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Here’s a new one – alt-Stalinist? December 7, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Perhaps little surprise here that Momentum is under some pressure – and from within. The political weather, and it’s heavy weather at that, is being made on the right of the spectrum for the most part.

I’ve no horse in this race, Momentum seems like a goodish idea, some very good people involved, naturally some drift in from elsewhere, it is what it is. But it’s not the BLP and I’m not sure it can be a replacement for same and clearly it was never intended as such by those who established it.

What’s interesting is that someone so close to the Corbyn camp would be framing matters in a certain fashion – that is concern over infiltration of Trotskyists. Is that a solo run or does it indicate a broader perception in and of the Corbyn camp? Notable is mention of the AWL – hardly, one would think, the most influential of groups of the British further left.

Anyhow, I’m always worried when we see stuff like this, not so much for what it indicates as what it doesn’t – that the core purpose of groups is overwhelmed by jockeying for position. And that makes me wonder if some of the energy that Momentum has represented has begun to dissipate because, well, frankly, when one is busy campaigning one is busy campaigning rather than concerning oneself with structural matters.

But here’s a new term, one I was unfamiliar with until now.

Murray’s blog claimed that a row over the form of internal voting structure the group should use at a meeting of its national committee on Saturday ended in bullying and intimidation. Murray, who advises Labour’s town hall spokesman, Grahame Morris, accused AWL members of bullying those they suspect of being “rightwing” or “alt-Stalinist” members.


1. Roger Cole - December 7, 2016

The Guardian is a newspaper like the Irish Times, a supporter of humanitarian imperialism, and a bitter enemy of Corbyn. Remember that when you are ever reading any articles in it.


2. GW - December 7, 2016

Awls? A takeover by woodworking tools? What have they been smoking?


3. FergusD - December 7, 2016

I’m a Momentum member, and a member of the BLP (rejoined after a long absence).

It seems to me that Momentum was set up very much to campaign for Corbyn and now, in my experience, has very much lost momentum! It may be different in other parts of teh country. I was told Mommentum has 1000 members in Bristol! Local Momentum meetings I go to are very much like BLP meetings, probably as my BLP branch and CLP are very much Corbyn supporting, so what is the difference?

There have been discussions locally about what Momentum should do and what is it for. No clear answers. One issue is the question of democracy in Momentum. It has some sort of national structure which, I think, just appeared, perhaps understandably as Momentum was set up to support Corbyn. Clearly if it is to continue it needs some democratic structure, that it seems may be contentious. AFAIK there was to be some sort of national meeting that would set the agenda for a national conference and creation of some nationally elected bodies. A local Momentum member raised this in a meeting and suggested that there were rumours that this would not go ahead, so we sent a letter (somewhere) to indicate our disapproval of that. I suspect the spat you describe is about this question.

The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (Sean Matgamna’s group) is indeed tiny. There is a “supporter” in my local LP, a very active LP member, works extremely hard, not at all “dogmatic”, elected a constituency officer, but then expelled by the NEC. Reasons unclear, no hearing, no appeal. Local LP well pissed off. I think the AWL may have a few people on whatever Mommentum structures there are nationally, but I don’t see them being a big force. This guy Murray/Guardian crying wolf here I suspect.

BTW, I don’t object to the AWL, or any similar group, being in the LP, they shoudl be allowed to join formally.

As for bullying, well the right of the LP throw that around all the time, along with ant-semitism. I wasn’t present at this “incident” obviously but I am curious as to what the complainant views as “bullying”, it may not be what we would call bullying. The Guardian is relentlessly hostile to Corbyn and Momentum.

I have a sneaky feeling that some in Momentum want to keep it under tight control as a Corbyn supporter’s group. I voted for him, of course, but hoped that Momentum would be a forum for a wider discussion and a movement that included formations outside the LP. I am not sure where it is going now, if anywhere. There desperately needs to be a wide ranging debate in the LP about what is stands for, how it responds to Brexit, right wing populism, what its economic policies should be etc.

BTW Corbyn may have won the leadership but he doesn’t control the LP officals who are hostile to him. That is a HUGE problem which he has to confront.


CMK - December 7, 2016

As long as there is no mandatory reselection for MPs Corbyn’s position remains extremely vulnerable. I like Corbyn and am glad he won the two elections but I think it is getting clearer by the day that he hasn’t got what it takes to push the Labour Party leftwards. He clearly lacks the ruthlessness that the Labour Right possess. Labour councils are continuing with imposing the austerity agenda, while wages continue to stagnate. Richard Seymour’s ‘Corbyn’ is a very good read on his limitations and the limitations of ‘Corbynism’. I think, though I hope I am wrong, that his tenure may just be a brief-ish leftward deviation on the Labour Party’s long term downward decline.


WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2016

FergusD, thanks a million for that overview, a lot of food for thought there. BTW if you’re ever tempted to do a post on the temperature of the LP in this period it would be very welcome.


Alibaba - December 7, 2016

I couldn’t agree more when FergusD says ‘I don’t object to the AWL, or any similar group, being in the LP, they shoudl be allowed to join formally.’ There are those who would argue “There’s some rabid revolutionaries raving again, while plotting and raiding raids into the party or Momentum”. I see this as wide of the mark. It’s working collectively that makes a big difference, albeit where there are political differences within the ranks. Once explored and decisions are democratically made and enforced; it’s shut up and put up after that. Dynamic internal debate will attract the best activists.


GW - December 7, 2016

Tend to agree with that Alibaba (and Fergus).

I don’t mind working with members of Leninist parties if they’re honest about their membership of those parties.

We’ve all got plenty to learn from each other in what are in many ways unprecedented times.


FergusD - December 9, 2016

WBS – I’ll think about it! My experience of teh BLP may be a bit localist though. I am just a humble very ordinary member, not holding any office.


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