MOMENTUM is the movement within the Labour Party that has, according to their own manifesto, set out to radicalise the party behind leader Jeremy Corbyn.
While this principle is to be lauded, to the average punter on the Bristol street the internal Labour Party struggles of Momentum against its well-entrenched old guard of (neo)liberals, careerists and self-serving jobsworths means very little. Why?
Sometimes I wonder how many of you have your ear to the street, because we’re in a MASSIVE SOCIAL CRISIS this winter. The homeless are strewn everywhere. No social housing, just rack-rent slum landlords. Wages going down in real terms. Benefits being trashed. Fewer and fewer social services. The NHS on the brink of total collapse. That means GRAPPLING WITH THIS EMERGENCY can’t be put off until ‘after the next election’, but needs to be addressed RIGHT NOW. Here in the socially-cleansed margins of working class Britain, we’re LITERALLY dying by the thousands.
And Bristol’s Labour Party elected representatives are STILL nearly all diehard Blairites. Happy to implement Tory austerity, yet craftily using Momentum activists to keep themselves in power and/or looking good in public. This happens any time one of these anti-Corbyn quislings needs re-election – or to give a recent Bristol example, when they need your street presence to give them the kudos they lack on say, a so-called ‘March Against Austerity’, WHERE THEY DON’T MENTION AUSTERITY OR THE CUTS ONCE!
What would JC do? He’d agree with us. Look back at his record since the 1970s. He always saw Labour Party internal politics as being SECONDARY to the struggles of the countless social movements he was active in. His principles never changed, but he always had the humility to listen to the people first. He didn’t wait until authority had been cleared through his control over the Labour Party – he just GOT STUCK INTO THE ISSUES. That’s why people voted for him and it’s why many more support and trust him today.
There seems to be some confusion in Momentum ranks as to what a social movement is. A social movement is not about ‘getting our guys into office’ in the Labour Party. It’s a MASS GRASS-ROOTS militant and democratic CAMPAIGN built around the key issue of the moment, and also one that isn’t a covert vehicle for any one political group or another. Think of the 1980s Anti-Poll Tax Campaign as a model. Right now, that key issue is STOPPING AUSTERITY DEAD IN ITS TRACKS – while we still can.
So Momentum needs to HELP BUILD that social movement and GET STARTED on it right away. Let the changes in the party structure and democracy be propelled forward by the social movement, not the other way around. Because quite simply, without such a movement, we haven’t a hope of effecting any real change – either within the Labour Party or without.
ANGRY BRISTOL LABOUR PARTY MEMBER
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I understand and sympathise with you BUT party reforms are on the way and fingers crossed CLP’s will be given power to deselect/endorse/select candidates.
I think you’ve missed the point. Pursuing a sectarian policy of “our people” against “their people” is still following a top-down approach and doesn’t engage directly with the social and economic issues that most of us face.
I think the writer here’s talking about building a social movement being top priority, over and above the party reforms. S/he is not asking for sympathy or for you to sit back and cross your fingers. 120,000+ people have been murdered by Tory austerity since 2008, and it’s getting worse every day. Surely for the Labour Party, the people should come first. It’s not rhetoric or “the next election” that’s needed – it’s action in the here and now. What is it you don’t get about this?
Please see my comment below, apparently I have a ‘Momentum’ Labour Councillor.
This right Labour/wrong Labour has allot of similarities to the recent scandal at HSBC, the senior management were taking the spoils of laundering money for Mexican drug dealers. When they got caught, HSBC made a big song and dance that new management would bring about a culture change, but the new management (who were going to be changing the culture) were all part of the old HSBC and had been quite happy sharing out their smaller cut of spoils whilst saying nothing about taking money from drug dealers.
If I were to go through a list of Bristol Momentum members, how many are currently selling professional services into the Public Sector? And if I were to go through a list of momentum Labour Councillors voting records would I be able to tell who they are? I genuinely don’t know but I’ll take answers on the back of a Council funded ipad.
There’s very few Momentum Labour councillors. Most are on the right of the party as is traditional in Bristol. Their voting records and zero interest in tackling austerity speak for themselves.
The nearest we have to a Momentum councillor is Harriet Bradley, Brislington West but even her voting record would need to be looked at closely.
Kye Dudd likes to make a few Momentum noises too, but as chair of the Human Resources Committee he recently forced through 10 per cent pay rises for bosses and fuck all for workers. Then, having done Rees’s dirty work, he was appointed to the cabinet where he will back Rees’s austerity to the hilt. Momentum/Corbyn is just a useful crutch for Dudd’s personal ambition rather than anything he will pursue in power.
To be fair, Harriet has been dishing it out on behalf of working people for longer than Momentum has been around and I suspect she views them as Johnny-come-latelies. She will, of course, be thrilled that she is the only councillor who has been given the nod of approval from the Bristolian. Someone told me that she has been bored recently and was hoping that there was some way she could be the centre of attention for Bristol’s blairite thought police.
There are other Labour councillors that are supporting pro-worker intitiatives, but they’re not all street fighters so I’m not going to name them. And there are plenty who are supporting, privately, the programmes of Momentum and Corbyn, if that means anything at all of course.
All the best,
Thanks, but I’m still not really sure who are the right Labour and who are the wrong Labour.
So if I’m reading the situation right, it totally depends on what’s going on on a particular day? When someone from Bristol Labour is giving it the ‘For the many not the few’ on social media then they are the right sort of Labour. But when that very same person shafts a few honest working class people in favour of a well paid council boss then they are the wrong sort of Labour. Sounds like Ashley Green Party, for RPZ Mondays, Weds and Saturdays and against it the other 4 days?
Had a quick check on the Momentum members selling professional services into the Public sector. I’m guessing the day their consultancies ‘win’ (or as we say ‘given’) Bristol Council contracts is the day they aren’t Momentum members and the other 364 days of the year they are Momentum members fighting for the working classes?
I must say, to me they all sound like the same sort of Labour, which is shaft as many Labour members as possible for your own financial interest, we all know it so why not just be honest?
I love the Bristolian but come on the difference between Labour and the Tories is just who’s mates get a share of the spoils. The reign of Marvin is no different to Ferguson, no different to the Lib Dems and no different to the version of Labour we had before.
The one big difference is now the Council are far less transparent under Labour than they ever were under Ferguson or even the Lib Dems. Strangely my Labour MP was the first to get involved on various issues involving Bristol City Council, but since Marvin got elected she doesn’t even reply, in fact I think she’s blocked my email as I don’t get that confirmation email anymore. Exactly the same can be said for my local Labour Councillors, don’t respond to phone calls, emails, tweets they only respond to FOI requests and even then they don’t reply personally as apparently they legally don’t have to.
I actually went to a local Labour event recently, not to confront anyone but to calmly ask for an explanation as to why in public Bristol Labour are ‘For the many not the few’, but all the evidence shows in Bristol its clearly for the few that are associated to Bristol Labour and the Council. The absolute best someone could come up with is that in Bristol we have the wrong sort of Labour. Its alright though the right sort of Labour are coming in and my local Councillor is one of them, which is presumably why when I emailed asking if it was acceptable to give senior Council staff senior staff yet another pay rise as well as pay senior staff via tax efficient scheme (tax dodging to you and I) they thought it was acceptable to ignore me and when pushed via FOI told they legally don’t have to answer.
What Bristol needs is a genuinely independent Council, not more bloody Labour.
There’s actually very few councillors genuinely supporting pro-worker initiatives beyond lip service to Corbyn for electoral and internal party reselection purposes. If you’re relying on the careerists of the Bristol Labour Group to deliver social justice, you’re mad. Their track record over years says differently as does their voting record since May 2016.
They’re not Corbynites they’re hypocrites.
So remind me again, do Momentum know what a social movement looks like?
It’s easy sitting in a liberal middle class inner-city bubble reading the Bristol Cable and joining ACORN.