OVER 40 Respect activists met in Tower Hamlets, east London, on Thursday of last week. They discussed Respect’s campaign for the by-election in St Dunstan’s and Stepney Green ward on 29 July.
Oliur Rahman, Respect candidate for the City & East constituency in the 10 June elections, was confirmed as the candidate. Respect got 19,675 votes (15 percent) and won the most votes in Tower Hamlets.
Activists discussed the key issues in the ward—the cutting back of services, plans to sell off the council housing and the disaster of PFI privatisation in schools. They planned to leaflet and canvass the whole ward.
Oliur Rahman told Socialist Worker, “I am standing again because people are looking for proper representation, for someone to voice their concerns. We are going to campaign hard, and to win. If I get elected I will be seen more on the streets of the ward, talking to people, than present councillors. I will take peoples concerns up wherever I can. Respect was only formed a few months ago and we won in Tower Hamlets. The message we and local people are sending out to Labour MPs like Oona King and Jim Fitzpatrick who supported the war on Iraq is listen to us or we will find a real alternative.”
If you want to help the campaign phone Maggie on 07960 349 290.
AT THE Birmingham Respect meeting two weeks ago I sat and listened to George Galloway MP speaking to a roomful of around 200 people from a wide spectrum.
The media can try to ignore our strength. They can try to undermine us with their hate-filled criticism. They can attempt to fool the British public with their lies and ignorance.
We do not have to spin lies to make ourselves seem better than we really are. We do not need cheap community gimmicks to enrol ethnic minorities.
We certainly do not need to review our belief in peace, justice, freedom and equality to appease tyrants and terrorists.
The people can see Respect’s policies on all aspects of British life and foreign affairs. They can see what Respect stands for and what it represents and whom it represents.
Respect is a party formed by the people for the people. We give to society that which all people deserve—respect.
AROUND 80 people attended a North East London Respect meeting last week to plan how to build on the 8.7 percent vote in last month’s elections.
London mayoral candidate Lindsey German, local candidate Dean Ryan, Turkish and Kurdish activist Taylan Sahbaz and Tazmina Ahmed, a Muslim activist and teacher from City and Islington College, all spoke.
Lindsey highlighted the opportunities for the new party. Dean described the warmth of his reception in the constituency.
Taylan emphasised the way Respect had offered a real alternative to a community that had in the past largely stood outside British politics. Tazmina pointed out that descriptions of a Muslim block vote for Respect were wrong.
Class divides the Muslim community, like every other, and Respect won support from working class Muslims.
The audience, including new supporters, was determined to build on our vote and challenge Labour in next year’s elections.
THE EVENING Post, the main newspaper in South Wales, carried a front page story last week about Respect members petitioning in defence of college workers at the Afan Nedd college. They are facing the sack because of a budget crisis.