Tony Greenstein | 12 November 2016 | Post Views:

Iain McNicol Steps Up the Attack on Free Speech as Corbyn’s office gives
the OK

Iain McNicol – as shifty as he looks – responsible for the attack on free speech and the Left – came from the GMB as their political officer – close ally of Tom Watson, who was also an employee of the GMB
In what is, even for New Labour, a quite unbelievable
decision, Labour Party Headquarters has stepped in with an instruction, behind
which lies of course the threat of suspension and worse, that a motion on the
fake ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt cannot be discussed at a local party branch.  According to Ben Westerman of the ‘governance
and legal unit’ (Compliance Unit I guess) the motion was ‘objectionable on
almost every level’. 
After his victory we didn’t hear much about a probe as Corbyn set about appeasing McNicol and Tom Watson – his office’s support for this attack on free speech will rebound on him

If that was true, then I’m sure members were quite capable of
deciding that for themselves.  Instead,
no doubt at the urging of the pro-Israel/Zionist lobby, Iain McNicol, the
General Secretary has laid down a dictat forbidding discussion.  In a new and quite novel pretext the reasoning
given was that it might give the ‘wrong impression’ to new members.  Perhaps clamping down on free speech might
give an even worse impression to new members.

Stanley Keabble of the Labour Party Marxists group
Even in the bad old days of the Right this level of attack on
basic and fundamental rights did not occur. 
If the Leader’s Office, whomsoever that was, was complicit in McNicol’s
actions, then that is not only wrong but counter-productive.  Does Seamus Milne or Corbyn really believe
that attacks on free speech in the Labour Party is going to shore up his
position?  McNicol might be lying low for
the moment but when the chance to wield the assassin’s knife comes round again
he won’t be found wanting.  What the
Leader’s office should be doing is encouraging the maximum debate on these
It probably hasn’t occurred to Mr Westerman that forbidding
free speech and treating members as children who are too precocious to debate and
discuss what is happening in the Labour Party might also give the wrong
impression?  But that is not the real
reason why this pettifogging bureaucrat has stepped in.  It is because the Labour Party bureaucracy
has stepped in to prevent what it sees as a political critique and attack on
itself and its actions over the past months. 
Like all such bureaucracies what they are best at is forbidding
Ronnie Draper – one of the early victim’s of crooked McNicol’s purge
There is nothing in the least objectionable about discussing
where the ‘anti-Semitism’ witch hunt has come from or rejecting the concept of ‘new
anti-Semitism’ which holds that criticising Israel is a form of anti-Semitism.  If it is forbidden to mention the word ‘Zionism’
as some would like then maybe those same people can explain why the term is in
common parlance in Israel.  Zionism in
short means today Jewish supremacy and domination in the Israeli state.  The World Zionist Organisation, which is a
living and breathing organisation, funds the West Bank settlements and settlement
expansion.  The WZO founded the Israeli state.
What is involved here is an attack on free speech of
anti-imperialists using the pretext of ‘anti-Semitism’.  It is sad, to say the least that Jeremy Corbyn,
given his own record of support for the Palestinians, is now so cowed that he
does not face down those who have done their best to remove him.  Just as it is shameful that instead of
telling McNicol to this face, after his re-election, that he had no confidence
in him and that he should go, said that he had never challenged him.   Caving
in to the right-wing like this only embolden’s Corbyn’s enemies.  It is a stupid and counter-productive
decision and should be reversed without delay.
Tony Greenstein
crooked Iain McNicol – did his best to swing Labour’s election Owen Smith’s way
Gagged – Labour HQ forbids branch motion

Discussion of political
differences over the issue of anti-Zionism and alleged anti-Semitism was
blocked at the November 10 AGM of Ravenscourt Branch Labour Party in the
Hammersmith constituency – on explicit instructions from Labour HQ.
My motion (see below), condemning
“the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign and witch-hunt against the Labour left
and supporters of Jeremy Corbyn”, had been circulated with the agenda to
the 231 members of the branch – 70 of whom joined during 2016. Four new members
were among the 26 present. Members looking forward to an open discussion
between comrades – the best way to overcome misunderstandings and mistrust, and
to clarify different opinions – were dismayed by the bureaucratic gagging of
debate from above, and made “nervous” by the dangerous precedent that
party HQ can control discussion in a branch.
The branch secretary read out an
email received earlier that day from a Mr Ben Westerman of the party’s
“governance and legal unit”, endorsed by “the leader’s
office” – ie, by Jeremy Corbyn himself – instructing the branch to rule
the motion out-of-order.
When members asked
“Why?”, the secretary confirmed that no reason was given in the
email, but gave an indication of some of the reasons Mr Westerman gave in a
phone conversation, including that the motion was “objectionable on almost every level” and was the kind of thing
that “should not be put before new
as it “would give
the wrong impression of what the Labour Party is about”.
Such patronising nonsense,
sacrificing debate to sanitise appearances, is characteristic of New Labour’s
discredited method, and the antithesis of Corbyn’s “straight talking politics” brand, and must be overcome in the
struggle to democratise Labour and advance socialist politics in the party.
Stan Keable
Motion:        ‘Anti-Semitism’ smear
campaign and witch-hunt:

This Branch/Constituency Labour
1. Rejects the Zionist concept of
so-called ‘new anti-semitism’, which conflates anti-Jewish racism with
political criticism of the state of Israel and its ongoing colonisation of
Palestinian land, and with criticism of the political ideology of Zionism.
2. Condemns the ‘anti-Semitism’
smear campaign and witch-hunt prompted by the Israeli establishment and carried
out by the mass media, the Tory Party and the Labour right against the Labour
left and supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. The claim that anti-Semitism – ie,
anti-Jewish racism – is rife in the Labour Party, particularly in the left wing
of the Labour Party, is simply untrue.
3. Calls for the immediate
lifting of all of the suspensions and expulsions from Labour Party membership
in any way connected to the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign and witch-hunt. That
includes Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Tony Greenstein, Gerry Downing and
numerous other supporters of the Palestinian cause.
4. Calls for disciplinary
proceedings to be instigated against John Mann MP. He publicly attacked Labour
NEC member Ken Livingstone in front of TV cameras, calling him a “disgusting
Nazi apologist” – an accusation without foundation. Mann’s attack played a key
role in stepping up the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign and witch-hunt and could
only but damage Labour’s chances in the May elections. Presumably the aim was
to create the conditions for the removal of Jeremy Corbyn as leader.
5. Condemns the willing
collaboration in the witch-hunt of the Labour Party’s Compliance Unit and the
Labour Party general secretary, Ian McNicol. They have been more than ready to
accept at face value obviously false and malicious complaints of anti-Semitism.
6. Condemns the lack of due
process in the suspensions and expulsions of Labour Party members. The failure
to apply the principles of natural justice brings the Labour Party into
7. Calls for the abolition of the
Labour Party Compliance Unit and for the establishment of democratic,
transparent disciplinary procedures which follow the principles of natural
justice, and in which disciplinary decisions are made by elected
representatives, not by paid officials.

The misnamed ‘Jewish Labour
Movement’ – a political Zionist organisation, formerly ‘Poale Zion’ – continues
to assert that the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism’s working definition on
antisemitism is the standard definition. However, its successor body, the
Fundamental Rights Agency, has junked this definition, which equates criticism
of the Israeli state with antisemitism.

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Tony Greenstein

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