LAW statement: Corbyn was wrong to pressurise Ken Livingstone into leaving the Labour Party

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It is clear from reports such as John Rentoul in The Independent that Ken Livingstone’s resignation was not voluntary but the result of pressure exerted by Jeremy Corbyn and his close associates. We refer in particular to Shami Chakrabarti’s disgraceful attack on Livingstone on BBC’s Sunday Politics (May 13),when she threatened she would quit the Labour front bench if Livingstone was not expelled. Chakrabarti has not only ignored her own recommendations on natural justice and due process but she has also destroyed her own reputation, as a former Director of Liberty, for a belief in freedom of expression.

Nothing Livingstone was alleged to have done could in any way be described as anti-Semitic.  His remark that “Hitler supported Zionism” is confirmed by a host of Holocaust historians.  If he gave offence to supporters of Israel and Zionism it is because of the appalling record historically of Zionism when it comes to fighting real anti-Semites. Continue Reading “LAW statement: Corbyn was wrong to pressurise Ken Livingstone into leaving the Labour Party”

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 lobby: NEC members sneak in through the back door

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Intrepid opponents of the Labour purge of pro-Corbyn supporters braved freezing weather to be on a lobby of the party’s National Executive Committee today. They included members of Grassroots Black Left, the Labour Representation Committee, Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Party Marxists and Brighton and Hove Momentum. Organised by Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), the high-spirited demo sighted party leader Corbyn, his political advisor Katy Clark and Campaign for Labour Party Democracy secretary Peter Willsman, an NEC member, going into the meeting at Labour’s Southside headquarters in central London. But, mysteriously, despite the people on the lobby being outside the office block an hour before the NEC meeting started, no more members of Labour’s 39-strong ruling body, where the Corbyn-backing Left recently took control, were seen – suggesting they may have slipped into the building from a back entrance to avoid being questioned. The campaigners chanted: “Stop the witch hunts”, “End the suspensions”, and “Implement Chakrabarti now”.

Former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker, who has been suspended by Labour for almost two years, said: “We welcome the resignation of general secretary Iain McNicol and his replacement today by Jennie Formby, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter whom LAW has critically supported. Things are definitely changing in the party, but they are not changing fast enough for a lot of members who remain suspended or expelled based on trumped-up or false charges or simply because they are active supporters of Corbyn.”

Grassroots Black Left’s Marc Wadsworth, the veteran anti-racist campaigner suspended by Labour in June 2016 whose expulsion hearing is on April 25, was on the lobby with Walker and Tony Greenstein, who, despite being Jewish, has been expelled on a false charge of anti-semitism. Wadsworth said: “We demand that the recommendations of the 2016 Chakrabarti report in respect of natural justice and due process are implemented without any further delay. The NEC’s failure to so far make the long-overdue changes has brought the party, that prides itself on upholding justice for all, into disrepute. The divisive purge of Jeremy Corbyn supporters has prevented and discouraged new members from getting involved in party life, while costly Labour resources have been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners for social change.”

 

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”

Kevin Higgins: new poem on Tony Greenstein’s expulsion

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The poet Kevin Higgins has been suspended from the party for writing this satirical poem about the Blairs. 


We Are Delighted To Announce
for Tony Greenstein  

The first execution of a man convicted
of using inappropriate language – far too many
exclamation marks and block capitals – to tell
what we realise is ninety nine per cent the truth,
has been successfully carried out.
And it was surprisingly clean.

Bloodless as an office team building session held
in an hotel specially built to mop up the overspill
from the booming funeral parlour next door.

The screeching was confined to
a few pseudonymous moderates
post-coitally whispering the hope
that this legally implemented death
not be the last of its kind.

We must be sure and include
our least favourite black woman, the Irish,
and, at a minimum, one more Hebrew
in the commonsense cleansing we envisage.

KEVIN HIGGINS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statement on the February 18 expulsion of Tony Greenstein from the Labour Party

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“Labour Against the Witchhunt deplores the politically motivated expulsion from the Labour Party of Tony Greenstein (LAW’s vice-chair). It is a blatant example of how the right-wing who oppose Jeremy Corbyn, the democratically elected Labour leader, have cynically weaponised anti-Semitism to attack his supporters.

Veteran Black, Jewish and other party members have been targeted as part of this witch-hunt. Greenstein is a Jewish anti-racist who has campaigned ceaselessly against the Zionist Israeli government’s appalling treatment of Palestinians and has played a leading role in exposing how children, like jailed Ahed Tamini, have been caught up in this cycle of oppression. He is not Anti-semitic. It is shameful that anti-Semitism has been cynically weaponised by the right-wing to purge Labour of Corbyn supporters, while much more prevalent anti-black racism and, until Jeremy Corbyn spoke out against it, Islamophobia, have been ignored by the party.

We call on the Labour leadership to use its left-wing majority on the party’s ruling National Executive Committee to reinstate Greenstein and stop the witch-hunt; it is an expression of the ongoing civil war in the party that serves no other purpose than to damage the party’s chances of winning the next general election.

The NEC must, without further delay, implement the recommendations of the party’s own Chakrabarti Report recommendations on disciplinary procedure based on natural justice and due process. It is astonishing that almost two years have gone by without these vital changes being brought in so that party members are treated fairly rather than made victims of the purge.”

LAW’s steering committee includes Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth, both of whom remain suspended on trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism. Please support Marc’s crowdfunding appeal – he is next in the firing-line. His hearing has been set for April 25 in London – LAW will be supporting him with a protest outside backed by members of Grassroots Black Left, the Indian Workers’ Association and Jewish Voice for Labour.

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

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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””

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

Jewish Palestine activist to sue charity for “anti-Semitism” defamation

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This article first appeared on the blog Electronic Intifada

Jewish anti-Zionist and veteran Palestine solidarity campaigner Tony Greenstein says he is going to sue pro-Israel charity the Campaign Against Antisemitism for defamation, after it called him a “notorious anti-Semite.”

Greenstein has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover legal costs, and is aiming to raise about $34,000.

Libel cases in UK courts are notoriously expensive.

“I am not suing the [Campaign Against Antisemitism] on behalf of myself but on behalf of all those who have suffered from its libelous attacks. It’s not just my fight but yours too,” Greenstein wrote on his blog this week.

He told The Electronic Intifada on Tuesday that if he won it would be “an immense setback” for this smear used by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and many other pro-Israel groups.

The Israeli government and its supporters around the world have a long record of misrepresenting concern for Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitism.

Greenstein told The Electronic Intifada that the organization had also been quoted in a 189-page dossier by the Labour Party bureaucrats who are currently trying to expel him from the party. Continue Reading “Jewish Palestine activist to sue charity for “anti-Semitism” defamation”

Tony Greenstein: Anti-Semites not welcome

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Tony Greenstein explains why Socialist Fight must be excluded from Labour Against the Witchhunt

This article first appeared in the Weekly Worker.

On December 2 a Labour Against the Witchhunt meeting was effectively ambushed by a small Trotskyist grouping, Socialist Fight. A series of close votes was taken, the result of which meant that the previous decision of the steering committee, that Socialist Fight should no longer participate in meetings of LAW, was overturned.

Stan Keable, the secretary of LAW, had written to inform SF that it was no longer welcome at our meetings, but despite this their comrades turned up. For various reasons – not least that most people were unaware of the full extent of the anti-Semitic positions of Socialist Fight – those present voted against the steering committee position.

It is now incumbent upon LAW to demonstrate clearly and unambiguously that it wants to have nothing to do with Socialist Fight. Not only because its positions are anti-Semitic, but because a campaign whose purpose is to reject the false anti-Semitism campaign of Iain McNicol, the compliance unit and the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement cannot retain any credibility if it includes a group whose positions are anti-Semitic.

I was not aware, at the time of the last meeting, that Ian Donovan – a ‘left’ supporter of the overtly anti-Semitic Gilad Atzmon – had penned an obnoxious and anti-Semitic article the day before, entitled ‘Third-camp Stalinoids bring witchhunt into Labour Against the Witchhunt’.

There is no future for Labour Against the Witchhunt if Socialist Fight and its members remain an integral part of the organisation. For that reason I believe that it is essential that the next meeting, on January 6 should overturn the previous decision. If my views do not prevail, then I will resign from the organisation – as I believe will Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth of Grassroots Black Left. Continue Reading “Tony Greenstein: Anti-Semites not welcome”