Roxana Fraser, an activist in the Southampton Momentum group, talked with Cathy Nugent from Solidarity.
Our group has been and remains well functioning — we’ve been meeting online regularly during lockdown. We have been in touch with other local groups. It is important right now for groups to invite others to meetings and so on.
In my experience there was very little support for local groups after the early days of Momentum. All the focus was on helping Labour to win elections and fighting the internal battles in Labour. But local groups should be doing a lot more. We’ve organised a lot of political education, but that has been done entirely by ourselves.
And Momentum groups shouldn’t simply mirror the Labour Party, with all the officers that you have in local Labour Party groups. There should be working groups for specific campaigns, for women and other groups, so that more people can be included, and feel able to be involved.
And local groups should be the organising base for Momentum. The National Co-ordinating Groups should be answerable to the local groups and members. At the moment this is not at all the relationship between the NCG and Momentum. The relationships are all wrong. We need an activist movement, not a situation where the NCG substitutes itself for the activists.
Momentum should be encouraging members to join and get active within trade unions. It should be prioritising organising support for the NHS and other campaigns, in the same focused way they were able to due during the general election. For example, mobilising activists to go to local demonstrations.
There needs to be a lot of thinking and discussion about what kind of socialist organisation we want, what we want Momentum to be.
We need a conference which discusses this. We need a website where it is clear to any outsider about what Momentum is, where there is a lot of information, campaign materials and links to other groups.
The NGC is seen as a “leadership”, but there is a problem with this term in my view. They should be more like communicators — people who are there to implement and communicate to the world what members are saying. The current style of leadership is very “corporate” and top-down.
I do feel positive that things can change but above all we need a conference where the NCG is under scrutiny, which is properly representative, and where we can decide what kind of socialist organisation we want Momentum to be.