Respect Renewal Conference Huge Success

I will write more about it tomorrow, but there were at least 320 people there, perhaps 350, and with a truly representative cross section, young and old, men and women, black and white and Asian,  Muslim and christian and those of no faith, socialists from different traditions.

A general mood of optimism, and also a realism about the tasks ahead, and the need to reach out and make new friendships, and alliances.

Linda Smith kicks the meeting off
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Applause for Galloway
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All sections of community represented
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George and Linda
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There is no witch-hunt – SWP CC member argues their case
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Nick Wrack makes it clear we are Respect
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Cllr Abjol Miah very impressive
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461 comments on “Respect Renewal Conference Huge Success

  1. is that weyman bennett for the swp cc? i’m amazed they sent a speaker.

    were many other swpers there?

    ks

  2. Festival of communalism: the term “working class” not used; alien to Galloway and his street thugs (though their “left” hangers-on, like the ISG, may occassionally pathetically bleat about it).

  3. Kevin E on said:

    Jim u are misguided and I doubt u were there.

    Nick Wrack towards the end of the conference made several key points mentioning the “working class” and Respect Renew will have to fight against privatisation, bad housing etc of key concerns for teh working class.

    What drugs are u on. I suggest u come off them. U were not at Bishopgate – well were u?

  4. There’s a BBC News Online piece in which the journalist isn’t quite sure which conference or group he is writing about (having supposedly attended both, I suppose he could be forgiven):

    A statement on the Respect website said the Respect Renewal conference was “full to overflowing”, and added that “due to extraordinary circumstances” the conference will concentrate on how to move forward following internal disputes.

    Entirely correct, apart from the insertion of that one word “Renewal”.

    He said that, at one stage two weeks ago, relations reached a new low when one faction changed the locks to the party’s headquarters in east London to stop their rivals getting in.

    Surely any report worth its salt – this is a quote from said “political correspondent Gary O’Donohue” – would not just say “someone” changed the locks.

    The BBC, sloppy journalism at its best.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7099499.stm

  5. “is that weyman bennett for the swp cc? i’m amazed they sent a speaker.”

    He got confused and went to the wrong conference, poor chap.

  6. …and ‘Socialist Unity’ (ahem) will be carrying a report of the Respect conference? Or doesn’t the ‘Unity’ cover those particular Socialists?

  7. I have no doubt whatsoever that Socialist Unity will carry a report of the SWP-Respect Conference as well.

    Just as I am sure Socialist Worker will report both, fairly and accurately, whilst naturally giving more column inches to the one it supports.

  8. Andy,

    you beat Lenny to a write up of the other Respect Conference on his blog.

    I guess he’s too tied up with deleting comments. 😉

  9. Socialist Worker doesn’t call itself Socialist Unity and claim to be all things to all socialists, which is what I thought SU was claiming to be. Correct me if I’m wrong. SW is a campaigning newspaper for one political party. It doesn’t claim to be anything else. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  10. There seemed to be about 6 SWP members there, probably mainly leading members. Another one, in addition to Weyman Bennett spoke. They defended the SWP’s position, but interestingly without resorting to epithets like “communalism”, “witch-hunt of socialists”, “right wing” etc. They were listened to, without abuse or heckling from the audience, although some of the SWP members themselves tried to interrupt speeches several times.

    I was very impressed by the seriousness of the conference, its willingness to give the SWP activists their due, in terms of the efforts they made for Respect, despite a political line that ultimately constrained the development of the coalition, and its readiness to work for a new way of functioning on the left: based on full internal democracy.

  11. J Ahmed on said:

    I am not sure how many of you received an email last night from SWP Respect to say that “effectively” SWP members are banned from Respect Renewal conference. I was quite surprised to see SWP members today at the Respect Renewal conference after this misleading and deceptive email was sent out. SWP were even distributing leaflets and newspapers inside the hall and even in the coridoors after the conference finished. Makes me think how desperate SWP leadership must be.

  12. Larry R on said:

    I spent the day at an anti-fascist demo against the BNP in the North West, united with SWP members, Anarchists, Labour, Greens and both factions of Respect….

    However, both Respect rallies in London looked OK. Well done both.

    The question is, how can we unite these two factions again? Respect Reunification?!

    The problem is overcoming the traditional left pathology of sectarianism and leadership cliques.

    The whole point of a broad plural left formation is that it should be able contain both these factions, who probably are mouthing very similar sounding politics.

    (But then what we on the Trot-left hate the most is rivals with similar politics – so we have to invent differences and caricature each others positions – to supply each leadership clique with left market space and a loyal flock of followers).

    But yes, ‘Socialist Unity’ should cover both conferences, and we on the wider left should subject both to our merciless critique and simultaneously offer both some solidarity.

    Socialist Worker offers its report of its own Respect conference at the University of Westminster here:
    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=13567

    Interestingly the SW report was posted very early – at 3.26pm – suugesting a brief rally, with all over and done quickly. Hardly a conference either.

    Now serious revolutionary politicians intent on forging the necessary counter-hegemonic alliance of anti-neoliberal forces would be figuring out how we can all get together for a proper conference next year. This would need trust building measures, skilled facilitation, revolutionary diplomacy, inclusiveness and genuine participatory democracy – oh and political clarity and honesty.

    But after the mutual slander and mud slinging of recent weeks that’s gonna be hard.

  13. Well, I attended the Labour Representation Committee and it was upbeat and the mood positive. There was around 300-350 people and there was a good size number of women. Speakers included: McD. Corbyn, Mark Serwotka, Karen Reissman, Michael Gavan and so on.

    One very positive thing to come out of this was a decision to organise a women’s LRC conference, setting up a women’s steering committee. And we had a very good discussion at the women’s caucus. I also spoke to the resolution on women’s representation in the LRC.

    And I got elected to the LRC NC.

    If comrades are interested I will write a fuller report with pics (there’s one of me speaking to the resolution but it doesn’t bring out my best side….)

  14. Well never mind the just in time production of SUN, or indeed Larry’s attempt to suggest that ‘part 1’ of an on-line report suggests hardly a conference, here is Lenin’s superb and clearly vastly superior report full of interesting nuggets and lots of dynamism and topical things to discuss (I am of course entirely unbiased and merely providing a service). Interesting though the Labour representation Commitee no doubt is.

    http://leninology.blogspot.com/2007/11/respect-very-live.html

  15. Larry R (Comment No. 19) writes:
    Interestingly the SW report was posted very early – at 3.26pm – suugesting a brief rally, with all over and done quickly. Hardly a conference either.

    Yes, comrade, the SW report on the morning session was posted at 3.26pm.
    The report on the afternoon session, entitled “Respect conference looks to the future (part 2)”, was posted at 5.49pm. Perhaps you only read the headline and posting time of the first article?

    SWP morning session report: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=13567
    SWP afternoon report: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=13568

  16. Kevin Murphy on said:

    RESPECT RENEWAL CONFERENCE HUGE SUCCESS
    Filed under: Respect — Andy @ 8:05 pm
    I will write more about it tomorrow, but there were at least 320 people there, perhaps 350.

    320(!) at a non-delegated pep rally for the minority splitters is a “huge success”? Andy, what would have constituted a failure in your opinion, 200, 100?

  17. Where are the 320 people in those photos? One of the speakers who was at both meetings told me around 200 and those photos tend to confirm that. Only explanation I can offer is that there were 100 people in the toilets emptying their colostomy bags because that is the oldest bunch of people I’ve seen gathered in a room since I went to my Iran’s funeral. What will Renewal do in 2 year when half it’s members have died?

  18. Thanks for the link Johng,

    wonder if people will be able to leave links to reports from other Conferences on Lenny’s blog?

    He does seem rather over zealous when it comes to deleting comments.

  19. I was at the LRC conference, Louise. I’ll be writing something though please put a report on here.

    Well, a great succes for the SWP, John Rees elected as National organiser.

    What a shambles, two Respects: very attractive!

  20. Re. comments 23 and 24:

    It doesn’t seem to have been ‘standing room only’ in those pictures, so I can only assume that the turnout at best was the maximum possible in the hall when “theatre style seating” is provided. 210. See http://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=969

    Of course, if it wasn’t the “Great Hall” at Bishopsgate Institute, but the “Upper Hall” instead, the turnout would have been 150 max.

    And re. comment 24: the turnout – based on age alone – hardly seems dynamic. Unless you’re used to Constituency Labour Party General Committee meetings or CPB conferences. Or a member of the ISG (whose all-member meetings could, I presume, be held in Bishopsgate’s Boardroom)…. 🙂

  21. The photos (when compared with those on Bishopgate’s website) clearly show it was the Great Hall. The terms and conditions of hire state

    3.7 In no circumstances must the number of people attending any meeting or function exceed the maximum accommodation of the room or hall hired as laid down by the Institute. .

    A turnout of 210 or under, then, I presume? Nothing wrong with that, but a bit of honesty wouldn’t go amiss.

  22. reply to KMS (#27)

    Go back to your Bishopsgate link.

    It was the Great Hall that we were using, and 300 seats were provided.

  23. Reading Lenin’s Tomb reportage of Rees speech – about the pressures of electoralism and the importance of quality candidates not opportunists. Yes, I agree with Ress entirely. This was always a problem and I have been voicing these criticisms myself in meetings and discussions for quite a while, probably ‘prematurely’. (Mike Lavallette in Preston is one of the few examples of a revolutionary councillor).

    The SWP ‘bent the stick’ to getting ‘electable candidates'(petty-bourgeoise opportunists) to launch respect. But then when it tried to bend the stick the other it broke! It then lost many of its previous allies and gains.

    Until comrades stop cheerleading for one faction or another – and actually address the real problems with both, then we are all delusional.

    There were two immediate problems with respect – opportunist petty-bourgeois candidates AND a conservative 40 year old SWP control culture. But each side only acknowledges one problem, not both. And of course, both problems were also oddly enough strengths and necessary. Respect needed both the petty-bourgois Muslim leaders/Galloway, AND the SWP with all its faults, to get off the ground. But could it manage to transcend these conditions of its birth? Can it still?

  24. Re. 29 and 30:
    Canadien, you’ve just pointed out what I was about to…

    “Theatre style” – being talked at from a stage – with seats: capacity 210
    “Reception” – boogying on down (robotic-stylee perhaps?) with a glitter ball and that: capacity 300.

    Glad to have helped clear that up babeuf.

  25. Lovin' all this Respect! on said:

    Re comment by Jim Denman: “working class” not used; alien to Galloway and his street thugs

    er….. Working Class definitely WAS central to the conference talked about by Galloway amongst others. Now you see the problem for you is we recorded it all so that your usual propaganda will not work. It will be available online.

  26. #29 and 30:

    On Monday, if you heroes of socialism can find a moment when the witch-hunters aren’t hot on your tail, try phoning the Bishopsgate Institute to find out how many seats they put out.

  27. Lovin' all this Respect! on said:

    ..and by the way yes Bishopgate Institute was packed…standing room only.

    As someone put it so well earlier…”There is no split in Respect – only a split in the SWP”. The SWP had a virtually all white SWP members conference…the rest of their members and a fast growing number of their ex members came to the
    Respect Renewal conference. This came dirctly to us by….members of the SWP.

  28. To anyone outside our little left-wing bubble this is so obviously life of Brian. A left which is too immature to unite and provide the left opposition to new labour we need. Really sad. And really sad immature comments by either side on here. The SWP lead Respect conference only had 270 delegates (of contested legitimacy as actual ‘delegates). The renewal rally looks respectable – not a disaster – but still far too small. (Although I despise the sectarian jeers on this comments thread dismissing thoe many turning up with horrible ‘colostomy bag’ attacks). Both are too small. But neither can be overlooked. Given the horribly weak state of the left, then both need to be valued, not slandered.

  29. You could just count the number of rows and the number of people in a row, babeuf. Or start doing that (and finish half-way through like I did before I even posted my comment on the numbers present, as it became clear that 350 people are not present).

    Anyway, my original posting was a comment on No. 23 (Kevin Murphy):
    Andy, what would have constituted a failure in your opinion, 200, 100?

    Published “maximum capacities” usually also have more than a little to do with fire safety regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act, and I doubt that a registered charity would want to make an exception to the rule, for anyone.

  30. #34

    I’d agree, triumphalism would be misplace. I was pleased with the Respect conference, it was much better than I had feared it might be. Some anger about the Galloway group splitting away from Respect, of course. But much more sadness, and determination to ensure that Respect continues.

    Of course it would have been nice if some of the socialists who have decided to join Galloway in splitting had had a last-minute change of heart and come to the Respect conference, but that really was too much to hope for.

    I feel I now have a much better understanding of why the Galloway group decided they needed to start their own new party today, and a much better understanding of the tasks ahead for Respect. So all in all, not a bad day. But a triumph? No.

  31. Lovin' all this Respect! on said:

    But nobody will vote for the SWP in the elections whatever name you use.
    If they did there would have been no need to join Respect. They voted for George and they’ll vote for George under any name.

  32. Who gives a damn how many were present. The SWP and Galloway have discredited the left by the separation of their opportunist marriage. It’s like the captain of the Titanic boasting that his is the best ship ever to have sunk!

  33. John Rees was re-elected as Respect National Secretary. Elaine Graham-Leigh was elected as Respect National Organiser.

    Er, no they weren’t as the SWP Rally has no legitimacy in calling itself the Respect Conference. I was at the renewal conference. There were 300 chairs with people sitting in them and others standing. But it doesn’t matter what we say as the SWP propagandists were always going to say how small it was.

  34. Ok, well predictions about election results are a fool’s game, so I’ll not join in. The left is weakened by your having split, but I’m not one of those who thinks that votes at election time are all that counts anyway.

  35. I’ve not noticed KMS being an “SWP propagandist” on here in the recent past. As it goes, of those I heard from this evening to the SWP member who visited the Galloway rally gave a higher attendance for it than the non-aligned person who was also there.

    Is there a group on the left that can’t build a 200 or 300-person rally at some point or another? It’s hardly about how many people were in the various halls, is it? Except, from a positive point of view, there were over a thousand people in London today talking about left-of-Labour politics.

  36. But nobody will vote for the SWP in the elections whatever name you use.
    If they did there would have been no need to join Respect. They voted for George and they’ll vote for George under any name.

    I tried to explain this to Lenny Lenin (he claims Galloway has “been hammered” (by the SWP and allies), but either all subsequent comments have “vanished”, or he’s taking a break from moderating comments and instead is publishing none….

  37. If Galloway *did* use the words “working class” it makes no difference; his base is a communalist, islamist anti-working class one. he can use the Term “working class all he likes: it doesn’t change the reactionary, popular-frontist nature of his project. we’ve all seen the small businesmen he’s rallied to his side. Shame on the ISG and other so-called “socialists” for going along with this shyster and his right-wing communalist project.

  38. And I’m certainly far from a SWP propagandist! Neither in Britain nor in Germany would I want to join the SWP. For reasons obvious, well known to most people who read and write on this blog. On the other hand, my opinion of Galloway & Co. (especially Thornett) is little short of contempt. It’s not “socialism, c’est moi”, far from it – but I think both sides in this “debate” have major thoughts. And my enemy’s enemy is certainly not in this case, and never automatically, my friend.

  39. Lovin' all this Respect! on said:

    …..arguing over how many chairs because they are desperate.

    GG has a over million listeners every weekend and over 5,000 friends on Facebook.
    He is inundated constantly by emails from supporters around the world.
    No-one is interested in the SWP. It is an outdated and anti-democratic sect.
    George and the renewal WILL continue. I was going to say that the SWP has had it’s day – except it never did. And now it’s like some old antiquated relic.

    Respect Renewal felt like the Iron Curtain had been lifted at last.

  40. KrisS: Post 48: “from a positive point of view, there were over a thousand people in London today talking about left-of-Labour politics”.

    Yes, maybe historians will call this a ‘ferment’. Maybe its all quite fluid and yet to be formed – with parties rising and falling in the East End, a period of constant change and realignment. Yes, we could all be groping our way forward through trying out different things, maybe. Or maybe not, I dunno!

  41. Some one must be having a laugh here. The illegal and unconstitutional new SWP-Respect officers:

    Elaine Graham-Leigh as national organiser (who was unable to present a proper set of accounts to the last National Council)

    Councillor Oliur Rahman as national chair (who entered into secret negotiations on a coalition with the Liberal Democrats on Tower Hamlets Council and now sits as Respect Independent)

    John Rees as national secretary (who did not speak to Salma Yaqoob on the National Council more than twice in the last two years and did not implement the NC decision to appoint Nick Wrack as Respect National Organiser).

    I think it says all you need to know about where the SWP are going – Control, Control and more Control.

  42. The point is that until all the various different component parts of the Left wake up to the reality that it is a complete and utter indulgence and insanity working as separate and competing entities then they are going absolutely no where.

    Until they can learn to tolerate difference,genuinely act democratically,be seen to be democratic, be accountable and be seen to be accountable, be transparent and be seen to be transparent by the grassroots and rank and file membership and many others on the outside looking in who hunger for a viable alternative to this neoliberal capitalist imperialist hell.

    We urgently have to find out on what and where the Left agree and disgree and work on the basis of where we agree.Until this is achieved then there can be no unity worthy of it’s name.And UNITY is what is needed both within the anti war movement, within the anti racist and anti fascist movement and of course in terms of posing a viable Left alternative.

    Personally,I am very interested to hear what was said and proposed at all the various conferences to see to what extent there was any overlap in terms of a genuine realisation and recognition of the vital necessity to reach out and work together and to what extent there is a sincere preparedness to actually find ways to overcome the differences, the seemingly insurmoutable blocks, the ill feelings ,the barriers and actually find constructive and postitive ways of working together.

    Fine, if there have to be two Respects for some while to clear the air,reassess and clarify the situation but to continue like this for the forseeable future is of course a total nonsense and all the more ridiculous if both sides insist on maintaining the same name. The present situation as it is, is totally unsatisafactory, electorally suicidal and simply unsustainable.

    We have all got to work to create a sustainable broad Left democratic pluralist party…….What is the alternative?

  43. It was a very promising start for the next stage in building a class struggle party. There was no phony optimism but a lot of determination to go out and build something. I’ve written up my first impressions too.

  44. Joseph Kisolo on said:

    far to tiered to post anything useful, just to say it was a refreshing rally and …

    Hillary Wainright from Red Pepper spoke and talking to her afterwards she seems honestly interested in taking things forward. An positive sign or the kind of outward looking event that it was.

    The point about the two SWP speakers is that they weren’t heckled or booed they were given their time to speak, this might not PROVE that no witch hunt has been going on, but it must be a very strange a polite witch hunt … lol.

    It seemed about 250 people to me plus the 6 or so SWP liners, they didn’t say anything that interesting or convincing but I will say that they stuck to their guns bravely in the face of our barrage of polite lesioning to them.

  45. Hmm, we have Lavelette, Reissman, Oli Rahman, Mark Sertwotka, Noreen Fatima, Rania Khan, Lufta Begum and a host of other dedicated socialists who were in no doubt about the rights and wrongs of this split.

    The other side have a giant ego and a number of other high profile names, many of whom I’m sure are desperately regretting the actions they took and the side with which they aligned after today.

    No one in the official Respect conference is wavering however – if anything, it is something of a relief not to be in an unholy alliance with fake left-wingers and unprincipled careerists.

    Good riddance to to the bad apples – and to those who are genuinely on the left, don’t worry, it’s not our side that are the nasty sectarians. You can come back whenever you’re good and ready.

    But with you or without you, Respect can move forward after today.

  46. it seemed that Mark Serwotka was globe trotting around central London as he went to the SWP Respect conference, Socialist Party and the LRC. Matt Wrack went from LRC to Socialist Party event (or vice versa).

    Serwotka made an interesting speech about unity, solidarity and being in/out of the LP (a fine balancing act….).

  47. Good riddance to the bad apples – and to those who are genuinely on the left, don’t worry, it’s not our side that are the nasty sectarians.

    Words fail me.

  48. I’m sorry but I think post no. 63 (DCH) represents the lowest level of ‘debate’. I’m not a supporter of either Renewal or SWP Respect factions (just a proper left) – but this kind of cheap sectarian self justification seems totally sterile, and offers no way forward.

    “if anything, it is something of a relief not to be in an unholy alliance with fake left-wingers and unprincipled careerists”

    ie its a relief to retreat to the land of the ‘pure’ and isolated and therefore an abandonment of the project of a plural and broad anti-neoliberal left realignment. And what a cheap slander on recent comrades.

    “it’s not our side that are the nasty sectarians” oh dear!

    PS Serwotka is not ‘with you’ he is just being nice.

  49. Wrong, Serwotka is firmly with us, as I knew he would be. He refused to speak at the Renewal conference because of their witch-hunting of socialists. You will see for yourself once his wonderful speech is up on youtube – or wherever.

    But you’re right about one thing – he is nice!

  50. “it seemed that Mark Serwotka was globe trotting around central London as he went to the SWP Respect conference, Socialist Party and the LRC”

    Yes, he agreed to speak at 3 of the 4 conferences. The only one he declined, on principle, was the “renewal” conference.

  51. The Despair Squid on said:

    ‘GG has a over million listeners every weekend and over 5,000 friends on Facebook.’

    Wow. I’m joining ‘Renewal’ then. Why believe in socialism when you can believe in adolescent websites and shot radio stations?

  52. “Speakers included: McD. Corbyn, Mark Serwotka, Karen Reissman, Michael Gavan and so on.”

    Sure you weren’t at the Respect conference??

  53. DCH mate – Do you really really honestly think that was a witch-hunt? (Have you ever seen a real witch-hunt?)

    (And Serwotka may be nice – but even the SWP criticised his deal over the PCS pensions dispute – but of course we should all still work with him in a new left political project)

  54. Wow, that’s twice we’ve had ‘DCH’ referred to!

    And I (DCM) was just repeating what the wonderful Mark Sertwotka said today. Take it up with him, ‘mate’.

  55. Thanks Canadien – that speech was really something else, wasn’t it? Don’t suppose the ‘socialists’ on this site will feature it too prominently though! 😉

  56. Yes DCM I’m always learning new things. I was building the SWP for 13 years and learned loads from that. Now I’m doing new things – and still learning. I hope we all are.

  57. Still listening DCM mate! Serwotka is probably the best Union leader in Britain today (wow I’m just hearing him support illgal industrial action – nice one Mark!). But the SWP taught me to always organise independently of the TU bureaucracy – (pity me ol comrade Jane Loftus seems to have forgotten that!)
    But dont build up Mark Serwotka as a new hero today like you did with Galloway – I’m getting weary of your hero worship – no more heroes.
    Yes – the best TU leaders speech since I heard Scargill 20 odd years ago. Its very good. Thanks canadien and DCM and Ady for posting it

  58. I agree – no more heroes! Mark Sertwotka is just being Mark Sertwotka.

    I knew he’d do the right thing and he did.

  59. ‘I’m getting weary of your hero worship’.

    Know me personally do you? Tired generalisations is what I’m getting tired of.

  60. DCM Comrade – Maybe its bed time if your so tired! Of course I dont know you (But I’m trying to figure out if ‘DCM’ might remotely indicate a comrade I’ve worked with in the past), but I do know the SWP very well. Galloway was hero worshipped (which surprised me for the SWP). Now you seem very enthusiastic about Serwotka. But then so am I after that brilliant speech to Respect SWP conference. As I say, I am not a partisan for Respect Renewal or Respect SWP – I just want a sober assessment of the lessons of recent months and years. Please, lets do that rather than snipe?

  61. Ger Francis on said:

    The ‘relief’ from the SWP that they managed to round up 350 up their members and hangers on to their conference speaks volumes as to the limits of their political ambition. This is a party that has been around in one form or another for 50 years or so, whose conference has been matched for size by a group of people who have coleased into a political bloc in the last 5 weeks or so. But when it comes to who has the social base in this, when it comes to who do the voting public associate with Respect, there is no contest. Not only that, as George’s radio show has gone from 80,000 to over 750,000 listeners in an 18 month period, it is very clear where the potential for renewing Respect lies. Let the SWP go off and build their version of Respect in the manner they see fit and let the electorate decide which version they respect more. I have no doubt about the outcome.

  62. “A turnout of 210 or under, then, I presume? Nothing wrong with that, but a bit of honesty wouldn’t go amiss.”

    Jesus, that’s pathetic.

    Here’s something authoritative for you:

    I was responsible for registration today. When the conference started, we had 250-270, which very quickly went over 300 and went up a few dozen or more over that afterwards.

    We got to the point of needing extra chairs out. And then we got to the point of having to discuss asking people to leave because we were going well over the maximum we were allowed both standing and sitting – and that is before the Tower Hamlets people arrived en masse (contrary to Richard’s lie about the Renewal Conference being made up of people “mainly from Tower Hamlets”).

    Now, you can carry on wetting yourself over numbers, but maybe you should ask yourself why you get such a hardon over these fire regulations. It really makes you look like the worst sort of sectarian.

    Sad stuff. We’ve had a fantastic evening celebrating with our friends and comrades, after a day where the atmosphere was like it was when we first set up Respect.

    All you can do is count chairs: Ask yourself, what are YOU doing to build the movement?

  63. You have never worked with me. I am not in the SWP. Galloway was as you put it ‘hero worshipped’ when he was providing left-wing unity. When he was truly an inspiration to us all. When he flushed that down the toilet however, not many were so enthusiastic because – guess what? We are mostly in it for the politics, and not the ‘hero worship’, after all.

    As for ‘now you seem very enthusiastic about Serwotka’ – I’ll repeat; you don’t know me. I’ve always regarded Serwotka to be a man of principle. And I knew he would ultimately take a principled stance on this ‘split’. Call that ‘hero worship’ if you want, I don’t particularly care.

  64. georgier on said:

    Larry R. You have more stamina than me and this is not for you.

    A number of spoliers here need to drink a lot of water, put a wet towel on their foreheads and kip for 12 hours. I will read more sober accounts tomorrow – just one thought, if SWP member (Like other contributors I am ex 10 years) were being witch hunted why were CC members allowed to speak at RR?

  65. My one regret is that there was no response to two different invitations for Karen Reissman to speak at the Renewal conference. It was though, of course, good that Karen was able to make her case in person at the SWP conference and at the LRC conference.

    We gave out Unison leaflets about Karen’s case anyway, and several people made a point of talking seriously about support for Karen – anyone who is NOT sectarian will do their level best to get support for Karen.

    Sadly, even though we invited Karen to appear on George Galloway’s radio show tonight (she was unable to do it last week), there was no response to that either.

    But in any case, Karen’s sacking is an issue for the whole of the left, which we will all unite around. It is not a plaything of any particular tendency.

  66. Personally, I don’t think the CC should have bothered. But then some people have more ‘stamina’ than me and maybe they were mad enough to think there was some ‘logic’ they could appeal to in the big ego brigade. I wouldn’t waste my time on destructive figures on the left any longer, there’s too much work to do.

  67. Canadien, are you really trying to adopt the tactic that Labour used against Respect in 2005 – when an old man was attacked, they claimed it was by Respect supporters, and they spent the rest of the campaign demanding we condemn it and pointing out that it was us – The SWP, Galloway, Muslims, Respect – who had caused the violence?

    Are you really adopting the tactic of the right?

    Let’s be clear about the politics of this.

  68. Tonyc, take a guess at why that may have been? Mark Serwotka says it best.

    Why on earth would Karen want to play your silly-beggar games?

  69. I had a fantastic, day, and I’m loving the desperation of these people.

    To everyone who was there, how fucking brilliant was THAT?

    We should be proud of what we achieved today – and proud that despite an SWP email saying we’d barred them, we welcomed them (6-8 of them) to our conference, gave them the chance to speak, gave them free use of the hall to sell their papers etc.

    We will all unify again at some point. Of course we will. We’ve only got differences of organisation with the SWP. They claim it’s more, but c’mon, we all know the truth.

    I’ve had a great day. If people from the SWP feel that bitter that they have to spread hatred and attempt to stir up trouble in Tower Hamlets, let them go for it.

    Anyone else – email respectrenewal@gmail.com and we’ll get your membership set up.

  70. “take a guess at why that may have been?”

    No, ta. I’m not gonna play the sectarian game you want me to play.

    Karen is welcome on any platform, cos the most important thing is to win her job back and defeat the bunch of idiots running the show up there.

    Nothing else matters.

    You agree, right?

  71. Tonyc – I do believe Canadien refers you to a video. A video of 2 very well known TH members giving personal accounts of what they experienced at the hands of very specific figures in Respect over many months. A tad bit different to an anonymous man reeling off a vague story rubbishing the whole of Respect whilst holding Oona King’s hand in front of lots of media just before a general election.

    Call Lutfa Begum and Kumar Murshid liars if you wish, but don’t show yourself up by comparing their stories to New Labour spin.

  72. She is welcome but she chose not to be the perfoming monkey for people trying to use her to give themselves a sliver of credibility.

    What’s hard to understand about that?

  73. Sadly, when someone puts words into my mouth, I tend to think they’ve got no credibility in any discussion. Especially when they’re anonymous.

  74. “She is welcome but she chose not to be the perfoming monkey for people trying to use her to give themselves a sliver of credibility.”

    DCM, you are embarrassing yourself now. Seriously, just consider how you’re coming across.

    I know we disagree, but you really are making yourself look a fool with this nonsense.

    I’m not debating with someone who adopts such tactics.

  75. Larry R on said:

    Just took another look outside our little left bubble – the BBC headline is: “Rival events for Respect factions”.

    Now then, any mature political movement would have a culture where all factions would be able to share the same organisation and debate within it. However, the blame for our inability to make this happen does not lie exclusively with ‘Respect renewal’ or ‘SWP Respect’. It is a culminative result of working class defeat and he weakened political culture on the British left.

    Nevertheless, I must admit as someone who for many years was loyal to the SWP, that my former organisation had a particular intolerance to factions, so that anyone with a serious disagreement rapidly ended up being what was once laughably known as an ‘external faction’. My fear is that this internal culture from the SWP was transferred to Respect. hence today’s farce.

    Whilst we maintain this level of immaturity, maybe we deserve to be fucked over and outmanoeuvred by Gordon Brown and the capitalist class. The working class, however, do not deserve this fate. And that’s why we need to evolve beyond this petty name calling and glue-sniffer level of debate manifest here tonight. I’m sorry if I have contributed to this gutter.

  76. She was invited and she declined to speak. Haven’t you pondered why that might be? What about Mark Serwotka refusing point blank to speak to the ‘renewal’ rally and yet accepting 3 other invitations today?

    If I’m ‘making myself look a fool’ then I’m in good company.

  77. anticapitalista on said:

    We will all unify again at some point. Of course we will. We’ve only got differences of organisation with the SWP. They claim it’s more, but c’mon, we all know the truth. -tonyc

    Well I am afraid tonyc that it will probably not be like this because the political differences will now come out. In any faction fight, it gets dirty, horribly so, and the political reasons are (during the dispute) pushed to the side.
    Now that both sides have had their conference/rally the political issues will now clearly come to the fore.
    As an example.
    Issue 1: Should Respect stand against Livingstone for mayor? Respect has already voted German to stand, the RR group is (it appears) undecided.

    On other issues eg Karen Reissmann (do spell her name right), war and others I really hope that both sides will work together. (though my experience here in Greece, suggests otherwise)

  78. “if SWP member (Like other contributors I am ex 10 years) were being witch hunted why were CC members allowed to speak at RR?”

    It gave us a better aim with our SectarioPulse mind control weapon.

    DAMN DAMN DAMN GAVE THE GAME AWAY.

  79. Mark Serwotka’s speech featured on Lenin’s blog was excellent. He explained why Respect Renewal’s conference was the only one of the four he was invited today (yesterday to be more accurate) that he turned down. All genuine socialists will be delighted that Mark agreed to attend the John McDonnell wing of Labour’s conference, as they are clearly considering moving beyond the Labour Party. And I am pleased that he attended the SP event, because they clearly are serious players too. As Mark argued, Respect is not the finished article. But it is, as he also argued, a key component of the left-of-Labour party that is needed in England and Wales. Mark Serwotka can play a crucial role in bringing these three components together. Galloway’s fan club, alas, is not part of this process. And Mark was right to give them the cold shoulder.

  80. #87, #103: If SWP members were being witch hunted, why were CC members allowed to speak at Respect Renewal?

    anticommunalista, I’m sorry to tell you, but two members of your CC resigned today: Weyman B, and Michael B.

    Both addressed the Respect Renewal Conference from the front of the hall, but as Weyman pointed out during his speech, SWP members were barred from that conference unless they handed in their membership cards.

    Given the sympathy these poor witch-hunted comrades deserve, it would seem cruel and tasteless to assume Weyman was telling a porky, so we can only conclude that Weyman and Michael must have resigned together with Simon, Elane, Esme, Alan and the others.

    And as if their resignations were not enough, the witch-hunters ruthlessly allowed all of them to sell their papers, hand out leaflets and occasionally heckle other speakers, all without hindrance. All in all, a sad day for true socialists.

  81. anticapitalista on said:

    Also to point out, they are not members of my CC. I am not a member of the SWP, but the Greek SEK.

  82. Re: lenins blog and industrial strategy.
    Well I’m pleased to see that Jane Loftus knows where she is. As a postie and in Respect I haven’t a clue and I bet nobody in our CWU branch knows either. Why hasn’t she come out and supported the NO vote campaign? Don’t they have telephones or e-mails in Venezuela? (I can’t fault the trip…)
    SWP selling papers were not welcomed at any of the the 3 local offices I visited recently while on strike’ but the Galloway/Tower Hamlets and Respect leaflets were well received. Lesson to learn: You have to build consistently not just jump in to sell papers and try to gain the odd member. On my shift (70) we have at least a dozen people supporting Respect and one ex-postie signed up I am now shift rep (elect/unopposed) and we have people standing for 3 other branch positions who support renewa, and who were previously hesitant in joining what we were.
    Serious point: How do we build the NO vote, stop funding new labour and defend our pensions? These are questions to be addressed whatever the ballot result is over the CWU?RM “agreement” and whatever happens in both factions of Respect.
    pb.

  83. Canadien on said:

    #110 – Almost funny. Very close in fact. A little more training and you will have a future in the circus. In the meantime, should you take the spare time afforded you till your comedy course begins to look at ALL the material and commentary from the Galloway people, you will notice that ALL of it is directed at attacking the SWP. Every bit of it. In fact, this whole exercise was about creating a purer, cleaner Respect without the eeeevil Russian Dolls. So, you might let Weyman Bennett speak or some socialists sell newspapers outside but you sure won’t let them have any independent influence on policy, internal processes, etc. As Galloway said Leninists have no place in the leadership of Respect.

    A witch-hunt doesn’t have to have Joe McCarthy, Neil McKinnock or a 17th century Salem magistrate to be a witch-hunt nonetheless.

  84. Canadien on said:

    Of course the over-archingly stupid thing about all this is that together there could have been a Respect event with, probably, over 1,000 people at it, making it by far the largest of all the left events that took place in London today.

    A damn shame.

  85. Part of liam’s report read thus:

    Cheers greet demise of Socialist Resistance

    Socialist Resistance has decided to cease production of its monthly paper. (We’ll work out later what we’ll do for a public profile). The massive financial, technical and personnel resources will instead be redirected towards producing a monthly Respect paper. John Lister broke the tightly guarded secret to conference and was slightly bewildered to have his contribution interrupted by applause and cheering rather than the customary silence or heckling. The first issue will be ready for the climate change demonstration in December. The new publication will be radically different from the well designed but uninspiring, apolitical tabloids that Respect has traditionally produced. It will have analysis, discussion and give branches something to organise around.”

    Had I been present, I would have enthusiastically joined in the cheering. So, the International Socialist Group no longer has even a monthly paper (which they already had to share with others). And they don’t even know what they will put in it’s place, if anything. Lenin compared the paper to the scaffolding aound which revolutionaries build their organisation. Of course, Thornett’s denounciation of the SWP acting as any kind of disciplined force within the broader movement made the argument for such scaffolding redundant. Still, not to worry. A monthly paper will be produced. However, it will no longer put forward the perspectives of the British section of Thornett’s international. Clearly, editorial control will be in the hands of Galloway. He can use it to canvass for votes on the basis of his LACK of strong support for gay rights. And on the basis of his voting for Kylie Minogue to be awarded “Rear of the Year!” While Salma Yaqoob explains why as a Muslim she is right to cover her hair out of modesty, Respect Renewal’s MP will explain why the readers of the Respect newspaper should ogle Kylie’s butt, only turn the sound down first. When can we look forward to an open debate in the pages of the ISG’s new monthly paper, to explain the contradiction between Galloway’s attitude towards women’s modesty and Salma Yaqoob’s, and Yvone Ridley’s, and the Tower Hamlet’s businessmen. And can we have an honest explanation for why all the elected representatives of Respect refused to attend Gay Pride? While Galloway’s fan club wants to maintain the fiction that it is the real Respect, they should drop one of the Es, or expect to be sued under the trades descriptions act. Or maybe they think some are more equal than others, with gays being the lowest of the low. There is zero prospect of Galloway winning respect from the gay community. Respect Renewal will prove incapable of recruiting any gay activists. And gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people will refuse to vote for this party, because gay rights campaigners will explain exactly why they should not do this. Mark Serwotka is already playing a constructive role in dragging the fragments of the left (John McDonnell’s supporters, SP members, and their CNWP project, as well as Respect) into negotiations. The sooner the better. We can put to bed this ‘Life of Brian nightmare’. Galloway’s rally was not even part of the nightmare, a nightmare that CAN be brought to an end with goodwill on all sides. Respect Renewal is less the Popular Front of Judea than the proverbial dead parrot. A political abortion. May it rest in peace.

  86. Lovin' all this Respect! on said:

    It’s sad that the SWP cult leadership has to threaten their members to tow the party line, expel people for having anything to do with George (so they don’t find out the truth), bribe people to their conference and produce lie upon lie including a smear campaign to cover up for what they’ve done. George wrote a sensible letter about the way to get on a better footing for the elections and Rees spizzed out in a fit of hysteria – why? Perhaps the Respect ‘project’ was only supposed to succeed in a controlled vaccuum.

    We never wanted rid of the SWP but the response from their cult leaders and now from their foot soldiers to a simple straight forward letter – the points made in which have now been accepted as entirely valid – reveals their way of operating and a whole other agenda.

  87. So there were only 6-8 SWP at the ‘renewal’ rally and they were there to appeal for unity and yet there is no witch-hunt of them? Right.

    And I heard that a speaker at RR said they would rather vote for Boris Johnson than Lindsey German – is this just an urban myth? Surely no one in such a ‘hugely successful’ new left movement would say such a thing? Or was this project already in the gutter before its participants had even left the hall?

  88. Alex Nichols on said:

    #117 “Cheers greet demise of Socialist Resistance”

    I thought that was a joke at first, until I checked Liam’s blog, but I detect some cryptic sarcasm in his report. Were all members of SR party to the decision I wonder?

    So that’s now the 6th incarnation of the USFI?

    Red Mole -> Red Weekly -> Socialist Challenge ->Socialist Outlook -> Socialist Resistance -> ????

    Each one based on a different turn – student vanguard, Bennite left, Labour Party orientation, end of Labour Party organisation and now Respect.

    Thornett seems very willing to offer his services, but I wonder what political principles he regards as non-negotiable?

    Both wings of Respect will probably miss the revival of the Labour Left, which will almost certainly be given some leeway as a counterweight to the growth of an alternative left party.

  89. #118 – move on now. It’s all getting rather boring rehashing the same old nonsense. I don’t quite see the point of the lies about people being ‘bribed’ to conference and a supposed smear campaign. You’re just being silly now and I think you know so.

    Andrew Murray told conference yesterday he certainly did not recognise some of the recent descriptions of John Rees and Mark Serwotka, the most principled union leader in the country, boycotted Renewal saying he would not tolerate their attacks. Karen Reissmann declined to speak at renewal also.

    And all the speakers who spoke at renewal also spoke at ours. Michael Rosen sent us a message of support.

    Keep convincing yourself that the swp are doing all these underhand nasty things if you like, but I think you’ll find they, along with their fellow comrades inside Respect, are eager to move on.

  90. Lovin' all this Respect! on said:

    Re: comment about Boris/Lindsey: – We had free speech at RR rather than party line programming – we are allowed to have differing opinions. This was an ex SWP member expressing her thoughts having broken free from the cult. I spoke to her afterwards and she explained this to me. I don’t agree with her sentiments but not agreeing is allowed outside of the SWP conference.

  91. Lovin' all this Respect! on said:

    Signing people up as members for merely showing an interest without charging them for membership in order to get more delegates …..hmmmmm nothing suspiscious there then.

    When the accounts are finally laid bare – and they are bare due to mis-management by Rees & Co – will reveal the real reason he spizzed out. You’ll find out in due course.

  92. Alex Naysmith on said:

    The RESPECT Renewal conference was excellent,

    It was the first time I got to see representatives from Tower Hamlets and Birmingham, and I must say that I couldn’t see any substance whatsoever to the allegation of ‘communalism’.

    Why would Asian right-wing small bussiness men want to join a party that is to the left of Labour? I was impressed by the speakers from the local RESPECT areas and as was rightly pointed out; it was a damn shame the previous leadership never offered them a platform to talk.

    As Clive Searle demanded; there can be no unity until the SWP retract the smears and lies.

  93. #122 – I’m glad it’s true. Says it all about ‘renewal’. I hope Mark Serwotka gets to hear about that.

  94. Lovin' all this Respect! on said:

    Oh DCM is that a threat? Is one of the cult leaders going to witch-hunt and bully in the traditional manner?

  95. ‘cult leader’ coming from someone who has just joined a party of cult leaders and no activists – very funny.

  96. You’ve got to hand it to Alex Nichols, he’s good for a laugh;
    “Both wings of Respect will probably miss the revival of the Labour Left, which will almost certainly be given some leeway as a counterweight to the growth of an alternative left party.”
    Alex, my understanding is that significant sections of the “Labour left” have concluded that the idea of reclaiming the Labour Party is now dead, not least because, with the assistance of the trade union general secretaries, it is now no longer possible to put motions before annual conference.
    Of course Socialist Appeal has been eagerly awaiting the revival of the ‘Labour Left’ since the split in Militant but has had to turn it’s attentions to Venezuela in order to be able to have any purchase on the UK political scene (and having displayed it’s considerable political talents in doing so).
    The idea that a ‘Labour left’ would be given licence to operate as a counterweight to any new political formation on the left is a complete fantasy, Labour’s continued acceleration towards being the UK equivalent of the US Democrats is the only credible perspective.

  97. Andrew Coates on said:

    So all three conferences, LRC, SWP-Respect, Respect-Renewal had around 350 people attending. I for one noticed empty chairs at the Renewal event when it was shown on Channel Four News, though perhaps that’s because there’s a limit to how much self-congratulation people can listen to. Whatever. Given the tiny size of these events, compared with say the Socialist Movement Conferences held at Chesterfield and Sheffield (which each had well over a thousand present if memory serves me well, and they were held at venues not as easy to get to as London, and went on for two days), and the sharp differences, how can anyone possibly believe that the left stands in any position to take on New Labour? How on earth, for all the venom poured out against the SWP (much justified), can anyone think that a party built around George Galloway, a cross between a bully, a clown and a mountebank, is going anywhere?

    I had a high opinion of the ISG, or at least its politics, even if I disagree with them on many issues, and they are linked to one of the most serious left groups in Europe, the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire. Why they are rallying to Galloway is beyond me.

  98. Why did the SWP think they would be barred from the conference? And why, having come in (and thus proven that they were not barred) did they repeat that they were barred? That’s just mad.

    Alex, the ISG’s publication is Socialist Outlook; it is not effected by the handing over of SR’s resources to the Respect paper.

  99. Andrew’s take on GG is spot on and something that neither of the Respects will face up to. Let’s have some defence of GG.

  100. 117 Tom thanks for your concern about the well being of another Marxist current. We have been arguing for Respect to have its own paper right from the start for exactly the same reasons that it’s right that the SWP has SW.
    Socialist Resistance i so serious about this that we are willing to hand over what few resources we have to build a class struggle socialist organisation. You could say we have put the interests of the class in front of the interests of our own group. We made the decision a week ago because we had to respond quickly and we want the new project to succeed. We will probably shift to a two monthly journal. We will discuss that in the next few weeks. We will continue producing books and pamphlets, organising local meetings, conferences and tours. So no change there then.

  101. The bottom line it seems to me is that the supporters of both respect’s have enough to feel good about (the endorsement of Serwotka and a national network on one side, some very strong local bases and the MP on the other) that they can and should just get on with it, and this time next year (or even by the second week of may) there will be plenty of concrete electoral results to judge their respective performances (as well as possible horror stories if the worst accusations on either side are correct).
    In some ways its lucky that there are no local elections in London, if there were then local turf wars would be unavoidable. As it is we can, hopefully, just get on with the two projects, and we will see.

  102. Halshall on said:

    The fact that Serwotka didn’t accept the invite to the RRC is unfortunate, but what does that prove. That even the best of the left TU leaders are fallible?
    So what else is new?
    The point is to get beyond petty point scoring and build a left mass movement that is truly representative of the WC.
    So easy to lose sight of as much of the bickering above shows.

  103. Ian Donovan on said:

    “She was invited and she declined to speak. Haven’t you pondered why that might be? What about Mark Serwotka refusing point blank to speak to the ‘renewal’ rally and yet accepting 3 other invitations today?”

    You mean she was ‘declined’, I presume. Since I don’t believe any sacked trade unionist of her own free will would decline to speak to an audience of hundreds of left activists who invited her to speak to them, given the choice.

    Especially since she had been given outspoken support by leading Respect Renewal people such as George and Salma on a shared public platform in Manchester only a week or so earlier. I dont believe she would appear on that platform one week, but refuse to speak at a conference with the same people the following week citing these bizarre allegations of ‘witchhunting’. Doesn’t add up.

    What does add up is: remember what happened to other people in the SWP who have chosen to associate with Respect Renewal people despite ulimata to desist from the SWP leadership. Expulsion. Maybe this is part of the blowback from the Manchester Lavalette/Galloway/Yaqoob
    /Reissman meeting which obviously raised serious eyebrows among the SWP tops with the ‘unity’ sentiments expressed and mutual praise involved.

    DCM is another sock puppet. The worst kind of sectarian, who would openly boast about damaging the campaign to reinstate a sacked trade unionist (from his own party, dont kid yourself!) in pursuit of a phoney sectarian vendetta.

  104. Alex Nichols on said:

    #129 Ed T:- “Alex, my understanding is that significant sections of the “Labour left” have concluded that the idea of reclaiming the Labour Party is now dead, not least because, with the assistance of the trade union general secretaries, it is now no longer possible to put motions before annual conference.”

    We’ve also been through 10 years of economic boom, rising house prices and the ability to sustain high living standards on the back of easy credit.
    Anyone can see that this is all about to come to an end. Even mainstream labour supporters like Will Hutton are now arguing that Northern Rock should be nationalised, which is a slap in the face with a wet halibut for the philosphy of “neo-liberalism” within the Labour Party.

    Not that I’ve ever argued that standing against right-wing Labour was not productive tactic, otherwise I wouldn’t have campaigned for the S.A.
    However, remember that Labour still gets the overwhelming support of organised workers and people on the left and is actually in power. So continuing to argue for the policies it should be implementing, even within LP branches and the unions, is still a valid tactic.

    Yet Respect(R)is actually arguing for an uncritical support for Livingstone!

  105. Alex Nichols on said:

    #131 Jane “Alex, the ISG’s publication is Socialist Outlook; it is not effected by the handing over of SR’s resources to the Respect paper.”

    This certainly seems like a novel form of entry-sui-generis. I can’t say I’ve seen S.0. for years and how was this decision arrived at I wonder?

  106. “I was as happy as anyone when George Galloway won in Bethnal Green & Bow, and when the Respect councillors were elected … I have declined to speak to the Renewal conference, and I’ll tell you why. I have always believed in unity. Who is the happiest when some people split from Respect? Gordon Brown. He sees this as an opportunity. My appeal is for unity, but there can never be unity in a left-wing organisation when people attack and witch hunt other socialists.”

    Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, giving his reasons for not attending the Renewal rally.

  107. …incidentally, I’d like to know how many other Renewalists would “rather vote for Boris Johnson than Lindsey German” for mayor of London (I believe I’m quoting Pawla Cottage accurately). She was applauded by at least some of the conference, too; is this really where you’ve ended up?

  108. Ian Donovan on said:

    “However, remember that Labour still gets the overwhelming support of organised workers and people on the left and is actually in power. So continuing to argue for the policies it should be implementing, even within LP branches and the unions, is still a valid tactic.

    Yet Respect(R)is actually arguing for an uncritical support for Livingstone!”

    Amazes me the doublethink involved here, as well as the factual errors. Someone arguing in effect for the bankrupt ‘Reclaim Labour’ perspective attacks us(erroneously, since there are widely divergent views in the renewed Respect about this and no actual decision has been taken one way or the other), for giving ‘uncritical’ support to Livingstone.

  109. Ian Donovan on said:

    “My appeal is for unity, but there can never be unity in a left-wing organisation when people attack and witch hunt other socialists.”

    Well, its a statement that will lead to Mark Serwotka’s reputation being damaged in the wider labour movement if he persists with it, since it is a matter of public record that the only ‘other socialists’ who have been ‘witch-hunted’ during this fight are those in the SWP who were expelled for their refusal to participate in John Rees’ wrecking campaign. All it really shows is that Serwotka isn’t the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer. Not that suprising, when you consider his political background and origins.

  110. I’m told there were t-shirts on sale with “Fuck off, fuck off the lot of you”: these being the oh-so-eloquent words of George Galloway as he forced a split on Tower Hamlets Respect. Now, while I can understand the car-crash humour involved here, is this indicative? Only I’m reliably informed that what really got the crowd going was not appeals for unity, or clear analyses of the political situaiton, or visions of the future – but a good bit of burn-the-swuppie-witch hysteria: the more you attacked the SWP, the bigger your cheer.

    Where, exactly, is the politics in all this? Oh yes: “I’d rather vote Boris Johnson than Lindsey German”. That’s where you end up.

  111. The Mark Serwotka’s speech is up on Lenin’s Tomb. As well as being a bit critical of your side, he does, I think, offer a potential way foward. Its well worth a look. Its rare to see trade union leaders not only being good speakers but also offering sharp analytical points about the way foward for the left: points we could all learn from.

  112. Alex Nichols on said:

    #142 “….no actual decision has been taken one way or the other), for giving ‘uncritical’ support to Livingstone.”

    Well I’m contributing to the debate that’s been going on here then. Where several supporters of Respect(R) have defended such a position and refused to even discuss Livingstone’s scabbing role against the RMT and defence of the police of the de Menezes case. So it’s fair comment.

    Besides which, “reclaiming Labour” is the slogan of left reformists who believe in the “golden age of Labour” Could I refer ex-Trotskyists and neo-stalinists to Trotsky’s writings on the ILP in the 1930’s?

    The ILP had over 30,000 members and several prominent MP’s, yet Trotsky argued that it was sectarian and should seek readmission to the Labour Party.

  113. ll it really shows is that Serwotka isn’t the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer.

    Ha ha ha! Yes, that’s why he – in very difficult circumstances – is leading one of the fastest-growing unions in the country, as a socialist, and with a clear sense of political direction. (A funny thing: I spoke, once, to a very senior civil servant, from one pf the core government departments, who freely admitted that Serwotka was a “very bright man”, and that this made him dangerous.) You’re not entirely serious about this stuiff are you?

    In any case, the real question is not Serwotka’s intelligence, or lack thereof. It is this: why did a leader of one of the largest unions in the country come to the Respect conference, and deliberately refuse to attend the Renewal rally? What does this tell you about Renewal’s relationship to the organised working class, relative to Respect’s?

    (Not that suprising, when you consider his political background and origins.

    I really don’t want to get personal – although frankly you started it – but this is dangerous territory for a former Spart, really, isn’t it? So let’s just drop that one and try and keep it political.)

  114. “You mean she was ‘declined’, I presume.”

    Right yes, George Galloway and others who desperately needed some credibility yesterday declined Karen Reissmann, the brave trade unionist who has been sacked for her defence of the NHS. Yes, that’s exactly what happened.

  115. Alex Nichols on said:

    As the updates to the latest Pakistan thread aren’t appearing, I’m posting a link here:-

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=1049

    Which contains some material on the arrest of Manzoor Ahmed and the way forward in Pakistan by Lal Khan of the IMT.

    When John Negroponte flies in to call for the military to step down from power, I think you can take it for granted that there’s a pre-revolutionary situation developing in the country.

    I await with interest the views of RESPECT(R) supporters.

  116. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Ha ha ha! Yes, that’s why he – in very difficult circumstances – is leading one of the fastest-growing unions in the country, as a socialist, and with a clear sense of political direction.”

    Still doesn’t change the fact that he is talking about a witchhunt that has less reality than the Loch Ness monster. Not smart.

    Presumably its forbidden to refer to Serwotka’s Matgamaite political history, then? You can ‘get personal’ for all I care – if you go too far, your comments will probably get deleted. In any case, it will reflect badly on you if you do particularly since you dont have the guts to identify yourself.

  117. “All it really shows is that Serwotka isn’t the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer”

    LOL, bitter much? 😀

    To quote Larry R, Serwotka is the best union leader in the UK today. And you know it.

  118. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Right yes, George Galloway and others who desperately needed some credibility yesterday declined Karen Reissmann, the brave trade unionist who has been sacked for her defence of the NHS. Yes, that’s exactly what happened.”

    Does anyone actually understand the meaning of the above sentence?

  119. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Serwotka is the best union leader in the UK today.”

    Still a stupid and indefensible statement, though.

  120. Hmm, I suppose Serwotka can only dream of being asked to do a Domestos advert and being giving a tabloid article to write:

    “Take Kylie Minogue. For a singer she’s always been not a bad looker.

    I voted with the majority for a change when her rear was the year’s champion sight. I even bought my woman Kylie’s range of underwear”

    😀

  121. Still doesn’t change the fact that he is talking about a witchhunt that has less reality than the Loch Ness monster. Not smart.

    Did you buy a t-shirt, Ian? “Fuck off, fuck the lot of you” – you know, one of those special SWP-baiting t-shirts? You know, one of the t-shirts celebrating the witch-hunt you’ve been running?

    Of course there was a witch-hunt. It was (and perhaps still is), on the scale of things, a crap, poorly-organised, rather feeble witch-hunt that turned out somewhat badly for the hunters. But a witch-hunt nontheless.

    “I would rather vote for Boris Johnson than Lindsey German.” But of course there was no witch-hunt. Of course there were no political consequencs from trying to drive the SWP out of Respect.

  122. Ian Donovan on said:

    “The ILP had over 30,000 members and several prominent MP’s, yet Trotsky argued that it was sectarian and should seek readmission to the Labour Party.”

    And of course, if Trotsky said about a political situation fifty years ago and light years from the one we are in now, it must be right for all time. Sorry, dont buy that. This is actually raising Trotsky from a politician into a demi-god.

  123. Still a stupid and indefensible statement, though.

    He defended it exceptionally well, with a clarity and a political precision about the tasks facing socialists today that – I strongly suspect – was almost entirely absent at the Renewal rally. You really ought to watch his speech – the Tomb links to it. (You will feel very, very foolish about your earlier personal attack on the man, but that can’t be helped.)

  124. You made the ridiculous assertion that Karen Reissmann couldn’t possibly have declined to speak at the renewal rally and that it must have been the other way around. This is factually incorrect. Time to take your head out of the sand.

  125. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Did you buy a t-shirt, Ian? “Fuck off, fuck the lot of you” – you know, one of those special SWP-baiting t-shirts? You know, one of the t-shirts celebrating the witch-hunt you’ve been running?”

    Titter. So a t-shirt is evidence of a witchhunt. That’s a good one.

  126. Oh no, a t-shirt isn’t evidence of witch-hunt. No, the evidene of the witch-hunt is being descfibed as “Russian dolls” who you should not believe a word of, having your leading members attacked in the most vituperative fashion, being described, in poetic form, as “leeches”, form the Renewal platform yesterday, seeing an attempt made to exclude student sections from attending conference, the constant leaks, changing the locks on the office door to prevent members of staff going to work… that’s the kind of witch-hunting we’re talking about.

    No, the t-shirts merely give lie to the absurd claims that it is the SWP being unreasonable in all this. The witch-hunters, amongst themselves, know exactly what is going on, and are celebrating the fact.

    And I love the logic of the witch-hiunters: but they really do have hooked noses and black hats, how dare they complain..!

  127. “Titter. So a t-shirt is evidence of a witchhunt. That’s a good one.”

    Wow, I bet Mark Serwotka is kicking himself now – that’s one inspirational rally he missed out on!

    Good riddance to the clowns in Renewal 😀

  128. Ian Donovan on said:

    I suggest that DCM learns to read my comments before answering them, and stop dissembling. He said that Karen had ‘declined’ to speak at the Respect Renewal conference. I pointed out it is likely that she ‘was declined’ – i.e. that she had most likely been put under discipline to decline it by the SWP leadership. It’s the only interpretation that makes sense, since she had spoken on a platform with GG and Salma Yaqoob only a week earlier. DCM is worried that he has let another damaging cat out of the bag, so he is seeking to confuse matters by pretending to misunderstand my point. Silly.

  129. Alex Nichols on said:

    #157 Ian Donovan “And of course, if Trotsky said about a political situation fifty years ago and light years from the one we are in now, it must be right for all time. Sorry, dont buy that. This is actually raising Trotsky from a politician into a demi-god.”

    Err, No. It all depends on whether the argument fits and the methodology is right.
    I tend to think that position can’t be ditched so lightly, especially in the light of all the previous failed attempts to build left of Labour formations in Britain.

    Let’s face it, in the light of historical experience, it looks more like an example of materialist scientific analysis, not divine oracular powers.

    Btw, here’s the link to the articles about nationalising Northern Rock – a demand which opens up a whole bag of cats for right-wing Labour, being made in one of its main media supporters.

    Richard Wachman, City editor
    The Observer
    Sunday November 18 2007
    “The government is under mounting pressure to nationalise the troubled mortgage bank Northern Rock amid fears that taxpayers will be left to pick up a bill in excess of £25bn.
    It was hit by the global credit crunch in the summer when it became the first UK bank since the 1860s to experience a run on its savings with customers queuing outside branches to withdraw their money. The crisis abated when the Treasury and Bank of England stepped in to provide emergency funding and to guarantee depositors’ funds.
    But now plans to sell the bank are running into a wall of opposition from politicians who are outraged that a sale could involve an open-ended commitment to provide government support to a buyer. ‘Why should taxpayers’ money be used to help Richard Branson, or whoever eventually acquires Northern Rock?’ asked Vince Cable, shadow chancellor for the Liberal Democrats.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/nov/18/northernrock.bankofenglandgovernor

    Northern Rock has to be nationalised
    Unless Alistair Darling acts, the financial sharks will make a killing while taxpayers lose billions

    Will Hutton
    Sunday November 18, 2007
    The Observer
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2212973,00.html

  130. Ian Donovan on said:

    So Mark Serwotka defended an absurd proposition “exceptionally well”. So what? It still doesn’t have any credibility in the real world, and by putting his foot in his mouth in this way, Serwotka committed an error that he will no doubt come to be embarassed about.

  131. I pointed out it is likely that she ‘was declined’ – i.e. that she had most likely been put under discipline to decline it by the SWP leadership.

    Oh god this is moronic. Yes, there was Karen Reissmann, champing at the bit to attend an anti-SWP rally, held back only by the eeeeeevil SWP leadership and their magic coercive “discipline”. Does this sound very likely, really? Why would any SWP member want to attend an anti-SWP rally? (My heart goes out to the poor comrades who were asked to attend…)

    “I would rather vote for Boris Johnson than Lindsey German”: why would Karen Reissmann want to attend an anti-SWP rally where these sorts of statements are applauded?

    Why would Karen Reissmann want to attend an anti-SWP rally – for, truthfully, that is what we are dealing with – where the SWP are implicitly referred to, from the platform, as “leeches”?

  132. Better Dead than Respect (#141) said: …incidentally, I’d like to know how many other Renewalists would “rather vote for Boris Johnson than Lindsey German” for mayor of London”?

    None. It’s not a real choice for anyone, but an extremely crass piece of hyperbole. The first-preference choice for members of Respect (R) will be between German and Livingstone.

    The woman who made the quoted statement also produced an ugly sexist slur on a female comrade – Nick Wrack, as chair, later said that such behaviour was wrong and not welcome at the conference.

    I don’t know if the person making these comments is a provocateur or whether she believes she ought to have said what she said – either way, they were garbage and unwelcome.

    No doubt the beleaguered masses of witch-hunted socialists on the other side will make the most of this. They should ask themselves, though, why they continue to support a man (John Rees) who would be reviled as a scab if he had made his lying attack on Linda Smith as a union member, and yet gets away with this as an SWP CC member (and National Secretary of I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Respect). Any repudiation of this from the Chair? Any repudiation of this from any CC-loyal SWP members?

  133. Mark S is in the same union as me. He should know a real witchunt. See the miltant getting hit in the CPSA in the 1980s. Himself by the Modarates and Barry Reamsbottom (going to the courts) over the Gen Sec position. I and loads of activists were involved in supporting Mark in this fight – which we won.

    Karen Reissman and Michael Gavan (Unison) are being witchunted by bosses.

    The Respect spat is not a witchunt. I know Mark wants to see the left come together and fight on a united basis. So do I. He has tried to get a united public sector trade union fightback this autumn but this has not happened. It is time know to stop the insults and going over the runes of who said what.

    Nick Wrack said yesterday that Respect R was not the finished article but was part of building together all the forces on the left and elsewhere. To give the working class – something left of New Labour. It is time now to build bridges and come together, if we are serious, this is the only project we need to get off the ground.

  134. So Mark Serwotka defended an absurd proposition “exceptionally well”. So what?

    You’re being deliberately obtuse, aren’t you? First, it’s extremely difficult to defend an absurd proposition “extremely well”: SWP-baiting Socialist Unity regulars will be well aware that absurd propositions can usually only be defended “quite badly”. It’s possible that Mark has truly Jesuitical powers of argumentation – which would rather undermine your earlier personal attack on his intelligence – but, more likely, is that the proposition is all too accurate.

    Second, why should the leader of one of the largest trad unions stick his neck out for a bunch of witches? Why did he make the decision to attend the Respect conference, and to publicly decline to attend the Renewal rally?

    Did you buy a t-shirt? You can wear it the next time you’re trying to persuade someone that no witch-hunt was taking place.

  135. “It’s the only interpretation that makes sense, since she had spoken on a platform with GG and Salma Yaqoob only a week earlier”

    Yes at a public meeting. But why would she want to speak at Renewal’s ‘conference’ which was specifically set up to rival her own organisation’s conference, based on a deep hatred of the SWP of which she is also a member? Can you really not understand why she would not wish to address an event where the SWP are called leeches, where Boris Johnson is the preferred choice to Lindsey German and where t-shirts are sold celebrating the SWP being told to ‘fuck off’ by George Galloway?

    And you call Serwotka not the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer?

  136. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Oh god this is moronic. Yes, there was Karen Reissmann, champing at the bit to attend an anti-SWP rally, held back only by the eeeeeevil SWP leadership and their magic coercive “discipline”. Does this sound very likely, really? Why would any SWP member want to attend an anti-SWP rally? (My heart goes out to the poor comrades who were asked to attend…)”

    Carry on frothing, hopefully your words will be widely read by your comrades – they deserve to be.

  137. Ian Donovan on said:

    “First, it’s extremely difficult to defend an absurd proposition “extremely well””

    Oh I dunno, John G seems rather good at it at times.

  138. East is Red: “the evidence of the witch-hunt is being descfibed as “Russian dolls” ”

    But your own central committee describes the relaion ship between the SWP and Respect as concentric circles, which is a 2-D represetation of a Russian Doll.

    When I was on the national exec of the Socialist Alliance, I was told to vote for tactical positiuon that I not only didn’t agree with, but where I had not even been part of the discussion to decide.

    That is exactly the Russian Doll behaviour being described.

    In Respect Renewal people are entitled to put forward a minority point of view, so one person said they preferred Boris to Lindsay, I think they got carried away with themselves, and it was not a condisered opinion. That is obvioulsy not the position of any significant strand of opinion. There is a genbuine debate about the mayoral candidacy, I strongly feel that we should back Livingston, and I understand that is also the opinion of Salma and some others. The supporters of Socialist resistance disagree. And we don’t at this stage know how the negotiations with SWP-Respect will go, and whether Lindsay mighht even herself pull out of the contest for mayor, given the fact that whosver is responsible for the current split it does hinder her chances.

    But look, there is no politics in this tit for tat exchange is there?

    We now have two organisations with more or less the same policies but different strategic outlooks. Let history judge who is more successful

    Mark Serwotka is a very good trade union leader, as are matt Wrack, Bo Crow and Brian Caton. Mark is wrong on this one, so what? In a pluralistic left we can respect that people are sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but we are all together in the struggle against the boss class.

  139. I don’t know if the person making these comments is a provocateur or whether she believes she ought to have said what she said – either way, they were garbage and unwelcome.

    I’m very glad to hear someone from Renewal finally distance themselves. It disturbs me that wanting to support Boris Johnson over Lindsey German was applauded by anyone in the rally’s audience; it disturbs me that the rally provided a platform for these sort of sentiments. No-one at the Respect conference would’ve dreamed of claiming anything so stupid about George Galloway or Salma Yaqoob, for instance, and of course no-one did.

    So I think we can see the development of an unfortunate political logic within Renewal, flowing from the initial attacks made on the SWP and socialists in Respect. Pawla – a housing campaigner from Tower Hamlets – merely followed it to its conclusion. Hopefully it will be possible to restrain this dynamic, and work towards unity, though I confess I am not too optimistic at present, when Renewal speakers imply that the SWP are “leeches”. Nor when t-shirts proclaiming “Fuck off, fuck off the lot of you” are considered a witty joke. But with some goodwill, and working with those sincere activists currently pulled towards Renewal, sanity should prevail.

  140. Ian Donovan on said:

    “set up to rival her own organisation’s conference, based on a deep hatred of the SWP of which she is also a member?”

    Experienced people in the labour movement know what this kind of rhetoric signifies. It goes down like a lead balloon with most left activists. Carry on if you feel like it.

  141. But your own central committee describes the relaion ship between the SWP and Respect as concentric circles, which is a 2-D represetation of a Russian Doll.

    Are you being serious? Sorry, hard to tell. Russian dolls are made out of wood, and cannot think for themselves. Each concentric circle in this analogy is made up of thinking, breathing activists. You can see the subtle difference, perhaps? (Personally, I thought Galloway used “Russian dolls” as a metaphor because it had “Russian” in it, and therefore sounded more sinister; perhaps there was also the implication that, if you tear the head off an SWP member, you will find a tiny little John Rees inside. Do you want to tear the heads off SWP members? …and, no, I’m not being entirely serious.)

    In Respect Renewal people are entitled to put forward a minority point of view…

    Exactly as in actual Respect, then. Of course, I’d be mightily surprised if someone advocating a vote for a Tory over a principled socialist would be applauded at our conference (indeed I’d be somewhat surprised if such a person came to our conference at all), but there you go.

    …I think they got carried away with themselves…

    Well, exactly. It’s a particular development of a political logic in Renewal that I sincerely hope will now be curtailed. A number of speakers made the point yesterday that Respect is not a finished product, just one step on the way towards united, non-Labour left. I think that’s always been the case, but worth restating at present.

  142. Carry on frothing, hopefully your words will be widely read by your comrades – they deserve to be.

    You really have run out of anything to say, haven’t you, Ian? Do you think the SWP are “leeches”, by the way?

  143. I’m getting so fed up wiith this Kylie nonsense.

    George didn’t say anything objectionable. Given that Kylie has made an entire career out of being good looking, and sellng her sixiness rather than her singing ability, it is hardly objectionable to mention it.

    If you think it is gross sexism to say Kylie is attractive, good luck with the working class.

  144. oh deary me on said:

    ‘Kylie’s A Sight For Sore Ears

    Nov 12 2007 George Galloway

    DON’T get me wrong, I’ve never been down on all Australians. Take Kylie Minogue. For a singer she’s always been not a bad looker.

    I voted with the majority for a change when her rear was the year’s champion sight. I even bought my woman Kylie’s range of underwear.’

    Andy have you checked with Salma and Linda to see if they find this objectionable?

  145. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Do you think the SWP are “leeches”, by the way?”

    Personally, no. But then again, others have different experiences and a different standpoint based on those experiences. There are a great many socialist activists who have fared badly as members of the SWP and have bitter memories as a result. I can’t reproach them for having similar sentiments towards the SWP as others have about other left organisations which damage socialists. Addressing the problem of bureaucratic deformation of socialist organisations would seem better advice than screaming about the impolite expressions sometimes used by those who have had such bad experiences.

  146. On Lenin’s Tomb there is actually a political discussion (as opposed to people saying ‘there is no witch-hunt- we allowed your cult leaders to put their case’ etc, etc. Someone was asking about the levels of commitment involved in sustaining Respect.

    Mike’s question is a good one. My own feeling is that its only BECAUSE people are involved in all these things that a serious discussion about an electoral alternative to Labourism is possible.

    In the wee hours of last week I was reading a bit about the history of the Labour Party (that old book by Cliff and Gluckstein) and was fascinated to be reminded that the Labour representation commitee only transformed itself into a membership organisation some twenty years or so into the project.

    The point made by Serwotka about serious linkages with the trade union movement being a barrier to allowing oneself to be consumed by differences, whether overtly ideological or the kind of personalised backstabbing which is so much a feature of local electoral politics, had an additional resonance for me after reading this stuff.

    Hissy fits of various kinds can always derail fragile attempts to achieve political unity, but the broader and more important the forces represented by different elements in the coalition the less likely this is. I’m not advocating a re-run of the Labour Representation Commitee (rather obviously!) but it is interesting re-reading some of that almost too well known story.

    Respect began, quite correctly, as an attempt to allow the broad anger over the war to find electoral and political expression. Broadening this out was always a pre-condition for the survival of an organisation otherwise likely to disapear in a welter of personalised recriminations and shrinking political aspirations.

    Its highly unlikely that this broadening out will be achieved simply on the basis of projecting individuals associated with our greater electoral successes (important though these are). I think the extraordinary behaviour of some over the last few months, who seem to have seen everything in terms of their own personal experiances, rather then in terms of the movement, will be something they will come to regret.

    There is still an objective need for a left of Labour Party, more and more are thinking about it, and it really was the wrong time to have debates about Russian Dolls, drawing behind it the kind of incohate collections of different kinds of personal bitterness seen on SUN.

    Certain parts of the left may, for strictly biographical reasons, have been punching their fist in the air to this or that put down of some individual they had a run in with on Clapham Common in the mid-1980’s, but I suspect that in the wider movement the broader reaction would be ‘EEEEK’.

    I think its true that damage has been done, I think we should understand that there are still difficulties ahead.

    Spats like this damage everyone and a lesson ought to be learnt that they are to be avoided at all possible costs: in the wider movement it brings no credit to anyone involved, and the greater the volume of public bile the greater the wariness of working with such people is: The obsessiveness of some outlining the crimes of this or that individual would be an example of this: Who would want to work with someone who does this every time they fall out?

    In the end though the strength of any such project will rest on its roots in the Labour Movement. The many hats scenario is a neccessary part of this I’m afraid. The more hats the better. People with just one hat between them are unlikely to stick togeather. This does of course raise certain difficulties in terms of time and commitment, but its not purely an individual thing. Trade Union backing for example brings lots of help along with it, by its very nature.

    And on the more wild and plural front the whole synchrony of the StW and Respect, meant things were easier not more difficult. Those are just a few scattered thoughts, buttressed by the unpleasent thought that, despite this, I might have to get off my arse a bit more.

  147. Oh and on Ger’s point very briefly. In Birmingham I’m sure he’s right. In TH he may be right (much more shakey I think then in Birmingham, for the simple reason that if one was catagorising councilers Salma is much more the shop steward model of counciler then the Galloway faction in TH). But for the rest of the country? I doubt it very much. And its the broader prospects that are excercising the minds of people round the movement. It can’t just be about sustaining electoral figures in two areas of the country to be a viable political alternative. Which I strongly suspect is what will end up happening. On the other side its tough for us as well. Sure. In the end one certainly does hope that some sort of coalition of the coalitions will be possible.

  148. one of the 350 at the B I on said:

    The search and destroy mentality and bullying to anyone who has the capacity to think pluralism is the only weapon the SWP cc have left.
    How many have they expelled in the last 4 weeks, 10, 20, 30, How many have left or resigned 40, 50, 60, chiefly because of the applied coercion from Rees.

    One can only guess as we never get openness or the light of day because they are the cockroaches of the left hiding in the darkness of their feudal 16th century backward minds

  149. TWP at Shiraz Socialist quotes Karen Reissmann (and Michael Gavin) at the LRC Conference, telling her (TWP) that they “did not feel welcome” at the Respect Renewal event. I’m not sure whether TWP means that they didn’t attend the RR event because they did not *expect* to feel welcome there, or whether they *did* attend and “did not feel welcome”: either way, it doesn’t reflect well upon the Galloway fan club.

    …And what the hell point is poor old Ian D trying to make by raising Mark Serwotka’s “Matgamnaite political history”: surely not trying to start some sort of witch-hunt on the basis of guilt-by-association…against us Matgamnaites?

  150. Pete Brown on said:

    Louise – In repsonse to your kind offer could please post a report for us, otherwise it look as if there are only 700 ‘socialists’ left. I am sure that whatever side your photo displays it will be very flattering. Congrats on the LRC position

  151. The East is Witch-Hunted said: It disturbs me that wanting to support Boris Johnson over Lindsey German was applauded by anyone in the rally’s audience; it disturbs me that the rally provided a platform for these sort of sentiments.

    The Respect Renewal Conference had to be organised in under a fortnight – not holding an alternative would have been simply to surrender to the verdict of an unconstitutional rigged event. But on this basis, there was no time for speakers to be organised on a delegate basis. The offending individual spoke from the floor, not the platform – she was not a scheduled speaker, but someone who had requested to speak, and her crass line in humour no more reflected the thinking of the majority of the conference than did the transparent lies of the SWP CC members who were also allowed to speak (if they really did have to resign from the SWP in order to speak, then, of course, I’ll readily apologise for my charge that they were lying).

    Her words unfortunately got a small amount of applause, even though they ran counter to everything that had been said from the platform; but then the words of the SWP CC members who spoke also won a small amount of applause. The chances of either being heeded when our side of Respect formulates its policies is ZERO. We’ll have a delegate conference in the spring which will demonstrate that this is the case.

  152. Kevin E on said:

    Like Alcoholics Anonymous – maybe there should be a SWP Anon? Venting one’s spleen and anger at the SWP may make u feel good but everyone needs to take a deep breathe and stop the vitriol.

    In the future we will be working with SWP, SP, CPGB and the rest over issues like anti war, anti privatisation, sacking of trade unionists. The venom must stop now. This SWP obsession does no none any good. FFS.

  153. The obsessiveness of some outlining the crimes of this or that individual would be an example of this: Who would want to work with someone who does this every time they fall out?

    I would hope that’s a lesson all concerned can draw from this. Rees & co have massively damaged their chances of ever again being able to work with Galloway, Yaqoob, Smith, Wrack, Ovenden, Hoveman, Abjol Miah, Ger Francis, Ian Drummond or the SR comrades – or, more importantly, anyone who looks to or sympathises with any of those people. This seems to have been a deliberate policy; it’s certainly been consistent. As I said elsewhere, it’s starting to look a bit Third Period round here.

    Now the split’s a reality, I have to say I think it’s a disaster; I’m really sorry it couldn’t be avoided. There are some big practical questions to ask now – about the name, the assets, membership lists, subs and other income – and heads will have to get a lot cooler if they’re going to be answered without involving m’learned friends (which would turn a disaster into a catastrophe).

  154. The “assets” questions are all pretty simple, really. I’d like the new Respect NC to confirm that they won’t take any dispute to the courts, and it would be nice if the Galloway group would do the same.

  155. (Sorry Andy, I meant to post this on this thread, so this time I’ve added some local-paper-like highlighting)

    Dr. “always so polite” (see below) Ray Wall has his own take on both Respect events on his blog.

    What a surreal day. The bit which was most surreal was vigorously clapping a speech by Tower Hamlets Councillor Rania Khan attacking me. It is polite to clap, even when one is being slated. Councillor Khan, who apologised to me to her credit, condemned Respect renewal for having ‘Derek Wall from the Green Party’ on the platform, she didn’t realise that I was to speak on the same platform as her about 20 minutes later. Very funny.

    and

    I don’t think either RESPECT is going to fly, although I would like to see Greens work with socialists, the socialists outside the Green Party are painfully divided, Socialist Party and Labour Representation Committee from the Labour Left had conferences as well today. At least I and other speakers at both conferences were able to flag up important work that all radicals could get involved with…solidarity with Venezuela, ‘building’ support for the climate change march on December 8th and the February 9th Trade Union Conference on climate change.

    Gave me two bites of the cherry to talk about all the things I talk about on this blog, gay and lesbian rights (’I think we call them human rights’), radical green politics, the need for commons, green bits in Marx, liberal Islam.

    Difficult to judge and not for me to do, both conferences a couple of hundred, the RR seemed much more upbeat but clearly not just the SWP are in the other one. I don’t think that two RESPECTs will flourish but party politics for radicals in England is a tough game. Even in Scotland with the divisions between the Socialist Party and Solidarity and Green losses, politics looks a lot fresher, more radical and green.

    http://another-green-world.blogspot.com/2007/11/two-respect-conference-hear-dr-wall.html

  156. It’s very interesting to read the waves of hate being directed at Galloway and others in Respect Renewal. Clearly, an emotional dam has been broken. All the discomfort and embarrasment that SWP activists have had to swallow over the last few years, when their safe propaganda routines have been disrupted, is being thrown back up.

    Rationally, of course, they know that people they have broken with are the same people they have worked with for many years. But suddenly they turn from heros in demons.

    Cliff was fond of the saying ‘takes no heros’. Sadly, the growing centralisation of the SWP’s policy-making and norm-setting means that everything that the IS said against the SLL means that the SWP is fast turning into the kind of hyper-centralised sect that the IS was founded to fight.

    Rebuild the IS!

  157. Yeah, that was quite funny. I’m glad Rania Khan did apologise, as it was quite rude really. I wonder what kind of doll would be revealed if you took her apart.

  158. “the cockroaches of the left”, “hiding in the 16th century” etc. etc.

    No witch-hunt. No Siree. And who in their right minds would want to work with someone capable of coming out with garbage like this. Think about it.

  159. “It’s not there yet, but the five-minute speech by Lufta Begum, which was at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3lrn-ReqAw&feature=related , has just “has been removed by the user.””

    Yes, the one in which she made an outrageous accusation against Abjol Miah. Enough people saw it before it was taken down.

    I’m sure it is just an oversight, and in the spirit of showing everyone that the SWP conference didn’t have loads of personal attacks, the SWP will surely put the video back up just as soon as it can.

    Right?

  160. Just to clarify Jim’s point – I at no point spoke to Karen or Michael – what I said was: “The presence of both vicitimised trade unionists Karen Reissmann and Michael Gavan indicated to me that while these rank and file trade unionist did not feel welcome at the Respect Renewal conference, they recognised the importance of attending this meeting” – That’s it.

    PS – Andy your defence of Galloway’s sexist comments is shameful but hardly surprising…

  161. “If you create a political culture where obedience to the [party] hierachy, blind obedience, irrespective of the politics, irrespective of anything else, becomes the cornerstone of the politics of that party, then I don’t see that party going very far in advancing a progressive political agenda.” – Kumar Murshid.

    I take it he’s not on the SWP contact list at the moment then?

  162. Ian Donovan on said:

    Actually, the winner of this year’s ‘rear of the year’ award is Lee Mead, the bloke who sings as Joseph in a West End musical. Is that sexist too?

  163. Pete Brown on said:

    Well back to the verbal nonsense again – just when some of the comments were starting to get sensible and talk politics. Why do so many ‘comrades’get into this petty backstabbing when we are seeing every public service destroyed in front of our eyes and Brown getting ready to support Bush in an attack on Iran? Back to the politics please!!

    Must admit I find Martin’s comment and analogy @ 44 sums it all up, as does Andrew Coates @ 130. Then they are both comrades who have been around the block and seen things from many sides. GG is no better than JR, shame there not still together they deserve each other.

  164. I think (well, I hope) that in a few months or years time most of the comrades who have contributed to this blog over the last 24 hours will read their comments and be ashamed of themselves for their mindless and petty sectarianism. British troops are involved in imperialist adventures overseas, the privatisation of the NHS is speeding up, Brown is edging us yet closer to a police state and the whole of humanity is standing at the edge of environmental catastrophe. At the same time, as a result of this suicidal split, the Respect project has lost more or less all its remaining credibility and the chances are that neither faction is likely to be able to rebuild a genuinely pluralist socialist organisation with a viable popular base. That is a tragedy and it has set our movement back by years. And yet all some of these juvenile pocket bolsheviks can do is sneer about the number of chairs in a room or crow about who spoke at their conference or who didn’t at another one. Shame on you comrades, you are a disgrace to the movement.

    I went to the Renewal conference yesterday (and the hall was packed by the way), largely out of friendship with some of the participants, and though I didn’t come away any more convinced of the likelihood that anything could be rebuilt from the wreckage I was impressed by the seriousness and thoughtfulness of some of the speakers – particularly Ken Loach and Hilary Wainright. Their central point was repeated by other speakers – that we can’t just build something out of the wreckage of Respect, we have to engage – in serious and practical ways, and with a very large measure of humility – with as many streams of our wider movement, communist, green-left, TU, peace campaigns an so on, that we possibly can. Even the Gorgeous One seemed to have picked up on the point by the end of the day when he said repeatedly that RR was ‘not the finished article’ and was still ‘a work in progress’ and that a dialogue is needed with the CPB/Morning Star, the RMT and the Green Party. However, Nick Wrack’s insistence that ‘we have not split from Respect, we ARE Respect’- a line which is not just sectarian but guaranteed to be counter productive in terms of rebuilding some credibility for his organisation – got lots of applause. I hope that over the next month or two all of that nonsense will be quietly forgotten.

    For me, the four most positive things to come out of the day were;
    1 An excellent leaflet written by John Nicholson entitled ‘It REALLY IS Time for Left Unity’ which very clearly summarised the shit we have all got ourselves into and indicated some ways in which we could/should be making practical progress to rebuild the left,
    2 Hilary’s proposal that Red Pepper could host a meeting of the ‘rethinking left’ to explore the ways forward together,
    3 The announcement by the ISG comrades that they were handing over Socialist Resistance to an editorial board elected by RR. That is putting the interests of the wider movement before those of your own group and it is, in my rather too lengthy experience of the British Left, one of the very few examples of a far left group acting in a really unsectarian way.
    4 The way that the contributions of the SWP comrades who spoke (embarrassingly badly) were listened to quietly and seriously – and even got a polite round of applause.

  165. Pete:”Louise – In repsonse to your kind offer could please post a report for us, otherwise it look as if there are only 700 ’socialists’ left. I am sure that whatever side your photo displays it will be very flattering. Congrats on the LRC position”

    just posted it up comrade. Included a nice pic of the LRC banner instead!

  166. Nick Wall on said:

    Returning to #46 and #56 on the ‘illegitimacy’/’illegality’ of the Respect conference.

    The more I look at these allegations, the more they appear to be a smokescreen for what was a political decision to split from Respect.

    Student representation : the agreed practice was that if you are a member of a student Respect society, you count toward the delegation. There is a good argument for saying that students should have to make both a financial and a political commitment, in the same way as full members do. But it’s up to the ruling bodies of Respect to decide whether the basis of student representation should be changed. In the event, students were certainly not over-represented at the conference on Saturday. If anything, I would say that the over-40s were over-represented.

    Delegate entitlement : the major issue was the dispute over the Tower Hamlets delegation. It’s hard to see how this could have been resolved amicably given the large number of disputed membership applications and the atmosphere of conflict. The branch chair made decisions which she was entitled to make under the constitution. So the delegation was not illegal, although the failure to achieve consensus was a serious problem which contributed to the split.

    Access to membership database and national office email : the changing of the access codes was one of several events symbolising the breakdown of trust among NC members, which perhaps helped to provide the political basis for a split, but this doesn’t prove that Respect officers or employees were acting improperly over the conference arrangements.

    SWP packing the conference : the SWP has an interest in ensuring that Respect is seen to be a genuine coalition by creating a balanced leadership and by helping to select balanced delegations at local level. While there may have been instances of misguided attempts to secure SWP dominated delegations, the general practice seems to have been that most regions elected balanced slates.

    SWP using the conference to further its own agenda : the key motion passed by conference, and the associated constitutional amendment, ratified the resolution agreed by the NC in September. It meant that all the reforms argued for by Galloway and other NC members, including ones which the SWP had initially questioned or opposed (eg the creation of a National Organiser position and the use of STV for internal elections), are now adopted.

    Splitting Respect may or may not have been the right thing to do. It’s allowed both sides to regroup and to focus on the way ahead. On the other hand it’s meant a loss of inclusivity, and it’s deprived the membership of the opportunity to debate their differences in the proper forum. What I don’t accept is that the split happened because conference was somehow illegitimate.

  167. TWP: “The presence of both vicitimised trade unionists Karen Reissmann and Michael Gavan indicated to me that while these rank and file trade unionist did not feel welcome at the Respect Renewal conference, they recognised the importance of attending this meeting” – That’s it.”

    Tami – I was at the conference as well but I didn’t pick up on this feeling that Gavan and Reissman “did not feel welcome at the Respect Renewal Conference”. They may indeed have felt that way but it wasn’t obvious from what they said. It was not spelt out explicitly.

  168. Yes Louise – I agree with you that it was not explicitly stated which is why I was clarifying what Jim wrote. My point was simply that “my impression” was that for whatever reason they did not feel comfortable attending or they would have done so. This was not due to any conversations that I had with either of them nor because they mentioned anything about RR in their speeches which is what I think Jim was mistakenly implying.

  169. #210. I’m glad you said it Nick. It would be better if these allegations were dropped if there is to be any chance in the future of some kind of more positive re-alignment. I thought some of what Dave Renton had to say (a million years ago it seems now) about the practical realities of how such things can be got round if there really genuinely isn’t a will to split was very useful. One suspects though that people will keep banging on like this until there is some sort of formal deal done about names etc. But its very damaging and makes everyone involved look a bit silly.

  170. I don’t reckon that 350 at each Respect conference is a great result. It’s all rather less than the sum of its parts, and there remains no political explanation for the split.
    Which is of course accurate, there wasn’t one. It was all about organisational control, now that the two sides have separated we’ll be able to test the benefits of their respective dominance by how well they do in the future.
    It’s not hard to predict that neither side will do very well.
    For the SWP, they are left with an empty shell, that they dominate but at a price of being totally discredited across the entire UK left, who is going to want to work with them now? And with the rather nasty organisational practices that their bureaucratic leaders have got away with for years, displayed to all and sundry.
    The washing is far from clean.
    As for the Respect Renewal, there remains all the problems of small businessmen, terrible political compromises etc. that were so obvious in the old Respect – but more so – and without the organisational backbone that the SWP provided.
    Both sides provide almost a living example of the failings of a broad party, but in real time in front of the world.
    So the next year will be one of great opportunity, we’ll be able to see all of these shortcomings demonstrated in practice before the world and hopefully this will provide the impetus towards a much more radical and thorough going reassessment of what’s been going wrong with the left over the last nearly two decades.

  171. georgier on said:

    I also wanted to hear what was alleged happened in TH now removed from Youtube. I did however watch the Kumar Murshid speech and I think I would find it hard to disagree with the principles he outlined on the way in which a party should operate. But all this begs a huge question. If matters in TH were so bad why was this not discussed at a national level in an attempt to address the grievances and alleged abuses and mediate before matters got so out of hand?

    The level of vitriol directed at GG and RR on these posts is frankly extremely unpleasant and in contrast to the level of debate in response to SU posts of Mark Steels comments and other articles. We began to see reasoned responses to and from all shades of opinions on the way forward.

    Instead what do we have in this thread but yahboo nonsense – was it 200 or 327? Kylie. Livingstone and German and Boris. T-shirts.

    What conclusions can we draw? The development of broad left party as we hope can evolve from RR will of necessity include people whose opinions we find we disagree with. That is part of the process and it is messy and it is called democracy. By contrast it is hardly surprising that members of a party holding, largely one specific perspective, coming together in a front conference can lead to a very high degree of consensus. What flows is unfortunately a large amount of abuse on people who hold different positions in RR. I suspect the crisis in SWP is deeper than we currently see.

    It is unfortunate that we are where we are but that is the reality and we have to move forward in two ways.
    Moving towards establishing democratic norms of behaviour in RR; and
    Keeping communication channels open with SWP and allies.

    We will have to work together at some time.

  172. Sean’s comment:

    “3 The announcement by the ISG comrades that they were handing over Socialist Resistance to an editorial board elected by RR. That is putting the interests of the wider movement before those of your own group and it is, in my rather too lengthy experience of the British Left, one of the very few examples of a far left group acting in a really unsectarian way.”

    Thanks for your kind comments, Sean. The paper will not be called Socialist Resistance, so we are not stricltl handing over SR. Also, SR (not just the ISG, which is one component of SR) are handing over their resources (mainly people and skills) and making it possible for us to sell the new paper without being (more) committed to selling another paper at the same time. This is something the SWP should have done ages ago and from henceforth should be seen as a test of an organisation’s commitment to building a broad party*. It doesn’t mean not having any publication at all for ISG or SR. As we only took the decision last week, the details of what we will produce ourselves have yet to be worked out.

    *Of course, this raises the question of Weekly Worker!!!???

  173. David Ellis on said:

    On the Mark Serwotka discussion here. Mark is a very busy man and I’m sure once RR have had a chance to chat with him he will take a more neutral position. The problem was that the SWP had this split organised for some time so were able to bend Mark’s ear whilst the other side had no idea of what was coming.

    Also nobody should be under any illusion that the SWP supporters are here for a genuine debate. They are simply here to drive through the split and collect quotes that can be taken litterally or out of context so that they can `prove’ to their own membership that there is some kind of witch hunt. Professional revolutionaries eh?

    Also their attacks on Galloway are so funny given that they have so long claimed the responsibility for getting him elected. They have to pretend they were shafted even though it makes an organisation that’s been around 50 years look stupid because telling the truth that they want out would look worse. A rock and a hard place springs to mind or is it hoist on their own petard?

  174. Yes the responses to posts on this site towards articles expressing sentiments this site broadly agree’s with are generally polite. Well done comrades! On the other hand responses to posts with which there is disagreement is generally greeted with cries of ‘cultism’ or doubts about the honesty of those posting. Less well done.

  175. Canadien on said:

    Andy – “But your own central committee describes the relaion ship between the SWP and Respect as concentric circles, which is a 2-D represetation of a Russian Doll.”

    Ah, the old art of misrepresenting a quote out of context and bearing no relation to your actual claim. The SWP article you are quoting from very clearly used the metaphor of concentric circles to describe the political priorities of the party viz. resources, not in terms of some kind of architecture of control. It’s about the way that all these components of party members’ activity are related to each other.

    You should at least keep the metaphor straight since sometimes you claim that SWPers are Russian Dolls because they are drones for the perspective of Rees, et al and sometimes it is because the SWP controls projects it is in involved in. Apparently their diabolical method is to vote for an NC in which they are the minority, and to campaign for candidates that they didn’t support but to whom they lost the vote.

    But then bald-face lies, misrepresentations, dehumanizing attacks (cockroaches, cultists) and an obsessive culture of blame that locates everything on an identifiable group – these are precisely the tactics of a witch-hunt.

  176. JimPage on said:

    “In some ways its lucky that there are no local elections in London, if there were then local turf wars would be unavoidable.” said
    Comment by Muon — 18 November, 2007 @ 11:11 am

    Well there is the GLA Elections for starters in May 2008 and much nearer a council by election in Preston in a few weeks. If things are going to get resolved about the name- needs to be sooner than later.

  177. Alex Nichols on said:

    #208 “….the whole of humanity is standing at the edge of environmental catastrophe”

    I’m pleased to see that there’s growing agreement on the left that environmental issues should be part of the programme of socialism. I’ve been trying to deal with the issue for about 5 years now:-

    See here:-

    http://groups.google.co.uk/groups/search?q=renewable+energy&hl=en&enc_author=XgI4xRQAAABUzT_u6-KAmGGxgPmJPvTJOPANdqfI6prRsqjc7uCt1A&qt_p=Search+author%27s+posts

    But I think that if the left is going to make any serious political intervention, it needs to avoid the maximalist argument that “only socialism can save the environment” and starting arguing about specifics. As in a “transitional programme for the environment”.

    *********************************************************************************
    Think about it Environmental Crisis + Economic Crisis = NEED FOR ACTION PROGRAMME.
    *********************************************************************************
    Some questions that need resolving:-

    1) Do we support the critique of the government’s new climate change targets and support an 80% reduction in UK emissions by 2030?

    2) Do we support annual monitoring of targets and how should this be organised?

    3) What is the socialist policy on mass transportation and how can it be fought for in transport unions and elsewhere?

    4) What about energy policy?
    In many cases environmentalist policies conflict with the policies of the unions in the energy industry:
    * Do we support the NUM’s call for expanding UK coal production using IGCC and carbon sequestration technology.
    Or the Greens who demonstrate against Coal fired power stations like Drax?
    * Do we oppose new nuclear power stations?
    * If we are opposed to both coal and nuclear, how will the energy gap be met, while keeping within C02 targets?

    5) How do we prevent attacks on working class living standards behind the cover of “greenwashing” policies?

    6) How should the issues of development in South Asia, Latin America etc.. be reconciled with environmentalism?

    7) Is the traditional aim of socialism, to develop the means of production more rationally and evenly on a world scale than capitalism, compatible with environmentalist politics?

    So far, I don’t get a lot of sense that these issues are being debated on the left, even in Socialist Resistance or Green Left Weekly, which have taken more positive steps to integrate them into their politics than most other groups seem to.

    (This obviously requires a seperate thread sometime -hint?)

  178. Canadien on said:

    “The problem was that the SWP had this split organised for some time so were able to bend Mark’s ear whilst the other side had no idea of what was coming.”

    It was planned for years – in fact, from before Respect even existed. It was all a diabolical plan all along, from the very start. And they were whispering the whole while in Serwotka’s ear, enchanting him. It’s wonderful how life is like a Disney film with the bad guy twisting his mustache and rubbing his hands. I suppose the example of how the SWP were planning the split could be the way that the campaigned for Harun Miah in TH this summer, even though they supported another candidate. My, how tricky they are!

  179. georgier on said:

    Very interesting Alex
    I think it is for another post but for what it is worth on energy production, after seeking to reduce and conserve I think we are left with largely technological solutions however society is structured. So there will be a continued need for nuclear and coal but at least we can seek to improve safety and efficiency and use technology to reduce impacts.

    Meanhwile at Respect….

  180. Joseph Kisolo on said:

    was going to post something … but there is such i load of nonsense here that I can’t be bothered.

    Please people (on both sides) be disaplined and stop being trolls/feeding the trolls.

  181. Well once people stop attacking the SWP and Respect and get on with just discussing the politics of Respect Renewal I’m sure us ‘orrible SWP and Respect members will shuffle off to corrupt young minds or something. I’ll follow with interest in lurky sort of way probably. I must say though that the idea of attending yet ANOTHER conference on ‘rethinking the left’ organised by those red pepperish did strike me as a kind of death knell. And yes. That IS just a teensy weensy bit sectarian. As is a completely unworthy thought about Tony’s joy at reliving the founding days of Respect (I mean, we should move fowards surely?). But, its been a rather trying couple of months for all concerned and lets hope that at some point in the future we find a way of getting along.

  182. Alex Nichols on said:

    #223 “I think we are left with largely technological solutions however society is structured.”

    As you say, this requires another thread. But the tendency for the left to rely on unproven “science fiction” technology (like fusion power) should be avoided.
    Within the time scale that’s available making rational use of the best examples of existing technology makes far more sense.

    Also, on the international scale of things, it’s the coal production of the USA and China that’s one of the main problems. So I tend to agree with the NUM that the British coal industry can be expanded given investment in more efficient power plants and sequestration in depeleted gas fields (which have stored methane on geological timescales until now)

    However, there’s also a need to be very suspicious of some of the fixes proposed, especially when international energy corporations are using them to cover up their continued drive to exploit depeleted reserves of oil and marginal reserves, such as the Canadian Oil Shales and the drive to exploit the melting arctic.

  183. Alex Nichols on said:

    #225 John G – I can’t see why you’re continuing the petulant attacks here.
    As the split has been finalised, why don’t you just get on with it?

  184. Larry:

    “To anyone outside our little left-wing bubble this is so obviously life of Brian. A left which is too immature to unite and provide the left opposition to new labour we need. Really sad. And really sad immature comments by either side on here. The SWP lead Respect conference only had 270 delegates (of contested legitimacy as actual ‘delegates). The renewal rally looks respectable – not a disaster – but still far too small. (Although I despise the sectarian jeers on this comments thread dismissing thoe many turning up with horrible ‘colostomy bag’ attacks). Both are too small. But neither can be overlooked. Given the horribly weak state of the left, then both need to be valued, not slandered.”

    Absolutely right — two-pence ha’penny looking down on two-pence, it seems.

    150 years after the Communist Manifesto, and comrades are debating whether it was 200, 250 or 300…!

    It’s sub-Monty Python.

    3+ billion workers continue to ignore us world-wide.

    Mark my words, socialism will enjoy another 150 years of glorious splits, expulsions, defeats and failures unless we begin to address the issues I raise here:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2009_02.htm

    Maybe not today — but read it sometime…

  185. Alex Nichols on said:

    # 227 Rosen: The Kylie debate has acquired an almost fetishistic character.
    Personally, I’m happy to be minuted as being “FOR”.

  186. Any chance of someone (Andy or AN Other) giving a full account of the RR conference (ala Lenin’s Tomb’s account of Respect Conference), i cannot be bothered to trawl through all these (230+) vitriolic comments…

  187. For the debate, Alex N., for the fetishism, for George’s line, for the feminist line, for a marxist line or just for Kylie’s bum itself? Could you try to make yourself clear, comrade?

    Rosa, there is no evidence that it is the splits and splittery of the left that holds back any move towards socialism. There are too many other variables at work, methinks…

  188. Rosa Lichtenstein said: Mark my words, socialism will enjoy another 150 years of glorious splits, expulsions, defeats and failures unless we begin to address the issues I raise here:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2009_02.htm

    Maybe not today — but read it sometime…

    Couldn’t agree more. Rosa wouldn’t claim her arguments can provide advice for what to do today or tomorrow, but for any long-term attempt to find a way forward they’re spot on.

    The current split isn’t quite what it seems, I should add. Unity in action at the local level can be follow patterns that are more complicated than the obvious organisational split in Respect (I have to be vague so as not to prejudice events as they unfold, but I have concrete cases in mind). The need to hold together local anti-war groups will also play its role.

  189. #228

    Obviously because I am a deeply unpleasent and vitriolic hack who should be deeply ashamed of myself. There just is no other rational explanation is there?

    On the other hand it might be that like many people I’m still somewhat aghast about the train crash that has happened, and I don’t think simply denouncing all criticism as ‘vitriolic’ really cuts much mustard.

  190. Thanks Andy, i look forward to reading it then.

    johng: I described the general tone of the comments so far as ‘vitriolic’, I was not signaling you out for particular criticism.

  191. There’s now a write-up of the RR conference on the SW website. In it, Simon Assaf writes:

    “The rally was divided into three sessions, all dominated by platform speakers. No resolutions were presented and there was no vote on any question of policy. ”

    Can that be true? Surely not? Surely people didn’t shlep over to Bishopsgate just for that? There must have been resolutions…Andy will clarify that, I’m sure.

  192. AA apologies. Was just being a bit silly. It has been a bit mad really no? But just to continue with being silly. Andy I do NOT need calming down. etc.

  193. Of course there are, Andy, but out of interest, is the bit about resolutions (lack of) true? And is it true that the sessions were ‘dominated’ by platform speakers? I’m sure we can sort out the veracity of that before you put your kids to bed.

  194. JOhn I didn’t say you needed to calm down.

    There needs to be a return to politics in the debate generally.

    Instead – for example – of concerntrating on a discussion of how many chairs there were, or the totally unrepresenttaive comment from a floor speaker about backing Boris over Lindsay.

  195. Yes that Assaf, someone who has reported ground breaking stories on Lebanon and the atrocities in Falluja (ignored by the mainstream media) is simply a liar. This is all becoming absurd.

  196. Andy have I mentioned ANY of these things? No. So why bring them up in an exchange with me? In any case, I did indicate, I was being a little lighthearted.

  197. Mike Rosen (#240) said … Simon Assaf writes “The rally was divided into three sessions, all dominated by platform speakers. No resolutions were presented and there was no vote on any question of policy.”

    I haven’t read the rest of Simon’s report, but the statement quoted is correct. The Respect Renewal Conference was organised in under two weeks; there was no possibility of organising a delegate conference in this space of time. The tension between a broad range of speakers on the platform and space for debate was acknowledged in advance of the conference, and there will be regional meetings that will concentrate more on debate and practical matters.

    Since the meeting was open to all, including those hostile to the Respect Renewal project, there were some (myself included) who didn’t particularly want to broadcast details of ongoing local discussions that would show there is far more co-operation between the Respect Renewal side and many SWP members than would appear to an outside observer. Apart from the speeches and contributions that were made in front of the entire audience, there was much networking and negotiating taking place during the two intervals and after the meeting had finished – Simon wasn’t privy to these, although I did happen to have a conversation with him (which ended amicably enough).

    You should also remember, Mike, that those who’ve recently resigned from the SWP don’t become part of a mythical knee-jerk “anti-SWP” mob; we can have trenchant criticisms of the leadership without repudiating the political traditions if the IS/SWP, and we have no intention of writing off the many good comrades and good friends who remain within the SWP – on the contrary, we will be trying to continue to work jointly as far as possible – the limits of what is possible being largely determined by the SWP CC and not by us.

    In any case, as I said earlier, the basis for a delegate conference will be (re)constructed over the next few months, and such a conference is planned to take place in Spring 2008.

  198. Alex Nichols on said:

    #233 Rosen re Kylie: Could you try to make yourself clear, comrade?

    The latter, obviously. I’m already on record as saying Kylie has *quite* a nice arse.

    The fetishism arises from treating her tush as a ‘thing itself’ rather than a component of a conscious subject aware of its ‘notion.

    But anyway Kylie, decided to put her posterior in the public domain when she had no real economic need to do so. It was a voluntary act, although one determined by her relationship between a capitalist media that treated her image as a public commodity. So it’s not my fault if it was thrust in my face by posters on walls and in shop windows and I reacted with (mild) pleasure.

    Nothing much to get excited about really.
    Anyway, even under socialism, men will like women’s arses and vice-versa (not to mention their own)

    In short, Galloway’s comments were inoccuous.
    I’m Spartacus….
    ’nuff said

  199. I hope #249 answers the question to your satisfaction, Mike. In case it’s confusing, the italics should have ended with the short quotation from Simon Assaf in the first paragraph; the rest was my reply. I’m adressing that short quotation alone, since I haven’t read his full report, but will do so soon.

  200. Mike:

    “Rosa, there is no evidence that it is the splits and splittery of the left that holds back any move towards socialism. There are too many other variables at work, methinks…”

    I can see you made this comment before you had the benefit of reading what I have to say.

    Nice one….

  201. “I did indicate, I was being a little lighthearted.”

    John, if you did not get approval from the Unified Socialist Workers Renewal Project Light-Heartedness Committee, you do not have humour rights.

    We are organising a Joint Delicate Conference early next century that should resolve once and for all the question of whether it’s ok to joke during the most bitter fight since that episode of Family Guy where they they finally showed Peter Griffin making up with Chicken Suit Man but then they fell out again and had a fight that lasted for ages, like about a third of the episode or something.

    The lesson, if there is one, is that Family Guy is one of the best shows on TV, and that splits are wrong, m’kay?

  202. I think some are missing the point about the Kylie comments. The point is not as Andy and others have claimed the working class men often objectify women (so we ladies had just better get use to it) nor as Alex claims that men find women attractive – but that a particular man who happens to be an MP that you have given your support to continues to make public comments in which he clearly thinks it is acceptable to treat women as mere objects. This makes women generally uneasy about thinking that they will be treated as political equals by this particular MP – no matter how many platforms Salma Yaqoob shows up on. This is not just a bit of harmless laddishness – it’s an important issue on the left that’s needs to be seriously addressed.

    At the very least those comrades in RR would do best to try and confront this problem instead of dimissing it as irrelevant.

  203. But as “sam” commented on Liam’s blog:

    “I didn’t hear what Galloway said about Kylie’s arse, but frankly I probably don’t give a toss about that if he was just appreciating her freely-consenting-to-confidently-being-a-woman-happy-in-her-sexuality. She’s way out of my league lol but I am one of her army of lesbian admirers. Sorry if I offend any personal or political sensitivities out there…but am I being sexist if I think Kylie’s hot???”

  204. I think the fact that he’s sunk to writing such shitty gutter-level rubbish is the real issue here.

  205. And actually TWP

    The whole point about Kylie is that she has made a career out of presenting her sexuality as a commodity, rathet than her singing talent.

    in which context it is not sexist to point out that it is Kylie’s physical attractiveness that is her asset not her singing, and Australia might be better represented by a better singer.

    That is all that george said, and it is wholely unremrakable.

  206. But Andy that’s not the point. George Galloway is not some punter in the street who said he “thinks Kylie’s hot” – he’s used his column in a newspaper to objectify women and this is not the first time as you’ll recall a similar column about Chantelle from Big Brother with a similar theme.

    No one is arguing that men (or women for that matter) should not find other women attractive – what I think we are pointing out is that your elected MP who is supposed to be representing equality – presumably for men and women – should not be using his newspaper column to objectify women. I really don’t understand why this is such a difficult thing to be oppossed to for people who are supposed to be fighting for socialism and for the broader participation of women within the movement.

  207. Because life isn’t like that.

    galloway is a human being, not a personification of socialism.

    I can think of any number of Labour left MPs I have come across over the years who have all sorts of idiosyncracies.

  208. solidarity member on said:

    “I was as happy as anyone when George Galloway won in Bethnal Green & Bow, and when the Respect councillors were elected … I have declined to speak to the Renewal conference, and I’ll tell you why. I have always believed in unity. Who is the happiest when some people split from Respect? Gordon Brown. He sees this as an opportunity. My appeal is for unity, but there can never be unity in a left-wing organisation when people attack and witch hunt other socialists.” Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union.

    Still found no explanation on this blog or anywhere else that justifies the decision to defacto split Respect by organising a Respect Renewal rally. The Respect conference provided an opportunity to decide policy.

  209. I’m with TWP, here.

    How has this unconscious laddism crept into the left to the point where it is now naturalised like this? It is horrible. Please stop, or at least let’s be honest about the dynamics of sexism in the movement.

    However, for the Spectre lot to use it as a stick to beat GG is a bit rich considering we’ve known what he’s like since for ever. How come you weren’t kicking up like this over similar stuff during Big Brother?

    I’d like to see GG taking on board criticism from women in the movement in a comradely productive way. I’d have far more respect for someone who has the insight and courage to admitthere’s room for improvement than yet more knee-jerk denial.

  210. Canadien on said:

    This Kylie stuff is all sounding like the usual anti-feminist slag: “why don’t you girls just get a sense of humour?”

    I don’t think GG’s article was a capital crime but it was wrong and insensitive for someone in his position to use a newspaper column to put forward that kind of nonsense – which was not the same as saying it’s absolutely absurd that someone can become famous, not because of their talent, but because they are deemed a “hottie”. What’s more, Kylie as an individual may well gain individual advantage and wealth from wagging her ass on the tv but she, like other stars such as Britany et al, do a disservice to women by further generalizing women’s role as being to service the sexual desires of men. People who claim to be for women’s liberation shouldn’t be flippant about such objectification.

  211. Kent&CanterburyDan on said:

    “galloway is a human being, not a personification of socialism”

    Then he should stop presenting himself as such.

  212. @ Andy “At which point you definition of sexism becomes so expansive as to become pointless.”

    You could say the same thing about your definition of “socialist”.

  213. I’ve been following the crisis in Respect at a distance (from Brazil). In the interests of full disclosure, I’m a long-time member of the IS tendency, a militant in Revolutas, the Brazilian IS group and a member of the Party of Socialism and Freedom (sort of like Respect).

    I’ve read all the available reports from both sides of what has happened although there has been very little in the way of facts and arguments from the Respect Renewal group. The SWP and the original Respect group, on the other hand, have published extensive reports, appeals etc.

    Without entering into the deeper political differences between the two Respect groups, it seems to me that the immediate crisis revolves around a number of FACTS that the Renewal group has dodged, distorted or simply ignored. Very few of the comments on this site by supporters of Renewal have actually gone beyond the usual anti-SWP vitriol:

    1) RR and Babeuf have both said that the delegated and pre-scheduled Respect conference at Westminister U. was “illegal” and “unconstitutional”. What did the original Respect do that was unconstitutional and illegal? Exactly what acts? Where is the evidence?

    2) Did the Renewal group ask the SWP to leave Respect and then ask to (unconstitutionally) remove John Rees as National Secretary? Did Galloway’s press spokesperson say (incorrectly) that the SWP was splitting from Respect?

    3) Did George say that (again unconstitutionally) that Lindsay German would not be the mayoral candidate in London?

    4) Is it true that only 7 of the 16 members of the National Officer’s group were in the SWP and a minority of the 50 members of National Council of Respect?

    5) Were there attempts “by some national officers to refuse Student Respect groups any representation at the national conference on the same basis as they were elected last year despite the decision by the national officers earlier this year that Student Respect groups would be allowed to elect delegates to conference”?

    6) Did George tell SWP members at a Tower Hamlets Respect meeting to “fuck off?”

    Of course, these are rhetorical questions, but Galloway lovers and Renewal supporters have not even bothered to address these obviously central points. It’s one thing to have political differences with the SWP and the legitimate Respect group; it’s another thing to split, lie, distort and engage in sectarian attacks when you lose the argument.

    Let’s be honest: the splitters have engaged in every sense in undemocratic, unaccountable and sectarian behaviour.

  214. “At the very least those comrades in RR would do best to try and confront this problem instead of dimissing it as irrelevant.”

    Everything is irrelevant if it doesn’t fit the RR ‘script’ – the misogyny, the corruption, the attack on Respect’s intervention in Gay pride, bypassing the membership and organising a ‘rival’ rally (because the big names are more important than the little people daarling), locking staff out of their place of work, the ‘leeches’ accusation, ‘fuck of the lot of you’ printed on t-shirts, Mark Serwotka specifically boycotting the RR rally while engaging with the 3 other conferences taking place, the attacks on Oli, Andrew Murray paying tribute to John Rees and saying the recent descriptions of him are beyond all recognition, the RR rally applauding the ‘I’d rather vote Boris than Lindsey’ comment, Karen Reissmann, Michael Lavelette and every left-wing principled Respect councillor making clear they wish to have nothing to do with ‘renewal’ faction, etc etc etc.

    These are all minor details to this delusional bunch!:-D

  215. Canadien on said:

    “At which point you definition of sexism becomes so expansive as to become pointless.”

    Good Lord, he was going on about Kylie’s ass in his newspaper column – hardly a side bar remark in the pub! It’s about whether it’s ok to talk about women in terms not of their contributions to culture and the movement and society but rather according to their bodies and sexual appeal. What’s “interesting” about Kylie and other pop singers in her genre – Brittany Spears, for instance – is not the shape of their asses but how they are constructed and promoted to create a particular conception of attractive, a particular notion of female sexuality and a particular conception of women’s role in society – not as movers and shakers but simply as that half of the species whose job is to move and shake it, if you get my drift.

  216. Canadien on said:

    Just watched Galloway’s remarks at the Renewal Rally. They’re up on Liam’s blog. I have to say they were incredibly personalistic and obsessed with attacking the SWP. In fact, that really was the substance of what he talked about for 35 minutes. Now, I would say that such an obsessive focus on an identifiable group – to the exclusion of all other political explanations, no reference to events in the outside world or the pressure on Respect arising from its growth and development – smacks to me of a witchhunt atmosphere. But go check it out for yourself.

    Here’s Rees’ comments at the Respect convention: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng1Z-dYbMxw

  217. Alex Nichols on said:

    #266 “People who claim to be for women’s liberation shouldn’t be flippant about such objectification.”

    With all due respect(sic) to Anna and TWP’s sensetivities on this score, the use of the term “objectification” here is unmarxist.
    You’re confusing objectification with alienation and the commodity form, rather along the lines that Hegel did.

    The Marxist position is that we are creatures of the objective world and part of nature.

    If you accept your (politically wrong) use of the term objectification, you end up negating the negation by an act of consciousness raising, rather than changing the material circumstances in which real, corporeal, animal sexuality take place.

    Under capitalism, this is the alienated, commodity form.

    So you end up with radical petit-bourgeois moralism and not socialism.

    Is it suprising that “Rosa Frankenstein” is engaged in an ongoing petit-bourgeois assault on materialist dialectics here?

  218. Canadien on said:

    Alex – “If you accept your (politically wrong) use of the term objectification, you end up negating the negation by an act of consciousness raising, rather than changing the material circumstances in which real, corporeal, animal sexuality take place.”

    Dude, what the fuck are you talking about?

    Objectification – I could just as easily have used reification and it would have been equally adequate. So, let me try to get all marxian for your. The status of Kylie’s ass as attractive or not, as well as the obsessive need to look at it and be attracted by it, is a historically determined process. In the middle ages, in other cultures, etc. etc. not only are asses not of any interest but there are completely different conceptions of the types of bodies that are considered attractive (eg. The Venus of Willendorf statue). To remove all that history from the process and talk about Kylie’s body as though she is not a total, complicated being, existing within a total, complicated social organism is to, yes, objectify her, to remove her historicity and her sentiencity. You have reduced her and, because she represents sexuality and what is attractive, you have participated in reducing all women to an abstract commonality for comparison – the ass of Kylie Minogue.

  219. Come off it Alex. The term objectification in this context simply means regarding a woman solely as an object of male sexual gratification, and not as a person in their own right.
    Quite straight forward and nothing to do with Hegel.

  220. I remember the SWP and IS used to be hard as nails on this issue, even in the Womens’ Voice era, when feminists used to try to pull the plug on sexist reggae bands at Rock Against racism gigs, or try top shout down Scragill over the fact the NUM’s paper had a page three pin up.

    The actually existsing working class, and including its political representatives lives in the worls shaped by sexism. And moving forward the whole class is the issue. If we want to attack sexism, then the way to do it is to criticise the oppression of women in the family, lower pay, the glass ceiling of propmotion and yas also the objectification of women in culture.It is not to hold other socialists to a higher standard than society as a whole expects.

    But why single out galleoay saying he should be better, when there are much more egregious examples of sexism

    Nor actually is it particularly sexist, as Kylie as a cultural phenomenon has self-commodified herself. And the observation that Kylie is actually a famous singer becasue of her body not her singing talent is not incompatible with feminism.

    Had george publicly referred to one of the women comrades in terms of her body shape, then that would be objectification, and highly wrong, he did not, and would not. To refer to Kylies arse, already objectified as a cultural icon, is merely to show that geroge is part of the society we live in, and is not a toime traveller back from the socislist future.

  221. Canadien on said:

    What’s more because Kylie has commodified herself and because her career validates the commodification of women’s bodies – literally reducing the component parts to things with particular exchange values, to valorize this by glorifying her ass or her tits (I’m assuming that’s next), you are contributing to that commodification for other women. And when women see leading male comrades and MPs saying “whoopee, ain’t Kylie a hottie” you are undermining the confidence of women because most women don’t have and can’t afford a personal trainer to have a body like Kylie. So you are saying something that means women who don’t have less value than Kylie AS women.

    Cripes, how many years of the feminist movement and the women’s liberation movement and you still can’t get this most basic, fundamental point: women do not exist for the sexual gratification of men!

  222. Alex Nichols on said:

    #274;275 Crap – both of you are lapsing into unmarxist ideas derived from the radicalised petit bourgeoisie. They can lead in almost any direction, right or left. The stone age Venuses were just more honest because the hunters who used them kept an image of the pregnant woman who they were providing the food for.
    They were certainly objectifications of the human form though and actually a form of fetish object.

  223. Canadien on said:

    “It is not to hold other socialists to a higher standard than society as a whole expects.”

    What? So, would it be OK so say racist stuff, maybe make a comment about someone being like a terrorist coz they’re brown? Hey, I mean, other people are doing it?

    That’s the logic of children caught doing something bad, not socialists.

    What’s more, socialists should have had something to say about a fucking union newspaper having a page three pin-up on it. Is this controversial? Nobody’s saying you would work with them – it’s an argument, like anything else.

  224. Canadien on said:

    “Crap – both of you are lapsing into unmarxist ideas derived from the radicalised petit bourgeoisie. ”

    What? You’re throwing around jargon and not saying anything.

    1) Women are oppressed. This has many features related to the reproduction of the family – the uneven distribution of reproductive labour, including child-rearing, house-cleaning and sexual satisfaction of male needs – because sexual activity, intimacy, is a human need. The subordination of women in the family is inseparable from questions of sex and sexuality, including sexual orientation. Women’s subordination in sexual relations and sexual representations is a feature of their subordination in the family and that is a feature of how capitalism organizes itself.

    2) Capitalism turns everything into a commodity, including sex. Increasingly the economic pressures take tasks of the home and bring them into the marketplace. this is a complex process involving the interaction of capitalist economic needs and capitalist political needs (family values, etc.). As part of this is the rise of the commodification of aspects of sexuality and sexual activity.

    3) With the combination of 1 and 2 we find representations of women as sex objects, defined by a media, which is hostile to women’s equality. That demeaning of women as full conscious beings contributes to undermining the confidence of women – after all they aren’t fully women unless they look like Kylie and because their role is to obsess about their looks (see all the women’s magazines out there).

    4) If you make light of this. If you publicly, on a platform, take pleasure in the objectification of women, in their reduction to disembodies objects (asses and tits) for the sexual pleasure of men, you are undermining the role of women in the movememt.

  225. I think the extraordinary ‘George Galloway versus Kyle’s Arse’ debate deserves a seperate thread of its own, or maybe even a chapter in the political biography of GG reviewed over at Dave’s Part. Great stuff. Just when you think the whole saga can’t get any weirder.

    I think Madam Miaow and Canadien are pretty much spot on. To be fair, the Kylie’s Arse Scandal is the least of Galloway’s crimes, but he does sound like an embarrassing relative here. “Take Kylie Minogue. For a singer she’s always been not a bad looker.” Who actually talks like this these days, except dirty old men? I reckon even your average Nuts reader would acknowledge that it is possible to be, ahem, extremely sexually attractive anda good singer and a purveyer of some of the best, catchiest pop in the last 20 years. Such things are not mutally exclusive. (It’s the reason we all love Girls Aloud, isn’t it?)

    A socialist MP reducing Kylie from a singer to a woman to purely an arse or a pair of tits = not cool.

    “I even bought my woman Kylie’s range of underwear.” Oh dear. I wonder if he asked her for a quick lapdance as well. Don’t you just hope “his woman” (or should that be hisenice little piece of ass) told him where to shove them…

  226. #234

    Thanks johng, i appreciate that – Yes as you say the ‘train-crash’ of the past month has been more than a bit ‘mad’.

    I think many of us, who aren’t on either side of this dispute, (but who have been following it, because we have an interest in the future of the left in this country and an interest more broadly in the project of left recomposition) genuinely fear that the bitterness evident on both sides will have catastrophic repercussions for not only for the possibility of reconsituting an electoral alternative to New-Labour in the near future, but even more pressingly the danger of internal faction-fighting spilling over into the anti-war movement (of which i am an active part), where we face perhaps the most important period since 2003.

    I believe, both sides have a responsibility to prevent this happening, and a perhaps a good start would be for a more measured tone on blog discussions like this (but whether with the anonymity of the web this is possible, i dont really know..)

  227. Alex Nichols on said:

    #281 Sorry, but I’ve given the marxist definition of the term objectification.

    So your points 1 & 2 are invalid arguments to use against what I’ve said, because there’s nothing there which is in contradiction to it.

    Point 3: is partly about “objectification”, but just as much about ownership of the mass media and its control over social imagery, which is about alienation.

    Point 4: Making light of what exactly? None of the instances of oppression or exploitation mentioned earlier. The final sentence is just a recipe for dishonesty and moralistic posturing which reminds me more of the Dworkin school of radical feminism.

  228. …and yes i realise the irony of bemoaning the anonymity of the web, whilst not posting under my actual name 😉

  229. Herbert Lemon on said:

    Well I guess if anything useful is going to come out of the Respect/Respect Renewal debacle – it will depend on whether any of the major actors draw any conclusions that will change their practice.

    I can’t see that a Respect rump peopled almost completely by the SWP with only its members having leading positions is at all tenable in the longer run – so the SWP has to choose whether to isolate itself and pretend that all the mistakes were somebody else’s, or look for new ways to engage with other forces on the left and with young people new to politics.

    I hope it chooses the latter but it will only have credibility in doing so if it engages with some honest self-criticism of the crass opportunism it displayed in discarding women’s rights, the struggle against homophobia, the demand for a workers wage for Respect MPS, republicanism, etc in launching Respect and running with it. (I was at the founding confernce of Respect when it made it’s first disastrous comprimises)

    Galloway’s criticism of the SWP control freakery that undermined Respect’s internal democracy might have had some credibility had it come from almost anyone except Saddam Hussein’s most indefatigable admirer.

    Democracy and accountablity are as alien to GG as to his erstwhile colleagues in the SWP. if he tells you he believes in ‘one person one vote’ you can be sure that he is the person and hisis the vote.

    Respect Renewal has probably swept up most of the non-SWP members from Respect (plus a few ex-SWP members) but If RR has any potential as a foundation for a genuinely broad left movement outside the labour party, then that will only be realised once George has sodded off to carry on building his media career and his 1001 other schemes to get rich quick.

    A genuine left alternative needs genuine, honest people in its leadership not a sharp-suited sexist egomaniac running the show.

    Three questions for RR people. Will Respect Renewal stand up for comprehesive education while still giving utmost respect to Yvonne Ridley who pays £17,000 a year for her daughter’s education?

    Will Respect Renewal continue Respect’s disastous alliances the the Islamist right organsiations, businessmen and mosque leaders or will it try to win over young Muslims or young people of all faiths and none, on a radical political programme that reaches the grassroots and doesn’t comprimise on issues of gender and sexuality?

    Will RR permanently exclude the 2,500 (or whatever the real figure is) SWP members or will it put some energy into seeking a rapprochement or at least a working relationship. I can’thelp thinking that ther are a lot of good socialists in SWP and Respect who would be of far more service to the left working with/complementing each other rather than working against each other

  230. Canadien,

    You need to look back through old issues of socialsit worker from the 1970s and 1980s then, the party argued a very different line from what you are now

    The point is that of course it is appropriate to discuss the issue of pin-ups with the NUM, and they did actualy stop them. In the context of overall support.

    What it is not approprate to do is use them as a stick to beat the NUM up with.

    What we are seeing here is the use of the Kylie’s arse issue as a stick to beat galloway with, by people who have tried to block criticism of him for three or four years.

  231. Alex Nichols on said:

    #281 “Who actually talks like this these days”

    You’re cracked. Street kids talk a million times worse than that,(though probably not about Kylie) Subsitute “buff”, “hot”, “bootilicious” and put it in a rap video and it somewhow becomes cool?

    The whole issue is being perpetuated for utterly opportunistic reasons for character assassination purposes.

    How about some critiques of the profiteers from the porn industry, the media moguls, the pimps behind the sex industry, the Sun etc?

  232. “Is it suprising that “Rosa Frankenstein” is engaged in an ongoing petit-bourgeois assault on materialist dialectics here?”

    (Collapses into uncontrollable laughter/sobbing).

    Tony stop trying to joke with me you scumbag. Your a SPLITTER.

    There IS though something a bit distressing though about the distance between how serious this is, and the complete hatstand idiocy of this thread.

    Which, to put it rather more sensibly, is why I think my blogdom and real life comrade Tony, has made a bit of a mistake.

    Then again perhaps everything here is completely irrelevent to anything. Which would be a considerable relief all round really.

    (and no, before anyone starts, this is not an indication that I think discussion of sexism is trivial. Just thought I’d like to make that point).

  233. Canadien on said:

    Me: “f you make light of this. If you publicly, on a platform, take pleasure in the objectification of women, in their reduction to disembodies objects (asses and tits) for the sexual pleasure of men, you are undermining the role of women in the movememt.”

    Alex: “The final sentence is just a recipe for dishonesty and moralistic posturing which reminds me more of the Dworkin school of radical feminism.”

    Do you know what the heck you are talking about? I remember Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon working with Women Against Pornography and the Christian Right. And I remember well McKinnon writing a section of our (Canadian) anti-porn law, which was then used against gay erotica, explicit safe sex videos made by young gay men, etc. I know this because I was involved in organizing against the anti-gay withchunts at the time.

    What I am talking about is not undermining women’s confidence by taking a flippant attitude to manifestations of women’s oppression in popular culture. And those manifestations have their root in capitalism’s use of women’s oppression in a very particular way, involving objectification (why are you obsessed with this word – it derives from the same source as the Marxist theory of commodity fetishism and is a concrete historical manifestation of same).

  234. So therefore only, for example, members of the AWL should be able to criticse Galloway over “Kylie’s Arse” as they’ve never tried to block criticism of him on any issue? Is that what you mean, Andy? If Comrade Jim Denham is in the viscinity, please make your way to the comments box where your services are required.

    Regardless of such important issues as Australian pop behinds. I’ve watched Galloway’s speech. Blimey. What was worse – the quality of the video or the content? I thought “Respect Renewal” wanted to present themselves as being reasonable and open etc., and the other side (SWP etc.) were meant to be the ranting, sectarian demagogues…that speech is the best recruiting tool for the other side.

  235. Well it is obviously being raised by the SWP for opportunistic reasons, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. GG is the man he always was. That the SWP have now discovered the fact says more about them than him.
    Personally I enjoyed his speech, for lots of reasons.

  236. Alex Nichols on said:

    #288:- (Collapses into uncontrollable laughter/sobbing).

    Glad you liked it, it was my Gerry Healy impression. But just because Healy ranted on like that *ALL* the time doesn’t make it wrong.

    # 289:-

    “undermining women’s confidence by taking a flippant attitude to manifestations of women’s oppression in popular culture”

    Aboslutely no evidence for that on either score.

  237. By the way, didn’t Pawla Cottage make some horrible sexist remark in her contribution? (You know the one I mean – the one where she was applauded for saying “I’d rather vote for Boris Johnson than Lindsey German”.) We’ve got Galloway talking about “my woman” and the shape of Kylie’s arse. In Tower Hamlets, young Bengali women wanting to attend their own members’ meeting were confronted with, “What are these women doing here? I didn’t bring my wife”.

    I hope I’m not seeing a pattern here.

  238. Babeuf 249
    Blimey, I thought life was too short for going to political conferences that don’t decide anything. If it’s going to take to Spring 08 before you have a delegate conference how are decisions going to be made between now and then? All the stuff that’s been flying at the SWP about controlfreakery etc etc…hmmm…and you folks are prepared to except what is in effect a secretariat running the show till next Spring? hmmmmmmm Which takes us all the way back to the kinds of questions I was asking a few days ago about what is the structure that would be so much better than the one that was in Respect anyway?

  239. Alex Nicholls:

    “Is it suprising that “Rosa Frankenstein” is engaged in an ongoing petit-bourgeois assault on materialist dialectics here?”

    Ah, but you are totally incapbale of defending this mystical theory of yours — otherwise why the name-calling?

    And, I am working-class, and a trade union rep (unpaid), to boot.

    Whereas you are prepared to accept the ideas of a non-worker like Hegel.

    Odd that… 🙂

  240. East is Red. Stop being so cheap. I mean its like obviously a really serious discussion going on here.

    (sorry folks).

  241. Concerned socialist on said:

    I’ve just watched the video of Galloway’s rants at the respect renewal rally. Anybody still thinking that the SWP and the Respect majority are being sectarians ought to watch it. I mean, Jeebus…

  242. Alex: You’re cracked. Street kids talk a million times worse than that,(though probably not about Kylie) Subsitute “buff”, “hot”, “bootilicious” and put it in a rap video and it somewhow becomes cool?

    Well, that’s partly what I was getting at (in jest). “A good looker” makes him sound like Bill Grundy. I’m not sure what would sound more ridiculous coming from GG: describing Kylie as a good looker, or openly declaring in the pages of the Daily Record, in modern parlance, that she was “fit as f*ck”. But anyway, that’s not entirely the point I was making. The so-called street kids — and presumably that includes people I know who are now grown adults (!) — usually articulate their “admiration” for Kylie in such simple terms as: “She’d get it.” (Ocassionally followed by “hur hur”.) People might think that’s bad enough, but I think there’s a difference between saying that and saying (as George does) that she’s a good looker in spite of being a singer because she’s got a nice arse. If you see what I mean. Being sexually attractive, and talented, and intelligent, and funny, are not mutally exclusive. Galloway seems to imply that they are.

    At the end of the day, it is sometimes difficult to negotiate your way through these issues when you’ve grown brought up in such a laddish culture, as many of us are, but I agree 100% with Madam Miaow: it’s important to keep an open mind, be willing to take on board criticism in a comradely way, and have the insight and courage to admit there’s room for improvement.

  243. John Tindale on said:

    What a bloody farce socialism is.How many socialist/communist parties are there in the UK?
    Are they all fighting for the same thing?
    Whatever the answers, 10 years of Nu Labour[socialist] is one almighty fuck up.
    Keep on splitting comrades, very soon there will be more lefty parties than there are hairs on Galloway’s chin.

  244. The Battle of Kylie’s Arse … and the Respect rump.

    Thank you so much, lads, for putting mere gurls like myself and TWP right over what constitutes sexism – I bow to your greater knowledge, experience and erudition. And thank you Alex for taking out three of us women in one post (273). Whadda guy!

    I have to say I experienced more sexism in the SWP than I have anywhere else in recent years, so I don’t think anyone can afford to be complacent here. The clanging of pots and kettles is deafening.

  245. I have to say I experienced more sexism in the SWP than I have anywhere else in recent years…

    Is that actually true? A moment’s thought would suggest – no, of course not, it’s nonsense on stilts; and it’s hardly an argument against talking about Kylie’s arse (and “my woman”) in a national newspaper in the way Galloway did.

    “Take Kylie Minogue. For a singer she’s always been not a bad looker.” Perhaps you could put this on t-shirt as well?

  246. anticapitalista on said:

    ….have to say I experienced more sexism in the SWP than I have anywhere else in recent years, so I don’t think anyone can afford to be complacent here. The clanging of pots and kettles is deafening.

    Comment by Madam Miaow

    I just knew you would write that.

  247. The Disrespect Squid on said:

    ‘I have to say I experienced more sexism in the SWP than I have anywhere else in recent years, so I don’t think anyone can afford to be complacent here. The clanging of pots and kettles is deafening.’

    I agree, but having read the reactionary chauvenistic nonsense on your website, I think you’d better put your pot away too.

  248. Alex: “If you accept your (politically wrong) use of the term objectification, you end up negating the negation by an act of consciousness raising, rather than changing the material circumstances in which real, corporeal, animal sexuality take place”.

    Are you having a laff?

    And “So you end up with radical petit-bourgeois moralism and not socialism”.

    Wot? So you intellectualise by turning somersaults ‘cos it is against your politics to conclude that women are objectified under patriarchal capitalism?

    Feminists use “objectification” in a sense that derives from a lingustic form of the word object. The use of the language conveys a clear meaning i.e. women are de-humanised and are just objects for the use of others.Therefore it is a perfect valid use of the word.

    So Anna, Rosa L and Tami….. remember, sisters, we have a long way to go in having to re-state the arguments ‘cos the lads know better and we ladies don’t as just “blinding us” with the political science is necessary cos our brains can’t handle it.

    In simple terms: Galloway is being sexist going on about Kylie’s arse and “buying his woman” (his woman?) the underwear. No matter how much you intellectualise this guff, or blame commodification and so on it is still………………..sexist….esp. from someone who has leadership responsibilities and we are not talking the sexist bloke on the street.

    It totally abdicates responsibility in Galloway’s behaviour and we have to stop letting men off the hook as it is tiresome and a right piss off..comrades!

    In order to commodify you need to objectify (in terms of women and oppression).

  249. Having been at the Renewal conference, I had quite a hoot reading the SW write-up. Really, Pravda would have found that embarrassing.

    But why bother to have a reporter on the spot? Our Torontonian chum knows in minute detail what’s going on several thousand miles away. I only wish I possessed these superpowers.

    By the way, Anna is absolutely correct about institutional sexism in the SWP. Which makes it all the more annoying when the hacks use Dworkinite arguments to shaft people.

  250. anticapitalista on said:

    #308 By the way, Anna is absolutely correct about institutional sexism in the SWP

    Care to elaborate?

  251. Matthew Caygill on said:

    Michael Rosen has posed a very good, crucial, question about the structure Renewed Respect might have which is going to be better than that of the old SWP-dominated Respect… but expecting the answer to be given at the rally today is unreasonable – and any set structure adopted today would be undemocratic – as I expect many contributors today would have pointed out. Needs a bit-of-time Michael. But it looks like it’s going to have a paper open to more than one viewpoint, which is a good sign.

  252. Really, Pravda would have found that embarrassing.

    Fine: give details of any inaccuracies. We’ve seen the Youtube videos now. Did Galloway not call Respect members “juvenile dwarves”? Did Pawla Cottage not say she’d rather vote for Boris Johnson than Lindsey German? Unfortunately for Galloway’s claque: they did.

    Anna is absolutely correct about institutional sexism in the SWP. Which makes it all the more annoying when the hacks use Dworkinite arguments to shaft people.

    Or, put it another way: Madam Miaow can’t provide a single example to stand up this statement; and isn’t it irritating when people who disagree with you argue against you?

    So: we have young Bengali women Respect members in Tower Hamlets blocked from attending their own members’ meeting (“What are these women doing here? I didn’t bring my wife”); we have Galloway slobbering over Kylie’s arse; and we have Pawla’s remarks about a female comrade at the Renewal rally. I really do hope there isn’t a pattern here.

  253. By the way – Liam Macuaid says “no votes were taken” at this so-called Renewal “conference”.

    No votes; no delegates; no democracy. This was a rally, an anti-SWP rally, with Galloway leading the charge.

  254. “I agree, but having read the reactionary chauvenistic nonsense on your website, I think you’d better put your pot away too”.

    Er, comrade Squid, give an example of this “reactionary chauvenistic nonsense” on Anna’s website? You know it is a rubbish claim!

    Why oh why do you guys get soooo defensive when a woman mentions sexism and demands some responsibility? Hey? You wonder why the Left is male dominated well here is your answer as so many women are pissed off and demoralised by sexist bad behaviour and nobody gives a crap (I mean, Galloway is being defended, well that’s ok as it is only about Kylie’s arse..)

    Listen to yourselves and start being a tad accountable.

    Anticapitalista: Sexism and misogyny exists on the Left and in dem cent grouping including the SWP. Why is that so hard to swallow?

    Why do you lay into a woman for speaking out. Same with you Red or whatever your name is…

    You lot should be ashamed of yourself. It is pathetic.

  255. SWP lunatics..why don’t sort your agenda out and actually develop a consensus that is beneficial to the people whose vote you seek rather than clamer to the beat of the anti-war, anti-Israel bandwagon that threatens to fracture your already meagre and pathetic cause.

  256. David Ellis on said:

    `The irony is that many of the same people who are now angrily reciting the reasons for why we must distance ourselves from George Galloway, were then refusing to allow any discussion on why he should be even questioned.’

    This from Mark Steel’s statement.

  257. Why do you lay into a woman for speaking out. Same with you Red or whatever your name is…

    Don’t be so ridiculous. If Madam Miaow wants to make claims like that (and frankly I find it absurd to suggest that Socialist Worker is on a par with – what? Nuts magazine?) she’ll need to back them up.

    The Socialist Unity mob have flipped from accusing us of opportunism to criticising us for sectarianism. But we were called “opportunist” for working with a great anti-imperialist MP, despite his faults; and we’re called “sectarian” for suggesting that Galloway shouldn’t comment on Kylie’s arse in a national newspaper.

    When people flip-flop from one side of view to another like this, it tends to confirm my suspicion that we were right all along.

  258. SWP lunatics..why don’t sort your agenda out and actually develop a consensus that is beneficial to the people whose vote you seek rather than clamer to the beat of the anti-war, anti-Israel bandwagon that threatens to fracture your already meagre and pathetic cause.

    Another candidate for a t-shirt, I think. Any takers?

  259. If people who experience oppression in this society maintain they are experiencing oppression i.e. sexism then you accept what they say and investigate. It is a collective thing, you know. And dem cents groups like the SWP reflects oppression in wider society and that includes sexism.

    Some of you don’t understand this basic idea so that suggests you are likely to be institutionally sexist, racist and homophobic.

    You take these issues up, not ignore, dismiss or undermine. You take action.

    You are putting Anna “to proof” (in lawyer speak). We are not lawyers operating a legal sytem we are socialists giving the oppressed a voice. We fight to give people a voice not shut them up and belittle their experiences.

  260. anticapitalista on said:

    #314 Anticapitalista: Sexism and misogyny exists on the Left and in dem cent grouping including the SWP. Why is that so hard to swallow?

    Yes it is. Care to elaborate?

  261. East is Red, if you think I am defending GG then you need to go back and re-read my comments as you are having comprehension difficulties.

    Re sexism in the SWP, I already wrote about this on UK Left Network at the time, and mentioned some of the examples on here. Sorry you missed them. Do pay attention.

  262. f you think I am defending GG then you need to go back and re-read my comments as you are having comprehension difficulties.

    Glad to hear it. If only Andy could say the same.

  263. anticapitalista on said:

    #322 Re sexism in the SWP, I already wrote about this on UK Left Network at the time, and mentioned some of the examples on here. Sorry you missed them. Do pay attention.

    Well I’m new to this blog, so any chance of a link or is it members only?

  264. Back to the topic: did the Renewal rally decide anything?

    Who’s going to sell your paper?

    How many sales are going to happen nationally? You may not have discussed this at the rally, but does anyone know?

    How many students attended your rally? Are you going to try and build in the colleges? If so, how?

  265. Yeah… sort out your papers sales and your student recruitment. As long as that’s good everythings good.

  266. What i find very odd, is the false amalgam of statements like: “The Socialist Unity mob have flipped from accusing us of opportunism to criticising us for sectarianism. But we were called “opportunist” for working with a great anti-imperialist MP, despite his faults; and we’re called “sectarian” for suggesting that Galloway shouldn’t comment on Kylie’s arse in a national newspaper.”

    There is no “mob”, there are individuals arguing different views.

    If you mean me, then I do find it opportunist that the SWP now choose to make a big thing about some fairly unexceptional remarks about Kylie, after having spent the last few years sheilding him from criticism.

    In the case of both myself and – to take another example – the supporters of Socialist resistance there has been consistentcy. We have criticised Gallwoay when we tough he was wrong, and stuck up for him when he was right. I would go further than that and say that I made a serious misjudgement of Galloway because after Big Brother i really though he had given up on politics, and was sailing off towards Kilroy Silkism, but I was clearly completely wrong about that.

    In the old days – to take the example of the NUM page three, the SWP did not use that as a stick to beat Scargill with, but they would criticise page three pin ups generally, and therefore implicitly miners would know there was a critique of their practice. In the case of Rock Against Racism, Aswad and the Psychadelic Furs both had a lot of criticism for Sexism, and in some gigs feminists tried to pull the plug on them, and we had to defend the bigger picture.

    Galloway is a socialist MP, who has done fantatsic work for the movement. If you think he was wrong to discuss Kylies arse in the way he did, then you would get a much more sympathetic audience for that view if you weren’t using it as a stick to beat him with.

    The more subtle approach for exmaple would be to start a debate about the commodification of women, and the role of people like Kylie and madonna within that.

    You see, feminist ideas, and generally ideas against the oppression have suffered a large scale retreat in society and in the movement. That means we need to win the ground back. Among comrades that should be done by friendly debate and discussion, not condemning people.

  267. Louise: If your friend can’t back up her very serious charge of ‘experiencing more sexism in the SWP than anywhere else’ then it just sounds like another very boring slur.

    It’s not ‘lawyer speak’ to ask for proof when your comrades are being accused of something so serious as sexism – that is ridiculous!

    And the people you are arguing with have not defended Galloway’s sexist article – it is those you are most friendly with on this site who are doing that, I think you will find.

    I am not in the SWP but have worked closely with SWP members for the last 5 years on various campaigns and have not once experienced any sexism (shock! horror!).

    Sounds like more of the same ‘the SWP ate my hamster’ nonsense.

  268. Yeah… sort out your papers sales and your student recruitment. As long as that’s good everythings good.

    You’ve not got off to the best of starts with this one, have you? Was launching your rally on the back of an attempt to exclude students from the conference a good way to recruit students, or a bad way, do you think?

    So what is your plan for selling the paper? You did launch one, didn’t you? (If you didn’t, the rally looks even more fruitless.)

    (Of course, to some extent, you’re right: I’d be more concerned that the leader of one of the largest trade unions in the country has very publicly and deliberately criticised your splitting of Respect.)

  269. David Ellis on said:

    On the `whose gonna sell your papers’ question. More from Mark:

    `And so the problem becomes compounded. Tenacious comrades have tried to maintain branches that barely function, often with little success, then receive circulars telling them we’re in the midst of unprecedented opportunities and are generally thriving. But when your efforts result in little reward, to hear a series of super-optimistic claims about how well we’re doing isn’t inspiring, it’s depressing. Because either we’re being deceived, or it means everyone else is achieving success except you. The gap between the rhetoric and the reality has left countless comrades feeling it must be them that’s failing. If only they were more organised, or understood the perspective better, they’d be enjoying successes such as those they’re being told about. And so we arrive at the remarkable outcome in which the party designed to embolden socialists, to make them feel stronger and more capable of intervening in daily conflicts, makes them feel helpless and demoralised.’

  270. “Re sexism in the SWP, I already wrote about this on UK Left Network at the time, and mentioned some of the examples on here. Sorry you missed them. Do pay attention.”

    ‘Do pay attention’? You really should do something about that inferiority complex of yours!

  271. It is interesting that there is a sustained blogging offensive by SWP supporters to pour cold water on a conference they were not at.

    And MA, Anna Chen’s criticisms of the SWP has been widely in circulation for a number of years now.

    Anna did an amazing job as press secretary of the Socialist Alliance and Stop the War at the most critical period. As much as any other single individual she shifted the mainstream press from talking to CND to talking to STWC, thorugh her professionalism, talent and hard work. She was subsequently treated appallingly.

  272. I would go further than that and say that I made a serious misjudgement of Galloway because after Big Brother i really though he had given up on politics, and was sailing off towards Kilroy Silkism, but I was clearly completely wrong about that.

    I honestly fear events are proving you very much right on this one.

    The point with the sexism is this: young women were blocked from attending their own Respect members’ meeting in Tower Hamlets (“What are these women doing here? I didn’t bring my wife”‘); a speaker at your Renewal rally made a dreadful sexist comment about another comrade; and Galloway slobbers all over Kylie’s bum in a national newspaper. So what’s going on?

  273. It is interesting that there is a sustained blogging offensive by SWP supporters to pour cold water on a conference they were not at.

    It’s more interesting that the Galloway claque have been unable to deal substantively with any of the criticisms raised here.

    Why were there no votes taken at your so-called “conference”? No votes, no delegates, no democracy. But plenty of anti-SWP vitriol: and the suggestion, applauded by at least some of the audience, that you should vote Boris johnson rather than Lindsey German for mayor.

  274. no one special on said:

    Madam Miaow I would also like to know more details and I’m sorry I wasn’t aware I had to be monitoring all left blogs and e lists over the last few years.

    It is absurd to think that sexism does not exist on the left, it is impossible to escape it, as it is institutional through all society. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

    I’m shocked that people on here are defending Gallowys statement, in particular the reference to ‘his women’, I appreciate that it is a figure of speech but coming from a ‘socialist’ MP, someone who is the most prominent left figure in the country it is foul. Galloway has a responsibility to challenge crap like this not endorse it. Of course, it does not mean that Galloway should not be supported or worked with and yes the SWP supporters are just using it as a stick to beat him with but I think the real issue is the refusal of some on here to criticise Galloway over this. I think this and the recent defensiveness of some of the SWP members/supporters shows what problem sexism on the left is, certainly a bigger one that I ever thought.

  275. 324 “Well I’m new to this blog, ”

    So you’ll happily shoot your mouth off before you know who anybody is or what they’re talking about?

    328 MA, you say jump and I don’t have to ask “how high”.

    There are enough people on this blog who know what happened. And, as I wrote above, I raised these issues with SWP CC (you’d be surprised who was sympathetic as they’d seen this before), I wrote about it on UK Left Network, and I have written about specific events on SU in the hope of helping generate an honest debate and a change in the culture. None has been forthcoming.

    You may be some Joanna-cum-lately who fancies herself as my inquisitor, but I actually had the misfortune to find myself in Rees’s Gaddafyesque Praetorian Guard of women in the role of trolley-dolly and “luvvy-interface” (Rees’s own phrase), as well as giving them a fully-functional and unpaid press office for their anti-war and SA projects.

    I was on your side. I now owe you nothing.

  276. There are enough people on this blog who know what happened.

    Erm, clearly not.

    Back to the rally. Here’s Mark Serwotka:

    “I was as happy as anyone when George Galloway won in Bethnal Green & Bow, and when the Respect councillors were elected … I have declined to speak to the Renewal conference, and I’ll tell you why. I have always believed in unity. Who is the happiest when some people split from Respect? Gordon Brown. He sees this as an opportunity. My appeal is for unity, but there can never be unity in a left-wing organisation when people attack and witch hunt other socialists.”

  277. Not only do the SWP bloggers ‘pour cold water on a conference they were not at’ and had no interest in, they are keen to post here – but why!

    Guess where they cannot post?, guess where there is no debate and guess where no one’s opinion is printed unless it conforms with the view of the ‘Party’

    Yes you guessed it – the Socialist Worker Web site.

    So lets just pose a small challange shall we to all the SWP bloggers. Demand an ‘open forum’ on the Socialist Worker web site for all to post on and lets just see what the SWP CC think about that!

  278. Also, there is no reciprication, becasue I let them comment here, but Lenin’s Tomb has a comments policy modelled on the North Korean Communist party

  279. The most positive development from yesterday,noted by many people in Bishopsgate and wider, is that we now have an opportunity to move on from this division to seek legitimisation in the movement. That can happen in every field of struggle. So, “the east is red”, how should that be pursued, for example, in the PCS at the moment.

  280. And what do you say about the sexist treatment of Respect’s female councillors and other women in Tower Hamlets at the hands of the ‘renewal’ faction Madam Miaow? Women being barred from coming into meetings, female councillors being bullied by male ‘renewal’ councillors?

    You may have commented on this but I couldn’t see it on your blog. Lots of the usual stuff about the nasty old SWP being to blame for everything, but nothing about the fact that the SWP faction refused to tolerate this misogyny – a very prominent factor in the split.

    Some of this is discussed here by Cllr Rania Khan:

    http://bravenewfilms.org/blog/19195-rania-khan-respect-conference-2007

    If you have commented on this, I do apologise.

  281. “Back to the rally” says the SWP supporter without a hint of irony.
    And btw it wasn’t my rally. I’m not in either of the Respects.
    But I’m sure that the SWP Respect are going to do really well next year. (I’m joking btw seeing as you didn’t get it last time.)

  282. Herbert Lemon on said:

    Still waiting for a response to the three questions from post 285 – any takers:

    “Three questions for RR people. Will Respect Renewal stand up for comprehesive education while still giving utmost respect to Yvonne Ridley who pays £17,000 a year for her daughter’s education?

    Will Respect Renewal continue Respect’s disastous alliances with the Islamist right organsiations, businessmen and mosque leaders or will it try to win over young Muslims or young people of all faiths and none, on a radical political programme that reaches the grassroots and doesn’t comprimise on issues of gender and sexuality?

    Will RR permanently exclude the 2,500 (or whatever the real figure is) SWP members or will it put some energy into seeking a rapprochement or at least a working relationship. I can’t help thinking that ther are a lot of good socialists in SWP and Respect who would be of far more service to the left working with/complementing each other rather than working against each other”

  283. # 341 “Also, there is no reciprication, becasue I let them comment here, but Lenin’s Tomb has a comments policy modelled on the North Korean Communist party”

    What are you suggesting, Andy?

    You post a few pics from the ‘Respect Renewal’ event yesterday and it generates 345 comments . . . and counting.

    Lenny’s writes a 4000 word piece on the Respect(SWP) event yesterday and, at the time of writing, there are 42 comments.

  284. What has being patronising got to do with being a feminist?
    Personally I think that remark is rather more revealing that you would like.

  285. no one special on said:

    Re: 344
    And MA what was the SWP saying about these things before the beginning of this split?
    Not that publicly denouncing them would have been the right thing to do rather I would have thought pushing for clear ant-sexist policies and public statements to be put out by RESPECT would have been the way to go.

  286. The Disrespect Squid on said:

    ‘Er, comrade Squid, give an example of this “reactionary chauvenistic nonsense” on Anna’s website?’
    Her website is linked to here. I followed the link, and found material which I found distateful, and in parts ‘reactionary chauvenistic nonsense’. You, and anyone else who read my comment, are free to follow these links too. Do so, if you care to, and form your own opinions. They may concur with mine, they may conflict. That’s life.

    If I wanted to attack her, I could trawl through her website for quotable evidence of the material that prompted my opinion, but I don’t want to attack her and that seems like a thorough waste of my time, and yours (should you find yourself reading it). This is not Newsnight, this is a comments thread on a web log. I would struggle to provide justifying examples for each of my opinions anyway. I’m more interested in joining a mass socialist party. Stopping sectarian attacks on a vital component thereof would be a step towards building one.

    I only made the comment, because having read things on her website I won’t comment on again I didn’t feel the author was well placed to make the condemning claims she made (for which she was not expected to give examples).

    Besides which, the vitriolic SWP bashing occuring above, I thought unhelpful and destructive.

    I state my case again, for the same purpose: the SWP leadership have made some destructive mistakes, but the SWP themselves (however many thousand of them) are (broadly at least) fine comrades undeserving of the attacks on here.

    ‘You know it is a rubbish claim!’
    No, and while your writing style suggests you are an intelligent and educated person, you know nothing of the sort.

    I’m off back to Liam’s site, where I have found criticism of the SWP on the comments to be broadly more measured and ‘respectful’. This thread is turning into an unpleasant and destructive flame war which makes both sides, and apparently even those of us not on either side but hoping to bring people together, look like fools.

    I feel like one any way. Over and out.

  287. You sound like you’re jealous.
    How disappointing that people can’t be bothered to comment on John Rees and co.
    Perhaps that’s revealing too?

  288. anticapitalista on said:

    #338 No just asking for you to point me in the right direction. So will you give me that link or not? I can’t find it.
    I promise to pay attention.

  289. Still waiting for a response to the three questions from post 285 – any takers:

    OK, here’s one. In what sense has RR excluded “the 2,500 (or whatever the real figure is) SWP members”? I don’t think the Renewal group has ever said that SWP members aren’t welcome – or are only welcome on condition that they become ex-members. Where have you heard otherwise?

  290. Alex Nichols on said:

    Sorry Louise, you may regard it as “dismissive intellectualising”, but I happen to have a philosophical difference with you, which are nothing to do with “blinding you with political science”, but everything to do with using the Marxist definitions of “objectification”, “alienation” and the “commodity”.
    Your final line: “In order to commodify you need to objectify” is exactly the point.
    It’s simply historically and factually wrong and therefore leads to the wrong approach politically.

    (BTW, from what I understand, Rosa L is actually a bloke in cyber-drag)

    Anyway to cool down the atmosphere a bit, here’s a nice clip of Rodney Crowell, classic Hot-Band member with impeccable credentials, Western Kentucky, part-Cherokee, the ex of John Cash’s daughter and song-writer of many of Emmylou’s best songs. (who I love in a pure platonic way for her beautiful emotionalvoice not her beautiful looks)

    Rodney Crowell Til I Gain Control Again
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCrJ6sckDjU

    Or if you’ve got about an hour a full live performance an interview, (with some discussion of lingerie obsessions)

    http://www.woodsongs.com/showdetailspage.asp?SN=357

  291. Kevin Murphy on said:

    “Also, there is no reciprication, becasue I let them comment here, but Lenin’s Tomb has a comments policy modelled on the North Korean Communist party.”

    Yet another new low Andy. Richard allows criticism–it’s just not an SWP bashing ground for those sectarians who feel so right at home on your Socialist DisUnity blog.

  292. Richard allows criticism–it’s just not an SWP bashing ground for those sectarians who feel so right at home on your Socialist DisUnity blog.

    I think you’ve just proved Andy’s point. If Andy took the same attitude to ‘sectarian’ RR-bashing as Richard does to critics of the SWP, how much of this thread would have seen the light of day?

  293. Alex Nichols on said:

    #356 Kevin Murphy! The Deutscher prize winner? LOL One of the biggest sectarians in cyberspace.

  294. Kevin Murphy

    i would point out that at least 50% if not more of the comments on this thread have been from SWP supporters criticising galloway, Respect renewal, etc etc.

    So it has in fact become a Galloway bashing ground for you.

    My point that there is no symmetry is clearly true.

  295. “You see, feminist ideas, and generally ideas against the oppression have suffered a large scale retreat in society and in the movement. That means we need to win the ground back. Among comrades that should be done by friendly debate and discussion, not condemning people.”

    Andy, I sympathise with the above but I think Galloway was wrong to make those remarks about Kylie but equally it is laughable witnessing the SWP getting all rad fem about it (think Splintered Sunrise is correct in comment 308 re Dworkinite language).
    When have the SWP been serious about oppression? Other than the usual it is all lets boil it down to class and capitalism? No mention about the symbiotic relationship patriarchy and capitalism. Capitalism transforms everything as there’s a dialetical relationship between things that do have an independent dynamic (own laws of motion). Also, the SWP reduces feminism down to the arguments that they are petty bourgeois and based in middle class academia. Like wc feminists don’t exist..’Fraid they do comrades… Socialist feminism brings together two currents of thought and is quite a dynamic. Feminism without the socialism is wrong.
    It just makes me think of that old essay….”The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism” by Heidi Hartmann. The two are compatible just that many on the Left are too short-sighted to accept the importance of feminism…….

  296. Any “socialists” who can get into bed with George “Sir, I salute your indefatigability” Galloway, desrve all they get at the hands of this tyrant-worshipping Stalinist: the SWP have found out…how long wil it take the dullard Thornett and his none-too-bright followers?

  297. Ok #346

    I am just off to write a political review of yesterday’s conference, though tere is already a goood write up on Splintered Sunrise’s blog.

    Your three questions:

    1) “Three questions for RR people. Will Respect Renewal stand up for comprehesive education while still giving utmost respect to Yvonne Ridley who pays £17,000 a year for her daughter’s education?

    Answer. Can you remembeer who it was that first raised this issue of whether it was appropriate for Yvonne Ridely to be a Respct candidate when we have a policy supporting comprehensive education. It was a comrade called Andy Newman, writing on the old Socialist Unity Network website. It is still my belief that Yvonne should not be a candidate for that reason, but Respect is a broad party, and people are entitled to different views, and different branches are entitled to select the candidate they choose.

    2) Will Respect Renewal continue Respect’s disastous alliances with the Islamist right organsiations, businessmen and mosque leaders or will it try to win over young Muslims or young people of all faiths and none, on a radical political programme that reaches the grassroots and doesn’t comprimise on issues of gender and sexuality?

    Answer. Respect has never had any alliance with right wing organisations. NOr with big business – and any broad preogressive party must appeal to small buisiness people, the self employed etc, The Labour party always did and I remember that fine old socialist warhorse Ian Mikado defending the Labour party standing up for small businesses against monopolies. Respect has never compromised on issues of gender and sexuality. GHada Rhazuki made a brilliant point about this, saying that all the criticism of the allegedly homophobic Muslims betrays an ignorance of what life is like for exmaple in a fire station or among other predominanatly male workforces.

    3) Will RR permanently exclude the 2,500 (or whatever the real figure is) SWP members or will it put some energy into seeking a rapprochement or at least a working relationship. I can’t help thinking that ther are a lot of good socialists in SWP and Respect who would be of far more service to the left working with/complementing each other rather than working against each other”

    Answer. The SWP members are not excluded, but the control methods of the SWp leadership means we cannot work with them in the old way. of course we need to rebuild working relationship for practical campaigns. Read back through this thread, do you get the impression the SWP supporters here are seeking rapprochement and bridge building? Or are tey on a wrecking mission?

  298. anticapitalista on said:

    #359 i would point out that at least 50% if not more of the comments on this thread have been from SWP supporters criticising galloway, Respect renewal, etc etc. – Andy

    So you have bad maths too!! at least 50% what a larfff

  299. anticapitalista on said:

    I was disappointed to read somewhere, I think it was here or at Liams blog, that Clive Searle had said that there can be no reproachment/unity or words to that effect, unless the SWP retract their ‘allegations’ (or words to that effect).

    This seems to go against what was written about the North Manchester Respect meeting, where both the brothers stressed unity in action with SWP members (and not only of course, it includes Labour Party members too) particularly over the Karen Reissmann issue.

    Now I know Clive and Richard from a long time ago, starting at Manchester Poly in the ’80’s and briefly on a visit back to the UK during the Booth Hall Hospital campaign as well as meeting Richard in Genoa 2001. I am also in touch with SWP comrades in North Manchester that have a lot of respect and praise for both brothers.
    So, if unity in action is going to be a reality, then let it happen. To be honest, I believe that the force that will achieve this will be a mass movement outside of Respect and RR, probably the anti-war movement. Let’s hope so.

  300. your blind hatred of the SWP is quite disturbing Louise. Someone who would rather get one over on the SWP than actually express any concern about real instances of sexism taking place, that the SWP has been condemning, doesn’t sound too ‘rad fem’ either.

    What do you make of Mark Serwotka’s stance yesterday? Is he ‘not serious about oppression’ for choosing the ‘SWP’ faction of Respect?

  301. MA

    It is quite possible to express political disagreements, as Louise has done – without it being motivated by blind hatred.

    I would realy like the SWP supporters to step back and consider whether the animosity they are exhibiting is going to make it harder to rebuild trust in the necessary tasks we have ahead of joint work against the attack on Iran, the campaign against the BNP, etc.

    And Mark serwotka is wrong on this. he is fallible like all of us.

  302. Mark Serwotka is wrong because Andy Newman who runs ‘socialist unity’ (Orwell style) says so.

    Right.

  303. IBSpartacus2 on said:

    Wow! can’t believe I read through all that on a website calling itself Socialist Unity (cringe).
    So, this split is not so much about politics but structure and tactics according to Renewal. If that is so, what will be better/ different about the way Renewal will operate? Apart, that is, from not having any democratically elected leadership for the next 3-4 months and no SWP. Is it a secret conspiracy Babeuf? (no pun intended).

  304. Roas – whatever his/her gender, is an anti- Marxist twat, who can’t even understand the elementary concept of the dialectic. Yet claims to be some sort of “theoretician”… sad, or what?

  305. I’ve read all of ‘Rosa Lichtenstein’ on dialectics and it is pseudo intellectual garbage, using acronyms like ‘MAD’ for materialist dialectics.
    Very sophisticated.
    Apparently ‘Rosa Lichtenstein’ regards Rob Sewell’s writings as the primary source for dialectical materialism.
    I’ve nothing against Rob, in fact I’d hold him in higher regard than many other contemporary Marxist writers, but I’d suggest Rob himself would urge people to study the classic texts as regards dialectical materialism.
    My own favourite is from the introduction to Dialectics of Nature by Engles, the section that starts;
    “The innumerable suns and solar systems of our island universe, bounded by the outermost stellar rings of the Milky Way, developed from swirling, glowing masses of vapour, the laws of motion of which will perhaps be disclosed after the observations of some centuries have given us an insight into the proper motion of the stars.”
    http://tinyurl.com/2wuqcv

  306. Alex Nichols on said:

    #363 “Whether I am or not, you still can’t sustain an argument against me, and only resort to name-calling.”

    You’re a bloke.

    Anyway, I’ve been around for too long to rise to baits like that.
    I did skim read some of your article a while ago. Enough to realise it was pretty trivial stuff. Tieing up people with arguments about basic assumptions in Marxism is a trollish sort of trick and I won’t waste my time on it. I came to my conclusions about dialectics, the labour theory of value, democratic centralism and Trotsky in the early 70’s after *lots* of quite deep study.
    You aint gonna shift me.

    Now to finish a glass of red wine – why don’t you check out the Rodney Crowell link. Nice dude.

  307. “your blind hatred of the SWP is quite disturbing Louise. Someone who would rather get one over on the SWP than actually express any concern about real instances of sexism taking place, that the SWP has been condemning, doesn’t sound too ‘rad fem’ either”.

    Well MA, if you choose to see no evil and look the other way when sexism is staring you in the face then that’s your look out and good luck to ya….

  308. Darren: if Lenny doesn’t not-publish a number of commments, possibly. I wouldn’t bet on it though. For all we know, there could be another 300 comments waiting in “am I allowed to publish these, I better wait until Monday and phone the CC”-limbo…

  309. Alex Nichols on said:

    “Are we going to get to 400 comments on this thread?”

    I’m up for it – interleaving with a few other things.
    But this plonk might render me comatose before 1.00 am.
    I won’t be too popular.

    BTW IBSpartacus2, the term “Socialist Unity” might make you cringe, but it has a historical precedent in British politics. And ever wonder why so many people are contributing here? Like maybe it fulfills a certain need for political debate or something?

    How about someone posting some more decent movie links?

  310. The Disrespect Squid on said:

    One last comment. I love how people on both sides of the arguments here can flip from swearing and name calling one minute to baffling in-depth historical Marxist analysis of why the other is such a **** the next. There’s hope for us all!

    You’ve made me smile, for which I thank you. And yes, I’m sure there will be 400 comments on this thread and more. Goodnight all.

  311. georgier on said:

    The development of a broad left party will of necessity include people whose opinions we find we disagree with. That is messy and it is called democracy. By contrast it is hardly surprising that members of a monolithic party inevitably leads to a very high degree of consensus at the largely SWP R conference.

    The SR leaflet provides a credible chronology and documents which support the contention that the SWP CC determined from an early stage that they would break the coalition.

    Most of the posts on here relating to teh comments or actions of Ridley and Galloway relate to events or similar utterances that in the past the SWP leadership has

    ignored, or
    laughed off,or
    covered up, or
    censored

    So pleeease dont come the innocent now particularly since those who wanted to take related issues further through R structures were overrruled by the inbuilt SWP majority.

    Evidently the fact that the RR event was so well supported and not just by ‘communalists’ has led to a large amount of abuse on people who hold different positions in RR. I suspect the crisis in SWP is deeper than we currently see.

    There will be a need for working togehter as so many posts on here have identified at national and more importantky local level so while there is always room for ‘robust’ debate individual and personal invective is counter productive.

  312. Lobby Ludd on said:

    Fort all those SWP supporters who have just discovered that Gorgeous has serious faults, I would ask why have they only just discovered this?

    There has been a massive turn round in the SWP’s politics. Not that this was motivated by a serious reconsideration of the course they were taking, rather it was a fear of loss of control.

    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

    Click, click, click,

    Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

    Nobody needs lessons in politics from the current SWP CC and its cheer-leaders.

  313. # 377
    “Yes Dan but the 50 have real quality, not 350 plus of bullshit.

    Comment by anticapitalista — 19 November, 2007 @ 12:20 am”

    You may have a point there. Of the first 310 comments on this thread, at least 100 came from SWP members or fellow travellers. 😉

  314. ship in the night on said:

    “The whole point about Kylie is that she has made a career out of presenting her sexuality as a commodity.” —-> “She was asking for it, dressed like that.”

  315. I have to say that I was actually embarassed for Weyman Bennett at the RR conference, who made the most rambling incoherent speech I have ever heard. I hope no-one puts it on you tube, as it would be unfair to the comrade.

  316. I don’t think the Renewal group has ever said that SWP members aren’t welcome – or are only welcome on condition that they become ex-members. Where have you heard otherwise?

    It’s just about possible that any SWP member may have perhpas detected the tiniest, tiniest amount of hostility towards them at yesterday’s rally.

    A 35-minute tirade against the SWP by George Galloway, for instance, with close to zero political content beyond that, might possibly convince them that their presence isn’t wholly welcome. I’m still baffled as to why Galloway’s claque have been so reticent about linking to the video of his speech; residual shame?

    This does bother me: I’m not sure what holds together “Renewal” apart from SWP-bashing. The rally had little else on offer. And everything about their current trajectory – without the serious social forces to restrain them, without the politics to persuade them otherwise – suggests they will simply get worse.

    “I would rather vote for Boris Johnson than Lindsey German”. Why was this applauded by anyone at the rally? Why was someone even making this point at a supposedly left-wing event?

    Why were no votes taken at the so-called “conference”? Was this really because, as Macuaid (perhaps inadvertently) implies on his blog, the result would be “unpredictable”?

    Galloway launched his original attack on the SWP in Respect by claiming that we should not have supported a female candidate for the Shadwell by-election. Then we found Bengali women were being excluded from their own Respect members’ meeting (“Why are these women here? I didn’t bring my wife.”) Then a speaker at the conference made a disgraceful sexist remark about a female comrade. Then we find Galloway leering at Kylie’s bum all over a national newspaper. So what’s going on?

  317. georgier on said:

    The whole point about Kylie is that she has made a career out of presenting her sexuality as a commodity.” —-> “She was asking for it, dressed like that.”

    Comment by ship in the night — 19 November, 2007 @ 12:34 am

    Cheap twat

  318. Cheap twat

    Georgier just confirming the point, then. Well done. So Socialist Unity’s happy band have moved from attempting to defend Galloway’s article, to outright sexist abuse.

  319. East is Red

    Errr – well Liam who is also part of the “Galloway Claque” posted it yesterday.

    I think all of the speakers were clapped out of politeness, I don’t even remember hearing the alleged remark abour Boris JOhnson, but you know full well that you are making mischief, becasue the debate in RR is whether or not we shoudl be supporting Ken.

    I definitley didn’t hear the alleged sexist remark, and have no ideas what it was. Nick rack was chairing and he also didn’t hear it. If something sexist was said then that is regretable, and I apologise to whoever the remark was addressed to – but it was from a floor speaker.

  320. It’s funny Andy, one of your comrades said exactly the same on Liam’s blog – is that the ‘line’ you’ve agreed on about Weyman’s speech? And of course, you are both such marvellous public speakers aren’t you! 😀

    My own view is that the SWP members who tried to appeal for unity shouldn’t have bothered – rationality, logic and a desire for left unity are truly out the window in the RR camp. The ‘fuck the lot of you’ t-shirts, the poem about leeches and the ‘I’d rather vote Boris’ remark sums it up well. RR are on a very destructive path from the get-go.

  321. georgier on said:

    East is read see my comment above

    Westminster was composed of mostly homogenous group SWP. RR is at a v early stage and therefore inevitably will take time to coalesce into a a party or similar formation. Comment about GLM elections in the current atmosphere may well prduce some support though not apparantly from Confernece chair.

    So once again we have unsubstantiated charges being levelled to smear in the nastiest possible way former friends who were BEYOND criticism from SWP leaders (not from the ISG please note) and now the dogs have been let loose and GG and others are fair game for every smear.

  322. #388

    When ship in the night writes: “The whole point about Kylie is that she has made a career out of presenting her sexuality as a commodity.” —-> “She was asking for it, dressed like that.””

    i take this as trivialising rape by equating it to a fairly innocuous remark by galleays that reflected the prevailing sexism in society.

    You”ve come a long way comrades to the point where your hostility to George leads you to joking about rape.

  323. MA #396

    Actaully – false modesty aside – I am a pretty good speaker. If you have never heard me it is becasue you have never been to a Stop the War conference

  324. “Galloway launched his original attack on the SWP in Respect by claiming that we should not have supported a female candidate for the Shadwell by-election. Then we found Bengali women were being excluded from their own Respect members’ meeting (”Why are these women here? I didn’t bring my wife.”) Then a speaker at the conference made a disgraceful sexist remark about a female comrade. Then we find Galloway leering at Kylie’s bum all over a national newspaper”

    Real hardcore ‘rad fems’ don’t have much to say about these sort of incidents – if you don’t get to slag off the SWP then it’s just not worth bothering with.

    Such a principled lot over in these parts.

  325. No. 395: so was the speech I had the misfortune of hearing.

    Incidentally, a very quick anecdote on the theme “fuck off the lot of you”, especially to finally nail on the head those allegations that I’m a “SWP propagandist”…

    I once got called to speak at ‘Marxism’, in the main hall at the Institue of Education, probably because I didn’t put ‘all’ of my political affiliations on the speaker slip, and the easiest way to get called is to put ‘Member of XXX (extremely working-class shithole and therefore without any kind of SWP pentetration whatsoever) Constituency Labour Party’. I was pleased with my brief intervention – I think it had something to do with the non-LP left should get involved with the LP left as well, and that revolutionaries are not ‘banned’ from being active and pushing their politics in most CLPs, and their moribund state could easily be used to get a few revolutionaries elected (this was probably in 1995 or ’96). I think I also managed to plug the Socialist Alliance as then was (without the SWP). Regardless, I got a few laughs (at the SWPs expense), and was (bizarrely) applauded when called as being from ‘XXX CLP’, so it started and ended well.

    Afterwards, I was ‘ambushed’ by someone, who I now assume was John Rees, and by Pat Stack (who’d been on the platform, probably ‘debating’ some not-very-left Labour person). They laid on the patter about ‘what’s the point of being in a small group like Socialist Organiser’ and ‘they’re all aimable enough people, but we’re the biggest and that’s why we’re the best/we’re the best, that’s why we’re the biggest’ (I can’t quite remember which way round the argument was exactly). I pointed out that I actually disagreed with the SWP line on a number of issues. It didn’t matter, the leading comrades kindly pointed out and did I want a drink. So I could argue my politics then, write for internal bulletins, argue my line in the paper? And at meetings, while pointing out at the same time the ‘official line’. ‘Oh no, we’re not liberals. Oh go on, join us. We’re bigger. We’re the best.’ I politely turned down and pointed out it wasn’t a very good way of trying to recruit, at least not on a political basis. Then the two comrades got very unfriendly and told me to ‘fuck off’. Nice.

    Is that comment 401?

  326. georgier on said:

    #400
    MA where is the evidence?
    If it happened then it should have been investigated throught national structure
    I have read so much about the alleged abuses in TH and I am in no position to say whether they have any foundation but in the current context it is all part of a smear on RR to raise these now when they should have been raised weeks or even moths ago if there was any substance. Alan Thornett made a strong pojnt in his summation of where we are when he effectively said – not his words

    I have been critical of GG in the past but when he tabled his letter on the way forward for R it did not matter who raised the issues but what was said and he agreed with the majority of GGs fairly muted criticisms

  327. #383 MA

    The sarcasm directed against louise is totally uncalled for.

    Far from being a rad fem she is a socialist feminist, and actually engages with the rad fems political and gets a hard time from them, for her pains.

  328. “She was asking for it, dressed like that”: I’m not suggesting for a moment that the people who run this blog are responsible for that remark (from “Ship in the night”)… but I think you guys should clearly dissaciate yourselves from that staement, which is – of course – a rapist’s charter.

  329. Alex Nichols on said:

    re: Stakhanovite 402

    There are some completely absurb myths being peddled here.

    Like there is a Socialist Unity “crowd” – it’s not an organisation, it’s an open blog – whatever the crowd is you’re part of it.

    It’s motivated by SWP “hatred” – anyone who’se spent hundreds of hours on streets, outside factories and pit-head canteens, or been on dozens of ANL organised demos -like me, doesn’t “hate” the SWP. They tend to feel a great deal of comradeship with many SWP’ers.

    But we’ve also noticed the change in the organisation – in my branch we had a lot of friendship and solidarity and I still see some of the people now.
    However, if you go to Marxism and decline a membership card nowadays, you get some apparatchik Student haranguing you and being generally offensive – almost as bad as an SLL’er.

    Really SWP’ers should be wondering why they’ve managed to piss off such a broad swathe of people. What is the root of this sectarianism in the organisation and where is it going?

    How will the existence of 2 Respects, the Socialist Party and the LRC affect the situation at the next election?

    After 400 odd posts, there’s been NO discussion of the political way forward by any of the C.C loyalists – absolutely nothing that’s stuck in my mind whatsoever!

    Instead, we have this endless drone about Galloway and Kylie – like how about someone attacking a target on the right for a change, instead of these poor working class Scots blokes and their heinous crimes.

    Just where is the sense of proportion?

  330. “like how about someone attacking a target on the right for a change”

    Welcome to ‘socialist unity’! We don’t do attacks on the right around here, sorry!

  331. #405

    JIm I agree

    I think it was “ship in the night’s” intention to imply that i was as bad as saying “She was asking for it, dressed like that” by pointing ou that Kylie had coluded in her own objectification.

    Iit is offensive, both in the insinuation aginats galoway and myself, but also by making humour out of rape, and using the offensive term “She was asking for it, dressed like that”

    this is how low some comrades have sunk.

  332. Richard Searle on said:

    Note to Anticapitalista (post 365).
    Thanx for that respectful comment. I would would make to make it quite clear that there’s no pre-condtions in working together with any party, body, individual over key issues. Tomorrow I will be spending the day building support for demo on the 24th Nov in Manchester for Karen Reissmann and those nurses out on strike. That’s want you do as a socialist and a trades unionist.

    The point Clive was making, is that for real and genuine repproachment then the inflamitory language that has been used by the SWP CC and unfortuntaley been parroted by a some SWP members has to be withdrawn. Simply because its not true and it’s dishonest. Tony Cliff used to always say ” Don’t tell lies to the class” The CC have thrown that idea away and have been doing it to the membership.

    Trying to maintain working relationships and continue to campaign during all of this is very difficult especially when we now find out that what we say in the North Manchester Respect meetings is being reported back to the SWP CC. I had Weyman Bennett tell me at the Respect Renewall Conf, that he knew better than me what went is said in meetings where I sit, when he is in London.

    However, I have a suspicion who you are Anticapitalista, Feel free to contact for an off-blog discussion via
    http://www.mancsagainsttanks.org/pictures.htm

    in solidarity

  333. DCM #407

    You realy are a disgrace.

    Just read back through this blog, we are consistently covering stories attacking the right, but you can’t be bothered to comment on them.

  334. Alex Nichols on said:

    #408 There’s an absolutely insane continuum theory at work in this discussion.
    This is how personalised smear campaings are used to destroy left wing organisations.

    Meanwhile ruling class shitbags are up to far worse behind a facade of civilised blandness. They’re past masters at it, just much, much more hypocritical and devious.

  335. Come on Andy – you’re in no danger of being the next Mark Serwotka are you? Left unity is just not your thing. You run a very divisive website and not many come here to be inspired, do they?

  336. Kent&CanterburyDan on said:

    POINT 1 – the blog
    I find it really sad Andy that your once informative site seems to have degenerated into a mutual slanging match between the two sides of RESPECT, and that you yourself seem to be joining in in such discgraceful behaviour.

    POINT 2 – the speeches
    The big difference between the two conferences can quite easily be seen between what would widely be regarded as the “keynote speeches” – those of George Galloway and John Rees. Having watched the very poor technical quality video of Georges speech (wonder why there isn’t a better one available? Perhaps some people are a little embaressed by it’s content) I not only feel highly offended at being refferred to as a “juvenile dwarf” I also feel highly disappointed that George seems to effectively be saying he is quite prepared to work with SWP members but not the leadership. Renewal has repeatedly said it would be prepared to work with all left wing groups, but so it would seem not the SWP? There was very little in George’s speech about the future, about how to build and grow, only a continued bashing of the SWP leadership and it’s supporters and a rambling defence of his own position – “I am not right wing..etc..etc..”
    Compare this with the Rees speech. Praising Galloway’s election, detailing the reasons behind the split and analysing them – opportunism and entryism, talking about how to go forward and encouraging growth.
    What was also interesting was the tone of both speakers. Galloway was practically ranting.

    POINT 3 – membership and leadership
    My own analysis is simple – anyone who knows me will me know that I like to break things down to black and white, and whilst that usually involves some form of generalising I find it can be helpful. It would appear that the the difference between Respect and Respect Renewal is simply in it’s membership and diversity. Just looking at the pictures from Renewal it would appear that he audience was largely male, elderly (or older) and asian (I wasn’t there so I can only go by the pictures). What could this tell us? That it was largely made up of Galloway’s supporters from Tower Hamlets perhaps? The Westminster Conference was so diverse as to be confusing. Young, old, black, white, asian, soberly suited and extravagently dressed, it semmed to have it all. Not only that the geographical diversity of the speakers was striking for a first time conference goer – London, Brighton, Manchester, Plymouth, Preston, South Wales, Newcastle. What conclusion can I draw from this? That certain leadership figures from within Respect – Galloway, Smith, Yaqoob, Wrack, Loach, Ridley, etc – are dissatisfied with the way things are being done within Respect, and when they can’t get their own way decied to go it alone. The vast majority of the actual grassroots membership have stayed. Respect Renewal have lost their grass roots, Respect (SWP) have lost their media figures. If I was a leader within Respect and had to choose which one to lose I know which one it would be.

  337. Teddy Boy on said:

    The future is renewal. Not the rantings of those looking on. George is a timely whistle-blower. He has saved Respect from disappearing into a front for the control freaks of the SWP.
    It is Respect I joined. And the many like me are moving on. So rant on amongst yourselves scumbags and destroyers of the truth

  338. “scumbags and destroyers of the truth.” That is how one Respect Renewal member has just characterised the SWP, and the rest of Respect loyalists. “Fuck off the lot of you!” That was Galloway’s appeal to SWP members who were democratically elected officers of the Tower Hamlets branch. Galloway’ man on Respect’s conference arrangements committee, Ian Donovan, denounced the appeal for Galloway’s supporters on Tower Hamlets council to condemn the physical assault on Oliur. Of course, given Ian’s well-established history of physically assaulting political opponents, this hardly comes as a surprise. Galloway locks out the democratically elected national secretary from his office, and denies him access to his property. His supporters rig delegations in Tower Hamlets and Birmingham. He attempts to expell the democratically elected national secretary, the party’s democratically selected London Mayoral candidate, four councillors and the entire SWP membership. Despite all this, however, the Respect conference report on Liam’s blog, written by the ONLY delegate to vote against John Rees being re-elected national secretary demands… an electoral pact between Respect and Respect Renewal! Incredible, but absolutely true.

    Anti-abortionists, homophobes, communalists, businessmen all coalescing around surrealist fantasy politics. There is ZERO prospect of any official electoral pact between Respect and Respect Renewal. The former will select candidates who are united in opposition to the employers’ offensive, who support abortion rights, gay rights, the rights of people from all communities to think for themselves, rather than to be reduced to some racist stereotype. Electoral pacts between Respect, the CNWP/NSSN, John McDonnell’s supporters in the Labour Party, some genuine socialists in the Green Party (like Derek Wall and Peter Tatchell) is both possible and essential. If Liam, or any other members of Respect Renewal, want to climb aboard the new united left, then they first have to dissociate themselves from this dead parrot.

  339. Canadien on said:

    Andy: “You need to look back through old issues of socialsit worker from the 1970s and 1980s then, the party argued a very different line from what you are now.”

    I’m not in Britain and it’s not the 1980s, thank god. I’ve read Cliff’s book and Lindsey German’s Sex, Class and Socialism. There’s some interesting and useful stuff in both – more Lindsey’s to be honest. But, in any case, I also exist politically in Canada where there has been a strong left, socialist tradition amongst feminists. Now, I’m don’t accept feminist “dual-systems” theory (patriarchy AND capitalism) but I believe the women’s oppression is a key issue and that it infects society top to bottom, including the left. This is not a stick to beat anyone, Galloway included (though the idea of beating Galloway with Kylie’s ass is a strange image indeed) and I said this earlier. The point is not even to dwell on it – it is to point out that it is a problem. It became much bigger because most of the men on here became immediately defensive – and some, frankly offensive. You say the comparison made by “Ship in the night” to the justification for rape was offensive – frankly I thought it an apt comparison because it reminded me of campaign a number of years ago on university campuses in Canada called “No means No” – in other words if a woman says no to sex, they aren’t being coy. There was a backlash starting with male engineering students (someone should do an analysis someday on why engineers – in N.America anyway – are always the most reactionary on campus) putting up signs like “No means harder” or “No means kick her in the teeth”.
    Alex N’s flippant comments to complaints by women (prior to that people had ignored the issue when it was raised and I hadn’t commented on it either), saying how he liked her arse too – well, it immediately brought the No Means No campaign to mind. Obviously, this is different than the issue of rape but there is a continuum of disparagement of the experience of women’s oppression by women and the manifestations of it. It is a knee-jerk anti-feminism, rooted in frankly sexist attitudes and behaviour. And, I gotta tell you, the stuff that people have argued on here would have gotten slammed anywhere on the left in Canada, in my experience – in the unions, in the student movement, etc. You Brits need some education on women’s oppression – that shit about “radicalised petty bourgeois…” That’s the worst doctrinaire…Jesus, I don’t even know what it means.

    And for the record, I’m not saying that there should be articles denouncing him in the mainstream media over this comment – it would be hypocritical in the extreme and would only be because they hate his left credentials that they are attacking him. But somebody should really have a word with the guy about that garbage.

  340. Teddy Boy on said:

    Tom, The leadership of Respect done the correct thing locking out the recruiting sergeant of the lib dems. Do you recognise any rules at all or have you giving into total chaos.
    Non swimmer, John Rees and the SWP have burnt all their bridges and all this crap about “lets re-engage” in reality is a non starter. Respect is the victim not John Rees or anyone else you care to mention. Is not about saving the face of personalities. Rees’s and the SWP’s behaviour is deplorable and unacceptable to all who have put their faith in democratic structures and democratic leadership.How can he and the SWP swim back. I back democratic winners not usurpers and recruiting sergeants for the lib dems

  341. East: It’s just about possible that any SWP member may have perhpas detected the tiniest, tiniest amount of hostility towards them at yesterday’s rally.

    K&CDan: I also feel highly disappointed that George seems to effectively be saying he is quite prepared to work with SWP members but not the leadership.

    Yes, the evidence for RR excluding SWP members is certainly piling up.

  342. Teddy Boy on said:

    I am prepared as always to work comradely with SWP members but not their leadership and if the SWP are excluded, I can see the sense in it as they will be a millstone around the neck of the broad left. Who needs the SWP leadership? They will give the same support as a rope around the neck of a condemned person.
    I sat silently allowing The SWP cc members to speak.I believe they contributed ziltch to the proceedings. however they were allowed to have their say with very little interjection. This was in contrast to the venomous loud heckling by the confused 6-8 SWP members who turned up at the wrong meeting.
    The SWP cc will never be tell the truth to its rank and file about their underhanded mouthpiece John Rees. Did he sanction and seek coalition talks with the lib dems. Even a dead parrot knows that answer. Did he childishly refuse to continue the talks and then deny access to computer and membership list? Even a dead parrot knows he did.
    What I am saying here are some of the rules he roughshod over and yet you get his zealots in this blog trying vainly to airbrush these serious misdemeanors out of this discussion by trivialising it down to such things as Kyle’s bum Even a dead parrot would squack that The SWP cc have made another big arse of things

  343. Teddy Boy on said:

    198…. The truth hurts. Who wants to work with a SWP..cc who scuttle away from the truth of the events.
    We accept that the SWP are part of the left but not “The Left” I recognise their tremendous contribution at given times, Thats not the issue. The issue is accountability
    Until John Rees makes himself openly and in the clear light accountable for his actions leading up to conference, he will be known as “cockroach Rees” and that not garbage. That a belief by the many he has let down. I know it hurts but try and get used to it, that he is a slithering cockroach

  344. IBSpartacus2 on said:

    Alex Nichols writes – “…the term “Socialist Unity” might make you cringe, but it has a historical precedent in British politics. And ever wonder why so many people are contributing here? Like maybe it fulfills a certain need for political debate or something?”

    Reality check! A small group of people most of whom are slagging each other off does indeed have precedent in British politics – it’s dogged the left for generations and the so-called “socialist unity” here epitomises this problem.

    Babeuf, or any other Renewal supporter able to construct a non-sectarian argument, answer Michael Rosens question “…what is the structure that would be so much better than the one that was in Respect anyway?”

    From what I can make-out you will have no democratically elected leadership nor agreed perspective/ policies for the next 3-4 months at least. Or am I a control freak for expecting such things?

  345. damn right on said:

    on the Size of Respect conference: I had a great view from the balcony due to the downstairs being totally full!

  346. nickglais on said:

    Looks like a basis to build on – SWP were given their say respectfully – forward to a non sectarian left build unity on action not words

  347. Canadien:”Obviously, this is different than the issue of rape but there is a continuum of disparagement of the experience of women’s oppression by women and the manifestations of it”

    There is a big difference between rape and comments made about Kylie’s arse (does looking at porn lead to rape? Are men Pavlovian dogs?). But I would agree about the continuum of disparagement regarding the experiences women face in this society. And it certainly didn’t help Alex N. jumping in capitulating to this sexist ideology and GG comments also buys into this sexist ideology.

    Yet when women (including myself) criticise Galloway’s comments that were crass rubbish then we are kinda rendered silent like we should have laff it off (so many times as a woman, I have been told..”Can’t you take a joke”? Side-splitting…

    But what also begs is the questions of double-standards and hypocrisy by the SWP. Condemning GG’s comment with rad fem language (sorry…but I know I will get it in the neck but when have the SWP been seriously interested in oppression? Shibboleths and all that?) So either they have had a road to Damascus experience or this smacks of rank cynical opportunism. It’s the latter for me.

    Because when a woman like Anna Chen speaks out against the sexism in the SWP, they (SWP) get on their hind little paws and bark “evidence”… Yet they cannot take what someone who experiences oppression in this society as true and investigate and condemn sexism overall instead she is the one who is belittled, put-down, experiences minimised.
    They can’t think (well, obv. the line has been sent from the CC)for an instance that their beloved group indulges in sexism… Well, newsflash, they do.

    When you start admitting that the Left reflects the wider oppression in this society, it means becoming accountable and responsible for this behaviour. Actually, if and when the Left stops shafting the oppressed will be the day I will be collecting my pension.

    It also reflects how the oppressed in this society are treated. The ones in powerful positions are usual believed and listened to rather like it is more politic to believe the upper echelons of the SWP as opposed to Anna.

    Turning a blind eye is so easy and yet, in a way, as Galloway is buying into a sexist ideology, so is the SWP by disbelieving, dismissing and condemning a woman.

  348. Btw: Canadien – there are some excellent bks/pamphlets written by socialist feminists that are more analytical and engaging than the bog standard, reductionist it “boils down to class” of Lindsey German’s and Cliff’s respective tomes….

  349. “know I will get it in the neck but when have the SWP been seriously interested in oppression? Shibboleths and all that?”

    A shibboleth is a prohibition of some kind. We would not refuse to work with people who did not share our views on Gay Liberation and we argued against those sections of the left who wanted to use such an argument to justify refusing to work with a section of the population which was also oppressed. This is hardly evidence of not taking oppression seriously.

    I also think, whatever the rights and wrongs of what went on between the press secretary and people in the Socialist Alliance (I genuinely have no knowledge of this whatsoever), evidence is usually neccessary concerning such allegations, precisely because such issues are important.

    The notion that pigs would fly before the left took oppression seriously, seems to me a pretty bleak and depressing one. I can’t think of anyone else who would.

  350. “I also think, whatever the rights and wrongs of what went on between the press secretary and people in the Socialist Alliance (I genuinely have no knowledge of this whatsoever), evidence is usually neccessary concerning such allegations, precisely because such issues are important”.

    JohnG, You just don’t get it, do you? I will be drawing my pension before people like you understand what oppression does.

  351. I don’t really see what evidence you have for that in anything I’ve said. I could say that I could be drawing my pension before Louise understood what oppression does, with just as much justification (ie none).

  352. Canadien on said:

    “their hind little paws and bark “evidence”
    “when have the SWP been seriously interested in oppression? Shibboleths and all that?”
    “rank cynical opportunism.”
    “They can’t think (well, obv. the line has been sent from the CC)for an instance that their beloved group indulges in sexism… Well, newsflash, they do.”

    Louise – um, I was on your side viz taking sexism seriously and the dismissal of same by folks on here. Now you throw this stuff out and, I’ll be honest, you have totally turned me off. I’m not in the SWP but I’m in the tendency and happen to agree with the vast majority of what the SWP does – from a distance. And obviously I come from the same tradition. None of which is to say that there aren’t valid criticisms of my organization or the SWP – however, the kind of demeaning attack style in your e-mail fails because it is unconvincing. Perhaps you have anger from past experience but generally people aren’t interested in ad hominem/personalistic types of attacks.

    in solidarity.

  353. I found one of the best Lefty books written on the issues around socialism and feminism was Angela Davis ‘Women, Race and Class’, that put the links between class, gender and race oppression together in a readable, non-academic way.

  354. Andy, whether or not Rosa’s comments were “integrated into the debate”, deleting them seems wrong, and at odds with your general policy to delete only those who are outright racists and those who indulge in actionable libels.

    There is not a single coherent debate going on here, and quite a few of those posting seem to be aiming at making the Socialist Unity site look ridiculous. Rosa certainly wasn’t doing this.

  355. IBSpartacus2 (#423) said: Babeuf, or any other Renewal supporter able to construct a non-sectarian argument, answer Michael Rosens question “…what is the structure that would be so much better than the one that was in Respect anyway?”

    Placing all the burden on “structure” is a distraction – internal democracy is what we’re interested in, and this cannot be created by bureaucratic fiat.

    The structure Respect was formally endowed with back in 2004 was compatible with internal democracy. Unfortunately, in practice, that structure was only a façade. According to the constitution, the NC was supposed to “be responsible for running the organisation, finance, membership, distribution of information to branches, liaison with other organisations, and any other duties delegated to it by the annual conference.”

    But the NC was not able to carry out these functions, and Respect was instead normally run by the Officers’ Group within the Executive Committee (EC), and this body operated arbitrarily, ignoring and over-riding NC decisions at its convenience and failing to present the NC with details of the finances. Not only did it not operate within the decisions of the NC, but it also manipulated NC meetings in a way that effectively excluded many members, blocking pooled travel fares, blocking video conferencing and cancelling NC meetings at the last minute, which cost members outside London dearly in wasted travel fares paid in advance. In other words, they made it as difficult as possible for non-London NC members to travel to meetings, and then blocked all proposed remedial measures.

    Under this regime, it was hardly surprising that a substantial minority of NC members ceased even trying to attend NC meetings and the possibility of the NC establishing any control over Respect receded. Everything I’m referring to here had been occuring routinely for a long time before the crisis (i.e. before September 2007).

    But even given a leadership that respects democratic structures rather than circumventing them (which I expect – no, demand – of the leadership of Respect Renewal), internal democracy will still not emerge unless rank-and-file members assert it on a daily basis. They must have mechanisms not only for ensuring the democratic functioning of branches, but must also have direct access to NC members and the National Office, to advise and to question, and not accept a brush off.

    So far, in my own experience and in the experience of others I know, the RR National Office has, on its part, made great efforts to establish and support this kind of democratic culture, and members are making use of this and asserting themselves. There should also be facilities to enable quick communication horizontally between members in different branches. A website hosting a members forum, with password protection, would be extremely useful in this regard and should be set up soon. Have a look at this site for CWU militants as a model (and show your support for the “no” campaign while you’re there):

    http://www.royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/portal.php

    At the moment, RR is organisationally in a position that is similar in many aspects to Respect or proto-Respect in Winter 2003/4. The organisation has to be rebuilt both at national and local levels so that there is a proper basis for a delegate conference in Spring 2008. By that time, it should be evident whether there is the thriving culture of internal democracy necessary to enforce the democratic national structures that will be put in place at that delegate conference.

  356. its a boy on said:

    PERSONAL ABUSE IN THIS COMMENT DELETED BY ANDY

    #437 It is not now, or was ever 2 cheeks of the same backside. The SWP have shown they were not having a civic partnership. There is a song “you take the tables and I’ll takes the chairs”. That is what the SWP cc have reduced themselves to, XXXXXXXXXXX

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

    Surely Respect members are entitled to knew from [JOHN REES], what he was doing at the TH press meeting with overtures been made to the Lib dems regards coalition talks.

    As earlier blogs said he and the SWP cc think they are above accountability to our movement.
    Not even in the short term will they be allowed off the hook and their drop in supporters will show rank and file comrades have tippled to the complicit imcompetence of their cc in not dealing with XXXXXXX rees

  357. It’s a boy #442

    I ahve warned the swoppies I will delete comments from them that inflame the situation, and are mainly abuse.

    Th e same goes for critics of the SWP too. p>

    i will not tolerate unpolitical abuse

  358. its a boy on said:

    Ok Andy,
    Anger expressed in name calling is unacceptable. I will toe the line. Thanks anyway, even if I believe the the SWP cc need their nose rubbed in it, I will control my anger from now on. Its the first time I have used your blog or any blog for that matter.So I will not abuse this blog rules. I Only made similar comments of other contributers thinking it was ok, obviousily not

  359. Eddie T:

    “I’ve read all of ‘Rosa Lichtenstein’ on dialectics and it is pseudo intellectual garbage, using acronyms like ‘MAD’ for materialist dialectics.”

    I doubt it — all one million words?

    And, from the effect this ‘theory’ has had on you, MAD seems rather an appropriate abbreviation, don’t you think?

    Exhibit A for the prosecution:

    “Apparently ‘Rosa Lichtenstein’ regards Rob Sewell’s writings as the primary source for dialectical materialism.

    I’ve nothing against Rob, in fact I’d hold him in higher regard than many other contemporary Marxist writers, but I’d suggest Rob himself would urge people to study the classic texts as regards dialectical materialism.”

    In fact, I quote extensively from the following dialecticians:

    Hegel, Engels, Plekhanov, Dietzgen, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Bukharin, CLR James, Raya Dunayevskaya, Tony Smith, Bertell Ollman, Sean Sayers, Chris Arthur, August Thalheimer, David Hayden Guest, Christopher Caudwell, John Bernal, Levins and Lewontin, Woods and Grant, Ira Gollobin, Spirkin, Oizerman, Ilyenkov, Kharin, Afanasyev, Naletov, Mandel, John Rees, Alex Callinicos, John Molyneux, Paul McGarr, George Novack, Shirokov, Gerry Healy, Cliff Slaughter, Omelyanovsky, Tommy Jackson, Harold Levy, John Lewis, John Somerville, Maurice Cornforth, Kuusinen, Yurkovets, and Henri Lefebvre, among others.

    From what you have written, it looks like you have merely read the Basic Introductory Essay –, and not too well either, for I quote many of the above there too.

    May I respectfully suggest you check your facts before you soil yourself in public like this, in future?

  360. Grim Death:

    “Roas – whatever his/her gender, is an anti- Marxist twat, who can’t even understand the elementary concept of the dialectic. Yet claims to be some sort of “theoretician”… sad, or what?”

    Where have I claimed I am a ‘theorist’, Grim?

    Still making stuff up I see.

    And as far as not “understanding” dialectics is concerned, I am in rather good company, since no one understands it.

    None of the characters listed in my last post do, and neither do you or — shock, horror! — Sean Batgammon. 😮

    Or, if they/you do, they/you have kept that secret to yourself.

    I have been challenging you (on and off) for two years now, to show where I go wrong or explain the ‘dialectic’ in comprehensible terms.

    So far, all we have had from you is abuse and prevarication.

    Why does that not surprise me?

  361. Alex Nichols:

    “You’re a bloke.”

    Which is considerably more than we can say about you…

    “Anyway, I’ve been around for too long to rise to baits like that.
    I did skim read some of your article a while ago. Enough to realise it was pretty trivial stuff. Tieing up people with arguments about basic assumptions in Marxism is a trollish sort of trick and I won’t waste my time on it. I came to my conclusions about dialectics, the labour theory of value, democratic centralism and Trotsky in the early 70’s after *lots* of quite deep study.”

    As I said, you (just like all the others) can’t defend your mystical beliefs.

    “You aint gonna shift me.”

    I sincerely hope not, and for two reasons:

    1) In your present ignorant state you are only a danger to yourself, and not to socialism.

    2) You lack of change is welcome, for the more you refuse to do so, the more you undermine the core dialectical idea that everything changes.

    You’re a pal — keep it up! 🙂

    Comrades can find out why these three (and the vast majority of dialecticians) are so emotional and unreasonable about their beliefs here:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2009_02.htm

  362. The Yeast Is Bread on said:

    “To be honest i have only just got stricter, because it was getting out of hand.”

    Fascist.

  363. @ johng “A shibboleth is a prohibition of some kind.”
    Err no its not.

    “Shibboleth (IPA: [ˈʃɪbəlɛθ][1]) is any language usage indicative of one’s social or regional origin, or more broadly, any practice that identifies members of a group.”

    “Cultural touchstones and shared experience can also be shibboleths of a sort.”

    http://www.answers.com/topic/shibboleth

    When Lindsey German maintained that the struggle for lesbian and gay rights was no “shibboleth”, she clearly meant that the struggle for lesbian and gay rights was 1) a practice of a shared group i.e. the left 2) a touchstone against which principles could be judged.

    By asserting it was no “shibboleth” she meant it was not something that the left need fight for, or be known by.
    Her intention was absolutely unambiguous, as were the results, lesbian and gay rights were not included in Respects 2005 election manifesto, and lesbian and gay candidates were not included, even by the SWPs own account, in those people by which the multi-cultural nature of Respect’s election candidates were judged.
    As they say;
    “We fought to make sure lists of candidates were mixed in terms of ethnicity, gender and religious beliefs.”
    No mention of sexuality. And that’s no oversight. Now that the SWP have broken with GG and his mainly Muslim business and religious allies, no doubt they will rediscover the struggle for lesbian and gay rights.
    Unfortunately for them, their reputation will forever be scarred by the knowledge that they ditched the rights of the oppressed for electoral gain.
    Something, which of course, applies to Respect Renewal just as much.

  364. barbara on said:

    What a load of softies you are–sitting in the warm in front of your computers drivelling on.
    30/40 years ago we were out there fighting for a fairer and just society. Why aren’t you using your energy to save our NHS? When my grandmother was a child she couldn’t see a doctor — it cost money. it is not so long ago. get on your bikes, your grandchildren will ask you what you were doing when we lost all that our generation gained.

    what will you say? i was fiddling with my keyboard.

  365. Halshall on said:

    Nice one Barbara,

    I was at Cable street (the 70th anniversary).

    Where were you then?

    By the way on a sombre note, my Gandparents on my Mother’s side died before I was born from TB.
    They were poor and couldn’t survive, but does that make me or you a better person than them just because we had the benefit of antibiotics and higher living standards?
    Well that’s not a matter of judgement, rather a matter of the things we believe in and are willing to campaign for.

    And if we need to defend those hard won gains such as the NHS for WC people, that will depend on the success of struggles like those for their defence.
    As those who attended the lacklustre and tiny so-called national demo saw, we cannot leave it to the TU acolytes of the Labour government. Those TU leaders (and KL) couldn’t even be bothered to turn up and sent videos instead!
    Pressure from below is what counts and that takes organising, hence the need for RR and all others who care to join us [including R(SWP)] and you and as many of those like you.

  366. who exactly makes up the central committee of the SWP? the organisational structure is not mentioned on their web site, there appears to be a lack of transparency.

  367. Come on “PUSSY CAT” lets make up your mind and turn back to Labour? “MEEAOW” sorry you been kicked out by “LIAR” Brown rejected. whats next? lets join “GREENS” woops not wanted, lets go back to Scotland.

  368. Explo Nani-Kofi on said:

    I was at the RESPECT Conference at
    University of Westminster. I am
    surprised to read that it was
    an SWP all white conference.
    I am not a member of SWP and
    I am a black African.

  369. Please consider visiting the Official Ira Gollobin Website at-

    http://www.iragollobin.com

    You can leave your e-mail address and we are about to fully launch the site in late July 2008. There you’ll learn more about Ira Gollobin, immigration lawyer, socialist,and author of the self-published “Dialectical Materialism” who died on April 4th, 2008. And about the largely-unknown story of Ira Gollobin, the family man.