Power in Momentum I

I have been preparing a little blog article on “Power in Momentum” which has been overtaken by yesterday’s decision by the “Officers” of Momentum to withdraw support from Pete Willsman as a candidate for Labour’s NEC. The article, among other issues, examined the power structures and came to conclusion that with the exception of the powers allocated to OMOV ballots, for which the rules mandated IT still does not exist, every decision and power is granted to the National Co-ordinating Group which meets in secret, doesn’t publish it decisions or its membership and has unlimited delegation powers although it doesn’t publish its instruments of delegation either. (I begin to question if it is genuinely a membership organisation.) One has to wonder why they decided to delegate the decision to the Officers rather than the Chair alone, but it’s a sign of hope that they couldn’t trust the whole NCG even after they purged the remainder of the democratic opposition in the last round of elections.

I have already voted for the #JC9 but do not consider Pete Willsman’s comments to be anti-semitic, and I am not alone, and consider that the Left needs all nine of its slate to be elected. I would urge anyone that has not yet voted that supports the Corbyn leadership to vote for all of the #JC9. …

Labour & antisemitism

On July 5th, Labour’s NEC voted to approve a new guideline defining antisemitism and codifying how Labour should deal with incidents of Antisemitism. Jon Lansman, in an article in the Guardian describes it as a gold standard, however some inside and outside the Labour Party object in that the Labour Party has followed the advice of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on antisemitism in that while confirming its commitment to the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, it has ensured both that free speech rights on Israel and Palestine are defended and that the Macpherson principle is correctly adopted. This has involved the modification of four of the IHRA examples. Brian Klug, again in the Guardian, examines the Code in detail and concludes that, “Labour’s code in fact enhances the IHRA document.”

The Jewish Labour Movement supported by several/many of Labour’s MPs consider the failure to adopt all 11 examples as failure of commitment and are considering legal action. It is reported that  Louise Ellman & Ruth Smeeth plan to move a motion at the PLP meeting tonight calling on Labour to adopt the IHRA definition in full, including the 11 examples several of which are felt by many, including the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee to inhibit legitimate political discussion of the Israeli Government’s actions, and the wider issues of justice in Palestine.

Ealing Momentum, as reported in the Swawkbox have written an open letter to their MPs calling on them to support the NEC and not to support such an emergency motion.

I have written to my MP asking her to do the same, and I have reproduced the Ealing Momentum words immediately below/overleaf. …

Stop the Tory Brexit

And now I discover a reason for staying in Momentum, here’s a petition calling on Momentum to consult its members on the subject of Brexit.

Alena says,

We are proud members of Momentum and consistent supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party and of the 2017 election manifesto. We deplore the persistent attacks of the right-wing of the Labour Party and their attempts to weaponise the issue of Brexit against our party leadership.

But we are equally opposed to the Tory Brexit now on offer. It is a disaster for working class people, public services, peace in Ireland, migrants, the environment, human rights, jobs and our children’s futures – the complete opposite of everything a socialist government would do. The so-called soft Brexit being pushed by neo-liberal “centrists” is hardly better: it threatens to turn us into a vassal state of Europe, making us rule takers not rule makers.

We call for a vote of all Momentum members this summer to decide whether to oppose Tory Brexit, and whether to campaign for Labour to hold a vote at Annual Conference in September on giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal.

We are a democratic socialist movement, and under Momentum’s constitution we can trigger a vote of all members with signatures from around 4000 Momentum members – please add your name today, and spread the word!

The petition form is also posted below the fold, to see it, Read More ….

  …

Lewisham Momentum

I have not written up my view as to what happened at the Lewisham Momentum AGM, but Rebecca & Jon have written to the officers elected by those who left and went down the pub.

 

Dear comrades,

Following your departure from the Lewisham Momentum AGM and the holding of a meeting to set up a new group at the Amersham Arms on 23 April, we are continuing to advocate a rescheduled, democratic AGM and for it to elect a broad, pluralist, united committee.

The split into two rival groups is weakening the left, in terms of wasted energy, duplication of efforts and most of all the bad blood it has caused on the Lewisham left. We should try to get unity. There is no good reason the two sides cannot be part of a united Labour left/Momentum in Lewisham.

We want to ensure that a united Momentum continues to provide an open, democratic, regularly meeting forum in which members can put forward and where necessary vote on proposals and policy, and decide the direction of the organisation.

We also want to deal with the slanders against us and our activists that have been made on social media and elsewhere in the course of all this, and re-establish normal, comradely labour movement standards of debate.

Some of you may disagree with some of these points. You may have your own issues you want to raise. That is all the more reason to open a dialogue, sit down and discuss.

Moreover this split, while it lasts, should not prevent us from finding ways to work together in the movement and in struggles.

There are lots of things on which can and should cooperate, even as separate groups: the Lewisham East by election; support for the Lewisham Southwark College pay strike and other struggles; opposing Trump’s visit; building stronger left caucuses in the three CLPs…

We therefore invite you to send representatives to sit down with ours (three officers from each side, say) to discuss things. If we can find ways to discuss moving towards unification, that’s good; but we should start by discussing cooperation in the struggle and how we can work together to build the movement. We owe it to the left and labour movement in Lewisham and beyond.

In addition to the immediate need to strengthen struggles and campaigning, no doubt both sides have things to learn from each other. Discussion can also help to dissipate some of the hostility and factionalism generated on the Lewisham left over recent months.

Get in touch and let us know what you think. We are, naturally, happy to discuss the specifics of how to move forward on this.

* Rebecca Lawrence and Jon Johnson, for Lewisham for Corbyn (Momentum) *

 …

Belonging to Momentum

A personal piece of unfinished business from the CLPD National Committee. People’s Momentum’s membership rules,

Momentum’s Rules 5.1

Membership is open to anyone who either was a financial subscriber of Momentum on 10 January 2017, or
(i) Is 14 or over;
(ii) Is a member of the Labour Party and no other political party nor an organisation disallowed by the NCG;
(iii) Agrees to be bound by the rules of Momentum, including its code of ethics and equal opportunities policy; and
(iv) Is accepted for membership by the NCG.

The “is 14 or over” is a tautology as you can’t join the Labour Party until you’re 14. Interesting that they have adopted powers to proscribe organisations not necessarily proscribed by the Labour Party. Most interestingly, if a member before 10 Jan 2017, then you remain a member. …

Stitched

Today, my campaigning comrade, Rebecca Lawrence published her views as to what happened at the Lewisham Momentum AGM held at New Cross Learning & then allegedly at the Amersham Arms public bar. Important & accurate things to note from the account are that the 2nd half of the meeting was held in a pubic bar, which would not have held all those who wanted to attend, and no checks as to eligibility were performed. Some claim the majority in attendance at the Library went to the Pub, but no-one knows since they weren’t counted and no-one knows how many stayed in the Library.

The only beneficiary for this piece of sectarianism will be Labour’s right and a small number of self declared left careerists.

Momentum’s gift to the right in Lewisham

The incumbent committee, of which I was a member, have published a statement, together with two witness statements and the text of our complaint to the Momentum National Co-ordinating Group. I mirror them here.

The witness statements make no mention of the fact that the Amersham Arms would not have allowed under age members in the pub. …

Not so bad

Not so bad

Those of you who regularly read this blog will see I stood for Secretary of Lewisham Deptford Labour Party as part of left/momentum slate, and those of you who follow Momentum Exposed will know we lost. This was quite disappointing and we have had some difficulty in working out how to develop Labour’s campaigning beyond the electoralism & careerism practiced by the Labour First influenced majority. I think, and many of my allies agree that one of the differences is that on the Left we want to empower and engage our members and our voters; it’s been hard to do that and get the Deptford Labour Party via its General Committee (GC) to express its views when we are in contention with the new MP, and the Council majority. There would also seem to be a desire to exclude the ideas and enthusiasm of many of the new joiners. It was when looking back at what we as members had achieved, that I came to the conclusion that we haven’t done so badly and you can make a difference by joining the Labour Party. Over the last four years, we i.e. ordinary members of the Labour Party have made a difference, most recently on the New Bermondsey Development aka the Millwall CPO but also we have moved forward the national trade union campaign against blacklisting,  the Council’s initiatives on welcoming refugees, on Education and have even won a commitment to return the Anchor to the High Street.

While at times the Labour Party’s procedures seem strange, and exceptionally ill-tempered, belonging to the Labour Party makes a difference. These decisions have involved us debating with and winning other members to our point of view and ensuring that our Councillors take this forward.  …

Unifying the Left in the Labour Party?

Unifying the Left in the Labour Party?

I went up to London to attend the Labour Representation Committee Special General Meeting. The original LRC was the fore runner of the Labour Party, but today it is a left-wing pressure group and it called a special meeting mainly to discuss strategy after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Party. The most important debate would be the LRC’s relationship with Momentum as Momentum regularises its position within the Labour Party. The meeting was opened by John McDonnell MP who reprised the previous nine months and then followed by the debate which shows the Left are as conflicted as the Right about the new members and renewed interest in the Labour Party. …