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lifted 12 March), the expulsion of Tony Greenstein (18 February 2018), the expulsion of Moshe Machover (3 October 2017, rescinded 30 October), the suspension of Jackie Walker (4 May 2016, lifted 27 May, suspended again 30 September 2016), the suspension of Marc Wadsworth on June 30th 2016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

LAW welcomes Jon Lansman’s decision to withdraw

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March 11 2018

Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) welcomes Jon Lansman’s decision to finally listen to his party comrades, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and withdraw as a candidate for the General Secretary post.

We are mystified as to why Lansman, who purports to back the greater representation of women at all levels of the Labour Party, ran against Unite’s Jennie Formby in the first place. LAW critically supports Formby for the job. We are concerned about her record on Labour’s NEC  where it appears she has, as recently as last week, failed to oppose the witch hunting of Jeremy Corbyn supporters by right-wingers who have weaponised false claims of anti-semitism despite Formby herself being the target of such smears. Nobody in the Labour Party can truly be a socialist if they support the purge and that includes the future general secretary.

Lansman, given his record in abolishing all democratic structures within Momentum and imposing a new constitution, is unfit to be Labour General Secretary.

He got rid of the right of Momentum’s “liberation strands”, such as Momentum Black Connexions/Caucus, to have direct representation on the leading national bodies of Momentum.  More recently, he closed down Momentum’s youth group. This demonstrates his serious lack of commitment to the self-organisation of oppressed and disadvantaged groups in the Labour Party.

Labour Against the Witchhunt believes that Lansman lacks the democratic credentials necessary to become general secretary of the Labour Party, especially in view of previous General Secretary Iain McNicol’s purge of thousands of pro-Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party members and the particularly those as a result of false accusations of anti-semitism and others based on members’ alleged “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B.

The Labour Party now needs a General Secretary who will put a decisive stop to the witch-hunt who will make sure that all disciplinary charges are dealt with fairly, swiftly, transparently and with the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty”.

Jackie Walker was suspended from Labour membership on trumped-up charges of anti-semitism, following Lansman’s pre-emptive action in removing her as Momentum’s vice-chair, and, at the time, making plain his sympathies with the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement who have championed the witchhunt in order to purge the party of Corbyn-supporting anti-Zionists.

Lansman’s constitution for Momentum bars from membership all those expelled by the Labour Party’s compliance unit. This rule that has been used exclusively against left-wingers. Lansman has since come out in support of keeping the rule (2.1.4.B) in Labour’s constitution.

He has also opposed our demands for the abolition of the Compliance Unit. We believe that all disciplinary matters should be dealt with by elected representatives.

Labour’s next general secretary should ensure the NEC immediately implements the recommendations on the party’s disciplinary procedure made by the Shami Chakrabarti Report of June 30 2016.

We believe that Unite’s Jennie Formby would be the best choice for general secretary. As a supporter of the rights of the Palestinians people we think her election would send a powerful political signal. We hope that her tenure would mark the beginning of the end of the witch-hunt.

Steering Committee
Labour Against the Witchhunt

 

Statement on Iain McNicol’s resignation

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Labour Against the Witchhunt welcomes the resignation of Labour Party general secretary Iain McNicol. He was directly in charge of the unelected and discredited compliance unit, which has purged thousands of pro-Corbyn members from the party.

We see his resignation very much as an important symbol and an integral part of our fight to radically transform the Labour Party, which is undergoing a long overdue Democracy Review, to which we have also contributed.

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. The purging of pro-Corbyn activists has been a major stumbling block to Labour winning a general election, which requires maximum unity.

We ask the NEC – which now has a strong majority supporting the leader of the party – to implement the following changes urgently:

  • the recommendations of the Chakrabarti report dealing with the party’s disciplinary procedure based on natural justice and due process should be brought in:
  • all those summarily expelled or suspended without due process should be immediately reinstated;
  • an accused member should be given all the evidence submitted against them and be regarded as innocent until proven guilty;
  • membership rights should not be removed until disciplinary procedures have been completed;
  • disciplinary procedures should include consultation with the member’s CLP and Branch;
  • disciplinary procedures should be time limited. Charges not resolved within three months should be automatically dropped;
  • the first part of Rule 2. 1. 4. B (‘Exclusions’) should be deleted: it currently bars from Labour Party membership anybody who “joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party”;
  • the party should reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism which, in its list of examples, conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people;
  • the party should immediately abolish the ‘compliance/disputes unit’. Disciplinary decisions should be taken by elected bodies, not paid officials.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 30: LAW meeting in Birmingham

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Over 50 Labour members gathered in Birmingham on January 30 for the city’s launch of LAW. Jackie Walker spoke first and got straight to the point – the witch-hunt is about weakening Corbyn’s position as leader and forcing the next Labour government to the right by removing left activists. She reminded us that the ‘problem’ of anti-Semitism in the party arose from nowhere when Corbyn became leader. She explained that LAW isn’t just about defending the victims and providing solidarity: it also demands fundamental change in the party’s disciplinary processes.

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi gave examples of left activists in her part of London who’ve been suspended for over a year on the basis of trumped-up charges. She urged LAW to quantify the scale of the problem by getting the NEC to reveal how many members are suspended pending a hearing, how long have they been waiting and how many automatic exclusions have occurred.

Marc Wadsworth called for the immediate implementation of the Chakrabarti report in respect of the party’s disciplinary procedures. That would introduce the concepts natural justice and due process, and enforce time limits for each stage.

The discussion that followed revealed that unjust suspensions and expulsions are nothing new in Birmingham – they’ve been going on for decades. And those responsible in the party’s regional office are still in place today.

From the floor Stan Keable explained how clause 2.1.4.B of the party rules has been used to exclude him, and how any member can be deemed to be contravening it. He also questioned the emphasis other speakers placed on legal challenges, and relying on the courts to force the hand of the Labour bureaucracy. His suggestion that instead we should mobilise the membership to challenge unjust decisions was met with applause.

The meeting concluded with a commitment to organise further LAW activity in the city.

Rob Meyer
(this appeared first as a letter in the Weekly Worker)

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”

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”

Jackie Walker: A reply to “Lucy Lips”

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At the heart of Labour’s witch hunt problem……people who twist the truth for their own political ends

http://hurryupharry.org/2017/12/09/at-the-heart-of-labours

There’s a writer who calls herself Lucy Lips. I’ve been reliably informed Lucy is in fact a man, Harry Toube — who writes at times for the Guardian (no wonder it’s going bust) who used to be on the Pro Pal side of things, till he saw the light — or the dark, depending on your point of view. Anyway, whatever the reality, Luscious Lucy has made a number of truth claims to justify her smears of me and a number of other suspended comrades. Let me be clear, I have no problem with gender bending, in fact I’m all for it, but bending the truth for political purposes, in particular, when it not only affects the reputation of individuals but the Party you claim to support — that is a deviation too far and worse, it’s just plain intellectually LAZY Lucy.

After all, it would have taken little research to know that I was not the first, but the third person, to ask what definition was being used by the Jewish Labour Movement’s so-called trainer Mike Katz (for goodness sake, why would I say there was not ANY definition of antisemitism I could work with? I earned my living as an anti-racist trainer for years). Mind you, the coyness of Katz in defining his terms was understandable. Having taken participants through a session that was remarkable only for its lack of theory or evidence to back up his sweeping claims of antisemitism, not just in the Labour Party but in the country as a whole, Katz knew the IHRA definition he was reluctant to confess he was basing his session on, would be torn to shreds by a significant and well informed proportion of the audience.

By the way, the IHRA definition being touted by every Israel supporting and right wing hawk in town at the moment, is in fact a re-hash of an earlier definition which had been rejected by …. virtually everybody, and for good reason; it makes neither legal or ethical sense. Having understood what an effective tool false accusations of antisemitism might be, some bright sparks realised that if the tried and tested definitions of antisemitism (you know, for example, hatred of Jews for being Jews) was not doing the job of protecting Israel and its Zionist friends, they would just have to come up with — yes you guessed it — a ‘New Antisemitism’. And this ‘New Antisemitism’ could then be backed up by a new definition that could be as self-serving to the interests of Israel as they needed. Personally, whenever people stick a ‘new’ in front of a term, I shudder — you know, New Labour and all that! But for those from that ‘New’ neck of the woods, they took to this New Antisemitism like ducks to water.

Now it seems there’s an issue in Labour, for while the Compliance Unit of the Labour Party, for example) has adopted the full IHRA definition, including all the ‘we mustn’t criticise Israel’ nonsense, the leadership of Labour appear to have only adopted the first paragraph, something that all good people should be happy to sign up to. But let’s leave this drivel for the moment where it should be — dripping out of Lucy’s I suspect not so luscious lips.

And Lucy, you naughty girl, not satisfied with bending the truth with your rendition of the training session (if you haven’t, I suggest you watch/read at least one of the alternative narratives to the Zionist propaganda you have been so enthusiastically wrapping your lips around, the Aljazeera documentary The Lobby for example http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/lobby-episode-2-training-session-170112085805744.html or the statement by Free Speech on Israel made by witnesses who were actually at the training session http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/jewish-labour-activists-defence-jackie-walker/#sthash.uauWqafU.dpbs.) you then turn your doubtful vision on the workings of the Steering Group of LAW … and vision is the right term isn’t it Lucy unless you have been, or are, a member of the LAW Steering Group?

Because the truth is Lucy, whatever you have been taking, whoever has been feeding you this narcotic brew of smear and half-truths, you actually have no idea of the reasoning of the Steering Group or the discussions that led to the request for exclusions do you? And in any case, anyone with any knowledge of me knows my antipathy to Gerry Downing in particular is long standing. I will not share a platform with Downing or Donovan because their ideas lead in the direction of anti-Semitism, as well as to ‘the socialism of fools’.

Now you could say, why didn’t you leave LAW straight away? Well, some of us believe, when we are part of a group, we should allow democratic and political process to go forward before making any such decisions.

And by the way, what makes you think I love the Labour Party ‘the most’? Most of what? Or is that just another meaningless rhetorical flourish? As for your take on my record — jeez — as football supporters might chant, “who the f….ing hell are you?”.

I have nothing to justify, certainly not to you, a true non-entity, someone who won’t even apply their real name to the nonsense they write. I’m more than happy with what I’ve achieved. I continue to serve the agenda I began with. I’m not stoking the fires of a witch hunt that is benefiting the enemies of our movement. Not helping to silence the voices of minorities who are not just the victims of bigotry but are excluded at all levels, not only of the Labour Party but of British society as a whole. I’m not backing a settler colonial regime that seeks protection behind a wall of the most offensive allegations and devious actions. I’m not supporting a disciplinary system that would be laughed out of any British court or industrial tribunal.

But hey, why would you, or people of your ilk Lucy of the Lips, concern yourselves with the oppressed when you have the poor, browbeaten, friendless Israeli state to defend? Especially when, according to Labour Friends of Israel Chair Joan Ryan, there is in fact no other racism in the Labour Party except … yes you guessed it… anti-Semitism http://www.lfi.org.uk/analysis-thornberry-lays-out-labours-israel-agenda/.

Mind you if, as a (Jewish) comrade said at the launch of Jewish Voice for Labour this year, Labour is so riven with antisemitism, I would say, given the level of representation of Jewish MPs, given that the last Leader (a Jew) had to defeat his Jewish brother for the post, that the present leader is a life long anti-racist well known for his good relations with Jews in his constituency, that there are Jews in key positions as advisers in the Labour Party and of course, as you noted, as Chair of Momentum, given all that, if the Labour Party is rife with antisemitism, it’s really not doing a very good job of Jew hating is it? Whereas the witch hunters — they seem to be victimising anti-Zionist Jews very nicely indeed.

By the way, you have no idea of me, my record. And you — I say again, who are f***ing hell are you? I suggest until you have the courage to put your name to the crap you write, until you manage to grow a pair (of ovaries or balls) Lucy, you should just crawl back into the incognito hole you came from.