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Respect coalition in crisis.

Uncle Joe | 30.12.2005 11:58 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Workers' Movements | London

The elation over Galloway's election has subsided and now the strain of maintaining a coalition of contradictory views comes to the fore.

The Respect coalition project, in which George Galloway has joined forces with the Muslim Association of Britain and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), appears to be fraying at the seams as the contradictory ideologies involved struggle to reconcile themselves with one another. The focus is now on the May 2006 local elections and failure is not an option.

"For Respect in its current form, this is also a question of survival. SWP leaders need to get a number of local councillors elected in order to prove - mainly to their own comrades - that Respect is successful."

"Apart from George Galloway’s election to parliament, however, Respect has so far not exactly been a runaway
success story; and even this had more to do with the man himself than the organisation he represents. The official
membership figure stands at around 3,500 - far from a mass organisation, especially as in reality even this figure seems to be rather inflated, judging by the turnout at local and national meetings. No trade unions have affiliated to Respect, nor has the organisation any roots in wider society."

Both quoted from

The bulk of Respect is clearly made up of the SWP as is clear from the following (3,000 of 3,500). However, what must be more worrying for the SWP is that they have actually been losing members since the birth of the anti-capitalist movement in the late 1990's.

"The SWP claimed to have 10,000 members in the late 1990s. The 2004 Party Conference reported a membership figure of 7,585 members, although other socialist groups estimate it to now be closer to 3,000. There is debate within the party as to the reason for failure to grow out of the radicalism of the anti-war movement."

Quoted from

Well may the SWP pose the question of their failure to grow from the anti-war movement (ie. their participation in the front group STW coalition). But also their other front groups have been equally unsuccessful at attracting members to the SWP - ie. Respect, Globalise Resistance, Unite against fascism, Defend council housing, SWP student society). UAF has some success in reducing the BNP vote, DCH has managed to stop some stock transfers, and the SWP always seem to recruit their usual quota of students for their 3 years of university.

But, none of this seems to garner many long term members for the SWP. The numbers who have passed through the
SWP's ranks over the years must be massive. It could be argued that it is a symptom of their opportunism and arrogance. They have never appealed to the working class and are prepared to jettison Marxist principles when it suits them, but any criticism is rejected with finger-wagging of the "we know best" variety. It would appear that they don't.

Members of Respect may be slightly disconcerted by the RMT union calling a meeting for debate about working class
representation on Sat Jan 21 2006 at Friends Meeting House, Euston road, London from 12-3pm. Speakers include RMT gen sec Bob Crow, Tony Benn, a Labour MP, a Green MEP, Scottish Socialist MSP, Forward Wales AM, Socialist Party councillor, but no representative of Respect or the SWP. The aim of meeting is just for discussion and there are no plans to form a new party, but it is clear the rest of the left do not see Respect as the answer to the crisis of working class representation in Britain caused by New Labour.

As much as ultra-leftists such as anarchists might hope that the decline of mainstream politicians presents an opening for them, the sad fact is that without a left-wing workers party the far-right capitalises on working class disillusion and marches from strength to strength in the ominous form of the BNP.

Uncle Joe


Display the following 78 comments

  1. Moderators? — Memory Hole Catchers Mitt
  2. Respect and accounting irregularities — Squirrel
  3. whaty makes this a rant? — what memory hole?
  4. Sad sectarians and wishful thinking — Dai
  5. Why Respect & the SWP? — G-Whizz
  6. read this story about one insider's disillusionment with Respect — Kate
  7. SWP success? — Tony Soprano
  8. "Socialist Worker!" — Bob
  9. bobgob — sid
  10. Sectarians? — Pilgrim
  11. ultra — this plane tis at war (this planet is at...)
  13. Galloway and accounting irregularities — Squirrel
  14. Secret Squirrel — Sim1
  15. Has Galloway not learnt his lesson? — Andrew
  16. Galloway and Syria — James
  17. GG is the topic — Andrew
  18. King of the Penguins — H2
  19. A Line In The Sand — Dai
  20. It isn't all about George Galloway. — Uncle Joe
  21. Sectarianism cup runneth over with bile! — Dai
  22. Black and white worlds, black and white words — Andrew
  23. If they make a valid criticism, squeal sectarianism! — Uncle Joe
  24. a Trifle Confused — H2
  25. Animal Farm, anyone? — Pilgrim
  26. Haven't done anything? — Pilgrim
  27. H2... — Andrew
  28. 3 — Hal
  29. Chillin' wit ma bitches!!! — Harry Pothead
  30. Sectarism? — Squirrel
  31. Comment on Harry's Posting — Bertie
  32. Bertie, that's a very pretty name! — Harry Pothead
  33. Respect Yourself — Idris
  34. Naive support for Respect. — Anti-SWP
  35. Idris... — Andrew
  36. Just One Question — Mr Spoon
  37. A SECTARIAN IS...? — Les
  38. The obsession with the SWP. — Uncle Joe
  39. Respect for women - not — KB
  40. Big brother is watching me but I'm not watching Big Brother — FTB
  41. Oh and... — FTB
  42. Respect and womens' rights — Mr Spoon
  43. to FTB — DAVID
  44. Respect & women & Mr Spoon — KB
  45. The Importance of being...George — Sheena
  46. Many ideologies, one movement — Big Brother
  47. Les... — Andrew
  48. That is an outright lie? — Spud
  49. Galloway has earned some respect — Kit
  50. Open for business — k8
  51. show and tell — P21
  52. Read the thread, my good wo/man — K8
  53. Tied up with religious groups...oh come on? — DP
  54. Spud... — Andrew
  55. Check your own facts, David — FTB
  56. Reply to FTB — David
  57. Confusing — FTB
  58. Response to FTB — David
  59. Me again — FTB
  60. It take a lot to takes a sectarian to cry — tomstone
  61. Respect will move on from this minor side-show — Mr Spoon
  62. Synchronised regurgitation — Andrew
  63. The War Guys Bay For His Head But Galloway Does it His Way! — Al
  64. AI....(Artificial Intelligence?) — Andrew
  65. Viva ! — Jack William
  66. Wrong. — Andrew
  67. A time for war, a time for peace..i swear its not too late! — p2
  68. Galloway Smeared Yet Again — Les
  69. going round in circles — Andrew
  70. Respect to those who earn it! — Tomstone
  71. Note for AI — FTB
  72. reply to FTB — Al
  73. Respect and SWP incapable of addressing criticism. — Uncle Joe
  74. Uncle Joe..Dont Be Daft Man! — Al
  75. Like sheep lying with wolves — Scawen
  76. I wouldn't hold your breath Uncle Joe... — Andrew
  77. strategic failure.??..Keep wishing — Broonzy
  78. Discussion and debate! — Uncle Joe