Why we have resigned from the steering committee of Labour Against the Witchhunt

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Join statement

Following the vote at LAW’s all-members’ meeting on November 27 to merge with Labour In Exile Network (by a vote of 47-27 with 12 abstentions, all votes and motions here), we have decided to resign from LAW’s steering committee. 

We cannot support the view that the struggle against the Labour witch-hunt is over, or that “LAW has outlived its usefulness”, as Tony Greenstein, the proposer of the motion to merge, put it. The witch-hunt in the Labour movement is expanding every day and a campaign like LAW still has a vital role to play. 

We do not believe that LAW can be effective if it is part of a much less focussed and politically diverse organisation like LIEN, which has committed itself to Corbyn’s 2019 and 2017 manifestos. There are half a dozen groups with similar soft-left programmes – all small and entirely ineffective. Building yet another one on the same political basis is unlikely to lead to another result! 

The prevalent view in LIEN is that Labour is ‘dead’. While Starmer has been doing his best to close down all avenues for political intervention by the left, we should not underestimate that many working class people still see it as ‘their’ party – and therefore we need a strategy to continue the fight in Labour (which includes working with groups outside Labour). We cannot simply run away from that struggle.

The motion commits the newly merged organisation to “work and/or join forces” with groups including Chris Williamson’s Resist. He is in his own unity negotiations with TUSC and George Galloway’s nationalistic Workers’ Party and his lieutenants in the Stalin Society. That is not a serious strategy.

The recent expulsions from Labour of Graham Bash, Jo Bird and Pamela Fitzpatrick, as well as the ongoing reluctance of much of the official Labour Left to speak out against the witch-hunt, proves how necessary a single-issue campaign like Labour Against the Witchhunt still is. 

Thanks to all comrades who have fought this struggle with us over the last 5 years. 

In solidarity,

Jackie Walker
Kevin Bean (beankevin1955@gmail.com)
Stan Keable (keablestan@icloud.com)
Tina Werkmann (tinawerkmann2014@gmail.com)