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Posts Tagged ‘Labour Against the Witch Hunt

As the Weekly Worker Group Prepares for Split Socialist Fight (SF/Continuity, Gerry Downing) and Socialist Fight (SF/Real Core, Ian Donovan) Battle it out.

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“This is a temporary phase of course, reminiscent in some ways of the days of Marx and Engels, but it is where we are at today.”

As the Weekly Worker (CPGB, Provisional Central Committee Group prepares for a major split its mighty organs are silent on the dispute.

The Labour Party Marxist is said to be in turmoil

The future of this faction, central in running Labour Against the Witch-hunt (LAW), a campaign backed by Tony Greenstein, Noam Chomsky, Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and others, including Jackie Walker, may be in doubt.

Will LAW survive the turmoil?

Fight the Weekly Worker Purge!

By contrast this week’s, late, issue of the Weekly Worker publishes this letter by a Cde Ian Donovan.

Pathetic

In a measured he tone explains the background to the split between Socialist Fight (SF/Continuity Gerry Downing) and Socialist Fight (SF/Real Core, Ian Donovan)….

Gerry Downing’s pathetic letter claiming that the ‘Trotskyist Faction’ including myself were ‘expelled’ from Socialist Fight is pure fraud (February 27). He does not have a majority of full members of SF willing to vote for such a measure. No meeting of members has or will be called to do so. Nor has he been able to exclude our supporters from the international forums of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International. When he tried to do so, in defiance of the most basic tenets of workers’ and party democracy, his actions were repudiated by other comrades internationally and our supporters were reinstated. This ‘expulsion’ is dead in the water.

It is just about Gerry Downing farting out his denunciations on a stolen website, using a stolen banner. The joke is that a “unanimous vote” in his fantasy version of ‘Socialist Fight’ is when Gerry Downing, Ella Downing and his race-baiting, Islamophobic, white South African crony, Gareth Martin, each put up both of their hands. Their six hands outvoted all the members of Socialist Fight who failed to vote for Gerry’s pro-Zionist statement the last time Socialist Fight had a genuine national vote, in January. And he calls that “unanimous”! That’s where Gerry’s ‘majority’ comes from.

…….

His fascist-baiting, mendacious half-quotes are designed to ‘prove’ that those in Socialist Fight who failed to salute his fascist-baiting attack on Gilad Atzmon are worshippers of the Ku Klux Klan. …

And so it goes….until it (mercifully) ends with this:

Well, we in the Trotskyist Faction don’t accept that move to the right and will fight it to the bitter end. Gerry may have stolen our website, which our subs paid for over the past several years just as much as his did. But we don’t accept his common theft – of our website, our publication or our name. The Trotskyist Faction has its own website up and running, on http://www.socialistfight.org, or alternatively trotskyistfaction.org, and in due course we will have our own publication to replace that which has been stolen. We will continue the politics of the old Socialist Fight. Renegades and capitulators to Zionism will not be allowed to steal our banner.

Ian Donovan
Trotskyist Faction, Socialist Fight

Key documents are only just emerging on the split between Socialist Fight (SF/Continuity Gerry Downing) and Socialist Fight (SF/Real Core, Ian Donovan)….

Published on the Trotskyist Faction site:

Trotskyist Faction takes on the mantle of Socialist Fight.

Extracts:

GD, was an oppositionist in the Healyite Workers Revolutionary Party at the time of its 1985 explosion and collapse, one of many active participants. He then went through various organisations: the Revolutionary Internationalist League, International Socialist Group, the Workers International League, Workers Fight with 2 other ex-WRP cadre with varied politics, then the Committee for a Marxist Party in alliance with the CPGB/Weekly Worker.

He then founded Socialist Fight in 2009 with two other ex-ISG cadre, whom he then split from over the issue of their defence of the film director Roman Polanksi, who admitted to statutory rape of a 13 year old girl and appears from the evidence to be guilty of actual rape. After breaking with his initial collaborators he then fused his rump group with some Brazilian and Argentinian Trotskyists groups in 2013 as part of an anti-imperialist response to imperialist intervention in Syria and Libya, to form the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International (LCFI). This gave an international dimension to his politics that meant it was no longer his operation.

Ploughing through the documents, which include reference to Hannah Arendt, and many, many, others, we reach this key point, “all this is just a means to an end for GD. The real target of all this rancid pro-Zionist hate propaganda was the Draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism.” “In conversation with Atzmon in 2018, GD rejected criticisms of its supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ as ‘Zionism’. But now as the concluding point of his renegade, pro-Zionist faction he writes:

“We now repudiate the use of the term ‘the world “Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie”’ and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as antisemitic tropes. We will in future use the term ‘Zionism’ alone in describing the political tendency within the Jewish ethnicity that commits such dreadful crimes under international law against the Palestinian citizens of Israel and those expelled Palestinians primarily in 1948, ‘67 and ‘73, all of whom have the right of return.”

Donovan does score one major point.

However, GD had a problem even with this, as he had stood on a public platform at a joint Socialist Fight public meeting in July 2017, a rather large meeting attended by around 150 people, with Vanessa Beeley, a defender of the Syrian regime and an uncritical Assad supporter, speaking in defence of Syria against the US/UK/Israel backed jihadist destabilisation and proxy war. She has written regularly for Veterans Today for several years. So in denouncing ID for sharing material from Veterans Today calling into question the legitimacy of the result of the UK General Election, GD was also implicitly attacking some of his best known work. If it was impermissible to share articles from Veterans Today, then surely it was impermissible to share a platform with Vanessa Beeley?

For those who can be arsed to read it there is plenty more!

Here is Donovan’s nemesis, Gerry Downing giving his side of the story.

Socialist Fight, Ian Donovan and the Trotskyist Faction

We have been now forced to set up a new bank account because Ian and Turan have control of the Socialist Fight bank account and this, they believe, should give them control of the group. Ian has refused to accept the votes of the majority of the group. He has decided that John Carty is not a member and his membership subscriptions are ‘donations’ and not subscriptions. My daughter, Ella, Gareth Martin, and Charlie Walsh cannot join as candidate members for six months because he disagrees with them over what Gilad Atzmon’s politics are. He has refused to bank their subscriptions that I sent to him, said I was buying their membership and he was keeping the cheques as evidence of my ‘corruption’.

Let us not ignore the outright fascism of Gilad Atzmon: “Fascism, I believe, more than any other ideology, deserves our attention, as it was an attempt to integrate Left and Right: the dream and the concrete into a unified political system. … It was “overwhelmingly popular and productive for a while because it managed to bridge the abyss between the ‘fantasy’ and the ‘actual.’”

This row would not be complete without Tony Greenstein getting his oar in:

Socialist Fight Drops Its Support for Ian Donovan’s Anti-Semitic Theories about a pan-national Jewish-Zionist Bourgeoisie – or does it?

 

“Starmer is the candidate for the Police, MI5 and the British State” – says Vice President of Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

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Ken Loach and Friends (Greenstein on the the far left).

 

Keir Starmer is the candidate that the Deep State & the British Establishment want you to vote for.

Tony Greenstein.

Starmer is the candidate of MI5 and the Political Police – he is Establishment down to his manicured fingers. ‘Sir’ Keir has pointed to his role in providing legal advice to striking miners and print workers.  This is true but it was a long time ago when he was a socialist. Today he is the darling of the Right.

Anyone who is fooled by this ‘lurch to the left’ is truly pathetic. Starmer is the candidate for the Police, MI5 and the British State that eviscerated Corbyn.  It was just one of Corbyn’s idiocies that when Starmer resigned in the chicken coup that he was let back in to wreak more havoc.

Mr Greenstein is the Vice-President of Labour Against the Witch-hunt and a frequent contributor to the Weekly Worker.

He has also contributed to Al-Jazeera’s web site.

LAW’s honorary presidents are Professor Moshé Machover and Ken Livingstone.

LAW’s sponsors include:

  • Ken Livingstone
  • Alexei Sayle, comedian
  • Professor Moshé Machover, Israeli socialist and founder of Matzpen
  • Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers Union
  • Ken Loach, film director
  • Noam Chomsky, author and activist.

If you had doubts before, Starmer is now the candidate to back!

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 6, 2020 at 12:45 pm

As Energising Labour Campaign Takes Off, Side-Show Chris Williamson to Stand.

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Chris Williamson

Side-Show Williamson “deserves to lose his seat in Parliament. HOPE not hate will help make that happen.

As Labour’s election campaign gets underway lets not exaggerate the difficulties with fringe characters like Ian Austin, or the personal decision of Tom Watson not to stand in the coming poll.

This is good news for internationalists,

Other good news.

Bye Bye Chris Williamson.

Chris Williamson banned from standing as Labour candidate in general election

Chris Williamson has been banned from standing for Labour at the general election.

Or perhaps au revoir.

In the letter Williamson protests against Labour Party efforts to “normalise Zionism”,

In a post which covers everything from Zionism, to Zionism, the Vice Chair of Labour Against the Witch-hunt, Tony Greenstein says,

Socialists Should Support the Decision of Chris Williamson to Stand as an Independent Socialist

Chris was the target of a vindictive witchhunt because of his support for democracy in the Labour Party. All socialists should support his standing as an independent socialist candidate and I wish him well in his endeavours and hope to be able to go up and campaign for him personally.

Anti-racists are already mobilising against Williamson:

Hope Not Hate says,

Now that Chris Williamson has indicated that he intends to stand as an independent candidate, HOPE not hate will campaign to ensure that the people of Derby are fully aware of his harmful and dangerous views. We are confident that both he and his gutter politics will be rejected at the ballot box.

It’s worth repeating exactly what his track record is.

  • He has routinely downplayed the seriousness of antisemitism, calling it ‘bullshit’ and ‘a smear’.
  • He has publicly supported those who have already been removed from the party for antisemitism, such as Ken Livingstone, who falsely claimed that Hitler was a Zionist, and disgraced party activist Jackie Walker. He chose to stand alongside them, most recently at Labour Party Conference in September during the Labour Against the Witchhunt fringe event.
  • He promoted a petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, a man who has denounced ‘the Holocaust religion’ and who suggested that there is a Zionist plan for world domination.
  • Williamson reasserted his support for Pete Willsman after a recording surfaced of Willsman ranting about Rabbis and that antisemitism in the Party has been fabricated by Israel, an antisemitic conspiracy theory. Not only this, he campaigned for the reinstatement of Marc Wadsworth who attacked Ruth Smeeth MP at the launch of the Chakrabarti report for ‘working hand in hand with the press’.
  • He booked a room in parliament to host a screening of the film ‘Witch Hunt’, an antisemitic conspiracy theorist documentary that downplays and dismisses the issues of antisemitism in the Labour party.
  • He has continually baited Jewish people, including tweeting in support of disgraced Assadist and antisemite Vanessa Bealey, and tweeting support for Scott Nelson, who was removed from the Labour party for tweeting that Tesco and Marks and Spencers were ‘Jewish companies’ that had ‘Jewish blood’.
  • In his letter resigning from the Labour Party, he accused the Israeli government of being to blame for accusations of antisemitism, alleging that the Jewish Labour Movement and Britain First were also behind the crisis.

Rumours are emerging that Galloway and Williamson are in talks for an alliance:

Labour Left Alliance Dominated by Sectarian in-Fighting.

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The Weekly Worker Supports the “Labour Left Alliance.”

The Labour Left Alliance had a sectarian pitch from the start.

The Weekly Worker, the paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) has published a report on the how the newly formed group fared in Brighton by a member of its Labour ‘front’, Labour Party Marxists, Carla Roberts.

As far as can be seen this is the only account of what is, in their view, an important meeting.

One small step forward

The Labour Left Alliance held its first national networking meeting in Brighton. Carla Roberts of  Labour Party Marxists reports.

The meeting was held in Brighton, after the end of the Labour Conference.

In this world the Labour Party debate on the EU and Brexit was of minor importance, as indeed were other policy issues – they are not mentioned apart from a brief mention of the vote in favour of free movement.

The event was dominated by one topic, “a vicious campaign against the anti-witch-hunt left had led to the cancellation of various venues booked by Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witchhunt and the Labour Representation Committee”. A related issue of disciplinary procedures is covered at length.

For those interested the CPBG (Provisional Central Committee) member Tina Werkman gave much to ponder on about the subject.

Labour Left Alliance claims 1,400 supporters of their “Appeal”.

A helpful suggestion was made by a leading member of Labour Against the Witch hunt, expelled from the Labour Part,.

Tony Greenstein, a member of the newly established Brighton Labour Left Alliance, admitted that his proposal was more of a “stream of consciousness” born out of the desire to move forward quickly. He suggested that the LLA should swiftly establish a membership structure and start employing a part-time worker to move the organisation forward.

Background on Greenstein:

Statement by Jewish Labour Movement:

Example of his harassment – in this case a Jewish Brighton Labour member.

Image result for tony greenstein zionist bitch

His view of Jeremy Corbyn:

The Weekly Worker then carries an attack on comrade Andrew Berry, a respected figure on the left.

The most bizarre intervention was made by Andrew Berry of the LRC. In his three minutes, he solely argued against a comrade who had earlier congratulated the LLA on its hastily produced leaflet, ‘Shun Tom Watson’.

This is why:

Image

He is duly admonished,

 Andrew Berry thought we were “fooling ourselves if we think this has anything at all to do with the LLA or its leaflet” (which he opposed). With this negative attitude we will never build anything worthwhile.

Sharpening the class struggle the meeting decided,

To approach all prospective Labour Party candidates with the simple question, ‘Will you support Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister?’ and then publish their answers to help comrades decide which candidates they should be campaigning for. Not a bad idea, in our view.

A pro-active approach is certainly better than the empty calls for ‘unity’ we have heard from the ‘moderates’ or the self-defeating view that, unless we “win”, we should not even try to fight.

The once widely read Weekly Worker also carries this account of the present political crisis by ‘Jack Conrad’, known in real life as John Chamberlain.

Establishment at an impasse

“While Boris Johnson may well hanker after an illiberal democracy, Jack Conrad warns that parliamentary deals, calls for a caretaker government and campaigning for a second referendum are worse than useless.”

It finds time, lengthy time, to attack comrade Paul Mason.

Clearly Mason relishes his new-found role as a ‘blue skies’ thinker for the liberal middle classes, but presumably he cannot resist scandalising the old-fashioned Trotskyites who still inhabit the Labour Party.

Welcome to the Labour Left Alliance comrades!

Written by Andrew Coates

October 5, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Labour Against the Witch-hunt – the Return of Monster Raving Greenstein.

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The Return of the Monster Raving Greenstein Party.

Labour Against the Witch-hunt has a pubic face:

Labour Against the Witchhunt was founded in October 2017 to oppose the purge of pro-Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party.

LAW’s honorary presidents are Professor Moshé Machover and Ken Livingstone.

LAW’s sponsors include:

  • Ken Livingstone
  • Alexei Sayle, comedian
  • Professor Moshé Machover, Israeli socialist and founder of Matzpen
  • Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers Union
  • Ken Loach, film director
  • Noam Chomsky, author and activist

The group is probably best known for its defence of Jackie Walker.

Apart from the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), the CPGB-PCC, more widely known as the Weekly Worker, who run the show, its leading figure is one Tony Greenstein.

Nobody should be any doubt that very few people on the left will have any truck with that lot in any campaign that involves the words ‘Zionism’ and Israel.

Well there is this chap:

 

Since Greenstein has stopped his, reported,  visits to noted Nerve Specialist Sir Roderick Glossop the tweet (above, heading) promises to be the first of many in this vein…

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 13, 2019 at 5:10 pm

Labour Against the Witch-hunt Faces New Crisis over “member’s support for Holocaust denier.”

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Image result for tony greenstein and Pete Gregson

The “procedure that Peter faced has been wholly unfair..” Tony Greenstein.  January 2019

Last November in the Weekly Worker, a leading force in Labour Against the Witch-hunt,  ‘Carla Robert’ of Labour Party Marxists wrote,

Similarly ridiculous is the case of Edinburgh Labour Party member Peter Gregson, who is currently “under investigation”. We will not be surprised if Gregson is also either told to undergo the JLM’s pro-Zionism training and/or referred to the NCC.

Anti-Zionism and self-censorship

By no coincidence whatsoever Labour Against the Witch-hunt publicly declared,

LAW Statement: Lift suspension of Peter Gregson from GMB, stop investigation

Labour Against the Witchhunt calls on Labour’s NEC to reject the allegations of anti-Semitism against Peter Gregson, condemns his suspension by the GMB trade union and calls for the immediate restoration of his full membership rights.

But, spotters of LAW’s tortured inner workings will have noticed at the time,

Although Peter’s petition is a good idea, challenging Labour’s NEC to revoke its adoption of the IHRA definition, we cannot support it. Firstly, we disagree with some of its wording – eg, before it adopted the full IHRA definition on September 4, Labour did not allow “full freedom of speech on Israel”. On the contrary, the witch-hunt was in full flow long before that. Secondly, some of the formulations in Peter’s supporting documents internalise the racism of Zionist ideology, failing to distinguish clearly between the Zionist movement and the Jewish population, and attributing a non-existent collective political identity to “the Jews”, eg, “the Jews have so much leverage here [in the UK]”.

LAW leading light Tony Greenstein wrote in January,

Although Labour Against the Witchhunt didn’t support Peter’s petition because of problems with its wording we recognise that it represents a significant opposition in the Labour Party to the attempt to curtail if not abolish freedom of speech.

Of course the corrupt and racist GMB has never had freedom of speech. The regional barons ruled without opposition. The union exists primarily for the benefit of its highly paid officials not its membership. However even Roache and co. will have difficulty defending this particularly iniquitous decision. If Peter’s expulsion is not revoked then GMB members should join another, genuine trade union.

Shop Steward Expelled for ‘anti-Semitism’ by a Racist and Corrupt Trade Union

In March Labour Party Marxists (another hat for LAW to wear) were saying:

Reinstate Peter Gregson 

 It goes without saying that, while Gregson is not anti-Semitic, he can certainly be criticised for his eccentric politics – in the words of Jewish Voice for Labour, he is a “loose cannon”. For example, he admits that his initiative can be described as a “death-wish” petition, in that it is “sticking two fingers up to the NEC” by “brazenly breaking the IHRA rule”. He adds: “It is important now for more of us to come out and openly breach the IHRA, whilst never being anti-Semitic in the true sense of the word.”

Such brazen defiance is a matter of tactics, of course, but it must be said that in current circumstances it is not exactly a wise move. Firstly, the forces opposing the witch-hunt are extremely weak and are hardly in a good position to mount a successful challenge of this sort. Secondly, the “death-wish” petition does the right’s work for it by identifying hundreds of Labour members as easy targets.

Gregson also makes himself a target through his inappropriate choice of words. For instance, he has claimed that “Jews” in Britain have “leverage” because of what he describes as a general feeling of guilt over the holocaust. When this clumsy phrasing was criticised by JVL – surely it is the Zionists, not undifferentiated “Jews”, who would try to turn any such sentiment to their advantage? – he was not prepared to admit his error or change his wording. His response is: “… we suffer in the UK from holocaust guilt. Thus, all Jews have leverage, whether they want it or not, because all Jews were victims.”

However, we must not let this hold us back from defending him.He is a victim of a rightwing witch-hunt, aimed at defeating the left and regaining control of the party for the Blairites.

web-Peter-gregson

Now…

Emails reveal row within Labour Against The Witchhunt over member’s support for Holocaust denier

Pete Gregson insisted denier Nick Kollerstrom was ‘Holocaust sceptic’, and was condemned by fellow LAW member Tony Greenstein

Labour Against The Witchhunt (LAW) – which was launched to defend Labour activists accused of antisemitism – has been rocked by a bitter rift over one of its member’s open support for a Holocaust denier.

Tony Greenstein, LAW’s vice-chair, who was himself expelled from Labour over his use of the word “Zio” and for mocking the phrase Final Solution, has clashed with another of the group’s supporters .

Peter Gregson – who has been backed by LAW since being expelled by the GMB union over alleged antisemitism – had urged Mr Greenstein and his allies to support a petition he started, which included links to an article by Ian Fantom of the conspiracy theory Keep Talking group.

In that article, Mr Fathom writes approvingly of Dr Nick Kollerstrom – author of The Auschwitz ‘Gas Chamber’ Illusion.

But in emails sent to LAW’s leading members – including expelled Labour activist Jackie Walker, her partner Graham Bash and Tina Werkman – Mr Greenstein initially attempts to persuade Mr Gregson to “cut links” with the Mr Fanthom and Mr Kollerstrom, saying the association “would be incredibly damaging” for LAW.

He writes: “I must ask you to remove all references to Ian Fantom’s article from your petition update which directs people to Kollerstrom’s holocaust denial article on the website of the well-known Holocaust denial site CODOH.”

In his March 22 email, Mr Greenstein also refers to wording in Mr Gregson’s petition saying: “It is bad enough that you yourself used the word ‘exaggerate’ in terms of the Holocaust.”

He writes on March 23 that Mr Greenstein is “exhibiting the kind of shrill neurosis for which the left is rightly famed. And is why of course so many in the left are doomed to obscurity, for they slam the door hard shut at every opportunity.”

Mr Fantom has previously shared conspiracy theories blaming Israel for 9/11. But Mr Gregson writes of him: “I have spent time with Ian Fantom. I believe he is OK. I do not have a problem with his politics.”

In his own furious response, Mr Greenstein writes back at 2.54 am, setting out detailed evidence of Mr Fantom’s support for Mr Kollerstrom, noting that the article Mr Gregson links to says Mr Kollertrom “had been targeted in a witch-hunt”.

“You can call me whatever you want but I am not going to have holocaust denial being debated or legitimised under the guise of ‘free speech’,” Mr Greenstein writes.

“It’s like debating the rights and wrongs of murdering 50 Muslims in New Zealand last week, or perhaps that too didn’t happen?

“I am removing you from the LAW Facebook and will leave it to the LAW Steering Committee as to whether you are removed from LAW membership too.”

In a further message on April 3 – still copying in much of the LAW leadership – Mr Gregson writes: “Tony is stating he will seek to damage my reputation by making LAW shun me if I do not do as he asks. If that is not a threat, then I’m a chinaman.”

No response to this article has yet been seen.

Informed sources suggest that since he began, earlier this year, being published by the racist Islamic Qatar  dictatorship’s Al Jazeera Greenstein  has become more careful with his ‘robust’ language.

We still expect some broadside…

On the up, a couple of days ago Labour Against the Witchhunt, was celebrating Ken Livingstone’s decision to join their campaign.

“Former London mayor is announced as Labour Against The Witchhunt’s honorary president”

Written by Andrew Coates

April 16, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Jackie Walker Expelled from the Labour Party, Some Mixed Thoughts.

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Image result for Jackie walker lynching

Many people had mixed feelings on the case and this Show did not help.

Jackie Walker expelled from the Labour Party

Jackie Walker has been expelled from Labour – after being suspended from the party for over two years – for “prejudicial and grossly detrimental” behaviour.

The former Momentum vice-chair – who is no longer a member of the Corbynite group – had incorrectly claimed at a party conference event in 2016 that Holocaust Memorial Day did not commemorate other genocides, and said she had not found a definition of antisemitism that she could work with.

The case against Walker, presented by the party over the last two days, focussed on a pattern of behaviour including comments on social media.

On the judgment today, a Labour spokesperson confirmed: “The national constitutional committee has found that the charges of breaches of party rules by Jackie Walker have been proven.

“The National Constitutional Committee consequently determined that the sanction for this breach of the rules is expulsion from Labour Party membership.”

Labour Against the Witch-hunt said,

The expulsion of Jackie Walker is a great injustice

Today’s expulsion of Jackie Walker from the Labour Party for “misconduct” – of which the Jewish Chronicle was informed before her solicitors – is a great injustice, though it does not come as a surprise. Although the panel took two days to come to their conclusion, the die had been cast long ago. The decision to charge her for a “pattern of behaviour” does not bode well for Chris Williamson MP, who has been accused of similar ‘offences’.

Jackie walked out on the first day of her hearing, because the panel did not allow her to read out a brief statement. This ruling once again emphasised the lack of fairness at the heart of the party’s disciplinary procedures: for example, the investigating officers added five new charges to their allegations a mere three working days before the hearing began, giving her no time to effectively challenge them and defend herself.

STATEMENT OF JACKIE WALKER

Today (26 March 2019) I (Jackie Walker) attended the long overdue Labour Party disciplinary hearing, before the Labour Party’s highest disciplinary panel (National Constitutional Committee). I was accompanied by my defence witnesses and legal team; I had submitted over 400 pages of evidence in my defence.

At the beginning of the hearing, the Chair advised me that this was to be an informal hearing and that I could address him by his first name. The Chair then invited procedural questions. Through my lawyer I asked to be allowed to make a brief opening address to the Chair and Panel. The large team of Labour Party lawyers objected. The Chair adjourned the meeting to consider my simple request to speak. Despite repeated requests from my lawyer that I be allowed to speak at the outset of my hearing, the Chair ruled that I remain silent. I therefore had no alternative other than to withdraw from the hearing, as it was clear to me that I would not receive a fair hearing.

This is a dignified statement.

Everybody should be aware that Jackie Walker has a serious left-wing background, both professionally and politically, in anti-racist work. She also, with a family heritage and a personal relationship in mind, self-identifies as Jewish.

But knowing about this does not answer the issues caused by Walker’s behaviour.

It would appear to many that she was bent on provoking a reaction with strident opinions on ‘Zionism’.

That is her right. But not everybody, particularly those with a deep sense of the horrors of anti-Semitism in the 20th century, would be at ease with  claims, however qualified, about Jewish involvement in the Atlantic slave trade.

This equally raised hackles,

Holocaust Memorial Day

At the event, Walker queried what she saw as the limited scope of Holocaust Memorial Day, saying: ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Memorial Day was open to all peoples who’ve experienced holocaust.’ When others shouted that it did include other genocides, she responded “In practice, it’s not actually circulated and advertised as such.”[26] Later, in an interview, she asked why Holocaust Memorial Day only concerns genocides committed since the 1940s, thereby excluding ‘the African holocaust’ during the slave trade.[27] She has also said, following the meeting, “I would never play down the significance of the Shoah. Working with many Jewish comrades, I continue to seek to bring greater awareness of other genocides, which are too often forgotten or minimised. If offence has been caused, it is the last thing I would want to do and I apologise

The campaign against Walker’s suspension has been led by Labour Against the Witch-hunt. Apart from personalities  like Ken Loach, her active backing includes the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), but above all, supporters of the Weekly Worker/Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) and this figure:

Here is Walker’s immediate course of action.

The following is clearly beyond the bounds of the acceptable.

As is this.

Not to mention this:

 

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

 

The impression many people on the left have is that Labour Against the Witch-hunt, and others, such as the JVL, wish to turn the Labour Party into a battlefield, or perhaps playground, in which rival views about Israel and Zionism (in all its varieties) can be shouted about.

Given that, internationally, Israel borders Syria, a country in which real and present genocides have happened, the degree of strident denunciation of Israel can be gut wrenching. Some people from Labour Against the Witch-hunt are amongst those who have fuelled the flames.

Apart from this being far from a political priority for the majority of Labour members and voters, there is little doubt that some anti-Semitic views have got an airing in the party during this row and others.

This is a problem – reflecting a growth in political confusionism, the mixing of right and left ideas, across the world in which conspiracy theories around ‘Zionists’. It exists.  It  cannot be swept under the carpet.

The Party has decided that Walker has breached rules deigned, amongst other objective,  to ward off this kind of behaviour.

For those who have a sense that Labour, and the broader labour movement is something that you are a part of, the expulsion is not welcome.

But neither is it unexpected.