George Galloway and his supporters launched a new organisation, Respect Renewal, at a rally on Saturday organised in opposition to the official Respect delegate conference.
Around 250 people attended the Respect Renewal rally. Although there were no votes or motions at the meeting, a committee to run the organisation was announced, as was the launch of a Respect Renewal newspaper.
Membership forms for Respect Renewal were placed on every seat and an appeal was made to raise a “fighting fund” of £100,000.
Linda Smith, the former chair of Respect who split to help set up the new organisation, declared that they would not recognise the decisions of the official Respect conference.
Galloway opened the meeting with a speech in which he said it is “undignified” to attack “those with whom you have had close relations”.
He then went on to describe those who had stayed in Respect rather than joining his split of being “juvenile dwarves”.
He accused John Rees, the national secretary of Respect, and other SWP members of “driving away members” from Respect.
Some contributions from the floor accused the SWP of not taking Respect seriously enough, while others said the SWP wanted to dominate and control the coalition.
Supporters of the official Respect handed out a statement calling for unity – and pointed out that arguments and differences in Respect should be resolved by the national delegate conference, not by splitting from the coalition.
For a longer report see » Respect Renewal rally launches new organisation