Sunday, 18 November 2007

Respect: take your pick

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I didn't go to either the 'official' Respect conference or the 'Respect Renewal' rally on Saturday. Nor did most members of Respect. Even on the highest estimates of the numbers attending, there were no more than 600 or so shared between the two events, with Andrew Murray of the Stop the War Coalition, Sami Ramadani of Iraqi Democrats Against the War and Derek Wall of the Green Party among a small group of hardy souls who attended both.

Cheerleaders for each side nonetheless regarded the turnouts as triumphs for their respective groupings. The Socialist Unity blog, for example, saw the Respect Renewal gathering as a 'huge success . . . with a truly representative cross section, young and old, men and women, black and white and Asian, Muslim and christian [the blogger's choice on which words to capitalise, by the way] and those of no faith, socialists from different traditions.' There was, apparently, 'a general mood of optimism, and also a realism about the tasks ahead, and the need to reach out and make new friendships, and alliances.'

There's another rash of 'ra-ra-ra' triumphalism about Respect Renewal on the Mac Uaid blog, as well as a report, of sorts, on the Respect conference.

Lenin's Tomb, meanwhile, is a pillar of optimism from the other side. Lenin saw Respect as 'very alive' and produced detailed accounts of a range of conference speakers to prove it, including Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union. Serwotka managed to attend two other left-wing gatherings in London that same day, those of the Labour Representation Committee and the Socialist Party, but boycotted Respect Renewal on the gorunds that George Galloway and friends are 'witch-hunting socialists'.

There are further detailed reports, on both the Respect conference and the Renewal rally, on the Socialist Worker website, but by now I expect you've lost whatever revolutionary fire was in your belly and could do with some light relief. Whatever you do, don't start reading the comments on these blogs or you'll lose the will to live. Not so much how many angels can dance on a pinhead as how many people the Bishopsgate Institute is permitted to accommodate in 'theatre-style seating'.


AN said...

To be more accurate the caoitalistaion was that chosen not my me but by by Microsoft's spellchecker


Steve Platt said...

Spill cheque dose knot sea their his sum thing knot write hear ether ...

Jane Pritchard said...

Actually it does. My version of Word changes it to "Spill cheque dose Knot Sea they his sum thing knot write hear ether"