Momentum, the grassroots organisation that was born out of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 leadership campaign, has launched an all-member ballot in an effort to boost internal democracy.
Today, all Momentum members received an email with a link to an online ballot to decide on two proposals: 1) To expand the number of regions from 3 to 5, increasing the minimum number of member representatives on Momentum’s national coordinating group from 12 to 20 and 2) To hold NCG elections on a biennial rather than annual basis.
Commenting on the new initiative, a Momentum spokesperson told LabourList: “Over the past two years Momentum have run consultations of our members using our digital democracy platform on a number of key issues, including Brexit and submissions to the Labour Party’s democracy review. This is alongside our national coordinating group being elected yearly.”
“Successful movements and campaigns must always do more to empower their members to direct and make change. That’s why we’re balloting members on key reforms that will make Momentum more democratic by increasing member representation on our highest political body and better representing activists in different regions across the UK.”
There are currently 23 members of a maximum 28 on Momentum’s NCG in total. If proposal 1 is passed – bringing the number of member representatives from 12 to 20 and the total overall maximum to 36 – member-elected representatives on the NCG would form a clear majority.
In May, activists welcomed Momentum’s new policy focus after the group announced that it would encourage local parties to pass motions on abolishing migrant detention centres, a four-day working week and a Green New Deal ahead of party conference in September. The motions were selected by the NCG, but some critics have pushed for alternative approaches to selecting campaign priorities. MyMomentum, the organisation’s digital democracy platform, has been used to consult all members on Brexit and the Labour Party’s democracy review.
The proposal to make the yearly NCG elections into biennial contests is aimed at allowing NCG members to build deeper relationships with grassroots activists. Labour’s own governing body, the national executive committee, currently holds biennial elections.
The online ballot – in which all Momentum members are eligible to vote – will be open until Friday September 13th. Both proposals will have to eclipse a 50% ‘yes’ threshold in order to pass. If successful, proposal 1 will be implemented ahead of the NCG elections slated for October and proposal 2 will take effect thereafter.
James Kelly is editing LabourList while Sienna Rodgers is away.