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

Leeds SWSS: statement of disaffiliation

SWSSIn response to the recent crisis engulfing the SWP over its mishandling of rape allegations, Leeds University Socialist Worker Student Society would like to announce our disaffiliation from the organisation.

We feel this step is necessary because of the party’s inherent sexism and bureaucratised democratic structure, which has also historically subordinated the role of Socialist Worker Student Society. The treatment of dissident voices within the party and subsequent bullying and intimidation of young members has made our continued affiliation untenable. Add a comment

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Sussex and Brighton SWSS

SWSSFollowing yesterday's Special Conference, we the undersigned members of Brighton and Sussex SWSS have decided to resign from the Socialist Workers Party. The experience of recent weeks has been profoundly disheartening to us all and we cannot reconcile those experiences with the fundamental tenets of women's liberation (feminism). We do not make light of this decision; however, we cannot continue as members in good conscience. We extend our solidarity to all those comrades who continue to defend the best of our tradition in the organisation and reaffirm our commitment to the cause of international socialism - fighting capitalist oppression in all its shapes and forms. We will continue to be active on our campuses and in our community, building campaigns alongside our comrades inside the SWP and elsewhere in the movement.

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King's College London SWSS Statement

SWSSSince the beginning of term, a number of students have raised concerns with members of our SWSS group over the way that recent allegations of sexual assault and rape have been handled by the Central Committee (CC) and Disputes Committee (DC). We feel that it is incumbent on us to respond to these concerns.

As a SWSS group we share many of the concerns that have been raised, and expressed our views at the recent SWP conference. The woman involved, comrade W, has made it clear that she does not want the case itself to be reopened. However, it is absolutely necessary that the SWP reviews its procedures and learns from mistakes made. The Central Committee should have been at the forefront of fighting for these changes. We condemn them for failing in this duty. We also condemn their refusal to acknowledge the political impact that this issue has had on our ability to intervene in class struggle. It is vital that the SWP now works to correct this mistake. As a SWSS group we are arguing for this in our local branch.

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Further Education (FE) SWSS members' statement

SWSSAs FE SWSS members* we would like to make public that we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the recent handling of very serious accusations against a leading member of the SWP Central Committee (CC).

The SWP is in crisis. Over the last month, our reputation as the best fighters on the left has been dealt hefty blows. It is time the straw man arguments the CC has consistently used since November are dispensed with and the CC acts to stop the inevitable demise of our organisation; at the centre of these arguments is the report of the Disputes Committee, a mere two fifths of conference delegates approved the Disputes Committee report, a vote at conference that tends to be unanimous. Despite the wish of the Central Committee at the end of Conference for the matter to "remain closed" it was never to be so, even before a full transcript was released in sectarian blogs.

All members of the SWP should take these suggestions to their branches and argue for a special conference through the mechanisms in place to keep the party democratically accountable.

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Brunel SWSS statement

SWSSBrunel SWSS condemn, without reservation, the politically bankrupt and morally reprehensible behaviour of the SWP central committee, in regard to the crisis currently rocking the party. Student comrades have been met with hostility from groups we were on a previous good footing with. Certain sections of the university staff have now joined this chorus of disapproval, and we now face political isolation, the undoing of all our previous work, as the voices of our critics grow in correspondence to the CC’s silence.

We unreservedly feel that this silence is indicative of a complete failure of leadership, and note that this paralysis is even more egregious when "leadership" was the shibboleth the current CC used to justify its own controversial revised slate. Under these conditions, any student activity must be, at least for the meanwhile, suspended, as comrades feel they cannot sustain the party line, especially when it is being deployed as a weapon against us by our political foes, has alienated us from the movement, and, more importantly, is being rejected by large sections of the party’s own membership.

Nevertheless, and precisely because of the faith we have in our party and the proud tradition in which it stands, we urge the leadership to reconsider its position and to accept the growing call for special conference, the creation of a commission over the Disputes Committee, and would further insist that Comrade Delta should stand down immediately from party and affiliate roles.

In solidarity,

Brunel SWSS

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Portsmouth SWSS statement

SWSSThe recent events inside the SWP have left Portsmouth SWSS comrades in anger and frustration at the actions of the CC.Portsmouth SWSS, like the SWP, have a proud record of fighting for women’s liberation and have gained a high standing amongst groups and individuals who wish to fight sexism on campus. However in light of the recent high profile hearing involving a leading member of the organisation, we find our record tarnished. The relationships built up with those on our periphery are now strained or have ended. Whilst we have no desire to reopen the hearing, respecting the wishes of the comrades involved, we believe that the current processes of the Disputes Committee have been found lacking and need to be reviewed. We also feel that some of the CC’s actions in the aftermath to conference have exacerbated the crisis we currently find ourselves in.

Accusations by some comrades of ‘creeping feminism’ in the party is an insult to all of our comrades, particularly those that have been involved in feminist or women’s organisations in our workplaces, unions, colleges and universities. SWSS comrades in Portsmouth have been able to have numerous successful interventions in these groups because of the analysis of women’s oppression that our tradition has. However, Portsmouth comrades believe that more needs to be done to ensure this analysis is put into practise within our organisation. This will improve our understanding and practise in the wider movement.

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