THE FUTURE OF OUR MOVEMENT: A STATEMENT FROM MOMENTUM’S NCG
Momentum congratulates Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner on their election as Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. We look forward to working with them to ensure the election of a Government that will carry out the kind of bold, transformational policies our country and planet so badly need.
We also want to thank Rebecca Long-Bailey for running a principled, left wing campaign full of big ideas, building on the programme she has worked on for the last four years. We were proud to support her.
We are living in unprecedented times and our leaders must continue to campaign for the Government to do everything possible to keep our people safe, and to properly fund and protect the workers dealing with this pandemic.
We are proud too that, in four and a half years, Jeremy Corbyn and the movement that supported him has changed our party for the better and given voice to the hopes of millions who felt unrepresented in politics.
We didn’t win – and that failure is ours collectively – but we have transformed politics for the better. While the Tories will always represent the big polluters and tax dodgers, austerity as a political project has been defeated. No major politician of any party talks about ‘belt tightening’ and ‘necessary cuts’ any longer. Investment and pride in our public services is the new mantra, if not the new reality. This is our victory. And we should be proud.
In Labour, the dark days when our party cheered on privatisation, pursued illegal wars, talked about scroungers and demonised migrants are long gone. Our membership has tripled in size, we have doubled the number of left wing MPs and members who joined in 2015 are becoming councillors across the country. Our party is more democratic than ever and brims with ideas and vision for a socialist future, peace and justice.
This is down to us. In local parties and at conference we campaigned hard for this vision and the candidates that want to make it happen. We defended the policies when the media went on the attack and campaigned for them in communities across the country.
This is the party Keir Starmer inherits. Public ownership of rail, mail, energy and water, a Green New Deal, kicking the privatisers out of the NHS, scrapping tuition fees, closing down detention centres and taxing the top 5%. Keir pledged that all of these policies will be central to his programme. He has promised no turning back and his mandate is to build on Jeremy’s transformative vision.
But Keir will face pressure from the media, big corporations and the right of the party to break his promises. We have to be there to hold him to account, make sure he sticks to his promises and advances the socialist cause in the party as well as in every workplace and community.
The movement we’ve been building these past few years is powerful enough to do it: there are hundreds of thousands of us in our communities – organising, learning and building together. From trade unions to new left media, tenants unions, campaign groups and think tanks: more organisations than ever before are fighting for socialism.
This much is clear – but the rest is up to you. With a change in leadership, our movement has the chance to shift our focus away from parliament alone and towards new horizons.
We can build up political education in every part of the country. We can support trade unionists in their fight for better pay and conditions. We can strengthen direct action groups challenging the government on the climate emergency. We can train and support a new generation of socialist leaders. We can form renters unions to build power and take on bad landlords. As many already are with Coronavirus, we can organise mutual aid to protect those most vulnerable to the worst impacts of Tory rule.
And, of course, we can help Labour win elections at every level. There is so much we can do. And we have the power to do it.
The last four years were just the beginning. But in the era after Jeremy, Momentum needs to play new and different roles.
Over the next two months Momentum members will come together, reflect on what went right, what went wrong and develop a new plan for the future.
In April we’ll host virtual activist meet-ups to debate the future of our movement, generating proposals that will inform Momentum’s new plan for the future.
Afterwards, we’ll hold elections for Momentum’s National Coordinating Group (NCG), the body that oversees the direction of our movement. Any member can vote in or run for the NCG – and decide Momentum’s future.
During this time we will build our response to Coronavirus and launch more trainings, resources and virtual meet-ups to support activists organising in communities and bring our movement together in the most difficult of circumstances.
Jeremy’s leadership is over and we all continue to thank him from the bottom of our hearts. His legacy is our movement seizing the opportunities ahead. As Jeremy said, there is no such thing as Corbynism. Only socialism.
Our movement is powerful. Now we need to plan for the long term because one thing is certain – if we stick at it and stick together, our time will come.