Momentum was set up in 2015 in order to support the agenda of Jeremy Corbyn. It is the continuation of Jeremy’s leadership campaign which resulted in him being elected Labour Leader in September 2015 and re-elected in September 2016.
Unfortunately Momentum is now diverging from its original purpose; on some issues it fails to support the Labour leadership and on others it even opposes the leadership.
The 2019 elections to Momentum’s National Coordinating Group (NCG) are due to take place this October and November, with nominations opening on 30 October. This will provide an opportunity to elect a more representative leadership that will return Momentum to its original purpose.
Jeremy Corbyn’s agenda
Jeremy is putting forward a truly radical transformative agenda for a Labour government that will make people better off. He is proposing that there should be a government with clear policies to: end austerity; raise living standards; oppose racism and all other forms of bigotry and discrimination; pursue a progressive foreign policy; tackle climate change; and prevent a Trump Deal Brexit.
It is Jeremy’s agenda that informed the 2017 Labour manifesto, securing 3.5 million more Labour votes than in 2015 and increasing Labour’s vote share by 9.6%. It is the agenda that propelled Jeremy into the Labour leadership and saw him re-elected. It is his agenda that has fundamentally strengthened the left.
Currently Jeremy is leading the opposition to Johnson’s proposed No Deal Brexit, and has inflicted a series of Parliamentary defeats on the Johnson government.
The establishment is throwing everything it can at Jeremy’s leadership and his policies in order to prevent the election of a Labour government. Momentum should be at the forefront of opposing all these attacks, but unfortunately increasingly often it is not.
The changes needed to Momentum’s orientation
Momentum needs to return to its original role as a supportive defender of the political agenda that Jeremy Corbyn is advancing for government. It is after all just what the left has been waiting for over many years and would help build electoral support for a Labour government. That will require the election of a Momentum NCG that will correct Momentum’s current failures.
To return Momentum to its original purpose candidates should be elected to the NCG who are fully committed to delivering on the following points:
- Momentum will publicly campaign for the Labour Party’s policies in national elections.
(And not for other policies. See Supporting Labour policy in national elections)
- Momentum will campaign within the Labour Party for the policies of the leadership.
(See Supporting the leadership within Labour)
- Momentum will defend the leadership against false allegations.
(See Defending the leadership against false allegations)
- Momentum will promote unity amongst the leadership’s supporters in internal elections.
(See Promoting unity in internal elections)
- Momentum will develop an internal democracy to give its members and local groups a say.
(See Internal democracy for Momentum)
The botched attempt to remove the Deputy Leader
Momentum’s involvement in the failed initiative, on the eve of Labour Annual Conference, to remove the Deputy Leader, by deleting the position of Deputy Leader from Labour’s Rule Book, had the effect of strengthening the Deputy Leader and undermining the Leader. Momentum needs an NCG and Officers focussed on strengthening, not weakening, the party leadership.
Elect a broad inclusive pro-Jeremy NCG
To fulfil its original purpose, of continuing the campaign in support of Jeremy, Momentum needs an NCG whose members are committed to returning Momentum back to being an organisation that consistently campaigns for Jeremy and his politics, not for any alternative agenda.
Within that fundamental framework, the NCG should reflect the broad diversity of political support within Labour for the Party leadership. Individual NCG members do not have to agree with every policy advanced by the leadership. However, the membership of Momentum are entitled to expect that NCG members will take responsibility for ensuring that Momentum publicly campaigns for Jeremy’s policies and not for the policies of anyone else.
That is best achieved by electing a politically inclusive NCG, committed to consistent campaigning in support of Jeremy. In the latter respect it is regrettable that an Officer of Momentum has not strenuously denied the report of advocating the removal of Jeremy as Labour Leader.
In the forthcoming NCG elections the priority is to ensure a politically inclusive Momentum leadership focussed on changing the national organisation’s orientation so that there is a return to a Momentum for Corbyn.
If a general election is called before the 2019 Momentum NCG elections have taken place they will be postponed till after the general election.
The number one priority must be the election of a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour government. Momentum members and local groups should insist that Momentum fully backs the Labour general election manifesto policies and that it does not diverge into promoting alternative policies in the media – as it did in this year’s European Parliament Election.
In relation to the mobilisation work required in a general election campaign, Momentum can be expected to run a highly professional operation, at least as skilful as in 2017. It is already preparing to mobilise Labour members and supporters to take part in the Labour campaign, using such tools as the well known ‘My Nearest Marginal’ app – significantly upgraded since 2017. There will be training for campaigners and also expect, again, a serious video operation in support of the campaign. Momentum’s members and local groups should make full use of these excellent Momentum resources.
3 October 2019