#Justice4Marc launch in London: Spotted hyenas and Labour right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queen’s Park branch

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

This branch notes that:

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

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

This branch believes:

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

This branch therefore:

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

Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion – what you can do about it

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The expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party was a politically motivated outrage – read our statement. Here’s what you can do about it:

  1. Support the national speaking tour #Justice4Marc, which is co-sponsored by LAW, Jewish Voice for Labour, the Labour Representation Committee and Grassroots Black Left. We are raising funds to help cover the transport costs involved – please chip in if you can. 
  2. Read up on the caseJewish Voice for Labour had a good background article; Grassroots Black Left had their statement published in The Voice.
  3. Write to newspapers who publish false and misleading articles about the case. For example, Marc did not “heckle” Ruth Smeeth MP, he did not launch “a verbal attack” on her, berate or abuse her or use, as she later claimed, a “traditional trope” of Jews owning the media.
  4. Use our model motion (online here) in your branch and CLP asap.The quicker you can get it through, the more pressure it will bring on Labour’s NEC to act. Once it has passed, send it to us so we can publish it online.
  5. Contribute to Marc’s crowdfunding campaign to help pay for his lawyers (please note that these funds are for his legal team only and cannot be used for any campaigning work)
  6. Join Labour Against the Witchhunt online here and get your branch/CLP to affiliate.
  7. Sign our Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn and the left of the Labour leadership (online here) they need to take action now to bring the witch-hunt to an end. More than 5,700 have already signed it.
  8. Attend our conference that we are planning to hold in June – details to follow soon.

LAW model motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth

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Feel free to change and amend. Please send us successfully passed motions to info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org and we will publish them.

You can download the motion in Word format here. 

1. This branch/CLPs notes that:

1.1 Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, veteran anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth was being “anti-Semitic” for criticising her as “working hand in hand” with a reporter of the Daily Telegraph – a fallacious claim that was repeated in almost every newspaper.

1.2 An all-white, three person panel of the National Constitutional Committee of the Labour Party, however, did not uphold this charge. They expelled Marc Wadsworth on April 27 2018 under the catch-all phrase of “bringing the party into disrepute” (point 2.1.8 in Labour’s 2016 rulebook).

1.3 Marc Wadsworth is a veteran anti-racist campaigner and former chair or Labour Party Black Sections (1986-1988). He founded the Anti-Racist Alliance in 1991 and helped the parents of Stephen Lawrence set up their campaign for justice and introduced them to Nelson Mandela.

2. This branch/CLP believes that:

2.1 Nothing that Marc Wadsworth did or said at the launch of the Chakrabarti report was even vaguely anti-Semitic.

2.2 The decision to expel him is outrageous and wholly contrary to natural justice. He was expelled under disciplinary procedures that had not been updated to take into account the recommendations of the Chakrabarti report, although the National Executive Committee decided in 2016 to implement them “immediately”.

2.3 It is not Marc who has brought the party “into disrepute” – it is the “shameless smears” of the “Corbyn-hating” MPs (Len McCluskey in the New Statesman on April 25 2018), who have worked tirelessly to undermine Jeremy Corbyn at every opportunity since his election as Labour leader in 2015.

2.4 Chris Williamson MP is right to call thisdecision “perverse”. He is also right to criticise the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends”.

2.5 Marc Wadsworth is the latest victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, which has seen hundreds of left-wing activists being thrown to the wolves of the Tory Party and their supporters in the mainstream media.

2.6 Despite the growing number of fallacious allegations of anti-Semitism, the number of cases of anti-Semitism among Labour Party members upheldremains tiny. Many of the allegations have been baseless and politically motivated – attempts to purge or muzzle members who are critical of Israeli government policies and actions, particularly pro-Corbyn members on the left of the party.

3. This branch/CLP calls on the Labour Party NEC:

3.1 To immediately reinstate all those summarily expelled or suspended from membership without due process, or as part of the anti-Corbyn witch-hunt, including Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Cyril Chilson, Tony Greenstein and Stan Keable.

3.2 To bring to a swift end the practice of automatic, instant, expulsion or suspension of Labour Party members (apart from exceptional circumstances):

  1. a) A member accused of a breach of rule must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and be given all the evidence submitted against them by their accuser
  2. b) Membership rights must not be removed until disciplinary investigations and procedures have been completed;

3.3 To abolish the Labour Party’s “Compliance Unit”. Disciplinary decisions should be taken only by elected bodies, not by paid officials.

4. This branch/CLP further resolves:

4.1 To affiliate to Labour Against the Witchhunt (£25) and send a donation of £ XY.

GBL on Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion

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NEWS RELEASE

April 27 2018

Today’s expulsion by Labour of veteran black anti-racist activist

There will be a press conference today at 1.15pm at Abbey Green, outside Parliament.

 Present will be Marc Wadsworth, Deborah Hobson and Noami Wimborne-Idrissi of Jewish Voice For Labour

Grassroots Black Left (GBL) is appalled by the expulsion of its member Marc Wadsworth, a life-long anti-racist. This decision brings the party into disrepute and we will fight besides Wadsworth to help him clear his name and get reinstated.

The National Constitutional Committee hearing was based on a disciplinary process that newly appointed general secretary Jennie Formby has declares “is not fit for purpose”. Continue Reading “GBL on Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion”

This Wednesday, April 25: We need your help!

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According to a report in the Skwawkbox, Wes Streeting MP, who recently verbally attacked Diane Abbott, is organising anti-Corbyn MPs, peers and others people to protest outside the Labour Party disciplinary hearing against veteran black anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth this Wednesday, April 25.

Streeting claims that his “march” from Westminster Hall to Church House (which will also be attended by Labour First’s Luke Akehurst) is in “support of Ruth Smeeth MP”, who will give evidence against Marc, as “there will be a protest against her”.

Campaigners, including, Labour Against the Witchhunt, Grassroots Black Left, Jewish Voice for Labour and members of the Windrush generation, are not organising a protest against Smeeth but a lobby in support of Marc.  We demand that the false charges against him are dropped and that he is fully reinstated to Labour Party membership. What we are protesting about is the attempted frame-up of Marc. Labour bosses are demanding his expulsion from the party.

Streeting calls Marc “the guy who abused her [Ruth Smeeth] at the [Shami Chakrabarti] antisemitism inquiry launch”.

In fact the Chakrabarti report was about anti-semitism and all forms of racism, including the anti-black racism and Islamophobia, which have been ignored. What abuse is Wes Streeting talking about? Marc Wadsworth actually said at the report launch, after being goaded by Daily Telegraph political report Kate McCann:

“I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand. If you look around this room, how many African, Caribbean and Asian people are there? We need to get our house in order, don’t we?”

Of course, anti-semitism exists in society, just like other forms of racism and prejudice and this is reflected in the Labour Party. But, just like Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Tony Greenstein and many other Labour members suspended and expelled by the party in the last two years, Marc is no anti-semite and nothing he did or said was even vaguely anti-semitic.

In truth, the right-wing in the Labour Party want to claim another scalp in their campaign to smear Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters.

LAW will be showing their support to Marc and all those people unjustly suspended and expelled without due process. We demand the yet to be implemented Chakrabarti rules be applied to all cases, that have been referred to Labour’s draconian National Constitution Committee, including Marc’s.

Please come along to show your support!
Wednesday April 25, 9.30am
Church House, Great Smith St, Westminster

London SW1P 3NZ

Please bring witches costumes and placards (though we are also having some printed). Please also note that we are asking all protesters to wear a ‘gag’ – a sticky tape or similar over their mouths – and keep a silent protest. No doubt the right-wingers present will try and provoke us.Marc also needs help covering his legal costs – please contribute to his crowdfunding campaign.

On the case of David Watson: Open letter to the NEC, Compliance Unit and Constitutional Committee

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To the NEC, Compliance Unit and Constitutional Committee

Sisters and Brothers

23 January 2018

We have waited for 19 months for the Chakrabarti Enquiry’s recommendations to be put into practice, and give our party the fair disciplinary procedures it needs and deserves. We hope that the NEC will make a start today by clearing David Watson of unfounded charges and letting him return to Walthamstow where he was a valued officer.

We have seen so many good comrades across the Labour Party suspended on the basis of anonymous accusations, and still waiting to be reinstated. There have been waves of factional purges which are shameful in a democratic party. First members were accused of being Green, then trade union militants, then antisemites and then transphobic. Accusations seem to have come down most heavily on people of colour, thus further excluding them from our party which we say that we want to reflect the society we live in. Continue Reading “On the case of David Watson: Open letter to the NEC, Compliance Unit and Constitutional Committee”

Solidarity with Moshé Machover – the labour movement speaks out!

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(please not that this article first appeared on the website of Labour Party Marxists – all links refer to that site)

The expulsion of long-standing Israeli socialist Moshé Machover from the Labour Party (expulsion letter here) caused shockwaves throughout the labour movement. We feature the motions and statements in support of Moshé and against the ongoing witch hunt by the right in the party. 

On October 5, Moshe received a second explusion letter, which states that “These allegations [of anti-Semitism] are not subject to an investigation as you are not currently a member of the Labour Party.” They will probably be kept on file, should his expulsion based on his “clear support” for LPM be overturned. This is arbitrary, to say the least.

Clearly, the mass protests against the outrageous decision worked: On October 30, they were forced to – very reluctantly – reverse their own decision and Moshé has now been reinstated to full membership.

Click here to read the correspondence between comrade Machover and Sam Matthews, “head of disputes”.

Labour Party branches and CLPs

Other organisations and individuals

Moshe Machover gains international support over his expulsion

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Celebrity international backing for academic expelled, then readmitted to Labour Party
Demand for full apology and inquiry
Statement delivered to Corbyn and Party Secretary McNicol
 
In an extraordinary development, an international array of talent has rallied to the support of a retired professor expelled from the British Labour Party. They join the growing ranks of Party members and trade unionists demanding an apology to Professor Moshé Machover for alleging that an article of his was antisemitic; and for an inquiry into the processes that resulted in his expulsion. As a result of UK protests Professor Machover’s expulsion has already been rescinded.
 
Professor Machover is an eminent mathematical logician, a noted Israeli dissident and advocate for the rights of Palestinians, based in London since 1968.
 

LEAD SIGNATORIES INCLUDE 3 FIELDS MEDALISTS . . .

(AKA “THE NOBEL FOR MATHS”)
 
Sir Michael Atiyah OM FRS (1966)  Former President, Royal Society & Master of Trinity College, Cambridge
David Mumford (1974)  Professor Emeritus, Mathematics, Brown University
Stephen Smale (Fields Medallist, 1966)  Professor Emeritus (Retired), Mathematics, Univ. of California
 
Other notable mathematicians, philosophers and scientists include Ahmed Abbes, Noam Chomsky, Chandler Davis, Freeman Dyson, Ivar Ekeland, David Epstein FRS, Emmanuel Farjoun, Catherine Goldstein, Mary Gray, Michael Harris, David Klein, Neal Koblitz, Malcolm Levitt FRS, Colette Moeglin, Richard Miller, Joseph Oesterlé, Hilary Rose, Steven Rose, Tim Shallice FRS and more!
 
. . . AMONG DOZENS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS, LABOUR PARTY ACTIVISTS & ISRAELI ACADEMICS SUCH AS:
 
Tariq Ali (writer), Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC (University College London), Stephen Cragg QC (Barrister, London), John Dugard (former U.N. Special Rapporteur), Brian Eno (musician), Richard Falk (Professor Emeritus, International Law, Princeton), Ronnie Kasrils (ex-Minister, South Africa), Ken Loach(film-maker), Michael Mansfield QC (President of the Haldane Society), Ilan Pappé (Professor of History, Exeter), Shlomo Sand (Professor Emeritus, History, Tel Aviv University), Raji Sourani (Director, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights) and many more!
 
This unprecedented support and demand for redress indicates serious misjudgement by the Labour Party’s much criticised disciplinary apparatus. On behalf of the petition’s organizers, Professor Jonathan Rosenhead said, “Moshé Machover is a splendid and courageous anti-racist campaigner over decades. The crass attempt to brand him an antisemite, part of an unprincipled campaign to suppress criticism of Israel, has clearly backfired in a big way. The Labour Party needs a root-and-branch reform of how its Disputes Panel and Compliance Unit have been operating.”
 

Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success

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Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success – pressure from members, Branches and CLPs CLPs led to the reversal of the expulsion of emeritus professor Moshé Machover, one of a long line of socialists and Corbyn supporters expelled or suspended on bogus charges of anti-Semitism. He is now honorary president of Labour Against the Witchhunt.

The claim that anti-Semitism is rife in the Labour Party is untrue. It is a weapon the Right has consistently used against the Left. The ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign and witchhunt is used to block criticism of Israel’s settler-colonialism, its persecution of the Palestinians and its racist, apartheid practices. False anti-Semitism accusations are used to bolster support for Israel’s role in the Middle East. Israel receives more military aid from the USA than all the other countries in the world put together, over $4 billion a year. Continue Reading “Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success”