Selma James & Women of Colour GWS sign letter: We stand with Jeremy Corbyn – just as he always stood with us

Organisations and individuals including Kehinde AndrewsHanif KureishiAhdaf SoueifGillian SlovoRobert Del Naja and Anish Kapoor urge BAME and migrant communities to vote for Labour

December 10, 2019 · 8 min read

We stand with Jeremy Corbyn

As BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) representatives, organisations, anti-racist activists and individuals involved in local, national, and international campaigns, we urge BAME and migrant communities to vote for the Labour Party on 12 December, to elect Jeremy Corbyn, a long-standing friend and supporter of the anti-racist causes we campaign for.

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party has transformed politics in the UK, bringing hope to millions from our communities, who had previously been ignored, silenced, and oppressed by over nine years of Conservative and Liberal Democrat governments. Labour’s membership has soared since 2015, with a significant influx of BAME and migrant members. Our communities joined Labour because of Jeremy’s positions and exemplary record, over many decades, of standing beside us in our struggles against injustice and structural racism, at home and abroad. In the 2017 General Election, we turned out in record numbers to vote for Corbyn’s inclusive Labour party.

No other British politician in recent memory has been so dedicated to working with us in our communities, in order to overturn racism and achieve justice for those of us facing oppression and injustices. Jeremy’s first speech as Labour leader in 2015 was to a  “refugees welcome” rally, reflecting his longstanding commitment to achieve basic rights for migrants. Since becoming an MP in 1983, he has personally intervened on countless occasions to prevent deportations. In 2012 and 2014, Jeremy was one of only six MPs (alongside shadow cabinet members John McDonnell and Diane Abbott) that voted against the racist ‘Hostile Environment’ legislation that created the Windrush scandal, and has hurt hundreds of thousands of people in our communities.

Jeremy’s position on migrant justice is based on a true internationalism with a commitment to anti-racist and anti-colonial principles. In 1984, he was arrested protesting outside the embassy of Apartheid South Africa. In 1998, the Chilean former dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London only after Corbyn supported a 25 year campaign against his fascist regime. In 2001, he publicly opposed the NATO invasion of Afghanistan. In 2003, he spoke at the demonstration against the illegal British and American invasion of Iraq. He has always stood in solidarity with the Tamils of Sri Lanka, calling for accountability and ending the arms trade. He has spoken out against the oppression of persecuted peoples across the world, including Palestinians and Kurds in the Middle East, as well as communities in Mexico, Haiti, West Papua – often when no one else would.

Jeremy Corbyn was a key organiser in the Haringey Labour anti-racist group in the 1970s which later became the Anti-Nazi League. In 1977, he organised with the Indian Workers’ Association to turn back a violent National Front demonstration in Wood Green, North London. In 1992, Jeremy attended the inquest into the death of Leon Patterson, a young black man who died in police custody. In these ways and many more, he continues to keep police brutality against communities of colour on the political agenda, constantly tabling questions on police violence, including on Mark Duggan’s fatal shooting in 2011.


These are some of the reasons we know that Jeremy Corbyn is no ordinary politician. Each one of us, as individuals and organisations, have memories of Jeremy attending our events and demonstrations, large and small, championing our causes, and being our voice in Parliament – standing with us when we were dismissed and ignored.

In government he pledges to close detention centres, oppose imperial wars that have killed millions, and dismantle the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment policies, which criminalise our communities, and have led to the deaths of so many.

The Conservative government’s negligence allowed our brothers and sisters to die in the fatal fire at Grenfell Tower and has deported British citizens for the crime of being black during the Windrush scandal. We cannot continue like this: we must have a Labour victory in the upcoming election. We urgently need it.

Jeremy Corbyn will be the United Kingdom’s first anti-racist Prime Minister. We call on all of you, BAME and migrant communities to mobilise everyone you know, and ensure we get Labour elected on December 12. At this critical moment of possibility, and the chance for change, we stand with Jeremy Corbyn – just as he has always stood with us.


Initiating and supporting groups:

Arab Labour Group

Black Labour Movement

Labour Against Racism and Fascism (LARAF)

Labour Friends of Kashmir

Lantinx for Corbyn

Kurds for Labour

Indians for Labour

Labour Friends of Yemen

Jewish Socialists’ Group

Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike

London Young Labour BAME Network

South Asia Solidarity Group

Individual Signatories:

Dr Adam Elliott-Cooper – King’s College London

Ahdaf Soueif – Novelist

Dr Ala’a Al Shehabi – University College London

Professor Amia Srinivasan – University of Oxford

Sir Anish Kapoor C.B.E.

Anjum Mouj – Trainer and consultant

Asad Rehman

Ash Sarkar – Novara Media

Ashok Kumar – Lecturer of Political Economy

Asmahan Nouman – Chair of Network of Eritrean Women UK

Atallah Said O.B.E. – Founder of Arab Labour

Bill MacKeith – Campaign to Close Campsfield

Bobby Chan – Veteran Chinese human rights activist

Crissie Richter – Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike

Dalia Gebrial – Novara Media

Professor David Graeber – London School of Economics

David Rosenberg – Convenor of Cable Street 80 commemoration

Don Flynn – Migrants rights campaigner

Elif Sarican – Kurdish Women’s Movement

Estella Schmid – Peace in Kurdistan

Farhana Yamin – Associate Fellow, Chatham House

Farzana Khan – Healing Justice London

Professor Felix Padel –  Associate of University of Oxford

Firoze Manji – Publisher and academic

Gillian Slovo – Novelist, playwright and memoirist

Grant Marshall – Massive Attack

Professor Gautam Appa – London School of Economics

Professor Gurminder Bhambra – University of Sussex

Professor Gus John

Amrit Wilson – South Asia Solidarity Group

Nisha Kapoor – University of Warwick

Richard Rieser – World of Inclusion

Zrinka Bralo – Migrants rights campaigner

Hanif Kureishi C.B.E

Harsev Bains – Indian Workers Association (GB)

Dr John Narayan – King’s College London

Dr Kalpana Wilson – Birkbeck University

Katrina Ffrench – Human Rights Advocate

Professor Karma Nabulsi – University of Oxford

Professor Kehinde Andrews – Birmingham City University

Khadija Mohammad-Nur – Co-founder of Network of Eritrean Women

Professor Laleh Khalili – School of Oriental and Afican Studies

Leena Dhingra – Actress

Dr Leon Sealey-Huggins – University of Warwick

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Poet and musician

Dr Mezna Qato – University of Cambridge

Mirza Saaib Beg – Lawyer, Kashmir Reading Room

Mukhtar Dar – Founding member of South Asian Alliance (Birmingham)

Dr Musab Younis – Queen Mary University

Dr Nivi Manchanda – Queen Mary University

Noorafshan Mirza – Independent Cultural Worker

Peter Herbert O.B.E – Society of Black Lawyers

Preethi Manuel

Rahila Gupta – Southall Black Sisters

Dr Rahul Rao – Senior Lecturer in Politics, SOAS

Remi Joseph-Salisbury – Racial Justice Network

Robert Del Naja – Massive Attack

Rossanna Leal – Organiser and migrant rights campaigner

Sara Callway – Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike

Sarli Nana – Migrant justice and anti-racist campaigner

Selma James – Global Women’s Strike

Shakila Taranum Maan – Artist and filmmaker

Dr Sita Balani – King’s College London

Dr Sivamohan Valluvan – University of Warwick

Professor Sundari Anitha – University of Lincoln

Suresh Grover – Anti-racist activist, Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

Dr  Tanzil Chowdhury – Queen Mary University

Professor Virinder Kalra – University of Warwick

Yemsrach Hailemariam – Free Andy Tsege Campaign

Zita Holbourne – National Chair BARAC UK


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Support Corbyn in 12 December UK election

Dear friends,

While the Global Women’s Strike and Payday are non-party political, many of us are campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn in this election to stop a far-right Johnson-Trump alliance.

The LP Manifesto, launched with Corbyn’s powerful speech (see also his 60 seconds resumee), is the most radical in decades and includes:

·        an end to austerity and the hostile environment against immigrants, people with disabilities, single mothers and benefit claimants;

·        billions to tackle the climate emergency immediately;

·        one year paid maternity leave and one month for dads/partners; free personal care to people over 65 and a rise in carer’s allowance (not the living wage family carers deserve but a step in the right direction);

·        full renationalization of the NHS, and of railways, mail gas, electricity, water and transport; ban fracking;

·        an ethical foreign policy and suspending the sale of arms to Israel and Saudi Arabia;

·        a people’s vote with a remain option to solve the Brexit crisis.

Thousands are out campaigning for a Labour victory.  If you have English listen to the interview with a Momentum activist who is also a member of Payday on Sojourner Truth Los Angeles radio show.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have wide national and international support including from artists and academics, which the media is playing down – see letter below signed by a number of prominent people.

What you can do:

·        Add your name as an individual or organization to the letter or write your own in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

·        Send that and/or video messages of support to the Labour Party Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and #VoteLabour #Videosforthemany.

·        Circulate this message to your contacts as it is or in translation;

And please cc us, whatever you do, we will publicise it.


Global Women’s Strike

Payday, a network of men working with the GWS  @PaydayRTK


Vote for hope and a decent future

Only Jeremy Corbyn and Labour offer a transformative plan that prioritises the needs of people and the planet, say leading cultural figures


Tue 3 Dec 2019 16.55 GMTLast modified on Tue 3 Dec 2019 18.20 GMT

Jeremy Corbyn campaigns for Labour in Stoke-on-Trent. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

We are alarmed by the global rise of far-right nationalism and the authoritarian turn taken by many governments following the global financial crash of 2008.

We are shamed by extreme levels of inequality, neglect and environmental impoverishment resulting from decades of neoliberalism, in Britain and across the world. We are inspired by growing movements, from Chile to Lebanon and beyond, calling for dignity, accountability and economic justice. People are demanding a future that promises their children decent education, health, jobs and homes, and humane and sustainable solutions to the climate crisis.

In the UK, Labour’s election manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership offers a transformative plan that prioritises the needs of people and the planet over private profit and the vested interests of a few. Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have nothing to offer but the prospect of an ever more unequal and divided society, and dog-whistle politics. Between hope and despair, the choice before British voters on 12 December could not be more stark or more urgent.
Ronan Bennett Writer and producer, Noam Chomsky Author, Chipo Chung Actor, Clean Bandit Band, Steve Coogan Actor, Rob Delaney Actor, David Edgar Playwright, Brian Eno Musician, Andrew Feinstein Film producer, Stephen Frears Film director, David Graeber Author, Steve Gribbin Comedian, Kane “Kano” Robinson Rapper, Asif Kapadia Film director, Aki Kaurismaki Film director, Peter Kennard Artist, AL Kennedy Author, Naomi Klein Author, Mike Leigh Director, Ken Loach Film director, Lowkey Rapper, Sabrina Mahfouz Playwright, Esther Manito Comedian, Michael Mansfield Barrister, Francesca Martinez Comedian, Massive Attack Band, Bill McKibben Author and co-founder,, Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) Musician, Michael Rosen Poet, Martin Rowson Cartoonist, Mark Rylance Actor, Alexei Sayle Comedian, Gillian Slovo Writer, Robyn Slovo Film producer, Ahdaf Soueif Author, Joelle Taylor Poet, Kate Tempest Musician, Jess Thom Artistic director, Touretteshero, Mark Thomas Writer, Yanis Varoufakis Economist, Ashley Walters Actor, Roger Waters Musician, Benjamin Zephaniah Poet


Selma James writes an open letter to Chris Williamson


OpinionWe are in the midst of an anti-left witch-hunt

Dear Chris,

I read your statement in support of Jeremy Corbyn and your article in the Morning Star and was struck by your honesty, clarity and determination to win for Labour in this election.

Though I wish you were running as an official party candidate, I am well aware why you are running as an independent.

Many of us have to hold our tongues about the malicious fabricated attacks on the Labour leadership which have often gone unchallenged and have resulted, therefore, in wildly unjustified suspensions and expulsions like yours.

Otherwise we risk being suspended just when we are needed to fight for Labour in the election. (This of course is the intention of the attacks.)

I am delighted to hear that many party members in your constituency are backing your candidacy in order to get a Corbyn victory based on Labour’s terrific manifesto, which outlines a new start for Labour, for working-class people and for the country as a whole.

In fact it’s a new start for the planet when we consider Labour’s programme for immediately and massively funding measures to address the climate crisis.

We thank you for campaigning for a Corbyn-led government that we desperately need. We are terrified of what might happen to the NHS, the climate emergency and rights of all kinds if Johnson is elected.

He is pro-fossil fuels, pro-hostile environment, pro-austerity, pro-arming the Saudi and Israeli governments, pro-occupation of Palestine, and friends of the racist anti-semitic Islamophobic far right in Europe — the list is endless.

A deal with Donald Trump, the sexist, racist climate change denier, would destroy the NHS and our possibilities to stop climate change.

They are genocidally and suicidally greedy for money and power, and don’t care that over 50 million people in Africa (the equivalent of three-quarters of the UK population) are already going hungry because of previously unheard of climate catastrophes, or even that unprecedented numbers of people in Britain are being flooded or surviving on foodbanks.

Even Dominic Cummings has spelled this out, saying Tory MPs “don’t care about these poor people, they don’t care about the NHS.”

I want to tell you a few things about recent Jewish history which have been censored by apartheid Israel.

One big event that has been misrepresented is the Battle of Cable Street. The East End of London had Irish and Jewish immigrants.

The Irish Catholics were likely to be dockers and the European Jews sweatshop workers, for example in the garment industry.

They had a good understanding and supported each other. When the fascist Blackshirts attempted to march through the East End, the Irish and the Jews fought alongside each other and drove the fascists out.

Those who represented Jewish nationalism rather than traditional Jewish internationalism, told the Jewish community to stay home.

But the Jewish working class came out with their Irish comrades and won the day. On the 80th anniversary of that great victory, the Israeli ambassador who had been the spokesman for the bombing of Gaza that killed over 2,000 people, tried to claim the Battle of Cable Street as their victory.

I grew up in the US in the ’30s when the nazis came to power in Germany. Among the first to be put in concentration camps were Jewish people not only because they were Jewish but because they were trade unionists, socialists, communists, anti-war, anti-nazi, lesbian and gay.

There was a tradition among Jews, wherever we were in the world, that we stood with every underdog, every fighter for freedom, every struggler against racism and other discrimination.

To quote Marek Edelman, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, “To be a Jew means always being with the oppressed and never the oppressors.”

Imperialist and militarist Israel has hidden that history and replaced it with political alliances with dictators and far-right regimes, beginning with Trump, Victor Orban, etc, and charges of anti-semitism against anyone left-wing.

The latest is their connection with the genocidal Myanmar regime, which they helped arm and train, which raped, tortured and even burned alive Rohingya people driving hundreds of thousands out of their homes and out of their country.

Israel’s ambassador to Myanmar tweeted “Good luck” to Aung San Suu Kyi who is testifying at the International Court of Human Rights on behalf of the military which committed these atrocities. The mainstream media has censored out any reference to this alliance.

How is it possible that we can even consider the views on anti-semitism or any other human rights issue from supporters of such a barbaric apartheid regime?

Haaretz, the most truthful Israeli daily newspaper, has published an article by one of its editors saying that there has been a “contract” on Corbyn since his election as leader of the Labour Party. Anyone who cares about Jewish people anywhere should take this very seriously.

There has also been a “contract” against you, Chris, as a vocal, effective and principled supporter of Corbyn and his policies.

It is scandalous that you have been denied a platform as venues cancelled meetings where you were to speak following threats and false accusations of anti-semitism.

And when Greg Philo of Glasgow University Media Group and other academics showed how much the biased media has been allowed to influence public opinion on the basis of lies and misinformation, they also were denied a venue to issue the book with their findings by Waterstones bookshop (Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief). Professor Philo said: “The next step is book burning.”

We are in the midst of a witch-hunt where the witch-hunters attacking both the Labour leadership and the hundreds of thousands who elected them, are both inside and outside the party, supported by the corporate media, beginning with the Murdoch press and extending to the BBC and the Guardian.

Much like the ’50s in the US under Joe McCarthy attacks are launched against anyone who spoke up, lies are presented as truths, accusations equal evidence, and denial proves guilt.

I lost my job in a factory because they knew I was a socialist, and the man I came to England to marry, CLR James, had been deported for being an anti-Stalinist socialist.

There’s one letter that won’t make headlines. It is from Rabbi Mayer Weinberger on behalf of the Executive Board of the United European Jews.

He “totally rejects and condemns” comments that British Jews are “gripped by anxiety” at the thought of a Labour government, saying that “such assertions are due to propaganda with a political and ideological agenda.”

He thanks Corbyn for his “acts of solidarity for the Jewish community over many years.” Subsequently he and his family have been threatened with harm.

How much do people believe the lies of the Tory media? We won’t know until the election. But we do know that many people know the difference between what the media tells them and their own reality, and your campaign strengthens them and all of us to stick to our guns and work for a Corbyn victory.

Power to the people against the exploiters, the polluters and the warmongers.

Selma James