Our questions to all Momentum NCG candidates – and their answers

3) Will you refuse to endorse Jon Lansman to continue to serve on the National Executive Committee?

4) Will you campaign for Labour Party conference to become Labour Party’s sovereign body, especially when it comes to deciding policy? This requires abolishing the National Policy Forum, which was set up under Tony Blair.

5) Will you campaign for Labour Party’s complaints and disciplinary rules procedures to be overhauled so that disciplinary procedures are carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice, and be time-limited, so that charges not resolved within three months are automatically dropped?

6) Will you campaign for the reinstatement of members who have been suspended and/or expelled under unjustified and politically motivated allegations of antisemitism, for example most recently the Liverpool Wavertree 4?

7) Will you campaign for Labour to:

a) oppose attempts to label the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as antisemitic?;

b) overturn the Labour Party’s commitment to the ‘working definition of antisemitism’ by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which conflates anti-Zionism with antisemitism in a number of its eleven examples?;

c) oppose the party implementing the Board of Deputies’ 10-point pledge “to tackle the anti-semitism crisis”, as they seriously undermine party democracy?

ALL REPLIES RECEIVED (June 13 2020)

Nobody from Momentum Renewal replied to our request, despite the fact that we contacted them officially as well as wrote to all candidates individually. Forward Momentum and Syed Siddiqi (London) have sent us statements rather than detailed answers: FM statement here and Syed Siddiqi’s statement here. Find below detailed answers supplied by the Anticapitalist Platform and Jae Robinson (Midlands and East Region)

1) Will you campaign for Momentum to have a sovereign members’ conference/AGM that sets policy and elects its National Coordinating Group?

Anticapitalist Platform: Yes. A sovereign policy and constitutional conference is the only way to re-found Momentum and ensure it represents its members. Online voting allows the leadership to decide whether and what questions are asked, and interpret the responses. We’ve tried it and not only has it not worked, it’s been used to consolidate top-down control of Momentum.

The question of democracy is not an abstract one – we face the triple crisis of the pandemic, recession and climate catastrophe and must transform Momentum into an organisation capable of fighting for the interests of the working class both inside the Labour Party and on the streets – the BLM protests, industrial struggles and social movements.

This requires a vibrant organisation where members are organised in their locality and empowered to decide and organise local and national campaigns. But when we look at our local groups, they have withered from lack of purpose. Members are treated as foot-soldiers to carry out NCG decisions. No amount of training or consultation will reinvigorate Momentum – we need democracy.

We have not taken a view either way on whether the NCG should be elected by that conference or by a ballot of all members, what we are clear on is that the conference must be the ultimate authority and the NCG must implement its decisions and be accountable to the membership.

Jae Robinson: Yes, definitely I believe that there must be both an independent conference that is genuine and reflective of views of the membership that can then become policy. An AGM is necessary to report back to members to increase transparency and accountability. It’s my opinion that Momentum has become a closed shop that is ruled from above, long gone were the aspirational aims, the hopes of a long disenfranchised masses.

2) Regarding the selection of NEC candidates, will you campaign for an end to backroom deals and for Momentum to implement a democratic internal process, which involves all members and then seek a democratic selection process within the whole Labour Left?

Anticapitalist Platform: Yes. The infighting between the bureaucracy of the various Labour left groupings has cut members out of the decision-making and then, without the grassroots pressure of democratic decision-making, meant the left’s NEC vote was split.

Our movement should first decide what it stands for and then decide who will best represent our interests. This, again, can only be achieved democratically.

Jae Robinson: I am standing as a late candidate, hopeful to get onto the ballot for exactly this reason. I had spoken out against this in the past something that no doubt has gone against me but I stand firm in my belief that elections must be open and totally transparent. Last night I received a telephone call asking for my support for the candidates on the given slate. How did they get my mobile number? Why are selected candidates still being given preferential treatment? It’s still a bit unsavoury and unfair, and although I am unlikely to succeed it is important to make this stand for fairness and democracy.

3) Will you refuse to endorse Jon Lansman to continue to serve on the National Executive Committee?

Anticapitalist Platform: Yes. The Momentum coup was led by Jon Lansman. By stripping local groups of their rights and shutting down democracy, the coup ensured Momentum would not put pressure on the Labour leadership on issues like Trident renewal and democratic selection of MPs.

Before that, Momentum was a large and vibrant organisation. It was drawing people into the struggle for a Corbyn-led Labour government to deliver the most radical manifesto for a generation. Momentum had the potential reach far beyond Labour members and registered supporters and organise extra-parliamentary resistance to Tory austerity and for a Labour government. Not only could this have laid the groundwork for an electoral victory but also created a movement that could defend a Labour government against the right and held it to account from the left.

As a movement we must hold our representatives accountable based on their leadership in struggle for the politics decided democratically by those who elected them. Given Jon Lansman’s track record in positions of power in both Momentum and the Labour Party, he cannot be trusted to represent members’ interests on its leading bodies.

Jae Robinson: Yes, I have made a stand against his automatic slate position although unpopular with many of my colleagues. I vote for whomever I choose and hope that more people will have greater faith in their ability to read information available and make free choices

4) Will you campaign for Labour Party conference to become Labour Party’s sovereign body, especially when it comes to deciding policy? This requires abolishing the National Policy Forum, which was set up under Tony Blair.

Anticapitalist Platform: Yes. The Labour Party conference must be the sovereign body that determines policy, including what goes in the manifesto, and how to fight for it.Furthermore, an historic problem with the Labour Party structures is the independence of the PLP from the conference. Members should decide policy and the PLP should fight for those policies and be accountable to the membership. Any MPs or officials who disrupt the party’s work should be expelled.

Jae Robinson: Yes, conference represents a greater selection of members voices (not enough) and should rightly be the sovereign body. Isn’t this a fundamental principle of the Labour Party, the peoples working party?

5) Will you campaign for Labour Party’s complaints and disciplinary rules procedures to be overhauled so that disciplinary procedures are carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice, and be time-limited, so that charges not resolved within three months are automatically dropped?

Anticapitalist Platform: Yes. Time and again, members have been left for extended periods of time with an allegation hanging over them, suspended from involvement in the party and very often with little or no information about the accusation against them and no clue as to when they will have the opportunity to answer those accusations.

Disciplinary processes have been used to pursue politically-motivated suspensions and expulsions, mostly of left-wing members, and subvert internal democratic processes. For example, the suspension of Jo Bird just before the NEC elections was a clear, though thankfully unsuccessful, attempt to keep her off the ballot paper.

It’s clear that the Party’s disciplinary procedures are not fit for purpose and need to be reformed.

Jae Robinson: Yes, I strongly support this, I am also standing for Momentum NCG as a party member suspended for 4 years due party to ridiculous and impossible accusations by Dan Hogan, ex compliance unit and participant of Panorama program. I strongly agree in timescales that must be set and followed and that suspended members can not be simply sidelined time & time again.

6) Will you campaign for the reinstatement of members who have been suspended and/or expelled under unjustified and politically motivated allegations of antisemitism, for example most recently the Liverpool Wavertree 4?

Anticapitalist Platform: Yes. The accusation that there is an anti-Semitism “crisis” in Labour – implying that Labour has fostered or tolerated antisemitism and allowed it to become uniquely widespread in the party – is part of a political campaign to suppress opposition to the colonisation of Palestine and oppression of the Palestinian people. Alongside the push to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, any criticism or denial that antisemitism is a uniquely widespread problem in Labour is now often portrayed as proof of anti-Semitism.

As a result, some left-wing members who are critical of the Israeli government or the colonisation of Palestine have been unfairly suspended or expelled, including many Jewish members who solidarise with the Palestinian struggle against oppression.

As one would expect, some allegations of anti-Semitism against Labour Party members have proven true. We live in a racist society and racism, including anti-Semitism, permeates all parts of that society, including the Labour Party. Therefore, we must combat racism through political education and, where necessary, disciplinary proceedings. The question of Israel/Palestine is complex, there is a lot of misleading information about it and even people who abhor anti-Semitism or anti-Arab racism might make mistakes. In a mass party, the first emphasis after challenging every instance of racism must be re-education, with expulsion a sanction for unrepentant racists. 

Jae Robinson: Yes, I will actively campaign against all dodgy suspensions as in the case of the Wavertree 4, plus the reinstatement of members expelled due to bogus allegations for example Marc Wadsworth for bogus antisemitism claims.

7) Will you campaign for Labour to:
a) oppose attempts to label the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as antisemitic?

Anticpapitalist Platform: Yes. UN resolutions against the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and illegal denial of refugees’ right of return have had no effect. The BDS campaign shows solidarity with and raises awareness of the Palestinian cause. It is incumbent upon socialists, particularly in Britain, a country heavily implicated in the continued suffering of the Palestinian people, to support BDS.

It is now recognised that the boycott of South African goods, sporting events etc was a legitimate form of international protest against apartheid. The same is true of the BDS campaign as a method of protesting against the colonisation of Palestine.  

Jae Robinson: Is it? I’d like to know why it is being labelled as such and would obviously campaign against faux antisemitic accusations being made against any campaign, individual or group without appropriate evidence.


b) overturn the Labour Party’s commitment to the ‘working definition of antisemitism’ by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which conflates anti-Zionism with antisemitism in a number of its eleven examples?;

Anticapitalist Platform: Yes. Under the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, any member who describes Israel, its government’s policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist, or denies Israel’s right to exist as an ethnically exclusive settler state, can face disciplinary action. This part of the definition has clearly been designed to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism as part of an attempt to silence legitimate criticism of Israel. Even the author of the IHRA definition has recognised that right-wing pro-Israel groups have weaponized it to suppress free speech and condemned its use. 

Jae Robinson: Yes, I disagree with the Labour Party agreeing to a commitment to the ‘working definition of antisemitism’. It must always uphold and stand by commitments to oppose all hate crime in the pursuit of Equity and a fair, just society.


c) oppose the party implementing the Board of Deputies’ 10-point pledge “to tackle the anti- semitism crisis”, as they seriously undermine party democracy?

Anticapitalist Platform: Yes. Many of the hundreds of thousands who joined the Labour Party under Corbyn’s leadership oppose British imperialism and it was Corbyn’s anti-imperialism in particular – his opposition to Trident renewal, NATO and his vocal support of the Palestinian cause – that scared the Labour right and the rest of the British establishment. Britain’s power and wealth derives from its economic and military domination of other countries, and the pro-capitalists in Labour and outside it could not accept a mass anti-imperialist party. Now that the right have successfully ousted Corbyn, they will proceed to purge the rest of the party.

The 10-point pledge is one of the weapons being used to wage this offensive. It positions the Jewish Labour Movement, a right-wing pro-Israel organisation, as the sole representative of Jewish opinion and excludes anti-Zionist Jewish voices. It also doubles down on the use of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism to govern disciplinary cases and makes anyone who supports an accused member guilty by association, setting the scene for a renewed assault on anti-Zionism and the Palestinian cause.

The Israeli government has announced a new round of annexations of Palestinian land and it is the responsibility of Labour party members to speak out and protest against what will be a brutal attack on the Palestinian people, and demand that the Labour leadership do the same.

Jae Robinson: Yes, it is my opinion that the Board of Deputies’ are comprised mainly of Tory voters and donors and their aim was to undermine Corbyn and his chances of becoming Prime Minister. I would go as far as investigating any MP who supports the insistence of the Labour Party to subjugate itself to any external organisation with a single agenda that is not in the interests of the membership, the party and/ or it’s affiliated unions.