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Akehurst ‘Durham’ campaigners: councillors, including fellow BICOM staffer from London

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/06/2024 - 11:26pm in

Unpopular parachuted right-winger’s sparse ‘supporters’ are mostly councillors – and even those are not all from Durham

Luke Akehurst, the right-wing Israel fanatic and genocide-denier imposed by Labour on party members in North Durham as their general election candidate, has posted photos of his supporters and himself out on the streets of Durham. He described them as ‘canvassing sessions’, but none of the photos show anyone speaking to the public.

Instead, the post consisted of two images of Akehurst, with a handful of people holding campaign placards, on empty Durham streets. But the people around him do not appear to be grassroots supporters, but instead a few councillors, including one from London, hundreds of miles away from Durham:

L-R: Cllr Danny Wood, Waltham Forest councillor Kira Lewis, Akehurst, former Durham council leader Cllr Simon Henig

Lewis is resigned from a whips’ role on the council last November after she posted (and subsequently deleted) comments saying that Israel’s mass murder of civilians and children in Gaza is ‘bad… but not evil’:

Hamas is no good for Palestinians and no good for Jews. It wants a fundamentalist Muslim dictatorship on the land from the river to the sea, devoid of all Jews. And Christians. And LGBTQ folk.

It is no good for anyone who believes in democracy. It is simply no good for humanity. What Israel faces now in Gaza is a moral dilemma. Hamas wanted the IDF to retaliate so it could make Israel look bad. It worked. What Israel is doing is bad – killing thousands of innocent people, including children. But not evil. Hamas is evil.

And while so many across the globe who promote Palestinian rights don’t want to see the difference, I do.

Lewis also works for BICOM, the hardline pro-Israel group that operates We Believe in Israel, the advocacy organisation that Akehurst runs, or ran until he was imposed as North Durham candidate – and before she worked for BICOM, Lewis was ‘national organiser’ for Akehurst’s Labour First right-wing pressure group:

The second image also features Lewis, along with more councillors:

L-R: Cllr Danny Wood, unidentified, unidentified, Akehurst, Lewis, Cllr Emma Waldock

Of the two so far unidentified people in the second photo-opp, the woman in glasses appears in local campaign photos otherwise featuring mainly councillors going back as far as at least 2015 and may be a party staffer.

It appears Akehurst is receiving little to no support even from ordinary local party members – so little that he can only get even enough councillors for a meagre photo by drafting them a fellow genocide-denier from north London.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Stilz Resigns from PPA; Shares Instructions to Authors

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/06/2024 - 9:41pm in

Anna Stilz (currently at Princeton, soon to be at Berkeley), editor-in-chief of Philosophy and Public Affairs, has submitted her resignation to the journal’s publisher, Wiley.

Her resignation follows the mass resignation of the rest of the editorial team at the journal in May and their announcement that they are launching a new journal.

Stilz wrote in to share the news about her resignation and provide instructions for some authors who had submitted papers to the journal. She writes:

I have resigned as Editor-in-Chief of Philosophy and Public Affairs and Wiley has now accepted my resignation. 

I will continue to serve as Editor in a limited, transitional capacity, only to process papers that have been previously accepted by the journal, and reviews on revised papers that were submitted to the journal before May 22, 2024. 

Authors whose papers were conditionally accepted by the journal prior to May 22 must resubmit by June 25 if they wish their paper to be published in Philosophy and Public Affairs under the current masthead. We hope to issue final decisions on these papers by June 30.  Please direct inquiries regarding all other recently submitted manuscripts to Wiley’s manager for the journal, Hannah Reed, at hreed@wiley.com.

Related: Editors at Philosophy & Public Affairs Resign; Will Launch New OA Journal

 

The post Stilz Resigns from PPA; Shares Instructions to Authors first appeared on Daily Nous.

Exclusive: Jewish whistleblower quits Labour over Starmer’s ‘protection of abusers and racists’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 28/05/2024 - 6:45pm in

Elaina Cohen says she cannot bear to remain in party that suspends Abbott but protects wrongdoers and she will campaign against Starmer’s Labour

Jewish whistleblower Elaina Cohen, as long expected, has quit her Labour membership and will campaign against Keir Starmer’s party over Starmer’s cover-up of abuse and exploitation she says she discovered of domestic violence victims by the alleged lover of right-wing MP Khalid Mahmood.

Ms Cohen has accused Starmer of ‘brutal disregard for women’ after she informed him several times about the ‘sadistic’ mistreatment of vulnerable Muslim women.

Elaina Cohen’s ‘pinned’ tweet

Emails proved that Ms Cohen made Keir Starmer repeatedly aware of her allegations that one of his front-benchers was protecting a staff member who was involved in the abuse of domestic violence victims she exploited through a now-defunct domestic violence ‘charity’ – yet he did nothing, leaving Khalid Mahmood on his front bench until Mahmood eventually decided to step down over political differences.

During her wrongful dismissal case against right-winger Mahmood, the MP and his legal team accepted ‘Victim A’s sworn statement about the abuse she had suffered at the hands of Mahmood’s office manager and lover into evidence as truth without challenge.

The victim told the tribunal that she and others had suffered ‘sadistic’ abuse, threat and blackmail as Mahmood’s paramour tried to force her into theft and fraud and used domestic violence victims as entertainment for the rich and powerful – and the party also ignored Cohen’s formal complaint against Starmer and his sidekick David Evans for the cover-up.

The moment that evidence was accepted as fact, without challenge, in a legal proceedings Keir Starmer should have been forced by media coverage and a storm of public outrage into resigning. Yet the ‘mainstream’ media have almost entirely ignored the revelations – and actively misreported the unfolding of the case.

Her resignation email reads:

It is with regret I am resigning from the Labour Party . I cannot be in a party that condones heinous  abuse of vulnerable women .

The MP you selected was aware that his staff member took sadistic pleasure as a DV outreach worker in criminally exploiting multiple vulnerable women including victims of different faiths members of the LGBT community.

Her particular pleasure in  blackmailing mothers with children condoned by Keir Starmer is unconscionable for every decent person.

How can Keir Starmer claim he will smash human trafficking into our country when he backs a Labour member carrying out acts of organised crime exploiting desperate and vulnerable women.

I cannot as a person of conscience after four years of Keir Starmer  doing everything possible to cover up crimes in the membership  stay within it.

It is now my suspicion   that allegations of historic cover up of wrong-doing lead to Keir  Starmers door and that his sincerity and reliance upon on a legal and institutional career can  no longer be relied upon.

I have worked hard in Perry Barr and I still have a platform with supporters to raise my concerns.

Whatever the outcome of the judgment at least I am on the right side of justice for the most vulnerable in society.

The Labour party decision makers reap what they sow .

Starmer’s appalling record toward women includes sheltering two alleged sex pests in his Shadow Cabinet – and taking no action against disgraced MP Chris Matheson after he was placed under investigation and ultimately found guilty by Parliament of sexual harassment. Matheson instead resigned after the finding.

Starmer also welcomed Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle back into the party last year, despite Parliament finding Coyle guilty of at least one count of sexual harassment and of making racist remarks.

Ms Cohen told Skwawkbox:

The hypocrisy of keeping Diane Abbott suspended when she is clearly not antisemitic, while Keir Starmer covers up for abusers and racists, is absolutely appalling. I have resigned my membership so that I can campaign against Labour and will be doing so vigorously. He is unfit for office.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Editors at Philosophy & Public Affairs Resign; Will Launch New OA Journal

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/05/2024 - 9:40pm in

The executive, associate, and advisory editors and all of the editorial board members of one of the most influential journals in moral and political philosophy, Philosophy & Public Affairs, have resigned en masse.

According to their statement (below), crucial aims of scholarly journals are “not well-served by commercial publishing.” Philosophy & Public Affairs is published by Wiley, the sixth largest publishing corporation in the world by revenue (over $2 billion annually).

The outgoing editors and editorial board members will be launching a new diamond open-access journal to be published by Open Library of Humanities (OLH), and will be occupying at the new journal the same positions they held at Philosophy & Public Affairs. (Current editor-in-chief of Philosophy & Public Affairs, Anna Stilz, is not among the statement’s signatories. In answer to an inquiry about that, she replied, “I cannot comment on this at this time.” That said, it is worth noting that Stilz has been publicly critical of Wiley in the past—see, for example, the updates on this post.)

Readers may recall the similar resignation last year of the editorial team at the Journal of Political Philosophy, another Wiley journal, and that team’s creation of Political Philosophy, also a diamond open-access journal published by OLH. At least 11 Wiley journals have seen mass editorial resignations since 2018, according to Retraction Watch.

The as-of-yet-unnamed new journal will be open for submissions beginning in September.

In the statement below, the editors and editorial board members announce their resignation, explain their reasons for it and for their creation of an open-access journal, and discuss issues related to submissions currently under review at Philosophy & Public Affairs.

The following is a statement from the executive, associate, and advisory editors and all the members of the editorial board of Philosophy & Public Affairs.

We are unanimously resigning from our editorial roles at Philosophy & Public Affairs, published by Wiley, and launching a new diamond open-access journal published by Open Library of Humanities (OLH). All of us will play the same editorial roles in the new journal and will retain the aim of publishing the best philosophical work touching on matters of public importance.

We take this step because we believe that scholarly journals—including our own—serve important purposes, and that these purposes are not well-served by commercial publishing. For three decades now, academic journals have suffered from their ownership by for-profit publishers, who have exploited their monopoly position to sharply raise prices, unduly burdening subscribing libraries and shutting out other institutions and individuals from access to research. The recent rise of the author-funded “open access” model has only reinforced academic inequality, since scholars with access to fewer resources are unable to pay the fees that make their work freely accessible; it has also incentivized commercial publishers to try to publish as many articles as possible and so to pressure rigorous journals to weaken or abandon their quality controls.

Faced with this conflict between purpose and business model, we have decided to embrace the purpose and move to an alternative model.

The alternative—which our librarian colleagues have been urging for some time—is for libraries, universities, and other academic institutions to offer direct support for the publication of open-access journals, which are guided by independent scholarly judgment and freely available for authors and readers. We are delighted to have found precisely this model at OLH, an award-winning diamond open-access publisher supported by a consortium of libraries and funding agencies.

If diamond open-access journals are so good, why are they not already dominant? Partly because we all have day jobs and transitions take time. In addition, our careers depend on publishing in journals with name recognition, reputation, and high impact factors. These publications are now typically owned by commercial publishers. Colleagues often cannot afford to take a chance on untested journals. This is why, as editors of one of the leading journals in our field, we feel a strong responsibility to move toward a new, better, arrangement.

Our plan, if Wiley permits it, is to complete the reviews for all revised submissions received prior to this announcement. We apologize to authors who recently submitted manuscripts to Philosophy & Public Affairs, and we recognize the especially high cost to authors who have been revising their manuscripts, but who have not yet resubmitted. We very much regret these costs but saw no realistic way to avoid them. We hope to make the new journal worthy of these costs.

We plan to launch the new journal (whose name will be announced shortly) and begin accepting submissions in September 2024. Please send us your best work in moral and political philosophy and adjacent fields, take note of our migration in your hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions, and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

We are excited to embark on this new adventure. We hope you share our excitement and join us in making this new venture a great success.

Signed,

Outgoing Executive Editors

Jonathan Quong, University of Southern California, USA
Patrick Tomlin, University of Warwick, UK

Outgoing Associate Editors

Arash Abizadeh, McGill University, Canada
Nico Cornell, University of Michigan, USA
Garrett Cullity, Australian National University
Marc Fleurbaey, Paris School of Economics, France
Johann Frick, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Joe Horton, University College London, UK
Sophia Moreau, University of Toronto, Canada
Kristi Olson, Bowdoin College, USA
Japa Pallikkathayil, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Gina Schouten, Harvard University, USA
Zofia Stemplowska, University of Oxford, UK
Adam Swift, University College London, UK

Outgoing Advisory Editors

Charles R. Beitz, Princeton University, USA
Joshua Cohen, Apple University, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Alan Patten, Princeton University, USA
Arthur Ripstein, University of Toronto, Canada
Seana Shiffrin, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
R. Jay Wallace, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Outgoing Editorial Board

Elizabeth Anderson, University of Michigan, USA
Cheshire Calhoun, Arizona State University, USA
David Estlund, Brown University, USA
Archon Fung, Harvard Kennedy School, USA
Barbara Herman, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Pamela Hieronymi, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Frances Myrna Kamm, Rutgers University, USA
Niko Kolodny, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Jeff McMahan, Oxford University, UK
Liam Murphy, New York University, USA
Debra Satz, Stanford University, USA
Samuel Scheffler, New York University, USA
Amartya Sen, Harvard University, USA
Tommie Shelby, Harvard University, USA
Amia Srinivasan, Oxford University, UK
Jeremy Waldron, New York University, USA
Stuart White, Oxford University, UK
Gideon Yaffe, Yale University, USA

A PDF of the statement is here.

UPDATE 1 (5/22/24): I’m informed by some of the editorial team that the journal’s founding editors—Marshall Cohen, Tim Scanlon, and Tom Nagel—were consulted about this decision and fully support it.

UPDATE 2 (5/23/24): Inside Higher Ed reports on the story.

UPDATE 3 (5/24/24): Tyler Cowen (GMU), at Marginal Revolution, says: “I am rooting for them, but can they succeed?”

The post Editors at Philosophy & Public Affairs Resign; Will Launch New OA Journal first appeared on Daily Nous.

Hackney councillors quit Labour, form independent socialist group

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/05/2024 - 3:50am in

Trend seen across the country reaches East End of London. Shameless Labour demands they resign and fight by-elections, despite making no such demand of 3 Tory MPs who have defected

Hackney’s new Independent Socialists L-R: Penny Wrout, Claudia Turbet-Delof, Fliss Premru (image: Hackney Independent Socialist group)

Three Hackney councillors who had been suspended by Labour for voting in favour of debating a motion calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s genocide in Gaza have quit the Labour party and formed a new Independent Socialists group.

Claudia Turbet-Delof, Penny Wrout and Fliss Premru said their former party is:

stifled by a lack of internal democracy, transparency and scrutiny.



They went on:

We can no longer in good conscience continue campaigning for a Labour party which nationally refuses to call out the genocide in Gaza, continues to support arms sales to Israel, and seeks to clamp down on pro-Palestinian protests.

They also cited Keir Starmer’s abandonment of all his leadership campaign pledges and his u-turn to support NHS privatisation and Tory spending cuts to local government funding, his ‘kid starver’ commitment to keeping the cruel two-child benefit cap and his adoption of the blue Tories’ racist anti-immigrant narratives – and his treatment of Diane Abbott, Britain’s first Black woman MP, who remains suspended for commenting on anti-Black racism (on of many forms of racism which Starmer’s Labour is ridden) while Starmer has welcomed hard-right Tory MPs into the party.

A Labour spokesperson described the development as ‘disappointing’ and – with extreme but unsurprising hypocrisy – said the councillors should resign their seats and fight by-elections. The three Tory MPs to defect to Labour have not been told to do so.

Jewish-American Biden appointee resigns over US support for Israel’s genocide

Biden ‘has blood on his hands’ and is making Jews less safe by enabling Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians, says Lily Greenberg Call as she quits the Department of Interior

Lily Greenberg Call

Jewish-American political appointee Lily Greenberg Call – previously a proponent of pro-Israel propaganda now clearly horrified by the reality of the settler-colonial project – has resigned from her position in government over the United States’ collusion in Israel’s genocide in Gaza, telling US president Joe Biden that he has blood on his hands and is endangering Jewish people by helping Israel’s slaughter of Palestinian civilians.

In a withering resignation letter to her boss Deb Haaland, she describes Israel’s mass murder of Palestinians as genocide and accuses the US government of furthering the subjugation of the Palestinian people for the sake of the apartheid occupation:

May 15. 2024
Secretary Deb Haaland
United States Department of the Interior
1849 C St NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Haaland,

I joined the Biden Administration because I believe in fighting for a better America, for a future where Americans can thrive: one with economic prosperity, a healthy planet, and equal rights for all people. I have dedicated my career to candidates who I believed would further this vision. I worked for Vice President Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign in 2019, and then moved to Arizona to work for President Biden’s campaign in 2020. I was thrilled to join the Department of Interior because I was inspired by your principled track record of championing progressive causes, in addition to your role as an Indigenous woman leading a Department that historically harmed Indigenous communities, and the potential that it has for reparations, reconciliation, and healing.

However, I can no longer in good conscience continue to represent this administration amidst President Biden’s disastrous, continued support for lsrael’s genocide in Gaza.

I am an American Jew. My family escaped antisemitic persecution in Europe and found refuge in America. They changed their names at Ellis Island and worked as farmers, peddlers. and salespeople. My grandparents could not go to college. Two generations later, I have the honor of working as an appointee for the President of the United States. The weight of this position is not lost on me. This is the story of many people in my community: a story of survival, upward
mobility and fulfillment of the American Dream. And yet I have asked myself many times over the last eight months: what is the point of having power if you will not use it to stop crimes against humanity?

My whole life has been spent in Jewish community in the US and Israel. I have spent time in Israel/Palestine, and I learned Hebrew and Arabic both formally in school and through connection in community. I have family and friends who are Israeli, Palestinian – and have loved ones who have served in the IDF. People in my community lost loved ones during Hamas’s attack on October 7th; beloveds killed, displaced, and taken as hostages. I am terrified by rising antisemitism around the world. And yet I am certain that the answer to this is not to collectively punish millions of innocent Palestinians through displacement, famine and ethnic cleansing.

Israel’s ongoing offensive against Palestinians does not keep Jewish people safe – in Israel nor in the United States. What I have learned from my Jewish tradition is that every life is precious. That we are obligated to stand up for those facing violence and oppression, and to question authority in the face of injustice.

As of writing this. Israel has killed 35,000 people in Gaza, including 15,000 children. The Israeli military has bombed medical infrastructure, besieged a hospital, left mass graves behind, destroyed every university in Gaza, targeted journalists and aid workers and committed many, many inexcusable atrocities. These are all violations of international law, none of which would be possible without American weapons, and none of which have been condemned by President Biden.

The President has the power to call for a lasting ceasefire, to stop sending weapons to Israel, and to condition aid. The United States has used nearly no leverage throughout the last eight months to hold Israel accountable; quite the opposite. we have enabled and legitimized Israel’s actions with vetoes of UN resolutions designed to hold Israel accountable. President Biden has the blood of innocent people on his hands.

The United States has long enabled Israeli war crimes and the status quo of apartheid and occupation. That status quo does not keep Israelis safe, nor Jews around the world. It certainly does not protect Palestinians. who have the right to freedom, safety, self-determination, and dignity, just as much as Jewish people do, and every person does. Any system that requires the subjugation of one group over another is not only unjust. but unsafe. Jewish safety cannot – and
will not – come at the expense of Palestinian freedom. Making Jews the face of the American war machine makes us less safe. What seems like a lack of awareness in the Administration leadership of how critical this issue is to the American public is devastating to both communities and politically disastrous.

Today, May I5th, is Nakba Day, which recognizes the destruction of Palestinian society and homeland in 1948 and the displacement of the majority of the Palestinian people for the formation of today’s modern Israel. Nakba and Shoah, the Hebrew word for Holocaust, mean the same thing: catastrophe. I reject the premise that one people’s salvation must come at another’s destruction. I am committed to creating a world where this does not happen – and this cannot be done from within the Biden Administration.

My choice to leave is not a reflection of this office or the Department. I have felt supported by many individuals here, but I do not feel supported by the policies and actions of this Administration. I have the utmost respect for my colleagues at the Department who have given so much of themselves to doing the good work of preserving our public lands and strengthening Indian Country, and the many public servants across the federal government. I urge you all to take a stand for Palestinian lives. All our futures depend on this.

Respectfully,

Lily Greenberg Call

Ms Greenberg Call’s principled action and courageous, honest words will surely make her a target for the Israel lobby’s smear machine, just as it has targeted the many Jewish students standing up for humanity on university campuses. Her account was already briefly suspended by Twitter, presumably as a result of concerted action by pro-Israel groups:

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Sky deletes its video of Falter claiming he was only trying to cross the road

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 23/04/2024 - 5:55am in

Page now gives 404 result after overwhelming evidence challenging claims emerged

As Skwawkbox reported earlier today, ‘Campaign against Antisemitism’ (CAA) chief executive Gideon Falter’s claim that he had been prevented by police from crossing a road after just happening to ‘come across’ a pro-Palestine march looks to have fallen apart after a huge volume of eyewitness, photographic and video evidence emerged challenging the veracity of the claim.

Falter, whose CAA group has been shown to have taken large amounts of funding from a ‘quasi-governmental’ Israeli organisation and featured prominently in the campaign to take down then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has also been shown to have made false claims of antisemitic speech – leading to the prosecution, conviction and unanimous acquittal on appeal of a Foreign Office official. His claim about Saturday’s events fuelled calls for the banning of pro-Palestinian marches and the removal of Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley – who just happens to have previously refused the demands of right-wing, pro-Israel campaigners and politicians for the marches to be banned.

And now Sky News, which had run hard with the false claims and the ensuing narrative, has deleted its video of Falter’s staged stunt. Footage and photographs shot by bystanders strongly suggest that Falter was at the site of the march for some time before the incident – and that he was there with bodyguards and had already tried to disrupt it, a stark contrast with his narrative that he had just bumped into the march on his way home from synagogue.

While emails containing the link will still show a preview of the original content, clicking through to the link leads to a ‘404’ ‘page not found result, as the combined screenshots below show:

It will be interesting to see whether the rest of the so-called ‘mainstream’ media follow suit, or leave up the misleading video and claims despite the flood of contrary evidence.

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Exclusive: Eslamdoust continues to lash out as TSSA staff pass unanimous no-confidence vote

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/04/2024 - 1:34am in

Union general secretary keeps blaming GMB as union employees say she keeps exposing lack of understanding of union mechanics

A union in flames? TSSA staff appear to think so

Maryam Eslamdoust and the TSSA rail union she is running – into the ground in the eyes of many – continues to lash out at the GMB union for TSSA staff’s complete dissatisfaction with her management and her team – despite a unanimous motion of no-confidence passed at an ‘all-staff meeting’ last week.

Ms Eslamdoust was recommended to members, despite what appears to be a complete lack of relevant experience, by the TSSA executive after former general secretary Manuel Cortes was sacked over sexual harassment and bullying exposed in the Kennedy Report, and was supposedly going to clean up the union after the scandal. However, the union has been rocked by fresh allegations of abuse and deep resentment against the new general secretary for the treatment of staff, particularly women.

The staff, who are members of the GMB union – union employees are usually represented by a different union in case they need to enter a dispute with their employer – and recently voted overwhelmingly for strike action in response to the abuse they say they are experiencing, held the ‘all-staff meeting’ a week ago. The following motion was passed unanimously:

TSSA Staff Motion of No Confidence in the GS, AGS, and President

Following the recent all-staff meeting on Thursday 11 April, where the AGS announced that the Trainee Organiser’s contracts would not be extended without any prior notice to the Trainee Organisers themselves, the TSSA staff unreservedly condemn this as a further example of an unacceptable and grotesque management style that has no place in a respectful and civilised
workplace.

The further revelation by the AGS [assistant general secretary] that a significant sum of HS2 compensation monies has not yet been invested, losing us around £25,000 per month in interest at a conservative estimate, gives the TSSA staff considerable concern that the union is not being managed effectively to ensure its long-term survival as an independent trade union.

The TSSA staff reconfirms our commitment to the policy of remaining an independent union, and believes that with the right management, sufficient resources, meaningful progress on culture change, and an environment in which staff feel valued and respected, this remains a realistic prospect.

However, the many contradictions between stated objectives and the decisions being taken, whether in respect of resourcing priorities, progressing culture change, or managing the union’s finances, only leads us to conclude this is far from being the case.

The TSSA staff therefore instructs the GMB staff reps to convey the decision of this meeting that the staff have no confidence in the GS [general secretary], AGS, and President of the union.

The TSSA executive member for Scotland also resigned last week, saying he could no longer work with Eslamdoust or the executive supporting her.

Ms Eslamdoust attacked Skwawkbox during the general secretary election for scrutinising her and her supporters’ campaign claims that she had ‘high level trade union experience’. She also recently wrote a bizarre article for the Guardian in which she accused the GMB union of attempting to bully her so it could take over the TSSA and distract from its own renewed sexual harassment scandal, and tried to blame others for her failure to take meaningful action to implement the Kennedy Report’s recommendations, outraging staff members who have pointed out that their dispute pre-dates the new GMB revelations.

However, when asked for comment the union doubled down on its blaming of the GMB, compounding the impression of a lack of understanding or recognition that the issues are with the unhappiness of people working for the union and not with the management of the union they are instructing to coordinate the strike on their behalf. A spokesperson told Skwawkbox:

We would encourage GMB to start talking with TSSA to focus on resolving the workplace issues they say they have. It is genuinely extraordinary that GMB are so blatantly seeking to interfere in (and misrepresent) the internal administration of a sister union. TSSA EC took the decision that the last tranche of HS2 compensation would be reserved for strategic objectives to grow and strengthen our union. That is what is happening.

TSSA staff have said that their approaches to the union’s management have been ignored or rebuffed and that Eslamdoust and her team even opened talks with ACAS without bothering to inform them. The union’s latest comment will do little or nothing to change the publicly-expressed view of staff, reps and members, including a former TSSA assistant general secretary, that Ms Eslamdoust has ‘lost the plot’.

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Former MP Smith quits Labour after suspension for refusing to vote for cuts

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/03/2024 - 5:54am in

Labour under control freak Starmer has no respect or inclusivity, says former Crewe and Nantwich MP Laura Smith, who also cites Starmer’s Gaza stance as a driver for her decision

Former Crewe and Nantwich MP Laura Smith has quit the Labour party with a blistering attack on Labour’s lack of standards and inclusivity under Keir Starmer, after being suspended from the Cheshire East council Labour group for refusing to vote in support of a package of swingeing Tory cuts.

In a public statement about her decision to resign, Smith said that she:

entered mainstream politics back in 2017 after years of activism in social justice
movements after growing up in a family of trade union and socialist values. I stuffed
leaflets In the Labour Party envelopes and served tea and biscuits at the meetings of the local group as a child, and some of my earliest memories were of Saturdays spent In the car with my dad as he drove Gwyneth Dunwoody, the MP at the time around the constituency. I knew my core values from a very early age and I knew from the feeling in the pit of my stomach that my fight was always going to be equality and social justice. I experienced many things growing up that further shaped my beliefs and that feeling only grew as I became an adult.

Being supported by my local Labour party and then becoming an MP representing my home towns was something that I couldn’t ever have Imagined. As someone from a challenging background and always struggling to make ends meet, it wasn’t a future that I felt was possible. But it did happen In a whirlwind of political change and hope for an alternative in the snap general election of 2017. I was elevated into a position where I felt that I could make a difference and my motivation was always the same. Those same values that I had harboured since being a little girl.

That two and half years in Parliament was an experience that I will always cherish and struggle with, in equal measures. The stark reality of our political system is one that I cannot pretend hasn’t made me more cynical, less hopeful for a real alternative and unfortunately more worried for the future. When I was elected, I hoped that I could prove to young girls and women who had been just like me that their voices could be heard, that they could make a difference and that they could be the changemakers and creators of a better world. The sad reality is that the system itself hampers the opportunity for real progress.

I would love to say that politics is a safe space for women. It isn’t. I would desperately like to say that debate and conflict is healthy and respectful. It’s not. I wish I could say that the old tropes that politics is a dirty corrupt business were untrue. But sadly it is. And that is from the top of our system all the way down to local politics.

More than anything I would like to say that the Labour Party itself sets a standard of
inclusivity and respect but that would be untruthful in my experience. It has become a place where to have a thought in your head that differs to the Labour leadership and the officials behind the scenes is an offence that can lead to suspension or even expulsion. At a local level it is a space where judgment is felt because as a full-time working mother juggling multiple caring responsibilities as well as often working Saturdays, you can’t sit in meeting after meeting or knock on doors in your rare free hours. I have heard the tutting and watched the finger wagging and listened to the comments and I think that it unfortunately remains the case that to be valued in the party you need to have lots and lots of free time. Naturally that means being either retired, not have caring responsibilities, being healthy both physically and mentally, and more often then not financially secure. Equality right? This Is before even
touching on the factional aspects that rage through the party, manifesting Itself through bullying, belittling, a culture of fear and a general lack of respect.

I am not perfect. I don’t have all of the answers. But one thing I am not is a hypocrite. It is for that reason, and after much consideration, I have decided to resign my membership of the UK Labour Party, rather than appeal my recent suspension letter by the local labour group at Cheshire East Council. I was suspended for not voting In line with the whip, but as I stated at the council meeting on the 27th of February I cannot support an austerity budget that places local councillors as the punching bag tor a Tory Government determined to destroy public services. This has not been an easy decision, but it is on balance the right one for me.

The reasons that I have stated combined with the position the Labour Party leadership is taking on international policy as well as domestic issues is now completely at odds with my personal beliefs and unfortunately, I feel that an alternative voice is no longer respected within the party structures. I would like to thank the great many friends that I have within the party who I hope will continue to value and respect me as I value and respect them. I will continue to serve my ward of Crewe South as an independent socialist councillor on the political values that I have always openly and honestly shared and was elected on.

I remain dedicated to fighting for true equality and Justice for the people in this country who quite simply are not receiving anywhere near the service and quality of life that they deserve. There is a complete void of honesty, decency, ambition and leadership from those with the true power to change things. Talk is cheap and the dishonesty that I have encountered on a daily basis in politics is something that I simply could not have imagined.

Bravery is required in desperate times, and democracy can only really work when fear and desire for power is not the driving force behind people’s motivations. It is our actions that define who we are and we owe it to ourselves to be true. I will be true to the little girl I once was and not allow my voice to be erased and my opinions silenced.

Smith was re-elected last year as councillor for Crewe South and will continue to serve, but as an independent.

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Liverpool Community Independents announce Gorst to stand vs Eagle in crowdfunded parliamentary election campaign

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/02/2024 - 3:59am in

Local councillor who trounced Labour in last year’s local elections will contest Commons seat against Labour

The Liverpool Community Independents (LCI) party of left-wing former Labour members who quit the party in disgust at the local council’s cuts to services for the city’s most vulnerable, has selected local councillor Sam Gorst to stand against Labour right MP Maria Eagle in the next parliamentary election.

Gorst is the former Labour councillor who trounced Labour in the previously strong Labour Garston ward last May, along with LCI colleague Lucy Williams, despite a disgusting sewer-campaign by Labour targeting him. Both Gorst and Williams have gained even more popularity with Garstonians for leading the fight against a literal ‘time bomb’ chemical processing works the Labour-run council has rubber-stamped to be built right next to houses in Liverpool village.

The newly-configured Garston constituency will replace the existing Garston and Halewood seat in which Eagle is the incumbent.

LCI has launched a crowdfunder to raise money for the costs of its campaign. Labour is said to be rightly worried given the scale of Garston’s rejection of the Starmeroid party in the locals.

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