In his final message as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn called on Labour Party members to support Momentum.
But Momentum, a Labour left network launched in late 2015 as a continuation of the grass-roots organising for Corbyn’s leadership campaign, is in flux.
On 7-8 April, almost simultaneously, the Momentum NCG officers made a statement saying Momentum “cannot continue as it has been” and (vaguely) promising more democracy in Momentum; and other Momentum people launched “Forward Momentum” to “refound” and “democratise” Momentum.
The driving force in “Forward Momentum” seems to be people in the backrooms of The World Transformed, the festival run on the Labour Party conference “fringe” since 2016, which was launched by Momentum but has since acquired some autonomy and helped run local “Transformed” events.
The wish to democratise Momentum is welcome. Momentum had some democratic life in 2016, but that was shut down by an office “coup” in early 2017. Since then Momentum has operated essentially as a top-down electronic-mailing service to mobilise Labour members for internal elections and for the 2017 and 2019 general elections.
However, neither the Momentum NCG officers’ statement, nor “Forward Momentum”, says anything about the battles against the pandemic or against the Tory government.
To regroup and reassemble, the left has to be active and vocal in those battles.
Labour for a Socialist Europe (L4SE) adopted a statement in January in view of the Momentum National Coordinating Group elections (much-postponed, but now rumoured for May), and is due to discuss updating for the pandemic. A number of activists are planning to stand on that sort of platform for the NCG contest, and are likely to want to discuss cooperation with Forward Momentum.