Religious charity-mongering

What kind of working class political organisation urges its supporters to go out on the streets collecting for a religious charity? There can only be one answer: the degeneration of the Socialist Workers Party is daily more visible, as it abandons any notion of class solidarity within Respect in favour of a pro-establishment islamic charity. In a statement issued by Respect on October 10, we are informed that SWP member Michael Lavalette has called an emergency meeting in Preston, where he is a Respect councillor, with local mosques and "leaders from the Pakistani community" to discuss what Respect can do to aid the relief effort in Pakistan, Kashmir, India and Afghanistan. It is proposed that all money collected via fundraising should go to unnamed "relief agencies working in the earthquake region". However, the only agency mentioned is Islamic Relief, which, we are told, is "calling for cash donations". Later "they will publish a list of specific supplies and equipment that are needed". In Bradford, according to the statement, "Respect have met with local representatives from Islamic Relief and are involved in fundraising". SWPer Caroline Conway is quoted as saying: "We are urging our local supporters to do collections and help with the collections on the streets." For good measure the statement ends by giving details of Islamic Relief's address, telephone number and website, where donations can be made. Taking a look at the website, I read IR's description of itself as "an international relief and development charity" which "promotes sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities - regardless of race, religion or gender" (www.islamic-relief.com). However, as you might expect, IR seems to raise funds exclusively for causes based in countries with large islamic populations, judging from its list of areas of work. But that is not the point. There are serious working class bodies needing solidarity in all the affected countries. We have highlighted just one of them - the Trade Union Rights Campaign Pakistan - in this issue. But the SWP is quite deliberately turning its back on the notion of proletarian internationalism in favour of pandering to Respect's rightwing minority of "muslim radicals". What next? Donate to catholic charities? The point is that every one of the establishment charities - whether of a religious bent or not - works hand in glove with the ruling elite of the recipient countries. Why use the channels provided by frequently corrupt state agencies, whose raison d'être is to defend capitalist exploitation? It seems that the opportunism of the SWP knows no bounds. Peter Manson click here to read all our motions 20 signed up Respect members can present a motion to conference. Send an email to respect@cpgb.org.uk if you support one or all our motions. Remember, the deadline is Friday, October 14.