[Marxism] RE: Prospects for Respect

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at virgin.net
Thu Feb 19 14:59:55 MST 2004

It seems as if the Respect Coalition is unravelling even before it gets off
the ground. George Monbiot, a prominent Green, has decided not to join it
(he wasn't at the founding congress), so the SWP is left with a couple of
the smaller fry on the left -- including the British USec group, which has
been nuzzling up to the SWP for a while -- George Galloway MP, who is seen
by practically all my mates on the left as a dubious operator if not an
actual shyster; Ken Loach the film-maker, who probably won't play much of a
role, a couple of left union leaders (in personal capacity, not as
representatives of their unions); Salma Yaqoob, a left-liberal Muslim woman;
and sundry Muslim organisations whose politics are a mystery (don't ask the
SWP to raise gay rights in Respect!). A real insult came the other day when
a Green spokesman, defending their decision not to work with Respect, said
that Respect's programme was a pale imitation of the Green's platform -- how
rude can one get!

Outwith the SWP, nobody I know on the left is enthusiastic about Respect,
and certain SWPers I spoke to, outlining my concerns about it, were rather
defensive about their party's new orientation.

A pal of mine who went to the Respect conference said that it was at a very
low political level, great standing ovations for Galloway, critical speakers
booed and cat-called, and attempts to beef up the programme chucked out. Not
at all inspiring.

It's a shame, as there is scope for building a left-wing alternative to
Blair & Co -- and a real necesssity to do so.

Paul F

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