#Justice4Marc launch in London: Spotted hyenas and Labour right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking tour: Reinstate Marc Wadsworth!

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

#Justice4Marc national speaking tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motion passed by Grantham LP branch: Marc Wadsworth

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Motion passed by Grantham Labour Party branch

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

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

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

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

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.