Tag Archives: Claudia Jones

Calls mount for Corbyn to ‘come out fighting’ in support of falsely-accused Marc Wadsworth

Marc Wadsworth.

This is what happens when the Labour Party refuses to acknowledge the facts in a false accusation of anti-Semitism.

I hope you remember the case of Marc Wadsworth, the anti-racism campaigner who was instrumental in helping the family of Stephen Lawrence get an inquiry into his death, and who was then accused of anti-Semitism by right-wing MP Ruth Smeeth for no reason at all.

A judging panel from Labour’s National Constitutional Committee later expelled him from the party on the grounds that he had brought it into disrepute, even though it was the behaviour of Ms Smeeth that had done the damage. She remains an MP and a member of the Labour Party, although her actions certain warrant her removal from both positions.

Calls have been mounting for Mr Wadsworth’s case to be reviewed. At last week’s Labour Party Conference, MP Clive Lewis called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn to “come out fighting”

The Morning Star reported: “Mr Lewis said Mr Wadsworth had merely been making a political point about right-wing MPs working with right-wing newspapers.

“‘It was not an anti-semitic trope. It was a political observation,’ he said to applause…

“He added: ‘You’ve seen what happens when you stick your head above the parapet on this issue. It gets shot off,’ but he had had to stand in solidarity with a comrade and for the principle that ‘people should be able to express themselves politically.’

“He declared: ‘I would like to see Jeremy Corbyn come out fighting on this issue.’”

A crowdfunding campaign to fund the cost of Mr Wadsworth’s appeal has raised £30,000 since it was launched in April, and all I can say is I wish my own attempt to raise funds to clear my name had that kind of back-up (I’ve raised more than £5,000 since June – only a fraction of his total. Anyone willing to help me out is invited to visit my JustGiving site). Then again, our situations are slightly different as Labour has yet to arrange a hearing to judge my case.

It’s a curious coincidence that, just when the tide was beginning to turn in favour of this honourable and principled man, someone had to try to put a spanner in the works.

That person was Sarah Ditum, a critic, columnist and fellow member of the National Union of Journalists.

She waded into this matter after attending a meeting of the NUJ in which Mr Wadsworth, in his capacity as chair of the union’s Black Members Council, spoke supporting the choice of Canary editor in chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza to deliver the Claudia Jones memorial lecture (an issue I have discussed in a previous article; NUJ members also voted to support her).

She tweeted:

https://twitter.com/sarahditum/status/1045932834404347904

Notice that it was a carefully-worded attack. Mr Wadsworth had suggested that Ms Smeeth and the Telegraph reporter, with whom she was exchanging a leaflet that he had been distributing, were “hand in glove” – but there was no mention of her Jewishness until she started hollering about it herself. Her tweet stops short of saying that he was engaging in an anti-Semitic trope but that is clearly her implication. And the use of the word “defending” in reference to Kerry-Anne as “The Woman Who Publishes Steve Topple” makes it clear that we are to consider any publication of Mr Topple’s articles to be a bad thing, without having any reason to do so. Sinister.

And she drew out a series of tweets in her support, which I won’t mention any further as it is far more instructive to examine some of the comments in favour of Mr Wadsworth.

Chris Williamson, a Labour MP who has long supported Mr Wadsworth’s cause, wrote:

Mr Wadsworth himself had something to say:

And I think the following is especially pertinent:

https://twitter.com/PeterTwohey/status/1045837536982183936

This is the real issue, is it not?

It isn’t about any claim of anti-Semitism against Mr Wadsworth, that is easily disproved.

It is about his willingness to stand up and talk about what those in positions of power and privilege would prefer to keep hidden.

That’s why a false claim of anti-Semitism was cooked up against him.

It is also why that claim was reheated when he spoke in favour of a social media journalist who the right-wing, mainstream press wanted to silence.

And it is why prominent figures like Mr Lewis are asking Jeremy Corbyn to weigh in and take action.

But Mr Corbyn has been, himself, targeted with false accusations many times – especially over the summer months.

He may conclude that it would not be productive for him to speak out at this time – a decision that, I’m sorry to say, may have been the sole intention of his own accusers.

That is why people like Mr Wadsworth – and myself (don’t forget that JustGiving page) need the help of people of good conscience – from all parts of the political spectrum.

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UPDATE: Guardian journalists to host lecture by Canary editor whether they like it or not

Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor in chief of The Canary.

Despite protests by journalists at the Guardian/Observer, the Claudia Jones memorial lecture will be hosted by that paper’s chapel (branch) of the National Union of Journalists, and the speaker will be Canary editor in chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza.

For further information, see my previous article.

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Journalists’ outrage at Canary editor’s speech invitation boosts ‘Boycott the Guardian’ campaign

Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor in chief of The Canary. This shot is from a Newsnight appearance in 2016, in which she promoted other members of the New Left Media, including Vox Political.

This is a story about treacherous people getting their just desserts.

The editor-in-chief of The Canary – This Site’s friend Kerry-Anne Mendoza – has been honoured with an invitation to give the Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture, as part of the series held in memory of the pioneering black female journalist.

The lecture is organised by the National Union of Journalists’ Black Members Council and the choice of speaker is nothing to do with the Guardian-Observer chapel (that’s their word for a branch) of the NUJ – but it seems these reporters complained bitterly at the choice of speaker:

https://twitter.com/MarkDiStef/status/1045023451390636034

The release of Mark Di Stefano’s tweet (above) prompted something of a backlash. The fact that white journalists at the Guardian were seeking to vote that one of UK media’s only black/minority ethnic editors-in-chief be stopped from giving the Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture for Black History Month was considered by many to be a sign of The Guardian officially losing the plot.

Kerry-Anne herself said: “I’m a proud member of the National Union of Journalists and honoured to be invited to give the Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture this year.

“It’s a sign of the entitlement of our establishment journalists that they would behave so poorly in response.

“I think we’ve reached peak Guardian. A group of mostly white, middle class journalists trying to stop one of Britain’s only working class, BAME editors in chief from giving a speech for Black History Month.”

Followers of the social media agreed – and it just happened to be the case that a Twitterstorm in support of the hashtag #BoycottTheGuardian had been arranged, to take place between 7pm and 9pm on September 27. You can understand why Kerry-Anne called for us all to support it:

It trended at number one.

Kerry-Anne herself received a lot of support:

But The Guardian‘s change of editorial policy to one that undermines the Labour Party and its leader was also targeted:

In fact, this had been the intention behind the Twitterstorm – and it would have received much less attention if the Guardian-Observer NUJ chapel’s members had just kept their mouths shut (or their typing fingers away from whatever messaging system they have been using).

The result of all this activism is not yet known. The NUJ itself has said nothing on the subject.

It is possible that the Establishment will try to hush up the fact that there has been a huge protest against what can be seen as a clear example of racism by mostly white, middle-class university-graduate journalists.

If that happens, we’ll just have to run another campaign – bigger, louder, and impossible to ignore. Repression always incites rebellion.

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