Exclusive: ‘Forward Momentum’ campaign launches to “refound” Corbynite group

A new campaign called ‘Forward Momentum’ has launched with the aim of “refounding” and “democratising” Corbynite activist organisation Momentum, LabourList can reveal.

The new group has told LabourList that it wants to “re-energise” the Labour left by strengthening the connections that Momentum has with trade unions and social movements.

The project is being set in motion just as the officers of Momentum’s national coordinating group said the organisation “cannot continue as it has been”. In a statement released on Tuesday evening, they called for “unity, reflection and comradely debate on the way forward”.

Forward Momentum, which similarly intends to “open a wider discussion about the way forward”, would like more of the national body’s resources to be made available for political education, organiser training and member-led campaigns.

Its organisers have vowed to sign up thousands of Momentum members to a petition to launch a trigger ballot on key reforms, and plans to put forward candidates for the national coordinating group.

Forward Momentum is advocating reforms to give Momentum members a say in key decisions, including in campaign priorities and in relation to candidate slates for internal Labour Party elections.

The group criticises Momentum for being “too London-centric” and “not sufficiently member-led”. It is calling for a more “inclusive” culture, with a greater focus on organising in workplaces and communities.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Merseyside Labour councillor Christine Howard said: “Momentum started out with a plan to bridge the gap between social movements and the Labour Party.

“Over the last few years, this bridge has collapsed and members are now treated more like foot-soldiers to be mobilised in elections than organisers in our own right.

“Momentum needs a new purpose and direction, supporting us to build our communities and organise our workplaces, as well as providing a strong voice for the left in the Labour Party.”

Bristol Momentum member Kulsoom Jafri added: “We know that we are not alone among Momentum members in feeling that despite some strong and innovative electoral campaigns, Momentum has lost its way.

“We have come up with some ideas for how Momentum needs to change but we don’t have all the answers. We want to kickstart a discussion about Momentum’s future direction with members from across the country.”

Momentum was founded by Jon Lansman, Adam Klug, Emma Rees and James Schneider after the successful campaign to get Jeremy Corbyn elected as Labour leader in 2015. It had 40,000 members last year.

Since then, members of the body have been active in constituencies across the country, and organised and campaigned for the Labour Party in both the 2017 and 2019 general elections.

In an email to Momentum supporters on his last full day as leader, Corbyn praised the organisation for “inspiring political movements across the world and breathing new life into the Labour Party” and urged people to join.

LabourList has received contributions on the direction and purpose of the body since Labour’s defeat in December and the announcement that Corbyn would be stepping down as Labour leader.

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