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

Linda Rogers: Can the SWP deal with rape allegations?

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Rape Crisis BannerThere are a small number of arguments being put forward by the CC and loyalists which relate to the specifics of how they dealt with the rape allegation. I attempt here to set out some of the points that I have used to challenge these arguments. My first point will always be that the party should never have attempted to conduct a rape investigation and I stand by that.

However, I also believe it is crucial that we take on some of the arguments that we are facing. This composition has come about as the result of the input (on this blog and in discussions) of many comrades. I don’t take credit for the ideas here. They have been developed through debate and discussion – exactly in the way that thought and ideas should develop in our party. Nor do I put these forward as a blue print. They are intended to help comrades deal with the arguments, and I hope that comrades will comment on and challenge this post so that we can continue to develop our thought.

One of my usual experiences is not so much an argument as an incredulous face pulling exercise that seems to go on whenever I ask “would the DC have investigated a murder?” The expression on the faces of these opponents says it all “why on earth would you equate rape with murder?” But I think these faces tell a more complex story “why on earth would you equate this allegation of rape with murder”.

 

It is not the case that W went to the DC with her clothes torn, bruises and an experience that fits the mainstream story of a rape victim. If that had been the case, I believe that the DC would have said “we are in no position to investigate this case”. The reason that the DC thought it was fit to investigate this case is precisely because it did not recognise rape within relationship, acquaintance rape, date rape or whatever you want to call this woman’s experience as a ‘real’ rape. Part of their disbelief may have been because they were friends or long standing colleagues of Delta. Part of their disbelief may be because the party’s position on women’s oppression is flawed, it has not kept up to date with the most current theories in feminism and it has not kept itself at the forefront of the battle against women’s oppression. Part of their problem was that they are human, they live in this world, in this time and, despite protestations to the contrary, they were not immune to the rape myths that exist in this society.