Tag Archives: expulsions

Chakrabarti: A toxic climate of fear

Shami Chakrabarti’s call for Ken Livingstone’s expulsion shows where appeasement leads, says Carla Roberts of Labour Party Marxists

You could almost hear the sigh of relief coming from the right wing in the Labour Party on April 27, when, after three days of torturous deliberations, Marc Wadsworth was finally expelled from the Labour Party on the catch-all charge of ‘bringing the party into disrepute’. Comrade Wadsworth’s case was perhaps the most difficult for the witch-hunters, with the ‘evidence’ against him so thin that it would be laughed out of any court room. Not, however, the kangaroo court of the Labour Party – officially called the national constitutional committee (NCC) – where proceedings are devoid of any form of natural justice or due process. It is clearly dominated by the right and misused for political purposes.

This was an important ‘victory’ in the witch-hunters’ campaign. It has cleared the way to go full steam after the other outstanding cases. It is no longer a question of if Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker get expelled (both have been suspended for close to two years) – but when.

Rightwingers in and outside the Labour Party have been sharpening their knives for those two for some time, of course. In April 2017, for example, when Livingstone’s suspension was extended by another 12 months, almost half of Labour’s Parliamentary Party (plus 40 peers) signed an open letter penned by the pro-Zionist Jewish Labour Movement, which called the decision not to expel him a “betrayal” of “the party’s values”. The JLM, of course, is not primarily loyal to the British Labour Party (and whatever ‘values’ it thinks the party espouses to) – but to the state of Israel. This has been proven by Al Jazeera’s outstanding documentary The Lobby. Not that much proof was needed: the JLM’s politics make it pretty clear where its political loyalties lie.

This week then, the new leader of the business-friendly and Tory- supporting Jewish Board of Deputies (BoD), Marie van der Zyl, used her first interview to demand the expulsion of both Livingstone and Walker and added: “We are not saying don’t vote Labour, but – as we’ll be seeing from the results, especially in Barnet – the voters have spoken.” She was a bit more frank about her political views before her election when she said that Jeremy Corbyn is “infested by his bigotry”. 1)The Guardian May 14

If she needed any further encouragement, she got it from Shami Chakrabarti, who joined the witch-hunt last weekend. Chakrabarti threatened on the BBC’s Sunday Politics that she would quit the Labour front bench if Livingstone did not get expelled:

I don’t believe that Ken Livingstone can any longer be in the Labour Party. We can’t run away from the fact that he has repeated really, really incendiary remarks. To compare somebody who was trying to escape Nazis with Nazis themselves, and to do so again and again and again and again, even when you know that this has caused the deepest hurt and upset and embarrassment to the party, is completely unacceptable in my view … He has brought the party repeatedly into disrepute. He has brought shame upon it and his own legacy.

Due process

Chakrabarti’s view is rather important, of course. Not only is she the shadow attorney general: she is a Corbyn ally and, crucially, it was her report that was supposed to put a lid on the fabricated ‘anti-Semitism’ scandal two years ago. Instead, it was branded a “whitewash” by the BoD, with van der Zyl adding: “She has sold out the Jewish community.”

It is easy to see why the BoD objected: many of Chakrabarti’s recommendations, when it comes to disciplinary procedure, are entirely supportable from our point of view and, more than that, would – at least in theory – put a quick end to the more absurd aspects of the witch-hunt against socialists and anti-Zionists in the party. For example, members are still being suspended without any notification of what exactly they are supposed to have done wrong. In the case of Tony Greenstein, for instance, all the evidence eventually produced at his NCC expulsion hearing was based on comments he made after he was suspended.

However, these measures have still not been implemented – more than two years after they were produced. John McDonnell has claimed that this was the fault of former general secretary Iain McNicol. Well, John, the witch-hunter general has been gone for a few months now. If anything, the campaign against leftwingers and anti- Zionists has intensified in that time; the atmosphere in the party is becoming ever more toxic and fearful. Many people are wary of writing or saying anything political, out of fear that it could be twisted, taken out of context and made to look like an anti-Semitic comment. It is very easy to do.

One of the latest victims of the smear campaign is Phyll Opoku- Gyimah, who was frontrunner to become Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate in the safe seat of Lewisham. Guido Fawkes sensationalised a Facebook post of hers on the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, when she wrote: “Today is the day when we remember all those affected by holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur – I’m adding Palestine to the list.” What’s the problem? Clearly, Israel is pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians, a policy that could be described as a slow genocide.
  But this post was enough to send the media pack and pro-Zionist hyenas screaming for her blood. We cannot blame Opoku-Gyimah for quickly withdrawing her candidacy, citing an “unexpected family situation”. It takes a very strong person to withstand the kind of onslaught she could have expected, had she stood firm.

Rather than standing up to this increasingly unhealthy culture, which starts to resemble more and more the practices of a police state, Jeremy Corbyn and his allies are still trying to appease those running the campaign. More than that, they have become implicit.

For example, it is certainly starting to look as if Corbyn and the NEC have made the conscious decision to delay the implementation of the recommendations made by Chakrabarti – at least until the difficult and prominent cases of Livingstone and Walker are out of the way.

Of course, for most of those suspended and expelled, Chakrabarti’s recommendations and suggested rule changes are – even if they are all implemented – not worth the paper they are written on. It all depends on who interprets these rules and to what purpose.

They are only of potential use for those members who can afford to go down the road of a legal challenge – financially and psychologically. Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone are all in that camp.

Chakrabarti certainly proves with her intervention in the Livingstone case how ‘flexible’ her own sense of justice is. In her 2016 report, she made a strong case for “due process” and “natural justice” that should be followed in all disciplinary cases. In her interview, she blatantly ignores all that: not only has she already found Ken Livingstone guilty – and that in public: she also has handed the NCC the reason for which he should be expelled and has put enormous pressure on its members, should they not follow her advice by threatening her own resignation.

Worst perhaps is the fact that she clearly has put words into Livingstone’s mouth. She claims that Livingstone “compared somebody who was trying to escape Nazis with the Nazis themselves”. Did he really?

What he said

It is worthwhile re-examining what Ken Livingstone actually said – and if what he said is wrong. In an interview with BBC radio he said: “Let’s remember, when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism until he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

Yes, he got the date wrong: Hitler came to power in 1933. It was also wrong to claim that it was Hitler’s state of mind that was responsible for the (changing) attitude of the Nazis to Jews. But in essence his comments were historically accurate.

Moshé Machover has written a whole article on this question, in which he shows how the Nazi government and the Zionists did indeed adhere to a similar approach in the 1930s: both tried to encourage the emigration of all Jews from Europe to what was then Palestine. As comrade Machover writes,

Official Nazi policy was for the exclusion of the Jews from political and civic life, for separation and for emigration. Quite naturally the Zionist leadership thought this set of policies was similar to those of other anti-Semitic regimes – which it was – and the Zionist approach was not peculiar to the Nazi regime. The founder of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, had pointed outthat anti-Semitic regimes would be allies, because they wanted to get rid of the Jews, while the Zionists wanted to rid them of the Jews. That was the common interest.

Of course, Nazi policy changed dramatically – but only after Germany’s Operation Barbarossa attack on the Soviet Union in 1941. At the Wannsee conference in January 1942, Reinhard Heydrich informed Nazi tops of how the Führer now intended to implement the Endlösung der Judenfrage (final solution): through the mass extermination of the European Jewry – a policy that was soon put into practice on an industrial scale.

In any case, Livingstone did not equate the Nazis with the Jews, as Chakrabarti (a lawyer!) claims. He said – correctly – that for a while the Nazi regime had the same goal as the Zionists.

Of course, neither Marie van der Zyl, nor the Board of Deputies, nor for that matter Chakrabarti actually care if what Ken Livingstone said was historically or factually wrong, right or just confused. For them, what he said was much worse than that: it was, they claim, morally wrong. It might be factually true, but the truth can no longer be told because it upsets some people.

For the same reason, Momentum’s owner, Jon Lansman, has argued for a ban on the word ‘Zionism’, because “to the Jew in the street it might only mean the Jewish state of Israel, safe and secure, nothing more than that, not a separate ideology.”2)Today Radio 4, April 3: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09xcsdb Emily Thornberry supports Ken Livingstone’s expulsion, because his words are “a complete insult”. Not a lie. An insult – to Zionists.

People like Livingstone really mess up the party leadership’s ongoing attempts to appease the pro-Zionist right and those who (often cynically) support their witch-hunting campaign. Disgracefully, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn have refused to defend Livingstone (or any other victims of the witch-hunt), instead calling on him to apologise. But, credit to him, he has refused to do so – he has got nothing to apologise for.

Clearly, this campaign will not end with Livingstone and Walker. It actually has very little to do with what they have or have not said. They are merely collateral damage in the campaign to take down and/or tame Jeremy Corbyn, and making sure that Britain remains a loyal ally of the US and Israel.

Britain, for example, is expected to take part in the latest campaign for war in the Middle East. If not by dropping bombs, then at least by providing political cover for this necessary war to ‘prevent another holocaust’. A Labour leader and potential prime minister who has been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinians is, in this context, untenable. Labour cannot be allowed to become an anti-war party.

Clearly we cannot rely on Corbyn and Lansman to stand up to the pro-Israeli lobby. Socialists and supporters of the cause of the Palestinians in the Labour Party must now step up their campaign and increase the pressure on the Labour leadership to turn the organisation into a democratic, anti-war party.

References

1 The Guardian May 14
2 Today Radio 4, April 3: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09xcsdb

NEC Elections: Now democratise the party!

The election of Christine Shawcroft (pictured) as chair of Labour’s disputes panel gives some hope that Jeremy Corbyn and his allies might finally put an end to the witch-hunt, says Carla Roberts

(this article also appeared in the Weekly Worker)

The Momentum-supported candidates in the elections for the three newly-created positions on Labour’s national executive committee were always going to be shoe-in. This is good for the left as a whole – which is why we recommended a critical vote for the Momentum team of Jon Lansman, Yasmine Dar and Rachel Garnham.

As expected, it was a clean sweep for the trio, with Dar collecting 68,388 votes, Lansman 65,163 and Garnham 62,982. The closest to them came comedian Eddie Izzard, with 39,908 votes – boosted no doubt by his celebrity status and apolitical ‘naive nice guy’ unity-mongering (in reality, of course, he is firmly on the Labour right).

This Momentum victory underscores (again) the new reality of today’s Labour Party: the new mass membership is miles to the left of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the ‘old guard’: in any clean electoral contest, we will wipe the floor with the right. Which is why they fight so dirty, of course. And which is why, despite rightwingers like Tom Watson letting it be known that Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents “are no longer prepared to challenge his authority and believe he has won the right to make the changes he desires”, 1)The Guardian January 15 we do not believe a word of it.

The civil war in the Labour Party continues to rage. The ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the party proves that as much as the media panic in the aftermath of Christine Shawcroft’s election as new chair of the important disputes panel (a democratic process that was, in the words of the Daily Mail2)Daily Mail January 17, “a coup by the hard left”). Then there are the newly-raised “concerns” that Jeremy Corbyn is “too old” to become the next prime minister and, of course, the rather empty threats by “moderate MPs” to “quit and sit as independents in the Commons if they are deselected, as the left tightens its grip on the party”, as The Times warns in the aftermath of the NEC election.3)The Times January 15

The latter is not much of a threat, of course, as there is little chance that they would rewin their old seats as independents. It is more of a warning shot by the PLP majority to urge Corbyn not to go ‘too far’.

And, unfortunately, he does still listen. Both Jon Lansman and Jeremy Corbyn have firmly come out against mandatory reselection of parliamentary candidates. It is also not part of the “remit” of the so-called Corbyn review, despite some newspapers claiming the opposite. Yes, Lansman might write a supportive tweet on the rare occasion of a rightwing MP having been deselected in favour of a Corbyn supporter. But since Corbyn’s election as leader, he and his allies have abandoned the fight to enshrine this principled and decades-old demand of the Labour left within Labour’s rulebook. And that despite the fact that it used to be the key demand of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, in which Lansman played a leading role for many years. Now that he is finally in a position to make an actual difference, Lansman merely supports moves to raise the threshold an MP needs to be automatically reselected by the local membership and affiliates from the current 50% to 66%.

It seems Corbyn and his advisors still seem to believe that by accommodating to the right on this issue (as on many others) they will finally get their ‘party unity’ with the PLP and the right. It will not happen, comrades. Instead of openly fighting for the kind of blindingly obvious changes that are needed to enshrine the ‘Corbyn effect’ into the rulebook, they are barely tinkering at the edges.

The fact that there is a review of party rules is good, of course. But just take a look at the harmless 32 questions: anybody interested in transforming the party will tear their hair out in despair. (Nevertheless, Labour Against the Witchhunt has managed to squeeze its demand for an end to the automatic and instant suspensions and expulsions into one of the more open-ended questions. We strongly recommend Labour Party members, branches and CLPs use LAW’s submission).

Poor choice

Our comrades on the party leadership would also do well to overhaul their modus operandi when it comes to choosing candidates for important committees like the NEC. It is no surprise that only around 100,000 members voted in this election. When Jeremy Corbyn defended his leadership against Owen Smith, more than 500,000 cast their vote.

There clearly is a serious lack of enthusiasm for the three Momentum candidates. While virtually nobody knows anything about Rachel Garnham, Yasmine Dar is now primarily known for being one of the main speakers at an event in February 2017 in Manchester which “celebrated” the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, her hair modestly covered by a hijab.4)https://order-order.com/people/yasmine-dar Most notorious is, of course, Momentum honcho Jon Lansman. Almost exactly a year ago, during the now infamous ‘Lansman coup’, he simply shut down all Momentum’s democratic structures and imposed his own constitution on the organisation without any debate.

The latest example of Lansman’s undemocratic approach is the high-handed way in which the man has just announced the dissolution of Momentum Youth and Students. Naturally, there was no transparency with this last bureaucratic move. The letter from Lansman announcing the organisation’s abrupt demise simply states that “Momentum’s constitution does not specifically provide for the continuation of the entity previously known as ‘Momentum Youth and Students (MYS)’”. He notes “with regret” that some of these young scamps have “at times … brought Momentum into disrepute” with some silly baiting of opponents and intemperate language.

So how did these three very poor candidates end up on the Labour Party NEC? As we have reported, there have been serious democratic problems in how they were chosen: On October 4, all Momentum members were invited to submit their application for the three seats. And by October 9, the lucky ones had already been selected: members were informed that a total of 48 applications had been received, which were examined by “a panel of [national coordinating group] officers”, who then “interviewed seven candidates”, before settling on four that were sent “for recommendation to the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA)”. All within four days.

The Huffington Post reported at the time that “it is understood that Lansman was the popular choice among many.” Popular among whom, exactly? Maybe the people working in Momentum’s office, being on Jon Lansman’s payroll and all that … Momentum members at least were not asked. A meme was quickly doing the rounds, showing as first “criterion” on the application form the question, “Are you called Jon?”

Add to that the mysterious nature of the CLGA itself – essentially a lash-up of Momentum and the CLPD with right-leaning candidates – and what we saw was a dodgy backroom deal, done totally over the heads of Momentum members. As if that process had not been mocked enough, ‘Team Momentum’ is employing exactly the same method for the next NEC elections. In the summer, the whole NEC is up for re-election and Labour Party members will have a chance to elect all nine NEC members in the constituency section.

The decision has already been taken that “the final CLGA slate will include at least five women and two BAME candidates, and will improve representation in geographical regions currently underrepresented on the NEC”. Who makes these decisions? At what meetings? Well, we know.

Witch-hunt

Readers will know that Ann Black has been removed as chair of the disputes panel by the NEC, its pro-Corbyn majority increased following the election. And deservedly so: she was instrumental in keeping the witch-hunt against the left alive, voting to refer various cases of members suspended for trumped-up anti-Semitism charges to the national constitutional committee (which deals with cases that the disputes panel feels deserve closer investigation). She voted in favour of the suspension of Wallasey CLP and Brighton District Labour Party.

Black was also in favour of the early ‘freeze date’ in the 2016 leadership elections: instead of the six months of membership required by the rule book, the January 12 freeze date actually meant that members had to be in the party for almost eight months before they were given a vote in the 2016 contest, which took place between August 22 and September 21. Thousands of members who had joined in that period – most no doubt in order to support Corbyn against the ongoing attacks by the right and the entire establishment – were disenfranchised.

But we should also remember that Ann Black was firmly and uncritically supported by the CLGA at the last NEC elections. Surely, she has not suddenly become a rightwinger with Jeremy Corbyn’s election? Her blog is still being advertised on the CLGA’s rudimentary website – in fact, she is the only NEC member mentioned.17 Though that perhaps says more about the nature of the CLGA itself than Ann Black.

So does her removal signal the end of the witch-hunt? Well, we are not holding our breath. Of course, we welcome the election of Christine Shawcroft – she is undoubtedly to the left of Black. But that is not saying much. Yes, she acted as “silent witness” in Tony Greenstein’s investigation hearing more than 20 months ago and there is hope that as someone who has been on the receiving end of disputes panel decision-making herself (she was temporarily suspended from the party in 2015 for supporting the former Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman) she will make sure that cases are at least dealt with swiftly.

But she is also known for having voted in favour of referring Jackie Walker’s suspension on trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism to the NCC. Having been a long-standing member of the Labour Representation Committee, she split in 2012 because of the organisation’s “ultra-leftism” and helped to found a second magazine with the name Labour Briefing. 5)http://labourpartymarxists.org.uk/an-irresponsible-split The one which is now officially published by the LRC was becoming too leftwing for her and her five co-thinkers. Shawcroft has also been on the wrong side during the ‘Lansman coup’ and – in a rather pathetic effort to prove that Lansman does not run Momentum – agreed to become the ‘director’ of the Momentum company on the very day of that coup: January 10 2017.

Even worse though is Jon Lansman’s record when it comes to the witch-hunt. He matters, because he is now perhaps Corbyn’s most important ally on the NEC. In his efforts to appease the right in the party, Lansman got rid of Jackie Walker as vice chair of Momentum after she was suspended from Labour on false allegations of anti-Semitism. He has repeatedly spoken about the Labour Party’s anti-Semitism “problem” and says he is a friend of the Jewish Labour Movement. He saw to it that Momentum’s constitution – written by his lawyer son, we understand – stipulated that all those who have been expelled from the Labour Party (for example for their alleged “support” for groups like the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, Socialist Appeal or Labour Party Marxists) are now also barred from joining Momentum.

Rhea Wolfson is another CLGA-supported member on the NEC who does not deserve the support of the left. She is a member of the pro-Zionist Jewish Labour Movement and also voted to refer Jackie Walker’s suspension to the NCC. At that meeting, she apparently gave a passionate account of the anti-Semitism she has experienced (not by comrade Walker, it should be added). But it was probably enough to swing some other votes, perhaps even that of comrade Shawcroft.

All this underlines that we must continue to offer critical support to the leftwing NEC majority from a position of political independence. We still have a long way to go to transform the party. All the more important that organisations like Labour Against the Witchhunt continue to put pressure not just on the right and the bureaucracy of the Labour Party – but also on Jeremy Corbyn and his allies on the NEC.

Yes, we welcome the election of Christine Shawcroft as chair of the disputes panel and the replacement of Ann Black. But more is needed: now that there is a clear left majority on the NEC, the witch-hunt against the left needs to come to a swift end. All NEC members should be urged to support the following demands to begin the process of democratising the Labour Party:

  1. A moratorium on any new NCC witch-hunt cases.
  2. The withdrawal of all outstanding NCC witch-hunt cases.
  3. The immediate implementation of the Chakrabarti report recommendations on Labour’s disciplinary procedures in respect of natural justice and due process.

References

Expulsion from the Labour Party: No case to answer

Stan Keable was expelled last week from the Labour Party because of his association with Labour Party Marxists, of which he is secretary. This is his reply to Labour’s head of disputes

Dear Mr Sam Matthews

In reply to your October 2 email, and the attached letter and “evidence”, I am writing for the following purposes.

1. To reject the false and malicious allegation against Labour Party Marxists and against myself, by persons unnamed, of anti-Semitism, and to challenge the validity of the so-called “evidence” supplied, in that it in no way substantiates that allegation.

2. To reject your assertion that the “expressed aims and principles” of Labour Party Marxists, of which I am secretary, are “incompatible” with membership of the Labour Party, and to challenge the validity of the so-called “evidence” supplied, in that it in no way substantiates that assertion.

3. To demand to know who made the allegation of anti-Semitism against LPM, and the precise wording of the allegation.

4. To demand the immediate rejection of the allegation of anti-Semitism as unfounded, because (a) the “evidence” provided transparently fails to substantiate the allegation: ie, there is no case to answer; and (b) because the allegation is obviously a continuation of the malicious rightwing smear campaign, promoted by the Israeli state, which maliciously brands as anti-Semitic all criticism of the politics of Zionism and all opposition to Israel’s apartheid-type laws and ongoing settler-colonisation of Palestinian land; and (c) because the ready acceptance by the governance and legal unit of such obviously malicious allegations brings the Labour Party into disrepute.

5. To demand the immediate withdrawal of your decision to end my Labour Party membership as an invalid decision, because (a) no case has been made to substantiate your bald assertion of “incompatibility” between the aims of LPM and the aims of the Labour Party; (b) contrary to natural justice, no right of appeal has been offered (only the right to “challenge the validity of the evidence”); (c) instant dismissal from membership without due process brings the Labour Party into disrepute.

The so-called “evidence” attached to your letter consists of published materials which contain not one iota of anything which can reasonably be construed as anti-Semitism, or as “incompatible” with Labour Party membership. Indeed you have not indicated any words, phrases or statements in the “evidence” which might substantiate the allegation of anti-Semitism or the claim of incompatibility with Labour Party membership. In short, there is no case to answer.

Anti-Semitism?

As a lifelong communist and internationalist, anti-imperialist and anti-racist, I find the charge of anti-Semitism risible. As a child I was proud to hear my parents’ anecdotes of how, in the 1930s, they formed part of the ‘underground railroad’ in east London, giving refuge in their home to illegal Jewish and socialist refugees escaping from Nazi persecution in Germany. In the 1960s I was proud of my brother’s courageous role when he risked everything to carry ANC propaganda material into apartheid South Africa as one of Ronnie Kasrils’ London Recruits.

The ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign, using the contrived definition concocted by the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance, and maliciously alleging anti-Jewish racism where none exists, is designed to deflect criticism of Israel and its role as US imperialism’s chief ally and collaborator in the Middle East. Its conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism misuses anti-racist sentiment to protect the real racism of the Israeli state against Palestinian Arabs. Complicity with Israel’s anti-Semitism smear campaign brings the Labour Party into disrepute.

Labour Party Marxists does not consider the existing rules of the Labour Party, including the existing version of clause four, to be written in stone. We very much welcome the establishment of the democracy commission and the opportunity to engage with others aiming to change the rules for the better. The existing 1994 Blairite version of clause four, which you baldly assert is “incompatible” with the LPM’s aims and principles, is itself the product of several revisions since the adoption of the original version in 1918.

Discussion of further proposed changes does not constitute “incompatibility” with party membership. Indeed, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy at its 2017 AGM set up a working group (of which I am a member) to draft a rule change proposal for a revised, 21st century, socialist clause four.

LPM was launched by a group of Labour Party members in 2011, following Labour’s 2010 general election defeat, in response to the invitation by Peter Hain, then chair of the national policy forum, to members and party units to submit their views on his consultation paper, ‘Refounding Labour – a party for the new generation’. Our submission to the consultation, ‘Refound Labour as a real party of labour’, was duly submitted, and published in Labour Party Marxists No1 (autumn 2011), which also includes our ‘Aims and principles’. It is still available on the LPM website. Peter Hain thanked us for our contribution, and, of course, no question of our ‘Aims and principles’ breaching the rules was raised then or since. It is unreasonable to do so now.

Rule 2.1.4.B

Your October 2 letter quotes rule 2.1.4.B in support of your assertion of “incompatibility”.

The first criterion in this rule is so arbitrary that its selective use to expel members of LPM or any individual would amount to unfair and malicious political discrimination. Your interpretation of the rule is clearly mistaken. Do you really propose to expel all members who support “a political organisation other than an official Labour group or unit of the party”? That would mean expelling, for example, all members of Progress, Labour First, Compass, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Labour Representation Committee and Momentum, to name just a few.

The second criterion for exclusion from membership in this rule – “supporting any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate” – does not apply to LPM. On the contrary, LPM has a record of criticising those left groups which do so, such as the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

LPM believes that the Labour Party will be greatly strengthened not by McCarthyite red-baiting to exclude Marxists and socialists unacceptable to Labour’s right wing, but by winning the allegiance of all socialists and campaigning for the affiliation to Labour of all socialist groups and all trade unions, and making the party – in the words of Keir Hardie – “a great movement for socialism”.

Stan Keable
Unison delegate to Hammersmith CLP