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.
Author: gavin Page 1 of 21
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.
Our intuitive conclusion that the collapse of WT7 was the consequence of a controlled demolition has surely been confirmed by the research evidence from the University of Alaska. Although this happened 18 years ago the implications are enormous as it suggests a criminal conspiracy the scale of whose execution and concealment have been unprecedented.
“..prospective students of Eton are then asked to imagine they are the prime minister and write a speech to explain how they would convince the public that they did the right thing.”
The full question reads:
The year is 2040. There have been riots in the streets of London after Britain has run out of petrol because of an oil crisis in the Middle East. Protesters have attacked public buildings. Several policemen have died. Consequently, the Government has deployed the Army to curb the protests. After two days the protests have been stopped but twenty-five protesters have been killed by the Army.
You are the Prime Minister. Write the script for a speech to be broadcast to the nation in which you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.
Some people seem upset by this.
There are doubtless very many things wrong with this school but getting students to think about ethical and political decisions and decision making through presenting hypothetical situations, or examining real situations, is not one of those things. Questions like this should be part of the general education of students in all schools.
More than twenty years ago – in November 1998 according to data from the photo – this is a picture of an extraordinary group of young people I worked with in Newham. While I am mostly retired now I still do work with children from time to time.
This week the wife of the young man standing farthest left brought their two children to the ‘Making Worlds and Games’ course I am running at Redbridge Library. I expect to see Rizwan later in the week.
The Immortalists follows the life path of four siblings from 1969 to the near present. Gifted or cursed with the foreknowledge of the dates of their deaths, their natures and choices and perhaps this knowledge move them forward towards their destiny. The book reflects engagingly on living and death and is in places quite profound.
It touches on the experience of being Jewish American and the experience of being a gay man and offers insights into those worlds that I do not know. Its journey through the past half century brought back echoes from my own journey. But beyond such particularities Chloe Benjamin gives us characters whose real feeling, failings, victories and defeats and lives resonate with our own humanness.
I would, of course, definitely recommend this as an engaging and reflective good read.
Delusional, but amusing in its absurdity. Promising a ‘golden age’ is like promising to ‘Make Britain Great Again’ only without the connotation that under a Johnson reign Britain would only become as great as it ever was instead of becoming greater that it has ever been.
Instinctively, I suspect, feel, that underneath the arrogance, greed, gaucheness and stupidity of Donald Trump and Theresa May are buried vulnerabilities and remnants of conscience that make them hesitate at the brink of true evil whereas underneath Boris Johnson’s arrogance, greed, surface affability and wit it is arrogance all the way down to a bedrock of pristine amorality. He will not have a trace of sympathy for anyone and I instinctively have not the slightest sympathy for him.
Jon Lansman posts on Twitter that “People who support the campaign to deny or diminish the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party need to read what this fellow supporter has to say about “Zionism” https://t.co/dpq83QNGc2”
First, it is wrong to describe challenging the narrative that there is widespread antisemitism within the Labour Party and that Chris Williamson has said anything antisemitic as a ‘campaign to deny or diminish the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party’
Second it is grossly insulting and ludricous to describe the cretin who posted a Jew blaming, Holocaust denying, racist, anti-communist, anti-socialist far right piece of garbage as in any way a ‘fellow supporter’ of any Labour Party member.
The anonymous tweeter that Lansman cites accuses Jews of “lobby[ing] for mass immigration, miscegenation and cultural marxism in every country on earth.” How could anyone in their right mind make the equation that Lansman does?
Still, this is an example of what genuine antisemitism, racism and clear hate speech looks like. And this will grow while Lansman and his fellow travellers turn all their efforts to destroying Corbyn and his supporters.