Sir Walter Scott’s poem Marmion describes Jon Lansman’s behaviour down to a tee:
Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!
Tony Benn must be spinning in his grave as his former student has become a practitioner of the dark arts best associated with the Prince of Darkness, Peter Mandelson.
Benn, unlike his former devotee, was an anti-imperialist and a strong supporter of the Palestinians. We can imagine what his reaction would have been to the false anti-Semitism narrative. It might be useful, apropos Lansman’s position in Momentum to remind ourselves of Benn’s 5 questions:
If one meets a powerful person... one can ask five questions: what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.”
In Momentum today there is no obvious way to remove Lansman. The Constitution he has imposed would be the envy of the Chinese Community Party. If it wasn’t clear before it should be clear now that Lansman’s desire to succeed McNicol was motivated by his desire to continue with the ancien regime.
I was expelled by Labour’s National Kangaroo Court a month ago for crimes such as ‘abusing’ Louise Ellman MP who, in the name of security, supports Israel’s shackling, beating and incarceration of (Palestinian) children (see Parliamentary debate on Palestinian child prisoners and detainees, 6.1.16.).
The NKC though refrained from accusing me of anti-Semitism. Even the Labour Party’s barrister, Thomas Ogg, stated in his skeleton argument that ‘The NEC's case is that Greenstein's use of the term "Zio" is antisemitic, but the NEC does not otherwise allege that Mr Greenstein's conduct was antisemitic.”
Collaborating with the false anti-Semitism smear campaign
It should be blindingly obvious that the false anti-Semitism campaign which led to my expulsion and which has now claimed the scalp of Christine Shawcroft, is directed primarily at Corbyn himself. It began even before Corbyn became leader when the Mail and Jewish Chronicle alleged that Corbyn was associating with a holocaust denier, Paul Eisen.
Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and myself are mere collateral damage. Recently there have been two attacks on Jeremy Corbyn suggesting that he tolerates if not supports anti-Semitism. One was concerning Corbyn’s support for not destroying a street mural and the other is the dodgy dossier of David Collier, much of which is forged. The Zionist Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has made a complaint of anti-Semitism against Corbyn as a result of this.
It should be obvious, even to Lansman, that the false anti-Semitism smear campaign has nothing to do with anti-Semitism and everything to do with removing Corbyn. Why else would the Tory tabloids give such enthusiastic support to the idea that Labour is anti-Semitic? The same tabloids which are not only ardently racist but who only recently were more than happy to employ anti-Semitic tropes in their attacks on George Soros, the alleged evil puppet master behind the Remain campaign. The idea that newspapers that once supported Hitler have now become ardent opponents of ‘anti-Semitism’ is for the birds.
Rather than calling these hypocrites out, Lansman and Momentum have kept absolutely quiet throughout this recent attack on Corbyn and Shawcroft.
Momentum has a Constitution, which was imposed by Lansman. It has never been approved, still less debated by Momentum’s membership. People were given a simple choice when Lansman destroyed the democracy of Momentum – take it or leave it. The relevant parts of the Constitution dealing with members who have been expelled are:
5.8 Any member who does not join the Labour Party by 1 July 2017, or ceases to be a member of the Labour Party, or acts inconsistently with Labour Party membership, may be deemed to have resigned.
5.10 Where a member may be deemed to have resigned in accordance with Rules 5.7, 5.8 or 5.9 there will be a right to be heard by the NCG or a delegated panel before a final decision is made.
On 22nd March an email arrived from Momentum informing me that it had come to their attention that I had been expelled and I had 6 days to make written representations and a panel of the National Co-ordinating Group, the mainly unelected group that runs Momentum would meet to determine my fate a day later
I wrote back almost immediately complaining that an email such as this should have a name attached to it and criticising their impersonal corporate culture. In my naivety I didn’t expect that this process was one of dirty tricks but merely the consequence of my expulsion. There also seemed to be an omission in their letter, viz. that I had a right to be heard in person.
I explained that caring responsibilities prevented me from attending on 29th March and I replied that ‘Your email gives the distinct impression that this is merely a matter of going through the motions.’ I also pointed out that the constitution stated that I ‘may be deemed to have resigned.’ At this stage I was still assuming that the email was sent in good faith.
I also received anonymously copies of internal Momentum emails which put things into perspective. The first email was 00.34 Monday 19th March. Lansman wrote to Ms Parker:
‘We do have to get rid of Greenstein but I am a bit concerned by the process which he will make a big deal out of possibly including lawyers - sorry if I didn’t say this earlier. The bits of the constitution which are relevant here are....
What Lansman was saying was that he wanted to expel me but there had to be a process that was seen to be fair. There was nothing about due process and a fair hearing. The aim was to be rid of me. I had the right to be heard but ‘not necessary (sic) in person.’ Quite how Lansman can square having a right to be heard with not being present in person I’m not sure. If the constitution didn’t mean in person then it would have said so. It didn’t.
I followed this up with a further email to Lansman stating that if he wishes to engage in these tricks and deceptions then I shall be forced to treat him as I did the Labour Party and apply for an injunction. The threat of legal proceedings seems to have concentrated Lansman’s mind. On 29th March I received an email from Laura conceding that the date of any hearing and the time for submissions had been put back to 9th and 11th April respectively. Furthermore there would be an oral hearing.
One thing that puzzled me in the email correspondence was a reference in Laura Parker’s email to Lansman: ‘Santi (in cc) & I already discussed need for Guillame due process.’ What is a Guillame due process? It has been suggested that it refers to a Pierre Guillame (Peter Guillam), a character in John le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, who was described by Smiley as ‘cosh and carry.’ In other words it is merely emphasising the fake and fraudulent nature of any hearing I may have.
Far from Lansman stopping the witchhunt and democratising Labour’s disciplinary processes it would appear that if he had been selected as General Secretary he might have made Iain McNicol’s reign seem like the Prague Spring.
is a founding member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a member of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods.