For most Momentum members, especially activists the decision by Momentum Director Jon Lansman to shut down existing Momentum structures (steering committee, national committee, and conference arrangements committee) – despite the fact that he set the first two up and voted in December for creating the third – is well known.

It might be less clear that the first AGM of Momentum planned for February 2017 was subsequently cancelled. Despite this being voted for at May 2016 NC – supported unanimously by every group in the Northern Region- and to be no later than February (and again voted for at the time by JL and his narrow SC majority group)

This was replaced by a rally with on Sat 18 February with “big name speakers” – which under pressure from activists in the North & Midlands has been cancelled so we can instead rightly focus on the by-elections. We welcome this – a rally with no votes or democracy is pointless when they clash the weekend before two important by-elections. See mine and Tracy’s call for comrades to come to Copeland and help labour win here

You can read more about the cancelling of these structures and future plans here and here

So below is a summary of the discussions so far in Momentum groups in our Northern Region

There have been 6 meetings so far:

  • Open meeting of Northern Region Committee invite extended to all momentum members but at only a few days notice
  • Regional Network meeting was on 8 January before the closing down of existing structures (draft minutes of this meeting here:8 Jan draft minutes
  • North Tyneside Momentum – steering and then full members meeting
  • Blyth and Wansbeck Momentum
  • South Tyneside Momentum
  • Darlington Momentum
  • Hexham Momentum
  • Teesside Momentum

Below are the motions passed and votes of each motion.

Some meetings had higher turnouts than others, but only one out of seven meeting voted for a vaguely pro-constitution motion which was the Teesside meeting – which narrowly voted by 9 to 6. All in other meetings there was little or no support for the proposed imposition of a new constitution and disbanding of the committees.

Even in the Teesside – the one “pro accepting the constitution” motion it is very critical of the constitution using including “prepared to support the introduction of the new constitution in order to move forward” and the “new constitution does not go far enough in delivering one-member-one-vote direct elections to the NCG. Members will only get to vote for a minority of places with the rest filled by unelected appointees from outside bodies, a number of which are not even constituted organisations..offers no support for local branches with all  subscriptions and donations continuing to be retained by the national office…contains a commitment to affiliate to the Labour Party without any reasoned statement for doing so having being put to the members of Momentum.”. I would go as far to say this is hard to see as a pro-constitution motion at all. Perhaps the only way it could get passed was by being so critical of it!

So myself and Tracy McGuire elected as NC members at our all member (One member one vote) conference in December will continue to act as regional NC members and attend the NC called by the Steering group minority on 28 January as agreed at the regional meeting. We will report back in the next few days. We will continue to hold regional network meeting approximately every 2 months. And will help support and coordinate the brilliant work of activists in our region.

Motions passed at Regional Northern Open Emergency  meeting 15 January
Motion 1:
There has been an attack on democracy and the left in the Labour Party over the past year-and-a-half. This has taken the form of exclusions without justification or appeal, arbitrary cut-off dates for eligibility to vote in the leadership election, raised prices for supporter fees and the suspension of local party meetings.
The left should stand united against the attack on democracy and the silencing of left-wing activists in the Labour Party. However, by barring those excluded from the Labour Party from membership of Momentum, the supposed majority of the Momentum steering committee has lent credence to the attacks and vilifications of the left that have accompanied and justified the aforementioned assault on democracy in the Labour Party. We condemn this move in the strongest possible terms.
[Motion carried: 35 for – 1 against – 1 abstain]

Motion 2 (following amendment from the floor accepted by its proposers):
This meeting condemns in the strongest possible terms the moves by the steering committee majority to usurp and undermine the democratic decisions made by the majority of the Momentum National Committee.
The newly imposed constitution is completely undemocratic and should be withdrawn immediately. Instead, the plans drawn up by the previously elected Conference Arrangements Committee should be used as the basis for a national conference of elected delegates t discuss and decide upon the way forward for Momentum and the Corbyn movement.
We call for:
The immediate restoration of all democratic structures within Momentum, including a democratic conference to discuss motions and decide policy on the basis of elected delegates from local groups
For an emergency National Committee to discuss this coup and hold those responsible to account.
[Motion carried: 22 for – 4 against – 1 abstention]

Motion 3:
1. We call for people to stay members of Momentum including local groups and regional networks and continue to build a bottom up grassroots network
2. We call for the restoration of democratic structures including regional networks and convening of NC on 28 January.
3. We propose local groups and regions, working with the NC,  call a national meeting of Momentum groups to discuss the way forward
4. We will campaign for democracy in Momentum
[Motion carried: 24 for – 1 against – 5 abstentions]

Motions passed at both North Tyneside Momentum and Blyth and Wansbeck Momentum:
This meeting condemns in the strongest possible terms the moves by the steering committee majority to usurp and undermine the democratic decisions made by the majority of the Momentum National Committee.
The newly imposed constitution is completely undemocratic and should be withdrawn immediately. Instead, the plans drawn up by the previously elected Conference Arrangements Committee should be used as the basis for a national conference of elected delegates t discuss and decide upon the way forward for Momentum and the Corbyn movement.
We call for:
The immediate restoration of all democratic structures within Momentum, including a democratic conference to discuss motions and decide policy on the basis of elected delegates from local groups.
For an emergency National Committee to discuss this coup and hold those responsible to account.
Motion passed by Darlington Momentum (Tuesday17 January ): 20 votes for and 0 votes against
We call for people to stay members of Momentum including local groups and regional networks and continue to build a bottom up grassroots network
We call for the restoration of democratic structures including regional networks and convening of NC on 28 January.
We propose local groups and regions, working with the NC,  call a national meeting of Momentum groups to discuss the way forward
We will campaign for democracy in Momentum

Motion passed at Darlington Momentum (Tuesday 17 January) with 20 votes for and no votes against:
1. We call for people to stay members of Momentum including local groups and regional networks and continue to build a bottom up grassroots network
2. We call for the restoration of democratic structures including regional networks and convening of NC on 28 January.
3. We propose local groups and regions, working with the NC,  call a national meeting of Momentum groups to discuss the way forward
4. We will campaign for democracy in Momentum
Motion passed by Hexham Momentum AGM – Wednesday 18 January with no votes against and 2 abstentions
1. Condemn new anti democratic constitution
2. Support and participate in a national meeting called by local groups

Motion passed by South Tyneside Momentum – Thursday 12 January
1) Momentum South Tyneside opposes the imposition of a constitution on the organisation with no discussion or democratic process, and calls for the imposition to be immediately reversed.
2) We agree to build Momentum as a genuine democratic grassroots movement to enable this goal.
3) We call for a national conference with delegates from local groups to happen in March 2017. This process should include allowing members to formulate policies rather than passively responding to policies set out by the leadership.
4) We also oppose summary expulsions from the Labour Party and will continue to allow those expelled on this basis to be fully involved in our local Momentum group.

Motion passed by Teesside Momentum:
Thurs 19 January voted 9 to 6 in favour of this motion
We, Momentum Teesside deplore the power struggle that has taken place in Momentum over the last few months.This continuing obsession with Momentum’s own internal politics risks losing a once in a lifetime opportunity to effect major change through a mainstream political party.
We are, however, prepared to support the introduction of the new constitution in order to move forward and focus on the following objectives:
– To build widespread public support and win the next general election for a transformational Labour government
– To rebuild democracy within the Labour Party so that members can fully engage and participate in policy-making and decisions such that elected representatives, staff, and appointees of the Labour Party, are accountable to, and representative of, the membership
– To do that, Momentum needs to be light on its feet, able to respond fast to events and to adapt quickly to build campaigns, raise public awareness, mobilise support for elections and Labour policies — at the local and national level. It should not be developing an alternative party structure to the Labour Party – that route will only undermine the ability to democratise the Labour Party and to achieve the objectives above.
We do in the longer term want to see the following concerns addressed either by the new national coordinating group or by constitutional amendments as appropriate:
1. There is no explicit commitment in the new constitution to support those who have been unfairly expelled from or refused entry to the Labour Party and allow them to keep their membership of Momentum.
2. The new constitution does not go far enough in delivering one-member-one-vote direct elections to the national coordinating group. Members will only get to vote for a minority of places (12 out of 28-32) with the rest filled by unelected appointees from outside bodies, a number of which are not even constituted organisations.
3. There is no commitment in the new constitution to the transparency and openness required to truly enable grassroots democracy.
4. The new constitution offers no support for local branches with all member subscriptions and donations continuing to be retained by the national office.
5. The new constitution contains a commitment to affiliate to the Labour Party without any reasoned statement for doing so having being put to the members of Momentum.

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