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

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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

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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. Continue Reading “Grassroots Black Left Submission to Labour’s Democracy Review”

Letter to Labour Party NEC: Suspended for writing a poem

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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

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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

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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.

The curious case of Kevin Higgins, suspended for writing this poem

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Poet Kevin Higgins has been suspended from the Labour Party for over 18 months, apparently for writing this satirical poem about the Blairs. For background to this case see here.  

What Did The Politician Get His Wife?

after Bertolt Brecht

And what did she get, the girlfriend,
from the student union meeting
at which he rose to his feet
and realised he could speak?
From that meeting she got
the Snickers bar he forgot to eat
so busy was he watching them listen;
and that speech, unabridged,
every other night for thirty five years.

And what did she get, his new wife,
from the time he first used a party
conference microphone to agree with both sides?
Those okay with the Moslems/Mexicans/Gypsies being here,
and those who want them kept over there.
From that microphone she took away their
invitation to dine with the Deputy Mayor
and his not new wife.

And what did she get, his no longer new wife,
when, at the second attempt,
he won that seat on the City Council?
From his election she got to drink Pinot Noir
and go swimming in their private club
with the no-so-new wives
of those who got the contracts
to make the paving stones and install
the pay-and-display ticket machines
during his years as Chairman
of the relevant committee.

And what did she get, his well-maintained wife,
the night he was elected to the big shiny
parliament? From that night she took away
an architect to re-design their new three storey pad
in the priciest possible part of the capital,
and an article about herself
in the Daily Express lifestyle pages.

And what did she get, the no longer new MP’s
no longer new wife, the morning
they made him Minister?
That morning she got to go horse riding
with the Leader of the House of Lords’
fourth (or fifth) wife..

And what did she get, the no longer new
Cabinet Minister’s wife, the night the landslide
made him Prime Minister? That night
she got to hold to her breast
invitations to break foie gras
with the Sultan of Brunei, the President of China;
and the chance to write husband’s speech
announcing the crackdown on beggars
who accost hard working
families who stop to ask for directions
en route to the nearest funeral parlour.

And what did she get, the ex-Prime Minister’s
no longer new wife, from all the depleted uranium shells
he had dropped during the Battle of Basra, all the soldiers
he sent to meet improvised explosive
devices in far Mesopotamia in the hope
of getting rid of something bigger
than the beggars and prostitutes
at Kings Cross. For these she got
white night terrors
of him on trial for all their crimes,
and the desire to never again
look out the front window of their fine
Connaught Square house
at the tree from which, it’s said,
they used to once string
traitors.

KEVIN HIGGINS

Continue Reading “The curious case of Kevin Higgins, suspended for writing this poem”

Model motion: Review suspensions policy

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Model Motion to Labour NEC

Review suspensions policy

This branch/CLP notes the August 9 report by online political news journal Skwawkbox revealing the Information Commissioners Office ruling that Labour headquarters cannot trawl through members’ social media accounts for disciplinary purposes, as this was a breach of the Data Protection Act, because, as a ‘data controller’ under the act, it does not have permission from the members to use their data for that purpose.

We recognise that in the past two years, particularly during the Labour leadership contests of 2015 and 2016, a number of Labour members were suspended, excluded or expelled from the party. There is a great deal of evidence that many of these members and applicants were treated as such for unclear and sometimes seemingly arbitrary reasons, and often without the transparent, time-limited process based on natural justice, recommended by Labour’s Chakrabarti report into anti-Semitism and racism.

We deplore the malicious and vexatious accusations against Labour Party members and others that has resulted in their suspension from the party. And, while these accusations have sometimes been overturned, they caused a great deal of distress to the individuals involved and damaged their reputation and standing within the party and the wider community.

We call on the NEC to review the suspensions policy so that, except in exceptional circumstances of credible accusations of hate speech, violence or threats of violence or intimidation, all outstanding exclusions and suspensions should be lifted and this course of action publicly supported by the party leader.

Solidarity with Moshé Machover – the labour movement speaks out!

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(please not that this article first appeared on the website of Labour Party Marxists – all links refer to that site)

The expulsion of long-standing Israeli socialist Moshé Machover from the Labour Party (expulsion letter here) caused shockwaves throughout the labour movement. We feature the motions and statements in support of Moshé and against the ongoing witch hunt by the right in the party. 

On October 5, Moshe received a second explusion letter, which states that “These allegations [of anti-Semitism] are not subject to an investigation as you are not currently a member of the Labour Party.” They will probably be kept on file, should his expulsion based on his “clear support” for LPM be overturned. This is arbitrary, to say the least.

Clearly, the mass protests against the outrageous decision worked: On October 30, they were forced to – very reluctantly – reverse their own decision and Moshé has now been reinstated to full membership.

Click here to read the correspondence between comrade Machover and Sam Matthews, “head of disputes”.

Labour Party branches and CLPs

Other organisations and individuals

Jewish Palestine activist to sue charity for “anti-Semitism” defamation

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This article first appeared on the blog Electronic Intifada

Jewish anti-Zionist and veteran Palestine solidarity campaigner Tony Greenstein says he is going to sue pro-Israel charity the Campaign Against Antisemitism for defamation, after it called him a “notorious anti-Semite.”

Greenstein has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover legal costs, and is aiming to raise about $34,000.

Libel cases in UK courts are notoriously expensive.

“I am not suing the [Campaign Against Antisemitism] on behalf of myself but on behalf of all those who have suffered from its libelous attacks. It’s not just my fight but yours too,” Greenstein wrote on his blog this week.

He told The Electronic Intifada on Tuesday that if he won it would be “an immense setback” for this smear used by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and many other pro-Israel groups.

The Israeli government and its supporters around the world have a long record of misrepresenting concern for Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitism.

Greenstein told The Electronic Intifada that the organization had also been quoted in a 189-page dossier by the Labour Party bureaucrats who are currently trying to expel him from the party. Continue Reading “Jewish Palestine activist to sue charity for “anti-Semitism” defamation”

Tony Greenstein: Anti-Semites not welcome

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Tony Greenstein explains why Socialist Fight must be excluded from Labour Against the Witchhunt

This article first appeared in the Weekly Worker.

On December 2 a Labour Against the Witchhunt meeting was effectively ambushed by a small Trotskyist grouping, Socialist Fight. A series of close votes was taken, the result of which meant that the previous decision of the steering committee, that Socialist Fight should no longer participate in meetings of LAW, was overturned.

Stan Keable, the secretary of LAW, had written to inform SF that it was no longer welcome at our meetings, but despite this their comrades turned up. For various reasons – not least that most people were unaware of the full extent of the anti-Semitic positions of Socialist Fight – those present voted against the steering committee position.

It is now incumbent upon LAW to demonstrate clearly and unambiguously that it wants to have nothing to do with Socialist Fight. Not only because its positions are anti-Semitic, but because a campaign whose purpose is to reject the false anti-Semitism campaign of Iain McNicol, the compliance unit and the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement cannot retain any credibility if it includes a group whose positions are anti-Semitic.

I was not aware, at the time of the last meeting, that Ian Donovan – a ‘left’ supporter of the overtly anti-Semitic Gilad Atzmon – had penned an obnoxious and anti-Semitic article the day before, entitled ‘Third-camp Stalinoids bring witchhunt into Labour Against the Witchhunt’.

There is no future for Labour Against the Witchhunt if Socialist Fight and its members remain an integral part of the organisation. For that reason I believe that it is essential that the next meeting, on January 6 should overturn the previous decision. If my views do not prevail, then I will resign from the organisation – as I believe will Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth of Grassroots Black Left. Continue Reading “Tony Greenstein: Anti-Semites not welcome”