[Marxism] Galloway wins

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 30 09:35:29 MDT 2012


Counterpunch Weekend Edition Mar 30-Apr 01, 2012

Galloway: “The most sensational victory in British political 
history.” Anti-war pro-jobs message wins sensational 36% swing 
from Labour to Respect in Bradford by-election
Born Again! George Galloway Stuns Labor, Shakes Up Britain

by TARIQ ALI

London

George Galloway’s stunning electoral triumph in the Bradford 
by-election on Thursday 29th March has shaken the petrified world 
of English politics. It was unexpected and for that reason the 
Respect campaign was treated by much of the media (Helen Pidd of 
The Guardian an honorable exception) as a loony fringe show. The 
BBC toady, a shamelessly partisan compeer on a local TV election 
show, who tried to mock and insult Galloway should be made to eat 
his excremental words.

The Bradford seat, a Labour fiefdom since 1973, was considered 
safe and the Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, had been planning a 
celebratory visit to the city till the news seeped through at 2 
am. He is now once again focused on his own future. Labour has 
paid the price for its failure to act as an Opposition, imagining 
that all they had to do was wait and the prize would come their 
way. Scottish politics should have forced a rethink. Perhaps the 
latest development in English politics now will, though I doubt 
it.  Galloway has effectively urinated on all three parties. The 
Lib-Dems and Tories explaining their decline by the fact that too 
many people voted!

Thousands of young people infected with apathy, contempt, despair 
and a disgust  with mainstream politics were dynamised by the 
Respect campaign. Galloway is tireless on these occasions. Nobody 
else in the political fields comes even close to competing with 
him. Not simply because he is an effective orator though this 
skill should not be underestimated. It comes almost as a shock 
these days to a generation used to the bland untruths that are 
mouthed every day by government and opposition politicians. It was 
the political content of the campaign that galvanized the youth: 
Respect campaigners and their candidate stressed the disasters of 
Iraq and Afghanistan.

Galloway demanded that Blair be tried as a war criminal, that 
British troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan without further 
delay.  He lambasted the Government and the Labour Party for   the 
‘austerity measures’ targeting the less well off, the poor, the 
infirm and the new privatizations of education, health and the 
post office.  It was all this that gave him a majority of 10,000.

How did we get here? Following the collapse of communism in 1991, 
Edmund Burke’s notion that “in all societies, consisting of 
different classes, certain classes must necessarily be uppermost” 
and that “the apostles of equality only change and pervert the 
natural order of things”, became the common-sense wisdom of the 
age. Money corrupted politics, big money corrupted absolutely. 
Throughout the heartlands of capital we witnessed the emergence of 
effective coalitions: as ever, the Republicans and Democrats in 
the United States; New Labour and Tories in the vassal state of 
Britain; Socialists and Conservatives in France; the German 
coalitions of one variety or another with the Green’s 
differentiating themselves largely as ultra-Atlanticists, the 
Scandinavian centre-right and centre-left with few differences, 
competing in cravenness before the Empire.

In virtually each case the two/three-party system morphed into an 
effective national government. A new market extremism came into 
play. The entry of capital in the most hallowed domains of social 
provision was regarded as a necessary “reform”. Private finance 
initiatives that punished the public sector became the norm and 
countries (such as France and Germany) that were seen as not 
proceeding fast enough in the direction of the neo-liberal 
paradise were regularly denounced in the Economist and the 
Financial Times.

To question this turn, to defend the public sector, to argue in 
favour of state ownership of utilities, to challenge the fire sale 
of public housing, was to be regarded as a dinosaur.

British politics has been governed by the consensus established by 
Mrs. Thatcher during the locust decades of the 80’s and 90’s. Once 
New Labour accepted the basic tenets of Thatcherism (their model 
was the New Democrats embrace of Reaganism). These were the roots 
of the extreme centre that encompasses both centre-left and 
centre-right exercises power, promoting austerity measures that 
privilege the wealthy and backing wars and occupations abroad. 
President Obama is far from isolated within the euro-American 
political sphere. New movements are now springing up at home, 
challenging political orthodoxies without offering one of their 
own. Little more than a scream for help.

Respect is different. It puts forward a left social-democratic 
programme that challenges the status quo and is loud in its 
condemnation of imperial misdeeds. In other words it is not 
frightened by politics. Its triumph in Bradford should force some 
to rethink their passivity and others to realise that there are 
ways in which the Occupiers of yesteryear can help break the 
political impasse.

TARIQ ALI’s latest book “The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, 
War Abroad’ was published by Verso.




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