LAW statement: Corbyn was wrong to force Ken Livingstone out of 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.

The attack on Livingstone andthe expulsions of Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein were all part of the ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt. It is noticeable that when it came to layingcharges the Labour Party avoidedfor legal reasons accusing people of anti-Semitism. Instead the catch all charge of ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ was used.

Livingstone is the latest victim of a witch-hunt pursued by the pro-Israel lobby and the right-wing in the Labour Party. The fact that it is supported by the same tabloid press which has employed Katy Hopkins, Rod Liddle and Richard Littlejohn should dispel any idea that this is about racism or anti-Semitism. It is about Israel and defence of imperialist interests in the Middle East.

It is about stopping the transformation of the Labour Party into an anti-war party that will stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and refuses to be dragged into another devastating war in the Middle East.

It is shocking that two years after the Chakrabarti report into racism was published, none of its recommendations around “due process” and “natural justice” have been implemented. This delay is not an oversight. It is clear that the party bureaucracy has been trying to get the high profile cases ‘out of the way’ first. Jackie Walker’s expulsion hearing is imminent.

Jeremy Corbyn and his allies operate under the illusion that if they sacrifice enough members to the witch-hunters then their campaign will come to an end. They are seriously mistaken. Appeasement merely feeds the appetites of the witchhunters.

This setback will only strengthen the resolve of Labour Against the Witchhuntactivists. We fully understand the agenda of Labour Friends of Israel, the Jewish Labour Movement and Progress: to re-establish the politics and economics of neo-liberalism in the Labour Party.

We call on Jeremy Corbyn, general secretary Jennie Formby and the National Executive Committee to finally put an end to this ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the party:

  • LAW does not recognise the legitimacy of the expulsions/exclusions of party comrades on trumped up charges of “anti-Semitism” and will continue to organise with them to defeat the right.
  • All those summarily expelled or suspended from membership without due process, or as part of the anti-Corbyn witch-hunt, should be immediately reinstated – and that includes Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Stan Keable, Tony Greenstein and Cyril Chilson.
  • We need a moratorium: no more new cases to be sent to Labour’s kangaroo court (National Constitutional Committee), which is dominated by the right; all cases currently in front of the NCCshould be referred back to the NEC.

Speaking tour: Reinstate Marc Wadsworth!

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We demand the immediate reinstatement of Marc Wadsworth and all those suspended and expelled on trumped up and false charges and allegations! Read LAW’s statement on the issue here.

#Justice4Marc national speaking tour

LAW, Jewish Voice for Labour, the Labour Representation Committee and Grassroots Black Left are sponsoring a national speaking tour with Marc Wadsworth. The dates:

Tuesday May 15, 6.30pm: London
with Marc Wadsworth, Alexei Sayle, Jackie Walker, Mike Cushman (Jewish Voice for Labour), Moshé Machover, Angela Nubia (Genesis Radio) and Glenroy Watson (ex-president RMT). Chair: Deborah Hobson (Grassroots Black Left)
Indian YMCA, Games Room, 41 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 6AQ – Facebook event here.

Wednesday May 16, 6pm: Liverpool
with Marc Wadsworth and Jo Bird (Jewish Voice for Labour). Chair: Anyanna Ndukwe (Grassroots Black Left)
Crawford House Community Enterprise Centre, Upper Warwick Street, L8 8DN – Facebook event here.

Thursday May 17, 7pm: Chester
with Marc Wadsworth, Jo Bird (Jewish Voice for Labour) and Seth Horsu (Chester CLP BAME Officer)
St Werburghs Parish Centre, Chester – Facebook event here.

Friday May 18, 7pm: Birmingham
with Marc Wadsworth, Charlie Williams (Windrush campaigner) and Tony Greenstein (Vice-chair Labour Against the Witchhunt). 
Committee rooms 3 & 4, Birmingham Council House, 1 Victoria Square. Birmingham B1 1BB – Facebook event here.

Monday May 21, 6.30pm: Bristol
with Marc Wadsworth,  Moshé Machover (Israeli socialist), Jay Blackwood (Jewish Voice for Labour) and Asa Winstanley (investigative journalist). Chair: Tim Lezard (campaigning journalist). City Academy, Russell Town Ave, Bristol BS5 9JH – Facebook event here

Tuesday May 22, 7pm: Swansea
with Marc Wadsworth, Jay Blackwood (Jewish Voice for Labour) and others. Volcano Theatre, 27-29 High St, Swansea SA1 1LG – Facebook event here.

Wednesday May 23, 7pm: Sheffield
DINA, 34 Cambridge Street, Sheffield S1 4HP (upstairs)
With Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker (Labour Against the Witchhunt), Martin Mayer (secretary Sheffield Trades Council and former member of Labour Party NEC), Scott Robert (a supporter of Socialist Appeal) and Lee Rock (Sheffield Left List) – Facebook event here.

Friday June 15, 7.30pm: Whitstable
with Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth – includes launch of LAW Whitstable and Canterbury. Venue to be announced later: tickets to be booked now at cwlaw.wordpress.com

Meetings are also being planned in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester. Please get in touch if you can help out organising these events or if you can put one up in your locality.

Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion – what you can do about it

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The expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party was a politically motivated outrage – read our statement. Here’s what you can do about it:

  1. Support the national speaking tour #Justice4Marc, which is co-sponsored by LAW, Jewish Voice for Labour, the Labour Representation Committee and Grassroots Black Left. We are raising funds to help cover the transport costs involved – please chip in if you can. 
  2. Read up on the caseJewish Voice for Labour had a good background article; Grassroots Black Left had their statement published in The Voice.
  3. Write to newspapers who publish false and misleading articles about the case. For example, Marc did not “heckle” Ruth Smeeth MP, he did not launch “a verbal attack” on her, berate or abuse her or use, as she later claimed, a “traditional trope” of Jews owning the media.
  4. Use our model motion (online here) in your branch and CLP asap.The quicker you can get it through, the more pressure it will bring on Labour’s NEC to act. Once it has passed, send it to us so we can publish it online.
  5. Contribute to Marc’s crowdfunding campaign to help pay for his lawyers (please note that these funds are for his legal team only and cannot be used for any campaigning work)
  6. Join Labour Against the Witchhunt online here and get your branch/CLP to affiliate.
  7. Sign our Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn and the left of the Labour leadership (online here) they need to take action now to bring the witch-hunt to an end. More than 5,700 have already signed it.
  8. Attend our conference that we are planning to hold in June – details to follow soon.

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.

Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, veteran anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth was being “anti-Semitic” for criticising her as “working hand in hand” with a reporter of the Daily Telegraph – a fallacious claim that was repeated in almost every newspaper.

An all-white, three person panel of the National Constitutional Committee of the Labour Party, however, did not uphold this charge. They expelled Marc Wadsworth on April 27 2018 under the catch-all phrase of “bringing the party into disrepute” (point 2.1.8 in Labour’s 2016 rulebook).

It is not Marc who has brought the party “into disrepute” – it is the “shameless smears” of the “Corbyn-hating” MPs (Len McCluskey in the New Statesman), who have worked tirelessly to undermine Jeremy Corbyn at every opportunity since his election as Labour leader in 2015.

Chris Williamson MP got it exactly right when he called this decision“perverse”. He has quite rightly criticised the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends”. We warmly welcome his courageous support for Marc at the hearing and the support of Clive Lewis MP, who supplied a witness statement and said: “I’ve known him for 20 years. He’s an anti-racist campaigner. I watched that video and I don’t think that warranted being expelled from Labour.”

This is in stark contrast to the cynical PR stunt orchestrated by Wes Streeting MP, who has made no secret of his severe dislike for Jeremy Corbyn and his policies. Ruth Smeeth did not need to be ‘protected’ on her way into Church House. LAW’s lobby outside the expulsion hearing was always planned as a protest in support of Marcand not in opposition to Smeeth. If Smeeth, who has been funded by the Israeli lobby even since becoming an MP,cannot deal with walking past a couple of dozen protestors, maybe she (or the members in her Constituency Labour Party) should reconsider if being an MP is the right profession for her.

We call on Jeremy Corbyn, general secretary Jennie Formby and the National Executive Committee to finally put an end to this ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the party. The right-wing will demand more and more scalps. But the history of appeasement in politics teaches us they will never be satisfied. Capitulation to their unscrupulous demands is not the answer. They can never have enough suspensions, enough expulsions, enough compromised principles, including Corbyn’s lifelong support for the rights of the Palestinians.

This campaign against ‘Anti-Semitism’ has become the new anti-communism. We are in a period of new McCarthyism in the Labour Party. It is to be greatly regretted that Jeremy Corbyn, who in the 1980s was the secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt, seems to be going along with this witch-hunt.

The number of cases of anti-Semitism among Labour Party members upheld remains tiny. The overwhelming majority of allegations have been baseless and politically motivated – used to purge or muzzle members who support Corbyn and those who are critical of Israeli government policies and actions.

We are witnessing the development of a chilling culture of fear, self-censorship, of members afraid to openly ask questions and learn, particularly on social media. We have seen many good Corbyn-supporting comrades being thrown to the wolves of the Tory Party and their supporters in the mainstream media. They are publicly smeared as Holocaust deniers, anti-Semites, racists – and have no way of fighting back against such vile accusations. These smears have ruined lives. Labour’s broken disciplinary procedure is not fit for purpose. It has actually resulted in suicides.

We call for an end to the expulsions and suspensions of Labour Party members for their political views. All those summarily expelled or suspended from membership without due process, or as part of the anti-Corbyn witch-hunt, should be immediately reinstated – and that includes Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Stan Keable, Tony Greenstein and Cyril Chilson.

We agree with the statement by Jewish Voice for Labour, according to which Marc’s “treatment has been a travesty of the transparent, fair and equitable procedures one would expect from a labour movement organisation. It is a further irony that his summary suspension followed by 22 months in limbo would not have been possible if the relevant recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report had been implemented.”

LAW model motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth

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Feel free to change and amend. Please send us successfully passed motions to info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org and we will publish them.

You can download the motion in Word format here. 

1. This branch/CLPs notes that:

1.1 Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, veteran anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth was being “anti-Semitic” for criticising her as “working hand in hand” with a reporter of the Daily Telegraph – a fallacious claim that was repeated in almost every newspaper.

1.2 An all-white, three person panel of the National Constitutional Committee of the Labour Party, however, did not uphold this charge. They expelled Marc Wadsworth on April 27 2018 under the catch-all phrase of “bringing the party into disrepute” (point 2.1.8 in Labour’s 2016 rulebook).

1.3 Marc Wadsworth is a veteran anti-racist campaigner and former chair or Labour Party Black Sections (1986-1988). He founded the Anti-Racist Alliance in 1991 and helped the parents of Stephen Lawrence set up their campaign for justice and introduced them to Nelson Mandela.

2. This branch/CLP believes that:

2.1 Nothing that Marc Wadsworth did or said at the launch of the Chakrabarti report was even vaguely anti-Semitic.

2.2 The decision to expel him is outrageous and wholly contrary to natural justice. He was expelled under disciplinary procedures that had not been updated to take into account the recommendations of the Chakrabarti report, although the National Executive Committee decided in 2016 to implement them “immediately”.

2.3 It is not Marc who has brought the party “into disrepute” – it is the “shameless smears” of the “Corbyn-hating” MPs (Len McCluskey in the New Statesman on April 25 2018), who have worked tirelessly to undermine Jeremy Corbyn at every opportunity since his election as Labour leader in 2015.

2.4 Chris Williamson MP is right to call thisdecision “perverse”. He is also right to criticise the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends”.

2.5 Marc Wadsworth is the latest victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, which has seen hundreds of left-wing activists being thrown to the wolves of the Tory Party and their supporters in the mainstream media.

2.6 Despite the growing number of fallacious allegations of anti-Semitism, the number of cases of anti-Semitism among Labour Party members upheldremains tiny. Many of the allegations have been baseless and politically motivated – attempts to purge or muzzle members who are critical of Israeli government policies and actions, particularly pro-Corbyn members on the left of the party.

3. This branch/CLP calls on the Labour Party NEC:

3.1 To immediately reinstate all those summarily expelled or suspended from membership without due process, or as part of the anti-Corbyn witch-hunt, including Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Cyril Chilson, Tony Greenstein and Stan Keable.

3.2 To bring to a swift end the practice of automatic, instant, expulsion or suspension of Labour Party members (apart from exceptional circumstances):

  1. a) A member accused of a breach of rule must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and be given all the evidence submitted against them by their accuser
  2. b) Membership rights must not be removed until disciplinary investigations and procedures have been completed;

3.3 To abolish the Labour Party’s “Compliance Unit”. Disciplinary decisions should be taken only by elected bodies, not by paid officials.

4. This branch/CLP further resolves:

4.1 To affiliate to Labour Against the Witchhunt (£25) and send a donation of £ XY.

GBL on Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion

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NEWS RELEASE

April 27 2018

Today’s expulsion by Labour of veteran black anti-racist activist

There will be a press conference today at 1.15pm at Abbey Green, outside Parliament.

 Present will be Marc Wadsworth, Deborah Hobson and Noami Wimborne-Idrissi of Jewish Voice For Labour

Grassroots Black Left (GBL) is appalled by the expulsion of its member Marc Wadsworth, a life-long anti-racist. This decision brings the party into disrepute and we will fight besides Wadsworth to help him clear his name and get reinstated.

The National Constitutional Committee hearing was based on a disciplinary process that newly appointed general secretary Jennie Formby has declares “is not fit for purpose”. Continue Reading “GBL on Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion”

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””

Support Marc Wadsworth!

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LAW member Marc Wadsworth needs help covering his legal fees to fight his suspension from the Labour Party. His hearing is in less than two months’ time.

Marc is – like hundreds of others – a victim of the ongoing civil war in the Labour Party. Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have been expelled and suspended for the most ridiculous of charges – and the charge against Marc of being ‘anti-Semitic’ is up there with the most nonsensical ones. His ‘crime’ was to call out Ruth Smeeth in the press conference that launched the Chakrabarti report. You can see the video for yourself here.

It is worth fighting back: The reinstatement of Moshé Machover and Tony Greenstein’s successful injunction at the High Court prove that. All these cases are not just about the individuals concerned, they are important stepping stones in our campaign to end the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the party.

Now please dig deep and support Marc’s campaign (more background below)

Click here to make a donation on CrowdJustice

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”

Our next members’ meeting: June 16

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Saturday June 16, 1-4pm
LAW national membership meeting

Union Tavern, 52 Lloyd Baker Street, Clerkenwell, London, WC1X 9AA

Agenda includes:

  • LAW’s intervention at Labour Party conference 2018
  • Campaign to stop Jackie Walker’s expulsion
  • Model motions
  • LAW conference

#Justice4Marc launch in London: Spotted hyenas and Labour right

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The chair of the meeting, Deborah Hobson, began by calling for a minute’s silence in honour of the 58 Palestinians killed and thousands injured in the latest Israeli atrocity. An atrocity defended and excused by Donald Trump, Binyamin Netanyahu … and Labour Friends of Israel.

Mike Cushman (Jewish Voice for Labour) was not alone in pointing out that there can be fewer more eloquent testimonies to the nature of the Israeli state than the harrowing events in Gaza. Certainly, it exposes the foul apologetics of the Labour right and their Zionist allies, and destroys the notion that Israel attracts the huge amount of condemnation that is does because the left – its most trenchant critics – is ‘anti-Semitic’. Far from being a source of strength, the Labour right’s support for the Zionist state – and the United States’ reactionary strategic goals in the region – can be turned into a huge weakness for this scab faction in our ranks.

While the top table was perhaps a little heavy with speakers (of varying degrees of quality and political acumen, it should be noted) – there was a real energy and combative confidence. This was perhaps displayed best in Jackie Walker’s defiant anecdote about her rejoinder to a characteristically stupid tweet from the wretched Wes Streeting MP. Apparently, he challenged her to meet him in debate in any synagogue in north London. OK, she told him – where and where then, Wes? Predictably, however, the man has gone very quiet …

Moshé Machover reminded us of the almost comically irrational nature of the provocations coming from the Labour right, their allies in the mainstream media and various apparatchiks in the Israeli state. He posed a “trick question”: “Are there anti-Semites in the Labour Party?”

Well, yes, given the current numbers in our organisation (570,000-plus) from all sorts of backgrounds, there must be. The comrade (a renowned mathematician, let us not forget), stated that it would be statistically “astounding” if there were not. The party will also have its statistically ‘fair’ share of paedophiles. The point being that if the Labour right and its venal allies thought it could gain political traction by smearing the left as a herd of paedophiles, they would. The right gives “fuck all” for truth, principle or any other such annoying impediment, comrade Machover stated.

Moshé illustrated this same observation via a sideways detour. There is – apparently – a tiny number of spotted hyenas in Norway (in zoos). However, if you hear of a spotted hyena trackers’ expedition – organised with an extravagant disregard for the huge amount of time, energy and money expended – a rational conclusion to draw might be that these people have a thing about Norway, rather than the spotted hyenas.

It was a fun way to set the tone for the meeting. And the atmosphere of aggressive levity was added to by comedian Alexi Sayle’s amusing introductory spiel for Marc – he does seem to be getting some of his political mojo back via this battle; the unhinged accusations against the left must be providing the bloke with material for years to come. Many speakers also ridiculed the laughably flimsy charges against Marc Wadsworth and other comrades, such as Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein.

A recurrent theme during the regrettably short space allocated for questions and contributions from the floor was the need for Labour Against the Witchhunt to become a mass campaign that can rally not dozens, but thousands, outside Labour’s Victoria Street HQ. That means building local organisations.

There were some gently regretful criticisms of Corbyn’s and the core LP left leadership’s passivity to – even accommodation with – this witch-hunt. This generosity was not all-encompassing – on the strength of this meeting and others I have attended over the last year or more, there are now very few on the left with any compunction about laying into Momentum nationally. The local groups can be good, even very good, but the national organisation and its ‘CEO’, Jon Lansman are deeply discredited.

Message of support from Chris Williamson MP

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Click here to download all messages of support in a PDF file: from Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and Chris Williamson MP

Please accept my apologies that I can’t be with you tonight, but I would like to express my support for and solidarity with Marc’s campaign to clear his name.

I attended Marc’s hearing and spoke on his behalf, which is why I know that the National Constitutional Committee’s decision was inconsistent with the evidence before them.

As I said immediately after the outcome was announced, the decision has all the hallmarks of predetermination and tramples on the Labour Party’s record of standing up for fairness.  The NCC has besmirched the reputation of a veteran anti-racist campaigner and their decision cannot be allowed to stand.

Marc deserves the support of everyone who believes in natural justice, democracy and the progressive agenda that delivered two landslide leadership victories for Jeremy Corbyn, and Labour’s biggest vote share increase since 1945.

As Martin Luther King Jr once said: “It is always the right time to do the right thing.” And the right thing to do now is help Marc to right the terrible wrong that has been done to him.

Best wishes,

Chris Williamson MP

 

 

Message of support from Ken Loach

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Click here to download all messages of support in a PDF file: from Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and Chris Williamson MP

I’m sorry not to be with you tonight – but very pleased to send a message of strong support to Labour Against The Witchhunt and Marc personally. No one wants a party that tolerates abuse or racism. But that’s not my experience of Labour meetings and I’m sure it’s not yours. If there are allegations, let the evidence be brought, scrutinised in an open hearing in front of an impartial panel, with all sides heard, witnesses allowed to speak and a right to appeal. In other words, due process in accordance with natural justice.

That does not appear to have happened in Marc’s case. The available information shows the evidence to be weak and the judgement faulty. Marc has an honourable record as a principled campaigner against racism and injustice. We should demand that his case be reopened.

Further, we cannot tolerate the abuse of the disciplinary procedure for political purposes, to remove good activists. The people who should face scrutiny are those MPs and their apologists who do their best to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, who supported the right wing policies of Blair, including his illegal war in Iraq, with the terrible consequences we see today.

The Labour Party is changing. Make certain the changes really happen.  Working class people need a party that will re-order society so that all may live with security and dignity. To transform society we have also to transform the party – this struggle is part of that transformation.

Solidarity,

Ken Loach

 

Ecclesall branch: motion on Marc Wadsworth

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Motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party, passed on May 14 2018

1. Ecclesall branch (Hallam Sheffield CLP) notes that

  • On April 27 2018 Marc Wadsworth was expelled from the Labour Party for “bringing the party into disrepute”.
  • Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that, at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, Marc Wadsworth was being anti-Semitic by criticising her for “working hand in hand” with a reporter from the Daily Telegraph, who had passed a press release to her.
  • Ruth Smeeth stated at the expulsion hearing that she “felt” Marc Wadsworth was being anti-Semitic. That was sufficient for Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC) to uphold this charge.
  • Marc Wadsworth is a veteran anti-racist campaigner. As chair of the Labour Party Black Sections (1986-1988), he helped four of its members to get elected as MPs in 1987. He founded the Anti-Racist Alliance in 1991 and helped the parents of Stephen Lawrence set up their campaign for justice and introduced them to Nelson Mandela.
  1. Ecclesall branch believes that:
  • Nothing that Marc Wadsworth did or said at the launch of the Chakrabarti report was even vaguely anti-Semitic.
  • The fact that somebody “feels” they have experienced anti-Semitism, or any other form of prejudice, is not enough. The NCC’s decision not to require any proof or evidence sets a dangerous precedent for the acceptance of politically motivated allegations.
  • Chris Williamson MP was right to call thedecision to expel Marc Wadsworth “perverse”. He was also right to criticise the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends”, namely the purging or muzzling of members who are critical of Israeli government policies and actions.
  • Despite the growing number of fallacious allegations of anti-Semitism (by a group of anti-Corbyn MPs in cooperation with the mainstream media) the number of cases of anti-Semitism among Labour Party members upheld remains tiny.
  1. Ecclesall branch demands:An end to the practice of automatic, instant expulsion or suspension of Labour Party members (apart from in exceptional circumstances:
  • A member accused of a breach of rule must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and be given all the evidence submitted against them by their accuser
  • Membership rights must not be removed until disciplinary investigations and procedures have been completed;
  • Disciplinary procedures must be time limited. Charges not resolved within three months must be automatically dropped.
  • Disciplinary decisions should be taken only by elected bodies, not by paid officials.

Alexei Sayle: I stand with Marc Wadsworth!

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Click here to download all messages of support in a PDF file: from Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and Chris Williamson MP

I stand with Marc Wadsworth.

The Labour Party has – on the flimsiest of pretexts – expelled him from the Labour Party.

Marc is a veteran activist and anti-racist campaigner. He contributed to the Party through the Black Sections, co-founded the Anti-Racist Alliance, fought against the National Front and the BNP, was a leading supporter of the Stephen Lawrence Campaign: the list of his achievements in the field of fighting for racial equality and justice goes on and on.

And this is the man the Labour Party dares to say has “brought the party into disrepute”! The Party should walk over broken glass to beg people of Marc’s calibre to work with them – they are very few and Marc is one of the best. There is a battle going on to destroy and reverse the unexpected and amazing gains the left has made in the last three years. Marc is a casualty in that battle and I am joining the fight to see him re-instated to the front line.

I never believed we would see the prospect of a socialist Labour Party taking power in this country and the right, with their allies in the Israel Lobby, is doing everything it can to stop that. Marc has been victimised by them and that can’t be allowed to stand. Everyone on the Left – whether in or out of the Labour Party – needs to back Marc in this struggle.

Thank God I’m not in the Labour Party so I can say that all the Ruth Smeeths and Wes Streetings who are trying to destroy the prospect of a Socialist Labour Party taking power in Britain can fucking fuck off: I’m backing Marc Wadsworth!

Alexei will be speaking alongside Marc Wadsworth at the London launch of our national #Justice4Marc speaking tour – come along!

Queen’s Park branch

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On 10 May 2018  the Queen’s Park branch of the Labour Party (in Hampstead & Kilburn CLP) adopted the motion below nem con and with one abstention:
________________________

This branch notes that:

·         Marc Wadsworth, a leading Black antiracist activist, was expelled from the Labour Party – with no right of appeal – on April 27, 2018, charged with bringing the Party into disrepute;
·         his expulsion followed 22 months of suspension from membership;

·         his expulsion was not for antisemitism, despite continuous prejudicial media coverage falsely accusing him of antisemitic abuse at the media launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016.

This branch believes:

·         that the party has indeed been brought into disrepute, not by Marc Wadsworth’s non-abusive remark at the Report launch, but by the actions of PLP members publicly denouncing him as an antisemite; by the adherence of the entrenched party bureaucracy to a disciplinary system which was not fit for purpose; and by its failure to put in place a system conforming with principles of natural justice, which should be automatic in any labour movement organisation.

This branch therefore:

·         supports Marc Wadsworth’s campaign to clear his name of the antisemitism slur and for reinstatement as a member of the Labour Party;
·         calls on the new General Secretary to:
o   speedily implement Chakrabarti’s recommendations designed to reform flawed party rules and structures to ensure prompt, fair and transparent handling of disciplinary complaints against members, with right of appeal and including presumption of innocence and fact-based judgements that do not rely on guilt by association

Motion passed by Grantham LP branch: Marc Wadsworth

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Motion passed by Grantham Labour Party branch

This Branch notes the recent expulsion of veteran Labour Party activist and anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth on the
grounds of “bringing the Labour Party into disrepute”. This Branch believes that this decision is unjustified, undermines the freedom to debate within the Labour Party, and therefore the decision itself brings the Labour Party into disrepute. This Branch further believes that Marc Wadsworth should be re-instated.