After careful consideration, it is with great sadness I have decided to resign from the London Young Labour committee.
I’ve dedicated the last two years to London Young Labour. In this time I have made some fantastic friends with whom I’ve shared some of my most positive experiences in the Labour Party. In the past year and a half I have also had the privilege to serve on the Executive Committee.
Both the Committee and members of London Young Labour have traditionally been a politically diverse bunch and discussion has always been lively. Last year on Committee there were certainly incidents of political contention on the Committee, and whilst things weren’t perfect, decisions were reached democratically following genuine debate and discussion within the Executive. We used to disagree without being disagreeable.
That changed this January with the election of a new Chair and a new Committee. Since then the atmosphere has become toxic, democratic process has been flouted and spirit of inclusive pluralism has been thrown out of the window. In addition, I have been repeatedly undermined and smeared multiple times by the Chair and several of the Committee.
Democracy has never been held in high regard by this Chair and his supporters. At the first meeting the Committee broke with precedent to change how Committee roles are allocated to ensure that myself and others outside the Chair’s circle were kept in junior roles. Under the pre-existing rules, I would have been guaranteed a high-ranking role having won the largest mandate of the bloc Committee members.
Meetings since then have meant nothing, with decisions taken in advance by the Chair and his supporters and merely rubber-stamped by the elected Executive. But in the past few days even this tokenistic regard for democracy vanished when the Chair released a statement calling for the resignation of the leader of the Labour Party ‘signed by the London Young Labour Executive Committee’ without so much as consultation with the Committee, never mind putting it to a vote.
When challenged, the Chair deflected blame onto others, and refused to take down the post until a vote had taken place. The statement still remains on the organisation’s website. To this date I still have not been asked whether or not I support the statement and no vote has taken place.
Following the statement’s release, the organisation’s social media became increasingly fraught, as members understandably became angry and confused about what had happened. The statement was picked up by press, and in the 24 hours before the Chair responded to members’ concerns, he went onto national television to promote ‘young members views’ on Jeremy Corbyn. If it were just this I would stick at it and try to hold the Chair to account. But the way in which I have been treated has made this too difficult. From the beginning I have been systematically undermined and marginalised.
The Chair has deleted events from the Facebook group that I have organised and recreated them removing me from the event admin.
The Campaigns & Membership Officer has repeatedly rejected and blocked campaigning I have tried to organise, including purposefully creating clashing events.
When, as a Jewish member of the Committee, I criticised our approach to anti-Semitism I was shouted down and denied the opportunity to even present amendments to the motion on the matter. When I accordingly abstained, (non-Jewish) Committee members took to twitter to misrepresent my decision.
But for me the final straw was Tuesday evening. I discovered that the Chair was undermining me to the press, telling a journalist that I am a serial liar who “always says the opposite” and “makes no sense on anything”. Repeatedly when I give factual accounts of events I have been gaslighted; accused of lying, and even bullying. It isn’t just the reputational smear of these accusations; it is a particular type of psychological torment to be repeatedly told that what you know to have happened has not in fact happened.
I wish I could stay on the Executive to fight for a democratic and inclusive London Young Labour. But my emotional wellbeing can no longer stand the Chair’s hack-handed approach to ‘authority’, nor the ceaseless attacks on my character. I therefore resign from the Executive Committee with immediate effect.
I thank the minority of Committee members who have stood up for democracy and decency, and who have stood by me when I needed it, often despite political disagreements. I wish them all the best in the future. I also hope that my resignation serves as a wake-up call for other Committee members to not allow their support for the Chair’s politics to prevent them from criticising his behaviour.
I also have sent this letter onto the Welfare Officer.
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