Lindsey German

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Lindsey German
Lindsey German.jpg
German in 2009
Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition
Assumed office
21 September 2001
ChairmanJeremy Corbyn
Andrew Murray
Murad Qureshi
Preceded byOffice established
Vice President of the Stop the War Coalition
In office
21 September 2001 – 14 March 2014
PresidentTony Benn
ChairmanAndrew Murray
Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
Lindsey Ann German

1951 (age 71–72)
London, England, United Kingdom

Lindsey Ann German[1] (born 1951)[2] is a British 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.[3]

Early life and activities[edit]

Lindsey German was born in London in 1951 and educated in Hillingdon at Vyners, then a grammar school.[4] 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.[5]

German joined the International Socialists (later the Socialist Workers Party) in 1972, the same year she began to read law at the London School of Economics.[5][6] She was active in the original National Abortion Campaign in April 1975, then responding to a parliamentary private member's bill put forward by Glasgow Labour MP James White,[7] and was involved in campaigns to achieve equal pay for women.[8] 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[edit]

German was involved in setting up the Stop the War Coalition in September 2001.[9] 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."[10][11]

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.[1] She came 5th in the mayoral election with 63,294 first and second preference votes (3.3% of the total)[12] 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.

Departure from SWP[edit]

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,[4] the SWP part of Respect,[13] finishing in eighth place in the election to be mayor with 16,796 votes on first preference.[14]

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.[15][16][17]

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[18] and another long-standing member of the Central Committee (CC). German proposed an alternative slate which did include Rees. When it became clear this would be overwhelmingly defeated, German and Chris Nineham withdrew 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.[citation needed]

German was the editor of the party's monthly magazine, Socialist Review, from 1984 until April 2004.[19]


She has written several books, including two on women's rights and A People's History of London, co-written with her partner, John Rees.[20]

In August 2015, German endorsed Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election.[21]

In 2019, German wrote that there was little evidence for an epidemic of antisemitism within the Labour Party, with a "very small number of cases proved, and a small number of accusations made". She wrote that such allegations were "political attacks - against Corbyn and his left wing politics, and against all those who criticise the state of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians. These are the real reasons for their scale and ferocity, and why they are taken up with such enthusiasm by the BBC and the rest of the media."[22]

In 2022, in response to the prelude to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, German wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian criticising Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer's support of the NATO alliance.[23]

Selected books[edit]

  • — (1989). Sex, class, and socialism. London Chicago: Bookmarks. ISBN 0-906224-54-3. OCLC 29705337.
  • — (1989). Why we need a revolutionary party. London: Socialist Workers' Party (Great Britain). OCLC 500315220.
  • — (1996). A question of class. London: Bookmarks. ISBN 978-1-898876-05-2. OCLC 38468636.
  • —, ed. (1999). The Balkans, nationalism and imperialism. London: Bookmarks. ISBN 1-898876-50-9. OCLC 41925091.
  • with Murray, Andrew (2005). Stop the war: The story of Britain's biggest mass movement. London: Bookmarks Publications. ISBN 1-905192-00-2. OCLC 61283954.
  • — (2007). Material girls : women, men and work. London: Bookmarks Publications. ISBN 978-1-905192-17-5. OCLC 165411835.
  • with Rees, John (2012). A people's history of London. London New York: Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-855-6. OCLC 767564423.
  • — (2013). How a century of war changed the lives of women. London New York: Pluto Press / Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-7453-3250-5. OCLC 830625531.

Selected articles[edit]


  1. ^ a b "London candidates announced", Evening Standard (This is London), 14 May 2004
  2. ^ "Profile: Lindsey German". BBC News. 20 March 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  3. ^ German, Lindsey (12 February 2010). "Why I resigned from the SWP". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  4. ^ a b Emma Griffiths "Anti-war hopeful's inequality focus", BBC News, 9 April 2008
  5. ^ a b "Candidates & Parties – Profile: "Lindsey German", BBC News London, May 2008
  6. ^ Eleanor Badcock "Ten years of war: an interview with Lindsey German", Counterfire, 4 November 2011
  7. ^ Lindsey German "Rise and fall of the women’s movement", International Socialism, second series, No. 37, Winter 1988, p.3-47
  8. ^ "Championing Respect for London". The Guardian. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008.
  9. ^ "The Iraq War five years on",, 18 March 2008
  10. ^ Nick Cohen "The lesson the left has never learnt", New Statesman, 21 July 2003
  11. ^ "Marxism 2003 – Rees lays it on the line", Archived 23 April 2013 at Weekly Worker, 488, 10 July 2003
  12. ^ "Mayor of London 2004 election results", UK Politics Info
  13. ^ Tony Grew "Interview: The Socialist alternative for London", PinkNews, 15 April 2008.
  14. ^ "Johnson wins London mayoral race", BBC News, 3 May 2008.
  15. ^ "Not Bright's Blog IV - Lost Left". New Statesman. 13 February 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  16. ^ Jenkins, John (20 May 2014). "Comrades at war: the decline and fall of the Socialist Workers Party". New Statesman. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  17. ^ Ghaffar Hussain. "Ghaffar Hussain: An unlikely alliance | Comment is free". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  18. ^ Iain Dale "Top 100 most influential Left-wingers: 100-51",, 24 September 2013.
  19. ^ "News Review", Socialist Review, No. 284, April 2004.
  20. ^ Jo LoDicio "A People's History of London, By John Rees & Lindsey German", The Independent, 29 March 2012.
  21. ^ "Stand-up for Jeremy Corbyn". Left Futures. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  22. ^ German, Lindsey "Adopting the IHRA definition didn't end the attacks, it accelerated them" ,Counterfire, 8 July 2019; accessed 7 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Keir Starmer's cynical embrace of Nato is a sad sight indeed | Lindsey German". the Guardian. 11 February 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.

External links[edit]