Exclusive: left-slate impasse as one group refuses to back JVL member for NCC

labour ncc

The right-wing ‘slate’ for the important elections to fill additional positions on Labour’s NCC (National Constitutional Committee), the party’s supreme disciplinary body, was issued last week – and serves as a useful guide for which candidates to avoid.

But the left slate has not yet been published. A meeting took place on Monday night that was supposed to finalise the slate, but nothing has yet been announced.

The SKWAWKBOX can reveal that the decision-making process is at an impasse, with the stalemate centred on the presence of a member of Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) on the slate.

The CLGA (Centre-left Grassroots Alliance), the body consisting of Momentum, CLPD (Campaign for Labour Party Democracy), the LRC (Labour Representation Committee), Left Futures, JVL and others is currently deadlocked, with CLPD determined to see the JVL candidate on a balanced slate that will – if constituted as they propose – consist of three women and three men, with three BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) candidates and one Jewish candidate.

A senior Momentum figure has reportedly objected to the JVL member – one highly regarded by the Labour leadership – on the supposed grounds that ‘the Jewish community’ will not tolerate a JVL representative. This raises a number of questions, not least that there isn’t just one Jewish community – as recent events revealed by the SKWAWKBOX have underlined.

The other groups involved in the discussion are understood to back the JVL candidate.

Many Labour members will understandably object to the idea that any candidate for an internal party role should be chosen or rejected because of the potential opinion of non-members – as JVL consists of Jewish members of the Labour Party, it’s clear that there is no Labour ‘Jewish community’ united against the idea of a JVL candidate.

In place of the JVL candidate, the Momentum presence at the CLGA discussion has proposed a different Jewish candidate with strong views on Israel and Palestine but no association with JVL. But given the reaction to the Momentum executive’s decision to withdraw support from Peter Willsman, it’s highly unlikely that its membership would agree with an attempt to block a JVL member from the slate.

But the dispute extends further. Of the slate of six, as of last night there was agreement on all sides about only two candidates – one of whom is not one of the two considered ‘shoo-ins’ last weekend – and little sign of movement on the disagreements.

With only eighteen days left until nominations close, the groups need to get their collective behinds in gear – but in the longer term, the situation has put a spotlight on the broader issue of the way in which left slates are chosen. ‘Back-room’ haggling and deals may have been adequate before the days of mass membership and online ballots, but now there’s no excuse for persisting with it.

And a slate decided democratically by the members of the three organisations will be beyond dispute or jockeying for position – as well as encouraging all three to both grow and engage their membership.

For now,  a meeting is going on this evening to try to thrash out an agreement. The people in the figurative or literal ‘back room’ need to get a move on and agree their candidates for the sake of the movement. Ideally without bowing to presumed external prejudices.

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  1. More discrimination against JVL – as if they don’t have enough to put up with. The left shouldn’t be doing the right’s job for them.

  2. Dear god,
    A senior member of Momentum has the nerve to talk (like he’s the editor of one of those three newspapers) about a member of JVL not being acceptable to the Jewish community. SkwawkB, please tell me that you’ve got this wrong – An insult to Jewish diversity, to the fantastic JVL and also to members of Momentum.

    1. I agree.

      To me the term ‘the Jewish community’ has become political and media speak code for BoD and LFI that we know do not represent all British Jews.

  3. Why do those groups get to nominate the ‘left slate’ anyway? I’m sure most members could chose a more than adequate slate just by looking at social media.

    I nominate Peter Gregson above, a tireless campaigner for members’ rights.

  4. I worry that Lansman has been got at, he seems to have turned much more disruptive and less united with everyone else.

  5. I joined JVL as an associate to support the Jews whose opinions are excluded by ‘representatives of the Jewish community’.

    1. Is joining JVL as non-voting supportive associates open to all of us, even hell-bound atheists like me? It would be great if vast numbers of Labour members stood up like you and dwarfed the LFI.

      1. Sorry, silly thought, wasn’t it?
        Was thinking ‘solidarity’ but having non-Jewish members would give their detractors the stick of ‘not representative of British Jewry’ to beat them with.
        Stupid of me. Duh.

      2. Thanks Tom, but now I’m unsure. If nobody else thinks it would hand BoD etc. the advantage I’ll definitely join.
        I think I used to be more decisive – maybe not though 🙁

      3. Absolutely it is, I strongly urge you to do so David. I joined a while back, for the same nicely put reasons as Barry J.

      4. It’s a thoughtful dilemma that you espouse, but, as Barry says, it’s chiefly about showing your support for JVL. As a non voting member you won’t be giving the opposition a stick to beat anyone with – a straw perhaps.

  6. I’m beginning to wonder if the Momentum leadership has been infiltrated by people from the right of the party, such is the crapness of their recent decision making.

  7. If anyone would like to support a Jewish group which supports the Palestinians and Jeremy Corbyn, could I suggest they take a look at Free Speech On Israel – FSOI. They are a true anti-Zionist group.

  8. As a non- Jewish atheist I joined JVL when it first formed because JLM and LFoI had been exposed undermining Corbyn and those who supported Palestinian human rights. I felt Labour needed another Jewish voice coherent with Labour values and representing alternative views of a significant share of left- wing Jewish communities.

    I agree with JVL’ s position that antisemitism exists in Labour but probably at a lower prevalence than on the right. That it needs to be fought ( by education or sanctions), wherever it occurs, but on an equal basis with all forms prejudice including that motivated by religion and race.

    JVL and Corbyn, in their support for equal rights for Palestinians, are seen as a threat to an apartheid Israel. Both have been dreadfully smeared and attacked by Zionist groups from the right, so it would be outrageous to reject a good NCC candidate from JVL simply in order to appease such right-wing groups.

  9. This is a big assumption on what evidence there is so far , but if it is Lansman who is objecting to the JVL then I am really getting concerned now with Lansman and Momentums direction/decisions ( Pete Willsman, Jackie Walker , sell out over OS etc ) I have been to the TWT and it was great , fantastic number of really committed and intelligent / inspiring positive people but I think that they are being let down now by the unaccountable leadership and also the NCG .We don’t know who they are and how they get selected and yet here they are selection candidates for us to vote on . NOPE not good enough . Lansman has done a great job so far but now it’s time for him to move over if he cannot or will not trust the membership with making the decisions on a OMOV system. He takes the support and Momentum takes our contributions both money and effort BUT will not trust us to have free OPEN selection process / elections of either leadership or candidates …. NOPE ITS NOT ON .

  10. Good Grief. Surely we are not going to have to make our own minds up who to vote for!

  11. Quotas! No one Jewish Community? There is no Female or Male Community either but they can speak on behalf of their gender? The BAME Community, just one homogeneous community? Perm any one from countless individuals. Good job we’ve got Lansman, at least he is qualified to represent the Jewish Community isn’t he?

  12. This is the crux, if the slate does not include the JVL candidate I will recommend to all local people here that they vote for him/her anway.

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