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

Tony Clark, Leni Solinger: Letter to the National Committee

On April 19, the N.C suspended us (Tony Clark and Leni Solinger) from all I.S. work apart from teachers work for 6 months. We were permanently excluded from the Sheffield branch. We would like to ask you to support the reopening of the case on the following grounds:

  1. No specific charges were laid
  2. There was no question of IS discipline being broken.

We felt that the commission was not wholly satisfactory.

  1. Only one of the four lay members was present
  2. We were at no time allowed to hear the case being put by the branch committee, the full-timer or anyone else, as interviews, were always separate.
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Letter from Harry Wicks to IS National Committee (1975)

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.

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The Situation in IS (1975)

Since the 1974 I.S. Conference there has been a serious decline in the activity, cohesion and spirit in the Group. The debates in 1974 - on the R&F [Rank and File] Movement, on Socialist Worker, democracy in I.S., building the party and a number of subsidiary questions were at that time unclear. Underlying divisions were only partially worked through. Five- months later it is clear that nothing significant is solved in 1974 and the- issues are now much clearer. The R&F Movement is a hollow shell, SW [Socialist Worker] has been transformed from a paper that led the Group into a part of the baggage carried by an increasingly confused membership. Democracy in I.S is rapidly becoming the right to agree with the Cotton Gardens [National Office] version of revealed truth. Coherent and consistent political leadership is noticeably absent communication between the branches and the centre is virtually nor-existent. The members are disorientated and branches drift along without receiving any consistent direction. Structures do not work and we are once again in the fruitless, search for the perfect organisational alternative. It is now admitted, by Cliff, that the- factory branches are weak, small in number and ineffective. The brave promises of last-year for increased membership and influence look increasingly hollow in the light of current reality.

It is possible to lay the blame on the personnel at the Centre and some of them bear a heavy responsibility it is possible, and partially true, to talk about the increasing difficulties in the outside world. But none of this is enough. The problem is one of political method and political analysis, and direction. In this document we hope to throw some light on how we came to the present sorry situation and to point' to some way out of the difficulty. This is not a nostalgic revel in polemical debate but a very real concern for I.S. what it was and what it can be. The next few months will be crucial for the organisation - it really is necessary to get things straight.

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Guidelines for an IS Programme

Introduction: The nature of capitalism

1. Capitalism long ago laid the foundations for the abolition of want in the world, for human freedom. Its continued existence perpetuates poverty and deprivation, war and waste. It is characterised by the production of commodities for profit and not for human need. Economic, social and even personal relations are determined by the blind necessity to accumulate capital. This accumulation is based on the continued exploitation of the working class and on world-wide oppression. Capitalism exploits and oppresses not by choice but by its very nature. It cannot be reformed out of existence.

2. Of all class societies, capitalism is the most unstable, constantly revolutionising both the means and relations of production. From within the heart of capitalist free competition developed monopoly capitalism Imperialism developed with monopoly capitalism; and from within Imperialism developed the Permanent Arms economy each development co-existing with the previous stages and punctuated by crisis, boom and slump, war and oppression.

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