Respect - a terrible blind alley

Submitted by Anon on 5 March, 2006 - 12:04

Respect was set up in 2004 as a coalition
consisting of George Galloway, some mosque
leaders, the Socialist Workers Party, and its
friends, including some people from the Muslim
Association of Britain (MAB).

For ten years George Galloway was the "MP for
Baghdad Central", the closest friend in Britain
for Iraq under Saddam's totalitarian Ba'th
regime. Galloway (on his own account) travelled
to Baghdad every month or so to meet top
officials, acting as a fixer for the regime in
its relations with UK business people and the
media. Galloway proposed to the British
government that he become a go-between for it,
too.

Galloway denies his activity was funded by
Saddam, but says it was financed (to the tune of
£900,000) by the feudal regimes of Saudi Arabia
and the Emirates and by a businessman connected
to Saddam. He admits to being on close terms with
Saddam's deputy, Tariq Aziz.

MAB is the British offshoot of the Muslim
Brotherhood, the largest, oldest and richest
Islamic fundamentalist movement in the Arab
world. MAB claims it's a "reformist", modernising
type of political Islam. But it's still political
Islam, dedicated to subordinating society to
supposed sacred texts from over a thousand years
ago.

In embracing these forces, the SWP has gone into
a negative spiral. While keeping the
"anti-capitalist" elements of the Marxist
programme, they've tossed out the positive
socialist and democratic elements of it. They've
lapsed into what Marx in the Communist Manifesto
called "reactionary socialism".

In cuddling up to political Islam, the SWP has
betrayed young people, women, and secularists in
mainly-Muslim communities who fight against
religious restrictions.

In Iraq the SWP backs the sectarian "resistance"
against women, the working class and the emerging
labour movement. It has cut adrift from
independent working class politics.
In its politics (left demands but no allegiance
to the working class), in its structure
(personality-based) and in the figures it
promotes (Galloway), "Respect" represents
middle-class politics based on crude stunts. It
offers unthinking left activists a political vent
through a vote for "left" demagogues, not
independent working-class political
self-assertion.

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