Momentum, the pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaigning organisation, has changed its code of conduct to remove its commitment to ‘non-violence’.
One of those who argued for the change is Jill Mountford, a member of the openly Trotskyite group ‘Alliance for Workers’ Liberty’ (AWL). Despite her membership of the AWL she remains a leading figure in the Momentum organisation. Ms Mountford argued that the change in rules was necessary to allow for members’ right of self-defence while on protests.
A statement from Momentum cited World War Two and apartheid as examples of situations where violence would be legitimate.
Tom Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, commented on the change with concern:
This change is both ludicrous and sinister.
It shows that Trotskyites within Momentum have a huge influence over the organisation and are shaping it in the direction they want to see: extra-parliamentary resistance to capitalism and the state.
I am sure new members of the Labour Party and Momentum will be either puzzled or concerned by the change. Most joined to support Jeremy Corbyn not to violently resist police in the streets!
The purpose of this alteration is to give violent protesters leeway in the organisation. It is frankly unbelievable that Momentum has changed its code of conduct because of hypothetical worries about a fascist invasion or the imposition of apartheid, as they have claimed. If either of those were to happen I imagine we’d all have more to worry about than getting kicked out of Momentum.
I have had many strong disagreements with my local Teesside Momentum group but I would hope they would distance themselves from this change and recommit to non-violence.