'Respect' and George Galloway

Do revolutionary socialists have a place in Labour?

Although the Labour leadership's new bans on four organisations have been justified mainly in terms of the issue of antisemitism, the question of Marxist and Trotskyist politics has also been raised. We republish this article written by one of our comrades for socialist Labour Party magazine The Clarion in February 2017, which discusses the issues in the form of a reply to Labour right-winger Luke Akehurst. At the time dozens of Workers' Liberty people had recently been expelled from the Labour Party. Do revolutionary socialists have a place in Labour? By Sacha Ismail Some activists on the...

Batley and Spen: Labour victory despite Galloway threat

Labour has won the Batley and Spen by-election of 1 July 2021, but only narrowly, after over 20% of the vote was taken by the demagogue George Galloway. Formally Galloway stood for the "Workers' Party of Britain", an ultra-Stalinist sect. In fact he stood to gain publicity (and money, because he makes his ample income as a media figure) for George Galloway. To do that he fomented and used antisemitism and homophobia against Labour and the Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater. Although he blustered about winning, he knew that a big vote for him would give the constituency to the Tories, and gloried...

The Rabbi and the real issue

Jewish identity and history is a profoundly important aspect of my life. But I’m not a communalist. I think the idea of a unitary interest for ethnic groups is dangerous, and I think official community leaderships, especially in faith groups, are basically reactionary. An anti-communalist, secularist, anti-clerical critique of the role in Jewish life, and in social and political life in general, of people like the Chief Rabbi has been developed by Jewish radicals over many years, finding perhaps its most exuberant expression in the work of people like Benjamin Feigenbaum. Equivalent critiques...

Galloway and Bannon

George Galloway was recently ″papped″ by journalist Natalia Antelava, appearing to hug alt-right pundit Steve Bannon. The photo was taken after both had spoken on a panel at the Eurasian Media Forum in Kazakhstan. Accepting Bannon′s friendly overture was just a matter of good manners, said Galloway afterwards. But in the panel debate Galloway and Bannon′s political worlds did align. Both praised a ″populist turn″ against globalisation. For Galloway it is a matter of trenchant support for a hardline or no-deal Brexit, leading him to cosy up to the likes of Nigel Farage. If you feel like sitting...

Defend Jon Lansman

The labour movement should rally to the defence of Labour National Executive member and Momentum leader Jon Lansman against George Galloway’s threat to sue him for defamation. Galloway says he has “instructed solicitors to bring a case for defamation against Jon Lansman”. That is a response to a tweet by Lansman defending Jewish comedian David Baddiel after Galloway made a tweet (now deleted) that “no supporter of the Palestinian people” would march “behind” Baddiel (apparently a reference to planned protests against Donald Trump visiting Britain). Over the years Galloway has run or threatened...

What’s wrong with “Stop the War”?

The Stop The War Coalition enjoyed its heyday around the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but has regained some prominence since David Cameron’s government first proposed the bombing of Syria in August 2013. Feeding on perceptions that UK involvement in the Middle East has led to prolonged campaigns of bombing, loss of life, and the creation of unstable regimes, with very little of the humanity supposed to exist in “humanitarian intervention”, the STWC has called a number of demonstrations and got some media coverage for its opposition to the UK and US involvement in coalition bombing of...

Listen to the secular!

Pretty much all the left press other than Solidarity has denounced the election court decision against Lutfur Rahman, mayor of Tower Hamlets in East London, and most of the left has backed Rabina Khan, Rahman's ally, for the new mayoral election on 11 June. Does the left press reckon that Rahman didn't do what the court disqualified him for doing? Or that he did do it, but it was all right? It's hard to tell. I don't know if the writers in the left press even read the judgement. If they did read it, then probably, like me, they were annoyed by the style of the judge, Richard Mawrey - pompous...

Is Tower Hamlets really an Establishment conspiracy?

None of the socialist organisations politically defending ousted Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman seriously analyse the judgement made against him by election commissioner Richard Mawrey. None mention George Galloway previously hailing a judgement by Mawrey (against the Labour Party and in favour of Galloway’s Respect) in 2007 — in a speech republished in full on the Socialist Worker website! Socialists have no confidence in bourgeois judges, but the idea that Mawrey is a ruling-class assassin or bug-eyed Islamophobe is absurd. The pro-Rahman left's main argument is that he is the victim of a...

Restore secular politics in Tower Hamlets

I don't like the idea that a privileged, conservative judge ousts Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman for alleged electoral malpractice, rather than a tribunal of the people he is supposed to serve. I also don't know whether all the accusations against Rahman upheld by the judge are true or not. I am not going to take the judge's word for it. I am also not going to take the word of former councillors for George Galloway's Respect group that he is not. The residents of Tower Hamlets, of which I am one, have plenty of reasons to want Rahman and his communalist politics out. Some left-wingers are...

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