Losing socialism to gain what?

Submitted by Anon on 23 March, 2004 - 8:27

Martin Thomas moved the motion opposing Respect at the SA conference

Respect is not democratic, not inclusive, and not socialist. Its political platform is similar to the Greens. The Greens already exist. There is no point creating a second-rate replica. The ideas of common ownership, workers' control, workers' representatives on a worker' wage, or workers' representation of any sort, are missing from the platform.

Respect does not have a constitution. Decision-making power is with an Executive which includes no minority representation and publishes no minutes.

Respect includes a much narrower range of strands on the left than the Socialist Alliance has done.

To move from the Socialist Alliance to Respect would be to lose a lot politically. And to gain what?

To gain George Galloway.

Galloway was never particularly left-wing in the Labour Party. He did not join the Campaign Group. He has said that his conception of the Respect coalition is to "unite socialists, liberals, and conservatives".

He says he needs £150,000 a year to function. That shows his conception of politics.

Why does anyone think he is left-wing? Because of Iraq.

But on Iraq Galloway was for ten years the main friend in Britain of Saddam's dictatorship. In 1994 he "saluted" Saddam's "courage and indefatigability".

He visited Iraq almost once a month, to be a go-between between the Saddam regime and businessmen and journalists. He says he offered to be a go-between with the British government.

When accused of meeting an Iraqi secret policeman, he replied that he could not need to because he was on such close terms with top people in the regime. He had Christmas dinner with Tariq Aziz, for example.

The money for all this came, on Galloway's own account, from the Saudis, the Emirates, and a businessman, Fawwaz Zureikat, linked with Saddam.

To link up with Galloway in Respect is to betray the Iraqi working class, and to give up - almost before we have started - on the work of building something in England comparable to the SSP and the LCR-LO in France.

Tommy Sheridan did not build the SSP's support in Glasgow by telling working-class voters there to back him so he could get £150,000 a year that he needed to function. He did it on the basis of workers' representatives on a worker's wage.

Don't give up on working-class politics.

Vote to oppose Respect and to build the Socialist Alliance.

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