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

Letter from Harry Wicks to IS National Committee (1975)

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15 April, 1975

Dear Comrades,

In this brief letter I will not attempt to discuss the political differences that motivated me to campaign against the decisions of the March N.C. There is a time and place for that, which will be used to the full. However, there is one point I wish to commend to the attention of all members of our National Committee. For three years now I.S. has been immersed in organisational changes. Most of those changes have their origin, not in our own experience but in the effort of the leadership to impose the ideas end pattern of the Pollitt Dutt 1922, Commission on to our organisation. If we are frank we must admit leaning rather heavily on that historical document. But In so doing we have overlooked the fact that the proposals contained in the Pollitt Dutt report were designed for a Party of no less than forty or fifty thousand members.

The Communist Party at that time never informed the membership of that vital factor until eighteen months after the commission’s proposals were applied. The ensuing organisational turmoil resulted, according to the Executive Committee of the CPGB “in the deterioration in the political Quality of the Party" and “little change in the size of the Party”. Are we in danger of repeating that experience? I am profoundly convinced with a sizable segment of the membership, that we are.

This continual chase for organisational solutions to our failure to grow in a favourable political climate is central to the position of our group today. I have campaigned against the N.C. March decision to restructure this year's conference, not from an unprincipled factional motive, nor that I am old, sick end battle weary but because I realise that an impermissible violation of the norms of democratic centralism are at stake.

Enclosed is a Petition signed by I.S. members protesting against the changes proposed in the composition of this year's conference. I sincerely trust that the National Committee will demand that all organisational changes shall first be submitted to the groups’ Annual conference.

Yours fraternally

Harry Wicks