Letter to Jennie Formby

From: Frankie
Subject: Please investigate
Date: 11 February 2020 at 19:24:59 GMT
To: jennie_formby@labour.org.uk
Cc: disputes@labour.org.uk

Dear Jenny Formby, and whom it may concern in the Disputes Team at the Governance and Legal Unit,

Although of course I understand that you are currently very busy, and am reluctant to add to your workload of complaints, I hope you will be able to find the time to deal with my query.

I have been at a loss as to why I have not yet been contacted by yourselves to inform me that I am under investigation, suspended or expelled from the Labour Party, as so many other members have been. I feel it is unfair that I appear to have been singled out in this way. After all, if an injury to one is an injury to all, as our tradition has it, I am uncomfortable with being unable to be shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with comrades who have been dealt with thus.

I am aware, as you will be, that the way they have been treated has caused distress to many people who have been loyal party members. As many of these people are known by me to be outstanding, life-long activists dedicated to their work for social justice and equality in anti-racist, feminist and socialist movements, I wondered if I had been left out because I am not deemed worthy of joining their ranks.

However, I realise now that the situation is my fault entirely, for being so remiss as not to have a social media account. This failure on my part means of course that I have not provided data on Facebook or Twitter pages to be trawled through by the surveillance mechanisms of bots/algorithms/hasbara operatives searching for evidence of members’ political activities or beliefs in order to discredit them.

To remedy this oversight, I therefore wish to refer myself to the relevant departments and would like to make the case for my inclusion in the McCarthyite witch hunt against socialists, Corbyn-supporters and upholders of Palestinian human rights. I am sure I must qualify under the criteria which appear to be being applied.

E.g., I have been a supporter of, and organiser in, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign for twenty years, prior to which I had little knowledge of the true situation suffered by the Palestinian people despite having been opposed to colonialism and apartheid since the 1960s. This ignorance I came to understand as shared by many in the West, due to the hegemony of the official Zionist narrative misinforming us regarding the history of the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe) leading to the supplanting of historical Palestine by the state of Israel. It was information transmitted from Palestine that woke me up: the ongoing historical injustice and daily, never-ending incidents of cruel, gratuitous, sadistic brutality, attacks, demolitions, torture, arrests, imprisonments, land grabs, humiliations and abuses which are not reported here, and which turned me into one of the many who joined the ranks of campaigners, fuelled by outrage and moved by the courage of Palestinian resistance.

Clearly, the state of Israel and its allies were disinclined to allow such educational information to continue to inform public opinion, as it led to growing global solidarity and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Israeli efforts to silence critics have culminated in the ludicrous attempt to make criticism of Israel synonymous with anti-semitism and a campaign of smear tactics and false accusations which has grown to absurd proportions. As a result we see trumped-up complaints about Labour Party members leading to the suspensions or expulsions I have referred to. I am aware, as you will be, that this has caused distress to many people who have been loyal party members. I joined the party because like many others who have been involved in various socialist, anti-racist and Women’s Liberation politics I hoped to contribute to it because of the chance of it becoming, in accord with Jeremy Corbyn’s principles, what it says on the tin, or on our membership cards: a ‘democratic socialist party.’ However, what we have witnessed has been authoritarian, undemocratic attempts to expel socialists!

Great disillusionment was felt in my own constituency when there was no democratic selection of a parliamentary candidate and one was installed in dubious circumstances who, once elected, immediately revealed her allegiances to be with the worst rightwing, anti-Corbyn, Blairite pro-Israeli forces. Proactive in the disgraceful smear campaign against members and other MPs who are life-long anti-racists, she counts as her friends those determined to undermine Corbyn and supports summarily purging from the party anyone accused of anti-semitism. Of course, any negative feedback towards her is because she is a woman, not because of any dishonourable stance, unaccountability, incompetence or inability – a defence which provides a perfect example of the misuse of feminism and the usefulness of identity politics (i.e., all identity, no politics.)

I have watched as the interests represented by such MPs continue to press for the draconian purging of the party to continue and for due process to be withheld from those unfairly accused. I am bringing myself to your attention now to rectify the oversight that has left me out of this process and therefore wish to inform you that I wholeheartedly support the Palestinians’ right to their ancestral homeland, the upholding of international law and UN resolutions which affirm their human rights including the Right of Return and call for an end to Israeli occupation, an end to Britain’s military cooperation with and sale of weapons of mass destruction to the racist state of Israel and the call for a boycott of Israel as a non-violent means of pressuring it to cease its lawlessness. Additionally, I reject the IHRA definition of anti-semitism and the risible ten commandments of the Board of Deputies and reject the interference in British politics of such self-appointed hubristic religious bodies, the Israeli embassy and the ‘Jewish Labour Movement’, all of which are unscrupulous and callous in their defence of Israeli vested interests. I support the call for restoration of membership and issuing of apologies to those unjustly accused and wrongly treated, including Jackie Walker, Chris Williamson, Marc Wadsworth, Jo Bird and myriad others.

I trust these facts will allow you to view my application favourably and I await your reply. I hate to quibble but it seems unfair that my partner, who has been involved in anti-racist activism and women’s and LGBT rights for over 50 years, been a Trade Union leader and was a founder of the PSC, received a Notice of Investigation from you in October. This alleged a breach of Labour Party rules (though not specifying any actual charges), via two letters totalling 42 pages, comprising 89 questions pertaining to 25 pieces of ‘evidence’ (social media posts), with the demand for a response within 7 days. These letters included the helpful information that support – presumably needed in response to this notice – could be accessed by contacting the Samaritans.

Although not tempted by this possibility myself, I’m sure you will understand my feelings of exclusion as the days went by and I received no post from you. I trust the situation has now been rectified and I have provided sufficient information to warrant my inclusion among those demonised for holding similar beliefs. Of course, some may feel that time dignifying such Kafaesque absurdities with a response could be better spent, while others doubt the worth of staying in a political party which engages in such appalling procedures, or trying to resist those who would move it rightward. I can only assure you that, whether or not I remain a Labour Party member, I shall, like those who have been unfairly accused, continue to oppose all forms of racism and all other injustice, to the very best of my ability.