Friday, 27 April 2018

Marc Wadsworth's Expulsion Is A Disgrace

The decision of Labour's National Constitutional Committee, to expel Labour activist and long-time anti-racist campaigner, Marc Wadsworth, is a disgrace.  Wadsworth was originally charged with anti-Semitism, the hook on which Labour right-and soft left opponents of Jeremy Corbyn have hung their latest attempts to undermine the Labour Leader, and his massive support in the party rank and file.  But, the charge of anti-Semitism, against Wadsworth, which was clearly unfounded, was dropped, and instead he was charged with bringing the party into disrepute.  That follows the dropping of similar charges of anti-Semitism against others such as Moshe Machover, and Tony Greenstein, and replacement with the vacuous charge of bringing the party into disrepute.  In the case of Machover, the party was eventually forced to have to reverse its decision, and in the case of Greenstein, the charge eventually came down to a charge against him that he had been "rude".

In fact, it is rather ironic that many of those who have been expelled by the Labour Party's bureaucracy, initially on charges of "anti-Semitism", have, like Machover and Greenstein, and as with Jackie Walker, themselves been Jews!  The problem of anti-Semitism, in the Labour Party, seems to come from the top, but not the political top, rather from the bureaucratic top, from within its bureaucracy.  Their anti-Semitism seems to be manifest in a desperation to expel the "wrong type of Jews" from the party, i.e. those Jews who support Corbyn, who oppose the Blair-rights, and who oppose the Tories who head up various Jewish organisations such as the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council.  Their anti-Semitism seems to be manifested in their rush to expel all Jews from the party who make a distinction between being anti-Zionist, and being anti-Semitic, along with anyone else in the party who supports them in making that distinction.  Perhaps the members of the NCC should pull themselves up on charges for such anti-Semitism, and all expel themselves from the party!

And, if "bringing the party into disrepute" is the issue, then rather than expelling Wadsworth and others, whose crime seems only to have been to criticise right-wing MP's, for their links to right-wing Tory newspapers, in a prolonged process whereby that alliance has been used to undermine Corbyn, then shouldn't the NCC first start by bringing before it all those right-wing MP's who have, and continue to attack and undermine Corbyn, and party policy?  What about the charges made by John Mann and others that "Marxists", or members of Momentum, or Corbyn supporters sent his wife a dead bird in the post, when, according to Daily Mirror Associate Editor, Kevin McGuire, on Twitter, that incident happened in 2012, long before Corbyn was Leader, long before Momentum ever existed!  And, McGuire points out, Mann has form in making such unsubstantiated claims in the past.

Unsubstantiated claims against Labour Party members, accusing them of online abuse, are everyday occurrences from right-wing MP's, including those made in the parliamentary debate on anti-Semitism last week.  All these MP's should be expelled for "bringing the party into disrepute", especially for having allied with the Tories and Tory media in the run up to the local elections, in order to use those smears to do the maximum amount of damage to Labour's chances in those elections.  If calling out, in calm tones, as Wadsworth did, the alliance of right-wing Labour MP's with elements of the right-wing Tory press, is bringing the party into disrepute, then any rational debate within the party, any holding to account of its representatives becomes impossible.

And, if bringing the party into disrepute is the issue, then the last week's debates over the Windrush Generation, and immigration policy should be ample reason to expel large numbers of Blair-right MP's, and their supporters, because whilst the last week has exposed the utter hypocrisy of the Tories claims to be humanitarians - for example, in their bombing of Syria, again without first providing any evidence or proof of their allegations - it also exposed the hypocrisy of the Blair-rights, who also supported them in that bombing, but who have also been shown to have been the actual instigators of the policy of creating a "hostile environment" for immigrants that led to the Windrush debacle.

Not only was Theresa May able to express a vote of thanks across the Commons Chamber to the Blair-rights for providing her with a diversion from Windrush, with their stunt to attack Corbyn over anti-Semitism, but she was able to point out that it was Alan Johnson who had first used the phrase "hostile environment", when he was at the Home Office, but she was also able to point to a string of equivalent phrases from Yvette Cooper, and other Blair-rights, who had been falling over themselves as Ministers, and Shadow Ministers to pander to racism and bigotry, and to blame immigration and immigrants for all ills, so as to win votes.  The hostile environment for immigrants goes back to the times of Charles Clark, and of John Reed as Labour Ministers at the Home Office, and as late as 2014, Blair-right MP's were lining up with the Tories to push through the racist, anti-immigrant policies that ultimately resulted in the Windrush scandal.  It was only Corbyn, McDonnell, Abbott and a handful of others who, as so often in the past, voted against the Tories disgraceful, racist agenda.

The hypocrisy of the racist, anti-immigrant policies of the Tories and supported by the Blair-rights, and soft lefts is illustrated by their attempts to claim that they were only hostile to "illegal immigrants"!  What Windrush shows, and what was seen after the Brexit vote, is that for large numbers of people no such distinction exists.  Once you blame immigrants, legal or illegal for society's ills, anyone who looks like an immigrant, anyone with different skin colour, different culture, clothing, or who speaks differently, is identifiable as an immigrant, and therefore, potentially is an "illegal immigrant", and thereby  fair game to be made unwelcome, as part of the creation of a hostile environment.  That is precisely the conditions that the Blair-rights and the Tories created, which has led to the Windrush disgrace, and which will be seen to be the tip of the iceberg in terms of lots of other immigrants who will have suffered a similar fate, just as the disgraceful bigoted campaigns against benefits claimants run by those same Tories/Blair-rights and the gutter press put large sections of the population in the firing line, as potential scroungers etc.

So, if bringing the party into disrepute is the issue, let's have shut of all these Blair-right and soft left MP's who have brought the party into disrepute with their constant unsubstantiated attacks on Corbyn, their support for racist, anti-immigrant policies, and willingness to pander to racism and bigotry in search of votes.

What we have with the anti-Semitism trope, is the equivalent of what was seen a few years ago with grooming of girls by Pakistani men in Rotherham.  All attempts by anti-fascists in the area to raise the issue were objected to by the SWP, who were eager to avoid charges of Islamophobia, which might damage their attempts to win support in Muslim communities, via their ill-fated Respect venture.  It meant that all rational debate was shut down, with cries of racism or Islamophobia.  The result in Rotherham is now well known.  But, what we have now is an equivalent situation.  No matter what the circumstance, any criticism of anyone who might be Jewish, whether the person raising the criticism knows the target of the criticism is Jewish or not, whether the criticism has anything to do with them being Jewish or not, stands the risk of being accused of anti-Semitism, simply for raising a criticism of someone who just happens to be Jewish!

Down this road leads nihilism and disaster.  CLP's should flood the NEC with emergency motions demanding the reinstatement of Wadsworth, and we need motions to party conference to bring these show trials to an end.  If people are guilty of anti-Semitism, they should be kicked out forthwith, the sooner the better, and the same for any other kind of bigotry.  But, those bringing such charges against them should have real evidence not simply tittle tattle, innuendo and assertions.  We should remove the catch-all charge of bringing the party into disrepute, as a means of witchhunting those against whom actual charges cannot be substantiated.  Those making any such accusations should proceed by the normal labour movement ethic of sorting such disputes out within the party, and not running to the Tory media at the first opportunity, in the hope of cheap publicity and the chance of sticking the knife into Corbyn and the party.  Indeed, those running to the media such be themselves brought up for disciplinary proceedings for having done so.

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