Respect: We’re Losers Going Nowhere

Whenever the Respect Coalition have attempted to claim that there’s a shining future for the sort of Trotskyist/Islamist alliance they’ve pioneered in this country, we mock them and point out they represent nothing more than an organisational and ideological dead end.

Now it looks like even Alan Thornett, who sits on the Respect National Committee, can’t argue with objective reality.

Read his Respect Balance Sheet 2005-2006and see if you don’t agree:

Here’s how it starts:

Respect has had a difficult and contradictory year. At times even its survival was in question.

Well it’s certainly honest, but if I was a stockbroker and saw these words at the top of the balance sheet of a company I was invested in I wouldn’t need to read any further before I was on the phone screaming “sell…sell…dammit SELL!”

Thornett recovers from a shaky start and goes on to consider the state of inner party democracy in Respect:

When faced with a clutch of off-message resolutions…calling for better administration, better democratic functioning, better contact with members and branches, and more collective policy discussions and Respect’s own publication – John Rees and George Galloway berated the conference saying that it was not a matter of minutes and reports it was a matter of political leadership – and they and others were giving it.

No surprises there then. It’s never the leadership’s fault Comrades – haven’t you learned the the most basic truth of belonging to an authoritarian organisation yet?

Thornett tackles the dreaded cat impersonation episode next:

Then came Celebrity Big Brother, by far the biggest crisis Respect had faced in its short existence. It was not just the humiliation of Respect by the antics of George Galloway, it was the fact that Galloway was shown to be completely unaccountable when push came to shove. The refusal of the majority on the NC to make a statement clearly separating itself from the CBB fiasco made the matter worse.

No arguments from us there, Comrade Thornett. Humiliation and worse was all Galloway deserved.

But it’s not all bad news:

There has been progress inside Respect on the implementation of the decisions of the last conference – though this was not without difficulty. The profile of Respect on women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights has been much improved

Well, progress must be celebrated – even if it means starting from such a ludicrously low base. Homosexuals have rights – hurrah!

But what of the inevitable forward march of Respect? We want to know about successes and increases in membership. We crave tales of the inevitability of socialism with Islamic characteristics or Islamism with Socialistic characteristics – or whatever it is we’re fighting for. Tell us Comrade Thornett, tell us…

A major problem remains unresolved, however. That is the failure Respect to built itself as a properly functioning national political organisation. Over the past year the problem has become more acute.

Eh? but that’s not what we kept being told at the endless rallies and marches we’re dragooned into attending to make our political position appear popular.

The results of all this are most clearly expressed in the moribund state of a number of Respect branches and declining membership figures, which now stand at 2160 according to the annual report – down from 3040 last year.


The fact is 2160 members is a fraction of the potential membership available to an organisation which emerged as the political expression of a mass anti-war movement at a time when new Labour was loosing it traditional supporters hand over fist and which quickly won a high degree of name recognition. It is substantially less than the membership of the SWP itself.

Oh my God. Who knew? Is there anything we can do about this precipitous decline Comrade?

If Respect is going to turn its self round as far as recruitment is concerned it has to bend over backwards to be democratic and open. It has to be seen to be the right place to be for all those sections of the left who are not currently a party of it. Its elected bodies need to be seen to be in control and running the organisation.

Oh good God, no. We’re completely stuffed now – cows will learn to dance and sing before the maximum leaders’ Rees and Galloway allow that sort of thing. Oh woe is us etc etc

Any bets on how long it is before Comrade Thornett’s time on the National Committee comes to an ignominious end?

Via Dave’s Part.

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