Draft contemporary motion on the IHRA definition on Antisemitism

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This draft motion has been written with the Labour Party conference in mind, but of course you can use it in any other context.

  • Contemporary motions to Labour Party conference need to deal with issues that have arisen only recently and cannot be longer than 250 words.
  • They do not have to be submitted to a branch first, but please submit it asap to your CLP secretary. CLPs can either submit a contemporary motion or a rule change motion to conference.
  • CLPs need to submit their motion to the Conference Arrangements Committee by  September 13.

1. We note:

1.1. That recently there has been mounting pressure on the Labour Party to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working document on Antisemitism. This consists of a 38 word definition and eleven illustrative examples. The definition and seven of the examples have been adopted by the NEC.

1.2 Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism, calls the document “bewilderingly imprecise”. Appeals court judge Stephen Sedley believes that the document would place “Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestine beyond permissible criticism”. Hugh Tomlinson QC warns that it has “a chilling effect on freedom of speech”.

1.3. That one of the four particularly disputed examples would ban the description of Israel as a “racist” state.

2. We believe:

2.1. That freedom of speech on the question of Palestine and Israel is of utmost importance.

2.2. Adopting the full IHRA document would conflate criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism.

2.3. Adopting the full IHRA document could lead to the expulsion of thousands of Labour Party members, for example those who criticise as racist the adoption of the new Israeli ‘Nation-State’ law.

2.3. That the campaign to adopt the full IHRA document is driven by forces who are hostile to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and want to get rid of him.

3. We resolve:

3.1. To reject the full IHRA document.

 

Reinstate Stan Keable! Model motion for union/Labour/other organisations

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Please delete and amend as necessary

1. This branch/CLP/organisation notes with great concern: 

1.1. the dismissal of Stan Keable by Hammersmith and Fulham Labour council on April 21 2018. After 17 years service as a housing enforcer, he is supposed to have “brought the Council into disrepute”, by saying that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazi regime. He said this on March 26, in a conversation in Parliament Square. This had nothing to do with work. Stan was participating in the Jewish Voice for Labour counter-demonstration in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, called in opposition to the right-wing ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration. The conversation was secretly filmed by the BBC’s David Grossman, who put a 105-second video clip online.

1.2. that the Council’s justification for dismissal is based on Stan attending the JVL counter-demonstration, by which he “knowingly increased the possibility of being challenged about his views and subsequently proceeded to express views that were in breach of the council’s equality, diversity and inclusion policy and the council’s code of conduct”.

1.3. that the right to express one’s views and to go on demonstrations are important democratic rights. Freedom of expression and freedom ofassemblyare guaranteed in Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

2. We further note: 

2.1. that Unison has withdrawn its support (except at branch level) because Stan rejected the advice of its regional organiser to plead guilty, which would have meant abandoning the right to demonstrate and to freedom of speech.

3. We believe:

3.1. that Stan’s dismissal is wholly unjust and must be reversed.

3.2. this dismissal extends the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party to the area of employment. We fear that Stan’s dismissal could be the first of many political sackings.

4. We resolve to:

4.1. call on Hammersmith & Fulham council to reinstate Stan;

4.2. call on the Unison leadership to support Stan in his fight for reinstatement;

4.3. donate £50/£100/£250 [delete as necessary] to his campaign for reinstatement, and circulate/promote his GoFundMe campaign: www.gofundme.com/ReinstateStanKeable;

4.4. affiliate to Labour Against the Witchhunt [local or regional organisations £25, national organisations £100];

4.5.  sponsor the ‘Reinstate Stan Keable’ lobby of Hammersmith and Fulham Council meeting, Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street W6 9JU, Monday July 16th, from 5pm to 7:15pm (Council meeting starts 7pm).

To be sent to:

Tonbridge and Malling CLP: motion passed on Marc Wadsworth, June 2 2018

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This CLP notes that:  

  • Marc Wadsworth, a leading Black antiracist activist, was expelled from the Labour Party – with no right of appeal – on April 27, 2018, charged with bringing the Party into disrepute;
  • his expulsion followed 22 months of suspension from membership;
  • his expulsion was not for antisemitism, despite continuous prejudicial media coverage falsely accusing him of antisemitic abuse at the media launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016.

This CLP believes:

  • that the party has indeed been brought into disrepute, not by Marc Wadsworth’s non-abusive remark at the Report launch, but by the actions of PLP members publicly denouncing him as an antisemite; by the adherence of the entrenched party bureaucracy to a unaccountable and unelected disciplinary system which was not fit for purpose; and by its failure to put in place a system conforming with principles of natural justice, which should be automatic in any labour movement organisation.

This CLP therefore:  

  • supports Marc Wadsworth’s campaign to clear his name of the antisemitism slur and for reinstatement as a member of the Labour Party;
  • calls on the General Secretary to speedily implement Chakrabarti’s recommendations designed to reform flawed party rules and structures to ensure prompt, fair and transparent handling of disciplinary complaints against members, with right of appeal and including presumption of innocence and fact-based judgements that do not rely on guilt by association

 

Ecclesall branch: motion on Marc Wadsworth

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Motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party, passed on May 14 2018

1. Ecclesall branch (Hallam Sheffield CLP) notes that

  • On April 27 2018 Marc Wadsworth was expelled from the Labour Party for “bringing the party into disrepute”.
  • Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that, at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, Marc Wadsworth was being anti-Semitic by criticising her for “working hand in hand” with a reporter from the Daily Telegraph, who had passed a press release to her.
  • Ruth Smeeth stated at the expulsion hearing that she “felt” Marc Wadsworth was being anti-Semitic. That was sufficient for Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC) to uphold this charge.
  • Marc Wadsworth is a veteran anti-racist campaigner. As chair of the Labour Party Black Sections (1986-1988), he helped four of its members to get elected as MPs in 1987. He founded the Anti-Racist Alliance in 1991 and helped the parents of Stephen Lawrence set up their campaign for justice and introduced them to Nelson Mandela.
  1. Ecclesall branch believes that:
  • Nothing that Marc Wadsworth did or said at the launch of the Chakrabarti report was even vaguely anti-Semitic.
  • The fact that somebody “feels” they have experienced anti-Semitism, or any other form of prejudice, is not enough. The NCC’s decision not to require any proof or evidence sets a dangerous precedent for the acceptance of politically motivated allegations.
  • Chris Williamson MP was right to call thedecision to expel Marc Wadsworth “perverse”. He was also right to criticise the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends”, namely the purging or muzzling of members who are critical of Israeli government policies and actions.
  • Despite the growing number of fallacious allegations of anti-Semitism (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.
  1. Ecclesall branch demands:An end to the practice of automatic, instant expulsion or suspension of Labour Party members (apart from in exceptional circumstances:
  • A member accused of a breach of rule must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and be given all the evidence submitted against them by their accuser
  • Membership rights must not be removed until disciplinary investigations and procedures have been completed;
  • Disciplinary procedures must be time limited. Charges not resolved within three months must be automatically dropped.
  • Disciplinary decisions should be taken only by elected bodies, not by paid officials.

Queen’s Park branch

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On 10 May 2018  the Queen’s Park branch of the Labour Party (in Hampstead & Kilburn CLP) adopted the motion below nem con and with one abstention:
________________________

This branch notes that:

·         Marc Wadsworth, a leading Black antiracist activist, was expelled from the Labour Party – with no right of appeal – on April 27, 2018, charged with bringing the Party into disrepute;
·         his expulsion followed 22 months of suspension from membership;

·         his expulsion was not for antisemitism, despite continuous prejudicial media coverage falsely accusing him of antisemitic abuse at the media launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016.

This branch believes:

·         that the party has indeed been brought into disrepute, not by Marc Wadsworth’s non-abusive remark at the Report launch, but by the actions of PLP members publicly denouncing him as an antisemite; by the adherence of the entrenched party bureaucracy to a disciplinary system which was not fit for purpose; and by its failure to put in place a system conforming with principles of natural justice, which should be automatic in any labour movement organisation.

This branch therefore:

·         supports Marc Wadsworth’s campaign to clear his name of the antisemitism slur and for reinstatement as a member of the Labour Party;
·         calls on the new General Secretary to:
o   speedily implement Chakrabarti’s recommendations designed to reform flawed party rules and structures to ensure prompt, fair and transparent handling of disciplinary complaints against members, with right of appeal and including presumption of innocence and fact-based judgements that do not rely on guilt by association

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.

Jewish Voice for Labour condemns Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion

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Passed unanimously at Jewish Voice For Labour’s AGM on April 29:

JVL condemns the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party, and the procedures that led up to it, on the back of a scurrilous campaign to damage his reputation by falsely branding him as an antisemite.  We fully support the campaign for his reinstatement.  We note that the decision to expel Marc was based on grounds not of antisemitism but on the convenient claim of bringing the Party into disrepute.  It is a bitter irony that what really does bring the party into disrepute are unprincipled campaigns to demonise members, in particular people of colour, and the failure by the hitherto entrenched bureaucracy to implement the processes to ensure natural justice proposed in the Chakrabarti report.
 
We demand justice for Marc and the rapid adoption of speedy, fair and transparent disciplinary procedures.

LAW model motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth

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Feel free to change and amend. Please send us successfully passed motions to info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org and we will publish them.

You can download the motion in Word format here. 

1. This branch/CLPs notes that:

1.1 Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, veteran anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth was being “anti-Semitic” for criticising her as “working hand in hand” with a reporter of the Daily Telegraph – a fallacious claim that was repeated in almost every newspaper.

1.2 An all-white, three person panel of the National Constitutional Committee of the Labour Party, however, did not uphold this charge. They expelled Marc Wadsworth on April 27 2018 under the catch-all phrase of “bringing the party into disrepute” (point 2.1.8 in Labour’s 2016 rulebook). Continue Reading “LAW model motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth”

Complaints and disciplinary procedures in the Labour Party 

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The motion below was passed unanimously by Ceredigion CLP on 27th April.

This CLP calls on the NEC to ensure:

1) that there are fair and transparent procedures and processes in relation to the suspension and expulsion of members from the party, including the right of appeal, and

2) similarly, that there are fair and transparent procedures and processes in relation to the suspension and partial suspension of CLPs and other party units.

We call for:

  • transparency both of the procedures in general and also of the processes in particular cases;
  • supportiveness within the process both for those who are bringing charges and also for those who are the subject of charges;
  • an initial presumption of innocence across the board;
  • clear statement of the exact nature of charges;
  • identification of those bringing charges;
  • reliance on verified, fact-based evidence;
  • reasonable time scales for dealing with cases including the right of challenge and reply;
  • and proportionality of disciplinary measures.

We recognise the need for the involvement and initiative of paid officials in order to encourage the speedy examination and resolution of difficult situations, but we call on the NEC to ensure that all decisions of paid officials are

  1. a) based on agreed and well-publicised procedures and values, and
  2. b) subject to supervision, review and revision by elected post-holders and elected bodies.

We call on the NEC to maintain and strengthen a diverse culture of responsible free speech, discussion and debate within the party.

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.

 

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.

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.

How you can support LAW’s submission to the Corbyn Review

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Background: The so-called Corbyn Review aims to produce a report to the 2018 annual conference in Liverpool. It is not a blue-sky-thinking exercise, however: Submissions invited are limited to answering 32 pre-set questions on six themes with a 250-word-limit on each of the questions.

None of these deal with the compliance unit (Disputes) or the fate of expelled and suspended members per se (or, for that matter, with the important demand for mandatory selection). We have therefore picked a relatively open-ended question that we think it worthwhile filling with some of LAW’s demands.

Here is what you can do:

1. Please submit the proposal as an individual here in the section: How do we get our increased membership more involved in the Party?’ Deadline is March 23.

2. Please submit it to your Labour Party branch and/or CLP and/or other party unit – and submit it again online in their name if they approve it.

3. If you are a Momentum member, please “nominate” the proposal, which has been submitted by Tony Greenstein: Click here. Deadline is Friday, February 16. Continue Reading “How you can support LAW’s submission to the Corbyn Review”

Order LAW’s new leaflet

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Download front page and back page in PDF format or download in A4 format (both pages side by side)

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