Momentum, a leftwing Labour organization, has organised a new initiative for children of members in order to broaden the spectrum of people involved in politics. On the one hand, the activity group would enable parents (in particular single mothers) to participate in Momentum events. Additionally, organisers claim it should encourage children to engage in politics. Seeing as Momentum is a controversial Jeremy Corbyn-supporting campaign group, critique has been levied against these activities.
Critics have been harsh. Cries of ‘Hitler Youth’, ‘Tiny Trots’ and ‘child soldiers’ resounded in the web as people expressed their fear of the possible implications of the Momentum Kids activities. It is important to recognize that children are indeed vulnerable to external influences. Thus it is crucial to monitor what the activities involve.
Without knowing for certain what the specific promotion of ‘child-friendly’ political activity entails, a hasty conclusion of subversive or dangerous Momentum activity may be harmful to an already critical and negative political atmosphere. That said, political activity involving children, whether or not it is actively intended to indoctrinate children, must be carefully watched to ensure children are free to develop their political beliefs independently.
Perhaps this debate draws the attention away from an equally important point – the aim of the movement is incredibly valid. By giving parents the option of childcare during a political event, the political sphere could potentially be immensely broadened. A crucial part of society which is currently restricted from shaping politics due to logistical restrictions could be actively involved and represent themselves. This could be a huge step forward.
Therefore we must strike a balance. It is vital not to hasten to false conclusions and accusations. Momentum have reasserted their aim is not, as Laura Perrins claims, “a sinister example of grooming”. Nonetheless it is our role in society to ensure this remains the case. Above all we should look at the heart of the issue: parents are currently bracketed out of representing themselves, engaging in, and shaping political activity; and this has got to change.
We would like to apologize for having previously misquoted Natasha Josette in this article.