Momentum leak: Six things we learned

8th February, 2016 4:20 pm

Momentum

The agenda of Saturday’s meeting of the Momentum National Committee has found its way into the public domain. Here are six things we learned from it.

1) Momentum has raised £33,000 but has set its sights on more than £150,000

The group has raised £33,441.56 since October, mainly from online donations. However, it hopes an official membership structure would raise £150,000 a year. This would be from an annual fee of £10 a year or £1 a month. Momentum hopes to supplement this with affiliation fees from unions, which would range from £25 to £600, depending on the union’s size.

2) Anyone can join who is eligible to be a member or supporter of the Labour Party

Labour Party membership is not a pre-requisite of Momentum membership although it is necessary to hold an elected position within Momentum. The group is responding to claims of entryism and infiltration of Labour and trying to rule out anybody who is anti-Labour.

3) Momentum plans to hire eight members of staff

Momentum aims to take on national, central and regional coordinators, as well as a press officer and social media manager. The group’s campaigning and outreach activities will carried out by these full-time staff at a projected cost of £243,000 a year. It hopes to continue these activities until 2020 at least.

4) It has decided to act following claims of harassment

Momentum activists were criticised for issuing personal attacks on MPs who voted in favour of air strikes in Syria. The introduction of a Code of Ethics explicitly bans this in favour of an “honest debate focused on policies”. The group goes further and plans to reach out to under-represented groups, such as women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Anyone who breaks these rules can be banned from Momentum.

5) There are few references to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership

Momentum defines itself as the successor to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign but the summary of activities focuses on lobbying Labour MPs, opposing the Conservative government and engaging in broader political debates. While it views Corbyn supporters as its natural audience, its aims do not include a statement in support of the leader. However it is not ignoring internal Labour politics; the group intends to campaign for conference delegates who are supportive of the Labour leadership.

6) Momentum is not a talking shop – it wants to campaign and to win

The May elections are a major aim. The group has committed itself to campaigning for all Labour candidates across the UK, regardless of their position within the spectrum on the left. We have seen this in the past – the group organised coaches of activists to campaign for Jim McMahon MP despite his reputation as a moderate.

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