Thursday 1 November 2018

Welcome to the uncomradely world of Southend Momentum

Some time in late 2016 I joined Momentum. I have joined lots of thinktanks and fringe groups over the years, often on the left, and I have always enjoyed the cut and thrust of debate as well challenging myself over what I believe in. I think debate and disagreement healthy and the only way to make real progress.

I went to a couple of Southend Momenum meetings in early 2017. Then the General Election intervened.

Come the AGM of my constituency Labour Party I decided to throw my hat in the ring for the role of treasurer. This resulted in an online spat with the Momentum candidate who called me 'duplicitous'. That he chose to argue with me whilst I was in my hospital bed recovering from a very serious bowel operation says much.

Some time later I was tipped off by another Momentum member that I had been removed from the closed Facebook group, and had been banned from the group (and no longer invited to their meetings). No notice of this was given, no explanation, no chance to appeal. Nice.

I contacted the national Momentum organisation, and although an investigation was promised nothing materialised.

Earlier this year I tried again to be admitted, not because of any burning desire to actually go to their meetings, but I felt that I had been treated shoddily and wanted some measure of natural justice. What follows is the response I received. I am still puzzled by Southend Momentum's uncomradely behaviour, and their response explains nothing.

Thank you for your request  of 22 August 2018 to be invited to Southend & District Momentum Meetings. I am sorry for the delay in responding to your request but I had to ratify the decision for this request with Southend Momentum Officers and Members, and we did not meet until 3 October.

At the last meeting of members, it was confirmed that Officers and Members of Southend & District Momentum do not agree that you fulfil the requirements set out in the constitution of the local Southend Momentum Group, that members have signed up to. This message is also to inform you that Labour Party members may belong to the national Peoplesmomentum  but may not necessarily be accepted into membership of the local organisation.

I attach a copy of the constitution for your information.
Aims for Southend-on-Sea & District Momentum Group

The Southend-on-Sea & District Momentum Group (the Group)
Aims of the group
  • To work towards the success of the Labour Party at all levels.
  • To promote the programme and policies of Momentum nationally.
  • In furtherance of the above: To secure the election of supporters of the programme of our group as officers of the Labour Party, locally, regionally and nationally. the group will agree a slate to avoid duplication of nominations. Additionally the group may consider accepting party nominations for appropriate external roles .
  • To campaign in the community for Socialist principles.
  • To co-operate with the national Momentum organisation and support the campaigning activities.
  • To hold regular meetings, both open/public meetings for supporters and closed ones for members of the group.
  • To develop a programme of socialist political education for group members and supporters, also help to train members to be better at undertaking tasks such as canvassing.
  • To be Eligible to apply to join the group, a candidate must be a member of the Labour Party and the national Momentum. The group Treasurer and Secretary, will then consider any such applications, and their recommendations shall be referred to the next officers meeting for the confirmation (or otherwise). The annual Renewal of membership is contingent upon current membership of both Momentum nationally and The Labour Party.
  • Members of Southend and District Momentum are expected to adhere to all the aims and objectives and policies of Momentum. Any member who is deemed to have acted against Momentum will be liable to be excluded from the local group. Such recommendation shall be made by the officers committee and confirmed (or otherwise) by the next members meeting. The member shall have the right to put their side of this if they so wish.
  • There will be an annual membership fee to be agreed by the AGM the group. The initial years membership fee is £1.00. Such membership shall expire two days after the next AGM.
  • There will be an Officers committee charged with the running of the group.
  • The Officers of the group shall have gender parity and be elected annually by members at the AGM. It will be possible to job share provided all positions are elected. The following positions will comprise the Officers of the group.
Data Manager
Group Promotion Officer/Press Officer
Social Media Managers (2)
key contacts for the local Momentum group for National Momentum (2)
Regional Coordinating Network (2)
Labour Party Engagement Officers (4) for Rochford & Southend East, Southend West, Rayleigh & Wickford & Castle Point

  • All decisions of the Officers committee are to be ratified (or otherwise) by the closed meetings of group members.
  • The group will have an internet presence, both closed (for members only) and open to communicate with others who may wish to discuss with us. Initially this will be on facebook. It shall be maintained by the Social media Managers with all Officers as admins.

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St Luke's Voice Winter 2018/19 edition