I post to Facebook almost every day. Sometimes I post thoughts that occur to me at that particular moment, sometimes they are spurred by a headline I’ve just read somewhere on the web and I will share a link to the article that I may or may not have fully read. Sharing an article never means that I endorse, even temporarily, what is stated in the article or the viewpoint of the author. It just means that at that moment I find it interesting. I’m not trying to proselystize for the point of view expressed. If I want to do that I will explicitly endorse that point of view – it will be clear what is my point of view and what is not.
On September 20th after receiving a shocking letter from the Labour Party I posted the following to Facebook:
I wrote that :
Anyone who know me would know that I would immediately, notwithstanding any contrary advice, share this communication on social media. Anyone who knows me would know that this makes me extremely angry. I don’t like me when I’m angry. I do not like being in situations that make me angry and I am considering cancelling my membership of the Labour Party. I did not join this organisation to have my legitimate freedoms of expression curtailed.
I joined in order to make common cause with those I believe are working for the wellbeing of the people of this country and everything I have expressed on social media and elsewhere has been consistent with that purpose, and has been reasoned, courteous and non-threatening. I cannot say the same of the attached communication.
I understand that this is not the fault of the many good people in the Labour Party who a fighting to change it for the better. I understand that the purpose of this kind of thing is to drive from the Party those who want to support positive change. However I have no intention of submitting myself to the indignity of any ‘disciplinary procedure’ and unless an apology is forthcoming by the end of this month I will save all concerned the bother of such a procedure by cancelling my membership.
I will continue to support the efforts of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters to establish social justice in this country and gererally to strive for a just and peaceful world.
I addition to posting this here on my own page I will post this to the Newham Labour Forum but will understand if it is not published as it may be perceived as breaking rules.
I later wrote that:
… having slept on it, I now understand that, while everything I said above is true and the points are important, this situation is not particularly important to me unless I choose to give it importance and be stressed or insulted by it. To give it importance, to be stressed, to demand apologies etc would simply be a symptom of my own sense of self importance and colluding in giving the petty machinations of others more importance than they deserve. I am not standing for any office in the Labour Party so these sanctions have no particular effect on me. I am no longer in a huff and will not leave the party in a huff. What’s important is to work with people like you Tina who really want to make positive changes for our society, nation and world. I will continue to do that.
Today on my return for a ten day holiday abroad I found a letter from the Governance and Legal Unit of the Labour Party:
The letter had appended to it 14 Facebook posts made by me between November 2012 and April 2019. It suggests that these posts, which it terms my ‘conduct on social media’, may be in breach of ‘rule 2.1.8.’ (which it does not quote or explain in the letter). It asks essentially that I justify each of these posts without saying what they think is wrong with the posts.
These are the posts:
These are the questions that the GLULP asks relating to the first four items:
It seems that the GLULP finds sharing posts from Gilad Atzmon particularly problematic. Evidently I have shared a number of Atzmon’s posts over a period of seven years. I do not intend to justify the sharing of these posts or of other posts since I am not aware that sharing his posts and/or discussing them is a crime. The same arument goes for the other items that the GLULP has cited. The reason that I share articles by Atzmon is the same reason that I share articles / posts / arguments written by anyone, it is because I find them interesting and thought provoking. What is asserted in these posts may or may not be true or may or may not be well argued or evidenced but I do not believe that they are in themselves hostile or derogatory to any individual or group of individuals though they may be critical of the behaviour of individuals or groups or nations. I do not necessarily share the views of anyone whose arguments and perspectives I present in a post
I have emailed GLULP today as follows:
Re. Your Letter sent 21 October 2019
Case No: CN:- 3641
Please note that I have been out of the country since 19th October and have returned just today. I wil respond when I have had time to read your letter properly.
Having read the letter I do not intend to answer the detailed questions that it asks beyond what I have stated above with regard to my motivations. I have more important, more urgent and more interesting tasks to undertake at this time. I believe that the same will be true of the Labour Party in general.
People reading this are free to judge whether my ‘conduct on social media’ is deserving of condemnation or commendation or neither.
I put this together very quickly from my photos and vids after coming back from Trafalgar Square. Love and respect for the occupiers. We need to explore ways in which we can take political, individual and community responsility for tackling the climate crisis and the skewed political and corporate cultures that are destroying the planet and the human solidarity of the people on it.
50 days ago I resolved to do something personally useful while waiting for Brexit so I began a modest exercise and diet regime to regain some fitness. So far I’ve lost 10 lbs and am now 13 st 2 lb. I can push myself to 35 push-ups, do 5 chin-ups and run 5 minutes without stopping. I walk an average of 6000 steps per day, practice the Tai Chi short form every day and can touch my toes. This will not impress anyone who is themselves reasonably fit but it may impress those who have known my recent condition and physical laziness.
I look forward to stepping up my pace and improving over the next 49 days.
We must all do what we can to survive Brexit. Reducing dependency on food might help.