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The independent candidates standing for Palestine and for change

Socialist Worker sends solidarity to all those who have put forward a positive alternative to the main parties at the general election. We hope they win good votes but, more importantly, encourage wider resistance
Issue 2911
election Labour Starmer independent

Some of the independent socialist candidates standing in the election

None of the main parties have inspired people during this election campaign. But in some areas independent socialist candidates are standing to reflect the anger over Palestine and other issues.

They have given a focus for people who are angry at the Tories and Labour, and laid the basis for more resistance after 4 July.

These candidates are speaking out over Gaza, calling for a fightback against austerity and resisting racism.

Some of the candidates spoke to Socialist Worker about their campaigns and the widespread political anger they have tapped.


Maxine Bowler – Sheffield

“The sitting Labour MP Gill Furniss had a majority of over 12,000, but Labour has taken those votes for granted,” says Maxine Bowler who is standing in Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough.

“I think I’ll get a big protest vote, thousands of angry people who have been voting Labour for years but no longer.

“That will be a sign of those who are ready to keep raising the issue of Palestine and to fight Keir Starmer from day one,” Maxine added.

“People here feel left behind, ignored and forgotten.”

Maxine added, “Safe and affordable housing is scarce, there’s widespread overcrowding and deadly damp and black mold go untreated.

“Education is terribly underfunded and there’s widespread exclusion from schools in part due to the push for academisation.  

“We have to mobilise against the rise of racism and build networks to stop plans to deport people.

“It will be much the same under Labour as there’s hardly a difference between its immigration plans and the Tories’ racist Rwanda plan,” Maxine said.


Michael Lavalette – Preston

“Election candidate refuses to condemn 7 October attack on Israel” was the headline in the Lancashire Post website last week targeting Michael Lavalette, independent socialist candidate in Preston, Lancashire.

At the paper’s hustings Michael was asked if he condemned Hamas. He replied “No”, going on to explain that the violence didn’t start on 7 October, the context of 76 years of oppression and the right of people to resist occupiers.

It was the latest example of how Michael is putting forward a powerful alternative. “There are ten candidates in the constituency, including both Reform and Ukip, plus the Lib Dems, Tories and Labour.

“The Greens have put up a paper candidate despite the fact that we asked them not to.

“To try to secure a single independent candidate we consulted widely in advance and had a hustings that backed me almost unanimously.

“But then at the last minute a very wealthy businessman put himself forward as an independent.

“His whole campaign has been trying to put people off voting for me over LGBT+ education.” Michael said his campaign is “Palestine plus”.

“The first thing is Palestine and Labour’s support for the genocide in Gaza, then we raise the NHS, education, combating climate change, the cost of living crisis, pensions, social care and so on,” he added.

“It cuts through when we say the political establishment doesn’t speak to us or support us.

“I have wide and deep support from all levels of the Muslim community. But there’s also backing from other parts of the working class.”

“There’s no enthusiasm for the Labour campaign.

“I’ve seen one Labour window poster across the whole of Preston. We have 20 to 25 people out campaigning every day. Labour can’t match that.

“The overall feeling I get is huge levels of apathy. We meet a lot of traditional Labour voters, including some Labour members who are saying they don’t know who they will vote for.

“There are a few Labour councillors who have come to me and said that not only will they vote for me, but that they’re telling other people to vote for me too.” Michael said that, “Our first target was to save our deposit—5 percent of the vote.

“Can we beat the Lib Dems? That would be good. Can we beat the Tories? That would be even better.

“Can we be a really good second? That would give all the main parties a bloody nose. And it would be the greatest shock of all time if we won.”


Nandita Lal – Tottenham

“We have to give ourselves a voice and write our own narrative,” said Nandita Lal, independent socialist candidate for Tottenham in north London.

Nandita is standing against Labour Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy after receiving endorsement from Tottenham Palestine Action and other groups.

“We are really unhappy about the way Lammy has abandoned Palestinians and is complicit in their dehumanisation and genocide,” said Nandita.

“There is definitely an appetite for change and Lammy is very unpopular in Tottenham.

“Lammy got a lot of votes in 2017 and 2019, but that was the Jeremy Corbyn effect.”

Nandita stands on “pro-working class, socialist, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist” ground.

“So much money goes into warmongering instead of bettering the conditions of people here. We don’t support the expansion of Nato, it’s just not in our interests,” she added.

“We want a safe and secure future where the spending on war is put towards tackling climate change and the housing crisis. There have been years of austerity cuts. But it doesn’t seem that Lammy wants to reverse any of those.

“The only interest being perpetuated by the Labour Party and the Tories is the interest of the ruling class.”

Nandita has had “a very positive campaign”. “We want to show the rise of the right is not going unchallenged. We are here and here is our voice.”


Kamel Hawwash – Birmingham

“The two-party system is broken. In parliament, I want to be a real voice for ordinary people,” says Kamel Hawwash, who is running for Birmingham Selly Oak.

He’s standing for Palestine and opposes Labour’s and the Tories’ “business as usual” politics.

“I was a member of Labour until October last year. When Keir Starmer agreed that Israel had the right to cut off water and electricity from the Palestinians—I resigned,” he said.

“I’m of Palestinian heritage—my parents were born in Jerusalem. I couldn’t stay in a party whose leader supported war crimes.

“Gaza triggered in people’s mind the detachment of the political class from the people.”

Kamel added that, “People are recognising that “politicians aren’t listening, even on issues to do with the cost of living crisis and the NHS”.


Perveen Hussain – Halifax

Perveen Hussain has been an activist for Palestine for the past 15 years.

The Halifax constituency has voted for Labour since 1987. But Perveen says, “Keir Starmer is offering nothing new. He talks about change, but I think he’ll offer us more of the same as the Tories.

“There’s no plan for investments into local authorities, not much about green investment, and he’s not said much about the cost of living crisis.  There ares no plans to tax the rich.”

“The first point of my campaign is to send a message that we stand with the people of Palestine, and we will not enable the genocide,”  

“I will call for an immediate ceasefire without conditions and to recognise a Palestinian state.” Perveen left the Labour Party in November of last year.  “It felt like Labour was the natural home for socialists. But after hearing Starmer’s stance on Gaza, it wasn’t difficult to leave.”


Jeremy Corbyn – Islington North

Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign in Islington North really took off last weekend.

Hundreds of people from the local area—and from other parts of Britain and even other countries—joined the push to knock on every door in the constituency.

Corbyn’s best chance to win is an insurgent campaign that doesn’t hold back from criticising Starmer and raises the betrayals by Labour over Gaza and many other issues.


Back these candidates who support resistance

Socialist Worker is encouraging support for election candidates who campaign for the Palestinians, against racism and austerity and for the rights of the oppressed. 

Our list includes:

  • Aftab Nawaz, Walsall and Bloxwich 
  • Andrew Feinstein, Holborn and St Pancras
  • Claudia Webbe, Leicester East 
  • Dave Nellist, Coventry East
  • Emma Dent Coad, Kensington and Bayswater 
  • Faiza Shaheen, Chingford and Woodford Green
  • Jabu Nala-Hartley, Oxford East 
  • Jeremy Corbyn, Islington North
  • Kamel Hawwash, Birmingham Selly Oak 
  • Leanne Mohamad, Ilford North 
  • Maxine Bowler, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough
  • Michael Lavalette, Preston 
  • Muhammed Ali Islam, Bradford West 
  • Nandita Lal, Tottenham 
  • Perveen Hussain, Halifax
  • Sam Gorst, Liverpool Garston 
  • Tanushka Marah, Hove and Portslade
  • Tony Wilson, Oldham West, Chadderton and Royton

 

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