The Lansmangate

I have suspended my legal action against the owner of Momentum Jon Lansman so as to be free to criticise, politically, his current actions and place them in an historic context which I know better than almost anyone else.

I am grateful for all those who expressed their support for me in the face of his despicable attack upon me as an “anti-Semite” when nobody who knows my politics could possibly believe this to to be true. Including him. His demand that Talk Radio should end the broadcast of my radio show The Mother of All Talkshows – the only pro-Corbyn show on the mainstream media, and his call on “all responsible broadcasters” to cease giving me platforms (this was aimed at my RT show Sputnik) sought to aggravate the damage.

I am especially grateful to those who donated or pledged to do so, to the cost of the case either directly to my lawyers or to the crowdfunding appeal.

In the case of the latter, the appeal has of course been closed and no pledges will be cashed in, so no loss to any donor.

Acting upon political advice I have concluded that the depth of my knowledge about Jon Lansman, going back nearly 40 years, was more valuably employed in the political attack on him which I shall now make. This article is the first, but not the last installment in this.

I knew no good could come of Jon Lansman’s unexpected return to front-line Labour politics, and I warned all those who needed to know of my misgivings. It has come as a shock to Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and their friends that Lansman, so soon after placing himself on a left wing slate for election to the National Executive Committee, has betrayed all of them by his conduct over the appointment of a new General Secretary of the Labour Party. It has not shocked or surprised me in the slightest.

The tin-hat (not that the author would ever wear one himself) was the attack-piece by David Aaronovitch in this week’s Jewish Chronicle. The Times journalist gave over his JC column to sing the praises of Jon Lansman and to predictably damn the Corbyn candidate for General Secretary, Jenni Formby. Aaronovitch comes from a fine Communist family but his apostasy has literally no bounds, even when writing about his own flesh and blood. Dave supported the Iraq War  which still rages and has killed a million people and counting, with a vehemence, but he did enter the caveat that if there turned out to be “no weapons of mass destruction” he would “never support the prime minister Tony Blair again”. Naturally, like most other things in his life, this was a pledge he betrayed.

Now I have no idea what Jon Lansman’s view of the Iraq war was, I have never heard nor read any statement by him about the most significant event of our era. But the support of the war-dog Aaronovitch will in any case be welcomed by Lansman. Indeed the kind of bile embodied in Aaronovitch’s attack is the only way Lansman can hope to prevail. Not only did Lansman secure the much coveted Aaronovitch endorsement, more importantly his rival Formby got the full mad-dog treatment from big Dave. Particularly over Palestine. It was on that basis that his readers in the Jewish Chronicle were told “this contest matters to you”. I have no idea what Jon Lansman’s view on Israel-Palestine is either, again I have never heard nor read anything he’s ever said on the matter. But support for his campaign against Jenni Formby will be welcomed by him from any quarter.

Not just because you can judge a woman by her enemies, the truth is Jeremy Corbyn John McDonnell and their comrades have made a good choice in Jenni Formby as their candidate to replace Ian McNichol – the Witch-finder General. A woman in the post addresses the heavily male-dominated profile of the Labour leadership. A trade union leader acknowledges the party’s most important special relationship. A Unite official acknowledges the critical importance of that union in winning and sustaining in the darkest hours the whole Corbyn project. A courageous supporter of the Palestinian people, as Formby is, speaks for itself.

No supporter of the Labour leader whether a party member or not should be deliberately causing trouble for Jeremy Corbyn. He has troubles enough; a thin notional majority on the NEC, a thinner position in the party’s apparatus, and a non-existent hold on the loyalties of the Parliamentary Labour Party which contains almost all of the 172 MPs who stabbed him in the back in the Coup of 2016. Whilst some of those plotters may have experienced a Damascene conversion the vast majority have not. They remain in wait for round three.

When that supporter causing trouble is, as Lansman is, the founder and effective owner of an organisation, Momentum, which is SUPPOSED to be Corbyn’s Praetorian Guard, words almost fail you, unless you know Jon Lansman like I do.

The conduct of the campaign against Jenni Formby, the Corbyn/McDonnell candidate, whether approved of by the intended beneficiaries or not, is also sadly predictable.

Supporters of Israel were out early smearing Formby as some kind of anti-Semite entirely because of her record of standing up for the Palestinians. For Lansman-backer David Aaronovitch this record disqualifies her from the outset.

Phone calls to Trade Union General Secretaries and other influential union figures seeking to cobble together an anti-Unite bloc, smearing Len McCluskie – who almost lost his job because of his support for Corbyn – as “a backroom-operator who is determined to fix Labour politics to the disadvantage of everyone else are now underway”. Though no-one could have predicted how the mask over the inherent enmity between the Lansman camp and the trade unions would slip.

Top Lansman supporter on the NEC, Christine Shawcroft would soon launch a vicious – unprecedented since the 1950s – purportedly “left wing” attack on the British trade union movement. In doing so she went further than anyone in left-wing history – even at the height of the Bevanite battles against right-wing controlled unions – demanding an end to trade union affiliation to the Labour Party, the final severance of the link with organised Labour which had caused the party to be born in the first place.

And thus the battle plan of the Lansman camp becomes clear: hostility to the trades unions, hostility to the Palestinian cause. Shawcroft on the one front, Aaronovitch on the second. Those salvoes having now been fired – without demur from Lansman in either case – it will be left to the minions to carry these flags into the battle for Labour’s future.

That battle had already begun to turn dirty in any event.

Leaks of internal conversations – such as Corbyn allegedly telephoning Lansman twice to persuade him to withdraw his candidature – have mysteriously appeared in the newspapers.

Momentum – or rather its hand-picked leadership – have written to ALL 37,000 of its membership encouraging them ALL to consider applying for the vacant post, when Corbyn and McDonnell have already identified the candidate they want and need. It is little short of farcical, but the letter is in the post!

The demand that the General Secretary position should be an ELECTED post – one member one vote, removing unions from any collective say in the appointment and setting up yet another rival to Corbyn with a mandate from the membership is another ploy. The GS position is a management and organisation job, a full-on 24/7 job. Lansman, in my long experience of him is unqualified on every count for such a job.

But if every cloud has a silver lining,the glimmer of hope in this shocking turn of events is that it will focus unwelcome (to Lansman) attention on what exactly Momentum is, and what it should be.

That Corbyn needed an organisation to protect and defend him, and extend the Corbyn revolution within British politics is a given. Indeed I was defending both Momentum and Lansman’s leadership of it, just hours before his attack on me, on TalkRadio (I did as I have throughout the last two years, make clear that, on a personal level I had no time for Lansman)

This I also did when endlessly retweeting social media posts in support of the Momentum slate for the NEC- including posts that specifically highlighted the danger of Lansman lagging behind his running mates.

I did this because I support Jeremy Corbyn not Jon Lansman. I even encouraged members of my own family to join Momentum!

I did this because Momentum is not Jon Lansman, It is I’m sure in its overwhelming majority composed of outstanding activists, sincere Socialists. genuine supporters of the Corbyn revolution.

When internal democracy looked like producing an ultra-left majority on Momentum’s leading committees I supported Lansman (whilst again making my caveats about him) I did that because I am not a supporter of ultra-left adventurism – as Mr Lansman well knows.

When I first met Jon Lansman an ultra-left adventurer was precisely what I considered him to be.

A journalist wrote in the Guardian last week that Jon Lansman “ran” Tony Benn’s Deputy Leadership campaign ( to be fair the journalist in question was not born at the time). Lansman was certainly a runner for the campaign, but he never ran it.

Jon Lansman was a fresh-faced youth at the time of Mr Benn’s epic campaign in 1981, albeit an energetic and enthusiastic one. I was the Scottish organiser of the campaign – at the time I was a full-time Labour Organiser, Chairman of the Labour Party in Scotland and a rising member of the Transport and General Workers Union (now Unite). I was one of those consulted by Mr Benn before he made his fateful decision to run and was asked by him to lead the Scottish end of the campaign.

Jon Lansman’s no doubt splendid education at Highgate and Clare College Cambridge had not put him in close touch with the working-class or its trade union and labour movement.

Mr Benn loved him to be sure and so my frequent reports to the potential leader, that Lansman and people like him were not the touchstones on whom he should be over-relying and that their ultra-left adventurism, as people like me saw it, could cost us victory in what was shaping up to be the tightest of contests, were not always received well. By Mr Benn or Lansman.

Every shop steward, every trade union militant, every likely conference delegate was someone who had to be fought for, house by house, committee by committee. Lansman, his public-school and Cambridge elan notwithstanding was not the man to be doing the fighting.

Our subsequent defeat by one half of one per cent was a devastating blow to the British left and I was one of those who felt that we had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and that ultra-left adventurism had made the difference.

I have had no conversation with Jon Lansman since Mr Benn’s defeat. In the years which followed during which he drifted out of politics and into a highly lucrative business career I somehow never quite forgave him. Maybe he never quite forgave me either.

But that cannot be the reason for the attack he made upon me, at least not the main one. That main reason it is now clear to me and others was the public effort being made by Unite Chief of Staff Andrew Murray to bring to an end my expulsion from the Labour Party over the Iraq War. In a public speech and then in sundry face to face encounters with key stake-holders in the Labour Party, the former Stop the War Coalition leader (and now secondee to the Leader of the Opposition’s Office) Andrew Murray, and others close to the leader Jeremy Corbyn, were making steady progress in their efforts to bring me in from the cold. That I now believe was the reason for the toxicity and timing for Jon Lansman’s attack on me. In that sense it was the first Lansman shot at the trade union Unite. Deadlier shots are now blazing. The classless Mr Lansman has declared war on the role of the working class in Labour Politics. It is a war which can and should have only one end, the victory of the left and the end of Mr Lansman’s inglorious 15 minutes of fame.

Photos from The Independent and Sky News

Enough is Enough

I have launched a legal action through my solicitor KRW Law, against Jon Lansman in respect of his accusation that I am an anti-semite and that I should be dismissed from those broadcasters who employ me and that I should never be allowed reinstatement into the Labour Party for the reason above.

I don’t stand alone in this. Huge numbers, including Jewish members of the Labour Party, have been expelled, suspended and excluded from the party on fake allegations like the one Lansman has made against me. A victory for me will be a victory for them.

It’s time to end the fake narrative that standing up for the Palestinian people equals anti-Semitism. It’s time to establish in court once and for all the utter falsehood of this smear.

But I can only do this with your help. I need to crowdfund this action. All donations will be held by and assuming we reach our target, passed directlty to  KRW Law:

All donations will be receipted. Monies not spent will be returned to the donors and damages and costs recovered will be used to reimburse and to support the family of Ahed Tamimi and other brutalised Palestinian children.


Thank you, George Galloway

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Join us for the launch of George Galloway’s audiobook ‘Street Fighting: A Memoir of the 1970s’ in Northwest London on Monday 11 December. The launch will be a closed events. To reserve your ticket please email your name(s) to INFO@GEORGEGALLOWAY.COM

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Wednesday 25 October 2017

On my comrade and friend: Comandante Fidel Castro

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The old is dying, the new is struggling to be born...


Thugs will not silence me

Many of you will have read about an unpleasant and, at the time, distressing experience I had at the University of Aberdeen earlier this week, which was widely reported in the national news. Someone, who claimed responsibility on Twitter, calling themselves "trans" and an "anarchist", led a five person attack on me as I began my speech, with no intervention from university security, and threw a then unknown substance into my face from point blank range. We had warned the university of a planned protest, which we suspected would be violent, and provided them with the names and faces of the expected aggressors - who did in fact turn out to be the aggressors - yet nothing was done to prevent it.

As someone who has recently been violently attacked a number of times in public, including in broad daylight, this was alarming. I continued as normal, while my pregnant wife bravely tried to detain and then chased after the attackers.

I raise this point not only to express my criticisms of the University of Aberdeen - which has still not replied to me - but because it is symptomatic of a wider problem on the “left”, or at least of many who self-identify as left-wing, even revolutionary (though they are anything but). Few weeks go by when the "identity politics" crowd don't strike one campus or another, with their "no platform" demands, often employing physical violence. Other recent targets of their rage include Germaine Greer, the world’s most famous feminist, and Peter Tatchell, the world’s most famous gay rights activist.

I would like to clarify that while Peter Tatchell and I profoundly oppose each other on many political issues, and I hold no candle for him and he none for me, he is someone, like myself, who has travelled around the world and put his life on the line, literally, for his cause. Yet now we both face cowardly intimidation, threats and “no platform” demands from tiny, insignificant groups with ultra-radical sounding language, who have never lifted a finger for the causes they claim to support, and cannot point to any meaningful achievements in aid of those they claim to defend.

I was not silenced or intimidated by Blair, New Labour and the right wing media during the Iraq war who did all they could to destroy my career and reputation, I’ve never been silenced by daily abuse from Zionists, racists and terrorist sympathisers, nor by death threats, kidnapping or physical assault by all of these groups. So if the Aberdeen “United Student Left” think they are going to silence me, they had better think again, and I hope more and more people will find the courage to stand up to them and their ilk.

The Return of the Blair Rich Project

The return of the aforementioned war criminal Tony Blair to front line politics - but not to the front line of politics, an important distinction - with the aim of preventing what he sees as the “catastrophe” of Brexit, simply proves that our governing elite, like the Bourbons, learns nothing and forgets nothing. Just today it was reported in the media that a number of his former henchmen/propagandists, including Lord Mandelson, Alaistar Campbell and John Sawyer (former head of MI6) met in an exclusive London location - no prizes for guessing what they were talking about.

It does not take too much reading between the lines to see what Blair promises to oversee, albeit as puppet master in the shadows rather than messianic deceiver-in-chief as he once was: a pro-EU, centrist, socially liberal, economically neoliberal, and undoubtedly “interventionist” on the world stage, bloc of Lib Dems, “New” Labour and “Cameronite” Tories.
While such a formation would be bitterly opposed by tens of millions of people, I believe the majority of the population, there is no doubt it does have an appeal to some. It would have the support of the media, the establishment and finance capital, and as its social base could appeal to many relatively wealthy, urban professionals, who benefit economically and socially from globalisation and see the national state as little more than an anachronism, an inconvenience.

However, just like Remain itself, just like Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign, just like Nicholas Sarkozy’s bid to be Republican Presidential nominee in France, I believe such a bid is doomed, that it is swimming against the current of history. People know establishment has destroyed their jobs, gutted their communities, ruined their lives, that it sees them as stupid, their views irrelevant.

People are ready to try alternatives, even if they may be volatile and unstable. I do not believe the majority are “ignorant” or easily deceived as the liberal media would have us believe; rather I believe most voting for change know full well that the alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy, to the ruling elite, may not be better, in fact could be worse, than what they have currently, but crucially, that it could be better.

They know on the other hand that if they keep voting for the same people who have been dismantling everything they hold dear for decades, and profiting from it, who do not even bother to promise a change of direction, then things can only continue to get worse - and they are already at breaking point, so this is simply not an option. Therefore, it is axiomatic in such a situation, that people will vote for whoever is the option promising to disrupt the status quo with the greatest chance of winning.

So I say this with confidence: If the establishment needs Tony Blair to save it, if second referendum campaign need him, they are done for. The best thing Blair can do to ensure Brexit is to identify himself publicly with the campaign to oppose it. I say bring it on, and for my part, I like many others will not rest until I see him in court for war crimes.

A French turn up for the books

To paraphrase the much misunderstood and misrepresented - not least by his own advocates - Italian communist Antonio Gramsci; the old world is dying, but the new world is struggling to be born.

Nicolas Sarkozy crashed out in a well-deserved ignominious end to his presidential aspirations and, surely, his political career, after coming third in the Republic Party primaries behind Alain Juppe and the until then little knowns Francois Fillon.

Monsieur Fillon is, at least to my world-view, a walking paradox: economically and socially a Thatcherite and Anglophile, he would appear to be opposed to me in almost every sense. Yet on many of the big issues of the day - the need to restore relations with Russia, to pull back from the mad drive for regime change in Syria and support for throat-cutting, head-chopping, heart eating terrorists, and end to NATO expansionism - I am in full agreement with him. And, he could be the best hope of halting the rise of the fascist Front National.

On the other hand, centre-left candidate Francois Hollande will run on a platform of conintinued aggression towards Russia, NATO expansion, support for terrorists. So what do left and right mean today? We are witnessing an era in which, to quote John Prescott - not something I do very often - the tectonic plates are shifting. The kaleidoscope is in flux.

Which brings me back the point in my opening paragraph. Things right now could go either way. The rise of the right in France shows that a revolution does not always make things better, and could in fact make things a lot worse, as would be the case if, God forbid, the Front National were to lead the next government.

However, and I now refer to the situation across "the west" and not just to France, as Jeremy Corbyn’s two victories in the past Labour leadership elections show, and as the rise and resilience of Bernie Sanders and the movement behind him continues to offer hope for in the US, the left can also emerge as an alternative to the status quo in these circumstances. However, in order to do so, it must be absolutely clear that, on the one hand, we defend everyone’s right to be proud of and defend multiple identities - ethnic, national, religious, sexual, gender - yet at the same time, our loyalty is to the working class, this is the bedrock of our movement, this is what we come out of and this is who we represent.

This is the fundamental dividing line for society and the fundamental basis of any left-wing mass movement with a hope of winning and exercising power effectively. And we must not only understand, but implement and emphasise this principle as a matter of urgency, because now more than ever, it is now or never.