The following statement was issued by the ‘Grassroots Momentum’ candidates in the South East region – Sahaya James, Jamie Green, Anita Downs and Yannis Gourtsoyannis – plus Rida Vaquas from the Midlands.
The NCG election campaign ended last Friday and we’d like to thank all those who supported our campaign.
We are pleased that three ‘Grassroots Momentum’ candidates – Sahaya James and Yannis Gourtsoyannis (both South East) and Rida Vaquas (Midlands) – have been elected, out of 12. (For all the results, see vote.peoplesmomentum.com/candidates/elected.) This is a respectable result in the circumstances.
Despite many resources being poured into the NCG election, the turnout (whilst comparable to similar elections in other organisations) was not high. If only similar resources were devoted by Momentum HQ to both national campaigning activity and the building of local groups. Once again it is clear that online voting is not automatically more accessible and involving than face-to-face meetings at well-resourced and empowered local groups, far from it.
Without this kind of central support, there seems little hope of activists meeting the very high turnout thresholds required by the new constitution to successfully use online voting.
Momentum should be committed to its grassroots. We need to strengthen the local groups, build new ones, coordinate between them and develop a vibrant culture of campaigning and political debate. Only such a network and culture can allow us to tackle our key task of organising and mobilising people to transform Labour, as part of the wider task of reviving and transforming the labour movement.
There has been much fractious debate recently within Momentum, as a result of bureaucratic manoeuvring. We urge members not to resign or drift out in disgust. Instead we must link up to organise for democracy, active campaigning and socialist policies both locally and nationally.
We support the calling of a grassroots networking conference for local groups, currently set for 11 March, but we urge that the date is put back in order to maximise participation of groups and activists (particularly since the first NCG meeting has now been set for the same date).
Meanwhile, the most important thing is that the groups mobilise for struggles like the Derby teaching assistants’ dispute, the Picturehouse workers’ dispute and the 4 March NHS demonstration – as well as pushing forward the fight in the Labour Party itself. We will be demanding central Momentum support for these kind of struggles too.
We are faced with the enormous task of transforming Labour, getting Corbyn into Downing Street and creating a government which serves the working class: the vast majority of people in this country. We have a lot of work to do to make it happen. Please stay in touch.
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