By Mohan Sen
In 2020, the Forward Momentum grouping won every member-elected seat on the National Coordinating Group of Labour left organisation Momentum. It defeated the Momentum Renewal slate linked to the office faction that destroyed Momentum’s democracy in 2017.
In July 2022, Forward Momentum-rebranding Your Momentum won 14 seats to 15 for Momentum Renewal-successor Momentum Organisers (for a briefing on the two, see here). Momentum Organisers got over 50% of first preference votes, to just over 45% for Your Momentum.
Labour Left Internationalists ran three candidates in the London and Eastern region (Abel Harvie-Clark, Maisie Sanders and Andy Warren), who got 74 first-preference votes between them, behind the 111 of the last successful candidate. (For some of our campaigning and materials, see our Twitter.) The turnout and the score for the left were low because Momentum’s numbers and activity have declined, and in part also because of the rushed and undemocratic way the election was run.
The LLI candidates raised class-struggle, internationalist socialist ideas and proposals that no other candidates did.
Forward Momentum came to office in 2020 by criticising the conservative, undemocratic and destructively unpleasant politics and culture institutionalised after the office-coup of January 2017. But it operated its own exclusions; Momentum remained office-dominated, and intervened only weakly at the 2021 Labour conference. In this election the Your Momentum candidates gave the impression of not knowing what to advocate.
Momentum Organisers advocated a focus on defending the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs and leftish councillors. Some better initiatives that Momentum has pursued half-heartedly, like promoting policy for Labour Party conference and deciding to hold a conference of its its own, may get downgraded.
Right up to their defeat in 2020, the office-linked faction that later became Momentum Organisers engaged in witch-hunting and slandering of critical-minded leftist opponents. This time they had quite a few new people involved, and refrained from such behaviour. Nonetheless, it seems unlikely they will make Momentum more open, let alone democratic.
The ideas Labour Left Internationalists promoted in the election, including mobilising the organisation’s members and resources in support of strikes and replacing bluster about “community wealth building” with campaigning to stop and reverse council cuts, will only become more important.