It is no secret that when Jeremy Corbyn received his 35th nomination and entered the race to be Labour’s leader, we didn’t expect to win. What we did expect was that we could build a broad alliance of people committed to Jeremy’s straight talking, honest, new kind of politics:
- We did expect to draw large numbers of people into or back to Labour.
- We did expect to pull the debate to the left.
- And we did plan from the outset to build a new movement that would campaign for the policies and values Jeremy supported, and which we believed were necessary for Labour’s survival (many would say re-establishment) as an alternative to the Tories, long after the contest was over.
That was the plan. We new it would be an uphill struggle to win the party and to win in 2020, but we believed that if we didn’t Labour would continue to see its core vote eroded. Indeed the erosion of our core vote could turn into a rout as it already had in Scotland. But now that uphill struggle will take place with Jeremy as leader.
And today we are launching Momentum. The social movement that Jeremy promised that will carry on Jeremy’s campaign for a new, kinder politics. For peace and justice, equality and a better life. For proper jobs with fair pay, for decent homes at a genuinely affordable cost, for a society that looks after all it’s people.
Momentum will campaign for a Labour victories in 2016 in Wales and Scotland and London. None of them will come easily.
It will back Labour’s campaign to register voters before the end of 2015 to minimise the effect of the Tories immoral, self-interested attempt to gerrymander the forthcoming boundary commission, just as it attempting to fatally damage the finances and organisational capacity of both the trade unions and the Labour Party with its trade union bill.
It will campaign in our communities and workplaces against evictions and for rent controls, against benefit caps and the iniquitous work capability assessment that amounts to nothing less than the persecution of disabled people. And alongside trade unions, for secure jobs with reasonable conditions, and for wages that afford people a decent standard of living without having to rely on benefits.
And it will also campaign inside the Labour Party to change it into the campaigning organisation we need, rooted in communities and workplaces, a truly democratic party with polices to match the needs of the many not the interests of the few.
This is a positive outward-looking agenda and that is as it should be but there is a defensive agenda too. The fact that those who were threatening a coup until days before Jeremy’s victory stopped doing so when they saw the size of his majority does not mean that they have all changed their minds. But what they do, when they choose to strike, will depend in the first instance on what happens in the elections next May – elections which in Scotland, Wales and London were never going to be plain sailing whoever was leader of the Labour Party. Making sure that Labour does as well as possible is as much in Jeremy’s interest and in the interest of the Labour Party as a whole.
In the launch email, the signatories (Richard Burgon, Katy Clark, Clive Lewis, Becky Long-Bailey and Kate Osamor) described the new organisation as follows:
Momentum will be our grassroots network to continue the work we have begun:
- To organise in every town, city and village to create a mass movement for real, progressive change.
- Make Labour a more democratic party, with the policies and collective will to implement them in government.
- To bring together individuals and groups in our communities and workplaces to campaign and organise on the issues that matter to us.
Momentum will be your network; please help build it. But right now, as we begin to organise new events and campaigns, and to launch Momentum online, we need you to help us spread the word about these plans.
Please help the campaign: Like Momentum’s page on Facebook and share it with your friends. Follow Momentum on Twitter. Email your friends and get them to sign up. And please donate to Momentum – it isn’t going to be bankrolled by supermarket owners or global corporations.