John Riddell: Democracy in Lenin's Comintern

How did Communist parties handle issues of internal discipline and democracy in Lenin’s time? The recent intense discussion within the British Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) and beyond has heard claims that the SWP rests on the traditions of democratic centralism inherited from the Bolsheviks.

John Riddell: Democracy in Lenin's Comintern

Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

Some extended thoughts about Stephanie Bottrill, the woman who committed suicide because of the bedroom tax.

Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

Dave Renton: Who Was Blair Peach?

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the killing of Blair Peach by the police. David Renton looks back at Blair Peach’s life as a poet, trade unionist and committed antifascist

Dave Renton: Who Was Blair Peach?

Bunny La Roche: Nasty Little Nigel gets a rude welcome to Kent

Bunny La Roche of RS21 on Nigel Farage's visit to Kent

Bunny La Roche: Nasty Little Nigel gets a rude welcome to Kent

Financial Appeal

We're up and running! An appeal for funds to kickstart the IS Network

Financial Appeal

IS Network: National Meeting on 13 April

IS NetworkLike most socialists, we have watched the recent crisis in the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) with increasing concern. The behaviour of the leading bodies of the party is a significant retreat from the best elements of the International Socialist tradition. The cover-up of the now infamous “Delta case”, the bureaucratic handling of the legitimate dissent in the organisation, the overly dogmatic approach to theoretical difference and the monolithic style of leadership practised by the Central Committee are all antithetical to the building of a democratic, socialist organisation

It is now the case that, perhaps not surprisingly, many members will no longer feel they can continue to be members of the SWP. Perhaps worse, there is a very real danger that many will be lost to the movement entirely. This potential loss of good activists from the revolutionary socialist movement would be absolutely criminal, and for that the blame must lie entirely with the leadership of the party.

We believe that there is now, more than ever, a clear necessity for the living, non-conformist spirit of the International Socialist tradition, which celebrated democracy, plurality and openness. The economic crisis has not only created the opportunity for socialist organisations to root themselves within the class and labour movement, it has made the self-organisation of working class socialists on this basis absolutely imperative. We believe this can only be done on the most democratic basis, with an organisation built from the bottom up.

For these reasons, we have decided to call a meeting to discuss the way forward. This meeting is designed to discuss openly the best way to build a socialist alternative in Britain today. The purpose of this meeting is not the creation of SWP Mark II. Instead, it is an attempt to regroup those that have been understandably disgusted by the direction that the SWP has been taken in by its leadership. We particularly invite all those who have resigned from the SWP over recent events to attend.

IS Network Meeting
Saturday 13 April
Central London

This is an initial meeting for supporters of the IS Network. If you are interested in attending please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Open meetings will be announced soon.

The inaugural Meeting of the IS Network, where we will discuss basic perspectives, and create a framework organisation.

Proposed Agenda

10:00 - Women’s Caucus
11:00 - Caucus of chairs and motions organisers
11:30 - Registration
12:00 - We WILL start at 12 sharp

Session 1: Where Next?

This session is designed for us to talk about our experiences, to generalise from those experiences and make decisions on what sort of group we want to be. It will lay down the parameters for the rest of the day.

  1. What is the IS Network for and what do we intend to do?
  2. How do we relate to the movement?
  3. What sort of structure do we have?
  4. Democratic process.

Session 2: Focuses of Activity

This session is designed to open up discussion on specific activity people are either doing or think we should be doing.

  1. Report back from women’s caucus.
  2. How can we develop perspectives and ideas?
  3. Should we have a series of perspectives documents?
  4. Us and the rest of the left- Left Unity, approaches from other left groups.
  5. International relations.

Session 3: Organisation

This session is designed to ensure the day to day operations that will keep the Network functioning are done.

  1. Communications has been the biggest challenge throughout, how can we organise this?
  2. Finances.
  3. Relationship with local groups.
  4. Regularity of national meetings.
  5. Website and Publication

Note: Changes to meeting dates

We've rearranged our forthcoming meetings to help ensure the best turnout in Sheffield on 21 September to oppose the EDL (who have announced a Yorkshire-wide demo in Sheffield that day). Although we will not now be holding a National Members' Meeting on that date, we would encourage any members who can to support the local anti-fascists in their efforts.

The October politics conference in London will finish with an additional session to cover the organisational aspects the members' meeting was due to discuss. We propose that the politics conference agrees a follow-up members' meeting (to be held outside London) during that session.

Steering Committee

26 August 2013