The Marxist societies at UCL, KCL, and LSE stand by Labour MP Chris Williamson, who has come under attack from Labour societies at these universities.
UCL Labour recently released a statement on Twitter saying that they would no longer provide campaigning support for Westminster CLP, because of the CLP’s invitation of an “anti-Semite” speaker to one of its events.
Due to @WestminsterCLP‘s invitation of anti-Semite Chris Williamson to speak, UCL Labour will no longer be campaigning for that CLP and we urge other Labour clubs to do the same until he is uninvited and an apology issued. Anti-Semitism has no place within the Labour Party
— UCL Labour Society (@ucllabour) November 21, 2018
The speaker in question, Chris Williamson MP, is one of Labour’s most left-wing MPs – a consistent defender of socialist ideas and of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
UCL Labour’s statement was subsequently echoed in statements from Labour societies at Birkbeck, KCL, and LSE.
We ask these Labour clubs: on what evidence is this accusation of anti-Semitism based?
The only concrete reason given thus far for slandering Williamson is his defence of anti-racist campaigner, Marc Wadsworth. Wadsworth was expelled from the Labour Party earlier this year for a comment made in 2016, in which he accused Ruth Smeeth MP of “working hand in hand” with a right-wing newspaper, the Telegraph.
Smeeth claimed that this “verbal attack” was directed as an insult against her Jewish identity. But there is no evidence whatsoever for this allegation. In fact, Wadsworth’s comment was accusing Smeeth – like many other so-called “moderate” Labour MPs – of politically colluding with the right-wing media in attacking Corbyn and left-wing Labour members.
These allegations of anti-Semitism against Williamson and Wadsworth are part of a wider campaign of politically-motivated smears aimed against Jeremy Corbyn and the left wing of the Labour Party.
This smear campaign is being led by a clique of Blairite MPs, with the full support of the establishment media, the Tories, and now – it seems – a handful of Labour society committees.
Grassroots Labour members, however, have not fallen so easily for these slanders. Indeed, organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour have consistently defended Corbyn and figures such as Williamson against accusations of anti-Semitism, highlighting the political motivation behind this witch-hunt.
Rather than making unilateral decisions to attack left-wingers such as Chris Williamson, we call on the Labour society committees in question to call open meetings, where they should explain and justify their decision to Labour society members, with all members given the right to question the committee and hold them to account.
We reiterate: we support Chris Williamson MP, and we support the decision by Westminster CLP to invite him to speak. Enough is enough – this smear campaign against Corbyn, Williamson, and the Labour Left must end.
Signed by UCL Marxists, KCL Marxists, and LSE Marxists