Activists rally against purge

Submitted by AWL on 30 November, 2016 - 1:47 Author: Will Sefton

The first national meeting of Stop the Labour Purge, on 26 November, had almost 70 people there, with a considerable number of branch and CLP officers as well as individuals unfairly expelled and suspended.

Aslef (train drivers’ union) president Tosh McDonald lambasted the affiliated unions for not doing enough to challenge the Labour leadership in the past. Even after the election of Corbyn, he said, the Party has still tried to stop its members challenging decisions and fighting for socialist politics in the party. He and his wife have found themelves threatened with disciplinary action in their own CLP.

Christine Shawcroft, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, gave interesting insights into how the NEC functions. The Compliance Unit, she said, had dug itself into an ever-deeper hole as it suspended or expelled thousands in instant response to the first set of complaints from Labour members, mostly from right-wingers and about posts on social media, and has then felt it has to continue suspending or expelling people as it is flooded with more and more “evidence”. Shawcroft confirmed there is no proscribed list, and continues to call for the end to the “auto-exclusion” of activists associated with groups like Workers’ Liberty and Socialist Appeal.

Richard and Peter Shield, from Wallasey, told how party activists are responding to the continuing suspension of their constituency. North West Momentum has demanded that Momentum nationally campaign on the issue.

John Dunn got a standing ovation as he closed the conference with a politically sharp, amusing and passionate speech about his lifetime of work for the Party. At the 22 November meeting of Labour’s National Executive, the latest figures on the Disputes Panel from the Labour leadership contest this summer showed 1,038 members still suspended and 618 “auto-excluded”. He described his challenge to Owen Smith at Orgreave, the challenge that led to his expulsion.

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