A class-struggle platform in Momentum

Submitted by AWL on 10 June, 2020 - 4:42 Author: Ruth Cashman, Abbie Clark
Ruth Cashman

• Join Momentum here.

• For all the National Coordinating Group manifestos in full, see here. For more on who's standing, what they stand for and who we're backing, see here.

From Ruth Cashman’s Momentum NCG manifesto

I signed up to the Momentum Internationalists platform, for democracy, class struggle and internationalism. See momentuminternationalists.org/what-we-stand-for for the full programme.

Capitalism by its nature produces crises, and capitalists by their nature will seek to make the working class pay for them. In the Covid-19 fallout, capitalists are driving for wage cuts, job losses, repossessions, and cuts in public services. There is, however, nothing inevitable about them succeeding. Struggle will decide.

We need a transformation of the labour movement. One of the basic problems in society — in the political system and in the economy — is the lack of democracy. But at the moment, our own movement isn’t even democratic: our MPs are unaccountable, and policy is largely decided behind closed doors. Despite big talk, Momentum has hesitated on pushing structural reforms like open selection and became an uncritical top-down mobilising vehicle in which there is no real internal democracy. The left has incubated a lack of pluralism and an intolerance for dissent.

In “normal” political life, there is a separation between direct action struggles by the working class (demonstrations, strikes) and “politics”, which happens somewhere else. The Labour Party often siphons off working-class politics to a professional caste of politicians and experts insulated from the mass movement. We need to rebuild the labour movement as a force by which the working class can assert itself and its interests at every level of society — from the workplace to the streets to national politics.

We need to stand for socialism — for replacing capitalism with a new society based on democratic social ownership of major industry, services and finance, and workers’ control. To win that we need a strong stand against racism, sexism, transphobia, and all other bigotry and oppression.

Stand in solidarity with workers and oppressed minorities across the globe. Challenge British nationalism. Fight unequivocally for migrants’ rights, and to defend and extend free movement. Call for a Brexit extension to stop Johnson’s attempt to rush through a hard Brexit.

Foster solidarity with oppressed people in Palestine, Kurdistan, Uyghuristan, Kashmir, and across the world. Campaign against the threat to annex the West Bank; solidarity with pro-democracy groups like Standing Together in Israel; oppose antisemitism including on the left and under the guise of “anti-Zionism”.

From Abbie Clark’s manifesto

I organised to win the Labour Campaign for Free Movement’s migrants’ rights motion at last year’s Labour conference.

Over the past five years, many socialist motions passed at conference have been excluded from manifestos or not campaigned on by the party, including the repealing of all anti-union laws, extending free movement and closing all detention centres. Momentum should be campaigning for conference to be sovereign and for these policies to be implemented in full. But to transform and democratise Labour, we must also do the same in Momentum.

Whilst Momentum successfully mobilised activists during elections, it failed to organise the left beyond electoral politics and disenfranchised its membership. To unite socialists on the basis of radically transforming society we need space for members to debate, decide policy and develop campaigns. By supporting existing and new Momentum branches with funding and campaign resources, the establishment of sovereign regional and national conferences, and an education programme, Momentum can provide this space. Momentum must also take seriously the development of workplace organising. We should coordinate with trade union struggles, and develop worker-activists, central to any fight to overthrow capitalism.

I was proud to be voted on to the Forward Momentum slate by supporters in our region, working with comrades in Momentum Internationalists. I want to be on the NCG to rebuild Momentum. We have the opportunity to refound our movement, transform Labour and build a socialist mass movement with democracy at its core, rooted in class struggle, standing in solidarity with workers and oppressed minorities here and everywhere.

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