Labour councillor joins Respect
Newham, east London, has its first Respect councillor. Sarah Ruiz became a Labour councillor in 1993.
Now she has broken with the party she joined 15 years ago. Her letter of resignation said, “When I joined the Labour Party it still stood for social justice, peace and fair treatment for all. Under Blair’s leadership the party has abandoned all of its principles.
“The war in Iraq is totally unjustified and has increased the danger of terrorism in our country. I absolutely condemn the London bombings, but Blair must be the only person in Britain who doesn’t believe the invasion has been the greatest recruiting tool for the terrorists.
“The best way to safeguard public safety is to bring our troops home without delay.”
She also condemned the Labour Party’s contempt for local democracy and its plans to privatise council housing.
Respect plans to contest every seat on Newham council in next year’s council elections.
Respect will hold its annual conference on 19-20 November at the Camden Centre in central London. The deadline for delegates and motions is 14 October.
Respect branches need to meet before then to elect delegates and submit resolutions. Amendments can be sent in up till 6 November. The cost per delegate is £20.
The Respect national council met last Saturday. It urged Respect branches to hold meetings at least once a month on campaigning issues ranging from ID cards to global warming. Ring the Respect office to book speakers.
On the march
Respect needs your help on the 24 September Stop the War demonstration to distribute thousands of copies of the free four page newssheet it has produced. If you can help, phone Ghada on 020 8980 3507.
Last Sunday saw the launch of Student Respect at a national meeting in London addressed by Respect councillor Oliur Rahman, Suzie Wylie from the NUS national executive committee, and Respect national secretary, John Rees.
Sixty students, including full-time officers, and those from a number of Islamic societies, environmental groups and other activists, met to discuss how Respect is going to take shape in the universities and colleges over the coming weeks.