Jim Ring

The ‘Other’ Conference

Jim Ring

What is it? It’s a new kind of politics. It’s café, live performance, masterclass, workshop, brainstorming session, rally... It is participatory democracy in the making. But the event at the Black-E was really only the beginning. The hope is for it to be permanent, for the model to be replicated throughout the country, regionally and locally, and beyond. How does Momentum fit in?

Momentum is its ‘mother’. It gave birth to The World Transformed. It will, all being well, nurture it, guide it, watch it grow. But it must never stifle its ambitions, limit its function. Momentum must allow it to evolve freely as it will.

 What about the Labour Party? The Labour Party is, in a sense, the dialectical opposite to The World Transformed. It is formal, representative democracy, with strict, inflexible structures and procedures, where individual participation is generally tolerated rather than welcomed. But it is the road to power, transforming ideas into action, actually to transform the world. As Marx put it,“the philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it”.

Momentum Again    Momentum’s role, then, is to facilitate the process of individual participation, from involvement in The World Transformed, and other similar initiatives, to formal party activity, through collaboration within Momentum’s group activities.

This is why Momentum has to identify itself specifically with the Labour Party, and why its members have to be, at least, ‘eligible’ for membership – and why Momentum must explicitly deny membership to individuals from other parties and factions “having their own programme, principles and policy, or distinctive and separate propaganda”.

Momentum South Cumbria, and Westmorland & Lonsdale