Momentum poll: vote internationalist!

Submitted by AWL on 24 June, 2020 - 8:02 Author: Mohan Sen
Momentum

The Momentum National Coordinating Group elections close at noon on 30 June.

If you haven't yet, please vote for and promote the candidates who have backed Momentum Internationalists' socialist platform — Ruth Cashman and Ana Oppenheim in London, Abbie Clark in the Midlands, Kas Witana in the North, and Nadia Whittome in the Office Holders section. Ana, Abbie and Nadia are on the Forward Momentum slate. (All NCG candidates at bit.ly/mmcandidates.)

The results are out on Wednesday 1 July.

In the contest between the two main slates, conservative-left and Stalinist Momentum Renewal and limited-reform Forward Momentum, both have a fair number of high profile endorsements. Forward Momentum has John McDonnell, but overall Momentum Renewal has more MPs and the like.

After some pressure, Forward Momentum produced a "Plan to take Momentum forward" ( fwdmomementum.org/plan), which includes many good policies, but it has done little campaigning around its demands. In response to our complaints about agreed policies, including fighting for a sovereign Labour conference and public ownership of the banks, not being included, it said it would be producing a longer version. With a week to go there is no sign of it.

If Forward Momentum lacks clarity, consistency and radicalism, Momentum Renewal stands for maintaining all the worst elements of the organisation and its culture and building on them.

It talks in the most insubstantial way about democracy in Momentum, about uniting the left and about a working-class orientation — but with little content, and a record that shows it stands for just the opposite. In so far as MR's political line is ever accurate, it is only by making occasional correct criticisms of Forward Momentum.

In the election, MR candidates supporters have spent time and energy not on the battles going on now against racism, job cuts, the pandemic, or Starmer swinging Labour to the right, but on… smearing the AWL. They have organised around the anonymous Twitter account "Momentum Against the AWL", using it to fling accusations of covering up sexual assault, support for child abuse and Islamophobia. MAAWL has launched three anti-AWL pledges (yes, really) signed by almost all the MR NCG candidates and very few others.

See bit.ly/mmawl for our response to "Momentum Against the AWL".

With startling hypocrisy given the false accusations of Islamophobia and pro-imperialism, none of the MR candidates have signed the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign pledge for the NCG election. The reason is obvious: those behind MR sympathise with the Chinese state against the (Muslim) Uyghurs. (For more on this see "Momentum Renewal and Islamophobia" at bit.ly/mrislam)

This is not the only issue on which Momentum Renewal have refused to answer questions. Challenged about their record on Labour councils (nine of their 24 candidates are councillors), they dodge. Challenged about how they can claim to be for trans rights when their slate includes at least one straightforwardly transphobic candidate, they simply refuse to answer (while simultaneously calling Workers' Liberty transphobic!)

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Banned from hustings

A number of local Momentum groups have excluded candidates not on the two main slates from NCG hustings. Other groups, such as Leeds, are having no hustings at all.

That is bad enough. But the joint Camden/Barnet/Brent hustings excluded Ruth Cashman specifically, on the ground of her connections to Workers' Liberty. This was their justification:

"Objections were raised by individuals with varying political allegiances to inviting a Momentum Internationalist/AWL aligned candidate. Therefore all three Steering Committees were consulted over the weekend, and after consultation a democratic joint decision was made to uphold the objections."

A reminder that there is a lot of work to do to sort out the Labour left, and that the problem of hostility to democracy is not limited to the Momentum office. Does "varying political allegiances" include supporters of Forward Momentum?

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Defending democracy on the left

Clarion editor and Labour Days host Edd Mustill defends the AWL and a democratic culture on the left at bit.ly/right2org

The Anticapitalist Platform, organised by socialist group Red Flag, has also responded in a principled way to the smears against the AWL: bit.ly/acpstatement

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On the Momentum Internationalists blog

• Councils on the chopping block. Where is Momentum?
bit.ly/momcouncils

• Trans-exclusionary moderate Labourism
bit.ly/te-ml

• Expropriate the banks!
bit.ly/exprobanks

• Scrap the fake seats on Momentum's NCG
bit.ly/momncg

• The war on drugs is a poison
bit.ly/wadrugs

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