In some ways, that support for Corbyn seems as vehement as ever. The newly formed Labour movement Momentum, which claims to have between 90,000-100,000 supporters, is adamant that it will fend off any challenge to the leadership results in the May elections go badly for Corbyn. The group also swept the board at the party’s youth elections, albeit on a very poor turnout.
But behind the scenes at constituency parties, new supporters seem reluctant to get involved with the new era they’ve created. The drudgery of monthly branch meetings has set in and most of these new members have stopped showing up, if they ever did.
This is an interesting article and it confirms my own experience. There were just nine people at my first ward meeting on Thursday with me being the only new member. This despite the claim of 80 plus members on paper, most of whom were new. I think this is a problem but instead of bemoaning it we should be looking at strategies to overcome it.
Having voted for Jeremy to become leader I felt obliged to support him but I understand the factors keeping many people from participating. If people are not participating in a project or part of a project it is because it is not perceived as accessible, it’s not perceived as relevant to their needs, or its goals and direction are not perceived as congruent with their own goals and directions.
How do we address this? I would like to have that conversation but a clue may lie in the reasons that new members were so attracted to Jeremy. Among these reasons are:
1. Authenticity – clear about values, focused on them.
2. Radicalism – going to the root of the issues not just tinkering with them. Jeremy is genuinely challenging the status quo
3. Vision – clarity about direction
4. People Orientation – focussing on inclusion of people rather than systems and structures
5. Moral Autonomy – Jeremy is not a ‘good soldier’. He is more interested in doing the right thing than in doing things right.
It was for these reasons, and because he was seen to have lived them, that young people (and not so young people) were inspired by an old man. If they don’t see these characteristics in the party they will not feel inspired by it or motivated to participate.