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

‘Love music, hate capitalism’: an interview with Thee Faction

Thee Faction are at the vanguard of musical counter-hegemony and the most explicitly socialist band since the Redskins. Every comrade should get their new album Good Politics, which is out now, available via their website. Play it loud and win the argument.

An accurate analysis is conveyed by the comrades at that bastion of revolution, Mojo magazine: “a dose of wildly galvanising, blisteringly angry, insanely entertaining blue collar rock’n’roll…mixing the grungey pub rock power of Dr Feelgood with the bolshy brass of Dexys, virtually every track is scalp-pricklingly good.”

Tom Mycock of the IS Network spoke to singer Billy Brentford, bass player Thee Citizen and guitarist Babyface.

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Ben Watson: Captain Beefheart: Vorticist artist

John French, Captain Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic, Proper Music Publishing, London, 2009.

After 766 pages documenting in exhausting detail the life and crimes of Donald Vliet, aka Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart, author and longtime Magic Band member John French searches for an anecdote that can sum him up:

I remember Don once holding a pair of nail nippers in his hand and saying to me, ‘You are looking at these right now, but don’t ever forget that they are also looking at you.’ It was a puzzling statement for a moment, but I grasped that he was saying there are universes within as well as without, and we are collections of matter moving around in relationship to other collections of matter.1

This statement is pregnant with suggestion for anyone interested in the subject/object dialectics of Western philosophy, particular those who might wish to combine a radical materialism with a dada absurdism sourced from everyday objects. It was not for nothing that in Phenomenology of the Spirit Hegel said: "The Enlightenment … upsets the housekeeping of Spirit in the household of Faith by bringing into that household the tools and utensils of this world, a world which that Spirit cannot deny as its own, because its consciousness likewise belongs to it." (§486). But how could this extraordinary statement insert itself into the conclusion of a massive biography written by someone who is now a born-again Christian, and who more than once defines Beefheart as a demon? Beyond his silence (no release since the short spoken-word CD that accompanied the Stand Up To Be Discontinued catalogue of Beefheart’s paintings in 1993) and beyond the grave (multiple sclerosis finally took him in December), Beefheart’s heavy influence warps the thought of even his detractors.

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