The far-left is renowned for it's squabbling and in-fighting but the latest spat between Momentum, often seen as the new "Militant Tendency" with the Socialist Party which was the original Militant is one of the more bizarre.
Originally established to promote Jeremy Corbyn's election campaign for Labour leader, Momentum has now become the main far-left organisation within the party. Surprisingly the organisation is not as large as could be expected given the numbers of activists who have turned to Labour following Corbyn's election. Estimates range around the 5,000 mark.
Some small Trotskyist organisations have re-appeared in Labour under both new and old banners. Workers Power has re-branded itself as Red Flag and Workers Liberty is the current name of the previously proscribed Socialist Organiser. Most of the other Momentum supporters are just leftists who drifted off into the wilderness during the Blair/Brown years.
However Momentum has attracted the attention of other far-left groups, primarily the Socialist Party, the remains of what was once a much larger, more influential group which published Militant before it was driven out of the Labour Party. The reason for the purge was the well known fact that Militant was in fact a completely separate organisation that had been built up inside Labour as part of what is known as "entryism".
Momentum has made a decision that only Labour supporters can belong to it's organisation. This has resulted in the Socialist Party throwing a tantrum about being "witch-hunted" and "exclusion at the recent meeting of Momentum's Youth and Students. The comrades write:
Bowing to pressure from the right wing in the Labour Party and the capitalist media, the leadership of Momentum has made a number of retreats and climb-downs. They have rejected the Socialist Party's call for a federal, democratic organisation and instead have moved to exclude various socialists and anti-austerity campaigners, including the Socialist Party.
Socialist Party members present made the point from the floor that if Momentum Youth and Students is an autonomous part of Momentum then it can and must reject these restrictions on membership...
In attendance were two self-proclaimed Trotskyist groups - Socialist Appeal and the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL). Both groups have recently been targeted by the Labour Party and have received suspensions and expulsions. However neither of them spoke out against the same witch hunt against the Socialist Party in Momentum.
In fact, one member of the AWL proclaimed that he "was not and has never been a member of the Socialist Party" and that there was no place for the Socialist Party in Momentum.
These groups, by their silence, have sided with the right-wing compromisers in Momentum and are complicit in the witch hunt.
Now Momentum is an organisation that is inside the Labour Party. Labour, like all other political parties does not allow members of other organisations that organise outside their ranks and stand candidates against them.
The Socialist Party is registered as a separate political party, though when it stands in it's own right it has to call itself Socialist Alternative as the Socialist Party of Great Britain has long been registered as "The Socialist Party" for electoral purposes. The SP also organises the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) along with the Socialist Workers Party and the RMT trade union which ran large numbers of candidates in both the General and local elections.
The TUSC even got it's own Party Political Broadcast. Of course the votes it attracted were derisory to say the least, but they continue to campaign against Labour both in their press and in elections.
It's hardly surprising that Labour members, even "left-wing" ones do not want them in their ranks. It's a breach of Labours rules and could undermine their own project as a result.
The attack on Socialist Appeal is hardly a surprise either. This group is also a fragment of the old Militant Tendency, just much, much smaller and has perhaps two or three hundred members who have been hiding in the Labour party for a long time.
So there's the "new politics" for you. Just a re-run of old fashioned Trotskyist and far-left sectarianism with the participants just masquerading under new names.
The same old crap that will make Labour unelectable........