The split in the English anti-war party, Respect — The Unity Coalition, which has scored the most successful electoral results for forces to the left of Labour since World War II, saw two conferences by the different sides of the split held simultaneously on November 17. One side are those backing Respect MP George Galloway, including some left-wing Muslim leaders and other independent socialists. On the other is mainly the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the largest socialist group in England, which has played a leading role in the anti-war movement and been a key component of Respect from its inception.
Respect — the Unity Coalition, the first British political party to the left of Labour to win a seat in the Westminster parliament since 1945, has split. In May 2005 George Galloway confounded pundits by winning an historic victory in the East London constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow. A former Labour MP, Galloway was expelled for his vociferous and unflagging opposition to the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and with others in the anti-war movement — notably the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), which plays a leading role in the Stop the War Coalition — formed Respect.
Andy Newman, an editor of British blog Socialistunity.com, spoke to Salma Yaqoob for Green Left Weekly. Yaqoob is the national vice-chair of anti-war coalition Respect the Unity Coalition, as well as a leader of Birminghams Stop the War Coalition and a Birmingham city councillor.