New statement by Labour Black Socialists and members of JVL in Greater Manchester gathering signatures fast!

 

A small group of Labour Black Socialists and members of Jewish Voice for Labour in Greater Manchester recently came together to explore how we can work together in solidarity. We aim to fight racism in all its forms both inside and outside the Labour Party. We are dismayed at the Labour Party leadership’s actions in cracking down on members who oppose Israel’s oppression of Palestinians under the guise of rooting out antisemitism and racism, while ignoring anti-Black racism and Islamophobia at the very heart of our party.

We repost the statement below. JVL members (full or solidarity members) and any comrades who identify as our allies are welcome to sign the statement which will be sent to Keir Starmer very shortly.

Greater Manchester Labour Black Socialists and Greater Manchester Jewish Voice for Labour

See below for original signatories and to add your name

We are Labour Black Socialists and Jewish Voice for Labour members in Greater Manchester, working together to fight racism in all its forms both inside and outside the Labour Party.

We and our allies are dismayed at the Labour Party leadership’s actions in cracking down on members who oppose Israel’s oppression of Palestinians under the guise of rooting out antisemitism and racism, while ignoring anti-Black racism and Islamophobia at the very heart of our party. Since his election as Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer has responded to the demands of the Board of Deputies of British Jews by actions such as sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey for retweeting an interview with Maxine Peake. Both are good anti-racist comrades who do not deserve to be tarred with the brush of antisemitism.

In our view the sacking was not a meaningful action against antisemitism, but a warning that Labour Party members who express opposition to Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people do so at their peril. The actions of the leadership seem to signify acquiescence to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians while attempting to silence support for the Palestinian cause. In addition, while claiming to make a stand against racism, the party is dragging its feet to address the issues contained in the recent leaked Labour report which, prima facie, revealed an organised group of senior staff undermining previous leader Jeremy Corbyn and seeking to sabotage the 2017 election campaign. There is strong evidence that some of this group participated in a culture of racism towards the Black membership and MPs allied to Corbyn.

Furthermore, Starmer’s separate decision, contrary to previous legal advice, to compensate certain staff who cast themselves as ‘whistleblowers’ with regard to antisemitism, is deeply disappointing, is a misuse of membership subscription funds, and compromises the Forde Inquiry into the report.Meanwhile, Black MPs such as Diane Abbott, Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Dawn Butler continue to face unprecedented threats, with Dawn closing her office due to racist attacks stemming from her support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet there has been little supportive action from the party so far. There can be no excuse for trivialising the movement as a “moment”, for failing to understand, both calls for defunding the police and anger about continuing racial injustice. Added to the party’s failure to support Black self-organisation, this has led to many Black members feeling disenfranchised.

We call on all socialists to reject the conflation of opposition to the existing racist structure of Israel’s regime with antisemitism. We call on all socialists to expose a leadership which “takes the knee” to give the appearance of antiracism while ignoring evidence of rampant anti-Black racism within the highest echelons of the party apparatus.

As socialists, we believe that we can succeed in this struggle only by simultaneously combating all forms of oppression including racism against Black people, antisemitism and Islamophobia. Any privileging of one form of oppression will damage the fight against all.

We will not be silenced.

Links
Unravelling the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey
“The Leaked Labour Party Report Is Shameful. It’s Time for an Investigation
Defund the police is not nonsense. Here’s what it really means
Hierarchy of Racism Fears threatens Starmer’s Hopes for Labour Unity
Open letter to Keir Starmer from Malcolm Segall


Signed

Ekua Bayunu, Labour Black Socialists Greater Manchester
Erica Burman, Jewish Voice for Labour Greater Manchester
Ash Hardenne, Jewish Voice for Labour Greater Manchester
Alison Harris, Jewish Voice for Labour Greater Manchester
Robert Lizar, Jewish Voice for Labour Greater Manchester
Sashwati Sengupta, Labour Black Socialists Greater Manchester
George Wilmers, Jewish Voice for Labour Greater Manchester

Click here to add your name

Comments (5)

  • David Hawkins says:

    I find this an inspiring document and I’m going to sign it.
    Thank you very much for producing it.
    I only have an issue with one sentence and I only raise it because I find it crucially important.
    You say “We call on all socialists to reject the conflation of opposition to the existing racist structure of Israel’s regime with antisemitism.”
    The phrase “existing racist structure of Israel’s regime” could be interpreted as suggesting that there was a time in the past or could be a time in the future when Israel didn’t have a racist structure. I think it’s important to recognise that racism is integral to Israel and always has been. Even the most liberal Israeli Zionist would deny a Palestinian Right of Return to Israel for the simple reason that allowing a Palestinian Right of Return would produce a Palestinian majority in Israel. But if you deny a Palestinian Right of Return then you must by definition accept that Ethnic Cleansing is a legitimate way of achieving a political objective and no socialist should ever accept that proposition.

  • Ann Lewis says:

    I largely agree with this statement but there are issues I simply do not know about sufficiently to feel able to sign in a meaningful way.
    I wish you all well though.

  • alice says:

    I am not from Greater Manchester, so cannot sign this. How can I show my support for the statements and call to action it contains?

    Yes you can sign! It says “JVL members (full or solidarity members) and any comrades who identify as our allies are welcome to sign the statement…”

  • wilson j bennet says:

    i am delighted to add my support to your group and i wish you well wjb

Comments are now closed.