Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2016

Momentum and democracy in Hackney and beyond

Hackney Socialist Party

In Hackney, around 50 people - from left organisations, the Labour Party and some individuals - attended the first two meetings of the local Momentum group. They were attracted by the aspiration of Momentum to be "a mass movement for real progressive change" and to "bring together individuals and groups in our communities and workplaces to campaign and organise on the issues that matter to us".

Momentum's national orga-nisers have also stated that Momentum will be "independent of the Labour Party's leadership. It will work with everyone who supports Jeremy's aim of creating a more fair, equal and democratic society."

For his anti-austerity and anti-war battle against Labour's right wing, clearly Jeremy Corbyn needs a strong, organised base of support. As most of his supporters are outside the Labour Party, Momentum has the task of mobilising and involving the maximum possible support outside of Labour as well as inside.

However, the unelected Momentum HQ declared that Momentum office holders must be Labour Party members and only Labour members can participate in decision-making in Momentum groups.

These attempted directions - issued before Momentum has a democratically agreed structure and rules - were questioned by a number of participants in Hackney Momentum.


The first Hackney meeting adopted among its objectives, to "work on building up a broad membership". Where is the democracy if only the Labour Party members in that broad membership can help run the group and make decisions? The interim organisers of Hackney Momentum issued an online form for people wishing to be involved, that as well as asking for declaration of current membership of other political parties, wanted prior memberships declared too!

The right-wing press scream about the 'hard left' entering Momentum to 'manipulate' it on issues like reselection and fighting austerity, a tirade that is frightening Momentum's organisers.

But in reality no one in groups like Hackney Momentum is trying to circumnavigate democratic procedures and votes - on the contrary, Socialist Party members and others are calling for democracy and all want to help strengthen Jeremy Corbyn's position.

The fear of the right is the echo that socialist ideas are gaining among the thousands who are interested in getting involved in actively supporting Corbyn's message.

Momentum's HQ has also said that participants in Momentum must commit to supporting Labour candidates in elections, whatever their policies. To set this condition on trade unionists and local communities who are being hit by massive cuts from Labour councils like Hackney's will only weaken Momentum, which was created to back up one wing of two irreconcilable wings in Labour - that of the left.

Momentum is holding a national committee meeting on 6 February to further develop its structure and rules. It has reported that two representatives from each affiliating trade union will be on the committee - some recognition, at least, of the crucial role of the unions in defeating austerity.

26 other delegates to the committee will be elected only by the organisers of local Momentum groups, not by all the participants.

A further 12 will be representatives from "existing Labour movement organisations" approved for inclusion by the present unelected national leaders. They are also inviting some people from 'under-represented groups in society' - again with no suggestion of democratic election.

This, unfortunately, isn't the way to build a democratic, inclusive, broad, labour movement organisation.

However, reports from around the country suggest that many Momentum participants are questioning these developments, with the result that some groups may decide to organise on a democratic basis and argue for the national bodies to do likewise.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 20 January 2016:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Unite the fightback: Coordinated strikes needed

United workers' action can save NHS

Water firms' 1.2bn in profit off human need

Political policing: Met spy targeted socialists

Trident debate: socialist programme needed

Housing crisis reaches level of 1960s

Civil service: 1bn on consultants

Outrageous attacks on Corbyn for 'sexism'

Them & Us

Socialist history

1986 Wapping strike - Defeat of the print unions

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

People's Budget meeting success

Carmarthenshire Unison campaigns against council cuts

Unite the Union local government committee votes for no-cuts budgets

Preparing a no-cuts people's budget

Momentum and democracy in Hackney and beyond

Angry Labour meeting puts councillors under fire

Gateshead carers oppose respite centre closures

Celebrating Eleanor Marx's birthday

Socialist Party workplace news

Nationalise Tata to save steel jobs!

Tube workers to strike again to defend jobs and conditions

Reinstatement victory for John Vasey

Shop workers lobby council against Sunday opening

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

USA: Fight the billionaire class!

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets

Northern Ireland: Defy anti-abortion laws

Socialist Party comments and reviews

Letters to the Socialist


Home   |   The Socialist 20 January 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Labour Party:

triangleIslwyn Labour Party calls for council no-cuts budget

triangleFor a socialist alternative to the EU - mobilise to kick out the Tories!

triangleGovernment limps on... Corbyn and unions must call urgent, mass action

triangleEngaging book about Corbyn's rise doesn't provide answers on how to change Labour

triangleUnions and campaigners challenge Southampton cuts inside Labour and out


triangleHaringey's 'Corbyn council' must refuse to make cuts!

triangleCorbynism three years on

triangleFight for a democratic, socialist Labour Party


triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: AGM and review of our local work

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Pakistan - Lessons of 1968/1969

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The Tech revolution - its consequences


triangleVictory for democracy at CWU 'redesign' conference

triangleCWU conference: Sharpen up our act? Yes. But weaken our democracy? No


triangleMay facing Brexit vote catastrophe

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleCorbyn supporter wins Welsh Labour leadership

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Solid strike by Arriva bus drivers



Disruption of Socialist Party meeting shows need for unions to lead real struggle


Socialist Books

'Socialism: Utopian and Scientific'



North Tyneside Campaigning to save our footbridge



NHS funding crisis: Tory 'super-plan' is a super-con!


Fighting Fund

Tremendous effort sees Socialist Party smash fighting fund target in 2018



Grayling's attacks on rail workers wages 'un-fare'



Far right attack on Manchester rail workers' picket line - trade union fightback needed



PCS Left Unity assistant general secretary election rerun



Ferry workers protest against 2.45 an hour pay



Bringing socialist ideas into movements on women's rights



Carmarthenshire council: Unison demands no-cuts budget



Linking LGBT+ rights to the fight for socialism



Latest Socialism podcasts


Waltham Forest

Trade unionists and socialists opposed council adoption of IHRA definition of antisemitism

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

January 2019