Grassroots resistance to Labour Party diktats

JVL Introduction

Resistance to the diktats of General Secretary David Evans continues to grow.

Below are reports from three CLPs – South Thanet, Ceredigion and Hampstead and Kilburn – that have refused to be cowed, as reported by Skwawkbox.

We understand that at least thirty others have passed similar motions – or tried to, before regional officials refused to allow them to proceed.

Here are further links to Skwawkbox articles about some of them: Birmingham Hall Green, Brighton Pavilion, Hendon, Morley and Outwood, NW Durham, Sedgefield, Hackney South and Shoreditch

 

This article was originally published by Skwawkbox on Sat 28 Nov 2020. Read the original here.

Grassroots resistance to Labour Party diktats

“Even a war criminal like Blair didn’t attempt to stop internal debate in the party” – South Thanet Labour passes Jewish member’s motion for Corbyn’s reinstatement

SKWAWKBOX (SW)

Motion passes overwhelmingly and was supported by all three Jewish members

Last night, South Thanet constituency Labour party (CLP) passed a motion for Jeremy Corbyn’s reinstatement to the Labour whip, in defiance of the party’s ban on discussions and votes on the topic, after Keir Starmer withdrew the whip for comments the EHRC report confirmed Corbyn had a legally-protected right to make.

Graham Bash, the Jewish member who proposed it, told the SKWAWKBOX he wanted to send a message to Labour’s general secretary David Evans about his claim to be ruling the motion out of order on the grounds that it would undermine the party’s ability to provide a safe space for Jewish members. Bash said::

Once again Jewish members are being used as a political football in what is a blatantly factional manoeuvre.

As one of three Jewish members present at tonight’s GC [delegate-based CLP meeting], perhaps we should be asked what we think about this attempt to speak in our name.

I have fought against antisemitism all my life – ever since at the age of six I was told at school that Hitler should have finished the job and put us all in the gas ovens, or that you Jews killed our Jesus. I heard at football grounds the appalling chant: “I never felt more like gassing the Jews”. I fought the fascists on the streets of Lewisham, Blackburn, Welling and Dover – like my dad fought against Mosley’s fascist thugs at Cable Street in the 1930’s.

It was the fight against antisemitism that made an anti-racist and which brought me into the Labour Party 52 years ago – and the Labour Party is the one place I have never had to fight against antisemitism.

So, David Evans, I can do without your lectures on antisemitism or your offensive references to the Jewish community. Jewish people, like all peoples are diverse. We do not speak with one voice – we are religious, and we are atheists, we are Zionists, we are non-Zionists, we are anti-Zionists.

So how dare you tell me what is and isn’t safe for Jewish people. Even a war criminal like Blair didn’t attempt to stop internal debate in the party


Ceredigion Labour votes no confidence in Starmer – and against Evans and treatment of Young Labour Chair

SKWAWKBOX (SW)

CLP stands up to Stalinism

Ceredigion constituency Labour Party (CLP) in Wales has joined the growing number of CLPs to vote no confidence in Labour leader Keir Starmer – but members didn’t stop there.

The CLP passed four motions on Friday evening, including the no-confidence vote. Other motions criticised the conduct of the party’s general secretary David Evans, Labour’s high-handed and arrogant treatment of Young Labour chair Jessica Barnard – and condemnation of the treatment of former party leader Jeremy Corbyn, in spite of Labour’s escalating war on free speech and attempts at public intimidation by right-wing figures.

The principal motions read:

  1. This CLP notes the General Secretary’s numerous emails to CLP and Branch Secretaries and Chairs informing them that several areas of Party business are “not competent business” for CLPs or Branches to discuss.
    This conflicts with the Party’s long-standing custom and practice and tradition, whereby both affiliates and CLPs have the right to engage in discussions and adopt positions on matters across the full range of party business and policy.
    One reason our Party is among the largest in Europe is because internal debate has always been encouraged. Members/CLPs have always been able to freely express their views to the NEC and the Leadership. This apparent break with that democratic tradition within our Party is a matter of grave concern.
    We accept that on occasions there will be genuine legal reasons that could necessitate restricting open discussion on certain matter(s). This restriction should be approved by the NEC (or its Officers) after consideration of the relevant legal advice. This CLP believes that it is for the elected NEC to decide on those matter(s) that should be restricted. The General Secretary should not be making unilateral decisions of this nature.
    We therefore call on the NEC to defend the right of CLPs, Branches, and affiliates, to discuss the full range of party issues as per established custom and practice.
  2. Ceredigion CLP notes with concern the decision taken by the Leader of the Labour Party not to restore the Party whip to its former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
    Jeremy Corbyn was reinstated as a member of the Labour Party on 17th November and we believe the Labour whip must also be restored.
    We call on Keir Starmer to review this decision immediately and restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.
  3. This CLP believes that members have the right to discuss, debate, speak out and show support and solidarity with comrades in the party.  Freedom of speech and democracy are precious to us, it is our core and our strength.  We feel that democracy and freedom to  speak out is being threatened and our rights are being undermined.
    Regretfully and after much consideration we have decided that we have no confidence in the Labour leader.  We have arrived at this conclusion because:
    ·         It feels that we are barely functioning because of a dictatorial style of leadership, leading to an oppressive atmosphere. People are no longer confident to speak out in case they are disciplined or suspended.
    ·         The leadership demonstrates that it does not value the members and priorities are skewed. Our work for the party is taken for granted, and we are not appreciated. We are used and abused. We are indispensable when canvassing at election times, but we are disposable at other times when bigger donors are being courted. We are labelled and derided for our true socialist values. We feel unwelcome in a place where we should be valued.
    ·         It feels that our party under the leadership of Mr. Starmer is taking us to places that are an anathema to our standards and expectations. The whipping of the PLP to abstain on the ‘Spycops Bill’, the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, commenting to the media (Andrew Marr) re the disciplinary matter and generally not providing an effective foil to the incompetent Prime Minister.
    ·         We were promised unity, we get the opposite. We should be supporting ‘Black Lives Matter’, BAME members of the PLP are receiving no visible support. Mr Starmer seems to have some issues with women which has been demonstrated by the treatment of; Rebecca Long-Bailey and Nadia Whittome amongst others.
    ·         Mr Starmer appears to be distancing himself from all forms of oppression bar one. On the issue of antisemitism, which we agree is a problem and deserving of action, he appears to be ignoring the valid contribution of Jewish Voice for Labour. It can only be assumed thatthis is because of their support for Jeremy Corbyn.
    ·         Mr Starmer authorised compensation without court action for individuals who may yet be found culpable in losing the 2017 election. The Forde report is yet to be published and our members are suspicious that findings will be swept under the proverbial carpet.
    ·         The latest action, denying Jeremy Corbyn the whip, is a betrayal of us all.

    This CLP therefore declares that it has no confidence in Keir Starmer as Leader of the Labour Party.

Ceredigion CLP utterly condemns the attempts by the Leader, and Labour HQ to silence both Young Labour and specifically its new EC, chaired by Jess Barnard after a stunning success in the recent YL elections.

The CLP notes that

  • As a direct result of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party experienced an unprecedented surge in youth membership in the past five years.
  • Jessica Barnard achieved an amazing 71% of the YL vote, on an unambiguously socialist platform.
  • These successes were repeated all across the country by the Socialist future platform.
  • The new Young Labour EC has a stromg mandate from members, and faithfully executed that with their statement on the 21st of November, in support of Jeremy Corbyn
  • The attempted political interference by the Leaders office is in direct opposition to the reccomendations of the EHRC report

The CLP utterly condemns

  • The Leader’s attack on the left, and on the young left more specifically
  • The leader’s attempts to politically interfere with Young Labour and to gag Young Members.

The CLP resolves to

  • Issue a statement in support of Jessica Barnard and the rest of the Young Labour Committee
  • To continually act in solidarity with the Young members of this CLP and others
  • To encourage the growth, strength, and ability to self-organise of Young Labour locally in this CLP
  • To condemn political interference by the leader wherever it happens.
  • To send this motion to the General Secretary and the leader of the labour party

Hampstead and Kilburn members defy attempts on Zoom by London region to kill motion to reinstate Corbyn – and vote it through anyway

SKWAWKBOX (SW)

Groundswell of defiance continues to build – and members are now also demanding the reinstatement of anyone suspended for standing up to party’s hierarchy

The number of CLPs ignoring threats by the Labour hierarchy designed to ban free speech looks like becoming a flood. Members of Hampstead and Kilburn constituency Labour party (CLP) tonight voted for a motion for the immediate restoration of the Labour whip to former party leader Jeremy Corbyn – despite an attempt by London regional office representatives on the Zoom call to intervene.

When regional representatives tried to rule the motion out of order, the CLP chair ruled it wasn’t – and found a way to allow anonymous voting to allow members to vote with their conscience free of intimidation. Right-wingers on the call looked about to explode, according to others present, with ‘non-stop gripes’ to try prevent members exercising their democracy.

Regional ‘reps’ again threatened that the CLP would face action if it continued to ignore what members present described as the ‘general secretary’s diktat‘, but failed to cow the meeting.

The full wording of the motion passed is as follows:

Restore the Whip to Jeremy Corbyn

To Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner, Nick Brown (Chief Whip) and NEC

This CLP notes with concern the decision taken by the Leader of the Labour Party not to restore the Party whip to its former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn was reinstated as a member of the Labour Party on 17th November and we believe the Labour whip must also be restored.

We call on Keir Starmer to review this decision immediately and restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.

We call for all members suspended for refusing to accept that party units could not discuss Corbyn’s suspension to be reinstated.

Members report that information was being leaked during the meeting to the Jewish Chronicle‘s Lee Harpin. Harpin’s smears against Labour members and others have repeatedly cost his employers considerable sums of money and humiliating apologies, as well as censure from regulator IPSO on at least one occasion for failing to cooperate with its investigation.

Labour members of Birmingham Hall Green this evening also defied the ban to vote in solidarity with Corbyn – while those in Hackney South and Shoreditch went further and voted no confidence in both Keir Starmer and general secretary David Evans.

The groundswell of defiance continues to build.

Comments (11)

  • DJ says:

    Well done Skwawkbox for your up to date reporting of the fightback. A much needed morale boost for the grassroots of the Labour Party. The leadership must not be allowed to get away with their undemocratic practices. CLPs making a stand is just what we needed. Now we need the affiliated trade unions to pile on the pressure.

  • DJ says:

    Charge against Labour Party leadership-victimisation of CLP officers in Bristol and Nottingham. Verdict – guilty! Making up the rules to justify arbitrary suspensions. What makes this even worse is the collusion of local MPs including a Campaign Group member.

  • Mary Davies says:

    I wish all CLPs were as courageous.

  • TM says:

    We put forward our Emergency Motion at Westminster North. It was ruled out. We argued for it’s being put to the members to decide. But not even that. So, we placed our motion on chat together with our proposals. There were a few voices of support and outrage but the majority were silent.
    That the truth is not allowed is itself a cruel act of allowing fears to grow. But we tried.

  • Derek Taylor says:

    Before I read this, I was on the road to resigning. I proudly joined a decent political party in 1970, but am so ashamed right now. Now I read that I’m not alone; others are frustrated like me and are standing up to the bullying, so thank you for putting me right, and for strengthening my resolution to continue shouting out about the outrageous treatment of the Palestinians.

  • Allan Howard says:

    One would have thought that this ‘fight back’ by CLPs in recent weeks would have been condemned by the JLM and CAA and BoD, their ‘angle’ being of course that these CLPs/members are giving their support to an anti-semite – or someone who ‘enabled’ anti-semitism – but I just checked JLMs website and there’s nothing, and the only thing I’ve come across on the CAAs website is an article published on the 23rd of November entitled:

    WITH PRO-CORBYN MEMBERS LEAVING LABOUR EN MASSE, OTHER PARTIES MUST STAND GUARD AGAINST IMPORTATION OF LABOUR ANTISEMITISM

    Yep, no doubt THAT one had them falling about laughing when someone or other amongst their number came up with it – ie thought of it as yet ANOTHER way to reinforce the idea in their readers minds that the LP is/was full of anti-semites. Here’s a clip from the ‘article’:

    There was a great deal of concern over entryism during Mr Corbyn’s two leadership primary campaigns and, more generally, over the possibility that many of these new members were tolerant of or held far-left antisemitic views. These concerns appeared to be borne out over the course of Mr Corbyn’s tenure as Leader, and Campaign Against Antisemitism’s 2019 Antisemitism Barometer showed, based on analysis of polling conducted by YouGov, that people holding four or more antisemitic views were particularly attracted to Mr Corbyn.

    https://antisemitism.org/with-pro-corbyn-members-leaving-labour-en-masse-other-parties-must-stand-guard-against-importation-of-labour-antisemitism/

    Strange, isn’t it, how out of all the thousands upon thousands of claims of A/S made by various Labour Party MPs and groups such as the JLM and CAA etc during Jeremy’s tenure as leader, that only one or two LP members were prosecuted. And how come not one of these groups or individuals – who ALL piled in in the MSM to condemn the likes of Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker and Chris Williamson etc as anti-semites AND of making anti-semitic comments – reported them to the police. I wonder why not!

  • Allan Howard says:

    PS And apart from a couple of articles in The Independent, all the emails that David Evans has sent out to CLPs in recent weeks and all the motions being passed by CLPs etc has been completely blanked by the MSM. In other words, the vast majority of the general public are completely oblivious to the fact that it’s all going on – ie the diktats and the suppression of free speech etc by the leadership and the GS, and yet it is all completely unprecedented. That said, it is of course not surprising that the MSM have done so, but if they HAD decided to cover it, it would have been spun negatively against the CLPs and left-wing members and Jeremy of course.

  • Allan Howard says:

    When I checked out the JLMs website a bit earlier, the first six articles listed were all entitled: ‘My experience of antisemitism’, and then the name of the person. One of them was by Ella Rose (posted on 29 October, 2020), and here’s a clip from it:

    I never thought I’d ever experience antisemitism in the party I thought was anti-racist, but yet it hit me like a wave that kept coming back. From verbal abuse and people screaming in my face, to death threats and online abuse, and even people coming to antisemitism awareness training sessions with pre-prepared antisemitic questions with the intent of goading me. It had a huge impact on my mental health, and is something that I can only speak about today thanks to the wonderful support of my family and friends. Those who deny the antisemitism in the Labour Party deny the experiences myself and so many others who lived through it for years.

    The antisemitism I saw in the Labour Party encompasses the whole spectrum of the long history of the hatred of Jews, everything from Holocaust denial to classic medieval antisemitism.

    And here’s a clip from another by Josh Garfield (posted on 30 October):

    Elected on a wave of huge optimism, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to make Labour an anti-austerity party set on eradicating inequality after our second consecutive defeat at the polls in 2015. Drunk on enthusiasm for this new movement, I joined Momentum and got full-swing behind Corbyn’s Labour, blissfully unaware of his past convictions and the calibre of activists he was enthusing to rejoin the party.

    Please check them out if you can bear to read them.

    https://www.jewishlabour.uk/news

    PS Presumably the ‘death threats’ Ella Rose mentions happened SINCE she participated in the Panorama hatchet job, otherwise she would have surely mentioned them in her segment on the program. Needless to say she didn’t tell the MSM about them at any point, which she WOULD have done had such a thing happened of course! AND informed the police!

  • Allan Howard says:

    Whilst looking through the list of ‘news’ articles on the website of the Campaign Against Antisemitism I came across one entitled ‘Antisemitism In Political Parties’ (which although not dated, I believe they published just shortly before last year’s general election). There were 3 people listed in the Brexit Party section with a combined total of 8 (alleged) Incidents, and in the Conservative Party section 5 people with a combined total of 11 (alleged) Incidents, and in the Green Party 6 people with a combined total of 16 (alleged) Incidents, 4 people and 31 (alleged) Incidents re the LibDems and 3 people and 8 (alleged) Incidents re the SNP.

    In the section regarding the Labour Party – which I have left until last for obvious reasons – they have 38 people listed, and the combined total of (alleged) Incidents is 147. So altogether I make that 59 people they have listed, with a combined total of 190 (alleged) Incidents. Needless to say, the CAA themselves don’t refer to them as ‘alleged’ incidents and, as such, supposedly regard each and every one of the ‘Incidents’ as actual anti-semitism, and given that that is the case, then presumably they reported every one of these incidents – and the individual concerned in each instance – to the police, what with racism/anti-semitism being a criminal offence. Well, if they DID, then as far as I’m aware not a single one of the 59 people were prosecuted by the police (or were found guilty of such an offence). So either the police concluded that none of the 190 Incidents of (alleged) A/S were antisemitic, OR – as I have little doubt is the case – the CAA did NOT report any of the 190 incidents to the police because they knew that they stood no chance whatsoever of being taken up by the police. But perhaps JVL could contact the CAA and ascertain from them if they DID report said incidents to the police, and if not, why not.

    https://antisemitism.org/politics/

  • Doug says:

    Is it possible for JVL to contact Nadia Whitome Labour MP Nottingham East for a friendly chat, would be interested to know what on earth is going on there

  • Sandy Palmer says:

    Thank you to the brave CLPs and more specifically chairs and secretaries who have risked suspension for democracy and free speech. All those who have been suspended should be reinstated forthwith.
    My concern is that the removal of these chairs and secs is playing into the hands of Starmer in his wish to eradicate the left of the party. His fans may well be waiting in the wings to pounce at the AGMs to take over. The left needs to be aware of this danger and organise.

Comments are now closed.