The case of Syed Siddiqui

Like and share this post:

As covered by Jewish Voice for Labour:

Letter sent to all member of the Labour Party NEC
15 January 2018

Dear  NEC member,

We understand that the suspension of Syed Siddiqui is being considered by the NEC very shortly and we urge you to lift the suspension. We append a Case summary, and attach the relevant sections of the Rule book and the exchange between Mr. Siddiqui and Party Officers, leading now to a second complaint about how this issue has been handled.

As Mr. Siddiqui has been selected to stand for the local Council, it is even more important that it is addressed swiftly. We have 2 JVL committee members in this constituency who can attest to the falseness of the allegations and to the truth of the Islamaphobic comments addressed to Mr. Siddiqui.

We look forward to a speedy resolution of this matter.

Your sincerely
Leah Levane and Jenny Manson
Co Chairs, Jewish Voice for Labour


There is a model resolution on the case here
See our earlier report: Another grotesque miscarriage of justice – sign the petition


CASE SUMMARY by Murray Glickman
15.01.2018

Syed Siddiqui

INTRODUCTION

Syed Siddiqui is only 29.  He is no hard-bitten politico, having been a party member only since 2015.  He was first elected as Ilford South CLP secretary at the 2016 AGM and was re-elected unopposed in 2017.  He is committed and on the left.  People who know Syed in the local party say he is good-hearted, friendly, outgoing, energetic, competent, principled and quietly determined.  I saw him in action when out canvassing during the General Election: I wish I had his ability to engage so easily with people on the doorstep.

The language used against Syed in the letters he has received from the party’s Head of Disputes simply does not describe the man I know!

I have compiled this summary based on access to all the documents I refer to and after extensive conversations with Syed and other local party members who witnessed various relevant events.

Murray Glickman
Ilford South CLP
Steering Group Member, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL)

BACKGROUND

In order to understand the context of this summary, some background information is necessary in relation to: (i) manoeuvrings by people associated with the ‘Progress’ faction in the Redbridge party and (ii) problems that arose in the local party Whatsapp group.

(i)       Progress manoeuvrings in Redbridge

A clear picture of what has been going on in given in the following passages quoted from a report submitted to the national party leadership by Wendy Taylor, vice-chair of Ilford South CLP:

llford North has a membership of over 900.  Most members have joined since 2015 so it is likely that most new members have joined to support a left wing agenda of the current Party leadership. However, the CLP officers and administration are dominated by Progress sympathisers if not members. This Progress coterie coalesced around Wes Streeting, who was a Redbridge Borough councillor but is now our MP. Richard Angel, Director of Progress lives locally having moved here, by his own confession to support Wes Streeting.

The Progress group control communication within the CLP via Matt Goddin who is works fulltime for Wes and is also CLP Secretary and Secretary of the Redbridge LCF which presents clear conflicts of interest. They employ subterfuge in order to retain control of the CLP and LCF ….

…….

Regarding the selection process, Councillors who had challenged the right wing council leadership didn’t get through the process …

No local people were on any of the interview panels and members were carefully chosen from the right. We know of only one leftish panel member who said he was in the minority so couldn’t save any left candidates

Candidates rejected [by these interview panels] include:

o   Helen Watson: …. [chair of Church End & Monkhams Ward, Chingford & Woodford Green CLP] women’s officer and communications officer with the Teachers Union.  She campaigned tirelessly and was instrumental in the drastic reduction in IDS’s majority yet was told she did insufficient canvassing! Despite having worked in comms  for 20 years  in  local authorities she was told she didn’t understand the role of a councillor sufficiently  and was ‘reading from a script’

o   Barbara White, an activist for 20 years and sitting Labour councillor for 8 years, ex-mayor and on the Exec of the musicians union, ex women’s officer on the TUC and recently diagnosed  with cancer. Her appeal was rejected because she had not campaigned sufficiently and missed some group meetings due to ill health due to her treatment, though attendance at council meetings was similar to the whip’s.  She received no support with her disability from the leader or whip and when she responded to anti-Semitic content in a spoof paper this was held against her.

o   Elizabeth Joseph, an activist from Hainault who has been in the party for 20 years, a magistrate who runs a local business employing 50 people.

o   Rayla Javaid, a young Muslim activist from Woodford, who is a human rights lawyer for a charity working on the team representing Grenfell Tower survivors.

o   Gupta Pushpita, a community activist and member for many years, who has campaigned for Wes Streeting, Sadiq and organised many social events raising funds for local Labour.

The situation in Redbridge recently got a mention in the Guardian: Momentum chief calls for Labour candidate selection rerun in London | Politics | The Guardian

Remarkably, Syed managed to slip through the Progress net and was selected as candidate for Churchfields Ward.  Although a ward of Redbridge council, this ward is in the constituency of I Duncan Smith (majority only 2000).  It is therefore a key target both strategically and viscerally. Syed and the other candidates had already begun compaigning.

(ii)       The Whatsapp Group.

Syed was moderator of this group (now closed).   Diana Neslen (Ilford South GC and JVL Steering Group member) has written: “There was a growing argument between two of the members of the group with threats of violence.  For the record, one is a Muslim the other a Sikh.  I understand threats were exchanged like “I will slap you” “I am a kickboxer and will destroy you”   And the two people were removed [by Syed] from the group.  There is a record of this on Syed’s what’s app.”  This took place in early September.

 

THE ISLAMOPHOBIC PHONE-CALL

In the first minutes after midnight of Tuesday September 12th, Syed was surprised to receive a phone call from Manjit Panesar [MP], one of the two people he had excluded from the WhatsApp group, Syed managed to record most of the call: the islamphobic and abusive nature of MP’s comments is indisputable.  However, he had taken more than a minute of flagrant racist and personal abuse before it occurred to him to start recording the call.  (The recording took some little time to set up and was time-limited by the app used).

Later that same day (12th September), Syed lodged a complaint against MP both with the police and the local and national party.

The party’s Legal and Compliance unit suspended Manjit Panesar.  Party rules require the Unit to notify the local CLP when they take this action.  On this occasion they failed to do so.  Eventually, the fact of MP’s suspension was divulged accidentally to local party officers on October 3rd.  Questions were then raised with the Compliance unit and the local party finally received notification of the suspension on October 4th.

Nothing further has been heard from the Compliance unit in relation to MP’s suspension.  However, it seems that MP is not currently suspended since, we understand, he is standing for office in forthcoming local party AGMs.

ILFORD SOUTH GC MEETING, THURSDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER

On 22nd September, ten days after the abusive call, the regular Ilford South CLP meeting took place. No voting was required on any item.  Nevertheless, Jas Atwal (leader of Redbridge Council and Progress supporter) was extremely exercised about having four new branch delegates admitted that evening.  Syed pointed out that he had already informed the branch in question — weeks earlier — that before any new delegates could be accepted, the existing delegate would first need to formally submit their resignations.  As he had not heard from the latter, he refused to allow the new people to join the meeting.  Jas Atwal responded angrily but the meeting supported Syed’s ruling.

NOTICE OF INVESTIGATION LETTER, 6TH OCTOBER

On 6th October, Sam Matthews, the party’s Head of Disputes, sent Syed a formal notice of investigation.  The letter stated that MP had made allegations against Syed, claiming that during 12th Sept phone call Syed had “also made various threatening and intimidatory comments towards” MP.

The letter continues: “We are aware that this matter is currently the subject of a police investigation. As is standard practice in these situations, we will place our investigation of this matter on hold … “

The letter went on to say:

In the meantime, the Party will continue to monitor this situation closely, especially for any indication that conduct arising from the dispute between you and Mr Panesar may be detrimental to the Party locally or nationally. Until this situation can be resolved, we reserve the right to take any appropriate steps to protect the Party’s reputation and/or interests, including administrative suspension. [Note: Syed was not suspended at this point.]

The inclusion of this statement is striking because it is so gratuitous.  This in itself suggests strongly that the events which followed (and from which Syed has suffered great detriment) were pre-meditated and pre-planned.  This suspicion is only reinforced by the fact that the party official appointed to investigate the case saw fit to repeat it in a letter sent to Syed as late as 8th January this year.

SECOND NOTICE OF INVESTIGATION LETTER, 11TH OCTOBER

A few days later, Sam Matthews issued Syed with a second notice of investigation.  This stated:

Allegations that you may have been involved in a breach of Labour Party rules have been brought to the attention of national officers of the Labour Party. You are alleged to have neglected your responsibilities as Secretary of Ilford South CLP thus having a detrimental effect upon the CLP, and to have treated members and office-holders in Ilford South CLP in an intimidating, threatening and disrespectful manner.

…..

Due to the nature of the allegations, the full body of evidence will not be disclosed during the investigation.

You are not currently administratively suspended and no restrictions have been placed on the rights associated with your membership at this time.

In mid-October, Syed gave permission for the police to be in contact with the party over the racist incident.

 

NOTICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION FROM HOLDING OFFICE OR REPRESENTING THE LABOUR PARTY, 7TH DECEMBER

The party’s Legal and Compliance unit is evidently so amply resourced that Mr Matthews found the time to send Syed a third formal notice, on 7th December.  This states:

Multiple additional allegations that you may have been involved in further breaches of Labour Party rules have now also come to the attention of national officers of the Party. These allegations relate to conduct toward Party members which may be in breach of the Party’s Bullying and Harassment Policy (enclosed), including but not limited to your conduct at Party meetings and on social media.

The Party will investigate these new allegations, alongside the existing allegations: These are that you made threatening and intimidatory comments towards Mr Manjit Panesar in a telephone call on 12 September 2017 (DCN-0226); and that you have neglected your responsibilities as Secretary of Ilford South CLP thus having a detrimental effect upon the CLP, and to have treated members and office-holders in Ilford South CLP in an intimidating, threatening and disrespectful manner (DCN-0229). All of these allegations will now be investigated simultaneously as connected matters, along with your allegations against Mr Panesar (DCN-0218). ….

I give you formal notice that it has been determined that the powers given to the NEC under Chapter 6 Clause I.1.A of the Party’s rules should be invoked to suspend you from office or representation of the Party*, pending the outcome of the Party’s internal investigation.

The administrative suspension means that you cannot attend any Party meetings, including Branch meetings, CLP meetings, and Annual Conference, and you cannot be considered for selection as a candidate to represent the Labour Party at an election at any level.

 

THE POLICE DIMENSION

Initially Syed refused to allow the police to discuss the case with the party.  He gave that permission on November 15th.

The police have raised no objection to the party investigating the case while the police continue with theirs.

Following his suspension, Syed withdrew the permission he had given.

Murray Glickman
for Jewish Voice for Labour
</>


Model branch resolution in support of Syed Siddiqui

This branch fully supports Syed Siddiqi and calls for his Labour Party membership to be reinstated immediately so he can continue in his role as secretary of Ilford South CLP and as council candidate for Churchfields ward. In our experience, Syed’s conduct and commitment to the Labour cause has been excellent.

Syed has not been notified of any specific allegation, neither has he been told who the complainant is or shown evidence of what he has supposed to have done. At no point has the complaint been brought to any officer of Ilford South CLP or raised formally. This goes against the laws of natural justice.

Furthermore, we are alarmed that Syed’s suspension comes so soon after his own complaint about an Islamophobic attack on him by a Party member, which is being looked into by Labour and being investigated by the police.

Whilst not wishing to prejudice the outcome – everyone has the right to be presumed innocent unless proven otherwise – we would like it noted that the Labour Party has a policy of zero tolerance to Islamaphobia and that this matter has yet to be resolved.

We have a duty of care to our members and representatives, to deal with complaints fairly and promptly.

We believe Syed’s suspension from the Party is unjustified. It will have a detrimental effect on the work of Ilford South CLP and its council campaign in Churchfields, not to mention a negative impact on members, especially grassroots BAME members who already struggle for fair representation.

Cyril Chilson: Disciplinary hearing on January 27

Like and share this post:

Dear Comrades,

I was notified this evening that my hearing of the disciplinary charge that has been presented by the NEC against me will take place on Saturday 27 January 2018, starting at 12 noon, at a venue in Oxford, details of which will be confirmed shortly. Needless to say, I will keep you posted.

As I have already made clear, I am not going to make any attempt to reason with those who are determined to seize every opportunity to sabotage the Party and stifle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. They have most magnanimously granted me permission to be represented by a lawyer but I will be represented by myself – and not only because I can’t afford hiring the services of a high-powered member of the legal trade. The bubble of a show-trial like this can only be bursted if the accused become accusers- and that is precisely the show which yours truly intends to stage there. To accuse an Israeli-born Jewish convert to Christianity, a son of Holocaust survivors of being an ‘anti-semite’ is mind-bogglingly Kafkaesque  (mother survived Auschwitz and Theresienstadt concentration camps and father managed to flee his hometown and join the Red Army 24 hours before the invading Germans reached his hometown. Their respective families were annihilated by the Nazis).

As you all know, this is part of the Party’s (allas, still relentless) right-wing to mount resistance to Labour’s return to its Socialist roots – and labelling any criticism of the State of Israel as ‘anti-semitism’ is an essential ingredient in this dish. The coalition of right wingers within Labour and certain stake-holders outside the Party have identified fake antisemitism a convenient method to tarnish the Labour Party. It is high time to put the kibosh on these machinations. Especially as today’s NEC election results reflect clearly and distinctly the Party’s will.

I intend  to make all of this (and beyond) very clear to the honorable adjudicators. Even if it costs me my Labour membership.

And I know I shan’t be standing there alone.

In solidarity,

Cyril

Mike Paling – expelled for sharing Facebook posts

Like and share this post:

On the very same day that LAW’s honorary president Moshé Machover was expelled from the Labour Party, so was Michael Paling. But, unlike Moshé, whose expulsion had to be overturned by a successful international campaign, comrade Paling remains expelled. Mike was a member of Redcar CLP prior to his expulsion. The MP there is the notoriously anti-Corbyn, Progress-supporting Anna Turley.

As his email to Moshé explains (see below), his ‘offence’ was sharing posts which included articles from Weekly Worker. His Facebook timeline is full of posts he has shared, most of them have nothing to do with the CPGB or LPM. He was obviously targeted as an active trade unionist. They were amongst many such posts that he shared on Facebook. We need to put an end to this McCarthyism.

Mike Paling has been expelled under Chapter 2.I.4.B of the Labour Party’s rules which states:

“A member of the party who joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour Group or unit of the Party or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member, subject to the provisions of part 6.I.2 of the disciplinary rules”.

This rule has to go. As it stands it could be interpreted to debar any member or supporter of Progress or Labour or indeed any organisation deemed political but of course it is only being used to debar members of left-wing groups. An anti-fracking or an anti-racist group could equally be deemed political. The proscribed list of organisations, such as Militant, has been scrapped. Now any member of the Compliance Group can take exception to any group they define as political and then auto-exclude someone, without them having any right of appeal, from the Labour Party. This rule is witch hunter’s charter.

It could of course and maybe in the future it will be used against members of Momentum. However today it is being used solely against people on the Left. Although I detest the Zionist politics of the Alliance for Workers Liberty for the reasons I gave in a previous post, they have a right to function and operate in the Labour Party like any other group.

[Update January 14 2018: The data protection disclosure documents recently sent to the comrade contain a statement according to which he had previously been auto-excluded in 1994. The comrade assures us he had never been a Labour Party member prior to joining in 2014, nor in any other political group, let alone expelled. Presumably, that inaccurate information may have coloured the indifferent reaction he got when writing to Ann Black about his expulsion before he knew that claim had been made.]

Tony Greenstein

(this was first published as part of a longer article here)

 

Letter from Mike Paling to Moshé Machover

Dear Moshé,

No one was happier than myself when your expulsion was rescinded after the fantastic campaigning by members. Sadly the same cannot be said for myself regarding my expulsion at the same time, my crime was the sharing of 8 items from Labour Party Marxist and the Weekly Worker, (CPGB). I would just like to make it clear from the off, I have never attended a LPM or CPGB meeting, let alone joined either of these organisations.

I regularly share political articles on Facebook, including some by your good self, but I’ve shown no bias towards LPM or WW. I’ve checked my Facebook timeline and counted 12 occasions when I’ve shared LPM and WW pieces during September, the month cited by Sam Matthews. However, there were over 200 political articles shared from other sources, such as Labour MPs, Unite the Union, the TUC, New Statesman, national newspapers, etc, during the same period. Of course, I will dispute the premise that LPM support is incompatible with membership, but even if that is accepted, there is no evidence that I’ve given any such support. Like yourself, I was offered no right of appeal but given 14 days to challenge the validity of the so called evidence attached to the expulsion letter, unlike you, however Sam Matthews has not seen fit to reply to, or even acknowledge, my communication.

During my time as a Labour Party activist I’ve participated in election campaigns Party actions regularly attending CLP, branch and Momentum meetings and supporting Labour movement, antifascist and Palestinian solidarity actions. No doubt the latter has made me more susceptible to the attention of purge minded bureaucrats.

Kind regards, M Paling.

 

 

 

Order LAW’s new badges

Like and share this post:

Prices (incl. postage & packaging)

1 badge – £1.50
5 badges – £3
15 badges – £5
25 badges – £10
50 badges – £20
100 badges – £30

You can pay via Paypal below or transfer the amount directly into our account (Labour Against the Witchhunt, Sort code 30-94-73, Account No 21409868). In both cases, please also send an email telling us that this is for badges – and let us know how many you want of each design.




Order LAW’s new leaflet

Like and share this post:

Download front page and back page in PDF format

You can now order copies of this leaflet for distribution in your local area: 

20 leaflets for £2
50 leaflets for £3
100 leaflets for £5
200 leaflets for £8
1k leaflets for £30

You can pay via Paypal below or transfer the amount directly into our account (please also send an email telling us that this is for leaflets): Labour Against the Witchhunt, Sort code 30-94-73, Account No 21409868




Anti-Semitism training by the JLM? Just say no!

Like and share this post:
We understand that the Jewish Labour Movement is writing to Constituency Labour Parties offering training sessions in opposing anti-semitism.
While opposed to racism in all its forms, we urge CLPs to reject the JLM’s offer for the following reasons:
  • The JLM encourages the adoption of the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism, with all its accompanying examples, several of which equate antisemitism with criticism of Israel. The IHRA definition has been challenged by Jewish groups and legal experts.
  • The Chakrabarti report, commissioned by the Party leadership, argued against “narrow anti racist training programmes (p22)
    “On reflection, and having gauged the range of feelings within the Party, it is not my view that narrow anti-racism training programmes are what is required. There is a grave danger that such an approach would seem patronising or otherwise insulting rather than truly empowering and enriching for those taking part. Instead, the Party’s values, mission and history could be firmly embedded in more comprehensive activism and leadership education designed to equip members”

Instead, we urge branches and CLPs to invite a speaker from an organisation like Labour Against the Witchhunt or Jewish Voice for Labour, to address issues like ‘Why anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism’ or ‘How to stop the witch hunt against the pro-Corbyn left’.

Grassroots Black Left Submission to Labour’s Democracy Review

Like and share this post:

I have been asked to distribute this to people and ask them to submit the following to the Democracy Review at democracy@labour.org.uk.  It has to be in by Friday 12th January 4pm.

I am also enclosing the Grassroots Black Left (GBL) criticism of Momentum owner Jon Lansman’s proposals on BAME. They are very critical of the fact that Lansman has wound up all the liberation strands in Momentum and is in the process of winding up the Youth Section as well.

Here is the link to Lansman’s Open Letter with which the GBL agree.  At the moment BAME is in the hands of the Right and is a rotten borough which excludes 99% of Black and Asian members of the Labour Party.

The Grassroots Black Left proposals reject the term BAME as a white term.  In particular they reject the concept of ‘ethnic minority’ which is ill defined and can include people who are not oppressed.  They call for a Labour Party Black Socialists group with 2 representatives, not one as Lansman proposes on the NEC.  They also call for an annual not a biannual conference.

If you agree with the Grassroots Black Left Proposals can you please submit them in your own name, with your membership number attached and contact details by tomorrow January 12, 4 pm at the very latest.

Thank you, Tony Greenstein

Please accept this as my submission to the Labour Party Democracy Review. I request an acknowledgement of receipt.

According to the Guardian’s Rajeev Syal Democracy review may put Keith Vaz’s position on Labour NEC at risk, fewer than 800 members voted for Keith Vaz as the BAME NEC member in August, despite an estimated 72,000 black and minority ethnic members.  This is unacceptable.  As presently constituted BAME Labour appears to be a self-selecting elite club which is not open to the vast majority of Black and Asian members of the Labour Party.  As presently constituted some 1% of Black and Asia Labour Party members are members of BAME Labour  and yet they elected Keith Vaz as the BAME member of the National Executive Committee.  It is clear that as presently constituted BAME Labour is a rotten borough.  The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader was supposed to lead to a wind of change, not a consolidation of the undemocratic practices of New Labour.  The old undemocratic institutions of New Labour need to be overthrown.

I would therefore like to propose:

1. A new affiliated organisation called the ‘Labour Party Black Socialists’ (LPBS), open to members of the Labour Party, or people aged 14 or over eligible for membership who, pay an annual subscription and meet the requirement   of being of African, Caribbean, Asian and other people who face discrimination on the basis of their colour.

2. The operation and finances of the organisation should be under the direct control of its members through their elected leadership bodies.

3. The organisation should have representation at all levels of the Labour Party, to include two representatives on the party’s NEC, NCC, CAC and to Party Conference and the Policy Forum, regional boards, LCFs, GCs and ECs, Women and Youth conferences, elected from the organisation’s bodies at the appropriate level, limited to non-members of parliament and assembly members, at least one of whom should be a woman. One should be African, Caribbean and the other Asian.

4. We should aspire to achieving proportionality of Black representation of elected local authority and parliamentary members according to the population of relevant geographical areas, using all-Black shortlists and Black women on all-women shortlists to achieve this.

5. Labour Party Black Sections should work with Labour to get it to adopt the Black Agenda for its implementation by the party when it is in government.

There should be an annual conference for Black members that elects a national committee based on the race and gender criteria set out above.

Full name:
Labour membership number:
Contact details:

***
Criticism of Lansman’s Proposals on BAME from Grassroots Black Left

  • Does not opt for Black-only, but BAME – taking us back more than 30 years
  • Accepts the current two-yearly conference status quo. Labour women have a conference every year.  Katy Clark has told us she is in favour of an annual Black Labour Party members’ conference
  • Opts for just one “BAME” Labour Party NEC member as per the status quo, stating, vaguely: ” Additional BAME representation on the NEC and throughout all levels of the Party should be seriously considered during the second and third phases of this Democracy Review.” This needs to rule out MPs standing. Grassroots Black left demand gender equality and African, Caribbean and Asian equality among Black Labour representatives
  • Sticks with the patronising “Ethnic minority” CLP officers and local “Ethnic Minority Forums”
  • Has no proposal for Black Labour members to elect delegates to all levels of the party, including the region, policy forums etc
  • Says there should be a full-time staff member for BAME Labour who is “accountable to BAME Labour’s democratic structures” but not appointed by them. Therefore the staff member’s loyalty would be to Labour head office, namely General Secretary Iain “witch-hunter” McNichol
  • Supports one member one vote being used, to automatically include all BAME Labour members. So, no recommendation for a new Black affiliated socialist society run by Black members, for Black members.
  • BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic): An awful term manufactured by white census apparatchiks. It cynically destroys the anti-racist gains of history by rejecting political “Black”, which refers to Africans, Caribbeans, Asians and other people discriminated against because of their colour. No conscious Black person I know would ever use BAME. It’s not our term. It was imposed on us. Now’s the time to slay the BAME dragon, get rid of the neo-colonial term and for Black people to regain our self-respect, dignity and equal rights. That’s what Grassroots Black Left is about.

Letter to Labour Party NEC: Suspended for writing a poem

Like and share this post:

Dear Brother and Sister,

January 12 2018

Until very recently the political balance on Labour’s National Executive Committee meant that decisions concerning suspensions and referrals to the NCC appeared to be rubber stamped.

Following today’s elections of a further 3 constituency members it is widely hoped and expected that there will now be a socialist majority on the NEC. From now on there is no longer an excuse for the witch hunt of socialists.

Nothing can be more ludicrous than the suspension of poet Kevin Higgins for writing a satirical poem about Tony Blair. It is only the most oppressive countries that persecute poets. Nothing can be more unjust than members left suspended, often for months, without information as to charges against them, without regard or due care for the effect this has on members lives and reputations.

We know of a number of members in this situation who have been put at risk of severe depression and suicide.

As you know, at the present time the cases of Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth are going to the NCC. Nothing can be more absurd than a socialist party seeking to expel Jewish, Black and life-long anti-racists for the ‘crime’ of having upset the supporters of Zionism & Israel.

The fact that these suspensions are so avidly reported by Britain’s most racist tabloid press – the Daily Mail, Express and Sun – gives the lie to the suggestion that these suspensions have anything to do with ‘anti-Semitism’. Does anyone seriously believe that papers which employ Richard Littlejohn, Katie Hopkins et al are seriously concerned about anti-Jewish racism?

Shami Chakrabarti, in her Report recommended that ‘The Labour Party should seek to uphold the strongest principles of natural justice, however difficult the circumstances, and to resist subjecting members to a trial by media.’ Eighteen months later these Chakrabarti proposals have not been applied in any meaningful way to the disciplinary process. Members being processed by the Compliance Unit have been subject to repeated leaks to the media, in a clear breach of the Data Protection Act.

We call for a freeze in all disciplinary actions as and until the Chakrabarti Report’s recommendations on due process and natural justice in regard to the disciplinary process have been debated and implemented.

In Solidarity

Jackie Walker – Chair, Labour Against the Witch-hunt
Tony Greenstein – Vice Chair, Labour Against the Witchhunt

Minutes: LAW Organising Meeting Sat Jan 6 2018

Like and share this post:

Notes and Decisions

Venue: (Cost £50) Union Tavern, 22 Lloyd Baker Street WC1X. The original venue, Calthorpe Arms, had cancelled our booking after spurious warnings of trouble between rival groups promoted by Guido Fawkes, The Independent and The Times.

Attendance: roughly 60 people, including comrades who had travelled from all parts of England and Wales.

A proposal from Graham Durham of no confidence in Tony Greenstein as chair was defeated overwhelmingly.

LAW Vice-chair Tony Greenstein chaired the debate on the Steering Committee motion for the exclusion of anti-Semites from LAW, including Socialist Fight. LAW Chair Jackie Walker chaired the rest of the meeting.

Steering Committee motion CARRIED by approximately 34 votes to 16.

Gerry Downing motion LOST overwhelmingly, by a similar vote.

Gerry Downing motion: “This meeting rejects the motion to expel Socialist Fight from LAW and rejects the accusations of anti-Semitism against them.”

(Tony Greenstein’s report of the debate and the meeting as a whole is available here)

After the votes on the two motions, a few Socialist Fight supporters left the meeting, respecting the decision of the meeting that they were excluded from LAW. Some of those who had voted against the exclusion of SF stayed in the meeting, and remain in the campaign. The meeting moved on to plan the development of the campaign.

Steering Committee report: LAW Secretary Stan Keable reported progress so far, and forthcoming events.

Decisions:

  • Mobilise for pickets of disciplinary hearings
  • Compile a list of those suspended or expelled from Labour without due procedure.
  • Write to Labour NEC: Is Chakrabarti being implemented with respect to current disciplinary cases? What is the basis of these hearings?
  • Provide model motions for CLPs, Labour Party branches, TU branches, etc.
  • Write to every Labour NEC member: why we are picketing the NEC meeting ( Jan 23), “Drop the charges”.
  • Actions to “embarrass” NEC members and the Labour leaders, and Momentum.LAW individual membership: £10 waged, £5 concessions.
  • Produce a LAW leaflet for use at events, eg Jackie’s The Lynching.
  • Add immediate implementation of Chakrabarti to the LAW submission to Labour’s Democracy Review.
  • Organise a telephone tree and a Whatsapp group for urgent mobilisations.
  • Moshé Machover is LAW Honorary President. Other prominent names to be invited to be Sponsors or Hon Vice Presidents. Eg, Miriam Margoyles, Alexei Sayle, Kate Osamor, etc.
  • To circulate a Moshé Machover letter: “Join LAW, affiliate to LAW”.
  • Sally Eason elected to Steering Committee.
  • LAW Bank Account needs more than one signatory, to ensure funds are not lost if one signatory disappears.
  • Next members meeting: Saturday March 3, 1pm to 4pm, Union Tavern.
  • A collection of £146.60 was taken.

AOB:

* Support petition for suspended LP member Dave Watson, Walthamstow.

* Grassroots Black Left launch meeting, 6:30pm, February 7, House of Commons.

David Watson, suspended for unspecified “breaches of party rules” since May 2016

Like and share this post:

David Watson, Labour Party fundraising coordinator for the Walthamstow constituency in northeast London, was suspended for unspecified “breaches of party rules.” The Jewish Chronicle – a Zionist weekly newspaper which has been a main cheerleader for the campaign branding Labour a hotbed of Jew-hatred – gave an “Exclusive” tag to its May 6 report alleging that Watson had been suspended because of antisemitic Facebook posts.

For more info on this case, click here.

To sign a petition calling for his reinstatement, click here.