Campaigners marching behind a Momentum banner

Throughout June and July, members of Momentum – the left wing faction of the Labour Party – will vote to elect a new National Coordinating Group (NCG). The NCG is the body within Momentum with takes key decisions about the direction and strategy of the organisation.

The notice of the election was published on May 28, with nominations opening on June 13.

Following publication of the notice of the election, a new grouping within Momentum launched. Branded ‘Momentum Organisers’, the group has pledged to bring an ‘organising agenda’ to the NCG elections.

Momentum Organisers’ website states that the group emerged after Keir Starmer threatened to remove the whip from MPs who signed a statement from Stop the War Coalition which was critical of NATO’s expansionist policy ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to the group, this was “the clearest sign yet of the existential threat looming over a weak and rudderless left.” Accusing the left within the Labour Party of “passivity” over the issue, they go on to say, “we felt something had to change and that Momentum, the vehicle of the grassroots left, had lost its way”.

Momentum Organisers’ launch statement argues that “Momentum’s strategy and leadership has too often been lacking” in light of the Labour Party’s shift to the right. It reads,

The Left is reaching a crisis point. Demoralised by defeats, we have fallen prey to determined Establishment attempts to drive us out of public life. These relentless attacks have not only come from an authoritarian Tory government and their media allies, but from a Starmer leadership intent on pushing the Labour Left out of the Party, and even Parliament

But faced with these existential threats, Momentum’s strategy and leadership has too often been lacking. Momentum has faced three ways at once, and ended up standing still.

The group’s statement goes on to call for Momentum to prioritise “organising above all else”, with the objective of “defending and, where possible, advancing the left’s place in the Party and beyond. It continues,

To survive, we need Momentum to be in the fight. That requires a shift to prioritising organising above all else, with a laser-focus on the key objective: defending and, where possible, advancing the left’s place in the Party and beyond.

It’s true that the Labour Right hold the cards at the top of the party. But despite everything, a united and organised left, working with unions and embedded in local communities has shown it is still a force to be reckoned with; from seizing control of the Socialist Health Association to electing the biggest wave of left Labour councillors in decades.

We have the policies and the people to tackle the enormous crises we face, from climate to the cost-of-living. What we need now is organisation and clear direction. Momentum Organisers wants to learn from the best of our movement, debate the way forward together and roll out the lessons nationwide.

The group has the backing of left wing grassroots Labour activists.

Among them is Lewis Dagnall who fell short of being selected as the Labour Party’s candidate for South Yorkshire Mayor in early 2022. He has said, “Momentum has been a very positive force, but it has sometimes fallen short. I want to prevent that from happening again.”

Other supporters of Momentum Organisers include:

  • Mark Ladbrooke – Chair of the Socialist Health Association
  • Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini – Oxford City Councillor
  • Sasha Das Gupta – Newham Borough Councillor
  • Sharmina August – Salford City Councillor

Members of Momentum will be able to vote in the NCG elections from June 28 to July 6.

In the last Momentum NCG elections, held in 2020, the Forward Momentum slate won all seats elected my members. Forward Momentum was a grouping which focused its campaign on democratising Momentum, and was seen in opposition to the ‘Lansmanite’ faction that ran on the Momentum Renewal ticket. Momentum Renewal won all four seats that were reserved for public office holders.

In that election, Forward Momentum were also seen as having a more hostile attitude to Brexit, with some of its core activists being linked to the left wing campaign group Another Europe Is Possible.

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Image credit: FunkDooby – Creative Commons