Don’t make the purge easier! Vote “No” to Q4 on Momentum’s Democracy Review survey


Summary

Momentum members should vote “No” to question 4 of 15 on Momentum’s online consultation on what to submit to Labour’s Democracy Review (“Membership of other organisations”), because it will very likely make it easier to purge far left activists from the Labour Party, not harder. There is no problem of organisations present in the Labour Purge which need to be driven out. The relevant part of Rule 2.I.4.b, which has been used to expel so many socialists, should be scrapped, not amended, let alone strengthened!

Voting closes on 12 March. If you have any questions or need help email edunison@gmail.com

Background and further explanation

What rule 2.I.4.b is

There is an increasingly widespread and vocal demand in the movement to abolish part of Labour’s rule 2.I.4.b, which has been used to expel numerous left-wing activists from the party. The rule says

A member of the Party who joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member…”

The part about candidates is not controversial; it is the first part, in italics, which should be abolished. For an explanation of what is wrong with it and details of a rule change going to the 2018 Labour conference to delete it, see the Stop the Labour Purge website here.

Momentum: a vote ignored

Newcastle Momentum secretary made a submission to Momentum’s online process for the Labour Democracy review which, among other things, included deleting this part of 2.I.4.b (see here). This proposal came second out of 120 submitted.

However, a subcommittee of Momentum’s NCG have not only told Ed that the big bulk of his proposal, including the part on this, is being binned (see here for more). What does this say about the seriousness of the consultation and of Momentum’s democracy? However what matters more immediately is that they have proposed an alternative which could actually make the situation worse. Ed was not allowed to meet with or discuss this proposal with the subcommittee.

The new proposal would change “a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party” to “a political organisation whose principles, values, objectives or methods of organising are demonstrably incompatible with those of the Labour Party”.

Why this is dangerous

In the abstract this could be better as it makes the rule less widely drawn. In reality it will, if agreed by the party, almost certainly be used to justify purging particular kind of people, in particular members of Marxist organisations within the party such as Workers’ Liberty and Socialist Appeal – which are, after all, central victims of the purge already. “Look at this group, their principles etc are clearly not compatible with Labour’s…” At least as it stands the rule is utterly incoherent. We should not make it more coherent, but abolish it!

When the Momentum office wrote to Ed it justified opposition to deleting the clause from 2.I.4.b on the grounds that this “could benefit groups clearly opposed to the party”. Ed asked what groups the office/the NCG subcommittee has in mind; he received no reply. But whether those making decisions in Momentum want to make it easier to purge “Trots” or have just not thought it through, what they propose is dangerous.

If you doubt this: when a prominent Socialist Appeal member was expelled in 2016 and took the party to court, the party’s lawyer justified the expulsion on the grounds that SA’s program and principles are incompatible with Labour’s (specifically its opposition to the “market economy” clashing with Blairite stuff in Clause 4 about “the dynamism of the market” and “the rigour of competition”). Some expelled AWL members have had letters saying the same.

It is not so hard to imagine, in a different situation, such wording being used against Momentum itself. Think back to 2016!

Conclusion

Labour is not infested with members of organisations who need to be driven out, the far right or whatever. The existing wording in question is a Blairite outrage, designed to allow purging of whoever the party machine doesn’t like and feels strong enough to act against. It should be deleted, not amended, let alone strengthened.

Vote “No” to Question 4 of 15, on “Membership of other organisations”!

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Stop the Labour Purge proposal to submit to the party’s Democracy Review

Please consider submitting or getting your CLP or other organisation to submit this proposal to Phase 2 of Labour’s Democracy Review, or using it as the basis for your submission. It was submitted to Momentum’s online vote on what to submit to Phase 2 and came second out of 120 proposals, despite only being submitted a day before the deadline.

More information/help: stopthelabourpurge@gmail.com

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Reverse and prevent unjust expulsions and suspensions – for a transparent, accountable disciplinary system and a pluralist political culture

The vast majority of the many expulsions and suspensions since 2015 have been politically unjustified/unjust and violated natural justice. They have prevented and discouraged new members with valuable skills and talents from getting involved, created a culture of intimidation in parts of the party, and wasted valuable resources on such persecution – all weakening our ability to take on the Tories and campaign to change society.
Therefore we propose

• The Chakrabarti report’s recommendations should be implemented.
• The first part of rule 2.I.4(b), auto-exclusion for any member who “joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party” should be scrapped – as per the rule change already going to conference this year (see here). All Labour-supporters should be welcome in Labour: membership of particular Labour-supporting organisations or previous left-wing activity should be irrelevant.
• The practice of auto-exclusion should be abolished. Everyone should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and get a proper procedure including advance notice of charges, the right to evidence submitted against them and the identity of the accuser/s, consultation with their CLP and branch, a full hearing, and the right to an appeal. Membership rights should not be removed until procedures are completed. This should apply retroactively to those denied these rights.
• Responsibility for these issues should be transferred from the “Governance and Legal Unit” (previously Compliance Unit) to elected bodies and officials.

Vote now for Momentum to submit anti-purge proposal to Labour’s Democracy Review

Newcastle Labour, Momentum and Unison activist Ed Whitby has submitted the following proposal to the Momentum’s online voting system for proposals to the Labour Democracy Review.

It is titled: “Reverse and prevent unjust expulsions and suspensions – for a transparent, accountable disciplinary system and a pluralist political culture”.

If you are a Momentum member, you can sign in to add your nomination to the proposal. You can find it on the site under Democracy Review “Track 2” – subsection Membership Participation and Involvement. You should have an email from which you can log in – title “NEW: Use our Digital Platform for Labour’s Democracy Review!”

Please help it get to the top so we can push Momentum to submit. The deadline is Friday 16 February at midnight.

See my.peoplesmomentum.com/review/proposal/118

Reverse and prevent unjust expulsions and suspensions – for a transparent, accountable disciplinary system and a pluralist political culture

The vast majority of the many expulsions and suspensions since 2015 have been politically unjustified/unjust and violated natural justice. They have prevented and discouraged new members with valuable skills and talents from getting involved, created a culture of intimidation in parts of the party, and wasted valuable resources on such persecution – all weakening our ability to take on the Tories and campaign to change society. Therefore

• The Chakrabarti report’s recommendations should be implemented.
• The first part of rule 2.I.4(b), auto-exclusion for any member who “joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party” should be scrapped – as per the rule change already going to conference this year stopthelabourpurge.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/urgent … All Labour-supporters should be welcome in Labour: membership of particular Labour-supporting organisations or previous left-wing activity should be irrelevant.
• The practice of auto-exclusion should be abolished. Everyone should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and get a proper procedure including advance notice of charges, the right to evidence submitted against them and the identity of the accuser/s, consultation with their CLP and branch, a full hearing, and the right to an appeal. Membership rights should not be removed until procedures are completed. This should apply retroactively to those denied these rights.
• Responsibility for these issues should be transferred from the vGovernance and Legal Unit” (previously Compliance Unit) to elected bodies and officials.

Reinstate expelled socialists in Haringey

To sign the call email g.short88@gmail.com

Gemma, Ben, Monty, and Ed have all been expelled from the Labour Party for association with the socialist group Workers′ Liberty, and have had their requests for due process continually ignored or delayed.

Tim Rouse Secretary, Woodside ward, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP said:

“Woodside branch would benefit greatly from Gemma, Ben and Monty′s readmission into the party, and as a branch we have agreed that, ‘The Labour Party should be a welcoming environment for different shades of opinion on the left, and differences should be dealt with politically through discussion and not by administrative means and exclusions. There should be no ban on memberships of campaigns or organisations as long as they are not campaigning against the election of a Labour government or Labour councils.”

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We the undersigned support the reinstatement of Gemma Short, Ben Towse, Monty Shield, and Ed Maltby to Labour Party membership.

Labour members in Haringey

Celia Dignan, Chair, Horney & Wood Green CLP
Tim Rouse, Secretary, Woodside BLP, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP
Vinothan Sangarapillai, Secretary, Noel Park BLP, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP
Liam McNulty, Chair, Noel Park BLP, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP
Lotte Collett, Vice-chair, Noel Park BLP, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP
Cllr Zena Brabazon, councillor for Harringay Ward, Tottenham CLP
Cllr Peray Ahmet
, councillor for Noel Park, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP
Khaled Moyeed, council candidate for Noel Park BLP, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP
Josh Gamble, Muswell Hill Branch Youth Officer, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Phil Rose
, Bruce Grove, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Kate Harris
, Woodside Branch Vice Chair, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Raquel Palmeira, Woodside Branch BAME Rep, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Dave Hodge, Noel Park, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Julie Davies, St Ann’s VC membership, Tottenham CLP
Laura Berryman, Bruce Grove, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Keith Potts, Fortis Green Membership Secretary, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Michael Hodge, Tottenham Hale Vice Chair Campaigns, Tottenham CLP
Charly Allen, Crouch End branch chair, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Janet Shapiro, Muswell Hill GC Delegate, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Bernard Goyder, St Ann’s, Tottenham CLP
Gareth Mostyn, Bounds Green GC Delegate, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Mumtaz Khan, Fortis Green Vice Chair, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Sue Hughes, Assistant Secretary H&WG CLP
Philip Lewis, Noel Park, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP, and Camden UNISON
Ann Mctaggart, St Ann’s ward, Tottenham CLP
Hilary Adams,  Bruce Grove ward Vice Chair, Tottenham CLP
Christopher Lazou, Fortis Green GC delegate, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Marie Presswell,  Tottenham Hale Branch treasurer, Tottenham CLP
Annette Baker, Woodside ward, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP, council candidate for Crouch End ward
Jill Pack, Secretary Muswell Hill Branch, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Miriam Levin, Crouch End ward, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Jackie Baker, Alexandra Ward, Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Lucia das Neves, joint Women’s Officer Hornsey and Wood Green CLP, and Woodside ward council candidate.
Nick Rogers, Northumberland Park ward, Tottenham CLP
Sue Jameson, Bruce Grove ward, Tottenham CLP

 

Labour members outside Haringey
Sam Saiq, Hackney South and Shoreditch CLP
Les Hearn, Kentish Town ward, Holborn & St Pancras CLP

To add your name email g.short88@gmail.com

Reinstate Max and Rosie – motion passed to go to Sheffield Heeley CLP

The following motion was passed at Gleadless Valley Labour Party branch and will go forward to Sheffield Heeley CLP.  For a statement by Max (pictured above with John McDonnell) explaining his case see below and for Rosie’s statement see here.

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This Meeting Notes:
1. The motion passed by GV ward, in Nov 16, calling on the NEC “to agree that disciplinary action should not be used in cases of political disagreement, within the remit of agreeing to the party’s overall aims.”
2. The motion passed by our CLP, in Nov 17, opposing, “all McCarthyite auto exclusions on political grounds.”
3. The auto expulsion of 2 members of GV ward, Rosie Huzzard and Max Munday from the Party, with no recourse to defence or appeal.
4. Rosie and Max have always been Labour supporters and have shown strong commitment to ensuring the election of a Labour government – including actively campaigning for Louise Haigh in the last general election despite their expulsions;

This meeting calls:
on the NEC to reinstate Rosie Huzzard and Max Munday as full members of the Labour Party.

We deplore the lack of due process and demand that if allegations are made that may warrant expulsion then members should be able to appeal.

We agree to send this motion to the CLP and to NEC members.

“Proscribed organisations no longer exist”

The recent Sunday Times article on some excluded left-wingers being readmitted to the Labour Party was very thin, utterly sensationalist and full of inaccuracies. However it did include the following, very much of interest:

“A senior party source told the paper it no longer recognised the list of proscribed organisations so people linked to them could not be banned.

“The source said: ‘There is a debate about whether these existed at points in Labour history. Our view is that they no longer exist.'”

We should trumpet this loudly and demand similar clear and public statements from the leadership. At the same time, expulsion notices of those linked to socialist currents within the party have not cited “proscribed organisations”. Instead they have cited rule 2.I.4(b), which states that “a member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party… shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member”. Clearly this is only ever applied to organisations on the left, never eg Progress or Labour First.

We should get as many of those expelled for being left-wing activists, under this or other justifications, readmitted now as we can. At the same time we need to remove that part of the rule – which is what our rule change coming up at Labour conference this autumn does.

Lewisham Deptford CLP calls for reinstatement of excluded members

On 8 February the following motion, submitted by New Cross Branch, was passed at Lewisham Deptford CLP’s GC with over 60pc of the votes. This followed strong opposition from the right, several of whose speakers argued specifically to exclude the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.

An amendment to change reinstatement to a review was also heavily defeated.

The CLP has also voted to campaign specifically for the reinstatement of expelled Lewisham Momentum co-chair Jill Mountford.

All supporters of Labour Party welcome in Labour Party

This meeting notes

The Labour Party Rule Book 2017, Chapter 2 Membership rules, Clause I Conditions of membership, sub clause 4 Exclusions, (B) reads as follows:
“A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member, subject to the  provisions of Chapter 6.I.2 below of the disciplinary rules.”

This rule has been used to exclude LP members with no defence, no appeal and no public review of the evidence.

This meeting believes,

Labour’s membership should be open to all who share our values and support Labour’s election campaigns.

In the spirit of post-election unity [the motion was originally submitted not long after the general election], this branch calls for the reinstatement of automatically excluded members.

This meeting calls/GC instructs on the CLP Secretary to write to the General Secretary and the NEC calling for the reinstatement of those auto-excluded under Rule 4.I.2.B