19/04/2016 by socialistfight
Letter to Weekly Worker
Following an exchange of letters with the LRC I got a reply from Michael Calderbank, the political secretary of the LRC, which contradicted the two tweets from Dave Osland, embellished by Andrew Coates, that I had been unanimously expelled from the LRC for antisemitism by the NC at its meeting of 2 April. Michael assured me that only, a “formal complaint” which “includes allegations of “anti-semitic claims” … “made in broadcast or written material” had been made against me. He goes on to say that, “We view it as extremely important that any individual against whom allegations are made is treated fairly, and the LRC Rules and Standing Orders provide a procedure which ensures this” which apparently did not happen at that meeting. “The matter is now being referred to the Complaints Sub-Committee (CsC) under the LRC Standing Orders” I learned and they will examine it and “explain what has been alleged and ask you to comment”. “If the CsC consider it appropriate they will present a report to the NEC, which you will receive a copy”. The NEC will then take a decision with a time limit of 42 days from 2 April, in the meantime I am suspended from membership but not at all expelled.
So what did happen? I am demanding a copy of the minutes of the NEC of 2 April to ascertain what went on at that kangaroo court, who voted for what motions etc. Is it the case that the meeting voted to publicly brand a revolutionary socialist with a 40-year record of fighting racism and antisemitism an antisemite and racist? Was this what drew the immediate reference of the proceedings of that meeting for legal opinion by more balanced leaders of the LRC not present? What legal rights had an NC whose terms of office were illegitimately extended by a year by the cancellation of the 2015 AGM to take such steps? What gave them the right to override the LRC standing orders and constitution if this is what happened? It may have been such considerations that produced the legal advice that informed the communication from the Political Secretary on my request. Well at least I will get a better form of justice from the LRC than I apparently got at that farce of a meeting. I will get a hearing with a representative and the right to appeal to the next AGM as per the constitution. It was apparently the intention of the majority of those at that LRC NC that I be denied that. I trust the hearings will turn out to be more than a show trial.
Gerry Downing Socialist Fight
PS I attach the letter from Michael Calderbank for your information:
Michael Calderbank <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Apr 6 at 12:40 PM
Sorry for the time it has taken to reply.
I can confirm that you have been the subject of a formal complaint, and the matter is now being referred to the Complaints Sub-Committee (CsC) under the LRC Standing Orders. The complaint includes allegations of “anti-semitic claims” made in broadcast or written material. We view it as extremely important that any individual against whom allegations are made is treated fairly, and the LRC Rules and Standing Orders provide a procedure which ensures this. The CsC will investigate and will contact you to explain what has been alleged and ask you to comment. If the CsC consider it appropriate they will present a report to the NEC, which you will receive a copy of. The NEC will then invite you to a meeting at which a decision will be made on whether to uphold the complaint and, if so, what action to take.
The decision taken by the NEC at its last meeting was to exercise its power under the LRC Constitution to suspend your membership of the organisation while those steps are taken, up to a maximum of 42 days, commencing on the date of that meeting, Saturday 2 April. This is not, of course, in itself an indication of either culpability or innocence. However, the LRC takes allegations of racist (including anti-semitic) language and behaviour very seriously, and as the complaint, if upheld, could result in sanctions including expulsion from the organisation, it was considered appropriate to take this measure in the meantime.
regards, Michael, for the NEC