For a unified campaign against suspensions

JVL introduction

A group of suspended CLP officers has called on trade unions, members of Labour’s National Executive Committee and other leading Labour socialists to launch a unified campaign against the attacks on democracy which have blighted the Party over recent weeks.

Eighteen suspended officers, including chairs or secretaries of a dozen constituency parties, have written to all those who signed a statement published in Tribune Magazine and LabourList on December 17 criticising the leadership for the recent wave of suspensions and for its attacks on legitimate discussion.

In their letter (see full text below) the suspended officers applaud the statement as “an important boost to the morale of members around the country who have been appalled at attempts to silence grassroots activists” and invite all the signatories to come together to take “concrete steps towards mounting a unified campaign.”

JVL has already offered its support, as has the Don’t Leave, Organise network whose Steering Group will discuss the initiative next week. We urge members of the party and affiliated unions to back the call for socialists to combine forces without delay to stop the suspensions and restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.

This is the minimum response required now if socialists in the party are to halt the authoritarian, rightward thrust of the current leadership and the resulting haemorrhaging of members.

Grassroots resistance has been impressive. Despite the threat of punishment hanging over those who disclose details of their suspension, the new campaign group, Save our Socialists has collected information about almost 50 suspended officers and a growing number are telling their stories on the SoS website. Two have joined JVL and leading law firm Bindmans in making a legal challenge to the wave of unjustified disciplinary actions unaccompanied by any evidence of wrongdoing.

Almost a third of CLPs have defied edicts from general secretary David Evans, by debating motions he has defined as “not competent business” or otherwise asserting members’ right to express their view of the leadership’s conduct.

But more is needed. Members are looking to the unions and our NEC representatives to take the lead in bringing together all sections of the Labour left well in advance of the next party conference, whatever form that may take.


Suspended officers’ letter and signatories

We are a group of elected CLP officers who have been suspended from the Labour Party over recent weeks.

We are writing to you because we were encouraged by the statement you signed on December 17 calling on the leadership to stop its attacks on party democracy. This was an important boost to the morale of members around the country who have been appalled at attempts to silence grassroots activists who have been, and still are, crucial to constituency organisation and local campaigning.

The purpose of this letter is to propose that we combine our forces to support all those recently suspended from the Labour Party.

The next 6-10 weeks will be crucial if we are to prevent key local activists being blocked from participating in CLP AGMs due to take place before mid-March.

We recognise that this is a difficult time for everyone but we would be very grateful if you could respond as soon as possible.

Perhaps one of us might call you in the coming week to discuss concrete steps towards mounting a unified campaign?

In solidarity,

Hedley Bashforth, Chair, Bristol North West CLP (suspended November 23)
Bridget Dunne, Vice-Chair Membership, Hampstead and Kilburn CLP (suspended November 27)
Pete Firmin, Chair, Hampstead and Kilburn CLP (suspended November 27)
Alan Gibbons, Secretary, Liverpool Walton CLP (suspended December 15)
Esther Giles, Secretary, Bristol North West CLP (suspended November 23)
Clive Haswell, Chair, Cardiff North CLP (suspended December 17)
Gary Lefley, Chair, Chingford and Woodford Green CLP (suspended December 2)
Johnathan Leng, Chair, Leeds Central CLP (suspended December 17)
Dave Lewis, Secretary, Camberwell and Peckham CLP (suspended December 17)
Darran McLaughlin, Co-Secretary, Bristol West CLP (suspended November 23)
Will McMahon, Chair, Chipping Barnet CLP (suspended December 4)
Sal Morawetz, Women’s Officer, Nottingham East CLP (suspended December 17)
Kath Owen, Chair, Leeds North East CLP (suspended December 15)
Sarah Pillai, Secretary, Chipping Barnet CLP (suspended December 4)
Angela Ray, Secretary, Dover CLP (suspended December 17)
Nick Rogers, Chair, Tottenham CLP (suspended December 3)
Norman Thomas, Chair, South Thanet CLP (suspended December 15)
Suzi Williams, Secretary, Leeds North East CLP (suspended December 15)
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, vice-chair of Chingford & Woodford Green CLP (suspended December 2)


 

Comments (23)

  • What starmer is doing is destroying the moral integrity of the party our heart pumps clear caring socialist principals ,destroy them then there’s nothing ,it be better if the party dies and is reborn cleansed of any stain of corruption,and will be attractive to voters after all that corruption

  • Michael Vaughan says:

    I believe you should all be reinstated and an independent enquiry into democracy within the Party carried out.

  • Graham Korn says:

    Email me to tell me how I can help.

  • Fred Minns says:

    Labour needs a strong Jewish voice speaking for all Jewish members. Reinstate the suspended CLP officers.

  • Gill Tesh says:

    Solidarity!

  • Don Cameron Derrett says:

    In Solidarity with all socialists brave enough to stand up and be counted across the UK, from an expat in France and a Labour member proud to be called a ‘socialist’.

  • Geoff Parker says:

    We must all support this fight against the corrupt and vindictive campaign within the Labour Party, to victimize the only true democrats in the party without any real evidence of wrongdoing. An injury to one is an injury to all!

  • helen marks says:

    I would like to support your campaign

  • Frank Land says:

    Fully agree but unclear what I need to do.

  • Ann Lawrence says:

    Totally support your stand and strongly object to the authoritarian directive to CLPs. I believe it is targeting socialists, non zionist Jews and even Palestinians now.

  • John Pursaill says:

    I’m sorry, it’s too late for me. After forty years membership I cannot belong to a party that behaves in this way, and have discontinued my subscription.

  • Leftie Labour says:

    Is anyone noticing a pattern in the dates the signatories were suspended? Seems like 15 and 17 December 2020 were busy days for the Governance and Legal Unit!

  • George Peel says:

    Solidarity, with each, and every, one of those named on the list, above.

    The Party Apparatchiks have been allowed to hide behind the COVID-19 restrictions, for far too long.

  • Ted Clement-Evans says:

    It is time for all supporters of the true Labour Party, i.e those not infected by the anti-Semitism witch hunt which brought about Jeremy’s downfall and that of the Labour , to rise up. We should be the influential power within the Party. If that is not possible we should all move over to the Co-operative Labour party .

  • Kate Adams says:

    Brilliant, solidarity

  • Lorna Richardson says:

    An attack on our right to freely debate matters of consequence within the party is diametrically opposed to the tenets of the Labour Party.

  • George Hardy says:

    The planned Peace and Justice movement should include a fund to allow suspended members to fight legal actions.
    It should expand the movement to include actions by the victims of press harassment and involve Hacked Off. Even invite Max Mosley to join with us in this campaign as he has funded similar victims.

  • Mr. Robert Fox says:

    Yes, I wholeheartedly support those who have been suspended from the Labour Party. I have cancelled my membership since this witch hunt began last year, with the suspension of the former leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

  • Steven Taylor says:

    Solidarity, Comrades. The campaign against these suspensions needs to be much more widespread and engage with all levels of the Movement and beyond. The passivity of Party members – who voted for the actions which led to suspensions – is appalling. Solidarity means standing alogside comrades, not abandoning them …..

  • Sandra Keen says:

    This attack on socialists in our party is unacceptable. Solidarity!

  • Simon Hinds says:

    The fact that Jewish members are probably over-represented in ‘anti-semitism’ suspensions tells you that this is political. And does this probability mean that Labour is breaching the Equality Act?

  • Mark Ellerby says:

    We have heard much today (12 Jan 2021) about the importance of free speech, in particular, the blocking of Trump from using his Twitter and Facebook accounts. An example of the support for free speech came today on radio with the vicar of St Martin-in-the-Field presenting Voltaire’s quote on free speech:

    “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    In whatever period, this is a hard concept to stand by, but important. Nonetheless, people throughout history have worked on this foundation. My historic example is B Spinoza. In his time he experienced difficulties in his personal life and sought aid from two different religious groups in the Netherlands – Jewish and Christian; receiving little from either. He was a physical scientist working in the field of optics, making many lens systems. In addition, he wrote on the area of naturally philosophy, writing a book called Ethics. This book outlined, what I am calling an ontological approach, and a way of talking about this field in a “dialectic” form. I came across this through one of my friends who introduced a book called Dialectical Logic, Essays on its History and Theory by Evald Ilyenkov. There is much about this book that I do not understand but at the heart of Spinoza’s position is the importance of discussion (I’ll skirt around dialectic).

    To complete this comment I call for the ending of the suspensions of the CLP officers, suspended for having encouraged the CLP members to exercise one of the cornerstones of democracy – free speech. The CLP’s that have had members suspended, recognise that the call of central office and regional offices to remove motions from the agendas was an infringement of the CLP’s right to have free and focused discussions – an attempt by senior members of the Labour party to stand against the basic right to free speech.

  • Barry Fitzgerald says:

    Solidarity with the suspended members. Democracy and debate are being stifled in the Labour Party.

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