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

Message from Lewisham Islamic Centre: Emergency Meeting 29 May

Dear Friends,

We are writing to you in these most difficult and challenging times as regards BNP's planned march from Woolwich to Lewisham Islamic Centre on Saturday, 1 June 2013. As you will be aware, the aim and purpose of the march to conclude in our Borough and outside our Centre is to create discord, division and disunity amongst the people of the of this great Borough. This is not just an attack on Islam, it is an attack on community cohesion, diversity and everything we all stand for. We are one Borough and we are the majority and we must not allow these fringe expressions of hatred incited by groups such as the BNP and EDL start to flourish on our doorstep.

This Borough has an established history in standing up to the far right as was the case in 1977 when fascism was stopped right here in Lewisham. In carrying on this mantle, and as friends, politicians and community leaders of this wonderful Borough, we call on you all to stand as one with us and we would like to invite you all to an emergency meeting [TONIGHT, 29 MAY] at 7pm at the Lewisham Islamic Centre to discuss coordinating a peaceful rally against the BNP on the day of the march.

We look forward to hearing from you to confirm your attendance and looking forward to meeting with you.

Yours faithfully
Media Office at Lewisham Islamic Centre

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Jamie Allinson: We need to talk about anti-fascism

Image by Sierra RomeoThe English Defence League’s march on Downing Street this Monday was a failure for anti-fascists and the left. We must recognise this if we are not to fail again. Over one thousand members of a violent fascist street gang paraded down Whitehall to the Women’s War Memorial, Sieg-Heiling and chanting racist slogans as they went. They threw bottles at the anti-fascists – our side was dispersed, kettled and divided, with the result that even if there were more than the four hundred or so of us visibly present, we were in effect bystanders. In patches we were able to challenge their slogans but the overall disparity in numbers naturally took its toll on confidence. We did not block them. Our side was also noticeably white.

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1 June: Demonstrate in Woolwich - Don't let the racists divide us

Assemble 12 noon, Saturday 1 June at General Gordon Sq, Woolwich (next to Woolwich Arsenal DLR/rail station). Bring banners, workmates, flags. Please share and spread the word.

The BNP has called a national demonstration in Woolwich this Saturday, 1 June. Fascists and racists are trying to make gains after the terrible murder of Lee Rigby.

We call on everyone to join with Unite Against Fascism, local trade unionists, faith groups and community groups for a show of unity against the BNP and its Islamophobic poison.

We will not let them divide us.

See UAF on Facebook.


Other Events

If you can't make it to Woolwich / Lewisham, try joining these demos:

Stop the EDL in Leeds

Meet on Briggate at 12 noon.
Students will be meeting from 11am at Parkinson Steps.

more info >>

Stop the EDL in Edinburgh

Meet 1pm outside Scottish Parliament.

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IS Network Steering Group: Open Letter calling for a coordinated response to fascist aggression

The murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich on Wednesday has unleashed a backlash of racial violence. Fuelled by media scaremongering, fascist and racist street thugs have taken to the streets, indiscriminately attacking Muslims, Asian property and mosques. The anger of the pogromists will be directed towards the left, too, as the fascists seek to reassert themselves as a political force, following 18 months of decline. Nick Griffin has already referred to this as a "Stephen Lawrence moment" for the right, while the English Defence League and other assorted Nazi outfits prepare to bring the country to a standstill.

While we should not exaggerate the capacity of the fascists at this stage to carry through their policy to the full, we should recognise the difficult period we are entering, and the urgency of a response. The spike in fascist violence will no doubt continue, and represents a serious threat to the entirety of our movement.

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Unite Against Fascism statement on Woolwich murder

Unite Against Fascism sends its condolences to the family and friends of the soldier murdered yesterday in Woolwich. There can be no justification for such a terrible attack on an individual.

But we must recognise that fascist organisations such as the English Defence League and British National Party are trying to use the murder to whip up racism and direct hatred against all Muslims.

EDL thugs attempted to start a race riot in Woolwich last night. Mosques have been attacked by racist thugs. These fascists and racists should be condemned and opposed. We must not give a quarter to those who would judge an entire religion, race or nationality by the actions of a few.

We do not hold Norwegian Christians responsible for the actions of the fascist Anders Breivik, whose 2011 rampage left 77 dead. We do not hold white people collectively responsible for Timothy McVeigh, the US neo-Nazi whose 1995 Oklahoma City bomb killed 168 people, or for David Copeland, the former BNP member who planted bombs across London in 1999. Nor should anyone suggest that Britain’s Muslims are collectively responsible for yesterday’s attack.

The fascist organisations that are trying to stir up trouble and racist violence in the wake of the Woolwich killing do not care about the dead soldier, his family or the interests of any community. They want only to see Muslims attacked and a race war on our streets. UAF condemns them and opposes their attempts to call “demonstrations” to exploit these issues.

UAF also calls on the media and politicians to stop using inflammatory language that feeds the fascists and racists. We must challenge Islamophobia wherever it raises its head. We must reject those who want to divide our communities and set them against each other, and stand fast to the ideals of anti-racism, multiculturalism and respect for all.

(reposted from

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Death and the bedroom tax

Some extended thoughts about Stephanie Bottrill, a woman who committed suicide because of the bedroom tax. She lived with a condition similar to my MS.


From her childhood, Stephanie Bottrill suffered with myaesthenia gravis (MG), a condition which causes chronic weakness in the affected muscles. Characteristically the effects are seen first in the muscles around the eyes, which become droopy, and the face which can become ‘mask-like’. With lifelong treatment it becomes a debilitating rather than a fatal condition but people with MG will always have to cope with fatiguability (rather than fatigue); that is, the affected muscles become progressively weaker the more they are used and recover only with rest. It is a rare condition with only about 10,000 people affected in the UK.

Despite her condition Mrs Bottrill successfully brought up two children, Laura, now 23, and Steven, now 27, in her three-bedroom terraced house in the north of Solihull, just inside the loop of the M6 as it makes its way to Fort Dunlop. Steven found work as an HGV driver, plying the M6, left home and fathered a grandson for Mrs Bottrill, to her great delight. Then, early in 2013, Laura left home leaving Mrs Bottrill with a house, she conceded, too large, but a garden she loved. It was apparent that there was going to be a problem.

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