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Submitted by Jason on Wed, 23/07/2008 - 15:27

We probably differ a little on this, Sacha, I think.

Galloway is I think mainly an old Labour style reformist with a basically Stalinist politics, with a good dash of nationalistic reactionary positions on women, gay people and foreign dictatorships common to such types plus a kind of accomodation to religious thinking that is perhaps more unusual.

His comments on Mehdi Kazemi on The Wright Stuff viewable here are indefencible as was the silence or at best muted criticism from socialists inside Respect. Ditto his stance on abortion, ditto his salutation of Saddam Hussein.

There may well be occasions though where we would defend Galloway- e.g. against a right wing witch hunt such as the Daily Telegraph, against the US senate, against expulsion form th eLabour party, for making the pricnipled call for British soldiers to refuse to follow illegal orders.

There was an argument to give critical support for his election in the East End for these reasons- Workers Power was divided on this though the majority opposed this. It may well be that a majority in PR would have opposed it too. But I think a case could have been made on the basis thta his campaign connected with a principled ant-imerialist war stand and was therefore worthy of support on the basis of criticisng both the inadequacies of his program and the reactionary politics on major issues such as oppression.

If Galloway had joined the Socialist llaince and stood would you have been for a no vote or even leaving the SA over that? I actually suspect you would.

Galloway and his supporters offer no way forward for the working class and in many respects he is deeply reactionary. But that doesn't mean all his supporters should be written off. We should enage with them in joint struggles and also engage them where we can in debates and discussions.

Respect was a step back from socialism and Respect renewal or Respect mark 2 is no better than the original except some in it I think are genuine enough in wanting to break with some of the more bureaucratic traditions of a certain tradition of th eleft- overcentralist and not particularly democratic. Time will tell how far they get in this- perhaps not far. But let's keep the dialogue open and joint work against fascists for example in Manchester going.

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