Erika Uyterhoeven, digital officer for Momentum, writes in the Guardian: With just one paid staff member and more than 30 volunteers from Edinburgh to Miami, Momentum managed to create social media videos that were watched by nearly one in three UK Facebook users. Ordinary members made the videos. Other members shared them. Both their production and impact were consequences of the movement.
From The Guardian: In Battersea in south London, Labour turned a Tory majority of 7,938 into a Labour majority of 2,416, on a 9.1% swing. The new MP, Marsha de Cordova, sounded overjoyed, after what was widely regarded as an especially energetic campaign. “I think for us in Battersea, when I first got selected over there, everyone had it down as an unwinnable seat,” she reflects. “But we had some amazing young talent, people who were willing to be out in serious bad weather at times, morning, noon and night. There was so much enthusiasm around our campaign, it galvanised people – we had a message of hope, and a really progressive manifesto that we could share on the doorstep and be proud of. Battersea is a seat with a lot of inequality, a lot of estates that have been abandoned – I haven’t got the final figures, but turnout on some of our estates, among the more impoverished communities, increased massively. What’s really important is we keep these young people who have been volunteering involved and engaged, and all the CLPs have to be really opening and welcome. But I also want us to look at how we can change the dynamic and do different things to keep them engaged, because local party meetings can be pretty dry.”
That means keeping people such as Ellen Buddle – and it sounds as if the party is on the right path. “I’ll definitely, definitely be canvassing again if there’s another election,” Buddle says. “But more than that, I’m excited to see what Momentum and Labour decide to do in the meantime. I want to get involved in community campaigns – and I can’t wait to jump in and help out in future.”
From The Week: The My Nearest Marginal website was the brainchild of Momentum and “one of the most useful weapons in [its] tech arsenal”, said The Times.
It allowed activists, particularly first-time canvassers, to easily find battleground seats and campaign more effectively for Labour and was used by more than 100,000 people.
“We reached out way beyond our own bubble – we only have 24,000 members,” said Adam Klug, one of the central Momentum team.
Momentum held “mass campaign weekends in critical seats such as Croydon Central, Derby North, Sheffield Hallam, Battersea, Leeds North West, and Brighton Kemptown”, the New Statesman reports, and in all of the targeted seats, “Conservative majorities collapsed in the face of energy and enthusiasm channelled into a movement”.
The professional nature of the movement was also a big positive. “It was like clockwork,” one volunteer told The Guardian, which says the activist had simply gone “to the front room of someone who knew she was coming” and they “told her the exact door numbers to knock on and what time to knock.
“Several sources said so many volunteers flooded the constituency that some had to be sent elsewhere.”
Emma Rees, national organiser for Momentum, writes in the Guardian: Proposing a transformational manifesto mattered. Corbyn’s warmth and authenticity resonated. Labour’s energetic, front-footed campaign was key. A savvy use of social media, by the Labour party and Momentum, mobilised young voters to turn out and snatch seats such as Sheffield Hallam and Canterbury.
But what is often overlooked – and constitutes the beating heart of the Corbyn project – is the flourishing, vibrant movement of ordinary people who flooded into marginals and had millions of conversations on the doorstep.
At Momentum, this was our focus. On a shoestring budget we mobilised far beyond our 24,000 members. By running a nimble, creative campaign with a youthful staff we connected with those who were new to the Labour party, new to campaigning and often new to politics. We gave people confidence. We lowered the barriers to getting involved. We made canvassing more accessible.
From Huffpost UK: Momentum’s General Election operation brought in a number of activists from the Bernie Sanders campaign in the US. The American activists’ knowhow proved vital in building an innovative and dynamic campaign to mobilise campaigners and galvanise support.
An updated version of this app was utilised by Momentum for the General Election, which supplemented our large phone banks in London and elsewhere.
Momentum also developed My Nearest Marginal, an easy to use website designed to direct activists towards their nearest key seat and help to ensure marginal constituencies had enough activists fighting for a Labour victory. More than 100,000 people used My Nearest Marginal during the General Election campaign, over four times the size of Momentum’s membership. This was one among many factors which allowed Labour to stack up votes in marginal constituencies, which pundits had assumed Labour would lose.
From The Guardian: Corbyn’s unusual appeal and status as an outsider meant that there was suddenly a huge amount of online coverage the party did not have to pay for. It secured a coveted prize of “organic sharing” – online users deciding to pass on campaign material to their friends and family voluntarily.
“The Tories spent vast amounts on digital advertising and local newspaper ads, but it was so negative that they got hardly any organic sharing – no one wanted to be associated with those messages,” said a senior campaign figure.
A video of Corbyn interjecting during Theresa May’s Facebook Live chat on ITV received 4 million views. Corbyn challenging May to a debate reached 1.4 million people. A video on May’s security record reached 2.3 million people. As for the old-school rallies, Corbyn addressed 100,000 voters at 90 events during the campaign. It was the symbolism and energy of the events, however, that gave them significance.