Left antisemitism

Uphold free speech, fight antisemitism

David Miller The government’s new attempt to police freedom of speech and academic freedom on University campuses — e.g. to withhold registration if a University is deemed not be complying — should be opposed. Universities already have a statutory duty to uphold free speech (in the 1986 Education Act). The new push is a demagogic attempt to push back against “wokeness”, linked to reactionary attempts to promote historical pride in such things as colonialism and slavery. However, there are real pressures against free speech and the right to organise on campuses. There have been many free-speech...

Raise voices against the Evans-Starmer purge!

Dozens of constituency or branch Labour Party officials, chairs, secretaries, and so on, have been suspended without due process simply for allowing debate on "banned" motions about other disciplinary crackdowns. “If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of members, we will do that", declared Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner on 29 November, following a new message from Labour Party general secretary David Evans that local Labour Party officials could be suspended for allowing debate on restoring the Labour whip to Jeremy Corbyn. It's a Catch-22 logic: suspensions can never be stopped...

Democracy and the labour movement

On 7 December, the Labour Party National Executive (NEC) adopted a “draft plan” in response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report of 29 October finding that Labour had dealt with antisemitism inadequately. The vote, according to LabourList, was unanimous. The draft plan will not be published: only, after some time, the plan finally agreed with the EHRC. The plan is likely to set out new disciplinary processes for Labour. They can hardly be worse than the present mess. The plan won’t include a political offensive, through debate and education, against the antisemitism in...

Socialist Worker on "The Lobby": half a step forward

Socialist Worker half-breaks from its previous attitudes to tell readers that seeing "the Israel lobby" as super-powerful in world politics is an antisemitic idea "Continuing to believe [criticism of Corbyn inside Labour is] all simply orchestrated by an 'Israel lobby' can lead you down some very dark paths… It can lead to antisemitic arguments". That's not from Solidarity, but, surprisingly, from an article by Nick Clark in Socialist Worker (2 December 2020). Clark's article is progress. Mind you, he doesn't explain how the "Israel lobby" idea of Jews worldwide being mysteriously highly...

Suspend "thousands and thousands"?

“If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of members, we will do that", declared Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner on 29 November, following a new message from Labour Party general secretary David Evans that local Labour Party officials can be suspended for allowing debate on restoring the Labour whip to Jeremy Corbyn. Local Labour Party discussions on suspensions or expulsions from the party were already barred by a March 2019 instruction from the previous, "Corbynite", general secretary Jennie Formby. Officials of at least one local Labour Party (Islington South) had been told in mid...

Labour suspensions spread

Following the suspension of multiple members of Bristol West Constituency Labour Party (CLP) Executive (EC) from the Labour Party for allowing a motion to be discussed, the regional office has postponed the CLP’s Annual General Meeting with two days’ notice, because of alleged “problems” with communication about it happening. It has been postponed until February, and our CLP meetings banned during the same time period. It’s not clear to me that there were any major “problems”. The meeting was set to attract hundreds, and the left to maintain control. The unelected officials’ motivation is...

Antisemitism overstated?

Phil Pope (web comment): Do you think the scale of antisemitism in Labour was understated, overstated, or defined precisely as it is? Do you think there is more or less antisemitism in Labour than in other political parties or in society at large. As you have quoted the CST (which you generously describe as a community charity) you might want to refer to their research. Rhodri Evans replies: Antisemitism in Labour — “understated, overstated, or defined precisely as it is?”, asks Phil Pope. The current blow-up in the Labour Party started with Jeremy Corbyn choosing (when he could just have kept...

After Corbyn reinstatement: now, a political offensive against antisemitism

Above: The "Mear One" mural: Jeremy Corbyn supported it when the local council led by Lutfur Rahman removed it, but then apologised A panel of the Labour Party National Executive has (17 November 2020) reinstated Jeremy Corbyn after: • he responded to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's legally-enforceable report (29 October 2020) finding the Labour Party culpable for antisemitism by saying that "the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons" and conceding only that he could not claim "no antisemitism" in the Labour Party because of course there would be some "as there...

Morning Star still dismisses antisemitism complaints as right-wing invention

Back in 2018, a writer in Solidarity described Corbyn’s response to allegations of antisemitism in Labour under his leadership: “Corbyn agrees there is a problem. He responds under pressure, moves in the direction his critics are pointing to, but it is as if he cannot understand what the fuss is about ... everything is low-energy, insufficient, ineffectual, can be seen or portrayed as evasive, as lacking conviction ...” That description sprang to mind when reading Corbyn’s response to the EHRC report: instead of an apology for what happened (and didn’t happen) on his watch, there was the claim...

Skewed from the start

The quarterly journal Historical Materialism has put out a call for articles for a special issue motivated by the “rise of a new wave of antisemitism”. Good: except that the call is written so as to define this “new wave of antisemitism” as solely a matter of the European and American far right, i.e. as scarcely “new” at all compared to the 1930s. It dismisses in advance all discussion of strands of antisemitism within the left as just “machinations” “to attack Palestinian liberation, Muslim populations in the West… Jeremy Corbyn… the left in the Labour Party... silencing critics of Zionism”...

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