Bristol was the place to be yesterday evening.

Over 120 people gathered at Tony Benn House for the launch of Momentum in Bristol and the West.

Momentum is Jeremy Corbyn’s new social movement to revitalise democracy and politics.

It presents a space where citizens can organise outside of traditional Labour Party structures. They are free to organise in any way, but will do so in ways which they decide, at times which suit them, and on issues that they agree matter to their communities or our nation.

“Momentum is wholly committed to working for progressive political change through methods which are inclusive, participatory and non-violent.”

Ethics are embedded deep within – http://peoplesmomentum.com/code-of-ethics/

As you can imagine the event was attended by wonderful people. People who care about all of our rights. People who believe in something better.

“Momentum seeks to build a social movement in support of the aims of the Labour movement and a fairer and more decent society.”

Our first event was expertly hosted by Lydia Hayes, Steve Preddy, Becky Ward, Harry Pitts and Kit Leery.

The evening’s agenda had been crowdsourced through Facebook and at any time during the meeting it was obvious that the agenda was only there as a guide. If we wanted to do something else then we would have been supported in doing exactly that!

“Momentum promotes the communication of progressive ideas for political change, such as: opposition to austerity, the promotion of equality and participatory democracy. These are the values for which Jeremy Corbyn was elected.”

We were asked what we would like to do?

Workshop ideas had been collated and suggested – would we like to partake in these?

Maybe we would like to debate the wider issues in more detail – what would we like Momentum to be about?

We voted to form smaller groups around the suggested workshop topics and see how things progressed. Topics included Defend the NHS; Zero Hours Contracts; Bedroom Tax; Food Poverty; Housing (inc fair rents); Working with CLPs; Council Cuts; Trade Union Rights and two nationwide Momentum Campaigns – voter registration and a campaign of opposition to Tax Credit Cuts.

“Groups of individuals may form local Momentum Groups to share ideas, organise and participate in activities at their local level which demonstrate how ‘Labour values’ and collective effort can make a positive social and/or environmental impact. These groups must be democratic in their nature and be organised around a spirit of collaboration, inclusion and respect.”

Our group (a big hello to Sarah, Fred, Lucy, Sam, Anna, Maggie, Harry and Amy!) discussed Food Poverty. Its systemic effects and ethical considerations. How it evidenced very obvious injustice within our society. How food waste and food poverty were linked with supermarkets and commodities. How subsistence and support might be connected positively to education. How solutions and answers might be illusive and non-obvious.

How inclusive and participative communities could create their own routes forward.

How we could all benefit from coming together to learn from each other.

“Momentum is outward-facing. It seeks to reach out across the community and encourages the participation of people who may not have been involved in political activities before. Ensuring the safety and self-expression of everyone is a priority, especially of those who are often marginalised on the basis of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, religion, class, disability and educational or economic status.”

We rejoined the main meeting and quickly summarised our topics.

The evening had moved quickly and people had travelled from all over the West and South West.

We decided to call it a night. A question left unanswered – when do we do it again?

“Momentum seeks to build a social movement in support of the aims of the Labour movement and a fairer and more decent society.”

Would you like to get involved with an organisation like Momentum?

Do you believe in a fairer and more decent society?

Then please connect and follow progress on the Momentum website, on Facebook or by emailing momentumbristol@gmail.com

And don’t forget.

The future.

It’s ours to build.

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