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

2013-11-06: Women’s Caucus Teleconference Report

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The women’s caucus teleconference meeting, held on the evening of the 6th November, was well attended, by women comrades from all over the country, which was great to see. Unfortunately we had technical issues, so 4 of our comrades had to pull out of the meeting early, which was problematic because at least one of the comrades was there specifically to contribute to the women’s publication section. I noticed a good balance between young students and older and more experienced comrades.

A large part of the meeting was taken up by the women’s publication and organising our next women’s caucus meeting in Sheffield. There were some brilliant and creative ideas flying around in relation to the publication, Magpie had offered her expertise in advance, offering to copy edit and coach less experienced writers, which I’m sure will be extremely useful and ensures fairness.

 

Amy came up with a whole host of outdoorsy and activist-led ideas, including inviting a Belfast abortion rights activist to write about her experiences in a country where women do not have autonomy over their own bodies. Another suggestion was that women’s magazines can be a bit stale and what people really want to see is the real work activists do on the ground, so we could photo shoot a woman activist in her natural habitat and ask her why she’s involved in the movement.

Sarah suggested that we should have a theme, around a featured article, leaving space open for other articles women choose to write. We then threw around some ideas, I suggested we theme it around historical women, influenced by the feminist movement uncovering long forgotten work carried out by our women comrades of the past. Sarah suggested that our cover theme could be 'Revolutionary Women' and I quite like that for the name of the publication actually.

Then it got down to the nitty-gritty when we realised we ain’t got a penny piece, so I think it’s a good job we only committed to a quarterly publication. It was decided for political reasons that our money needs to come from our own organisation. I suggested that other organisations involved, such as ACI/SR and Workers Power may also be in a position to contribute financially, but this is something we need to discuss with women comrades from other organisations. Amy came up with the sensible idea of sorting out a budget by working out how much everything costs, so we’ll be getting together a working group in our next meeting.

Ashleigh reminded us all that we need to write a report on the IS Network national conference, and I volunteered Magpie, at her behest. Magpie will be writing about her experience of conference, including her vision of learning new ways to be revolutionaries, via new practices.

It was agreed that Sarah will take a lead on booking a venue on the 1st December, in a classroom in Sheffield, where we all hope to be sitting around in a circle, eating sandwiches and cakes, although, now that I’ve said that, I may be designated the task of sandwich butterer – although I do reckon the Sheffield men could potentially take on this task, whilst they’re looking after the children. Ashleigh thought it wise that non-women comrades could take responsibility for the crèche, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all and we also need toys. It was agreed that Sarah will be writing the report back from our women’s caucus face to face meeting in Sheffield on the 1st December, so over to Sarah.