Jackie Walker was Vice Chair of Momentum when she was suspended from the Labour Party in May 2016. During a private conversation with a friend she had stated that ‘many Jews, my ancestors too, were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade… so who are the victims and what does it mean .’ Jackie missed out one word ‘among’ as in ‘among the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade.’ [see The lynching of Jackie Walker, Open Democracy, 12.10.16]. For that she was attacked as an anti-Semite.
The reason Jackie was targeted was not because of one word but because she was a Black-Jewish anti-Zionist. In May 2016 there was massive support for Jackie in the Labour Party and Momentum. Even Owen Jones supported her and within less than a month she was reinstated.
|The Jewish Labour Movement withdrew its invitation to a meeting because McDonell has spoken on a platform with Jackie Walker|
However the Jewish Labour Movement, the British branch of the racist Israeli Labour Party, a party that openly believes in segregation and Jewish supremacism, didn’t give up so easily. At the TUC Conference in Brighton in September Jackie spoke on a platform with John McDonnell. When McDonnell was announced as a speaker at a JLM meeting at Labour Party conference, there were calls for him to be disinvited for speaking on the same platform as Jackie. The Jewish Chronicle quoted Jeremy Newmark, Chair of the JLM as saying that McDonnell ‘"must explain his defence of Walker which is inconsistent with his call for zero tolerance. This raises serious questions. Our members expect him to explain himself.’
|The above tweets are just some of the vile abuse sent by Zionist 'victims' of antisemitism|
On September 17th, over a week before the Labour Party conference, I wrote a blog The Jewish Labour Movement and its Political Lynching of Jackie Walker. I had picked up on the increasing attacks on Jackie by the JLM and to me this seemed a classic case of a political lynching. It was clear to me that the Zionists were pushing for a resuspension of Jackie. What was happening to Jackie would not have happened to a White person. The JLM had deliberately targeted Jackie and made her into the classic scapegoat. Its supporters indulged in the vilest racist abuse, something that crooked Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol was quite happy to turn a blind eye to. No one has ever been disciplined for abuse of people on the Left. Only right-wing MPs are victims.
According to the Jewish News of 14th June 2017, ‘the title [The Lynching] is a reference to an article by Marxist commentator Tony Greenstein, who wrote: “The attacks on Jackie Walker and others are political, a determined effort by the Israel lobby to make Britain’s Labour Party safe for Israel and Zionism.” I am proud to have been the source of the title of this profound and moving play which describes the visceral racism employed in defence of the world’s only Apartheid state, Israel.
At the 2016 Labour Party Conference Jackie attended a ‘training session’ on anti-Semitism run by the Jewish Labour Movement. She was recorded saying that she hadn’t found a definition of anti-Semitism that she could work with. A pretty uncontroversial statement. She also stated that it would be nice if Holocaust Memorial Day could include all holocausts including those of Africans who had died in the slave trade or as slaves in the West Indies. These remarks were secretly recorded by the Jewish Labour Movement and immediately there were loud calls to suspend Jackie for ‘anti-Semitism’. This time there would be no support from Owen Jones or Jon Lansman. On the contrary Lansman went out of his way to support Jeremy Newmark in his campaign of vindictive persecution.
|This wealthy property developer and founder of Momentum has followed a Zionist agenda in Momentum, always seeking to give legs to the false anti-semitism campaign|
In The Independent of 30.9.16. Lansman leapt to the defence of the corrupt racist Jeremy Newmark, Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement. Lansman threw Jackie, his deputy in Momentum to the wolves for the sake of his Zionist friends.
‘“I spoke to Jeremy Newmark of the Jewish Labour Movement this morning, he’s very upset and I can understand that – I work closely with Jeremy, I’ve been meeting with Jewish organisations to talk… I’ve been outspoken. I was very, very unhappy about… and I did comment on it, about it, what she had previously said.
|Picket of Momentum Executive Committee which Stabbed Jackie Walker in the Back|
On October 3rd 2016 Momentum’s Steering Committee met at the TSSA Headquarters near Euston and voted by 7-3 to remove Jackie as Vice Chair of Momentum. The meeting was picketed by Free Speech on Israel. Unsurprisingly Iain McNicol then followed up by suspending Jackie for a second time as a result of Lansman’s racist scabbing.
What makes Lansman’s actions particularly despicable is that the false anti-Semitism campaign which had netted Jackie Walker was a campaign whose primary purpose was to remove Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. Lansman was acting as a fifth column within Momentum. The Alliance for Workers Liberty’s Jill Mountford and Mike Chessum, voted with Lansman to remove Jackie. The AWL would soon be removed from Momentum’s Executive Committee too when Lansman decided to destroy the democracy of Momentum.
Go and watch this play it is very moving and describes the racism that Jackie has experienced in Britain not least in the Labour Party from careerists and opportunists such as Momentum’s property developer dictator Jon Lansman.
Jackie Walker (James Tye)
Two years after being purged from the Labour Party over spurious anti-Semitism allegations and a successful run of performances in the UK, Jackie Walker is touring Europe with her one-woman show.
The Lynching of Jackie Walker, an autobiographical piece, was borne out of a political crisis in Britain’s Labour Party. Following the election of Jeremy Corbyn, an outspoken critic of Israel, as party leader, accusations of anti-Semitism within the party’s left have been on the rise.
Former vice-chair of Momentum, the left-wing group formed to support Corbyn, Walker – who is of Jamaican and Jewish descent – was an early target.
“They wanted a lynching, a political lynching,” she states in the play’s trailer. “So I thought I would get my own court of public opinion and you’re going to be that for me tonight.”
|Jeremy Newmark - the corrupt Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement who led the witchhunt of Jackie Walker|
Walker was eventually cleared of charges of anti-Semitism only to be suspended again after she was secretly filmed challenging a controversial definition of anti-Semitism at a Labour Party training session. The head of the Board of Deputies of British Jews recently called for Walker’s expulsion from Labour.
The anti-racist activist draws a clear connection between a resurgence in the radical left and the accusations levied against her.
“You can see this in programs like Al Jazeera’s The Lobby. Suddenly the establishment began focusing on anti-Semitism – which does exist – to both beat and confine the left,” she tells me, referring to an undercover investigation exposing how pro-Israel groups influence British politics. “I think they’ve found it an effective tool.”
It is a tool that has since been used against many other Labour Party members, including Glyn Secker, secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour; Black anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth and Israeli anti-Zionist Moshe Machover.
The Lynching is both allegorical in its treatment of political persecution and something of a clarion call for the masses. A non-linear narrative weaves together pluralities of voice, history and location, finally arriving at the present, an alarming mirror of the past.
Concerned for the most part in another period of social upheaval, Walker attempts to situate her particular “lynch” in a broader historical process. “This has all happened before, as my mother says [in the play]. This is a technique that the right use against the radical left whenever they need to button us down.”
Alarming mirror of the past
The play begins as Walker navigates the crowd towards an unadorned stage with a whiteboard, stool, table and coat stand. A photo of Walker’s mother, Dorothy Walker, is held in place on the board and on the coat stand hangs the brown trilby hat of Jack Cohen, Walker’s father.
Walker has a forceful yet disarming presence. She morphs from one character to another, employing a simple prop, turn or other sharp movement. The ghost of Dorothy speaks in a patois lilt and brings a fierce historical wit. She is both witness and public defender, traversing disparate geographical locations as she builds a case.
“Tonight you will hear about a witch-hunt, about fake news, alternative facts and an attempt to smash the biggest, most radical political movement we’ve ever seen,” she begins. It will become clear throughout the course of the performance that the play is as much about the vindication of a mother as it is her daughter.
The first act details the courtship of Dorothy – a Jamaican civil rights activist – and Jack – a Russian communist Jew – in 1940s Brooklyn. Their involvement, at first romantic, quickly matures. “It was music that brought us together, but it was in the politics where we found love,” states a nostalgic Jack.
Political activity – such as boarding buses as a mixed-race couple in the segregated South – attracts attention from the state and Dorothy is finally thrown out of the country, but not before a period of solitary confinement at a psychiatric hospital, where she is forced to give birth tied to a bed.
Such tragic stories are, however, punctuated by moments of laughter and Walker inhabits her mother with a true warmth, in a script littered with bitter anecdotes:
“Jamaica – a paradise. When white people get there for the first time, they say they discover it, they call it tabula rasa. That mean empty page. Perhaps they were blind because there were thousands of Indians living there,” she offers mockingly.
The Lynching is awash with historical reference. It traces the ghoulish picnics held at lynchings in the deep South and the founding of slave plantations in colonized Jamaica before crossing the Atlantic, where the Walker family is met with the “No dogs, no Irish no coloreds” signs of 1950s Britain.
Once in England, we encounter an 8-year-old Jackie who experiences a series of flashbacks, disrupting the narrative with short vignettes of troubling tales. Neo-Nazi attacks on the family home, racist slurs in the school playground and physical attacks color the stage, each scene interrupted by a lullaby.
Dorothy’s death marks another abrupt interruption in the play. An overwhelmed infant Jackie tells the story in short, simple sentences, shifting from past to present tense. “I went to sleep really quickly. But then, suddenly the light went on. And my mum can hardly breathe. I don’t remember how she got to the floor.”
Once at the hospital and following a post-mortem diagnosis, the child determines the real cause of death. “I remember what my mum told me and I think she died because she was poor and sick. Poor and sick and colored.”
From this emerges a present-day Walker, who begins detailing life in the years following her mother’s passing. It’s a sobering moment marked by its unvarnished, matter-of-fact delivery. Bleak irony is replaced by more somber observations: “I left care at 18, same way I came into Britain, with a suitcase and £25.”
An attack on change
After a brief sketch of her time in the Labour Party, grassroots activism and election to vice-chair of Momentum, we are brought to the present-day allegations.
A damning statement by the state prosecutor leads to the re-emergence of Dorothy Walker, who gives a detailed rebuttal of each charge. “Wake up!” she appeals, “we have seen this before. This is not an attack on Jackie Walker. This is an attack on change.”
Walker makes a compelling case in the mirroring of her and her mother’s struggle, and this bears fruit in the final act. “What I’m trying to do in the play is to get people to have a historical view of what is happening at the moment,” she explains.
“This new anti-Semitism, which equates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, is one of the major tools they’re using to try to fracture and break us.”
The Lynching possesses a sirenic, almost shamanic quality, alerting us to the dangers of collective amnesia, offering the role of witness as its salve. The final scene of Dorothy and her daughter attest to this.
Eight-year-old Jackie stands center stage and describes a dream where she is visited by her mother. The two sit at the top of a hill and the child describes her Christmas meal among other things.
The mother begins to float slowly away toward the clouds as she says goodbye, leaving behind a tearful daughter, who resolves to remember.
And it is in this quiet love of memory that The Lynching triumphs.
Riri Hylton is a freelance journalist/editor working in both print and broadcast journalism. They are based between London and Berlin.