An Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn: “Lift the Labour Party suspension of Ken Livingstone for an honest straight-talking battle of anti-racist ideas to thrive in Britain!”

04/05/16

Dear Jeremy Corbyn

The totally unjustifiable knee-jerk reaction to pro-Zionist and other Right wing pressures from within and outside the current Labour Party Leadership by the suspension of Ken Livingstone over his quite interesting remarks on Anti-Semitism and Anti-Racism has sent shock waves into the very heart of our Black Communities in Britain and all over the World!

We of Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC) never imagined a Labour Party led by you, Jeremy Corbyn, would ever immediately react in such frightful haste by clamping down on the freedom of critical radical expression, as contained in the remarks, no matter how controversial, from a very long distinguished co-champion of Anti-Racism like “Red Ken”, whose track-record of many years, like your own, of being an outspoken, not always politically correct, but doubtlessly genuinely striving principled Activist for Anti-Semitism, Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Imperialism, has been consistently unswerving. We, therefore feel duty-bound, for your own sake but more also for the sake of the overwhelming majority of our Black peoples in our diverse communities throughout Britain, Europe and, indeed all over the World, to respond with utmost honesty, principledness and candour, from our own Black perspectives, to such an outrage. For yes, it is a dangerous outrage which threatens the fundamental rights to freedoms of conscience, of expression and also of self-determination of our peoples; which threatens all Left-leaning progressive forces like us in the MBC that pride ourselves on our age-old traditions of anti-Establishment revolutionary Truthquest; and which appears to be seeking to curry favour with of all sorts of reactionary elements of the Right, including its pro-Zionist Lobby in and beyond the media.

We cannot allow our silence so far to be misconstrued as the equivocation of so many others outside our Black communities, nor misread as opportunistic connivance with the evils of Injustice, more so with appalling decisions stemming from the mistakes in even the unwitting acts of omission and commission of good friends like yourself, Jeremy Corbyn. For us, if such acts are not uncompromisingly counteracted with dynamic principledness, they will stifle our own Resistance efforts and obstruct the self-determining Black Power Struggles of our own Black Communities of Resistance for full Dignity, Freedom and Justice, indeed for all our human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights, in and beyond the UK. Hence our resort to unrestrained freedom of Black expression, very much in the Black radical Truthquest traditions of “Speaking Our Grassroots Power of Truth to Establishment Power (SOGPOTTEP)”, by writing this Open Letter, with apologies to no one for our heart-deep candour! We believe what is supposed to be the honest straight-talking ‘New Politics’ of yourself, Jeremy according to the lofty values you have also proclaimed, which demands nothing less from us, your honest supporters.

Context Setting

Firstly, we will point out that on Tuesday the 20th October 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel, addressed the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem and told them “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jew. And Hajj Amin al-Husseini (the Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921- 1937), went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here (to Palestine)’. According to Netanyahu, Hitler then asked: “What should I do with them?” and the mufti replied: “Burn them.”

Lenni Brenner in 1983 wrote, ‘Zionism in the Age of the Dictators’. He was born into an Orthodox Jewish family and wrote as an American Trotskyist and Civil Rights campaigner working with Bayard Rustin and Dr Martin Luther King (neither of whom were Marxists). In his book he asserts there were Zionist Leaders who collaborated with their archenemy, the Nazis in 1933. According to Brenner, the motivation was not to save Jewish lives but to help young skilled and able-bodied Jews to immigrate to Palestine. David Rosenberg, a social historian on London, says this book was badly written.

In 1984, Edwin Black, son of Jewish parents who survived the Shoah, wrote ‘The Transfer Agreement’. This book outlines an agreement made in 1933 between Zionists and the Third Reich that there be a Jewish Palestine in exchange for ending the Global Boycott of Germany. Between, 1933–1936, 60,000 German Jews then immigrated into the region with some of their assets. Palestine was being run by the British at the time. In his book Black states, ‘Hitler founded Israel’. Black was at lengths to stress the dilemma for Zionists who sought to save German Jews whilst knowing they were paradoxically adding to the Hitler project in financing Jews to Palestine. Simply put, Zionists were forced to pay Germany in order to save these Jewish lives. This possibly explains why Hitler is said to have founded Israel if not in the literal sense then certainly in effect. The facts of this book have not been disputed but unsurprisingly, the psychological state of the writer has.  Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz went further in asserting that in fact, it was not really Hitler who was motivated to exterminate the Jews, but rather it was almost single handily, the British-installed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (Chief Muslim Islamic legal religious authority), Hajj Amin al-Husseini. In 2014, Rubin and Schwanitz wrote ‘Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East’ with this particular emphasis. The book has been criticised for being ‘creative’ and by others as a plausible truth.

Thus, it becomes clearer as to why Prime Minister Netanyahu made his statement on the 20th October 2015. There appears to be an attempt to reduce the blame of the Jewish Holocaust of 6 million people, virtually onto one Palestinian in Hajj Amin al-Husseini. So heavy is this focus that disclosing this perverse ‘softening’ of the Nazis role seems to be acceptable? From any Jewish perspective, is it rational to hate Palestinians more than the Nazis? Since Palestine was under British control at this time, who is denying what to whom? This is not to defend Hajj Amin but it is first, to defend Ken Livingstone and the right for him to state these facts already affirmed by Jews as well as by others including Zionist Prime Minister Netanyahu. At this juncture, it is necessary to state that even though what Zionism has become perverted into is racist, it is also important to clarify that there is a conceptualisation of Zion long predating the current Euro-American imperialist distortion of it, which has been utilised not only by Jewish people but also by Afrikans and people of Afrikan Hebrew Israelite heritage in resistance to phases of the Maangamizi (Afrikan hellacaust of chattel, colonial and neo-colonial forms of enslavement). So, our Black perspectives distinguish between the Zion yearned for in Afrikan and other people’s resistance and the racist distortion into Zionism for the purposes of crimes against humanity, such as the racist discrimination not only against Palestinian people but others including Jewish people of Afrikan heritage.

Secondly, it is indeed historically important to draw parallels between Nazism and the current Euro-American imperialist perversion of Zionism in their racist misuse of it, at least for the sake of discussion if we are to fully learn the truth and ideally, learn the lessons of the past. In this regard it is acknowledged that a Jew is not always a Zionist in its perversion and a Zionist does not have to be a Jew. Never mind Ken Livingstone, why are some Jews making these revelations and why are we not allowed to talk about them? Thirdly, it is as Momentum Black ConneXions asserts, a complete lack of respect to the 6 million losses of Jewish lives (not to mention the million of others who died) in the Shoah to treat the matter of anti-Semitism with such shallow contempt as to demean Livingstone’s comments. Fourthly, the right to freedom of expression demands that political discussion must not be shut down in order to pander to those who have no true interest in the liberation of all Black peoples oppressed across the globe. Fifthly, we must expose the deliberate undermining of the Mayoral elections and the support for Sadiq Khan by this undemocratic, media distorting excuse for political fairness and public concern for justice.

On Ken Livingstone

Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC) calls for the Labour Party to reinstate Ken Livingstone and to recognise that he was trying to defend both you Jeremy and Naz Shah MP against the brutal attacks of the media and those they are representing in opposition to all Black Communities as well as, the more general public. It is regrettable Jeremy that you have allowed this unjustified suspension of Ken Livingstone from the Labour Party and it is our belief that your statement on 30th April 2016, in response to these attacks, plays right into the hands of Zionist criminals. We hoped, Jeremy, you would be stronger than this and feel that a disloyalty to someone who was trying to support and strengthen your position is difficult for us to countenance. Momentum Black ConneXions appeals to you to rectify the situation and let it be done as transparently as possible without making it seem as if Ken Livingstone has committed an offence. We are all interested to know what the Labour Party has to say to validate this. We understand that Shami Chakrabarti will convene an investigative enquiry. What will be its terms of reference and how will you ensure that there will be due process?

We are mindful of the contributions Ken Livingstone has made with the use of egalitarian policies that date back to the Greater London Council (GLC) in the 1970s/80s. His administration sought to improve the lives of disadvantaged Black and other minoritised ethnic groups within London as well as women, the disabled and lesbians and gays. Funding was allocated to minoritised groups in the belief that social change could take place from the margins and it is a sad testimony to that success that Prime Minister Thatcher later destroyed the GLC as a consequence.

We are also clear that the Labour Party as an extension of this nation’s structure is institutionally racist. Therefore, it is problematic for us if the Labour Party creates the impression that it is not, for that would be to deny the reality of our lived experiences. On behalf of our Black Communities, Momentum Black ConneXions say we deserve something much more truthful and bolder than this from you, Jeremy.

In this recent furore, Ken Livingstone stated that anti-Semitism is different to racism. This does not mean he is reducing anti-Semitism to something less than racism but that he is simply stating another fact. It differs insofar as anti-Semitism has a religious element to it in a way that other forms of racism do not. We would argue that this takes into consideration significantly different experiences. There are huge questions around the way in which Black Jews are treated within and outside of Israel for example. One is not more important than the other but they do produce different forms of oppression, social attacks and different responses to them. We might argue that the Afriphobic and anti-Black racist abuse of President Obama did not invoke the same aggressive media attack on Boris Johnson the Mayor of London, as it clearly has Ken Livingstone for example. We would also point out that we did not see the right wing of the Labour Party expressing such venom against these forms of racism as we have now witnessed from the disgraceful behaviour of John Mann MP. This is an MP who declared from the outset, his dislike for you, as leader of the Labour Party and later went on to smear you with cheap paedophile associations. He clearly has an agenda, has brought the party into disrepute and has deliberately misrepresented the honest intentions of Ken Livingstone in order to undermine Sadiq Khan, yourself and therefore, the Labour Party. We call for his immediate suspension and for him to also go through a disciplinary process.

On Naz Shah

Naz Shah MP stated in a twitter account that Israel’s population could be “transported” out of the Middle East to America. Accepting that she has apologised, her statement is not so outrageous within the historical context and involvement of Zionists with Nazis that we have briefly referred to above. Whilst it could cause offence, it should not so readily and enthusiastically be assumed that she is, therefore anti-Semitic. More to the perverse point, the source of the map that Naz Shah relied upon was created yet again by another son of Jewish parents who survived the Shoah. It was Professor Norman G. Finkelstein who posted this apparently anti-Semitic map of Israelis covering the contours of America under the title ‘Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict’ as a blog on Monday the 14th August 2014. To be clear, a Jewish person presumably of some repute was recommending Jews move to America. Our understanding is that she chose to agree with him.

On the Need for Black Perspectives to Tackling Racism/s

As friends, allies and supporters we remind you that racism manifests itself in a multiplicity of ways such as Afriphobia, Islamophobia, Casteism or Anti-Semitism, within the intricate multifarious workings and exercise of the Coloniality of Power through Britain’s internal and external White Supremacist institutions. Britain is unquestionably implicated in the genocidally functioning Global Apartheid order of Euro-American Imperialism. The very way and manner of British society and its life, as being actually lived through its various organs and institutions of State and Civil Society, remains colonially structured, and functions without much systemic change post the British Empire. ‘Modern Britain’ merely runs as a continuum effectively serving as a distraction to its highly active presence, not just in relation to the people deemed indigenous and other communities inhabiting these islands, but also in relation to those colonially otherised and degradingly racialised as Black throughout the World. Empire remains most relevant to defining Racism today.

Indeed, those we see as the Black majority of Humanity continue to suffer discrimination, oppression and superexpolitation from the Coloniality of Power exercised by the UK. This occurs directly or by proxy, through its colonially transplanted settlers on continents like Abya Yala (the so-called Americas) and Oceania, including the so-called Australia and Aotearoa (the so-called New Zealand) and its machinery and processes of State and Civil Society engineering as part of the globalising capitalist machinations of what has now become Euro-American Imperialism. Our Black Majority of Humanity knows too well that it is all of these things, taken altogether, that make up the genocidal institutional and structural racism upon the bedrock of which Britain is still thriving as a colonising power in the matrix of Euro-American Imperialism. It is this Coloniality of Power that is still strongly upheld by its White supremacy racist Establishment, including the elitist core of the Labour Party, monopolised by the Labour aristocracy and their selected cronies, even in this 21st Century.

That is why the Anti-Racism of our Black peoples cannot but be expressed in terms of Anti-Imperialism and complete Decolonization, not merely of Education, but of the entire society in the United Kingdom, the rest of Europe and all the Global North as well as the Global South, indeed of the World as a global whole.

The Labour Party is not yet an Anti-Racist Party!

Contrary to the impression given in your 30th April 2016 statement, the true politics of Anti-Racism in our Black ‘overstanding’ of it has never been and still is not yet at the core of the British Labour Party in its current state! Yes, there has always been on the fringes a hard core of earnestly striving anti-racist Activists, including the noble likes of yourself, Jeremy, John McDonnell, Ken Livingstone and Diane Abbott, following in the footsteps of our own Black and other Freedomfighting Labour Champions who belonged to the Labour Party from long ago. For example, the likes of John Archer, Shapurji Saklatvala, Krishna Menon, Ras Makonnen, Keir Hardie, Fenner Brockway, Tony Benn, Bernie Grant, Linda Bellos and Lester Lewis (aka Ntum Ba Azah). However, they have never amounted to, and still are not yet, an overwhelmingly dominant force at the heartcore of the British Labour Party. The didactic experiences of Racism by the revolutionary Communist likes of Claudia Jones inside the British Communist Party, which have become well documented and are being avidly studied inside and outside our Black Communities within and beyond the UK, testify to the actual experiences of work on Anti-Racism even in White organisations of progressive forces that ought to know better. That is why we enthusiastically welcome the desire, and give our wholehearted support to your laudable efforts, to put Anti-Racism at the heartcore of the Labour Party, and will do everything in our collective and individual capabilities as members of the MBC, to help you inside and outside the Labour movement in successfully doing so. Nevertheless, this is still ongoing work-in-progress for the success of which, as matters on Anti-Racism and even freedom of expression about it now stand, with the Ken Livingstone suspension case in question, we have a long way to go and lots of groundwork to do!

The Evolving Durban Consensus: No True Racial Justice without Truth & Reparatory Justice!

Given the experience of enduring injustices and horrific suffering of the Black majority of Humanity all over the World from Global Apartheid Racism, we cannot allow ourselves and the MBC to be drawn into covering up its full meaning and actual impact, as crimes of Genocide and Ecocide, upon our Black lives up till now in the UK, Europe and all over the World. Hence the relevance of grassroots initiatives such as the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/ Ecocide Petition’ and its accompanying glocal campaign for Reparations, including crucially important demands such as the one for All-Party Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJs) at levels of the Westminster Houses of Parliament and the European Parliament.

We will remind you of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) adopted by consensus at the 2001 World Conference against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, Azania (so-called South Africa) now euphemistically known as the ‘Durban Consensus’. The DDPA recognised that no country can claim to be free of racism, that racism is a global concern, and that tackling it should be a universal effort. The DDPA adopted a victim-orientated approach to problems of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance. Specific recommendations were formulated to combat discrimination against Afrikans and persons of Afrikan descent, Asians and persons of Asian descent, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, minorities, the Roma and other groups.  The DDPA also recognised that victims often suffer from multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination based on sex, language, religion, political or other opinions. It also highlighted the gender dimension of racial discrimination and attributed a key role to women in the development of programmes to combat racism and intolerance. DDPA called for comprehensive national action plans to eradicate these racisms and for the reinforcement of national institutions to formulate concrete recommendations in the areas of national legislation and the administration of justice. The DDPA urged governments to provide effective remedies, recourse, redress and compensatory measures to victims and to ensure proper access to legal assistance for this purpose.

The DDPA acknowledged that: slavery and the so-called ‘Slave Trade’, but which we refer to more appropriately as the Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Afrikans (TTEA), are crimes against humanity, and should always have been so. Further, that the consequences of slavery are lasting social and economic inequalities which are also emphasized in the Programmes of Action of the UN ‘Decade for People of African Descent’ (2015-2024). The DDPA expressed concern about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation and recognised the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the right to an independent state. It also recognised the right to security for all countries in the region, including Israel, and called upon all governments to support the peace process and bring it to an early conclusion. The DDPA declared that the Jewish Holocaust must never be forgotten. To achieve this, an effective international legal framework was recommended together with enhanced regional and international cooperation, an active role for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the participation of a wide variety of actors, including Civil Society, non-governmental organizations and youth in the struggle against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. This was the consensus.

Despite the huge distance that still remains between the Durban Consensus and where we are now our hopes have been immensely raised by your declaration of values that could augur well for the implementation of the DDPA in the UK.  That is why we of the MBC continue to encourage our Black peoples to keep strongly hoping, now more than ever before, that the values you have declared, Jeremy, and the ‘New Politics’ they are trying to shape for Britain, will create life-changing opportunities for us all to accelerate our anti-racist and counter-racist battles. We see such battles as necessarily encompassing those against Afriphobia, Islamophobia, Casteism and Anti-Semitism, as part of genuine Anti-Imperialist Freedomfighting to enable ourselves to complete our total emancipation struggles all over the world sooner rather than later. We hold on stronger than ever before to the ardent conviction that we are our own liberators! We see the Jeremy Corbyn Support Campaign as a nascent social movement capable of catalysing considerable degrees of favourable opportunities for advancing our own Black Liberation agendas and struggles for self-determination through the independent glocal exercising of agency in exerting our own Black Power to win not only our complete Black emancipation but also Global Justice for all.

This is how Racism and its White supremacist structures, institutions and mechanisms of Global Apartheid criminality will become completely eradicated. These are issues we are preparing to candidly elaborate upon from our Black perspectives in contribution to your review to be announced in the next few weeks, headed by Shami Chakrabarti. MBC looks forward to making positive contributions to this review and we wish you well in taking this very important step. We are particularly encouraged by the possibility of the review hearing the live testimonies of ordinary people’s experiences of racism. We do not, from our own Black perspectives, sharpened with the didactic lessons from the Black making of World History and the histories and herstories of all Humanity, see any other actually feasible way out then to the direct challenge to White supremacist institutions. That is why we cannot lie to ourselves nor lie to you, the Labour Party and British society as a whole. This is the crystal-clear Truth we hope we shall all learn to embrace, no matter its inconvenience to some in order to let it set us all upon the emancipatory road to complete freedom from all forms and manifestations of Racism in Britain, Europe and throughout the rest of the World.

We are asking you to be even more courageous than what you have been thus far, but we are also saying it is only on that basis, that we can stand together with you and encourage our communities to do the same.

Our Struggles Continue!

Forward ever onward to Victory!

True Peoples’ Power, including our Black Power, shall take us all to the Anti-Racist Rendezvous of Global Justice Victory!

Co-signed:

Marlene Ellis,

MBC Acting General Secretary (Interim Chief Executive Officer)

Toyah RBG,

MBC Youth Wing Leadership Co-Facilitator

Esther Stanford-Xosei,

MBC Acting Co-Chair

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10 Comments

  1. WE NEED MOE PEOPLE LIKE KEN WHO ARE NOT AFRAID OF SPEAKING THE TRUTH AND ARE NOT UNDER THE THUMB OF THE ROTHSCHILD ZIONISTS.

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  2. I am totally opposed to Zionism, I am no Friend of Israel like so many members of parliament.
    Zionists are using the anti Semite card to shut down debate and to hide their atrocities.
    I say again I am anti Zionist if that makes me an anti Semite then take my party membership from me. Ken Livingstone is a victim of the parliamentary Friends of Israel lobbyists.
    We have a parliamentary system where Zionists can set the political agenda for all parties, Zionists should be permitted to be members of our parliamentary system it is absurd that they can belong to two parties.

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  3. Dear Marlene, Toya and Esther,

    Some comments on your letter from me, a British Jew.

    First I agree that free speech should be allowed within the limits of the law. I am not clear how this plays out within the Labour party. So far as I can see, the Labour party rules back free speech within the law. I would be against changing that as I think it does allow for healthy debate.

    I hope that you will agree though, that together with Freedom of speech comes a responsibility to use speech well and wisely. And wouldn’t it be great if we could all be nice to each other?

    The accusations and counter-accusations in the Labour party over anti-semitism seem to me to be factional in-fighting and to have nothing to do with the real experiences of real Jews within, or beyond, the Party.

    I thank you for your recognition that Anti-Semitism is a form of Racism – which it is (albeit there can also be an element of religious hatred involved).
    I think that you are making a mistake if you believe (as you seem to imply) that just because someone is Jewish or or Jewish parentage they cannot be anti-Semitic – I am sure you must know that it is possible for a Black person to be racist against Black people.

    I also do not think that Benjamin Netanyahu’s appalling un-historical fiction blaming of the Holocaust on Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the wartime Mufti of Jerusalem, should be used in any way to justify Ken Livingstone’s un-historical fiction of suggestion that “Hitler was a Zionist”. Two wrongs do not make a right. Anyone who thinks Hitler had the good of the Jewish People at heart is either being malevolent, has a warped idea of reality, or is terribly ignorant of the nature of Hitler’s anti-semitism. The only sense in which Hitler “caused the creation of the Jewish State” was by persecuting and murdering most of the Jews in the territory of his Nazi-conquered “3rd Empire” so that about a million Jewish refugees with nowhere else to go were propelled to seek refuge in Palestine, precipitating the forming of the State of Israel prematurely and through war rather than by peaceful means. You might just as well argue that the Royal African Company was the benevolent founder of the Jamaican economy. i.e. It is completely mad.

    From my perspective your attitude to Israel (which I see as the Jewish homeland, religious centre, and multi-cultural Nation State, where I have family) as “White Colonialism” seems very strange. However I do appreciate your recognition that peace between Israelis and Palestinian will only come about through security for both parties.

    Finally with regard to the situation of Black Jews in Israel, yes there are issues. I recently met and talked with a Black-Jewish-Ethiopian Rabbi who is working to enable Ethiopian Jews in Israel to retain their traditions and unique culture (which was fascinating). To my surprise, he said specifically that he does not believe Israeli society is racist (and he has lived there since he was a young child) – but his does think that it is a stratified society – so there is more prestige in belonging to one group than another, usually based on a person’s national origins.

    With prayers for Peace -both in this country and in the Middle East.

    Jonathan

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  4. “Hitler was a Zionist”

    Did Ken Livingstone actually use these words? If so, where? The quote is not accurate. He said that Hitler “supported Zionism” at a particular time, nit that Hitler was a Zionist.

    Churchill supported Stalin at a particular time for his own reasons. That is not the same as Churchill being a Stalinist.

    The “Hitler was a Zionist” statement does not come from Livingstone. It’s a media embellishment.

    Liked by 1 person

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