Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP

Like and share this post:

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.

Feel free to download, share and use our memes.

Table of Contents

Continue Reading “Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP”

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

Like and share this post:

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

 

 

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

Like and share this post:

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.”

Message of support from Ken Loach

Like and share this post:

Click here to download all messages of support in a PDF file: from Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and Chris Williamson MP

I’m sorry not to be with you tonight – but very pleased to send a message of strong support to Labour Against The Witchhunt and Marc personally. No one wants a party that tolerates abuse or racism. But that’s not my experience of Labour meetings and I’m sure it’s not yours. If there are allegations, let the evidence be brought, scrutinised in an open hearing in front of an impartial panel, with all sides heard, witnesses allowed to speak and a right to appeal. In other words, due process in accordance with natural justice.

That does not appear to have happened in Marc’s case. The available information shows the evidence to be weak and the judgement faulty. Marc has an honourable record as a principled campaigner against racism and injustice. We should demand that his case be reopened.

Further, we cannot tolerate the abuse of the disciplinary procedure for political purposes, to remove good activists. The people who should face scrutiny are those MPs and their apologists who do their best to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, who supported the right wing policies of Blair, including his illegal war in Iraq, with the terrible consequences we see today.

The Labour Party is changing. Make certain the changes really happen.  Working class people need a party that will re-order society so that all may live with security and dignity. To transform society we have also to transform the party – this struggle is part of that transformation.

Solidarity,

Ken Loach

 

Birmingham LAW meeting March 21

Like and share this post:

The meeting was opened with a video produced by Real News USA which interviewed Richard Kuper, Jewish Voices for Labour, on the false accusations of anti-semitism. This provoked a good debate on the issue.

There was 18 people present from a wide range of Labour parties in Bham, the Black country and a comrade from Nuneaton. There was a report on the successful Bham LAW meeting on the 30th January with Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker and Naomi Wimborne-Idressi with 55 in attendance. The meeting had a good geographical spread with comrades from the Black country, Coventry, Nottingham and Birmingham and different ethnic minority communities were well represented. It was noted the two Birmingham Momentum groups refused to circulate details of the meeting to their supporters. The pro-Corbyn organisation refusing to defend Corbyn supporters who are facing false allegations and expulsions.

Steve Price, convenor of Midlands Campaign for Labour Party Democracy chaired the meeting and reported on cases of exclusions from the Labour Party in the West Midlands area. He hoped to attend at least part of the national LAW meeting in London on Saturday 24th March. It was reported that there was an important anti-racist mobilisation in Birmingham at 12 noon outside Waterstones on Saturday. Comrades were urged to attend and LAW leaflets would be available from the Bham StWC stall.

It was reported that 100+ LAW leaflets were distributed at a Solihull Labour Party social with John Mcdonnell as the main speaker on the 15th March.

It was agreed Marian Brian from Ladywood LP would be the secretary of Bham LAW and Aktar Khan from Nuneaton LP would be the assistant secretary. Steve Price and Andrew Thompson would continue to be the joint chairs.

In summing up the meeting Steve Price, chair of Bham LAW, noted the comment by veteran anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth “You can’t call yourself a socialist if you don’t publicly oppose the witchhunt.”

In any other business there was a report on the campaign against the plans for the closure of the Bham City Council 14 Nurseries. There would probably be another lobby of the Council on the 22nd May but it was important we lobby the new Momentum Labour Councillors to submit a motion opposing the closure of the Nurseries to the June Labour Group meeting which would probably approve a cabinet recommendation to close them. It was noted that Labour Women were playing a very limited role in opposing these Nursery closures.

A collection at the end raised £9.98 which in addition to the collection at the 30th January meeting meant the total funds were £78.33.

PS. “The Jewish Chronicle” 23.3.18. reports that “The Board of Deputies president has called for the whip to be removed from the outspoken left-wing Labour MP who called for Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker to be readmitted to the party.” The MP was Chris Williamson who said it was a “real pleasure and a privilege” to be sharing a platform with Jackie Walker. Clearly a MP is a hero of many in Momentum is willing to defend Jackie and others unlike many Momentum supporters in Bham. I would propose we invite him to speak at our next Bham LAW public meeting.

Ken Loach: “This witch-hunt is a complete nonsense”

Like and share this post:

Filmmaker Ken Loach addressed spirited meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt in London on January 29

More than 70 people crammed into London’s Conway Hall last night (January 29) to discuss the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the Labour Party and what can be done to stop it. Hundreds of left-wing and pro-Palestinian members remain expelled or suspended, for example on trumped up charges of anti-Semitism.
For videos from the event, click here.

Continue Reading “Ken Loach: “This witch-hunt is a complete nonsense””