Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

“Liquidating” Labour Against the Witch-Hunt: the Inside Story of the Bust-up.

with 7 comments

Labour Against The Witchhunt (@LAW_witchhunt) | Twitter

Comrades and Friends…

Leaked minutes show Labour at odds over antisemitism claims | Labour | The  Guardian

In a battle which has been compared between the Big-Endians and Little-Endians in Lilliput, which, readers will recall, resulted in six and thirty moons of war with neighbouring Blefuscu, Labour Against the Witch-hunt has been “closed down”. Or merged, as the other side would put it, with the Labour in Exile Network (LIEN).

“Last Friday night members of Labour-in-Exile-Network voted by 31-8 to merge with Labour Against the Witchhunt. The following night LAW, at its first All Members Meeting for 3 months also voted to support a merger, albeit by a narrower but decisive majority of 47-27 with 12 abstentions.”

Now for the Alternative View:

Merging into a cul-de-sac (Weekly Worker)

“Derek James of the Labour Party Marxist argues that this is no time to give up on the fight against the witch-hunt. Nor will the attempt to form an amorphous socialist movement get anywhere.”

In an egg-shell the fight is about Greenstein and some surprisingly numerous allies (in Big-Endian terms), winning at a meeting which resolved to put LAW and LIEN together, effectively winding up LAW as distinct public body. As the sprucest gent on Brighton Pier said, ““LAW has outlived its usefulness.”


“Comrade Greenstein said that there was little that LAW could do to resist the witch-hunt and that the immediate task was to build a socialist movement that could keep together the 150,000 party members who had left Labour since Starmer had become leader. In due course, when the time is right, he suggested, this would lead to the formation of a new party. But what sort of party and programme are we offered?”

Speaking for the views of the Communist Party of Great Britain, Provisional Central Committee (CPGB-PCC, better known as the Weekly Worker) ‘James’ continues for some paragraphs, which those interested can read at length and at leisure through the link above.

The rub,

“Treacherous Role”.

Our critique of the as-yet-unnamed merger project is both political and strategic. The leadership of LIEN includes comrades who are uncritical supporters of Corbyn, do not understand his treacherous role and will not countenance a word said against him, whilst others who support the merger are openly and correctly critical of Corbyn’s surrender to the right during the witch-hunt. Hardly a recipe for harmony.

More plausibly,

“Whilst for many the merger is simply a case of huddling together in a cold and hostile political environment or continuing the headless-chicken ‘politics’ of ‘action, action, action’, others have a more clearly defined aim. Although it appears that, in arguing that the new initiative should work or join forces with other “like-minded organisations”, options are being kept open. In practice the general line of travel into a new broad-front grouping and political dead-end outside the Labour Party is clearly signposted. “

As in:

See also:

Stay and fight and fight again ..

A call that went unheeded: opening remarks by Graham Bash to LAW’s final all-members meeting.

I have not engaged with the resolutions before us today – and will not do so – and apologies if I am forced to leave before the conclusion. But a word of caution. We need firmness of principle, but we also need to try to reach out beyond our own small bubble. We need to go far beyond the unity that is being proposed today.

As always, the motor force of change will come from class struggle, from the fights against austerity, against racism, against climate change – in the trade unions and in the broader social movements. Our task as a left is to look outwards, build movements of resistance and try to give these political expression – within the Labour Party if we may, outside if we must.


This is about the most accurate summary of the failings of the course of action proposed by the Greensteinites,

We do not believe that LAW can be effective if it is part of a much less focused 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 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 the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and George Galloway’s nationalistic Workers Party and his lieutenants in the Stalin Society. That is not a serious strategy.

Why we resigned

Given that the people who has resigned are Jackie Walker, Kevin Bean, Stan Keable and Tina Werkmann, we would also ask how this merger is going to find new well-known figures and people with administrative competences.

One also notes that poor, if not worse, relations with the Greenstein faction seem to have precluded including their side of the story in the pages of the Weekly Worker.

The Man on the Brighton Pebbles says (TG Blog),

It is unfortunate that the majority of the LAW Steering Committee, having lost the argument and the vote have resigned rather than accepting the view of LAW members. Their argument is summed up in this week’s Weekly Worker (that is, last week’s, we await the latest Greensteinite bulletin on these matters) that we are ‘Deserting the Fight’. No comrades we are refusing to allow the fight against Starmer and his neo-liberal politics to be confined to simply machinations in the Labour Party.

The creation of a unified organisation is not the ‘liquidation’ nor the closing down of LAW. There is nothing LAW could have done that it can’t do in a merged organisation. LIEN is obviously committed to fighting the witchhunt and always has been.

LIEN already has a Witchhunt Analysis Group amongst 7 other groups. LIEN is already far more active over the witchhunt than LAW. There is obvious room for an 8th Anti-Witchhunt group.

Happier Days.

Labour Against the Witchhunt - Home | Facebook

Written by Andrew Coates

December 2, 2021 at 3:21 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Breaking News:

    Expelled Labour member given restraining order preventing contact with party’s complaints team

    One of the founders of Labour Against the Witchhunt has been given a restraining order forbidding him from contacting the Labour disputes team.

    Tony Greenstein, who has been dubbed a “notorious anti-Semite” by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAAS) was charged with two counts of harassment, one against the party’s disputes team and the other against one of its employees, Megan McCann.

    Today at Brighton Magistrates Court, the CPS offered no evidence on the two counts, on the condition a two-year restraining order was put in place.



    December 2, 2021 at 6:14 pm

  2. Seriously: Greenstein should be shown some compassion because he is mentally ill.

    Jim Denham

    December 2, 2021 at 7:53 pm

  3. Off topic but fantastic news from Germany in announcing lockdowns for the unvaccinated. Other nations should follow their Lead (not that I support the concept of nations – I am a World federalist). The unvaccinated need to be made The Enemy Within.


    December 2, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    • IainF

      Before you run to promote segregation you have to acknowledge you cant compare countries as the model to promote something, a lesson even now the Tories haven’t learned or choose to ignore.
      Secondly dont label groups (ie enemy within) as history has taught us that this leads to irrational hate and treatment.

      Moving on the UK unvaccinated is largely under 12s who you now aren’t offered the vaccine not to mention definitely not visiting nightclubs and bars. Lets not also forget those that cannot for health reasons have the jab and pregnant women, also two groups hardly likely to be hitting the night tiles.

      Now the UK has a very high take up of the vaccine as the stats bares out so it shouldn’t come as a shock as it does not to our government and health experts that the majority of transmission is actually happening between the vaccinated. Its nolonger plausible in the case of the UK to believe the catalyst is solely the unvaccinated.
      I would say testing at point of entry is the only way forward but as we know the virus isnt always detectable in the very early stages of contraction not to mention a person does not even need to be infected inorder for the virus to be transmitted. If there is one thing way higher than the number of unvaccinated adults. its peoples vaccinated or not effort towards practicing good prevention.
      Then there is whats the point of certain places when people still mix in places like supermarkets and work (particularly large business and or those dealing direct customer contact).
      Lets not forget people moving between borders not just to travel abroad or back but also county to county for work
      Putting this all aside what is the bar that classify a persons as unvaccinated, no dose, one dose, two,etc. How much of a dog and pony show do we need before we all have to accept the following facts.

      The facts are vaccinated or not, people still catch the infection, still transmit said infection and dependent on a threshold of underlying health issues with an age baring although not exclusively, will be hospitalized and or die as a result of it.

      Locking down a very small portion wont yield the result you hope it will but hey that’s just my view.


      December 3, 2021 at 12:00 pm

  4. Oh dear. When I looked at the WW and saw the headline “merging into a cul-e-sac”, I simply felt that the Communist Party of Great Britain, Provisional Central Committee, in someone’s (can’t remember who now) past words “don’t understand English irony”


    December 3, 2021 at 7:50 am

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