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

At last chance saloon

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

This weekend has seen another outbreak of recriminations and counter-recriminations in the IS Network, culminating in resignations, the cancelling of our women's caucus and the final limping demise of the We Want a Women's Mag project. Most of us have felt outside this chain of events, and not particularly understood what has happened, leading to a bizarre situation when we learn about resignations from our own organisation via Facebook pages and rumours.

As members of two of the functioning branches of the IS Network, members of Leeds/Bradford and Sheffield IS Network met today for our Yorkshire regional meeting. We had looked at putting on a northern meeting but comrades from Manchester and the North East were not able to attend. Over the course of the day we sought to debate the latest outbreak of crisis in the IS Network within the context of the political situation inside and outside the organisation. The feeling of the meeting was that if more of our members were involved in active branches, then this affair might not have come to the fore, at least in the public, and at times vindictive, way that it did.

Fundamentally, the question is one of political culture, in particular the degeneration of our style of argument and concomitant relations, as a result of them having basically no political content. This says terrible things about our health, politically and organisationally. Ultimately, this stems from a lack of any functioning national politics. To be blunt, a complete lack of almost any attempt to develop a shared analysis, strategy or perspectives.

This is not a demand for the abstract "centralisation" of the network, nor is it a statement designed to smooth a path for our exit from our organisation, nor is it a backward northern attempt to return to some imagined certainty of the past. On the contrary, it is a wake-up call and a plan for saving and consolidating what is best about the IS Network: the members and branches that make it up, and the beginnings of political insights like some of our antifascist and international work, recent pamphlets and extended articles, joint meetings with other revolutionary organisations and some individual comrades' work around the Scottish question.

We intend to meet again before the National Members' Meeting, and publish our views and debates. We welcome other comrades' views, and look forward to the coming debates.