Hot on the heels of the collapse of Jeremy Corbyn's relaunch comes yet another crisis for the far-left in Labour. The Momentum Tendency (proprietor: Jon Lansman) is openly split over the introduction of (shock, horror) a constitution that gives the decision making power to its members rather than the activists through a "One man, one vote" process.
In an e-mail Lansman declared:
The Constitution may not be perfect in everyone’s eyes, but, whatever process we follow, it is common ground that we need one, and it is surely better to have it now and amend it later by a process that is indisputable. As well as setting out the essential elements of our aims and objectives as they have always appeared on our website and in our public statements, the constitution:
Reinforces our wholehearted commitment to the Labour Party by restating our aim of working towards affiliation, and requiring all members to be party members;
Provides for elections and key decisions including changes to the constitution to be made by our members themselves;
One of the main features of Momentum is that it's members must be in the Labour Party. If someone has been expelled they cannot remain in the organisation. Outraged various individuals such as Nick Wrack (ex TUSC, Respect,) has described this as a "coup" by Lansman.
Sacha Ismail of the Alliance for Workers Liberty has already complained that he has been expelled from Momentum as a result of this decision. That's due to the fact members of the AWL are ineligible for membership of the Labour Party as their group has been proscribed. Not sure what he expected.
The decision to go down this road will not only change Momentum but will split the group, with Lansman hoping it will rid him of his opponents and make it "easier" for Momentum to become affiliated to the Labour Party.
Already across Facebook and other social media sites a number of the comrades have declared they are off. Some have reportedly (and disturbingly) described this as a "Zionist" plot showing how utterly deranged and dangerous some of the new Black Shirt left have become.
The introduction of OMOV has caused such controversy because the harder left of Momentum including the AWL & others wanted to have a delegate system to ensure that members who turned up to meetings for hours on end (i.e. themselves) were able to "put over the arguments".
The basis of Lansman's decision was a survey which his opponents complain only led to a 40% response rate. The other 60% have been "excluded" and according to one complaint I read "people may not have read their e-mails". Actually maybe they just couldn't be bothered. Momentum has been falling apart since it's inception for one simple reason.
The authoritarian "left" are incapable of getting on with each other.
Every attempt to unite the so-called far-left and bring in a wider periphery has failed. There was Socialist Unity launched by the IMG in the seventies, The Socialist Alliance and the dreadful Islamist orientated Respect. Fails, all of them.
Lansman who has been part of the Labour Left for years is not entirely stupid and has obviously taken this move to exclude what he sees as the sectarian left in an attempt to move Momentum on.
However with Corbyn continuing to make a fool of himself the battle for the heart and soul of Labour continues.
There will be more on this as Momentum dissipates in glorious internecine warfare!