Why we cannot support Jon Lansman’s Labour Party general secretary bid

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Some of us are members of Momentum, some have never joined – and some of us left the organisation after January 2017, when its leader Jon Lansman abolished all democratic structures and imposed a new constitution, riding roughshod over the organisation’s members.

It should be noted that, as part of this coup, Lansman abolished the right of Momentum’s “liberation strands” to have direct representation on the leading national bodies of the organisation. Among the consequences of this was the breaking up of Momentum Black Connexions/Caucus. More recently, he closed down Momentum’s youth group. This demonstrates his serious lack of commitment to the self-organisation, self-determination and autonomy of disadvantaged groups in society.

Wes Stressing MP: new friend of Jon Lansman’s

As a consequence of Lansman’s behaviour, Labour Against the Witchhunt believes he lacks the democratic credentials to become the kind of general secretary that the Labour Party now needs in order to heal the wounds inflicted by Iain McNicol’s divisiveness. As general secretary, McNicol was directly in charge of the discredited compliance unit and thereby responsible for the purge of thousands of pro-Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party members. The automatic and instant expulsions and suspensions overseen by McNicol – especially those based on alleged anti-semitism and those based on members’ alleged “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B – have brought the party into disrepute. They have prevented and discouraged new members from getting involved in party life, while valuable resources have been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners for social change. Continue Reading “Why we cannot support Jon Lansman’s Labour Party general secretary bid”

Statement on the February 18 expulsion of Tony Greenstein from the Labour Party

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“Labour Against the Witchhunt deplores the politically motivated expulsion from the Labour Party of Tony Greenstein (LAW’s vice-chair). It is a blatant example of how the right-wing who oppose Jeremy Corbyn, the democratically elected Labour leader, have cynically weaponised anti-Semitism to attack his supporters.

Veteran Black, Jewish and other party members have been targeted as part of this witch-hunt. Greenstein is a Jewish anti-racist who has campaigned ceaselessly against the Zionist Israeli government’s appalling treatment of Palestinians and has played a leading role in exposing how children, like jailed Ahed Tamini, have been caught up in this cycle of oppression. He is not Anti-semitic. It is shameful that anti-Semitism has been cynically weaponised by the right-wing to purge Labour of Corbyn supporters, while much more prevalent anti-black racism and, until Jeremy Corbyn spoke out against it, Islamophobia, have been ignored by the party.

We call on the Labour leadership to use its left-wing majority on the party’s ruling National Executive Committee to reinstate Greenstein and stop the witch-hunt; it is an expression of the ongoing civil war in the party that serves no other purpose than to damage the party’s chances of winning the next general election.

The NEC must, without further delay, implement the recommendations of the party’s own Chakrabarti Report recommendations on disciplinary procedure based on natural justice and due process. It is astonishing that almost two years have gone by without these vital changes being brought in so that party members are treated fairly rather than made victims of the purge.”

LAW’s steering committee includes Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth, both of whom remain suspended on trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism. Please support Marc’s crowdfunding appeal – he is next in the firing-line. His hearing has been set for April 25 in London – LAW will be supporting him with a protest outside backed by members of Grassroots Black Left, the Indian Workers’ Association and Jewish Voice for Labour.

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




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.

Why the Steering Committee are proposing that Socialist Fight [SF] should be excluded from Labour Against the Witch-hunt

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UPDATE (January 7 2018): The overwhelming majority of attendees at our January 6 meeting voted for the steering committee’s motion to exclude Socialist Fight. 

Statement from Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein

At the last meeting of LAW, the Steering Committee [SC] motion excluding SF from the campaign was narrowly defeated.  Also defeated was a motion from SF and a third motion by John Bridge.  Subsequently the SC decided to renew its call for the exclusion of SF.

  1. The reason that the SC is moving a resolution calling for the exclusion of SF is because the campaign cannot develop as long as SF, which advocates anti-Semitic politics, is allowed to remain. It really is that simple.  None of the 3 people whom the Right are intending to expel next – Tony Greenstein [TG], Jackie Walker [JW] or Marc Wadsworth [MW] – want anything to do with SF.  Nor will any Jewish anti-Zionist group will have anything to do with LAW if SF remain a part of it.
  2. The Right is waging a witchhunt which is primarily based around the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. We are falsely being accused of anti-Semitism because we are anti-Zionists. It makes no sense whatsoever for us to therefore include a political group in LAW which is anti-Semitic. This is playing into the hands of the Zionists and undermines the position of those who are facing expulsion.
  3. The only question to be decided is whether SF is anti-Semitic. By that we don’t mean that Gerry Downing [GD] or Ian Donovan [ID] are personally anti-Semitic but whether their politics are anti-Semitic.
  4. ID writes that ‘Today, he [Greenstein] and his bed mate Jack Conrad are in a bloc with the same Iain McNichol who is framing him up for anti-Semitism. This is class treachery at its most pathetic.’  If ID really believes that TG and presumably JW and MW, all of whom agree about SF, are in a bloc with Iain McNicol, what the hell is he doing in LAW in the first place?
  5. Yes we have moderated their lengthy contributions on the FB page, not because we wished to censor them but because the group is there to fight the witchhunt.

Why Socialist Fight is espousing anti-Semitic politics

  1. It is a standard tactic of Zionism to accuse anti-Zionists of anti-Semitism. In 99% of cases this is false but occasionally they are right. Making a connection between the number of Jewish billionaires in the United States or who is Jewish amongst the richest sections of society and imperialist support for Israel is anti-Semitic.
  2. Anti-Zionists have taken great care to make the distinction between Zionism and being Jewish crystal clear. SF make no such distinction. US support for Israel and Zionism has nothing to do with the ethnic composition of the US ruling class and everything to do with their own perceived interests. There is no evidence of a clash between Jewish and non-Jewish members of the ruling class over this.
  3. ID states that ‘It is factually demonstrable that there exists a Jewish component within the ruling classes of Western countries… and that this part of the ruling class is overwhelmingly loyal to Israel. This does not determine the bare existence of a Western alliance with Israel.
  4. What it does, however, is play an important role in transforming what would otherwise be a ‘normal’ relationship… into a servile relationship
  5. The idea that the United States is ‘servile’ to Israel is anti-Semitic. What lies behind this is the notion of an all-powerful Jewish conspiracy.
  6. ID is the main theoretician of SF and he is a critical supporter of Gilad Atzmon. Atzmon is deeply anti-Semitic. He believes that the Jews control the world and that it is irrelevant if the Protocols of Zion are a forgery because they are true anyway.  He doubts whether Auschwitz was an extermination camp.  In his essay ‘On anti-Semitism’ he wrote ‘we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously.’  See A Guide to the Sayings of Gilad Atzmon, for more examples of Atzmon’s anti-Semitism.  
  7. In March 2012 twenty leading Palestinians including Ali Abunimah, Joseph Massad and Omar Barghouti penned a call to exclude Atzmon from the Palestine solidarity movement Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon yet in Third-Camp Stalinoids bring Witchhunt into ‘Labour Against the Witchhunt’ ID describes Atzmon as an ‘Israeli dissident’ and denies that he is anti-Semitic.
  8. ID in Defend Marxism and Labour Movement democracy against capitulators to Zionism describes the campaign of Jews Against Zionism and J-Big to get the SWP to cut their links with Atzmon, as an attempt ‘to witchhunt the Socialist Workers Party’. ID subscribes to many of Atzmon’s pet themes, especially his hatred of Jewish anti-Zionist groups whom he says subscribe to notions of ‘Jewish moral superiority’.
  9. ID accuses, without an iota of evidence, Jewish anti-Zionist groups of operating as a 5th column inside Palestine solidarity groups, whose ‘opposition to Israeli crimes is suspected to be anti-Semitic unless validated by a special Jewish endorsement.’ Indeed ID goes further. ‘These groups are indirectly a transmission belt for Zionist influence into the left, despite their subjective intentions as anti-Zionists.’ ID accepts Atzmon’s racist lie that it is impossible to be a Jewish anti-Zionist because to be a Jew politically is to be a Zionist!
  10. Jewish anti-Zionist groups are welcomed by Palestinians because they give the lie to the argument that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic. Jewish groups play the same role in respect to Palestine that White Anti-Apartheid groups played in South Africa. Our role as Jews is one of solidarity.  Donovan’s calumnies come from the pen of Atzmon.
  11. ID’s whole language is becoming anti-Semitic. He talks of ‘the indulgence of Jewish sensibilities’.  There is no collective Jew except in the minds of Zionism and anti-Semites.  The whole concept of Jews having become an ‘oppressor people’ is also anti-Semitic as well as anti-Marxist.
  12. Finally there is the appeal to liberalism, by asking how an anti-witch hunt group can exclude SF. In the same way that we exclude the Zionist AWL.  We are a campaign not a party.  If SF’s presence hinders our work, as it does, then we have the right to tell them to go their own way.

Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker

November 22: LAW steering committee statement

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Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) is a Labour Party campaign. We urge all those who oppose Labour’s witchhunt against Corbyn supporters and critics of Israel/Zionism to stay in the Party and fight.

Labour Against the Witchhunt welcomes the participation of all people who support its three key aims:
1. an end to automatic suspensions and expulsions;
2. rejection of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people;
3. abolition of Labour’s ‘compliance unit’.

Those, like the Alliance for Workers Liberty, who promote the false anti-Semitism smear, who conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and who promote the myth of left anti-Semitism, are not welcome in LAW.

Those who, like ‘Socialist Fight’, promote the “socialism of fools” – the view that imperialism’s support for Zionism and Israel is because of the influence of Jews – are also not welcome in LAW.

LAW Steering Committee
Tony Greenstein, Stan Keable, Jackie Walker

Background to our petition to Labour’s National Executive Committee

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Stop the Expulsion of Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker & Marc Wadsworth

‘most of the people who have been suspended from the Labour Party seem to be Jewish’ Alexei Sayle Sky TV interview

Please sign our petition.  The Right, led by Iain McNicol, Labour’s detested General Secretary, the Compliance Unit and Sam Matthews aided by Anne Black Chair of the Disputes Committee, are determined to restart the False Anti-Semitism Witch-hunt.

Why is it false and faked?  Because you only have to look at who supports it.  

If the Labour Party were overrun by anti-Semitism does anyone seriously think that the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Tory tabloids would be concerned?  Why is it that the most racist newspapers in Britain are ‘concerned’ about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party?  How is it that the Daily Mail and the Express, which supported Hitler in the 1930’s, which campaigned against the admission of Jewish refugees from Nazism are now so concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’?  Why is it that those papers that vilify asylum seekers and refugees, which employ columnists like Katie Hopkins and Richard Littlejohn, are concerned about anti-Semitism? Continue Reading “Background to our petition to Labour’s National Executive Committee”

This is What We Stand For

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These are the Principles of Labour Against the Witchhunt as agreed at our inaugural meeting on October 17 2017:

i. No auto-exclusions or expulsions. Everyone has the right to a fair hearing.

ii. We agreed on a simple definition of anti-Semitism to counterpose to the Zionist and ruling class IHRA definition adopted by Theresa May. It is from Prof. Brian Klug’s ‘Shattered Glass’ Lecture at the Berlin Jewish Museum in 2014 on the anniversary of Kristallnact. It is a 21 word definition, not the 450 word IHRA definition whose sole purpose is to conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

‘antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are.’

iii. The Compliance Unit should be abolished. All disciplinary action against members should be undertaken by elected bodies not full time staff.

We call on Labour’s National Executive Committee

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Labour Against the Witchhunt calls on Labour’s National Executive Committee to:

  • Stop the expulsions of Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth!
  • Reinstate all those who have been ‘auto-excluded’!
  • No more automatic expulsions and suspensions!
  • Apologise for the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear against Moshé Machover!
  • Reject the fake IHRA definition of anti-Semitism!
  • Abolish Labour’s Compliance Unit!

Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success

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Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success – pressure from members, Branches and CLPs CLPs led to the reversal of the expulsion of emeritus professor Moshé Machover, one of a long line of socialists and Corbyn supporters expelled or suspended on bogus charges of anti-Semitism. He is now honorary president of Labour Against the Witchhunt.

The claim that anti-Semitism is rife in the Labour Party is untrue. It is a weapon the Right has consistently used against the Left. The ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign and witchhunt is used to block criticism of Israel’s settler-colonialism, its persecution of the Palestinians and its racist, apartheid practices. False anti-Semitism accusations are used to bolster support for Israel’s role in the Middle East. Israel receives more military aid from the USA than all the other countries in the world put together, over $4 billion a year. Continue Reading “Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success”