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.