Basic factual report of 11 March Momentum Grassroots conference

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This is a holding report, attempting to stick to basic facts. We’ll publish comment and analysis soon.

• About 200 people attended, of whom 80-90 were delegates from local Momentum groups. This is the largest national gathering of Momentum members so far.

• The conference was addressed by FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack (see here for a video of his speech), Picturehouse cinema striker Kelly Rogers, newly elected Momentum NCG member Sahaya Rogers and Derby school support strikers Nicol Hutley and Kate Walker. It collected somewhere in the region of £350 for the two strikes.

• Early in the day the delegates voted 43-24 to allow all those present to vote.

• The conference agreed a statement of aims and various campaigns including fighting school cuts; campaigning for the NHS and social care; supporting the Derby TAs, Picturehouse workers and others workers’ struggles; and fighting expulsions and suspensions from Labour. An amendment along the lines of “Opposing witch-hunts on the basis of false accusations of anti-semitism” was passed by a large margin. There was debate about how much to emphasise defending migrants’ rights as distinct from workers’ rights in general: this was resolved by moving support for workers’ rights and struggles to the top while maintaining a clear distinct point about migrants’ rights. The conference agreed to attempt to convene a convention of various Labour left organisations in the autumn. We’ll post the text of the statement when we have it.

• The conference rejected 1) not adopting any structure and 2) maintaining a committee based on remnants of the old Steering Committee and Conference Arrangements Committee by large majorities. It rejected a proposal to have a six-strong coordinating committee with specific positions such as chair, treasurer and Labour Party specialist by 89 votes to 83. It then agreed by 88 votes to 68 to elect a 20-strong committee of at least half women. The conference voted to do this by first past the post, rejecting a proposal to do it by single transferrable vote. The proposal agreed also included regional networks continuing as before and regular national meetings with two delegates from each group.

• There were 39 candidates and the following people were elected:
Matt Wrack – Waltham Forest (member of pre-coup Steering Committee)
Sahaya James – Lambeth (member of new National Coordinating Group)
Tracy McGuire – Darlington (pre-coup National Committee)
Jacqueline Walker – Thanet (pre-coup Steering)
Nick Wrack – Southwark (pre-coup NC)
Simon Hannah – Wandsworth
Delia Mattis – Enfield (pre-coup NC)
Kevin McKenna – Tower Hamlets
Jill Mountford – Lewisham (pre-coup Steering)
Graham Bash – Thanet
Rosie Woods – Harrow
Rida Vaquas – Oxford (member of NCG) (pre-coup NC)
Lee Griffiths – Tower Hamlets
Alec Price – Medway (pre-coup NC)
Pete Radcliff – Broxtowe
Ed Whitby – Newcastle (pre-coup NC)
Tina Werkmann – Sheffield
Jan Pollock – London, not sure of group
Richard Gerrard – Southwark
Joan Twelves – Lambeth

• We ran a Clarion stall, sold about 50 copies of issue 5, got a few subscriptions, set up some interviews and had one request to join our editorial board.

More soon!

The Derby strikers address the conference – they got a huge standing ovation

Momentum NCG member Sahaya James speaking

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