1) Please register here to participate in our February 27 launch conference (11am-4pm) on Zoom – over 350 people have already done so. Our conference will focus on the ‘Plan for Change’ proposed by the LIEN Ad-hoc Steering Group and on setting up a number of working groups. We also want to elect a new Steering Group and we will be hearing contributions from Leah Levane, Jackie Walker, Tosh McDonald, Roger Silverman, Chris Knight and Graham Bash. Click here to see the interactive, detailed agenda.
As part of the fight-back against the witch-hunt of socialists from the Labour Party, LIEN is conducting a survey of all members of the network in order to determine the extent of the number of suspensions, resignations and expulsions since 2015 when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader. By building up a detailed picture of the mass purge we will be in a stronger position to take counter-action, including legal action if necessary. The more members who participate, the greater will be the weight of the outcomes, so your cooperation in this survey will be much appreciated.
Watch this powerful testimony by Benjamin Davy, suspended member from Plymouth CLP, who explains why he has become involved in the Labour in Exile Network. There are many more comrades who feel similarly and we have already posted some of them on our website here – please send us your video and/or short article!
This is the text of a speech given by GRAHAM BASH at a meeting “The Labour Party, Free Speech and Democracy” held on Saturday 30 January 2021. Graham Bash has been a Labour Party member for 52 years, and is the political officer for Jewish Voice for Labour. Graham speaks in a personal capacity about how the Left should respond to the current attack on free speech in the Labour Party.
I want to make two basic points:
First, this attack on free speech is unprecedented in my lifetime.
Secondly, although we are facing and fighting this attack primarily in the Labour Party, it is an issue that goes well beyond the Labour Party.
TO THE LEADER AND THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE LABOUR PARTY
We the undersigned members of the Labour Party demand:
• the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn;
• the reinstatement of all Labour Party members wrongly suspended or expelled since the appointment of the current general secretary;
• a review of all previous suspensions and expulsions imposed during the previous leadership;
• a root and branch reform of the deeply flawed complaints and disciplinary processes of the party;
• and an immediate restoration of the right of constituency parties to freely discuss and pass motions on political issues as they see fit.
Until these demands are met we will pursue a policy of non-cooperation with the party’s general secretary, regional officials and the governance and legal unit, and we will absolutely refuse to comply with any advice, guidance or instructions from any of the above which we consider unfair and discriminatory.
As members of the labour movement we are taking immediate, collective action in solidarity with our comrades who have been unfairly punished.
We are a new kind of non-geographical Constituency Labour Party (modeled on the Labour International CLP), for all those who no longer feel that they are welcome in the Labour Party.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have been suspended or expelled from the Labour Party. It began under Jeremy Corbyn with the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign whose aim was to protect the Israeli state from criticism.
Come to this online briefing meeting to find out more – register here. Speakers include Esther Giles (suspended CLP secretary and NEC candidate) and Dr Neil Todd. We will also be launching a survey on the purge at the meeting.
In recent months over 70 officers of Constituency Labour Parties are known to have been suspended simply for allowing members to discuss topics forbidden by the general secretary.
27th February 2021, 11am A conference hosted by Labour in Exile Network (LIEN) for those who continue to fight for democracy and socialism in the Labour Party; those who have been unfairly suspended or expelled in the last five years and those who have resigned from the Labour Party in despair of the party’s direction of travel under Keir Starmer and David Evans.
Deadlines: Motions – February 20 (midnight) Amendments – February 25 (midnight) Nominations for steering committee – February 25 (midnight)
Read: How you can get involved in our Conference and beyond here
11am Chair’s Welcome (Esther Giles and Becky Massey)
11.10am 1. The crisis in the Labour Party and opportunities for change Speakers: Tosh McDonald, Chris Knight, Graham Bash
11.40am 2. What LIEN is and what it’s all about: Introducing our Plan for Change (Norman Thomas)
Amendments to ‘Plan for Change’ (amendments need 5 LIEN supporters)
Voting on amendments and then the (amended) Plan for Change
12.40pm 3. The fight for justice in the Labour Party Speakers: Leah Levane and Marc Wadsworth
1.30pm Chair: Becky Massy 4. The fight for free speech in the Labour Party Speakers: Jackie Walker and Roger Silverman
5. How we propose to work together – terms of reference for steering group and size of SG
Proposal here. We are inviting amendments and alternative ‘terms of reference’ (5 supporters each) by deadline of Feb 20Voting on amendments and then the (amended) terms of reference
2pm 6. Organising the fightback
6.1. Motions (we publish them as and when we receive them) – May 2021 elections – draft here
6.2. Introduction of working groups by volunteer coordinators (2 minutes each) – Please submit short written proposals (200 words) that we can link to in the agenda, deadline February 20
The Witch-hunt Analysis Group (Terry or Becky?)
Racism and Antisemitism Group (Tony)
Social media (Terry)
Press and outreach (Norman)
Legal Action Coordinating Group (Neil)
Anti-Zionist Action Network (Neil)
Proposals from the floor for more working groups and campaigns, which will be taken back for consideration to the SG
3.30pm 7. Elections to steering committee Please send nominations in writing beforehand (200 words) by Feb 20th.
Labour Party members plan to take a form of extraordinary strike action — against their own party.
The action is being planned by the Labour In Exile Network (LIEN) group to protest against the suspensions of members under the leadership of Keir Starmer.
Under the plan members will only campaign for Labour Party candidates prepared to condemn the suspensions.
Christine Tongue of LIEN said: “Hundreds of people, including many party officers, have been suspended since Keir Starmer became leader, unfairly and without even a semblance of natural justice. This is a purge — and we are going to take collective action to stop it.”
The group aims to target the May elections to local government.
Christine said: “I know it seems extraordinary that we’re planning to effectively go on strike against our own party — but this is how bad things have got. What could be more natural than for members of the labour movement to take collective action?”
Until September of last year Christine was secretary and disability officer of South Thanet Labour Party. She was expelled for wishing good luck to Chris Williamson, the former Corbyn ally.
Christine said: “I am one of three secretaries of our local party who have been sacked in succession. And hundreds of members across the country have been expelled since Starmer became leader. We cannot support any candidate who isn’t prepared to speak out against this outrageous purge.”
LIEN will debate the strike plan at its founding conference on Saturday 27 February. If it goes through all Labour candidates for office will be asked to demand:
the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn;
the reinstatement of all Labour Party members wrongly suspended or expelled since election of Keir Starmer;
a review of all previous suspensions and expulsions imposed during the previous leadership;
a radical reform of the complaints and disciplinary processes of the party to one based on natural justice and due process;
and an immediate restoration of the right of constituency parties to freely discuss and pass motions on political issues as they see fit.
The LIEN founding conference is on Saturday 27 February. For more details of the LIEN founding conference visit www.labour-in-exile.org
Note to editors: The full text of the LIEN motion follows. A picture of Christine is attached. This is a link to her latest video statement “WHY I’M ANGRY WITH STARMER”
For more information, pictures etc, ring 07989070843
MOTION TO BE MOVED TO LIEN CONFERENCE ON FEN 27 2021
We call on all Labour Party candidates who are running for office in 2021 to publicly commit themselves to oppose the purge against the left conducted by the current leadership and demand that the leader and the National Executive Committee:
Restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn;
Reinstate all Labour Party members wrongly suspended or expelled since the election of Keir Starmer;
Commission an independent review of all previous suspensions and expulsions imposed during the previous leadership;
Radically reform the complaints and disciplinary processes of the party to one based on natural justice and due process;
Immediately restore the right of constituency parties and members to freely discuss and pass motions on any political issues that they see fit, including the IHRA’s mis-definition of antisemitism and the report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
We further call on all Labour Party members to:
Put these policies to their local candidates and organise local hustings events
Campaign only for candidates who commit themselves to the above and to give no support to those who don’t.