Saturday, 17 September 2016

The Labour purge is become absurd - and poisonous

I have not got involved in the internal battle in the Labour Party but speaking to friends during the Refugees Welcome demonstration today, and reading some posts on Facebook this evening, I am actually quite shocked and upset about what is going on.

Today Alan Gibbons, the author, wrote on Facebook that his daughter had been expelled from the Labpur Party retweeting the Green Party's message of support for the NUT strike - she is a teacher. A further reason was that she had shared that Green Party Political Broadcast (which I personally did not like) featuring children as politicians.  She cannot re-apply for membership for 5 years.

I wrote a message of solidarity on Alan's Facebook page about the expulsion:
This is beyond ridiculous. Solidarity from a Green Party member who believes that there are overlaps between Labour Left and Green Left where we can work together for the benefit of the wider movement. Today on the Refugees Welcome March I spoke with, and walked with, many Labour Party comrades as well as Greens. Beneath the jokes about being photographed walking with the Greens there was also something more worrying - a recognition that despite it seeming absurd, that this really could be used against them. Poisonous.
 Harrow West CLP recently passed this resolution for the upcoming Labour Party Conference:

For a democratic pluralist Labour Party
Conference notes in late August expulsions and suspensions rose significantly. At time of writing the number is unknown, but on 20th August the Daily Telegraph reported "thousands of labour members....could be suspended or expelled".

This included many long standing members, among them, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union general secretary Ronnie Draper; this suspension has now been lifted after a timely hearing, something denied thousands of ordinary party members.

We believe we should ensure our rules are carried out in a spirit consistent with a democratic culture. As the Chakrabarti report argues, "the Labour Party should seek to uphold the strongest principles of natural justice", "due process" and "proportionality".

Expulsions and suspensions must not be used as a factional weapon by members. Accusations must be in writing and must be evidenced by named witnesses. A hearing must take place before any sanction is imposed. There must be an appeals system for all suspensions and expulsions.

Anyone willing to genuinely support labour should be welcome, subject to our rules. Previous political activity should be of no relevance; neither should membership or support of labour supporting socialist organisations or currents. Deal with differences politically; discussion not expulsion.

Conference resolves:
  • to call on all party officials and bodies to act in the spirit of democracy and plurality
  • to call on the NEC to carry out Chakrabarti reports recommendations
  • All those expelled or suspended who have been denied an appeal should be given one

1 comment:

  1. Here's another example. Lesson? Don't swear at racists.
    Mike Hine