Defending Galloway and Dalyell

Meeting on Monday April 14, the Hackney Stop the War Coalition was smaller than usual, perhaps reflecting the fact that there was nothing to organise for at the moment. Naturally discussion turned to where we should go next. There was a general desire to keep things going because nobody seriously believes that the United States project for world domination is finished. The Socialist Workers Party is organising a very welcome meeting on the American Century which might help orientate activists. I raised the necessity of the anti-war movement taking a lead in building a viable party alternative to the pro-war Labour and Tories. Others opposed this course. One comrade thought that a party would be unacceptable to groups like anarchists and muslims. We could not think of creating a party unless we had a programme for them. Generally the meeting agreed that parties were an obstacle to unity. Another speaker said that the degree of unity reached by the movement was due to the vagueness of the slogans. If we had a party it would have led to us discussing the meanings of the slogans and split the movement apart. Possibly so. But only because some elements on the left are unwilling to accept the constraints of democracy. Not because understanding is the enemy of unity. The SWP - which calls itself a 'party' and therefore an 'obstacle to unity' and feels no need for any other - called us back to the planned demonstrations on the horizon, namely May Day and around the G8 meeting near Geneva in June. They seem to be shepherding everyone towards Globalise Resistance - another transmission belt for SWP recruiting. The danger of the Labour whip being withdrawn from George Galloway and Tam Dalyell was raised. Comrades were urged to write to Tony Blair complaining about any attempt to throw them out of the Labour Party. It was felt that this should be left to individuals and not be done by the group lest we be seen as irrelevant ultra leftists. Both local MPs, Dianne Abbott and Brian Sedgemore, voted against the war. But it was thought that their seats were safe due to local support, indicating the depth of opposition within Labour to the war hereabouts. Unfortunately the meeting exhibited no strategy for drawing this layer to the left other than saying they should leave Labour and join us. But exactly who are we? We change our name every couple of months, and think a united working class party is a contradiction in terms. Phil Kent Model letter issued by STWC Rt Hon Tony Blair 10 Downing Street London SW1A 2AA [Date] Re: George Galloway MP and Tam Dalyell MP This is a letter of support on behalf of the above members of the Labour Party. The Stop the War Coalition has benefited from their involvement from the embryonic stages of its existence. Importantly, the anti war movement has been the biggest of its kind, not just in Britain, but in addition encompasses the international perspective. The fundamental freedom of speech in a democracy must be preserved, and their political dissent should not be silenced. Many of the elective object to the invasion of Iraq, the lack of legal legitimacy, and the unnecessary deaths of civilians. It is their duty to represent their constituents and the public at large. I am writing to demand that the whip is not removed from Messrs Galloway and Dalyell. This would render them powerless in the House of Commons and my views will no longer be voiced. Sincerely,