By a newly elected Momentum National Committee member
Momentum has recently launched a new “digital democracy platform”, called MxV. This platform was created at the request of the Steering Committee (a smaller sub-committee of the National Committee, widely seen to be acting way beyond its remit). It allows all members to submit proposals, with proposals going to the National Conference in February. The full proposals around this have now been released in the agenda for the next National Committee meeting, in the form of a process proposed by national Steering Committee chair Jon Lansman, and they are deeply concerning.
What is actually being proposed by Jon Lansman is a “conference” entirely ran by MxV. Every single motion debated would be one of the “top 18” proposals on MxV. Under these proposals, the only role of conference would be to narrow down these 18 to nine – after which there would be an OMOV ballot to select the top three, which would become Momentum policy. This has many serious issues:
1) It means there is little chance of useful, constructive policy which can guide the organisation emerging. At this time, most of the top proposals on MxV are well-meaning but vague, and would not improve the working of Momentum in the slightest. There are no popular proposals which attempt to define how Momentum should be structured and very few concrete policies. This looks like policies being passed as “democratic” window-dressing, rather than allowing real control over how Momentum moves forward.
2) The “conference” will not be genuinely deliberative or have control over what Momentum says or does in any meaningful sense.
3) It completely ignores minorities. There are some excellent proposals further down the popularity ladder – motions about things like transgender rights which stand no chance of making it an OMOV agenda. The Lansman proposals represent populism at its absolute worst – not allowing local groups and equalities groups to submit motions means that issues which are very important to some, but not all, members, still make the agenda. Political minorities, too, would be excluded from meaningful input.
4) It bypasses every existing structure of Momentum. Under these proposals, local and regional groups will have effectively zero say in how Momentum functions. It represents an attempt to position Momentum as a top-down body, nominally guided by all-member ballots on predetermined or safely incidental questions.
Momentum should be a true grassroots movement, and a “conference” along the proposed lines would represent the end of that movement, or at least create a solid wall blocking it off from any national representation.