Some next steps for Momentum 

The situation is fraught with pain and anger and pregnant with opportunity. This is more than a Tory electoral meltdown – in the terrible aftermath of Grenfell, the Tories have lost the consent of the people and cannot rule. 

We still have no government, no coalition, but we have a sense of what they’re going to try. A minority Tory government backed the DUP will be a weak and vicious affair.

Some say we need do nothing but prepare for the next election, that we should let the Tories bleed, that we should not interfere with our enemy when she is making a mistake. But that military analogy is misplaced. The Tories have just lost a huge battle, it remains to drive them from the battlefield.

Red Flag, socialists in the Labour Party, welcome today’s meeting of Grassroots Momentum branches and Red Labour. We hope this will help extend the networks of democratically organised Labour Party members that support Jeremy Corbyn at local, regional and national level. We have two proposals to make.

1. Create a democratic network of left wing party members that can mesh with local struggles and remove the right from levers of control in the party 

  • Momentum national office did a good job coordinating mass canvassing and producing digital campaigns. The problem is their opposition to genuine democratic organisation that could involve members in selecting who the left wing challengers should be at each level and could develop policy. Instead left slates are to be decided by a handful of people in an office and policy is laid on.
  • This is also essential if we are to build a mass youth movement that young people genuinely own and to draw in the new generation of politicised, angry people.

2. Prepare for a Labour government 

Whether it comes this year or next a Labour government with the likely complexion of the PLP would have a left wing leadership and a right wing parliamentary group. This will make it very difficult for a Corbyn government to resist the inevitable reaction from financial markets, employers and the state. There are four possible outcomes: the government gives in and adopts austerity like Syriza in Greece; the government is overthrown in a military coup like in Chile; or the government breaks with the ruling class, takes over their property and hands power to new democratic institutions of working people organised to fight the system.

In this context we believe there’s an urgent need for a debate to extend and strengthen the party’s programme. Key areas include:

  • Measures against financial sabotage including capital controls, expropriations.
  • Measures against the repressive powers of the state: it was deft to highlight May’s police and security cuts, but we should remember that police are used against strikes and security services can be used to undermine a Labour government
  • ‘Defence’: Whatever the balance of forces in the party, Trident is a weapon of mass destruction and NATO is a warmongering alliance that could authorise its use. We must oppose the British ruling class abroad as well as at home and work with the labour and socialist movements in other countries to do so
  • Brexit and migration: Yes there was a referendum, but Brexit is reactionary and “managed migration” harms our fellow migrant workers from Europe when compared to freedom of movement. We should get back on track and oppose the clampdown on workers looking for a better life here.

There is much more to discuss and we really hope today’s meeting marks a step forward in that process.

Red Flag is a socialist organisation campaigning within Labour for a democratically planned and owned economy. We campaign for grassroots democracy in the labour movement, militant defence of the oppressed and an anticapitalist programme for the Labour Party. Against Brexit, for free movement. Anticapitalist and internationalist.

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