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.

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”

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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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””

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”

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”

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!

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!