Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/439/5198

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 May 2006

Dangers in Respect's development

RESPECT STOOD over 150 candidates and got 16 elected: 12 in Tower Hamlets, three in Newham and one in Birmingham. The victories of candidates standing against the Iraq war, privatisation and the other neo-liberal attacks of New Labour and big business are welcome. However there are also strong danger signs regarding Respect's development.

Judy Beishon

All of their winning candidates are from a Muslim background and won predominately on the basis of Muslim votes in areas with high Muslim populations. Winning support from working-class Muslim and other Asian, black and immigrant communities is an essential task of left and socialist parties. These communities face some of the worst housing conditions, jobs and unemployment in Britain and also suffer the consequences of increased racism.

However, the extreme difference between Respect's election performance in those areas compared with areas with relatively few Muslims is striking. Virtually all of Respect's results in towns and cities such as Plymouth, Portsmouth, Cambridge, Liverpool, Newcastle and Oxford were very much lower (around 2-300 votes) than their votes in areas with high Muslim populations.

On its website, Respect declares that their twelve council seats in Tower Hamlets are "one more than the BNP in Barking and Dagenham". This would be a cause for great celebration by the left as a whole, if it had been achieved on a clear class-based programme. But instead, unfortunately, Respect could unconsciously further the beginnings of a polarisation based on racial division, by not countering the growing perception that it is a 'party for Muslims'.

The white working-class BNP voters of Barking and Dagenham will only be won away from the BNP by a left party that puts forward a class-based alternative. It is not so much a question of what Respect's election material says, but of what it doesn't say. While it puts across opposition to NHS cuts, council house privatisation, the war in Iraq and other welcome positions, it does not consistently include a class-based appeal to all sections of the working class.

As the Socialist Party has repeatedly warned, it is necessary for socialists to stand clearly and firmly on a fighting, class-based programme that can unite working people from all sections of society. In Kirklees, standing for 'Save Huddersfield NHS', Socialist Party member Jackie Grunsell won a council seat with 2,176 votes and a majority of 807, by appealing to both white voters and a significant Asian minority electorate. Victorious Socialist Party candidates in Coventry and Lewisham have also appealed to all sections of workers in those areas.

Another major challenge Respect now faces will be in living up to expectations to improve the lives of people in Tower Hamlets. Some of its new councillors there have a record of fighting privatisation and cuts, but as the second largest political group on the council they will soon be tested at a new level.

The housing, welfare and other urgent needs in that poverty stricken borough cannot be solved with the money presently given by the government and raised in local council tax. So Respect's councillors will be faced with the choice of supporting cuts in some services, increasing council tax, or of mobilising all sections of the community into a major campaign to demand the necessary resources from the government, as Liverpool's socialist councillors did in the 1980s.

Respect has already shown - particularly through the behaviour of its MP George Galloway - that its public representatives are far from accountable to the party. This, combined with the fact that many of its new councillors do not come from a socialist background, is cause for concern in Tower Hamlets.

What is needed, is a united, campaigning team of councillors, opposing all cuts and leading and basing themselves on the struggles of workers from all religious and ethnic backgrounds. Only in this way can a successful campaign be launched against the New Labour government and council attacks on living standards and for the resources necessary to transform people's lives.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 11 May 2006:


Socialist Party election analysis

Victory for NHS campaign

Huddersfield: voters choose a socialist and a fighter!

Third socialist councillor elected in Coventry

Increased votes for socialism in Lewisham

Stoke - BNP wins close-run election

Excellent results for the Socialist Party

Local elections: A death blow for Blair?

Dangers in Respect's development


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Stop the threats to the NHS


International socialist news and analysis

Female factory workers in Russia start hunger strike

Venezuela: Fight for socialism

Iraq - the nightmare continues

Germany: 'Unity' at the expense of the working class

Morales takes on 'Big Oil'


Socialist Party workplace news

Postal union rejects pay offer

Student union leaders hide truth about lecturers' action


 

Home   |   The Socialist 11 May 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Respect:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleYoung people accused of extremism

triangleResignation of five Respect councillors in Bradford

triangleBradford Respect: Where did it all go wrong?

triangleThatcher death: readers respond 2

Council:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

triangleOpinion: foster care is work - carers deserve workers' rights

triangleLobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

Socialist:

triangleTeesside Socialist Party: 'Fake' Trump! What's really going on in the US?

triangleTheatre: 'Young Marx' shows growth in great platform for his ideas

triangleSocialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

Muslim:

triangleMobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleFinsbury Park attack: No to terror, racism, war and austerity!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

17/1/18

Women

Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

17/1/18

Newham

Packed Newham meeting against academies

17/1/18

Liverpool

Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

17/1/18

Barking

Heating scandal on east London estate

17/1/18

Policing

Undercover policing legal challenge

17/1/18

Woolwich

No to the Woolwich monster block

17/1/18

Union

Workplace news in brief

17/1/18

Union

PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

17/1/18

Hackney

Hackney school cleaners strike

17/1/18

RMT

RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

17/1/18

Yorkshire

Ferrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages

17/1/18

Cuts

We must fight all council cuts!

17/1/18

Socialist Party

Southern Socialist Party conference

16/1/18

Birmingham

Home care workers to strike

12/1/18

Waltham Forest

Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2