RESPECT WON the best ever by-election vote in England for a party outside the three major parties when it fought the Leicester South parliamentary by-election.
Respect’s candidate, Yvonne Ridley, won 12.7 percent of the vote in the election on 15 July this year.
Last week around 20 Respect supporters gathered to plan how to build on that huge success.
They elected a Respect organising committee and planned to issue a thank you leaflet to all those who supported Respect.
The leaflet will advertise a public rally set to take place in early August.
And it will give a mobile phone number for people to call if they have problems or issues they want Respect to take up.
“That means that we can go and meet people who want to talk to us, rather than expecting them to turn up to a surgery at fixed times,” said Jess, one of the Respect activists.
“Every month or so, we will also hold a surgery that people can visit.
“The membership secretary will keep everyone in touch with events and, crucially, recruit more members.
“There is huge potential out there.
“Next week there is going to be a big African-Caribbean carnival, where we are having a float.
“We are also organising a family picnic to raise funds for Respect.”
Yasmin, another Respect activist, told Socialist Worker, “We did very well in the election, especially for such a new party.
“The campaign against the war in Iraq is our main agenda, but we have to look out to other issues and local campaigns.
“In Leicester the council’s cutbacks have had a huge impact on women’s groups, ethnic minority groups and others.
“I work for an organisation that supports the disabled. We all feel the impact.
“We need to build support among all the communities in Leicester, especially the newer groups like the Somalis and the Eastern Europeans.
“And we have done brilliantly in motivating young people.
“It is very important that we keep getting young people active in something positive.
“I really support the idea of keeping a local presence, so people know that we mean what we say and are going to be there for them.”