Members of ‘Labour Black Socialists’ selectively ‘downing tools’

JVL Introduction

We support and repost below a powerful statement from Labour Black Socialists, contained in this article published on Skwawkbox.

The concerns raised in this statement, about the hierarchy that exists when dealing with racism in the Labour Party, have still not been dealt with. This is an indictment of the Party.

It follows warnings that we have raised for some time that the issues of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia have been sidelined by the exaggerated and distorted allegations of antisemitism within the party.

We have already lost much of our support in the northern Red Wall seats. We must beware losing seats in the urban Black Wall too.

This article was originally published by Skwawkbox. Read the original here.

Exclusive: Black Labour members go on ‘strike’ – no campaigning in 2021 for MPs who ‘look other way’ on anti-black racism


“The election of Keir Starmer and the trajectory that he has regrettably followed have sustained and nurtured a culture of dismissing those forms of racism and prejudice at virtually all levels of the party”

Members of the ‘Labour Black Socialists’ group have decided that there is no alternative but to selectively ‘down tools’ in the party’s 2021 election campaigns. The group is still in the Labour party and has chosen to stay and fight for the party that its members support.

Members of the Labour party have reported routine anti-Black racism and islamophobia within the party, while the Labour internal report that was leaked last year also exposed. A report by the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) also revealed serious Islamophobia on the party’s right.

A press release by the group, which has around 160 members, states:

There is a culture within the Labour party that looks the other way when it comes to anti-Black racism, Islamophobia and prejudice against the Gypsy Roman Traveller (GRT) and trans communities. This leads members to believe there is an hierarchy when it comes to dealing with racism within the Labour party.

The Forde inquiry is not a commitment from the current leadership and the group does not want the leader to resolve these complaints in the same ill conceived and undemocratic way that has been identified within the EHRC findings.

This group will be raising our concerns with other like-minded members of the Labour party. We will be requesting that those who support us to also down tools. This means selectively campaigning only for candidates whose commitment is clear to justice for all irrespective of differences in class, race, ethnicity and religion.

The Labour Party will not get away with dismissing members’ concerns about racism and the group hopes that action will be taken swiftly against those within the party found to be racist.

Group spokesperson Mogamat Reederwan Craayenstein, who was jailed by the apartheid regime in South Africa for fighting the South African government’s racism, told the SKWAWKBOX:

I come from the anti-apartheid movement and I’ve spent time in prison in South Africa for it, so I’ve been around the block a bit. The Labour party has been an important element in the anti-apartheid movement in the UK and in the global solidarity movement in the struggle.

It is a tragedy that the Labour party has reached the point, on anti-Black racism, on Islamophobia and prejudice against GRT and trans people, where we have had to take this action.

We come from different parts of the country and different CLPs (constituency parties) and we believe that the leaked Labour report has been ‘kicked into the long grass’ with the Forde Inquiry. That leaked report and the LMN’s report show, persuasively to say the least, that anti-Black racism and Islamophobia are a serious problem in the Labour party.

The election of Keir Starmer and the trajectory that he has regrettably followed have sustained and nurtured a culture of dismissing those forms of racism and prejudice at virtually all levels of the party.

We believe he has shown a catastrophic failure on these matters when [standing against them] should be uncontroversial in the Labour party.

We remain loyal to the Labour party but will fight for the party we can have confidence in. This is not about left and right, this is about having genuine anti-racists in public office. It’s the only chance of restoring the party to the leading voice in anti-racism in this country and around the world that it is supposed to be.

Comments (7)

  • DJ says:

    Campaign for socialists in the 2021 elections. Stand down from campaigning for supporters of right wing policies and the witch hunt. It’s quite simple when you come to think about it. There is nothing to be gained from electing people who will sell out the oppressed including the white working class.

  • Sabine Ebert-Forbes says:

    I agree woleheartedly with the statement made by members of the ‘Labour Black Socialists’ group. Issues of all racism/discrimination need to be dealt with equally. If that does not happen then there will be serious consequences at least in so far that the Party will be losing support and credibility from potential voters and from its members.

  • Jane Terris says:

    Support you 100 per cent.

  • Terry Messenger says:

    Why does Keir Starmer have to use the language of first? He said: “When I stood for leader of this Party, I was clear that my first priority would be to root out anti-semitism.” The problem with putting some people first is that you also put other people second and last. That is inherently divisive. And it’s unnecessary. In his ten pledges to party members in the leadership election, he promised: “Robust action to eradicate the scourge of antisemitism.” That will do. He might also have refrained from persecuting Jewish Voice for Labour had he been serious. Anyway, there’s no need to advocate a hierarchy of anti-racist priorities. Corbyn was always careful to condemn anti-semitism and all forms of racism. He cared about party unity. Starmer also said: I’m calling on the government today to put families first during this lockdown.” The corollary is: “Let’s put people without families last.” Am I alone in thinking “Down with orphans!” is a terrible slogan for our party?

  • Angie Hudson says:

    My good friend who is left wing, Arab, and Moslem, with family in Palestinian, has now left the party in disappointment.

  • Excellent article & excellent principles being actioned. I too refuse to campaign for members who are blind to the racially unjust policies of this current party leadership which institutionalises a hierarchy of racism excluding Bame / Grt concerns.

  • Diamond Versi says:

    A great deal of effort has been put in the fight against antisemitism by the Starmer administration in contrast to the other forms of racism. I believe now is the time for Starmer to go. This Tory government has mishandled the pandemic and are continuing to do so but they are still ahead in the polls. This is because there is no effective opposition. I hope there will soon be a leadership challenge.

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