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Dear <<First Name>> 

Today at 4pm we are holding our campaign's first all-members' meeting. We have a number of important things to discuss:
  • Jackie Walker will present this impressive report of our activities, which will lead into a discussion on what the campaign should focus on next (see also below).
  • We will be discussing the need for a special campaign that focuses on academic freedom and want to launch a working group to focus on this issue. Please email us if you want to get involved:
  • We will hear an update on the campaign to free (and support) Julian Assange
  • We will discuss and vote on a constitution - document is here
  • We will also discuss plans for an education programme specifically around the issues of 'Propaganda, media and free speech'
  • We also have to discuss the proposed removal of a member of the steering committee
All existing members of the campaign will have received the full agenda with all motions and a Zoom link. Please get in touch urgently if you think you are a member and haven't received either.

New members may attend if they join before 4pm today (which is when the meeting starts). They will automatically receive a Zoom link for the meeting, which includes the full interactive agenda and standing orders. 
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Report from the Steering Committee, May 2021

Our campaign was set up late 2020, after a number of online meetings with hundreds of people. During an online conference of over 300 people on February 13 2021 (video here), we agreed a ‘Charter for Free Speech‘, a ‘Charter for Labour Party members’ rights‘ and elected a steering committee of 10 people, which includes Jackie Walker, Chris Williamson, Tony Greenstein, Deepa Driver and Esther Giles. [Terry Deans has since resigned for reasons of time pressure]

The main aim of our campaign is to help develop a culture of free speech on the left. We believe that demands for ‘zero tolerance’, the no-platforming of left-wing speakers and the lack of a democratic culture of open debate, even of controversial issues, can only serve our opponents. An active campaign against the IHRA misdefinition of antisemitism forms a central part of our young organisation, because it plays a crucial part in the attacks on free speech and academic freedom. 

As of May 28, we have XXX members, whose membership contributions and donations have raised £X,XXX.XX for the campaign (minus fees for Stripe and Paypal). [This information is available to members only].

We have spent: 

  • £165.50 for banners and a megaphone for the March 30 lobby in solidarity with Professor David Miller in Bristol. 
  • We have made a donation of £250 to Craig Murray’s legal fund. 
  • We paid the deposit of £200 for the Rialto Theatre in Brighton for the ‘Resist’ event - details here
  • We paid £155.90 for leaflets for the May 22 Palestine demonstration (leaflet on the right)
  • The annual subscription for our Membermojo system is £75.
Some of the campaigns we have organised:

1) For Free Speech on Israel/Palestine 

Following the latest brutal attacks by the Israeli government on Palestinians, we produced this leaflet and handed out thousands of copies at the May 22 demonstration in London. It was hugely encouraging to see how many participants at the demonstration recognised us and the campaign.  The leaflet can be read in full and downloaded here

2) David Miller and academic freedom

The Bristol Professor has come under increasingly hostile attack by the right and is now threatened with suspension by his university. This is an extremely important test case - should the right be successful, this could open the floodgates for other academics to be suspended and sacked. Academic freedom and the right to question ideas are extremely important to any democratic society.

We organised a number of public Zoom meetings in support of academic freedom and Professor Miller, which have been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Youtube (our channel is here)

  • March 13 meeting with Low Key, Jonathan Cook, Moshe Machover etc is here

  • March 1 meeting with Dr Harriet Bradley, Professor Jonathan Rosenhead and Dr. Saladin D Meckled-Garcia is here 

On Sunday June 6, 5pm, we are holding a Zoom meeting on ‘Palestine/Israel and academic freedom’. Confirmed speakers include Norman Finkelstein, Salma Yaqoob, Ilan Pappe, Moshe Machover, registration link is here

We organised a lobby for academic freedom and the right to protest outside Bristol University on March 31 2021 - video here

We released a number of statements and press releases in support of David Miller, for example here 

We are planning to set up a working group that deals especially with the attacks on academic freedom - email us if you want to get involved: 

2) Campaign against the IHRA misdefinition of antisemitism

The IHRA remains a key weapon in the right’s arsenal and plays a hugely important role in the fight against free speech.  

We organised an excellent public meeting with Moshe Machover and Tony Greenstein to investigate both the IHRA and the recently released ‘Jerusalem Declaration’. While not without its own problems, “at least it is attempting to deal with antisemitism”, as Professor Machover put it in the excellent meeting. We recommend that where the IHRA has already been adopted, we can campaign for it to be replaced by the JDA (for example in the Labour Party) - but in general, “we do not need an extra definition of what antisemitism is”, as Tony Greenstein put it. 

  • Video of the meeting is here
  • Our model motion for Labour Party conference, seeking to replace the IHRA with the Jerusalem Declaration is here

4) Julian Assange, Craig Murray and other whistleblowers 

Campaigning for the immediate release of Julian Assange remains at the heart of our campaign. Without courageous whistleblowers like Assange, we would remain at the mercy of the rich and powerful to tell us what they want to be known. Craig Murray’s harsh 8 months’ prison sentence is very much linked to his outspoken support for Assange and his effort to shine a light on the highly politicised court case against Alex Salmond. 
  • We have released a statement in solidarity with Craig Murray - here 
  • We also made a donation of £250 to Craig Murray’s legal fund - here 
  • We are hoping to organise a public meeting with Craig 

5) Resist Event, Labour Party conference

We are a proud co-sponsor of the ‘Resist Event’ during this year’s Labour Party conference in Brighton. From September 26-29, there will be discussions, debates and cultural events organised by the left - please register here

  • We are part of the working group that is organising the event and a number of our SC members are speaking at the launch event on May 28 - here
  • We paid the £200 deposit required to secure the Rialto Theatre. 
  6) We also… 
  • On May 12, published a statement in response to the Queen’s Speech: “Boris Johnson’s campaign for ‘free speech’ is nothing but a fraud’ - here
  • On March 19, published a statement against the government’s attempts to curtail the right to protest - here
7) Plans for the future 

In addition to continuing the above campaigns, we also want to expand our education programme. For example, we are trying to find ways to discuss the issue of ‘Sex or gender’ in a respectful and enlighting manner. This will be incredibly difficult, because this debate has become so toxic.  

We also want to further discuss the issue what ‘Free Speech’ actually means and if it should be unrestricted or restricted - our ‘Charter for Free Speech‘ currently fudges the issue somewhat. Tony Greenstein and Kevin Bean, who have different views on the matter, will address a meeting of the campaign very soon so that our members can make an informed decision on this issue. 

Jackie Walker and Tina Werkmann
on behalf of the steering committee
Labour Campaign for Free Speech
In a number of universities, academics and staff are under threat of suspension for daring to speak out on Israel and Zionism, for example Bristol Professor David Miller. In addition, the government is threatening to defund universities who do not impose IHRA. Join us to discuss how to fight back. 

Speakers include 
- Norman Finkelstein
- Salma Yaqoob
- Deepa Driver
- Moshe Machover
- Saladin Meckled-Garcia
- Ilan Pappe
- Tom Hickey (BRICUP)

Register here to participate in this important event.
Join Labour Campaign for Free Speech now
Make a donation via Paypal
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