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

5 Oct 2013: Steering Cttee Minutes


Ciara S
Richard T
Richard S
Tim N
Kris S
Alison L
Robert J
Keith F
Tom W
Rosie W
Luke S


Christian H
Alison H
Oliver W



  • Ashleigh F heading up.
  • Has been given names of volunteers.
  • On Sunday, crèche not available until 1pm – members need notifying of this. Babysitting service should be in place.
  • Accommodation
  • Queen Mary's members sorting accommodation.
  • Rev Socs need contacting.
  • Transport
  • So far no support has been requested.
  • Pooled fair of £15.


  • Ringrounds are taking place in every area.
  • Christian H reported back from ringround he had been conducting of London members - 73 names with phone numbers, 10 emailed by Mark H, 45 called so far, good response.
  • Given the good response so far, concerns were discussed about the capacity of the room (80 people). Tim N to collate returns from ringround and report back expected numbers at the next teleconference

Conference Arrangements Committee

  • Committee has been formed. Will be meeting via teleconference to discuss the agenda, procedure etc.
  • Members who have volunteered are: Amy A, Paris T, Ged C, Oliver W, Alison L, Tim N, Tom M.
  • Aim will be to make decisions on the agenda and procedure, provide space for motions, etc.
  • Unfortunately ad hoc due to inability to elect it a cancelled national meeting.
  • Question whether the venue will have an interactive whiteboard for ease with motions/amendments etc. Kris Sto get Jamie A to find out
  • Time needs setting aside for caucuses Tim N to liaise.
  • Election process- difficult to arrange before decision on how to elect has been made. Will just have to plan for all permutations.
  • There was a discussion about various ideas for electing committee while maintaining 50% minimum of women. Sheffield comrades contributed.
  • There was a discussion about how to handle motions, amendments, timing. questions from Sheffield comrades which helped work out what we're going to do.
  • Motions will be the same deadline as bulletins on the day, but CAC may make decisions on late additions, which conference will have an opportunity to vote on Sunday morning.
  • Request that amendments be submitted in advance, but will probably be necessary to allow them on the day.
  • Pack of motions will be provided.

Action Points

  • Rich T to email information on crèche, accommodation, pooled fair to members, request for members in advance.
  • Clara S to contact Rev Socs regarding accommodation.
  • Tim N to collate motions, send them out with second bulletin, and print them for conference.
  • Kris S to ask Jamie A to liaise with venue.
  • Tim N to liaise with caucuses.
  • Keith F to write something in the bulletin asking people to pay particular attention to constitutional changes and proposals to make process easier.

Steering Committee Reports

  • Agreed that SC members should write reports for second bulletin.
  • A balance sheet of what the SC has and hasn’t done should be written too.
  • Former SC members should be approached too.
  • Need to encourage women to put themselves forward.

Action Points

  • Rich T to write report on Exchange.
  • Tim N to write overview.
  • Rosie W to write report on proposed editorial board.
  • Richard S and Keith F to write report on proposed speaking tours.
  • Rich T to write report on membership lists.

Membership lists Report Back.

  • Rich T and Tim N have been working on this.
  • On track to clean them up.
  • Conference ringrounds have included requests for details.
  • 104 left over from previous incarnation as email list and have little more than name and email information.
  • Hoping by conference to have near complete membership list, and chase any gaps at conference.
  • Will be setting up regular rolling ringrounds to maintain list.
  • Should tighten up definition of membership at conference, but if we get no reply, and all the contact information we have is an email, they should eventually be removed and put on a general contact list.
  • Rich T writing a contribution for the bulletin regarding international members (have 29 of these).

Second Bulletin

  • Encourage local reports for this.
  • All motions, including ones from bulletin 1 will be highlighted in this.
  • Details for the conference (venue map, crèche, transport, etc) to be included.
  • Keith F and Rosie W writing alternative proposals for SC elections.

Membership Packs

  • Draft was passed around and discussed.
  • Tom W to format.
  • Membership cards being printed.
  • Will be available on the day.


  • The meeting was held in Sheffield, and a number of Sheffield members attended the meeting, it was requested that they share their experiences of building the Network in their area, as they are one of the few branches which hold regular meetings.
  • A general discussion took place about the value of regular meetings, and how it had helped Sheffield to organise. Christian H will be writing a report for the second bulletin.
  • Further discussion was had about ways to change the format of meetings, including avoiding having long introductions from 'top table' speakers.
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23 Sep 2013: Steering Cttee Minutes


  • Accommodation: Queen Mary’s students will be organising accommodation. Any requests should be forwarded on to Ciara S
  • Social: The Princess Alice pub can be booked - £150 deposit with £750 minimum spend. There was a discussion about whether this was too much of a risk for our finances, and it may be better not to book a venue but instead to designate a common meeting place. Ciara S to go away and look into other options
  • Travel: Keith F to write something for members asking them to contact him if they require money for travel
  • International observers: It was discussed whether it would be appropriate to invite international observers, such as the ISO, when as yet we have not agreed a position. It was agreed that they should be invited to observe but that the focus should be on our discussion. Tim N to write to ISO


  • Tom W to format leaflet
  • Details about distributing exchange to be circulated to members


  • It was agreed to push back the deadline of the second bulletin by a week since we have not had an adequate number of submissions, and not enough women have written in
  • It was agreed the SC members would contact people encouraging them to write in before the new deadline

Items for Network News

  • Report back from Sheffield anti-fascist demonstration
  • Discussion on Pavlos Fyrras
  • Details about Exchange
  • Deadline change
  • Manchester demonstration
  • Reports from RevSocs
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19 Aug 2013: Steering Cttee Minutes

IS Network Steering Committee Teleconference 19 August

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Read more: 19 Aug 2013: Steering Cttee Minutes

27 July 2013: Steering Cttee Minutes

IS Network Steering Committee Meeting 27 July 2013

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Read more: 27 July 2013: Steering Cttee Minutes

25 July 2013: Steering Cttee Minutes

IS Network Steering Committee Teleconference 25 July

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Read more: 25 July 2013: Steering Cttee Minutes

Sheffield ISN motion to Steering Committee

The following motion was passed unanimously by the Sheffield IS Network Branch to be presented to the Steering Committee (SC).

Consensus at the meeting felt that the bureaucratic decision of the SC not to allow our branch a representative on the committee to have hindered the development of the branch not allowing us to participate properly in debates and decisions happening on a national level. Fuller statement to follow soon.


  1. Cactus prototype was rushed, members were not consulted and its development was not political. Members must determine the political direction of Cactus. Do members want it to be propaganda, theory, culture or do members have other ideas? We propose that a much wider layer of members are involved in the production and design of Cactus. This wider layer makes the development of Cactus as transparent as possible. Another edition must be delayed to enable this discussion and an elected editorial group to be put in place.
  2. Sheffield Branch believes the rush to appoint a full-time worker is not necessary, we do recognise the fact there are many organisational tasks to be undertaken but these have not been achieved because of an unfocused committee rather than an overload of tasks. The concentration of the ISN should be on setting up branches, and a democratic process, which will relieve pressure on the SC and enable it to function more efficiently.
    Any full-timer appointed should be done on an elected basis by the membership on a political basis.

Sheffield Branch

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