Saturday, November 03, 2007

Dis-Respect: Tail Wagging Your Dog? Then Dock It!

It seems that George Galloway's very public bed-in for peace and respect (below) has become a bit of a waking nightmare. A communication arrives mysteriously on the LOL desktop:

Dear Friend,

Please find below two documents:

(1) Renewing Respect, from Linda Smith and Salma Yaqoob

(2) An invitation to the Respect Renewal Conference called by Linda Smith, Salma Yaqoob and 17 other National Council members including George Galloway MP

(1) Renewing Respect
The following statement has been issued by Linda Smith, National Chair of Respect, and Salma Yaqoob, National Vice-Chair of Respect.

"Respect was founded to bring together people from divergent political backgrounds in a common struggle for peace, equality and justice.
"It is now clear, however, that there is a fundamental and irretrievable breakdown in trust and relations between the SWP leadership and other parts of Respect.
"There can be no confidence in the legitimacy of the forthcoming Respect conference. The entire democratic process in Respect has been corrupted. If the conference goes ahead it will do no more than confirm that the SWP leadership is hijacking Respect for its own factional purposes. We will not be attending it.
"This breakdown in relations has occurred because the SWP leadership arrogantly refuses to countenance any situation in which they are not dominant and do not exercise control. They are determined to put the interests of the SWP above that of Respect.
"The sectarianism and 'control freak' methods of the SWP have led us to a situation where Respect is irretrievably split. The SWP leadership has supported the breakaway of four councillors from the Respect group in Tower Hamlets, who then went into coalition talks with the Liberal Democrats.
"We have no intention of giving up the struggle for a pluralistic, democratic and broad left wing movement. We will therefore be holding a Respect Renewal conference to discuss the future for progressive politics in Britain today. We are confident that this conference will attract a broad range of support from those who are interested in discussing how we can work together in pursuit of common objectives.
"This renewal conference will take place in London on Saturday 17 November, and we urge as many people as possible to attend it.
"Respect, in its current form, cannot continue. But it is in the interests of all us, including those in the wider left and anti-war movements, that this division is carried out in the most amicable manner possible - one that resolves any legal or
organisational questions through negotiation.
"Two meetings have taken place between us and the SWP Central Committee, in the presence of an independent chair respected by both sides. The independent chair confirmed to both groups that there was agreement that the relationship had come to an end, and that what we were discussing were proposals for an amicable resolution of any outstanding organisational questions. Just days later, the SWP backed the split in the Respect group on Tower Hamlets council and walked out of further negotiations.
"We remain committed to finding a negotiated solution to these issues. And we understand that the independent person is willing to continue their efforts to bring the two sides together. We urge the SWP to seek to resolve outstanding legal and organisational questions through further negotiations, in the hope that these matters will not have to be resolved elsewhere."

So far, so jolly comradely don't you think?

(2) An invitation to the Respect Renewal Conference called by Linda Smith, Salma Yaqoob and 17 other National Council members

"We are inviting you to attend the Respect Renewal conference.
"It will take place on Saturday 17 November, at the Bishopsgate Institute in London, from 11am to 5pm.
"Speakers include George Galloway MP, Linda Smith, Cllr Salma Yaqoob, Ken Loach. There will be plenty of time for debate.
"It will be an opportunity for all Respect members and others who want to continue the process of building a vibrant, radical, left alternative to New Labour to come together and discuss how to do this following the recent debilitating divisions that have split Respect.
"It will be an opportunity to reflect on the mistaken methods and lack of political vision that have led to the split in Respect and to learn lessons on how to work together and with others in the future.
"We remain committed to the radical policies which have been the cornerstone of Respect since its inception. Our organisational model is based on plurality, democracy and transparency.
"For us, the acronym RESPECT Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environment, Community and Trade Unions remains as valid today as it did at our launch in 2004.
"We want to build Respect but we also want to work together with all others who share a vision of a better, more equitable society, to create a broader, united party to represent the interests of all working-class people.
"We want to reach out to all those in the anti-war movement who still need a voice for peace and against imperialism.
"We want to reach out to all those concerned about climate change and the destruction of the environment.
"We want to reach out to all those in the trade unions who feel betrayed by New Labour under Brown as under Blair.
"We want to reach out to all those in the black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities who suffer racism and Islamophobia.
"We want to reach out to all those who want to fight against discrimination, whether or the grounds of religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age.
"We want to reach out to the dispossessed, the asylum seeker, the migrant worker and to all who defend them.
"If you want to reach out with us, come along and join in our discussion."

There will be no need for a deep and wide investigation to discover who has launched this ice pick at Trotsky's cortex this time. There is a signed confession:

The Respect Renewal conference is called by the following Respect
National Council members:

Linda Smith National Chair - Salma Yaqoob National Vice-Chair -
Mobeen Azhar - Ayesha Bajwa - Victoria Brittain - Rita Carter -
Ger Francis - George Galloway MP - Jerry Hicks - John Lister -
Ken Loach - Abdul Khalik - Abdurahman Jafar - Abjol Miah - Bernie
Parkes - Yvonne Ridley - Clive Searle - Alan Thornett - Nick Wrack

If you would like to attend to our conference, or would like to know
more about us, please get in touch. e-mail:, Website:

Uncle George's official website is right here

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