No unity with the right! Time to organise for a real fight-back! Plan ahead and start organising shadow CLP structures!
As if it wasn’t bad enough that Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner both spent the ‘International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians’ addressing a meeting of the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement, Starmer used the opportunity to state that Jeremy Corbyn’s factual statement that “the scale of the [antisemitism] problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents” was “just about as bad as you could get”. Clearly, he will do anything to keep Corbyn out of the PLP, if not the party. Angela Rayner helpfully suggested that, “If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of [Labour] members, we will do that.”
They are already doing it, of course:
- Louise Regan has been suspended from Nottingham East CLP for chairing a slightly controversial meeting.
- After the key officers of Bristol West CLP were suspended for allowing the CLP to pass a motion in solidarity with Corbyn (the first CLP to do so), the party simply cancelled their forthcoming AGM – which means the CLP is de facto suspended.
- South Thanet member Christine Tongue has just been expelled for a single Facebook post in which she declared ‘Good Luck’ to Chris Williamson.
- Even more absurd is the case of Brighton socialist Becky Massey, who was expelled for a similar tweet – after the Board of Deputies’ demanded that the Labour Party act against her (check out Greg Hadfield’s article on this Kafkaesque story).
- The Wavertree 4 have been suspended (2 now expelled) merely for criticising their MP. The list goes on and on.
And yet, the ‘new’ Momentum and CLPD continue to call on members to propose motions in their branches and CLPs begging the right wing for “unity” and to implement the recommendations of the state-run Equality and Human Rights Commission (which coincide with the Board of Deputies’ demand for an outsourcing of the disciplinary process). Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile, rather than calling on his supporters to take up weapons in this all-out war, pleads for his return to the Parliamentary Labour Party in a bourgeois court, claiming that Starmer reneged on a secret deal that their side-kicks hatched up to get him back into the PLP.
This is not just politically inept – it is also likely to fail. We have seen over the last five years that the right has no interest in ‘unity’ with the left. Despite the Corbyn leadership bending over backwards to appease the Zionists and the right, they continued attacking – and got stronger and stronger in the process, leading to the defeat of Corbyn.
This is the time to really fight back – with any means at our disposal. Here is what you can do now:
1) Stay in the Labour Party, if you are allowed to and can stomach it. But defy instructions by Evans to keep quiet on the witch-hunt, Corbyn and the EHRC report! Submit motions in solidarity with Corbyn, those suspended and expelled and to express no confidence in Starmer, Rayner and Evans. A number of successful motions have been published by the Labour Left Alliance here. The more CLPs issue motions, the smaller the chance any sanctions will be issued. Email passed resolutions and statements to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included. Below are some tips on how to move a motion and how to deal with a hostile chair.
2) Invite your suspended and expelled members into your branch and CLP meetings. Solidarity is now more important than ever.
3) Make plans in case your branch/CLP or its officers should be suspended: Set up a Facebook or WhatsApp group and/or appoint somebody to collate contact details so you can continue to meet and organise outside the party. In other words, start to build CLP shadow structures. We are happy for branches/CLPs and groups of comrades to use our Zoom account, which has capacity for up to 500 people. Email email@example.com
4) Support the setting up of the new “CLP for all those suspended and expelled as part of the witch-hunt against the left”. The first organising meeting will be held on December 15, 6pm – register your interest here.
6) Get involved in the Campaign for Free Speech. Come to the Launch Rally with Jackie Walker, Chris Williamson, Craig Murray, Ilan Pappe, Moshe Machover, Leah Levane and many more on December 12, 12noon. More information here. Register here.
How to move a motion
1.) Ideally, submit as a ‘normal’ motion. They have to be submitted to the secretary of your Labour Party branch in writing 14 days before a meeting (unless it says something different in your local standing orders). Normal motions have to go through a branch first before they can be presented to the CLP – though please note that this is not the case with emergency motions.
2.) Emergency motions can be submitted anytime before the meeting of your branch or CLP (but as soon as feasible) – again, in writing to your secretary. The rule states that emergency business “may be accepted by the majority of the meeting on the recommendation of the Chair, who shall interpret the term ’emergency’ in a bona fide manner”. That means your chair has a lot of power and can “recommend” not to accept your motion. Please note that your chair cannot refuse to even table the motion (this is against the rules, though of course many try to do it nevertheless).
3.) If your chair rules against accepting the emergency motion (or refuses to put it on the agenda), you can try to overturn the decision:
- Firstly, you will need to raise a point of order, which must be heard. Then you need to explain why in your view the matter is indeed an emergency (for example, “because it only just happened”). Do not talk yet about the context of the motion, only why it is an emergency. Get somebody to call “seconded” straight away. This challenge needs to be supported by “no less than four members” at the meeting. The “challenge shall be put to the meeting without discussion” by the chair. If anybody tries to intervene and speak against your challenge, remind them of the rules.
- If 2/3 of eligible members at the meeting vote in favour of your challenge, the motion must be heard.
- You can then move the motion to the meeting. If a simple majority votes in favour of the motion, it is passed and becomes the agreed resolution.
4.) Always bring enough copies of your emergency motion and hand them out before the meeting (or distribute it online and in Facebook groups) – that will make it very difficult for the chair to try and stop your motion from even being tabled. You should also try and get as many people as possible behind the motion before the meeting so that they are prepared to back you up. And be prepared to quote the relevant bits from the rule book, just in case!
Reference for further info on these rules: model procedural rules (page 82) in the Labour Party rule book 2020
Feel free to get in touch if you need some more detailed advice. Good luck! And please keep us updated!