Posts Tagged ‘Chakrabarti Report’

Jackie Walker Speaking at Labour Against the Witchhunt Public Meeting

March 2, 2019

This is a video I found on YouTube of the superb Black Jewish anti-racist activist, Jackie Walker, speaking at a public meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt on the 29th January 2018. Labour Against the Witchhunt is a group founded to protest against the anti-Semitic smears and expulsions of decent party members and activists. Among its founders and leaders are Tony Greenstein, a long-time Jewish enemy of racism and Zionism as well as Walker herself. Also present on the panel with her is the Israeli mathematician and anti-Zionist intellectual, Moshe Machover, and Marc Wadsworth, the Black anti-racist activist, who was smeared by Ruth Smeeth.

It begins with Walker introducing herself and stating that she is the chair of Labour Against the Witchhunt. She has not only been suspended, but processed by Labour’s NEC and she is still waiting to hear when she will have a hearing by the NCC, the highest court in Labour. The explains that she is mentioning this because the structures of the Labour party have a lot to do with the reason they were meeting that evening. They don’t just want to see individuals like Moshe Machover being let off, but also a revision of the disciplinary process. Two or three years ago, before Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party there was no link between the Left and anti-Semitism. There was no link between the left and abuse, and if you had said that at the time people’s mouths would have fallen open. But the smears started when Corbyn became a candidate. And suddenly things began to appear in the press and the media – stories about abuse, misogyny and anti-Semitism. She says its extraordinary, and it was an extraordinary learning curve for her about how the media in this country works.

At LAW they don’t want to see the end of all disciplinary processes, because every organisation needs them. What they want to see are proper disciplinary processes that are appropriate for a party that has a proud record of defending the oppressed, in terms of being the party that wants justice and transparency. She notes that many people there were trade unionists, and says that as trade unionists they would be appalled if they had to defend people in tribunals with processes like Labour’s. For example, you may not know all the charges against you until you actually arrive on the day. You may not be able to pay for representation, as the party insists you have to have an acting solicitor who speaks for you. You cannot just take a friend, who will represent you. You cannot know who you accusers are. She says that in fact your accusers are protected more than you are. She says that as someone who has had her personal data not just sent to the papers, but to all the news media. And she had it tweeted out from what must have been a closed session of the NEC. They want to see the kind of processes that are right and apt for the type of organisation they have.

They are also not rejecting the fact that racism exists in the Labour party. The Labour party is a reflection of society as a whole. Except usually it’s better than society as a whole. Racism exists. Anti-Semitism exists. But it exists at a level a lot lower than in the Tory party. How dare the Tory party with Boris Johnson point his finger at us as racists with his attitudes towards people of colour and others. She says that proudly as a picaninny with even more than a watermelon smile.

Very soon after the smears against Corbyn started he was being called a terrorist. They got that footage and they did what they did to all Labour activists – they cut it how they wanted and took it out of context. I’m sure Ken [Loach] could make any of us look saints and sinners using his skills, and they made Corbyn out to be a terrorist sympathiser. This is the MP that has probably had the reputation in the last 20 or 30 years of being the person who stands out the most for civil rights and anti-racism. The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has had over a hundred articles suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite. You could say that they are just another bunch of trolls, except that the disciplinary unit are using material from them against people like herself, Greenstein, and Wadsworth. What is happening in an organisation that is falling over itself to discredit its own leader?

She says that she thinks the LAW was established, it has been hugely successful. And one of the reasons is that they are not just interested in people, who have been hauled up with false allegations of anti-Semitism. This is important, as in the last leadership election a woman was suspended because she liked the Foo Fighters. The Foo Fighters are a pop group, and Walker says she thinks somebody in the NEC didn’t know who they were or read the charge properly. They suspended hundreds of Corbyn supporters at that time, and one of the accusations made against Walker and some of the others is that they have said that there is a witchhunt against the Left. The irony is that if you say that there is a witchhunt against the left, you are guilty of being anti-Semitic, or abusive, or something. It’s quite, quite a laugh.

Since the LAW was established they’ve held very successful public meetings, they’ve had a really good lobby of the NEC, which she hopes people will continue to support. That lobby was followed by the media, and they even had excerpts on TV, which is extraordinary, as many of those, who have been suspended, have found it impossible to get their voices out into the media.

So what is the way forward? Walker suggests that one way is to insist that the party implement the findings of the Chakrabarti Commission. She would like Chakrabarti to go further. Here is a party that commissioned the report, the report disappears from its website, to reappear after inquiries, but it still waits to be implemented. And those of the party, who have not appeared yet before the NEC and NCC should not be processed until the Chakrabarti recommendations have actually been put through. Labour stands for justice, for justice for the small people against power, and this is what Labour Against the Witchhunt is about, and she hopes that the audience will encourage people join and attend their events.

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Marc Wadsworth’s Expulsions: Are the Blairites Trying to Give London to New Party, Renew

April 29, 2018

The prominent Black anti-racism activist, Marc Wadsworth, has been expelled from the Labour party for anti-Semitism in a profoundly controversial decision that makes a mockery of justice. Wadsworth was accused of anti-Semitism by the Blairite MP, Ruth Smeeth. He saw her at a meeting passing on information to a Torygraph journo sat next to her. So he made a comment about certain Labour MPs working with the Tory press.

He said absolutely nothing about Jews, but Smeeth did what the Blairites and the Israel lobby tend to do when criticised by their opponents: scream that they are being abused and demand their critics’ expulsion. In this case, Smeeth declared that it was anti-Semitic abuse, because she’s Jewish.

Wadsworth didn’t even know that she was. But this didn’t stop the right-wing media pillorying him as a ‘vile anti-Semite’ who made Smeeth weep.

In fact, Wadsworth had made a fair comment about a long-standing issue. Labour MPs have in the past joined forces against their leaders. I can remember when I was briefly a member of the Fabian Society one of the issues being debated was whether Labour MPs should be allowed to write columns in the Tory press. This was in the 1980s when the press and the rest of the media, including the Beeb, was doing its level best to attack the Labour party under first Michael Foot and then Neil Kinnock.

Under the definition of anti-Semitism the Israel lobby wants the Labour party to adopt, an alleged anti-Semitism remark must be judged according to whether there is hate behind it. Instead, the NCC decided that the remark was anti-Semitic purely because they were advised that it could be perceived as such.

As the Tories themselves hollered when Labour brought in more sweeping legislation against hate speech, perceptions are no ground for condemning a comment as racist because of their subjective nature. You need better, more objective standards of proof, such as showing that there was racial hate behind it.

This is what the judgement did not do. An innocent man has been expelled merely on the say-so of a right-wing MP, who herself admitted that she was trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. And understandably there has been massive outrage amongst Black and other ethnic minority supporters of the Labour party.

Mike has posted a couple of articles on this. In one he describes how the party escorting Smeeth to the ruling were all white, as were all the officials, who decided Wadsworth was guilty. He compared it to a lynching. Black critics of the decision have denounced the court for the racist way it treated Wadsworth. One woman said that they spoke to him as if he was a servant, and did not take into account how difficult many Blacks find it to speak up against powerful Whites. Grassroots Black Labour have also issued condemnations of the judgement and its treatment of Blacks.

Mike today has asked whether the Labour party has just blown its chances of winning London. New Labour lost the support of many Blacks, just as it lost the support of working class Whites, because it took them for granted and ignored them. It expected them to continue voting Labour, because they had nowhere else to go. Instead, many of them, like many White working class folks, simply didn’t vote.

The Conservatives’ position in the metropolis is shaky. So shaky, that a few weeks ago there were rumours that London Tories were going to split and form a separate party. But that seems to have gone by the wayside. Labour did have a very real chance of taking London, but this has been put in jeopardy by this grossly unjust decision.

And I wonder if this wasn’t done deliberately. As the Blairites showed when they threatened to split the Labour party during their Chicken Coup against Corbyn, they have no qualms against making the Labour party unelectable, just as long as they can hold on to power.

And a few weeks ago, the press was full of a new, centrist party, financed to the tune of £50 million, being set up by businessmen and donors. It was going to be pro-European. This had Euan Blair, the son of Tony Blair, as one of its members. As Blair himself has also made comments about the need for a centrist, pro-European party, there has been some speculation, including by myself, that he’s somehow involved in this all.

Then last week, buried in the pages of the I, was a little report about a new, pro-European, centrist party, Renew, which was fielding candidates in London. The article said that they were hoping to win over Tory voters dissatisfied with Brexit. It sounds like the party being touted by the press a few weeks ago. If it isn’t, it’s very similar.

Which raises the question: have the Blairites deliberately passed an unjust decision against Wadsworth to alienate BAME Londoners, in the hope of either boosting support for Renew, or simply handing London to the Tories?

If they have, then it’s supporting an opposing party, which is an expulsion offence. But the Blairites have the attitude that such things only apply to the centre-left, not to free market Thatcherites and supporters of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians like themselves.

Labour needs to win back the support of it Black and ethnic minority members and supporters. Along with everybody else, who is sick of decent, anti-racist activists – which have included very many Jews – of being smeared, suspended and expelled on false charges of anti-Semitism.

The decision against Marc Wadsworth, and other decent people like him, should be overturned. The recommendations contained in the Chakrabarti Report should be implemented to stop further travesties of justice. Allegations of anti-Semitism should, like other allegations, be examined and fairly and impartially. And the party should absolutely not give into those, who make such false allegations purely for political gain.