Labour to ban leftwing groups including Alliance for Workers’ Liberty

Labour is to proscribe three leftwing groups including the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, a movement connected to a number of current and former MPs that also has links with pro-European campaigns.

Sources on the party’s national executive committee said it was right to ban Labour members from being members of the AWL, describing it as “an entryist group that was banned until very recently” which had historically stood candidates against Labour.

The group’s association with the party has long been controversial and there have been attempts to eject its members, but the movement deregistered with the Electoral Commission two days after Jeremy Corbyn was elected party leader, in order to support his leadership.

The group has also been controversial among other fringe groups because it took a strong stance against antisemitism in the Labour party, as well as being outspoken against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Former Labour MP Gloria de Piero is among those to have been associated with the group in the past. The group has also worked with those in the anti-Brexit movement, including Another Europe is Possible.

The Labour MP Clive Lewis condemned the move to proscribe the three groups, two of which have been banned for their links to other proscribed groups that have been outspoken in their denial of anti-semitism allegations in the party.

“Proscription lists; mass expulsions; the centralisation of power. It’s naive to think the ‘crisis of democracy’ and the slide to authoritarianism afflicting western polities won’t affect our own political institutions,” Lewis tweeted.

The other two groups the party will proscribe are the Labour Left Alliance and the Socialist Labour Network. Last year, the NEC proscribed four other groups – Socialist Appeal, Labour in Exile Network, Labour Against the Witchhunt and Resist – members of which have been auto-excluded from the party.

Labour Against the Witchhunt claims that antisemitism allegations during the Corbyn years were politically motivated and supports members excluded for anti-semitism. The Labour in Exile Network, is intended to expressly welcome expelled or suspended members.

Labour party rules allow for the expulsion of anyone that stands against an official Labour candidate or has links with a “political organisation other than an official Labour group”. Much of AWL’s lineage derives from a Trotskyist paper, Socialist Organiser, that was proscribed by the Labour conference in 1990.

Momentum, the grassroots leftwing movement set up under Corbyn, condemned the latest decision to ban the groups. “As a democratic socialist party, Labour has a proud tradition of welcoming socialists of all traditions, while disciplinary procedures already exist for individual members that behave inappropriately,” it said.

“These factional proscriptions will create hundreds of time-consuming and pointless investigations into members for simply liking tweets or signing petitions. This has absolutely nothing to do with winning elections. Instead, it is yet another example of a Labour leadership obsessing over purging the left at a time when socialist ideas are more popular and urgent than ever.”

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