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Sheffield Labour Left  - For Socialism

A bulletin for Labour Party Members who supported the direction the party moved towards under Jeremy Corbyn & John McDonnell.
Opposing racism, antisemitism and political Zionism.
Opposing all expulsions/exclusions targeting the left.

SLL E-Bulletin #42 24 December 2020

“Basic natural justice principles”
– not in today’s Labour Party

 
The Starmer/Evans purge of anyone guilty of challenging them – better known as the left – has reached tsunami proportions as not a day goes by without more news of comrades suspended.
But what is this power of suspension based on? Certainly not the recommendations from the last major report commissioned by the Party – the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry in 2016.
This was the last report commissioned on the topic of the complaints’ procedure by the Party itself rather than the Tory biased EHRC.
Chakrabarti said of suspensions: “Once you understand these basic natural justice principles, you realise that administrative suspension from the Labour Party need not be employed every (or nearly every) time a complaint (however credible) is made against a member.”
"The factors to be considered when considering an interim suspension pending investigation should be a) the gravity of the conduct complained about and b) the immediacy of any risk that the individual or group concerned might do lasting or irreparable damage to the Party even during the period of the investigation."
In short, suspension should not be an automatic reaction to a complaint – but in the slew of recent complaints suspension has been used every time a member has either defended Corbyn or chaired a meeting to allow a motion on that topic, instead of what should be reserved for the most serious of cases.
Chakrabarti also said: “It is important to remember that the beginning of an investigation into alleged misconduct is just that.”
She added: “The making of a complaint marks the beginning, not the end, of a hopefully fair process that might end in a warning, admonishment, some further sanction up to and including expulsion from the Party, or exoneration and no further action whatsoever.”
In addition, they are completely ignoring Chakrabarti’s recommendation that the “power of interim suspension no longer be vested in the NEC (in practice routinely exercised by the General Secretary and/or his staff)”.
Chakrabarti makes a number of recommendations, including:
"6.f. in cases of urgency, the power to order interim suspension forthwith, subject to the right of the individual to seek a review of that suspension. The NCC should have the power to consult with a member of the Legal Panel before determining an applications in this respect." Needless to say, this has not been implemented and members have no right of review and the NCC have no involvement whatsoever.
Finally, Chakrabarti says: “It is also important that the procedures explain that those in respect of whom allegations have been made are clearly informed of the allegation(s) made against them, their factual basis and the identity of the complainant – unless there are good reasons not to do so (e.g. to protect the identity of the complainant).”

If you want evidence that all of this is a purge of the left, look no further than these blatant disregards of the recommendations from the Party’s own inquiry.

Strategies to resist
  
As the attacks upon party democracy, and the purge of those who resist it continues, we look at two contending strategies of how to fight back.
Most importantly, there are those who when denied their basic rights of democracy and freedom of expression within the party, stand up and defy those acting in an authoritarian manner.  The more members, branches and CLPs that do this, then the more chance of MPs and Trade Unions supporting a campaign to reverse the attacks.  It is only by strong collective action that authoritarian methods will be defeated.
And then there are those on the centre-left who don't like what is happening in the party, but refuse to openly defy it.  Their 'strategy' of getting back their basic rights is to write strongly worded emails in the naive hope that such 'protests' will achieve anything.  In reality, whilst being strongly 'committed' to the concept of free speech etc, they are not prepared to risk being suspended for defending it.  You wouldn't want these comrades in a trench with you!

Sheffield Labour Left


Sheffield Labour Left (SLL) is a network to help co-ordinate the genuine Labour Party left across the six CLPs covered by Sheffield.

We have a page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SheffieldLabourLeft) and our own website (http://www.sheffieldlabourleft.org), where you can find an archive of our first 35 bulletins.

We are connected to no other group, but work alongside others whose aims we share to see elected a socialist-led government.  In July 2019 we affiliated to the Labour Left Alliance:  
https://labourleft.org
Want to get involved with SLL or become a member? Contact us at the email address below.
Local labour movement meetings and events in January:

Tuesday 12 January:  Sheffield Trades Council meeting for Sheffield Nablus TU partnership.  Sheffield TUC, Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine and Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign will be joining together to have our first international Zoom meeting with Palestinian trade union contacts, under the new Sheffield Nablus TUC Partnership. We hope to attract wide participation from representatives of unions and workers’ organisations from both cities. 7.00pm start.

Wednesday 20 January:  Sheffield Labour Left Annual General Meeting. Including: Perspectives for 2021; elections to Steering Committee.
Our mailing address is:
info@sheffieldlabourleft.org
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