Momentum forced to admit it must reform after humiliating leadership election fiasco

Momentum forced to admit it must reform after humiliating leadership election fiasco

The left wing grassroots activist organisation had backed Rebecca Long Bailey to succeed Jeremy Corbyn in the recent leadership contest. However, Ms Long Bailey was beaten convincingly by Sir Keir Starmer, who took 56.2 percent of the first preference votes. Many of the movement’s supporters have criticised it for being too “London-centric” and out of touch with the wider Labour movement.

In a statement issued through its national coordinating group, the activist network seemed to acknowledge these criticisms and the need for change.

The group also said that it must not repeat the mistakes of the past and allow the Labour Party to be controlled by centrists and must ensure that it remains the epicentre of the Socialist Labour Left.

Calling for unity and “comradely debate” the statement said: “In the wake of Keir Starmer’s first round victory in the Labour leadership contest, it is clear that Momentum and the left cannot continue as it has been.

“Unlike previous years, Momentum endorsed candidates won neither the OMOV vote for leader nor for the NEC, where the left vote was disastrously split and cost us our majority.

“At the present moment, our movement is in great peril of making the same mistakes we did after our defeat in the 1980s.

“We risk retreating from the challenge of making our ideas mainstream, fighting between ourselves and allowing our party to be taken over once more by centrists.

“The Momentum NCG recognises this risk and through this statement calls for unity, reflection and comradely debate on the way forward.”

The NCG pointed out its many achievements, which included doubling the size of the socialist caucus in the Labour Party, as well as recent successes in internal elections.

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It grew very influential within the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, providing the former leader with a bedrock of support for his left-wing agenda, which included policies such as ending austerity and the re-nationalisation of the railways and utilities companies.

It attracted a lot of criticism from moderate Labour MPs and supporters, who saw the activist group as a reincarnation of the Militant Tendency that tore the Labour Party apart in the 1980s.

Many of its enemies blame the organisation for contributing to Labour’s disastrous performance in December’s general election and are looking to the new Labour leader to purge the party of its supporters.

In the wake of the Sir Keir’s coronation as new party leader, Momentum released a statement warning him not to turn his back on Mr Corbyn’s legacy and vowing to hold him to account.

The group said: “His (Sir Keir) mandate is to build on Jeremy’s transformative vision, and this means appointing a broad shadow cabinet who believe in the policies and will work with members to make them a reality.

“In this new era Momentum will play a new role.

“We’ll hold Keir to account and make sure he keeps his promises, champion big ideas like the green new deal, build the power of Labour members and do everything we can to get a Labour government elected.”

Sir Keir finished making appointments to his Shadow Cabinet on Monday, which saw many of Mr Corbyn’s supporters demoted to the back benches.

Only Ms Long Bailey and Andy McDonald received jobs in the Shadow Cabinet, the former appointed shadow education secretary, while the latter was given the shadow employment .
rights and protections portfolio.

Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 01:22:00 +0000