Calling all witches

Motion against witch-hunts

To effectively fight the witch hunt we need to be anti-imperialist and anti-rascist

The Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) steering committee needs your help at our January 6 organising meeting to ensure our motion is carried this time to exclude anti-Semitic views, including the Socialist Fight group, from LAW and to get the campaign under way in January. We shall be holding pickets of the January 23 meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee - the body whose supposed “instructions” give carte blanche to McNicol’s witchhunters - as well as the disciplinary hearings of Tony Greenstein (no earlier than January 8, because of Tony’s successful injunction), Marc Wadsworth (Wednesday January 24), Jackie Walker and others. Ken Loach will be among the speakers at our January 29 London public meeting and Jackie will speak in Birmingham on January 30.

Exclusion is not the only way to deal with dissidents, even with racist views, whether in a political campaign like Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), or within the Labour Party. Education, discussion, should normally be our preferred option. However, any political group must define its political limits, what it does and does not stand for. Socialist Fight, because of the anti-Semitic theories it espouses, is incompatible with our campaign. LAW is an anti-racist campaign. It is not only against false accusations of anti-Semitism, but against real anti-Semitism too. 

Nevertheless, exclusion from the party is a different matter. The Labour Party too is entitled to define its political boundaries. But it should not be rightwing, Blairite officials doing that by suspending and expelling comrades. Those who we want to see the back of are the pro-imperialist, pro-austerity warmongers and anti-Corbyn plotters.

Stan Keable

LAW Secretary

Steering Committee motion:

Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) is a Labour Party campaign. We urge all those who oppose Labour’s witchhunt against Corbyn supporters and critics of Israel/Zionism to stay in the Party and fight.

LAW reaffirms its three key demands:

1. That the Labour Party ends the practice of automatic, instant, expulsion or suspension of Labour Party members without a hearing, with no right of appeal.

2. That the Labour Party rejects the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance (IHMA) definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people.

3. That the Labour Party immediately abolishes its ‘compliance unit’. Disciplinary decisions should be taken by elected bodies, not paid officials.

As shown by the September 2017 Labour Party conference, the formation of Free Speech on Israel and Jewish Voice for Labour, and by the surge of support which quickly achieved the reinstatement of Moshé Machover, we believe our campaign is capable of stopping the witchhunt.

LAW campaigns for the immediate lifting of all suspensions and expulsions from Labour Party membership which were

  •  connected with the rightwing witchhunt of Corbyn supporters;
  •  carried out “automatically”, without a hearing, without the right of appeal;
  •  connected to the 'anti-Semitism' smear campaign.

LAW rejects the view, promoted by the Zionist movement and the Jewish Labour Movement, that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. Those, such as the Alliance for Workers Liberty, who conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel are not eligible for membership. Those who regard Moshé Machover, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker or Ken Livingstone as anti-Semitic or who regret the reinstatement of Moshé Machover and/or support the expulsion of Ken Livingstone, are not welcome in LAW.

However, our support will be weakened if we allow the campaign to be associated with those who promote views which are anti-Semitic. LAW condemns anti-Semitism and all forms of racism. Those groups or individuals, such as Socialist Fight, who promote a form of anti-Semitism, for example the view that imperialist support for Israel has any connection to the “overrepresentation” of Jews in the ruling class; or that Jews are “an oppressor people”; or that Jewish campaigns in support of the Palestinians such as Jews Against Zionism, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods or Jewish Voice for Labour are racist because they operate on the basis of a supposedly “Jewish moral superiority”, are not welcome in LAW.