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What kind of Momentum conference?

Momentum icon smallMomentum, the organisation created to advance Corbynista ideas within the labour movement and beyond, presents a tremendous opportunity. With 20,000 members, it provides a framework for organising discussions and activity that can take socialist ideas to a far wider audience than has been possible for generations.

Yet, reading the left media, a huge amount of energy appears to be focused less on turning outward to engage this audience than on turning inward to debate internal structures. Obviously, internal democracy is important and there have been serious concerns raised, that should not be underplayed, about controversial decisions taken by the organisation’s Steering Committee, at meetings convened at very short notice.

Much of the organisational debate is now centred on what kind of national conference Momentum needs. Unfortunately, discussion has quickly polarised between those who support a delegate-based conference, with attendees made up of delegates elected by local groups and affiliates, and those who favour One Member One Vote, with live streaming and online voting.

Personally I’m open-minded. I want whatever makes the 20,000 members who have joined Momentum feel engaged and that their input is valued. I want these new supporters to become active in spreading the Corbyn agenda into parts of society where it has yet to reach. I can of course see difficulties with an OMOV conference. The questions put in online plebiscites may be selected in advance by the leadership and may not be open to amendment. The whole approach is contrary to the traditions of the labour movement and I can see why trade union affiliates in particular are not keen. I would like a lot more information about how the new leftwing party in Spain, Podemos, used online techniques to construct their programme and engage their members.

But I don’t think the delegate model works ideally either. I’ve attended two London Regional Committees, made up of delegates from local groups. The first spent most of its time passing a range of policy resolutions and spent less than 15 minutes on organising around Party Conference or getting the leftwing slate elected to the NEC. The second started at 11am and finished at 4pm and didn’t even get around to the discussion on structures, so had to be reconvened a couple of weeks later.

In theory this London Regional Committee is composed of representatives from local groups. In practice, most of the people who have the appetite for a five hour meeting are highly committed activists, especially those from small left group present in Momentum. These groups also caucus beforehand and arrive with pre-prepared position papers on pretty much everything on the agenda, so debate polarises between different groups trying to win their line. Consensus becomes pretty much impossible. Ordinary members who want to build Momentum find this very frustrating.

In theory the delegates who attend these meetings have a mandate from their local groups and are accountable to them. In practice, this is dubious. I wonder if the delegate who moved opposition to supporting a broad Stop the Purge conference, focused on the witch-hunt inside the Party and sponsored by Bakers Union President Ronnie Draper, on the grounds that it was a “Zionist front”(!) had a mandate for his outburst. One of the London Region Committee delegates, Jill Mountford, was pretty annoyed about this sectarian attack – and rightly – but in her blog she criticises Jon Lansman for suggesting that Regional Committees might be unrepresentative.

 Nor was this an isolated example.

Clearly behind the discussion about structures there is a battle for control taking place. Some are complaining that the majority on the national Steering Committee are acting in a high-handed and bureaucratic fashion. But for some, their backing for a traditional delegate structure may just be the best tactic for empowering the hardcore activists, rather than the membership as a whole.

The left traditionally has been pretty good at squandering its chances, focusing on internal battles and polarising debate in ways that alienate large numbers of potential supporters. This time the stakes are far higher. We are under the spotlight as never before. No surprise then, that this discussion has found its way into the mainstream media. On21 October  The Times ran an article, headlined “Hard left Corbynites dismissed as softies”, which publicised criticisms made by the Alliance for Workers Liberty of Momentum’s leadership and Jon Lansman in particular.

Some will say all of this is healthy democratic debate. Others fear it’s toxic politics that could alienate our potential supporters and undermine the entire Corbyn project. It will be no victory if the “correct” side wins in Momentum, but we fail to get Jeremy Corbyn elected to power.

 

40 Comments

  1. David Pavett says:

    I think that Mike Phipps outlines the problems clearly without being dogmatic about a solution. I share his worry that this could turn into another opportunity for the left to miss an opportunity.

    The real cause of the difficulty is the opaque methods of the leadership. However we proceed there will be the danger of manipulation rather than genuine openness so long as this opaqueness persists.

    It would help to clear the atmosphere a bit if the national website could publish information on the organisation: How many members, how many groups (including number of members), the details of each group including contact, Full details of members of all national and regional bodies, all resolutions agreed so far and all documents approved. We should also have an account of the organisations finances.

    Without complete openness about these and other matters it would be difficult to have confidence in the next steps.

    We need to have some position papers for alternative views of the way forward to be circulated to all members.

    We should also have some clear replies to some of the serious and detailed criticisms which have been made recently by Momentum supporters.

  2. Dorothy Macedo says:

    As someone who has been involved in left politics over many years, I think those of us who spent decades failing to build the left should stand aside and ask the new young activists what they want. As pointed out here, there are problems with both models but I’d hate to see a return to the lengthy sectarian debates that turn off anyone but the most committed. But any solution needs to be decided as openly as possible, not announced at short notice.

  3. Sacha Ismail says:

    It would have been much better if London Momentum groups had been able to debate the Stop the Purge proposal, get info, there had been more discussion, etc – which might well have led to a different outcome.

    But sometimes in a democratic meeting someone gives a demagogic speech and it sways people into not supporting a proposal. It happens. The answer is more regular meetings (at the one in question there hadn’t been one for six months!), more circulation of information, more debate, not dismissing delegate meetings altogether…

  4. Sacha Ismail says:

    Also, the reason London regional meetings have been so dominated by particular business is also the fact there have been so few meetings and things are backed up. Again…

  5. Sacha Ismail says:

    Also, what would you suggest in place? General meetings of all London members? There’s a case for that but it couldn’t be so regular and you’d need a committee too. Or an online vote every so often? Come on…

  6. Verity says:

    As far as the form of conference is concerned why not have an ordinary delegate conference for discussion and debate which is then streamed for OMOV. Double confirmatory voting would also be interesting. The most keen will opt for ‘real life’, as indeed would I, but others who feel comfortable with what they have learned from the discussions will also have a say so. After all this mimics that which brought Jeremy to prominence in the first place, i.e. debates which sometimes involved the most engaged but a poll following a series of them.

    Could the fact that some of the group Momentum meetings have been tied up with items has arisen because there has been a vacuum and an absence of any leadership, information or discussion from any central body? Although it is difficult for me to judge properly being in an area where there is no Momentum group. From my vantage point Momentum is totally irrelevant with hardly any information, discussion or direction forthcoming. I could easily imagine the form that such local meetings would take in the absence of any direction other than that which could easily be, and is made, by the Labour Party more generally.

  7. Jackie walker says:

    Mike misses the point here which is a democratic decision was forestalled by the actions of the the Steering Committee going above its remit as a body that actions the decision making powers of the National Committee. This lack of democratic accountability has become part of the culture of some on the SC so that it was only on Thursday at 10:30pm we received notification of an emergency SC meeting.
    There was no mention of a discussion on how the conference would be run.
    A number of people could not make, or would not agree to come to such a meeting.
    A number of people, including myself and Matt Wrack, protested as to undemocratic process.
    Some members agreed to phone in.
    Imagine my shock the next morning at being informed both that the NC was to be postponed and that the decision had been made by the SC that conference votes would be made on line.
    This occurred even though TWO papers outlining different process of voting at conference had been tabled for discussion at the (now cancelled) NC.

    1. David Pavett says:

      We really do need the people with the central responsibility for the way recent events have taken place in Momentum to give a full account of what was done, by whom, and on what basis. A basic part of the appeal of Corbyn was his promise that the left would make the party more democratic. That hasn’t yet even started to happen. Momentum as a group organised to support the news leadership needs to demonstrate the highest standards in this respect. It seems clear that so far it is failing to do so. We have the right to expect, for example, to hear a clear response to the detailed points made by Mike Wrack.

    2. John Walsh says:

      Agree with DP’s main points here – given where we are, there’s a clear need for openness which should begin with a response to Matt Wrack. The game is up for the current way of operating.

      Without a response to Wrack, it hardly matters what form any conference takes as it will be dominated by this festering dispute over openness, or as Jackie W has it, a “lack of democratic accountability [which] has become part of the culture”. Moreover, it’s a dispute which is ongoing in many local groups, not just the national SC.

  8. John Penney says:

    At the peak of its Leadership bid supporting triumph, Momentum is in a total organisational pickle, , now that the easy “lowest common denominator , very vague, feel-good” Left politics of the latest Corbyn leadership contest are out of the way, and actually getting Momentum to build itself as a credible mobilising force for the Left, is back on the longer term agenda.

    That the dubiously legitimate, essentially self-appointed, Momentum “leadership” have deliberately hobbled the growth of most potential local Momentum groups nationally by refusing to share Supporter information with even designated local organisers , or indeed the national website not even telling people where there is a local group until very recently ,tells one a lot about the obsessively “top-down” control freakery that has seriously obstructed the essential development of a national branch network to bring Members and supporters into a co-operative, activist, role. Without a healthy branch life, there can be no internal debate , and no “bottom upwards” democracy in Momentum.

    The Old Labour Left Momentum Leadership have really just wanted Momentum to be a passive , stage army, to be rolled out when required at this “leadership’s” behest. The now 20,000+ member base must frighten the pants off a Labour Old Guard Left more used to backroom manoeuvring in the few dozens.

    One of the motivating reasons for the disastrous “top-down” model resolutely maintained in Momentum’s first year , has been a , perfectly soundly based, fear of infiltration by the sectarian zealots of the Far/ultra Left. Unfortunately it is the very act of obstructing and smothering the development of a national branch structure, and open democratic debate, which has actually empowered the tiny, mainly big city-based tiny Far Left entrist groupiscules. A tiny group of well-drilled, politically hyperactive, jargon-rich Far Lefties can easily control a relative handful of Momentum branches – and get themselves selected as delegates to the very sparse Momentum decision making meetings. The overwhelming majority of the now 20,000 Momentum members aren’t even in branches, and have no current route to getting their views heard. Hence the “usual Far Left obsessions” appear to dominate Momentum. Whereas in reality I strongly suspect that most Momentum Members and Supporters are far more concerned with fighting their local NHS closures – than campaigning, fot instance, for the reinstatement of Jackie Walker as Vice Chair of Momentum – or membership of the Labour Party !

    The “solution” is neither to resort to a passive “top down plebiscitory democracy” within Momentum – whereby a “leadership clique” sets the terms of debate so that the membership can rubberstamp it – or to go for the current travesty of a bogusly assembled “delegate” structure , that in fact the factions of the Far Left have already utterly subverted – to their advantage – based on the sparse branch network and mere 6,000 membership of Momentum prior to the latest “Corbyn Leadership Contest Surge”.

    Somehow the 20,000 Momentum membership have to be formed rapidly into local branches, and democratic debate actively encouraged. Then, and only then, can a genuinely democratic Delegate basis for a Conference be created. On the basis of a national branch structure, and an environment of democratic debate, an all member E-voting system as a key component of any Conference would truly take us into the potential of 21st century political democracy.

    Unfortunately, for their own, organisationally identical, but politically different, reasons, neither the Old Guard Labour Left OR the tiny unrepresentative factions of the obsessive dogma-bound Far Left, see this genuine democracy as in their factional interests.

    1. Danny Nicol says:

      There could always be an electoral college whereby a yearly conference is held consisting of delegates from the Momentum branches. The conference would be dominated by debates on resolutions and amendments submitted by branches, and branch delegates’ votes would be weighted at, say, 30% or 40%. This would accord importance to Momentum branches, make delegates’ attendance worthwhile and might serve to foster Momentum branches holding mandating meetings (as we used to have in the 1980s and 1990s in the context of the Labour Party at large before each Annual Conference).

      Individual Momentum members would then have the remaining 70% or 60% of the vote to cast through E-voting after the event. The entire conference should be available on video online. Ideally, if technologically possible, E-ballot papers on each issue would only be sent once the member had played the relevant debate, thereby giving heavy encouragement to members to listen to the arguments before casting a vote on each issue. After the farce of the Momentum E-referendum on EU membership we do not want more votes without discussion.

      In any event the democratisation of Momentum is desperately overdue and I don’t approve of attempts to delay the process further through postponing meetings.

      1. C MacMackin says:

        Solid suggestions about how to strike a balance between e-democracy and a delegate structure. I particularly like the idea of requiring members to watch the debate videos before a ballot is sent to them. As someone who has done (a little bit) of web development, I can say that this should most definitely be feasible.

        A similar approach, instead of the electoral college, could be to allow people to defer their votes to their delegate. If they do not actually participate in the online vote then their vote is automatically set to be however their delegate voted. This would require careful records to be kept of how delegates vote at the conference, though. It could perhaps be acheived using some sort of smartphone app to conduct the voting. Another issue with any sort of e-voting is how to ensure that the vote remains secret while also only allowing members to vote. I’m not sure if or how current online voting systems address this, although I’ve read suggestions for how it could work.

        1. John Walsh says:

          Sorry to be an old boor re techno issues and voting, but not everyone is enamoured by the idea of or uses a smartphone. According to a recent phone industry survey, something like 20% of the UK population don’t own one and of these something like 80% have no intention of owning one. Now add in the Labour Party demographic and I’d have thought that way more than 20% don’t own or use or intend to bother with a smartphone (rant over).

          1. C MacMackin says:

            Yes, I had thought of that. This could be dealt with by providing tablets at the conference for those without smartphones of their own. Most likely the organisers could find enough people willing to lend tablets. This could be further helped by providing an online (rather than app-based) interface, so that those who own laptops could use those. In any case, I’m just talking of the cuff here; don’t read it as a particularly serious proposal.

        2. June says:

          Online voting conditional on members watching, listening to, or reading the transcript of, a debate has its merits.

          However, it has to be implemented in such a way that it does not discriminate against members on grounds of disability. Not all of us are physically capable of using either a smartphone or a tablet. There are also privacy and security issues with smartphones.

          Technology has the potential to aid participation of people with disabilities. Unfortunately it is increasingly being badly implemented in ways that increase the exclusion of people with disabilities in spite of the fact that such practices fall foul of disability discrimination legislation (originally brought in by the Tories!).

          The Labour Party generally is particularly poor in this respect and desperately needs to get its act together. I have some technical knowledge and experience of accessible web design and would very much appreciate it if some could post contact details of individuals or groups within the party that I could get involved with to help address this problem.

          There is potential support for the Labour Party among the disabled (particularly given John McDonnell’s years of promoting the interests the interests of disabled people). It is absolutely critical that Labour Party websites and online procedures are made fully accessible.

          By the way, although I’m prepared to work and co-operate with its members, I’m not prepared to consider joining Momentum until Jackie Walker receives an offer of reinstatement to her position in Momentum and a full apology for the appalling treatment she has been subjected to.

  9. Karl Stewart says:

    Not a member of Momentum and wouldn’t want to join it. But from outside, it certainly sems like this article and the previous one by Ms Shawcroft are both fundamentally dishonest.

    It’s as if they both think their audience are simple fools who will be conned by their ‘hey guys, we just want to run things in a modern way’ act.

    Come on, there’s obviously a serious political disagreement between people here. Argue out the politics, don’t play these infantile games and don’t insult people’s intelligence.

  10. Bazza says:

    Yes Momentum should be for Labour members only and it should be a pressure group in Labour on the same lines that the Right has a pressure group like Progess with elected officers, AGMs etc.
    I don’t want to work on Labour stuff with non-Labour Momentum members and sectarians who have nothing to offer.
    And why are they in Momentum if not only to try to recruit and to ‘lead’ – they are bourgeois ‘socialists’ who would take power for themselves.
    “The enemy of my enemy is not my friend!”
    Yes call on all Labour members in Momentum to form local groups where there is non if possible.
    Then have a Labour members only Momentum Conference where each group sends a set number of delegates with a gender balance, age balance etc. and it may need to be April or May to give us time to send ideas?
    But we have months yet so Labour members only could soon begin discussing things and sending policy ideas and procedure ideas for Labour for the conference and perhaps we could set a deadline say one month before the conference- then the ideas should be posted on Momentum and here etc. and non-delegate Momentum Labour members only could then post their ideas to add to discussions.
    At the Conference attendees vote and provisional decisions would be reported on then Labour members of Momentum only have 3 weeks to vote on-line OMOV to see if they agree with the delegates decisions and can overturn them.
    But it must be Labour Party Momentum members on-line only voting.
    But Momentum was set up all wrong allowing non-Labour people to become involved and I only want to work with left wing democratic socialists.
    If we had Labour member Momentum meetings before the Conference they could discuss and send resolutions on structure such as Reforming the NEC (more CLP reps), reforming Conference (for members democratic power), democratically selecting a NEC Left slate and a CAC Left slate plus resolutions on each of JCs 10 policy statements to build on them.
    I have no time for the Right in Labour and the Non-Labour Momentum Supporters plus the tiny sectarian groups.
    Some will call me tribal but no I am a Left wing democratic socialist who bursts with ideas and who Neo-Liberalism has not stopped from dreaming.
    We need to beat our opponents on the Right in Labour and on the ‘Left’ in and outside Labour then continue to fight the Neo-Liberal Pro-Rich and Powerful Tories!
    Solidarity with all independent left wing democratic socialist thinkers and the working class/working people everywhere!

  11. Mike’s description of the London Regional Committee confirms what many of us, with experience, would have expected.

    If I recall my own youth, we were perfectly capable of sustaining this kind of behaviour even before reaching our ‘twenties.

    Like Mike I am also open-minded, so open that I have not formally joined Momentum yet. Attending some local ‘proto’ Momentum meetings I have yet, however, to see signs of ‘new politics’ and ‘new ways of organising’.

    What I do see is some genuine and very encouraging enthusiasm for democratic socialism which I, like many, would wish to deepen. It is inevitable that small left organisations, which in reality operate as pressure groups, with their papers, sometimes with very good ideas, sometimes not, will be involved.

    It is nevertheless concerning that the very *non* democratic socialist bodies, who have spent several decades doing everything they can to destroy the ‘bourgeois’ Labour Party, now expect to bathe in Corbyn’s reflected glory on their way back to Labour, and, if this is more widely confirmed, are seeking to operate within Momentum.

  12. “I would like a lot more information about how the new leftwing party in Spain, Podemos, used online techniques to construct their programme and engage their members.”

    Back in January, the Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias announced (initially to the King and then to a press conference) that he had proposed a pact with other left-wing parties to set up a “government of change”, with a clear idea of who would fill the top jobs and what the government’s programme would be.

    This was the first that the “circulos” of Podemos (the grassroots militants who are supposed to shape all party decisions under the “new politics”) had heard of it. Cue consternation and some outrage.

    The new left way of doing party democracy is work in progress there too.

  13. Rob Green says:

    `Momentum, the organisation created to advance Corbynista ideas within the labour movement and beyond…’

    Nah, that’s not it.

  14. C MacMackin says:

    Matt Wrack’s account of recent events is pretty damning. I agree that we need to hear a response from Jon Lansman et al., although I’m not getting my hopes up.

    While I’m not against using e-democracy in the conference in principle, I have severe misgivings in this instance. As others have asked, who will be putting forward the proposals to vote on? It’s notable that Podemos, known for its use of e-democracy, has not been exhibiting sign of democratic health. Very little of the party apparatus is directly elected, which then goes on to appoint the rest. This means that different tendencies within the party are not well-represented. Furthermore, Podemos has been restraining its local organisations of late, which is quite reminiscent of what is happening here (or of Neil Kinnock’s “modernisations” for that matter). Like Podemos, Momentum also lacks a clear conception of politics, beyond vague populism and a focus on a particular leader. They also both make much of “doing politics differently” when, in reality, they seem to be very much run by shadowing cliques of insiders.

    Noting these similarities, it is worth remembering that Podemos is now stagnant in the polls and, even if elected, is running on such a vague and moderated mish-mash of policy that they wouldn’t be much use anyway. These organisations’ problems can not even be justified by them getting results, as Blairism was. I really hope that Momentum can turn itself around, but I’m doubtful at this point.

  15. Paul Field says:

    Mike Phipps article is equivocal about what has just happened in Momentum and the shocking methods employed by SC majority to sideline the National Committee which appointed it and from which it derives its power. The methods employed here to push through these changes would make Gerry Healy blush.

  16. Verity says:

    Momentum is of course a private company. Presumably those creating it did so purposefully, i.e. whilst democracy could serve the organisation well, ‘in extremis’ the democratic choices could/should be overcome if it conflicted with the ambition of its designers. This seems to me is the essence of Kinnock’s rule. ‘ I will go along with the democratic choice if in fundamentals it matches mine’. I have not too great an understanding of the Blair regime to accuse it of the same. In any case I suspect that regime was quite different in more major ways. Of itself, I am not necessarily opposed to such an approach. If I establish a group for the nationalisation of the railways, I would not wish it to become too strongly under the influence of those wanting that nationalisation to be under the control of French government. I might want to ensure all my work and effort does not go to waste. So the question to be asked is, what were the ambitions of the designers of Momentum? And at what point of potentially loosing an argument should my ‘practices’ intervene to oppose an alternative form?

    This discussion is at the heart of dilemmas for the Left is it not? Conservatives believe in markets and therefore minimise the role of human planned interventions to bring about the best results. This ‘conservativism’ probably also influences the ‘irreconcilables’ in the Labour party. ‘Since we don’t really trust high levels of human interventions, better we create a marginally accountable PLP (or now possibly also an NEC ban on politically charged meetings) type set up that retains control over possible insurgency – especially if that is constructed upon high levels of will, high energy, high enthusiasm and high commitment’, i.e Trot behaviour, although this characterisation is more a prejudice on my part than any real grasp.

    So if my supposition is right, Momentum designers have had past experiences which suggests that allowing an organisation to become open to, too great an influence by those with ‘ultra’ commitments, would usually win against us more, ‘evenly- balanced’ types who see politics as a means for achievement rather than a mission in itself.

    This looks to me like a real issue for democratic socialists in the Momentum leadership (and some in the NEC), who in essence are saying that Kinnock was right, and that open democratic political debate without a hidden, ‘steady hand’ cannot guarantee to trump exuberant wilful action, organisation and behaviour.

  17. Rob Green says:

    The radical left in Labour needs a wholly different outfit than Momentum to co-ordinate its activities across the party branches and other bodies. I would not waste another precious minute of my life trying to make it something it isn’t.

    Call this new outfit anything you like. Write it a manifesto consisting of perspectives and programme and launch it with a conference in which all attending get to have their say on that manifesto and elect a steering committee. Lansman’s Momentum is part of the establishment and is participating in the Zionist witch hunt. It is destroying the Corbyn brand.

    1. John Penney says:

      “Rob Green” – , yep it’s our twice banned old friend ,using yet another posting moniker yet again folks, and his oh so useful ;

      “Lansman’s Momentum is part of the establishment and is participating in the Zionist witch hunt.”

      paranoid tinfoil nonsense, really isn’t going to help get us out of this mess at all. It is precisely this sort of bonkers ultraleft posturing that has made the tiny, but, influential, Far Left a major part of the problem with Momentum – alongside the equally debilitating top down control freakery of the Old Guard Lansmanite Labour Left.

      1. Rob Green says:

        Well you say paranoid tinfoil nonsense but then you are not Jackie Walker. I think you are just an apologist for these wretched reformists. You talk a good lefty but the minute someone raises questions of perspectives and programme you are the biggest little left wing copper going. Shut your stupid mouth for once you clown. You did the same in Left Unity hammering down on anybody who dared to suggest actual socialist policies. You are a fake and a pseud. Please die.

        1. John Penney says:

          No , I am quite definitely not Jackie Walker, David. And I don’t believe “”Jewish financiers played a chief role in the slave trade”. Because it is an utter non-historical, viciously anti Semitic, lie.

          Live long and Prosper, David.

          1. James Martin says:

            John, please stop repeating these lies and smears against a comrade who has a proud history of fighting all forms of racism. The fact that you do keep repeating them risks you being seen as a part of the political racist lynching of Jackie as a black Jewish woman. I would remind you of the full context of what you have just written, not the out of context lies spread by the JLM and right-wing media:

            During a Facebook with one of her friends Jackie made the point, ‘I will never back anti-Semitism but neither am I a Zionist’ and this led to an exchange about her own Jewish-African heritage, slavery and the Jewish Holocaust. Jackie then wrote:

            “I hope you feel the same towards the African holocaust? My ancestors were involved in both – on all sides… millions more Africans were killed in the African holocaust and their oppression continues to this day on a global scale in a way it doesn’t for Jews and many Jews, my ancestors too, were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade… so who are the victims and what does it mean . We are victims and perpetrators, to some extent by choice. And having been a victim does not give you a right to be a perpetrator.”

            So much for the truth, and I don’t actually care whether you agree with her points or not (I do for the record), but in writing about her own family and heritage in this way she had every right to make them, and in the context of the full exchange they are clearly not a “non-historical, viciously anti Semitic, lie” as you outrageously claim. In fact in another setting and with a different person than Jackie (who somehow has managed to rise above the vile abuse against her in a way that I wouldn’t have) your own lies would almost certainly lead to a libel and defamation legal case against you, so just stop doing it please.

          2. Rob Bab says:

            Good comment James.

    2. Rob Bab says:

      @John Penney
      Hmmm, Rob Green makes erudite observations John.
      a. Momentum is left lacking on the representation front.
      b. Momentum has enabled a Zionist witch hunt.
      c. Momentum in it’s present manifestation is passed it’s usefulness regarding JC.
      d. “Well you say paranoid tinfoil nonsense but then you are not Jackie Walker.”
      e. John, like Jim Denham, you yourself comes across like a control freak.
      f. Zionism has no place within a Socialist Labour Party.

      John, the Zionist Labour experiment is over, graciously accept the fact. The Zionists recent “anti-Semitism” death rattle was pitiful and shameful.

      1. John Penney says:

        Rob Bab, You are one of the worst, most obsessive, posters here for repeatedly supporting and excusing the long pre-existing anti semitic tropes that Jackie walker was supporting in her disgraceful claim , embedded poisonously in a bit of claimed research into her own family history, which you happily repeat, that :

        “….many Jews…..were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade…”

        Get your head round this vital FACT , Rob Rab, this is a complete and utter non-historical lie – the propagation of which would usually, rightly, get a fascist “no platformed”. But because this , Nation of Islam-sourced, anti Semitic lie is propagated by a “Left Winger” as part of an illegitimate slippery “top trumps” bit of sophistry to somehow compare the African Slave trade to the WW2 Jewish Shoah, and claim direct major responsibility of Jews in the former – so as to supposedly undermine a claimed plank of the ideological justification for the state of Israel – it is somehow OK ?

        You, and your co-thinkers have seriously lost the plot – with your ultraLeft crude “anti Zionism” deeply polluted with old fashioned anti-Semitism. In your case anti Semitism truly is the “socialism of fools”.

        1. James Martin says:

          Even now after I showed you the full discussion by Jackie Walker you continue to smear and post something completely out of context to try and show that a black Jewish woman is anti-Semitic (and even the Labour Party purgers were forced to concede that the conversation you continue to quote wasn’t anti-Semitic after a full investigation ffs).

          Aside from continuing to lie and smear it seems you are also happy to be part of a racist anti-Semitic witch hunt against a black Jewish person who actively opposes Zionism – the sad truth is that it is *you* who is the real racist here Penney.

        2. Rob Bab says:

          @John Penney
          Woah steady on John, I think you’ve got a touch of the John Manns.

          “You are one of the worst, blab de blah blah which you happily repeat, that :”
          Cheers John, I take that as a compliment that you single me out as one of the many who stand in solidarity with the fine upstanding woman of integrity and courage, known as Jackie Walker.

          “Get your head round this vital FACT , Rob Rab, this is a complete and utter non-historical lie…”
          John, please, for the sake of your dwindling reputation please put in the full contextual quote. Did you not read James Martin’s helpful and generous comment?

          “…somehow compare the African Slave trade to the WW2 Jewish Shoah, and claim direct major responsibility of Jews in the former…”
          Hey John, you’re doing it again, you’re twisting and stretching the meaning of what was said. Though it is true that some Jews played a role in the Holocaust, just ask Tony Greenstein, he’s indisputably an oracle of nearly all things Jewish.

          “In your case anti Semitism truly is the “socialism of fools”.”
          Eh, what are you Bebeling on about? There you go again with the boring old anti-Semitism card. It’s lost it’s power John, it’s laughable. Now if you were to apply it correctly, as in, the way the Apartheid Occupying European Jewish Zionist Israelis horrendously treat the Semitic Palestinians you may gain some credibility in the socialist “top trumps”, it’s your call.
          Anyway in the mean time what about you doing your penance for all your nasty words by donating a £20 to a good cause?
          https://www.crowdjustice.org/case/walker-vs-mcnicol/

        3. Rob Green says:

          Bad Penney is a fraud. He blabs and blabs and spews out left verbiage but in the final analysis he’s just a little copper.

          1. Rob Bab says:

            @RG
            Strangely your ‘lyrics’ fit perfectly with this tune;
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5odaPQ0eVo
            Start singin’ at 27secs 🙂

  18. David Pavett says:

    The ordinary members of Momentum are not being treated with the respect due to them. They have joined the organisation, paid their subs, attend meetings and more but have to read about squabbling at the top of the organisation through the media. We are owed some honest explanations of how the rows over the projected conference were allowed to develop. It is shocking that ordinary members are kept outside the loop. A new way of doing politics?

    1. John Walsh says:

      Agreed – so, how can we apply pressure? An online petition? Local group resolutions? (I say this with tongue-in-cheek given the state of my local group). Organising mass-emailing of Steering Committee members? (their email addresses were published this week). Thoughts anyone?

    2. John Penney says:

      I just got sent, as a local Momentum Organiser, the rather cryptic Momentum statement on the new arrangements for February Conference.

      I sent back the following set of queries:

      “Thanks for that material ,Emma,

      How do we , as the Momentum North Shropshire branch, or our delegates, get to attend the February Momentum National Conference ?

      There has certainly been no attempt to involve us as Members in North Shropshire, in any wider regional Momentum gathering. What are these “liberation strands” which apparently have a role in Momentum’s NC delegate structure ?

      It appears that of the current circa 20,000 + Momentum Membership any current NC delegate representation, or right to attend Conference, is based solely on a tiny , utterly unrepresentative “delegate” base, of dubious democratic validity, dating from a few , largely big city Momentum hotspots dominated by well organised pre-existing Left groups, and a few “affiliated organisations” of unknown validity, from when Momentum had only 6,000 members.

      What measures is Momentum Central putting in place urgently to address the huge Democratic Deficit of the current Momentum NC composition – to bring the new circa 15,000 Momentum Members into the democratic decision making and delegate NC structure , and access to February Conference ? And I don’t by that just mean the right to passively vote online during or after February Conference.

      We still await a response to our outstanding request to formally register as a Momentum Branch for North Shropshire.

      Best Wishes

      John Penney”

  19. Verity says:

    The Labour Representative Committee site is reporting an unanimous agreement within the steering committee. the following is an extract:

    “The National Committee, postponed from this Saturday, will take place on 3 December. We will ensure that this meeting is properly representative, including new elections for our liberation strands where necessary. A plan for ensuring this will be submitted and approved by the Steering Committee at the latest by 11 November.

    A further National Committee meeting will be held in January before our Conference in February. Our Conference, involving all members of Momentum, groups and affiliated organisations, will decide our organisation’s long-term structure.

    Taking into account the strong views on both sides of the OMOV (one member, one vote) vs. delegate for Conference votes, the Steering Committee has agreed on a recommendation to the National Committee of a suitable format. There will be both a physical delegates conference to thoroughly debate proposals submitted from the membership, and then OMOV voting on the proposals in the period after the conference. The details of this procedure will be determined over the coming weeks.

    We know all levels of Momentum are committed to a truly inclusive and democratic structure and will make it succeed over the next few months.

    1. John Walsh says:

      The full Steering Committee statement is here: l-r-c.org.uk/news/story/momentums-future/

      Note also there is “a meeting of Momentum National Committee delegates” in Birmingham tomorrow (Saturday 5th) “to discuss the recent events and, most importantly, consider ways to overcome the resulting differences and to move forward together”. To go, you’d need to be a ‘delegate’ . The event’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/events/1817598571786341

      In an ideal world, now would be the time to lobby our local delegates, or even they could get in touch with us to canvas opinions. Maybe in some places that is possible/ has happened – not where I live though.

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