The biggest national decision-making gathering of Momentum that has taken place so far was the Momentum Youth and Students (MYS) conference held last summer. The 200 Momentum members who took part elected a national committee pretty evenly split between supporters of what is now the “leadership faction” around Jon Lansman and the more radical, democracy-minded left.
In November 2016, the MYS committee voted to support the national meeting to campaign for democracy in Momentum by a majority of one. Since then the “leadership” people on the committee have pursued two tracks. The first has been gradually adding more people via regional elections, some of dubious legitimacy, so that they have a majority. The second has been to prevent MYS being active, firstly by pouring cold water on campaigning proposals from the left and then by just doing nothing. Now — after months of inactivity, in the middle of the General Election campaign — they have taken an out-of-the-blue online vote (on Facebook, closing 29 May) to purge the left from what’s left of MYS.
The motion calls for the expulsion of committee members who are not members of the Labour Party (i.e. whom the Compliance Unit has expelled) and declares that members of socialist groups like Workers’ Liberty and Socialist Appeal will be excluded from any future MYS conference. Though ineffectual — they are expelling people from an organisation they themselves have pretty much shut down — this is shameful. It also shows how politically corrupt the milieu around the Momentum leadership has become in its struggle to prevent the organisation functioning democratically. The excluders on MYS committee evidently think the way forward is to copy young Blairites!