When Jeremy Corbyn fought against the witch-hunt in the Labour Party

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Quoted in: Fightback!: Labour’s Traditional Right in the 1970s and 1980s by Dianne Hayter, page 32.

“In 1982, as chairman of the Hornsey constituency party, Jeremy Corbyn signed a membership card for Tariq Ali, a former member of the International Marxist Group, in defiance of Labour’s National Executive Committee. He also campaigned against the expulsion of the Trotskyist Militant Tendency from the party, acting as the “provisional convenor” of the “Defeat the Witch Hunt” campaign. “If expulsions are in order for Militant, they should apply to us, too,” he argued.”


NEC should put an end to the years in limbo

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Stan Keable, secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt, reports on a successful lobby of Labour’s NEC

(this report also appeared in the Weekly Worker)

Around 40 Labour Party left-wingers and Corbynistas gathered in London on January 23 outside the posh Labour headquarters at 105 Victoria Street. We were there for Labour Against the Witchhunt’s lobby of the party’s national executive committee. The NEC was meeting for the first time with a clear pro-Corbyn majority, following the election of Jon Lansman and two other Momentum and Campaign for  Labour Party Democracy-backed comrades, Yasmine Dar and Rachel Garnham.

We are demanding an end to the rightwing witch-hunt against the left. And among us were quite a few ‘witches’ – those suspended or expelled from the party, some for simply being socialists, some on fake charges of anti-Semitism. Activists from Grassroots Black Left joined supporters of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Jewish Voice for Labour and Free Speech on Israel to drive home the message that opposing Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism.

A message was read out from LAW honorary president Moshé Machover, who was unwell and unable to attend. I am “with you in spirit”, he said. Comrade Machover himself had been expelled in October 2017, but following a huge outcry by Labour branches up and down the country, was then reinstated. An important victory.

NEC members are responsible for the witch-hunt still being carried out by party officials. Although the independently elected national constitutional committee (NCC) hears disciplinary cases referred to it, ‘automatic’ expulsions are effected instantly by paid officials acting on the authority of the NEC, using the bureaucrat’s catch-all dream of rule 2.1.4.B – a member or ‘supporter’ of any political organisation which is not affiliated to Labour and is not a party unit can be instantly expelled, with no right of appeal. Would that include CND? Or Stop the War Coalition? Continue Reading “NEC should put an end to the years in limbo”

Jackie Walker on the Daily Politics show

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Labour Against the Witchhunt chair Jackie Walker was interviewed on the Daily Politics today (January 23). Despite being constantly interrupted by the presenter, she managed to demand a swift end of the witch-hunt against left-wing and pro-Palestinian members. She also clarified that the witch-hunt is not orchestrated by Jeremy Corbyn, but is a campaign by the right AGAINST him and his supporters.

Click here to see the clip on Youtube.


LAW’s lobby of the Labour Party NEC

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Around 40 supporters (and a few witches) showed up today, January 23, to help us lobby the Labour Party NEC to demand an end to the witch-hunt against left-wing and pro-Palestinian Labour members. Expelled and suspended members (amongst them Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein) spoke to NEC members and lots of press. Continue Reading “LAW’s lobby of the Labour Party NEC”

LAW in the media

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Daily Mail March 18 2018
Race to become Labour’s next general secretary hit by anti-Semitism row as ‘stop witch-hunt’ activists back Corbyn’s choice

RT February 24 2018
George Galloway interviews Tony Greenstein
About Tony’s expulsion from the Labour Party; Jeremy Corbyn’s role and the future of the Labour Party


Jewish Chronicle February 21 2018
Naz Shah and Clive Lewis among Labour MPs who attended event organised by activists facing antisemitism claims
On the parliamentary launch of Grassroots Black Left, which was attended by leading LAW members

The Electronic Intifada February 17 2018
Labour apparatchiks smear Black activist in “anti-Semitism” witch hunt
On Marc Wadsworth’s case

Daily Mail February 4 2018
Boyfriend of Labour MP is accused of sending ‘abusive and racist’ tweet to Jackie Walker
“Labour Against The Witchhunt, a group chaired by Ms Walker, tweeted: ‘Hi Stella. What do you think about this troll and his racist outburst. We believe he is your partner?’”

The Times
 February 2 2018

Labour’s antisemitism is worse than it looks
“At a meeting of Labour Against The Witch-Hunt this week, the filmmaker Ken Loach said that Emily Thornberry, shadow foreign secretary, “didn’t distinguish herself” when she praised Israel as a beacon of freedom.”

The Times January 31 2018
George Galloway to sue Momentum founder Jon Lansman in Israel spat 
“The row erupted after the film director Ken Loach criticised Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, for praising Israel. He was appearing on a panel alongside Labour Party members suspended over alleged antisemitism. At the meeting of Labour Against the Witch-hunt, which defends the left wing of the party, on Monday in London, Loach, 81, said that “sadly, Emily Thornberry didn’t distinguish herself” when she praised Israel last autumn as a beacon of freedom.”

Daily Politics show, BBC2, January 23 2018
Interview with Jackie Walker, chair of LAW (Youtube clip)
Despite being frequently interrupted by the presenter, Jackie managed to demand a swift end of the witch-hunt against left-wing and pro-Palestinian members. She also clarified that the witch-hunt is not orchestrated by Jeremy Corbyn, but is a campaign by the right in the Labour Party AGAINST him and his supporters.

Jewish Chronicle, January 23 2018
MP accuses Jackie Walker of ‘fantasy’ over claim she is being targeted by Israel
‘Report’ of our NEC lobby on January 23 2018


Spectator blog, January 22 2018
Labour Against the Witchhunt welcome Corbynista’s appointment as chair of Disputes Panel

Jewish Chronicle January 19 2018
“Hard left power grab spark new Labour fear”
Click here for the PDF

Jewish Chronicle January 19 2018
“Labour hearing into activist who abused Jewish MP postponed indefinitely” (on the case of LAW supporter Marc Wandsworth)

Jewish Chronicle, January 19 2018
Claims of a witch-hunt or smear campaign are a ‘new threat’ to combating Jew-hate in the party

Weekly Worker January 18 2018
“Democratise the party”
The election of Christine Shawcroft as chair of Labour’s disputes panel gives some hope that Jeremy Corbyn and his allies might finally put an end to the witch-hunt, says Carla Roberts of Labour Party Marxists

Daily Mail January 17 2018
“Labour anti-semitism probes could be axed as far-left takes control”

January 18 2018 House of Commons Hansard (in the speech of Tory MP Andrew Percy:
“… We have to be honest that we have a new threat: the new smear that anti-Semitism is being used as a cover for other things or as part of a witch hunt. I do not wish to step into party politics too much, but it is important that in debates like this we call out campaigns such as Labour Against the Witchhunt, which has called for

“the immediate lifting of all suspensions and expulsions from Labour Party membership which were…connected to the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign.”

This is a minority—the vast majority of Labour party members and people in politics throughout the country have no truck with any of this—but let us remember what some of those suspensions have been for. They have been for people who have claimed that Judaism is not a religion but a crime syndicate; people who have called holocaust education in schools a holocaust indoctrination programme; people who have questioned what good Jews have done; and people who have claimed that the Jews financed the slaved trade and who attacked Holocaust Memorial Day—the very day we are debating and respecting today. We have to guard against those who seek to spread this new smear against anti-Semitism, in the strongest way we can.”

The case of Syed Siddiqui

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As covered by Jewish Voice for Labour:

Letter sent to all member of the Labour Party NEC
15 January 2018

Dear  NEC member,

We understand that the suspension of Syed Siddiqui is being considered by the NEC very shortly and we urge you to lift the suspension. We append a Case summary, and attach the relevant sections of the Rule book and the exchange between Mr. Siddiqui and Party Officers, leading now to a second complaint about how this issue has been handled.

As Mr. Siddiqui has been selected to stand for the local Council, it is even more important that it is addressed swiftly. We have 2 JVL committee members in this constituency who can attest to the falseness of the allegations and to the truth of the Islamaphobic comments addressed to Mr. Siddiqui.

We look forward to a speedy resolution of this matter.

Your sincerely
Leah Levane and Jenny Manson
Co Chairs, Jewish Voice for Labour Continue Reading “The case of Syed Siddiqui”

Mike Paling – expelled for sharing Facebook posts

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On the very same day that LAW’s honorary president Moshé Machover was expelled from the Labour Party, so was Michael Paling. But, unlike Moshé, whose expulsion had to be overturned by a successful international campaign, comrade Paling remains expelled. Mike was a member of Redcar CLP prior to his expulsion. The MP there is the notoriously anti-Corbyn, Progress-supporting Anna Turley.

As his email to Moshé explains (see below), his ‘offence’ was sharing posts which included articles from Weekly Worker. His Facebook timeline is full of posts he has shared, most of them have nothing to do with the CPGB or LPM. He was obviously targeted as an active trade unionist. They were amongst many such posts that he shared on Facebook. We need to put an end to this McCarthyism.

Mike Paling has been expelled under Chapter 2.I.4.B of the Labour Party’s rules which states:

“A member of the party who joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour Group or unit of the Party or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member, subject to the provisions of part 6.I.2 of the disciplinary rules”.

Continue Reading “Mike Paling – expelled for sharing Facebook posts”

Letter to Labour Party NEC: Suspended for writing a poem

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Dear Brother and Sister,

January 12 2018

Until very recently the political balance on Labour’s National Executive Committee meant that decisions concerning suspensions and referrals to the NCC appeared to be rubber stamped.

Following today’s elections of a further 3 constituency members it is widely hoped and expected that there will now be a socialist majority on the NEC. From now on there is no longer an excuse for the witch hunt of socialists.

Nothing can be more ludicrous than the suspension of poet Kevin Higgins for writing a satirical poem about Tony Blair. It is only the most oppressive countries that persecute poets. Nothing can be more unjust than members left suspended, often for months, without information as to charges against them, without regard or due care for the effect this has on members lives and reputations.

We know of a number of members in this situation who have been put at risk of severe depression and suicide.

As you know, at the present time the cases of Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth are going to the NCC. Nothing can be more absurd than a socialist party seeking to expel Jewish, Black and life-long anti-racists for the ‘crime’ of having upset the supporters of Zionism & Israel.

The fact that these suspensions are so avidly reported by Britain’s most racist tabloid press – the Daily Mail, Express and Sun – gives the lie to the suggestion that these suspensions have anything to do with ‘anti-Semitism’. Does anyone seriously believe that papers which employ Richard Littlejohn, Katie Hopkins et al are seriously concerned about anti-Jewish racism?

Shami Chakrabarti, in her Report recommended that ‘The Labour Party should seek to uphold the strongest principles of natural justice, however difficult the circumstances, and to resist subjecting members to a trial by media.’ Eighteen months later these Chakrabarti proposals have not been applied in any meaningful way to the disciplinary process. Members being processed by the Compliance Unit have been subject to repeated leaks to the media, in a clear breach of the Data Protection Act.

We call for a freeze in all disciplinary actions as and until the Chakrabarti Report’s recommendations on due process and natural justice in regard to the disciplinary process have been debated and implemented.

In Solidarity

Jackie Walker – Chair, Labour Against the Witch-hunt
Tony Greenstein – Vice Chair, Labour Against the Witchhunt

David Watson, suspended for unspecified “breaches of party rules” since May 2016

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David Watson, Labour Party fundraising coordinator for the Walthamstow constituency in northeast London, was suspended for unspecified “breaches of party rules.” The Jewish Chronicle – a Zionist weekly newspaper which has been a main cheerleader for the campaign branding Labour a hotbed of Jew-hatred – gave an “Exclusive” tag to its May 6 report alleging that Watson had been suspended because of antisemitic Facebook posts.

For more info on this case, click here.

To sign a petition calling for his reinstatement, click here.

The curious case of Kevin Higgins, suspended for writing this poem

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Poet Kevin Higgins has been suspended from the Labour Party for over 18 months, apparently for writing this satirical poem about the Blairs. For background to this case see here.  

What Did The Politician Get His Wife?

after Bertolt Brecht

And what did she get, the girlfriend,
from the student union meeting
at which he rose to his feet
and realised he could speak?
From that meeting she got
the Snickers bar he forgot to eat
so busy was he watching them listen;
and that speech, unabridged,
every other night for thirty five years.

And what did she get, his new wife,
from the time he first used a party
conference microphone to agree with both sides?
Those okay with the Moslems/Mexicans/Gypsies being here,
and those who want them kept over there.
From that microphone she took away their
invitation to dine with the Deputy Mayor
and his not new wife.

And what did she get, his no longer new wife,
when, at the second attempt,
he won that seat on the City Council?
From his election she got to drink Pinot Noir
and go swimming in their private club
with the no-so-new wives
of those who got the contracts
to make the paving stones and install
the pay-and-display ticket machines
during his years as Chairman
of the relevant committee.

And what did she get, his well-maintained wife,
the night he was elected to the big shiny
parliament? From that night she took away
an architect to re-design their new three storey pad
in the priciest possible part of the capital,
and an article about herself
in the Daily Express lifestyle pages.

And what did she get, the no longer new MP’s
no longer new wife, the morning
they made him Minister?
That morning she got to go horse riding
with the Leader of the House of Lords’
fourth (or fifth) wife..

And what did she get, the no longer new
Cabinet Minister’s wife, the night the landslide
made him Prime Minister? That night
she got to hold to her breast
invitations to break foie gras
with the Sultan of Brunei, the President of China;
and the chance to write husband’s speech
announcing the crackdown on beggars
who accost hard working
families who stop to ask for directions
en route to the nearest funeral parlour.

And what did she get, the ex-Prime Minister’s
no longer new wife, from all the depleted uranium shells
he had dropped during the Battle of Basra, all the soldiers
he sent to meet improvised explosive
devices in far Mesopotamia in the hope
of getting rid of something bigger
than the beggars and prostitutes
at Kings Cross. For these she got
white night terrors
of him on trial for all their crimes,
and the desire to never again
look out the front window of their fine
Connaught Square house
at the tree from which, it’s said,
they used to once string


Continue Reading “The curious case of Kevin Higgins, suspended for writing this poem”