In this latest issue, we bring you:
- News from across the movement
- What we have up been up to
- Training the Socialist Leaders of the Future – a round-up of our Future Councillors’ and Leo Panitch Leadership programmes training up the next generation of socialist leaders.
- Labour Women’s Conference – our take on the marginalisation of women’s voices within the party.
- International – remembering the coup that overthrew a socialist government in Chile fifty years ago.
The NPF Proved to be An Uphill Battle – But It Wasn’t All Bad News
In July, the Labour Leadership’s fiscal conservatism was on full display at the National Policy Forum. Bold and transformative policies that were proposed by Labour members and trade unions, such as a £15-an-hour minimum wage, democratic public ownership and universal free school meals were dismissed out of hand.
What made headlines, though, was the Leadership’s intransigence on scrapping heinous Tory policies such as the two-child benefits limit. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for us on the Left, as our reps did manage to secure some significant concessions.
There were wins for disability justice thanks to the hard work of Momentum-backed rep Ellen Morrison and our friends in Disability Labour, a commitment to debt relief for countries in the Global South, and the scrapping of punitive sanctions on social security benefits.
Furthermore, Labour’s plans to modernise and reform the Gender Recognition Act made headlines this summer. And the party’s decision to U-turn on self-identification is deeply damaging, but it could have been worse.
Reformed plans to simplify the transition process, fully ban conversion practices for trans people without exception, and to include non-binary people in any future legislation are thanks to the hard work of Momentum-backed delegates.
Our Vice-Chair and member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, Mish Rahman, was on hand and gave us the lowdown on the goings-on in Nottingham in his LabourList op-ed here.
The NPF may have proved disappointing overall, but we still have an opportunity at the upcoming Labour Conference to push for urgent and popular policies needed to fix a crumbling Britain. Conference will be taking place in Liverpool next month, and your CLP can still play a role by submitting one of our policies from the many, for the many to Conference by Thursday 21st September.
- By-elections: Four candidates were elected unopposed to fill the vacant seats on our National Coordinating Group (NCG) in the London & Eastern, South West and Northern regions. So we’d like to welcome our newest members: Jasmine Williams (South West), Zac Bates Fisher (London & Eastern), Sarah Warsama (London & Eastern) and Chioma Mgbeokwere (Northern). You can find out more about the process of our recent byelections here.
- Referendum: A proposal to update our NCG gender quotas was put to an all-members referendum in July. Our members voted to APPROVE this proposal with 72% of voters saying yes, and 28% saying no. You can find out how our referendum worked here, while reading our Constitution in full with the updated amendment.
- Socialist Successes: As part of our focus on municipal socialist Labour success stories at the local level, we explored the town of Worthing and how it shifted from a Tory council to a Labour stronghold thanks to a community organising strategy pioneered by socialists and distilled in Momentum’s toolkit. Whether it’s building more council homes or aiming for net-zero emissions by 2030, councillors in Worthing are now delivering and winning with a community wealth building approach. You can watch our video on Worthing’s successes here.
- Lobbying: With the Tories’ heinous ‘anti-boycott’ bill returning to the Commons for its third reading, we’re urging our members and supporters to write to Keir Starmer asking Labour to oppose the bill rather than abstain. The bill’s objective is to prevent public bodies from making ethical decisions, particularly on Israeli goods, in an attempt to undermine the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Want to tell Starmer to oppose this unjust anti-BDS bill? There’s still time. And you can use our lobbying tool to do so.
- Delegates: With Conference 2023 fast approaching, we’re hoping that our policies from the many, for the many we’ll be submitted to Conference. Reminder: CLPs have until Thursday 21st September to submit policy motions. But to help us fully prepare, we want to know who your CLP has elected as a delegate this year. You can let us know by filling in our form.
- The World Transformed: Momentum will be hosting sessions at The World Transformed festival: Britain’s biggest and most radical political education festival, with four days of panels, workshops and fun. The event will coincide with Labour Conference in Liverpool, from the 7-10th October. Get your tickets now!
Training the Socialist Leaders of the Future
This summer, we were busy recruiting and training the socialists of the next generation. To kick things off, our Future Councillors’ Programme took place online, with 35 dedicated activists taking part. They were trained to help get selected, and later elected, as a socialist Labour councillor bringing about transformative change, with our Community Wealth Building toolkit providing vital further insight.
What’s more, we are training up the next generation with our annual Leo Panitch Leadership Programme. Learning from some of the best organisers and thinkers from across our movement, activists are being trained up and getting stuck in on projects and campaigns that stand up for real Labour values. Our Leo Panitch activists will be attending a final all-day training session at the The World Transformed festival in Liverpool this October.
From Worthing to Broxtowe, socialists are making significant gains in local government. That’s why our training programmes are essential in keeping up the momentum.
Labour Women Won’t Be Sidelined
Carol Turner, Momentum’s NCG
Labour’s annual Women’s Conference should provide a space where the voices of all Labour women are heard. Sadly, this year’s Women’s Conference will be a mere afterthought compared to the buoyant pre-lockdown event in Telford in 2019 which was attended by 1,300 delegates.
In a clear breach of party rules, and despite the near-unanimous opposition from the National Women’s Committee, Labour’s NEC decided that this year’s Women Conference will take place over one day and without any separate fringe meetings or stalls.
To recognise that women’s structures are being dismissed within the party, our NCG agreed to work with the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy and Labour Women Leading for a return to a standalone two-day Women’s Conference, focusing on democratic debate and grassroots networking, more women’s branches in CLPs, and, strengthening the voice of the National Women’s and Women’s Conference Arrangements Committee.
A recent report by WCAC Vice Chair Jean Crocker shows the extent of the problems faced by the NWC and WCAC. Further info on what they’ve campaigned for, together with rules for Labour’s women’s structures are available on CLPD’s website.
One result of our collaboration is our Don’t Downgrade Women’s Conference webinar on Friday 29 September at 6:30pm, chaired by Momentum Co-Chair Hilary Schan and jointly organised with CLPD and LWL.
Chile’s 9/11: 50 Years On
Fifty years ago, Chile’s democratically-elected socialist government, headed by Salvador Allende, was overthrown in a US-backed coup. It brought Allende’s government to an abrupt end, and with it his popular socialist programme which sought to improve the lives of the working-class.
What followed was a brutal 17-year military dictatorship led by Augusto Pinochet and supported by the Thatcher government. To the nation, just hours before his death, Allende urged Chileans to “keep in mind that, much sooner than later, great avenues will open again, through which will pass the free man, to construct a better society.”
We must never forget the fascist coup of 1973 that preceded the demise of democracy, and the comrades who were persecuted for standing up against Pinochet’s autocratic regime. You can also read our NCG member Coll McCail’s article on the British state’s role in the coup here.
We hope you enjoyed our latest issue. Any feedback you have and ideas for how to make the newsletter better are much appreciated.
Don’t hesitate to send us an email at [email protected] with your thoughts.
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