Tag Archives: coup

Labour NEC stitch-up: Are you called Jon?

first published as a letter in the Weekly Worker

Just when I thought Momentum nationally had become a mere online presence (which tells its 30,000 members and vast number of supporters how to vote at conference and at election time, and constantly asks for money), I received an email asking me if I would “like to be considered to be a candidate” for one of the new additional posts created on Labour’s national executive committee.

The email dropped in my inbox on October 2 at 2.38pm, giving a deadline of “Wednesday October 4 at 12pm”. Not that I was seriously considering throwing my hat in the ring, but less than two days was clearly not a lot of time. But how interesting that Jon Lansman, who took away all decision-making powers from Momentum members in a coup in January this year, should engage in such a quasi-democratic exercise, I thought.

It was via the Huffington Post on October 9 that Momentum members were eventually informed of its outcome: Yes, Jon Lansman had been chosen by Momentum as an NEC candidate. A day later ‘Team Momentum’ managed to inform some (but not all) of its members how this decision was – apparently – made: a total of 48 applications were received, which were examined by “a panel of [national coordinating group] officers”, who then “interviewed seven candidates”, before settling on four that are now being sent “for recommendation to the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA)”. All within four days.

The well-informed Huffington Post writes: “Momentum issued an email to members recently asking for nominations for its NEC ‘slate’ and it is understood that Lansman was the popular choice among many.” Was he now? And how exactly did that work? Popular among whom? The 48 who nominated themselves? Clearly not. There was no other way for Momentum members to make any nominations other than self-nominations or express any opinions on the matter. Maybe they mean ‘popular among the people working in Momentum’s office, being on Jon Lansman’s payroll and all that …’  A meme was quickly doing the rounds, showing as first “criterium” on the application form the question: ‘Are you called Jon?’ 

Some Momentum members might have actually believed that Lansman was serious about introducing ‘one member, one vote’ digital decision-making when he abolished all democratic structures and imposed his own constitution on the organisation back in January. And maybe he does occasionally feel the pressure to make it look as if Momentum is a democratic, members-led organisation. But, in reality, all this has only served to remind many on the left what an undemocratic shell of an organisation it really is.

As if to stress the point, Team Momentum sent out another email on October 10, this time to Derbyshire Momentum: the steering committee is informed that they are no longer allowed to use the Momentum name, because they were “no longer a verified group” (though members there have emails showing how they were in fact “recognised” a few months ago).

After the January coup, Lansman loyalists in Derby – unhappy with the critical positions adopted by what was until this week ‘Momentum Derbyshire’ – set up a second group in the area. But why this move now? To understand that, you need to look at the other three Momentum names being put forward to the CLGA: they include “Cecile Wright, vice chair of Momentum, a co-founder of the Labour Black Network and a professor of Sociology at Nottingham”. And, as it happens, a member of the Momentum group in Derby.

Cecile Wright was very happy to quickly step into the post of Momentum vice-chair after Lansman demoted Jackie Walker when she was suspended from the Labour Party on false charges of anti-Semitism. Cecile (with Christine Shawcroft) also took up posts as directors of the Momentum Campaign (Services) Ltd company on the day of the coup, January 10 2017. Of course, Lansman remains firmly in control of the most precious possession of Momentum: its vast database of over 300,000 Corbyn supporters.

This will make him almost a shoo-in for the NEC post. The CLGA list has never been chosen democratically and everything has undoubtedly been fixed a very long time ago – I predict that both Lansman and Wright will be on it!

Needless to say, as a Marxist in the Labour Party, I am less than happy with this process – not to mention the selection of Lansman himself. Not only has he made his disdain for any kind of democratic decision-making absolutely clear. But, worse, in the current civil war in the Labour Party, he has chosen to side with all those who maliciously label any criticism of Israel ‘anti-Semitic’.

He has thrown Jackie Walker under the bus, has called on Ken Livingstone to resign and is one of the main people behind the party’s new poisonous ‘compromise’ formulation on anti-Semitism. He has joined Jeremy Corbyn in the mistaken belief that this might actually calm the saboteurs. But that is a dangerous illusion: the witch-hunters’ appetite clearly grows with the eating. Lansman might be a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn (for now). But he is a very poor choice for the NEC indeed.

Cohering the Labour left

Carla Roberts of Labour Party Marxists reports on the first meeting of the Grassroots Momentum steering committee on April 22 in London

This was a surprisingly positive and constructive meeting. Surprising for a number of reasons. Firstly, the committee was elected exactly six weeks previously at Grassroots Momentum’s first, fractious conference on March 11. And if “a week is a long time in politics”, these six weeks certainly felt like an eternity. Not a single decision has been made and the only thing the majority of committee members had agreed on was to oppose the proposal to intervene at the Momentum ‘conference’ on March 25 with our own leaflet. The rest of the email communications were concerned with an argument over the length of our lunch break (30 minutes, since you ask) and if there should be a pooled fare system (no).

Secondly, Momentum itself is disappearing down the plughole with ever-increasing speed, which naturally has an impact on the left within it. Momentum meetings are becoming smaller and smaller. The demobilisation and depoliticisation of Momentum branches that followed Jon Lansman’s January 10 coup has become even worse in the last 10 days. As if most sensible people on the left weren’t disillusioned enough about Labour’s grim chances at the polls, they then received an email from Team Momentum telling them to stand down.

Yes, there are strict electoral rules and laws on election spending (as a bunch of Tory Party MPs has recently found). But to demand that Momentum branches effectively stop meeting in such a heightened political period – because “public meetings” could be seen as Labour Party campaigning – is adding to the sense of demoralisation. The right continues to fight dirty and with every trick they have, but Momentum is concerned about sticking to the letter of the law. Another trap Corbyn has stepped into, unfortunately.

Thirdly, the GM steering committee is made up of a lot of people who – how to put this nicely – really hate each others’ guts. The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (which has six members and supporters on the SC) have played a deeply disgusting role in the entirely fabricated ‘anti-Semitism scandal’ in the Labour Party, joining into the witch-hunt of Ken Livingstone and, of course, Jackie Walker, who also sits on the GM committee (and also has about half a dozen allies there).

Considering all these factors, I expected a rather fractious, ill-tempered meeting with very little outcome. But I guess we can thank Theresa May for focusing our minds. The snap election, plus the fact that Momentum is playing dead, have actually opened up a space on the left of the Labour Party.

Under the experienced chairmanship of Matt Wrack (leader of the Fire Brigade’s Union), the meeting started with a frank and open assessment of the current situation and the general election. There was a healthy sense of realism evident. Everybody in the room agreed that Labour’s chances of winning the election were pretty slim. To the committee’s credit, nobody voiced the moronic idea peddled by the likes of the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party that Theresa May has called this election because of a weakness of the Tory Party. Matt Wrack for example admitted to being “quite demoralised when I heard about the election”, because clearly Theresa May has called it for one reason and one reason alone: to crush the Labour Party and increase the Tory majority, aided by the entire media establishment.

Speaker after speaker bemoaned the fact that the right wing in the Labour Party continues with its assault on Corbyn and his leadership. Worse, Corbyn continues to let them to get away with it in the vague hope of ‘party unity’. Clearly, the right has not signed up to any truce, as can be witnessed by the dozen or so MPs who have said they would rather not stand again than run under a Corbyn leadership.

John Woodcock MP took the biscuit when he pronounced that he “will not countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn Britain’s prime minister”.4 In our view, Woodcock should be expelled, along with Tom Watson, Ian McNicol and, of course, good old Tony Blair. Blair has come out the woodwork to call for a “tactical” vote against Labour Party candidates who support Brexit – an offence that would have seen a left-winger expelled immediately by the NEC’s rigged compliance unit. But instead of cleansing the party of its saboteurs, the NEC has decided to prevent Labour Party members from having any say over the choosing of parliamentary candidates – which is of course part of the civil war against the left.

Graham Bash (a member of the Labour Representation Committee) was perhaps the most ‘officially optimistic’ speaker on the day. He thought that “we need to fight to win and we need to give a really positive message. We should say that we can win against the odds. We should not spread demoralisation and fear. Because the cost of failure will be huge and the left will face a carnival of reaction.”

True, of course, it would be pointless to start any fight in order to lose. But other speakers pointed to the fact that “demoralisation” will be equally widespread (or worse) if we pretend that we, for example, just need to point to Corbyn’s “10 pledges” (as committee member Jan Pollock suggested) and hope that it will win Labour the elections. Because it will not.

Most on the steering committee thought that the Labour Party would manage to close the current gap in the polls somewhat come June 8 (difficult not to), but that the Tories would very likely win. Which would of course lead to the next leadership challenge, probably fronted by Yvette Cooper, who has done nothing to dispel those rumours. In this situation, “we must convince Corbyn not to give in, not to step down, but hold on and continue to fight to transform the Labour Party”, said Matt Wrack, to the visible agreement of the meeting.

“Any candidate who is not Corbyn or McDonnell will be a defeat for the left”, comrade Wrack added – though some people later questioned if McDonnell really is still a reliable ally. There aren’t just his various U-turns and cringing apologies – some in the room also have not forgiven him for breaking his promise to send a video message to GM’s launch conference. Clearly, that hope was a bit naive. After all, the Corbyn team (which includes McDonnell) had sanctioned the Lansman coup. Why would he then support an organisation that was founded in opposition to that coup? My guess is that McDonnell nodded his head politely when the request was put to him, but never intended to fulfil it.

In any case, most seemed agreed on the need to continue to support Corbyn and McDonnell when they’re being attacked – but to criticise them when they are attacking socialist principles or continuing to try and appease the Labour right.

The meeting went on to decide a couple of concrete actions:

1. GM will publish a weekly email and launch a website, which will “do what Momentum does not do”, as one speaker put it. The intention is, for example, to publish good, political scripts for phone banking sessions; give people ideas on running stalls; working with other campaigns and encouraging Momentum members to go beyond the official Labour canvassing tactic of simply surveying voting intentions and instead have actual political discussions with people on the doorstep. There has been a suggestion that the website should feature comments on disputed issues like Labour’s apparently “united” climb down over immigration. We have to see if that will be picked up by the small team running the website and email bulletin.

2. GM will organise a post-election conference of the ‘Labour left’ on June 17 (or a week later). The idea is to use this meeting to fight against the likely disillusionment of the Labour left post June 8 and to convey the message that – no matter what the outcome of the elections – the key task remains: to transform the Labour Party to make it fit for purpose.

Detailed plans for the day have yet to be finalised, but the general idea is to have a smaller ‘strategy meeting’ during the day and a bigger rally in the late afternoon. Of course, those details are the place where the devil likes to hide and the preliminary discussions of the seven comrades planning the event have shown a fair amount of disagreements on how to move forward.

  • Should the strategy meeting allow motions to be heard? Or encourage groups to bring general position papers on the future of the Labour Party (that are not up for voting)? Should we invite both? Or should there be a general statement instead? Who is going to prepare it? Will we allow a proper discussion on any amendments?
  • Should only “big names” on the Labour left (LRC, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy and Red Labour) be officially invited? Or should we also include smaller groups like Red Flag, Labour Party Marxists, Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, Nick Wrack’s Labour Socialist Network, etc? All of them are of course centrally involved in GM and its steering committee.
  • What about Momentum branches? Should only those groups ‘affiliated’ to GM be allowed to send representatives? Or do we want to encourage those in branches with pro-Lansman majorities to come along? How many per branch?

All of these issues are still being discussed. It is no doubt a good idea to get the Labour left together in the same room. Even better if we can actually discuss what we think is the right strategy for transforming the Labour Party. An excellent initiative, in our view. But it should be transparent, politically honest and prepared to openly say what needs to be done to transform the Labour Party in a meaningful way – primarily, to take on the right. Corbyn is being undermined, briefed against and belittled by his ‘colleagues’ every step of the way. Unless we take on the saboteurs, the left will lose this fight and with it the best political opportunity it has had for many decades.

This begs the question as to why we should place such emphasis on the LRC and CLPD. They’ve been around a while, that’s true. But so has cancer. At least one person on the conference arrangements committee wants to make the staging of a conference dependent on the active participating of those groups.

But the CLPD – just like Momentum – has consciously decided to support Corbyn without any criticism. It has given up the fight for mandatory selection. It shows no interest in taking on the right in the party. The recent CLPD AGM voted against condemning Jon Lansman’s coup in Momentum. Why would they want to get involved in an event initiated by GM, an organisation that was founded in opposition to the coup?

We don’t know what the LRC leadership thinks about anything at the moment – maybe even they don’t – but it is probably safe to assume it is along similar lines to those of the CLPD. After all, they have now closed shop and will re-open only after the June 8 election.

The politics of Red Labour are another matter entirely. This group exists only online and does not really have any identifiable politics, as it is made up of people from a variety of political backgrounds. Clearly, while we should invite those organisations to participate in our conference, we should not subordinate ourselves to them or their politics. In particular the CLPD’s ‘strategy’ towards the Labour Party is fatally flawed. And even if the CLPD and LRC agreed to sponsor the conference (very doubtful), it begs the question if they would actually do anything with any motions or statements agreed there. It would simply be empty posturing, not the beginning of a real campaign to consciously and actively transform the Labour Party. So what’s the point?

Momentum elections: Putting the case for real socialism

The recent elections in Momentum allowed us to test our strength and present our arguments, writes Stan Keable

At a stroke Jon Lansman’s January 10 coup scuppered any remaining hope in Momentum’s fragile, emerging democracy. This after an email vote by six members of a defunct, out-of-time steering committee, without discussion or the opportunity of amendment. He imposed instead a nightmare of a constitution, which can only be rejected by members, against the will of the national coordinating group (NCG), if 30% of the entire membership vote to reject it (rule 9.5(ii)). As for the NCG itself, only 12 of its 28 seats are elected by the membership.

The coup was ‘legitimised’ by the results – announced the same day – of a ‘survey’ of members, in which 80.6% expressed a preference for decision-making by ‘one member, one vote’. Clicks were also 72.29% in favour of the well-crafted proposition that “all members should have a say in electing their representatives”. With a 40.35% turnout for the survey, that meant 32.5% and 29.2% respectively of the membership answered the ‘right way’ for what were loaded, but seemingly innocuous, questions. However, this was treated by Lansman as a green light to impose his hugely complex constitution without further consultation. National committee abolished, regional committees abolished, conference arrangement committee abolished, left groups and individuals blocked – job done.

What the coup has achieved is not the end of ‘factionalism’, but the entrenchment of Lansman’s dominant faction. Democracy has been snuffed out, the danger of the left exerting an influence by winning delegates averted and Momentum set on a path that will probably end in extinction. In place of what might have been a weapon in the hands of the Labour left, what now remains is little more than a Jeremy Corbyn fan club.

And, of course, Momentum’s database, money and the hiring and firing of staff remain safely in private hands. The main task of Momentum and the left should be democratising and transforming Labour into a party of the working class for socialism – but fear overcame hope. A democratic Momentum was bound to be seen as a threat by the Labour right. A bureaucratic Momentum is a threat to no-one.

Nevertheless Momentum’s pinched NCG elections enable us to measure the strength of the various political tendencies and organised factions. Participating did not legitimise the imposed constitution, as some ‘Don’t stand, don’t vote’ oppositionists claimed, any more than participating in parliamentary elections legitimises the United Kingdom’s constitutional monarchy – with its queen, lords, established church and standing army. For Marxists, participation in elections (with exceptions) is obligatory, for propaganda purposes. We should not miss the opportunity to present our political programme for the liberation of the working class from wage-slavery, and for the ending of all oppressions, through the achievement of world socialism.
National Coordinating Group

As I write, on February 22, Momentum’s website, intriguingly, still displays the following message: “The Momentum national coordinating group elections closed on Friday February 17 at 12 noon. Results will be announced soon.”1)https://vote.peoplesmomentum.com Why the delay? Surely this cannot be an oversight on the part of Team Momentum. What spin, one wonders, is being cooked up behind the scenes?

Perhaps there is embarrassment, perhaps a difficulty in presenting a partial victory (despite all the advantages of controlling Momentum’s money, database and paid staff) for the ruling Jon Lansman faction, in a mere 33.75% turnout, as an overwhelming endorsement of his January 10 coup, constitution and digital pseudo-democracy.

The results were announced privately, however, in a Momentum HQ email to candidates on the evening the ballot closed. “Temporary Momentum organiser” Beth Foster-Ogg wrote to me that “unfortunately you were not successful in this election”. However, I received a respectable 458 votes on an explicitly Marxist platform.2)https://vote.peoplesmomentum.com/candidates/se She gave a link to the full results.

Surely in need of a truth drug, Beth added that “A huge 34% of Momentum members voted in the election.” But 34% is not “huge”, and one should refrain from writing such guff, even if they pay you. The word “huge” was deleted from Beth’s next email, announcing the results to all members, sent less than an hour later. But also missing is any apology for the dishonest spin, and any acknowledgement or assessment of the “huge” 66% who did not vote – who were not inspired to get involved by the much vaunted inclusivity of the so-called “new politics” of online voting. After all, in terms of Lansman’s imposed Omov constitution, a 34% turnout, and the result itself, are both disappointing.

The rightwing (in Momentum terms) Lansman faction was undoubtedly better prepared and better organised than the anti-coup, anti-constitution left. On February 2, Lansman’s Left Futures blog announced its four-person slates for each of the three regional divisions. The opposition candidates, on the other hand, with varying degrees of criticism of the imposed constitution and the high-handed way it was imposed, divided their votes amongst 30 competing candidates, reflecting the political disunity of the left, as well as its disorganisation.

Nevertheless, despite their advantages, the Lansmanites were unable to sweep the board, losing three of the 12 seats to their critics. These defeats were limited because of the ‘first past the post’ system prescribed by the new, illegitimate constitution (illegitimate because it has never been put to a vote). Labour Party democracy is already in advance of Momentum’s in this respect, requiring transferable votes in its internal elections.

The ballot results circulated show that Momentum membership (“total eligible voters”) had reached 22,398 before the ballot opened, of whom only 7,559 voted. Unfortunately, the number of voters in each region is not given – perhaps that will appear on the website one day soon. The votes for each candidate is stated and, adding them up, we find the total votes cast is 29,000, of which only 12,429 – well under half – went to the Lansmanite slates. A total of 16,571 votes were cast for non-Lansmanite candidates, most of whom were variously critical of the coup and constitution. Under a transferable vote system, the outcome would have been much worse for Lansman. Truly, as socialist candidate Andrew Thompson rightly blogged, “the emperor has no clothes”.

In one of the three regions, the North and Scotland, oppositionists failed to present an identifiable slate. Out of 11 candidates, all four of the Lansmanites were elected, with a total of 4,260 votes, the other seven gaining 4,495. Two were backed by the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty: Camila Bassi (834) and Alan Runswick (705).

In the Midlands, Wales, East and West region there was a fudged oppositionist slate. Out of 18 candidates, the four Lansmanites gained only 3,519 votes, against a total of 6,334 votes for non-Lansmanite candidates. Three of the oppositionists tried to form a bloc with Andy Thompson (413 votes), but Andy asked members to vote for Rida Vaquas. Andy’s address had the best politics – “working class socialist principles”, “struggle for a socialist transformation of society”, “delegate democracy” and a sovereign national conference.

Perhaps that peculiar combination of factors partly explains why AWL-backed candidate Rida Vaquas topped the poll with 973 votes, knocking out Lansmanite candidate Sam Poulson (765). Rida’s forthright election address sharply criticised Lansman’s coup, promising to “fight for Momentum to be led by the grassroots membership and not by a clique at the top with no accountability whatsoever”. Momentum’s structures, she said, must be decided by members, “not by six people in a room in an email vote in less than an hour.”

No AWL candidate mentions that toxic organisation by name, nor its pro-Zionist, social-imperialist politics, nor its feeding into the fake anti-Semitism smear campaign in the Labour Party, nor its betrayal of Jackie Walker when she was under concerted Zionist attack. No surprise. The Momentum left is generally divided 50-50 on the issue of Zionism and the anti-Semitism smear campaign.

Four of the Lansman critics in the South East region presented a well organised slate (not including me) campaigning under the title, “Democracy and Socialism, for a Grassroots Momentum”, and two of them got elected: Yannis Gourtsoyannis (1,350) came second only to Lansman’s top candidate, Christine Shawcroft (1,382), while AWL-backed Sahaya James (1,018) knocked out Lansmanite David Braniff-Herbert (1,031) despite his slightly higher vote, because two of the four regional seats must be held by women. Christine Shawcroft’s Lansmanite slate, with its fake “Building the Grassroots” title, gained a total of 4,650 votes.

While the oppositionist slate gained 3,557, the total oppositionist vote was 5,742, beating the Lansmanite vote, as in all three regions. A more democratic transferable vote system would have produced an all-round defeat for Lansman – but he would still own Momentum, and would no doubt have changed the rules yet again.

Stay and fight the battle of ideas

Despite widespread outrage over the Lansman coup, there is little appetite to split Momentum, says Carla Roberts of Labour Party Marxists

Momentum branches, groups and committees up and down the country have come out openly against the Lansman coup of January 10. Labour Party Marxists is publishing statements and motions as and when they are being released.

Not surprisingly, most Momentum activists are utterly appalled by the crass way in which the February 18 conference has been rendered impotent, all democratic decision-making bodies have been abolished and a new anti-democratic constitution imposed by Jon Lansman and his allies. But, as can be expected, there is huge confusion on how to best move forward.

On January 13, the (abolished) conference arrangements committee released a statement (with the three Lansman allies on the committee not voting), according to which: “The CAC takes its direction from Momentum’s national committee, as per the original remit we were given. Until that body meets and informs us our role has changed, we will continue working towards Momentum’s first conference.”

A provisional date of March 11 for “the postponed conference” has been mooted. The statement rigidly sticks to the CAC’s initial brief, according to which the committee will accept only “one motion” from each branch and “one motion or constitutional amendment” from each region. The committee “advises” that the national committee should meet, as previously planned, on January 28 in London.

Clearly, the CAC statement was written shortly after the coup, when people were still very sore and very angry. And at the time many were probably up for the kind of action they are actually proposing here: a split. Of course, within Momentum, it is simply impossible to wrest power out of Lansman’s hands – that was the case before the coup and is now even more so. He set up the various companies that control Momentum’s finances and its huge database. And, crucially, he has got the support of Jeremy Corbyn.

However, it has become quite clear in recent days that very few Momentum members, let alone branches, are up for that kind of fight. And it would be a massive undertaking: anybody splitting would be hugely disadvantaged and would have to start again from ground zero. Without the money, contacts and the database.

The CAC seems to have changed its mind, too. It looks more and more likely that the January 28 meeting will become not so much a meeting of the (abolished) NC, but the kind of event that the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty is pushing for: a “local groups network” within Momentum.

Fearful of a split, AWL members have been keen to tone down statements in branches and it is interesting that the left minority of the steering committee (which comprises AWL member Jill Mountford, AWL supporter Michael Chessum, Fire Brigades Union president Matt Wrack and Jackie Walker) has gone very quiet too, although apparently it continues to meet. 1)www.workersliberty.org/node/27459

The biggest problem for the opposition is its lack of a clear political alternative. The CAC was searching for some middle ground with Lansman. Its preferred constitution – drafted by Nick Wrack and Matt Wrack – had all the problems of Lansman’s: referendums, direct election of officers and mimicking student unions, trade unions and the Labour Party itself.

Given the absence of a well-organised and politically principled left, the idea of challenging the Lansman coup head-on was never realistic. But that does not mean we should give up the fight for the hearts and minds of Momentum’s 20,000 or the 200,000 on its database. True, quite a number of people – for example, Nick Wrack – have talked about resigning or have already left Momentum. This level of frustration and impatience is understandable, but also short-sighted.

There have been huge democratic deficits within Momentum right from the start. Ever since Corbyn collected enough nominations to stand in the leadership election, he and his allies had to play catch-up. They had no idea what to do with the tens of thousands of people enthused by his campaign who wanted to get more involved. Momentum was badly thought-out and badly executed.

One thing is for sure, however: it was never the intention of Jon Lansman to allow Momentum to become a democratic organisation that would allow members to decide on its constitution or policies. That was obvious right from the start.

After all, such an organisation could easily embarrass Jeremy Corbyn by publishing statements that were not to the liking of the Labour right. For example, calling for the mandatory selection of parliamentary candidates (which was of course, until very recently, the position of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, of which Corbyn is a member) would scupper the illusion of a ‘peace settlement’ within the party.

But any organisation that cannot trust its membership is unlikely to be able to mobilise them … even as spear carriers. The danger is that Momentum will soon become little more than an empty husk. But for now, Labour Party Marxists will continue to work in Momentum while any life in it remains. We will do so with a view to spreading our vision of what Labour needs to be.

Demands for boycotting Momentum – crucially the February 18 ‘conference’ organised by team Lansman and the elections to the new ‘national coordination group’ (NCG) are mistaken. There is no reason to impose isolation upon ourselves. Indeed we should use every opportunity, every avenue to spread the ideas of Marxism. True, Momentum’s new constitution is a travesty of democracy. But the same can be said of the United Kingdom constitution, with its hereditary head of state, unelected second chamber and ‘first past the post’ elections to the lower house, which leave minority parties massively underrepresented. Nevertheless, it is right to stand in parliamentary contests.

Of course, the left should organise and debate the road ahead – first on January 28 and then March 11 (perhaps). That can involve electing delegates from Momentum branches. But there should also be a conscious effort to involve the groups and fractions committed to working in the Labour Party: the Labour Representation Committee, Red Labour, The Clarion, Red Flag, Labour Party Socialist Network, Socialist Appeal and, of course, Labour Party Marxists.

Such a conference should establish a Momentum opposition and a politically representative steering committee. Obviously there can be no hope of winning a majority on Momentum’s NCG. Jon Lansman has ensured that he will enjoy a permanent stranglehold: a maximum of 12 people on this body (which will have between 27 and 34 members) will be elected by Momentum members – the rest being filled by unions, affiliates, MPs and other “elected representatives”.

And it is far from certain that the 12 will be made up of leftwingers – for example, Lee Jasper is one of the 17 who has already thrown his hat into the ring. 2)https://order-order.com/2017/01/18/male-shortlist-momentum-internal-elections Ken Livingstone’s race relations quango chief has the undeniable advantage of having name recognition. Ditto Paul Mason or Owen Jones, should they decide to stand or be persuaded by Lansman and Corbyn to do so.

In any case, the Momentum opposition can link up branches, organise joint action and fight for more space for leftwing ideas in Momentum.

To be a member or not? There is some dispute over the status of all those left Momentum members who have been expelled from the Labour Party for political reasons: Nick Wrack, for example, Tony Greenstein and a whole lot of members of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.

The key point in the constitution, point 5.8, states that “Any member who does not join the Labour Party by July 1 2017, or ceases to be a member of the Labour Party, or acts inconsistently with Labour Party membership, may be deemed to have resigned.” 3)https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/momentum/pages/939/attachments/original/1484079394/momentum-constitution.pdf?1484079394

Labour NEC member Christine Shawcroft – Jon Lansman’s successor as director of the company Momentum Data Services Ltd, which controls the vast database of the organisation – assures us on Facebook that this

does not mean expulsions. 5.8 says if anyone ceases to be a member of the party they may be deemed to have resigned. Not will, but may … Even if we were to take action under 5.8, the member will have a right of appeal under 5.10. So there is no witch-hunt, no expulsions (well, only under very unusual circumstances, we hope).

Some hope. “Christine speaks with forked tongue”, writes Jackie Walker on Facebook. She is right. The new rules are actually very clear:

  • Those expelled by the LP for political reasons can appeal to the Momentum NCG to be allowed to remain/become members of Momentum” (rule 5.10) 4)“Where a member may be deemed to have resigned in accordance with rules 5.7, 5.8 or 5.9 there will be a right to be heard by the NCG or a delegated panel before a final decision is made.”
  • But even if those are allowed to become Momentum members, they will not be allowed to take up elected positions, either on the national coordinating committee (rule 6.2) 5)“The NCG shall consist of Momentum members who confirm (and can provide evidence on request) that they are current Labour Party members.” or in local groups (rule 12.7) 6)“Anyone who stands for office, such as chair or secretary, in a group or network shall be a member of the Labour Party and in the event that they cease to be a member of the Labour Party within their term of office, they are deemed to have resigned such office.”.

The current formulation, centring on the word “may”, means that we will basically have to wait and see how actively those expelled by Labour for political reasons will be hounded out of Momentum. The Momentum office has assured members that they will do no such thing. That begs the question as to why these rules have been put in the constitution in the first place.

They are not there to prepare Momentum for affiliation to the Labour Party, as has been claimed. Members of affiliated organisations – eg, trade unions and socialist societies – do not need to be members of the Labour Party. Instead, they are entitled to become “affiliated members” of Labour.

No, these rules are clearly there to get rid of troublemakers from the left, as and when the need arises. It is never a good sign when rules are written in a way that leaves them open to interpretation. Needless to say, the interpreting will not be done by anybody appealing to the kangaroo court run by the NCG, but the ‘judges’.

And if you have indeed managed to convince the judges that you are worthy of Momentum membership, you might still be thrown out for being “a member of an organisation disallowed by the NCG.” 7)Point 5.1.ii in the constitution.

References

1 www.workersliberty.org/node/27459
2 https://order-order.com/2017/01/18/male-shortlist-momentum-internal-elections
3 https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/momentum/pages/939/attachments/original/1484079394/momentum-constitution.pdf?1484079394
4 “Where a member may be deemed to have resigned in accordance with rules 5.7, 5.8 or 5.9 there will be a right to be heard by the NCG or a delegated panel before a final decision is made.”
5 “The NCG shall consist of Momentum members who confirm (and can provide evidence on request) that they are current Labour Party members.”
6 “Anyone who stands for office, such as chair or secretary, in a group or network shall be a member of the Labour Party and in the event that they cease to be a member of the Labour Party within their term of office, they are deemed to have resigned such office.”
7 Point 5.1.ii in the constitution.

Momentum: Reduced to a corpse

We knew it was coming, says Carla Roberts of Labour Party Marxists, but the sheer cynicism of Jon Lansman’s coup is staggering

Once team Momentum announced its “online survey” of all members and supporters, the result was a forgone conclusion. In plebiscites the dictator get to ask the question and barring accidents they get the result they want. Not only were the questions loaded, they were also disgracefully backed up by Jeremy Corbyn, Clive Lewis and Diane Abbott. Topping it all it was team Momentum which did the count … a wonderful opportunity to gerrymander.

So, with a victorious 80.6% voting for OMOV, at a stroke, the national committee, steering committee and regional committees were abolished. Now, there will only be a powerless ‘official’ Momentum conference and members have to agree to accept the constitution and join the Labour Party (even though many have been already barred or expelled because of their activity in support of Momentum). Jon Lansman’s coup de’gras was a long time in coming … and, frankly, we are surprised it took him so long.

Even though he has handed ownership of ‘Momentum Data (Services) Ltd’ to his ally Christine Shawcroft, he is still is in charge of ‘Jeremy for Labour Ltd’. In other words legal control of Momentum lies not with its membership nor its elected committees. No, it lies with its tiny group of shareholders (very capitalistic).

If Momentum were a film, we would say that it is now firmly in its final, third act. The witch-hunt of Jackie Walker, vice-chair of Momentum, could be described of the ‘inciting incident’ – the moment that set in action a narrative that almost inevitably led to the current situation. Lansman was flexing his bureaucratic muscles and, rather than defending the chair of Momentum from the ludicrous charge of anti-Semitism, he jumped onto the witch-hunting bandwagon and had her demoted. That was the end of act 1 for Momentum. What followed was a second act that felt much longer than the two months it actually lasted and which saw the action move up and down like a yo-yo:

  • First, Lansman cancelled the Momentum national committee meeting that was due to take place on November 5.
  • Then the small leftwing minority on the steering committee under the leadership of Matt Wrack (leader of the Fire Brigades Union) fought back and encouraged NC members to go ahead and meet on the same day.
  • This and an intervention by John McDonnell MP to “sort this mess out” led to an “unanimous statement” of the SC, which forced Lansman to allow another meeting of the NC to take place on December 3. But, despite his best efforts to stuff this meeting with people who are on board with his vision of transforming Momentum into nothing more than a well-financed phone bank, a majority voted – just – to hold a democratic conference, which would see real-life delegates discuss real motions and, crucially, agree on a constitution. A conference arrangements committee (CAC) with a small pro-democracy majority was set up which invited branches to submit motions and select delegates.
  • Lansman did not take this defeat lying down, however. A media onslaught followed, in which Paul Mason, Owen Jones and the “naive” Laura Murray declared that ‘old Trots’ were holding Momentum hostage.
  • Lansman then sent out the “online survey” to all members and supporters, which was stuffed full of (mis)leading questions. It is actually amazing that under those conditions 12.5% of participants ticked the box opting for decision-making by delegates. (As an aside, we know the survey was also sent to the well over 150,000 contacts marked as Momentum supporters, but their responses are not listed – presumably because the turnout was much worse than the 40.4% of members who replied.) The CAC ploughed on and announced on December 21 that a two-day conference would take place on February 18-19 and encouraged branches to elect delegates and vote on motions.


Final act?

Let us now look at the climactic action that has propelled us into the third – and no doubt final – act of Momentum’s existence as a potentially useful site for the exchange of ideas.

At 6pm on January 10, the CAC announced that, although it was “unable to get in touch with the steering committee” and was having its ability to communicate to members delayed, disrupted and censored by Jon Lansman’s team Momentum, a conference venue had been booked. For financial and organisational reasons, this was now scheduled as a one-day event on Sunday February 19 in Rugby. The CAC encouraged all members to “book transport now”.

At 7.39pm on the same day, Jon Lansman sent an email to the Momentum steering committee,1)You can read the full text here http://socialistnetwork.org.uk/2017/01/10/an-email-from-jon-lansman-to-the-momentum-steering-committee/ in which he asked the committee to impose on the organisation its first constitution, which would abolish the SC and all other Momentum structures and committees.

At 8.54pm he declared in another email to SC members that he had now received “a majority” in favour of his proposal (ie, his six allies out of the 11 SC members had replied) and that therefore the committee no longer existed. All national and regional structures in Momentum were abolished at that moment. The conference arrangements committee was declared non-existent. All online discussion forums for regional committees on www.loomio. org were deleted and branches’ access to the Momentum database severely restricted.

At 9.01pm all Momentum members received an email informing them about the decision, which, so claims Lansman, was the direct result of the survey he sent out in December:

80.6% of respondents said that key decisions should be taken by ‘one member, one vote’, rather than by delegates at regional and national conferences and committees (12.5%). 79.3% of respondents said all members should have a say in electing their representatives, as opposed to national representatives being elected by delegates from local groups (16.2%). Following this decisive response, the steering committee voted to introduce a constitution for Momentum to deliver the kind of action-focused, campaigning organisation that our members want.

So, let’s get this straight: 80.6% said they wanted to have a say on all key decisions – so the best way to implement this is to ignore them all and just impose a deeply undemocratic constitution on them (see William Sarsfield’s article). This is pure cynicism.

With an amazing power of foresight, weeks before the survey was sent out, Paul Mason had already announced on the Daily politics show on December 8 a key plank of this so-called constitution: the purge from Momentum of all those troublesome lefties who have been expelled from the Labour Party.

He claimed, wrongly, that in order for Momentum to qualify as an affiliated organisation of the Labour Party its members had to be current individual members of the party. This is clearly not the case: members of affiliated organisations – eg, trade unions – are entitled to become “affiliated members” of Labour, who enjoy fewer rights than full members.

No, this has nothing to do with trying to implement the results of Lansman’s deeply flawed survey or even plans to transform Momentum into a Labour affiliate. This is a witchhunt against the troublesome left within the organisation. Again and again, it has obstructed his plans to strangle the political life out of Momentum in order to preserve it as a mere fan club for Jeremy Corbyn: a money-heavy, democracy-light organisation that could be used as a massive phone bank for this or that Lansman-approved campaign or a mobilising tool when the next coup against Corbyn happens.

The more naive observers of the current crisis have pleaded for Jeremy Corbyn to step in and bring Lansman to heel. Nick Wrack demands to know on Facebook “who in the leader’s office” Lansman has consulted. But, while Corbyn might not have been involved in plotting the finer details of this coup, there can be no doubt that he will be on board with the basic trajectory. His recent email to Momentum members pushing Lansman’s survey has demonstrated this reality.

Neither Lansman nor Corbyn have any interest in Momentum becoming a vibrant, decision-making, memberled organisation that could fight for democracy and socialism. Any such organisation would undoubtedly embarrass the Labour leader sooner or later. A truly democratic conference would see motions criticising this or that particular attempt of Corbyn’s to become a “populist”, which has, for example, seen him zig-zagging over the question of immigration, Trident and Brexit.

Corbyn will not be happy about the negative press reports, of course – but he is on board when it comes to stamping out Momentum as a vibrant organisation.


Take it or leave it

The uneasy peace settlement in Momentum has now come to an abrupt end. The knives are out. Lansman has declared that, yes, there will be a conference, but it will be organised by his own personal company, ‘Momentum Campaign (Services) Ltd’, will take place on February 18 and will hear “no motions”. Instead, his “conference” will concentrate on “workshops” and “exciting speakers” and will no doubt look a lot like ‘The World Transformed’ event at the 2016 Labour Party annual conference.

Lansman has made it clear that in his view there is no room for manoeuvre, no space for normal members or branches to amend his ‘constitution’ or challenge any of his decisions: “If you consent to Momentum’s constitution, you do not have to do anything. Simply continue paying your membership fees. However, if you wish to opt out, you can email to cancel your membership.”

A happy ending to this drama seems unlikely and a split the most likely outcome. Credit to the CAC, which – as we go to press – continues to plan for its own conference on February 19, with motions being discussed and decisions taken democratically (though the details are still understandably fuzzy).

Labour Party Marxists supports this fightback. We would urge Momentum members and supporters to attend both events and fight for democracy, socialism and transparency on the two consecutive days.

Jon Lansman might have won this particular battle, but he is not going to ride into the sunset with a smiling Corbyn on his back. Without a strategy of fighting to transform the Labour Party into a real party of labour – a strategy that would require challenging Corbyn when he goes wrong, rather than giving him carte blanche – Momentum is nothing but an empty shell that is likely to run out of members and money before long. Whether ‘The end’ for Momentum can become the beginning for something better remains to be seen.

New Momentum constitution: Contemptible document

William Sarsfield of Labour Party Marxists looks at the new Lansman constitution

I really hope that readers will find the time to plough through the near 4,000 words of convoluted sub-clauses and provisos in the latest Lansman constitution. Like mainstream news outlets such as the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and The Times, the online Labour List site parrots the official spin from team Momentum that the so-called “member shake-up” is primarily about a Momentum move to seek affiliation to Labour. As an afterthought, it mentions that “The Corbynista group last night told its 20,000 members it had introduced a constitution” – which is just about accurate.1)https://labourlist.org, January 11 2017 This important development has simply been announced as a fait accompli and, as such, the manner of its arrival suits the contents of the crassly bureaucratic ethos document itself.

Jon Lansman has evidently grown weary of even the pretence of democracy in ‘his’ organisation. This constitution was sent out amongst a raft of papers on January 10 after, Lansman informs us, “consultation with a number of others in Momentum, the leader’s office and trade unions that have supported Jeremy Corbyn”. He is explicit that it means “[winding] up the steering committee, the national committee and the conference arrangements committee with immediate effect” and, “though the conference would go ahead” on February 18, it would be bound by the “new rules”, which mean that “no motions would be considered”. In effect, ownership rights have, for the moment, triumphed over democratic rights. If you “consent” to this coup, “you don’t have to do anything”, Lansman assures us: thoughtfully however, he supplies an email address to fire your resignation off to “if you wish to opt out.”

The comrade clearly wants some of us to sling our hooks. His covering letter underlines that future Momentum membership requires “all members to be [Labour] party members” – in contrast to the February 7 2016 communication from team Momentum that told us that the organisation was open to “Labour members, affiliated supporters, and supporters of the aims and values of the Labour Party, who are not members of other political parties”.

The repetition of the same narrowed view of the Momentum membership is reiterated at different points in the imposed constitution. In a sub-section titled ‘Ceasing to be a member’, we are informed that that you will have been “deemed to have resigned” from the organisation if you have not “[joined] the Labour Party by July 1 2017”; or you are out of Momentum if you “[cease] to be a member of the Labour Party” at any point (including if you are expelled by the witch-hunting right, presumably); or if you “[act] inconsistently with Labour Party membership” (like perhaps call a rightwing scab like John Mann MP “a rightwing scab”, perhaps?)

Regular readers of the LPM Bulletin should recall that we have previously featured the nasty comments of Lansman fan Laura Murray – herself a Stalinist chip off the old Andrew Murray block – who wrote that, “Given that Nick Wrack, Jill Mountford and Jackie Walker are, in turn, blocked, expelled and suspended from being members of the Labour Party, it is unsurprising that they care little for reforming and democratising the Labour Party.” We wondered at the time whether “we see here the beginnings of an attempt to oust those members of Momentum who have been expelled and suspended from the Labour Party?” Lansman has now answered the query, we think.

The ‘Labour members only’ criterion makes another appearance under the section describing the operation of the new leadership body, the “national coordinating group” (NCG). This “shall consist of Momentum members who confirm (and can provide evidence on request) that they are current Labour Party members” and “confirm their agreement to the rules of Momentum”. What, all the rules? All the time?

In addition to abolishing existing democratic structures (such as they are), the announcement of a new leadership body effectively negates any real democratic control from below. Jackie Walker estimates that just 12 out of the 31 people on the NCG would be rank-and-file members – the rest would be comprised of MPs, councillors and union delegates. Her figures might well be right, although the Lansman constitution is so dense and convoluted in places it is difficult to be sure what the final numbers would be. Her basic point is spot on, however.

The active base of Momentum – members organised in branches, running campaigns, discussing politics – are drastically underrepresented in the Lansman constitution. The entire country is to be carved into just three “divisions”: “the North and Scotland”, “Midlands, Wales and the West” and “the South”, with each of these allocated just four reps each. That is, a total of just 12 comrades.

This is farcical.

For instance, there is a national question in Scotland that does not find a reflection in Sunderland. The issues of London – the capital city and political hub of British life – have a rather different dynamic to those in Dover. Cardiff is not St Ives.

Lansman’s actual motivations are clear, especially when we scan the list of the other groups that will – by right – be represented on the NCG. There will be:

  • six places for (current, we assume) affiliated unions
  • four Labour members who are elected to some official post – eg, MPs, members of the Welsh or Scottish Assemblies (even police commissioners, we are told)
  • “up to four additional members”, who may be coopted at the discretion of the NCG – although the criteria for what is, in any organisation, an exceptional action are not made clear. I think reader might be able to hazard a guess, however …
  • one place each from the Scottish group, Campaign for Socialism, and Welsh Labour Grassroots (voted for by the membership in those regions? We are not told)
  • four places from other “affiliated organisations, as defined in rules 11 (iii) and (iv) …” Thirteen such groups (including, confusingly, the Campaign for Socialism and Welsh Labour Grassroots) are actually listed, which begs the question of how those four places will be determined. Some other interesting organisations that “may affiliate” to Momentum, as the document coyly puts it, include “The World Transformed” – the event organised by the central team Momentum at September’s Labour Party conference; Lansman’s blog Left Futures; Red Labour; Christine Shawcroft’s Labour Briefing Cooperative, Compass, etc.

In the original constitutional proposals that I critiqued in a previous article, I mocked the absurd suggestion that “In addition to the 12 [steering committee] members, on a three-month rotational basis, three members of Momentum, drawn at random, will be invited to join the SC.” This idea is developed further in Lansman’s actual constitution, only this time the lucky rank-and-file lottery winners (50 of them now) are to be parked in a “members’ council” (MC) rather than them cluttering up the actual leadership.

Instead, the MC will be gifted the “opportunity to directly participate in the development of activities, resources and campaigns for the use of Momentum members and groups”, while the “format of this engagement will be defined by the NCG, having regard to the requirements of the individual members of the council”. Under no circumstances will the MC “be required to make decisions on the operation of the constitution or administration of the organisation, this being the remit of the NCG, but it may review decisions of the NCG and the administration of the organisation” and “make recommendations and provide advice on the basis of its findings”.

There is much more to dissect in this contemptible document, but if there is one proposal in it that reveals the real, thoroughly anti-democratic agenda of Lansman and co it is this “members’ council” – a cynical Potemkin villagetype stunt.

References

1 https://labourlist.org, January 11 2017

Momentum branches and groups protest against the coup

send statements, motions or petitions to office@labourpartymarxists.org.uk to have them published here:

  • Barnet Momentum
  • Blyth and Wansbeck Momentum
  • Brighton and Hove Momentum 1)Brighton and Hove Momentum General Meeting, January 25
    1. We condemn the attempt by Jon Lansman and the majority of the Steering Committee to abolish the National Committee and the Conference Arrangements Committee, which was elected at the December NC meeting.
    1. It is not possible for the Steering Committee, which was elected by the NC, to abolish the very body which elected it.
    1. We do not recognise the newly-announced ‘Constitution’ imposed by way of an email.  It has no validity. We note that the Steering Committee, let alone the National Committee, was not even given an opportunity to discuss this proposed Constitution.
    1.  We particularly condemn the fact that those who refuse to accept an imposed, undemocratic Constitution, will be deemed to have resigned from Momentum.
    1.  We wish to give full support to the elected National and Conference Arrangement Committees.  We urge that a national delegate conference open to all Momentum groups and oppressed groups be convened as a matter of urgency and ask that in the meantime a bank account etc. be opened by the NC in order that the necessary financial arrangements can be mad
    1. We call on other Momentum groups and oppressed groups to boycott the proposed conference that Jon Lansman and the Steering Committee majority are organising.  It will be undemocratic and will not discuss policy, the new ‘constitution’ or motions.  Likewise we urge members to boycott elections to the new National Co-ordinating Group.  The NCG has no political, moral or legal validity.
    1. We urge that Jon Lansman and the Steering Committee majority to place all Momentum data in the hands of the Steering Committee and warn them that any ‘change in use’ of that data will be illegal under the Data Protection Act 1998.
    1. We hope that the Steering Committee rethinks its decisions as to the agreed Conference as it has clearly led to widespread anger and confusion amongst Momentum activists, including calls for a split.
  • Broxtowe Momentum
  • Cambridge Area Momentum 2)Cambridge Area Momentum
    meeting on January 29: 15 votes in favour of a motion condemning the imposition of the constitution, with 5 abstentions. 16 votes in favour of a proposal in support of local organisation and a local groups conference, with 4 abstentions.
  • Camden Momentum
  • Cheshire West and Chester Momentum
  • Coventry Momentum 3)Coventry Momentum A general meeting on January 19 voted with 18 votes for and one against the motion below. In addition, it was agreed that in the spirit of the vision of Jeremy Corbyn for a social movement that would work to change society, the Coventry Momentum local branch welcomes all socialists to its meetings.”This branch condemns the undemocratic dissolution of Momentum’s elected national and regional committees and the imposition of a new constitution by the steering committee majority.
    Calls on Momentum branches to oppose this coup against the members and urges the national committee to convene itself, re-elect a new steering committee, declare the constitution invalid, and renew the mandate of the Conference Arrangements Committee.
    This Branch agrees to send a motion and delegates to the National Conference when convened by the democratically elected Conference Arrangements Committee.”
  • Darlington Momentum 4)Darlington Momentum general meeting on January 17 voted unanimously for this motion, which was also adopted at an open meeting called by Northern Regional network on January 15.
    We call for people to stay members of Momentum including local groups and regional networks and continue to build a bottom up grassroots network
    We call for the restoration of Momentum’s democratic structures including regional networks and the convening of NC on 28 January.
    We propose local groups and regions, working with the NC call a national meeting of Momentum groups to discuss the way forward We will campaign for democracy in Momentum
  • Derbyshire Momentum 5)Momentum Derbyshire general meeting on January 17, unanimously passed this motion
    This meeting notes:
    – That on 10th January 2017 National Momentum announced the immediate adoption of a new constitution.
    – That this constitution dissolves the NC, SC and regional networks, including those on loomio.
    – Graphics were published on the momentum website explaining how to pass a motion or amend this new constitution.
    – That this constitution was voted for by only 6 members of the SC.
    – That the CAC was declared to be abolished.
    – That the National Conference planned for 19th Feb seems unlikely to proceed, with a gathering in London on the 18th Feb
    now being planned, where no motions are to be considered.
    – It is not necessary for all members of an affiliated group or a socialist society affiliated to Labour to be members of the Labour Party.
    This meeting believes:
    – That the adoption of this constitution has no legitimate basis, with no consultation of the membership.
    – That passing motions or constitutional amendments is now very difficult, and not conductive to grassroots democracy.
    – That the postponement of the 19th Feb conference, where this constitution could have been debated alongside that produced by Matt Wrack, is wrong and should go ahead.
    – That the expulsion of any momentum members not currently in the Labour Party, whether because of expulsions or in no party, is wrong.This meeting resolves:
    – To call on the NC to confirm the conference now planned for March as going ahead.
    – To call on the NC to reject the imposition of this constitution and instead present it for consideration at this conference.
    – That the NC should re-affirm that membership of Momentum is open to everyone who is a member of Labour or not a member of a party that stands candidates against Labour.
  • Enfield Momentum 6)Enfield Momentum on January 22 voted with 30 for, 2 against with 1 abstention:
    “Enfield Momentum condemns the undemocratic dissolution of Momentum’s elected national and regional committees and the imposition of a new constitution, all done without any mandate from the members.

    We also condemn that the constitution allows only 12 members of the NCG to be directly elected by the membership, thus ensuring Momentum ceases to be a democratic member led organisation.

    We call on all Momentum branches to oppose this coup against the members. We demand that the constitution be suspended, until such time that a democratic debate about the future of Momentum can be convened and an open and transparent decision reached. The terms of any constitution adopted by Momentum must be agreed by the informed consent of a majority of its members.”

  • Harrow
  • Hexham Momentum
  • Hounslow Momentum
  • Kirklees Momentum 7)
    • Kirklees Momentum general meeting, January 15
      This meeting notes:

      • That on 10th January 2017 National Momentum announced the immediate adoption of a new constitution
      • That this constitution dissolves the NC, SC and regional networks, including those on loomio
      • Graphics were published on the momentum website explaining how to pass a motion or amend this new constitution
      • That this constitution was voted for by only 6 members of the SC
      • That the CAC was declared to be abolished.
      • That the National Conference planned for 19th Feb seems unlikely to proceed, with a gathering in London on the 18th Feb
        now being planned, where no motions are to be considered.It is not necessary for all members of an affiliated group or a socialist society affiliated to Labour to be members of the Labour Party.

    This meeting believes:

      • That the adoption of this constitution has no legitimate basis, with no consultation of the membership.
      • That passing motions or constitutional amendments is now very difficult, and not conductive to grassroots democracy.
      • That the postponement of the 19th Feb conference, where this constitution could have been debated alongside that produced by Matt Wrack, is wrong and should go ahead.
      • That the expulsion of any momentum members not currently in the Labour Party, whether because of expulsions or in no party, is wrong.

    This meeting resolves:

      • To call on the NC to confirm the conference now planned for March as going ahead.
      • To call on the NC to reject the imposition of this constitution and instead present it for consideration at this conference.
      • That the NC should re-affirm that membership of Momentum is open to everyone who is a member of Labour or not a member of a party that stands candidates against Labour
  • Lambeth Momentum 8)Lambeth Momentum general meeting, February 16
    Lambeth Momentum condemns the undemocratic behaviour of the majority of the Momentum Steering Committee in trying to undermine the decisions of the December 3rd National Committee. The attempt to dissolve all elected committees and impose a new constitution on members without discussion is nothing less than an undemocratic coup by a small group of SC members.We oppose Momentum unquestioningly and without due process expelling all those previously expelled by the Labour Party Compliance Unit. We will continue to allow such comrades to remain involved in our local Momentum group so long as they meet our current membership criteria and we call, yet again, on national Momentum to agree fair and transparent disciplinary and complaints procedures.We call on the NC to immediately convene itself, nullify the imposed constitution, re-elect the Steering Committee and allow the Conference Arrangements Committee to carry on its work in organising a democratic, decision making conference in February))
  • Leicestershire Momentum ((Leicestershire MomentumThe following motion was passed at our meeting of January 14th, 2017, 21 votes to 2, with 3 abstentions:Leicestershire Momentum opposes the imposition of a constitution on the organisation with no discussion or democratic process, and calls for the imposition to be immediately reversed.We want Momentum to move forward, focus on campaigning, building support for socialist policies in the Labour Party as many local groups have been doing.We want to build Momentum as a democratic movement to enable this.We welcome the continuing functioning of the Momentum National Committee (NC) and call on our NC members to attend it, even if it is no longer recognised by the National OfficeWe call for a national conference with delegates from local groups to happen in March 2017 to allow groups to coordinate, learn from each other, discuss and make decisions on the way forward for Momentum.We also oppose summary expulsions from the Labour Party. And will continue to allow those expelled on this basis to be fully involved in our local Momentum group.
  • Leeds Momentum 9)Leeds Momentum decided by a vote of 26 to 25 on January 15 to vote against the imposed constitution, though no motion was agreed on.
  • Lewisham Momentum 10)Lewisham Momentum, meeting on January 16: We are saddened by the attempted coup against democracy in Momentum by six members of the national Steering Committee, seeking to uproot what democracy exists and impose an undemocratic constitution by diktat.We believe the great majority of members, whatever their views on the shape of national structures, aspire to a democratic organisation in which those who make decisions are accountable. There is a minority, entrenched at the national centre of Momentum, who seem determined to prevent the consolidation of a functioning democracy of any sort, whatever the costs to the organisation and the movement.We want a democratic Momentum which debates and develops socialist policies as part of organising and mobilising to transform Labour and the labour movement. We need an end to bureaucratic manipulation from above, which has wasted so much time, energy and good will that should be used for productive work.
    We urge people not to resign or drift out in disgust. We:
    – will coordinate with others in Momentum to fight the coup and for democracy and socialist policies.
    – welcome the SC and NC continuing to meet
    – back the calling of a national conference of group delegates in March
    – to allow groups to coordinate, learn from each other and discuss the way forward (avoiding a clash with the 4 March NHS and 18 March anti-racism demos).
    We will elect five delegates and two alternates to attend this conference and the 18 February rally called by the office.
  • Liverpool Riverside Momentum 11)Liverpool Riverside Momentum
    The unilateral email proposal of January 10th 2017, originating from John Lansman and something calling itself ‘Team Momentum’, is undemocratic and therefore invalid. Liverpool Riverside Momentum calls on the National Committee to proceed with the national conference in February. We do not recognise the validity of the Momentum Christmas Questionnaire, or the abrogation of our democratic structures by John Lansman and the group around him
  • Liverpool Momentum
  • Medway Momentum
  • Newham Momentum
  • North Tyneside Momentum
  • Northamptonshire Momentum 12)Northamptonshire Momentum met on January 10 and “expresses solidarity and support for the Momentum Conference Arrangements Committee 2017 and look forward to attending their conference”.
  • Richmond Park and Twickenham Momentum 13)Richmond Park and Twickenham Momentum, meeting on January 12:
    This local group condemns the undemocratic behaviour of the majority of the Momentum Steering Committee in trying to undermine the decisions of the December 3rd National Committee. The attempt to dissolve all elected committees and impose a new constitution on members without discussion is nothing less than undemocratic action by a small group of SC members
  • Rotherham Momentum 14)Rotherham Momentum passed the following motion on January 24:That this branch:

    1. Recognises the key fundamental principle of Momentum is to strive for socialism, which currently includes supporting Corbyn to make the Labour Party more democratic with socialist policies that will eventually lead to a socialist Labour government;

    2. Recognises that fundamental to socialist principles is full democracy that involves full participation of the people;

    Therefore:

    3. Views with concern and does not accept the actions of a small number of people that have disregarded democracy to try to abolish the existing democratic structures and impose a new constitution with no transparent consultation and no ballot of the members;

    4. Resolves to continue to operate within the existing democratic structures, electing delegates and moving proposals to the representative bodies for consideration;

    5. Resolves to strive for a new constitution that includes the representative delegate structures that are essential for proper face-to-face debate, as well as online consultation and voting technology that ensures all members can participate and choose their representatives, validated and implemented through democratic means.

  • Sheffield Momentum (Steering Committee) 15)Momentum Sheffield steering committee meeting on January 17
    Momentum Sheffield’s Steering Committee opposes the undemocratic manner in which Momentum’s national constitution was imposed.We want Momentum to move forward and focus on campaigning, building support for socialist policies and democracy in the Labour Party, and mobilising for a socialist Labour government. We want to build Momentum as a democratic movement to enable this.We have always encouraged our members to be Labour Party members and have stood against the summary expulsions from the Party on political grounds. We will continue to allow those expelled on this basis to be fully active, including holding elected positions, within our local group. We call on Momentum to adopt the same position nationally.
  • Sheffield Momentum 16)Sheffield Momentum general meeting, January 25:
    Sheffield Momentum opposes the undemocratic manner in which Momentum’s national constitution was imposed.We do not believe the new Constitution establishes a member-led organisation. OMOV online will elect only an inbuilt minority of members (a maximum of 44%) of the new ruling National
    Coordinating Committee (NCG), with the other NCG members coming from ‘Labour public officer holders’, affiliated trade unions and ‘other affiliated organisations’, including ‘Left Futures’ (Jon Lansman’s own blog) and the NCG’s own power of cooption. Further, members’ ability to influence or change any NCG decisions is heavily restricted by artificially high thresholds.We want Momentum to move forward and focus on campaigning, building support for socialist policies and democracy in the Labour Party, and mobilising for a socialist Labour government. We want to build Momentum as a democratic movement to enable this.We want Momentum to remain a *united* organisation, both nationally and locally, and do *not* support a boycott of the new national structures.We note that a large majority of groups that have met to discuss the imposition of the new constitution have opposed the process.We want to promote greater democracy and grassroots activity in Momentum and will work with others for a reasonable resolution to the current situation within a united Momentum.We will encourage our members to attend the national event on 18 February (or on a future date if it is postponed).

    We also support the call for a national network meeting of local Momentum groups to meet in March.

    We have always encouraged our members to be Labour Party members and have stood against the summary expulsions from the Party on political grounds. We will continue to allow those expelled on this basis to be fully active, including holding elected positions, within our local group. We call on Momentum to adopt the same position nationally.”

    Bizarrely, the meeting also voted through a motion “supporting” the constitution, while another one “reluctantly accepts” the constitution.

  • Southwark Momentum 17)Southwark Momentum agreed this statement on January 11 in a meeting attended by Jon Lansman:”This branch condemns the undemocratic dissolution of Momentum’s elected national and regional committees and the imposition of a new constitution by the steering committee majority.”Calls on Momentum branches to oppose this coup against the members and urges the national committee to convene itself, re-elect a new steering committee, declare the constitution invalid, and renew the mandate of the conference arrangements committee.”
  • South Tyneside Momentum
  • South East Kent Momentum
  • Southwark Momentum
  • Thanet Momentum
  • Tower Hamlets Momentum 18)Tower Hamlets Momentum general meeting, January 18:
    To Team Momentum and Jon Lansman:
    Momentum Tower Hamlets condemns the imposition of a new constitution, the actions leading up to it, and substantial sections of the document itself. In addition we demand that the organisation takes steps to reject this undemocratic manoeuvre and respects the democratic mandate of its members as represented by the existing National Committee, National Steering Committee and regional delegates.This announcement has come at a critical moment not just for the central organisation and the Labour Party, but also for local groups that actually are engaging, building alliances and putting ‘shared values’ into practice. Tower Hamlets Labour party is currently in the midst of delayed AGMs in which Momentum members are actively engaged and seeking election. This action by the central organisation does nothing to support this, and adds fuel to the attempts to besmirch and ridicule our organisation.At best we can only accept this document as a draft resolution and demand that it be taken to the existing National Committee for discussion, amendment and endorsement. Given the ambiguity of the document we suggest that action is taken to address a number of issues and will draw attention to the most glaring problems:

    1. The incentive for this document is based on the pre-Christmas on-line survey, which undermined the previous democratic decisions of the organization, was not presented as a resolution or seeking mandate, and cannot be used as a basis for the imposition of a constitution. Subsequent communication claimed that the response was a huge democratic success, and by implication a mandate for subsequent actions. We reject this and point out that 40% doesn’t represent a majority, and the process represents nothing more than a democratic deficit in its representation of members.
    2. Whilst the wording and working of the proposed NCG is ambiguous the intention seems clear: rather than strengthen the voice of the membership the balance of power is weighed 16-12 against the membership in favour of unions, affiliates and elected MPs etc., so repeating the very structures that have held back the left of the Labour party itself.
    3. The document insists that membership of Momentum is dependent on membership of the Labour Party, and imposes a deadline for joining of 1 July 2017. We reject this as arbitrary and draw attention to the ongoing delays, confusion and inefficiencies of the Labour Party membership itself which in the last year has seen several local members waiting for over 7 months for their membership to be confirmed.
    4. We see no reason why members expelled (or by implication, refused membership) from the Labour Party should be automatically expelled from Momentum. One of the campaigns that Momentum embraced over the summer was to challenge the arbitrary and undemocratic nature of the expulsions and suspensions made. We will continue to accept membership to our local organisation by people who are in the process of committing to join both Momentum and the Labour Party, and we fail to see how one can expand membership of either without this right.
    5. A list of affiliate organisation has been presented with no debate and in an ambiguous and arbitrary fashion, mirroring the very processes that the Labour Party itself has used to silence voices from the left. We demand that all affiliate organisations are selected through an agreed democratic process, at annual conference, not by arbitrary mandate.
    6. The election by lot to a members council makes a mockery of the role of members and their authority over policy, structure and campaigns. It also reduces the central importance we in Tower Hamlets give to the democratic principle of accountability of elected officers within Momentum and the Labour Party. Being elected by lot absolves you of being held accountable, as well as reducing actual participation in the organising structures to a sham.Most importantly we absolutely condemn the options presented to members to challenge this constitution. We neither accept the dichotomy that members’ silence on this equals consent to the document, nor do we accept as an alternative cancellation of membership. By contrast the members of Momentum Tower Hamlets reject this constitution and insist that the members of the organisation are in fact sovereign, not an unelected bureaucracy or individual members wielding proprietorial leverage. We call on the members of Momentum and organised local groups to do the same, and continue your democratic participation campaigning with the Labour Party.We are Momentum and continue to act in Tower Hamlets under the democratic mandate that we have established.
  • Truro and Falmouth Momentum
  • Wandsworth Momentum 19)Wandsworth Momentum, meeting on January 19
    1. Momentum’s new national constitution has been imposed on members without discussion. This is not the “new kind of politics” that we support. Regardless of its merits and its defects, we reject the new constitution because of the way it was imposed on us.
    2. We are not going to leave Momentum, as has been demanded of those members who reject the new constitution. We will elect a Working Party to reach out to other branches of Momentum and to take all necessary steps to rebuild a democratic organisation from the bottom up.
    3. Our aim was and still is to create an open, pluralist, outward-facing network of activists working within the Labour Party to achieve a transformation of our society in the interests of the 99%. We support the 10 pledges issued by Jeremy Corbyn last year and will work to ensure they are the basis for Labour’s campaigning and next election manifesto

 

  • South Yorkshire and Humberside regional committee 20)South Yorkshire and Humberside regional committee, meeting on January 22:
    “That this meeting operates as a representative delegate committee until a new constitution has been validated through democratic means with consultation with all members.” So I believe the breakdown was: For: Rotherham x1, Leeds x1, York x2, Kirklees x2, Wakefield x1. Against: Calderdale x2, Bradford x1. Abstain: Sheffield x2.
  • Northern Momentum regional committee
  • Momentum National Committee 21)Momentum National Committee meeting on January 28;
    Proposal 1 – agreed as amendedWe share the outrage which has swept the country about the coup in Momentum. We urge people not to resign or drift out in disgust. We need to continue the fight for democracy, a campaigning orientation and socialist policies, so we can build up an organisation capable of transforming Labour and the labour movement. We note the large number of local Momentum groups which have already met and condemned the coup, and the significant number which have called for a national networking event for groups in March.More than one years afters its foundation, Momentum is nowhere near where it should be. Local groups have achieved amazing things but they have largely done this on their own. The top of the organisation has failed to develop the infrastructure, support and resources that should be available to members. Much worse, the behaviour of a portion of Momentum’s leadership has undermined the trust and goodwill without which we cannot function as a diverse, pluralist movement. The new constitution will entrench the power of one faction at the expense of the organisation as a whole.

    The debate in Momentum ins now not about what kind of democracy we have – it is about whether Momentum has democratic structures at all. We do not take a view on the debate between online and in-person voting systems. But Momentum needs democracy and accountability in order to be competent, in the labour movement, only our collective wisdom can win – the collective wisdom of local activists who fight for their communities, for their fellow workers, for a different kind of society. We want to build a world in which every aspect of our lives is democratic. Momentum must live its values throughout the organisation.

    We do not accept that the people who carried out the coup constitute the leadership of Momentum. We assert the role and responsibility of Momentum’s grassroots membership in formulating strategy, continuing our campaigns and holding organisations together.

    1. We call on everyone in Momentum to stay in the organisation and work constructively with each other wherever we can, whatever our differing views on the content of the new constitution or the manner of its imposition.
    2. We endorse the call made by a number of local groups for an national networking conference of representatives of local groups on 11 March. We call for as many local groups as possible to publicly endorse this call and to attend. This conference is not the “founding conference” that was planned for February, which was cancelled by the coup; and, while it may establish some connections or structures, it is not to set up a rival organisation to Momentum. Its purpose is to allow Momentum groups to – at long last – coordinate with each other on a national level: to learn from each other, discuss and develop campaigning ideas, and debate the way forward for Momentum, including the fight for democracy.
    3. We call on local groups to continue meetings including at the original regional level to coordinate activities, to create the support networks and infrastructure our members need, to run training and education for our members and activists and to share examples of goof practice; and to catalyse the formation of new local groups.
    4. We do not accept the coup and will not dissolve ourselves at a National Committee. We assert ourselves as a continuation of the structure established on 6 February 2016. We will elect a coordinating group at this National Committee.

    Proposal 2 – agreed as amended

    This Momentum National Committee believes that Momentum must be an open and democratic group which enables debate and informed decision making. Members should decide policy, structure and activity. Members should be able to initiate proposals, and then vote on various choices, based on information and arguments.
    The NC rejects the attempt to impose a new constitution for Momentum. This has taken place without members being allowed  to even see the specific proposals, let alone discuss them and then vote on them.
    The NC agrees to:
    Encourage Momentum members and local groups to remain in Momentum;
    Encourage local groups to continue to meet, and for members to form local groups where they are not meeting or cease to meet because the local officers are not convening them;
    Encourage those groups to link up in area and regional committees of local Momentum groups. Those meetings should agree the policies and the campaigning activity for their areas and regions, and decide on policies to take into the Labour Party and the wider community. Groups should also decide on candidates to stand and who to support in local and regional Labour Party elections;
    Encourage local groups to continue to accept participation from Momentum supporters who have been unjustly expelled, suspended or excluded from the Labour Party;
    Support the conference planned by the Conference Arrangements Committee;
    Suggest that the CAC holds that as a National Meeting of Momentum local groups, with voting by democratically elected representatives of local groups on the numerical basis by the last NC, and also open to observers without voting rights.

  • Labour Representation Committee 22)Labour Representation Committe:
    The following motions on Momentum were passed at the LRC NEC on January 21 20171) The LRC rejects the new constitution imposed upon Momentum. The new constitution dissolves the existing democratic structures of Momentum – the National Committee, the Conference Arrangements Committee and the Steering Committee – without proper discussion and without even consulting the first two of these bodies. It puts in their place a National Co-ordinating Group and a Members’ Council. Neither of these bodies have yet been elected or selected, so at present there is no governing body of Momentum at all.  Even when the National Co-ordinating Group and Members’ Council are in place there is no proper means of their members being made accountable to the membership. We shall fight for a democratic alternative to the new constitution.We condemn the way this new constitution has been put in place, with a simple email to the members of the Steering Committee asking for a Yes/No reply, with no discussion and replies from a bare majority of the Steering Committee without explanation deemed sufficient to dissolve the existing democratic structures.We reject the fact that the new constitution abolishes the regional structures of Momentum currently in place. It also thereby cancels co-ordination between regions.We reject the fact that the new constitution abolishes the power of the Conference to be a decision-making body.We reject the fact that the new constitution makes Momentum a body where all members of Momentum are required to be Labour Party members. While we believe that all members should be encouraged and convinced to become Labour Party members, the best way to achieve this is not by demanding LP membership as a precondition of becoming a member of Momentum. This rule also means that those unjustly expelled from the Party are ineligible for membership of Momentum.We call on all members of Momentum to maintain their membership and to campaign for it to become a democratic organisation. The LRC campaigns for Momentum to become a mass fighting socialist organisation committed to winning the widest support in the labour movement and in British society in order to win support for the policies on which Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership and to elect a Labour government committed to these policies.The LRC shall also be sending a delegation to the Momentum National Committee (which the new constitution claims to have abolished) due to meet on January 28th 2017.We want the LRC’s views on this matter to be published as widely as possible on our website and on social media.

    2) The LRC condemns the undemocratic closing down of elected bodies within Momentum, by its legal owner, Jon Lansman. We recognise that the particular history of Momentum’s brief existence required the transition from initial set up of a private company to a full-fledged socialist and Labour Party orientated organisation, which gave power to ordinary members through election processes and the formation of democratically elected representative bodies. The organic forms of representation that developed in local areas, in the form of branches and local groups, reflected the desire of Labour Party members and Corbyn supporters to build a coherent left, with a mission to transform the Labour Party as a vehicle of democratic socialist policies and for government, both locally and on a national scale. We acknowledge Jon Lansman has used his legal private ownership and staff he has appointed at the London office to circumvent the wishes of the wider active membership based in branches and local groups to destroy the current emerging national structure of Momentum.

    We therefore resolve to endorse the following:

    1. not to accept Momentum’s offer of a place on their National Co-ordinating Group, as outlined in their new constitution, as we cannot give legitimacy to its undemocratic actions;

    2. support measures to continue the plans for a national conference of what would have been representatives from local Momentum groups;

  • Red Labour organisers group 23)Statement from the Red Labour organisers group
    Red Labour was established in 2011, initially as an online project which sought to promote socialism within the Labour Party and help socialists organise within their respective Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs). We subsequently moved into real world activities, establishing several groups in various parts of the country.We played a significant role in mobilising support for an anti-austerity leadership candidate in the summer of 2015, securing the nominations for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign and his election as leader in September 2015.We welcomed the establishment of Momentum and hoped it could be grassroots organisation which could harness the support for Jerem Corbyn’s socialist politics to help transform our party and communities. However, we are dismayed at recent developments within Momentum which are completely contrary to the Bennite tradition of grassroots democracy. Red Labour’s approach: ‘from the ground up, not the top down’, is more than a slogan.Therefore, we have taken the decision, as a collective, not to accept Momentum’s offer of a place on their National Co-ordinating Group, as outlined in their new constitution. This does not preclude us from working with Momentum activists at a local level or on joint campaigns, but we simply cannot endorse (or continue to support) the undemocratic actions of those at the top of Momentum. We hope Momentum are able to sort their issues out. In the meantime, we believe we need to focus our energy and resources on creating a party we can be proud of and ensuring a Labour victory at the next General Election.
  • Momentum Conference Arrangements Committee 24)Momentum Conference Arrangements Committee
    The Momentum Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) note with dismay the decision, of six people from Momentum’s Steering Committee (SC), to declare our National Committee (NC) and its decision to hold a conference with decision-making powers to be dissolved.We cannot understand how “the six” feel this benefits our aims. We call for the destructive and divisive actions from their email to be reversed immediately before any more damage is done to the organisation.
    Their ideas could have been democratically debated at the conference that we were working round the clock to organise. Instead they have attempted to declare changes with no mandate.However, committed members and agreed current structures cannot be dissolved by the click of an email from an office by half a dozen people.The CAC takes its direction from Momentum’s National Committee, as per the original remit we were given. Until that body meets and informs us our role has changed, we will continue working towards Momentum’s first conference. Further details of this will be announced through the same Conference Arrangements Committee Facebook page, and we would urge all members to look there (https://www.facebook.com/momentumconference17/…) for all future updates.All emails regarding conference business should now be sent to the new email momentumconference2017@gmail.com as we have been locked out of the original with no notice.
    Whilst a minority of our number have accepted the email from “the six” as legitimate, the CAC majority (and in effect the people who have done virtually all of the work to make a conference happen) are still able to organise a conference which brings together the key Momentum supporters.The conference will consider motions, be a place to network and to politically educate ourselves as per the original NC remit. The conference will fashion a clear strategy for democratising the Labour Party and fighting the effects of austerity in our communities.Considering Jeremy Corbyn is as safe as he will ever be in his position, but the Labour Party is not committed to the policies he was elected on, the discussion at this conference comes at a crucial time.
    Successfully achieving clear actions based on the above will be the only way that Jeremy Corbyns Labour party will win the political power the working class needs it to.
  • Member of Momentum Youth and Student Committee 25)Member of Momentum Youth and Student Committee We the undersigned members of the Momentum Youth and Students (MYS) committee express our collective disagreement with the statement published on the MYS page with regards to the imposition of a new constitution on Momentum by Jon Lansman and a slim majority of the Steering Committee. We also note with irony that the current Momentum Youth and Students committee effectively does not have any official authority to release such statements because according to the new constitution it effectively no longer exists.We believe the new constitution runs contrary to the very best democratic traditions in the labour movement. Far from ‘empowering members’, the sole democratic body in the constitution, the National Coordinating Group, only has 12 out of 30 seats on it directly elected by members. They are outnumbered by the seats given to affiliates (including Jon Lansman’s blog), trade unions and Labour elected representatives. Ostensibly introduced to prevent Momentum repicating the structures of a “political party”, the new constitution effectively mimics the Labour Party NEC.In order to make any proposal to the National Co-ordinating Group, a member has to get the support of at least 1000 members, which is a difficult task for grassroots members with limited national contacts or access to large email lists. A toothless Members’ Council will comprise 50 people selected by random lots but “shall not be required to make decisions on the operation of the constitution or administration of the organisation.” Make no mistake, members of Momentum under the new constitution have less of a voice than they did in the existing structures. It disempowers the grassroots membership and fortifies a totally unaccountable central organ.Disgracefully, in a move to silence prominent critics of the new structures, the new constitution bars Labour Party members who have been unfairly expelled from the party by the Compliance Unit from being members of Momentum. This has the implication of indirectly handing over control of Momentum’s membership criteria to Iain McNicol, expressly contradicting Momentum’s voted-on policy to fight the witch-hunt of socialists.We believe that the process by which the new constitution has come into force is not a result of a legitimate debate within existing democratic structures. As a sub-committee of the National Committee, whose mandate had run out in July 2016, the Steering Committee does not have the power to make constitutional decisions about Momentum, and did so solely to head-off the planned and more representative Momentum national conference in February.The online survey that is cited to support the actions of the Steering Committee was fundamentally misleading, and backed up by the sort of resources, mass emails, all-member text messages and support from leading Labour figures that Momentum’s outward facing campaigns, such as on the NHS, could only dream of.
    Nowhere in the survey was any respondent asked about the specific structural proposals set out in the constitution. We also note that a consultative survey is not the same as a vote, is not in any way democratically binding and was not presented as a way of making constitutional decisions. It is far from clear if the respondents to the survey are more representative of Momentum members than the members who go to meetings, after all only 40% of the membership responded to the survey, and the evidence from the survey is that 40% of Momentum members go to meetings.We believe that Momentum, in order to be successful, has to be based in local groups with the power (and the data) to organise themselves as part of a socialist organisation on a national platform where decisions are made democratically and openly. We do not believe it is up to the owner of Momentum to effectively dissolve all existing structures through an email vote wrapped up within an hour. Democracy cannot be passive assent, it has to be deliberative, done through serious debate and discussion that takes place across the country. We maintain our support for the National Committee meeting called on 28th January, and believe that the National Committee remains the sovereign decision-making body in Momentum and Conference must be organised according to its decisions.Momentum continues to be one of the most potentially transformative forces within the Labour movement. That is why we must continue to assert ourselves as grassroots members organising in branches across the country to change the Labour Party. The Steering Committee’s recent actions are an act of sabotage against what we can achieve as an organisation.Rida Vaquas
    Ed Potts
    Hattie Craig
    Monty Shield
    Liam McNulty
    Josie Runswick
  • LGBT+ Forum 26)LGBT+ Forum: Motion to Momentum London LGBT+ Meeting, 14 January
    1. Momentum’s new national constitution has been imposed on members without discussion. This is not the “new kind of politics” that we support. Regardless of its merits and its defects, we reject the new constitution because of the way it was imposed on us.
    2. In particular we note with concern the total lack of consultation with any liberation groups, the absence of mechanisms for liberation groups to feed into Momentum and ensure equality, and the ongoing lack of progress in establishing liberation groups around the country due to lack of action by the office.
    3. We are not going to leave Momentum, as has been demanded of those members who reject the new constitution. We authorise our elected Steering Committee to reach out to other Momentum groups and to take all necessary steps to rebuild a democratic organisation from the bottom up.
    4. Our aim was and still is to create an open, pluralist, outward-facing network of activists working within the Labour Party to achieve a transformation of our society in the interests of the 99%. We support the 10 pledges issued by Jeremy Corbyn last year and will work to ensure they are the basis for Labour’s campaigning and next election manifesto and work for the election of a Labour Government with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.
  • Proposal on MxV platform 27)Proposal on Mxv platform: Reject the decision by Jon Lansman to dissolve the current structures and CAC
    We condemn in the strongest possible terms the moves by Jon Lansman and his clique to usurp and undermine the democratic decisions made by the majority of the Momentum National Committee. These undemocratic, behind-the-scenes manoeuvres demonstrate that Lansman and co. can no longer be a trusted and should be replaced immediately by accountable representatives, elected through the previously existing democratic structures of the Regional and National Committees. The newly imposed constitution is completely undemocratic and should be withdrawn immediately. Instead, the plans drawn up by the previously elected Conference Arrangements Committee should be used as the basis for a national conference of elected delegates to discuss and decide upon the way forward for Momentum and the Corbyn movement.We call for:
    * The immediate restoration of all democratic structures within Momentum.
    * The national conference to proceed in its previously agreed form, as a democratic conference to discuss motions and decide policy on the basis of elected delegates from local groups.
    * For an emergency National Committee to discuss this coup and hold those responsible to account.

 

References

1 Brighton and Hove Momentum General Meeting, January 25
  1. We condemn the attempt by Jon Lansman and the majority of the Steering Committee to abolish the National Committee and the Conference Arrangements Committee, which was elected at the December NC meeting.
  1. It is not possible for the Steering Committee, which was elected by the NC, to abolish the very body which elected it.
  1. We do not recognise the newly-announced ‘Constitution’ imposed by way of an email.  It has no validity. We note that the Steering Committee, let alone the National Committee, was not even given an opportunity to discuss this proposed Constitution.
  1.  We particularly condemn the fact that those who refuse to accept an imposed, undemocratic Constitution, will be deemed to have resigned from Momentum.
  1.  We wish to give full support to the elected National and Conference Arrangement Committees.  We urge that a national delegate conference open to all Momentum groups and oppressed groups be convened as a matter of urgency and ask that in the meantime a bank account etc. be opened by the NC in order that the necessary financial arrangements can be mad
  1. We call on other Momentum groups and oppressed groups to boycott the proposed conference that Jon Lansman and the Steering Committee majority are organising.  It will be undemocratic and will not discuss policy, the new ‘constitution’ or motions.  Likewise we urge members to boycott elections to the new National Co-ordinating Group.  The NCG has no political, moral or legal validity.
  1. We urge that Jon Lansman and the Steering Committee majority to place all Momentum data in the hands of the Steering Committee and warn them that any ‘change in use’ of that data will be illegal under the Data Protection Act 1998.
  1. We hope that the Steering Committee rethinks its decisions as to the agreed Conference as it has clearly led to widespread anger and confusion amongst Momentum activists, including calls for a split.
2 Cambridge Area Momentum
meeting on January 29: 15 votes in favour of a motion condemning the imposition of the constitution, with 5 abstentions. 16 votes in favour of a proposal in support of local organisation and a local groups conference, with 4 abstentions.
3 Coventry Momentum A general meeting on January 19 voted with 18 votes for and one against the motion below. In addition, it was agreed that in the spirit of the vision of Jeremy Corbyn for a social movement that would work to change society, the Coventry Momentum local branch welcomes all socialists to its meetings.”This branch condemns the undemocratic dissolution of Momentum’s elected national and regional committees and the imposition of a new constitution by the steering committee majority.
Calls on Momentum branches to oppose this coup against the members and urges the national committee to convene itself, re-elect a new steering committee, declare the constitution invalid, and renew the mandate of the Conference Arrangements Committee.
This Branch agrees to send a motion and delegates to the National Conference when convened by the democratically elected Conference Arrangements Committee.”
4 Darlington Momentum general meeting on January 17 voted unanimously for this motion, which was also adopted at an open meeting called by Northern Regional network on January 15.
We call for people to stay members of Momentum including local groups and regional networks and continue to build a bottom up grassroots network
We call for the restoration of Momentum’s democratic structures including regional networks and the convening of NC on 28 January.
We propose local groups and regions, working with the NC call a national meeting of Momentum groups to discuss the way forward We will campaign for democracy in Momentum
5 Momentum Derbyshire general meeting on January 17, unanimously passed this motion
This meeting notes:
– That on 10th January 2017 National Momentum announced the immediate adoption of a new constitution.
– That this constitution dissolves the NC, SC and regional networks, including those on loomio.
– Graphics were published on the momentum website explaining how to pass a motion or amend this new constitution.
– That this constitution was voted for by only 6 members of the SC.
– That the CAC was declared to be abolished.
– That the National Conference planned for 19th Feb seems unlikely to proceed, with a gathering in London on the 18th Feb
now being planned, where no motions are to be considered.
– It is not necessary for all members of an affiliated group or a socialist society affiliated to Labour to be members of the Labour Party.
This meeting believes:
– That the adoption of this constitution has no legitimate basis, with no consultation of the membership.
– That passing motions or constitutional amendments is now very difficult, and not conductive to grassroots democracy.
– That the postponement of the 19th Feb conference, where this constitution could have been debated alongside that produced by Matt Wrack, is wrong and should go ahead.
– That the expulsion of any momentum members not currently in the Labour Party, whether because of expulsions or in no party, is wrong.This meeting resolves:
– To call on the NC to confirm the conference now planned for March as going ahead.
– To call on the NC to reject the imposition of this constitution and instead present it for consideration at this conference.
– That the NC should re-affirm that membership of Momentum is open to everyone who is a member of Labour or not a member of a party that stands candidates against Labour.
6 Enfield Momentum on January 22 voted with 30 for, 2 against with 1 abstention:
“Enfield Momentum condemns the undemocratic dissolution of Momentum’s elected national and regional committees and the imposition of a new constitution, all done without any mandate from the members.

We also condemn that the constitution allows only 12 members of the NCG to be directly elected by the membership, thus ensuring Momentum ceases to be a democratic member led organisation.

We call on all Momentum branches to oppose this coup against the members. We demand that the constitution be suspended, until such time that a democratic debate about the future of Momentum can be convened and an open and transparent decision reached. The terms of any constitution adopted by Momentum must be agreed by the informed consent of a majority of its members.”

7
  • Kirklees Momentum general meeting, January 15
    This meeting notes:

    • That on 10th January 2017 National Momentum announced the immediate adoption of a new constitution
    • That this constitution dissolves the NC, SC and regional networks, including those on loomio
    • Graphics were published on the momentum website explaining how to pass a motion or amend this new constitution
    • That this constitution was voted for by only 6 members of the SC
    • That the CAC was declared to be abolished.
    • That the National Conference planned for 19th Feb seems unlikely to proceed, with a gathering in London on the 18th Feb
      now being planned, where no motions are to be considered.It is not necessary for all members of an affiliated group or a socialist society affiliated to Labour to be members of the Labour Party.

This meeting believes:

    • That the adoption of this constitution has no legitimate basis, with no consultation of the membership.
    • That passing motions or constitutional amendments is now very difficult, and not conductive to grassroots democracy.
    • That the postponement of the 19th Feb conference, where this constitution could have been debated alongside that produced by Matt Wrack, is wrong and should go ahead.
    • That the expulsion of any momentum members not currently in the Labour Party, whether because of expulsions or in no party, is wrong.

This meeting resolves:

    • To call on the NC to confirm the conference now planned for March as going ahead.
    • To call on the NC to reject the imposition of this constitution and instead present it for consideration at this conference.
    • That the NC should re-affirm that membership of Momentum is open to everyone who is a member of Labour or not a member of a party that stands candidates against Labour
8 Lambeth Momentum general meeting, February 16
Lambeth Momentum condemns the undemocratic behaviour of the majority of the Momentum Steering Committee in trying to undermine the decisions of the December 3rd National Committee. The attempt to dissolve all elected committees and impose a new constitution on members without discussion is nothing less than an undemocratic coup by a small group of SC members.We oppose Momentum unquestioningly and without due process expelling all those previously expelled by the Labour Party Compliance Unit. We will continue to allow such comrades to remain involved in our local Momentum group so long as they meet our current membership criteria and we call, yet again, on national Momentum to agree fair and transparent disciplinary and complaints procedures.We call on the NC to immediately convene itself, nullify the imposed constitution, re-elect the Steering Committee and allow the Conference Arrangements Committee to carry on its work in organising a democratic, decision making conference in February))
  • Leicestershire Momentum ((Leicestershire MomentumThe following motion was passed at our meeting of January 14th, 2017, 21 votes to 2, with 3 abstentions:Leicestershire Momentum opposes the imposition of a constitution on the organisation with no discussion or democratic process, and calls for the imposition to be immediately reversed.We want Momentum to move forward, focus on campaigning, building support for socialist policies in the Labour Party as many local groups have been doing.We want to build Momentum as a democratic movement to enable this.We welcome the continuing functioning of the Momentum National Committee (NC) and call on our NC members to attend it, even if it is no longer recognised by the National OfficeWe call for a national conference with delegates from local groups to happen in March 2017 to allow groups to coordinate, learn from each other, discuss and make decisions on the way forward for Momentum.We also oppose summary expulsions from the Labour Party. And will continue to allow those expelled on this basis to be fully involved in our local Momentum group.
9 Leeds Momentum decided by a vote of 26 to 25 on January 15 to vote against the imposed constitution, though no motion was agreed on.
10 Lewisham Momentum, meeting on January 16: We are saddened by the attempted coup against democracy in Momentum by six members of the national Steering Committee, seeking to uproot what democracy exists and impose an undemocratic constitution by diktat.We believe the great majority of members, whatever their views on the shape of national structures, aspire to a democratic organisation in which those who make decisions are accountable. There is a minority, entrenched at the national centre of Momentum, who seem determined to prevent the consolidation of a functioning democracy of any sort, whatever the costs to the organisation and the movement.We want a democratic Momentum which debates and develops socialist policies as part of organising and mobilising to transform Labour and the labour movement. We need an end to bureaucratic manipulation from above, which has wasted so much time, energy and good will that should be used for productive work.
We urge people not to resign or drift out in disgust. We:
– will coordinate with others in Momentum to fight the coup and for democracy and socialist policies.
– welcome the SC and NC continuing to meet
– back the calling of a national conference of group delegates in March
– to allow groups to coordinate, learn from each other and discuss the way forward (avoiding a clash with the 4 March NHS and 18 March anti-racism demos).
We will elect five delegates and two alternates to attend this conference and the 18 February rally called by the office.
11 Liverpool Riverside Momentum
The unilateral email proposal of January 10th 2017, originating from John Lansman and something calling itself ‘Team Momentum’, is undemocratic and therefore invalid. Liverpool Riverside Momentum calls on the National Committee to proceed with the national conference in February. We do not recognise the validity of the Momentum Christmas Questionnaire, or the abrogation of our democratic structures by John Lansman and the group around him
12 Northamptonshire Momentum met on January 10 and “expresses solidarity and support for the Momentum Conference Arrangements Committee 2017 and look forward to attending their conference”.
13 Richmond Park and Twickenham Momentum, meeting on January 12:
This local group condemns the undemocratic behaviour of the majority of the Momentum Steering Committee in trying to undermine the decisions of the December 3rd National Committee. The attempt to dissolve all elected committees and impose a new constitution on members without discussion is nothing less than undemocratic action by a small group of SC members
14 Rotherham Momentum passed the following motion on January 24:That this branch:

1. Recognises the key fundamental principle of Momentum is to strive for socialism, which currently includes supporting Corbyn to make the Labour Party more democratic with socialist policies that will eventually lead to a socialist Labour government;

2. Recognises that fundamental to socialist principles is full democracy that involves full participation of the people;

Therefore:

3. Views with concern and does not accept the actions of a small number of people that have disregarded democracy to try to abolish the existing democratic structures and impose a new constitution with no transparent consultation and no ballot of the members;

4. Resolves to continue to operate within the existing democratic structures, electing delegates and moving proposals to the representative bodies for consideration;

5. Resolves to strive for a new constitution that includes the representative delegate structures that are essential for proper face-to-face debate, as well as online consultation and voting technology that ensures all members can participate and choose their representatives, validated and implemented through democratic means.

15 Momentum Sheffield steering committee meeting on January 17
Momentum Sheffield’s Steering Committee opposes the undemocratic manner in which Momentum’s national constitution was imposed.We want Momentum to move forward and focus on campaigning, building support for socialist policies and democracy in the Labour Party, and mobilising for a socialist Labour government. We want to build Momentum as a democratic movement to enable this.We have always encouraged our members to be Labour Party members and have stood against the summary expulsions from the Party on political grounds. We will continue to allow those expelled on this basis to be fully active, including holding elected positions, within our local group. We call on Momentum to adopt the same position nationally.
16 Sheffield Momentum general meeting, January 25:
Sheffield Momentum opposes the undemocratic manner in which Momentum’s national constitution was imposed.We do not believe the new Constitution establishes a member-led organisation. OMOV online will elect only an inbuilt minority of members (a maximum of 44%) of the new ruling National
Coordinating Committee (NCG), with the other NCG members coming from ‘Labour public officer holders’, affiliated trade unions and ‘other affiliated organisations’, including ‘Left Futures’ (Jon Lansman’s own blog) and the NCG’s own power of cooption. Further, members’ ability to influence or change any NCG decisions is heavily restricted by artificially high thresholds.We want Momentum to move forward and focus on campaigning, building support for socialist policies and democracy in the Labour Party, and mobilising for a socialist Labour government. We want to build Momentum as a democratic movement to enable this.We want Momentum to remain a *united* organisation, both nationally and locally, and do *not* support a boycott of the new national structures.We note that a large majority of groups that have met to discuss the imposition of the new constitution have opposed the process.We want to promote greater democracy and grassroots activity in Momentum and will work with others for a reasonable resolution to the current situation within a united Momentum.We will encourage our members to attend the national event on 18 February (or on a future date if it is postponed).

We also support the call for a national network meeting of local Momentum groups to meet in March.

We have always encouraged our members to be Labour Party members and have stood against the summary expulsions from the Party on political grounds. We will continue to allow those expelled on this basis to be fully active, including holding elected positions, within our local group. We call on Momentum to adopt the same position nationally.”

Bizarrely, the meeting also voted through a motion “supporting” the constitution, while another one “reluctantly accepts” the constitution.

17 Southwark Momentum agreed this statement on January 11 in a meeting attended by Jon Lansman:”This branch condemns the undemocratic dissolution of Momentum’s elected national and regional committees and the imposition of a new constitution by the steering committee majority.”Calls on Momentum branches to oppose this coup against the members and urges the national committee to convene itself, re-elect a new steering committee, declare the constitution invalid, and renew the mandate of the conference arrangements committee.”
18 Tower Hamlets Momentum general meeting, January 18:
To Team Momentum and Jon Lansman:
Momentum Tower Hamlets condemns the imposition of a new constitution, the actions leading up to it, and substantial sections of the document itself. In addition we demand that the organisation takes steps to reject this undemocratic manoeuvre and respects the democratic mandate of its members as represented by the existing National Committee, National Steering Committee and regional delegates.This announcement has come at a critical moment not just for the central organisation and the Labour Party, but also for local groups that actually are engaging, building alliances and putting ‘shared values’ into practice. Tower Hamlets Labour party is currently in the midst of delayed AGMs in which Momentum members are actively engaged and seeking election. This action by the central organisation does nothing to support this, and adds fuel to the attempts to besmirch and ridicule our organisation.At best we can only accept this document as a draft resolution and demand that it be taken to the existing National Committee for discussion, amendment and endorsement. Given the ambiguity of the document we suggest that action is taken to address a number of issues and will draw attention to the most glaring problems:

  1. The incentive for this document is based on the pre-Christmas on-line survey, which undermined the previous democratic decisions of the organization, was not presented as a resolution or seeking mandate, and cannot be used as a basis for the imposition of a constitution. Subsequent communication claimed that the response was a huge democratic success, and by implication a mandate for subsequent actions. We reject this and point out that 40% doesn’t represent a majority, and the process represents nothing more than a democratic deficit in its representation of members.
  2. Whilst the wording and working of the proposed NCG is ambiguous the intention seems clear: rather than strengthen the voice of the membership the balance of power is weighed 16-12 against the membership in favour of unions, affiliates and elected MPs etc., so repeating the very structures that have held back the left of the Labour party itself.
  3. The document insists that membership of Momentum is dependent on membership of the Labour Party, and imposes a deadline for joining of 1 July 2017. We reject this as arbitrary and draw attention to the ongoing delays, confusion and inefficiencies of the Labour Party membership itself which in the last year has seen several local members waiting for over 7 months for their membership to be confirmed.
  4. We see no reason why members expelled (or by implication, refused membership) from the Labour Party should be automatically expelled from Momentum. One of the campaigns that Momentum embraced over the summer was to challenge the arbitrary and undemocratic nature of the expulsions and suspensions made. We will continue to accept membership to our local organisation by people who are in the process of committing to join both Momentum and the Labour Party, and we fail to see how one can expand membership of either without this right.
  5. A list of affiliate organisation has been presented with no debate and in an ambiguous and arbitrary fashion, mirroring the very processes that the Labour Party itself has used to silence voices from the left. We demand that all affiliate organisations are selected through an agreed democratic process, at annual conference, not by arbitrary mandate.
  6. The election by lot to a members council makes a mockery of the role of members and their authority over policy, structure and campaigns. It also reduces the central importance we in Tower Hamlets give to the democratic principle of accountability of elected officers within Momentum and the Labour Party. Being elected by lot absolves you of being held accountable, as well as reducing actual participation in the organising structures to a sham.Most importantly we absolutely condemn the options presented to members to challenge this constitution. We neither accept the dichotomy that members’ silence on this equals consent to the document, nor do we accept as an alternative cancellation of membership. By contrast the members of Momentum Tower Hamlets reject this constitution and insist that the members of the organisation are in fact sovereign, not an unelected bureaucracy or individual members wielding proprietorial leverage. We call on the members of Momentum and organised local groups to do the same, and continue your democratic participation campaigning with the Labour Party.We are Momentum and continue to act in Tower Hamlets under the democratic mandate that we have established.
19 Wandsworth Momentum, meeting on January 19
1. Momentum’s new national constitution has been imposed on members without discussion. This is not the “new kind of politics” that we support. Regardless of its merits and its defects, we reject the new constitution because of the way it was imposed on us.
2. We are not going to leave Momentum, as has been demanded of those members who reject the new constitution. We will elect a Working Party to reach out to other branches of Momentum and to take all necessary steps to rebuild a democratic organisation from the bottom up.
3. Our aim was and still is to create an open, pluralist, outward-facing network of activists working within the Labour Party to achieve a transformation of our society in the interests of the 99%. We support the 10 pledges issued by Jeremy Corbyn last year and will work to ensure they are the basis for Labour’s campaigning and next election manifesto
20 South Yorkshire and Humberside regional committee, meeting on January 22:
“That this meeting operates as a representative delegate committee until a new constitution has been validated through democratic means with consultation with all members.” So I believe the breakdown was: For: Rotherham x1, Leeds x1, York x2, Kirklees x2, Wakefield x1. Against: Calderdale x2, Bradford x1. Abstain: Sheffield x2.
21 Momentum National Committee meeting on January 28;
Proposal 1 – agreed as amendedWe share the outrage which has swept the country about the coup in Momentum. We urge people not to resign or drift out in disgust. We need to continue the fight for democracy, a campaigning orientation and socialist policies, so we can build up an organisation capable of transforming Labour and the labour movement. We note the large number of local Momentum groups which have already met and condemned the coup, and the significant number which have called for a national networking event for groups in March.More than one years afters its foundation, Momentum is nowhere near where it should be. Local groups have achieved amazing things but they have largely done this on their own. The top of the organisation has failed to develop the infrastructure, support and resources that should be available to members. Much worse, the behaviour of a portion of Momentum’s leadership has undermined the trust and goodwill without which we cannot function as a diverse, pluralist movement. The new constitution will entrench the power of one faction at the expense of the organisation as a whole.

The debate in Momentum ins now not about what kind of democracy we have – it is about whether Momentum has democratic structures at all. We do not take a view on the debate between online and in-person voting systems. But Momentum needs democracy and accountability in order to be competent, in the labour movement, only our collective wisdom can win – the collective wisdom of local activists who fight for their communities, for their fellow workers, for a different kind of society. We want to build a world in which every aspect of our lives is democratic. Momentum must live its values throughout the organisation.

We do not accept that the people who carried out the coup constitute the leadership of Momentum. We assert the role and responsibility of Momentum’s grassroots membership in formulating strategy, continuing our campaigns and holding organisations together.

1. We call on everyone in Momentum to stay in the organisation and work constructively with each other wherever we can, whatever our differing views on the content of the new constitution or the manner of its imposition.
2. We endorse the call made by a number of local groups for an national networking conference of representatives of local groups on 11 March. We call for as many local groups as possible to publicly endorse this call and to attend. This conference is not the “founding conference” that was planned for February, which was cancelled by the coup; and, while it may establish some connections or structures, it is not to set up a rival organisation to Momentum. Its purpose is to allow Momentum groups to – at long last – coordinate with each other on a national level: to learn from each other, discuss and develop campaigning ideas, and debate the way forward for Momentum, including the fight for democracy.
3. We call on local groups to continue meetings including at the original regional level to coordinate activities, to create the support networks and infrastructure our members need, to run training and education for our members and activists and to share examples of goof practice; and to catalyse the formation of new local groups.
4. We do not accept the coup and will not dissolve ourselves at a National Committee. We assert ourselves as a continuation of the structure established on 6 February 2016. We will elect a coordinating group at this National Committee.

Proposal 2 – agreed as amended

This Momentum National Committee believes that Momentum must be an open and democratic group which enables debate and informed decision making. Members should decide policy, structure and activity. Members should be able to initiate proposals, and then vote on various choices, based on information and arguments.
The NC rejects the attempt to impose a new constitution for Momentum. This has taken place without members being allowed  to even see the specific proposals, let alone discuss them and then vote on them.
The NC agrees to:
Encourage Momentum members and local groups to remain in Momentum;
Encourage local groups to continue to meet, and for members to form local groups where they are not meeting or cease to meet because the local officers are not convening them;
Encourage those groups to link up in area and regional committees of local Momentum groups. Those meetings should agree the policies and the campaigning activity for their areas and regions, and decide on policies to take into the Labour Party and the wider community. Groups should also decide on candidates to stand and who to support in local and regional Labour Party elections;
Encourage local groups to continue to accept participation from Momentum supporters who have been unjustly expelled, suspended or excluded from the Labour Party;
Support the conference planned by the Conference Arrangements Committee;
Suggest that the CAC holds that as a National Meeting of Momentum local groups, with voting by democratically elected representatives of local groups on the numerical basis by the last NC, and also open to observers without voting rights.

22 Labour Representation Committe:
The following motions on Momentum were passed at the LRC NEC on January 21 20171) The LRC rejects the new constitution imposed upon Momentum. The new constitution dissolves the existing democratic structures of Momentum – the National Committee, the Conference Arrangements Committee and the Steering Committee – without proper discussion and without even consulting the first two of these bodies. It puts in their place a National Co-ordinating Group and a Members’ Council. Neither of these bodies have yet been elected or selected, so at present there is no governing body of Momentum at all.  Even when the National Co-ordinating Group and Members’ Council are in place there is no proper means of their members being made accountable to the membership. We shall fight for a democratic alternative to the new constitution.We condemn the way this new constitution has been put in place, with a simple email to the members of the Steering Committee asking for a Yes/No reply, with no discussion and replies from a bare majority of the Steering Committee without explanation deemed sufficient to dissolve the existing democratic structures.We reject the fact that the new constitution abolishes the regional structures of Momentum currently in place. It also thereby cancels co-ordination between regions.We reject the fact that the new constitution abolishes the power of the Conference to be a decision-making body.We reject the fact that the new constitution makes Momentum a body where all members of Momentum are required to be Labour Party members. While we believe that all members should be encouraged and convinced to become Labour Party members, the best way to achieve this is not by demanding LP membership as a precondition of becoming a member of Momentum. This rule also means that those unjustly expelled from the Party are ineligible for membership of Momentum.We call on all members of Momentum to maintain their membership and to campaign for it to become a democratic organisation. The LRC campaigns for Momentum to become a mass fighting socialist organisation committed to winning the widest support in the labour movement and in British society in order to win support for the policies on which Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership and to elect a Labour government committed to these policies.The LRC shall also be sending a delegation to the Momentum National Committee (which the new constitution claims to have abolished) due to meet on January 28th 2017.We want the LRC’s views on this matter to be published as widely as possible on our website and on social media.

2) The LRC condemns the undemocratic closing down of elected bodies within Momentum, by its legal owner, Jon Lansman. We recognise that the particular history of Momentum’s brief existence required the transition from initial set up of a private company to a full-fledged socialist and Labour Party orientated organisation, which gave power to ordinary members through election processes and the formation of democratically elected representative bodies. The organic forms of representation that developed in local areas, in the form of branches and local groups, reflected the desire of Labour Party members and Corbyn supporters to build a coherent left, with a mission to transform the Labour Party as a vehicle of democratic socialist policies and for government, both locally and on a national scale. We acknowledge Jon Lansman has used his legal private ownership and staff he has appointed at the London office to circumvent the wishes of the wider active membership based in branches and local groups to destroy the current emerging national structure of Momentum.

We therefore resolve to endorse the following:

1. not to accept Momentum’s offer of a place on their National Co-ordinating Group, as outlined in their new constitution, as we cannot give legitimacy to its undemocratic actions;

2. support measures to continue the plans for a national conference of what would have been representatives from local Momentum groups;

23 Statement from the Red Labour organisers group
Red Labour was established in 2011, initially as an online project which sought to promote socialism within the Labour Party and help socialists organise within their respective Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs). We subsequently moved into real world activities, establishing several groups in various parts of the country.We played a significant role in mobilising support for an anti-austerity leadership candidate in the summer of 2015, securing the nominations for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign and his election as leader in September 2015.We welcomed the establishment of Momentum and hoped it could be grassroots organisation which could harness the support for Jerem Corbyn’s socialist politics to help transform our party and communities. However, we are dismayed at recent developments within Momentum which are completely contrary to the Bennite tradition of grassroots democracy. Red Labour’s approach: ‘from the ground up, not the top down’, is more than a slogan.Therefore, we have taken the decision, as a collective, not to accept Momentum’s offer of a place on their National Co-ordinating Group, as outlined in their new constitution. This does not preclude us from working with Momentum activists at a local level or on joint campaigns, but we simply cannot endorse (or continue to support) the undemocratic actions of those at the top of Momentum. We hope Momentum are able to sort their issues out. In the meantime, we believe we need to focus our energy and resources on creating a party we can be proud of and ensuring a Labour victory at the next General Election.
24 Momentum Conference Arrangements Committee
The Momentum Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) note with dismay the decision, of six people from Momentum’s Steering Committee (SC), to declare our National Committee (NC) and its decision to hold a conference with decision-making powers to be dissolved.We cannot understand how “the six” feel this benefits our aims. We call for the destructive and divisive actions from their email to be reversed immediately before any more damage is done to the organisation.
Their ideas could have been democratically debated at the conference that we were working round the clock to organise. Instead they have attempted to declare changes with no mandate.However, committed members and agreed current structures cannot be dissolved by the click of an email from an office by half a dozen people.The CAC takes its direction from Momentum’s National Committee, as per the original remit we were given. Until that body meets and informs us our role has changed, we will continue working towards Momentum’s first conference. Further details of this will be announced through the same Conference Arrangements Committee Facebook page, and we would urge all members to look there (https://www.facebook.com/momentumconference17/…) for all future updates.All emails regarding conference business should now be sent to the new email momentumconference2017@gmail.com as we have been locked out of the original with no notice.
Whilst a minority of our number have accepted the email from “the six” as legitimate, the CAC majority (and in effect the people who have done virtually all of the work to make a conference happen) are still able to organise a conference which brings together the key Momentum supporters.The conference will consider motions, be a place to network and to politically educate ourselves as per the original NC remit. The conference will fashion a clear strategy for democratising the Labour Party and fighting the effects of austerity in our communities.Considering Jeremy Corbyn is as safe as he will ever be in his position, but the Labour Party is not committed to the policies he was elected on, the discussion at this conference comes at a crucial time.
Successfully achieving clear actions based on the above will be the only way that Jeremy Corbyns Labour party will win the political power the working class needs it to.
25 Member of Momentum Youth and Student Committee We the undersigned members of the Momentum Youth and Students (MYS) committee express our collective disagreement with the statement published on the MYS page with regards to the imposition of a new constitution on Momentum by Jon Lansman and a slim majority of the Steering Committee. We also note with irony that the current Momentum Youth and Students committee effectively does not have any official authority to release such statements because according to the new constitution it effectively no longer exists.We believe the new constitution runs contrary to the very best democratic traditions in the labour movement. Far from ‘empowering members’, the sole democratic body in the constitution, the National Coordinating Group, only has 12 out of 30 seats on it directly elected by members. They are outnumbered by the seats given to affiliates (including Jon Lansman’s blog), trade unions and Labour elected representatives. Ostensibly introduced to prevent Momentum repicating the structures of a “political party”, the new constitution effectively mimics the Labour Party NEC.In order to make any proposal to the National Co-ordinating Group, a member has to get the support of at least 1000 members, which is a difficult task for grassroots members with limited national contacts or access to large email lists. A toothless Members’ Council will comprise 50 people selected by random lots but “shall not be required to make decisions on the operation of the constitution or administration of the organisation.” Make no mistake, members of Momentum under the new constitution have less of a voice than they did in the existing structures. It disempowers the grassroots membership and fortifies a totally unaccountable central organ.Disgracefully, in a move to silence prominent critics of the new structures, the new constitution bars Labour Party members who have been unfairly expelled from the party by the Compliance Unit from being members of Momentum. This has the implication of indirectly handing over control of Momentum’s membership criteria to Iain McNicol, expressly contradicting Momentum’s voted-on policy to fight the witch-hunt of socialists.We believe that the process by which the new constitution has come into force is not a result of a legitimate debate within existing democratic structures. As a sub-committee of the National Committee, whose mandate had run out in July 2016, the Steering Committee does not have the power to make constitutional decisions about Momentum, and did so solely to head-off the planned and more representative Momentum national conference in February.The online survey that is cited to support the actions of the Steering Committee was fundamentally misleading, and backed up by the sort of resources, mass emails, all-member text messages and support from leading Labour figures that Momentum’s outward facing campaigns, such as on the NHS, could only dream of.
Nowhere in the survey was any respondent asked about the specific structural proposals set out in the constitution. We also note that a consultative survey is not the same as a vote, is not in any way democratically binding and was not presented as a way of making constitutional decisions. It is far from clear if the respondents to the survey are more representative of Momentum members than the members who go to meetings, after all only 40% of the membership responded to the survey, and the evidence from the survey is that 40% of Momentum members go to meetings.We believe that Momentum, in order to be successful, has to be based in local groups with the power (and the data) to organise themselves as part of a socialist organisation on a national platform where decisions are made democratically and openly. We do not believe it is up to the owner of Momentum to effectively dissolve all existing structures through an email vote wrapped up within an hour. Democracy cannot be passive assent, it has to be deliberative, done through serious debate and discussion that takes place across the country. We maintain our support for the National Committee meeting called on 28th January, and believe that the National Committee remains the sovereign decision-making body in Momentum and Conference must be organised according to its decisions.Momentum continues to be one of the most potentially transformative forces within the Labour movement. That is why we must continue to assert ourselves as grassroots members organising in branches across the country to change the Labour Party. The Steering Committee’s recent actions are an act of sabotage against what we can achieve as an organisation.Rida Vaquas
Ed Potts
Hattie Craig
Monty Shield
Liam McNulty
Josie Runswick
26 LGBT+ Forum: Motion to Momentum London LGBT+ Meeting, 14 January
1. Momentum’s new national constitution has been imposed on members without discussion. This is not the “new kind of politics” that we support. Regardless of its merits and its defects, we reject the new constitution because of the way it was imposed on us.
2. In particular we note with concern the total lack of consultation with any liberation groups, the absence of mechanisms for liberation groups to feed into Momentum and ensure equality, and the ongoing lack of progress in establishing liberation groups around the country due to lack of action by the office.
3. We are not going to leave Momentum, as has been demanded of those members who reject the new constitution. We authorise our elected Steering Committee to reach out to other Momentum groups and to take all necessary steps to rebuild a democratic organisation from the bottom up.
4. Our aim was and still is to create an open, pluralist, outward-facing network of activists working within the Labour Party to achieve a transformation of our society in the interests of the 99%. We support the 10 pledges issued by Jeremy Corbyn last year and will work to ensure they are the basis for Labour’s campaigning and next election manifesto and work for the election of a Labour Government with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.
27 Proposal on Mxv platform: Reject the decision by Jon Lansman to dissolve the current structures and CAC
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the moves by Jon Lansman and his clique to usurp and undermine the democratic decisions made by the majority of the Momentum National Committee. These undemocratic, behind-the-scenes manoeuvres demonstrate that Lansman and co. can no longer be a trusted and should be replaced immediately by accountable representatives, elected through the previously existing democratic structures of the Regional and National Committees. The newly imposed constitution is completely undemocratic and should be withdrawn immediately. Instead, the plans drawn up by the previously elected Conference Arrangements Committee should be used as the basis for a national conference of elected delegates to discuss and decide upon the way forward for Momentum and the Corbyn movement.We call for:
* The immediate restoration of all democratic structures within Momentum.
* The national conference to proceed in its previously agreed form, as a democratic conference to discuss motions and decide policy on the basis of elected delegates from local groups.
* For an emergency National Committee to discuss this coup and hold those responsible to account.