Has Momentum stopped having elections?

By Zack Murrell-Dowson

Most of Momentum’s National Coordinating Group is not elected by Momentum members, but since the scrapping of the organisation’s democratic structures two years ago the bit that is is literally the only opportunity the membership has for democratic input, nationally. Whether you think it was a good idea or not, the promised and much vaunted system of decision-making by online referendums was never carried out and today, rather surreally, nothing more is said about it.

Now even NCG elections appear to be in doubt.

Last year’s election began in March and was over by the middle of April. In other words it is now over 14 months since the last election was called; but Momentum has made no announcement about when or indeed whether they will hold another one.

The last NCG minutes on the Momentum website are for 1 December – they haven’t even published if and when they’ve been meeting! If the NCG’s secrecy at best – or, worse, the NCG’s nonfunctioning and being bypassed – weren’t bad enough, they currently seem unrecallable and unaccountable.

The 1 December meeting agreed that elections would take place after the 2019 local elections. Sure, we have now had European elections too – not that Momentum did much about them. But the organisation could easily have announced dates for after the Euros. It didn’t before, and it hasn’t since.

The Momentum constitution only requires an NCG election each calendar year. That in itself is not good, but the complete lack of information suggests something more is going on.

Does the bureaucracy which runs Momentum simply not fancy having elections any more, or do they want to delay as long as possible? Or do they not think this is very important and assume no one will make a fuss? Who, outside of the favoured circles, knows? In any case this is indicative of the way Momentum functions.

This would not be the first time that part of the organisation’s already very undemocratic constitution has simply been ignored: for instance, the Members’ Council proved too independent-minded and so was never called again.

Momentum recently announced that it will now campaign for Labour to adopt more radical policies, but its membership has no input into or knowledge of how these policies are decided. Nor is there any accounting for how this stance, which the dominant forces in Momentum long opposed, was suddenly adopted.

More generally, at a time when there are numerous challenging issues facing the Labour left and a serious need for debate about the way forward, an election is badly needed. Momentum activists should demand one is called imminently – no excuses for bypassing democracy.

• Zack is a young Labour and Momentum member in Bristol, and chair of the IWGB union’s National Deliveroo Committee. They write here in a personal capacity.

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