Last week Jon Lansman, leader of Momentum, came to the University of Sussex. He spoke on Momentum's role in supporting Jeremy Corbyn's campaign as leader of the Labour Party, before taking questions from the audience.
Socialist Students members questioned Lansman on Momentum's role in fighting the Blairite right-wing of the Labour Party. Since Corbyn' election as leader in 2015, the Blairites have acted as a fifth column within Labour - trying to stab him in the back at every turn. We stressed that the Blairites, who comprise the majority of Labour Parliamentary and council representatives - are not looking for unity or a "broad church". They have even openly discussed splitting the party to stop Corbyn's programme from being enacted should Labour win a general election.
So far, Momentum have capitulated on a number of key issues. Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than Lansman and Momentum’s continued retreats over the question of the introduction of mandatory reselection back into the Labour Party. The Blairites do not represent Corbyn's anti-austerity, pro-worker and pro-student programme, which has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to join the party.
Mandatory reselection would have been a huge step towards democratising the Labour Party and kicking out the saboteurs. The lack of fight demonstrated by Momentum and Lansman lead to the adoption of ‘open selection’ at Labour conference. A much more watered down policy compared to mandatory reselection, open selection totally fails to challenge the power of the Blairites in the Labour Party and fails to put all those working class and young people who joined Labour to support Corbyn in democratic control of the LP.
However Lansman said there are "not many" such Blairites and did not mention their power within the party, or Momentum's capitulation on mandatory reselection. Overall, the talk demonstrated the lack of confidence by Lansman and certain sections of the Labour leadership in challenging the capitalist class and their representatives in the Labour Party. Socialist Students campaigns to organise such a force to defend Corbyn’s anti-austerity programme and to transform the Labour Party into a democratic, mass working class party.
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