By Vicki Morris
Fifty members of Momentum chosen at random from around the country were summoned to the first “Members’ Council” in Manchester on 9 September. We were asked to identify six key tasks for the organisation and to develop action plans to implement them over the next six months to three years.
Working first in small brainstorming groups, then coming together to vote on our favourite suggestions, we decided to work up action plans for the following:
• Democratising the Labour Party
• Democratising Momentum
• Developing media skills and resources to counteract the mainstream media
• Encouraging Momentum groups to work in local communities
• Educating and skill sharing among momentum members
• Campaigning for free movement and supporting migrant communities
Our action plan for freedom of movement campaigning included producing a model motion for Labour Party and union meetings and developing a campaign pack. We urged Momentum to work with unions to ensure migrant workers are mobilised and represented and to unite native born and migrant workers.
In our deliberations we expressed our belief that Labour can win enough workers to support freedom of movement to help us win the general election.
The working group on democratising the Labour Party demanded that Momentum should support members witch hunted from the party including those suspended or expelled for membership of socialist organisations such as Workers’ Liberty.
The working group on democratising Momentum did not revisit the question of the new constitution but was critical of current momentum organisation including the poor relationship between the centre and local groups. It argued for the Members’ Council to have powers to produce their own report on the day’s proceedings in addition to the official report which will appear soon. We also asked for our own Facebook group to communicate with each other. People expressed annoyance that the ordinary Momentum members only have a minority voice on the National Coordinating Group.
As if to underline the need for more democracy in Momentum we were required to present our action plans to some members of the NCG ushered in at the end of the day hot foot from their own meeting. It wasn’t clear whether we were instructing or lobbying them on what should be Momentum priorities for the next six months.
Speaking for most of the NCG members present Sam Tarry said that not all organisations represented in Momentum would be happy supporting free movement and he cited the Communication Workers’ Union.
Nevertheless this policy was the only one highlighted by the Members’ Council on Saturday and there were no dissenting voices saying that it should not be a priority for Momentum. Momentum needs to be forthright within the Labour Party and unions on this policy and to implement the very practical actions we have proposed. (For more on this, see this on the Labour Campaign for Free Movement blog.)
The members of the Council will meet again in six months and hand over to a new set of 50 members. It is good that there will be some continuity in the form of our plans which they will be invited to continue.
I am happy to answer any questions people might have about the Council. I would also like to be in touch with anyone who is interested in contributing to promoting the campaign for freedom of movement throughout Momentum. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selling The Clarion
I sold The Clarion throughout the Members’ Council but was approached late morning and told not to sell it by one of the facilitators. I told them I was not trying to mislead people into thinking it is an official Momentum publication (obviously!) I expressed my view that it would be good if Momentum did have a publication for news and debate. By this point half the people in the room had a copy and none of the ordinary members present objected to it being sold, quite the opposite.
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