The Labour Party has expelled Jewish member of over half a century Graham Bash. It comes amid an ongoing purge of left-wing voices from the party. In an exclusive interview with The Canary, Bash says people must resist the party’s ongoing “witch-hunt” before it ‘guts it’ of all socialists.
On the frontline of the Labour “witch-hunt”
As The Canary previously reported, Bash was chair of South Thanet Labour Party. He was a member of the party for 52 years. Bash is the political officer for Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), and he’s also the political secretary of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC).
The Canary‘s former editor-at-large Kerry-Anne Mendoza interviewed Bash and Jackie Walker last year. We’re releasing it on Sunday 7 November at 7pm. During it, Bash discussed Labour’s ongoing purge of left-wing members. He said:
For years and years, I was saying this witch-hunt[s]… real target is Jeremy Corbyn… And of course, I underestimated it. They’ve got rid of him, and it’s continued. And why is it continuing? Because [of] the Corbyn legacy… members, most of whom are on the left, are still here. And they want to gut the party of a vital part of its membership. So it will not stop, I’m quite convinced, unless and until they manage to do that.
You can watch the full interview from 7pm tonight here.
Bash: under investigation
Since The Canary recorded the interview, Labour’s governance and legal unit (GLU) has been trying to boot Bash out of the party. In a letter it sent him in August, it said that it had:
reason to believe that [Bash] is ineligible to be or remain a Labour Party member because you are a supporter of Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW).
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
The GLU goes on to state that its evidence was:
In January 2020 [Bash] signed an Open Letter from LAW. The signature included the organisations you are associated with “LRC, JVL, LAW”.
LAW is one of four groups Labour recently proscribed. Bash argued that when he signed LAW’s open letter, Labour had not proscribed the group. He also confirmed he was not a member of it. Bash additionally noted that:
There is, to the best of my knowledge, no such category as LAW ’supporter’. I therefore deny that I am a ‘supporter’ of LAW. There is no justification for this investigation.
On Friday 5 November, Labour’s GLU booted Bash out of the party anyway.
Expelling Jewish socialists
JVL posted the GLU’s email to Bash on its website. In short, it said that a new National Executive Committee (NEC) panel looked at Bash’s case. It found that:
on the balance of probabilities, that you had signed the Labour Against the Witchhunt open letter of January 2020 and that LAW was an organisation that you were affiliated with.
The NEC Panel noted that these facts were not in dispute… [It] considered that this amounted, in its opinion, to support for Labour Against the Whichhunt [sic], which the NEC has declared to be inimical with the aims and values of the Labour Party.
So, Bash is out. He has 14 days to appeal the decision to the Labour Party.
JVL hit out at Labour’s actions. It said:
The bottom line is that Graham… has been excluded for doing something that was perfectly legal at the time – supporting (whatever that means) an organisation there was no restriction on supporting at the time.
It’s called retrospective justice – or injustice.
Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted in support of Bash. He said:
I’ve known and campaigned alongside Graham Bash for over 40 years. He is one of the finest socialists I have met. I do not believe it can be just to expel someone from the Labour Party based upon actions or associations with an organisation before it has been proscribed.
The resistance continues
Bash said during his interview with The Canary that in terms of Labour’s ongoing purge of the left:
there’s going to be resistance. People aren’t just going to lie down and be expelled… people will actually resist. They’re going to build a movement from outside.
This is a sentiment echoed by JVL, which said:
Democracy in the Labour Party is now under serious assault with the whole current wave of investigations, exclusions and purges generally.
We must and will continue to resist.
Bash will likely challenge his expulsion. In the meantime, as he and JVL point out, the resistance against Labour’s ongoing purge must continue.
Watch the full interview with Bash and Walker from 7pm on 7 November here.
Featured image via The Canary
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?