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Dear <<First Name>>

Thank you to all comrades who came to the fantastic lobby outside Labour Party HQ on July 20 and to all those who supported us online and spread the live-streamed video (which was a bit ropey and upside down for a while, apologies!). 

We have put together a short video with some of the highlights of the protest, which focused on the proscriptions of a number of left-wing groups including LAW, the lack of democracy in the Labour Party and the attacks on free speech throughout society. Around 300 people gathered, despite the heat and other problems like Covid isolation - see below for a press release, pictures and and the video. 

We are holding an emergency meeting of all members of Labour Against the Witchhunt next Saturday, July 24 at 6pm to discuss our response to this dangerous development. More details below. 
 


Labour Against the Witchhunt, Labour in Exile Network and Socialist Appeal - three of the proscribed groups - have gotten together with a number of other left groups (including Jewish Voice for Labour and the Labour Representation Committee) to form the campaign 'Defend the Left - against all bans and proscriptions'. 

Please find below the petition we have put together. Please sign and share it widely. The new website is available here and will feature relevant material. Please send any supporting statements to the info@defendtheleft.co.uk so that they can be published online. Also, please try to get your trade union branch, CLP or political organisation to support the campaign - again, send a quick email.

Initial supporting organisations include: Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witchhunt, Labour In Exile Network, Labour Left Alliance, Labour Party Marxists, Labour Representation Committee, Socialist Appeal and Socialist Resistance. 

What you can do:

1) Sign and share the 'Defend the Left' petition here and get your tu branch, organisation or CLP to sign up, too (email info@defendtheleft.co.uk). The current list of supporting organisations is available here and all of them have been invited to a meeting tonight to discuss next steps. 

2) Join Labour Against the Witchhunt here and attend our emergency meeting on Saturday July 24, 6pm

3) Try to get an emergency motion through your Labour Party branch or CLP, Momentum group or trade union opposing the decision. Below is a motion from Bristol you could amend/adapt: 

“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 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 CLP 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 CLP 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 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”

Highlights from July 20 Labour protest: No bans, no proscriptions - we need justice and democracy!


Speakers in the 10 minute video include:
  • Mike Cushman, Jewish Voice for Labour
  • Tina Werkmann, Labour Against the Witchhunt
  • Andrew Feinstein, former ANC member of parliament
  • Carol Buxton, Newham Socialist Labour
  • Roger Silverman, Labour Left Alliance
  • Tony Greenstein, Labour Campaign for Free Speech
  • Adam Booth, Socialist Appeal
  • Becky Massey, Labour in Exile Network
  • Ken Loach's message was read out by Glyn Secker of Jewish Voice for Labour



REPORT/PRESS RELEASE

On Tuesday 20 July, hundreds of Labour Party members picketed Labour’s London headquarters on Southside protesting against suspensions, expulsions and the proscription 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 Witchhunt, 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 lobby.”

More pictures are available here



SIGN THIS PETITION HERE

If your organisation/CLP/union branch wants to sign this, please email info@defendtheleft.co.uk and we'll add their name below. 

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 is set to proscribe a number of left-wing groups, including Labour Against the Witchhunt, Labour in Exile Network and Socialist Appeal. The motion includes a proposal to investigate yet more groups for possible proscription. 

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!

  • Please sign and share this petition - here
  • Get your organisation/trade union branch to support this petition and our campaign - email info@defendtheleft.co.uk

Defend The Left - against all bans and proscriptions! https://www.defendtheleft.co.uk

Supporting organisations include: 
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

July 24, 6pm:
Emergency LAW members' meeting


All members of Labour Against the Witchhunt will receive a Zoom invite in the next few days - if you join LAW before July 24 here, you may attend. If you are unsure if you're a member, you can check your status here - login with your usual email address, then make sure to select 'Labour Against the Witchhunt' from the drop down list (a few groups use membersmojo and your email address gives you access to all your memberships managed by that system). You can of course also email us and we'll check if you are a member. 

We totally understand if you wish to attend the meeting with your camera switched off or by using a false name (but please email us if you do so: info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org).

Please be assured that the Labour Party has of course no access to our membership lists.


Please send any motions or proposals in writing asap to info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org) 

LAW's sponsors include:
  • Alexei Sayle, comedian
  • Ken Livingstone
  • Professor Moshé Machover, Israeli socialist and founder of Matzpen
  • Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers Union
  • Ken Loach, film director
  • Noam Chomsky, author and activist
LAW’s honorary president is Moshé Machover

Join or affiliate
http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/contact/

Donate:
Make donation or standing order to 
LAW, Sort code 309473 Account No 21409868
Or make a Paypal donation here
 
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Contact: 
info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org
07817 379568
LAW, BCM Box 1488, LONDON WC1N 3XX.
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Labour Against the Witchhunt · BCM Box 8932 · London, England WC1N 3XX · United Kingdom

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