Latest post on Left Futures

Lies, distortions and misconceptions about Momentum and the lobbying of MPs

walthamstowFollowing the Syria debate on Wednesday and the prior lobbying and demonstrations, media descriptions of the abuse and bullying tactics directed at MPs reached a crescendo. Thursday’s Daily Mail, for example, under a double-page headline “hard-left hate mob target MPs“, carried a picture purporting to show them outside the home of Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow with the caption “Menacing: protesters against air-strikes marching last night outside the home of pro-war MP“. The Daily Mirror reported that “Hundreds, including vicars and imams, marched on Stella Creasy’s  constituency base“. As the Guardian reported this morning, many other media outlets not to mention social media ran with the story.

It is perhaps not surprising in this context that on the BBC Today programme Friday morning, Tom Watson warned that any Labour members who joined an anti-war protest outside the home of the Labour MP Stella Creasy should be thrown out of the party. Except that there was no protest outside her home. Stella Creasy confirmed that the protest had not gone past her home at all.

Tom Watson’s comments were reasonably measured (“They look like a bit of a rabble to me but I don’t think they are particularly a problem for the Labour party”) but his comments unwittingly contributed to the false image which is being created of Momentum. Sue Wheat in Red Pepper describes the truth which, with their permission I quote almost in its entirety:

I just want to set the record straight for anyone reading or listening to the news about Walthamstow and Stella Creasy, which as far as I can tell is totally untrue.

On Tuesday a local resident Sophie Bolt and Rev Steven Saxby organised a family vigil, which myself and others helped to publicise quickly on social media. No one asked me to do it, I just did it.

It was a beautiful, calm meet-up of for anyone who wanted to show our MP Stella Creasy that we wanted her to vote NO on air strikes in Syria. We met at the Queen’s Road mosque with candles in jam jars and walked quietly to Stella’s Labour office on Orford Road, where there were speeches by religious and community leaders.

It was a beautiful, community, inspiring family event of people trying to make their voices heard against the airstrikes and trying to influence Stella, even though we knew she was in Westminster.

We took post-it notes and thought it would be powerful to write messages of peace and stick them on the office window. It looked beautiful and powerful.

The next day we realised someone had put up a Facebook post with a picture of the start of the vigil, which was outside the mosque. You can see the mosque on the right if you zoom in, but mostly it’s just the houses next to it. He claimed we were outside Stella’s house and said something incendiary about her not having children to worry about. (His exact post was: ‘outside [her] house… apparently she has still to make up her mind – and she has no children to upset’.) He managed to get some police in the pic which made it look like a demo and it was dark and blurry. In fact the very low police presence were very helpful and friendly throughout.

Then we went to her office about half a mile away. There were about 200 people including children and various community and religious leaders spoke – it was a very inspiring peace rally. The police were laid-back and friendly there was no intrusive police presence.

Now for the most worrying thing: the picture and Facebook post was found by the Independent newspaper and used in an article. This started off a mass media misinformation story about constituents bullying Stella. It was then picked up by LBC radio, the Standard and many other media and went viral on social media. I tried to counteract lots of it, especially with journalists following up the story.

When I realised that the Independent had used his picture and post to create their story stating Stella was targeted I contacted the journalist but she wouldn’t retract it. Then it went all over the world. I was sobbing with frustration.

Another local resident, a local vicar and Labour member, Rev Steven Saxby, one of the organisers of the vigil, added:

At the same time as I condemn intimidation of MPs or their staff, I reiterate that the vigil was not intimidation, and condemn those who seek to portray democratic, peaceful actions as such. This is also is a form of intimidation. For my part, I shall not be intimidated into not speaking on issues about which I am passionate and alongside others within and beyond the Labour Party.

I refute the erroneous allegations about me and about our peaceful vigil, and look forward to continuing to support Stella Creasy as MP for Walthamstow, and the campaigns to elect Sadiq Khan as mayor and Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister.”

There are many factors that appear to have contributed to distorted coverage, misrepresentation and downright lies including:

  • agents provocateurs on social media, hiding behind fake identities, who may be Tories or perhaps even Labour members engaged in ‘black ops’;
  • hostile or opportunistic members of other parties like Nancy Taafe of the Socialist Party who stood against Stella Creasy in May (winning 394 votes for TUSC, good for them but, at less than 1%, an utterly pathetic vote for anyone who lives in the real world) but goes on BBC Daily Politics to demand her deselection;
  • exaggerated claims by hard right Labour MPs determined to discredit Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn.

However, there undoubtedly are also some people, probably a small number, who think of themselves as being supportive of Jeremy Corbyn and against war in Syria who are guilty of inappropriate behaviour towards MPs – using inappropriate language or photos, abuse, intimidation and even bullying. Many will not be members of Momentum or the Labour Party, but some are which is why Momentum has issued the following statement.

Momentum is disappointed that Parliament voted for Syrian airstrikes. We do not believe that David Cameron made the case that bombs will defeat Daesh or improve the lives and security of Syrians, the UK or our allies, and we fear that they may have the opposite effect.

Nevertheless, we are pleased that the majority of Labour MPs and the shadow cabinet did oppose David Cameron’s proposal, reflecting the policy of the party conference and the wishes of its members, whilst also respecting the right of all MPs to vote as they have done.

Members of the Labour Party and the public have a right to be heard. Momentum is proud that we assisted over 30,000 people email their MP asking them not to vote for bombing. We believe these messages from the public helped convince some of the 153 Labour and 72 non-Labour MPs who voted against bombing to do so. It can never be a threat to express your views to your elected representative

Momentum strongly disapproves of anyone who engages in abusive behaviour towards MPs or anyone else, and threatening or bullying, whether they are outside the Labour Party (as most are) or inside it. We specifically asked our supporters to emulate Jeremy Corbyn, and to keep their messages about the issues and to refrain from any personal attacks.

Nor is Momentum a threat to MPs who voted for bombing. We have made clear that we will not campaign for or support the deselection of any MP and will not permit any local Momentum groups to do so. The selection of candidates is entirely a matter for local party members and rightly so.

27 Comments

  1. gerry says:

    Oh dear Jon – you have to get a grip! Momentum is now seen as a vile adjunct to the pro Putin Stop the War Coalition, instead of what I hoped it would be: a grass roots organisation taking on the neoliberal economic narrative, and building support for Corbyn’s economic alternative.

    As I have said before, the vote to extend bombing to Syria was a farce, fake, synthetic outrage and hysteria on all sides: as if it is going to make the slightest difference either way in a brutal and sadistic islamic civil war where all sides have gallons of blood on their hands.

    Focus on the ecomony, Jon, and on getting JC and others to back a leave campaign in the upcoming EU referendum. That would be a game changer, and build on our excellent result in Oldham too. Leave the posturing and fake hysteria to Stop the War and the SWP.

    1. Laurie Rhodes says:

      Any form of organisation amongst Labour activists represents a threat to the “moderate” Blairite tendency. It should be of no surprise that seeds are being sewn to portray Momentum as an unsavoury organisation that should be declared ineligible for affiliation to the Labour Party. The way to do this would be to publicise any derogatory comment, email or tweet made to pro-bombing MPs and declare it evidence of a maligned campaign of intolerance. Orwellian and surreal as it may be, the position can be guaranteed continual coverage from our friends in the press.

      I disagree with the broader sentiment of Gerry’s comment but am sure he is right that Momentum is going to be portrayed only as a body enabling the abuse of “conscientious” and vulnerable MPs over the Syria bombing decision. From the Fawklands until now, and well before, drawing the left into the swamp of patriotic jingoism allows the government to avoid attention on economic issues… which are the really fertile grounds for growing left-wing support. The next session will see the government attempt to introduce a raft of regressive economic policy measures quickly as it tries to minimise the negative attention that will draw. Momentum is uniquely placed for widely disseminating information on a variety of issues to an activist base well before that occurs.

      If the Syria Bombing vote hadn’t arrived, Labour should have been in the glow of forcing a backdown on tax credits – which is still a stunning achievement and a major embarrassment to the government. The public never grows tired of Corporate Tax avoidance being exposed or campaigns that highlight the increasing economic pressures being placed on working people. Surely the best defence against the developing attacks on Momentum is to broaden the campaign content of a genuine communication network and help Labour refocus on issues that bring working class voters home.

      1. John P Reid says:

        Any form of organization is seen as a threat to moderates
        Blue labour Co-op, Compass, progress,Fabians,labour first?

    2. Darren says:

      You make valid points, but that was spoilt by your opportunity to mention leaving the EU, a position the left-nationalist opportunist SWP takes too!

  2. Danny Nicol says:

    A good post, but I am concerned about freedom of speech within the Party. So long as comments are not criminal, defamatory or discriminatory we should be entitled to say what we like and to join together with other Party members in order to campaign for what we want. Talk of “inappropriate language” being impermissible is too vague and risks going too wide. For instance I don’t at all see why campaigning for the deselection of those MPs who voted for war should in principle be off-limits. After all, campaigning for Jeremy’s deselection as leader doesn’t appear to be. In a society based on freedom of expression everyone should be able to press for anyone’s deselection from any post.

    The final paragraph of Momentum’s statement is particularly incoherent since “local Momentum groups” who are to be forbidden to campaign for deselections are comprised of “local party members” who decide such matters.

  3. Susan O'Neill says:

    The mainstream media are guilty of propagandist lies and poisonous and inflammatory defamation and should be held accountable. It of course not journalism, merely muck raking, and the best way of defeating it is to withhold patronage as a protest. A week with much reduced sales figures should be enough to send a message to the likes of The Independent and other mainstream toilet paper.
    Please Note:….”whilst also respecting the right of all MPs to vote as they have done…..”
    with respect, any MP who voted against the wishes of his/her constituency, did not represent that constituency and is therefore guilty of abusing their position and unfit to further represent ANY constituency he/she chooses to ignore.
    The platform upon which the Labour MP’s were given a free vote was not one intended to reflect their own agenda but as a representative of the people who put that individual in power.
    Such MP’s who wilfully ignored the views of their constituency should face deselection on that basis only.
    We have a list of all Labour MP’s who voted for bombing Syria and only those who did so in defiance of their constituency are in violation of their position of trust.

  4. Mukkinese says:

    And yet the majority think that the headline of demonstrations and intimidation outside an pro-bombing M.P.’s home is the truth.

    Until Labour face the facts and take the fight to the press, this will keep on happening. Try talking to people about Corbyn and they just face-palm you. Yet again we have allowed the press to tell the story and yet again the majority of voters have accepted, because we put up no realistic alternative story of any kind.

    Until Labour get over their absolute terror of the press then the Tories will rule.

    Grow some balls Labour!

    1. Jo Urquhart says:

      Wholeheartedly agree.

  5. Jim Denham says:

    Excellent article, and a well-judged statement from Momentum. Whether it will stop the present hysteria remains to be seen, but at least it puts the record straight.

    I have reblogged at Shiraz Socialist (hope that’s OK with you, Jon)

    https://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/

  6. Paul says:

    “Momentum is disappointed that Parliament voted for Syrian airstrikes.”

    I don’t disagree with the disappointment, but I simply do not see how Momentum can be said to have any view on the matter. It is a Co Ltd with two directors, no membership structure and no obvious policy-making process.

    I’m not trying to be difficult, as I support the broad direction announced around grassroots social action, and I know structures – especially ones that allow and and encourage local choice – cannot be established overnight. But I think the need to go through this process really does mean that Momentum – whoever that is – should not be making such statements on behalf of a diverse set of people who may/will form its activist structure.

  7. stewart says:

    but you cant hide the fact that left unity and momentum have a sinister nasty side to there brand of politics and cant be let to set to the agenda.these middle class swp types don’t represent the grassroots views of the labour party and there activists,in fact,they are becoming an embarassment.

  8. Bazza says:

    Yes and as the old saying goes: “The first causality of war is the truth.”
    Just read that in Iraq the Tory Govt says 1,300 airstrikes have been carried out with the result that 330 so called IS fighters have been killed and no civilians, “It’s a miracle I tell you, a miracle!”
    And in Syria so far by day two there have been airstrikes on oilfields and gas processing plants.
    But weren’t these populated by workers? (who probably had little choice in the matter).
    Of course it would have been impossible to have canvassed these workers to see if they were pro so called IS.
    But I keep thinking that these non-combatants were likely to have been trade unionists.
    The Defence Secretary has just been on the radio saying we are carrying our precision bombing to “Minimalise civilian casualties” or as he added “And collateral damage.” (Foucault would have been proud – words can be powerful, but horror can also be neutralised).
    But note brothers and sisters he said ,”To minimalise” and not “to exclude.”
    We beat the ideas of grotesque so called IS by our collective intelligence and humanity and by valuing all human life (of all religions and of none).
    People may laugh when I say we should bomb so called IS with politcal leaflets but we could (more humanely) just stop countries buying their oil.
    We should try to avoid dehumanising ourselves otherwise its: “Say not for whom the bell may toll, it tolls for you.”
    Yours in peace, love, hope & international solidarity.

  9. welcome to the real world. If you go anywhere near an MP then you will be smeared. In 1981 I was a member of Birmingham Ladywood CLP which deselected the MP John Sever in favour of Albert Bore (Now Sir ALbert Bore AND a noted moderate praised by Blair). It had nothing to do with the labour civil war, the CLP simply wanted a better MP> Sunday Times ran a two page spread about how Bennites had removed a fine upstanding MP.

    Sever then vanished and ALbert Bore went on to run Birmingham Council,. He was himself deselected in a boundary shift in favour of Clare Short. Media took no notice whatsoever. The game had moved on.

    If you walk into a trap, don’t blame the trap for closing on you.

    Trevor Fisher

  10. jason phillips says:

    I don’t really know who you are or what your group intends to really do to defend Jeremy Corbyn, but i’ve got to come to the defence of someone who you called “hostile” on a television programme. If you watch it again, the only hostile person was John Mann MP who complained about personal attacks directed toward him and then launched into personal attacks himself. I’m a Labour Party member of 5 yrs where there isn’t a Labour MP (Epping Forest) and I was shocked to hear that we can’t select who we want to be our MP for the new parliament, surely this is basic democracy here as we have in unions where a shop steward needs to “reapply” for the role along with other interested candidates every time the union chooses to put up an election for shop stewards. I can’t see any arguments against mandatory re-selection of MPs at general elections within the Labour Party. Am I not understanding properly what Momentum was created for, which i thought was to defend Jeremy Corbyn’s election at party leader?

    1. Rachel says:

      Jason

      I’m not sure you’ve properly understood the procedure.

      When Epping Forest CLP gets to choose the candidate for the 2020 General Election, you will have a vote in that along with ever other member. As an ultra-safe Tory seat, it is unlikely that there will be as much competition as for a safe Labour seat.

      In respect of mandatory reselections, the current system is a “trigger ballot”. For this, each branch of the local CLP along with each TU affiliate takes a vote at a meeting to decide whether to approve the sitting MP as a candidate for the following general election. If a majority of branches vote in favour, the current MP is approved. So it is possibly for a manifestly unpopular MP to be removed.

      Why not a fullblooded selection meeting for MPs allowing allcomers? The last time we had mandatory reselections, the Labour Right fought long and hard to allow “shortlists of one”. This allowed CLPs that were manifestly supportive of their MP to avoid a contest where they felt this would be unnecessary (because they were hardworking, responsive, effective etc. etc). The Labour Left fought this at every turn. Why would they do this? Because mandatory reselections have never been about local party democracy (why remove the democratic choice of CLPs to support their MP without going through a contest?) It has ALWAYS been the heart of the Labour Left’s strategy to move the PLP to the Left.

      You have to remember that MPs have two electorates: their CLP and their constituency. We cannot organise ourselves in such a way that undermines the MPs duty to their constituency in favour of their CLP. Fullblooded mandatory reselections (and certainly without shortlists of one) would essentially remove MPs from their doing their job as MPs for a good 3 months at a crucial point in the election cycle (because that’s PRECISELY what their opponents would be doing).

      And by preventing an MP from working for 3 months during a crucial point in the election cycle, you are making it easier for our political opponents to take the seat from us at the forthcoming General Election.

      Mandatory reselections are fine if your highest political ambition is to win control of the Labour party. If, on the other hand, you aspire for Labour to win a General Election, they would be an absolute disaster.

      There are other reasons I oppose them, eg. 1) lost talent (name a deselected MP who has gone onto serve the party in a different way) 2) they allow witchhunts (with a low turnout a small group of malcontents can cost you your MP) 3) They create bad blood, nastiness and loss of trust in local parties 4) the nastiness and loss of trust would lose us activists and also prevent decent folk from aspiring to be an MP.

      But for me the dealbreaker is that mandatory reselections would help the Tories win the General Election in 2020. On that basis alone, I would oppose them.

      1. Danny Josephs says:

        Like it hasn’t always been at the heart of New Labour’s strategy to move the PLP to the right! Methinks Rachel is being a little bit disingenuous. It’s all very well exempting the sitting MP from the inconvenience of having to endure a bit of democratic accountability because they are “hardworking, responsive, effective etc. etc” – those are the minimum requirements for the job. But what about the small matter of their political views? I’m sure even David Owen, Ramsey MacDonald and Oswald Mosley were hardworking, responsive, effective etc… Nor does it inevitably follow, as Rachel seems to think, that the sitting MP reflects the views of their constituents more closely than CLP members do; the latter by definition come from the community, the former not necessarily so; and you can bet your bottom dollar that the MP’s lifestyle is far further removed from that of your average member of the community! Nor is it right to think that sitting MPs should be entitled to a lifelong career by right, rather than seeing it as a privilege to represent their constituents for as long as their constituents wish them to and not a day longer. The danger of this sort of elitist attitude is inadvertantly highlighted by Rachel herself in her rhetorical question: “Name a deselected MP who has gone on to serve the party in a different way”. I rest my case!

      2. jason phillips says:


        Hi Rachel,
        thanks for explaining the rules of the party as they are extremely bureaucratic and therefore difficult to understand. One of my points was that mandatory reselection is something I take for granted inside the union I currently belong to- USDAW. I’ve heard that Labour councillors have this in their rule book as well, and that your point about MPs needing the time before a General Election to fight the opposition parties isn’t a strong case against not having this happen for MPs in the Labour Party. We cannot have representives who don’t represent the majority of Labour Party members doing whatever they want in parliament. The leader of the party should automatically be reselected before each General Election as well, and as with MPs be able to put their name down if they please.
        When I voted for Labour at the last election I was voting for Labour as a whole and not the individual candidate in my area, this, I believe, would be the case for most people who voted for any political party at the last General Election. I do know people who do vote for a particular candidate no matter what political party they represent but these are a minority of constituents in my view. These candidates are welcome to stand as independents if they don’t represent the Labour Party anymore obviously. I’m, at the moment, not calling for automatic recall of MPs inbetween General Elections as I feel support would be low currently, but i feel mandatory reselection at General Elections to be something most people inside the Labour Party would support and is a very sensible and obvious reform of Labour Party structures.

  11. roland says:

    I understand what you are saying trevor,but albert bore had his time and john Clancy will turn out to be a fine leader of Birmingham plc.

  12. Tez says:

    Interesting article and constructive comments. Having spent last weekend trying to contact Momentum at Sunday ‘green’ demo, then visiting LP hqtrs etc,very depressing experience. After much effort locally I believe I am momentum in this most marginal english seat, and I have the banner with JCs visage and Momentum logo, to prove it. The last paragraph of Momentums statement therefor, I submit, is drivel.How, whoever you are, can you allow or disallow me from doing anything.

  13. David Ellis says:

    I’m beginning to see Momentum as a threat to the left not the right. As far as I can tell New Labour are the walking dead of the Labour Party of little or no relevance. Corbyn keeps them around to make himself look more radical than he actually is and Momentum directs most of its ire against those to their left who want him to do something about the Blairites and Brownites. I think radical socialists need to start understanding that the new right, i.e. the relevant right, of the party is Corbyn. The country is dividing into pro and anti austerity and Corbyn is heading the anti-austerity movement but in a very very moderate way.

    1. David Ellis says:

      The only person that can hurt Corbyn’s credibility as the leader of the anti-austerity movement now is not the New Labour Zombies but Corbyn himself. The next big test is Cameron’s EU Referendum in which voting positively for his anti-working class reforms and the neo-liberal principles and pro-austerity politics on which the EU is based will hurt Labour badly. It could have a disastrous effect in fact as siding with Cameron in the Scottish referendum did rendering the party dead in Scotland forever.

  14. In reply to roland, I hope that you understand that what I am writing about happened in 1981,

    What happens in Birmingham today I have no detailed information since I no longer live there

    trevor fisher.

  15. Danny Josephs says:

    As a member of Momentum, I must object to some of the points raised in Jon Lansman’s article. Firstly, we all feel frustrated when we are deliberately misrepresented in the “mainstream” (i.e. right-wing) press and this is then picked up and passed on by other branches of the media, including social media, and assorted mischief-makers, for their own nefarious motives, so that it becomes difficult to refute the original allegations. But it’s something we’ll have to get used to as we grow as a movement and become ever more effective in our opposition to the political establishment. That having been said, that is no reason to fall into the trap, as unfortunately Jon seems to have done in his article, of rounding on one of our own in an attempt to find a scapegoat to blame in order to refute allegations that were unfounded in the first place!
    This could not have been more clearly illustrated than in the example of the protest in Walthamstow on Wednesday evening, the misrepresentation of which in the media Jon blames in his article on one anti-war activist who happens not to be a member of our organisation and is apparently therefore “hostile and opportunistic”. As far as I could see, she put up a perfectly good explanation in her tv interview of what actually happened that evening and what the aims of the protest were. Unless he has evidence of any subversive activity, he should refrain from causing division in the movement, where no division exists.
    Secondly, whilst we should have zero tolerance towards abuse and bullying in any form, we should not be intimidated by our political enemies, whether in Parliament or in the media, who are always eager to smear any democratic debate as “bullying”. We should be clear that, for instance, simply reminding a Parliamentary representative that they are there to represent the majority view of their constituents does not constitute abuse or bullying. So why should we be afraid, as Jon seems to be, of raising the issue of selection of candidates for upcoming elections? Representatives, at whatever level, are there to do just that – represent their constituents. And if we feel that they are not expressing the settled will of the majority, then we are entitled to call them to account through our democratic structures. That is the very essence of democracy and we should not fear it. Indeed Jon is quite right – it is up to local Party members and there is therefore no need for him to issue dictats on the matter.
    Finally, to call Tom Watson’s condescending – if not downright abusive – description of Momentum members “reasonably measured” is quite insulting, and for Jon to take it on himself to act as his apologist simply serves to undermine our organisation’s credibility. Unlike Jon, I would have no hesitation in recommending that Mr Watson should heed the advice of his boss, take the personal out of his argument and stick to the politics.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Sorry comrade but I don’t regard Nancy Taafe as “one of our own”. She is a member of the Socialist Party which stands candidates against the Labour Party even when it is lead by a good Socialist ike Jeremy Corbyn. And it intends to continue standing candidates against Labour in spite of the fact that they get almost no votes (or in one case no votes at all). The only reason she and other Socialist Party members are infiltrating Momentum is because their own failed strategy is no longer convincing their own members. Anyone in the Socialist Party who really wants to support Jeremy Corbyn should renounce the failed approach of the SP and join Labour as an individual.

      Finally I’m absolutely committed to the accountability of Labour MPs. But the idea that Parliamentary representatives are “there to represent the majority view of their constituents” is just nonsense. Socialists are there to advocate socialism. They should put a socialist case to the electorate on behalf of their party, and if they’re elected they should present that case. Of course they should listen to their communities and their parties, but they are entitled to put that case whether or not any particular component of that case is “supported by the majority” (not that it is often clear what that really means). When they face selection and election again, members and voters are of course entitled to make their choice.

      1. jason phillips says:

        Agree with you on the Socialist Party to some extent, but are we in favour of mandatory reselection of LP MPs at the General Elections, because if we are not then this flies in the face of how the unions are organised and how Labour councillors are selected o should be selected (it’s in the rule book for them), it also flies in the face of basic democracy for anyone whether they be neo-liberal or socialist or blairite or conservative etc

  16. Bazza says:

    Just read Momentum is to be limited to mainly Labour members on Labour Party issues and as someone signed up to Momentum I fully agree with this.
    Of course others in other Left Parties can sign up to apply to join Labour and the genuine Left Wing Democratic Socialist Cause within.
    There are some decent people in Left Unity (and many ex-Labour members who have come back) but I am wary too of often middle class Trots like the SWP (the Socialist Party ex Militant is more working class).
    But these are predominantly top downers (they have a ready made programme to be led by their elite central committees and I would argue are “bourgeois socialists”) and they believe in the banking concept of political education – if only they can deposit their programme into the heads of the working class/working people then they will deliver socialism FOR the working class.
    But they may have misunderstood Momentum – many of us believe more in the idea of grassroots, bottom up, participatory, democratic and peaceful socialism WITH the working class/working people and the progressive middle class as we also attempt to politicise the general middle class and people in rural/seaside areas.
    Momentum should be our Momentum (and whilst there may be occasions to combine on campaigns) it should be lead by Left Wing Labour Democratic Socialists.

  17. Danny Josephs says:

    I have to say that, as a relatively new member of Momentum, I was just a little taken aback by Jon’s (and “Bazza’s”) sectarian attitude to other socialists, when the Momentum website specifically states that “it will work with everyone who supports Jeremy’s aim of creating a more fair, equal and democratic society.” If this is no longer the case, kindly let me know and I will reconsider my membership. Even though Momentum is “independent of the Labour Party’s leadership” all socialists should support Jeremy Corbyn’s work both inside the Party and nationally and, particularly at the moment, internationally. But unfortunately, as even Jon recognizes, not everyone in the Labour Party does support Jeremy’s policies. In fact many of their policies seem to be more Conservative than Labour, a couple of examples being Syria of course and carrying out cuts in local government (I myself am currently involved in a campaign against the closure of 40 libraries in Lancashire, as part of an eye-watering slashing of jobs and services by the Labour led County Council). Under these circumstances, is it so wrong, as Jon seems to think, for genuine socialists to stand in elections against proponents of these policies, whichever party they happen to belong to? Nor should we forget that standing in an election on a platform not advocated by any other candidate is a chance to discuss ideas and not just to win by any means necessary.
    Then Jon states that it is nonsense that Parliamentary representatives are there to represent the majority views of their constituents. He illustrates this by stating the obvious – that socialists should put a socialist case to the electorate. Well duh! So surely logic would suggest that if a socialist advocates socialist policies and wins, then they are by definition broadly representing the views of the greatest number of their constituents (although I am willing to concede that perhaps I ‘mis-wrote’ if I gave the impression that this would in all cases constitute an absolute majority opinion on every single issue). But here we’re in danger of entering the realms of sophistry – the point is that there is nothing wrong with campaigning in an election as a socialist if there is no one else putting forward a socialist programme. Can I respectfully suggest that Jon also heeds the advice of our Leader and
    sticks to the politics rather than the personalities?

© 2017 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma