Momentum activists organise in move to assert influence

3rd June, 2016 3:26 pm

Momentum

Momentum activists will gather at two high-profile conferences over the weekend – the People’s PPE day-long event and Momentum Youth gathering – in a move that will increase their role as an organisational force within the party.

The events centre on two of the policy areas, youth activism and economic thinking, where the group hopes to assert its influence.

The Youth Conference will host MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, as well as Young Labour chair Caroline Hill and Rhea Wolfson, whose bid to be elected onto Labour’s NEC has stalled after failing to secure the nomination of her home constituency Labour Party

The youth and student wing of the Corbynite faction will use the conference to decide on constitutional questions of how they will organise themselves and what their campaign priorities will be.

Youth Conference is free to attend, financed by the group’s central office. This follows strong criticism of Young Labour conference in February, which cost £30-£40 to attend and up to £100 for travel.

The People’s PPE (shorthand for Philosophy, Politics and Economics, the degree seen as a symbol of a privileged Oxford education and a route into cabinet office) is also free.

It has a broader remit, hosting workshops on political writing, austerity, and political change, as well as introductory classes to Labour and Conservative politics.

The event is organised as an autonomous offshoot from East London Momentum groups, following the grassroots model embraced by activists. Its academic approach follows that of shadow Chancellor John McDonnell who hosted the State of the Economy conference last month to inspire economic debate.

Momentum’s national office plans to encourage the People’s PPE “empowerment” method, which has already been adopted by other parts of the faction, by sending a “how to” template of the PPE conference was undertaken to their groups around the country. The move may see the group supporting a network of activists – in contrast to directing them itself.

The Corbynista faction recently pushed out the grassroots model of organising in it’s #YourReferendum platform, encouraging members and supports to set up events in their communities.

The model of organising reflects the ‘movementist’ approach national organisers have supported – using the faction as a network for creating change on the group rather than simply campaigning within the party.

Weekend conferences are a staple amongst groups within the party – Progress recently held their annual conference with Jeremy Corbyn, and the Fabian Society hosted theirs with Gordon Brown.

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