Reinstate Jackie Walker! Sign the letter the Guardian refused to print

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Sign the letter online here.

The Guardian has refused to print this letter signed by almost 400 people within 48 hours of Jackie’s expulsion (including Noam Chomsky, Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, Alexei Sayle and Ken Livingstone). It deems the issue “sensitive” and “controversial”. We believe the real controversy is that hundreds of good socialists and anti-Zionists like Jackie Walker have been investigated, suspended and expelled. This witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters must stop!

Dear Sir/Madam,

The decision of the Labour Party to expel Jackie Walker for ‘“prejudicial and grossly detrimental behaviour” is both unfair and dishonest. Jackie was suspended over two years ago because of accusations of anti-Semitism yet her expulsion was for ‘misconduct’. [Labour expels Jackie Walker for leaked antisemitism remarks, March 27th]

Jackie’s original remarks, such as “not having heard a definition of anti-Semitism I can work with”, were obviously not anti-Semitic. Jackie’s real offence was being an anti-Zionist. Because of the difficulty of making a charge of anti-Semitism stick, Jackie’s alleged offence was changed to the subjective catch-all one of ‘misconduct’.

If anyone is guilty of misconduct it is those in Labour Friends of Israel who defended Israel’s murder of over 200 unarmed demonstrators in Gaza over the past year. False accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are the Zionists’ only method of defending the Israeli state.

Jackie’s expulsion is an attack on free speech. Rather than defend the world’s only apartheid state Israel’s supporters in the Labour Party cry ‘anti-Semitism’.

Over the past two years Jackie has been the victim of numerous attacks on social media which have questioned her Jewishness and talked about lynching and burning her. Not only has the Labour Party failed to defend her but it included some of this vile material within the dossier used to expel her, such as alleging she is “a white woman in dreadlocks”.

The expulsion of Jackie Walker is a matter of shame and we demand her immediate reinstatement.

Yours faithfully,

1.                       Noam Chomsky
2.                       Ken Livingstone
3.                       Miriam Margolyes
4.                       Alexei Sayle
5.                       Asa Winstanley
6.                       Steve Bell
7.                       Tony Greenstein
8.                       Jonathan Cook
9.                       Prof. Haim Bresheeth
10.                   Professor Dr Marco Chiesa
11.                   Prof. James Dickins
12.                   Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky
13.                   Prof. Wade Mansell
14.                   Prof. Dr. Willie van Peer
15.                   Prof Megan Povey
16.                   Prof. Chris Knight
17.                   Prof. Stephen Wagg
18.                   Kate Adams
19.                   Philip Adams
20.                   Alison Aiken
21.                   Salma Ali
22.                   Zulfqar Ali
23.                   Nadia Amara
24.                   Bonny Ambrose
25.                   Ian Ampleford
26.                   Sonya Andermahr
27.                   Alan Armstrong
28.                   Ben Armstrong
29.                   Zac Arnold
30.                   Shifa Askari
31.                   Susan Atkins
32.                   Cathy Augustine
33.                   David Avery
34.                   Clare Ayton-Edwards
35.                   Greg Axsel
36.                   David Bangs
37.                   Frances Bartram
38.                   Sid Bartram
39.                   Graham Bash
40.                   John Baxter
41.                   Janet Beale
42.                   Kevin Bean
43.                   John Beeching
44.                   Mark Bebbington
45.                   Jonathan Bellos
46.                   Karen Bett
47.                   Sonali Bhattacharyya
48.                   Peter Bloomer
49.                   Nigel Bowden
50.                   Lynda J Bowyer
51.                   Gary Boyle
52.                   Dr David Bramble
53.                   Peter Breingan
54.                   David Brown
55.                   Judith Brown
56.                   Theodore Brown
57.                   Tarin Brokenshire
58.                   Pam Bromley
59.                   John Burgess
60.                   Raymond Bush
61.                   Cllr Steve Bush
62.                   Robert Bunday
63.                   Neil Cameron
64.                   Sophie Cannivady
65.                   Andrew Carter
66.                   Avis Carter
67.                   Jonathan Chadwick
68.                   Phil Chetwynd
69.                   Cyril Chilson
70.                   Dr Tali Chilson
71.                   Dominic Chiverton
72.                   Rob Clarke
73.                   Ted Clement-Evans
74.                   Mike Clayton
75.                   Roger Coates
76.                   Matthew Collings
77.                   Christine Connolly
78.                   Marian Connollu
79.                   Steve Connor
80.                   Mariatu Conteh
81.                   Ruth Cooke
82.                   Andy Coombes
83.                   Jonathan Coulter
84.                   Maximilian Cowell
85.                   Fiona Crawford
86.                   Richard Crawford
87.                   Sandra Crawford
88.                   Lesley Crompton
89.                   Phil Crowe
90.                   Matthew Dale
91.                   Gerald Daly
92.                   Deborah Darnes
93.                   Deborah Darnes
94.                   Adrienne Davis
95.                   John Davies
96.                   Martyn Dawson
97.                   Ian Day
98.                   Richard Dixon-Payne
99.                   Tony Dodds
100.               Catherine Doris
101.               Cameron Dougherty
102.               Clare Dove
103.               Ian Dudley
104.               Ty Ebright
105.               Nancy Elan
106.               Cathy Farnworth
107.               Kamilia El-Farra
108.               Jackie Fearnley
109.               Jacqueline Finch
110.               Deborah Fink
111.               Dianne Fitzgibbons
112.               Jeanette Fletcher
113.               James Ian Fletcher
114.               Flick Foreman
115.               Nick Foster
116.               Philip Foxe
117.               Tom Foxe
118.               Tommy Fowler
119.               Ed Fredenburgh
120.               Glynis Freeman
121.               Helen Froggatt
122.               Suzanne Gannon
123.               Donna Gardner
124.               Suzanne Gannon
125.               Dr John Garrett
126.               Dr Peter Gates
127.               Chris Gaynor
128.               Gloria George
129.               John Gibson
130.               Daphne Gilbert
131.               John Gillespie
132.               Helen Glazier
133.               Deborah Good
134.               Angie Graham
135.               David Graham
136.               Elleanne Green
137.               Frankie Green
138.               Pete Green
139.               Sadie Green
140.               Sharen Green
141.               Peter Gregson
142.               Roger Grenville
143.               Helen Griffiths
144.               Nell Griffiths
145.               David Groom
146.               John McGrory
147.               Allan Grote
148.               Andrew Gunton
149.               Alex Gutteridge
150.               Natalie Guy
151.               Steve Hadden
152.               Barbara Hainsworth
153.               Paul Halas
154.               Grace Halfpenny
155.               Charlie Hall
156.               Dr James Hall
157.               Brigid Harbour
158.               Jenny Hardacre
159.               Emmet Haverty-Stacke
160.               David Hawkes
161.               David Hawkins
162.               Trefor Harris
163.               Alan Harrison
164.               Maggie Hartley
165.               Mervyn Hartwig
166.               Joseph Held
167.               Dorothy Hewitt Rimmer
168.               Greg Hewitt
169.               Ian Hickinbottom
170.               Debbie Hicks
171.               Mike Higgins
172.               David Hillman
173.               Simon Hindmarsh
174.               Simon Hinds
175.               Rebekah Hirsch
176.               Dr. Abby Hoffmann
177.               Diane Holland
178.               Rachael Holliday
179.               Doug Holton
180.               Dee Howard
181.               Mike Howard
182.               Anna Hubbard
183.               Alan Hubbard
184.               Richard Hughes
185.               David Humphrey
186.               Neil Hunt
187.               Jocelyn Hurndall
188.               Linda Irvine
189.               Diana Isserlis
190.               Lisa Jacks
191.               Andrew Jackson
192.               Glyn Jackson
193.               Maxine Jackson
194.               Rob Jefferson
195.               Glenn Jenkins
196.               Alexander Jones
197.               Barry Jones
198.               Cath Jones
199.               Cliff Jones
200.               Carolyn Jordin
201.               George Kambouroglou
202.               Stan Keable
203.               Afryl Kelly
204.               Helen Kemp
205.               Thea Khamis
206.               Faraz Khan
207.               Luqman Khan
208.               Shaista Khan
209.               Davy King
210.               Jennifer King
211.               Peter Kirker
212.               Ruth Knight
213.               Beverley Krell
214.               Janet Lambrou
215.               David Lancaster
216.               Erica Lang
217.               Diane Langford
218.               Bernice Laschinger
219.               Michelle Laufer
220.               Paul Lawlor
221.               Kay Lawrence
222.               Helen Lee
223.               Anna Lekay
224.               David Letwin
225.               Michael Letwin
226.               Les Levidow
227.               Bruce Levy
228.               Mark Lewis
229.               Nicholas Long
230.               Jake Love Soper
231.               Ian MacDonald
232.               Duncan MacPherson
233.               Dr Alan Maddisson
234.               Neil Man
235.               Sophia Mangera
236.               Hal Mansfield
237.               Helen Marks
238.               Zoe Mars
239.               Becky Matthews-Massey
240.               Bruce Mattock
241.               David Mattocks
242.               Darren Maurice
243.               Sandy McBurney
244.               Terry McCarthy
245.               Kathy McCubbing
246.               Terence McGinity
247.               Mike McGrath
248.               Steve McKenzie
249.               Fred McLean-Brown
250.               Isobel McMillan
251.               Ros Meadow
252.               Laurraine de Melchor
253.               Stephe Meloy
254.               Paul Meaney
255.               Michael Merritt
256.               Steve Merriman
257.               John Metson
258.               Jay Millington
259.               Simon Milner-Edwards
260.               Angie Mindel
261.               Anne Mitchell
262.               Matthew Montagu-Pollock
263.               Brendan Morgan
264.               Dittany Morgan
265.               Pauline Moriarty
266.               Shosh Morris
267.               Patricia Morrison
268.               Elizabeth Morley
269.               Sabah Al-Mukthar
270.               Catherine Muller
271.               Gareth Murphy
272.               David Myles
273.               Catherine Newall
274.               Katie Nikiforou
275.               Graham Noble
276.               Dr Stephen Norrie
277.               Eric Norris
278.               Caroline Nunn
279.               Steve Nunn
280.               Sean O’Donoghue
281.               Chris O’Donovan
282.               Dennis O’Malley
283.               Caroline O’Reilly
284.               Edmond O’Reilly
285.               Sheryl Odlum
286.               Jackie Oversby
287.               Tim Oxton
288.               Gill Page
289.               Pam Page
290.               Jeremy Parker
291.               Mieczysława Pascoe
292.               Frances Patterson
293.               Wendy Patterson
294.               Robert Payn
295.               Allan Pearson
296.               Richard Peirce
297.               Sarah Perrigo
298.               Susan Phasey
299.               Sasha Phillips
300.               Andy Phipps
301.               Lesley Phipps
302.               Miranda Pinch
303.               David Pinto
304.               Brian Precious
305.               David Prichard-Jones
306.               Bern Price
307.               Dipak Rajgor
308.               Dr Anandi Ramamurthy
309.               Scott Ramone
310.               Roland Rance
311.               Anthony Rawlinson
312.               Gwynne Reddick
313.               Nicola Redwood
314.               Nigel Reigate
315.               Peter Reilly
316.               Iain Rendell
317.               Dave Rendle
318.               Jon de Rennes
319.               Andy Richards
320.               Steve Richards
321.               Dorothy Rimmer
322.               Geoff Roberts
323.               Maria Roberts
324.               Bryan Roe
325.               Elke Rohn
326.               Lee Rock
327.               Ian Roddinson
328.               David Roger
329.               Vicky Russell
330.               Michael Sackin
331.               Kevin Safford
332.               John Sanderson
333.               Rob Sanderson
334.               Pauline Sault
335.               Nikki Scambler
336.               Sarah Scott
337.               Paul Scott
338.               Reg Scott
339.               David Selzer
340.               Paul Simm
341.               Andy Simons
342.               Wendy Sindall
343.               Mike Sivier
344.               Michael Skiggs
345.               Jane Smith
346.               Peter Smith
347.               John Smith
348.               Tracey Smith
349.               Wendy Smith
350.               Darbiana Souza
351.               Julie Speed
352.               Linda Speight
353.               David St Marthe
354.               Dave Statham
355.               Jan Steele
356.               Mark Strawbridge
357.               Paul Stygal
358.               Tom Suárez
359.               Sue Shaw
360.               Catherine Tanner
361.               Debbie Thompson
362.               Steve Tiller
363.               Paul Timperley
364.               Cathy Toulet
365.               Christine Tongue
366.               Julian Townsend
367.               David Travis
368.               John Tymon
369.               Mark Unsworth
370.               Paula Varley
371.               Barrie Vince
372.               Terence Viney
373.               Lorna Walker
374.               Robert Walker
375.               Adam Waterhouse
376.               Daniel Waterman
377.               David Watson
378.               Martin Watson
379.               Ian Wellens
380.               Tina Werkman
381.               Lee Whittaker
382.               Bruce Whitehead
383.               Stewart Whitehead
384.               Michael Wilde
385.               Stella Wilkinson-Maynard
386.               Clare Louise Wilmott
387.               Rita Williams
388.               Stephen Williams
389.               Norman Wood
390.               Avril Wooster
391.               Leonard Wright
392.               Zoe Zero
393.               Maciej Zurowski

The expulsion of Jackie Walker is a great injustice

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Today’s expulsion of Jackie Walker from the Labour Party for “misconduct” – of which the Jewish Chronicle was informed before her solicitors – is a great injustice, though it does not come as a surprise. Although the panel took two days to come to their conclusion, the die had been cast long ago. The decision to charge her for a “pattern of behaviour” does not bode well for Chris Williamson MP, who has been accused of similar ‘offences’.

Jackie walked out on the first day of her hearing, because the panel did not allow her to read out a brief statement. This ruling once again emphasised the lack of fairness at the heart of the party’s disciplinary procedures: for example, the investigating officers added five new charges to their allegations a mere three working days before the hearing began, giving her no time to effectively challenge them and defend herself.

Click on the picture to watch a great little film of the protest produced by Jon Pullman.

Clearly, walking out made no difference to the eventual outcome – but she was able to expose the lack of natural justice at the heart of her case with a spirited party with the well over 100 people who came to the Deptford Lounge in South London to support her.

Please read Jackie’s statement, in which she takes apart the charges against her and outlines the lack of natural justice and due process in the party’s disciplinary procedures against her.

This decision is a massive set back in the fight for the soul of the Labour Party – the right has been able to claim yet another scalp.

LAW stand in unequivocal solidarity with Jackie Walker and all those who have unfairly brandished as anti-Semites on trumped up and nonsense charges and those who have been expelled because they are supporting left-wing groups in the Labour Party. It is those kind of politicised decisions, designed to appease the right, that are bringing “the party into disrepute” – not our comrades Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Marc Wadsworth, Stan Keable and Chris Williamson.

Solidarity message from Ken Loach to ‘Defend the Left’ rally

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March 25 2019

The Left has always stood in solidarity against racism and alongside its victims.  That will never change.

But allegations have to be proved, and the accused are entitled to due process at disciplinary hearings.  This means open tribunals, where the evidence is interrogated and judgements are available to all – justice must be seen to be done: equality before the rule book – no special treatment for anyone, however venerable; and accusations that are considered to be vexatious should attract appropriate sanctions.

A respected member of the Jewish Socialist Group said, way back in 2017: “accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised to attack the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party”. That is the observation of a Jewish member of the Labour party.

The statistics that Jennie Formby has released are revealing.  For example, of 1100 complaints received between April 2018 and January 2019, 433 related to people who were not Labour party members – nearly 40%.

200 complaints were submitted by one MP.  They concerned 111 people.  Of those, 91 were not Party members.‎ 200 complaints – but only 20 party members.

And that is before evidence has been tested or defences made.  The MP? None other than Margaret Hodge.

As a matter of urgency these figures should be re-examined and double checked.  If it can be proved that 91 of those accused out of the 111 are not even Labour party members, why did Margaret Hodge submit the complaints?  Was she careless, and did not carry out due diligence,  or did she know they were not Labour party members?  So what are her reasons?  She too is entitled to a fair hearing, but we must demand answers given that mass allegations clearly bring the party into serious disrepute.

Calling the leader of the party a ‘f……g racist and antisemite’ also brings the party into disrepute. Why was Margaret Hodge not charged on that occasion? Equality before the law!

Chris Williamson has fought as hard as anyone to advance the party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. There is no way he is antisemitic.  Read the speech in question, and it is obvious that he is talking about how we should respond to the present situation. Clearly there is no implication of antisemitism in what he has said.

Jackie Walker speaks with great honesty about how her own background demonstrates the history of racism.  Again, there is no way Jackie is antisemitic.

And there are others who have been unfairly targeted.

Recent terrible events show the Far Right is on the march. They are the real racists.  As ever, it is people like Chris and Jackie, and others in their situation, who will lead our fight back.

Ken Loach

 

 

Solidarity message from Chris Williamson to ‘Hands Off the Left’ rally

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March 25 2019

I want to thank grassroots members from the bottom of my heart for the extraordinary solidarity they’ve shown since my suspension.

It’s been incredibly heart-warming and humbling to be the recipient of such an outpouring of support, and to witness the vicarious indignation felt by thousands as result of this decision.

But this isn’t just about me, it’s about all of us.

I’m proud of Labour’s record in standing up to racism and bigotry in all its forms throughout our history.

Whether it was standing shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community in Cable Street against Oswald Mosely’s fascists, or confronting the fascist National Front via the Anti-Nazi League in the 1970s, Labour Party members have always been at the forefront.

Let’s remember it was people like Ken Livingstone, when he was the leader of the GLC, who were dismissed and disparaged as “Looney Lefties” for challenging casual racism in the 1980s.

That’s one of the reasons why we owe Ken a debt of gratitude.

He was in the vanguard of those challenging all forms of bigotry at that time, he played a huge role in shifting public opinion.

And let’s also remember that Jackie Walker has spent her life fighting racism, as well as being a target of it.

She helped to spearhead the efforts to stop Nigel Farage obtaining a parliamentary platform for his bigoted credo, when he stood as a parliamentary candidate in South Thanet in 2015.

Thank you, Jackie, for your tenacity and your bravery.

But there is of course more to do, which is why we need to unite to stand up to bigotry that manifests itself in racism, Islamophobia, misogyny and anti-Semitism.

So, let’s stand together and keep our eyes on the prize of a Corbyn-led Labour Government.

A government that will transform our country.

A government that will implement an irreversible shift in the balance of power in the interests of working people.

And a government that will implement a genuine ethical foreign policy.

That’s why we’re being subjected to unjustified, and unjustifiable, smears and attacks.

And that’s why my motto is that solidarity is crucial when it’s difficult, not just when it’s easy.

We’re not just trying to win an election, we’re in the process of changing the course of history.

So, let’s make history together.

 

We condemn the suspension of Jo Bird and the appointment of Lord Falconer

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UPDATE: Jo Bird’s suspension was lifted on March 15, though apparently she was given a ‘warning’ – for telling jokes!

Labour Against the Witchhunt unreservedly condemns the suspension from the Labour Party of Jewish councillor for Bromborough Jo Bird. At a Justice4Marc meeting last year in Manchester (in solidarity with Marc Wadsworth) she made a light-hearted comment, stating: “Jewish Voice For Labour is calling for disciplinary hearings to be paused until a due process has been established, based on principles of natural justice. What I call Jew process”.

Clearly, the context of that quote shows that her joke was not anti-Semitic at all – but the exact opposite.

Coming so soon after the suspension of Chris Williamson MP on equally baseless grounds, we are concerned that the small positive reforms of the disciplinary process introduced by general secretary Jennie Formby have been rolled back. We are seeing the return of automatic suspensions, even before an investigation has started. And again, they are used almost exclusively against left-wing supporters of Corbyn. Tom Watson, Margaret Hodge, Joan Ryan and Louise Ellman on the other hand get away with insulting and undermining Jeremy Corbyn and the party without any consequence. This is clearly not a fair process.

We are also greatly concerned with the plan to appoint Lord Falconer to “re-investigate” cases of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. As an ally of Tony Blair, a member of his war cabinet and the lawyer whose legal advice helped to break up the National Union of Mineworkers, we believe he is most certainly not the right man for the job. His interview in the Sunday Times shows that he is also far from impartial on this issue: “The most frightening thing is the profound and almost universal sense within the Jewish community that the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn are anti-Semitic. They feel they are not safe … because the potential prime minister and the main opposition party are anti-Semitic.”

This is nonsense. Firstly, there is no hegemonic “Jewish community”. There are pro-Zionist Jews and there anti- or non-Zionist Jews – those like Jo Bird, Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein and the thousands organised in groups like Jewish Voice for Labour, Jewish Socialist Group etc. They certainly do not feel “unsafe” in the Labour Party. It is a story spun by the right-wing in the Labour Party, in cahoots with non-Labour organisations like the Board of Deputies and the Israeli embassy – who are united in their desire to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.

We believe these recent, bad decisions of the Labour leadership are the direct consequence of the formation of the so-called The Independent Group. Eager to stop any more right-wingers from splitting from the party, the leadership is bending over backwards once more. We are even hearing that the reformed trigger ballots are being put on hold to avoid any challenges to sitting MPs –despite the fact that this policy was agreed at Labour Party conference 2018.  But the last three and a half years show: Appeasement does not work. Every time the leadership takes a step back, the right makes two steps forward.

As Ken Loach, one of LAW’s sponsors said: “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.”

Documentary: The Political Lynching of Jackie Walker

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The world preview of this documentary by Jon Pullman in Liverpool had to be halted after a hoax bomb threat. There are forces that are clearly unhappy about the documentary’s exposure of the right-wing campaign that has led to Jackie’s suspension from the Labour Party. But they have only achieved the opposite: Plenty of people asked us at conference when and how they could see the film! We are therefore part of a major campaign bringing the film and its message to a wide audience:

– The preview will take place before an invited audience at a location in London. Please get in touch if you are interested in attending.

– More information will be widely circulated as part of publicity for a nationwide tour with director Jon Pullman, Jackie Walker and others. Dates and venues to be announced. Again, let us know if you are interested in putting on a showing locally.

– Following the tour, the film will be made available on DVD for use by CLPs, trade unions and other groups.

Bomb threat at Jackie Walker film

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Last night’s film preview of the new documentary, ‘The political
 lynching of Jackie Walker’, had to be stopped a few minutes in.
 After an anonymous phone call (“there are two bombs in the
building that will kill many people”), all 150 visitors had to evacu
ate Blackburn House on police orders. Of course, no bomb was
found. By the time the police gave the all-clear, the staff wanted 
to go home. This hoax is almost certainly part of the campaign
 by pro-Zionist forces to disrupt and intimidate the pro-Palestinian left. But, of course, this kind of cowardly behaviour will only
 increase the feeling of solidarity for Jackie Walker and all the
other victims of the witch-hunt – and interest in the film.

Sheffield LAW ‘Justice4Marc’ meeting

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Labour Against the Witchhunt organised a fantastic meeting in Sheffield yesterday, as part of the national ‘Justice4Marc’ speaking tour with Marc Wadsworth. The meeting was packed, with around 80 people cramming into the wonderful DINA arts venue – and the staff working there last night got very involved, too! We heard from:

  • Jewish author Paul Kelemen (who exposed the agenda of the pro-Israel lobby);
  • Scott Shaw (who was expelled because of his association with Socialist Appeal);
  • Martin Mayer (who shared fascinating stories from his time on the Labour Party NEC and the many “bogus” claims of anti-Semitism he witnessed first hand);
  • Jackie Walker (who focused on the need to develop a comradely, but critical attitude towards Jeremy Corbyn and the NEC for not standing up to the witch-hunt: “If our leadership does not lead, then we have to lead our leaders”);
  • and of course Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled on April 27 from the Labour Party.

Unfortunately, there was a bit of friction at the start of the event as Marc Wadsworth objected to the locally agreed chair Lee Rock (who runs Sheffield Left List, which organises the Labour left across all six Sheffield CLPs and had about 30 supporters at the meeting). Marc insisted on a particular black member of Momentum Sheffield chairing instead.

However, myself, Jackie Walker and others objected to her, as at the January AGM she had been one of the instigators of a motion to exclude from Momentum Sheffield all non-Labour members – including, explicitly, those who had been expelled from the Labour Party for unjust reasons. The AGM motion was carried by a very small margin and now affects about a dozen former members. They can attend some (not all) meetings of Sheffield Momentum, but are not allowed to vote or be elected to any positions – i.e., they have no membership rights.

Huge credit to Jackie Walker, national chair of LAW, who pointed out very patiently how this local decision – which is almost unique among local Momentum groups – was in fact an integral part of the witch-hunt against the Labour left and that she would not accept any chair who had voted in favour of it. As a compromise, Lee Rock agreed to vacate his position and Jackie chaired the meeting instead. Marc decided at that point to leave the top table and made his contribution from the floor.

It was very heartening to hear so many speakers get up and make the connection between the rightwing witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and the agenda of the pro-Israel lobby, both of which want to stop the transformation of the Labour Party into a democratic, anti-war party. Speakers criticised the party leadership’s policy of trying to appease those forces: “With every step back that we take, there will be a void. And the right is filling this void”, as comrade Shaw put it.

My favourite contribution came from John Dunn (a leading member of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign) who, in a rousing speech, ripped into Momentum owner Jon Lansman for not standing up to the witch-hunt in the Labour Party, fostering the lie that there is a huge problem with anti-Semitism in the party. Instead of offering solidarity to the thousands suspended and expelled, Lansman has become complicit in the witch-hunt.

In my own contribution, I mentioned the need for socialists to stand up to injustice, particularly in our own organisations. “When we see a rule that is clearly unjust, as with Momentum’s constitution, surely we do not simply accept it. As socialists, we fight against it and refuse to implement it” – something, that of course, most Momentum branches have done. Jewish Voice for Labour, too, does not recognise as legimitate the expulsions and suspensions from the Labour Party for political reasons and admits those affected as full JVL members.

Another comrade reported the huge strain her suspension had put her under. Her ‘crime’: she had shared a meme of a DWP job centre sign, where the words had been replaced with ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (the slogan above the Auschwitz concentration camp). It takes some mental contortion to see how this could be described as anti-Semitic. Clearly, it is a pointed criticism of the Tory government’s hounding of disabled and vulnerable people.

But of course, in today’s poisonous police state atmosphere, anything is possible. For example, another comrade reported on the case of Stan Keable, who this week was sacked from his job, after a private discussion with a Zionist at the ‘Enough is Enough’ protest in March had been filmed and published online: He tried to defend as historically accurate Ken Livingstone’s claim that the early Nazi regime did indeed work with the Zionists in trying to transfer Jews to Palestine.

Many speakers naturally brought up the unfortunate resignation of Ken Livingstone from the Labour Party. Marc Wadsworth suggested that Ken might have resigned in order to support Marc’s own campaign for reinstatement, but I am uncertain he convinced many people in the room of this theory. It seems far more likely that Livingstone has indeed been pressured and persuaded by Jeremy Corbyn to resign. After all, Corbyn immediately congratulated him on this decision – a very unhelpful political move, as many in the room felt, and lacking in solidarity.

Jackie Walker reminded comrades that in the 1980s, during the purge of Militant, an earlier incarnation of ‘Labour Against the Witchhunt’ was chaired by no other than Jeremy Corbyn. “I think if he was not the party leader today, he would probably be sitting on this platform right now”, she said.

It was a boisterous meeting with a very healthy fighting spirit. At the end, Jackie encouraged everybody to not give up the fight. “I will not resign. I have had two years of shit being thrown at me, but it is hugely important that we all stay – or try to stay – in the party and fight.” She encouraged comrades to become conference delegates, stand for positions in their local branches and CLPs, get involved in Sheffield Labour Left List – and to join Labour Against the Witchhunt, of course.

Tina Werkmann

LAW statement: Corbyn was wrong to pressurise Ken Livingstone into leaving the Labour Party

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It is clear from reports such as John Rentoul in The Independent that Ken Livingstone’s resignation was not voluntary but the result of pressure exerted by Jeremy Corbyn and his close associates. We refer in particular to Shami Chakrabarti’s disgraceful attack on Livingstone on BBC’s Sunday Politics (May 13),when she threatened she would quit the Labour front bench if Livingstone was not expelled. Chakrabarti has not only ignored her own recommendations on natural justice and due process but she has also destroyed her own reputation, as a former Director of Liberty, for a belief in freedom of expression.

Nothing Livingstone was alleged to have done could in any way be described as anti-Semitic.  His remark that “Hitler supported Zionism” is confirmed by a host of Holocaust historians.  If he gave offence to supporters of Israel and Zionism it is because of the appalling record historically of Zionism when it comes to fighting real anti-Semites. Continue Reading “LAW statement: Corbyn was wrong to pressurise Ken Livingstone into leaving the Labour Party”

LAW statement on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth

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“Victim of a politically motivated campaign against Jeremy Corbyn”

Labour Against the Witchhunt strongly condemns the outrageous decision to expel Marc Wadsworth after a two-day hearing in front of three right-wing members of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee.

Marc is the latest victim of the politically motivated witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Marc Wadsworth, a lifelong campaigner against racism, has been smeared and his reputation tarnished, first by the vile and false allegations against him and now, to top it off, by this deeply unjust verdict. Following 22 months of trial-by-media, our comrade had very little chance of receiving a fair hearing – and he did not get one. Continue Reading “LAW statement on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth”

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). Continue Reading “LAW model motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth”

LAW lobby: NEC members sneak in through the back door

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Intrepid opponents of the Labour purge of pro-Corbyn supporters braved freezing weather to be on a lobby of the party’s National Executive Committee today. They included members of Grassroots Black Left, the Labour Representation Committee, Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Party Marxists and Brighton and Hove Momentum. Organised by Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), the high-spirited demo sighted party leader Corbyn, his political advisor Katy Clark and Campaign for Labour Party Democracy secretary Peter Willsman, an NEC member, going into the meeting at Labour’s Southside headquarters in central London. But, mysteriously, despite the people on the lobby being outside the office block an hour before the NEC meeting started, no more members of Labour’s 39-strong ruling body, where the Corbyn-backing Left recently took control, were seen – suggesting they may have slipped into the building from a back entrance to avoid being questioned. The campaigners chanted: “Stop the witch hunts”, “End the suspensions”, and “Implement Chakrabarti now”.

Former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker, who has been suspended by Labour for almost two years, said: “We welcome the resignation of general secretary Iain McNicol and his replacement today by Jennie Formby, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter whom LAW has critically supported. Things are definitely changing in the party, but they are not changing fast enough for a lot of members who remain suspended or expelled based on trumped-up or false charges or simply because they are active supporters of Corbyn.”

Grassroots Black Left’s Marc Wadsworth, the veteran anti-racist campaigner suspended by Labour in June 2016 whose expulsion hearing is on April 25, was on the lobby with Walker and Tony Greenstein, who, despite being Jewish, has been expelled on a false charge of anti-semitism. Wadsworth said: “We demand that the recommendations of the 2016 Chakrabarti report in respect of natural justice and due process are implemented without any further delay. The NEC’s failure to so far make the long-overdue changes has brought the party, that prides itself on upholding justice for all, into disrepute. The divisive purge of Jeremy Corbyn supporters has prevented and discouraged new members from getting involved in party life, while costly Labour resources have been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners for social change.”

 

Statement on the February 18 expulsion of Tony Greenstein from the Labour Party

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“Labour Against the Witchhunt deplores the politically motivated expulsion from the Labour Party of Tony Greenstein (LAW’s vice-chair). It is a blatant example of how the right-wing who oppose Jeremy Corbyn, the democratically elected Labour leader, have cynically weaponised anti-Semitism to attack his supporters.

Veteran Black, Jewish and other party members have been targeted as part of this witch-hunt. Greenstein is a Jewish anti-racist who has campaigned ceaselessly against the Zionist Israeli government’s appalling treatment of Palestinians and has played a leading role in exposing how children, like jailed Ahed Tamini, have been caught up in this cycle of oppression. He is not Anti-semitic. It is shameful that anti-Semitism has been cynically weaponised by the right-wing to purge Labour of Corbyn supporters, while much more prevalent anti-black racism and, until Jeremy Corbyn spoke out against it, Islamophobia, have been ignored by the party.

We call on the Labour leadership to use its left-wing majority on the party’s ruling National Executive Committee to reinstate Greenstein and stop the witch-hunt; it is an expression of the ongoing civil war in the party that serves no other purpose than to damage the party’s chances of winning the next general election.

The NEC must, without further delay, implement the recommendations of the party’s own Chakrabarti Report recommendations on disciplinary procedure based on natural justice and due process. It is astonishing that almost two years have gone by without these vital changes being brought in so that party members are treated fairly rather than made victims of the purge.”

LAW’s steering committee includes Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth, both of whom remain suspended on trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism. Please support Marc’s crowdfunding appeal – he is next in the firing-line. His hearing has been set for April 25 in London – LAW will be supporting him with a protest outside backed by members of Grassroots Black Left, the Indian Workers’ Association and Jewish Voice for Labour.