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

Paul Le Blanc: Moving forward to build a mass socialist movement

I very much appreciate Luke Cooper’s excellent response to my “Getting Our Priorities Straight.” It maps out much of the common ground between us, and it offers food for thought for those wanting to move forward to build the mass socialist movement that now appears to be a possibility. Given that agreement, and the fact that some of this simply needs to be lived through more before we can find additional things to say that are useful, I feel little need to “answer” him. But I do want to offer a few thoughts regarding my defense of Morris Stein, and related matters, in a way that I think addresses some questions posed for us as we seek to move forward together.

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Luke Cooper: Reply to Paul Le Blanc

In reply to Paul’s reply, the first thing to say is “I agree”. These are questions that revolutionaries in all countries should be debating out in a common heterodox tendency. This is a point he made well in his original Dangerous Ideas talk, when he said, ‘Should there be competing revolutionary socialist groups or is the merger of the different revolutionary groups preferable?’

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Paul Le Blanc: Getting our priorities straight - response to Luke Cooper

First of all, I would like to thank Luke Cooper for his thoughtful engagement with some of what I had to say in my presentation at this year’s “Dangerous Ideas for Dangerous Times” gathering. Although – alas! – he has chosen only a fragment of my remarks on which to focus, and in doing so has risked what seems to me a distortion in what should be a more interesting conversation. I will engage with what he actually says, but I intend to push outward from that in the final portions of this response. (My “Leninism for Dangerous Times” presentation can be found here, and Luke’s “Debating ‘Leninism” is here.)

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Tim Nelson: Trotsky and Serge

Leon Trotsky and Victor Serge are two of the most outstanding Marxist figures of the twentieth century. Trotsky was the leader of the St Petersburg Soviet in 1905 and 1917, the organiser of the 1917 October Revolution, and the founder of the Red Army. Serge, originally an anarchist, joined the Communist Party during the siege of Petrograd in 1919, and worked for the Comintern in Russia and abroad.

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Richard Kuper: Organisation and Participation

This article was originally published in Socialist Review, July-August 1978, as part of a debate on democratic centralism

In 1968 the International Socialism group transformed itself, after a five-month long debate and two conferences, from a federalist into a democratic centralist organisation. As the 1930 Theses on the Role of the Communist Party in Proletarian Revolution had described it, ‘The chief principle of democratic centralism is the election of the higher party cells by the lower, the unconditional and indispensable binding authority of all of the instructions of the higher bodies for the lower and the existence of a strong party centre whose authority is generally recognised as binding for all leading party comrades in the period from one party conference to another.’

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Luke Cooper: Debating ‘Leninism’

In Paul le Blanc’s engrossing and well-argued speech at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, he engaged closely with ideas that we put across in Beyond Capitalism? The Future of Radical Politics. Le Blanc attempted to resuscitate, or at the very least contextualise, remarks by Morris Stein (real name Morris Lewit) that we had taken to be indicative of the historic problem of Trotskyism: the claim of its scattered historical representatives to have a ‘monopoly in the sphere of politics’.

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