Expelled and suspended members organise to fight back
Labour members suspended or expelled from the party under the bizarre, Stalinist regime being imposed by the party’s leadership against support for former leader Jeremy Corbyn have formed a group to coordinate their attempts to fight back for democracy in the party.
Labour in Exile Network (LIEN) has been set up after a draconian, probably unlawful and potentially antisemitic purge of chairs and secretaries of local parties, simply for fulfilling their duty to local members and allowing them to debate (and usually pass) motions supporting Corbyn or condemning Keir Starmer’s decision to interfere in the disciplinary process by withdrawing the Labour ‘whip’ after a right-dominated panel of National Executive Committee (NEC) members followed independent legal advice that there were no grounds for the suspension of his membership imposed by acting general secretary David Evans.
Norman Thomas, who was chair of South Thanet Labour until he was suspended for allowing a motion, said:
What is happening in the Labour Party is nothing less than a purge of supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. LIEN has been formed to help people fight back. Our new group will be a vital network for those who continue to fight for democracy and socialism in the Labour Party; for those who have been unfairly suspended or expelled in the last five years and those who have resigned from the Labour Party in desperation at the party’s direction of travel under Keir Starmer and his unendorsed general secretary.
LIEN is preparing what it calls a “Plan for Change” in the party, which it says aims to make the party more democratic, protect the right of members to debate issues of their choice and radically overhaul the party’s disciplinary procedures – and to ensure a review of the cases of members who have been unfairly suspended or expelled will have their cases revisited with a view to reinstatement.
The Labour Party is currently fundamentally undemocratic; our right to free speech has been outrageously curtailed, and many of our active and hard working members are being suspended for no good reason. The current leadership has launched a kind of ‘reign of terror’ in the party, ordering people not to even talk about these issues at their local meetings and suspending anyone who dares to fight back. This cannot go on.
Our aim will be to provide a model for a reformed, truly democratic Labour Party. It is appalling that the party of social justice has been so unjust and unfair to its own members. The purge has, of course, demoralised many members into resigning. We urge them to stay and fight — fight for change.
The group will hold an ‘Alternative Labour Party Conference’ in 2021 at which its plan will be debated and put to the vote.
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