Momentum unveils “democratic changes” passed in ‘refounding’ process

Elliot Chappell

Resolutions effecting “democratic changes” to the structures of Momentum, how the group organises and how it chooses who to back in Labour leader and deputy leader elections have been passed in its ‘Refounding’ process, LabourList can reveal.

Proposals for changes to Momentum’s constitution and structures were drafted by local groups before being amended by its two new assemblies in a ten-month process culminating in an all-member ballot, held between May 17th and 26th.

Resolutions passed included one giving members a “cast-iron guarantee” over who the organisation backs in future Labour leader and deputy leader elections. Specifically, the motion agreed states that Momentum will endorse a candidate after an all-member vote – with all those requesting endorsement being on the ballot.

Momentum received criticism after its ruling body, the national coordinating group (NCG) – then chaired by Jon Lansman – decided it would only ballot members on their recommendation, rather than offering a full choice of candidates, in 2020.

The activist network, which grew out of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 leadership campaign, backed Rebecca Long-Bailey for party leader and Angela Rayner for deputy in the 2020 leadership elections following a vote of its membership.

Writing for LabourList this morning, NCG member Deborah Hermanns argued that the decision to leave “strong socialist candidates such as Richard Burgon” off the ballot, for deputy, was “not only politically short-sighted but it seriously undermined the trust of many members in the organisation”.

“While our national coordinating group has since been elected to lead and make key decisions, our members can and must be trusted when it comes to major decisions like this. They know best,” Hermanns added.

Also agreed by members in the Refounding Momentum ballot was that the group will hold an annual convention, open to all members, where the membership of the organisation will decide on campaigning and organisational priorities.

Members backed changes as to how the activist network supports candidates for elected office in a resolution stating that those endorsed by the group are “expected to maintain an ongoing relationship with the organisation” and that those who fail to do so “may have ongoing and future support withdrawn”.

Among the 17 proposals voted on was also a successful bid to switch to a single-transferable vote system for NCG elections. This change will take place immediately, in time for the upcoming elections to the group’s governing body.

Other measures included expanding the number of member reps on the NCG, and establishing a new purpose and beliefs exhibition:

“Momentum is a socialist and anti-racist organisation committed to a fundamental and irreversible shift in wealth and power to the working class in all its diversity. Our socialism means the democratic transformation of the economy to serve human needs and not profit, and the pursuit of climate and racial justice.”

Hermann told LabourList today: “The outcomes of this mass democratic process are genuinely exciting. We’ve set out clearly what we believe as a socialist and anti-racist organisation, and we have put real power in the hands of Momentum members.

“From a convention of all members that will determine strategy and campaigns to a cast-iron guarantee of an all-member ballot on who we endorse for Labour leader, these democratic changes will open up Momentum to the energy of our members and help us build the organising capacity we need to win.”

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