Has the Labour witch-hunt climaxed?

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We reproduce below an article about Sheffield Labour Party member Lee Rock, who is being investigated by Labour’s compliance unit for what might well be the most ridiculous charge we have yet come across. This investigation needs to be shut down – accompanied by a public apology and action taken against those who have made this vexatious complaint. The article first appeared on Labour Party Marxists’ website.

 

The witch-hunt against the left in the Labour Party has become even more absurd, reports Carla Roberts of Labour Party Marxists

All those who thought the witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party had reached its limits can think again. The recent arrival of leftwing general secretary Jennie Formby and in-house QC Gordon Nardell (a founding member of the Labour Representation Committee) are clearly no protection, when it comes to the party apparatus taking absolutely ludicrous decisions.

On Monday July 16, long-standing trade union activist and socialist Lee Rock received notice from the Labour Party’s “acting head of disputes”, Nareser Osei, that, “Allegations that you may have been involved in a breach of Labour Party rules have been brought to the attention of national officers of the Labour Party.” Continue Reading “Has the Labour witch-hunt climaxed?”

Momentum, don’t expel those witch-hunted by the compliance unit!

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Having been expelled from the Labour Party on very spurious grounds and with a clear lack of due process, Tony Greenstein is now being threatened with expulsion from Momentum, too!

Find below the email exchange between ‘Team Momentum’ and Tony and, further below, a draft letter you could send in protest to info@peoplesmomentum.com and jon.lansman@peoplesmomentum.com


On 22 March 2018 at 14:12, Momentum Info <info@peoplesmomentum.com> wrote:

Dear Tony Greenstein,

It has come to our attention that you are no longer a member of the Labour Party, as reported here and here and elsewhere.

Under rule 5.8 of Momentum’s constitution, any Momentum member who ceases to be a member of the Labour Party, or acts inconsistently with Labour Party membership, may be deemed to have resigned their membership of Momentum. Under rule 5.10 of Momentum’s constitution, where a member may be deemed to have resigned in accordance with rule 5.8, there will be a right to be heard by Momentum’s National Coordinating Group or a delegated panel before a final decision is made.

A panel of the National Coordinating Group will meet on Thursday 29th March 2018 in order to determine whether or not to deem you as having resigned your membership of Momentum under rule 5.8. If you would like to make any representations to this panel, please do so in writing by Wednesday 28th March 2018.

Kind regards,
Team Momentum


Dear Team Momentum,

When you write to another member of Momentum, especially when it is a personal matter and not simply a mass mailing, I would expect that whoever wrote your email would append their name to it to.

Sending messages with no names is part and parcel of the corporate culture we live in and under. It is part of reducing human relations to an impersonal commodification.  Clearly the World Transformed festival you put on each year has taught you nothing.

It is not something I would expect from a socialist organisation, at least I assume you make a claim to be socialists.  It is not only rude and discourteous it suggests that you have contempt for the membership.  I would appreciate it if in any future correspondence the person who is corresponding reveals themselves. At least I assume that you don’t need a whole team to write one email.

Yes you are correct I was expelled from the Labour Party on February 18th.  I accept that under the imposed Constitution of Momentum I ‘may be deemed to have resigned….’.  However that process is not automatic.  I wish this to be dealt with in a comradely fashion and not legalistically.  However the Constitution, which functions as a binding contract, is quite specific:

5.8 Any member who does not join the Labour Party by 1 July 2017, or ceases to be a member of the Labour Party, or acts inconsistently with Labour Party membership, may be deemed to have resigned.

5.10 Where a member may be deemed to have resigned in accordance with Rules 5.7, 5.8 or 5.9 there will be a right to be heard by the NCG or a delegated panel before a final decision is made.  The second paragraph of your

I have emboldened the key phrase as your email to me is ambiguous. You seem to be suggesting that I notify you in writing by 28th March but you do not suggest that any provision has been made for a hearing.

Your time scale is virtually impossible to meet and the date of 29th March is impossible as I have child care on that evening. The following week would be very difficult but I could make Apri 11th, 12th and 13th in the week after.

Your email gives the distinct impression that this is merely a matter of going through the motions. I would however like to context the ‘deemed to have resigned’ provisions of the constitution and draw your attention to the phrase in Clause 5.8 may be deemed to have resigned.’ There is no obligation on you to deem anything and I wish to make strong, personal representations to this effect.

As I said your schedule is very tight especially if the written representations are going to be thorough.

I wish this to be dealt with in a comradely fashion and not legalistically. I was forced, because of the inherent unfairness of the Labour Party’s disciplinary process to go to the High Court to obtain an injunction. https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/suspended-labour-activist-wins-high-court-injunction-against-disciplinary-hearing-on-antisemitism-charges-1.450088

I would not wish to have to make an application against Momentum but your email to me, apart from being high handed and discourteous, was and is unreasonable. I would hope that we can come to an amicable agreement. I do have part-time care of an autistic boy and if Momentum stands for anything it should be making reasonable adjustments in such cases.

Rather than having an exchange of correspondence I suggest you ring me. I couldn’t find a number for you but I can be contacted on 01273 xxx.

In solidarity,

Tony Greenstein


DRAFT PROTEST LETTER – please amend and send to  info@peoplesmomentum.com and jon.lansman@peoplesmomentum.com

Dear NCG comrades,

I was disappointed to learn today that Tony Greenstein, a member of Momentum based in Brighton, has been expelled – or “deemed to have resigned” – from the organisation.
Presumably, this decision was made in response to pressure from the right of the Labour Party, and those elements who wish appease it, following Tony’s participation in the Labour Against the Witchhunt demonstration outside Southside earlier this week.
Tony is an energetic and passionate activist whose campaigning work and writings have made a huge contribution to the labour movement, the Palestinian liberation struggle and anti-racist/anti-fascist causes.
At a time when changes in key personnel at Labour HQ – eg, the appointment of Jennie Formby as general secretary – offer hope that the appalling wave of suspensions and expulsions under Iain McNicol’s regime might be overturned, it would be shameful if Momentum took it upon itself to throw yet more sacrificial scalps to the anti-Corbyn right.
The comrade’s expulsion from the Labour Party last month was a disgraceful affair. Tony was suspended for alleged antisemitism in March 2016, yet no offences before that date were included on eventual charge sheet that finally emerged nearly two years later. He was suspended for one thing and then a trawl was undertaken to find other reasons to justify that. This is a witchhunting technique that many Momentum members have faced in the last couple of years as supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership have been picked off one by one, particularly those who are active in pro-Palestine campaigns.
I urge you to review this decision as soon as possible.
In solidarity,
 XXX

LAW welcomes Jon Lansman’s decision to withdraw

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March 11 2018

Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) welcomes Jon Lansman’s decision to finally listen to his party comrades, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and withdraw as a candidate for the General Secretary post.

We are mystified as to why Lansman, who purports to back the greater representation of women at all levels of the Labour Party, ran against Unite’s Jennie Formby in the first place. LAW critically supports Formby for the job. We are concerned about her record on Labour’s NEC  where it appears she has, as recently as last week, failed to oppose the witch hunting of Jeremy Corbyn supporters by right-wingers who have weaponised false claims of anti-semitism despite Formby herself being the target of such smears. Nobody in the Labour Party can truly be a socialist if they support the purge and that includes the future general secretary.

Lansman, given his record in abolishing all democratic structures within Momentum and imposing a new constitution, is unfit to be Labour General Secretary.

He got rid of the right of Momentum’s “liberation strands”, such as Momentum Black Connexions/Caucus, to have direct representation on the leading national bodies of Momentum.  More recently, he closed down Momentum’s youth group. This demonstrates his serious lack of commitment to the self-organisation of oppressed and disadvantaged groups in the Labour Party.

Labour Against the Witchhunt believes that Lansman lacks the democratic credentials necessary to become general secretary of the Labour Party, especially in view of previous General Secretary Iain McNicol’s purge of thousands of pro-Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party members and the particularly those as a result of false accusations of anti-semitism and others based on members’ alleged “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B.

The Labour Party now needs a General Secretary who will put a decisive stop to the witch-hunt who will make sure that all disciplinary charges are dealt with fairly, swiftly, transparently and with the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty”.

Jackie Walker was suspended from Labour membership on trumped-up charges of anti-semitism, following Lansman’s pre-emptive action in removing her as Momentum’s vice-chair, and, at the time, making plain his sympathies with the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement who have championed the witchhunt in order to purge the party of Corbyn-supporting anti-Zionists.

Lansman’s constitution for Momentum bars from membership all those expelled by the Labour Party’s compliance unit. This rule that has been used exclusively against left-wingers. Lansman has since come out in support of keeping the rule (2.1.4.B) in Labour’s constitution.

He has also opposed our demands for the abolition of the Compliance Unit. We believe that all disciplinary matters should be dealt with by elected representatives.

Labour’s next general secretary should ensure the NEC immediately implements the recommendations on the party’s disciplinary procedure made by the Shami Chakrabarti Report of June 30 2016.

We believe that Unite’s Jennie Formby would be the best choice for general secretary. As a supporter of the rights of the Palestinians people we think her election would send a powerful political signal. We hope that her tenure would mark the beginning of the end of the witch-hunt.

Steering Committee
Labour Against the Witchhunt

 

Why we cannot support Jon Lansman’s Labour Party general secretary bid

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Some of us are members of Momentum, some have never joined – and some of us left the organisation after January 2017, when its leader Jon Lansman abolished all democratic structures and imposed a new constitution, riding roughshod over the organisation’s members.

It should be noted that, as part of this coup, Lansman abolished the right of Momentum’s “liberation strands” to have direct representation on the leading national bodies of the organisation. Among the consequences of this was the breaking up of Momentum Black Connexions/Caucus. More recently, he closed down Momentum’s youth group. This demonstrates his serious lack of commitment to the self-organisation, self-determination and autonomy of disadvantaged groups in society.

Wes Stressing MP: new friend of Jon Lansman’s

As a consequence of Lansman’s behaviour, Labour Against the Witchhunt believes he lacks the democratic credentials to become the kind of general secretary that the Labour Party now needs in order to heal the wounds inflicted by Iain McNicol’s divisiveness. As general secretary, McNicol was directly in charge of the discredited compliance unit and thereby responsible for the purge of thousands of pro-Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party members. The automatic and instant expulsions and suspensions overseen by McNicol – especially those based on alleged anti-semitism and those based on members’ alleged “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B – have brought the party into disrepute. They have prevented and discouraged new members from getting involved in party life, while valuable resources have been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners for social change. Continue Reading “Why we cannot support Jon Lansman’s Labour Party general secretary bid”

Grassroots Black Left Submission to Labour’s Democracy Review

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I have been asked to distribute this to people and ask them to submit the following to the Democracy Review at democracy@labour.org.uk.  It has to be in by Friday 12th January 4pm.

I am also enclosing the Grassroots Black Left (GBL) criticism of Momentum owner Jon Lansman’s proposals on BAME. They are very critical of the fact that Lansman has wound up all the liberation strands in Momentum and is in the process of winding up the Youth Section as well.

Here is the link to Lansman’s Open Letter with which the GBL agree.  At the moment BAME is in the hands of the Right and is a rotten borough which excludes 99% of Black and Asian members of the Labour Party.

The Grassroots Black Left proposals reject the term BAME as a white term.  In particular they reject the concept of ‘ethnic minority’ which is ill defined and can include people who are not oppressed.  They call for a Labour Party Black Socialists group with 2 representatives, not one as Lansman proposes on the NEC.  They also call for an annual not a biannual conference.

If you agree with the Grassroots Black Left Proposals can you please submit them in your own name, with your membership number attached and contact details by tomorrow January 12, 4 pm at the very latest.

Thank you, Tony Greenstein

Please accept this as my submission to the Labour Party Democracy Review. I request an acknowledgement of receipt.

According to the Guardian’s Rajeev Syal Democracy review may put Keith Vaz’s position on Labour NEC at risk, fewer than 800 members voted for Keith Vaz as the BAME NEC member in August, despite an estimated 72,000 black and minority ethnic members.  This is unacceptable.  As presently constituted BAME Labour appears to be a self-selecting elite club which is not open to the vast majority of Black and Asian members of the Labour Party.  As presently constituted some 1% of Black and Asia Labour Party members are members of BAME Labour  and yet they elected Keith Vaz as the BAME member of the National Executive Committee.  It is clear that as presently constituted BAME Labour is a rotten borough.  The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader was supposed to lead to a wind of change, not a consolidation of the undemocratic practices of New Labour.  The old undemocratic institutions of New Labour need to be overthrown. Continue Reading “Grassroots Black Left Submission to Labour’s Democracy Review”