“The door might be open – but we’re not leaving” – Momentum


“Momentum’s position is clear: it should be for local members to decide their candidate, not Keir Starmer.”

By Hilary Schan and Kate Dove, Momentum

We’ll get straight to it. Despite Jeremy Corbyn being a Labour member and the elected MP for Islington North for over 40 years, Keir Starmer has said that he would not be allowed to stand as the Labour candidate come the next General Election.

Momentum’s position is clear: it should be for local members to decide their candidate, not Keir Starmer. We are a democratic socialist party, and it is members and trade unions who are sovereign and they who should decide their candidates locally. As we have repeatedly argued, the way Jeremy is being treated is an insult to party members and to the people of Islington North who have elected him 10 times.

We will not allow ourselves to be driven out of the Party. What we’ve witnessed today is an attempt to dishearten and demoralise us. Keir knows that his reheated Blairism and authoritarian party practices have no democratic mandate – that’s why he ran for leader on an entirely different platform.

Try as the political class might to deny it, our socialist programme is a popular and urgent one. People want public ownership, not PFI. A renationalised NHS, not private sector profiteering. Wealth taxes and higher wages, not minor tweaks to a broken and failed status quo. And there is a huge democratic mandate for these policies within Labour, too – they have been backed time and again by our members, trade unions and Conference.

Our task is to organise for this vision, and build on our socialist strength wherever we can, working with inspirational SCG MPs like Zarah Sultana, Richard Burgon, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Nadia Whittome and many more. Whether it’s storming to victory in the Socialist Health Association or winning in Young Labour and Labour Students on a platform of abolishing tuition fees, the Left is still claiming victories.

In the coming weeks we will outline a series of new organising initiatives to build our strength as a movement and keep up the pressure for our ideas, as agreed by the National Coordinating Group we chair. That includes:

  • A push for socialist policies around Labour’s National Policy Forum consultation, the last before the next manifesto, working in tandem with the Socialist Campaign Group;
  • A new Momentum Organising Network, bolstering our national activism by getting members and movement builders like you directly engaged in our work;
  • A new grassroots organising push, with events across the country to consolidate our socialist strongholds locally;
  • And in the run up to May’s local elections, we’ll be celebrating and building on the work Momentum is building through local government to kick out Tories and build municipal socialist foundations.

We know it’s not easy right now. But it’s vital we stay in Labour – the party we share with fighting trade unions – and get organised through Momentum. 

Whether it’s delivering for working-class communities through local government, or agitating for socialist ideas on the national platform our position and public office grants us, there is nothing to be gained – and a lot to lose – by walking away. Instead, with crucial upcoming AGMs, Conference delegate elections, and nominations for national ballots all coming up, we must get organised. Momentum will lead from the front – there’s a lot for us to do together.

The door might be open – but we’re not leaving. Instead, we’re organising.

Image: Jeremy Corbyn. Author: Chatham House, London, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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