For Momentum to Agree Which Route to Take, It First Needs to Agree a Destination

This was orginally published on NovaraMedia

Momentum, the legacy organisation to the Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader campaign, is engulfed in a bitter spat concerning the structures of the organisation. The sides are polarised and trust in each other is low. The organisation is divided at a time when unity is paramount.

There is, of course, more to it than meets the eye – debates about structures are rarely just that. For Momentum it is a proxy war over the central two questions for this, or indeed any, organisation: what is its goal, and what is its strategy? The answers to these questions have never been agreed. Had they been, Momentum would not be in this mess. As it stands, the organisation is discussing everything back-to-front – fiercely arguing the merits of different routes without first agreeing the destination. Continue reading

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It’s Not About Jackie Walker

This was orginally published on NovaraMedia

With the regularity of the seasons we are once again plunged into a discussion about antisemitism on the left. The catalyst this time is Jackie Walker, now ex-vice chair of Momentum.

As is now so often the case in Labour, the debate is polarised. On one side are those who see her comments as yet more evidence that the left harbours a hatred of Jews; on the other are those who see the whole affair as an invention of right-wing Zionists committed to undermining Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. The truth is somewhere in the vast gulf between the two. Continue reading

Labour Leadership Race: 6 Key Failings of Corbyn’s Opponents

This was orginally published on NovaraMedia

The Labour leadership election is effectively over. Despite his opponents throwing everything they have at him, Jeremy Corbyn is sure to be re-elected, and probably with an increased majority. Had all Labour party members had a vote, this majority would no doubt have been more overwhelming still.

On their own terms, this is an astonishing defeat for the Corbyn-sceptic camp. They argue that Corbyn’s greatest weakness is his inability to win an election. But when they call a leadership election, pitting him against their chosen candidate and under election rules of their own choosing, they still manage to lose. A defeat under these conditions demonstrates that they are completely unequipped to take on the political challenges that face them. Continue reading

‘We are socialists, they are social democrats’: An Interview with Austria’s Socialist Youth

This was orginally published on NovaraMedia

Socialist Youth Austria (Sozialistische Jugend Österreich or SJÖ) is a youth wing of the Social Democratic party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs or SPÖ), which currently governs Austria in coalition with the Conservative party (Österreichische Volkspartei).

Unlike youth wings in the UK, such as Young Labour and the Young Greens, the Socialist Youth Austria is legally separate and autonomous from its mother party, but with a strong relationship to it. Socialist Youth Austria is a Marxist organisation.

James McAsh interviewed the national chair, Julia Herr (pictured), for Novara Media. Continue reading

‘A death toll for Blairite strategy’: Labour’s Leadership Contest So Far

This was orginally published on NovaraMedia

After weeks of hand wringing by sections of the parliamentary Labour party we now have a leadership election. This has forced the rebels to select a candidate and to articulate a vision. It has also encouraged the Jeremy Corbyn campaign to clarify and refine its plans for the country. Now that we’ve seen two sets of policy pledges and a couple of hustings, we can begin to compare the candidates. So far I can see three clear dividing lines relating to strategy. Continue reading

Labour needs a programme of political education

This was orginally published on OpenDemocracy

The Labour party membership has grown hugely. To mobilise this membership, it needs to invest in educating it.

This week, Owen Jones published a blog, ‘Questions all Jeremy Corbyn supporters need to answer’, which has caused a stir on the left. His ninth question was about how the mass membership of Corbyn’s Labour can translate into votes. Here is one possible answer.  Continue reading

Labour’s Electability Crisis: Is Corbyn the Cause or Cure?

This was orginally published on NovaraMedia

The Labour party faces a crisis of electability, but Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is the best – and maybe only – available route out.

The discourse of the right of the Labour party focuses almost exclusively on winning elections, and spends little time talking about what to do with this power. But while we on the left are right to focus on big political ideas we shouldn’t let electoral success become the right’s turf. Socialism is the politics of mass movements and it is only through socialist ideas that we can find solutions to the problems of the 21st century. There is a mass potential for our politics, and we can already see the beginning of it. Continue reading