Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/28430

Posted on 19 December 2018 at 15:32 GMT

Waltham Forest: Trade unionists and socialists opposed council adoption of IHRA definition of antisemitism

Waltham Forest Socialist Party members

On Wednesday 12 December the Socialist Party in Waltham Forest, London, posted on Facebook an appeal for people to join a lobby on the steps of the town hall the following evening to appeal to councillors not to pass the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism into the council's code of conduct.

Rather than helping to counter antisemitism, the definition has been used elsewhere to try to stop criticism of the racism and repression carried out by the Israeli government.

Nancy Taaffe, a prominent Socialist Party activist, wrote:

"We call on all members of the community to contact their councillors and urge them to reject these proposals. We call on the ranks of the Labour party/Momentum and Corbyn supporters to contact your councillors tonight and urge them to reject the adoption of these proposals.

"We call on all youth, opposed to the killing and persecution of young Palestinians and others by the Israeli government, to contact your councillors today to urge them to reject the adoption. We urge all those who wish to defend the right to protest and freedom of speech to turn out."

We learned of the agenda item through Socialist Party members in the trade union Unite. Had the lobby been publicised more widely there would have been a much bigger turnout.

This is an issue for all those who defend freedom of speech in the borough and we believe hundreds of young people and workers would have braved the cold to express their opposition, had they known.

The lobby was like no other that had taken place over the last 30 years on all manner of subjects. Gathered on the steps of the town hall were the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Socialist Party, the Waltham Forest Trades Council, along with some other small groups of Palestine supporters; then there was a group of counter-protesters - some of them openly admitted that they used to be in Britain First, a known far-right organisation. They took photos of the protesters.

Their tactics included shouting down speeches of international solidarity and opposition to austerity; shouting in people's faces; standing very close to people while waving the Israeli flag on metal poles of about two metres length; telling a pregnant woman she should be at home with her baby; calling a protester of Jewish background a 'kapo'; asking people to kiss their flags and saying they came from the IDF (Israeli Defence Force); asking a young protester if they were a boy or a girl or 'what were they'; preventing the filming of an interview with a protester; and more.

When our speeches of protest against the council and its record of austerity were shouted down by chants of "you're all a bunch of liars" we started chanting "the workers united will never be defeated". The counter-protesters shouted "the workers united are a bunch of idiots".

We spoke to some councillors going in, but received absolutely no support. We were told that the incorporation of the IHRA definition into the Waltham Forest council code of conduct was being demanded by Tory Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Protesters were then, in effect, locked out of the public gallery. In a disgraceful attack on democratic rights and transparency, an apparently arbitrary cap of 25 people for a viewing chamber with capacity of around 50 seats was imposed.

As an act of solidarity, Socialist Party members volunteered to allow others to take our seats.

A couple of representations were made, including from someone we believe was an openly right-wing Zionist who has been associated with Tommy Robinson.

In the chamber the motion was moved by the Labour deputy leader, Clyde Loakes, seconded by the Tory group leader Alan Siggers, and carried immediately.

It was believed that some Labour councillors were in fear of being suspended if they voted against! There were a lot of apologies. We found out later that some protesters had disrupted proceedings.

The trade unions will now need to ensure that none of their members are trapped in this snare. They could be penalised for comments criticising the Israeli government.

Look how Blairites have used this issue to intimidate and persecute Jeremy Corbyn. Workers should fear this move.

The IHRA list of examples that accompany its definition were not originally aimed at setting boundaries of behaviour.

The council already has adequate anti-racist disciplinary procedures for its employees. These cover racism from all quarters.

Moreover, the new proposals have never been consulted on with the local trade unions, as would normally be the case. The major unions locally, the NEU, Unite and Unison all have registered strong objections.

The fight against the Tories, the Blairites - and the far right - goes on.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.





Related links:

Waltham Forest:

triangleStop gentrification of Lea Bridge

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Liverpool - a city that dared to fight

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: How can we organise to defend our safety and rights?

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Coronavirus - how capitalism made us vulnerable

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: How was Thatcher’s poll tax beaten?

Antisemitism:

triangleAttacks show elite fear a Corbyn election win

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleSolidarity with Chris Williamson

triangleNo retreats: Corbyn must stand firm against Blairites

Council:

triangleGoing viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

triangleCouncils must use resources now for emergency response

triangleNewham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

Socialist:

triangleBradford Socialist Party: Trotskyism and the Second World War

triangleBradford Socialist Party: 'The State and Revolution'

Socialist Party:

triangleBradford Socialist Party: US, Trump and Coronavirus

Councillors:

triangleCamarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Palestine:

triangleIsrael/Palestine: Trump 'peace plan' promises further conflict

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

2/4/20

Royal Mail

Collective action becoming necessary to ensure safety and vital deliveries

1/4/20

Bus

Bus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

1/4/20

Children

Fully fund hospices to care for vulnerable children

1/4/20

Coronavirus

Help us continue to fight for workers and socialism

1/4/20

Socialist Party

Building the Socialist Party

1/4/20

CWU

Postal workers walk out over health, safety and junk mail

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Fight for safety, staffing and services - Covid chaos for benefits claimants

31/3/20

Northern Ireland

Bosses concede to walkouts in Northern Ireland

31/3/20

Bin workers

Refuse collection workers strike

31/3/20

Hull

Hull construction workers force bosses to shut down site over health and safety fears

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Key workers should make bold demands

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Self-isolation class divide: decent homes for all!

31/3/20

Leicester

Leicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

31/3/20

PCS

More than ever, we need accountable union leaders

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Councils must use resources now for emergency response

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999