We are putting forward a programme that centres on three big themes:
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One of the basic problems in society – in the political system and in the economy – is the lack of democracy. But at the moment, our own movement isn’t even democratic: our MPs are unaccountable to members, and policy is largely decided behind closed doors. Despite talking about democratising Labour, Momentum has hesitated on pushing structural reforms like open selection, and became an uncritical top-down mobilising vehicle for the leadership in which there is no real internal democracy. The left has incubated a lack of pluralism, and an intolerance for dissent.
We need radical change in Momentum, Labour and the trade unions. This means:
- Transforming Labour, including campaigning for thoroughgoing structural changes including open selection. Party conference should determine party policy and manifestos. Momentum should support and resource campaigns to push radical policy in the party, and win back the NEC with democratically selected left candidates.
- Democratising Momentum, including a drive to re-establish vibrant local groups as the heart of the organisation’s activity and local decision-making. That means local groups being represented in vibrant regional and national structures, and a democratic annual decision-making conference.
- Advocating pluralism and a healthy political culture, in which dissent and disagreement are encouraged and given space.
- Democratising the trade unions, pushing for bottom-up decision-making and minimal bureaucracy. Union members should decide how the union intervenes in the Labour party.
- Pushing for a democratisation of the British state, with decentralised power and a fairer voting system
2. Class struggle
There can be no return to normal after Covid-19 while capitalism is tearing our climate and our societies apart. We are facing an unprecedented economic crisis. In the coming period, there will be huge struggles over unemployment, housing, poverty, migration and climate refugees.
The route to a better world is through working class self-organisation. This means turning Labour and Momentum into organisations that can actively participate in a struggle, rather than seeing politics as a series of parliamentary manoeuvres and internal elections, or waiting until the next election.
Momentum has attracted and sometimes mobilised large numbers of people. But as a political organisation to educate and organise for class struggle, and to push forward the transformation of the Labour Party and wider labour movement, it is not fit for purpose.
We want to see a Momentum which:
- Stands for socialism – for replacing capitalism with a new society based on democratic social ownership of major industry, services and finance, and workers’ control. This means educating people about the difference between social democracy and socialism.
- Actively fights climate change, with a Socialist Green New Deal including the full Labour Party conference policy, expanded to include public ownership of banking and finance and opposition to airport expansion. The Barclays bank protests were a step in the right direction.
- Intervenes in the trade unions in favour of rank-and-file coordination, democracy and radical action, by giving its members the tools and data to organise themselves.
- Recognises that taking a strong stand against racism, sexism, transphobia, and all other bigotry and oppression is not an optional extra in class struggle but a core part of it. Labour should lead anti-racist and anti- fascist campaigning in our communities and mobilise on the streets where necessary. We must better educate against racist and prejudiced currents within the labour movement and in wider society, such as anti-semitism and Islamophobia.
- Actively supports workers’ and working-class community struggles, and grassroots organising to build and transform the labour movement; and campaigns to repeal all anti-union laws.
- Calls on Labour councils to join their workforces and communities in fighting cuts, and advocates tackling social problems with structural social reform rather than repressive “law and order” policies.
- Takes active steps to ensure reach out and organise within underrepresented communities, in solidarity with ongoing struggles; and pushes for self-organised BAME and liberation structures in Momentum and the Labour Party.
In the UK and across the world, the enemy we face is an insurgent nationalist far right, which has the support of much of the pre-existing ruling class bolstered by a right-wing press. Our answer to this threat must be unflinching: we need to challenge, not accommodate, right wing ideas about nation, race and immigration. The working class is all of us, everywhere, and we must fight against attempts to reduce it to a parochial, cultural or ethnic monolith.
While they put forward some positive rhetoric, both Labour and Momentum have at various points failed the test of internationalism and solidarity. The left leadership abandoned free movement and proposed harsher ‘no recourse to public funds’ policies in 2017. While many of us fought to change the policy, Momentum either did nothing or actively moved to block the debate within the party. It has largely, beyond platitudes, remained silent, refusing to bring its influence to bear in this movement-defining struggle.
The UK is a global power, and plays a deeply reactionary role in international institutions, and in the oppressive war on terror and war on drugs. The labour movement must be, and must look to build, a beacon of solidarity and hope.
We want an internationalist Labour movement and Momentum. This means:
- Standing in solidarity with workers and oppressed minorities across the globe
- Connecting the struggles of workers globally. The struggles of low-paid, virus-exposed ASOS workers in Barnsley should be linked across the supply chain to those of garment workers in countries like Bangladesh, India, China, and Vietnam.
- Fighting unequivocally for migrants’ rights, and to defend and extend free movement, campaigning for the new leadership to implement in full the Labour Campaign for Free Movement platform won at Labour conference.
- Fighting Fortress Europe, welcoming refugees and challenging racist immigration policies in the UK and across the EU.
- Campaigning step-by-step against the implementation of Boris Johnson’s Brexit – on immigration restrictions, deregulation, and regressive trade deals.
- Campaigning for, or helping to organise, an international democratic assembly and other ways to bring together socialists from across Europe together to debate and discuss common strategies.
- Campaigning against a military-industrial complex which funds and supports violent border regimes and wars
- Challenging British nationalism, and the politics and nostalgia of imperialism.
- Fostering a politics of solidarity with indigenous struggles and oppressed people in Palestine, Kurdistan, Uyghuristan, Kashmir, and across the world.