Chris Williamson is to launch a “new grassroots movement” later this year to facilitate the politics of resistance in Boris Johnson’s Britain, the former Labour MP has said.
Williamson, who served as MP for Derby North from 2010 to 2019, was speaking on Twitter when he announced the new project, stating that he is “working with others on establishing a new vehicle to [develop the politics of resistance] and we aim to launch something later this year.”
The new project will increase excitement amongst Labour members and those dissatisfied with the party under the potential leadership of both Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey, with many feeling that the grassroots of the Labour movement is being herded back toward either neoliberalism or socialism-lite.
While the project is certainly one to keep an eye on, Williamson’s comments elsewhere this month suggest that the new endeavour will not be a new political party, however, and may be something closer to a working-class protest or pressure movement along the lines of a cross between the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) of France and Momentum, Williamson being a prominent supporter of the Yellow Vest movement from here in the UK and staunch critic of Momentum’s recent influence and actions within the Labour Party.
Writing for Labour Heartlands earlier this month, Chris made the case for abandoning Momentum, stating that the group had shifted away from its original purpose and was now a “pernicious influence in the Labour Party” whose “early promise of mobilising grassroots activists and inspiring working-class communities has been jettisoned in favour of… metropolitanism”.
“The focus shifted from mobilising grassroots and promoting democracy and accountability, to joining in the witch hunt against longstanding anti-racist activists”Chris Williamson, Labour Heartlands
Things seem to be moving quickly with the new endeavour, Williamson stating that he is working with others to organise a conference to discuss and launch the new movement.
“I think we need something with a loose federated structure that can share best practice but allow different solutions to thrive, because every area, every neighbourhood is unique. I believe this approach has the potential to genuinely mobilise communities and enable genuine working-class leaders to emerge. They could become the next generation of MPs who could actually deliver the irreversible shift in the balance of wealth and power that we hoped Corbynism would deliver.”Chris Williamson, Labour Heartlands
The exciting and energetic early days of Momentum are long over, the group’s promise of inspiring a new era of socialist feeling and class consciousness never having reached the fullness of its potential. The group compromised its original intentions for the want of power, losing all credibility as a force to usher in the defeat of neoliberalism and bring a 21st-century socialism to Britain. A movement to replace this discredited group should be welcomed.
Chris Williamson remains immensely popular amongst the socialist grassroots of the Labour Party, with thousands having supported the now-former MP during his persecution as part of the Labour witchhunt. Any project from Williamson will be an immediate and essential player as socialist activists seek to save what now remains of the Corbyn-led socialist resurgence within Labour.
Main Image: Chris Williamson on his election in 2010. Photo by John Whitby