Home > Updates > Reject anti-semitism smears, defend union policy & democracy

Reject anti-semitism smears, defend union policy & democracy

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Usdaw members will have been very disappointed to see that in his first major intervention on the Labour Party since becoming Usdaw General Secretary, Paddy Lillis has emulated Usdaw’s outgoing General Secretary John Hannett in joining in the attacks of the Blairites against Jeremy Corbyn around anti-semitism.

When Hannett stepped down as General Secretary this year, many Usdaw members wanted to see a different approach, most visibly demonstrated by the election of Socialist Party member Amy Murphy as Usdaw’s president defeating Hannett’s preferred candidate.

Yet on this issue, Lillis has waded in with a big splash in the media attempting to throw Usdaw’s weight behind the smears against Corbyn, with no consultation with the union’s ruling Executive Council. Members will worry that this is the first step of a move to run the union in a manner similarly to Hannett, bypassing it’s democratic structures to aid the right wing of the Labour Party.

In this case, demanding the implementation of all the guidance to accompany the IHRA definition of anti-semitism, there are widespread concerns that this seeks to not just tackle anti-semitism but block legitimate criticism of the policies and actions of the Israeli government. This would then be used to trap the left because the main motive is to use the issue to build the campaign to bring down Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership in league with the Blairites, the Tories and the capitalist Establishment.

But it is doubling concerning, given that this would undermine Usdaw’s policy around the question of Israel/Palestine adopted at Usdaw’s 2016 Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) in solidarity with the Palestinian people against the repressive actions of the Israeli government.

Usdaw members will be expecting that their EC rebukes the intervention of Lillis in this fashion and re-commits the union to implementing policies as democratically decided by our ADM.

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