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Momentum – where next? March 8, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I’m sure I’m not alone in being very intrigued by Momentum’s fortunes.

The Observer – like its weekly analogue – is always exercised by the ‘hard left’, as can be seen here:

A new national coordinating group is to meet for the first time on 11 March, in Birmingham, shorn of leftwing groups and individuals judged as hostile to Labour.

Two weeks later, on 25 March, Momentum will hold its first national conference, also in Birmingham, building on the events it held in parallel with Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool in September.

But what is the read of those closer in to the organisation? Has it been holed beneath the waterline by the problems evident across the last year? And what prospects, if any, are there for it?


1. FergusD - March 8, 2017

Momentum’s “leadership” is determined to take control. They disolved the NC and forced through a constitution which means the new NC or steering group, whatever it is called, will consist of f a majority of representatives of “affiliated groups”. These groups appear to be close to Landsman and some we just don’t know what membership they have. So Momentum member representation will be a minority. The national conference will not be a decision making body.

My Momentum group is thoroughly disillusioned with the these developments. Actually I don’t think Momentum groups are even recognised now. Landsman has the membership list which is “owned” by some kind of company which he runs.

Landsman just sees it as a supporters’ group for Corbyn and not as a an organisation where politics will actually be discussed. Some accept this and many do not. I thought the meeting on March 11 was of those unhappy with these developments.


2. EWI - March 8, 2017

Wait – is Momentum the ‘national coordinating group’ or is that just a fancy new flag of convenience for Mandelson and chums?


3. FergusD - March 8, 2017

Momentum is a “group” set up to promote left policies in the BLP, initiated by John Lansman, someone active on the BLP left for years. Democratic structures were slow to emerge. It has 10-20,000 members, apparently. There was. National co-ordinating cttee which was to organise a national conference. This was all scrapped by some mysterious process. It seems to me it is all about excluding questioning of Corbyn’s policies. They don’t want decision making conferences but one member one vote online ballots. Although I am not sure they binding anyway. Paul Mason has joined it seems and supports this approach. I suppose it is aimed at “Trots” but there are few of of them. In my group, which had shrunk anyway some have left because of this.

Nothing to do with Mandelson


Alibaba - March 8, 2017

Not having ‘decision making conferences but one member one vote online ballots’ is clear evidence of leadership contempt for whatever shred of democracy is left in Momentum. It means that debate and discussion are stymied and there will be no genuine exchange of views. It would mean censorship of non-leadership viewpoints. If, as it seems, for the want of a better phrase, this has been slipped in by the backdoor, it is only proper that such a fundamental change should be challenged by members acting now.


FergusD - March 9, 2017

Alibaba, That’s what I understood the March 11 meeting is about, while the later one is the “offical” one. I agree with your points, the chnages that have been imposed, frankly, smack of plebiscites.



4. nineteensixtyseven - March 10, 2017

The Observer story looks very much like a briefing from the Momentum office.

FergusD’s assessment is in line with my own view. Our local Momentum group, too, opposed Lansman’s cancellation of the agreed democratic decision-making conference and his abolition of the existing structures.

As I understand it, the 25 March ‘conference’ will now just be a series of workshops. This is is part of transforming Momentum into the top-down organisation it was always intended to be, before many local groups rebelled in early 2016 demanding proper structures and, eventually, a founding conference to ratify a constitution. Those at the top do not want it to develop the capacity to form its own policy and fight for it in the Labour Party, which would be considerably to the left of the current state of affairs. Instead, Momentum is now envisaged as a giant database for mobilising a largely passive base, an atomised membership surveyed by the occasional e-plebiscite rather than forming its politics through the collective deliberation and decision-making of local groups.

Momentum still has well over 100 local groups, though, and much useful organising is still happening in local Labour Parties through Momentum-initiated caucuses, and in linking up with other more community-based campaigns. The intention behind the March 11 meeting, initiated by many of those groups who opposed Lansman’s recent move, is to be able to keep groups networked together, to work on joint initiatives and push democratisation of the party, even if that’s not a priority for the new Momentum ‘leadership’.

There are a few blogs from those in the Steering Committee and National Committee which were abolished before Christmas, which contain updates and commentary.

Jill Mountford (Alliance for Workers’ Liberty): https://jillsmomentumblog.wordpress.com/

Labour Party Socialist Network (Nick Wrack’s lot): http://socialistnetwork.org.uk/


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