We reproduce below a draft Open Letter to George Galloway, regarding his declared intention to stand in the election for the Mayor of London this coming spring. It is likely he will be standing for the Workers Party, of which he is the best known member.
We think this is potentially important, and cannot be ignored by the left and the labour movement. At the same time, there are both progressive and problematic elements in it, as explained in the draft itself.
We therefore want to see credible left-wing forces place demands on Galloway to break with the problematic elements surrounding his campaign, thus rendering it supportable by the left. Otherwise it is likely to be a source of confusion and problems for the labour movement. It is not out of the question that his campaign could gain mass resonance in the minority communities in London who Labour now treats like dirt, so it cannot be ignored in our view.
Anyway, we have sent it both to Transform and to the Socialist Labour Network, with the proposal that the letter be endorsed by their respective leading bodies. We also propose that other organisations and individuals in the labour, anti-war and anti-racist movements endorse it, so that Galloway can be put on the spot about his flagrantly contradictory political activities and clarify whether he is a spokesperson for left-wing, anti-capitalist forces or for the alt-right. Those who want to endorse it should email co*****************@gm***.com.
Dear George Galloway,
We, the undersigned socialists and communists, anti-imperialists, anti-racists and anti-Zionists, are writing this open letter to you, given your stated intention to stand for election as Mayor of London in 2024, as the Workers Party candidate.
We would very much like to see someone like yourself who is seen as a fighter for working class interests and a strong opponent of the Imperialist wars in Ukraine, and against the Palestinian people, stand and provide an alternative to the crimes and betrayals of Labour under Starmer. It is good that you have stood up for the people of the Donbass and sharply denounced the genocide of Israel in Gaza and Palestine more generally, and the support for that crime by Britain and the United States.
However, there are serious problems with your candidacy. London is a city with a large working-class, and it is a multi-ethnic working class. London has the biggest immigrant-derived working-class communities in Britain. They are disproportionately low-paid, often treated like dirt, the victims of police racism and all kinds of disadvantage driven by racism. You know all about this, as you represented Bethnal Green & Bow between 2005 and 2010, as a RESPECT MP elected in to a large extent by the votes of the mainly South Asian Muslim community in that crucial East End constituency, in the context of the Iraq War. As well as being elected on a similar basis in Bradford West in 2012. At the time of these election victories in the 2000s and 2010s you frequently referred to yourself as the most pro-immigrant politician in Britain. And at that time, there was much truth in that.
Those communities are under attack from a vicious Tory government with a strong far right element in it. The outrageous attempt to deport refugees, many from imperialist crimes in the Middle East and Africa, to the former genocide site in Rwanda, is one manifestation. The government also has launched a frontal attack on the right of UK citizens to marry non-citizens, aiming to more-than double the qualifying income for sponsoring a spouse for a visa, to an amount that excludes 70% of the working-class population. It has also made similar changes to the minimum salary for migrant workers in health and social care, which concretely amounts to a huge purge of the NHS and other health-related services. In the real world, this these are massive attacks on London’s multi-ethnic working class, and in fact the entire working class, driven by far-right racism.
We know full well these will not be effectively opposed by Labour; they may well come out in support of the attacks. We demand a champion against these attacks, and a champion of London’s diverse working-class communities more generally. The working class in this city need a mayor who will use the resources of his office to fight against the government’s anti-migrant attacks, tooth and nail. In so many ways, linked to his own subservience to Starmer and Zionism, Sadiq Khan is not remotely any sort of answer.
But there are enormous problems with your candidacy. You have gone along and joined in with anti-immigrant British nationalism in the past decade or so, and tried to mix them with left-wing and anti-imperialist politics. These do not mix. There are different views on the left about the Brexit referendum itself, but your position involved joining with Farage’s hegemonic campaign whose anti-immigrant thrust was just obvious. In 2021 you also denounced anti-racist activists in Scotland who mobilised en masse to stop draconian anti-refugee deportations by Priti Patel. And you have conspicuously acted to put the far-right activist David Clews. publisher of the Unity News Network website, a sympathiser and regular attender at conferences of the neo-Nazi Patriotic Alternative, on platforms of No2NATONo2War. Patriotic Alternative has organised vicious harassment against refugees around the country, in tune with the far-right Tory agenda.
Unity News Network agrees with Suella Braverman, and also the racist Britain First fascist group, in the racist lie that ‘grooming gangs’ are generally the work of South Asian Muslim men, when in fact such criminality exists among all communities. This is a far right, racist slur intended to lead to violent racist attacks. Unity News Network has a plethora of articles on its website containing such innuendos about South Asian Muslims, which are a common element of the far right in and out of the Tory Party.
It seems to us that there is a huge contradiction between your earlier positions and the dubious alliances you seem to have drifted into today. We would like to be able to support your candidacy on a similar basis to those in 2005 and 2012, as a defender of the working class and its most abused and oppressed sections.
Therefore, we appeal to you to reassert your earlier anti-racist position and denounce the likes of Clews, Patriotic Alternative, and all the rest of these far-right elements, stand up for the oppressed Muslim communities and Asylum Seekers and refugees, and denounce the government’s anti-immigrant measures tooth and nail, as well as Starmer’s Labour Party that goes along with so much of that as it goes along with support for genocide in Gaza and anti-Russian Nazis in Ukraine.
In the absence of such a break with such far-right allies, and in the absence of a championing of the Immigrant-derived working-class communities in London and the country in general, we could only regard your candidacy as tainted and not supportable.