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

“Mark Duggan was executed. We still believe that.”

Come to the vigil for Mark Duggan at 2pm, Saturday 11 January, outside Tottenham police station, 398 High Road, London N17 9JA
For more details see the Facebook event set up by the campaign. It’s also well worth reading Stafford Scott’s meticulous examination of the inquest evidence and verdict in the Guardian today.

A wave of shock and fury swept across the country today as news broke that Mark Duggan’s inquest jury had delivered a verdict of “lawful killing” – despite determining that Mark was unarmed when police shot him dead on 4 August 2011.

“The majority of people in this country know that Mark Duggan was executed,” said Mark’s aunt Carole Duggan. “He was executed and we still believe that.”

“We are going to fight until we have no breath in our body for justice, for Mark, for his children, for all those who have died in custody – for as long as it takes.”

You can taste the anger at the verdict in this video clip from Channel 4 News of Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley being shouted down by the crowd. His statement is barely audible under the furious cries.

The full report of the inquest detailing the jury’s verdict is available as a PDF document on the official Duggan Inquest website. The Guardian has a report on the family reacting with fury to the inquest verdict. It also samples the mood on the streets of Tottenham where Mark was gunned down.

Marcia Willis Stewart, solicitor for the family, said: “What we have seen today is a perverse judgement. The jury found that he had no gun in his hand – and yet he was gunned down. For us that is an unlawful killing.”

Clasford Stirling at the Broadwater Farm Estate told the Guardian: “So everything the police did leading up that shooting is wrong, and yet they still did right? How are people meant to feel now? As a black person, as a black parent, I tell you now, I fear for my children on the street. Are they going to be shot by police too? How can you shoot an unarmed man? How is that right?”

Later that evening Carole Duggan spoke to reporters outside Tottenham police station. The family are considering the next steps in their campaign and will release a fuller statement shortly. They appealed for messages of solidarity and support to be sent to justiceformarkduggan@gmail.com.

Come to the vigil for Mark Duggan at 2pm, Saturday 11 January, outside Tottenham police station, 398 High Road, London N17 9JA

For more details see the Facebook event set up by the campaign. It’s also well worth reading Stafford Scott’s meticulous examination of the inquest evidence and verdict in the Guardian today.

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This article was originally posted on the RS21 blog.

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Mistress Magpie: Hey Jobcentre - sex work is work!

Sunday’s Mirror reported a recent advertisement for an escort position on the government job-search website Universal Jobmatch. The ad, which was taken down a day later, offered the shockingly low-paid position as ‘no experience necessary’, with the stipulation that the successful applicant ‘must like sex’. It was removed for violating the terms and conditions for employers at the Department of Work and Pensions–run site, which allows listings for ancillary roles in the adult industry, like selling sex toys or tending bar at a strip club, but forbids any directly sex-related roles, such as escorting or stripping.

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New Year's Eve: Not Fit For Noise demonstration

Brixton HMP New Years Eve Noise Demonstration

Brixton Prison

Jebb Avenue, Brixton, SW2 5XF

7:00pm 

*Bring Pots, Pans and Other Noise!

We will have a sound system with a mic.*

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Standing our ground: dual track anti-fascism

A debate is coming to a head within the anti-fascist movement around strategy and tactics. These debates focus around questions of substitutionism, physical opposition, and the relationship both between the far right and the political mainstream and between the anti-fascist movement and the political mainstream. Unite Against Fascism (UAF), which has been the principal home for those involved in anti-fascist work for the past ten years, has increasingly been criticised for a number of serious shortcomings. Much like the left in general, however, these criticisms are occurring in a period of flux for the anti-fascist movement. New groups and organisations, principally the Anti-Fascist Network (AFN), have arisen which promote often radically different strategies and tactics to UAF. Creating an effective anti-fascist movement which can challenge the existing far right, as well as acting as a firewall preventing the rise of an even more dangerous fascist movement suh as we see in many continental European countries, requires that we engage with these debates seriously.

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AWL on Islamism: analysis without history, words without meaning

 

An internet storm has been created by the republication of an article, titled 'Political Islam, Christian Fundamentalism, Marxism and the Left Today', by Alliance for Workers’ Liberty guru Sean Matgamna on the question of the rise of political Islam. While Matgamna also examines the rise of Christian fundamentalism in the West, this appears almost as an afterthought. The main thrust of the article is to make a simplistic, and no doubt purposefully controversial, statement about the rise of political Islam.

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On the Roma, Europe and the left

The events of last week have highlighted just how under attack one particular race of people has become across large stretches of Europe. The great liberal myth of Europe as a land of modernity and reason has constantly tried to renew itself after it was so horrifically shattered by the Holocaust. Yet barbarism and hatred have continued to thrive in the continent whose greatness John Stuart Mill once attributed to a “remarkable diversity of character and culture”. Mill was contrasting this with the undeveloped East, referencing China in a typically Orientalist charge. Of course, Mill’s perception of a European attachment to multiculturalism was a sheer fabrication. At the time of his writing this, Jews were routinely persecuted in all of its corners and “scientific” racism was finding a powerful footing. All of this would eventually erupt at the end of the century with large-scale anti-Semitic pogroms. This is an uncomfortable period of history for those liberals who still today adhere to Mill’s notion of Europe’s great modernity. For them, the Holocaust merely came from a “psychopathic god”, as WH Auden mocks with despair in his harrowing “September 1, 1939”. After all, this is far easier to grasp than the hard truth that the Europe of today has been built on centuries of dangerous nationalist conflict that has always been capable of erupting into genocide. 

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