Analysis Breaking Exclusive

Exclusive: Graham’s Unite bans Corbyn film from all its buildings

‘Starmer thought police now running my union’, says insider in response to union email

Unite has banned the film ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn/The Big Lie’, which exposes the sabotage, racism and coordinated smear campaigns of the Labour right to bring down Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader and defame the left, from all its buildings.

The move, believed to have been triggered by the explosive showing of the film at Unite’s Tony Benn House in Bristol, first came to light in the union’s south-east region, where a planned showing at Unite’s regional HQ in Portsmouth was cancelled by Unite’s regional secretary. Local members passed a motion condemning the move and the union’s ‘appeasement’ of right-wing, anti-democratic Labour ‘leader’ Keir Starmer, as well as making a donation to the film’s makers to help the film be seen more widely:

Banning of Jeremy Corbyn – The Big Lie – By Southern Regional Secretary

This Branch condemns the decision of Sarah Carpenter, Regional Secretary, to cancel showings of Oh Jeremy Corbyn – The Big Lie, put on by Portsmouth Community Branch for 12 and 19 June.

The pretext offered for the cancellation is that ‘The issues covered in the film are pertinent to internal Labour Party’ and therefore not relevant to Unite members.

This Branch Resolves:

It is not the purpose of union officials to try and control what members are allowed to see. Nor is it within their remit to try to cancel basic rights of free speech by branches and members.

To reject the idea that the issues in the film are internal to the Labour Party and not relevant to Unite members. The film is about the orchestrated attack on Jeremy Corbyn and the socialist leadership of the Labour Party from 2015-19.

To recognise that since Keir Starmer has taken over the leadership, the Labour Party has become a neo-liberal party whose policies are indistinguishable from that of the Tory Party.

We do not believe that

  • increased privatisation of the NHS, which Keir Starmer supports
  • public ownership of water, rail and the utilities which Starmer opposes
  • Zionism and Apartheid Israel which Starmer supports
  • the racist treatment of refugees which Starmer supports
  • worker’s struggles which Keir Starmer opposes
  • Tory legislation restricting the right of protest and our civil liberties which Starmer supports are irrelevant to Unite members

The decision by Carpenter is not an isolated one. It comes on top of the attempts of Starmer to forbid councillors in Swansea watching ‘The Big Lie’ and the attempts by local authorities such as Carlisle to ban its showing and the decision by the SW TUC to prevent the showing of the film at the Tolpuddle Festival.

There is a determined attempt to erase the memory of the Corbyn era and how the Labour Right, in conjunction with the Tory press, deliberately destabilised the elected leadership of the Labour Party through false accusations of anti-Semitism.

It is extremely disappointing that the leadership of Unite, in attempting to appease Keir Starmer, is now a party to this erasure of history. Far from appeasing Starmer Unite’s leadership should be vigorously challenging the neo-liberal government that he has promised.

We demand that the showing of A Big Lie should be reinstated immediately and we urge other Unite branches to ensure that it is shown as widely as possible.

This Branch wishes to donate £250 to Platform Films in order to enable them to facilitate distribution and make more socialist films.

But the union’s ban is not limited to the south. Skwawkbox understands that emails have been sent out in other regions warning Community section branches and officials that the film cannot be shown in any Unite building and giving weak excuses for the decision:

Dear all,

A number of co-ordinators have been asked to facilitate the screening of the ‘Big Lie’ film from Unite offices. Some Community members have expressed interest in seeing this. The issues covered in the film are pertinent to internal Labour Party matters and that is not the focus of our union.

Unite’s Community members are working on issues linked to our local communities and to industrial issues, and union resources are prioritised in these areas. Resources include use, maintenance and security of Unite buildings. There are a number of screenings in local independent venues, which are open to interested members.

I have no doubt that there will be some questions from Community members regarding this. I trust that the above is clear enough to explain the rationale for the position.

A further note confirms that this is ‘Unite’s position’ and not a decision for individual officials. A senior insider told Skwawkbox:

The idea that events in the Labour party, to which Unite donates huge sums in affiliation fees and donations, is not relevant for Unite members is laughable. It all smacks of [Labour general secretary David] Evans’s ban on discussing his and Starmer’s actions as ‘not competent business’. So much for freedom of speech.

The move, which comes hot on the heels of the Glastonbury festival’s cowardly decision to cave in to pro-Israel groups that do not want the smears of the pro-Israel right inside and outside the Labour party exposed, appears to be a further confirmation of longstanding reports from insiders that Unite general secretary, for all her protestations about Starmer’s behaviour, has made an accommodation with his regime.

Another senior figure in the movement told Skwawkbox that:

Starmer’s thought police are now running my union. It’s a disgrace.

Sharon Graham’s tenure as general secretary has been marred by allegations – which neither she nor the union have denied – that she attempted to have evidence destroyed in bullying and misogyny complaints about her husband, whom she now employs in her office despite a final warning from the union for his behaviour and by the union’s appalling treatment of Irish union legend Brendan Ogle, who is now taking legal action over Unite’s ‘disgusting’ abuse and bullying following his return from cancer treatment. Ogle did not support Sharon Graham in the union’s general secretary election and the union’s conduct toward him led to protests during Graham’s recent Dublin visitoutrage among Irish politicians and even threats from a whole sector to disaffiliate entirely.

In addition, after her supporters failed in their bid to take control of the Unite executive despite ‘dark money’ spending on advertising, ineglible and racist members being allowed to stand and the alleged use of paid organisers in and following the exec election campaign, her faction has resorted to Starmerite tactics to try to discredit the executive members’ election of a new left-wing union chair and both vice-chairs, as well as the vital Finance and General Purpose Committee.

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  1. I didn’t vote for her, although my union branch recommended her, glad I didn’t go by that advice. A bloody fraud is what she has turned out to be. No shame in her or that block of wood Starmer.

    1. This is the opposite of what the trade unions should be doing about the assault on Labour members, documented by al Jazeera as well as by The Big Lie. The trade unions are there to represent grievances of their members, not to capitulate to outside pressure to betray their members. An injury to one is an injury to all. Shame on the leadership of my trade union for this surrender. I hope this decision is reversed forthwith.

  2. I resigned my – meaningless – Membership of Unite Community, last month. What a fruitless couple of quid a month, that turned out to be. A good decision, on my part.

    As for Billy Bragg – never been a fan. Listened to his music, in passing – nothing more. Pretty insipid stuff!

    He’s no Luke Kelly, or Christy Moore, is he?

    One last thing to finish on – Bragg’s ‘Internationale’ is fucking dire. We’re going to a Revolution, not a funeral. Jaysus!

    No wonder he’s ended up with Wes Streeting and Eddie Marsan.

  3. Those people who think its over-statement to compare Starmer and his enablers to Fascists, might want to ask themselves, how close is Labour now to bookburners.

    1. It must be a really good AND convincing film!

      Now I’ve no idea what the capacity is of the Pilton Palais (and there was nothing on the GF website to that effect), but it’s in a tent (for obvious reasons) and so I wouldn’t imagine it’s more than a few hundred, BUT – and this is my point – the fascist propagandists denouncing the film gave the impression that EVERYONE at the festival was gonna be ‘indoctrinated’ by this ‘vile’ film:

      Glastonbury CANCELS planned screening of ‘vile’ pro-Jeremy Corbyn ‘conspiracy theory’ film narrated by Alexei Sayle after Worthy Farm bosses were urged to stop themselves being ‘exploited by antisemitism-deniers’

    2. And the irony of ironies is that the very people/groups who the film is about are the very same people/groups who castigated GF for screening the film and pressured Michael Eavis and Co big, big time to cancel showing it.

      Anyway, I was just trying to find a main-stream media article in which the speil is giving the impression that every single person at the Glastonbury Festival – all 200,000 of them – were gonna be indoctrinated by the film (as in the letter the BoD sent to Michael Eavis and Co on the 19th), and went on to the Evening Standard’s website and did a search, and clicked on one of the three results that came up and – lo and behod – to my surprise – it was an article quoting the guy who made the film denouncing the smears etc. And I came across exactly such an article in The Independent a couple of days ago, but I really thought that would be it as far as the MSM go!:

      Glastonbury dropping Corbyn ‘conspiracy theory’ film is ‘disgraceful’ – producer

      Norman Thomas, of Platform Films, said claims that the film was antisemitic were ‘a total smear’ and had no foundation ‘whatsoever’.

    3. It has been claimed that military bases in the US were banned from holding copies of J. Evett Haley’s book “A Texan Looks at Lyndon: A study in illegitimate Power” during the 1960s.

      They were reportedly seized and burned. And so, perhaps, we are approaching something similar with this film.

      Incidentally, I did not like the book very much. For me, the very real abuses of power by Lyndon Johnson were rather overshadowed in this book by the ultra-conservatism of its author.

  4. I am not sure but, this could turn to be good publicity. After all the furore some will buy it just to watch and see what is all about.
    Would Platform films considering selling the film online? I would buy several copies and keep them as future Xmas gifts. Any idea how can I get my hands on a DVD of the film?

    1. Get someone to post it on YouTube then Rumble
      Producers might want to wait till its been distributed far and wide and created as much publicity as is possible, before putting it up

  5. Afterthought: As we know, the Independent doesn’t publish an actual newspaper any more, and just have their website, but what just occurred to me is that maybe the Evening Standard article I linked to above is ONLY on their website. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case.

    PS I wonder if Norman Thomas is contacting all the MSM news outlets to ask them if they will publish an article putting his side of the story, and doing so to ascertain who will and who won’t, so that he can then post a message listing all the news outlets that refused to do so?

  6. This banning of the film exposing the great lie about Jeremy Corbyn amounts to a most vile form censorship and in effect bans free speech.However it also serves to demonstrate the stranglehold the pro Israel/ Zionist lobby has on our politics, our democracy and our freedoms.
    I don’t for one minute believe that the people involved in Glastonbury – Sharon Graham is a matter – sought to censor what we could watch or control what can think or say. The film was banned at Glastonbury for one reason and one reason only – the organisers and acts were just too terrified to let it go ahead. They foresaw the furore the pro Israel/ Zionist lobby would cause because more than anything the Lobby want to supress a film which exposes THEIR conspiracy to destroy Jeremy Corbyn and his absolute right to hold a political opinion( anti Zionism) contrary to their own.
    The organisers knew that everyone associated with the event would be publicly denounced by the Lobby as antisemite- we saw how they did this with Pink Floyd and Pink Floyd fans just recently- and every effort would be made by these cheerleaders of Israel’s vicious apartheid regime to destroy their careers and reputations of all involved so they ran scared and who can blame them.They would have been up against a powerful malevolent organisation which has wilfully destroyed the reputations and lives of so many whose over the last few years.
    Unite is a different story. Sharon Graham is a supporter of Starmer who is a self confessed Zionist and unequivocal supporter of Israel’s breaches of both international law and lack of basic human decency in relation to its abuse of Palestinians including the murder of little Palestinian children. Sharon Graham knows her days are numbered as Unite GS so she has an eye to the future – a job for life in the House of Lords maybe for which she will need Starmers support. So it is in Sharon’s best interests to keep in with him and if it means trampling over the rights of members she’s OK with this for Sharon Grahams first priority is and will always be the welfare of Sharon Graham
    One final point- Sharon Graham as a paid fulltime official lacks the authority to ban anything in Unite. Unite policy between Conferences rests with the NEC so either the NEC approved this censorship or Sharon Graham is exceeding her authority. Either way the NEC needs to sort out this mess. We have enough people seeking to undermine our democracy without Unite joining in too.

  7. So – Did the Unite NEC make this decision – or Not ?
    If they did – Shame on those members of the NEC who supported this cowardly and contemptable decision.
    Let’s name names.
    Is Graham now bought and paid for – Like the rest ?
    From my experience as a former senior lay official in MSF (now part of Unite), this was very true of the General Secretary and other senior figures during the Blair years.
    At that time – It was clear that “Everybody had to be bought and paid for”.
    I was threatened, blackmailed, offered bribes.
    The pressure was very insidious.
    My answer was – Fuck ’em.
    I was born with nothing to lose …… and still have most of it remaining.

  8. Oh Dear. Have liked Skwawky for years but recently it seems to have become Anti-SG (on behalf of another faction?).
    I’m neutral at the moment as us grassroots Community focus on fighting alongside the oppressed and offering solidarity on picket lines. By the end of this year our members will have been on 100 or so picket lines and will have done about 50 outreach actions including stalls at community festivals in less well-off areas.
    We also support a food bank and have supported campaigns with parents of Disabled children re transport cuts, a campaign to save a taxi rank alongside the Disabled community and Asian taxi drivers, plus to save a community swimming baths. So WE focus on trying to politicise the masses at the grassroots. And WE deal in IDEAS & SG’s Building a Progressive Movement is good, it talks about working with the grassroots and building from below plus opening up Unite offices for the community. And workers political lives don’t end when they clock off, they are affected by every political issue if we look at the totality of their lives and their families, friends and neighbours, plus they are DIVERSE. But if we are opening up offices we shouldn’t be telling them what they can watch, perhaps we need to learn to share political power and transform society (and the world) WITH and not FOR!
    My branch has organised 3 showings of The Big Lie in 3 community settings and ironically we never once considered the Unite office. Each one was well attended and had good discussions plus collected over £100 for local causes eg a Refugee hostel, £150 for a local TUC Strike Fund. But in my view this decision is appalling and should be rescinded plus an apology would be nice oh and with a 91% majority many of us have just voted for the Political Fund to campaign on political issues so this is not a good look! And some members are threatening to leave over this at a time when perhaps ONLY some trade unions seem to be providing the OPPOSITION! Trade Unionists/Socialists should say what they believe and stand by it and not kow tow to other political forces. Solidarity!

  9. This Jewish News article from yesterday which I just came across (also) leads with the comments – the disgust – expressed by the producer about the smearing of the film etc. And it also contains much of what Marie van der Zyl – the president of the BoD – said in her letter to Michael Eavis. Perhaps all of it.

    I would include a few passages from the article, but it’s not possible to ‘copy’ any of it. But yet again, as with the ES article, I am more than a little surprised that such outlets, who for years have peddled the A/S scam/lies, are giving the producer the opportunity to respond, and even MORE so that Jewish News should do so! (now I’ve got to find the window where the tab is situated with the JN article in it so I can copy and paste the limk to it in this post!):


      1. Reply to Steve H
        I am surprised that if the commentary you have provided is correct someone has not referred matters to the police. Pro Israel/ Zionist organisations are usually very vigilant and quick to point the finger about alleged anti semitism. I suspect therefore that as has happened previously they are unable to substantiate their allegations of anti semitism and so rather than involve the police they resort to bullying and smear tactics to silence upholders of the truth.
        I know that they spread a big lie about Jeremy Corbyn, a
        lifelong antii racist and peace campaigner. They said he was an antisemite and an “existential threat “to British Jews. These were very big lies indeed- I fail to see how else they can be described- and the the fact that the term “big lie” was used by the Nazis does not mean it cannot be used today to describe a campaign of lies and smears which the Pro Israel/ Zionist lobby launched and continues to launch against Jeremy Corbun ( and others).
        Seems to me others will get to kknow this too which is why we now have a concerted campaign to censor the film and keep its contents from the British public. I hope the campaign is unsuccessful and dirty tricks the pro Isreal/ Zionist lobby engaged in in order to silence Jeremy Corbyn’s justified criticism of Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians is brought out into the open and the public realises the full extent of the Lobby’s Big Lie.

  10. JC was brought down by Right Wing Labour and the establishment plus the Right Wing media (it’s tax dodging owners would have had to cough up if JC had become PM) and some argue the use AS was a scam.
    And one Right Wing member of Labour gave the game away when one of his colleagues was threatening to leave he messaged: “Don’t leave, unlike the other stuff this AS stuff has traction.”
    And of course then Right Wing Jewish groups were happy to pile in.
    JLM began when a group of Anti-Corbyn Jewish members in London met in a pub and reformed the almost moribund Poale Zion and renamed it, its Secretary was to declare in recent years “We slaughtered Corbyn.”
    The penny dropped for me years ago when along with other Lefties we put ourselves at personal risk by facing off against the often drunken Far Right, I looked around at our side and Right Wing Labour, Right Wing media journalists & Right Wing Jewish groups were nowhere to be seen.
    Some argue this coalition in the end of Right Wing Labour, the Establishment, The Right Wing Media, and Right Wing Jewish Groups couldn’t beat JC and his supporters on IDEAS so reverted to the dark arts?
    But in the end you can’t suppress ideas which is why we will win.
    And Marx was bang on, don’t judge people on what they say but on what they do.

  11. It might be a good and interesting film or it might be a pile of pants – let people watch and make up their own minds.

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