Having failed last year to get elected to Scottish Parliament in Glasgow, George Galloway has succeeded in winning a seat once more to the Houses of Parliament via a by-election in Bradford.
"By the grace of God, we have won the most sensational victory in British political history".
Galloway targeted the votes of a large Asian community, winning the support of some leading mosques, even though the Bradford-born Labour candidate Imran Hussein is a Pakistani Muslim and deputy leader of the council. Like a good jockey, he knows what horses to ride. But organising groups such as Galloway attempts to do with Muslims through Respect is filled with risk , playing into the hands of the Right by introducing "communalist" politics. If, says the Right, Muslims can organise as a "community" to defend and further their "communal" interests, why can't the "indigenous" (read, "white") working class do the same? In other words, two can play at "communalist" politics and the Right will have the advantage since they are appealing to a majority "community".
Charismatic politicians, and who can question the fact that Galloway is undoubtably one, have a propensity to capture public admiration either through making articulate speeches or wearing fine suits. Galloway has a gift of both making fine speeches and a flair for fashion. This emphasis upon the individual has been an increasing symptom of the emptiness of capitalist politics. The emptier the politics, the bigger the personalities.
George Galloway is a corrupt and corrupting man. Not corrupt in the sense in which a capitalist would understand - grubbing for money in brown envelopes (although he was accused, and cleared, of padding his expenses account when working for War on Want). His corruption is one of a sort more familiar to the workers’ movement: a man giddy on success and status born from his ability to be at the centre of things. Galloway is a living confirmation of the Socialist Party’s case of avoiding leadership and leaders in our movement.
The effect of his election will be to help continue the mystification and confusion of the workers as to their own interests, as well the sullying of the name of socialism. Galloway has said that "... If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union , yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life..."
The job of socialists is to bring the class struggle to an end, not to try and accommodate themselves within this system. Once we understand our real interest and begin to consciously organise to get it no leader or deceiver is going to be able to deflect us from our course, and the days of the likes of George Galloway will be numbered.