Thursday, 5 April 2018

Brighton and Hove Momentum AGM Calls for the Democratisation of Momentum Nationally

Brighton & Hove Momentum Affiliates to Labour Against the Witchhunt and Opposes the False Anti-Semitism Witchhunt
The AGM called by acclaim for Labour's National Executive to immediately reinstate Riad, who is dying of cancer, to the Party.  He was unjustly auto-excluded under McNicol's regime as a consequence of having been gaoled for a short time for defying the sanctions regime on Iraq which is held to have killed up to a million people.  The informer in his case was former Hove MP Ivor Caplin, Southern organiser for the Jewish Labour Movement
After more than 16 months Brighton and Hove Momentum finally held its Annual General Meeting at the Friends Meeting House in Brighton tonite.  The meeting was co-chaired by Sarah Pickett and Greg Hadfield.  A lot of things have happened in that time as Anne Thompson set out in a verbal report on behalf of the previous Steering Committee. 

In July 2016 all 3 constituencies were suspended after Momentum supported candidates were victorious in the District Labour Party elections.  At that time all 3 constituencies came together in one DLP.
The lies of Warren Morgan that led to Brighton & Hove District Labour Party being suspended and the election results overturned
Led by Council leader Warren Morgan, vicious lies were spread about members having spat at and abused the staff at City College where the AGM were held.  All of these allegations were false and demonstrably so, since we managed to get hold of CCTV footage of where the incident took place.  Morgan has since been forced to resign as a consequence of his ill-fated call, after the Labour Party Conference last September, that they would not be welcomed back in Brighton on account of ‘anti-Semitism’.  Morgan finally got the message that he is not wanted, even in the ward, East Brighton, that he has represented for far too long. 

The Labour Party under its previous General Secretary, crooked Iain McNicol set up an Inquiry under the equally crooked Karen Buckingham who, when faced with the possibility of having to declare that Councillors Warren Morgan, Emma Daniels and co. were liars refused to look at the CCTV footage for reasons of ‘data protection’.  It always amazes me how McNicol’s foot soldiers never hesitated to breach the Data Protection Act by leaking details to the national press but when needs must take refuge in the same principles.  The details of what happened can be found in Greg Hadfield’s CCTV proof: There was no spitting, shoving and barging, or abusive behaviour at Brighton and Hove and District Labour Party’s annual meeting at City College on July 9 and The battle goes on in Brighton and Hove

The meeting started with an announcement that a member of the Steering Committee Riad el-Taher has been diagnosed with cancer and is not expected to live many more months.  Riad was a member of the Hove Labour Party Executive when, as a result of a leak to the press by the former Defence Minister under Blair and a junior war criminal, Ivor Caplin, Riad was auto-excluded from the Labour Party on account of a previous, spent conviction for breaking the sanctions regime on Iraq, where he comes from, for humanitarian reasons.  The meeting agreed my acclamation that the new Steering Committee should immediately contact the Momentum representatives on Labour’s National Executive Committee to get them to propose that Labour makes amends and reinstates Riad immediately to membership of the Party.  It would be even nicer if they were to suspend the informer in this case, Ivor Caplin, for his uncomradely behaviour.

Elections took place to a new Steering Committee, after an attempt to move to a resolution challenging the reduction in the number of places had failed.  Nine people were elected, most unopposed but in two out of the three contested elections candidates from the left of Momentum were victorious but overall the Committee retains its bias to the Lansmanite wing of Momentum.

Before the resolutions were taken there was a talk by Rachel from the Momentum national office on the Democracy Review in the Labour Party and then a series of questions and answers.
A resolution that I moved on the witchhunt, which was amended to call for affiliation to Labour Against the Witchhunt was passed against nitpicking opposition from Lansman supporters.  These people never oppose the principle but find 101 reasons why some word or other is out of place.  However as I stressed in my summing up, we are not passing legislation but a policy thrust.

This resolution, which I initially submitted, was proposed in the name of the Steering Committee having been extensively discussed yesterday evening.  Despite it being a resolution of the Steering Committee a number of its members voted against the resolution despite trying to amend it up to the final minute.  Despite this dishonesty it was still passed by 20-14 votes. 
A second resolution which I moved on democratising Momentum nationally was even more controversial.  This was discussed in the wake of the coup that took place at the beginning of last year when Jon Lansman tore up the democratic structures of Momentum, abolished all the liberation strands (Black, Asian, Gay etc.) abolished the regional structure and national Committee and took all power into his own hands.  The resolution was opposed by Stephen Smith and supported by Jonathan Bellos from the floor.  When it came to the vote it was passed by 18-15 votes.  Let us hope the new Steering Committee, the majority of whom opposed the motion take it to heart.

It is clear that there is now a sharp division in Brighton and Hove Momentum between supporters of Lansman’s dictatorial leadership nationally and those who believe in campaigning politics and opposing the witchhunt in Labour in particular.  One of the resolutions we moved which wasn’t take was on anti-racism and the Grenfell Fire Committee.  It is to be seen whether or not the new Committee will take these campaigns on board.
There were less than 40 people at tonights AGM compared to about 70 at the one 15 months ago.  This is despite there being over 500 members of Momentum in Brighton and some 2,000 people on the contact list.  It can only be hoped that the new Steering Committee, which I decided I didn’t have time to stand for, will be more successful in involving people.  Nonetheless our record over the past 15 months, including winning the leadership of all 3 parties in Brighton and the Local Campaign Forum shows that the Right is still on the retreat.

Tony Greenstein

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