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

Queen Mary SWSS statement - The World is Watching

 

The world is watching the SWP and we feel the CC statement, party notes, and SWSS notes are misleading and inadequate in dealing with this unfurling crisis. We need real leadership now more than ever. We have to admit there were no clear victories at conference; the disputes vote had a difference of only handful of delegates. There are strong divisions within the party that cannot be brushed aside and ignored. We strongly urge the leadership to listen to all members to respond appropriately to this crisis, but a political culture has emerged that makes this very difficult. We joined what we felt was the best vanguard party in the country. QM SWSS is an eclectic mix of comrades from different struggles and movements that joined the party over a number of years, but we all have political concerns in common. We have all seen open, honest, political and outward looking regular caucuses give way to sporadic private, individual meetings with apparatus, where comrades are harangued or encouraged to leave and others in group gossiped about and misrepresented. We have all seen sharp, political SWSS meetings with lively debate and a broad periphery fade into complete non-existence, with not only no organisational assistance from the apparatus or leadership, but seeming total indifference. We have all seen a, while small, organised, disciplined and committed SWSS being completely side-lined seemingly for falling foul of the Central Committee during the conference period.

As a SWSS group, predominantly led by women, we feel accusations of ‘soft feminism’, ‘creeping feminism’ or simply ‘feminism’ have been often targeted at us. To reiterate, we believe that our tradition on women’s liberation is excellent, it is simply not being implemented. We are alarmed by Party Note’s discussion of ‘patriarchy theory’, suggesting that we have made a break from analysing gender in a framework of class. This is not the case, and has not been prevalent in any SWSS interactions that we have had. Our understanding of women’s liberation has been consistently sharp. We remind the party that the three leading female comrades at QM SWSS made a sharp intervention in the counter pro-life protests that gained momentum last year and alongside our university feminist society, have frequently been used in media campaigns, including the party’s own recent pro-choice pamphlet. We are alarmed at the use of ‘feminism’ as a political insult. We feel that this is an outdated attitude – where ‘feminism’ was a way out of class struggle in the 1980s, it has become a way in in recent years. The women’s movement has exploded, and refusing to welcome those that identify as ‘feminist’ or hold ‘feminist ideas’ threatens to accelerate the party towards irrelevance within this emerging movement. We also felt that SWSS notes were inadequate - direction within the student movement is lacking. They show a clear break from reality within the student movement and were completely insubstantial. Demands to stand on left slates are unrealistic given hostility on campuses.