In some ways the online rally for the Momentum national coordinating group election held by the Momentum Renewal faction on 10 June gave a good impression. The speakers all sounded properly left-wing, there was talk of class struggle, socialist policies and transforming Momentum, and so on.
The first problem is that it was impossible to take any of it seriously.
The people running Momentum Renewal have run Momentum since the start of 2017. Funnily enough, they seem only to have discovered there are any problems in the organisation since they decided to run for election in it.
If they’re in favour of democratising Momentum, as they claim, why haven’t they done it before now? In fact, why did they work so energetically to destroy the organisation’s democracy in 2016-17?
The same applied to pretty much everything that was said at the rally, about every issue. Talking fluently about the history of the British labour movement doesn’t equate to a class-struggle approach today – and Momentum’s record to working-class struggle has been passive at best.
The other thing worth noting is what they said about Jeremy Corbyn. At least two of the four speakers argued that previously it was necessary to focus on supporting the leader, but now he was gone there could be a wider remit. One of them said, almost exactly: “Before it was about supporting Jeremy, but now there are loads and loads of really talented members who can become councillors”.
To be “fair” to Momentum Renewal, the Forward Momentum nationally rally a week before was also extremely poor. However, Forward Momentum has had some other events since, including a Midlands Region meeting and a national Q&A with the FM candidates, sponsored by the Fire Brigades Union, which have been much better.
In addition, however, the problem with Momentum Renewal goes beyond political disingenuousness. Their key people, or many of them, are much worse than that.
In the days around the Momentum NCG election opening on 16 June, Momentum Renewal candidates and organisers launched a barrage of smears against Workers’ Liberty, creating a special Twitter account (Momentum Against the AWL) so the shit cannot be directly attributed to MR.
This is not just a matter of misrepresenting our politics, but of accusations of child abuse and the like. In other words, they have returned to their disgusting form of the last three years. It’s on the “Obama was born outside the USA” or “Hillary Clinton runs a child-abuse ring” level.
We are proud to be the political enemy of this project. But the lying, slander and harassment which their attacks on us typify are indications of what to expect if they win the Momentum election.
Foward Momentum’s weakness (at best) in responding to such witch-hunting is also a problem.
• For a debunking of some of the lies “Momentum Against the AWL” has promoted, see here.