Why Momentum is raising £30k before Conference

Right now Momentum is trying to raise the most we have ever made outside of a General Election. The specific aim is to make £30,000 before Party conference. This is ambitious – but right now is the perfect time to go after a big goal.

Conference is the place where Labour members have our say. In normal times, whether we like it or not, the parliamentarians hold the upper hand. But Conference is the time where decision making is more diffuse, and where CLP delegates decide on how they think the Party should be run and the policy programme it proposes. Conference is democracy in action, and during the Corbyn era Conference once again buzzed with the ideas and energy required to change this country for the many.

But things have changed under the new leadership. Starmer and the Labour right see a vibrant mass membership as a threat, not an asset. They view us as an impediment to becoming a centrist party funded by wealthy donors and shorn of any threat to the status quo. For a group of factions on the right of the party – mostly grouped together under the banner of ‘Labour to Win’ – we are an irritant that must be stamped out. Their goal at this year’s Conference is to lock us out of decision making forever.

But we can defeat them. In fact, in internal Party elections over the last year and a half, that’s all we have done. The left has won in every Party-wide election since Starmer was elected. For the moment Labour to Win seems incapable of fulfilling the promise of their name. Meanwhile, the Labour right’s chosen candidate in the recent Unite general secretary election came last. They may hold the leadership but the Labour right holds little sway amongst Labour activists. The grassroots of our party are still resolutely socialist.

This is why they want to change the rules. They don’t have a mandate among the membership, but if they can throw out or demoralise enough left-wing Labour members so that they leave, and change the constitution to disenfranchise those who are still in the Party, then their job is done. Simply put: for this clique at the top of the party, factional control is more important than defeating the Tories.

Now they are raising huge amounts of money to make this a reality. Progress received over £80,000 from a Peter Mandelson-linked think tank, while Luke Akehurst’s Labour First are aiming for another £72,000. Wealthy individuals are trying to bypass democracy by buying themselves a Party that maintains the status quo and snuffs out the possibility of radical change.

What do we do? If we want to beat the wealthy donors, and stop the Labour right from turning the Labour Party into a Pasokified husk, we need to build a socialist movement that has real power both within the Labour Party and beyond it.

At Momentum, we’re getting stuck into the challenge by building the foundations for the future right now – by winning votes at conference, by hiring new full time organisers to build the power of local members, and by launching initiatives like the Leo Panitch Leadership Programme which will develop future leaders from the grassroots.

And Momentum is changing internally too. Our first refounding assemblies met last week, and right now they are working out how to reform the organisation to empower grassroots members more than ever before.

But to fund our work into the future and compete with the mega-donors of the Labour right, we need you. Right now, Momentum is raising £30,000 before conference to build the movement. We might have won every national Labour Party election since Keir Starmer became leader, from the National Executive Committee to Young Labour and the Conference Arrangements Committee, but there is so much more to do.

Every single pound raised in this drive will go towards building the largest socialist membership organisation in the country, and increasing our collective power. We are going to take on the ruling class and this broken economic system – but we can only win when we work together.

If you can donate, please do so here. It’s time to build!

Mish Rahman