Momentum, the new organisation launched by Jeremy Corbyn supporters, held its first meetings last week.
Some 350 people attended the launch of Momentum East End in London last Saturday. Around 40 met in Edinburgh earlier in the week and 19 in Portsmouth.
Guardian newspaper columnist Owen Jones told the London event that Momentum was about building “the biggest progressive political movement this country has seen for a generation.”
Other speakers reflected a range of ideas about Momentum.
Momentum activists held a “day of action” on Saturday under the banner of Democracy SOS to sign people up to the electoral register.
Teacher Imad Ahmed said Momentum East End would organise “a series of lectures, seminars, debates, workshops”.
Other speakers focused more on organising protests and action.
Andy Greene from disabled rights group Dpac said,“We need to present the kind of united front that is all about action. It’s not about rhetoric. It’s about things that are tangible.”
Pablo was in the audience in London. He told Socialist Worker, “Momentum should be a political movement, but also help people in their day to day lives—food banks, this kind of stuff.
“This can attract people who never saw themselves as Labour Party supporters.”
Rabia said, “I’m in Labour, but this means more people can be involved in politics. The Labour Party just campaigns around elections. This is more about giving people autonomy and control.
“You don’t get that in the Labour Party because it’s too hierarchical. This is giving people the chance to change things and make a difference.”
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told Socialist Worker, “This is opening it out.
“You get more with people coming together to transform their communities and transform society.
“We’re building a mass movement—it’s a Labour-inspired mass movement.”
Speakers were clear that building the movement was also about helping Labour to win elections and defending Corbyn from the right.
In a video address to the meeting former Labour London mayor Ken Livingstone said, “It’s not just enough to have supported Jeremy and voted for him.
“We’ve got to build a machine that can elect a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn that will change Britain for the better.”
And McDonnell said, “The whole process of Jeremy’s campaign was about building the momentum that will then launch a social movement that will ensure not just that we win elections and that we sustain a Labour government—socialist government—but also that we transform society at every level.”