Appeal for a democratic Labour Left Alliance

Sheffield Labour Left supports the following appeal, which is an attempt to unite and organise the genuine Labour Left. Please sign up here.

The degeneration of Momentum has reached a critical point. Jon Lansman’s attack on Jewish Voice for Labour as “not being part of the Jewish community” and his demand that Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the Labour Party are indefensible. Sadly, Momentum at a national level has become an organisation that has now fully joined the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters.

It is not good enough to call for people to join this or that existing group. We have to be honest: None of our existing Labour left organisations are, by themselves, the answer. But they can be part of the solution.

We therefore believe there is now an urgent need to build a democratic, transparent and socialist Labour Left Alliance that:

  • organises democratically and transparently;
  • both supports Corbyn against attacks by the right, and is independent and able to criticise the leadership when necessary;
  • opposes racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all other forms of discrimination and is consistently internationalist, a stance which by definition includes support for the democratic and national rights of the Palestinians;
  • opposes attempts to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism;
  • campaigns to radically transform and democratise the Labour Party and the trade unions;
  • campaigns for the implementation of trigger ballots (as a step towards mandatory reselection) so that the Parliamentary Labour Party better reflects the pro-Corbyn views of the vast majority of members;
  • supports and encourages struggles now against austerity and all forms of oppression.

Please sign up below and join us at Labour Party conference 2019 in Brighton (September 21-25) to discuss and decide how we can build such a movement.

Solidarity Statement in Support of Pete Willsman

We are in full solidarity with Pete Willsman and believe that nothing he said was anti-Semitic.

It is not anti-Semitic to state the belief that the Israeli state is involved in alliance with others in manufacturing claims of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party for political reasons. Indeed there have been proven instances of Israeli state interference in British politics before, as shown by the excellent undercover documentary The Lobby(Al-Jazeera).

Such a claim is not to deny the existence of anti-Semitism in wider society or indeed the Labour Party. But, as the figures released by Labour Party General Secretary Jennie Formby clearly demonstrate, this is happening on a very small scale: out of over 1,300 complaints received, only a small number had any case to answer.

While we condemn anti-Semitism unreservedly, we also believe that many Labour Party members have been wrongly accused of anti-Semitism, which causes great distress to those affected. We refute claims that anti-Semitism is “rife” or “endemic” in our Party – there is no evidence to substantiate this.

It is surely no coincidence that the audio of Willsman’s comments (who was secretly recorded in January), is only now being published. With pressure building up over the bad EU election results and the forthcoming Peterborough by-election, the real target of this latest campaign is clear: it is to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn.

We stand with Pete Willsman and Jeremy Corbyn and against the witch-hunt of left-wingers in the Labour Party!

Sheffield Labour Left Steering Committee

Join the SLL team at the ‘Small Park, Big Run for Palestine’ on June 16

The event in Meersbrook Park is supporting women’s education and the Khuzaa childrens healing project in Gaza, Palestine. Sheffield Labour Left will be entering as a team. Please note that the event takes place over 24 hours, from noon on Saturday June 15 until noon on Sunday June 16. To avoid a clash with the Orgreave event, we encourage SLL members and supporters to come along on Sunday morning from 10am until 12noon for the team run, but it would also be brilliant if you could do a slot in the evening and during the night. More info about the event organised by the Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign here.

We have produced this t-shirt for the occasion, which you can purchase from us for £10 – get in touch.

Please register your 30 minute slot here, preferably 11am so that we can run together. If that slot is full, go for 11.30am or 10.30am. Please let them know that you are running as part of the team ‘Sheffield Labour Left’.

Public meeting with Chris Williamson MP and John Dunn, Orgreave campaign

‘Building the Labour left to help deliver a socialist-led Labour government’

Speakers:
– Chris Williamson MP
– John Dunn (Ex-miner, Orgreave Truth & Justice campaigner, surcharged Clay Cross councillor)
– Natasha Sorrell (Labour4Clause4 campaigner and local teacher)

Thursday April 18, 7pm – 9.30pm

please note change of location:
Trades and Labour Club
200 Duke Street
Sheffield S2 5QQ
 
Lee Rock (convenor of Sheffield Labour Left) will be chairing the meeting.
 

The left in the Labour Party has always needed a grass-roots campaigning force to help build support for a socialist-led labour government – and to defend such a government once elected. In many localities left groups have formed, and are being formed. The Labour Representation Committee have agreed to start working towards a left network. Is it now time to discuss how we can link up with others to build a left alternative in the party?

Please come along, contribute your ideas and listen to the views of others.

SLL members campaigning against universal credit rollout

SLL members joined other campaigners today, March 1, to protest against the roll out of universal credit in Sheffield.

Sheffield Labour Left convenor Lee Rock was interviewed by the Sheffield Star: “Many people who are receiving Universal Credit are applying for, or do already, have jobs.  The problem is that jobs are so in demand, and many of those are zero hour contracts that it’s difficult for people to live on these wages.”

Here the report in the Sheffield Star

A video is available here

Resolution passed in Sheffield Hallam CLP: Reinstate Chris Williamson MP!

Resolution carried at Sheffield Hallam CLP on February 28 2019, by approximately 40 votes to 1 with 0 abstentions:

This Constituency Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.
• Chris has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism. This is an excuse for Tom Watson and the anti-Corbyn wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to demand his removal from the Party.
• We note with concern that the establishment media and the right wing of the PLP continue to assert that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic.
• The accusation of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the Party which show a 0.08% incidence of anti-Semitic behaviour by Party members over the last ten months.
• The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
• Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
• His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.
• Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore agrees to:

• Write to Jennie Formby, the general secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and demanding that Chris is reinstated immediately. (jennie_formby@labour.org.uk)
• Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk)

Full solidarity with Chris Williamson MP!

Sheffield Labour Left stands in full solidarity with Chris Williamson MP.

Any allegations that Chris is enabling or minimising anti-Semitism are not only unfounded, but part of a hostile and anti-democratic campaign. As Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.”

Of course, allegations of anti-Semitism should be dealt with, but this should follow due process. Any false and trumped up allegations to score political points against Corbyn and his supporters, however, must also come to an end.

Solidarity with Chris!

For Socialism!

We welcome the resignation of the ‘Sad Seven’

Sheffield Labour Left statement

Sheffield Labour Left welcomes the resignation of the seven MPs who have resigned the Labour Whip today.

We urge those right-wingers who remain in the Labour Party to go as well.

Sheffield Labour Left recognise that such resignations help socialists to build Labour as a genuine mass socialist party.

For the many, not the few!

For socialism!

Public meeting Feb 27: What kind of Clause Four?

Our meeting will discuss Clause Four of the Labour Party’s constitution and what we mean by “public ownership”. We will debate whether the original version of Clause Four that was adopted in February 1918 (and which Tony Blair got rid of) should be restored to the Labour Party’s constitution – or if we need someting more radical.

The meeting will be chaired by Martin Mayer, Chair of Sheffield Labour Left, Secretary of Sheffield Trade Union Council and previously a UNITE delegate to the Labour Party’s NEC. Our two guest speakers are Rob Sewell, Coordinator of the Labour4Clause4 campaign (labour4clause4.com) and a member of Socialist Appeal (www.socialist.net) and Mark Lewis, a member of the Labour Party.

Come along and participate in the debate about one of the essential principles of socialism.

Wednesday February 27, 6.30pm
URC, 60 Norfolk Street, Sheffield S1

Download the PDF for the leaflet here (A5 format).