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John Riddell: Democracy in Lenin's Comintern

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Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

Dave Renton: Who Was Blair Peach?

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Bunny La Roche: Nasty Little Nigel gets a rude welcome to Kent

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Financial Appeal

We're up and running! An appeal for funds to kickstart the IS Network

Financial Appeal

IS Network: Statement on unity

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In preparation for the meeting held on Saturday 8 Feb as part of the unity process the IS Network is currently engaged in it was decided that each organisation should produce a statement, which they felt would present a basis for unity and realignment in preparation for the upcoming unity conference. The following statement is the product of that.

The revolutionary left in the UK is at a juncture that presents the possibility of the creation of new and exciting forms of organisation, but that also presents the possibility of further disintegration, demoralisation and ineffectiveness. This juncture has been created not just by the recent crisis in the SWP but by a long-term trend of the shrinking of the revolutionary left, linked to a number of factors but largely influenced by the state of class struggle.

We believe that the right response to this is to try to bring as many individuals and groups together into a new project as possible. We believe that one of the key strengths of the IS Network since its launch has been its openness and its willingness to rethink ideas and practices, within a shared framework, and we want to carry this process on alongside others.

 

1. Political parameters of the organisation

  • The current economic system, capitalism, is the root cause of war, poverty, environmental destruction, misery and oppression. For the survival of our species and of our planet, there is an urgent need to replace it with a democratic and sustainable system based on human need: socialism.
  • As revolutionaries we believe that the state is the coercive wing of capitalism, and cannot be reformed to achieve communism; instead it must be abolished. While we participate in and strongly support campaigns for reform to capitalism we do not believe that they alone can bring about communism.
  • Marxists argue, but many other revolutionary traditions agree, that the working class is the only vehicle for abolishing capitalism. The main class division in modern capitalism is between the capitalist class – the bosses and those who own the means of production – and the working class. As revolutionary socialists we believe that the liberation of the working class must be the act of the working class, through its own self-organisation. We work within the working class and reject top-down methods of organisation such as bureaucratism, managerialism, or subservience to “great leaders”.
  • Our socialism should be intersectional. We are opposed to and committed to fighting all forms of oppression. We note also the rise of a new feminism in diverse parts of the world. This contrasts with the recent failures of several organisations on the far left to put their politics of oppression into practice. We believe there is an urgent requirement to revisit how socialists address not just women's rights, but all oppression in both practice and theory. We believe this to be interrelated to the changing politics of class struggle in the coming decades.
  • We are internationalists – we reject nationalist divisions and believe that world revolution is a necessity.

2. Structure

  • Full democracy. Ultimate executive power lies with the membership and all positions should be elected and subject to immediate recall. Specific details of the best and fairest means of election to positions and the form those positions take should be made by the membership. Unity of the left in Britain has never been so important and we must not risk laying the basis for future splits by failing to put in place a workable and accountable democratic framework early on.
  • Self-organisation. Those active in any particular field, occupation or local area can decide how to organise within it. Oppressed groups in particular should have the right to self-organisation and of representation in the highest bodies of the organisation.
  • Freedom of criticism. No policing of the membership by leadership or national organs. Internal structures should foster comradely debate not stifle it. Political positions and agendas must be won on the strength of the arguments and not set by executive commands by the leadership.
  • Remain committed to extending unity beyond our ranks where possible, and to rebuilding the revolutionary left.

3. Some priorities and aims

  1. Fighting for a democratic, unified anti-cuts movement that is not composed of party fronts controlled from the top table.
  2. The rebuilding of rank-and-file organisation within the unions, and actively agitating around the unorganised and unemployed.
  3. Building a radical, working class movement against oppression. Support for anti-fascism controlled from the grass roots and linked to anti-racism and no borders work.
  4. For a working class women’s magazine.
  5. A focus on solidarity work with revolutionary movements across the globe, and for an anti-imperialist anti-war movement.
  6. Strong commitment to building Left Unity, to providing a revolutionary pole of attraction within it, and for focusing the organisation as far as is possible on practical struggle.
  7. Fight for the creation of a radical, working class youth organisation.