Momentum 'facing takeover from Trotskyist factions'

Posted On: 
6th December 2016

Grassroots organisation Momentum is facing an attempted takeover from Trotskyist factions, a committee member of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn movement has claimed.

The Corbyn-backing group are facing a struggle at the top.
Credit: 
PA Images

Momentum’s women’s officer Laura Murray said that members of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) and others are attempting to seize control from its founder, Jon Lansman.

Ms Murray, who is also a Labour shadow cabinet adviser, argued a hostile takeover could see Momentum ditch its support for Mr Corbyn.

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In a blog post, Ms Murray said: “Jeremy Corbyn will inevitably make one compromise or concession that isn’t ideologically pure enough for them, and they will abandon him and Labour altogether to turn Momentum into a rival left wing party."

The development has led to Mr Lansman threatening to quit the group, sources told The Guardian.

Members of the AWL branded Ms Murray's allegations "untrue" because they successfully forced through measures to democratise Momentum.

Ms Murray, who advises Labour’s town hall spokesman, Grahame Morris, accused AWL members of bullying those they suspect of being “right wing” or “alt-Stalinist” members. 

She also alleged that a dispute over the group’s internal voting structure at a meeting of its national committee on Saturday ended in bullying and intimidation.

Ms Murray accused one AWL member of “shouting at the younger delegates, heckling them when they spoke, patronising and mocking them directly to their faces, and leaping up out of her chair to contradict every statement they made”.

'A VOCAL, DISRUPTIVE, OVERBEARING MINORITY'

She added: “The dyed-in-the-wool Trotskyists are not the majority in Momentum. But they are a vocal, disruptive and overbearing minority who have won themselves key positions in the regional committees, national committee and even the steering committee.”

“We wanted straight-talking, honest politics which put an end to the jargon-laden, focus-group-speak that Tony Blair propagated so well.

“But we also wanted ‘a kinder, gentler politics’ – Momentum was to be a group built on conciliatory, positive, outward-looking debate, which would be reflected in the way we treated each other, and our opponents.

“It is this goal which has perhaps fallen most spectacularly on its face.”

Ms Murray said there was a visible divide between older and younger members of the group.

 “When I arrived, what I witnessed was horrible. The generational divide was starkly visible for all to see. In the seats in the horseshoe-shape around the room were the pro-OMOV delegates – more likely to be younger, in the Labour party and close to Momentum staff and Jon Lansman. 

“In the seats in the centre of the room were the anti-OMOV delegates – more likely to be older, Trotskyist, seasoned in far-left factions, not in the Labour party. It was like a doughnut of desire for change, with a sticky centre of angry socialist stalwarts”, she added.