Suspended from the Labour Party and vilified with fake accusations of antisemitism, Jackie Walker tells the story of her extraordinary activist parents and her own struggles fighting racism in the UK. How did a black, lifelong anti-racist and supporter of Jeremy Corbyn end up suspended from the Labour Party?
The Lynching is a theatrical performance, a ‘one woman’ show based on the history of black struggle. The play touches on her experiences as a black Jewish woman in the Labour Party and the struggle to bring the Palestinian narrative into the mainstream in the fight for Palestinian rights.
There will be a Q&A discussion session after the performance.
“… a great night. Jackie possesses a lovely singing voice and the honed acting skills of a veteran performer … very funny and frank about her own bolshy nature”
Alexei Sayle The Guardian 19 Nov 2017
“Jackie’s play is not a diatribe … but a very skilfully crafted work of art … that forces the audience to draw their own conclusions about racism, oppression, witch-hunts and over-zealous social workers .”
Suzanne Gannon Labour Briefing 4 Nov 2017
18th Jan 2018 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, behind Central Library, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 5NS
Admission Free Suggested Donation £10 waged/£5 unwaged
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Alexei Sayle in the Guardian 19 Nov 2017
Jackie Walker was a Labour activist campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn. Then she was accused of antisemitism, suspended from her party, abused and demonised on TV and the internet. This was her presenting her side of the story. First, there was a whole security rigmarole you had to go through to get tickets for this show, since pro-Israeli activists were trying to disrupt it. This was very exciting but I was still expecting to find little enjoyment in the show itself, seeing it more as an act of political duty. However, it turned out to be a great night. Jackie possesses a lovely singing voice and the honed acting skills of a veteran performer, plus the tragic story of her Jewish civil rights campaigner father and her black Jamaican mother, who was wrongly confined to a mental institution in the US, is worth a show in itself. Jackie is also very funny and frank about her own bolshy nature. Usually, when you hear after a play, before you can escape, somebody announces: “There will now be a discussion about the issues raised in this show” and your heart sinks but in this case the talk afterwards was almost as good as the performance.
Suzanne Gannon for Labour Briefing 4 Nov 2017
I was fortunate to be able to see Jackie Walker’s play performed in Brighton, during the Labour Party Conference. Even though I thought I understood what the play was going to be about (having read her memoir Pilgrim State and followed the witch-hunt saga that sees her still suspended from the Labour Party), I was mesmerised by her performance.
Using only a few minimal props – a hat, a doll, a photograph – and a variety of voices (which honestly was a surprise and very well executed), Jackie transports us from the Caribbean to New York City, back to the Caribbean, and finally to the UK. Her mother’s story and hers intertwine throughout the play, as the sense of history once again ignominiously repeating itself becomes clear to the audience. The complicated history of the slave trade is hinted at, as is the difficulty of carrying on an interracial relationship during 1950’s America. Both Jackie’s parents were activists in the American Civil Rights Movement, an engagement that made them both targets for Senator McCarthy’s witch-hunt. The consequences of this were devastating for Jackie’s mother.
Jackie’s play is not a diatribe or even a polemic narrative (as a lesser artist might have rendered it), but a very skilfully crafted work of art. Her mother’s story and hers are both elliptically told, replete with poetic understatement that forces the audience to draw their own conclusions about racism, oppression, witch-hunts and over-zealous social workers.
The play ends with the start of a trial. The McCarthy era was a stain in America’s democracy. Let us hope that the Labour Party’s Compliance Unit realises that whipping up frenzy for an anti-Semitism bogyman within our ranks is equally abhorrent, as it is now enthusiastically being taken up as a stick by the Tories to beat the Labour Party. We can only hope that when Jackie finally does get her day in court, it is not a similar show-trial.
After a very successful showing at the Edinburgh Fringe and in London and Brighton, Jackie is taking her play on a tour across the country. I would urge everyone, if you get the opportunity, to go see it for yourself.Details
18th Jan 2018 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, behind Central Library, Manchester, M2 5NS