Launch of Liverpool LAW, March 22

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More than 70 people, including veterans of the city’s labour movement, attended the launch of Liverpool Labour Against the Witchhunt on March 22 in the Quakers’ Meeting House. They came from all of Liverpool’s constituencies and others on Merseyside. Speakers included Bob Walker, one of the Garston Three, expelled from the Labour Party for attending a TUSC meeting; Alan Runswick, from Wallasey Constituency Labour Party, which was suspended for many months after a dispute with supporters of its MP Angela Eagle, who had opposed Jeremy Corbyn; John Davies, a leading left wing activist and target of the Liverpool Riverside witch-hunt in 2016/2017; Anyanna Ndukwe, North West Organiser of Grassroots Black Left; and Marc Wadsworth, the suspended black activist, who gave the keynote address.

Radical Liverpool pensioners, including Tony Mulhearn – the last chair of Liverpool District Labour Party, before witch-hunters at the national party shut it down and expelled several of its leading Militant Tendency membership – spoke of the need to challenge right-wing politicians in the city. It was important that democratic elections of candidates were allowed, so that left-wingers could stand against them as councillors and and MPs. Mulhearn said he and other comrades had not been allowed to rejoin the Labour Party.

The meeting was treated to a rousing speech by Marc Wadsworth, who recalled being in Liverpool during the Toxeth riots of 1981. He had met prominent activists then, including leading Black campaigner Rashid Mufti and Sam Semoff, an outstanding Jewish anti-Zionist and anti-racist, both if whom had died. A minute’s silence was held for them. Wadsworth described the events at the launch of the Shami Chakrabarti report, leading up to his suspension from the Labour Party almost two years and the fake news “media storm” surrounding it. Originally Wadsworth was summarily expelled for an alleged verbal attack on Ruth Smeeth MP, an anti-Corbyn member of the Parliamentary Labour Party. This was changed to a suspension after an intervention by Wadsworth’s lawyer. Six months later, with party witch-hunters realising how flimsy the case against Wadsworth was, they introduced a false allegation of anti-Semitism against him.

There was appeal for support for Wadsworth’s crowd funding campaign and call for people to attend a lobby of his expulsion hearing at 9.30am on April 25 at a London venue to be notified.

There was a lively debate about the current state of .eft politics, with Bob Walker (expelled from the Labour Party for being involved with TUSC) saying: “Just because someone wears a t-shirt with Jeremy Corbyn’s face on it does not mean they are a socialist.”

Comrades welcomed the appointment of Labour’s new general secretary Jennie Formby and expressed the hope that the new left majority on the party’s ruling NEC would now decisively end the purge of Corbyn supporters.

Liverpool LAW officers elected were Kevin Bean (chair), Jennifer James (vice chair), Kal Ross (secretary/treasurer), and Anyanna Ndukwe and Bob Walker (joint liaison).

After the meeting, the Liverpool branch of Grassroots Black Left was set up, with Anyanna as convenor.

 

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

Camden Momentum: Motion on the Witch-hunt

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Passed on March 12

This Branch of Momentum group condemns the suspension of Glyn Secker (7 March 2018, lifted 12 March), the expulsion of Tony Greenstein (18 February 2018), the expulsion of Moshe Machover (3 October 2017, rescinded 30 October), the suspension of Jackie Walker (4 May 2016, lifted 27 May, suspended again 30 September 2016), the suspension of Marc Wadsworth on June 30th 2016 and others similarly targeted by the Labour Party.

We note that:

  • All are supporters of a free Palestine and opponents of apartheid wherever it may raise its head, and in each case they have been subject to false allegations of antisemitism;
  • The Labour Party disciplinary procedures against them have been in direct violation of the principles of due process and natural justice established by the Chakrabarti Report, thereby bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.

We therefore call on the NEC:

  • To urgently implement the Chakrabarti recommendations, including, transparency, presumption of innocence, reliance on fact-based evidence, reasonable time scales, the right to challenge such allegations; and proportionality of disciplinary measures.
  • To retract and apologise for false allegations of antisemitism; and to expose and discipline those in the Labour Party who make such false allegations.

This motion was passed overwhelmingly by Camden Momentum on March 12th

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”

How you can support LAW’s submission to the Corbyn Review

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Background: The so-called Corbyn Review aims to produce a report to the 2018 annual conference in Liverpool. It is not a blue-sky-thinking exercise, however: Submissions invited are limited to answering 32 pre-set questions on six themes with a 250-word-limit on each of the questions.

None of these deal with the compliance unit (Disputes) or the fate of expelled and suspended members per se (or, for that matter, with the important demand for mandatory selection). We have therefore picked a relatively open-ended question that we think it worthwhile filling with some of LAW’s demands.

Here is what you can do:

1. Please submit the proposal as an individual here in the section: How do we get our increased membership more involved in the Party?’ Deadline is March 23.

2. Please submit it to your Labour Party branch and/or CLP and/or other party unit – and submit it again online in their name if they approve it.

3. If you are a Momentum member, please “nominate” the proposal, which has been submitted by Tony Greenstein: Click here. Deadline is Friday, February 16. Continue Reading “How you can support LAW’s submission to the Corbyn Review”

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”