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'People's budgets' and local democracy
Socialist Party reporters
Over 50 people gathered in Whitechapel, east London, for the founding meeting of the local Momentum group. Momentum was established to draw together supporters, both inside and outside the Labour Party, of Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda.
The event brought together Momentum supporters from Tower Hamlets, Newham and Redbridge. People attending were a mixture of newly joined members of the Labour Party, a smaller group of longer-term members and a number of non-members.
Included in the latter were two councillors from the Tower Hamlets Independents Group who had spoken on the platform at last week's joint meeting with Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (in which the Socialist Party is involved) for a 'people's budget'.
The meeting divided into a number of 'break out' groups where topics like housing, democracy and austerity, among other issues, were discussed.
In the democracy commission the questions of cuts by the local council and defending the policies of Jeremy Corbyn against an entrenched right wing were raised.
Socialist Party members argued for Momentum to support the no-cuts people's budget proposals, as well as establishing mechanisms for the democratic reselection of councillors and MPs. This latter point was taken up in the report back to the general meeting without disagreement.
In the austerity commission the ideas of a no-cuts budget was also put forward.
The meeting concluded with elections. A member of the Socialist Party was accepted onto the local Momentum committee.
There were also elections for delegates to a London regional meeting. Despite objections of Socialist Party members the organiser of the meeting unfortunately rejected Momentum's all-inclusive founding brief and instead made clear that no non-Labour Party members could be elected as delegates.