Marc Wadsworth Forced To Drop Reinstatement Case

Labour party activist Marc Wadsworth flanked by Deborah Hobson, Grassroots Black Left and Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Jewish Voice for Labour. Photo: Morning Star

JVL Introduction

As Jay Blackwood explains in this post on his Jewish Dissident Blog, Marc Wadsworth, expelled last year for “bringing the Labour Party into disrepute”, has been forced to drop his legal challenge.

JVL has always regarded the charges against and the expulsion of Marc as a travesty of justice. The original accusations of antisemitism were so utterly absurd that the only way to “get” Marc was to shift ground to the utterly intangible “bringing into disrepute” charge.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

 

[post updated 29 Dec; financial appeal added]

This article was originally published by Jewish Dissident Blogspot on Sat 28 Dec 2019. Read the original here.

Marc Wadsworth Forced To Drop Reinstatement Case

Marc Wadsworth writes: I refuse to be a “victim”. I intend to get back on the road again to clear my name. Already had an invite to speak in Liverpool where I’ve enjoyed friendship & solidarity since the 1980s uprising. Went to give support. Please donate what you can & spread the word: https://t.co/EvZT8bfJtN

An already bad December has been made worse with the news that Marc Wadsworth has been forced to drop his case for reinstatement as a Labour Party member.

Most readers of this blog will be aware of Marc’s case. He faced trumped-up allegations of antisemitism back in 2016 for an innocuous comment made to Ruth Smeeth at the press launch of Labour’s Chakrabarti report. The initial allegation of antisemitism was later dropped because it clearly had no basis in reality, and Marc was eventually expelled (in 2018) under the catch-all charge of ‘bringing the Party into disrepute’ – a McCarthyite clause which renders any defence problematic.

The case against Marc was flimsy in the extreme, and it would have been reasonable to expect the Party leadership to support one of their own, particularly when we are talking about a leading Black activist renowned for his work with the Stephen Lawrence campaign, anti-racism and anti-apartheid, and the building of Black Sections. In the event, the many private assurances Marc was given by key leadership figures were never followed through, and his explusion was confirmed with a nod and a wink from the top table.

The contrast between Marc’s treatment and the support offered to Smeeth, whose relentless attacks on Jeremy culminated in her describing Labour as “the racist Party” after losing her seat in the general election this month, could not have been starker. Similarly, while the leader’s office was rumoured to have intervened in order to ensure that charges against Margaret Hodge were dropped after she had publicly called Corbyn a “fucking antisemite”, when it came to Marc’s disciplinary case the leadership simply sat on their hands.

What we have seen in Marc’s case is the clear application of a facile and ill-conceived ‘hierarchy of oppression’, where antisemitism is privileged over more prevalent and institutionally entrenched forms of racism. This does no-one any favours, least of all Jews, who must unite with other minorities to oppose racism if we are to fight it effectively.

When it came to the crunch, the leadership were unwilling to support a principled Black activist with a long record in the movement, in the erroneous belief that by throwing him to the wolves they would bring the constant allegations of antisemitism to an end. Predictably, their act of cowardice had the opposite effect, green-lighting further attacks.

Despite private promises of help from the leader and shadow chancellor’s offices, nothing has been done to support Marc during the lengthy legal process which has followed his expulsion – a process that would have been wholly unnecessary if the Party had swiftly implemented Chakrabarti’s recommendation for a legally qualified appeals panel.

In the event Marc has had to do his own crowd-funding in order to pursue his case. Despite widespread support amongst the Labour Party grassroots and beyond this has finally proved to be inadequate when faced with the full weight of Labour’s legal hierarchy, who seem to have been unbending in their determination to rubber stamp his expulsion.

Mounting costs and legal technicalities have proven decisive. Because the Labour Party is a voluntary association rather than a public body, it would not have been subject to a binding judicial review even if Marc had won his case. And if he had lost he would have faced personal financial ruin.

So Marc has had to drop his case for reinstatement. The outcome is a defeat for the Left, and a serious loss for a Party which is not exactly awash with prominent BAME activists.

No doubt there will be much celebration in the ranks of the self-styled Jewish Labour Movement and the Labour Friends of Israel. But it should give the rest of us pause for thought. Our leadership’s policy of throwing comrades under the bus – not just Marc but also Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker and many other fine socialists – at the behest of the Party’s Israel lobby, has not helped the leadership to shore up its position. Instead it has been part of the process of enfeeblement that led to the catastrophic election result on 12th December.

Things could have been very different – but that would have required a leadership that were actually prepared to lead. Lessons have to be learned. And we must continue to fight for Marc’s eventual reinstatement.

 

Comments (22)

  • dave says:

    Marc is chair of my union’s black members council (the NUJ) and one of the most committed anti-racist socialists you could ever imagine. His expulsion from Labour is one of the lowest points for the party recently and we should not rest in insisting on his reinstatement.

  • RH says:

    Very sad. If inevitable because of the cost issue.

    The Party – as a corporate body – has behaved abominably and against all avowed principles, and the fact that the JLM, after its alliance with the Tories, remains affiliated is a also a matter of shame.

  • Alan Marsden says:

    This is not the only miscarriage of justice to be laid at the door of the Israel lobby. There is the libel action against Mike Sivier by Wealthy TV figures. . It too may be decided by financial muscle rather than natural justice. Labour should not be using punitive legal processes to gag critics. That is not what Labour should be about.

  • Dr Neil Breward says:

    Scandalous. Seems the Party’s legal department is too cowardly to take on its enemies, but will readily pick on a respected activist.

  • Jay Kramer says:

    That information is both a travesty of justice and a tragedy. We have a policy in Hastings & Rye CLP to support Marc Wadsworth. Is there anything we can do together?

  • Alfreda Ellidge says:

    The lack of support for all those falsely accused is absolutely disgraceful.
    It demonstrates a basic lack of humanity and empathy for the victims,
    which many of us are really upset to witness, having invested so much in trying to ensure a victory for Corbyn.
    Isn’t there a case for an amnesty for all the victims of McNicol’s purge
    before this leader steps down? If only to restore our faith in their decency.
    No candidate for leader who has collaborated with travesty of justice will get my vote.

  • Kathlyn says:

    The treatment of Marc, Jackie, Chris and the utter cowardice of the leadership was the reason Labour lost the election…and the reason I resigned my membership. Labour HAS become an utterly racist party…but one that places white pro Israel Jews above every other minority group and I do not wish my name to be associated with such blatant racial discrimination.

  • One of the lamentable facts (and sadly, there are quite a few) about Labour’s Israeli-inspired Witch Hunt (or rather, the Great Purge of Corbynistas) is that many on Labour’s Left had refused to recognise the vital importance of rejecting and indeed refuting the false Antisemitism accusations. Having been expelled from the Party in March 2018 for ‘Antisemitism’ (i.e. criticising the State of Israel on SM for the occupation of the Palestinian territories and its domestic apartheid policies), I have tried to draw the attention of those kindred spirits who are still LP memebers to the importance of this colossal injustice of fabricated accusations and absurd expulsions. In my case as indeed in Marc’s case and in the cases many other comrdes, the absurdity is reminiscent of certin atributes of totalitarian political systems which were described and analysed so incisively by the likes of Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt. How else but ‘absurdity’ can one describe the expulsion for ‘Antisemitism’ – of a son of Holocaust survivors who was born and raised in Israel?
    I kept claiming time and again that this variety of absurd injustice is bound to play a leading role in the maligning of LP which may lead to catastrophic results in GE2019. The mind-boggling thing was that too many Labour Left activists, grassroots and supporters had played down the damaging potential of the Witch Hunt What is even more mind-boggling is that even now, many of them still keep looking away.

  • Mary Davies says:

    I am disgusted with the way Marc, Chris, Jackie and others have been treated by the Labour Party; this is not justice. We can’t afford to lose good socialists with a strong record of fighting racism. They shouls be re-instated.

  • David Nissen says:

    The truth is the Labour Party itself has destroyed the Corbyn project. No opposition to the Stalinist witch-hunt by the Labour establishment has materialised from the ‘left’ and in consequence the election has been lost by these attacks on good socialist comrades. Nothing has changed from the old ‘New Labour’ days. Really the Labour Party is back to its old self, an alternative Tory party. Even if a Corbyn replacement was brought forward, he or she would be treated in the same way.

  • David Hawkins says:

    As an ordinary Labour Party based in Germany, I am powerless to do anything to help Marc Wadsworth. I protested for Jacky Walker but to no avail. I get a vote in the forthcoming Leadership election. Is their a candidate likely to end this injustice ? Many of us are looking to JVL for guidance. JVL is about the only group I feel I can really trust.

  • Samantha Bentley says:

    This is an absolute travesty. This and other similar cases destroyed any trust I had in the Labour hierarchy. Margaret Hodge has got away with many acts/diatribes that I would class as bringing the party in to disrepute or uncomradely behaviour yet she is still an MP for Labour

  • Ceredig says:

    The Labour hierarchy have shown that they have no intention of opposing the pro Israel lobby, and I begin to wonder how long it will be before JVL itself is proscribed as antisemitic.
    In the meantime the McDonnell anointed successor to Corbyn, Rebecca Long Bailey, presents us with the brilliant new concept of ‘Progressive Patriotism’, which I am sure the BoD will embrace.

  • Yonit Percival says:

    Too right. I have an issue with self-beating following the outcome of the election, and , instead, see the importance of understanding the enormity and sophistication of the power against us. Yet, I cannot but agree that the party’s response to the dark campaign of antisemitism was catastrophic. it opened up a second front within the party to add to Tory machinations, a second front in which the leadership fought on the side of their enemies within. What was it? Fear?

  • Allan Howard says:

    Cyril, you said: ‘The mind-boggling thing was that too many Labour Left activists, grassroots and supporters had played down the damaging potential of the Witch Hunt What is even more mind-boggling is that even now, many of them still keep looking away.’

    WHO are the LP left activists you refer to, and WHERE have you come across them ‘playing down’ the witch-hunt? The reason I ask is because not only have I ever come across anyone playing it down, but ENTIRELY the opposite.

    The reality is that the corporate media and the BBC have been a party to the black op smear campaign against Jeremy and the left from the outset and they were NEVER going to give them a fair hearing if and when they rejected the false claims of A/S. Of course they weren’t! Just look how they ‘reacted’ when Jeremy denied he’d laid a wreath at the graves of ‘terrorists’, or in relation to the ‘English Irony’ episode, for example, or how they reacted each and every time Ken Livingstone attempted to explain that he was alluding to an historical fact – ie The Haavara Agreement – when he said that Hitler was supporting Zionism, or when the LP condemned the Panorama hatchet-job.

    I mean does anyone REALLY think that the very media which has conspired in the smear campaign from the outset were ever going to side with Jeremy and the left. If they were even remotely impartial and honest it would NOT have needed Jeremy and the leadership to deny the claims or ‘fight back’ against them or ‘oppose’ them. If what happened when Chris Williamson was reinstated isn’t testament to their power, for example, then I don’t know what is!

  • Thembi says:

    This is appalling and unacceptable treatment of a treasured comrade.
    The only way this nonsense is going to end is if all BAME labour members take steps together. Is some racism more valued than other forms? Marc’s life long work is overlooked and he is being victimised by the LP leadership now ? He is being scapegoated. It’s clear and obvious to all. So let’s not play the ‘Emperor’ new clothes’ game! And of course if anybody speaks up we become potential victims of an onslaught . Come on people this is nonsense. We can’t go on like this .

  • Allan Howard says:

    During the past four years or so there have been over TWELVE THOUSAND articles dissembling and perpetuating the ‘anti-semitism’ Smear, and more than 1,300 of them in November alone (and for obvious reasons!), not a single one of them remotely impartial.

    And as Justin Schlosberg points out in Chapter 4 of Bad News For Labour:

    “In contrast to other contexts, the antisemitism issue by its very nature inhibits the development of a counter-narrative. This is because much of the discursive framing serves to pre-emptively delegitimise any defensive response as ‘part of the problem’”.

    In other words, when it comes to A/S smears, it’s a no-win situation, and so to blame Jeremy/the leadership for not speaking out etc is to blame the victims of this McCarthyite black op.

  • Allan Howard says:

    ‘When it came to the crunch, the leadership were unwilling to support a principled Black activist with a long record in the movement, in the erroneous belief that by throwing him to the wolves they would bring the constant allegations of antisemitism to an end. Predictably, their act of cowardice had the opposite effect, green-lighting further attacks.’

    Whilst I have every respect for Jay Blackwood and the Jewish Dissident blog, I’m afraid this is complete nonsense. There was no ‘belief’ erroneous or otherwise, and it is of course an assumption on Jay’s part. As with many other people, one way or the other. And it is just absurd beyond belief to imagine that if the leadership HAD supported Marc that the anti-semitism smear campaign would have come to an end. As if the smearers needed a ‘ Green Light’ to continue with their black op! Of COURSE they didn’t!

  • David Edwards says:

    Corbyn and others in the hierarchy were cowardly in not backing Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker and all of those good Socialists against the spurious accusations of AS. Mayhap when the leadership battle has been resolved and we still have a Socialist Labour Party we can reinstate them and use them for their strengths.

  • Andy says:

    I’d really love to know who in Corbyn’s team advised for this appeasement strategy. They must either be totally stupid or a mole working for those wishing to get rid of Corbyn. Appeasement NEVER works. I am so angry that this policy was pursued with such commitment. They undermined good people, threw them under a bus and they let the side down.

    We are paying the price with a Fascist Government of liars and crooks.

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    The problem facing Corbyn is that he was dammed for interfering if he said anything in favour of Marc and equally dammed if he did not. In order to protect any integrity in the system the leader cannot be either perceived or actually involved in the decision making. Remember the furore that was created merely by him speaking to Marc after the incident involving Smeeth. He apparently showed no concern for the ‘attack’ on her. She had been a senior Israeli PR person in the New York embassy prior to becoming an MP. Are wevsuppossed to accept that a short few words aside could possibly reduce her to tears

  • Ian Ampleford says:

    The Party Leadership’s response to claims of antisemitism has been feeble in the extreme. I believe that if they had responded with robust denials and counter-accusations of these false allegations then this fake news would have died a well deserved death. They could have refused to expel any member without an open and fair hearing. Our disciplinary process is obscure and unfair. It must be reviewed and revised to benefit the membership.

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