Despite all the talk of “unity” by those at the top of the Labour Party, on the Left and the Right, proof of a politically-motivated plot to rid the Party of the most active and radical elements has recently come to light. This includes right-wingers from all levels of the Party, including MPs, staff, full-time organisers, and councillors.
After joining the long list of those unfairly expelled and protesting against my expulsion, I now have conclusive evidence - including an admission from those involved - that my MP and local party organiser have been working in cahoots with the infamous “Compliance Unit” to purge me from the Party.
Sentenced without a trial
I was originally suspended in October 2016, with “uncomradely language” and writing an article for Socialist Appeal given as the reasons for my exclusion. The language deemed uncomradely referred to two social media posts: one where I had used the word ‘Blairite’, and the other where I had criticised the Labour Party council for hypocrisy.
In January of this year, I was then asked to make a written statement explaining the “context and motivation” behind my social media posts and the article I had written. I used this statement to explain that using the word “Blairite” was quite tame compared to the torrent of vitriolic abuse hurled at the democratically elected leader of the Party. These posts were made during the height of the coup, where one MP had stated that she would stab Jeremy Corbyn “in the front” and another had screamed at Corbyn to “sit down and shut up” during a parliamentary debate. I also explained that Socialist Appeal is not and never has been a proscribed organisation, and that - given the fact Socialist Appeal supporters have been actively involved in the Labour Party for 25 years - it seemed a little odd for it to suddenly be deemed inappropriate now.
My suspension was subsequently lifted, and I was then let back in with an official warning for my “uncomradely behaviour”, but with no mention of Socialist Appeal.
Despite this, one week later I was told that I was “ineligible to remain a member of the Labour Party” because I “actively campaigned for Socialist Appeal”. There was no explanation as to why in January actively campaigning for Socialist Appeal was fine, yet in February it was an expellable offence. I was told that I had no right of appeal and would not be able to apply to rejoin the Party for another five years.
Horror and hypocrisy
My local Labour branch was horrified. At the next ward meeting a motion was passed unanimously, condemning what had taken place and calling for an investigation. There was a strong desire - from members representing the entire political spectrum of the Party - to find out who was responsible for bypassing Party democracy and reporting people to the Compliance Unit.
The fact that I was left with no right of appeal to challenge my expulsion meant that I was forced to go through the courts to take out an injunction. Going through this process has revealed exactly how I was expelled - and, in turn, the deeper campaign to remove socialists from the Labour Party.
It turned out that over the past six months, the local MP, Gareth Thomas, along with the organiser employed by the MP and two local councillors, had mounted a concerted and covert campaign to get me expelled. This campaign included collating photos, videos and screenshots of articles that indicated my support for Socialist Appeal. Moreover, this campaign had an incredibly duplicitous nature. Whilst in public these individuals would feign ignorance, or even support me, behind the scenes they were frantically scrabbling together evidence and sending it to Labour Party HQ.
Gareth Thomas wrote a detailed letter to the Party bureaucracy explaining exactly why I should not be a Labour Party member. He insisted that my belief in “revolutionary socialism” was “incompatible with the open, democratic and peaceful values of the Labour Party”. Thomas’ hypocrisy is astounding: it is not very “open” to feign ignorance and then secretly cobble together a dossier asking the unaccountable Compliance Unit to expel members; nor is it very “democratic” to ignore the fact that the Constituency Labour Party passed a motion against these expulsions...and then to attempt to expel the person who raised the motion!
It should be highlighted that I have delivered leaflets for the Party in the local area since the age of fourteen, and am well known by local Labour members and activists as a supporter of Socialist Appeal. I have twice been elected as the CLP Youth Officer, whilst regularly selling Socialist Appeal and raising revolutionary demands in meetings. Joining the Labour Party and openly attempting to win people over to the ideas of Marxism is not a clandestine infiltration.
What all of this shows is that Gareth Thomas, rather than fighting the Tories, has been spending his time compiling reports (see documents below) in an attempt expel the most radical activists from the Party. In doing so, he surreptitiously bypassed local Party democracy and went against the wishes of the local membership.
Needless to say, the rank-and-file Labour members in my area are outraged – so much so that a motion of censure against Gareth Thomas MP was passed almost unanimously in my local Labour ward meeting. This will be heard at the next general meeting of the constituency.
In the meantime, my local Labour ward has also agreed that the chair and secretary of the branch will write a detailed letter to Gareth Thomas outlining members’ concerns about the unfairness and lack of transparency relating to disciplinary procedures, as well as the lack of natural justice relating to my expulsion. Ironically, it was also agreed that this letter would ask Thomas – who is complicit in the plot to expel me – to intervene at the highest level to get me reinstated to the Party!
Finally, the CLP has also voted on the following motion:
This CLP is appalled at the expulsion of Jack Halinski-Fitzpatrick from the Labour Party for five years without any right of appeal. We demand that an enquiry is held into the circumstances of his expulsion, so that transparency can be restored to the Party disciplinary processes, which are bringing the party into disrepute and are severely undermining the morale of members at this critical time in the Party's history.
These are only a few clear examples of the anger and fury that exists amongst grassroots members towards the bureaucratic and undemocratic actions of those within the Party machinery.
It does not take a huge leap of faith to imagine that Gareth Thomas is not alone. There are more than a few rotten apples in the Parliamentary Labour Party. There is a common theme whereby some MPs and councillors, who believe that they have a divine right to do and say as they please inside the Party, take it as a personal affront to be challenged and democratically held to account by the membership. Rather than challenging members through democratic debate and argument, they expel them behind the scenes.
During my hearing, the Labour Party’s lawyer claimed that the Labour Party could not go through a fair process for every expelled member...because of the sheer number of those expelled! The judge was informed by this venerable gentleman that there had been fifty expelled in the past month alone!
The person responsible for dealing with my case, an employee at the Compliance Unit, made a witness statement (see document below), where he referred to Rule 2.1.4.B of the Labour Party rulebook, which states that, “a member of the Party who joins and / or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party…shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member.”
What this means, therefore, is that unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats have the power to expel any member, only needing to tie them to any political organisation. Huge power is therefore invested in employees of the Labour Party, who can expel anyone they personally consider to contravene the rules. Instead of the membership controlling the bureaucracy, the bureaucracy controls the membership.
Expelled for being a socialist
Clearly, however, there are no mass expulsions of those who “publicly support’” Progress, Labour First or any of the other right-wing organisations that actively campaign against the (twice) democratically elected leader of the Party.
The Party official therefore went further in his justification for my expulsion. “Support for Socialist Appeal, irrespective of whether it is a proscribed organisation, is sufficient to warrant expulsion,” he asserted. “The website”, the hypocritical official continued, “describes one of Socialist Appeal’s aims as consigning the market economy to the dustbin of history. By contrast, the statement of the Party’s aims and values at Chapter 1 Clause 4.2.A of the Rules, recognises the importance of the ‘enterprise of the market’ and the ‘rigour of competition’ to a dynamic economy and the value of a ‘thriving private sector’.”
In other words, I was not simply being expelled for my support for Socialist Appeal, but for my opposition to “the market economy” and my support for genuine socialist ideas!
On the basis of my experience, only one conclusion can be reached: a section of the right wing of the Labour Party has formed a clandestine network of individuals at all levels of the Party; and this network is working to expel anyone who is organised to fight against capitalism. It is clearly not the case that supporters of just any or all political organisations are being kicked out - only those who are opposed to capitalism. This is not hyperbole. All of the documents I have been presented with can be repeated at will (and are shown in full below).
Kick out the Blairites! Kick out capitalism!
This whole process should not leave socialists in the Labour Party in a state of despair. Corbyn has a massive base of support which, if mobilised, could easily sweep this tiny bureaucratic right-wing minority out of the Party. This latent force only needs to be mobilised and organised. The creation of Momentum in order to defend Corbyn’s leadership and fight for his programme was the correct step forward. But what Momentum and Corbyn need to do is to be as vigorous in the defence of Party democracy as the Blairite groupings are in destroying it.
The only way to do this is to mobilise, organise, and transform the Labour Party from top to bottom. Those on the right of the Party, who have proven time and time again that they will not accept the democratic decisions of the membership, must be deselected and replaced by genuine fighters of the working class.
At a time where anti-establishment parties and individuals are rising to the fore, if Corbyn were to launch a bold fight against the Labour right wing and the Tories, on the basis of a bold socialist programme, you could see far more people flood into the Party than have already done so. Corbyn still has the power and the potential to mobilise huge numbers to a socialist Labour Party, but this opportunity will not last forever. The time to act is now.