Wavertree 4 statement

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This was published in Wavertree CLP’s weekly bulletin on Tuesday May 26 and has since found its way into the press and public domain. It has led to the ‘Wavertree 4’ being suspended from the Labour Party. Click here for our petition

Responding to Paula Barker’s article in The Jewish Telegraph

As members of who were active in Wavertree CLP in the months leading up to the resignation of Luciana Berger from the Labour Party in February 2019, we wish to make our views known regarding a number of points made by our MP Paula Barker in her article in The Jewish Telegraph of 16 May 2020.

We are deeply dismayed to be placed in the position of needing to correct the misleading impressions fostered by Paula’s article and, yet again, set the record straight about Ms Berger’s departure from our party. It is important to state that we understand and commend Paula’s expressions of support and solidarity with the Jewish communities in Liverpool in general, and Wavertree in particular, and her undoubted commitment and track record of opposing racism in all its manifestations, of which hatred of Jews is an important element with a long and brutal history.

We also pay tribute to the fact that since her election, and in the most difficult of circumstances, our MP has actively supported socialist causes of direct importance to the people of Wavertree, such as the cancellation of local authority debt, support for trade union action against bosses who put their members’ health at risk, and suspension of rent for private sector tenants affected financially by the pandemic . Within the constituency she was one of the first to take the problems in our care homes seriously and insist that action is taken to protect care home staff and residents, and she has not only helped many individuals in need, but also been instrumental in setting up a much-needed food bank locally.

However, we have to express our disappointment and hurt that someone we campaigned for so wholeheartedly appears to have reiterated the inaccurate and factionally motivated position on anti-Semitism which was used in order to personally attack and seriously undermine Labour’s socialist programme during the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

There are a number of points made in the article that we would take issue with, but the most important is the statement that:

’Luciana leaving the Labour Party was a shock to many and I find it deeply regrettable that she felt she could no longer stay….’

Though we accept that it was not explicitly stated that Luciana Berger was forced out of the Labour Party by anti-Semitic abuse from members of Wavertree CLP, Paula’s words will most certainly be taken to imply that we, as a CLP, were responsible. This accusation has been repeated by our political opponents, such as the anti-Corbyn Labour right and the Liberal Democrats on numerous occasions, culminating in Tom Watson’s calumny, under the protective cloak of parliamentary privilege, that Luciana Berger had been ‘forced out by racist thugs’ in Wavertree CLP. In the furore that followed, individual officers and members, such as our then chair, were subject to further abuse and false allegations in the media, all of which were designed to obscure the political differences between Ms Berger and the CLP.

These differences were fundamental; we were in no doubt that she was unhappy with the direction of the party following the election of Jeremy Corbyn, and she openly joined with others to undermine him in every way possible. The Executive invited her to meet and discuss her position on many occasions, but she did not respond. We knew very well that she faced, like all women politicians, horrible abuse on social media, and we publicly expressed our solidarity with her in standing up to this. We expressly offered her our solidarity when supporters of the far-right made threats and posted vile anti-Semitic comments about her. We passed a motion to this effect at the CLP in 2018.

Yet our political disagreement with her was cynically attributed to bullying, harassment and anti-Semitism on our part. Members of the Wavertree CLP Executive were consequently faced with extremely damaging and hurtful abuse, and still are. As a result of this article, we now need to remind all our members of what we said in a press statement in February 2019:

… as an Executive we have always and continue now to express total solidarity with Luciana as a victim of misogyny and of antisemitism – coming mostly from the far right. Our Chair is himself Jewish and the suggestion that the CLP Executive is in any way a party to bullying and antisemitism is a false and slanderous accusation.

Furthermore, we are surprised and puzzled to see reference to shock about Luciana Berger leaving the Party, when it was obvious to all that if Corbyn remained in power she was planning to go, along with a group of other MPs who shared her dislike of Corbyn and his Socialist agenda.

We also note that the list of Jewish Labour Party luminaries referred to in the article is impressive but a little one-sided. There are and have been many Jewish members who are or were critical of Israeli Government policy, for example Gerald Kaufman, Alf Dubs, Harry Cohen, Ed Miliband and not to forget Sydney Silverman – from Liverpool and an MP for 33 years – and his son Roger, who submitted to the NEC a warning against the adoption of the IHRA definition in 2018, saying:

‘I believe that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is deeply flawed. It is clearly designed to protect the Israeli state from legitimate criticism.’

We can only conclude that these other voices were not included because the article reflected the influence of a partial view that claims to speak for all Jewish people: it would perhaps have been more useful to consult a wider cross section of opinion in the Jewish communities before writing it.

We understand the pressure our MP is under from all sides on this very important question. Nevertheless, we are surprised that given the opportunity this article afforded, she failed to clearly and unequivocally defend Wavertree CLP from the slanders thrown at us over the last two years. Our disappointment is especially acute because we believed we now had an MP who could offer sincere support for Liverpool’s Jewish communities alongside a principled defence of the political integrity of the members of the CLP and the constituency which she represents.

Nina Houghton, Chair, Wavertree CLP

Kevin Bean, Secretary, Wavertree CLP

Helen Dickson, Women’s Officer, Wavertree CLP

Hazuan Hashim, BAME Officer, Wavertree CLP

Expelled for this single tweet – the witch-hunt in overdrive

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Labour Against the Witchhunt has become aware a new wave of suspensions and expulsions – often for the most absurd reasons. For example, we have seen the full suspension letter the Labour Party sent to Becky Massey, an activist in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and member of the executive committee of Brighton City Labour Party which was then disbanded (as featured in the leaked report). The single charge  is her tweet about Chris Williamson, posted six months ago. It reads: “The 99% of people will have the best friend in Chris Williamson as an MP who, if reelected, will work for them. ‘I resigned from Labour to spend more time fighting for socialism.'”

In our view Chris Williamson was wrong to leave the Labour Party, but we can understand why he did so – he had been vilified, smeared and hounded by the press, without a single parliamentary ‘colleague’ coming to his defense (including Richard Burgon and the rest of the so-called Socialist Campaign Group).

Rule 2.1.4. of the Labour Party rule book is of course famously ‘elastic’:

“A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other 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.”

This “support” is usually interpreted as calling for a vote for a candidate who is standing against a Labour Party candidate. In Becky’s case however, it has been interpreted as ‘tweeting in a supportive manner’. Despite the fact that she fully cooperated and explained that she did not actually call for a vote for Chris, she was expelled after two weeks – without even a hearing.

On the other hand, a number of right-wing Labour honchos who actually called on people to vote for the Liberal Democrats or even the Tories are left untouched. And we are still waiting for any disciplinary measures to be taken against those officials at Labour Party HQ who have been shown in the leaked report to have run an active campaign of sabotage against the party during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Asa Winstanley of Electronic Intifada speculates that Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner were given a list of names by the Jewish Labour Movement in a meeting earlier in the week. This certainly would go some way to explain the latest wave of suspensions of left-wingers. Mike Cushman, membership secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour, received a ‘notice of investigation’ this week. Another Palestine supporter victimised is David Miller, professor of political science at Bristol University. He was suspended for pointing out that Keir Starmer was “in receipt of money from the Zionist movement, from Trevor Chinn”. This is of course factually correct. Miller is also correct in calling this latest wave a “targeted harassment of socialist members”. Clearly, the right-wingers at the top of the Labour Party will not stop their witch-hunt until all traces of socialism are eradicated.

Publicity is our main weapon in this extremely uneven fight. The steering committee of Labour Against the Witchhunt has decided to call a conference to coincide with the planned release of Keir Starmer’s “investigation” into the leaked report in July. No doubt, it will be a whitewash, focusing on who leaked it rather than the substance of the right-wing smears and campaign of sabotage against Jeremy Corbyn. But we also want to look at the many mistakes made by the Corbyn leadership: The report shows that they decided to support the lie that the Labour Party is overrun by antisemites. They sought to appease the Israel advocacy groups and the self-appointed leadership of “the Jewish community” and  behaved as though they believed this lie. In the process they displayed an inability to recognise real antisemitism, while eagerly trying to get rid of Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Ken Livingstone and Chris Williamson, none of whom can be accused of even a trace of antisemitism.

Details tbc, but please click here to register for the Zoom event.


The leaked report: witness statements, analysis, reports, CLP statements and more

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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 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 achieve 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 reversed. Unfortunately, it appears that this was sometimes done with the knowledge and occasionally even with the participation of the Corbyn leadership, such as in the expulsions of Jackie Walker and Chris Williamson. Click here to read the full statement produced by the LLA and Labour Against the Witchhunt. LAW and the Labour Left Alliance are collating and publishing witness statements, original documents, useful articles, statements and analyses on the report. It is important that the left learns some important lessons from the hugely successful campaign against Corbyn, orchestrated by the right inside and outside the Labour Party: Chiefly that attempts to appease the right are not only futile, they will inevitably lead to self-inflicted disaster and defeat.

Labour Party motions and statements

Moshe Machover

Comrade Machover was briefly expelled himself – here is his first expulsion letter, which was followed by a second expulsion letter, before he was reinstated after an international outcry. Click here to read the full exchange between Moshe and the disgraced Sam Matthew, then head of ‘Disputes’. “But the report does not reflect too well on its authors and on the political friends they champion. In fact, they broadly share with the scoundrels whom they denounce the same view of the validity of the accusations that the Labour Party has a serious anti-Semitism problem. They also wilfully ignore two of the three sources of hostility to the Corbyn leadership, which fuelled and motivated the campaign of alleged ‘anti-Semitism’ against this leadership and the party as a whole. I will deal with these two interconnected failures of the report in turn.” – Weekly Worker

Ken Livingstone

Moshe Machover’s brief expulsion was in fact based on this article defending Ken Livingstone (whose suspension and vilification were as absurd as his own): “What did he [Ken Livingstone] say that got him suspended? Hitler came to power in 1932 and “supported Zionism until he went mad”. Of course, he got the date wrong, Hitler came to power in 1933. It was also wrong to personalise the shift in policy. But the point he was making about the Nazi regime and Zionism is basically correct, as I shall demonstrate.” – Labour Party Marxists

Craig Murray

“The report does conclusively refute the accusation that delays were occasioned by Jeremy Corbyn or his office, or that his office displayed any sympathy for anti-semitism. In fact, the opposite is the case. Corbyn’s office showed a proper hatred of anti-semitism, but also an alarming willingness to throw good people under the bus on very flimsy allegations of anti-semitism. pp306-7 The report shows a serious inability to distinguish between real, nasty anti-semitism and opposition to the policies of Israel. Furthermore, this is the attitude of the authors of the report themselves who in many scores of examples take for granted that the accusations of anti-semitism are sufficient to consider the case proven, and accept a number of specified opinions as proof of anti-semitism which are anything but.” – article

Anne Mitchell

Anne Mitchell is an activist in Brighton and Hove, a lifelong antiracist with strong feelings on the Israel-Palestine conflict in particular. She is a well-known local Palestine Solidarity activist. She was expelled from the Labour Party last October, without a hearing, solely on the “self-evident” basis of a small number of postings on social media. It was a bizarre process and an appalling judgment. As Richard Kuper from Jewish Voice for Labour shows below, nothing in what Anne Mitchell posted justified a charge of antisemitism, let alone expulsion. – article

Asa Winstanley

Asa, a journalist for the respected Electronic Intifada, was suspended and then resigned before a hearing took place. He writes about the report that “…it reveals the extent to which Corbyn and his supporter, party general secretary Jennie Formby, conceded ground to the Israel lobby and the false narrative of rampant Labour anti-Semitism. After Corbyn, a lifelong Palestine solidarity campaigner, became leader in 2015, pro-Israel groups relentlessly attacked him and his supporters as anti-Semitic. This defamation campaign ultimately succeeded. The “crisis” was a top focus during the 2019 general election, and polling showed that Corbyn’s mishandling of it was one of the top five reasons for voters not supporting Labour. The Israel lobby declared victory, with one group claiming to have “slaughtered” Corbyn.” – Electronic Intifada

Chris Williamson

Chris is of course one of most famous victims of the witch-hunt and was sadly thrown to the wolves by Jeremy Corbyn and Jennie Formby who accused him in an email featured in the report of “a pattern of behaviour”. He has shown his own evidence to a small number of media outlets: “What emerges from his evidence is a picture of someone who, far from being antisemitic, is a principled anti-racist campaigner. Williamson’s support for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, left-wing Jewish Labour supporters, and Palestinian rights is unwavering.” – Canary

Tony Greenstein

One of the first anti-racist campaigners to be expelled in the witch-hunt against Corbyn, Tony has written an excellent two-part analysis of the report – part 1 dealing with the racism and the sabotage of the right; part 2 dealing with the efforts of Corbyn’s office to throw anti-racist campaigners like Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone and Marc Wadsworth to the wolves in a futile attempt to appease the right.

Greg Hadfield

Greg is a well-known activist in Brighton and was elected secretary of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party, but the votes annulled by NEC. He was suspended Oct 2016 and re-instated Feb 2019. He is publishing his evidence in installments – click here.

Jewish Voice For Labour

JVL has produced a detailed analysis of over 150 claims made by the Jewish Labour Movement in their late submission to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in support of their charge that the Labour Party discriminates against its Jewish members when dealing with allegations of antisemitism. The executive summary of the analysis has been made available to the public.


Open letter to Dave Prentis

signed by almost 2,000 Unison members – click here

Open letter to Jennie Formby

by Kathy Coutanche, who is mentioned in the report – click here

Being and Somethingness – poem for Robert Peston, by Kevin Higgins

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for Robert Peston


You might liken me

to a urinary tract infection,

in that my job is to prevent

truth trickling out too purely,

but you’re worried such a comparison

might lead to threatening letters

from solicitors acting for the bacilli

who’ve taken up residence

in Mrs Irondrawer’s highly thought of bladder.


Reality is I’m worse,

will not be cured by mere penicillin.

For I am a journalist,

help people forget

things those who operate me

want forgotten.


To keep my thoughts pristine

each night I pay to have my head

dipped in preservatives, claim

it back as miscellaneous.


I’m the carbon monoxide that lulls

those who inhale me to a stupor.

I respect Prince Andrew’s privacy,

ensure certain names never cross

the average arsehole’s mind.


I’m why you know nothing

of the Zinoviev letter

or Emilie Oldknow

and after this must Google them.

I make sure you think

Julian Assange is where he belongs.


Anyone I call a statesman

should immediately be arrested.










Open Letter to Diane Abbott MP and Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP: We Must Stand Up to McCarthyism

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Dear Diane and Bell,

First we send solidarity to you. We are black and Jewish. Like you we are anti-racist and anti-fascist activists of long standing and have first-hand experience of the effect and purpose of attempts to publicly shame. We know this campaign of monitoring your words and deeds will not cease.

We were among the audience of over 600 at the ‘Don’t Leave, Organise’ meeting held last Wednesday at which both of you spoke from the panel. As people who had been mentioned, and smeared, by the leaked Labour report, we both made short contributions, as was our right and our responsibility as Left anti-racist activists who have been unfairly expelled.

As a result the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a small pressure group representing the most right-wing 30% of British Jewry, which has support for the Israeli state enshrined in its constitution, called on Keir Starmer to suspend you both.

The recently leaked Labour Party report makes clear, the Corbyn Project was in part destroyed by false and malicious accusations of anti-Semitism made against socialists in the Labour Party. If it were not for the Orwellian atmosphere surrounding the question of ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party and the wholesale attack on freedom of speech, then the fact that the Board had objected to two Jews speaking at a meeting on grounds of anti-Semitism would have been held up to justifiable ridicule.

The Board’s current demands are a continuation of their campaign to politically castrate the Left. Their aim as ever is not to promote anti-racism but to prevent criticism of Israel and Zionism. It has nothing whatsoever to do with opposing anti-Semitism.

The response by the Labour leadership does have a precedent. In 1939 Aneurin Bevan and Stafford Cripps were expelled from the Labour Party. Their crime? To support the Popular Front against fascism alongside the Communist Party and to have spoken on the same platform as communists. The Labour Party at that time opposed all anti-fascist activity for example, the Battle of Cable Street in 1936.

Let us be blunt. Today’s ‘anti-Semitism’ is the new Communism, and protecting Zionism is the premise for the new McCarthyism. That is the context in which the Board’s actions should be judged.

There are many lessons from history for activists too. When Black communist Paul Robeson was summoned, in June 1956, by the House Committee on Un-American Activities he refused, despite enormous pressure and intimidation, to testify. His passport was confiscated, he was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and his career all but destroyed. Nonetheless he stood firm on his principles. His struggles against injustice fed the movement which he saw himself as part of.

We understand the pressures that you are under but we also know that with the privileges of power and leadership comes responsibility to those you seek to represent. That is why we are disappointed that you did not feel able to withstand those who called upon you to dissociate yourself from those who were erroneously expelled for being anti-racists and Internationalists, opposing discrimination and injustice, in particular for us as Jews, the racism of the Israeli state. The way to oppose racists is, as we all know, never appeasement, whatever the short term benefits.

The lessons of history go on. The new Israeli government of Netanyahu, of which the Israeli Labor Party is a member, is committed to the annexation of large parts of the West Bank. The Palestinians who live in the West Bank, despite being ruled by the Israeli state, have no democratic rights. After all, to give the Palestinians a vote would imperil Israel’s Jewish demographic majority. This was the same argument used in South Africa to deny Black people a vote. The reason that veterans of the fight against Apartheid in South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ronnie Kassrils and Mandla Mandela condemn Israel as an apartheid state is because of its similarities with the regime that used operate in Pretoria.

We hope that in future you will feel able to speak truth to power. We hope the time will come when the swell of support from the grassroots, from oppressed minorities and from those who stand in solidarity with them will empower you to speak with the clarity, truth and passion we know is yours. We need your voice so we can raise ours to a pitch that cannot be ignored. This is the time to speak out because, as Rabbi Hillel said ‘if not now when?’

Kind regards and solidarity

Tony Greenstein

Jackie Walker




SIGN: Solidarity with Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy – and all those unjustly expelled!

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Sign the petition here!

The defeat of Jeremy Corbyn has given the right inside and outside the Labour Party a mandate to press ahead with their campaign against the left. They will not rest until the Labour Party has been purged of all traces of socialism.

The latest manufactured ‘outrage’ of the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council concerns Labour MPs Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Diane Abbott. These comrades spoke in a Zoom meeting organised by Don’t Leave, Organise. This online event was also attended by Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein – and 550 other people.

Both the BoD and JLC are now demanding that the two black MPs be suspended by the Labour Party “for sharing platforms with those that have been expelled from the Party for antisemitism”.

1) We believe that these expulsions – like the vast majority of others – were hugely unjust and the investigations deeply flawed. Despite forming the cornerstones of the report produced by Shami Chakrabarti back in 2016, due process and natural justice remain absent from Labour’s disciplinary process. While antisemitism and other forms of chauvinism exist in the Labour Party (as in wider society), the number of real antisemitic incidents in the Labour Party has been grossly exaggerated for political purposes.

2) Neither the Board of Deputies nor the Jewish Leadership Council has a democratic mandate to speak for all Jews in Britain, many of whom are very critical of the actions of the state of Israel. The organisations are clearly pro-Israel and work to a political agenda to attack, discredit and destroy any opposition to the systematic and brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli state. To this end, they energetically encourage the conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism.

3) Furthermore, we note with great concern that Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, reports that he had a meeting with Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner where, “it was agreed that no Labour MP should be sharing a platform with anyone expelled from the party for anti-Jewish racism“. The validity of many of these cases is being energetically challenged by many of the accused and their supporters. Furthermore, the leader of the Labour Party is not entitled to make such a promise: The policies and rules of the Labour Party are determined by its members at annual conference. If Keir Starmer has made such an undertaking, he must be reprimanded and ordered to withdraw it.

4) Guilt by association, as demanded by the BoD’s so-called 10 pledges, is a deeply troubling attack on the right to free speech. Already in our party, the witch-hunting right wing have concocted Kafkaesque charges against many members that would be laughed out of court even by the deeply flawed standards of the UK’s legal system. Transparently, this is an ongoing campaign against the left in the Labour Party; it is not a campaign against the scourge of antisemitism!

Therefore, we are putting out this urgent call for solidarity from CLPs and Labour Party branches, from trade unions, Labour councillors and particularly from those Labour MPs organised in the Socialist Campaign Group:  

  • Publicly stand up for Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy and to reject any reprimands or sanctions against them
  • Campaign vigorously against the implementation of the BoD’s ‘10 Pledges’ and to defend the right to freedom of speech and freedom of association in the Labour Party and trade unions, in the Palestine solidarity movement and in society at large
  • Proudly appear on platforms and in meetings with those who have been unjustly smeared, vilified, suspended and expelled from the Labour Party in the campaign against Corbyn and the left
  • Join us in the fight for a just and transparent disciplinary process in the Labour Party
  • Reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism
  • Support the individual and national rights of the Palestinian people

Sign the petition here!

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.













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.