Democratise Momentum… and then what?

By Simon Hannah

Have people been watching the news lately? I’m just asking because it seems like people haven’t been as no one seems to be really talking about the massive economic crisis that is barrel rolling towards us with increasing… er… momentum.

So far the discussions on the Labour left are not only dull and uninspired, focussing on the same old arguments that could have been had in the 1980s, they are profoundly lacking any real sense of urgency.

I’ll keep it short – the IMF has calculated that April global growth in 2020 will fall to -3 percent. In their words “This makes the Great Lockdown the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis.”

We need a huge shift in wealth from the rich to the poor and a total reorganising of society away from profit. If not then we are talking mass unemployment, social immiseration and a dramatic decline of essential public services.

As the crisis deepens there will likely be significant social struggles in which the Labour Party will not only be largely absent but will even oppose them outright. In that situation the Labour left will need to focus on not just the ridiculous insular world of Westminster bubble politics.

Talk of democratising Momentum means absolutely nothing unless it is clear what the role of a democratised Momentum is in the context of the worst economic and social crisis since the 1930s.

Likewise there is too much talk of ‘policies’ as in what would make a good manifesto for government. Let’s face facts, Labour is out of power for at least five years, perhaps longer. So what is the Labour left going to do in the meantime?

Anyone who is interested in running Momentum in a post-Corbyn Labour Party needs to address this central question. Otherwise what is the point?

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