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

Thoughts on the People's Assembly (updated 28 June)

Paris Thompson writes:

The following report can be at best described as sectional. Because of the size of the event, and the limit to what I could attend, I've no doubt certain parts of my experience could be challenged, and I don't claim this to be the definitive interpretation - I'm just recalling it as I saw it.

The first thing to say is that it was big. It's clearly the biggest anti-austerity event that's been held, and it brought in people beyond the 800-900 that have been recycled continually amongst the other anti-cuts fronts. However, I didn't feel it ever reached the 4,000-4,500 that had been anticipated. I'm happy to be contradicted on this, but it felt more like 1,500-2,000 from where I was. Still, it aimed to play the role of bringing together much of the movement, and in a sense I think it achieved enough in terms of numbers to attempt to claim that.

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Richard Atkinson: On squaddism

AntifaFor those not familiar with the IS tradition 'squaddism' was a word coined in the early 80s by the then SWP leadership to describe a problem in the anti-fascist movement which had, it was claimed, degenerated in places into a sort of unpolitical, low-level gang warfare between the Nazis and anti-fascists. The word is up for discussion at the moment because of the need to discuss anti-fascist organisation in the light of the recent resurgence of the English Defence League following Lee Rigby’s murder and because the present Central Committee of the SWP have accused the IS Network, who split from the SWP in March and of which I’m a member, of displaying “a squaddist and sectarian approach to fighting fascism”.

I want to argue that:

  1. squaddism does exist and can at times be a real problem, damaging to the anti-fascist movement – it is a permanent possibility for us of which we need to remain conscious;
  2. the anti-fascist work of the IS Network is utterly remote from squaddism;
  3. the SWP CC’s use of the word is either a lazy insult or, worse, an attempt to cover up their own retreat from militant anti-fascism. Add a comment

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Monday 17 June: International Justice for Cleaners Day

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Rosie Warren: On believing women who allege rape

**Trigger Warning: Discussion of rape and sexual violence**

No More Rape CultureNote: A response to criticisms of this article appears at this link.

Over the course of the past few months, I’ve been having a lot of conversations about rape, and about the women who allege rape. Particularly, about women who allege rape against high-profile left wing men. I’ve noticed a lot of things about these conversations; some were reassuring, some were disappointing, many were utterly sickening.

I have been accused of many things over the course of these conversations, most of which were baseless, but the most puzzling by far was the accusation that “You’re automatically believing the woman!” Quite. Not only am I doing so, I maintain that this is exactly how consideration of such cases should proceed. And it is important to stress that this is a position predicated on logic, as well as solidarity.

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Tom Walker: The potential of a People’s Assembly

One thing is not in doubt: the People’s Assembly on Saturday 22 June will be a massive event. Local meetings in the run-up have been hundreds strong, and thousands of people will fill London’s huge Westminster Central Hall on the day. There have been quite a few anti-austerity conferences since the Tories took office in 2010, but nothing on this scale. If you haven’t registered already, you should go and do it right now. I’ll wait. (Yes, £8 is a bit steep, but really.)

OK, so we’re all going to the People’s Assembly. Great! The next question is: what are we, the organised left, going to do there? This is a contribution to that debate.

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Keep the spirit of '45 - Living wage now!

Spirit of 45Ken Loach’s The Spirit of ‘45 shows how after the defeat of fascism in Europe the post-war Labour government undertook a radical programme of reform of industry and public services, prioritising the needs of working people. The Spirit of ...’45 shows the unprecedented spirit of solidarity that existed after the war.

The Spirit of ’45 is showing at the Barbican Centre on Saturday 8 June, with a post-screening ScreenTalk with John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network , author and commentator Polly Courtney, and the Executive Director of the anti-poverty organisation War on Want, John Hilary, and BBC Radio 4's Jeremy Hardy.

The cleaners at the Barbican are fighting for a London Living Wage and respect and dignity at work. The Independent Workers Union, IWGB calls on the labour movement to attend the event and join the demonstration outside in solidarity with the cleaners struggle which starts at 2:30. We say the Corporation of London, that despite its millions ensures cleaners are on poverty wages have nothing in common with the Spirit of 45. That spirit lives today in the struggle of the Barbican cleaners for justice.

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