Labour Black Socialists issue statement of solidarity with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community and demand Labour resignations/suspensions

The Labour Black Socialists group has issued a statement of solidarity with the GRT (Gypsy, Roma and Traveller) community, after both the Tories and Labour targeted GRT people: the Tories via their policing bill, which Labour was going to abstain on until the Clapham Common scandal; and Labour through vile leaflets about ‘Traveller incursions‘ and the actions of some of its MPs.

The statement, which also demands the resignation and/or suspension of some Labour figures, reads:

Labour Black Socialists resolutely stand in solidarity with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities in the UK. We condemn the recent Labour campaign leaflet distributed in Warrington by MP Charlotte Nichols, the Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities, which pledged to deal with “traveller incursions.” This statement dangerously reinforces local hate towards GRT people with inflammatory language denoting an ‘attack’ or an ‘invasion.’

As Black socialists we have first hand experience of the implications of politicians and the media callously provoking panic and racism about marginalised people: Whether referring to “swarms” and “floods” of refugees or a supposed “incursion” of nomadic GRT people. We cannot forget that such stigmatising rhetoric has historically enabled the far right, including the Nazi genocide of Roma and Jewish people in the Porajmos, also known as the Holocaust. 

The campaign leaflet that Nichols was happy to go out and promote demonstrates that racism and demonisation of GRT communities goes unchecked by Labour and that it actively uses such rhetoric for votes. This continues from decades of widespread prejudice in Labour councils that evicted and criminalised Travellers for essentially existing according to their ways of life, whilst depriving them of support, welfare and facilities. It is no wonder that the GRT Socialists, formerly the GRT Labour activist group, have now withdrawn from the party. 

Currently GRT and Black people face the very real and immediate threat of the Police, Sentencing and Courts (PSC) Bill – a highly authoritarian measure that substantially reinforces state violence and institutional racism. In recent weeks we have witnessed the government endorse police brutality on peaceful protestors, and the whitewashed Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report denying the existence of institutional racism. It is shameful that Keir Starmer and the Labour Party have offered little opposition or comment, which many can only read as tacit complicity with the Tories.

Charlotte Nichols has apologised on social media for “hurt” and “offense” caused. However, we note that the Labour Party has not accepted apologies from a number of other members who are known to champion equalities when they have misstepped or misspoken, but instead suspended them. In light of this incident it is now clear that Charlotte Nichols is not qualified to serve as Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities and she must resign or be removed from her post immediately. The Labour Party must also investigate the matter. Suspensions pending investigation must be considered, which should include the MP for Warrington North, the Labour Councillor candidates (Claire Lloyd-Fitzgerald, Helen Milner and Morgan Tarr) whose names are on the offending campaign leaflet, and any other Labour members who were involved with producing the document. 

Labour Black Socialists stand unified with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller comrades. We are in the process of learning about the struggles that they face, many of which we share. We encourage our supporters to do the same, be united together and follow @GRTSocialists.

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  1. If Sir Keir were serious about leading Labour HE’d at least apologise. Charlotte Nichols is just a foolish. second-rate politician, but Sir Keir would apologise for her inadvertant racism on behalf of the Party.

    He isn’t serious about leading Labour though, jst pasokifying it.

    1. He is not leading Labour, he couldn’t even if he put all his effort into it, he has no Empathy, in fact does he have any emotion whatsoever?
      The Neolabour Party Tories do not Apologise it goes against all their principles, they demand apologies to them even for their own cock ups and then they claim victimhood as a cherry on top.

    2. Because NOTHING could possibly make more sense, for a party that took 40% of the popular vote in the 2017 election to start running itself like a party that took 7.7% in the 2019 Greek election.

  2. I would also demand suspension of those people. Isn’t English their first language? Even I as a foreigner with English as a further language know the word incursion. They have no excuse.

    1. Indeed Sabine as a foreigner raised and educated in another language, I know what incursion means. I simply find difficult to believe Charlotte Nichols didn’t know the meaning of the word “incursion”.
      I don’t know what the word incursion conjures to English native speakers but as a native Spanish speaker the word incursion conjures and image of rodents and vermin when used in this context. Hence, I found the use of Nichols’s language truly shocking in the racism it betrays..

  3. The pathetic lows The Neolabour Party Tories will sink to, the true Cesspit Bottom Feeders!
    And that leaflet approved by their SHADOW MINISTER OF EQUALITIES!?!?!? JFC!

    She studied POLITICS at the University of Liverpool, graduating in 2013. After graduation, she worked for five years at the USDAW trade union.

    From Wikipedia: “After her election, she was the centre of a controversy when she tweeted in October that a group of S.S. Lazio fans who had been filmed making Nazi salutes in Glasgow should “get their heads kicked in”. Nichols defended her comments in December, “These were people doing Nazi salutes on the streets of Britain… As a Jewish person whose grandfather fought in World War Two, ultimately sometimes I BELIEVE THAT FASCISM HAS TO BE PHYSICALLY CONFRONTED””

    ALSO From Wikipedia: “She identifies ideologically AS BEING ON THE LEFT-WING of the Labour Party.” WTAFF!
    A certain Dictator “Identified” as Socialist and Left to get donations form wealthy donors to create a Monster!

    It is frightening how normalised Racism has become and the worst part is that the perpetrators become the victims in The Neolabour Tory Party!!

    1. Thank you for this info Skellyknelly. Really sad that she doesn’t appear to appreciate the fascistic and racist nature of her own comment. It is estimated that between 200K and 500K Romani died in Nazi’s concentration camps too, alongside the estimated 6 millions Jews that lost their lives.
      How was Nichols planning to deal with the “incursion” from the GRT communities? That is something that I for once would like to know. Was she proposing detaining them in camps? Sending them to jail? What?
      More to the point, what makes Charlotte Nichols think that she is any better that the Lazio supporters making Nazi salutes in the streets of Manchester?
      I wonder how would she have reacted if a Romani was to advocate that after her reference to “incursion” in relation to the GRT’s community she deserves her head kicked in?
      As for Starmer shouldn’t he have sacked her from the Shadow Cabinet after a comment of this nature? What does Starmer keeping quiet when Nichols refers to the GRT community using the word “incursion” says about the Labour Party?

      1. Sorry, meant to say the streets of Glasgow rather than Manchester.

      2. Simply that it is not the friend of the working class, and I go as far as making the comparison to the National-Socialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei, which also pretended to be socialistic and on the side of the working classes. Looks like history repeating itself.

      3. Precisely to get donations from wealthy donors and votes from Socialist, who were ‘ironically’ the main Target of The National-Socialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei, Most Jews were either Communist/Socialist/Soviet Our Comrades and it is fast coming around again. If we look at the rhetoric both Neolabour Party and Conservative Party who are they targeting and making the villain, especially since 2015, it is us the Socialists Jews, Non Jews, Holocaust Survivors, Black Socialists, Asian Socialists, Muslim Socialists, Traveller Socialists, Socialists who care about the environment, Socialists who care about Bombs on the Innocent and Bombs in their entirety!
        I think we are all just so very tired of being hunted down for 6+ years, but when I feel tired I think of Jeremy Corbyn, I always get a little spark of energy, to carry on!

      4. Exactly Maria, I we look at the Percentages of both Jews and Travellers lost even at 6 million I thin a bigger percentage of Travellers were murdered per capita!
        I think this is such a typical example of how dangerous it is to make one peoples eternal victims and virtually untouchable for their crimes. We are ALL ONE THING Human! Homo sapiens an Ape, a Stupid Ape who evolved complex communication, but none the less ALL EQUAL.

      5. Maria V asked “what makes Charlotte Nichols think that she is any better that the Lazio supporters making Nazi salutes in the streets of Manchester?.”

        A smidgeon of fee-market zeal and a hell of a lot of career ambition, same as with many dangerous people in this dysfunctional, market-knows-best neoliberal stew we call the modern world.

        But, yes, we do not expect such dangerous thinking from a democratic socialist wgho self-defines her self as “leftwing”

        Great post again Maria.

  4. Usually used to describe a “War situation were for example Isis make incursions into parts of Syria..or IRA incursions across the Border into N.Ireland’.The Woman(not Lady)..clearly sees the gypsy community as the enemy whos intention is to cross a border into her country,or her Territory.ITs a situation that many gypsys are used to in their own home of not belonging or the enemy within.A little understanding of compassion and reality needs to be shown for our traveller community,but like my group leader on the council warned me “Theres no votes in supporting the gypsy community only lost votes.” I was for many years involved in the Green lane gypsy camp in Salfords Surrey were 1 gypsy was shot dead by armed police officers after trouble broke out over a permanent pitches for gypsys with local community who couldn’t aceppt a permanent site despite it being there for many decades.I don’t actually think many politician’s wish to be seen siding with the enemy the traveller community.And on the other hand my brother Jim O’keefe was praised by the local community in Helmshore Rossendale,when he used company trucks and earth moving machinery to block a off ramp on the M65into the village of Helmshore and also wrecked caravans by using jcb to lift the caravans off a site next door to were he had his fleet of vehicles for HGV and roadworks machines.HE was given a warning in court and three cheers by the residents and press….Complicated but the mp will have done herself and the Labour party no harm locally by opposing the traveller community….and I am sure our religious convert leader of the Labour party realises that.Hypocrisy rules when walking the gypsy path as I know only too well.and have a local councillor nicknamed gypsy Joe by the villagers of salfords in Surrey.,who were rock solid torys anyway but any Labour supporters would have turned against the Labour party for my support of spending government money on the upgrade of the green lane pitches in Salfords….!

    1. Exactly Joseph! You don’t study Politics for 5 years, work for a major Union, then politics without oncoming across the word! Why lie about such a ridiculous thing!
      Who wrote the Texts for the Graphic Designers and Printers?
      Who Proofed the Final Copy?
      If not her, what is she doing as an MP, who is blindly led by someone else!?
      That is beyond the Point “Dealing with Traveller” in it’s own should ring serious alarm bells, especially for a ‘Jew’ who’s “Granddad fought in WW2” as she says!

  5. Sadly, this is not the only example of such scurrilous behaviour by senior Labour Party figures:

    Gordon Brown’s Conference speech, 24 September 2007.

    Andrew Rawnsley:

    “In the most shameless section, he implied that immigrants were the main cause of drug dealing and crime. They would be thrown out. For that excursion into Tebbitry,
    he was rewarded with the endorsement of the retired Tory polecat. In an ugly phrase that would come to haunt him, he talked of ‘British jobs for British workers’

    This was a slogan of the BNP and a promise that could not be kept unless Britain left the European Union”.

    Andrew Rawnsley:

    “The speech was nevertheless rewarded with a prolonged standing ovation from a Labour Party currently happy to worship the man who had put them back ahead in the polls”.

    “The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour” by Andrew Rawnsley (Viking 2010) hardback edition, p502.

    The correct response to Brown would have been to have booed him off the stage!

    Full credit though to Clive Lewis MP for referring to this in his recent Guardian article:

  6. Charlotte Nichols is a warning to us all. Not intentionally right wing or oppressive, she inadvertently becomes a “useful idiot” to the hard right types who run the billionaires press and its loyal amplifier, the BBC. And Keir Rodney Starmer, another useful idiot or a intentional facilitator of the authoriatrian right-ism that is becoming common?

    I know what I thin, and it’s not a comfortable perception.

    Starmer’s persecution of the left belies his claim to support far-reaching change.

  7. Well said but Starmer and his cult of new Labour 2.0 will not listen or care for anything a bunch of socialists say.

    Quite frankly I have to ask why ANY socialist is bothering with this Party any more?

    They make bad decision after bad decision and drive out socialists from a supposedly left party. They don’t care about the membership, so why support people with opposing ideology to us?

  8. My father’s family are Irish travellers; not traditional Sinti or Roma but still historically ‘gypsy’ & the most discriminated people that have ever existed. There is a verbal rather than a written tradition that limits recording or documentation of our history. There are no statues & few memorials; only constant contempt for us ‘outsiders’. The porajmos was as real real as ‘the’ holocaust, but Auschwitz remembrance is only for Jews.
    The freedom of a nomadic lifestyle is denied because our freedom to roam reminds you that you are tied . Even the Labour Party offers nothing but familiar contempt & Charlotte Nicholls is ideal for the position of Shadow Minister for Women & Equality; not knowing what equality means & only being able to comprehend it in terms of gender. Our culture & lifestyle are now illegal & the Labour Party does nothing.

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