Filmmaker Ken Loach addressed spirited meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt in London on January 29
For videos from the event, click here.
For videos from the event, click here.
(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”
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.
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”
On our lobby in support of Marc Wadsworth at his expulsion hearing, April 25 2018:
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.”
This branch/CLP notes the August 9 report by online political news journal Skwawkbox revealing the Information Commissioners Office ruling that Labour headquarters cannot trawl through members’ social media accounts for disciplinary purposes, as this was a breach of the Data Protection Act, because, as a ‘data controller’ under the act, it does not have permission from the members to use their data for that purpose.
We recognise that in the past two years, particularly during the Labour leadership contests of 2015 and 2016, a number of Labour members were suspended, excluded or expelled from the party. There is a great deal of evidence that many of these members and applicants were treated as such for unclear and sometimes seemingly arbitrary reasons, and often without the transparent, time-limited process based on natural justice, recommended by Labour’s Chakrabarti report into anti-Semitism and racism.
We deplore the malicious and vexatious accusations against Labour Party members and others that has resulted in their suspension from the party. And, while these accusations have sometimes been overturned, they caused a great deal of distress to the individuals involved and damaged their reputation and standing within the party and the wider community.
We call on the NEC to review the suspensions policy so that, except in exceptional circumstances of credible accusations of hate speech, violence or threats of violence or intimidation, all outstanding exclusions and suspensions should be lifted and this course of action publicly supported by the party leader.