Momentum removes Jackie Walker: the right decision for the wrong reasons

October 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm (anti-semitism, Jim D, labour party, left, reformism)

Picket by some idiots in support of Walker outside yesterday’s meeting 

Yesterday’s meeting of the Momentum Steering Committee voted to remove Jackie Walker as Vice Chair, and issued the following statement:

Momentum’s Steering Committee has voted, seven to three, to remove Jackie Walker as its Vice Chair, a position it elected her to. She remains a member of Momentum and its Steering Committee.

Jackie’s actions at Labour Conference, in her subsequent Channel 4 interview, and by not understanding concern caused by her statements, have led the Steering Committee to view her behaviour as irresponsible and lose confidence in her as Vice Chair.

Having read reports of what Jackie Walker is alleged to have said, listened to the leaked video, and heard Jackie’s version of events, the Committee does not regard any of the comments she appears to have made, taken individually, to be antisemitic. However, the Committee does consider her remarks on Holocaust Memorial Day and on security of Jewish schools to be ill-informed, ill-judged and offensive. In such circumstances, the Committee feels that Jackie should have done more to explain herself to mitigate the upset caused and should have been careful about statements on this and related subjects, whatever her record as an anti-racist, which the Committee applauds.

Momentum is concerned that footage of a training session was leaked to the press. The leak is unacceptable and undermines much needed political education. Momentum also calls on Labour to apply the principles laid down in the Chakrabarti report in its investigation of Jackie. On the basis of the evidence the Committee has seen, Jackie should not be expelled from the Labour Party.

The Shiraz view is that this was the right decision, but the statement is an attempt to satisfy everyone, which will in fact satisfy no-one.

It fudges the crucial political issue (Walker’s now self-evident antisemitism) and, if taken literally, is illogical:

As in: “Her comments were offensive but not antisemitic”: but who specifically was offended by them, and why? And if the comments were not antisemitic, why would anyone be offended by them?

And if her comments were not “individually” antisemitic, does it mean that taken collectively, they might be antisemitic, but the Momentum Steering Committee doesn’t want to go there?

According to this statement, Walker’s only misdemeanours have been not to have apologised sufficiently, and not to have explained in more detail what she really meant. Our view is that the problem is just that: what she really meant.


  1. Stephen Bellamy said,

    It pains me to agree with you Jim, but the statement is indeed bullshit. Lansman left himself up the creek without a paddle and I guess that was the best he could do.

  2. Andrew Coates said,

    Meanwhile in Loony-bins land (writing under his pen name of Tony Greenstein.

    Jackie Walker – An Anti-racist Fallen Among Thieves.

    “Those voting for removing Jackie included Lansman, the 2 Alliance for Worker’s Liberty members, Chessum and Mountford and it is believed 2 other AWL ‘sleepers’ on the committee, Christine Shawcroft, who is a member of the other Labour Briefing which split acrimoniously some years ago and Sam Tarry. Matt Wrack is known to have voted to support Jackie.”

    One would be interested to know who these ‘sleepers’ are (poor old lB is revealing his advanced age, the word nowadays, post Cold War, is “submarine”.

    But I digress.

    Loony-Bins revealed his own agenda when he says this,

    “The very fact that the JLM had been allowed to run a ‘training event’ on anti-Semitism when it is a racist organisation which makes a speciality of accusing anti-Zionists of ‘anti-Semitism’ is outrageous. Having the JLM run an anti-racist course is like having a serial wife batter placed in charge of a women’s refuge or having Nick Griffin of the BNP placed in charge of a course in multiculturalism.”

    “This whole episode smacks of treachery.”

  3. James Mendelsohn said,

    “Momentum is concerned that footage of a training session was leaked to the press. The leak is unacceptable and undermines much needed political education.”

    This seems rather like Sam Allardyce’s complaint that “Entrapment has won the day.”

  4. Stephen Bellamy said,

    You are putting yourself around a bit again James. How is our mutual friend Joey ? Is he still at the Israei Embassy ?

    But anyway I feel to see how anyone cannot find absurd a training session on antisemitism run by an org headed by someone just arrived from the Israeli Embassy and another that perjured himself in an attempt to have a TRADE UNION falsely branded as antisemitic. So much so that the Judge so fit to describe him as an arrogant liar and having a worrying disregard for diversity and plurality.

  5. Stephen Bellamy said,

    The very same. I am busy writing up the whole story. Will take a while. You are going to hit me with David Hirsh aren’t you ? 0-))

    • Jim Denham said,

      Some of us always counselled against attempting to use the ‘bourgeois courts’ (ie an employment tribunal) to challenge the UCU’s anti-Semitism. It has to be fought politically, as we’re doing in Momentum. The major source of “left” anti-Semitism within the labour movement – Stalinism – has to be called out over this. Today’s dishonest and politically evasive Morning Star editorial ( will be used by myself and others to the start a serious battle against anti-Semitism on the left and within the labour movement. Hopefully, this will also serve to educate a lot of comrades who have been taken in by “the socialism of fools.”

      • David Hirsh said,

        Are you in the habit of hitting people with David Hirsh, Jim?

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        Ha David the meandering waffler

  6. Glasgow Working Class said,

    The momentum should all be immediately sacked from the Labour Party and henceforth go back from where they came. Labour may then have a chance of election.

  7. Stephen Bellamy said,

    Yeah I read it. If you want me to help fight antisemitism I will beat you to the barricades. If you want me to help restrict what may and may not be said in respect of the State of Israel, then sorry, I will be opposing you. Let the games begin.

    But anyway……. Are you saying it is ok to be a preposterous arrogant liar and to have a worrying disregard for diversity and plurality and are fitted to train on antisemitism in the LP as long as you be those things in a bourgeois court ?

  8. Stephen Bellamy said,

    You like that expression don’t you. I mean like, you say eh ? a lot

    • Jim Denham said,

      Yes: it means I haven’t a clue what you’re on about or what point you’re trying to make; one thing I did notice, however, in your previous email, was a suggestion that charges of anti-Semitism may be connected to “restrictions” on what can and cannot be said about Israel. Whether or not that’s the case, it is a matter of straight fact that none of the comments by JW that have led to either her first suspension from the LP or her recent removal from Vice Chair of Momentum, had anything whatsoever to do with Israel.

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        Yes but I wasn’t then talking about Jackie Walker. I merely am saying that if a battle against antisemitism involves a battle to get restrictions placed on what may and may not be said in respect of The State of Israel I don’t want any part of it, at least to that extent.

        For example, I think that Israel is a crappy, racist, kleptomaniacal basket case engaged in an ongoing dispossession of the Palestinian people.

        If saying that is antisemitic I am not interested in combating it.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Interesting, Stephen, that you have suddenly brought Israel into a discussion in which so far (both here and elsewhere) there has been no mention of it; why?

        Are you an adherent of the ‘Livingstone formulation’? You, know, the the insistence that Jews (and, sometimes, non-Jews) raise the issue of antisemitism dishonestly in order to silence criticism of Israel; that they don’t even believe it themselves. Talk of antisemitism on the left is (goes the formulation) a conspiracy to mobilize Jewish victim power against the Palestinians.

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        ” That Jews (and, sometimes, non-Jews) raise the issue of antisemitism dishonestly in order to silence criticism of Israel”

        Which Jews ?

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        And since you brought up the subject this is interesting.

  9. Jim Denham said,

    What do comrades think of this Facebook post by JW from July 22; what appears below does not reproduce the graphic, which is from the Daily Telegraph. JW’s comment is at the top:

    Jackie Walker

    July 22 ·
    Now it’s Shami’s turn – after all she didn’t do what the Zionist’s wanted ……

    Shami Chakrabarti refuses to deny being offered a peerage in the wake of work for Jeremy Corbyn

    Shami Chakrabarti, the author of Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitism report, has refused to deny she has been offered a peerage.

    • Stephen Bellamy said,

      JW’s comment would seem to me to be a statement of simple and obvious fact. I can’t imagine why you even think its controversial.

      • Jim Denham said,

        “. I can’t imagine why you even think its controversial.”: and therein lies the problem.

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        Whose problem ?

      • Jim Denham said,


      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        Well how come its not keeping me awake at night ( whatever it is )

      • Jim Denham said,

        And therein lies the problem …

        By the way:

        Bad news for Jackie Walker.

        In her apology that was not really an apology she said that she favoured David Schneider’s definition of anti-Semitism:

        Commenting on the Momentum statement re. Walker, David Schneider has tweeted:

        “‘Taken individually’ feels disingenuous. Taken together, drip by drip, they betrayed, for me, anti-semitic prejudice.”

        Someone has commented beneath his tweet:

        “Taken individually, Donald Trump quotes only seem idiotic. To really appreciate the hatred, you need to see them together.”

  10. Stephen Bellamy said,

    That isn’t bad news. Schneider is a man with an opinion. You do know what they say about those.And that is not a definition of antisemitism. Jackie is mistaken on that. It is a list of his thoughts that might help him identify an antisemite.

    Since each one of his points raises a lot more questions then it answers it can only be regarded as one more piece of twitter trivia.

    Doubtless Schneider would label Shulamit Aloni as antisemitic.

    Which one or more of Schneider’s points do you say Jackie falls foul of ? Answers with supporting evidence please.

  11. Jim Denham said,

    JW said that she favoured David Schneider’s “definition” of anti-Semitism: I am now quoting what David Schneider has said in response. I hold no brief for his “definition” as unlike JW I have never claimed to support it. The rest of your last comment, Stephen is just irrelevant waffle.

  12. Rilke said,

    This is what we want – more purges of all kinds! More deselections, more sackings, more people dismissed from their posts, more demotions – all led and instigated by Momentum. Why? It opens the required spaces that can then be filled by self-appointed and loyal Momentum ‘leaders’, ‘bloggers’ and ‘spokespersons’. I wrote some time ago that for this Momentum ‘group’, ‘positions would have to be got, funds gobbled up, farcical and shallow reputations built’. It is now well underway. For all this to occur though, others in the labour movement have to be ‘dealt’ with. These ‘others’ include anyone who does not agree (read ‘obey’) Momentum, in other words ‘enemies’ and ‘traitors’. Amusing to watch really!
    We had one of these ingenious parasites at a Justice for Orgreave meeting a little while back, trying to tell us all, even those of us who were actually there and arrested, what the campaign was ‘all about’ and how ‘Momentum were going ‘handled it’. They simply cannot stand any on the left who have any sense of an alternative stance and they detest those who rest upon their own rather than borrowed, working class dignity. A few will make a fair living out of it and then they will bring out a magazine and then they will fragment, splinter and die as they scurry about each claiming to be the next factional ‘leader’. Relax and enjoy the spectacle.

  13. Rilke said,

    As an addition, I just realised that the heading article uses the phrase ‘Momentum is concerned’. The ‘group’, ‘movement’, ‘collectivity’ known as ‘Momentum’, has now taken on a sort of objective, anthropological existence. It thinks for itself and speaks its mind – and in this case, ‘it’ is ‘concerned’. Within this ‘is’, the drones can scurry about and purport to speak for the whole and vice versa. All very depressing. Maybe they should read Zamyatin’s great anti-Stalinist novel Mbi (We)? The actions of and condition on the ship, the Integral, might be unsettlingly familiar though.

  14. Stephen Bellamy said,

    Thats what Schneider said. It is disingeneous to say it was ” in response”

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