Progress and Labour first have left-wing trade unionist expelled for campaigning to defend children’s centres!

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Republished from The Clarion

London Underground worker and RMT activist Becky Crocker is under threat of expulsion from Streatham Labour Party, which has a strong left-wing opposition but is currently dominated by the Blairite group Progress, as well as another right-wing faction, Labour First. Local right-wingers are clearly implicated in trying to get Becky expelled, and the reason is her involvement in the campaign, led by Lambeth Unison, to stop children’s centres closing. This is shameful stuff, although the Labour right in Lambeth has form. For more on Lambeth council’s record, see our recent interview with Jocelyn Cruywagen, ‘Confronting racism at Lambeth council’.

Below some words from Becky is a motion passed by St Leonard’s ward to go to Streatham CLP, explaining more of the facts.

Please send messages of solidarity to: crocker.becky@gmail.com

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Becky says:

“After rejoining the Labour Party, I went to my ward meeting in Streatham Hill and put a motion for the campaign I’m involved in to keep children’s centres open. We won, despite right-wing opposition and attempts by the chair to stop the vote going ahead. I was really pleased and excited by the idea I could use the Labour Party to support campaigns like this. “Less than two weeks later I heard I had been expelled from the party because of my involvement with the socialist group Workers’ Liberty. I say ‘heard’ because bizarrely I haven’t had any kind of communication from the Labour Party, but left-wing members of the CLP Executive Committee have said the right-wing CLP leadership raised it at the EC meeting. So in fact it’s not clear if I’ve actually been expelled, but the right wing are saying and acting as if I have been.

“I’ve been told right-wing officers are explicitly citing the children’s centres campaign as the reason I should be excluded, as well as claiming that what I said at my ward was somehow deceitful and invalid. That’s nonsense. The real issue is that the organised right who dominate Labour in Lambeth and in Streatham are determined to defend everything the Progress-dominated council does, even if that means attacking a working mum for fighting to keep children’s centres open. “Beyond that the vague and nonsensical clause in the Labour rulebook which has been used to expel socialists needs to go. The way it is interpreted by the party machine is unreasonable – if you read it it doesn’t say anything about barring membership of socialist groups – but in any case it should be scrapped.”

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Motion from St Leonard’s ward to Streatham CLP

This branch notes
1. That Becky Crocker, a new party member, has been refused party membership by Streatham CLP’s EC.
2. That this refusal followed a notification by the party’s national officials that Becky had previously been suspended.
3. That despite CL chair Joel Bodmer admitting that the notification period from national party officials had been received over the Christmas period, the CLP Secretary Louie Somerville failed to give EC members notice of this agenda item and the matter was considered under ‘Any Other Business’.
4. That members of the EC were warned before taking the decision that without evidence of the nature of this organisation [that Becky supports, ie Workers’ Liberty] and without inviting Becky to respond to the allegations, such a decision would be susceptible to legal challenge.
5. That at the previous meeting of her branch, Streatham Hill, Becky had proposed a motion calling for the local council to rethink its plans to close children’s centres.
6. That in her emotional and moving speech, Becky drew on her own experiences as a working mother, outlining how the cuts have deeply affected her and so many others.
7. That the CLP chair Joel Bodmer and the CLP secretary, Louie Somerville, distributed photocopies of a leaflet Becky had handed out in support of maintaining children’s centres as evidence against her, and that the Streatham Hill branch chair repeatedly made clear that the principal complaint regarding Becky was her motion and her campaign against cuts to children’s centres.

This branch believes
1. That to take a decision with such severe consequences without proper evidence and without allowing the accused to respond to the allegations is wrong and unlawful.
2. That the decision to deny Becky party membership was clearly based in spite and the resentment of local party officials supportive of councillors cutting crucial services relied on by the people Labour seeks to represent.
3. That members should not be penalised for joining organisations within the broad left, provided those organisations do not stand against the Labour Party.

This branch resolves
1. To extend its full support and solidarity to Becky.
2. To call on the CLP EC to reverse its decision immediately and reinstate Becky to the local party.
3. To instruct the Branch Secretary to write to the NEC setting out the branch’s support for the reversal of the decision and requsting that this be taken into account in any appeal process Becky initiates.
4. To instruct the Branch Secretary to write to the national and regional party officials requesting that they carry out an investigation into the conduct of the CLP officers in this matter, and enclosing a copy of this motion.
5. To instruct the Branch Secretary to submit this motion to the constituency party, substituting all references to ‘branch’ with ‘CLP’ and references to ‘Branch Secretary’ with ‘CLP Secretary’.

Let us know what you think? Write a reply? theclarionmag@gmail.com

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SIGN THIS STATEMENT: Scrap the purge rule – Support the amendment to 2.I.4(b)

Please add your name to this statement using the form below.

We the undersigned support the rule change coming up at the 2018 Labour Party conference to delete part of rule 2.I.4(b):

“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…”

The rule change deletes the words up to and including “unit of the Party”, but of course retains the requirement that Labour members must not support other parties standing against Labour.

This rule is ridiculous as could apply to Momentum, Progress or indeed Greenpeace. In practice it has been used to exclude supporters of left-wing organisations within Labour and individuals who had previously been members of other left parties such as the Greens. Many remain excluded and the rule could be used again in future.

We want a pluralist Labour Party in which differences of opinion within broad labour movement values are dealt with by debate and discussion, not bans and exclusions.

Personal information from this form will be only used for the Stop the Labour Purge campaign and will not be shared with any other organisation

• If you are going to Labour conference and would like to support this, get in touch: stopthelabourpurge@gmail.com

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”!

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.