SWP Escalating the Respect Split into the Wider Movement?

Guest post from Ger Francis.  (A response to Ger has been posted by David Hughes in the comments below, this contradicts some details of Ger’s account, but Ger’s substantial political point that Salma was removed as speaker at the planning meeting is not contradicted. Ger’s further response to David Hughes is here, we stand by this story as factually correct. )

Apparently, last night’s meeting of the Executive Committee of the Birmingham Trades Council was faced with a strange report. This came from the planning committee it had established to organise a conference on fighting privatisation in the West Midlands.

The minutes of the committee’s last meeting strangely failed to mention that of the three speaker invites initially proposed, the proposal to invite Salma Yaqoob had been voted down.

Noting that the committee had three SWP members present, including the local organiser Pete Jackson, many members of the Trades Council smelt a rat and asked for an explanation. The President, leading SWP member David Hughes, had also been present at the committee meeting but seemed unwilling to strongly defend the decision, simply repeating the formula that only trade union activists involved in the struggle should speak.

The rest of the Trades Council thought linking up with one of the only Councillors in Birmingham fighting privatisation would be a good thing, so after various attempts to let the matter drop, it was agreed that the Trades Council should write to Salma, inviting her to the conference. This took place with only one person opposed, David Hughes.

This incident shows that the sectarian trend in the SWP is becoming ever more pronounced and is spilling over to infect their united front work.

On the same night in Oxford SWP Central Committee members Martin Smith and Wyman Bennett, leading organisers in the Unite Against Fascism protest against Holocaust denier David Irving and BNP leader Nick Griffiths, refused to call George Galloway, the only MP on the protest, to speak to protesters from the UAF platform.

519 comments on “SWP Escalating the Respect Split into the Wider Movement?

  1. Galloway told SWP members democratically elected to the Tower Hamlets officers group to “fuck off, fuck off the lot of you.” In the introduction to his speech to his RR rally, he dismissed rank and file members of your ex-party in rather unflattering terms, and threatened never to refer to SWP members again. Like a Stalinist, Galloway wants to tippex SWP members out of history, but complains when SWP members respond in kind. Why?

    Galloway and his supporters have dumped abuse on top of abuse against SWP members since the split. And indeed long before that. How on earth can he expect SWP members to ignore this abuse, to invite him into positions whereby he can spread his poison about SWP members? Galloway made his bed, and now must lie in it. The same goes for all other members of Respect Renewal. Respect members and Respect Renewal members can stand shoulder to shoulder to no platform the BNP. However, if either of these groups find themselves in a position to deprive the other of a public platform, then that is what will happen. If Galloway has a problem with this, then let him invite Lindsey German onto his radio show to expose his attitude towards abortion and his Daily Record column on Kylie Minogue. Let him invite John Rees onto his radio show to explain why Galloway has behaved appallingly. Let him invite Mark Serwotka to explain why he dismissed the invitation to speak at Galloway’s rally.

  2. Irish Mark P on said:

    This stuff is all getting very childish now – imagine refusing to allow the only UAF supporting MP at the protest to speak! This is however standard practice for the SWP when it comes to other forces on the left, as many former flavour’s of the month have discovered before Galloway and Yaqoob. The SWP takes the view that it put these people on platforms because they were useful to it and now that they are no longer useful they have no place on SWP controlled platforms.

    In fact such sectarian attitudes are the norm for the SWP when it comes to this kind of thing. They have never once allowed a Socialist Party member onto a major Stop the War Coalition platform, even going so far as to refuse to allow Socialist Party councillors to address Stop the War meetings held in the wards they represent! They apply this exclusionary method to everyone on the left, with the exception of whatever, preferably unorganised, individuals they are courting/using at a particular time. When that time is over, the former favourites are cast back out into the outer darkness.

  3. If Michael Read does not give a **** about the struggle against privatisation, the struggle against fascists, and the forms of unity between Respect and Respect Renewal, then what is he doing adding his two cents? Maybe you should take your own advice, comrade.

  4. why does a democratically elected socialist member of parliament like george galloway – an mp many of who’s constituents have most to fear from hitler loving jackbooted scum like griffin and irving – need the ‘permission’ of swp hacks to speak to a anti-fascist gathering? Why didnt respect renewal simply organise its own protest? Dont waste waste time particiapting in swp fronts like UAF? You dont need any of these swp proxies – stwc, uaf etc to oppose fascism or war!

  5. Andy,

    I know you don’t like the SWP but surely an article with the extremely strong headline ‘SWP ESCALATING THE RESPECT SPLIT INTO THE WIDER MOVEMENT’ shouldn’t start with the word ‘apparently’?

    Wouldn’t it be better to know for a fact the details of such a story before you post it???

  6. David Hughes on said:

    Ger, you must really try to catch up with reality sometime.

    The minutes of the Planning Committee for a conference aimed at creating a stronger rank and file public sector trade union movement were largley written by an ISG member Godfrey Webster (I contributed some info on workshops). So any ommission of the discusion around possible speakers was his.

    At the Planning Committee a sample leaflet was discussed that included John McDonnell, Mark Serwotka and Salma Yaqoob. The main argument not to invite Salma Yaqoob came from a Socialist Resistance supporter (though I think he has decided to leave SR after their decision to cease producing their paper and turn it over to Respect Renewal). His argument was that he wanted most of the speakers to be from a background in trade union struggle.

    There was not vote at the meeting, partly due to the fact that the final list of speakers was to be determined at the next meeting.

    At the BTUC Executive Godfrey reported on the discussion and several Executive members strongly felt that Salma Yaqoob should be invited. I DID NOT oppose inviting Salma but I did explain why some at the Planning Committee wanted to concentrate on trade union speakers.

    For the record since I have been President I have always encouraged BTUC to have Salma as a speaker. Salma has been asked (and agreed) to address Decembers meeting on her experience in the Council Chamber and wider Birmingham politics.

    At my suggestion Salma was included as a speaker earlier this year at a rally sponsored by BTUC with Mark Sertwotka, that despite severe traffic problems had over 100 trade unionist attend. Unfortunately on the night of the meeting Ger advised us Salma had some last minute constituency business to deal with.

    The main sectarian danger I see is that Ger will use this website and other means to spread half cocked anti SWP stories, so making it more difficult to maintain friendly and non sectarian relationships in Birmingham. If we are to disagree let it be over issues of substance not tittle tattle.

    Ger, has my phone number and I would have at least expected him to check his facts before blogging here, but I know factual accuracy is not a strong point of this site and Ger seems to get a red mist whenever his former party is mentioned.

  7. >>SWP Central Committee members Martin Smith and Wyman Bennett, leading organisers in the Unite Against Fascism protest against Holocaust denier David Irving and BNP leader Nick Griffiths, refused to call George Galloway, the only MP on the protest, to speak to protesters from the UAF platform.

  8. It does increasingly remind me of the kind of thing the old CP used to do to Trots (in the long distant past of course). Strange mixtures of half truths and outright fabrication, cotton wool and razor blades.

  9. outsidethebox on said:

    Reply to Tom. Comment 1:
    After 1984, by George Orwell. See:Oppressive Governments in 1984 and A Clockwork Orange at: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1279625

    “Tom, a 39 year old man living in the dystopian future society of Oceania. The people are controlled and oppressed by the SWP Party, led by the omnipresent John Rees and the CC. Free speech and rebellious thought are forbidden from the people, who are taken away by the Central Committee and punished for disobeying the Party. Tom, a low ranking member of the Party who has the tedious job of rewriting history, meets a woman named Julia, who he carries out a forbidden love affair with. They are eventually caught by the Thought Police, and Tom is tortured in a secret room for weeks. The torture is designed to shatter Tom’s reason, and cause him to love John Rees and the SWP CC once more.
    The SWP full timer, the man in charge of rehabilitating Tom, forces him to be believe many ludicrous things that are obviously false, but made to seem reasonable to the victim. The SWP full timer holds up four fingers, and asks Tom how many fingers he is holding up. Every time Tom answers “Four”, he is tortured until finally Tom cracks and decides to do his duty and comment on the Socialist Unity Blog. Tom is luckly his comment is the NO 1 comment on this article today”.

  10. Its all about trying to increase the impression that the SWP are a cultish sectarian bunch of nutters, like the WRP, impossible to work with etc, etc. I loved the ‘question mark’ at the end. One imagines “Socialist Unity involved with right wing English Nationalists hence opposition to No Platform (question mark?). Its that kind of principled operation (or is it strategic?).

  11. I’d just say to Tom that he should not be so quick to assume that anything in any of these pieces is even slightly true.

  12. Outside the Box. Anyone who mentions George Orwell in an argument about English politics, loses the argument. Its the law.

  13. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen….

    Shouldn’t Mr hughes comment be posted as part of the main article. Ger’s anti swp thing is grand like of course — grist to our collective mill so to speak. And of course while it is cheering to be part of the the war against eurasia, gers post sort of suffers a bit from not being true. Not to suggest that it is enough to simply say 2 plus 2 equals five it will no doubt be important to believe that 2 plus 2 equals five.

    may i, in no way humbly, suggest that I kinda think the SWP eat madeline stuff seems a little over the top. But then again what would i know, as i don’t run a blog named socialist unity. And if it is called unity it must be unity…
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

  14. Socialist Unity moderator eats babies? Well it’s got a question mark at the end, so it might not be true…

  15. outsidethebox on said:

    Coomment 10:
    Sigh I sugget its you who should check your facts:

    Oxford Mail “Music, speeches and chants were made at the entrance to the Union, while Respect Party MP George Galloway also turned up. He said: “(David Irving) can have these views, but he should not be given this glamorous platform to expand on it.”

    So its clear that George spoke to the Oxford Mail reporter as he was also interviewed on TV that night – its not the same as beng invited onto the official UAF platform is it?

  16. I loved the ‘question mark’ at the end. One imagines “Socialist Unity involved with right wing English Nationalists hence opposition to No Platform (question mark?).

    Does one? More specifically, do you? Don’t pussyfoot around these allegations, John – get on and make them, if you’re going to.

  17. Matthew on said:

    Thanks for the link to the Oxford Mail, which had the line “Weyman Bennett, of trade union Unite”. Shome mishtake surely, these journos eh! The Galloway not allowed on the platform story looks credible to me, but why he let them get away with it beats me!

    But I’ve got to agree with ‘bysshe’ that Dave Hughes’s reasoned and mostly polite (under provocation) reply should be put in the main section, or he should be given right of reply. These comment sections are going to be bloody bear-pits (witness most of what ‘bysshe’ had to say. Dave Hughes has something serious to say.

  18. Dear me Phil. I’m now going to be accused of calling Andy Newman a fascist. Sorry to disapoint old chum. My point is the method of mixing half truths and fabrication, as some, with increasing hysteria it should be said, are attempting to ensure that the SWP is seen by all and sundry like a monstrous carbuncle rather then a moderately successful group of organised revolutionary socialists with the usual strengths and weaknesses. I’m not interested in crap like that I’ll leave it to Respect Renewal.

    The one thing I will say about Andy is that in all the political excitement he’s attempting the dark arts of spin, but isn’t really very good at it. Which is not all bad really. But I do take rather more seriously Andy’s ‘Stalinism reconsidered’ stuff of yesteryear. This is those politics in action.

  19. Phil attempts to escalate witch hunt positing third period stalinist accusations of slander at Johng (question mark?).

    Indescribably boring three page long account of something its conjectured johng might have said in a pub with someone who is known to eat live rabbits.

  20. as this has happened 3 times now would the ‘democrats’ at SU like to actually explain this:

    Third disgraceful attack on Respect Councillor Oliur Rahman
    27/11/2007
    Councillor Oliur Rahman’s windows were smashed again last night, and he was warned by local people to stay away after they saw people acting suspiciously outside his home.

    This is the latest incident in a campaign of violence and intimidation against Oliur Rahman, including a physical attack and threatening e-mails and phone calls, since he and Councillors Lutfa Begum, Rania Khan and Ahmed Hussain resigned the whip of the councillors group in Tower Hamlets in protest at the leadership of the group.

    Councillor Rahman said “I’m amazed that people can think that this violence is the way to solve anything. This is supposed to be a democratic society, where everyone should be prepared to resolve their differences through the political process, not with bricks and boots.

    “It’s an attempt to intimidate me, but I refuse to be intimidated. If they feel that by intimidating me that they will get me out of politics, they will have a very long wait. I condemn violence against anyone, in any circumstances. Anyone who believes in democracy should do the same.”

  21. johng, as regards to ‘increasing hysteria’ perhaps one might note the previous reference to ‘cotton wool and razor blades’. Perhaps everyone should take a breath and a step back?

    As for ‘those’ politics in action? Hardly. Let’s not delude ourselves this is the 1930s. Small left(ish) parties bicker. Generally reasonable people fall out. Nothing new here then…

  22. Noel the Oli rahman thing is extremely important but I think that Andy should either get the facts substantiated or withdraw the whole post. The Oli attack will derail that argument.

    There’s been a reply from dave Hughes, questioning the factual basis of the whole thread. So what’s the reality?

  23. Muon and Noel, I thought you were supposed to caucus before you posted. Get organized!

    Noel said: as this has happened 3 times now would the ‘democrats’ at SU like to actually explain this

    Make your accusation sonny, or get lost. I’m waiting.

  24. Well I’m just back from a local STWC committee meeting which was comprised of me, some SWP and (the other) Respect comrades. It was the first meeting since the split and was friendly, business like and productive. I hope this turns out to be the more typical experience because we will have to carry on working together.

  25. Matthew on said:

    Hey noel has a go at changing the subject, is this an example of the famous Chewbacca defence? Seems to me that there is an SWP (and allies) modus operandi in these and previous comment boxes. Hunt in packs. Troll. Change the subject. Be irrelevant. Drag things down to the level of insult and counter-insult. Numb the mind. Is there a purpose to all this frenetic blog-related activity? Could it be that the comrades feel less secure in their arguments, self-righteousness and general possession of the revealed truth than they surely ought?

    By the way – I’m keen to condemn the disgusting physical attacks on Oliur Rahman. He is clearly a great guy and a real asset to Respect. But why doesn’t noel explain it in as precise a set of words as he can. The rhetorical way he frames the question makes me think he doesn’t really care what happens to Councillor Rahman, he just wants to make use of the attacks for political purpose. Question mark?

  26. “Make your accusation sonny,”

    From me at least not an accusation at all but rather two questions
    is ger francis a liar?
    is dave hughes a liar?

  27. So Galloway thinks him and his friends should be able to get away with merrily attacking the SWP to their hearts content and then be treated with respect by those same people that he has attacked and smeared?

    Strange logic there. If he was denied a platform last night then it’s hardly surprising, is it?

    If anyone is taking this into the wider movement it is the nasty people rejoicing in this split – those who pen poems about ‘leeches’ make t-shirts with ‘fuck off the lot of you’ on the front, who say they would rather vote for the Tory than for Lindsey, who say they want to ‘hear no more about the SWP after today’ and that the SWP are shedding ‘crocodile tears’ (I could go on but why don’t you go watch the speeches for yourself? Apart from the Abjol Miah one which curiously seems to have vanished!)

    Salma and George wanted nothing more to do with the SWP after that rally didn’t they? So why complain now when their wish is being granted?

    Some people clearly want to have their cake AND eat it.

  28. get away with merrily attacking the SWP to their hearts content

    And, of course, there were no attacks coming the other way…

    I hear the SWP is trying to promote a nice, non-sectarian image these days. Is it smart politics to deny a UAF platform to the only UAF-supporting MP? Does this or does this not give the impression that UAF is being used for factional advantage?

    Are John Rees’ hurt feelings worth that much?

  29. “Make your accusation sonny, or get lost. I’m waiting.”

    Babeuf, I’m quaking in my boots…

    Matthew, I couldn’t give a toss about the arguments being had on here by various bitter middle aged men and I feel completely comfortable supporting rank and file socialists and my politics, ta for worrying though… I just think that as you lot have spent ages banging on about how you are the democrats and we are not, I’d like to know how you can defend this behaviour, it’s obviously being done by people who support the Galloway side, (not lest you nitpickers start by Galloway or his political allies on the NC) and as you lot do to, do you think it’s ok? Are we going to hear from George or Salma condemning this? I hear nothing so far…

  30. Noel, one way that you could start supporting rank and file socialists is by cutting out the ridiculous accusations. It is stuff like this that is splitting the movement and is certainly not being done in the best interests of the rank and file. What is it you’re after? Confessions??

  31. Let’s hear the attacks from our conference then Splintered Sunrise. I have named several from yours off the top of my head (and I only watched three speeches).

    What attacks came from our conference?

    As I said, it is this nasty vitriol that is splitting the movement – Galloway and Salma did not want anything more to do with the SWP, did they or did they not say that? Or did they mean to say ‘we don’t want anything more to do with them until it’s time to be invited on to their platform in order to raise the profile of our tiny splinter group’?

  32. MPs who support UAF from UAF website. GG isn’t listed.

    Peter Hain MP
    David Hanson MP
    Adam Price MP
    Barbara Follett MP
    Diane Abbott MP
    John Cryer MP
    John Trickett MP
    Keith Vaz MP
    Peter Bottomley MP
    Alice Mahon MP
    Alan Meale MP
    Ian Gibson MP
    Sir Teddy Taylor MP
    Harry Cohen MP
    Betty Williams MP
    Ken Purchase MP
    Alistair Carmichael MP
    Laura Moffatt MP
    Peter Bradley MP
    Vera Baird MP
    Bill Etherington MP
    Edward Garnier MP
    Roger Berry MP
    Angela Smith MP
    Brian Iddon MP
    Anthony Steen MP
    Mike Hancock MP
    Colin Pickthall MP
    Clive Betts MP
    Janet Anderson MP
    Neil Gerrard MP
    Jane Griffiths MP
    Brian Donohue MP
    Helen Clark MP
    Terry Davis MP
    Janet Dean MP
    Adrian Bailey MP
    David Cameron MP
    Louise Ellman MP
    Eric Illsley MP
    Kelvin Hopkins MP
    Ernie Ross MP
    Rob Marris MP
    Martin Caton MP
    Jim Sheridan MP
    Martin Jones MP
    Paul Tyler MP
    Colin Challen MP
    David Wright MP
    Rudi Vis MP
    Tony Worthington MP
    Derek Watts MP
    Julie Morgan MP
    Rev W Martin Smyth MP
    Diana Organ MP
    Doug Henderson MP
    Barry Gardiner MP

  33. “What is it you’re after? Confessions??”

    CHAB do you have a problem reading English?

    I just think that as you lot have spent ages banging on about how you are the democrats and we are not, I’d like to know how you can defend this behaviour, it’s obviously being done by people who support the Galloway side, (not lest you nitpickers start by Galloway or his political allies on the NC) and as you lot do to, do you think it’s ok? Are we going to hear from George or Salma condemning this? I hear nothing so far…

    What part of this sentence is difficult to understand? Let me highlight the bit I would like you to respond to:

    Do you think it is ok? And will George and Salma condemn this behaviour?

  34. outsidethebox on said:

    Johng comment 21:
    The SWP “a moderately successful group of organised revolutionary socialists”

    You really do make four figures make five!
    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case the SWP have been party to the implosion of the most viable alternative to the Labour Party for many a year, something we all have put almost four years work into, day in, day out.

    The SWP-Respect now 60% or thereabouts of whoes NC members are SWP cannot and will not appeal as a ‘coalition’ to the 100,000’s who left Labour or who are independent of the three main parties – how can it – it’s less of a broad coalition than it was three years ago on any reckoning and clearly mainly represents almost only a “organised revolutionary socialist” view of the world . And you call this ‘moderately successful’!

    The SWP membership of around 2000 to 3500 has not changed from when i was a member for 10 years over 30 year ago so where is this moderate success?
    How many fingers am i holding up johng?

  35. Reluctant as I am to rise to Noel’s bait…

    I’d like to know how you can defend this behaviour

    Who’s defending it?

    it’s obviously being done by people who support the Galloway side

    And you know this how?

  36. #45 Just out of interest, are you saying “I’ve seen no evidence to that effect”, or are you saying “I think that’s probably not true”?

  37. Splintered Sunrise, it’s not trolling or ‘bait’ this is a serious point and the fact that none of you are prepared to address it speaks volumes, we know it is people who support Galloway from Oli’s own experience from the other attacks, now yes there could be a small chance that this attack is not related to the others, but that seems a leap of faith…

    So I go back to my original question, if you don’t defend it, condemn it and could we suggest your important friends in RR do too?

    Surely not too much to ask?

  38. Noel, how is it obvious that this is being done by people that support the Galloway side? You are implying that it is Respect Renewal who are responsible.

  39. terry james on said:

    What’s that about history again? When my wife and I were newish members of International Socialists many years ago, there was a split over something called ‘Trotsky’s Transitional Programme’ by the self-styled Left Faction.

    Neither of us had a clue what Leon’s ‘programme’ was at the time or why it was considered so vital by the LF. Nor back then the difference between a faction and a fraction. Funny thing I’ve never heard the programme mentioned since.

    Anyway, a leading light in Cardiff IS who was sought and obtained expulsion from IS – a postal worker who joined Labour later on – used to call at the house every Friday and we used to give him his tea. Out of politeness we also bought his paper – ‘Socialist Challenge’? In fact we swopped papers.

    Our kids quite liked him and he seemed to enjoy his Friday visits.

    He delighted in telling us what some IS comrade in some other part of the country had said at some meeting pointing out that the said comrade was ‘in error’, I suppose he hoped we’d say ‘Sean Mantgammna is God, please forgive us’ – I do remember he was prominent – and rush to take out a subscription to their paper.

    I can see Brother Francis playing a similar role and I suppose we’ll be regaled with similar lopsided tales of SWP malice on this blog over the coming period. After all it is the pantomime season isn’t it?

  40. Kris, to take an analogy, it’s a bit like Sinn Fein being blamed for torching Orange halls. Those responsible may vote SF, if they vote at all, but they’re basically lumpen Celtic supporters.

    I’m perfectly happy to condemn this sort of thing, but it doesn’t clarify things much to have screaming demands that “George and Salma must condemn this right this second, or we’ll draw our own conclusions…”

  41. Don’t play silly beggars –

    Weyman Bennett was personally attacked and ridiculed after he made a plea for unity at the renewal conference (all over these boards apart from anywhere else).

    Salma was particularly nasty and called the plea ‘crocodile tears’.

    Salma and George BOTH said they did not want anything to do with the SWP from that day onwards.

    It is well known that there are high profile SWP figures in UAF.

    So who is actually responsible for making this nastier than it needed to be? Is it not possible to drop the blind hatred of the SWP for a second and answer this question honestly?

    (And I do not know if it is even true that he was not allowed to speak last night – I am relying soley on this site and have not spoke to anyone from UAF. So it may all be a load of BS.)

  42. “This is all great ammunition for my work.

    I would wish it were otherwise though.”

    Rosa if you’re referring to anything I wrote, I hope you realise I’m not in the SWP.

    Please do proper research for your ‘work’.

  43. I’d have thought it would be worth comdemning this right now, as it goes. On a tactical point, that is. I can imagine some people drawing conclusions from Galloway failing to do so. In the same way that I can imagine people drawing conclusions from his failure to correct his mistake over Jim Fitzpatrick, deciding instead simply to pretend that what he had said on his radio show, and what had been posted on his website, never really happened.

    You seem to be saying that you think those responsible quite possibly do, in some way, identify with Galloway. Again, I think that makes it even more sensible to make a quick and clear statement on the matter.

  44. I refer MA to the numerous speeches at RR where it was stated that (and I’m quoting George here) “you may anathematise us today, but you will be marching with us tomorrow”. Plenty of people talked about their ongoing commitment to STWC, plenty of people called for support for Karen Reissmann.

    I’m sorry if you find people on the other side of the argument to be “nasty”. But if you’re looking to eradicate nastiness then the SWP may be as good a place as any to start.

  45. I’ve asked you to name some of these attacks from the annual delegate conference – can you?

    It is not good enough to say ‘we will be marching with you tomorrow’ and then go on to spend the rest of the day attacking those same people. People who you worked with for the last four years, those who defended you through some of the nastiest establishment attacks and those who campaigned day and night for you to win your seat.

    I have never seen such nasty rhetoric coming from GG’s mouth before – it’s all good when he’s attacking the right-wing, the warmongers, the fascists. It’s quite ugly when it’s aimed at former friends.

    Inevitably such names as ‘juvenile dwarves’ and ‘leeches’ are going to lead to bitterness and you are being completely dishonest if you pretend not to understand this.

  46. Phil attempts to escalate witch hunt positing third period stalinist accusations of slander at Johng (question mark?).

    Come off it, John. Here are two comments with your name on:

    “To be honest Andy I was just wondering if this sensitivity about the no platform policy is related in any way to large and enourmous hegmonic plans? Deep strategy. Long term thinking. That sort of thing.”

    “One imagines “Socialist Unity involved with right wing English Nationalists hence opposition to No Platform (question mark?). Its that kind of principled operation (or is it strategic?).”

    If that’s not an insinuation that Andy’s position on English nationalism has made him go soft on anti-fascism, I don’t know what it is.

  47. Firstly, the reason that this report starts with the word apparently, is that Ger actuall wrote:

    It is being widely reported in the Birmingham labour
    movement that last nights meeting of the Executive
    Committee of the Birmingham Trades Council was faced
    with a strange report.

    I sub-edited this down, to avoid the use of the word “report” twice.

    It seems that the SWP supporters here both admit and justify the fact of keeping a socialist MP off of the UAF platform. A disgraceful abuse of control of a broad campiagn by the SWP.

    And it seems the justication for this is that GG was “nasty” to them.

    Bear in mind that united actrion against the Nazis was proposed between the KPD and SD depsite the fact that SPD leaders had acually murdered Luxemburg and Liebknecht, and you get an idea how serious the United Front has been taken in the past, but now united action againist the fascists is subordinate to the prestige of the SWP CC, and their factional needs, because GG said something unfriendly to them.

  48. In the past reformist Labour movement politicians and others, with whom revolutionary socialists have had strong arguments and disagreements with, have still shared united front platforms against Fascism and war. That has been the SWP’s historic practice and it is correct.

    If there is any truth behind these stories here on Socialist Unity, then this represents a dangerous sectarian deviation from our tradition. Maybe therefore these stories are untrue. I hope so.

    But there has been some utter nonsense by alleged SWP supporters on this comments thread (MA and Tom), who are in effect breaking from the socialist tradition of the united front. I hope they are not representative, or this bodes very ill for all of us.

    Whatever the facts of the matter, let us be clear on the principle. Even after the bitter disagreements and criticisms of the SWP, OF COURSE figures like Galloway
    should be on UAF platforms, and Yaqoob on Trades Union plaforms against privatisation! Of course they should!

  49. And MA’s ludicrous complaint:

    “Weyman Bennett was personally attacked and ridiculed”

    Weyman Bennett has never been attacked by anyone.

    He made a ridiculously poor speech, and a couple of us commented to that effect.

    Hardly the gulags, is it?

  50. I cannot believe that people are so disingenous that they draw conclusions from people not replying when they probably are away from their PC and haven’t read what they are supposed to be replying to.

    And time and time again we have condemned the attacks on Oli. There is no connection between those attacks and Respect Renewal except innuendo.

  51. Hardly the gulags, is it?

    I’m reminded of the Spitting Image sketch about ITV News highlighting British involvement in any ‘foreign’ news story – it ended with Alistair Burnett saying something like “And in Spain today, a British man was seriously hurt when a Spanish waiter made fun of his attempts to speak the language. Police are investigating.”

    And on Socialist Unity today, the firestorm of SWP-hating hysteria intensified when leading SWP members were knowingly and deliberately described in slightly unflattering terms. Police are investigating.

  52. United Front = unity between those in the movement who often have bitter disagreements. Lets keep this socialist tradition.

  53. Exactly, Larry. There is such a thing as unity in action. It may repay comrades to go back and read the Comintern theses on the united front, and then spend a while in thought.

  54. andy.. any news on Ger’s accusations re B’Ham trades council as it appears he has been spreading bull shit again.. should you not check the facts before spreading another pack of lies.
    the attacks on cllr Rahman are serious.. where is the statement from Galloway opposing them? nothing on your website!! if you can’t stand with a cllr being attacked for being a socialist then its a pretty dim future for your organisation. The e mails threatening Oli are political and are clear where they are coming from it is time for GG to forcefully state this is totally unacceptable end of story.

  55. Larry R, the ‘socialist tradition’ was nowhere to be seen at the RR Rally where people were saying they would rather vote Boris than Lindsey, where others were celebrating Galloway telling SWP activists to ‘fuck off’ where Salma and George said they wanted ‘nothing more to do with the SWP after today’ where Miah was calling them leeches, where George was calling them ‘juvenile dwarves’, where Salma was ridiculing their crocodile tears, where others were saying they could ‘breathe again’…

    come on, stop being so willfully blinkered here. You cannot launch these sort of below the belt attacks on people and then expect everything to be hunky dory the next time you meet. If you really want to not split the movement then act like it for god’s sake.

    Mark Serwotka said you cannot have unity when attacks are being made at the same time and that’s pretty obvious to anyone who is not being completely biased and downright dishonest.

  56. Yes! The UAF Oxford demo saw unity in action between the Islamic and Jewish student societies, between supporters of Israel and supporters of the Palestinians. If thats the case, then surely the SWP and Galloway can have unity in action on the day, and allow Galloway onto the bloody platform!

  57. then spend a while in thought

    But, as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Shibboleth, with eyes of flame
    Came whiffling through the tulgy wood
    And burbled as it came!

    I’ll get my coat.

  58. There was complete unity against the fascists last night.

    Has GG ever spoken at or showed up at a UAF demo before?

  59. In 1919, the SPD helped the murder of Rosa Luxembourg and the crushing of the German Revolution.

    Yet after that, still Lenin and Trotsky argued for a united front with the SPD.

    Just coz Galloway and Yaqoob said some nasty things about the SWP is no excuse to break our tradition of the united front.

    I am not a renewal supporter, just someone who wants unity against fascism, war and privatisation.

    If I were still in the SWP I would be arguing with the control commission to get you slung out the party!

    Your politics are a disgrace!

  60. This website doesn’t display an awful lot of evidence that it believes in a ‘united front’ either incidentally. It couldn’t wait to stir to the maximum in the Respect crisis, ensuring that the split was a whole lot more bitter than it needed to be.

    There’s a hell of lot of pot and kettle about this place, isn’t there?

  61. You cannot launch these sort of below the belt attacks on people and then expect everything to be hunky dory the next time you meet.

    That is what’s not in the socialist tradition of the United Front. I mean, the idea that you can only work together when things are ‘hunky dory’; the idea that personal and organisational disagreements – between two groups whose political programmes are so close as to be almost indistinguishable – should take precedence over working effectively against fascism. As Andy said, “united action against the Nazis was proposed between the KPD and SD depsite the fact that SPD leaders had acually murdered Luxemburg and Liebknecht“.

    If Oxford UAF didn’t invite Galloway onto their platform, Oxford UAF should be ashamed of themselves.

  62. Ger Francis on said:

    Re post 9. The quote from the Mirror is one given to a journalist. GG did extensive interviews, also appearing on Newsnight. He was NOT called by the chief UAF stewards (and leading SWP members) to speak from the UAF platform.

    Re Birmingham Trades Council, I stand 100% by its substantial points which are:

    1. The SWP supported an attempt to remove Salma Yaqoob from the platform of a Brum Trade Council event. At the start of the organizing pre-meeting Salma Yaqoob’s name was on a draft leaflet for the event and by the end it was off, with the support of the SWP.

    2. At BTUC Exec members emphatically supported Salma being included, David Hughes was the only member present who did not, and Salma was reinstated in the programme. David merely repeated the argument about prioritising active trades unionists, but in the end, the balance of opinion was overwhelming. Substitute John Rees’s name for Salma’s and ask yourself whether the SWP would have acted in the same way.

    3. SWP sectarianism is infecting its united front work. We got a taste of it in the two examples already mentioned. It is also evident inside Stop the war itself. Salma, the most high profile and left wing figure in the British Muslim community, has been excluded from all national STW platforms ever since she has the cheek to disagree with John Rees about Muslims holding a meeting for other Muslims in a Birmingham mosque in July 2005. Similarly, in an attempt to undercut rooted Muslim organisations not subservient to SWP control, and indeed critical to them, like the British Muslim Initiative, the SWP have established a front, ‘Muslim Network’ inside STW with two SWP members at the helm and hardly anybody else, hampering their engagement with the Muslim community.

    Finally, I can assure David there is no ‘red mist’ clouding my judgement. I remain extremely confident about what the reaction of Birmingham Respect members will be to any SWP attempt to regurgitate its ‘right wing/communalist’ line against George Galloway and Salma Yaqoob.

  63. MA –

    United front = Unity of action, and freedom of debate.

    Here we are having the freedom of debate bit. Another time we might need the unity of action bit. I might have to link up with your rancid arms in unity against the fascists. And I will (although I might want to wash afterwards!)

  64. Larry R you are being deliberately dishonest. You know full well that it is difficult to work with people who are doing nothing but attacking you, and that ‘unity’ is very nice in theory but obviously going to be that much more difficult in reality. But you hate the SWP so much that you will not admit this.

    Why did Salma and George say they wanted nothing more to do with the SWP if they cared about unity?

    If the SWP had said even half the things that the other side said, you would all be having a field day. This defence of the indefensible time and again is extremely tedious.

  65. Ger Francis on said:

    The only conclusion one can draw from MA’s posts is that s/he supports the exclusion of George Galloway from UAF platforms and Salma Yaqoob from TU ones.

  66. MA: The SWP and the renewal sides have both said many outrageous things in the Respect split, (like Rees slanderous attack on Linda Smith) but I will still work with both of these sides to build UAF, StWC and every other united front in the class struggle.

    Yes, if galloway used the Oxford UAF platform to attack the SWP, if he used it for anything other than attacking the BNP, he should be slung off. But I saw Galloway on BBC Question time at the height of the split, and I recall he made some excellent points, by and large. He did not attack the SWP on that national media platform. I assume that would be his policy on all such platforms.

    So, MA, – diddums, he said a few nasty things about the SWP in his Renewal conference, and at a very heated meeting in TH Grow up, get over it, political infant!

    Now I have to finish some serious work before I sleep, so I’m turning the internet off! I’ve said my piece here about what I regard is the correct socialist position. You have said yours, and its clearly not in the socialist tradition. I hope you grow politically in the future. Goodnight and goodluck.

  67. #84 and #89

    the Party Notes that accused Salma of communalism were dated 7th March 2007, but sent out on 5th March 2007

  68. Ger Francis on said:

    What should be the main theme of this tread are outlined in my post number 80. I defend those claims.

  69. MA:

    “Rosa if you’re referring to anything I wrote, I hope you realise I’m not in the SWP.

    Please do proper research for your ‘work’.”

    I am not too bothered what your allegiances are MA; my work is addresses to all the sectarian bickerers out there.

    You decide if the cap fits, and I’ll make a special reference to you in my essays.

    That will guarantee you immortality…

  70. jj said (#95): None of the baove can even bring themselves to mildly disassociate themselves from GG recent sexist drivel re Kylie Minogue.. if you can’t object to that.. it doesn’t bode well does it.

    I and others in RR said it was unacceptable as soon as we saw it. Liam Macuaid’s site (effectively one of RR’s two house blogs) did a whole feature on it, with heavy criticism.

    http://liammacuaid.wordpress.com/2007/11/22/sexism-and-socialists/

    The ISG, which is a part of RR, held a public “Womens’ Liberation Dayschool” which addressed the matter, again critically.

    So jj, you either haven’t bothered looking, or you’ve simply ignored whatever criticism you’ve seen.

    Now here’s a question for you to address, jj. A far graver offence occured within your own house. John Rees acted as a scab in spreading damaging lies at an SWP Party Council about a leading FBU trade unionist who is already under attack from the right in her union. Can you name me one, website, one dayschool, or anything else belonging to the SWP that has made the slightest gesture to say that this was wrong?

  71. Splintered:

    “Nice one, Phil! I once dozed off listening to an Alex Callinicos talk on the dialectic. Admittedly, I’d been up late the night before. Does this count as witch-hunting?”

    Hey, Alex is one of the least confused of dialecticians (and not just in the SWP) — in general, he knows what he talking about. For a start, he knows enough logic and analytic philosophy.

    A tip for you; if you want to stay awake in another session on dialectics — don’t.

  72. Ahh Rosa, you may have overlooked my deletion of the letter t.

    At this stage of my life immorality is more appealng than immortality.

  73. JJ

    As you are so cncerned about comrades disassociating themselves from sexism, do you condemn the sexist “joke” from john game that appeared on Splintered Sunrise:

    Rushing to the defence of his organisation over the chrage of sexist bullying, John game says he thinks A**a C**n should have been killed:

    I have always been a bit bigoted about full time organisers and press officers when they reach the end of their usefulness it has to be said. Its certainly not the formal position of the SWP but I’ve always thought some form of permenant termination might be kinder all round

    Oh but it is “ironic”, so that is alright. Actually no, this was i believe intended to discredit Anna as a witness of institional sexism in the SWP, and tell you what it is intimidating for a man to joke about violence to a woman.

  74. In the interests of balance I have added a link to David Hughes acccount of the events to the heading of the main post.

  75. Irish Mark P on said:

    I note that while a serious response was made to Ger Francis’ initial claims about the Birmingham Trades Council meeting, no response has been forthcoming to his second post outlining what he regards as the core elements of his report. More significantly I note that nobody has yet disputed the claim that the SWP kept the only supportive MP present off the UAF platform in Oxford. In fact the only comments SWP supporters or allies have made about that issue have been to support the idea of keeping him off of UAF platforms.

    This is, as others have noted, an abuse of the idea of a united front. It is also damaging to UAF if we are to take seriously the idea that UAF is independent of the SWP. I further note that nobody has disputed that this kind of thing is standard SWP behaviour towards those on the left who they regard as rivals. As I pointed out at the beginning of this thread, the SWP have gone out of their way to ensure that no Socialist Party member is allowed to speak from any national Stop the War Coalition platform or that the SWP have actually refused to allow Socialist Party councillors to speak from StWC platforms at meetings in the wards they actually represent.

    Interesting that.

  76. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    I know it was a while ago but something about that UAF list of MP sponsors is bugging me. It’s not that Galloway’s not on it … nor that it includes quite a few people who haven’t been MPs for two and half years and therefore is obviously very out of date … but why, oh why, are there the names of several Tory MPs on it??? How many demos or rallies to stop the fascists have they been on recently?

    And is this some kind of new idea of the “United Front” that Trotsky didn’t mention?

  77. Andy:

    “Ahh Rosa, you may have overlooked my deletion of the letter t.

    At this stage of my life immorality is more appealng than immortality.”

    Well, what do you think they get up to in the Pantheon…?

  78. Ger Francis on said:

    Re 101. Indeed. David Hughes’ comments about who initiated the discussion re Salma at the planning meeting, who took the minutes, or whether he has invited Salma to events in the past are irrevelant. The bottom line is that SWP members supported her removal from the line-up at the planning meeting, and he was the only person to try and defend that action at the Exec. Salma was reinstated on the platform due to no actions taken by him but due to actions taken by the rest of the Exec who do not share the SWP’s sectarian hostility towards her.

    I notice nobody has challenged either of the other points about SWP behaviour towards GG at the Oxford demo (other than try and defend it!) or their sectarianism towards genuine Muslim self-organisation inside STW.

  79. #102

    Prinkipo

    Forget about doctrinal definitions. It is quite correct for the support of Tory MPs to be used against the BNP.

  80. On GG speaking on a UAF platform…

    Speaking as someone who has in the past suggested GG’s name for non StWC platforms.

    1. I did it out of partisan duty, no one has any particular interest in his views on anything other than the middle east, I’m not being nasty just stating a fact that he has enormous knowledge and commitment to this area.

    2. When I did put his name forward, it always started an argument because quite a lot of people think he’s less than the best thing since sliced bread.

    3. Since he has gone to some lengths to express his distaste for me and my party, I will not be expending my political capital crowbarring him onto every platform I can. I will of course still want to get him onto anti-war platforms because he strengthens them.

    I don’t think this is an example of me spreading any split into the wider movement.

  81. Teddy Boy on said:

    In this blog’s assortment of marxism two obvious ingredients that are glaringly missing, is the founding principles of honesty and truth .

    The chameleon idealology in action of the SWP cc brings into question their credentials of being Marxist.

    The two latest reports on this blog regards Birmingham Trades Council and the uaf platform, shows the SWP cc being a bossy little rump of elavated pedestalites.

  82. Matthew on said:

    Reading the posts makes it clear that the split in Respect was not about left versus right, labour movement practices versus communalism; it was about the SWP and its ability to control larger (okay, not larger, but involving wider numbers of people) organisations. Criticism of the SWP is nasty and will invite howls of anger, accusations of withhunting, demonisation and much running around. ‘Wet hens’ it is.

  83. Phil,

    Once again. I am attempting to suggest that the things being said about the SWP are as ridiculous as the attempt to suggest that Andy’s position on No Platform is related to his rather curious ideas about English Nationalism. They are in my view much more likely to be related to his wishes to construct a broad front politically with anyone up to and including Crudda’s. (the comments about ‘deep strategy’ come from the Ken Livingstone discussion, and are quite unrelated to any discussion about English Nationalism).

    Ger seems to think that anyone who does not prioritise work with organisations he or Salma agree’s with is a ‘sectarian’ or engaged in smashing up the movement. It might just be a political difference.

    And Andy’s attempt to draw off fire from himself for having constructed ludicrous justifications for George’s rather unappealing slip-up in a news paper article (its about relating to working class people, its an indication of healthy urges etc, etc) by accusing me of wanting to kill press officers or justify sexism really does mark a new low. Its worth saying that when it came to George’s habit of sometimes saying silly things, we never justified the silly things. We just said that they were not the main basis on which to make judgements of Georges real contributions to the movement.

    Where Andy (and some others) have embarressed themselves is thinking that in mantaining an alliance with George its neccessary to write long convoluted arguments justifying things which shouldn’t be justified. Its not. One can say, I think that was silly and I don’t condone that, but its also true that I still support George because of his position on the war and his willingness to speak up for those being attacked. No wild slurs and attempts to drag everyone down into the cess pit neccessary.

    Its increasingly unedifying reading these ‘discussions’.

  84. >>Weyman Bennett was personally attacked and ridiculed after
    >>he made a plea for unity at the renewal conference

    Weyman was listened to carefully, and in silence, at the Respect Renewal conference. I don’t think any of the comments made in reply to him could really be called ‘personal attacks’.

    Also, The way that SWP speakers at the Renewal conference were received, and the tolerance displayed to them (for example, they were allowed to sell their paper inside the Institute) is in some contrast to their actions at the conference, where their supporters quite forcefully heckled the stage at time.

    Quite honestly, it’s quite reasonable that we should have _higher_ expectations from an organised delegation of central SWP members selected to intervene into that event. And when it comes to personal attacks, who can beat John Rees’ slanders?

    These personal attacks have to stop. In particular, the comrades from the SWP have to realise that their organisation is provoking and engineering conflict and emotion in order to insulate and isolate their members from the rest of the left.

  85. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    #105 Andy – I don’t agree.

    Perfectly okay to get Tory/Unionist MPs to speak out against the BNP, but to put them forward as sponsors of an activist organisation that aims to mobilise on the ground against the BNP is a different matter.

    Teddy Taylor and Martin Smyth, for example, are (or certainly have been) reactionary bigots in favour of things like the death penalty and birching. Taylor was a Vice President of the Monday Club while Martin Smyth was Grand Master of the Orange Order. I can remember debates about whether the “no platform” policy should be extended to speakers from both these organisations.

    I don’t mind the LibDems, SNP and Plaid Cymru and maybe the odd Tory wet, but including these people is stretching the idea of ‘unity’ a bit far.

  86. JOhn you are getting desperate.

    i have defended GG over the Kylie remarks, but I have not and would never use either of these obvioulsy falacious argument: “its about relating to working class people, its an indication of healthy urges etc, etc” . distorting other people’s arguments is a nasty practice, and you should stop it.

    You have made a joke about violence towards a identifiable female comrade who has complained about sexism in the SWP. Then when I point this out (including quoting your actual words) you describe this as a classy smear.

    this is what a woman comrade wrote to me about you off list:

    I would add that, yes, it’s your blog, but should johng continue to enjoy posting rights now he’s exposed as someone with violent misogynistic fantasies? Go back through his posts and you’ll see that his language in general contains many violent images and figures of speech towards his opponents. His … comments consist of few relatively sensible ones which, IMHO, are masking the more extreme ones. There has never been an exchange where reason has made even a dent. I can’t understand why someone so destructive … is being indulged. He doesn’t debate – he dominates, bullies, clogs up the threads and is impervious to rational argument.

    I know the other side of the argument is that would be censorship but I do feel he’s overstepped the mark now that he appears to be advocating violence ever more openly. It’s not a joke. And he knows it. And no-one is setting the boundaries.

    Indeed, I think of “razor blades and cotton wool” above.

    becasue this is a bit of a bear pit, some people don’t like commenting, particularly when it is over an issue like bullying. But I have private correspoendence from two different women supporting my stance on this.

  87. Prinkipo

    On the question of Tory MPs. What we need to be thinking about is how we best undermine the fascists.

    If the presecne of Tory MPs on the list of sponsors was at the cost of us changing our active campaigning priorities, then that is a step too far. But if these Tories are prepared too endorse a campaign that remians under the hegemony of militant sections of the labour movement, then we shoudl use their support.

    I suppose that anyone using the moniker “prinkipo exile” is minded towards Trotsky’s writings. But we shouldn’t rely on scripture, and we should be open minded in assessing the effectiveness of the dfferent strategies. The popluar front did stop Moseley, and was hugely succesful in winning the argument for a second front during the war.

  88. Did GG actually ask whoever was charing the rally (if there was one) at the demo and request to speak?
    If so, it is simply factually incorrect to say that he was refused a platform. There is also the issue of balance, generally it is not good form in a united front to have the only speaker from a political party be one from a small left wing party.

    Ger has openly admitted that Socialists per se (not just from the SWP) were asked by Salma Yaqoob not to attend the Mosque meeting. This seems a strange state of affairs.

    He also hasn’t answered my question about whether Raghib Ahsan, ex-IMG, former President of Brum Trades Council and ex-Labour Cllr has declined to support his faction of Respect? As he recently spoke on the same platfom as a leading SWP member of Respect. This is significant, Raghib is someone who is an Asian socialist. I have a lot of respect for Salma and I am/would be happy to be in the same party as her, but I find it a strange state of affairs that she declines to call herself a socialist or identify with the socialist tradition of social justice. There are numerous people who are religious and are socialists.

    Also, John Rees seems to be continually criticised on this board. As a rank and file member of Respect this is not my personal experience of JR, he has always seemed quite courteous, friendly, humble and approachable.

    Andy seems to think that George Galloway who is totally unaccountable should have been able to sack John Rees who has regularly visited our town and been held to account as National Secretary.

    I agree with much of Socialist Resistance’s ideas of the way forward with Respect, but Respect Renewal just seems an unholy alliance. I also am somewhat sceptical given that some of the recently ex-SWP members who now atack the SWP viciously were the most obsequious hacks when they were part of the party and at least two of them treated me personally as a rank and file member of Respect with complete contempt and were totally unaccountable for their behaviour.

    Finally, given that the overwhelming majority of members of Respect oppose the organisation splitting. All parties should have a long term perspective of re-uniting Respect as one organisation with wider forces.

  89. John

    there is a boundary, and when you joked about violence (well killing actually) of an identifiable female comrade you crossed it.

  90. On the question of sexism in the SWP, Andy seems to have ignored the question of even more explicit sexism in Tower Hamlets Respect that he refuses to address or the soft sexism of George Galloway MP.

    As it happens I think sexism is endemic in the left and far left.

  91. I should make clear that it was a joke on another blog about disapointed apparatniks and I certainly was not advocating violence against anyone. If it caused serious offence my apologies. But I should also say that the atmosphere in which accusations like this can be traded is pretty potty.

  92. Adam

    If we all step back and concede that sexism is a serious problem within the whole of society, and this includes the labour movement; and that we all agree sexism is rife even in the political left (including in Respect and the SWP), and that we all need to activley root it out then I am happy.

    If that is the context, where we recognise that there is a much bigger problem, then I am happy to concede that GG’s remarks about Kylie were mildly sexist, and such comment should be avoided by any MP.

  93. “If it caused serious offence my apologies. But I should also say that the atmosphere in which accusations like this can be traded is pretty potty”.

    John: it didn’t look like a joke and it didn’t read like a joke. It was horrible, nasty and it was made against a woman. That’s why I really don’t think you really, truly understand women’s oppression in any real sense.

    It was bang out of order and unnecessary. Yet you equivocate like the kid in the schoolyard when it comes to apologising. Doesn’t take much to do that.

  94. I’m amazed that anyone can think that was not a joke. It might have been a bad joke about ex-organisers, but the idea of a cull of all ex-appartniks was not a serious one. Some of my best friends are ex-organisers. Anyone can go over to Splintered Sunrise and read the whole exchange. As I said if anyone for a minute took me seriously I apologise.

  95. JOhn

    But you did intend that “joke” to belittle A**a C**n’s testimony about sexism didnt you?

    Given that A**a did make serious allegations, and what is more allegations that have strong anecdotal support from other comrades, then was there a serious internal investigation within the SWP to see if there was any substance? We all know there wasn’t.

    If such accusations were made in any other workplace, then the union would back the woman, and seek such an investigation.

    You have automatically dismissed the tesimony of a talented and astute woman socialist activist about her experience of sexism, and done so in such language as to utterly diminish her.

    Then we get lectures from SWP comrades (East is Red, JJ, Canadien,) about how some mildly sexist remarks about Kylie’s bum are an outrage, and putting women off getting involved in the movement. We were contantly asked to denounce it, etc.

    Yet where are your SWP mates, East is Red, JJ, Canadien, now? Have they nothing to say about the diminishing of a woman comrade complaining of her experience of sexism? Have they nothing to say about real women, not hypothetcal women, complaining about the violent imagary?

    I find it distasteful that opposition to sexism has been used as a factional football by the SWP comrades, but that their own house is so not in order.

  96. Andy,

    You are a hypocrite. There is overwhelming testimony that women members of Tower Hamlets Respect were told to sit at the back and keep there mouths shut by the middle aged businessmen who are members of your faction. You have yet to condemn that behaviour.

    I have no doubt that there is a kind of sexism in even the SWP (certainly many female members of the organisation that I know where I live believe so) but this kind of explicit chauvinism has never ever been seen.

  97. Adam, a local MP was inside attempting to speak at the Oxford Union. A statement was read out at the protest from another MP. There was no issue with an MP speaking.

    I was standing right in front of the speakers. Martin Smith and Weyman Bennett (who was in charge of the microphone) didn’t even acknowledge my existence. I was standing next to Galloway and from what I saw, they didn’t even look him in the eye. Galloway got a great reception as he walked through the crowd. It probably came across better actually – he was just another protestor. In fact, the only people who showed any hostility were some Zionists.

    I’m not really that bothered that he didn’t get to speak. Most people were shouting, chanting and singing, and you couldn’t hear that much. But, as with Martin Smith’s behaviour towards just about everyone who has left the SWP recently, I’d rather just let him and his friends sink in their own bile.

    We had a great time, spoke to some great people and are moving on.

  98. Teddy Boy on said:

    Did you know that george galloway was truant from primary school once. Is that not terrible.
    C’mon Andy you know this. You cannot defend his bad behaviour and you consistently defend him. You are not a true socialist and this blog has been taking over by bleeding apologists for this terrible midemeanor.
    I dont fucking care that it was his second day at nursery school. “Out him”.
    Oh I feel good at saying that. I am just trying to get into the mindset of the SWP cc, Kylie’s pants and all the low grade criticissms.
    Try and raise the level of your arguements you SWP cc total losers, and stop playing truant from the facts.

  99. “There is overwhelming testimony that women members of Tower Hamlets Respect were told to sit at the back and keep there mouths shut by the middle aged businessmen who are members of your faction. You have yet to condemn that behaviour.”

    Yes, we cannot move on until we condemn all the things on the list.

    Let’s get started, comrades. I’ll trade you condemnation for condemnation – you condemn Martin Smith’s assault on a former SWP member last year and I’ll condemn, oh, everything.

    Or you can just grow up.

    The most interesting thing is that SWP members have been telling us *now* just how bad things were (a local Respect member said “The BNP have the right idea about gays” apparently – but no one ever took any action about it; indeed, none of Respect’s leaders ever knew this had happened, mainly cos it was a lie, but we’ll let that pass) – all the while never challenging them, never raising them to a national level, never having political arguments about them.

    Like I said, grow up. You’re embarrassing yourselves.

  100. TB

    take this good advice from Tonyc

    ‘We had a great time, spoke to some great people and are moving on’

  101. Actually, before I start condemning, I just need to get my parameters sorted out.

    If the person wasn’t a middle-aged man but was a businessman, does this need as harsh a condemnation as if he’s middle-aged?

    If he was just someone in the audience, do I have to refuse to work with him, or should I argue with him politically? Or is it the condemnation that interests you?

    If it was businessmen and not just a businessman who said it, should we expel them? You seem to be arguing that more than one person said it. That sounds serious. This sexism must have come from nowhere, otherwise the SWP members of Respect would’ve been organising meetings about it and educating the members about womens’ oppression. So it must be a new faction. Must be.

    If it was one person, who was having an argument with a woman, should I attempt to understand what was happening before I condemn it, or do you think the condemnation is the most important thing?

    Should I ensure a balance of condemnation, or is it ok if it’s only white socialists who condemn it?

    We need to be clear. Condemnation is the key here. Let’s condemn, and condemn right! And let’s condemn now and tomorrow.

    Of course, by trying to make me plead before your tribunal, you stunt any meaningful discussion of sexism and womens’ oppression, because you make it a point-scoring exercise, where if I condemn it I am damned as being part of some hugely sexist faction, and if I refuse to plead before your tribunal, I am condemned as being a sexist. And you divert all discussion away from how we ended up in a situation where apparently from nowhere, Tower Hamlets Respect has become this sexist.

    I think I’ll start by condemning the Muslims on the TH committee. Yes, they argued that we need more women involved in Respect. And yes, they said we need to do much more to encourage them to be involved. And yes, they did talk about educating older people about involvement of women.

    But I think they’re middle-aged. And I think 2 of them were businessmen. I CONDEMN THEM!

  102. Shit, I got sucked in.

    Can someone condemn me please?

    Only once I’ve been condemned can I resign from me and allow everyone to move on.

  103. When Galloway and Salma spoke in North Manchester recently, the SWP proposed that John Rees should speak on the platform as well. Galloway (and Salma?) refused to appear on the platform with Rees. So this kind of crap happens on both sides. Time for both sides to end this nonsense.

  104. Clive Searle on said:

    I’m sorry Chris but I really need to clear this up. When George was invited to speak in Manchester it had been agreed with myself and the leading SWP member in Manchester that we would have a local refugee (who had just won her case) and we would invite Ray Holmes to speak. This had been discussed at both the North manchester committee meeting and the local branch with not a single objection from the SWP. Then just days before the meeting that same SWP member phoned me up a told nme the SWP wanted John Rees on the platform and that if they didn’t get their way they wouldn’t build the meeting. This was just two days after rees had attempted to sack half of Galloway’s staff by issuing an ultimatum to Kevin and Rob to quit their jobs.

    I told the SWP that I would NOT put Rees on the platform because they were barely speaking and it would bring the London based dispute to Manchester. The ‘crap’ as you put is, that one section of Respect believes that they (or infact the SWP local organiser under instructions from the CC) have a priviledged membership that can insist on who goes onto platforms, etc. It’s a false unity because it is only a one-way process.

  105. TonyC: I have no clue in what you are talking about.

    JohnG: I have read the thread over at Splintered’s place and it still didn’t read like a “joke”. It read like an attack and nasty one at that. And really, I don’t care if some of your best mates are ex-organisers, anyway, what kind of excuse is that.

    Finally, I am shocked (I am really) at the level of political debate re women’s oppression as this reflects how far we have slipped back on issues such as women and liberation politics as a whole. And also it exposes the weakened and fractious state of the Left.

    I remember once upon time where these issues were integral to socialism (at the time the feminist movement was still vibrant and visible as well) but now seem to have become marginalised and invisible and this debate really reflects that backward drift.

  106. No Andy I did not intend that remark to belittle an individuals ‘testimony’ about anything. That was not what the discussion was about. It was about the way in which what should be a political discussion has become an excuse for every single thing that anyone has ever complained about being stirred into a pot so that allegation and counter-allegation replace rational political discussion. And the role that I think ex-full timers are playing in this.

    I was also personally annoyed from last week by madam miaw attacking people they don’t even know on the basis of things the people they’re attacking don’t even know about, and then demanding that until what happened to them is condemned nobody else has a right to talk about anything (when most people have no idea what the issue being complained about even is). In the follow up I based what I said on what the individual concerned has actually written. But I’m glad to see Andy, that you’ve finally found a way to answer my criticisms of your critique of the united front of a special type. It must be a great relief.

  107. TonyC.

    My own opinion is that this split is absurd and leading members on either side should be working towards a long term perspective of re-uniting the organisation as part of a wider re-allignment of the left as a broad eco-socialist party to the left of Labour (and Plaid in Wales).

    I was sympathetic to most of the proposals about the Respect structures proposed by Socialist Resistance, I also think that the SWPs analysis of serious problems in Tower Hamlets Respect were true (though maybe they didn’t actually analyse how this situation came about). From afar, I found it frankly puzzling that leading members, candidates and councillors in our flagship local council were defecting one way or another. What concerns me is that Respect Renewal is an opportunistic alliance that effectively turns a blind eye to the failure of Tower Hamlets Respect to meet the extremely high standards we demand of a fighting organisation. Respect Renewal talks about accountability and democracy, yet I see no evidence that figures such as George Galloway will be anymore accountable. And some of the leading figures are former SWP hacks who have just changed bosses not methods.
    I find Nick Wrack’s semi-religious psychobabble, “catharsis” embarrasing. And I find it odd that the Respect Renewal conference found hours of time to criticise the SWP but other leading components of Respect were not criticised at all.

    I was making the point that Andy seems very selective and tunnel visioned in his comments on Respect, he is frankly obsessive with the SWP and refuses to admit, acknowledge bad behaviour on the part of leading members of his faction.

    I, myself was expelled from the SWP for totally unjust reasons and certainly have experienced the arrogance of the leadership of the organisation. I was informed by there local hack that they were extremely angry with an email I had sent them raising some very serious issues about our local organisation and it had been decided that I would never ever be allowed to be a member of the organisation again. Well, I thought, if they were that angry why didn’t they take it up with me personally!

    But to be honest, the more I hear from Respect Renewal camp the less attractive it becomes to me.

    And Andy is so out of touch that he thinks that socialists in Wales should join Plaid Cymru! This is the organisation that supports £16 billion being built on a UK military academy in Wales to train the latest recruits to the war on terror, whose leader has ditched his party’s opposition to nuclear power, whose economic strategy to rebuild Wales is based on massive tax breaks to big business, who have just voted to send peers to the House of Lords!

  108. #80 “… in an attempt to undercut rooted Muslim organisations not subservient to SWP control, and indeed critical to them, like the British Muslim Initiative, the SWP have established a front, ‘Muslim Network’ inside STW with two SWP members at the helm and hardly anybody else, hampering their engagement with the Muslim community”.

    And I’m told that when the Stop the War Muslim Network held its inaugural meeting in London, the person the SWP sent to chair it was none other than Chris Nineham, not hitherto known for his adherence to Islam.

    It really makes your jaw sag. How could the SWP possibly think it appropriate to send a white non-Muslim to launch a supposedly Muslim organisation?

    One young Muslim woman at the meeting reportedly told Nineham that the SWP was acting like the government – telling Muslim communities who was allowed to represent them. There is indeed a striking parallel.

    Under Ruth Kelly, the Department for Communities and Local Government sidelined the MCB, a genuinely representative Muslim body, because it insisted on expressing its political disagreements with the government, particularly over foreign policy. In the MCB’s place Kelly promoted the Sufi Muslim Council – an organisation that represents hardly anything or anybody but has politics that meet with the government’s approval.

    Of course, the SWP’s political motives are very different, but the contemptuous dismissal of a minority community’s right to develop its own representative organisations is common to both cases.

  109. The Muslim anti-war network was meant to be part of a wider anti-war network, therefore I don’t see any problem that a member of the StWC steering committee was asked to chair the meeting. This surely cements the idea of linking a group aimed at building the anti-war movement among Muslims with the wider anti-war movement. I also saw Nineham chair and introduce a session of speakers from Military Families against the War at a conference – he’s not from the military or a military family, is this a problem?

    The idea of the Stop the War Coalition trying to build a specifically anti-war network among Muslims to build up links in various communities seems perfectly acceptable to me, if somewhat belated.

    On the subject of the SP member of the Steering Committee of StWC not being invited to speak at things – well I have an issue.

    Whenever, Andrew Murray or Lindsey German speak for StWC they speak as StWC speakers. The SP always promote their own organisation. For example, when the SP guy (whose name I can’t remember)on the steering committee of StWC was invited to speak at a local demo in my town in 2003, he held “The Socialist” in his hands prominently and made it clear that he was a member of the Socialist Party and was promoting them. Now I’m not asking people to hide their organisation or keep it secret, but if someone is invited to speak as a representative of the National Stop the War Coalition then I expect them to promote that organisation!

    This same wacky behaviour was displayed by SP comrades locally. They rarely did anything to build the coalition locally and would always distribute their own SP leaflets and posters for StWC stuff rather than StWC leaflets and posters. I recall some SP comrades turning up once for our weekly StWC stall in the Town Centre (the only time they helped out) with there own Socialist Party leaflets!!!

    I pointedly commented that it would get a bit stupid if everyone in the coalition was doing that – you know the SWP, Labour Party, Greens, Workers Power, CPGB etc etc all turning up to a StWC stall with their own literature to distribute rather than coalition leaflets

  110. michael c on said:

    my mate miriam is a radical feminist jewish lesbian, i am a postal worker from glasgow, some of my best mates are moslems, they have feelings like the rest of us but just need to be shown the way to enlightened values. My point is, UNITY IN DIVERSITY is the way forward comrades. There are dark forces who are trying to brainwash us, they are unseen but we know they are there. As Cliff once memorably remarked, “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer”.

  111. Oxfordian on said:

    Why should Galloway have been asked to speak at the UAF rally? He had nothing to add we had already had a message of support from the local labour MP. Even tory MPs were supporting the campaign so we had no lack of support in parliament. Galloway hadn’t done anything in particular special. The only national speakers were from UAF and LMHR. It was not really a speaker event anyway most speakers were drowned out by chanting.

    Galloway is very unpopular in Oxford and he was getting badly heckled as he walked through the crowd. Mainly due to his big brother and previous Oxford union appearance. The split had nothing to do with not inviting Galloway to speak, but possibly quite a bit to do with his appearance.

  112. “How could the SWP possibly think it appropriate to send a white non-Muslim to launch a supposedly Muslim organisation?”

    Would a non-white non-Muslim have been more acceptable? Or a white Muslim? Why the emphasis on race?

  113. Unbelievable, now Galloway is being criticised for being at the demo!

    As far as I am aware, Galloway is not very unpopular in Oxford, apart from with Zionists. His appearance at the Oxford Union last year was packed as was his appearance at a local bookstore that preceded it.

  114. Galloway is not known for supporting previous UAF activities is he? Has he ever done any UAF stuff in the past?

    None that I’m aware of.

  115. Oxfordian on said:

    Yes but who packed his talk at the union. I was there, he was absolutely terrible as he was doing a talk on Cuba. He ended up insulting someones accent who dared question the fact Cuba wasn’t a socialist paradise. He went in there expecting to be hated and sure enough he managed to get everyone to hate him.

    I have no problem with Galloway being on the demo but don’t think it was right not to call him to speak. I also don’t think he would have turned up if not for the split that’s not saying it is a bad thing he did.

  116. #142 Even if he hadn’t, was that really the way to treat someone prominent who had turned up to the protest? What’s astonishing here is the ease with which various commenters lapse into justifying sectarian stupidity in the anti-fascist struggle. This is beoming more and more rotten by the day.

  117. Galloway is a principled anti-racist and has campaigned against racism consistently as an MP for Respect.
    Critcising him for attending the demonstration against Griffin and Irving, which was supported by a wide range of groups including Oxford SU, Oxford Trades Council, the Jewish and Islamic Societies and also Oxford Respect is nonsense and shows the desperation of those wishing to use anything to attack Galloway. It is sectarian and damaging to the anti-racist movement, a cause of which we should all be united.

  118. This is his first notable appearance on such a demo and he is not listed as a UAF-supporting MP on their website. So why should he automatically be given preference on the platform?

    What would his voice have added? It’s not like the demo was short of publicity or speakers is it? So what if he is ‘prominent’?

  119. 145. The implication was that Galloway only turned up because of the split, not to take a stand against fascism. This is criticising his motives for being there.

  120. From what I hear it was more of a direct action protest with people storming the chamber.
    No MPs or speakers were invited to speak, there was just a couple of snappy speeches from UAF.
    There is scant evidence that GG was snubbed, though if leading SWPers present blanked Galloway it’s probably because this is what happens when people fall out. I’m sure that if there were an event at which Rosie Kane and Tommy Sheridan were present there might be frostiness due to the SSP split.
    Everyone should get on with each other, there should only be one socialist party in the UK – but we don’t live in a perfect world.

  121. outsidethebox on said:

    CHAB Comment 141
    “As far as I am aware,Galloway is very unpopular in Oxford and he was getting badly heckled as he walked through the crowd”.

    How many fingers am I holding up CHAM? (after 1984)

    Clearly you are nor aware! When George next appears in Oxford to a packed hall I expect a full retraction of this silly commment you have made.

    Here is a real observation from a friend who was there on the night:
    “George spent the protest as part of the crowd, and apart from some Zionists who showed their unity by choosing to call George an anti-semite, we received a great reaction. We produced a leaflet for the protest, and George got a load of media attention. The fact that within a couple of minutes of us stopping at the end of a street there was a crowd of 100 people around George showed the lunacy of the split: The other side has lost a huge asset”.

  122. #150 That’s not true: there were politicians speaking and a message was read out on behalf of Andrew Smith MP. Local people in UAF approached the platform and asked for Galloway to speak. It is actually quite disturbing how some people think that a political dispute on the left is somehow justification for crass sectarianism in the face of fascism. Just think where this leads.

  123. Ian Donovan on said:

    Johng

    “Didn’t pick up on Galloway being criticised for being at the demo.”

    Oxfordian

    “The split had nothing to do with not inviting Galloway to speak, but possibly quite a bit to do with his appearance.”

    In other words, GG was just there because of the split. Nothing to do with opposing fascism, of course.

    Actually, if anyone wants an example of out-and-out McCarthyite red-baiting, this shit from Oxfordian is it. Galloway as outside agitator. And Cuba-hating doesnt have anything to do with McCarthyism, does it?

  124. outside the box, that comment was not mine. As you will see, what I wrote is in line with what you have just said

  125. johng (#145) said: Didn’t pick up on Galloway being criticised for being at the demo.

    JB (#148) said: No one is criticising him for being there CHAB. Stop exaggerating.

    CHAB was correct, but didn’t provide the reference. I’m happy to be of assistance:

    Oxfordian (#139) said: Galloway is very unpopular in Oxford and he was getting badly heckled as he walked through the crowd. [by zionists, but never mind – babeuf] Mainly due to his big brother and previous Oxford union appearance. The split had nothing to do with not inviting Galloway to speak, but possibly quite a bit to do with his appearance.

  126. Ian Donovan on said:

    outsidethebox, its not CHAB who attacked GG, but ‘Oxfordian’, who seems to be some kind of right-wing troll.

  127. # 151 “The other side has lost a huge asset”.

    Oh god, can we just move on now, this is such tedious rhetoric. George chose to split with the activists from his party and fuck up a great movement, so he can’t start bleating on about what ‘they have lost’ now. Grow up and get over it.

  128. As for Galloway not being listed as a supporter on the UAF site – presumably this is the non-exhaustive list that includes Andy Gilchrest (sic) General Secretary of the FBU. Shall we just all accept that this list is not definitive in identifying who today supports UAF?

  129. outsidethebox on said:

    I apologise to CHAB his comment read: “not very unpopular” – i miss-read it.
    You are correct CHAB he is populer (its your double negative that got me confused and I apologise to you again – sorry).

  130. outsidethebox makes a valid point.
    The tragedy is one thing that helped Galloway get elected as an MP was the SWP machine, a small but tightly organised network of activists who mobilised people from around England and Wales to pour into Bethanl Green to give the Labour machine a run for its money.
    It is unlikely that without the support of the SWP Galloway could have become an mp, He himself at one time acknowledged this debt referring to John Rees as “the man who got me elected”.
    The split is a setback for the wider re-allignment of the left.

  131. OK, Ian (#156), let’s assume that that particular slur doesn’t emanate from any SWP source, and trust that they won’t take it up.

    I see you provided the reference first – my elaborate formatting takes a while, so this kind of overlap crops up from time to time.

  132. Adam J (#160) said: It is unlikely that without the support of the SWP Galloway could have become an mp

    That’s probably correct, Adam J, but the 2005 SWP that helped him to get elected isn’t a monolith today, so your point is far from clear. It includes ex-SWP members like myself who left over the CC’s behaviour since early September and are now aligned (critically) with Galloway. It also includes over half of continuing SWP members who refused to sign the notorious “witch-hunt” petition/loyalty oath. And among those are continuing SWP members who have shown their support on the local level for Respect Renewal.

  133. Ger Francis on said:

    GG probably did more to publicise the Oxford protest than all the other MP’s on UAF’s non-exhaustive list put together, when he advertised it on his radio show which broadcasts to over 750,000 people. Grounds alone for being called to speak if it had been any other radio broadcaster, never mind in addition being the most high profile left wing MP in the country.

    The political gymnastics being deployed to defend the indefensible on this site only serves to highlight the speed of the SWP’s sectarian degeneration. It was obviously the wrong call by Martin Smith and Weyman Bennett. Unfortunately, the ability of SWP posters on this tread to admit a mistake has been made is outweighed in their brains by their defensiveness and deference. The history and traditions of the SWP deserves better.

  134. tradeunionactivist on said:

    On the trades council stuff ( at the start of the blog:), its easy to get someone to speak on a fighting for trade unions rally if that person has shown a previous interest…for starters turning up to the previous rally, issuing a press release on single status etc when it was all in the news a couple of weeks ago. Basically, all speakers need to make a name for themselves on the issue to have a right to speak, Galloway provd himself on the war…Salma proved herself on the war… now she needs to prove herself on things like single status and the postal workers strike…then no one go refuse her a platform, if they are at all. I don’t go in for big names having automatic rights.

  135. #164 And Galloway has proved himself on anti-racism and anti-fascism. Salma has spoken out in support of trade unions and consistently against privatisation.

  136. Babeuf, there are quite a number of people who have joined the SWP since ’05 and who have stuck with them through this crisis, so it probably balances out.

    As for the ‘half’ that ‘refused’ to sign the appeal – there are many reasons why people are uncomfortable with their names being printed on the net and those that haven’t signed aren’t automatically ‘RR’ followers, as you well know.

    In the grand scheme of things, not that many SWP members have left to join “Respect the Rivals” – let’s be honest.

  137. Just browsing through this morning’s posts, which I haven’t seen yet and …

    Holy Christ Almighty! Martin Smith was Grand Master of the Orange Lodge???? (#112)

    I never could have imagined … well, I suppose that explains his recent sectarian turn.

    And then, what with Galloway being Catholic and all.

    Hmm. The pieces are beginning to fall into place.

  138. Babeuf:
    ‘It also includes over half of continuing SWP members who refused to sign the notorious “witch-hunt” petition/loyalty oath.’

    This is bollocks, frankly. The object of the petition was to get a majority of the Respect membership to sign, and no more signatures were added once it reached c. half that membership (i.e. of Respect).

  139. Ian Donovan on said:

    Really. Then how come so many identify themselves as ‘Respect supporter’, indicating that they are not actually members?

  140. Just got sent this by someone who probably knows

    – at nopoint did GG ask to speak on the platform – what happened is one ofGG’s assistants went up to Weyman, smirked, and said “George is here” -to which Weyman responded “So are we”. More to the point, the speakerlist had been agreed beforehand among all the forces in UAF – and it’sa delicate balancing act given the very broad range of forces on board – GG made no attempt to contact UAFbeforehand or get on the list -….

    Plausible? A huge scandal? Sectarianism in the face of fascism?

    I’d suggest that those who genuinely don’t want to see sectarianism in the face of fascism would not be making such a huge deal out of this.

  141. “Holy Christ Almighty! Martin Smith was Grand Master of the Orange Lodge???? (#112)”

    You funny person you…

  142. 166. As for the ‘half’ that ‘refused’ to sign the appeal – there are many reasons why people are uncomfortable with their names being printed on the net

    Yes, maybe bcause they don’t believe that there has been a witch hunt. In fact, I have found it difficult to find anyone outside the most fanatical CC supporters who agree that there was a witch hunt.

    166. In the grand scheme of things, not that many SWP members have left to join “Respect the Rivals”

    Well, in my branch 3 have quit and at least 2 more are on the brink of doing so. I am not saying that is reflective of the picture nationally, but the fact is that a significant number of experienced comrades have left. Instead of introspection and concern at how this has happened, most of these have been slurred in some way, accused of ‘going native’, being right-wingers, being confused, etc.

  143. Terry James wrote “When my wife and I were newish members of International Socialists many years ago, there was a split over something called ‘Trotsky’s Transitional Programme’ by the self-styled Left Faction.

    Neither of us had a clue what Leon’s ‘programme’ was at the time or why it was considered so vital by the LF. Nor back then the difference between a faction and a fraction. Funny thing I’ve never heard the programme mentioned since.

    Anyway, a leading light in Cardiff IS who was sought and obtained expulsion from IS used to call at the house every Friday and we used to give him his tea. Out of politeness we also bought his paper – ‘Socialist Challenge’?”

    Hi Terry. For the record the postal worker you refer to is still active in Manchester AWL and in the CWU. The paper concerned was Workers Action.

    As for the question of ‘the programme’ not being mentioned after the expulsion of the Left Faction I would suggest that this was due to the degeneration that was taking place within IS at that time. Which resulted, in my opinion, in the low political level that characterised Cardiff SWP

    Quite frankly while I still stand by the politics I learnt from comrades such as Billy Williams and others, including you I should say, I also recall the attitude of some of our then comrades as being haracterised by an unthinking adhesion to a political line we never discussed in depth in the branch meetings.

    The degeneration I refer to has culminated in the fiasco that is Respect which as you well know has not no echo whatsoever amongst the majority of the working classes including in cardiff where you are active in its minuscule ranks. The unthinking loyalty to an organisation I mentioned, as opposed to the conscious loyalty comrades owe to the communist ideal, has furthermore left Cardiff SWP a mere shadow of the body it once was.

  144. Ian Donovan on said:

    And how come only 1139 signed, including many non-members? Is that half of Respect’s 2500 members? I think not!

  145. Grr Francis wrote “SWP sectarianism is infecting its united front work.”

    As Cde Grr well knows the SWP’s sectism has infected its campaign work for many years. Indeed was not Cde Grr well known for being the executant of the very kind of sectist practices he now deplores? In light of which perhaps he culd explain why he has only now chosed to make his criticisms of such practices public? Those not as well disposed to Cde Grr as i am might think it related to his being sacked as an SWP fulltimer and his later expulsion from that group.

    Perhaps cdes Grr and/or Hughes could explain why my old chum Pete Jackson, the current SWP ‘organiser’, in brum was present at an executive meeting of Trades Council? By what right does the comrade attend this august body? Who does he represent other than the SWP CC?

  146. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Johng

    Your informant who “probably knows” does not know. We arrived and were mingling with the Wadham College crowd when a woman from the local UAF spotted us and led us through the crowd towards the platform. She pointed out to Weymnan Bennett and Martin Smith that George was on the protest and asked that he speak. Weyman looked over and turned away quickly. At no point did I – George’s assistant – go up and “smirk”. In fact, Weyman and Martin studiously avoided eye contact and we did not exchange any words that night.

    George spent most of his radio show on Saturday night calling on people to join the protest and defending denying the BNP a platform at the Oxford Union. We met half a dozen people who said they had travelled to Oxford after hearing of the protest on that show. On the way up we met a number of students from London at the service station, including

    John, you keep getting basic facts wrong – about events in Tower Hamlets and now about the Oxford protest. And from that ignorance you boldly pronounce. Apart from anything else, this if foolish. The students we met at the service station travelling from SOAS and other London colleges to Oxford had a far clearer idea about where the movement and the left need to go.

  147. I went to an SWP aggregate recently and there were many more people in the room than signed the petition. There were also a relatively high number of cdes compared to the registered list. I worked this out on a simple head count compared to the number of delegate places available. Obviously people came out for this one.

    While there was some debate on ‘why now?’, there was no disagreement on how to characterise recent events. Without naming anybody I can say that people that this blog may assume to be critical did not infact express deep disillusionment or disagreement. Not know as shrinking violets either!

    I dont write this to make any kind of point except that playing the numbers game with the petition is not useful as a way of assessing the current state of the SWP.

  148. Ger Francis on said:

    Re 164 from ‘tradeunionistactivist’. The real trade union activists on Bham TUC Exec members did not feel that Salma had to ‘prove’ anything in relation to TU issues. That is why, unlike the ultra left, they had no doubts she should speak.

  149. Actually the word assistant was my addition. The actual word was less flattering and might not have referred to an employee. Smirking is often in the eye of the beholder. Was going to take that out as well. In any case did anything extremely important, sectarian or unusual happen here? If there are any clear ideas for the movement I’d be very interested in hearing about them whoever mentions them.

  150. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Oh John, cut this out. I think you should just acknowledge you got this wrong, take it up with the person who “probably knows” and learn from this. You are showing yourself to be shockingly unreliable and cavalier with the truth.

  151. Kevin, I’m checking don’t worry. But I don’t actually see how, if people are concerned about sectarianism, it helps to make a huge deal out of this. Its worth recalling that amongst the sponsers were the UJS. One can actually see that arranging speakers before hand is neccessary in such a situation.

  152. Irish Mark P on said:

    Adam J / posts 137 and 150:

    You are factually wrong about the protest in Oxford. There was a platform of speakers, not just a “direct action protest”. The SWP controlled that platform. They kept Galloway off it. These are all, unfortunately, facts. Wishing they were not true does not make them untrue. What’s more they fit entirely with the SWP’s practice in general towards others on the left it perceives as rivals.

    In your rush to defend their sectarian methods you misinterpret the point I made about their constant efforts over six years now to ensure that no member of the Socialist Party is allowed to speak from a national Stop the War Coalition platform. The issue is not that they prevented one or other Steering Committee member from speaking. It is that they have had a consistent policy of preventing anyone at all from an organisation they perceive as their rival on the left from speaking. What’s more they have even gone so far as to keep Socialist Party councillors from addressing public meetings in the wards they actually represent. There is and can be no justification for this. It is sectarianism in its purest form.

    Your support for this crass behaviour seems to be grounded in opposition to the Socialist Party’s general approach to anti-war work, which is to refuse to hide their politics behind liberal platitudes. Nobody else is under this kind of gagging order – Muslim speakers on Stop the War platforms are freely allowed to make Islamic arguments against the war. Christians, to make Christian arguments. Reformists to make reformist arguments. Liberals to make liberal arguments. This is as it should be in an open and democratic anti-war movement. The only people who are not allowed to argue from their own political point of view, the only people who are expected (by the SWP) to gag themselves or be gagged, are socialists.

    It is not something to be proud of that SWP speakers typically pretend to be particularly excited liberals and refuse to raise socialist or class based arguments against the war, but it is their decision. Where this becomes reprehensible is when they make it their policy to police Stop the War platforms to prevent anyone who might raise such politics from speaking. They don’t attempt to do this with any other brand of anti-war sentiment. Just the socialists. Mustn’t scare Vicar after all.

    I have been told, repeatedly, by leading SWP members that raising socialist arguments from StW platforms – alongside the Muslim, Christian, Liberal, Reformist, whatever arguments which are already raised from those platforms – would be divisive and would “narrow the movement”. They seem to think that say, Muslims, or Liberal Democrat voters in the audience are perfectly happy to hear Christian arguments against the war but would be mortally offended if someone were to raise socialist arguments. What’s more, these same people don’t seem to think that refusing to condemn the 9/11 bombings or cosying up to Hezbollah and whitewashing their politics could be considered at all “divisive” or might narrow the appeal of the movement!

    I note by the way, that the SWP’s policy of keeping other left organisations off platforms is not something restricted to the Socialist Party. It is their general, manipulative and sectarian approach to other left organisations where they control a platform. As Respect (Renewal) is now finding out. As many groups of independent SWP allies have found as soon as they have ceased being useful idiots. As the Socialist Alliance found… when the SWP was the main organisation within it!

  153. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    John, stop being disingenuous. You comment here about a smirking assistant of George Galloway’s telling Weyman Bennett “George is here” and from this you start babbling on. But it simply isn’t true.

    The sectarianism is written all over your response and your preparedness to post up any old bilge just as it is shot though the Adam J and JB comments above.

  154. Kevin, has George ever spoken at a UAF demo before? Is he well known for working with UAF?

    If not, why does he think he can just turn up to one of their demos and be handed the mic?

    As for the claim that his show helped to build the demo – he spoke about it 2 days beforehand. Anyone travelling from far away would already have booked their place on a coach by that point. And locals would already have known about it without George informing them.

    The universities and students did the most to build for that demo.

    And the point about UJS’ sponsorship of the event is a very valid one.

  155. Mark P #183

    The CPB are also not keen on the SP for different historical reasons.

    I remember a couple of years ago at the STW national steering ctee, when Ken Smith proposed dave Nellist as a speaker for a nationa demo, and I was the only one who supported him, and several people spoke against. BUt the vote was very close.

  156. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    JB

    There were people high up in UAF who opposed George speaking at UAF events. I was always told by SWP members on the UAF steering committee that it was others who did that. So the answer to your question is that I don’t think UAF have allowed him to speak before. I don’t think that changes any of the points above.

    Your attempt to trivialist speaking to over half a million people for three hours about the demonstration two days before it took place is risible.

    And are you really suggesting that the UJS should have a veto on pro-Palestinian speakers at an anti-fascist event? Doesn’t sound much like the revolutionaries arguing hard for their position and refusing to be dragged to the right in the united front to me.

  157. tradeunionactivist on said:

    Censorship! 2 posts asking for evidence deleted! Andy, show some accountability and explain why you have deleted 2 of my posts relating to the original thread of this discussion please

  158. Ian Donovan on said:

    Amazing. Classic red-baiting from JB as well. Why should George not be ‘handed the mic’, as he puts it? Answer … because the organisers don’t like GG anymore. So we have to defer to the UJS now, presumably because they prefer Irving and Griffin to GG and his anti-Zionist politics (because that’s what’s implied by this excuse). George has to be no-platformed to defer to Zionists. Well well well!

  159. I know that if you think someone is having a pop at you, this is what leaps out, but assistant seemed politer then ‘minions’. And it was not my starting point. On George publicising the demo and turning up my response is ‘excellent’. But as indicated, whilst it might have been a nice gesture to have George on the platform, a) I don’t think its the end of the world if he isn’t, and b) there would be real problems in terms of some of those sponsering the demo.

    This is partly related to the SWP’s broader arguments about the difference between different united fronts. Their political composition varies. Kevin is more aware of this then I am I’m sure. But it seems that no formal approach was made before the day, and it seems that no formal approach was made on the day either. I don’t find it enourmously surprising that people centrally involved really prefer not to talk to each other.

    I hardly think its evidence of ‘dividing the movement’. One would imagine in this situation that serious and formal approaches would be made in such situations given the dangers that exist (and the point made by the comrade in Birmingham about the difference between genuinely trying to sort things out, and publicising difficulties on blogs was rather to the point).

    My own feeling is that in the leadership of Respect Renewal its obviously important that the SWP is portrayed in as negative a light as possible, and that, currently, the campaign around winning forces in a faction fight, trumps any proper negotiations to avoid divisiveness. Perhaps this will change at a certain point, but, sadly, aside of course from the absolutely looney sectarian bear pit’s of sites like this, I get the impression that this kind of thing is going to be on-going at least until the next round of elections.

    Its important to get a hold amongst activists who might otherwise be more involved in campaigns in which the SWP is involved. This neccessitates the invective, because despite confident assertions to the contrary, there must be some trepedation about bodies to campaign (this in itself is perfectly understandable and if there were not any such concerns people would be much more deluded then they already are).

    But the depths of sectarian malice and tittle tattle we’re seeing here are damaging not just for the parties involved, but the whole movement, and I doubt many will feel very encouraged to do anything very much as a result.

    Its extremely unpleasent and I seriously don’t think it does anybody much longterm good to play it up in this way.

  160. Ger Francis on said:

    Re 186. More ultra-left crap from some Brum SWP member hiding behind a keyboard. Worth reposting what I said earlier: ‘The real trade union activists on Bham TUC Exec members did not feel that Salma had to ‘prove’ anything in relation to TU issues. That is why, unlike the ultra left, they had no doubts she should speak.’ I am off shortly to collect 20,000 RESPECT newsletters for Springfield and Sparkbrook wards which includes an article calling for support for the council workers fight over single status. Your pathetic little innuendoes only serve to highlight the main point of my original post about the SWP’s sectarian degeneration.

  161. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    “tittle tattle” – exactly, John. Stop doing it, acknowledge that you have, and stop trying to lower the level of discussion.

  162. Ger Francis on said:

    My post was in relation to one from misnamed ‘tradeunionactivist’. Andy quite right to delete.

  163. It seems to me what Ger Francis objects to is when the SWP are sectarian to his group.
    When did you ever hear him complain about this stuff while he was a member?
    He is simply a hypocrite, with one constant however, he is always in the right.
    Hence when he was being vile and sectarian in the SWP, including most notably denouncing Steve Godward, he was on the side of the angels, now the SWP are using exactly the same, if not in fact slightly watered down versions of the same thing he’s kicking up some great fuss, as if he deserves special treatment.
    Get used to it Ger. You’re in a small group now. It’s what the rest of us have had to put up with for years.

  164. Ger Francis on said:

    Re 196. Amm…I don’t think a situation where we have two elected councillors with more to follow, and Salma polling nearly 10,500 votes from nowhere in the 2005 General Election, can be discribed as being in a ‘small group’. And yes, we dealt with a much more serious sectarian threat in STW a few years back in Brum. By comparsion, this is easy.

  165. I wonder how likely it would be that George would invite someone on to his radio show who had spent the whole of a recent rally attacking him and his politics?

    Let’s have a think about that one.

  166. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Johng

    Come on, stop it now. You’ve been caught out again posting tittle tattle, refusing to resile from doing so and pronouncing from those shaky foundations.

  167. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    JB

    (My earlier comment seems to have disappeared).

    However likely it is for George to invite someone onto his show, it’s not the point, is it. UAF is not the property of the SWP; it is not their show. The fact that you confuse these two things is very, very telling.

  168. Canadien on said:

    Andy wrote: “Then we get lectures from SWP comrades (East is Red, JJ, Canadien,) about how some mildly sexist remarks about Kylie’s bum are an outrage, and putting women off getting involved in the movement. We were contantly asked to denounce it, etc.
    “Yet where are your SWP mates, East is Red, JJ, Canadien, now? Have they nothing to say about the diminishing of a woman comrade complaining of her experience of sexism? Have they nothing to say about real women, not hypothetcal women, complaining about the violent imagary?”

    1) I have no idea what the hell you’re even talking about that I should be denouncing.
    2) I haven’t commented because I haven’t been here in a week and have decided to mostly avoid this place since you regularly delete comments that disagree with you – on the basis that they are “raising the temperature” but people can say the most outrageous things about the SWP and receive no censure.
    3) My issue with GG’s article on Kylie’s ass was not that he should be publicly whipped and you know it. I thought it was a fairly minor issue, frankly, until you and a number of others bent over backwards to defend it as being not sexist at all with strange and arcane references to petite bourgeois radicalism. And you, in fact, said that it was okay to dedicate an article to Kylie’s ass, etc. (ie. not sexist) because, after all, she self-commodifies – as though the action of one high profile individual doesn’t help shape social attitudes more generally. It is not the place of socialists to validate such behaviour.

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled sectarian smash-up…

  169. Ian Donovan on said:

    About as likely as GG being invited to write an full-page article for Socialist Worker explaining the case for Respect Renewal, I guess. But this is supposed to be a united front rally agaisnt fascism, open to everyone who wants to oppose fascism. To exclude the most prominent left-wing MP in the country from speaking at such a rally only signifies that the SWP leadership faction puts its political vendettas above the struggle against fascism. If that’s not sectarianism of a classic type, then I dont know what is.

  170. JB – I wonder how likely it would be that George would invite someone on to his radio show who had spent the whole of a recent rally attacking him and his politics?

    When did George attack Unite on his radio show? He promoted UAF on the show, he most certainly did not attack it.

  171. Ger Francis on said:

    JB’s post 199 speaks volumes about how the SWP’ers on this site have become so blinded by their own sectarianism they can’t see the wood from the trees. UAF is not the SWP’s platform. It is a united front against fascism in which they are involved, which seeks to unite very diverse views from across the political spectrum. And in the light allowing political disagreements inside Respect to spill over into influencing UAF platform composition is stupid sectarianism. That’s the whole point of this tread.

  172. Irish Mark P on said:

    #186: Andy, I am aware that the CPB are also in favour of keeping socialist arguments off Stop the War platforms. This is quite in keeping with the approach they took when their predecessor party controlled anti-war or other broad coalition platforms. Back when the SWP were themselves likely to make socialist or class based arguments against previous wars, the CPGB did its best to keep them too off platforms.

    Of course, if the CPB was ever to reinvigorate itself to such an extent that they too were perceived as a rival or potential rival to the SWP, or if they were to start disagreeing with the SWP, they too would find themselves on the receiving end of the treatment meted out to the Socialist Party, the Socialist Alliance and other left groups.

    Unlike, say, Mike Marquesee who went from regular speaker to persona non-grata after he fell out with the SWP, it probably won’t be possible for the SWP to keep Galloway off StWC platforms entirely. But I don’t think anyone is going to be too surprised if he gets considerably less in the way of invitations to speak at StW events and if he is kept off whatever other platforms the SWP can get away with keeping him off.

    He has spoken on a number of occasions in Ireland on the platforms of the IAWM, which was once the equivalent of the StWC here but has since, unfortunately, shrivelled to a much smaller group. I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the SWP controlled IAWM to invite him back. This won’t be for any kind of sensible reason – his politics haven’t changed and he remains one of the best public speakers against the war in any English speaking country. It won’t even be for factional reasons in Ireland or the IAWM. It will be the result of a spillover of a factional squabble in Britain.

  173. Teddy Boy on said:

    Can we have honesty and truth from the SWP cc. It is not a big ask to be accountable. Its very unmarxist and causes socialists to puke everytime they unleash their accursed misguided zombies onto this blog. Please direct them to the graveyard

  174. Canadien on said:

    Ian D – “George has to be no-platformed to defer to Zionists.”

    This is, of course, ridiculous. If mobilizing students at Oxford required working with the UJS – and it might, regardless of their attitudes on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict – then there would be some delicate balancing in terms of speakers prior to the demonstration. To dismiss that is cavalier indeed. It’s great that Galloway promoted the event and showed up to it but he doesn’t have to organize on campus with people the next day if they feel a fast one was pulled by adding people to the speakers’ list that weren’t agreed before the event.

    So, the question is: did Galloway or his staff contact the organizers prior to the demonstration – and with enough notice that it could go through the local organizing committee. I’m afraid being an important person in the movement and even helping build the movement doesn’t get you an automatic pass onto a platform for an event involving many different groups and politics. That’s just the reality of organizing.
    Were SWPers weeping to turn GG down? Probably not. I think if we’re honest nobody here is weeping about any political misfortune that happens to anybody on the other side. That is the sad reality of splits and divisions in the movements. All the more reason to find productive modus operandi to push things forward, rather than screaming accusations. I just hope somebody is going to be the bigger person/organization.

  175. As far as I can work out Ian, George was not ‘excluded’. He did not involve himself formally in the demo, despite which his publicity would of course be welcome. Nevertheless in a United Front which includes those very hostile to him, it would have been bending the rules somewhat to simply invite him onto the platform, with no previous arrangements, communication or discussion.

    Perhaps bending the rules can happen sometimes. But it is surely not hugely scandalous if those who’ve been at the sharp end of his attacks didn’t really feel like taking political risks on his behalf so soon after this damaging split. If at some point we’re to work reasonably well togeather again, I’d re-iterate that constantly trawling for evidence of sectarianism is not the best way to proceed.

    As to Kevin’s attempt to suggest that I am a purveyer of tittle tattle who is shockingly impervious to the truth, I will simply take these suggestions in the fraternal spirit no doubt intended.

  176. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Incidentally, the veto powers being given to the UJS by a couple of commenteres here are extraordinary. That never happened with the Anti Nazi League.

    It is a serious strategic mistake to allow Zionist organisation to exclude people such as George Galloway who are at the forefront of confronting the dominant form of racism in contemporary Britain – ie Islamophobia, which defenders of the state of Israel have an interest in promulgating.

  177. Canadien you talk like a bureaucrat.
    “So, the question is: did Galloway or his staff contact the organizers prior to the demonstration – and with enough notice that it could go through the local organizing committee.”

    Everyone knows that the organisers are Weyman Bennett and whoever else happens to be on hand. They decide who speaks and no one else. This is obviously a completely sectarian exclusion by Bennett, which is absolutely what anyone who knows the left in Britain would expect from him.
    It is, as has been manifest for the last months, the way the SWP operate.
    So stop all the nonsense.
    Sure the likes of Ger Francis deserve no sympathy. He is as bad as the worst of the SWP hacks, or maybe worse, I can’t think of a single SWPer who would boast of having “dealt with” a victimised firefighter. His reputation proceeds him.
    But that doesn’t alter the facts of the case.

  178. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    And, of course, if the argument that this was about not upsetting the UJS was convincing, why didn’t either of the two SWP committee members present on the night put it?

    Johng – rather than cut price sardonic comments, why not try the spirit of acknowledging when you get salient facts wrong and desisting from constructing an argument based on them. You are making such a fool out of yoursef.

  179. Canadien on said:

    Ger – “UAF is not the SWP’s platform. It is a united front against fascism in which they are involved, which seeks to unite very diverse views from across the political spectrum.”

    See my post above but it’s also not Galloway’s platform and you should respect that there are local specificities and alliances that have been hard fought for and about which you don’t know. Winding people up on the basis of assumptions and half-formed reports of a complex picture on the ground does nothing to solve divisions.
    If GG contacted UAF prior to the event and was denied a platform, even though he publicized the event, is a high profile MP, etc etc – then you should write a letter of complaint to UAF and cc it to other people on their steering committee – because it’s not just the SWP’s organization and you shouldn’t assume that all decisions are theirs to make. Following some due process before megaphoning your interpretation of an event you weren’t even at (and so far I’ve only seen two people commenting who were at the event) would be a more productive way to achieve your goals, assuming it is about maintaining healthy, united movements.

  180. As far as I can work out, its not a question of veto powers. In a coalition where there are big differences the whole question of speakers and platforms is more sensitive then is usually the case. Hence these things are worked out in advance. I don’t think its wrong to work with organisations and individuals influenced by Zionism in anti-Nazi work. At the same time I think its important to register that the Nazies are utilizing Islamophobia in a very serious way. But bringing all these currents togeather has to be based on agreement and discussion, and I remain convinced that these related terrain’s of struggle (the struggle against fascism on the one hand, the struggle against imperialism and war on the other) are nevertheless not identical.

    These kinds of questions are in any case not best resolved, all of a sudden, in the midst of the most brutal and unpleasent internal fight I can remember in all the decades I’ve been associated with the left.

    Its surely sensible to register this.

  181. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Canadien

    Ger and I were responding to JB’s parallel between Unite Against Fascism and George Galloway’s radioshow. Now, we are right about that, aren’t we? You see, the persistent failure of JB, Johng and yourself to acknowledge basic facts is a worrying sign of political degeneration. All sharp political disputes create such a dynamic. The best way to deal with this, at this moment, is to draw back, recognise the danger of poisoning vital areas of work and seek a negotiated separation and disengagement.

    If it continues, the movement will suffer.

  182. Actually these things aren’t usually worked out in advance. In Manchester, the STWC, UAF etc have always adopted the policy of open mikes.
    It seems there’s only trouble when the national leadership of the SWP decide they need to proscribe individuals or groups.

    But of course if you write a letter in, and as long as you remembered to make a request in advance (within the necessary three week time frame), which had of course been agreed by an appropriate consituent body, then the leadership, will, in accordance with their powers as upholders of the statues, consider your objection to having been…stitched up.

  183. Kevin Ovenden (#211) said: Incidentally, the veto powers being given to the UJS by a couple of commenteres here are extraordinary. That never happened with the Anti Nazi League.

    Quite right. In all my time in the SWP, never once do I recall anyone suggesting that we should make concessions to Zionists, in ANL work or in anything else.

    This sudden emergence of an imperative to take the feelings of the determinedly Zionist UJS into account (##182, 185, 208) is either a dissembling ad hoc justification, or a sign of a turn to the right in the SWP. Maybe they could explain to us which one it is.

  184. Canadien on said:

    “The local people wanted George to speak.”

    which local people – some of the marshalls? Was there a vote of the crowd? Don’t be absurd. I’ve been on demonstrations before – on the best of them there’s chaos about who has the right to speak for the coalition, make snap decisions, etc. Why didn’t you call ahead? You obviously knew about the demo.

    As to a serious strategic mistake – please. A united front means a joint action on a limited, specific platform. If getting a joint platform means some people you would want to speak don’t get to do so, well, so it goes. That’s hardly the basis for dismantling the united front. But that is especially the case if you haven’t had the argument out BEFORE the event.

    I ask you again – did you contact UAF or the local committee prior to the demonstration or did you show up and walk up to the stage and are now upset because GG wasn’t co-opted onto the speakers’ list on the spot?

    Surely you can see how these are two very different scenarios.

  185. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Johng

    Now you’re just turning up, waving your hands around and issuign platitudinous abstractions. You know, as someone once said, facts are stubborn things. And no amount of waffle gets round that.

  186. *207

    nice imagery…

    ‘ Its very unmarxist and causes socialists to puke everytime they unleash their accursed misguided zombies onto this blog. Please direct them to the graveyard’.

  187. Canadien on said:

    “Ger and I were responding to JB’s parallel between Unite Against Fascism and George Galloway’s radioshow. Now, we are right about that, aren’t we?”

    I wasn’t talking about GG’s radio show. Of course, it’s his show, he can do what he wants. I would hope that he would invite people onto his show who are key to the movements in question, regardless of disagreements – that would be a sign of taking the high road, being principled, etc. – but it is not a “united front of a different media”, so to speak.

  188. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Canadien
    “The” local people was a reference to local organisers of the event (the people you referred to in your comment). I’m sorry if that was unclear. Evidentally, I did not mean all the people from Oxford who were on that demonstration. It was in Oxford, I grant you, but there’s no need to sound like an annoying pedant in a first year tutorial on logic.

  189. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Canadien

    JB was talking about the radioshow and that’s what we responded to. Now go and join Johng in the hand-waving corner.

    Meanwhile, back on the subject of the thread: there’s an ideal opportunity for all concerned to demonstrate the unity of the movement at the International Anti-war Conference in London on Saturday.

  190. Canadien on said:

    bill – “now you’re sounding like a primary school teacher explaining citizenship.”

    your contempt for having a clear and transparent method in the delicate process of creating alliances for particular struggles is useful for schoolyard bullies, not so good for real world politics. But I invite you to scream your head off and insult everyone who disagrees with you (though my school teacher friends probably would see it otherwise) if you find that productive. You mentioned earlier that you were in a small group… more than one?

  191. Canadien on said:

    ““The” local people was a reference to local organisers of the event (the people you referred to in your comment).”

    Well, frankly, you didn’t make that clear and it still isn’t clear. Which organizers? A majority of them? A few of them? Your allies? You know as well as I do that details matter and it’s not being pedantic to pay attention to them. However, you have never answered the question of whether you contacted ANY of the organizers prior to showing up and expecting to speak.

    However, I do agree that the International Anti War Conference is a good opportunity to demonstrate unity in practice. Good to see people on both sides are speaking at the event. That is the ideal situation. I only wish I could fly over but I’m finishing my program that weekend.

  192. I think RR is missing a trick.

    Canadien and all the other international cyber-heroes suffering from CC-Syndrome by Proxy allow the real SWP CC-loyalists to do their business elsewhere (like splitting local StW groups).

    If we’re ever going to have a moment’s rest, we should really be trying to attract our own bunch of deluded fellow-travellers from around the globe.

  193. Canadien

    It astounds me that you gave the affrontey to lecture about how a protest was organised, and what local committes and organising procedures there were, given that you live thousands of miles away. I wouldn’t be so sure as you, and I live just 30 miles south, and personally know most of the comrades in Oxford.

    We all know that the way UAF actually organises, and unless there is a strong local independent minded committee (which there isn’t), then Weyman bennett will wing it and give the mike to whoever he chooses to on the day, plus a few speakers they have lined up in advance. the incredible procedure you decsribe would seem too bureaucratic even for most trade unions.

    If any other MP had turned up at the demo and asked to speak they would have been accomodated.

    People like John game should stop blowing smoke and simply admit that Martian Smith and Weyman Bennett made a bad call.

    if we don’t have that basic honesty about mistakes made, then how can we rebuild trust and good faith?

  194. Well I was a primary school teacher, so I don’t consider being compared to one particularly contemptuous. Simply reminiscent of a certain tone.
    And of course bureaucratic organisations love having transparent processes. It’s why personally, I love it when the crowd intervenes and muddies the waters.
    And yes I’m in a few small groups, including at present the STWC and UAF, what’s making me smile about your remarks, is their proliferation amongst the left in recent weeks. Oh the irony!

  195. Canadien on said:

    babeuf – argument by ad hominem is occasionally funny, if you’re a comedian. You’re not and mostly just come across as stupid and petulant but maybe that’s the persona you want to project.

  196. Canadien #227

    Please come to England immediately. We currently don’t use any of the structures and procedures you describe, and we are lost – please come and be our guide and mentor.

  197. Irish Mark P on said:

    #225: Andy, no I don’t think I misunderstand the politics and tradition of the CPB at all. They and their predecessors have always done their best to keep socialist and class based arguments off of anti-war platforms. Back when the SWP were likely to raise such arguments, the CPGB took the same attitude towards them.

    They may have some particular gripe with the Socialist Party, and perhaps you can enlighten me as to what that is, but even if they thought that we were the nicest, sweetest people on God’s earth they would want to keep us off such platforms for reasons of politics and political method.

    And as I said above, if the CPB was ever to show enough signs of life for the SWP to regard it as a potential rival or if it were to start disagreeing with the SWP, it too would find itself removed from such platforms. They would probably even be hurt and surprised by such a turn events, amazingly enough to the rest of us.

  198. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Oh but Canadien. Where is it said or implied that George “expected to speak”? You see, one of the local organisers saw us and ushered us to the platform (well, speakers area as it was not elevated) and asked Weyman Bennett and Martin Smith for George to speak. The local councillor near us also said George should speak.

    I’m sorry if I didn’t make myself clear the second time. Perhaps it will be clear if you read it without the kind of presuppositions you’ve just exhibited at 228.

    When George was interviewed by the media, a crowd of over 100 people gathered round and applauded his answers.

    I’m very confident about which voices in Britain inspire anti-racist and anti-fascist sentiment and activities. Funnily enough, until very recently Weyman Bennett and Martin Smith seemed to agree. What changed?

  199. Canadien on said:

    “It astounds me that you gave the affrontey to lecture about how a protest was organised, and what local committes and organising procedures there were, given that you live thousands of miles away. I wouldn’t be so sure as you, and I live just 30 miles south, and personally know most of the comrades in Oxford.”

    I don’t know and, apparently, neither do you by your own admission. My one and only point is that local organizing is not a simple thing and it is therefore useful to, you know, contact the organizers in advance if you want to guarantee a spot. Doesn’t Galloway have a staff. For Christ’s sake just pick up the phone. And if you feel affronted, then make a complaint to UAF, rather than shit-stirring on a blog when you DON’T know all the details – including whether GG’s people called in advance. What’s so complicated about this?

  200. Kevin Ovenden (#224) said: but there’s no need to sound like an annoying pedant in a first year tutorial on logic.

    You see comrades! Ex-cde Ovenden obviously submitted himself to the mechanistic distortions of bourgeois logic. Little surprise then that this individual, left incapable of grasping Dialectical truths, deserted revolutionary socialism for the wastelands of communalist petty-bourgeois opportunism.

  201. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Don’t worry, Canadien. Somehow I don’t think this kind of sectarianism is going to go unnoticed in UAF.

  202. Canadien on said:

    “Oh but Canadien. Where is it said or implied that George “expected to speak”? You see, one of the local organisers saw us and ushered us to the platform (well, speakers area as it was not elevated) and asked Weyman Bennett and Martin Smith for George to speak. The local councillor near us also said George should speak.”

    That’s the tone of the blog entry and of a number of posters – GG arrived and should have spoken. If you didn’t think so you wouldn’t be arguing this. And I’m saying, again and again, that if you didn’t call in advance and if you don’t know the shape of the local organizing you’re at a bit of pains to convince that you should just get to speak on the hoof – when there’s obviously going to be resistance anyway because of the current fracas.

    WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL IN ADVANCE? It’s a simple question – you knew about the event. GG is a busy guy, surely he didn’t decide at the last minute on the way to dinner that he might pop by Oxford and have a look. A little respect for formal procedure would give you more credibility. I’ve said – good GG promoted the event, good that he showed up, good that he’s speaking that Anti-war Conference coming up and if he’d contacted UAF in advance and said here’s what I’m gonna do about promoting and building the event, I’d like to speak and THEN they said no, well, I’d say you were right to complain about it. Though I’d still say you should try to stop it from spiralling before you go all bloggy on it. But, then, I prefer to bring down the temperature.

  203. Canadien on said:

    “Don’t worry, Canadien. Somehow I don’t think this kind of sectarianism is going to go unnoticed in UAF.”

    Alright, then go ahead and make a complaint. If you think wrong was done, then you should do so. That would be more productive than stirring shit on the blogs when people like me who have no power to influence anything in the UK can ask stupid questions like “did you call in advance?” Of course, people who can do something will likely ask the same questions. If people have a history of working harmoniously with Weyman Bennett et al, then they aren’t just going to take your word for it if you have no proof of trying to make an effort to follow some kind of formal procedure. Otherwise, it’s your (factional) word against their (factional) word, from the perspective of others.

  204. Canadien on said:

    “And of course bureaucratic organisations love having transparent processes. It’s why personally, I love it when the crowd intervenes and muddies the waters.”

    Well, until the masses toss aside the bureaucrats, and when there’s a fractious dispute going on, everybody needs clear, mutually understood and transparent procedures because any misstep is going to be interpreted factionally. Perhaps you are above any tendentious errors – if so a round of applause and a communist hero cookie for you – but for the rest of us mere mortals, it’s useful to have “objective” measures to judge things by.

  205. Babeuf you are quite simply wrong that in the ANL there were not discussions about these questions. I can remember quite sharp arguments with (good) Palestinian comrades I know around this question. Its something which comes up and is debated quite often.

    Kevin, I thought your comment about the need to draw back, negotiate a seperation agreement in order to avoid problems like this was a sharp indication of what this is really all about. Creating blog scandals about things which aren’t scandals is unlikely to achieve this goal. Sensible and restrained behaviour in the interim is.

  206. “I ask you again – did you contact UAF or the local committee prior to the demonstration or did you show up and walk up to the stage and are now upset because GG wasn’t co-opted onto the speakers’ list on the spot?”

    And once again, you should be embarrassed.

    As Kevin has already said, but I’ll expand on:

    George wasn’t actually trying to speak anywhere. We wanted to be at the demo. As soon as we arrived in the crowd, a few TV cameras found him and interviewed him (and you’ll be pleased about that because you know that it will help build the movement – it would probably help your credibility if you at least acknowledged how positive an impact someone like Galloway has on publicising movements like this).

    That brought George to the attention of a local UAF person, who said they really thought he should speak.

    So they led us through the crowd. There were 3 of us. See, this is how I know there weren’t “minions”, cos we met up with the others later.

    JohnG, I hope *you* are embarrassed about how easily you believe the gossips who email you, when it turns out that the person who went up to Weyman and asked for them to let George speak was… the local UAF worker. No one else spoke to them on George’s behalf.

    That the person who contacted you referred to this person as a “minion” means only one thing: Weyman hadn’t the faintest idea who the local UAF people organising the demo were.

    That you decide to believe it means something quite different, and should give you pause for thought.

    After a while, we decided to get out of the speaker area a bit (plain clohes coppers on either side of us meant we couldn’t move at all), and go and stand at the back a bit. It was just too crushed to do so comfortably, so we went to the back of the protest. Me, George, Kevin and the others who we ran into wanted to give out leaflets, so we wanted somewhere to do it.

    Within a minute, George was surrounded by a crowd of people, including people who weren’t on the demo.

    Yes, George got a bit of heckling. From Zionists. How brilliant that the commenter “oxfordian” used that as evidence.

    Sad, and shameful. Canadien, once again you’ve proved incapable of teasing out facts from fiction, using instead whatever you think may help your argument.

    And John. What happened to your pledge not to repeat gossip any more?

    Once again you’ve been fed lies and happily repeated them.

    You owe an apology to the Oxford UAF person, as does the person who contacted you. Of course, it’s the same person who was feeding you gossip that turned out to be untrue before, and you should’ve learned by now.

  207. “I would hope that he would invite people onto his show who are key to the movements in question”

    He invited Karen Reissmann on to his show.

    Twice.

  208. “If it continues, the movement will suffer.”

    Kevin, if someone from Respect (unrenewed) said this, Salma would roll her eyes and tell them to stop shedding crocodile tears.

    I think the point about GG not speaking on the platform is:

    * He was not scheduled to speak.
    * He has no links with UAF, having never attended their demos in the past.
    * The speakers were already decided.

    No ‘refusing’ of platforms to anyone – if it had been arranged that he would speak and Weyman had gone back on his word then that would have been out of order. But at no point was he listed as one of the speakers.

    And I’m not sure how George Galloway not speaking on a UAF platform (which he has never done in the past and he’s not even listed on their website as an MP that supports them – Kevin I’ll have to take your word on the reasons for this) is going to cause the movement to suffer.

    The Renewal rally at which prominent speakers chose to launch their ‘new movement’ with vicious attacks on former comrades for hours on end? Now that’s going to cause the movement to suffer – whether the hypocrites and deliberately deceitful few on here choose to admit the blindingly obvious or not.

  209. Canadien on said:

    tonyc – defensiveness and bristling commentary to the side, your report is interesting. For the record, whatever that means, I feel no embarassment or shame for questioning the report of your side in this and I thank you for answering the question, which i may summarize thus: GG helped build the demo by promoting on his radio show, he showed up on the day and did some radio/media spots and didn’t expect to speak, though he went up to the “speaker area”.
    One of the UAF organizers suggested he speak when he/she saw him, as did a local councillor. Weyman Bennett decided not to have him on stage, no doubt in part because he thinks GG is an asshole who just organized a conference whose focus was to denounce Weyman’s organization. I don’t think anyone would deny that this will shape people’s decisions – good will or not to the contrary (not your side, of course).
    So, have you contacted the UAF and asked why he wasn’t allowed to speak? Surely there are two sides to every story – even one where you think you are correct, even though you weren’t involved in local organizing. But, what’s more, since you all say that GG showed up with no intention of speaking, I don’t understand why you are in such a tizzy that he met his intention and didn’t speak. And if he wanted to speak, which seems the case since you are all so upset that he didn’t, why didn’t you call in advance? Is he above giving notice of his appearances? Is it droll to ask to be on the speaker’s list?

    “He invited Karen Reissmann on to his show. Twice.” – Good for him. I never said he wasn’t. If you re-read the post, my reply to Kevin was in agreement with him that the show wasn’t a united front. Jesus – get over yourself. You RR people are crazy, like 28 Days Later. You’ve got the rage virus and have gone all squirrelly.

  210. #235 “I’m very confident about which voices in Britain inspire anti-racist and anti-fascist sentiment and activities. Funnily enough, until very recently Weyman Bennett and Martin Smith seemed to agree. What changed?”
    Jeez Kevin if you don’t know by now then give up.
    The way this splendid demo (well except for andy whose upset the meeting got disrupted)is only discussed on wether GG spoke or not is really pathetic. I am glad GG built it on his radio.. pats on the back, fantastic, brilliant. Now that this is acknowledged can Kevin get off his brown nosing of his boss. Ok a celeb turns up and 100 people want to look at him. GG has his followers but everyone also knows subsequent to Big Brother version 1 and 2 and then hobbnobbing with the queens cousin he has fallen down the affections of many. Now if I am wrong about this then of course Respect Renewal will pull in thousands of members very shortly. Why, because GG anaylasis is that the SWP conciously decided to keep RESPECT samll in order to keep control. Well now the obstacle is removed we should see its membership go through the roof. For myself the reason for the small recruitement figures are a bit more complicated- low industrial struggle, less anti war mobilisations- being the main reasons. These are deep rooted problems for the british left and sinmply getting rid of the SWP is not going to sort this out. It remains to be seen once the dust has settled how much real political unity exists in RR.. Lets face it GG does not like being accountable to the members of his organisation. There may be a criticism of the SWP in that it was slow in challenging GG but that does not alter the possible problem this organisation has in the future. I think it is going to be diffiuclt for GG to win in the election- not just for political reasons but the boundaries of the area he is fighting. If GG loses I am sorry it looks highly unlikely he is goigto do the hard yards of building RR. Salma may ve different.But they will be local organisations not a national one.
    The way this is worked out will be interesting to see.
    I will be interested to see how RR relates to industrial struggles when they arise- will it be able for example to criticise Crow of the RMT? This is unlikeley. What about the arena outside elections? RR is unlikely to offer the left much in the way of initiative. Theoretically- welll this is going to be a dogs dinner- RR is a mish mash orthodox trots and a stalinist amongst them. Whlst the fervour of anti SWP keeps it going for a short while will be interesting to see how it copes in the near future.
    GG recently in a colum argued that the Labour Party in scotland was effectively dead!! If so then it must be so frustrating for him when the left of labour cannot overnight a mass party. Alternatively you can say Labourism is creaking and is fracturing but has deep roots and long held alliances which connect with many workers level of class conciousness. This is not going to vanuish- hence one of the reasons for the united front. I think in all honesty it has been the SWP who have been the most in favour of a broad movement against the war.. if Labour is dead why bother getting figures from the labour party involved.. if we look at it they are unfortunately not simply gone but have still very large signifiacnt support which is under pressure. This leads to the possibility to construct a left outside labour.. until GG pulld the plug.. but thats an old story.

  211. Teddy Boy on said:

    #252 George Galloway is a well known anti-racist and champiom to many oppressed ethnic groups. I think any arguement against him appearing on any anti racist platform is shallow if not false.
    You do show in your last para that the real reason was not about who should be on it was more about R SWP attacking RR and thats disgusting and will not be accepted by the UAF

  212. elizabeth on said:

    Well the Bristol coup by the SWP took place as expected. Some 36 SWP members turned up reponding to the numerous phone calls and heavy pressure. They even had their own meeting to prepare for the meeting last week. The non SWP steering committee members could hardly believe what was happening – never had they seen these people at meeetings before. So they came and wrecked the local Repect group with their demands to rerun the AGM and elect a new steering group so they can have total control. Non SWP members walked out since there was no point in staying when you can see that every vote is agreed by automatons. Of course they shouted ‘Stay’ because they are desperate to try to browbeat you because they’re always right, aren’t they? It was sad because it’s all so completely unnecessary and because those people are so sad in their delusions and their madness. But they’re happy now that they can talk to themselves again without us. What will they do now though?They rant on and on about the need for a revolutionary party but most of then are so conservative and do nothing actively to bring about a revolution.

  213. It gets worse. I’ve posted a report of Respect’s Bristol meeting on Wednesday which sets a gold standard for sectarian cluelessness by the SWP.

  214. Ger Francis on said:

    93 at the South Birmingham meeting tonight. Comprehensive report delivered by Salma which covered everything from Venezuela, to single status, to local clean-up campaigns. The meeting agreed to a new 19 strong ctte. No SWP members elected (they got around 15 votes, vast majority their own members), because members present felt having a ctte with people hostile to George and Salma did not reflect neither them nor Respect voters. All very civil and matter of fact. Some very tasty somozas and snacks provided and everybody hung around afterwards for the food. Can do a proper report done with pics if Andy is interested.

  215. kevin Ovenden on said:

    JJ ‘#235 “I’m very confident about which voices in Britain inspire anti-racist and anti-fascist sentiment and activities. Funnily enough, until very recently Weyman Bennett and Martin Smith seemed to agree. What changed?”
    Jeez Kevin if you don’t know by now then give up.’

    Ok, JJ, what exactly has changed? Just say what it is that materially alters the relation between a UAF platform, administered by Martin Smith and Weyman Bennett, and George Galloway.

    The rest of your comment is, sadly, indicative of a total degeneration affecting some SWP members who are trying to be holier than some members of the central committee. Look – it doesn’t have to be like this. We could all reflect on where we are.

    Revolutionaries inside and outside the SWP could consider the significant defeat that the CWU result represents and, at the same time, the political (as opposed to directly trade union) space that is opened up by the extraordinary malaise afflicting the Brown government.

    Doing so means breaking out of a bunker mentality.

  216. why does your blog pretend to have links to the international socialist tendency?

    …”pretend”? Socialist Worker NZ is an affiliate of the IST and has been since 1995. We sent a delegate to the last IST conference. Although we have a strategic outlook which differs from that of some other member parties of the IST right now, the IST is not some kind of mind-control cult where you have to toe the line or quit. We stand by the political traditions of the IST and we have no intention of leaving.

    whose pulling your strings daphne?

    The saucer people, in association with the Rand Corporation, under the supervision of the Reverse Vampires. Seriously, what kind of question is that?

  217. kevin Ovenden on said:

    Anticapitalista

    I didn’t find that very informative. What am I missing? Do you have a view about Iranian influence in Baghdad? I really hope that we are not going to have some stupidity about George Galloway purportedly giving credence to bellicose propganda against Iran. You know, there was a time (about three months ago) when no one in the SWP or in the IST would entertain that kind of rubbish.

    Why should anyone do that now?

  218. anticapitalista on said:

    I think the issue of Iran and how the Left relates to it very important in the present circumstances. Much more important IMO than people bickering here about Respect and the SWP.

  219. “though he went up to the “speaker area”.”

    Again, Canadien, you should be thoroughly embarrassed by the contribution you posted.

    You’ve been told twice now, but you don’t seem to be able to grasp the basics.

    One more time: George didn’t “go up” to the speaker area. We were quite happy just “being” at the protest. We were there talking to people and handing out leaflets. But the fact that TV crews had spotted George meant he attracted the attention of a local UAF person.

    You’ve read this in my post, which you replied to, yes? So you already know this, yes?

    The UAF person asked him to speak and said she would take us to the speaker area. Before that, we were around the other side, several minutes’ scrum away.

    I’ve explained this already. You saw it earlier, I’m sure.

    And yet still you persist with your lack of comprehension.

    A key point here is, even though GG went up to the protest as a protestor, the fact that a local person wanted him to speak, and that the SWP CC members there did not want him to speak is a key issue. Until that point, no one minded. There was this excellent bloke doing some music and rap stuff that was really good. No one minded. No one would’ve said “GG DIDN’T SPEAK!!!!1111”

    It becomes important when you realise that two CC members of the SWP have deliberately stopped someone from speaking.

    Now, you lack the ability to tease out these issues; that much is now clear, given that I’ve explained this already (go on, go check!) and you still maintain that GG went up to the speaker area wanting to speak.

    Actually, why am I bothering? You couldn’t even be bothered to get the basics right from what I posted. And JohnG still hasn’t apologised for calling a local UAF person a Galloway “minion”.

    You say we are “nuts”. I’d rather be passionate about trying to build something positive than be the kind of bitter sectarian who has to try to sow division wherever he can.

    Remember, a former SWP full-timer, in this very blog, said the SWP must win this fight “at all costs”. Clearly, there’s a mentality at work here.

    And it’s not pretty.

    Hope you’re proud, Canadien. You are acting as if you are above the fray, but anyone who cares to look over your contributions to this blog over the last few weeks will realise that you, like the other SWP members in blogland, have conciously engaged in a dirty fight (as Richard Seymour at least had the honesty to admit he was gonna do) and are willing to engage in whatever dirty tactics you have to to win.

    Shame on you.

  220. “I think the issue of Iran and how the Left relates to it very important in the present circumstances. Much more important IMO than people bickering here about Respect and the SWP.”

    Great, so you won’t just have posted a link as another sectarian sneer then, anticapitalista. That’s good. That’ll be why you accompanied it with some debate and argument then.

  221. JJ: have the SWP criticised Mark Serwotka for calling off a national dispute and their own members for voting to do the same? Or what about Jane Loftus in the CWU? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think denouncing union officials is the main issue in politics today. But you seem to think that the litmus test of Respect will be whether it does what the SWP seems to be unable to do. Or is it just Bob Crow who needs to be denounced, given that he is persona non grata as far as the SWP leaders are concerned.

  222. “So Kevin you think Sami is lying?”

    I like the way you calmly and rationally try to debate the issue without resorting to mischaracterising your opponents’ points.

    Jeez, you people are more suited to Harry’s Place these days.

  223. “JJ: have the SWP criticised Mark Serwotka for calling off a national dispute and their own members for voting to do the same?”

    I keep hearing this – that SWP members went against party discipline but never got punished (is Kevin Ovenden still posting to this thread? He might have a view – although it’s the SWP members who supported Kevin’s expulsion who I’d really like to hear from); clearly, this will have had no influence at all on Mark Serwotka’s friendly tone towards the SWP.

  224. “Or is it just Bob Crow who needs to be denounced, given that he is persona non grata as far as the SWP leaders are concerned”

    Point of information: Martin Smith and Lindsey German told tube worker SWP members that Bob Crow was “unscrupulous” (also said to other SWP trade union members), that Crow refused to work with other left wing groups and that he adopted a “Millwall attitude” towards us.

    But then, this is from the same CC whose leading member called Linda Smith a vote rigger (where is the condemnation of this from the SWP supporters in this blog?).

  225. Anticapitalista: “I think the issue of Iran and how the Left relates to it very important in the present circumstances. Much more important IMO than people bickering here about Respect and the SWP.”

    And who, exactly, is trying to pretend there is a substantial difference between Respect and the SWP? I cannot believe that your comrades in SEK will be pleased with this kind of malakia.

  226. Canadien on said:

    tonyc – so one organizer asked Galloway to speak and therefore the SWP should jump and put him up on the platform, regardless of any local agreements re: speakers, etc. Frankly, you’re whining.

    However, since apparently, RR plans to prevent Preston Respect from running under the Respect banner, you definitely have the moral high-ground on the question of maintaining unity in the movement. Good work.

  227. socialist monster on said:

    #267 I understand that what George actually said on TalkSport was: ‘Bush is now talking about attacking Iran, not because of the nuclear question, but because of its role in Iraq; but who is responsible for Iran’s role in Iraq? It was us who made Iran top-dog in Iraq… The sectarian murder-gangs loyal to Iran roaming around Iraq, killing not just occupation soldiers but of course 1000’s upon 1000’s of civilian Iraqis, are there because the invasion of Bush and Blair. I don’t like the FACT that Iran has funded the sectarian murder-gangs inside Iraq; I don’t like the FACT that Iran is trying to take-over Iraq; I don’t like the FACT Iran is happy to see Iraq breaking up in to pieces because it would be that much easier to dominate.’

    Sami Ramadani thinks this is unhelpful in view of US propaganda for an attack on Iran. You may not agree with him, but ‘stupidity about George Galloway purportedly giving credence to bellicose propganda against Iran’ it is not.

  228. Canadien on said:

    There is a sad and pathetic logic here. At the RR rally it was argued that the strategy was to go in and split branches – this was reported on Liam’s blog – and where an outright victory wasn’t possible, to try to win the middle ground to split later. Now, it seems to me that when that is a publicly argued position, people on the other side are going to react badly. This is winding up into the kind of destructive factional mayhem that nobody will survive unscathed. Anybody, on either side, who’s stupid enough to think so is a fool – even if you hate the SWP or Galloway to the core of your being. And somebody ought to be the bigger person and propose a truce and a series of agreements how to work with the maximum unity w/ the minimum contact. Then let time sort out which perspective is most effective.

  229. “so one organizer asked Galloway to speak and therefore the SWP should jump and put him up on the platform, regardless of any local agreements re: speakers, etc. Frankly, you’re whining.”

    Two things:

    1) now you are arguing by distortion, and you should be thoroughly embarrassed. Where did I even argue that he SHOULD be allowed to speak? Get your head straight here, Canadien, before you lose it altogether. You were the one who argued that George shouldn’t have expected to speak just cos he went to the speaker area. I pointed out that he was *asked* to go the speaker area *so he could speak*.

    You are completely unable to follow this simple narrative, and I fear for your politics. You have turned your own point into an accusation that I think that the SWP should “jump” and put him on the platform.

    You really are embarrassing yourself. As I said before, George never had any view on speaking. It was UAF who asked him to. For some reason, this is beyond you. Actually, it’s not beyond you – you are fighting dirty and all you can do is try to lie and distort.

    2) Oh dear. It was not even a damned SWP platform. How far have you sunk? It was a Unite Against Fascism platform. Why are you arguing (in your lying, distorted way) that I think “the SWP should jump and put him up on the platform”? It’s not an SWP platform.

    Did you think it was an SWP platform?

    Do you wonder why people think the SWP wants to control everything it is involved with?

    Again: Shame on you. You cannot argue honestly, and when you do argue, you show your true colours. SWP or nothing.

    Shame on you.

  230. “Sami Ramadani thinks this is unhelpful in view of US propaganda for an attack on Iran. You may not agree with him, but ’stupidity about George Galloway purportedly giving credence to bellicose propganda against Iran’ it is not.”

    He never said it was. He was pointing out that anticapitalista posted entirely for sectarian, anti-Galloway reasons, in the hope of stirring up anti-Galloway sentiment.

    You of all people should surely understand this, “socialistmonster”?

  231. socialist monster on said:

    Because of course, people reading this blog couldn’t possibly be interested in this for any other reason.

    You don’t think that Stop the War activists might have a legitimate interest in a possible spat between George and Sami over Iran’s role in Iraq? You might try taking off the George-tinted glasses occasionally. Even on this blog, not everything has to be all about him.

  232. You’re too intense and obsessive, Tony. Many people remember that you used to record people’s IP addresses and enforce a strict censorship policy that included changing words you didn’t like in other people’s posts, when you were a moderator at lenin’s tomb.

    Nobody likes a humourless Stalinist type character, or somebody that will suck up to the leader whatever they do. You’ve got to review your style of working and stop denoucing everybody.

  233. Socialist Monster: interesting that you see the point of interest as being some “spat” between two figures in the anti-war movement.

    We’re you organising the SWP’s unity offensive in Respect by any chance? Was it mainly from Club Row or Vauxhall.?

  234. Teddy Boy on said:

    Tonyc, Mark Serwotka’s horse trading contribution, at the SWP-Respect coference will come to dog his re-election if he stand again. Simply because he knowingly, shared a platform with slanderers of a honest trade union leader, accusing her of ballot rigging.

    I hope he gets isolated in the TUC and I hope Linda finds some way to get damages. Maybe her union will financially back her. This in turn will reflect badly on Numptie Serwotka for bringing his union into disrepute for backing slanderers.

    RR would not be party to damaging the image of a progressive union. It is him that has done that.

    This the damage these SWP CC idiots leave behind in their wake for others to clean up after them. You cannot blame the progressive movement to be “fair scunnered” with these nasties masquerading as “the left” What do you think?

  235. Canadien on said:

    Tonyc – “It was UAF who asked him to.” No, I think you said it was someone, perhaps an organizer, with UAF who said he ought to speak. Surely you don’t think one person, some as yet anonymous person who approached GG, represents UAF as a whole do you? You have a strange notion of movement organizations.

    You really are obsessed with shame and embarrassment. Were you raised pentecostal?

    Teddy Boy – your posts remind me of a deranged terrier.

  236. Canadien on said:

    Oh, tonyc: “It was not even a damned SWP platform” I never said it was but the people you’re frothing and flopping on the deck about are SWPers, so it seemed germane to mention the attitude you seem to take as to how they should treat HRH GG.

  237. Teddy Boy (#287) said: Mark Serwotka’s horse trading contribution, at the SWP-Respect coference

    I had a vague suspicion of this, Teddy Boy, and I think you’re probably right, that Serwotka’s endorsement of the absurd witch-hunt narrative is most plausibly explained as a quid pro quo for the SWP withholding criticism of his actions (in the past, and probably the future).

    Teddy Boy continues: [Serwotka] knowingly, shared a platform with slanderers of a honest trade union leader, accusing her of ballot rigging. I hope he gets isolated in the TUC

    That’s where I have to part company with you. Rees’s slander against Linda Smith was made at a meeting that took place two weeks earlier, so it seems unfair to Serwotka to say that his mere presence on the platform with Rees implies that he endorses that slander. I wouldn’t even assume that he knows about it. And I certainly wouldn’t like to bet that any replacement for Serwotka would come from further on the left, so let’s not lapse into sectarianism here.

    But it’s only my guess that word of the slander hasn’t travelled far beyond Respect and perhaps parts of the FBU; if I’m wrong, I’d be interested to hear any evidence from Teddy Boy or anyone else showing that awareness of the slander has travelled further than that.

  238. ‘ had a vague suspicion of this, Teddy Boy, and I think you’re probably right, that Serwotka’s endorsement of the absurd witch-hunt narrative is most plausibly explained as a quid pro quo for the SWP withholding criticism of his actions (in the past, and probably the future).’

    So it couldn’t be the far simpler explanation that he actually thinks that splitting a movement, as opposed to taking the argument to your opponent at a conference is mistaken i.e. that he was actually saying what he thought?

  239. #277 – However, since apparently, RR plans to prevent Preston Respect from running under the Respect banner, you definitely have the moral high-ground on the question of maintaining unity in the movement.

    Any more information on that?

  240. anticapitalista on said:

    #277 And who, exactly, is trying to pretend there is a substantial difference between Respect and the SWP? I cannot believe that your comrades in SEK will be pleased with this kind of malakia. – Nas

    Well that just shows how much you know about the SEK and Resepect. You already have it in your head that Respect=SWP. SWP=SEK.
    So I guess, STWC=SWP STWC(Greece)=SEK ENANTIA=SEK

    Tonyc once again proves a point I made earlier that when he is asked a question he doesn’t like, he gets all sulky, resorts to moralistic outbursts and refuses to answer the question.

    So, tonyc. I’ll put the same point, but without any reference to GG.
    Many on the Left believe that the STWC should not only campaign against war in Iran by attacking Bush Brown etc, but also it should criticise the Iranian regime too.
    Discuss.

  241. Teddy Boy on said:

    Canaedan My “derangement” will look mild when the Swp cc’s judgement day(s) by the progressive movement comes about.
    I am obsessed with fair play, the rulebook, and honesty. Apply these canadien for a change, and we might get a least one sensible post from you.

    Your defination of Pentecostal is an actual mirror image of yourself masked by deranged howling blogs. Join the canine club and I will send you a bone for xmas

  242. Incredible that TeddyBoy now wants to see one of the best trade union leaders in Britain today ‘isolated’ in the movement because he disagree’s with George Galloway. Incredible that TonyC (kind of) joins in trying to suggest that there has been some kind of backstairs deal with the SWP (I’m not going on about it but the person was expelled as I understand it), and then tries to create a scandal out of a tiny (possible) factual error (to be honest ever since I discovered that it was Kevin who turned up with the hand written list of candidates to the TH meeting, I haven’t trusted a word said by the RR side of this dispute so I’m not ‘apologising’ for anything).

    Its also taken as fact that a leading member of ours said something about ‘ballot rigging’. My understanding is that when asked why we were not campaigning against the witch hunt by a comrade hostile to our general orientation, he stated that the individual was not ‘contesting’ the charge (which actually relates to something quite common and not very serious, certainly NOT ballot rigging) and that we had been asked not to. Now this whole discussion takes placed in a closed meeting. The real charge made is that some people have picked up on this and that this must have been intended. Its rather more likely that anyone who visits these threads gets worked up into the same kind of sectarian frenzy as the hosts.

    What kind of drugs are you guys on? Have you any idea how badly your damaging yourselves with this lunatic sectarianism? Its a shame. Some of you are half way decent comrades under the skin.

  243. Oh I should add that its incredible that TonyC decides to tell the world that (shock horror) the SWP leadership may at one point had a bit of a tense relationship with Bob Crow. How shocking and sectarian.

  244. Ger Francis on said:

    ‘Have you any idea how badly your damaging yourselves with this lunatic sectarianism?’ Amm…and this from Johng! Somebody whose ability for political belly dancing reaches new depths with every post.

    SWP sectarianism against George and Salma will not fly with Respect supporters and voters. And you will go nowhere with it, except into sectarian isolation, as the SWP members at last nights South Birmingham Respect meeting will testify.

  245. On Serwotka.

    let’s kill this right now.

    Mark Serwotka made an honest mistake in buying the witch-hunt story, hook line and sinker. That has no bearing on his role as a left trade union leader and a good militant.

    In actual fact the situation the PCS found themselves in, isolated among public sector unions, and with only a wafer thin majority for strike was a very complex one. I wouldn’t criticise any trade union leader for being cautious here.

  246. Oh and, shades of the debate about Galloway, we DID in fact criticise the PCS position on this (unlike Andy) and yet somehow this doesn’t alter the fact that we refer to him as one of the best of the current generation of left wing trade union leaders (because he is) or the fact that he reckoned RR was responsible for this damaging split (because they are). A very different atmosphere from these threads.

  247. Canadien is continually trying to rasie the temperature with largley apolitical point scoring about procedure, and aslo by out and out lies.

    No-one with any on-the-ground experience of the English left would give any credence to his account of how the demo was organised, or of the relationship between the UAF and SWP. canadien keeps insisting that structures that don’t exist should have been consulted, and procedures that don’t exist should have been followed.

    This is an obvious smoke screen.

    In canadien’s own words this is what happened: “One of the UAF organizers suggested he speak when he/she saw him, as did a local councillor. Weyman Bennett decided not to have him on stage, no doubt in part because he thinks GG is an asshole who just organized a conference whose focus was to denounce Weyman’s organization.”

    So there isn’t even a dispute about what happened: Weyman bennett put the interests of his own increasingly Healyite organisation before the interests of building the movement.

    But Canadien keeps telling deliberate lies to increase the temperature as well:

    For example: “since apparently, RR plans to prevent Preston Respect from running under the Respect banner, you definitely have the moral high-ground on the question of maintaining unity in the movement”

    From several thousand miles away Canadien simply invents an accusation.

    The question of the name and who can use it is an unsettled question, that needs negotiation, but an amicable and sensible solution that allows comrades to continue working toagther in the real campiagn and class struggle is obviuosly being made harder by the SWP’s cyber International Brigade from Greece and Canada cranking up the strategy of tension, and who themselves hide behind pseudonyms, know little about the facts on the ground, and dont even need to live with the mess that make.

    On another blog, Jhn Game said that predictions of a WRP demise were preamature for the SWP.

    But JOhn mistakenely thought that those us us mentioning the WRP meant the eventual explosion and extinction of that organisation. No, in fact the tragedy of the WRP was earlier when they became a crazed sect that subordinated everything to the cult of building their own group.

  248. Andy, unsubstantiated allegations, wild inventions, sectarian abuse etc, etc.

    I think the boot is very much on the other foot. I think whats happening is that the constant raising of the ante on this blog (and dark hints about more leaks to come ‘keep your ear to the ground’ etc, etc) represent a belief that this will force the SWP into negotiations.

    I think this is both deeply misguided as well as, objectively, being wreaking behaviour obvious to all not caught up in your own drama of ‘liberation’.

  249. Teddy Boy on said:

    291 Andy, Thanks for pointing out that he made an honest mistake. Many posts ago, just after the 17th, I raised this and only johng responded

    When proven, I can accept that my view on Mark Serwotka does not stand up. I do however have the right to question his judgement

    It now ceases to be a question for me, lets bury it. For Mark is a honourable man.

  250. Ger Francis on said:

    Johng can cling on to Mark Serwokta all he wants. He is not speaking for either the PCS executive or membership. I am much more interested in what Respect voters and supporters think. And on this they will be 100% with George and Salma in the face of SWP attacks on them. Indeed, in the real world, the vast majority of our voters will make no association whatsoever between the SWP and Respect. For reasons of their immense political marginalisation, any SWP electoral front is doomed, as Lindsey German is already finding out, whatever name is hides behind.

    Re negotiations; the SWP engaged in them before and had agreed to a split and will do so again. It only remains to be decided what arena those negotiations will be conducted in.

  251. Teddy Boy

    I have spoken to two different people, one who discussed it with Serwotka before the conferences, and one who did so afterwards.

    There is absolutley no doubt that Mark Serwotka is acting in 100% good faith.

  252. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    Johng

    So you have discovered that I turned up to a Tower Hamlets meeting with a hand-written list of candidates so you don’t now trust a word I or others I’m associated with say.

    You are a fool, led by the nose by people “who probably know” who are behaving worse than fools. I did not turn up with a list of candidates. Didn’t happen. Like other second hand garbage you’ve been dumping here about Tower Hamlets this is simply untrue.

    You haven’t had the good grace to apologise for any of the serial errors of fact that you’ve made.

    Instead, we get tones of injured innocence, and blowing smoke.

    You really ought to go back to the people who have fed you this stuff and question them about it rather than regurgitate their lies (in this instance one that was, as I understand it, used after the fact to support my expulsion from the SWP).

  253. anticapitalista,

    Read what i wrote above: an amicable and sensible solution that allows comrades to continue working toagther in the real campiagn and class struggle is obviuosly being made harder by the SWP’s cyber International Brigade from Greece and Canada cranking up the strategy of tension, and who themselves hide behind pseudonyms, know little about the facts on the ground, and dont even need to live with the mess that make.

    I suggest that Lindsey returns to serious negotiations.

  254. anticapitalista on said:

    Andy, why did you remove the post that said that RR was going to stop German from standing as a Respect candidate against Livingstone?

    It is not being made harder by SWP members, IST members, supporters at all. You just don’t like it when we defend ourselves from such crap that people have posted.

    Are you really so naive to think that there would be an ‘amicable’ solution to this? Look at your threads lately and the number of comments. How many are about unity in action and how many comments are there? And how many are attacks on the SWP with hundreds of comments of the same.
    And you blame the SWP for cranking up the strategy of tension.

  255. “Mark Serwotka made an honest mistake”

    Very patronising – take a look at your site and then take a look at Serwotka and what he has dedicated his life to and have a good hard think about this Andy.

  256. JB: was Mark Serwotka mistaken, as Socialist Worker maintained, in accepting the pensions deal two years ago? Is he capable of making an honest mistake?

    anticapitalista: what makes you think anyone wants to stop a Respect candidate standing in Preston?

  257. Let us be clear here.

    People in Greece and Canada are the only ones saying that RR want to stop Michael Lavallette standing as Respect candidate in Preston.

    Yet Anti-Capitalista calims that they are not ratecheting up the tension! incredible!

  258. Ger Francis on said:

    Didn’t realise ‘anticapitalista’ was posting from Greece. Haven’t you got something better to do than comment on internal Respect issues which you have no direct experience of and are thousands of miles away from the site of your political engagement? Is the Greek class struggle that dead? I don’t take seriously those who’s sole purpose on this site is to act as a mouthpeice for one side while having never engaged in Respect in the first place.

  259. Ger Francis on said:

    Post 309. And what Respect branch are you involved in? In case you did not get it first time: ‘I don’t take seriously those who’s sole purpose on this site is to act as a mouthpeice for one side while having never engaged in Respect in the first place.’

  260. observer on said:

    When you put the posts from Bristol and South Brum side by side. In birmingham its fine to elect a new committee completely without the SWP but obviously Ger ain’t a control freak and the SWP didn’t walk out. In Bristol the SWP are accused of rwrecking a coalition through allegedly the same demand but the losing side does walk out splitting RESPECT. Both posts are below so you see what I mean:)

    Well the Bristol coup by the SWP took place as expected. Some 36 SWP members turned up reponding to the numerous phone calls and heavy pressure. They even had their own meeting to prepare for the meeting last week. The non SWP steering committee members could hardly believe what was happening – never had they seen these people at meeetings before. So they came and wrecked the local Repect group with their demands to rerun the AGM and elect a new steering group so they can have total control. Non SWP members walked out since there was no point in staying when you can see that every vote is agreed by automatons. Of course they shouted ‘Stay’ because they are desperate to try to browbeat you because they’re always right, aren’t they? It was sad because it’s all so completely unnecessary and because those people are so sad in their delusions and their madness. But they’re happy now that they can talk to themselves again without us. What will they do now though?They rant on and on about the need for a revolutionary party but most of then are so conservative and do nothing actively to bring about a revolution.

    93 at the South Birmingham meeting tonight. Comprehensive report delivered by Salma which covered everything from Venezuela, to single status, to local clean-up campaigns. The meeting agreed to a new 19 strong ctte. No SWP members elected (they got around 15 votes, vast majority their own members), because members present felt having a ctte with people hostile to George and Salma did not reflect neither them nor Respect voters. All very civil and matter of fact. Some very tasty somozas and snacks provided and everybody hung around afterwards for the food. Can do a proper report done with pics if Andy is interested.

  261. observer: but the SWP has already split in Birmingham – refusing to support the winning candidate at this year’s council elections, for example.

  262. Ger Francis on said:

    Observer: There is one huge difference between the Bristol and Birmingham meetings. At one meeting there was hardly anyone other than SWP. At another, the SWP were a small minority. When ordinary Respect members and supporters hear about SWP hostility towards George and Salma, they make their mind up very quickly what side they are on.

    The outcome of the Birmingham meeting is a million times more reflective of Respect’s supporter and voter base in the real world than the outcome of the Bristol meeting.

  263. Observer, or as he previoulsy called her/himself “trade union activist” (useful to change you alias if you want to appear to have more support than you do)

    Thre is a difference between a meeting of just over 40 people, 36 of whom are part of another disciplined party imposing its own view already decided elsewhere; and a meeting of 90+ people, most of whom are not members of any other political group making their own decisions.

    It is the SWP’s inability to grasp that the way of working exhibited in the bristol meeting is completely incompatible with developing long term working relationships with political allies that is the whole problem.

    There is also little symettry, because the eletoral base in Brum is much bigger, and is with RR.

    The electoral base in Bristol is smaller than in Brum, but in Lockleaze cerrtainly will go with Jer Hicks. labour are so worried about Jer that they have already selected a left trade unionist as their candidate (Kevin Herniman of the FBU) and he is already camaigning for an election in two years time.

  264. Teddy Boy on said:

    Andy Comrade I withdraw my comment about Mark Serwotka.

    I was at the RR conference and I am a paid member, not a blog member and I travel long distances everytime the national call goes out.

    I come from the old school of socialism of sticking to rule and the principles of equality, fraternity and liberty. with the core values of honesty, truth, and accountability.
    Sadly this generation of SWP cc and their fellow travellers have tore these rules up and are attempting to assign them to the dust bin.
    We must resist them Not with the olive branch of a false unity. But the actions of the pluralistic progressive. movement

  265. Birmingham Respect Member on said:

    observer: The fact that you can’t see the difference between Bristol and Birmingham only serves to explain how the SWP have ended up in such a mess.

    The SWP have years of work behind them in Birmingham Respect. By my reckoning 12 of their members attended last nights meeting. They got 15 votes for their proposal to hear a report of the SWP-Respect conference, and 13 (possibly 14) votes for their nominations for the committee (the vote was so overwhelming it wasn’t counted). The remaining 75 or so members were united against them. South Birmingham Respect is still Respect. Nothing has changed, except that the SWP (who say they are engaged in a struggle to prevent the subordination of socialists to right wing communalists) have lost all support among South Birmingham Respect members.

    On the other hand, the SWP have ‘won’ Bristol Respect by alienating just about everybody else. And now they are on their own. What was the point of this farce? You can comfort yourself by asserting your ‘right’ to use your majority. But what did you really gain?

    The one thing that the Birmingham and Bristol Respect meetings had in common was that they confirmed the isolation of the SWP.

  266. elizabeth on said:

    The Bristol Respect steering committee is made up of both SWP and non SWP (more non SWP since Jer Hicks left)and held an AGM 2 months ago to elect this committee. Very few SWP members wanted positions then. At the Bristol meeting last night there was a resolution from SWP members to call for the election of a NEW committee next month.So you have to ask why. In order to pass that resolution 36 members of the SWP turned up which can only be interpreted therefore as a coup. The current steering committee were quite happy to continue working in a united way but the SWP have now wrecked that. So that’s why non SWP left the meeting in disgust at this overt take over so that those remaining could see how they were just talking to themselves in the room.A totally empty victory and in a few weeks they’ll lose interest because they can’t keep one party running let alone two!

  267. Elizabeth this seems a little disingenuous.
    As I understand it (I may be completely wrong!!) Jerry Hicks has made public statements that he intended to build a Respect Renewal branch – which in effect would be splitting Bristol Respect – rather than what would have been the most sensible alternative of people whichever Respect faction floated their boat continuing to work together as one organisation.

  268. elizabeth on said:

    As far as I know Jer had not said that until it became clear that the SWP were both fixing the National Conference and fixing Bristol Respect. No non SWP delegate from Bristol attended the Respect Conference (SWP dominated)because it was clear that they had fixed it. Last night we saw printouts of E mails from SWP centre showing how all members were urged to take out membership and get to the conference. The difference is that the non aligned people come from different traditions and positions whereas SWP are a bloc who all think the same! So the steering group is a mix of people who could have continued to work together but that’s not good enough: it has to be dominated by SWP

  269. anticapitalista on said:

    Maybe Elizabeth could tell us if the ex NC member of Respect stated at the Bristol meeting that Respect will be prevented from standing a candidate in the upcoming Preston by-election as they need signatures, two of which are held by the ex-National Chair of Respect.

    Also if it is true that the bank account of Bristol respect has been frozen.

  270. anticapitalista

    I suggest that if SWP-Respect wants the nominations officer to endirse a candidate then they shoule engage in negotiations with Respect renewal, rather than start snide inaccurate gossip.

    On the subject of bank accounts, I understand that the SWP refuses to discuss the state of the current national bank account. I suggest that it would be in the SWP’s interest to negotiate now rather than risk some of their expenditure from it being later revealed to public scrutiny line by line in a different forum.

  271. anticapitalista on said:

    So Andy, what is it that you insist on Respect should negotiate? With negotiations, what would RR concede to Respect?

  272. Andy can answer for himself, but it seems to me that the answer to your question is that that would be determined in the negotiations. Previously, we know that they got so far as for each side to agree that they would separate from the other and continue with different modified versions of the Respect name. Pretty reasonable really.

  273. This debate seems to be generating more heat than light.

    Kevin Ovenden has criticised some for not knowing there facts.

    It would be quite useful if (for those of us who live out in the provinces) rather than this tittle-tattle debate, if Kevin and others give a political and historical analysis of Tower Hamlets Respect from their perspective.

    Can I say at this juncture that when I was a member of the SWP I remember reading three key texts on Race/Class- Kevin O’s fine little book on Malcolm X, Peter Alexander’s, Racism, Revolution & Resistance and Alex Callinicos’s, Race & Class

    In it’s early stages, the development of Tower Hamlets Respect seemed inspirational. We saw communities who had been totally marginalised by the political community engaged, we saw the New Labour machine defeated. We saw the early election of a young Bengali trade unionist, Oliur Rahman, the fine result in Millwall of Paul McGarr, the article on Socialist Unity by Glyn Robbins, a white socialist about Tower Hamlets Respect in its infancy. The election of Galloway in 2005. The brilliant Defend Council Housing campaign.

    It seems very different from the state of play today with open warfare. How did things get to this point?

    As someone who watched events from afar, I began to get uneasy around a year or so ago. I heard rumours of leading members of TH Respect defecting to bourgeois parties (how could someone be a Respect candidate if he was prepared to join a bourgeois party? yet this was happening), I saw Respect Councillors defecting to bourgeois parties.

    I would read about candidates who didn’t seem to represent any grassroots campaign against neoliberalism or war but just seemed to be “respected in the community” or rather one particular working class community.

    I don’t want to offend comrades who obviously have devoted a lot of effort and time to building Respect in TH over the last 3 years, but I just don’t get the impression that things are as they should be if we have a Socialist MP and 12 Socialist Councillors?

    I can’t help thinking that many of the processes Kevin Ovenden critiqued in his Malcolm X book in terms of the Black radical movement in the 60s have been seen in miniature – the slide towards reformism and electoralism rather than class struggle, the ascendency of the petitbourgeois elements of the community to the leadership rather than working class leadership etc.

    I might have got this all wrong, but would be interested to hear a more detailed political analysis of what has been one of the most important experience’s of the left in recent years – Tower Hamlets Respect.

  274. Also what does Kevin Ovenden think about the fact that the Leader of Tower Hamlets Respect, Abjol Miah, declines to identify himself as a socialist?

    Not trying to be hostile – just genuinely interested. I’m sure he’s probably a decent guy against war and privatisation, but I would like the leader of my organisation in it’s flagship council where they are the opposition to be explicitly a class struggle socialist.

  275. Also what does Kevin Ovenden think about the fact that the Leader of Tower Hamlets Respect, Abjol Miah, declines to identify himself as a socialist?

    Not trying to be hostile – just genuinely interested. I’m sure he’s probably a decent guy against war and privatisation, but I would like the leader of my organisation in it’s flagship council where they are the opposition to be explicitly a class struggle socialist. Otherwise, what’s the point?

  276. Ok, anti-cap – I guess the rest of us will just have to soldier on without you. You still haven’t justified why you claimed that people were trying to stop Respect standing in Preston.

  277. Re # 317: You are saying that 75 of 90 people present at a Respect (?) meating in South Birmingham voted AGAINST hearing a report from the organisation’s national conference? Makes one wonder what kind of politics these 75 people ascribe to…

  278. anticapitalista on said:

    Nas, lets say from a reliable source, it was said at the Bristol Respect meeting that elizabeth attended.

  279. But I think it’s been explained to you anticapitalista – anyone standing for Respect has to have the permission of the nominating officer. That is going to require discussion, negotiation and at the very least acknowledging that the Nominating Officer is Linda Smith. This is just being mature about the situation rather than behaving with a persecution complex.

  280. anticapitalista on said:

    Not at all Nas. The RR group left Respect and boycotted the conference. As such LS is the Nominating Officer not of Respect but RR.

  281. Antitcapitalista: let’s say you dispute the course of events. So what? The Nominating Officer is Linda Smith. It is her signature that is required by councils up and down the country on nominating papers for candidates. That is not disputed.

  282. anticapitalista

    the nominations officer is whoever the electoral commission recognise to be the nominating officer. It is a legal question.

    The legal nominating officer of respect is Linda Smith. That is a fact de jure. Respect Renewal is not registered with the electoral commission at all, and therfore has no nominations officer.

    How you in Greece have a “reliable source” in a meeting in Bristol beats me, but regardless of whatever was said in Bristol (and I very much doubt the reliablity of your source) the action that needs to take place is negotiation.

    We need talking not posturing.

  283. Birmingham Respect Member on said:

    jfkd # 317 said: “You are saying that 75 of 90 people present at a Respect (?) meating in South Birmingham voted AGAINST hearing a report from the organisation’s national conference?”

    Funnily enough the large majority of South Birmingham Respect members didn’t consider it was a report from the organisation’s national conference. They thought it was a report from an unconstitutional event, rigged by the SWP to carry through their hijacking of Respect.

    But of course you know that already….

  284. Indeed – the better question is why the 15 have so little credibility with the 75, that the 75 didn’t want to hear their report.

  285. “Indeed – the better question is why the 15 have so little credibility with the 75, that the 75 didn’t want to hear their report.” – Andy

    Or why Jerry Hicks could only get 6 people out of 40 or so to a Respect meeting to support his attempt to split the branch and launch Respect Renewal?

    Or why the pluralist Respect Renewal in South Brum couldn’t tolerate even 1 SWP member being on it’s committee

  286. So, LJ – 15 people (all but two or three of them in the SWP) and 36 people (all but one of them in the SWP), both groups fall out with all the others not in the SWP. Hmmm, do you think there’s a pattern here?

  287. anticapitalista on said:

    Andy and Nas, so is LS a member of Respect? If she isn’t then she should let the electoral commission know that she is no longer a Respect member but a Respect Renewal member, and another Nominating Officer needs to be selected for Respect.

  288. anticapitalista

    Not only is she a member of Respect she is its national chair, as decided at the last constitutional conference of Respect, in 2006. She is also the leader and nominating officer, as registered with the Electoral Commission. She acted along with Respect’s MP to prevent an undemocratic travesty with this year’s conference.

    Of course, you don’t agree with this, so there’s not point going round and round in circles. It happens, however, to be the legal position.

  289. anticapitalista: it’s not about us disagreeing. It’s about what the Electoral Commission says. The SWP CC need to understand that there are rules here. They can’t just make this up as they go along.

  290. LJ

    The question of whether or not Jer Hicks had the support of 35 SWP members who had previoulsy been caucused is not the issue.

    I can assure you that even after being fed a pile of cack by the SWP CC about a witchhunt and left/right split there will have been very few people on Bristol SWP not absolutely gutted when comrades as well respected as Jer and Jo walked out.

    There simply is no one in Bristol SWP who could really believe in their hearts that Jo Benefield after 35 years in the IS/SWP could be part of a witchhunt against the SWP.

    There simply is no one in Bristol SWP who doubts in their hearts that Jer Hicks is a towering figure of integrity.

    These two were far and away the best respected and most experienced SWP comrades in Bristol.

    I know from private converstaions that there is a sizeable layer of SWP comrades who are still loyal to the SWP, but deeply unhappy about the way things have been handled, and that is why there are such desperate attempts by SWP members to discredit and disrupt debate on this blog.

    There will be comrades who stayed in their seats but whose hearts left with JO Benefield.

  291. I would be interested to see how this pans out.

    If the SWP-Respect tried to stand a candidate in preston without the approval of the legal nominating officer, they would have to say to the returning officer at Preston council that they didn’t have the approval of the actual nominting officers, but there is an anonymous bloke in Greece who thinks the law is wrong, and would that do instead?

  292. Teddy Boy on said:

    As a RR member I will leave this to my legal team and the SWP will have to do the same. Its a pity that one side pulled out of the divorce proceedings as I think both sides could have retrieved results that satisfied them.

    It can only damage one party’s reputation with added legal costs.

    I keep saying when you think you are more powerful than the rules of a constitution or hijack them you place your party outside the norms of decent behaviour and discipline

  293. “If the SWP-Respect tried to stand a candidate in preston without the approval of the legal nominating officer, they would have to say to the returning officer at Preston council that they didn’t have the approval of the actual nominting officers, but there is an anonymous bloke in Greece who thinks the law is wrong, and would that do instead?”

    Are you actually trying to taunt people with the possiblity that RR will block one of their candidates in Preston from standing? Why do you find this big sorry mess with Respect so hilarious Andy? Your attitude pretty disgraceful.

    Considering your blog stirred the shit no end, ensuring that it all got so bitter that there was no turning back, I thought you’d have a bit of humility by now. Apparently not.

  294. JB

    Time to negotiatre I think.

    Why it is amusing is that this discussion bears no resemblance to what is actually happeneing in the reall world.

    It is all speculation by a guy in Greece, stoked up by another in Canada, about what the guy in Greece thinks is a reliable source about an off the cuff remark fromo a comrade in a meeting in Bristol.

    If preston Resepct want to stand they need to talk to Linda Smith. That is the law.

  295. Kevin Murphy on said:

    re 325: Yet another very sharp political post from Adam J. Why can’t Kevin O or someone else respond to this? Perhaps because an honest answer can’t be shoe-horned into the “no left-right, let’s just blame everything on the SWP” unprincipled block politics of RR?

  296. Oh JB do you actually read your posts before you click submit?

    So it was Andy’s blog that “stirred the shit no end, ensuring that it all got so bitter that there was no turning back” and nothing to do with the John Rees and his non-existent witch-hunt wheeze, nor that stunning internal SWP document that accused Salma of pandering to communalism, nor the series of SWP regional meetings where George Galloway was traduced as pandering to homophobia, nor the series of distorted Party Notes sent out by Martin Smith which bore no relation to the NC meetings he reported, not even the use of the nationbal email list and website for factional purposes nor the convening of a conference outwith the constitution of Respect. No, none of these can be to blame for “ensuring that it all got so bitter that there was no turning back”.

    Let us instead blame one blog run by a bloke in Swindon.

    If only the SWPs new revolutionary leadership had Andy’s powers!

  297. Teddy Boy on said:

    JB
    “Considering your blog stirred the shit no end, ensuring that it all got so bitter that there was no turning back,”

    You do have a short memory. The bitterness did not start from this blog. Read the documents.

    If anything Andy and others bloggers have sought propriety and sought to give clarity and put down abuse and OTT statement. So away and catch up on the essentials readings to be part of this discusion

  298. “Oh I should add that its incredible that TonyC decides to tell the world that (shock horror) the SWP leadership may at one point had a bit of a tense relationship with Bob Crow. How shocking and sectarian.”

    Actually, we were fed all this bullshit about Crow being “unscrupulous” as a way of winning an argument that we should wreck motions coming through calling on the RMT to stand in elections.

    The sectarians were the SWP cc members who distorted what was actually happening in order to convince us to wreck something that, even though I don’t support, is obvious we should’ve engaged with. This was nothing to do with a “tense relationship”. It was *entirely* and openly about getting Lindsey German elected.

    I fought and won arguments for support for Lindsey. It was the right thing to do and I’m glad I did it. But it’s not sectarian to point out that the SWP acted in an ultra-left way towards one of the best union leaders in the UK.

    The SWP lost a lot of credibility by arguing against support for RMT candidates. My position was, the RMT won’t do it and it’s not a great idea anyway, but if we want to be taken seriously, we should take the idea seriously and work it out with the RMT. Instead, it was “wreck it and get support for Lindsey”.

  299. martin ohr on said:

    Andy,

    this is a genuine question and not stirring: do you think that the electoral commission would view the recent respect conference as not being constitutional? without your own in depth knowledge wouldn’t the fact that the conference took place under the name respect, in the vevue advertised on the respect website, with delegates seemingly elected in line with the consitution look from the outside at least like a consititutional conference of a political party?

    I can’t imagine a situation -short of a high court injunction- where the electoral commission would not agree to change the name of the leader and nominating officer to whatever the recent conference or new NC had decided.

    Unless a judicial review is what RR are going for then I can’t really see how you’d win this with the electoral commission. Moreover wouldn’t there be a real liklihood that the electoral commission wouldn’t allow RR to use the word respect or the phrase George Galloway in any registration for an alternative party since this would conflict with the existing registration.

    Probably you know more about electoral law than me but I don’t reckon the commission would want to take position that the recent conference had not been constitutional. I can’t imagine that Galloway is proposing to go to law in order to retain the respect name, or is he?

  300. Martin

    I think the situation is quite clear according to the electoral commission guidence notes on how to complete RP4 – application to register replacement party officer(s)

    Given that the positions legally recognised by the electoral commission are the registered party leader, treasurer and nominating officer, and two of those three positions are currently held by Linda Smith, then the positions cannot be changed legally without Linda smith’s consent.

    As the guidence notes say, any change of officers must be signed by “the registered party leader, nominating officer and treasurer. If the same person holds all these three posts, the form should also be signed by a different registered officer of the party”

    Elaine Graham-Leigh is the other registered officer, but she cannot change the officers on her own.

    This is one of the reasons I am mystified that the SWP CC don’t want to negotiate. They may be powerful within their own organisation, but they cannot simply ignore electoral law.

    The only ways forward for the SWP would be for them to initiate some sort of legal action against Linda Smith. Or negotiate.

  301. The only ways forward for the SWP would be for them to initiate some sort of legal action against Linda Smith. Or negotiate.

    As I said somewhere else, RESPECT/SWP would be on much firmer ground if Linda had been expelled from the organisation – or at least relieved of her office – before 17th November. As it is, you’ve got a Chair being replaced by the decision of a conference whose validity the Chair doesn’t recognise. Not good, really.

  302. I first read this stuff about Preston and thought it was another piece of cyber nonsense. But it is beginning to dawn on me now that maybe its for real.

    Is Preston Respect being blocked from standing a new candidate? And if so can anybody give me one good reason, considering Preston is supposedly held up as such a role model of unity in action?
    And I’m not looking for legal technicalities either!

  303. It comes back to the problem that almost none of the SWP leadership have been in the Labour party or been active trade unionists, their grasp of procedure is very weak and knowledge of the russian revolution no help.

    A little more time reading Wal hannington’s “Mr Chariman Please”, and a little less “State and Revolution” would do them a power of good.

    I am 100% sure, for example, that the Tower Hamlets delegation accepted by the SWP-Respect conference was outside the constitution.

  304. martin ohr on said:

    Andy,

    Having read the URL you point to it seems clear to me that it would be perfectly possible to change the names without Linda Smith signing herself.

    “If any of the registered officers is unable to sign the form, an additional officer of the party must sign the form instead,
    making a declaration that he is authorised to sign in the registered officer’s absence, and explaining why the registered
    officer is unable to sign the form.”

  305. Martin

    But the circumstance that that clause is designed to cover is where the registered officier is unavailable to sign, not where they refuse to sign.

    If Linda Smith made it known to the electoral commission that she was able to sign but unwilling to sign, then the procedure you raise is innoperable.

  306. MM #356

    I have no inside knowledge of specifially what d going on with this, other than having been involved in elections and my own dealings with the electoral commission as a party treasurer.

    Whatever happens, and even if there had been no split, Preston Respect needs to talk to Linda Smith, and needs her approval to stand a candidate using the Respect name.

    This means that the SWP does need to negotiate with Linda Smith about the terms under which they might use the Respect name. Now that approval might be unconditional, or might be subject to a wider agreement, but they need to talk.

  307. martin ohr on said:

    I’m not making a case either way, it’s just you seem very certain of the rules which look to me open to very liberal interpretation. To me unwilling vs unable is a pretty grey area; again from your language it looks like gearing up for a legal scrap.

    In the event that the swp did ‘win’ the name via this route, would you argue that the courts should not be used to settle this issue, or would you support using them?

    Also you removed my comment regarding forging of signatures with the socialist alliance, why?

  308. Martin, regarding the forged signature thing, because you got the facts slightly worng and were therefore having a dig at the wrong person (and therefore libellous).

    My personal view is the options should be, in descending order of desirabilityy:

    i) negotiation
    ii) binding arbitration from a neutral labour movement body
    iii) the courts.

  309. mm

    I know of no good reason that preston should not continue its work, but they would have to talk to Linda Smith about the terms under which they can use the Respect name. And it seems highly desirable that should be in the context of a wider agreement – which (if the SWP returned to negotiations where they left off) could be done in a morning.

  310. martin ohr on said:

    ok try this:

    …if only the swp still had the former Socialist Alliance national secretary as a member they could simply forge Linda’s signature.

    Anyway, you would support using the courts to settle the question of who gets the name? Or put more bluntly, Linda and Galloway suing the swp?

  311. Irish Mark P on said:

    Martin:

    The language does seem to be fairly clear. The part about officers “unable” to sign is a procedure for removing incapacitated officers, not one for removing unwilling officers.

    As I understand it, to stand a Respect candidate the consent of the nominating officer is needed. Linda Smith remains the nominating officer of Respect. Thus if Respect (SWP) want to stand in Preston or anywhere they will need to approach Smith or remove Smith.

    Approaching Smith will presumably trigger the kind of negotiations about a divorce settlement that the SWP seems to want to avoid. Trying to remove her will presumably result in her telling the electoral commission that she has not been removed.

    It really is time for both sides to act like adults and negotiate a deal rather than dragging this farce out even more.

  312. The suggestion that Respect belongs to a motley clique of anti-SWP splitters was silly enough. But your suggestion that Respect actually belongs to Linda Smith really does take the biscuit.

    It may or may not be the case that your personal view of the law is correct. Either way, it would be a bloody disgrace for Linda to act in the way you seem to be encouraging her to.

  313. Irish Mark P on said:

    I forgot to say, Martin, that it seems to me that it is probably more likely that the SWP would have to do the sueing if they want to remove Smith. Can we take it that you wouldn’t support them doing that?

  314. KrisS: it would be a bloody disgrace for Linda to act in the way you seem to be encouraging her to.

    have you lost all reason?

    The way I am encouraging Linda to behave, is to repsond to a request from preston respect, if such a request is made, by negotiating with Preston Respect.

    I fail to see how that is a disgrace.

  315. top tip on said:

    KrisS

    Can you explain why Andy is being disingenuous here?

    Any candidate needs the signature of the nominating officer, so preston respect does need Linda Smith to sign it.

    Wouldn’t that be a good opportunity to negotiate and resolve all the outstanding issues?

    What is wrong with that?

    Or do you think there should be no negotiations?

  316. martin ohr on said:

    I wouldn’t support any move to use the courts to settle a labour movement matter.

    Like I said, I don’t really mind either way, the sensible option is to go for negotation, I still surprised by the certainty with which Andy is asserting an application of the regulation which seems far from clear to me. I would suspect that a form duly signed by the new offices and with a short explanation that Linda had left and was unable to sign because she could not be contacted would easily satisfy what would be an administrative function within the electoral commission -presumably the changing of officers must happen fairly frequently to the commission.

    What shocks me is the tone of the language on the RR side which seems to make this into a way of forcing negotiations where there is otherwise no incentive on the swp-respect side. From this point of view organising a seperate rally on the day of conference seems to have been tactically suicidal.

  317. Negotiations with someone who has decided to split from Respect about whether or not Respect can stand a candidate in Preston, or indeed anywhere else? No, I don’t.

    Negotiations about whether or not it’s a good idea to stand candidates against each other, or rather to come to an agreement about not doing so – yeah, that seems sensible and reasonable to me.

  318. top tip on said:

    KrisS

    You are banging into the brick wall reality that your interpretaion of events is not shared by the outside world.

    in fact there is a split, and it doesn’t matter who is in the right.

    there are some practical questions to be settled like the name, the web-site, the money.

    The SWP Central Committee had been negotiating and had accepted in principle the idea of an amicable divorce, there was an outstanding issue of how the name would be arranged, with the SWP agreeing to use the name “socialist respect” and the other side had not agreed what variant of respect they would use.

    Surely it would be better to go back and start negotiations at that point again. rather than resolve these difficult issues by court action.

    But you say you oppose any negotiation. that is madness.

  319. top tip on said:

    Martin, the procedure you suggest

    “I would suspect that a form duly signed by the new offices and with a short explanation that Linda had left and was unable to sign because she could not be contacted would easily satisfy what would be an administrative function within the electoral commission ”

    would almost certainly be illegal. What would then happen most likely is that a letter would be sent by Linda Smith querying how the officers had been changed. the electoral commission wouldd find out she had not been uncontactable, call the police, and we would be all be in the shit.

    that sounds an even worse option than going to court.

    The electoral commission is under a lot of scrutiny,

  320. Ian Donovan on said:

    “that a form duly signed by the new offices and with a short explanation that Linda had left and was unable to sign because she could not be contacted”

    Deception of the electoral commission, in other words. Careful man, this may be an unwise thing to advocate on a public forum.

  321. If you people want to go to court, I doubt there’s anything I can do to stop you. If the SWP got it into its head to push a “let’s go to court” line in Respect, I would at least have some standing to try to stop that from happening.

    I don’t accept that the SWP CC has or had any more right to negotiate away Respect than your lot had. Not everyone involved in the two meetings – not all of whom on the Respect side were even members of the SWP – accepts your version of events at those meetings.

    Obviously there could be a difference between what I believe to be correct, and what Respect might have to end up accepting if you lot do decide to take a legalistic approach. But I see no good reason for Respect to give anything of itself away at this stage, no.

  322. martin ohr on said:

    Tip Top; I think you overestimate the extent to which quangos give a shit, but maybe you are right; in my opinion it would take a judicial review rather than a simple complaint by Linda Smith to block it.

    If legal action is on the cards then the swp would almost certainly loose not if only because the couldn’t possibly afford to defend themselves; conspiracy theorists have speculated all along that galloway’s intention was to bankrupt the swp and slay trotskyism.

  323. top tip on said:

    Martin: I am George galloway, and you have seen through my master plan, darn it.

    KrisS, you are funny: “I don’t accept that the SWP CC has or had any more right to negotiate away Respect than your lot had. Not everyone involved in the two meetings – not all of whom on the Respect side were even members of the SWP – accepts your version of events at those meetings.”

    So what do you think would happen if the SWP CC decided to leave Respect. How does you “not accepting” that change anything.

    The have 27 out of 45 members of the National Council. By staying in “respect” as an organisation owned by the SWP you are just their foot soldier, you don’t get a say.

  324. top tip on said:

    KrisS: “Not everyone involved in the two meetings – not all of whom on the Respect side were even members of the SWP – accepts your version of events at those meetings.”

    Have you seen another version of events then? Please share it with us.

  325. There’s a difference between the SWP leaving Respect and the SWP negotiating with a group of splitters to close Respect down with no reference to its membership.

  326. top tip – as it happens, I haven’t seen any leaked documents from the Respect side, only that from the splitters’ side, who say that they agreed to confidentiality and then leaked their own record of the meeting anyway. That doesn’t fill me with confidence that their version is to be relied upon.

    I’m not planning to trade he said/she saids with you on this, though. You know full well that the Respect side doesn’t accept your version of events.

  327. top tip on said:

    Perhaps we are using a short hand that is causing you to block out the reality.

    What is proposed is not that the SWP negotiates, but that that “Respect” (wholely owned by the SWP with 27/45 of the NC) negotiates with Respect Renewal. Both sides claim the assets, how are we to decide the merits of their respective claims?

    if you don’t see the point in negotiating, then there is no alternative but to settle the dispute elsewhere.

  328. martin ohr on said:

    just to make clear I’m not advocating any course of action other than avoiding the courts; I’ve always thought respect was a crap name and I can’t see why any side should be fighting to keep it.

    My only issue with the debate on this blog is the certainty with which the law is being interpreted by Andy and others when it seems like a huge grey area to me. On a related point, who signs off the election spending by a party, is that the legal treasurer or the nominations officer; could it be that since SWP hold the treasurer post they could block the submitting of election spending by RR candidates standing as respect?

    Regardless of what I think, I’m certain it will end in litigation of some sort and with the swp on the losing side.

  329. #385

    I’m well aware that you are using the threat of legal action to try to force Respect to give up something of itself. How Respect responds to that is a matter of tactics, of course.

  330. top tip on said:

    KrisS

    What you say in #384 is simply untrue.

    the confidentiality agreement was only while negotiations were continuing. there was nothing in the confidentiality agreement to extend it after the breakdown of negotiations.

    But this is simply a whopper: “You know full well that the Respect side doesn’t accept your version of events.”

    By the Respect side, I am assuming you mean SWP-Respect.

    I have seen absolutely no denial from the SWP or Elaine Graham-Leigh that they entered into negotiations, and the version of events published by Nick Wrack, Alan Thronett, Linda Smith and Salma Yaqoob has never been challenged by either the SWP or Elaine Graham-Leigh. How could they challenge it when there was an independent witness?

    I want you to either retract the false claim that “the Respect side doesn’t accept your version of events” or substantiate it with reference to some statement by the SWP or Elaine Graham-Leigh that they dispute that version of events.

  331. “I haven’t seen any leaked documents from the Respect side, only that from the splitters’ side, who say that they agreed to confidentiality and then leaked their own record of the meeting anyway. That doesn’t fill me with confidence that their version is to be relied upon.”

    Well, the SWP denied there were any negotiations, which is not the same thing as being discreet about them.

    The person chairing the negotiations wanted their name to remain out of it. Everyone on my side complied with that – I know this cos no one would tell me who was doing it.

    Yet at every SWP meeting I went to, the CC were happy to tell everyone who the negotiator was.

    I think that tells us a lot. In negotiations with the bosses, socialists should be as open as possible with the class. But in a split like this, when the person facilitating the negotiations explicitly doesn’t want people to know their name, it’s pretty shit for Martin Smith et al to be going round telling anyone who’ll listen who it is.

  332. KrisS

    I take it that the SWP denied there were negotiations while those negotiatiosn were taking place.

    They now concede there were negotiations.

    And there certainly were as I had a discussion about them recently during a meeting I had with a political collaborator of Comrade he-who-shall-remain-nameless.

  333. Where do they say they weren’t any?

    Otherwise you are accusing Tony C of lying that he has heard Martin Smith naming comrade he-who-shall-remain-nameless.

    And you are suggesting that Linda Smith, Slama Yaqoob, Nick Wrack and Alan Thornett made the whole story up.

    That I have made up discussing it with a neutral third party who knows comrade he-who-shall-remain-nameless.

    At which point you are in the wildest conspiracy theory territory. Good luck with that.

  334. haha, isn’t this fun?

    You said “They now concede there were negotiations.” I’m assuming you had a reason for saying that.

  335. Teddy Boy on said:

    379 It will end up in court. The SWP cc will try and play the victim card whitch is distortion of the actual events. They will court in crutches. I hope so

    Many of us want them held to account and if it bankrupts them that will be even a better result for the pluralistic progressive movement as they are now a heavy millstone around the advancement of left politics

    George Galloway is willing to work with all in political life. Like many of us he would like to see the present SWP cc removed. They know more about self harm than they know about helping the progressive movement.

    They have shot themselves more times in the foot than anyone else, that we should call them “The Stumpies of the left”

  336. KrisS #394 Because I trust Tony C, and he says that he has heard Martin Smith talking about the role of comrade he-who-shall-remain-nameless.

    But at this stage aren’t you beginning to suspect that negotiations did in fact take place, and that the SWP cannot and do not deny in substance that the account by Linda Smith, Slama Yaqoob, Nick Wrack and Alan Thornett is correct.

    You said that “You know full well that the Respect side doesn’t accept your version of events.”

    Top Tip asked you to back that up. We are still waiting.

  337. Concerned socialist on said:

    “Teddy Boy”, you’re a real asset to “Renewal”. Some company you keep, babeuf, tonyc etc.

  338. martin ohr on said:

    Andy,

    I take it you don’t agree with Teddy Boy in comment 395? Although he does seem to be very well connected to your side of the dispute.

  339. I don’t know how you conclude that teddy boy is “very well connected”, he is someone who comments on this blog, I neither know who he is, nor have any reason to beleive he is well connected.

    I do know who he isn’t.

    If the SWP do take this to court then the better result would be that they lose. I would not endorse Teddy Boys colourful language nor his enthusiasm.

  340. I’d be utterly astonished if you truly believe that the Respect side accepts your version of events. But since it’s a minor point as far as I’m concerned, I’m happy to accept for the purposes of argument that you do indeed think that.

    Editing your own comment two or three times after posting it is a bit cheap, Andy.

  341. RedRaph on said:

    Can’t believe there has been 403 responses to this post. Time to move on forget about your unpleasant experience in the SWP, admit it was a naive mistake and don’t become Galloway’s new SWP. There’s no shortcut to building a revolutionary socialist party.

  342. Teddy Boy

    I have deleted a couple of commen ts from you becasue, although funny, they were just insulting and would inflame the situation even further.

  343. Kevin Murphy on said:

    “Respect: The party for students and young people
    We want Respect to be a voice for students and young people throughout the country.”

    Nice to see that RR is now less hostile to students!

  344. anticapitalista on said:

    So Andy I note you left the “leave the court in crutches” wish from TeddyBoy. I s’pose it’s not insulting nor inflammatory, just funny.

  345. Well youo know as well as I do that they don’t actually literally allow violence in court, so Teddy Boy simply meant he hoped the SWP would lose and lose badly.

    Given the violent language used by some on your side, it is a bit rich to complain about it.

  346. anticapitalista on said:

    So Andy if a Respect supporter had written I hope GG leaves the court in crutches, you would understand that it was just a pretty crap joke, nothing more.

  347. anticapitalista on said:

    And when Oli Rahman gets threatening email, and his house bricked twice, well that’s just a bit of high spirits is it.

  348. Ah come on, anticap. Galloway is a person, the SWP isn’t. It’s not the same thing. I read it in the same Andy says he did.

  349. anticapitalista on said:

    Well TeddyBoy’s posts are full of insinuated violent threats against the SWP. Don’t you think?
    Just read through them.

  350. I tend to skim them, as it goes, for obvious reasons, but having just trawled through them on this thread, I’d have to say no. Please don’t make me go and look at his stuff on all the other threads.

  351. KrisS: #416 “By the way, Andy, can I ask who or what is the “we” referred to in the we stand by this story…?”

    We = Ger and I.

  352. anticapitalista on said:

    #423 Maybe I’m being too sensitive. I don’t like the idea of people/organisations having their legs broken. Unless they are Nazi’s of course.

  353. Well, I’d agree that that kind of language is probably best avoided at a time such as this. But yeah, I do think you’re being a bit oversensitive there.

  354. “It will end up in court. The SWP cc will try and play the victim card whitch is distortion of the actual events. They will court in crutches. I hope so

    Many of us want them held to account and if it bankrupts them that will be even a better result for the pluralistic progressive movement as they are now a heavy millstone around the advancement of left politics”

    so it would be good for the courts to bankrupt a revolutionary organisation!! fuckin hell.. is that what GG’s lot are reduced to.. of course it was no witch hunt was it??

    providing some psuedo left nonsense for keeping the head of the met, selecting recent tory party members to stand for respect, opposing a respect candidate for Mayor in London, arguing their is no differnece between tory party members and conservative party members, sexist columns in the daily press by the respect MP.. is this what Andy and his current mates are left with… rumour has it the decision to back Livingstone as already caused some dissent in RR ranks.. but then no elected body is able to make that decision as none exists in RR so leave it to GG as he laways knows best..sorry comrades you are galloping to the right…

  355. GG probably put some of his £300,000 HE “Earned” from his MP’s duties and the like.. a real man of the people our George..nice Merc…

  356. heres an interesting article from a fine anti imperialist.. seems like GG’s doing his anti shia stuff again.. told repsect members in south london that a candidate was not good because he was too secular and a shia.. not that he panders to communalism or anything…. anyway read this..suprised Andy didn’t put it up for discussion.

    The Confusion of George Galloway
    by Sami Ramadani (source: CASMII)
    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Editorial Note: Sami Ramadani was a political exile from Saddam’s regime and is a senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University.

    George Galloway has been tireless in supporting the Iraqi people and opposing US wars of aggression. For that valiant effort he should be commended, but he is unfortunately badly misinformed on the extent of Iran’s influence in Iraq, and his broadcast is being used and abused to feed into the escalating propaganda and justifying aggression against Iran. The “facts” he cites against Iran are unproven allegations, initially generated by various anti-Iranian sources, including the US-occupation machine in Iraq.

    Iran’s leaders would be unbelievably naive not to realise that breaking up Iraq and causing civil war are not in Iran’s interest. Iran has its own ethnic differences and sects and has already accused the US of being behind some of the armed groups in the Kurdish and Arabic speaking regions. While any imposition on the Iraqi people must be condemned, it is evidently in the occupation’s interest to divide the Iraqi people and divert their precious efforts from the main cause of their tragedies today: US tanks, chemical weapons, death squads and divisive policies.

    I would venture to add that, under the umbrella of the US occupation, Israel has been playing a bigger role than Iran (See Seymour Hersh on training US death squads in Israel and by Israeli experts at Fort Bragg in North Carolina [and for the details of Israeli arming and training of the Kurdish Peshmerga militia]).

    Some of the allegations are based on a simplistic analysis of the political forces in Iraq. Many political groups are in a state of flux, including the group which had the closest links with Iran: Hakim’s forces (the Badr Brigade). Though Badr were originally trained in Iran, most of this group’s leaders, and the social class of rich merchants that they mostly represent, are more in tune with US policies than Iran’s. US close links with the Hakim family date back to 1958-63 and the anti-communist crusade. The US nurtured similar links with some of the Iranian clergy (hostile to Mossadaq, Tudeh, other anti-Shah regime groups, and later to Khomeini’s line and successors).

    Though by no means guaranteed, the US hopes that most of the Badr Brigade will take the side of the occupation forces in any showdown with Sadr’s Mahdi Army and any anti-occupation force in the south and Baghdad. Though some contradictions persist, the occupation is pulling the main strings (a combination of threats and bribes) of all the groups in the green-zone government.

    It is absolute nonsense to suggest that Iran is capable of a “take-over” of Iraq. This idea was strongly advocated after the 1979 overthrow of the Shah, and is based on portraying most people in the southern Iraq, Baghdad and Diyala as Iran’s fifth column. It reminds me of the 1980’s Iraqi government racist campaign against “the Persians” and the 1991 campaign against the uprising. In the 80’s, for example, the state distributed millions of copies of a nasty booklet, written by the then Governor of Baghdad, entitled “Why God should not have created the Persians, Jews and flies”.

    Aside from the daily propaganda, that extremely racist campaign poisoned the entire Iraqi educational system, from nurseries to universities, for quarter of a century. [The current code words in the racist campaign revolve around the mythical “role of the Saffawis” and the “Persian origins” of millions of Iraqis. A similar campaign is directed at the Shia of Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.]

    I think that much of the activities of the sectarian death squads and torture chambers are not controlled by Iran but by the occupation’s intelligence and military command. Much like they did in Vietnam and the Phoenix Operation. Similarly, the terrorist atrocities of the Wahhabi and Takfiri sectarians have been channelled into serving the US occupation.

  357. world gone mad(tim) on said:

    I posted this at 6.05pm.
    surprised noone picked up on it.
    Remarkable stuff really.

    All would be explained if George was a plant.

  358. The really interesting thing is that I was just this minute reading you complaining about “guilt by association” elsewhere.

  359. anticapitalista on said:

    tim. You were late too See post 255. Yours is 353.

    So, tim, see you at the anti-war conference.

  360. of the respect renewl website anticapitalista said

    I agree the RR website looks nice.
    On the surface……………………..:-)

    click any one of the very prety links and find out for yourself that surface is all that is their. all styule and no substance.
    tony blair had to become the leader of his party before he could destroy it. george galloways attempt to destroy respect from the inside came to nowt. still respect renewal is to respect what new labour is to the pre blair labour party. respect renewal is a fan club for the grate leader. nothing more. this nice webstie all style and no substnace . a fitting epitafh forthis party without a fuutre

  361. Teddy Boy on said:

    Through out my posts I have wished that at least one member SWP cc would release somewhere a detailed wersion of their account of what caused the split and the events after it.
    Being a wish, I should have written it on paper and stuck it up the chimney, for there more chance of father christmas answering it.

    Throughout my posts I have asked for honesty, truth, and accountability from the SWP cc, its an essential propiety they dont seem to be aware of. Thats very unmarxist

    Yes I want to to get a job in George’s office just to touch the hem of his coat while polishing Kev’s, Rob’s and George’s shoes.
    Yes I have Linda’s And Salma’s picture on my bedroom wall and wallet close to my heart
    Yes, I am Andy of the blogs Brother.
    Yes I eat babies.

  362. teddy boy would like to see”

    at least one member SWP cc …release somewhere a detailed wersion of their account of what caused the split and the events after it.’

    he cant understand why his wish is not granted. maybe i can help. it is very very likely that the swp cc is not of a single mind. it is very likely that the swp leadership and the rank and file have a variety of attitdes to what wen wrong and how to move forward. would htat be so surprising.

    some will want to cut loos from the non swp membes. some will want to carray on with what respect did before the split. niehter of these positions will do .

    the swp cannot ignore elections. they cannot support the labour party in elections. they cannot stand in theier own name. so what can they do.

    they need to work with others. tehy need to negotiate with tohers who want to stand against labour. they need to see that any split in the left vote is not seen as their responsiblyty

  363. Ger Francis on said:

    Adam describes the renewal website as a ‘a fitting epitaph a party without a future.’ Well, if a version of Respect with the most high profile figures and elected representatives has no future, what kind of future does he think the John and Lindsey show has?

    Any SWP version of Respect will be without its biggest electoral hitters and personalities, a fact you can safely assume will be pointed by other political parties. Indeed, whatever ‘red-baiting’ the SWP think they have experienced so far, it will be nothing compared to what an SWP version of Respect would encounter at election time as their competitors will be very keen to point out this is the version of Respect that is without George Galloway, and is nothing more than a front for the SWP.

    All the bluff and bluster of a faction fight cannot hide the fact that an SWP version of Respect will only have a future as long as it can parasitically live off an association with George’s name. Hostility to the SWP will ensure that that won’t be for very long. The SWP know they have no future in electoral politics without George and in the absence of pulling together new allies with electoral punch. The chances of the latter happening are zilch. George, Salma and co, under any guise, are going to be contesting the electoral terrain with a lot more success than the SWP. That, you can say for certain. In this arena, the SWP’s game is almost up.

  364. Firstly, adam is not me!
    Secondly, Ger possibly overestimates the benefit of George’s name! In my experience, George Galloway attracts and repels people in equal measure! It kind of irritated me as a Respect activist when meeting new people that they would comment “well I didn’t like your guy on Big Brother!”. He is correct it must be a bit odd to be a member of Classic Respect with all your most well known figures absent.
    Thirdly, I think it is perfectly possible that the SWP could get candidates elected as councillors – Michael Lavalette and Ray Holmes’ success is probably more down to being rooted locally and hardwork than a national organisation.
    Fourthly, Respect Renewal will be crippled by a lack of activists on the ground outside of a very tiny area – many people may agree with you or respect your leading figures, but you are not an organised force. George Galloway probably won’t get re-elected as an MP and I doubt whether he would have been able to win in BG&B without the SWP machine pouring all it’s resources into the campaign.

  365. I want to take up my more substantial point.
    I feel no personal animosity or hostility towards either Kevin Ovenden or Ger Francis. Indeed, the former I have a great respect for because his little book on Malcolm X was a formative text for me in shaping my understanding of the politics of race and class and I have heard him speak several times and he comes accross as a very decent guy. (Though I wonder if when he wrote that book, he would imagine that he would be in an organisation that stood a candidate who had only 2 years previous stood for the tories! I’m happy for such a guy to join Respect but sceptical that as a Cllr he could fight for socialist politics!)
    However, reading some of their posts here – particularly I have to say Ger’s posts – they seem completely obsessed with elections.
    I assume you both still support revolutionary socialism, so I would ask how your current trajectory meshes with this long term perspective?
    And how you see the Respect Renewal project as part of the process of building a revolutionary movement rather than reforming or propping up the system?
    This is a genuine question.
    I thought that the theory behind Respect was that it was a kind of half-way house. The idea being that workers were breaking with the Labour Party (but not “Labourism”) but that a revolutionary organisation couldn’t (at present) fill the vacuum. I assumed the revolutionary perspective was that we would build a broad front of people who weren’t necessarily revolutionaries but were fighting back – at the grassroots – against the system: Striking workers, Muslims raging against racism and imperialism, anticapitalist young people etc. – with the aim of always emphasising methods of struggle that empowered working people to rely on their OWN strength and OWN organisation rather than looking to the ballot box or elected representatives to be the vehicle.
    The SWPs approach to this question, I would assume would be fundamentally different to say the perspective of Militant.
    This is where I get confused.
    As part of making Respect credible to workers we would need to recruit people whose perspective on these questions maybe wasn’t as clear as ours – Left wing Labour Councillors, reformists etc.
    But I just don’t see what Ger aims to achieve as part of the Salma Yaqoob party in South Brum?
    20 years ago, somebody like Salma would have probably been an excellent left-Labour councillor that any revolutionary socialist would have wanted to work with, and in a broad front alongside a strong revolutionary current could help build a very good kind of politics, but I’m not sure what Ger believes that he will achieve in South Brum in terms of breaking the hold of workers on labourism?
    Not trying to be hostile – just interested!

  366. Ger Francis on said:

    Adam j,
    agree with you about the damage done by BB but I think that is receeding into the background by the positive impact of George’s radio show. Listenership has grown from 80,000 to over 750,000 in 18 months.

    Re Michael; he has worked in particular way from the days of the Socialist Alliance, and rightly reaps rewards from it. Very few other SWP members have done likewise and are in a similar position. The Ray Holmes example is highly unusal. He was 1 of only 2 candidates standing, and only needed to poll around 300 votes to win. I think the chances of the SWP getting anybody elected outside Preston or running a serious electoral alternative are dead.

    I also think you do exaggerate SWP input. There are only 2500 Respect members nationally. Of those around 1,000 are SWP and you can half that again for active members, to greatly varying degrees. I am confident we can build a national network, and already there are positive signs to that end.

  367. Ger, with due respect, I suspect that you are generalising from your experience of Birmingham Respect the strength and pull of your group.
    If you were part of Respect where I’m based you might have a different perspective, where I live there are people who have been on both sides of this debate, but none wish to divide into two separate organisations.
    I personally see one effect of two Respect facions warring against each other is that simply many Respect members and supporters will be disorientated and just drift away.

  368. Adam J wrote “I thought that the theory behind Respect was that it was a kind of half-way house. The idea being that workers were breaking with the Labour Party (but not “Labourism”) but that a revolutionary organisation couldn’t (at present) fill the vacuum” and ” suspect that you are generalising from your experience of Birmingham Respect”.

    Which comment rather reveals por Adam’s lack of a grasp on reality. Now grr francis might be wrong in generalising from the brum experience, indeed i believe that he is wrong, but at least Brum Respect is a real if small political force. In cntrast to which Respect in many parts of the country, including Cardiff where Adam is active, consists of nothing but a part of the local SWP and a few waifs and strays. The fact of the matter is that on its chosen electoral terrain Respect in Cardiff, as in most areas, has been a dismal failure and has not picked up the mythical layer of former Labourites which Adam and the SWP before him posited as its target constituency.

    In other words the perspective developed by the SWP, now echoed by Adam Joxxxnes, for the turn to Respect has not materialised and was false from the off as sme of us pointed out at the time. Indeed Adam may recall that I made exactly this point t him over a pint in the Old Arcade in Cardiff some years ago. To cling to such a failed perspective is to flee from reality.

  369. Mike,

    I would appreciate it if you didn’t refer to me by my fullname. If I wanted that to be known I would have used it, the reason I don’t is I tend to post on these kind of pages when I’m bored and my comments don’t always reflect a “thought-through” perspective or the finished article and sometimes even just reflect my mood at the time and sometimes I write stuff which is just a bit stupid!

    But returning to your broader point. You posted up an article by Duncan Hallas on elections. But this doesn’t address that the terrain has changed since the late 70s. For example, then the Labour Party ruled the roost, now thousands of members are leaving that organisation. A candidate to the left of Labour had little chance of getting elected, now left wing candidate can get elected.
    I personally feel that there could be a role for a broad anti-capitalist coalition. A party that contests elections but is heavilly focused on activities such as solidarity with workers on strikes, building a socialist current in the environmental movement, challenging neoliberalism in it’s various guises etc.

    But I must defend Cardiff Respect, at the time you bought me a drink, it was not a flourishing organisation but actually had started to get it’s act together just before the recent split in the national body. I personally feel in the last 6 months the organisation had begun to have potential from an (admittedly) low base.

    mainly through some dedicated work that some comrades had done around recent public sector workers which had seen us recruit a few young union reps from UNISON and PCS and pick up contacts from a deputy RMT branch secretary and postal and remploy workers, this combined with a shift towards more class-based issues such as the sell-off of Cardiff Bus, alongside work in the environmental movement and other type campaigns meant that the organisation was starting to strengthen. I doubt whether Labour and Plaid will be shaking in there boots, but I felt that as an organisation there was potential to build a small organisation in Cardiff that could become a healthy network of activists orientated towards grassroots struggles against neoliberalism.

    In neighbouring Swansea, a Respect candidate was the leader of a Defend Council Housing that saw two-thirds of council tenants vote no to stock transfer.

  370. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    As Andy says, if the SWP want to stand a Respect candidate in Preston then all they have to do is pick up the phone and talk to Linda Smith about how that can be brought about.

    However, there is the minor matter of the membership of Respect in Preston having a say in this matter. For example, has the entire membership of the Respect branch been invited to a meeting to discuss whether to stand a candidate? And has a process been put in place to select a candidate? Will SWP members in Lancaster and Burnley be entitled to vote in the selection? And if yes, why not Respect members in North Manchester?

    There should at least be a serious discussion about the merits of standing in a ward Respect has never previously contested, particularly where it is a marginal ward with a Labour majority over the Tories of only a few dozen in recent elections and where the BNP are also planning a big campaign. Respect has not stood in this ward before because the Labour candidates are quite left. The Labour candidate in this by-election is a former councillor who was one of the small minority in the Labour group who voted in council for Lavalette’s motions on twinning Preston with Palestine and opposing New Labour’s Nuclear Missiles being moved through the city. Shouldn’t ‘the members decide’ – or should we just leave everything to the SWP CC and caucus, and then rubber stamp their decisions?

  371. So do you think that it should be up to Preston Respect whether they stand a candidate or Linda Smith?

  372. So do you think that it should be up to Preston Respect whether they stand a candidate or Linda Smith?

    Personally, I think a party some of whose branches aren’t on speaking terms with their Nominating Officer has got bigger problems than whether they have one councillor in Preston or two.

  373. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    Adam J: Preston Respect can decide whether they want to stand a candidate, but it is up to Linda Smith to decide whether they are allowed to stand under the Respect umbrella on the ballot paper. That’s the legal responsibility, that was given to her some time ago by the Respect National Council, and that she has faithfully upheld in the past. We know well that there have been serious discussions about when and where Respect should stand in the past, some people have been disappointed at the outcome of that, but it was all done through the National Council and Linda has faithfully carried out its actions.

    Given that there has been a split, now with National Council members on different sides, and given that by-elections arise all the time, it would be sensible for negotiations to resume, about how this is managed.

    The SWP demanded the cancellation of the last meeting of the National Council, and after attending two meetings where they discussed this matter, refused to attend the scheduled meeting to negotiate on this in October. They are playing ostrich if they think they can ignore this and not negotiate, and we all want it sooner rather than later.

  374. Adam J wrote “I tend to post on these kind of pages when I’m bored and my comments don’t always reflect a “thought-through” perspective or the finished article and sometimes even just reflect my mood at the time and sometimes I write stuff which is just a bit stupid!

    But returning to your broader point. You posted up an article by Duncan Hallas on elections. But this doesn’t address that the terrain has changed since the late 70s. For example, then the Labour Party ruled the roost, now thousands of members are leaving that organisation. A candidate to the left of Labour had little chance of getting elected, now left wing candidate can get elected.”

    Yes you do post some comments which are plain stupid I agree. More to the point you have failed to properly respond to my argments regarding the diminutive size and isolation of the undivided Respect from the working class. moreover you have not even attempted to prove your own assertion that there was or is a layer of former Labourites moving left who might be won to the Respect project. In other words your reply to my post consists of claiming that Cardiff Respect was ‘getting its act together’ prior to the recent split in Respect nationally. But what of virtually all the other Respect branches outside East London and Brum were they ‘getting their act together’ too?

    However you are correct that times have changed since Duncan Hallas wrote his article on electoral blocs posted on my blog. The principles that Duncan developed in that essay, despite the sectarianism it was loaded with, have not changed however. It remains unprincipled for revolutionaries to form an electoral alliance with forces who stand outside the workers movement lacking any credible claim to be socialists as is the case with the likes of Abjol Miah, Salma Yacoob and others now mostly allied to Galloway.

    Anyway Adam as you may know I no longer live in Cardiff but I do wish you well. I also look forward to your buying me a drink next time we meet.

  375. Joseph Kisolo on said:

    Mike said: “It remains unprincipled for revolutionaries to form an electoral alliance with forces who stand outside the workers movement lacking any credible claim to be socialists as is the case with the likes of Abjol Miah, Salma Yacoob and others now mostly allied to Galloway”

    Whatever the argument about Abjol Miah and thew tower Hamlets crew being socialists or not, I can’t see how it is anything other then racism to claim that Salma “stands outside the workers movement” – have you ever listened to anything that she has had to say? Have you followed any of the stuff she has done? Did you hear her speech at the renewal conference were she linked oppression, exploitation and war to the need for capitalist economic expansion?

    If she had white skin and followed a secular moral code rather then a religiously inspired one I very much doubt that you would question her socialist credentials.

    I can think of people on the ‘offical’ respect ‘nc’ who are less socialist then her and there is at least one person on the SWP cc who has less right to call themselves a socialist then she does.

  376. Joseph Kisolo is clearly an idiot if he believes that tholding the view that Salma Yacoob stands outside the workers movement means that one must be a racist. Such a judgment might be wrong but it is not racist. Unless any criticism whatsoever of a ‘leader’ who happens not to be white is to be construed as ‘racism’.

    In fact a glance at Salma Yacoobs political record reveals no connections to either the workers or socialist movements prior to her involvement with Respect. What we do know of Ms Yaqoob family background does however suggest that she might well have every reason to be opposed t wrkers power given that members of her family are in fact capitalists in their own right and that another family member is a lawyer spacialising in ‘Islamic’ finance to which end he, when last I googled his name, worked for those well known egalitarians the elite of the Gulf States. Moving on Ms Yaqoob has no record of involvement with either the Trades Unions or any other institution of the workers movement.

    What then are the grounds for claims that Ms Yaqoob belongs to the workers movement? Nothing more than statements made in support of various ‘good causes’ which many a good liberal could just as easily make. In other words Ms Yaqoob has no record as a class fighter but does have the record of a bourgeois liberal capable of showing a left face when needed.

  377. Teddy Boy on said:

    452 I never thought you could ever stoop to lower than the gutter.
    Your post is despicable, and lower than a submarine’s toilet and not worthy of comment.

  378. outsidethebox on said:

    Mike 452;
    You should be ashamed of yourself – how deluded you are!
    “lower than a submarine’s toilet and not worthy of comment” exactly Teddy.

    Mike are you a member of the SWP? If so I am more than happy to reply to your insulting comments but I’am sure Ger or Andy could do it better than me.

  379. I invite Grr Francis or any ther individual to demonstrate the falsity of any of my assertions. Telling the truth is not ‘insulting’. Unwarranted accusations of racism are.

    For the record two of Ms Yaqoobs brothers own a wholesale distribution company in Birmingham and can therefore be properly described as capitalists. One of their enterprises was ownership of the British franchise of Mecca Cola.

    Another brother is known to have worked in an executive capacity fr the Islamic Development Bank of Dubai.

    Finally I repeat the factual assertion that Ms Yaqoob is not known to have had any involvement with the workers movement prior to the founding of Respect.

  380. outsidethebox on said:

    Mike please answer the question first. Are you a member of the SWP? or just an agent provocateur? (Dictionary.com definition = a person who provokes trouble, causes dissension, or the like; agitator).

  381. outsidethebox.

    I think it is counterproductive to pursue the line of asking whether people are in the SWP.

    For obvious reasons.

  382. I’m not a member of the SWP. But I do support the politics the SWP used to stand for. In other words opposition to all forms of class collaboaration including Popular Frontism and populism as per Respect.

  383. Mike said: Ms Yaqoob has … the record of a bourgeois liberal capable of showing a left face when needed.

    I can’t say I know many bourgeois liberals who would go along to a rally at a car-plant under threat of closure and make a speech calling for occupation of the plant. That’s what Salma did in April 2005 at Longbridge.

    To my mind, doing such a thing makes you a traitor to liberalism of any variety (if that’s what Salma was supposed to be loyal to). In fact, only socialists (or anarcho-syndicalists) could make such a call.

  384. Teddy Boy on said:

    Mike, and Marx himself was well connected to the petit bourgeois and depended on hand outs from them. Do you write him off.

  385. Teddy Boy on said:

    Its coming to the point of legal recourse and what you are now seeing this packing of meetings by the SWP cc.

    It is a deperate futile attempt of making a case that they have the most branches.

    I said in an early post, You can fool the people some of the time

    When fools try to fool the people it becomes pantomime for sun readers and damages the broad left.

  386. Babeuf wrote “I can’t say I know many bourgeois liberals who would go along to a rally at a car-plant under threat of closure and make a speech calling for occupation of the plant. That’s what Salma did in April 2005 at Longbridge.”

    The fact of the matter is that various Labour MP’s have made similar gestures of support towards workers in struggle. For example with regard to the Gate Gourmet dispute. But does that change the politicaly petty bourgeois nture of their poltics?

    In any case the sad fact is that the plant in question was doomed to closure due to being outdated and under-capitalised in the light of which empty words meant nothing. But then facoing reality is something many leftists find disfficult as the debates around Respect the populist coalition well illustrate.

    Now one must return to ones guests. All of whom are haute not mere petty bourgeois. One woul hate to associate with the mere petty bourgeois……

  387. Ger Francis on said:

    Joseph, ignore Mike Prean. He is an ignorant sectarian buffoon whose obsession with Salma’s family masks some ugly prejudice. Not only is he wrong in what he writes, worse, all of what he writes about her family is completely irrelevant to anything being discussed in relation to Respect. But if some facts stop him from embarrassing himself further, maybe one day he will thank me for it.

    He states ‘Ms Yaqoob family background does however suggest that she might well have every reason to be opposed to workers power’.
    Really? Well, her Dad, a school teacher in Pakistan, worked most of his life as a postie, who worked all the hours he could get to save to buy their house, and has some interesting stories about how power of the union in his workplace enabled him to do so. And she has some interesting and classically immigrant childhood tales of having the responsibility to walk on his tired back by way of massage when he eventually came home from work. One sister is a dentist, another a physician. One brother a council worker, another works in banking finance (who was involved, briefly, in an attempt to mange the British franchise of Mecca Cola, a relationship that ended at least 5 years ago to my knowledge. And?) One brother recently finished his studies, another is still in school.

    In short, she is from a working class, immigrant background. And like millions of others from that background she did not have any direct engagement with the ‘labour movement’ other than her family being solid Labour voters and her Dad being a union member. She got involved in class politics through her experience of struggle. In particular, the anti-war struggle. But apparently being the most outspoken critic of imperialism, neo-liberalism and racism in Birmingham does not count for much by way of a record as ‘a class fighter’. By contrast, perhaps Prean would like to demonstrate his record and we can do a compare and contrast on who has made the more significant contribution to class politics. A little less ultra-left self righteous cant, and a little more humility, would do Prean some good.

  388. “He is an ignorant, sectarian buffoon”…this from mr Ger Francis! Oh well: apot may call a kettle black. I look forward to denouncing Mr Francis and his employer as the anti-working class reactionjariews that they are, when we next meet. i may not be perfect, but i d know when politics remains within the ambit of the working class> Francis is the *enemy*: plain and simple.

  389. Members of Salma Yaqoob’s family own a major distribution company and another brother works for the Islamic Development Bank of Dubai singing deals of at least hundreds of thousand Euros. This is the brother that arranged for two additional brothers of Ms Yaqoobs to take the franchise of the failed (rather horrid) Mecca Cola. Why Grr sees fit to defend such capitalists is an interesting question.

    None of which facts Grr disputes because he cannot. Such a background is not working class but bourgeois regardless of whatever her father did years ago.

    Given Grr’s personal knowledge of Ms Yaqoob’s family could he tell us if the company her brothers own is unionised?

    Now one must serve one’s guests, rather aristo, desert. The mallard with quinze was lovely by the way.

  390. Ger Francis on said:

    Prean has no idea what he is taking about. Whether he is consciously lying, I don’t know, but it feels like it. He and Father Jack deserve each other.

  391. Oh Grr you poor fool try producing proofs that contradict my assertions rather than relying on bluff and bullshit.

    Nighty night schmuck.

    XXX

  392. Ger Francis on said:

    ‘try producing proofs that contradict my assertions’

    Amm…I would be happy to, if it was true, because I think it is irrelevant if Salma’s family were the big bourgeoisie fat cats you claim. The point is, what you claim is untrue. Laughably so. You are a joke. Go back to Harry’s Place where you belong and take your anti-Muslim bile, and Father Jack, with you.

  393. The following is a story from The ndependent proving my assertions concerning members of the aqoob family and Mecca Cola. It follows that Grr Francis is a LIAR.

    Classified
    Property
    Travel
    Cars
    Entertainment
    Lifestyle
    Jobs
    from The Independent & The Independent on Sunday
    1 December 2007 09:33 Home > Living > Food & Drink > News
    British Mecca-Cola takes sweet revenge on corporate America
    By Andrew Clennell
    Published: 26 November 2003
    A group of British Muslim businessmen launched a campaign yesterday to tackle one of America’s corporate giants. Thousands of cans of Mecca-Cola were handed out at mosques in Birmingham and Regent’s Park in London, before a full-scale launch of the drink next January.

    A group of British Muslim businessmen launched a campaign yesterday to tackle one of America’s corporate giants. Thousands of cans of Mecca-Cola were handed out at mosques in Birmingham and Regent’s Park in London, before a full-scale launch of the drink next January.

    It all began last year at the whim of a 10-year-old. A French entrepreneur, Tawfik Mathloufi, asked his son to give up drinking Coke because of its American corporate association. His son agreed, but only if an alternative was provided.

    M. Mathloufi saw a gap in the market and has had success with Mecca-Cola in France and the Middle East. His company gives 10 per cent of proceeds to Islamic Relief, which funds Palestinian charities, including an orphanage.

    When Rashad Yaqoob, 31, a Yorkshire-born lawyer and investment banker, saw M. Mathloufi interviewed on the BBC, he tracked him down and offered to help him with legal advice and setting up the brand in Britain.

    Now Mr Yaqoob aims to capture 5 per cent of the cola market in this country. Worldwide, he said, the company was selling “about 50 million litres a month”. Most of that is in the Middle East but there is a significant market in France, where sales are at 800,000 litres a month. “There’s a very strong anti-American sentiment,” Mr Yaqoob said. “Coca-Cola represents the excess of corporate America.

    “We wanted to give a bloody nose directly to the number one corporation that represents corporate America because corporate America represents Bush and Bush represents neo-conservatism.”

    Mr Yaqoob said the drink was less sugary than Coke and was made from organic sugar.

    “It’s a question of perspective. We have something which is an established product people are going to drink [regardless],” he said.

    Mecca-Cola has previously given out thousands of cans at Stop the War rallies. It was described yesterday as a “soft launch” before an aggressive distribution to start in the new year.

    The director of communications for Coca-Cola Amatil in Britain, Martin Norris, said yesterday that he “welcomed the competition.

    “As far as we are concerned, we have a thriving business in Palestine, which employs over 200 people and is one of the biggest contributors to the Palestinian Authority,” Mr Norris said.

    “At the end of the day, what it’s about is the consumer and what we strive to do is to serve the UK consumer or consumers in any country quality refreshment.

    “We are a company which may have its foundations in the States but we are local, with 5,000 British employees here.”

    Mr Yaqoob said the British arm of Mecca-Cola would subject its accounts to an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers, after which 20 per cent of profits would be given to charity. As well as half of that going to Islamic Relief, the intention was to give to the peace movement in Britain, a Christian church in Leamington Spa, a mosque in Birmingham, a Bengali group in east London and to a Jewish charity.

    In keeping with Muslim ideals, the Mecca-Cola can states: “Please do not mix with alcohol.”

    Mecca-Cola will not be the first attempt to get a cola aimed at Muslim buyers into Britain. In February this year, a businesswoman in Derby, Zahida Parveen, launched Qibla-Cola, saying 10 per cent of profits would go towards the charity Islamic Aid.

  394. Ger Francis on said:

    This is what I wrote:

    ‘another (brother) works in banking finance (who was involved, briefly, in an attempt to mange the British franchise of Mecca Cola, a relationship that ended at least 5 years ago to my knowledge.’

    The articles you reference were written in 2003. You claimed ‘Members of Salma Yaqoob’s family own a major distribution company’. The truth is, one brother had a 5% share, 5 years ago. No member of Salma’s family owns ‘a major distribution company’, not that it would matter if they did.

    People can read for themselves, if they can be bothered, and make up their own minds who is telling the truth on this. But it is clear to me you are spinning lies to mask an uglier prejudice. Your obsession with Salma’s family is a sad, desperate and sectarian, a somewhat pathetic attempt to try and undermine her reputation. It won’t work. You come across as some ultra-left nutter. The good news is, however, that like most of this breed, you are a complete irrelevance (I notice you did not take up on the offer to do a compare and contrast about your own contribution to ‘class politics’). Now, I have entertained this for far too long, and have got better things to do, like going to London to hear Salma speak about building solidarity with the Venezuelan revolution and catching the STW conference.

    As my Mother would say, good riddance to bad rubbish.

  395. Stop squirming Grr and produce the sources for your claims regarding the Yaqoob family. I note that at the time of the Mecca Cola deal two of the brothers were described by reputable business jounralists as the owners of the distribution in question. if this is not the case then they were in error and the Yaqoobs could easily have crrected that error at the time. They did not do so.

    As for Rashad Yaqoob, a figure influential behind the scenes due to his prominent position in the City Circle an association of well heeled young men working in the financial sector, I note you do not refute any of my assertions. At best all you do is offer the banal point that the stries I refer to are some years old. Indeed they are because until recently I have paid no attention to this lamentable brood despite your lying claims to the contrary.

    But if you want up to the date proof that at least Rashad Yaqoob is a capitalist let us glance at the site of the International Muslim Association of Scientists and Engineers who in a story dated 01 December 2007 describe Mr Yaqoob as “director of an Offshore Private Equity Firm, and general wheeler dealer extraordinaire”. Is this not a description of a capitalist?

  396. Re Mike’s comments on Salma’s family ties: I have to say that I’m not sure they’re entirely relevant. After all, Gramsci’s dad owned a large plantation of pasta bushes, but that didn’t stop his son from turning into a pretty good socialist, did it?

  397. I’d just like to add that as far as I’m concerned, if it had been 20 years ago, Salma would have been quite comfortable on the Labour Left (I suspect on the left of it!). There is today, no substantial Labour left (although there are many good people) to act as a pole of attraction. Insofar therefore that Salma (and people like Salma), are not in the ‘movement’, thats the result of the condition of the ‘movement’ and nothing to do with Salma’s social or political background (and it is indeed true that this peculiar obsession with the class background of Muslims is Islamophobic and recalls both anti-semitism and more old fashioned kinds of ‘Paki bashing’).

    However politically its also true that these failures of the movement, and, if we’re honest, the failure of the alternative to Labour to make as much headway as we thought it would (we were making progress but it was slow), do mean that there is a pull towards standard kinds of electoral practice we had originally rejected, and that there had been tensions around this. Reading over the blogs beyond the personalised abuse, I get the feeling that there is a sense of wishing to find a Labour leftism without Labour and that some of the comprises involved in this are ones that I would not feel comfortable with (in particular the discussion around Ken Livingstone has been striking in this regard).

    That these difficulties have an objective basis seems clear to me. That all the blame for this can be put on the methodology or politics of the SWP seems false. The extreme nastiness of the split I put down not to anyone’s methodologies but the fact that both sides are fighting for their political life (although only one side admits that this is the case). But whatever the result of this the objective situation remains.

  398. A man far wiser than Grr Francis once remarked that social being determines social consciousness. At risk of being over-deterministic it is relevant to consider the class and political backgrounds of so called leaders especially those who appear as if from nowhere, as did Ms Yaqoob, as did Athena from the head of Zeus. One hopes this last comment is not seen by some as evdence of Grecophobia!

    It may well then be true, as asserted by Grr Francis, that Ms Yaqoobs family are not in origin bourgeois but what is certain is that at least one of them is today and others might well be too. It also seems to be the case, on the basis of Grr’s remarks, that many members of Ms Yaqoobs family are members of the liberal professions. In other words her family today are not working class and her brother Rashad with whom she clearly has an ideological relationship is something of a ‘player’ in high finance.

    Now despite some rather silly comments, see post 475 above, it is obvious that Ms Yaqoob is not a figure who might be fruitfully compared to Antonio Gramsci the Italian communist leader, although I appreciate the irony of ‘Bordiga’ suggesting that this might be the case. The fact is that her ideological stance has nothing in it that could not be subscribed to by many a decent liberal. There is certainly nthing in her actions that suggests that she believes in and will fight for workers self emancipation and the liberation of women. And why should there be given her ideological stance and family connections? Social being does determine social consciousness.

    It is also worth commenting on johng’s post 476 in which he remarks that Ms Yaqoob might have fitted well intp the pld Labour Left of twenty years ago. Which might be true, although I would personally dispute it, but misses the point that considered from the point of view of the communist perspective there was nothing genuinely socialist about the old Labour Left other than thier organic connection to the workers movement due to Labours links with the organised working class. Subtract that link from the equation and most of the old Labour Left were revealed as liberals at best and Stalinoid statists at worst.

  399. I have deleted two comments because this is fast becomming a personalised tit-for-tat

    One from Mike Pearn and one from Ian Donovan.

  400. I note that the post Andy deleted contained nothing of a personal nature. Rather it was a defence of the right of individual posters to defend their points of view. I noted that both the supporters of Respect-SWP and Respect Renewal oppose my factually baseed criticisms of Ms Yaqoob due to their own alliance with this individual. In the case of some such an alliance is risible given the role she played, alongside Grr Francis, is breaking up the Socialist Alliance in Brum.

  401. Mike you said noothing that you had not already said in previous comments.

    It is quite reprehensible and apolitical to keep dredging up familly connections, and a febrile web of innuendo.

    You have plenty enough political objections to Respect, please stick to them and keep the personal attacks aginats individuals out of it.

  402. 477: ‘Mike’:

    “A man far wiser than Grr Francis once remarked that social being determines social consciousness. At risk of being over-deterministic it is relevant to consider the class and political backgrounds of so called leaders especially those who appear as if from nowhere…”

    That would, of course, take out 90% or revolutionary socialists (who were either petty-bourgeois or déclassé), so why this comrade is picking on Salma is a mystery.

    Of course, ‘Mike’ misses the point: petty-bourgeois ‘consciousness’ has screwed with our movement for far too long. We can see its results in this thread alone — replete as it is with comradely ‘good humour’, unity and trust.

    Is it any wonder workers ignore us in their billions?

    It is quite clear that far too many comrades here regard other comrades with far more hatred and contempt than they do the real enemy, which is of course part of the reason why revolutionaries are long-term strangers to success.

    Now, we have had the above sermon read to us so many times, the colour is beginning to fade — but what do we do? We indulge in yet more comrade-baiting. There really is no hope for us while this continues.

    Find out why we are our own worst enemies (and why humanity is screwed unless we eliminate this suicidal trait):

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

  403. No Kriss, this is one place where the dread ‘law of identity’ does not apply — we are not the same individual, we just see eye-to-eye on dialectics, among many other things.

    ‘Babeuf’ writes for my site.

    Martin:

    “I think dialectics are super.”

    Then you are part of the problem, not the solution.

  404. Andy there is nothing ‘apolitical’ in discussing the class origins of such leaders as Ms Yaqoob. Given the role her brother Rashad has played and continues to play in Islamist circles, in which he promotes the values of capitalism, while lauding his sisters political successes as an example of his ideas, it is highly relevant.

    Relevant because the influence of such bourgeois and petty bourgeois individuals on the workers movement is reactionary. Reactionary in the sense that if it is to make itself into a potential ruling class the proletariat must become autonomous from all forms of bourgeois ideology and that must mean that any individuals entering our movement from those classes must abandon bourgeois ideology completely which cannot but be harder for them given their class privileges than it is for workers.

    In passing I dispute the assertion by the anti-Marxist Rosa L (post 483) that 90% of revolutionaries are either declasses or petty bourgeois. At least in my experienc most of the cmrades i have worked with ver the course of many years have been decent working class people and most of the others have been equally as decent. SWP fulltimers are however another matter……….

  405. habibe on said:

    *473 ‘Now, I have entertained this for far too long, and have got better things to do, like going to London to hear Salma speak about building solidarity with the Venezuelan revolution and catching the STW conference’

    This would be at the Peace Conference? 1500 delgates from around the world.
    Or is it at the Labour student/Respect renewal gathering by any chance?

  406. #488 Mike:

    “In passing I dispute the assertion by the anti-Marxist Rosa L (post 483) that 90% of revolutionaries are either declasses or petty bourgeois. At least in my experienc most of the cmrades i have worked with ver the course of many years have been decent working class people and most of the others have been equally as decent. SWP fulltimers are however another matter……….”

    Would that it were true that the majority of revolutionaries were workers, but it isn’t — but ‘Mike’s typology would definitley rule out Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, Gramsci, Cliff… And it is certainly true that the majority of our ‘leaders’ were as I said they were.

    And he is to be congratulated on his being able to find some comrades he could work with without falling out with them, or maligning them in the manner we have seen here.

    He alleges I am an anti-Marxist, but he neglected to say how he knows this is the case.

    (I am in fact working class, a trade union rep, unpaid, and have been a revolutionary Marxist for the best part of 25 years.)

    But, his bad-mouthing of me is at least consistent with the uncomradely persona he has contructed for himself in this thread. No doubt the hermetic virus he caught from (non-worker) Hegel did not help.

  407. georgier on said:

    Pathetic Mike

    I am typing this listening in my earphones to a very excellent Spanish band Manu Chao which leaves me fairly mellow, but energised. Otherwise I might me a lot more aggressive in my response

    FFS This is obviously a troll spoil

    Increasingly smacking of a snidy attack on RR from SWP trollers by associating Selma Yaquoob with having a bourgeois family.

    If she does so what!

    Marx and Engels were not exactly on the breadline. Funders for the Socialist Review Group which became the SWP were not short of a bob or two because of their family backgrounds including Sabby Sagall who as far as I can see still writes for SR. I am not being critical of Sabby since he has been involved in promoting socialism for decades. Ditto Mike Banda for many years with SLL/WRP. Paul Foot, among SWPers who I do have a lot of respect for was hardly a horny handed son of toil

    My point is what political positions have they adopted and stuck to for DECADES whatever family background

    I really don’t give a ff

    If you want to trade horny handed sons of toil I am happy to say my father was a member of the ASW before it was part of UCAAT.

  408. Anti-dialectics = anti-marxist.

    Manu Chau suck.

    Most of the revlutionaries who taught me about the cass struggle, including Terry James who has posted on this thread, were workers. Most members of the groups today are, in fact, workers. Suggestions to the contrary, the class background of so called leaders aside, is a slur.

  409. Mike:

    “Anti-dialectics = anti-marxist.”

    And your prrof is what — or is your word law?

    Anyway, it is not so — and I can prove it.

    But, in your logically-challenged state, you might not be able to follow the argument.

    “Most of the revlutionaries who taught me about the class struggle, including Terry James who has posted on this thread, were workers. Most members of the groups today are, in fact, workers. Suggestions to the contrary, the class background of so called leaders aside, is a slur.”

    Well, we can argue this until the cows evolve, or you produce some evidence (beyond anecdote and abuse).

    One thing for certain: your loopy typology would mean socialists would have to ignore everything Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin, Gramsci, Trotsky, and Cliff had to say.

    And you allege it is I who is not the Marxist here!

  410. Ian Donovan on said:

    Since Mike Pearn seems to have got away with continuing this personal attack on Salma Yaqoob, despite entreaties to stop, I am reposting a slightly toned-down (but only slightly) version of my post replying to him that was also deleted.

    ————————-

    You know, the only thing I would quarrel with Ger Francis on this is his description of Mike Pearn as ‘ultra-left’. I dont see anything ultra-left about Pearn’s Islamophobia. He is just a pathetic example of a whole section of the left that, in the ‘war on terror’, have capitulated to the ruling class’s racist/ideological attacks on Muslims as the new scapegoat.

    Actually, there have always been people on the left with all kinds of family connections and family associations – including at the very top levels of today’s SWP. Many people on the left historically have had petit-bourgeois or even bourgeois family backgrounds, but Pearn doesn’t go on about them.

    He has a weird fixation with Salma Yaqoob, and its got nothing to do with her family’s alleged wealth or whatever. Its got to do with the fact that she is a Muslim, and politically active on the left. Originally this was all about smearing her as an evil terrorist supporter. Now its about her family, since the ‘terrorist’ smear couldn’t be made to stick. But its a reflection of social pressure, that a left that produces such cretinous outfits as the AWL, also produces loud-mouthed individuals that likewise wrap up a capitulation to bigotry with a ‘Marxist’ rationale.

    Pearn is no more ‘ultra-left’ than HM Hyndman, the Tory radical and anti-semite who somewhat strangely played a prominent role in the early British Marxist movement. Hyndman had one advantage over Pearn, however; despite his terrible weaknesses and deviations, he could actually work with others and thus help build an organisation. But fundamentally, Pearn’s political tilt is right-wing cretinism, as with Hyndman (who ended up supporting the first world war).

  411. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Marx and Engels were not exactly on the breadline.”

    Actually, Marx was for quite a period on the breadline when living in exile in London, saved from complete penury by period subsidies from Engels’ capitalist business in Manchester. He was, of course, on the breadline due to working full time on his research, writing and other political activities. Which of course, makes the same point in a slightly different way.

  412. “Increasingly smacking of a snidy attack on RR from SWP trollers by associating Selma Yaquoob with having a bourgeois family.”

    Again, he’s not in the SWP.

  413. I have all manner of interesting opinions. I can’t be the only person who, in dubious and obsessive manner, comes on here and thinks like a cut price Jon Snow, why can’t we have more GOOD news….(not a critique just a sigh of frustration and ennui, which is allowed on Sunday afternoons).

  414. Don’t be so evasive JOhn

    Do you think it is something the SWP shouod disassciaite itsef with, that one of their members, JJ, spreads rumours about trade unionists being ballot riggers, and generally attacks Respect with all the same arguments that the AWl have used in the past?

  415. georgier on said:

    Ian
    Delibertley I left a long period for a respomse to Andy’s last post
    Yes of course on Marx I was thinking of his class origins
    My point for another blog is “workerism”

  416. Poor stupid Ian Donovan with his daft idea that I have engaged in an ideological attack on muslims. For the record the only muslims I have consistently exposed as adhering to bourgeois ideas are the members of the Yaqoob family. And I attack them for reason of their class politics not their religion.

    As for ‘Rosa L’s’ crazy anti-dialectics I note that each and every major figure in the canon of Classical Marxism has been of the opinion that dialectics are integral to Marxism. The mad French wife killer Althussar held the opposite position just as ‘Rosa L’ does.

  417. Mike:

    “As for ‘Rosa L’s’ crazy anti-dialectics I note that each and every major figure in the canon of Classical Marxism has been of the opinion that dialectics are integral to Marxism. The mad French wife killer Althussar (sic) held the opposite position just as ‘Rosa L’ does.”

    This is, of course, the weakest argument in the dialectician’s box of tricks: the appeal to tradition.

    On that basis, you, Mike, would have argued 400 years ago, “Who are you Galileo to contradict Aristotle”, or more recently “Who are you, Herr Marx, to contradict Ricardo”.

    And, as for the Althusser quip, we might note that Stalin thought very highly of the dialectic, as did Moa, Hoxa, and Kim Il Jong.

    We can both do ‘guilt by association’ comrade.

    And not one single one of the “major figure(s) in the canon of Classical Marxism” was a worker, which must mean that you should, if you are consistent with comments you have made on other threads (ha, some hope!), reject the dialectic as a non-working-class ‘theory’, as I do.

    Finally, since you have not read my work, I note also that you, like many others, are happy to pass an opinion about it from a position of total ignorance.

  418. I make no ‘appeal to tradition’ but sinply point out that if the concept of the dialectic is removed from Marxism, or historical materialism if one prefers, then that body of thought and practice would no longer be ‘Marxist’ in a sense recogisable by those cmrades who I listed. For them and dialectics was an interal part of marxism and could not be extracted without causing such damage to historical materialism as to render it simply a formless conglomeration of ideas with no internal cherenfce at the theoretical level.

    That Stalin, Mao or even Gerry Healy swore allegiance to the idea of the dialectic is besides the point as it is quite clear that their work, both at the level of theory and practice, had absolutely nothing in common with scientific socialism.

    As for yur sggestion that marxism is not a proletarian docrine by virtue of the role played in its development by figures who originated in other scial classes this is silly. Marxism is the theory and practice of proletarian revolution and in and of itself has no ‘class’.

    As for reading your work I may do so if and when you are able to publish it under your real name in a print edition. Until then my tired old eyes simply will not take the strain of staring at your rather dull ramblings.

  419. Mike:

    “I make no ‘appeal to tradition’ but simply point out that if the concept of the dialectic is removed from Marxism, or historical materialism if one prefers, then that body of thought and practice would no longer be ‘Marxist’ in a sense recognisable by those comrades who I listed. For them and dialectics was an internal part of marxism and could not be extracted without causing such damage to historical materialism as to render it simply a formless conglomeration of ideas with no internal cherenfce (eh?) at the theoretical level.”

    Not so, as you would know if you actually read my work, instead of trying to guess its content.

    “That Stalin, Mao or even Gerry Healy swore allegiance to the idea of the dialectic is besides the point as it is quite clear that their work, both at the level of theory and practice, had absolutely nothing in common with scientific socialism.”

    Just as Althusser’s approach has nothing to do with mine. But, you were the one who thought guilt by association was the way to proceed.

    “As for your suggestion that marxism is not a proletarian doctrine by virtue of the role played in its development by figures who originated in other social classes this is silly. Marxism is the theory and practice of proletarian revolution and in and of itself has no ‘class’.”

    Well, you need to learn to read, for I said this:

    “And not one single one of the “major figure(s) in the canon of Classical Marxism” was a worker, which must mean that you should, if you are consistent with comments you have made on other threads (ha, some hope!), reject the dialectic as a non-working-class ‘theory’, as I do.”

    No mention there that I thought *Marxism* was to be rejected, only a fruitless plea for you to at least try to be consistent with what you had posted on other threads.

    But, while we are on the subject, since the mystical theory you have swallowed was invented by Hegel (a non-worker), my suggestion that you to be consistent and reject this non-working class theory (that is ‘dialectics’, not Marxism) still stands.

    And, since this ‘theory’ has presided over 150 years of failure, the fact that history has already refuted dialectics should be an added reason.

    “As for reading your work I may do so if and when you are able to publish it under your real name in a print edition. Until then my tired old eyes simply will not take the strain of staring at your rather dull ramblings.”

    In that case, I suppose you never read any Lenin, Trotsky or Cliff (not to mention the writings of the scores of other who use pseudonyms).

    And how do you know my work is ‘dull’ if your ‘tired old eyes’ have never alighted upon it.

    Anyway, I’d rather you did not read my work; in your present ignorant and logically-challenged state of mind, you are no threat to the working class, just yourself.

    I’d hate to think I had anything to do with putting that right.

  420. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Poor stupid Ian Donovan with his daft idea that I have engaged in an ideological attack on muslims. For the record the only muslims I have consistently exposed as adhering to bourgeois ideas are the members of the Yaqoob family. And I attack them for reason of their class politics not their religion.”

    An ideological attack on Muslims? An ideological critique of Islam (which is not the same thing as ‘Muslims’, by the way) is a perfectly reasonable thing for a Marxist to do, though how effective is quite another matter – generally ideological anti-religious propaganda doesn’t cut the mustard. But that’s hardly the same thing as what Mike, the AWL, the likes of Tatchell, and quite a few other ex-leftists are doing, which is signing for the latest imperialist holy crusade. A rather different matter.

  421. Lets start talking about a real revolution, a revolution of ideas. There has been a lot of mudslinging and unnecessary name calling in this increasing virulent debate. I have observed in silence, but no longer will I stand in silence and let people continue with what I call the process of labelisation.

    People scream vitriolically at each other… SOCIALIST, MOSLEM, GAY, FEMINIST, ULTRA LEFT, MIDDLE CLASS, SELL OUT, REFORMIST. These words are all LABELS.
    Society has labelled of all us, but have you noticed that when we cut ourselves our blood is the same colour? Yes, RED!

    We need to rip off these labels as we would if were buying a new shirt or pullover from Marks and Spencers. Go on do it, rip off these labels and consign them to the dustbin of history where they belong. These labels only serve to hold us back. END TO LABELISATION. I propose that we lobby our government and ask them to introduce a law where it is a criminal offence for any person to be labelled. We could start a petition regarding this in our workplaces, schools, colleges, churches, mosques. We need to start a new offensive and look at the things we have in common, not our differences. Our rallying cry could be “NO TO LABELISATION, YES TO HOMOGENISATION”

    As Cliff once remarked, “There is only one race, the human race”

    I agree with this sentiment but would also like to add that Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour loves you all.

    As I have already stated the tone of the debate is a little disturbing. Lets all calm down and take a moment to reflect on that monumentous event 2007 years ago in a small town called Bethlehem. That should be our inspiration for the continuing struggle.

  422. J Christ on said:

    I agree (almost) wholeheartedly with john’s comments. There IS, however, one label that we should all be proud to wear. That label is “FOLLOWER OF JESUS”. Lets face it, in a world faced with environmental disaster, overpopulation, genetic engineering and other terrible problems, we need a guide. We need a beacon of light in a dark world, a force for good when all are seduced by evil, a candle in the wind – in short we need the Lord and Saviour Jesus.

    I’m trying to save you all but there’s only so much I can do. God is away in another universe at the moment and will not return until after the holiday. He has allowed me to speak on his behalf until January 6th and I will try my best to liberate humanity in the short time that He has has so graciously given me. In the name of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky I urge all comrades to step out of the darkness and embrace the light.

  423. #509
    “As Cliff once remarked, “There is only one race, the human race””

    i think it’s a tragedy that Cliff has decided not to release any more Xmas singles. I think we could all do with some mistletoe and wine.

  424. Concerned socialist on said:

    When one long-winding SWP-bashing thread is finally closed, why not go back to an older one? Please, get a life, all of you!

  425. “There is only one race, the human race”

    Darren: are you sure that was Cliff? It sounds more like Phil Collins (Another day in paradise) to me, though, granted the lyrics are pretty similar to Mistletoe and Wine.

  426. As Cliff once remarked on a yearly basis “There is only one party and that is the SWP Christmas party”…and what a merry time was had by all as they ‘reflected'(sic) back on the year past on their great successes and looked forward to the future, a SWP future…aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  427. RedRaph on said:

    513 I agree unless there is trojan horse operation to free as many SWP members as possible Andy should close this post and refrain from putting any more posts which are likely to create a similar reaction.

  428. The only official communcation I’ve ever seen about swp members and blogging was a clear instruction in our district NOT to get involved in this stuff.
    What any individual who may or may not be in or loosely connected to the swp does is another matter. I’ve certainly seem some posts where i think ‘there’s no way that person is actually involved’.