24 February 2021

Resolution on the May (2011) local elections and George Galloway

Adopted by the May 8 2011 meeting of CPGB members and supporters. Published in Weekly Worker 865, available on the WW archive here


1 – We recognise that the motivation of the ‘Open letter to the left’ arguing for no support to George Galloway in the Scots parliament elections is a legitimate disgust at Galloway’s support for and organised links to the tyrannical theocratic regime in Iran. This support is directly opposed to the interests of the working class, and it was justified that these criticisms should be made during the election campaign.

2 – Galloway’s support for the theocratic regime in Iran is not unique to him. It is a scab policy widespread on the left. Galloway’s particular role arises merely from his personal prominence. It is necessary to combat this policy in order to promote the political independence and international solidarity of the working class.

3 – However, the CPGB considers that the open letter was a political mistake.

4 – Hands Off the People of Iran has throughout its existence insisted on a two-sided policy in which opposition to imperialist war threats and sanctions has to be accompanied by support for the workers’, women’s and democratic movements in Iran, and conversely support for the workers’, women’s and democratic movements in Iran has to be accompanied by explicit opposition to imperialist war threats and sanctions.

The open letter, which focussed solely on Galloway’s support for the theocratic regime in Iran without clearly opposing the operations of the imperialists, being signed by people who identified themselves as Hopi supporters and as members of Communist Students as such, risks associating Hopi and Communist Students with the Eustonite/Alliance for Workers’ Liberty camp. By doing so, in our view it undermines our ability to win supporters of an anti-war position away from the scab policy of political support for tyrannical regimes targeted by imperialism.

5 – In particular, if the CPGB had called for a position on Iran to be a condition of our calling for a vote for candidates in these elections, the condition we would have put forward would have been opposition to imperialist sanctions and war threats against Iran. The UK state is an active party in these sanctions and war threats, and the first responsibility of communists in the UK is to oppose them.

6 – In fact, the main question facing the working class in Britain at the May 5 elections was not Iran, but the vicious cuts assault of the coalition government. The CPGB’s position was to vote for working class candidates who committed themselves to oppose and, if elected, vote against all cuts.

7 – For these reasons the CPGB dissociates itself from the open letter and reaffirms that it was correct to call for a critical vote for the ‘George Galloway (Respect) – Coalition Against Cuts’ list in Glasgow.

8 – We self-criticise for the late expression of a clear CPGB line on specific votes in these elections, though our main line and orientation were expressed in our perspectives document adopted in March; we also self-criticise for weaknesses of discussion in our press of the concrete issue of the ‘George Galloway (Respect) – Coalition Against Cuts’ list in Glasgow and of criticisms of George Galloway in this context.

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