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26 July 2016

West London Momentum rally faced cancelled venue

Bob Sulatycki, West London Socialist Party

A 'Rally for Corbyn' in Ealing, planned for Tuesday 19 July with John McDonnell as the main speaker, was severely disrupted by attempts to prevent the meeting taking place.

On arrival at St Matthew's Church, visitors found the door to the hall locked. A frustrated crowd gathered on the pavement. It became clear that the church had been put under pressure to call off the meeting because of alleged concerns over 'violence' - despite the fact that meeting organisers had been in the church hall during the day to set up the sound system, and the fee had been paid.

The church had only been selected after Ealing town hall had earlier blocked a booking for the meeting, apparently for 'health and safety' reasons and the booking being late.

Those who gathered were appalled and angry that supporters of Jeremy Corbyn were being barred from meeting and effectively slandered as possibly violent. As one local Labour Party councillor indicated, it seems that these kind of allegations are a pattern to gag us.
She told us that all local Labour Parties have been instructed that apart from nomination meetings, no meetings should take place until after the Labour leadership election, and yet instructions are still being sent demanding that all sorts of tasks be done.

We believe that it is important for the labour movement locally to investigate the background to the cancellations, and find out who was behind them, what reasons were given and why these reasons were accepted.

There was a strong mood among the 100 or so who gathered that something should still take place, so the meeting convened on Ealing Common.
Unfortunately the rally organisers had already advised the main speakers not to come, which was a major disappointment for those who had come to express their support.
In their place there arrived a police officer, who had prior knowledge that John McDonnell wouldn't be attending.

A rally took place on the common with some of the local speakers present who were on the original platform. I also spoke, from the Socialist Party, and was received well.

Copies of the Socialist were bought and our leaflets taken, and many people were interested in discussing our ideas.

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