Harassment campaign fails as Chris Williamson event goes ahead in Brighton

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A campaign of harassment, abuse and threats has failed to prevent an event with Chris Williamson MP. A total of three separate venues cancelled bookings for a discussion about socialism and inequality in Brighton.The first cancellation was by Brighthelm Church and Community Centre, after an intervention from Labour MP Peter Kyle. The second cancellation followed ‘abuse’ and ‘threats’, directed at the Holiday Inn staff in Brighton.

In order to avoid a repeat of the interventions, abuse and threats, event organiser Greg Hadfield told The Canary on 7 August, he would keep the third venue secret until the last minute. However, The Canary has since learned that the third venue, Friends Meeting House owned by Quakers, also ended up pulling out. But in a victory for free speech and anti-racism the event still went ahead.

An “open-air” meeting

Williamson previously told The Canary the event would go ahead even if it was to be held in the “open air”. And on 8 August, that’s precisely what happened:

Read on...

Event “went brilliantly” despite third cancellation

Tony Greenstein, a former Labour Party member who is among the many victims of a Kafkaesque disciplinary process, also attended the event.

He told The Canary:

We lost our final backup venue [on 8 August] so we decided to hold an outdoor meeting with PA equipment at Regency Square. Over 150 people turned up and it went brilliantly

The Quakers cancel following “threats of violence”

The British Quaker twitter account stated:

British Quaker tweet on cancellation of event

All forms of antisemitism, like all forms of racism, are a very real scourge on our societies and must be defeated. However, it appears the cancellation followed “threats of violence” against Friends House. An email posted online, from the head of communications of Quakers in Britain, said they will be issuing a statement “over the weekend or shortly after”.

‘Refuting’ smears of antisemitism

Greenstein, a Jewish anti-racist campaigner, told The Canary:

We refuted the suggestion that the attack on Chris WIlliamson had anything to do with ‘antisemitism’

He also said that:

A daughter of a holocaust survivor spoke and asked all those who were Jewish to come forward and stand besides Chris.

“A historical meeting”

Greenstein ended by saying his “lasting impression” was that “this was a historical meeting which defied the establishment which tried to shut the meeting down”. The fact that this event has withstood three separate venue cancellations is testament to the fact that true advocates for democratic change refuse to be cowed.

Featured image via Twitter – Chris Williamson

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  • Show Comments
    1. Its interesting to note those who objected to hear Chris Williamson speak such as the Labour MP Peter Kyle involved threatening phone calls of violence upon the Quaker House etc. Why in the Kafkaesque world of Communist Oppresion in the 1960’s the technique to silence a voice was to destroy where ever a writer had been living. To spread fear in the Community this way.
      Same idea here.
      No one calls the Police?
      So we have Tom Watson, Peter Kyle, Richard Leonard, and Ms. Hodgsen identified as this gang oppressing the freedom to discern what self determination is using this fear tactic.’
      Peter Kyle’s desire was strengthened by fear mongering.
      Who else did the 540,000 Labour Members vote for unaware of their true nature.

    2. It is pleasing to observe people of Jewish background coming forth to condemn harassment of Mr Williamson as being based on spurious accusations and it is notable that some among them offer explicit support of his political stance.

      That it should be necessary to make this observation is worrying. Henceforth, when somebody is accused of engaging in an ‘ism’ or being an ‘ist’, may only members of the group allegedly being disparaged offer defence which is given credence by arbiters of correct thinking and behaviour? Should refutation, on grounds of lack of evidence or logical absurdity, by a non-member of whatever population is subject to the ‘ism’ be regarded as providing evidence of the objector himself being an ‘ist’?

      Obviously not. However, success of that tactic in stifling discussion indicates a general population lacking powers of discrimination and fearful of asserting opinion lest glib bullies well versed in manipulation and disinformation engage in character assassination.

      Although many of the ‘isms’ have a core of objectionable content devaluation of their sting through overextension, this leading to absurdity, ultimately harms the group under ‘protection’.

      The universe of ‘ism’ was created by elements of the ‘Left’ and tacitly accepted by opportunists as means to impose a binary ‘with us or against’ discipline upon discussion. Vocal people among Labour have been refining these tools of intellectual repression for two decades and more. Perhaps hypersensitivities given succour by these means are coming back to bite?

    3. All these threats are coming from the “Black Ops” section of MOSSAD! Netanyahu is terrified of losing foreign support and will do anything up to and including assassination to keep pro-Palestinian political candidates out of office! The whole “Labour is anti-semitic” campaign is a classic MOSSAD smear campaign. And Margaret Hodge has a secret radio in her under-stairs cupboard where she picks up her orders from Tel Aviv!

    4. Quakers are pathetically ill organised re their lettings policies and probably let to this individual through ignorance of what hideous evil he was espousing. I think it is pretty disgusting they do not get their act together. I know they have been completely shoddy on this front at Friends House in London in the past.However, you may bear in mind that unless you cross question a potential hirer you may be hosting any kind of calumny. Also when you hire out you are told not to turn potential hirers down without good reason and all you need is mental laziness and there is a lot of that in the Society. In my experience the Quakers are horribly badly organised when it comes to their Meeting Houses.

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