How to prove you’re not a witch…?

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Today, Friday August 13, a number of Labour Party members have received letters entitled “Notification of Possible Automatic Exclusion from Membership of the Labour Party” over their alleged association with Labour Against the Witchhunt.

These letters confirm that in order to be considered a member or supporter of LAW, you will have to have committed one of following “acts”:

  • “membership of the organisation; contributing written material to the website of the relevant organisation; encouraging others to join the relevant organisation; and / or, participating in an event organised or hosted by the relevant organisation.”
  • “Other acts include repeatedly liking or sharing LAW content on social media or participating in the LAW Facebook group.” 

The Labour Party has of course no access to our database. Which is why the letters contain this little gem: “failure to provide evidence that you are not a supporter of LAW, as defined by the NEC above, is very likely to lead to your automatic exclusion from membership of the Labour Party.” 

Proving a negative is of course logically and practically impossible and reminds us of the way alleged witches were supposed to prove their innocence: by drowning. 

Members have 7 days to answer the charges and will be automatically excluded if they do not reply. Some people have informed us that they are considering answering in the style of the McCarthyite witch-hunt, declaring “I am not now nor have I ever been a member of Labour Against the Witchhunt”.

The LAW steering committee does not consider this kind of response to be a betrayal of the comrades’ support for our organisation. Quite the opposite: Comrades should not feel under any moral obligation to tell the truth to the witch-hunters, who have lied, sabotaged and smeared thousands of us. Much better comrades are able to continue the fight against the right wing inside the Labour Party – if they can stomach it. 

LAW of course continues to accept as members all those who have been suspended, expelled or left the party in disgust over the direction taken by Keir Starmer. We will be discussing the next steps in our important campaign in our next members’ meeting on Tuesday August 28 at 6pm – sign up here to attend:

Roger Silverman: My reply to the Labour Party’s “Governance and Legal Unit”…

I have received your communication, in which you demand that I “provide evidence that I am not a supporter” of a group that you arbitrarily proscribed three weeks ago. This is a classic technique practised in all such purges going right back to the original witch-hunts of the seventeenth century. It defies all norms of natural justice. I am under no obligation to prove anything.

The sole “evidence” contained in the dossier you have sent me is a report and a photo-shot of me speaking at a rally in 2019 organized by Labour Against the Witch-hunt. Yes, I spoke there. Why? Because 1) I am Labour; and 2) I am against a witch-hunt.

Rather than rub shoulders with the likes of those MPs who actively plotted to undermine Labour’s most popular leader for decades, and those bureaucrats proven to have actively sabotaged Labour’s election campaigns in 2017 and 2019, I consider it an honour to be numbered in the ranks of generations of victimised socialists. These include George Lansbury, Stafford Cripps, Aneurin Bevan, Michael Foot, Jeremy Corbyn and countless more – among them my late father Sydney Silverman, a Labour MP for 33 years until his death, who was twice expelled from the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour became the biggest political party in Europe, gaining three and a half million extra votes in the 2017 election, and more votes even in 2019 than in 2015, or 2010, or 2005 when Labour won. Keir Starmer has flagrantly betrayed his promise to continue Labour’s “radical socialist tradition”. Under his disastrous leadership, Labour has lost 150,000 members, millions of pounds in funding, and tens of thousands of votes in three successive by-elections.

Labour will only regain mass support when it confronts this government of speculators, hedge fund sharks and black money launderers and speaks out for the millions of victims of capitalism: the workers without a job, the families without homes, the youth without a future.

I joined the Labour Party more than six decades ago, and I have been a socialist campaigner all my life. Your previous feeble attempt to justify suspending me in 2016 failed because you were incapable of countering my political response. This time you have resorted instead to the cowardly ruse of sending me “notification of possible automatic exclusion” – i.e. a threat of summary expulsion without trial. Rather than cower behind hastily improvised legal loopholes, I defy you to meet my political arguments head-on. Meanwhile, I will challenge any attempt to exclude me.