VIDEO: The Labour Party under Starmer and our tasks – with Jackie Walker, Graham Bash and Moshe Machover

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VIDEO: The Labour leadership elections and our tasks (filmed April 14 2020)

After Keir Starmer’s election to leader of the Labour Party, we discussed how we can continue the fight:
* to defend freedom of speech in our party,
* to stop the misuse of trumped up charges to remove left candidates, and
* to reject the IHRA mis-definition of anti-Semitism

We also want to continue to campaign to stop Starmer from implementing the Board of Deputies’ so-called ‘10 Pledges’ – one of his first announcements. Our open letter to Rebecca Long-Bailey on this issue has been signed by almost 5,000 people and a number of organisations: https://bit.ly/2VaLWX3

We also discussed our response to the leaked Labour Party report that was produced in response to the investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and which gives us proof of the warfare and sabotage committed against Corbyn and the hundreds of thousands who joined the party in order to support him in the fight for socialist change.

1) Welcome and opening remarks (co-chair Tina Werkmann)
2) The Labour leadership elections and our tasks
Introduced by Jackie Walker and Graham Bash (both members of the steering committee LAW) and Moshe Machover, honorary president of LAW

Joint LAW/LLA statement on the ‘leaked report’: Full investigation needed! All disciplinary cases of the last 5 years must be reviewed!

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Joint statement by Labour Against the Witchhunt and the Labour Left Alliance

We demand a full investigation into the witch-hunt and the election campaigns!
Now all disciplinary cases of the last five years must be reviewed!

As experienced activists in the Labour Party, we knew that the right in the party was plotting against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters from day one. We knew, because we were the victims of their wrongful suspensions, their expulsions and their public smears and lies, all based on the flimsiest of evidence.

The report ‘The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 – 2019’,  produced in response to the investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, now gives us irrefutable proof of the plotting and outright sabotage committed against Corbyn and the hundreds of thousands who joined the party to fight for socialist and democratic change.

It is a crying shame that this report was produced only in the last days of Corbyn’s leadership. It is based upon primary evidence showing serious wrong-doing by senior party officials. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the left to radically transform the Labour Party and effect progressive change was ruined by the right in the party.

At the same time, supporters of Corbyn were vilified and slandered, their voices silenced and their votes nullified. Unfortunately, it appears that this was sometimes done with the knowledge and occasionally even with the participation of the Corbyn leadership, as in the expulsions of Jackie Walker and Chris Williamson.

Keir Starmer must ensure the immediate publication of the report and a full enquiry into the facts:

*** The report describes how “the pro-Corbyn left decisively won” at Brighton CLP’s annual general meeting (AGM) in July 2016. Afterwards, two high-ranking Labour officials discussed how to overturn the result: “I say act now and worry about [rules and legal issues] later, so long as we don’t do something that’ll end up f[***]ing everything else up.” Party officials then overturned the AGM’s decisions, the old executive was restored and the local party split into three separate CLPs. (p113)

*** Labour officials discussed how to continue the unlawful suspension of Wallasey CLP, where the left “are properly organised” – in order to save the local right-wing MP, Angela Eagle, from being challenged. (p114)

*** We read that, “in many cases party members at all levels request the suspension of another party member as a way of escalating or indeed resolving a dispute. There is a wrongly-held view that political opponents can be ‘taken out’ of a contest or stopped from attending meetings by making a complaint with the intention of achieving a suspension of that member.” (p533) Clearly, this is exactly what has been taking place, even as recently as during the March 2020 NEC by-election. Half a dozen of the candidates were suspended in the middle of the contest, before any investigation was launched.

*** Sam Matthews, then head of Disputes, was able to single-handedly suspend Glyn Secker (secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour) as recently as 2018 – the case was so weak that he had to be reinstated almost immediately: Following on from a report produced by the disgraced right-wing Corbyn critic David Collier into the Facebook group ‘Palestine Live’ (of which Corbyn was a member), “documentary evidence shows that it was only because James Schneider, Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesperson, urged [Sam] Matthews to take action, that the report was examined at all. Of all the examples of extreme antisemitism in the report, GLU picked Glyn Secker, even though the report did not contain allegations of antisemitic comments by Secker and the report stated ‘Glyn Secker has had minimal interaction on the site’.” (p428)

*** The ‘Disputes’ unit desperately looked for reasons to expel the prominent Israeli Jew Moshé  Machover. Because of his background, they found it difficult to charge him with racism: “The anti-Semitism stuff just clouds it in my view”. (p373) Instead, they decided to auto-expel him over his alleged membership of the “Communist Party of Great Britain Marxism-Leninism” (they got the wrong CPGB, incidentally) – but he was able to quickly disprove this claim. As party officials “found themselves inundated with emails about the case, including from Jewish socialist groups”, there was pressure to drop the case and rescind his expulsion. Many other, less prominent members, found it much more difficult to challenge their auto-expulsions.

*** We learn that despite some reforms under Jennie Formby, there are huge, ongoing problems with the way the party handles disciplinary cases. For example, the Governance and Legal unit uses a list of “investigatory search terms” to “vet” members, which includes words like ‘Atzmon’ and “a list of 57 (later 68) Labour MPs and their Twitter handles”. In other words, staff “initiate cases themselves by proactively investigating social media comments by Party members” (p17) to create a body of evidence where no basis for a case exists. The report also makes various positive references to Dave Rich from the Community Security Trust (CST), whose views are still being routinely sought as “expert opinion”. But the CST is not a neutral body – it is a pro-Israel charity, which the Tory government started funding in 2015 and has given at least 65 million pounds since.

*** Jackie Walker’s case was deliberately delayed by McNicol and his staff. They were determined to get rid of Tony Greenstein and Marc Wadsworth first in order to build a campaign to justify Jackie’s expulsion. However, the report also states that, “LOTO [Leader of the Opposition’s Office] wanted Walker to be suspended and had briefed the media to that effect”. (p366) In April 2018, “Jeremy Corbyn and Jennie Formby met with the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and the Community and Security Trust” and agreed to their demand that “the Party should expedite Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker’s cases. LOTO and Jennie Formby agreed”. The report quotes questionable evidence by Dave Rich, which implies that Jackie’s views are similar to those of Louis Farrakhan, but omits evidence given by black Jewish Professor Lewis Gordon, a world-leading academic on Jewish/black relations, which contradicts every claim by Dave Rich and supports Jackie’s case.

*** In the case of Chris Williamson, it appears that Jennie Formby was the one driving his expulsion. The report approvingly quotes her long chart sheet against him: “Several of these [complaints], if taken as an isolated incident, may have resulted in no action. However, taken together they add up to a pattern of behaviour that is not only reckless, it has brought the party into disrepute. I would also add that I personally spoke with Chris only two weeks ago and asked him to stop aligning himself with Labour Against the Witchhunt and speaking about antisemitism in the way that he is, because as an MP he does not have the privilege of behaving in the same way as an ordinary lay member does.” (p826)

These examples show just how futile it was of Corbyn and his allies to try and appease the right by going along with some of these injustices – when they should have taken them on in a decisive manner. There can be no compromise, no unity with those who would rather sabotage our party than see a radical Labour movement.

We demand that:

  • Keir Starmer must officially publish this report and condemn the campaign to undermine and sabotage Jeremy Corbyn and the left.
  • All disciplinary cases processed during the last five years have to be overturned, pending unbiased re-examination.
  • We urgently need a radical overhaul of the party’s disciplinary system. Disciplinary procedures should be carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice, and be time-limited: charges not resolved within three months should be automatically dropped. An accused member should be given all the evidence submitted against them and be regarded as innocent until proven guilty. Those aspects of the Chakrabati report must finally be implemented.
  • All those mentioned in the document who took part in this sabotage and who are still in their post must be immediately investigated for gross misconduct. That must include Emilie Oldknow (Executive Director for Governance, Membership and Party Services), who is being touted as Keir Starmer’s preferred choice as new general secretary and who is shown to have actively taken part in the witch-hunt against Corbyn and his supporters.
  • All those involved who have jumped ship and now enjoy well-paid positions in different companies must be named and shamed. They include:
    • Iain McNicol, formerly General Secretary, now a member of the House of Lords
    • Sam Matthews, formerly head of Disputes
    • John Stolliday, formerly Director of the Governance and Legal Unit

Tribute Acts – timely poem from Kevin Higgins

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Each witch hunt is a tribute act to the last.

There is always a committee of three.

The gravity in the room is such

they struggle to manoeuvre

the enormity of their serious

faces in the door.

 

Except in the TV version,

there is hardly ever a microphone.

Though they will usually give you

a glass of water and, if you ask,

tea in a slightly chipped cup.

 

The better quality of witch hunt

will provide you with a plate

of sandwiches which, these days,

would likely include

coeliac and vegan options.

 

One member of the panel interviewing you

is always a man with a shakey voice

who obviously doesn’t know what he’s doing.

His wife thinks he’s at the garden centre.

 

Another is a woman trying

on a posh accent for size

who looks like she’s dreaming

of killing you

in some way that would give her

special pleasure.

 

It is written,

somewhere deeper than law,

that no such committee

shall ever be constituted

unless it contains

at least one ex-hippy.

 

There is always the moment

when a pile of typed pages emerge

from an already opened envelope,

and one of them asks you:

how, then, do you explain this?

 

And the three of them sit there,

pretending it’s a real question.

 

And you realise this committee is history

paying you the huge compliment

of making you (and people like you)

the only item on the agenda;

 

that in asking you about what you said,

did, or typed on the mentioned dates,

they reveal themselves

like the black tree at the bottom of the garden

that only shows its true self in winter.

 

KEVIN HIGGINS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fight against Keir Starmer implementing the ’10 Demands’ by the Board of Deputies!

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In one of his first actions as leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer has sent a letter to Marie van der Zyl, president of the BoD, promising to “deliver them as soon as possible”.

Click here for a number of model motions you can move in your branch, CLP and trade union branch.

As we pointed out in our open letter to Rebecca Long-Bailey, which has been signed by almost 5,000 people, the Board of Deputies (BoD) is not the representative body for the majority of Jews in Britain, many of whom are very critical of the actions of the state of Israel – unlike the BoD. The BoD is a pro-Israel organisation. It claims, for instance, that the Palestinians in Gaza are “using its civilians – including children – as pawns” in their fight against Israeli occupation and oppression.

The BoD have supported every war, every attack launched by Israel. The BoD is not a neutral body, but one with an evident political agenda: to attack, weaken and destroy any opposition to the systematic and brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli government. The BoD encourages the conflation of criticism of the Israeli government (anti-Zionism), with antisemitism (hatred of Jews).

The BoD, and its individual officers, have maintained open hostility to Labour since Corbyn took leadership of the party. They organised the ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration outside parliament in March 2018, which was clearly aimed at weakening and attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

We believe that the BoD’s ‘10 Pledges’ are an outrageous political interference by an organisation that is overtly hostile to today’s Labour Party and everything it stands for. If implemented, these policies would for example, result in the suspensions and expulsions of the thousands of Labour members who have stood in open solidarity with those wrongly accused of antisemitism, including Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone and Marc Wadsworth.

Also, it is not for the leader of the Labour Party, or candidates aspiring to be the leader, to commit themselves to such pledges. The policies and rules of the Labour Party are determined by the members of the party via annual conference. By agreeing to these pledges, you are at risk of undermining our democratic processes.

We reject all of the ’10 pledges’, in particular:

Pledge 2: This pledge calls for the disciplinary process to be run by an “independent provider”. No, Labour party members should be judged by their peers only, not by outside agencies with their own political agenda.

Pledge 3: This would hand over confidential details of ongoing disciplinary cases to “Jewish representative bodies”. Which “bodies”? Of course the BoD chiefly mean themselves, because in pledge 8 they reject any engagement with what they call “fringe organisations and individuals”, by which they include principled, non-Zionist organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour.

Pledge 4: This would impose a lifetime ban from membership for what the BoD refers to as “repeat offenders, such as Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker.” However, Ken Livingstone resigned his membership; whereas Jackie was not found guilty of antisemitism, but “bringing the party into disrepute”. Clearly, neither of them has said or done anything antisemitic (defined as “hatred of Jews”). Not only is this crass harassment of two individuals who have fought against racism for their entire life, it allows an anti-Labour organisation to decide who should or should not be a member of our party.

Pledge 5: This states: “Any MPs, peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.” This is gross censorship, which should be rejected by anybody who wants a critical, engaged and thinking membership. This pledge would make it impossible for members to campaign to right a wrong in the party; it could lead to the suspension and smearing of thousands of members who dare to question and criticise what they may perceive to be wrong decisions.

Pledge 6: The Labour Party’s NEC has already adopted the IHRA’s ‘definition’ of antisemitism with all its eleven examples, even though some of those conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism. Making this “the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases” is yet another insidious attack on free speech – exactly what the definition’s author, Kenneth Stern, has been warning about.

Pledge 7: This pledge seeks to hand the deliverance of “anti-racism training” to the Jewish Labour Movement, a pro-Zionist organisation that was revived in 2015 with the specific aim of undermining and attacking Jeremy Corbyn and the left. JLM (whose members don’t have to be Jewish or Labour Party members) have been instrumental in exaggerating and weaponising the very small number of antisemitic incidents in the Labour movement in order to smear Jeremy Corbyn and the left, by wilfully conflating anti-Zionism with Antisemitism.

We call on all on all socialists, anti-imperialists and Corbyn supporters to stay actively involved in the Labour Party and join us in this campaign against the BoD’s ‘10 Pledges’ and the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the Labour movement.

Victory for Jo Bird and the left!

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Statement by Labour Left Alliance

Vote Jo Bird for the NEC!

Jo Bird’s reinstatement to Labour Party membership is fantastic news and shows that the left can exercise real pressure on Labour Party HQ:

  • Hundreds of Jo’s supporters, including many LLA signatories, sent letters to general secretary Jennie Formby, urging her to overturn this very unjust and incredibly unfair suspension, just as Jo was leading in the NEC nominations. Clearly, the complaint against her and Mo Azam was politically motivated and should never have led to suspensions in the middle of an election campaign. The LLA statement is available here.
  • Up and down the country, socialists refused to accept her suspension and followed the LLA’s recommendation to keep on nominating her in their CLPs. She now has 115 CLP nominations (and would have had many more if her campaign had not been disrupted).

Clearly, the pressure has shown what can be done when we stand up to the campaign of weaponised suspensions & attacks on the left! We hope that Mo Azam will also be reinstated asap (though he has withdrawn his NEC candidacy).

The whole left must now unite behind the campaign to get Jo Bird on the NEC: She will be a real thorn in the side of the right and those who are prepared to sacrifice good left-wing comrades in their misguided campaign of trying to appease the right.

The Labour Left Alliance has supported Jo all the way through – and we are absolutely thrilled that she will be speaking at our launch conference in Sheffield on February 22! Details here: https://labourleft.org/lla-launch-conference/

Model motion: Suspension of two NEC candidates

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Please continue to nominate Jo Bird for a seat on the NEC – she has had well over 100 nominations. Mo Azam has sadly withdrawn.

Model motion: Suspension of two NEC candidates

This CLP calls upon General Secretary, Jennie Formby, to immediately suspend the nominations process for CLP NEC representatives, until the investigations into the two suspended candidates has been concluded. We also submit that all nominations submitted, should stand, until the conclusion of the investigation.

We further call on the Gen Sec to ensure that the investigation is expedited, whilst ensuring due process is maintained for the accused, and that nominations submitted should be honoured, should the accused be exonerated.
This CLP is deeply concerned that should the process proceed, without the two leading candidates, at the time of suspension, it could:

  • Bring into disrepute the election process; and
  • Question the legitimacy of any subsequently elected candidate, who will be seen to have unjustly benefitted from the two suspensions, especially should those suspended be later exonerated.

We also ask that, once the investigation has concluded, the Gen Sec should investigate the wider problem of politicised complaints against members, who are merely exercising the right to legitimate free speech and political commentary.

We believe that complaints, originating from groups external to Labour, should be treated with care and not lead to the automatic suspension of accused members, as this can then be used to undermine the Party by hostile media.

Model motions: Reject the 10 Pledges by the Board of Deputies

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Please click here for some advice on how to move a motion or emergency motion in the Labour Party.

LAW model motion

1) This branch/CLP notes:

  1. That all candidates standing for the position of Labour leader have signed up to the 10 Pledges issued by the Board of Deputies, including Rebecca Long-Bailey.
  2. That the BoD is not the representative body for the majority of Jews in Britain, many of whom are very critical of the actions of the state of Israel. The BoD is a pro-Israel organisation and has supported every war, every attack launched by Israel. It encourages the conflation of criticism of the Israeli government (anti-Zionism), with antisemitism (hatred of Jews).
  3. That the BoD, and its individual officers, have maintained open hostility to Labour since Corbyn took leadership of the party. They organised the ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration outside parliament in March 2018, which was clearly aimed at weakening and attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

2) We believe:

  1. That it is not for the leader of the Labour Party, or candidates aspiring to be the leader, to commit themselves to such pledges. The policies and rules of the Labour Party are determined by the members of the party via annual conference.
  2. That the BoD’s ‘10 Pledges’ are an outrageous political interference by an organisation that is overtly hostile to today’s Labour Party and everything it stands for.
  3. They are an attack on free speech and would create a dangerous atmosphere of (self-) censorship.
  4. If implemented, the pledges could concretely lead to:
    • The suspensions and expulsions of the thousands of Labour members who dare to stand in solidarity with those wrongly accused of antisemitism, including Chris Williamson and Marc Wadsworth.
    • The BoD and other pro-Zionist organisations would decide who can and cannot be a member of the Labour Party. For example, the pledges demand a lifetime ban from membership for what the BoD refers to as “repeat offenders, such as Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker” – both of whom have fought against racism for their entire life.
    • The handing over of confidential details of ongoing disciplinary cases to “Jewish representative bodies” (by which the BoD chiefly means itself).
    • The official sidelining and proscription of non-Zionist organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour, which are described as a “fringe organisation”.

We therefore call on all candidates in the Labour leadership election to officially distance themselves from these pledges and commit themselves to fight for a Labour Party that values and protects free speech, open debate and stands in international solidarity with the people in Palestine.


Motion passed by Ilford South LP branch

This branch condemns the Board of Deputies attempts at interference in the Labour party leadership election by demanding that candidates sign 10 pledges, one of which suggests outsourcing the Labour party’s disciplinary processes to a third party.

Their demands reflect the views of only one section of the British Jewish community, but they seek to proscribe the views of other Jewish groups who don’t agree with them, labelling them as fringe groups to be ignored and discounted.

The Board has been consistent in its support for the Conservative party, fulsomely welcoming the election of Boris Johnson, whose writings and actions expose a racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic mindset, yet they make no criticism of this or the fact that the Tory party members aren’t bound by the IHRA definition

This branch particularly notes that the pledges breach free speech and human rights, and do not include all forms of racism. They do not represent the diversity that exists in our branch or the country as a whole.

Accordingly we call upon candidates to reject this interference and review any decisions to sign the pledges and urge any candidates that have not thus far signed to reject their demands.


Draft Emergency motion

This CLP utterly condemns the ultimatum to the Labour Party and its leadership candidates by the Jewish Board of Deputies.

To accept their “Ten Pledges” (attached) would be to put the Labour party under the permanent control of an undemocratic right-wing group and prevent any attempt to speak up for the Palestinian people against a hard-right Israeli government. It is an unprecedented and quite blatant attack on free speech.

We note that:

  • The Jewish Board of Deputies represents only the minority of British Jews who attend Orthodox synagogues and that some of those synagogues refuse to allow women to vote.
  • The Chief Rabbi has described Boris Johnson as “a longstanding friend of the Jewish community” and congratulated him warmly on his election as Conservative Party leader.
  • The former Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council is now Chief Executive of the Conservative Party
  • The Jewish Labour Movement, which is affiliated to the Labour Party, is in no sense a representative organisation, in that its members don’t have to be Labour Party members and don’t even have to be Jewish. Further, it is only open to people who are explicitly Zionist and therefore excludes many left wing Jews.
  • All of the above organisations have refused to meet with the Jewish Voice for Labour group to discuss their views on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in a calm and civilised way.
  • Independent research carried out by Jewish and other organisations has clearly shown that anti-Semitism is more common on the right of politics than the left.
  • All of these facts are well-documented and easy to confirm.

We call on both the NEC and all leadership candidates to distance themselves from this attack on the Labour Party.

Sign the open letter to Rebecca Long-Bailey: Reject the BoD’s 10 Pledges!

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This letter is available for download a A4 leaflet in PDF format by clicking here (file will automatically download).

CLICK HERE TO SIGN

Dear Rebecca (rebecca.longbailey.mp@parliament.uk)

We call on you to reject the Board of Deputies’ 10 Pledges

We address this letter to you, because, unlike Keir Starmer, you state that you intend to “stay true” to Jeremy Corbyn’s “radical socialist vision”.

The Board of Deputies (BoD) is not the representative body for the majority of Jews in Britain, many of whom are very critical of the actions of the state of Israel – unlike the BoD. The BoD is a pro-Israel organisation. It claims, for instance, that the Palestinians in Gaza are “using its civilians – including children – as pawns” in their fight against Israeli occupation and oppression.

The BoD have supported every war, every attack launched by Israel. The BoD is not a neutral body, but one with an evident political agenda: to attack, weaken and destroy any opposition to the systematic and brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli government. The BoD encourages the conflation of criticism of the Israeli government (anti-Zionism), with antisemitism (hatred of Jews).

The BoD, and its individual officers, have maintained open hostility to Labour since Corbyn took leadership of the party. They organised the ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration outside parliament in March 2018, which was clearly aimed at weakening and attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

We believe that the BoD’s ‘10 Pledges’ are an outrageous political interference by an organisation that is overtly hostile to today’s Labour Party and everything it stands for. If implemented, these policies would for example, result in the suspensions and expulsions of the thousands of Labour members who have stood in open solidarity with those wrongly accused of antisemitism, including Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone and Marc Wadsworth.

Solidarity is surely what the Labour Party stands for? If implemented, the pledges would create an atmosphere of fear, distrust and self-censorship. Is that really the kind of party you want Labour to become?

Also, it is not for the leader of the Labour Party, or candidates aspiring to be the leader, to commit themselves to such pledges. The policies and rules of the Labour Party are determined by the members of the party via annual conference. By agreeing to these pledges, you are at risk of undermining of our democratic processes.

We believe you are on a very dangerous path. Please turn around while you still can. We ask you to reject the ’10 pledges’ and stand with us – for the democratic transformation of the Labour Party into a vehicle for positive change, free speech and open debate.

We reject all of the ’10 pledges’, in particular:

Pledge 2: This pledge calls for the disciplinary process to be run by an “independent provider”. No, Labour party members should be judged by their peers only, not by outside agencies with their own political agenda.

Pledge 3: This would hand over confidential details of ongoing disciplinary cases to “Jewish representative bodies”. Which “bodies”? Of course the BoD chiefly mean themselves, because in pledge 8 they reject any engagement with what they call “fringe organisations and individuals”, by which they include principled, non-Zionist organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour.

Pledge 4: This would impose a lifetime ban from membership for what the BoD refers to as “repeat offenders, such as Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker.” However, Ken Livingstone resigned his membership; whereas Jackie was not found guilty of antisemitism, but “bringing the party into disrepute”. Clearly, neither of them has said or done anything antisemitic (defined as “hatred of Jews”). Not only is this crass harassment of two individuals who have fought against racism for their entire life, it allows an anti-Labour organisation to decide who should or should not be a member of our party.

Pledge 5: This states: “Any MPs, peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.” This is gross censorship, which should be rejected by anybody who wants a critical, engaged and thinking membership. This pledge would make it impossible for members to campaign to right a wrong in the party; it could lead to the suspension and smearing of thousands of members who dare to question and criticise what they may perceive to be wrong decisions.

Pledge 6: The Labour Party’s NEC has already adopted the IHRA’s ‘definition’ of antisemitism with all its eleven examples, even though some of those conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism. Making this “the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases” is yet another insidious attack on free speech – exactly what the definition’s author, Kenneth Stern, has been warning about.

Pledge 7: This pledge seeks to hand the deliverance of “anti-racism training” to the Jewish Labour Movement, a pro-Zionist organisation that was revived in 2015 with the specific aim of undermining and attacking Jeremy Corbyn and the left. JLM (whose members don’t have to be Jewish or Labour Party members) have been instrumental in exaggerating and weaponising the very small number of antisemitic incidents in the Labour movement in order to smear Jeremy Corbyn and the left, by wilfully conflating anti-Zionism with Antisemitism.

We call on all on all socialists, anti-imperialists and Corbyn supporters to stay actively involved in the Labour Party and join us in this campaign against the BoD’s ‘10 Pledges’ and the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the Labour movement.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN

Initial signatories include (all in personal capacity):

  • Moshé Machover, author and expert on Middle East
  • Leah Levane, Jewish Voice for Labour
  • Alexei Sayle, comedian
  • Jackie Walker, author, chair Labour Against the Witchhunt
  • Glyn Secker, Jewish Voice for Labour
  • Jo Bird, Wirral Labour councilor
  • Asa Winstanley, journalist
  • Roland Rance, Free Speech on Israel
  • Sam Gorst, Liverpool Labour councilor
  • Mike Cushman, Jewish Voice for Labour
  • Graham Bash, Labour Representation Committee, JVL, LAW
  • John Dunn, Orgreave Campaign
  • Tina Werkmann, vice-chair Labour Against the Witchhunt
  • Lee Rock, Sheffield Labour Left
  • Pam Bromley, Labour councilor Rossendale and Carven
  • Steve Jack, York Labour Representation Committee
    Peter Flack, chair Unite Community Branch Leicester
  • Ken Syme, Cheltenham Labour Left

Organisations in support:

  • Labour Against the Witchhunt
  • Sheffield Labour Left
  • Cheltenham Labour Left
  • York Labour Representation Committee

No, Rebecca Long-Bailey, you SHOULD NOT sign up to the 10 pledges by the ‘Board of Deputies’!

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No, Rebecca Long-Bailey, you SHOULD NOT sign up to the 10 pledges by the ‘Board of Deputies’!

These outrageous demands, pushed by a bunch of Tory-supporting, pro-capitalists, should not just be ignored by any candidate running for the leadership of the Labour Party – but rejected outright as inappropriate interference. Email Rebecca if you think she should change her view urgently: rebecca.longbailey.mp@parliament.uk

The worst of the 10 pledges are:

Pledge 2: Make the disciplinary process “independent”. Independent of whom? The members? Hand it over to the Jewish Labour Movement or the BoD, perhaps? No, Labour Party members should be judged by their peers only. Governance and Legal (formerly the Compliance Unit) – still staffed by many employees hired by witch-finder general Iain McNicol – should be abolished and replaced with a democratic and transparent body, elected by Labour Party members.

Pledge 3: Handing over confidential details of ongoing disciplinary cases to “Jewish representative bodies” – and they don’t mean the Jewish Voice for Labour, of course, which is referred to as “fringe organisations and invidividuals” in pledge 8.

Pledge 4: A lifetime ban from membership for “repeat offenders, such as Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker.” Ken Livingstone incidentally resigned; whereas Jackie was not found guilty of anti-Semitism, but “bringing the party into disrepute”. Not that the BoD cares.

Pledge 5: “Any MPs, peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.” This is pure censorship that should be rejected by anybody who wants a critical, engaged and thinking membership.

Pledge 7: Handing training on anti-Semitism to the Jewish Labour Movement, a Zionist organisation that has been instrumental in weaponsing the miniscule number of anti-Semitic incidents in order to smear Jeremy Corbyn and the left. They have purposely conflated anti-Zionism (criticism of Israel) with anti-Semitism (hatred of Jews).

Labour Left Alliance launch conference, February 22, Sheffield

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LAW is very proud to be part of this important new development – please get involved! Sign up your group or as an individual!

The LLA launch conference takes place on Saturday February 22 in Sheffield. Details are available here. Please attend one of the many pre-conference events taking place in order to be eligible to attend.

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn put his name forward to stand as leader of the Labour Party there has been a massive campaign to undermine and remove him by the Tories, elements of the establishment and the right in our own party, with backing from the overwhelming majority of the mainstream media. Of the numerous unfounded smears thrown at Corbyn – being too scruffy, not bowing deep enough, being a Czech spy etc – those around antisemitism have been one of the most consistent avenues of attack.

They have not had everything their own way – Moshé Machover was readmitted to the party after a major campaign and their attempts to move against Lisa Forbes, now the MP for Peterborough, before and after her election have not succeeded. Momentum nationally is no longer on the side of the left in these battles and this has become increasingly clear – as has its own lack of democracy.

There is an urgent need to take steps to unite the genuine, democratic Labour left. We are committed to making this process open, democratic and transparent. We want to involve as many principled local, regional and national Labour left organisations and union bodies as we can.

We are not saying anyone should resign from or disaffiliate from Momentum to participate. But one of our concerns is that if we don’t act now people who joined to support Corbyn will leave in disillusion. The need to move at pace must be balanced with the need to build in a democratic and sustainable way. Two national organisations (the Labour Representation Committee and Labour Against the Witchhunt) and a number of local groups have already signed up to this initiative and we are having positive discussions with many more.

We encourage all comrades not already members of local Labour Left groups to get involved in one or help set one up. We will gladly help you to find a speaker, advertise your meeting or assist in any other way we can.

Labour belongs to us – let’s unite and fight for our party!

Click here to read and sign up to the appeal!

Email NEC members

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Chair: Wendy Nichols w.nichols@unison.co.uk
Vice Chair: Andi Fox andydaisyfox@hotmail.co.uk
Leader: Jeremy Corbyn MP mailto: leader@labour.org.uk
Deputy Leader: Tom Watson MP tom.watson.mp@parliament.uk
Treasurer: Diana Holland equality@unitetheunion.org
Shadow Frontbench: Jon Trickett MP trickettj@parliament.uk
Shadow Frontbench: Rebecca Long-Bailey MP rebecca.longbailey.mp@parliament.uk
Shadow Frontbench: Diane Abbott MP diane.abbott.office@parliament.uk
Shadow Scottish Frontbench: Richard Leonard MSP Richard.Leonard.msp@parliament.scot
Welsh Labour Representative: Mick Antoniw AM Mick.Antoniw@assembly.wales
EPLP Leader: Richard Corbett MEP richard@richardcorbett.org.uk
Young Labour: Lara McNeill lara.mcneill@kcl.ac.uk
BAME Labour: Keith Vaz MP vazk@parliament.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Keith Birch (Unison) k.birch@unison.co.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Jim Kennedy (Unite) jim.kennedy@unitetheunion.org
Div. I – Trade Unions: Andi Fox (TSSA) andydaisyfox@hotmail.co.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Pauline McCarthy (Bakers) pauline.mccarthy@premierfoods.co.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Michael Wheeler (Usdaw) michael.wheeler@usdaw.org.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Wendy Nichols (Unison) w.nichols@unison.co.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Andy Kerr (CWU) akerr@cwu.org
Div. I – Trade Unions: Sarah Owen (GMB) sarah.owen@gmb.org.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Jayne Taylor (UNITE) jayne.taylor@unitetheunion.org
Div. I – Trade Unions: Cath Speight (GMB) cath.speight@gmb.org.uk
Div.I – Trade Unions: Ian Murray (FBU) Ian.Murray@fbu.org.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Mick Whelan (ASLEF) mwhelan@aslef.org.uk
Div. I – Trade Unions: Joanne Cairns (USDAW) joanne.cairns@usdaw.org.uk
Div. II – Socialist Societies: James Asser james.asser@yahoo.co.uk
Div. III – CLPs: Huda Elmi hudaelmiNEC@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Yasmin Dar yasminedar.labour@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Rachel Garnham racheljgarnham@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Ann Henderson ahendersonlab@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Jon Lansman jonlansman@me.com
Div. III – CLPs: Navendu Mishra navendu.labour@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Claudia Webbe claudia.webbe@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Darren Williams darren.williams.nec@gmail.com
Div. III – CLPs: Pete Willsman willsman@talk21.com
Div. IV – Labour Councillors: Nick Forbes nick.forbes@newcastle.gov.uk 
Div. IV – Labour Councillors: Alice Perry aliceperryuk@gmail.com
Div. V – PLP/EPLP: George Howarth MP george.howarth.mp@parliament.uk
Div. V – PLP/EPLP: Margaret Beckett MP margaret.beckett.mp@parliament.uk
Div. V – PLP/EPLP: Shabana Mahmood MP shabana.mahmood.mp@parliament.uk

In addition, the PLP Shadow Chief Whip (Nick Brown MP nickbrownmp@parliament.uk ), and PLP Chair (John Cryer MP john.cryer.mp@parliament.uk) attend ex-officio without a vote.

Jennie Formby: jennie_formby@labour.org.uk

LAW statement on LRC withdrawing from Labour Left Alliance

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It is a shame that the executive committee of the Labour Representation Committee has decided to withdraw from the Labour Left Alliance.

Especially now, with a general election on December 12, the need to build a viable left alternative in the Labour Party and the Labour movement seems to us more urgent and more important than ever.

For example, we are deeply worried about the way Labour’s National Executive Committee has taken over the selection of parliamentary candidates at the beginning of October. Many candidates favoured (or already selected) by local Constituency Labour Parties were left off the long lists. And even where left-wingers made it onto the short lists, we have heard of more than a dozen cases where they were swiftly removed once a right-winger or regional officer complained. Often, no reason was given beyond the party’s “need to exercise due diligence”. In other cases, reasons given for the removal include pictures of the candidate with Chris Williamson or posts criticising Israel. There is no appeal for candidates smeared in this way.

At the same time, the witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters has accelerated once more. Automatic suspensions have been reinstated and we have seen evidence of members having been suspended on ridiculous charges, which includes sharing posts by Labour Against the Witchhunt.

In our view, the LLA has made great strides forward since it was launched in July 2019:

  • Almost 1,600 individual supporters from over 450 CLPs have signed up to the Labour Left Alliance.
  • More than 20 Labour Left groups have affiliated, among the latest are Swansea Labour Left and Northants Labour Left.
  • Preparations for the LLA launch conference on February 1 2020 are well underway.

LAW is committed to continue building and participating in this important initiative and we urge all socialists and Corbyn supporters to join the LLA: www.labourleft.org

 

 

 

 

 

Successful CLP motion passed in support of Chris Williamson

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PLEASE  NOTE THERE IS NO BAN ON MOVING MOTIONS IN SUPPORT OF CHRIS: We hear that, again, in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris because of apparent guidelines sent out by Labour HQ. Labour Against the Witchhunt have produced detailed advice to show that this is not the case – click here for more info and details on  how to move a motion.

Passed by Chesham and Amersham CLP, October 24 2019

This CLP notes with concern:

1) The judgement of the High Court:

– that the Labour Party had ‘acted unfairly’ in retrospectively re-imposing the suspension of Chris Williamson MP following the decision of a panel of The National Executive committee to reinstate his membership

– that “there was no proper reason for reopening the case against Mr Williamson”:

– and that this act was “unlawful”:

2) the misuse of precious Labour Party funds to defend this unlawful procedure in the High Court;

3) the further persecution by the Labour Party in arbitrarily imposing on Chris Williamson a second suspension.

We therefore call on the General Secretary to:

1) lift the suspension of Chris Williamson forthwith;

2) end the practice of instant expulsions and suspensions

3) conduct a comprehensive review of the part’s legal, disciplinary and disputes procedures: and

4) ensure that all future disciplinary procedures are carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice.