Momentum becomes fit for purpose


It would be fair to say that the announcement of a new constitution for Momentum has caused some controversy. In summary, Momentum recently asked supporters their views in an online survey, accompanied by a message from Jeremy Corbyn.

The results of that survey have been used to justify a new constitution being announced. The constitution is here.

Along with this account of how the constitution was introduced:

The results of the survey sent to Momentum members show that there is a widespread consensus about the type of organisation members want – a grassroots, campaigning political movement that can help Labour win power on a transformative platform. 40.35% of members responded to the survey. Campaigning for Labour victories and helping members become more active in the Labour Party were the most popular options for Momentum’s priorities in 2017, chosen by 71.71% and 68.23% of respondents respectively.

80.60% of respondents said that key decisions should be taken by One Member One Vote, rather than by delegates at regional and national conferences and committees (12.50%). 79.29% of respondents said all members should have a say in electing their representatives, as opposed to national representatives being elected by delegates from local groups (16.16%).

Following this decisive response, the Steering Committee voted to introduce the constitution for Momentum to deliver the kind of action-focussed, campaigning, Labour-focussed organisation our members have said they want. The constitution puts decision making power in the hands of members with direct democracy and OMOV elections central to the organisation.

Momentum as an organisation was established originally to carry forwards the organizational and functional impetus behingd Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership election campaign. In particular, it has been felt by many people for a long time that the centre left needed an organized counterbalance to the pressure from Progress, and Labour First, two organizations of the centre right that have disproportionate influence in the Labour Party.

However, Momentum became bogged down in the usual and interminable arguments of the left, which have effectively prevented the organisation from operating. This had a very enervating effect, and parts of the left who have fetishised an alleged democratic deficit in Momentum have distracted attention away from the real scandals, the democratic deficits in society as a whole, and particularly in the Labour Party.

Momentum does not need to duplicate the functions of a political party. Momentum does not need to duplicate the functions of a trade union. What is needed is to have a structure on a broad left basis where supporters of the current trajectory of the Labour Party leadership can coordinate their efforts to good effect, on the basis of what we agree about. This gives the space for a new politics to develop.

I just joined Momentum, which I believe is now becoming serious and fit for purpose.

62 comments on “Momentum becomes fit for purpose

  1. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    “I just joined Momentum, which I believe is now becoming serious and fit for purpose.”
    LOL, LOL, LOL: Now that MOMENTUM can move even further to the right – with the expulsion of socialists from MOMENTUM who have been expelled from the Labour Party – and compromise with the Blairite to make Labour safe again for the capitalist class Andy has decided to join it. Is this the end of Jeremy Corbyn as leader and John McDonnel as Shadow Chancellor and the end of Labour for the hopes of the millions of working class and middle class people? Unless the members of MOMENTUM – which I am not one but an observer of the processes that have been taking place – stand and fight this coup then all veneer of socialism is going to rubbed away and the ‘Very British Coup’ will have succeeded. Well there is always the TRADE UNIONIST and SOCIALIST COALITION!!!!!!!!!

    I will see how long this takes to be posted 4 weeks was the last time I posted something, 3 weeks before that?

  2. Karl Stewart on said:

    From outside the Labour Party myself, I can see the sense of this proposed reform.

    Can’t see why anyone who’s not an LP member would want to join an LP pressure group, so restricting Momentum membership to LP members makes sense.

    Opponents of this change have cited the fact that TUs can affiliate to Labour without this requirement of all TU members also being individual LP members, but with respect, that’s not comparing like with like.

    Momentum and a trade union are widely different types of organisation with completely different respective primary purposes.

    And I also can’t see why there is a need for an internal LP pressure group to have a fully developed internal delegate/committee/policy conference set up as oppoments of this reform have advocated.

    I think Andy’s right here, in that that could be seen as an unnecessary duplication.

  3. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Post two; Yes; if the active rank and file members and trade unionists do not stand and fight this coup. While most members of the Labour Party will not see this as a fight for the direction of the Labour Party – whether it goes left or Right – or as a means to protect Jeremy Corbyn from the Blairites the Lefts in MOMENTUM have to organise against this coup by fighting against it. And when I say fighting against it, I means fundamentally politically as well as organisationally as well. The fact that politically the Lefts in MOMENTUM have not been prepared to clearly oppose the mistaken strategy of the Momentum leadership means that Lansman and co have been allowed to do what they have done which is the next step to compromise with the Blairite PLP, Councillors and the MSPs in Scotland. The battle against Labour’s right is not simply a battle between two wings of a party. Behind them are the class interests of the different participants. The right ultimately represents the capitalist elite, which was delighted with the Blairite transformation of Labour into a party that could be relied on to act on their behalf, and is fighting to turn the wheel of history back to that situation. But as I said I am only observer of MOMENTUM nothing more. ut what is devastating for the Lefts in MOMENTUM who up to now could work within MOMENTUM even if they were expelled from the Labour Party; under the CONSTITUTION drawn up by Lansman and NOT democratically decided by MOMENTUM members means that expelled members of the Labour Party can no longer be members of MOMENTUM. That means there is no socialist alternative in the political discussions to decide policy and the drift to the right and compromise with the Blairites will go along nicely. Unless the rank and file fight………

  4. I’m glad they’re going to jettison some of the cultists and splitters of the SP and SWP and AWL. Hopefully, without their hectoring and dogmatism, ordinary working-class people who may never have considered joining a political organisation before will not feel intimidated and will get involved via community activism.

  5. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Omar in Post six : I hit my head against a brick wall and laugh gibberishly. What goes for political knowledge is Palpable rubbish clearly from someone who is not even involved in the labour movement, let along the MOMENTUM movement and the Labour Party. It sounds more like a quote from the SUN and I am just an observer of the antics of MOMENTUM because in Scotland the Socialist Party is not involved in MOMENTUM or the Labour Party for INDEPENDENT CLASS political reasons; and MOMENTUM in Scotland is in pitiable condition, so that negates your argument. If my post in answer to Andy, in which I was trying to develop a serious discussion on MOMENTUM and the Labour Party, which was posted at 7:03, 11 January is not made live I will just laugh at this nonsense from afar. I have better things to do with myself; harsh it maybe but there really is no serious contributions on the actual events of reality here……………..

    And for Omar’s information neither the Socialist Party nor the SWP are able to become involved in MOMENTUM before this coup by Jon Lansman, the MOMENTUM leadership, both locally and nationally, have acted like the Stasi when is has come to the Socialist Party and SWP, (who by the way have openly said that they do not want to get involved in MOMENTUM or the Labour Party). The AWL are so small they do not have any political influence either in the Labour Party or MOMENTUM……………. On the other hand 75 socialists, with more than a thousand years’ membership of the Labour Party between them, have collectively applied to the Labour Party’s national executive committee (NEC) to be readmitted – not MOMENTUM – they consider the election, and re-election, of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader represents an opportunity for the Labour Party to be rebuilt as a clearly anti-austerity, socialist party, with an open and democratic structure. However, it is clear that the Blairites remain determined to return Labour to being a pro-capitalist and pro-austerity party – and therefore to undermine and, when possible, remove Jeremy Corbyn. There is a real danger that, on the basis of further compromises byu the Left in the Labour Party, especially MOMENTUM, and retreats in a vain attempt to pacify the right, the opportunity to change Labour could be wasted.

  6. Karl Stewart on said:

    Jimmy Haddow,

    Jimmy, your postings were put up, so I don’t understand what your complaint is.

    And there’s an irony here isn’t there? Because your own party would never publish critical comments. Your own party doesn’t run a discussion blog, or publish any critical letters in its own publications. And the ‘TUSC’ facebook page recently banned someone for posting critical statements didn’t it?

    And yet you are welcome to post your comments, criticisms and points of view on here.

    It is this dpuble standard – of denying any democracy to others, but loudly insisting on it for yourselves – which is common to all Trotskyist organisations, and which is the main reason why there is zero sympathy for the Trotskyist side within Momentum.

  7. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    point 8, Karl point taken………but I do not agree with you on your comments, but that is the way of the game and I do not want this to be focussed on me but on the coup organised by the Lansman clique in MOMENTUM and its consequences to MOMENTUM which I have indicated above.

  8. Andy Newman on said:

    Jimmy Haddow,

    Jimmy, why do you think that people need to be members of momentum to advocate alternative views.

    The trouble is that the likes of the AWL see themselves as a pre ordained leadership, even though their politics are unrepresentative, and use organisational means to achieve political goals. The result has been an unnecessary attempt to make Momentum duplicate structures of a political party, and turned the debate inwards, to the detriment of JC’s public image.

    momentum will hopefully now concentrate on being an outward oriented ccampaign group

  9. Jammy what you say about the Socialist Party not wanting to be part of Momentum doesn’t tie in with stuff I’ve read elsewhere where SP members are complaining about being exclused.

    I’m genuinely confused as to what your problem is.

  10. #11 However I still don’t see your problem.

    Political formations are established on a particular basis, with membership criteria. If you don’t fit the criteria you don’t fit the criteria. TUSC doesn’t have individual membership, the Socialist Party is organised on the basis of your version of democratic centralism. Momentum was founded to help organise people in the Labour Party to support the general political position represented by Corbyn.

    If you succeed in joining the Labour Party and you don’t want to be part of Momentum, do something else. Experience shows that this is exactly what you will do anyway. There were several formations of the Labour Left back in the 70s and 80s, and Militant avoided being part of any of them other than ones that were simply fronts for Militant.

    This idea that you can tell other people how they should organise and demand the right to join and that they should change their rules to let you is something I’ve never understood, particularly from groups that have their own very precise membership criteria.

    And I don’t see either why the way Momentum functions internally has any bearing on the question of socialist politics or democracy within the Labour Party. One’s a mass party of the working class, while the other is a pressure group.

  11. Evan P: I don’t see either why the way Momentum functions internally has any bearing on the question of socialist politics or democracy within the Labour Party. One’s a mass party of the working class, while the other is a pressure group.

    This is exactly correct.

    It was also the deliberate blurring of this distinction by the likes of the AWL that momentum was getting bogged down.

    Momentum as a pressure group, which allows participation without a bureauscratic structure, is better (for goodness sake, I already have CLP GC, CLP EC, Labour Regional Board, Labour SW TULO, GMB branch meetings, GMB regional council, GMB regional Committee, GMB CEC, GMB Political commitee, GMB Commercial services committee, White Horse TUC, and SW TUC regional council (I steped down from the regional TUC exec). the last thing I need is for Momentum to tell me that I need to go to extra meetings to participate!

  12. Evan P on said:

    #13 I think that any socialist should be allowed to be a member of the Labour Party, although if they are blatantly a member of an organisation that the rules makes ineligible for membership it’s a bit difficult to see how they can complain if action is taken against them. That’s why as a CPB member I would not dream of trying or encourage any other member to.

    For many years individuals who were supporters of the AWL remained in the Labour Party while others organised outside, sometimes supporting candidates who stood against Labour.

    It appears now that all the AWL have either rejoined or attempted to rejoin the Labour Party. Some AWL members have been expelled, as have some AWL supporters who never left the Labour Party.

    One member of my union branch falls into the latter category and I supported the motion that was carried unanimously protesting against the expulsion.

    My belief that these people are being targeted in order to weaken Corbyn’s basis of support.

    My complete opposition to many of the AWL’s political positions, my dislike of the way that they appear to function and the fact that they appeared to be unduly represented in Momentum nationally does not mean that I want to see them expelled. (Even though they have been implicated themselves in witchhunting people for supporting the Palestinian cause).

    As for Momentum, anyone who wants to see Corbyn’s politics strengthened in the Labour Party and wider Labour movement and to see that translated into labour victories at the polls should welcome a strengthened Momentum, if indeed this is what is going to happen. Clearly the jury is out.

    But that does not mean that everyone who shares that goal should feel that they have the right to join something they are ineligible to join by virtue of that organisation’s rules.

  13. Pete Jones on said:

    As a member of momentum, these developments are very welcome. The appalling bureaucratic rubbish dominating it was killing it. It is not a democratic organisation, it is there to get left wing members active, support a corbyn leadership, and politically educate members. Thank you mr landsman.

  14. Jimmy Haddow,

    Jimmy, I am a member of Unite, so yes I am part of the labour movement. If it’s the case that Lansman has already nipped you lot ( I don’t make much of a distinction between the SP or any of the other bunch I mentioned, to be honest) in the bud then I’ll happily stand corrected. Please, however, don’t presume to have some higher understanding of socialism than the rest of us.

  15. Jellytot on said:

    The Trots think we are all reformist/Stalinist scum….why would they want to be in same organisation as us anyway?

    Aren’t we, in effect, doing them a favour by booting them?

    If we are dogs…surely by lying down with us they would get fleas?

  16. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    MOMENTUM was set up as a pro-Corbyn movement, as a counterweight to the Blairites and to build an anti-austerity movement capable of challenging the political consensus. By its own ‘mission statement’ on its foundation in November 2015 it said “Momentum exists to build on the energy and enthusiasm from the Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader campaign to increase participatory democracy, solidarity, and grassroots power and help Labour become the transformative governing party of the 21st century.” In fact the MOMENTUM leadership seemed to recognise this when they declared that the basis of their movement must come from “outside as well as inside the Labour Party”. They want the élan of the Corbynistas to change the Labour Party into a new type of politics from the Blairite domination of Labour the previous 20 years. That is what I read in the Guardian/Independent and what I was told when I went to MOMENTUM meetings in Edinburgh late 2015 and early 2016 and again during the summer when the Blairites organised the coup against Jeremy Corbyn.

    On here the ‘supporters’ of the Coup that has been organised by Jon Lansman on the membership of MOMENTUM either cannot see what is taking place and its consequences to the political support of Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership; or are in reality in support of it because they are cut from the same cloth of the Blairites and want the Labour party to go back to what it was under Blair/Brown/Miliband. But the reality is the MOMENTUM leadership under Lansman will never inspire the thousand who joined the Labour Party over the past 18 months because they have continually politically retreated from the original formation of MOMENTUM. The undemocratic coup of Lansman is just a step of retreat by these weak reformists who do not want to oppose the Tory version of capitalism. In Scotland MOMENTUM supporting Labour Councillors on Glasgow City Council have voted through cuts on the Glasgow council services and Council staff and has even supported the privatisation of the Glasgow Council ICT service.

    Actually the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary – Peter Taaffe and Hannah Sell – of the Socialist Party met with Jon Lansman soon after the formation of MOMENTUM and warned him that anti-austerity policies and mandatory reselection should be at the top of the agenda and even then Lansman argued against fighting for mandatory reselection, believing that many of the MPs could be won over to Corbyn, enabling him to ‘cling on’ until 2020. The leadership of the Socialist Party warnings that the Right was irreconcilably opposed to Corbyn and an attempted coup was inevitable were dismissed; but who was right after the coup by the Blairites were launched in the summer of last year. Those who became active in Momentum in order to fight to transform the Labour Party need to draw the necessary conclusions from this miserable experience.

    What is at heart is the Corbyn left leadership and whether he will be leader when the general election comes? The destruction of the democratic rights of MOMENTUM members is a step of the Lansman leadership not to rock the boat with the Blairite MPs, Councillors, MSPs and the Party Machine; but they will still come after them. Weakness invites aggression! An attempt to accommodate the Labour right is impossible. The civil war that is taking place inside the Labour Party will have to result in the emergence of a victor. Either a newly constituted left working class party is created by the defeat of the pro-austerity, pro-capitalist right or the Labour Party will remain under their control and will never recover from it.

  17. jock mctrousers on said:

    Well, I thought I HAD joined Momentum, because they used to send me stuff, but I wasn’t contacted over this, so I guess not… I’m still fuzzy about everything to do with Momentum. I’ve noted here before my bewilderment about the AWL presence, but beyond that it only impacts me in dispatches from Labour Party Marxists (the Weekly Worker’s CPGB I understand?), who take an opposite view to Andy.

    I think the LPM make a very good case for a delegate system, but they’d be happy to go on arguing forever cos that’s their thing…. No! A word spent on democracy in momentum is a word wasted that could be spent on democracy in Labour. Let Momentum be a canvassing, leafletting pressure group, maximum function, minimum bull…

    I take it that’s what OMOV is for, but then I’m not even sure what Momentum is?

  18. Andy newman on said:

    jock mctrousers,

    I am not an expert on the history, it all happened when my boy was in hospital and i had no space in my head to pay attention.

    But it looks like the launch of momentum was done in haste, so that local groups were esrablished on an ad hoc basis before any structures were in place. This allowed the AWL and other professional meeting goers to get sufficient influence to derail the process.

    A partucular issue where the AWL played a pernicious role is over allowing non Labour members to be in Momentum. Where i understand their reps on the committee defied the mandate from their local group.

    The purpose of momentum was simple, that the unexpected victory of Corbyn had led to some thousands of new people coming forward, and there was a database of their details, and there was an opportunity to seek to keep them involved.

    At some point Momentum changed from considering everyone who exprrssed an interest being a member to having a more formal membership. The membership data is held by a private company in control of the Lansman camp ( who in my view can be trusted)

  19. brianthedog on said:

    I have been watching with increasing alarm the social imperialist AWL growing influence over Momentum.

    How this cult of a few dozen people manages to do this is one thing but glad it looks like this is being dealt with.

    They are a secret service dream.

  20. jock mctrousers on said:

    Andy newman: local groups were esrablished on an ad hoc basis before any structures were in place

    that’s very fuzzy

    Andy newman: This allowed the AWL and other professional meeting goers to get sufficient influence to derail the process.

    A partucular issue where the AWL played a pernicious role is over allowing non Labour members to be in Momentum.

    But there are only about 3 dozen AWL members in the whole country!

    Andy newman: new people coming forward,

    you mean people offering their services to canvas etc for the Labour Party? So Momentum is a continuation of the Corbyn internal Labour electoral machine, which amounts in practice to a database of members to mobilise if needed?

    Andy newman: The membership data is held by a private company in control of the Lansman camp ( who in my view can be trusted)

    Here’s the rub. Lansman can be trusted with WHAT exactly? The above scenario only works for me if Momentum is explicitly transmitting the will of Corbyn ultimately, even if delegated to a campaign team; but that again is fuzzy.

    All Corbyn can really hope to do in the cirumstances is try and firm up the grip of the left on the Labour Party. That means replacing Blairites. But I think Lansman has been very effusive that they won’t deselect widely, maybe Corbyn said that too…. So are they going to fight.
    If not, are they going to make the membership lists available to others prepared to fight?

    Is it even LEGAL for Lansman to claim ownership of these membership lists, since the names were volunteered to the Labour Party?

    So, since Momentum is not into deselection and is not going to share the lists of new members, if those hundreds of thousands of new members want to actively work towards the party they want then they’ll have to ignore Momentum, somehow build up their own lsts… and Momentum begins to look like part of the panobly of dirty tricks, like suspending all branch activity etc we’ve come to expect from the LP establishment?

    Having said that, they DID send me a list of preferred candidates for the NEC (or whatever) election, which I found useful.

    Well, there’s Andrew Neil talking about Momentum on the Daily Politics ” Confused? So are we….” Glad it’s not just me.

  21. jock mctrousers: that’s very fuzzy

    It is what happened. Momentum was launched into the world with no structures, and then people started local groups on their own initiative before there was any constitution, the national organisation was then confronted with “facts on the ground” that it had to accommodate to.

    jock mctrousers: But there are only about 3 dozen AWL members in the whole country!

    Maybe a few more, but you are broadly correct. Consider two things though, that they are organised, coordinated and come armed with a number of pre-existing skills. Furthermore, the nature of the AWL is that they present themselves as liberals, accomodating to individualism and “common sense” approaches to democracy, and then pushing themselves forward as the people to represent that fluffy middle class view. Only once you have protracted dealings with them does their true cultish absurdity become clear.

    jock mctrousers: you mean people offering their services to canvas etc for the Labour Party?

    No, new people coming forward to campaign for Corbyn in the leadership campaigns

    jock mctrousers: So Momentum is a continuation of the Corbyn internal Labour electoral machine, which amounts in practice to a database of members to mobilise if needed?

    That is the baseline, but only if it is effective in that function can it evolve to be something better.

    jock mctrousers: The above scenario only works for me if Momentum is explicitly transmitting the will of Corbyn ultimately, even if delegated to a campaign team

    The network of relationships on the left of the party have been built up over several years. I personally trust Jon Lansman, and the campaign team. At present Momentum is a fledgling organisation that has been damaged by the internal bickering, largely from a few trotskyists. We need to nurture it out of that vulnerable phase before we can expect anything more from it.

    jock mctrousers: That means replacing Blairites.

    In the first instance it means consolidating a coalition within the party behind Corbyn, and politically isolating the Blairites. It is also necessary to work very carefully around the trade unions. Any ill-considered discussion of deselection is likely to spook potential supporters and actually boost support for the most un-reconstructed Blairites.

    jock mctrousers: Is it even LEGAL for Lansman to claim ownership of these membership lists, since the names were volunteered to the Labour Party?

    Yes, they were volunteered to the Corbyn leadership campaign.

  22. Jellytot on said:

    jock mctrousers: Well, there’s Andrew Neil talking about Momentum on the Daily Politics ” Confused? So are we….” Glad it’s not just me.

    Is confusing Andrew Neil necessarily a bad thing?

    You seem to be perplexed about the lack of razor sharp clarity and purpose of mission in the Momentum project.

    Maybe this fuzziness could be seen as a strength and not a weakness and fits the tenor of the times where younger people especially desire looser forms of organization and don’t want some jumped up “Tony Cliff” or “Gerry Healy” hectoring to them (or worse in regards to Healey!).

  23. My experience of Momentum is mixed. Our initial meetings locally were very well attended, with a high level of discussion and a feeling that the local Party leadership were firmly anti-Corbyn and, worse, unwilling to draw new people into activity.

    Nevertheless, the new influx led to a couple of very effective party public meetings being held (on tax and on unions). Interestingly, the regional party machine became very exercised at the active and substantial presence of the local Morning Star readers and supporters group and at the open sale and wide distribution of the paper at party meetings.

    However, the Momentum group has rapidly reduced to a rump with many people put off by the focus on procedure rather than activity and by the rancour of its dissident minority.

    At its last meeting the group abandoned plans for independent activity and is sensibly orientated towards energising the party itself.

    No one has raised the slightest objection to the participation in Momentum and party activity and meetings of communists — rather the opposite with responsibility for work being willingly handed out. Nevertheless, if the price of shutting out the parasitical sects is a slimmed-down Momentum machinery and a renewed emphasis on energising the party itself then this Bolshevik will willingly surrender the doubtful pleasures of attending yet more meetings in favour of pounding the streets and market square.

  24. Did anyone else see Momentum calling on people to join Unite in order to vote for Len McClusky? Have to say, that showed an almost complete lack of understanding about how trade unions work.

  25. unclealbert on said:

    brianthedog: They are a secret service dream.

    Same goes for the other Marxist cults. Whenever they get a foothold in any incipient movement ruin soon follows.

  26. Jellytot on said:

    unclealbert,

    I think the Security Services aspect is overstated. Firstly they are way overstretched monitoring Islamists (it is they not the Trots or the LP putting bombs on The Tube). Secondly for all their James Bond image (which they are pleased to promote) in my experience (and I have some) they are rather dull civil servants in cheap suits.

    Some low level monitoring goes on but not much else.

    Believe me, the Trot cults are able to fuck it all up unaided. It’s their politics and their inability to move on from the Sixties.

  27. brianthedog on said:

    Tim N,

    This was a response from the right wing Labour group Progress calling on its supporters to join Unite and vote for their candidate Gerard Coyne.

  28. brianthedog,

    Perhaps, I still think it was a bit inept, even if it was just a response to something Progress did. Such a call to join will have close to zero impact on the election, and just open Momentum up to criticism. Plus, a political organisation calling on its supporters to join a trade union to influence the outcome of its internal elections is just plain wrong, irrespective of if the right are doing it too.

  29. unclealbert on said:

    Jellytot: they are rather dull civil servants in cheap suits.

    Just about sums up the majority membership of Trot groups. No further confirmation needed…

  30. Jellytot on said:

    unclealbert: Just about sums up the majority membership of Trot groups. No further confirmation needed…

    I thought they were mainly teachers/lecturers ?

    During the “Comrade Delta” affair the SWP published a open letter from members supporting the leadership and it contained trade union affiliations beside individual names – there was a disproportionate amount from the NUT and NASUWT members etc……way disproportionate.

    Which isn’t surprising.

  31. David Riley on said:

    So what you’re saying is that the SWP membership is disproportionately working class.

    Surprising.

  32. Jellytot on said:

    David Riley:
    So what you’re saying is that the SWP membership is disproportionately working class.

    Surprising.

    Aahhh….teachers….those “horny-handed sons of toil” !!

    On the Estate I grew up on there were 3 main enemies….cops, Social workers, and teachers. Brought up to depise all three.

    Although I have mellowed with age there is residual.

  33. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: I thought they were mainly teachers/lecturers ?

    During the “Comrade Delta” affair the SWP published a open letter from members supporting the leadership and it contained trade union affiliations beside individual names – there was a disproportionate amount from the NUT andNASUWT members etc……way disproportionate.

    It’s unlikely there are that many SWP members in the NASUWT.
    Which isn’t surprising.

  34. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jellytot: Aahhh….teachers….those “horny-handed sons of toil” !!

    On the Estate I grew up on there were 3 main enemies….cops, Social workers, and teachers. Brought up to depise all three.

    Although I have mellowed with age there is residual.

    You’re hard Jellytot.

  35. Sussexlabourleft on said:

    Momentum becomes better fit for purpose when it stands by Tony Benn’s advice in his famous five questions about power and accountability:

    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/lansmans-kitchen-coup-against-momentums.html

    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/brighton-and-hove-momentum.html

    This is Brighton Momentum’s resolution (see below) and contribution to making Momentum fit for purpose:

    Resolution on Current Situation

    1. We condemn the attempt by Jon Lansman and the majority of the Steering Committee to abolish the National Committee and the Conference Arrangements Committee, which was elected at the December NC meeting.

    2. It is not possible for the Steering Committee, which was elected by the NC, to abolish the very body which elected it.

    3. We do not recognise the newly-announced ‘Constitution’ imposed by way of an email. It has no validity. We note that the Steering Committee, let alone the National Committee, was not even given an opportunity to discuss this proposed Constitution.

    4. We particularly condemn the fact that those who refuse to accept an imposed, undemocratic Constitution, will be deemed to have resigned from Momentum.

    5. 6. We wish to give full support to the elected National and Conference Arrangement Committees. We urge that a national delegate conference open to all Momentum groups and oppressed groups be convened as a matter of urgency and ask that in the meantime a bank account etc. be opened by the NC in order that the necessary financial arrangements can be made.

    7. We call on other Momentum groups and oppressed groups to boycott the proposed conference that Jon Lansman and the Steering Committee majority are organising. It will be undemocratic and will not discuss policy, the new ‘constitution’ or motions. Likewise we urge members to boycott elections to the new National Co-ordinating Group. The NCG has no political, moral or legal validity.
    8. We urge that Jon Lansman and the Steering Committee majority to place all Momentum data in the hands of the Steering Committee and warn them that any ‘change in use’ of that data will be illegal under the Data Protection Act 1998.

    9. We hope that the Steering Committee rethinks its decisions as to the agreed Conference as it has clearly led to widespread anger and confusion amongst Momentum activists, including calls for a split.

  36. #40 I think in trying to establish whether or not Momentum is fit for purpose you need to establish what its purpose is.

    It seems from the outside that people who want to help transform Labour into something that reflects the wishes of those tens of thousands who voted for Corbyn have a big enough job getting involved in the Labour Party itself and its structures.

    All this stuff you describe just reminds me of all the energy people put into factional fights amongst the Labour left in the 80s. Energy which could have been better used fighting the real enemy (he said with the Judean People’s Front in mind).

    When all the people who object to the changes finish struggling against Jon Lansman (successfully or not) I predict with absolute certainty that they will be involved in time and energy consuming fight after time and energy consuming fight with each other. And the masses will hopefully be completely oblivious, because if they aren’t they will not be impressed.

  37. Jellytot on said:

    Evan P: I think in trying to establish whether or not Momentum is fit for purpose you need to establish what its purpose is.

    You mean it’s not a recruitment vehicle for the AWL ?

  38. Sussexlabourleft,

    While I actually do sympathise with many of the complaints about how the Momentum leadership has conducted itself, I wonder what the point would be of boycotting the conference as that motion proposes? It seems that those activists who disagree with Landsman et al will just be cutting themselves off from a whole number of Momentum members who don’t know/care about the arguments currently going on about Momentum’s structure (believe me, that will be the vast majority).

    If it were me I would chalk this one up to a loss and move on, as the only direction boycotts and alternative conferences take you will be a split (or rather a splinter, only a small minority will move with the far left on this one). Continuing to bash your heads against a brick wall on this issue is going to do you more harm than anyone else.

    The alternative is that those who are unhappy with what’s going on simply set up their own organisation along the lines they have been arguing for, and continue to be active in Momentum if they choose.

  39. Sussexlabourleft on said:

    Jellytot,
    Will you concede the point that Momentum should be a democratic organisation and its leadership accountable to Momentum members as suggested in the weblinks provided in the post?

    The current of former AWL members in Momentum should become diluted over time if Momentum is active and democratic in its functioning and representative of its membership.
    Some branches like Haringay Momentum have responded, as Charlie Allen reported in the Morning Star recently, to threats by the local Labour run council planning to sell off land and property to a new company. Other branches are mobilising to send activists to help in upcoming bye-elections such as in Stoke to help Labour against UKIP and the Tories. Others are preparing to stand for office in their CLPs. There’s lots for the Corbyn supporters to be doing and the AWL are a negligible part of the activist whole.
    Its purpose is to defend Corbyn and get stuck into the class struggle.

  40. Evan P: #40 I think in trying to establish whether or not Momentum is fit for purpose you need to establish what its purpose is.

    It seems from the outside that people who want to help transform Labour into something that reflects the wishes of those tens of thousands who voted for Corbyn have a big enough job getting involved in the Labour Party itself and its structures.

    All this stuff you describe just reminds me of all the energy people put into factional fights amongst the Labour left in the 80s. Energy which could have been better used fighting the real enemy (he said with the Judean People’s Front in mind).

    When all the people who object to the changes finish struggling against Jon Lansman (successfully or not) I predict with absolute certainty that they will be involved in time and energy consuming fight after time and energy consuming fight with each other. And the masses will hopefully be completely oblivious, because if they aren’t they will not be impressed.

    To be honest, I think that the far left in the Labour Party were more capable than the current intake at doing stuff like this, although in fairness that’s probably because they were better experienced at working inside Labour, most of those groups and individuals who are currently trying to work inside the LP and Momentum joined around the same time as the movement around Corbyn took off, and are either out of practice, or haven’t ever been Labour Party members before.

    I think far left groups getting involved in the Labour Party or Momentum is a good thing, but they need to be much more self-aware than they are currently being. The majority of people who are signed up to Momentum won’t be interested in, and will probably be somewhat hostile to, people who appear to be starting a row with the Momentum leadership, particularly since Corbyn, the man they all signed up to support, clearly supports them. The far left seems to be leaving itself open to the usual accusations of trouble making and splitting, and runs the risk of isolating itself.

  41. jock mctrousers on said:

    Sussexlabourleft,

    What purpose Momentum? Is it a mailing list for the Corbyn campaign? But Corbyn never declares ownership, sort of like Israel’s possession of nukes – “ neither confirm or deny” !

    So why should we otherwise attach any importance to Lansman’s recommendations? Worse, from the beginning Momentum has had a propaganda profile, particularly in the BBC’s coverage of Corbyn – the secret hordes of the AWL? Laughable…

    I caught one of those little chats about Momentum recently on the Daily Politics or somesuch, and there was a bit of footage of Corbyn ‘seriously discussing’ stuff, then he momentarily looks up, aware of the camera… the scene evoked for me another scene from Russian director Sergei Bondarchuk sometimes sublime/sometimes ridiculous ‘Waterloo’. The scene evoke was when Rod Steiger as Napoleon gets the word that his crack troops , the ‘Old Guard’, had broken, and the battle was lost; to the sound of a disembodied voice announcing “ the Old Guard has broken” we see Napoleon turn to us the viewer from an overhead camera, as if turning to God or Fate, and with a facial expression ( sort of ‘cripes!’) I could only describe as Monty Pythonesque – ridiculous!

    That’s how Corbyn looked to me just for that moment – “ Shit! Momentum! I forgot about them!”

  42. Jellytot on said:

    jock mctrousers:
    Sussexlabourleft,

    That’s how Corbyn looked to me just for that moment – “ Shit! Momentum!I forgot about them!”

    I like and support Corbyn but I just get a feeling that all this isn’t going to end well.

    If the truly awful Paul Nuttall wins Stoke……

  43. John Grimshaw on said:

    Evan P: It seems from the outside that people who want to help transform Labour into something that reflects the wishes of those tens of thousands who voted for Corbyn have a big enough job getting involved in the Labour Party itself and its structures.

    Yes.

  44. Sussexlabourleft on said:

    Jellytot,
    Momentum supporters can help Labour to win the Stoke by-election by turning out and helping with the campaigning and the real political arguments and stop what you call ‘ the truly awful Paul Nuttall, ‘ UKIP’s leader, who was backed by Nigel Farage to win on Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics tv show recently. Won’t this be the best way to back Corbyn in practice?
    Momentum can carry on ‘getting fit for purpose’ by making its own organisation democratic and accountable and part of this involves continuing to build alliances between the labour and trade union movement and the black community. Across the country we need to be winning more black working class support as well as white working class support for Corbyn and Labour against UKIP and the Tories. Only a Labour Government is credible as a real alternative for working people, black or white, and we need to talk with the voters in Stoke and listen to them and remind them what we can offer potentially. Got to stay democratic and accountable as we do so:

    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/professor-cecile-wright-black-face-of.html

    Sussexlabourleft

  45. Jellytot on said:

    Sussexlabourleft,

    I don’t bother reading Tony Greenstein. Life’s too short.
    He’s up there with John Wight on my “pay no mind ” list.

    If you want Labour to win Stoke then we are on the same page.

    Lefty sectarian insular mischief making and navel gazing holds less interest for me.

    These people fight like cats in a sack. There is nothing they like more than an internal bun fight. They have been doing it for decades. Leave them to it. Not interested.

    Focus on real people. They are dashing head long to the Right.

  46. John Grimshaw on said:

    Sussexlabourleft,

    The issue in Stoke is the lack of real jobs. And then the perception that everything is London related and that the government, any government, is only concerned about London and it’s surrounding south eastern commuter/retirement zone.

  47. Jellytot on said:

    John Grimshaw: That’s a bit unfair isn’t it?

    I saw him once on a TV panel show with Nicky Campbell. Shouty little man who interrupted a lot. All I recall of him.

  48. Jellytot on said:

    John Grimshaw:
    Sussexlabourleft,

    The issue in Stoke is the lack of real jobs. And then the perception that everything is London related and that the government, any government, is only concerned about London and it’s surrounding south eastern commuter/retirement zone.

    They are, aren’t they?

  49. Sussexlabourleft: Jellytot,
    Momentum supporters can help Labour to win the Stoke by-election by turning out and helping with the campaigning and the real political arguments and stop what you call ‘ the truly awful Paul Nuttall, ‘ UKIP’s leader, who was backed by Nigel Farage to win on Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics tv show recently. Won’t this be the best way to back Corbyn in practice?
    Momentum can carry on ‘getting fit for purpose’ by making its own organisation democratic and accountable and part of this involves continuing to build alliances between the labour and trade union movement and the black community. Across the country we need to be winning more black working class support as well as white working class support for Corbyn and Labour against UKIP and the Tories. Only a Labour Government is credible as a real alternative for working people, black or white, and we need to talk with the voters in Stoke and listen to them and remind them what we can offer potentially. Got to stay democratic and accountable as we do so:

    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/professor-cecile-wright-black-face-of.html

    Sussexlabourleft

    The question is whether the alternative method of organising proposed by those dissenters in Momentum would actually facilitate those goals. I don’t see how they would. No-one in the labour movement would argue against the idea of a democratic organisation which attempts to connect with black working class people. Without saying how you’re going to do that you’re just trading in platitudes.

    The political division, as I see it, inside Momentum is between those who want a pressure group which will support Corbyn and act as a counter-weight to Progress; and those who want an organisation independent of the current leadership which will hold Corbyn to account and pull the Labour Party even further to the left than Corbyn wishes. As usual the left has taken these political issues and decided to duke it out over boring organisational matters.

  50. Andy Newman: Or more to the point, further to the left than British politics can successfully sustain

    Perhaps. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the left shouldn’t take unpopular positions just because they won’t get mass support, however what the far left needs to recognise is that the nature of the Labour Party means that it simply won’t do that, and the left of the Labour Party will at best be vacillatory or equivocal, therefore trying to drag the Labour Left, particularly when its leading the Labour Party, towards the left in such an environment is difficult, and kind of misses the point of working inside the Labour Party.