One of the most bizarre of the many undemocratic aspects of Momentum’s contitution is the National Coordinating Group seats reserved for supposed Labour left organisations. This has been used to pack the NCG with votes congenial to the office-faction which runs the organisation, guarding against any possible oppositional/ dissenting/ left-wing takeover of the seats actually elected by Momentum members.
The constitution, as imposed by the January 2017 coup against Momentum’s democracy, lists a number of organisations specifically (see here, point 11).
Organisations run or heavily-influenced by the secretive moderate-left/ Stalinist faction Socialist Action are over-represented (CLPD, Labour Assembly Against Austerity, Labour CND). Several of the organisations do not represent much or are not really organisations at all.
They include barely functional and barely left-wing pressure group Compass, which includes Lib Dems and Greens in its leadership! Plus the “Labour Briefing Coop” which produces the small magazine Labour Briefing; the Facebook page Red Labour; and best of all Jon Lansman’s blog, Left Futures, which has not been updated since February 2018. The last is how Lansman had a place on the NCG between 2015 and 2018, until he finally stood in the NCG election two years ago.
The constitution also allows “affiliation” of “other groups as agreed by the NCG, provided that the NCG may not agree to the affiliation of groups whose programme and policy is incompatible with that of Momentum or the Labour Party”, ie whoever they feel like.
Apparently some groups have declined their right to representation. There is a total lack of transparency about the whole thing.
The April 2020 NCG (minutes here) agreed new “affiliations” from Tribune magazine, Labour for a Green New Deal and the low profile website Labour Hub – again, all likely to provide support to the existing leadership.
The system of affiliations from political organisations should be made properly transparent, with clear rules, procedures and criteria, so that it is no longer just a way for the leadership to shore up its support by adding fronts run by its mates; or scrapped.
Moreover, and in some ways this is an even bigger issue, the constitution also gives the NCG the right to co-opt members!
That should be scrapped too. So should the special seats for “elected representatives”. Last but not least, the electoral system should be changed so it is not based on first past the post in giant, nonsensical regions.