In the special issue of Red Pepper magazine published for The World Transformed fringe event at Labour Party conference, Momentum staff members James Schneider, Emma Rees and Adam Klug wrote an article which included the following:
“Events and campaigns are two very visible aspects of what Momentum does, but they wouldn’t be possible without the constellation of groups across the country and the members and supporters who have built them. It is in these groups, operating on a model of participatory democracy, where discussion, debate and action take place. Local groups decide which national priorities to emphasise, how to apply them and what local campaigns to undertake. Both directly and through regional networks, groups submit proposals and papers to the national committee, providing the direction of the overall organisation. In these spaces, communities can found their own politics, and find their own voice.
“The national committee, where key strategic decisions are taken at a national level, works in alliance with local groups and members. Local groups were established long before the committee: evidence of Momentum’s decentralised, democratic nature – the real power must lie at grassroots level. Organising, campaigning, discussing, Momentum’s members and supporters both set the agenda – the current national campaign, for example, was decided by a poll of our supporters about their priorities – and carry out the action. They are Momentum: from all over the country and from a diversity of backgrounds, they unite in a collective desire for a better society.”
When the comrades wrote this, the Momentum NC hadn’t met for almost five months, after repeated cancellations by the Steering Committee – it has since, of course, been prevented from meeting again. Meanwhile local groups and regional committees have been repeatedly disparaged as pointless, undemocratic or unrepresentative by those defending the Steering Committee’s subversion of democracy.
In fact what Emma, James and Adam wrote in those two paragraphs was to the point and well said. Momentum needs to decide whether it takes such sentiments seriously.