Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Fred Leplat (Socialist Resistance) Expelled from Labour Party.

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Fred Leplat: stalwart of the left.

The Jewish Chronicle says,

Hard-left ‘revolutionary’ who met Jeremy Corbyn in Barnet ahead of local elections is expelled by Labour Party.

A left-wing activist who sent a letter allegedly signed by 33 members of Barnet Labour Party to news organisations, including the JC, attempting to defend Jeremy Corbyn’s record on antisemitism has been expelled from the party following an investigation into his conduct during the local election campaign.

Can I say, as somebody who has known Fred for some (very long) time, and has respect for Socialist Resistance(SR), that this report is more than incomplete.

Why was this expulsion so rapid? 

Fred and SR have never made the slightest secret about their politics.

LePlat is well known, and liked, by many people on the left and the labour movement as his position as Barnet Momentum secretary indicates.

The views of SR on broader issues in the Middle East – one of the few groups on the left to defend consistently Syrian Democrats against Assad  – should be taken into account.

As in, “Fred Leplat writes about the barbarism unleashed by Assad on the people of eastern Aleppo.” (2016)

They are what they say they are, and the letter Fred mounted is in defence of Corbyn’s support for the Palestinians and opposition to anti-Semitism, not the wild ‘anti-Zionism’ that people are rightly concerned about.

It states, opposition to  “conflation of antisemitism and criticism of the actions of the state of Israel”.

We, Labour Party members in Barnet, are firm opponents of all forms of racism, fascism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and all other kinds of oppression.

Many of us have been actively campaigning against them for many years, often alongside Jeremy Corbyn.

We know antisemitism exists in society and needs to be combated, including in political parties. But we are seriously worried about the current climate in the Labour Party, where criticism of the actions of the state of Israel is too often conflated with anti-Semitism. But anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism.

What we are now seeing is an attempt to deflect criticism of Israel and Zionism, thereby weakening genuine anti-racism and opposition to antisemitism.

The real target of these critics is Jeremy Corbyn, because they oppose both his record of internationalism, in particular his lifelong support for the rights of the Palestinians, and his commitment to socialism.

In the last two years, more than 300,000 people have joined the Labour Party to support its progressive politics.

Not all of them will have much experience of, for example, recognising anti-Semitic tropes. We believe the best way to combat any such naivety, lack of knowledge or problematic choices of words among Labour’s membership is through open debate and discussion.

We therefore welcome the direction by Jeremy Corbyn to the new Labour general secretary, Jennie Formby, to at last implement the recommendations of the 2016 Shami Chakrabarti report about the party’s disciplinary procedures, based on natural justice and due process.

We pledge to mobilise with members of all faiths and none to end the attacks against the Labour Party, which damages the party’s effectiveness in helping those people most harmed by the austerity and cuts-obsessed Conservative government and Barnet Council.

Ham and High.

I and many of my comrades do not support their take on these issues, notably the blanket use of the term “Zionism”, but there is room in a democratic socialist party for disagreement within these boundaries. I note that the letter states, support for implementing the “recommendations of the 2016 Shami Chakrabarti report”.

It is not the place for this Blog to comment further on the way the letter was presented or if membership of SR is an offence leading to automatic expulsion.

Here is the full Jewish Chronicle article.

EXCLUSIVE Fred Leplat – who sent a letter which falsely claimed to have been signed by 33 Barnet Labour members to the JC supporting Mr Corbyn’s record on antisemitism – has been expelled by Labour.

Lee Harpin.

A left-wing activist who sent a letter allegedly signed by 33 members of Barnet Labour Party to news organisations, including the JC, attempting to defend Jeremy Corbyn’s record on antisemitism has been expelled from the party following an investigation into his conduct during the local election campaign.

The JC can reveal Fred Leplat was kicked out of Labour – for membership of the far-left Socialist Resistance group – only hours after he had joined other hard-left activists at a breakfast meeting with Mr Corbyn at a café in Finchley last week.

The meeting between Mr Corbyn and local activists at Café Buzz on Finchley High Road last Tuesday infuriated many mainstream campaigners involved with the Barnet Labour group.

Mr Corbyn had failed to notify them he was visiting in advance and then failed to meet any of the local election candidates to boost morale ahead of last Thursday’s polls – and it is unclear if Mr Leplat was technically suspended by Labour when he met the leader.

The disciplinary investigation into Mr Leplat started after an official complaint was made last month about the letter he had sent out attacking the “conflation of antisemitism and criticism of the actions of the state of Israel”, in a defence of the Labour’s record on antisemitism.

It claimed Party’s antisemitism crisis was in part an attempt to “deflect criticism of Israel and Zionism” which was purportedly signed by 33 members of the Finchley and Golders Green, Hendon and Chipping Barnet Labour parties.

The JC later learned several of the signatories had not wanted their names on the letter  – and that a majority at the Barnet Momentum group opposed the letter being sent out ahead of the elections, believing it disrupt their campaigning activity in the crucial final weeks.

A source confirmed: “The letter that Fred Leplat was involved with had circulated in various draft forms for some time.

“But he clearly took it upon himself to circulate the letter to six different news organisations in a decision that would only serve to stoke the antisemitism row that had dogged the Barnet election campaign even further.

“There were some people who had not even signed the letter, and others who had no idea it was going to be sent out to newspapers.”

Sources have also confirmed to the JC that during the investigation into Mr Leplat’s conduct, his membership “of an organisation incompatible with Labour Party membership” became apparent.

Mr Leplat had previously been involved with the hard-left Left Unity party(1), but joined the Finchley and Golders Green Labour CLP after Mr Corbyn became leader.

Labour’s disciplinary committee was said to have reached its decision after finding articles and speeches Mr Leplat had made for Socialist Resistance – a group describing itself as a “revolutionary, ecosocialist feminist organisation” which publishes a “Marxist periodical of the same name”.

The source added: “In the aftermath of the disappointing local election result for Labour in Barnet, the fact that Mr Corbyn ended up in a breakfast meeting with people like Fred Leplat only days before the electorate went to the polls speaks volumes.

“We kept telling Mr Corbyn to come down to Barnet and meet the ordinary voters on the street, especially those within the Jewish community, but he just wouldn’t listen.”

(1) SR make no secret of their political trajectory.

Supporters of Fred say, “There is an email trail showing people agreed to add their names to the letter.”

Some might conclude that this is an easy target but as the above indicate there are serious questions about the move.

 

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

May 8, 2018 at 11:54 am

9 Responses

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  1. This is very bad news: Fred is, as you say, a well-respected comrade and his position on Zionism, etc, may not correspond exactly to mine, but he’s far from being a crazed Greenstein type. Like the Marc Wadsworth expulsion, this will hinder, not help, efforts to deal with antsemitism within the party and provide ammunition to those who argue (wrongly) that there is little or none within Labour and its all just a right wing witch hunt.

    I’ve reblogged this at Shiraz Socialist (Second Run); I’ve also been contacted by the Clarion who’d like to republish it: will that be OK?

    Jim Denham

    May 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm

  2. Absolutely, when I say I’ve known Fred (one of the reasons for my own deep links with the French left incidentally) for a long time we go back to the mid-1970s……

    Now this, contrast, is racism: ” Zionism today is not just another form of Jewish identity in the abstract, but the central ideological totem of an important part of the imperialist bourgeoisie, not only in Israel, but also of an identifiable caste of Jewish bourgeois centred in the imperialist countries who regard Israel as just as much ‘their’ state as the states where they live.”

    Gerry Downing’s latest rant: Socialist Fight 8 May 2018.

    https://socialistfight.com/2018/05/08/corbynism-zionism-and-the-political-lynching-of-marc-wadsworth-what-is-to-be-done/

    Andrew Coates

    May 8, 2018 at 4:07 pm

  3. This American activist asks: Were the Blairites behind the expulsion..?

    Kurt Hill

    May 8, 2018 at 6:05 pm

  4. I also remember Fred from the 1970s.
    This seem to have happened very rapidly!
    Was there due process?
    (Or is that totally naive?)

    nollaigoj

    May 8, 2018 at 6:30 pm

  5. That is what everybody is saying: just like that, and Fred’s out.

    Surely that can’t be right, to start with.

    Andrew Coates

    May 8, 2018 at 6:35 pm

  6. Let Jeremy know, he would not put up with this, it’s all a Blairite conspiracy.
    But I can’t see what all the fuss is. Why don’t his supporters just chuck Fred £30 a year and start their own party? I mean what is socialist resistance…are they resisting socialism? If so then the labour party is for them.

    Steven Johnston

    May 9, 2018 at 4:35 pm

  7. Thought old Fred the steeple-jack bloke popped his clogs years ago?

    Noffi

    May 10, 2018 at 12:04 am

  8. No, Fred isn’t dead but the horse he is flogging crawled into the glue factory and died in 1976.
    Why is there such an aversion to blaming Corbynites for his expulsion? Do you know something we don’t?
    I think we should be told!

    Steven johnston

    May 11, 2018 at 12:29 pm

  9. […] • More analysis by Andrew at tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com […]


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