Galloway Calling (not)

September 22, 2007 at 9:34 pm (Galloway, twat, voltairespriest)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketHmm…. I just called Radio Galloway for a chat about the crisis in Respect. Was greeted by a friendly producer who was “sure George will be happy to talk about that”. Then got the same guy back on the line saying he’d spoken to George and “He isn’t allowed to talk about that issue”. Gallers old man, if the Sheriff of Nottingham’s crew have you locked away somewhere under torture, then be assured myself and Denham are ready to mount a daring rescue. Just tip us the wink. 


  1. splinteredsunrise said,

    Not allowed?! Our George must not be muzzled! Not even under threat of having to listen to Prof Callinicos bang on about Anthony Giddens for five hours!

    Did he have that dreadful old Stalinist bore on?

  2. Red Maria said,

    Nope, not allowed to talk about it while negotiations are being thrashed out behind closed doors. Very sensible. One wouldn’t want to prejudice the outcome in any way.
    The very latest is that it looks like a crisis has been narrowly averted. One’s almost glad of it. Had a split occured, the resulting fallout, the recriminations and bitterness would have been so embarrassing, like dreadfully addictive carcrash telly.

  3. Juan Carlos Cruz said,

    Hey my friends, i have a question: How come most americans even americans who are oppressed by capitalism are capitalists? I don’t understand why there are almost no socialists in USA

  4. twp77 said,

    The word on the street is that the SWP got “concessions” from Galloway. Lord knows what that means……

    To Juan Carlos – maybe because of twats like Mr. “I’m-drinking-lattes-in-France-on-self-exile” Avakian who make a laughing stock of Americans who ARE socialists.

  5. twp77 said,

    Also Liam reports on his blog – though with his by now familiar hypocritical admonishing of other left groups…..

  6. tim said,

    George is now on £3k a week from Talksport.
    His contract precludes him talking about Respect.
    He is also barred from talking about the McCann case.

    In addition his switchboard keep a list of banned callers,which Jim Denham is on.
    Any references to George and cash will of course not be allowed.

  7. johng said,

  8. tim said,

    i) All elected representatives of Respect should give regular reports to the local Respect branch, and the National Council of Respect. All major initiatives should be discussed with the appropriate local and national committees of Respect.

    Thanks for the laugh John

  9. tim said,

    Or, if you prefer, send a cheque for £25 made out to “Miranda Media Limited” to 9 Club Row, London E1 6JX

  10. modernityblog said,


    I think you’ll find that the new “re-converts” to Respect will mollify their past criticisms of Respect’s political culture and organisational failings, in light of their new “opportunities”

    and no doubt in say 6-12 months, when it all goes sour these Respect “re-converts” will revert to the previous criticisms and complain how they were well-meaning but misunderstood, and they hadn’t appreciated how they were being used all along?

  11. tim said,

    I produced Michael Crick’s piece for Newsnight on Friday. We did not use Harry’s Place as a source although I do read it and enjoy it as I do Guido and many other blogs across the spectrum. I’ve been thinking about doing something on the tensions in Respect for a while but we went ahead on Friday because our sources suggested there was going to be an almighty bust-up at Saturday’s meeting which would lead to the SWP and Mr Galloway going their separate ways in due course. I’ll leave it to those who were at the meeting to tell you how it turned out. We interviewed Mark Fischer because
    (1) the CPGB are part of Respect and
    (2) he had something interesting to say about the tensions and
    (3) was happy enough to say it on camera and
    (4) organised enough to get to an agreed location.
    We of course had already made official approaches to Mr Galloway’s people and the SWP. Ron told me to FUCK OFF in as many words – which was sweet. The SWP said they would get someone who knew about Respect to call me back within an hour. 21 hours later a senior figure in the SWP rang me back saying he’d had a message that we wanted to do an interview about Frank Sinatra. He was keen to do this. When I gently pointed out that the message I’d left had specified that Newsnight wanted to do an interview about Respect – rather than a dead singer – he was disappointed but he promised to get someone from the SWP to ring me back within an hour or two about Respect. That was 51 hours and 42 minutes ago. We’re still waiting.

    Sideshow Ron McKay.
    What a delightful corrupt thug.

  12. resistor said,

    A mystery.

    The ‘Harry’ of ‘Harrys Place’ is believed to a very similar person to Simon Evans who is a sports reporter for Reuters in the USA

    Like Harry, Evans is from Burnley and likes to quote Orwell inappropriately and repetitively.

    Harry developed a soft spot for Italian Fascists

    Evans worked in Italy for seven years and wrote about Fini about the same time as the article above.

    Of course it is possible they are different people, but when I posted a question about this here, it was removed by David T alleging it was libellous.

    Do they think so little of their founder?

  13. voltaires_priest said,

    I must admit that I don’t quite see the relevance of that…

  14. resistor said,

    You link to the insanely right-wing, pro-war Harry’s Place which censors the fact that their founder was a hard-line Stalinist.

  15. tim said,

    says the self censoring resistor who is not allowaed to express an opinion on
    spiv vs goatee

  16. resistor said,

    Pardon Tim?

    Who is the producer quoted above and from where does the quote come? – Harry’s Place and Meirion Jones who thinks a Newsnight producer should post there.

  17. tim said,

    Do you have an opinion on the split between Galloway and the SWP.
    Or an opinion on the thug McKay?

  18. twp77 said,

    Yes because we all know Newsnight is suddenly the most right-wing programme in Britain for telling everyone else what the rest of us already knew about Galloway and Co. years ago….please……..

  19. tim said,

    Perhaps resistor could persuade the invertebrate Seymour at Lenins Tomb to have a debate and Newsnight could post there.
    Oh sorry,is the Ballymena boy beoing told to shut up.?

  20. johng said,

    “Insane Right wing” is about right.

  21. tim said,

    Poor John.
    Not allowed out.

  22. tim said,

    I’ve heard you argue that those who sought to make a “shibboleth” out of support by Muslims for Gay rights were Islamophobes.
    Now that the SWP is seeking to make a shibboleth out of support for Gay pride marches by Muslims, do you consider the SWP to be Islamophobic?

  23. modernityblog said,

    I think JohnG has become a Trappist monk, after the agony of defending the SWP

  24. Andy Newman said,

    TWP said: The word on the street is that the SWP got “concessions” from Galloway. Lord knows what that means……

    The word on the street knows fuck all about what happened last weekend then. That is completely wrong.

    Modernity: I think you’ll find that the new “re-converts” to Respect will mollify their past criticisms of Respect’s political culture and organisational failings, in light of their new “opportunities”

    I have rejoined Resoect precisley because I have not changed my mind about its political culture and organisational failings.

    However, a real debate has opened up within that organisation about those very real deficiences.

  25. twp77 said,


    Go and convince someone who cares. I’m frankly getting rather tired of you and Liam yelling to every passer-by that will listen about your new saviors Galloway and Yaqoob – the same Galloway that you and Liam spent so much time correctly criticising on your respective blogs for months on end.

    In 6 months time when you have been proven terribly wrong don’t come back licking your wounds and crying to the left wondering why no one takes you seriously any longer. I’m beginning to wonder if you and Liam have become so desperate to see SOMETHING, ANYTHING happen in your lifetime that you’re not only grasping at straws but also romancing a putrid corpse.

  26. Andy Newman said,


    My point is that passing off gossip as if you know something is unhelpful.

  27. Louisefeminista said,

    Twp: I think you are spot-on and exactly how I feel. I too am sick of the hectoring and defensiveness being shown. I know the medium of the blogosphere can be worse than being in a room with someone but I don’t need to be lectured about how politically inept I am! It isn’t comradely debate in the least and being put in your place is not argument. Sorry, becoming a tad subjective.

    And I got sick of sneering and put-downs about the McD campaign as at least we organised a positive intervention. Did they think we were going to organise a coup d’etat?

    Anyway, I think this does smack of the desperation the left is in where they are wanting anything to happen no matter how crap it is. Something better than nothing. I would prefer nothing. The left is in a weak fragmented state and hitching to a popular frontist group like Respect will end in tears and make the left even more weak and fragmented. I also think there is a lot of defensiveness coming from Respect supporters as they know, deep down, they are politically wrong.

    But I do think this will dent the political credibility of SR in the long term and they will regret it. Galloway and Salma Yaqoob (she’s not left-wing nor radical on liberation politics..) offer no viable alternative and certainly socialism will not be on the table nor progressive demands (if Galloway takes over than the already bland worded demands i.e. L&G rights, women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose will go). Why the hell does any socialist want to be part of that? Have they lost their analytical faculties?

    The Lib Dems are probably more radical than Respect (Salma’s next political port-of-call surely?).

    Wake-up and smell the rot, comrades!

    Sorry if I come across a tad narky but I think I do need to lie down with a damp flannel on my forehead while taking deep controlled breaths….

  28. johng said,


    Its important in debate not to attribute views to people they don’t hold. Whilst some might do this to you, on the evidence of the above you share this failing. The notion that ‘deep down’ people know they are wrong is an assumption of this kind. I have to admit to being completely perplexed by your views on Salma’s attitude to liberation. Don’t understand what this is based on.

  29. twp77 said,


    I wrote that after coming home from a meeting which was held next door to the Respect NC. This was after discussions with a few people who were actually in the meeting. If this is somehow inferior to Liam’s reports which are also from people who were in the meeting then so be it. I didn’t claim it was authoritative which is why I questioned even this analysis myself saying “Lord knows what that means”.

  30. johng said,

    On the question about American’s and capitalism its important to stress that most Americans are not capitalists. They’re workers. like in any other advanced capitalist country. The weakness of socialist ideas in the US is in my view linked to a history of repression directed at left wing ideas which is more severe then in any other advanced capitalist democracy (up to and including the framing and execution of trade union organisers in the first part of the twentieth century). The smashing up of any links between workers organisations and the left proceeded during the McCarthyite period. This legacy meant that connections between the radical movements of the 1960’s and the organised working class movements were weaker then in any other major western capitalist country (with the possible exception, for different reasons, of west Germany). This in spite of the depth of political radicalism of the time (from civil rights to the panthers, from teach-ins to the wider movement against the war) AND the beginnings of both industrial unrest in the early ’70’s as well as opinion poll after opinion poll showing that most workers opposed the Vietnam war. These contradictions remain the subject of debate amongst historians of the period, as well the source of a number of stereotypes about workers and right wing ideology not borne out by recent studies of those times.

    At a deeper level historians point to the constant recomposition of the working class and the co-incidence of widespread parochial politics (the irish, the italians, the poles etc) and what De Bois called the ‘psychological wage’ of white privilage in a country in which the politics of race continue to exert a hold unimaginable even in racist old Europe. But in the end these wider discussions (including discussions of ‘frontier society’ and an attendent ideology of escapism) simply push the question further and further back. In my view all these things became important because of the failure to establish distinctive forms of organised class politics (in western Europe these have been an important basis of the functioning of bourgoise democracy) which could act as a counterweight. And these were broken by ferocious state-led repression aided and abetted by private agencies which the state allowed to run rampant.

    Some of the ills of the kinds of facade democracies (‘any colour but red as one filipino activist once put it) established with US sponsership in other parts of the world are clearly linked to the experiance of the form of ‘classless’ democracy established in the US: where ethnicity rather then class historically played the role of political unit (read the marvelous ‘studs lonegan’).

  31. Louisefeminista said,

    JohnG: That may be true so I apologise for attributing views to people don’t hold. But what I will ask, whatever happened to secularism and socialism? It seems (prove me wrong John) that Respect has capitulated to religion. What is Salma’s view on women’s liberation, a woman’s right to choose and lesbian and gay rights? Tell me John.

  32. johng said,

    well i’m not sure what you mean by ‘capitulating to religion’. If you mean i am prepared to work with people of all faiths or none i must plead guilty. This however seems the very definition of secularism so i’m unclear why the charge of giving up on secularism is made. The real assault on secularism at the moment seems to come from those who want more state inteference in the religious beliefs of those who come from a minority faith in this country.

    Salma can speak for herself on the question of gender (there are a number of comment is free pieces which i’m no doubt you’ll be familiar with) but my own position with regards to both the issue of abortion and that of gay rights is identical to Respect policy on the issue. I have no objection to working with people who don’t fully subscribe to those policies so long as they do not, in the name of the organisation, campaign against such policies.

    The famous shibboleth statement i therefore fully endorse. I do not believe that it serves any useful purpose to refuse to work with people if they do not personally subscribe to the policies adopted by the organisation. All I expect from them is that they do not campaign against those policies. To my knowledge no one who is a member of respect does so.

  33. modernityblog said,


    forgive me, that there is no need to apologise to JohnG over “Its important in debate not to attribute views to people they don’t hold. ”

    JohnG is an arch SWP hack, he’d lie straight through his teeth on camera, if he had to.

    Don’t take my word for it, look through Shiraz Socialist or other sites and you’ll see his constant misrepresentation of people’s views

    the returning to the corpse, your point of “Have they lost their analytical faculties?” hits the nail on the head

    I don’t think that they have, just that the lure of power is greater and the chance to have a position of power, etc

    I think you and TWP have sussed out the “re-converts”

    You’ll see how they changed their attitudes over time, (I notice a slight change of tone over at Liam’s, a seeming desire to close down some types of discussion on Respect/CPGB, not 100% sure but it is a strange approach, as these debate will continue, as is the nature of the Internet, they’ll just shift location.)

  34. johng said,

    thanks so much for your usual warm contribution modernity.

  35. modernityblog said,


    If anyone needed further proof of your disruptive tactics they need look no further than here,

    Volty’s comment #12 sums it up best

  36. johng said,

    “disruptive tactics”

    Presumably this means disagreeing.

  37. voltaires_priest said,

    John and Resistor;

    I’ll link to what the fuck I like, and you’d have to be an idiot to think that sites should only link to sites that they agree with.


    Totally agree with the comment about people who see Galloway as the saviour – it’s blind foolishness to think that a hatchet-job being done on the SWP by Respect’s burgeoning right wing, can be a good thing in any way whatsoever. Whatever’s wrong with the SWP, they at least represent people who want a socialist political force in the UK (albeit that they are poisonously sectarian about doing so, and that they have political formulations that are pro-reactionary). I don’t know what Socialist Resistance or the CPGB think they are playing at.

  38. voltaires_priest said,

    Incidentally John; nice to see that you’re a secularist now. Until the next change of line, presumably.

  39. resistor said,

    ‘I’ll link to what the fuck I like, and you’d have to be an idiot to think that sites should only link to sites that they agree with.’

    But you do agree with Harry’s (Simon Evan’s) Place. That’s the whole point.

  40. tim said,

    still not allowed to give your opinion on the Galloway SWP split, brave resistor?

  41. martinohr said,

    JohnG “The famous shibboleth statement i therefore fully endorse”, but you misrepresent what Lindsey German was saying when she said this. It wasn’t about working together with people of differing political views, specifically it was about being organising a political alliance with homophobes. SWP was happy to organise such an alliance and is now desperately trying to get out of it.

  42. johng said,

    No it wasn’t. It was about precisely what I said it was about. The fact that the pro-war left has made much of this is no excuse for those who disagree to continue to distort this statement.

  43. johng said,

    Voltaire I have no idea what your talking about, either about ‘secularism’ or about ‘changes in line’. If you know something I don’t please let me know. I’ve always been secular and always refused to make the concessions to anti-Muslim communalism that, very unfortunately, you have sometimes, perhaps inadvertantly, played into. Any change in the SWP line I’d be grateful to hear about. I certainly haven’t heard of one.

  44. tim said,

    Answer this then John

    I’ve heard you argue that those who sought to make a “shibboleth” out of support by Muslims for Gay rights were Islamophobes.
    Now that the SWP is seeking to make a shibboleth out of support for Gay pride marches by Muslims, do you consider the SWP to be Islamophobic?

  45. Louisefeminista said,

    JohnG: “No it wasn’t. It was about precisely what I said it was about. The fact that the pro-war left has made much of this is no excuse for those who disagree to continue to distort this statement.”

    I support the anti-war movement and am still active in it but I still find Lindsey German’s statement about lesbian and gay rights worrying because it seemed to be a very strong signal to ditch L&G rights. To be honest, the SWP hasn’t had an entirely positive history of support for liberation campaigns. Women’s liberation is reduced to class and workerism. And nothing sophisicated about analysing capitalism/patriarchy or indeed supportive of feminism (but there’s a lot of that on the Left!).
    Why did Lindsay German need to make that statement in the first place if it wasn’t to ditch L&G rights?

  46. johng said,

    Well we disagree about womens liberation being reduced to class and workerism. I happen to think that the SWP’s analyses of the relationship between exploitation and oppression is a non-reductive one. That is however a perfectly respectable disagreement to have and we can debate that. The remark by Lyndsy German was made in response to arguments that we should not enter into an alliance with Muslim organisations over the war because some were homophobic or opposed abortion. This, in my view, does not equate with ‘ditching gay rights’ or a womans right to choose.

  47. tim said,

    So how come going to pride is now a badge of commitment?

  48. martinohr said,

    JohnG, since I’m not part of the pro-war left I have no idea why they have made a big deal of this. As I recall German made the statement at a meeting of marxism in 2003 with regard to organising joint candidates with muslim groups and the socialist alliance, it was part of a softening up of swp cadre ready for ditching the sa and organising respect.

    It is enivitable that you have to work with all sorts of people in the course of campaigns and trades union activity, and you have to pick your moments when to tackle certain issues some times, but to deliberately organise a political alliance with homophobes is different altogether, particularly when you then do nothing to challenge the homophobia ever, at all, ever, at all.

    There isn’t some well-established scale of oppression which says it is worse to be pro-war than soft on homophobes or vice versa, both the pro-war left and the swp should be condemned respectively for getting there politics so wrong.

    It is interesting that Pride should have become some line in the now though surely it can’t be a co-incidence that it happens at the same time as the swp are desperate to get out of respect and turn back towards the unions.

  49. Louisefeminista said,

    But JohnG there is a difference between working with a broad alliance of people within, say, the anti-war movement. It is a single issue campaign. Same with defending, say, abortion rights. The likes of Teresa Gorman was on the platform defending a woman’s right to choose. Fair enough. But would I want to enter an electoral alliance with her? No!
    That’s the problem with Respect it’s a popular front whichever way you slice it. If had any chance of working then one of things would have to challenge the politics of the people you are entering an alliance with but you didn’t, you capitulated. When one Respect candidate spoke of being anti-abortion Lindsay German kept quiet and said, rather mealy- mouthed, that it was his “personal opinion”… Now if some Labour MP had said that then the SWP would criticising it none stop and quite rightly so.. But you didn’t criticise, you didn’t criticise Galloway’s views on abortion. You kept quiet.

    Now, as a Labour leftie (on and off for over 20 years) I can say that whenever a LP MP has made anti-abortion statements we have been vocal in criticisms and not accepted excuses that it was their “personal opinion”. We didn’t ignore it ,we opposed it!
    Can you say the same with Respect?

  50. SP said,

    The SWP have always been competent shape shifters and will do so again here. Where this requires political tinkering (new non Marxist definitions of the “working class”, swings in downturn theory etc.) to justify current “turns” they do so. The likes of Gameboy and Lenny (both of whom seem to have their sights set on a seat at the High Table) come and go but generally manage to survive the immediate mental contortions this requires.

    The major problem they face in RESPECT however is that some/many (you make an estimate) of their coalitionists expressly do not agree with components of the acronym. Most disturbingly, and often commented upon here, it is mainly these people who deliver the votes, largely by communalist and/or populist appeal. These are not surface cracks but run up from the foundations.

    Aggregate this with the SWPs questionable commitment to broad group working, (fashioned solely by recruitment opportunities – never by wider political responsibility e.g. ANL and Miners Support Groups) and you have a combustible situation. Perhaps the anticipated fallout from having sold the family silver to fund this project, and the limitations this places on a potential new “turn”, is now their only shackle to the disunity coalition.

  51. johng said,

    The first issue you raised seems to imply simply a difference of political judgement. In my view a situation where a majority of the population opposed a war waged by the government in a democracy, a war which moreover, the vast majority of the worlds population viewed with disgust, involved more then simply a ‘single issue campaign’. The map of politics was being (and has been) entirely redrawn as a consequence (and the curiously heated nature of the blogsphere on the subject I think reflects that). I understand that there can be differences of opinion about this, but many believed that it was vital that the focus for opposition found some form of electoral expression. In other words, for me, and for many like me, this was not simply a continuence of the old debates about electoralism or on the other hand building a socialist alternative to Labour. This reflected a massive shift in world politics that it was neccessary to respond to. We may legitimately disagree about this.

    In the second place, on the question of ‘popular frontism’. its neccessary to understand why ‘popular frontism’ is regarded as a ‘boo word’ on some sections of the left (my indian friends have always been greatly puzzled about this). This has to do with Trotsky’s critique of the Stalinist popular front against fascism. This involved subordinating the politics of the workers movement not only to mainstream bourgoise political parties, but in fact representatives of imperialism. In other words it suggested an alliance between all the democratic countries against fascism. Given that this is exactly the common sense of most of the pro-war left (most of whom to be fair are not on the left anyway) I’ve always found this a bizarre accusation against the anti-war left. I understand that your not part of this crowd but its neccessary to re-iterate the orthodox trot definition of what a popular front actually is (and what hostility to popular frontism actually entails) in the face of the comical and surreal repetition of the term by newsnight presenters who get most of their info from right wing sites like Harry’s Place (they’ll go blind!).

    I also find the hysteria about (for example) Salma Yaqoob’s supposed petite bourgoise roots not only peculiar, but faintly distasteful. Given that I think there are parrallels between the classic ideology of anti-semitism and some of the stereotypes about Muslims which have circulated with increased energy since 9/11 I find the whole emphasis on this worrying, and in some cases its genuinely hard to tell whether the fascination with the class background of individual muslims is a function of trying to prove that Respect is a ‘Popular Front’ or something a little more sinister.

    But in any case its largely irrelevent as shopkeepers are not an arm of the bourgoisie or British imperialism and so the accusation hardly makes much sense anyway. I’m also always wary of using grand terms like this to describe what are, by comparison with the 1930’s, rather small scale operations. Discussions like this would have meant that the Anti-Nazi League was never formed for example. Here though I’d like to emphasis what seems to me to be the largest disagreement. That is precisely the attitude to oppression. We believe that Muslims are oppressed as Muslims in British society today. Many Socialists think this can’t possibly be so because Islam is a religion and not an ethnicity. I think this is entirely wrong and forgets that religious minorities can suffer persecution.

    Now we believe in the unity of the oppressed. And we will always oppose oppression. But we also understand that the oppressed are often divided amongst themselves (if exploitation has a tendency to unite, oppression has a tendency to divide). So there are Gay people who are racists. There are Black people who are Homophobes. And so on. These are not new questions and whilst in every case one fights for the unity of the oppressed one never makes it a pre-condition for opposing oppression (since those divisions are systematically reproduced by the society we live in). One will also find that those ‘politicized’ (as opposed to ‘radicalized’) by the experiance of oppression will often start to make these connections themselves. But its also true that oppression cuts across class lines. Its quite wrong to equate the fight for the unity of the oppressed with ‘popular frontism’ or indeed, at a more common sense level, a loss of principle.

    We all need our consiouseness raising. And that goes as much for a trade unionist as it does for someone in a community association. I believe that only the working class and the most oppressed inside that class can fight consistantly against oppression. But the oppressed don’t sit around waiting for the working class to do it. And my understanding of the role of socialists in Respect is that we have to prove to those at the sharp end of oppression in our society today that it is indeed true that Socialists can forge the unity of the oppressed. Its not something though that happens by itself, and we don’t have any right to a hearing simply on the basis that we’re wonderful people. We have to prove our ideas in practice. And socialists in Respect have always attempted to do just that.

  52. tim said,

    So the alliance with the spiv Galloway and the MB continues?

  53. Andy Newman said,

    Back to TWPs report #29.

    My information is not based upon Liam’s report, but from my own sourecs who were at the meeting.

    It would be fair to say that not everyone on the NC had a full appreciation of the underlying political disputes bfore the meeting and may not have entrtely understood the dynamics of what went on, and also that some of the people at the NC meeting may have their own reasons for spinning the outcome.

  54. twp77 said,

    That’s fine Andy. Again, I said that as a report of what I was told. I didn’t even vaguely imply that I thought that it was correct. You came after me for posting it at all – that’s the issue. You told me I had no right to be spreading rumours or some such nonsense. Do you ever admit when you’ve made an error? You really had no reason to have a go at me for posting that.

  55. Andy Newman said,


    You say that where Labour MPs have stated their personal oppositin to abortion that the left has (in your words) “not accepted excuses that it was their “personal opinion”.”

    But we don’t need a very long memory to recall that Eric Heffer was anti-abortion, and was actually an important figure head of the labour left.

    The positin that the left quite correctly took at that time was that Heffer was entitled to his personal view, but was expected to stand by the democratically decided policy of the party.

    I don’t see how Respect is any different. Nor do i think it is the job of the left to a make supportig a woman’s rigt to choose an individual obligation. It is our job to ensure that every section of the labour movement is democraticly won to that position, and that government policy is won to it, and in such a way that women are comfortable in safe in making their decisions. But that does not extend into the individual ethical and belief systems of individuals, which we cannot and should not seek to police.

  56. Andy Newman said,


    sorry I was wrong and much too grumpy/hostile

  57. Andy Newman said,

    TWP: Do you ever admit when you’ve made an error?

    I make mistakes all the time!

  58. Andy Newman said,

    Volty: ” it’s blind foolishness to think that a hatchet-job being done on the SWP by Respect’s burgeoning right wing, can be a good thing in any way whatsoever”

    To accept the characterisation that the current dispute is between the right and the left is a bad mistake.

    The spin coming from the SWP is that this is a left/right dispute, and that the alleged demand that Rees is removed as national secretary is an attack on all socialists within Respect.

    But that account is a factional one designed to distract from the real problem that the SWP’s way of working has prevented Respect from developing an internal democratic culture. Lack of functioning internal democracy of course exacerbates disputes over policy, becasue the decsins arrived at have less legitimacy if they are not the result of genuine debate involving the whole membership.

    In reality the criticsm of the SWP is about their belief that they are a vanguard leadership who are always right. Even if they were always right (which they aren’t), sometimes in politics you need to be able to lose an argument and retreat in good order to fight another day, but the SWP have been very reluctant to allow Respepct to make decisions they have disagreed with.

  59. Louisefeminista said,

    Hey, do I get an apology for the grumpy/hostility towards my arguments, Andy?

    Anyway, the Respect candidate spoke openly on a public platform about his anti-abortion stance. And nobody criticised him in the least though Lindsey German looked very uncomfortable.

    On a public platform and with Respect having a rather bland commitment to a woman’s right to choose. Nothing about the cuts in the NHS re obtaining an abortion or the fact women face paying a lot money privately, nothing about women not being able to obtain an abortion without a two docs signatures and so on. The explanations are bland.

    Back to the LP, Roy Hattersley, made anti-abortion comments during the Alton Bill and FAB campaign in B’ham picketed his surgery and we criticised him openly. LP activists criticised him as well they too attended the picket.

    And why is abortion and L&G rights stuck in “other policies”? And why isn’t there a separate policy on women on the website?

  60. johng said,

    well i’ve just looked at the founding declaration of the organisation and its all there.

    i don’t know about the incident your’re referring to. but if your claim is that its more worthwhile to have bland resolutions on these issues in a party which is at the cutting edge of implementing neo-liberalism and waging imperialist war, then to fight for those policies within a formation explicitly set up to fight those things I’m afraid we’d have to agree to disagree.

    on a personal note i’d say that one thing many miss out on is the incredibly lively and interesting discussions about these and related issues that have inevitably taken place on the basis of the mixing of socialist activists with those they would otherwise have rarely had a chance to talk to. Its been transformative for all involved (not suggesting that you yourself have not been through similar transformations as a result of your own political activity). I would argue that many of the early controversies reflected the fact that when community activists called socialists ‘the white left’ and when the ‘white left’ called community activists ‘black nationalists’ or representatives of ‘identity politics’ (boo, hiss) both groups were concealing their own relative isolation from the constituencies they claimed to speak for. This became sharply apparent on the mass mobilisations against the war on 2003 and presented both groups with a large challenge.

    On both sides there were bitter divisions epitomised on the left with the argument about the SA and Respect, and in the more community based activism’s on arguments about the relationship between religion, identity and oppression. We still face some of those questions today, but i have to say that those who believe that they can overcome these problems simply by virtue of hold a Labour Party membership card are maybe guilty of the same self-delusion as small groups who think saying ‘proletariat’ a lot makes them representative of the proletariat, or on the other hand speaking about ‘the community’ a lot makes them representative of the ‘community’.

    There is in the blogsphere a quite fantastic quality to some of these debates which seems to represent a strange co-incidence of technology and the British lefts fascination with abstraction and slogans as opposed to discussion based on real political activity.

  61. tim said,

    So if Galloway stands,the SWP will support him John?

  62. Andy Newman said,


    I think I was a lot ruder to Tami than I have ever been to you! So she was first in line for an apology!

    I am sorry that you have been offended by my arguments with you, but I never intended to come over as hostile or grumpy. So I have been reluctant to apologise becuse it seems like apologising for having the personality that I have, rather than for my behaviour, if you see what I mean.

    Anyway, sorry for any occasions where I have been grumpy/hostile.

  63. twp77 said,

    Andy – I wasn’t talking about spelling!!! ;P (apology accepted – cheers)

  64. modernityblog said,

    AN wrote: “I have rejoined Resoect precisley because I have not changed my mind about its political culture and organisational failings.”

    Coming back to your previous point.

    Fine, I look forward to further critical articles about Respect’s fallings on your blog then?

    I somehow doubt, in the future, that there will be too many, now that you’ve “re-converted”, but please prove me wrong by your actions

  65. johng said,

    I somehow doubt modernity that most people on the left, whatever there other differences, are very much interested in proving you right, wrong or anything else, in words or actions, in bold or not. there is something a bit poignant about a witchfinder general without an army to command.

  66. tim said,

    So will the SWP support Galloway if he stands John?
    Its not too difficult a question is it?

  67. Louisefeminista said,

    Andy: It’s ok. Thanks anyway.

    Just think it can get heated and I know instead of standing back I sometimes go..aarrrgghh and type. Sorry.

  68. SP said,

    Sorry off topic by John – you in favour of the academic boycott of Israel?

  69. johng said,

    you know SP this jumping around and changing the subject (I know, I know its in reference to Alex’s article in this weeks socialist worker) has the methodology of the modernity’s and tims of this world. why not respond to something I’ve actually written?

  70. tim said,

    Given the subject is the split in Respect thats laughable John.
    Will the SWP support George?
    I hear at least one of the goatees is suddenly interested in Georgies back catologue of corruption.

  71. modernityblog said,

    JohnG wrote:

    I somehow doubt modernity that most people on the left, whatever there other differences, are very much interested in proving you right, wrong or anything else,

    again your grasp of politics and history are lacking

    there are essentially two assertions here:

    1. that Respect is potentially an organisation which can be saved and turned into something useful (AN and others)

    2. that Respect is essentially a dead corpse, and just waiting to implode (TWP, Me, Louise and others)

    and this is the beauty of it, those assertions can be tested and verified within a very short period

    if Respect manages to change and become something worthwhile then I and others will happily acknowledge it

    but conversely, should it implode then lessons might be learnt as to why “re-converting” to Respect was a bad idea from the outset

    time will prove either hypothesis

    now, JohnG, I appreciate that as you are an SWP hack you’ll put a brave face on whatever happens, and say “the line has not changed”, even if it’s obvious to everyone else that you’ve done 180 degree turn, but that is your problem

    I am more interested to speculate on what will happen and people’s motives, etc, that’s the nature of open political debate, something which you will only be academically acquainted with

  72. Andy Newman said,


    Yes – I make maistakkes about matters of substance, in my personal life as well as in politics!

    However I have come round to the idea that my spelling is right, and the rest of yous is wrong

  73. Andy Newman said,

    Modernity: I look forward to further critical articles about Respect’s fallings on your blog then?

    If you look at my blog today, you will see that I am critical of respect’s wrong and sectarian decsiion to stand a mayoral candidate against Livingston, and their lack of support for Peter tatchell in Oxford East.

  74. tim said,

    Sending Adam Yosef and the Respect TH Councillors down the Cowley Road on the back of a truck with Tatchell?
    Sounds fun.

  75. twp77 said,

    AN – Hahaha! 🙂

  76. tim said,

    Johng’s non answer on the Israeli boycott is explained.

    The line is changing again.
    Keep running to catch up students.

  77. modernityblog said,


    I hope you continue such articles but I have a feeling that eventually the “reconverts” will be told to shut up or leave (they might even go in for self-censorship)

    so I’ll judge this by the long-run, not an odd article.

    PS: your spelling isn’t smart, it isn’t clever, and is rather annoying if you use screen reader, think about that, if you can

  78. Andy Newman said,


    You do have a point about my typing.

    However I think you have missed the point about what the ight within Respect is all about. It is precisely about creating a democratoc space where people are encouraged to be critical.


    To a degree you have a point, supporting Peter tatchell would be a more significnat refutation of the alegations of homophobia than a truck ride at Pride.

  79. johng said,

    Tim’s devestating scoop was unfortunately pre-empted by this article in SR some months ago…

  80. tim said,

    unfortunate because you’ve spent the last 18 months arguing the opposite?

  81. modernityblog said,


    It is precisely about creating a democratoc space where people are encouraged to be critical.

    I see your point, and if that is the basis of your re-conversion then fine

    but I think that there isn’t that space, too much history, too much ingrained political culture and hackism in the SWP’s methods

    however, I could be wrong, and I shall watch developments with interest

    PS: firefox and an add-on dictionary will cure most of your typing issues, I hate to say this for the 3rd time 🙂

  82. resistor said,

    I wonder why Jim ‘Racist Liar’ Denham has gone so quiet recently. Cat got his tongue?

  83. voltaires_priest said,

    But you do agree with Harry’s (Simon Evan’s) Place. That’s the whole point.

    Err, no I don’t, and you’ll find that everyone from JohnG to David T would tell you that. You really are a thick fucker, aren’t you?

    Not that I’d ever suggest you were an anti-semite or a fascist. That would be wrong…

  84. tim said,

    Galloway is predicting an election on October 25th.
    Wrong George,thats half term but never mind.
    1.Why hasn’t Respect got a candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow?
    2.The streamlined selection procedure applied to Poplar could be used couldn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: