Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP

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So far, at least 29 CLPs, 9 Momentum branches and dozens of trade union bodies and left Labour organisations have come out in solidarity with Chris Williamson MP (we know of couple of other CLPs where it was decided not to publish the successful resolution). Each CLP has an average of 800 members, so you can calculate for yourself how that compares with the very few MPs who have demanded Chris’ scalp.

PLEASE  NOTE THERE IS NO BAN ON MOVING MOTIONS IN SUPPORT OF CHRIS: We hear that in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris because of apparent guidelines sent out by Labour HQ. We have produced detailed advice to show that this is not the case – click here for more info and details on  how to move a motion. Click here for a number of model motions.

Feel free to download, share and use our memes. Continue Reading “Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP”

LAW statement on Chris Williamson’s court battle: “The battle is won. The war rages on”

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“The battle is won. The war rages on”.

This is how Chris Williamson has aptly summed up the High Court judgment, which was delivered at Birmingham’s Civil Justice Centre today, October 10 2019. The judge ruled that the Labour Party acted unlawfully in re-suspending Chris on 28 June, and “that there was no proper reason” for doing so.

The judge also confirmed that Chris’ ‘re-suspension’ must have been motivated by media hysteria. The judge said: “it is not … difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision in this case was that [NEC] members … were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June decision.”

In fact, the party’s decision was so unfair as to be unlawful: Chris’ original suspension has been quashed, and all of the allegations presented in that suspension can no longer be pursued against him.

However, in what must be one of the most bizarre twists in Labour’s witch-hunt crisis, Chris remains suspended from the party! A double suspension! How much more Kafkaesque can this witch-hunt get? Continue Reading “LAW statement on Chris Williamson’s court battle: “The battle is won. The war rages on””

Proposed draft constitution for the Labour Left Alliance

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  • submitted by Labour Against the Witchhunt and Sheffield Labour Left
  • LLA’s rules will be discussed at LLA’s launch conference in January/February 2020, but we are keen to start a democratic and open debate on this issue and to hear what others think – this is only a draft and we are happy to incorporate changes we agree with. Please email info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org
  • you can download this proposal in in PDF format here
The key for us is the attempt to give the LLA an effective, democratic and transparent basis. The current organising committee is, in our view, way too big (over 30 people) and way too slow to act quickly and efficiently. We believe that we should have a smaller team of officers/steering group members with clearly defined tasks who can make day-to-day decisions – and that this group is accountable to the bigger organising group (made up, as now, of representatives of all affiliated local and national groups). Which means, for example, that the OG should be able to recall and/or appoint any officers/members of the SC by simple majority at any time.

Continue Reading “Proposed draft constitution for the Labour Left Alliance”

Sign up and build a new, democratic Labour Left Alliance!

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LAW is very proud to be part of this important new development – please get involved! Sign up your group or as an individual!

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn put his name forward to stand as leader of the Labour Party there has been a massive campaign to undermine and remove him by the Tories, elements of the establishment and the right in our own party, with backing from the overwhelming majority of the mainstream media. Of the numerous unfounded smears thrown at Corbyn – being too scruffy, not bowing deep enough, being a Czech spy etc – those around antisemitism have been one of the most consistent avenues of attack.

They have not had everything their own way – Moshé Machover was readmitted to the party after a major campaign and their attempts to move against Lisa Forbes, now the MP for Peterborough, before and after her election have not succeeded. Momentum nationally is no longer on the side of the left in these battles and this has become increasingly clear – as has its own lack of democracy.

There is an urgent need to take steps to unite the genuine, democratic Labour left. We are committed to making this process open, democratic and transparent. We want to involve as many principled local, regional and national Labour left organisations and union bodies as we can.

We are not saying anyone should resign from or disaffiliate from Momentum to participate. But one of our concerns is that if we don’t act now people who joined to support Corbyn will leave in disillusion. The need to move at pace must be balanced with the need to build in a democratic and sustainable way. Two national organisations (the Labour Representation Committee and Labour Against the Witchhunt) and a number of local groups have already signed up to this initiative and we are having positive discussions with many more.

We encourage all comrades not already members of local Labour Left groups to get involved in one or help set one up. We will gladly help you to find a speaker, advertise your meeting or assist in any other way we can.

Labour belongs to us – let’s unite and fight for our party!

Click here to read and sign up to the appeal!

The re-suspension of Chris Williamson is a travesty of justice

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Sign our open letter to the NEC here

The renewed suspension of Chris Williamson MP, two days after he was readmitted to the Labour Party, is deeply troubling. We are particularly concerned that Keith Vaz’ U-turn seems to have been motivated purely by the pressure coming from the right inside and outside the party. Sadly but unsurprisingly, that now includes Jon Lansman.

We presume Vaz initially judged the case by its merit and found – correctly – that Chris had not said or done anything that could be described as anti-Semitic or bringing the party into disrepute. Vaz quite rightly judged that the evidence did not warrant Chris’s ongoing suspension or his referral to the National Constitutional Committee (which is still dominated by the right).

But Vaz’s U-turn and Chris’s renewed suspension, following the deeply undemocratic and hysterical letter organised by Tom Watson, symbolise how unfair and one-sided the whole disciplinary process really is. The right is calling all the shots – and Labour HQ seems to always do exactly what they demand.

But the right will never be appeased. They will never accept Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, let alone prime minister. They will continue their campaign of sabotage, because he remains unreliable from the ruling class’s point of view, especially given his strong support for the rights of Palestinians.

It is high time that the Labour MPs better reflect the wishes of the local membership. We therefore urge Labour Party members to organise trigger ballots everywhere, particularly in order to deselect the 70 or so MPs who have signed Tom Watson’s letter (below).

Click here to see the long list of statements, resolutions and motions in support of Chris!

Sign our open letter to the NEC here

saboteurs

We welcome Chris Williamson’s reinstatement! Now use trigger ballots to get rid of the saboteurs!

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Today we are celebrating the long overdue reinstatement of Chris Williamson MP. The reality is that he should never have been suspended in the first place!

The allegation that Chris had downplayed anti-Semitism was totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were condemned in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris and Jeremy Corbyn.

Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

Handy list of saboteurs that should be targeted in trigger ballots

His comments were clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he did quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.

Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

We are deeply concerned that anti-Corbyn right-wingers continue to smear and harass Chris, even after his reinstatement. Ruth Smeeth MP, chair of the rightwing Jewish Labour Movement’s parliamentary group, for example said that he had “demonstrated a pattern of behaviour over a period of many months, seemingly seeking to intentionally undermine, marginalise and harass the British Jewish community and Jewish Labour Party members, which has continually brought the Labour Party into disrepute”.

Despite the departure of Iain McNicol as general secretary, the witch-hunt of left-leaning party members continues. The main target of this campaign is, of course, Jeremy Corbyn himself. But thousands of Labour Party members have been investigated, suspended and expelled, often on spurious grounds. Like Chris Williamson, they are the collateral damage in this campaign to ‘get’ Corbyn.

We call on all Labour Party members to use trigger ballots to challenge saboteurs like Ruth Smeeth, Tom Watson and all those who continue to oppose the positive transformation of the Labour Party.

Here is a guide on how to go about it: http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/model-motions/how-to-use-the-new-trigger-ballot-to-deselect-your-mp/

 

How to use the new trigger ballot to deselect your MP

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Labour Party conference 2018 voted to introduce two separate trigger ballots: one for all the Labour branches of a CLP, another one for all local affiliates (trade unions, socialist societies, cooperative organisations).

Here is how it works (please note that CLPs are still awaiting written guidelines – though MPs seem to have been sent a FAQ, see below):

1) On Monday June 25, general secretary Jennie Formby wrote to all sitting MPs, asking if they want to stand again in any new general election. They will have to let her know by July 8.

2) If the MP replies ‘yes’, the CLP will organise two trigger ballots:

  • Local party members will meet in their branches and are asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to retaining the sitting MP as the only candidate. A simple majority decides if the branches is counted as a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ vote.
  • Local affiliates (unions and other organisations) will probably not hold democratic elections, but also have one vote each.

3) If a minimum of 33 % of a CLP’s branches or 33 % of the CLP’s affiliates vote ‘no’ to retaining the sitting MP, a full selection process starts – ie, a democratic contest between different candidates, including the sitting MP. Please note that, according to a FAQ apparently sent to MPs by Jennie Formby at the beginning of July (see below), “the third of branches is calculated based only on the branches that do cast a vote” – which is excellent, if indeed this is how it will be implemented.

4) Only full Labour Party members have a vote in this stage of the process.

For example: A CLP has 10 branches and 10 affiliates. To start a full selection process, EITHER 4 LP branches OR 4 affiliated organisations have to vote ‘no’ when asked if they want to retain the sitting MP.

Click here for some background on trigger ballots and why they are so crucial to remaking the Labour Party. Also, remember that trigger ballots were only ever reformed to stop the much more democratic system of mandatory reselection going through at last year’s conference.

This FAQ was apparently sent to all MPs at the beginning of July (click on the picture to read it better)

 

 

Statement and model motion: Reinstate Pete Willsman!

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Labour Against the Witchhunt deplores the disciplinary action against NEC member Pete Willsman, who has been put under administrative suspension by general secretary Jennie Formby after “a number of complaints, including from NEC members, about Pete’s latest comments”.

Comrade Willsman insists that he made his comments to the American-Israeli author Tuvia Tenenbom “off the record”, which explains some of the clumsy formulations he used in the discussion. It is surely no coincidence that Pete’s comments, recorded in January, have been published at a time where the slow coup against Jeremy Corbyn is hotting up once again.

Nothing Pete Willsman said in these comments is anti-Semitic. He does, however, point to some uncomfortable truths exposed by the excellent Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby, which has been so willfully ignored by the mainstream media. The documentary reveals a systematic effort by the Israeli embassy to infiltrate the Labour Party and highlights the efforts by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to label critics of Israeli human rights abuses as anti-Semitic.

Letter sent by Corbyn to May asking for a public enquiry into Israeli interference in British politics… but nothing has happened.

This should be the subject of an overdue investigation rather than Pete Willsman’s role in drawing our attention to it. It is an outrage that Labour Party members are being disciplined for correctly stating that much of the anti-Semitism crisis has been manufactured, while anti-Corbyn MPs like Margaret Hodge, Louise Ellman and Tom Watson insult, disrupt, make bogus accusations and work hand in glove with the capitalist media – with no repercussions coming their way. Those making false charges ought to face disciplinary action and should be held accountable for their actions.

A stalwart of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLDP), Pete Willsman has been serving on Labour’s NEC for many decades and is one of the few real allies of Jeremy Corbyn on that body. This is why he has been on the radar of those who will do anything to get rid of Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. We recall how he was secretly recorded at a meeting of the NEC in July 2018, where he can be heard angrily criticising all those who were responsible for so many false allegations of anti-Semitism in the party. His subsequent re-election to the NEC, despite being removed from Momentum’s slate at the behest of its owner, Jon Lansman, shows both his individual popularity and the widespread disillusionment with Momentum for its part in promoting the false ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ narrative.

Pete Willsman’s suspension from the Labour Party should be lifted immediately.

Please use this model motion in your Labour Party branch, CLP, trade union or organisation.

Update: Meet Tuvia Tenenbom, the man who secretly recorded Peter Willsman and leaked the audio to the press just as the latest coup against Jeremy Corbyn is hotting up… Watch the short clip below and then judge for yourself if this really is a “journalist” whose sound recording guy happened to have left the microphone on… or if this does not look like somebody who might organise a sting operation against the most outspoken Corbyn supporter on Labour’s NEC … kind of proving Pete’s point about “interference”.

The Equality Commission’s Inquiry is part of the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn

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It is unfortunately no surprise that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has opened an official investigation into the Labour Party.

Any kind of neutral body would have had to immediately dismiss the complaints lodged by the Jewish Labour Movement and the so-called Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. These organisations have no interest in fighting racism: their only purpose is to get rid of a certain Jeremy Corbyn. They have been blatant in their political opposition to the twice elected leader of the Labour Party – and have actively plotted against him from day one. (Click here for Tony Greenstein’s blog who looks at the reactionary politics of the CAA).

According to The Guardian, the EHRC will investigate “whether the party has unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish” and if “the party and its employees have committed unlawful acts of discrimination or failed to respond to complaints of unlawful acts in an efficient and effective manner”.

If there has been unlawful discrimination by Labour against Jewish people, it is against Jewish anti-Zionists. Many of those, as well as black members, are involved in the struggle for Palestinian rights, which explains the disproportionate number of expulsions and suspensions of black and Jewish comrades.

However, the recent victory of Stan Keable in his employment tribunal shows what happens when these types of cases are put before a real judge: they are laughed out of court. Stan was fired for stating that in the 1930s the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazi regime – a well documented, if shameful, historical fact. The judge defended the right to express anti-Zionist views – even if they offend people.

Labour HQ should call this campaign what it is: part of the rightwing witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. The Labour leader remains an unreliable ally from the ruling class’s point of view, especially given his strong support for the rights of Palestinians.

The expulsion of Alistair Campbell, though welcome, does not change the overall picture. MPs like Margaret Hodge, Louise Ellman and Tom Watson insult, disrupt, make bogus accusations and work hand in glove with the capitalist media – with no repercussions coming their way. Those making false charges ought to face justice at last.

Their outrageous behaviour goes unpunished because of the short-sighted and futile attempts to appease the right. This can only undermine the Corbyn leadership and play into the false ‘Anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ narrative.

Stan Keable: “Judgement defends the right to express anti-Zionist views”

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The judgement and reasons took more than two hours to deliver, and will be published online by the employment tribunal. It defends the right to freedom of speech – to express views in public, including anti-Zionist views, which may offend some people or many people. Much case law was quoted and elaborated. The judgement will provide an encyclopaedia of dismissal law and a protection of the human rights of employees to freedom of assembly (the right to demonstrate) and freedom of speech – a great product of a year’s hard work.
[Click here to read LAW’s brief report and for some background to the see case.]

 

THANKS

Thank to my solicitor, David Phillips of R&A Solicitors (Manchester), and pro bono barrister Iqbal Sram, who did a brilliant job. Thanks to H&F Unison steward Bruce Mackay, who represented me at the preliminary investigation hearing, and to Branch Secretary Patsy Ishmael, who accompanied me at the appeal hearing and insisted that my right to a trade union rep of my choice had been illegally denied. Thanks to barrister Dave Renton, who helped prepare me for the disciplinary hearing and Tony Greenstein, who represented me at the disciplinary hearing. Thanks to my witnesses – all Jewish: Hilary Russell, Professor Moshé Machover, Mike Cushman (Free Speech on Israel), Naomi Wimbourne-Idrissi (Jewish Voice for Labour), Pamela Blakelock (JVL), Glyn Secker (JVL). Thanks to my local comrades in Hammersmith CLP and Hammersmith & Fulham Momentum for not believing the nonsense that I was anti-Semitic. Thanks to my comrades in Labour Party Marxist and Labour Against the Witchhunt, who defended me throughout. And thanks to my Esperantist friends who knew that racist “Jew-hate” could not feature in my outlook.

www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/uncategorized/stan-keable-has-won-his-employment-tribunal/

Stan Keable has won his employment tribunal

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We are very pleased to report that LAW secretary Stan Keable has today WON his employment tribunal against Hammersmith and Fulham council. The employment tribunal judge ruled that it was “an unfair dismissal, both procedurally and substantively.”

On April 21 2018, Stan was dismissed from his job with Hammersmith and Fulham Council after 17 years unblemished service as a housing officer, for having “brought the Council into disrepute”, by saying that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazi regime – a well documented if shameful historical fact.

He said this on March 26, in a conversation in Parliament Square – nothing to do with work – while participating in the Jewish Voice for Labour demonstration in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, called in opposition to the rightwing ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration.

The BBC’s David Grossman tweeted a 105-second video clip of the conversation, retweeted by Tory MP Greg Hands to H&F Council Labour leader Stephen Cowan and then used by the Council to sack Stan.

Unison withdrew support because Stan rejected the bad advice of their regional organiser to plead guilty, throwing away the right to demonstrate and to freedom of speech.

This dismissal was clearly an extension of the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party into the area of employment. Hopefully, this judgment will go some way to stop any more of such politically motivated sackings.

The remedy hearing is set for October 2, to determine possible reinstatement and the level of compensation.

Thank you to everybody who has supported Stan in this period!

Sign the petition: No to a national government! Implement the trigger ballot now!

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We are deeply worried about the delay to implement the trigger ballots, which Labour Party conference 2018 voted to reform. Trigger ballots are currently the only way in which Labour Party members can exercise some democratic control over their parliamentary representative.

This is particularly worrying with talks of a snap election or, worse, the formation of a national government. No doubt, Jeremy Corbyn would not be invited to join – let alone lead – such a national government, as the vast majority of MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party have proven over and over again how deeply hostile they are to him and his politics.

The PLP must change and Labour Party members must be allowed to exercise the right to hold their representatives to account! Continue Reading “Sign the petition: No to a national government! Implement the trigger ballot now!”

Jeremy Corbyn’s letter is welcome, but very late

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We welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s fighting spirit in his letter to the Board of Deputies. As usual, the BoD reacted with fake outrage to the ‘news’ that Corbyn wrote a foreword to the hugely influential book ‘Imperialism – a Study’ by AN Hobson.

We particularly agree  with this paragraph:

This accusation is the latest in a series of equally ill-founded accusations of anti-Jewish racism that Labour’s political opponents have made against me. I note that the Hobson story was written by a Conservative Party peer in a newspaper whose editorial policy, and owner, have long been hostile to Labour. At a time when Jewish communities in the UK, and indeed throughout Europe, feel under attack, it is a matter of great regret that the issue of anti-Semitism is often politicised in this way.

John A Hobson did not only develop a theory of underconsumption to explain capitalism’s devastating cycles of boom and bust – but he was also the first writer to explain that capitalism, with its need to constantly expand, requires governments to constantly open up new markets to exploit: imperialism.

And while there is a now much-quoted paragraph in the 400 page work that does indeed reflect how anti-Semitism was prevalent and acceptable within the ruling class at the time, this hardly makes it a “deeply anti-Semitic book”, as The Times and The Guardian now claim. Incidentally, in 2011 The Guardian praised the work as “the definitive book on imperialism”. This just shows you how the political narrative around the issue of anti-Semitism has been utterly manipulated and changed in the last few years.

But Corbyn’s two-finger salute comes late, very late. Hundreds of Labour Party supporters have been suspended, expelled or remain under investigation for exactly the same kind of “politicised” and “ill-founded accusations of anti-Jewish racism”, among them Chris Williamson MP, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein and many, many more. Why won’t he come out in their defence, too? The charges against them have been just as ridiculous.

We also hope that Corbyn will criticise the Jewish Labour Movement in similarly strong terms. After all, they have – once again – used the opportunity to continue their campaign of sabotage: They have called on him to “consider his position” and accused him of having “endorsed antisemitic propaganda”. “Any other member would have been suspended after this. This is why JLM members overwhelmingly passed a motion of no confidence in him and his leadership at our AGM two weeks ago. A fish rots from the head.”

And the Jewish Labour Movement clearly is rotten through and through. For a start, it does not represent “Jewish members of the Labour Party”: you do not have to be Jewish to join it and you certainly do not have to be a member of the Labour Party. Adam Langleben, for example, the newly elected campaigns officer of the JLM, has left the Labour Party with much fanfare in February and is, we hear,  supporting Chuka Umunna’s Tinge Party.

Congratulations to Sam Gorst – under investigation, but elected Labour councillor!

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Congratulations to Sam Gorst, who has just been elected Labour Party councillor in Cressington – despite a nasty campaign against him.

In the run-up to the local and European Union elections rightwingers in and outside the Labour Party have been busy scrolling through the Facebook and Twitter accounts of Labour candidates in particular. Naturally, they have been hugely successful in discovering ‘problematic’, often historic, posts (that were not considered problematic at all a few short years back).

Sam Gorst, for example, is under investigation for alleged “anti-Semitism”, because it appears he tweeted something “in defence of former London mayor Ken Livingstone”. His accounts have been deleted, but if that is all, then clearly the compliance unit has once again massively overreached. After all, Livingstone resigned from Labour after the NEC decided to readmit him after a one-year-suspension. The right wing  – much emboldened by their success with the campaign to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism – freaked out and the Corbyn leadership was in agony over what to do with Livingstone. He resigned to spare Corbyn any more blushes – to no avail, of course. Because Corbyn and his allies have continuously given in to the witch-hunters rather than standing up to them, Livingstone is now ‘known’ to be an anti-Semite (as is Corbyn himself, of course).

Click here to read an article by Moshe Machover  on the ‘Ken Livingstone affair’: “The campaign [by the witch-hunters] has been remarkably successful and, of course, the biggest scalp so far is that of former London mayor and former NEC member, Ken Livingstone. What did he say that got him suspended? Hitler came to power in 1932 and “supported Zionism until he went mad”. Of course, he got the date wrong, Hitler came to power in 1933. It was also wrong to personalise the shift in policy. But the point he was making about the Nazi regime and Zionism is basically correct, as I shall demonstrate.”

Ken Livingstone is new honorary president of Labour Against the Witchhunt (alongside comrade Machover) – check out how LAW fought to extract a rare apology from the Mail on Sunday when it maliciously misreported our meeting with him and Jackie Walker on March 25.

Mail on Sunday finally apologises to Ken Livingstone!

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Thanks to everybody who complained to the Mail on Sunday about its malicious and misleading article about our meeting ‘Defend the Left’ on March 25. On April 4, the rag has finally apologised to Ken Livingstone (which was printed in the April 7 edition of the Mail on Sunday):

Ken Livingstone said: “A massive thank you to the 1000s of people who gave their support over the last few days & to those who complained to the Mail on Sunday regarding their complete distortion of my recent remarks.

The correction is welcome, but does not change the fact that 1000s of people saw – & other media outlets reprinted – these lies.

We must continue to challenge how parts of the media act, spreading lie after lie, with little regard for the truth, and not be deterred in our campaigning for a better society, for the many not the few.”

The Mail apology reads: “An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Mr Livingstone had said it was not anti-Semitic to hate the Jews of Israel. In fact he told the meeting the claim he had said such a thing was one of the lies being spread about him. We apologise for this error.”


This is how we broke the story on Sunday March 31:

Continue Reading “Mail on Sunday finally apologises to Ken Livingstone!”

Support Chris Williamson: Seven things you can do

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  1. Use either of these draft motions  in your Labour Party branch/CLP. If successful, please send it to Jennie Formby and to LAW, so that we can publish it alongside other statements and resolutions here. Please note: We hear that in some branches and CLPs, the chair prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris, because of apparent recent advice by Labour HQ. Please note that there is NO BAN on discussing motions in support of Chris. We are dealing with the confusion on this matter in detail here. This is LAW’s statement on Chris’ suspension.
  2. Sign our petition demanding Chris’ reinstatement – and share it far and wide. There is another, simple one doing the rounds ‘Don’t Expel Chris Williamson’ and a good Open Letter to Jennie Formby from Labour Party members. Tony Greenstein has also produced a petition and there is another supportable petition online. Sign them all!
  3. If you’re on Twitter, use #IStandWithChrisWilliamson
  4. Put on a showing of ‘The Witchhunt’ documentary with Jackie Walker in your locality to better understand the background to this decision.
  5. Email Jennie Formby to protest against this decision.
  6. Join our March 26 protest party at the expulsion hearing of Jackie Walker (details to be confirmed, Facebook event here). Should Chris still be suspended, we will of course use the opportunity to demand his reinstatement.
  7. The first badge we’ve seen in solidarity with Chris is available here.

Paul Jonson reinstated!

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Paul Jonson had been suspended last month by Dudley council after having attended a protest outside the surgery of Ian Austin MP, who in July sent out a tweet stating “Hamas and the Palestinians were responsible for the deaths of 18 Gazans” during the Great Return March in May 2018. Comrade Jonson also published a post on Facebook declaring that “Israel is a racist endeavour” (in response to Labour NEC’s adoption of the ‘working definition’ of Anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance).

Read Paul’s full statement explaining his case here.

On December 19, the council found that comrade Jonson had “no case to answer” and he was allowed to  return to work with immediate effect.

This is an important victory in the fight against the highly politicised campaign that wants to label all criticism of Israel as ‘anti-Semitic’.

Do not cooperate with the ‘Antisemitism Monitoring Centre’!

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We call on all Labour Party members to stay well clear of the Jewish Labour Movement’s latest stunt. The JLM, which is the sister party of the Zionist Labor Party in Israel, has written to CLP secretaries, asking them to distribute their “survey” on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party to all local members. Many CLP secretaries have quite rightly moved this email directly into their Spam folder. If you have been unfortunate enough to have received the email, we urge you to do the same.

It is laughable to claim, as the JLM does, that it has “engaged, in good faith, with the Labour Party to try and solve the severe and ongoing crisis of Labour anti-Semitism”. The JLM has neither acted in “good faith”, nor has it got any interest in solving “the crisis of Labour anti-Semitism”. After all, the JLM has done tremendous work in making rare, isolated cases into a “crisis” in the first place. Hundreds, if not thousands, of supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have been witch-hunted in this campaign, which has nothing to do with fighting anti-Semitism – but everything with getting rid of Corbyn, a committed friend of the Palestinians.

We have seen people being suspended for using the word “Zio” or for expressing their outrage of the horrendous crimes committed by the state of Israel in a confused manner. The vast majority of these people are clearly not anti-Semitic. And yet, they have been publicly labeled as such by the JLM, the Board of Deputies and the despicable Jonathan Sachs, who has gone as far as calling Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite. We know that the JLM has reported many cases to Labour’s compliance unit, often causing great distress to the members concerned.

Socialists in the Labour Party should show up this “survey” for what it is – a clearly biased attempt to exacerbate the poisonous atmosphere of fear and suspicion in the party.

“They can fuck off”. Report of LAW’s first ever fringe meeting at LP conference

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Labour Against the Witchhunt held a successful fringe meeting at the Labour conference. Stan Keable reports

“There can be no greater injustice than anti-racists being accused of racism by racists,” the Scouse comedian Alexie Sayle told LAW’s packed fringe meeting on Sunday night. The potential for a “massive transformation” of the Labour Party and society opened up by “the miracle of Jeremy Corbyn” has overcome Alexei’s longstanding objection to voting. Having grown up in a communist family, he used to say: “Don’t vote, struggle against capitalism”. But, although Jeremy has changed all that, Alexei has not joined the Labour Party. A comedian needs to maintain their independence, he said, to be able to criticise any politician. The witch-hunters can’t expel me because I am not a member, he added, “so they can fuck off!” (The democracy we fight for, of course, includes the right of any Labour member, comedians included, to criticise all Labour leaders.)

Jewish Voice for Labour’s Jo Bird, newly elected four weeks ago as a councillor in Birkenhead, pointed out that she and her comrades had been canvassing for weeks, talking to people about all manner of issues, but “no-one raised the issue of anti-Semitism on the door”. She was appalled by Birkenhead MP Frank Field. He rounded on the rank-and-file party membership within his constituency. He invented accusations of anti-Semitism and bullying. To all those party members falsely suspended and expelled, she said: “You are owed a huge apology. On behalf of the party, I am very, very sorry.”

That moving apology became particularly poignant when 73-year-old Bob Walker, the youngest of the ‘Garston 3’, described how three disabled pensioners were expelled for merely attending a meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition – to discuss socialism. Gerry Tyrell, Tony Lock and Bob were rewarded for their tireless work of knocking on doors and delivering leaflets in all weathers during the 2017 general election campaign by being expelled. They were not told the names of their accusers or the evidence against them. Nor was there any hearing or right of appeal. LAW demands due process before any disciplinary sanction is taken.

Ex-Liverpool councillor Tony Mulhearn called on Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to stand up to the witch-hunters: “No more apologies, no more retreats. When you apologise, you are accepting you did something wrong.” He called out Andrew Marr for the bias he showed that morning while interviewing Corbyn, insistently cross-examining him about anti-Semitism allegations for more than 20 minutes. “Jeremy should have asked Marr who prepares such questions for him”, he said. Moreover, Corbyn should have asked: “Why don’t you show pictures of me on anti-racist demonstrations?” and “Why are Jews who support Jeremy never interviewed?” The smear campaign is “producing fear among Jewish people”, Mulhearn added.

Recalling the “ridiculously long list of charges” he faced in his own expulsion in 1986, comrade Mulhearn reminded us of how that earlier witch-hunt had been politically driven by the “bloated toad” Neil Kinnock. He insisted on getting people expelled regardless of the facts. “A witch-hunt is irrational”, said Tony, “because the decision has already been made”. At that time, John McDonnell had stood firm in his defence, but is now singing a different tune: “We need to be conciliatory, we are a broad church.” As LAW vice-chair Tony Greenstein commented: “Even the broadest church expels atheists. The ‘atheists’ in our party are those who are not, and never have been, socialists.”

Chairperson Annyana Ndukwe of Liverpool LAW and Grassroots Black Left read out a solidarity message from Asa Winstanley of Electronic Intifada, who was unable to join the panel of speakers:

Despite the new leftwing general secretary Labour has, the party bureaucracy is still disciplining members on entirely fallacious pretexts. One comrade in Brighton showed me a letter she received this very month from Labour’s head of complaints, Sophie Goodyear, warning her that several “provocative” tweets she’d allegedly written in 2016 had “caused offence” and that such “abuse” would “not be tolerated” in Labour … One of the three tweets cited was simply the comrade posting the headline and link to my April 2016 article, ‘How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis’ without comment … it seems that at least some in Labour HQ are treating critical journalism like Electronic Intifada as banned publications. (Full text here)

Tony Greenstein, expelled in February 2018, told us how he had also been suspended from the party in 1992 by then general secretary Larry Whitty, now a Lord – “well rewarded for services rendered to the capitalist state”, as comrade Mulhearn put it. Comrade Greenstein emphasised that the witch-hunt is “not about anti-Semitism, it is about removing Corbyn as leader”.

Chris Williamson MP, introduced by comrade Ndukwe as “one of the few MPs who is a true socialist”, confronted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the party, declaring that he often describes Israel as an apartheid state. He compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the fate of the Cherokees in America. Denouncing the “terrible injustice” being done to Jackie Walker, he condemned the way Marc Wadsworth had been “demonised as a bigot” for merely “asking a question at a press conference”.

Comrade Williamson, advocating mandatory reselection, quoted Ed Miliband’s advice: “If we trusted the members more, we would not have made so many mistakes”. And he laid into Neil Kinnock’s view that the party belongs to the MPs, not the members. As for those MPs who object to reselection on the grounds of employment rights: “It ain’t a job, mate! You are elected as a representative of the party and the people who elected you.”

Calling on Corbyn and McDonnell to wake up and confront the rightwing witch-hunters, comrade Williamson said McCarthyism, like all bullying, only stopped when people stood up to it. “The monster is getting bigger. Stop feeding the beast!”


LAW has also been running a number of stalls in Liverpool, organised a successful emergency lobby of the NEC and the showing of Jackie Walker’s ‘The Lynching’ with actress Jo Martin taking over Jackie’s role.

Open letter: No Jennie Formby, we will not be informers!

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We, the undersigned, are greatly concerned about recent communication from Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby aimed at Facebook groups which have ‘Labour Party’ or ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ in their title (the full letter is below).

We are particularly outraged by the following passage which states “posts and conversations with antisemitic or otherwise discriminatory content” should be emailed to “complaints@labour.org.uk with screenshots and links […] if you believe the individual who has posted them may be a Labour member so that this can be investigated by the Party.

As Facebook users, we reject any attempt to make us informers to Labour’s dysfunctional disciplinary processes. Social media and Facebook are effective because they allow the exchange of ideas, even if at times clumsily expressed. Most Facebook groups police themselves adequately, without the assistance of a compliance unit, whose targets to date have almost exclusively been

  • on the left of the Party
  • supporters of Palestinian rights
  • critics of Israel and Zionism
  • and disproportionately black and Jewish

Given the Labour Party’s recent adoption of the ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which in the words of the Jewish former Court of Appeal judge, Sir Stephen Sedley, is “calculatedly misleading” and the IHRA’s purposeful conflation of criticism of Israel and Zionism with anti-Semitism, we have no confidence that free speech to criticise Israel will be guaranteed, if this approach is accepted across social media.

What constitutes anti-Semitism remains disputed. The traditional definition, as per the Oxford English Dictionary is, “hostility to or prejudice against Jews”. The IHRA definition on the other hand takes up over 500 words, many of which refer to Israel.

For example, John McDonnell stated in a recent interview with Jewish News: “What we’re saying is it’s anti-Semitic to oppose a Jewish state”. We disagree. Opposing a state that systematically, and constitutionally, marginalises and demonises Palestinians while subjecting them to discrimination is by definition a form of apartheid. It is not ant-Semitism to state this fact.

Your letter, as an attempt to make Facebook users responsible for the conduct of other group members, displays the same method used by the media to smear Jeremy Corbyn when he did not speak up against (the very few) people posting nonsense in a group he happened to be a member of.

We believe the ongoing witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters is bringing the party into disrepute. Your email will yet again fan the flames of this toxic climate, leading to ever more malicious and vexatious allegations and complaints.

We believe that open and democratic debate, without fear of being reported, is the best way to educate people and fight prejudice and racism. This new intrusion on free speech can only undermine the extraordinary effectiveness of social media as a tool to support the leader and the left in the party.

We will oppose any attempt to outsource education on anti-Semitism to the Jewish Labour Movement, which is the British wing of the Israeli Labour Party and covertly filmed and leaked a video of Jackie Walker at a closed training event in order to damage the party.

  • We remain determined to eradicate all forms of discrimination from our Party.
  • When we see prejudice or hate, we always speak up.
  • When we see discrimination, we always oppose it.
  • When we are asked to behave unjustly, we always refuse.

SIGN THIS OPEN LETTER HERE.


Full communication from Jennie Formby:

I’m writing to you as I understand that you are an admin or moderator of a Facebook group which refers to the Labour Party or Jeremy Corbyn in its title. Continue Reading “Open letter: No Jennie Formby, we will not be informers!”

Statement on the September 4 decision to adopt the full IHRA

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The September 4 decision of Labour’s National Executive Committee to back the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is a gift to the right in party.

The intent of this document is not to define Anti-Semitism – after all, the Oxford English Dictionarymanages that in six words: “Hostility to or prejudice against Jews.” No, its sole purpose is to conflate criticism of Zionism and Israel with anti-Semitism. Most IHRA examples refer to Israel and the IHRA definition is labeling anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic.

In their identical front pages of July 25, the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Telegraphand Jewish Newsopenly stated that, “Had the full IHRA definition with examples relating to Israel been approved [by the NEC], hundreds, if not thousands, of Labour and Momentum members would need to be expelled.”

Including Jeremy Corbyn, of course. At long last, the witch-hunt in the Labour Party has reached its main target. For the last three years, vastly exaggerated claims that the Labour Party is awash with anti-Semites have been used to attack the left. But Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein and hundreds of other Labour Party members were little more than collateral damage.

This vicious campaign, orchestrated by the pro-Zionist lobby and the right in the party, never had anything to do with fighting anti-Semitism – but everything with getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn. His pro-Palestinian views and socialist policies make him unacceptable to both.

And now the NEC – on paper dominated by the pro-Corbyn left – has given in once again. Momentum owner Jon Lansman has been lobbying for the adoption of the full IHRA – and he presumably was behind moves to stop even Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘personal statement’, which would have qualified some of the ‘examples’. But Corbyn was told that there “wasn’t a majority for it”.

But even this latest capitulation will not stop the campaign of the right, as Margaret Hodge has already proven: A day before the meeting, she said accepting the full IHRA definition, without any caveats, would not be enough to stop her and others from attacking Corbyn: “I think the moment has passed. The problem is that Jeremy Corbyn is the problem.”

One thing is for certain. The IHRA will not stop the fake anti-Semitism campaign. On the contrary the NEC’s decision has given it renewed strength.

It is time to take a principled stance. The joint demonstration on September 4 by Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witchhunt and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network was magnificent. Over 200 people turned up to show their opposition to the IHRA and to demonstrate their anger at the false accusations of anti-Semitism. A number of Momentum groups were present, as Lansman slunk in without saying a word. Click here for our report.

There is still time to bring this witch-hunt to an end. But Jeremy Corbyn and his allies have to stand up to the enemies of the democratic Labour left:

  • They have to reject the whole IHRA working definition and clearly say that the Labour Party is not riddled with anti-Semites.
  • All those summarily expelled or suspended from membership without due process should be immediately reinstated.
  • We need mandatory reselection of all Labour MPs. The right wing saboteurs in the PLP have to go.
  • Momentum has be radically democratised – or abolished.Instead of defending Corbyn, Momentum owner Jon Lansman has sided with the witch-hunters. He has thrown Jackie Walker and Pete Willsman to the wolves and is now ready to abandon Corbyn, too. He wants the term ‘Zionism’ banned. He runs Momentum like a dictator, having abolished all democratic structures.
But democracy and free speech are essential in the struggle to transform our party and society.

 

NEC lobby: no to IHRA, yes to freedom of speech!

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Labour Against the Witchhunt has been lobbying Labour’s NEC meetings since February, for its three basic aims – rejection of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism (because it conflates anti-Zionismm with anti-Semitism), abolition of Rule 2.1.4.B (which allows party apparatchiks to expel members without due process, and is arbitrarily used against the left), and abolition off the hated Compliance Unit (which implements arbitrary instant suspensions and expulsions). Today, September 4, the lobby of the NEC’s special meeting to deal with the so called anti-Semitism crisis in the party, was much enhanced as the lobby was also called by Jewish Voice for Labour, Free Speech on Israel, Camden Momentum, Labour Representation Committee and the recently formed ‘Back the NEC Code’ – launched in frustration at Momentum’s total failure to defend Corbyn from the rightwing anti-Semitism smear campaign. Continue Reading “NEC lobby: no to IHRA, yes to freedom of speech!”

Mass lobby on September 4: Say no to IHRA examples!

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On September 4, the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party will be discussing the adoption of ALL examples of the definition on Anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Most of these examples are designed to conflate criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism. If adopted, they would, for example, ban the description of Israel as a racist state. We believe that adopting these examples would be major defeat for the left.

That is of course what this whole campaign is about: to get rid of Corbyn and his supporters and to stop the transformation of the Labour Party into a vehicle for socialist change. For this, we need a culture of open debate and criticism, not a culture of fear and censorship. As socialists, we must defend the right to openly criticise the crimes and injustice committed against the Palestinians.

We call on NEC members to resist this pressure from the right in and outside the party. We are therefore joining other organisations and groups in calling for a mass protest outside Labour Party HQ.

Tuesday September 4, 9am
Labour HQ, Southside,
105 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QT
Bring banners, posters and witches costumes!
Facebook event here

LAW’s leaflet for the event is available here in PDF format.

More background information:

 

Momentum drops Pete Willsman – support the comrade!

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Pete Willsman, stalwart of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), is the latest Corbyn supporter in the crosshairs of the right in the Labour Party. Incredibly, in this witch-hunt they are supported by the likes of former left-winger Owen Jones, who calls on people not to vote for Willsman in the forthcoming NEC elections. To make matters worse, Momentum’s leadership has today (August 2) decided to withdraw support from comrade Willsman. It is bad enough dealing with the right in the party – but when the left gets involved in firing shots at its own side, we are in serious trouble!

Clearly, nothing Willsman said at the July NEC meeting was even vaguely anti-Semitic. He has been a staunch supporter of the left within the party for decades and deserves the full support of all genuine socialists and democrats in the Labour movement.

We urge all Labour Party members to vote for him in the current NEC elections. We find it more difficult to call for support for the other eight candidates put up by Momentum. But although we strongly criticise how undemocratically this slate has been put together and believe that quite a few of the candidates on the list have been supportive – or at least silent – on the ongoing witch-hunt, we cannot run the risk of giving the right another seat on the important leadership body.But clearly, the methods employed in choosing the candidates – and some of the candidates – stink to heaven.

If you are a member of Momentum, please send letters of protest to ncg@peoplesmomentum.com and laura.parker@peoplesmomentum.com

Below, a statement issued by Walter Wolfgang:

“I came to Britain as a refugee from Nazi Germany, with a strong and continuing commitment to Judaism, and still attend my synagogue regularly.  I have been a member the Labour Party for 70 years. As a former member of Labour’s National Executive Committee myself, I have served with Pete Willsman and know him to be a committed anti-racist and a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. I am dismayed that Pete is under attack at the very time when the ballot for the NEC is taking place, and despite his deep and public apology. Pete Willsman is a staunch champion of party democracy. I will be voting for him, and urge Labour Party members to do likewise.”

  • There have also been renewed attempts to expel from the Labour Party Moshé Machover, LAW’s honorary president and distinguished author on Palestinian rights. When they last expelled him, the party had to reinstate the comrade within the month.
  • Similarly outrageous is the charge against Sheffield Labour Party member Lee Rock, who is currently being investigated by Labour’s compliance unit for what might well be the most ridiculous disciplinary charge we have yet come across. The reason for the investigation is“your participation in an extended debate on a Facebook group, in which you argued in favour of masturbation in workplaces”. We have reproduced an article about this on our website. Clearly, this investigation needs to be shut down – accompanied by a public apology and action taken against those who have made this vexatious complaint. Tony Greenstein also commented on the affair in his pointedly titled article, Labour’s War Against Wankers.

Muddying the water: LAW statement on Labour’s new Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct

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LAW Statement, July 9 2018:

Labour’s Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct

The Labour Party’s new Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct, issued last week, was clearly intended to put an end to the campaign of false allegations of anti-Semitism. Instead it has achieved the precise opposite. The Code has been the subject of a fierce attack by Zionist organisations and the mass media. It has also caused confusion amongst our allies, some of whom have welcomed it.

The campaign of false allegations is not driven by a failure to define anti-Semitism but is a politically motivated attack by the Right and supporters of Zionism. The Code will not prevent the weaponisation of anti-Semitism by those whose primary concern is defence of Israel, right or wrong. The expulsion of Tony Greenstein, Marc Wadsworth, Cyril Chilson and others was the product of a deliberate smear campaign aimed at the Corbyn leadership. Those who believe that the Code marks the end of the false anti-Semitism campaign against the Labour Party are sadly mistaken. Continue Reading “Muddying the water: LAW statement on Labour’s new Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct”

Support Stan Keable’s campaign for reinstatement!

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Please support Stan Keable’s campaign for reinstatement. Stan, secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt, has been sacked for stating an historically verifiable fact. And now his union (Unison) has let him down too. He has been advised of how much a barrister would cost to represent him at an employment tribunal. Please give generously and spread this message. Thank you!

https://www.gofundme.com/ReinstateStanKeable

On April 21 2018, I was dismissed from my job with Hammersmith and Fulham Council after 17 years unblemished service as a housing enforcer, for having “brought the Council into disrepute”, by saying that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazi regime – a well documented if shameful historical fact.

I said this on March 26, in a conversation in Parliament Square – nothing to do with work – while participating in the Jewish Voice for Labour demonstration in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, called in opposition to the rightwing ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration.

The BBC’s David Grossman tweeted a 105-second video clip of the conversation, retweeted by Tory MP Greg Hands to H&F Council Labour leader Stephen Cowan and then used by the Council to sack me.

Unison has withdrawn support because I rejected the bad advice of their regional organiser to plead guilty, throwing away the right to demonstrate and to freedom of speech – so I need funds for a barrister and potential legal costs to challenge my political victimisation at an employment tribunal, as well as for campaigning for reinstatement.

My dismissal extends the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party to the area of employment. Don’t let me be the first of many political sackings.

Please give generously. Any surplus funds will be passed to Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) for campaigning.

Read more:

My open letter to H&F Councillors:
http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/campaigns/stan-keables-open-letter-to-hammersmith-fulham-labour-councillors-and-party-members/

Mike Cushman – ‘How talking about Zionism can lose you your job’:
http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/keable-sacking/#sthash.ueizxvgU.xeBSvgDw.dpbs

Tony Greenstein – ‘No criticism permitted’:
https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1203/no-criticism-permitted/

LAW statement: Corbyn was wrong to pressurise Ken Livingstone into leaving the Labour Party

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It is clear from reports such as John Rentoul in The Independent that Ken Livingstone’s resignation was not voluntary but the result of pressure exerted by Jeremy Corbyn and his close associates. We refer in particular to Shami Chakrabarti’s disgraceful attack on Livingstone on BBC’s Sunday Politics (May 13),when she threatened she would quit the Labour front bench if Livingstone was not expelled. Chakrabarti has not only ignored her own recommendations on natural justice and due process but she has also destroyed her own reputation, as a former Director of Liberty, for a belief in freedom of expression.

Nothing Livingstone was alleged to have done could in any way be described as anti-Semitic.  His remark that “Hitler supported Zionism” is confirmed by a host of Holocaust historians.  If he gave offence to supporters of Israel and Zionism it is because of the appalling record historically of Zionism when it comes to fighting real anti-Semites. Continue Reading “LAW statement: Corbyn was wrong to pressurise Ken Livingstone into leaving the Labour Party”

Mike Cushman: How talking about Zionism can lose you your job

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Mike Cushman reports how Stan Keable (LAW secretary) has been sacked by Hammersmith and Fulham Council for a private conversation when he attended the Jewish Voice for Labour Parliament Square rally on 26 March. This article first appeared on Free Speech on Israel. 

Stan engaged in a discussion with a Zionist during the Parliament Square rally, a conversation that happened to be recorded by the BBC and broadcast. During the one on one discussion Stan talked about the historically undisputed collaboration between the Nazis and the German Zionist leadership. At no time did Stan make any, even remotely, antisemitic.

Hammersmith and Fulham Tory MP Greg Hands circulated the video of the conversation, publicised on Twitter and then referred it to the New Labour Leader of the Council. That letter, which was the first public association of Greg with the Council was made public. This linking of Greg with the Council was the sole basis of the charge of ‘bringing the council into disrepute’. Hands publicised Stan’s link with the Council and then this publicising was, itself, used as the basis for dismissal. An offence that only existed because the complainant had caused it to exist. Continue Reading “Mike Cushman: How talking about Zionism can lose you your job”

LAW statement on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth

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“Victim of a politically motivated campaign against Jeremy Corbyn”

Labour Against the Witchhunt strongly condemns the outrageous decision to expel Marc Wadsworth after a two-day hearing in front of three right-wing members of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee.

Marc is the latest victim of the politically motivated witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Marc Wadsworth, a lifelong campaigner against racism, has been smeared and his reputation tarnished, first by the vile and false allegations against him and now, to top it off, by this deeply unjust verdict. Following 22 months of trial-by-media, our comrade had very little chance of receiving a fair hearing – and he did not get one. Continue Reading “LAW statement on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth”

In solidarity with Marc Wadsworth!

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Great turnout today at the Labour Party expulsion hearing of anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth outside Church House. Credit to Chris Williamson MP who spoke as a witness on behalf of Marc, while Ruth Smeeth MP was ‘accompanied’ into the hearing by a number of right-wing MPs.

Protestors appealed for due process to be applied – which would have to lead to Marc being totally exonerated and reinstated to full membership. He is one of the many victims of the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn supporters. Solidarity, comrade Marc! His hearing is scheduled to last two days.

Click here for a report in The Guardian.

Sign this open letter to Jeremy Corbyn and the left on the NEC

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As socialist members and Labour Party supporters, we are firm opponents of all forms of racism, fascism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all other kinds of oppression. Many of us have been actively campaigning against them for many years, often alongside you, John McDonnell and other comrades.

We know anti-Semitism exists in society and needs to be combatted. But we are seriously worried about the current climate in the Labour Party, where anycriticism of the actions of the state of Israel is now immediately conflated with anti-Semitism. But anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism.

Continue Reading “Sign this open letter to Jeremy Corbyn and the left on the NEC”

LAW lobby: NEC members sneak in through the back door

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Intrepid opponents of the Labour purge of pro-Corbyn supporters braved freezing weather to be on a lobby of the party’s National Executive Committee today. They included members of Grassroots Black Left, the Labour Representation Committee, Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Party Marxists and Brighton and Hove Momentum. Organised by Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), the high-spirited demo sighted party leader Corbyn, his political advisor Katy Clark and Campaign for Labour Party Democracy secretary Peter Willsman, an NEC member, going into the meeting at Labour’s Southside headquarters in central London. But, mysteriously, despite the people on the lobby being outside the office block an hour before the NEC meeting started, no more members of Labour’s 39-strong ruling body, where the Corbyn-backing Left recently took control, were seen – suggesting they may have slipped into the building from a back entrance to avoid being questioned. The campaigners chanted: “Stop the witch hunts”, “End the suspensions”, and “Implement Chakrabarti now”.

Former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker, who has been suspended by Labour for almost two years, said: “We welcome the resignation of general secretary Iain McNicol and his replacement today by Jennie Formby, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter whom LAW has critically supported. Things are definitely changing in the party, but they are not changing fast enough for a lot of members who remain suspended or expelled based on trumped-up or false charges or simply because they are active supporters of Corbyn.”

Grassroots Black Left’s Marc Wadsworth, the veteran anti-racist campaigner suspended by Labour in June 2016 whose expulsion hearing is on April 25, was on the lobby with Walker and Tony Greenstein, who, despite being Jewish, has been expelled on a false charge of anti-semitism. Wadsworth said: “We demand that the recommendations of the 2016 Chakrabarti report in respect of natural justice and due process are implemented without any further delay. The NEC’s failure to so far make the long-overdue changes has brought the party, that prides itself on upholding justice for all, into disrepute. The divisive purge of Jeremy Corbyn supporters has prevented and discouraged new members from getting involved in party life, while costly Labour resources have been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners for social change.”

 

LAW welcomes Jon Lansman’s decision to withdraw

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March 11 2018

Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) welcomes Jon Lansman’s decision to finally listen to his party comrades, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and withdraw as a candidate for the General Secretary post.

We are mystified as to why Lansman, who purports to back the greater representation of women at all levels of the Labour Party, ran against Unite’s Jennie Formby in the first place. LAW critically supports Formby for the job. We are concerned about her record on Labour’s NEC  where it appears she has, as recently as last week, failed to oppose the witch hunting of Jeremy Corbyn supporters by right-wingers who have weaponised false claims of anti-semitism despite Formby herself being the target of such smears. Nobody in the Labour Party can truly be a socialist if they support the purge and that includes the future general secretary.

Lansman, given his record in abolishing all democratic structures within Momentum and imposing a new constitution, is unfit to be Labour General Secretary.

He got rid of the right of Momentum’s “liberation strands”, such as Momentum Black Connexions/Caucus, to have direct representation on the leading national bodies of Momentum.  More recently, he closed down Momentum’s youth group. This demonstrates his serious lack of commitment to the self-organisation of oppressed and disadvantaged groups in the Labour Party.

Labour Against the Witchhunt believes that Lansman lacks the democratic credentials necessary to become general secretary of the Labour Party, especially in view of previous General Secretary Iain McNicol’s purge of thousands of pro-Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party members and the particularly those as a result of false accusations of anti-semitism and others based on members’ alleged “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B.

The Labour Party now needs a General Secretary who will put a decisive stop to the witch-hunt who will make sure that all disciplinary charges are dealt with fairly, swiftly, transparently and with the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty”.

Jackie Walker was suspended from Labour membership on trumped-up charges of anti-semitism, following Lansman’s pre-emptive action in removing her as Momentum’s vice-chair, and, at the time, making plain his sympathies with the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement who have championed the witchhunt in order to purge the party of Corbyn-supporting anti-Zionists.

Lansman’s constitution for Momentum bars from membership all those expelled by the Labour Party’s compliance unit. This rule that has been used exclusively against left-wingers. Lansman has since come out in support of keeping the rule (2.1.4.B) in Labour’s constitution.

He has also opposed our demands for the abolition of the Compliance Unit. We believe that all disciplinary matters should be dealt with by elected representatives.

Labour’s next general secretary should ensure the NEC immediately implements the recommendations on the party’s disciplinary procedure made by the Shami Chakrabarti Report of June 30 2016.

We believe that Unite’s Jennie Formby would be the best choice for general secretary. As a supporter of the rights of the Palestinians people we think her election would send a powerful political signal. We hope that her tenure would mark the beginning of the end of the witch-hunt.

Steering Committee
Labour Against the Witchhunt

 

Why we cannot support Jon Lansman’s Labour Party general secretary bid

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Some of us are members of Momentum, some have never joined – and some of us left the organisation after January 2017, when its leader Jon Lansman abolished all democratic structures and imposed a new constitution, riding roughshod over the organisation’s members.

It should be noted that, as part of this coup, Lansman abolished the right of Momentum’s “liberation strands” to have direct representation on the leading national bodies of the organisation. Among the consequences of this was the breaking up of Momentum Black Connexions/Caucus. More recently, he closed down Momentum’s youth group. This demonstrates his serious lack of commitment to the self-organisation, self-determination and autonomy of disadvantaged groups in society.

Wes Stressing MP: new friend of Jon Lansman’s

As a consequence of Lansman’s behaviour, Labour Against the Witchhunt believes he lacks the democratic credentials to become the kind of general secretary that the Labour Party now needs in order to heal the wounds inflicted by Iain McNicol’s divisiveness. As general secretary, McNicol was directly in charge of the discredited compliance unit and thereby responsible for the purge of thousands of pro-Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party members. The automatic and instant expulsions and suspensions overseen by McNicol – especially those based on alleged anti-semitism and those based on members’ alleged “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B – have brought the party into disrepute. They have prevented and discouraged new members from getting involved in party life, while valuable resources have been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners for social change. Continue Reading “Why we cannot support Jon Lansman’s Labour Party general secretary bid”

Ken Loach: “This witch-hunt is a complete nonsense”

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Filmmaker Ken Loach addressed spirited meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt in London on January 29

More than 70 people crammed into London’s Conway Hall last night (January 29) to discuss the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the Labour Party and what can be done to stop it. Hundreds of left-wing and pro-Palestinian members remain expelled or suspended, for example on trumped up charges of anti-Semitism.
For videos from the event, click here.

Continue Reading “Ken Loach: “This witch-hunt is a complete nonsense””

LAW’s lobby of the Labour Party NEC

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Around 40 supporters (and a few witches) showed up today, January 23, to help us lobby the Labour Party NEC to demand an end to the witch-hunt against left-wing and pro-Palestinian Labour members. Expelled and suspended members (amongst them Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein) spoke to NEC members and lots of press. Continue Reading “LAW’s lobby of the Labour Party NEC”

Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success

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Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success – pressure from members, Branches and CLPs CLPs led to the reversal of the expulsion of emeritus professor Moshé Machover, one of a long line of socialists and Corbyn supporters expelled or suspended on bogus charges of anti-Semitism. He is now honorary president of Labour Against the Witchhunt.

The claim that anti-Semitism is rife in the Labour Party is untrue. It is a weapon the Right has consistently used against the Left. The ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign and witchhunt is used to block criticism of Israel’s settler-colonialism, its persecution of the Palestinians and its racist, apartheid practices. False anti-Semitism accusations are used to bolster support for Israel’s role in the Middle East. Israel receives more military aid from the USA than all the other countries in the world put together, over $4 billion a year. Continue Reading “Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success”

Email NEC members

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Chair: Wendy Nichols w.nichols@unison.co.uk
Vice Chair: Andi Fox andydaisyfox@hotmail.co.uk
Leader: Jeremy Corbyn MP mailto: leader@labour.org.uk
Deputy Leader: Tom Watson MP tom.watson.mp@parliament.uk
Treasurer: Diana Holland equality@unitetheunion.org
Shadow Frontbench: Jon Trickett MP trickettj@parliament.uk
Shadow Frontbench: Rebecca Long-Bailey MP rebecca.longbailey.mp@parliament.uk
Shadow Frontbench: Diane Abbott MP diane.abbott.office@parliament.uk
Shadow Scottish Frontbench: Richard Leonard MSP Richard.Leonard.msp@parliament.scot
Welsh Labour Representative: Mick Antoniw AM Mick.Antoniw@assembly.wales
EPLP Leader: Richard Corbett MEP richard@richardcorbett.org.uk
Young Labour: Lara McNeill lara.mcneill@kcl.ac.uk
BAME Labour: Keith Vaz MP vazk@parliament.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Keith Birch (Unison) k.birch@unison.co.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Jim Kennedy (Unite) jim.kennedy@unitetheunion.org
Div. I – Trade Unions: Andi Fox (TSSA) andydaisyfox@hotmail.co.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Pauline McCarthy (Bakers) pauline.mccarthy@premierfoods.co.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Michael Wheeler (Usdaw) michael.wheeler@usdaw.org.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Wendy Nichols (Unison) w.nichols@unison.co.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Andy Kerr (CWU) akerr@cwu.org
Div. I – Trade Unions: Sarah Owen (GMB) sarah.owen@gmb.org.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Jayne Taylor (UNITE) jayne.taylor@unitetheunion.org
Div. I – Trade Unions: Cath Speight (GMB) cath.speight@gmb.org.uk
Div.I – Trade Unions: Ian Murray (FBU) Ian.Murray@fbu.org.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Mick Whelan (ASLEF) mwhelan@aslef.org.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Joanne Cairns (USDAW) joanne.cairns@usdaw.org.uk
Div. II – Socialist Societies: James Asser james.asser@yahoo.co.uk
Div. III – CLPs: Huda Elmi hudaelmiNEC@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Yasmin Dar yasminedar.labour@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Rachel Garnham racheljgarnham@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Ann Henderson ahendersonlab@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Jon Lansman jonlansman@me.com
Div. III – CLPs: Navendu Mishra navendu.labour@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Claudia Webbe claudia.webbe@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Darren Williams darren.williams.nec@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Pete Willsman willsman@talk21.com
Div. IV – Labour Councillors: Nick Forbes nick.forbes@newcastle.gov.uk 
Div. IV – Labour Councillors: Alice Perry aliceperryuk@gmail.com
Div. V – PLP/EPLP: George Howarth MP george.howarth.mp@parliament.uk
Div. V – PLP/EPLP: Margaret Beckett MP margaret.beckett.mp@parliament.uk
Div. V – PLP/EPLP: Shabana Mahmood MP shabana.mahmood.mp@parliament.uk

In addition, the PLP Shadow Chief Whip (Nick Brown MP nickbrownmp@parliament.uk ), and PLP Chair (John Cryer MP john.cryer.mp@parliament.uk) attend ex-officio without a vote.

Jennie Formby: jennie_formby@labour.org.uk

LAW statement on LRC withdrawing from Labour Left Alliance

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It is a shame that the executive committee of the Labour Representation Committee has decided to withdraw from the Labour Left Alliance.

Especially now, with a general election on December 12, the need to build a viable left alternative in the Labour Party and the Labour movement seems to us more urgent and more important than ever.

For example, we are deeply worried about the way Labour’s National Executive Committee has taken over the selection of parliamentary candidates at the beginning of October. Many candidates favoured (or already selected) by local Constituency Labour Parties were left off the long lists. And even where left-wingers made it onto the short lists, we have heard of more than a dozen cases where they were swiftly removed once a right-winger or regional officer complained. Often, no reason was given beyond the party’s “need to exercise due diligence”. In other cases, reasons given for the removal include pictures of the candidate with Chris Williamson or posts criticising Israel. There is no appeal for candidates smeared in this way.

At the same time, the witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters has accelerated once more. Automatic suspensions have been reinstated and we have seen evidence of members having been suspended on ridiculous charges, which includes sharing posts by Labour Against the Witchhunt.

In our view, the LLA has made great strides forward since it was launched in July 2019:

  • Almost 1,600 individual supporters from over 450 CLPs have signed up to the Labour Left Alliance.
  • More than 20 Labour Left groups have affiliated, among the latest are Swansea Labour Left and Northants Labour Left.
  • Preparations for the LLA launch conference on February 1 2020 are well underway.

LAW is committed to continue building and participating in this important initiative and we urge all socialists and Corbyn supporters to join the LLA: www.labourleft.org

 

 

 

 

 

Successful CLP motion passed in support of Chris Williamson

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PLEASE  NOTE THERE IS NO BAN ON MOVING MOTIONS IN SUPPORT OF CHRIS: We hear that, again, in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris because of apparent guidelines sent out by Labour HQ. Labour Against the Witchhunt have produced detailed advice to show that this is not the case – click here for more info and details on  how to move a motion.

Passed by Chesham and Amersham CLP, October 24 2019

This CLP notes with concern:

1) The judgement of the High Court:

– that the Labour Party had ‘acted unfairly’ in retrospectively re-imposing the suspension of Chris Williamson MP following the decision of a panel of The National Executive committee to reinstate his membership

– that “there was no proper reason for reopening the case against Mr Williamson”:

– and that this act was “unlawful”:

2) the misuse of precious Labour Party funds to defend this unlawful procedure in the High Court;

3) the further persecution by the Labour Party in arbitrarily imposing on Chris Williamson a second suspension.

We therefore call on the General Secretary to:

1) lift the suspension of Chris Williamson forthwith;

2) end the practice of instant expulsions and suspensions

3) conduct a comprehensive review of the part’s legal, disciplinary and disputes procedures: and

4) ensure that all future disciplinary procedures are carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

Model motions on Chris Williamson’s court case and new suspension

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Here are a number of motions currently going forward in various branches and CLPs. Feel free to chop and change.

PLEASE  NOTE THERE IS NO BAN ON MOVING MOTIONS IN SUPPORT OF CHRIS: We hear that, again, in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris because of apparent guidelines sent out by Labour HQ. Labour Against the Witchhunt have produced detailed advice to show that this is not the case – click here for more info and details on  how to move a motion.

1) Motion on Chris Williamson court case

This branch/CLP notes with concern
  1. the judgement of the High Court that the Labour Party had “acted unfairly” in retrospectively re-imposing suspension of Chris Williamson MP following the decision of a panel of the National Executive Committee to reinstate his membership; that “there was no proper reason for reopening the case against Mr Williamson”; and that this act was “unlawful”;
  2. the misuse of precious Labour Party funds to defend this unlawful procedure in the High Court;
  3. the further persecution by the Labour Party in arbitrarily imposing on Chris Williamson a second suspension.
We consider the entire report by Judge Pepperall a damning indictment of our party’s internal disciplinary procedures, and declare our loss of confidence in the integrity of the current disciplinary process, rendering it unfit for purpose.
We therefore call on the General Secretary to:
  1. lift the suspension of Chris Williamson MP forthwith;
  2. end the practice of instant expulsions and suspensions;
  3. reinstate the membership of all those summarily expelled or suspended without due process;
  4. conduct a comprehensive review of the party’s legal, disciplinary and disputes procedures; and
  5. ensure that all future disciplinary procedures are carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
* * * *
For your information, here are some background notes…
Chris Williamson MP was suspended on February 27. On June 26, a three-person antisemitism panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee voted to reinstate Williamson. This was made up of Keith Vaz MP, Huda Elmi and Gerarld Howarth MP. On June 27, following a public campaign against the decision led by Tom Watson, Keith Vaz claimed that he was undergoing medical procedures and felt that he had “not been fit” to consider any of the cases dealt with that day. On June 28, general secretary Jennie Formby informed all NEC members that the decision of the panel would be revisited by the full NEC Disputes Panel. This decided on July 9 that Williamson was suspended again and on July 19 it referred Williamson’s case to the party’s National Constitutional Committee.
In his judgement of October 10 2019, judge Edward Pepperall ruled that “the party acted unfairly” in re-suspending Chris Williamson MP on July 9 and that “there was no proper reason for reopening the case against Mr Williamson and referring the original allegations to the NCC”. Judge Pepperall declared the re-suspension “unlawful” and that “the Labour Party is no longer able lawfully to pursue the original [February 27] disciplinary case against Mr Williamson”. Judge Pepperall explained that it was “not difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision [to re-suspend Chris] in this case was that [NEC] members were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June decision.” He referenced Tom Watson organising a public letter of 90 MPs and peers and another letter by 70 Labour staffers, demanding that Jeremy Corbyn strip Williamson of the whip. He also mentioned Margaret Hodge’s claim that the decision meant the “party is turning a blind eye to Jew-hate”. The judge made scathing criticisms of Keith Vaz, who “by June 27 appears to have had seconds thoughts about the matter” by raising “issues about his health”. “It would be surprising if, as an experienced Parliamentarian, Mr Vaz, a) had taken part in an important meeting if he felt himself unfit to do so; and b) then failed to clearly make that point in his subsequent email.” Further, the judge thinks it “surprising” that neither George Howarth nor Huda Elmi “raised the issue of his fitness either at the time or subsequently”.
On September 3, a week before the hearing started, the Labour Party issued Chris Williamson with a second suspension on top of his first one. These new allegations, listed in the judgement, clearly do not warrant a suspension: “sending an email to a member of the public who had complained to you about your criticism of Margaret Hodge MP that referred her to a video critical of Margaret Hodge; publicly legitimising or endorsing the misconduct of members or former members who have been found grossly detrimental or prejudicial to the Labour Party; publicly characterising the disciplinary process of the party as politically motivated and/or not genuine. However, as the party had followed its own constitutional procedures correctly, the judge could find “nothing inherently unfair in investigating these fresh allegations”. This is why Chris Williamson remains suspended from the party.

Please note that the press have wrongly reported that Chris Williamson lost his appeal. That is a wilful misrepresentation. He remains suspended on the new charges, on which no ruling has been made.


2) LAW model motion (long)

A shorter version is available further below.

1) This branch/CLP notes:

a) That Chris Williamson MP was suspended on February 27. On June 26, a three-person antisemitism panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee voted to reinstate Williamson. This was made up of Keith Vaz MP, Huda Elmi and Gerald Howarth MP.

b) That on June 27, following a public campaign against the decision led by Tom Watson, Keith Vaz claimed that he was undergoing medical procedures and felt that he had “not been fit” to consider any of the cases dealt with that day.

c) That on June 28, general secretary Jennie Formby informed all NEC members that the decision of the panel would be revisited by the full NEC Disputes Panel. This decided on July 9 that Williamson was suspended again and on July 19 it referred Williamson’s case to the party’s National Constitutional Committee (as this is dominated by the right, a referral usually results in expulsion).

2) We further note:

a) That in his judgement of October 10 2019, judge Edward Pepperall ruled that, “the party acted unfairly” in re-suspending Chris Williamson MP on July 9 and that “there was no proper reason for reopening the case against Mr Williamson and referring the original allegations to the NCC”. Judge Pepperall declared the re-suspension “unlawful” and that “the Labour Party is no longer able lawfully to pursue the original [February 27] disciplinary case against Mr Williamson”.

b) That judge Pepperall explains that it was “not difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision [to re-suspend Chris] in this case was that [NEC] members were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June decision.” He references Tom Watson organising a public letter of 90 MPs and peers and another letter by 70 Labour staffers, demanding that Jeremy Corbyn strip Williamson of the whip. He also mentions Margaret Hodge’s claim that the decision meant the “party is turning a blind eye to Jew-hate”.

c) That the judge makes scathing criticisms of Keith Vaz, who “by June 27 appears to have had seconds thoughts about the matter” by raising “issues about his health”. “It would be surprising if, as an experienced Parliamentarian, Mr Vaz, a) had taken part in an important meeting if he felt himself unfit to do so; and b) then failed to clearly make that point in his subsequent email.” Further, the judge thinks it “surprising” that neither George Howarth nor Huda Elmi “raised the issue of his fitness either at the time or subsequently”.

d) That Labour Party HQ repeatedly briefed against Chris Williamson in the media – including the release of private details about his case – which resulted in him being abused and smeared in public by wild and unsubstantiated allegations. Meanwhile, he was not allowed to defend himself, as he was required to sign a confidentiality statement. As opposed to Labour Party HQ, he fully complied with this requirement. In fact, the judge was so concerned about those leaks that he even asked the Party lawyers for them to discontinue.

3) We note with great concern, however:

a) That on September 3, a week before the hearing started, the Labour Party issued Chris Williamson with a second suspension on top of his first one.

b) That these new allegations, listed in the judgement, clearly do not warrant a suspension:

  • “Sending an email to a member of the public who had complained to you about your criticism of Margaret Hodge MP that referred her to a video” which was critical of Margaret Hodge.
  • “Publicly legitimising or endorsing the misconduct of members or former members” who have been found “grossly detrimental or prejudicial to the Labour Party” – ie, standing up for Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone etc.
  • “Publicly characterising the disciplinary process of the party” as “politically motivated and/or not genuine”.

c) However, as the party had followed its own constitutional procedures correctly, the judge could find “nothing inherently unfair in investigating these fresh allegations”.

d) That this is why Chris Williamson remains suspended from the party.

4) This CLP believes:

a) That the report by Judge Pepperall is a damning indictment of our party’s internal disciplinary procedures. If anything, it proves that Chris Williamson was correct to criticise the disciplinary process of the party as “politically motivated” (one of the allegations leading to his September 3 suspension).

b) That Chris Williamson has said and done nothing that could be characterised as anti-Semitic or that warrants his ongoing suspension from the party. His September 3 suspension was only launched to stop him from becoming Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Derby North once again: suspended members are not allowed to stand.

c) That this shows to what length Labour HQ will go in its futile campaign to try and appease the right in the party. But they will never accept Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, let alone prime minister. They will continue their campaign of sabotage, because he remains unreliable from the ruling class’s point of view, especially given his strong support for the rights of Palestinians.

d) That there is a total loss of confidence in the competence, credibility and integrity of the current disciplinary process, rendering it unfit for purpose.

e) That this brings into serious question the veracity and the credibility of this latest suspension of Chris Williamson, as well as the disciplinary measures taken against many other members.

5) We therefore call on the General Secretary Jennie Formby to:

a) Order a comprehensive overhaul of the Labour Party legal, disciplinary and disputes body. The party must end the practice of automatic and instant expulsions and suspensions and all those summarily expelled or suspended without due process should be immediately reinstated. Disciplinary procedures should be carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

b) Order an investigation into the conduct of members of the NEC Disputes Panel and any Party members, including MPs, who have interfered with and corrupted disciplinary processes. On completion of such an investigation that the appropriate disciplinary measures be taken against anyone found to be in breach of procedural regulations, leaking confidential material to the press or guilty of any other misconduct.

c) Order the immediate lifting of the suspension of Chris Williamson MP and issue an apology to him.



3) Law model motion (short)

1) This branch/CLP notes:

a) That in his judgement of October 10 2019, judge Edward Pepperall ruled that, “the party acted unfairly” in re-suspending Chris Williamson MP on July 9 and that “the Labour Party is no longer able lawfully to pursue the original [February 27] disciplinary case against Mr Williamson”.

b) That judge Pepperall explains that it was “not difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision [to re-suspend Chris] was that [NEC] members were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June [26] decision.”

c) That on September 3, a week before the hearing started, the Labour Party issued Chris Williamson with a second suspension on top of his first one. These are the allegations listed in the judgment:

  • “Sending an email to a member of the public who had complained to you about your criticism of Margaret Hodge MP that referred her to a video” which was critical of Margaret Hodge.
  • “Publicly legitimising or endorsing the misconduct of members or former members” who have been found “grossly detrimental or prejudicial to the Labour Party” – ie, standing up for Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone etc.
  • “Publicly characterising the disciplinary process of the party” as “politically motivated and/or not genuine”.

d) That, as the party had followed its own constitutional procedures correctly, the judge could find “nothing inherently unfair in investigating these fresh allegations”.

e) That this is why Chris Williamson remains suspended from the party.

2) This CLP believes:

a) That the report by Judge Pepperall is a damning indictment of our party’s internal disciplinary procedures. If anything, it proves that Chris Williamson was correct to criticise the disciplinary process of the party as “politically motivated” (one of the allegations leading to his second suspension).

b) That Chris Williamson has said and done nothing that could be characterised as anti-Semitic or that warrants his ongoing suspension from the party. The September 3 suspension was only launched to stop him from becoming Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Derby North once again: suspended members are not allowed to stand.

c) That this shows to what length Labour HQ will go in its futile campaign to try and appease the right in the party. But they will never accept Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, let alone prime minister. They will continue their campaign of sabotage, because he remains unreliable from the ruling class’s point of view, especially given his strong support for the rights of Palestinians.

d) That there is a total loss of confidence in the competence, credibility and integrity of the current disciplinary process, rendering it unfit for purpose.

e) That this brings into serious question the veracity and the credibility of this latest suspension of Chris Williamson, as well as the disciplinary measures taken against many other members.

3) We therefore call on the General Secretary to:

a) Order a comprehensive overhaul of the Labour Party legal, disciplinary and disputes body. The party must end the practice of automatic and instant expulsions and suspensions and all those summarily expelled or suspended without due process should be immediately reinstated. Disciplinary procedures should be carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

b) Order an investigation into the conduct of members of the NEC Disputes Panel and any Party members, including MPs, who have interfered with and corrupted disciplinary processes. On completion of such an investigation that the appropriate disciplinary measures be taken against anyone found to be in breach of procedural regulations, leaking confidential material to the press or guilty of any other misconduct.

c) Order the immediate lifting of the suspension of Chris Williamson MP and issue an apology to him.


Video: Chris Williamson explains the outcome of his court case

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Chris Williamson’s statement on his court case

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Here is the statement from Chris Williamson this afternoon, via 8 tweets issued on October 10, 4.30pm

‘The battle is won. The war rages on. The High Court has today judged that the Labour Party acted unlawfully in re-suspending me on 28 June, and “that there was no proper reason” for doing so. I’m glad the ‘re-suspension’ has been quashed. However, I’m currently suspended.

It’s clear that my ‘re-suspension’ was motivated by media hysteria. The judge said: “it is not … difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision in this case was that [NEC] members … were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June decision.”

In fact, the party’s decision was so unfair as to be unlawful. And that’s why my ‘re-suspension’ has been quashed, and all of the allegations presented in that suspension can no longer be pursued against me.

Yet a week prior to my court hearing – using every loophole in the book – the party bureaucracy issued me with a new suspension. based on a series of preposterous allegations that I answered fully and swiftly. Due to this, despite winning today, the latest suspension stands.

I know this will be a bitter disappointment to everyone who has supported me in this case. I’m outraged that membership subscriptions given by our loyal activists have been used to pay legal fees. I’m outraged that I’ve had to resort to legal means to achieve justice.

This is a damning indictment of our party’s internal disciplinary procedures, which require a total overhaul – towards a fairer, more independent and more democratic system. My suspension must now be lifted.

I will be focussing my energies, as we all should, on winning the next election. Because a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government could transform the lives of millions, by bringing about an irreversible shift in the balance of wealth power and income in our country.

I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to my family, my supporters and everyone who generously donated to my crowdfunder. Without you, this victory today wouldn’t have been possible. You are the living proof that ‘unity is strength’.’

Witchhunt one of the key issues at Labour Party conference 2019

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While the majority of CLP delegates reject fast-track expulsions and the anti-left smear campaign, the right has the backing of the capitalist media. That, together with a conciliating leadership, gives them the upper hand, writes Peter Manson (this article first appeared in the Weekly Worker of September 26).

In the words of deputy leader Tom Watson, there is “a battle for the future of the Labour Party” going on. However, it is not about “factionalism”, as Watson claims, but the very nature of the party itself.

It goes without saying that as a key part of this battle the right has weaponised anti-Semitism – mainly by ludicrously equating anti-Zionism with “hostility to or prejudice against Jews”, but also by making numerous allegations of anti-Semitism that are just totally false. Take what happened at the Labour conference on September 22.

A suspended Labour member, Pete Gregson, had erected a banner, which featured a cartoon by Carlos Latuff. This portrayed Binyamin Netanyahu piloting a plane marked ‘The Lobby’, firing a “Defamation” missile and shouting “Anti-Semite!” at Jeremy Corbyn as he was speaking about “Palestinian rights”. Various pro-Zionists not only physically attacked the banner, but actually cut it in half – three times (after being quickly repaired), before the perpetrators were eventually apprehended. Even though two days earlier the police had said they could not see anything improper about it, eventually two officers removed the banner. Incredibly, Jeremy Corbyn tweeted soon after: “I’m disgusted that this banner was displayed near our … conference centre. We asked the police to remove it and I’m glad they did. This kind of anti-Semitic poison has no place whatsoever in our society.” Presumably Corbyn had been advised that it was bad PR.

Continue Reading “Witchhunt one of the key issues at Labour Party conference 2019”

Freedom of Speech events at LP conference: programme for Monday September 23

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RIALTO THEATRE, 11 DYKE ROAD, BN1 3FE: MONDAY (SEPTEMBER 23)

1.15pm: Culture, Arts, and Freedom

  • Jackie Walker: Socialist activist, writer; WitchHunt, the film documentary;
  • Professor David Miller: Professor of Political Sociology at Bristol University’s
    School for Policy Studies; a director of Public Investigations, a non-profit company (Spinwatch and Powerbase projects);
  • Ken Loach (invited, but not yet confirmed): Socialist and director of television and independent film (Sorry We Missed You, and many more!).

3pm: A showing of WitchHunt

  • The John Pullman documentary film, featuring Jackie Walker, which explores the connections between the attacks on Labour, the ongoing tragedy of Palestine, and the wider struggle against race-based oppression.

4.30pm: Modern Monetary Theory (MMT): How money really works

  • Professor Bill Mitchell: The world-renowned economist will debunk myths about government finances and how money works; what the Job Guarantee is and how a Green New Deal can be paid for;
  • Chris Williamson: The socialist MP for Derby North will discuss with Professor Mitchell the opportunities MMT can offer to Labour Party members fighting for a socialist government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

6.30pm: Labour Representation Committee – The Left Labour Needs 

  • Matt Wrack: Chair of LRC; general secretary, Fire Brigades Union;
  • Adriana Alvarez: Fight for 15 organising committee in the United States;
  • Chris Williamson: Socialist MP for Derby North;
  • Jackie Walker: LRC national executive committee;
  • Ian Hodson: President, Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union;

        The meeting, which is certain to be full to capacity, will be chaired by Cathy Augustine, LRC vice-chair.

9.30pm: An evening of readings and reflections

  • Jackie Walker: Socialist activist, writer; WitchHunt, the film documentary;
  • Steve Tiller: Opera and theatre director and producer, actor;
  • Kerry-Anne Mendoza: Writer, journalist, and social commentator; editor of The Canary.

LAW statement: Oppose fast track expulsions!

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We urge all delegates at Labour Party conference to vote AGAINST the proposal coming from the NEC meeting of September 17 (this will probably be debated on Sunday). As we go to press, we have not seen the full text, but we understand that it will allow sub-panels of the NEC to swiftly expel members for any ‘hate crime’-type offence. This will presumably include transphobia, sexism, racism etc.

But we all know what the real purpose is: It is meant to be the magic bullet that finally puts an end to the anti-Semitism smear campaign in the party. But we have bad news for Labour HQ: This is not going to work! For starters, the Jewish Labour Movement has already complained – that is after all why they relaunched in 2015: to sabotage Jeremy Corbyn at every opportunity they get.

But, more seriously, this rule change has the potential to make the witch-hunt in the Labour Party even worse. Currently, the national constitutional committee (NCC) is the only body with the power to expel members, “having been created following a high court injunction against expulsions by the NEC in the 1980s”, as The Guardian puts it. “The court ruled that the NEC could not both investigate complaints and make a final ruling on complaints. However, as investigations are now carried out by party staff, the power to expel can be restored to the NEC.”

Certainly, the NCC quite rightly deserves its nickname of ‘national kangaroo court’ – most of its 24 members have been appointed by rightwing unions and affiliates and only 11 are elected by Labour Party members. But handing the power to expel members to the NEC – under current conditions – is no good thing. Contrary to what often appears in the media, the NEC is not dominated by the ‘left’.

The NEC already has the power to immediately suspend a member (and it has made full use of it). Plus, if the allegation is so serious as to warrant instant dismissal for racism, then surely this might be a police matter?

Then there is the question of what constitutes anti-Semitic “hate speech” and what is justified criticism of the actions of the state of Israel? This is, as supporters of this rule change know all too well, a hotly disputed issue. Chris Williamson MP remains suspended under anti-Semitism charges, when clearly all he did was to question the party’s response to the campaign orchestrated by the right in and outside the party.

Or take the evolution of the term ‘Zionism’. This is a label chosen by the Zionists themselves to describe their political ideology. Yet we have seen dozens of examples of Labour Party members being investigated simply for their use of the word – often merely in a descriptive fashion.

Rather than putting an end to the ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ smear campaign in the party, this rule change would be making matters much, much worse – and is a real danger to the right of freedom of speech.

Please VOTE FOR the rule changes by Ceredigion CLP and Enfield Southgate CLP which would make the disciplinary process more transparent, enshrine the right to appeal and ensure that cases are dealt with in a timely fashion.

Please support Chris Williamson’s legal fund

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As of August 20, Chris Williamson MP has already raised over half of the £75,000 required to legally challenge his deeply unjust ‘re-suspension’ from the Labour Party – please help him by donating to his legal fund and/or invite him and Tosh McDonald to bring the ‘Democracy Roadshow’ to your locality (get in touch and we can help you pull this together).

With a heavy heart and after months of personal distress, Chris has been forced to take legal action against the party that he has dedicated his life to. He is challenging his ‘re-suspension’ as unlawful. But to do so, he needs your support.

This could be a long and costly legal battle. We need your help to cover the immediate costs of the legal case and campaign.

Raising £75,000 will help meet the costs of Chris’s case. Raising much more than that could allow us to begin building a legal fighting fund for the Labour Left, defending other comrades who have been maliciously accused and hounded out of the party.

Capitulation is complicity. Solidarity is sacred. Defend your comrades.

Donate today, and help keep Chris Williamson in the Labour Party!