The following statement was issued by Left Unity in support of the candidacy of Rabina Khan for the position of elected mayor of Tower Hamlets in the upcoming mayoral election, which takes place in less-than-democratic conditions in the context of what amounts to a racist coup against the elected Mayor and council of Tower Hamlets, led by the Tory/Zionist minister Eric Pickles.
Some political background on this anti-democratic coup can be found in the recent Communist Explorations leaflet on this, and further useful material is to be found in this article by the Trotskyist group Socialist Fight on the same events.
Tower Hamlets First, the local political current that both Lutfur Rahman and Rabina Khan were leaders of, has been de-registered by the electoral commission. As explained earlier, THF is a left split from the local Labour Party that took place in the aftermath of an important left-wing development in Tower Hamlets, expressed particularly but not exclusively by any means through its mainly Bengali Muslim population, in response to the Iraq War and the ‘war on terror’. This led to the election of George Galloway in Bethnal Green & Bow in the 2005 General Election. THF was a secondary product of the tragic disintegration of RESPECT after that time, and showed that despite the problems, that progressive political development refused to simply disappear without trace.
The candidacy by Rabina Khan is an act of defiance by a left-wing split from the Labour Party with clear mass local support, against an anti-democratic, racist attack against the rights of the local electorate. Its politics are at this point on a lower level than the promise showed by RESPECT, but to stand aside from this battle, to be neutral in the face of such an attack, would be an objectively racist and pro-imperialist position.
Left Unity are to be congratulated on this brave and principled political stance.
Left Unity supports Rabina Khan in the 11 June re-run of the Tower Hamlets mayoral election.
She is standing to defend democracy in Tower Hamlets at a time when the council is being taken over by Tory government agencies, whipping up Islamophobic scare stories to justify sending in Eric Pickles and his unelected commissioners. The continuing case against Lutfur Rahman, who has vowed to clear his name, is being used as an excuse to dismantle the whole democratically elected council.
Rabina has a strong left-wing record. As cabinet member for housing in Tower Hamlets she has overseen the building of thousands of new social and affordable homes, and the investment of millions of pounds in refurbishing council housing. If successful she would become the first elected female Muslim mayor in Britain.
We call on the left to unite in support of the campaign to defend democracy in Tower Hamlets and in support of Rabina Khan’s candidacy.
There is more about the campaign at Rabina Khan’s website.