Report – Labour Against the Witchhunt All Members Meeting 28 August 2021

Report – Labour Against the Witchhunt All Members Meeting 28 August 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Report – Labour Against the Witchhunt All Members Meeting 28 August 2021

LAW votes narrowly not to support setting up a socialist movement but votes to uphold No Platform for Fascists

Update

It would seem that the Spectator had a mole at the meeting! Its account is published here. It would seek that some sad nerd spends his time doing little else than attending the meetings of groups. This is the nerd in his own words and this is an interview with him in The Critic.

The most revealing comment is in his article Infiltrating the Left where he says:

‘I was never a hateful person myself before I started doing this — but now, I despise these people and everything they do. I suppose hate rubs off

Of course what mole doesn’t reveal is who is paying him and his relationship to the secret state. My assumption throughout is that mole is a man.

TG 

Introduction

LAW held its All Members Meeting last Saturday night with over 100 members attending. The agenda and a record of the decisions are here. This is a brief report on what took place.

The context of the meeting is a witchhunt unprecedented in its scope and ferocity in which Keir Starmer and his glove puppet David Evans have torn up all democratic rules and procedures. Regardless of the electoral cost, Starmer is determined to drive the left out of the Labour Party. Acting on behalf of the ruling class Starmer is determined that never again will a socialist and anti-imperialist gain control of the Labour Party.

Can you imagine what the press would make of the Labour Party if Corbyn had proscribed Progress, Labour First and the other scab organisations of the Labour Right. They would have cried ‘dictator’ from the rooftops. However attacks on the left meet with their approval – from the Mail to the Guardian.

When Starmer came to power he announced his intention to ‘root out the scourge of anti-Semitism’ despite the fact that what passed for ‘anti-Semitism’ was not hatred of Jews but hatred of apartheid Israel and the Zionist movement.

Starmer immediately declared that he was a Zionist, ie a racist ‘without qualification’. The subsequent issuing of reports by B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group and Human Rights Watch declaring that Israel was an Apartheid State have had no effect on Labour’s racist leader.  On the contrary, whilst fighting ‘anti-Semitism’ he has quietly readmitted to Labour the Trevor Philips for whom Muslims are a ‘nation within a nation’ and who has described the adoption of Christian children by Muslims as ‘akin to child abuse’. There are some forms of racism that Starmer is perfectly happy with.

This is what ‘Zionist Without Qualification’ Starmer Supports

The mere mention of ‘anti-Semitism’ however was enough to send Momentum’s children running to nurse for fear of something worse. ‘Anti-Semitism’ was the evil by which all manner of deeds were done. So when Starmer wanted to be rid of Rebecca Long-Bailey, to whom he had felt obliged to offer the position of Shadow Education Secretary, ‘anti-Semitism’ was the excuse to remove the last vestiges of the Corbyn left from the front bench.

The excuse was retweeting Maxine Peak condemning Israel’s Police for having taught the American Police the neckhold that killed George Floyd. Now whether this was strictly true was irrelevant. What is true is that the Zionist Anti-Defamation League boasted of having ‘trained 150,000 (US) law enforcement personnel—at no cost to taxpayers’ with the Israeli police. The ADL has since taken this down but I quoted it here. Apparently this was an ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy’. What Israel’s police were not teaching was respect for human rights!

Likewise when Jeremy Corbyn was suspended Andrew Scatterbrain, head of Momentum, complained that this ‘undermined the fight against anti-Semitism’. Scatterbrain didn’t get it that the ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations had been perfected to get rid of Corbyn even before he was elected as Labour leader.

The stupidity of much of the Labour left coupled with its cowardice has led to the present situation of automatic expulsions, where due process and natural justice have been abolished. LAW and its sister organisation Labour-in-Exile-Network were proscribed on July 20 for having called out the fake and spurious nature of the anti-Semitism allegations levelled by the Jewish Labour Movement, which is affiliated to the main proponent of Israeli apartheid, the World Zionist Organisation which contains a Land Theft Division.

Although over 100 people attended the meeting and there were some good debates, it cannot be said that the meeting responded adequately to the needs of the hour. Partly this was because of the disarray of LAW’s Steering Committee whose 6 members are grossly unrepresentative of the organisation. LAW has had hundreds of new members since Starmer outlawed us yet 50% of the Steering Committee are members or supporters of the tiny Communist Party of Great Britain.

Now I have no objection to the group per se. After all I have written for their newspaper the Weekly Worker for over 15 years, but they have a line on the Labour Party, that it was founded as a ‘united front of a special kind’ which is bonkers. The Fabians were amongst those that formed the Labour Party and they are and were an organisation of the liberal bourgeoisie, the Webbs and the Shaws.

The CPGB suggest that any attempts to build anything outside of Labour is doomed to failure. They follow what amounts to a rigid dogma, almost a theology. I termed them the Catholic Church of the Left at the meeting! Regardless of changing circumstances they stick to the same line. Some 120,000 members of the Labour Party have already left in disgust at the behaviour of Starmer and they have nothing to say to them apart from stay in and fight!

The meeting was chaired by Jackie Walker, the Black-Jewish woman who was witchhunted in disgraceful wave of racism and betrayed by Jon Lansman when Jackie was removed as Vice-Chair of Momentum in the autumn of 2016.

Resist at the Rialto & Labour Left for Socialism

Two years ago, because of Zionist pressure on venues not to hire out venues to anti-Zionists we hired for 2 days the Rialto, a Brighton theatre whose owner has experience of supporting the Kent Miners and is unafraid of a few racist trolls. Last time we put on a book launch for Bad News for Labour that Waterstones, under pressure from the Zionists had abandoned at the last minute.

This time we hiring the venue for 4 days and have a whole series of alternative events planned. from Sunday of the Conference to Wednesday. You can register for the events here. They provide an alternative to the controlled dissent of Momentum’s World Transformed. An outline of what is planned at Labour Party Conference is here.

A public meeting called by Defend the Left on 18th September is planned with Ken Loach, Howard Beckett, Graham Bash, Esther Giles and other speakers.

LAW has also participated, not without problems, in an organisation Labour Left for Socialism. LLS has published a statement signed by 15 organisations, some of which, such as CLPD have effectively been complicit in the witchhunt. Now of course people and organisations can learn the error of their ways, but the question unfortunately they haven’t.

After prolonged discussion LAW’s Steering Committee agreed to send two delegates to this organisation and to agree to the statement yet strangely enough LAW’s name has been left off the statement. What is even worse is that the statement contains the following weasel words. LLS ‘stand(s) in solidarity with every grouping that is proscribed solely for holding socialist views.’ What this meant is that of the 3 proscribed Labour Party organisations LLS only supports one of those organisation, Socialist Appeal.

Because LAW and LIEN have been proscribed for their opposition to the fake anti-Semitism witchhunt and this statement effectively refuses to support them. Stan Keable, the CPGB secretary of LAW sent an email to (LLS) expressing his ‘disappointment’ with them.

When I saw this anaemic email I immediately sent a somewhat stronger email saying that:

‘it really is disgraceful that Labour Against the Witchhunt, one of the proscribed groups, has been deliberately left off the joint statement by Don’t Leave Organise, that purports to oppose the proscriptions but instead introduces the following weasel words:

‘We stand firmly against proscriptions, and stand in solidarity with every grouping that is proscribed solely for holding socialist views.’

Unfortunately the co-Chair of LAW, CPGB supporter Tina Werkman took exception to my blunt words and at an emergency Steering Committee moved that I be removed as a delegate to LFS. My replacement has since decided not to take up his place as delegate, yet Ms Werkman, instead of proposing that I be restored as delegate has proposed that LAW just send one delegate, the CPGB’s Stan Keable. None of this was reported to the AMM meeting.

DISCUSSION OF MOTIONS

The first motion moved by the CPGB’s Kevin Bean welcomed the invitation to LAW and LIEN to participate in LLS without any criticism of it bar the fact that you can’t quote anyone who speaks in its meeting under the so-called Chatham House Rules. To me this seemed the least of its problems. No mention was made that Socialist Action, an ‘underground’ group which is part of the CLPD representation, had effectively tried to ensure that the group did not support those who did not go along with the ‘anti-Semitism’ witchhunt.

Tina Werkman moved an amendment putting this right and it was passed by 60-11 with the CPGB opposing.

The main vote however took place on the assertion in paragraph 2 that ‘LAW stands for unrestricted freedom of speech.’ I moved an amendment deleting ‘unrestricted’. I do not support free speech for overt racists, fascists, war criminals or organised scabs and I gave 2 examples. A meeting which socialists and miners from Kent NUM broke up in Brighton at the 1984 Tory Party conference. Apparently the CPGB would have supported the right of the scabs to freedom of speech despite using it as part of a campaign to starve the miners back to work.

The Board of Deputies has always opposed physical opposition to fascist anti-Semitism whilst at the same time condemning all opposition to Zionism and Israeli Apartheid

The Board of Deputies 

The other example I gave was of the 43 Group of Jewish ex-servicemen who, after they came back from the war in 1945, set about destroying the attempt of Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists to regroup by holding street meetings. By 1950 the Union Movement was finished. Interestingly for the benefit of Socialist Action, Red Labour, CLPD and others who are complicit in the witchhunt, the Board of Deputies, which today is so concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’ – vehemently opposed the 43 Group. I suggest that they and LAW’s Steering Committee read this excellent article. The British Jews who fought postwar fascism on London’s streets

Despite the majority of the SC opposing my amendment it passed by 35-32 votes.

What I thought was a non-contentious motion calling for no confidence in Keir Starmer, was passed by 75 votes to 8. The only opposition coming from the CPGB! Quite why the CPGB should have opposed the motion is unclear. As far as I am aware they don’t yet support Starmer though perhaps this is a sign of what lies ahead!

The main debate was on strategy. The motion from the CPGB which called for god, mother and apple pie, received 40 votes. It called on people to do what they are already doing.

What it didn’t do was offer any strategy to take on board the fact that over a hundred thousand members have already resigned from the Labour Party, that thousands of socialists are in the process of being expelled and thousands more show every sign of deserting the good ship Labour. To these people this motion offered nothing except rhetoric about ‘continuing to campaign at a grass roots level against bans and proscriptions, and countering the ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ smear campaign against the left.’

The CPGB motion was supported by 5 out of 6, ie. 84% of the Steering Committee. I moved a motion, seconded by Brighton members Dave Hill and Paddy O’Keefe and a background strategy paper written by myself and Esther Giles. Although I didn’t oppose much of the CPGB motion the problem was that it could have been written anytime in the past 5 years.

What set the cat among the pigeons was points 8 and 9 of my motion:

8. We believe that it is essential to create a socialist movement, that encompasses people inside and outside the Labour Party, which will keep activists in the Corbyn Project together, with a view to forming a distinct socialist party in the near future.

9. We believe that the time has come when socialists in trade unions should argue for disaffiliation from a party that is now part of the neo-liberal consensus.

In other words I called for the formation of a socialist movement which encompassed both those in and those who have left the Labour Party. It did not call for the formation of a new party today but said that that should be on the agenda in the near future.

Of course this was anathema to the CPGB for whom devotion to the Labour Party is an article of faith. Contemplating a break from the Labour Party is akin to committing idolatory in the temple. It is heresy in any language.

Despite my fear of being cast into perdition, the CPGB motion obtained 40 votes to 31 for my motion. In other words 44% of those voting agreed with me that it was not enough to call people to fight in a Labour Party where democracy has been abolished.

I think I can make one prediction and that is this debate will not go away. What is also obvious is that membership of LAW’s Steering Committee needs to be doubled. Whilst I have no objection to the CPGB having representatives on the Steering Committee, it is undemocratic for them to have effectively 50% of members when they are a small and tiny group. In other words they will have to win votes by argument not force of numbers.

Tony Greenstein

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Dave Hill

    Good report. Thanks. We need to widen the LAW central committee and get Tony’s motion passed- as soon as we can…

    Reply
  2. Jan Brooker

    Interesting. I was unaware of how the politics of the various components were broken down.

    The *stay & fight* mantra is not much use to those expelled and/ot resigned over principle [as went before pushed].

    Reply
  3. Paul Summers

    Beware of a split. Who controls the bank account, membership list and social media.

    Reply

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