“In 1982, as chairman of the Hornsey constituency party, Jeremy Corbyn signed a membership card for Tariq Ali, a former member of the International Marxist Group, in defiance of Labour’s National Executive Committee. He also campaigned against the expulsion of the Trotskyist Militant Tendency from the party, acting as the “provisional convenor” of the “Defeat the Witch Hunt” campaign. “If expulsions are in order for Militant, they should apply to us, too,” he argued.”
Labour Against the Witchhunt welcomes the resignation of Labour Party general secretary Iain McNicol. He was directly in charge of the unelected and discredited compliance unit, which has purged thousands of pro-Corbyn members from the party.
We see his resignation very much as an important symbol and an integral part of our fight to radically transform the Labour Party, which is undergoing a long overdue Democracy Review, to which we have also contributed.
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. The purging of pro-Corbyn activists has been a major stumbling block to Labour winning a general election, which requires maximum unity.
We ask the NEC – which now has a strong majority supporting the leader of the party – to implement the following changes urgently:
- the recommendations of the Chakrabarti report dealing with the party’s disciplinary procedure based on natural justice and due process should be brought in:
- all those summarily expelled or suspended without due process should be immediately reinstated;
- an accused member should be given all the evidence submitted against them and be regarded as innocent until proven guilty;
- membership rights should not be removed until disciplinary procedures have been completed;
- disciplinary procedures should include consultation with the member’s CLP and Branch;
- disciplinary procedures should be time limited. Charges not resolved within three months should be automatically dropped;
- the first part of Rule 2. 1. 4. B (‘Exclusions’) should be deleted: it currently 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”;
- the party should reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism which, in its list of examples, conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people;
- the party should immediately abolish the ‘compliance/disputes unit’. Disciplinary decisions should be taken by elected bodies, not paid officials.
“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.
For a report of the fantastic meeting, click here.
Film director Ken Loach talks about writer and poet, Kevin Higgins who was suspended from the Labour Party in June 2016 for writing a satirical poem about Tony Blair.
LAW honorary president Moshé Machover:
LAW chair Jackie Walker:
LAW vice-chair Tony Greenstein:
Filmmaker Ken Loach addressed spirited meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt in London on January 29
For videos from the event, click here.
To the NEC, Compliance Unit and Constitutional Committee
Sisters and Brothers
23 January 2018
We have waited for 19 months for the Chakrabarti Enquiry’s recommendations to be put into practice, and give our party the fair disciplinary procedures it needs and deserves. We hope that the NEC will make a start today by clearing David Watson of unfounded charges and letting him return to Walthamstow where he was a valued officer.
We have seen so many good comrades across the Labour Party suspended on the basis of anonymous accusations, and still waiting to be reinstated. There have been waves of factional purges which are shameful in a democratic party. First members were accused of being Green, then trade union militants, then antisemites and then transphobic. Accusations seem to have come down most heavily on people of colour, thus further excluding them from our party which we say that we want to reflect the society we live in. Continue Reading “On the case of David Watson: Open letter to the NEC, Compliance Unit and Constitutional Committee”
Marc is – like hundreds of others – a victim of the ongoing civil war in the Labour Party. Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have been expelled and suspended for the most ridiculous of charges – and the charge against Marc of being ‘anti-Semitic’ is up there with the most nonsensical ones. His ‘crime’ was to call out Ruth Smeeth in the press conference that launched the Chakrabarti report. You can see the video for yourself here.
It is worth fighting back: The reinstatement of Moshé Machover and Tony Greenstein’s successful injunction at the High Court prove that. All these cases are not just about the individuals concerned, they are important stepping stones in our campaign to end the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the party.
Now please dig deep and support Marc’s campaign (more background below)
Letter sent to all member of the Labour Party NEC
15 January 2018
Dear NEC member,
We understand that the suspension of Syed Siddiqui is being considered by the NEC very shortly and we urge you to lift the suspension. We append a Case summary, and attach the relevant sections of the Rule book and the exchange between Mr. Siddiqui and Party Officers, leading now to a second complaint about how this issue has been handled.
As Mr. Siddiqui has been selected to stand for the local Council, it is even more important that it is addressed swiftly. We have 2 JVL committee members in this constituency who can attest to the falseness of the allegations and to the truth of the Islamaphobic comments addressed to Mr. Siddiqui.
We look forward to a speedy resolution of this matter.
Leah Levane and Jenny Manson
Co Chairs, Jewish Voice for Labour Continue Reading “The case of Syed Siddiqui”
I was notified this evening that my hearing of the disciplinary charge that has been presented by the NEC against me will take place on Saturday 27 January 2018, starting at 12 noon, at a venue in Oxford, details of which will be confirmed shortly. Needless to say, I will keep you posted.
As I have already made clear, I am not going to make any attempt to reason with those who are determined to seize every opportunity to sabotage the Party and stifle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. They have most magnanimously granted me permission to be represented by a lawyer but I will be represented by myself – and not only because I can’t afford hiring the services of a high-powered member of the legal trade. The bubble of a show-trial like this can only be bursted if the accused become accusers- and that is precisely the show which yours truly intends to stage there. To accuse an Israeli-born Jewish convert to Christianity, a son of Holocaust survivors of being an ‘anti-semite’ is mind-bogglingly Kafkaesque (mother survived Auschwitz and Theresienstadt concentration camps and father managed to flee his hometown and join the Red Army 24 hours before the invading Germans reached his hometown. Their respective families were annihilated by the Nazis).
As you all know, this is part of the Party’s (allas, still relentless) right-wing to mount resistance to Labour’s return to its Socialist roots – and labelling any criticism of the State of Israel as ‘anti-semitism’ is an essential ingredient in this dish. The coalition of right wingers within Labour and certain stake-holders outside the Party have identified fake antisemitism a convenient method to tarnish the Labour Party. It is high time to put the kibosh on these machinations. Especially as today’s NEC election results reflect clearly and distinctly the Party’s will.
I intend to make all of this (and beyond) very clear to the honorable adjudicators. Even if it costs me my Labour membership.
And I know I shan’t be standing there alone.
On the very same day that LAW’s honorary president Moshé Machover was expelled from the Labour Party, so was Michael Paling. But, unlike Moshé, whose expulsion had to be overturned by a successful international campaign, comrade Paling remains expelled. Mike was a member of Redcar CLP prior to his expulsion. The MP there is the notoriously anti-Corbyn, Progress-supporting Anna Turley.
As his email to Moshé explains (see below), his ‘offence’ was sharing posts which included articles from Weekly Worker. His Facebook timeline is full of posts he has shared, most of them have nothing to do with the CPGB or LPM. He was obviously targeted as an active trade unionist. They were amongst many such posts that he shared on Facebook. We need to put an end to this McCarthyism.
Mike Paling has been expelled under Chapter 2.I.4.B of the Labour Party’s rules which states:
“A member of the party who joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour Group or unit of the Party or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member, subject to the provisions of part 6.I.2 of the disciplinary rules”.