Model motion on Anti-Semitism and the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters 

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1. This branch/CLPs notes that:

1.1. The dramatic increase in suspensions and expulsions of Labour Party members without due process – especially those based on alleged anti-Semitism or “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B.

1. 2. Despite the growing number of fallacious allegations of anti-Semitism, initiated 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. The overwhelming majority of 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.

1.3. The Labour Party has only adopted the preambleof the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. It has not adopted the disputed list of examples, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people.

1.4. Yet we are witnessing members being publicly witch-hunted, suspended and expelled for using the word ‘Zio’; for criticising the ideology of Zionism; for comparing the actions of the state of Israel to those of the Nazis; or for pointing out, as Ken Livingstone did, that in 1933 the Zionist movement and the Nazis signed the Ha’avara agreement (breaking the non-Zionist Jewish-led call for an economic boycott of the Nazi regime). This is a historical fact and no one should be disciplined for alluding to it.

2. This branch/CLP demands that:

2.1. The Labour Party ends the practice of automatic, instant, expulsion or suspension of Labour Party members;

a) that all those summarily expelled or suspended from membership without due process be immediately reinstated;

b) that a member accused of a breach of rule be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and be given all the evidence submitted against them by their accuser

c) that membership rights must not be removed until disciplinary investigations and procedures have been completed;

d) that disciplinary procedures must be time limited. Charges not resolved within three months must be automatically dropped.

2.2. The Labour Party’s “Compliance Unit” should be abolished. Disciplinary decisions should be taken only by elected bodies, not by paid officials.

2.3. The first part of rule 2.1.4.B (‘Exclusions’) should be abolished: it bars from Labour Party membership anybody who “joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the party” and has been exclusively used against left-wingers.

 

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”

Another must read: Jonathan Cook on the “anti-Semitism crisis”

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If you force me to choose – and tragically, the mischievious confection of an “anti-semitism crisis” in the Labour party does require me to choose, because it turns racism into a competition between worthier “victims” – Marc Wadsworth, a black activist and the founder of the Anti-Racist Alliance, is a much bigger victim of racism than Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth.

The proof is in the 50 Labour MPs who marched with her to an internal party hearing that they expect will expel Wadsworth. The MPs wanted to give the impression of serving as a bodyguard; in fact, they looked more like a lynch mob.

Wadsworth’s “crime” is his accusation at a meeting to unveil the Chakrabarti report nearly two years ago that Smeeth had been leaking stories to the rightwing press to harm Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

We can argue the facts about whether Wadsworth’s claim is true: whether Smeeth did indeed connive with the anti-Corbyn press. But even if he is wrong, that would not make his allegations anti-semitic.

Furthermore, the accusation itself is hardly far-fetched. The Blairite wing of the parliamentary party, of which Smeeth is very much a part, barely bothers any more to conceal its desire to oust Corbyn from the leadership.

In fact, the Blairites now seem determined to terminally wound not just Corbyn but their own party, as they did at the instigation of the Conservative government last week in a debate on anti-semitism. The opportunistic pummelling of Corbyn, jointly conducted by Labour and Conservative MPs, comes just days before local authority elections that were supposed to be Labour’s chance to seize the initiative from the government.

Smeeth and other Labour MPs have relied on personal anecdotes to argue that anti-semitism is far worse in Labour than any other party, and worse than in British society generally. That is the only possible meaning of the term “crisis”. But the actual statistics give the absolute lie to their claims.

Anti-semitism in Labour is so dire, so endemic, according to Smeeth and her allies, that the party must be eviscerated in public day after day, its energies sapped in the hunt to root out any traces of Jew hatred, and its political programme (and the chances of beating the Tories) set aside until the purges are complete.

But the Wadsworth case illustrates quite how sham the “anti-semitism crisis” is.

His attack on Smeeth was political, not racist. If she took offence, it should have been because she regarded his comments as a political insult, and an untrue one, not a racist insult.

But Smeeth preferred to mischaracterise the attack, not least because she would have been hard pressed to offer a political defence. Instead she weaponised anti-semitism to divert our attention from the real issue at the heart of the spat between herself and Wadsworth. She accused him of promoting “vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people”. Wadsworth pointed out that he did not even know Smeeth was Jewish until she brought the issue into play.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Smeeth believes, because she is Jewish, that any criticism of her is anti-semitic by definition. And she now has 50 MPs on her side, trying to bully Wadsworth out of the party – and by implication, not only him but anyone else who might try to unmask their McCarthyite tactics.

Smeeth, it should be remembered, is not a credible witness in the prosecution of Wadsworth. Unfortunately, I do not enjoy Smeeth’s parliamentary privilege, so I will have to be more circumspect in what I say than Smeeth makes a habit of being. But as I pointed out in an earlier post, at least one of her major claims cannot withstand the most cursory scrutiny, once it is fact-checked.

After her row with Wadsworth she claimed to have been inundated with anti-semitic abuse, some 25,000 messages, most of them on Twitter – though given her own inflated and egocentric ideas about what constitutes anti-semitism, she can hardly be viewed as a competent judge.

But you don’t need to rely on my scepticism. The Community Security Trust, a British Jewish lobby group ever-vigilant about anti-semitism, has discredited her claims too, even if in their case they did so inadvertently. Their study of anti-semitic activity on Twitter for a year-long period that included the few days in which Smeeth was supposedly overwhelmed with abuse found only 15,000 anti-semitic tweets – in a whole year, for the whole of the UK. Smeeth’s self-serving figures simply don’t add up.

But if Labour is now committed to witchhunts, as it seems to be, then it needs pointing out that there are more serious problems of racism in Labour than the current “anti-semitism crisis”?

How about Labour launching an investigation into its “anti-black racism crisis”? It should not be hard to identify. It is being led by the Blairite wing of the party, which has been using anti-semitism as a pretext to hound out of the party black anti-racism activists like Wadsworth and Jackie Walker who support Corbyn, also a lifelong anti-racism activist.

These targets are concerned about racism in all its guises, and about real victims in all their shades of colour. Not opportunists like Smeeth who have hijacked racism narrowly to serve their political cause.

Equally serious is Labour’s real anti-semitism crisis – the one no one talks about. That is being led by an unholy alliance of Labour’s Blairite MPs, rightwing Jewish establishment bodies like the Board of Deputies, and the corporate media to vilify individual Jews and Jewish organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas because they dare to be critical of Israel.

Again unmentioned, Jews are being hounded out of the party on the ridiculous pretext that they are anti-semites – just ask Moshe Machover, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker (black and Jewish!), Glyn Secker, Cyril Chilson and others.

The disturbing implication is that these are not “proper” Jews, that their voices not only don’t count but their arguments are dangerous and must be shunned. And further, that those who “consort” with them, as Corbyn has done, are contaminated and guilty by association.

Ruth Smeeth is not a victim of the Labour party “anti-semitism crisis”, because that crisis does not exist. It is a political construct. There are doubtless examples of anti-semites and other racists who are members of the Labour party, as there are in all walks of life, but there is no crisis.

Real victims of racism suffer because they are isolated, vulnerable and easily vilified. The Labour party should stand with such people. Instead it is allowing privileged MPs and party bureaucrats to promote the demonisation, abuse and persecution of black activists like Marc Wadsworth and anti-Zionist Jews like Cyril Chilson. We are living through a truly shameful period in Labour’s history.

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A must read: Len McCluskey’s counter-attack

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https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/04/corbyn-ultimatum

The Corbyn ultimatum

“Corbyn-hating” MPs must end their shameless smears – or face the consequences

Here are two truths about the state of the Labour Party today. First, there are a small number of members expressing entirely unacceptable anti-Semitic views and attitudes, especially on social media. The second is that this issue has joined a line of others in being used by a group of backbench Labour MPs to attack and undermine Jeremy Corbyn and the progressive leadership of the party.

The first issue is in a way easier to deal with. People holding anti-Semitic views have no place in the party, and they should be dealt with under rule as rapidly as possible. With Labour Party headquarters now under new management, I believe that this will at long last be done – that the backlog of complaints will be speedily addressed and that the Chakrabarti report will finally be implemented in full.

We should also see the high-profile cases such as that of Ken Livingstone, whose remarks linking Hitler with Zionism caused so much understandable offence, resolved. And a new political education programme will help members understand and identify anti-Semitism whenever it rears its head in future.

 Let me say that I accept there are anti-Semites in the Labour Party – few in number for sure, but any is too much – and that raising the issue of combating their views is not merely legitimate, but essential. When I said that I had never encountered such attitudes in my 47 years of party membership I was speaking the truth, but of course I accept that others, and Jewish members in particular, may well have had different experiences.

There is no doubt the advantages of social media in combating the right-wing media also carry with it the darker side of cowardly individuals feeling able to use vile insults with impunity – the sooner they are routed out the better. Certainly, cleansing Labour of any trace of anti-Semitism is critical. No party committed to equality can play host to this virus. I have fought anti-Semitism and anti-Semites all my life, including physically on the streets on occasion, and I need no lectures from anyone else on the subject. I am not sure that some of the voluble backbench critics of Jeremy Corbyn can say as much: just as it is legitimate to raise and combat anti-Semitic views, it is also legitimate to contextualise the attacks of right-wing MPs without being accused of minimalising or denying anti-Semitism.

That leads on to the second issue we have to grapple with – the activity of a few dozen Labour MPs who appear to wake up each morning thinking only: “how can I undermine Jeremy Corbyn today?”

I do not doubt they are sincere in their opposition to anti-Semitism, but they need to understand that if you attack your party leader about everything, it devalues your criticisms concerning anything in particular.

****

If you look at the list of MPs who rebel on one issue after another you see the same names. There is, to say the least, a marked overlap between those who backed Theresa May in risking a new bloody intervention in the Middle East, and those who work overtime trying to present the Labour Party as a morass of misogyny, anti-Semitism and bullying.

How dare they try to toxify the Labour Party that has been the voice and hope of millions of ordinary working people for generations, including the nearly 13 million people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in 2017? His critics enjoyed dramatic increases in their own votes – and I have to advise them that this was down to Corbyn’s campaign and his radical manifesto, not their own personal charisma.

Of course, they have a right to express their own views, a right Jeremy Corbyn exercised in his backbench days; but you would have to go back a long way to find such a sustained smearing by MPs of their own leader and their own party as we are seeing now. MPs such as Chris Leslie, Neil Coyle (my own MP), John Woodcock, Wes Streeting, Ian Austin, and others, have become a dismal chorus whose every dirge makes winning a Labour government more difficult.

Just recently Angela Smith MP moved seamlessly from not supporting Labour’s whip on the democratic issue of giving parliament a vote before government commits the country to war to rallying to the defence of the rip-off private water industry, attacking the manifesto commitment to renationalise on which she stood last June.

Their determination to divide the party into pro- and anti-Corbyn factions, despite the huge increase in Labour’s vote secured last year under Corbyn’s leadership, ultimately pollutes everything it touches. That includes the work against anti-Semitism, which is not helped by the frenzied hostility to the party leadership that is often displayed, when calm counsel would be the better option.

Take, for example, the utterly outrageous letter to Corbyn from the leader of the Israeli Labour Party, Avi Gabbay, severing relations with the Labour leader’s office. Gabbay denounced Jeremy Corbyn for “the hostility that you have shown to the Jewish community and the anti-Semitic statements and actions you have allowed”.

If no one else will say it, I will: Gabbay is guilty of a cynical and outrageous smear. The idea that Corbyn has ever shown hostility towards the Jewish community, or allowed anti-Semitic actions, is a disgusting libel of which Gabbay should be ashamed. In my view, withdrawing those remarks is essential for any resumption of normal relations with the Israeli Labour Party.

Yet I have not heard a single one of the Labour leader’s critics on this issue, including my friends in the Jewish Labour Movement, acknowledge that Gabbay had gone too far. It would seem that hostility to the party leadership trumps all other considerations, even to the point of allowing a malicious attack which could poison Labour’s standing among Jewish men and women to go unchallenged. For anyone to blame Corbyn for some vile comment made by a so-called Corbyn supporter is an affront to natural justice.

****

Let me declare here my support for the Israeli state on the 1967 borders. But let me also say without hesitation that I oppose the most right-wing Israeli government in the same way I oppose all right-wing governments around the world. And I have much admiration for those Jewish socialists inside Israel who fight against their government and for peace and justice.

This all fits a pattern in which no attack on Jeremy Corbyn is considered too wild or outlandish to suffer even the mildest rebuke. I didn’t hear any criticism of outgoing general secretary, Iain McNicol, for not implementing the Chakrabarti Report – which was his responsibility. No, it was easier to blame Corbyn.

I didn’t hear any criticism over the EU referendum of Alan Johnson who was responsible for Labour’s Remain campaign. No, it was easier to blame Corbyn (even though Corbyn attended more Remain meetings than anyone).

I didn’t hear anyone question Margaret Hodge who, in the wake of the referendum, blamed Corbyn and moved a vote of no confidence against him when her own constituency, Barking, voted overwhelmingly to leave – one of only three London constituencies to do so – and whose actions were repudiated by 40 per cent of the British electorate at the first opportunity.

I am personally not in favour of mandatory reselection; I believe our present procedures for holding MPs to account are quite sufficient. However, I lost that argument overwhelmingly with the Unite executive council and at our policy conference in 2016 in the wake of the misjudged and cowardly coup against Corbyn by most of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

I look with disgust at the behaviour of the Corbyn-hater MPs who join forces with the most reactionary elements of the media establishment and I understand why there is a growing demand for mandatory reselection.

I had hoped, after the great advances in last year’s general election under Jeremy’s leadership – advances that obviously stunned much of the PLP, even as they enjoyed their highest-ever votes in most cases – the issue could fade away. It seems I was wrong.

To watch as these so-called social democrats tried to demean and attack, in front of our enemy, a decent and honourable man who has fought racism and anti-Semitism all his life and who has breathed life and hope back into the hearts of millions, especially the young, made my stomach churn. To see Tory MPs cheer and applaud them was shameful.

Promiscuous critics must expect to be criticised, and those who wish to hold Corbyn to account can expect to be held to account themselves.

Len McCluskey is general secretary of Unite.

Merseyside Pensioners Association: a toxic conspiracy to bring down Corbyn

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At a meeting on Wednesday April 25th 2018 the Merseyside Pensioners Association unanimously passed this resolution.

This MPA reaffirms it’s belief that the continuing fiction of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is generated by a toxic mix of Tories, Blairites, right-wing self-styled representatives of the ‘Jewish community’ and is designed to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and the ideas he espouses.

We condemn the role of the media, particularly the BBC, for perniciously linking the Labour Party to anti-Semitic attacks by far-right thugs

Labours response should be to call out the lies for what they are: a toxic conspiracy to bring down Corbyn.

McCarthy and the Salem with-hunters were eventually exposed as charlatans. We call on the leadership to stand firm and the current onslaught will suffer the same fate.

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.

This Wednesday, April 25: We need your help!

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According to a report in the Skwawkbox, Wes Streeting MP, who recently verbally attacked Diane Abbott, is organising anti-Corbyn MPs, peers and others people to protest outside the Labour Party disciplinary hearing against veteran black anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth this Wednesday, April 25.

Streeting claims that his “march” from Westminster Hall to Church House (which will also be attended by Labour First’s Luke Akehurst) is in “support of Ruth Smeeth MP”, who will give evidence against Marc, as “there will be a protest against her”.

Campaigners, including, Labour Against the Witchhunt, Grassroots Black Left, Jewish Voice for Labour and members of the Windrush generation, are not organising a protest against Smeeth but a lobby in support of Marc.  We demand that the false charges against him are dropped and that he is fully reinstated to Labour Party membership. What we are protesting about is the attempted frame-up of Marc. Labour bosses are demanding his expulsion from the party.

Streeting calls Marc “the guy who abused her [Ruth Smeeth] at the [Shami Chakrabarti] antisemitism inquiry launch”.

In fact the Chakrabarti report was about anti-semitism and all forms of racism, including the anti-black racism and Islamophobia, which have been ignored. What abuse is Wes Streeting talking about? Marc Wadsworth actually said at the report launch, after being goaded by Daily Telegraph political report Kate McCann:

“I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand. If you look around this room, how many African, Caribbean and Asian people are there? We need to get our house in order, don’t we?”

Of course, anti-semitism exists in society, just like other forms of racism and prejudice and this is reflected in the Labour Party. But, just like Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Tony Greenstein and many other Labour members suspended and expelled by the party in the last two years, Marc is no anti-semite and nothing he did or said was even vaguely anti-semitic.

In truth, the right-wing in the Labour Party want to claim another scalp in their campaign to smear Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters.

LAW will be showing their support to Marc and all those people unjustly suspended and expelled without due process. We demand the yet to be implemented Chakrabarti rules be applied to all cases, that have been referred to Labour’s draconian National Constitution Committee, including Marc’s.

Please come along to show your support!
Wednesday April 25, 9.30am
Church House, Great Smith St, Westminster

London SW1P 3NZ

Please bring witches costumes and placards (though we are also having some printed). Please also note that we are asking all protesters to wear a ‘gag’ – a sticky tape or similar over their mouths – and keep a silent protest. No doubt the right-wingers present will try and provoke us.Marc also needs help covering his legal costs – please contribute to his crowdfunding campaign.

In defence of LAW secretary Stan Keable

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On March 27, the day after he attended the counter demonstration in Parliament Square, organised by Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witchhunt’s secretary Stan Keable was suspended from work by Hammersmith and Fulham council. The suspension letter states that there are “serious allegation(s) which, if substantiated, could constitute gross misconduct under the council’s disciplinary procedure” and which “could result in your dismissal from the council’s service”.

Stan, who is secretary of Labour Party Marxists, has not yet been informed of the exact nature of the alleged “inappropriate comments”. However, it seems very likely that they relate to a short video clip tweeted by BBC Newsnight editor David Grossman. It seems that Grossman – without asking for permission – filmed Stan on his mobile phone while he was talking to a supporter of the anti-Corbyn demonstration.

Like other LPM comrades, Stan had approached the Zionists with the intention of engaging with them. He handed out Labour Against the Witchhunt leaflets and spoke to numerous people. Most discussions were friendly, if a little one-sided: “People on the ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration were a mixture of Tories, Labour Party members and ex-members,” says Stan. “They told me they were there because of the ‘huge problem’ of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, but when I asked if they themselves had experienced discrimination, they could not give me any concrete examples.”

The conversation in question was several minutes long “and the guy and I shook hands afterwards”. The 105 seconds that Grossman has published – again, without even asking for permission – are entitled: “Anti-Semitism didn’t cause the holocaust and Zionists collaborated with the Nazis”. As we show in the transcript below, this is seriously misleading. But, as you would expect from such a headline in the current climate, the short clip has caused quite a stir on social media.

Continue Reading “In defence of LAW secretary Stan Keable”

April 7: LAW joins the protest against slaughter of Palestinians

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The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has just called for a rally on April 7 to protest against the slaughter of unarmed Palestinians on March 30 in Gaza. 17 were killed, more than 1500 injured by Israeli snipers.

The LAW steering committee has decided that it is important we join this protest. We will produce our own placards and banners that focus on the witch-hunt in the Labour Party.

Please note that our April 8 counter-mobilisation to the demonstration called by the vicious Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has therefore been cancelled. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Details of the protest:
https://www.palestinecampaign.org/events/protest-gaza-stop-killing/

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”

Birmingham LAW meeting March 21

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The meeting was opened with a video produced by Real News USA which interviewed Richard Kuper, Jewish Voices for Labour, on the false accusations of anti-semitism. This provoked a good debate on the issue.

There was 18 people present from a wide range of Labour parties in Bham, the Black country and a comrade from Nuneaton. There was a report on the successful Bham LAW meeting on the 30th January with Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker and Naomi Wimborne-Idressi with 55 in attendance. The meeting had a good geographical spread with comrades from the Black country, Coventry, Nottingham and Birmingham and different ethnic minority communities were well represented. It was noted the two Birmingham Momentum groups refused to circulate details of the meeting to their supporters. The pro-Corbyn organisation refusing to defend Corbyn supporters who are facing false allegations and expulsions.

Steve Price, convenor of Midlands Campaign for Labour Party Democracy chaired the meeting and reported on cases of exclusions from the Labour Party in the West Midlands area. He hoped to attend at least part of the national LAW meeting in London on Saturday 24th March. It was reported that there was an important anti-racist mobilisation in Birmingham at 12 noon outside Waterstones on Saturday. Comrades were urged to attend and LAW leaflets would be available from the Bham StWC stall.

It was reported that 100+ LAW leaflets were distributed at a Solihull Labour Party social with John Mcdonnell as the main speaker on the 15th March.

It was agreed Marian Brian from Ladywood LP would be the secretary of Bham LAW and Aktar Khan from Nuneaton LP would be the assistant secretary. Steve Price and Andrew Thompson would continue to be the joint chairs.

In summing up the meeting Steve Price, chair of Bham LAW, noted the comment by veteran anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth “You can’t call yourself a socialist if you don’t publicly oppose the witchhunt.”

In any other business there was a report on the campaign against the plans for the closure of the Bham City Council 14 Nurseries. There would probably be another lobby of the Council on the 22nd May but it was important we lobby the new Momentum Labour Councillors to submit a motion opposing the closure of the Nurseries to the June Labour Group meeting which would probably approve a cabinet recommendation to close them. It was noted that Labour Women were playing a very limited role in opposing these Nursery closures.

A collection at the end raised £9.98 which in addition to the collection at the 30th January meeting meant the total funds were £78.33.

PS. “The Jewish Chronicle” 23.3.18. reports that “The Board of Deputies president has called for the whip to be removed from the outspoken left-wing Labour MP who called for Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker to be readmitted to the party.” The MP was Chris Williamson who said it was a “real pleasure and a privilege” to be sharing a platform with Jackie Walker. Clearly a MP is a hero of many in Momentum is willing to defend Jackie and others unlike many Momentum supporters in Bham. I would propose we invite him to speak at our next Bham LAW public meeting.

Transparency and presumption of innocence

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Based on FSOI/JVL model and passed unanimously by South Cambridgeshire Constituency Party on March 27:

“South Cambridgeshire Constituency Labour Party notes that more than 20 months on from the Report of the Chakrabarti Inquiry, disciplinary measures in response to complaints and charges against members have continued to be implemented in an arbitrary manner without consistent regard to the key recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report.

This Constituency Party calls for the NEC to initiate a review of the relevant Labour Party rules and procedures to ensure that there is a fair and transparent process in relation to the suspension and expulsion of members from the Party, including a right of appeal.

These procedures should, in addition, and following the precepts of natural justice, recognise the right of those charged with infringing Party rules to know the exact nature of the charges and by whom they are laid.

The review should include consideration of the role and procedures of the Compliance Unit.

This Constituency Labour Party confirms its support for the Chakrabarti Report’s recommendations of due process based on natural justice in dealing with complaints against members. The Report advocates:
• transparency,
• presumption of innocence,
• reliance on fact-based verified evidence,
• reasonable time scales for dealing with cases and for the right of challenge and reply,
• proportionality of disciplinary measures.

We fully support the Chakrabarti Report’s commitment to strengthening a culture of free speech within the party and its desire that complaints are dealt with as far as possible through educational means rather than suspensions and exclusions

We are concerned that the Chakrabarti Inquiry Report is not specifically mentioned in the brief for the Democracy Review.

We call for the new General Secretary and the NEC to reiterate its support for the key recommendations of the Chakrabarti inquiry Report, and to implement them in practice immediately, including and in particular the new “End to End” disciplinary process recommended in that Report.

We call upon the convenors of the Democracy Review to ensure that there is opportunity within the Democracy Review to:
• examine the role of party structures that deal with disciplinary and compliance matters;
• flesh out the key recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report and to consider the best ways to put its principles and recommendations into practice.”

To be sent to NEC and as submission to Democracy Review by our Chair.

Launch of Liverpool LAW, March 22

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More than 70 people, including veterans of the city’s labour movement, attended the launch of Liverpool Labour Against the Witchhunt on March 22 in the Quakers’ Meeting House. They came from all of Liverpool’s constituencies and others on Merseyside. Speakers included Bob Walker, one of the Garston Three, expelled from the Labour Party for attending a TUSC meeting; Alan Runswick, from Wallasey Constituency Labour Party, which was suspended for many months after a dispute with supporters of its MP Angela Eagle, who had opposed Jeremy Corbyn; John Davies, a leading left wing activist and target of the Liverpool Riverside witch-hunt in 2016/2017; Anyanna Ndukwe, North West Organiser of Grassroots Black Left; and Marc Wadsworth, the suspended black activist, who gave the keynote address.

Radical Liverpool pensioners, including Tony Mulhearn – the last chair of Liverpool District Labour Party, before witch-hunters at the national party shut it down and expelled several of its leading Militant Tendency membership – spoke of the need to challenge right-wing politicians in the city. It was important that democratic elections of candidates were allowed, so that left-wingers could stand against them as councillors and and MPs. Mulhearn said he and other comrades had not been allowed to rejoin the Labour Party.

The meeting was treated to a rousing speech by Marc Wadsworth, who recalled being in Liverpool during the Toxeth riots of 1981. He had met prominent activists then, including leading Black campaigner Rashid Mufti and Sam Semoff, an outstanding Jewish anti-Zionist and anti-racist, both if whom had died. A minute’s silence was held for them. Wadsworth described the events at the launch of the Shami Chakrabarti report, leading up to his suspension from the Labour Party almost two years and the fake news “media storm” surrounding it. Originally Wadsworth was summarily expelled for an alleged verbal attack on Ruth Smeeth MP, an anti-Corbyn member of the Parliamentary Labour Party. This was changed to a suspension after an intervention by Wadsworth’s lawyer. Six months later, with party witch-hunters realising how flimsy the case against Wadsworth was, they introduced a false allegation of anti-Semitism against him.

There was appeal for support for Wadsworth’s crowd funding campaign and call for people to attend a lobby of his expulsion hearing at 9.30am on April 25 at a London venue to be notified.

There was a lively debate about the current state of .eft politics, with Bob Walker (expelled from the Labour Party for being involved with TUSC) saying: “Just because someone wears a t-shirt with Jeremy Corbyn’s face on it does not mean they are a socialist.”

Comrades welcomed the appointment of Labour’s new general secretary Jennie Formby and expressed the hope that the new left majority on the party’s ruling NEC would now decisively end the purge of Corbyn supporters.

Liverpool LAW officers elected were Kevin Bean (chair), Jennifer James (vice chair), Kal Ross (secretary/treasurer), and Anyanna Ndukwe and Bob Walker (joint liaison).

After the meeting, the Liverpool branch of Grassroots Black Left was set up, with Anyanna as convenor.

 

Momentum, don’t expel those witch-hunted by the compliance unit!

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Having been expelled from the Labour Party on very spurious grounds and with a clear lack of due process, Tony Greenstein is now being threatened with expulsion from Momentum, too!

Find below the email exchange between ‘Team Momentum’ and Tony and, further below, a draft letter you could send in protest to info@peoplesmomentum.com and jon.lansman@peoplesmomentum.com


On 22 March 2018 at 14:12, Momentum Info <info@peoplesmomentum.com> wrote:

Dear Tony Greenstein,

It has come to our attention that you are no longer a member of the Labour Party, as reported here and here and elsewhere.

Under rule 5.8 of Momentum’s constitution, any Momentum member who ceases to be a member of the Labour Party, or acts inconsistently with Labour Party membership, may be deemed to have resigned their membership of Momentum. Under rule 5.10 of Momentum’s constitution, where a member may be deemed to have resigned in accordance with rule 5.8, there will be a right to be heard by Momentum’s National Coordinating Group or a delegated panel before a final decision is made.

A panel of the National Coordinating Group will meet on Thursday 29th March 2018 in order to determine whether or not to deem you as having resigned your membership of Momentum under rule 5.8. If you would like to make any representations to this panel, please do so in writing by Wednesday 28th March 2018.

Kind regards,
Team Momentum


Dear Team Momentum,

When you write to another member of Momentum, especially when it is a personal matter and not simply a mass mailing, I would expect that whoever wrote your email would append their name to it to.

Sending messages with no names is part and parcel of the corporate culture we live in and under. It is part of reducing human relations to an impersonal commodification.  Clearly the World Transformed festival you put on each year has taught you nothing.

It is not something I would expect from a socialist organisation, at least I assume you make a claim to be socialists.  It is not only rude and discourteous it suggests that you have contempt for the membership.  I would appreciate it if in any future correspondence the person who is corresponding reveals themselves. At least I assume that you don’t need a whole team to write one email.

Yes you are correct I was expelled from the Labour Party on February 18th.  I accept that under the imposed Constitution of Momentum I ‘may be deemed to have resigned….’.  However that process is not automatic.  I wish this to be dealt with in a comradely fashion and not legalistically.  However the Constitution, which functions as a binding contract, is quite specific:

5.8 Any member who does not join the Labour Party by 1 July 2017, or ceases to be a member of the Labour Party, or acts inconsistently with Labour Party membership, may be deemed to have resigned.

5.10 Where a member may be deemed to have resigned in accordance with Rules 5.7, 5.8 or 5.9 there will be a right to be heard by the NCG or a delegated panel before a final decision is made.  The second paragraph of your

I have emboldened the key phrase as your email to me is ambiguous. You seem to be suggesting that I notify you in writing by 28th March but you do not suggest that any provision has been made for a hearing.

Your time scale is virtually impossible to meet and the date of 29th March is impossible as I have child care on that evening. The following week would be very difficult but I could make Apri 11th, 12th and 13th in the week after.

Your email gives the distinct impression that this is merely a matter of going through the motions. I would however like to context the ‘deemed to have resigned’ provisions of the constitution and draw your attention to the phrase in Clause 5.8 may be deemed to have resigned.’ There is no obligation on you to deem anything and I wish to make strong, personal representations to this effect.

As I said your schedule is very tight especially if the written representations are going to be thorough.

I wish this to be dealt with in a comradely fashion and not legalistically. I was forced, because of the inherent unfairness of the Labour Party’s disciplinary process to go to the High Court to obtain an injunction. https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/suspended-labour-activist-wins-high-court-injunction-against-disciplinary-hearing-on-antisemitism-charges-1.450088

I would not wish to have to make an application against Momentum but your email to me, apart from being high handed and discourteous, was and is unreasonable. I would hope that we can come to an amicable agreement. I do have part-time care of an autistic boy and if Momentum stands for anything it should be making reasonable adjustments in such cases.

Rather than having an exchange of correspondence I suggest you ring me. I couldn’t find a number for you but I can be contacted on 01273 xxx.

In solidarity,

Tony Greenstein


DRAFT PROTEST LETTER – please amend and send to  info@peoplesmomentum.com and jon.lansman@peoplesmomentum.com

Dear NCG comrades,

I was disappointed to learn today that Tony Greenstein, a member of Momentum based in Brighton, has been expelled – or “deemed to have resigned” – from the organisation.
Presumably, this decision was made in response to pressure from the right of the Labour Party, and those elements who wish appease it, following Tony’s participation in the Labour Against the Witchhunt demonstration outside Southside earlier this week.
Tony is an energetic and passionate activist whose campaigning work and writings have made a huge contribution to the labour movement, the Palestinian liberation struggle and anti-racist/anti-fascist causes.
At a time when changes in key personnel at Labour HQ – eg, the appointment of Jennie Formby as general secretary – offer hope that the appalling wave of suspensions and expulsions under Iain McNicol’s regime might be overturned, it would be shameful if Momentum took it upon itself to throw yet more sacrificial scalps to the anti-Corbyn right.
The comrade’s expulsion from the Labour Party last month was a disgraceful affair. Tony was suspended for alleged antisemitism in March 2016, yet no offences before that date were included on eventual charge sheet that finally emerged nearly two years later. He was suspended for one thing and then a trawl was undertaken to find other reasons to justify that. This is a witchhunting technique that many Momentum members have faced in the last couple of years as supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership have been picked off one by one, particularly those who are active in pro-Palestine campaigns.
I urge you to review this decision as soon as possible.
In solidarity,
 XXX