Yesterday Momentum gained 3 seats on Labour National executive conference. All 3 of their candidates gained over 60,000 votes to be elected to Labour’s NEC. It’s important to understand that whilst Momentum won all 3 seats, they in no way control the NEC, which still has a significant number of anti-Corbyn members. Yet The Evening Standard, in a continuing attempt from our right wing media to smear Momentum, ran the headline ‘Corbyn’s red army takeover complete’.
And whilst Corbyn’s grassroots support group clearly terrifies our ruling elite, the disinformation and outright lies spread about them frustrate me. They remain seen as radical and authoritarian, to me this just shows how much the Tories fear a group who have mastered both grassroots campaigning, but also the only section of the political establishment who have fully utilised social media. We have seen others try and copy their techniques, like Activate, unsuccessfully.
However most see them as a mob of intimidating socialists. The truth is, in policy at least, they are the most liberal section of the Labour Party. We have seen numerous attempts from top Tory politicians to paint Momentum as violent, most recently the new Conservative Party chairman. He challenged Corbyn to stand up to online abuse. This isn’t an honourable move to help decrease the abuse faced by MPs, it’s an attempt to paint Labour as the online mob who threaten and harass MPs. And whilst Labour, and Momentum, have some disgusting members who would threaten MPs across the aisle, the majority are normal yet passionate people. However the real truth is that if the Conservative Party want to stamp out online abuse they should start in their own back yard. In a recent survey conducted between the start of 2017 and June 8th, done by Amnesty, Labour MPs were on the receiving end of the majority of online abuse. The Tories ran in 3rd. Showing that Momentum, or Labour, are not the real problem.
The stats show the mob in UK politics, remains on the Right.
For those who have met Momentum members, and spoken to them about their aims, this won’t be a surprise. What I’ve witnessed from inside the Labour Party they have 2 clear, and very honourable aims.
The first, which they have been extremely successful in, is utilising social media, alongside the independent media, to help spread their message. They understood that with our right wing mainstream media they were never going to get Corbyn’s message out without a mouthpiece. However, unlike Blair who bowed to Murdoch, they went around the mainstream media and used the changing nature of how we get our media to get their message out through Facebook and Twitter. They are better at getting their message out than any other section of the Progressive movement, and that is the main reason they are a positive force for the Labour Party.
The second, is getting more party members involved, and getting their heard through a more democratic Labour Party. They continue to get more Labour Party members involved in grassroots campaigning. Training activists in canvassing. However their main driving ideology is to get Labour Party members voices heard. They want to close the divide in opinion between the membership and the Parliamentary party. They support the McDonnell Amendment, a policy to reduce the number of signatures needed to get a name on the ballot of the Labour leadership. They also support constituents choosing their candidate for MP. Many in the media have painted this as an attempt to de-select Blairites.However the policy is that of democracy. Allowing party members to choose who they want representing, not the leadership choosing for them.
Momentum may be painted as an extremist group but, when you look at their aims, all they want is democracy within the Labour Party.