towards a serious grassroots party of the left.

    At the SWP conference everything of importance will have been decided beforehand and the foot soldiers will be there to (a) be brainwashed as to the new line and (b) act as extras in the carefully choreographed tableaux.

    Which conference you go to will depend on whether you prefer being treated as an adult or a child.

  59. When did you decide to join Respect, then?

    I haven’t. But if you’re asking when I started feeling more optimistic about RESPECT, August 31st.

  60. RedRaph on said:

    From up here in Scotland it looks like a split. I agree the real respect conference would be messy and the non-SWP point of view would be difficult to hear given the way the delegates are stacking up. The SWP will, no matter what happens, use it to claim their inheritance to the Respect name and brand. What concerns me is can you arrive at a class struggle program that GG and the muslim constituency can agree on which does not exclude key demands. At the same time can the conference agree an accountable democratic structure that GG will agree to. Can this all be done without compromise. Because that’s what you all accepted in the first Respect.

  61. This from ‘Chris Edwards’ post, email to Galloway and Linda Smith;
    “Please stop this nonsense which has already undermined the mobilisation for the national NHS demonstration today. Could there be a more important mobilisation than this?”
    I loved that, it sums up the SWP cult perfectly.
    What ever the current demo they’re organising for is the most important thing ever and anything that distracts from that is to be denounced.
    It continues; “Our health and lives are on the line here”.
    By changing the locks on the door Galloway et al are putting health and life on the line.
    Seems a bit harsh to me.

  62. Logan's Jog on said:

    I hope there will be. At least, a vote to see if those present don’t want the Renewed Respect to end up like the mess the SWP made on its way out.

  63. the reason some of us tolerate Ian D’s slanderous comments without hitting back is because we know;
    1/ Who he is
    2/His real name
    3/ What he did
    4/his problems
    …and we have a residual degree of symapthy for him. But it’s fast running out. I for ine will not tolerate “Donovan”‘s abuse much longer.

  64. Respect the Unity Coalition

    Annual National Conference
    17th & 18th November
    Westminster University

    This is the only legitimate Respect conference organised by the elected officers and national council members of Respect who were voted in by the members. I would like to urge all the members of Respect to come to the real Respect conference at Westminster University and show Galloway and his gang the door. At this conference, members our party will decide the future of Respect.

    General (self appointed) George Galloway is thinking that if he asks us to jump, we’ll say how high. Well think again. If you think you can win an election without the support of Respect then I dare you to resign and call for a by-election. You’ll see Mr Galloway, people Tower Hamlets DO NOT like you any more, in fact they hate you. You do not attend your surgery, you are never in TH. If you are so interested in media life then why don’t you do us all a favour and bugger off? Of course you won’t because all you care about is MONEY and just being a useless MP you’re getting over 1/3 of a million pound every year. Whoever cares for the class would accept the average worker’s salary but so far you have refused to accept that.

    I’m really surprise by the action of John Lister, Alan Thornett and Ken Loach. How could left wing people like them support someone who only cares about himself and money? Once Galloway gets his own way here I’m sure he’ll dump these people as he has done in the past.

    Galloway is a hypocrite. He won his last election with the support of the SWP and he was only too happy to accept the support. Now he thinks he can win only on the support of one section of the community, well Galloway, you are making a mistake.

    By calling this sickening alternative conference Galloway kicked himself out of Respect and if he has any dignity (I doubt he ever had any) then he’ll return his Respect membership cards to the appropriate people and step down as an MP and call that by-election.

  65. “Now he thinks he can win only on the support of one section of the community”

    oh look! the muslims are coming!

    you should be ashamed of yourself, “raj” (hahaha)

  66. Ian Donovan on said:

    “At this conference, members our party will decide the future of Respect.”

    A lovely freudian slip. Which ‘party’ would that be? I thought Respect a coalition, not a party, according to the SWP anyway.

  67. In the interests of completeness, Ii should point out that there will be FOUR conferences on November 17th, as this is also the date of the Socialist party’s “Socialism 2007″ event.

  68. Logan's Jog on said:

    “By calling this sickening alternative conference Galloway kicked himself out of Respect and if he has any dignity (I doubt he ever had any) then he’ll return his Respect membership cards to the appropriate people and step down as an MP and call that by-election.

    Comment by Raj”

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx TH Respect might not be as popular as it should be, but it has roots in the community, and people identify with it, which is something armchair revolutionaries will never understand nor value. The rebel councillors have no such roots by themselves – I think Oli is great but rather than resign the whip because he could not become the leader of the Respect group, he should have stood down completely or continued to work with Abjol Miah.

  69. Logan's Jog on said:

    Thanks Andy – Nov 17th will be a fateful day! 4 groups of the Left, in different places.

    Well, at least those who want an actual Renewed Respect won’t have to worry about the undemocratic crowding out of the SWP at the Renewal Conference – ‘cos all of ‘em will be at their own conference! The Labour Left will stick to their own, as will the SP. Not much has changed since the old days.

  70. Logan JOg #80

    I edited out some abuse that crosed the line, the only alternatie would have been to delete the whole comment.

    Can comrades please show a little more discipline and restraint.

  71. imatrot on said:

    i think it is disgusting that people can cry foul becaus of the four Tower Hamlet councillors leave the party whip- calling them splitters. And in the same breath welcome the formation of a seperate conference outside of Respect. Surely a greater crime than breaking the party whip.

    Dave Riley- “cheering on” the splitters from the other side of the world you may be but take a look at your own “left unity” project the Australian Socialist Alliance and hope niether side make such a cock up as that organised by your political “perspective”

  72. “Can comrades please show a little more discipline and restraint”

    “discipline”, isn’t that only for the SWP?

    lol

  73. “I mean self-discipline”

    Ah phew… you had me worried there. Thought you’d gone all Trotskite-Leninist!

  74. Lobby Ludd on said:

    Re comment #43 from Andrew Coates:

    “Anything involving Galloway, not to mention Taliban supporter and private education backer, Yvonne Ridley, is hardly renewing anything at all.”

    I believe there is a golfing term ‘you play it where it lies’.

    Faction fights are ugly, and unfortunately, ugly choices have to be made.

    There are those on each side of the divide that accept their chosen grouping ‘as is’, some have reservations, some wish to change the leadership and way of working. Some are outside a particular grouping but graciously offer their support – short of actually joining with them in common enterprise. Some, of course, are neutral.

    Worth nothing, I know, but I cannot think of any enterprise which has lasted that involved the SWP when they were in significant numbers.

    And, of course, there are many fine people in the SWP and they often do hard and serious work. I also loved my Mother.

  75. Lobby Ludd on said:

    When I said:

    “Worth nothing, I know, but I cannot think of any enterprise which has lasted that involved the SWP when they were in significant numbers.”

    I should have also said – ‘apart from the SWP’.

    I know this will be considered merely sectarian, but I am sure that:

    One side of the split will be the SWP and already existing sympathisers, and on the other – who knows what.

    If the intention is to build a left of Labour grouping it will not be a newly entrenched SWP that does it.

    Formal support, for whatever side, that refuses to participate in the actual fight is worthless.

  76. well the renewal respect group can count among its number george galloway,salma yaqoob, matt wrack, rob hoveman, kevin ovenden, ken loach, victoria brittan, jerry hicks, alan thornett, john lister to name but a few. The swp’s respect grouping can count among its number…er..john rees of the swp..er…rees’s partner lindsey german of the swp….er….. thats about it! Dont think there’s much doubt bout which grouping will have any kinfd of meaningful poltical future! Looks like it’s back to the paper sales in town centres on saturday morning for the ever dwindling swp cadre!

  77. Who gets to keep the CPGB? With Respect’s conference, and the non-elected conference of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Respect both being held on the same day, how can Weekly Worker supply us with two reports? George simply hasn’t thought this through.

    Weekly Worker never featured any conference report of the SSP this year. For the first time since the SSP (and it’s predecessor, the Scottish Socialist Alliance) formed eleven years ago, Scotland’s socialist left went unmentioned at conference time, if the SSP could be considered part of the left anymore. Solidarity’s conference will be held next week. And for the second year in a row, the CPGB will be unable to have any report on us either, since they have not been able to infiltrate us and the SSP. And they will inevitably be excluded from at least one of the two Respect conferences, and conceivably both of them. I expect the CPGB’s leadership will be split down the middle as to which part of the split to latch onto, although the rank and file will probably opt for Galloway’s crew, given the ludicrous way this civil war has been reported in their paper. While the CPGB will have considerably better prospects of getting into Galloway’s conference, their leadership probably realise there is less chance of that group sustaining itself for very long, not with the SWP’s much more coherent activist base, and the CNWP fighting with both parts of the split Respect for the same very small niche in electoral politics. In the absence of their key role as an irritant on the SWP leadership, Galloway and co will find zero use for the Weekly Worker. Whichever side they attach themselves to, they are likely to be expelled, and sooner rather than later.

  78. Canadien on said:

    Logan: “Worth nothing, I know, but I cannot think of any enterprise which has lasted that involved the SWP when they were in significant numbers.”

    Hmm…The Stop the War Coalition? The ANL and the UAF? Um, Defend Council Housing? Campaign Against Climate Change?

    Perhaps the problem is the second clause of your sentence: “I cannot think.” It might be a clue to your problem.

  79. Logan's Jog on said:

    91 – Canadien: That was Lobby Ludd’s comment about the SWP not mine (87). What next, mistaking the SWSS for the SS?

    I know politics can be confusing sometimes, but please, do try to keep up.

  80. Alex Nichols on said:

    Just an additional thought that’s occurred to me since my original comments in #63.

    There’s also going to be another big problem; elections?

    Let’s just imagine the situation when Brown finally decides to go to the polls in a few years time.
    Assume the following situation exists:-

    There are two “Respects” – one having the benefit of around a thousand SWP foot-soldiers who can be mobilised for electoral campaigning (assuming the SWP doesn’t suffer a major split or haemhorrage members faster than it can recruit at fresher’s fairs)

    The other having the sitting MP, more well-known public figures and perhaps an infusion of money from sympathetic sources (somewhere or other), but probably less footsoldiers, unless it’s able to build branches, recruit, or get an infusion of people from MAB to help out.

    Meanwhile the CNWP will also want to field candidates and may have picked up some trade union branch support.

    Not to mention the possible conflicts with LRC supported Labour lefts in various constituencies and the Greens.

    So either we face a situation where there may be more than one “left of labour” candidate standing in a constituency, or there will need to be meetings between the rival groups to arrange a pact.

    On the basis of the theory that the SWP are going all out to split the left, they could of course simply use Respect(SWP) to wreck that possibility.

    Alternatively if it proves that Galloway could use his fund-raising skills to build up a political fund large enough to stand in even more seats and outflank Respect(SWP) and the CNWP – while doing a deal with the LRC.

    On the basis of the politics displayed by both sides in the current dispute and their political histories, I see this as quite a realistic prognosis for the next 2-3 years.

  81. Alex Nichols on said:

    re: #93 http://www.swp.org.uk/respect_cc.php

    This strikes me as the most reasoned response from the SWP so far.
    Although I haven’t read all of this in detail, a few points stick out already:-

    He [Galloway] told at least one person that this is a “fight against Trotskyism”

    Although it’s hearsay, I can believe that quote.

    I personally think that Galloway’s politics are of the traditional stalinist variety, but have been modified in the wake of the collapse of the USSR.
    He is reported to have been quite close to “Straight Left”, which were a faction within the CPGB that entered the Labour Party.

    “He dealt a blow to everyone who was preparing to campaign for Respect in the 2006 local elections: he absented himself from politics for weeks to appear in the despicable “reality TV” show Celebrity Big Brother. Every active supporter of Respect was faced at work with people on the left saying they would never vote for us again and taunts from our enemies about cats.”

    There’s nothing I can disagree with in the above either. In fact I’ve made a few quotes about cat-suits myself and feel absolutely no guilt whatever! Though I wouldn’t regard myself as an “enemy”, but someone not prepared to join, although quite happy to be in the Socialist Alliance.

    The only argument in favour of B.B and poncing around on a horse with debutantes is I suppose that it leaves very little further grounds for the tabloids to smear you any further, when you’ve already made a complete tit of yourself in public.

    There remain of course, issues like the workers’ wage, in which Galloway was backed by the SWP all along, without any tabloid attack as an excuse. Who on the right would take that one up?

    Then of course, we still have Yvonne Ridley on the Respect (Renewal) leadership team, even being promoted as a potential shahida-leader, alongside Salma by some bloggers here.

    Yvonne Ridley? The ex-Express journalist, who sends her daugther to a fee-paying private school, who I’ve personally seen wearing a “Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic” T-shirt, who appears to be on a “spiritual journey” towards political Islam?

    Is anyone telling me that this woman is a socialist?

    More like a flaky “anti-imperialist” fruitcake, being used by some “interests” in the background for something or other.

  82. “Worked in the Miners Support Committees”

    The same groups that the SWP denounced as being no better than “left wing Oxfams”?

  83. If told you my name i'd have to shoot you.. on said:

    ‘The same groups that the SWP denounced as being no better than “left wing Oxfams”?’

    A mistaken line that was changed by the members – when i met the swp in autumn of ’84 they were working their guts out collecting cash.

  84. Andy
    Just for the record are you principally opposed to all forms of ballot rigging inside trade unions to secure electoral advantage. And could you just confirm that if anyone was caught doing such a thing they should be fully brought to book and their ability to act as a leading figure in a political rganisation when there has/is debate regardign irregulariities been a prominant issue would need for that person to be relieved of his or her posiiton. If Andy as I am sure this is the case please just confirm this. cheers
    On a wider note what has united the anti socialist section of RESPECT is
    1. Hatred of Revolutionary socialism.
    and/or 2. A belief that without GG there is no hope for the left etc
    On their own I wonder what will develop because the hatred of the SWP will no longer be an issue but GG’s accountability will be. No more excuses if they fail to build a left alternative then we should see some humble pie being dished out from those like Andy who appear to feel any attack on the SWP is legitimate and anything GG does is wonderful.
    By the way at the TH meeting when the chair disolved it on his own whim he did so with the statement
    “I’ve got a buisness to run meeting closed” says it all really!!
    In B’ham Ger francis and Salma wanted earlier this year to select a candidate who 3 months earlier had been a conservative party member because he was well connected. Now Andy would you have opposed this.. it really is a no brainer. One of the candidates back by GG in TH had stated that if he was not a candidate then he stand as an independnt against RESPECT. Andy would you challange this person to be a candidate.. again very clear. GG told RESPECT members in SOuth London not to pick a candidate because he was too secular and was a shia!!! acceptable ?? Andy in TH 20 or so Bengali women were ordered to sit at the back of the room apprt from the meeting many of these women had joined RESPECT in its first days of formation.. acceptable Andy??? SWP and others challenged this action would you have been happy to let such practices happen.

  85. Andrew Coates on said:

    There’s a small report in the Independent on Sunday suggesting that George Galloway is contemplating standing in the London Mayor contest. Well, he would, wouldn’t he.

  86. oh yes.. anything to keep his profile up and attack the swp. GG isn’t going to win the seat and then it tv land and sod the rest of you… so obvious

  87. “There’s a small report in the Independent on Sunday suggesting that George Galloway is contemplating standing in the London Mayor contest.”

    Can’t see that going down too well with Salma. What page of the IoS is the report on?

  88. Logan@81 said:

    “Well, at least those who want an actual Renewed Respect won’t have to worry about the undemocratic crowding out of the SWP at the Renewal Conference – ‘cos all of ‘em will be at their own conference! The Labour Left will stick to their own, as will the SP. Not much has changed since the old days.”

    Not so, we have a debate scheduled with an LRC speaker on the Sunday afternoon, and though some comrades will be eager to do the ‘why are you in the Labour party’ thing, given that the LRC is open to those who don’t have Labour membership, the discussion could actually be quite constructive. With any luck, someone from the pro-Galloway wing will come along too … as I’d imagine a team of SP comrades will be present at both the LRC and Renewing Respect events.

  89. In post 98 on this thread JJ remarks that a meeting of respect was closed due to the chairs business commitments. The point being, or so i must assume, that the anti-SWP faction of what was respect the populist coalition, is dominated by petty bourgeois communalists. From the avaiable evidence this would seem to be true but if it is true today then it was true when the SWP set Respect up with George Galloway. What if anything has changed then would JJ kindly explain?

  90. Canadien on said:

    Logan: “Canadien: That was Lobby Ludd’s comment about the SWP not mine (87). What next, mistaking the SWSS for the SS?”

    I have alliteration dyslexia. Double-consonant names all look the same to me. Apologies.

  91. Has Ghada R been expelled or left the SWP?
    As the three phone contacts are all ex-party members.
    The SWP CC document is actually very good, the comments on George Galloway are especially poignant. The guy has the potential to be the Nye Bevan of his generation one can’t help feeling he has squandered his considerable talents.
    Where I part company with the SWP is the way they have fought this political battle: So badly that they have managed to unite the rest of Respect against them and even lose many seasoned members.
    I am disappointed that Andy refuses to acknowledge the genuine issues that the SWP have raised particularly around Tower Hamlets.

  92. The issues about Tower Hamlets mentioned by the SWP CC are addressed head on by Rob Hoveman in his contribution to the SWP’s Preconfence Internal Bulletin, in an article entitled: “The Problems in Tower Hamlets Respect”.

    there was also a good contribution from Comrade X of the SWP’s central London District on the question of candidate selection, called “Respect: How we strengthen Our Hand”

    Both of these offer convincing local knowledge and detailed arguments explpaining why thr SWp CC are wrong.

    Unfortunately I don’t have the agreement of the authors to publish either of them. And i am not publishing behind their backs. Publishing documents without the authors’ consent is what we rely on the weekly workker for, and they have let us down :o)

    Clearly the second members meeting that ended in chaos was a bit of a shambles, and all accounts suggest it could have been handled much better. But that doesn’t alter the general politics of the situation.

    I will respond at greater lengtgh to the SWP’s document, but this weeekend I am busy.

  93. “unite the rest of Respect against them”

    Again Respect is simply equated with its leadership with everyone else presumed to be an SWP stooge. Its absurd.

  94. wonder how things are going in the FBU for Linda Smith these days. Did she win her re election?

  95. Rupert Mallin on said:

    What hogwash!

    This list of speakers and supporters includes those who are opposed to George Galloway MP – one of the largest ‘earners’ in the Commons!

    To oppose the constitutional Conference with this ‘renewal’ Old Labour garbage has turned tragedy into farce!

    I hope all those going to this sectarian farce hold Galloway to account! Of course not. You’ll all attack the SWP and speak not one word about holding “our” MP to account.

    No one on The Left has a crystal ball but surely as night follows day, pretty quickly Respect Renewal will split itself apart.

    Was talking to a non-SWP Tower Hamlets Respect supporter last night and all your Renewal actions over this weekend finds him on the proper Respect Conference petition!

    I think a lot of you are more interested in the safe microscope of the Left than in the working class. Respect Renewal is so utterly top-down I suppose you’re more keen on Galloway’s celebrity salary than engaging the Respect membership and the class?

  96. there was also a good contribution from Comrade X of the SWP’s central London District on the question of candidate selection, called “Respect: How we strengthen Our Hand”

    comrade x has signed the appeal put out by the swp, recognises that the party is being witchhunted, and is disgusted by the actions taken by galloway, linda smith, kevin ovenden etc which are what is causing a split. just to set the record straight.

  97. George T on said:

    Rupert – In order to reach out to the working class, RESPECT needed to renew – at least Galloway’s document recognised that RESPECT as it was constituted turned off many people as it appeared undemocratic. The SWP leadership failed to hold Galloway to account in the past – its questionable whether they tried. All criticism of the way RESPECT was run at previous Conferences, was opposed by Galloway and the SWP. Its a bit rich, to now claim the SWP are the true democrats in RESPECT.
    Its worth comrades rereading the report in Socialist Worker of the last Conference – Alan Thornett spoke out at the time that everything wasn’t wonderful with RESPECT – yet the SWP (and Galloway) claimed the opposite stating thousands of students had been signed up – where are they now? If comrades had recognised earlier the need for RESPECT to renew, it may not have ended the way it did. RESPECT had to move forward from just being an electoral front to a real left party – SWP leaders did not want RESPECT to take this step. Its time for renewal!

  98. Thomas Wooler on said:

    Does that mean that Keith Watermelon is comrade x? Or is he just deducing what he says from the appearance of comrade x’s name on the petition. Given the way this has been forced through as a matter of loyalty it is not surprising that some SWP members have signed, ableit whilst holding their noses tightly.

  99. Canadien on said:

    Thomas: “Forced through as a matter of loyalty…”

    What absurdity, what stupid demonization on the basis of nothing and no evidence. People voted against the resolution at the party council yesterday and they weren’t expelled and their families weren’t held hostage or they weren’t fired from their jobs. This “loyalty oath” bullshit is the biggest bogeyman I’ve heard. It seems if the SWP does anything certain sectarians will wrack their brains trying to decipher the subtext of the action.

    Argue from evidence not your own narrow prejudices.

  100. George T on said:

    Democracy in action at SWP Party Council – taken from Liam’s blog-

    The document was agreed by yesterday’s Party Council meeting of 250 branch delegates and NC members with 2 votes against and 3 abstentions. Everyone who wished to speak against the document had peaking time. There seemed to be no packing of branch delegations and individuals who had been in the past critical of the CC overwhelming sided with them this time.

    Canadien states people voted against but no one’s been expelled – so two voted against and neither of them have been expelled since yesterday afternoon.

  101. The way Party Council works by the way, is that a CC member would have moved their document, speaking for 20 to 25 minutes.

    then critics could reply, but would have had say 3 minutes each, while there is also a queue of loyalist agreeing with the CC.

    I have spoken against the CC line at a national SW conference, and it is an intimidating experience.

  102. Grim and Dim on said:

    All SWP members have received an instruction, signed personally by John Rees, that they must say “Kes” was a bad film.

  103. George T on said:

    Maybe Canadien would like to tell us if any other document was put to the party council apart from the leadership document?

  104. #120
    There were two other proposals from an NC member. One was agreed, the other was withdrawn and not voted on.

    No loyalty oths were required. An I still like Kes!

  105. George T on said:

    How do you explain that 98% of people voted in support of the SWP leadership document with less than 1% voting against?

  106. #122

    People agreed that there was a witchhunt. That is the main thrust of the document. Don’t underestimate the anger of SWP members at the attacks from Galloway. And suggestions that we are all dupes of the leadership is not exactly guaranteed to win friends.

    I suspect there will be less consensus on the way forward after the Respect Conference. But a lot depends on what happens over the next two weeks. I expect the Respect delegate conference will be larger than the Galloway rally. That’s of course unless the rally is packed out with people who until a few weeks ago were denouncing us for working with Galloway.

  107. Reports I’ve heard of the SWP Party Council, corroborated by jj’s comment here, do point to filthy witch-hunting-style behaviour: John Rees accused Linda Smith of ballot rigging inside the FBU. She’s just withstood a vicious campaign against her by union officials to the right of her in her union. Even they didn’t accuse her of ballot rigging. John Rees has no political integrity. Andrew Murray, Mark Serwotka, Bob Crow, the left of the NUT, UCU and other unions need to know what they are dealing with. And they will.

  108. Non-SWP Respect socialist on said:

    Bob Crow doesn’t need any encouragement to dislike the SWP.

    Anyway, this place is now (maybe it always was, I haven’t been here long) just somewhere to come and bash the SWP, so I’m going to dip out. Thanks for keeping me up to date with some of the machinations, anyway. I’m once again astonished at the things that people can make themselves believe when they want to.

  109. Canadien on said:

    Andy: “I have spoken against the CC line at a national SW conference, and it is an intimidating experience.”

    Um, no offence, but you want to smash the state and you’re afraid of standing up to the CC at a public event? Now, I can understand that a new member might be afraid of speaking in public, having had no experience, but you, Andy? Nobody said it would be easy to stand up for what you believe in.

  110. Galloway’s conference may well be larger, but that will be because it will be packed out with the vultures.

    This isn’t a ‘conference’ after all, it’s a rally where anyone can show up. You don’t have to be a member, nevermind a delegate. And who would want to miss the chance to hear some fiery rhetoric from GG, denouncing the ‘evil Trots’? It will be quite the spectacle.

    But if GG’s lot think that there will actually be many there serious about yet another ‘new’ party, think again.

    He’s not only done away with the SWP, he’s done away with all those who have been dedicated members. Why would anyone who has believed in Respect over the last 4 years be so easily lured away by the ‘celebs’ in the party? Unless they joined as some sort of groupies who were impressed by people like Galloway and Loach and not because they were serious about the issues of course.

    Come election time for the ‘Renewed’ Respect, it will be a serious case of – where did all the activists go?

  111. #124

    Andy, I suggest this post is libellous (either against Rees or Smith) and should be deleted.

    I believe this a a cheap way to put an allegation into the public domain with no evidence presented – either way.

  112. George T on said:

    123# SWP members are angry! ‘I suspect there will be less consensus on the way forward after the Respect Conference’ (ie not 98% of SWP members agreeing)

    What are the options on offer to build ‘RESPECT’ being put at the SWP dominated Conference – how do you see it PW? Canadien?

  113. Canadien on said:

    George T – The options can be seen on the Respect website – it’s the list of resolutions that have been put by the members through their branches.

    Um, which options will the Gally Rally put forward to guide them?

  114. Meanwhile more and more activists continue to leave the sinking rotting carcus that was once called the SWP and many others wont even ever consider even touching it with a barge pole not that barge poles are particulaly thick on the ground.

    It amuses me that oh so tough guy ‘Canadien’ SWPer is butting in as much as he is into this discussion when for weeks by his own admittance he said he knew very little about what was really going on due to his ‘distance’.Well, that disguise has clearly fallen by the wayside and it is clear that he is just suffering sour grapes because he’s not going to get his much anticipated ” gut wrencing bust up” that his macho mentality so yearned.

  115. garagelanduk on said:

    I was just looking at this section of the Renew Respect declaration “We want to build Respect but we also want to work together with all others who share a vision of a better, more equitable society, to create a broader, united party to represent the interests of all working-class people.”

    On that point, I think it is worth mentioning that there are socialist forces that never took part in Respect we saw it as not being socialist enough, because it lacked democracy and because it was dominated by the SWP. For example, the majority in the Exeter Socialist Alliance opposed the closing down of the Socialist Alliance in favour of Respect and after the SWP left we continued meeting (without the SWP) as the Exeter Socialists – indeed we stood candidates in the local elections in 2004. Our group consists almost entirely of independent socialists who are very frustrated by the fragmentation of the Left.

    I am sure the group in Exeter is not alone – there are local groups of socialist around the country who are not dominated by the sects or who are an alliance of smaller groups and independents – probably outside of Respect.

    Anyway – to get to the point maybe we should be talking. On that score we in Exeter are keen to link up with any socialist individuals or groups in the region.

    Perhaps the field is clear after the Respect split for forces, not dominated by the SWP, to start linking up.

    There are many independent socialists around, there are also some of the smaller groups who are happy to work together with others in the movement, there are the people around Respect Renewal, then there is the Socialist Party’s Campaign for a New Workers Party and of course some of the unions, notably the RMT and possibly the FBU who perceive a lack of working class political organisation and representation. Perhaps the Respect split – whilst very depressing, could open up opportunites that weren’t there before. The need for a new workers party – which is *democratic* and *socialist* has never been clearer.

    The Exeter Socialists would like to be in contact with any socialist individuals and groups around the SW – if there are any comrades formerly in Respect or around Respect Renewal we are an open group and we would like to hear from you, hopefully we can work together. To contact us, e-mail Dave Parks via:

    davep AT exeterleft.freeserve.co.uk

  116. Thanks Dave

    I think there is a room for dialogue, and the huge mistake made when Reseppct was originally launched was the “take it or leave it” attitude, we need a much more long term exercise of practical cooperation over campaigning issues, and building trust and confidence.

  117. garagelanduk on said:

    Also the SWP did their utmost to smash up the Socialist Alliance on their way out – preventing any possibility of continuity of use of a name that had been established by years of hard work by the non-SWP forces. I can’t help but marvel at the similiarities with the way the SWP are parting company with Respect – if they can’t control it then they seem compelled to do their utmost to smash it up so that no-one else can continue with it. To the cynic it seems that the thing most central to the SWP is *preventing* any Left organisation to the Left of Labour to act as a rival to itself – unless they pull the strings of course.

    BTW – Andy, you are to be congratulated for your coverage of events in Respect – it has been a valuable service not just to those in Respect but to the wider movement. We all deserve to be informed as to what is really going on. It is impossible to have an informed judgement about events and issues unless you have access to what is going on – precisely why the SWP do their utmost to keep people in the dark. The days when the sect could have complete control over information have gone – a good thing for the movement but very bad news for the control freakery sects – surely their days are numbered.

  118. I gave Donovan/Dudley fair warning; he has continued with his lies. I am about to expose his record. one more excess from him, and I’ll be forced to do it.

  119. No; I’m trying very hard to be fair with a provocative character, who has problems. I want to give hin “fair warning”: nothing to do with being “tough” or “hard”.

  120. You’re such a moron Jim, everyone on the left over the age of 18 knows exactly what it is you are threatening to “reveal” about Ian Donovan.
    You’re a pathetic loser who thinks he can shut someone up with macho posturing and chest beating.
    Now go home, it’s way past your bed time.

  121. Rob Stainsby on said:

    It has been interesting reading the various comments about the split in Respect. I am a proud member of the SWP and Respect. I find it a bit odd for people to comment about the supposed brainwashed membership of the SWP as if we have no minds of our own. I have been active in politics for 20 years, have been sacked for trying to organise a solicitors office and involved in Union work as a rep for the past 7 years. Do people think that I can argue with my boss but not the SWP CC?
    What you see as bilnd faith is no such thing. I am a member of a democratic centralist organisation which discusses strategy, decides and then fights with one voice. Is this meant to show my personal weakness or is it not a disciplined aproach to the class struggle and the nature of the state? If you want a broad church then you should join the labour party and see how effective that is in changing our world.
    Respect may not have grown as much as we all would have liked but to blame the SWP for this is a bit much. Do you think we want to keep Respect small? No because the whole aim is to break the hold of the Labour Party on the British working class.
    Is it our fault that we are well organised? Go and recruit your own members and show that your politics are better if you want a bigger voice than us. I suspect a bit of jealousy at work here from some other groups that they are not as big as us. We are still too small to do what we want but you get and keep members because they like your politics and how you operate. I am not forced to be in the SWP.
    The Respect renewal conference is a step backwards from pushing out and building a new left. If George Galloway was so concerned with the success of Respect why did he go on Big Brother and why has he not attended a constituency surgery for the last 9 months? He is the fifth highest earning MP in Parliament as a rsult of his media work. It is a shame as he is a fantastic speaker but he seems to be more concerned with sorting out his personal fortune than building Respect.
    Sorry but the SWP are not bogeymen or robots. Whatever you decide to do about Respect we are not the enemy. It is the British state and American imperialism that are our biggest enemy.

  122. Unity Is Strength on said:

    I’ve been a member of SWP since 1988. I remember when I first joined I attended an NUS meeting to organise trains up to Manchester to demonstrate against student loans. I didn’t understand the concept of democratic centralism then and argued against my SWP comrades in favour of the NUS leadership. During a break in the meeting Kevin Ovenden patiently and fraternally explained to me why, as members of the SWP, we follow the party line because it has been agreed upon by the majority of the SWP. It is a democratic decision.

    At the time I refused to agree with the party line but agreed not to vote against my comrades. It was the fraternal nature of the SWP that enabled Kevin and other SWSS members to patiently wait for me to understand and accept the practice of democratic centralism. My experience of being a member of the SWP has always been that it is a fraternal party open to debate. But the issue of being accountable to the majority of the membership is non-negotiable.

    The reason that Kevin and other members of the SWP were expelled was because they actively organised against the majority of the SWP. While it’s acceptable to disagree and debate these issues through the normal SWP channels when a decision is made democratic centralism can only work if SWP members uphold these decisions. The SWP CC is elected by the membership and as such are entrusted with making decisons by the members who elected them.

    My hope for the future is that both groups put aside their antagonism and agree to campaign together for elections in the future. I believe that this is possible because there are many excellent and principled socialists on both sides of the split who wish to see the left grow and a serious opposition to new labour emerge. My experience of the SWP in united fronts is one of fraternal co-operation and the SWP’s track record of co-operation cannot be maligned because action speaks louder than rhetoric. I remember the fraternal way the SWP treated me before I joined and I know that many of my non SWP friends acknowledge this as well.

    I anticipate that the SWP will make every endevour to work with socialists on both sides of this unfortunate divide. It is my intention to do so and I am sure the CC will encourage us to defend our comrades outside of the SWP against the right regardless of which Respect they belong to. When fighting for socialism and workers rights unity does not depend on which organisation we belong to but on the principles we’re prepared to stand up and fight for together.

    Fraternally yours,

    Ray

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