Model motion: No confidence in Keir Starmer! No more settlements with witch-hunters!

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Download as a Word file here

1. This branch/CLP notes with great concern: 

a) Keir Starmer’s July 22 2020 apology and payment of ‘damages’ in six figures to the former Labour Party employees who participated in the dreadful and one-sided BBC Panorama programme on alleged antisemitism in the Labour Party.

b) That the legal advice received by the Labour Party reportedly stated that the party had a very good chance to win the libel case pursued by the ‘whistleblowers’ featured in the programme.
c) That in the wake of this settlement, there are reports of “at least 42 further civil claims” against the party (Daily Telegraph July 24 2020), among them from BBC journalist John Ware and former general secretary Iain McNicol.

d) That the settlement has been used to demand that Starmer withdraws the whip from Jeremy Corbyn.

e) That the ‘leaked report’ quite clearly shows that there was an organised and concerted campaign by right-wingers in the party to undermine and sabotage Jeremy Corbyn and the left. Some of those actively involved in the campaign have now been paid off by Starmer. Continue Reading “Model motion: No confidence in Keir Starmer! No more settlements with witch-hunters!”

Our attitude to the ‘Forde enquiry’ into Labour’s leaked report

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Motion agreed by LAW’s conference, July 4 2020

We note:

1) That Keir Starmer set up the ‘Forde enquiry’ to investigate the so-called ‘leaked Labour report’. This was supposed to report back on July 15 2020.

2) That on June 25, the day that Rebecca Long-Bailey was sacked from Labour’s front bench in the latest round of the witch-hunt against left-wingers in the Labour Party, the ‘Forde enquiry’ buried the news that it will “not meet the deadline of July 15” to present its findings. Instead, it is aiming for “September”. It is inviting submissions of evidence along its ‘terms of reference’ by 5pm, Friday July 24 via email to info@fordeinquiry.org.

3) That the ‘terms of reference’ are:

  1. “The truth or otherwise of the main allegations in ‘the Report’ (the Panel shall determine which are the most significant allegations which require investigation but they shall include the extent of racist, sexist and other discriminatory culture within Labour Party workplaces, the attitudes and conduct of the senior staff of the Labour Party, and their relationships with the elected leadership of the Labour Party)”;
  2. “The background and circumstances in which the Report was commissioned”
  3. “The structure, culture and practices of the Labour Party organisation including the relationship between senior party staff and the elected leadership of the Labour Party”.

4) That at the same time, the leaked report has led to the following, separate investigations:

“- An investigation by the UK Information Commissioner into possible breaches of data and privacy law resulting from the leak of the Report; and

– An internal investigation by the Labour Party into the leaking and content of the Report.” (https://www.fordeinquiry.org/news-and-resources/)

We believe:

5) That any report(s) produced by the Forde enquiry will in all likelihood be a whitewash of the current leadership and its supporters on the right of the party (who are responsible for the vile misogyny and racism on display in the report). It is also likely that the report will attempt to blame Corbyn and his allies for the leak of the report, as well as the destructive internal culture that is evident from it. At most, we expect that a couple of Labour Party employees might be thrown the wolves in an attempt to ‘move on’.

6) The enquiry however does not deal with the most important aspect of the leaked report, namely the campaign to weaponise antisemitism and equate it with anti-Zionism – and how the Corbyn leadership dealt with it.

7) That the leaked report was produced by supporters of the Corbyn leadership and Momentum in order to prove that they did everything in their power to ‘eradicate antisemitism’, but were actively hindered by the right in the party.

8) However, the leaked report underlines the many mistakes made by Corbyn and his allies: 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 activists like Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Ken Livingstone and Chris Williamson, none of whom can be accused of even a trace of antisemitism.

We therefore agree the following:

9) To postpone our planned ‘Counter-conference’ to September, so that it coincides with the release of the results of the leaked report and can present our counter argument. This counter-conference will deal with what we believe are the real issues arising from the leaked report:

– The futility of trying to appease the right;
– The difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism;
– The need to stand up for free speech on Palestine;
– The need to fight against the attempt to create ‘unpersons’ that should be shunned and not invited to our meetings

Confirmed participants so far include Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker, Prof David Miller, Moshe Machover, Greg Hadfield and Tony Greenstein and we will also hear from less prominent cases.

10) The new LAW steering committee shall attempt to prepare a submission focusing on our own ‘terms of reference’ as described above – ie, the need to expose the campaign to weaponise antisemitism and equate it with anti-Zionism. We have no doubt that this will be ignored by the enquiry, but we shall publish it far and wide.

Future of Labour Against the Witchhunt

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Motions agreed at LAW conference July 4 2020 on the future of Labour Against the Witchhunt

1. Submitted by the LAW Steering Committee

1. The anti-socialist witch-hunt is not only about the Labour left. It afflicts the whole of society: workers have been dismissed for speaking against Israel and Zionism; academics are being bullied into self-censorship. The anti-Semitism smear is its main weapon, but it is not about eradicating anti-Semitism. It is about undermining opposition to imperialist war, inhibiting a resurgence of the anti-war movement and ensuring that the UK remains loyal to the US and its ally Israel in their next military adventures.

2. Israel is an expansionist settler-colonial state which bases itself on the racist ideology of Zionism. Zionist colonisation of Palestine, from the 1890s, sought imperial sponsorship from the kaiser and the tsar, and gained British backing in the 1917 Balfour Declaration. The ethnic cleansing of the 1948 Nakba continues today in Israel’s discriminatory and oppressive laws and practices, its treatment of the people of Gaza, and Netanyahu’s proposed annexation of much of the Jordan Valley.

3. The big lie in condemning critics of Israel and Zionism as anti-Jewish racists cannot be overcome by logical arguments against the deliberate non-definition of anti-Semitism. That has been done exhaustively. The search for electability, the willingness to be bribed, the lure of high office, ensures that career politicians uphold the big lie and align themselves with US foreign policy.

4. Labour Against the Witchhunt’s launch meeting on October 21 2017, set out three key demands on our party:
* An end to automatic suspensions and expulsions – no disciplinary action without a hearing;
* Rejection of the false IHRA ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism; and
* Abolition of the compliance unit – disciplinary action must be taken by elected bodies, not paid officials.

5. LAW has a proud record of campaigning, which must continue. Since our first conference on February 2 2019 we held a series of lobbies of Labour Party NEC meetings and organised a successful intervention at the 2019 Labour conference in Brighton. In the following months, our efforts were more limited. As well as campaigning for Labour in the December general election, much of our energy was put into initiating and building the Labour Left Alliance, and organising its February 22 launch conference. In March campaigning was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, which prevented physical meetings and lobbies. Despite this the steering committee has decided our second conference must go ahead using an online platform.

6. Although its prime target was the removal of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, the belief that the anti-socialist witch-hunt would end with his removal was an illusion. This was confirmed by the craven endorsement of the Board of Deputies’ ‘Ten Commandments’ by all of the candidates for the leadership position, and by the surge of new suspensions and the first wave of ‘fast-track’ expulsions by Labour’s national executive committee – without a hearing – since Keir Starmer took office on April 4.

7. Starmer’s dishonest promise to “remove the stain of anti-Semitism” from the party can only be fulfilled by mass expulsions of the left, or by its taming, its self-silencing, its moving to the right. Starmer’s declaration of war on the left shows the futility of Corbyn’s failed strategy of appeasement of the right. We must resist the temptation for the left to go quiet on the witch-hunt.

8. The witch-hunt will not go away until it is openly confronted and defeated politically, and that means calling out those on the left who have been complicit. Corbyn and McDonnell are both guilty of misleading the left into the strategy of appeasement, failing to challenge the right’s false ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ narrative. A year before LAW was launched, Momentum joined the witch-hunt explicitly by removing Jackie Walker as vice-chair in response to Zionist slurs. Recently, the party’s own leaked report on the handling of anti-Semitism complaints confirms the enthusiasm of Corbyn’s team to ramp-up the witch-hunt. The false complaints made against the Wavertree Four, suspended on May 29, were made by local Momentum activists.

9. A witch-hunt functions to silence dissent, to make us afraid to speak out. It generates self-censorship, self-policing – and the policing of others. It is the enemy of free speech and closes down democratic debate.

10. Solidarity is the key principle of working class struggle: an injury to one is an injury to all. Silence is complicity.LAW must continue to assist victims to fight suspensions and expulsions. We must organise and publicise campaigns to highlight the false accusations and unfair processes.

11. LAW accepts as members those wrongly suspended and expelled by the Labour Party. We also understand and accept as members those who decide to leave the party rather than suffer the indignity of a degrading disciplinary process. But we urge comrades to stay in and fight, if they can. The anti-socialist witch-hunt must be defeated.

 

2.  Submitted Tony Greenstein

  1. The dismissal of Rebecca Long-Bailey proves that Starmer is no centrist as he portrayed himself in the leadership elections, but a hardline Zionist.
  2. The witchhunt that Jeremy Corbyn enabled, through his introduction of the fast-track procedures for ‘egregious’ cases is being used for every ‘anti-Semitism’ case. None are going to the NCC, which is almost defunct. This is a rule violation and therefore a breach of law.
  3. The reaction of the Socialist Campaign Group was well summed up by the Jewish Chronicle of June 26: ‘Left-wing Labour MPs restrained in response to Long-Bailey’s sacking.’
  4. It is clear that any criticism of Zionism or Israel now falls under the category of ‘anti-Semitic trope’, which is itself anti-Semitic.
  5. We need a plan of activity for the next year.  It is essential that we reverse the membership decline of LAW.
  6. We reject all of the 10 Board of Deputies pledges (’10 Commandments’) which RBL and Starmer adopted but it is clear that the most pernicious of these is no. 5 which effectively no platforms anyone who is suspended or expelled.  It creates a category of banned persons.
  7. We should campaign to get groups, within and without the Labour Party to reject this Commandment and to explicitly defy it. We agree to set up a LAW sub-committee to campaign inside Labour and outside of it, to reject the 10 pledges and explicitly defy them, particularly by means of LLA approved publications, analyses and resolutions.
  1. We note that certain groups on the left, in particular the SWP and Counterfire, in pursuit of their ‘united front’ strategies in SUTR and StWC, are unofficially complying with the 5th Commandment in order to retain the support of their patrons. We must demand that ALL groups that are on the socialist left do not comply with this demand.
  2. We instruct the Steering Committee to organise, in conjunction with other groups such as JVL, PSC etc. a large picket of Labour Party headquarters with the demands ‘No to the IHRA’, ‘No to the 10 Commandments’.
  3. We instruct the Steering Committee to organise, in conjunction with the ad-hoc Freedom of Speech group webinars involving prominent Labour Movement personalities prepared to speak out against compliance with the BOD commands.

 

NEC elections 2020

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Emergency motion agreed at LAW conference, July 4 2020

NEC elections 2020

1. The change of the NEC electoral system from first past the post to single transferable vote is clearly an attack on the left membership. It makes it almost impossible for a full ‘left’ slate to ever win again all nine seats in the section elected by the members.

2. The Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance is dead. It should have died a lot sooner. It has always been characterised by bad compromises, backroom deals and the lowest common denominator. Many of its candidates throughout the last decades cannot be described as ‘left’, or even soft left. Ann Black for example served for decades on the NEC, thanks to being backed by the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD). Even under Corbyn’s leadership, the vast majority of the nine NEC members failed to speak out or stand up to the witch-hunt and a number of them even fully participated in it – chiefly Jon Lansman and his supporters.

3. There is a chance that – after the victory of the Forward Momentum slate in the Momentum NCG elections – there will be efforts to revive the CLGA. But even without Jon Lansman in the driving seat of the negotiations, this method of divvying up candidates that are deemed ‘acceptable’ to all groups involved in the CLGA backroom deals is deeply apolitical and undemocratic. Instead, it should be the politics of the candidates that decide if they deserve support or not.

4. The new electoral system opens up the possibility to concentrate our fire on one or two candidates who are prepared to stand on a principled political platform, which in our view must include the commitment to:

a) Publish regular reports of NEC meetings, including details of how they and other NEC members have voted.

b) Campaign for the Labour Party’s complaints and disciplinary procedures to be overhauled so that disciplinary procedures are 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. Abolish fast-track expulsions.

c) Campaign for all disciplinary cases processed during the last five years to be re-examined in an unbiased way. The leaked report proves that the Corbyn leadership, in the hope of appeasing the right, displayed an inability and unwillingness to recognise real antisemitism, while eagerly trying to get rid of activists like Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Ken Livingstone and Chris Williamson, none of whom can be accused of even a trace of antisemitism.

d) Campaign for Labour to:

– overturn the party’s commitment to the so-called definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which conflates anti-Zionism with antisemitism in a number of its examples;

– oppose attempts to label the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as antisemitic;

– oppose the party implementing the Board of Deputies’ 10 Pledges.

5. We should make a choice of which candidates to support based on their record of resistance to the witch hunt.

We do not support candidates who do not commit to oppose the IHRA.

That any candidates commit to opposing the fast track procedures.  They were introduced to deal with ‘egregious’ cases.  They are being used to deal with EVERY case of ‘antisemitism’

RLB sacking: Stop the anti-left witch-hunt!

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LAW Statement June 26 2020

Labour Against the Witchhunt condemns the June 25 sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet. Her ‘crime’ was retweeing an interview in The Independent with the actor Maxine Peake. Repeating a widely circulated but inaccurate story, Maxine commented: “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

However, Israeli training of US police, and the use of such inhuman techniques against Palestinians, have been well documented, for example by Amnesty International and Middle East Eye. Keir Starmer’s charge that any of this is an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” is ludicrous. It does underline the fact however that the witch-hunt has precious little to do with fighting antisemitism. It is all about getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn and now all of his remaining supporters and making sure the Labour Party remains a reliable ally from imperialism’s (and, crucially, Israel’s) point of view.

Rebecca Long-Bailey should have refuted the charge, and called out the Big Lie that criticising the Israeli state is anti-Jewish racism. Instead she retreated, tweeting that her praise of Peake was “not intended to be an endorsement of all parts of the article”. But appeasement only invites more attacks.

The agreed wording was not enough, and RLB was instructed to delete both her original tweet and her desperate “clarification”. Four hours after she expressed reluctance to do so “without the issuing of a press statement of clarification”, Starmer sacked her.

RLB’s cowardly capitulation is fully in line with her previous behavior. Her self-abasing endorsement of the Zionist, Tory-led, Board of Deputy’s ‘Ten Pledges’ did not protect her. Nor did calling herself a Zionist and refusing to protest again the witch-hunt or the appalling treatment suffered by the likes of Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein and former MP Chris Williamson.

Starmer’s ratcheting up of the anti-socialist witch-hunt in the Labour Party is unsurprising. It fulfills his promise to show ‘zero tolerance’ of any criticism of the racist ideology of Zionism.

LAW calls out the Big Lie – that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. LAW calls out the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance cynical misdefinition of anti-Semitism. Acceptance of the Big Lie is nowadays obligatory for career politicians. Loyalty to British imperialism requires loyalty to US imperialism and its attack dog in the Middle East, Israel. Common humanity means we must stand with the Palestinians, who face not only military occupation and lack of elementary democratic rights, but now the threat of another round of ethnic cleansing.

LAW welcomes Momentum’s petition, calling for RLB’s reinstatement. But why did Momentum not organise against the witch-hunt from the beginning? Why did it throw Jackie Walker, Momentum’s former vice chair, to the wolves? And why does it tolerate witch-hunters in its ranks, including at the very top? Momentum has become a career ladder for aspiring Labour politicians.

LAW welcomes the belated “solidarity” expressed for the latest victim of the witch-hunt by the likes of John McDonnell and John Trickett, and the June 26 statement by the Campaign Group of Socialist MPs. They are protesting against the unjust victimisation of Corbyn’s “continuity candidate”. It would have been much better to have fought the witch-hunt from the beginning. How about now extending your “solidarity” to the hundreds of Labour members wrongly vilified, smeared, suspended and expelled? Instead, the Corbyn leadership sought to appease right from day 1.

RLB’s sacking on charges of promoting an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” could possibily be the start of a bigger purge. The right will not be satisfied until what little remains of the parliamentary Labour left is purged. It is that or total surrender.

LAW calls upon Labour Party members to stay and fight. Do not resign in protest against Starmer or the cowardice and crass careerism of the parliamentary left.

We demand:

  • Constituency Labour Parties and branches must be allowed to meet and make decisions and pass motions and statements online;
  • Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) must repudiates the IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism, along with its so called examples, which deliberately conflates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism;
  • Members of the Campaign Group of Socialist MPs should repudiate the BoD’s ‘Ten Pledges;
  • Unite, Unison, GMB, Aslef, FBU, RMT, PCS and other trade unions must stop funding MPs who refuse to oppose the anti-left witch-hunt.

Steering Committee Report for LAW conference, July 4 2020

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Please note that information about our current membership figures, details of our funds, decisions taken by the steering committee and other internal matters are only available to LAW members. If you join before midnight on July 2 2020, you may attend conference. Details here

In the last 12 months, we have assisted numerous Labour Party members who have been suspended or expelled. We looked through dozens of ‘evidence packs’ and found that in the overwhelming number of cases, comrades have been suspended for anti-Zionism rather than antisemitism. There are however a few problematic posts we have seen, where a member for example wrote “Jews” when they should have clarified that they meant “Zionists”. We spoke to members about those posts and hopefully helped to avoid such problematic posts in future. We also helped to draft a few responses to their suspension letters. But, in the vast majority of cases – even the most absurd ones – this has been unsuccessful, because this witch-hunt is not about eradicating antisemitism, but getting rid of the left.

A famous exception is the case of NEC candidate Jo Bird, who was suspended (along with Mo Azam and a number of other candidates) in the middle of the March 2020 NEC by-election. Together with the Labour Left Alliance, we campaigned for her reinstatement and urged our supporters to vote for her despite her suspension. She was reinstated within days. Click here and here.

LAW was one of the three founding organisations of the Labour Left Alliance in 2019 and we remain centrally involved. As part of the LLA, we have campaigned for the fight against the witch-hunt to take centre-stage in NEC elections, and in the Momentum NCG elections, by asking all candidates a range of questions on the subject of the witch-hunt, with some interesting answers – click here and here.

Most recently,

– We drew up a petition in support of and in cooperation of the Wavertree 4, who have been unjustly suspended in May 2020 – click here

– We published a petition, urging ‘Solidarity with Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy and all those unjustly expelled’ after the two MPs were criticised for speaking at a meeting organised by ‘Don’t leave, Organise’, which was also attended by Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker – click here

We intervened in the Labour leadership election campaign and wrote a petition, which urged Rebecca Long-Bailey to distance herself from the Board of Deputies 10 Demands, which has been signed by almost 5,000 people – click here

We responded to Keir Starmer’s announcement that he would implement the Board of Deputies’ 10 Demands – click here.

We produced a joint statement with the Labour Left Alliance on the ‘leaked Labour Party report, demanding that all disciplinary cases of the last five years should be reviewed – click here.

– We have also begun to gather witness statements, analysis, reports, CLP statements on the ‘leaked report’ click here

– We are currently planning a counter-conference to coincide with the publication of the so-called ‘investigation’ into the report. Confirmed speakers include Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Moshe Machover, Chris Williamson, David Miller and many more – registration and more details here

In the last year, we also fought and campaigned on:

– the unjust suspension of Pete Willsman click here

– the overdue launch of trigger ballots, with an explanation of how CLPs can use them – click here. We also drew up a petition, warning of the dangers of a national government (which some Labour lefties had urged) – click here.

– the investigation of the Equality and Human Right’s Commission into the Labour 
Party, which we identified as being an integral part of the witchhunt – click here

– We helped to organise various dates of the showing of the excellent documentary ‘The Witchhunt’ with Jackie Walker.

– We also published model motions on a range of other issues – click here

Chris Williamson

Chris Williamson was the only MP who was prepared to campaign with us against the witch-hunt – which is of course exactly what he was eventually suspended for.

– We produced a motion Chris’ (very brief) reinstatement (click here) and his subsequent, outrageous re-suspension click here

–  We also organised an Open letter to the NEC on the issue, which has been signed by almost 5,000 people – click here and a statement on Chris’ court case on October 10 – click here

– We also collated all CLP motions and supportive statements in Chris’ support and organised and produced memes with quotes by Noam Chomsky, Mike Leigh, Lowkey and many others – click here.

– We researched and published guidance on why “there is no ban on motions in support of Chris Williamson” to counter the entirely false reporting in the media. We also published detailed guidelines on on how to move motions  in support of Chris and how to overturn a hostile chair – click here.

AOB 

We also organised a very successful intervention at Labour Party conference 2019 (as in 2018), with two stalls every day, signing up people and informing them of our fringe meeting which took place on the last day: over 250 crammed in the space to hear Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Chris Williamson, Asa Winstanley and Mike Cushman.

LAW’s first conference, on February 2 2019, elected five comrades to the Steering Committee, and adopted four resolutions and a Constitution, after debate and amendment:

– Resolution1: The slow coup against Jeremy Corbyn – here
– Resolution 2: Why LAW opposes the IHRA ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism – here
– Resolution 3: LAW support to activists
– Resolution 4: Model motion – Objection to the Labour Party’s [Union’s] adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism – here

The May 4 2019 All Members’ Meeting (AMM) elected an additional four SC members and adopted three resolutions – here:
– Resolution 1: Proposal to expel Pete Gregson from LAW
– Resolution 2: Fighting the witch-hunt as key part of building the foundations for an independent, democratic Labour left
– Resolution 3: George Galloway and the EU elections

__________

LAW Steering Committee, June 26 2020
LAW, BM Box 1488, London WC1N 3XX
www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org

 

LAW Conference, Saturday July 4 2020, 11am online

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All members will have received an invite to register for our Zoom conference. If you have not received it and think you are a paid-up members, please email us: info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org

Detailed agenda tbc once we know how many motions we have received.

We particular appreciate motions and initiatives around the following questions and issues:

  • How can we campaign against the newly ratcheted up witch-hunt in the party? We know of dozens of Palestine campaigners and left-wingers who have recently received their letter of suspension/notice of investigation.
  • How will LAW’s campaigning priorities have to change, now that the party is run by an outright centrist?
  • Considering that the witch-hunt has been rapidly spreading into wider society (witness a number of politically motivated sackings; councils imposing the IHRA definition on antisemitism etc), how should that find reflection in our campaigning work?
  • Should those who have now left the Labour Party be eligible for LAW membership? The Steering Committee believes they should be, but there are probably differences of opinion on the matter.

Pre-conference timetable

Sat June 20 = Conference minus 2 weeks
Deadline for motions and amendments to LAW’s constitution. Mover and Seconder must be paid up members.
Draft agenda to be published.

Sat June 27 = Conference minus 1 week
Deadline for amendments to motions. Mover and Seconder must be paid up members.
Deadline for nominations to Steering Committee.

Sat July 4 = Conference, 11am start
Further nominations for the Steering Committee accepted during conference.

Steering Committee motion

  1. The anti-socialist witch-hunt is not only about the Labour left. It afflicts the whole of society: workers have been dismissed for speaking against Israel and Zionism; academics are being bullied into self-censorship. The anti-Semitism smear is its main weapon, but it is not about eradicating anti-Semitism. It is about undermining opposition to imperialist war, inhibiting a resurgence of the anti-war movement and ensuring that the UK remains loyal to the US and its ally Israel in their next military adventures.
  2. Israel is an expansionist settler-colonial state which bases itself on the racist ideology of Zionism. Zionist colonisation of Palestine, from the 1890s, sought imperial sponsorship from the kaiser and the tsar, and gained British backing in the 1917 Balfour Declaration. The ethnic cleansing of the 1948 Nakba continues today in Israel’s discriminatory and oppressive laws and practices, its treatment of the people of Gaza, and Netanyahu’s proposed annexation of much of the Jordan Valley.
  3. The big lie in condemning critics of Israel and Zionism as anti-Jewish racists cannot be overcome by logical arguments against the deliberate mis-definition of anti-Semitism. That has been done exhaustively. The search for electability, the willingness to be bribed, the lure of high office, ensures that career politicians uphold the big lie and align themselves with US foreign policy.
  4. Labour Against the Witchhunt’s launch meeting on October 21 2017, set out three key demands on our party:
    * An end to automatic suspensions and expulsions – no disciplinary action without a hearing;
    * Rejection of the false IHRA ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism; and
    * Abolition of the compliance unit – disciplinary action must be taken by elected bodies, not paid officials.
  1. LAW has a proud record of campaigning, which must continue. Since our first conference on February 2 2019 we held a series of lobbies of Labour Party NEC meetings and organised a successful intervention at the 2019 Labour conference in Brighton. In the following months, our efforts were more limited. As well as campaigning for Labour in the December general election, much of our energy was put into initiating and building the Labour Left Alliance, and organising its February 22 launch conference. In March campaigning was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, which prevented physical meetings and lobbies. Despite this the steering committee has decided our second conference must go ahead using an online platform.
  2. Although its prime target was the removal of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, the belief that the anti-socialist witch-hunt would end with his removal was an illusion. This was confirmed by the craven endorsement of the Board of Deputies’ ‘Ten Commandments’ by all of the candidates for the leadership position, and by the surge of new suspensions and the first wave of ‘fast-track’ expulsions by Labour’s national executive committee – without a hearing – since Keir Starmer took office on April 4.
  3. Starmer’s dishonest promise to “remove the stain of anti-Semitism” from the party can only be fulfilled by mass expulsions of the left, or by its taming, its self-silencing, its moving to the right. Starmer’s declaration of war on the left shows the futility of Corbyn’s failed strategy of appeasement of the right. We must resist the temptation for the left to go quiet on the witch-hunt.
  4. The witch-hunt will not go away until it is openly confronted and defeated politically, and that means calling out those on the left who have been complicit. Corbyn and McDonnell are both guilty of misleading the left into the strategy of appeasement, failing to challenge the right’s false ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ narrative. A year before LAW was launched, Momentum joined the witch-hunt explicitly by removing Jackie Walker as vice-chair in response to Zionist slurs. Recently, the party’s own leaked report on the handling of anti-Semitism complaints confirms the enthusiasm of Corbyn’s team to ramp-up the witch-hunt. The false complaints made against the Wavertree Four, suspended on May 29, were made by local Momentum activists.
  5. A witch-hunt functions to silence dissent, to make us afraid to speak out. It generates self-censorship, self-policing – and the policing of others. It is the enemy of free speech and closes down democratic debate.
  6. Solidarity is the key principle of working class struggle: an injury to one is an injury to all. Silence is complicity.LAW must continue to assist victims to fight suspensions and expulsions. We must organise and publicise campaigns to highlight the false accusations and unfair processes.
  7. LAW accepts as members those wrongly suspended and expelled by the Labour Party. We also understand and accept as members those who decide to leave the party rather than suffer the indignity of a degrading disciplinary process. But we urge comrades to stay in and fight, if they can. The anti-socialist witch-hunt must be defeated.

David Rosenberg on his friend Hazuan Hashim, one of the Wavertree 4

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Hazuan Hashim is one of four officers of Liverpool Wavertree Constituency suspended from the Labour Party very recently. He was the BAME officer for the constituency. Other officers suspended include the Chair, Secretary and Women’s Officer. I don’t know them personally but I do know Haz.

Back in 2011 I was part of the committee that organised the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street , celebrating the day that communities of the East End came together in huge numbers to repulse an invasion by a menacing antisemitic, fascist movement that would have terrorised the mainly Jewish streets of the East End. In 2011 there was a march and an indoor festival and several events in the days that followed, one of which was the premiere of a brilliant film called “From Cable Street to Brick Lane” pulling together the struggles against antisemitism and fascism of the 1930s East End with the struggles in the 1970s and 1990s of the Bangladeshi community against the violent threat from the National Front and later the BNP.

The film-makers were Hazuan Hashim and Phil Maxwell, two individuals I have known over many years, whose documentation of the fight against racism and bigotry of all kinds has been central to their life’s work. Part of the film includes very moving reflections by multi-ethnic school students about their experience of racism in the present and how they relate to difference and nationalism. I pop up a few times on screen – they filmed my Anti-Fascist Footprints walk – to tell some of the narrative. I helped them much more behind the scenes. The film features Jewish witnesses and participants in the struggles of the 1930s. It is made with real love as well as rock solid anti racism politics.

It was also made under great stress as Phil was battling a life-threatening illness, with Hazuan not only his collaborator, but also partner and carer – two complete mentshen (human beings).

I was very sad that some years back they moved out of the East End to settle in Liverpool. Our loss but Liverpool’s gain – and they picked up where they left off continuing to make films that aid the fight for a better world – and also continuing as Labour Party members to fight for social justice. Their new constituency was Liverpool Wavertree, served by Luciana Berger, a right wing Labour MP who was parachuted in and who struggled to hold wider support among local members. She has now left the the Labour Party having played a leading role in the factional war against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Having left, she joined Change UK and then the LibDems and stood unsuccessfully in Barnet where she was parachuted in again to replace the Lib Dem candidate who had already been chosen to contest that seat. In the run up to the General Election her rhetoric against Labour as a Lib Dem was little different from what she had been saying for years as a Labour member and MP.

There is no doubt that she also suffered hostility from an entirely different source in Liverpool for different reasons. She was targeted by far right activists for being Jewish, something that was condemned by all anti-racists and local LP members, who offered and gave their solidarity, but she allowed, and very much encouraged a mythology to develop that blurred these disgusting attacks from the far right with criticism from the left of the Labour Party that was made on entirely legitimate, democratic, political grounds. She dishonestly portrayed herself as a victim of anti-Semitism and thuggishness from local LP members.

When she stood down she was replaced by Paula Barker – a socialist MP with a strong trade union background. Phil and Haz worked with Paula and made films to support her campaign at the General Election.

Recently though they were among many local members dismayed by some particular comments within an article that Paula Barker wrote for the local Jewish newspaper which was ostensibly trying, quite rightly, to mend fences between the Labour Party and the Jewish community that had been strained and got mixed in nationally with a war by the Tories and the establishment in general against Corbyn and the Labour left. In that article she wrote about Luciana Berger: “Luciana leaving the Labour Party was a shock to many and I find it deeply regrettable that she felt she could no longer stay” – a comment which seems to give credence to the very unfair factional spin that Luciana Berger put on events in Liverpool.

Four Liverpool Wavertree CLP officers (Chair, Secretary, Women’s Officer and BAME officer – Hazuan) wrote a carefully worded letter in an internal CLP members forum expressing their praise for many actions that Paula Barker had done since becoming MP, but also registering their surprise that Barker “given the opportunity this article afforded … 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.”

That letter was made public not by those who wrote it. The four officers who signed it have now been suspended by the Labour Party.

A report on the matter by the Jewish Chronicle claims that the four “had criticised their own MP as she tried to reach out to the local Jewish community,” and quotes a Labour party spokesperson on the matter saying that the Party treats “all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously.”

Anti-Semitism! If my caring, socialist, anti-racist, anti-fascist film-maker friend Hazuan Hashim is an antisemite, I’m Dominic Cummings.

By David Rosenberg.

Reinstate the Liverpool Wavertree 4!

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Defend free speech in the Labour movement!
The Labour left will not be silenced on party democracy and Israel/Palestine!

Sign here: https://www.change.org/p/labour-party-reinstate-the-wavertree-4

We believe that the May 29 suspensions of four Constituency Labour Party officers from Liverpool Wavertree CLP (including the chair and secretary) under antisemitism charges are deeply unjust.

The four comrades – Nina Houghton, Kevin Bean, Helen Dickson and Hazuan Hashim – dared to raise political criticisms of their local MP Paula Barker, who had written an article in the Jewish Telegraph, without any prior consultation with the executive officers. She wrote, among other things: “Luciana [Berger] leaving the Labour Party was a shock to many and I find it deeply regrettable that she felt she could no longer stay.” This article was posted on Wavertree CLP’s Facebook page.

Luciana Berger MP, parachuted into the safe Labour seat for the 2010 general election, was one of the most vocal opponents of Jeremy Corbyn, who used her position as MP to publicly undermine and sabotage him at every opportunity. She helped to spread the lie that the Labour Party is overrun by antisemites and thereby fostered the current atmosphere, in which pro-Palestinian campaigners are regularly tarnished and vilified as antisemites – and she particularly singled out the Labour members in her own constituency. In the end she jumped ship and joined the Liberal Democrats, which really could not come as a “shock” to anybody who had followed her political trajectory. Tom Watson declared that she had been “forced out by racist thugs” in her CLP.

Paula, elected with the help of the left, including the Wavertree 4, seemed to support that narrative in her article. The four comrades felt so concerned that they wrote a private letter to Paula, but we understand she simply brushed their concerns aside. Without any decision-making CLP meetings taking place where the comrades could have presented a motion, the four decided to publish their views in the weekly internal CLP bulletin of May 26, which has been functioning as a medium of debate and has been featuring all sorts of local and national events during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The four comrades wrote that, “Paula’s words will most certainly be taken to imply that we, as a CLP, were responsible [for Berger’s departure]. 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. In the furore that followed, individual officers and members, such as our then chair, were subjected 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.”

Clearly, nothing in their letter is even vaguely antisemitic. The four committed the crime of questioning if the local CLP (and the party as a whole) is really overrun by antisemites – that is enough to get you charged with being an anti-Semite yourself!

Of course, members don’t just have the right to criticize their MP – in a truly democratic party it is their duty to do so! These latest suspensions are clearly a serious attack on the right to free speech in the party.

The witch-hunt in Labour started as a campaign to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. The leaked report has proven beyond all doubt what the right in the Labour Party is capable of – they would rather destroy the party than allow it to be taken over by the left. But sadly, the Corbyn leadership, with the help of Momentum, sought to appease these forces rather than fight them, which allowed the witch-hunt to grow and become even more vicious. No wonder that under Keir Starmer it has been expanded once more – now in an attempt to eradicate the entire Labour left. We know of dozens of suspensions in the last couple of weeks alone, some of them based on a single tweet.

But we will not be silenced! We will continue to oppose attempts to undermine party democracy, censor debate and to equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism. And we will continue to demand a disciplinary process that is fair, transparent and just – these latest attacks show how overdue that is. This fight back has only just begun- and will continue until the witch-hunt is defeated!

Please email info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org if you want to add your organisation’s name to this petition

Labour Against the Witchhunt www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org
Labour Left Alliance  https://labourleft.org

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.

Articles/Statements

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.

 

26-4-2020

 

KEVIN HIGGINS

 

 

 

 

 

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