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Momentum must guard itself against the SWP

6391839555_c40a8a7b37_mHow do you strangle a potentially promising initiative before it’s even properly launched? Have the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) announce that they want to be involved. Well, we’ve got the new politics, so why shouldn’t Labour Party members work with the SWP and what’s left of British Trotskyism as we “encourage mass mobilisation for a more democratic, equal and decent society“?

There are extremely good reasons why the SWP and my erstwhile comrades in the Socialist Party should be told to sling their hook when they try and get involved. A passing acquaintance with them is all it takes to understand that they’re fundamentally uninterested in building the wider labour movement, let alone the Labour Party – which is one of Momentum‘s explicit objectives. During the summer the SWP looked upon stormin’ Corbyn with indifference and barely any comment. For the Socialist Party, because Labour was a “capitalist party” Jeremy couldn’t possibly win and it was dead as far as socialist politics were concerned. The real alternative was (and of course, remains) the anti-cuts Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), an umbrella organisation whose name consists of more words than it got votes in the 2015 general election. Never mind, even the most blinkered of sects have to acknowledge political reality when it’s thrusting its unmentionables in their faces, and so the self-declared vanguards of Britain’s most advanced workers are scrambling to catch up to where tens of thousands of newly-politicised people are at.

At no point over the last 20 years have either organisation shown themselves anything other than interested in their narrow (and now, narrowing) party interests. Now is no different, except both are sharing a moment of existential despair. With 180,000 new members since the general election – the bulk of them on the left – as they like to put it, “for the next period” Labour is the pole of attraction. That means very slim pickings for them at the usual freshers’ fayre stomping grounds. The announcement of Momentum gets them out of this sticky spot. A series of meetings and campaigns with the “fresh layers” that have conspicuously avoided their charms thus far? Instead of outside watching hundreds of people file up for Jezza’s packed meetings, they now get to be inside? With overblown central committees and cadres of full-time activists to support, what putative Trotskyist outfit can resist the chance to top up the depleted fighting funds and offload a few more unread and unreadable journals? And, of course, that makes their involvement look utterly brazen, utterly cynical.

The comrades in these groups like to flatter themselves that the ire they inspire in other labour movement folk is because they have the “right ideas” and at all costs have to be stopped lest their views find a sympathetic hearing. It has absolutely nothing to do with their track record of undermining, dumping, and wrecking campaigns and actions at all. Nor the trail of thousands of broken and burned out activists their organisations trail everywhere they go.

And that especially applies to the SWP. It was but a short while ago this rancid organisation was hitting the headlines for its part in covering up very serious allegations of sexual assault and rape. If that wasn’t bad enough, the accused – a long-standing key full-timer and member of the central committee – was exonerated by a panel of party members he’d worked with, socialised with, was friends with for decades. Could it get worse? Yes. Not only were the women who made the allegations subject to the sort of invasive questioning even DS Gene Hunt would find out of bounds, one survivor complained about harassment by party members. Instead of owning up and accounting for their appalling behaviour, the SWP swept the lot under the carpet. Nothing to see here, let’s unite and fight the Tories. The SWP are little better than a cult with an opportunist, vampiric relationship to the labour movement. Unfortunately, it requires more than a sprinkle of holy water to make them evaporate.

The motives behind Momentum are laudable and it might work as a useful community organising tool. But ultimately, its success will rely on the work of established left Labour activists who share the leadership’s view. But if that means opening themselves to running battles with the SP, SWP, and other cranky sects, well, most have better things to do with their time and are likely to concentrate on existing party/trade union/community activities. Momentum needs some proper thinking through to avoid time wasting and hijacking.

47 Comments

  1. David Pavett says:

    The motives behind Momentum are laudable and it might work as a useful community organising tool. But ultimately, its success will rely on the work of established left Labour activists who share the leadership’s view. But if that means opening themselves to running battles with the SP, SWP, and other cranky sects, well, most have better things to do with their time and are likely to concentrate on existing party/trade union/community activities. Momentum needs some proper thinking through to avoid time wasting and hijacking.

    Couldn’t agree more. If Momentum is not limited to LP members then it will be at best a waste of time and in all likelihood something a lot worse than that.

    1. Rod says:

      There are thousands of people who are interested in politics but are disinclined to join Labour because of the disastrous aspects of New Labour’s legacy.

      Momentum provides an opportunity for such people to contribute to the development of an alternative to the Tories while avoiding the stone-walling of the still powerful Blairite elite.

      Momentum should continue to be open to all.

      1. David Pavett says:

        If Momentum wants to operate at that level (providing a meeting point for the left of all strains) then that is okay in itself and something that certainly needs to be done. The thing is though that it can’t at the same time set itself up as a body driving reforms and changes inside the Labour Party. The two things just don’t go together. If it tries to do both it will severely undermine the traction it might otherwise have within the Labour Party. That is surely not difficult to understand.

        1. Rod says:

          Only LP members/subsribed supporters will be able to drive reform within the LP.

          Momentum members/supporters who fail to join the LP will be on a footing equal to that of non-LP members of my local athletics club.

          And for that reason there’s no need for us to get worked up about my local athletics club, as an independent entity, interfering in LP matters.

  2. David Ellis says:

    Only a profoundly dishonest man could describe the neo-Stalinist Gramscian SWP as Trotskyists.

    1. Ric says:

      They call themselves Trotskyists – who are we to disagree ?

  3. Eleanor Firman says:

    i am not a member of SWP but Left Unity. I support Corbyn and McDonnell because they have stood shoulder to shoulder with people struggling against austerity, job losses, cuts to disabled benefits etc. I have not seen the author above do this. Perhaps he has. I believe SWP handling of sexism/rape was woeful,and I know many comrades who left on account of it but I also know members who remained who do regret what happened and the way it was handled.
    There are several small socialist parties that have kept the socialist tradition alive for decades – maybe on life support at times – whilst the LP have stood aside again and again through strikes etc. The author seems to forget that the LP has never been a radical force. The current (mainly) Keynesian plan only appears radical because there has been such a huge shift right. The current left ‘momentum’ has arisen in part because LP DID GET ECONOMY WRONG eg by fuelling a consumption led boom, which has left young people in particular up shit creek with debts and no affordable housing. This has been hypocritically set aside -or perhaps not understood by those whose brains have atrophied through their attachment to LP through Iraq etc. All I know is that lots of people like sitting around in meetings planning and debating, and sometimes this descends into acrimonious posturing and division EVERYWHERE on the left. This article is simply yet another case in point. I find it deeply depressing that the author cannot see his own sectarianism and chauvinism towards the established left, nor can I tolerate what amounts to ignorance of a vast body of scholarship from left of labour marxist currents which he clearly has no familiarity with. I want to join the LP until I see drivel like this.

  4. Jim says:

    Faced with having to vote for the awful Toby Perkins many Corbyn leaning colleagues and friends of mine voted for the TUSC candidate. He got over 200 votes. Yes, we all knew he was a Trot but how were we supposed to protest? By voting UKIP?

  5. Peter Rowlands says:

    Quite right. The role of ultra left groups was/is bad enough in the LRC, and could be much worse if allowed into Momentum.It should be a LP members only organisation.

    1. David Melvin says:

      Agreed Labour party members only Peter.

      1. Ed Potts says:

        Have you left the Green Party now then David?

  6. chris gibson says:

    I doubt if the above comments come from Corbyn supporters, and I doubt JC would support such bile. The wonderful thing about Momentum is it starts to build left wing unity for the first time ever. Remember, the Tories are the enemy! If we don’t pull the many ON the left into a working relationship with the left IN the Party, we will lose out to the still massive presence of the Blairites in the Party. I want to be in a positive working relationship with the 100,000 who came to Jeremy’s meetings but for various reasons haven’t joined the party yet but will work with us.. Momentum is the way to do it. Only Momentum can defeat the 200 or so negative MPs. Please get on the trail again soon Jeremy! We can’t leave the Party to narrow minded secrtarians or Blairites.

    1. Sue says:

      well said!

    2. David Pavett says:

      No “bile” is involved in saying that those who think that Labour is important enough to want to change it should join it and that opening an organisation which has the aim of bringing about that change to non-members is to discredit it in the eyes of Party members even before it has got going. Not one of the groups/parties outside Labour wanting to bring about that change would welcome such outside influence on their own affairs. Time to get off high horses and just recognise the simple realities.

    3. Ric Euteneuer says:

      “It starts to build left wing unity for the first time ever”

      Really ? How many times have we heard that from a variety of groupscules

      >Remember, the Tories are the enemy!

      Unless you’re SWPers or SPers, when basically anyone who doesn’t adhere to your analysis is the enemy. Perhaps doubly so.

      > massive presence of the Blairites in the Party

      I think there are a small number of Blairites and a large amorphous mass of people who follow the leadership

  7. Sue says:

    I’m a Labour member and this is exactly the type of article I loath. I want the Tories attacked and not people who I have seen myself on the streets campaigning to keep facilities open etc. Campaigning against the cuts and against austerity. The more the merrier!

    1. David Pavett says:

      Joining with others on the streets and elsewhere to attack the Tories is a good thing and the broader such campaigns can be the better.

      The momentum organisers say that they want it to “Make Labour a more democratic party, with the policies and collective will to implement them in government.”

      Joining with people from other parties to combat the Tories is a good thing. Asking them to be a part of remodelling a Party which they do not care to join is not.

      Momentum wants to “Assist [LP] members in making their voice heard in Labour Party debates”. Again that is a matter for LP members and not others.

      Momentum also tells us that it “is in the process of setting up governance arrangements to represent its supporters amongst the Labour Party membership” but adds “as well as the wider social movement”.

      This is a highly confused aim and if it is not sorted out then it will be resented by many Labour activists, including left-wing ones.

      What we need right now is a well organised campaign to support the Corbyn leadership by working as a pressure group within the Labour Party i.e. by doing for the left what Progress has done for the right. Progress is now working through the base of the Party. If Momentum doesn’t take stock of things and focus on helping Labour Party members to change the Labour Party, instead of setting itself up as a broad social movement that also includes trying to bring changes to the LP, then it will hand victory to Progress in the struggle for the soul of Labour. I hope that its organisers have the good sense to step back from trying to be a broad social movement doing what they want the Labour to be and focus instead in getting the Labour Party to adopt loudly and clearly radical policies to transform our political and social scene.

      1. Peter Rowlands says:

        Absolutely 100% correct. I should say that this has nothing to do, as far as I am concerned , with the SWP’s alleged sexual exploitation cover up. They could all be personally quite saintly, but they still shouldn’t be allowed into Momentum.

      2. Rod says:

        Momentum should be a broad social movement.

        And it should be thoroughly democratic.

        The SWP has a tiny membership with a leadership sustained by the sort of antics one finds in the top-down Progress organisation.

        If the SWP attempt join Momentum they will, as has happened before, use Momentum only as a recruiting exercise for their own politically bankrupt party.

        And in order to present their own organisation as being better than Momentum they will undermine Momentum.

        If Momentum is democratically constituted the SWP, with its tiny number of activists, will have no influence even if they did manage to sneak in.

        1. gerry says:

          Momentum’s purpose- as I understand it – is outward facing, to sustain/extend a broader social movement which can take the economic case against Thatcherism, neoliberalism, austerity call it what you will, to every corner of the UK. It will ally with all other like minded forces, including the tiny non Labour left groups but also Greens, Nationalists, and the non aligned, to push forward the alternatives to the neolib hegemony.

          The forces we are facing are huge – all of the print and broadcast media, the 17 million who voted Tory or UKIP or Lib Dem, the EU, the City, IMF, all of whom pump out their ” we stand for common sense and there is no alternative” on a daily drip drip basis. Arguments here about future internal Labour party issues are premature: we need to make the economic case against neoliberalism now, and repeat and amplify it everywhere and on every occasion to as many non aligned voters as possible – whilst we bicker/argue away, the Right – as always – get on with running the world, laughing at us as they cement their hegemony still more solidly.

          1. Rod says:

            Gerry “the economic case against Thatcherism”

            Each political party articulates our predicament in its own way and present its own responses.

            The SWP are marxist revolutionaries – hence their professortariat-styled leadership and tiny membership.

            If the SWP decided to have nothing to do with Momentum, nobody would notice. If they do attempt to engage, and if Momentum is democratically constituted, nobody would notice.

      3. Richard Tiffin says:

        I am sure that Momentum can both be a campaigning body with both LP members and non members alike and be an organising body to transform the LP, I cannot see why the two are mutually exclusive.
        Clearly, it needs to be done sensitively so as not to antagonise the left of the party, but all too often CLP’s are right wing led shells and the leadership will strangle the life out of inexperienced young activists, so having a place that encourages them is essential else they will drift away. Then, educated people, wise to the tactics of the right wing can help transform the party. The proof will be when Momentum is superfluous because the party is functioning in the way it should, just as it was created. Then any sects will either have to join the LP or sell papers in the fringe.

  8. Chris Jones says:

    I am a Labour member also. Surely a rising tide floats all boats inside or outside the Labour party? The anti-austerity movement is bigger than just the Labour party and it does not have a monopoly on the struggle against it. The 100,000 who marched at the Tory conference was the product of the whole of the left,

    I was surprised to read the above article. Whatever happened to Corbynista ‘inclusitivity’, ‘drawing upon all the talents’ or is that just a bit of empty rhetoric for consumption by the right?

    I didn’t realise that ‘Operation Icepick’ extended to some of Corbyn’s own supporters.

    Why single out the ‘Trotskyists’ of the SWP and SP for exclusion? Why not the Greens, the CPB or Counterfire?

    I heard Corbyn speaking so positively to the 5-6000 outside Manchester Cathedral about each and everyone of us being a human being with a unique experience, the ability to be creative and having a valuable contribution to make to political discourse; that nobody has a monopoly of wisdom. And then I see this rant and I despair. It is not worthy of you comrades. It brought back memories of the ‘Life of Brian’

    I personally think that the likes of Ken Loach, who is a Trotskyist, has contributed plenty, culturally, to keeping the socialist movement alive. He was supportive of the Corbyn campaign. Mark Steel was a member of the SWP not so long ago and he has played a valuable role satirising Corbyn’s detractors via the media and continues to do so. Both were prevented from voting in the recent leadership ballot, despite the only criterion for becoming a Labour ‘supporter’ was being on the electoral roll.

    And the SWP and SP have both been supportive of the Corbyn campaign.

    Corbyn won because of the social media campaign and there were plenty of non-Labour members/supporters who helped make it effective. Many from the Greens and the non-Labour left wanted to help Corbyn’s campaign. Corbyn’s victory was not down JUST to the massed ranks of the LRC/Briefing.

    Can’t the left inside and outside Labour at least TRY to have a civilised and respectful relationship with each other? The SWP and SP have worked constructively with the RMT union for some years now in TUSC–not getting very far electorally, its true, but then the left inside Labour wasn’t doing too well either until very recently. There is a chance that the RMT (like the FBU) will now re-affiliate to Labour. We want to encourage that and this article does the opposite.

    And is Loach’s Left Unity so bad that a productive relationship and collaboration is forever ruled out?

    Can we please have less of the ‘negative waves’?

    How about trying to ELEVATE relations between the left inside and outside Labour instead of devaluing them? Why not organise a comradely debate about the way forward for socialism?

    You should at least give the SWP and SP the right of reply.

  9. Bazza says:

    The SWP are bourgeois socialists – top down, elite central committees, a ready made programme, and are generally middle class.
    They believe in the banking concept of political education-I.e. if they can only plant their programme into the heads of the oppressed then they will lead us to socialism.
    I have no criticism of some of their individuals – they have given years to the Labour movement but I argue socialism should be grassroots, bottom up, democratic, peaceful, and whilst we may as democratic socialists reform capitalism as a transition (after success), the future could be exciting – consulting working people on developing a fairer and greener global economic system. Solidarity!

  10. Chris says:

    I find it hard to believe the SWP (a few hundred people tops, surely, concentrated in university seats) could have much influence considering the sheer numbers of Corbyn supporters. Arguably Corbyn’s victory could sound the death knell for far left groups – why join one when we have a mainstream socialist party?

    That said, Momentum should be a movement of the real Labour left and Trotskyists should not be allowed to run it.

    1. Richard Tiffin says:

      If momentum is a genuinely active and democratic organisation rather than a rump and a target for an easy takeover then what right do you have to pre decide the ideology of the leadership?
      If a Trot wins the argument, is voted for and is not sectarian then good luck to them for all it reflects is the left within the organisation are moving past reformist to centrist/revolutionary conclusions. If it is a hollow shell and an easy target then it has no right to exist in any case. I always wonder what some are so concerned about where Trots are concerned, they can only gain power if the organisation is moribund or if they win the arguement, but I think it’s this that concerns the right wingers.

  11. Sue says:

    someone may need to explain to me why Trotskyists are so scary? Or exactly why they shouldnt be allowed to join Momentum? And how many of them are there?! I’m all for a wide debate and for opposing the Tories.

    1. Rod says:

      Scary? Who said that?

      Here’s an example of how they carry-on:

      http://socialistunity.com/sexism-in-the-swp-and-respect/

      1. Sue says:

        but we are not joining their organisation? Some of them may or may not join ours?

    2. I agree with Sue.

      I’m a Trot but I haven’t been a member of any Trot group years and years. People like me, who remain politically active, must outnumber the combined membership of the SP and SWP (5000?) by a large number – and then add all the others who aren’t in Labour (e.g. Left Unity – I’m a member but very few are so Left; LU members are mainly Corbyn/Benn types par excellence) plus those from a Green, CPGB background – and, by far, the biggest lot: ex Labour Lefts.

      It’s poor (but predictable) that the writer seeks to witchunt the small numbers of SP/SWPers (and presumably other Trot groups – such as the AWL) when they are such a small force and will be massively outnumbered by those I list above.

      Many won’t join Labour or are waiting to see how things go for a bit (I’m in the latter category – my local Labour party isn’t just right-wing, it’s a near apolitical group of local businessmen and their cronies and a couple of isolated people with a social conscience.)

      I’m willing to debate the way forward in Momentum fashion in a democratic fashion. I wouldn’t seek to exclude people just because of their history – say having worked for a New Labour frontbench person – or continuing views. It speaks ill of the writer’s politics that he argues that Trots should be denied democratic rights.

      1. Sue says:

        yes agreed :0)

      2. David Ellis says:

        I’m setting up Labour Party Bolsheviks if you are interested. We will bring a revolutionary perspective to things and challenge the opportunism of the reformists left and right at every opportunity in order to re-establish the Labour Party on a principled basis.

  12. David Ellis says:

    The grouping I’d like to see barred from Momentum is Counterfire which is essentially a branch of the SWP that dominates, alongside some sad cynical old Stalinists, that alliance of Pacifists and Putinites known as the Stop the War Coalition. They have marched in London alongside fascist thugs from the pro-Russian militias in Ukraine and shoulder to shoulder with Assadist mass murderers. In the name of a bogus anti-imperialism they support every semi colonial tyranny that has the backing of Russian imperialism or which makes a criticism of the West. They even empathised with the gunmen who shot down the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo in cold blood.

    1. gerry says:

      Yes, Counterfire is an awful organisation, as are Stop the War, the SWP and Respect – hideously sexist, pro Putin, pro Islamist and all round reactionaries. But let’s focus on the big picture and get momentum ( as its name suggests!) up and running first, and taking the ideological fight out to places in the UK where no alternatives to neoliberalism have been heard for years…that is surely the priority.

  13. Sue says:

    good grief! Everytime I sign on here there are more and more bogiemen of the left that we shouldnt allow to join Momentum?! Stop The War? I get their articles posted on my facebook timeline ———– they always seem reasonable to me but I dont read, integrate and automatically believe! Same with Counterfire. People do have minds of their own! I’m guessing then that it is the SWP who are Trotsyists and they have the capability to brain wash us all with what ever Trotsky stood for (which I dont know). So what about the Socialists? In my world Unity is Strength and as some have mentioned above a mass democratic movement prevents highjacking by small groups ——– unless we agree with what those small groups say. I’m starting to feel that this is all a part of the strategy of some to stop Momentum in it’s tracks before it even gets a chance to take off?

    1. gerry says:

      Please don’t peddle conspiracy theories now! Most Labour party members – for nearly 30 years in my case – welcome ANY broad movement which can challenge neoliberalism.

      But we should also be fully aware that groups like Counterfire, SWP, UAF, Respect and Stop the War have a long and horrible track record of sexism, misogyny, and are openly pro Putin and pro Islamic extremism: these are facts.

      So Momentum needs to be alert to this…..but back on planet UK, the latest Comres poll puts the Tories on 42%, and Labour on 29%…. lets get Momentum up and running and trying to shift the neolib consensus: now!

  14. David Pavett says:

    Having re-read the Momentum launch material such, such as it is, it seems clear to me that, as a pressure group to back up and carry forward Jeremy Corbyn’s extraordinary victory, it is massively misconceived.

    Without a clear change of mind from its organisers it looks like adding to the history of left-wing own goals.

    In terms of fighting for change at the base of the Labour Party i.e. winning support of a wide spectum of Party members (and not just committed lefties) it is likely to be outpaced and outsmarted by Progress. For me that is all there is to the argument about involving non-LP members. For maximum effectiveness the Labour left needs a pressure group devoted to shifting the Party at every level to make clear beyond doubt that the Party as a whole backs the new left direction in which Corbyn and McDonnell want to take Labour. On its present course Momentum is not going to be that organisation.

    When I first heard of Momentum I thought “Great that’s just what we need to give Corbyn the backing he needs”. Now it seems that it is unlikely to do that in a way that will carry most Party members with it. I find that massively disappointing.

    The only way of salvaging the situation is by ensuring that a foundational conference is for LP members only so that they can decide if they want Momentum to belong to non-LP members, and members of other parties, as much as to LP members.

    We have hundreds of thousands of new LP members to involve and work with. Isn’t that enough to cope with without also providing a platform to people whose party commitment is not to the LP. I can’t quite believe that the Corbyn election team is going to make such an enormous error of judgement but on present evidence …

    I think that Jon Lansman, or another member of the Momentum team, should let us know what their thinking is on the above points.

    1. gerry says:

      I don’t agree with your argument, and understand Momentum to be an outward facing movement which harnesses the energy unleashed by Corbyn’s election both within and without the Party, for the main purpose of challenging the neolib consensus everywhere across the UK.

      But yes let us now hear from Jon who is one of the directors as to his understandings and perspectives….

      1. David Ellis says:

        The best way to clear out the toxic New Labour elements is for Corbyn and Co to live up to what they were elected for. Go to CLP meetings if you want to deselect MPs. Momentum does seem a bit of a distraction and so far all its talking about is not fighting New Labour but the entirely irrelevant SWP. Stalinists are in control of Momentum. If the Party bureaucracy and the PLP and Progress and forces hostile to the party thwart and prevent Corbyn from doing what he was elected to do then of course a split will be necessary but let’s start with the perspective that the left and a socialist programme can reconquer the party and bring the PLP to heal.

  15. Joe says:

    I can understand wanting to keep the SWP out. I left after the rape cover up. They have lost the trust I used to give them.
    However, there are many who don’t trust labour either, but who want to support Corbyn and win Labour to opposing all austerity & neo-liberalism.
    Allowing non-members like me to get involved will hopefully build bridges between the Corbyn supporters in Labour and those who aren’t ready to join yet.
    This blog sums up the dilemma of many of us in this position.
    https://bloggingjbloggs1917.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/corbyns-labour-to-join-or-not-to-join/

  16. Rod says:

    “an outward facing movement … for the main purpose of challenging the neolib consensus ”

    Well said.

    A group narrowly and unambitiously “devoted to shifting the Party at every level” will attract little interest.

    Many of those, like myself, who joined and supported the LP as a result of the Corbyn campaign didn’t do so in order to reform the LP (though that should be a welcome side-effect), we joined because the policies associated with the Corbyn campaign offer a desirable alternative to the Tories.

    As a next step we need to institutionalise our enthusiasm for change with an appropriate, democratically constituted organisation.

  17. Jim Denham says:

    “Many of those, like myself, who joined and supported the LP as a result of the Corbyn campaign didn’t do so in order to reform the LP (though that should be a welcome side-effect), ” And therein lies the problem with a whole swathe of people wanting to protest, go on demos and have a leftie discussion group, but who don’t want to work to transform the mass party of the working class. That’s their privilege, but they cannot be allowed to dictate the agenda of Momentum, which should be for serious working class socialists working within Labour and the TUs. The SWP are a different matter again: their record of poisoning and disrupting every united front they’ve ever been involved in (eg the Socialist Alliance) should be enough to exclude them from the outset.

    1. Rod says:

      You appear to assume that my involvement in Momentum is a stepping stone “to protest, go on demos and have a leftie discussion group”.

      Well, sorry to disappoint but there is much more than that on the cards. My main priority is community activism. I shall be campaigning locally against the deleterious consequences of austerity and campaigning for improvements in my neighbourhood – improved facilities etc.

      This is the sort of stuff that should have been undertaken by the constituency LP years ago. But due to the influence of Blairites and their career-minded approach to politics the activist base has been ignored and therefore has dwindled.

      Before the Corbyn supremacy the LP in my constituency was a husk, a moribund non-entity.

      We now have an opportunity for a new beginning. And Momentum allows us to proceed, as a community, without being hamstrung by the out-of-touch Blairite elite.

  18. Karl Stewart says:

    From a non-LP member who isn’t interested in the LP’s internal procedures, I think the best and most helpful way of positively harnessing the energy and vitality of this wave of newly-politicised young people would be to encourage those of them who are working to all join unions.

    Young workers are the lowest paid, on the worst conditions and in the most insecure jobs.

    We should be encouraging them all to get organised at work, where it matters.

    1. Rod says:

      But “newly-politicised young people” may not be impressed by the priorities of some major trade unions: pro-fracking, pro-third runway at Heathrow, pro-Trident.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        The primary purpose of a union is to organise collectively at the workplace. For young workers in particular, issues of low pay, job insecurity and all-round lack of workplace rights are immediate problems.

        With respect, the apprehensions felt by some of our major unions over the Trident replacement debate isn’t really a counter-argument to the pressing need for young workers to organise.

        That, and the other subjects you mentioned, are important matters for debate within the movement – but surely that’s all the more reason to encourage active membership?

  19. Peter Rowlands says:

    It occurs to me that the need for both a non party campaigning body as well as a body to push and promote left wing policies within the Labour Party can be easily resolved. The People’s Assembly against Austerity should continue the campaigning role it has fulfilled, with some success, while Momentum should be a body promoting left wing policies and people within the Labour Party and therefore confined to LP members only.

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