Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP

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So far, at least 27 CLPs, 8 Momentum branches and dozens of trade union bodies and left Labour organisations have come out in solidarity with Chris Williamson MP (we know of couple of other CLPs where it was decided not to publish the successful resolution). Each CLP has an average of 800 members, so you can calculate for yourself how that compares with the very few MPs who have demanded Chris’ scalp.

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

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Table of Contents

 


Lowkey, musician

The Labour party has been targeted by a sophisticated campaign which seeks to misrepresent anti-racists as racists. The vast majority of those pushing this narrative of a crisis are not acting in good faith, how could they be when this so-called crisis is based on accusations levelled against only 0.1% of the membership? This campaign is seeking in an attritional way to manufacture consent for a coup against the leadership of the party. This policy of appeasement when under attack is frankly suicidal and will definitely fail in damming the flood. Chris Williamson has been done a great injustice with this suspension and be sure the real target here is Jeremy Corbyn and the dreams of millions he has come to represent.


Mike Leigh, director

To accuse a committed fighter for justice such as Chris Williamson of being a racist or an antisemite is as outrageous as it is profoundly insulting.

It is time for the witchhunters and finger-pointers on the right of the Labour Party to stop, think and reflect. This self-destructive nonsense must stop. It will serve only to fuel the toxic zeal of the real fascist hard right, which is dangerously on the rise.


Ken Livingstone

Chris is subject to this abuse because he has always put the interest of the people first. To smear him and lie about him is because the establishment fear Britain is on the verge of a socialist government under Jeremy Corbyn.


Francesca Martinez, comedian, writer & campaigner

It must be possible to stand against all forms of antisemitism AND also challenge the misleading narrative that Labour is ‘institutionally antisemitic’. The latest stats show that only 0.08% of members have been involved in substantiated allegations since April 18, and data from YouGov shows that antisemitic attitudes within Labour have significantly reduced under Corybyn’s leadership. Most of the media have failed to report these facts.
I truly hope that all forms of racism drop to 0% within Labour. I also think it’s vital to be as accurate as possible about the nature and scale of the problem.
MPs such as life-long anti-racist campaigner, Chris Williamson, should be able to question media distortions, and call for others to do the same, without being suspended. Ironically, it’s politicians like Chris – who fight tirelessly against the inhumane politics that so often breed division, fear and prejudice – who have shown, through years of campaigning, their deep commitment to creating a world free from bigotry, hate and oppression.

John Pilger, journalist

Chris Williamson is a rare, principled and brave MP who has devoted his political life to standing up for the voiceless and justice. A Labour Party claiming to represent the mass of ordinary Britons ought to be proud to say that ‘Chris Williamson is one of us’. His suspension on a bogus charge, based on an equally bogus
issue, is outrageous, as is the cowardice of those who have failed to defend him.


Alexei Sayle, comedian

Chris Williamson is a brave and decent man dedicated to fighting injustice in all its forms. Those attacking him are going to give, self-obsessed, lying, right-wing egotists a bad name.


Professor Moshé Machover, Israeli socialist author and expert on Middle Eastern politics


The way Chris Williamson has been treated by the Labour Party leadership is, paradoxically, a vindication of his criticism. The leadership should stop capitulating to unfounded attacks. Chris should be reinstated forthwith!


Ken Loach, director

Chris Williamson is a principled anti-racist and a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Read in context, it is clear that his remarks are not antisemitic but reflect a widespread view in the party.  I support Chris’ immediate reinstatement.

We cannot tolerate a culture of fear in which members cannot speak their minds.  Those MPs determined to make anti-Semitism the predominant Labour issue are given the freedom of the airwaves and the press to give their views, unchallenged by serious questions.  On Radio 4’s Today programme, right wing MPs denouncing the Labour Party for rampant antisemitism are given such regular slots these now rival Thought for the Day.

When those under attack attempt to defend themselves they are told to keep quiet. Even an explanatory film is ordered not to be screened.  If it looks like a witch hunt and behaves like a witch hunt – it may well be just that. This is intolerable and must end now.

The personality cult that is Tom Watson has finally been slapped down by the Party General Secretary, and not before time.   The fight against all racism has always been carried by the Left.

We must be absolutely committed to maintaining that tradition. All who are found guilty of antisemitism have no place in the Labour Party.

But we must be meticulous in ensuring due process.  All credible allegations of racism, including antisemitism, must be heard in open hearings, with evidence properly interrogated and with the judgements  open to scrutiny and appeal. Justice must be seen to be done.

There must be equality before the law, noticeably absent in cases where the party is brought into disrepute.  For example, Margaret Hodge’s foul mouthed abuse of Jeremy Corbyn was a disgusting display that should have led to immediate suspension.

Vexatious, trivial, or malicious allegations should also bring sanctions. And we should demand that all MPs, including the leadership, should defend the integrity of the members, say clearly that the party is not institutionally antisemitic nor full of racist bullies, and that those who make such wild allegations without evidence will be called to account. We have to change the narrative.

We cannot allow the great transformative project of Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to be derailed. We must keep our eyes on the prize – a government that understands and represents the interests of the people.


Professor Norman Finkelstein

Chris Williamson is the latest victim of Labour’s Great Purge. However, unlike Stalin’s purge trials, Williamson has not issued a public confession and begged forgiveness. He has stood fast, his dignity intact, in the face of a hysteria concocted by Israel’s Fifth Column, on the one hand, and the beneficiaries of a status quo that impoverishes the many, on the other.

It is painfully obvious that the target of these purges is not anti-Semitism, but the threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn’s ascension. The revolting spectacle of Labour suspending and expelling one member after another, of Labour thought-police trawling the Web in search of deviations from the Party Line —  all this was inevitable once Labour capitulated to a gang of hooligans (who overwhelmingly didn’t even vote Labour) and adopted a definition of anti-Semitism that was in equal parts gibberish and a club to quash legitimate criticism of Israel. Williamson’s suspension should be a wake-up call: if his suspension is not reversed, free speech is dead in the Labour Party.


George Galloway


Leon Rosselson, singer and songwriter

Nothing Chris Williamson said is remotely antisemitic. But, of course, this isn’t about real antisemitism. It’s about using wild accusations of antisemitism to undermine Corbyn (who, unlike his accusers, has a track record of supporting justice for Palestinians) and those who support the Corbyn project. It is ironical that, in the main, those who make these false accusations are ideologically aligned with the racist state of Israel. If they win this one, we can say goodbye to the hope of a principled, socialist government in this country.


Asa Winstanley, The Electronic Intifada

Chris Williamson is the only MP who has had the bravery to publicly tell the truth about the fabricated ‘Labour antisemitism crisis’ witch hunt — even though there are others who know it but are too cowardly to speak out.

His suspension by Labour is a complete and utter betrayal, and shame to the entire Labour movement.

While right-wing, racist, lying MPs like Margaret Hodge and Ruth Smeeth have carte blanche to slander the leadership and the entire movement with impunity, our comrade Chris is punished for telling the truth and for standing up for us, the members. He must be immediately reinstated and apologised to. If we can’t even have solidarity with each other, we have nothing.


Kevin Higgins, poet

Chris Williamson has the sort of backbone that will be needed if a Corbyn Labour government is to face down the forces that will try to prevent it from carrying out its manifesto. It is a matter of life or death for the Corbyn project that Chris be reinstated. Because if they’re allowed to get Chris, they will come for many more.


Ian Hodson, National President, Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union

I was sorry to hear about the suspension of Chris Williamson MP someone who has attempted to stand up for grassroots Labour Party members. A rarity it appears with so many MPs in today’s Labour Party who choose to condemn all members without first carrying out an investigation.

It’s shameful that those that wanted to get Chris suspended also seemed to throw the local activists, members and supporters to the media wolf pack without consideration of the impact that would have on the lives of those who donate and campaign for a Labour government. It’s further disappointing to see Labour MPs coming out publicly to condemn their colleague who hasn’t had a hearing yet if the same process happened before a court hearing there would be an outcry quite rightly about the ability to get a fair hearing. Many Labour MPs have a legal background and they should know better and behave in a manner more fitting with a position of trust and power that being elected as an MP brings.

Everyone who knows or is aware of Chris Williamson MP knows he is not racist and has been a campaigner against all forms of discrimination in whatever form it takes. On the 16th March thousands will take to the streets to oppose racism here in the UK and around the world. I look forward to seeing all those that oppose racism on the demonstrations standing up for equality justice and ending all forms of racism that is being encouraged by the Tory policy of creating a Hostile Environment and a media campaign that targets minority’s to create hate and fear to keep us all divided.


Tosh McDonald, Labour councillor and former president of Aslef

Chris is a committed long time anti racist. As a comrade of Chris I can confirm that there is not one racist bone in his body. Anyone who listens to Chris’s speech in Sheffield must see that Chris was not being anti-Semitic, quite the contrary: he was defending our work combating it. I have been proud to share a platform with Chris on a number of occasions and will continue to do so. Solidarity with Chris Williamson a true socialist and anti-racist.


Steve Ashley, singer-songwriter

I’m proud to stand in solidarity with Chris Williamson. He has sought  to protect the good name of the Labour Party and defend the integrity of  members demonised by the slander that Labour is institutionally anti-semitic. He’s a decent man, a life-long anti-racist and a  forthright campaigner for greater democracy in Labour. We can’t afford  to lose his voice – even for a day. He must be reinstated as soon as possible.


Blythe Valley CLP

This GC notes with disappointment the suspension of Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party.

Williamson has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism. This is an excuse for Tom Watson and the anti-Corbyn wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to demand his removal from the Party.

These elements are opposed to Williamson because he has been outspoken about the need for mandatory reselection of all Labour MPs by local party members, which is a basic democratic right.

We note with concern that the establishment media and the elements of the PLP continue to assert that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic. Unfortunately, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have not officially rejected this baseless assertion.

The accusation of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the Party which show a 0.08% incidence of anti-Semitic behaviour by Party members over the last ten months.

We believe that all examples of anti-Semitism should be dealt with by the National Complaints Committee along with false calls of anti-Semitism made for political reasons.

We note that Chris Williamson was simply questioning whether the characterisation of the Labour Party as a racist organisation is fair, and that he even offered an apology and clarification in case his comments had been misunderstood.

We therefore call upon the NEC to immediately reinstate Chris Williamson’s membership of the Labour Party


Brent Central CLP

This CLP is opposed to racism in all its’ forms,including Islamophobia and anti-semitism.

We recognise that whilst Islamophobia is widespread in the Tory Party ,this receives little attention in the media. By contrast anti-semitism ,which exists across society,is heavily publicised only in relation to the Labour Party.

We believe that the tiny element of anti-semitism present in the Labour Party is being dealt with by the Party according to its rules and procedures. We note with regret therefore that a number of Labour MPs continue to suggest that the Labour Party is rife with antisemitism and has failed to deal with this issue.

We regard such claims as part of an attempt to use exaggerated claims of the breadth of antisemitism in the Party as a means to attack the twice elected leader,Jeremy Corbyn,and that the recent defections of eight former Labour MPs reflects this.

  • We call on each of these ‘Independent ‘ MPs to resign and fight by -elections to avoid disenfranchising voters who voted for a Labour MP.
  • In particular we express our support for Chris Williamson MP who has been targeted by those who wish to undermine the Leader and Labour Party

Bristol East CLP

Click here for the PDF version

This Constituency notes with extreme concern the decision to suspend Chris Williamson from the party, and remove the whip.

We note also the statement in support of Chris from JVL, an organisation to which this constituency is affiliated, in which they, as Jewish members, make clear their belief that Chris has a long history of combatting anti-racism and anti-semitism and should not be regarded as an anti-Semite. We share their support for him.

This Constituency accepts that there is a level of genuine anti-semitism within the Labour Party, which must be rooted out, and the offenders dealt with appropriately. However, the figures recently released by Jennie Formby on the number of anti-semitism complaints received and the number proved to be well founded appear to support Chris Williamson’s position. They indicate that there are indeed people with anti-semitic views in the Labour Party, but they are statistically few and do not represent an all-encompassing problem.

Accordingly, this Constituency wishes to express its pride in the way that Jeremy Corbyn, Jennie Formby and other members of the NEC have acted in setup a process able to deal fairly with anti-Semitism complaints, and to resolve them within a reasonable time scale. We offer our whole hearted support for their efforts.

This constituency now calls on all members of the PLP to give recognition and praise to Jennie and members of the NEC for their work, acknowledge the level of Labour Party anti-Semitism discovered in objective reports and refrain from anecdotal hyperbole in their public pronouncements.


Charnwood CLP

awaiting text


Cotswold CLP

Dear Chris,

The General Committee of the Cotswolds CLP has asked me to send you its best wishes regarding your current situation.

With best wishes,
Cotswold CLP

The Cotswolds GC Calls on Jennie Formby to review guidance on current disciplinary cases. Sent to Jennie Formby for consideration by her and the NEC.

This General Committee of The Cotswolds Labour Party notes that Jennie Formby has ruled “that individual disciplinary cases that are being/have been dealt with through the NEC Disputes Processes are confidential. Motions on individual cases are therefore not competent business for discussion at CLPs and will not be discussed by the NEC or any associated bodies”. Yet the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and a number of other members of the PLP have commented extensively in the media on disciplinary cases currently before the NEC.

This GC believes that this is a clear breach of the confidentiality Jennie Formby refers to in her guidance. This GC also believes that it is unfair for members of the PLP to be allowed to breach Party rules while CLPs and individual members are held strictly to account.

This GC therefore calls on Jennie Formby to review her guidance, particularly with regard to current disciplinary cases, and to say publicly whether members of the PLP are to be held to the same standards as CLPs and ordinary members.

The Cotswolds GC also reinforces condemnation by The Labour Party of media interference in internal affairs. It calls upon the NEC to conduct existing and future cases in a timely manner, according to robust processes, in order to avoid unnecessarily lengthy suspensions.


Dwyfor Meirionnydd CLP

Dwyfor Meirionnydd CLP has grave concerns over the recent suspension of Chris Williams and expect to see a swift and fair process. We authorise our Secretary to write a letter of support to Chris Williamson and to raise this Motion with the Party.


Forest of Dean CLP

Forest of Dean Constituency Labour Party notes the suspension of the whip of Chris Williamson MP with great concern over allegations of ‘anti-Semitism after a recording of Chris speaking at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield was released recently. The allegations in question are unfounded, out of context, and a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and the Labour Party as a political party.

Chris actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our Party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of antisemitism than any other party.”

These comments are neither antisemitic, nor denying the existence of antisemitism in the Labour Party. he is simply expressing a sentiment that many of us have that we should not be overly apologetic for something we have not done, and in this case we have actively, as a party, worked tirelessly to ensure that antisemitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry are purged from our party, our movement and our society as a whole.


Gloucester Labour CLP

This CLP notes with increasing alarm any acceptance of the assertion that the Labour Party is ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’, by media and certain individuals within the PLP and CLPS. These accusation are asserted as ‘facts’, despite data released by the party which shows a 0.08% incidence of antisemitic behaviour by party members over the last 10 months.

These assertions have distressingly become an almost daily feature of the political debate over the last couple of weeks. It is intended to distract the nation’s attention from the disastrous consequences of the current Tory government’s continued cruel austerity and its atrocious, undemocratic handling of the Brexit issue as we fast approach the March 29 deadline.

It is scandalous that we allow ourselves and our party members to be branded collectively racist. Meanwhile, those prominent figures, who are responsible for the unlawful invasion of Iraq and the death and destruction of that nation, its people and various allied troops. Those same individuals are among those who repeatedly attack the democratically elected leadership of the Labour party – while permitted to retain their Labour members. We completely reject all such behaviour and assertions.

Furthermore, we call upon the NEC to release a statement firmly rejecting the accusation that Labour is in any way ‘institutionally racist’, making it clear Labour and its current leader have a proud record of fighting all manner of racism and will continue to do so. We must also be clear that to defeat racism, we have to struggle against all the conditions that cause it. It is the capitalist system, and its relentless imposed crises of unemployment; insecurity; unaffordable and zero available social housing that foster racism and even facist attitudes. Apologists in tandem with a hostile Conservative party and inflammatory attitudes of media towards Labour, merely fuel an elevated ‘racism’.

We hereby call on the NEC to immediately trigger ballot procedures in all Labour held constituencies, in order to allow the party membership to decide who should represent them in parliament. It is unacceptable that our representatives slander the party and its members after they are elected into office, to actually serve the Labour party.


Hackney North and Stoke Newington CLP

Motion passed by 45 votes against 35

This CLP notes with increasing alarm the acceptance of the ‘fact’ that the Labour Party is ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’, by not only the media, but the right wing in the CLP. The accusation of ‘institutional antisemitism’ in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the party which shows a 0.08 per cent incidence of antisemitic behaviour by party members over the last 10 months.

This has become a daily feature of the political debate over the last couple of weeks. It is distracting people’s attention away from the calamitous consequences of the Tory government’s continuing austerity and its disastrous handling of the Brexit issue as it nears the March 29 deadline.

It is a scandal that we are allowing ourselves to be branded as a racist party. Meanwhile, figures like Tony Blair – who bear responsibility for the death and destruction of the Iraq war and who repeatedly, openly attack the democratically elected leadership of the party – are allowed to remain as Labour members. We completely reject such double standards.

Furthermore, we call upon the NEC to release a statement firmly rejecting the accusation that Labour is in any way ‘institutionally racist’, making it clear Labour and its current leader have a proud record of fighting racism and will continue to do so.

We must also be clear that to defeat racism, we have to fight the conditions that cause it. It is the capitalist system, and its relentless crises, unemployment, insecurity and unaffordable housing that foster racism. It is the apologists for it in the media and the Conservative party who promote racism.

We also call on the NEC to immediately trigger ballot procedures in all constituencies, in order to allow the party membership to decide who should represent them in parliament.

It is unacceptable to allow our representatives to slander the party and its members whilst we put them into office.


Harborough CLP

This Constituency Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.

  • Chris has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism.
  • We note with concern that the establishment media and the right wing of the PLP continue to assert that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic.
  • The accusation of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the Party which show a 0.08% incidence of anti-Semitic behaviour by Party members over the last ten months.
  • The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
  • Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
  • His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.
  • Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore agrees to: 


Hastings and Rye CLP

Click here for the PDF version of the motion, which was passed with 37 votes in favour and 1 against.

This CLP offers our full support for Chris Williamson MP and calls for his immediate, unconditional reinstatement to the party.

We note that:

  • Labour instigated the Royall and Chakrabarti enquiries, and
  • Appointed a new legal officer and extra staff dealing with complaints
  • On February 10 Jennie Formby released detailed findings as of then. Offenders against the tough new regime were a tiny fraction of Labour’s membership. After removing hundreds of non-members and dropping 220 complaints found to be “vexatious” and “exaggerated” that left 96 (0.01% of 1% of members) who were suspended; and just 12 were expelled (one 500ths of 1% of the membership).

Instead of welcoming these figures, some who “love the party” but protested against its alleged “institutional anti-Semitism” walked out, and their co-thinkers who stayed have launched outrageous slanders but have faced no charges for bringing the party into disrepute.

Chris Williamson rightly said that Labour had “done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any political party” and had nothing to apologise about. For that, he is suspended and will forthwith be marked out for slander.

This “crying wolf” could cause valid warnings of anti-Semitism to go unheard and does no service to Jews. Such cheap exploitation as a political football is also deeply shameful.

We believe that this orchestrated campaign now rising to a crescendo with staged resignations alongside Brexit and a general election, suggests that accusations of anti-Semitism are being criminally misused in an unscrupulous bid to destroy the Corbyn-led Labour Party

 


Hemsworth CLP

This CLP calls for the immediate reinstatement of Chris Williamson MP.


Henley CLP

Calling on Jennie Formby to review guidance on current disciplinary cases

This CLP notes that Jennie Formby has ruled “that individual disciplinary cases that are being/have been dealt with through the NEC Disputes Processes are confidential. Motions on individual cases are therefore not competent business for discussion at CLPs and will not be discussed by the NEC or any associated bodies”. Yet the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and a number of other members of the PLP have commented extensively in the media on disciplinary cases currently before the NEC.

This CLP believes that this is a clear breach of the confidentiality Jennie Formby refers to in her guidance. This CLP also believes that it is unfair for members of the PLP to be allowed to breach Party rules while CLPs and individual members are held strictly to account.

This CLP therefore calls on Jennie Formby to review her guidance, particularly with regard to current disciplinary cases, and to say publicly whether members of the PLP are to be held to the same standards as CLPs and ordinary members.

In addition, this CLP calls on Jennie Formby to rule that those individuals who have been suspended, and who have been subjected to extensive comments in the media by leading party members, can no longer receive a fair hearing and that their suspensions should be lifted.


Heywood and Middleton CLP

Don’t expel Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party

This Meeting:
1. Notes the personal statement from Chris Williamson (February 27, published in full below).
2. Is opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism and racism.
3. Does not believe Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the Labour Party.

This CLP therefore moves to:

 


Kensington CLP

The AMM notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North.

  • The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
  • Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The Party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted Party. I have got to say, I think our Party’s response has been partly responsible for that because, in my opinion, ….. we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic … We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other Party.”
  • His comments are neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.
  • Chris is a target because he is one of very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the Party.

Lewisham West and Penge CLP

This motion demands the immediate reinstatement of Chris Williamson MP to the party.

The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.


 

Maldon CLP

Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.” Corbyn was right. This campaign to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism will only get worse, the closer we get to a general election. Trying to appease the right clearly does not work. If you fight, you might loose – but if you don’t fight, you have already lost.

Emergency motion: This Constituency Labour Party notes the suspension of the whip of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North with great concern over allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ after a recording of Chris Williamson MP speaking at a Momentum meeting was released recently.

The allegations in question are unfounded, out of context and a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and the Labour Party as a political party. Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.


North West Cambridge CLP

NW Cambs CLP notes that:

a.. Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the
Labour Party pending an investigation into a “pattern of behaviour”, following
comments he made to the effect that Labour’s response to accusations of entrenched
antisemitism had been unnecessarily defensive.
b.. A number of Labour MPs labelled Williamson’s comments as antisemitic, and
wrote to General Secretary Jennie Formby demanding that he be suspended.
c.. Deputy Leader Tom Watson has unilaterally launched a parallel complaints
investigations system, in order to “log and monitor” antisemitic abuse.
d.. Labour Party General Secretary, Jennie Formby, has rebuked Tom Watson for his
“absolutely inappropriate” actions.
e.. Jeremy Corbyn describes Chris Williamson as “a very good, very effective
Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-semitic in
any way.”

NW Cambs CLP believes that:

a.. The Labour Party is making a concerted effort to investigate cases of
antisemitism that are reported to it and take appropriate action.
NW Cambs CLP calls on the Labour National Executive Committee to:

a.. Condemn the Labour MPs attempting to prejudice investigations through the
Labour Party’s proper processes and procedures by publicly labelling individual
members of the Labour Party, such as Chris Willliamson, as antisemitic and
publicly applying pressure for those individuals to be suspended.
b.. Investigate Tom Watson’s contravention of party rules in setting up a parallel
system to monitor the Party’s complaints process.
c.. To undertake a rapid and fair investigation of Chris Williamson’s case


 

North West Leicestershire CLP

North West Leicestershire CLP is concerned by the suspension of Chris Williamson and by much of the public discussion of his case. We accept that the party needed to investigate the issues that gave rise to the complaint against him but we believe that the suspension and withdrawal of the whip could have been avoided.

Chris Williamson has a long record of actively opposing racism and fascism in all their forms.

We note that the NEC decided some time ago to abandon the automatic use of administrative suspension pending the outcome of a disciplinary complaint, in all but the most serious cases (such as when the member in question poses some sort of ongoing threat to others). In the circumstances, we dispute the need to suspend Chris Williamson and call for his suspension to be ended and the whip restored.

North West Leicestershire CLP remains implacably opposed to anti-Semitism, along with all other forms of racism, such as Islamophobia, and bigotry and prejudice of any kind. We offer our unconditional solidarity to all those who encounter such hatred.

North West Leicestershire Constituency Labour Party therefore agrees to:

  • Write to Jennie Formby, the general secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion.
  • Write to Chris Williamson MP with a copy of this motion and the letter to Jennie Formby.

South Dorset CLP

The allegations in question concerning Chris Williamson are unfounded, out of context, and a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and the Labour Party.


South East Cornwall CLP

This CLP notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.

Jewish Voice for Labour have rightly pointed out that Williamson’s suspension is unjust and have called for it to be rescinded. The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded and his comments taken out of context.

He actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

Williamson based his statement on the official statistics published by the General Secretary, Jennie Formby, which confirm that we have worked tirelessly to purge anti-Semitism from our party.

This Constituency offers our whole hearted support for the way that Jeremy Corbyn, Jennie Formby and the NEC have acted in setting up a process to deal fairly with anti-Semitism complaints, and resolve them within a reasonable time scale. However, it is concerned that right-wing MPs in collaboration with the mainstream media are being allowed to interfere in this process and put pressure on The General Secretary and The NEC to suspend pro-Corbyn MPs such as Chris Williamson on dubious grounds prior to due process being followed.

This CLP resolves to:

* Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP

* Write to Jennie Formby and the NEC, with a copy of this motion, and demanding that Chris is reinstated immediately.


South Northants CLP

South Northants Constituency Labour Party notes:

1          The suspension of the whip of Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, with great concern over allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ after a recording of Chris Williamson MP speaking at a Momentum meeting was released recently.

2          The allegations in question are unfounded, out of context and a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and the Labour Party as a political party.

3          Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

4          These comments are neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. He is simply expressing a sentiment that many of us have that we should not be overly apologetic for something we have not done, and in this case we have actively, as a party, worked tirelessly to ensure that anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry are purged from our party, our movement, and our society as a whole.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore moves to:

1               Write to Jenny Formby, the General Secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and outlining our disappointment at this decision and expressing our wish that the disciplinary process is carried out in a transparent and fair manner. (jennie_formby@labour.org.uk)

2               Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk)

3               Invite Chris Williamson to a local rally/meeting in support of his reinstatement


Sheffield Hallam CLP

Carried on February 28 2019, by approximately 40 votes to 1 with 0 abstentions:

This Constituency Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.
• Chris has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism. This is an excuse for Tom Watson and the anti-Corbyn wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to demand his removal from the Party.
• We note with concern that the establishment media and the right wing of the PLP continue to assert that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic.
• The accusation of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the Party which show a 0.08% incidence of anti-Semitic behaviour by Party members over the last ten months.
• The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
• Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
• His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.
• Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore agrees to:

• Write to Jennie Formby, the general secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and demanding that Chris is reinstated immediately. (jennie_formby@labour.org.uk)
• Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk)


Uxbridge and South Ruislip CLP

“Uxbridge and South Ruislip CLP call for the immediate lifting of the suspension of Chris Williamson MP.”

 


Waveney Labour CLP

Waveney Labour CLP notes with disappointment the suspension of Chris Williamson and we call upon the NEC to immediately reinstate him.  Furthermore we call upon the NEC to re-address the question of trigger ballot procedures in all constituencies.


Ham branch, Richmond CLP

Don’t expel Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party

This Meeting:
1. Notes the personal statement from Chris Williamson (February 27).
2. Is opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism and racism.
3. Does not believe Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the Labour Party.


Labour International Madrid Branch

This branch notes that:

  • Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation into a “pattern of behaviour”, following comments he made to the effect that Labour’s response to accusations of entrenched antisemitism had been unnecessarily defensive.
  • A number of Labour MPs labelled Williamson’s comments as antisemitic, and wrote to General Secretary Jennie Formby demanding that he be suspended.
  • Deputy Leader Tom Watson has unilaterally launched a parallel complaints investigations system, in order to “log and monitor” antisemitic abuse.
  • Labour Party General Secretary, Jennie Formby, has rebuked Tom Watson for his “absolutely inappropriate” actions.
  • Jeremy Corbyn describes Chris Williamson as “a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-semitic in any way.”

This branch believes that:

  • The Labour Party is making a concerted effort to investigate cases of antisemitism that are reported to it and take appropriate action.

This branch calls on the Labour National Executive Committee to:

  • Condemn the Labour MPs attempting to prejudice investigations through the Labour Party’s proper processes and procedures by publicly labelling individual members of the Labour Party, such as Chris Willliamson, as antisemitic and publicly applying pressure for those individuals to be suspended.
  • Investigate Tom Watson’s contravention of party rules in setting up a parallel system to monitor the Party’s complaints process.

This branch gives full support to Chris Williamson and calls on other CLPs and labour movement bodies to do so as well.


Park & Arbourthorne branch, Sheffield Heeley CLP

Passed February 28 2019 nem com

This Constituency (branch) Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.

The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.

Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.

Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore moves to:

  • Write to Jennie Formby, the general secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and demanding that Chris is reinstated immediately. (jennie_formby@labour.org.uk)
  • Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk)

Sheerness Labour Party branch

This Branch notes:

 That antisemitism is not endemic in the Labour Party as some senior members continue to suggest to the discredit of the party, and that in fact the Labour Party is one of the few institutions where complaints are recorded and quantified. Among a membership of between 500,000 and 600,000 only 1,106 complaints have been lodged, with over 40% of these not even concerning members!

That the Party has not forbidden motions discussing disciplinary actions against members.  They have said that it is not competent business for CLPs and will not be taken into account by the NEC. However, if a large number of CLPs and Branches pass supportive motions it will help to create a momentum that will be difficult to ignore, and the decision to reinstate or expel Chris Williamson will ultimately be a political one.

This Branch resolves:

This Branch of the Labour Party, standing implacably against all forms of racism including antisemitism, notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson, veteran anti-racist and MP for Derby North.


Whitstable branch, Canterbury CLP

This branch notes that:

–  Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation following a speech to a meeting in Sheffield. Chris Williamson said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

–  These comments have been interpreted by the hostile media and members of the Parliamentary Labour Party hostile to the party leader, as being antisemitic.

This branch believes that:

–  Chris Williamson is a consistent and longstanding anti-racist, who abhors antisemitism along with all forms of racism.

–  Williamson’s comments were in no way antisemitic.

–  Williamson’s comments reflect a legitimate point of view: that accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised by the media and certain elements within the Labour Party in order to weaken the leadership.

–  Chris Williamson is a valued MP and party member.

This branch notes the procedures and resources that the Labour Party has put in place to deal with complaints of anti-Semitism that it has received, and the progress made by the general secretary and her team in dealing with these complaints.

In line with all the above, this branch/CLP instructs the CLP Executive Committee to write to the Labour Party General Secretary to request that the appropriate party committee/s lift Chris Williamson’s suspension at the earliest possible opportunity.


Open letter by Labour Party members in Haringey

We are deeply concerned about the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North over allegations of bringing the party into disrepute after a recording of him speaking at a Momentum meeting was released recently. We stand in solidarity with Chris, who we expect to be cleared as soon as possible by Labour’s investigation, in line with our Labour core values of fairness and natural justice.

The undersigned are all members of Haringey CLPs (Hornsey & Wood Green and Tottenham). Chris spoke at our manifesto conference in February, 2018 and we have heard him speak other times at the rallies and demonstrations he has attended and in television interviews. He is very clearly a committed anti-racist, working to support all oppressed groups, locally and internationally, demonstrating our Labour Party core values and principles. He is engaging, knowledgeable and extremely hard working, making time to speak at local political education meetings as well as national events about Labour policy and wider international issues with insight and clarity. As such, he is a credit and an asset to the Labour party.

Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.” We agree with this description of Chris and believe that the allegations in question are unfounded and out of context.

Chris Williamson actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

These comments are neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. He is simply expressing a sentiment that many of us have that we should not be apologetic for something we have not done; as a party, we have worked tirelessly to ensure that anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry are purged from our party, our movement, and our society as a whole. As members we commit to continuing to do so and to stand and fight alongside Jewish people, as we do with all other minorities, when they come under attack.

The context of Chris’s comments, as shared recently by yourself, are that:

• Approximately 1,100 complaints were lodged between April 2018 and January 2019, but 433 (nearly 40 per cent) were found to relate to non-Labour Party members, which brought it down to 673. (That still leaves a problem in wider society though.)

• Of those complaints there was no evidence of a case to answer in 220 cases. That still leaves more than 400 members (out of approximately 550,000 — so around 0.07 per cent) who had expressed views concerning Jews that were judged as requiring further investigation and disciplinary action. Some received suspensions, others formal/written warnings about their behaviour, while just 12 were expelled.

• There are 24 cases that have reached the highest panel that remain outstanding, so that expulsion figure may well rise but not dramatically.

• There were two other statistics that seem important from your exemplary response: one is that 44 members quit Labour while their hearing was pending. That suggests that Labour is not at all a hospitable or comfortable place for anti-semites. It is likely that some of them knew they would be found out and they jumped before being pushed out. The other statistic relates to Margaret Hodge — who has personally submitted 200 of the complaints, but these were not about 200 separate individuals.

In this context, Chris Williamson’s comments in Sheffield make sense, but this context and statistics have not been widely reported or have been mis-reported.

We look forward to the Labour Party investigation moving speedily and expect that the outcome will lift his suspension and clear Chris’s name in good time for Chris to put his considerable energies and positivity into campaigning for Labour wins in the local elections in May.

Signed:

Alex Tambourides – Hornsey and Wood Green
Amnon Cohen – Hornsey and Wood Green
Annette Baker – Hornsey and Wood Green
Avril Baker – Hornsey and Wood Green
Barbara Baughan – Hornsey and Wood Green
Barbara Pound – Hornsey and Wood Green
Bob Harris – Hornsey and Wood Green
Carlos Martinez – Tottenham
Chris Clarke – Hornsey and Wood Green
Emmet Haverty-Stacke – Hornsey and Wood Green
Felicity De Motta – Hornsey and Wood Green
Greg Bailey – Hornsey and Wood Green
Jackie Baker – Hornsey and Wood Green
Jill Pack – Hornsey and Wood Green
Joanna Bornat – Hornsey and Wood Green
Julie Littlejohn – Hornsey and Wood Green
Liam Craig-Best – Hornsey and Wood Green
Lucy Craig – Hornsey and Wood Green
Manuela Beste – Hornsey and Wood Green
Mark Head – Tottenham
Martin Dolphin – Hornsey and Wood Green
Mel Errington – Hornsey and Wood Green
Mike Dunford – Hornsey and Wood Green
Paul Lefley – Hornsey and Wood Green
Pauline Crossan – Hornsey and Wood Green
Piers Mostyn – Hornsey and Wood Green
Robin Beste – Hornsey and Wood Green
Stephanie Grant – Tottenham
Sue Horne – Hornsey and Wood Green
Sylvia Roberts – Hornsey and Wood Green
Therese O’Meara – Tottenham
Vaughan Melzer – Hornsey and Wood Green


Brighton and Hove Momentum

We would like to convey our solidarity to Chris Wiliamson MP.


Bromley Momentum

We at Bromley Momentum are all in agreement that Chris Williamson should not have been suspended from the Labour Party for the comments he made at the Sheffield Hallam Momentum meeting and should be reinstated forthwith.   We believe Chris was right to say that “the Party that has done more to stand up to racism is now been demonised as a racist bigoted party”

We believe Chris was right to say “ I think our parties response has been partly responsible for that”   We also believe Chris was right when he said “We’ve backed off far too much! we’ve given too much ground! We’ve been too apologetic!”   We believe as Chris said “ We’ve done more to actually address the surge of antisemitism than any other political party” we would just add not only antisemitism but all forms of discrimination.

Can the Tories say the same when Theresa May was accused of ‘burying her head in the sand’ over ‘institutional Islamophobia’ in the party by former Tory chairman Baroness Warsi?  We think Chris is totally right to say that “we are apologising too much for antisemitism in the Labour Party”

We believe the attacks on the Labour party about anti-semtisim are not about rooting out racism in the party which we all agree with, but a way for the right of the Labour Party, the Tories and the establishment to attack Jeremy Corbyn – not because they think he or the Labour Party is racist – but because they don’t agree with the socialist manifesto the leadership put forward in 2017 and want to get rid of Corbyn as leader along with anybody else who supports him, including new members who joined enthused by Corbyn and his ideas.   While one case of racism in the Labour Party is one case too many, it is a tiny amount of the membership who have been expelled or have left for anti-semitism 0.01% ( Barry Gardiner on Sky News’ Ridge programme 25.2.19).

We at Bromley Momentum are very angry that some members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and mainstream media (MSM) are misrepresenting our party as an Institutional racist party and crying wolf when the real wolf the far right is just around the corner!   At best it’s a distraction, at worst it’s a dereliction of duty, as right wing members of the PLP are attacking their own party, racism and the far right are on the rise in this country.  We might add we are disappointed that some leaders of Momentum do not speak for the members when they say antisemitism is a big problem in the Labour Party – our group utterly refute this. We think Barry Gardener got it right on the Sky News, Rudge program . https://skwawkbox.org/2019/02/25/video-gardiner-perfectly-quantifies-antisemitism-in-labour-and-partys-actions-to-deal-with-it/

Why can’t the Leadership of our party quote these figures and facts when they are asked by the MSM about antisemitism in the Labour Party  Bromley Momentum demand that the Labour Party lift the suspension on Chris who has been a fighter against racism all his life and was a former member of the Anti-Nazi League, he is an asset to the Party, the membership and the country, as he will fight to stamp out racism wherever he sees it! He will fight for a Socialist Labour government! And He will fight to implement the 2017 Labour party Manifesto! Which we all desperately need to see implemented after 10 years of austerity and cruel Tory rule.

Reinstate Chris Williamson to the Labour Party!


Bury Momentum

Jon Lansman, Chair, Momentum
Cc Laura Parker, Momentum National Coordinator
Bcc National Coordinating Group

19 March 2019

Jon,

As officers of Bury Momentum we are writing to express our dismay and anger at your recent comments on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme of 25 February when you said Labour had “a major problem with anti-Semitism” and that it was “now obvious we have a much larger number of people with hardcore anti-Semitic opinions…” Such sweeping and unsubstantiated remarks – making no mention of the findings so far on this by Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby nor to the Party’s robust disciplinary process – can only give succour to the Labour Party’s enemies.

Bury Momentum discussed the latest developments in the attacks on Corbyn and the Partyat its recent meeting on Monday 11 March, including the suspension of Chris Williamson MP. Our members asked us to write to you and Momentum nationally expressing our unanimous support for Chris, our disappointment at Momentum’s failure to speak up for him and our feelings of let-down at your damaging comments to the media.

Part of Bury Momentum’s catchment area includes the second largest Jewish community in the country and in our two Bury CLPs your remarks are being used by our opponents to smear Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Left and Bury Momentum. It frankly beggars belief that the leader of Momentum can do such a disservice to its members’ campaigning efforts against austerity and our support for the Labour Manifesto, especially at such a critical time.

We call on you and National Momentum to defend Labour’s proud record as a democratic, anti-racist Party, stand in solidarity with Chris Williamson and other socialists who are being attacked, and apologise to Momentum members for demoralising and demobilising them by making unproven public statements. We expect your support.


Camden Momentum

In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, the innocent Giles Corey is pressed to death by a large stone. As the stone is placed upon his chest, it is reported that Corey heroically calls for ‘more weight’ in order to make abundantly clear that he won’t admit any guilt in the face of spurious accusations that he had aided and abetted witchcraft.

Miller’s play is an allegory about McCarthyism. David Hearst, the Guardian’s former chief foreign leader writer, is surely right to say that the new McCarthyism is being mobilised to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. And now the witchhunt has claimed its latest victim in Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North.

This represents a clear and unprecedented escalation in the campaign of vilification and smears against Labour’s leadership and left-wing members. In truly Orwellian fashion, this latest ratcheting up of the smear campaign was set on foot because someone in Williamson’s office had booked a room for a parliamentary screening of Jon Pullman’s documentary film WitchHunt (endorsed by Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Peter Kosminsky and Prof. Avi Shlaim). None of those MPs and others who complained against the screening can yet have seen the film, and yet they are willing to censor it.

The confected complaint made against Williamson concerns a speech he made at a meeting of Sheffield Momentum. Nothing about that speech deserves the suspension of the Labour whip, let alone suspension from the party. Jewish Voice for Labour have rightly pointed out that Williamson’s suspension is unjust and have called for it to be rescinded. Camden Momentum adds its voice to that call.

We also call upon Momentum’s NCG to release a statement arguing for Williamson’s immediate reinstatement, and we invite other Momentum groups to do likewise by contacting us here: camdenmomentum@gmail.com.

If it is not yet clear to Momentum’s leadership (and associated ‘left’ commentators) that the attacks on Chris Williamson are part of a long-running and coordinated attempt to undermine Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, then we fear it never will be. We simply say: more weight.


 

Ilford Momentum

The Ilford Branch of Momentum notes the Labour Party’s response to the allegations of antisemitism and its willingness to stamp out manifestations of this scourge. This is in contradiction to the responses of other parties, particularly the Tory Party, which has made common cause with anti-Semitic politicians in Eastern Europe and which makes no effort to investigate antisemitism or Islamophobia in their own party.

We note that however far the party goes in trying to placate those who stoke the furore over alleged antisemitism in the Party, more is still demanded. It is hard to see what will satisfy the accusers who choose to disregard the antisemitism in other parties, while attacking Labour at every opportunity. We stand implacably against all forms of racism including antisemitism and stand with Chris Williamson MP, a veteran anti racist. We deplore his suspension and believe that nothing he has said should be construed as racist or antisemitic. We therefore urge the party not to cave in to bullies and to rescind his suspension.

I hope senior members of central Momentum take our motion into consideration.

PLEASE share and promote amongst momentum activists.


Milton Keynes Momentum

Milton Keynes Momentum notes:

1          The suspension of the whip of Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, over allegations of “anti-Semitism” after speaking at a recent Momentum branch meeting.

2          That Williamson actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

3          That Williamson’s suspension comes despite an unblemished record of opposing racism, including anti-Semitism; also of championing democracy in the Labour Party and support for Jeremy Corbyn.

4          That though, after widespread outrage at Williamson’s suspension, the General Secretary forbade CLPs expressing support for such suspended members, many (including South Northamptonshire CLP) have resisted this. In any case this ban cannot apply to Momentum.

Milton Keynes Momentum believes:

1          The allegations in question are unfounded, out of context and a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Williamson and the Labour Party.

2          That Williamson’s comments were neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. He simply urged a pragmatic and proportionate response to the continual attacks on Labour and Corbyn. He noted we have worked tirelessly to eradicate anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry from our party and movement. This is evidenced both by the Chakrabarti report, and the General Secretary’s recent statistics showing how those recommendations have been implemented[1].

3          The attack on Williamson is part of a continuing witch hunt of left-leaning party members, with the ultimate aim to remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader and revert Labour to a centrist, neoliberal position and supporting the current right-wing government of Israel.

Milton Keynes Momentum therefore resolves to:

1          Write to our regional members of the National Co-ordinating Group with a copy of this resolution, and asking them to convey our position to the NCG.

2          Submit an appropriate, similar, resolution to Milton Keynes CLP All-Members Meeting[2]

3          Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP[3]

4          Communicate this resolution to Milton Keynes Momentum members and supporters, and urge them to watch “The Witchhunt” documentary[4].

5          Affiliate to Labour Against the Witch Hunt (LAW)[5] (cost £25 p/a) and include a statement of support for LAW on relevant publicity.

[1] See e.g. https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/what-do-jennie-formby%E2%80%99s-stats-tell-us-about-anti-semitism-labour-party

[2] Next AMM Sat 18th May, 10.00, in MK North, venue tbc. Submission deadline Fri 3rd May.

[3] chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk

[4] 60 mins: free to watch online at https://witchhuntfilm.org/

[5] See www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org Key aims: An end to automatic suspensions and expulsions; Rejection of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism; Abolition of Labour’s “compliance unit.”


 

Sutton Momentum

Sutton Momentum wish to express full solidarity with Chris Williamson, a great Labour MP who works tirelessly for socialism.


Swansea Momentum

awaiting text


Swansea Labour Left

Swansea Labour Left disagrees with the decision to suspend Chris Williamson from The Labour Party. We believe that the complainant has misrepresented Chris Williamson’s intended message which supports Jewish members working for Socialist leadership. We challenge the false premise that The Labour Party is in any way an Anti-Semitic organisation and that it has not been strong enough in refuting this.

We call for the accusation to be dealt with speedily and transparently and for the reasons for any decision to be published in detail.

We further call for any accusations against elected members to be dealt with as a priority, as whilst under investigation they cannot stand in any election that may occur. This double jeopardy is an important concern.


Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign welcomes the Labour Party manifesto commitment to a full inquiry into the events at the Orgreave Coking Plant on 18th June 1984, which was part of the Thatcher governments attack upon the National Union of Mineworkers and the Trade Unions.

We recognise that only a socialist Labour Government can bring justice to, not only our comrades wrongly arrested and charged, but to all other campaigns fighting for justice.

We therefore call on all Labour MPs and Labour Party members to stand firm against the latest hysterical media campaign against the party, and in particular its leader Jeremy Corbyn. The purpose of these attacks is solely to prevent a Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn coming to power. If successful, the opportunity to bring about a fair and just society and to right the wrongs of the past will be lost and the Tories will be free to continue their attacks upon our people and communities.

Now is not the time to be attacking and scapegoating the best and most committed campaigners for justice, such as Chris Williamson MP, a comrade who has shown consistent and full support for our campaign and has a long proven record of fighting injustice in any form. The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, therefore calls for the immediate reinstatement of Chris Williamson.


To: Jennie Formby, General Secretary, the Labour Party
CC: Chris Williamson, MP Derby North
We are deeply concerned about the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North over allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ after a recording of him speaking at a Momentum meeting was released recently. We stand in solidarity with Chris, who we fully expect to be cleared as soon as possible by Labour’s investigation – in line with our Labour core values of fairness and natural justice.Many of the undersigned are members of Oxfordshire CLPs (Wantage, Henley, East Oxford and West Oxford & Abingdon).
We have been delighted to welcome Chris to two local meetings this year. He has fitted these events into a busy schedule, being generous with his time and knowledge, speaking on subjects ranging from the impact of austerity cuts, the role of local government in delivering for the many, the current rise of fascism and how we can combat it, developments in South America, animal rights and Brexit. Chris is very clearly a committed anti-racist, working to support all oppressed groups – locally and internationally – demonstrating our Labour Party core values and principles. He is engaging, knowledgeable and extremely hard working, making time to speak at local political education meetings as well as national events about Labour policy and wider international issues with insight and clarity. As such, he is a credit and an asset to the Labour party. (See also the support for Chris in a recent statement by the Secretary of Derby Trades Council – https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/a-statement-by-the-secretary-of-derby-trades-council-on-the-suspension-of-chris-williamson-mp-from-labour) Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.” We agree with this description of Chris and believe that the allegations in question are unfounded and out of context.
Chris Williamson actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
These comments are neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. He is simply expressing a sentiment that many of us have that we should not be overly apologetic for something we have not done, and in this case we have actively, as a party, worked tirelessly to ensure that anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry are purged from our party, our movement, and our society as a whole.Context – the facts shared recently by General Secretary Jennie Formby (and correct at the time of writing 01.03.19)
• Approximately 1,100 complaints were lodged between April 2018 and January 2019, but 433 (nearly 40 per cent) were found to relate to non-Labour Party members, which brought it down to 673. (That still leaves a problem in wider society though.)
• Of those complaints there was no evidence of a case to answer in 220 cases. That still leaves more than 400 members (out of approximately 550,000 — so around 0.07 per cent) who had expressed views concerning Jews that were judged as requiring further investigation and disciplinary action. Some received suspensions, others formal/written warnings about their behaviour, while just 12 were expelled.
• There are 24 cases that have reached the highest panel that remain outstanding, so that expulsion figure may well rise but not dramatically.
• There were two other statistics that seem important from Formby’s exemplary response: one is that 44 members quit Labour while their hearing was pending. That suggests that Labour is not at all a hospitable or comfortable place for anti-semites. It is likely that some of them knew they would be found out and they jumped before being pushed out. The other statistic relates to Margaret Hodge — who has personally submitted 200 of the complaints, but these were not about 200 separate individuals.
In this context, Chris Williamson’s comments in Sheffield make sense – but the context and statistics have not been widely reported or have been mis-reported.We look forward to the Labour Party investigation moving speedily and expect that the outcome will lift his suspension and clear Chris’s name in good time for Chris to put his considerable energies and positivity into campaigning for Labour wins in the local elections in May.
In Solidarity!

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Derbyshire Fire Brigades Union


RMT Paddington No.1 branch

(going forward to annual conference)

Defend Chris Williamson

This RMT Annual General meeting notes with disappointment the Labour Party’s suspension of RMT Westminster Parliamentary Group member, Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.

This AGM is proud that Chris Williamson is a long-standing member of RMT who has led support for our union’s policies and members in Parliament, at public meetings and rallies and on picket lines. Chris is also a life-long anti-fascist fighter against racism in all its forms.

Chris Williamson has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism, as part of a witch-hunt led by Labour Party Deputy Leader, Tom Watson. Anti-Corbyn members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) have demanded Chris Williamson’s removal from the Party as step towards their real objective of removing the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

Right-wing Labour Party elements oppose Chris Williamson because he has been outspoken about the need for a left-led Labour government in Britain, he defends victimised Labour members and former members such as Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth, he opposes the US-directed coup against President Maduro’s legitimate government in Venezuela, and he supports mandatory re-selection of all Labour MPs by local party members as a basic democratic right.

We note with concern that the media and right wing of the PLP continue to assert that Labour is “institutionally anti-Semitic” despite data released by the Party which shows a 0.08% incidence of anti-Semitic behaviour by Labour Party members recorded between April 2018 and January 2019.

The allegation that Chris downplays anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. The comments for which he was suspended, at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield have been deliberately taken out of context in an attempt to ruin the reputations of both Chris Williamson and Jeremy Corbyn.

Chris Williamson told the meeting: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

Chris Williamson’s comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor deny the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (or in wider society). But he quite rightly points out that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.

Chris Williamson has simply questioned whether the characterisation of the Labour Party as a racist organisation is fair, and he later offered an apology and clarification in case his comments had been misunderstood. It is a scandal that he has been suspended from the Party for this. Meanwhile, figures like Tony Blair – who bear responsibility for the death and destruction caused by the Iraq War – are
allowed to remain as Labour members. We reject such double standards.

This AGM instructs our General Secretary to write to Jennie Formby, Labour Party general secretary with a copy of this motion calling on the Labour Party NEC to reinstate Chris Williamson’s membership of the Labour Party immediately and to write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP.

We call on Labour’s NEC to implement trigger ballot procedures in all constituencies, in order to allow Labour Party members to decide who their Labour candidates should be at the next general election. The witch-hunt against Chris Williamson demonstrates why it is correct to demand mandatory re-selection to settle the question of whether socialists like Chris Williamson, or careerists like Tom Watson best represent the views and values of working class voters.


Secretary of Derby Trades Council

Throughout Derby Chris Williamson is known as someone who stands up for working-class people, whatever their origins and ethnicity. We are proud to have him as our MP.

Chris has proven himself to be a fierce opponent of all forms of racism, including anti-semitism. He is outspoken and brave in this. As a young man in the 1970s he was an active member of the Anti-Nazi League, confronting the racists and anti-semites of the National Front wherever they raised their vile heads, and he has maintained the same position and active opposition to racism, anti-semitism and fascism ever since.

We should remember that Chris worked hard to spearhead the efforts to ensure Derby was one of the first local authorities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

What Chris said in Sheffield was that the evils of racism, anti-semitism and Islamophobia need to be fought and beaten wherever and whenever they appear, and that the Labour Party has done more than any other parliamentary party — and therefore should be not so apologetic about its performance in this regard — though of course there is always more to be done.

It is this that has been misinterpreted — deliberately so — by some who seek a stick to beat him with.

It is an absolute absurdity and vile travesty to level the charge of anti-semitism at Chris and everyone in Derby knows it. As secretary of the Derby Area Trades Union Council I urge fair-minded Derby people to speak up for him, just as he speaks up bravely for all of us.

Chris stands for unity, solidarity and community cohesion. Those members of the Labour Party, particularly those MPs, who oppose the restoration of socialism in the leadership of the party have failed in their many attempts to reverse this.

So they have increasingly turned to distortions and smears against the leadership — including Chris Williamson, who is their target of the day. It is they who should apologise for their defamation of a decent man and an MP who really cares for his people, whatever their heritage and background.

Moz Greenshields
Secretary, Derby Area Trade Union Council


Plymouth Trades Council

This Trades Council condemns the decision of the Labour Party to suspend Chris Williamson MP for his remarks at a Sheffield Momentum meeting.

The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at the meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
• Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
• His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.

We note with concern that the establishment media and the right wing of the PLP continue to assert that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic.
• The accusation of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the Party which show a 0.08% incidence of anti-Semitic behaviour by Party members over the last ten months.
• The flood of exaggerated claims of antisemitism make it harder to deal with any real instances of antisemitism. The credibility of well-founded allegations is undermined by the less credible ones and real perpetrators are more likely not to be held to account. Crying wolf is dangerous when there are real wolves around the corner.

This country needs the policies of a truly socialist Labour government more than ever, whilst we have low wage growth, more and more people relying on food banks, growing child poverty, and inequality we need investment for creation of decent jobs, proper funding for the NHS and our schools, and all the infrastructure for a country that has endured years of austerity.  All of the above actions will make this less and less of a reality.


Burnley Unite branch

Burnley Unite branch agreed on this resolution, which will go forward to the next meetings of Burnley CLP and Pendle CLP:

This CLP notes that:

– Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation into a “pattern of behaviour”.

– This suspension occurred in the light of comments made by Williamson to the effect that Labour’s response to accusations of entrenched antisemitism has been unnecessarily defensive.

– These comments have been interpreted by certain media and political figures as being anti-Semitic

This CLP believes that:

– Chris Williamson is a consistent and longstanding anti-racist, who abhors antisemitism along with all forms of racism. Williamson’s comments were in no way antisemitic. Williamson’s comments reflect a legitimate point of view: that accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised by the media and certain elements within the Labour Party in order to weaken the leadership.

– Chris Williamson is a valued MP and party member. The Labour Party has put in place procedures and allocated significant resources to deal with allegations of antisemitism that it has received

This CLP calls on the Labour National Executive Committee to:
– Immediately lift Chris Williamson’s suspension

This CLP resolves to:
– write a letter of support to Chris Williamson.


Merseyside Pensioners Association

Merseyside Pensioners Association, many of whose members ae also currently members of the Labour Party, wishes to place on record our suport for the recet actions and uterances of Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North. We believe these to have been in good faith, proportionate and in no way interpretable as either racist or inciteful to racism. We also therefore call upon the Labour Party to restore to Chris, as as possible, his previous status, so that a fight for Jeremy Corbyn led democratic socialist government may continue unabated.


Tees Valley Unite Community

Tees Valley Unite Community Branch notes with concern the use of the term (as attributed in the media to a Labour spokesman) “downplaying” anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

We believe that of course the Labour Party should have zero tolerance for all forms of racism.

However, accusations of “downplaying” anti-Semitism (or worse placing it on a par with anti-Semitism itself) have the potential to inhibit the freedom of all Labour Party members to discuss the issues relating to racism in the Party. They should for example be able to:

  • Challenge the assertion that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic. This has been repeated so many times that it has become established fact, despite the conclusions of the Chakrabati report and an all-party Home Affairs Select Committee that anti-Semitism and other types of racism are not endemic within Labour
  • Question whether the characterisation of the Labour Party as a racist organisation is fair or even in some cases politically motivated
  • Judge based on the data the extent of antisemitism in the Labour Party and whether the Party’s procedures and actions are effective and proportionate
  • Discuss whether the Party’s adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is appropriate
  • Speak out on cases of injustice within the Labour Party
  • Resist any curbs on legitimate freedom of speech and any move towards a culture of denunciation

Tees Valley Unite Community Branch therefore moves to:

  • Write to Jennie Formby (Labour Party General Secretary) and Shami Chakrabarti (Shadow Attorney General) with a copy of this motion to express our solidarity with their efforts to counter all forms of racism in the Labour Party but to also to convey our concerns regarding the freedom to debate the issues.
  • Submit this motion to local Constituency Labour Parties as necessary

East London Unite Community

passed with one abstention and nobody opposing:

This branch notes that:
Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation into a “pattern of behaviour”.

This suspension occurred in the light of comments made by Williamson to the effect that Labour’s response to accusations of entrenched antisemitism has been unnecessarily defensive.

These comments have been interpreted by certain media and political figures as being antisemitic.

This branch believes that:
Chris Williamson is a consistent and longstanding anti-racist, who abhors antisemitism along with all forms of racism. Williamson’s comments were in no way antisemitic. Williamson’s comments reflect a legitimate point of view: that accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised by the media and certain elements within the Labour Party in order to weaken the leadership.

Chris Williamson is a valued MP and party member. The Labour Party has put in place procedures and allocated significant resources to deal with allegations of antisemitism that it has received.

This branch calls on the Labour National Executive Committee to:
Immediately lift Chris Williamson’s suspension.

This branch resolves to:

  • write a letter of support to Chris Williamson
  • submit this motion to Labour Party GCs to which we are affiliated

Birmingham Unite Community

The branch voted for two motions:

1. This branch notes with disappointment the suspension of Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party.

Chris Williamson has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism. This is an excuse for a section of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), a section that has never accepted the Corbyn Leadership or the popular socialist policies put forward by that leadership, supported by the majority of the membership and for which Chris has campaigned tirelessly around the country, to demand his removal from the Party.

We therefore call upon the NEC to immediately reinstate Chris Williamson’s membership of the Labour Party.

2. Model Motion in support of equitable anti-discriminatory practice and real political accountability

This branch notes:

  • the grave effect that discrimination and false allegations have on victims of each
  • the welcome collation of statistics on complaints of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party set in place by Jennie Formby
  • the absence of similar statistics on complaints of other forms of racism and discrimination within the Labour Party, including Islamophobia
  • the evidence from independent opinion polls and surveys which shows antisemitism declining in the Labour Party since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader
  • the continued overstatement of antisemitism in the Labour Party by those including a section of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), a section that has never accepted the Corbyn Leadership or the popular socialist policies put forward by that leadership
  • the growing concern that complaints of anti-Semitism are being used as weapons against political opponents, particularly MPs and members who support the leadership and the policies championed by that leadership
  • the recent attempt by the Deputy Leader to institute his own parallel process which threatened to undermine and prejudice the formal process and which was in grave risk of breaching the law in the form of the GDPR
  • the concern expressed by a grass roots Jewish member accusing the Deputy Leader of undermining the party by his actions (http://bit.ly/LRBTW1)
  • the welcome rebuke from the General Secretary to the Deputy Leader spelling out in no uncertain terms the position of the party

We believe that

  • all forms of discrimination are to be actively opposed wherever they occur
  • all forms of discrimination should be treated equally
  • alleged victims and alleged perpetrators should be supported and treated equally until a case is concluded
  • false claims of discrimination devalue real claims and the equalities agenda as a whole
  • false claims and complaints of discrimination must attract disciplinary action
  • all cases should be treated equitably and expeditiously
  • victims of discrimination and of unfounded claims of discrimination should be apologised to and supported by the party
  • all witch hunts should be opposed from wherever they emanate
  • wilfully overstating the existence of any prejudice or discrimination should be a disciplinary offence and should be countered by a public statement by the party clarifying the evidence
  • MPs should be subject to the same disciplinary rules as all other members
  • MPs should not grandstand and attempt to bypass the constituted Labour Party processes
  • potential candidates in internal selections and elections must not be unduly if at all prevented from participation by contrived claims
  • political debate should be encouraged over administrative gagging as a way of dealing with political disagreements
  • universal trigger ballots would definitively settle the question of whether it is the socialist policies of the leadership or the failed policies of those in the current PLP who are opposed to the leadership that best represent the view and values of Labour members.

We call upon the NEC to bring forward rule changes to reflect all of the above including:

  • to ensure as soon as possible the implementation of equitable treatment of all forms of discrimination, equal support for complainant and respondent throughout the disciplinary process and support and apologise to victims when a case is concluded
  • to urgently bring forward processes to protect candidates in selections and elections
  • to immediately implement trigger ballot procedures in all constituencies, in order to allow the Party membership to decide who should represent them in Parliament

Welsh Labour Grassroots

Statement agreed by Steering Committee of Welsh Labour Grassroots at a meeting on Sunday 3rd March, 2019.

The Welsh Labour Grassroots (WLG) Steering Committee is concerned by the suspension of Chris Williamson and by much of the public discussion of his case. We accept that the party needed to investigate the issues that gave rise to the complaint against him but we believe that the suspension and withdrawal of the whip was unfair and unnecessary and that much of the commentary by Labour politicians and media commentators misinterprets Chris Williamson’s comments and misrepresents his attitude towards anti-Semitism.

Chris Williamson has been accused of suggesting that Labour has apologised too readily to people in the Jewish community who may have experienced anti-Semitism. It seems clear to us, however, that this was not his intent; rather, he was seeking to argue that Labour politicians have often been too quick to accept questionable claims about the scale of the problem and ill-informed criticism of its handling of it, rather than accurately quantifying the incidence of reported cases* and acknowledging the party’s positive record in challenging racism, while admitting that more could still be done.

One may agree or disagree with this view, or feel that Chris Williamson should have taken greater care in the way he expressed it (as he himself appears to accept in his public apology) but it is surely well within the scope of legitimate debate. No significant Labour officer or elected representative has disputed that anti-Semitism is abhorrent or sought to deny that it exists within the Labour party. But to seek to close down any discussion about the prevalence of anti-Semitism or the best way of fighting it is to undermine Labour’s best traditions of healthy debate and to hamper efforts to root out prejudice and address the conditions that allow it to develop. The conduct of some commentators also risks creating a “hostile environment” in which anyone defending Palestinian rights and criticising the Israeli state fears being tarnished as “anti-Semitic”.

Chris Williamson has a long record of actively opposing racism and fascism in all their forms – indeed, a more impressive record in this respect than many of his detractors can claim. Like Jeremy Corbyn, he has distinguished himself by speaking his mind fearlessly on a range of issues, from Labour’s housing policy to the campaign to undermine the elected government of Venezuela. Unlike many other MPs, he has been a strong advocate of democratisation within the party and a loyal supporter of our elected Leader.

We find the ‘trial by media’ to which Chris has been subjected deeply unedifying; those who object to his comments and actions are, of course, within their rights to submit formal complaints but to air their grievances so loudly and publicly can only undermine Labour at a time when we should be united in holding the Tory government to account and risks denying Chris Williamson a fair hearing.

We note that the Labour NEC decided some time ago to abandon the automatic use of administrative suspension pending the outcome of a disciplinary complaint, in all but the most serious cases (such as when the member in question poses some sort of ongoing threat to others). We see no justification for suspending Chris Williamson and call for his suspension to be ended and the whip restored.

WLG remains implacably opposed to anti-Semitism, along with all other forms of racism, such as Islamophobia, and bigotry and prejudice of any kind. We offer our unconditional solidarity to all those who encounter such hatred, regardless of whether we otherwise agree with them politically. We believe that all cases of anti-Semitic abuse should continue to be dealt with through the party’s disciplinary procedures and we applaud the steps taken under Jeremy Corbyn and Jennie Formby to implement the Chakrabarti recommendations, including the expansion of the NCC to deal with cases more quickly, as well as the efforts made to educate our members about the issue.

We believe, however, that the tone of public discussion on this issue often militates against the kind of frank and serious discussion needed to develop effective solutions. The strident calls for punitive action against Chris Williamson are an unhealthy symptom of this problem and we believe he deserves our support in seeking a fair hearing.

ENDS.

*Statistics published by the General Secretary reveal that, over the last ten months, complaints received have led to 453 members being investigated for anti-Semitism; it has been pointed out that this amounts to 1/12th of 1% of the total party membership.


Brent Trades Council

This Trades Council condemns the decision of the Labour Party to suspend Chris Williamson MP for his remarks at a Sheffield Momentum meeting.
We do not believe that what Chris Williamson said was antisemitic and while insisting on opposition to actual antisemitism we believe that allegations are often used to smear critics of Israel and supporters of the Palestinians.

Labour Against the Witchhunt

The suspension of Chris Williamson MP is an absolute disgrace. We stand in full solidarity with Chris, who must be cleared as soon as possible by Labour’s “investigation” – though judging by how Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein, Ken Livingstone and many, many more Corbyn supporters have been thrown under the bus, we have very little confidence that he will receive a fair one.

He is the latest victim of the witch-hunt by the right in the party whose main target is, of course, Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.” Corbyn was right. He should finally stand up and tell people like Jon Lansman and John McDonnell to stop joining in the witch-hunt – but support the thousands of left-wingers who have been investigated, suspended and expelled, many of them on false accusations of anti-Semitism.

This campaign to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism will only get worse, the closer we get to a general election. Trying to appease the right clearly does not work. If you fight, you might loose – but if you don’t fight, you have already lost.


Jewish Voice for Labour

We are shocked at the suspension from the Labour Party of Derby North MP Chris Williamson, despite his apology.

As a Jewish organisation we condemn antisemitism unreservedly. And, of course, we support robust measures to deal with any instances.

Like Chris Williamson we stand in a long tradition of opposition to all forms of racism, including antisemitism. We support the statement in which he apologised to anyone hurt by his words.   But we agree with him that the number of instances of antisemitism in the Labour Party, though small relative to its size, is still too high. Any antisemite in the Party is one too many.

Williamson based his statement on the official statistics published by the General Secretary of the Party, Jennie Formby. They confirm that over the last 10 months complaints received led to 453 cases being investigated for antisemitism. This represents 1/12th of 1% of the membership. There is no wave of antisemitism in the Party.

The existence of antisemitism in the Party, as everywhere in society, is not in doubt. It needs to be contested, and the Party’s beefed up disciplinary processes are doing just that. But these figures, and the experience of the hundreds of our Jewish members in the Labour Party, give the lie to the false narrative that the Party is rife with antisemitism. Such a description bears no resemblance to reality.

The flood of exaggerated claims of antisemitism make it harder to deal with any real instances of antisemitism. The credibility of well-founded allegations is undermined by the less credible ones and real perpetrators are more likely not to be held to account. Crying wolf is dangerous when there are real wolves around the corner.

This was the reality that Chris Williamson was drawing attention to. His suspension from the party is unjust and should be rescinded.


Labour Party Marxists

Suspending Chris Williamson MP is an outrage, writes Carla Roberts. You might have thought that the retreats and concessions to the right from the Labour leadership could not get any worse, but what happened on February 27 surely takes the biscuit.

Chris Williamson MP was suspended by general secretary Jennie Formby over “remarks about the party’s handling of anti-Semitism”, as the BBC put it. So what exactly did he say? Speaking at a meeting of Sheffield Momentum, he had ventured the opinion that “we have backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic”. Labour has been “demonised as a racist, bigoted party”, when, in reality, “we’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any political party”.

If anything, Williamson himself was “too apologetic”. Labour has not been hit by any “scourge of anti-Semitism”: what we have seen is a concerted witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters and the left, in which ‘anti-Semitism’ has been weaponised and equated with anti-Zionism. Several high-profile figures have been accused of anti-Semitism, but in none of their cases has the accusation been upheld. It is true that some clearly anti-Jewish comments from people claiming to be Labour members have featured on social media, but only 12 have been expelled (including a Jewish comrade who simply refused to cooperate with the kangaroo court). Even if we assume that all 12 were actually guilty, why should we describe this as a “scourge”? (full article here)


Labour Representation Committee

“Today’s meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) sends a message of solidarity to Chris Williamson and hopes for his swift reinstatement.” March 23 2019

By Jay Blackwood (“The LRC agrees with Jay 100%”)

Following a fiery speech at a Momentum event in Sheffield, MP Chris Williamson is once again in the sights of the Blairites and their appeasers on the soft left of the party. The BBC sums up the latest attacks against him as follows:

Veteran Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge said “nothing less” than suspending the MP would do, while ex-leader Ed Miliband suggested it was a “test” for the party about how serious it was about dealing with the issue of anti-Semitism within its ranks.

Tom Watson has predictably joined the feeding frenzy, following Hodge’s demand that Chris is immediately suspended from the party.

One would think, reading these and similar attacks, that Chris is a proven antisemite. You know, in much the same way that Boris Johnson’s comments about “picaninnies” and letter-boxes prove that he is an unrepentant racist – something for which he continues to get a free pass in the media and the Tory Party.

So what is the latest evidence that Chris is an antisemite (or a “fucking antisemite” as Hodge called her own party leader last year, for which she escaped without any disciplinary sanction whatsoever)? According to the Yorkshire Post, which reported on the event, Chris’s offending comments were as follows:

The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that, because in my opinion…we have backed off too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic.

The reality is that most Labour Party members – include this blogger – would wholeheartedly agree with Chris’s words. I have not seen a single shred of evidence from his speech to justify the vile slurs now being thrown in his direction. Condemning the party’s supine response to the campaign of vilification conducted by the Blairites, the Israel lobby and the mainstream media is not in any way antisemitic.

In fact, Chris made his feelings on antisemitism crystal clear in August last year, describing it as “utterly repugnant and a scourge on society, which is why I stand in absolute solidarity with anyone who is subjected to antisemitic abuse”. That is about as forthright and unambiguous as you can get. But of course it’s not enough to satisfy Tom Watson, Margaret Hodge and the like.

I have seen nothing to support the accusation that Chris Williamson is an antisemite, and much to support the proposition that he is a consistent, principled opponent of racism in all its forms.

But of course the attacks on Williamson have nothing to do with genuine concern about genuine antisemitism, which is on the rise across the world and spreading across social media like a disease. It is rather all about ensuring that the focus remains on Labour’s supposed ‘internal problems’, rather than on the murderous Tory regime of austerity.

So it was no surprise to see a large segment of today’s politics show on the BBC given over to a friendly discussion between Laura Kuenssberg and a Labour Shadow Cabinet minister about how severely Williamson should be punished for openly questioning the Labour/antisemitism narrative. In this context Chris’s apology, doubtless extorted from him by the usual suspects, was just more grist to the mill.

I have consistently argued on this blog that no amount of appeasement will satisfy the MPs who are using the antisemitism issue to undermine the party. Making concessions simply plays into their hands, providing them with more publicity and more material from which to spin their bizarre narrative. Sadly, Corbyn and McDonnell have set the tone on this, with cringe-worthy displays of hand-wringing contrition around an issue which has largely been invented by the mainstream media.

The anti-Corbyn wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party will not be satisfied till Jeremy and his supporters have been hounded from office. They would rather see Labour out of power for ten years than countenance the election of a Corbyn government – even if that means ten more years of grinding poverty for working class people. Failing that, they want at the very least to see Corbyn and his inner circle firmly brought to heal.

For the anti-Corbyn MPs, the antisemitism ‘issue’ is just a useful weapon in their campaign to undermine Corbyn’s newly radicalised party.

If I was facing real antisemites on the street I know who I’d rather have fighting alongside me. It wouldn’t be useful idiots like Hodge, Watson or Miliband. It would be real anti-racists like Chris Williamson and Marc Wadsworth.

We cannot continue to play along with the fiction that antisemitism is a major problem inside the Labour Party. We have to call that out, as Chris Williamson has done, while continuing to oppose real antisemitism wherever we find it – just as we consistently oppose all forms of racism. We need to end the witch hunts, and reinstate Marc Wadsworth, who is currently having to pursue his case through the courts.

We need to stand up and support – loudly and proudly – good anti-racist MPs and activists like Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth when they’re slandered by the mainstream media. And we need to break, once and for all, from the foolish strategy of appeasement that has led us down this suicidal path.


Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

1. CLPD exposes all forms of antisemitism and racism

2. CLPS notes the personal statement from Chris Williamson MP.

3. CLPD does not believe Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the Labour Party.

4. CLPD will circulate that statement at bit.ly/dontexpelchriswilliamson

 


Socialist Appeal

Left-wing Labour MP Chris Williamson has become the latest victim of the Blairite witch hunt. The Derby North MP was suspended from the party yesterday, following an hysterical outcry from the right wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

Rank-and-file members of the labour movement must rally to defend Williamson against these slanderous attacks. We cannot allow this smear campaign against the left to continue any longer. Enough is enough. (full statement here)


Sheffield Labour Left

Sheffield Labour Left stands in full solidarity with Chris Williamson MP.

Any allegations that Chris is enabling or minimising anti-Semitism are not only unfounded, but part of a hostile and anti-democratic campaign. As Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.”

Of course, allegations of anti-Semitism should be dealt with, but this should follow due process. Any false and trumped up allegations to score political points against Corbyn and his supporters, however, must also come to an end.

Solidarity with Chris! For Socialism!

“They can fuck off”. Report of LAW’s first ever fringe meeting at LP conference

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Labour Against the Witchhunt held a successful fringe meeting at the Labour conference. Stan Keable reports

“There can be no greater injustice than anti-racists being accused of racism by racists,” the Scouse comedian Alexie Sayle told LAW’s packed fringe meeting on Sunday night. The potential for a “massive transformation” of the Labour Party and society opened up by “the miracle of Jeremy Corbyn” has overcome Alexei’s longstanding objection to voting. Having grown up in a communist family, he used to say: “Don’t vote, struggle against capitalism”. But, although Jeremy has changed all that, Alexei has not joined the Labour Party. A comedian needs to maintain their independence, he said, to be able to criticise any politician. The witch-hunters can’t expel me because I am not a member, he added, “so they can fuck off!” (The democracy we fight for, of course, includes the right of any Labour member, comedians included, to criticise all Labour leaders.)

Jewish Voice for Labour’s Jo Bird, newly elected four weeks ago as a councillor in Birkenhead, pointed out that she and her comrades had been canvassing for weeks, talking to people about all manner of issues, but “no-one raised the issue of anti-Semitism on the door”. She was appalled by Birkenhead MP Frank Field. He rounded on the rank-and-file party membership within his constituency. He invented accusations of anti-Semitism and bullying. To all those party members falsely suspended and expelled, she said: “You are owed a huge apology. On behalf of the party, I am very, very sorry.”

That moving apology became particularly poignant when 73-year-old Bob Walker, the youngest of the ‘Garston 3’, described how three disabled pensioners were expelled for merely attending a meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition – to discuss socialism. Gerry Tyrell, Tony Lock and Bob were rewarded for their tireless work of knocking on doors and delivering leaflets in all weathers during the 2017 general election campaign by being expelled. They were not told the names of their accusers or the evidence against them. Nor was there any hearing or right of appeal. LAW demands due process before any disciplinary sanction is taken.

Ex-Liverpool councillor Tony Mulhearn called on Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to stand up to the witch-hunters: “No more apologies, no more retreats. When you apologise, you are accepting you did something wrong.” He called out Andrew Marr for the bias he showed that morning while interviewing Corbyn, insistently cross-examining him about anti-Semitism allegations for more than 20 minutes. “Jeremy should have asked Marr who prepares such questions for him”, he said. Moreover, Corbyn should have asked: “Why don’t you show pictures of me on anti-racist demonstrations?” and “Why are Jews who support Jeremy never interviewed?” The smear campaign is “producing fear among Jewish people”, Mulhearn added.

Recalling the “ridiculously long list of charges” he faced in his own expulsion in 1986, comrade Mulhearn reminded us of how that earlier witch-hunt had been politically driven by the “bloated toad” Neil Kinnock. He insisted on getting people expelled regardless of the facts. “A witch-hunt is irrational”, said Tony, “because the decision has already been made”. At that time, John McDonnell had stood firm in his defence, but is now singing a different tune: “We need to be conciliatory, we are a broad church.” As LAW vice-chair Tony Greenstein commented: “Even the broadest church expels atheists. The ‘atheists’ in our party are those who are not, and never have been, socialists.”

Chairperson Annyana Ndukwe of Liverpool LAW and Grassroots Black Left read out a solidarity message from Asa Winstanley of Electronic Intifada, who was unable to join the panel of speakers:

Despite the new leftwing general secretary Labour has, the party bureaucracy is still disciplining members on entirely fallacious pretexts. One comrade in Brighton showed me a letter she received this very month from Labour’s head of complaints, Sophie Goodyear, warning her that several “provocative” tweets she’d allegedly written in 2016 had “caused offence” and that such “abuse” would “not be tolerated” in Labour … One of the three tweets cited was simply the comrade posting the headline and link to my April 2016 article, ‘How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis’ without comment … it seems that at least some in Labour HQ are treating critical journalism like Electronic Intifada as banned publications. (Full text here)

Tony Greenstein, expelled in February 2018, told us how he had also been suspended from the party in 1992 by then general secretary Larry Whitty, now a Lord – “well rewarded for services rendered to the capitalist state”, as comrade Mulhearn put it. Comrade Greenstein emphasised that the witch-hunt is “not about anti-Semitism, it is about removing Corbyn as leader”.

Chris Williamson MP, introduced by comrade Ndukwe as “one of the few MPs who is a true socialist”, confronted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the party, declaring that he often describes Israel as an apartheid state. He compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the fate of the Cherokees in America. Denouncing the “terrible injustice” being done to Jackie Walker, he condemned the way Marc Wadsworth had been “demonised as a bigot” for merely “asking a question at a press conference”.

Comrade Williamson, advocating mandatory reselection, quoted Ed Miliband’s advice: “If we trusted the members more, we would not have made so many mistakes”. And he laid into Neil Kinnock’s view that the party belongs to the MPs, not the members. As for those MPs who object to reselection on the grounds of employment rights: “It ain’t a job, mate! You are elected as a representative of the party and the people who elected you.”

Calling on Corbyn and McDonnell to wake up and confront the rightwing witch-hunters, comrade Williamson said McCarthyism, like all bullying, only stopped when people stood up to it. “The monster is getting bigger. Stop feeding the beast!”


LAW has also been running a number of stalls in Liverpool, organised a successful emergency lobby of the NEC and the showing of Jackie Walker’s ‘The Lynching’ with actress Jo Martin taking over Jackie’s role.