George Galloway: some very dodgy views

Where next for left?

Are Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway about to join forces? Carla Roberts takes a look at what is going on between these two reformist charlatans and the pending launch of yet another unprincipled lash-up - this time called Collective

“Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza” - that is how George Galloway quite rightly began his victory speech after he was declared winner of the February 29 Rochdale by-election. With 40% of the vote, he administered Rishi Sunak and the entire pro-Zionist establishment the mother of all ass-whoopings.

Galloway’s victory is a blow to the ruling class and therefore extremely positive, that despite our criticisms of his reactionary politics on some social issues which were on full display in his often cringe-worthy interview on the Not the Andrew Marr show. He explained that “Before a big decision, I often ask myself, what would Jesus want me to do?”1

Well, perhaps he, that is Jesus, might have advised against writing a truly awful letter that went out predominantly to the non-Muslim constituents in Rochdale. It could have been written by Nigel Farage himself: “I believe in Britain”, “I believe in family”, “I believe in law and order” (“There will be no grooming gangs on my watch. Even if I have to arrest them myself”), “I fight for small business”, and, my favourite, “I want to bring back Primark” and “make Rochdale great again”.

The letter also includes a long transphobic section: “I believe in men and women. God created everything in pairs”. Total nonsense, of course, which features in the Quran. There is, for example, no ‘opposite force’ to gravity. Also, there are many animals and fungi which are exclusively parthenogenetic (asexual) and certain species of fungi are multi-sexual, having three, four or even several thousands of genders.2 God must have got a bit confused.

In any case, I daresay a lot of people will have voted for Galloway not because of, but despite, this wacky letter. It is his second letter, however, which was apparently sent chiefly to Muslim households, that explains his appeal:

I, George Galloway, have fought for Muslims at home and abroad all my life. And paid a price for it. I, George Galloway, have always come to the side of the people of Palestine in their agony - and am doing so again, now that Gaza is burning.

Some people on the left have got very upset by the fact that he “opportunistically” sent two different letters to different parts of the constituency. There is generally nothing wrong with approaching different parts of the working class with your programme in a different style and manner - even though in this case the two letters read like they have been written by two entirely different candidates, reflecting, of course, the rather eclectic ‘socialism’ of Galloway.

We do wonder if these letters were approved by the Workers Party of Britain executive. Galloway after all is not usually one to have his materials approved, as his former comrades of the Socialist Workers Party found out when they were - temporarily - acting as his foot soldiers in Respect (their spectacular falling out also explains why the organisation idiotically called for what amounts to a vote against Galloway in Rochdale3).

His Catholic, transphobic, nationalist, chauvinistic ‘Britain first’ policies, however, will not play a big role, now he is a member of parliament. After all, he is not running the government or heading the opposition. He will probably end up on the wrong side, when it comes to issues like the forthcoming vote on decriminalising (late) abortions. But mainly I suspect he will use his platform in parliament in the next few months to speak up in solidarity with Palestinians and against Israel’s genocidal policies, aided by UK and US imperialism. That is why Marxists supported his election.

Own goal

In the same interview, Galloway also appealed to Jeremy Corbyn to help set up a “coalition of socialist, progressive, anti-war organisations. Set up an alliance of the remaining socialists in the country. You’ll lead it, I’ll support it - let’s go.”

Despite their politics not being vastly different, this looks unlikely, at least in the immediate term. His request for Corbyn to accompany him into parliament was rebuffed, officially because of a “diary clash”. But we hear that Corbyn never even replied to the request. Galloway admitted in the same interview that “Jeremy has not spoken to me for many, many years”.

Perhaps Corbyn was busy instructing his lawyers in his defamation campaign against Nigel Farage, who said on GB News: “I was never a subscriber to the madcap theory that the Jews run the world. But I tell you who was: yes, Jeremy Corbyn.”4

A waste of time and money, in my view. The fact that bourgeois commentators can treat as ‘common knowledge’ Corbyn’s softness on anti-Semitism is a self-inflicted wound, of course. Corbyn should have fought the charges politically and when it really mattered. Instead, as leader of the Labour Party, he rolled over, apologised, allowed trumped-up charges to be weaponised against the left, while throwing hundreds of his supporters to the wolves. We are all still reaping the result of the failure to tackle these false charges, which were aimed at Corbyn, but as a secondary target.

The prime target was always free speech over Israel/Palestine. In the current situation, it is of massive help to the Zionists and their supporters in the British and US governments that they do not have to do much explaining when denouncing this or that protest - the mere charge of anti-Semitism will suffice. The actual definition of anti-Semitism (hostility to or discrimination against Jews) has been lost; the Zionist ‘redefinition’ is almost universally accepted by the mainstream media: criticism of Israel.

The day after Galloway’s election, Rishi Sunak gave what was supposed to look like a spontaneous emergency address “to the nation”, declaring in a long and repetitive speech that “our democracy itself is a target”. With puppy eyes, he rattled off platitude after platitude about the need for “unity”, “defeating the extremists”, “the shared values we hold so dear”, “when they tell lies, we tell the truth”, etc. It sounded like ChatGPT had put together the most boring bits of Tony Blair.

The purpose, however, was a serious one: he was laying the groundwork for even tougher restrictions on the right to protest and demonstrate - not just those protests in solidarity with the Palestinians, but also the pesky climate change cavalry and other potential “extremists”. A recent Ipsos poll showed that the Tories are now languishing at 20% in the polls - the lowest since Ipsos began its regular tracking in 1978. With Labour on 47%, Sunak is desperately trying to look like a man in charge. And, although he failed rather spectacularly (only the Daily Mail liked his speech), within hours we witnessed tougher police actions: for example the crazy midnight arrest of three activists in Newham for “racially aggravated harassment”.5

No doubt, they did not hiss the pro-business councillor, Joshua Garfield, because he is Jewish.6 But in the current climate, that is how it was immediately interpreted by the right: hissing = gas chambers, it seems. There were also arrests of protestors outside the General Dynamics arms factory in Hastings,7 as well as outside Emily Thornberry’s constituency office,8 while a long-running, regular protest organised by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) outside the Israeli ambassador’s London home has suddenly been banned.9

In addition, the government is “considering proposals to ban MPs and councillors from engaging with groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.10 Rather entertainingly though, some Tories have cottoned on to the fact that such legislation could also stop them from supporting rightwing groups that campaign against, say, transgender or gay rights.11

This particular piece of idiotic legislation might therefore get scrapped, but the message is clear: stay away from pro-Palestine demonstrations or any other displays of solidarity with Gaza. With every new massacre committed by Israel, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the government to justify its ongoing support for Zionism. Almost 70% of the population are in favour of an “immediate ceasefire” (ie, a stop to Israel’s genocidal campaign against Palestinians in Gaza).

But clearly the strategy is working for the useless members of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs and the tame PSC, which has just “disavowed” a local branch meeting on Zoom with Palestinian Leila Khaled (who was involved in the famous 1969 hijacking of a plane on its way to Tel Aviv) after a campaign run by The Times.12


Galloway and Corbyn might have some political differences and personal animosity, but they are certainly on the same side when it comes to the big question of the day: Palestine. This does create pressure for them to unite in some kind of new political formation. It will be interesting to see if Corbyn accepts the ‘challenge’ by Galloway and lets him and/or the Workers’ Party join whatever political organisation he ends up supporting (if any).

It is, of course, questionable if Galloway’s result can be replicated up and down the country, as many on the left (including Galloway) now seem to believe. Firstly, 30% of the population of Rochdale are Muslim and therefore much more attuned to the plight of the Palestinians. Secondly, Galloway has a well-known name and a reputation that few if any on the left can match. Thirdly, in the general election, many voters will be chiefly concerned about getting rid of the Tories. Many will fear that voting for this or that left-of-Labour candidate might let a Tory win.

Might such a newly formed ‘movement’, called Collective, overcome the mish-mash of leftie candidates standing on pretty much the same political platform? And, crucially, can it go beyond electoral strategy and beyond reformist platitudes and start organising the socialist left on the basis of a serious, socialist programme and in a democratic and transparent way?

Collective was rather hastily launched at the ‘No Ceasefire, No Vote’ conference on March 2 in London, officially put on by “independent socialist councillors”. Thanks to Andrew Feinstein’s widely pre-advertised speech, a rally about Palestine rather suddenly turned into “the launch of a mass movement to the left of Labour”.13

Registered at Company’s House on February 28 as ‘Justice Collective Ltd’, it features journalist Justin Schlosberg and Pamela Fitzpatrick as company directors. The latter is also co-director of the ‘Peace and Justice Project’ (the other one is Jeremy Corbyn). The platform on March 2 also included Lindsey German, Claudia Webbe MP, Salma Yaqoob and Jamie Driscoll (North of Tyne mayor).

Andrew Murray is also very much involved. A member of the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain, he formally left in 2016 after he was ‘seconded’ by Unite to support Jeremy Corbyn as a political advisor (along with two other former Straight Leftists, Seumas Milne and Steve Howell). With the collapse of the Corbyn project in December 2019 his entry work in the Labour Party came to an end and he formally rejoined. Whether or not the CPB is on board with Collective is another matter, but, thank god, the stillborn Transform is.14

Transform is one of the organisations listed as “in solidarity.”15 The others are the For the Many Network, the Liverpool Community Independents and Reliance (who?). There was a lot of crossover between those groups already, so it is not exactly breaking new ground. But, because of the people on board, Collective looks more serious than the multitude of recently formed groups and organisations (but then it is hard to look less serious).

The good thing about Collective is that it recognises the need to “form a party”. The bad thing is - it is (so far) operating on an even lower political basis than the many, many groups and grouplets that have clotted together since the defeat of the Corbyn movement. Its programme is centred on the call for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire”, with the five tame demands of the Peace and Justice Project tacked on:

It seems rather odd that Collective only wants to turn into a party after the general election. But we are guessing that this has a lot to do with one Jeremy Corbyn. He wants to contest the next general election as an ‘independent candidate’ and does not want to be dragged down by this or that group - or fellow members of parliament.

  1. Not the Andrew Marr Show March 3 2024: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiBSOSp0Fzg.↩︎

  2. www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/qe015.html.↩︎

  3. ‘Short memory syndrome’ Weekly Worker February 29: weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1480/short-memory-syndrome.↩︎

  4. www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/jeremy-corbyn-takes-legal-action-32270705.↩︎

  5. www.workersinternationalnetwork.net/newham-socialist-labour-activists-faced-with-unjustified-accusations.↩︎

  6. www.thejc.com/news/politics/jewish-councillor-hissed-at-by-public-gallery-during-newham-council-meeting-tupeuyxd.↩︎

  7. skwawkbox.org/2024/03/01/video-pensioner-among-3-peaceful-anti-genocide-protesters-arrested-in-hastings.↩︎

  8. skwawkbox.org/2024/02/28/met-confirms-arrest-of-gaza-protester-at-thornberrys-office.↩︎

  9. twitter.com/IJAN_Network/status/1763689175008608434.↩︎

  10. www.theguardian.com/world/2024/mar/03/ministers-consider-ban-mps-engaging-pro-palestine-climate-protesters.↩︎

  11. The Times March 5.↩︎

  12. The Times March 6.↩︎

  13. www.thecanary.co/uk/news/2024/03/01/collective-andrew-feinstein.↩︎

  14. weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1469/sixty-seconds-and-no-politics.↩︎

  15. www.we-are-collective.org.↩︎