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The Labour Campaign For Free Education is appalled to learn of the barring of many people en masse from voting in the leadership election. This includes many longstanding Labour activists as well as people who have newly joined to fight the Tories since the election.

Many rejectees are free education activists from organisations such as NCAFC, who have been dedicated to the fight for social justice, perfectly in line with “our aims and values”. The Labour Party should welcome these new members and what they have to contribute to our party. Their rejection undermines the hard work of many Labour Party activists in convincing others that the Labour Party is an effective political project to be involved in. The Labour Party should be proud that so many people feel the party is now their political home, as opposed to shamefully purging them just in case they vote the wrong way.

The fears over ‘entryism’ are misguided and cover for an attempt to flatten a mass democratic event. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to be a part of the Labour Party, a sign that the party is reconnecting to the wider labour movement. The expulsions even go against the spirit of the leadership election as set out by acting leader Harriet Harman ““It [the leadership contest] is about actively reaching out to engage with people who did not support us, not just those who did.” It hardly needs pointing out that shutting the Labour Party off to thousands of activists, new and old, is a very strange way of ‘reaching out’.

The legitimate ground for suspension is concrete: current membership of another political party. It is not the Labour HQ trawling through your social media looking for evidence of thought crime.

It only goes to show the party Right have lost the political argument, but they haven’t lost the machine.

This leadership contest is meant to be an opportunity to shape our future. We cannot let it be strangled by the machinations of the past.

If you have been purged, contact the Compliance Unit (0845-092-2299) as soon as possible and challenge their ruling. The reasons given for people’s exclusion are in general extremely nebulous, and therefore very difficult to evidence. Add your name to this list ( https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1suH2QiYyld-kfrFLGLiL-E5bP8LE8pnNQeGKI0Ita24/viewform ) so we can continue to compile evidence of these shameful manoeuvres. If you are a Corbyn supporter, contact the Corbyn campaign (info@jeremyforlabour.com). Most importantly, kick up a fuss. This party belongs to the collective labour movement, not just the few people at the top who want to deny us our voice.

The fight for party democracy continues.

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