Workers Party of Britain

Ian Parker is inspired by George Galloway’s latest electoral front operation to write about Alien, and warns that a vote for the WPB might look like a vote for Palestine, but it is not


Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien is a classic science fiction horror flick set on the spaceship Nostromo run by a shadowy corporation. This set up compounds the terrors inflicted on the awakened crew when one of them, Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt), is unlucky enough to step too close to a large egg in a ruined alien spaceship on another planet. A tentacular creature shoots out and covers his face, and later the “alien” erupts from his chest.

The rest of the film sees officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and her cat Jones tracking the creature through the ship, during which time Ripley discovers that the corporation is implicated in what they are now being subjected to. The crew numbers decrease in bloody attacks, but Ripley eventually succeeds in ejecting the thing into space.

One of the lessons from Alien is that the main threat comes not so much from enemies outside, “aliens,” but from inside the body. Yes, it is true the alien implants itself in John Hurt after spurting up into his face from the evil egg, but then it germinates inside his body, and springs forth in a horrific scene that even the cast were not expecting.

The Alien springs into action, we could even say, from deep inside the body politic. The corporation wants it brought back to earth to be examined, to see what use can be made of it, a very bad mistake. It turns out that this is one lifeform that is not going to be your friend, and is not one to tangle with.


The Workers Party of Britain (WPB) was founded in 2019 by George Galloway, the once “gorgeous George” who has succeeded in charming many an unsuspecting left group and naïve activist over the years who have discovered, to their cost, that to be in the same group as George is to be in an iron grip that intensifies as George scents political power. Over the years, Galloway’s journey has taken him from the left to the right; to what he himself, in a chummy interview with a libertarian right-wing online outfit, terms “anti-woke” social conservativism.

As the Socialist Workers Party, not a reliable source on many matters and clearly still smarting from its dalliance with Galloway in the ill-fated “Respect” party (2004-2016, RIP), correctly points out, Galloway is “no longer on the left”. His WPB has recruited some unsavoury characters to stand in elections, including those who have been leading racist “anti-grooming” and far-right conspiracy campaigns. George himself boasts that he was invited to stand as a Reform Party candidate, which speaks volumes about the company he has been keeping.

The clue, for those willing to listen, lies in that tell-tale phrase “social conservativism,” for it is there that a host of fantasies are at work about so-called “Red Wall” constituencies which are supposed to consist of white working-class folk sick of being left behind by politically correct “woke” leftists.

For Galloway and the WPB this then translates tactically into an image of Muslim communities that can be wooed by working with “community leaders,” usually themselves conservative businessmen and other worthies who have long-been suspicious of the left. They are being used, with pro-Palestine rhetoric as the bait. Galloway and the WPB then appeal to this reactionary leadership layer with promises that the “family” will be sacrosanct. With this populist, not leftist, approach, comes a host of really problematic policy positions and authoritarian alliances.


Galloway and the WPB certainly keep some strange company. One significant alliance is with the Putin regime in Russia, a deadly threat not only to the Russian working class, but to progressive forces around the world. Putin’s direct financial support for a range of right-wing groups from Hungarian fascists to the Le Pen group in France is designed to provoke nationalist responses that will blot out socialist alternatives.

It should be no surprise George Galloway included among his sinecures a slot on Russian Television and then the Iranian state Press TV, or that the WPB should use outright Putinite language to describe what it terms, in the title of one of its pamphlets, “Ukraine and the Origins of the Special Military Operation.” Galloway is hostile to Scottish independence, stands with the “United Kingdom,” and, with Putin, the WPB treats Ukrainian nationhood as already non-existent.

The WPB peddles the illusion that reactionary strong states like Russia and China are counterweights to the West, whereas these states are enemies of the working class. This is “campism.” Then it looks like a vote for the WPB is a vote for Gaza when the party actually allies itself with regimes that are fuelling far-right nationalisms for their own purposes and actually trading heavily with Israel.

The WPB also shares with Putin contempt for ecology, portraying this as a liberal left-wing fad; “climate change,” the WPB tells us, has always happened, and there is nothing particularly special about the ongoing environmental destruction that is leading the planet to burn now. They promise to do away with green policies and give a boost to British business that will no longer be hampered by environment-friendly restrictions. Theirs is a nationalist pro-business agenda.


Equally telling is the strong family emphasis on men being men and women being women and hostility to what it calls, in true dog-whistle style, “identity politics.” Galloway’s supposed “defence” of Julian Assange against accusations of rape, for example, which amounted to rape apology (and unleashed the final crisis in the Respect Party), anticipated the current “anti-woke” sexual politics of Galloway and the WPB. The WPB is not a safe space for women, whether they are those who think they are “real” biological women (which is the way George likes them, in their place) or those who choose that gender (which the WPB is already, in its rants against “identity politics,” threatening to erase).

What this now means is poisonous hatred of those who do not fit within traditional categories of gender and sexuality; it means homophobia and transphobia, something that has caused dismay to those foolish enough to give Galloway a platform. It also mirrors the repression of LGBTQIA+ people in Russia and China. When the leader of a political party declares that certain categories of people are “not normal,” you need to look at history and hear an alarm bell.

Fascism is a threat from the hard-right, but it also operates by stealing slogans from the left and, worse, breaking activists from workers’ organisations to take them towards the right. That is why the Nazis claimed to be a “national” workers party, and home-grown versions of fascism in Britain, such as Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, had their origins in splits from the Labour Party.

It should be no surprise that through-and-through fascists like Nick Griffin should call for a vote for Galloway in Rochdale. Today, fascism manifests itself in the appeal to “patriotism” and the antisemitic conspiracy theory complaints about “globalists” who are responsible for our ills; as Galloway himself has it, “We are the patriots. It’s the globalists who are the traitors.” The WPB obsession with Brexit is likewise fuelled not by principled critique of the EU as the neoliberal bloc it is but by populist xenophobia.


This is why, when we come to reactionary images of “aliens” landing on our shores and ruining our way of life, Galloway is swimming with the tide, a liability to Muslim communities who have put their trust in him to represent them. This is also precisely why the WPB treats the police as its friends, as if they are fellow workers and it actually calls for an increase in funding for the very state forces that are cracking down on the anti-war movement. This is not a “workers party,” but an ally of the state.

This is more than a liability; this is a real danger; Galloway talks left, as fascists in their early incarnations do, and moves right. Galloway’s march to the right now includes inveighing against migrants, which has delighted the right-wing GB News happy to showcase his call for British warships to stop the small boats coming across the channel. Asylum-seekers beware!


Alien itself is not a particularly radical film, for haunting the spectacle of Ripley and her cat seeing off the monster is the lingering idea that the corporation that owns the spaceship Nostromo is somehow in the background as a shadowy force pulling the strings. The film itself operates as one of the many popular culture seedbeds of conspiracy-theory explanations for what is going wrong, explanations that are toxic for the left. Such explanations draw in those desperate for a way out, those disappointed with mainstream politics and with the existing left alternatives.

There are those who mistakenly think that the promised “restructuring” of the WPB will lead to more openness; that is pie in the sky, and past practice should lead us to expect Galloway to tighten his grip on the party. The WPB so far has been not much more than an electoral front operation; the danger will come when it moves into action on the streets. This looks like a vote for Gaza, but it is a trap. Watch out: GG is ready to spring out from the WPB body politic. It is when the left fails that fascism flourishes, and we can be sure even if the WPB fails, Galloway will plough on, ever rightwards with sequels and resurrections that are poisonous to those he claims to speak for.

This article supplements the “twenty five uneasy pieces” that comprise Mapping the English Left on Film

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Ian Parker is a Manchester-based psychoanalyst and a member of Anti*Capitalist Resistance.


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