Lindsey Ann German (born 1951) is an English left-wing political activist. A founding member and convenor of the British anti-war organisation Stop the War Coalition, she was formerly a member of the Socialist Workers Party, sitting on its central committee and editor of its magazine, Socialist Review.
German has twice stood as a left-wing candidate for Mayor of London, coming fifth in 2004, and as the Left List mayoral candidate in the May 2008 elections. In February 2010, following "increasing disenchantment" with the leadership, she resigned from the SWP, after 37 years membership.
Early life and activities
Lindsey German was born in London in 1951 and educated in Hillingdon at Vyners, then a grammar school. In 1970 she attended the "Stop the '70 Tour" demonstration organised by Peter Hain against the tour of the all-white South African cricket team.
German joined the International Socialists in 1972 (later the Socialist Workers Party), the same year she began to read law at the London School of Economics. She was part of the original National Abortion Campaign in April 1975 in response to a parliamentary private member's bill put forward by Glasgow Labour MP James White, and was involved in struggles to achieve equal pay for women. German had become a full-time official by 1977 for what was now the Socialist Workers Party and a member of the party's central committee.
Stop the War and Respect
German was involved in setting up the Stop the War Coalition in September 2001. It was established to oppose the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq. German became convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, speaking at meetings and demonstrations.
In January 2004, German supported the move to form Respect – The Unity Coalition, which included the SWP and other opponents of the war in Iraq, including Muslim groups and which stood as a left alternative to the Labour Party in elections. At the SWP's Marxism 2003 event she commented: "I'm in favour of defending gay rights, [...] but I am not prepared to have it as a shibboleth, [created by] people who . . . regard the state of Israel as somehow a viable presence."
She was Respect's candidate for the London Mayoral election in June 2004, in addition to being first in the list for election to the London Assembly. She came 5th in the mayoral election with 63,294 first and second preference votes (3.3% of the total) and in the assembly election came just below the 5% threshold in the top-up section (the assembly election followed the Additional Member System) which would have gained her a seat on the assembly. In the 2005 general election she was the Respect candidate for the West Ham, London, constituency and came second with 19.5% of the vote.
Leaves the SWP
On 18 April 2007 she was selected as Respect's candidate for the 2008 London Mayoral election. However, a subsequent split within the organisation meant that German was not able to use the party's name in the election. Instead German stood as the candidate for Mayor and the assembly under the Left List name, the SWP part of Respect, finishing in eighth place in the election to be mayor with 16,796 votes on first preference.
According to journalist John Anderson, German was a leading figure promoting further ties between the SWP and various "reactionary Islamists" such as the Muslim Association of Britain and the British Muslim Initiative. German's employment by the SWP lasted until the January 2009 SWP party conference. At that conference the proposed slate did not include John Rees, German's partner and another long-standing member of the CC. German proposed an alternative slate which did include Rees. When it became clear that this would be overwhelmingly defeated, Lindsey German and Chris Nineham withdraw their names from the election and were not selected. As the Central Committee slate was the only proposed slate that went to the vote at conference she was not re-elected to the SWP's Central Committee in 2009. In 2010 German resigned from the SWP. She was editor of the SWP's monthly magazine, Socialist Review, from 1984 until April 2004.
She has written several books, including two on women's rights and A People's History of London co-written with John Rees.
- Material Girls: Women, Men and Work ISBN 1-905192-17-7
- Sex, Class and Socialism ISBN 0-906224-54-3
- The Balkans: Nationalism and Imperialism (editor) ISBN 1-898876-50-9
- Why We Need A Revolutionary Party
- Socialists and Class ISBN 1-898876-05-3
- Stop the War: The Story of Britain's Biggest Mass Movement (editor with Andrew Murray) ISBN 1-905192-00-2
- A People's History of London (with John Rees) ISBN 1-84467-855-5
- "Frederick Engels", International Socialism, 2:65, 1994
- "Theories of Patriarchy", International Socialism, 2:12, 1981
- "Reflections on the Communist Manifesto", International Socialism, 2:79, 1998
- "London candidates announced", Evening Standard (This is London), 14 May 2004
- German, Lindsey (12 February 2010). "Why I resigned from the SWP". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
- Emma Griffiths "Anti-war hopeful's inequality focus", BBC News, 9 April 2008
- "Candidates & Parties – Profile: "Lindsey German", BBC News London, May 2008
- Eleanor Badcock "Ten years of war: an interview with Lindsey German", Counterfire, 4 November 2011
- Lindsey German "Rise and fall of the women’s movement", International Socialism, second series, No. 37, Winter 1988, p.3-47
- "Championing Respect for London". The Guardian. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008.
- "The Iraq War five years on", telegraph.co.uk, 18 March 2008
- Nick Cohen "The lesson the left has never learnt", New Statesman, 21 July 2003
- "Marxism 2003 – Rees lays it on the line", Weekly Worker, 488, 10 July 2003
- "Mayor of London 2004 election results", UK Politics Info
- Tony Grew "Interview: The Socialist alternative for London", PinkNews, 15 April 2008
- "Johnson wins London mayoral race", BBC News, 3 May 2008
- "Not Bright's Blog IV - Lost Left". New Statesman. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- Jenkins, John (2014-05-20). "Comrades at war: the decline and fall of the Socialist Workers Party". New Statesman. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- Ghaffar Hussain. "Ghaffar Hussain: An unlikely alliance | Comment is free". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- Iain Dale "Top 100 most influential Left-wingers: 100-51", telegraph.co.uk, 24 September 2013
- "News Review", Socialist Review, No. 284, April 2004
- Jo Lo Dicio "A People's History of London, By John Rees & Lindsey German", The Independent, 29 March 2012
- Lindsey German's writings for the Stop the War Coalition
- Lindsey German Internet Archive
- On Campaign Trail German's blog of her May 2005 election campaign