A constitution for Momentum combining delegates & OMOV

This is a draft constitution for Momentum written by Matt Wrack and Nick Wrack.

It is hoped that this will be considered at the Momentum conference which is scheduled for 18 February. 

It aims to take the debate away from the false polarisation of delegates vs OMOV (one member, one vote). It seeks to bring together elements of delegated democracy and online voting by all members. In fact, online voting by all members for national officers and members of the National Committee is proposed across the board.

This constitution aims to embed accountability, transparency and democratic membership control into the DNA of Momentum. Without these essential ingredients, Momentum cannot develop.

We recognise that there are many policy and campaigning issues that local groups will want to discuss but Momentum also needs a workable set of rules to give it some structure. We believe that this constitution begins to do that.

We hope that it will be discussed in Momentum’s local groups and special interest/liberation groups in the run up to conference.

  1. Momentum is a network of Labour Party members and supporters which:
    1. Campaigns for the Labour Party to adopt a socialist programme and to campaign for socialist policies in society generally;
    2. Campaigns for the democratisation of the Labour Party;
    3. Campaigns for the election of those who support socialist policies to officers’ positions within the Labour Party and for the selection of those who support socialist policies as Labour Party candidates in public elections.
  2. Membership of Momentum is open to all who support the aims of Momentum and who do not support candidates against Labour. Members must pay the relevant membership subscription.
  1. The basic unit of Momentum is the local group. This can be defined by local authority, constituency or other geographical area where appropriate.
  2. Momentum will have groups for the following members:
    1. Women
    2. LGBT+
    3. BAME
    4. Disabled
    5. Youth
  3. Trade Unions can affiliate to Momentum at national level.
  4. Momentum is organised on the basis of accountability, transparency and democratic membership control.
  5. Local groups, regions and groups recognised under paragraph 4, can determine their own campaigns and other relevant business in keeping with the aims of Momentum.
  6. There will be an annual national conference. Conference is the sovereign body of Momentum, i.e. the highest decision making body. Conference will be organised in such a way as to maximise membership participation. This will include delegate structures as well as wider (including on-line) engagement with all members.
  7. In between annual conferences decisions on the running of Momentum, national policy statements and campaigning will be taken by the National Committee.
  8. In between meetings of the National Committee decisions on the running of Momentum, national policy statements and campaigning will be taken by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is a sub-committee of the National Committee and is subordinate and accountable to the National Committee.
  9. Local groups, regions and groups recognised under paragraph 4 can publish their own policy statements and take their own campaigning initiatives in line with the aims of Momentum.
  10. There will be Regional Committees (based on regions as organised by the Labour Party) made up of two representatives per local group. Where there is a properly functioning and recognised (by the National Committee) regional group of any of the groups recognised under paragraph 4 it will be entitled to two representatives on the Regional Committee.
  11. Representation at and to higher committees and national conference must be gender-balanced, with at least 50% being women.
  12. The gender-balance principle will be applied throughout Momentum.
  13. The minutes of the National Committee and the Steering Committee will be published as soon as practicable for all members to read.
  14. The National Committee shall be elected yearly and will comprise:
    1. The National Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, which shall be elected by a vote of the whole membership. Candidates must obtain the nomination of at least one local group. Election will be by Single Transferable Vote.
    2. Representatives from the regions on the basis of one per 800 or part thereof. Election will be by a vote of the whole membership of the region concerned. Candidates must obtain the nomination of at least one local group within the region. Election will be by Single Transferable Vote.
    3. Two representatives per group recognised under paragraph 4. Election will be by a vote of the whole membership of the special group concerned.
    4. Two representatives per affiliated union. Representation will be determined by the Trade Union concerned.
  15. Membership of the Steering Committee shall comprise:
    1. The National Chair, Secretary and Treasurer;
    2. One representative per affiliated trade union;
    3. Eight members elected by the National Committee by Single Transferable Vote.
  16. Any member of the National Committee may be subject to recall in the following circumstances:
    1. In respect of the National Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, a new election will be held upon a vote of No Confidence by a simple majority of the National Committee, or by a call for a re-election backed by the number of members equal to half of the number of those who voted in the national election for the respective officer.
    2. In respect of the regional representatives to the National Committee, a new election will be held upon a vote of No Confidence by a simple majority of the Regional Committee, or by a call for a re-election backed by the number of members equal to half of the number of those who voted in the national election for the respective officer.
    3. In respect of the groups recognised under paragraph 4, a new election will be held upon a call for a re-election backed by the number of members equal to half of the number of those who voted in the national election for the respective representative.
    4. In respect of the trade union representation on the National Committee, that will be left to the trade union concerned.
  17. Regional representatives to the National Committee shall be accountable in between annual elections to their Regional Committee. Elected NC representatives from the Region shall be voting members of their Regional Committee.
  18. A new election in respect of the eight members of the Steering Committee who are elected by the National Committee shall be held on a motion supported by a simple majority of the National Committee. A motion calling for such a re-election must be on notice to the National Secretary at least two weeks before the meeting at which the vote is taken.
  19. Every local group, group recognised under paragraph 4, trade union and Regional Committee shall be entitled to submit one motion to the annual national conference.
  20. The outgoing National Committee shall be entitled to submit two motions to the annual national conference.
  21. Except where provided by paragraph 23 (a) motions from local groups to the annual conference must be agreed at a properly convened members’ meeting of the local group.
    1. Any local group may decide at a properly convened members’ meeting that voting on its motion to annual national conference is to be by a vote of all members conducted electronically.
    2. Where a local group agrees to hold an electronic ballot of all its members in respect of its motion to annual national conference, it must notify both the Regional Committee and the National Committee, which must ensure that all necessary safeguards are in place to ensure that all entitled members are able to vote and that the integrity of the vote is guaranteed.
  22. The annual national conference shall be organised by a Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC).
  23. The CAC shall comprise of seven people (gender-balanced).
  24. Four members of the CAC shall be elected by the NC from among its members by STV. Three members of the CAC shall be elected by a vote of the whole membership by STV.
  25. The CAC shall have the responsibility of arranging conference business.
  26. Votes at the annual national conference shall be determined by a simple majority.
  27. Following the annual national conference there will be a post-conference ballot in which all motions passed at the conference shall be sent to all the members with the purpose of asking the members to indicate whether they
    1. Agree, or
    2. Disagree, or
    3. seek Continued Debate
        with the decisions taken at the National Conference and to also list them in terms of priority for importance and campaigning.
  28. The National Committee, Steering Committee and Regional Committees must take the views of the membership votes in the post-conference ballot into account when determining campaigning initiatives.

 

5 thoughts on “A constitution for Momentum combining delegates & OMOV”

  1. Thanks for all the hard work. Some constructive suggestions:

    * Shouldn’t the CAC (or most of it) be elected by the sovereign annual national conference?

    * More generally, why three layers of structure (conf, NC, SC) rather than the usual two?

    * Prioritisation of issues/campaigns by internet makes me uneasy: it’s a decision which merits a great deal of discussion. Added to which, if conference is sovereign, shouldn’t it be able to pass policy resolutions which stipulate that such-and-such a policy should be a campaigning priority?

    http://socialisteconomicprogramme.blogspot.co.uk/

    1. In response to both the above statement/ motion and the comments by Danny Nicol:
      The Conference should indeed be sovereign which means that it could prioritise issues / campaigns or let the NC be delegated to do so.
      There are already 3 “layers” ie Conference, NC & SC – although in practice they have not been allowed to operate properly. Strictly speaking, Regional networks / conferences and “liberation groups” etc could be regarded as extra layers necessary for fuller involvement.
      The attempt to combine delegate structure with online OMOV & post-conference ballot seems muddled to me.

      1. Yes, live stream the conference then archive it as a video for viewing by those that couldn’t watch it live.

        Make the video so that ‘current URLs’ can be created at specific times in the video to aid discussion (as is presently possible. for example, with YouTube videos). So, if someone wants to draw attention to a particular statement or speech, they can send a link to other members which takes them to the exact point in the video.

  2. Amend 23 to read, in total –
    Each local group shall hold an electronic ballot of all its members in respect of its motion to annual national conference

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