Jon Lansman, the founder of Momentum, the grassroots organisation set up in 2015 to support the left wing of the Labour party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, has announced he will step down from his role as chair of the group.
Jon Lansman has called for “a new generation” to lead Momentum, announcing that he will not contest Momentum’s upcoming elections and will step down as chair of Momentum.
In an article for Labour List he says that he is “enormously proud of what Momentum has achieved” including electing Jeremy Corbyn twice, mobilising hundreds of thousands of members to campaign for the party and tripling the size of the Socialist Campaign group of MPs.
He praises the thousands of young people in Momentum who he “has learnt so much from” and calls for a “new generation of leaders” to come through and “put their ideas into practise”, saying he has “every faith they will succeed where we have not yet done.”
The veteran political activist called for better governance within Labour, and demanded “justice for sabotage” and for the alleged misuse of funds, as well as for “racist, sexist, ableist and frankly McCarthyite attitudes” that he claimed the leaked report into the party documented.
“We are now a mass of dedicated activists fighting for a better world,” he wrote. “And in this new era, it is time that a new generation of leaders put their ideas into practice. That is why I have decided not to contest the forthcoming elections within Momentum and instead will hand over to a new leadership.”
He continued: “We desperately need better governance in our party, as the leaked report has further demonstrated. Members need justice for sabotage, misuse of funds, plus racist, sexist, ableist and frankly McCarthyite attitudes.
“But we must also make sure that the party’s machinery never again returns to those days of anti-democratic stitch-ups, factional warfare, and toxic culture.”
A spokesperson for Momentum thanked Lansman for his years of dedication to the Labour party, saying: “He has done an incredible amount to transform the politics of this country. He has played a key role in building Labour into a half-a-million-member party and strengthening the movement for socialism in Britain.
“We look forward to working with him as he continues to lead from the left on the NEC and across the movement.”
The Forward Momentum campaign, which set out last month to “refound” and “democratise” Momentum, said it was pleased Lansman had recognised it was time for a new generation to take the organisation forward.
“We need to put an end to stitch-ups, and candidates or slates being chosen behind closed doors in London,” it said in a statement. “We need Momentum to be a truly member-led organisation that campaigns to transform the Labour party and supports trade unions and social movements in their struggles for social and economic justice.”