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”
Marc is – like hundreds of others – a victim of the ongoing civil war in the Labour Party. Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have been expelled and suspended for the most ridiculous of charges – and the charge against Marc of being ‘anti-Semitic’ is up there with the most nonsensical ones. His ‘crime’ was to call out Ruth Smeeth in the press conference that launched the Chakrabarti report. You can see the video for yourself here.
It is worth fighting back: The reinstatement of Moshé Machover and Tony Greenstein’s successful injunction at the High Court prove that. All these cases are not just about the individuals concerned, they are important stepping stones in our campaign to end the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the party.
Now please dig deep and support Marc’s campaign (more background below)
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”
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You can pay via Paypal below or transfer the amount directly into our account (Labour Against the Witchhunt, Sort code 30-94-73, Account No 21409868). In both cases, please also send an email telling us that this is for badges – and let us know how many you want of each design.
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.
Jackie Walker – Chair, Labour Against the Witch-hunt
Tony Greenstein – Vice Chair, Labour Against the Witchhunt
Poet Kevin Higgins has been suspended from the Labour Party for over 18 months, apparently for writing this satirical poem about the Blairs. For background to this case see here.
What Did The Politician Get His Wife?
after Bertolt Brecht
And what did she get, the girlfriend,
from the student union meeting
at which he rose to his feet
and realised he could speak?
From that meeting she got
the Snickers bar he forgot to eat
so busy was he watching them listen;
and that speech, unabridged,
every other night for thirty five years.
And what did she get, his new wife,
from the time he first used a party
conference microphone to agree with both sides?
Those okay with the Moslems/Mexicans/Gypsies being here,
and those who want them kept over there.
From that microphone she took away their
invitation to dine with the Deputy Mayor
and his not new wife.
And what did she get, his no longer new wife,
when, at the second attempt,
he won that seat on the City Council?
From his election she got to drink Pinot Noir
and go swimming in their private club
with the no-so-new wives
of those who got the contracts
to make the paving stones and install
the pay-and-display ticket machines
during his years as Chairman
of the relevant committee.
And what did she get, his well-maintained wife,
the night he was elected to the big shiny
parliament? From that night she took away
an architect to re-design their new three storey pad
in the priciest possible part of the capital,
and an article about herself
in the Daily Express lifestyle pages.
And what did she get, the no longer new MP’s
no longer new wife, the morning
they made him Minister?
That morning she got to go horse riding
with the Leader of the House of Lords’
fourth (or fifth) wife..
And what did she get, the no longer new
Cabinet Minister’s wife, the night the landslide
made him Prime Minister? That night
she got to hold to her breast
invitations to break foie gras
with the Sultan of Brunei, the President of China;
and the chance to write husband’s speech
announcing the crackdown on beggars
who accost hard working
families who stop to ask for directions
en route to the nearest funeral parlour.
And what did she get, the ex-Prime Minister’s
no longer new wife, from all the depleted uranium shells
he had dropped during the Battle of Basra, all the soldiers
he sent to meet improvised explosive
devices in far Mesopotamia in the hope
of getting rid of something bigger
than the beggars and prostitutes
at Kings Cross. For these she got
white night terrors
of him on trial for all their crimes,
and the desire to never again
look out the front window of their fine
Connaught Square house
at the tree from which, it’s said,
they used to once string
(please not that this article first appeared on the website of Labour Party Marxists – all links refer to that site)
The expulsion of long-standing Israeli socialist Moshé Machover from the Labour Party (expulsion letter here) caused shockwaves throughout the labour movement. We feature the motions and statements in support of Moshé and against the ongoing witch hunt by the right in the party.
On October 5, Moshe received a second explusion letter, which states that “These allegations [of anti-Semitism] are not subject to an investigation as you are not currently a member of the Labour Party.” They will probably be kept on file, should his expulsion based on his “clear support” for LPM be overturned. This is arbitrary, to say the least.
Clearly, the mass protests against the outrageous decision worked: On October 30, they were forced to – very reluctantly – reverse their own decision and Moshé has now been reinstated to full membership.
Click here to read the correspondence between comrade Machover and Sam Matthews, “head of disputes”.
Labour Party branches and CLPs
Other organisations and individuals
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”
The Labour Party’s lawyers “sent me a bill of costs for 7.5K but instead I applied for £100 costs which I’m donating to Labour Against the Witchhunt”, says Tony.
This (small) victory also means they are unlikely to pull similar tricks when it comes to the forthcoming hearings of Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and others.
Click here to read Tony’s article: McNicol’s Puppets waste £10,000 of Member’s Money – How Long are Momentum and Lansman going to remain silent?
The Right and the Zionists are determined to expel me and others from the Labour Party on trumped-up charges of ‘anti-Semitism’. Natural Justice Goes Out the Door as Labour’s Expulsion Circus Rolls On. Examples of their contempt for the most basic rights of the accused include the following:
i. I am not allowed to know who my accusers are
ii. I am not allowed to know who the Panel judging me are
iii. After being suspended for 20 months I am given 4 weeks to respond to a 189 page bundle including over 50 charges. I was in hospital on November 2nd when I was informed of the decision to bring charges. Continue Reading “Please Contribute to the Legal Appeal to Help Iain McNicol understand the meaning of Natural Justice”
Sign this petition by clicking here.
To Members of Labour’s National Executive Committee: Stop the Expulsion Proceedings Against Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth
On October 3 2017, Professor Moshe Machover, an Israeli anti-Zionist was ‘auto-excluded’ from the Labour Party. Moshe’s offence was to write an ‘apparently anti-Semitic’ article quoting Reinhardt Heydrich praising the Zionist movement. The article itself was factually true.
Moshe’s main crime had been to write for the Weekly Worker, paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain and speak at their conference. According to Sam Matthews of Labour’s Disputes Committee, this indicated support for another organisation. If Moshe had, like many Labour MPs, written for the Daily Mail or the Sun there would not have been a problem.
Because of the fierce reaction to Moshe’s expulsion, with dozens of Labour Party branches and CLPs passing motions condemning this exercise in McCarthyism, the expulsion of Machover was rescinded. According to Matthew’s ‘logic’, Jeremy Corbyn, a columnist for the Morning Star for 10 years, should also have been expelled! After Labour’s successful annual conference and its successes in the General Election, members were not prepared to tolerate a renewed witch hunt by Labour’s General Secretary Iain McNicol or the Compliance Unit.
Members have made it very clear that they are sick and tired of supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of Israeli Apartheid being labelled as anti-Semitic.
McNicol’s witch hunters haven’t given up though. On October 31 the Jewish Chronicle, as a result of a leak from Labour HQ, wrote that Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth were going to be facing expulsion imminently.
On November 2, Tony Greenstein, a Jewish anti-Zionist and an active anti-fascist, author of the Fight Against Fascism in Brighton (reviewed here) was informed that he would be facing expulsion before the National Constitutional Committee within 5 weeks.
It is over 20 months since Tony was suspended and 17 months since his Investigation Meeting, yet the NCC have refused to allow him more time to response to a 190 page dossier despite having been in hospital when he was notified of the hearing.
Tony has been targeted by the Jewish Labour Movement, ‘sister party’ of the Israeli Labour Party. One charge is posting on his blog ‘offensive and derisory’ comments accusing Louise Ellman MP of being a “supporter of Israeli child abuse”.
On January 16 2016 there was a debate in the House of Commons on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children. The debate revolved around a UNICEF Report which recorded that Palestinian children experienced treatment akin to torture as well as sexual abuse. During the debate Ms Ellman intervened three times to justify the Israeli Military’s behaviour.
Tony Greenstein is accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ but his charges relate to his criticism of Israel not Jews. According to Professor Brian Klug of Oxford University ‘‘antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are.’ Anti-Semitism has nothing to do with criticism of Zionism or Israel.
We demand that the principles of natural justice and due process, as recommended by the Chakrabarti Report, are adhered to and that the proposed expulsions of Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth are withdrawn. As Alexei Sayle noted during a Sky News interview:
‘most of the people who have been suspended from the Labour Party seem to be Jewish’
Sign the petition by clicking here.