Leftist teddy bears? Corbyn group launches kids' wing

2016-09-20 20:12


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London - Young backers of leftist British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn are being encouraged to bring their teddy bears to the party's annual conference this week as part of a series of political activities for children.

"Bring your favourite toy to the workshop where we will imagine the party it might join and lead, and what it stands for," read an invite from the Momentum movement to "The Teddy Bear Mandate" workshop.

Momentum is a far-left movement that supports Corbyn and has announced it is launching a nationwide initiative,  "Momentum Kids", to promote political activity that is "fun, engaging and child-friendly".

Other sessions by the group for the conference of the main opposition Labour Party in Liverpool, northwest England, starting on Saturday include a badge and banner-making workshop to prepare youngsters for demonstrations.

"We need loud voices, big placards and empowered children," read the invitation posted by Momentum, which is calling its events "The World Transformed".

"The children will make signs and banners and stage a mock protest, with the aim to engage our children in a process that has for so long failed young people."

"Momentum Kids" has provoked a mixture of anger and mockery in the British press, while Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron called it "Tiny Trots" - a reference to historic Marxist Leon Trotsky.

Momentum said its initiative was set up by two mothers and would provide after-school sessions and childcare through a network of 150 local groups.

Guardian newspaper columnist Suzanne Moore defended the initiative as a rare example of mothers taking the lead, saying: "Momentum Kids isn't weird and sinister. It's helping women to engage."

Corbyn is expected to see off a leadership challenge from Welsh MP Owen Smith, which was launched after the vast majority of the party's lawmakers said they had no confidence in the veteran socialist as their leader.

But the 67-year-old Corbyn is popular with trade unions and grassroots members -- particularly older leftists and younger anti-austerity campaigners.

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