Posts Tagged ‘Constituency Labour Party’

Haredi Jews Send Letter of Support to Diane Abbott

April 5, 2019

This is another fascinating piece refuting the allegations that the Labour party is institutionally anti-Semitic. On the 29th March 2019 Skwawkbox posted an article reporting that the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations – UOHC – wrote a letter supporting Diane Abbott.

The letter was written as a riposte to attacks on Abbott for not intervening when her local party passed a motion denying that Labour is institutionally anti-Semitic. Supposedly some Jewish members left in tears. The Skwawkbox notes that most of the media accounts did not mention that the motion was brought and supported by Jewish party members. As for Abbott herself, Labour party rules specifically prohibit MPs from interfering in motions by the constituency parties.

The UOHC is the umbrella organisation for Haredi – ultra-Orthodox – Jews, who are not represented by the Board of Deputies, along with secular members of the Jewish community. The good rabbis write

We are aware that you often spend much time and trouble to assist constituents and others with their personal and other problems, and that the ethnicity and religion etc., of those that you assist makes not an iota of difference to the assistance that you generously provide.  We hope and trust that you will continue your battle against racism, and your other endeavours for the general population of this country for many years.

Shraga Stern, an activist in Hackney’s Haredi community, welcomed the letter and mentioned that when Jeremy Corbyn signed an early day motion in 2010 calling for the relocation of Yemeni Jews to Britain, Diane Abbott had been the second to sign it and had done so without a moment’s hesitation. Stern also said

While it is sad that the UOHC letter had to be written at all, I am delighted at this instance of public Jewish support for Ms Abbott, whom I regard as a true friend of the Jewish people.

https://skwawkbox.org/2019/03/29/orthodox-jewish-union-issues-letter-of-strong-support-for-diane-abbott/

Abbott is the most vilified female MP in parliament, a fact the media neglected to mention when they were falling over themselves to cover the misogynistic and anti-Semitic abuse directed at Blairite female MPs like Luciana Berger. Berger has suffered real, horrific abuse, but this has been covered by the press and media simply to discredit Corbyn, despite the fact that it has no connection to him at all. And the biased media have absolutely no interest in upsetting this story by giving the same amount of coverage to left-wing Labour MPs, who suffer the same abuse.

Stern was also one of the members of the Jewish community, who attended Finsbury Park mosque when Jeremy Corbyn visited it. I think he may also have suffered attacks from the Jewish Chronicle, which is absolutely outraged that any Jew should support Corbyn, and which has been trying to discredit those who do. One of their latest victims is a Holocaust survivor, who also signed a letter by twelve other members of the Haredi community supporting Corbyn. They have tried to suggest that this person couldn’t really be a survivor of the Shoah, as they left in 1939, before the Final Solution got underway in 1942. However, the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Israel defines a Holocaust survivor as any Jew, who lived through the Nazi era. The Nazis got into power in 1933, and the concentration camps were opened that same year. And from the start the regime was persecuting the Jews horrifically before the official deportations started. So the JC’s allegations simply won’t wash. They prove instead what a vile, mendacious rag the Chronicle is.

As for Abbott’s unswerving support of the Jewish community in her constituency and elsewhere, I can believe that very easily. She has always been a dedicated campaigner against racism and discrimination, most obviously for the Black community but also for other ethnic groups. It’s her utter opposition to racism that has led to her demonisation by the right-wing media, and the vile hate messages she has to endure.

Corbyn and Abbott have never been anti-Semites and, like the very many others falsely smeared, have enjoyed the confidence and support of large sections of Britain’s diverse Jewish community for the care and work they have done on their behalf, and that of all the ethnic groups in Britain. 

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New Labour Sets Up Delegate-Only Meetings to Exclude Corbyn Supporters from Nominations

July 30, 2016

Mike today has posted up another piece about the anti-democratic dirty tricks pursued by the Blairites to stop Labour party members voting for Jeremy Corbyn, according to an article in the Evening Standard. Mike reported yesterday how Conor McGinn, the Labour MP for St. Helen’s North, had misdirected Corbyn supporters to Century House for a meeting over a vote of confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. McGinn and at least six of his cronies held the real meeting behind closed doors over in the Town Hall. When a group of women, who had come to support Corbyn and been misled, tackled him about it, McGinn reported them to the police and then wrote a completely misleading account of the incident for Politics Home, claiming to have been threatened and intimidated by them.

This process has been repeated in Blaenau Gwent, where Labour party members were prevented from attending a meeting to nominate, who they wanted as leader of the Labour party. The CLP instead chose Smiffy. It is not remotely coincidental that the local Labour MP is a director of Progress, the Blairite faction in the Labour party.

Now it also appears to have been done in Chuka Umunna’s local party in Streatham. The party’s grassroots members were locked out of the meeting, and the nomination was made by the party’s general committee, which chose Smudger. A party spokesman told the Standard that they had to do it like that, as the party’s membership was too large for everyone to be notified at such a short notice.

Mike points out that this is rubbish. They could have used email. If the problem was that the membership was too large to fit in the usual premises, then they could have done what Jeremy Corbyn does, and booked larger premises. Mike speculates that the people, who’ve arranged such anti-democratic tricks, don’t realise the amount of ill-will they’re creating for themselves, ill-will that will be expressed later on. Or they simply don’t care, as they’re trying to create a literal party within a party with Labour.

Mike concludes his article with the following recommendation

In the meantime, anyone who feels mistreated by this attempt to sidestep democracy is entitled to express their displeasure to the NEC – perhaps in the form of a multiple-signature letter or petition; perhaps with a motion of no confidence in the nomination decision and the process by which it was made.

See http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/07/30/anti-corbyn-stitch-up-in-labour-leader-nomination-process-is-another-attack-on-democracy/

I’m not surprised that Chuka Umunna’s CLP in Streatham have tried this trick. Umunna is a Blairite through and through. A little while ago, when it seemed the party was going a little too far to the left for his liking, he warned that if it continued to do so, he and other ‘aspiring’ Blacks and Asians would leave the Labour party. This was part of a general warning by Blairites that a leftward turn by the Labour party would lose them the votes of all the aspirant, upwardly mobile ‘swing voters’ Blair, Broon and Mandelson had cultivated as part of their electoral strategy.

In Umunna’s case, there’s a nasty undercurrent of racial entitlement in this. The Labour party was founded to protect the interests of the working class and poor. At the heart of Socialism is a profound belief in equality, a belief that also motivates Socialists to support the independence movements that arose in the British colonies abroad, and support Blacks and Asians in their campaigns for racial equality at home. But Umunna’s statement suggests he believes that the majority of British people, regardless of colour, should continue to suffer if they are poor or working class, in order to reward Black and Asian swing voters, who are, like their White part counterparts, likely to come from the more affluent sectors of the population. It’s a nasty, racist attitude, though I doubt Umunna sees it as such. He probably sees it as supporting the rights of Blacks and Asians to join the affluent White groups, a demand for equality, even if it means the further impoverishment of everyone poorer than them.

It’s also particularly toxic politically in the present climate post-Brexit. Brexit has led to a massive increase in racism and racist incidents across Britain. Many racists believe that the vote to leave the EU has given them tacit permission to express publicly their private racial hatred. Dissatisfaction and frustration by the White working class was one of the fundamental causes of the Brexit vote. By pursuing the votes of affluent ‘swing voters’, Blair, Brown and Mandelson left very many members of the working class feeling left behind, as conditions for the working class generally worsened. Tory papers, such as the Scum and the Heil have consistently attacked affirmative action campaigns to improve opportunities for Blacks and Asians, and immigration, as discrimination against the White British. Umunna’s comment could easily be seen by disaffected Whites as confirming their belief that New Labour has no interested in helping the poor or working class, unless they are Black or Asian.

Owen Jones, in his book, Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class, makes the point that despite the abandonment of the working class by New Labour, the working class as a whole isn’t racist, although the Tory press has done its level best to claim that it is. He describes a strike at a large industrial plant against the use of cheap immigrant labour. Yet while the Tory press claimed that this was purely a racist attack on the employment of migrant workers, the trade union that called the strike did so partly because it was concerned about the exploitation of the migrant labourers, who did not share the same working conditions as the British fellows, and were forbidden to join a union.

The demands by Umunna and his White counterparts that the Labour party should continue to focus on getting the votes of the middle class, and promoting the ambitions of the aspirant few against the impoverished many, should be strongly rejected. Mike himself has quoted surveys from Labour supporters that show that social aspiration rarely, if at all, figures as one of their concerns. Furthermore, the neoliberal policies Umunna and the rest of the Blairites have embraced, have actually destroyed social mobility.

If Umunna and the rest of them are serious about restoring social mobility, and enabling Blacks and Asians, as well as Whites, to rise higher, then they need to go back to the old Social Democratic consensus. The architect of this strand of Labour ideology, Tony Crosland, argued that it was in the interests of business to support the redistribution of wealth through the welfare state, as this allowed the workers to buy more of their products, and so stimulated both production and profitability. And he also argued that there was no need for more radical forms of industrial democracy, such as works councils and worker directors, if trade unions had an active role in negotiating with management, and workers had good chances of promotion.

If New Labour returns to this policy, then it will both bring prosperity back to working people, regardless of their colour, and get more Blacks and Asians into the middle classes. It isn’t social democrats like Corbyn blocking the social advancement of Blacks and Asians – or anyone else, for that matter. It’s neoliberals concerned to hold on to the status and privileges of the rich at the expense of the poor, no matter what colour they are.