Mike Cushman: How talking about Zionism can lose you your job

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Mike Cushman reports how Stan Keable (LAW secretary) has been sacked by Hammersmith and Fulham Council for a private conversation when he attended the Jewish Voice for Labour Parliament Square rally on 26 March. This article first appeared on Free Speech on Israel. 

Stan engaged in a discussion with a Zionist during the Parliament Square rally, a conversation that happened to be recorded by the BBC and broadcast. During the one on one discussion Stan talked about the historically undisputed collaboration between the Nazis and the German Zionist leadership. At no time did Stan make any, even remotely, antisemitic.

Hammersmith and Fulham Tory MP Greg Hands circulated the video of the conversation, publicised on Twitter and then referred it to the New Labour Leader of the Council. That letter, which was the first public association of Greg with the Council was made public. This linking of Greg with the Council was the sole basis of the charge of ‘bringing the council into disrepute’. Hands publicised Stan’s link with the Council and then this publicising was, itself, used as the basis for dismissal. An offence that only existed because the complainant had caused it to exist. Continue Reading “Mike Cushman: How talking about Zionism can lose you your job”

Our next members’ meeting: June 16

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Saturday June 16, 1-4pm
LAW national membership meeting

Union Tavern, 52 Lloyd Baker Street, Clerkenwell, London, WC1X 9AA

Agenda includes:

  • LAW’s intervention at Labour Party conference 2018
  • Campaign to stop Jackie Walker’s expulsion
  • Model motions
  • LAW conference

#Justice4Marc launch in London: Spotted hyenas and Labour right

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The chair of the meeting, Deborah Hobson, began by calling for a minute’s silence in honour of the 58 Palestinians killed and thousands injured in the latest Israeli atrocity. An atrocity defended and excused by Donald Trump, Binyamin Netanyahu … and Labour Friends of Israel.

Mike Cushman (Jewish Voice for Labour) was not alone in pointing out that there can be fewer more eloquent testimonies to the nature of the Israeli state than the harrowing events in Gaza. Certainly, it exposes the foul apologetics of the Labour right and their Zionist allies, and destroys the notion that Israel attracts the huge amount of condemnation that is does because the left – its most trenchant critics – is ‘anti-Semitic’. Far from being a source of strength, the Labour right’s support for the Zionist state – and the United States’ reactionary strategic goals in the region – can be turned into a huge weakness for this scab faction in our ranks.

While the top table was perhaps a little heavy with speakers (of varying degrees of quality and political acumen, it should be noted) – there was a real energy and combative confidence. This was perhaps displayed best in Jackie Walker’s defiant anecdote about her rejoinder to a characteristically stupid tweet from the wretched Wes Streeting MP. Apparently, he challenged her to meet him in debate in any synagogue in north London. OK, she told him – where and where then, Wes? Predictably, however, the man has gone very quiet …

Moshé Machover reminded us of the almost comically irrational nature of the provocations coming from the Labour right, their allies in the mainstream media and various apparatchiks in the Israeli state. He posed a “trick question”: “Are there anti-Semites in the Labour Party?”

Well, yes, given the current numbers in our organisation (570,000-plus) from all sorts of backgrounds, there must be. The comrade (a renowned mathematician, let us not forget), stated that it would be statistically “astounding” if there were not. The party will also have its statistically ‘fair’ share of paedophiles. The point being that if the Labour right and its venal allies thought it could gain political traction by smearing the left as a herd of paedophiles, they would. The right gives “fuck all” for truth, principle or any other such annoying impediment, comrade Machover stated.

Moshé illustrated this same observation via a sideways detour. There is – apparently – a tiny number of spotted hyenas in Norway (in zoos). However, if you hear of a spotted hyena trackers’ expedition – organised with an extravagant disregard for the huge amount of time, energy and money expended – a rational conclusion to draw might be that these people have a thing about Norway, rather than the spotted hyenas.

It was a fun way to set the tone for the meeting. And the atmosphere of aggressive levity was added to by comedian Alexi Sayle’s amusing introductory spiel for Marc – he does seem to be getting some of his political mojo back via this battle; the unhinged accusations against the left must be providing the bloke with material for years to come. Many speakers also ridiculed the laughably flimsy charges against Marc Wadsworth and other comrades, such as Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein.

A recurrent theme during the regrettably short space allocated for questions and contributions from the floor was the need for Labour Against the Witchhunt to become a mass campaign that can rally not dozens, but thousands, outside Labour’s Victoria Street HQ. That means building local organisations.

There were some gently regretful criticisms of Corbyn’s and the core LP left leadership’s passivity to – even accommodation with – this witch-hunt. This generosity was not all-encompassing – on the strength of this meeting and others I have attended over the last year or more, there are now very few on the left with any compunction about laying into Momentum nationally. The local groups can be good, even very good, but the national organisation and its ‘CEO’, Jon Lansman are deeply discredited.

Message of support from Chris Williamson MP

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Click here to download all messages of support in a PDF file: from Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and Chris Williamson MP

Please accept my apologies that I can’t be with you tonight, but I would like to express my support for and solidarity with Marc’s campaign to clear his name.

I attended Marc’s hearing and spoke on his behalf, which is why I know that the National Constitutional Committee’s decision was inconsistent with the evidence before them.

As I said immediately after the outcome was announced, the decision has all the hallmarks of predetermination and tramples on the Labour Party’s record of standing up for fairness.  The NCC has besmirched the reputation of a veteran anti-racist campaigner and their decision cannot be allowed to stand.

Marc deserves the support of everyone who believes in natural justice, democracy and the progressive agenda that delivered two landslide leadership victories for Jeremy Corbyn, and Labour’s biggest vote share increase since 1945.

As Martin Luther King Jr once said: “It is always the right time to do the right thing.” And the right thing to do now is help Marc to right the terrible wrong that has been done to him.

Best wishes,

Chris Williamson MP

 

 

Message of support from Ken Loach

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Click here to download all messages of support in a PDF file: from Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and Chris Williamson MP

I’m sorry not to be with you tonight – but very pleased to send a message of strong support to Labour Against The Witchhunt and Marc personally. No one wants a party that tolerates abuse or racism. But that’s not my experience of Labour meetings and I’m sure it’s not yours. If there are allegations, let the evidence be brought, scrutinised in an open hearing in front of an impartial panel, with all sides heard, witnesses allowed to speak and a right to appeal. In other words, due process in accordance with natural justice.

That does not appear to have happened in Marc’s case. The available information shows the evidence to be weak and the judgement faulty. Marc has an honourable record as a principled campaigner against racism and injustice. We should demand that his case be reopened.

Further, we cannot tolerate the abuse of the disciplinary procedure for political purposes, to remove good activists. The people who should face scrutiny are those MPs and their apologists who do their best to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, who supported the right wing policies of Blair, including his illegal war in Iraq, with the terrible consequences we see today.

The Labour Party is changing. Make certain the changes really happen.  Working class people need a party that will re-order society so that all may live with security and dignity. To transform society we have also to transform the party – this struggle is part of that transformation.

Solidarity,

Ken Loach

 

Ecclesall branch: motion on Marc Wadsworth

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Motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party, passed on May 14 2018

1. Ecclesall branch (Hallam Sheffield CLP) notes that

  • On April 27 2018 Marc Wadsworth was expelled from the Labour Party for “bringing the party into disrepute”.
  • Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that, at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, Marc Wadsworth was being anti-Semitic by criticising her for “working hand in hand” with a reporter from the Daily Telegraph, who had passed a press release to her.
  • Ruth Smeeth stated at the expulsion hearing that she “felt” Marc Wadsworth was being anti-Semitic. That was sufficient for Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC) to uphold this charge.
  • Marc Wadsworth is a veteran anti-racist campaigner. As chair of the Labour Party Black Sections (1986-1988), he helped four of its members to get elected as MPs in 1987. He founded the Anti-Racist Alliance in 1991 and helped the parents of Stephen Lawrence set up their campaign for justice and introduced them to Nelson Mandela.
  1. Ecclesall branch believes that:
  • Nothing that Marc Wadsworth did or said at the launch of the Chakrabarti report was even vaguely anti-Semitic.
  • The fact that somebody “feels” they have experienced anti-Semitism, or any other form of prejudice, is not enough. The NCC’s decision not to require any proof or evidence sets a dangerous precedent for the acceptance of politically motivated allegations.
  • Chris Williamson MP was right to call thedecision to expel Marc Wadsworth “perverse”. He was also right to criticise the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends”, namely the purging or muzzling of members who are critical of Israeli government policies and actions.
  • Despite the growing number of fallacious allegations of anti-Semitism (by a group of anti-Corbyn MPs in cooperation with the mainstream media) the number of cases of anti-Semitism among Labour Party members upheld remains tiny.
  1. Ecclesall branch demands:An end to the practice of automatic, instant expulsion or suspension of Labour Party members (apart from in exceptional circumstances:
  • A member accused of a breach of rule must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and be given all the evidence submitted against them by their accuser
  • Membership rights must not be removed until disciplinary investigations and procedures have been completed;
  • Disciplinary procedures must be time limited. Charges not resolved within three months must be automatically dropped.
  • Disciplinary decisions should be taken only by elected bodies, not by paid officials.

Alexei Sayle: I stand with Marc Wadsworth!

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Click here to download all messages of support in a PDF file: from Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and Chris Williamson MP

I stand with Marc Wadsworth.

The Labour Party has – on the flimsiest of pretexts – expelled him from the Labour Party.

Marc is a veteran activist and anti-racist campaigner. He contributed to the Party through the Black Sections, co-founded the Anti-Racist Alliance, fought against the National Front and the BNP, was a leading supporter of the Stephen Lawrence Campaign: the list of his achievements in the field of fighting for racial equality and justice goes on and on.

And this is the man the Labour Party dares to say has “brought the party into disrepute”! The Party should walk over broken glass to beg people of Marc’s calibre to work with them – they are very few and Marc is one of the best. There is a battle going on to destroy and reverse the unexpected and amazing gains the left has made in the last three years. Marc is a casualty in that battle and I am joining the fight to see him re-instated to the front line.

I never believed we would see the prospect of a socialist Labour Party taking power in this country and the right, with their allies in the Israel Lobby, is doing everything it can to stop that. Marc has been victimised by them and that can’t be allowed to stand. Everyone on the Left – whether in or out of the Labour Party – needs to back Marc in this struggle.

Thank God I’m not in the Labour Party so I can say that all the Ruth Smeeths and Wes Streetings who are trying to destroy the prospect of a Socialist Labour Party taking power in Britain can fucking fuck off: I’m backing Marc Wadsworth!

Alexei will be speaking alongside Marc Wadsworth at the London launch of our national #Justice4Marc speaking tour – come along!

Queen’s Park branch

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On 10 May 2018  the Queen’s Park branch of the Labour Party (in Hampstead & Kilburn CLP) adopted the motion below nem con and with one abstention:
________________________

This branch notes that:

·         Marc Wadsworth, a leading Black antiracist activist, was expelled from the Labour Party – with no right of appeal – on April 27, 2018, charged with bringing the Party into disrepute;
·         his expulsion followed 22 months of suspension from membership;

·         his expulsion was not for antisemitism, despite continuous prejudicial media coverage falsely accusing him of antisemitic abuse at the media launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016.

This branch believes:

·         that the party has indeed been brought into disrepute, not by Marc Wadsworth’s non-abusive remark at the Report launch, but by the actions of PLP members publicly denouncing him as an antisemite; by the adherence of the entrenched party bureaucracy to a disciplinary system which was not fit for purpose; and by its failure to put in place a system conforming with principles of natural justice, which should be automatic in any labour movement organisation.

This branch therefore:

·         supports Marc Wadsworth’s campaign to clear his name of the antisemitism slur and for reinstatement as a member of the Labour Party;
·         calls on the new General Secretary to:
o   speedily implement Chakrabarti’s recommendations designed to reform flawed party rules and structures to ensure prompt, fair and transparent handling of disciplinary complaints against members, with right of appeal and including presumption of innocence and fact-based judgements that do not rely on guilt by association

Speaking tour: Reinstate Marc Wadsworth!

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We demand the immediate reinstatement of Marc Wadsworth and all those suspended and expelled on trumped up and false charges and allegations! Read LAW’s statement on the issue here.

#Justice4Marc national speaking tour

LAW, Jewish Voice for Labour, the Labour Representation Committee and Grassroots Black Left are sponsoring a national speaking tour with Marc Wadsworth. The dates: Continue Reading “Speaking tour: Reinstate Marc Wadsworth!”

Motion passed by Grantham LP branch: Marc Wadsworth

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Motion passed by Grantham Labour Party branch

This Branch notes the recent expulsion of veteran Labour Party activist and anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth on the
grounds of “bringing the Labour Party into disrepute”. This Branch believes that this decision is unjustified, undermines the freedom to debate within the Labour Party, and therefore the decision itself brings the Labour Party into disrepute. This Branch further believes that Marc Wadsworth should be re-instated.