Momentum

MI becomes "Labour Left Internationalists"

The Labour left group Momentum Internationalists (MI) met by Zoom on Sunday 10 October to plan activity after the 25-29 September Labour Party conference. The discussion started with reports on the conference itself and on MI activity around it. Despite its small resources (compare Momentum, which has 20 paid staff), MI was the most active group at conference on left-wing policy issues. Momentum largely limited its comment to rule changes, explicitly eschewed comment on the several moves to refer back parts of the National Policy Forum report (some of which succeeded), and constructed its The...

Trade union struggle and political struggle - an interview with John McDonnell

John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington and former Shadow Chancellor, spoke to Sacha Ismail. After Labour Party conference, what do you think will happen with Starmer’s leadership? Do you think he’ll be around for a long time? It’s impossible to tell at the moment. At the conference he used the traditional Blairite, Mandelson playbook. Attack your own party to demonstrate you’re a strong leader; do a big personal speech to try to demonstrate you’re a normal human being; make banal statements instead of policy commitments. It didn’t work: the bounce in the polls didn’t happen. The...

Momentum needs democracy push

The Labour left grouping Momentum, which claimed 40,000 members in 2018 and surely still has some tens of thousands, is currently running a consultation to democratise itself. The need for that has been highlighted by the run-up-to-conference email Momentum sent to members (in fact, sent twice, on 1 and 3 September). The email makes no call to push the eleven model policy motions for Labour conference decided by Momentum, although the motions deadline is 13 September and some local Labour Parties are deciding their motions only in the last days. No, it chooses to publicise one of the 16...

Momentum hides banks policy

In April members of Labour left organisation Momentum voted in a “policy primary” for motions to promote for this year’s Labour Party conference. Two of the eight motions decided called for public ownership and democratic control of the banking and financial sector. Yet as XR’s action targeting finance and climate change unrolled, on 27 August Momentum social media put out a video with economist Grace Blakeley calling for “regulation” of the banks to tackle climate change. The Facebook status and tweet promoting the video also call for “regulation”. Not public ownership or democratic control...

Rally the left for Labour conference

Many Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) are yet to decide their motions to Labour Party conference (25-29 September in Brighton) at meetings in August or more likely in early September. Many will have decided in July, and rule-change proposals were in by 11 June. Workers’ Liberty is pushing the 'Build Back Fairer: Fight Poverty and Inequality' motion submitted by Momentum Internationalists and backed by Momentum, about a plan for rebuilding the workers’ movement and society on a more equal basis in the pandemic and its wake. We’re also pushing a motion on solidarity with the Uyghur people...

Regroup the left to revive Labour

Labour did very badly in the 17 June Chesham and Amersham by-election — down from 12.9% to 1.6%, 622 votes, about the same as the number of Labour members in the constituency. There is precedent. The 2016 by-election in Richmond Park, South West London was also won by the Lib Dems on a huge swing from the Tories, and Labour’s share fell from 12.3% to 3.6%. The difference is that in 2016-7 there was a sizeable and mobilised Labour left, which is now much more demobilised. Labour did badly in the polls (up to 20% behind) right up until the Tories called the election in mid-2017, and the Lib-Dems...

“Refounding Momentum”: confusing, trendy, disempowering

But better than nothing! The Momentum leadership has set up a process for re-writing the Momentum constitution. It will revolve around “Momentum Assemblies” filtering and re-writing submissions from members and local groups. That there will be any kind of collective input into the new constitution is a step forward. And the intentions of the leadership are surely good. But the rules for how this system will work are complicated and disempowering, and they replicate the culture of top-down paranoia about local groups that has stymied Momentum organising for years. You can read the rules here...

Momentum votes to campaign for public ownership of the banks

Momentum members have voted to prioritise eight motions for the 2021 Labour Party conference (September 25-9, Brighton). The motions prioritised are: “£15 minimum wage”; “Time for proportional representation”; “Green jobs revolution”; “Global climate justice”; “Build council housing and end homelessness”; “Reject integrated care systems, renationalise England’s NHS and social care”; “A four day week for a society in which we work to live, not live to work”; and “Build back fairer: attack poverty and inequality”. Momentum's office says that the Momentum National Coordinating Group will add...

Momentum primary results due

In March, Momentum ran a “policy primary” for the first time — a one-member-one-vote email ballot of its members to decide what motions Momentum should take to Labour Party conference. This was a step forward for democracy in Momentum, but still limited: making decisions by email referendum is a partial form of democracy, and one which favours central control. Momentum had some democratic structures prior to 2017 which were based on meetings of representatives of local groups. But the unelected office staff are central to shaping and holding email ballots: indeed, they get to set the questions...

Activist agenda: Momentum's "policy primary"

From 24 to 31 March, Momentum is holding a “policy primary” — an all-members’ vote-out, by single transferable vote [vote here], to decide what motions Momentum sends to Labour Party conference. Workers’ Liberty are supporting Momentum Internationalists’ recommendations: • The Build Back Fairer motion on social measures to restore working-class health and safety, rights at work, and living standards, in the pandemic and as it fades, passed by North East Momentum, Stevenage Momentum and Southampton Momentum • The motion from the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign on ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang/East...

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