Tag Archives: Grassroots Momentum

Grassroots Momentum: Three-minute slots

David Shearer of Labour Party Marxists reports on a less than inspiring meeting

Around 120 comrades – including supporters of the Labour Representation Committee, Labour Party Marxists, Red Labour, Red Flag, The Clarion and Socialist Fight factions – attended the national meeting called by Grassroots Momentum on June 17. But what was its purpose? There were no motions or any kind of concrete proposals.

Towards the end of the meeting comrade Simon Hannah tried to explain this from the chair by stating that the event had originally been conceived as one where we could organise to defend the party leader following the expected heavy Labour defeat. But, of course, Labour had done far better than expected and for the moment the right is holding back on its anti-Corbyn offensive. So it seems the steering committee just could not think of a set of action proposals to put before us.

The reason for this partially lies in the origins of GR Momentum – comrades had been appalled by the refusal of Jon Lansman (following the orders of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell no doubt) to contemplate any kind of membership democracy for Momentum, and this led to a rebellion by the majority of its steering committee and the formation of Grassroots Momentum. Everyone knew what they were against, but when it came to what they were for …

True, the SC issued a kind of wish list for the June 17 meeting: “… we, grassroots members of the Labour Party, must take back control from the right that still dominates the Parliamentary Labour Party and many of the party structures”. It reminded us that we are for the “abolition of the hated compliance unit” and that “Iain McNicol must be sacked”; we also want “a reversal of the expulsions and suspensions of all those who were penalised for their socialist beliefs”. But the nearest it came to something more concrete was: “We also need meetings of leftwing party members at local, regional and national level in a fully democratic framework … to coordinate the fight for a socialist Labour Party”.

In fact the SC majority is demanding: “The Labour Party must go into emergency election mode”, since another snap general election is more than possible and “Our aim is a leftwing Labour government”. But that call stood in sharp contrast to the demand that “the NEC urgently organises open parliamentary selection conferences by all members … rather than the imposition by the bureaucracy of mainly rightwing candidates”. Surely a party in “emergency election mode” – especially one under the control of a rightwing bureaucracy – would be expected to bypass democratic procedures, citing the urgency of the situation.

The meeting was divided into two sessions, entitled: ‘After May’s humiliation, prospects for a socialist Labour government’; and ‘Forward to a mass Labour left and a transformed party’. But after the opening speech from Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, comrades were called randomly from the floor to offer their thoughts on whatever aspect they fancied in three-minute contributions.

While there were some useful exchanges, mostly it felt like a waste of time, since the format ensured that no decisions could be taken on anything. Obviously, motions should have been invited in advance, but, more than that, there should have been a process in place allowing each of the factions to move their own proposals, so that individual GR Momentum supporters might be able to judge the various options on offer.


Understandably comrade Wrack devoted a small section of his speech to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, pointing out that fire safety inspectors had been reduced by two-thirds and the “red tape” that might hold back profits had been ditched.

Turning to the general election, he claimed that sections of the Labour right had gone into it “with the aim of losing”. They were ready immediately to call on Corbyn to resign following a bad result, but in the event Corbyn’s position was “pretty safe for the time being”. He stated that we now need a drive for democratisation and the selection of “working class, socialist candidates”.

He warned against those who think that under Corbyn “everything will be hunky-dory”. In fact Corbyn has been compromising with the right and, to prevent that, we need to “build a politically informed mass movement and Labour Party”.

Following this, the three-minute contributions began with the LRC’s Jackie Walker. The comrade said that at last, during the election campaign, class had “come back onto the agenda” – the prime example being “For the many, not the few” – the title of “the most radical manifesto I can remember”. She too wanted Labour to be put on “an election footing”, but without the “imposition of candidates”, who must be nominated by “open selection”.

I suppose, if the existing manifesto is so “radical”, in that case we can elect a “socialist Labour government” within a few months without first having to defeat the anti-Corbyn right. In reality, as The Clarion’s Rosie Woods stated, For the many, not the few was “very timid”. Marginally to the left of what was on offer under Ed Miliband in 2015, it can only be described as “radical” compared to what was proposed by Tony Blair.

Like many others the LRC’s Pete Firmin accepted that the Labour election manifesto was “not socialist”, but he too agreed that its contents were “radical” – in fact they were “just what we needed in that situation”. Incredibly a young member of the Socialist Workers Party stated we “have come so far in the last year” that now “we haven’t got so far to go”. Presumably she meant in order to achieve world socialism.

Comrade Hannah, speaking from the floor in the first session, was another who was still quite optimistic about the direction Corbyn and McDonnell are taking the party. After all, “The shadow chancellor has been placing demands on the TUC to come out in support of July 1”, when the People’s Assembly has called for a mass demonstration against the Tory government. However, while a Corbyn administration would be social democratic, not socialist, said comrade Hannah, it “would face economic sabotage” and opposition from the Labour right.

Daniel Morley of Socialist Appeal contended that the Corbyn leadership was “beginning the work of transforming Labour, in a confused, semi-conscious way”. But he warned that the ruling class could become reconciled to the Corbyn leadership – how do we combat that?

John Pickard thought that the Tories would “try to hang on” and there would not necessarily be another quick general election. The electorate will now have “much higher expectations”, but “not everyone is a Corbynista”, so our “best option” against the PLP right was not to demand another poll right now.

Tina Werkmann of LPM pointed out that Corbyn and McDonnell had to a large extent “collapsed”. Nevertheless, the ruling class “still won’t accept Corbynistas”. We need to “pull them to the left”, but our central aim must be to “transform the Labour Party”, she concluded.

‘On the streets’

Stuart King, of Left Unity, was the first speaker to use the term “mud wrestling” – the way he described the internal battle within the Labour Party. Defeating the Labour right was “not the most important” – rather we should follow John McDonnell’s advice and aim for “one million on the streets” for the July 1 demonstration, which should be linked to trade union struggles and the anti-cuts movement. As it was, the steering committee’s statement prepared for the meeting was “one-sided”, because it “concentrated only on the internal struggle”.

Nick Wrack, who reminded us he was one of those “still excluded” by the witch-hunt, responded that, while it was correct to want to “turn Labour outwards”, we must “not lose sight of the fact that we have to transform it from top to bottom”. If people were “engaged on the streets, not in Labour, the right will be happy”. He correctly pointed out, however, that what was “sorely lacking” was “a strategy” for such a transformation. He proposed later on that the steering committee should campaign for an “organisation for socialism in the Labour Party”. We “can’t simply talk about it and do nothing”.

But Dewi John was another who disparaged Labour Party work: “Where are the young activists here today?” he asked. “How can we mobilise them for deathly dull Labour meetings?” Another comrade thought that, while getting young people to join Labour might be “the worst thing we could do”, we do have to replace the right, which means that “mud wrestling is essential”. In the words of a disabled comrade: “Mud is there; the enemy is there. If you don’t wrestle them, they’ll drown you in it!”

Steve Forrest stated that we need to “educate young people in the ideas of socialism”. The idea must be to “turn them into Labour to fight against the machine” – how about re-establishing Labour Party Young Socialists? He stressed the need to stand by those unjustly suspended or expelled – although he remarked pertinently: “I haven’t heard much from Jeremy Corbyn against the witch-hunt”.

Sandy McBurney, of Glasgow Momentum, while agreeing that official Labour meetings are dull – often “intentionally”, he thought – insisted that we need to steer activists linked to Grassroots Momentum into the party. Aim to “build the mass movement and bring them in to defeat the right”.

The contribution of Terry Conway from Socialist Resistance was just about the worst of the lot. Instead of telling us all about her organisation’s support for a Labour-Green-Women’s Party-Health Action Party-Scottish National Party popular front, she stuck to what she knows best: complaining about the “awful” age, gender and race “imbalance” in the room. Her totally apolitical conclusion was that we are “not sharing best practice enough”. She later added that we “weren’t ambitious enough about this meeting” – we should have “marketed” it to people inspired by Corbyn. In other words, we should go for a rally and cut out the political debate.

Serious alternative

However, Jack Conrad of LPM thought we should “take this meeting more seriously”. The key question is not age, ethnicity or gender, but politics. We need to treat ourselves with “more self-respect”. On Labour’s programme, he said that it was “quite possible” that capital would not accept it, but we need to “look at the manifesto seriously”: it was a call to run capitalism in favour of “the many, not the few”. That “cannot be done”. Yes, we must defend Corbyn against the right, but we must not lose sight of the overriding interest of the working class – the winning of socialism. And that is what we need to organise around.

Graham Bash of the LRC also called on comrades not to “denigrate this meeting” – we “need to have this discussion”. However, he took a rather more positive attitude to the Labour manifesto than some others: “if implemented it would put Labour in conflict with the bourgeoisie”, which meant we now have the “prospect of a Labour government prepared to confront capital”. What is more, “the leadership doesn’t fear the movement: it wants it”.

Richard Gerard of Red Flag asked us to think about how we could replace the right and with what policies. He reminded us about the lack of democracy in official Momentum, which is “run by Jon Lansman and two other people”. The task was to organise the left in a democratic manner, ensuring full discussion.

Another victim of the witch-hunt, Gerry Downing of Socialist Fight, pointed out that if there was another general election we would still be “going into battle with an army led by those opposed to Corbyn” – we had to “get rid of the hostile bureaucracy”, he said. While he agreed that under Corbyn we had seen the “first breach of the neoliberal agenda”, he compared this to the reforms of the 1945 Labour government, which nevertheless “defended British imperialism”.

For his part, Mark Wadsworth from Grassroots Black Momentum identified himself as one of those falsely accused of anti-Semitism. He could not understand why Corbyn was “bending over backwards to bring back the right wing into the shadow cabinet”.

Mark Lewis of LPM said that there was a mood of conciliation amongst many Corbyn supporters. They seemed to agree with Tony Blair’s dictum that politics was “not about principle” – it was about “the best people”. He also reminded us of the words of another Tony – Tony Benn – who had remarked that the Labour Party “needs two wings to fly”. That was nonsense – we do not need the right.

In introducing the second session from the chair, comrade Hannah had urged us to “focus on the particular things we can do together” (he mentioned demonstrations, for example!). In response a comrade from Manchester called for the SC to set up a means of communication – on WhatsApp, for instance – where we could “prioritise ideas”.

Reacting to criticism about the general directionlessness of the meeting, comrade Hannah desperately tried to bring together some of the proposals raised from the floor into a makeshift motion (like supporting the July 1 demonstration!), but, when people objected to the idea of a catch-all motion suddenly being foisted upon us, he dropped the idea.

So we went away having to content ourselves with our three-minute contributions. While these did reveal some basic differences, it has to be said that the meeting took us nowhere. What is the role of Grassroots Momentum? Hopefully this pointless meeting will provoke some serious thought.

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 Grassroots conference: Against Jon Lansman, for what?

On March 11, Grassroots Momentum met at Conway Hall in central London. Simon Wells and Carla Roberts report

Over 200 Momentum members attended the first gathering of the newly established Momentum Grassroots network. It could have easily been much bigger, had it not been built as a ‘delegate’ event – a decision which was overturned at the beginning of the meeting by a clear majority of the branch delegates (see interview opposite).

The organised left was there, of course: there were about two dozen members and supporters of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty/The Clarion and a handful of supporters each of Workers Power (Red Flag), Socialist Appeal and Labour Party Marxists. The Labour Representation Committee and Nick Wrack’s Labour Party Socialist Network had a few members present, though neither seemed to make a coordinated intervention.

It is, of course, long overdue for the left within the Labour movement to start to get organised. But, on the day, GM’s main political problem became more and more evident: it has been set up as a reaction to Jon Lansman’s January 10 coup, when he simply abolished all elected Momentum bodies and imposed a bureaucratic constitution. All GM supporters are united in their opposition to this highly undemocratic manoeuvre. However, when it comes to the way forward, there were – at least – three different viewpoints present on March 11:

  • Some want a clean split from Momentum – the sooner, the better. There are, naturally, differences over with whom to split, to form what exactly and on what political basis.
  • Some want to continue to work in Momentum for now, while at the same time almost replicating the official body – with parallel structures and similar political limitations, but on a lower level: similar campaigns, similar leadership elections, etc.
  • Some – and LPM belongs to this third group – agree that we should continue to work within Momentum for the time being, but with a clear understanding of its limited shelf life, openly criticising its exceedingly pinched political outlook and subordination to the politics of Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 pledges.

How not to run a conference

Unfortunately, the GM conference made no attempt to clarify where GM as a whole might stand in relation to those three main options. In fact, we did not get a chance to discuss anything much at all, let alone serious politics.

To put it mildly, the organisation of the event was a shambles – reflecting, of course, the ideological and political poverty of much of the left. As is now common at such leftwing gatherings, we were presented with a stuffed agenda, which included speeches from strikers – but we had no time for proper, meaningful discussion or decision-making. Of course, we support the Picturehouse workers struggle for a living wage and are with the teaching assistants in Derby in their strike against the Labour council. But should the founding conference of GM really have devoted so much time to hearing their representatives, when contributions from the floor were limited to a measly two minutes?

An exception was made for Matt Wrack, leader of the Fire Brigades Union, who was allowed six minutes, but this was not enough to outline a set of serious proposals. Comrade Wrack had personally sponsored the conference with a “large contribution” – since his election as general secretary of the FBU, he has been “setting aside a portion of my wages to help fund the labour movement”.

It would have helped if we had started the day with this comrade’s contribution, but it was not until just before lunch that he spoke. He explained that the FBU “continues to keep an open mind” about Momentum and Grassroots Momentum, but had so far declined the offer to take up a seat on Lansman’s national coordinating group. He spoke about the need to democratise Labour, fight for the selection of socialist MPs and for socialist policies – and said that in fact “we are making almost no progress in any of these areas”. He quite correctly stated that “the right is running rings around the left at conference” and “expulsions for political reasons are not being challenged”. He was also right to say that “Corbyn will lose, unless he faces these challenges head on”.

The biggest problem was the agenda, which really was the wrong way round. We were to discuss campaigns first (see interview), then democratising the Labour movement, and only then were we supposed to have a discussion on “the way forward for GM”, including how to elect some kind of a leadership. This last item was supposed to last just over an hour and a half. But clearly there were a lot of disagreements in the hall.

What kind of leadership?

LPM supporter John Bridge successfully challenged the agenda and after lunch we went on to discuss the future of GM. This challenge turned out to be quite crucial, as that discussion went on for the rest of the day. Clearly, conference should have started with it. And maybe then we would have had time to debate this question politically, rather than just decide on a method of electing a new leadership.

On this issue, we were presented with three options, which were put together by the former chair of the (now abolished) conference arrangements committee, Alec Price – himself a supporter of option 2 (he also started chairing the session, but after a challenge from the floor sat down again).

  • Option 1 was not very serious: keep things as they are, with the remaining members of Momentum’s official national council (also abolished), who were elected many months ago, continuing to meet. Only one or two people voted for this.
  • Option 2 was favoured by the ex-CAC members and was given by far the most time: local groups would affiliate to GM and send two representatives each to a leadership meeting every three months. Plus, conference was to directly elect a ‘coordinating group’ of six named positions. These two bodies would work together in perfect harmony, with the national meeting of branch delegates supposedly being the superior committee. But this is obvious nonsense. In practice the six directly elected officers would be unaccountable little Bonapartes – an all too common practice of the left and fervently opposed by LPM. Much to the consternation of the top table, after a couple of recounts, option 2 was defeated with 83 for and 89 against. Those who had already divvied up the six jobs between themselves were visibly stunned. For a good five minutes they literally did not know what to do.
  • Option 3 was textually the briefest and allowed for “15-20 people” elected at conference to form a “steering committee” that “can elect an executive if they wish”. This was successfully carried with 88 for and 68 against.

In general, option 2 was supported by comrades who want a politically narrower leadership (specifically in this case excluding the AWL/The Clarion) – about half the conference. As we had no proper discussion on this issue, it was projected onto the 30-second (!) hustings contributions by the 40-plus candidates who put themselves forward for the 20 national committee places. Without any consultation, let alone a vote, the chair announced that a least half the committee had to be female (ie, the quota system loved by liberal bureaucracies everywhere). And it is no surprise, especially given the numbers they had mobilised, that the AWL candidates did well. They make up around a quarter of the committee (that despite the fact that in the morning session they badly lost out when they spoke against the proposal to include in GM’s basic platform opposition to the bogus ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt).

The left within Momentum is, though, surely split on the most crucial question before us: what it is we hope to achieve in the Labour Party.

Is it about following the masses into Labour and building this or that social movement? Is it about splitting off a leftwing minority to form the core of a future revolutionary ‘party’ – ie, one of the sects writ large? Is it about working for a Labour government and hoping that Jeremy Corbyn manages to hang on till 2020? Is it about fighting for a left-reformist Labour government that will carry out a limited range of progressive measures within the confines of the existing monarchical constitution?

Or, on the contrary, is it about transforming the Labour Party into a permanent united front of the entire organised working class, a party programmatically committed to republican democracy and a new, socialist, clause four? If it is the latter – which is certainly the case with LPM – then this means recognising that taking such a course will ensure that Labour remains a party of extreme opposition for many years to come. We prefer that to forming a government that has no chance of carrying out the full programme of Marxism. Hence we envisage the taking of power not just in Britain in isolation, but as part of a worldwide movement of working class self-liberation that has Europe as its decisive point of departure.

There is clearly no real political coherence among the comrades involved in GM at this stage. This is something we shall seek to rectify through a process of debate, discussion and involvement in what should be our common struggle to influence Momentum’s 22,000 members. This means that, in our view, GM should as a matter of tactic, not principle, remain a part of Momentum – just so long as we can make our voice heard in it and there are people to listen.

That does not mean we politically subordinate ourselves to Jon Lansman or, for that matter, Jeremy Corbyn. Of course not. But, if we arm ourselves with principled politics, we will have the opportunity, in however limited a way, to win many thousands to the cause of socialism. For example, LPM secretary Stan Keable stood in the recent Momentum elections to the national coordinating group for the South East constituency. He won a respectable 458 votes on a Marxist platform, which included a strongly-worded condemnation of the Lansman coup, naturally. Where is the downside of that, exactly?

Steering committee

The following were elected:

Matt Wrack,137
Sahaya James, 95
Tracy McGuire, 93
Jackie Walker, 93
Nick Wrack, 89
Simon Hannah, 82
Delia Mattis, 82
Kevin McKenna, 80
Jill Mountford, 75
Graham Bash, 71
Rosie Woods, 71
Rida Vaquas, 69
Lee Griffiths, 69
Alec Price, 67
Pete Radcliff, 64
Ed Whitby, 63
Tina Werkmann, 61
Jan Pollock, 58
Richard Gerrard, 56
Joan Twelves, 53

Further results here: