Starmer’s Zionist New Labour functionary in leading position in PSC, purging leftists!
Why does the PSC Executive show solidarity with racist Zionist oppressors and not Marxist Palestine Defenders?
Appeal against a corrupt, unconstitutional anti-left purge in Palestine Solidarity Campaign (with Appendices).
By Ian Donovan
I have been a member of PSC since 2005, i.e., for over 15 years. But in February 2020 I was expelled in what amounts to a proscription against the organisation of which I am a leading member, then called Socialist Fight, the British Section of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International, the latter being a left current with supporters in several countries and three continents, to which I am still affiliated as is the Trotskyist Faction/Socialist Fight, as the British LCFI section is now called.
There were two motives for my expulsion from PSC. The first was because I challenged the exclusion from membership of PSC of another comrade, Peter Gregson, a leading member of an oppositional trend in the Labour Party, Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism (LAZIR). I put a motion seeking to reaffirm what it says in the PSC constitution, that the Conference has the right to ratify decisions of the Executive denying membership to applicants. It is not possible for the conference to exercise that right without the person refused membership being allowed to appeal. That motion was moved by me and seconded by comrade Jenny Flintoft, another long-time PSC member who has tragically since passed away, a victim of the pandemic. It was put in order and in good time for last year’s AGM.
It was ruled out of order by the PSC Executive, in a manner that was a brazen breach of the PSC constitution itself which has a clause (clause 16) that means that such a challenge to the interpretation of the PSC constitution is explicitly protected by the constitution and must be decided by the AGM.
Conflict of Interest – To Say the Least!
I have since discovered that the key individual involved in this unconstitutional, and likely unlawful, ruling out of order of my motion is a high-level employee of the Labour Party and remains so under Keir Starmer. Ben Soffa is the Secretary of PSC, apparently. But he is also an employee of the Labour Party. According to his LinkedIn and Twitter profiles he is still the Head of Digital Organising for the Labour Party, and that has been so from 2015 to the present day. So, while in his spare time he is PSC Secretary, in his day job he works for Keir Starmer and the Labour Party leadership.
The same Keir Starmer who swore loyalty to the 10 demands of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and who stated his support for Zionism ‘without qualification’. Soffa was originally a Corbynite, and even mentioned as such in the leaked report on The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 – 2019. However, unlike most Corbynite functionaries he stayed on and works for the openly Zionist Labour leadership. He is evidently working both sides of the street.
The term ‘conflict of interest’ does not really quite capture how appalling this is. His employer, to whom he evidently owes primary loyalty, is a declared enemy of the Palestinian people and of everything PSC is supposed to stand for. When Starmer took over he purged virtually every individual from the Labour apparatus with even a morsel of socialist sentiment in their politics. Even Rebecca Long-Bailey, who like Starmer grovelled to the BOD and signed up for their demands, was purged. But not Ben Soffa apparently. He is part of an apparatus that is purging left-wing people and anti-Zionists from Labour right across the country. He is obviously bringing the Labour witchhunt into the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in his spare time.
After I was suspended without any reason given except ‘concerns’ about my conduct, PSC functionaries spent over a month trawling my writings online to try to find something to allege. It was supposed to take “a few days” to formulate: it took 34. They found nothing they could use without mendacious quote-chopping. Maybe these people could have taken lessons from the Israeli spy Assaf Kaplan, who also now works in the leader’s office and is likely to be working closely with Ben Soffa, as Head of Digital Organising. These are adjacent spheres, quite evidently, and the kind of methods Starmer expects Kaplan to professionalise in hunting anti-Zionists and and anti-imperialists in Labour have already been used in PSC by Ben Soffa, his Labour apparatus colleague. This is a major scandal in PSC: enemies of the Palestinian people evidently now have major input into its functioning.
Tearing up the PSC Constitution
Peter Gregson was refused membership in July 2019: he ought to have been able to challenge this at the 2020 AGM and have the Conference ratify whether his application for membership should be accepted or rejected, according to the clear wording of the PSC Constitution itself. This states in clause 4.5: “Admission to, and where necessary termination of, membership – along with the issuing of invitations to sponsors – shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee, to be ratified at the following AGM.”
But this was denied by the Executive, and when I authored a motion to simply reaffirm the constitutional right of the AGM to decide this question, not only was the motion ruled out of order, but a fake anti-Semitism allegation was concocted to remove me from PSC for raising it. Its perfectly obvious what the motive was for suspending me: to stop me from attending the 2020 AGM and challenging the unconstitutional ruling out of order of a watertight demand that the constitution be adhered to in the case of Peter Gregson. The wording in the constitution is so clear that a ten-year-old could spot that the PSC Executive’s actions are in breach of the PSC Constitution. What they must have been particularly afraid of is that I would have raised a point of order under Clause 16 of the Constitution, which mandates that questions of constitutional interpretation be heard by the AGM, which would have put my motion back on the agenda, as it fits clause 16 exactly.
The fake ‘anti-Semitism’ allegation attacks me for supporting a Marxist tendency that puts forward an analysis and attack on Zionism that the political trends that dominate the PSC executive do not like. It amounts to proscribing a Marxist trend in PSC. Presumably, any other Palestine defender who joins the LCFI or is persuaded of the LCFI position on Zionism will also face witch-hunting and exclusion. This is a new development, and effectively amounts to PSC adopting an anti-Communist exclusion clause for the first time, akin to the Labour Party’s one-time Proscribed List – a manifestation of McCarthyism in Britain. If the PSC leadership wants to proscribe particular left-wing organisations in this way, let us see them do this openly and justify this politically. Then the entire labour movement will know where the PSC Executive stands.
Their behaviour is simply an echo of the political collapse of the Corbynite left in the Labour Party, who supported the adoption of the IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ and all of its ‘examples’ – a series of amalgams between Muslim and left-wing opposition to Zionist racism, with the anti-Semitism of Hitler and the Nazis. Many of the key members of the executive who take decisions on things like these exclusions, are members of the Labour Party, or of various factions within it, that have their own internal discipline, and pursue their own sectarian factional vendettas against others on the left who they disapprove.
Corbynites Throw the Left Under the Bus
It is an established fact, for instance, that Louise Regan, who ‘investigated’ me as the correspondence shows, is a long-standing member of Socialist Action, a deep-entryist, ex-Trotskyist faction within the Labour Party that sees its role as a group of ‘fixers’ for prominent left-wing ‘personalities’ and regard any attempt to openly win support for Marxist ideas and programme on their own merits as at odds with their strategy and something to be squashed. For at least the last 10 years, the PSC Executive has been known to be bureaucratically dominated by Socialist Action. Louise Regan was recently suspended from the Labour Party herself after raising objections within her own constituency Labour Party to the suspension and removal of the whip from Jeremy Corbyn. But in PSC she has behaved in the same way as the people who suspended her. So, while she should be defended against such a purge, she should also be condemned for doing similar things to others.
Then there is Ben Soffa, who is the person who both informed me (by telephone) that the motion to adhere to the constitution in the Peter Gregson case had been ruled out of order, that I was suspended and would be ‘investigated’ by Louise Regan, and who later wrote to me informing me of my expulsion from PSC (see Appendix G). See earlier for his role as functionary in the apparatus of Keir Starmer, who supports Zionism “without qualification”. Given that Louise Regan had worked with Soffa to purge anti-Zionist socialists who are long-time members of PSC, she is tainted by this also.
Unfortunately, the Palestinian executive members have been carefully selected by the bureaucratic pseudo-left forces that control PSC. They are pretty much exclusively supporters of the Palestinian authority of Mahmood Abbas, which pretends to speak for Palestinians, but in fact is maintained in power with Israeli support and jointly with them, has prevented any free elections in the Palestinian occupied territories since 25 January 2006. It also launched a coup in 2007 against the Hamas leadership that was clearly elected in 2006, declaring a state of emergency, in collaboration with Israel as well as other imperialist forces including British intelligence. It put elected Hamas legislators in jail and started a de-facto civil war that persists to this day, and has allowed Israel to further weaken the Palestinians and colonise the West Bank, and to crucify Gaza with repeated barbaric bombing campaigns and other atrocities, like the murder of Gaza protesters calling for the right to return. So, PSC is dominated by bureaucratic, opportunist and traitorous forces, and throws out people who oppose such treachery and fake opposition. Indeed, the late Edward W Said characterised the Palestinian Authority that grew out of the Oslo accord as akin to the Vichy regime that collaborated with the Nazis in occupied France.
It is no accident that Peter Gregson who the PSC Executive was so determined to keep out of PSC, was the leader of an organic trend within the Corbyn led Labour Party, LAZIR, whose whole purpose was to challenge Zionist anti-Muslim bigotry in Labour. Corbyn has repeatedly thrown the more radical anti-Zionist figures in the Labour Party under the bus, including prominent figures like Chris Williamson and Ken Livingstone. In the case of Peter Gregson, a much witch-hunted figure and target of Zionist rage, Corbyn denounced the supposedly ‘anti-Semitic’ LAZIR banner outside the 2019 Labour Party Conference and had the police remove it after Peter put it up.
But the banner simply reproduced an iconic cartoon by the pro-Palestine cartoonist Carlos Latuff depicting Corbyn being attacked by Benjamin Netanyahu, piloting a jet fighter firing missiles of ‘defamation’ at Corbyn. Corbyn’s denunciation of the LAZIR/Latuff banner is a gross capitulation before the Israel lobby, that brought forth a sharp rebuke from Carlos Latuff himself (see images). As is the executive’s exclusion of Peter Gregson itself, and the hysterical and anti-democratic response by the executive to being challenged over this, deepening the witch-hunt. It is importing the surrender before racist Zionist witchhunters by Jeremy Corbyn into the PSC, not to mention behaving in a similar manner to the likes of Starmer and McNichol. Between them these witchhunters and those who capitulate to them have inflicted a serious defeat on the British labour movement and need to be held accountable for that. As do those bringing this into PSC.
Zionism and Imperialist Oppression
Our tendency analyses Zionism as having implemented a highly successful strategy over the last several decades to resolve the question of the oppression of the Jews in a reactionary way, at the expense of the Palestinian people. It has done this by creating Israel as a powerful imperialist state that is unique among imperialist powers because it has a strong base of support, based on ethnic politics and its racist citizenship laws, in the ruling classes of several other imperialist countries, in Western Europe and most importantly the United States.
Without the influence of the Zionist faction in the old imperialist countries, which is at its core a Jewish-Zionist ethnic faction with a material interest in Israel though its ‘law of return’, Israel would be only a minor imperialist state with a similar lack of world power as, say Denmark. But Israel is armed to the teeth by the Western powers due largely to the influence of the bourgeois Zionist faction or lobby in the US and West Europe. It is not really a world power, but its regional military power is comparable to medium level Western imperialist nations including Britain when its arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons is considered. The US militarist-conservative publication The National Interest rates Israel as “the Middle East’s Military Superpower” (https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/small-strong-israel-middle-east%E2%80%99s-military-superpower-173140).
The conclusion that we draw from this is that the historic oppression of the Jewish people that found its ultimate expression in the Nazi holocaust, is no more. Israel and its Zionist supporters now clearly dominate the Jewish political spectrum. Left-wing and anti-Zionist political forces are a small minority, and even if they were not that would not necessarily affect the material reality of the situation. Zionism’s successful strategy was to lead the Jews to join the world’s dominant peoples. Israel is imperialist, and political Zionism is an imperialist movement, not in any sense a movement of the oppressed, and it should not be indulged as such.
The PSC leadership says that our position amounts to anti-Jewish prejudice. The PSC Executive’s position amounts to pro-Zionist prejudice. If condemning Israel and its bourgeois supporters overseas as imperialist oppressors is equated with anti-Jewish prejudice, then logically opposition to US imperialism, British imperialism, French imperialism etc is anti-American, anti-British, anti-French prejudice. But even the apologists for the more traditional imperialist countries would not dare claim that. They would be laughed at!
The only way that the PSC leadership can justify this is by the most pathetic quotation-chopping and the technique of the ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ – people are supposed to look at our words (in a collectively approved Socialist Fight leaflet from Jan 2018), look at its evaluation of the position of the Zionist-led Jewish people in today’s world order, and pretend to see some sort of racist abuse against Jews in it. But there is none and the accusation is a feeble lie. The technique is like the population in the famous story feeling obliged to pretend that the King was wearing a fine suit of clothes when in fact he was walking around stark naked (see Appendix F).
There is nothing anti-Jewish in the contention that Jews today under Zionist leadership have joined the imperialist ‘club’ of dominant peoples, and it is an insult to those who suffered real oppression in the past to pretend that there is. As well as an insult to Palestinian victims of Zionism’s imperialist terrorism. The factual, materialist basis for arguing this is irrefutable and the allegation that mentioning these facts is anti-Jewish is a piece of anti-Communist hasbara.
This then is the motivation for my appeal against expulsion from PSC. Only the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, which also forced the postponement of the 2021 PSC AGM, have prevented this from being aired earlier. This appeal is not aimed at the PSC Executive mainstream, but at ordinary PSC supporters many of whom will be outraged at Starmer-style purges being brought into PSC by people acting hand-in-hand with witchhunters in the Labour Party.
Appendices and additional commentary.
Appendix A) Motion to PSC
This was submitted on 25 November 2019 (Around 10 days after this, I was informed by phone by Ben Soffa that the motion was ruled out of order and that I was suspended. He said Louise Regan would be in touch about this).
Motion on Peter Gregson and Membership Appeals
This AGM notes that article 4.5 of the PSC constitution states:
“Admission to, and where necessary termination of, membership – along with the issuing of invitations to sponsors – shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee, to be ratified at the following AGM.”
This means that the constitutional position is that someone who applies to join PSC, and is refused membership by the executive, has the right to appeal to the AGM against refusal of membership.
There can be no debate about this: this is subject to ratification and therefore appeal at the AGM if the wording of the constitution means anything. If the AGM is denied the right to hear an appeal against such a decision, it is being denied the right to an informed ratification of the actions of the Executive.
We also note that Peter Gregson, of Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism, was refused membership of PSC in July by a decision of the PSC executive. When brother Gregson informed the executive of an intention to appeal this to the AGM, Ben Jamal replied:
“The provisions of 4.6 in relation to appeals is … only relevant to those who have successfully been admitted to membership of PSC and subsequently had their membership terminated or suspended. As your case has been dealt with under clause 4.5 you are not entitled to appeal this decision to the AGM.”
This AGM notes that if it is not able to hear the appeal of someone refused membership, it is unable to make an informed ratification of this issue as clause 4.5 of the constitution stipulates.
This AGM therefore resolves to hear the appeal of Peter Gregson, and notes that this is a clarifying precedent.
Proposed: Ian Donovan (London)
Seconded: Jenifer Flintoft (Meon Valley)
Appendix B: PSC Constitution
Introduction: Note that the relevant clauses are highlighted. In his letter to Peter Gregson, quoted in the motion in Appendix A above, Ben Jamal claimed:
“The provisions of 4.6 in relation to appeals is … only relevant to those who have successfully been admitted to membership of PSC and subsequently had their membership terminated or suspended. As your case has been dealt with under clause 4.5 you are not entitled to appeal this decision to the AGM.”
The problem with this cock-eyed reasoning is that clause 4.5 contradicts this, as it explicitly covers both “Admission to, and where necessary termination of, membership” i.e.. both refusals of membership, and terminations (i.e., expulsions) and states that both decisions regarding admission and termination of membership are subject to being ratified at the next (ie. 2020) AGM.
Clause 4.5 covers both admission and termination of membership and explicitly states that the AGM has the right to ‘ratify’, i.e. hear appeals, regarding both. They are clearly linked in the same sentence. Clause 4.6 is about the power of the executive to suspend or expel members with a two-thirds majority. With regard to termination, therefore, clause 4.6 merely repeats what is already in clause 4.5, which already dealt with admissions and terminations and the right of the AGM to ratify them. The only new things in Clause 4.6 are the requirement for a two-thirds majority on the Executive for expulsions and suspensions, and the addition of the right to appeal to the AGM against suspension which is already present in clause 4.5 with regard to matters concerning admission to and termination of membership.
Thus, it is already clear that in refusing the right of Peter Gregson to appeal refusal of membership, the executive and its officers, in particularly Ben Jamal, breached clause 4.5 of the PSC Constitution.
It is also clear that in ruling out of order the motion put by myself and the late Jennie Flintoft on 25th November 2019, the Executive and/or its officers, in particularly Ben Soffa, blatantly violated clause 16 of the PSC Constitution. The motion we put was clearly protected by clause 16 and was placed in good order. It disputed the ruling of the executive and its officers about the interpretation of the constitution and the AGM had every right to decide on this dispute under clause 16. Ruling it out of order tore up Clause 16 and the PSC Constitution itself. This is proof of misconduct and unconstitutional behaviour by the PSC Executive and its officer here also.
As amended at AGM 2017
1. Name of Organisation
The name of the organisation shall be ‘Palestine Solidarity Campaign’.
2. Office location
The organisation, however registered, shall be in England.
3. Aims and Objectives
The aims and objectives of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign shall be shall be identical with those expressed in the Memorandum of Association of which this constitution is an integral part:
a) for the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people;
b) for the right of return of the Palestinian people;
c) for the immediate withdrawal of the Israeli state from the occupied territories.
d) against the oppression and dispossession suffered by the Palestinian people
e) in support of the rights of the Palestinian people and their struggle to achieve these rights
f) to promote Palestinian civil society in the interests of democratic rights and social justice
g) to oppose Israel’s occupation and its aggression against neighbouring states
h) in opposition to racism, including anti-Jewish prejudice and the apartheid and Zionist nature of
the Israeli state.
i) in opposition to Islamophobia.
4.1 Full Membership of the PSC shall be open to all those who agree with the aims and objectives of the Campaign and who pay the necessary annual subscription.
4.2 Paid up national members will be entitled to be members of their local branch and their details will be made available to bona fide (ie members of national PSC) branch officers for the purposes of PSC business only.
4.3 A member whose annual subscription is not renewed within six months of the renewal date shall be deemed to have lapsed their membership.
4.4 An honorary member is any person the AGM wishes to honour for services to the PSC or Palestine.
4.5 Admission to, and where necessary termination of, membership – along with the issuing of invitations to sponsors – shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee, to be ratified at the following AGM.
4.6 The Executive Committee may, by a two-thirds majority, terminate or suspend the membership of an individual member, local branch, or affiliated organisation found to have breached the constitution, subject to appeal at the following AGM or EGM.
4.7 A member may resign from the organisation in writing posted to, or left at, the registered office of the company.
5. 1 The Executive Committee shall have the power to grant permission for the formation of local branches.
5.2. All branches shall adopt the PSC name except where there are historical reasons for another name. In these cases the branch constitution should state that the branch is a branch of PSC.
5. 3. All branches should adopt a constitution, which must contain:
a) The PSC aims and objectives.
b) A requirement for elected officers to be members of PSC.
c) A requirement to hold an Annual General Meeting.
d) Procedures for electing officers.
e) The requirement to properly account for money received and expended.
6.1 The Executive Committee shall have the power to grant permission for the formation of groupings of branches into regional structures.
6.2 Branches are encouraged to organise regional events and, where it does not detract from local activities, create a regional structure.
6.3 In consultation with the Executive Committee, regional structures should be created at the request of at least two branches, within a region and after adequate discussion by branches of its usefulness and sustainability. The creation of such regional structures should be ratified at the following AGM.
6.4 Once a regional structure is created and sustained, its main purpose should be as contained within points (3 and 6.2). At least one regional meeting per year should be organised to consider how to co-ordinate the implementation of PSC policies and initiatives within the region.
6.5 Where a duly-constituted Region exists, the EC member for that region shall be elected by a regional meeting before the AGM. In the absence of such a regional meeting, regional members for the EC shall be elected at the AGM. Voting for such regional representation shall only be undertaken by those members who are from the appropriate region.
6.6 Where a formal regional structure exists and has sufficient strength it should, where appropriate and in consultation with the Executive Committee, consider the creation and development of new branches within its region.
7. 1. Affiliated groups or bodies must accept the aims and objectives of PSC.
7. 2. Affiliated groups or bodies must pay the appropriate affiliation fee but for all other purposes are autonomous and solely responsible for their conduct.
7. 3. Such groups must apply for affiliation to the PSC AGM or (in between AGM’s) to the Executive Committee.
7. 4. Affiliated bodies may send an observer to National PSC Forum Meetings and AGM’s in accordance with point 8.3.
7. 5. PSC reserves the right to refuse affiliation or to revoke affiliation of any group or organisation whose aims, objectives or practices conflict in whole or in part with the aims, objectives and practices of PSC. Such a decision must be carried by a 2/3 majority of the AGM or Executive Committee.
8. 1. Annual General Meetings
a) Annual General Meeting (AGM) shall be open to all national members and shall be the policy making body of the PSC.
b) PSC shall hold an Annual General Meeting once in each calendar year. Not more than 15 months shall elapse between the date of one Annual General Meeting and the next.
c) The Agenda of the AGM shall include:
i) The presentation of an Annual Plan for the coming year;
ii) Report of the work of the EC since the last AGM;
iii) The presentation of accounts;
iv) Membership and affiliation report;
v) Motions submitted by members, branches affiliates, the EC and any other committees.
vi) The election of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Trade Union Liaison Officer, the Campaign Officer, the Publications Officer, ordinary members of the Executive Committee and any other posts which are approved by the AGM.
vii) The Executive Committee may on behalf of the membership invite speakers to attend and address the Annual General Meeting.
d) The EC shall begin preparing for the AGM at least three months in advance of the scheduled date by inviting resolutions and nominations from branches and affiliates.
e) Resolutions and nominations for the AGM must be submitted in writing to PSC office at least eight weeks before the scheduled AGM. Amendments to the resolutions must be received in the PSC office at least seven days before the AGM.
f) Resolutions, the Annual Plan and nominations shall be circulated to branches and affiliated organisations at least six weeks before the scheduled date of the AGM.
g) All persons voting must be individual members of national PSC
h) Delegates from national organisations affiliated to PSC will have 3 votes (if they have over 100,000 members) or one vote if fewer.
i) All other affiliated organisations including PSC branches will have one vote.
j) All delegates, whether individual members or those duly nominated by their branch or affiliated organisation, must be registered with the PSC national office at least two clear days before the AGM.
8. 2. Notice of General Meetings.
a) An Extraordinary General Meeting or a Special General Meeting may be authorised by the National Executive Committee or an Annual General Meeting, whenever either body considers sufficient reason exists. Notice of why such a meeting is deemed necessary together with the resolution or resolutions to be considered must be given. Such Meetings can be called with no less than 21 days notice given to all members and affiliates. The EC shall convene an Extraordinary General Meeting on receiving a request to that effect signed by at least 5% of the full members having the right to attend and vote at General Meetings. In default those members requesting the Extraordinary meeting may convene one using the facilities and resources of the PSC.
b) Notice shall be inclusive of the day on which it is served and the day of the meeting.
c) A notice in writing may be made by email or post.
8. 3. Proceedings at Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings.
a) The Chairperson shall preside at every General Meeting. If there is no Chair or Vice Chair or if he or she is not present within 15 minutes of the time appointed or is unwilling to preside, the members present shall elect either a member of the EC, or one of their number, to preside.
b) No business shall be transacted at any General Meeting unless a quorum of members is present when the meeting is due to commence. A quorum shall consist of 100 members or 10% of the membership having a right to attend and vote at that meeting, whichever is the lowest.
c) If a quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the time appointed for holding the General Meeting, it shall be dissolved if it was convened on the request of members, or adjourned to such a day, time and place as the EC shall think fit.
d) The proceedings at properly convened General Meetings will be conducted as laid down in the Standing Orders of the PSC.
e) Each fully paid up member who has been a member of national PSC for three months before the AGM shall have one vote.
f) Delegates from national organisations affiliated to PSC will have 3 votes (if they have over 100,000 members) or one vote if fewer.
g) All other affiliated organisations including PSC branches will have one vote.
9. Executive Committee
9.1 The Executive Committee shall be accountable to the membership for the implementation of the affairs of the PSC.
9.2 The EC shall be responsible to the membership for the proper management of the affairs of the PSC.
9.3 The EC shall be responsible for decisions made between AGM’s. It shall be responsible for strategic decisions which need to be made between AGM’s.
9.4 The EC shall consist of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Secretary, Treasurer, the Trade Union Liaison Officer, 1 representative of the Student and Youth Committee, the Campaign Officer, the Publications Officer, 5 Regional members, 2 representatives of the Trade Union Advisory Committee and 8 other members.
9.5. The EC shall have the power to co-opt a further six persons if this is felt necessary to aid its work and deliberations.
9.6 The EC shall constitute the Board of Directors.
9.7 The EC shall meet not less than 6 times per year.
9.8 The EC shall publish the minutes of its meetings and make available on request to all duly constituted PSC branches. In doing so it will ensure that confidentiality will be respected.
9.9 Every duly constituted branch of PSC has the right to place an item on the EC agenda and to send an observer to the EC meeting at which it is discussed.
9.9 Members attending the EC meetings shall withdraw from any agenda item which causes or may cause a conflict of interest.
10. Officers Group
10.1The Officers Group shall be a sub-committee of the EC.
10.2 The Officers Group shall consist of the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Office Manager and up to two others to be elected by the EC.
10.3 The Officers Group shall be responsible for ensuring the implementation and decisions between Executive meetings.
10.4 The Officers Group shall be accountable to the EC.
10.5 The Officers Group must report its decisions to the EC at every EC meeting.
11. PSC Branch Forum
11.1 The PSC Branch Forum shall be a meeting for the interchange of information, discussion and training.
11.2 The PSC Branch Forum shall be open to branches, affiliates and individual members.
11.3 The PSC Branch Forum shall meet at least 2 times per year, at least once outside London.
11.4 The PSC Branch Forum may make recommendations to the NEC, which must be considered and given due weight.
a) The EC shall elect a Returning Officer who will supervise the conduct of elections and who will not be a member of the EC
b) Each fully paid up member who has been a member of national PSC for three months before the AGM shall have one vote.
c) Delegates from national organisations affiliated to PSC will have 3 votes (if they have over 100,000 members) or one vote if fewer.
(d) All other affiliated organisations including PSC branches will have one vote.
e) Nominations shall be open at least three months before the date of the AGM and any member who has been a member for at least six months before nominations open is eligible to stand.
f) Nominations must have the name of the proposer, seconder and candidate’s agreement.
g) Nominations shall close eight weeks before the date of the AGM.
h) All candidates may submit a statement of 100 words with their nomination.
i) The Election regulations shall be made by the EC and shall include advertisement of elections, receipt of nominations, confirmation of eligibility of candidature, candidature publicity, the election and counting of votes; procedure in the event of a disputed election; procedure for electing candidates to posts for which no nominations have been received.
j) EC members shall serve until the end of the AGM following their election. Retiring EC members are eligible for re-election.
a) The PSC is responsible for ensuring that funds provided to it are used only for those activities which are in accordance with its aims and objectives.
b) The EC is required to:
(i) Ensure that accounts and accounting records are kept, and that accounting information, in accordance with normal professional accounting principles is prepared.
(ii) Ensure the preparation of annual accounts.
(iii) Ensure that a normal system of internal financial management and control is maintained.
(iv) Plan and conduct its financial affairs so as to ensure that its total income is at least sufficient, taking one year with another, to meet its total expenditure and that its financial solvency is maintained.
(vi) Take responsibility for the determination of the pay, terms and conditions of service of any staff employed by PSC.
(vii) Independent examiners or auditors may be appointed by the AGM.
a) The EC shall make provision for regulations governing the following PSC activities:
(i) Terms of reference and Job descriptions for EC members, Disciplinary Procedure and codes of practice for EC members and paid staff.
(ii) Openness and accountability of the Executive Committees proceedings.
(iii) Standing Orders for Executive Committee meetings.
(iv) Procedures for compliance with EU and UK legislation.
Nothing in the regulations shall be contradictory to the meaning and interpretation of the Constitution
a) This constitution may be amended by resolution of the AGM passed by a two thirds majority of those present and voting in favour.
b) The regulations may be amended by the EC with a majority present voting in favour.
In the event of any unresolved dispute arising over the interpretation of the Constitution the matter shall be referred to the EC who shall make a ruling, which in turn should be ratified by the following AGM.
17. Winding Up
Clause 10 of the Memorandum of Association relating to the winding up and dissolution of the PSC shall have effect as if its provisions were repeated in this constitution.
Appendix C: Suspension letter from Louise Regan (10 Dec 2019)
Introduction: What is interesting about this letter is that it says that I had been suspended due to ‘concerns’ about my ‘conduct’, but the letter did not offer the slightest hint of what those ‘concerns’ were.
It is evident that the reason for this is that at the time the letter was written, the executive had not decided what their ‘concerns’ were. They had nothing. They had decided to suspend me without any evidence of wrongdoing, none at all. What corroborates this is that in this December letter she says that she will be in touch “in the next few days” but in fact it took them 34 days to come up with something. They had decided to suspend me because they did not like my motion, but it took them over a month, not a “few days” to concoct something, however feeble, to give them a fig leaf to hide their real motive.
In the meantime, they were copying their political masters in the Labour Party bureaucracy, trawling the internet and social media, looking for something to accuse me of. But they could not find anything. I have never denied the Nazi holocaust or the pre-WWII oppression of the Jews. I have never endorsed the Protocols of Zion or any similar racist propaganda against Jews. I have never racially abused Jewish people, or anyone else. They had nothing they could use to give them cover for the real reason they wanted to get rid of me. Which was to defend their blatant, corrupt breaches of the PSC constitution. What they eventually came up with was feeble indeed and insulting to the intelligence.
Dear Mr Donovan
Following receipt of concerns raised regarding your conduct as a member of PSC I have been appointed as the investigating officer.
Following a preliminary investigation and in consultation with the Executive Committee a decision has been made to suspend your membership pending the outcome of the investigation.
The branch secretary and chair will be notified of this decision and you are therefore requested to cease any further activity in the name of PSC.
I will be in contact with you in the next few days to detail the process and to allow you to respond to the allegations that have been made.
Appendix D: Response to suspension letter by Ian Donovan (10 Dec 2019)
Dear Louise Regan,
I am in receipt of your letter dated 10 December 2019.
However I am somewhat at a loss to know what public activity in the name of PSC I am supposed to ‘stop’. Because although I support PSC and have done for many years, I have not to my knowledge engaged in any activity ‘in its name’ recently, if ever. I hold no elected position in PSC and would not presume to speak on its behalf.
You refer to ‘allegations’ without specifying what they are.
But circumstances make clear that your ‘allegation’ is that I put a motion in favour of the right to appeal against the denial of membership of Peter Gregson, of Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic racism, to the PSC AGM. This motion was submitted completely constitutionally by myself and another PSC comrade on 26 November, in time for the normal deadline.
The only objective of LAZIR is the dissaffiliation of the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel from the Labour Party. This is completely compatible with the aims and objectives of PSC and support for it is not proscribed.
I therefore take it that you oppose these objectives and support the affiliation of these Zionists to the Labour Party. That makes you a de-facto political agent of these Zionist bodies.
It’s perfectly obvious that the purpose of this suspension is to rig the January 2020 AGM and to stop this motion, which is completely in tune with PSC’s constitution, from being debated.
It is crystal clear that in denying the right of the conference to hear Peter’ Gregson’s appeal, the PSC executive is in breach of clause 4.5 of the PSC Constitution and is denying the PSC AGM the right to an informed ratification (or not) of its actions regarding Peter Gregson’s membership.
Therefore your suspension of me is an act of conference rigging and a direct attack on not only myself but of the right of PSC’s AGM to exercise its constitutional right of informed ratification of the Executive’s actions. The suspension itself is a corrupt act and the ‘investigation’ just a charade whose purpose is to defend the ‘right’ of the PSC Executive to behave in an unconstitutional and likely unlawful manner.
Therefore the ‘investigation’ is itself unconstitutional and a corrupt act. Any co-operation with this fraudulent ‘investigation’ would therefore involve complicity in a major breach of the constitution by the PSC Executive, which would itself be a breach of the constitution. Just by agreeing to ‘conduct’ this phoney ‘investigation’ you yourself are in breach of the PSC constitution and an abuse of office, which ought to render you, not me, liable to expulsion from PSC.
As I do not want to be complicit in such a corrupt breach of the constitution, I will not be cooperating in any way with this corrupt ‘investigation’. Anyone else who ‘cooperates’ or participates in this fraudulent ‘investigation’ in any way at all is likewise in breach of the PSC constitution and actively involved in AGM-rigging.
Any further attempts to contact me regarding this will not be replied to in a spirit of cooperation, but will be cited and published as further evidence of your corruption and AGM-rigging activities.
I note that your pretence of acting impartially is a fraud. I have it on good authority that you are a member of Socialist Action, which is a bureaucratic Stalinist cult around a renegade ex-Trotskyist known as John Ross.
Being ‘investigated’ by a member of such an outfit is like being ‘investigated’ by a body controlled by the thug Gerry Healy, the cult leader and rapist who abused the membership of the Workers Revolutionary Party for many years. If you think I will give any credence to the capacity of such a cult to ‘investigate’ anyone you are totally deluded.
Yours for socialism, not bureaucratic gangsterism
Appendix E: Complaint letter from Louise Regan 13 Jan 2020
Introduction: This is all they could come up with after over a month of searching for something to justify the suspension and threat of expulsion against me. Apparently criticising the creation of Jews-only groups on the left that supposedly fight for Palestinian rights separately from non-Jews by giving it their separate endorsement, is not allowed. That is what is implied, though rather weakly, since the passage is not highlighted. Since comparisons of Zionist Israel with apartheid South Africa are frequently made, it’s a reasonable question as to whether if someone had the idea of setting a group called ‘whites against apartheid’, and that was criticised for excluding non-whites, such criticism would be considered ‘anti-white racism’. That’s how bizarre this allegation is. But it is not made particularly strongly. The highlighted passage is obviously what they really are trying to portray as objectionable.
Apparently, to say that Jews have succeeded in escaping from the earlier oppression that they suffered before WWII and are now to be counted among the world’s oppressor peoples, is in some way a slur against Jews. That is an absurd contention that does not stand up to a moment’s scrutiny. It is a matter of empirical observation: is it true or not?
These people do not even bother to try to demonstrate that it is untrue. They should try to demonstrate to Palestinians, who have been dispossessed of their homeland for three quarters of a century by the Jewish state, that the Israeli Jews who have dispossessed them, are not an oppressor people. If they seriously believe that Israeli Jews are not an oppressor people, then logically they should not support a campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are clearly oppressed by Israeli Jews.
But that brings us on to the quotation-chopping. Because the feeble innuendo here is that this passage implies that every Jew on the planet is an oppressor, or that every Jewish community in every country is part of an oppressor people. If it did say that, it would hardly constitute racist abuse, but it would be mistaken. But the passage does not say that. Here is the passage which is emphasised, which appears to be the basis of the feeble non-charge of hostility to Jewish people, in full:
“Yet the CPGB and its allies deny that this phenomenon exists, and seek to deny workers democracy to those who draw attention to it. This is not an anti-racist struggle on their behalf, but a pandering to the nationalism and communalism of an oppressor people, as Jews have become today insofar as under Zionist leadership they manage to act collectively. [emphasis added by ID].
It is the flip-side of their anti-Muslim capitulations. Jews are the one people in the imperialist epoch that have comprehensively escaped from systematic oppression and joined the ranks of oppressor peoples in the imperialist world order (this emphasis added by Louise Regan). This is because the oppression that led to their persecution and attempted genocide in the mid-20th Century was rooted in feudal, not capitalist society.“
This takes account of the fact that the Zionist movement does claim, fairly accurately by all accounts, the allegiance of the vast majority of Jews in the imperialist countries. Anti-Zionist Jews are quite a small minority. Zionist Jews are organised politically in mainstream organisations that mobilise very effectively to support Israel against the Palestinians, and to witchhunt and suppress support for the Palestinians. Everyone knows this movement exists and is a potent force. Those Jews who support these movements quite clearly do politically support the oppression of the Palestinians. Since they do so on an ethnic basis they act as part of an oppressor people.
This does not include all Jews worldwide. It does not seem to include the Jewish community in Iran, for instance, whose leaders do not appear to support Zionism and the Jewish state. But those Jews who support Israel against the Palestinians clearly are oppressing the Palestinians. This should be the position of any Palestinian Solidarity Campaign worthy of the name. The fact that it can be cited as a reason to expel someone from such a campaign simply shows that PSC is led by capitulators to Zionism, at best.
Dear Mr Donovan
Following my email to notify you that we had received a complaint regarding your conduct I am now contacting you with details of these complaints and giving you the opportunity to respond to these as part of my investigation. The complaint is:
That the following was published by you on the Socialist Fight website
https://socialistfight.com/2017/12/01/third-camp-stalinoids-bring-witchhunt-intolabour-against-the-witchhunt/ – ‘The CPGB’s bloc with Bundist-influenced Jewish socialists such as Tony Greenstein and Moshé Machover, who have played initiating or supporting roles in various Jews-only political campaigns, such as Jews Against Zionism, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-Big), etc, only underlines this philoSemitic, Islamophobic bias … by emphasising their Jewishness, to ‘kosher’ the Palestinian solidarity movement and parry the inevitable smears of anti-Semitism that Zionists throw at it. These groups … tacitly accept a key Zionist notion that is hegemonic in today’s racist society: the notion of Jewish moral superiority; that anyone who opposes Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians is guilty of anti-Semitism until proven innocent.
Jews are the one people in the imperialist epoch that have comprehensively escaped from systematic oppression and joined the ranks of oppressor peoples in the imperialist world order.’
To be clear the reason for your suspension is not related to the motion submitted to the PSC AGM. There is no suggestion that you were commenting in the name of PSC however behaviour by a member which contravenes the constitution is also reason for investigation when a complaint is raised. I also attach a copy of the complaint’s procedure. If you could please let me have any response to these concerns by Friday 24th January.
Vice Chair PSC
Appendix F: Reply to Louise Regan from Ian Donovan, 20 January 2020
Dear Louise Regan,
Would you like to explain what rule this article broke? It is an agreed statement of the Socialist Fight group, which I and others in PSC support.
If your innuendo is that this is in some way anti-Semitic, it certainly does not fit the definition of anti-Semitism in the dictionary. It certainly does not constitute “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group” as the Merriam Webster dictionary puts it.
I assume that PSC has not endorsed the racist, anti-Arab IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, with its numerous ‘examples’. But even if it had, it does not break that either, as “denying that Jews are currently an oppressed people in the imperialist world order” is not one of its ‘examples’.
So are you saying that Socialist Fight is a proscribed organisation in PSC? Or what? Are you proposing to prescribe particular left groups now?
I note that you are a member of the Labour Party which has adopted the IHRA definition. I have left Labour and cancelled my membership because I no longer an prepared to support a party that has rules that discriminate against Palestinians.
But you seem to be adopting the methods of the racist, anti-Palestinian right wing of Labour for use against Socialists and anti-imperialists in PSC. Shame on you! I regard any decision you make against me on the stated grounds as motivated by the racism of the party and opportunist faction you support and will expose you in front of the wider socialist public for this.
Of course the motive for this suspension is to rig the AGM and stop the obvious breach of the constitution the Executive committed, as detailed in our motion, from being discussed at the AGM. Your statement denying this is simply a lie. And your ‘case’ against me is a fraud, as the SF statement cited is in no sense hostile to Jewish people, only to those who support the oppression of the Palestinians.
Appendix G: Expulsion letter from Ben Soffa (PSC Secretary/ the Head of Digital Organising for Zionist New Labour)
Letter expelling me, dated 05/03/2020
Dear Mr Donovan,
On Saturday 29th February the Executive Committee of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign considered the complaint made against you relating to statements which called into question your full support for the aims of the organisation – specifically the aim to campaign ‘in opposition to racism, including anti-Jewish prejudice’. It also considered your response to the complaint.
As stated in PSC’s constitution (point 4.1 in the attached), ‘Full Membership of the PSC shall be open to all those who agree with the aims and objectives of the Campaign’. The aims of the campaign include the requirement to be ‘in opposition to racism, including anti-Jewish prejudice’.
After considering this matter, the Executive Committee concluded that you are not in compliance with the aims of the campaign and are therefore not eligible for membership of PSC. The committee voted as per point 4.6 of the constitution, unanimously approving a resolution to terminate your membership of PSC.
This decision comes into effect immediately and you cease to hold any of the rights and privileges of PSC membership. The constitution does afford those whose membership has been terminated to make an appeal against the Executive’s decision at the subsequent AGM of the campaign, which is anticipated to be held in London on 30th January 2021. Were you to wish to exercise this option a minimum of two weeks notice is required. However you should be aware that The Executive Committee voted for this course of action with no votes to the contrary and would strongly defend its position to the wider membership who have always upheld the decisions of the Executive Committee in this regard.
You may also inform us if you wish to receive a pro-rata refund on any remaining portion of your membership subscription.
Whilst I appreciate this will not come as welcome news, I hope you are able to put the needs of the Palestinian people first in your considerations.
Secretary, Palestine Solidarity Campaign