Stand Up for Labour Party Democracy Rally on Sunday Feb 7

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi reports on a major united left initiative wholeheartedly endorsed by JVL.

Top trade unionists and party members join forces to defend Labour democracy

Since mid-November, unremarked in the mainstream media, the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit has been cutting a swathe through constituency organisations, suspending dozens of CLP chairs and secretaries for insisting on their members’ right to discuss matters of urgent concern.

This is well documented on the Save our Socialists website which has catalogued almost 70 suspensions that have come to its attention. Reprieves reportedly on their way to some of those suspended do not change the fact that members’ right to freedom of speech and thought is under threat.

Suspended members are refusing to stay isolated and silent. They refuse to accept the legitimacy of orders from general secretary David Evans banning discussion of the treatment of Jeremy Corbyn, the Equality and Human Rights Commission report and even the issue of free speech itself.

Acting collectively a number of them have organised around a call for an end to attacks on party democracy endorsed on December 17 by 27 members of the Socialist Campaign Group in Parliament, seven union general secretaries, six members of the NEC and a dozen left groups.

As a result a petition has gone into circulation for signing by every Labour Party member or supporter who endorses these demands:

  • End the attacks on party democracy and legitimate discussion
  • Reinstate the whip to Jeremy Corbyn
  • Withdraw the unjust suspensions.

On Sunday Feb 7, at 7 pm, there will be a mass rally on Zoom to take the campaign forward. Leading trade unionists and party members, including several of those suspended will come together to launch the petition and articulate the message it contains.

As the petition text says:

“At a time of crisis for working people and their families up and down the country, we need a leadership focused on confronting Boris Johnson’s disastrous conservative government and supporting party and trade union members in their struggles.”

The rally will be chaired by Alan Gibbons, secretary of Liverpool Walton CLP, who heard on Friday that his challenge to his administrative suspension for facilitating discussion of matters the general secretary had tried to ban, had been successful and his suspension lifted.

We will not be silenced, we will defend members’ right to debate, we will not be told what to think – about antisemitism, about Palestine or about the leadership of our party!

 

 

 

Comments (18)

  • rc says:

    Good for Alan Gibbons. May we know what channels he used? It is of some importance to the rest of us, those expelled or suspended, those close to them, and those at risk of suspension or expulsion (pretty well all the LP membership except the most grovelling lickspittles – and even they are still at risk – remember Niemo”ller’ warning: ‘first they came for the Communists…”.
    Did Alan have to resort to litigation (or the serious threat thereof)? Did lay officers such as NEC members play a part? Did employees of the LP feature?

  • Jenny says:

    Will certainly be attending. Solidarity with you all!

  • Malcolm Bradstock says:

    Thank God somebody is doing some thing about Starmer

  • Debbie Epstein says:

    It is ironic, to say the least, that #StoptheLabourLockout was happy to exclude Esther Giles from the platform for defending the sex-based rights of women. In effect saying, we are in favour of free speech but happy to throw women and their rights under the bus. How hypocritical can you get?

  • Brian McAuley says:

    Well done for this. My regional office and an MP are constantly emailing to get involved in the elections in May. I cannot canvas for and promote a party where the values and ethics do not align with my Socialist values.

  • Tony says:

    Not happy that one person has been excluded to speak because of pressure from others who refuse to speak, this is not acceptable and the speaker should be back on the show

  • Jackie Walker says:

    Where are the groups who have been fighting for free speech as their core values? CLPD r there and not LRC????!!!! And why has one of the speakers been no platformed? How does this fit with a meeting on free speech?

  • jane shallice says:

    Given the removal of a woman from the platform, does JVL still consider this a meeting which is supporting the right to discuss and debate issues?

  • Pat Mitchell says:

    I had registered for this but will not now be attending. I have to question the value of a discussion about free speech, by a panel which has allowed one of its proposed members to be no platformed. For what its worth, I think JVL should have no part in it.

  • Debbie Epstein says:

    I cannot, in conscience support this campaign. The platform is overwhelming men and a woman (Esther Giles) who supports the sex based rights of women and who was going to be on the platform, has been deplatformed by them for tonight’s rally. I can hardly believe the hypocrisy involved in doing this. Everyone in the Labour Party should have a write to speak, except of course women who don’t agree that women’s hard won sex based rights should be trampled on.

  • John C says:

    Attend the meeting, sign the petition for free speech. Leave whataboutery for another day.

  • DJ says:

    Does anybody know exactly why Esther Giles has been no platformed from speaking at this event?

  • Jonathan Rosenhead says:

    There are many problems about what has happened. They will need to be addressed and will be.

  • Kay Green says:

    What a shame only people who are 100% in alignment with Momentum were allowed to speak, and that there was no facility for comments or discussion. As a rally for free speech and democracy, it will go down in history as black comedy.

  • Pamela Blakelock says:

    I read that ‘Save our Socialists’ did not defend those who were suspended if the accusation of antisemitism was included in their letter of suspension. This is crazy as it was this accusation, (false) that Corbyn was suspended for. I think it was only Leah who addressed this, saying she did not agree with no platforming and that someone who was not present should have been. Oblique but a stab in the right direction.

    • Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi says:

      Pam, there was an issue about a paragraph detailing antisemitism charges appearing in a suspended officer’s biog on the SoS site. As a result that comrade’s biog is absent from the site, which is regrettable. That is a separate question from what happened at the rally on Sunday Feb 7. Leah’s speech and JVL’s subsequent statement makes clear our position, in opposition to no-platforming within our movement and for comradely discourse about contentious issues.

  • Pamela Blakelock says:

    BTW I believe that JVL refused to speak on a platform with Rivkah Brown for reasons of her position on Antisemitism in the Labour Party. I think this could be a wrong decision and that the arguments should be heard.

    [JVL web responds: This is not the case. The story is told here in this article Jewish radicalism. We were clear that we would appear on a platform with her but, for reasons aoutlined clearly in that article, would not co-sponsor the meeting.]

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