Multi-award-winning musician Soweto Kinch is doing a fundraising gig on Saturday at top London music studios for a Croydon black activist expelled from the Labour Party.
Anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth has been doing a national speaking tour in a campaign to clear his name, after he was expelled by Labour in April 2018 for allegedly “bringing the party into disrepute”.
The charges were brought after Thornton Heath resident Wadsworth challenged Labour MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of the Shami Chakrabarti report into anti-semitism and racism. At the time, in June 2016, Wadsworth didn’t know Smeeth, a critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was Jewish.
Saxophonist Kinch told Inside Croydon: “The expulsion of Marc Wadsworth is a disgrace and served only to discourage the Labour membership from anti-racist campaigning and speaking truth to power. We must reinstate him to preserve the integrity of the Labour project and transform Britain for the many, not the few.
“I’m proud to be doing a benefit gig for Marc. And urge everyone to come along and support him in his fight for justice.”
Croydon trade unionists have also been rallying to Wadsworth’s cause with the local trades council, CWU South London, Surrey and North Hampshire branch and local Unite retired members hosting him as a speaker at Ruskin House, where they voted to give support and make generous donations to the #Justice4Marc campaign fund.
Croydon North Constituency Labour Party, to which Wadsworth belonged before his expulsion, and Croydon Central CLP have also both passed motions urging Labour to reinstate him. The MP, Steve Reed OBE, however, has refused to support him, in defiance of the CLP he represents.
The BBC documentary about the Stephen Lawrence campaign was repeated last night, showing the key role that Wadsworth played in helping the murdered teenager’s parents. It was Wadsworth who introduced the Lawrence family to Nelson Mandela, a game-changer for the justice campaign.
In recent developments in Wadsworth’s expulsion case, Smeeth has removed from her own website an article in which alleged that she had been abused in an anti-semitic manner. In that original post, dated June 30, 2016, Smeeth was quoted as saying that she had been “verbally attacked by a Momentum activist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter who used traditional antisemitic slurs to attack me for being part of a ‘media conspiracy’.” It is a claim for which there has never been any evidence.
Widely available video recordings from the meeting clearly show that no such slurs were ever spoken by Wadsworth, and the phrase “media conspiracy” was never said.
Soweto Kinch’s concert is taking place from 8pm on Saturday, April 20, at The Premises Studios, 205-209 Hackney Road, Shoreditch, E2 8JL (close to Hoxton Station, which is on the London Overground line from West Croydon). Hosted by the Citizen Journalism Educational Trust, the special guest is Brixton performance poet Beady Man. There is also an auction.
Tickets are £19.52 which includes complimentary wine and Turkish meze.
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