Women with Corbyn

Women with Corbyn

Colleagues Claire (left) and Sara (centre) at Corbyn rally in Highbury Fields, North London, 14 August.

Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike has been circulating an important statement:

Why people of colour should support the new Corbyn/McDonnell movement

We are a network of women of colour and, although our organisation is non-party political, we were overjoyed when Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership election and when John McDonnell, his close colleague and friend of 30 years who had organised for Corbyn to run, became Shadow Chancellor.

Corbyn’s victory did not come out of the blue. It was the result of many campaigns and activistscoalescing around a candidate who finally expressed our total opposition to cuts, exploitation, poverty, low wages, rape and other violence, stop and search, deaths in custody, detention, war and environmental devastation, which have infuriated and depressed communities, especially people of colour.

It is in our interests as communities of colour to support Corbyn and McDonnell: this is our time to mobilise together with two principled politicians.

jeremy_corbyn_protest.jpgyarlswood_protest.jpg

Some reasons to support Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell:

Both are anti-austerity, at a time when people of colour and women in particular are among the hardest hit by Dickensian levels of poverty and homelessness.

• Around 2 in 5 Black and immigrant families in London live in low-income households, twice as many as white people.

A quarter of all children live in one-parent families: the biggest percentage of lone-parent households is among Black/ethnic groups. 48% of Black Caribbean and 36% of Black African households have one parent. Across the UK, 40% of those affected by the benefit cap are people of colour and immigrants, though we are only 14 % of the population. The last round of cuts hit 1.25m families of colour (over 4m people).

• Over 44% of employees of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin earn under the living wage, and 41% of employees of African origin are on low wages. People of colour will be particularly affected by cuts to working tax credit – a benefit for low-waged workers. Women of colour and immigrant women are among those most likely to be on zero hour contracts, and most affected by cuts to jobs in caring and local services.

Corbyn and McDonnell’s anti-racist, anti-sexist track records are second to none.

• From the time of his maiden speech in Parliament in 1983, Corbyn has protested cuts and poverty in his constituency, including unemployment and lack of opportunity for young Black people.

• Both have personally intervened on countless occasions to prevent deportations, for example, Corbyn’s Early Day Motion for Mr Liaquat Ali. McDonnell has persistently defended his constituents detained in Colnbrook and Harmondsworth Immigration Centre.

• They both fight for higher pensions, and defend local services, such as Whittington hospital’s A&E department.

Nationally

• McDonnell has worked closely with Black Women’s Rape Action Project and others to defend women asylum seekers. His EDM 406 called for official recognition of rape as torture in asylum applications, and EDM 909 for an independent investigation into rape and racist abuse in Yarl’s’ Wood IRC. He has hosted meetings in Parliament where women asylum seekers in our network spoke about hunger strikes against sexual abuse and racist attacks by guards in detention.

• Both have attacked abusive and discriminatory policing such as stop and search powers; the disproportionate number of people from Black/minority ethnic communities in psychiatric institutions; and police spying and covert operations against families campaigning for justice.

• Corbyn attended the inquest into the death of Leon Patterson who died in police custody (1992). He took up the case of Roger Sylvester (1999) and got the solicitor general to reverse his decision to deny the family legal aid. Corbyn has tabled many questions on deaths in custody, including after Mark Duggan’s killing by police (2011). We have heard personal accounts from young people of colour in Corbyn’s constituency whom he defended against racism from the police and criminal justice system.

• Corbyn pressed for an inquiry into the joint enterprise law which imprisons in particular young people of colour for crimes they didn’t commit. This and other racist policies such as Stop and Search and Prevent allow police – who all agree are institutionally racist – to target people of colour: over 25% of the prison population is from a Black/ethnic background, and one in 7 prisoners are Muslim.

• Both Corbyn and McDonnell oppose privatisation, including of policing, prison and immigration services by unaccountable and often brutal corporations like G4S and Serco.

• Corbyn’s EDM 407 called for the Serious Fraud Office to investigate G4S, highlighting their killing of Jimmy Mubenga during his deportation, and the treatment of other vulnerable people in their care, including that of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

• They both support the valuing of women’s unwaged caring work and a living wage for all workers.

• McDonnell supported Asian women in his constituency striking at Gate Gourmet.

Internationally

• Corbyn and McDonnell were among the handful of MPs who consistently opposed the war on Afghanistan and Iraq.

• Corbyn protested against apartheid, long before it became a popular cause, and was arrested at the non-stop picket outside the South African embassy (1984).

• Corbyn has spoken for Palestinian people’s rights since he entered Parliament. After Israel’s bombing of Gaza (2014), he challenged the UK selling arms to Israel and dissociated himself from anti-Semitism: “Does questioning the behaviour of the Israeli state towards Palestinians lead to anti-Semitism? No, it mustn’t and shouldn’t . . . Whether it’s a synagogue or a mosque under attack we must all come together to be as one in confronting it.”

• Both MPs have supported the Latin American movement. Chile under Allende’s popular government was a formative experience for Corbyn; he later participated in attempts to extradite dictator Pinochet to be tried for mass torture and murder. McDonnell was the first MP to support the Venezuelan revolution led by President Chavez. Latin American refugees in the UK organised to support Corbyn’s election.

• McDonnell spoke for the people of Haiti (the first to end slavery but often disregarded) and supported the international campaign to bring home from exile the beloved former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after the 2004 US backed coup. He raised Parliamentary questions about the disappearance of Haitian human rights activist, Lovinsky Pierre Antoine.

• After his landslide victory, Corbyn’s first public address was to tens of thousands gathered in Parliament Sq in support of refugees, reflecting his long-standing commitment to justice for immigrant people and people of colour everywhere.

Conclusions

• To disparage Corbyn and McDonnell for being white, middle-class, heterosexual men, as some men of colour have done, is to hide their track record of anti-racist, anti-fascist work, and for justice.

• No other MPs (including MPs of colour) have done such consistent work in our defence. We judge people by their political actions, not their race. Otherwise, any MP of colour should be our choice, even if they are Tories peddling murderous cuts. Equally, we won’t back women MPs who have supported austerity making life so much harder for women, especially women of colour, the primary carers in every community.

Many people don’t know Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s principled track records. We are spelling it out to rally communities of colour to defend them and work in the movement they have called forth, to fight for policies that reflect our needs against racist, sexist and imperialist brutality. This is our chance to make our voices heard.

Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike
womenofcolour@globalwomenstrike.net
https://www.facebook.com/womenofcolourglobalwomenstrike

Women Reject the Use of Gender to Silence Legitimate Political Opposition

A new movement announced itself in September 2015 when Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader of the Labour Party by a landslide. Since then, almost every established media has been busy witch-hunting, undermining and insulting that movement by targeting Corbyn and John McDonnell his shadow chancellor. These two MPs have been working together for decades, representing the movement in the corridors of power. They have been tested.

As we proceed towards the second leadership election, the movement continues to grow. And so do the dirty, nasty tricks of those who hate it. They are no doubt encouraged by what Len McCluskey, gen sec of UNITE, calls the ‘dark practices’. As he says, when “power and authority face challenge […] they do not sit idle”. So we have to win twice to take power once. In response we are beginning to call it without censoring ourselves as we have done for so long:

69 women, including myself, have written the letter below in protest at the 44 women MPs blaming Corbyn for ‘abuse and intimidation’ from his supporters. – Selma James

We, the undersigned, women Labour members or supporters condemn attempts by some women MPs . . .

We, the undersigned, women Labour members or supporters from different backgrounds, ethnicities and regions, condemn attempts by some women MPs to blame the Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell for alleged intimidation. The accusations are baseless and are part of an escalating witch-hunt against Corbyn and his supporters.

The tragic murder of Jo Cox MP, for which a right-wing racist with mental health problems has been charged, has been invoked as if it was connected with anti-racist, pro-refugee Corbyn. A brick through the side window of a building used by many groups, including the local MP, has been attributed to Corbyn followers without any proof. And we are warned against holding peaceful demonstrations outside MPs offices or calling for them to be deselected.

Corbyn’s vote against a secret ballot at the NEC to decide on his right to stand as the incumbent in the leadership election, is described as supporting bullying. Many of us regret that the ballot was secret as it deprived us of information we have a right to about where NEC members stood on the question of Corbyn’s mandate.

Political disagreement is being characterized as threatening, abusive or intimidating, especially where the MPs or NEC members are women. Women in politics have no right to discredit legitimate political opposition as gender based intimidation. What is wrong with members and/or constituents peacefully protesting outside MPs offices to show their disapproval? MPs are supposed to be public servants, not masters, and the public has a right to peacefully hold them to account. Nor is it the job of the leader to shield MPs, women or men, from accountability. Yet Corbyn and McDonnell are being attacked for refusing to police legitimate political expression.

While we have not witnessed the “trend of escalating abuse” these MPs claim, we have witnessed an attempted parliamentary coup against the membership which elected Corbyn by a landslide, and what Len McCluskey called “the political lynching of a decent man”. We will not forget that none of the anti-Corbyn MPs objected when, during PMQ, the Tory PM had the nerve to tell Labour’s leader to “Go”. Corbyn and McDonnell have received death threats, which are not acknowledged or even mentioned. MP Jess Phillips told the media that “I would knife Jeremy Corbyn in the front, not the back”, which could be interpreted as condoning violence or even inviting it. She also told Diane Abbott MP who supports Corbyn to “F*** off”, not a sisterly way to disagree. Yet neither Corbyn nor McDonnell has tried to make political capital out of any of this.

It is the anti-Corbyn hierarchy that has expelled and suspended members without transparency or due process, banned constituency meetings, cancelled the results of free and fair elections such as in Brighton and Hove CLP, and denied members the right to vote in the leadership election unless they pay an additional £25 poll tax. When Angela Eagle was asked on the Andrew Marr show would she stand down if her constituency party rejected her, she replied: “The constituency parties have been suspended for this entire election.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p041r0vz)

UNITE’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, who has been in politics long enough to understand the workings of the establishment, has said that the security forces are likely to be “involved in dark practices” to discredit Corbyn. “When power and authority face challenge [as they do with Corbyn] . . . they do not sit idle.” (Guardian 25 July 2016)

Why isn’t this being considered before targeting Corbyn & co for social media trolls and agents provocateurs?

After the latest accusation (turned down by the Speaker of the Commons) that the parliamentary office of an MP who had resigned from the shadow cabinet a month before was “broken into” by McDonnell’s staff, he appealed to MPs publicly “to stop” trying to destroy the Labour Party to bring Jeremy Corbyn down.

We condemn any attempts at smears and misinformation. We demand that the Labour Party re-instate: ● all members’ right to vote ● all CLPs’ right to meet ● and all suspended members who have been denied a chance to know in detail and answer the allegations against them.

This contempt for the membership augurs badly for how the election of Labour leader will be run this summer. Many people are worried about this. There seems to be a disrespect for the right of every individual member to express their democratic choice.

Corbyn’s leadership, the most democratic, anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-war this party has ever had, has inspired the mass participation of women and men in shaping Labour politics. His anti-austerity programme targets “inequality, neglect, insecurity, prejudice and discrimination” – not only gender balance in Parliament but pay equity for women who are “over-represented in the lowest-paying sectors: cleaning, catering and caring – vital sectors of our economy, doing valuable work, but not work that is fairly rewarded or equally respected.” It is sad that women MPs, some of whom were part of the first -ever shadow cabinet with a majority of women, have not welcomed this “new politics”. We are glad that one of them has unresigned and we hope that the others will reconsider.

SIGNED BY

  1. Niki Adams, Kilburn
  2. Nana Asante, Ealing
  3. Cristel Amiss, Kilburn
  4. Caroline Barker, Kilburn
  5. Lynda Bennet, London
  6. Amanda Bentham, Stoke Newington
  7. Nechamah Bonanos, Brixton
  8. Kristina Brandemo, Kensal Rise
  9. Jessica Burke, Brighton
  10. Emily Burnham, Barnet
  11. Linda Burnip, Warwickshire
  12. Sara Callaway, South Kilburn
  13. Vee Cartwright, Brighton
  14. Ellen Clifford, Lewisham
  15. Petra Dando, Camden
  16. Miriam E David, Islington North
  17. Hanna Demel, Kensal Rise
  18. Nina Douglas, North Broxtowe
  19. Una Doyle, Holborn and St Pancras
  20. Jill Eastland- Cambridge
  21. Marlene Ellis, Streatham
  22. Debbie Epstein, Cambridge
  23. Roisin Francis, South Kilburn
  24. Claire Glasman, Gospel Oak
  25. Beth Granter, Brighton
  26. Bethan Griffiths, Birmingham
  27. Sibyl Grundberg, Tottenham
  28. Charlie Hall, Cambridge
  29. Jo Hammond, Vauxhall
  30. Linda Heiden, Streatham
  31. Christine Hemmingway, Norfolk
  32. Michelle Hemmingway, Rowley Regis, Birmingham
  33. Amy Hills-Fletcher, Hackney South
  34. Jenny Hardacre, Cambridge
  35. Becka Hudson, Islington North
  36. Selma James, Kilburn
  37. Coral Jones, Hackney
  38. Eleanor Kilroy, Winchester
  39. Jem Lindo, Haringey
  40. Ruth London, Kilburn
  41. Nina Lopez, Kilburn
  42. Marie Lynam, Kilburn
  43. Nicola Mann, Childs Hill
  44. Sandra Mann, Childs Hill
  45. Helen Marks, Liverpool
  46. Delia Mattis, Enfield Southgate
  47. Juliet McCaffery, Brighton
  48. Denise McKenna, Welling
  49. Heather Mendick, Hackney South
  50. Firinne Ni Chreachain, Brent
  51. Marion Pencavel, Keighley, West Yorkshire
  52. Paula Peters, Bromley
  53. Alison Phipps, Brighton
  54. Rachel Remedios, Oxford
  55. Mena Remedios, Oxford
  56. Ariane Sacco, Kensal Rise
  57. Harriet Sampson, Ealing
  58. Amanda Sebestyen, Camden
  59. Awula Serwah, Brent
  60. Vanessa Stilwell, Dulwich
  61. Cindy Taplin, Hackney South
  62. Mary Taylor, Greenwich
  63. Chrissie Tiller, Hackney
  64. June Turvey, Brent South
  65. Rosa Valdez, Brighton
  66. Flora Wanyu, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire
  67. Laura Watson, Kilburn
  68. Ann Whitehurst, Stoke-on-Trent
  69. Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Chingford

THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHES SHORTER VERSION

A shorter version of this letter went to the Guardian, which didn’t publish. The Independent  changed ‘women’ to ‘female’ and took out ‘supporters’. We objected to being characterized as ‘female’ when MPs remained ‘women’ and pointed out that while most signatories are members of the Labour Party some are supporters.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/jeremy-corbyn-is-making-headway-in-the-tory-heartlands-a7174421.html

 

Selma James: On Winning with Corbyn

When Jeremy Corbyn announced that he was anti-austerity, overnight he began to attract thousands who then joined Labour to vote for him as leader of the party. Some who had left in disgust at Blair’s deadly wars rejoined. Membership doubled, becoming a political force. This was entirely unexpected, like an earthquake. It upset the whole structure of the party hierarchy and alarmed the Parliamentary Labour Party who had never experienced such pressure from the public. Labour MPs, like every three-year-old, had to learn to share – in this case share power with the membership. It was a first. Most hadn’t become MPs for that!

That was the beginning of the end of credibility for MPs who had been careful not to go ‘too far’ that is, from the Tories: against cuts, privatisation and war. They had been trained by Tony Blair to make policy on the basis of what the media, and Murdoch in particular, would find acceptable. If we bear this in mind, we may be shocked to realise that Murdoch and the 1% he speaks for were governing through Blair-led MPs. Who in fact was involved in making the decisions on policy we don’t know but it was not ad hoc.

Our movement has thrown a wrench into the Blair legacy which had never been fully confronted til now.

Corbyn’s principled policies are based on an updated welfare state properly funded and workers’ and other human rights defended internationally. All of this we have been told is outdated and a throwback practically to cave men. But in fact we never stopped believing in it, the proof is that people came running when it was offered. It was new only to a generation which has never experienced the welfare state as it was before Thatcher. That welfare state had given us the right not to starve and never to have to beg. You were not demonised as a scrounger if you asked for help, it was your right. Despite many injustices, it was better than what we had known and have known since. It was won by the post-war working class movement, people who had defeated Hitler and would not settle for less.

What is really new in what Corbyn proposes is how the public and the party should relate. The leadership that came forward from the campaign to get Corbyn elected created Momentum, a kind of transmission belt between the party and the wider movement, an attempt to begin to involve the public in decision-making.

Not all the MPs who oppose Corbyn are Blairites, but they and their backers (who are they?) prioritise making policies that win elections for themselves and their outside interests, rather than for their constituents. So 172 MPs, without ever mentioning what Corbyn stands for or what they think of it, opposed him with a secret vote of no confidence (one later rejoined the shadow cabinet and was welcomed back). They say he can’t win elections, despite him having won a number which they had tried to sabotage (including with wild charges of widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – they are beholden to Israeli help, but this is another story). They failed to distract voters, and Labour mayors were elected in Bristol, Liverpool, London and Salford. Corbyn & co were particularly proud of a Black mayor in Bristol, which had been a major slave trade port.

On 10 July, Andrew Marr asked Jeremy Corbyn “Is the victory of the left inside the Labour Party more important than winning the next general election?” Corbyn answered “What’s most important is to change how politics is done in this country.”

Marr’s question assumed that Corbyn had to choose between his principles and winning elections. But principles and winning are one with the Corbyn movement. That’s what that movement has glimpsed and is excited by.

Corbyn and McDonnell have told us over and over that the population must be involved in making policy otherwise nothing can change. There is a way in which we always knew that but it seemed a fantasy when you looked at our reality. What Corbyn calls “the new politics” has now brought membership of the Labour Party to half a million, and growing every day. The MPs are frantically trying to destroy this movement which they take as their enemy.

We have been trained, especially in the last four decades, to believe that we cannot change the economic and political framework, that we have to accept it no matter how blatant the lies and the life-threatening policies based on them. This has damaged us in ways we’ll be discovering as we reclaim our own experience – it is not only the policies which attack us; we also lose the habit of insisting on the truth about our own reality. We hold back from spelling out what we know best because it has been so much work to go against the official tide.

We have been divided on gender, on race, on nationality, on age, on disability, on sexual preference, on income, on immigration status, on parenting, on religion, on prison record, on every conceivable aspect of our lives. Our education system teaches us from the earliest age to compete with each other. Building a movement we find out what power we can generate together. We finally begin to grasp that nobody wants less, needs less, or deserves less than anybody else. We can refuse to compete.

Since we have come together even this far, we have brought on our movement the wrath of the whole establishment. Those professing democracy are appalled when they finally see it coming into action. Can this democracy win? It had better.

Women of Colour to the Chakrabati Inquiry on Racism in the UK

We thought you might be interested in our statement which has been submitted to the Chakrabarti Inquiry“into antisemitism and other forms of racism including islamophobia, within the Labour party”. We would be glad for any feedback.

We are also circulating the highly recommended submission from International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK, titled “An anti-racist movement versus witch-hunting with antisemitism”.

Please feel free to share both widely.
Yours for anti-racism and justice,
Sara and Chrissie,
Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike


Submission to the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry into anti-semitism and other forms of racism including Islamophobia, within the Labour Party.
Women of Colour on behalf of Global Women Strike

We are a non-party political group of women of colour, some of whom joined the Labour Party in order to support Jeremy Corbyn. Soon after he was elected, we wrote and circulated a statement addressed to Black/people of colour aimed at explaining why we should all support Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, so it fully represents the whole community (see attached).

We are alarmed at the orchestrated attempts to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, which is anti-austerity and anti-racist, through false allegations that the Labour Party is riddled with anti-semitism.

The attack began during the run up to the May elections. The Labour candidate for London mayor was a Muslim man, now the first Muslim mayor of a European capital. His opponent, a white Jewish Tory millionaire, ran a campaign that dripped with racism. Allegations of anti-semitism fed into the genuine Islamophobia spewing from the Tories and UKIP. That the Tory was defeated tells us that Londoners were not taken in, and shows that they tend to be anti-racist and pro-Corbyn.

Some of the political reality for Black/people of colour is as follows:

  • Official reports showed a 65% increase in hate crime against Muslimsand a further 10% increase in 2014/15.
  • Violent attacks in the UK spiked by 300% the week after the Paris bombings; almost half the victims were Muslim women.
  • There have been over 100 racist killings in the UK since the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.
  • There have been 509 deaths of Black people in police custody and immigration detention, without one successful prosecution of officers involved.
  • Stop and search allows the police – who have been found to be institutionally racist — to target people of colour who are 17.5 times more likely than white people to be stopped. These stops are part of a biased criminal justice system in which black people are three times more likely than white people to be arrested, and more likely to be charged and receive custodial sentences. In one court Black defendants were 79% more likely to be jailed than white defendants.
  • Over 25% of the prison population is from a Black/ethnic background; more than 1 in 7 are Muslim.
  • The Prevent strategy targets Muslim children and their mothers especially, resulting in children being forcibly seized from their families and taken into care.
  • Black people are under-represented in Parliament but over represented in low waged jobs: 45% of employees of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin earn under the living wage, and 41% of employees of African origin.
    Women of colour and immigrant women get the lowest wages, The pay gap between white British men and Black women is: 14% for Black Caribbean women, 18% for Bangladeshi women, 21% for Black African women, and 26% for Pakistani women.
  • Many of us are refugees and asylum seekers who suffered or are suffering detention, including mothers separated from children and rape survivors, who have escaped wars and starvation foisted on us by imperialism, and are being refused entry into this country. Jewish people know well how many faced death because the doors were closed to most of those who tried to escape Hitler, the same way as they are now for hundreds of thousands crossing the Mediterranean. (Some Jewish people have drawn on their experience of Kindertransport, for example, to demand that Syrian children be allowed into Britain.)At this moment there is no evidence – and none is offered, of a comparable experience of discrimination against Jewish people now, unless they are people of colour. Yet we are being urged to elevate anti-semitism, thus overshadowing the most widespread forms of racism and discrimination today.Prioritising anti-semitism in this way is in itself racist, especially considering that most Jewish people in the UK are white. Some of the worst effects of this are:1) to divide antiracists by asking Jewish people to focus on anti-semitism at the expense of supporting the life-and-death struggles of people of colour/immigrant and refugee people;
    2) to discourage people of colour from participating in politics, precisely at a time when the Labour leadership is inviting grassroots people to be actively involved in making policy.Increasingly communities of colour include thousands of mixed race families. The white people of those families are often committed to anti-racism, so that many white people have direct experience of racism and the struggle against it.

    We are particularly concerned that so many of the known Labour Party suspensions are of people of colour, Muslims, committed anti-racists, some of whom are Jewish.

    One of those suspended (recently reinstated) is a Black Jewish woman, Jacqueline Walker. She had (privately) compared the genocide of Jewish people with the genocide of African people in the slave trade.

    At the same time, Malia Bouattia, the first Black and Muslim woman to be elected president of the NUS, has been under unprecedented attack by university Jewish societies, closely connected with Zionist bodies which oppose the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

    The allegations of anti-semitism in the Labour Party began by equating anti-semitism with opposition to Israel, separate from other forms of racism. In both the NUS and the Labour party, such attempts to conflate anti-semitism with anti-Zionism aim to stifle any discussion or protest about the genocide the Israeli state is perpetrating against Palestinians.

    People of colour know exactly what we think about apartheid and what is happening to people in Palestine, and many of us have been active against that genocide including demonstrating in front of the Israeli embassy, especially during the bombings of Gaza. We noticed that many of those arrested and given disproportionately long sentences were visibly Muslim. For example, one young man was given a year in jail for throwing a plastic bottle.

    Some of us were also in the movement against apartheid in South Africa, and take particular note of what Archbishop Desmond Tutu said about Israeli apartheid. He described Israel’s government as having created an “apartheid reality”. In supporting Palestinians’ call for BDS, he wrote: We learned in South Africa that the only way to end apartheid peacefully was to force the powerful to the table through economic pressure . . . It’s about naming an unjust system and refusing to participate in it.

    We totally oppose the Jewish Labour Movement’s proposed rule change that is being raised at some Constituency Labour party and other meetings. It seeks to monitor private conversations and even thoughts, in the name of fighting anti-semitism. Even if the rule change includes other forms of racism, it must be firmly rejected. Such a Big Brother strategy would destroy the Labour Party. It is the first step towards a dictatorial regime which people elected Jeremy Corbyn to refuse. We also know that it would be used first of all against people of colour and anti-racist and pro-Palestinian activists, as recent suspensions have already shown.

    For us anti-racism aims to lift the whole population out of discrimination and injustice. We have nothing in common with those few of any race who use anti-racism in any form to protect an apartheid state, or to undermine the new Corbyn-led movement, and/or for their own personal advancement.             10 June 2016

    Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike
    Crossroads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, London NW5 2DX
    E: womenofcolour@globalwomenstrike.net, T:0207482 2496
    www.globalwomenstrike.net

‘Evidence Against the Witch-Hunt, and the Racism that is Hidden by it’

“we do not believe that Labour is rife with antisemitism and weare outraged that antisemitism is being used to undermine the new anti-austerity,anti-racist and anti-imperialist Labour leadership. Below is evidence against thewitch-hunt, and of the racism in the UK which is hidden by it.”

This is the submission from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) to the Chakrabati Inquiry into antisemitism and other forms of racism in the Labour Party. Read the full document here.

Security Forces and Corbyn: Guardian Letter

The following is a letter written to the Guardian, in response to an interview with Unite leader, Len McCluskey:

Len McCluskey says that the security forces are “involved in dark practices” to discredit Jeremy Corbyn (Len McCluskey: intelligence services using ‘dark practices’ against Corbyn, 23 July, andhttps://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/25/len-mccluskey-adds-context-to-his-comments-on-mi5). McCluskey has been in politics long enough to call it on the establishment.

 Corbyn is under attack not because he is not a leader but because he is the leader they don’t want us to have.

1) Corbyn calls for the mass participation of the electorate, starting with the hundreds of thousands who have joined Labour to elect and then re-elect him. Compare this with his opponents. When Angela Eagle was asked would she stand down if her constituency party rejected her, she replied: “The constituency parties have been suspended for this entire election.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p041r0vz)

 2) Corbyn targets “inequality, neglect, insecurity, prejudice and discrimination”. Not only gender balance in Parliament but pay equity for women who are “over-represented in the lowest-paying sectors: cleaning, catering and caring – vital sectors of our economy, doing valuable work, but not work that is fairly rewarded or equally respected.” (Jeremy Corbyn to set out measures tackling discrimination at work, 21 July)

The 24% pay gap between women and men hides an even more shocking reality (https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/mar/07/gender-pay-gap-uk-women-earn-300000-less-men-lifetime). According to Prof Alison Wolf: a female graduate with two children can expect lifetime earnings that are 88% of her husband’s, 57% for those with middle-level qualifications, and  34% for those with no formal qualifications. Since “about 13% of women of working age can be classified as professionals, managers or employers”, the remaining 87% are closer to the floor than to the glass ceiling. (Working Girls, http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2006/04/rise-of-professional-women-decline-female-altriusm/)

While these 2006 figures need updating, we know that women of colour and immigrant women earn even less; that 79% of austerity cuts to wages, benefits and services have fallen on women; and that women are the primary carers in 90% of families.

Corbyn starts with those of us at the bottom. We always knew that was revolutionary. No wonder he is under attack.

Selma James and Nina Lopez, Global Women’s Strike

25 Wolsey Mews, London NW5 2DX

Tel: 020 7482 2496 or 07956 316 909

Bernie’s Movement – Global Women’s Strike in NYT

On Tuesday, Ms. Grover invited me to a women’s speak-out event at a church downtown that was organized by the social justice group Global Women’s Strike.

The event’s attendees skewed older and much more local than the protest on Monday did. Here were people invested in the unglamorous work of coalition building — activists on the left who had been around before Mr. Sanders announced his presidential campaign, and who will stay involved long after November.

Global Women’s Strike, US is mentioned in this profile of the movement around Bernie Sanders, and where it goes from here.