People who read my blog from the North East or nationally will hopefully remember, that I successfully proposed (alongside other activists including Jill Mountford – London region) at the May National Committee a National Momentum Conference (delegate based democratic decision making) This was agreed see here for report May 2016 NC. This was one of several motions from the North East region that myself and Jo Land proposed and all were passed.
The agreed Working Group to plan the conference (for which I was the NE and Cumbria representative) was never convened, and the subsequent National Committee planned for July was cancelled (due the Leadership election). I lobbied for it to be reconvened in August (supported by Steering Committee members Jill Mountford and Michael Chessum) this failed to win support at the Steering Committee, and so first National Committee since this decision is Sat 5 November.
The urgent priority is to ensure that we have the most open and democratic conference as possible in February as agreed.
That this conference and its procedures are as transparent and democratic as possible ensuring that after Sat 5 November’s conference all Momentum members understand how they can:
- submit motions,
- send delegates
- and propose the future direction including of Momentum
- decide how to and then elect its new leadership
I have drafted with the proposal below with fellow NC member Jill Mountford and others and drawing on discussions with Northern comrades in our plans for a North East and Cumbria regional conference.
Since then there has been another proposal proposed for the National Committee (which i think is strangely complicated) which you can read about here
So our proposal is below:
Proposal on way forward to 5 November Momentum National Committee
i) the 5 November NC decides the date and the basic shape of the February conference including delegations, timescales and ability to submit motions. The NC should elect a reasonably large and representative conference arrangements committee (CAC) – say of 10 – to take things forward, confirm venue, and agenda, deal with and resolves issues that arise and delegate tasks to staff to carry out – this body and not the Steering Committee should have the ultimate say.
Below is our proposal that we want the NC to adopt (“Proposed composition of February conference”).
ii) between the 5 November NC meeting and Monday 9 January, the NC, each local group, region, group of members above a certain size (say 50) and equalities group can submit two motions to the conference – whether constitutional (ie proposals for the permanent structure of Momentum) or about Momentum’s political orientation/what we stand for or about policy. These are published on 9 January on the website.
The conference arrangements committee sorts out a system of compositing (i.e. each group names a contact who can liaise with others proposers to composite motions together to reduce the number by Friday 20 January).
Regional Groups are proposed to meet between 20 January and the week before Conference to vote a priority order i.e. 1 to 20 on motions. This leads to a score for the priority motions nationally and each Regional Group nominates a member for the Standing Orders committee to agree the order for motions and timing for speeches.
Proposed composition of February conference – submission to 5 November NC
Delegates elected by local groups (this has already been agreed by the NC), on the basis of number of members in that area. A final figure of delegates to be agreed by the CAC in consultation with the National Committee but we suggest something between 1 delegate per 20 members-1 delegate per 40 members (or part thereof) – with a minimum of 2 and maximum of 10, ascending in twos. Delegations must be at least half women and with at least 1 youth for delegations of 4 and above and 2 for delegations of 8 and above.
This would produce a conference of roughly 4-600 people, which seems a reasonable size in terms of logistics and also in terms of meaningful democratic participation and control (not too small and not too big).
This is our proposal and we hope that local groups and regions will discuss this and make any comments or suggestions please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Our other proposal in line with this proposal is how we feel momentum should be structured and we would like this to be submitted to the first National Conference from either the National Committee or a regional or local group. It includes:
- Ensuring the conference is annual and democratic
- Expanding the National Committee to a National Council to include delegates elected at our national conference as well as elected from our regions and equality groups and Trade Unions
- Expanding the steering committee
- Ensuring that all of these bodies happen more regularly (enshrined in our constitution) and that they are timetabled in advance to allow proper time for honest debate and discussion
Please see here for the proposal on Jill’s blog