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

From the pickets: Reports from strikes in FE/HE

On 3 December workers in universities from the Unite, Unison and UCU as well as UCU members from FE colleges took strike action as part of their fight for fair pay. Here we have reports from picket lines:

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Support Unite Grassroots Rank and File

A new organisation is being launched in Unite the Union, the largest trade union in Britain. It is an attempt to build a genuine rank and file organisation of Unite members and build a real alternative – led by grassroots members rather than full-time bureaucrats and officials. The recent disaster at Grangemouth shows the need for a confident, organised alternative to top-down "struggle". A key workplace, known for its high level of organisation, saw its members being delivered a deal which agreed to job losses and pay cuts, lost the workers their right to full-time convenors, and guaranteed a three-year non-strike agreement. This was a massive and real defeat, and could lead to demoralisation, as it suggests that even where we are strong we were unable to win.

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Higher education strike - Sheffield

On Wednesday night around 45 students staged a rally by the recently formed Left Caucus in support of the HE strike. We marched from the University of Sheffield concourse to the Richard Roberts Building which was then occupied. Initially we were told Management Security would turn up but they didn't. We maintained a mutually friendly atmosphere with security, most of whom were going on strike from 12. A member of the SWP was turned away at around 9pm as the occupation had voted to maintain a safe space, which encompassed turning away rape apologists. A line was drawn on oppositionists in the SWP, who it was agreed would be welcome. In the occupation we felt strong links had been made in terms of organising for the future and emphasis was placed on the atmosphere, particularly between the Anarchist Student Network (ASN) and RevSoc. Outside the occupation, it was reported that at 5am activists had blocked the Arts Tower entrance with recycling bins which were quickly moved.

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Higher education strike - Liverpool

The universities strike in Liverpool was a success: all classes at Liverpool Hope University were cancelled by management, as were many at Liverpool John Moores Uni, while the University of Liverpool campus was ghostly compared to normal.

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All Hallows strike! Pictures from the higher education strike in Leicester

Banner drop by Socialist StudentsAt the University of Leicester there were large pickets from all three unions on every entrance from 7am till 1pm.  Students dropped a banner from the roof of the students' union building to show their support. A poll conducted by the Leicester students' newspaper 'The Ripple' showed that 75% of respondents supported the strike. Despite this, and the official support of NUS for the action, the students' union fell short of openly and officially calling for students to support it, with the majority of the Labour-dominated exec abstaining.

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Grangemouth: bosses blackmail, union surrenders

In August of this year workers at the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland voted for strike action to demand the reinstatement of their trade union rep, Stevie Deans. Since then, the managers of the company have been fighting a vicious battle against the workers and against the whole notion of trade unionism. It is a fight that, thanks to the capitulation of the Unite leadership, they look to have comprehensively won. 

We cannot let this happen again.

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