JVL says: act NOW on the leaked report

Disciplinary proceedings must be taken against  officers who effectively acted as agents for the Tories. There can be no place for those responsible for systemic, visceral racism and misogyny so pronounced that attitudes among some senior staff were more reminiscent of the far right than a social democratic organisation; no place for biased recruitment and promotion practices breaching every standard our movement has fought for over generations; no place for ignoring complaints of racism, including the cases of blatant antisemitism, while obsessively hunting down and driving out left-wing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn; and no place for a campaign in and out of the party which often deployed false accusations of antisemitism – a practice which is dangerous for the Party, for members of BAME communities and for Jewish people as well.

The leadership of our party has now adopted a definition of antisemitism which elides Jewish identity with Israel, that very frequently labels criticism of Israel as antisemitic and accuses Jewish socialists and others of antisemitism for supporting the human rights of Palestinians. Meanwhile Israel’s association with far-right regimes and its gross violation of Palestinian human rights raise barely a murmur of protest. The serious battle to combat forms of racism rooted in our party, as in wider society, has been shelved in favour of a right-wing campaign against the left, and an emphasis on antisemitism that has made the structural discrimination experienced by members of BAME communities almost invisible.

JVL contests a basic assumption underpinning much of the leaked report – that the Party had a serious problem of antisemitism to deal with, rather than an important issue to address proportionately.  JVL has always maintained that the Party is not rife with antisemitism and the figures given in the leaked report itself bear that out. The report seems to support summary suspensions and fast-tracked expulsions which have little to do with the due process and natural justice that must be  accorded to anyone accused under Party rules and as recommended by the Chakrabarti Report. It hails 25 expulsions meted out by the NEC on February 7 as a success to be celebrated. The absence of due process which enabled these members to be expelled without a proper hearing is a matter of deep concern.

These are processes that seriously breach best practice in employment, for which the trade union movement fought; furthermore, it is dangerous for party members that they have inferior rights to those of employed party staff.

The Inquiry that has been set up in response to the leaks has features that fall far short of what members expect and deserve, in terms of independence, the balance of the panel and several aspects of its Terms of Reference. There are a number of actions the leadership must take without delay.

  • The leaked report must be forwarded to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission as essential evidence in its investigation of allegations about the Party’s handling of antisemitism complaints
  • The report must be made available to Party members, in redacted form, for them to review and discuss.
  • Disciplinary cases dependent on documentation prepared by staff named in the report must be reviewed, and if they prove to be ill-founded, those complained against must be exonerated and compensated.
  • Individual perpetrators named in the leaked report must be administratively suspended from their jobs if employees and from the Party if they remain members, pending investigation of their part in the practices described.
  • After due process, where the accusations are found to be correct, the individuals must be subjected to the severest appropriate sanction – expulsion from the Party and/or dismissal from their posts.
  • Where the law has been broken, the Party must take appropriate legal action.
  • Where Party funds have been misused, full compensation should be sought.
  • The panel overseeing the inquiry must be independent, balanced (reflecting the diversity of the Party membership) and well qualified for the job. Given the underlying theme of the Report that getting rid of Corbyn was the fundamental aim, its membership cannot include people known for their hostility to Corbyn’s leadership of the Party.
  • The inquiry must be empowered to interrogate the entire GLU team and other relevant Party members and officials, including MPs as well as senior staff.
  • The inquiry must operate in the open and a full report of its proceedings and conclusions must be published.

Many Black, Asian and minority ethnic comrades have left the Party or are struggling to justify staying, in the face of revelations that chime with their own often appalling experiences. Worse yet, when we should be apologising to BAME members and pledging to make amends for a dreadful history, Party leaders are reprimanding leading Black campaigners for making their feelings known! The need for a strong, campaigning organisation of socialists of colour, based on race and class, has never been more urgent. We in JVL will work in solidarity with any such movement.

Comments (22)

  • J says:

    So sad that there were/are Labour Party members who would rather a Tory Gov. than a real socialist in power.How different UK would be if JC had been supported in 2017-likely aLabour Gov. and how many people would now be alive who have died with Sars2-Covid19

  • Dr ALAN MADDISON says:

    Thanks JVL for documenting so clearly your fundamental demands following the dreadful revelations in the leaked report.

    Two recent UN reports are highly critical of the Tory ‘hostile environment’, and their repeated discrimination, with austerity hitting our 10 million ethnic minority neighbours, mostly BAME, the hardest.

    So these appalling staffers were not just racists, their betrayals facilitated the 2017 Tory victory and continued suffering of the minorities they insulted.

    Keir Starmer also needs to investigate those who lied about Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude and ”interference’ on national television, and those who deliberately destroyed case files and impeded the disciplinary process in order to blame Corbyn.

    Keir Starmer should also have investigated those who seem to have exaggerated their personal experiences of antisemitism in Labour (on Panorama one member claimed ‘every day face to face encounters of antisemitism” ) as they are contradicted by the numbers of off-line reports published.

    Clearly many PLP and anti-Corbyn members have been involved in this smear campaign that, in enabling a Tory victory, has cost thousands of lives and damaged our Party. We can’t allow such acts to go unsanctioned, the honour of the Party is at stake.

    It is so damaging that Keir’s demands for rapid expulsions for antisemitism were in stark contrast to his silence on this dreadful exposed racism, misogyny, ableism and GE betrayal of Labour members and voters.

    This must all be investigated, and the interim narrative corrected urgently.

  • dave says:

    There’s an excellent account from the Brighton perspective about the machinations of the Labour right by Greg Hadfield – here:

    https://medium.com/@GregHadfield/iain-mcnicol-the-criminal-conspiracy-against-the-labour-party-its-leadership-and-its-members-81c6d243e31b

    One thing I didn’t know was about Michael Foster, who apparently had a go at Corbyn at an LFI meeting in 2015 where he kept asking, “what about Israel?” This says Hadfield was the start of it all and it wasn’t then about antisemitism.

    And in 2017, Jewish News published an article by Foster titled “Why I was wrong on Corbyn” !!

    https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/michael-foster-why-i-was-wrong

    It was critical then for the antisemitism smear to be both engaged with and rebutted. Neither really happened.

  • Margaret West says:

    I agree with the sentiment of your article, the problem being that the Covid crisis
    has pushed nearly everything off the news .. or so it is said ..

    Concerning the “Definition” of antisemitism .. and in particular the “examples”

    What gets me is the meaning of “Israel” which is never defined – but when in context is usually meant to mean “The current Israeli Govt” by those condemned as AS.

    In fact very little is defined in these “examples” though in fact they are none of the kind. My understanding is that examples are meant to illustrate principles which are established in the initial definition. They do not do this but go off in several directions of their own.

    As I understand it – it is not true that the full “definition” of AS ultimately accepted by the Labour Party had already been accepted by many Institutions and Nations. All or most of these do accept the strict initial “definition” but have omitted all or most of the examples.

    However to get to the point, the alleged misbehaviour of those identified in the Report has meant they betrayed not only Labour voters – but democracy itself.

  • geoff rouse says:

    I have urged our CLP to write to our new leader asking him to release the report and take action against all ‘traitors’ in the party. If there is no such action I will leave the party.

  • Mary Davies says:

    These officers should have been suspended already.

  • I think a lot of people are not going to trust the labour party anymore .
    Because what was done was a betrayal of all those people who were working so hard within the labour party to get a labour government into power and a betrayal also of all those hard working activsts who were out in all weathers and giving their own time up to persuade people to vote for them .
    As well all those supporters of the party ie the electorate who wanted to see a labour government with policies they liked and end the austerity implimented on the people of this country by the tories And they were denied that by a party who’s own staff were working against their own party for their own selfish ends .
    The labour party need a full and proper investigation to find out exactly how many in the party were involved in this plot to tprevent a labour government because I think there is a lot more people involved and have been since Jeremy became the leader in 2015 .
    And if the investigation is not a fully independent one Then i can see it being the beginning of the end for the labour party and any credibility it had left due to the further 3 yearls of tory austerity in this country and which could have been so different but for those selfish people who were involved in preventing this by their. Betrayal of the leader the MPs the Members and all those supporters who worked so hard.

  • Andrew Hornung says:

    Of course, I agree with this in general. But what does this meant by “The inquiry must be empowered to interrogate the entire GLU team and other relevant Party members and officials, including MPs as well as senior staff.”? Specifically, how many of the “GLU team” exposed in the Report are still employees (or, in the case of some TU appointees, seconded employees) of the Labour Party?
    Perhaps there could be the inclusion of a call on TU members to hold to account their officers who have in some way participated in this deceit and disloyalty.

  • Stephen Williams says:

    An excellent statement. Can it be forwarded to all MPs and CLPs? Once upon a time, The Guardian would have reported it.

  • Carol says:

    An excellent response from JVL. I look forward to The LP reply and their action.
    The misogyny outed in the report must not go unheeded too. Women make up 50+% of the population yet this is not reflected in Parliament. The 50% reflects the diversity in our society. And the report reveals unacceptable attitudes towards women. Misogyny has kept women in their place for too long whatever their religion, ethnic make up.

  • Kenneth Tyzack says:

    Netanyahu expressed concern and condemnation at the prospect of a Corbyn/Labour victory, he also met with JVL members. It is my firm belief that he would have allowed Mossad to be deployed, in order to undermine prospects of a Labour Government.

  • RH says:

    An excellent indictment.

  • Christine Ladyman says:

    I have such grave concerns about this new leadership. I’ve seen nothing that inspires confidence that this report will be handled as you’ve stipulated above. The links to the IsraelI regimé, the lack of open and clear response. ..either publicly or to me as a member, is looking more and more like a strong desire to muffle the criticism, and any penalties these treacherous members/employees, deserve.

  • Doug says:

    Have you called for a meeting with Keir and Angela
    If they refuse can we campaign to dump JLM and replace with JVL

  • It is interesting article. The things are .ore and more cleared that l did not know. Hoping proper investigation would take place rather than wishy washy. It is important to clear the cloud to forward if LP really want to win, not necessarily backed up by the molioeners and billionaires but by people. Jeremy needs justice, so do we. Jeremy needs proper assessment, so do we.

  • Pete Mason says:

    One sure way to prevent it being buried is to make it available online. It was on face book but I cannot find it anymore.
    Please can you help.

  • Mostyn Toghill says:

    As I am sick of saying, Anti Zionism is NOT Anti Semitism. Anti Zionism is political and in sync with any anti racist or anti apartheid views. Anti Semitism is the opposite case, purely rooted in racism and ignorance. This is what the Labour Party needs to quell these slurs, a clear and unequivocal statement of the two positions.

  • One matter that has not been stressed is that the harm done to individual Palestinian people (like being shot when taking part in peaceful demonstrations) is contrary to the Christian principle (a commandment given by Christ) of “Love your neighbour as yourself”. To condone what the Israeli government has been doing is, therefore, unChristian and, in my opinion, no Christian can support a Labour Party that does so. It is also a Christian’s duty to speak out in such matters. If the Labour Party is not very careful, it will be seen to be anti-Christianity.

  • hilary klonin says:

    the report is being reviewed by house of lords members but they have a clear conflict of interest…
    all are rich white people, no-one from bme community
    no-one from anti-bullying organisations or charities
    the review should be broadened
    it should also represent people such as workers or disabled who may have lost most from losing the election, not just upper class people with excellent expenses

  • diane datson says:

    Precise and agree with the demands

  • Emma says:

    Thankyou for contiuing to highlight this issue.It must not be swept under the carpet.It would be undemocratic.

  • Allan Howard says:

    Needless to say, if it had been left-wing Jeremy Corbyn supporting staff who had said such things and acted against a right-wing led LP winning a GE, they would have been suspended immediately at the very least, or more than likely expelled straight away. And the MSM et al would have been screaming blue murder for their heads.

    As Margaret said, it wasn’t only a betrayal of Labour (in 2017), but a betrayal of democracy itself.

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