Momentum has proposed a slate for the elections to the constituency section of Labour’s National Executive, to be held this summer. As we understand it, this slate has also been (narrowly) approved by the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance. The first-time additions of Ann Henderson, Huda Elmi and Nav Mishra to the slate do make it the most diverse it has ever been. However, not everyone is happy.
The departure of Rhea Wolfson and Christine Shawcroft, possibly to help them secure parliamentary seats is regrettable. Christine Shawcroft is a long-standing activist on the Labour left, has regularly reported on National Executive meetings and has undertaken some of the work of trying to prevent the Labour Party excluding and expelling left-wing members, including supporters of Workers’ Liberty. Rhea Wolfson deserved our solidarity for the abuse she experienced on social media, far worse than any of the other left candidates. That was for being Jewish and standing up to antisemitism within and outside the party, and more recently for her stance in defence of the rights of trans women to be allowed to stand on All-Women-Shortlists.
But the headline news about the slate was that Ann Black will no longer be supported by the CLGA. This has led one of the affiliate organisations, Open Labour, to split away and declare they will back Black standing against the slate and to look at supporting other candidates.
Some Momentum members, supporters of the LRC, and others, have demanded that a vote is taken of all Momentum members to decide on the candidates. The selection procedure, in effect a job application, was certainly inadequate, as were the telephone interviews given to those who got through this first stage. But the problem cannot be solved by an OMOV vote of Momentum members. And the principle of the constituent parts of the CLGA meeting together to decide candidates is not the problem here.
With fuller democracy, Momentum could have thrown open the process, sought nominations from local groups, and chosen the nominees at a democratic conference. Those candidates could then be put forward to the CLGA, discussed and voted on by CLGA members.