September 14: Public meeting

Speakers include

  • Ken Loach (auto-excluded as patron of Labour Against the Witchhunt)
  • Leah Levane, Jewish Voice for Labour (auto-excluded for attending a meeting organised by Labour in Exile Network)
  • Howard Beckett, suspended from the Labour Party
  • Andrew Feinstein, former ANC member of parliament in South Africa

Click here to register for the meeting, which will be run as a webinar to protect participants. If you want to speak, you can do so with your camera switched off and you may also wish to change your name.

Events

LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE 2021

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 27, 6pm: Conference fringe meeting in the Mercure Hotel, 149 Kings Road, Brighton BN1 2PP (about 7 mins walk from Brighton Centre).  We are livestreaming this on our Facebook page and can register for the Zoom event here. Speakers include: Low Key (rapper and pro-Palestine campaigner), Graham Bash (Jewish Voice for Labour and Labour Representation Committee pc), Esther Giles (Labour in Exile Network), Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, Jackie Walker (Labour Against the Witchhunt).

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 29: Leader’s speech
Protest: We are showing Keir Starmer the RED CARD, literally! Assemble outside Brighton Centre at 11am (or come along at 9am if you can help us leafleting/hand out red cards to delegates)
– Then join us at the Rialto Theatre from 12noon, where comrades will be watching the speech together and then discuss the way forward for the left. 

SUNDAY 26 – TUESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER: During the conference, a number of left-wing groups, including three of the groups Labour has banned, will hold a series of events at the Rialto Theatre in Brighton, on themes including free speech and the purge in the Labour Party. Click here for more info.

Week of action against bans and proscriptions

Local protests in our week of action September 20-24:  Labour members and activists put on protests in London, Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool and Kent 

SEPTEMBER DAYS OF ACTION – A GUIDE

This is a guide for those wanting to protest against the banning of left groups and members being expelled on Defend The Left’s September days of action, Monday 20 and Tuesday 21.

1 Put out a call to anyone in your area you think might be interested in taking part in a protest against the ban on left wing groups in the Labour Party.

2 Between Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 September choose the day that works best for you and your comrades, and agree a time, too.

3 Choose a location for your protest that works best for you and your comrades. Might be your local Labour Party office, a Labour Party Regional Office or the office of an unsympathetic Labour MP. If all else fails, then choose some public spot, maybe with a sign to identify where in the country you are.

Email info@defendtheleft.co.uk when you have fixed a date and time as we may be able to put others in the locality in touch with you.

4 Produce some protest materials — placards, banners, or just some plain bits of cardboard — with simple, short slogans like …

NO TO BANS! DEFEND THE LEFT!
STOP THE PURGE!
HANDS OFF KEN LOACH!

Or whatever you think.

You might also want to buy a life-size cardboard cutout of Keir Starmer online, for example here

5 Contact as many people as possible to your chosen location at the fixed time and date. The more the better — but doesn’t matter if there’s only three of you. Email us the details of your protest so we can also help to spread the word. 

6 Take photos of your protest. If there’s a lot of you, try chanting one of your slogans and video it, too. But whatever you do, get some good still photos. We will be spreading these far and wide.

7 Send your three best photos to Norman Thomas on norm6344@gmail.com. If you do a video, put it on YouTube and send the link to Norman in same email.

8 If you can come to Brighton for Saturday 25 September bring your protest materials with our mass protest at 12 noon. Details of where to meet will be provided nearer the time on the Defend The Left website.

September protest storm on Starmer

Defend The Left is taking part in a September Storm of protests and actions against the banning of left groups in the Labour Party (and anyone associated with them). If you want to get involved, here’s your chance.

TUESDAY 14 SEPTEMBER: The September fightback will begin with an emergency Zoom meeting on Tuesday 14 September at 6pm to be addressed by film-maker Ken Loach, Unite’s Howard Beckett, former ANC member with Nelson Mandela, Andrew Feinstein, and chaired by Leah Levane of Jewish Voice for Labour. More details here

SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER: We encourage comrades to attend the Saturday 18 September one-day event which is a launch rally to unite the Labour left. Part-in-person and part-virtual rally, this initiative includes groups like Jewish Voice for Labour, the Fire Brigades Union and Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union. It will discuss Tory attacks on workers rights and public services as well as the attacks on the left and Labour Party democracy. More details here

MONDAY & TUESDAY 20 & 21 SEPTEMBER: Defend The Left has designated two dates in September for days of local action against the ban. These are Monday 20 September and Tuesday 21 September. Labour members and activists are encouraged to stage protests in their area on one of these dates. (See below for tips on putting together your protest.)

SATURDAY 25 SEPTEMBER: Defend The Left have called a protest against the ban on the first day of the Labour Party conference on Saturday 25 September in Brighton at 12 noon.

MONDAY 27 SEPTEMBER: A Defend the Left meeting against the ban will be held on Monday 26 September in Brighton. The venue will be announced by email a couple of hours before it’s due to start – email info@defendtheleft.co.uk to receive a notification.

SUNDAY 26 – TUESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER: During the conference, a number of left-wing groups, including three of the groups Labour has banned, will hold a series of events at the Rialto Theatre in Brighton, on themes including free speech and the purge in the Labour Party. Click here for more info.

SEPTEMBER DAYS OF ACTION – A GUIDE

This is a guide for those wanting to protest against the banning of left groups and members being expelled on Defend The Left’s September days of action, Monday 20 and Tuesday 21.

1 Put out a call to anyone in your area you think might be interested in taking part in a protest against the ban on left wing groups in the Labour Party.

2 Between Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 September choose the day that works best for you and your comrades, and agree a time, too.

3 Choose a location for your protest that works best for you and your comrades. Might be your local Labour Party office, a Labour Party Regional Office or the office of an unsympathetic Labour MP. If all else fails, then choose some public spot, maybe with a sign to identify where in the country you are.

Email info@defendtheleft.co.uk when you have fixed a date and time as we may be able to put others in the locality in touch with you.

4 Produce some protest materials — placards, banners, or just some plain bits of cardboard — with simple, short slogans like …

NO TO BANS! DEFEND THE LEFT!
STOP THE PURGE!
HANDS OFF KEN LOACH!

Or whatever you think.

You might also want to buy a life-size cardboard cutout of Keir Starmer online, for example here.

5 Contact as many people as possible to your chosen location at the fixed time and date. The more the better — but doesn’t matter if there’s only three of you. Email us the details of your protest so we can also help to spread the word.

6 Take photos of your protest. If there’s a lot of you, try chanting one of your slogans and video it, too. But whatever you do, get some good still photos. We will be spreading these far and wide.

7 Send your three best photos to Norman Thomas on norm6344@gmail.com. If you do a video, put it on YouTube and send the link to Norman in same email.

8 If you can come to Brighton for Saturday 25 September bring your protest materials with our mass protest at 12 noon. Details of where to meet will be provided nearer the time on the Defend The Left website.

Auto-excluded – but fighting on!

Every day brings news of more prominent Labour Party members threatened with expulsion if they fail to provide evidence that they are not supporters or members of one of the organisations proscribed by the NEC on July 20. All are campaigning against their auto-exclusion based on ludicrous alleged “crimes” which almost always took place well before the proscriptions went through.

Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers’ Union (BFAWU). Crime: Sponsor of Labour Against the Witchhunt.

Ken Loach, world-famous socialist film director. Crime: Sponsor of Labour Against the Witchhunt.

Jo Bird, Wirral councillor, former NEC candidate, Jewish. Crime: Speaking at two events organised by LAW (in 2018 and 2019) and signing an open letter put together by LAW (in 2020).

Pamela Fitzpatrick, Harrow councillor, member of Labour’s Women’s Committee, vice-chair of Labour Representation Committee. Crime: In 2020, she gave an interview to Socialist Appeal.

Leah Levane, ex-councillor in Hastings and co-chair of JVL. Crime: Attended a meeting organised by Labour In Exile Network.

Graham Bash, editorial board member of Labour Briefing, political officer JVL, political secretary LRC, Jewish Labour Party member for 52 years. Crime: alleged “supporter” of Labour Against the Witchhunt.

Roger Silverman, NEC candidate and son of Jewish MP Sidney Silverman. Crime: Spoke at a meeting organised by Labour Against the Witchhunt in 2019.

Pete Firmin, LP member of over 40 years, former chair of Hamsptead and Kilburn CLP. Already suspended for allowing CLP to vote on motions “banned” and allegations of antisemitism. Crime: Attending the NEC lobby on July 20 protesting against the threat of proscriptions. 

Heather Skibsted, councillor in Peterborough, Labour Group secretary and CLP vice-chair, suspended since April 2021 with no reason given. Crime: Joining and posting twice to LAW Facebook group. 

Esther Giles, former Bristol CLP secretary and branch chair. Candidate for National Treasurer in 2020, treasurer of Socialist Health Association. Crime: Tweeted about joining LIEN interim steering committee (February 2021); attended a protest against South West Region of the Labour Party, organised by local CLPs and advertised by LIEN.

Hedley Bashforth, former Bristol councillor and CLP chair, former Parliamentary Candidate. Labour Party Member of 45 years. Crime: being seen on Zoom attending a LIEN meeting in March 2021.

Dave Putson, councillor. Crime: In February 2021 attended a meeting hosted by Labour Against the Witchhunt titled “Building the campaign for free speech conference.”


Open letter to the Labour Left

Comrades,

Since Keir Starmer was elected leader we have faced an escalating attack on party democracy:

  • removal of the whip from Corbyn
  • suspension of party officers for simply allowing discussion and on spurious charges of racism
  • unelected party officials running and fixing CLP AGMs, especially in the South West
  • rigging of Council and parliamentary selections
  • the usurping of London region conference
  • the weaponisation of antisemitism in order to attack Corbyn and the left, which has led to the ‘wrong’ sort of Jews being five times as likely to fall foul of the witch-hunt as non-Jews.

In further attacks on the membership, the NEC has decided to introduce bans and proscriptions, meaning that anyone associated in any way with certain organisations, either as members or supporters, can be ‘auto-excluded’ from the party with no right to a hearing at all. First in the firing line are Socialist Appeal, Labour Against the Witchhunt and Labour in Exile Network, but the NEC has also decided to set up a panel to investigate other organisations with the intention of giving them the same treatment.

This was opposed at the NEC by many of the CLP and trade union representatives. Five CLP representatives (Gemma Bolton, Yasmine Dar, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock and Mish Rahman) and five trade union representatives (Andy Kerr – CWU, Ian Murray – FBU, Andi Fox – TSSA and Jayne Taylor and Amy Jackson – Unite) gave notice in advance of their opposition.

As so often, there are those on the left – individuals and organisations – who think that by keeping their heads down (“keeping our powder dry”), they will not be targeted.

However, this has backfired. Rather than beating back the earlier attacks, it has emboldened our opponents to come back for more. They have made clear their intention to attack other organisations. Hostile Labour MPs have already suggested that Jewish Voice for Labour, Momentum and the Labour Representation Committee should be next in line for proscription. Already there is a call for MPs who have publicly stated their solidarity with Ken Loach to have the whip withdrawn.

We need to resist these bans and proscriptions, not only out of solidarity with those already banned, but also because the more Starmer gets away with, the weaker we all are, and the easier it is for the right to succeed in moving the Party further and further away from the radical policies of the last few years. Without resistance, more members will be intimidated into self-censorship or resigning in despair.

Solidarity does not mean agreeing with the policies of any proscribed organisation, but defending the right of members to organise together for common aims. The right do so with impunity, but the left is being threatened.

We urge you to take up this issue in your branch, CLP, local left or Momentum group and  your trade union. Without a strong left in the CLPs, the unions will not win – let alone see implemented – policies which benefit working class people – such as a reversal of privatisation in the NHS and other public services. Please sign the petition, pass a model resolution, lobby your union and CLP delegates to conference, and do let us know how you get on. We need to show the strongest possible opposition to this latest attack! We also urge — and would ask you to urge — all those who consider themselves in leading roles on the left of the party to speak out publicly against these bans and proscriptions and do all in their power to oppose them.

The Defend the Left website https://www.defendtheleft.co.uk/ contains the petition, model resolutions and other material which you may find useful.

In Solidarity, 

Defend the Left

What you can do now:

  • Sign the petition opposing bans and proscriptions here (almost 5,000 have already done so) 
  • Get your union /CLP to support Defend the Left by emailing info@defendtheleft.co.uk – the list of supporting organisations is here
  • Bring a motion in your branch/CLP – model motions here
  • Arrange a showing of a Ken Loach film – contact sixteen films  to arrange
  • Lobby your delegates to vote against the ratification of David Evans as general secretary at Labour Party conference
  • If you are going to be in or can get to Brighton, join our lobby as conference starts (more details to follow)

Motions

feel free to use any of them – and send us any motions that might have been passed in your CLP/trade union

Sheffield Central CLP

Sheffield Central CLP is deeply concerned by the NEC decision to proscribe organisations of Party activists, many of whom are long-standing, dedicated members.

It notes that:

  • Members who have contributed a significant legacy to the Party and Labour movement are receiving letters notifying them of Possible Automatic Exclusion on flimsy grounds. These members include world-famous film director Ken Loach, President of the BFAWU (Bakers union) Ian Hodson, and long-term Councillor and prospective Parliamentary candidate Pamela Fitzpatrick.
  • The system of expulsion is cruel and unjust, with no right of appeal, causing great personal suffering to those targeted.
  • Grounds for expulsion are retrospective. This goes against natural justice.
  • Sheffield Central CLP believes that:
  • Differences in the Party should be worked out through debate and education and not through administrative exclusion.
  • Therefore, Sheffield Central CLP
  • Demands that all proscriptions and unjust exclusions are reversed
  • Opposes “auto-exclusion” and the creation of an unaccountable subcommittee for deciding on proscriptions.

Scunthorpe CLP

This CLP condemns the recent NEC decision to try to proscribe a number of leftwing groups, including Labour Against the Witchhunt, Labour in Exile Network and Socialist Appeal. None of these named groups have campaigned against the Labour Party or supported candidates standing against the party. None are offered the right to reply, nor to have “natural justice.” We also note that the NEC agreed to set up a panel to investigate other organisations with a view to proscribing them later. We believe that the various big-business funded groups, including Labour First and Forward are not included, yet they have also publications, meetings, memberships and full timers, and some prominent supporters have called for the public not to vote Labour, including during recent election campaigns.

We are constantly told that Labour is a “broad church”, “from methodism to marxism,” etc. yet this shows that this is a historic attempt to end any pretence of such.

We believe that such McCarthyite methods are being adopted in order to attack, silence and shut out socialists from the party, despite the party describing itself as socialist. This purge of the left by Starmer’s leadership is an attempt to reverse the socialist policies brought in under Corbyn, and to make the party a safe pair of hands for capitalism.

We demand that these proscriptions are reversed, and that the attacks on rank-and-file members and party democracy are halted immediately, and  we will campaign for the rejection of the NEC report to conference which considers these proscriptions.

Instead of attacking its own members – and causing a worsening financial crisis – the party leadership should be using all of its time, resources and efforts to fight this criminal Tory government on the basis of bold socialist policies

Sheffield Heeley CLP

This CLP declares its solidarity with Socialist Appeal, Labour Against the Witch-hunt, and the Labour In Exile Network targeted for “auto-exclusion”. An injury to one is an injury to all. It will not be only the hard-working activists that these organisations provide for the labour movement that will be removed, but all members who are critical of Starmer’s weak opposition. As soon as opposition is noticed, an email from disputes will arrive, with no opportunity to appeal.

Further, the proposed creation of a `Star Chamber’ to act as judge and jury for further proscriptions and purges is a shocking and repressive move. It belongs to the dark ages and should have absolutely no place in a modern-day democratic party.  

This CLP demands that all unjust proscriptions and expulsions are reversed. These attacks on rank-and-file members and party democracy are hampering collective resistance to Tory social cleansing, which continues unabated with more than 128,000 confirmed COVID deaths, harsh Trade Union suppression, and arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Instead of attacking its own members, the party leadership should be using all its efforts to fight this criminal Tory government on the basis of bold socialist policies;

Build council homes, build hospitals, build schools, build an opposition!

Leicester South CLP

This CLP is outraged by the NEC decision to proscribe Socialist Appeal, Labour Against the Witchhunt and Labour in Exile Network.

This follows an ongoing campaign by Keir Starmer and David Evans against left-wing membership. Members have been suspended and expelled, including NEC member Howard Beckett, former leader Jeremy Corbyn (who has not been suspended but has had the whip withdrawn) and renowned film director Ken Loach among others, while party democracy has been suppressed.

This CLP believes such McCarthyite methods are being adopted in order to attack and shut out left wing and pro-worker members from the party. This purge of the left by Keir Starmer’s leadership is an attempt to reverse the left wing policies brought in under Jeremy Corbyn, and to make the party a safe pair of hands for capitalists.

This CLP declares its solidarity with all the organisations being targeted. An injury to one is an injury to all.

This CLP demands that all proscriptions and unjust exclusions are reversed, and that the attacks on rank-and-file members and party democracy are halted immediately.

Instead of attacking its own members, the party leadership should be using all of its efforts to fight this criminal Tory government on the basis of bold socialist policies.

Conference motion by Cities of London and Westminster CLP  

Conference notes:

 ●  That on 20th July 2021, the National Executive Committee, by a majority, passed proposals to ‘auto-exclude’ from the Labour Party members who are presumed to belong to a number of left-wing groups (including ‘Labour Against the Witch Hunt’, ‘Labour In Exile’, and ‘Socialist Appeal’). These proposals were publicised less than a week before the NEC meeting;

 ●  That the NEC also voted to establish a panel to look at potentially proscribing other organisations which are deemed incompatible with the ‘aims and values’ of the Labour Party;

 ●  That the NEC has proscribed organisations within the Labour Party simply for expressing political opinions;

 ●  That officers of Jewish Voice for Labour, a left-wing Jewish group within the party, have faced actioned complaints of antisemitism at a rate 180 times higher than non-Jewish Labour Party members;

Conferences believes:

 ●  That the party should respect elementary principles of free expression and reaffirm its commitment to open discussion and debate;

 ●  That Labour has historically represented a broad range of political opinions, and that the NEC’s proscriptions represent an attack on open debate within the party and the right of party members to organise themselves to campaign for political objectives. It sets a concerning precedent for further attempts to narrow the scope of political debate;

 ●  That ‘auto-excluding’ party members because they are presumed to support certain groups denies them any right to defend themselves, or appeal, and is therefore contrary to natural justice;

 ●  That it is also contrary to natural justice for the NEC to apply new rules retroactively by choosing to auto-expel members of the now proscribed organisations;

 ●  That the NEC should reverse its proscriptions of 20 July 2021 and abolish the panel considering further proscriptions;

 ●  That the party should cease its disproportionate disciplinary action against left-wing Jewish members;

 ●  That the Labour leadership should focus on fighting the Tories instead of members of the Labour party.

Bolton South East CLP

This CLP notes:

On 20th July 2021, the National Executive Committee, by a majority, passed proposals to ‘auto-exclude’ from the Labour Party members who are presumed to belong to any of the following organisations: Labour Against the Witch Hunt; the Labour in Exile Network; Resist; and Socialist Appeal. These proposals were only publicised less than a week before the NEC meeting.

The NEC also voted to establish a panel to look at potentially proscribing other organisations which are deemed not to fit with the ‘aims and values’ of the Labour Party.

This CLP believes:

The Labour Party has always represented a very broad range of political opinion. Proscribing these organisations represents an attack on open, democratic, debate within the party and the right of party members to organise themselves to campaign for political objectives. It sets a concerning precedent for further attempts to narrow the scope of political debate.

Where individual members are accused of offences against party rules e.g. campaigning against party candidates or engaging in hate speech, these should be investigated on a case by case basis. ‘Auto-excluding’ party members because they are presumed to support certain groups denies them any right to defend themselves, or appeal – even against inaccurate presumptions of support for such groups – and so is contrary to natural justice.

That the Labour Party does best when it is focused on representing the interests of the mass of working people and their families, rather than turning inwards to pursue divisive vendettas against elements of its own supporters. Such campaigns reinforce, rather than challenge, false narratives about the ‘extremism’ of Labour Party members.

This CLP resolves:

To express its dismay at the decision of the NEC majority to proscribe the 4 groups, and to commend the action of the minority of NEC members who voted against these proposals.

To forward a copy of this motion, with thanks, to the 10 NEC members who issued a joint statement opposing the proposals – Laura Pidcock, Nadia Jama, Amy Jackson, Mish Rahman, Yasmin Dar, Jayne Taylor, Andy Kerr, Andi Fox, Gemma Bolton and Ian Murray.

St Giles branch Labour Party in Camberwell & Peckham CLP

“This CLP condemns the recent NEC decision to proscribe four groups of Labour Party members.

This CLP believes such methods are being adopted in order to attack and shut out socialists from the party, despite the party describing itself as socialist. Individual members will be expelled and removed from the party without further ado.

We are concerned that this measure circumnavigates the party’s disciplinary procedures. All members have a right to a fair hearing and should not be arbitrarily outlawed. There need to be clear complaints and disciplinary procedures which are followed in a transparent and, efficient, timely and fair manner, free from factional interference. “This CLP demands that these proscriptions are reversed, and that the attacks on rank-and-file members and party democracy are halted immediately.

Instead of attacking its own members, the party leadership should be using all of its efforts to fight this criminal Tory government on the basis of bold socialist policies.

Motion passed in a number of CLPs, including Hackney South CLP, Wantage CLP and Hexham CLP

This branch/CLP/group is outraged by the Labour NEC decision to proscribe Socialist Appeal, Labour Against the Witchhunt, and Labour in Exile Network.

This follows an ongoing campaign by Keir Starmer and David Evans against the left-wing membership. Members have been suspended and expelled, including NEC member Howard Beckett and former leader Jeremy Corbyn; and party democracy has been suppressed. 

This branch/CLP/group believes such McCarthyite methods are being adopted in order to attack and shut out Marxists and socialists from the party, despite the party describing itself as socialist. This purge of the left by Starmer’s leadership is an attempt to reverse the socialist policies brought in under Corbyn, and to make the party a safe pair of hands for capitalism.

This branch/CLP/group declares its solidarity with Socialist Appeal, Labour Against the Witchhunt, and Labour in Exile Network. An injury to one is an injury to all.

This branch/CLP/group demands that all proscriptions and unjust exclusions are reversed, and that the attacks on rank-and-file members and party democracy are halted immediately.

Instead of attacking its own members, the Labour leadership should be using all of its efforts to fight this criminal Tory government on the basis of bold socialist policies”

Motion passed by Bolton South East CLP

This CLP notes:

  • On 20th July 2021, the National Executive Committee, by a majority, passed proposals to ‘auto-exclude’ from the Labour Party members who are presumed to belong to any of the following organisations: Labour Against the Witch Hunt; the Labour in Exile Network; Resist; and Socialist Appeal. These proposals were only publicised less than a week before the NEC meeting.
  • The NEC also voted to establish a panel to look at potentially proscribing other organisations which are deemed not to fit with the ‘aims and values’ of the Labour Party.

This CLP believes:

  • The Labour Party has always represented a very broad range of political opinion. Proscribing these organisations represents an attack on open, democratic, debate within the party and the right of party members to organise themselves to campaign for political objectives. It sets a concerning precedent for further attempts to narrow the scope of political debate.
  • Where individual members are accused of offences against party rules e.g. campaigning against party candidates or engaging in hate speech, these should be investigated on a case by case basis. ‘Auto-excluding’ party members because they are presumed to support certain groups denies them any right to defend themselves, or appeal – even against inaccurate presumptions of support for such groups – and so is contrary to natural justice.
  • That the Labour Party does best when it is focused on representing the interests of the mass of working people and their families, rather than turning inwards to pursue divisive vendettas against elements of its own supporters. Such campaigns reinforce, rather than challenge, false narratives about the ‘extremism’ of Labour Party members.

This CLP resolves:

  • To express its dismay at the decision of the NEC majority to proscribe the 4 groups, and to commend the action of the minority of NEC members who voted against these proposals.
  • To forward a copy of this motion, with thanks, to the 10 NEC members who issued a joint statement opposing the proposals – Laura Pidcock, Nadia Jama, Amy Jackson, Mish Rahman, Yasmin Dar, Jayne Taylor, Andy Kerr, Andi Fox, Gemma Bolton and Ian Murray.

Model motion for branches of affiliated unions

Xxx branch is appalled at the decision of the Labour Party NEC at the meeting on Tuesday 20th July to proscribe a number of left-wing groups (including ‘Labour Against the Witch-hunt’, ‘Labour In Exile’ and ‘Socialist Appeal’), and summarily to expel members of those groups.  This branch further deplores the setting up of a panel to assess whether other groups operating within the Labour Party should also be proscribed. 

These moves to proscribe organisations follow an ongoing campaign fronted by Keir Starmer and David Evans against the left-wing membership. Members have been suspended and expelled on a factional basis, and party democracy has been suppressed. 

This branch believes that such McCarthyite methods are being adopted in order to attack and shut out Marxists and socialists from the party, despite the party describing itself as socialist. Rather than build on existing policies, such as to combat climate change, defend and extend workers’ rights, challenge racism etc, Starmer seems more determined to attack party members than the Tories.

This branch calls on the union’s executive to issue a clear statement opposing the introduction of bans and proscriptions and in solidarity with those under attack. We urge our union to do everything to defeat this attack, including defeating them when the NEC report is brought to LP conference.This branch agrees to support the Defend the Left campaign https://www.defendtheleft.co.uk/ and to circulate its petition among members, urging them to sign.

We’re fighting back!

July 20 protest outside Labour Party HQ

HUNDREDS PICKET LABOUR PARTY OFFICES PROTESTING AGAINST STARMER’S PURGE

On Tuesday 20 July, hundreds of Labour Party members picketed Labour’s London headquarters protesting against suspensions, expulsions and the proposed banning of left-wing groups.

At the picket were a number of those groups now under threat of being banned by the party, including Socialist Appeal, Labour Against The Witch-hunt, and Labour In Exile Network (LIEN). But they were joined by other bodies including Jewish Voice For Labour and the Labour Representation Committee.

Norman Thomas, suspended chair of South Thanet, and one of the organisers of the event, said: “This was a marvellous show of unity of the left in Labour. But it is a sad day when people have to picket their own party’s head office just to try to get democracy, justice and freedom of speech.”

The picket took place at the same time as Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee was debating proscribing the left groups.

Thomas said: “These proposed proscriptions are an obvious attempt by the leadership to hasten the purge of the left in the party. Starmer is prepared to rip the heart out of the party. He’s trying to push us back to the days of Tony Blair. We will not let him do that. We will keep on fighting for a democratic, socialist party.”

Contrary to rumours, no anti-vax campaigners spoke at the meeting. A spokesperson for the organisers said: “Some anti-vaxxers harassed and shouted at us, but we refused to allow them to speak. We believe a few ant-vaxxers decided to hold their own ‘event’ in the street, but that was only after we closed our meeting.”

Editors: More pictures of protest available here. For more info or pictures ring 07989070843

Solidarity

Messages and statements in opposition to the purge and in solidarity with all those affected

Socialist Campaign Group of Labour Councillors – link to statement
Left-wing NEC members
Unite the union – link to statement
Momentum
Jeremy Corbyn
John McDonnell MP
Unison Left
Steve Turner, UNITE
Jennie Formby, former Labour Party general secretary

Supporters

The following individuals and groups support our joint campaign – please email us if you want to add the name of your group or trade union (branch): info@defendtheleft.co.uk

Initial supporting organisations:
Jewish Voice for Labour
Labour Against the Witchhunt
Labour In Exile Network
Labour Left Alliance
Labour Party Marxists
Labour Representation Committee
Socialist Appeal
Socialist Resistance
—-
Other supporting organisations:
AntiCapitalist Resistance
Barnet Momentum
Brent Momentum
Bootle for Socialism 
Berkshire, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire (BOB) Unite Community
Cambridge Unite Community
Cumbria Unite Community 
Dulwich and West Norwood Labour Left/Momentum
Ealing Labour Left
EL4C
East London Unite Community
Hackney and Islington Unite Community
Havant CLP
Hexham CLP
Labour Black Socialists
Labour Campaign for Free Speech
Labour International Left Alliance
Newham Socialist Labour
North Cumbria Labour Left
Portsmouth & District Unite Community 
Reading Socialist Club
Red Flag
Sheffield Labour Left
Streatham Labour Left
Unite Community Southampton Area
Welsh Labour Grassroots
Workers’ International Network 

Statement/petition

Defend the Left – against all bans and proscriptions!

Please sign this petition here

Instead of opposing the reactionary Tory government, the Labour leadership is turning its fire against many of its most committed members. The July 20 meeting of the Labour Party NEC proscribed a number of left-wing groups, including Labour Against the Witchhunt, Labour in Exile Network and Socialist Appeal. There will now also be a panel whose job it is to investigate yet more groups for possible expulsion.

Apparently, the motion states that membership of the groups is “incompatible with membership of the Labour Party”. The rule book already allows for the exclusion of members who campaign against the Labour Party. These organisations do not do that. 

The same cannot be said for right-wing factions within the party that consistently and openly campaigned against Labour under Corbyn’s leadership. Yet none of those groups are threatened with proscription. 

This is just the latest salvo in the right’s full-blown attack on what remains of the pro-Corbyn left in the Labour Party. It follows the denial to Corbyn himself of the Labour Whip for more than eight months. It follows the silencing of free speech and democracy across the party with whole branches and CLPs being suspended and whole areas of discussion being suppressed, including legitimate expressions of no confidence in the leadership. Expressions of solidarity with Palestinians have been ruled out of order on the basis of unfounded antisemitism claims. Expulsion is no way to deal with political disagreements. 

We should be debating how to end draconian anti-trade union laws, reverse privatisation in the NHS and education, combat racism and discrimination, defend our right to protest, resist Fire and Rehire and cuts in benefits, and many more issues of grave concern to the trade union and labour movement. 

We urge everyone who wants to build a united, fighting opposition to the Tories to join together against the attempt by the right to reintroduce a list of proscribed organisations.  No doubt, other socialist groups will be added to the list, should this first round of proscriptions go through without a hitch.  

Show your solidarity!