Labour members who intend to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the upcoming leadership contest are covertly passing around a guide on how to avoid being “purged” by the party.
“Purge-Proofing for Labour supporters: A Handy Guide” is being shared in the private Facebook groups of regional branches of Momentum — the grassroots left-wing organisation set up last year to support Corbyn.
The document, produced by radical left-wing outlet Novara Media, has been created in response to allegations that Labour’s chief administrative body, the NEC, is quietly banning Corbyn supporters — dubbed “Corbynistas” — from voting in the leadership contest.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accused the party of purging Corbyn supporters after it suspended the chief of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), Ronnie Draper, but did not take similar action against Lord Davis Sainsbury despite him giving over £2 million ($2.6 million) to the Liberal Democrats. The Huffington Post reported earlier this month that up to 50,000 people who applied to join Labour and vote in the leadership contest had been rejected because they were deemed ineligible.
This Momentum member posted in the Wrexham group over the weekend saying: “The only trouble is, you can probably get purged for sharing it. I suggest you send it people you trust in private messages…”
In the opening paragraph of the guide, the author, Billy Casper, says the purge is a “sustained attack on democracy” helped by “pro-coup MPs” and their parliamentary aides. It then claims: “If you have just registered with Labour to vote in the coming leadership election your social media profile and online presence is currently being trawled for evidence of a) support for Jeremy Corbyn and b) rule breaches.”
Casper then outlines what clauses of the Labour Party Rule Book he believes are being used to expel registered members from the party and follows up with a series of drastic tips on how members can “proof-purge” themselves.
The tips are as follows (paraphrased by Business Insider):
- Go back through past Facebook posts to ensure any contentious ones are made private
- Make your Twitter account private or, if you don’t use the social network anymore, close down your account
- If your Facebook or Twitter bio says you’re an anarchist, radical communist, or that you support the Green Party, change it.
- If you do get banned from voting, make an instant appeal. Exclusions are contentious and are likely to be overruled.
- Don’t give up. It’s only a minority within the party machine responsible for the purge. The majority want your votes.
Twitter user Gemma Angela posted last week saying she had been barred from participating in the leadership contest on the grounds that she had publicly declared support for the Green Party. She said she had already paid a £60 membership fee.
— Dr. Gemma Angel (@Gemma_Angel) August 25, 2016
Catherine Starr, a supporter of the current Labour leader, received a letter from the party’s general secretary Iain McNicol informing her that she had been refused full membership as she had shared “inappropriate content on Facebook” on March 5. On that date, she shared footage of rock band Foo Fighters with the caption “I f****** love the Foo Fighters,” as well as posts about animal-free cosmetics and veganism.
Corbyn wrote to the McNicol over the weekend about the spate of suspensions. The Labour leader accused party officials of suspending members without providing an explanation or allowing the chance to appeal.
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