LAW Conference, Saturday July 4 2020, 11am online

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All members will have received an invite to register for our Zoom conference. If you have not received it and think you are a paid-up members, please email us:

Detailed agenda tbc once we know how many motions we have received.

We particular appreciate motions and initiatives around the following questions and issues:

  • How can we campaign against the newly ratcheted up witch-hunt in the party? We know of dozens of Palestine campaigners and left-wingers who have recently received their letter of suspension/notice of investigation.
  • How will LAW’s campaigning priorities have to change, now that the party is run by an outright centrist?
  • Considering that the witch-hunt has been rapidly spreading into wider society (witness a number of politically motivated sackings; councils imposing the IHRA definition on antisemitism etc), how should that find reflection in our campaigning work?
  • Should those who have now left the Labour Party be eligible for LAW membership? The Steering Committee believes they should be, but there are probably differences of opinion on the matter.

Pre-conference timetable

Sat June 20 = Conference minus 2 weeks
Deadline for motions and amendments to LAW’s constitution. Mover and Seconder must be paid up members.
Draft agenda to be published.

Sat June 27 = Conference minus 1 week
Deadline for amendments to motions. Mover and Seconder must be paid up members.
Deadline for nominations to Steering Committee.

Sat July 4 = Conference, 11am start
Further nominations for the Steering Committee accepted during conference.

Steering Committee motion

  1. The anti-socialist witch-hunt is not only about the Labour left. It afflicts the whole of society: workers have been dismissed for speaking against Israel and Zionism; academics are being bullied into self-censorship. The anti-Semitism smear is its main weapon, but it is not about eradicating anti-Semitism. It is about undermining opposition to imperialist war, inhibiting a resurgence of the anti-war movement and ensuring that the UK remains loyal to the US and its ally Israel in their next military adventures.
  2. Israel is an expansionist settler-colonial state which bases itself on the racist ideology of Zionism. Zionist colonisation of Palestine, from the 1890s, sought imperial sponsorship from the kaiser and the tsar, and gained British backing in the 1917 Balfour Declaration. The ethnic cleansing of the 1948 Nakba continues today in Israel’s discriminatory and oppressive laws and practices, its treatment of the people of Gaza, and Netanyahu’s proposed annexation of much of the Jordan Valley.
  3. The big lie in condemning critics of Israel and Zionism as anti-Jewish racists cannot be overcome by logical arguments against the deliberate mis-definition of anti-Semitism. That has been done exhaustively. The search for electability, the willingness to be bribed, the lure of high office, ensures that career politicians uphold the big lie and align themselves with US foreign policy.
  4. Labour Against the Witchhunt’s launch meeting on October 21 2017, set out three key demands on our party:
    * An end to automatic suspensions and expulsions – no disciplinary action without a hearing;
    * Rejection of the false IHRA ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism; and
    * Abolition of the compliance unit – disciplinary action must be taken by elected bodies, not paid officials.
  1. LAW has a proud record of campaigning, which must continue. Since our first conference on February 2 2019 we held a series of lobbies of Labour Party NEC meetings and organised a successful intervention at the 2019 Labour conference in Brighton. In the following months, our efforts were more limited. As well as campaigning for Labour in the December general election, much of our energy was put into initiating and building the Labour Left Alliance, and organising its February 22 launch conference. In March campaigning was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, which prevented physical meetings and lobbies. Despite this the steering committee has decided our second conference must go ahead using an online platform.
  2. Although its prime target was the removal of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, the belief that the anti-socialist witch-hunt would end with his removal was an illusion. This was confirmed by the craven endorsement of the Board of Deputies’ ‘Ten Commandments’ by all of the candidates for the leadership position, and by the surge of new suspensions and the first wave of ‘fast-track’ expulsions by Labour’s national executive committee – without a hearing – since Keir Starmer took office on April 4.
  3. Starmer’s dishonest promise to “remove the stain of anti-Semitism” from the party can only be fulfilled by mass expulsions of the left, or by its taming, its self-silencing, its moving to the right. Starmer’s declaration of war on the left shows the futility of Corbyn’s failed strategy of appeasement of the right. We must resist the temptation for the left to go quiet on the witch-hunt.
  4. The witch-hunt will not go away until it is openly confronted and defeated politically, and that means calling out those on the left who have been complicit. Corbyn and McDonnell are both guilty of misleading the left into the strategy of appeasement, failing to challenge the right’s false ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ narrative. A year before LAW was launched, Momentum joined the witch-hunt explicitly by removing Jackie Walker as vice-chair in response to Zionist slurs. Recently, the party’s own leaked report on the handling of anti-Semitism complaints confirms the enthusiasm of Corbyn’s team to ramp-up the witch-hunt. The false complaints made against the Wavertree Four, suspended on May 29, were made by local Momentum activists.
  5. A witch-hunt functions to silence dissent, to make us afraid to speak out. It generates self-censorship, self-policing – and the policing of others. It is the enemy of free speech and closes down democratic debate.
  6. Solidarity is the key principle of working class struggle: an injury to one is an injury to all. Silence is complicity.LAW must continue to assist victims to fight suspensions and expulsions. We must organise and publicise campaigns to highlight the false accusations and unfair processes.
  7. LAW accepts as members those wrongly suspended and expelled by the Labour Party. We also understand and accept as members those who decide to leave the party rather than suffer the indignity of a degrading disciplinary process. But we urge comrades to stay in and fight, if they can. The anti-socialist witch-hunt must be defeated.