Momentum NC puts foot on brake

25 May 2016

By Rebecca Anderson 

The interim leadership of the campaign formed to support Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party has decided to delay holding its founding conference until February 2017. Although there are plans to hold regional policy conferences, the delay means that there is no way for tens of thousands of Corbyn’s supporters to organise at a national level. It means that the organisation will be unable to democratically decide what policies to support in the run up to the most important Labour Conference in years. It means the existing leadership – which was only elected on an interim mandate- will be responsible for deciding Momentum’s policy on a series of controversial issues – or simply putting off a decision, allowing the highly organised right wing to dominate the debate.

The problem of delaying a thoroughgoing national debate and election of an accountable leadership which represents the democratically agreed policy of the organisation was reinforced by the events at the National Committee meeting. Attempts to stop motions being heard on spurious grounds, statements appearing without prior circulation, the use of ‘next businesses’ to end debate by leading members, etc. is the behaviour of the Labour right and exactly the opposite of the new politics we are trying to foster.

The failure to categorically reject and vigorously oppose the right wing’s attempt to smear anti-Zionist activists and manufacture an antisemitism problem is a particular concern. Add in Corbyn and McDonnell’s backpedaling on key issues like nationalisation, and it’s clear why the creation of a force that can openly champion principled socialist and internationalist politics in the party cannot be put off for another year.

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