Yesterday’s informal get-together in Birmingham, organised when the Steering Committee once again cancelled the National Committee, was positive, engaging and helped clarify discussion on many central issues in Momentum. Continue reading “Informal discussions in Birmingham bring clarity and unity”
The following statement was passed unanimously by Momentum’s national Steering Committee at the meeting on the evening of 2 November.
I voted for it, at the end of a long argument (in which the majority rejected including a line saying that there are different positions in the committee on what to recommend to the NC about Momentum’s structures), because I’m concerned for unity in Momentum and hoped this would allow a way forward.
Re-reading the statement in the cold light of day, I’ve changed my mind. The main reason is that while it is vague about decision-making in Momentum, it is fairly clear – if you read what the words say – that it excludes democratic delegate decision-making at the conference. I think this is important as we should have democratic delegate decision-making at the conference and I will continue to argue for this in Momentum, including at tomorrow’s national meeting to discuss the way forward.
The next NC will be on Saturday 3 December, in either Newcastle or Birmingham (tbc shortly). Continue reading “The way forward after the unity statement by Momentum’s Steering Committee”
The Momentum Youth and Students national committee, elected at the first MYS conference in June, has voted (9 votes to 8) to back the national meeting called by Matt Wrack and others on 5 November in Birmingham, to discuss the way forward for democratising Momentum; and to send delegates.
From what I understand, MYS activists may, in addition to general concerns about democracy, have their own specific reasons for being concerned about democratisation – for instance the fact that, five months after MYS was set up, its committee has still not been given control of its own social media.
Following last night’s Steering Committee, the next Momentum National Committee will meet in Birmingham on Saturday 3 December. I will put out a report of what was decided last night and its significance for what comes next – later today.
At tomorrow’s Steering Committee meeting (2 November), we will be moving to restore the 5 November National Committee meeting. If that does not succeed, we will be moving to reaffirm the date of 10 December for the NC.
Those who cancelled the 5 November NC are already making noises about cancelling 10 December, with two excuses being cited:
1. A Workers’ Liberty event about 50 years of our political tendency, Reason in Revolt. Workers’ Liberty has written formally to make very clear that it does not object to the clash and the NC should not be cancelled on this account.
2. The Welsh Labour Grassroots conference. But every weekend involves a clash of some sort. Welsh Labour Grassroots can still send a delegate or delegates to the NC. It is not as if no one has ever missed a political event to do other important business on behalf of their organisation.
Momentum members must insist the NC goes ahead.
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.
This motion was passed by delegates at the Momentum Northern (North East and Cumbria) region meeting on 30 October, 14-0.
Momentum Northern Regional Network censures the National Steering Committee for cancelling the meeting of the National Committee that was scheduled for 5 November and for agreeing a method of organising the national conference without waiting for the National Committee to discuss it.
We do not recognise the legitimacy of the Steering Committee to make those decisions. The Steering Committee was elected by the National Committee on an interim basis for a now expired term and it has no right to usurp the authority of Momentum’s sovereign decision-making body.
The Steering Committee’s decision to impose online referenda on the organisation regardless of the feedback from local branches goes against all traditions of democratic good practice in the labour movement; it is disrespectful to the many members who have worked hard to develop local branches and regional networks; it undermines our efforts to promote meaningful participation in the Labour Party; and it will turn Momentum into a top-down, officer-led organisation.
We call for the Steering Committee’s decision regarding the format of the conference to be rescinded. We support the National Committee proceeding as originally scheduled on 5 November with full authority to decide how a conference should be organised.
We also call for the National Committee to recall the current Steering Committee and elect a new line-up to take Momentum’s work forward until the national conference.