A platform for Momentum

Submitted by AWL on 28 April, 2020 - 2:11 Author: Michael Elms
Momentum Internationalists

As the Momentum National Coordinating Group (NCG) elections approach, debate is building on the left over the future direction for Momentum.

Supporters of the campaign group Labour for a Socialist Europe have put out a platform to set out an idea of how Momentum could change direction. They will be looking to stand and support candidates for the NCG who endorse all or most of this platform.

It is based around three themes of democracy, class struggle and internationalism, and its key planks are:

• a labour movement response to the Covid-19 crisis; not putting off our activism until things “return to normal”, and advocating public ownership and workers’ control as a response to the pandemic and financial crises
• democratising Labour, and also Momentum: going back to local groups electing delegates and a democratic annual conference, rather than easily-gerrymandered, whenever-the-staff-fancy-it online votes
• democratising the trade unions, rather than leaning on their existing bureaucracy
• an idea of socialism that’s about workers’ control, not “socialism is when the state does things”
• supporting strikes and the abolition of anti-strike laws
• calling on Labour councils to refuse to implement cuts
• opposing the idea that the answer to crime is “toughness” and more cops
• defending and extending migrant rights and freedom of movement
• fighting Johnson’s far-right Brexit programme every step of the way
• challenging, not triangulating to, British nationalism

One faction is in the process of making its case in this debate. Forward Momentum, led by people from Momentum’s “World Transformed” events staff, has called for Momentum to democratise and accord a greater role to local groups. That effort is to be welcomed, and certainly Workers’ Liberty endorses the broad thrust of that message.

But there are some big gaps in the Forward Momentum platform. Firstly, there are no specific political demands beyond the most general and impossible to disagree with.

On democracy, where FM is clearer, there is (deliberately) no mention of Momentum having an annual sovereign conference, for example, but there are warm words about the present system of e-democracy. And while FM calls for local groups to be given a bigger role, their platform currently doesn’t spell out what that role might be, beyond a general (and good) insistence that Momentum should junk its control-freak culture, welcome local initiative, and encourage pluralism and debate.

We hope that a spirit of openness and debate can lead to a more democratic Momentum, and sharper, clearer socialist policies winning out.

• After we went to press, organising around this platform gave birth to "Momentum Internationalists": see here and here. We will carry more soon.

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