“The grassroots work has already begun.”Mish Rahman.
After defeat a movement faces two choices: either capitulation or regeneration. The 2019 general election was a huge blow to our movement. The months that followed brought further defeat for the left in the Leadership election and a pandemic that has removed our ability to meet and organise. This really has been a difficult year.
But behind the headlines, the revival of our movement has begun. Within our organisation, Momentum’s re-foundation process has so far led to the relaunch of dozens of local groups across the country, and more generally mobilisations from Black Lives Matter to the student rent strikes and the feminist protests this weekend have taken root in the popular conciousness.
But to win again and to truly change the country means building a movement for socialism with power at every level of the Party and deep roots in our communities. There are no shortcuts.
We are in a far better position than many would have us believe. The Left is significantly stronger than it was before 2015. Unlike the political centre, we have a coherent and transformative policy programme that is full of incisive ideas and can draw on a broad coalition of dynamic organisations fighting for economic and social justice.
Momentum is one of these organisations. But where next? Last week, we released our new strategy document ‘Socialist Organising for a New Era’– a plan for the entire movement to rally around and work towards.
Our three wider strategic objectives are clear.
Firstly, we must build left power in the Labour Party and elect socialists on the national and local level. We want the Party to go into 2024 on a radical policy platform that can galvanise the electorate and transform the country for the better. This means increasing the number of socialists holding elected office at every level in the Party and developing a coherent policy programme in collaboration with the Socialist Campaign Group and the wider left. Our Policy Primary is a good example of how to include the grassroots in the process of creating and fighting for a new left platform. We will also continue to campaign for Open Selections, party democracy at every level and fight back against unjust suspensions.
Secondly, we must campaign in our communities and support working class struggle. Our Eviction Resistance campaign is a good example of how our movement can show practical solidarity to working class people on the breadline. Momentum can’t afford to sit on the sideline while our communities suffer. We also have plans in collaboration with our affiliated trade unions to roll out a Momentum Trade Unionists Network where we’ll support our members to build power of their unions. And we’ll continue the revival of local Momentum groups through the refoundation process.
Lastly, we will popularise socialist ideas and politically educate. In 2020, 1 in 2 adults on Facebook watched a video by Momentum – and our plan is to double our overall reach over the coming years. But we also want to do more to deliver political education to our membership. In cooperation with political education organisations such as TWT, we will offer a combination of digital content, events and sustained programmes. And we will run at least one priority campaign a year, alongside our TU affiliates and letting our local groups take the lead.
But we can only meet these strategic objectives if we change how we operate. Our aim is to move away from a top-down, centralised organising model to one where we use our resources to empower local groups and members to organise themselves and others, locally and nationally.
Now we aren’t forced to spend our time defending the leadership from the right-wing press, we can get down to the vital work of movement building. That means skilling up activists across the country and scaling up political education among our membership and in wider society, as well as getting socialists elected to local, regional and national government.
The grassroots work has already begun. Our Policy Primary process has democratised the way in which our movement brings policy to Conference; our Leadership Development Programme will give our members the practical and theoretical knowledge to become better organisers and leaders; and the Eviction Resistance campaign has led to 35 action groups being set up across the country with hundreds of activists skilled up in tenants’ rights and blocking evictions.
In the pipeline we also have the continuation of our Future Councillors Programme and the relaunch of Momentum’s Councillors’ Network, the re-drafting of Momentum’s constitution via a member-led process, and, as previously mentioned, the launch of our Momentum Trade Union Network. There’s a lot to be getting on with.
The left is stronger than we were in 2015, and we have all the ingredients to succeed: a mass movement, organisational infrastructure and experience, and popular ideas. Now is the time to make it happen.
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