I sometimes like to think I was the inspiration behind the choice of the word ‘Momentum’. I sent a message to John McDonnell in the summer suggesting that we put on a big night of comedy, music, poetry and speakers after 12 September in order to ‘maintain the momentum’ of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. I was worried that if Jeremy didn’t win (as I feared), then all the good feeling and mobilisation of thousands of people would evaporate.
The genesis of the #JC4PM tour was that feeling that we have to keep the excitement going at the grassroots regardless of the result of the Labour leadership election. We want to see more teenagers peeping into windows trying to get a good view of a political speaker and more improvised speeeches on the top of fire engines.
#JC4PM has now put on two shows (in Kentish Town, London and Bristol) and both have felt like celebrations of hope and solidarity. As well as some fantastic performers, over 2,000 people have attended and we have had speakers from a range of progressive social movements: trade unions, Stop the War, The People’s Assembly and Stand up to Racism. We’ve also seen Labour Party members working together with Momentum and the result of all this is that anyone can see that unity is strength.
There were 10 front of house stalls in Bristol. The venue were aghast at the number of tables and drapes that were colouring their foyet; and audience members were greeted with campaign material, petitions and badges galore. It was like a festival of the left.
#JC4PM has brought back the spirit of the summer as now we have reassembled all the groups who worked so hard to get Jeremy elected and we are sharing the stage, sitting next to each other and signing each other’s mailing lists.
Those people opposed to Jeremy Corbyn are seeking to divide his supporters: criticising his allies in the party (John McDonnell, Ken Livingstone, Diane Abbott) and all the groups that support him (Stop the War, Momentum, Stand up to Racism, CND). They want those elements to be at each other’s throats so that Jeremy has a weaker defence. The best antidote to this is to all get out together and celebrate our unity.
- #JC4PM has three more dates before April (Edinburgh, Croydon and Newcastle). To buy tickets or find out more, go to http://jc4pmtour.com