Respect Coalition

Thrill on Capitol Hill

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The neo-cons got more than they bargained for when they invited George Galloway to Capitol Hill last month.

More used to subservience from its visitors, instead it was the Senate committee and, by extension, the whole Bush administration which found itself on trial for the illegal war in Iraq. George Galloway has spoken for the millions throughout the world who have opposed one of the great crimes of modern times.

Polls Apart...

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Elections are one thing - the revolutionary party is another.

'You can't mean we need a Bolshevik party in Britain in 2005?' The point was put to me by a veteran socialist activist, someone who joined the Communist Party at the time of the Spanish Civil War, left after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and remains a bitter opponent of Bush and Blair today. Some 70 years of struggle did not make him feel that revolution was imminent in Britain today or that the left should be organised accordingly.

Independents' Day

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Judy Cox meets the others.

One sign of disillusion with the major parties is the growth of Respect. Another is the number of people standing as independent candidates. The most powerful example is the three high-profile anti-war campaigners challenging arch-warmongers in the general election. Rose Gentle and Reg Keys are backed by Military Families Against the War. Rose's son, Gordon, was killed in Iraq last summer. She is attracting wide support for her challenge to armed forces minister Adam Ingram in East Kilbride.

Election: Shaking Up Blair's Banana Republic

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Exclusive excerpts from Respect candidate for West Ham Lindsey German's campaign blog.

The First Post
8 April

So it's the election at last: 5 May 2005 has been in Tony Blair's diary for a very long time - all planned to go according to the wishes of the spin doctors, the campaign managers and the politicians themselves.

Election: The Verdict on the Blair Project

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Respect's national secretary John Rees explains why 5 May is so important to the further revival of the left in Britain.

If Respect is successful in this election it will break the entire policy on which New Labour has been fashioned. It borrowed the idea of 'triangulation' from Bill Clinton. Triangulation means that New Labour doesn't worry about its core support - it takes them for granted on the basis that they've got nowhere else to go. That leaves it free to chase the middle ground. Labour follows the Tory agenda, adopting policies it thinks will be favourable to the right wing press, to the middle class voter, and it ignores the values of the people who built and sustained its organisation.

Election: Hey There, Wait a Minute Mr Postman

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More people than ever before are planning to vote by post in the general election - but how secure are postal votes?

In the key battleground of Bethnal Green and Bow, where George Galloway is taking on Oona King MP, 5,050 people (at the time of writing) are registered to vote by post compared with 494 at the last general election. This figure is likely to increase further, as voters have until the end of April to register. The election office told me that they are working round the clock processing applications. The neighbouring constituency of Poplar and Canning Town has seen a similar expansion of postal voting: from 1,537 in 2001 to 4,111.

Respect: Look to the Future

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Respect is set to challenge Labour in a number of key seats in this year's election, as Peter Morgan explains. He also speaks to psephologist Paul Whiteley about why Labour is facing declining support.

Tens of thousands take to the streets against the occupation of Iraq and demand British troops come home; anger grows against New Labour's attacks on public sector pensions; latest opinion polls show a surge in support for the Tories and a cut in Labour's lead to just a few points. These were the headlines as Socialist Review went to press this month - and with the general election probably just a few weeks away is it any wonder there is growing unease among Labour MPs?

Democracy: Getting Respect into our Councils

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Michael Lavalette tells of his puzzlement when first elected as a Respect councillor in Preston.

Just over 18 months ago I was elected to Preston council. Winning was great. But it presented me with a very immediate problem: 'What do I do as a councillor?'

My previous experience of councils was a bit one-sided. I had been on plenty of lobbies of council meetings. I also knew many of the councillors and had spoken with them on numerous occasions at protest rallies. But what did these people do?

Uniting Round the Key Issues

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Lindsey German reports from the successful first annual conference of Respect.

There have been repeated predictions of its demise - most recently from the employers' house magazine, the Economist. But Respect's first annual conference, held in London on the final weekend of last month, was a success which defied even the highest expectations. Over 300 delegates from across England and Wales were engrossed for two days in debates which ranged from Diego Garcia to Palestine, from anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) to asylum seekers.

Respect Tests 'Safe' Hartlepool Seat

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'There aren't many Muslim votes in Hartlepool,' was the cynical response of a Blair aide when asked whether Labour stood to lose one of its safest seats in the forthcoming by-election there.

There may not be that many Muslims in Hartlepool, but there are plenty of traditional Labour voters there who are determined not to vote Labour again. That was the message of the 110-strong public meeting organised by Respect in Hartlepool in the middle of the August holidays.

The packed hotel room heard the Respect MP George Galloway, Unison executive member Yunus Bakhsh, the local candidate for Respect in the by-election John Bloom, and myself make the case for a left alternative.

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